Wednesday 1 May 2019

Surah Az-Zukhruf - The Ornaments of Gold: Exegesis of 43rd Chapter of the Holy Quran

Sūrat az-Zukhruf is the forty third surah with 89 ayahs with seven rukus, part of the 25th Juzʼ  of the Holy Qur'an. The Surah is named after the golden ornaments mentioned in verses thirty-five and fifty-three.

The subject matter shows that this Surah was also revealed in the same period in which the Surah Al-Mu'min, Surah Fussilat and Surah Ash-Shura, were sent down. It appears that the revelation of this series of the Surahs began when the disbelievers of Makkah were planning to put an end to the Holy Prophet's life. Day and night they were holding consultations in their assemblies as how to eliminate him, and even an attack on his life also had been made as has been clearly referred to in verses 79-80.

Sūrat az-Zukhruf 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. These seven surahs that begin with same dis-joined words are:
  • Chapter. 40 Surah Al Mu'min (The Believer)
  • Chapter. 41 Surah Fussilat  (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
In this Surah a forceful and severe criticism has been made of the Quraish and the common Arabs creeds and superstitions of ignorance in which they persisted, and their stubbornness has been exposed in a firm and effective tone, so that every member of the society, who was reasonable in some degree, should be made to consider the evils in which the community was involved and its tyrannical treatment of the person who was trying to redeem it.

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 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 )   حٰمٓ ". Ha, Meem.
[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 1 – 25 dwell on the errors of the disbelieving Meccans, in which verses 1-8 describe Al-Quran a transcript from the Mother Book which is in Allah's keeping:
( 2 )   By the clear Book,( 3 )   Indeed, We have made it an Arabic Qur'an that you might understand.
 The purpose of taking an oath by the Quran (verse 2) is to impress this fact: We are the Author of this Book and not Muhammad (peace be upon him), and the attribute of the Quran chosen for the oath is that it is a lucid Scripture. To swear by the Quran itself with this attribute in order to impress that the Quran is divine Word by itself implies this: O people, this is an open Book before you. Read it intelligently. Its clear and un-ambiguous themes, its language and literary style, its teaching which distinguishes the truth from falsehood, all are testifying to the fact that none but the Lord of the Universe could be its Author. Then the sentence: “Indeed, We made it a Quran in Arabic that you might understand” has two meanings:
  • (1) It is not in any foreign tongue but in your own language; therefore, you can have no difficulty in assessing its value and worth. Had it been in a non-Arabic language, you could have offered the excuse that you could not determine its being divine, or otherwise, for you did not understand it. But you cannot offer this excuse about this Arabic Quran. Its each word is clear to you, its each passage and discourse, both in language and in theme, is plain for you. Now you may see it for yourself whether this could be the word of Muhammad (peace be upon him) or of some other Arab.
  • (2) We have sent this Book in Arabic because We are addressing the Arabs, who can only understand an Arabic Quran. The person who disregards this expressly rational ground for sending down the Quran in Arabic and regards it as the word of Muhammad (peace be upon him) instead of divine Word only because Muhammad’s mother tongue is also Arabic, commits a grave injustice. (To understand this second meaning, please see (Surah Ha Meem As-Sajdah, Ayat 44).
وَاِنَّهٗ فِىۡۤ اُمِّ الۡكِتٰبِ لَدَيۡنَا لَعَلِىٌّ حَكِيۡمٌؕ‏ 
( 4 )   And indeed it is, in the Mother of the Book "Original Book" with Us, exalted and full of wisdom.
Umm al-Kitab: the “Original Book”: the Book from which all the Books sent down to the Prophets have been derived. In Surah Al-Waqiah the same thing has been described as Kitab-um-Maknun (the hidden and preserved Book) and in (Surah Al-Burooj, Ayat 22) as Lauh-i Mahfuz (the preserved tablet), that is, the tablet whose writing cannot be effaced, which is secure from every kind of interference. By saying that the Quran is inscribed in Umm al-Kitab, attention has been drawn to an important truth. Different Books had been revealed by Allah in different ages to different Prophets for the guidance of different nations in different languages, but all these Books invited mankind to one and the same faith. They regarded one and the same thing as the truth. They presented one and the same criterion of good and evil. They propounded the same principles of morality and civilization. In short, they brought one and the same Deen (religion).

This sentence is related both to Kitab-i mubin and to Umm al-Kitab. Thus, it is in praise of both the Quran and the Original Book from which the Quran has been derived. This praise is meant to impress the fact that if a person does not recognize the true worth of this Book and does not benefit from its wise teachings because of his own folly, it would be his own misfortune. If someone tried to degrade it and found fault with it, it would be his own meanness. It cannot become worthless on account of someone’s lack of appreciation of it, and its wisdom cannot be eclipsed by anyone’s throwing dust at it. This is by itself a glorious Book, which stands exalted by its matchless teaching, miraculous eloquence, faultless wisdom and the sublime personality of its great Author. Therefore, none can succeed in minimizing its value and worth. In verse 44 below the Quraish in particular and the Arabs in general have been told that the revelation of the Book for which they are showing such lack of appreciation had provided them a unique opportunity of honor, which if they lost, would subject them to a severe accountability before Allah.
( 5 )   Then should We turn the message away, disregarding you, because you are a transgressing people?
In this one sentence the entire history that had taken place since the time the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had proclaimed to be a Prophet till the revelation of these verses during the past few years has been compressed. This sentence depicts the following picture: A nation has been involved in ignorance, backwardness and depravity for centuries. Suddenly, Allah looks at it with favor. He raises in it an illustrious guide and sends down His own Word to take it out of the darkness of ignorance so that it is aroused from slumber, it gives up superstitions of ignorance and it becomes aware of the truth and adopts the right way of life. But the ignorant people of the nation and the tribal chiefs turn hostile to the guide, and try their utmost to defeat him and his mission. With the passage of time their hostility and mischief go on increasing; so much so that they make up their mind to kill him. At this, it is being said: Should We stop making any efforts to reform you because you are proving to be unworthy people? Should We withhold sending down this Admonition, and leave you lying in the same wretched state in which you have been lying since centuries? Do you really think that should be the demand of Our Mercy? Have you ever considered what doom you would meet when you have turned down the bounty of Allah and persisted in falsehood after the truth has come before you?
( 6 )   And how many a prophet We sent among the former peoples,(7) But there would not come to them a prophet except that they used to ridicule him.(8)   And We destroyed greater than them in [striking] power, and the example of the former peoples has preceded.
That is, the result of the senselessness of some particular people could not be that the entire mankind should be deprived of the guidance of the Prophethood and the Book. The result has always been that the worshipers of falsehood, with the pride of power, did not desist from mocking the Prophets and were ultimately destroyed. When Allah’s wrath descended upon the people, those who possessed thousands of times greater power than that possessed by the chiefs of the Quraish, they were crushed to annihilation like mosquitoes and fleas.

