یُسَبِّحُوۡنَ الَّیۡلَ وَ النَّہَارَ لَا یَفۡتُرُوۡنَ ﴿۲۱﴾
يُسَبِّحُونَ ٱلَّيۡلَ وَٱلنَّهَارَ لَا يَفۡتُرُونَ
1877. The verse gives some marks of the true servants of God. They are not tired of serving God and humanity. They do not accept a Divine Prophet under a momentary impulse and then under the stress of hardships and privations lose heart. Once they accept the truth, they stick to it through thick and thin. Their zeal and enthusiasm for the service of truth never flag or fail. Worship of God is a source of delight to them and a means of relief from worries and anxieties (13:29). 'The cheer of my eyes is in Prayer,' the Holy Prophet is reported to have said (Nasa’i). (close)
2361. Important Words:
یفترون (they flag) is derived from فتر. They say فتر الشیء i.e. the thing remitted or became still after vehemence or it became gentle after vehemence. فتر من عمله means, he flagged or became remiss in his work. فتر الحر means, the heat abated or flagged after being intense and vehement. فتر الوحی means, the revelation stopped or its coming discontinued (Lane & Aqrab). See also 5:20. (close)
اَمِ اتَّخَذُوۡۤا اٰلِہَۃً مِّنَ الۡاَرۡضِ ہُمۡ یُنۡشِرُوۡنَ ﴿۲۲﴾
أَمِ ٱتَّخَذُوٓاْ ءَالِهَةٗ مِّنَ ٱلۡأَرۡضِ هُمۡ يُنشِرُونَ
1878. Creating or raising the dead to life is the exclusive attribute and prerogative of God. Neither Jesus nor any other person can share this attribute with Him. The reference to this attribute is intended to smash the divinity of Jesus which, in particular, forms the subject-matter of these verses. (close)
Creating or raising the dead to life is the exclusive attribute and prerogative of God. Neither Jesus nor any other person can share in this Divine attribute. The reference to this attribute is intended to smash the divinity of Jesus which, in particular, forms the subject matter of these verses. (close)
لَوۡ کَانَ فِیۡہِمَاۤ اٰلِہَۃٌ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ لَفَسَدَتَا ۚ فَسُبۡحٰنَ اللّٰہِ رَبِّ الۡعَرۡشِ عَمَّا یَصِفُوۡنَ ﴿۲۳﴾
لَوۡ كَانَ فِيهِمَآ ءَالِهَةٌ إِلَّا ٱللَّهُ لَفَسَدَتَاۚ فَسُبۡحَٰنَ ٱللَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلۡعَرۡشِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ
1879. The verse constitutes an effective and conclusive argument against polytheism. Even atheists cannot deny that perfect order pervades and permeates the entire universe. This order points to the fact that one uniform law governs it; and the uniformity of laws proves the Unity of the Maker and Controller of the universe. If there had been more than one God, then more than one law would have governed the universe—because for a god it is necessary to create the universe with his own special laws—and thus disorder and confusion would have been the inevitable result and the whole universe would have gone to pieces. It is, therefore, manifestly absurd to say that three gods, equally perfect in all respects are jointly the creators and controllers of the universe. (close)
The verse constitutes a most effective and conclusive argument against polytheism. Even atheists cannot deny that perfect order pervades and permeates the whole universe. This order points to the fact that one uniform law governs it, and the unity of laws proves the Unity of the Maker and Controller of the universe. If there had been more than one God, then more than one law would have governed the universe because for a god it is necessary to create a universe with its own laws; and thus disorder and confusion would have been the inevitable result and the whole universe would have gone to pieces. Moreover, the very word اله (meaning a Being Who is the object of our utmost love, obedience and submission and Who possesses perfect powers and attributes) shows that such a Perfect Being can only be one at one time. It is manifestly absurd to say that three gods, equally perfect in all respects, are jointly the creators and controllers of the universe. The fact of the three gods doing, and should do, the same thing which One Perfect God can implies their imperfection and an imperfect being cannot be our اله (One Who is worthy of our adoration). (close)
لَا یُسۡـَٔلُ عَمَّا یَفۡعَلُ وَ ہُمۡ یُسۡـَٔلُوۡنَ ﴿۲۴﴾
لَا يُسۡـَٔلُ عَمَّا يَفۡعَلُ وَهُمۡ يُسۡـَٔلُونَ
1880. The verse points to the perfection and completeness of the order in the universe and, therefore, to the perfection of its Author and Controller and hence to His Unity. It also signifies that God’s authority is supreme while all other beings and things are subject to His authority. This constitutes another argument against polytheism. (close)
