اِتَّبِعُوۡا مَاۤ اُنۡزِلَ اِلَیۡکُمۡ مِّنۡ رَّبِّکُمۡ وَ لَا تَتَّبِعُوۡا مِنۡ دُوۡنِہٖۤ اَوۡلِیَآءَ ؕ قَلِیۡلًا مَّا تَذَکَّرُوۡنَ ﴿۴﴾
ٱتَّبِعُواْ مَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيۡكُم مِّن رَّبِّكُمۡ وَلَا تَتَّبِعُواْ مِن دُونِهِۦٓ أَوۡلِيَآءَۗ قَلِيلٗا مَّا تَذَكَّرُونَ
d. 33:3; 39:56. (close)
d. 33:3; 39:56. (close)
No patronage or help from any quarter can be of avail to a people in opposition to God and His Messengers. This is a lesson writ large on the pages of history and is well worth remembering. (close)
وَ کَمۡ مِّنۡ قَرۡیَۃٍ اَہۡلَکۡنٰہَا فَجَآءَہَا بَاۡسُنَا بَیَاتًا اَوۡ ہُمۡ قَآئِلُوۡنَ ﴿۵﴾
وَكَم مِّن قَرۡيَةٍ أَهۡلَكۡنَٰهَا فَجَآءَهَا بَأۡسُنَا بَيَٰتًا أَوۡ هُمۡ قَآئِلُونَ
e. 7:98; 21:12; 28:59. (close)
944. Latter part of the night and also midday are here mentioned as particularly the two times when Divine visitations generally come upon a people. These are the hours when they are often asleep or are in a state of negligence. (close)
a. 7:98; 21:12; 28:59. (close)
909. Important Words:
بیاتا (by night) is the noun-infinitive from بات i.e. he passed the night. بات یفعل کذا means, he did such a thing by or at night; or he passed the night doing such a thing; or he entered upon the night doing such a thing. اتاھم الامربیاتا means, the thing or event happened to them at night, or in the latter part of the night (Aqrab). See also 4:82.
قائلون (slept at noon) is derived from قال (of which the aorist is یقیل and not یقول) i.e. he slept or rested during mid-day; or he drank water, etc. at mid-day. So قائل means, one sleeping or resting during mid-day. قیلولة means, the act of sleeping or resting during mid-day. قائلة means, mid-day (Aqrab).
The particle فا in فجاءھا here means "and". If, however, it be taken to mean "then" and the words that follow be translated as "then Our punishment came upon them", then the verb اھلکنا (have We destroyed) will have to be rendered as "We had decreed to destroy". Two separate and distinct hours, viz. (1) the latter part of the night and (2) mid-day are here mentioned as the two times when divine visitations generally come upon men. These are the times when people are often in a state of sleep or negligence. (close)
فَمَا کَانَ دَعۡوٰٮہُمۡ اِذۡ جَآءَہُمۡ بَاۡسُنَاۤ اِلَّاۤ اَنۡ قَالُوۡۤا اِنَّا کُنَّا ظٰلِمِیۡنَ ﴿۶﴾
فَمَا كَانَ دَعۡوَىٰهُمۡ إِذۡ جَآءَهُم بَأۡسُنَآ إِلَّآ أَن قَالُوٓاْ إِنَّا كُنَّا ظَٰلِمِينَ
a. 21:15. (close)
945. The reason, why even confirmed atheists have sometimes been found to cry to God for help when punishment overtakes them, is that at such a dreadful time realization comes to man not only of his own utter helplessness but also of the might and power of a Higher Being. (close)
b. 21:15. (close)
The reason why even confirmed atheists have been found to cry to God for help when Divine punishment overtakes them, is that at such a dreadful time, man becomes not only conscious of his own utter helplessness but also of the might and power of a Higher Being. (close)
فَلَنَسۡـَٔلَنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ اُرۡسِلَ اِلَیۡہِمۡ وَ لَنَسۡـَٔلَنَّ الۡمُرۡسَلِیۡنَ ۙ﴿۷﴾
فَلَنَسۡـَٔلَنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ أُرۡسِلَ إِلَيۡهِمۡ وَلَنَسۡـَٔلَنَّ ٱلۡمُرۡسَلِينَ
b. 28:66. (close)
c. 5:110. (close)
946. The verse embodies the important principle that in one form or another all are responsible to God. All people will be questioned how they received God’s Messengers, and the Messengers will be questioned how they delivered the Divine Message and what response was made by the people to it. (close)
c. 28:66. (close)
d. 5:110. (close)
The verse embodies the important principle that in one way or another all are responsible to God. The people will be questioned as to how they received God’s Messengers, and the Messengers will be questioned as to how they delivered the Divine Message and what response the people gave them. (close)
فَلَنَقُصَّنَّ عَلَیۡہِمۡ بِعِلۡمٍ وَّ مَا کُنَّا غَآئِبِیۡنَ ﴿۸﴾
فَلَنَقُصَّنَّ عَلَيۡهِم بِعِلۡمٖۖ وَمَا كُنَّا غَآئِبِينَ
