Saturday 1 June 2019

Surah Saba / Sheba - The Sabaeans: Exegesis / Tafseer of 34th Chapter of the Holy Quran

Surah Saba is the thirty fourth surah with 54 ayahs with six rukus, part of the 22nd Juzʼ  of the Holy Qur'an. The name of the chapter refers to Saba / Sheba, a kingdom mentioned in the Quran and the Bible. Sheba is the subject of the verses 15 to 21 of the chapter, although this passage likely does not refer to the kingdom under the famous Queen of Sheba, but rather about a group of people in the same region in a later period. This surah was revealed in Makkah and like all Makkan surahs, this surah too concentrates on the fundamentals of faith and pay particular attention to belief in the Day of Judgement and the Hereafter.

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, this surah) leads off with emphasis on Allah's Mercy and Power and Truth. Then (in Surah Surah Fāṭir. xxxv) 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.

As for the period of revelation of this surah, the style shows that it is either the middle or the early Makkan period. If it is the middle period, it was probably its initial stage when the persecution of the newly reverted Muslims had not yet become tyrannical and the Islamic movement was being suppressed only by resorting to derision and ridicule, rumor mongering, false allegations and casting of evil suggestions in the people's minds. 

The subject matter of the surah mainly hinges on objections of the disbelievers, which they were raising against the Holy Prophet's message of Tauhid and the Hereafter, and about his Prophethood itself, mostly in the form of absurd allegations and taunts and mockery. These objections have been answered, sometimes by citing them and sometimes without citing them, and the discourse itself shows which objection is being answered at a particular place. The answers mostly take the form of instruction and admonition and argument, but at some places the disbelievers have been warned also of the evil consequences, of their stubbornness. 

In this connection, the stories of the Sabaeans and the Prophets David and Solomon have been related to impress this lesson: "You have both these historical precedents before you. On the one hand, there were the Prophets David and Solomon, who had been blessed by Allah with great powers and such grandeur and glory as had been granted to hardly any people before them. In spite of this, they were not proud and arrogant, but remained grateful servants of their Lord. They were never rebellious. On the other hand, there were the people of Saba, who, when blessed by Allah, became proud, and were consequently so thoroughly destroyed and dispersed as to be remembered only in myths and legends. With these precedents in view, you may see and judge for yourselves as to which bind of the life is better: that which is built on belief in Tauhid and the Hereafter and the attitude of gratefulness to Allah, or that which is based on disbelief and shirk and denial of the Hereafter and the worship of the world."

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"

Rukhu 1 [Verses 1-11]
Verses 1-5 warn that the Hour is surely going to come and the Day of Judgement shall be established to reward the believers and punish those who discredit Allah's revelations.  In that the first two verses assert Allah's praiseworthiness and omnipotence.

The surah begins with the phrase Alhamdulillah ("Praise be to Allah"), one of the five chapters where to do so. The others four surahs are Al Fātiḥah, Al-An'am, Al-Kahf and Fatir.

اَلۡحَمۡدُ لِلّٰهِ الَّذِىۡ لَهٗ مَا فِى السَّمٰوٰتِ وَمَا فِى الۡاَرۡضِ وَلَـهُ الۡحَمۡدُ فِى الۡاٰخِرَةِ ؕ وَهُوَ الۡحَكِيۡمُ الۡخَبِيۡرُ‏ 
1. All the praises and thanks be to Allah, to Whom belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. His is all the praises and thanks in the Hereafter, and He is the All-Wise, the All-Aware.
 In the above verse, two attributes of Allah have been mentioned: Al Hakeem and Al Khabeer. For details on these and other attributes of Allah, go to 99 Attributes of Allah.
2. He knows that which goes into the earth and that which comes forth from it, and that which descend from the heaven and that which ascends to it. And He is the Most Merciful, the Oft-Forgiving. 
That is, “If a person (or persons) is not being seized in spite of rebellion against Him in His Kingdom, it is not because this world is a lawless kingdom, but because Allah is All-Merciful and All-Forbearing. Although it is in His power to seize the sinner and the wrongdoer immediately on the commission of sin, to withhold his sustenance, to paralyze his body, and to put him to death suddenly, yet He does not do it so. It is the demand of His Beneficence that in spite of being All-Powerful, He gives the disobedient servant plenty of time and enough respite to mend his ways and as soon as he desists from his evil ways, He pardons and forgives him.”
3. Those who disbelieve say: "The Hour will not come to us." Say: "Yes, by my Lord, it will come to you." (Allah, He is) the All-Knower of the unseen, not even the weight of an atom (or a small ant) or less than that or greater, escapes from His Knowledge in the heavens or in the earth, but it is in a Clear Book (Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz). 
This they said satirically and mockingly. What they meant was: “This Prophet (peace be upon him) has been giving us the news of his coming of Resurrection for along time now, but Resurrection has not overtaken us so far although we have openly denied and rejected him as a Prophet, have been insolent to him and have ridiculed him in every way.

The use of the attribute “Knower of the unseen” for Allah while swearing by him by itself points to the fact that the coming of Resurrection is certain, but no one knows except Allah, Knower of the unseen, when exactly it will come. This same theme has been explained at different places in the Quran in various ways. For details, see (Surah Al-Aaraf: Ayat 187), (Surah TaHa: Ayat 15), (Surah Luqman: Ayat 34), (Surah Al-Ahzab: Ayat 63), (Surah Al-Mulk: Ayats 25-26), (Surah An-Naziyat: Ayats 42-44).

Here is one of the arguments for the possibility of the Hereafter as is being stated in (verse 7) below. One of the reasons why the deniers of the Hereafter regarded the life after- death as irrational was; They said that when all human beings will have become dust after death, and scattered away in particles, how it will be possible to bring all the countless particles together and combine them to be re-created as the same human bodies once again. This doubt has been dispelled, saying, “Every particle wherever it is, is recorded in God’s register, and God knows where a particle is. Therefore, when He wills to recreate, He will not face any difficulty in gathering together all the particles of the body of each and every man.”
4. That He may recompense those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds. Those, theirs is forgiveness and Rizqun Karim (generous provision, i.e. Paradise).
5. But those who strive against Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) to frustrate them, those, for them will be a severe painful torment.
The above was an argument for the possibility of the Hereafter: this is an argument for its need and necessity. It means: A time must come when the wicked should be requited for their wickedness and the righteous rewarded for their righteousness. Reason wants and justice demands that a worker of goodness should be rewarded and a worker of evil punished. Now when you see that in the present worldly life neither is an evildoer fully requited for his evil nor a worker of goodness for his goodness, rather there are opposite results of evil and goodness in most cases, you should admit that this necessary demand of both reason and justice must be fulfilled at some time in the future. Resurrection and the Hereafter will be the same time. It is not its coming but its not coming which is contrary to reason and against justice.

