وَ ہُوَ الَّذِیۡۤ اَنۡشَاَکُمۡ مِّنۡ نَّفۡسٍ وَّاحِدَۃٍ فَمُسۡتَقَرٌّ وَّ مُسۡتَوۡدَعٌ ؕ قَدۡ فَصَّلۡنَا الۡاٰیٰتِ لِقَوۡمٍ یَّفۡقَہُوۡنَ ﴿۹۹﴾
وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِيٓ أَنشَأَكُم مِّن نَّفۡسٖ وَٰحِدَةٖ فَمُسۡتَقَرّٞ وَمُسۡتَوۡدَعٞۗ قَدۡ فَصَّلۡنَا ٱلۡأٓيَٰتِ لِقَوۡمٖ يَفۡقَهُونَ
a. 4:3; 7:190; 39:7. (close)
b. 11:7. (close)
883. Mustaqarr signifies the life of this world and Mustauda‘ the life after death, or the former word signifies the span between death and Resurrection and the latter the life after Resurrection. The verse signifies that when God has multiplied humanity out of "a single soul," it could not have been without a purpose. The great object for which He has created and multiplied human beings is that He has appointed for them not only a period of residence on this earth but also an everlasting life beyond the grave where the righteous will meet their Lord—a lofty goal indeed to which they can only rise under the guidance of Divine Messengers. (close)
b. 4:3; 7:190; 39:7. (close)
c. 11:7. (close)
841. Important Words:
انشأکم (has produced you). The word انشأ is derived from نشأ which means, he lived; he rose or became high or elevated; he grew up; it became produced or originated. انشأ means, he created, produced or originated; he raised or lifted (Lane).
مستقر (home) is derived from; قر which means he or it settled or became firm or fixed or established; or he or it remained or continued in a place; or he or it rested; or he or it became still or quiet or stationary. استقر gives the same meaning as above. It also means, it subsisted. مستقر means, place or time of settledness; or of permanence and continuance, i.e. home; also a resting place (Lane).
مستودع (lodging) is derived from ودع (wada‘a) or ودع (wadu‘a) which means, he or it became still, quiet or at rest. ودع الشیء(wada‘a) means, he left off the thing. ودع عندہ مالا means, he left the property with him as a deposit. ودعه (wadda‘a-hu) means, he bade him farewell; he forsook or deserted him. استودعه مالا means, he entrusted him with property for safe custody. مستودع means, a depository; a place of safety or security; womb or the part of the body in which the child lies before its birth (Lane & Aqrab).
The expressions مستقر (home) and مستودع (lodging) besides giving distinct and independent meanings are also sometimes used to give identical meanings, being interchangeable. The Quran says ونقر فی الارحام مانشاء i.e. And We cause what We will to remain in the wombs (22:6). Again it says ولکم فی الارض مستقر i.e. and for you there is an abode in the earth (2:37). From these two verses it appears that according to the Quran, "the womb" of the mother and "the earth", though places of temporary residence, are each a مستقر i.e. a resting-place or a home for men. Corresponding to these, "the womb" may be called a مستودع i.e. a lodging or a depository. The next world is truly a مستقر i.e. a home for man. In fact, these are really relative terms, the same place being both a مستقر and a مستودع in reference to different things. Again, a place may be called a مستقر(home) because one stays therein, and it may be called a مستودع (lodging) because it provides security.
