Thursday 30 May 2019

Surah Fatir - The Originator: Exegesis / Tafseer of 35th Chapter of the Holy Quran

Surah Fāṭir is the thirty fifth surah with 45 ayahs with five rukus, part of the 22nd Juzʼ  of the Holy Qur'an. The surah takes its name from the word Fatir used in the very first verse, which simply means that it is a Surah in which the word Fatir has occurred. The other name is Sūrat al-Malāʼikah (The Angels), which also occurs in the first verse. 

From Surah Saba, the 34th Chapter, there begins a series of six Surahs, Surah. xxxiv. to Surah. xxxix, which  recapitulate some of the features of the spiritual world.  Surah Saba (xxxiv) leads off with emphasis on Allah's Mercy and Power and Truth. Then (in Surah Surah Fāṭir. xxxv, this surah) we are told how angels manifest the Power of Allah, and how different is Good from Evil and Truth from Falsehood. Surah Ya Seen (xxxvi) is devoted to the holy Prophet and the Quran that came through him. In Surah Saffat (xxxvii) the emphasis is on the snares of Satan, in Surah Saad (xxxviii) on the conquest of evil by wisdom and power as in the case of David and Solomon, and by Patience and Constancy as in the case of Job; and in Surah Zumar (xxix - last of the six surahs) emphasis is on the Final Judgment, which will sort out Faith from Unfaithful and give to each its due.

The discourse is meant to warn and reprove the people of Makkah and their chiefs for their antagonistic attitude that they had then adopted towards the Holy Prophet's message of Tauhid, like a well wisher, and also to admonish them like a teacher, as if to say: "O foolish people, the way to which this Prophet is calling you is to your own advantage. Your anger, your tricks and machinations against it and your conspiracies and designs to frustrate it are not directed against him but against your own selves. If you do not listen to him, you will be harming your own selves, not him. Just consider and ponder over what he says : there is nothing wrong in it. He repudiates shirk. If you look around carefully, you will yourself realize that there is no basis for shirk in the world. He presents the doctrine of Tauhid. If you use your common sense, you will come to the conclusion that there is no being, beside Allah, Creator of the Universe. He tells you that you have not been created to be irresponsible in this world, but you have to render an account of your deeds before your God, and that there is life after the life of this world when everyone will meet the consequences of what he has done here. If you thing a little you will see that your doubts and your astonishment about it are absolutely baseless. Don't you see the phenomenon of the reproduction of creation day and night. How can then your own recreation be impossible for that Allah Who created you from an insignificant sperm drop? Doesn't your own intellect testify that the good and the evil cannot be alike? Then think and judge for yourselves as to what is reasonable, should the good and the evil meet with the same fate and end up in the dust, or should the good be requited with good and the evil with evil? Now, if you do not admit and acknowledge these rational and reasonable things and do not abandon your false gods, and wish to continue living only as irresponsible people in the world, the Prophet will not lose anything. It is you yourselves only who will suffer the consequences. The Prophet's only responsibility was to make the truth plain to you, which be has done."

In this connection, the Holy Prophet has been consoled again and again, as if to say :"When you are doing full justice to the preaching of your mission, you do not incur any responsibility for those who persist in their error and do not accept and follow the right way." Furthermore, he has also been consoled to the effect "You should neither grieve on account of those who do not want to believe, nor consume yourself with the thought of how to bring them to the rights path. Instead of this, you should pay your full attention to those who are inclined to listen to you."

The believers also, in this connection, have been given the good news so that they may feel strengthened and encouraged and remain steadfast on the path of the truth with full faith in the promises made by Allah.

Let us now read the translation and exegesis / tafseer 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"

اَ لۡحَمۡدُ لِلّٰهِ فَاطِرِ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالۡاَرۡضِ جَاعِلِ الۡمَلٰٓـئِكَةِ رُسُلًا اُولِىۡۤ اَجۡنِحَةٍ مَّثۡنٰى وَثُلٰثَ وَرُبٰعَ ؕ يَزِيۡدُ فِى الۡخَـلۡقِ مَا يَشَآءُ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ عَلٰى كُلِّ شَىۡءٍ قَدِيۡرٌ‏ 

Rukhu 1 [Verses 1-7]
In Rukhu 1, it has been emphasised that none can withhold or award blessings besides Allah and Shaitan is your enemy, so take him as your enemy
( 1 )   [All] praise is [due] to Allah, Creator of the heavens and the earth, [who] made the angels messengers having wings, two or three or four. He increases in creation what He wills. Indeed, Allah is over all things competent.
The mention of angels messengers can have two meanings: (1) That these angels perform the service of communicating messages between Allah and His Prophets, and (or)  (2) That it is the duty of these angels to convey and enforce the commands of Allah Almighty throughout the universe.

