وَ اِنۡ کَانَ کَبُرَ عَلَیۡکَ اِعۡرَاضُہُمۡ فَاِنِ اسۡتَطَعۡتَ اَنۡ تَبۡتَغِیَ نَفَقًا فِی الۡاَرۡضِ اَوۡ سُلَّمًا فِی السَّمَآءِ فَتَاۡتِیَہُمۡ بِاٰیَۃٍ ؕ وَ لَوۡ شَآءَ اللّٰہُ لَجَمَعَہُمۡ عَلَی الۡہُدٰی فَلَا تَکُوۡنَنَّ مِنَ الۡجٰہِلِیۡنَ ﴿۳۶﴾
وَإِن كَانَ كَبُرَ عَلَيۡكَ إِعۡرَاضُهُمۡ فَإِنِ ٱسۡتَطَعۡتَ أَن تَبۡتَغِيَ نَفَقٗا فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِ أَوۡ سُلَّمٗا فِي ٱلسَّمَآءِ فَتَأۡتِيَهُم بِـَٔايَةٖۚ وَلَوۡ شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ لَجَمَعَهُمۡ عَلَى ٱلۡهُدَىٰۚ فَلَا تَكُونَنَّ مِنَ ٱلۡجَٰهِلِينَ
844. The words, to seek a passage into the earth, signify 'using worldly means,' i.e. preaching and propagating the truth; and the words, a ladder unto heaven, imply 'using spiritual means,' i.e. offering prayers to God for the guidance of disbelievers, etc. Prayer is indeed the ladder by which a man can spiritually mount to heaven. The Holy Prophet is told to employ both these means. The word Jahil as in 2:274 means "one not knowing" or "unacquainted." The Holy Prophet is exhorted not to remain unacquainted with the law of God in this respect. The verse also sheds light on the Holy Prophet’s great solicitude and concern for the spiritual well-being of his people. He was prepared to go to any length to bring them a Sign, even if he had "to seek a passage in the earth or a ladder unto heaven." (close)
b. 5:49; 6:150; 11:119; 13:32; 16:10. (close)
c. 5:49; 6:150; 11:119; 13:32; 16:10. (close)
783. Important Words:
نفقا (passage). نفق means, a hole or a passage bored into or through the earth and having an opening at the other end (Aqrab). See also 9:67.
سلما (ladder) is derived from سلم (sallama). They say سلمه i.e. he made him safe and secure. سلمه الیه means, he gave or delivered it to him. سلم (sullam) means, a ladder or series of stairs or steps meant for ascending. It is so called because it delivers one to the place to which one desires to go. The word also signifies a means to a thing (Lane).
The words, to seek a passage into the earth, signify using worldly means, i.e. preaching and propagating the truth in the earth in order to strengthen the faith; and the words, a ladder unto Heaven, imply using spiritual means, i.e. offering up prayers to God for the guidance of disbelievers, etc. Prayer is indeed the ladder by which a man can mount to Heaven.
The Holy Prophet has been told here that God is not going to compel men to embrace Islam; if he desires their wholesale conversion he should assiduously follow the two prescribed courses, one earthly and the other heavenly. He should, on the one hand, devote himself vigorously to preaching and propagating the truth; and, on the other, he should fervently pray to God that He may guide mankind and help the cause of Islam.
It goes without saying that the Holy Prophet acted upon both these methods to the fullest extent, as a result of which God helped the cause of Islam, so much so that within a small space of time the whole of Arabia was converted.
The word جاھل (one lacking knowledge) is here used only in the sense of one not knowing or unacquainted, and not in the stronger sense of ignorant. It has been also used in this sense in other verses of the Quran. For instance, we read in 2:274; "One who does not know them (the needy) thinks them to be free from want", i.e. those who are unacquainted with the real condition of the poor, think them to be well off. In the verse under comment, the Holy Prophet has been exhorted not to remain unacquainted with the law of God in this respect.
