وَ اضۡرِبۡ لَہُمۡ مَّثَلًا رَّجُلَیۡنِ جَعَلۡنَا لِاَحَدِہِمَا جَنَّتَیۡنِ مِنۡ اَعۡنَابٍ وَّ حَفَفۡنٰہُمَا بِنَخۡلٍ وَّ جَعَلۡنَا بَیۡنَہُمَا زَرۡعًا ﴿ؕ۳۳﴾
۞وَٱضۡرِبۡ لَهُم مَّثَلٗا رَّجُلَيۡنِ جَعَلۡنَا لِأَحَدِهِمَا جَنَّتَيۡنِ مِنۡ أَعۡنَٰبٖ وَحَفَفۡنَٰهُمَا بِنَخۡلٖ وَجَعَلۡنَا بَيۡنَهُمَا زَرۡعٗا
1689. With this verse begins, in the form of a parable, the conditions of the two peoples—Christians and Muslims, the "two men" representing these two peoples and "two gardens" the two periods of the rise of the Christian nations. The verse denotes that in their chequered history Christian nations would rise to great power twice. The first period preceded the advent of Islam while the second began with the dawn of the 17th century. A.D., when Christian nations of Europe began to make great progress and acquire unprecedented power and prestige which reached its zenith in the nineteenth century. (close)
With this verse begins, in the form of a parable, a description of the conditions respectively of Muslim and Christian nations in the Latter Days. The form and wording of the dialogue unmistakably shows that it is no real conversation between two living persons but is a portraiture, in metaphorical language, of the conditions of these two peoples at a certain time. The dialogue represents the decline and degradation of Muslims at their nadir and the power and prosperity of western Christian nations at their zenith in the Latter Days.
Now parables, like dreams, require to be interpreted, and the present and following several verses having been couched in allegorical language it is difficult to grasp and fully appreciate their full significance and beauty without putting on them a construction which their apparent form does not seem to bear. In the language of dreams a "garden" signifies wife, children, riches and life full of happiness; sometimes it also denotes cantonments and army headquarters. "Grapes" represent abundant provisions which can be stored up and last for a long time; "palm trees" signify exercise of authority over large number of men; "corn" in the case of a monarch denotes expansion of his dominions and in that of other people their "work". A "stream" denotes an eminent man and "fruits" mean fresh sources of honour (Ta‘tirul-Anam).
The parable describes the conditions of two men. One of them had two gardens which metaphorically interpreted means that God had bestowed upon him an abundance of wealth and offspring in two separate periods of his life. This interpretation is supported by v. 35 below where the same person says, I am richer than thou in wealth and stronger in respect of men.
The words, and We surrounded them with date-palms, signify that this man will protect his riches and offspring and dominions with military force.
The expression, and between the two We placed corn-fields, denotes that in between the two gardens there will be ordinary property which will not be so strongly protected. (close)
کِلۡتَا الۡجَنَّتَیۡنِ اٰتَتۡ اُکُلَہَا وَ لَمۡ تَظۡلِمۡ مِّنۡہُ شَیۡئًا ۙ وَّ فَجَّرۡنَا خِلٰلَہُمَا نَہَرًا ﴿ۙ۳۴﴾
كِلۡتَا ٱلۡجَنَّتَيۡنِ ءَاتَتۡ أُكُلَهَا وَلَمۡ تَظۡلِم مِّنۡهُ شَيۡـٔٗاۚ وَفَجَّرۡنَا خِلَٰلَهُمَا نَهَرٗا
1690. "The stream" represents the time of the Holy Prophet, through whom portions of the true teachings of Moses and Jesus were preserved. (close)
Singular number of the verbs اتت and تظلم shows that the two gardens were, in reality, two parts of one and the same garden.
