وَ اِنۡ کَادُوۡا لَیَسۡتَفِزُّوۡنَکَ مِنَ الۡاَرۡضِ لِیُخۡرِجُوۡکَ مِنۡہَا وَ اِذًا لَّا یَلۡبَثُوۡنَ خِلٰفَکَ اِلَّا قَلِیۡلًا ﴿۷۷﴾
وَإِن كَادُواْ لَيَسۡتَفِزُّونَكَ مِنَ ٱلۡأَرۡضِ لِيُخۡرِجُوكَ مِنۡهَاۖ وَإِذٗا لَّا يَلۡبَثُونَ خِلَٰفَكَ إِلَّا قَلِيلٗا
a. 8:31; 60:2. (close)
1640. The enemies of the Holy Prophet wanted to brand him with the stigma of legal banishment so that he might lose all dignity with his people, but God Himself commanded him to leave Mecca and thus saved him from this stigma which involved for him the loss of citizenship of that town. (close)
a. 8:31; 60:2. (close)
2006. Important Words:
خلافک (after thee). خلاف is derived from خلف which means, he succeeded or remained after another. خالف عنا means, he remained behind us or after us. قعدت خلافه means, I remained behind him or after him. خلاف means, after or behind; the contrary or opposite, the sleeve of a shirt, etc. The Quranic expression اذا لا یلبثون خلافک الا قلیلا means, in that case they should not have remained after thee but a little while (Lane). See also 7:70, 170; 9:87.
As the Arabic expression استفزہ من الارض means, he expelled him from the land (17:65), the words لیخرجوک (that they might expel thee) occurring immediately after لیستفزونک evidently do not imply simple expulsion because in that case there would have been useless repetition of the same meaning. They signify legal banishment which entails loss of rights of citizenship. Disbelievers wanted to brand the Prophet with the stigma of legal banishment so that he might lose all dignity with his people, but God Himself commanded him to leave Mecca and thus saved him from this stigma which involved loss of citizenship of that town. (close)
سُنَّۃَ مَنۡ قَدۡ اَرۡسَلۡنَا قَبۡلَکَ مِنۡ رُّسُلِنَا وَ لَا تَجِدُ لِسُنَّتِنَا تَحۡوِیۡلًا ﴿٪۷۸﴾
سُنَّةَ مَن قَدۡ أَرۡسَلۡنَا قَبۡلَكَ مِن رُّسُلِنَاۖ وَلَا تَجِدُ لِسُنَّتِنَا تَحۡوِيلًا
b. 33:63; 35:44; 48:24. (close)
b. 33:63; 35:44; 48:24. (close)
The verse means to say that it is invariably God’s way with His Messengers that whenever anyone of them is expelled from his native land by his people with indignity and dishonour, that people is visited with Divine punishment. A striking illustration of this divine law is to be found in the case of the tribe of Thamud and the Jews. The former sought to put obstacles in the way of the Prophet Salih’s missionary expedition by killing his she-camel and the latter put Jesus on the cross. The Thamud met with the destruction of their bodies and souls while the Jews suffered only moral and political death. But the Meccans were spared this punishment because the Holy Prophet left Mecca in pursuance of God’s own command and was not expelled from it by his people. (close)
اَقِمِ الصَّلٰوۃَ لِدُلُوۡکِ الشَّمۡسِ اِلٰی غَسَقِ الَّیۡلِ وَ قُرۡاٰنَ الۡفَجۡرِ ؕ اِنَّ قُرۡاٰنَ الۡفَجۡرِ کَانَ مَشۡہُوۡدًا ﴿۷۹﴾
أَقِمِ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ لِدُلُوكِ ٱلشَّمۡسِ إِلَىٰ غَسَقِ ٱلَّيۡلِ وَقُرۡءَانَ ٱلۡفَجۡرِۖ إِنَّ قُرۡءَانَ ٱلۡفَجۡرِ كَانَ مَشۡهُودٗا
c. 11:115; 20:131; 30:18, 19; 50:40. (close)
1641. Dalakatish-Shamsu means, (1) the sun declined from the meridian; (2) it became yellow; (3) it set. Ghasaq means, the darkness of the night, or when redness in the horizon after sunset disappears (Lane). This verse seems to denote the hours of the five daily Prayers of Islam. The three meanings of Duluk indicate the times of Afternoon Prayer, the Late Afternoon Prayer and the Sunset Prayer. The expression, Ghasaqil-Lail, includes the times of Sunset Prayer but particularly refers to the Night Prayer, and the words Qur’anal- Fajr indicate the hour of the Morning Prayer. (close)
a. 11:115; 20:131; 30:18, 19; 50:40. (close)
2008. Important Words:
ل (at) means, at, on or upon; nigh, near or about; (Lane & Aqrab). For other meanings of لام see 17:62.