The object is to impress this truth: The position of the angels whom the polytheists have made their gods and goddesses is no more than of obedient servants of Allah, the One. Just as the servants of a king run about for the implementation of his orders, so do these angels fly about in the service of the real Sovereign of the Universe. These servants have no authority of their own; All powers rest with Allah, Who is the real Sovereign.
( 2 )   Whatever Allah grants to people of mercy - none can withhold it; and whatever He withholds - none can release it thereafter. And He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.
Understanding some of the verses of this surah can dispel many misconceptions that reside in the minds of Muslims who still cling to beliefs that are tangent to the teachings of Islam.  Here in this verse it is also meant to remove the misunderstanding of the polytheists, who believed that from among the servants of Allah, someone gave them the provision, someone the children and someone health to their patients. All these superstitions of shirk are baseless, and the pure truth is just that whatever of mercy reaches the people, reaches to them only through Allah Almighty’s bounty and grace. No one else has the power either to bestow it or to withhold it. This theme has been expressed at many places in the Quran and the Ahadith in different ways so that man may avoid the humiliation of begging at every door and at every shrine and may realize that making or marring of his destiny is in the power of One Allah alone and of none else.

Also read explanation of verse 22 below for it will also make many a conception of a faction of Muslims who visit graves and offer supplications in a hope that the dead of the grave may become a medium to communicate to Allah.
( 3 ) O people, remember Allah's favour upon you. Is there any creator, apart from Allah, who provides you your sustenance out of the heavens and earth? There is no god but He. Whither are you, then, being misdirected?
There is a subtle gap between the first and the second verses, which is being filled by the context itself. To understand this, one may visualize the scene like this: The polytheists are being addressed. The speaker asks the audience: “Is there another creator beside Allah, who might have created you, and might be arranging provisions for you from the earth and heavens?” After this question the speaker waits for the answer. But there is no reply from anywhere. No one replies that there is another one beside Allah, who is their creator and sustainer. This by itself shows that the audience also believe that there is none beside Allah, who could be their creator and sustainer. Then the speaker says: “If so, then He alone can also be the Deity and no one else. How have you been so deceived? Why have you taken these others as your deities, when Allah alone is your Creator and Sustainer?”
( 4 )   And if they deny you, [O Muhammad] - already were messengers denied before you. And to Allah are returned [all] matters.( 5 )   O mankind, indeed the promise of Allah is truth, so let not the worldly life delude you and be not deceived about Allah by the Deceiver.
“The promise” in verse 5 implies the promise of the Hereafter to which allusion was made in the preceding sentence, saying: “And to Allah return all matters.” In the verse “Let not deceive you”: Deceive you means that the world is an end in itself: that there is no Hereafter when one will have to render an account of one’s deeds: or that even if there is the Hereafter, the one who is enjoying life here will enjoy life there, too.

By “Great deceiver” is meant the Satan, as is evident from the next sentence. And “deceive you concerning Allah” means:
  • (1) That he should make some people believe that Allah does not exist at all.
  • (2) Involve others in the misunderstanding that Allah after having once created the world, has retired and has now practically nothing to do with the universe any more.
  • (3) Delude others into believing that Allah no doubt is running the universe, but He has taken no responsibility of providing guidance to man: therefore, revelation and prophethood are a mere deception.
  • (4) Give still others the false hope that since Allah is All- Forgiving and All-Merciful. He will forgive one whatever sins one might have committed, and that He has some beloved ones too: if one remains attached to them, success and salvation are assured.
( 6 )   Indeed, Satan is an enemy to you; so take him as an enemy. He only invites his party to be among the companions of the Blaze.( 7 )   Those who disbelieve will have a severe punishment, and those who believe and do righteous deeds will have forgiveness and great reward.
Ruku 2 [Verses 8-14]
In verses 8-9 It is said that the person who considers his evil deeds to be good cannot be guided to the Right Path:
( 8 )   Then is one to whom the evil of his deed has been made attractive so he considers it good [like one rightly guided]? For indeed, Allah sends astray whom He wills and guides whom He wills. So do not let yourself perish over them in regret. Indeed, Allah is Knowing of what they do.
Verses 3-7 were addressed to the common people. In this paragraph mention has been made of the standard bearers of error and deviation, who were exerting their utmost to frustrate and defeat the mission of the Prophet (peace be upon him).  Thus this verse needs to be understood carefully for we may find many people around us who fall into the category being spoken of.

There is one kind of perverted person is he who commits evil but knows and understands that he is committing evil. Such a person can be reformed by counsel and advice, and sometimes his own conscience also pricks and brings him to the right path, for his habits only are perverted, not his mind. But there is another kind of a person whose mentality has been perverted, who has lost the discrimination between good and evil, for whom the life of sin has become alluring and lustrous, who abhors good and takes evil for civilization and culture, who regards goodness and piety as things of the past, and sinfulness and wickedness as progressiveness, and for whom guidance becomes error and error becomes guidance. Such a person is not amenable to any advice and any admonition. He neither takes warning from his own follies nor listens to a well wisher. It is useless to waste one's time and energy for his reformation. Instead, the inviter to the truth should turn his attention towards those whose consciences may still be alive and who may still be inclined to listen to the truth.

The insertion of the words “Then indeed, Allah sends astray whom He wills, and guides whom He wills” between the preceding and this verse, clearly gives the meaning that Allah deprives, of the grace of guidance, those who become so perverted mentally, and leaves them to wander aimlessly in the ways in which they themselves wish to remain lost. After making the Prophet (peace be upon him) realize this fact Allah exhorts him to the effect: It is not within your power to bring such people to the right path; therefore, have patience in their regard. Just as Allah is indifferent about them, so should you also avoid being unduly anxious about their reformation.