In this connection, another point becomes evident from the preceding verses. They tell that the result of faith and righteous acts is forgiveness and a bounteous provision, and for those who strive and act antagonistically in order to discredit and defeat Allah’s religion, there will be a torment of the worst kind. This makes it manifest that he who believes sincerely will not be deprived of forgiveness even though he may not get a bounteous provision owing to some flaw or weakness in his deeds. And the one who is a disbeliever but who does not adopt an attitude of enmity and antagonism towards the true faith, will not be able to avoid the torment but he will be saved from the worst torment.

Verses 6-9 then go to warn specially warn those who do not believe in the Hereafter are surely to be doomed:

وَيَرَى الَّذِيۡنَ اُوۡتُوا الۡعِلۡمَ الَّذِىۡۤ اُنۡزِلَ اِلَيۡكَ مِنۡ رَّبِّكَ هُوَ الۡحَـقَّ ۙ وَيَهۡدِىۡۤ اِلٰى صِرَاطِ الۡعَزِيۡزِ الۡحَمِيۡدِ‏ 
6. And those who have been given knowledge see that what is revealed to you (O Muhammad ) from your Lord is the truth, and guides to the Path of the Exalted in Might, Owner of all praise
That is, “These antagonists cannot succeed in their object to prove the truth presented by you false, however hard they may try, for they can only delude and misguide the ignorant people by their designs. Those possessed of knowledge cannot be deceived by them.”

In the above verse, two attributes of Allah have been mentioned: Al Aziz and Al Hameed. For details on these and other attributes of Allah, go to 99 Attributes of Allah.
7. Those who disbelieve say: "Shall we direct you to a man (Muhammad ) who will tell you (that) when you have become fully disintegrated into dust with full dispersion, then, you will be created (again) anew?" 
8. Has he (Muhammad ) invented a lie against Allah, or is there a madness in him? Nay, but those who disbelieve in the Hereafter are (themselves) in a torment, and in far error. 
The chiefs of the Quraish knew well that it was extremely difficult for the common people to accuse Muhammad (peace be upon him) of being a liar, for the entire nation knew that he was completely a truthful person, and no one had ever heard a lie from him all his life. Therefore, they presented their charge against him before the people like this: “When this person utters an impossible thing like the life-after-death from his mouth, he is either uttering (God forbid) a falsehood deliberately, or he is mad.” But this accusation of madness also was as absurd as of falsehood, for a stupid person only could admit that such a wise and intelligent man as the prophet (peace be upon him) could be mad. That is why Allah did not feel it was necessary to refute their absurd charge by an argument, and only made mention of their wonder which they expressed at the possibility of the life-after-death.

This is the first answer to their charge. It means: “O foolish people, it is you who have lost your reason. For you do not listen to the one who is informing you of the truth and are recklessly galloping on the way that leads to Hell. But the height of your stupidity is that you are calling the one who is anxious for your salvation, a mad peron.”

The ninth verse mentions the orderliness of the universe as evidence of Allah's omnipotence.
9. See they not what is before them and what is behind them, of the heaven and the earth? If We will, We shall sink the earth with them, or cause a piece of the heaven to fall upon them. Verily, in this is a sign for every faithful believer that [believes in the Oneness of Allah], and turns to Allah (in all affairs with humility and in repentance).
This is the second answer to their charge. To understand it well one should bear in mind the fact that three things were most prominent among the reasons for which the disbelieving Quraish denied the life-after-death: (1) They did not want to believe in any kind of accountability before God, for after believing in such a thing they would be left with no freedom whatsoever to behave and act as they pleased in the world. (2) They thought it was inconceivable that Resurrection would take place and the present material order of the universe would be destroyed and replaced by a new order. (3) They thought it was impossible that the people who had died hundreds of thousands of years in the past and whose bones even had decayed and disintegrated, would be raised back to life. With the same body and soul.

The answer given above covers all these three aspects, and contains a severe warning as well. The details of the theme contained in these brief sentences are given below:
  • (1) If you ever had observed this earth and the heavens with clear sightedness, you would have seen that it is not a plaything nor has its creation come into being by accident. Everything in this universe points to the fact that it has been created by an All-Powerful Being with great wisdom. In such a wise system it would be highly absurd to think that somebody could be left to live an irresponsible and unaccountable life after he had been given the faculties of intellect and discrimination and authority.
  • (2) Anyone who sees the natural order with discerning eyes will realize that the occurrence of Resurrection is not at all difficult. It can take place suddenly as soon as the system in which the earth and the heavens are bound together is disturbed. And the same system testifies that the One who has made and is running this world today can create another world again. If it were difficult for Him to do so, this world would not have existed as it does today.
  • (3) Your opinion and judgment about the Creator of the universe that it will be impossible for Him to resurrect the dead, is strange. The bodies of the men who die may utterly decay and disintegrate and be scattered but nevertheless remain within the bounds of this very universe and do not go anywhere outside its bounds. Then it is not at all difficult for the God Who has created this earth and the heavens to gather together everything from the earth and water and air wherever it happens to be. Whatever makes up your body today was collected and combined by Him, and brought out from this very earth, water and air. When the collecting and assembling of these elements together is possible today, how will it be impossible tomorrow?
Besides these three arguments, the discourse also contains a subtle warning to the effect: You arc surrounded by God's Kingdom on all sides. Wherever you may go, you would be covered and surrounded by the same universe. You cannot find any place of refuge against God, and God’s power is such that He can afflict you whenever He likes with a calamity from under your feet or from above your heads. You do not know what forces might be working under the very surface of the earth which you find as an abode of perfect peace and safety for yourselves, and when they would cause an earthquake to take place and turn the same earth into your grave. You do not know when a disaster might befall you, a lightning or a devastating rain, or some other calamity from the same sky under which you walk about with full peace and satisfaction of the heart as if it were the ceiling of your own house. In a state like this, your fearlessness of God, your heedlessness of any thought of the Hereafter and your vain and nonsensical talk against the admonition of a well-wisher has no other meaning than that you are only inviting your own doom.

That is, the person who is neither prejudiced nor obstinate and stubborn, but is a sincere seeker of guidance from his God, can learn many lessons from the observation of the earth and heavens; but the one whose heart is turned away from God, will see everything in the universe, but will never perceive any sign pointing to the truth.”

