وَ ہُوَ الَّذِیۡ سَخَّرَ الۡبَحۡرَ لِتَاۡکُلُوۡا مِنۡہُ لَحۡمًا طَرِیًّا وَّ تَسۡتَخۡرِجُوۡا مِنۡہُ حِلۡیَۃً تَلۡبَسُوۡنَہَا ۚ وَ تَرَی الۡفُلۡکَ مَوَاخِرَ فِیۡہِ وَ لِتَبۡتَغُوۡا مِنۡ فَضۡلِہٖ وَ لَعَلَّکُمۡ تَشۡکُرُوۡنَ ﴿۱۵﴾
وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِي سَخَّرَ ٱلۡبَحۡرَ لِتَأۡكُلُواْ مِنۡهُ لَحۡمٗا طَرِيّٗا وَتَسۡتَخۡرِجُواْ مِنۡهُ حِلۡيَةٗ تَلۡبَسُونَهَاۖ وَتَرَى ٱلۡفُلۡكَ مَوَاخِرَ فِيهِ وَلِتَبۡتَغُواْ مِن فَضۡلِهِۦ وَلَعَلَّكُمۡ تَشۡكُرُونَ
b. 35:13; 45:13. (close)
1536. The sea is a most important source of material benefits to man. It is the great repository of water from which the sun supplies us with rain. It is also a great highway for travel and commerce and an important source of food for man. (close)
a. 35:13; 45:13. (close)
1816. Important Words:
طریا (fresh) is active participle from طری or طرو. They say طری اللحم او طرو i.e. the flesh-meat was or became fresh, juicy or moist. طری also means, it became new; was newly made or done; was renewed. طراہ (tarra-hu) means, he rendered it fresh or juicy. طری الطیب means, he rendered perfume fragrant by admixtures. طری البناء means, he plastered or coated the building with clay or mud. طری therefore means fresh, juicy or moist; (Lane & Aqrab).
مواخر (ploughing) is the plural of ماخرة which is active participle from مخر. They say مخر السابح i.e. the swimmer clave the water with his arms in swimming. مخرت السفینةmeans, the ship clave the water with its stem and ran; clave the water with a noise; ran cleaving the water with a noise; faced the wind in her course; advanced and retired. The primary signification of مخر is the act of cleaving; and it also signifies the making of a noise or sound. ماخرة means, ships cleaving the water with their stems; or thrusting the water with their stems; or the sound of the running whereof, by means of the wind, is heard; or running; or advancing and retiring by means of the wind (Lane & Aqrab).
In the preceding verses mention was made of those things which grew on land or of which man could enjoy the benefit on land. In this verse, however, mention is made of water and things that grow therein. It may be noted that while speaking of the sea the same expression سخر (He has pressed into service) has been used in this verse as in the case of the night and day and heavenly bodies in v. 13, the expression بامرہ (by His command) which occurs in that verse has been dropped in the present verse. This is because heavenly bodies and the alternation of night and day are beyond man’s control and the benefits man derives from them are gratuitous and independent of any labour or effort on his part; therefore when mentioning them the expression, (by His command) has been used. But because for the benefits that man derives from the sea he has to make some effort in the making of boats, etc., this expression has been left out.
The sea is a most important source of material benefits to man. It is the great repository of water from which the sun supplies us with rain. It is also the highway for travel and commerce and an important source of food for man. It is quite obvious that God Who has made such vast provision for the physical needs of man could not have failed to make similar provision for his moral and spiritual needs.
The verse also suggests that although water is so essential for man and is present in such abundance in the sea it is unfit either for drinking or for irrigation purposes unless it is distilled by process of evaporation and is made usable. In the same way the mere existence of moral and spiritual truths in the world can be of no avail to man unless they are purified of all dross and are so assorted and presented as to suit his needs.