Here, one should bear in mind two things very clearly. First, the people being mentioned here were not the common people, but the chiefs of Makkah, who were employing every falsehood, every fraud and every trick to defeat the mission of the Prophet (peace be upon him). These people were, in fact, not involved in any misunderstanding about the Prophet (peace be upon him). They knew well what he was calling them to and what were the evils and moral weaknesses which they themselves were striving to maintain. After knowing and understanding all this, they had firmly resolved not to let him succeed in his object. And for this purpose they did not feel any hesitation in using any mean or petty device. Now, evidently the people who deliberately and after annual consultation invent a new falsehood every next day and spread it against a person, can deceive the whole world but as for themselves they know that they are the liars and that the person whom they have accused is free of every blame. Then, if the person against whom the false propaganda is being made also does not react and respond in a way opposed to truth and righteousness, the unjust people also cannot help realizing that their opponent is a truthful and honest man. If in spite of this the people do not feel ashamed of their misconduct and continue to oppose and resist the truth with falsehood, their conduct itself testifies that they are under Allah’s curse and they can no longer discriminate between good and evil.

Secondly, if Allah had only meant to make Prophet (peace be upon him) understand the supreme truth, He could have secretly made him aware of this. There was no need to proclaim it openly in the revelation. To mention it in the Quran and to proclaim it to the world was in fact meant to warn the common people that the leaders and the religious guides whom they were following blindly were the people of perverted mentality, whose mean conduct was itself an evidence that they were under the curse of Allah.

This verse in itself contains the threat that a time is coming when Allah will punish them for their misdeeds. When a ruler says that he is fully aware of the misdeeds of a culprit, it does not only mean that the ruler has the knowledge of his misconduct, but it necessarily contains the warning that he will certainly punish him for this.
( 9 )   And it is Allah who sends the winds, and they stir the clouds, and We drive them to a dead land and give life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness. Thus is the resurrection.
That is, these ignorant people think that the Hereafter is impossible. That is why they are living under the delusion that they may do whatever they like in the world, the time will never come when they will have to appear before their God and render an account of their deeds. But this is no more than a delusion. On the Day of Resurrection, the dead men of all ages will suddenly rise back to life at one call of Allah just as the dead earth comes back to life at one shower of the rain and the roots, lying dead for ages, become green and start sprouting up from the layers of the earth.

Verses 10-11 warn that let all those who are seeking honor know that real honor is in the obedience of Allah:
( 10 )   Whoever desires honor [through power] - then to Allah belongs all honor. To Him ascends good speech, and righteous work raises it. But they who plot evil deeds will have a severe punishment, and the plotting of those - it will perish.
It should be noted that whatever the chiefs of the Quraish were doing against the Prophet (peace be upon him), they were doing it for the sake of their honor and dignity. They thought that if the Prophet (peace be upon him) succeeded in his mission, their greatness and glory would fade away, their influence would die out and their honor among the Arabs would be ruined. At this it is being said: The honor that you have attained for yourselves by your disbelief and rebellion against Allah is a false honor, which is destined to be ruined. The real and enduring honor, which can never suffer debasement, can be attained only through service of Allah. If you turn sincerely and faithfully to Him, you will attain it. And if you turn away from Him, you are bound to live an abject and wretched life.

In the sight of Allah, the false, vicious and mischievous can never rise and flourish. In His sight only such a word can rise and flourish which is honest and based on the truth, and in which a righteous creed and a correct point of view may have been expressed and presented. Then the thing which makes the pure word to rise and prosper is the action which conforms to it. Wherever the word is pure but the action is opposed to it, the purity of the word suffers a blemish. The mere extravagant rise of the tongue does not exalt a word: the power of the righteous action is needed to exalt and raise it high. Here, one should also note that the Quran presents the righteous word and the righteous action as interdependent. No action can be righteous merely on the basis of its external and apparent form unless it has a righteous creed behind it. And no righteous creed can be reliable unless it is supported and confirmed by a person’s action. For instance, if a person says that he regards Allah, the One, alone as his Deity, but worships others than Allah in practical life, his action belies his word. If a person says that he regards the wine as unlawful but drinks it, his mere word can neither be acceptable to the people nor deserve approval in the sight of Allah.

As for “Those who plot evil”, it means those who propagate false and evil words by means of cunning tricks, deceit and deceptive reasoning, and do not feel any hesitation in employing any device, however mean and depraved, to frustrate and defeat the word of the truth.
( 11 )   And Allah created you from dust, then from a sperm-drop; then He made you mates. And no female conceives nor does she give birth except with His knowledge. And no aged person is granted [additional] life nor is his lifespan lessened but that it is in a register. Indeed, that for Allah is easy.
From here again the discourse is directed to the common people, stressing that man in the first instance was created from the dust directly. Then his race was perpetuated through the sperm-drop.

