Introduction of Az-Zukhruf
(Revealed before Hijrah)
According to Qurtubi there exists complete unanimity of opinion among scholars that this Surah, like its three predecessors, was revealed at Mecca. Ibn ‘Abbas also lends his powerful support to this view. It is, however, difficult to assign an exact date to its revelation. Scholarly opinion generally is inclined to place it towards the end of the fourth or the beginning of the fifth year of the Call. The Surah takes its name from v. 36.
The previous Surah had ended on the note that the revelation which descends on heavenly Messengers and Prophets by Divine command possesses an element of mystery. It was further stated that before revelation actually descended upon the Holy Prophet he was not conversant with its nature and significance, nor did he know what faith was. The present Surah opens with the affirmation that because the Quran has been revealed in a most clear and eloquent language and because it also deals with all basic truths and its teaching is easily comprehensible, therefore, in spite of the element of mystery in its revelation, there is no reasonable ground for anyone to reject it. It further says that God would not stop sending fresh revelation whenever there was genuine need for it, just as Prophets of God did not cease to come because they were mocked and jeered at. The system of the coming of Divine Reformers will continue despite anything the disbelievers might say or do.
The Surah, like its three predecessors, opens with the declaration that the Quran has been revealed by God, the Lord of all Honour and Praise, and proceeds to deal with the subject of Divine Unity—its basic theme—in a way and form different from that in which it has been dealt with in other Surahs of the Ha Mim group. It further says that God, in order to establish His Unity, has been sending, from time immemorial, His Messengers and Prophets. They preached and taught that God was One. They were rejected and opposed and persecuted. But this did not cause God to stop sending new Prophets and new revelations. Prophets continued to appear in the fullness of time, and the greatest of them came in the person of the Holy Prophet Muhammad.
The Surah further develops this argument and says that God has created the heavens and the earth for the service of man, and that He has made full provision for his physical needs. Whenever the earth becomes dry and parched, and life is on the verge of extinction, God sends down fresh rain from heaven and the earth begins to vibrate with new life. When God has taken so much care to provide for the material needs of man and for his physical comforts, it is inconceivable that He should have neglected or ignored to make similar provision for his moral and spiritual needs. It is to meet man’s moral needs that God sends a new Prophet and a new revelation. But such is man’s ingratitude that instead of giving thanks to God for His multifarious and multitudinous favours and instead of acknowledging His Unity, he, in his ignorance and folly, begins to set up equals to God in various shapes and forms; and even goes so far as to shift his responsibility for his idolatrous practices to God, brazenly saying that if God had so willed, he would not have worshipped idols. To this blasphemy the Surah gives a devastating reply to the effect that not only do human intelligence and common sense revolt at this impudent reasoning of disbelievers, there is no Scriptural evidence either in their possession that might support their false beliefs. Their stock argument consists in the fact that their beliefs and practices came down to them from their forefathers and that they were not prepared to give up the time-honoured ways of their ancestors for the sake of a man who was just an ordinary mortal like them. The argument is absurd. Yet, this was the foolish plea on which all the Prophets of God were rejected in their respective times. And the result was that the rejecters were punished.
In order to expose the absurdity of this plea and to accuse the disbelieving Quraish, from their own mouths, the Surah cites the example of the Prophet Abraham. It seems to say to them, "If you cannot give up the faith of your forefathers; and you must follow them, then why do you not follow Abraham, your great ancestor, who was an uncompromising iconoclast and a strict and sincere believer in the Oneness of God. He was so firm a believer in Divine Unity and preached this belief to his children and grandchildren with such perseverance and sincerity that it stayed in his posterity for a very long time. But, says the Surah, the plea of following ancestral beliefs put forward by disbelievers is a false pretext. The real cause of their disbelief lies in their wealth which has made them proud and arrogant, and in their pride they say that the Quran should have been revealed to a man of some consequence in one of the two great cities of Arabia. In answer to this arrogant assumption of superiority the disbelievers receive a severe rebuke and are told: Since when have they arrogated to themselves the right to be the distributors of God’s grace and mercy and to decide who is deserving of it and who not? By implication they are further told that what they call greatness carries no weight in the sight of God. Material wealth and power are trash compared to the great spiritual wealth which the Holy Prophet possesses. In order to drive home to them the paltriness of the things of this world, the Surah proceeds to say, that were it not that the obliteration of disparity of wealth, position and status would have made existence of social order impossible and created complete chaos, God would have given to disbelievers tons of gold and silver, so much so that even the stairways of their houses would have been of gold! These things were nothing in God’s sight. The disbelievers are further warned that if indulgence in these things made them oblivious of God, they will fall into the Satan’s trap which will bring about their ruin.
