Sunday, April 21, 2019

Short Stories from The Holy Quran: How Allah Saved Kabah from the Invading Army of Elephants

Chapter 105 Sūrat al-Fīl (The Elephant) is an amazing incident that happened few months before the birth of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and due to its relevance to the elephants, the year is remembered in the history of the Arabia as the Year of the Elephants.

This  sūrah narrates an actual event that occurred in 570 AD, months before the birth of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). This sūrah is called "The Elephant" because a large army under the command of Abraha Al-Ashram, the Christian viceroy of Yemen (then ruled by the Abyssinians) which came with the intention to destroy the Ka’bah at Makkah. Since the invading army also included battle elephants, the sūrah is appropriately named.

We have already provided the exegesis of the Sūrat al-Fīl - however, the purpose of this post is to share a short clip which has filmed the incident, in which an elder is shown praying to Allah to save Ka'bah from the invading army of elephants, something that had never been seen before the people of Makkah and nor they had any defence or weapons to beat back these wild beats charging on to Ka'abah with full might and ferocity.

And sure enough, Allah heard the prayers and sent squadrons of Ababeel or the Martin swallows with "sijjil (baked clay) in their beaks which when struck the elephants had embedded in the pebbles the Divine force which made the elephants turn away, running back, and trampling the accompanying army. And as said in the last verse of the surah: And He made them like (an empty field of) stalks (of which the corn has been eaten up by cattle)”

While you may read the full account of the incident in the post on Sūrat al-Fīl, watch the short film which animates the entire episode as described in the history books and Sūrat al-Fīl itself:
One should never challenge the Divine Power for its wrath can befall in magnitude one can not even imagine. May Allah help us to stay on the right path as described in the Holy Qur'an and elaborated by the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him.

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Saturday, April 20, 2019

Surah Fussilat - Explained in Detail: Exegesis of 41st Chapter of the Holy Quran

Sürah Fuṣṣilat is the forty first surah with 54 ayahs with six rukus, part of the 24-25th Juzʼ  of the Holy Qur'an, revealed in Makkah.

The name of this Surah is composed of two words, Ha-Mim and As-Sajdah, which implies that it is a Surah which begins with Ha-Mim and in which a verse requiring the performance of Sajdah (prostration) has occurred. And is written as complete Sürah Ha Meem as Sajdah so as not to confuse it with Sürah As Sajdah, the 32nd Chapter of the Holy Qur'an. For this very reason it is generally known as Sürah Fuṣṣilat.

Sürah Fuṣṣilat  is one of the seven consecutive surahs of the Holy Quran which are affixed the Letters Ha-Meem " حٰمٓ ". Chronologically they all belong to the same Makkan Period, and they immediately follow the last Sürah in time. The other six surahs that begin with same dis-joined words are:
  • Chapter. 40 Surah Al Mu'min (The Believer)
  • Chapter. 42 Surah Ash Shura (The Consultation)
  • Chapter. 43 Surah Az Zukhruf (The Ornaments of Gold)
  • Chapter. 44 Surah Ad Dukhan (The Smoke)
  • Chapter. 45 Surah Al Jathiya (The Crouching)
  • Chapter. 46 Surah Al Ahqaf (The Wind Curved Sand Dunes
To understand this surah completely, one must understand the environment prevail ant in Makkah at the time of its revelation, which have been very eloquently summed by by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi as under:
  • According to authentic Traditions, it was sent down after the affirmation of the Faith by Hadrat Hamzah, one of the uncles of the Prophet of Allah, and before the affirmation of the Faith by Hadrat Umar, later the second caliph. It has been reported that one day some of the Quraish chiefs were sitting in their assembly in the Masjid al-Haram, while in another corner of the Mosque the Holy Prophet was sitting by himself. This was the time when Hadrat Hamzah had already embraced Islam and the people of the Quraish were feeling upset at the growing numbers of the Muslims. On this occasion, Utbah bin Rabi'ah (the father-in-law of Abu Sufyan) said to the Quraish chiefs: "Gentlemen, if you like I would go and speak to Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings) and put before him some proposals; maybe that he accepts one of them, to which we may also agree, and so he stops opposing us." They all agreed to this, and Utbah went and said to the Holy Prophet: "Nephew, you know the high status that you enjoy in the community by virtue of your ancestry and family relations, but you have put your people to great trouble: you have created divisions among them and you consider them to be fools: you talk ill of their religion and gods, and say things as though all our forefathers were pagans. Now listen to me and I shall make some suggestions. Consider them well: maybe that you accept one of them." The Holy Prophet said: "Abul Walid, say what you want to say and I shall listen to you." He said, "Nephew, if you want wealth, we will give you enough of it so that you will be the richest man among us; if you want to became an important man, we will make you our chief and will never decide a matter without you; if you want to be a king, we will accept you as our king; and if you are visited by a jinn, whom you cannot get rid of by your own power, we will arrange the best physicians and have you treated at our own expense." 'To this the Holy Prophet, after reciting Bismilah ir Rehman-ir-Raihm, replied: "Well, now listen to me."Then pronouncing  he began to recite this very Surah, and Utbah kept on listening to it. Coming to the verse of prostration (v. 38) the Holy Prophet prostrated himself; then raising his head, said, "This was my reply, O Abul Walid, now you may act as you please." Utbah arose and walked back towards the chiefs, the people saw him from afar, and said: "By God! Utbab's face is changed. He does not look the same man that he was when he went from here." Then, when he came back and sat down, the people asked, "What have you heard?" He replied, "By God! I have heard something the like of which I had never heard before. By God, it's neither poetry, nor sorcery, nor magic. O chiefs of the Quraish, listen to what I say and leave this man to himself. I think what he recites is going to have its effect. If the other Arabs overcome him, you will be saved from raising your band against your brother, and the others will deal with him. But if he overcame Arabia, his sovereignty would be your sovereignty and his honor your honor." Hearing this the chiefs spoke out:"You too, O father of Walid, have been bewitched by his tongue." Utbah replied, "I have given you my opinion; now you may act as you please." (Ibn Hisham, vol. I, pp. 313-314).
  • It has also been related that when during the recitation the Holy Prophet had come to verse 13, viz."If they turn away, say to them: I warn you of a thunderbolt the like of which had visited the Ad and the Thamud," Utbah had spontaneously placed his hand on the Holy Prophet's mouth, and said: "For God's sake, have mercy on your people." Afterwards he justified his action before the Quraish chiefs, saying: "You know that whatever Muhammad says is always fulfilled; therefore, I feared lest a torment should descend on us." (For details, see Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol. IV, pp. 90- 91; Al Bidayah wan-Nihayah, vol. III, p. 62).
This Sürah thus makes antagonism its subject of discussion, which the unbelieving Quraish were showing stubbornly and wickedly in order to defeat the message of the Qur'an. They would say to tho Holy Prophet, "You may try however hard you try: we would not listen to you. We have put coverings on our hearts and we have closed our ears. There is a wall between you and us, which would never let us meet together." For this object they had devised the following plan: Whenever the Holy Prophet or a follower of his would try to recite the Qur'an before the people, they would at once raise such a hue and cry that no one could bear anything.

They were desperately trying to misconstrue the verses of the Qur'an and spread every kind of misunderstanding among the people. They would raise strange objections, a specimen of which has been presented in this Surah. They said, "If an Arab presents a discourse in Arabic, what could be the miracle in it? Arabic is his mother tongue. Anyone could compose anything that he pleased in his mother tongue and then make the claim that he had received it from God. It would be a miracle if the person would suddenly arise and make an eloquent speech in a foreign tongue which he did not know. Then only could one say that the discourse was not of his own composition but a revelation from God."

In brief, this surah is about:
  • "What is Revelation and Faith, and what is man's attitude to both, and what are its consequences - verses 1-32.
  • The fruits of Faith and Unfaith, Truth and Falsehood - verses 33-54.
Let us now read the translation and exegesis in English of the Surah segmented into portions as per the subject matter and see how Allah has responded to the queries of the pagans of Makkah and have warned them of severe consequences if they do not believe what has been revealed unto Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). 

For Arabic Text, please refer to the references given at the end and may also listen to its recitation in Arabic with English subtitles:
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"

1. Ha-Meem حٰمٓ
[These disjoined letters are one of the miracles of the Qur'an, and none but Allah (Alone) knows their meanings - see our earlier post for details: Understanding the Holy Quran: Huroof Muqatta’at - Disjoined Letters].

Verses 2-8 are about the Al Qur'an which is a giver of good news and admonition and Woe to those who deny the Hereafter and do not pay Zakah:
(2)   [This is] a revelation from the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful. 
In the last surah (Surah Al Mu'min 40: 2-3), the revelation was described with reference to some of the qualities of Allah from whom it came. Here it is described mainly with reference to the subject matter (1) it brings the Message of Grace and Mercy; (2)It is not merely a book of Dark Sayings, but everything is explained clearly and from various points of view; (3) it is in Arabic, the language of the people among whom it was first promulgated and therefore easily intelligible to them if they take the trouble of understanding; and (4) it open up the way to Forgiveness through repentance and gives warning of all spiritual dangers.

كِتٰبٌ فُصِّلَتۡ اٰيٰتُهٗ قُرۡاٰنًا عَرَبِيًّا لِّقَوۡمٍ يَّعۡلَمُوۡنَۙ‏ 
(3) a Book whose verses have been well-expounded; an Arabic Qur'an for those who have knowledge, 
The surah takes its name from the third verse which clearly defines the Holy Qur'an a Book the verses of which are well expounded, clearly spelt and explained in detail - A Book that has been revealed in Arabic for those who have knowledge to interpret it and know that no man could ever compose a book like this for it is a miracle of Allah Who has worded it clearly for the guidance of the mankind, and a warning for those who turn away from it.

If with  all the qualities mentioned in explanation of the verse 2 above, if the man does not profit by its blessings, the fault lies with in his will; he turns away , and thus fail to hear the voice that calls to him.
(4) As a giver of good tidings and a warner; but most of them turn away, so they do not hear. 
Those who turn away, the consequences of their will rejection is that a distance is created between Revelation and those from whom it is meant: their ears become deaf, so that the voice falls fainter and fainter on their ears: they fell a bar between them and the Messenger of Allah who comes to teach them
(5)   And they say, "Our hearts are within coverings from that to which you invite us, and in our ears is deafness, and between us and you is a partition, so work; indeed, we are working." 
The disbelievers when confronted answer back that the message you (Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him) bring to them has no way open to reach their hearts, and the invitation had divided them and had cut them off from you. They say: "It has become a hindrance for us to join you." It has two meanings: (1) That we have nothing to do with you. (2) That if you do not desist from your preaching, you may go on doing your mission, we will also not stop our opposition to you, and we will do whatever we can to defeat and frustrate your mission.
(6)   Say, O [Muhammad], "I am only a man like you to whom it has been revealed that your god is but one God; so take a straight course to Him and seek His forgiveness." And woe to those who associate others with Allah
In verse 6, Allah tells the Prophet of Allah to tell the disbelievers: It is not in my power to remove the covering that envelops your hearts, open your ears, and tear away the curtain which you have drawn between me and yourselves. I am only a man. I can make only him understand who is inclined to listen, and can only meet him who is ready to meet with me. That you may, if you so like, put coverings on your hearts and make your ears deaf, but the fact is that you don’t have many gods: there is only One God, whose servants you are. And this is no philosophy, which I might have thought out myself, and which might have equal probability of being true or false, but this reality has been made known to me through revelation, which cannot admit of any likelihood of error. So do not make any other your God: do not serve and worship any other deity: do not invoke and bow to any other for help: and do not obey and follow the customs and laws and codes made and set by others.

And if you repent, then seek for Allah's forgiveness: Ask for His forgiveness for the unfaithfulness that you have been showing so far towards Him, for the shirk and disbelief and disobedience that you have been committing till now, and for the sins that you happened to commit due to forgetfulness of God.
(7)  Those who do not give zakah, and in the Hereafter they are disbelievers. 
The meaning of the word zakah has been disputed by the commentators. Some believe that that zakat here implies the purity of the soul and self which accrues from belief in Tauhid and obedience to Allah. According to this explanation, the translation of the verse would be: Woe to the mushriks (disbelievers), who do not adopt purity. Another group take this word here also in the meaning of the zakat on property and wealth. According to this explanation, the verse means: Woe to those who do not fulfill the right of Allah by committing shirk and the right of the men by withholding the zakat.
(8)   Indeed, those who believe and do righteous deeds - for them is a reward uninterrupted.
Verses 9-12 dwell on the miracle of the creation of earth, mountains, seasons, skies and heavens:
(9)   Say, "Do you indeed disbelieve in He who created the earth in two days and attribute to Him equals? That is the Lord of the worlds." (10)   And He placed on the earth firmly set mountains over its surface, and He blessed it and determined therein its [creatures'] sustenance in four days without distinction - for [the information] of those who ask. (11) Then He directed Himself to the heaven while it was smoke and said to it and to the earth, "Come [into being], willingly or by compulsion." They said, "We have come willingly." 
To understand the verse 11, three things need to be explained here:
  • First, by heaven is meant the whole universe. In other words, turning to the heaven means that Allah turned to the creation of the universe.
  • Second, by smoke is implied the initial and primary stage of matter, in which it lay diffused in space in a shapeless, dust like condition before the formation of the universe. Scientists of the modern age describe the same thing as nebulae, and the same also is their view about the beginning of the universe: that is, before creation the matter of which the universe was built lay diffused in smoke-like nebulous form.
  • Third, it would be wrong to interpret “then He turned to the heaven” to mean that first He created the earth, then set mountains in it, then arranged blessings and provisions of food in it, and then, at the end, He turned towards the creation of the universe. This misunderstanding is removed by the following sentence: “He said to it and the earth: Come both of you, willingly or by compulsion. They said: We have come willingly.” This makes it clear that in this verse and in the following verses, mention is being made of the time when there was neither the earth nor the heaven, but the creation of the universe was being started. Only the word thumma (then) cannot be made the argument to say that the earth had been created before the heavens. 
There are several instances of this in the Quran that the word thumma is not necessarily used to show the chronological order but it is also used for the order of Presentation. A similar expression is made in Surah Az-Zumar: "This does not mean that first He created the human beings from Adam and then created his wife, Eve. But here, instead of the chronological order, there is the order of presentation, examples of which are found in every language. For instance, we say, “Whatever you did today is known to me, and whatever you did yesterday is also in my knowledge.” This cannot mean that what happened yesterday has happened after today."
(12)   And He completed them as seven heavens within two days and inspired in each heaven its command. And We adorned the nearest heaven with lamps and as protection. That is the determination of the Exalted in Might, the Knowing.
To understand these verses well, it would be useful to study the relevant verses of the Holy Qur'an: (Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayat 29); (Surah Ar-Raad, Ayat 2); (Surah Al-Hijr, Ayats 16-18); (Surah Al-Anbiya, Ayats 30-33); (Surah Al-Hajj, Ayat 65); (Surah Al-Muminun, Ayat 17).