It is preordained for everyone who is born in this world how long he will live. If a person lives a long life, he does so by Allah’s decree, and if another one lives a short life, he too lives so by Allah’s decree. Some ignorant people give the argument that in the past the death rate of the newly born children used to be high, and now it has been checked by the advancement of the medical science. And the people used to live short lives in the past, now due to better medical facilities the life span has increased. But this argument could be presented in refutation of the Quranic argument only when it could be ascertained that Allah, for instance, had preordained a two year life for a certain person, and the modern medical facilities have enhanced it by a day. If a person has no such knowledge, he cannot refute this Quranic statement on any rational grounds. Only on the basis of the statistics that the death rate among children has fallen, or that the people now are living longer lives, it cannot be argued that man has now become able to change the decrees of Allah. Rationally it is not impossible that Allah might have fixed different life spans for the people born in different periods, and this might also be Allah Almighty’s decree that man in such and such an age would be granted curative power to treat such and such diseases, and in such and such a period man would be given greater means for longevity.

And finally it is not at all difficult for Allah to give commands and pass judgments about each individual of His countless creations when He possesses detailed and perfect knowledge about them.

In Verses 12-14 it is emphasised that Allah has created water, day, night, sun and moon for man's benefit and Deities besides Allah can neither hear, nor response nor yet own even a thread of a date-stone
( 12 )   And not alike are the two bodies of water. One is fresh and sweet, palatable for drinking, and one is salty and bitter. And from each you eat tender meat and extract ornaments which you wear, and you see the ships plowing through [them] that you might seek of His bounty; and perhaps you will be grateful.
Here the fine example of body of water in the oceans, and the body of water in the rivers and springs and lakes is given. The ocean water despite in abundance cannot be taken as drinking water, but it still supplies “Fresh meat” like th fish and many other forms of lobsters and other life forms. And from the same very saltish water one gets pearls and corals and, in some rivers, diamonds and gold to use as ornaments.

يُوۡلِجُ الَّيۡلَ فِى النَّهَارِ وَيُوۡلِجُ النَّهَارَ فِى الَّيۡلِ ۙ وَسَخَّرَ الشَّمۡسَ وَالۡقَمَرَ ​ۖ  كُلٌّ يَّجۡرِىۡ لِاَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى ؕ ذٰ لِكُمُ اللّٰهُ رَبُّكُمۡ لَـهُ الۡمُلۡكُ ؕ وَالَّذِيۡنَ تَدۡعُوۡنَ مِنۡ دُوۡنِهٖ مَا يَمۡلِكُوۡنَ مِنۡ قِطۡمِيۡرٍؕ‏ 
( 13 )   He causes the night to enter the day, and He causes the day to enter the night and has subjected the sun and the moon - each running [its course] for a specified term. That is Allah, your Lord; to Him belongs sovereignty. And those whom you invoke other than Him do not possess [as much as] the membrane of a date seed.
That is, the light of the day starts diminishing and the darkness of the night increasing gradually so as to cover up everything completely. Likewise, towards the end of the night, in the beginning, a streak of the light appears on the horizon, and then the bright day dawns. Thus the movement of sun, moon and all celestial objects is “Subjected ” to a law, which we now know as the astronomy.

The word qitmir in the original means the thin skin that covers the stone of the date fruit; but what is meant to be said is that the gods of the mushriks do not own anything whatever.
( 14 )   If you invoke them, they do not hear your supplication; and if they heard, they would not respond to you. And on the Day of Resurrection they will deny your association. And none can inform you like [one] Acquainted [with all matters].
Continuing the mention of the people or deities who cannot even have to ability to make something like the membrane of date seeds, it is said that this does not mean that they cannot tell aloud, in answer to your prayer whether your prayer has been accepted or not, but it means that they cannot take any action on your supplications. And on the Day of Judgement, they will plainly say: We had never told them that we are Allah’s associates and that they should worship us. On the contrary, we were not at all aware that they regarded us as Allah’s associates and were invoking us for help. None of their prayers has reached us, nor has any of their gifts and offerings.

“All-Knower”: Allah Almighty Himself. It means this: The other person can at the most refine shirk and prove the powerlessness of the gods of the polytheists by rational arguments only, but We are directly aware of the absolute truth. We are telling you, on the basis of knowledge, that all those whom the people believe to be possessing some powers in Our Godhead are absolutely powerless. They have no authority whatsoever by which they might do somebody good or harm. And We know this directly that on the Day of Resurrection, these gods of the mushriks will themselves refute their shirk.

Rukhu 3 [Verses 15-26]
Verses 15-18 tell that mankind is in need of Allah, while He is not in need of any one:

يٰۤاَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اَنۡتُمُ الۡفُقَرَآءُ اِلَى اللّٰهِۚ وَاللّٰهُ هُوَ الۡغَنِىُّ الۡحَمِيۡدُ‏ 
( 15 )   O mankind, you are those in need of Allah, while Allah is the Free of need, the Praiseworthy.
That is, you should not remain under the delusion that Allah stands in need of your help. If you do not accept Him as God, His Godhead will fail, and if you do not serve and worship Him, He will incur some loss. Nay, but the fact is that you stand in need of Him. You cannot remain alive for a moment if He does not keep you alive, and does not provide you with the means by which you remain alive in the world and function. Therefore, when you are told to adopt His service and obedience, it is not because Allah stands in need of it, but because upon it depends your own success here as well as in the Hereafter. If you do not do so, you will be harming your own selves only, and not Allah in any way.

