فَلَمَّا رَاَ الۡقَمَرَ بَازِغًا قَالَ ہٰذَا رَبِّیۡ ۚ فَلَمَّاۤ اَفَلَ قَالَ لَئِنۡ لَّمۡ یَہۡدِنِیۡ رَبِّیۡ لَاَکُوۡنَنَّ مِنَ الۡقَوۡمِ الضَّآلِّیۡنَ ﴿۷۸﴾
فَلَمَّا رَءَا ٱلۡقَمَرَ بَازِغٗا قَالَ هَٰذَا رَبِّيۖ فَلَمَّآ أَفَلَ قَالَ لَئِن لَّمۡ يَهۡدِنِي رَبِّي لَأَكُونَنَّ مِنَ ٱلۡقَوۡمِ ٱلضَّآلِّينَ
See collective note under 6:80 below. (close)
فَلَمَّا رَاَ الشَّمۡسَ بَازِغَۃً قَالَ ہٰذَا رَبِّیۡ ہٰذَاۤ اَکۡبَرُ ۚ فَلَمَّاۤ اَفَلَتۡ قَالَ یٰقَوۡمِ اِنِّیۡ بَرِیۡٓءٌ مِّمَّا تُشۡرِکُوۡنَ ﴿۷۹﴾
فَلَمَّا رَءَا ٱلشَّمۡسَ بَازِغَةٗ قَالَ هَٰذَا رَبِّي هَٰذَآ أَكۡبَرُۖ فَلَمَّآ أَفَلَتۡ قَالَ يَٰقَوۡمِ إِنِّي بَرِيٓءٞ مِّمَّا تُشۡرِكُونَ
866. Verses 77 to 79 contain an argument which Abraham employed to bring home to his idolatrous people the absurdity of their belief that the sun, the moon and the stars were so many gods which they worshipped (Jew. Enc.). It is wrong to infer from these verses that Abraham was himself groping in the dark and did not know Who his God was, and that he took the evening star, the moon, and the sun for God one after the other and, when each of them set in its turn, he gave up his belief in their divinity and turned to the One God, the Creator of heavens and earth. In fact, the passage contains several arguments to show that Abraham, far from taking these heavenly bodies for gods, sought to demonstrate to his people the vanity of their beliefs step by step. Verses 75, 76 show that Abraham was a firm believer in One God. He could not, therefore, be considered as groping in the dark and wandering from one deity to another. The words, "can this be my Lord" constituted an argument against star-worship. He said these words to expose his people’s belief that the star was their Lord. Moreover, he already knew that the star must set. So his argument contained in the words, "I like not those that set" must have been already present in his mind. In reality, he wanted to use his argument in a most effective manner. So he first assumed the star to be his Lord and, when it disappeared, he hastened to declare, I like not those that set. Similar was the case with the setting of the moon and the sun. Of the sun he used the word "greater" or "greatest" ironically in order to taunt his people for their folly. This clearly shows that by the line of arguments he adopted Abraham intended gradually to draw his people to God. A simple glance over vv. 80-82 makes it crystal clear that Abraham not only possessed firm faith in God but also had a deep knowledge of Divine attributes. (close)
اِنِّیۡ وَجَّہۡتُ وَجۡہِیَ لِلَّذِیۡ فَطَرَ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضَ حَنِیۡفًا وَّ مَاۤ اَنَا مِنَ الۡمُشۡرِکِیۡنَ ﴿ۚ۸۰﴾
إِنِّي وَجَّهۡتُ وَجۡهِيَ لِلَّذِي فَطَرَ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضَ حَنِيفٗاۖ وَمَآ أَنَا۠ مِنَ ٱلۡمُشۡرِكِينَ
a. 3:21. (close)
a. 3:21. (close)
Verses 77 to 80 contain an argument which Abraham employed to bring home to his idolatrous people the absurdity of their belief in the godhead of the sun, the moon and the stars, which they worshipped (Jew. Enc.). It is an error to infer from these verses that Abraham was himself groping in the dark and did not know who his God was, that he took the evening star, the moon and the sun for God one after another and, when each of them set in its turn, he gave up his belief in their divinity and turned to the One God, the Creator of heavens and earth. The passage contains no less than eleven clear evidences to show that Abraham was not really taking these heavenly bodies for gods, but that his object was to demonstrate to his people the vanity of their beliefs, step by step. Some of these evidences may be summed up as below:
Firstly, the opening part of this passage, i.e. the first part of 6:77 is connected with the previous verses with the double particle فلما (and when) which denotes close sequence, i.e. that which has been said in this passage is connected with, and occurred immediately after, what is related in the preceding verses. Now the preceding verses, i.e. vv. 75 and 76, clearly show Abraham as having attained certainty and conviction of faith and as being a firm believer in one God and being advanced in spirituality. Thus placed and protected, he cannot be considered as groping in the dark like a blind man and wandering from one deity to another.