The verse signifies that when God has multiplied humanity out of one individual, it could not be without a purpose. The great object for which He has created and multiplied human beings is that He has appointed for them not only a period of residence on this earth but also an everlasting life beyond the grave where the righteous will meet the Lord—a lofty goal to which they can rise under the guidance of Divine Messengers. (close)
وَ ہُوَ الَّذِیۡۤ اَنۡزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَآءِ مَآءً ۚ فَاَخۡرَجۡنَا بِہٖ نَبَاتَ کُلِّ شَیۡءٍ فَاَخۡرَجۡنَا مِنۡہُ خَضِرًا نُّخۡرِجُ مِنۡہُ حَبًّا مُّتَرَاکِبًا ۚ وَ مِنَ النَّخۡلِ مِنۡ طَلۡعِہَا قِنۡوَانٌ دَانِیَۃٌ وَّ جَنّٰتٍ مِّنۡ اَعۡنَابٍ وَّ الزَّیۡتُوۡنَ وَ الرُّمَّانَ مُشۡتَبِہًا وَّ غَیۡرَ مُتَشَابِہٍ ؕ اُنۡظُرُوۡۤا اِلٰی ثَمَرِہٖۤ اِذَاۤ اَثۡمَرَ وَ یَنۡعِہٖ ؕ اِنَّ فِیۡ ذٰلِکُمۡ لَاٰیٰتٍ لِّقَوۡمٍ یُّؤۡمِنُوۡنَ ﴿۱۰۰﴾
وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِيٓ أَنزَلَ مِنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ مَآءٗ فَأَخۡرَجۡنَا بِهِۦ نَبَاتَ كُلِّ شَيۡءٖ فَأَخۡرَجۡنَا مِنۡهُ خَضِرٗا نُّخۡرِجُ مِنۡهُ حَبّٗا مُّتَرَاكِبٗا وَمِنَ ٱلنَّخۡلِ مِن طَلۡعِهَا قِنۡوَانٞ دَانِيَةٞ وَجَنَّـٰتٖ مِّنۡ أَعۡنَابٖ وَٱلزَّيۡتُونَ وَٱلرُّمَّانَ مُشۡتَبِهٗا وَغَيۡرَ مُتَشَٰبِهٍۗ ٱنظُرُوٓاْ إِلَىٰ ثَمَرِهِۦٓ إِذَآ أَثۡمَرَ وَيَنۡعِهِۦٓۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكُمۡ لَأٓيَٰتٖ لِّقَوۡمٖ يُؤۡمِنُونَ
c. 14:33; 16:11; 22:64; 35:28. (close)
d. 6:142; 13:5. (close)
884. Revelation is likened here to rainwater, and the verse answers the question, why, if revelation is indeed a blessing, is there discord and strife whenever a Prophet is raised? It says that just as after rainfall all kinds of vegetation grow up, both bad and good, according to the seeds lying concealed in the earth, similarly, at the advent of a Divine Messenger, men, who so far had remained mixed up, become divided into good and bad. The words "like and unlike" imply that whereas some fruits resemble, and some differ from, each other.
This may apply either to fruits of different kinds, which resemble one another in certain respects and differ in others, or to fruits of the same kind which, although resembling one another in the main points, differ from one another in minor details, some tasting sweeter than others and some varying in colour or size. The same is the case with those persons who accept a Prophet and follow Divine guidance. Whereas they bear great resemblance to each other in one respect, they differ in another. Some are morally and spiritually more advanced than others. Again, some are more advanced in one phase of spiritual growth, others are more advanced in another. They attain to different stages of spiritual perfection and develop different characteristics according to their respective natural capacities and dispositions. The words "the ripening thereof" refer to the analogy of the ripening of fruit. Just as it is unfair to judge a fruit by an unripe specimen, similarly it is unfair to find fault with the fruits of revelation because some believers are as yet in the process of spiritual development and have not attained perfection. (close)
a. 14:33; 16:11; 22:64; 35:28. (close)
b. 6:142; 13:5. (close)
842. Important Words:
متراکبا (clustered) is derived from رکب. They say رکبه i.e. he rode it or mounted it; it got upon it or it became superincumbent upon it. تراکب means, it lay one part upon another; it was or became heaped or piled up. So متراکب means, piled or clustered together one above another (Aqrab).
طلع (sheaths) is from the verb طلع (tala‘a), i.e., he or it rose or appeared or came forth. طلع is what comes forth from the palm tree and becomes dates; the spathe or flowers of the palm tree (Lane).
قنوان (bunches) is the plural of قنو which is derived from قنا . They say قنا المال i.e. he acquired and amassed property for himself. قنو means, a bunch of dates (Aqrab).
ینعه (the ripening thereof). ینع is from the verb ینع (yana‘a). They say ینع الثمر i.e. the fruit became ripened and fit for gathering; it (fruit, etc.) became red. یانع means, the ripe fruit. ینع is both the noun-infinitive from the verb ینع (yana‘a) in which case it means the ripening of a fruit, and the plural of یانع in which case it means the ripe fruits (Aqrab).
