وَ عِنۡدَہٗ مَفَاتِحُ الۡغَیۡبِ لَا یَعۡلَمُہَاۤ اِلَّا ہُوَ ؕ وَ یَعۡلَمُ مَا فِی الۡبَرِّ وَ الۡبَحۡرِ ؕ وَ مَا تَسۡقُطُ مِنۡ وَّرَقَۃٍ اِلَّا یَعۡلَمُہَا وَ لَا حَبَّۃٍ فِیۡ ظُلُمٰتِ الۡاَرۡضِ وَ لَا رَطۡبٍ وَّ لَا یَابِسٍ اِلَّا فِیۡ کِتٰبٍ مُّبِیۡنٍ ﴿۶۰﴾
۞وَعِندَهُۥ مَفَاتِحُ ٱلۡغَيۡبِ لَا يَعۡلَمُهَآ إِلَّا هُوَۚ وَيَعۡلَمُ مَا فِي ٱلۡبَرِّ وَٱلۡبَحۡرِۚ وَمَا تَسۡقُطُ مِن وَرَقَةٍ إِلَّا يَعۡلَمُهَا وَلَا حَبَّةٖ فِي ظُلُمَٰتِ ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَلَا رَطۡبٖ وَلَا يَابِسٍ إِلَّا فِي كِتَٰبٖ مُّبِينٖ
854. This and the next verse lay down the guiding principle that it has not been left in the hands of the Holy Prophet to bring down punishment on disbelievers as demanded by them. If this had been the case, they would have since long met their deserved end, and then perhaps many erstwhile enemies of Islam like ‘Umar and Khalid who later on were destined to play a leading role in extending and consolidating the power of Islam, would have died in disbelief. But God being All-Powerful is slow to punish and, being fully conversant with the inner working of the human heart, knows when and whom to punish. He alone knows how far hardships or ease can influence the actions of a man and whether or not good works done by a man are rendered null and void through the operation of other causes. He alone has knowledge of the grains of virtue that lie embedded in the heart of man and knows whether or not these grains will sprout forth and grow and thrive and bring forth fruit. He alone can tell whether a person who, to all appearances, is "dry" and "devoid of all spiritual life," will turn "green" when supplied with heavenly water or whether he is "dead" and beyond revival. In short, God alone has full knowledge of all things and of all conditions and all possibilities and potentialities and therefore He alone can say who is to be punished and who not. (close)
This verse gives a further reason why the work of punishment must remain in the hands of God; it is God alone with Whom are the keys of the unseen, i.e. it is He alone Who knows the unseen. None but He knows the secrets of men’s hearts and, therefore, He alone is in a position to punish.
The expressions "land", "sea", "falling of a leaf", "grain in the darkness of the earth," and "green or dry" are all descriptive of the various conditions of man. The "sea", according to the Arab conception, is typical of hardships, whereas "land" symbolizes ease and comfort. Similarly, "the falling of a leaf" represents the actions of man that are rendered vain and fruitless; whereas the "grain in the darkness of the earth," if left unprotected, may become lost just as virtue, if left uncared for, may become lost. Again "the green or the dry" is also known to God. A tree appears to us to be dry, but when it is watered by rain, it becomes green.
Similarly, a man sometimes appears to us to be devoid of all spirituality, but when he is watered with the water of Divine mercy, he becomes full of spiritual life.
The word کتاب (Book) also signifies knowledge. Other instances of this use may be seen in 30:57 and 68:48 where the words کتاب (lit. book) and یکتبون (lit. they write) respectively mean "knowledge" and "they know". The Holy Prophet is also reported to have written to the people of Yemen, saying, قد بعثت الیکم کاتبا من اصحابی "I have sent to you a writer, i.e. a man of knowledge, from among my Companions" (Bihar, iii. 193). So the Arabic words rendered as "is recorded in a clear Book" may also be translated as "is preserved in sure divine knowledge."
