Saturday 25 May 2019

Surah As Saffat - Those Who Set the Ranks: Exegesis of 37th chapter of the Holy Quran - Part II

Sūrah Aṣ-Ṣāffāt is the 37th chapter (sūrah) of the Qur'an with 182 verses (āyāt) and five rukhu, part of the 23rd Juz'.

In the Overview of the Sūrah, it was explained that the exegesis / tafseer of this Sūrah will be segmented owing to its length as under:
  • Part - I: Rukhu 1-2 (verses 1-74)
  • Part - II Rukhu 3-4 (Verses 75-138)
  • Part - III Rukhu 5 (Verses 139-182)
With exegesis / tafseer of rukhus 1-2 already given in the Part I, this post covers rukus 3-4 covering verses 75-138. 

In the early Makkan surahs, there was not any mention of the earlier messengers of Allah as present in the Bible but in the middle Makkan surahs they are gradually brought in to translate their actions into great rewards in the Afterlife and therefore give good references to the common believers and unbelievers. This section particularly tackles some biblical figures with a snapshot of specific actions they took that translated into great rewards. It starts with Noah with a snapshot of the Noah's Ark story in the Bible, putting a stress on how Allah helped him to save his people because he was a true believer. There is also mention of the story of Jonah, Yunus, describing his fall in the ocean and how Allah saved him by making him be swallowed by a big fish. We therefore see a slightly different approach of the Quran from the Bible based on where the emphasis is put on in counting that story. These verses also encompass mention of Abraham, Moses, Aaron, Elijah and Lot included in this section to serve the same purpose: stressing out Allah's rewards to his true servants (37:121) instead of limiting oneself in counting these stories as they occurred, as the Bible does.

In fact, the most instructive of the historical narratives presented in this Surah is the important event of the pious life of the Prophet Abraham, who became ready to sacrifice his only son as soon as he received an inspiration from Allah. In this there was a lesson not only for the disbelieving Quraish, who waxed proud of their blood relationship with him, but also for the Muslims who had believed in Allah and His Messenger. By narrating this event they were told what is the essence and the real spirit of Islam, and how a true believer should be ready to sacrifice his all for the pleasure and approval of Allah after he has adopted it as his Faith and Creed.

Let us now read the translation and exegesis / tafseer in English of the Surah. 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"

Rukhu 3 (Verses 75-113)
Verses 75-82 mention Prophet Nuh when he prayed and Allah respond to his prayers:
75. And indeed Nuh (Noah) invoked Us, and We are the Best of those who answer (the request).
This theme is related with the preceding sentences. A study of them shows why these stories are being narrated here.

This refers to the prayer that the Prophet Noah (peace be upon him) had at last made to Allah Almighty, being disappointed with his people, after having preached the true faith to them for a very long period of time, without much success. This prayer has been related in Surah Al- Qamar, thus: He called out to his Lord, saying: “Verily I am vanquished; so come You to my aid.”( verse 54:10).
76. And We rescued him and his family from the great distress (i.e. drowning),
That is, from the severe distress that was being caused to him on account of the continuous opposition and antagonism of a wicked and cruel people. This also contains a subtle allusion that just as the Prophet Noah (peace be upon him) and his companions were saved from the great distress, so We will also ultimately save the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions from the great distress that is being caused to them by the people of Makkah.
77. And, his progeny, them We made the survivors 
This can have two meanings: (1) That the progeny of the people who were opposing the Prophet Noah (peace be upon him) was made extinct and the Prophet Noah’s progeny alone was allowed to survive (i.e. Shem, Ham and Japheth), or (2) That the whole human race was made extinct, and only the Prophet Noah’s progeny was allowed to inhabit the earth after that. The commentators generally have adopted this second meaning, but the words of the Quran are not explicit in this regard and no one knows the reality except Allah.
78. And left for him (a goodly remembrance) among generations to come in later times:
79. Salamun (peace) be upon Nuh (Noah) (from Us) among the 'Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists)!"
That is there is none in the world today, who would talk evil of the Prophet Noah (peace be upon him). After the flood till today the world has been praising and speaking well of him for thousands of years.
80. Verily, thus We reward the Muhsinun (good-doers - see V.2:112).
81. Verily, he [Nuh (Noah)] was one of Our believing slaves.
82. Then We drowned the other (disbelievers and polytheists, etc.).
Verses 83-98 mention the Prophet Ibrahim, "The Friend of Allah"

Many people ask why Prophet Ibraheem (peace be upon him) is called Friend of Allah. So before proceeding further, read the verse from Surah An Nisa (verse 4:125) that explains that Allah Himself called Prophet Ibraheem as his friend:
وَمَنۡ اَحۡسَنُ دِيۡنًا مِّمَّنۡ اَسۡلَمَ وَجۡهَهٗ لِلّٰهِ وَهُوَ مُحۡسِنٌ وَّاتَّبَعَ مِلَّةَ اِبۡرٰهِيۡمَ حَنِيۡفًا​ ؕ وَاتَّخَذَ اللّٰهُ اِبۡرٰهِيۡمَ خَلِيۡلًا‏  
And who is better in religion than one who submits himself to Allah while being a doer of good and follows the religion of Abraham, inclining toward truth? And Allah took Abraham as an intimate friend.
83. And, verily, among those who followed his [Nuh's (Noah)] way (Islamic Monotheism) was Ibrahim (Abraham).
84. When he came to his Lord with a pure heart [attached to Allah Alone and none else, worshipping none but Allah Alone true Islamic Monotheism, pure from the filth of polytheism].
85. When he said to his father and to his people: "What is it that which you worship?
For further details of this story of the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him), see (Surah Al-An'aam,Ayats 72-90); (Surah Maryam, Ayats 41-60); (Surah Al-Anbiya, Ayats 51-75); (Surah Ash-Shuara, Ayats 69-89); (Surah Al- Ankabut, Ayats 16-17).
86. "Is it a falsehood aliha (gods) other than Allah that you seek?
87. "Then what do you think about the Lord of the 'Alamin (mankind, jinns, and all that exists)?"
That is, why have you formed such a wrong view of Allah? Do you think that the gods that you yourselves have carved out from wood and stone can be like Him, or can be His associates in his attributes and rights? And are you involved in the misunderstanding that you will somehow manage to escape His punishment after you have indulged in such blasphemy?
88. Then he cast a glance at the stars,
The reference is to a particular incident the details of which have been given in (Surah Al-Anbiya, Ayats 71-73 )and (Surah Al-Ankabut, AYats 16-27).