In this verse revelation is likened to rainwater and the verse answers the question why there is discord and strife at the advent of Prophets, if revelation is indeed a blessing. The verse says that just as by rainwater all kinds of vegetation grow up, both bad and good, according to the seeds lying concealed in the earth, similarly at the advent of Divine revelation, men, so far remaining mixed up, become divided into good and bad. The good ones accept the Messenger of God, help him and become pious and holy, like trees which bear good fruit or like shrubs which bring forth beautiful flowers or like herbs which give out a sweet odour; but there are others—the bad ones—who oppose the Prophet, persecute his followers and act corruptly in the earth. These are like trees which bear bitter fruit or like flowerless and thorny bushes or like plants and herbs which give out a bad smell.
The words مشتبھا و غیر متشابه (similar and dissimilar) imply that whereas some fruits resemble each other, some differ from others. This may apply either to fruits of different kinds, which resemble one another in certain respects and differ in others, or to fruits of the same kind which, although resembling one another in the main points, differ from one another in minor details, some tasting sweeter than others and some varying in colour or size. The same is the case with those who believe in the Prophets and follow Divine guidance. Although they bear great resemblance to one another, yet there are differences between them, some being morally and spiritually more advanced than others. Again, some are advanced in one phase of spiritual growth, while others are advanced in another. Among the Companions of the Holy Prophet, too, we see that one became an Abu Bakr, another an ‘Umar, and another an ‘Uthman and yet another an ‘Aliand so on. They attained to different stages of spirituality and developed different phases, according to their respective natural capacities and dispositions.
The words, the ripening thereof, refer to an implied objection that might be raised by the deniers of revelation––namely, that even those who accept Divine revelation do not all become pure and holy. The above-quoted words answer this objection by pointing to the analogy of the ripening of fruit. The people are asked first to note the condition of fruits when they are yet unripe and then see how sweet and delicious they become after becoming ripe. Just as it is unfair to judge a fruit by an unripe specimen, similarly, it is unfair to find fault with the fruits of revelation on the basis of such individuals as are yet in the process of development and have not attained to perfection. The verse points out that in the beginning there are bound to be weaknesses and shortcomings even in believers, just as there is bound to be sourness in the taste of an unripe or undeveloped fruit. So it is not just to deny the usefulness of revelation on the basis of weaknesses that are to be met with in believers whose spiritual condition is not yet fully developed.
The verse most beautifully draws attention to three important points that can be deduced from the analogy of the various kinds of vegetation that grow as a result of rain: (1) that rain brings forth both good and bad vegetation (believers and disbelievers); (2) that even in good fruits (believers) some variety is to be found, i.e. points of similarity and dissimilarity; and (3) that in the early stage of development even good fruits are not sweet and may even be sour. (close)
وَ جَعَلُوۡا لِلّٰہِ شُرَکَآءَ الۡجِنَّ وَ خَلَقَہُمۡ وَ خَرَقُوۡا لَہٗ بَنِیۡنَ وَ بَنٰتٍۭ بِغَیۡرِ عِلۡمٍ ؕ سُبۡحٰنَہٗ وَ تَعٰلٰی عَمَّا یَصِفُوۡنَ ﴿۱۰۱﴾٪
وَجَعَلُواْ لِلَّهِ شُرَكَآءَ ٱلۡجِنَّ وَخَلَقَهُمۡۖ وَخَرَقُواْ لَهُۥ بَنِينَ وَبَنَٰتِۭ بِغَيۡرِ عِلۡمٖۚ سُبۡحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ
a. 2:117; 9:31; 10:19. (close)
885. Jinn are such beings as remain hidden or aloof from the common people. The verse signifies that man stumbles when he rejects Divine revelation and follows his own judgment and reason and associates the jinn and the angels as co-partners with God and attributes sons and daughters to Him. (close)
a. 2:117; 9:31; 10:19. (close)
843. Important Words:
الجن (the jinn) is derived from the verb جن i.e. he covered up or concealed. The word here signifies such beings as remain aloof from the people, as if remaining concealed, e.g. kings and other potentates. In its wider significance the word extends to angels and other hidden creatures. See also 2:26; 6:77 & 6:129.
خرقوا (they falsely ascribe) is derived from خرق. They say خرقه i.e. he made a hole in it, or he cut it or tore it. خرق الارضmeans, he traversed or crossed the land by journeying so as to reach the furthest part thereof.
خرق الکذب means, he forged the lie. Sometimes the word خرق even when used without a qualifying word means, he forged a lie, or he lied, or he falsely ascribed something to somebody (Taj).