God’s purpose in questioning the Messengers and the people (7:7 above) would not be to gain information or supplement His knowledge,––for He is All-Knowing—but, on the contrary, to impress upon both parties the extent and perfection of His own knowledge. After the people and the Prophets will have said what they will have to say, God Himself will tell them in detail what they did and what they should have done but failed to do, and thus the all-comprehensiveness of God’s knowledge will be fully brought home to them. (close)
وَ الۡوَزۡنُ یَوۡمَئِذِ ۣالۡحَقُّ ۚ فَمَنۡ ثَقُلَتۡ مَوَازِیۡنُہٗ فَاُولٰٓئِکَ ہُمُ الۡمُفۡلِحُوۡنَ ﴿۹﴾
وَٱلۡوَزۡنُ يَوۡمَئِذٍ ٱلۡحَقُّۚ فَمَن ثَقُلَتۡ مَوَٰزِينُهُۥ فَأُوْلَـٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلۡمُفۡلِحُونَ
d. 21:48; 23:103; 101:9-10. (close)
947. The language used here is figurative. Material things are weighed in scales made of metal or wood, but the weighing of things which are not material signifies determining their real value, worth or importance. (close)
a. 21:48; 23:103; 101:9-10. (close)
913. Important Words:
موازینه (whose scales). موازین is the plural of میزان which is derived from وزن. They say وزن الشیء i.e. he weighed the thing, or he determined or estimated the weight of the thing. وزن الشعر means, he composed verses according to the fixed measure. وزن الشیء (with different vowel point at the central root letter) means, the thing became heavy and weighty. وزن which is noun-infinitive means, the act of weighing; or the weight of a thing; or weightiness. وزن الرجل means, he was a person of weighty opinion. میزان means, a weighing instrument; a balance; a pair of scales; the weight of a thing; the measure of a verse (Lane & Aqrab)
The verse does not mean that pairs of scale will actually be set up and human actions and deeds weighed like material things. The language used is figurative. Material things are indeed weighed in scales made of metal or wood, but the weighing of things which are not material means determining their real value or worth or importance.
The verse also throws interesting side-light on the fact that on the Day of Reckoning it is only good works that will carry weight. In the following verse, the Quran makes the point further clear by saying, those whose scales are light, (i.e. those who have no good works to their credit or who have only evil works which carry no weight), it is they who shall have ruined their souls. (close)
وَ مَنۡ خَفَّتۡ مَوَازِیۡنُہٗ فَاُولٰٓئِکَ الَّذِیۡنَ خَسِرُوۡۤا اَنۡفُسَہُمۡ بِمَا کَانُوۡا بِاٰیٰتِنَا یَظۡلِمُوۡنَ ﴿۱۰﴾
وَمَنۡ خَفَّتۡ مَوَٰزِينُهُۥ فَأُوْلَـٰٓئِكَ ٱلَّذِينَ خَسِرُوٓاْ أَنفُسَهُم بِمَا كَانُواْ بِـَٔايَٰتِنَا يَظۡلِمُونَ
e. 23:104; 101:7-8. (close)
948. The word Zulm, literally meaning 'to put a thing in the wrong place' (Lane), is here used to signify that the disbelievers did not treat the Signs of God in the manner in which they should have been treated. The Signs were meant to instil fear of God and humility into their minds, but instead they became all the more arrogant and insolent and rejected them with mockery and derision. (close)
a. 23:104; 101:9-10. (close)
The words, whose scales are light, mean, those whose good deeds are few and evil deeds many. The word ظلم (rendered as being unjust to) literally means, to put a thing in the wrong place, and is here used to signify that the disbelievers did not treat the signs of God in the manner in which they should have been treated. They were meant to instil fear of God and humility in the minds of the people; but, on the contrary, disbelievers became all the more arrogant and insolent and received the signs of God with mockery and derision. (close)
وَ لَقَدۡ مَکَّنّٰکُمۡ فِی الۡاَرۡضِ وَ جَعَلۡنَا لَکُمۡ فِیۡہَا مَعَایِشَ ؕ قَلِیۡلًا مَّا تَشۡکُرُوۡنَ ﴿٪۱۱﴾
وَلَقَدۡ مَكَّنَّـٰكُمۡ فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَجَعَلۡنَا لَكُمۡ فِيهَا مَعَٰيِشَۗ قَلِيلٗا مَّا تَشۡكُرُونَ
a. 15:21; 46:27. (close)
b. 15:21; 46:27. (close)
The verse purports to tell the people that in spite of the fact that God has given them all necessary things, yet they are not grateful to Him. This is intended to warn men to be prepared to reap the fruits of their evil actions. (close)