Secondly, there is no sense in supposing Abraham to have seen the star or the moon for the first time that night. He belonged to a community which used to worship stars and he must have seen the stars many times before. If he was really a star-worshipper, he ought to have first imbibed the idea from what he had heard from his father and others, and not by seeing a star himself and reflecting over it. Star-worship was not at all a new idea discovered by him by looking at a star. Thus, there is no doubt that Abraham’s words, This is my Lord, were not meant as an expression of faith, but simply as an argument against star-worship. He assumed the star he saw to be his Lord merely to expose its lordship afterwards on the basis of its setting and thereby to tell his people that they were wrong in taking the star for their Lord.
Thirdly, when the star disappeared, Abraham is reported to have said, I like not those that set. Now Abraham certainly knew already that the star must set; he must have already seen it disappear times without number. So the argument, I like not those that set, must have already been familiar to his mind and he could not take to worshipping the star in view of this argument. In fact, what he wanted was to use the argument against star-worshippers in a way that might prove effective. So he first assumed or supposed the star to be his Lord and, when it disappeared, he hastened to declare, I like not those that set. Similar was the case with the setting of the moon and the sun. Of the sun he spoke the word "greater" or "greatest" ironically in order, to taunt his people for their folly. It should be incidentally noted here that Abraham did not use the word اکبر (greater or greatest) for the moon which was also greater than the evening star. The omission is significant, as it clearly shows, that he was already intending to refer to the sun after disposing of the case of the moon.
Fourthly, if Abraham was really searching for God and had sincerely taken the star, the moon and the sun, in turn, for his Lord, then the conclusion at which he ought to have naturally arrived, after gradually rejecting the godhead of these three heavenly bodies, should have been that there was no God at all, but instead of declaring that there was no God, Abraham forthwith turned to his people saying: O my people, surely I am clear of that which you associate with God, I have turned my face toward Him Who created the heavens and the earth, being over inclined to God. This shows that Abraham already knew the true God and believed in Him and was simply trying gradually to draw his people towards Him. Let the reader only read the whole reply of Abraham (vv. 81-83) and it will become crystal clear to him that Abraham was not only familiar with the name of Allah and believed in Him, but also possessed a deep knowledge of His attributes. (close)
وَ حَآجَّہٗ قَوۡمُہٗ ؕ قَالَ اَتُحَآجُّوۡٓنِّیۡ فِی اللّٰہِ وَ قَدۡ ہَدٰٮنِ ؕ وَ لَاۤ اَخَافُ مَا تُشۡرِکُوۡنَ بِہٖۤ اِلَّاۤ اَنۡ یَّشَآءَ رَبِّیۡ شَیۡئًا ؕ وَسِعَ رَبِّیۡ کُلَّ شَیۡءٍ عِلۡمًا ؕ اَفَلَا تَتَذَکَّرُوۡنَ ﴿۸۱﴾
وَحَآجَّهُۥ قَوۡمُهُۥۚ قَالَ أَتُحَـٰٓجُّوٓنِّي فِي ٱللَّهِ وَقَدۡ هَدَىٰنِۚ وَلَآ أَخَافُ مَا تُشۡرِكُونَ بِهِۦٓ إِلَّآ أَن يَشَآءَ رَبِّي شَيۡـٔٗاۚ وَسِعَ رَبِّي كُلَّ شَيۡءٍ عِلۡمًاۚ أَفَلَا تَتَذَكَّرُونَ