This verse draws attention to the way in which man stumbles when he rejects divine revelation and follows his own judgement and reason. It calls upon the reader to mark the difference between divine and man-made teachings. Men, unguided by divine light and following their own reason, have strayed so far away from the path of rectitude that some suppose the jinn (kings, etc.) to be co-partners with God, as did the Egyptians in the time of Moses; while others attribute sons and daughters to Him, as do the Christians, who have deified Jesus and believe him to be the son of God. A comparison of these man-made teachings with those revealed by God definitely proves the need of Divine revelation. (close)
بَدِیۡعُ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضِ ؕ اَنّٰی یَکُوۡنُ لَہٗ وَلَدٌ وَّ لَمۡ تَکُنۡ لَّہٗ صَاحِبَۃٌ ؕ وَ خَلَقَ کُلَّ شَیۡءٍ ۚ وَ ہُوَ بِکُلِّ شَیۡءٍ عَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۱۰۲﴾
بَدِيعُ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِۖ أَنَّىٰ يَكُونُ لَهُۥ وَلَدٞ وَلَمۡ تَكُن لَّهُۥ صَٰحِبَةٞۖ وَخَلَقَ كُلَّ شَيۡءٖۖ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَيۡءٍ عَلِيمٞ
b. 2:118. (close)
886. The word Waladun, Wuldun or Waldun means, a child, a son, a daughter, or any young one; children; sons, daughters; or young ones; also offspring (Lane). One can have a son only when one has a wife. God has no spouse, so He cannot have a son. Moreover, as God is the Creator of everything and possesses perfect knowledge, He does not need a son to help Him or succeed Him. (close)
a. 2:118. (close)
844. Important Words:
ولد (son) is from the verb ولد meaning, he or she begot or brought forth a child or a young one. The word ولد (waladun) or ولد (wuldun) or ولد (waldun) is very comprehensive in its meaning. It not only signifies male and female but is also used as singular or plural, extending even to remote offspring. Thus the word means, a child, a son, a daughter, or any young one; children, sons, daughters, or young ones; also offspring (Lane).
After making a reference to man-made teachings, the Quran proceeds to give Divine teachings.
There are only two ways by which one can have a son, either by a wife or by adoption. As for the first way, God has no spouse, so He cannot have a son. Christians call Jesus the son of God, but they do not call Mary the consort of God. If, however, Jesus was the son of God by adoption, then that does not entitle him to a higher spiritual status than other human beings, for any other man might as well have been adopted by God as His son. Again, as God is the Creator of everything and possesses perfect knowledge, He does not stand in need of a son. (close)
ذٰلِکُمُ اللّٰہُ رَبُّکُمۡ ۚ لَاۤ اِلٰہَ اِلَّا ہُوَ ۚ خَالِقُ کُلِّ شَیۡءٍ فَاعۡبُدُوۡہُ ۚ وَ ہُوَ عَلٰی کُلِّ شَیۡءٍ وَّکِیۡلٌ ﴿۱۰۳﴾
ذَٰلِكُمُ ٱللَّهُ رَبُّكُمۡۖ لَآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَۖ خَٰلِقُ كُلِّ شَيۡءٖ فَٱعۡبُدُوهُۚ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيۡءٖ وَكِيلٞ
a. 40:63. (close)
b. 13:17; 39:63. (close)
b. 13:17; 39:63. (close)
God, being the Creator of all things and being Guardian over them, can alone be the true Deity. If there is anything which He has not created or of which He is not the guardian, then He cannot be perfect. (close)
لَا تُدۡرِکُہُ الۡاَبۡصَارُ ۫ وَ ہُوَ یُدۡرِکُ الۡاَبۡصَارَ ۚ وَ ہُوَ اللَّطِیۡفُ الۡخَبِیۡرُ ﴿۱۰۴﴾
لَّا تُدۡرِكُهُ ٱلۡأَبۡصَٰرُ وَهُوَ يُدۡرِكُ ٱلۡأَبۡصَٰرَۖ وَهُوَ ٱللَّطِيفُ ٱلۡخَبِيرُ
887. Absar being the plural of Basar which means, sight or understanding, and Latif meaning, incomprehensible; subtle (Lane & Taj), the verse means that human reason alone, unaided by Divine revelation, is incapable of comprehending God. He cannot be seen with physical eyes but reveals Himself to man through His Prophets or through the working of His attributes. He is also perceived by spiritual eyes. (close)
c. 22:64; 67:15. (close)
c. 22:64; 67:15. (close)
846. Important Words:
لاتدرکه (cannot reach Him). تدرك is derived from ادرك which again is derived fromدرك . They say ادركه i.e. he or it attained, reached or overtook it. It also means, he perceived it; or he attained knowledge of it; or he attained perfect knowledge of it; or he comprehended it. The word also means, he or it attained puberty or maturity or ripeness (Lane).
