اَللّٰہُ لَاۤ اِلٰہَ اِلَّا ہُوَۚ اَلۡحَیُّ الۡقَیُّوۡمُ ۬ۚ لَا تَاۡخُذُہٗ سِنَۃٌ وَّ لَا نَوۡمٌ ؕ لَہٗ مَا فِی السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ مَا فِی الۡاَرۡضِ ؕ مَنۡ ذَا الَّذِیۡ یَشۡفَعُ عِنۡدَہٗۤ اِلَّا بِاِذۡنِہٖ ؕ یَعۡلَمُ مَا بَیۡنَ اَیۡدِیۡہِمۡ وَ مَا خَلۡفَہُمۡ ۚ وَ لَا یُحِیۡطُوۡنَ بِشَیۡءٍ مِّنۡ عِلۡمِہٖۤ اِلَّا بِمَا شَآءَ ۚ وَسِعَ کُرۡسِیُّہُ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضَ ۚ وَ لَا یَـُٔوۡدُہٗ حِفۡظُہُمَا ۚ وَ ہُوَ الۡعَلِیُّ الۡعَظِیۡمُ ﴿۲۵۶﴾
ٱللَّهُ لَآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ٱلۡحَيُّ ٱلۡقَيُّومُۚ لَا تَأۡخُذُهُۥ سِنَةٞ وَلَا نَوۡمٞۚ لَّهُۥ مَا فِي ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَمَا فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِۗ مَن ذَا ٱلَّذِي يَشۡفَعُ عِندَهُۥٓ إِلَّا بِإِذۡنِهِۦۚ يَعۡلَمُ مَا بَيۡنَ أَيۡدِيهِمۡ وَمَا خَلۡفَهُمۡۖ وَلَا يُحِيطُونَ بِشَيۡءٖ مِّنۡ عِلۡمِهِۦٓ إِلَّا بِمَا شَآءَۚ وَسِعَ كُرۡسِيُّهُ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضَۖ وَلَا يَـُٔودُهُۥ حِفۡظُهُمَاۚ وَهُوَ ٱلۡعَلِيُّ ٱلۡعَظِيمُ
c. 3:3; 20:112; 25:59. (close)
d. See 2:49. (close)
e. 20:111. (close)
318. Kursiyy means, a throne, a chair, buttress of a wall; knowledge; dominion and power (Aqrab); Karasi is plural, meaning, men of learning. The verse beautifully describes the Unity of God and His great attributes. The Holy Prophet is reported to have said that Ayatul-Kursiyy is the loftiest verse of the Qur’an (Muslim). (close)
a. 3:3; 20:112; 25:59. (close)
b. See 2:49. (close)
c. 20:111. (close)
262. Important Words:
الحی (the Living), of which the verb form is حیی i.e. he lived or he had life, is an attribute of God, signifying that God is the only Being Who is deathless and lives by Himself—He needs no support, He is eternal and everlasting (Mufradat & Lane). This is "life" in the truest sense of the word, and such life is enjoyed by God alone.
القیوم (Self-Subsisting and All-Sustaining) is another attribute of God. The word is derived from قام i.e. he stood erect. القیوم means, the Being Who not only stands by Himself, requiring the support of none, but Who supports all others (Mufradat & Aqrab).
سنة (slumber) is the noun-infinitive from وسن i.e. sleep or slumber took hold of him. سنة means, heaviness of limbs and eyes preceding sleep; sleep or slumber itself; negligence or unguardedness (Aqrab)
کرسی (knowledge) is derived from کرس. They say کرس البناء i.e. he raised the walls of a house. کرسی means, a throne or a chair or a stool, in fact, anything used for sitting on; buttress of a wall; knowledge; dominion and power. Hence, الکراسیmeans, men of learning (Aqrab & Lane).
This verse is known as آیة الکرسی (Ayatul-Kursi) and is considered to be one of the most important verses, beautifully describing the Unity of God and His great attributes. The Holy Prophet is reported to have said that the Ayatul-Kursi is the loftiest verse in the Quran (Muslim). The verse supplies an answer to an implied question. Even if Muslims made the sacrifices required of them in 2:255, the task before them was so great that, based on worldly calculations, there appeared no hope of success for them. How then is the promised victory to come? The verse under comment provides a telling answer. The world was not without a Master. The destinies of its people were controlled by a Being Whose power was limitless, Whose knowledge knew no bounds, Who was ever vigilant, ever watchful, in Whose hands were the entire resources of the earth and the heavens. If such a Being willed the triumph of a party, who was there to thwart His way? The promised victory must come.
For a detailed treatment of the subject of intercession see note on 2:49. The reason why no one shall be allowed to intercede for any person except with the permission of God is that nobody knows what is in the minds of men and consequently none is in a position to intercede for another. God alone knows the secrets of men’s hearts and hence there can be no intercession except by His permission, for He alone knows who is deserving of it.
The clause, they encompass nothing of His knowledge, means that God’s knowledge is unlimited; while the knowledge of others, whoever they may be, is limited; even Prophets know no more than what is apparent of the spiritual condition of their followers.