The verse means to say that as God’s works are perfect and absolutely free from defect or blemish, therefore He must be faultless and being the One and undisputed Master and Controller of the whole universe He is answerable before nobody. The verse points to the perfection and completeness of the order in the universe and therefore to the perfection of its Author and Controller and hence to His Unity. It continues the argument begun in the previous verse. It also signifies that God’s authority is supreme while all other beings and things are subject to His authority. This constitutes another argument against polytheism. (close)
اَمِ اتَّخَذُوۡا مِنۡ دُوۡنِہٖۤ اٰلِہَۃً ؕ قُلۡ ہَاتُوۡا بُرۡہَانَکُمۡ ۚ ہٰذَا ذِکۡرُ مَنۡ مَّعِیَ وَ ذِکۡرُ مَنۡ قَبۡلِیۡ ؕ بَلۡ اَکۡثَرُہُمۡ لَا یَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ۙ الۡحَقَّ فَہُمۡ مُّعۡرِضُوۡنَ ﴿۲۵﴾
أَمِ ٱتَّخَذُواْ مِن دُونِهِۦٓ ءَالِهَةٗۖ قُلۡ هَاتُواْ بُرۡهَٰنَكُمۡۖ هَٰذَا ذِكۡرُ مَن مَّعِيَ وَذِكۡرُ مَن قَبۡلِيۚ بَلۡ أَكۡثَرُهُمۡ لَا يَعۡلَمُونَ ٱلۡحَقَّۖ فَهُم مُّعۡرِضُونَ
a. 18:16; 23:118; 27:65. (close)
1880A. The Qur’an is a source of honour and dignity for previous Prophets also, because it clears them of the charges of which their people falsely accused them. (close)
The verse gives another argument about the Unity of God. The Holy Prophet here is enjoined to ask his people to go through the Quran and other revealed Scriptures and then tell him whether they find in them any deferential reference to polytheism or to permission to worship other gods besides the One True God. "This is the constant doctrine of all the sacred Books," says Sale in his "Introduction to the Quran," "not only the Quran, but also those Scriptures which were revealed in former ages, all of them bear witness to the great and fundamental truth of the Unity of God."
Taking ذکر in the sense of honour, eminence etc. (see 15:7), the verse would mean that the Quran is a source of honour for those with the Holy Prophet and for those before him i.e. it will raise its followers from depths of degradation to great heights of honour and eminence, and it has cleared Divine Prophets and other righteous servants of God of the charges and accusations that were imputed to them in former Scriptures. (close)
وَ مَاۤ اَرۡسَلۡنَا مِنۡ قَبۡلِکَ مِنۡ رَّسُوۡلٍ اِلَّا نُوۡحِیۡۤ اِلَیۡہِ اَنَّہٗ لَاۤ اِلٰہَ اِلَّاۤ اَنَا فَاعۡبُدُوۡنِ ﴿۲۶﴾
وَمَآ أَرۡسَلۡنَا مِن قَبۡلِكَ مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا نُوحِيٓ إِلَيۡهِ أَنَّهُۥ لَآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّآ أَنَا۠ فَٱعۡبُدُونِ
The verse gives a third argument in favour of the Unity of God. It purports to say that all the Divine Messengers and great religious reformers who appeared among different nations and countries at different times testified with one voice to the Oneness of God which was their common mission. In spite of the fact that with the passage of time the teachings of these Prophets became tampered with and were subjected to distortions and interpolations, the belief in the Unity of God continued to be the basic principle of all these teachings. These Prophets and Messengers appeared among all nations and peoples and the greatest of all, the Holy Prophet Muhammad, appeared at a time when the whole world was immersed in the Cimmerian darkness of moral turpitude, and idol worship was rife among every people and country in one form or another and was practised in its most heinous form in Arabia where the Holy Prophet preached his message of the Oneness of God. He carried on such an effective and relentless campaign against idolatry that it disappeared from Arabia never to return. Not only did he condemn and forbid idol-worship and enjoin and impress upon his people the worship of One True God but also gave unanswerable arguments in support of monotheism and against polytheism and he fully succeeded in engendering in the minds of his followers an invincible faith in Divine Unity and an equally implacable hatred for shirk—setting up equals with God. In four short sentences of one of its shortest Surah—Al-Ikhlas, the Quran has refuted and demolished in a most beautiful and effective manner four forms of polytheism. The first verse proclaims the absolute Unity of God. It says: "Say, He is Allah, the One." It means that out of ignorance and perversity man invents and indulges in most fantastic theories and ideas about God. But the central and pivotal fact about the Divine Being remains that He is absolutely One in every respect and manner. He is neither the beginning nor the end of anything and He is not like anything, nor any thing is like Him. To regard anything like Him is to impugn His absolute Unity.