Verses 10-14 mention that mountains and birds use to sing Allah's Rhymes with Prophet Dawood and Allah subjected the winds and Jinns to Prophet Sulaiman and Claim of people that Jinns know the unseen is wrong:
10. And indeed We bestowed grace on David from Us (saying): "O you mountains. Glorify (Allah) with him! And you birds (also)! And We made the iron soft for him." 
 This is an allusion to the countless favors with which Allah had blessed the Prophet David (peace be upon him). He was an ordinary young man of the tribe of Judah, living at Bethlehem. In a campaign against the Philistines he slew the giant Goliath, the great enemy of Israel, and suddenly grew in esteem of the Israelites. With this event began his rise to prominence; so much so that after the death of Saul he was first elected king of Judah in Hebron, and then a few years later he was made king over all the tribes of Israel. He took Jerusalem and made it the capital of the kingdom of Israel. It was under his leadership that for the first time in history a God-worshipping kingdom was established, with boundaries extended from the Gulf of Aqabah to the western banks of the River Euphrates. In addition to these favors, he was further graced with Divine bounties in the form of knowledge and wisdom, and the qualities of justice and mercy and devotion to the truth.

For details refer to (Surah Al-Anbiya, Ayat 79).
11. Saying: "Make you perfect coats of mail, balancing well the rings of chain armour, and work you (men) righteousness. Truly, I am All-Seer of what you do." 
For details refer to Surah Al-Anbiya, Ayat 80.

Rukhu 2 [Verses 12-21] 
Continuing with the mention of Prophets, now discourse relate to Prophet Sulaiman (Solomon, peace be upon him):
12. And to Solomon (We subjected) the wind, its morning (stride from sunrise till midnoon) was a month's (journey), and its afternoon (stride from the midday decline of the sun to sunset) was a month's (journey i.e. in one day he could travel two months' journey). And We caused a fount of (molten) brass to flow for him, and there were jinns that worked in front of him, by the Leave of his Lord, and whosoever of them turned aside from Our Command, We shall cause him to taste of the torment of the blazing Fire. 
For details refer to( Surah Al-Anbiya, Ayat 81).

Some former commentators have taken this to mean that a spring from the earth had erupted for the Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him) from which molten copper flowed out instead of water. But another interpretation of this verse can be that in the time of the Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him) the work of melting and molding copper for different uses was done on a very large scale and the same has been referred to here as the flowing of a spring of molten copper for him. (See (E.N. 74 of Surah Al- Anbiya).

The question whether the jinns who had been subdued to the Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him) were human beings of the mountain tribes or really the jinns who are well known by this name as the hidden creation has been discussed in detail in our commentary of Surah Al-Anbiya and Surah An-Naml.
13. They worked for him what he desired, (making) high rooms, images, basins as large as reservoirs, and (cooking) cauldrons fixed (in their places). "Work you, O family of Dawud (David), with thanks!" But few of My slaves are grateful. 
14. Then when We decreed death for him [Sulaiman (Solomon)], nothing informed them (jinns) of his death except a little worm of the earth, which kept (slowly) gnawing away at his stick, so when he fell down, the jinns saw clearly that if they had known the unseen, they would not have stayed in the humiliating torment.
Another meaning of the sentence can be: "The true state and condition of the jinns became clear and exposed. "According to the first meaning, it will mean: “The jinns realized that their claim to have the knowledge of the unseen was wrong.” According to the second, it will mean: “The people who thought that the jinns possessed the knowledge of the unseen, came to know that they had no such knowledge.”

Some modern commentators have interpreted it as follows: As the Prophet Solomon’s (peace be upon him) son, Rehoboam, was unworthy and given to luxurious living and surrounded by flatterers, he could not sustain the heavy burden of responsibility that fell on his shoulders after the death of his great father. A short time after his succession, the kingdom collapsed, and the frontier tribes (i.e. of the jinns), whom the Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him) had subdued by his mighty power, rebelled and broke away. But this interpretation does not at all conform to the words of the Quran. The scene depicted by the words of the Quran is somewhat like this: Death came to the Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him) in a state when he was standing or sitting with the support of a staff. His body stood in place due to the staff, and the jinns continued to perform their duties and services, thinking that he was living. At last, when the wood louse started eating away the staff and it became hollow from within, the Prophet Solomon’s (peace be upon him) body fell down; then the jinns realized that he had died. After all, why should this clear and unambiguous description of the event be construed to mean that the wood louse implied the unworthiness of the Prophet Solomon’s son, and the staff implied his power and authority and the falling down of his body implied the disintegration of his kingdom? Had Allah meant to say all this, there was no shortage of the words in the vast Arabic language. The Quran, in fact, has nowhere used such enigmatic language. How could the common Arabs, who were its first addressees, have solved this riddle?

Then, the most absurd part of this interpretation is that according to it the jinns imply the people of the frontier tribes whom the Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him) had subdued to perform certain services under him. The question is, which of these tribes had claimed to have the knowledge of the unseen, and whom did the mushriks regard as the knower of the unseen? A person who reads the last words of the verse with open eyes can himself see that jinn here necessarily implies a group of beings who either had themselves made a claim to have the knowledge of the unseen, or who, the people believed, had the knowledge of the unseen; and the secret of this group’s being ignorant and unaware of the unseen became disclosed when they continued to serve the Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him) under the impression that he was living, whereas he had died. This statement of the Quran was enough to induce an honest person to revise his this opinion that the jinn imply the frontier tribes, but the people who feel shy of admitting the existence of the hidden creation called the jinn before the materialistic world still insist on this interpretation of theirs in spite of the plain meaning of the Quran.

At several places in the Quran Allah tells that the mushriks of Arabia regarded the jinns as the associates of Allah, and as His children, and used to seek their refuge:

“They set up the jinns as partners with Allah. whereas He has created them.” (Surah Al-Anaam, Ayat 100). “And they have invented a blood-relationship between Allah and the jinns.” (Surah As-Saffat, Ayat 158). “And that, some people from among the men used to seek refuge with some people from among the jinns.” (Surah Al-Jinn, Ayat: 6).