Verses 13-18 give a clear warning to the disbelievers and the example of Allah's scourge upon the nations of A'd and Thamud:
(13)   But if they turn away, then say, "I have warned you of a thunderbolt like the thunderbolt [that struck] 'Aad and Thamud. 
That is, if they do not believe that God and Deity is One and only One, Who has created this earth and the whole universe, and if they still persist in their ignorance that they would make others as their deities beside Him, others who are in fact His creatures and slaves, and regard them as His associates in His Being and rights and powers, then warning for them is like that of what stuck Aad and Thamud.
(14)   [That occurred] when the messengers had come to them before them and after them, [saying], "Worship not except Allah." They said, "If our Lord had willed, He would have sent down the angels, so indeed we, in that with which you have been sent, are disbelievers." 
Verse 14 can have several meanings:
  • That the Messengers continued to come to them one after the other.
  • That the Messengers tried in every way to make them understand the truth and did not leave any stone unturned to bring them to the right path.
  • That the Messengers came to them in their own country as well as in the adjoining countries.
That is, if Allah had disapproved of our religion, and had willed to send a messenger to us to keep us away from it, He would have sent the angels. As you are not an angel but a man like us, we do not believe that you have been sent by God, and sent for the purpose that we give up our religion and adopt the way of life that you are presenting. The disbelievers’ saying that they deny, what you have been sent with, was only sarcastic. It does not mean that they believed him to have been sent by God and then denied what he said. But this is a sarcastic expression of the type that Pharaoh had uttered before his courtiers about the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him): This messenger of yours, who has been sent to you, seems to be utterly mad.
(15)   As for 'Aad, they were arrogant upon the earth without right and said, "Who is greater than us in strength?" Did they not consider that Allah who created them was greater than them in strength? But they were rejecting Our signs. (16)  So We sent upon them a screaming wind during days of misfortune to make them taste the punishment of disgrace in the worldly life; but the punishment of the Hereafter is more disgracing, and they will not be helped.  
Days of misfortune” do not mean that the days in themselves were ill-omened, and the torrent came because the people of Aad met with those evil or ill-omened days. If this were the meaning and there were some ill omen in the days themselves, the torment would have visited all the nations of the world. The correct meaning, therefore, is that since in those days God’s torment descended on this nation, the days were evil or ill-omened for the people of Aad. It is not correct to argue on the basis of the verse that some days are ill-omened and some auspicious.

The details of this torment given at other places in the Quran show that this wind continued to rage for seven nights and eight days consecutively. It swept the people off the ground and they fell down dead and lay scattered here and there like hollow trunks of the palm-tree. (Surah Al- Haaqqah, Ayat 7). It left rotting everything on which it blew. (Surah Adh-Dhariyat, Ayat 42). When the people of Aad saw it advancing, they rejoiced with the hope that the dense clouds would bring much rain, which would water their withering crops. But when it came, it laid waste the entire land. (Surah Al-Ahqaf, Ayats 24-25).

This ignominious torment was an answer to their arrogance and vanity because of that which they had assumed greatness in the land without any right, and would boast that there was none more powerful than them on the entire earth. Allah disgraced them and destroyed the major part of their population along with their civilization. The remnant of their population was humbled and debased before those very nations whom they used to overawe by their show of power and might (for the details of the story of Aad see (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayats 65-72); (Surah Houd, Ayats 50-60); (Surah Al-Muminun, Ayats 32-41); (Surah Ash- Shuara, Ayats 123-140); (Surah Al-Ankabut, Ayat 40).
(17)   And as for Thamud, We guided them, but they preferred blindness over guidance, so the thunderbolt of humiliating punishment seized them for what they used to earn. (18)   And We saved those who believed and used to fear Allah.
For the details of the story of Thamud see (Surah Al- Aaraf, Ayats 73-79); (Surah Houd, Ayats 61-68); (Surah Al- Hijr, Ayats 80-84); (Surah Bani-Israil, Ayat 59); (Surah AshShuaara, Ayats 141-159); (Surah An-Naml, Ayats 45-53)

Verses 19-25 center on the Day of Judgement people's own ears, eyes and skins will bear witness against them relating to their misdeeds:
( 19 )   And [mention, O Muhammad], the Day when the enemies of Allah will be gathered to the Fire while they are [driven] assembled in rows, 
What is meant to be said hare is: When they will be rounded up to be presented in the Court of Allah, though the words used are to the effect: When they will be gathered to be driven to Fire of Hell, for Hell in any case will be their final destination.

And that all the former and latter generations and races will be gathered together at a time and called to account together. For, whatever a person does in his lifetime, whether good or evil, its influence and impact does not end with his life but continues to operate even after his death for long periods of time, for which he is totally responsible. Likewise, whatever a generation does in its own time, its influence continues to affect the later generations for centuries, and it is responsible for its heritage. It is inevitable to examine all these influences and their results and to collect their evidences. For that very reason, generation after generation of the people will go on arriving and will be withheld. The court will start its work when all the former and latter generations will have assembled together in the Plain of Resurrection. (For further explanation, see (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayats 38-39).
( 20 )   Until, when they reach it, their hearing and their eyes and their skins will testify against them of what they used to do. 
The explanation of this given in the Hadith is that when a stubborn culprit will go on denying his crimes, and will even belie all the witnesses, then the limbs of his body will bear the witness, one after the other, by the command of Allah, and will tell what offenses he had committed through them.

This verse is one of those many verses which prove that the Hereafter will not only be a spiritual world but human beings will be resurrected with the body and soul as they are now in this world. Not only this: they will be given the same body in which they live now. The same particles and atoms which composed their bodies in the world will be collected on the Day of Resurrection, and they will be resurrected with the same previous bodies in which they had lived and worked in the world. Evidently, the limbs of man can bear the witness in the Hereafter only in case they are the same limbs with which he committed a crime in his previous life.

This subject is borne out decisively and absolutely by the following verses of the Quran: (Surah Bani-Israil, Ayats 49-51, 98); (Surah Al-Muminun, Ayats 35- 38, (82-83); (Surah An-Noor, Ayat 24); (Surah As-Sajdah, Ayat 10); (Surah YaSeen, Ayats 65, 78, 79); (Surah As-Saafat, Ayats 16-18); (Surah Al-Waqiah, Ayats 47-50); (Surah An-Naziat, Ayats 10-14).
( 21 )   And they will say to their skins, "Why have you testified against us?" They will say, "We were made to speak by Allah, who has made everything speak; and He created you the first time, and to Him you are returned. 
This shows that not only man’s own limbs will bear witness on the Day of Resurrection, but every such thing before which man would have committed any crime will also speak out. The same thing has been said in Surah Al- Zilzal, thus: The earth will cast out all the burdens, which lie within it, and man will say: what has befallen it? On that Day shall it relate whatever had happened (on it), because your Lord will have commanded it (to do so). (verses 2-5).
( 22 )   And you we re not covering yourselves, lest your hearing testify against you or your sight or your skins, but you assumed that Allah does not know much of what you do. ( 23 )   And that was your assumption which you assumed about your Lord. It has brought you to ruin, and you have become among the losers." 
Verse 23: Every man’s attitude and conduct is determined by the thought and conjecture that he has about his God. The conduct of a righteous believer is right because his thought and conjecture about his Lord is right, and the conduct of a disbeliever and a hypocrite and a sinful person is wrong because his thought and conjecture about his Lord is wrong. This same theme has the Prophet (peace be upon him) expressed in a comprehensive and brief Hadith, thus: Your Lord says: I am with the thought and conjecture that My servant holds about Me. (Bukhari, Muslim).
(24)   So [even] if they are patient, the Fire is a residence for them; and if they ask to appease [Allah], they will not be of those who are allowed to appease. 
It can also mean this: If they would want to return to the world, they would not be able to return, and this: If they would want to come out from Hell, they would not be able to come out of it, and this: If they would want to offer an excuse or repentance, it would not be accepted.
(25)   And We appointed for them companions who made attractive to them what was before them and what was behind them [of sin], and the word has come into effect upon them among nations which had passed on before them of jinn and men. Indeed, they [all] were losers.
This is the permanent and eternal way of Allah that He dots not let the men with evil intentions and desires have good companions, but lets them have bad companions according to their own inclinations. Then, as they go on descending into the depths of vice, more and more evil and wicked men and devils go on joining them as their associates and advisers and companions. Some people’s saying that so-and-so is himself a very good man but happens to have bad companions is, in fact, contrary to fact. The law of nature is that every man gets the same sort of friends as he himself is. If bad people happen to be associated with a good man, they cannot remain associated with him for long. Likewise, if good and noble men happen to be associated with evil intentioned and immoral men by chance, their association cannot last long. An evil man naturally attracts only evil men to himself and only evil men become attracted towards him just as filth attracts flits and flits are attracted by the filth.

The meaning of: “Who have made attractive for them what was before them and what was behind them” is this: They assured them that their past had been glorious and their future would also be bright. They made them see everything attractive and pleasant on every side. They told them that those who criticized them were foolish because they were not doing anything novel or strange. Those who had made any progress in the world before them had been doing the same that they were doing. Ahead of them there was no Hereafter at all in which they might have to be called to account for their deeds. But if at all, the Hereafter did take place, as some foolish people assert it would, the God who was blessing them in the world would bless them there too. Hell had not been made for them but for those whom God had deprived of His blessings here.
Continuing the picture painting of the day of Judgment, verses 26-32 make a mention of those who do not listen to Al-Quran shall be sternly punished and those who do not listen to those who say our God is Allah and then stay firm on it, angels are assigned for their protection:
(26)   And those who disbelieve say, "Do not listen to this Qur'an and speak noisily during [the recitation of] it that perhaps you will overcome." 
This was one of those plans of the disbelievers of Makkah with which they wanted to frustrate the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) mission of preaching his message. They knew well haw impressive was the Quran, how high was the character of the man presenting it, and how effective and inspiring the style of his preaching. They knew that anyone who heard such matchless discourses in such an attractive style from such a noble person could not help being hued and charmed. Therefore, they planned that they should neither hear it themselves nor let anyone else hear it; whenever Muhammad (peace be upon him) should start reciting it, they should create noise, clap hands, pass taunting remarks and raise all sorts of objections and such a hue and cry as to subdue his voice. By this plan they hoped they would be able to defeat the Prophet of Allah.
(27)   But We will surely cause those who disbelieve to taste a severe punishment, and We will surely recompense them for the worst of what they had been doing. (28)   That is the recompense of the enemies of Allah - the Fire. For them therein is the home of eternity as recompense for what they, of Our verses, were rejecting. (29)   And those who disbelieved will [then] say, "Our Lord, show us those who misled us of the jinn and men [so] we may put them under our feet that they will be among the lowest." 
After warning the disbelievers of the consequences of their opposition to the truth and their stubbornness, from verse 30 below, the address now turns to the believers and the Prophet (peace be upon him).
(30)   Indeed, those who have said, "Our Lord is Allah " and then remained on a right course - the angels will descend upon them, [saying], "Do not fear and do not grieve but receive good tidings of Paradise, which you were promised. 
That is, they did not call Allah their Lord merely incidentally, nor were they involved in the error to regard Allah as their Lord and at the same time others as well as their lords, but they embraced the faith sincerely and stood by it steadfastly: neither adopted a creed contrary to it later nor mixed it up with a false creed, but they fulfilled the demands of the doctrine of Tauhid in their practical lives as well.

It is not necessary that the coming down of the angels may be perceptible, and the believers may see them with the eyes, or hear their voices with the ears. Although Allah also sends the angels openly for whomever He wills, generally their coming down for the believers, especially in hard times when they are being persecuted by the enemies of the truth, takes place in imperceptible ways and their voices penetrate into the depths of the heart as peace and tranquility instead of just striking the ear-drums.

These are very comprehensive words, which contain a new theme of consolation and peace for the believers, in every stage of life, from the world till the Hereafter. This counsel of the angels in this world means: No matter how strong and powerful be the forces of falsehood, you should not be afraid of them, and whatever hardships and deprivations you may have to experience on account of your love of the truth, you should not grieve on account of them, for ahead there lie in store for you such things against which every blessing of the world is insignificant. When the angels say the same words at the time of death, they mean this: There is no cause of fear for you in the destination you are heading for, for Paradise awaits you there, and you have no cause of grief for those whom you are leaving behind in the world, for we are your guardians and companions here. When the angels will say these very words in the intermediary state between death and Resurrection and in the Plain of Resurrection, they will mean: Here, there is nothing but peace for you. Do not grieve for the hardships you had to suffer in the world, and do not fear what you are going to face in the Hereafter, for we are giving you the good news of Paradise, which used to be promised to you in the world.
(31)   We [angels] were your allies in worldly life and [are so] in the Hereafter. And you will have therein whatever your souls desire, and you will have therein whatever you request [or wish] (32) As accommodation from a [Lord who is] Forgiving and Merciful."
33-44 The best in speech is the one who calls people towards Allah, do good deeds and say, "I am a Muslim" And Example of Allah's signs and Nothing is said to Muhammad which was not said to the prior Prophets and AL-Quran is a guide and healing for the believers
(33) And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah and does righteousness and says, "Indeed, I am of the Muslims." 
After consoling and encouraging the believers, now they are being exhorted towards their real duty. In the preceding verse they were told: Being firm in the service to Allah and standing steadfast on this way after adopting it is by itself the basic good, which makes man a friend of the angels and worthy of Paradise. Now they are being told: The next thing which wins man the highest place of honor is that he should do good deeds himself and should invite others to the service of Allah, and even in the environment of severe antagonism where to proclaim Islam is tantamount to inviting hardships for oneself, one should firmly say that one is a Muslim.