It should also be noted that it was not by way of rebuke, as some have thought, that the Holy Prophet was asked to seek a passage into the earth or a ladder into the sky. The words become meaningless, if taken in that light. What is meant is simply the suggestion of two ways of success which, when acted upon, proved wonderfully effective. (close)
اِنَّمَا یَسۡتَجِیۡبُ الَّذِیۡنَ یَسۡمَعُوۡنَ ؕؔ وَ الۡمَوۡتٰی یَبۡعَثُہُمُ اللّٰہُ ثُمَّ اِلَیۡہِ یُرۡجَعُوۡنَ ﴿۳۷﴾
۞إِنَّمَا يَسۡتَجِيبُ ٱلَّذِينَ يَسۡمَعُونَۘ وَٱلۡمَوۡتَىٰ يَبۡعَثُهُمُ ٱللَّهُ ثُمَّ إِلَيۡهِ يُرۡجَعُونَ
844A. This shows that the word Mauta has also been used in the Qur’an about those deprived of truth. (close)
845. The verse mentions two classes of men: (a) Those who are good at heart and listen to, and readily accept, the truth; and (b) those who are potentially dead but are fit for spiritual regeneration. God will quicken them with a Sign and then they will also listen and embrace Islam. (close)
The verse signifies that those who are good of heart and are willing to listen will readily accept the truth as the result of preaching. As for those who are potentially dead but are fit for rejuvenation, God will quicken them with a sign and then they will listen and embrace Islam. Thus, it was that when God showed His sign at the Fall of Mecca, the whole of Arabia embraced Islam, and the Word of God was fulfilled. (close)
وَ قَالُوۡا لَوۡ لَا نُزِّلَ عَلَیۡہِ اٰیَۃٌ مِّنۡ رَّبِّہٖ ؕ قُلۡ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ قَادِرٌ عَلٰۤی اَنۡ یُّنَزِّلَ اٰیَۃً وَّ لٰکِنَّ اَکۡثَرَ ہُمۡ لَا یَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۳۸﴾
وَقَالُواْ لَوۡلَا نُزِّلَ عَلَيۡهِ ءَايَةٞ مِّن رَّبِّهِۦۚ قُلۡ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ قَادِرٌ عَلَىٰٓ أَن يُنَزِّلَ ءَايَةٗ وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكۡثَرَهُمۡ لَا يَعۡلَمُونَ
a. 10:21; 29:51. (close)
a. 10:21; 29:51. (close)
The words, Allah has power to send down a sign, do not mean that though God has the power to send down a sign, yet He will not actually do so. The word قادر (having power) used as active participle is intended to denote readiness to show the required power and the closing words of the verse support that inference.
The word قادر also embodies the sense of measuring and determining (Lane). In this sense, the clause would mean that God is devising means for the success of Islam, for people are already joining Islam and swelling the number of Muslims. This is a clear indication of the will of God, but disbelievers would not ponder over it. The Quran makes this point clear by suitable illustrations in the following verse. (close)
وَ مَا مِنۡ دَآبَّۃٍ فِی الۡاَرۡضِ وَ لَا طٰٓئِرٍ یَّطِیۡرُ بِجَنَاحَیۡہِ اِلَّاۤ اُمَمٌ اَمۡثَالُکُمۡ ؕ مَا فَرَّطۡنَا فِی الۡکِتٰبِ مِنۡ شَیۡءٍ ثُمَّ اِلٰی رَبِّہِمۡ یُحۡشَرُوۡنَ ﴿۳۹﴾
وَمَا مِن دَآبَّةٖ فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَلَا طَـٰٓئِرٖ يَطِيرُ بِجَنَاحَيۡهِ إِلَّآ أُمَمٌ أَمۡثَالُكُمۚ مَّا فَرَّطۡنَا فِي ٱلۡكِتَٰبِ مِن شَيۡءٖۚ ثُمَّ إِلَىٰ رَبِّهِمۡ يُحۡشَرُونَ
b. 11:7, 57. (close)
846. The verse points out that even birds and insects, like ants, can understand from atmospheric change that a storm is imminent, and animals like dogs understand the orders of their masters but the foolish disbelievers do not see the writing on the wall and do not realize that by rejecting the Holy Prophet they are incurring the displeasure of God. They are warned that all their actions have been recorded and they will have to answer for them. The verse further seems to point to two classes of men: (a) Those who like the beasts are wholly bent upon the earth and their entire life is confined to satisfying their physical desires. (b) Those who like birds soar high into spiritual regions—highly spiritual persons having been likened to birds in the Qur’an (3:50). (close)
c. 16:90. (close)
b. 11:7, 57. (close)
c. 16:90. (close)
786. Important Words:
امم (communities), which is derived from ام i.e. he betook himself to or aimed at or sought, is the plural of امة which means, a way, course or manner of acting or of conduct or of life; religion, which is a course that men follow; the followers of a religion; or a people to whom a Prophet is sent, whether unbelievers or believers; a generation; a nation, a people, a race, a tribe or a family; a collective body of men or of other living beings; a kind, genus or generical class; creatures of God. It also means, a righteous man who is an object of imitation, being a model for others; or one who follows the true religion; or a learned man who has no equal in his time (Lane).
امثال (like) is the plural مثل (mathal) and مثل (mithl), both being derived from the verb مثل for which see 2:107. مثل (mathal) means, description, condition, state or case; a description by way of comparison; similitude; argument or sign, etc. The word is also used in the sense of مثل (mithl) which means, a like; one similar to; the thing itself, i.e. the same as (Aqrab Lane).