The subject of the uses and benefits of water for man began with 11th verse and is continued in the following verses. The theme is developed in all these verses that it is on water that men and animals have to depend for their food and that the sun, the moon, and the stars too have some sort of connection with water. The sun causes the water of the sea to evaporate, and then the same returns to us purified in the form of rainwater. This theme of the various uses of water leads us to a much nobler spiritual theme. It is that although we have water in the sea yet we cannot turn it into clouds. Similarly, though we possess reason and intellect, yet unless the water of revelation comes down from heaven our reasoning faculties alone can be of no avail to us to frame a perfect Law that may conduce to our moral and spiritual well-being. (close)
وَ اَلۡقٰی فِی الۡاَرۡضِ رَوَاسِیَ اَنۡ تَمِیۡدَ بِکُمۡ وَ اَنۡہٰرًا وَّ سُبُلًا لَّعَلَّکُمۡ تَہۡتَدُوۡنَ ﴿ۙ۱۶﴾
وَأَلۡقَىٰ فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِ رَوَٰسِيَ أَن تَمِيدَ بِكُمۡ وَأَنۡهَٰرٗا وَسُبُلٗا لَّعَلَّكُمۡ تَهۡتَدُونَ
a. 13:4; 21:32. (close)
1537. Geology has established the fact that mountains have, to a great extent, made secure the earth against earthquakes. (close)
1538. The word Subul (routes) here does not mean the artificial roads constructed by human hands but natural pathways formed by mountain-passes, rivers and valleys which have served as highways throughout the ages. (close)
a. 13:4; 21:32. (close)
1817. Important Words:
رواسی (firm mountains) is the plural of راسیة which is derived from رسا. The expression رسا الجبل means, the mountain was firmly based, or was firm in its base upon the ground. رست السفینة means, the ship cast anchor, lay at anchor, or rested or became stationary upon the anchor. They say رسوت بین القوم i.e. I effected a reconciliation between the people. راس means, stationary, at rest, fixed, fast, firm, steady, steadfast or stable. جبال راسیة means, firm or steadfast mountains. رواسی means, firm mountains (Lane & Aqrab). See also 7:188.
تمید بکم (quake with you). تمید is derived from ماد which means, (1) it (a thing) was or became in a state of violent motion or commotion; was or became violently agitated; (2) it turned or twisted about or became contorted and convulsed; (3) it (the mirage) was in a state of commotion; it quivered or trembled; (4) he (a man) was or became confounded, perplexed or amazed; (5) he became affected with a heaving of the stomach or a tendency to vomit and a giddiness in the head by reason of intoxication. or of voyaging upon the sea; (6) he inclined from side to side in walking; (7) he walked with an elegant and a proud and self-conceited gait with an affected inclination of his body from side to side; (8) he conferred or bestowed a benefit or benefits, favour or favours; (9) he trafficked as a merchant; and (10) it increased or grew. They say مادت به الارض i.e. the ground went round with him. ماد به البحر means, the sea affected him with a heaving of the stomach. The Quranic expression ان تمید بکم means, lest it should quake with you, be convulsed with you and go round with you and move you about violently (Lane & Aqrab).
By using the expression القی (lit. he has cast) the present verse points to a great geographical truth. The verse purports to say that God has, as it were, scattered all over the earth, rivers, mountains and natural pathways which means that all these things are to be found in all parts of the earth and men derive great benefits from them. Recent geographical researches have substantiated the fact that mountains, rivers and natural pathways are to be found in every region of the earth. That the Quran should have proclaimed this truth at a time when large parts of the earth such as America and South and Central Africa, Australia and many other islands were yet unknown is a strong proof of its Divine source. Elsewhere the Quran has used the expression جعل (He made) for each of the three things namely, mountains (77:28) rivers (27:62) and routes (21:32). This shows that the Quran does not mean that these things have been planted on the earth from outside, as might be suggested by the expression القی (He has placed) but that they form part and parcel of it.
By the word سبل (routes) is here meant not the artificial roads constructed by human hands but natural pathways formed by mountain-passes, rivers and valleys which have served men as highways throughout the ages. It was due to these natural highways that contact between different regions of the earth became possible in the past and this is perhaps one reason why the three things have been mentioned together in this verse.
Mountains, rivers and natural highways have been mentioned in the verse under comment separately from other Divine blessings mentioned in the preceding verses because these natural objects are repositories of other Divineblessings. The mountains are natural reservoirs of water and vegetable wealth; the rivers constitute natural conduits for water without which it would not be available for the use of man throughout the year, and natural pathways make it possible for him to have access to these vast stores of Divine blessings.
The relation of this verse with the preceding verses is that it enumerates some more of the material blessings of God and thus reverts to the theme that God Who bestowed these material blessings upon man could not possibly have neglected to provide for his spiritual needs. Another implication of the verse is that by his efforts man can provide only for his temporary and local needs but for his general and permanent needs God alone can make adequate provision. It purports to say that just as the natural routes of travel are the means of contact and communication between different nations and countries, similarly in the spiritual realm there is need for teachings which should satisfy the spiritual needs of man not only for a specified time or a particular group of men but for different times and for men of diverse natures and temperaments to help them to rise from one stage to another in their spiritual development. These stages constitute landmarks in man’s spiritual development and are marked by the appearance of Prophets. Man can hardly foresee what mental changes the human race is likely to develop in the course of the next few centuries, much less is it possible for him to devise a code which should serve him as a safe guide when these changes occur. Such a code of laws can be provided by God alone. This is why we observe in the history of human philosophy and science the phenomenon of alternate progression and retrogression. But the history of religion reveals the important fact that spiritual teachings know no retrogression but only undergo a continuous process of progressive evolution.
