Monday 15 July 2019

Surah An Naml - The Ants: Exegesis / Tafsir 27th Chapter of Holy Quran - Part II

Sūrah  An-Naml is the twenty seventh surah with 93 ayahs with seven rukus, part of the 19-20 th Juzʼ  of the Holy Qur'an. The Surah takes its name from the phrase wad-in-naml which occurs in verse 18 when mentioning the Prophet Solomon and his advancing armies, implying that it is a Surah in which the story of An-Naml (the Ant) has been related.

As already explained in the Overview of Sūrah Ash-Shuʻarāʼ that beginning from Sūrah Ash-Shuʻarāʼ, a new series of four Surahs (Chapters 26-29), sets in which illustrate the contrast between the spirit of Prophecy and spiritual Light and the reactions to it in the communities among whom it appeared, by going back to old Prophets and the stories of the Past. 

This Surah tells stories of the Prophets Moses, Solomon, Salih, and Lot (peace be upon them all) to emphasize the message of Tawhid. Continuing from Sūrah Ash-Shuʻarāʼ, the miracles of Moses are once again mentioned in opposition to the arrogance of Pharaoh.

As already mentioned in the Overview of this Surah, the exegesis / tafseer has been divided into two parts:
  • Part I  : Introduction and mentions of earlier prophets
  • Part II : Address to the nonbelievers and the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)
After posting the Part I, we now discuss take on Part I along with the translation and exegesis / tafseer in English. 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 5 [Verses 59-66]
From Verse 59 onward, commences the second discourse, and verse 59 is its introductory sentence. This introduction teaches how the Muslims should begin a speech. That is why the truly Islamic-minded people have always been starting their speeches and discourses with the praise of Allah and salutation on His righteous servants. But now this is looked upon as characteristic of bigotry, and the present-day Muslim speakers have no idea of starting their speech with these words, or feel shy of doing so.
( 59 )   Say, [O Muhammad], "Praise be to Allah, and peace upon His servants whom He has chosen. Is Allah better or what they associate with Him?"
Verse 59 is very important and needs to be understood carefully: Superficially the question whether Allah is better or the false deities appears to be odd. As a matter of fact, there can be no question of goodness in the false gods and, therefore, they cannot be compared to Allah. As for the polytheists, even they had no misconception that Allah could be compared to their gods. But they were asked this question in order to be warned against their error. For obviously none in the world would do anything unless he saw some good in it. Now if the polytheists served their deities and implored them for their needs instead of Allah, and presented their offerings before them, this would be meaningless unless they perceived some good in them. That is why they have been explicitly asked to consider whether Allah is better or their deities, for they could not face and answer this forth-right question. Even the most hardened polytheist among them could not venture to say that their deities were better. But if they acknowledged that Allah is better it would demolish their whole creed, for then it would be unreasonable to adopt the inferior against the superior creed. The Quran at the very outset made the opponents helpless. After this, pointed questions have been asked, one after the other, about the manifestations of the power and creation of Allah to the effect: “Whose works are these? Is there besides Allah any other god also associated with these works? If not, why have you then set up these others as your deities?”

According to traditions, whenever the Prophet (peace be upon him) recited this verse, he would immediately respond to it, saying: “Nay, but Allah is better, and He alone is the Everlasting and Exalted and High.”

Verses 60-66 give the answer: Just think, is there any god besides Allah Who has created anything in the universe, answer the oppressed or guides to the Right Way?

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is asked to praise Allah, send peace upon the messengers.  He is also instructed to ask who is better, Allah, who created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them, or another deity? Clearly it is Allah who made rivers flow and firmly fixed the mountains and other wondrous things.  Why then do they worship something other than Allah? Who answers the calls of the distressed and removes the burdens of the suffering? Allah, He the One who is above all that they associate with Him.  There is no one with knowledge of the unseen except Allah.  It is He who knows when the dead will be raised. 
( 60 )   Who is it THAT has created the heavens and the earth and sent down for you water from the sky and then We caused to grow therewith orchards full of beauty whose trees you could never grow. Is there any god associated with Allah (in these tasks)?" Nay, they are a people who are veering away from the Right Path.
No one from among the mushriks could answer that someone other than Allah had done these works, or someone else was Allah’s associate in doing these. The Quran at other places says with respect to the pagans of Makkah and the Arab mushrikin / disbelievers: “If you ask them, who has created the heavens and the earth?” they will surely say: “The All-Mighty, the All-Knowing One has created them.” (Surah Az-Zukhruf: Ayat 9). “And if you ask them, who has created them?” they will surely say, ‘Allah’. (Surah Az-Zukhruf: Ayat 87), “If you ask them, who sent down rain water from the sky and thereby raised the dead earth back to life?” they will surely say, ‘Allah’. (Surah Al- Ankabut: Ayat 63). “Ask them, who provides for you from the heavens and the earth? who has power over these faculties of hearing and sight? who brings forth the living from the dead and the dead from the living? who controls and directs the system of the universe?” they will surely say, ‘Allah’.” (Surah Yunus: Ayat 31). Not only the polytheists of Arabia but of the whole world generally acknowledged, and acknowledge even today, that Allah is the Creator of the universe and He alone controls and directs its system. Therefore, none of them could answer this question even obstinately for the sake of the argument that their deities were Allah’s associates in those works, for if he had done so, thousands of his own people would have belied him saying that, that was not their belief.