دلوک (declining and paling) is derived from دلک. They say دلکه الدھر i.e. the time proved him and made him expert. دلکت الشمس means, (1) the sun declined from the meridian; (2) or it became yellow; (3) or it set (Lane & Aqrab).
غسق (darkness) is the noun-infinitive from غسق (ghasaqa). They say غسق اللیل i.e. the night became dark. غسقت عینیه means, his eyes became dark or shed tears. غسق(ghasaqun) means, the beginning of the darkness of night or the darkness of the night or the darkness of the beginning of the night or when شفق or redness in the horizon after sunset disappears (Lane).
The words of this verse denote the hours of the five daily Prayers of Islam. The three meanings of the word دلوک as given under Important Words indicate the times of ظھر (afternoon Prayer) and عصر (late afternoon Prayer) and مغرب (sun-set Prayer). The words غسق اللیل include the times of مغرب (sun-set Prayer) but particularly refer to عشاء (night Prayer). The words قرآن الفجر (the recitation of the Quran at dawn) indicate the hour of فجر (morning Prayer).
In this and the following verses Muslims are warned to be prepared to meet great hardships and privations at the hands of the Jews of Medina. These people were very punctilious about outward acts of worship. The slightest slackness in Prayers on the part of Muslims would make them criticize Islam and the Holy Prophet. Moreover, Islam was destined to make great headway in Medina in the near future and as success and prosperity generally make men prone to a life of ease and they become indifferent towards Prayers, so Muslims are particularly warned to be on their guard against any slackness in Prayers. (close)
وَ مِنَ الَّیۡلِ فَتَہَجَّدۡ بِہٖ نَافِلَۃً لَّکَ ٭ۖ عَسٰۤی اَنۡ یَّبۡعَثَکَ رَبُّکَ مَقَامًا مَّحۡمُوۡدًا ﴿۸۰﴾
وَمِنَ ٱلَّيۡلِ فَتَهَجَّدۡ بِهِۦ نَافِلَةٗ لَّكَ عَسَىٰٓ أَن يَبۡعَثَكَ رَبُّكَ مَقَامٗا مَّحۡمُودٗا
a. 50:41; 52:50; 73:3-5; 76:27. (close)
1642. In addition to the meaning given in the text Nafilah means a special favour, and signifies that Prayers are not a burden to weary the flesh but a privilege and a special favour from God. (close)
1643. Perhaps no other person has been so much maligned and abused as the Holy Prophet of Islam and certainly no other person has been the recipient of so much Divine praise and the object of the invocation of so many Divine blessings and favours upon him as he. The Tahajjud Prayer is best suited for the believer’s spiritual exaltation as in the stillness of the night, being all alone with his Creator, he enjoys special Divine communion. (close)
2009. Important Words:
فتھجد به (wake up for it in the latter part of the night). تھجد is derived from ھجد (hajada). ھجد (hajada) and ھجد (hajjada) and تھجد (tahajjada) mean the same thing i.e. (1) he slept or slept in the night or in the latter part of the night; (2) he remained awake or was sleepless or wakeful in the night; (3) he awoke from sleep to pray or for some other purpose; (4) he prayed in the night. Hence praying in the latter part of the night is called تھجد (tahajjud). Some say that ھجود which is the noun infinitive from ھجد means, to sleep in the day and ھجوع means, to sleep in the night or simply to sleep (Lane & Aqrab).