Thus, as God alone possesses the keys of the unseen and as all the conditions and actions of man are known to Him alone, it is He only Who can punish him. No one who is devoid of perfect knowledge is qualified to punish. Again, God alone knows how far hardship or ease influences the actions of a man. He alone knows whether or not the good works done by a man have been rendered null and void through the operation of other causes. He alone knows the grains of virtue that lie embedded in the heart of man and whether or not these grains will sprout forth and grow and thrive and bring forth fruit. He alone can tell whether a person who, to all appearances, is "dry" and devoid of all spiritual life, will turn "green" when supplied with heavenly water or whether he is dead beyond revival. In short, God alone has true knowledge of all things and all conditions and all possibilities and all potentialities, and therefore, He alone can say whether a man deserves to be punished or not. (close)
وَ ہُوَ الَّذِیۡ یَتَوَفّٰٮکُمۡ بِالَّیۡلِ وَ یَعۡلَمُ مَا جَرَحۡتُمۡ بِالنَّہَارِ ثُمَّ یَبۡعَثُکُمۡ فِیۡہِ لِیُقۡضٰۤی اَجَلٌ مُّسَمًّی ۚ ثُمَّ اِلَیۡہِ مَرۡجِعُکُمۡ ثُمَّ یُنَبِّئُکُمۡ بِمَا کُنۡتُمۡ تَعۡمَلُوۡنَ ﴿٪۶۱﴾
وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِي يَتَوَفَّىٰكُم بِٱلَّيۡلِ وَيَعۡلَمُ مَا جَرَحۡتُم بِٱلنَّهَارِ ثُمَّ يَبۡعَثُكُمۡ فِيهِ لِيُقۡضَىٰٓ أَجَلٞ مُّسَمّٗىۖ ثُمَّ إِلَيۡهِ مَرۡجِعُكُمۡ ثُمَّ يُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمۡ تَعۡمَلُونَ
a. 39:43. (close)
855. God alone knows the condition of man by night and his actions by day, and all times are subject to His control, and therefore it is He alone Who knows the true character of the pious and the wicked, and consequently He alone is in a position to punish. (close)
856. The "term" spoken of here is determined by the faculties and powers with which man is endowed from the time of his birth, and is liable to be extended or curtailed according as right or wrong use is made of it. There is no reference here to the eternal knowledge of God. (close)
a. 39:43. (close)
806. Important Words:
یتوفاکم (who takes your souls). The learned author of the Al-Bahrul-Muhit says: "The word توفی (tawaffi), as is well-known, means, 'to cause to die,' but in this verse it has been metaphorically used in the sense of 'causing to sleep' on account of the close resemblance between sleep and death." See also 2:235 & 3:56.
جرحتم (you do) is derived from جرح They say جرحه i.e. he wounded him. جرح also means, he acquired, earned, worked or did (Lane).
The subject that none but God is entitled to punish is continued in this verse, which says that God alone knows the condition of man by night and his actions by day, and all times are subject to His control, and, therefore, it is He alone Who knows the true character of the pious and the wicked, and consequently none but He is in a position to punish. Again, it is He alone Who knows the time most suited for the death of a person and, therefore, He has not entrusted the work of punishment to others.
The words, that the appointed term may be completed, do not refer to any term arbitrarily fixed by God. The "term" spoken of here is determined by the faculties and powers with which man is endowed from the time of his birth, and is liable to be increased or decreased according as a right or wrong use is made of the faculties granted to him. There is no reference here to the eternal knowledge of God. (close)
وَ ہُوَ الۡقَاہِرُ فَوۡقَ عِبَادِہٖ وَ یُرۡسِلُ عَلَیۡکُمۡ حَفَظَۃً ؕ حَتّٰۤی اِذَا جَآءَ اَحَدَکُمُ الۡمَوۡتُ تَوَفَّتۡہُ رُسُلُنَا وَ ہُمۡ لَا یُفَرِّطُوۡنَ ﴿۶۲﴾
وَهُوَ ٱلۡقَاهِرُ فَوۡقَ عِبَادِهِۦۖ وَيُرۡسِلُ عَلَيۡكُمۡ حَفَظَةً حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا جَآءَ أَحَدَكُمُ ٱلۡمَوۡتُ تَوَفَّتۡهُ رُسُلُنَا وَهُمۡ لَا يُفَرِّطُونَ
b. 6:19; 13:17. (close)
857. This verse provides another reason why God alone is entitled to punish. He is Qahir, i.e. Powerful and Mighty over all, therefore He can punish any of His creatures in His infallible knowledge whenever He thinks proper. The powerful are never in a hurry to punish. (close)
c. 13:12; 82:11. (close)
a. 6:19; 13:17. (close)
b. 13:12; 82:11. (close)
This verse provides another reason why God alone is entitled to punish. He is قاھر (Supreme), i.e. Powerful and Mighty over all, therefore He can punish any of His creatures whenever He thinks it proper. The powerful are never in a hurry to punish, for they know that they can punish whenever they will. Again, it is God Himself Who guards His creatures and supports them, and it is through His grace that they enjoy security. So destruction can befall them only when He withdraws His grace, and He does so when He thinks it proper.