Verses 9-15 refer to the fact that even the Mushrikin (disbelievers / pagans of Makkah) believe that heavens, earth and all therein is created by Allah and Supplication before riding a conveyance:
( 9 )   And if you should ask them, "Who has created the heavens and the earth?" they would surely say, "They were created by the Exalted in Might, the Knowing."( 10 )   He it is Who made this earth for you a cradle and made in it pathways for you that you may find the way to your destination; 
In verse 10 above earth has been called as the cradle. At other places the earth has been described as a bed, but here as a cradle. That is, just as a child lies resting in its cradle, so is this great globe meant to be a place of rest for you, which is suspended in space, which is spinning on its axis at a tremendous speed, which is revolving around the sun at a speed of 66,000 miles an hour. Its interior is so intensely hot that it can melt the stones and sometimes it manifests its power in the form of volcano eruptions. But, in spite of that, the Creator has made it so tranquil that one sleeps on it in fill peace and there is no jerk whatsoever. One lives on it and does not at all feel that this globe is suspended and he is hanging from it with his head pointing downward. One moves about on it with satisfaction and never thinks that he is riding on a vehicle moving faster than a bullet. You dig it at will and turn it inside out and beat it as you like to obtain your sustenance. Whereas, a little shaking of it in an earthquake makes you feel what a terrible giant it is, which Allah has subdued for you. (For further explanation, see (Surah Al-Naml, Ayat 61).

As for the second part f the verse, it gives two meanings simultaneously:
  • (1) That by means of these natural paths and landmarks you may find your way and reach the place you want to reach.
  • (2) That you may obtain guidance from the observation of this craftsmanship of Allah Almighty. May reach the underlying reality and understand that this system of the earth is not functioning haphazardly, nor has been devised by many gods jointly, but there is one All-Wise Creator, Who has made these paths in the hills and on the plains in view of the needs and requirements of His creatures, and has given each region of the earth a different form in countless different ways by means of which man can distinguish one region from the other.
(11)   And who sends down rain from the sky in measured amounts, and We revive thereby a dead land - thus will you be brought forth
That is, for each region He has ordained an average measure of the rain which falls year after year for long ages regularly. It does not happen that an area may have two inches of the rainfall one year and 200 inches of it the next year. Then He spreads the rainfall over different places in different times in such a way that it becomes beneficial on the whole for the products of the earth. And this is also His wisdom that He has deprived some parts of the earth of the rainfall almost entirely and turned them into dry barren deserts, and in some other parts, He sometimes causes famines to occur and sometimes sends torrential rains so that man may know what a great blessing the rain and its general regularity is for the populated areas, and he may also remember that this system is under the control of another power, whose decrees cannot be changed by anyone. No one has the power that he may change the general average of the rainfall of a country, or effect a variation in its distribution over vast areas of the earth, or avert an impending storm, or attract the clouds towards his own land and compel them to rain.

[For further explanation, see (Surah Al-Hijr, Ayats 21-22); (Surah Al- Muminun, Ayats 18-20)].
( 12 )   And who created the species, all of them, and has made for you of ships and animals those which you mount.
Pairs here does not imply only pairs of men and women among human beings and of males and females among animals and vegetation, but there are countless other things which the Creator has made as matching partners of each other and by whose coming together and combination new and ever new things come into being in the world. For example, among the elements, some can be combined with others and some cannot be combined. The combination of those which can combine is resulting into various compositions, e.g. the negative and positive charges in electricity are the matching partners of each other and their mutual attraction is causing wonderful things to happen in the world. If man considers the structure and the mutual relationships and the different forms of cooperation and the results of the combination of this and other countless pairs which Allah has created among countless of His creations. He cannot help testifying to the truth that this great workshop of the world is the creation of one and only one Almighty, All-Wise Designer, and is functioning only under His care and control. Only a man of mean intelligence could suppose that all this happened, and is happening, without a Wise Being, or there is the possibility in it of the agency and interference of more than one God.
لِتَسۡتَوٗا عَلٰى ظُهُوۡرِهٖ ثُمَّ تَذۡكُرُوۡا نِعۡمَةَ رَبِّكُمۡ اِذَا اسۡتَوَيۡتُمۡ عَلَيۡهِ وَتَقُوۡلُوۡا
سُبۡحٰنَ الَّذِىۡ سَخَّرَ لَنَا هٰذَا وَمَا كُنَّا لَهٗ مُقۡرِنِيۡنَۙ‏  
(13) That you may settle yourselves upon their backs and then remember the favor of your Lord when you have settled upon them and say. "Exalted is He who has subjected this to us, and we could not have [otherwise] subdued it.
The best practical commentary of the intention and meaning of this verse are the words that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to pronounce at the time he sat on the conveyance. Abdullah bin Umar says that whenever the Prophet (peace be upon him) sat on a conveyance for a journey, he would pronounce Allahu-Akbar three times, then would recite this verse, and then pray: O Allah, I implore You to grant me in this journey the grace of goodness and piety and such acts as may please You. O Allah, make the journey easy and roll up the long distance for us. O Allah, You alone are the Companion during the journey and Guardian of the family in our absence. O Allah, take care of us during the journey and our household in our absence. (Musnad Ahmed, Muslim, Abu Daud, Nasai, Darimi, Tirmidhi).
وَاِنَّاۤ اِلٰى رَبِّنَا لَمُنۡقَلِبُوۡنَ‏ 
( 14 )   And indeed we, to our Lord, will [surely] return."
That is, while embarking on every journey one should remember that there is ahead a longer and final journey also. Besides there is the possibility in the use of every conveyance that an accident may turn that very journey into one’s last journey; therefore, every time one should remember his return to his Lord so that if something unexpected happens, he does not die unaware.
(15)   But they have attributed to Him from His servants a portion. Indeed, man is clearly ungrateful.
To make part of Allah" implies declaring a servant of Allah His offspring, for an offspring inevitably is homogeneous with and a part of the father's body, and regarding somebody as Allah's son or daughter means that he or she is being made a partner in Allah's Being. Besides, another form of making a creature a part of Allah is that it should be regarded as possessor of the attributes and powers as are specifically Allah's own, and it should be invoked under the same concept, or rites of worship performed before it, or its sanctities observed and regarded as imperative and binding, for in that case man divides divinity and providence between Allah and His servants and hands over a part of it to the servants.