To understand the full significance of these words, one should keep in view the conditions in which they were said. The conditions were that anyone who proclaimed to be a Muslim would feel as if he had stepped into a jungle of beasts, where everyone was rushing at him to tear him into pieces. More than that, if anyone opened his mouth to preach Islam he would feel as if he had called on the beasts to come and devour him. Such were the conditions when it was said: A person’s believing in Allah as his Lord and adopting the right way and standing steadfast on it is indeed a great and fundamental good, but the greatest good is that man should boldly say that he is a Muslim and should invite others towards Allah’s service, fearless of the consequences, and while performing this duty should remain so pure and pious in conduct and character that no one should have a cause to find fault with Islam and with those who uphold it.
(34)   And not equal are the good deed and the bad. Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend. 
To understand the full significance of these words, one should keep in view the conditions in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) and, through him, his followers were given this instruction. The conditions were that the invitation to the truth was being resisted and opposed with extreme stubbornness and severe antagonism, in which all bounds of morality, humanity and decency were being transgressed. In short, he and his companions were being persecuted in every possible way because of which a substantial number of the Muslims had been compelled to emigrate from the country. Then the plans that had been prepared to stop him from preaching was that a hand of the mischievous people was set behind him, who would raise such a hue and cry that no one should be able to hear anything as soon as he opened his mouth to preach his message. In such discouraging conditions when apparently every way of extending invitation to Islam seemed to be blocked, the Prophet (peace be upon him) was taught this recipe for breaking the opposition.
  • First, it was said that goodness and evil are not equal, as if to say: Although apparently your opponents might have raised a dreadful storm of mischief and evil, as against which goodness might seem absolutely helpless and powerless, yet evil in itself has a weakness which ultimately causes its own destruction. For as long as man is man, his nature cannot help hating evil. Not only the companions of evil, even its own upholders know in their hearts that they are liars and wicked people and are being stubborn for selfish motives. Not to speak of creating dignity and honor for them in the hearts of others. It lowers them in their own esteem, and causes their morale to be weakened and destroyed in the event of every conflict. As against this evil, the good which appears to be utterly helpless and powerless, goes on operating and working and it becomes dominant in the long run. For, in the first place, the good has a power of its own which wins the hearts and no man, however perverted and corrupted, can help esteeming it in his own heart. Then, when the good and evil are engaged in a face to face conflict and their nature and merits become apparent and known, after a long drawn out struggle, not many people would be left, who would not start hating the evil and admiring the good.
  • Second, it was said that evil should be resisted not by the mere good but by a superior good, as if to say: If a person treats you unjustly and you forgive him, it is the mere good. The superior good is that you treat the one who ill-treats you which kindness and love.
The result would be that your worst enemy would become your closest friend, for that is human nature itself. If you remain quiet in response to an abuse, it will be mere goodness but it will not silence the abuser. But if you express good wishes for him in response to his abuses, even the most shameless opponent will feel ashamed, and then would hardly ever be able to employ invectives against you. If a person doesn’t miss any opportunity to harm you, and you go on tolerating his excesses, it may well make him even bolder in his mischief. But if on an occasion he gets into trouble and you come to his rescue, he will fall down at your feet, for no mischief can hold out against goodness. However, it would be wrong to take this general principle in the meaning that every enemy will necessarily become a close friend when you have treated him with the superior good. There are such wicked people also in the world, whose inimical nature will never change for the better no matter how tolerantly you may overlook their excesses and how benevolently you may react and respond to every evil committed by them. But such devil-incarnates are as few in the world as the embodiments of goodness are.
(35) But none is granted it except those who are patient, and none is granted it except one having a great portion [of good]. 
It requires a great will power, resolution, courage, power of endurance and full control over one’s own self. A man may act benevolently in response to an evil done, on an impulse, and there is nothing extraordinary in it. But when a person has to fight for years and years, for the sake of the truth, those mischievous worshipers of falsehood, who do not feel any hesitation in violating any bond of morality, and are also intoxicated with power, it requires extraordinary grit to go on resisting the evil with good, and that too with the superior good, without ever showing any lack of restraint and self-control. Such a work can be accomplished only by him who has resolved with a cool mind to work for the cause of upholding the truth, who has subdued his self to intellect and sense and in whom good and righteousness have taken such deep roots that no malice and mischief of the opponents can succeed in deposing him from his high position.

This is a law of nature. Only a man of very high rank is characterized by these qualities; and the one who possesses these qualities cannot be prevented by any power of the world from attaining to his goal of success. It is in no way possible that the depraved people may defeat him with their mean machinations and shameless devices.
(36)   And if there comes to you from Satan an evil suggestion, then seek refuge in Allah. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Knowing. 
The best commentary of this subject is the event which Imam Ahmad has related in his Musnad on the authority of Abu Hurairah. He says that once a man started uttering invectives against Abu Bakr in the presence of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Abu Bakr kept on hearing the invectives quietly and the Prophet (peace be upon him) kept on smiling at it. At last, when Abu Bakr could restrain himself no longer, he also uttered a harsh word for the person in response. No sooner did he utter the word, the Prophet (peace be upon him) was seized by restraint, which appeared on his face, and he rose and left the place immediately. Abu Bakr also rose and went behind him. On the way he asked: How is it that as long as the person went on abusing me, you kept quiet and smiling, but when I also said a word in retaliation, you were annoyed. The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: As long as you were quiet, an angel remained with you who went on replying to him on your behalf, but when you spoke out, Satan came in place of the angel. I could not sit with Satan.

This is the fifth place where the Prophet and, through him, the believers have been taught this wisdom of preaching and reforming the people. For the other four places, see (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayats 199-204), (Surah An-Nahl, Ayats 125- 128), (Surah Al-Muminun, Ayats 96-98), (Surah Al-Ankabut, Ayats 46-47).

Now the discourse turns to the common people and they are made to understand the truth in a few sentences.

 وَمِنۡ اٰيٰتِهِ الَّيۡلُ وَالنَّهَارُ وَالشَّمۡسُ وَالۡقَمَرُ​ؕ لَا تَسۡجُدُوۡا لِلشَّمۡسِ وَلَا لِلۡقَمَرِ وَاسۡجُدُوۡا لِلّٰهِ الَّذِىۡ خَلَقَهُنَّ اِنۡ كُنۡتُمۡ اِيَّاهُ تَعۡبُدُوۡنَ
(37) And of His signs are the night and day and the sun and moon. Do not prostrate to the sun or to the moon, but prostate to Allah, who created them, if it should be Him that you worship.
That is, they are not the objects of divine power that you may start worshiping them, thinking that Allah is manifesting Himself in their form, but they are the signs of Allah by pondering over which you can understand the reality of the universe and its system, and can know that the doctrine of the Oneness of God which the Prophets are teaching is the actual reality. The mention of the night and day before the sun and moon has been made to give the warning that the hiding of the sun and appearing of the moon at night, and the hiding of the moon and appearing of the sun in the day clearly point to the fact that neither of them is God or object of divine power, but both are helpless and powerless objects, and are moving subject to the law of God.

This is an answer to the philosophy that the intelligent among the polytheists generally used to propound to prove that polytheism was rational. They said that they did not bow to these objects but bowed to God through them. An answer to this has been given, so as to say: If you really are Allah’s worshipers, there is no need of these intermediaries: why don’t you bow down to Him directly?
(38)  But if they are arrogant - then those who are near your Lord exalt Him by night and by day, and they do not become weary. 
It means this: The system of this whole universe, whose agents are the angels, is running on the basis of Allah’s Oneness and His servitude. The angels who are its agents are testifying every moment that their Lord is pure and exalted far above that another should be His associate in His Divinity and worship. Now, if a few foolish persons do not believe even after admonition, and turn away from the way that is being followed by the whole universe and persist in following the way of shirk only, let them remain involved in their folly.

The Performance of Sajdah: The consensus is that it is obligatory to perform sajdah (prostration) here, but the jurists differ as to which of the two preceding verses requires the performance of sajdah. Ali and Abdullah bin Masud performed the sajdah at the end of (verse 37), while Ibn Abbas, Ibn Umar, Said bin Musayyab, Masruq, Qatadah, Hasan Basri, Abu Abdur Rahman as-Sulami, Ibn Sirin, Ibrahim Nakhai and several other prominent jurists have expressed the opinion that it should be performed at the end of verse 38. The same also is the opinion of Imam Abu Hanifah, and the Shafeites also have held the same view as preferable. Thus majority consensus is offering sajdah at the end of verse 38.
( 39 )   And of His signs is that you see the earth stilled, but when We send down upon it rain, it quivers and grows. Indeed, He who has given it life is the Giver of Life to the dead. Indeed, He is over all things competent.
For explanation, see (Surah An-Nahl, Ayat 65); (Surah Al-Hijr, Ayats 5-7); (Surah Ar-Room, Ayat 19).

After telling the common people in a few sentences that the doctrine of Tauhid and the Hereafter to which Muhammad (peace be upon him) is inviting them, is rational and the signs of the universe testify to its being right and true, the discourse from verse 40 again turns to the opponents who were determined to oppose it stubbornly.

اِنَّ الَّذِيۡنَ يُلۡحِدُوۡنَ فِىۡۤ اٰيٰتِنَا لَا يَخۡفَوۡنَ عَلَيۡنَا ؕ اَفَمَنۡ يُّلۡقٰى فِى النَّارِ خَيۡرٌ اَمۡ مَّنۡ يَّاۡتِىۡۤ اٰمِنًا يَّوۡمَ الۡقِيٰمَةِ​ ؕ اِعۡمَلُوۡا مَا شِئۡتُمۡ​ ۙ اِنَّهٗ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُوۡنَ بَصِيۡرٌ

(40)  Indeed, those who inject deviation into Our verses are not concealed from Us. So, is he who is cast into the Fire better or he who comes secure on the Day of Resurrection? Do whatever you will; indeed, He is Seeing of what you do. 
The word yulhidun in the original is derived from ilhad which means to deviate, to turn away from the right to the wrong path, to adopt crookedness. Thus, ilhad in the revelations of Allah would mean that instead of understanding them in their clear and straightforward meaning one should misconstrue them and go astray and also lead others astray. One of the devices being adopted by the disbelievers of Makkah to defeat the message of the Quran was that they would hear the verses of the Quran and then would isolate one verse from its context, tamper with another, misconstrue a word or a sentence and thus raise every sort of objection and would mislead the people, saying that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had said such and such a thing that day.

These words imply a severe threat. The All-Powerful Ruler’s saying that the acts of such and such a person are not hidden from Him by itself contains the meaning that he cannot escape their consequences.
(41)   Indeed, those who disbelieve in the message after it has come to them... And indeed, it is a mighty Book. 
A mighty Book: An unchanging Book, which cannot be defeated by tricks and cunning devices, which the worshipers of falsehood are employing against it. It has the force of the truth in it, the force of true knowledge, the force of argument and reason, the force of eloquence and style, the force of divinity of God who sent it, and the force of the personality of the Messenger who presented it. No one, therefore, can defeat it by falsehood and hollow propaganda.
( 42 )  Falsehood cannot approach it from before it or from behind it; [it is] a revelation from a [Lord who is] Wise and Praiseworthy. 
“Falsehood . . . . from before it” means that none can succeed in proving anything wrong or any teaching false in the Quran by making a frontal attack on it; “nor from behind it” means that nothing can be discovered till Resurrection which may be opposed to the truths and realities presented by the Quran; no new science, if it is really a science, can be propounded, which may contradict the knowledge contained in the Quran; no new experiment or observation can be made to prove that the guidance given to man by the Quran in respect of the beliefs, morality, law, civilization or culture, and economic, social and political life is wrong. That which this Book has declared as the truth can never be proven to be falsehood and that which it has declared as falsehood can never be proven to be the truth. Furthermore, it also means that whether falsehood makes a frontal attack, or makes a surprise attack by deception, it cannot defeat the message which the Quran has brought. In spite of all sorts of open and secret machinations of the opponents the message will spread and none shall be able to defeat and frustrate it.
(43)   Nothing is said to you, [O Muhammad], except what was already said to the messengers before you. Indeed, your Lord is a possessor of forgiveness and a possessor of painful penalty. 
Verse 44 below dwells on the kind of the stubbornness that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was confronting:
(44)   And if We had made it a non-Arabic Qur'an, they would have said, "Why are its verses not explained in detail [in our language]? Is it a foreign [recitation] and an Arab [messenger]?" Say, "It is, for those who believe, a guidance and cure." And those who do not believe - in their ears is deafness, and it is upon them blindness. Those are being called from a distant place.
The disbelievers said: Muhammad (peace be upon him) is an Arab. Arabic is his mother tongue. How can one believe that the Arabic Quran that he presents has not been forged by himself but has been revealed to him by God? The Quran could be believed to be the revelation of God if he had started speaking fluently in a foreign language unknown to him, like Persian, Latin, or Greek. This argument of theirs has been refuted by Allah, saying: Now when the Quran has been sent down in their own tongue so that they may understand it, they raise the objection: Why has it been sent down to an Arab in Arabic? But if it had been sent down in a foreign tongue, these very people would have said: How strange! An Arab Messenger has been sent to the Arabs, but the revelations being sent to him are in a tongue which is neither understood by him nor by his people.

When a person is summoned from afar, he hears a voice but does not understand what is being said to him. This is a wonderful simile which fully depicts the psychology of the stubborn opponents. Naturally when you talk to a person who is free from prejudice, he will listen to you, will try to understand what you say, will accept it if it is reasonable, with an open mind. On the contrary, the person who is not only prejudiced against you but is also malicious and spiteful, will not at all listen to you however hard you may try to make him understand your viewpoint. In spite of hearing you all the time he will not understand at all what you had been saying.

Verse 45-46 make a mention of Prophet Musa (Moses, peace be upon him) and that the Book given to Prophet Musa was similar to Al Qur'an:
(45) And We had already given Moses the Scripture, but it came under disagreement. And if not for a word that preceded from your Lord, it would have been concluded between them. And indeed they are, concerning the Qur'an, in disquieting doubt. 
That is, some people had believed in it and some others had made up their minds to oppose it. It has two meanings: (1) If Allah had not already decreed that the people would be given enough respite for consideration the disputants would have long been destroyed. (2) If Allah had not already decreed that the disputes would finally be decided on the Day of Judgment, the reality would have been made plain as to who is in the right and who is in the wrong.

This verse is true even today when those who read Qur'an understand that this is a Divine. But for the sake of their resistance to Islam, turn their faces away.

In this brief sentence the spiritual disease of the disbelievers of Makkah has been clearly diagnosed. It says that they are involved in doubt about the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and this doubt has caused them great anguish and confusion. That is, although apparently they deny the Quran as being Allah’s Word and the Prophet (peace be upon him) as being His Messenger very vehemently, yet this denial is not based on any conviction, but their minds are afflicted with great vacillation, and doubt. On the one hand, their selfish motives, their interests and their prejudices demand that they should belie the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and oppose them strongly. On the other hand, their hearts are convened from within, that the Quran is, in fact, a unique and un-paralleled Word the like of which has never been heard from any literary man or poet. Neither can the insane utter such things in their madness, nor can devils come to teach God-worship, piety and righteousness to the people. Likewise, when they say that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is a liar, their heaps from within put them to shame, and ask: Can such a person ever be a liar? When they brand him a madman, their hearts cry out from within and ask: Do you really think that he is mad? When they accuse that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is not interested in the truth but is working for selfish motives, their hearts from within curse them and ask: Do you call this virtuous man selfish, whom you have never seen striving for the sake of wealth and power and fame, whose life has been free from every tract of self-interest, who has always been working to bring about goodness and piety, but has never acted from any selfish motives.
(46)   Whoever does righteousness - it is for his [own] soul; and whoever does evil [does so] against it. And your Lord is not ever unjust to [His] servants.
Verses 47-51 make a special mention of the wordily gods and stress that on the Day of Judgement all other gods to whom people worship besides Allah shall vanish:
(47)   To him [alone] is attributed knowledge of the Hour. And fruits emerge not from their coverings nor does a female conceive or give birth except with His knowledge. And the Day He will call to them, "Where are My 'partners'?" they will say, "We announce to You that there is [no longer] among us any witness [to that]."
There are profound mysteries which the knowledge of the man cannot fathom but which are all open knowledge to Allah, because He plans, guides and controls all things. The precise time of the Hour of Judgment is one of these. We are not to dispute about matters like these, which are matters of speculation as far  human intelligence is concerned. Such speculations ruined the Ummat of Moses, and set them on the arid path of doubts and controversies. out task is yo do our duty and love Allah and man.

