اَمۡ تَحۡسَبُ اَنَّ اَکۡثَرَہُمۡ یَسۡمَعُوۡنَ اَوۡ یَعۡقِلُوۡنَ ؕ اِنۡ ہُمۡ اِلَّا کَالۡاَنۡعَامِ بَلۡ ہُمۡ اَضَلُّ سَبِیۡلًا ﴿٪۴۵﴾
أَمۡ تَحۡسَبُ أَنَّ أَكۡثَرَهُمۡ يَسۡمَعُونَ أَوۡ يَعۡقِلُونَۚ إِنۡ هُمۡ إِلَّا كَٱلۡأَنۡعَٰمِ بَلۡ هُمۡ أَضَلُّ سَبِيلًا
a. 7:180. (close)
2080. It is his own desires, fancies and preconceived ideas, more than anything else, that man generally adores and it is these that stand in the way of his accepting the truth. Intellectually man may have advanced far enough so as not to bow before stones and stars, but he has not outgrown the worship of his false ideals, prejudices and preconceived ideas. It is these idols that lie enthroned in his heart whose worship is condemned here. When instead of making use of his God-given faculties of intellect and hearing, which should help man to recognise and realize truth, he chooses to grope in darkness, he comes down to the level of cattle, even lower than that, because cattle are not given the gift of discretion and discrimination while man is. (close)
b. 7:180. (close)
The verse purports to say that when in spite of his being endowed with the faculties of intellect and hearing which should help him to recognize and realize truth, man refuses to make proper use of these God-given faculties to see light, and instead chooses to grope in darkness, he comes down to the level of cattle, even lower than that, because cattle are not given the gift of discretion and discrimination while man is.
The verse also implies an allusion to the great reformation brought about by the Holy Prophet in the lives of his people. They were no better than animals and beasts. They worshipped images and held foolish and superstitious ideas. They gambled and drank and indulged in extreme sexual excesses and depleted and destroyed their manhood by fighting for generations about trivialities. They had no idea of moral virtues or at best had a very low concept of them and did not know economics or statecraft. Such were the people among whom the Holy Prophet Muhammad was raised and history bears witness to the fact that he wrought a wonderful reformation among them. From the dregs of humanity they rose to be its cream. (close)
اَلَمۡ تَرَ اِلٰی رَبِّکَ کَیۡفَ مَدَّ الظِّلَّ ۚ وَ لَوۡ شَآءَ لَجَعَلَہٗ سَاکِنًا ۚ ثُمَّ جَعَلۡنَا الشَّمۡسَ عَلَیۡہِ دَلِیۡلًا ﴿ۙ۴۶﴾
أَلَمۡ تَرَ إِلَىٰ رَبِّكَ كَيۡفَ مَدَّ ٱلظِّلَّ وَلَوۡ شَآءَ لَجَعَلَهُۥ سَاكِنٗا ثُمَّ جَعَلۡنَا ٱلشَّمۡسَ عَلَيۡهِ دَلِيلٗا
b. 16:49. (close)
2081. The verse alludes in figurative language to the rise, progress and power of Islam and illustrates this tact by drawing attention to a phenomenon of nature. When the sun is behind an object, its shadow lengthens. Similarly, when God is at the back of a people, their power and influence increase. The verse implies that God is at the back of Islam and therefore its shadow would continue to expand and extend till it would reach the ends of the earth, and nations of the world will seek and find solace and comfort under it. "The sun" in the verse symbolises Islam or the Holy Prophet. (close)
2082. The position of the sun determines the size of the shade. (close)
a. 16:49. (close)
2678. Important Words:
دلیلا (guide) is derived from دل. They say دل علیه i.e. he directed him or rightly directed him or guided him to it. دلیلtherefore, means, a director or a right director to that which is sought or desired; a guide; a thing by which one is rightly directed or guided i.e. an evidence, argument or a proof; a sign set up for the knowledge of a thing indicated (Lane & Aqrab).