The word کرسی (knowledge) may signify either knowledge or power; both give equally good meanings and are almost equally applicable. Allah’s knowledge is as extensive as His power. Knowledge and power are indeed the two great pillars on which the throne of God and, for that matter, the controlling power of everyone in authority rests. (close)
لَاۤ اِکۡرَاہَ فِی الدِّیۡنِ ۟ۙ قَدۡ تَّبَیَّنَ الرُّشۡدُ مِنَ الۡغَیِّ ۚ فَمَنۡ یَّکۡفُرۡ بِالطَّاغُوۡتِ وَ یُؤۡمِنۡۢ بِاللّٰہِ فَقَدِ اسۡتَمۡسَکَ بِالۡعُرۡوَۃِ الۡوُثۡقٰی ٭ لَا انۡفِصَامَ لَہَا ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ سَمِیۡعٌ عَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۲۵۷﴾
لَآ إِكۡرَاهَ فِي ٱلدِّينِۖ قَد تَّبَيَّنَ ٱلرُّشۡدُ مِنَ ٱلۡغَيِّۚ فَمَن يَكۡفُرۡ بِٱلطَّـٰغُوتِ وَيُؤۡمِنۢ بِٱللَّهِ فَقَدِ ٱسۡتَمۡسَكَ بِٱلۡعُرۡوَةِ ٱلۡوُثۡقَىٰ لَا ٱنفِصَامَ لَهَاۗ وَٱللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ
a. 10:100; 11:119; 18:30; 76:4. (close)
319. The injunction (embodied in the preceding verses) to make special sacrifices in the cause of religion and to fight the enemies of Islam was likely to give rise to the misunderstanding that Allah desired Muslims to use force for propagating their religion. This verse removes that misunderstanding and not only forbids Muslims in most emphatic words to use force for converting non-Muslims to Islam, but also gives reasons why force should not be used for this purpose. It is because truth stands out distinct from error, so there has remained no justification for using force. Islam is manifest Truth. (close)
320. Taghut is one who exceeds proper bounds; the Devil; such persons as turn others from the right path; all idols. The word is used both as singular and plural (2:258 & 4:61). (close)
b. 31:23. (close)
a. 10:100; 11:119; 18:30; 76:4. (close)
b. 31:23. (close)
263. Important Words:
الطاغوت (those who transgress) is derived from طغا i.e. he transgressed; he exceeded the just limit. Hence طاغوت is primarily one who exceeds the bounds laid down for him. The Devil (i.e. the Evil One) or such men as turn others from the right path as well as all idols come under the word Taghut. The word is used both as singular and plural as in 4:61 and 2:258.
العروة (handle) being derived from عرا means: (1) the handle of a bucket or a mug, etc.; (2) a ring; etc. which is grasped and clung to for support, or anything which serves as a support (3) a pasture that remains green even in time of drought; (4) the best and excellent part of property and wealth (Aqrab).
The injunction to make special sacrifices in the cause of religion and to fight the enemies of Islam who had transgressed against the Faithful was likely to cause the misunderstanding that Allah desired Muslims to use force for propagating their religion. The verse under comment removes this misunderstanding. The object for which Muslims have been commanded to take up arms against the disbelievers is not to force them to accept Islam, but only to check mischief and put a stop to persecution. The verse enjoins Muslims in the clearest and strongest of words not to resort to force for converting non-Muslims to Islam. In the face of this teaching embodied in the words, There should be no compulsion in religion, it is the height of injustice to accuse Islam of countenancing the use of force for the propagation of its teaching.
The verse not only gives the commandment that in no case is force to be resorted to for the purpose of converting non-Muslims to Islam, but also gives the reason why it should not be used, saying: Surely, right has become distinct from wrong, i.e. the true path has become distinct from the wrong one and therefore there is no justification for using force. Islam is a manifest truth. Anyone who sincerely desires to see this truth can easily see it; but if there is a person who does not desire to see it, no force can possibly make him do so. One only needs to point out its beauties to non-Muslims; it rests with them to accept it or reject it as they like. ایـمان or faith, as defined by Islam, consists in believing something with the heart or the mind and expressing that belief with the tongue. No force on earth can bring about that change.
The person who sticks to true faith and shuns false ones is here represented as laying hold of a strong عروہ (‘urwah) which word, as shown above, gives a number of meanings. Taking it in the first-mentioned sense, i.e. the handle of a mug, etc., the Quran compares Islam to the pure life-giving liquid which is put into a mug, and the believer is represented as taking fast hold of the handle thereof. Taking the word in the second sense, i.e. anything which is grasped and clung to for support; the true faith is represented as something on which complete reliance can be placed in all circumstances. If one adheres to it, there is no fear of one’s stumbling or falling down. Following the third significance, i.e. a pasture that remains green even in time of drought, Islam has been likened to a grazing ground the herbage of which is everlasting. There can be no spiritual famine in Islam. Following the last-mentioned meaning of عروة Islam is represented as a storehouse of spiritual treasures that are without equal. (close)
اَللّٰہُ وَلِیُّ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا ۙ یُخۡرِجُہُمۡ مِّنَ الظُّلُمٰتِ اِلَی النُّوۡرِ۬ؕ وَ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡۤا اَوۡلِیٰٓـُٔہُمُ الطَّاغُوۡتُ ۙ یُخۡرِجُوۡنَہُمۡ مِّنَ النُّوۡرِ اِلَی الظُّلُمٰتِ ؕ اُولٰٓئِکَ اَصۡحٰبُ النَّارِ ۚ ہُمۡ فِیۡہَا خٰلِدُوۡنَ ﴿۲۵۸﴾٪
ٱللَّهُ وَلِيُّ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ يُخۡرِجُهُم مِّنَ ٱلظُّلُمَٰتِ إِلَى ٱلنُّورِۖ وَٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوٓاْ أَوۡلِيَآؤُهُمُ ٱلطَّـٰغُوتُ يُخۡرِجُونَهُم مِّنَ ٱلنُّورِ إِلَى ٱلظُّلُمَٰتِۗ أُوْلَـٰٓئِكَ أَصۡحَٰبُ ٱلنَّارِۖ هُمۡ فِيهَا خَٰلِدُونَ
c. 45:20. (close)
d. 5:17; 65:12. (close)
e. 7:28; 16:101. (close)
a. 3:69. (close)
b. 5:17; 65:12. (close)
c. 7:28; 16:101. (close)
The preceding verse spoke of "truth" and "error" as resulting from belief in Allah and belief in Taghut respectively. The present verse further develops the idea. According to Arabic idiom, the expression, to bring out of darkness into light, means, "to lead to success and happiness not only in the spiritual but also in the physical sense"; and the opposite of it means, "to lead to failure and grief".