One of their beliefs was that they regarded the jinns as the knower of the unseen and hidden. and used to turn to them to obtain knowledge of the hidden things. Allah has related this event here in order to repudiate this belief and to make the Arabs realize that they are following the false creeds of ignorance without any valid reason, whereas the fact is that these beliefs are absolutely baseless. (

Verses 15-21 explain the fate of the people of Saba who rejected Allah's blessings and disbelieved in the Hereafter so Allah made them merely a tale of the past 
15. Indeed there was for Saba' (Sheba) a sign in their dwelling place, - two gardens on the right hand and on the left (and it was said to them) "Eat of the provision of your Lord, and be grateful to Him, a fair land and an Oft-Forgiving Lord. 
To understand the continuity of the subject matter one should keep in view the theme as expressed in( Ayats 1-9). There it has been pointed out that the pagans of Arabia regarded the coming of the Hereafter as irrational, and declared openly that the Messenger (peace be upon him) who was presenting this doctrine was either a mad man or deliberately was fabricating falsehood. In reply to this, Allah first gave some rational arguments, which we have elaborated in  verses 3,5 and 9 above. Then in (Ayats 10-21) the story of the Prophets David and Solomon and of Saba has been related as an historical argument, which is meant to impress the reality that the history of the human species on the earth itself testifies to the law of retribution. If man studies his own history carefully, he will see that this world is not a lawless kingdom, which might be functioning blindly, but it is being ruled by an All-Hearing and All- Seeing Being, Who treats and deals with His grateful servants in one way and with the ungrateful and thankless people in quite another way. If one wants one can learn this lesson from the same history that in the Kingdom of God which has such a character, goodness and evil cannot have one and the same result. The necessary demand of its justice is that a time must come when goodness should be fully rewarded and evil fully punished.

That is, a sign of this that whatever they have is the gift of someone else and not of their own creation, and a sign of this that the one worthy of their service and worship and gratitude is that God who has blessed them with these favors and not those who have no share in bestowing these, and a sign of this that their wealth is not imperishable but can perish even as it has been amassed.

This does not mean that there were only two gardens in the whole country, but that the entire land of Saba was like a garden. Wherever a man stood, he could see a garden on his right and a garden on his left.

فَاَعۡرَضُوۡا فَاَرۡسَلۡنَا عَلَيۡهِمۡ سَيۡلَ الۡعَرِمِ وَبَدَّلۡنٰهُمۡ بِجَنَّتَيۡهِمۡ جَنَّتَيۡنِ ذَوَاتَىۡ اُكُلٍ خَمۡطٍ وَّاَثۡلٍ وَّشَىۡءٍ مِّنۡ سِدۡرٍ قَلِيۡلٍ‏ 
16. But they turned away (from the obedience of Allah), so We sent against them Sail Al-'Arim (flood released from the dam), and We converted their two gardens into gardens producing bitter bad fruit, and tamarisks, and some few lote-trees. 
The word arim as used in sayl al-arim in the text is derived from the South Arabic word ariman, which stands for a dam. In the ancient inscriptions that have been unearthed in the ruins of the Yaman, this word has been commonly used in this meaning. For example, in an inscription dated 542 or 543 A.D. which Abraha, the Abyssinian governor of the Yaman, had gotten installed after the repairs to the great dam of Maarib, this word has been used repeatedly in the meaning of a dam. Therefore, sayl al- arim implies a flood that comes when a dam breaks.

So when the Sabaeans adopted the way of disobedience and ingratitude instead of obedience and gratefulness, a flood was let loose as a result after the dam burst, the whole land was laid waste. The canals which the Sabaeans had dug out by building dams between the mountains were ruined and the irrigation system destroyed. Then the same land which had been like a garden before became a jungle of wild growth and no eatable plants were left in it except the small plume like fruit of the lote bushes.
17. Thus did We retribute them for their ingratitude. And none do We retribute in this manner except the utterly ungrateful
18. And We placed between them and the towns which We had blessed, towns easy to be seen, and We made the stages (of journey) between them easy (saying): "Travel in them safely both by night and day." 
“Towns which We had blessed”: The lands of Syria and Palestine, which have been generally mentioned in the Quran by this title. For instance, in (Surah Al-Aaraf, Atyat 137), (Surah Bani-Israil, Ayat 1), (Surah Al-Anbiya, Ayats 71, 81).

“Visible towns”: Habitations situated on the highway and not inside the country. It may also mean that the habitations were not very far apart but contiguous so that as the outlying areas of one habitation came to an end those of the other started coming into view.

“And We made the stages (of journey) between them easy” implies that from the Yemen to the borders of Syria the whole journey passed through inhabited lands, and the distances between one station and another were known and determined. That makes the distinction between the journey through inhabited land and the journey through uninhabited desert area. In the desert the traveler continues to travel as long as he wills and halts when tired. Contrary to this, in settled areas as the distance between one habitation and the other is well known, the traveler can plan beforehand when he would break his journey, where he would have his midday rest and when he would stay for the night.
19. But they said: “Lord, make the stages of our journeys longer.” They wronged their own selves so We reduced them to bygone tales, and utterly tore them to pieces. Verily there are Signs in this for everyone who is steadfast and thankful. 
They may not have prayed thus in so many words. As a matter of fact, whoever is ungrateful to Allah for His blessings, tells Allah, as if to say that he is not worthy of those blessings. Likewise, the nation which abuses the bounties of Allah, in fact, prays to Him, as if to say, “Our Lord, withdraw Your blessings from us, we are not worthy of these.” Moreover, the words in the text also seem to suggest that the Sabaeans perhaps regarded their large population as a calamity for themselves, and they also wanted like the other foolish people that their population should fall.

The people of Saba were so dispersed in all directions that their dispersion became proverbial. Even today when the Arabs have to mention the complete dispersion of any people they refer to the people of Saba as an example. When Allah caused His blessings to be withdrawn from them, the different tribes of the Sabaeans started leaving their homes and migrating to other parts of Arabia. The Banu Ghassan went to settle in Jordan and Syria, the Aus and Khazraj in Yathrib, and the Khuzaah in Tihamah near Jeddah. The Azd left for Uman and the Bani Lakhm and Judham and Kindah were also forced to give up their homes for other places. Thus, the Sabaeans ceased to exist as a nation and became a mere legend.