نافلة (as a supererogatory service) is derived from نفل. They say نفل الرجل i.e. he presented to the man a thing for which he desired no return or reward. نفل الامیر الجند means, the commander gave to the soldiers the booty. نفل (nafal) is to do more than one is bound to do by duty or of which the doing is not obligatory. نافلة means, what accedes to or exceeds the original; a voluntary gift by way of alms or as a good work; a gift; a deed beyond what is incumbent or obligatory; grandson or grandchild; supererogatory Prayer (Lane & Aqrab).
The words نافلة لک (as supererogatory service for thee) refer to the Tahajjud Prayer offered in the latter part of the night. The word نافلة, as its meanings show, implies that the Tahajjud Prayer is not obligatory for Muslims. The verse may also be taken to indicate that this Prayer was obligatory only for the Holy Prophet, and not for any other Prophet. The word نافلة further means a special favour and signifies that Prayers are not a burden to weary the flesh but a privilege and a favour from God.
The expression, It may be that thy Lord will raise thee to an exalted station, embodies a great prophecy. Perhaps no other person has been so much maligned and abused as the Holy Prophet of Islam and certainly no other person has been the recipient of so much Divine praise and the object of the invocation of so many Divine blessings and favours upon him as he. The implied prophecy was that whereas the sons of darkness would abuse and condemn the Prophet, the good, the noble and the righteous would invoke God’s blessings upon him and God Himself would proclaim his praises from His Exalted Throne. Thus the Prophet’s praise by God and His Elect would far outweigh the undeserved abuse heaped upon him by the sons of darkness.
The expression مقاما محمود (exalted station) may also be understood to imply the special prerogative of شفاعة (intercession) which God bestowed upon the Holy Prophet. There is a well-known hadith that the followers of all other Prophets, having despaired of the intercession of their own Prophets on the Day of Judgement, will seek the Holy Prophet’s intercession and he will intercede for them, and thus they will acknowledge his greatness. The advent of the Promised Messiah and Mahdi is another manifestation of this مقام محمود(exalted station) of the Holy Prophet. When denunciation of him reached its climax, and he was also deserted by his own so-called followers and friends, God raised the Promised Messiah and Mahdi from among his followers and through him vindicated his honour. The Promised Messiah refuted and rebutted the charges of his enemies, and by imparting to his followers true knowledge of the manifold excellences and beauties of his teaching and character, inspired them with a new love and veneration for him. The mention of the grant of the مقام محمود after the command for obligatory and supererogatory Prayers implies the hint that the real remedy for him who receives mockery and abuse from the people of the world is not to retaliate with mockery and abuse but to turn to God and seek His help. This is sure to turn enemies into friends, as happened in the Prophet’s case. His bitterest enemies became his most devoted followers. Of the many exalted stations the Holy Prophet was destined to obtain, the first was his possession of Medina from where spread his praise and holiness to the ends of the earth. This is why the next verse refers to his Migration to Medina. (close)
وَ قُلۡ رَّبِّ اَدۡخِلۡنِیۡ مُدۡخَلَ صِدۡقٍ وَّ اَخۡرِجۡنِیۡ مُخۡرَجَ صِدۡقٍ وَّ اجۡعَلۡ لِّیۡ مِنۡ لَّدُنۡکَ سُلۡطٰنًا نَّصِیۡرًا ﴿۸۱﴾
وَقُل رَّبِّ أَدۡخِلۡنِي مُدۡخَلَ صِدۡقٖ وَأَخۡرِجۡنِي مُخۡرَجَ صِدۡقٖ وَٱجۡعَل لِّي مِن لَّدُنكَ سُلۡطَٰنٗا نَّصِيرٗا
1644. In acceptance of his prayers and supplications, the Holy Prophet in this verse has been vouchsafed the glad tidings that in fulfilment of the prophecy made in the words, Glory be to Him Who carried His servant by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Distant Mosque (17:2), he would be taken to Medina. In anticipation of the fulfilment of this prophecy he is commanded to pray that his entry in Medina may be doubly blessed and so may his departure from the town—Mecca—in which he is now living. (close)
2010. Important Words:
مدخل (entry) is derived from دخل, which means, he entered. ادخله of which the infinitive noun is ادخال or مدخل means, he caused him to enter. مدخل therefore means, to enter, entering or entry. The Quranic expression رب ادخلنی مدخل صدق means, O my Lord cause me to enter in a good or agreeable manner (or make my entry a good entry) (Lane).
