Thursday 15 August 2019

Surah Al Furqan - The Criterion: Exegesis / Tafseer 25th Chapter - Holy Quran

Sūrah Al-Furqān is the twenty fifth surah with 77 ayahs with six rukus, part of the 18th-19th Juzʼ / section of the Holy Qur'an. The Sūrah takes its name "Al-Furqān" from the first verse. Though it is symbolic like the names of many other Surahs, it has a close relation to its subject matter. The name Al-Furqān or "The Criterion" refers to the Qur'an itself as the decisive factor between good and evil.  This chapter was revealed in Mecca and begins with a condemnation of all forms of polytheism.  

The Surah deals with the doubts and objections that were being raised against the Qur'an, the Prophethood of Muhammad (Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) and his teachings by the disbelievers of Makkah. Appropriate answers to each and every objection have been given and the people have been warned of the consequences of rejecting the Truth.

At the end of the Surah, a clear picture of the moral superiority of the Believers has been depicted as in the beginning of Surah Al-Mu'minun, as if to say, 'Here is the criterion for distinguishing the genuine from the counterfeit. This is the noble character of those people who have believed in and followed the teachings of the Holy Prophet and this is the kind of people that he is trying to train. You may yourselves compare and contrast this type of people with those Arabs, who have not as yet accepted the Message, and who are upholding "ignorance" and exerting their utmost to defeat the Truth. Now you may judge for yourselves as to which you would like to choose." Though this question was not posed in so many words, it was placed before every one in Arabia in a tangible shape. It may be noted that during the next few years, the practical answer given to this question by the whole nation, with the exception of a small minority, was that they chose Islam.

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 / Section - 1 [1-9]
Verses 1-9 Blessed is Allah Who revealed this Al-Quran, the criterion to distinguish right from wrong and Wrongdoers are those who reject the truth and disbelieve a Rasool be cause he is a human being:

تَبٰـرَكَ الَّذِىۡ نَزَّلَ الۡـفُرۡقَانَ عَلٰى عَبۡدِهٖ لِيَكُوۡنَ لِلۡعٰلَمِيۡنَ نَذِيۡرَا ۙ‏ 
( 1 )   Blessed is He who sent down the Criterion upon His Servant that he may be to the warner to all mankind
The Arabic word tabaraka is very comprehensive, and cannot be understood fully and completely by “blessed”, not even by a sentence. However, its meanings may be grasped by keeping in view the remaining portion of (verses 1-2). Here it has been used to convey the following meanings:
  • He is the most Beneficent: that is why He has bestowed the great blessing of Al-Furqan by degrees on His servant so that he may admonish all mankind.
  • He is the most Exalted and Great: for the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth belongs to Him.
  • He is the most Holy, Pure and Perfect: He is free from every tinge of shirk and has neither a partner in His Godhead, nor needs a son to succeed Him; for He is Ever- Lasting.
  • He is the Highest and the Most Supreme in rank: the Kingdom and the Dominion wholly and solely belong to Him, and there is none who has any share in His Authority and Powers.
  • He is the sole Creator of the universe and has created each and everything in it and predetermined its destiny. For further details, see (E.N. 14 of Al-Mominoon) and (E.N. 19 of Al-Furqan).
Al-Furqan: The Criterion. The Quran has been called Al-Furqan because it is the Criterion for judging right and wrong virtue and vice, truth and falsehood.

The word nazzala implies revelation of the Quran piecemeal by degrees. The wisdom of this introductory remark will be explained in the study of verse 32, where the objection of the disbelievers of Makkah as to why the Quran has not been sent down all at once, has been dealt with.

“Warner to all mankind”: To warn all mankind of the evil consequences of their heedlessness and deviation. The warner may be Al-Furqan or the Prophet (peace be upon him) to whom it was revealed. In fact, both were the warners because they were both sent for one and the same purpose. The message of the Quran and Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) were not meant for any particular country but for the whole world; and not for their own time, but for all times to come.

This has been stated at several places in the Quran. For instance: O Muhammad, say, O mankind, I am a Messenger to all of you from Allah (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayat 158). And this Quran has been revealed to me so that I should thereby warn you all and to whom it may reach. (Surah Al Anaam, Ayat 19). We have sent you only as a bearer of good news and as a warner to all mankind. (Surah Saba, Ayat 28). We have sent you as a mercy to all mankind. (Surah Al Anbiya, Ayat 107). The Prophet (peace be upon him) himself has stated this clearly in the Hadith. For instance, he said: I have been sent to all men, the red and the black. Before me a Prophet was sent only to his own people, but 1 have been sent to all mankind. (Bukhari, Muslim). I have been sent to all mankind, and I am the last of the Prophets. (Muslim).