The words, they fail not, signify that when God finally issues a decree, nothing can delay it or set it aside. (close)
ثُمَّ رُدُّوۡۤا اِلَی اللّٰہِ مَوۡلٰٮہُمُ الۡحَقِّ ؕ اَلَا لَہُ الۡحُکۡمُ ۟ وَ ہُوَ اَسۡرَعُ الۡحٰسِبِیۡنَ ﴿۶۳﴾
ثُمَّ رُدُّوٓاْ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ مَوۡلَىٰهُمُ ٱلۡحَقِّۚ أَلَا لَهُ ٱلۡحُكۡمُ وَهُوَ أَسۡرَعُ ٱلۡحَٰسِبِينَ
The reader should note that when speaking of death, the Quran uses the expression "When death comes to anyone of you" (see the preceding verse which uses the singular number), while in the present verse it refers to the Resurrection of all men together by saying, "Then are they returned to Allah." This is because whereas death comes to men individually and not to all men together, the Resurrection of mankind will be simultaneous and universal. (close)
قُلۡ مَنۡ یُّنَجِّیۡکُمۡ مِّنۡ ظُلُمٰتِ الۡبَرِّ وَ الۡبَحۡرِ تَدۡعُوۡنَہٗ تَضَرُّعًا وَّ خُفۡیَۃً ۚ لَئِنۡ اَنۡجٰٮنَا مِنۡ ہٰذِہٖ لَنَکُوۡنَنَّ مِنَ الشّٰکِرِیۡنَ ﴿۶۴﴾
قُلۡ مَن يُنَجِّيكُم مِّن ظُلُمَٰتِ ٱلۡبَرِّ وَٱلۡبَحۡرِ تَدۡعُونَهُۥ تَضَرُّعٗا وَخُفۡيَةٗ لَّئِنۡ أَنجَىٰنَا مِنۡ هَٰذِهِۦ لَنَكُونَنَّ مِنَ ٱلشَّـٰكِرِينَ
a. 10:23; 17:68; 29:66; 31:33. (close)
858. Zulumat literally meaning "darknesses," here signifies afflictions, calamities and misfortunes; for, with the Arabs, darkness is a symbol of misfortune. (close)
a. 10:23; 17:68; 29:66; 31:33. (close)
تضرعا (in humility) is derived from ضرع which means, he was or became lowly, humble or submissive; or he lowered, humbled or abased himself and petitioned for a gift; or he was weak, slender or emaciated. ضرع also means, it (a kid, etc.) took with its mouth the teat or dug of its mother. تضرع means, he lowered, humbled or abased himself; or he addressed himself with earnest or energetic supplication. It also means, he writhed and called for aid (Lane).
خفیة (secretly) is derived from خفی which means, it was or became unperceived, concealed, hidden, low or faint. They say قتل خفیة i.e. he was slain secretly (Lane).
The word ظلمات (calamities), literally meaning "darkness", here signifies afflictions, calamities and misfortunes; for, with the Arabs, darkness is a symbol of misfortune. Thus, a day of great misfortune is called "a starry day", because it is considered so dark as to make even stars visible in the firmament. The reader should note that instead of saying "openly" and "secretly", the Quran here uses the words "humbly" and "secretly," substituting the word "humbly" for "openly", thus indicating that a prayer said openly is useful only when it is offered in humility. "Open" prayers may sometimes be offered from a motive of display and show. Such prayers are of no value. Prayers are efficacious only when offered with due humility. (close)
قُلِ اللّٰہُ یُنَجِّیۡکُمۡ مِّنۡہَا وَ مِنۡ کُلِّ کَرۡبٍ ثُمَّ اَنۡتُمۡ تُشۡرِکُوۡنَ ﴿۶۵﴾
قُلِ ٱللَّهُ يُنَجِّيكُم مِّنۡهَا وَمِن كُلِّ كَرۡبٖ ثُمَّ أَنتُمۡ تُشۡرِكُونَ
The words, from every distress, signify that Allah may deliver you not only from the afflictions from which you pray to be rescued, but also from other troubles for the removal of which you do not pray.