The Quran draws the attention of disbelievers to the animals that move on the earth and to the birds that fly in the air. Even animals and birds can understand by means of signs that a change has taken place in the season, but disbelievers are worse than these; for they do not see the signs which indicate that Islam is triumphing while disbelief is beating a retreat. Even a dog can see whether its master is angry or pleased; but disbelievers cannot see whether their Lord is displeased with them. Thus, both the birds that fly in the air and the animals that move on the earth are, in this respect, better than disbelievers.
Incidentally, the verse also hints that even birds and animals will be resurrected and requited for their actions like men. The resemblance between the requital of men and animals may not be perfect, but it is still there. Some of the sayings of the Holy Prophet also lend support to this conclusion; for it is said in a hadith that the horned goat shall be made to pay penalty to the goat without horns which it kills or injures (Muslim, ch. on Tahrimuz-Zulm).
The last words of the verse, i.e. We have left out nothing in the Book. Then to their Lord shall they be gathered together, may also refer to disbelievers. In that case, this part of the verse would mean that all the works of disbelievers will be preserved and nothing will be left out, and that they will finally be requited for their actions on the Day of Resurrection. (close)
وَ الَّذِیۡنَ کَذَّبُوۡا بِاٰیٰتِنَا صُمٌّ وَّ بُکۡمٌ فِی الظُّلُمٰتِ ؕ مَنۡ یَّشَاِ اللّٰہُ یُضۡلِلۡہُ ؕ وَ مَنۡ یَّشَاۡ یَجۡعَلۡہُ عَلٰی صِرَاطٍ مُّسۡتَقِیۡمٍ ﴿۴۰﴾
وَٱلَّذِينَ كَذَّبُواْ بِـَٔايَٰتِنَا صُمّٞ وَبُكۡمٞ فِي ٱلظُّلُمَٰتِۗ مَن يَشَإِ ٱللَّهُ يُضۡلِلۡهُ وَمَن يَشَأۡ يَجۡعَلۡهُ عَلَىٰ صِرَٰطٖ مُّسۡتَقِيمٖ
d. 2:19, 172; 27:81, 82; 30:53, 54. (close)
a. 2:19,172; 27:81-82; 30:53-54. (close)
قُلۡ اَرَءَیۡتَکُمۡ اِنۡ اَتٰٮکُمۡ عَذَابُ اللّٰہِ اَوۡ اَتَتۡکُمُ السَّاعَۃُ اَغَیۡرَ اللّٰہِ تَدۡعُوۡنَ ۚ اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ صٰدِقِیۡنَ ﴿۴۱﴾
قُلۡ أَرَءَيۡتَكُمۡ إِنۡ أَتَىٰكُمۡ عَذَابُ ٱللَّهِ أَوۡ أَتَتۡكُمُ ٱلسَّاعَةُ أَغَيۡرَ ٱللَّهِ تَدۡعُونَ إِن كُنتُمۡ صَٰدِقِينَ
e. 6:48; 12:108; 43:67. (close)
847. "Hour" refers to the hour of the decisive victory of Islam, or, to the Fall of Mecca. (close)
b. 6:48; 12:108; 43:67. (close)
The word "Hour" refers to the Hour of the decisive victory of Islam, or, in other words, the Fall of Mecca. Thus, whereas "punishment" refers to ordinary afflictions, "Hour" refers to the final and decisive event of the struggle. The question put in this verse is answered in the next. (close)
بَلۡ اِیَّاہُ تَدۡعُوۡنَ فَیَکۡشِفُ مَا تَدۡعُوۡنَ اِلَیۡہِ اِنۡ شَآءَ وَ تَنۡسَوۡنَ مَا تُشۡرِکُوۡنَ ﴿٪۴۲﴾
بَلۡ إِيَّاهُ تَدۡعُونَ فَيَكۡشِفُ مَا تَدۡعُونَ إِلَيۡهِ إِن شَآءَ وَتَنسَوۡنَ مَا تُشۡرِكُونَ
a. 10:23, 24. (close)
848. The words, you will forget what you associate with Him, were literally fulfilled on the day of the Fall of Mecca. On that day the Meccans lost all faith in their gods, as Abu Sufyan and his wife, Hindah and others had frankly admitted in the presence of the Holy Prophet. Ultimately, idolatry completely disappeared from Arabia. (close)
a. 10:23-24. (close)
The opening words of the verse contain the answer to the question put in the previous verse. The words, then will He remove that which you call on Him to remove, were fulfilled by the general pardon which the Holy Prophet granted to disbelievers at the Fall of Mecca. The memorable words spoken by him on that occasion were: "Go, I forgive you all. Go, you are free" (Zurqani, ii. 328).