Ibn Abi Hatim has cited a saying of the famous commentator Qatadah, an immediate follower of the companions, to the effect that the Arabic idiomatic expression, “glanced a glance at the stars,” means that he pondered deeply, or that he started thinking seriously. Allama Ibn Kathir has preferred this same view, and this is also supported by the common observation: when a person is confronted by a problem that needs serious consideration, he looks upward or to the sky for a while, and then makes a reply, after due consideration.
89. And he said: "Verily, I am sick (with plague. He did this trick to remain in their temple of idols to destroy them and not to accompany them to the pagan's feast)."
This is one of those three things concerning which it is said that the Prophet Abraham had told three lies in his life, whereas it should be ascertained before declaring it a lie, or anything contrary to fact, whether the Prophet Abraham at that time was not suffering from any illness, and therefore, he had made this excuse only as a pretense. If there is no proof, there is no reason why it should be regarded as a lie.
90. So they turned away from him, and departed 
This verse by itself shows the real state of the affairs. It appears that the people might be going to some fair of theirs. The family of the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) might have also asked him to accompany them. He might have excused himself, saying that he was indisposed, and therefore, could not go. Had it been something contrary to fact, the people of the house would have said: You look perfectly normal: you are making a false excuse. But when they accepted his excuse and left him behind, it clearly shows that the Prophet Abraham must at that time be suffering from cough and cold or some other such visible illness on account of which the people of the house agreed to leave him behind.
91. Then he turned to their aliha (gods) and said: "Will you not eat (of the offering before you)? 
92. "What is the matter with you that you speak not?"
93. Then he turned upon them, striking (them) with (his) right hand.
94. Then they (the worshippers of idols) came, towards him, hastening.
Here the story has been told in brief. According to the details given in Surah Al-Anbiya, when they returned and found all their idols broken to pieces in the temple, they started making investigations. Some people said that a young man, called Abraham, had been talking such and such things against idol-worship. At this the multitude demanded that he should be immediately seized and brought before them. Therefore, a group of the people went running to him and brought him before the multitude.
95. He said: "Worship you that which you (yourselves) carve?
96. "While Allah has created you and what you make!"
97. They spoke among themselves: “Build him a pyre and then throw him into the furnace.”
98. So they plotted a plot against him, but We made them the lowest.
The words in Surah Al-Anbiya, Ayat 69 are to the effect, We commanded: O fire, be cool and become safe for Abraham. And in( Surah Al-Ankabut, Ayat 24), it has been said: Then Allah saved him from the fire. This proves that those people had actually thrown the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) into the fire, and then Allah had rescued him from it safe and sound. The words of the verse, “So they intended against him a plot, then We made them the lowest” cannot be taken to mean that they had only intended to throw the Prophet Abraham into the fire but could not carry their plan into effect; but when these words are read with the verses cited above, the meaning becomes plain that they had wanted to kill him by casting him into the fire but could not do so, and the Prophet Abraham’s miraculous escape proved his superiority and the polytheists were humbled by Allah.

The real object of relating this incident is to warn the people of the Quraish to this effect: The way that you have adopted is not the way of the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him), whose descendants you claim yourselves to be, but his way is the one being presented by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Now, if you plot against him in order to defeat him and frustrate his mission, as the people of the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) had done against him, you alone will be defeated in the end, because you cannot defeat Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Verses 99-113 continue with the mention of Prophet Ibrahim and in these verses the story when he was asked to offer his only son in sacrifice as a test and he fulfilled it
99. And he said: “I am going to my Lord; He will guide me.
The Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) said these words on his departure after he had been delivered safe from the fire and had decided to leave the country.

It means: I am leaving my home and country for the sake of Allah, for my people have turned hostile to me only because of my turning to Him exclusively; otherwise there was no worldly dispute between them and me because of which I might have had to leave my country. Moreover, I have no place of refuge in the world, to which I may turn. I am leaving my home with full faith and trust only in Allah: I shall go wherever He leads me.
100. "My Lord! Grant me (offspring) from the righteous."
This prayer by itself shows that the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) at that time was childless. From the details given at other places in the Quran, it becomes clear that he had left his country with only one wife and one nephew (the Prophet Lot). Therefore, he naturally desired that Allah should bless him with a righteous child, who could be a source of comfort and consolation for him in a foreign land.
101. So We gave him the glad tidings of a forbearing boy.
From this one should not understand that this good news was given to him immediately following his prayer. In the Quran itself, at another place, this saying of the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) has been related: All praise be to Allah who has given me sons like Ishmael and Isaac in my old age. (Surah Ibrahim, Ayat 39). This proves that there was an interval of many years between the prayer and this good news. The Bible says that at the birth of the Prophet Ishmael, the Prophet Abraham was 86 years old (Gen. 16: 16) and at the birth of the Prophet Isaac a hundred years. (Gen. 21: 5).
102. And, when he (his son) was old enough to walk with him, he said: "O my son! I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you (offer you in sacrifice to Allah), so look what you think!" He said: "O my father! Do that which you are commanded, Insha' Allah (if Allah will), you shall find me of As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.)."
One should note that the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) had dreamed that he was sacrificing his son and not that he had sacrificed him. Although at that time he understood the dream to mean that he should sacrifice his son and on that very basis, he became ready to sacrifice him, with a cool mind, yet the fine point that Allah had in view in making him see the dream has been explained by Himself in (verse 105) below.