b. 7:90. (close)
a. 7:90. (close)
This and the following two verses definitely show that the incident related in vv. 77-80 above was purposely used by Abraham by way of argument; otherwise he himself was a staunch monotheist and had dived deep into the depths of Divine love and knowledge. (close)
وَ کَیۡفَ اَخَافُ مَاۤ اَشۡرَکۡتُمۡ وَ لَا تَخَافُوۡنَ اَنَّکُمۡ اَشۡرَکۡتُمۡ بِاللّٰہِ مَا لَمۡ یُنَزِّلۡ بِہٖ عَلَیۡکُمۡ سُلۡطٰنًا ؕ فَاَیُّ الۡفَرِیۡقَیۡنِ اَحَقُّ بِالۡاَمۡنِ ۚ اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿ۘ۸۲﴾
وَكَيۡفَ أَخَافُ مَآ أَشۡرَكۡتُمۡ وَلَا تَخَافُونَ أَنَّكُمۡ أَشۡرَكۡتُم بِٱللَّهِ مَا لَمۡ يُنَزِّلۡ بِهِۦ عَلَيۡكُمۡ سُلۡطَٰنٗاۚ فَأَيُّ ٱلۡفَرِيقَيۡنِ أَحَقُّ بِٱلۡأَمۡنِۖ إِن كُنتُمۡ تَعۡلَمُونَ
a. 7:34; 22:72. (close)
867. This and the preceding two verses definitely show that the incident related in vv. 77-79 was deliberately used by Abraham by way of argument; otherwise he himself was a staunch monotheist and had drunk deep at the fount of Divine love and knowledge. (close)
b. 7:34; 22:72. (close)
اَلَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَ لَمۡ یَلۡبِسُوۡۤا اِیۡمَانَہُمۡ بِظُلۡمٍ اُولٰٓئِکَ لَہُمُ الۡاَمۡنُ وَ ہُمۡ مُّہۡتَدُوۡنَ ﴿٪۸۳﴾
ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَلَمۡ يَلۡبِسُوٓاْ إِيمَٰنَهُم بِظُلۡمٍ أُوْلَـٰٓئِكَ لَهُمُ ٱلۡأَمۡنُ وَهُم مُّهۡتَدُونَ
b. 31:14. (close)
a. 31:14. (close)
وَ تِلۡکَ حُجَّتُنَاۤ اٰتَیۡنٰہَاۤ اِبۡرٰہِیۡمَ عَلٰی قَوۡمِہٖ ؕ نَرۡفَعُ دَرَجٰتٍ مَّنۡ نَّشَآءُ ؕ اِنَّ رَبَّکَ حَکِیۡمٌ عَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۸۴﴾
وَتِلۡكَ حُجَّتُنَآ ءَاتَيۡنَٰهَآ إِبۡرَٰهِيمَ عَلَىٰ قَوۡمِهِۦۚ نَرۡفَعُ دَرَجَٰتٖ مَّن نَّشَآءُۗ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ حَكِيمٌ عَلِيمٞ
868. This verse definitely settles the question whether Abraham gradually came to have faith in God by taking one heavenly body after another for his Lord or whether it was a skilfully graduated argument by means of which he sought to demonstrate the error of his people in worshipping these heavenly bodies as gods. The verse shows that Abraham had, from the beginning, been clear and firm in his faith in the Unity of God and that what he said concerning the sun and the moon, etc. was part of the argument which God had taught him. (close)
c. 12:77. (close)
b. 12:77. (close)
This verse forms the concluding portion of the passage (beginning with 6:77 above) containing Abraham’s argument with his people. It definitely settles the question whether Abraham gradually came to have faith in God by taking one heavenly body after another for his Lord or whether it was a skilfully graduated argument by means of which he sought to demonstrate the error of his people in worshipping these heavenly bodies as gods. Says God, That is our argument which We gave to Abraham against his people. Thus, the Quran refers to what has gone above as an "argument" which God Himself taught Abraham and which Abraham used with such great effect against his people. This declaration by the Quran leaves not the slightest doubt that Abraham was not wandering about after false gods, but was trying to convince his people of their error by means of a very effective process of reasoning. This is why it is referred to in the present verse in the light of a favour by the Wise and All-Knowing God.