The verse throws light on yet another scientific truth. Geology has established the fact that mountains have, to a great extent, secured the earth against earthquakes. Earthquakes were very frequent before mountains were created. To this great scientific truth the words ان تمید بکم (lest it quake with you) refer. Taking these words in the sense 'that it may go round with you', the verse would mean that God has made on the earth firm mountains, that it may go round with you. This shows that mountains are a help to the earth in moving steadily on its axis. The expression 'going round' also denotes continuation and permanence, and according to this meaning the sentence 'that it may go round with you' would mean that men will continue to live so long as the earth continues to move. The Quran spoke of the earth as 'moving round' long before it was discovered that it was not stationary. Similarly, the truth that mountains formed a great safeguard against earthquakes was first revealed to the world by the Quran at a time when it was unknown even to great scientists.
The verse also points to another geographical truth. Streams and rivers were followed by great pathways in the past, for the latter have much to do with the former. A study of the means of communications in the past shows that originally people settled along the banks of rivers, where they could easily get their necessaries of life. Thus rivers and streams were followed by tracks and ways which men used for their journeys. Moreover, rivers, streams and canals are themselves "ways", for they form the easiest and cheapest way of transporting commodities from one place to another. (close)
وَ عَلٰمٰتٍ ؕ وَ بِالنَّجۡمِ ہُمۡ یَہۡتَدُوۡنَ ﴿۱۷﴾
وَعَلَٰمَٰتٖۚ وَبِٱلنَّجۡمِ هُمۡ يَهۡتَدُونَ
1539. The verse signifies that had the earth been of uniform surface and there had been no ups and downs, no valleys, mountains or rivers, it would have been almost impossible for men to find their way from one place to another. The distinctive physical features of the earth’s surface help men to know their way. Today these landmarks have proved to be of great help in air navigation. The stars also help wayfarers to find their way on land and sea. (close)
علاماة (other marks) being the object of the verb القی (He has placed) in the preceding verse, the present verse means to say that had the surface of the earth presented a uniform surface and had there been no ups and downs, no valleys, mountains or rivers, it would have become almost impossible for men to find their way from one place to another. The distinctive physical features of the earth’s surface help men to know their way. Today these landmarks have proved to be of great help in air navigation. The stars also help wayfarers to find their way on land and sea.
The same is the case with the spiritual journey of man. Different parts of this journey present different characteristics which enable the spiritual wayfarer to know how much distance he has traversed in his journey towards his Eternal Abode and how much of it remains. On his way to the Eternal Abode the Prophets serve as guiding stars for him. Being guided and led by them he safely marches on to his spiritual goal. And, like the stars, the Prophets also are inter-related. Just as the knowledge of the position of one star enables the wayfarer to know the position of another, similarly one Prophet foretells the advent of the Prophet who is to come after him and so on. Thus belief in one Prophet helps man to know and recognize other Prophets and to advance in faith. Moses spoke of the Prophets who were to come after him and the latter foretold the advent of those who in turn were to follow them. Thus all the Prophets guided men to the Holy Prophet of Islam, the Sun and Centre of the spiritual firmament. This is why it is incumbent upon Muslims to believe in them all. (close)
اَفَمَنۡ یَّخۡلُقُ کَمَنۡ لَّا یَخۡلُقُ ؕ اَفَلَا تَذَکَّرُوۡنَ ﴿۱۸﴾
أَفَمَن يَخۡلُقُ كَمَن لَّا يَخۡلُقُۚ أَفَلَا تَذَكَّرُونَ
To a superficial observer the form of the question embodied in this verse would seem to be rather queer. If a comparison of the relative powers of God and the pseudo-gods was intended by the question, the natural form would have been "Is he who does not create like Him Who creates"? But the fact is that the question does not refer to the relative powers of the True God and the false gods. It only continues the theme of the preceding verses in the present verse, viz. the need for Divine revelation. The pseudo-gods have the power to bestow on man neither material nor spiritual blessings. They can reveal no guidance. But the True God Who creates and bestows all physical and spiritual blessings on man certainly cannot be like the false gods of the idolaters who are quite unable to give any spiritual guidance. Being Almighty the True God can and will continue to reveal guidance to man. This sense of the verse is corroborated by the next verse. This is the significance of the comparison contained in this verse. (close)
وَ اِنۡ تَعُدُّوۡا نِعۡمَۃَ اللّٰہِ لَا تُحۡصُوۡہَا ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ لَغَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِیۡمٌ ﴿۱۹﴾
وَإِن تَعُدُّواْ نِعۡمَةَ ٱللَّهِ لَا تُحۡصُوهَآۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَغَفُورٞ رَّحِيمٞ
b. 14:35. (close)
a. 14:35. (close)
The present verse continues the theme of the previous one and points out that when physical blessings bestowed by God are so numerous as to be beyond the power of man to reckon, is it reasonable that He should not bestow upon man His spiritual blessings in the form of revealed guidance and, like false gods should behave as if He were deaf and dumb?