While the preceding few verses referred to the prophetic mission of the Holy Prophet, the verse under comment speaks in figurative language of the rise, progress and power of Islam and illustrates this fact by drawing attention to a phenomenon of nature. When the sun is behind an object, its shadow lengthens. Similarly, when God is at the back of a people, their power and influence increases. The present Surah was revealed at Mecca when Islam being yet in infancy, its very fate seemed to hang in the balance on account of the relentless persecution to which the weak and defenceless Muslims were subjected. In metaphorical language the verse seems to warn disbelievers that the weak state of Islam should not deceive them into thinking that they would succeed in exterminating it. God is at its back and therefore its shadow would continue to expand and extend till it would reach the ends of the earth and nations of the world will seek and find solace and comfort under it. "The sun" in the verse symbolises Islam or the Holy Prophet. For a fuller explanation of this verse see 16:49. (close)
ثُمَّ قَبَضۡنٰہُ اِلَیۡنَا قَبۡضًا یَّسِیۡرًا ﴿۴۷﴾
ثُمَّ قَبَضۡنَٰهُ إِلَيۡنَا قَبۡضٗا يَسِيرٗا
2082A. The verse refers to the decline of Islam after it had reached its zenith. While 'shade' in the preceding verse symbolised power and influence, its 'drawing in' in the present verse signifies decline and decay. (close)
The verse refers to the decline of Islam after it would have reached its zenith. While "shade" in the preceding verse symbolized power and influence, its "drawing in" in the present verse signifies decline and decay. (close)
وَ ہُوَ الَّذِیۡ جَعَلَ لَکُمُ الَّیۡلَ لِبَاسًا وَّ النَّوۡمَ سُبَاتًا وَّ جَعَلَ النَّہَارَ نُشُوۡرًا ﴿۴۸﴾
وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمُ ٱلَّيۡلَ لِبَاسٗا وَٱلنَّوۡمَ سُبَاتٗا وَجَعَلَ ٱلنَّهَارَ نُشُورٗا
a. 6:97; 78:11. (close)
2083. 'Night' in the verse represents the period of spiritual darkness before the advent of a Divine Reformer; and 'day' symbolises spiritual dawn when a Divine Reformer has already made his appearance. (close)
b. 6:97; 78:11. (close)
2680. Important Words:
سباتاً (rest) is derived from سبت which means, he rested; and was or became quiet, still or motionless. سبت (sabata) means, he was or became affected with the kind of sleep termed سبات, or he swooned. سبات primarily signifies rest and hence sleep or heavy sleep or sleep that is hardly perceptible, like a swoon; or the commencement of sleep in the head until it reaches the heart or the sleep of one who is sick, i.e. light sleep (Lane & Aqrab).
'Night' in the verse represents the night of spiritual darkness, i.e. the period of spiritual darkness before the advent of a Prophet or a Divine Reformer; and 'day' symbolizes spiritual dawn when a Divine Reformer has already made his appearance. The verse purports to say that the night of spiritual darkness that had enveloped the world, particularly Arabia, before the advent of the Holy Prophet is about to end and the sun of spiritual light has already arisen to illumine the whole world. (close)
The words, "has made the day a means of rise and progress," may refer to the advent of a Divine Reformer when through him his followers rise from the sleep of spiritual sluggishness and make great progress. (close)
وَ ہُوَ الَّذِیۡۤ اَرۡسَلَ الرِّیٰحَ بُشۡرًۢا بَیۡنَ یَدَیۡ رَحۡمَتِہٖ ۚ وَ اَنۡزَلۡنَا مِنَ السَّمَآءِ مَآءً طَہُوۡرًا ﴿ۙ۴۹﴾
وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِيٓ أَرۡسَلَ ٱلرِّيَٰحَ بُشۡرَۢا بَيۡنَ يَدَيۡ رَحۡمَتِهِۦۚ وَأَنزَلۡنَا مِنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ مَآءٗ طَهُورٗا
b. 7:58; 15:23. (close)
a. 7:59; 15:23; 24:44. (close)
The verse continuing the theme of its predecessor speaks of the appearance of the Holy Prophet and likens his advent to the coming of rain. Just as in the physical world breezes herald the approach of rain, and twilight that of dawn, similarly in the spiritual world certain signs of spiritual awakening take place before the appearance of a Divine Reformer, and there is a certain revolt in the air against the existing corrupt state of affairs. Before the Holy Prophet was commissioned as a Divine Messenger, there had appeared a class of men who had declared their faith in the Unity of God and had discarded the worship of idols and had preached against it. They were known as hanif, i.e. those inclined to God. They acted as harbingers who gave the glad tidings that a great Messenger of God was about to appear.
"Rain" in the verse is spoken of as God’s mercy and elsewhere in the Quran the Holy Prophet has also been referred to as رحمة للعالمین i.e. mercy for all the worlds (21:108). (close)
لِّنُحۡیِۦَ بِہٖ بَلۡدَۃً مَّیۡتًا وَّ نُسۡقِیَہٗ مِمَّا خَلَقۡنَاۤ اَنۡعَامًا وَّ اَنَاسِیَّ کَثِیۡرًا ﴿۵۰﴾
لِّنُحۡـِۧيَ بِهِۦ بَلۡدَةٗ مَّيۡتٗا وَنُسۡقِيَهُۥ مِمَّا خَلَقۡنَآ أَنۡعَٰمٗا وَأَنَاسِيَّ كَثِيرٗا
Arabia before the Holy Prophet’s appearance was a spiritually dead land. Heavenly rain in the form of the Quranic revelation descended upon it and the whole country began to pulsate and vibrate with a new life and in turn imparted a new life to the world around it.