Verses 16-25 are about some Mushrikin regard the angels to be the female divinities being the daughters of Allah
(16)   Or has He taken, out of what He has created, daughters and chosen you for [having] sons?
Here, the folly of the polytheists of Arabia has been fully exposed. They said that the angels were the daughters of Allah. They had carved out their images as females, and these were their goddesses whom they worshiped. About this Allah says: In the first place, in spite of knowing and recognizing that the Creator of the earth and heavens is Allah and it is He Who has made this earth a cradle for you and it is He Who sends down the rain from the sky, and it is He Who has created these animals for your service, yet you have taken others as gods beside Him, whereas those whom you serve as deities are not God but creatures of God. Then, further more, you have made some of the servants associates of Allah not only in His attributes but in His Being as well, and invented the creed that they were Allah’s offspring. Then, not resting content with this, you assigned to Allah that kind of the offspring which you regard as disgraceful for your own selves. When a daughter is born in your house, your face grows dark, you feel distressed, and sometimes you bury her alive. This offspring you assign to Allah and reserve for yourselves the sons, whom you regard as a source of joy and pride. Even then you claim that you believe in Allah.
(17)   And when one of them is given good tidings of that which he attributes to the Most Merciful in comparison, his face becomes dark, and he suppresses grief.( 18 )  Do they assign to Allah one who grows up amidst ornaments and is not well-versed in the art of disputation?
Verse 18 above means: You have assigned to Allah the offspring that is by nature delicate, weak and frail, and adopted for yourselves the offspring that is bold, courageous and fearless. This verse shows permissibility of the ornaments for the women, for Allah has mentioned the ornaments as a natural thing for them. Tirmidhi and Nasai have related from Abu Musa Ashari a tradition, saying that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Silk and gold have been forbidden for the men but made lawful for the women of my Ummah.
( 19 )   And they have made the angels, who are servants of the Most Merciful, females. Did they witness their creation? Their testimony will be recorded, and they will be questioned.( 20 )   And they said, "If the Most Merciful had willed, we would not have worshiped them." They have of that no knowledge. They are not but falsifying.
Verse 20 states the reasoning of the disbelievers from destiny to cover up their deviation and error, and this has been the argument of the wrongdoers in every age. They argued that their worshiping the angels became possible only because Allah allowed them to do so. Had He not willed so they could not have done it; and then it had been a practice with them for centuries and no torment from Allah had descended on them, which meant that Allah did not disapprove of their this practice.
( 21 ) Or have We given them a book before the Qur'an to which they are adhering?
The means of knowing what Allah likes and what He hates are not the events that are happening in the world, but the Book of Allah, which comes through His Messenger and in which Allah Himself states as to what beliefs, what deeds and what morals He likes and what He dislikes. If these people have a Book, which came before the Quran, and which tells that Allah has appointed the angels also as deities beside himself and that they should worship them also, they should cite it.

(For further explanation, see (Surah Al-Anaam, Ayats 107-112, 137, 148-149); (Surah Al- Aaraf, Ayat 28); (Surah Younus, Ayat 99); (Surah Hud, Ayats 118-119); (Surah Ar-Raad, Ayat 31); (Surah An-Nahl, Ayats 9, 35-36, 93).
( 22 )   Rather, they say, "Indeed, we found our fathers upon a religion, and we are in their footsteps [rightly] guided."
That is, they have no authority of any divine book. The only authority they have is that it has been the practice since the time of their forefathers. Therefore, they have taken the angels as goddesses in imitation of them.
( 23 )   And similarly, We did not send before you any warner into a city except that its affluent said, "Indeed, we found our fathers upon a religion, and we are, in their footsteps, following."
Here, the point worth consideration is why only the well to do people of every community have resisted the Prophets and upheld the imitation of their forefathers in every age. Why have they alone been in the forefront to oppose the truth and to endeavor to maintain the established falsehood and to beguile and incite the common people against them? Its basic causes were two:
  • The well to do and affluent people are so absorbed in making and enjoying the world of their own that they are not inclined to bother themselves about the useless debate (as they assume it to be) between the truth and falsehood. Their love of ease and mental lethargy renders them so heedless of religion and conservative that they want the established order, no matter whether it is based on truth or falsehood, to retrain in force so that they do not have to take the trouble of thinking about the new order at all for themselves.
  • Their interests become so dependent on the established order that when they get the first glimpse of the order presented by the Prophets, they start feeling that if it came, it would not only put an end to their leadership but also would deprive them of the freedom to consume the lawful and commit the unlawful.
(For further details, see Surah Al-Anaam, Ayat 103; (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayats 66-70). 75, 88, 109, 127); (Surah Houd, Ayats 27-28); (Surah Bani-Israil, Ayat 16); (Surah Al-Muaminun, Ayats 24-33, 46); (Surah Saba, Ayat 34 ).
(24) [Each warner] said, "Even if I brought you better guidance than that [religion] upon which you found your fathers?" They said, "Indeed we, in that with which you were sent, are disbelievers."( 25 )   So we took retribution from them; then see how was the end of the deniers.
Verses 26 – 45 center on the theme that There is only One Allah. And also talk of Prophet Ibrahim who recognized the Oneness of Allah and rejected Shirk (Polytheism) and If it were not that all mankind will become one race of unbelievers, Allah would have given the unbeliever houses made with sterling silver:
(26)   And [mention, O Muhammad], when Abraham said to his father and his people, "Indeed, I am disassociated from that which you worship
The mention of Prophet Ibraheem (Abraham, peace be upon him) has been mentioned at many a places in the Holy Qur'an. To understand the verse 26 better, refer to (Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayats 124-133); (Surah Al-Anaam, Ayats 74-84); (Surah Ibrahim, Ayats 35- 41); (Surah Maryam, Ayats 41-50); (Surah Al-Anbiya, Ayats 51-73); (Surah Ash-Shuara, Ayats 69-89), (Surah Al-Ankabut, Ayats 16-27); (Surah As-Saaffat, Ayats 83-100).
(27)   Except for He who created me; and indeed, He will guide me."
In these words not only did the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) state his creed but also gave the argument for it. The reason for not having any connection with the other deities is that they neither have created nor they give right guidance in any matter, nor they can; and the reason for having a connection only with Allah Almighty is that He alone is the Creator and He alone gives, and can give the right guidance to mankind.
( 28 )   And he made it a word remaining among his descendants that they might return [to it].
Here the means the word that none but the Creator is worthy of worship in the world.