In acceptance of his prayers and supplications, the Prophet in this verse has been vouchsafed the glad tidings that in fulfilment of the prophecy made in the words, Glory be to Him Who carried His servant by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Distant Mosque, he would be taken to Medina which would constitute the first of the various "exalted positions" (مقام محمود) which are to be bestowed upon him. In anticipation of the fulfilment of this prophecy, the Prophet is commanded to pray that his entry in Medina may be doubly blessed and so may be his departure from the town in which he is now living (Mecca). This prayer of the Prophet was amply fulfilled. His enemies desired to expel him from Mecca in ignominy and disgrace but he was foretold by God of their evil designs and in accordance with the divine plan he left Mecca of his own accord and arrived in perfect safety in Medina, where he succeeded in gathering round him a band of most faithful and devoted followers.
The question may be asked why the entry of the Prophet into Medina has been mentioned before his "coming forth" from Mecca, which is contrary to events as they took place. The answer to this seeming historical anomaly is that the order in the statement of events as they took place has been reversed in order to console the Holy Prophet. The news of his departure from Mecca would naturally have caused him great pain. In order to relieve him of this mental anguish God preceded the news of his departure from Mecca by the news of his entry into Medina where power and honour awaited him.
The word مدخل (entry) might also be taken to refer to the Holy Prophet’s subsequent victorious entry into Mecca. Read in this sense, the said "entry" may be understood to constitute another stage in the Holy Prophet’s march to his promised مقام محمود (exalted station) because with his triumphant re-entry into Mecca ended all opposition to Islam and the Prophet’s erstwhile opponents became his devoted followers.
The prayer contained in the words, And grant me from Thyself a helping power, was necessary because power is a great corrupter of men. The Prophet is taught to pray that instead of corrupting him the acquisition of power may prove a source of real help to him.
The prayer contained in this verse supports the interpretation of اسراء i.e. the Vision about the Prophet’s Night Journey mentioned in v. 2, namely that the flight of the Holy Prophet from Mecca to Medina was sure to take place. (close)
وَ قُلۡ جَآءَ الۡحَقُّ وَ زَہَقَ الۡبَاطِلُ ؕ اِنَّ الۡبَاطِلَ کَانَ زَہُوۡقًا ﴿۸۲﴾
وَقُلۡ جَآءَ ٱلۡحَقُّ وَزَهَقَ ٱلۡبَٰطِلُۚ إِنَّ ٱلۡبَٰطِلَ كَانَ زَهُوقٗا
a. 21:19; 34:50. (close)
1645. It is among the marvels of Quranic diction that to convey a certain sense it selects that particular word which points to a long sequence of events. In this particular instance the sense of the vanishing of falsehood might as well have been expressed by some other word such as Halaka (perished) or Batala (became useless), but neither of these words would have conveyed the sense of gradual weakening and ultimate disappearance which is expressed by Zahaqa. The verse contains the hint that with the entry of the Holy Prophet into Medina, his power would continue to grow and that of his enemy decline till it would be finally broken. Again, it is a marvel of the style of the Qur’an that, without being poetry, its verses possess poetic rhythm and cadence without which it is not possible to give full expression to feelings of extreme delight. The verse under comment furnishes one such example. After the conquest of Mecca as the Holy Prophet was clearing the Ka‘bah of the idols which had desecrated it, he repeatedly recited this verse as he struck the idols (Bukhari). (close)
2011. Important Words:
زھق (has vanished away). They say زھق الباطل i.e. falsehood gradually weakened. زھق الشیء means, the thing perished, passed away or came to naught; became null, void or of no effect. زھقت نفسه means, his soul departed; he died (Lane & Aqrab).