The word Taghut, explained under the preceding verse, here mainly refers to such mischievous leaders as turn people away from the right path. Through them disbelievers are being led to failure and grief and are also gradually losing whatever light of faith they possessed before the advent of the Holy Prophet. Their rejection of him has also led them to disown many truths which they acknowledged before. Add to this their deprivation of the light of the new faith and the darkness becomes complete. On the contrary, Islam is not only bringing new light to its adherents but is also bringing them success and happiness. (close)
اَلَمۡ تَرَ اِلَی الَّذِیۡ حَآجَّ اِبۡرٰہٖمَ فِیۡ رَبِّہٖۤ اَنۡ اٰتٰٮہُ اللّٰہُ الۡمُلۡکَ ۘ اِذۡ قَالَ اِبۡرٰہٖمُ رَبِّیَ الَّذِیۡ یُحۡیٖ وَ یُمِیۡتُ ۙ قَالَ اَنَا اُحۡیٖ وَ اُمِیۡتُ ؕ قَالَ اِبۡرٰہٖمُ فَاِنَّ اللّٰہَ یَاۡتِیۡ بِالشَّمۡسِ مِنَ الۡمَشۡرِقِ فَاۡتِ بِہَا مِنَ الۡمَغۡرِبِ فَبُہِتَ الَّذِیۡ کَفَرَ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ لَا یَہۡدِی الۡقَوۡمَ الظّٰلِمِیۡنَ ﴿۲۵۹﴾ۚ
أَلَمۡ تَرَ إِلَى ٱلَّذِي حَآجَّ إِبۡرَٰهِـۧمَ فِي رَبِّهِۦٓ أَنۡ ءَاتَىٰهُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلۡمُلۡكَ إِذۡ قَالَ إِبۡرَٰهِـۧمُ رَبِّيَ ٱلَّذِي يُحۡيِۦ وَيُمِيتُ قَالَ أَنَا۠ أُحۡيِۦ وَأُمِيتُۖ قَالَ إِبۡرَٰهِـۧمُ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَأۡتِي بِٱلشَّمۡسِ مِنَ ٱلۡمَشۡرِقِ فَأۡتِ بِهَا مِنَ ٱلۡمَغۡرِبِ فَبُهِتَ ٱلَّذِي كَفَرَۗ وَٱللَّهُ لَا يَهۡدِي ٱلۡقَوۡمَ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ
a. 3:157; 9:116; 40:69; 57:3. (close)
321. Abraham was a great iconoclast. His people worshipped the sun and the stars, their chief god being Merodach (Madruk), originally the god of the morning and the spring sun (Enc. Bib. & Enc. Rel. Eth.ii.p.296). They believed that all life depended on the sun. Abraham very wisely asked the infidel that if he, as he claimed, controlled life and death, then let him reverse the course of the sun on which all life depended. He was in a fix. He could not say that he could not accept Abraham’s challenge to bring the sun from the West to the East, for that would have demolished his claim of being the controller of life and death, and if he had said that he could do so, it meant that he claimed to exercise control over the sun which would have been a great blasphemy in the eyes of his people who worshipped the sun. Thus he was completely confounded and did not know what to say. (close)
d. 3:157; 9:116; 40:69; 57:3. (close)
The preceding verses spoke of the great rise and success in store for Muslims—their being brought out of darkness into light. Now the Quran proceeds to illustrate the promised rise and advancement. It takes us back to the days of Abraham.
An incident in the life of the great Patriarch has been cited to illustrate the truth of the statement made in the previous verse, viz. that God is the friend of believers; He helps them against their enemies and shows them the way of success, leading them out of darkness into light.
Abraham was a native of Ur of the Chaldees. His people worshipped the stars and their chief god was the Sun. Their greatest god was Merodach (or Madruk), who was originally the god of the morning and the spring sun. He was also called Bel, i.e. Lord (Enc. Bib. and Enc. Rel. Eth. ii. 296).
Abraham was hostile to the worship of idols and false deities and vehemently preached against them. He once set fire to a house which contained wooden images. On another occasion, be broke certain idols to pieces and burned them, whereupon he was produced before the king, whose name is recorded as Nimrod (Gen. 10:8, 9 and Jew. Enc. under Abraham) and who was also worshipped by the people as a representative of their deities. The king, it appears, threatened Abraham with ruin and death, to which Abraham firmly and boldly replied that he could do him no harm, for it was His Lord God Who granted life and caused death. As the king laid claim to godhead, he wrathfully rejoined that it was he who exercised these powers. Now Abraham knew that Nimrod and his people believed that all life depended on the sun, so if it was true that it was the king who controlled life and death, it meant that even the sun was under the control of the king and that the final power of life and death attributed by Nimrod and his men to the sun was a mere farce. So he pertinently asked the king to send back the sun from the west to the east (i.e. put it aside), for in such case the sun could not be recognized as the final controlling power. The king was in a fix. He could not say that he did not possess the power to send back the sun, for that would have exposed him. At the same time he could not say that it was he who caused the sun to rise from the east and set in the west, for his people looked upon the sun as the supreme deity, superior to the king himself, and if he had claimed any power over the sun, he would have surely roused the ire of his people against him. So he was dumbfounded and knew not what reply to make. (close)
اَوۡ کَالَّذِیۡ مَرَّ عَلٰی قَرۡیَۃٍ وَّ ہِیَ خَاوِیَۃٌ عَلٰی عُرُوۡشِہَا ۚ قَالَ اَنّٰی یُحۡیٖ ہٰذِہِ اللّٰہُ بَعۡدَ مَوۡتِہَا ۚ فَاَمَاتَہُ اللّٰہُ مِائَۃَ عَامٍ ثُمَّ بَعَثَہٗ ؕ قَالَ کَمۡ لَبِثۡتَ ؕ قَالَ لَبِثۡتُ یَوۡمًا اَوۡ بَعۡضَ یَوۡمٍ ؕ قَالَ بَلۡ لَّبِثۡتَ مِائَۃَ عَامٍ فَانۡظُرۡ اِلٰی طَعَامِکَ وَ شَرَابِکَ لَمۡ یَتَسَنَّہۡ ۚ وَ انۡظُرۡ اِلٰی حِمَارِکَ وَ لِنَجۡعَلَکَ اٰیَۃً لِّلنَّاسِ وَ انۡظُرۡ اِلَی الۡعِظَامِ کَیۡفَ نُنۡشِزُہَا ثُمَّ نَکۡسُوۡہَا لَحۡمًا ؕ فَلَمَّا تَبَیَّنَ لَہٗ ۙ قَالَ اَعۡلَمُ اَنَّ اللّٰہَ عَلٰی کُلِّ شَیۡءٍ قَدِیۡرٌ ﴿۲۶۰﴾
أَوۡ كَٱلَّذِي مَرَّ عَلَىٰ قَرۡيَةٖ وَهِيَ خَاوِيَةٌ عَلَىٰ عُرُوشِهَا قَالَ أَنَّىٰ يُحۡيِۦ هَٰذِهِ ٱللَّهُ بَعۡدَ مَوۡتِهَاۖ فَأَمَاتَهُ ٱللَّهُ مِاْئَةَ عَامٖ ثُمَّ بَعَثَهُۥۖ قَالَ كَمۡ لَبِثۡتَۖ قَالَ لَبِثۡتُ يَوۡمًا أَوۡ بَعۡضَ يَوۡمٖۖ قَالَ بَل لَّبِثۡتَ مِاْئَةَ عَامٖ فَٱنظُرۡ إِلَىٰ طَعَامِكَ وَشَرَابِكَ لَمۡ يَتَسَنَّهۡۖ وَٱنظُرۡ إِلَىٰ حِمَارِكَ وَلِنَجۡعَلَكَ ءَايَةٗ لِّلنَّاسِۖ وَٱنظُرۡ إِلَى ٱلۡعِظَامِ كَيۡفَ نُنشِزُهَا ثُمَّ نَكۡسُوهَا لَحۡمٗاۚ فَلَمَّا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُۥ قَالَ أَعۡلَمُ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيۡءٖ قَدِيرٞ
