وَ لَقَدۡ اٰتَیۡنَا دَاوٗدَ مِنَّا فَضۡلًا ؕ یٰجِبَالُ اَوِّبِیۡ مَعَہٗ وَ الطَّیۡرَ ۚ وَ اَلَنَّا لَہُ الۡحَدِیۡدَ ﴿ۙ۱۱﴾
۞وَلَقَدۡ ءَاتَيۡنَا دَاوُۥدَ مِنَّا فَضۡلٗاۖ يَٰجِبَالُ أَوِّبِي مَعَهُۥ وَٱلطَّيۡرَۖ وَأَلَنَّا لَهُ ٱلۡحَدِيدَ
c. 21:80; 38:19, 20. (close)
2378A. Mountain tribes. For a similar expression see 12:83. (close)
2378B. See 1907. (close)
2379. The expression, 'And We made the iron soft for him,' shows that the art of making implements of war from iron was very much developed by David and he freely made use of it for making coats of mail as the next verse shows. (close)
c. 21:80; 38:19-20. (close)
3137. Important Words:
أوبی (repeat the praises) is derived from آب which means, he returned. آب الی الله means, he returned to God from his sins, he repented. أوب means, he repeated or echoed the praises of God (Lane & Aqrab).
As the principal theme of this Surah is the triumph of Islam and the great wealth, power and dominion that were to be given to Muslims, and as the might and splendour of the Israelites attained its zenith in the reigns of David and Solomon, so a somewhat detailed reference has been made in this Surah to these two great Prophets and Kings in order, on the one hand, to tell Muslims that such great glory and splendour will come to them also, and, on the other, to warn them that if they did not behave properly and if they defied and violated Divine commandments and indulged in evil practices, they too will come to grief, as did the Israelites after Solomon’s death, when all their power and glory departed, and they became pariahs among the nations.
For a detailed discussion of the subject as to how the mountains and the birds repeated the praises of God along with David see 21:80. Briefly, the word "mountains" signifies those mountain tribes which submitted to David, while the use of the word "birds" implies that David led large and powerful armies followed by flocks of birds which feasted upon the dead bodies of his vanquished foes. The words "birds" may also signify highly spiritual men or real birds which David used for carrying messages in time of war.
The expression "And We made the iron soft for him" shows that the art of making implements of war from iron had very much developed under David and he freely made use of it for making coats of mail as the next verse shows. (close)
اَنِ اعۡمَلۡ سٰبِغٰتٍ وَّ قَدِّرۡ فِی السَّرۡدِ وَ اعۡمَلُوۡا صَالِحًا ؕ اِنِّیۡ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُوۡنَ بَصِیۡرٌ ﴿۱۲﴾
أَنِ ٱعۡمَلۡ سَٰبِغَٰتٖ وَقَدِّرۡ فِي ٱلسَّرۡدِۖ وَٱعۡمَلُواْ صَٰلِحًاۖ إِنِّي بِمَا تَعۡمَلُونَ بَصِيرٞ
3138. Important Words:
سابغات (full length coats of mail) is the plural of سابغة. درع سابغة means, a coat of mail that is wide or ample and long or such that one drags upon the ground by reason of its length and ampleness. نعمة سابغة means, a complete or full boon (Lane & Aqrab).
سرد (rings) is substantive noun from سرد (sarada) which means, he put the thing forward from one stage to another in regular order and uninterruptedly; he made it consecutive, successive or uninterrupted. سرد فی الدرع means, he fabricated the coat of armour by inserting the rings into one another. سرد الحدیث means, he related uninterruptedly and well the tradition or narrative (Lane & Aqrab).