In the words, "Allah, the Independent and Besought of all," the Quran has demolished the second kind of shirk i.e. to ascribe Divine powers and attributes to other beings and things. The verse says that God has need of nobody but all beings and things have need of Him. It is therefore foolish and futile to have recourse to beings and things which themselves are wholly dependent upon God. The third verse, viz. "He begets not, nor is He begotten" refutes and repudiates the third kind of polytheism i.e. the doctrine of God being the father or son of anybody. The verse means to say that God is eternal and everlasting. He has begotten no son who should take His place, nor is He begotten of anyone from whom He should have inherited His Divine powers and attributes. He was always Independent and Besought of all and will ever be so. So we should worship Him and call on Him alone for the fulfilment of our needs and requirements. The verse "And there is none like unto Him," exposes the folly and futility of the fourth kind of shirk. It signifies that it is beyond any created thing to be His partner in Divinity i.e. to be like Him in His person or attributes. God is far exalted and above that to which man can aspire. However high man may rise, he cannot even touch the fringes of the precincts of Divinity and will ever remain God’s servant.
This is the most sublime conception of absolute Unity of God as taught and inculcated by the Quran.
At another place (2:256) the Quran has shed further light on Divine Unity. It says: "There is no God but Allah, the Living, the Self-Subsisting and All-Sustaining. Slumber seizes Him not, nor sleep (i.e. no interruption ever takes place in His works). To Him belongs whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. Who is he that will intercede with Him except by His permission (i.e. God grants the prayers of His servants but no one should think that He can compel God to accept His prayer. It is after He has granted the permission to any of His servants that he can intercede with Him)? He knows what is before them and what is behind them (i.e. He knows the past and the future. His knowledge is complete and all-comprehensive because full control is not possible without complete knowledge and complete knowledge is the never-failing accompaniment of absolute Unity). And they encompass nothing of His knowledge except what He pleases (i.e. man can accomplish nothing except with the help of the knowledge that he receives from God). His knowledge extends over the heavens and the earth (i.e. not an atom moves in the heavens and the earth without His permission and every particle is subject to His control). And the care of them burdens Him not (i.e. the universe will continue to exist and function under the never-failing supervision and protection of God). And He is the High (i.e. every atom of the universe bears witness to His Almightiness and He is so exalted that human reason cannot attain to full comprehension of Him); and yet He is great (i.e. He is so manifest in His great works that every honest seeker after Him can attain to communion with Him)." This is the very high and noble conception of Divine Unity which the Holy Prophet gave to the world and for which he worked and suffered. He told the people of the world that Divine Unity consists in the fact that man should rise to such a high stage of spiritual exaltation as to become completely engrossed in One God and become at one with Him. It is when man reaches this high stage of moral and spiritual development that he can be said to have attained the great object of his creation. (close)
وَ قَالُوا اتَّخَذَ الرَّحۡمٰنُ وَلَدًا سُبۡحٰنَہٗ ؕ بَلۡ عِبَادٌ مُّکۡرَمُوۡنَ ﴿ۙ۲۷﴾
وَقَالُواْ ٱتَّخَذَ ٱلرَّحۡمَٰنُ وَلَدٗاۗ سُبۡحَٰنَهُۥۚ بَلۡ عِبَادٞ مُّكۡرَمُونَ
a. 2:117; 4:172; 10:69; 19:89, 90. (close)
a. 2:117; 4:172; 10:69; 19:89-90. (close)
The words "honoured servants" point to the fact that not only Jesus but many other righteous men have been spoken of as God’s sons in former Scriptures and like him they have been called God’s sons only in a metaphorical sense. But they were nothing more than His honoured servants. In this respect Jesus enjoys no special prerogative. He was only one of the numerous honoured servants of God. (close)
لَا یَسۡبِقُوۡنَہٗ بِالۡقَوۡلِ وَ ہُمۡ بِاَمۡرِہٖ یَعۡمَلُوۡنَ ﴿۲۸﴾
لَا يَسۡبِقُونَهُۥ بِٱلۡقَوۡلِ وَهُم بِأَمۡرِهِۦ يَعۡمَلُونَ