In this context the “steadfast and grateful” implies every such person (or persons) who does not lose his balance after he has received blessings from Allah, nor exults at prosperity, nor becomes heedless of God Who has blessed him with these. Such a person can learn great lessons from the history of those people who adopted the way of disobedience after attaining opportunities for progress and prosperity and ultimately met with their doom.
20. And indeed Iblis (Satan) did prove true his thought about them, and they followed him, all except a group of true believers (in the Oneness of Allah). 
History shows that in ancient times there lived among the Sabaeans a small group of the people, who believed in one God, apart from all other gods. The inscriptions that have been discovered in the ruins of Yemen as a result of modern archaeological research point to the existence of this small element. Some inscriptions of the period about 650 B.C. indicate that at several places in the kingdom of Saba there existed such houses of worship as were exclusively meant for the worship of dhu-samavi or dhusamaavi (i.e. Rabb as-samaa: Lord of the heavens). In some places this Deity has been mentioned as Malikan dhusamavi (the King who is the Owner of the heavens). This remnant of the Sabaeans continued to live in Yemen for centuries afterwards. Thus, in an inscription of 378 A.D. there is also mention of a house of worship built in the name of Ilah dhu-semevi. Then, in an inscription dated 465 A.D. the words are; Bi-nasr wa rida ilah-in baal samin wa ardin (i.e. with the help and support of that God who is the Owner of the heavens and the earth). In another inscription of the period dated 458 A.D., the word Rahman has been used for the same God, the actual words being bi-rida Rahmanan (i. e. with the help of Rahman.
21. And he (Iblis - Satan) had no authority over them, except that We might test him, who believes in the Hereafter from him who is in doubt about it. And your Lord is a Hafiz over everything. (All-Knower of everything i.e. He keeps record of each and every person as regards deeds, and then He will reward them accordingly).
That is, Iblis did not have the power to have forcibly misled these people to the way of Allah’s disobedience although they had wanted to adopt His obedience. Allah had only given him the power that he may seduce and mislead them and make all such people his followers, who may like to follow him of their own accord. And Iblis was provided these opportunities for seduction so that the believers of the Hereafter were distinguished from those who entertained doubts about its coming.

Rukhu 3 [Verses 22-30]
Verses 22-30 explain that no intercession before Allah can avail any one except for whom He permits it and Prophet Muhammad is sent for the entire mankind 
22. Say: (O Muhammad  to those polytheists, pagans, etc.) "Call upon those whom you assert (to be associate gods) besides Allah, they possess not even the weight of an atom (or a small ant), either in the heavens or on the earth, nor have they any share in either, nor there is for Him any supporter from among them.
Until now the mushriks’ wrong notions about the Hereafter have been dealt with. From here the discourse turns to the refutation of shirk itself.

That is, Allah makes and un-makes the destinies of individuals and nations and kingdoms in ways as you have seen from the stories of the Prophets David and Solomon (peace be upon them) and the people of Saba. Now, you may invoke, if you so like, these self-made gods of yours to see whether they also possess the power to change someone’s good fortune into misfortune and misfortune into good fortune.
23. Intercession with Him profits not, except for him whom He permits. Until when fear is banished from their (angels') hearts, they (angels) say: "What is it that your Lord has said?" They say: "The truth. And He is the Most High, the Most Great." 
That is there exists no one in the universe, who of his own accord, may intercede for someone before Allah. It is being said: You are involved in the misunderstanding that there are some beloved ones of God, or some such powerful personalities, who can force and press Allah to accept their intercession, whereas the fact is that no one will dare utter a word of recommendation there without Allah’s permission. Only such a one will be able to make his submissions who is permitted by Allah to do so, and will intercede for him alone for whom permission for intercession is granted. (To understand the distinction between the Islamic concept of intercession and the polytheistic concept, see (Surah Yunus, Ayats 3, 18); (Surah Hud, Ayats 76, 105); (Surah TaHa, Ayat 109); (Surah Al- Anbiya, Ayat 28); (Surah Al-Hajj, Ayat 76).”

Here a graphic picture has been drawn of the time when, on the Day of Resurrection, an intercessor will be seeking permission to intercede on behalf of someone. It presents this scene: “After submitting the application for permission, both the intercessor and the person for whom intercession is being provided are awaiting the reply in a state of restlessness and awe. At last, when the permission is granted and the person perceives satisfaction in the face of the intercessor, he feels a little comforted and asks the intercessor: “What has your Lord said?” The intercessor says, “The truth”: permission has been granted. What is meant to be impressed is this: “O foolish people! Such will be the awe of the great court of Allah! How dare you entertain the notion that anybody will have you forgiven by his own power, or dare behave stubbornly and tell Allah: These are my favorites: they will have to be forgiven!”
24. Say (O Muhammad  to these polytheists, pagans, etc.) "Who gives you provision from the heavens and the earth?" Say: "Allah, And verily, (either) we or you are rightly guided or in a plain error." 
This verse contains an important point of the wisdom of preaching. The logical conclusion of the question and answer cited above would be that the one who serves and worships Allah should be on right guidance and the one who worships others beside Him should be misguided. Therefore, apparently, the conclusion should have been: “Then, we are rightly guided and you are misguided.” But such a plain and straight reply, although correct and true, would not have been a wise thing from the point of view of preaching. For when a person is addressed and told plainly that he is misguided and the speaker claims to be rightly guided himself, he will become obdurate and will never be inclined to accept and acknowledge the truth. As the Messengers of Allah are not sent only for the sake of speaking the plain truth, but are also entrusted with the duty of reforming the wrongdoers as tactfully as possible. Allah has not asked His Prophet (peace be upon him) to tell them plainly, after the question and answer, that they are all misguided and that he alone is rightly-guided. Instead of this, it was said: Tell them: it has become clear that we regard as our Deity only Him Who is the Sustainer, and you have taken as deities those who are not sustainers. Now, it is not possible that both you and we should be on right guidance simultaneously. Only one of us can be rightly-guided, and the other inevitably will be misguided. Now it is for you to consider and judge who is being proved by reason to be in the right and who in the wrong.
25. Say (O Muhammad  to these polytheists, pagans, etc.) "You will not be asked about our sins, nor shall we be asked of what you do." 
The about question had already made the listeners to think seriously, This additional verse was meant to make them think even more seriously, as if to say, “It is in our own interest individually that we should consider and decide the question of guidance and misguidance rightly. For if we are misguided, we shall ourselves bear the consequences of our error; you will not be held answerable for it. Therefore, it is in our own interest that we should consider seriously, before adopting a creed, that we are not following a wrong way. Likewise, you also should think seriously for your own sake, not for our sake in any way, and make sure that you are not investing your life’s capital in a false creed. For if you committed an error in this regard, you would be harming only your own selves and not us.
26. Say: "Our Lord will assemble us all together (on the Day of Resurrection), then He will judge between us with truth. And He is the (Most Trustworthy) All-Knowing Judge." 
This is the last and the strongest motive for the consideration of which the listeners’ attention has been invited. It means to impress: The thing is not only that there is the difference of the truth and the falsehood between you and us, but that both we and you have to be presented before our Lord, the Being who knows the truth and is also fully aware of the affairs of each of us. There before Him not only will this thing be decided who, between you and us, was in the right and who in the wrong, but this issue also will be settled how we made every possible effort to make the truth plain to you, and how you opposed and resisted us in your antagonism to the truth.
27. Say (O Muhammad  to these polytheists and pagans): "Show me those whom you have joined to Him as partners. Nay (there are not at all any partners with Him)! But He is Allah (Alone), the All-Mighty, the All-Wise." 
28. And We have not sent you (O Muhammad ) except as a giver of glad tidings and a warner to all mankind, but most of men know not. 
The fact that the Prophet (peace be upon him) has not been appointed a Prophet only for his own country or for his own age but for all mankind till Resurrection, has been stated at several places in the Quran. For instance:
  • “And this Quran has been revealed to me that I should thereby warn you and all those whom it may reach.” (Surah Al-Anaam, Ayat 19).
  • “O Prophet, say: O mankind, I am a Messenger to all of you from Allah.” (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayat 158).
  • “O Prophet, We have sent you to be a real blessing for all the people of the world.” (Surah Al-Anbiya, Ayat 107).
  • “Highly blessed is He Who has sent down Al-Furqan to His servant so that he may be a warner to all mankind.” (Surah Al-Furqan, Ayat 1).
The same thing has been stated by the Prophet (peace be upon him) in a number of Ahadith in different ways. For example:
  • “I have been sent to all mankind, the black as well as the white.” (Musnad Ahmad: Marwiyat Abu Musa Ashari).
  • “I have been sent to the mankind all together, whereas every Prophet before me was sent only to his own people.” (Musnad Ahmad: Marwiyat Abdullah bin Amr bin Aas). 
For those professing to be prophets after Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), they must clearly understand the hadith of the Prophet of Allah: “My appointment as a Prophet and Resurrection are like this. Saying this the Prophet (peace be upon him) raised his two fingers.” (Bukhari and Muslim). What he meant by this was: “Just as no third finger intervenes between these two fingers, so there is no prophethood between me the and Resurrection. After me there will be Resurrection only, and I shall be the Prophet till Resurrection.