This verse implies a beautiful hint that with the entry of the Holy Prophet into Medina his power would continue to grow and that of his enemy decline till it would be finally broken. So it came to pass when by the conquest of Mecca idolatry disappeared from Arabia forever.
The word زھق which has been translated as "has vanished away" actually conveys, as shown under Important Words, the sense of gradual weakening and ultimate disappearance. It is among the marvels of Quranic diction that to convey a certain sense it selects that particular word which points to a long sequence of events. In this particular instance the sense of the vanishing of falsehood might as well have been expressed by the word ھلك (perished) or بطل (became useless, vain or ineffective) but neither of these words would have conveyed the sense of gradual weakening and ultimate disappearance which is expressed by the word زھق. This word, in fact, implies a prophecy of the gradual weakening and ultimate disappearance of idolatry from Mecca, which was literally fulfilled as foretold.
It is another marvel of the style of the Quran that, without being poetry, its verses possess that poetic rhythm and cadence without which it is not possible to give full expression to feelings of extreme delight. The verse under comment furnishes one such example. After the conquest of Mecca when the Holy Prophet was busy clearing the Ka‘bah of the idols which had desecrated it, he repeated as he struck each of the idols the following verse of the Quran: وقل جاء الحق و زھق الباطل ان الباطل کان زھوقا i.e. And say, Truth has come and falsehood has vanished away. Falsehood does indeed vanish away fast. One can imagine the deep emotion the Prophet’s Companions must have felt when they watched him strike down the idols one after the other and repeat this Quranic verse in a measured tone. It is only natural that they spontaneously joined him in reciting this verse on that august occasion. (close)
وَ نُنَزِّلُ مِنَ الۡقُرۡاٰنِ مَا ہُوَ شِفَآءٌ وَّ رَحۡمَۃٌ لِّلۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ ۙ وَ لَا یَزِیۡدُ الظّٰلِمِیۡنَ اِلَّا خَسَارًا ﴿۸۳﴾
وَنُنَزِّلُ مِنَ ٱلۡقُرۡءَانِ مَا هُوَ شِفَآءٞ وَرَحۡمَةٞ لِّلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ وَلَا يَزِيدُ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ إِلَّا خَسَارٗا
b. 10:58; 12:112; 16:90. (close)
a. 10:58; 12:112; 16:90. (close)
The verse purports to say that as to a jaundiced eye all objects appear yellow, similarly to a mind which is swayed by jealousy and prejudice, even most pure and noble teachings appear impure and ignoble. Such was the case with disbelievers in regard to the teachings of the Quran.