This verse, though put in Ruku‘ 10, really forms part of the preceding passage. It must be remembered that the division of the Quran into 30 Paras (parts) and the division of the Surahs (chapters) into Ruku‘s (sections) was not made by the Holy Prophet nor by his Companions, but was effected long afterwards by Muslim scribes for providing facility in reading, and for the convenience of reference. In the time of the Holy Prophet there were only Surahs and verses and nothing else. (close)
وَ وَہَبۡنَا لَہٗۤ اِسۡحٰقَ وَ یَعۡقُوۡبَ ؕ کُلًّا ہَدَیۡنَا ۚ وَ نُوۡحًا ہَدَیۡنَا مِنۡ قَبۡلُ وَ مِنۡ ذُرِّیَّتِہٖ دَاوٗدَ وَ سُلَیۡمٰنَ وَ اَیُّوۡبَ وَ یُوۡسُفَ وَ مُوۡسٰی وَ ہٰرُوۡنَ ؕ وَ کَذٰلِکَ نَجۡزِی الۡمُحۡسِنِیۡنَ ﴿ۙ۸۵﴾
وَوَهَبۡنَا لَهُۥٓ إِسۡحَٰقَ وَيَعۡقُوبَۚ كُلًّا هَدَيۡنَاۚ وَنُوحًا هَدَيۡنَا مِن قَبۡلُۖ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِهِۦ دَاوُۥدَ وَسُلَيۡمَٰنَ وَأَيُّوبَ وَيُوسُفَ وَمُوسَىٰ وَهَٰرُونَۚ وَكَذَٰلِكَ نَجۡزِي ٱلۡمُحۡسِنِينَ
a. 29:28. (close)
869. Ayyub or Job is the hero of the Book of Job. He is mentioned in the Bible as living in the land of Uz. Some authorities say that this is Idumea or Arabia Deserta; others fix Mesopotamia as his native place. It appears that Uz was somewhere in the north of Arabia. It is said that Job lived there before the departure of the Israelites from Egypt. He thus lived before Moses or, as some say, he was a compatriot of Moses, having received his prophetic mission about 20 years before him. He was not an Israelite, having descended from Esau, the elder brother of Israel. He had a very chequered career, being "tried" by God in diverse ways; but he proved most faithful and righteous and was patient and steadfast in extreme adversity. He still lives in the memory of mankind as a paragon of patience (Jewish Enc. & Enc. of Islam). (close)
a. 29:28. (close)
828. Important Words:
ایوب (Ayyub or Job), who is the hero of the Book of Job, is mentioned in the Bible as living in the land of Uz. Some authorities say that this is Idumea or Arabia Deserta; others fix Mesopotamia as his country. It appears that Uz was somewhere in the north of Arabia. It is said that Job lived there before the departure of the Israelites from Egypt. He thus lived before Moses or, as some say, he was a compatriot of Moses, having received his prophetic mission about 20 years before him. Job was not an Israelite, having been descended from Esau, the elder brother of Israel. He had a very chequered career, being "tried" by God in diverse ways; but he proved most faithful and righteous and was patient and steadfast in the extreme. He still lives in the memory of mankind as a paragon of patience (Jew. Enc. & Encyclopaedia of Islam).
داود (David or Dawud) has been taken to mean (1) beloved or friend; or (2) paternal uncle; or (3) best of all. King of Judah and Israel, David, who was of Israelite origin being from the tribe of Judah, was founder of the Judean dynasty at Jerusalem. The date of his reign is generally fixed at about 1010-970 B.C. He was a great warrior and a great statesman. His importance as the real builder of the Hebrew Kingdom can hardly be overestimated. Through him all the tribes of Israel from Dan to Beersheba became united and organized into a powerful nation whose kingdom extended from the Euphrates to the Nile. Towards the end of his life David had to suffer much at the hands of scheming slanderers, which deeply grieved him. He has poured out his grief in his celebrated Psalms (Enc. Brit. & Enc. Bib.). The Quran, however, absolves him from the charges imputed to him in the Bible (38:19-26).
سلیمان (Solomon) was the second son of David & Bath-Sheba and the third king of Israel. He reigned from about 971 to 931 B.C. He was called Jedidiah (beloved of Yehovah) by Nathan, the Prophet. But David was told by Yehovah that his son’s name should be Solomon (peaceful). These two names are predictive of the character of his reign, which was both highly prosperous and peaceful. Besides his principal names, Jedidiah and Solomon, various others are assigned to him such as Agur (he who girt his loins), Bin (he who built the temple), Jakeh (he who reigned over the world), Ithiel(he who understood the signs of God), and Ucal (he who could withstand them). The word سلیمان may have been derived from the root سلم. which means, he was or became safe, secure or in peace, or free from evils of any kind. The fact that he ruled for the long period of forty years shows that he must have consolidated firmly the kingdom he inherited from his father. He was a great monarch and a wise judge. He greatly extended and developed the trade and commerce of his country and contracted friendly alliances with foreign rulers. He was the master-builder among the Israelite kings and is best known for his building of the Temple at Jerusalem, which is known as the Temple of Solomon and which became the Qiblah of the Israelites for all time. In spite of the prosperity of his kingdom, Solomon’s reign was not altogether happy. Plots were hatched against him by secret societies to bring about his downfall. The Society of the Freemasons is also believed to have dated from his reign. He was followed by a worthless son (Enc. Bri., Enc. Bib. & Jew. Enc.). Like his father, David, Solomon was the victim of much calumny and slander from which the Quran has exonerated him (2:103).