اۨلَّذِىۡ لَهٗ مُلۡكُ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالۡاَرۡضِ وَلَمۡ يَتَّخِذۡ وَلَدًا وَّلَمۡ يَكُنۡ لَّهٗ شَرِيۡكٌ فِى الۡمُلۡكِ وَخَلَقَ كُلَّ شَىۡءٍ فَقَدَّرَهٗ تَقۡدِيۡرًا‏  
( 2 )   He to whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and who has not taken a son and has not had a partner in dominion and has created each thing and determined it with [precise] determination.
 "Who has not taken a son and has not had a partner in dominion," that is, He has neither any relation of direct parenthood to anyone, nor has He taken anyone as a son. Therefore, none else in the universe is entitled to worship. He is Unique and there can be no partner in His Godhead. Thus all those who associate with Him angels or jinns or saints as His offspring, are ignorant. Likewise, those who believe that someone is His son, are also ignorant. They have no true conception of the Greatness of Allah and consider Him to be weak and needy like human beings, who require someone to become their inheritor. It is sheer ignorance and folly.

The Arabic word mulk " اۨلَّذِىۡ لَهٗ مُلۡكُ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالۡاَرۡضِ "means Sovereignty, Supreme Authority, and Kingship. Thus the sentence will mean: Allah is the Absolute Ruler of the whole universe and there is none other who may have any right to authority; therefore He alone is God. For, whenever a man takes anything else as his lord, he does so under the presumption that his deity has the power to do good or bring harm and make or mar his fortune; nobody will like to worship a powerless deity. Now when it is recognized that none but Allah has the real power and authority in the universe, nobody will bow before anyone other than Him in worship, nor will sing anybody else’s hymns, nor commit the folly of bowing in worship before anything else except his real God, or recognize any other as his ruler, because “To Allah belongs the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth and to Him alone.”

There may be other translations of this also: He has ordained it in due proportion; or He has appointed an exact measure for everything. But no translation can convey its real meaning, which is: Allah has not only created everything in the universe but also determined its shape, size, potentialities, characteristics, term of existence, the limitations and extent of its development and all other things concerning it. Then, He has created the means and provisions to enable it to function properly in its own separate sphere.

This is one of the most comprehensive verses of the Quran with regard to the doctrine of Tawhid. According to traditions, the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself taught this verse to every child of his family as soon as it was able to speak and utter a few words. Thus, this verse is the best means of impressing the doctrine of Tawhid on our minds, and every Muslim should use it for educating his children as soon as they develop understanding.
( 3 )   But they have taken besides Him gods which create nothing, while they are created, and possess not for themselves any harm or benefit and possess not [power to cause] death or life or resurrection.
The words are comprehensive and cover all the false gods whom the mushriks worship whether they are angels, jinns, Prophets, saints, the sun, the moon, the stars, trees, rivers, animals etc., which have been created by Allah, or those which have been created by man, as the idols of stone, wood, etc.

That is, Allah has sent down Al-Furqan on His servant so that he may invite the people to the truth, which they have forsaken due to heedlessness and waywardness, and warn them of the evil consequences of their folly. The Furqan is being revealed piecemeal so that he may distinguish right from wrong and the genuine from the counterfeit.

