اِقۡتَرَبَ لِلنَّاسِ حِسَابُہُمۡ وَ ہُمۡ فِیۡ غَفۡلَۃٍ مُّعۡرِضُوۡنَ ۚ﴿۲﴾
ٱقۡتَرَبَ لِلنَّاسِ حِسَابُهُمۡ وَهُمۡ فِي غَفۡلَةٖ مُّعۡرِضُونَ
b. 54:2, 3. (close)
b. 54:2-3. (close)
As stated above (see Introduction to this Surah) according to western writers the Surah was revealed towards the 9th or 10th year of the Call. If this assumption be accepted as correct the verse under comment would mean that the time of migration of Muslims from Mecca has arrived as a result of which circumstances will come into being which will bring about the destruction of material might of the Meccans and their glory will depart. The verse may also be considered as pointing to the spread of Islam in Medina where the foundations had been laid for the future greatness and glory of Islam. It seems strange that the so-called learned western writers should have blundered into assigning to the revelation of this Surah a date which was very close to the time of the Hijrah and the spread of Islam in Medina and thus should have unwittingly provided evidence that the Quran is a Divine Book which contains prophecies according to which a small and weak community within the space of a few years came to occupy a predominant position in a vast country like Arabia, and Mecca which from time immemorial had refused to submit to any conqueror fell to Muslim arms.
The word اقترب signifies that the early signs of the impending Divine punishment have already begun to appear and yet disbelievers give no heed to this grim fact. It shows that they are completely heedless of the dreadful event that is about to overtake them. (close)
مَا یَاۡتِیۡہِمۡ مِّنۡ ذِکۡرٍ مِّنۡ رَّبِّہِمۡ مُّحۡدَثٍ اِلَّا اسۡتَمَعُوۡہُ وَ ہُمۡ یَلۡعَبُوۡنَ ۙ﴿۳﴾
مَا يَأۡتِيهِم مِّن ذِكۡرٖ مِّن رَّبِّهِم مُّحۡدَثٍ إِلَّا ٱسۡتَمَعُوهُ وَهُمۡ يَلۡعَبُونَ
c. 21:43; 26:6. (close)
1869. In form every Message which a Prophet brings is a new one, but in substance and essence it is the same old Message. 'I am not a new Messenger,' the Qur’an depicts the Holy Prophet as saying with regard to himself (46:10). (close)
In form every message which a Prophet brings is a new one but in substance and essence it is the same old message. "I am no new Messenger," the Quran depicts the Holy Prophet as saying with regard to himself (46:10). The verse under comment means to say that every new Divine Message in its own time was treated with mockery and derision by disbelievers. (close)
لَاہِیَۃً قُلُوۡبُہُمۡ ؕ وَ اَسَرُّوا النَّجۡوَی ٭ۖ الَّذِیۡنَ ظَلَمُوۡا ٭ۖ ہَلۡ ہٰذَاۤ اِلَّا بَشَرٌ مِّثۡلُکُمۡ ۚ اَفَتَاۡتُوۡنَ السِّحۡرَ وَ اَنۡتُمۡ تُبۡصِرُوۡنَ ﴿۴﴾
لَاهِيَةٗ قُلُوبُهُمۡۗ وَأَسَرُّواْ ٱلنَّجۡوَى ٱلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُواْ هَلۡ هَٰذَآ إِلَّا بَشَرٞ مِّثۡلُكُمۡۖ أَفَتَأۡتُونَ ٱلسِّحۡرَ وَأَنتُمۡ تُبۡصِرُونَ
1870. The main objection of disbelievers against every Prophet has always been that he is an ordinary mortal like themselves (14:11; 23:25, 34; 26:155; 36:16 & 64:7). This objection has been answered in 12:110; 14:12; 16:44, 45 & 17:96. Here it is answered in v. 8. The answer is this that while on the one hand the disbelievers say that there is nothing in the Holy Prophet different from an ordinary man, on the other they concede that he is a sorcerer, i.e. he possesses superior intellect. Divine Prophets are called sorcerers because their teachings produce a magical effect on the listeners. The verse implies an admission on the part of disbelievers that the Qur’an does possess a fascinating power and that it is really difficult for an unprejudiced and fair- minded person to reject its teaching. (close)
2345. Important Words:
لاھیة (forgetful) is derived from لھا. They say لھا عنه i.e. he became diverted from it so as to forget it (Lane). See also 6:33.