This and the other questions that follow not only contain a refutation of the creed of shirk (polytheism) but of atheism as well. For example, in this first very question, it has been asked, “Who has sent down rainwater and caused to spring up by it beautiful gardens?” Just consider whether the presence of the substances essential for the growth of countless kinds of plant life, in the soil or near the soil, and the existence in water of those very qualities which are in accordance with the requirements of animal and vegetable life, and the evaporation of this water again and again from the seas, and its condensation and raining regularly in different parts of the earth from time to time, and the coordination between the soil and the air, the water, the temperature; etc, conducive to proper growth of plant life and fulfillment of the countless requirements of every sort of animal life, could be just accidental, or the result of the wise scheming and planning the supreme power and will of an All-Wise Designer. And is it possible that this accident should continue to recur constantly for millions and millions of years? Only an obstinate person who has been blinded by prejudice will regard it as accidental, for no truth loving, sensible person can make such a senseless claim or accept it.
( 61 )   Who is it Who has made the earth a place of resort,74 and has caused rivers to flow in its midst, and has placed upon it firm mountains, and has placed a barrier between two masses of water? Is there any god associated with Allah (in these tasks)? Nay; but most of them do not know.
 The terra firma, the flowing water, and the cycle of water circulation-sea, vapour, clouds, rain, rivers, and sea again,-all one and yet all distinct, with a sort of wonderful barrier between salt water and fresh water: can man see all this and yet be ignorant of Allah?
( 62 )   Who is it Who heeds the prayers of the distressed when he calls out to Him and Who removes his affliction? And who is it Who makes you vicegerents of the earth? Is there any god associated with Allah (in this task)? How little do you reflect!.
The Arab polytheists themselves knew and acknowledged that Allah alone could avert a disaster. Therefore, the Quran reminds them again and again that they implore Allah alone for help when they are confronted by a calamity. But when the calamity is removed, they start invoking others besides Allah. (See Surah Yunus: Ayats 21-22). And this is not only true of the Arab polytheists but of all polytheists; so much so that even the Russian atheists who are regularly campaigning against God-worship, had to invoke God when in the Second World War they were tightly encircled by the German forces.

"Makes you vicegerents of the earth"  has two meanings: (1) “He raises one generation after the other and one nation after the other”; and (2) “He gives you power and authority to rule in the earth”.
( 63 )   Is He [not best] who guides you through the darknesses of the land and sea and who sends the winds as good tidings before His mercy? Is there a deity with Allah? High is Allah above whatever they associate with Him 
After external nature, our attention was drawn to our inner consciousness; after that, it is drawn here to our social and collective life, in which we use the forces of nature for international intercourse, trade, agriculture, production, and economic well-being generally. In the next verse, we are asked to contemplate creation from its primeval stages, through its intermediate processes, to the final Destiny in a new Creation-a new heaven and a new earth.

In Surah An-Nahl [Chapter 16] this has been counted among the bounties of Allah: “He has placed land-marks to direct people, and by the stars, too, they are guided aright.” (Ayat 16).
( 64 )   Is He [not best] who begins creation and then repeats it and who provides for you from the heaven and earth? Is there a deity with Allah? Say, "Produce your proof, if you should be truthful."
The simple fact that has been expressed in this one sentence is so vast in meaning and detail that as one considers it more and more deeply, one goes on getting new and ever new proofs of Allah’s existence and His unity. To the first place, take the question of the creation itself. Man by his knowledge has not been able to discover what life is, and how and where it comes from. So far the admitted scientific fact is that the mere arrangement of inanimate matter by itself cannot bring about life. Though the atheists assume, unscientifically, that life comes into existence automatically when all the elements essential for its creation combine together accidentally in the right proportion, yet if the mathematical law of chance is applied to it, the possibility of its occurrence comes to naught. All attempts made so far to produce animate matter out of inanimate matter experimentally in the laboratory have met with utter failure in spite of employing every possible care. At the most what has been created is DNA, which is the basic constituent of the living cell. This is the essence of life but not life itself. Life in itself even now is a miracle which cannot be explained scientifically except by saying that it is the result of a Creator’s will and command and design.