The verse thus means that whenever they swerve from the right path, this word should be there to guide them so that they return to it again. This event has been mentioned here in order to expose the foolishness of the disbelieving Quraish and to put them to shame, as if to say: When you have adopted obedience of your ancestors, you have selected the most depraved of them for the purpose instead of the most righteous and illustrious, who were the Prophets Abraham and Ishmael (peace be upon them). The basis of the leadership of the Quraish in Arabia was that they were the descendants of the Prophets Abraham and Ishmael (peace be upon them) and were the attendants of the Kabah built by them. Therefore, they should have followed them and not their ignorant forefathers who had given up the way of the Prophets and adopted polytheism from the neighboring idol-worshipers. Furthermore, by mentioning this event another error of those people has been pointed out. That is, if the blind imitation of the forefathers, without the distinction of good and evil had been the right thing, the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) should have done so in the first instance. But he had plainly told his father and his people that he could not follow their creed of ignorance in which they had abandoned the Creator and made those imaginary beings their deities, who were not the creator. This shows that the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) did not believe in following the forefathers, but his creed was that before one followed the forefathers one should see whether they were following the right way or not, and if it became known by reason that they were following the wrong way, one should give up their way and adopt the way that was proved right.

بَلۡ مَتَّعۡتُ هٰٓؤُلَاۤءِ وَاٰبَآءَهُمۡ حَتّٰى جَآءَهُمُ الۡحَقُّ وَرَسُوۡلٌ مُّبِيۡنٌ‏
( 29 )   However, I gave enjoyment to these [people of Makkah] and their fathers until there came to them the truth and a clear Messenger.
Another meaning of the word rasulum-mubin can be: A Messenger whose being a Messenger was obvious and apparent: Whose life before and after the Prophethood clearly testified that he was certainly Allah’s Messenger.
( 30 )   But when the truth came to them, they said, "This is magic, and indeed we are, concerning it, disbelievers."
The question asked in verse 31 is interesting as the pagans of Makkah come out with queries one after the other to mock the Prophet of Allah and the message he was trying to put across to them
( 31 )   And they said, "Why was this Qur'an not sent down upon a great man from [one of] the two cities?"
The mention of two towns here means Makkah and Taif. What the disbelievers meant was: Had Allah really willed to send a messenger and intended to send down a book to him, He would have selected a great man from these two major cities. For Allah could not have selected for this great mission a person who was born an orphan, who did not inherit much property, who passed his youth by tending goats, who even at present earned his living through business with his wife’s money, and who was neither the chief of a tribe nor the head of a family. Were not there well known chiefs like Walid bin Mughirah and Utbah bin Rabiah in Makkah, and nobles like Urwah bin Masud, Habib bin Amr, Kinanah bin Abdi Amr and Ibn Abd Yalil in Taif? This was their reasoning in the first instance, they were also not inclined to believe that a man could be a Messenger.

But when the Quran refuted this misconception by argument and reason and they were told that in the past only men had come as Messengers and a man only could be a Messenger for the guidance of the people, and not another kind of being and the Messenger who came did not descend suddenly from heavens but were born in the same ordinary dwellings, walked about in the streets, had children and families and stood in need of food and drink (see (Surah An-Nahl, Ayat 43); (Surah Bani Israil, Ayats 94-95); (Surah Yousuf, Ayat 109); (Surah Al-Furqan, Ayats 7, 20); (Surah Al-Anbiya, Ayats 7-8); (Surah Ar-Raad, Ayat 38), they took this stand, saying: Well, even if a human being, he should be a big man, who should be wealthy, influential and awe-inspiring and having a large following. How could Muhammad bin Abdullah (peace be upon him) be fit for this appointment?
( 32 )   Do they distribute the mercy of your Lord? It is We who have apportioned among them their livelihood in the life of this world and have raised some of them above others in degrees [of rank] that they may make use of one another for service. But the mercy of your Lord is better than whatever they accumulate.
Varese 32 gives out the  the answer to their objection, which briefly mentions many important things:
  • First, it asks: Since when do these people become responsible for distributing the mercy of your Lord? Is it for them to decide whom Allah should favor with His mercy and whom He should not? (Here, by Allah’s mercy is implied His general mercy from which everyone has a share).
  • Second, Allah says: Prophethood is a great blessing. We have even kept the distribution of the common means of life in the world in Our own hand, and have not entrusted it to anyone else. We create someone beautiful and another ugly, someone with a sweet voice and another with a harsh voice, someone robust and strong and another weak and frail, someone intelligent and another dull, someone with a strong memory and another forgetful, some with healthy limbs and another a cripple, or blind or deaf and dumb, someone in a rich family and another among the poor, someone in an advanced country and another in a backward community. No one can do anything about this destiny concerning birth. One is compelled to be what We have made him. And it is in no one’s power to avert the impact his circumstances of birth have on his destiny. Then it is We our self Who are distributing provisions, power, honor, fame, wealth, government, etc. among men. No one can degrade the one whom We have blessed with good fortune, and no one can save from ruin the one whom We have afflicted with misfortune. All plans and schemes of man become ineffective against Our decrees. In this universal divine system, therefore, how can these people decide as to whom should the Master of the universe make His Prophet and whom He should not?
  • Thirdly, an abiding principle that We have kept in view in this divine system is that everything should not be given to one and the same person, or everything should not be given to everybody. If you look around carefully, you will see that great differences exist between the people in every respect. We have given one thing to one person but deprived him of another, and given the same to another one. This is based on the wisdom that no human being should become independent of others, but everyone should remain dependent on the other in one way or the other. Now if would be foolish on your part to think that We should have given the Prophethood also to the same person whom We had blessed with wealth and nobility. Likewise, will you also say that wisdom, knowledge, wealth, beauty, power, authority and all other excellences should be assembled in one and the same person, and the one who has not been given one thing, should not be given anything else?
Here the Your Lord’s mercy means the Prophethood. That is: Your leaders and chiefs whom you regard as big people because of their wealth and dignity and chief ship, are not worthy of this wealth, which has been given to Muhammad bin Abdullah (peace be upon him). This wealth is far superior to that and for this the criterion is different. If you think that every noble and rich man is worthy of becoming a prophet, it would only show your own thinking. Why do you expect Allah to be so ignorant and simple?
( 33 )   And if it were not that the people would become one community [of disbelievers], We would have made for those who disbelieve in the Most Merciful - for their houses - ceilings and stairways of silver upon which to mount.
Before mentioning of gold in the 35th verse, here mention of silver is made in the 34th verse:
( 34 )   And for their houses - doors and couches [of silver] upon which to recline
That is, this silver (and gold) whose possession by somebody is the highest blessing and the very climax of good fortune in your sight, is so base and contemptible a thing in the sight of Allah that had there been no danger of all human beings being inclined towards unbelief, He would have made every disbeliever's house of gold and silver. Since when has the abundance of this worthless commodity become proof of man’s nobility and his piety and his spiritual purity? This kind of wealth is even found in the possession of those foul and wicked people whose filthy characters make the whole society stink. And this you have made the criterion of man’s greatness of character.