The object of asking this of the son was not that he would carry out Allah’s command only if he agreed, otherwise not, but the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him), in fact, wanted to find out how righteous, in actual reality, was his child for whom he had prayed to Allah. If the son himself was found to be ready to lay down his life for the sake of Allah’s approval and pleasure, it would mean that the prayer had been fully granted, and the son was not his offspring in the natural way only but was morally and spiritually also a true son.

The words clearly tell that the son had not taken the dream of his Prophet father to be a mere dream but a command from Allah. Had it not been a command actually, it was necessary that Allah should have explicitly or implicitly stated that the son of Abraham (peace be upon him) had mistaken it for a command. But the whole context is without any such allusion. On this very basis, there is the Islamic belief that the dream of the Prophets is never a mere dream, it is also a kind of revelation. Obviously, if a thing, which could become such a fundamental principle in the divine Shariah, had not been based on reality, but had been a mere misunderstanding, it was not possible that Allah should not have refuted it. It is impossible for the one who believes the Quran to be Allah’s Word, to accept that such an error and omission could emanate from Allah also.
103.  When both surrendered (to Allah's command) and Abraham flung the son down on his forehead
That is, the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) did not make his son lie flat on his back but made him lie prostrate lest while slaughtering him the sight of his face should arouse compassion and love and make him shaky. Therefore, he wanted to use the knife from under the throat.
104. And We called out to him: "O Abraham!
One section of the grammarians says that here “and” has been use to mean “then”; thus, the sentence would be: When the two had submitted themselves (to Allah) and Abraham had flung his son down on his brow, then We called out. But another section of them says that here the answer to the word “when” has been omitted and left for the listener to fill; for it was better to leave such an indescribable thing to the imagination instead of expressing it in words. When Allah might have seen that the old father who had gotten a son after long earnest prayers, has become ready to sacrifice him only for His pleasure and approval; and the son also had became ready to get slaughtered, His infinite Mercy might have been aroused at the sight, and the Master might have felt great love for the father and son. All this can only be imagined. No words would ever describe the scene adequately.
105. you have indeed fulfilled your dream. Thus do We reward the good-doers.
That is, “We did not make you see in the dream that you had actually slaughtered your son and he had died, but that you were slaughtering him. That vision you have fulfilled. Now, it is not Our will to take the life of your child. The actual object of the vision has been fulfilled by your submission and preparation to sacrifice him for Our sake.”

And that We do not subject the people who adopt the righteous way to trials in order to involve them in trouble and distress and affliction just for the sake of it, but these trials are meant to bring out their excellencies and to exalt them to high ranks. And then We deliver them safe and sound from the dilemma in which We place them for the sake of the trial. Thus, your willingness and preparation to sacrifice yow son is enough to entitle you to be exalted to the rank that could be attained only by the one who would actually have slaughtered his son for Our approval and pleasure. Thus, We have saved the life of yow child as well as exalted you to this high rank.
106. Verily, that indeed was a manifest trial
That is, the object was not to get your son slaughtered through you but to test you to see that you did not hold anything of the world dearer than Us.
107. And We ransomed him with a mighty sacrifice,
 “A great sacrifice”: A ram, as mentioned in the Bible and the Islamic traditions, that Allah’s angel presented at the time before the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him), so that he should sacrifice it instead of his son. This has been called “a great sacrifice” because it was to serve as a ransom from a faithful servant like Abraham for a patient and obedient son like Ishmael, and Allah made it a means of fulfilling the intention of an unprecedented sacrifice. Another reason for calling it “a great sacrifice” is that Allah made it a tradition till the Day of Resurrection that all the believers should offer animal sacrifice on the same date in the entire world so as to keep fresh the memory of the great and unique event signifying faithfulness and devotion.
108. And We left for him (a goodly remembrance) among generations (to come) in later times.
109. Salamun (peace) be upon Ibrahim (Abraham)!"
110. Thus indeed do We reward the Muhsinun (good-doers - see V.2:112).
111. Verily, he was one of Our believing slaves.
112. And We gave him the glad tidings of Ishaque (Isaac) a Prophet from the righteous.
The explanation of verse 112 is rather lengthy but it must be read all and slowly to understand which son was offered for sacrifice, for it has often created misunderstandings between Muslims and Christians / Jews on the subject:

Here, the question arises: Who was the son whom the Prophet Abraham had gotten ready to offer as a sacrifice, and who had willingly offered himself to be slaughtered as a sacrifice? The first answer to this question is given by the Bible; and it is this:

And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: . . . Take now thy son thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” (Gen. 22: 1-2).

In this statement, on the one hand, it is being said that Allah had asked for the offering of the Prophet Isaac, and on the other, that he was Abraham’s only son, whereas the Bible itself, at other places, conclusively states that the Prophet Isaac was not the only son of the Prophet Abraham. Consider the following statements of the Bible:

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife bore him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said unto Abraham, Behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abraham hearkened to the voice of Sarai. And Sarai Abraham’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abraham had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her husband Abram to be his wife. And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived. (Gen .16: 1-4).

And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Behold thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael. (16: 11).

And Abraham was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abraham. (16: 16).

And God said unto Abraham: As for Sarai thy wife, I will bless her and give thee a son also of her, and thou shalt call his name Isaac, which Sarai shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year. And Abraham took Ishmael his son and every male among the men of Abraham’s house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him. And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. (Gen. 17: 15- 25).

And Abraham was one hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him. (Gen. 21: 5).

This brings out the contradictions of the Bible. It is evident that for 14 years the Prophet Ishmael was the only son of the Prophet Abraham. Now if the offering had been asked of the only son, it was not of Isaac but of Ishmael, for he alone was the only son; and if the offering of Isaac had been asked, it would be wrong to say that the offering of the only son had been asked.

Now let us consider the Islamic traditions, and they contain great differences. According to traditions cited by the commentators from the companions and their immediate followers, one group of them is of the opinion that the son was the Prophet Isaac, and this group contains the following names:

Umar, Ali, Abdullah bin Masud, Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib, Abdullah bin Abbas, Abu Hurairah, Qatadah, Ikrimah, Hasan Basri, Said bin Jubair, Mujahid, Shabi, Masruq, Makhul, Zuhri, Ata, Muqatil, Suddi, Kaab Ahbar, Zaid bin Aslam, and others.