The reference in this verse is again to David’s military might. The words "and do righteous deeds" embodied an admonition to the people of David that they were not to exult in their military conquests. Their main and principal object should be to preach and practice goodness. The implied admonition is meant for Muslims. (close)
وَ لِسُلَیۡمٰنَ الرِّیۡحَ غُدُوُّہَا شَہۡرٌ وَّ رَوَاحُہَا شَہۡرٌ ۚ وَ اَسَلۡنَا لَہٗ عَیۡنَ الۡقِطۡرِ ؕ وَ مِنَ الۡجِنِّ مَنۡ یَّعۡمَلُ بَیۡنَ یَدَیۡہِ بِاِذۡنِ رَبِّہٖ ؕ وَ مَنۡ یَّزِغۡ مِنۡہُمۡ عَنۡ اَمۡرِنَا نُذِقۡہُ مِنۡ عَذَابِ السَّعِیۡرِ ﴿۱۳﴾
وَلِسُلَيۡمَٰنَ ٱلرِّيحَ غُدُوُّهَا شَهۡرٞ وَرَوَاحُهَا شَهۡرٞۖ وَأَسَلۡنَا لَهُۥ عَيۡنَ ٱلۡقِطۡرِۖ وَمِنَ ٱلۡجِنِّ مَن يَعۡمَلُ بَيۡنَ يَدَيۡهِ بِإِذۡنِ رَبِّهِۦۖ وَمَن يَزِغۡ مِنۡهُمۡ عَنۡ أَمۡرِنَا نُذِقۡهُ مِنۡ عَذَابِ ٱلسَّعِيرِ
a. 21:82; 38:37. (close)
2380. Solomon’s dominions extended from northern Syria along the coast of the eastern Mediterranean down to the Red Sea, along the Arabian Sea and up to the Persian Gulf. In fact, in Solomon’s time, the Israelite Empire had reached its zenith in wealth, power and prestige as the word Rih which, among other things, means power and conquests, (Lane), used in the verse, shows. The verse also shows that Solomon possessed a large mercantile navy (I Kings, 9:26-28 & Jew. Enc. vol. Xl. p. 437) and that industry and craftsmanship had greatly developed under him and that he had also conquered and pressed into service wild and rebellious mountain tribes (II Chron. 4:1,2 & 2:18). (close)
a. 21:82; 27:18; 38:37. (close)
3139. Important Words:
رواح (evening course) is derived from راح which means, he went or journeyed or worked. They say راح الیھم i.e. he went to them or he went to them in the evening; or did a thing in the evening or in the afternoon; he went or journeyed at any time. الرواح is the going or journeying in the last or latter part of the day; or the going or journeying at any time of the day or night. ریح means, the wind; a good or pure thing; mercy; aid against an enemy; victory or conquest: predominance and power; a turn of good fortune (Lane & Aqrab). See also 8:47.
The verse speaks volumes for the vast extent of Solomon’s dominions and the peace and prosperity which reigned in his empire. Solomon’s dominions extended from northern Syria along the coast of the eastern Mediterranean down to the Red Sea, along the Arabian Sea and up to the Persian Gulf. In fact, in Solomon’s time, the Israelite empire had reached its zenith in wealth, power and prestige as the word ریح which, among other things, means power and conquests, used in the verse, shows. The verse also shows that Solomon possessed a large mercantile navy:
"And King Solomon made a navy of ships in Ezion-geber, which is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red Sea, in the land of Edom. And Hiram sent in the navy his servants, shipmen that had knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon. And they came to Ophire, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty tents and brought it to King Solomon" (1 Kings 9:26-28).
Solomon’s foreign alliances formed the basis for foreign commercial relations. From the Egyptians he bought chariots and horses, which he sold to the Hittites and other people of the north. With the Phoenicians he united in maritime commerce, sending out a fleet once in three years from Ezion-geber, at the head of the Gulf of Akaba, to Ophire, presumably on the eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. From this distant port, and others on the way, he derived fabulous amounts of gold and tropical products. These revenues gave him almost unlimited means for increasing the glory of his capital city and palace, and for the perfection of his civil and military organizations (Jew. Enc. vol. xi. p. 437).
The words, "And We caused a fount of molten copper to flow for him." signify the high stage to which industry and craftsmanship had developed under Solomon. He had erected factories in which copper was melted. In the Bible we have:
"Moreover, he made an altar of brass, twenty cubits the length thereof, and twenty cubits the breadth thereof and ten cubits the height thereof. Also he made a molten sea of ten cubits from brim to brim, round in compass and the height thereof was five cubits" (II Chronicles 4:1-2).