The verse ends with the mention of the Divine attributes of the Forgiving and Merciful. These two attributes could not function unless God had revealed His guidance to man. Forgiveness for the weak and reward to the virtuous were only possible when man had been given a teaching to follow. (close)
وَ اللّٰہُ یَعۡلَمُ مَا تُسِرُّوۡنَ وَ مَا تُعۡلِنُوۡنَ ﴿۲۰﴾
وَٱللَّهُ يَعۡلَمُ مَا تُسِرُّونَ وَمَا تُعۡلِنُونَ
c. 2:78; 27:26; 64:5. (close)
a. 2:78; 27:26; 64:5. (close)
This verse proceeds to furnish another argument why the false gods of the idolaters cannot provide right guidance and why it is God alone Who can do so. The fact is that God alone knows all the inherent capacities and powers of man and knows also the doubts and misgivings which assail his mind. And only that Being Who is fully conversant with man’s powers and capacities and his doubts and misgivings can give the teaching which can remove those doubts and satisfy the cravings of his soul.
Two conditions are the essential prerequisites of a right guidance for humanity. First, the Lawgiver must be fully conversant with all the depths of human nature. For, without such knowledge, it is not possible for Him to make proper provision for the full growth and development of all the physical and moral powers of man. Secondly, He must know all the thoughts of the human mind, for very often it happens that a man does not give expression to his real doubts for fear of social opprobrium. Only God Who knows the inner working of man’s mind knows where his difficulty lies and He alone can answer the unexpressed question.
The Quran offers the best illustration of such a guidance. It furnishes guidance for the healthy development of all the powers of man, physical or moral, known or unknown. Similarly, it satisfies all those misgivings that arise in the heart of man, some of which have found expression in this age of science and enlightenment and which many men had not had the courage to utter for fear of incurring social opprobrium. (close)
وَ الَّذِیۡنَ یَدۡعُوۡنَ مِنۡ دُوۡنِ اللّٰہِ لَا یَخۡلُقُوۡنَ شَیۡئًا وَّ ہُمۡ یُخۡلَقُوۡنَ ﴿ؕ۲۱﴾
وَٱلَّذِينَ يَدۡعُونَ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ لَا يَخۡلُقُونَ شَيۡـٔٗا وَهُمۡ يُخۡلَقُونَ
a. 7:192; 25:4. (close)
b. 7:192; 25:4. (close)
The verse answers a possible objection on the part of the idolaters to the argument contained in the preceding verses. They may say that their deities also possess the requisite knowledge and the power to reveal guidance, but they refrain from doing so only because man does not really need any such external guidance. The present verse answers this objection by saying that perfect knowledge of the unseen, the possession of which is indispensable for giving suitable guidance, can only be possessed by One Who has created man because only the Creator can know all the hidden powers of the things created and their working. But the false gods of the idolaters have not created anything at all. On the contrary, they themselves have been created. Therefore they are incapable of giving right guidance. It is really very surprising that in spite of the fact that the verse has so effectively demolished the claim made on behalf of false deities to the possession of knowledge of the unseen, there should still be found among Muslims people who believe that Jesus possessed knowledge of the unseen or that he had the power to create certain things. (close)
اَمۡوَاتٌ غَیۡرُ اَحۡیَآءٍ ۚ وَ مَا یَشۡعُرُوۡنَ ۙ اَیَّانَ یُبۡعَثُوۡنَ ﴿٪۲۲﴾
أَمۡوَٰتٌ غَيۡرُ أَحۡيَآءٖۖ وَمَا يَشۡعُرُونَ أَيَّانَ يُبۡعَثُونَ
The verse furnishes yet another argument why pseudo-gods cannot provide true guidance for man, i.e. they are all dead. In order to be able to provide guidance they must be living because only the living can possibly know when and what defects might arise in human society that might require guidance for their removal.