The words, and failed not the least therein, indicate that these were not gardens in the literal sense of the word but gardens in a metaphorical sense because it is against the laws of nature that trees should continue to yield abundant fruits in many consecutive seasons. But the trees of the gardens mentioned in this verse yielded fruits uniformly in abundance. This shows that they were gardens in the metaphorical sense only. (close)
وَّ کَانَ لَہٗ ثَمَرٌ ۚ فَقَالَ لِصَاحِبِہٖ وَ ہُوَ یُحَاوِرُہٗۤ اَنَا اَکۡثَرُ مِنۡکَ مَالًا وَّ اَعَزُّ نَفَرًا ﴿۳۵﴾
وَكَانَ لَهُۥ ثَمَرٞ فَقَالَ لِصَٰحِبِهِۦ وَهُوَ يُحَاوِرُهُۥٓ أَنَا۠ أَكۡثَرُ مِنكَ مَالٗا وَأَعَزُّ نَفَرٗا
1690A. The powerful and prosperous Christian nations would look down upon and taunt the poor and powerless Muslims for their poverty and lack of material resources. (close)
2075. Important Words:
یحاورہ (arguing boastfully with him) is derived fromحار . They say حار الی الشیء i.e. he returned to a thing. حاورہ means, he returned him answer for answer; held dialogue or debate with him; he vied with him for superiority in glorying or boasting or the like (Lane & Aqrab).
Now as to the meaning of the parable as a whole. In the beginning of the Surah it was said that the Holy Prophet had already conveyed the Message of God to the Meccans, and that he was now going to convey it to Christians also. Again, reference was made to the history of early Christians who endured untold persecutions for their belief in the Unity of God and whose successors became idol-worshippers and were entirely engrossed in the pursuit of material wealth.
The Quranic parable bears very close resemblance to the parable of the vineyard in the Gospels (Mark 12:1-12; Matt. 21:33-46 & Luke 20:9-19). It speaks of two peoples—Muslims and Christians. The master of the garden in the Quranic parable represents Christian peoples, and the "grapevines" stand for increase in their wealth and offspring. The hedge of date-palms denotes their armed forces which in the days of their power and glory will safeguard their possessions.
The parable speaks of two gardens which denotes that Christian peoples in their chequered history were to rise to great power twice. The first period preceded the advent of Islam while the second began with the dawn of the 17th century A.D., when Christian nations of Europe began to make great progress and acquire unprecedented power and prestige which reached its zenith in the 19th century. During the interval between these two periods of the progress and prosperity of its followers Christianity resembled a field of corn which was exposed to the danger of being trampled upon and destroyed. In this interval God caused the great stream of Islam to flow and fertilize the entire world. A mighty man of truth—the Holy Prophet Muhammad—made his appearance. His advent constituted the greatest landmark in the religious life of mankind. He gave to the world new concepts, new ideals and new values and left behind him the Quran as humanity’s infallible and eternal guide.
As shown under Important Words, "fruits" signify fresh sources of honour. The expression, and he had fruit in abundance, therefore means that Christian nations would continue to make new scientific inventions and discoveries which would greatly add to their material wealth, power and prosperity. The words, I am richer than thou in wealth and stronger in respect of men, mean that Christian nations will advance their own material wealth and political power and the poverty and backwardness of Muslim peoples as an argument in favour of the truth of their religion. (close)
وَ دَخَلَ جَنَّتَہٗ وَ ہُوَ ظَالِمٌ لِّنَفۡسِہٖ ۚ قَالَ مَاۤ اَظُنُّ اَنۡ تَبِیۡدَ ہٰذِہٖۤ اَبَدًا ﴿ۙ۳۶﴾
وَدَخَلَ جَنَّتَهُۥ وَهُوَ ظَالِمٞ لِّنَفۡسِهِۦ قَالَ مَآ أَظُنُّ أَن تَبِيدَ هَٰذِهِۦٓ أَبَدٗا