322. The ruined town referred to in the verse is Jerusalem which was laid waste by Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon in 599 B.C. Ezekiel, the Prophet, was among the Jews whom Nebuchadnezzar carried away into captivity to Babylon and who was made to pass by, and witness the ghastly sight of, the devastated town. (close)
323. Ezekiel was naturally shocked at the sad sight and prayed to God in words full of extreme pathos as to when the ruined town would be restored to life. His prayer was heard and he was made to see a vision that the restoration prayed for would take place in a hundred years. The verse does not mean that Ezekiel remained actually dead for a hundred years. Only he saw a vision that he had died and had remained dead for a hundred years and then had come back to life. The Qur’an sometimes mentions scenes seen in a vision as having actually taken place without stating that they were witnessed in a vision or dream (12:5). The vision signified, and Ezekiel understood the significance, that the Children of Israel would remain in the state of captivity and complete national degradation for about a hundred years after which they would receive a new life and would come back to their sacred city. And it actually came to pass as Ezekiel had dreamt. Jerusalem was taken by Nebuchadnezzar in 599 B.C. (2 Kings 24:10). Ezekiel probably saw the vision in 586 B.C. The city was rebuilt about a century after its destruction. Its building started in 537 B.C. by the permission and help of Cyrus, the King of Persia and Midia, and was completed in 515 B.C. It took the Israelites another fifteen years to settle in it and thus virtually a century passed between the destruction of Jerusalem and its restoration to life. It is puerile to think that God actually caused Ezekiel to die and that he remained dead for a hundred years and was then brought back to life; for that would not have been an answer to his prayer, which did not pertain to the death and resurrection of any individual but to that of a town representing a whole people. (close)
323A. The words are intended to express indefiniteness of time (18:20 & 23:114) and mean, according to the Quranic usage, that Ezekiel did not know how long he had remained in that state. Yaum here does not mean a day of 24 hours but time absolutely (see 1:4). The words, I have remained a day or part of a day, may also refer to the time for which Ezekiel slept or the time he took in seeing the vision. Apparently Ezekiel thought that he was being asked about the duration of the time of the vision. (close)
323B. Bal is a particle of digression signifying (a) the cancellation of what precedes as in 21:27, or (b) transition from one object of discourse to another as in 87:17. Here bal has been used in the latter sense. (close)
324. The clause, It is so but thou hast also remained in this state for a hundred years, points out that although in one sense Ezekiel had remained in that state for a hundred years (for he had dreamt that he had been dead for a hundred years), yet the statement that he had tarried for a day or part of a day was also correct, for the actual time spent in seeing the vision was naturally very short. (close)
325. To bring home this fact to the mind of Ezekiel, God directed his attention to his food and drink and his ass. That his food and drink had not rotted and his ass was still alive showed that he had really tarried only for a day or part of it. The words, look at thy ass, also indicate that Ezekiel saw the vision while sleeping in the fields with his ass by his side, for while in captivity, the Israelites were made to work in the fields as farmers. (close)
a. 23:15. (close)
326. Ezekiel represented in his person the whole Jewish nation. His symbolic death for a hundred years represented their national degradation and sorrows in captivity, for that was the period after which they came to their own. This is how Ezekiel became a Sign. See also Ezekiel, chap. 37. (close)
266. Important Word:
خاویة (fallen) is derived from خوی. They say خوی البیت i.e. (1) the house fell down in ruins; (2) the house became empty and untenanted (Aqrab).
عروش (roofs) is the plural of عرش (roof). They say عرش i.e. he built a house. عرش البیت means, he raised the roof of the house. عرش means: (1) the roof of a house; (2) the throne or the ceremonious chair of a king; (3) the pillar, etc. supporting a thing; (4) honour and prowess; (5) leaders and chiefs among men; (6) tent, canopy, shed etc. affordingshade; (7) trellis supporting vines (Aqrab & Lane).
یتسنه (have rotted) is derived from سنه i.e. (1) it passed through a time extending over years; (2) it (food, etc.) became altered and rotten by the lapse of years or absolutely. تسنه gives the same meaning as سنه (Aqrab).
The preceding verse contained one illustration of how Allah brings His friends out of darkness into light. The present verse cites, as hinted in the words, or like him, another illustration of how He breathes new life into a people after they have fallen and become degraded.
The ruined town referred to in the verse is Jerusalem which was laid waste by Nebuchadnezzar. The person who, as the verse says, passed by it was Ezekiel, the Prophet; and the words which had fallen down upon its roofs hint that it was soon after its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar that Ezekiel passed by the town. Ezekiel was among the Israelite captives whom Nebuchadnezzar carried away to Babylon and who, in accordance with an ancient custom, were made to pass by the ruins of the town so that they might witness with their own eyes how their city had been laid in ruins by the conqueror. Ezekiel, who was a great well-wisher of his people, was immensely pained to see the ruins of the sacred city and pathetically asked God when the time would come when the ruined city would be restored to life, i.e. when its inhabitants, the children of Israel, would come back to it, rebuild it and make it prosperous once more. This prayer, it appears, was heard by God Who showed him in a vision that the restoration asked for would come in a hundred years.