In this verse, two attributes of Allah have been mentioned: The word Ghani implies that He is the Owner of everything: He is Self-sufficient and Independent of all. He does not stand in need of anyone’s help. The word Hamid implies that He is Self-Praiseworthy: someone may praise Him, or may not, but He alone is worthy of hamd (praise and gratitude). These two attributes have been used together because one would be ghani even if one did not do any good to anyone by one’s wealth. In such a case one would be ghani but not hamid One will be hamid only in case one does not draw any benefit for oneself but benefits others in every way from the treasures of his wealth and resources. Since Allah is perfect in these two attributes, it has been said: “He is not just Ghani (self-sufficient) but such Ghani as is worthy of every kind of praise and gratitude, for He is fulfilling your needs as well as the needs of all other creatures.
( 16 )   If He wills, He can do away with you and bring forth a new creation.( 17 )   And that is for Allah not difficult.
That is, you are not enjoying life on Allah’s earth solely by dint of your own power and might. He has the power to remove you from here in no time and raise another people to take your place. Therefore, you should understand your true worth, and should desist from adopting the conduct which has been causing the downfall of the nations. When Allah wills to send someone to his doom, there is no one in the universe, who can stop Him and withhold His decree from being enforced.
( 18 )   And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. And if a heavily laden soul calls [another] to [carry some of] its load, nothing of it will be carried, even if he should be a close relative. You can only warn those who fear their Lord unseen and have established prayer. And whoever purifies himself only purifies himself for [the benefit of] his soul. And to Allah is the [final] destination.
The sharing of burden has been said here because the polytheist kinsmen and relatives of the people who were embracing Islam in Makkah, used to urge them, saying, Give up Islam and return to your ancestral faith. We take the responsibility of any punishment etc. on ourselves.

In the preceding sentence, Allah’s law of justice has been enunciated, according to which He will not seize any person for the sin committed by another, but will hold everyone responsible for his own sin. In this sentence the Muslims have been told: Those who urge you to give up faith and commit evil on the assurance that they will take on themselves the burden of your sins on the Day of Resurrection, are in fact giving you a false hope. When Resurrection comes and the people see what fate they are going to meet in consequence of their misdeed, everyone will be concerned only about himself. Brother will turn away from brother and father from son, and no one will be prepared to take even an atom’s weight of another’s burden on himself.

In other words, your warnings cannot have any effect on obstinate and stubborn people. Your admonitions can bring only such people to the right path who have fear of God in their hearts and who are inclined to bow before their real Master.

Verses 19-26 explain that the living and the dead are not alike. You cannot make those who are buried in the grave hear you:
( 19 )   Not equal are the blind and the seeing,( 20 )   Nor are the darknesses and the light,( 21 )   Nor are the shade and the heat,
( 22 )   And not equal are the living and the dead. Indeed, Allah causes to hear whom He wills, but you cannot make hear those in the graves.
In these comparisons the present and the future of a believer and a disbeliever have been contrasted. There is a person who has closed his eyes to the realities and does not care to see as to what truth the whole system of the universe and his own existence itself are pointing. There is the other person, whose eyes are open and who clearly sees that everything outside and inside himself bears evidence to the Unity of God and to man’s answerability before him. There is a person, who is wandering blindly in the superstitions of ignorance and the darkness of presumptions and speculations, and is not inclined to benefit by the light of the candle lit by the Prophet. There is the other person, whose eyes are open and who, as soon as the light spread by the Prophet appears before him, comes to realize that all the ways being followed by the polytheists and the disbelievers and the atheists lead to destruction, and the way to success is only that which has been shown by the Messenger of God. Now how can it be possible that the attitude of the two persons be the same in the world and the two may follow one and the same path together? And how can this also be possible, either that the two should meet the same end and should both end up in the dust after death? Neither should one be punished for his wrongdoings, nor the other be rewarded for his righteous conduct. The sentence, “the cool shade and the heat of the sun are not alike” points to the same fate. The one will be provided shelter under the shade of Allah’s mercy and the other will burn in the fire of Hell. Thus, the notions that the two will ultimately meet the same end, is utterly false. In the end, the believer has been likened to the living and the stubborn disbeliever to the dead. That is, the believer is he whose feeling, understanding and perception are alive and whose conscience is making him aware of the distinction between the good and the evil every moment. Contrary to this, the person who has been, wholly lost in the prejudices of disbelief is even worse than the blind person who is wandering about in darkness. Nay, he is like a dead person who has no sense or feeling left in him.

That is, as for the powers of Allah, they are unlimited. He can even make the stones to hear. But it is not within the power of the Messenger to make those people to listen to him whose consciences have become dead and whose ears deaf to every call to the truth. He can only make those people to hear him, who are inclined to listen to every reasonable thing.
( 23 )   You, [O Muhammad], are not but a warner.
That is, your only duty is to warn the people and nothing else. If even after this a person does not come to his senses, and remains lost in his deviations, you are not to blame for that, for you have not been entrusted with the duty of making the blind to see and the deaf to hear.
( 24 )   Indeed, We have sent you with the truth as a bringer of good tidings and a warner. And there was no nation but that there had passed within it a warner.
That there has been no community in the world for whose guidance Allah did not appoint the Prophets. This has been stated at several places in the Quran. In (Surah Ar- Raad, Ayat 7), it was said: “Every people has its guide”. In (Surah Al-Hijr, Ayat 10): “O Prophet, We have already sent Messengers before you among many of the ancient peoples”. In (Surah An-Nahl, Ayat 36): “We sent to every community a Messenger” and in (Surah Ash-Shuara, Ayat: 208): “We have never destroyed a habitation unless it had its warners to administer admonition”.