This and the preceding verse give the third reason why none beside God is in a position to send down punishment. We are told that none but God hears the prayers of men and delivers them from the afflictions which befall them. Now the Being Who hears prayers and removes afflictions should also be the Being Who can send down punishment; for if there be two different beings, then there is sure to be opposition and conflict between them. (close)
قُلۡ ہُوَ الۡقَادِرُ عَلٰۤی اَنۡ یَّبۡعَثَ عَلَیۡکُمۡ عَذَابًا مِّنۡ فَوۡقِکُمۡ اَوۡ مِنۡ تَحۡتِ اَرۡجُلِکُمۡ اَوۡ یَلۡبِسَکُمۡ شِیَعًا وَّ یُذِیۡقَ بَعۡضَکُمۡ بَاۡسَ بَعۡضٍ ؕ اُنۡظُرۡ کَیۡفَ نُصَرِّفُ الۡاٰیٰتِ لَعَلَّہُمۡ یَفۡقَہُوۡنَ ﴿۶۶﴾
قُلۡ هُوَ ٱلۡقَادِرُ عَلَىٰٓ أَن يَبۡعَثَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ عَذَابٗا مِّن فَوۡقِكُمۡ أَوۡ مِن تَحۡتِ أَرۡجُلِكُمۡ أَوۡ يَلۡبِسَكُمۡ شِيَعٗا وَيُذِيقَ بَعۡضَكُم بَأۡسَ بَعۡضٍۗ ٱنظُرۡ كَيۡفَ نُصَرِّفُ ٱلۡأٓيَٰتِ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَفۡقَهُونَ
859. "Punishments from above" signifies famines, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, the oppression of the weak by the powerful, mental agony, etc., and "punishments from beneath" signifies diseases, pestilences, revolt by subject peoples, etc. Then there is the punishment of discord, disunity and dissension which sometimes end in civil war. This is hinted in the words make you taste the violence of one another. (close)
This verse gives the fourth reason why no mortal possesses the power to bring down punishment upon men for their sins, and that it is God alone Who possesses that power. This reason consists in the fact that the punishments which mortals inflict upon others are merely external and are limited in their character; while the punishments that come from God are varied and far-extending. For instance, man can at most kill another man and end his life, but the punishment which God inflicts sometimes grows in the very heart of man and causes him great heart-burning and uneasiness of mind. Such punishments, which are often greater than mere killing, cannot be inflicted by man. The Quran here refers to some of the kinds of punishment which God may send down on men.
Punishments "from above" signify famines, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, the oppression of the weak by the powerful, mental agony, etc. And punishments "from beneath" signify diseases, pestilences, revolt by subject peoples, etc. Then there is the punishment of discord, disunity and dissension which sometimes end in civil war. This is hinted in the words, make you taste the violence of one another.
All these different forms of punishment are under the control of God and none other; hence, it is God alone Who has the real power of sending down punishment upon men. (close)
وَ کَذَّبَ بِہٖ قَوۡمُکَ وَ ہُوَ الۡحَقُّ ؕ قُلۡ لَّسۡتُ عَلَیۡکُمۡ بِوَکِیۡلٍ ﴿ؕ۶۷﴾
وَكَذَّبَ بِهِۦ قَوۡمُكَ وَهُوَ ٱلۡحَقُّۚ قُل لَّسۡتُ عَلَيۡكُم بِوَكِيلٖ
b. 6:6. (close)
860. The pronoun "it" refers to (1) the matter under discussion; (2) the Qur’an; (3) Divine punishment. Taking the last meaning, the words "it is the truth" would mean that the promised punishment is sure to come. (close)
c. 39:42; 42:7. (close)
a. 6:6. (close)
b. 39:42; 42:7. (close)
The pronoun "it" in the words "rejected it" refers either (1) to the matter under discussion, i.e. it is God alone Who can send down punishment, or (2) to the Quran, or (3) to punishment. Taking the last meaning, the words "it is the truth" would mean that the promised punishment is sure to come.