When the final restoration of the true values comes, all falsehood will be exposed openly. the false gods will vanish and their falsehood will be acknowledged by those who had lapsed from true worship. But it will be too late then fr repentance.
(48)   And lost from them will be those they were invoking before, and they will be certain that they have no place of escape.
That is, in their utter hopelessness they will look around to see if they could find any one of those whom they used to serve and worship in the world, who could come to their rescue and save them from God’s torment, or at least have their punishment reduced, but they will find no helper on any side.
(49)   Man is not weary of supplication for good [things], but if evil touches him, he is hopeless and despairing.
“For good”: For prosperity, abundance of provisions, good health, well-being of children, etc. And man here does not imply every human being for it also includes the prophet and the righteous people, who are free from this weakness as is being mentioned below. But here it implies the mean and shallow person who starts imploring God humbly when touched by harm and is beside himself with joy when he receives the good things of life as most human beings are involved in this weakness, it has been called a weakness of man.
(50)   And if We let him taste mercy from Us after an adversity which has touched him, he will surely say, "This is [due] to me, and I do not think the Hour will occur; and [even] if I should be returned to my Lord, indeed, for me there will be with Him the best." But We will surely inform those who disbelieved about what they did, and We will surely make them taste a massive punishment.
When man entertains false ideas of values of life, there are two or more possible attitudes that may adopt in reaction to their experiences. (1) Their desires may be be inordinate for the good things and any little check brings them into mood of despair. (2) if their desires granted, they are puffed up, and think that everything is due to their own cleverness and merit and they forget Allah. Not only that, they go a step further and begin to doubt a Hereafter at all. Thus they turn all things, good or evil, away from their real purpose because they are devoted to falsehood.
(51)   And when We bestow favor upon man, he turns away and distances himself; but when evil touches him, then he is full of extensive supplication.
That is, he turns away from Our obedience and worship, and thinks it is below his dignity to bow to Us. [For other verses on this subject, see (Surah Younus, Ayat 12); (Surah Bani Israil, Ayat 83); (Surah Ar Room, Ayat 33-36); (Surah Az-Zumar, Ayats 8-9, 49 )]

The last three verses 52-54 carry a stern warning for those who deny Holy Qur'an as a Holy Scripture and are asked: Have you ever considered that if Al-Quran is really from Allah and you deny it, what will happen to you?
(52)   Say, "Have you considered: if the Qur'an is from Allah and you disbelieved in it, who would be more astray than one who is in extreme dissension?"
It does not mean that they should believe in it only owing to the danger that if it were really from Allah they would be inviting their own doom by denying it. But it means this: It is not wisdom that you should be bent upon opposing it stubbornly without seriously trying to understand what it says. You cannot assert that you have come to know that this Quran is not from God, and you have known with certainty that God has not sent it. Obviously, your refusal to believe in it as divine Word is not based on knowledge, but on conjecture, which may possibly be right as well as wrong. Now consider both the possibilities. If your conjecture were right, then, according to your own thinking, both the believers and the unbelievers would be equal, because both will became dust after death, and there is no life of Hereafter where belief and unbelief might be distinguished. But, if this Quran were really from God, and that of which it is forewarning did really take place, then think what doom you would invite for yourselves by denying it and opposing it like that. Therefore, your own interest demands that you should give up stubbornness and consider this Quran seriously; if even after due consideration, you decide not to believe in it, you may not, but you should not oppose it to the extent that you start employing falsehood and deception and persecution to bar the way of its message and prevent others from believing in it, not being content with your own unbelief.
(53 )   We will show them Our signs in the horizons and within themselves until it becomes clear to them that it is the truth. But is it not sufficient concerning your Lord that He is, over all things, a Witness?
This verse has two meanings:
  • First, that they will soon see wit their own eyes that the message of the Quran has spread in all the adjoining lands, and they themselves have yielded to it. Then they will realize that what they are being told today, which they are denying, was absolutely true. Some people have objected to this meaning, saying that a message’s being dominant and overwhelming vast areas is no argument to prove that it is the truth. False messages also become dominant and their adherents also go on subduing one country after the other. But this is a superficial objection which has been raised without a thorough study of the matter. The wonderful conquests that Islam achieved in the period of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the rightly guided Caliphs, were not the signs of Allah only in the sense that the believers conquered one country after the other, but in the sense that this conquest of the countries was not like other conquests of the world, which make one man or one family or one nation master of the life and property of others and God’s earth is filled with tyranny and injustice. Contrary to this, this conquest brought with it a great religious, moral, intellectual, cultural, political, economic and social revolution; whose influence, wherever it reached, elicited what was best in man and suppressed what was worst in him. 
  • The other meaning of this verse is that Allah will show the people in the external world around them as well as in their own selves such signs as will make manifest that the teaching the Quran is giving is the very truth. Some people have raised the objection that the people even at that time were observing the world around them and also their own selves; therefore, it would be meaningless to show them any such signs in the future. But this objection also is as superficial as the objection against the first meaning. No doubt, the external world is the same as man has been seeing in the past and his own self also is of the same nature as has been seen in every age, yet in these the signs of God are so numerous that man has never comprehended them fully nor will ever be able to do so. In every age man has met with many new signs and this will go on happening till the Resurrection Day.
Is it not enough to warn the people of their evil end that Allah is watching whatever they are doing to belie and defeat the Message of the truth?
(54)  Unquestionably, they are in doubt about the meeting with their Lord. Unquestionably He is, of all things, encompassing.
That is, the basic cause of their attitude and conduct is that they are not sure that they will ever have to appear before their Lord and be held accountable for their deeds and actions. Hence they cannot escape His grasp nor can anything of their deeds be prevented from being recorded by Him. Short sighted people may like to think that there may be no Judgment. But Judgment is inevitable and cannot be escaped, for Allah "doth encompass all things."

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sürah Fuṣṣilat with English subtitles:

You may refer to our post "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, meaning and summary / exegesis of other chapters (Though not complete but building up from 30th Part backwards for chapters in 30th Part are shorter and easier to understand). 

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 |
An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Holy Qur'an from authentic souses and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. However, the exegesis of the chapters of the Holy Quran are basically based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi. In addition the references of  other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites. 

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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Surah Al Mu'min - The Believer: Exegesis of 40th Chapter / Surah of the Holy Quran

Sūrat al-Muʼmin is the fortieth surah with 85 ayahs with nine rukus, part of the 24th-25th Juzʼ  of the Holy Qur'an.

Sürah is called  "The Believer" (Mù-min) from the story of the individual believer among the people of Pharaoh, who declares his faith and looks to the future (verses 28-45). It is also called Gafir, He who forgives (verse 3). 

There are two surahs in the Holy Qur'an which centers on the Believers and take their names from the mention of the words Mu'min (Believer) and Mu'minoon (Surah 24). In Surah Mu'minoon (Chapter 24) the Believers (Mu'minoon, plural of Mu'min as in this case), the argument was about the collective force of Faith and virtue. In Sūrat al-Muʼmin it is about the Individual's witness to faith, and virtues, and his triumph to the end.

With this surah, the Holy Qur'an embarks upon a series of contiguous surahs which are affixed the Letters Ha-Meem " حٰمٓ ". Chronologically they all belong to the same Makkan Period, and they immediately follow the last Sürah in time. The other six surahs that begin with same dis-joined words are:
  • Chapter. 41 Surah Fassilat (Explained in Detail)
  • Chapter. 42 Surah Ash Shura (The Consultation)
  • Chapter. 43 Surah Az Zukhruf (The Ornaments of Gold)
  • Chapter. 44 Surah Ad Dukhan (The Smoke)
  • Chapter. 45 Surah Al Jathiya (The Crouching)
  • Chapter. 46 Surah Al Ahqaf (The Wind Curved Sand Dunes
The general theme of the whole series is the relation of Faith to Unfaith, to Rejection, Goodness to Evil, Truth to Falsehood. It is shown that fist in each of these pairs is the real friend, helper, and protector of man, while the second is his enemy. The very word Ha-Mim in that sense is used in sirs al and xli (xl. 18 and xli. 34), while in the other Suras we have words i aquivalent import, e.g. wali or nasir (xlii. 8 and 31); garin (xlii. 36, 38); Revelation e first in each ola (xiv. 41); auliyãa or nasirin (xlv. 19, 34) and auliyãa (xlvi. 32).

There are clear indications in the subject matter of this Surah to the conditions in which it was revealed. The disbelievers of Makkah at that time were engaged in two kinds of the activities against the Holy Prophet. First, they were creating every kind of suspicion and misgiving in the minds of the people about the teaching of the Quran and the message of Islam and about the Holy Prophet himself by starting many disputes and discussions, raising irrelevant objections and bringing ever new accusations so that the Holy Prophet and the believers were sick of trying to answer them. Second, they were preparing the ground for putting an end to the Holy Prophet himself. They were devising one plot after the other, and on one occasion had even taken the practical steps to execute a plot. Bukhari has related a tradition on the authority of Hadrat Abdullah bin Amr bin 'As saying that one day when the Holy Prophet was offering his Prayer in the precinct's of the Ka'abah, suddenly 'Uqbah bin Abi Mu'ait, rushed forward and putting a piece of cloth round his neck started twisting it so as to strangle him to death. Hadrat Abu Bakr, who happened to go there in time, pushed him away. Hadrat Abdullah says that when Abu Bakr was struggling with the cruel man, he was saying words to the effect: "Would you kill a man only because he says: Allah is my Lord?" With a little variation this event has also been mentioned in Ibn Hisham, Nasa'i and Ibn Abi Hatim.

In nutshell this surah is about Faith which is ever justified, for Allah forgives: but evil deeds must have evil fruits, for for Allah knows and is just (1-20). In all history Evil came to evil; the protest of Faith, in the midst of Evil, may be ignored; but Faith is protected by Allah, while Evil perishes (21-50). No doubt is there of the Future Judgment; the Power, Goodness, and Justice of Allah are manifest; will man dispute, or will he accept the Signs before it is too late? (51-85).

Let us now read the translation and exegesis in English of the Surah segmented into portions as per the subject matter (For Arabic Text, please refer to the references given below):

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"
1. Ha-Meem حٰمٓ
[These disjoined letters are one of the miracles of the Qur'an, and none but Allah (Alone) knows their meanings - see our earlier post for details: Understanding the Holy Quran: Huroof Muqatta’at - Disjoined Letters].

Verses 2-9 contend that no one disputes the revelations of Allah except the kafirs (unbelievers) and The angels who bear the Throne of Allah pray for those who repent and follow the Right Way
2. The revelation of the Book (this Qur'an) is from Allah the All-Mighty, the All-Knower. 3. The Forgiver of sin, the Acceptor of repentance, the Severe in punishment, the Bestower (of favours), La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshiped but He), to Him is the final return. 
The opening verses of this surah serves as a caution to all those receiving it, listening it or conveyed the message of Allah. It is being said that the message being presented is not the word of an ordinary being but of that Allah Who has infinite power. This follows some of attributes of Allah which bear a deep relevance to the following theme:
  • First, that He is All-Mighty, i.e. He is Dominant over everything. His every decree concerning anybody is always enforced; none can fight Him and win; none can escape His grasp. Therefore, a person who expects to be successful after turning away from His command and expects to frustrate His Message after having a dispute with Him is himself foolish. Such notions are only deceptions.
  • Second, that He is All-Knowing, i.e. He does not say anything on mere conjecture, but has the direct knowledge of everything. Therefore, whatever information He gives about the supernatural realities is true, and the one who does not accept it is following nothing but ignorance. Likewise, He knows in what lies the true success of man and what rules and laws and commands are necessary for his well being. His every teaching is based on wisdom and correct knowledge, which does not admit of any error. Therefore, if a person does not accept His guidance, he only wants to follow the path of his own ruin. 
  • The third attribute is that He is Forgiver of sin and Acceptor of repentance. This attribute brings hope and causes inducement, which has been mentioned so that the people who have led lives of sin, should not despair but should reform themselves with the hope that if they refrained from their behavior even now, they could still be redeemed by Allah’s mercy. Here, one should understand well that forgiving of sins and accepting of repentance are not necessarily one and the same thing, but in most cases Allah forgives sins even without the repentance. For example, a person commits errors as well as does good and his good acts become the means of forgiveness for his mistakes, whether or not he had opportunity to show repentance for the errors, but might even have forgotten them. Likewise, all the troubles and hardships and diseases and calamities that afflict man and cause him grief in the world, serve as penance for his mistakes. That is why mention of forgiveness of sins has been made separately from the acceptance of repentance. 
  • The fourth attribute is that He is stern in punishment. By this the people have been warned that just as Allah is Merciful for those who adopt the way of His service, so He is stern for those who adopt an attitude of rebellion against Him. When a person (or persons) transgresses the limits where he can still deserve pardon and forgiveness from Allah, then he becomes worthy of His punishment, and His punishment is so dreadful that only a fool would persist in his wrongdoing.
  • The fifth attribute is that He is Bountiful, i.e. He is Generous and Beneficent. All creatures are being showered with His blessings and favors every moment, whatever the servants are getting, they are getting only through His bounty and beneficence.
After these five attributes, two realities have been stated expressly: (1) That none but Allah is the Deity, no matter how many false gods the people might have set up. (2) That to Him everyone must return. There is no other deity which can call the people to account and reward or punish them.

مَا يُجَادِلُ فِىۡۤ اٰيٰتِ اللّٰهِ اِلَّا الَّذِيۡنَ كَفَرُوۡا فَلَا يَغۡرُرۡكَ تَقَلُّبُهُمۡ فِى الۡبِلَادِ
4. None disputes in the Ayat of Allah but those who disbelieve. So let not their ability of going about here and there through the land (for their purposes) deceive you [O Muhammad , their ultimate end will be the Fire of Hell]! 
In the verse 4 above, the word kufr has been used in two meanings: for ingratitude and for denial of the truth. According to the first meaning, the sentence would mean: As against the revelations of Allah this sort of behavior is adopted only by those who have forgotten His bounties and who have even lost the feeling that it is by His bounty that they are flourishing. According to the second, it would mean: This sort of behavior is adopted only by those who have turned away from the truth and are determined not to accept it.