وَقَالَ الَّذِيۡنَ كَفَرُوۡۤا اِنۡ هٰذَاۤ اِلَّاۤ اِفۡكٌ اۨفۡتَـرٰٮهُ وَاَعَانَهٗ عَلَيۡهِ قَوۡمٌ اٰخَرُوۡنَ​​ ۛۚ فَقَدۡ جَآءُوۡ ظُلۡمًا وَّزُوۡرًا ۛۚ‏ 
( 4 )   And those who disbelieve say, "This [Qur'an] is not except a falsehood he invented, and another people assisted him in it." But they have committed an injustice and a lie.
Ifk, which has been translated a "lie" may be distinguished from zur at the end of this verse, translated "falsehood". The "lie" which the enemies attributed to the holy Prophet of Allah was supposed to be something which did not exist in reality, but was invented by him with the aid of other people: the implication was that (1) the Revelation was not a revelation but a forgery, and that (2) the things revealed e.g. the news of the Hereafter, the Resurrection, the Judgment, the Bliss of the Righteous and the sufferings of the Evil, were fanciful and had no basis in fact. Delusion is also suggested. The reply is that, so far from that being the case, the facts were true and the charges were false (zar),-the falsehood being due to the habits of iniquity for which the Disbelievers' whole mental and spiritual attitude was responsible.
( 5 )   And they say, "Legends of the former peoples which he has written down, and they are dictated to him morning and afternoon."
( 6 )   Say, [O Muhammad], "It has been revealed by He who knows [every] secret within the heavens and the earth. Indeed, He is ever Forgiving and Merciful."
This is the same objection which the modern orientalists have raised against the Quran, but strange as it may seem, no contemporary of the Prophet (peace be upon him) ever raised such an objection against him. Nobody, for instance, ever said that Muhammad (peace be upon him) as a boy had met Buhairah, the monk, and had attained religious knowledge from him, nor did anybody claim that he had obtained all that information from the Christian monks and Jewish rabbis during the trade journeys in his youth. In fact, they knew that he had never traveled alone but in the caravans and if they said such a thing, it would be refuted by hundreds of their own people from the city.

Then, one could ask, if he had gained all that knowledge from Buhairah when he was about 12, and during trade journeys when he was 25, why did he keep it secret from the people till he became 40? Whereas he did not leave his country even for a single day, but lived for years among his own people in the same city. That is why the people of Makkah dared not bring such an impudent and baseless charge against him. Their objections related to the time when he claimed to be a Prophet (peace be upon him) of Allah and not to the time preceding that claim. Their argument was like this: This man is illiterate and cannot obtain any knowledge through books. He has lived among us for forty years, but we have never heard from him anything that might have shown that he had any acquaintance with what he is preaching; therefore he must have had the help of other people who copied these things from the writings of the ancients for him: he learns these things from them and recites them as divine revelations: this is a fraud. So much so that according to some traditions, they named some of his helpers, who were the people of the Book, were illiterate and lived in Makkah. They were: (1) Addas, a freed slave of Huvaitib bin Abdul Uzza. (2) Yasar, a freed slave of Ala bin Al Hadrami. (3) Jabr, a freed slave of Amir bin Rabbiah.

Apparently this is a weighty argument. For there can be no greater proof of the fraud of Prophethood than to specify its source. But it looks strange that no argument has been put forward to refute this charge except a mere denial, as if to say: Your charge is an impudent lie: you are cruel and unjust to bring such a false charge against Our Messenger; for the Quran is the Word of Allah Who knows all the secrets in the heavens and the earth. Had their charge been based on facts, it would not have been rejected with contempt, for in that case the disbelievers would have demanded a detailed and clear answer. But they realized the strength of the arguments and did not make such a demand. Moreover, the fact that the weighty argument failed to produce any doubt in the minds of the new Muslims, was a clear proof that it was a lie.

The enigma is clearly explained if we keep in view the prevalent circumstances:
  • (1) The disbelievers of Makkah did not take any decisive steps to prove their charge, although they could, had there been any truth in their charge. For instance, they could have made raids on the houses of the alleged helpers and on the house of the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself and taken hold of the whole material which was being used in this fraud, and made it public to expose his Prophethood. And this was not difficult for them because they never hesitated to resort to anything to defeat him, including persecution, as they were not bound by any moral code.
  • (2) The alleged helpers were not strangers. As they lived in Makkah, everyone knew it well how learned they were. The disbelievers themselves knew that they could never have helped to produce a unique and sublime Book like the Quran which had the highest literary excellence and merit. That is why none of them challenged the answer to the charge. That is why even those people, who did not know them, considered this frivolous. Then if the alleged helpers were such geniuses, why did they not claim to be prophets themselves?
  • (3) Then, all the alleged helpers were freed slaves who were attached to their former masters even after their freedom according to the customs of Arabia; therefore they could not have become willing accomplices of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in this fraud of false prophethood because their former masters could have coerced them to expose it. The only reason for them to help the Prophet (peace be upon him) in his claim could have been some greed or interest which, under the circumstances, could not even be imagined. Thus, apparently there was no reason why they should have offended those whose protection and patronage they needed and enjoyed, and become accomplices in the fraud.
  • (4) Above all, all these alleged helpers embraced Islam. Could it be possible that those very persons, who had helped the Prophet (peace be upon him) to make his fraud successful, could have possibly become his devoted followers? Moreover, if, for the sake of argument, it be admitted that they helped him, why was not any of them raised to a prominent rank as a reward of his help? Why were not Addas and Yasar and Jabr exalted to the same status as were Abu Bakr and Umar and Abu Ubaidah? Another odd thing is that if the fraud of prophethood was being carried on with the help of the alleged helpers, how could it remain hidden from Zaid bin Harithah, Ali bin Abi Talib, Abu Bakr and other people, who were the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) closest and most devoted companions? Thus the charge was not only frivolous and false, but it was also below the dignity of the Quran to give any answer to it. The charge has been cited merely to prove that those people had been so blinded by their opposition to the truth that they could say anything.
“He is All Forgiving and All Merciful” is very meaningful here. It means that Allah is giving full respite to the enemies of the truth, for He is Forgiving and Merciful; otherwise He would have sent down a scourge to annihilate them because of the false charges they were bringing against the Messenger. It also contains an admonition, as if to say: O unjust people, if even now you give up your enmity and obduracy and accept the truth, We shall forgive your previous misdeeds.
( 7 )   And they say, "What is this messenger that eats food and walks in the markets? Why was there not sent down to him an angel so he would be with him a warner?
That is, he cannot be a Messenger of Allah because he is a human being like us. Had Allah willed to send a Messenger, He would have sent an angel, and if at all a human being was to be sent, he should have been a king or a millionaire, who would have resided in a castle and been guarded by attendants. A Messenger could not be an ordinary person who has to move about in the market places like the common people, for it is obvious that such a human Messenger cannot attract the attention of the people. In other words, they thought that a Messenger was not meant to guide the people to the right path but to coerce them to obedience by show of worldly power and grandeur. For details, see (E.N. 26 of Surah Al-Mominoon).