أفتأتون (Will you then accede to) is derived from أتی. They say أتیته i.e. I came to him or it. أتی الشیء means, he did the thing; أتی البینة means, he advanced the proof. أتی بالذنب means, he committed the offence. آتیته علی الامر means, I agreed with him or in regard to the affair. أفتأتون السحر means, do you approach or come to, or accede to or yield to magic (Lane & Mufradat).
The main objection of disbelievers against every Prophet has always been that he is an ordinary man like themselves. This objection has also been mentioned in 14:11; 23:25, 34; 26:155; 36:16 & 64:7. It has been answered in 12:110; 14:12; 16:44-45 & 17:96. Here this objection is answered in v. 8 below.
It is strange that while on the one hand the disbelievers say that there is nothing in the Holy Prophet above an ordinary man, on the other they concede that he is a magician i.e. he possesses superior intellect. Divine Prophets are called magicians because their teachings produce a magical effect on the listeners. The verse implies an admission on the part of disbelievers that the Quran does possess a fascinating power and it is difficult for an unprejudiced and fair-minded person to reject its teaching. (close)
قٰلَ رَبِّیۡ یَعۡلَمُ الۡقَوۡلَ فِی السَّمَآءِ وَ الۡاَرۡضِ ۫ وَ ہُوَ السَّمِیۡعُ الۡعَلِیۡمُ ﴿۵﴾
قَالَ رَبِّي يَعۡلَمُ ٱلۡقَوۡلَ فِي ٱلسَّمَآءِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِۖ وَهُوَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ ٱلۡعَلِيمُ
1871. God knows all the secret and open plots and machinations of disbelievers against Islam and He hears the prayers of the Holy Prophet and His chosen servants and will frustrate all the evil designs of disbelievers. (close)
The subject of the verb قال may both be God and the Holy Prophet.
The particle فی means, in; about; regarding. The word السماء may signify heavenly sciences or things connected with the spiritual realm, and the word الارض may stand for material or worldly sciences.
The verse means to say that the disbelievers reject the Message of the Quran on the plea that they see nothing in the Holy Prophet beyond an ordinary human being but they ignore the patent fact that the All-Hearing and All-Knowing God is at his back. God knows full well all their secret and open plots and machinations against Islam and He hears the prayers of the Holy Prophet and His chosen servants and will frustrate all the evil designs of disbelievers. (close)
بَلۡ قَالُوۡۤا اَضۡغَاثُ اَحۡلَامٍۭ بَلِ افۡتَرٰٮہُ بَلۡ ہُوَ شَاعِرٌ ۚۖ فَلۡیَاۡتِنَا بِاٰیَۃٍ کَمَاۤ اُرۡسِلَ الۡاَوَّلُوۡنَ ﴿۶﴾
بَلۡ قَالُوٓاْ أَضۡغَٰثُ أَحۡلَٰمِۭ بَلِ ٱفۡتَرَىٰهُ بَلۡ هُوَ شَاعِرٞ فَلۡيَأۡتِنَا بِـَٔايَةٖ كَمَآ أُرۡسِلَ ٱلۡأَوَّلُونَ
a. 52:31. (close)
1872. In this verse three different objections of disbelievers with regard to the Qur’an have been mentioned. The first is that the Qur’an is a mixture of confused dreams. But realizing the untenability of their position, since there exists a beautiful arrangement and order in it and since it forms a connected whole and contains excellent teachings, the disbelievers shift their ground and say that the Holy Prophet has forged it himself. But again realizing that throughout his life he was, by common consent, known and looked upon as 'the Trusty' and 'the Truthful,' they give up this objection also and proceed to accuse him of being a poet and a sorcerer. These objections have been mentioned in an ascending order and the continuous shifting of the ground by disbelievers implies an admission on their part that the objections cannot stand examination or scrutiny and are foolish and self-contradictory. The Qur’an, therefore, has refused to entertain them here. (close)
a. 52:31. (close)
2347. Important Words:
آیة may here mean a Sign of punishment; or a Sign of the disbelievers’ own choice. See also 19:11.
اضغاث احلام (confused dreams). See 12:45.
In this verse three different objections of disbelievers with regard to the Quran have been mentioned. The first is that the Quran is a mixture of confused dreams. But realizing the untenability of their position, as there exists a beautiful arrangement and order in it and that it forms a connected whole and contains excellent teachings, the disbelievers shift their ground and say that the Holy Prophet has forged it himself. But again realizing that throughout his life the Prophet was by common consent known and looked upon as "the trusty" and "the truthful," they give up this objection also and proceed to accuse him of being a poet and a magician. These objections have been mentioned in an ascending order and the continuous shifting of the ground by disbelievers implies an admission on their part that their objections can stand no examination or scrutiny. The Quran has therefore refused to entertain them here because they carry their own refutation and are self-contradictory and foolish. Further on, however, it has answered these objections in another context.