There is a gap between the previous verse and this, which has been left for the listener to fill. From the context and style it becomes evident that those who adopt the attitude of disputation as against the revelations of Allah Almighty, can never escape the punishment. Therefore, they shall inevitably meet their doom. Now, if one sees that those people, even after adopting such an attitude, are strutting about, their business is flourishing, their governments functioning in a grand style and they are enjoying the good things of life, one should not be misled into thinking that they have escaped Allah’s punishment, or that war against Allah’s revelations is a sport which can be adopted as a pastime and its evil consequences warded off easily. This, in fact, is a respite which they have been granted by Allah. Those who abuse this respite for doing more mischief are indeed preparing for an ignominious end.
5. The people of Nuh (Noah) and the confederates after them denied (their Messengers) before these, and every (disbelieving) nation plotted against their Messenger to seize him, and disputed by means of falsehood to refute therewith the truth. So I seized them (with punishment), and how (terrible) was My punishment! 6. Thus has the Word of your Lord been justified against those who disbelieved, that they will be the dwellers of the Fire. 
The verse 6 means that the torment that seized them in the world was not their final punishment, but Allah has also decreed that they shall go to Hell. Another meaning can be: Just as the nations of the past have gone to their doom, so will those people also who are committing disbelief go to Hell, according to the fixed decree of Allah.
7. Those (angels) who bear the Throne (of Allah) and those around it glorify the praises of their Lord, and believe in Him, and ask forgiveness for those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah) (saying): "Our Lord! You comprehend all things in mercy and knowledge, so forgive those who repent and follow Your Way, and save them from the torment of the blazing Fire!  
This thing has been said for the consolation of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) companions, who were feeling greatly discouraged at the impudence and rebellious attitude of the disbelievers of Makkah as against their own helplessness, as if to say: Why do you feel grieved at what these mean and worthless people say? You have the support of the angels who bear the divine Throne and of those who stand around it. They are interceding with Allah for you.

The mention of the angels who bear the divine Throne and of those who stand around it, has been made, instead of the common angels, to impress the fact that not to speak of the common angels of divine kingdom, even the angels who are the pillars of this kingdom, being nearest in rank and station to Allah, bear deep sympathy and regard for you. Then the words: They affirm faith in Him and ask forgiveness for the believers, show that the relationship of the faith is the real relationship, which has joined the heavenly creatures and the earthly creatures together, and which has induced sympathy and esteem in the angels stationed around the Throne for the mortal humans inhabiting the earth, who affirm faith in Allah just like them. The angels affirming the faith in Allah does not mean that they could disbelieve, and they adopted belief instead of disbelief, but it means that they believe in the sovereignty of Allah, the One, alone there is no other being that may be commanding them and they submit before it in utter obedience. When the same attitude and behavior was adopted by the human believers, a strong relationship of cherishing a common creed and faith was established between them and the angels in spite of the great disparity in species and remoteness in rank and station.
8. "Our Lord! And make them enter the 'Adn (Eden) Paradise (everlasting Gardens) which you have promised them, and to the righteous among their fathers, their wives, and their offspring! Verily, You are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.  
وَقِهِمُ السَّيِّاٰتِ ؕ وَمَنۡ تَقِ السَّيِّاٰتِ يَوۡمَـئِذٍ فَقَدۡ رَحِمۡتَهٗ ؕ وَذٰ لِكَ هُوَ الۡفَوۡزُ الۡعَظِيۡمُ 
9.and guard them against all ills. He whom You guard against ills on that Day, to him You have surely been Most Merciful. That is the great triumph.”
In the verse 9 above, the word sayyiat (evils) is used in three different meanings and all three arc implied here: (1) False beliefs, perverted morals and evil deeds. (2) Consequences of deviation and evil deeds. (3) Calamities, disasters and suffering in this world, or in barzakh, or on the Day of Resurrection. The object of the angels’ prayer is that they be saved from everything which may be evil for them. “Evils of that Day” implies the dread and terror of the Day. deprivation of the shade and every other comfort, severity of accountability, the ignominy of exposing every secret of life before all mankind, and other humiliations and hardships which the guilty ones will experience in the Hereafter.

Verses 10-20 portray a scene from the Day of Judgement when Allah will address the disbelievers and they will put across lame excuses to save them from the wrath of hell:
10. Those who disbelieve will be addressed (at the time of entering into the Fire): "Allah's aversion was greater towards you (in the worldly life when you used to reject the Faith) than your aversion towards one another (now in the Fire of Hell, as you are now enemies to one another), when you were called to the Faith but you used to refuse." 11. They will say: "Our Lord! You have made us to die twice (i.e. we were dead in the loins of our fathers and dead after our deaths in this world), and You have given us life twice (i.e. life when we were born and life when we are Resurrected)! Now we confess our sins, then is there any way to get out (of the Fire)?" 
In verse 11, this same thing has already been mentioned in (Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayat 28: "How can you be ungrateful to Allah Who bestowed life upon you when you were lifeless, then He will cause you to die and will again bring you back to life so that you will be returned to Him."). It implies this: How can you disbelieve in Allah? He granted you life when you were lifeless; then He will give you death and then will again raise you back to life. The disbelievers do not deny the first three of these conditions, because they are perceptible and therefore un-deniable. But they refuse to accept the occurrence of the fourth condition, for they have not yet experienced it, and only the Prophets have foretold it. On the Day of Resurrection when the fourth condition will also be practically experienced by them, then they will acknowledge that the same which the Prophets had foretold had actually happened. And then the disbelievers would say that now that we confess that we made a grave mistake when we denied this after life; our life was filled with sins when we followed falsehood, is there any possibility now that our confession of sins be accepted and we be rescued from this state of torment in which we have been seized?
12. (It will be said): "This is because, when Allah Alone was invoked (in worship, etc.) you disbelieved, but when partners were joined to Him, you believed! So the judgment is only with Allah, the Most High, the Most Great!" 
But they will be told that the Judgment now rests entirely with that Allah alone, Whose Allah head you did not acknowledge, and those others whom you persistently regarded as associates and partners in the powers of Godhead, have no share whatsoever in the judgment. This sentence by itself gives the meaning that there would be no possibility of any way out for the disbelievers from the state of torment, for they did not only deny the Hereafter but they had aversion to their Creator and Sustainer, and they were not satisfied until they had associated others with Him.
13. It is He, Who shows you His Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) and sends down (rain with which grows) provision for you from the sky. And none remembers but those who turn (to Allah) in obedience and in repentance (by begging His Pardon and by worshiping and obeying Him Alone and none else). 
The mention of Signs here implies those signs which point to the great truth that the Fashioner, Ruler and Administrator of the Universe is One and only One God.

Provision here implies the rain, for every kind of the sustenance that man gets in the world, depends ultimately on the rainfall. Allah presents this one single sign out of His countless signs, as if to draw the people’s attention to the fact: If you only consider and ponder over the arrangement of this one thing, you will understand that the concept being presented in the Quran of the administration of the Universe, is true. This arrangement could exist only if the Creator of the earth and its creatures and of water and air and the sun and the heat and cold was only One Allah, and this arrangement could continue to exist for millions and millions of years with perfect regularity only if the same Eternal Allah  caused it to exist continually. And the One Who brought this arrangement into existence could only be an All-Wise and All-Merciful Lord, Who along with creating men, animals and vegetables in the earth, also created water precisely according to their needs and requirements, and then made these wonderful arrangements for transporting and spreading that water to different parts of the earth with perfect regularity. Now, who can be more unjust than the one who sees all this and yet denies Allah, or associates some other beings also with Him in Godhead?
14. So, call you (O Muhammad  and the believers) upon (or invoke) Allah making (your) worship pure for Him (Alone) (by worshiping none but Him and by doing religious deeds sincerely for Allah's sake only and not to show-off and not to set up rivals with Him in worship). However much the disbelievers (in the Oneness of Allah) may hate (it). 15. (He is Allah) Owner of High Ranks and Degrees, the Owner of the Throne. He sends the Inspiration by His Command to any of His slaves He wills, that he (the person who receives inspiration) may warn (men) of the Day of Mutual Meeting (i.e. The Day of Resurrection). 
In verse 15 above “He places the inspiration of His command upon whom He wills of His slaves” mean this: Nobody has a monopoly over the bounties of Allah. Just as no one has a right to object as to why was so and so given beauty, and so and so was given extraordinary powers of memory or intelligence, so also no one has the right to abject as to why so and so only was chosen to be a prophet and why a person of some one’s own choice was not made a prophet. “The Day of Meeting”: The Day when all mankind, jinn and satans will be gathered together before their Lord simultaneously and the witnesses of their acts and deeds also will be present to bear the witness.
16. The Day when they will (all) come out, nothing of them will be hidden from Allah. Whose is the kingdom this Day? (Allah Himself will reply to His Question): It is Allah's the One, the Irresistible! 17. This Day shall every person be recompensed for what he earned. No injustice (shall be done to anybody). Truly, Allah is Swift in reckoning. 
That is, none shall be wronged in any way whatsoever today. It should be noted that in respect of recompense, injustice can have several forms: (1) A person may deserve a reward but he is not given it. (2) He is given a lesser reward than what was due to him. (3) He is given a punishment although he is not liable to any punishment. (4) The one who is liable to punishment is not given any punishment. (5) The one who is liable to a lesser punishment is given a greater punishment. (6) The oppressor goes free. (7) One is seized for the sin committed by another. What Allah means to say is that none of these different kinds of injustices will be allowed to take place in His Court.

And that in His Court no delay will also be allowed to take place due to any difficulty in the investigation of the facts of the case and the availability of the witnesses. The Judge of the Court will Himself be aware of all the facts directly. Each party in every case will stand completely exposed before Him and clear undeniable evidence of the events and deeds, with each minor detail, will come forward without any delay. Therefore, each case will be settled and decided instantaneously.
18. And warn them (O Muhammad ) of the Day that is drawing near (i.e. the Day of Resurrection), when the hearts will be choking the throats, and they can neither return them (hearts) to their chests nor can they throw them out. There will be no friend, nor an intercessor for the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers, etc.), who could be given heed to. 
In the Quran the people have been made to realize again and again that Resurrection is not far off but has approached near at hand, and can take place any moment:
  • In (Surah An-Nahal, Ayat 1), it has been said: Allah’s judgment has come, so do not clamor for hastening it. 
  • In (Surah Al-Anbiya, Ayat 1): The time of the reckoning of the people has drawn near, and yet they are turning away in heedlessness. 
  • In (Surah Al-Qamar, Ayat 1): The Hour of Resurrection has drawn near and the moon has split asunder. 
  • And in (Surah An-Najm, Ayat 57): That which is coming is near at hand, none but Allah can avert it. 
All this is meant to warn the people to the effect that they should not become fearless of Resurrection thinking it to be yet far away, but should mend their ways and reform themselves at once.  The mention of intercession is made here to refute the concept of intercession held by the disbelievers. As a matter of fact, the wicked people will have no intercessor at all, for permission to intercede, if at all granted, can be granted only to the righteous servants of Allah, and Allah’s righteous servants can never make friends with the disbelievers, polytheists and sinners so that they should even think of intruding on their behalf to save them. But as the disbelievers have generally held, and still hold, the belief that the saints, whose disciples they are, will not allow that they go to Hell, but will see that they are forgiven. Therefore, it has been said: There will be no such intercessor there who may have to be listened to, and whose recommendation Allah may have to accept necessarily.
19. Allah knows the fraud of the eyes, and all that the breasts conceal. 20. And Allah judges with truth, while those to whom they invoke besides Him, cannot judge anything. Certainly, Allah! He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.
Verse 21-22 are about those who denied the Prophets and Allah's revelations and were all destroyed as a consequence:
21. Have they not traveled in the land and seen what was the end of those who were before them? They were superior to them in strength, and in the traces (which they left) in the land. But Allah seized them with punishment for their sins. And none had they to protect them from Allah. 22. That was because there came to them their Messengers with clear evidences, proofs and signs but they disbelieved (in them). So Allah seized them with punishment. Verily, He is All-Strong, Severe in punishment.
Verses 23-27 are about the Prophet Musa (Moses, peace be upon him) who was sent to Pharaoh, Haman and Qarun and Pharaoh intended to kill Prophet Musa:
23. And indeed We sent Musa (Moses) with Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.), and a manifest authority, 
From the details of the Prophet Moses’ story, as given in the Quran, it becomes obvious as to what were those signs which are being described here as a clear authority of his appointment as a Prophet by Allah. In the first place, even this was strange that a person who, a few years earlier, had fled the country after killing a man of Pharaoh’s nation and whose warrants of arrest had been issued, should make a sudden appearance directly in the packed court of Pharaoh, with a staff in hand, and should boldly and fearlessly address the king and his nobles and demand that they should acknowledge him as the representative of Allah, Lord of the worlds, and should act according to what he says, and none dares to lay his hands on him. Whereas the nation to which Moses belonged, had been so suppressed under slavery that if he had been apprehended immediately on the charge of murder, no one would have voiced even a protest, not to speak of rising in rebellion. This shows that Pharaoh and his courtiers had been awe-inspired just at the appearance of the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him), even before they witnessed the miracles of the staff and the shining hand, and they had realized in the very beginning that he had some greater power behind him, Then each of the wonderful miracles that he performed, one after the other, was enough to bring about the conviction that it was not a manifestation of magic but of divine power. After all, what power of magic could cause a staff to change into a serpent, or cause a whole country to suffer from famine, or cause different sorts of disasters to strike vast areas of the land on a sudden notice by Moses and be removed on a notice by him? That is why, according to the Quran, Pharaoh and all the responsible people of his kingdom had been convinced in their hearts, whether they might be refusing to profess with the tongue, that Moses had indeed been appointed a Prophet by Allah.

Read more about Prophet Moses in Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayats 49-61; Surah An-Nisa, Ayat 164; Surah Al-Maidah, Ayats 20-26; Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayats 103-162; Surah Yunus, Ayats 7, 5- 92; Surah Houd, Ayats 17, 96-97, 110; Surah Ibrahim, Ayats 5-8; Surah Bani-Israil, Ayats 101-104; Surah Al-Kahf, Ayats 60-82; Surah Maryam, Ayats 51-53; Surah TaHa, Ayats 9-98; Surah AlMuminun, Ayats 45-49; Surah Ash-Shuara, Ayats 10-68; Surah An-Naml, Ayats 7-14; Surah Al-Qasas, Ayats 3-44; Surah Al-Ahzab, Ayats 69; Surah As-Saff, Ayats 114-122), Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayats 106-117; Surah TaHa, Ayats 56 78; Surah Ash-Shuara, Ayats 30-51; and Surah An-Naml, Ayats 10-13.
24. To Pharaoh, Haman and Qarun (Korah), but they called (him): "A sorcerer, a liar!" 25. Then, when he brought them the Truth from Us, they said: "Kill the sons of those who believe with him and let their women live", but the plots of disbelievers are nothing but errors! 
As also mentioned in (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayat 127), Pharaoh’s courtiers had said to him: Will you leave Moses and his people free to spread disorder in the land? And he himself had said: I will have their sons slain and let their daughters live. This verse states that this order was at last issued from Pharaoh’s court. It was, in fact, meant to so terrify the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) himself and his supporters and followers that they should abandon him out of fear.
26. Pharaoh said: "Leave me to kill Musa (Moses), and let him call his Lord (to stop me from killing him)! I fear that he may change your religion, or that he may cause mischief to appear in the land!" 
The explanation of verse 26 needs to be studied with care.