The clause then Allah caused him to die for a hundred years does not mean that Ezekiel was actually made to die and then raised to life again. It was, in fact, a vision which Ezekiel saw (Ezek. 37). The Quran sometimes mentions scenes seen in a vision as if they had actually happened, without stating that they were witnessed in a vision or a dream (e.g. 12:5). What actually happened was that Ezekiel saw in a vision that he had died and remained dead for a hundred years and then had come back to life. As he was the representative of his people, his death signified the death of the Israelites. Thus God informed him through this vision that the children of Israel would remain in their state of captivity and lifelessness for a hundred years, after which a new life would be given them and they would return to inhabit their sacred city. And this dream or vision actually turned out to be true. For Jerusalem was first invaded by Nebuchadnezzar in 597 B.C. and again in 587 B.C., when after a long siege the city was totally destroyed by his general in 586 B.C. Ezekiel probably saw the vision in 586 B.C. The city was rebuilt about 100 years after its destruction and thus the vision came true.
It is wrong to think that God actually caused Ezekiel to die and that he remained dead for a hundred years and was then brought back to life; for that would have been no answer to his prayer, which did not pertain to the death and resurrection of any individual but to that of a town which was lying in ruins.
The words, which had fallen down upon its roofs; point out that Ezekiel saw the ruins soon after the destruction (not necessarily the complete and final destruction) of the town when the fallen roofs were still to be seen under the debris of the walls.
The words, I have remained a day or part of a day, are intended to express indefiniteness of time and mean, according to the Quranic usage, that Ezekiel did not know how long he had remained in that state. The words have been used in this sense in another passage of the Quran as well: They said, We have tarried a day or part of a day. Others said, Your Lord knows best the time you have tarried (18:20). Again, They will say, We tarried a day or part of a day, but ask those who keep count (23:114). In fact, یوم (day) here does not mean a day of 24 or 12 hours but time absolutely (see 1:4). The clause, I have remained a day or part of a day, may also refer to the time for which Ezekiel slept or the time he took in seeing the vision or the dream. Apparently Ezekiel thought that he was being asked about the duration of the time of the vision.
The clause, Nay, thou hast remained in this state for a hundred years, points out that although in one sense he had remained in that state for a hundred years (for he had dreamt that he had been dead for a hundred years), yet the statement that he had tarried for a day or part of a day, was also correct, for the time spent in seeing the vision was naturally very short. To bring home this fact to the mind of Ezekiel, God directed his attention to his food and drink and to the ass. That his food and drink had not become stale and that his ass was still alive, showed that he had really tarried only for a short time. The words and look at thy ass also indicate that Ezekiel saw the vision while sleeping in his fields with his ass by his side, for while in captivity the Israelites were made to work in the fields as farmers.
The words that We may make thee a Sign unto men show that Ezekiel was to be made a Sign to men inasmuch as his vision, according to which Jerusalem was to become re-inhabited by the children of Israel, was to come true. The words, look at the bones, are intended to echo the words used by the children of Israel in those days of misery, viz. that they had become like dry bones and there was no hope of their being ever endued with new life (Ezek. 37:11, 12). The words along with the accompanying clause meant that God had power to clothe the bones with flesh and to breathe new life into them. The bones were first to be set or placed in position and thereafter clothed with flesh, i.e. the Israelites, then like dead bones, were first to be brought back to their town and then the process of the clothing of the bones with flesh, i.e. the rebuilding of the town, etc. was to be completed.
The vision of Ezekiel has been mentioned in the Bible in chapter 37 of his book. (close)
وَ اِذۡ قَالَ اِبۡرٰہٖمُ رَبِّ اَرِنِیۡ کَیۡفَ تُحۡیِ الۡمَوۡتٰی ؕ قَالَ اَوَ لَمۡ تُؤۡمِنۡ ؕ قَالَ بَلٰی وَ لٰکِنۡ لِّیَطۡمَئِنَّ قَلۡبِیۡ ؕ قَالَ فَخُذۡ اَرۡبَعَۃً مِّنَ الطَّیۡرِ فَصُرۡہُنَّ اِلَیۡکَ ثُمَّ اجۡعَلۡ عَلٰی کُلِّ جَبَلٍ مِّنۡہُنَّ جُزۡءًا ثُمَّ ادۡعُہُنَّ یَاۡتِیۡنَکَ سَعۡیًا ؕ وَ اعۡلَمۡ اَنَّ اللّٰہَ عَزِیۡزٌ حَکِیۡمٌ ﴿۲۶۱﴾٪
وَإِذۡ قَالَ إِبۡرَٰهِـۧمُ رَبِّ أَرِنِي كَيۡفَ تُحۡيِ ٱلۡمَوۡتَىٰۖ قَالَ أَوَلَمۡ تُؤۡمِنۖ قَالَ بَلَىٰ وَلَٰكِن لِّيَطۡمَئِنَّ قَلۡبِيۖ قَالَ فَخُذۡ أَرۡبَعَةٗ مِّنَ ٱلطَّيۡرِ فَصُرۡهُنَّ إِلَيۡكَ ثُمَّ ٱجۡعَلۡ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ جَبَلٖ مِّنۡهُنَّ جُزۡءٗا ثُمَّ ٱدۡعُهُنَّ يَأۡتِينَكَ سَعۡيٗاۚ وَٱعۡلَمۡ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٞ
327. The difference between Iman (belief) and Itminan (the heart being at ease) is that in the former state one simply believes that God can do a thing, while in the latter one receives the assurance that the thing would be done in his case also. Abraham did indeed believe that God could bring the dead to life, but what he desired was his personal satisfaction of knowing that God would do so in the case of his own posterity as well. Referring to the verse under comment, the Holy Prophet is reported to have said, "We are more deserving of entertaining Shak (doubt) than Abraham" (Muslim), the word Shak signifying an intense hidden desire anxiously awaiting fulfilment; for the Holy Prophet never entertained any doubt about any of God’s promises or doings. This shows that Abraham’s question was not prompted by doubt but simply by an anxious desire. (close)
328. Surtul-Ghusna Ilayya means, I inclined the branch towards myself (Lane). The preposition ila determines the significance of the word Surhunna in the sense of inclining or attaching and not cutting. (close)
329. Juz’ means, a part or portion or division of a thing. Thus, if a thing consists of or comprises a group, the word "part" or "division" would signify each member of it.