The expression. "And of the jinn were some who worked under him" shows that Solomon had conquered and pressed into service wild and rebellious mountain tribes who worked for him day and night. Incidentally, the verse shows that Solomon’s rule was firm and strong. A reference to this is also to be found in the Bible in II Chronicles, 2:18. (close)
یَعۡمَلُوۡنَ لَہٗ مَا یَشَآءُ مِنۡ مَّحَارِیۡبَ وَ تَمَاثِیۡلَ وَ جِفَانٍ کَالۡجَوَابِ وَ قُدُوۡرٍ رّٰسِیٰتٍ ؕ اِعۡمَلُوۡۤا اٰلَ دَاوٗدَ شُکۡرًا ؕ وَ قَلِیۡلٌ مِّنۡ عِبَادِیَ الشَّکُوۡرُ ﴿۱۴﴾
يَعۡمَلُونَ لَهُۥ مَا يَشَآءُ مِن مَّحَٰرِيبَ وَتَمَٰثِيلَ وَجِفَانٖ كَٱلۡجَوَابِ وَقُدُورٖ رَّاسِيَٰتٍۚ ٱعۡمَلُوٓاْ ءَالَ دَاوُۥدَ شُكۡرٗاۚ وَقَلِيلٞ مِّنۡ عِبَادِيَ ٱلشَّكُورُ
2381. Besides being a highly prosperous, powerful and civilized monarch, Solomon was the prince of builders among Israelite rulers. He had a special taste for architecture which had greatly developed under him. The Temple of Jerusalem bears an eloquent testimony to his fine architectural taste. (close)
a. 21:81. (close)
3140. Important Words:
محاریب (palaces) is the plural of محراب which among other things means, a palace; a mosque (Lane & Aqrab). See also 3:38.
جفان (basins) is the plural of جفنة which is an infinitive noun from جفن. They say جفن الناقة i.e. he slaughtered the she-camel and gave the flesh for food to the people in bowls. جفنة means, a large bowl or receptacle, particularly used for food; a small well; a generous man. جفنة غراء means, a generous man who entertains many guests and feeds many. He is so called because people are fed by him in the جفنة (Lane & Aqrab).
جواب (reservoirs) is the plural of جابیة which is derived from جبا. They say جبا الخراج i.e. he collected the tribute. جبا الماء فی الحوضmeans, he collected the water in the pond. جواب is the plural of جابیة which means, a large watering-trough in which water is collected for camels, a water reservoir; a company of men (Lane & Aqrab).
راسیات (fixed) is the plural of راسیة which is derived from رسا which means, it was or became fixed, firm, stable. قدر راسیةmeans, a cooking pot that will not be removed from its place on account of its large size and heaviness. جبال راسیة means, firm mountains (Lane & Aqrab). See also 16:16.
The verse shows that besides being a highly prosperous, powerful and civilized monarch, Solomon was the prince of builders among Israelite rulers. He had a special taste for architecture which had greatly developed under him. The Temple of Jerusalem bears an eloquent testimony to his fine architectural taste. (close)
فَلَمَّا قَضَیۡنَا عَلَیۡہِ الۡمَوۡتَ مَا دَلَّہُمۡ عَلٰی مَوۡتِہٖۤ اِلَّا دَآبَّۃُ الۡاَرۡضِ تَاۡکُلُ مِنۡسَاَتَہٗ ۚ فَلَمَّا خَرَّ تَبَیَّنَتِ الۡجِنُّ اَنۡ لَّوۡ کَانُوۡا یَعۡلَمُوۡنَ الۡغَیۡبَ مَا لَبِثُوۡا فِی الۡعَذَابِ الۡمُہِیۡنِ ﴿ؕ۱۵﴾
فَلَمَّا قَضَيۡنَا عَلَيۡهِ ٱلۡمَوۡتَ مَا دَلَّهُمۡ عَلَىٰ مَوۡتِهِۦٓ إِلَّا دَآبَّةُ ٱلۡأَرۡضِ تَأۡكُلُ مِنسَأَتَهُۥۖ فَلَمَّا خَرَّ تَبَيَّنَتِ ٱلۡجِنُّ أَن لَّوۡ كَانُواْ يَعۡلَمُونَ ٱلۡغَيۡبَ مَا لَبِثُواْ فِي ٱلۡعَذَابِ ٱلۡمُهِينِ
2382. Solomon’s worthless son and successor, Rehoboam, under whose weak rule Solomon’s great and mighty Kingdom fell to pieces (1 Kings, chaps. 12, 13, 14 & Jewish. Enc. under "Rehoboam"). (close)
2383. Disruption and disintegration of Solomon’s Kingdom set in in Rehoboam’s time. (close)
3141. Important Words:
منساة (staff) is derived from نسا. They say نسا الدابة i.e. he urged or drove the beast. منساة means, a staff or large stick, so called because a beast is driven with it; a pastor’s big staff (Lane & Aqrab).