29. And they say: "When is this promise (i.e. the Day of Resurrection will be fulfilled) if you are truthful?" 30. Say (O Muhammad ): "The appointment to you is for a Day, which you cannot put back for an hour (or a moment) nor put forward."
In reply to the question asked from the Prophet of Allah in the verse 29, the reply is given in verse 30: Allah’s judgments are not subject to your whims that He should be bound to do a thing at the time which you have fixed for it. He carries out His designs only according to His own discretion. You cannot understand how long is mankind to be allowed to function in this world in the scheme of Allah, how many individuals and how many nations are to be put to the test in different ways, and what will be the right time for the Day of Judgment and summoning mankind of all ages for rendering their accounts. All this will be accomplished only at the time which Allah has fixed for it in His scheme of things. Your demands can neither hasten it on by a second nor your supplications can withhold it by a second.

Rukhu 4 [Verses 31-36]
Verses 31-36 are about those who disbelieve in Al-Quran and prior scriptures will be subjected to yokes around their necks before tossing them into Hell and Wealth and children are not the indications of Allah's pleasure
31. And those who disbelieve say: "We believe not in this Qur'an nor in that which was before it," but if you could see when the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers, etc.) will be made to stand before their Lord, how they will cast the (blaming) word one to another! Those who were deemed weak will say to those who were arrogant: "Had it not been for you, we should certainly have been believers!" 
That is, the common people who are following their leaders, chiefs, saints and rulers blindly, and are not prepared to listen to any word of advice from a well-wisher against them. When the same people will sec the actual reality and will also remember how their religious leaders used to misrepresent things, and when they will realize what doom they are going to meet on account of following their leaders, they will turn on them, and say, “O wretched people, you led us astray: you are responsible for all our afflictions. Had you not misguided us, we would have listened to the Messengers of Allah and believed in what they said.
32. And those who were arrogant will say to those who were deemed weak: "Did we keep you back from guidance after it had come to you? Nay, but you were Mujrimun (polytheists, sinners, criminals, disobedient to Allah, etc.). 
That is, they will say: We had no power by which a few of us could have compelled hundreds of thousands of the people like you to follow us. If you had the will to believe, you could have deposed us from leadership. Had you not sworn allegiance to us, we could not have flourished as saints even for a day. You were heedless of the lawful and the unlawful and craved for the luxuries of life, which we only could provide you. You wanted to follow such leaders who could help you become prosperous in this world, no matter how you fared in the Hereafter. Thus, you and we were equal partners in the bargain. Now you cannot delude anyone by saying that you were absolutely innocent and that we had spoiled and corrupted you against your will.
33. Those who were deemed weak will say to those who were arrogant: "Nay, but it was your plotting by night and day, when you ordered us to disbelieve in Allah and set up rivals to Him!" And each of them (parties) will conceal their own regrets (for disobeying Allah during this worldly life), when they behold the torment. And We shall put iron collars round the necks of those who disbelieved. Are they requited aught except what they used to do? 
In other words, the common people’s reply will be: “How can you hold us as equal partners in this responsibility? Do you also remember what sort of trickeries and deceptions and false propaganda you practiced and what efforts you used to make to tempt and entice the people day and night. It is not just that you presented the world before us and we were allured, but this is also a fact that you used to befool us by your frauds and deceptions and each one of you brought a new bait every day to tempt and lure the simple people.”

The Quran has made mention of the dispute between the religious guides and their followers at different places in different ways. For details, see Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayats 38- 39; (Surah Ibrahim, Ayat 21); (Surah Al-Qasas, Ayat 63); (Surah Al-Ahzab, Ayats 66-68); (Surah Al-Mumin, Ayats 47- 48); (Surah HaMim Sajdah, Ayat 29).
34. And We did not send a warner to a township, but those who were given the worldly wealth and luxuries among them said: "We believe not in the (Message) with which you have been sent." 
That the message of the Prophets was first of all opposed and resisted by the well-to-do people who possessed wealth and influence and authority. This has been stated at many places in the Quran. For instance, see (Surah Al-Anaam, Ayat 123); (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayats 60, 66, 75, 88, 90); (Surah Hud, Ayat 27); (Surah Bani-Israil, Ayat 16); (Surah Al-Muminun, Ayats 24, 33 to 38, 46, 47); (Surah Az- Zukhruf, Ayat 23).
35. And they say: "We are more in wealth and in children, and we are not going to be punished." 
This misunderstanding of the world-worshippers has been mentioned at several places in the Quran and refuted. For instance, see (Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayats 126, 212); (Surah At-Taubah, Ayats 55, 69); (Surah Hud, Ayats 3, 27); (Surah Ar-Raad, Ayats 26); (Surah Al-Kahf, Ayats 34 to 43); (Surah Maryam, Ayats 73 to 77); (Surah TaHa, Ayat 131); (Surah Al- Muminun, Ayats 55 to 61); (Surah Ash-Shuara, Ayat 111); (Surah Al-Qasas, Ayats 76 to 83); (Surah Ar-Rum, Ayat 9); (Surah Al-Muddaththir, Ayats 11-26): (Surah Al-Fajr, Ayats 15 to 20).
36. Say (O Muhammad ): "Verily, my Lord enlarges and restricts the provision to whom He pleases, but most men know not."
They do not understand the wisdom on which the system of the distribution of provisions is based in the world, and are thus involved in the misunderstanding that whoever is being given abundantly is a beloved of Allah and whoever is being given sparingly is under His wrath. The fact, however, is that if a person looks around with open eyes he will see that in most cases the people with filthy and repulsive character are prosperous, and many good and noble people, who are known and recognized as morally pure, are found living in poverty. Now, how can a sensible person say that Allah dislikes the people of pure character and favors the wicked wrongdoers?