Furthermore, life does not exist in a solitary form but in a limitless variety of forms. Man has so far discovered more or less a million species of animals and two hundred thousand species of plants on the earth, which in their constitution and special characteristics are so clearly and absolutely different from one another, and have been maintaining their distinctive features since the earliest known times so consistently that no Darwin could ever give any rational explanation of this great variety of life except the existence of the creative design of One God. Not a link has so far been discovered between any two species, which might have broken up the form of the characteristics and constitution of one species and might be struggling to attain the characteristics and constitution of another species. The whole record of the fossils is without such a precedent, and among the existing animals also there is no such “eunuch” in its physical form. Any member of any species that exists is found with the distinctive features of its own species, and every story that is invented and announced from time to time about the discovery of some missing link is destroyed by the facts themselves. Therefore, the inevitable fact is that it is the All-Wise Designer, the Planner of creation, its Enforcer and its Fashioner, who has endowed life with all its countless different forms.

This was about the beginning of the creation. Now let us consider its reproduction. The Creator has placed in the constitution and make-up of every animal and vegetable species such a wonderful mechanism, which goes on producing through its countless members an endless race exactly with its own distinctive form and nature and characteristics, and it never has happened even by mistake that in these millions and millions of tiny sex workshops a certain workshop of a species may have turned out a specimen of a different species. The observations of modern Genetics in this connection present wonderful facts. Every plant has been so endowed with the capability of procreating its species that the new generation should possess all the distinctive characteristics of its own species and its every member should be distinguished in its special features from the members of all other species. This element for the survival of the species and its procreation is contained in a part of a cell of every plant, which can be seen with effort only through a most powerful microscope. This tiny engineer directs the whole development the plant precisely and definitely on the way which is the way of its own distinctive species. That is why all the plants that have emerged from a grain of wheat anywhere in the world have in turn produced only wheat. In no climate and in no region has it ever happened that from the whole race of a grain of wheat even a single grain of barley might have emerged. The same is the case with animals and men. None of them has been created just for once, but on an inconceivably high scale a huge factory of reproduction is functioning every where, which is constantly bringing into existence, from the members of every species, countless other members of the same species. If one considers the microscopic germ of procreation which along with all the distinctive features and hereditary characteristics of its species is found in a small portion of its tiny self and then looks at the extremely delicate and complex physiological system and the subtle, intricate processes by which the procreative seed of every member of every species produces a member of the same species, one cannot conceive for a moment that such a tine and subtle system could come into being by itself, and then keeps on functioning by itself in millions and millions of the members of different species. This thing stands in need of an All-Wise Designer not only for its beginning but for its proper and perpetual functioning. It also needs an Administrator Who is at once Wise and Ever-Living and Self-Subsistent, who is ever watching and guiding the work of these workshops.

These facts destroy the very basis of an atheist’s denial of God as also of a polytheist’s creed of polytheism. A foolish person only can think that an angel or a jinn or a prophet or a saint has any hand in this work of God, but no unbiased person possessed of a little common sense can ever say that this huge workshop of production and reproduction with all its underlying wisdom and order started working just accidentally and has since been working so automatically.

The question of the provision of sustenance also is not so simple as a person may feel it to be from a cursory study of this brief sentence. There exist on this earth millions of animal and vegetable species, each comprising billions of members having different food requirements. The Creator has arranged the means of sustenance for each species in such abundance and so within easy reach that members of no species ever go without food. Then the agencies of the earth and sky which combine and work together in this system are varied and countless. Unless there is the right kind of coordination and harmony between the heat, light, air, water and the diverse substances of the earth, not a single particle of food can be produced. Can anyone conceive that this wise system could come about just accidentally without the intelligent planning and design of an All-Wise Creator? And can anybody in his senses imagine that in this system there could be any hand of a jinn or an angel or the spirit of a pious man?

So it said “You should either bring a proof to show that someone else is an associate of Allah in these works, or, if that is not possible, you should at least explain by an argument why you should worship and serve any other god beside Allah, when One Allah alone has done, and is doing, all these works.”
( 65 )   Say, "None in the heavens and earth knows the unseen except Allah, and they do not perceive when they will be resurrected."
In the preceding verses, arguments have been given to prove that Allah is the One and only Deity when considered from the viewpoint of creation, design and provision of the means of sustenance. Now in this verse it is being told that from the viewpoint of knowledge too, which is an important attribute of Godhead, Allah is Unique and without associate. Whatever creations are there in the heavens and the earth, whether angels or jinns, prophets and saints, or other men and other creatures, they have only limited knowledge. Something is hidden from all of them. The All- Knowing One is only Allah, from Whom nothing whatever of this universe is hidden, and who knows every thing of the past and the present and the future.