وَ لَقَدۡ خَلَقۡنٰکُمۡ ثُمَّ صَوَّرۡنٰکُمۡ ثُمَّ قُلۡنَا لِلۡمَلٰٓئِکَۃِ اسۡجُدُوۡا لِاٰدَمَ ٭ۖ فَسَجَدُوۡۤا اِلَّاۤ اِبۡلِیۡسَ ؕ لَمۡ یَکُنۡ مِّنَ السّٰجِدِیۡنَ ﴿۱۲﴾
وَلَقَدۡ خَلَقۡنَٰكُمۡ ثُمَّ صَوَّرۡنَٰكُمۡ ثُمَّ قُلۡنَا لِلۡمَلَـٰٓئِكَةِ ٱسۡجُدُواْ لِأٓدَمَ فَسَجَدُوٓاْ إِلَّآ إِبۡلِيسَ لَمۡ يَكُن مِّنَ ٱلسَّـٰجِدِينَ
b. 23:15; 39:7; 40:65. (close)
949. Man can mould his moral being into various shapes, as clay can be moulded. (close)
c. 2:35; 15:30-31; 17:62; 18:51; 20:117; 38:73-75. (close)
950. Whereas the command to submit to Adam was addressed to the angels, it applied to all creation, as angels are Divine agents to give effect to God’s commands. (close)
951. Iblis was not an angel (18:51). He is the chief of the evil spirits as Gabriel is the chief of angels. The incident mentioned here is in no way connected with the first progenitor of the human race, who may be called the first Adam. It is only with the latter Adam (who dwelt in this earth about six thousand years ago and from whom Noah and Abraham and their posterity were directly descended) that the present account deals. (close)
c. 23:15; 39:7; 40:65. (close)
d. 2:35; 15:30-31; 17:62; 18:51; 20:117; 38:73-75. (close)
The story of Adam has already been partly related in 2:3-40. Another part of the same story with some additional details is given here with a different purpose. In the former Surah, the narration was meant to show that God had been sending down revelation from the beginning of the world and so the revelation sent to the Holy Prophet of Islam was not an innovation. Here it is given to show that there have always been enemies of the Prophets of God and so the hostility of the people towards the Holy Prophet was, in fact, a sign of his truth. The story of Adam is incapable of being fully understood without our first being acquainted with the scene of its occurrence. Was Adam first placed in Paradise and was it in Paradise that the scene described in this and the following few verses was enacted? All doubts on this score are set at rest by the plain words of the Quran, I am about to place a vicegerent in the earth (2:31). It was indeed in this very earth that the creation of Adam and all that followed it took place. The Bible as well as Zoroastrian and Hindu religious writings also lend support to this view. The Holy Prophet is reported to have described the Nile and the Euphrates as the two rivers of جنة (the garden); referring to the place where Adam lived (Muslim, ch. on Jannat); and the Hadith, too, places Adam in Mesopotamia which is watered by the waters of the Tigris and the Euphrates. It was, therefore, here that the garden of Adam was situated and all the different incidents mentioned about him in the Quran also took place here; and if there be any incident which cannot be proved to have literally occurred on this earth, then that incident will have to be taken in a figurative sense.
Another fact worth remembering is that 2:31, according to which Adam was created on this earth, also tells us that he was not the first man to live on this planet, and that other men lived even before he was brought into existence. In 2:31 Adam has been called Khalifah which word, meaning a successor, shows that he had predecessors whom he succeeded. The verse under comment also clearly points to the same conclusion. Addressing the people, it says, And We did create you and then We gave you shape; then said We to the angles, Submit to Adam. The plural pronoun "you" in the clause, We did create you, having preceded the words containing the command to angels to submit to Adam, which is preceded by the conjunction "then" shows that it was after the creation of men, and not only Adam, that God ordered angels to submit to Adam and that, therefore, human beings were already living on this earth when angels received this command. It is, thus, wrong to conclude that the human race began with Adam, that its whole life is only a little more than 6,000 years and that the different races now living on this earth are all necessarily descended from Adam.