The event which is being related here is a very important event of the Israelite history, which the Israelites themselves have totally forgotten. Both the Bible and the Talmud are without it, and no mention of it is found in the other Israelite traditions either. Only through the Quran has the world come to know that during the conflict between Pharaoh and the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) this event had taken place at some time. Anybody who reads this story, provided that he has not been blinded by prejudice against Islam and the Quran, cannot but realize that from the viewpoint of the invitation to the truth this story is very valuable, and this thing by itself also is in no way against reason that a person from among the nobles of the kingdom of Pharaoh himself might have quietly believed in his heart, having been influenced by the personality of the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him), his preaching and the wonderful miracles shown by him, and might not have been able to restrain himself when he saw that Pharaoh was planning to kill him.

But the way the Western orientalists, in spite of their tall claims to knowledge and research, try to repudiate the self-evident truths of the Quran, on account of prejudice, can be judged from this that the author of the article "Musa" in the Encyclopedia of Islam writes in respect of this story:
“The Kuranic story of a believer at the court of Pharaoh who wants to save Musa is not quite clear (xl, 28). Ought we to compare Jethro in the Haggada who advises clemency at Pharaoh’s court?
In other words, these so called researchers have one thing settled with them: They must find fault with everything that the Quran presents. Now, if they do not find any ground for criticizing a statement of it, they should at least say this much out of mischief that the story is not entirely clear, and also should incidentally create this doubt in the reader’s mind that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) might have heard from somewhere the story of Jethro mentioned in the Haggada taking place even before the birth of Prophet Moses (peace be upon him), and inserted it here in this form. This is the type of literary research which these people have adopted with regard to Islam and the Quran and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

In this verse Pharaoh tries to give the impression as if some people were restraining him from killing the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him). Had they not stood in his way, he would have killed him long ago, whereas in fact there was no external power to restrain him; it was the fear of his own heart which was preventing him from laying his hands on the Messenger of Allah.

"I fear that he may change your religion, or that he may cause mischief to appear in the land!"" means that  Pharaoh feared a revolution from him, and even if he was unable to bring it about, there was at least the danger that he would cause mischief to appear in the country by his activities. Therefore, even if he didn't commit a crime punishable with death, he should be put to death only for the sake of the maintenance of public order. As for this whether there is a real danger to the public order from him, the king’s satisfaction in this regard is enough. If his majesty is convinced that he is dangerous, it should be declared that he is really dangerous and punishable with death.

Here, the meaning of “changing the religion” also should be understood well, on account of which Pharaoh wanted to put the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) to death. Deen here implies the system of government, and what Pharaoh meant to say was this: I fear that he will change your king. (Ruhal-Maani, vol. xxiv, p. 56). In other words, the deen of the land was the religious, political, cultural and economic system that was prevalent in Egypt on the basis of Pharaoh’s and his family’s sovereignty, and Pharaoh was afraid that Moses’ message would change that very deen. But like the cunning and deceitful rulers of every age, he also did not say that he feared being deposed from his position of authority and, therefore, he wanted to kill Moses (peace be upon him), but he presented the case like this: O people, the danger is for you, not for me, for if Moses’ movement succeeded your deen would change. I am not worried for myself: I am worried for your sake as to what would become of you when you have been deprived of the protection of my authority. Therefore, the wicked man who poses such a danger should be put to death, for he is an enemy of the state.
27. Musa (Moses) said: “I have taken refuge with my Lord and your Lord from everyone who waxes arrogant and does not believe in the Day of Reckoning.
Here, there are two equal probabilities and there is no ground for preferring one to the other. The first probability is that the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) might himself be present in the court at the time and Pharaoh might have expressed his intention to kill him in his presence, and the Prophet might have given this direct answer there and then, addressing him and his courtiers. The other probability is that Pharaoh might have expressed this intention in the absence of Moses in a meeting with the responsible people of his government and a report of this conversation might have been conveyed to the Prophet by some of the believers, whereupon he might have said these words in some gathering of his followers. Whatever be the case, it is apparent from the words that the threat of Pharaoh could not cause any state of fear in Moses’ heart and with trust in Allah he flung his threat back at Pharaoh. The context in which this event has been related in the Quran by itself shows that the same also was the reply from the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to those wicked people who, being fearless of the Day of Reckoning, were devising plots to kill him.

Verses 28-37 give out an excellent speech of one of the relatives of Pharaoh in the favor of Prophet Musa. In fact it is verse 28 from which the surah takes its name: Al Mu'min - The Believer:

وَقالَ رَجُلٌ مُؤمِنٌ مِن آلِ فِرعَونَ يَكتُمُ إيمانَهُ أَتَقتُلونَ رَجُلًا أَن يَقولَ رَبِّيَ اللَّهُ وَقَد جاءَكُم بِالبَيِّناتِ مِن رَبِّكُم ۖ وَإِن يَكُ كاذِبًا فَعَلَيهِ كَذِبُهُ ۖ وَإِن يَكُ صادِقًا يُصِبكُم بَعضُ الَّذي يَعِدُكُم ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لا يَهدي مَن هُوَ مُسرِفٌ كَذّابٌ
28. And a believing man of Pharaoh's family, who hid his faith said: "Would you kill a man because he says: My Lord is Allah, and he has come to you with clear signs (proofs) from your Lord? And if he is a liar, upon him will be (the sin of) his lie; but if he is telling the truth, then some of that (calamity) wherewith he threatens you will befall on you." Verily, Allah guides not one who is a Musrif (a polytheist, or a murderer who shed blood without a right, or those who commit great sins, oppressor, transgressor), a liar!
That is, He has shown such manifest signs to you as have made it absolutely clear that he is a Messenger sent by your Lord. The Believer, from among the people of Pharaoh, was obviously referring to the signs the details of which have been given in (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayats 107-117, 130-133); (Surah Bani-Israil, Ayats 101-102); (Surah TaHa, Ayats 56-73); (Surah Ash-Shuara, Ayats 30-51); (Surah An-Naml, Ayats 10-13).

That is, if in spite of such manifest signs as he has shown you, you regard him as a liar, you should leave him alone, for the alternative probability, and a very strong probability too, is that he is truthful, and therefore you may involve yourselves in God’s torment by laying your hands on him. Therefore, even if you think that he is a liar, you should leave him to himself. For if he is lying, in the name of Allah, Allah Himself will take him to task. Similar words had the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) himself said to Pharaoh before this: If you do not believe in me, do not harm me. (Surah Ad-Dukhan, Ayat 21).

Here one should keep in mind that the Believer of the people of Pharaoh had not openly disclosed in the beginning that he had affirmed faith in the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him), but he spoke as if he also belonged to Pharaoh’s side, and was only wishing his people well. But when Pharaoh and his courtiers did not seem to see reason and continued to behave stubbornly, he at last disclosed the secret of his faith, as becomes obvious from his speech in( verses 38-44).

This verse can have two meanings and probably the Believer had intentionally employed it, because he did not yet want to express his belief openly. Its one meaning is: One and the same person cannot combine righteousness and lying and falsehood. You can clearly see that Moses is a man of very sublime and pure character. Therefore, how can you believe that, on the one hand, he should be such a liar as to lay a baseless claim to prophet hood in the name of Allah. And on the other hand, Allah should bless him with such high morals? The other meaning is: If you are bent upon taking the life of Moses (peace be upon him) by transgressing all limits and will execute your evil designs by bringing false accusations against him, you should remember that Allah will never show you the way to success.
29. "O my people! Yours is the kingdom this day, you are uppermost in the land. But who will save us from the Torment of Allah, should it befall us?" Fir'aun (Pharaoh) said: "I show you only that which I see (correct), and I guide you only to the path of right policy!" 
From this answer of Pharaoh it appears that he had not yet found out that the noble of his court had become a Believer in his heart. That is why he did not show any displeasure at what he said, but made clear that he was not inclined to change his opinion even after hearing what he had to say.
30. And he who believed said: "O my people! Verily, I fear for you a fate like that day (of disaster) of the Confederates (of old)! 31. "Like the fate of the people of Nuh (Noah), and 'Ad, and Thamud and those who came after them. And Allah wills no injustice for (His) slaves. 
That is, Allah has no enmity with His servants that He should destroy them without any reason. He sends calamities upon them only when they have transgressed all limits, and sending the torment then is the very demand of justice.
32. "And, O my people! Verily! I fear for you the Day when there will be mutual calling (between the people of Hell and of Paradise)." 33. A Day when you will turn your backs and flee having no protector from Allah, And whomsoever Allah sends astray, for him there is no guide. 34. And indeed Yusuf (Joseph) did come to you, in times gone by, with clear signs, but you ceased not to doubt in that which he did bring to you, till when he died you said: "No Messenger will Allah send after him." Thus Allah leaves astray him who is a Musrif (a polytheist, oppressor, a criminal, sinner who commit great sins) and a Murtab (one who doubts Allah's Warning and His Oneness). 
That is, your deviation, and then your stubbornness, is such that before Moses (peace be upon him), there came in your land the Prophet Yusuf (Joseph, peace be upon him) about whom you yourselves admit that he was a man of the highest morals, and you also admit that by giving the right interpretation of the king’s dream he saved you from the dreadful effects of the seven year long famine, which had struck Egypt in his time, and your entire nation also acknowledges that Egypt has never witnessed a period of greater justice and prosperity than the period of his rule. But in spite of knowing and recognizing all his merits and high qualities you did not believe in him during his life time, and when he died, you said: Never will the like of him came again! That is, you recognized his excellences only for an excuse to deny every prophet who came after him. This means that you would not accept guidance in any case.
35. Those who dispute about the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of Allah, without any authority that has come to them, it is greatly hateful and disgusting to Allah and to those who believe. Thus does Allah seal up the heart of every arrogant, tyrant. (So they cannot guide themselves to the Right Path). 
It so appears that the next few sentences are an addition by Allah and an explanation of the words of the Believer of the people of Pharaoh.

That is, Allah allows only those people to go astray who possess the following three qualities:

  • They transgress all limits in their evil doing, and then develop such a taste for it that they do not feel inclined to accept any invitation to reform their morals.
  • Their permanent attitude in respect of the Prophets is characterized by doubt and suspicion. The Prophets of God may bring any clear signs before them, yet they doubt their Prophethood and view with suspicion those truths which they present with regard to Tauhid and the Hereafter.
  • They try to resist the revelations of the Book of Allah with crooked arguments instead of considering them rationally, and these objections are neither based on any sound reason nor on the authority of a revealed Book, but from the beginning to the end their only basis is obstinacy and stubbornness.
When a group of the people develops these three evils, Allah hurls it into the deep pit of Hell fire where from no power can then rescue them. And the seal is not set on the heart of anybody without a reason. This seal of curse is set only on the heart of the one who is filled with arrogance and spirit of violence and tyranny.
36. And Pharaoh said: "O Haman! Build me a tower that I may arrive at the ways, 37. "The ways of the heavens, and I may look upon the Ilah (God) of Musa (Moses) but verily, I think him to be a liar." Thus it was made fair-seeming, in Pharaoh eyes, the evil of his deeds, and he was hindered from the (Right) Path, and the plot of Pharaoh led to nothing but loss and destruction (for him).
Pharaoh addresses these words to Haman, his minister, interposing in the speech of the Believer in a way as though he has no regard for what he was saying. Therefore, he turns away from him arrogantly and says to Haman: Build me a high tower so that I may climb it to see where the God of whom this Moses speaks, lives.

The same thing also appears in Surah Al-Qasas, Ayat 38: Pharaoh said: "O nobles, I do not know that you have any god beside myself. Haman, bake bricks out of clay and build a lofty palace for me so that I may mount up and be able to observe the god of Moses, even though I believe that Moses is a liar."

Verses 38-50 are about how Allah saved that believer from the plots of Fir'on and destroyed the people of Fir'on, now they are presented before the fire of Hell morning and evening (punishment of the graves)
38. And the man who believed said: "O my people! Follow me, I will guide you to the way of right conduct [i.e. guide you to Allah's religion of Islamic Monotheism with which Musa (Moses) has been sent]. 39. "O my people! Truly, this life of the world is nothing but a (quick passing) enjoyment, and verily, the Hereafter that is the home that will remain forever." 
That is, you are being forgetful of Allah on account of your pride in the transient wealth and prosperity of this world, this is your folly.
40. "Whosoever does an evil deed, will not be requited except the like thereof, and whosoever does a righteous deed, whether male or female and is a true believer (in the Oneness of Allah), such will enter Paradise, where they will be provided therein (with all things in abundance) without limit. 41. "And O my people! How is it that I call you to salvation while you call me to the Fire! 42. "You invite me to disbelieve in Allah (and in His Oneness), and to join partners in worship with Him; of which I have no knowledge, and I invite you to the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving! 43. "No doubt you call me to (worship) one who cannot grant (me) my request (or respond to my invocation) in this world or in the Hereafter. And our return will be to Allah, and Al-Musrifun (i.e. polytheists and arrogant, those who commit great sins, the transgressors of Allah's set limits)! They shall be the dwellers of the Fire! 
Verse 43 can have several meanings:
  • That they neither possess here nor in the Hereafter any right that the people should be invited to acknowledge their godhead.
  • That they have been made gods by the people themselves without any reason, for they have neither claimed godhead for themselves in this world nor will they put forward any such claim in the Hereafter that they also were gods and should have been acknowledged as such.
  • That it is of no use invoking them here nor in the Hereafter, for they are absolutely powerless and invoking them is of no avail at all.
A transgressor is every such person who recognizes the godhead of others than Allah, or assumes godhead for himself, or rebels against God and adopts an attitude of independence in the world, and then commits excesses against himself, against other creatures of God and against everything else with which he has to deal. Such a person, in fact, transgresses all limits of reason and justice.
44. "And you will remember what I am telling you, and my affair I leave it to Allah. Verily, Allah is the All-Seer of (His) slaves." 
Verse 44 clearly shows that while saying all this the Believer was certain that he would have to bear the brunt of the wrath of the entire kingdom of Pharaoh in consequence of his speaking the truth, and that he would have to lose all his honors and privileges, even his life. But in spite of knowing all this he performed his duty only with his trust in Allah, according to the call of his conscience, on this critical occasion.
45. So Allah saved him from the evils that they plotted (against him), while an evil torment encompassed the people of Pharaoh. 
This shows that the Believer was such an important man in the kingdom of Pharaoh that although he spoke out the truth in the face of Pharaoh, in the packed court, yet none could have the courage to punish him publicly. That is why, Pharaoh and his supporters had to make secret plans to kill him, but these plans also were frustrated by Allah.