 وَزُخۡرُفًا​ ؕ وَاِنۡ كُلُّ ذٰ لِكَ لَمَّا مَتَاعُ الۡحَيٰوةِ الدُّنۡيَا​ ؕ وَالۡاٰخِرَةُ عِنۡدَ رَبِّكَ لِلۡمُتَّقِيۡنَ 
( 35 )   And gold ornament. But all that is not but the enjoyment of worldly life. And the Hereafter with your Lord is for the righteous.
 The Surah takes its name "zukhruf-an" from the verse 35 above, meaning the gold ornament.
( 36 )   And whoever is blinded from remembrance of the Most Merciful - We appoint for him a devil, and he is to him a companion.( 37 )   And indeed, the devils avert them from the way [of guidance] while they think that they are [rightly] guided ( 38 )   Until, when he comes to Us [at Judgement], he says [to his companion], "Oh, I wish there was between me and you the distance between the east and west - how wretched a companion."( 39 )   And never will it benefit you that Day, when you have wronged, that you are [all] sharing in the punishment.( 40 )   Then will you make the deaf hear, [O Muhammad], or guide the blind or he who is in clear error?
Verse 40 means to say: Pay attention to those who are inclined to listen and have not closed their eyes to the realities, and do not consume yourself in showing the way to the blind and making the deaf to hear, nor consume yourself with the grief as to why your near and dear ones are not coming to the right path, and why they are making themselves worthy of Allah’s torment.
( 41 )   And whether [or not] We take you away [in death], indeed, We will take retribution upon them.( 42 )   Or whether [or not] We show you that which We have promised them, indeed, We are Perfect in Ability.
Verse 42 above  can be understood fully only by keeping in view the background in which it was said. The disbelievers of Makkah thought that the person of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had become a source of trouble for them. If they could somehow get rid of him, matters would become normal. On the basis of this evil thought they were holding consultations day and night and planning to kill him. At this, Allah addresses His Prophet (peace be upon him) so as to tell them indirectly: It doesn't make any difference whether you remain among them or not. If you live, you will see them meet their doom with your own eyes. If you are recalled from the world, they will be sent to their doom in your absence, because they cannot in any case escape the consequences of their misdeeds.
( 43 )   So adhere to that which is revealed to you. Indeed, you are on a straight path.
That is, you should not worry as to what punishment do those who are resisting and opposing the truth with injustice and dishonesty receive and when. Nor should you worry whether Islam flourishes during your lifetime or not. For you this satisfaction is quite enough that you are on the right path. Therefore, you should go on fulfilling your mission unconcerned about the results, and leave it to Allah whether He defeats falsehood in front of you or after you.
( 44 )   And indeed, it is a remembrance for you and your people, and you [all] are going to be questioned.
That is, there can be no greater good fortune for a person than that Allah should choose him from among all men to become the recipient of His Book, and there can be no greater good fortune also for a nation than that Allah should raise His Prophet in it, apart from all other nations of the world, and should send down His Book in its tongue, and give it the opportunity to rise as the standard-bearer of divine message in the world. If the Quraish and the people of Arabia have no sense of this great honor, and spurn it, a time will come when they will be called upon to account for it.
( 45 )   And ask those We sent before you of Our messengers; have We made besides the Most Merciful deities to be worshiped?
Ask the Messengers: Find out from the Books brought by them. Just as the meaning of: “If there arises any dispute among you about anything, refer it to Allah and His Prophet,” is not that the dispute should be taken before Allah and His Messenger, but that one should turn to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger for a decision, so “asking the Messengers” also does not mean that one should approach all the Messengers who have left the world and ask them, but the right meaning is: Discover what teachings the Messengers of Allah have left in the world as to which of them taught that another than Allah also is worthy of worship and service.

Verses 45 – 78 make a mention of two great prophets Musa and Isa (Moses and Jesus, peace be upon them). 