1691. Being proud of their material progress Western Christian nations would give themselves up to a life of ease and luxury and in their conceit and arrogance misconceive that their power, progress and prosperity will last for ever, and being lulled into a false sense of security and complacency, they would be entirely lost in a life of sin and iniquity. (close)
The verse purports to say that Christian nations would be very proud of their material progress and would give themselves up to a life of ease and luxury and in their conceit and arrogance misconceive that their power, progress and prosperity would last forever. The words, while he was wronging his soul, mean that lulled into a false sense of security and complacency these people would be entirely lost in a life of sin and iniquity. The words "his garden" do not contradict vv. 33 and 31 above where mention is made of 'two gardens'. For an explanation of this seeming contradiction see v. 34 above. (close)
وَّ مَاۤ اَظُنُّ السَّاعَۃَ قَآئِمَۃً ۙ وَّ لَئِنۡ رُّدِدۡتُّ اِلٰی رَبِّیۡ لَاَجِدَنَّ خَیۡرًا مِّنۡہَا مُنۡقَلَبًا ﴿۳۷﴾
وَمَآ أَظُنُّ ٱلسَّاعَةَ قَآئِمَةٗ وَلَئِن رُّدِدتُّ إِلَىٰ رَبِّي لَأَجِدَنَّ خَيۡرٗا مِّنۡهَا مُنقَلَبٗا
This verse continues the theme of the preceding one and purports to say that there will be two schools of religious thought among Christian nations. One school will altogether deny life after death and Resurrection. The exponents of this school will regard present life as the be-all and end-all of man’s creation, and Resurrection and Paradise as only other names for national renaissance and prosperity. The other school will literally believe in Resurrection and the next life but they will also hold the belief that because Jesus had atoned for all their sins they will get salvation while non-Christians will be consigned to eternal perdition. (close)
قَالَ لَہٗ صَاحِبُہٗ وَ ہُوَ یُحَاوِرُہٗۤ اَکَفَرۡتَ بِالَّذِیۡ خَلَقَکَ مِنۡ تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ مِنۡ نُّطۡفَۃٍ ثُمَّ سَوّٰٮکَ رَجُلًا ﴿ؕ۳۸﴾
قَالَ لَهُۥ صَاحِبُهُۥ وَهُوَ يُحَاوِرُهُۥٓ أَكَفَرۡتَ بِٱلَّذِي خَلَقَكَ مِن تُرَابٖ ثُمَّ مِن نُّطۡفَةٖ ثُمَّ سَوَّىٰكَ رَجُلٗا
a. 22:6; 23:13; 35:12; 36:78; 40:68. (close)
a. 22:6; 23:13; 35:12; 36:78; 40:68. (close)
This verse constitutes the reply of the poor and depressed Muslim to his boastful Christian companion. He admonishes the latter not to deny God in his conceit. He seeks to rouse him from his state of self-complacency by drawing his attention to his very insignificant beginning and by implication to the transitoriness of the things of this world. (close)
لٰکِنَّا۠ ہُوَ اللّٰہُ رَبِّیۡ وَ لَاۤ اُشۡرِکُ بِرَبِّیۡۤ اَحَدًا ﴿۳۹﴾
لَّـٰكِنَّا۠ هُوَ ٱللَّهُ رَبِّي وَلَآ أُشۡرِكُ بِرَبِّيٓ أَحَدٗا
b. 13:37; 72:21. (close)
The verse administers an effective rebuke from the mouth of the poor, resourceless Muslim to the conceited, arrogant and rich Christian. The poor Muslim seems to say to his Christian companion that though he was poor and deprived of the good things of this life yet he was grateful to God whereas the other who had been given wealth, power and large following was ungrateful to God and had set up equals with Him. If at all anybody had any cause to be ungrateful to God it was he and not his rich companion who, on the contrary, had every reason to be grateful to Him. (close)
وَ لَوۡ لَاۤ اِذۡ دَخَلۡتَ جَنَّتَکَ قُلۡتَ مَا شَآءَ اللّٰہُ ۙ لَا قُوَّۃَ اِلَّا بِاللّٰہِ ۚ اِنۡ تَرَنِ اَنَا اَقَلَّ مِنۡکَ مَالًا وَّ وَلَدًا ﴿ۚ۴۰﴾
وَلَوۡلَآ إِذۡ دَخَلۡتَ جَنَّتَكَ قُلۡتَ مَا شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ لَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِٱللَّهِۚ إِن تَرَنِ أَنَا۠ أَقَلَّ مِنكَ مَالٗا وَوَلَدٗا
The verse bespeaks the sympathy the Muslim has with his Christian companion. The heart of a true Muslim is full of the milk of human kindness. (close)