The words, I am not a guardian over you, imply that if now, when I have conveyed to you the Divine Message, the punishment of God comes, I cannot help it. I will not be able to protect you from it. It is worthy of note that whereas disbelievers are demanding punishment, the Holy Prophet is expressing sympathy for them. (close)
لِکُلِّ نَبَاٍ مُّسۡتَقَرٌّ ۫ وَّ سَوۡفَ تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۶۸﴾
لِّكُلِّ نَبَإٖ مُّسۡتَقَرّٞۚ وَسَوۡفَ تَعۡلَمُونَ
861. The verse signifies that God, in His infallible wisdom, has fixed a time for the fulfilment of every prophecy. So the punishment that has been promised to the rejecters of truth will also come to pass in due time. (close)
The verse signifies that God, in His infinite wisdom, has fixed a time for the fulfilment of every prophecy. So the punishment that has been promised to the rejecters of truth will also come to pass in due time. Then will they know that it was not a false prophecy. Disbelievers demand that the Divine punishment should come upon them at once. That cannot be; for nothing that has a fixed time can come before its time. (close)
وَ اِذَا رَاَیۡتَ الَّذِیۡنَ یَخُوۡضُوۡنَ فِیۡۤ اٰیٰتِنَا فَاَعۡرِضۡ عَنۡہُمۡ حَتّٰی یَخُوۡضُوۡا فِیۡ حَدِیۡثٍ غَیۡرِہٖ ؕ وَ اِمَّا یُنۡسِیَنَّکَ الشَّیۡطٰنُ فَلَا تَقۡعُدۡ بَعۡدَ الذِّکۡرٰی مَعَ الۡقَوۡمِ الظّٰلِمِیۡنَ ﴿۶۹﴾
وَإِذَا رَأَيۡتَ ٱلَّذِينَ يَخُوضُونَ فِيٓ ءَايَٰتِنَا فَأَعۡرِضۡ عَنۡهُمۡ حَتَّىٰ يَخُوضُواْ فِي حَدِيثٍ غَيۡرِهِۦۚ وَإِمَّا يُنسِيَنَّكَ ٱلشَّيۡطَٰنُ فَلَا تَقۡعُدۡ بَعۡدَ ٱلذِّكۡرَىٰ مَعَ ٱلۡقَوۡمِ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ
a. 4:141. (close)
b. 4:141. (close)
814. Important Words:
ذکری (recollection) is the noun-infinitive from ذکر i.e. "he remembered, etc." for which see 2:41, 153, 201. ذکری means, remembering or recollecting; remembrance; the presence of a thing in the mind; mentioning or relating a thing; accepting of an exhortation; reminding or causing to remember; admonition. Thus the word is used both intransitively and transitively (Lane & Aqrab).
When the disbelievers, in reply to their demand for punishment, were told that there was a time fixed for every prophecy and that the punishment of God could not come before its time, they began to laugh at the prophecy. So the Quran calls upon the Holy Prophet and, through him, the believers to turn away from them, i.e. to quit their company and depart from the place, so that they might not provoke the further wrath of God by indulging in their vain and insolent discourse. Believers are told not to afford disbelievers an occasion to commit further excesses by sitting in their company but to leave them at once on such occasions, so that they may be induced to turn to other talk.
The words, turn thou away from them, may also be taken figuratively, signifying that you should overlook and treat as unnoticed their action of ridiculing and should not dispute with them about it, so that they might drop the subject and turn to some other topic.
"Satan", for which see 2:15, does not always mean the Evil Spirit; the word is also applied to other harmful things.
It has even been applied to "anger" and "jealousy" in some of the sayings of the Holy Prophet. Here, also, it is used in the sense of "anger" and the sentence would thus mean, "if anger or wrath should cause you to forget the injunction to leave the company of such persons and to quit the place…" This interpretation, however, will hold good only in the case of men who stand on a high level of righteousness. In the case of ordinary men, the word would be taken to mean "evil suggestion" or "negligence".
The word ذکری (recollection), as shown under Important Words, means both "recollection", i.e. remembering, and "reminding." Taking it in the intransitive sense, the sentence would mean that when you recollect the injunction to quit the place, you should do so forthwith. Taking the word ذکری in the sense of "reminding," the sentence would mean that before quitting the place, you should remind the scoffers of their mischievous conduct and tell them that it is an evil and dishonourable course which they follow and that it is calculated to excite against them the wrath of God.
It should also be remembered that really it is not the Holy Prophet but every believer that is addressed in this verse. (close)