Here one should note two things so that there remains no misunderstanding. First, one and the same Prophet is enough for the lands to which his message may reach. It is not necessary that Prophets be sent to every separate habitation and to every separate community. Second, no new Prophet needs to be sent as long as the message and teaching and guidance given by a previous Prophet remains safe and intact. It is not necessary that a separate Prophet be sent for every race and every generation.
( 25 )   And if they deny you - then already have those before them denied. Their messengers came to them with clear proofs and written ordinances and with the enlightening Scripture.( 26 )   Then I seized the ones who disbelieved, and how [terrible] was My reproach.
Rukhu 4 [Verses 27-37]
Verses 27-37 give glad tidings to those who recite Al-Quran, establish Salah and give charity, thus may hope for Allah's blessings and rewards and Those who disbelieve shall have a painful punishment in the Hell-Fire forever:
( 27 )   Do you not see that Allah sends down rain from the sky, and We produce thereby fruits of varying colors? And in the mountains are tracts, white and red of varying shades and [some] extremely black.
( 28 )   And among people and moving creatures and grazing livestock are various colors similarly. Only those fear Allah, from among His servants, who have knowledge. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Forgiving.
The more a person is unaware of the attributes of Allah, the more he will be fearless of Him. Contrary to this, the more a person is aware and conscious of Allah’s powers, His knowledge, His wisdom, His vengeance and His omnipotence and His other attributes, the more he will fear His disobedience. Thus, in fact, knowledge in this verse does not imply knowledge of academic subjects like philosophy and science and history and mathematics, etc. but the knowledge of divine attributes, no matter whether one is literate or illiterate. The one who is fearless of God is illiterate merely as regards to this knowledge even if he has all the knowledge of the world. And the one who knows the attributes of God and fears Him in his heart, is learned even if he is illiterate. In the same connection, one should also know that in this verse the ulama does not imply the scholars in the technical sense, who are termed as religious scholars because of their knowledge of the Quran and Hadith and Fiqh and philosophy. They will prove true to this verse only when they possess fear of God in their hearts. The same thing has been said by Abdullah bin Masud, thus: Knowledge is not due to much narration of Hadith but due to much fear of Allah. And also by Hassan Basri, thus: The scholar is he who fears Allah though he has not seen Him, and turns to what is approved by Him and keeps away from what makes Him angry.
( 29 )   Indeed, those who recite the Book of Allah and establish prayer and spend [in His cause] out of what We have provided them, secretly and publicly, [can] expect a profit that will never perish
( 30 )  (a trade in which they have invested their all) so that Allah may pay them their wages in full and may add to them out of His Bounty. He is Most Forgiving, Most Appreciative.
Allah’s relation with the sincere believers is not that of a miserly master who checks his servant on trivialities and brings all his services and loyalties to naught on account of a minor error. But Allah is the Most Beneficent and Generous Master. He overlooks the errors of His obedient servant and appreciates whatever service he might be able to render.

وَالَّذِىۡۤ اَوۡحَيۡنَاۤ اِلَيۡكَ مِنَ الۡكِتٰبِ هُوَ الۡحَـقُّ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيۡنَ يَدَيۡهِؕ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ بِعِبَادِهٖ لَخَبِيۡرٌۢ بَصِيۡرٌ‏ 
( 31 )   And that which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], of the Book is the truth, confirming what was before it. Indeed, Allah, of His servants, is Acquainted and Seeing.
It means: This Book is not presenting anything new which might be opposed to the teaching brought by the former Prophets, but it is presenting the same eternal truth which all the Prophets have been presenting from the very beginning.

The object of mentioning these attributes of Allah here is to arouse the people to the aims and ideals in which their true well being lies, to the principles which alone can afford the right guidance and to the rules and regulations which are precisely in accordance with them. None can know these except Allah, because He alone is aware of the nature of His servants and its demands, and He alone watches over their well-being and affairs. The people do not know their own selves as much as their Creator knows them. Therefore, the truth is that, and can only be that, which He has taught by revelation.
( 32 )   Then we caused to inherit the Book those We have chosen of Our servants; and among them is he who wrongs himself, and among them is he who is moderate, and among them is he who is foremost in good deeds by permission of Allah. That [inheritance] is what is the great bounty.
This implies the Muslims, who have been sorted out from all mankind so that they may become heirs to the Book of Allah, and convey its message to others after the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Though this Book has been presented before all human beings, those who accepted it in the first instance, were chosen for the honor to become heirs to a great Book like the Quran and the trustees of the teaching and guidance imparted by a great Messenger like the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