The existence of Allah is certain. But nothing else can be known with certainty to our knowledge. He has told us of the Hereafter, and therefore we know it is true. But those who do not believe in Allah,-what knowledge or certainty can they have? Even when it is actually coming, they will not have the sense to perceive it.

There is a subtle relationship between Divinity and the knowledge of the unseen and hidden. Since the earliest times in whatever being has man imagined the presence of an attribute of Godhead, he has taken it for granted that it knows everything and nothing is hidden from it. In other words, it is self-evident for man to believe that making or marring the destinies, answering the prayers, fulfilling the needs and helping everyone in need of help, can be the work of the being who knows everything and from whom nothing is hidden. That is why whomsoever man has regarded as possessor of the powers and authority of Godhead, he has necessarily regarded him as the knower of all hidden things as well. For his intellect testifies rightly that knowledge and authority are inter-dependent. Now if it is a fact that none but God is the Creator and the Designer and the Answerer of the prayers and the Providence, as has been proved in the foregoing verses, then it is also a self-evident reality that none but God is the Knower of the hidden things. After all, who in his senses could imagine that an angel or a jinn or a prophet or a saint or any other creature would be knowing where and what kinds of animals existed in the oceans and in the atmosphere and under the layers of the earth and upon its surface? And what is the correct number of the planets in the heavens? And what kinds of creatures exist in each of them? And where is each one of these creatures living and what are there requirements? All this should necessarily be known to Allah, because He has created them and He alone has to watch over their conditions and control their affairs and arrange for their sustenance. But how can some one else with his limited self have this vast and all-embracing knowledge and what has he to do with the functions of creation and sustenance that he should know these things?

That is why it is a fundamental article of Islam that none other than Allah is the Knower of the hidden and unseen things. Allah may disclose whatever of His information He wills to whomsoever of His servants He pleases and blesses him with the knowledge of one or more of the hidden things as a whole. Being the Knower of all hidden and unseen things is the attribute only of Allah, Who is the Lord of all creation “He alone has the keys of the ‘unseen’ of which none has the knowledge but He.” (Surah Al-Anaam: Ayat 59). “Allah alone has the knowledge of the Hour: He alone sends down the rain and He alone knows what is (taking shape) in the wombs of the mothers. No living being knows what he will earn the next day, nor does anybody know in what land he will die.” (Surah Luqman: Ayat 34). “He knows what is before the people and also what is hidden from them; and they cannot comprehend anything of His knowledge save whatever He Himself may please to reveal.” (Al Baqarah: Ayat 255).

The Quran does not rest content with this general and absolute negation of the knowledge of the hidden and unseen for the different forms of creation. But about the Prophets in particular, and the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), it clearly says that they do not possess the knowledge of the hidden and unseen, and that they were given only that much knowledge of the hidden by Allah as was necessary to enable them to carry out the duties of prophet hood. (Surah Al-Anaam: Ayat 50); (Surah Al-Aaraf: Ayat 187); (Surah At-Taubah: Ayat 101); (Surah Hud: Ayat 31); (Surah Al-Ahzab: Ayat 63); (Surah Al-Ahqaf: Ayat 9); (Surah At-Tahrim: Ayat 3): and (Surah Al-Jinn: Ayats 26-28) do not leave any room for doubt in this regard.

Thus it is said: “Those others about whom it is thought that they possess the knowledge of the hidden and, therefore, are regarded as partners in Divinity, are themselves unaware of their future. They do not know when will Resurrection be, and when will Allah raise them up again.”
( 66 )   Rather, their knowledge is arrested concerning the Hereafter. Rather, they are in doubt about it. Rather, they are, concerning it, blind.
After warning the people about their basic errors with regard to Divinity, it is being said that the reason why these people are involved in these errors is not that they have reached this conclusion after serious thought and deliberation that there also exist other beings who are Allah’s associates in His Divinity, but the actual reason is that they have never considered this matter seriously. As they are unaware of the Hereafter, or are in doubt about it, or are blind to it, their heedlessness of the Hereafter has developed in them an utterly irresponsible attitude. They are not at all serious about the universe and the real problems of their own lives. They do not bother to know what reality is and whether their philosophy of life accords with that reality or not. For, according to them, in the end the polytheist and the atheist, the monotheist and the agnostic, all will become one with the dust after death, and nothing will bear any fruit.