That is, if a human being was to be sent as a Messenger, an angel should have been appointed to accompany him to proclaim: If you do not believe in him, I will scourge you. But what kind of a Messenger is he, who has to suffer from abuse and persecution?
( 8 )   Or [why is not] a treasure presented to him [from heaven], or does he [not] have a garden from which he eats?" And the wrongdoers say, "You follow not but a man affected by magic."
That is, if nothing else, Allah should at least have made extraordinary arrangements for his livelihood. But this man has no treasure and no gardens; yet he claims to be a Messenger of the Lord of the universe.

The disbelievers of Makkah made the false propaganda against the Prophet (peace be upon him) that he had been bewitched by some jinn or by the sorcery of an enemy or by the curse of some god or goddess for his insolence. But it is strange that they also admitted that he was a clever man who could make use of extracts from the ancient writings for the sake of his prophethood, could practice sorcery and was also a poet.
( 9 )   Look how they strike for you comparisons; but they have strayed, so they cannot [find] a way.
As these objections were frivolous and meaningless like others, the Quran has ignored them, saying: Your objections are irrelevant, unreasonable and void of sense. You bring no sound argument to prove your doctrine of shirk, or to refute the doctrine of Tawhid put forward by him, whereas the Messenger gives such proofs of the doctrine of Tawhid that you cannot refute them except by saying: He is bewitched. The same is true of the doctrine of the life-after-death and of the moral system of the Quran, which has produced men of high character. You cannot deny these things; you reject them, saying, He is a human being like us, etc.

Rukhu / Section - 2 [10-20]
Verses 10-16 Those who deny the Hour and life after death will be cast in the blazing fire
( 10 )   Blessed is He who, if He willed, could have made for you [something] better than that - gardens beneath which rivers flow - and could make for you palaces.
The charges the enemies made against the Messenger of Allah recoiled on those who made them. The Messenger was vindicated, and went from strength to strength, for Allah's Truth will always prevail. The men who perversely leave the way of truth, righteousness, and sincerity, have not only missed the Way, but on account of their perversity they will never be able to find any way by which they can get back to Truth.

The reminiscent phrase shows that the first argument, about the Revelation and Prophethood, is completed, and we now pass on to the contrast, the fate of the rejecters of both.
( 11 )   But they have denied the Hour, and We have prepared for those who deny the Hour a Blaze.
Denying the Hour of Judgment means denying the power of Justice and Truth to triumph; it means asserting the dominion of Evil. But Allah himself will punish them, as shown in the following verses.

The objections they are raising are not due to the reason that they doubt the authenticity of the Quran on some rational ground, or that they do not believe in you for the reason that you eat food and walk about in the streets like the common people, or that they did not accept your message of truth only because you were not escorted by an angel, or were not given a treasure. But the real reason why they are putting forward all sorts of absurd arguments to reject your message is that they do not believe in the life after- death, and this denial has made them free from all moral obligations. For when one denies the life-after death, there remains no need for him to consider and decide what is true or false, or what is right or wrong, etc.