The words, "cattle and men" refer to two classes of men. Those who had become morally so depraved as apparently to be beyond redemption have been described as "cattle" and those who were spiritually somewhat better have been described as "men" in this verse. The former have already been referred to in v. 45 above. Both these classes of people drank deep at the fountain which the Holy Prophet caused to flow and by drinking of the Quranic elixir they got a new and everlasting life. (close)
وَ لَقَدۡ صَرَّفۡنٰہُ بَیۡنَہُمۡ لِیَذَّکَّرُوۡا ۫ۖ فَاَبٰۤی اَکۡثَرُ النَّاسِ اِلَّا کُفُوۡرًا ﴿۵۱﴾
وَلَقَدۡ صَرَّفۡنَٰهُ بَيۡنَهُمۡ لِيَذَّكَّرُواْ فَأَبَىٰٓ أَكۡثَرُ ٱلنَّاسِ إِلَّا كُفُورٗا
وَ لَوۡ شِئۡنَا لَبَعَثۡنَا فِیۡ کُلِّ قَرۡیَۃٍ نَّذِیۡرًا ﴿۫ۖ۵۲﴾
وَلَوۡ شِئۡنَا لَبَعَثۡنَا فِي كُلِّ قَرۡيَةٖ نَّذِيرٗا
The Holy Prophet’s Message was for the whole world. The verse purports to say that God could have raised a Messenger in every town but the Holy Prophet’s time was not the time for raising tribal Prophets, because by the improvement in the means of communication nations of the world had become united into one people. The oneness of humanity required one Prophet for the whole of mankind and such was Muhammad, the Holy Prophet of Islam. (close)
فَلَا تُطِعِ الۡکٰفِرِیۡنَ وَ جَاہِدۡہُمۡ بِہٖ جِہَادًا کَبِیۡرًا ﴿۵۳﴾
فَلَا تُطِعِ ٱلۡكَٰفِرِينَ وَجَٰهِدۡهُم بِهِۦ جِهَادٗا كَبِيرٗا
2084. The great and real Jihad, according to this verse, is to preach the Message of the Qur’an. Thus to strive for the propagation of Islam and the dissemination and diffusion of its teachings is the Jihad which the Muslims are enjoined always to carry on with unabated zeal. It is this Jihad to which the Holy Prophet referred when, on returning from an expedition, he is reported to have said: "We have returned from the smaller Jihad to the greater Jihad" (Raddul-Mukhtar). See also 1957 and 1958. (close)
This verse throws a flood of light on the Islamic conception of jihad which unfortunately has been much misunderstood, alike by the adversaries and the so-called followers of Islam. The great and real jihad, according to this verse, is to preach the Message of the Quran. Thus to strive for the propagation of Islam and the dissemination and diffusion of its teachings is the jihad which the Muslims are enjoined always to carry on with unabated zeal. The jihad with the sword which the Holy Prophet and early Muslims had to wage under their own peculiar circumstances was a passing phase. Those who sought to destroy Islam by the sword themselves perished by the sword. Unless a people wage war against Muslims in order to exterminate Islam, no fight in which Muslims are engaged is called jihad, but to fight in defence of one’s hearth and home is also a very sacred duty and those who are killed in such a fight also die the death of martyrs, according to a saying of the Holy Prophet, viz. من قتل دون ماله و عرضه فھو شھید i.e. he who is killed while defending his property and honour is a martyr (Bukhari Kitabu1-Mazalim wal-Ghasb).