Verses 46-56 mention Prophet Musa who was sent to Fir'on and his chiefs with signs but they ridicule him and the signs as a result Allah drowned them all
( 46 )   And certainly did We send Moses with Our signs to Pharaoh and his establishment, and he said, "Indeed, I am the messenger of the Lord of the worlds."
This story has been narrated here for three objects:
  • (1) That when Allah sends His Prophet to a country and nation and affords it the opportunity which He has now given to the Arabs by appointing the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to Prophethood, and it, instead of taking advantage of this, commits the folly of Pharaoh and his people, it meets the same fate which has become an object lesson in history.
  • (2) That just as Pharaoh also on account of his arrogance and pride of kingdom and grandeur and wealth and possessions had belittled the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) as mean and contemptible, so the unbelieving Quraish are now regarding Muhammad (peace be upon him) as insignificant as against their chiefs. But God’s judgment was different which ultimately proved who was really great.
  • (3) That to mock Allah’s revelations and show stubbornness against His warnings is not a mere joke, but a very serious sin. If you do not learn a lesson from the fate of those who have been doomed on account of this, you also would go to your doom on account of the same.
This implies the signs with which the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) had gone to the court of Pharaoh, i.e. the signs of the staff and the shining hand. (For explanation, see (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayats 107-108); (Surah TaHa, Ayats 20-22); (Surah Ash-Shuara, Ayats 32-33); (Surah An-Naml; Ayats 10-12), (Surah Al-Qasas; Ayats 31-32).
( 47 )   But when he brought them Our signs, at once they laughed at them.
( 48 )   And We showed them not a sign except that it was greater than its sister, and We seized them with affliction that perhaps they might return [to faith].
Verse 48 make a mention of the signs which Allah showed them through the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) afterwards, and these were the following:
  • (1) A public encounter of Allah’s Prophet with the magicians, who believed after their defeat. For details, see (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayats 112-126); (Surah TaHa, Ayats 68-73); (Surah Ash Shuara, Ayats 37-51).
  • (2) A severe famine which hit the land of Egypt according to Prophet Moses’ (peace be upon him) announcement and which left the country only by his prayer.
  • (3) Dreadful rain and hail-storms accompanied by lightning and thunder struck the country even as Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) had announced, which destroyed the crops and dwellings and which also was removed only by his prayer.
  • (4) The sudden appearance of locusts in the land. This calamity was also not removed when Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) prayed to Allah.
  • (5) Lice and weevils spread throughout the country according to the announcement made by Moses (peace be upon him), which afflicted men and animals on the one hand, and destroyed granaries on the other. This torment was also averted when Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) was requested to pray for its removal.
  • (6) Frogs appeared everywhere in the country according to the warning given by Prophet Moses (peace be upon him), which put the whole population to great distress. This calamity did not also retreat until Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) prayed for it.
  • (7) The torment of blood appeared precisely as foretold by Moses (peace be upon him), which turned the water of all canals, wells, springs, pools and cisterns into blood. The fish died and the water smelled so bad that the Egyptians could not drink from it for a full week. This evil was also averted when the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) was asked to pray for its removal. For details, see (Surah Al- Aaraf, Ayats 130-136). (Surah An-Naml, Ayat 12) and (E.N. 37 of Surah Al-Mumin).
Chapters 7 to 10 of Exodus also contain the details of these calamities, but it is a combination of gossip and truth. It says that when the calamity of blood appeared, the magicians also worked a similar miracle, but when the calamity of the lice came, the magicians could not produce lice in response, and they said that it was God’s work. Even more strange than this is that when the storm of the frogs came, the magicians also brought about frogs, but in spite of that Pharaoh requested only the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) to pray to God to take away the frogs. The question is when the magicians could produce frogs, why didn’t Pharaoh get the frogs taken away through them? And how did it become known which of the frogs were Allah’s work and which of the magicians’ work? The same question arises about the blood. When according to the warning of Moses (peace be upon him) water became blood everywhere, which water did the magicians turn into blood? And how was it known that the water of a particular place had turned blood by the power of the magicians? Such are the things which show that the Bible does not consist of purely divine revelation, but the people who wrote it mixed up many things in it from their own imagination. The pity, however, is that the authors also were people of ordinary intelligence, who did not even know how to invent a story.
( 49 )   And they said [to Moses], "O magician, invoke for us your Lord by what He has promised you. Indeed, we will be guided."
( 50 )   But when We removed from them the affliction, at once they broke their word.
The stubbornness of Pharaoh and the chiefs of his people can be judged from the fact that when distressed by the torment they wanted the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) to pray for its removal, even then they did not recognize him as a Prophet but addressed him as a magician, whereas they were not unaware of the truth about magic, and they also knew that those miraculous things could not be brought about by the power of magic.