This is a vision of Abraham. In "taking four birds" the implication was that his posterity would rise and fall four times, which phenomenon was to be witnessed twice among the Israelites, and to be repeated twice among the followers of the Holy Prophet of Islam who was descended from Abraham through Ishmael. The power of the Jews, the progeny of Abraham through Isaac, was crushed twice, first by Nebuchadnezzar and then by Titus (17:5-8; Enc. Brit. under Jews); and each time God raised them after their fall, the second revival having been brought about by Constantine, the Roman Emperor who accepted Christianity. Similarly, the power of Islam, was first rudely shaken when Baghdad fell to the Tartar hordes, but soon it recovered from the crushing blow. The victors became the vanquished and the grandson of Halaku, the despoiler of Baghdad, was converted to Islam. The second fall came later when there was a general and wholesale decline of Muslims both in the spiritual and the political field. The second renaissance of Islam is being brought about by the Promised Messiah. (close)
267. Important Words:
تحی الموتی (Thou givest life to the dead). For the meaning of حیاة (life) and موت (death) and میت (dead person) see 2:20; 2:29; 2:57 and 2:74.
یطمئن (be at rest) is derived from طمئن. They say طمئن ظھرہ i.e. he bent his back low. طمئن الشیء means, he made the thing calm and set it at rest. اطمأن means, it or he was at rest; it or he became calm after being agitated; it or he became docile and submissive. المطمئن means, (1) one who is calm and tranquil or in a state of rest or ease; that which is motionless and stationary; (2) if used in connection with some piece of land, it means a low-lying, soft piece of land (Aqrab).
صرھن الیك (make them attached to thyself). صرھن is derived from صار with واو as the central root letter. They say صار الشیء الی نفسه i.e. he inclined the thing to himself. صار وجھه الی means, he inclined his face towards me. صرت الغصن لاجتنی الثمر means, I inclined the branch towards myself in order to pluck the fruit. صار with ی as the central root letter, means, he cut a thing, etc. into pieces (Aqrab). The Quran uses here صار with واو as the central root letter as the dammah in صرھن indicates. Moreover, the preposition الی (to) determines the significance of the word in the sense of inclining or attaching and not cutting.
جزء (each) is derived from جزاء. They say جزأ الشیء i.e. he divided the thing into parts. So جزء means, part or portion or division of a thing (Lane). Thus, if a thing consists of, and comprises, a group, the word part or division would signify each member of it.
This verse provides yet another illustration of the process of life and death arranged by God in this world. In other words, the rise of a fallen nation is further discussed. Abraham asked God to show him how He caused a people to come to life after they had become fallen and degraded.
The difference between إیمان (belief) and اطمینان (heart being at rest) is that in the former state one simply believes that God can do a thing, while in the latter one receives the assurance that the thing would be done in his case also. Abraham did indeed believe that God could bring a dead people to life, but what he desired was the personal satisfaction of knowing that He would do so in the case of his own posterity as well; hence the words, so that my heart may be at rest.
The verse proceeds to describe a vision of Abraham. By asking him to take four birds, God hinted that his posterity would rise and fall four times. This rise and fall was witnessed twice among the Israelites, and the same phenomenon was to be repeated among the followers of the Holy Prophet of Islam who was descended from Abraham through Ishmael. The power of the Jews, the progeny of Abraham through Isaac, was crushed twice, first by Nebuchadnezzar and then by Titus (the Quran, 17:5-8; the Bible, II Kings ch. 25 and Enc. Brit. under Jews); and each time God raised them after their fall, the second revival having been brought about by the acceptance of Christianity by the Roman Emperors. As to the power of Islam, it was first rudely shaken when Baghdad fell to the arms of the Tartars, after which it again revived owing to the conquerors being won over to Islam. The second fall came later when there was a general and wholesale decline of Muslims both in the spiritual and the political field. The final rise is being arranged by God through the Ahmadiyya Movement founded by Ahmad, the Promised Messiah.
Referring to the verse under comment, the Holy Prophet is reported to have said, "We are more deserving of entertaining شك than Abraham" (Muslim). Here شك does not mean "doubt" but an intense hidden desire anxiously awaiting fulfilment, for the Holy Prophet never entertained any doubt. This shows that Abraham also never doubted and his question was not prompted by doubt but simply by an anxious desire. He had firm faith in the power of God and fully believed that He could restore a fallen people to prosperity; what he wanted was simply the satisfaction of his hidden desire, i.e. an assurance that God would do so in the case of his people also. The word شك therefore here only means the feeling of anxiety in the mind, or the state of commotion or disturbance of the heart and mind (Lane).
The double fall and subsequent rise of the Israelites and of the posterity of Ishmael making the total number of such phenomena four may be interpreted in another way also. The Israelites were a fallen people before Moses and God raised them through him. They fell again before the time of Jesus and were again given new life through him. Similarly, the Ishmaelites were a fallen people before the advent of the Holy Prophet who gave them new life, and they are again a fallen people now when they are being given a new life by Ahmad, the Promised Messiah.