The reference in the words "a worm of the earth" is to Solomon’s worthless son and successor, Rehoboam, under whose weak rule the great and mighty kingdom of Solomon fell to pieces. Besides leading a life of ease and luxury, he was surrounded by foolish and selfish counsellors whose bad advice led him to pursue a policy which brought about the ruin and downfall of the kingdom which had been reared on firm and sound footing by his great father. The wild mountain tribes realizing that the strong hand which had held them under subjection was no more, rebelled and revolted, with the result that disorder and chaos followed and Solomon’s mighty kingdom cracked and crumbled. See 1 Kings, Chaps. 12, 13, 14 & Jew. Enc. Under "Rehoboam."
The expression "that ate away his staff," signifies that the disruption and disintegration of Solomon’s kingdom set in Rehoboam’s time. (close)
لَقَدۡ کَانَ لِسَبَاٍ فِیۡ مَسۡکَنِہِمۡ اٰیَۃٌ ۚ جَنَّتٰنِ عَنۡ یَّمِیۡنٍ وَّ شِمَالٍ ۬ؕ کُلُوۡا مِنۡ رِّزۡقِ رَبِّکُمۡ وَ اشۡکُرُوۡا لَہٗ ؕ بَلۡدَۃٌ طَیِّبَۃٌ وَّ رَبٌّ غَفُوۡرٌ ﴿۱۶﴾
لَقَدۡ كَانَ لِسَبَإٖ فِي مَسۡكَنِهِمۡ ءَايَةٞۖ جَنَّتَانِ عَن يَمِينٖ وَشِمَالٖۖ كُلُواْ مِن رِّزۡقِ رَبِّكُمۡ وَٱشۡكُرُواْ لَهُۥۚ بَلۡدَةٞ طَيِّبَةٞ وَرَبٌّ غَفُورٞ
2383A. Saba’, as is mentioned under 27:23, was a city of Yemen situated about three days’ journey from San‘a’, also called Ma’arib. This town finds frequent references in the Old Testament and in Greek, Roman and Arabic literatures, especially in the south Arabian inscriptions. The Sabaeans were a highly prosperous and cultured people whom God had blessed in great abundance with all the comforts and amenities of life. The whole country was made very fertile by dams and other irrigation works and was full of gardens and streams. Of public works built to assist agriculture like barriers and dams the most celebrated was the dam of Ma’arib (Enc. of Islam, vol.4, p.16). Tirmidhi quotes a tradition on the authority of Farwah bin Malik that when asked whether Saba’ was the name of a land or of a woman, the Holy Prophet is reported to have said, 'It is neither the name of a land nor that of a woman, but the name of a man in Yemen who had ten sons. Six of them remained back in Yemen while four of them went to Syria and made it their home' (Taj). (close)
a. 16:113. (close)
The preceding verses having made a mention of the blessings and favours which God had bestowed upon the Israelites and which found their fullest expression in the highly prosperous reigns of David and Solomon, the present verse proceeds to refer to another very prosperous and happy people of their time—the people of Saba’. Saba’, as is mentioned under 27:23, was a city of Yemen situated about three days’ journey from San‘a’, also called Ma’arib.
"This town finds frequent reference in the Old Testament and in Greek, Roman and Arabic literature, especially in the South Arabian inscriptions. The Sabaeans were a highly civilized and prosperous people. The finds made in the country itself are in harmony with the various classical literary sources, which agree in showing that the Sabaeans attained the greatest importance of all Arab peoples of the pre-Muhammadan period, in particular of the four leading peoples of South Arabia who were known even to the Greeks. . .these still extant monuments of the once highly developed civilization, to which Sabaea mainly owed its historical importance...Agatharchides’s re-marks on the splendid buildings of the kings and private individuals in Saba’ and the descriptions of Sabaean castles by the Arabs are confirmed by the testimony of the inscriptions, which to a great extent commemorate the building of houses (palaces) and fortifications. Of public works built to assist agriculture like barriers and dams, the most celebrated was the dam of Ma’arib" (Enc. of Islam. vol. 4. p. 16).