1881. The pronoun 'they' as the context shows refers to Prophets. Divine Messengers are incapable of disobeying God or committing a moral offence or sin. The verse establishes the sinlessness of the Prophets. (close)
The pronoun 'they' in this verse as the context shows refers to prophets. The verse means to say that the prophets of God do not say anything which they are not bidden by God to say. Hence it is inconceivable that anyone of them should have laid claim to the Godhead or Sonship. Not only do they not say anything unless they are bidden by God to say it, but they also do not do anything unless God commands them to do so. The verse establishes the fact that Divine Messengers are incapable of disobeying God or committing a moral offence or sin. Incidentally it establishes the sinlessness of the Prophets. (close)
یَعۡلَمُ مَا بَیۡنَ اَیۡدِیۡہِمۡ وَ مَا خَلۡفَہُمۡ وَ لَا یَشۡفَعُوۡنَ ۙ اِلَّا لِمَنِ ارۡتَضٰی وَ ہُمۡ مِّنۡ خَشۡیَتِہٖ مُشۡفِقُوۡنَ ﴿۲۹﴾
يَعۡلَمُ مَا بَيۡنَ أَيۡدِيهِمۡ وَمَا خَلۡفَهُمۡ وَلَا يَشۡفَعُونَ إِلَّا لِمَنِ ٱرۡتَضَىٰ وَهُم مِّنۡ خَشۡيَتِهِۦ مُشۡفِقُونَ
b. 2:256; 20:111. (close)
1882. The words may mean, 'what they did and what they did not or could not do;' or they may refer to the influences to which they were subject or the changes which they brought about. (close)
a. 2:256; 20:111. (close)
2369. Important Words:
مشفقون (they act cautiously) is the plural of مشفق which is active participle from شفق. They say شفق علیه i.e. he was solicitously affectionate towards him. أشفق منه means, he feared or was cautious of him. اشفاق which is inf. noun means, kindness or affection mixed with fear. Generally it signifies affection; kindness; and fear of the betiding of some evil event, together with sincere or honest advice (Lane & Mufradat).
The words, "what is before them and what is behind them," may mean; what they did and what they did not or could not do; or the influences to which they were subjected or the changes which they brought about.
The verse makes it plain that no one can intercede with God except with His permission. The Bible agrees with the Quran in this respect. It says:
If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the Lord, who shall entreat for him? (1 Sam 2:25).
Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee (Jer. 7:16).
See also 2:49 & 2:256. (close)
وَ مَنۡ یَّقُلۡ مِنۡہُمۡ اِنِّیۡۤ اِلٰہٌ مِّنۡ دُوۡنِہٖ فَذٰلِکَ نَجۡزِیۡہِ جَہَنَّمَ ؕ کَذٰلِکَ نَجۡزِی الظّٰلِمِیۡنَ ﴿٪۳۰﴾
۞وَمَن يَقُلۡ مِنۡهُمۡ إِنِّيٓ إِلَٰهٞ مِّن دُونِهِۦ فَذَٰلِكَ نَجۡزِيهِ جَهَنَّمَۚ كَذَٰلِكَ نَجۡزِي ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ
1883. It is significant that whereas claimants to Godhead will only be punished in the hereafter for their false claims, those pretenders and mountebanks who falsely lay claim to Prophethood are punished in this very world. They meet with death and destruction and all their organizations come to naught in this very life (69:45-48). This difference in the treatment of these two kinds of pretenders is due to the fact that the absurdity of a claim to Godhead is self-evident, therefore such a claimant need not be punished here. But a false claimant to Prophethood, if allowed to go scot-free, may succeed in deceiving innocent people into accepting his false claim; therefore he ultimately is made to suffer defeat, discomfiture and destruction in this very life and is not allowed to live long, and his mission is not allowed to prosper. (close)
It is significant that whereas claimants to the Godhead will only be punished in the hereafter for their false claims, those pretenders and mountebanks who falsely lay claim to prophethood are punished in this very world. They meet with death and destruction and their whole organizations come to nought in this very life (69:46-48). This difference in treatment of these two kinds of pretenders is due to the fact that the absurdity of a claim to the Godhead is self-evident because no sane person would ever accept a claimant to godhead as God and therefore such a claimant need not be punished here. But a false claimant to prophethood, if allowed to go scot-free, may succeed in deceiving many innocent people into accepting his false claim; therefore he ultimately meets with defeat, discomfiture and destruction in this very life and is not allowed to live long and his mission is not permitted to prosper. (close)