The word "Quran" in this verse may also be taken to refer to the portion of the Quran already revealed, the portion containing prophecies about the prosperity and success of the Faithful and the ruin and destruction of disbelievers. The verse means to say that the time has come for the fulfilment of those prophecies and that the flight of the Prophet from Mecca would usher in an era of triumph for Islam and would bring discomfiture and humiliation to disbelievers. (close)
وَ اِذَاۤ اَنۡعَمۡنَا عَلَی الۡاِنۡسَانِ اَعۡرَضَ وَ نَاٰ بِجَانِبِہٖ ۚ وَ اِذَا مَسَّہُ الشَّرُّ کَانَ یَــُٔوۡسًا ﴿۸۴﴾
وَإِذَآ أَنۡعَمۡنَا عَلَى ٱلۡإِنسَٰنِ أَعۡرَضَ وَنَـَٔا بِجَانِبِهِۦ وَإِذَا مَسَّهُ ٱلشَّرُّ كَانَ يَـُٔوسٗا
a. See 17:68. (close)
The verse means to say that Muslims were subjected to tortures and suffered all sorts of hardships for thirteen long years, but they bore them with fortitude and patience. The case of disbelievers, however, is different. When their turn came to be visited with Divinepunishment they would give way to despair, because they had no faith in God. (close)
قُلۡ کُلٌّ یَّعۡمَلُ عَلٰی شَاکِلَتِہٖ ؕ فَرَبُّکُمۡ اَعۡلَمُ بِمَنۡ ہُوَ اَہۡدٰی سَبِیۡلًا ﴿٪۸۵﴾
قُلۡ كُلّٞ يَعۡمَلُ عَلَىٰ شَاكِلَتِهِۦ فَرَبُّكُمۡ أَعۡلَمُ بِمَنۡ هُوَ أَهۡدَىٰ سَبِيلٗا
1646. The words, ‘Ala Shakilati-hi, mean, according to his own motives; way of thinking; aims and purposes. (close)
a. 28:86. (close)
b. 28:86. (close)
2014. Important Words:
شاکلته (his own way). شاکلة is the feminine of شاکل which is synonymous with شکل (shaklun) which is the infinitive noun from شکل (shakala). It means, a likeness or resemblance; shape, form or form of a thing. They say ھذا علی شاکلة ابیه i.e. this is according to the likeness of his father. شاکلة also and more commonly means, a particular way, cause, mode or manner of acting or conduct; direction, side; motive, intention or purpose; creed; etc. The Quranic expression کل یعمل علی شاکلته means, everyone acts according to his particular way (Lane & Aqrab).
Every man acts according to his own motives, way of thinking, aims and purposes. The aim and object of disbelievers is to attain worldly gains. Therefore when they suffer a worldly loss they give themselves up to despair. But a believer’s whole aim in life is to win God’s pleasure, so the loss of worldly wealth leaves him unperturbed. He faces all trials and hardships with a brave heart. The verse means to say that God treats men according to their motives and intentions. He takes into consideration not only the actions of man but also his intentions and motives. As all the efforts of disbelievers are for this world, they do not deserve to be the recipients of God’s help and favour. This and the preceding verse apply as much to the Jews as to the idolaters of Mecca. (close)
وَ یَسۡـَٔلُوۡنَکَ عَنِ الرُّوۡحِ ؕ قُلِ الرُّوۡحُ مِنۡ اَمۡرِ رَبِّیۡ وَ مَاۤ اُوۡتِیۡتُمۡ مِّنَ الۡعِلۡمِ اِلَّا قَلِیۡلًا ﴿۸۶﴾
وَيَسۡـَٔلُونَكَ عَنِ ٱلرُّوحِۖ قُلِ ٱلرُّوحُ مِنۡ أَمۡرِ رَبِّي وَمَآ أُوتِيتُم مِّنَ ٱلۡعِلۡمِ إِلَّا قَلِيلٗا
1647. In the period of their spiritual decline and decadence the Jews seem to have come to dabble in occult practices like many modern Spiritualists, Theosophists and Hindu Yogis. Some of the Jews of Medina also seem to have resorted to these practices in the time of the Holy Prophet. This is why when the Meccan idolaters sought their help to confute the Holy Prophet, they suggested that they (the Meccan idolaters) should question him about the human soul. The Qur’an answers them by the verse under comment by saying that the soul derives its powers from the command of God and anything else that is claimed to be acquired by the so-called spiritual exercises and magical art is all humbug. The question regarding the nature of the human soul is reported to have been first put to the Holy Prophet at Mecca by the Quraish and then, according to ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ud, by the Jews at Medina. The soul has been described here as something created by the direct command of God. According to the Qur’an all creation falls under two categories: (1) Original creation which is brought about without the aid or help of any substance or matter previously created. (2) Subsequent creation which is brought about with the aid and help of the means and matter previously created. The former kind of creation falls under the category of Amr (lit. command) for which see 2:118, and the latter is known as Khalq (lit. creating). The human soul belongs to the first category.