Their argument is like this: There is going to be no life after this one on the earth when we will be called to account for our deeds before God. Death will be the end of everything, and it will therefore make no difference whether one was a worshiper of God or a disbeliever or an atheist. When the ultimate end is to become one with the dust, there is no need of judging what is right and what is wrong except by the criterion of success and failure in this life. Those who deny the Hereafter also see that worldly success or failure does not entirely depend upon one’s faith or conduct; nay, they very often see that the righteous and the wicked persons meet with the same end irrespective of their faith for which there is no ordained punishment or reward in this life; one righteous person may be living a life of hardship while another enjoying all the good things of life; one wicked person may be suffering for his misdeeds while the other enjoying a life of pleasure and plenty. As such, as far as the worldly consequences of adopting a particular moral attitude are concerned, the disbelievers in the Hereafter cannot be satisfied whether it is right or wrong. In view of this, those who deny the Hereafter, do not see any need to consider an invitation to faith and morality even if it is presented in a most forceful way.

اِذَا رَاَتۡهُمۡ مِّنۡ مَّكَانٍۢ بَعِيۡدٍ سَمِعُوۡا لَهَا تَغَيُّظًا وَّزَفِيۡرًا‏ 
( 12 )   When the Hellfire sees them from a distant place, they will hear its fury and roaring.
For zafir, a deep emission of breath or a sigh. Here the Fire is personified. It is raging with hunger and fury, and as soon as it sees them from ever so far, it emits a sigh of desire. Till then they had not realized their full danger. Now, just as their heart begins to tremble with terror, they are bound together-like with like,-and cast into the roaring flames!

“The Fire sees them” The words used in the text may be metaphorical, or they may mean that the Fire of Hell will be endowed with the faculties of seeing, thinking and judging.
( 13 )   And when they are thrown into a narrow place therein bound in chains, they will cry out thereupon for destruction.
Anything-total annihilation-would be better than the anguish they will suffer. But no annihilation will be granted to them. One destruction will not be enough to wipe out the intensity of their anguish. They will have to ask for many destructions, but they will not get them!
( 14 )   [They will be told], "Do not cry this Day for one destruction but cry for much destruction."
( 15 )   Say, "Is that better or the Garden of Eternity which is promised to the righteous? It will be for them a reward and destination.
Shifting the scene back to this life, they may fairly be asked: "Here is the result of the two courses of conduct: which do you prefer?"

To the righteous, the final Bliss will in one sense be a reward. But the word "reward" does not truly represent facts, for two reasons: (1) the Bliss will be greater than they deserved; and (2) righteousness is its own reward. The best way of expressing the result would be to say that their highest Wish will now have been attained; the goal will have been reached; they will be in Allah's Presence. That is salvation in the highest.
( 16 )   For them therein is whatever they wish, [while] abiding eternally. It is ever upon your Lord a promise [worthy to be] requested.
Literally: It is a promise whose fulfillment can be demanded (from Allah).

Here one may ask the question: How can the promise of the Garden and the threat of the Fire produce any effect on the attitude of a parson who denies resurrection and the existence of Paradise and Hell? In order to understand the wisdom of this method of admonition, one should keep in view that it is meant to appeal to the self-interest of an obdurate person, who does not otherwise listen to such arguments. This is, as if to say: Even if, for the sake of argument, there is no proof of the reality of the life-after-death, there is also no proof that such an event will not occur at all, and there is a possibility for both. In the latter case, the believer and the disbeliever both will be in one and the same position, but if there is life in the Hereafter, as the Prophet asserts, then the disbelievers will be doomed to utter ruin. Therefore, such an approach breaks the stubbornness of the disbelievers and proves to be highly effective when the entire scene of resurrection gathering of the people, their accountability and of Hell and Heaven is presented in a vivid manner as if the Prophet (peace be upon him) had himself seen it with his own eyes. For further explanation, see (Surah Ha Meem Sajdah, Ayat 52) thereof, and (Surah Al-Ahqaf, Ayat 10).

Verses 17-20 On the day of Judgement, those deities whom the Mushrikin / disbelievers invoke will deny any claim of divinity and hold the Mushrikin responsible for their shirk
( 17 )   And [mention] the Day He will gather them and that which they worship besides Allah and will say, "Did you mislead these, My servants, or did they [themselves] stray from the way?"
Here, deities do not mean idols but the angels, the prophets; the saints, the martyrs and the pious men, whom the mushriks of different communities have made their deities.