ھارون (Aaron), who belonged to the tribe of Levi, was the son of Amran and the elder brother of Moses who was three years younger than him, their sister Miriam being the eldest of the three. Aaron was the traditional founder and head of the Jewish priesthood and, in company with Moses, led the Israelites out of Egypt. Aaron and Moses were jointly commissioned to deliver the Israelites from the clutches of Pharaoh and to preach to them the message of the Oneness of God, though Moses was the senior Prophet and Aaron subordinate to him. While Moses was both the religious and secular head, Aaron represented only the priestly functions of his tribe. His duties were generally ministerial and not directive. Aaron was known for his eloquence and persuasive speech and was of a mild amiable disposition (Enc. Bib., Enc. Bri. & Jew. Enc.).
This and the succeeding verses tell us that not only Abraham but other Prophets also preached against شرك i.e. setting up associates with God.
The present verse mentions the descendants of Abraham to the second generation, naming a son (Isaac) and a grandson (Jacob or Israel). The name of Ishmael, the eldest son of Abraham, has been included in a separate group (6:87 below), and not in a subordinate position under Abraham.
The reader should note that the Prophets descended from Noah have been divided in the present and the succeeding two verses into three different groups and to each group has been added a separate description. The first group referred to in the present verse comprises David, Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses and Aaron—Prophets who were given power and prosperity, and who consequently were able to do good to human beings. Hence, members of this group have been designated as المحسنین or doers of good, for through their temporal power and prosperity they were able to do material good to humanity. David and Solomon were kings; Joseph and Job were blessed with prosperity after they had been tried with afflictions which they both bore with extraordinary patience. Moses and Aaron enjoyed supreme authority among their people.
The second group (for which see 6:86) consists of Zachariah, John, Jesus and Elias. None of these possessed temporal power or worldly goods; each lived a humble and lowly life, so much so that of Elias it is said that he was rarely seen and generally lived in the woods. Hence they have been differentiated in 6:86, as الصالحین i.e. virtuous. The first three comprising the second group were contemporaries; while Elias, though not a contemporary, bore a striking resemblance to John, who came in his spirit and power; so he also has been classed with this group.
The third group (mentioned in 6:87) consists of Ishmael, Elisha, Jonah and Lot. They had no worldly power, but God granted them grace and excellence. It has been alleged about them that they coveted power and riches. Of Ishmael, we read in the Bible: "He will be a wild man: his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him" (Gen. 16:12). In the Talmud, Ishmael is represented as having followed his father Abraham when the latter took Isaac out for sacrifice, rejoicing at the thought that he would inherit all the lands and herds. Of Elisha it is said that he caused a king, who did not obey him, to be slain so that he might thus gain political power. Jonah was displeased with God, because he was disgraced by the non-fulfilment of his prophecy, which, it is alleged, showed that he sought power for himself. Of Lot it is alleged that he coveted fertile pasture-lands and was always quarrelling with his kinsman, Abraham. Thus all these Prophets have been accused of coveting wealth and power. But the Quran declares all these charges to be false. These Prophets were a group of heavenly people enjoying spiritual communion with God. They had no need to be covetous or seekers of power; for, as stated in 6:87, God had "exalted" them above the people. (close)
وَ زَکَرِیَّا وَ یَحۡیٰی وَ عِیۡسٰی وَ اِلۡیَاسَ ؕ کُلٌّ مِّنَ الصّٰلِحِیۡنَ ﴿ۙ۸۶﴾
وَزَكَرِيَّا وَيَحۡيَىٰ وَعِيسَىٰ وَإِلۡيَاسَۖ كُلّٞ مِّنَ ٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ
829. Important Words:
الیاس (Elias or Elijah) who lived about 900 B.C. was a native of Gilead, a country on the eastern bank of the Jordan. According to the Bible, he was carried to heaven (II Kings 2). We read in Malachi: "Behold, I will send you Elijah, the Prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord" (4:5). This prophecy, as interpreted by Jesus (Matt. 11:14), was fulfilled in the person of John the Baptist, who was his forerunner and who came "in the spirit and power of Elijah." Similarly, the prophecy about the second advent of Jesus himself has been fulfilled in the person of Ahmad of Qadian, the Promised Messiah, who came in the spirit and power of Jesus.