Many commentators have translated the word صرھن as, "cut them into pieces and mince them", but this is clearly wrong; for as explained under Important Words above صار یصور (with واو as the central root letter) means "inclining" and not "cutting", particularly when it is used with the preposition الی. So the expression صرھن would mean "make them inclined towards thyself", so that they may become attached to thee. In this case the placing of a جزء of the four birds each on a hill would mean, putting each separate bird on a separate hill, and not placing portions of the minced meat thereon. The commandment to place the four birds separately on separate hills is to point to the fact that the rise and fall of the progeny of Abraham would take place at four distinct and separate times. The word جزء has been used in this sense elsewhere also (15:45). (close)
مَثَلُ الَّذِیۡنَ یُنۡفِقُوۡنَ اَمۡوَالَہُمۡ فِیۡ سَبِیۡلِ اللّٰہِ کَمَثَلِ حَبَّۃٍ اَنۡۢبَتَتۡ سَبۡعَ سَنَابِلَ فِیۡ کُلِّ سُنۡۢبُلَۃٍ مِّائَۃُ حَبَّۃٍ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ یُضٰعِفُ لِمَنۡ یَّشَآءُ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۲۶۲﴾
مَّثَلُ ٱلَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمۡوَٰلَهُمۡ فِي سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ كَمَثَلِ حَبَّةٍ أَنۢبَتَتۡ سَبۡعَ سَنَابِلَ فِي كُلِّ سُنۢبُلَةٖ مِّاْئَةُ حَبَّةٖۗ وَٱللَّهُ يُضَٰعِفُ لِمَن يَشَآءُۚ وَٱللَّهُ وَٰسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ
a. 2:266; 30:40. (close)
330. In the foregoing verses, it was pointed out that it is a Divine law that God gives new life to deserving nations after they become dead, and the case of the Israelites was mentioned as an instance. It was further indicated that the progeny of Abraham would rise four times, the Israelites and the Ishmaelites each rising twice. In order to prepare Muslims for the promised rise, God reverts to the means of national progress and exhorts the Faithful to spend freely in the cause of God. (close)
In the foregoing verses, it was pointed out that it is a law of God that He gives new life to deserving nations after they have become dead, and the case of the Israelites was mentioned as an instance. It was further indicated that the progeny of Abraham would rise four times, the Israelites and the Ishmaelites each rising twice. Now, in order to prepare Muslims for the promised rise, God reverts to the means of national progress and exhorts the Faithful to spend freely in the cause of God, pointing out that their case is like that of a seed which is multiplied 700 times and even more. Thus 700 times is the least reward that will be given to Muslims, and there is no limit to what God will bestow over and above this. History shows that this promise was fulfilled to the very letter; for the reward which God gave to the early Muslims in this world was not only 700 times of what they spent in the cause of Allah but immeasurably greater; and the reward in the world to come will certainly be greater still. (close)
اَلَّذِیۡنَ یُنۡفِقُوۡنَ اَمۡوَالَہُمۡ فِیۡ سَبِیۡلِ اللّٰہِ ثُمَّ لَا یُتۡبِعُوۡنَ مَاۤ اَنۡفَقُوۡا مَنًّا وَّ لَاۤ اَذًی ۙ لَّہُمۡ اَجۡرُہُمۡ عِنۡدَ رَبِّہِمۡ ۚ وَ لَا خَوۡفٌ عَلَیۡہِمۡ وَ لَا ہُمۡ یَحۡزَنُوۡنَ ﴿۲۶۳﴾
ٱلَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمۡوَٰلَهُمۡ فِي سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ ثُمَّ لَا يُتۡبِعُونَ مَآ أَنفَقُواْ مَنّٗا وَلَآ أَذٗى لَّهُمۡ أَجۡرُهُمۡ عِندَ رَبِّهِمۡ وَلَا خَوۡفٌ عَلَيۡهِمۡ وَلَا هُمۡ يَحۡزَنُونَ
a. 2:265; 74:7. (close)
331. Every good act may be abused, and the abuse of spending in the cause of Allah is to follow it with Mann (boastfully speaking of one’s good act) and Adha (following it up with injury). Those, who spend their wealth in the cause of Allah, are prohibited from making unnecessary and misplaced mention of the money they spend and the services they render to the cause of Truth, for, doing so would amount to Mann (taunt). Similarly, they are enjoined not to demand anything in return for their contributions. (close)
269. Important Words:
منا (taunt). They say من علیه i.e. (1) he did him a favour; (2) he talked of, or referred to, the favour he had done him and thereby taunted him with it (Aqrab). So من means both a favour as well as a reference to it with a view to taunting.
Every good may be abused, and the abuse of spending in the cause of Allah is to follow it with من i.e. boastfully speaking of one’s services, and اذی i.e. following up a good act with an injury. Those who expend their wealth in the cause of Allah, are prohibited from making unnecessary mention of the money they spend and the services they render to Islam; for doing so would amount to من (taunt). Similarly they are forbidden to demand anything in return for their contributions; for this would amount to اذی (injury). Some men expect worldly advantages or try to seek help in their mundane affairs in return for their services in the cause of religion, and if such help is not forthcoming, they are displeased; or sometimes they desire to exact some work from those who are engaged in the service of religion and whom they help with money. All this would come under the definition of the word اذی; for such demands cause great injury and annoyance. Whether in the help of the community or of an individual, Islam condemns resort to من and اذی. It enjoins us to serve, but expects us to forget that we are rendering a service, for that would mar the good effect thereof. (close)
قَوۡلٌ مَّعۡرُوۡفٌ وَّ مَغۡفِرَۃٌ خَیۡرٌ مِّنۡ صَدَقَۃٍ یَّتۡبَعُہَاۤ اَذًی ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ غَنِیٌّ حَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۲۶۴﴾
۞قَوۡلٞ مَّعۡرُوفٞ وَمَغۡفِرَةٌ خَيۡرٞ مِّن صَدَقَةٖ يَتۡبَعُهَآ أَذٗىۗ وَٱللَّهُ غَنِيٌّ حَلِيمٞ
b. b47:22. (close)
332. It is better that one should say a kind word of sympathy or of excuse to the person who asks for help than that he should first help him and then follow it up with injury; or that he should try to cover and conceal the want of the person who comes to him for help and refrain from talking about it to others so that he may not feel humbled and humiliated, that being the significance of Maghfirat. (close)
b. 47:22. (close)
270. Important Words:
غنی (Self-Sufficient) is from the verb غنی which means, he was or became free from want; he was in a state of competence or sufficiency; he was rich and wealthy. Thus غنی means, one free from want; one who is in a state of competence or sufficiency; one who is rich and wealthy. الغنی is one of the names of God, meaning the Self-Sufficient; One Who has no need of anyone in anything (Lane).