Next, the Surah tells the Holy Prophet that his duty is confined to the preaching of the Message of Islam. The disbelievers have persistently shut their eyes and ears to this Message, and by deliberately choosing to grope in the dark and to sink deeper and deeper into sin, they have drawn Divine wrath upon their heads. They will be seized with punishment but only after the Prophet’s departure from among them. The Holy Prophet is comforted that the treatment he has received at the hands of his people is just like the treatment which disbelievers in the past meted out to their Prophets. Like him, the earlier Prophets preached Unity of God and like him they were rejected, opposed and persecuted. Moses was one of those Prophets. He was sent to Pharaoh and his chiefs, with the message of truth. He showed them many signs, each being greater than its forerunner. But, for all the signs shown by him, Moses only received derision and mockery. Pharaoh mockingly asked his people whether he (Pharaoh) was not the monarch of the whole of Egypt and the possessor of great wealth and position? Was he not better than Moses, who was poor and unable to even express himself properly? Did Moses possess any wealth, or did angels descend from Heaven to bear witness to his truth? What, after all, was Moses’ claim to their allegiance? This is how by rejecting Moses, Pharaoh excited God’s wrath, and his destruction served as an object-lesson for those who might dare oppose Divine Messengers, or reject them.
As stated above, the main theme of this Surah is the unsparing denunciation of idolatry and false gods. But while Jesus is worshipped as God by Christians, the Quran not only does not condemn him but actually mentions his name with great respect. At this exception of Jesus the disbelieving Quraish naturally took great offence. To explain this exception, the Surah towards its close makes a little digression. It says that the reason for this exception is that Jesus was a noble Prophet of God and that he invited his people to worship Allah alone Who was his and their Lord. But his people ignored his teachings and deified him. So the fault lay with his people and not with him, so the people will be punished for their idolatry and polytheistic beliefs.
Towards the end, the Surah holds out a warning to disbelievers that if they did not give up wrong beliefs and evil practices they will burn in the fire of Hell. It gives to the righteous the glad tidings that they will go to "Gardens of Eternity" wherein they will have what they desire, and that the Divine blessings and boons they will enjoy will know no end. The Surah ends on a brief but most clear and convincing discourse on the Unity of God, which is its main subject.