The same thing has been said in (Surah An-Naml, Ayat 14): They rejected those signs out of sheer injustice and vanity, whereas in their hearts they were convinced.
( 51 )   And Pharaoh called out among his people; he said, "O my people, does not the kingdom of Egypt belong to me, and these rivers flowing beneath me; then do you not see?( 52 )   Or am I [not] better than this one who is insignificant and hardly makes himself clear?
Who is despicable: the person who has neither wealth, nor power, nor authority. This same objection had been raised by the disbelieving Quraish against the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Some commentators have expressed the opinion that Pharaoh referred to the impediment of speech from which the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) suffered since childhood. But this is not a correct opinion. As has been mentioned in Surah TaHa above, when the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) was being appointed to Prophethood, he had implored Allah Almighty to remove the defect from his tongue so that the people might understand his speech and at that very time his request had also been granted along with his other requests (verse 27-36). Moreover, orations of the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) that have been cited at different places in the Quran, point to his perfect eloquence and fluency. Therefore, the basis of Pharaoh’s objection was not any impediment of speech from which Moses (peace be upon him) might be suffering but what he meant was: This person talks confusedly, at least I have never been able to understand what he says.
( 53 )   Then why have there not been placed upon him bracelets of gold or come with him the angels in conjunction?"
In the ancient times when a person was appointed to be governor of a land or sent as an ambassador to a foreign country, a robe of honor was conferred on him by the king, which also included bracelets of gold, and he was also accompanied by a contingent of soldiers and servants for over-awing the people and for showing the glory and grandeur of the king who had appointed him. What Pharaoh meant to say was: If the King of the heavens had really sent Moses (peace be upon him) as His ambassador to His counterpart on the earth, he should have been dressed in a robe of honor and come with several contingents of angels in attendance. How strange that a poor man should appear with a staff in his hand and say that he was the messenger of the Lord of the worlds!
( 54 )   So he bluffed his people, and they obeyed him. Indeed, they were [themselves] a people defiantly disobedient [of Allah].
A tremendous reality has been expressed in this brief sentence. When a person wishes to become autocratic in a country and contrives every plan openly to achieve his object, he practices every deception and trick. He buys and sells consciences and persecutes and crushes ruthlessly those who cannot be purchased. He, in fact, shows by his actions, whatever he may say to the contrary, that he takes the people of the country to be light as regards to their intellect, morals and manliness, and has formed the impression that he can drive the foolish, unscrupulous and cowardly people wherever he likes. Then, when he has succeeded in his designs and the people have become his obedient servants, they prove by their conduct and behavior that they are actually what the wicked man had taken them to be, and the main cause of their depravity is that they are basically a sinful people. They are not in the least concerned as to what is the truth and what is falsehood, what is justice and what is injustice, whether the noble traits of character are truthfulness and honesty or falsehood and dishonesty and meanness. Instead of this, only their personal interests are of real importance to them, for the sake of which they remain ever ready to cooperate with every wicked person, to yield to every tyrant, to accept every falsehood and to suppress every protest that is voiced in favor of the truth.
( 55 )   And when they angered Us, We took retribution from them and drowned them all.( 56 )   And We made them a precedent and an example for the later peoples.
Verses 57-67 mention Prophet Isa (Jesus) who was no more than a mortal whom Allah favored and made him and example for the Children of Israel:
( 57 )   And when the son of Mary was presented as an example, immediately your people laughed aloud.
( 58 )   And they said, "Are your gods better, or is he?" They did not present the comparison except for [mere] argument. But, [in fact], they are a people prone to dispute.
In (verse 45) above, it was said: You may ask all other Messengers whom We sent before you whether We had appointed any other gods to be worshiped beside the Merciful God. When this discourse was being presented before the people of Makkah, a person called Abdullah ibn az-Zibara in the traditions, put forward the objection: Well, is it not a fact that the Christians regard the son of Mary as the son of God and worship him? What is then wrong with our gods? This caused much laughter among the crowd of the disbelievers and they started clamoring for an answer to this objection. But at this foolish behavior, the continuity of the revelation was not broken, but was first completed and then the objection of the questioner was taken up. (It should be borne in mind that this incident has been reported in the books of commentaries in different ways which contain great variations, but after a study of the context and the traditions the real incident in our view is the same as we have mentioned above).
( 59 )   Jesus was not but a servant upon whom We bestowed favor, and We made him an example for the Children of Israel.
“We made him an example” implies causing the Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) to be born without a father, and then granting him such miracles as had not been granted to anyone before him nor to anyone after him. He would make a bird of clay and then breathe into it and it would become a living bird; he would give sight to those born blind; he would cure the lepers; so much so that he would raise the dead back to life. What Allah means to say is: It is wrong to worship him as son of God and regard him as above servitude only because of his extraordinary birth and the great miracles granted to him. He was no more than a mere servant, whom We had blessed and made an example of Our power. (For details, see (Surah Aal-Imran, Ayats 42-49, 59); (Surah An-Nisa, Ayat 156); (Surah Al- Maidah, Ayats 17,110); (Surah Maryam, Ayats 17-35); (Surah Al-Anbiya, Ayat 91); (Surah Al-Muminun, Ayat 50).
( 60 )   And if We willed, We could have made [instead] of you angels succeeding [one another] on the earth.
( 61 )   And indeed, he will be [a sign for] knowledge of the Hour, so be not in doubt of it, and follow Me. This is a straight path.
According to majority of interpreters and ageists, here "He"  implies the prophet Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), and this is suitable to the context. Now the question is: In what sense has Jesus Christ been called a sign or a means of the knowledge of Resurrection? Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Ikrimah, Qatadah, Suddi, Dahhak, Abul Aliyah and Abu Malik say that this refers to the second coming of the Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) as has been foretold in a large number of the traditions, and the verse means that when he comes the second time to the world, it will become known that Resurrection is not far behind. But in spite of the great authority that these scholars hold it is difficult to believe that in this verse the second advent of the Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) has been called a sign of Resurrection, or a means of its knowledge. For it is contradicted by the next verse. His second advent, indeed, can be a means of the knowledge of Resurrection only for those people who will be living in that future period or will be born after that. How could he be regarded as a means of the knowledge for the pagans of Makkah, who are being asked not to have any doubt about it? Therefore, the correct interpretation in our opinion is the one that has been given by some other commentators, according to which the Prophet Jesus’ (peace be upon him) birth without a father and his making a bird out of clay and his raising the dead back to life has been presented as a proof of the possibility of Resurrection. So, the divine words would mean: Why do you think it is impossible for God to raise you and all mankind from death when He can create a child without a father and a servant of His can breathe life into an image of clay and raise the dead back to life by His permission?
( 62 )   And never let Satan avert you. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy.( 63 )   And when Jesus brought clear proofs, he said, "I have come to you with wisdom and to make clear to you some of that over which you differ, so fear Allah and obey me.
( 64 )   Indeed, Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. This is a straight path."
That is, the Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) himself had never claimed that he was God or son of God, and that the people should worship him, but, on the contrary, his message was the same as of all other Prophets, the same as was now being conveyed to you through Muhammad (peace be upon him). (For explanation, see (Surah Aal-Imran, Ayats 50-51); (Surah An-Nisa, Ayats 171-172); (Surah Al- Maidah, Ayats 72, 116-117); (Surah Maryam, Ayats 30-36).
( 65 )   But the denominations from among them differed [and separated], so woe to those who have wronged from the punishment of a painful Day.( 66 )   Are they waiting except for the Hour to come upon them suddenly while they perceive not?( 67 )   Close friends, that Day, will be enemies to each other, except for the righteous
The concluding verses 68-89 paint a picture of the Day of Judgement when the believers will have no fear or regret, they will be warded paradise and made happy and O Prophet tell the Christians, if Allah had a son, I would have been the first one to worship him
( 68 )   [To whom Allah will say], "O My servants, no fear will there be concerning you this Day, nor will you grieve,( 69 )   [You] who believed in Our verses and were Muslims.(70) Enter Paradise, you and your kinds, delighted."(71) Circulated among them will be plates and vessels of gold. And therein is whatever the souls desire and [what] delights the eyes, and you will abide therein eternally.(72)   And that is Paradise which you are made to inherit for what you used to do.(73)  For you therein is much fruit from which you will eat.(74) Indeed, the criminals will be in the punishment of Hell, abiding eternally.(75)  It will not be allowed to subside for them, and they, therein, are in despair.(76)  And We did not wrong them, but it was they who were the wrongdoers.(77) And they will call, "O Malik, let your Lord put an end to us!" He will say, "Indeed, you will remain."
( 78 )   We had certainly brought you the truth, but most of you, to the truth, were averse.
That is, We made the reality plain to you, but you were fond of the imaginary, and you had an aversion to the truth. Now, why do you lament at the fate of your foolish choice? It may be a part of the Hell-keeper’s answer, and it may also be that his answer ended with: Here you must remain, and this second sentence as an addition by Allah. In the first case, the keeper’s saying: We had brought the Truth to you, is just like an official’s using the word “we” on behalf of his government, when he wants to say: Our government did this or gave such and such an order.