It is a pity that, contrary to the teachings of the Quran, many Muslims still entertain the foolish belief that Jesus is alive in the heavens although the verse categorically says that all the false gods which men worshipped at the time the Quran was revealed were dead. So if Jesus was not dead, then he must be regarded as a true God and this is an unutterable blasphemy.
This and the preceding verse give four arguments to refute the alleged divinity of false deities: First, they cannot create anything and the possession of the power to create is an indispensable characteristic of God. Secondly, they are themselves created, and therefore are dependent on others and a being that is dependent on others cannot be God. Thirdly, they are dead and therefore are devoid of the power to do good or evil to any person and one who is devoid of such power cannot claim to be God. Fourthly, they do not know when they shall be raised to life. Lack of knowledge of the Day of Resurrection demolishes their title to Godhead. (close)
اِلٰـہُکُمۡ اِلٰہٌ وَّاحِدٌ ۚ فَالَّذِیۡنَ لَا یُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ بِالۡاٰخِرَۃِ قُلُوۡبُہُمۡ مُّنۡکِرَۃٌ وَّ ہُمۡ مُّسۡتَکۡبِرُوۡنَ ﴿۲۳﴾
إِلَٰهُكُمۡ إِلَٰهٞ وَٰحِدٞۚ فَٱلَّذِينَ لَا يُؤۡمِنُونَ بِٱلۡأٓخِرَةِ قُلُوبُهُم مُّنكِرَةٞ وَهُم مُّسۡتَكۡبِرُونَ
b. 2:164; 5:74; 22:35; 37:5. (close)
a. 2:164; 5:74; 22:35; 37:5. (close)
The claim embodied in the words, Your God is One God, is no empty assertion nor have these words been placed here at random. The declaration is the natural conclusion of the arguments given in the preceding verses. In fact it is a characteristic of the Quran that it does not make a statement without supporting it by arguments which immediately precede or follow it. In the present case the arguments are contained in the preceding verses, which comprised two main themes. One was that all the objects in the universe form different links of one chain and are inter-related to and inter-dependent upon one another and that the end and object of the whole creation is man. His main food is the animals. These live upon plants and the latter depend for their life upon water which men use as drink. Water also feeds plants which in their turn feed men. The plants grow under the influence of the sun, the, moon and the stars and the influence of the light of the day and the darkness of the night.
Again the seas serve as great reservoirs of water. They supply man with food, and serve as great highways of communication. The water of the sea is purified by the process of evaporation and becomes fit for use. The rivers replenish the seas and keep the land fit for human habitation. This inter-relation and inter-dependence of things upon each other points inevitably to the fact that there must be only one Creator of them all. Plurality of creators necessarily implies imperfection of each, and only a Perfect Being can be our God.
The other theme of the preceding verses was that all objects of human worship were dead. So the Living God alone deserved to be the object of our worship and was the only true God.
The words, those who believe not in the Hereafter, their hearts are strangers to truth and they are full of pride, embody the answer to the implied question: viz. if the Unity of the Godhead is so obvious and indisputable, then why do men still deny it? The answer given is that this denial is founded on no reason but has its basis in the denial of life after death. Such denial naturally creates a sense of irresponsibility and lack of seriousness and sobriety on the part of disbelievers, leading them gradually to folly and ignorance and the inability even to recognize things which are quite obvious. Another result of the denial of life after death on the part of disbelievers is the growth of conceit and arrogance born of a sense of irresponsibility and of reckless refusal to admit the existence of things which, their reason tells them, are true.
Thus the clause speaks of two kinds of idolaters (1) the foolish and the ignorant; and (2) the proud and the conceited. (close)
لَاجَرَمَ اَنَّ اللّٰہَ یَعۡلَمُ مَا یُسِرُّوۡنَ وَ مَا یُعۡلِنُوۡنَ ؕ اِنَّہٗ لَا یُحِبُّ الۡمُسۡتَکۡبِرِیۡنَ ﴿۲۴﴾
لَا جَرَمَ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَعۡلَمُ مَا يُسِرُّونَ وَمَا يُعۡلِنُونَۚ إِنَّهُۥ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلۡمُسۡتَكۡبِرِينَ
c. 16:20. (close)
a. See 16:20. (close)
The verse points out that God is One and Omniscient as proved in the preceding verses and that He will not leave disbelievers without punishing them for their evil deeds. But since He knows the overt actions as well as the inner motives of man, He will differentiate between those who defy Him through ignorance and those whose defiance of His authority is the result of their conceit and arrogance. The latter will deserve and receive a severer punishment than the former. (close)