The demand, let him then bring us a Sign just as the former Prophets were sent with Signs, is clearly foolish and insolent. There has never appeared a Prophet in the world who was not confronted with a similar demand. Jesus was so infuriated with the Scribes and the Pharisees when they said: "Master, we should see a sign from thee" (Matt. 12:38), that he exclaimed in extreme anger: "An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the Prophet Jonas" (Matt. 12:39). The refusal on the part of the Quran to entertain the disbelievers’ demand in the manner they expected it, does not imply that no sign had been or was to be shown to them. It only means to demonstrate that the demand is foolish and insolent and that heavenly Signs differ from age to age and therefore the signs that would be shown by the Holy Prophet would be different from those that were shown by Moses or Jesus and for that matter by any other Prophet.
The word شاعر (poet) while meaning one who composes verses also signifies a person who plays with the sentiments and susceptibilities of men. Here the word has been used preferably in the latter sense. (close)
مَاۤ اٰمَنَتۡ قَبۡلَہُمۡ مِّنۡ قَرۡیَۃٍ اَہۡلَکۡنٰہَا ۚ اَفَہُمۡ یُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ ﴿۷﴾
مَآ ءَامَنَتۡ قَبۡلَهُم مِّن قَرۡيَةٍ أَهۡلَكۡنَٰهَآۖ أَفَهُمۡ يُؤۡمِنُونَ
The verse means to say that if disbelievers demand a "Sign of punishment," then that too is a foolish demand because when punishment overtook them and they were destroyed, how would they believe?
The verse does not mean that the Quraish of Mecca would not believe in the Holy Prophet after Divine punishment overtook them because it is a known fact of history that they did believe in him after Mecca, the centre and source of their glory and prosperity fell. What the verse signifies is that while the peoples of the former Prophets, with the solitary exception of Prophet Jonah’s people, did not believe in them after they were actually visited with punishment, the Holy Prophet’s people would have the opportunity and good luck to believe in him even after having been overtaken by Divine punishment in the Fall of Mecca, the destruction of their idols and the departure of their glory and prestige. Ordinarily, after having suffered a crushing defeat and being wholly at the mercy of the Holy Prophet, they should have received condign punishment which they amply deserved but they were forgiven with a magnanimity unparalleled in the annals of human history, and then they believed in the Prophet. (close)
وَ مَاۤ اَرۡسَلۡنَا قَبۡلَکَ اِلَّا رِجَالًا نُّوۡحِیۡۤ اِلَیۡہِمۡ فَسۡـَٔلُوۡۤا اَہۡلَ الذِّکۡرِ اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ لَا تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۸﴾
وَمَآ أَرۡسَلۡنَا قَبۡلَكَ إِلَّا رِجَالٗا نُّوحِيٓ إِلَيۡهِمۡۖ فَسۡـَٔلُوٓاْ أَهۡلَ ٱلذِّكۡرِ إِن كُنتُمۡ لَا تَعۡلَمُونَ
b. 12:110; 16:44. (close)
a. 12:110; 16:44. (close)
اھل الذکر may signify: (a) the former Prophets; (b) their followers; and (c) the Muslims, i.e. the followers of the Quran because it has also been called الذکر (15:10; 16:45; 21:51 & 36:70).