Tirmidhi quotes a tradition on the authority of Farwah bin Malik that when asked whether Saba’ was the name of a land or of a woman, the Holy Prophet is reported to have said, 'It is neither the name of a land nor that of a woman but the name of a man in Yemen who had ten sons. Six of them remained in Yemen while four of them went to Syria. As for those who made Syria their home, they were Joham, Ghassan and Amila; and as for those who stayed back in Yemen they were Ash‘ariyyun, Himyar, Kandah, Madhpih and ‘Ammar. On being asked who were Ammar, the Prophet replied "Of them are Khath‘am and Bajilah"' (Taj).
The whole tenor of the verse shows that the Sabaeans were a highly prosperous and cultured people whom God had blessed in great abundance with all the comforts and amenities of life. The whole country seems to have been rendered very fertile by dams and other irrigation works and was full of gardens and streams.
According to Muir there were 70 stages or stops from Hadramaut to Aila on the road from Yemen to Syria. These stages even exist today. It was a very frequented and safe route, flanked on both sides by shady trees. (close)
فَاَعۡرَضُوۡا فَاَرۡسَلۡنَا عَلَیۡہِمۡ سَیۡلَ الۡعَرِمِ وَ بَدَّلۡنٰہُمۡ بِجَنَّتَیۡہِمۡ جَنَّتَیۡنِ ذَوَاتَیۡ اُکُلٍ خَمۡطٍ وَّ اَثۡلٍ وَّ شَیۡءٍ مِّنۡ سِدۡرٍ قَلِیۡلٍ ﴿۱۷﴾
فَأَعۡرَضُواْ فَأَرۡسَلۡنَا عَلَيۡهِمۡ سَيۡلَ ٱلۡعَرِمِ وَبَدَّلۡنَٰهُم بِجَنَّتَيۡهِمۡ جَنَّتَيۡنِ ذَوَاتَيۡ أُكُلٍ خَمۡطٖ وَأَثۡلٖ وَشَيۡءٖ مِّن سِدۡرٖ قَلِيلٖ
2384. ‘Arim means, a dam or dams constructed in valleys or torrent-beds; or a torrent of which the rush is not to be withstood; or violent rain (Lane). A mighty flood caused the dam of Ma’arib, to which the Sabaeans owed all their prosperity, to burst and inundate the whole area causing widespread ruin. A land full of beautiful gardens, streams and great works of art, was turned into a vast waste. The dam was about two miles long and 120 ft. high. It was destroyed about the first or second century A.D. (Palmer). (close)
3143. Important Words:
سیل العرم (fierce flood). سیل is derived from سال which means, it (the water) flowed. سیل means, a torrent, a flow of water; much water or a collection of rain-water flowing in a valley or water course. ماء سیل means, flowing or running water. عرم is derived from عرم (‘arama or ‘aruma) which means, he was or became evil in disposition; he behaved insolently or he was or became corrupt. عرم means, a dam or dams constructed in valleys or torrent-beds; or a torrent of which the rush is not to be withstood; or violent rain (Lane &Aqrab).