یہ سورت مکی ہے اور بسم اللہ سمیت اس کی نوے آیات ہیں۔
اس سورت کے آغاز ہی میں لفظ اُمّ کی تکرار ہے۔ گزشتہ سورت میں اُمّ القُریٰ کا ذکر تھا کہ مکہ سب بستیوں کی ماں ہے اور یہاں سورۃ فاتحہ کا ذکر ہے جو اس عظیم الشان کلام کی ماں کی حیثیت رکھتی ہے۔ یعنی سارے قرآن کریم کے مضامین اس میں اس طرح سمیٹ دیئے گئے ہیں جیسے رِحم مادر اس بات کا احاطہ کرتا ہے کہ انسان کو پیدائش سے پہلے ان تمام صفات سے مرصّع کردیا جائے جو اُس کے لئے مقدر ہیں۔
پھر فرمایا گیا کہ جب تم سمندری یا زمینی سفر کرتے ہو تو یاد کرلیا کرو کہ اللہ ہی ہے جس نے سمندر میں چلنے والی کشتیوں کو یا زمین میں چلنے والے جانوروں کو، جن پر تم سواری کرتے ہو، تمہارے لئے مسخر کردیا ہے۔ اور تم میں سے بہت سے ایسے ہوں گے جو حادثات کا شکار ہوکر اُن منازل کو نہیں پاسکیں گے جن کی خاطر وہ روانہ ہوئے تھے۔ لیکن یاد رکھنا کہ آخری منزل وہی ہے جس میں تم اللہ کے حضور حاضر ہونے والے ہو۔ اس سورت کی پہلی آیات تو اہل کتاب کا تذکرہ کرتی ہیں اور بعد میں آنے والی آیات مشرکین کا۔ چنانچہ اس کے بعد گزشتہ انبیاء جو بالخصوص مشرک قوموں کی طرف مبعوث ہوئے تھے، ان کا اور ان کے انکار کے نتائج کا ذکر ہے جو منکرین کو بھگتنا پڑے۔ اللہ تعالیٰ اس سے پہلے تمام بنی نوع انسان کو ایک ہاتھ پر جمع کرنے کا ذکر فرما رہا ہے اور فرماتا ہے کہ اگر ہم نے ایسا کرنا ہوتا تو اِن دنیا کے حریصوں کو اکٹھا کرنے کی صرف ایک صورت ہوسکتی تھی کہ ان کے گھروں کو سونے چاندی اور دیگر نعمتوں سے بھر دیتے۔ لیکن یہ تو محض ایک ایسا ظاہری عیش و عشرت کا سامان ہوتا جس کی کوئی بھی حقیقت نہیں اور صرف دنیا کی چند روزہ عارضی دولت ان کو نصیب ہوتی لیکن آخرت تو صرف متقیوں ہی کو نصیب ہوا کرتی ہے۔ اس جگہ ہدایت پر لوگوں کے جمع نہ ہونے کا ایک سبب یہ بھی بیان فرمایا گیا کہ ان کے ساتھی بے دین ہوتے ہیں اور ان کے اثر کے تابع وہ بھی دہریت کا شکار ہو جاتے ہیں۔ لیکن قیامت کے دن ان میں سے ہر ایسا شخص جس کے بدساتھی نے اس پر بُرا اثر ڈالا ہو، اپنے اس بدساتھی کو مخاطب کرتے ہوئے اس حسرت کا اظہار کرے گا کہ کاش میرے اور تمہارے درمیان مشرق و مغرب کا بُعد ہوتا تو مَیں اس بدانجام کو نہ پہنچتا۔ اس سورت میں ایک اَور بہت اہم آیت حضرت مسیح علیہ الصلوٰۃ والسلام کے نزول کی کیفیت سے پردہ اٹھا رہی ہے جس میں بیان فرمایا گیا ہے کہ حضرت مسیح تو ایک مَثَل تھے اور مشرکوں کے سامنے جب حضرت مسیح علیہ الصلوٰۃ والسلام کا ذکر کیا جاتا تھا تو وہ آنحضرت صلی اللہ علیہ و سلم کو مخاطب ہوکر یہ کہتے تھے کہ اگر غیراللہ کو ہی قبول کرنا ہے تو دوسری قوم کے غیراللہ کو قبول کرنے کی بجائے اپنی قوم کے ہی غیراللہ کو کیوں قبول نہیں کرلیتے۔ وہ اس بات کو سمجھتے نہیں تھے کہ مسیح خدا نہیں تھے بلکہ وہ اللہ کے ایک انعام یافتہ بندے تھے اور ان کے لئے محض ایک مثال تھے جن سے بہت سے سبق حاصل کئے جاسکتے تھے۔ پھر اسی سورت میں یہ پیشگوئی فرمادی گئی ہے کہ آئندہ بھی مَثَل کے طور پر مسیح نازل ہوگا جو اس علامت کے طور پر ہوگا کہ عظیم انقلاب کی گھڑی آگئی ہے۔ اس سورت میں آنحضرت صلی اللہ علیہ و سلم کا یہ عظیم مقام بیان فرمایا گیا ہے کہ آپؐ اللہ تعالیٰ کی سب سے بڑھ کر عبادت کرنے والے ہیں۔ اگر واقعۃً اللہ تعالیٰ کا کوئی بیٹا ہوتا تو آپؐ ہرگز اس کی عبادت سے اعراض نہ کرتے۔ پس آپؐ کا اللہ تعالیٰ کے کسی فرضی بیٹے کی عبادت سے انکار قطعی طور پر ثابت کرتا ہے کہ آنحضرت صلی اللہ علیہ و سلم اس کامل یقین پر قائم تھے کہ اللہ تعالیٰ کا کوئی بیٹا نہیں ہے۔
بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِ﴿۱﴾
بِسۡمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
a. 1:1. (close)
a. See 1:1. (close)
See. 1:1. (close)
b. 44:2; 45:2. (close)
2668A. See 2592 and 2643. (close)
For an explanation of حم see 40:2, 41:2 and 42:2. (close)
وَ الۡکِتٰبِ الۡمُبِیۡنِ ۙ﴿ۛ۳﴾
b. See 44:2. (close)
و (by) may also mean, We cite as witness. See 41:4. (close)
اِنَّا جَعَلۡنٰہُ قُرۡءٰنًا عَرَبِیًّا لَّعَلَّکُمۡ تَعۡقِلُوۡنَ ۚ﴿۴﴾
إِنَّا جَعَلۡنَٰهُ قُرۡءَٰنًا عَرَبِيّٗا لَّعَلَّكُمۡ تَعۡقِلُونَ
c. 39:29; 42:8; 46:13. (close)
c. 20:114; 39:29; 42:8; 46:13. (close)
The Surah being the fourth of the Ha Mim group, naturally opens with the important subject of the revelation of the Quran. See also 12:3; 20:114 and 41:4. (close)
وَ اِنَّہٗ فِیۡۤ اُمِّ الۡکِتٰبِ لَدَیۡنَا لَعَلِیٌّ حَکِیۡمٌ ؕ﴿۵﴾
وَإِنَّهُۥ فِيٓ أُمِّ ٱلۡكِتَٰبِ لَدَيۡنَا لَعَلِيٌّ حَكِيمٌ
2669. Ummul-Kitab, meaning sources of the commandments (Lane), the expression signifies that the Qur’an existed in the knowledge of God—the Original Source—as the basis of the Shari‘ah, or it may signify that it was eternally decreed that the Qur’an would form the basis of the last Divine Law. (close)
3644. Important Words:
أم means, mother; source, origin or basis of a thing or its stay or support; place of collection or comprehension and combination of a thing. أم الکتاب meaning, Mother of the Book signifies source of commandments; basis of the Book (Lane & Aqrab). See also 3:8; 13:40.
The word أم signifying the original source, the expression انه فی أم الکتاب would mean that the Quran existed in the knowledge of God—the original source, or it may signify that this was in the knowledge of God and was eternally decreed that the Quran would form the basis of the Last Perfect Law which God would reveal for the guidance of humanity. (close)
اَفَنَضۡرِبُ عَنۡکُمُ الذِّکۡرَ صَفۡحًا اَنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ قَوۡمًا مُّسۡرِفِیۡنَ ﴿۶﴾
أَفَنَضۡرِبُ عَنكُمُ ٱلذِّكۡرَ صَفۡحًا أَن كُنتُمۡ قَوۡمٗا مُّسۡرِفِينَ
2670. Duraba ‘an-hu means, he left him and turned away from him. Safaha ‘an-hu also means, he turned away from him and left him. The Quranic expression means, 'Shall We take away the Reminder from you and turn Ourselves away from you and leave you without guidance' (Lane)? (close)
2671. Heavenly Reminders in the form of Divine Signs will never cease to come. If rejection of Heavenly Signs had been a reasonable ground that they should discontinue to appear, then no Prophet would have come after the first one. But Prophets continued to appear. (close)
3645. Important Words:
أفنضرب (shall We take away). ضربه means, he struck him. They say, ضرب الدھر بیننا i.e. the time separated us. ضرب عنه means, he shunned, left or avoided him or turned away from him (Lane & Aqrab).