The aborigines of Australia or the Red Indians of America or the Negroes of Africa may not be the descendants of the Adam about whom the Quran speaks in the verse under comment. See also 2:31.
As already pointed out, events which cannot be literally shown to have occurred on this earth must be regarded as having taken place in a figurative sense. That figurative language has actually been used in this narrative is clear from the following facts:
1. The angels were bidden to perform سجدة (falling prostrate before Adam) which is not permissible for any being other than God. So God could not command the angels to fall prostrate before Adam in the literal sense of the words. These words must, therefore, be taken only in the figurative sense, i.e. that of submitting and rendering every kind of help. This is why the Arabic expression اسجدوا has here been translated as "submit to", which is a perfectly correct rendering according to the figurative idiom of the Arabic language.
2. The command to fall prostrate before Adam was given to the angels only; but Iblis who is not an angel, is also apparently included in it; which proves this inclusion also to be a figurative one.
3. Iblis is represented in the Quran as having been created from fire (7:13), and he is also described as being one of the جن (jinn), which signifies an invisible creation (18:51). So he must have been invisible to Adam who was in all respects like other human beings. But he is here represented as having appeared to Adam in a visible form and having talked to him face to face. This shows that the word شیطان (Satan) has been used in the following verses in a figurative sense, and that it does not refer to the Evil One which tempts men.
4. It is said that when Adam and his wife tasted of the forbidden tree, their nakedness became manifest to them. But we know of no tree on this earth the tasting of which has the property of making a person realize his nakedness. So we will have to take 'the tree' and 'the nakedness' also in a figurative sense.
5. We are told in 20:119 that when God placed Adam in the garden, He told him that he would not become naked therein. But in 7:23 we are told that he did, in fact, become naked. So one of the two statements will have to be taken figuratively.
The straight and simple meaning of the verse is only this: the angels are bidden to submit to Adam and to help him in his work. This commandment was given to the angels when Adam was made a Prophet. As one of the functions of the angels is to exhort men to do virtuous deeds, they were commanded to help Adam by instilling good ideas into the minds of men and exhorting them to accept Adam as a Messenger of God. The chief angel is Gabriel. Similarly, there are evil spirits whose chief is Iblis. The evil spirits make evil suggestions to men and incite them to disobey God. So, while the angels in obedience to God’s command submitted to Adam, Iblis, chief of the evil spirits, refused to submit to him and to help him in his work.
It should be remembered that the incident mentioned here is in no way connected with the first progenitor of the human race, who may be called the first Adam. It is only with the later Adam (who lived on this earth about 6,000 years ago and from whom Noah and Abraham and their posterity were directly descended) that the present story is connected. See also notes on 2:31 & 2:35. (close)
قَالَ مَا مَنَعَکَ اَلَّا تَسۡجُدَ اِذۡ اَمَرۡتُکَ ؕ قَالَ اَنَا خَیۡرٌ مِّنۡہُ ۚ خَلَقۡتَنِیۡ مِنۡ نَّارٍ وَّ خَلَقۡتَہٗ مِنۡ طِیۡنٍ ﴿۱۳﴾
قَالَ مَا مَنَعَكَ أَلَّا تَسۡجُدَ إِذۡ أَمَرۡتُكَۖ قَالَ أَنَا۠ خَيۡرٞ مِّنۡهُ خَلَقۡتَنِي مِن نَّارٖ وَخَلَقۡتَهُۥ مِن طِينٖ
d. 15:33-34; 38:76-77. (close)
952. What is represented in the present verse as a dialogue between God and Iblis does not necessarily mean that an exchange of words did actually take place. The words may only depict a state of things, a picture of the conditions that came into existence as a result of the refusal of Iblis to submit to Adam. See also 61. (close)
953. For an explanation of the word "clay" see 420A. (close)
a. 15:33-34; 38:76-77. (close)
What is represented in the present verse as a dialogue between God and Iblis does not necessarily show that an exchange of words actually took place between the two. The words may only depict a state of things, a picture of the conditions that came into existence as a result of the refusal of Iblis to submit to Adam. The verb قال (said) as shown under 2:31 and 2:34 does not always signify the actual uttering of words, being sometimes used to represent only a state of affairs.
For an explanation of the words "fire" and "clay" see 2:81 and 3:50. (close)