The theme of the Hereafter is contained in this sentence of the preceding verse: “They do not know when they will be raised back to life.” In that sentence it was said that those who are made deities, the angels, jinns, prophets, saints, etc., do not themselves know when will be the Resurrection. Here three things have been said about the common polytheists and the atheists: (1) They do not at all know whether there will be any Hereafter or not; (2) this lack of information on their part is not due to the reason that they were never informed of this, but because they did not believe in the information given to them and doubted its authenticity; and (3) they never bothered to consider with due thought and seriousness the arguments that were advanced about the coming of the Hereafter, but they preferred to remain blind to it.

Rukhu 6 [Verses 67-82]
Verses 67-82 Disbelievers doubt Allah's power of creation and Al-Quran clarifies those matters in which the Israelites differ and A sign from the signs of doomsday.

This perturbs the unbelievers who say they have heard ancient tales about the dead being raised and do not believe it.  They must therefore travel throughout the land see for themselves what has happened to those who did not heed the warnings of a Hereafter.  God is bountiful even though most people are ungrateful.  Nothing is concealed from God; it is all kept in a clear record.  The Quran is guidance and a mercy.  God will be the judge and Prophet Muhammad should not grieve over the people who will not heed his warning.  Instead he should put his trust in God because he is on the straight path.  He cannot make the deaf or dead hear; he cannot lead the blind.
( 67 )   And those who disbelieve say, "When we have become dust as well as our forefathers, will we indeed be brought out [of the graves]?( 68 )   We have been promised this, we and our forefathers, before. This is not but legends of the former peoples."
( 69 )   Say, [O Muhammad], "Travel through the land and observe how was the end of the criminals."
This brief verse contains two strong arguments for the Hereafter as well as admonition:
  • Firstly, those communities who rejected the Hereafter could not help becoming criminals: they lived irresponsibly; they committed cruelties and all kinds of sins; and ultimately their moral depravity led them to utter ruin. This continuous experience of human history which is testified by the doomed communities all over the world, clearly shows that belief and unbelief in the Hereafter has a deep relationship with the soundness or the unsoundness of human behavior. Belief in it generates sound behavior and denial of it unsound behavior. This is a clear proof of the fact that belief in it is in accordance with the reality; that is why belief helps life to follow the right path. And rejection of it is against the reality; that is why rejection leads life into crooked alleys.
  • Secondly, the destruction of those communities which became criminals, one after the other, in the long experience of history is a clear pointer to the fact that this universe is not being ruled by the deaf and blind and senseless forces, but this is a wise system which is functioning according to the unalterable law of retribution, which is dealing with the human communities only on moral grounds. In which no community is given long enough rope to commit whatever evil it likes and continue to enjoy life and commit injustices after it has once risen to power and prosperity. But when a wicked community happens to reach a certain stage, a mighty hand topples it from power and hurls it into the abyss of ignominy. Anyone who realizes this fact can have no doubt that the same law of retribution calls for the establishment of a new world after this world, where all individuals and nations and the whole mankind collectively should be rewarded and punished for their deeds. For the requirements of justice cannot be fulfilled only by the destruction of a wicked nation; this does not in any way redress the grievances of the oppressed people; this does not punish those who had enjoyed life and left the world before the coming down of the scourge; this does not also take to task those wicked people who went on leaving behind them legacies of immoralities and deviations for the coming generations. The torment that visited the nation only put a stop to the further tyrannies of its last generation. The court has not yet started working, to punish every wicked person for the evil done, to compensate every oppressed person for the losses incurred, and to reward all those who stood by the right against the onslaught of evil, endeavored to reform things and faced persecutions in this way throughout their lives. All this should necessarily happen at some time. For the continuous operation in the world of the law of retribution clearly points to the temperament and technique of the ruling government of the universe that it judges human deeds by moral standards and punishes and rewards them accordingly.
Besides these two arguments, the aspect of admonition in this verse is: “Learn lessons from the fate of the guilty people of the past, and do not persist in the foolish belief of the denial of the Hereafter, which, in fact, was responsible for making them criminals.”
( 70 )   (O Prophet) And grieve not over them or be in distress from what they conspire.
That is, “You have done full justice to your mission of preaching. Now if they do not listen to you, and wish to persist in their folly and deserve the Divine torment, you should not consume yourself by being distressed and grieved at their condition. Then, why should you feel vexed at their mean machinations that they are devising in order to fight the truth and to frustrate your movement of return? You have Allah’s power at your back. If they do not listen to you, they will only be harming themselves, not you.”
( 71 )   And they say, "When is [the fulfillment of] this promise, if you should be truthful?"
( 72 )   Say: "The chastisement whose hastening you have been asking for, maybe a part of it has drawn quite near to you.
This is a royal way of saying a thing. When words like “may be”, “perhaps”, “no wonder”, etc. occur in the Divine discourse, they do not contain any sense of doubt, but express Allah’s Independence and Self-Sufficiency. Allah’s power is so great that His willing a thing and its happening is one and the same thing. It is inconceivable that He should will a thing and it should not happen. Therefore, when He says, “No wonder it may well be so”, it means, “It will certainly be so if you do not mend your ways.”