صفحا (neglecting) is derived from صفح. They say صفح عنه i.e. he turned away from him or he turned away from him and left him; he turned away from his sins, or he forgave him. ضربت عنه صفحا means, I turned away from him and left him. The word صفحاً is here an infinitive-noun and therefore is in the accus. case as in the phrase قعدت جلوساً (I sat down); or it is in the accus. case as an adv. noun, and the meaning is, I turned away from him aside.أفنضرب عنکم الذکر صفحاً would thus mean, shall We take away the Reminder from you or separate you from the Reminder and turn away Ourselves from you and neglect you. Or shall We then turn away the Reminder from you, and not invite you thereby to the Faith, turning away Ourselves from you. Or shall We then neglect you and not teach you what is incumbent on you (Lane & Aqrab). See also 2:274 and 15:86.
The verse means to say that Heavenly Reminders in the form of Divine signs will never cease to come. If rejection of heavenly signs had been a reasonable ground for their discontinuance no Prophet would have come after the first one. But Prophets continued to appear and to show signs in spite of the fact that most of them were rejected. The Prophets are sent to the world to lead men to God and to warn wrongdoers of the evil consequences of their transgressions and iniquitous behaviour. So long as man needs to be guided and led to God—and man will need guidance till the end of time—and so long as there are wicked men in the world who require to be warned and reformed, so long will Prophets continue to appear. (close)
وَ کَمۡ اَرۡسَلۡنَا مِنۡ نَّبِیٍّ فِی الۡاَوَّلِیۡنَ ﴿۷﴾
وَكَمۡ أَرۡسَلۡنَا مِن نَّبِيّٖ فِي ٱلۡأَوَّلِينَ
d. 15:11. (close)
a. 15:11. (close)
The verse purports to say that though earlier Prophets were rejected and opposed, yet God did not cease to send new Prophets on that account. So this system of the coming of heavenly Teachers will continue till the end of time and the jeering and opposition of disbelievers and their evil deeds will not stop it. (close)
وَ مَا یَاۡتِیۡہِمۡ مِّنۡ نَّبِیٍّ اِلَّا کَانُوۡا بِہٖ یَسۡتَہۡزِءُوۡنَ ﴿۸﴾
وَمَا يَأۡتِيهِم مِّن نَّبِيٍّ إِلَّا كَانُواْ بِهِۦ يَسۡتَهۡزِءُونَ
a. 15:12; 36:31. (close)
b. 15:12; 36:31. (close)
فَاَہۡلَکۡنَاۤ اَشَدَّ مِنۡہُمۡ بَطۡشًا وَّ مَضٰی مَثَلُ الۡاَوَّلِیۡنَ ﴿۹﴾
فَأَهۡلَكۡنَآ أَشَدَّ مِنۡهُم بَطۡشٗا وَمَضَىٰ مَثَلُ ٱلۡأَوَّلِينَ
وَ لَئِنۡ سَاَلۡتَہُمۡ مَّنۡ خَلَقَ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضَ لَیَقُوۡلُنَّ خَلَقَہُنَّ الۡعَزِیۡزُ الۡعَلِیۡمُ ﴿ۙ۱۰﴾
وَلَئِن سَأَلۡتَهُم مَّنۡ خَلَقَ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضَ لَيَقُولُنَّ خَلَقَهُنَّ ٱلۡعَزِيزُ ٱلۡعَلِيمُ
For an explanation of this verse see vv. 27:61, 62. (close)