فَعَسٰی رَبِّیۡۤ اَنۡ یُّؤۡتِیَنِ خَیۡرًا مِّنۡ جَنَّتِکَ وَ یُرۡسِلَ عَلَیۡہَا حُسۡبَانًا مِّنَ السَّمَآءِ فَتُصۡبِحَ صَعِیۡدًا زَلَقًا ﴿ۙ۴۱﴾
فَعَسَىٰ رَبِّيٓ أَن يُؤۡتِيَنِ خَيۡرٗا مِّن جَنَّتِكَ وَيُرۡسِلَ عَلَيۡهَا حُسۡبَانٗا مِّنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ فَتُصۡبِحَ صَعِيدٗا زَلَقًا
a. 68:33. (close)
1692. This verse and vv. 36 and 40 speak of one garden only because of the two gardens (v. 33) one had practically perished before Islam. The "garden" which proved to be the greatest source of pride for Christians is the one which flourished after Islam their present material great progress and power. (close)
1693. The words 'from heaven' show that no earthly power will be able effectively to combat and resist the military might of Western Christian nations. God Himself will create circumstances which will bring about their destruction. It is to this irresistible might of Gog and Magog who represent the material glory of Christianity that the Holy Prophet referred when he is reported to have said, 'None will have the power to fight them' (Muslim, ch. on "Dajjal"). (close)
a. 68:33 (close)
2081. Important Words:
حسبانا (thunderbolt) is derived from حسب. They say حسبه i.e. be counted, reckoned or computed it. حسبه (hassabahu) means, he placed a pillar for him; he buried him or buried him in stones. حسباناmeans, punishment; a calamity; an affliction with which a man is tried; locusts; dust or smoke; fire; small arrows; a thunderbolt (Lane & Aqrab).
زلقا (bare slippery) is derived from زلق i.e. he slipped. زلق راسه means, he shaved his head. مکان زلق means, a slippery place; a place where the foot does not remain firm. The Quranic expression فتصبح صعیدا زلقا means, so that it shall become smooth ground, with nothing in it or such that the feet shall not stand firmly upon it (Lane & Aqrab).
The word used here is جنة (garden) which is singular and so are the pronouns that follow it (as also in vv. 36 and 40). Thus the present verse and vv. 36 and 40 speak of one garden only because of the two gardens one had practically perished before Islam and was not worth much compared with the other. If Christians had boasted of their two gardens it would have been an empty boast. The garden which is the source of pride for Christians is the one which flourished after Islam—their present material progress and power. Hence the use of the word جنة in the singular.
The words "from heaven" show that no earthly power will be able effectively to combat and resist the military might of Christian nations. God Himself will create circumstances which will lead to their destruction. It is to this irresistible might of Gog and Magog who represent the material glory of Christianity that the Holy Prophet referred when he said, لا یدان لاحد لقتا لھم i.e. none will have the power to fight them (Muslim, Chap. on Dajjal).
The words صعیدا زلقا (bare slippery ground) which have been used here are analogous to the words صعیدا جرزا (barren soil) which have been used in v. 9 above about Christians who attribute a son to God. This shows that the present verse also speaks of Christians. (close)
اَوۡ یُصۡبِحَ مَآؤُہَا غَوۡرًا فَلَنۡ تَسۡتَطِیۡعَ لَہٗ طَلَبًا ﴿۴۲﴾
أَوۡ يُصۡبِحَ مَآؤُهَا غَوۡرٗا فَلَن تَسۡتَطِيعَ لَهُۥ طَلَبٗا
1694. The springs of their great talents and intellectual attainments on which their material progress mainly depends or which, in the words of the Qur’an, keep their garden fresh and green, will dry up, resulting in the complete desolation of their "garden." Their springs of spiritual freshness will also dry up. (close)
The words, Or its water will become sunk in the ground, mean that the springs of their great talents and intellectual attainments on which their material progress mainly depended or which, in the words of the Quran, kept their garden fresh and green, will become dried up, resulting in the complete desolation of their garden. (close)