The other group says that it was the Prophet Ishmael, and this group contains the names of the following authorities:

Abu Bakr, Ali, Abdullah bin Umar, Abdullah bin Abbas, Abu Hurairah, Muawiyah, Ikrimah, Mujahid, Yusuf bin Mahran, Hasan Basri, Muhammad bin Kaab al-Qurzi, Shabi, Said bin al-Musayyab, Dahhak, Muhammad bin Ali bin Husain (Muhammad alBaqir), Rabi bin Anas, Ahmed bin Hanbal, and others.

When compared, the two lists will be seen to contain several common names. This is due to the reason that from the same person two different views have been reported. For example, from Abdullah bin Abbas, Ikrimiah has related the saying that the son was the Prophet Isaac, but from him again Ata bin Abi Rabah relates: The Jews claim that it was Isaac, but the Jews tell a tie. Likewise. from Hasan Basri, one tradition is to the effect that the Prophet Isaac was the son meant to be made the offering, but Umar bin Ubaid says that Hasan Basri had no doubt regarding that the son whom the Prophet Abraham had been commanded to offer as a sacrifice was the Prophet Ishmael (peace be upon him).

This diversity of tradition has resulted in the diversity of opinion among the scholars of Islam. Some of them e.g. Ibn Jarir and Qadi Iyad, have expressed the firm opinion that the son was the Prophet Isaac. Others, like Ibn Kathir have given the verdict that it was the Prophet Ishmael. There were others who are uncertain and wavering, e.g. Jalaluddin Suyuti. However, a deep inquiry into the question establishes the fact that the son intended to be offered as a sacrifice was the Prophet Ishmael. The following are the arguments:

(1) As stated by the Quran above, at the time of his emigration from the country, the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) had prayed for a righteous son and in answer to it, Allah had given him the good news of a clement boy. The context shows that this prayer was made at a time when he was childless, and the boy whose good news was given was his first-born child. Then, this also becomes obvious from the Quranic story that when the child grew up to boyhood, he was inspired to offer him as an offering. Now, it is established beyond any doubt that the Prophet Abraham’s first-born son was the Prophet Ishmael and not the Prophet Isaac. The Quran itself has stated the order between the two sons, thus: All praise be to Allah who has given me sons like Ishmael and Isaac in my old age. (Surah Ibrahim, Ayat 39).

(2) The words used in the Quran with regard to the Prophet Isaac while giving the good news of his birth are: And they gave him the good news of the birth of a son, possessing knowledge, (alim). (Surah Az-Zariyat, Ayat 28) Do not be afraid: We give you the good news of a son, possessing knowledge. (Surah Al-Hijr, Ayat 53). But the son, the good news of whose birth has been given here; has been called a clement (haleem) son. This shows that the two sons had distinctive qualities, and the offering had been asked of the clement son and not of the son possessing knowledge.

(3) Along with giving the good news of the birth of the Prophet Isaac in the Quran, the good news of the birth of a grandson like Jacob was also given: Then We gave her the good news of Isaac, and after Isaac of Jacob. (Surah Hud, Ayat 71). Now obviously, if about the son along with the news of whose birth the news of a worthy son to be born to him had also been given, the Prophet Abraham was shown a vision that he was sacrificing him, he would never have understood that he was being inspired to offer that very son as an offering. Allama Ibn Jarir contends that the Prophet Abraham might have been shown this vision at a time when Jacob had already been born to the Prophet Isaac. But this is, in fact, a very weak reply to the argument. The Quran says: When the boy became able to work with his father, then he was shown the vision. Anyone who reads these words with an unbiased mind will have the image of an 8 to 10 years lad before him. No one can imagine that these words had been used about a young man having children.

(4) Allah, at the end of the story, says: We gave him the good news of Isaac, a Prophet among the righteous. This clearly shows that it was not the same son, whom he had been inspired to offer as a sacrifice; but before this the good news of some other son had been given; then when he grew up and became able to work with his father, it was commanded to sacrifice him. Afterwards, when the Prophet Abraham came through this test successfully, he was given the good news of the birth of another son, the Prophet Isaac (peace be upon them all). This order of the events conclusively proves that the son whom the Prophet Abraham had been commanded to sacrifice was not Isaac but another son who had been born several years before him. Allama Ibn Jarir rejects this express argument, saying that in the beginning only the good news of the birth of the Prophet Isaac had been given. Then, when he became ready to be sacrificed for the sake of Allah’s approval and pleasure, it was rewarded in the form of the good news of his Prophethood. But this reply to the argument is weaker still. If it had really been so, Allah would not have said: We gave him the good news of Isaac, a Prophet among the righteous, but: We gave him the good news that this same son of yours would be a Prophet among the righteous.

(5) Authentic traditions confirm that the horns of the ram which was slaughtered as a ransom for the Prophet Ishmael remained preserved in the Kabah till the time of Abdullah bin Zubair. Afterwards when Hajjaj bin Yusuf besieged Ibn Zubair in the Kaabah and demolished the Kaabah, the horns were also destroyed. Both, Ibn Abbas and Amir Shabi testify that they had seen the horns in the Kabah. (Ibn Kathir). This is a proof of the fact that the event of the sacrifice had taken place in Makkah and not in Syria, and concerned the Prophet Ishmael. That is why a relic of it had been preserved in the Kabah built by the Prophets Abraham and Ishmael.