See 6:85 above. (close)
وَ اِسۡمٰعِیۡلَ وَ الۡیَسَعَ وَ یُوۡنُسَ وَ لُوۡطًا ؕ وَ کُلًّا فَضَّلۡنَا عَلَی الۡعٰلَمِیۡنَ ﴿ۙ۸۷﴾
وَإِسۡمَٰعِيلَ وَٱلۡيَسَعَ وَيُونُسَ وَلُوطٗاۚ وَكُلّٗا فَضَّلۡنَا عَلَى ٱلۡعَٰلَمِينَ
b. 2:48; 3:34, 35; 45:17. (close)
870. The prophets descending from Noah have been divided in the present and the preceding two verses into three different groups and to each group has been added a distinctive adjective. The first group comprises David, Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses and Aaron—Prophets who were given power and prosperity, and who consequently were able to do good to their fellow human beings. Hence members of this group have been designated as "doers of good," for, through their temporal power and prosperity they were able to do material good to their people. David and Solomon were kings; Joseph and Job were blessed with prosperity after they had been tried with afflictions which they both bore with extraordinary patience. Moses and Aaron enjoyed supreme authority over their people. The second group includes Zachariah, John, Jesus and Elias. None of these Prophets possessed temporal power or worldly goods; each lived a humble and lowly life, so much so that of Elias it is said that he was rarely seen and generally lived in the woods. The Prophets of this group have been described as "righteous." The third group consists of Ishmael, Elisha, Jonah and Lot. They had no worldly power, but God granted them grace and excellence. They were alleged to have coveted power and riches. Of Ishmael, we read in the Bible: "He will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him" (Gen. 16:12). Of Elisha it is said that he caused a king who did not obey him to be slain so that he might thus gain political power. Jonah is supposed to have become displeased with God, because, as he thought, he was disgraced by the non-fulfilment of his prophecy, which, it is alleged, showed that he sought power for himself. Of Lot it is alleged that he coveted fertile pasture-lands and was always quarrelling with his kinsman, Abraham. Thus all these Prophets have been accused of coveting wealth and power. But Qur’an declares all these charges to be false. They were a group of heavenly people whom God had exalted. (close)
a. 2:48; 3:34-35; 45:17. (close)
830. Important Words:
الیسع (Elisha) was the son of Shaphat, the disciple and successor of Elijah. He was a native of Abelmeholah, a village in Galilee. He was taken from the plough and anointed by Elijah to be his successor. Directed by God, Elijah found him in the field and threw his mantle over him. Many miracles are attributed to Elisha. But neither the sanctity of his life nor the miracles he wrought had the effect of reforming the nation at large. At length, worn out by his public and private labour, he breathed his last at the age of ninety in 838 B.C.
یونس (Jonah), son of Amittai, was born in Gath-hepher, in the tribe of Zebulun. He lived either before or during the reign of Jeroboam II or in the reign of Jehoahaz about 850 B.C. He was an Israelite Prophet with a mission to the people of Nineveh. Jonah prophesied the destruction of his people within 40 days. But they repented and turned to God with humble supplication, whereupon they were saved. This, however, upset Jonah who, being ashamed to face his people, ran away and, while crossing a sea, was thrown into the water and swallowed by a fish (Jonah, 1:17). Jonah remained in the belly of the fish for three days and was then disgorged by it and saved. It is to this incident that Jesus referred when he said that no miracle would be shown to his people except that of Jonah (Matt. 16:4), meaning that he would be put on the cross but would be taken down alive and would then be placed in the womb of the earth for three days after which he would escape therefrom, just as Jonah had escaped from the belly of the fish.
See 6:85 above. The verse speaks of Lot as being "exalted above the people." Now if the word العالمین (lit. the people) be taken to signify "all the peoples," it would be evidently wrong; for Lot lived in the time of Abraham and was admittedly not superior to the Patriarch. Thus the word العالمین cannot here signify even "the people of the age" as it has been rendered elsewhere but simply "the people," i.e. a section thereof. In fact, the exaltation spoken of here refers only to the people to whom the Prophets, mentioned in the verse, were sent. (close)