Such is the irony of human circumstances that whenever man is blessed with material comforts and amenities of life and leads a prosperous and successful life, then instead of being grateful to God for His blessings and favours, he becomes arrogant and begins to behave ungratefully and insolently. The Sabaeans were no exception to the common run of humanity. In the day of prosperity they fell into evil ways and defied and broke Divine laws. The inevitable nemesis seized them. The same dam of Ma’arib to which they owed all their wealth and prosperity caused their destruction. As the result of a mighty flood it burst and inundated the whole area causing wide-spread ruin. A land full of beautiful gardens, streams and great works of art was turned into a vast waste. The dam was about two miles long and 120 ft. high. It was destroyed about the first or second century A.D. (Palmer). (close)
ذٰلِکَ جَزَیۡنٰہُمۡ بِمَا کَفَرُوۡا ؕ وَ ہَلۡ نُجٰزِیۡۤ اِلَّا الۡکَفُوۡرَ ﴿۱۸﴾
ذَٰلِكَ جَزَيۡنَٰهُم بِمَا كَفَرُواْۖ وَهَلۡ نُجَٰزِيٓ إِلَّا ٱلۡكَفُورَ
This is how the ungrateful and the wicked are punished and the mighty are laid low. The verse constitutes a standing warning to Muslims to be on their guard against ingratitude and defiance of Divine commandments. (close)
وَ جَعَلۡنَا بَیۡنَہُمۡ وَ بَیۡنَ الۡقُرَی الَّتِیۡ بٰرَکۡنَا فِیۡہَا قُرًی ظَاہِرَۃً وَّ قَدَّرۡنَا فِیۡہَا السَّیۡرَ ؕ سِیۡرُوۡا فِیۡہَا لَیَالِیَ وَ اَیَّامًا اٰمِنِیۡنَ ﴿۱۹﴾
وَجَعَلۡنَا بَيۡنَهُمۡ وَبَيۡنَ ٱلۡقُرَى ٱلَّتِي بَٰرَكۡنَا فِيهَا قُرٗى ظَٰهِرَةٗ وَقَدَّرۡنَا فِيهَا ٱلسَّيۡرَۖ سِيرُواْ فِيهَا لَيَالِيَ وَأَيَّامًا ءَامِنِينَ
2385. The words, 'the towns which We had blessed,' refer to the towns of Palestine, the seat of Solomon’s government with which the Sabaeans carried on prosperous trade. The words, 'towns that were prominently visible,' signify that the towns were situated so near each other as to be easily visible, or the words may mean, prominent towns and show that the route from Yemen to Palestine and Syria vas very frequented, safe and well-populated. According to Muir there were 70 stages or stops from Hadarmaut to Ailah on the road from Yemen to Syria. It was a very frequented and safe route, flanked on both sides by shady trees. (close)
The words "the towns which we had blessed" refer to the towns of Palestine, the seat of Solomon’s government with which the Sabaeans carried on prosperous trade.
قری ظاھرة meaning towns situated so near to each other as to be easily visible; well known or prominent towns; towns situated on high ground, the verse shows that the route from Yemen to Palestine and Syria was very frequented, safe and prosperous and was densely populated and the towns in the way were situated so close to each other as to be easily visible. (close)
فَقَالُوۡا رَبَّنَا بٰعِدۡ بَیۡنَ اَسۡفَارِنَا وَ ظَلَمُوۡۤا اَنۡفُسَہُمۡ فَجَعَلۡنٰہُمۡ اَحَادِیۡثَ وَ مَزَّقۡنٰہُمۡ کُلَّ مُمَزَّقٍ ؕ اِنَّ فِیۡ ذٰلِکَ لَاٰیٰتٍ لِّکُلِّ صَبَّارٍ شَکُوۡرٍ ﴿۲۰﴾
فَقَالُواْ رَبَّنَا بَٰعِدۡ بَيۡنَ أَسۡفَارِنَا وَظَلَمُوٓاْ أَنفُسَهُمۡ فَجَعَلۡنَٰهُمۡ أَحَادِيثَ وَمَزَّقۡنَٰهُمۡ كُلَّ مُمَزَّقٍۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَأٓيَٰتٖ لِّكُلِّ صَبَّارٖ شَكُورٖ
2386. The words put in the mouth of the Sabaeans, in fact, describe their actual condition when they defied and disobeyed Divine commandments and consequently fell on evil days. The prosperous and frequented route became deserted and desolate. The words, 'place longer distances between the stages of our journeys,' signify that because many towns on the route fell into ruin, the distance between one stage to the other became much longer and less safe. The Sabaeans were so utterly destroyed that no sign or mark was left of them. They became only a subject for story-tellers. (close)
The words shown as spoken by the people of Saba’ in the verse were not actually spoken by them but are used to describe their actual condition when they defied and disobeyed Divine commandments and consequently fell on evil days. The prosperous and frequented route became deserted, and desolate. The words "place longer distances between the stages of our journey" signify that because many towns on the route fell into ruin, the distance between one stage to the other became much longer and less safe.
The expression "and so We made them by-words" means that the Sabaeans were so utterly destroyed that no sign or mark was left of them. They became only a subject for story-tellers. (close)