(6) The Arab traditions confirmed that this event of the sacrifice had taken place in Mina (near Makkah), and it was not only a tradition but practically also it had been a part of the Hajj rites for centuries. Even until the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) people used to offer the animal sacrifice in Mina at the place where the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) had offered the sacrifice. Afterwards, when the Prophet (peace be upon him) was raised as a Prophet, he also maintained and continued the same tradition. Even till today sacrifices are offered in Mina on the 10th of Dhil-Hajj. This continual practice of 4,500 years or so is an undeniable proof of the fact that the heirs to the tradition of sacrifice made by the Prophet Abraham have been the descendants of the Prophet Ishmael and not of the Prophet Isaac. There has never been any such tradition among the descendants of the Prophet Isaac according to which the whole community might have offered the sacrifice at one and the same time and regarded it as a continuation of the sacrifice made by the Prophet Abraham.

In the face of such arguments it appears strange how the idea of the Prophet Isaac’s being the son offered as the sacrifice spread among the Muslim community itself. If the Jews might have tried to attribute the honor to their ancestor, the Prophet Isaac, by depriving the Prophet Ishmael of it, it would be understandable.

But the question is: How did a large number of the Muslims come to accept this wrong notion? A very satisfactory answer to this question has been given by Allama Ibn Kathir in his commentary. He says: The reality is known to Allah alone but it appears that all the sayings (in which the Prophet Isaac has been mentioned as the son offered as a sacrifice) are related from Kaab Ahbar. This man, when he became a Muslim in the time of Umar, used to relate before him the contents of the ancient Jewish and Christian scriptures, and Umar would hear them. On this basis, the other people also began to listen to him, and started relating every mixture of the truth and falsehood that they heard from him, whereas this Ummah did not stand in need of anything whatever from the store of his knowledge and information.

This thing is further explained by a tradition from Muhammad bin Kaab al-Kurzi. He says that once during his presence the question whether the son offered as a sacrifice was the Prophet Isaac or the Prophet Ishmael arose before Umar bin Abdul Aziz. Among them at that time was a person who had been a Jewish scholar but had become a sincere Muslim afterwards. He said, "O Commander of the Faithful! By God it was Ishmael, and the Jews know it, but claim on account of their jealousy of the Arabs that it was the Prophet Isaac. (Ibn Jarir). When the two things are put side by side, it becomes evident that actually it was the Jewish propaganda that spread among the Muslims who have always been unbiased in scholastic literary matters, a large number of them accepted the statements of the Jews as a historic truth, which they presented as historical traditions with reference to the ancient scriptures, and did not realize that these were based on prejudice instead of knowledge.

This verse throws light on the real object for which this event of the Prophet Abraham’s sacrifice has been related here. From the race of his two sons arose two great nations in the world. First, the children of Israel, from whose house two major religions (Judaism and Christianity) emerged, which dominated and won over large human populations. Second, the children of Ishmael, who were the religious leaders and guides of all the Arabs at the time of the revelation of the Quran, and the tribe of Quraish of Makkah at that time held the most important position among them. Whatever eminence these two branches of the offspring of the Prophet Abraham attained became possible only on account of their connection and relation with the Prophet Abraham and his two illustrious sons; otherwise, God alone knows how many such families have arisen in the world and been assigned to oblivion. Now, Allah relates the most glorious event of the history of this family and makes both its branches realize that whatever honor and eminence they have attained in the world, has been due actually to the great traditions of God worship and sincerity and obedience, which were set by their ancestors, the Prophets Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac (may peace be upon them all). He tells them: The great blessings which We bestowed on them, were not bestowed arbitrarily and haphazardly. We did not just pick out a person and his two sons blindly and blessed them, but they gave definite proofs of their loyalty and faithfulness to their real Master and then became deserving of His favors. Now, you cannot become entitled to those favors merely on the basis of your pride of descent, for We shall see who among you is righteous and who is wicked and then deal with him accordingly.
113. We blessed him and Ishaque (Isaac), and of their progeny are (some) that do right, and some that plainly wrong themselves.
Rukhu 4 (Verses 114-138)
Verses 114-122 dwell on how Allah bestowed His favors on Prophets Musa and Haroon
114. And, indeed We gave Our Grace to Musa (Moses) and Harun (Aaron).
115. And We saved them and their people from the great distress;
“A great distress”: the distress in which they were involved at the hands of Pharaoh and his people.
116. And helped them, so that they became the victors;
117. And We gave them the clear Scripture;
118. And guided them to the Right Path;
119. And We left for them (a goodly remembrance) among generations (to come) in later times;
120. Salamun (peace) be upon Musa (Moses) and Harun (Aaron)!"
121. Verily, thus do We reward the Muhsinun (good-doers - see V.2:112).
122. Verily! They were two of Our believing slaves.
Verses 123-130 tell that Ilyas (Elias) was one of the Rasools of Allah
123. And verily, Iliyas (Elias) was one of the Messengers.
The Prophet Elias (peace be upon him) was from among the Israelite Prophets. He has been mentioned only twice in the Quran, here and in Surah Al-Anaam, Ayat 85. The present-day scholars have determined his period between 875 and 850 B.C. He was an inhabitant of Gilead, which in ancient days was the territory now under the northern districts of the modern state of Jordan, to the south of the River Yarmuk. In the Bible he has been mentioned as Elijah the Tishbite. Here is briefly his life story.

After the death of the Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him) the Israelite kingdom was broken up into two parts mainly due to the unworthiness of his son, Rehoboam. One part which consisted of Jerusalem and southern Palestine remained with the descendants of the Prophet David (peace be upon him), while in the second, which comprised northern Palestine, an independent state by the name of Israel was established with Samaria as its capital. Although conditions in both the states were very bad, the state of Israel, from the very beginning, followed the path of depravity due to which the evils of polytheism and idol-worship and tyranny and wickedness went on increasing and multiplying in it endlessly; so much so that when Ahab, the king of Israel, married Jezebel, the daughter of the king of Sidon (Lebanon), the mischief reached its extremity. Under the influence of this polytheistic princess Ahab himself became a polytheist. He built a temple and altar to Baal in Samaria, tried his very best to introduce and popularize Baal-worship instead of the worship of One God, and consequently, offerings began to be made publicly in the name of Baal in the Israelite towns and cities.