It so appears from the style that this event of the Believer’s speaking out the truth had taken place in the last stage of the conflict between the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) and Pharaoh. Probably being fed up and disgusted with the long drawn out conflict, Pharaoh might have at last made up his mind to kill the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him). But he might have felt from the truthfulness of that influential person of his kingdom that the Prophet Moses’ (peace be upon him) influence had even reached the higher circles of his government. Therefore, he might have decided that before taking the extreme step against Moses (peace be upon him) he should find out who among the chiefs and nobles and higher officials of the kingdom had been influenced by the movement, and should seize Moses (peace be upon him) after having punished them. But while he was still busy devising his plans, Allah commanded the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) and his companions to migrate, and it was while pursuing them that Pharaoh was drowned in the sea along with his hosts.
46. The Fire; they are exposed to it, morning and afternoon, and on the Day when the Hour will be established (it will be said to the angels): "Cause people of Pharaoh to enter the severest torment!" 
Verse 46 is an express proof of the torment of barzakh, which has often been mentioned in the traditions as the torment of the grave. Allah here has in clear words mentioned two stages of the torment, a lesser torment, which is being given now to Pharaoh and his people before the coming of Resurrection, and it is, this that they are presented before the fire of Hell morning and evening, which strikes terror in their hearts and they see the Hell which they will have to enter ultimately. After this when Resurrection comes, they will be given the real and greater punishment which is destined for them, i.e. they will be hurled into the same Hell, which they are being made to witness since the time they were drowned till today, and will continue to witness it till the Hour of Resurrection. And such a treatment is not especially meant for Pharaoh and his people. All the culprits continue to witness the evil end, from the hour of death till Resurrection, which is awaiting them. On the other hand, the righteous people are made to see continually the pleasant picture of the good end, which Allah has gotten ready for them.

A tradition has been related in Bukhari, Muslim, and Musnad Ahmad on the authority of Abdullah bin Umar, saying that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: Whoever from among you dies is shown his final resting place morning and evening continually, whether he be a dweller of Paradise or of Hell. It is said to him: This is the place which you will enter when Allah will raise you back to life on the Day of Resurrection and will call you into His presence.

For further details, see Surah Al-Anfaal, Ayats 50-51; Surah An-Nahal, Ayats 28-32; and Surah Al-Mominoon, Ayats 99-100.
47. And, when they will dispute in the Fire, the weak will say to those who were arrogant; "Verily! We followed you, can you then take from us some portion of the Fire?" 
This they will not say in any hope that their previous guides or rulers or leaders would actually be able to save them from the torment, or would have it reduced. At that time they will have fully realized that those people could not avail them anything there. But they will say this in order to humiliate them, as if to say: In the world you ruled over us with great show of power and authority, now save us also from this disaster which has befallen us only because of you.
48. Those who were arrogant will say: "We are all (together) in this (Fire)! Verily Allah has judged between (His) slaves!" 49. And those in the Fire will say to the keepers (angels) of Hell: "Call upon your Lord to lighten for us the torment for a day!" 50. They will say: "Did there not come to you, your Messengers with (clear) evidences and signs? They will say: "Yes." They will reply: "Then call (as you like)! And the invocation of the disbelievers is nothing but in error!"
That is, when the fact is this that the Messengers had come to you with the clear signs, and you have already been sentenced to suffer punishment here, because you had refused to believe in them, it is not possible for us to pray for you to Allah. For obviously there should be some plea for such a prayer, and you have exhausted every plea by your misconduct. So, you pray for yourselves if you so like, but we would tell you beforehand that the prayers of the people who had disbelieved in the world like you have been of no avail.

In verses 51-60 Allah reiterates that He does help His prophets and messengers and the believers in this world's life and will help them in the life Hereafter and Your Rabb says, "Call on Me, I will answer your prayers"
51. Verily, We will indeed make victorious Our Messengers and those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah Islamic Monotheism) in this world's life and on the Day when the witnesses will stand forth, (i.e. Day of Resurrection), 52. The Day when their excuses will be of no profit to Zalimun (polytheists, wrong-doers and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah). Theirs will be the curse, and theirs will be the evil abode (i.e. painful torment in Hell-fire). 53. And, indeed We gave Musa (Moses) the guidance, and We caused the Children of Israel to inherit the Scripture [i.e. the Torah], 
Verse 54: That is, We did not just leave Moses alone when We sent him against Pharaoh, but We gave him guidance at every step till success. This contains a subtle allusion to the effect: O Muhammad, We shall help you too in the same manner. We have neither left you alone after raising you as a Prophet in the city of Makkah and the tribe of Quraish so that these wicked people may treat you as they like, but We Ourselves are with you and are giving you guidance at every step.
54. A guide and a reminder for men of understanding. 
That is just as those who disbelieved in Moses (peace be upon him) were deprived of this blessing and the Israelites who believed in him were made heirs to the Book, so will also those who deny you be deprived and only those who believe in you will have the good fortune to inherit the Quran and rise in the world as the standard bearers of guidance.
55. Be steadfast, then, (O Prophet), Allah's promise is true. Seek forgiveness for your shortcomings, and celebrate the praise of your Lord, evening and morning. 
A study of the context shows that here “shortcomings” implies the state of impatience that was being caused to the Prophet (peace be upon him) on account of the severe antagonism, especially the persecution of his followers. He earnestly desired that either some miracle should be shown, which should convince the disbelievers or something else should soon come down from Allah, which should quell the storm of opposition. Though this desire in itself was not a sin, which should have called for repentance, the high rank with which Allah had blessed the Prophet (peace be upon him) demanded great grit and will power; so the little impatience shown by him was regarded as inconsistent with his high rank. Therefore, he was required to ask Allah’s forgiveness for showing the weakness and was told to hold his ground like a rock as a man of a high rank like him should.

Thus Glorification of Allah with His praises is the only means by which those who work for the sake of Allah can get the strength to resist and overcome the hardships faced in the way of Allah. Glorifying the Lord morning and evening can have two meanings: (1) Remembering Allah constantly and perpetually. (2) Performing the Prayers at the specific times.

And in this second case, the allusion is to the five times of the Prayers, which were enjoined on all the believers as a duty some time after the revelation of this Surah. For the word ashiyy in Arabic is used for the time from the declining of the sun till the early part of nigh, which covers the times of the four Prayers from Zuhr to Isha, and ibkar is the time from dawn to the rising of the sun, which is the time of the Fajr Prayer.

For further details, see  Surah Al- Baqarah, Ayats 3, 43, 45, 238; Surah Houd, Ayat 114; Surah Al-Hijr, Ayats 98-99; Surah Bani Israil Ayats 78-79; Surah TaHa, Ayat 130; Surah An- Noor, Ayats 56-58; Surah Al-Ankabut, Ayat 45; and Surah Ar- Rum, Ayats 17-18, 31
56. Verily those who dispute regarding the Signs of Allah without any evidence that might have come to them, nothing but vain pride fills their hearts. Yet they shall never be able to satisfy the pride with which they are puffed up. So seek refuge with Allah. Verily He is All-Hearing, All-Seeing.
The real cause for their opposition without any argument and their irrational crooked argumentation is not that they do not understand the truth and the themes of goodness and reform being presented before them in the form of the revelations of Allah; therefore, they dispute about them in good faith in order to understand them. But the actual reason for their wrong attitude is that their self conceit does not permit any tolerance. They do not want that in Arabia the guidance and leadership of Muhammad (peace be upon him) should be accepted and acknowledged. And ultimately one day they themselves should have to accept the leadership of the person against whom they think they have a greater right to be the chiefs and leaders. That is why they are straining every nerve not to let Muhammad (peace be upon him) have his way, and they do not hesitate to use any mean device whatsoever for the purpose.

In other words it means: He whom Allah has made great, will remain great, and the efforts of the small people who are trying to establish their superiority will ultimately end in failure.  Just as Moses (peace be upon him) had become free from fear and anxiety after invoking Allah Almighty’s help and refuge against Pharaoh’s threats, so should you also seek His help and refuge against the threats and conspiracies of the chiefs of the Quraish, then should busy yourself in raising His word being free from every anxiety.
57. The creation of the heavens and the earth is indeed greater than the creation of mankind, yet most of mankind know not. 
After reviewing the conspiracies and plots of the chiefs of the Quraish in (verses 21-56), the address is now being directed towards the common people, and they are being made to understand that the truths to which Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is inviting them, are absolutely rational, as if to say: Your own good and well-being lies in accepting them, and rejecting them is ruinous for your own selves. In this connection, first of all arguments have been given for the doctrine of the Hereafter, for the disbelievers regarded this very doctrine as most bewildering and incomprehensible.

This is an argument for the possibility of the Hereafter. The disbelievers thought it was impossible for man to be resurrected after death. In answer to this, it is being said: Those who talk like this are, in fact, ignorant. If they use their common sense, they will easily understand that for that God Who has created this wonderful Universe it cannot at all be difficult to create men once again.
58. And not equal are the blind and those who see, nor are (equal) those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah Islamic Monotheism), and do righteous good deeds, and those who do evil. Little do you remember! 
Verse 58 presents an argument for the necessity of the Hereafter. In the preceding verses it was said that the Hereafter can take place, and its occurrence is not impossible. In this it is being said that the Hereafter should take place. It is the demand of both reason and justice that it should occur, and its non-occurrence is against reason and justice. After all, how can a reasonable man believe it to be right that those who live like the blind in the world and fill God’s earth with mischief by their immoral and wicked deeds, should not see the evil end of their misdeeds and wrong conduct. Likewise, those people who pass their lives in the world with open eyes, and believe and do good works, should be deprived of seeing a good result of their righteousness? If this is expressly against reason and justice, then the belief of denying the Hereafter also should be against reason and justice, for the non-occurrence of the Hereafter means that the good and the bad should both become dust after death and meet with one and the same end. For in this case, not only are reason and justice destroyed but morality also is proved to be meaningless and absurd. For if good and evil have one and the same end and destiny, then the evildoer would be highly wise, because he gratified all his desires before his death, and the good man highly foolish because he kept himself subjected to every sort of moral restoration without any reason.
59. Verily, the Hour (Day of Judgement) is surely coming, therein is no doubt, yet most men believe not. 
This is the absolute assertion about the occurrence of the Hereafter, which can be made only on the basis of knowledge and not on the basis of reasoning, and in no other discourse than of revelation this assertion can be made with such absoluteness. That which can be said without revelation only on the basis of intellectual reasoning is that Resurrection can take place and it should take place. Beyond this, to assert that Resurrection will certainly take place, can be said only by that Being Who knows that Resurrection will occur, and that Being is none but Allah. It is here that it becomes explicit and evident that if religion can be based on pure knowledge, instead of speculation and reasoning, it can only be on the knowledge obtained through divine revelation.
60. Your Lord said: “Pray to Me, and I will accept your prayers.Surely those who wax too proud to worship Me shall enter Hell, utterly abased.”
After the Hereafter, the discourse now turns to Tauhid which was the second point of dispute between the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the disbelievers. That is, all the powers to answer your prayers rest in Me only; so you should not pray to others but pray to Me. To understand the spirit of this verse well, three points should be comprehended properly:
  • First, man prays only to that being whom he regards as All- Hearing and All-Seeing and Possessor of supernatural powers. And the real motive of prayer for man is the internal feeling that the natural means and resources of the material world are not enough to remove any of his troubles and to fulfill any of his needs, or are not proving to be enough. Therefore, it is inevitable that he should turn to a being who is possessor of supernatural powers and authority. 
  • Second, one should fully understand that man’s merely thinking about a being that it is the possessor of powers and authority, does not necessitate that it should actually become possessor of the powers and authority. Being possessor of powers and authority is a factual matter, which is not dependent on somebody’s understanding or not understanding it. The one who is actually the Possessor of the powers will in any case remain the Possessor whether man regards Him so or not. And the one who is not in reality the possessor, will not be able to have any share whatever in the powers only because man has believed it to be possessing the powers. Now, the fact of the matter is that the Being Who is All-Powerful, All-Hearing, All-Seeing, and Who is actually controlling the whole Universe is only Allah, and He alone is Possessor of all powers and authority. 
  • Thirdly, the one who invokes others than Allah behaves like the supplicant who takes his petition to a government office, but leaving aside the real officer who has authority, presents it before one of the other supplicants who may be present there with his petition, and then starts imploring him humbly, saying: you possess all the powers, and yours is the only authority here; so, you alone can fulfill my needs. Such a conduct, in the first place, is in itself highly foolish, but in a case like this it also amounts to high insolence, because the real officer who has the authority, is present and before his very eyes applications and petitions are being made before another, apart from him. Then this ignorance and folly reaches its height when the person before whom the petition is being presented makes the petitioner understand over and over again that he himself is a petitioner like him and possesses no power at all, and that the real officer who has the powers is present, and he should make his petition before him. But in spite of this counsel and warning, the foolish person goes on saying: You are my lord, you alone can fulfill my need.
Keeping these three things in view, one should try to understand what Allah has said here: Call upon Me, I shall answer your prayers, it is for Me to accept them. Two things deserve special attention in this verse:
  1. Dua (prayer) and ibadat (worship) have been used as synonyms here. The prayer of the first sentence has been called worship in the second. This makes it explicit that prayer itself is worship, rather the essence of worship.
  2. The words “Who disdain My worship” have been used for those who do not pray to Allah. This shows that praying to Allah is the very requirement of one’s servitude to Him, and turning away from Him amounts to being vain and arrogant.
According to Numan bin Bashir, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The prayer is the very essence of worship. Then he recited this verse. (Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Abu Daud, Nasai, Ibn Majah, Ibn Abu Hatim, Ibn Jarir). According to Anas, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Prayer is the marrow of worship. (Trimidhi). Abu Hurairah says that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Allah becomes angry with him who does not ask Him for anything. (Tirmidhi).