It is stressed here that all Muslims are not alike but are divided into three classes:
  • (1) Those who believe sincerely and honestly that the Quran is the Book of Allah and Muhammad (peace be upon him) the Messenger of Allah, but in practical life they do not fully follow the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger. They are believers but sinful;  weak of faith but not hypocritical and unbelieving at heart. They still have been included among the chosen servants of Allah and among the heirs to the Book; otherwise, obviously the rebels and the hypocrites and the unbelieving people could not be so treated and honored. This class of the believers has been mentioned first of All because they are most numerous among the Muslims.
  • (2) Those following the middle course are those who fulfill the obligations of this inheritance to some extent but not fully. They are obedient as well as erring. They have not left their self altogether free but try as best as they can to turn it to Allah’s obedience. However, at times they give it undue freedom and become involved in sin. Thus, their life becomes a combination of both the good and the evil actions. They are less numerous than the first group but more than the third; that is why they have been mentioned second.
  • (3) Those excelling in good deeds: They are the people of the first rank among the heirs to the Book, and they are the ones who are doing full justice to the inheritance. They are in the forefront in following and adhering to the Book and the Sunnah; in conveying the message of God to His servants, in offering the sacrifices for the sake of the true faith, and in every pious and good work. They are not the ones who would commit a sin deliberately, but if they happened to commit a sin inadvertently, they would be filled with remorse as soon as they became conscious of it. They are less numerous than the people of the first two groups, and therefore, have been mentioned last, although they merit the first place in the matter of doing justice to the heritage of the Book of Allah.
If  “the great bounty” is related with the last sentence, it would mean that to excel in good deeds is the great bounty, and the people who excel in good deeds are the best of the Muslim community. And if it is taken to be related with the first sentence, it would mean that to be a heir to the Book of Allah and to be chosen for this heritage is the great bounty, and the people who have been so chosen on account of their faith in the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) are the best among the human beings created by Allah.
( 33 )   [For them are] gardens of perpetual residence which they will enter. They will be adorned therein with bracelets of gold and pearls, and their garments therein will be silk.
This shows that there is Paradise for all those who have believed in the Book, and Hell for all those who have refused to believe in it. The same has been supported by the Hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him), which Imam Ahmad, Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Hatim, Tabarani, Baihaqi and some other traditionalists have related on the authority of Abu ad- Darda. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
"Those who have excelled in good works shall enter Paradise without accountability; and those who are following the middle course, shall be subjected to accountability; but their accountability shall be light. As for those who have been unjust to themselves, they shall be detained throughout the long period of Resurrection and accountability (mahshar). Then Allah shall cover them also with His mercy. And they are the ones who will say: Thanks to Allah Who has removed sorrow from us. "
But from this one should not form the impression that those who have been unjust to themselves from among the Muslims will only be sentenced to be detained till the rising of the court, and none of them will go to Hell at all. Several crimes have been mentioned in the Quran and Hadith, whose perpetrator will go to Hell in spite of his faith. For instance, Allah Himself has declared that the believer who kills another believer willfully shall go to Hell. Likewise, Hell has been mentioned as the punishment of those people also who violate the provisions of the divine law of inheritance. Those who devour interest even after its prohibition have been declared to be the dwellers of Hell. Besides these, some other major sins have also been mentioned in Hadith, whose perpetrator shall go to Hell.
( 34 )   And they will say, "Praise to Allah, who has removed from us [all] sorrow. Indeed, our Lord is Forgiving and Appreciative -( 35 )   He who has settled us in the home of duration out of His bounty. There touches us not in it any fatigue, and there touches us not in it weariness [of mind]."
( 36 )   And for those who disbelieve will be the fire of Hell. [Death] is not decreed for them so they may die, nor will its torment be lightened for them. Thus do we recompense every ungrateful one.
“Who disbelieved”: Who have refused to believe in the Book which Allah has sent down on Muhammad (peace be upon him).
( 37 )   And they will cry out therein, "Our Lord, remove us; we will do righteousness - other than what we were doing!" But did We not grant you life enough for whoever would remember therein to remember, and the warner had come to you? So taste [the punishment], for there is not for the wrongdoers any helper.
This implies every such age of life in which a person may be able to distinguish between good and evil, truth and falsehood, if he likes to, and turn to right guidance instead of deviation, if he wishes. If a person has died before attaining such an age, he will not be called to any account according to this verse. However, the one who has attained this age will certainly be held answerable for his actions. Then, as long as he lives after attaining this age and gets more and more opportunities for choosing and adopting the right path, his responsibility also will increase accordingly; so much so that the one who does not adopt right guidance even in old age will have no chance left for making any excuse. This same thing has been reported by Abu Hurairah and Sahl bin Saad as-Saidi in a Hadith, saying: The one who lives a short life has an excuse to offer, but there is no room for making an excuse for him who lives for 60 years or more.” (Bukhari Ahmad, Nasai, Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Hatim).