This was the time when the Prophet Elijah (peace be upon him) appeared on the scene. He came from Gilead and gave Ahab a notice that in consequence of his sins, the land of Israel would go without rain, even without the dew. This word of the Prophet of Allah proved to be literally true and there fell no rain in Israel for thee and a half years. At last, Ahab came to his senses and he sought the Prophet Elijah‘s help. But Elijah, before praying for the rain, thought it necessary to make the distinction between Allah, Lord of the worlds, and Baal plain before the people of Israel. For this purpose, he commanded that the priests of Baal would make an offering in the name of their deity, and he also would make an offering in the name of Allah, Lord of the worlds, in front of the assembled people. Then the one whose offering would be consumed by a fire from heaven, without the agency of the human hand, the truth of his deity would be established beyond doubt. Ahab accepted this proposal. Thus, 850 of the priests of Baal assembled on Mt. Carmel to answer the challenge given by the Prophet Elijah. In this encounter the Baal worshipers were defeated, and the Prophet Elijah proved that Baal was a false god, and the real God is the One God alone who had appointed him as His Prophet. After this, Elijah got the priests of Baal slaughtered in front of the same assembly of the people; then he prayed for the rain, and his prayer was immediately answered and the whole land of Israel was saturated with water.

But, despite these miracles, Ahab could not shake off the influence of his polytheistic wife. Jezebel turned hostile to the Prophet Elijah and she hoped that he would be put to death just as the Baal worshipers had been put to death. Under the circumstances the Prophet Elijah was compelled to leave the country and he remained lodged in a cave at the foot of Mt. Sinai for several years. The lamentation that he made to Allah, on this occasion, has been related in the Bible, in these words:
The children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. (I Kings, 19: 10).
About the same time Jehoram, the ruler of the Jewish state of Jerusalem, married the daughter of Ahab, the king of Israel, and under her polytheistic influence the same evils that had spread in Israel also began to spread in Judah. The Prophet Elijah carried out his prophetic duty again and wrote a letter to Jehoram, the following words of which have been reported in the Bible:
Thus saith the Lord God of David thy father, because thou hast not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat thy father, nor in the ways of Asa king of Judah. But hast walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and hast made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to go a whoring, like to the whoredoms of the house of Ahab, and also hast slain thy brethren of thy father’s house, which were better than thyself: Behold, with a great plague will the Lord smite thy people, and thy children, and thy wives, and all thy goods: And thou shalt have great sickness by disease of thy bowels, until thy bowels fall out by reason of the sickness day by day. (2 Chronicles, 21: 12-15).
Whatever the Prophet Elijah had prophesied in this letter proved true. First, the kingdom of Jehoram was destroyed by the external invaders, and the enemies even carried away his wives, then he himself died of the disease of the bowels.

A few years later the Prophet Elijah again went to Israel and constantly tried hard to bring Ahab, and after him his son, Ahaziah, to the right path, but the evil that had taken root in the house of the royal family of Samaria could not be eradicated. At last, due to the curse of the Prophet the family of Ahab met its doom, and then Allah recalled his Prophet from the world. For details, see the following books of the Bible: I Kings, chs. 17, 18, 19, 21; 2 Kings, chs. 1, 2; 2 Chronicles, ch. 21.
124. When he said to his people: "Will you not fear Allah?
125. "Will you call upon Ba'l and forsake the Best of creators,
Lexically, baal means master, chief and possessor. This word was also used for husband, and has been used in this sense at several places in the Quran itself, e.g. in (Surah Al- Baqarah, Ayat 228); (Surah An-Nisa, Ayat 127); (Sura Houd, Ayat 72) and (Surah An-Noor, Ayat 31). However; in the ancient times the Semitic nations used it in the meaning of deity or lord; they had even given the name of Baal to a special god. The chief male god of the Phoenicians, in particular, was Baal and their chief goddess was Ashtoreth, his wife. The scholars differ as to whether Baal meant the sun or Jupiter, and Ashtoreth the moon or Venus. In any case, historically it is certain that Baal worship was prevalent from Babylon to Egypt throughout the Middle East, and the polytheistic communities of the Lebanon and Syria and Palestine, in particular, had become its devotees. When the Israelites settled in Palestine and Jordan after they came out from Egypt, they started contracting marriage and other social relations with the polytheistic nations round about them, in violation of the strict prohibitive injunctions of the Torah, the disease of idol-worship began to spread among them, too. According to the Bible, this moral and religious decline had started appearing among the Israelites soon after the death of Joshua, son of Nun, who was the first caliph of the Prophet Moses:
And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim. And they forsook the Lord, and served Baal and Ashtoreth. (Judges, 2: 11-13).
And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites and Hivites, and Jebusites. And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods. (Judges, 3: 5-6).
At that time worship of Baal had so deeply affected the Israelites that, according to the Bible, in one of their habitations a public altar had been built at which offerings were made to Baal. A God-worshiping Israelite could not bear the sight; so he pulled down the altar one night. Next morning a great multitude of the people gathered together and demanded that the man who had cast down the altar be put to death. (Judges, 6:25-32). This evil, at last, was put to an end by Samuel, Saul and the Prophets David and Solomon (peace be upon them). They not only reformed the Israelites generally but also eradicated polytheism and idol worship from their kingdom. But after the death of the Prophet Solomon the mischief was again revived and the Israelite state of northern Palestine was swept away in the flood of Baal-worship.
126. "Allah, your Lord and the Lord of your forefathers?"
127. But they denied him [Iliyas (Elias)], so they will certainly be brought forth (to the punishment),
128. Except the chosen slaves of Allah.
That is, only those people will be made an exception from the punishment, who did not belie the Prophet Elijah (peace be upon him), and whom Allah chose from among the nation for His worship.
129. And We left for him (a goodly remembrance) among generations (to come) in later times;
The treatment that the Israelites meted out to the Prophet Elijah (peace be upon him) in his life has been referred to above, but after his death they became so enamored of him that they held him in the highest esteem and reverence after the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him). They formed the belief that Elijah (peace be upon him) had been taken up alive into heaven by a whirlwind (2 Kings, ch. 2), and that he will come back to the world again. Thus, in Malachi (O.T.) it is written:
Behold, I will send you Elijah the Prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. (4: 5).
At the time the Prophets John and Jesus (peace be upon them) appeared, the Jews were awaiting the advent of these three men: the Prophet Elias, the Christ and “that Prophet” (i.e. Muhammad). When the ministry of the Prophet John began and he slatted baptizing the people, the Jews sent priests to him to ask, “Are you the Christ?" And he said that he was not the Christ. Then they asked, “Are you Elias?” And he answered that he was not Elias; then they asked, “Are you that Prophet?” And he answered that he was not “that Prophet” either. Thereupon they said, “If you are neither the Christ, nor Elias, nor that Prophet, why do you then baptize?” (John, 1: 19-26). Afterwards when the name of the Prophet Jesus spread among the people, the Jews thought that perhaps the Prophet Elias had come. (Mark, 6: 14-15). Even among the disciples of Jesus themselves the idea was common that Elias the Prophet would come, but Jesus removed their misunderstanding, saying, Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatever they listed. Then the disciples understood that he spoke to them of John the Baptist and not of Elias who had appeared eight hundred years earlier. (Matthew. 11: 14; and 17: 10-131).
130. Salamun (peace) be upon Ilyasin (Elias)!"
The words in the original are: Salam-un ala El-ya-sin. Some commentators say that El-ya-sin is the other name of the Prophet Elias, just as Abraham is the other name of the Prophet Ibrahim; some others say that different versions of the Hebrew names were prevalent among the Arabs, e.g. one and the same angel was called Michal and Michail and Michain. The same has been the case with the name of the Prophet Elias also. In the Quran itself the same mountain has been called Toor Sina and Toor Sinin. 1