In the light of the above, the enigma that often causes confusion in the minds is also resolved. In connection with prayer, people say that when the evil or the good destiny is in the control of Allah and whatever He has already decreed in accordance with His dominant wisdom and expedience has to take place inevitably. What is then the use of the prayer? This is a serious misunderstanding which destroys the importance of prayer from the heart of man, and with this false notion even if man prays, his prayer would be soulless. The above verse of the Quran removes this misunderstanding in two ways:
  • In the first place, Allah says in clear words: Call upon Me: I will answer your prayers. This proves that fate or destiny is not something which, God forbid, might have tied the hands of Allah Himself also, and the powers to answer the prayer might have been withdrawn from Him. The creatures have no power to avert or change the decrees of Allah: but Allah Himself certainly has the power to change His decrees and decisions on hearing a servant’s prayer and petition. 
  • The other thing that has been stated in this verse is that whether a prayer is accepted or not, it is never without an advantage. The servant by presenting his petition before his Lord and by praying to Him acknowledges His Lordship and Supremacy and admits his own servitude and helplessness before Him. This expression of servitude is in itself worship, rather the essence of worship of whose reward the servant will in no case be deprived, irrespective of whether he is granted the particular thing for which he had prayed or not.
We get a full explanation of these two themes in the sayings of the Prophet (peace be upon him).:
  • Salman Farsi relates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Nothing can avert destiny but the prayer. (Tirmidhi). That is, no one has the power to change the decisions of Allah but Allah Himself can change His decisions, and this happens when the servant prays to Him.
  • Jabir bin Abdullah says that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Whenever man prays to Allah, Allah either gives him the same which he prayed for, or prevents a calamity of the same degree from befalling him provided that he does not pray for a sin or for severing relations with the kindred. (Tirmidhi). 
  • Abu Hurairah says that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Whenever one of you prays, he should not say: O God, forgive me if You so please, show me mercy if You so please, grant me provisions if You so please, but he should say definitely: O God, fulfill my such and such need. (Bukhari). According to another tradition from Abu Hurairah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Pray to Allah with the certainty that He will answer it. (Tirmidhi). 
  • In still another tradition Abu Hurairah has reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The servant’s prayer is granted provided that he does not pray for a sin or for severing connections with the kindred, and is not hasty. It was asked: What is being hasty, O Messenger of Allah? He replied: Being hasty is that man should say: I have prayed much, too much, but I see that my prayer is nor being answered. Then he should be tired of it and give up praying. (Muslim). 
Verses 61-68 center on the theme that NO ONE has the right to be worshiped except Allah, the Creator and the Rabb of the worlds
61. Allah, it is He Who has made the night for you that you may rest therein and the day for you to see. Truly, Allah is full of Bounty to mankind, yet most of mankind give no thanks. 
This verse comprises two important themes: First, the night and the day have been presented in it as an argument for Tauhid, because their alternating regularly means that One God alone is ruling over the earth and the sun, and their alternation’s being beneficial for man and other earthly creatures is an express proof of the fact that the same One God is also the Creator of all these things and has devised this system with such great wisdom that it should be beneficial and useful for all His creatures. Secondly, in this verse the atheists and the polytheists have been to realize how great a blessing has Allah bestowed on them in the shape of the night and the day and what ungrateful wretches they are that while they are benefiting from this blessing of His they are being disloyal and rebellious to Him day and night

For father explanation see Surah Yunus, Ayat 87; Surah Al-Furqan, Ayat 62.
62. That is Allah, your Lord, the Creator of all things, La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshiped but He), where then you are turning away (from Allah, by worshiping others instead of Him)! 63. Thus were turned away those who used to deny the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of Allah. 
Verse 64 contends that in every age the common people have been deluded by the misguides only because the people did not believe in the revelations that Allah sent down through His Messengers to make them understand the truth. Consequently; they were trapped by the selfish, dishonest people, who had set up shrines of false gods as a business.
64. Allah, it is He Who has made for you the earth as a dwelling place and the sky as a canopy, and has given you shape and made your shapes good (looking) and has provided you with good things. That is Allah, your Lord, then blessed be Allah, the Lord of the 'Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists). 
That is, you have not been exposed to outer space so that heavenly calamities should rain on you and annihilate you completely, but We have built over the earth a fully fortified celestial system (which appears like a dome to the eye), which does not allow any destructive element to reach you; so much so that even the destructive cosmic rays cannot reach you and that is how you are living peacefully on the earth.

We had provided for you such a safe and peaceful place of rest even before your creation. Then We created you and gave you a fine body with most appropriate limbs and physical and mental powers of a high caliber. You did not create this erect stature, these hands and feet, these eyes and nose and ears, this talking tongue and this brain, which is a treasure-house of great capabilities, nor were these created by your mother and father, nor a prophet, or a saint, or a god had the power to create them. Their Maker and Creator was the All-Wise, All-Merciful, All-Mighty Sovereign, Who created Man with this wonderful body to function in the world, when He decided to bring him into being. Then as soon as you were created, you found by His beneficence a vast table laid out with pure provisions containing items of pure food which is not poisonous but health-giving, which is not bitter and tasteless but tasty, which is not rotten and stale and stinking but good smelling, which is not lifeless dregs but rich in vitamins and useful organic substances, so essential for the proper development and nourishment of yew body. Who has provided in such abundance this water, and corn, vegetables, fruits, milk, honey, meat and condiments, which not only add relish to your food but also provide you vitality and pleasures of life? And who has made the arrangements that these measureless granaries of food should go on coming out from the earth endlessly and their supply should never fail? Just consider this: What would have become of life if there had been no arrangement of food and man had been brought into existence suddenly? Is this not a clear proof that Your Creator is not merely a Creator but is an All-Wise Creator and All-Merciful Lord?
65. He is the Ever-Living: there is no god but He. So call upon Him, consecrating to Him all your devotion. All praise and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of the whole Universe.
That is, His is the real and true life. He only is living by virtue of His own power. No one else has the eternal and everlasting lift but Him. All others have borrowed and temporary life, which is destined to death and perishable. There is none else the hymns of whose praise may be sung and who may be thanked.
66. Say (O Muhammad ): "I have been forbidden to worship those whom you worship besides Allah, since there have come to me evidences from my Lord, and I am commanded to submit (in Islam) to the Lord of the 'Alamin (inclusive of the mankind, jinns and all that exists). 67. He, it is Who has created you (Adam) from dust, then from a Nutfah [mixed semen drops of male and female discharge (i.e. Adam's offspring)] then from a clot (a piece of coagulated blood), then brings you forth as children, then (makes you grow) to reach the age of full strength, and afterwards to be old (men and women), though some among you die before, and that you reach an appointed term, in order that you may understand. 
Having explained the creation of man right from a drop of sperm till one dies, it is emphasized that someone dies before birth, and someone before attaining youth, and someone before reaching old age.

“An appointed term” may either imply the time of death, or the time when all human beings will be resurrected and presented before their Lord. In the first case, the meaning would be: Allah passes every man through different stages of life and takes him to the specific time which He has appointed for everyone’s return. Before that time even if the whole world joins to kill him, it cannot kill him; and when that time has arrived, none can keep him alive even if all the powers of the world join together to do so. In the second case, it would mean: This gamut of life has not been brought about so that man may end up in the dust and be completely annihilated, but Allah passes him through different stages of life so that all human beings may present themselves before Him at the time which He has appointed for the purpose.
68. He it is Who gives life and causes death. And when He decides upon a thing He says to it only: "Be!" and it is.
Verses 69-78 mention those who argue about the revelations of Allah, and will thus soon find out the Truth:
69. See you not those who dispute about the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of Allah? How are they turning away (from the truth, i.e. Islamic Monotheism to the falsehood of polytheism)? 70. Those who deny the Book (this Qur'an), and that with which We sent Our Messengers (i.e. to worship none but Allah Alone sincerely, and to reject all false deities and to confess resurrection after the death for recompense) they will come to know (when they will be cast into the Fire of Hell). 
Verse 70 explains the real cause of people going astray. Their denial of the Quran and the teachings brought by the Messenger (peace be upon him) of Allah and their resisting by disputation the revelations of Allah instead of pondering over them seriously, was the basic cause, which has led them astray and exhausted all possibilities of their adopting the right way.
71. When iron collars will be rounded over their necks, and the chains, they shall be dragged along. 72. In the boiling water, then they will be burned in the Fire. 73. Then it will be said to them: "Where are (all) those whom you used to join in worship as partners 74. "Besides Allah" They will say: "They have vanished from us: Nay, we did not invoke (worship) anything before." Thus Allah leads astray the disbelievers. 
Verse 73 and 74:  It is said that if they really were gods or associates in Godhead, and you worshiped them in the hope that they would help you in the evil time, then why don’t they come to rescue you now?  They do not mean to say, we did not associate them with God in the world, but they mean: Now we have understood well that those whom we invoked in the world were nothing and mere nonentities.
75. That was because you had been exulting in the earth without any right (by worshiping others instead of Allah and by committing crimes), and that you used to rejoice extremely (in your error). 
That is, you not only followed that which was untrue and false, but you became so enamored of the untruth that when the truth was presented before you, you paid no heed to it, but continued to exult in your worship of the falsehood.
76. Enter the gates of Hell to abide therein, and (indeed) what an evil abode of the arrogant! 77. So be patient (O Muhammad ), verily, the Promise of Allah is true, and whether We show you (O Muhammad  in this world) some part of what We have promised them, or We cause you to die, then it is to Us they all shall be returned. 
That is, you should have patience at what those people say and do, who are opposing you by disputation and wrangling and want to defeat you by mean devices. And that it is not necessary that We should punish every such person who has tried to harm you, in this world and during yow lifetime. Whether a person receives his punishment here or not, he cannot in any case escape our grasp: He has to return to Us after death. Then he will receive full punishment of his misdeeds.
78. And, indeed We have sent Messengers before you (O Muhammad ); of some of them We have related to you their story and of some We have not related to you their story, and it was not given to any Messenger that he should bring a sign except by the Leave of Allah. So, when comes the Commandment of Allah, the matter will be decided with truth, and the followers of falsehood will then be lost.
In verse 78 a new theme starts from here. The disbelievers of Makkah said to the Prophet (peace be upon him): We would not believe you to be Allah’s Messenger unless you showed us the miracle that we ask you to show us. In the following verses an answer is being given to this very demand without mentioning it. (For the type of the miracles they demanded, see (Surah Houd, Ayat 12); (Surah Al-Hijr, Ayat 7); (Surah Bani Israil, Ayats 90-93); (Surah Al-Furqan, Ayat 21).

It is said that no Prophet ever showed a miracle by his own will and desire, nor had any Prophet the power to show a miracle by himself. Whenever a miracle was shown through a Prophet, it was shown when Allah willed it to be shown through him to the disbelievers. This is the first answer to the disbelievers' demand. And that a miracle has never been shown for the mere fun of it. It is a decisive thing. If a nation does not believe even after a miracle has been shown, it is destroyed. You are demanding a miracle only for the sake of fun, but you have no idea that by making such a demand you are, in fact, inviting your own doom. This is the second answer to their demand. (For details, also read Surah Al-Hijr, Ayats 8, 58-60; Surah Bani Israil, Ayat 59; Surah Al-Anbiya, Ayats 5-9; Surah Al-Furqan, Ayats 22-23; Surah Ash- Shuara, Ayats 66-67.

In the final 79-85 verses Allah tells those who believe and do not believe that even cattle are the signs of Allah for the people of understanding and Belief after seeing the scourge of Allah is of no avail to the disbelievers:
79. Allah, it is He Who has made cattle for you, that you may ride on some of them and of some you eat. 80. And you have (many other) benefits from them, and that you may reach by their means a desire that is in your breasts (i.e. carry your goods, loads, etc.), and on them and on ships you are carried. 81.  And He shows you His Signs and Proofs (of His Oneness in all the above mentioned things). Which, then of the Signs and Proofs of Allah do you deny? 
Talking of the Signs, it means this: If you are not demanding a miracle only for the sake of fun and amusement but want to have the satisfaction whether that to which Muhammad (peace be upon him) is inviting you (i.e. Tauhid and the Hereafter) is true or not, then God’s those signs which you are observing and experiencing at all times, are quite enough. For there remains no need for other signs when there are these signs to help you understand the truth. This is the third answer to their demand of the miracles. This answer also has been given at several places in the Quran:  See Surah Al-An'aam, Ayats 37-39; Surah Younus, Ayat 101; Surah Ar-Ra'ad, Ayats 7- 13; Surah Ash-Shuara, Ayats 4-9.

The animals which serve man on the earth, especially the cow, ox, buffalo, sheep, goat, camel and horse, have been created with such nature by the Creator that they easily become man’s domestic pet servants and he uses them to fulfill countless of his needs. He rides on them, employs them for carrying loads and in agriculture, get milk from them which he drinks and also uses it for making curd, butter, oil, condensed milk, cheese and different sorts of confectioneries; eats their flesh, uses their fat, and puts to good uses their wool and hair and skin and intestines and bones, even their blood and dung. Is it not a manifest proof that the Creator of man has created these animals even before creating him in view of his countless needs, on a special pattern so that he may use them to advantage?

The three-fourths of the earth’s surface is under water and only one-fourth is dry land. In the dry parts also there are small and wide tracts of land which are separated by water. The spreading of human populations on the dry lands and the establishment of commercial and other relations between them could not be possible unless water and oceans and winds were made subject to such laws as would make navigation possible, and such materials were made available on the earth, which man could employ for building ships. Is it not an express sign that there is One God and only One All-Powerful, All-Merciful and All-Wise Lord, Who has made man and earth and water and oceans and winds and everything on the earth according to His own special scheme? Rather, if man only considers from the viewpoint of navigation, how the positions of the stars and regular movements of the planets are helpful in it, he will have the testimony that not only of the earth but of the heavens also that the Creator is the same One Bountiful Lord.

Then, consider also this: Can you in your right senses imagine that the All-Wise God, Who has given His countless things in the control of man and has granted him all these provisions for his well-being, will be, God forbid, so blind of the eye and so thoughtless as would never call man to account after giving him all this?
82. Have they not traveled through the earth and seen what was the end of those before them? They were more numerous than them and mightier in strength, and in the traces (they have left behind them) in the land, yet all that they used to earn availed them not. 
Verse 82 is the conclusion to the discourse. While studying this please also keep in view verses 4-5 and verse 21 of this Surah.
83. Then when their Messengers came to them with clear proofs, they were glad (and proud) with that which they had of the knowledge (of worldly things): And that at which they used to mock, surrounded them (i.e. the punishment). 
Verse 83: That is, they took their philosophy and their science, their law, their secular sciences and their mythology and theology invented by their religious guides as the real knowledge, and regarded the Knowledge brought by the Prophets of Allah as worthless and therefore paid no heed to it. That is, they took their philosophy and their science, their law, their secular sciences and their mythology and theology invented by their religious guides as the real knowledge, and regarded the Knowledge brought by the Prophets of Allah as worthless and therefore paid no heed to it.
84. So when they saw Our punishment, they said: "We believe in Allah Alone and reject (all) that we used to associate with Him as (His) partners. 85. Then their Faith (in Islamic Monotheism) could not avail them when they saw Our punishment. (Like) this has been the way of Allah in dealing with His slaves. And there the disbelievers lost utterly (when Our Torment covered them).
And in the last verse, Allah make things very clear: “Allah’s established way”: the Law that repentance and faith are beneficial only till the time man is not seized by the torment of Allah or death. Believing or repenting after the torment has arrived or the signs of death have appeared, is not acceptable to Allah.

So brothers and sister, repent while it is still time. When the bugle will be blown, then all gates of repentance will be closed and then there will be no acceptance of repentance, or even before when the wrath of Allah had befallen.

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sūrat al-Muʼmin with English subtitles:

You may refer to our post "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, meaning and summary / exegesis of other chapters (Though not complete but building up from 30th Part backwards for chapters in 30th Part are shorter and easier to understand). 

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 |
An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Holy Qur'an from authentic souses and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. However, the exegesis of the chapters of the Holy Quran are basically based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi. In addition the references of  other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites. 

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