It is worthy of note that this Surah was revealed at Mecca when only a few persons of no high social standing had accepted Islam and even those few individuals were being severely persecuted and the fate of the new Faith itself was hanging in the balance. It was then out of the question even remotely to refer to jihad with the sword. In fact, jihad with the sword was only a side issue of the Prophet’s activities. The Holy Prophet’s real jihad consisted in unceasing fight against the forces of darkness and he waged this jihad with unabated zeal and undiminished vigour as long as he lived and this jihad will continue to be relentlessly waged by his true followers till the end of time, not with the sword but with the Quran. It is to this jihad that the verse under comment refers and it is this jihad to which the Holy Prophet referred when on returning from an expedition he is reported to have said رجعنا من الجھاد الاصغر الی الجھاد الاکبر i.e. we have returned from the smaller jihad to the greater jihad (Raddul-Muhtar). See also 22:40. (close)
وَ ہُوَ الَّذِیۡ مَرَجَ الۡبَحۡرَیۡنِ ہٰذَا عَذۡبٌ فُرَاتٌ وَّ ہٰذَا مِلۡحٌ اُجَاجٌ ۚ وَ جَعَلَ بَیۡنَہُمَا بَرۡزَخًا وَّ حِجۡرًا مَّحۡجُوۡرًا ﴿۵۴﴾
۞وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِي مَرَجَ ٱلۡبَحۡرَيۡنِ هَٰذَا عَذۡبٞ فُرَاتٞ وَهَٰذَا مِلۡحٌ أُجَاجٞ وَجَعَلَ بَيۡنَهُمَا بَرۡزَخٗا وَحِجۡرٗا مَّحۡجُورٗا
a. 35:13; 55:20, 21. (close)
2085. Taking 'two waters' in the verse to represent the true religion and the false, the verse signifies that both Islam, the true religion, and other corrupted Faiths will continue to exist side by side, the former yielding sweet fruit and slaking the thirst of the spiritual wayfarers and the latter barren and bitter, incapable of producing any good result. The 'two waters' may also signify the water of the sea and that of the river. The former is saltish and bitter to taste while the latter is drinkable and sweet. When the sweet water of the river flows into the sea and becomes mixed with its saltish water, it also becomes bitter. As long as these two waters keep themselves separate, they have different tastes. Similarly, when the teaching of a true religion becomes mixed up with the teachings of false religions, it loses its sweetness and usefulness. But God has so ordained that in spite of its close proximity to false religions, Islam will never lose its sweet taste as God has taken upon Himself to protect and guard it (15:10). There lies an unbridgeable barrier between the two which keeps them apart. (close)
a. 35:13; 55:20, 21. (close)
2685. Important Words:
مرج (caused to flow) means, he mixed two things together. مرج الشیء بالشیء means, he mixed one thing with another. مرج الدابةmeans, he sent a beast to pasture wherever it would. They say مرج لسانه فی اعراض الناس i.e. he let go his tongue in abusing people and backbiting them. مرج البحرین means, He (God) has mixed the two seas; He has let them flow freely (Lane & Aqrab).
فرات (sweet) is derived from فرت (faruta). They say فرت الماء i.e. the water was or became sweet or very sweet. فرات applied to water means sweet, very sweet or of the sweetest kind that which subdues thirst by its excessive sweetness (Lane & Aqrab).
أجاج (bitter) is derived from أج . They say أجت النار i.e. the fire burned or burned brightly or fiercely. أج الماء means, the water was or became saltish or bitter. أجاج means, anything burning to the mouth whether saltish bitter or hot. ماء أجاج means, water that burns by its saltishness; or salt water or very bitter water like the water of the sea, or water of which no use is made for drinking or for watering seed-product or other purposes; or very hot water (Lane, Aqrab & Mufradat). See also 21:97.
برزخ (partition) is a thing that intervenes between any two things; a bar; an obstruction; or a thing that separates two things i.e. a partition (Lane). See also 23:101.
Taking "two waters" in the verse to represent the true religion and the false one, the verse signifies that both Islam, the true religion, and other corrupted faiths will continue to exist side by side, the former yielding sweet fruit and slaking the thirst of the spiritual wayfarers and the latter barren and bitter, incapable of producing any good results.
The "two waters" may also signify the water of the sea and that of the river. The former is saltish and bitter to taste while the latter is drinkable and sweet. When the sweet water of the river flows into the sea and becomes mixed with its saltish water, it also becomes bitter. As long as these two waters keep themselves separate, they have different tastes. Similarly, when the teaching of a true religion becomes mixed up with the teachings of false religions, it loses its sweetness and usefulness. But God has so ordained that in spite of its close proximity to false religions Islam will never lose its sweet taste as God has taken upon Himself to protect and guard it (15:10). There is an unbridgeable barrier between the two which keeps them apart. Or the word بحر meaning both river and sea, the verse may signify that under the system instituted by God rivers are fed by rain and snow and their water is always fresh, and though they fall into the sea, sea water is always saltish and bitter. This is in effect an illustration of Divine guidance, which when it is constantly reinforced by fresh revelation remains fresh, sweet and life-giving, but when it becomes stale, it loses all value. (close)