Rukhu 5 [Verses 37-45]
Verses 37-45 stress that it is belief that brings you close to Allah not the wealth or children and Whatever you spend in charity, Allah will pay you back and Unbeliever's statements about the Prophet and Al-Quran
37. And it is not your wealth, nor your children that bring you nearer to Us (i.e. pleases Allah), but only he (will please Us) who believes (in the Islamic Monotheism), and does righteous deeds; as for such, there will be twofold reward for what they did, and they will reside in the high dwellings (Paradise) in peace and security. 
This can have two meanings and both are correct: (1) That which brings the people nearer to Allah is not wealth and children but faith and righteous deeds; and, (2) wealth and children can become a means of nearness to Allah only for that believing, righteous person, who spends his wealth in the way of Allah and tries to make his children God-conscious and righteous by good education and training.

Here also is a subtle allusion that their blessing shall be imperishable, and their reward endless. For one cannot enjoy with full satisfaction of the heart a reward which is likely to perish or withdrawn suddenly at any time.
38. And those who strive against Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.), to frustrate them, will be brought to the torment. 
 قُلۡ اِنَّ رَبِّىۡ يَبۡسُطُ الرِّزۡقَ لِمَنۡ يَّشَآءُ مِنۡ عِبَادِهٖ وَيَقۡدِرُ لَهٗ ؕ وَمَاۤ اَنۡفَقۡتُمۡ مِّنۡ شَىۡءٍ فَهُوَ يُخۡلِفُهٗ ۚ وَهُوَ خَيۡرُ الرّٰزِقِيۡنَ‏  
39. Say: "Truly, my Lord enlarges the provision for whom He wills of His slaves, and (also) restricts (it) for him, and whatsoever you spend of anything (in Allah's Cause), He will replace it. And He is the Best of providers." 
The repetition of this theme is meant to impress this: The abundance or restriction of the provisions is connected with Allah’s will,. Under the will of Allah every good or evil person is receiving his provision. The abundance of the provisions is not a proof that one is Allah’s favorite servant nor is its restriction a sign that one is under His wrath. Under His will a wicked and dishonest person prospers, although wickedness and dishonesty are disliked by Allah. On the contrary, under the same divine will a truthful and honest man suffers losses and undergoes hardships although these qualities are liked by Allah. Hence, the person who regards the material gains and benefits as the criterion for the good and evil is grossly mistaken. The real criterion is Allah’s pleasure and approval which is attained through the moral qualities liked and approved by Him. With these qualities if a person gets the worldly blessings as well, it will certainly be Allah’s bounty for which he should be grateful to Him. But if from the moral point of view a person is Allah’s rebel and is disobedient to Him and in spite of that is being favored with worldly blessings, it would mean that he is preparing himself for a strict accountability and a most severe punishment.

Sustainer, Creator, Inventor, Donor and many other such attributes are in fact the attributes of Allah, but are metaphorically applied to men also. For example, about a person we may say, He provided a job for so-and-so, or he made or invented such and such a thing, or he made a gift to so-and-so. Accordingly, Allah has used the word Khair ar Raziqin (the Best of Providers) for Himself. It means to impress the fact that Allah is the best of providers among all those about whom you think that they are in any way connected with arranging the provisions.
40. And (remember) the Day when He will gather them all together, and then will say to the angels: "Was it you that these people used to worship?" 
Since the earliest times the polytheists in every age have been looking upon the angels as gods and goddesses and carving their idols and worshipping them. One has been regarded as the god of rain, another of lightning and another of wind; one is the goddess of wealth, another of knowledge and another of life and death. About this Allah says that on the Day of Resurrection the angels will be asked: Were you being worshipped as deities by these people? This question is not meant merely to find out the truth, but to ask: Did you approve of their worship? Did you tell the people that you were their deities, so they should worship you? Or, did you wish that the people should do obeisance to you? This question will not only be asked of the angels but of all those beings who have been worshipped as gods in the world. In Surah Al-Furqan it has been said: “On that Day (Allah) will gather all these people together as well as their deities, whom they worship beside Allah. Then he will ask them: Did you mislead these servants of Mine, or did they themselves go astray? (Ayat 17).
41. They (angels) will say: "Glorified be You! You are our Wali (Lord) instead of them. Nay, but they used to worship the jinns; most of them were believers in them." 
In this sentence, jinn implies the satans among the jinns. The answer means: Apparently these people worshipped us, by mentioning our names and by making our images according to their imaginations. But, in fact, they did not worship us but worshipped the satans, for the satans only had shown them the way that they should regard others than Allah as fulfillers of their needs, and should make offerings before them.
42. So Today (i.e. the Day of Resurrection), none of you can profit or harm one another. And We shall say to those who did wrong [i.e. worshipped others (like angels, jinns, prophets, saints, righteous persons, etc.) along with Allah]: "Taste the torment of the Fire which you used to belie. 
This verse clearly brings out the error of the view of those people who take the word jinn to mean the dwellers of the mountains and deserts and rural areas. Can a sensible person imagine, on the basis of this verse, that the people used to worship the dwellers of the mountains and the deserts and the villages and believed in them? This verse also throws light on another meaning of ibadat. It shows that ibadat is not mere worship and service, but it also implies carrying out somebody’s orders and obeying him without question. Even if one curses another (as one curses Satan) but at the time follows his way, one would be performing his ibadat. For other examples, see (Surah An- Nisa, Ayats 117-119); (Surah Al-Maidah, Ayat 60); (Surah At- Taubah, Ayat 31); (Surah Maryam, Ayat 42); (Surah Al- Qasas, Ayat 63).
43. When Our Clear Signs are rehearsed to them they say: “This is a person who wants to turn you away from the deities whom your ancestors worshipped.” They say: “This is nothing but an invented falsehood.” And when the Truth came to the unbelievers they declared: “This is nothing but plain sorcery,”
44. And We had not given them Scriptures which they could study, nor sent to them before you (O Muhammad ) any warner (Messenger). 
 That is, neither a book from God has come to them before this nor a messenger, who might have taught them to worship and serve others than God. Therefore, they are denying the invitation to Tauhid given by the Quran and Muhammad (peace be upon him) due to sheer ignorance, and not on the basis of any knowledge. They have in fact no authority for this.
45. Those who went before them also denounced (Allah's Messengers) as liars. They have not attained even a tenth of what We had given them. But when they rejected My Messengers, calling them liars, how terrible was My chastisement!
That is, the people of Makkah have not attained even one-tenth of the power and grandeur and prosperity that was possessed by those people. But just see how they went to their doom ultimately and their power and wealth could not avail them anything, when they refused to believe in the realities presented before them by the Prophets, and founded their system of life on falsehood.