This and the following verse contain the answer to the objection embodied in the words, Is this man aught but a human being like yourselves (v. 4 above). The verse purports to say that the former Prophets were also ordinary mortals like the Holy Prophet and yet they (the Meccans) believe in them. It further implies that in spite of being ordinary men they succeeded in their mission and their enemies were destroyed. The opponents of the Holy Prophet should not therefore delude themselves into the false satisfaction that as he is an ordinary human being his rejection will do them no harm. For a fuller explanation of the present verse see 16:44. (close)
وَ مَا جَعَلۡنٰہُمۡ جَسَدًا لَّا یَاۡکُلُوۡنَ الطَّعَامَ وَ مَا کَانُوۡا خٰلِدِیۡنَ ﴿۹﴾
وَمَا جَعَلۡنَٰهُمۡ جَسَدٗا لَّا يَأۡكُلُونَ ٱلطَّعَامَ وَمَا كَانُواْ خَٰلِدِينَ
a. 25:21. (close)
1873. Though disbelievers regarded all the Divine Messengers as ordinary mortals, yet the objection was invariably repeated to every one of them that like ordinary mortals 'he eats and drinks and walks about in the streets and is subject to all human needs and demands of the body' (25:8), and on the basis of this very plea they rejected him. An implied reference is made here to this inconsistent attitude of disbelievers. They do not want to understand this simple fact, the verse purports to say, that Prophets are raised as 'models' for men, and, how could they serve as models if they were not men like them and were not like them subject to the demands of the physical body? As human beings they were not and could not be immune from the demands of the flesh or from decay or death. (close)
a. 25:21. (close)
Though disbelievers of all the Prophets believed them to be ordinary mortals, yet curiously enough the objection was invariably repeated to every Prophet that like ordinary mortals "he eats and drinks and walks about the streets and is subject to all human needs and demands of the body" (25:8). An implied reference is made in the present verse to this inconsistent attitude of disbelievers. It purports to say that disbelievers in the time of the Holy Prophet cannot, or do not wish to, understand this simple fact that Prophets are raised as 'models' for men, and how could they be models for them if they were not men like them and were not like them subject to the demands of the body but belonged to any other species of creation? As human beings they were not and could not be immune from the demands of the flesh or from decay or death. (close)
ثُمَّ صَدَقۡنٰہُمُ الۡوَعۡدَ فَاَنۡجَیۡنٰہُمۡ وَ مَنۡ نَّشَآءُ وَ اَہۡلَکۡنَا الۡمُسۡرِفِیۡنَ ﴿۱۰﴾
ثُمَّ صَدَقۡنَٰهُمُ ٱلۡوَعۡدَ فَأَنجَيۡنَٰهُمۡ وَمَن نَّشَآءُ وَأَهۡلَكۡنَا ٱلۡمُسۡرِفِينَ
The verse embodies an effective answer to all the objections that were raised in v. 6 above, viz., (a) "these are but confused dreams," (b) "nay, he has forged it;" (c) nay, "he is a poet." The answer consists in the fact that every Prophet receives from God certain promises and prophecies about the ultimate success of his mission and the defeat and discomfiture of his enemies, and that these prophecies are literally fulfilled. The truth of this fact has been demonstrated throughout the ages in the time of every Prophet of God. The verse purports to say that if what the Holy Prophet claims to have received from God are mere confused dreams and not Divine revelations and if he is an impostor and a liar then how could the great prophecies about the triumph of his cause and the failure of his opponents made at a time when there appeared no likelihood of their being fulfilled, come to be true? Moreover, as a poet the Prophet could only compose elegant verse or could play with the emotions of men as poets generally do, but he could not bring about a wonderful change in the lives of his followers as he did and could not see into the future and make prophecies which in the teeth of the opposition of his powerful enemies and in spite of his own utter helplessness were fulfilled to the very letter. The answer seems to be as emphatic and effective as the objections are foolish and flimsy. (close)
لَقَدۡ اَنۡزَلۡنَاۤ اِلَیۡکُمۡ کِتٰبًا فِیۡہِ ذِکۡرُکُمۡ ؕ اَفَلَا تَعۡقِلُوۡنَ ﴿٪۱۱﴾
لَقَدۡ أَنزَلۡنَآ إِلَيۡكُمۡ كِتَٰبٗا فِيهِ ذِكۡرُكُمۡۚ أَفَلَا تَعۡقِلُونَ
1874. The verse means to say that not only will the deniers of the Qur’an come to grief and its followers achieve progress and prosperity and rise from the lowest rung of the ladder to the highest pinnacle of material and spiritual glory, but this fact will also constitute an infallible proof that the Qur’an is neither forgery, nor poetry, nor a collection of confused dreams but the true Word of the Almighty God, the Creator of heavens and earth. (close)
2352. Important Words:
ذکرکم (your eminence).ذکر means, remembrance, praise or eulogy; eminence or honour; renown, fame or reputation. See also 2:41; 6:69 & 15:7.
The argument begun in the previous verse is continued in the present one. The verse means to say that not only will the deniers of this message come to grief and its followers achieve progress and prosperity and will rise from the lowest rung of the ladder to the highest pinnacle of material and spiritual glory, but this fact will also constitute an infallible proof that the Quran is neither forgery nor poetry nor a collection of confused dreams but the true Word of God Almighty, the Creator of heavens and earth.
The verse incidentally implies the refutation of the Christian doctrine that the Law is a curse, by forcefully asserting that through the Quran which is the final Book of Divine Law, its followers will achieve honour, glory and power. (close)