ابصار (eyes) is the plural of بصر which means, eye or sight, or understanding or perspicacity (Aqrab).
لطیف (Incomprehensible) is derived fromلطف . They say لطف الشئی (latufa), i.e. the thing was or became small, thin or fine. لطف به i.e. latafa (with different vowel point on the central letter) means, he was kind, gentle and affectionate to him. لطیفmeans (1) gentle, gracious, and kind; (2) subtle, abstruse or recondite; (3) knower of the subtleties and obscurities of things. It is one of the attributes of God (Taj, Lisan & Aqrab).
Some persons may claim that they can know or reach God by means of reason or understanding alone. The Quran forcefully refutes this idea by saying, Eyes cannot reach Him, i.e. human reason alone, unaided by Divine help, is incapable of knowing or reaching God. It is God Himself Who reaches the eyes (viz. human understanding) and reveals Himself to man, i.e. God has, on the one hand, placed in human mind a power to search after and know Him, and, on the other, He sends down revelation to man, thereby making Himself known to him. Revelation also helps to kindle in human reason a light by means of which man is enabled to know God.
The two Divine attributes اللطیف (Incomprehensible) and الخبیر (All-Aware) furnish in a most beautiful manner the reason of the two claims made in the opening words of the verse. The first claim is that Eyes cannot reach Him, the corresponding reason being stated to be that He is Subtle and Incomprehensible, and being so, He cannot be comprehended by human reason alone. The second claim is that He reaches the eyes, the corresponding reason being stated to be that He is All-Aware, and being so, He knows that mankind stands in need of knowing Him without which there can be no spiritual life, so He Himself approaches man and reveals Himself to him. The two claims have thus been followed, in a perfect natural order, by two corresponding reasons. The reader should note what wise order governs the arrangement of the words of the Quran. They have not been put together at random, but each word has been put in the most appropriate place and is meant to fulfil a great purpose. (close)
قَدۡ جَآءَکُمۡ بَصَآئِرُ مِنۡ رَّبِّکُمۡ ۚ فَمَنۡ اَبۡصَرَ فَلِنَفۡسِہٖ ۚ وَ مَنۡ عَمِیَ فَعَلَیۡہَا ؕ وَ مَاۤ اَنَا عَلَیۡکُمۡ بِحَفِیۡظٍ ﴿۱۰۵﴾
قَدۡ جَآءَكُم بَصَآئِرُ مِن رَّبِّكُمۡۖ فَمَنۡ أَبۡصَرَ فَلِنَفۡسِهِۦۖ وَمَنۡ عَمِيَ فَعَلَيۡهَاۚ وَمَآ أَنَا۠ عَلَيۡكُم بِحَفِيظٖ
d. 7:204. (close)
888. Basa’ir (plural of Basirah) means, proofs, arguments, signs, evidences (Lane). (close)
889. Makes use of reason. (close)
890. Shuts his eyes to truth and virtually becomes blind. (close)
891. The duty of a Divine Prophet is confined to conveying what is revealed to him by God. It is not his business to compel people to accept it. Incidentally; the verse constitutes a refutation of the charge that Islam encourages or countenances the use of force for the propagation of its teaching. (close)
a. 7:204. (close)
The word بصائر (proofs) also helps to explain the words, He reaches the eyes, occurring in the preceding verse and signifies that God reveals proofs by means of which man becomes able to know Him. By "proofs" is here meant the divine signs and evidences sent by God.
The words, whoever sees, mean, whoever makes use of his reason after proofs have been revealed to him by God. Similarly the words, whoever becomes blind, refer to such persons as shut their eyes to all truth and virtually make themselves blind.