The word Ruh also means, Divine revelation (Lane). The context seems to support this meaning. (close)
Various meanings have been assigned to the word روح (soul) by scholars of different schools of Muslim religious thought. According to some of the commentators it applies to all angels; according to others it means only the angel to whom is entrusted the task of the creation of the world; yet others think that it particularly applies to the Archangel Gabriel.
Some scholars, however, are of the view that الروح means the word of God, while some others take it as applying to the Quran. But the most appropriate meaning of this word is "the human soul."
The question regarding the nature of the human soul was first put to the Holy Prophet at Mecca by some of the Meccan idolaters, probably at the instance of the Jews of Medina, when the news reached the latter that he had claimed to be a Divine Prophet. In reply the Prophet recited to them the present verse. When, however, he came to Medina the question appears again to have been put to him by the Jews and he must naturally have recited to them the same verse, thus giving rise to the wrong notion held by some traditionalists that this verse was revealed in Medina or that, after having been first revealed at Mecca, it was again revealed at Medina. The fact is that it was only revealed once and that was at Mecca.
As stated above, the most appropriate meaning of the word الروح is the human soul. The soul has been described here as something created by the direct command of God. As a matter of fact according to the Quran all creation falls under two categories: (1) Original creation which is brought about without the aid or help of any substance or matter previously created. (2) Subsequent creation which is brought about with the aid and help of means and matter previously created. The former kind of creation falls under the category of امر (lit. command) for which see 2:118, and the latter is known as خلق (lit. creating). In this verse we are told that the human soul belongs to the first category.
In the period of their spiritual decadence the Jews seem to have come to dabble in spiritualism and occult practices like many modern Spiritualists, Theosophists and Hindu Yogis. They had come to believe in magic and so-called spiritual practices. These occult practices appeared to have exercised great influence on them. It appears that the Jews started taking interest in magic and occult practices in the time of the Prophet David. These practices became very popular with them in the time of Jesus. According to Philo and the well-known Jewish writer, Josephus, the Essenes in the time of Jesus greatly indulged in these practices and by a life of renunciation they had greatly developed this art. The Quran also refers to the Jewish counterparts of the modern spiritualists in 72:8-10. References to black and white magic may also be found in the books of the Old and New Testaments. Some of the Jews of Medina also seem to have resorted to these practices in the time of the Holy Prophet. This is why when the Meccan idolaters sought their help in confuting the Prophet they suggested that they (the Meccan idolaters) should enquire of him regarding the powers and attributes of the human soul. The Quran answers this inquiry in the verse under comment by saying that the perfect soul derives its powers from the command of God and anything else that is claimed to be acquired by so-called spiritual exercises and magical arts is all meaningless. It may be added that by الروح is particularly meant the perfect soul. That the knowledge acquired by so-called spiritual exercises and by their professed communication with the dead carries little weight has often been demonstrated by the fact that the information claimed to be furnished by departed souls to different mediums regarding the next world always varies.
The question of the powers and attributes of the human soul is of more than local importance, inasmuch as it had not only agitated the minds of the Medinite Jews of the Prophet’s time but has also agitated those of Hindu Yogis, Theosophists and Spiritualists in our own time. Taking الروح in its general sense the verse would mean that the human soul is as much the creation of God as the human body. (close)