The disbelievers devise a plan to ruin Prophet Muhammad, but Allah devises a plan too.  He hears their private conversations so too do the angels who are recording their every word or action.  Allah tells Muhammad (peace be upon him) to say that if the Lord of Mercy had offspring, he (Muhammad) would be the first to worship them but He does not.  He is far above what they say.  So they blunder along and play until they face the promised doom.

Allah is far above their false descriptions and Exalted is He who has control of the heavens and the earth and everything in between them.  He knows the Hour when all will be returned to Him.  Those deities invoked besides God have no power of intercession.  And if you ask the disbelievers who created them, they will definitely say God.  So how is it that they are so deluded when it comes to worshiping Him alone?  Allah is aware of Prophet Muhammad cry that his people persist in disbelief, but Allah advises him to bear with them and respond with peace, because in the end they will come to know and understand.

Now in this backdrop, read the concluding verses of the surah:
(79) Or have they devised [some] affair? But indeed, We are devising [a plan].(80) Or do they think that We hear not their secrets and their private conversations? Yes, [We do], and Our messengers are with them recording.
(81)  Say, [O Muhammad], "If the Most Merciful had a son, then I would be the first of [his] worshipers."
This verse 81 should be understood very carefully for many may be misled if not understanding its hidden meaning.

It means: My rejection of somebody’s being God’s offspring and my refusal to worship those whom you regard as His offspring is not due to any stubbornness and obduracy. My reason for the refusal is only this that God has no son or daughter, and your such beliefs are against the reality; otherwise I am such a faithful servant of my Lord that if at all the reality had been the same as you state I would have submitted myself in worship before you.
(82)   Exalted is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, Lord of the Throne, above what they describe.(83)   So leave them to converse vainly and amuse themselves until they meet their Day which they are promised.(84)   And it is Allah who is [the only] deity in the heaven, and on the earth [the only] deity. And He is the Wise, the Knowing.
(85) And blessed is He to whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them and with whom is knowledge of the Hour and to whom you will be returned.
Verse 85 contends that He is far above it that another should be His associate in Godhead and may have any share whatsoever in ruling this great universe. Whatever is there in the earth and the heavens, whether the Prophets, the saints, the angels, jinn, spirits, stars or planets, they are His servants and slaves and subjects. It is impossible for them to be characterized with a divine attribute or be possessed with a divine power.

That is, you may have taken anyone as your helper and patron in the world, but after death you will have to face only One God and render an account of your deeds before Him alone.
( 86 )   And those they invoke besides Him do not possess [power of] intercession; but only those who testify to the truth [can benefit], and they know.
Verse 86 has several meanings:
  • (1) Those whom the people have made their deities in the world, will not at all be their intercessors before Allah. Those of them who were wicked, will themselves be presented as culprits there. However, those who had borne witness to the truth by virtue of knowledge (and not unconsciously) will certainly be able to intercede for others.
  • (2) Those who will be permitted to intercede, will be able to do so only for those who had testified to the truth consciously (and not heedlessly). They will neither intercede of their own will, nor will have the permission to intercede for anyone who had gone and been led astray from the truth in the world, or had been affirming the faith in Allah as the only Deity unconsciously as well as serving other deities at the same time
  • (3) If a person says that those whom he has made gods necessarily possess the powers of intercession, and they wield such an influence with Allah that they can have anyone they like forgiven, irrespective of his beliefs and deeds, is totally wrong. No one enjoys such a position with Allah. If the one who claims that another has such powers of intercession can testify to the truth of this matter by virtue of knowledge, one should have the courage to say so. But if one is not in a position to bear such a testimony, and he is certainly not, it would be sheer folly to invent such a creed on the basis of mere hearsay or conjecture and risk his life Hereafter relying only on an imaginary support.
Incidentally, this verse also gives two important principles:
  • First, it shows that bearing a testimony to the truth without knowledge may be reliable in the world, but it is not so before Allah. In the world, whoever affirms the faith verbally will be regarded as a Muslim and treated as such unless he openly commits an act expressly contradictory to belief. But as before Allah only such a one will be counted as a Muslim, who has uttered Shahada consciously, with full understanding of what he is denying and what he is affirming according to his best knowledge. 
  • Secondly, it gives this principle of the law of evidence that knowledge is a pre-requisite of bearing the evidence. If the bearer of an evidence has no knowledge of the event to which he is bearing evidence, his evidence is meaningless. The same is borne out by a decision given by the Prophet (peace be upon him). He said to a witness: If you saw what happened with your own eyes as you are seeing the sun, then you may bear the witness, otherwise not. (Ahkam al- Quran by al Jassas). 
(87)   And if you asked them who created them, they would surely say, "Allah." So how are they deluded?
وَقِيۡلِهٖ يٰرَبِّ اِنَّ هٰٓؤُلَاۤءِ قَوۡمٌ لَّا يُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ​ۘ‏ 
( 88 )   And [Allah acknowledges] his saying, "O my Lord, indeed these are a people who do not believe."
This is one of the most difficult verses of the Quran as it involves the complicated syntactic question of the kind of waw that has been used in wa qili-hi. From the translation of Shah Abdul Qadir it appears that the waw here is not conjunctive but for taking oath, and is related to fa-anna yu-fakun, and the pronoun in qili-hi turns to the Prophet (peace be upon him) of Allah. Therefore, the verse means this: By this saying of the Messenger: O my Lord, these are a people who would not believe. They are so utterly deluded that although they themselves admit that Allah alone is their Creator and Creator of their gods, yet they abandon the Creator and persist in worshiping His creatures.

The object of swearing by this saying of the Messenger is that the conduct of the people clearly shows that they are, in fact, stubborn, for the foolishness of their attitude is apparent from their own admission, and such an irrational attitude can be adopted only by such a person, who is resolved not to believe. In other words, the oath implies: The Messenger has rightly said so: indeed these people would not believe.
(89) So turn aside from them and say, "Peace." But they are going to know.
That is, you should neither curse them for their scornful words and attitude of mockery and derision, nor respond with harsh words, just wish them well and take your leave.

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sūrat az-Zukhruf 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: Pakeeza Jewelers | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |
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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