The Unbelievers-or even men of half-hearted faith-may say, "Why worry over distant future events? Take the day as it comes!" But that is a fallacy. Judgment is certain, and it may be that this very hour may be the hour of doom for any given individual. This is the hour of repentance and amendment. For Allah wishes well to all mankind in spite of their ingratitude.
( 73 )   And indeed, your Lord is full of bounty for the people, but most of them do not show gratitude."
That is, “It is Allah's mercy that He does not seize the culprit immediately after his commission of a crime but gives him respite to reform himself. But most people are not grateful for this, and do not utilize the period of respite for their reformation. On the contrary, when they see that they have not been taken to task immediately, they form the idea that there is none to call them to account. Therefore, they are free to do whatever they like and they should not listen to any word of admonition”.
( 74 )   And indeed, your Lord knows what their breasts conceal and what they declare.
That is, “He is not only aware of their open misdeeds but is also fully aware of the malice and spite which they are concealing in their hearts and the evil plots which they are making secretly. Therefore, when the time comes to call them to account, they will be taken to task for everything done and thought.”
( 75 )   And there is nothing concealed within the heaven and the earth except that it is in a clear Register.
( 76 )   Indeed, this Qur'an relates to the Children of Israel most of that over which they disagree.
This sentence is connected with the foregoing theme as well as with what follows. In the first case, it means that it is a manifestation of the knowledge of the All-Knowing God that He is explaining through a gentile (non-Jew) in this Quran the reality of those events which are a part of the Israelite history, and which are being disputed by the learned men of the Israelites themselves. In the second case, it means that just as Allah has decided those disputes, so He will decide this dispute also which is going on between the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his opponents as to who is following the truth and who the falsehood.

So, a few years after the revelation of these verses the decision came before the whole world. In the same land of Arabia and in the same clan of the Quraish there was no single person left who was not convinced that it was Muhammad (peace be upon him) who was following the truth and not Abu Jahl and Abu Lahab. Even the children of these people admitted that their fathers were wrong.
( 77 )   And indeed, it is guidance and mercy for the believers.
That is, “It is mercy and guidance for those who accept the message of the Quran and believe in what it presents. Such people will be saved from the errors in which their own people are involved. They will find the right way of life by means of the Quran and they will be blessed with such favors by Allah, which the disbelievers among the Quraish cannot even imagine today.” This shower of Allah’s mercy was also witnessed by the world after a few years. The same people who were living unknown lives in a corner of the Arabian desert and could at the most become successful raiders in the state of unbelief, suddenly emerged after their belief in the Quran as the guides of the world, leaders of the nations, makers of human civilization and rulers over a vast part of the world.
( 78 )   Indeed, your Lord will judge between them by His [wise] judgment. And He is the Exalted in Might, the Knowing.
“Between them”: Between the disbelievers of the Quraish and the believers.
( 79 )   So rely upon Allah; indeed, you are upon the clear truth.
( 80 )   Indeed, you will not make the dead hear, nor will you make the deaf hear the call when they have turned their backs retreating.
“The dead” the ones whose consciences are dead and whose stubbornness, obstinacy and love of the usage and custom have deprived them of the sense of discrimination between the truth and falsehood.

Also those  “Who not only close their ears against what you say, but slink away from the place where they fear they aught hear what you say.”
( 81 )   And you cannot guide the blind away from their error. You will only make hear those who believe in Our verses so they are Muslims [submitting to Allah].
That is, “It is none of your job to pull them forcibly to the right way and drag them along with you. You can only tell them by the word of mouth and by your example that this is the right way and the way they are following is the wrong way. But how can you guide the one who has closed his eyes and is not at all inclined to see anything?”
( 82 )   And when the word befalls them, We will bring forth for them a creature from the earth speaking to them, [saying] that the people were, of Our verses, not certain [in faith].
That is, “When Resurrection which they are being promised will approach.”