Verses 131-138 mention Lut was also a Rasool of Allah
131. Verily, thus do We reward the Muhsinun (good-doers, who perform good deeds totally for Allah's sake only - see V.2:112).
132. Verily, he was one of Our believing slaves.
133. And verily, Lout (Lot) was one of the Messengers.
134. When We saved him and his family, all,
135. Except an old woman (his wife) who was among those who remained behind.
This implies the wife of the Prophet Lot (peace be upon him), who did not migrate with her illustrious husband, but remained behind with her people and was punished.
136. Then We destroyed the rest [i.e. the towns of Sodom at the place of the Dead Sea (now) in Palestine]. [See the "Book of History" by Ibn Kathir].
137. Verily, you pass by them in the morning.
The reference is to the mined habitations of the people of Lot by which the Quraishite merchants passed day and night during their trade journeys to Syria and Palestine.
138. And at night; will you not then reflect?
Verse 139-148 tell the story of Prophet Yunus (Jonah)
139. And, verily, Yunus (Jonah) was one of the Messengers.
This is the third place where the Prophet Jonah (peace be upon him) has been mentioned in the Quran. Before this he has already been mentioned in Surah Yunus and Surah Al-Anbiya. (For reference, please see (Surah Younus, Ayat 98 ) and (Surah Al-Anbiya, Ayats 87-88)

اِذۡ اَبَقَ اِلَى الۡفُلۡكِ الۡمَشۡحُوۡنِۙ‏ 
140. When he ran to the laden ship,
The word abaqa in Arabic is used for the flight and escape of a slave from his master’s house.
141. He (agreed to) cast lots, and he was among the losers,
142. Then a (big) fish swallowed him and he had done an act worthy of blame.
This is what one understands from a study of these sentences:

  • (1) The vessel which the Prophet Jonah (peace be upon him) boarded was already overloaded.
  • (2) Lots were drawn in the vessel probably at a time when during the voyage it was felt that the lives of the passengers had been endangered due to the overloading; therefore, lots were cast to pick oat a person to be thrown overboard.
  • (3) The lot fell on the Prophet Jonah (peace be upon him), and so he was thrown into the sea and a fish swallowed him.
  • (4) The Prophet Jonah (peace be upon him) was so afflicted because he had fled and abandoned the place of his mission without the permission of his Master (Allah Almighty). This meaning is confirmed by the word abaqa as in  verse 140 above, and also by the word muleem. Muleem is a blameworthy person, who becomes worthy of blame by himself because of his sin and error, whether somebody else blames him for it or not. (Ibn Jarir). 

143. Had he not been of them who glorify Allah,
It has two meanings and both are implied: (1) That the Prophet Jonah (peace be upon him) was not of the people who are heedless of God, but was of those who glorify and adore Allah constantly and perpetually. (2) That when he went inside the fish, he turned to Allah alone and glorified Him. In Surah Al-Anbiya it has been said: He invoked Us from the depths of the darkness, saying: There is no god but You: Glory be to You: I am indeed blameworthy. (verse 87).
144. He would have indeed remained inside its belly (the fish) till the Day of Resurrection.
This does not mean that the fish would have lived till Resurrection and the Prophet Jonah (peace be upon him) would have remained alive in its belly till then, but that the fish’s belly would have become his grave till Resurrection. The famous commentator Qatadah has given this same meaning of this verse. (Ibn Jarir).
145. But We cast him forth on the naked shore while he was sick,
That is, when the Prophet Jonah (peace be upon him) confessed his fault, and began to glorify Allah like a true and sincere believer, the fish spat him up on the beach by Allah’s command. The beach was a bare plain, without any vegetation on it, or anything to provide him shade, or any means of food.

Here, the rationalists have been heard expressing the misgiving that it is impossible for a man to come out alive from the belly of a fish. But, towards the end of the last century, an event took place near the sea-shores of England (the center of this so-called rationalism), which belies this claim. In August, 1891, some fishermen went to the high sea to hunt whales in a ship called Star of the East. There they injured a great fish which was 20 feet long, 5 feet wide and weighed a hundred tons, but during the struggle the fish swallowed a fisherman, James Bartley, in front of the very eyes of his companions. Next day the same fish was found dead on the sea. The fishermen hauled it up on board and when they cut open its belly, James Bartley came out alive. He had remained in the fish’s belly for full 60 hours. (Urdu Digest, February, 1964). Obviously, when such a thing is possible in normal circumstances naturally, why should it be impossible under abnormal conditions as a miracle of God?