The words, you will forget what you associate with Him, were also signally fulfilled on that day. At the Fall of Mecca, the Meccans lost all faith in their gods, as Abu Sufyan and his wife, Hind, and others frankly admitted in the presence of the Holy Prophet. Ultimately, idolatry disappeared from Arabia. (close)
وَ لَقَدۡ اَرۡسَلۡنَاۤ اِلٰۤی اُمَمٍ مِّنۡ قَبۡلِکَ فَاَخَذۡنٰہُمۡ بِالۡبَاۡسَآءِ وَ الضَّرَّآءِ لَعَلَّہُمۡ یَتَضَرَّعُوۡنَ ﴿۴۳﴾
وَلَقَدۡ أَرۡسَلۡنَآ إِلَىٰٓ أُمَمٖ مِّن قَبۡلِكَ فَأَخَذۡنَٰهُم بِٱلۡبَأۡسَآءِ وَٱلضَّرَّآءِ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَتَضَرَّعُونَ
b. 7:95. (close)
849. The preceding verses referred to Divine punishment in general. In this verse its various forms have been mentioned. (close)
The previous verses referred to Divine punishment in general. In this verse its various forms have been mentioned. Many have an erroneous idea of Divine punishment, which not unoften comes veiled in the form of ordinary afflictions. In fact, all financial and bodily misfortunes, e.g. poverty, disease, etc. are in one sense or another, punishments from God. They are not generally meant to destroy men but to make them reform themselves and turn to God. (close)
فَلَوۡلَاۤ اِذۡ جَآءَہُمۡ بَاۡسُنَا تَضَرَّعُوۡا وَ لٰکِنۡ قَسَتۡ قُلُوۡبُہُمۡ وَ زَیَّنَ لَہُمُ الشَّیۡطٰنُ مَا کَانُوۡا یَعۡمَلُوۡنَ ﴿۴۴﴾
فَلَوۡلَآ إِذۡ جَآءَهُم بَأۡسُنَا تَضَرَّعُواْ وَلَٰكِن قَسَتۡ قُلُوبُهُمۡ وَزَيَّنَ لَهُمُ ٱلشَّيۡطَٰنُ مَا كَانُواْ يَعۡمَلُونَ
850. The words lau la are not here used to express mere interrogation but also a feeling of pity. Thus the verse signifies: "They ought to have humbled themselves before God; but it is a pity that they did not." (close)
c. 2:75; 57:17. (close)
d. 6:123; 8:49; 16:64; 29:39. (close)
a. 2:75; 57:17. (close)
b. 6:123; 8:49; 16:64; 29:39. (close)
The words لولا (why not) are here used not to express mere interrogation, but also to express feelings of pity. Thus the verse signifies, "They ought to have humbled themselves before God; but it is a pity that they did not."
The afflictions were really a mercy from God, but, instead of turning to God, the people became hard-hearted. When misfortunes befell them, they ascribed them not to their own iniquities but to the Prophets.
The words, all that they did, refer to the hostile activities of disbelievers. (close)
فَلَمَّا نَسُوۡا مَا ذُکِّرُوۡا بِہٖ فَتَحۡنَا عَلَیۡہِمۡ اَبۡوَابَ کُلِّ شَیۡءٍ ؕ حَتّٰۤی اِذَا فَرِحُوۡا بِمَاۤ اُوۡتُوۡۤا اَخَذۡنٰہُمۡ بَغۡتَۃً فَاِذَا ہُمۡ مُّبۡلِسُوۡنَ ﴿۴۵﴾
فَلَمَّا نَسُواْ مَا ذُكِّرُواْ بِهِۦ فَتَحۡنَا عَلَيۡهِمۡ أَبۡوَٰبَ كُلِّ شَيۡءٍ حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا فَرِحُواْ بِمَآ أُوتُوٓاْ أَخَذۡنَٰهُم بَغۡتَةٗ فَإِذَا هُم مُّبۡلِسُونَ
e. 5:14; 7:166. (close)
a. 7:96; 39:56. (close)
c. 5:14; 7:166. (close)
d. 7:96; 39:56. (close)
When disbelievers became hardened and treated Divine admonition as a thing forgotten, God let them wander in their blind transgression. The words, We opened unto them the gates of all things, signify that God let them stray away and advance further and further into the evil deeds in which they were engaged. Sometimes the afflictions were removed from them for a time and they rejoiced to think that they were right in thinking that the afflictions were not due to their sins. Then the punishment of God suddenly seized them, and they gave themselves up to despair. Thus, there are two kinds of afflictions that visit disbelieving people in the days of Divine Messengers: (1) temporary afflictions that come as warnings and then pass away; (2) general disaster which finally overtakes and destroys the wicked. (close)