101. According to Ibn Umar, this will happen when there remains no one in the world to command the people to do good and forbid them to do evil. Ibn Marduyah has reported a Hadith on the authority of Abu Said Khudri; according to which the latter heard the same thing from the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself. This shows that when man gives up the duty of exhorting others to do good and forbidding them to do evil, Allah will bring forth a beast to serve as the final warning just before Resurrection. This, however, is not clear whether it will be just one beast, or a particular species of beasts, who will spread all over the earth. The words daabbat-an-min-al-ard might contain both the meanings. In any case, what it will say will be: “The people did not believe in Allah’s revelations in which Resurrection was foretold. Now the same Resurrection is about to come; let everyone know that what Allah said was true”. The sentence, “The people did not believe in Our Revelations”, is either a part of the beast’s own speech, or Allah’s narration of its words. If these are its own words, the word “Our” will be understood in the style of an official who speaks on behalf of his government and not on his personal behalf. In the second case, since Allah is narrating the beast’s words, He has used “Our Revelations” in the normal sense.

As to the time and occasion of the appearance of this beast, the Prophet (peace be upon him) has said: “The sun will rise in the west and the beast will suddenly appear in the open daylight. Whichever of these signs appears first, it will be closely followed by the other.” (Sahih-Muslim). In the other traditions related in Sahih-Muslim, Ibn-Majah, Tirmidhi, Musnad Ahmad, etc. the Prophet (peace be upon him) foretold that the signs of Resurrection as emergence of the Anti-Christ (Dajjal), appearance of the beast, smoke and the rising of the sun in the west will appear one after the other.

As for the nature, general appearance, place of appearance and other details about the beast, contradictory traditions have been reported, which only cause confusion and are not relevant to the object for which this thing has been mentioned in the Quran.

As regards the beast’s speaking to human beings in a human language, this will be a manifestation of the power of Allah, Who can give the power of speech to anything He pleases. He will give this power only to a beast before the event of Resurrection, but when Resurrection will have taken place, each limb of man, his ears, his eyes, even his skin, will speak out and give evidence in the court of Allah, as has been clearly stated in (Ha-Mim As-Sajdah: Ayats 20- 21): “Then, when all will have reached there, their ears and their eyes and their very skins will bear witness against them concerning what they had been doing in the world. They will say to their skins, why have you borne witness against us? They will reply, the same God who has given speech to everything has given us speech.”

Rukhu 7 [Verses 83-93]
Verses 83-86 Do not deny Allah's revelations without gaining their comprehensive knowledge.

It is being said that a day will come when the disbelievers will be led before God in groups.  The verdict will be given but they will not speak.  God sent signs for those who believe and those who think.  When the trumpet sounds many will be terrified; the firm mountains will pass away like clouds.  On that Day, a good deed will keep a person safe, but an evil deed will see them flung into the Fire.  Muhammad says that he has been commanded to submit to God, to worship Him and recite the Quran.  Mohammad is only a warner; all praise belongs only to God, and God is never unaware.
( 83 )   And [warn of] the Day when We will gather from every nation a company of those who deny Our signs, and they will be [driven] in rows
( 84 )   Until, when they arrive [at the place of Judgement], He will say, "Did you deny My signs while you encompassed them not in knowledge, or what [was it that] you were doing?"
The charge against them will be: 'You had no knowledge, and yet you arrogantly rejected My Signs: is that true, or have you any plea in your defence?'
( 85 )   And the decree will befall them for the wrong they did, and they will not [be able to] speak.
There will be no plea, because the charge will be only too true. The Decree will be passed and executed.
( 86 )   Do they not see that We made the night that they may rest therein and the day giving sight? Indeed in that are signs for a people who believe.
Night, Day, Rest, and Light: both in the literal and the symbolic sense. Any one with a scrap of faith or spiritual insight could see that the Night is blessing when used for rest and a curse when used to cover ignorance or sin; and that the Day is for work and enlightenment, and its misuse is gross ingratitude to Allah. Or, understand Truth and practice Righteousness while it is yet Light and the Message of Allah is here to guide you: for there comes the Night when Endeavour will cease and there will be no room for Repentance.

Verses 87-93 A scene from Doomsday is being painted here and rewards and punishment for those who accept guidance do so to their own good and those who go astray do so to their own peril have been mentioned:
( 87 ) And [warn of] the Day the Horn will be blown, and whoever is in the heavens and whoever is on the earth will be terrified except whom Allah wills. And all will come to Him humbled.
Arrogance will flee with Ignorance, and Self will see itself in its true place-that of humility and lowliness-when the scales of ignorance fall from its eyes.