وَاَنۡۢبَتۡنَا عَلَيۡهِ شَجَرَةً مِّنۡ يَّقۡطِيۡنٍ​ۚ‏ 
146. And We caused a plant of gourd to grow over him.
The Arabic word yaqteen applies to a tree which does not stand on a stem but grows and spreads like a creeper, e.g. a pumpkin, cucumber, water-melon, etc. In any case, a creeper was produced miraculously, so that its leaves should provide shade to the Prophet Jonah and its fruit should serve him both as food and as shade.
147. And We sent him to a hundred thousand (people) or even more.
The mention of a hundred thousand people or more does not mean that Allah had any doubt about their number, but it means that a casual observer would have estimated the population to be more than a hundred thousand people in any case. Probably it was the same place which the Prophet Jonah (peace be upon him) had left and fled. After his departure when the people of the place saw the scourge approaching, they believed. But this was only a kind of repentance which was accepted and the scourge averted. Now, the Prophet Jonah (peace be upon him) was again sent to them so that the people should believe in him as a Prophet and become Muslims formally. To understand this, one should keep in view verse 98 of Surah Younus.
148. And they believed; so We gave them enjoyment for a while.
The famous commentator Qatadah in his commentary of (verse 98 of Surah Younus) says: There has been no habitation which disbelieved and might have believed after the arrival of the scourge, and then might have been left unpunished. The only exception were the people of the Prophet Jonah (peace be upon him). When they searched for their Prophet and did not find him, and felt that the scourge had approached near at hand, Allah put repentance in their hearts. (Ibn Kathir, vol. II, p. 433).

Commenting on the same verse Allama Alusi says: The Prophet Jonah (peace be upon him) had been sent to the people of Nineveh in the land of Mosul. They were polytheistic people. The Prophet Jonah invited them to believe in Allah the One, and to give up idol-worship. They refused to believe and belied him. Jonah gave them the news that they would be visited by a scourge after three days and he left the place at midnight before the expiry of the three days. Then, in the day time when the scourge approached and the people realized that they would all perish, they began to search for the Prophet but did not find him. At last, they took their families and their cattle and came out in the desert and expressed belief and repentance. So, Allah showed them mercy and accepted their prayer. (Ruh al-Ma ani, vol. XI, p. 170).

Commenting on( verse 87 of Surah Al-Anbiya), Allama Alusi writes: The Prophet Jonah’s (peace be upon him) forsaking his people in anger was an act of migration, but he had not been commanded to do so. (Ruh al-Maani, vol. xvii, p. 77). Then he explains the meaning of the sentence, “Inna kun-tu min-az-zalimin”, of Jonah’s prayer, thus: That is, I was blameworthy in that I hastened to migrate, against the way of the Prophets, before receiving the command for it. This was, in fact, a confession of his sin and expression of repentance so that Allah might remove his affliction. (Ruh al-Maani, vol. xvii, p. 78).

Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi’s note on this verse is: He became angry with his people when they did not believe, and forsook them, and did not return to them of his own accord when the scourge had been averted, and did not await Our command for the migration. (Bayan ul-Quran).

Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Uthmani writes in his note on this verse: Vexed at the misconduct of his people he left the city in anger and did not await the divine command and threatened the people that they would be visited by a torment after three days. lnni kun-tu min az-Zalimin: He confessed his error that he had made haste and left the habitation without awaiting Allah’s command.

Explaining these verses of Surah Saaffat, Imam Razi writes: The Prophet Jonah’s (peace be upon him) fault was that when Allah threatened to destroy the people who had belied him, he thought that the scourge would inevitably befall them. Therefore, he did not show patience and abandoned his mission and left the place, whereas he ought to have continued the work of his mission, for there was a possibility that Allah might not destroy those people. (Tafsir Kabir, vol. vii, p. 158). Explaining the verse Idh abaqa, Allama Alusi writes: “Literally, abaqa means the escape of a slave from his master’s house. Since Jonah had run away from his people without Allah’s leave, the word has been rightly used about him. Then he writes: When the third day came, the Prophet Jonah left the place without Allah’s permission. Thus, when his people did not find him, they came out along with their young and old people and their cattle, and they implored Allah and begged for His forgiveness and Allah forgave them. (Ruh al-Maani, vol. xxii, p. 13).

Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Uthmani has explained the words wa huwa mulim, thus: The accusation against him was that he had left the city because of an error of judgment, without awaiting the divine command, and even specified the day for the coming of the scourge.

Then Maulana Shabbir Ahmad’s note on (verse 48 of Surah Al-Qalam) is: Do not be perplexed and agitated with regard to the deniers like the Man of the Fish (i.e. the Prophet Jonah).” And about the sentence: wa huwa makzum of the same verse, he writes: That is, he was full of anger against his people, so he prayed for the torment, rather foretold it, in fretful haste.

These explanations by the commentators clearly show that there were three offenses on account of which the Prophet Jonah was made to suffer Allah’s displeasure:

  • (1) That he himself fixed the day of the torment, whereas Allah had not made any declaration in this regard.
  • (2) That he emigrated from the city even before the day came; whereas a Prophet should not leave the place of his mission until Allah commands him to do so.
  • (3) That he did not return to his people after the torment had been averted from them.

Here we come to the end of the Part II of the exegesis / tafseer of rukus 3-4 (verses 75-148) of the surah. In the Part III exegesis / tafsir of the fifth ruku (verses 149-182) will be presented.

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sūrah Aṣ-Ṣāffāt  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 Juzʼ / Part backwards for chapters in 30th Juzʼ / Part are shorter and easier to understand). 

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 45 |
Reading the Holy Quran should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Holy Qur'an from authentic sources 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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