The question is as in a Court of Justice, to convince those who stand arraigned.

Such dialogues between Allah and the gods of the disbelievers occur at several places in the Quran. For instance, in Surah Saba it has been stated: On the day when He will gather them all together, He will ask the angels, Did these people worship you? They will answer, Glory be to Thee! Thou art our Patron and not they: they in fact worshiped the jinns (that is, satans); most of these believed in them. (verses 40-41). Similarly in Surah Al- Maidah, it is said: And when Allah will say, O Jesus, son of Mary, did you ever say to the people: Make me and my mother gods instead of Allah? He will answer, Glory be to Thee! It did not behoove me to say that which I had no right to say. I told them only that which Thou didst bid me: Worship Allah, Who is my Lord as well as your Lord. (verses. 116, 117).
( 18 )   They will say, "Exalted are You! It was not for us to take besides You any allies. But You provided comforts for them and their fathers until they forgot the message and became a people ruined."
The creatures of Allah who were worshiped will prove that they never asked for worship : on the contrary they themselves worshiped Allah and sought the protection of Allah and of none but Allah. They will go further and show that the false worshipers added ingratitude to their other sins: for Allah bestowed abundance on them, and they blasphemed against Allah. They were indeed "worthless and destroyed", for the word bar bears both significations.

A similar mention is made in [Surah Al Ah'raf: 46:verses 5-6]:
(5) And who is more astray than he who invokes besides Allah those who will not respond to him until the Day of Resurrection, and they, of their invocation, are unaware. (6) And when the people are gathered [that Day], they [who were invoked] will be enemies to them, and they will be deniers of their worship.
( 19 )   So they will deny you, [disbelievers], in what you say, and you cannot avert [punishment] or [find] help. And whoever commits injustice among you - We will make him taste a great punishment.
The argument is as in a court of justice. If the false worshipers plead that they were misled by those whom they falsely worshiped, the latter will be confronted with them and will prove that plea to be false. No help can be got from them, and the penalty cannot then be averted. After all these things are thus explained in detail beforehand, all ungodly men should repent and tum to Allah. False worship is here identified with sin, for sin is disobedience to Allah, and arises from a wrong appreciation of Allah's attributes and His goodness to His creatures. The sinful man refuses, in his conduct, to serve Allah: he serves other things than Allah.
( 20 )   And We did not send before you, [O Muhammad], any of the messengers except that they ate food and walked in the markets. And We have made some of you [people] as trial for others - will you have patience? And ever is your Lord, Seeing.
This is an answer to the objection of the disbelievers of Makkah that Muhammad (peace be upon him) could not be a Messenger of Allah because he ate food and moved about in the streets. They have been told that all the Messengers of Allah who came before Muhammad, like Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Moses and many others (peace be upon them all) whom they knew and acknowledged as Prophets and Messengers of Allah also ate food and walked about in the streets. Nay, even Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him), son of Mary, himself, whom the Christians had made the son of God (and whose image had also been placed in the Kabah by the disbelievers of Makkah) ate food and walked about in the streets like a common man even according to the Gospels themselves.

It is obvious that the Messenger and the believers were a test for the disbelievers as to whether they would believe even after hearing the divine message and seeing their pure character. On the other hand, the disbelievers were a test for the Messenger and his followers in the sense that they were a means of proving and trying their true faith by their persecution. For it is this test alone which helps to discriminate the true believers from the hypocrites. That is why, at first, only the poor and the helpless but sincere people embraced Islam. Had there been no persecution and hardships but prosperity, wealth and grandeur, the worshipers of the world and the selfish people would have been the first to embrace Islam.

That is, now when you have understood the wisdom of the test by persecution, it is hoped that you will endure all kinds of hardships without complaint, and willingly undergo the persecutions that are inevitable.

It probably means two things: First, the way your Lord is conducting your affairs, is according to His will and nothing that happens is without His knowledge. Second: He is fully aware of your sincerity and righteousness in serving His cause under all kinds of hardships. You should therefore rest assured that you will have your full reward. He also sees the persecution and iniquity of the disbelievers; therefore they will not escape the consequences of their wickedness.