Rukhu 5 [Verses 38-45]
Verses 38-41 negate Shirk and emphasis that Allah has not sent any Book which has a provision of Shirk (worshiping any one else besides Allah):
( 38 ) Surely Allah knows the Unseen in the heavens and the earth. He even knows the secrets hidden in people's breasts.
( 39 )   It is He who has made you successors upon the earth. And whoever disbelieves - upon him will be [the consequence of] his disbelief. And the disbelief of the disbelievers does not increase them in the sight of their Lord except in hatred; and the disbelief of the disbelievers does not increase them except in loss.
The powers and authority that He has given to you over different things in the earth are not meant to make you the owners of these things but are meant to enable you to function as the representatives of their real Owner. And while Allah has delegated to you powers and authority as His vicegerents in the earth, if someone forgets this position of vicegerency and becomes independent, or he who adopts service of someone else, apart from his real Master, would see the evil end of his rebellious conduct himself.
( 40 )   Say, "Have you considered your 'partners' whom you invoke besides Allah? Show me what they have created from the earth, or have they partnership [with Him] in the heavens? Or have We given them a book so they are [standing] on evidence therefrom? [No], rather, the wrongdoers do not promise each other except delusion."
In essence this verse means that the religious guides, saints, priests, sorcerers, preachers and attendants of shrines and their agents are fooling the people for selfish motives, and are concocting stories to give them false hopes that if they became the followers of such and such personalities, apart from Allah, they would have all their wishes and needs fulfilled in the world, and all their sins, no matter-how grave and numerous, forgiven by Allah in the Hereafter.

اِنَّ اللّٰهَ يُمۡسِكُ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالۡاَرۡضَ اَنۡ تَزُوۡلَا ۚوَلَـئِنۡ زَالَـتَاۤ اِنۡ اَمۡسَكَهُمَا مِنۡ اَحَدٍ مِّنۡۢ بَعۡدِهٖ ؕ اِنَّهٗ كَانَ حَلِيۡمًا غَفُوۡرًا‏ 
( 41 )   Indeed, Allah holds the heavens and the earth, lest they cease. And if they should cease, no one could hold them [in place] after Him. Indeed, He is Forbearing and Forgiving.
That is, this limitless universe is being sustained by Allah alone. No angel, or jinn, or prophet, or saint can sustain it. Not to speak of sustaining the universe these helpless creatures do not even have the power to sustain their own selves. Each one of them is entirely dependent on Allah Almighty for his birth and survival every moment. To think that any one of them has any share in the attributes and powers of divinity is sheer folly and deception.

In the end of the verse, two attributes of Allah have been mentioned: Haleem and Ghafoor. These mean Allah’s Clemency and Forbearance that He is not seizing the culprits immediately in punishment in spite of All kinds of disobedience which are being shown towards Him.

The last verses 42-45 wrn that plotting evil recoil none but the author of it and If Allah was to punish people for their wrong doings, He would have not left even and animal around:
( 42 )   And they swore by Allah their strongest oaths that if a warner came to them, they would be more guided than [any] one of the [previous] nations. But when a warner came to them, it did not increase them except in aversion.
Before the advent of the Prophet (peace be upon him), the same thing used to be said by the Arabs, in general, and by the Quraish, in particular, when they witnessed the moral degeneration of the Jews and the Christians. Mention of this saying of theirs has also been made in( Surah Al-Anaam, Ayats 156-157) and in (Surah As-Saffat, Ayats 167-169).
( 43 )   [Due to] arrogance in the land and plotting of evil; but the evil plot does not encompass except its own people. Then do they await except the way of the former peoples? But you will never find in the way of Allah any change, and you will never find in the way of Allah any alteration.
It is the Law of Allah that the nation which repudiates its Prophet, is destroyed should be applied in their case as well.

In the final verse, three of Allah's attributes have been mentioned: Aleem, Qadeer and Baseer:

اَوَلَمۡ يَسِيۡرُوۡا فِى الۡاَرۡضِ فَيَنۡظُرُوۡا كَيۡفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الَّذِيۡنَ مِنۡ قَبۡلِهِمۡ وَكَانُوۡۤا اَشَدَّ مِنۡهُمۡ قُوَّةً ؕ وَمَا كَانَ اللّٰهُ لِيُعۡجِزَهٗ مِنۡ شَىۡءٍ فِى السَّمٰوٰتِ وَلَا فِى الۡاَرۡضِ ؕ اِنَّهٗ كَانَ عَلِيۡمًا قَدِيۡرًا‏  
( 44 )   Have they not traveled through the land and observed how was the end of those before them? And they were greater than them in power. But Allah is not to be caused failure by anything in the heavens or on the earth. Indeed, He is ever Knowing and Competent.
 وَلَوۡ يُـؤَاخِذُ اللّٰهُ النَّاسَ بِمَا كَسَبُوۡا مَا تَرَكَ عَلٰى ظَهۡرِهَا مِنۡ دَآ بَّةٍ وَّلٰـكِنۡ يُّؤَخِّرُهُمۡ اِلٰٓى اَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّىۚ فَاِذَا جَآءَ اَجَلُهُمۡ فَاِنَّ اللّٰهَ كَانَ بِعِبَادِهٖ بَصِيۡرًا 
( 45 )   And if Allah were to impose blame on the people for what they have earned, He would not leave upon the earth any creature. But He defers them for a specified term. And when their time comes, then indeed Allah has ever been, of His servants, Seeing.
For details on attributes of Allah used in this surah, please refer to our compilation of 99 Attributes of Allah.

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Surah Fāṭir 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 |
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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