Rukhu 6 [Verses 46-54]
In 46-50 the unbelievers are asked to ponder upon their wrong statements and Truth has come, falsehood neither originates nor restores anything
46. Say (to them O Muhammad ): "I exhort you on one (thing) only: that you stand up for Allah's sake in pairs and singly, and reflect (within yourselves the life history of the Prophet ): there is no madness in your companion (Muhammad ), he is only a warner to you in face of a severe torment." 
That is, free yourselves of selfish interests and whims and prejudices and consider this sincerely for the sake of Allah: consider this singly as well as jointly in two and three and four in an objective manner and consider it well and deeply. What after all can be the reason that the person whom you call a madman today was, until yesterday, being looked upon as a very wise man among you? The incident that happened a little before his appointment to Prophethood is well known among you. When after the reconstruction of the Kabah the different clans of the Quraish were going to clash among themselves on the question as to who should place the Black Stone in the wall, you yourselves had unanimously agreed to accept Muhammad (peace be upon him) as the arbitrator, and he had settled the question amicably to the entire satisfaction of all concerned. Now, how is it that you have started calling the same person mad, whose wisdom and sagacity has been thus tested and experienced by your whole nation? What is it if not stubbornness? Do you really mean the same that you say with your tongues?
47. Say (O Muhammad ): "Whatever wage I might have asked of you is yours. My wage is from Allah only. and He is Witness over all things." 
Another meaning of this can be: “I do not ask anything but your well-being: My only recompense is that you should be reformed.” This thing has been expressed at another place thus; “O Prophet, say to them: I do not ask of you any recompense for this: I only ask of the one, who will, to adopt the way of his Lord.” (Surah Al-Furqan, Ayat 57).

قُلۡ اِنَّ رَبِّىۡ يَقۡذِفُ بِالۡحَـقِّ​ۚ عَلَّامُ الۡغُيُوۡبِ‏ 
48. Say (O Muhammad ): "Verily! My Lord sends down Inspiration and makes apparent the truth (i.e. this Revelation that had come to me), the All-Knower of the Ghaib (unseen). 
The words yaqdhifu bil-haqq give two meanings: (1) He inspires me with the knowledge of the truth by revelation. and, (2) He is making the truth to prevail. He is crushing falsehood by means of the truth.
49. Say (O Muhammad ): "The truth (the Qur'an and Allah's Inspiration) has come, and Al-Batil [falsehood - Iblis (Satan)] can neither create anything nor resurrect (anything)." 
 Verse 50 below needs to be understood correctly keeping in view its context in order not to draw any unintended meaning which this verse may apparently convey:
50. Say: "If (even) I go astray, I shall stray only to my own loss. But if I remain guided, it is because of the Inspiration of my Lord to me. Truly, He is All-Hearer, Ever Near (to all things)."
From this verse some people of the modern age have argued thus: According to it the Prophet (peace be upon him) also could go astray: rather used to go astray. That is why Allah has made the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself say: “If I have gone astray, I am myself responsible for this. And I am on right guidance only when my Lord sends down revelation (i.e. verses of the Quran) to me.” By this wrong interpretation these unjust people in fact want to prove that the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) life was, God forbid, a combination of guidance and error, and Allah had made him confess this before the disbelievers lest one should adopt his obedience completely, taking him to be wholly on right guidance.

The fact however is that whoever considers the theme in its correct context will know that here the words, if I have gone astray, are not meant to give the meaning that the Prophet (peace be upon him) actually used to go astray, but it means: “If I have gone astray, as you accuse that I have, and my claim to Prophethood and my this invitation to Tauhid are the result of the same deviation, as you seem to imagine, then the burden of my going astray, will be on me alone; you will not be held responsible for it. But if I am on right guidance, as in fact I am, it is because I receive revelation from my Lord, by virtue of which I have obtained the knowledge of the guidance. My Lord is near at hand and is hearing everything. He knows whether I have gone astray or I am on right guidance from Him.”

Verses 51-54 finally warn the unbelievers that on the Day of Judgement they would like to believe but it will be of no avail to them:
51. And if you could but see, when they will be terrified with no escape (for them), and they will be seized from a near place. 52.  And they will say (in the Hereafter): "We do believe (now);" but how could they receive (Faith and the acceptance of their repentance by Allah) from a place so far off (i.e. to return to the worldly life again). 
53. Indeed they did disbelieve (in the Oneness of Allah, Islam, the Qur'an and Muhammad ) before (in this world), and they (used to) conjecture about the unseen [i.e. the Hereafter, Hell, Paradise, Resurrection and the Promise of Allah, etc. (by saying) all that is untrue], from a far place. 
That is, they used to charge the Messenger (peace be upon him) and the believers with false accusations and used to taunt and mock his message. Sometimes they said he was a sorcerer or a madman; sometimes they ridiculed Tauhid and the concept of the Hereafter; sometimes they invented the story that someone has taught him everything; and sometimes they said that the believers had started following him only on account of folly and ignorance.
54. And a barrier will be set between them and that which they desire [i.e. At-Taubah (turning to Allah in repentance) and the accepting of Faith etc.], as was done in the past with the people of their kind. Verily, they have been in grave doubt.
As a matter of fact, no one adopts shirk and atheism and denial of the Hereafter by conviction, nor can he, for conviction comes from knowledge. And no one has the knowledge that there is no God, or that many others have a share in divine authority, or that there should be no Hereafter. Thus, whoever has adopted these beliefs in the world, has raised a structure on mere conjecture, which has no basis except doubt and suspicion, and this suspicion has led him to sheer error. Consequently, they doubted God’s existence, they doubted the truth of Tauhid, they doubted the coming of the Hereafter; so much so that they made this doubt their faith and did not listen to the Prophets and expended and wasted their entire lifetime indulging in a wrong creed and wrong way of life.

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Surah Saba 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). 

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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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