Rukhu / Section - 3 [21-34]
Verses 21-24 Unbelievers who ask for angels today will ask for a stone barrier between them and the angels of punishment
( 21 )   And those who do not expect the meeting with Us say, "Why were not angels sent down to us, or [why] do we [not] see our Lord?" They have certainly become arrogant within themselves and [become] insolent with great insolence.
That is, if Allah had really intended to convey His message to us, He would not have chosen a prophet and sent an angel only to him, but to each one of us individually with the guidance, or He should have sent a deputation of angels to appear before the people with the message. The same objection has been stated in Surah Al-Anaam thus: When a revelation comes before them, they say: We will not believe in it unless we are given the like of what has been given to the Messengers of Allah. Allah knows best whom to entrust with His mission and how it should be enforced. (verse 124).

That is, Allah Himself should appear before us and make the appeal. Another translation could be: They have formed a very high opinion of their own selves.

The Israelites in the time of Prophet Musa (Moses, peace be upon him) demanded to see Allah. But they were struck with thunder and lightning even as they looked on. Indeed death would have been their fate, had it not been for the mercy of Allah.
( 22 )   The day they see the angels - no good tidings will there be that day for the criminals, and [the angels] will say, "Prevented and inaccessible."
They will not be allowed to enjoy any of the felicity or peace which will be the normal state of the new world of Reality. Their own past will stand as a barrier to shut them off .

This very theme has been expressed in much greater detail in (Al-Ana'am, Ayat 8); (Surah Al-Hijr, Ayats 7-8 and 51-64); and in (Surah Bani Israil, Ayats 90-95.
( 23 )   And We will regard what they have done of deeds and make them as dust dispersed.( 24 )   The companions of Paradise, that Day, are [in] a better settlement and better resting place.
In contrast to the miserable plight of the disbelievers on the Day of Resurrection, the believers will be protected from the hardships of that Day. They will be treated with honor and will have a blissful place for midday rest. In fact the barrier which will shut out the evil ones will not exist for the righteous, who will have an abode of bliss and repose, for they will be in the Garden of bliss.

According to a tradition, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: I declare on oath by Allah, in Whose hand is my life, that the long, horrible Day of Resurrection will be made very short and light for a believer, as short and light as the time taken in offering an obligatory Prayer. (Musnad Ahmad).

Verses 25-31 Disbelievers shall regret on the Day of Judgement not adopting the Right Path
( 25 )   And [mention] the Day when the heaven will split open with [emerging] clouds, and the angels will be sent down in successive descent.
It will be a new world, and the way to describe it must necessarily draw upon our present experience of the finest things in nature. The sky, which now appears remote will be rent asunder. There will appear clouds of glory-angels and spiritual Lights of all grades and ranks-and the true majesty and goodness of Allah will be visible as it should be in reality, and as it is not now, on account of "our muddy vesture of decay".
( 26 )   True sovereignty, that Day, is for the Most Merciful. And it will be upon the disbelievers a difficult Day.
That is, on that Day all other kingdoms, which deluded man in the world, will come to an end, and there will be only the Kingdom of Allah, Who is the real Sovereign of the universe. In (Surah Momin, Ayat 16), the same thing has been stated thus: On that Day when all the people will stand exposed, and nothing of them will be hidden from Allah, it will be asked: Whose is the Sovereignty today? The response from every side will be: Of Allah, the Almighty.

According to a tradition, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Allah will take the heavens in one hand and the earth in the other, and will declare: I am the Sovereign: I am the Ruler. Where are the other rulers of the earth? Where are those tyrants? Where are the arrogant people? (Musnad Ahmad, Bukhari, Muslim, and Abu Daud, with slight variations).
( 27 )   And the Day the wrongdoer will bite on his hands [in regret] he will say, "Oh, I wish I had taken with the Messenger a way.
The words are general, and for us the interest is in a general sense. A man who actually receives the Truth and is on the right path is all the more culpable if he is diverted from that path by the machinations of a worldly friend. The particular person whom some Commentators mention in this connection was one 'Uqba who received the light of Islam, but was misled afterwards by a worldly friend into apostasy and blasphemy. He came to an evil end afterwards.
( 28 )   Oh, woe to me! I wish I had not taken that one as a friend.
( 29 )   He led me away from the remembrance after it had come to me. And ever is Satan, to man, a deserter."   
The seductive wiles of the Satan are merely meant for snares. There is fraud and treachery in them. The deceived ones are left in the lurch after the way of escape is made impossible for them.