The duty of the Holy Prophet described in the words, I am not a guardian over you, is only to convey what is revealed by God; it is not his responsibility to compel people to believe in God. Thus, the verse also provides a refutation of the baseless charge that Islam countenances compulsion in the propagation of religion. (close)
وَ کَذٰلِکَ نُصَرِّفُ الۡاٰیٰتِ وَ لِیَقُوۡلُوۡا دَرَسۡتَ وَ لِنُبَیِّنَہٗ لِقَوۡمٍ یَّعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۱۰۶﴾
وَكَذَٰلِكَ نُصَرِّفُ ٱلۡأٓيَٰتِ وَلِيَقُولُواْ دَرَسۡتَ وَلِنُبَيِّنَهُۥ لِقَوۡمٖ يَعۡلَمُونَ
a. 7:59. (close)
a. 7:59. (close)
848. Important Words:
درست (thou hast learnt well) is derived from درس which means, it became effaced, erased or obliterated; or transitively, it effaced, erased or obliterated. درس الثوب means, the cloth became old and worn out. Similarly, درس الثوب means, he rendered the cloth old and worn out. درس الکتاب means, he read the book or he read it repeatedly so as to remember it; or he made it easy to remember by much reading; or he learnt or studied it (Lane).
The verse purports to say, "We have explained Our teachings in various ways with the result that believers have acquired perfect belief in them, while disbelievers have rejected them, saying, 'You have learnt these teachings from Jews and Christians and are now repeating them to us.'" The verb درست (thou hast learnt well) has thus been used here ironically. Taking the transitive meaning of درست the clause would mean that disbelievers reject the teachings, saying: "You have read or recited the signs and teachings you claim to have brought to us and we have heard them. That is enough; do not bother us any more."
In fact, whereas the teachings of the Quran benefit those who accept them, they serve the purpose of establishing the guilt of those who reject them so that they become answerable to God for their rejection. (close)
اِتَّبِعۡ مَاۤ اُوۡحِیَ اِلَیۡکَ مِنۡ رَّبِّکَ ۚ لَاۤ اِلٰہَ اِلَّا ہُوَ ۚ وَ اَعۡرِضۡ عَنِ الۡمُشۡرِکِیۡنَ ﴿۱۰۷﴾
ٱتَّبِعۡ مَآ أُوحِيَ إِلَيۡكَ مِن رَّبِّكَۖ لَآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَۖ وَأَعۡرِضۡ عَنِ ٱلۡمُشۡرِكِينَ
b. 10:110; 33:3. (close)
b. 10:110; 33:3. (close)
وَ لَوۡ شَآءَ اللّٰہُ مَاۤ اَشۡرَکُوۡا ؕ وَ مَا جَعَلۡنٰکَ عَلَیۡہِمۡ حَفِیۡظًا ۚ وَ مَاۤ اَنۡتَ عَلَیۡہِمۡ بِوَکِیۡلٍ ﴿۱۰۸﴾
وَلَوۡ شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ مَآ أَشۡرَكُواْۗ وَمَا جَعَلۡنَٰكَ عَلَيۡهِمۡ حَفِيظٗاۖ وَمَآ أَنتَ عَلَيۡهِم بِوَكِيلٖ
892. In His infinite wisdom God has made man a free agent. If at all He should have compelled the people He would certainly have compelled them to follow the truth; but in the interest of man himself it has not pleased God to use compulsion. (close)
c. 39:42; 42:7; 88:23. (close)
893. The words "guardian," "keeper" or "disposer of affairs" used for the Holy Prophet in the Qur’an are intended to signify that he is not responsible for the actions of other people. (close)
c. 39:42; 42:7; 88:23. (close)
The Arabic words rendered as, if Allah had enforced His will, they would not have set up gods with God, do not, and indeed cannot, mean, as some may suppose, that the idolaters commit sins because God so wills. They only mean that God has made man a free agent in matters of faith and has not forced His will on him. If He had enforced His will and compelled man to believe and act rightly, man could not have gone against His will. But in His infinite wisdom, He has made man a free agent in this respect. The verse thus makes it clear that Allah does not compel any person to accept the truth but leaves it to his option. If He had thought of compelling the people, He would certainly have compelled them to follow the truth; but in the interests of man himself it has not pleased God to use compulsion.
The concluding words, We have not made thee a keeper over them, nor art thou over them a guardian, are also intended to echo the same truth, i.e. just as God does not compel man to accept the truth, the Holy Prophet also cannot compel anybody, for he is only a Messenger of God. The words حفیظ (keeper) and وکیل (guardian or disposer of affairs) are intended to signify that the Prophet is neither responsible for the actions of disbelievers nor is he the disposer of their affairs. For a fuller discussion of the words حفیظ and وکیل see 3:174 & 11:58. (close)