The divine attribute of Self-Sufficient has been used to suggest that if money spent in the cause of God is to be followed by "taunt" and "injury," it need not be spent at all, for He is Self-Sufficient. He needs no money. The order to spend is meant for the good of those who spend. So if the act of spending is abused and becomes a source of demoralization, God does not approve of such spending. The attribute حلیم (Forbearing) which also means "wise" and "intelligent" has been used here to suggest that the injunctions to spend money in the cause of God are given not because He stands in need of money but because He, the Wise God, knows that such acts are conducive to the good of man himself, the significance of "Forbearing" hinting that though God is slow in punishing, yet if such men continue undoing their own good actions by injuring the feelings of others, He would have to chastise them.
The clause, A kind word and forgiveness are better than charity followed by injury, signifies that it is better to refrain from spending at all, if spending is to be followed by injury. In that case one should say قول معروف i.e. a kind word of sympathy or excuse to the person who asks for help, rather than give him help and then follow it up with injury. One should also observe an attitude of مغفرة (forgiveness) which literally means "covering up", i.e. one should cover and conceal the want of the person who comes for help and refrain from talking about it to others so that he may not feel ashamed. Or مغفرة may signify forgiveness on the part of him who asks for help, i.e. he should forgive the person who expresses his inability to render help. Again, in case the spending spoken of in the verse refers to spending in national needs, قول معروف (kind word) would mean expression of good opinion, i.e. if one cannot spend without following it up with injury, i.e. without criticizing those responsible for national expenditure, one had better refrain from spending at all. (close)
یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا لَا تُبۡطِلُوۡا صَدَقٰتِکُمۡ بِالۡمَنِّ وَ الۡاَذٰی ۙ کَالَّذِیۡ یُنۡفِقُ مَالَہٗ رِئَآءَ النَّاسِ وَ لَا یُؤۡمِنُ بِاللّٰہِ وَ الۡیَوۡمِ الۡاٰخِرِؕ فَمَثَلُہٗ کَمَثَلِ صَفۡوَانٍ عَلَیۡہِ تُرَابٌ فَاَصَابَہٗ وَابِلٌ فَتَرَکَہٗ صَلۡدًا ؕ لَا یَقۡدِرُوۡنَ عَلٰی شَیۡءٍ مِّمَّا کَسَبُوۡا ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ لَا یَہۡدِی الۡقَوۡمَ الۡکٰفِرِیۡنَ ﴿۲۶۵﴾
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لَا تُبۡطِلُواْ صَدَقَٰتِكُم بِٱلۡمَنِّ وَٱلۡأَذَىٰ كَٱلَّذِي يُنفِقُ مَالَهُۥ رِئَآءَ ٱلنَّاسِ وَلَا يُؤۡمِنُ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلۡيَوۡمِ ٱلۡأٓخِرِۖ فَمَثَلُهُۥ كَمَثَلِ صَفۡوَانٍ عَلَيۡهِ تُرَابٞ فَأَصَابَهُۥ وَابِلٞ فَتَرَكَهُۥ صَلۡدٗاۖ لَّا يَقۡدِرُونَ عَلَىٰ شَيۡءٖ مِّمَّا كَسَبُواْۗ وَٱللَّهُ لَا يَهۡدِي ٱلۡقَوۡمَ ٱلۡكَٰفِرِينَ
a. See 2:263. (close)
b. 4:39; 8:48. (close)
333. Elsewhere, Muslims have also been enjoined to spend their wealth openly (2:275); the object underlying being that other Muslims may be induced to follow their good example. But he who has no faith in God expends his money openly solely to win public approbation. Such a one loses all title to any reward from God. (close)
c. 14:19. (close)
b. 4:39; 8:48. (close)
c. 14:19. (close)
271. Important Words:
رئاء (to be seen) is derived from رأی i.e. he saw with his physical or mental eyes. الرئاء means, to make a show of goodness or virtue without there being any sincere or genuine feeling behind it, simply to be seen of men (Aqrab & Mufradat).
صفوان (smooth rock) is in the measure of رحمان being derived from صفا i.e. it became clear or pure and was free from dirt, etc. صفوان besides being used in the singular number is also the plural of صفاة meaning, a smooth and hard rock (Aqrab).
وابل (heavy rain) is derived from وبل. They say وبله بالعصا i.e. he beat or battered him with a rod continuously. وبلت السماءmeans, the sky poured forth heavy rain (Aqrab).
صلد (bare, smooth and hard) is from صلد. They say صلدالزند i.e. the material, meant for producing fire gave out a sound but no Spark. صلد الارض means, the earth became hard. صلد السائل means, he turned away the beggar without giving him anything. صلد is, therefore, spoken of such rock or piece of ground as is hard and smooth and grows nothing (Aqrab).
The verse makes it clear that a Muslim who follows up his charity with taunt and injury, undoes his own good act and will have no reward with God. He is like a disbeliever who spends merely to be seen of and praised by men. The words, ‘and he believes not in Allah and the Last Day’ have been added because sometimes even a believer does a deed to be seen of men, and that act of his has a useful purpose. For instance, it is on record that once a Companion of the Holy Prophet was seen strutting before the hostile Quraish of Mecca. When the Prophet saw the man thus walking, he said, "This gait is hateful to God, but on the present occasion it is not so." In fact, there had been an outbreak of fever among the Companions who were greatly weakened thereby, and the aforesaid Muslim walked with a boastful gait in order to make a display of his strength so that the enemy might not think that the Muslims had been weakened by fever. This turned an ordinarily reprehensible act into a praiseworthy one. Elsewhere Muslims have been bidden to spend their money not only secretly but also openly (2:275), and the object underlying this injunction is that other Muslims, seeing a brother of theirs expending money in the cause of God, may be induced to follow his good example. But he who has no faith in God expends his money openly solely with the object of winning the good opinion of men, and such a one has no reward with God.
The concluding portion of the verse likens a disbeliever to a smooth rock which is not fit for producing a crop; but sometimes, when it is covered with a layer of dust, some corn may grow on it, i.e. when circumstances are favourable and such person does some really good deed, he derives some benefit from it. But when he spends money merely for the sake of display and show, his good deeds are wasted, just as a heavy rain washes away the dust from the surface of a smooth and hard rock, leaving it bare and unproductive. (close)