وَتَرَى الۡجِبَالَ تَحۡسَبُهَا جَامِدَةً وَّهِىَ تَمُرُّ مَرَّ السَّحَابِ​ؕ صُنۡعَ اللّٰهِ الَّذِىۡۤ اَتۡقَنَ كُلَّ شَىۡءٍ​ؕ اِنَّهٗ خَبِيۡرٌۢ بِمَا تَفۡعَلُوۡنَ‏  
( 88 )   And you see the mountains, thinking them rigid, while they will pass as the passing of clouds. [It is] the work of Allah, who perfected all things. Indeed, He is Acquainted with that which you do 
This is so in the present phase of phenomenal things, both literally and figuratively. There seems nothing more firm or fixed or permanent than the "eternal hills": yet when the new order of things comes and the new World is brought into being, they will be as flimsy and unsubstantial as clouds. So, in the revaluation of things in the Hereafter persons or things or ideas that seem so great and so firmly established now will pass away like mere fancies and give way to the Reality of Allah.

Atqana: to arrange or dispose of things with art, or so as to obtain the most perfect results. The present phenomenal world and the Future that is to be, all have a definite object and purpose in the Plan of Allah, Who knows perfectly what we are, what we do, what we think, and what we need. Who can praise His artistry enough?
( 89 )  Whoever comes [at Judgement] with a good deed will have better than it, and they, from the terror of that Day, will be safe.
The reward will be better in two ways: (1) It will be higher than what a person will actually deserve for his good deeds; and (2) it will be everlasting and for ever though the good act was temporary and its influence confined to a limited period only.
( 90 )   And if any do evil their faces will be thrown headlong into the Fire: "Do ye receive a reward other than that which ye have earned by your deeds?" 
Headlong: it may be that the very things of which we were proudest, which we considered foremost in our present order of the world, will be the first to go into the Fire, as they are but the window-dressing of Evil. There will be no punishment except such as has been deserved by actual conduct in the present life of probation.
( 91 )   [Say, O Muhammad], "I have only been commanded to worship the Lord of this city, who made it sacred and to whom [belongs] all things. And I am commanded to be of the Muslims [those who submit to Allah]
The Lord of this City. This was spoken in Makkah say about the 5th year before the Hijrah, when the holy Prophet and his adherents were being persecuted as enemies to the cult of Makkah. So far from being against the true spirit of the holy City of Makkah, it was actually in furtherance of that spirit, which had been overlaid by the idolatries and abominations of the Pagan Quraish. They are told that the new Teaching is from the Lord of Makkah itself, the One True God, Who had sanctified it in the time of Abraham. Lest they should think that it was a local or tribal or narrow cult, it is added that He is not only Lord of this City, but Lord of the Worlds, "to Whom belong all things". It is a universal message; but how sad it would be if the Makkans, among whom it came first, were to reject it?

At several places in the Quran it has been stated clearly that an evil will be punished in the Hereafter only to the extent of the evil committed, but a good act will be rewarded much more generously by Allah than what the doer will actually deserve for it. For more examples of this, see (Surah Yunus: Ayats 26-27); (Surah Al-Qasas: Ayat 84); (Surah Al-Ankabut: Ayat 7); (Surah Saba: Ayats 37-38); (Surah Al-Mumin: Ayat 40).
( 92 )   And to recite the Qur'an." And whoever is guided is only guided for [the benefit of] himself; and whoever strays - say, "I am only [one] of the warners."
The duty of the Prophet and his adherents was, first, to accept Islam and become themselves shining examples of Allah's grace and mercy, as they in fact were, and secondly to preach that message and spread that Light to all around. It was not for them to force it on unwilling people: for any who rejected it would find their own spiritual loss in such rejection. But they must clearly warn them of the consequences.
( 93 )   And say, "[All] praise is [due] to Allah. He will show you His signs, and you will recognize them. And your Lord is not unaware of what you do."
In a few years after that, many wonderful things happened that removed the doubts of the doubters and confirmed the faith of the Believers. They showed how the logic of events proved the true mission of the holy Prophet. Other things some minds may not be able to grasp. But the logic of events is for all to see.

Trials and tribulations, persecution and exile, and the patient endurance and constancy with which they were met by the Believers-all are known to Allah and will be credited to their account.

Quran is meant not only to be read, but understood in relation to context each verse is revealed. Many non Muslims today just read the simple translation and misquote Quran due to their ignorance to the detailed knowledge and facts stated in the Quran. May Allah guide us all to read Quran in detail to know the truth behind each of its verses. Aameen

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sūrah  An-Naml  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 | 4 | 5 | 6 |
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. In that:
  • The plain translation has been taken from the Holy Quran officially published by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 
  • The exegesis of the chapters of the Holy Quran is mainly 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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