وَقَالَ الرَّسُوۡلُ يٰرَبِّ اِنَّ قَوۡمِى اتَّخَذُوۡا هٰذَا الۡقُرۡاٰنَ مَهۡجُوۡرًا‏  
( 30 ) And the Messenger has said, "O my Lord, indeed my people have taken this Qur'an as [a thing] abandoned."
The Arabic word mahjur is capable of several meanings. As such, the sentence may mean: these people did not regard the Quran as worthy of their consideration: they neither accepted it nor followed it. Or they considered it to be nonsense or the delirium of insanity. Or they made it the target of their ridicule and mockery.
( 31 )   And thus have We made for every prophet an enemy from among the criminals. But sufficient is your Lord as a guide and a helper.
That is, it is not a new thing that the disbelievers have become your enemies, for it has always been so with all the former Prophets and Messengers.  This is inevitable because it is Our Law that the criminals will always oppose the truth. You should, therefore, pursue your mission with full confidence and determination without expecting any immediate results. See also (Surah Al- Ana'am, Ayats 112-113).

Guidance does not only imply bestowing of the knowledge of the truth, but it also means giving the right guidance at the right time to guide Muslims on the right lines and to defeat the strategy and scheme of the enemies of Islam. Help means all kinds of moral, spiritual and material help to the followers of the truth in their conflict against falsehood. Thus, Allah is All Sufficient for the righteous people and they need no other support provided they have full faith in Allah and fight falsehood with all their energies and strength.

This meant to encourage the Prophet (peace be upon him), otherwise the previous assertion would have been very discouraging without this. It meant to say: Even if the unbelievers have become your enemies, you should continue your mission, for We shall guide you in every stage and situation and help you against them. We shall defeat all the schemes of your enemies and help you in every way in your conflict with falsehood. We shall provide you with material means also, but you should trust in Us and exert your utmost against falsehood.

Verses 32-34 Allah explains the wisdom behind revealing Al-Quran piecemeal rather than all at once
( 32 )   And those who disbelieve say, "Why was the Qur'an not revealed to him all at once?" Thus [it is] that We may strengthen thereby your heart. And We have spaced it distinctly.
While this  was oft asked question from the Prophet of Allah, the same is still being asked many non believers even today. Thus the explanation of this verse will answer those who question in this regard:

As the disbelievers of Makkah considered this objection to be very strong, they repeated it over and over again. The Quran also has cited it with its answer at several places. Their question implied: Had the Quran been really the Word of Allah, it would have been sent as a complete book all at once; for Allah has the knowledge of everything and every human affair. Thus it is obvious that nothing is being sent down from above; but this man himself fabricates all its themes or gets these from other people or other books.

So that by it We may strengthen your heart and imbue it with courage. The words are comprehensive. This concise sentence contains the following explanation why the Quran was revealed piecemeal by degrees:
  • (1) So that the Prophet (peace be upon him) may commit it to memory perfectly and recite it to his people, who are illiterate, rather than present it in a written form.
  • (2) So that its teachings and messages may be impressed deeply on the minds.
  • (3) So that the way of life it teaches, may be followed with complete conviction, which would not be possible if all the commandments and the whole system of life had been sent down all at once.
  • (4) So that the hearts of the Prophet and his followers may be imbued with courage during the conflict between the truth and falsehood. This required that the divine guidance and messages of encouragement should be revealed as and when needed according to the practical situation. Obviously, this could not have been possible if these had been sent down all at once. 
  • (5) "Slow, well-arranged stages": though the stages were gradual, as the occasion demanded from time to time, in the course of twenty-three years, the whole emerged, when completed, as a well-arranged scheme of spiritual instruction
This also showed that Allah had not left His Messenger alone amidst persecution to counter all sorts of resistance and opposition after appointing him to the mission, but He Himself was watching the struggle with concern and guiding His Prophet through every difficulty by direct communion in every critical situation.
( 33 )  (This was also done so that) whenever they put any strange question to you, We sent its right answer and explained the matter in the best manner. 
This is yet another point of wisdom of sending down the Quran by degrees. Allah did not intend to produce a book on guidance and spread its teachings through the agency of His Prophet (peace be upon him). Had it been so the disbelievers would have been justified in their objection as to why the Quran had not been sent down as a complete book all at once. The real object of the revelation of the Quran was that Allah intended to start a movement of faith, piety and righteousness to combat disbelief, ignorance and sin, and He had raised a Prophet to lead and guide the movement. Then, on the one hand, Allah had taken it upon Himself to send necessary instructions and guidance to the leader and his followers as and when needed, and on the other, He had also taken the responsibility to answer the objections and remove the doubts of opponents and give the right interpretation of things which they misunderstood. Thus the Quran was the collection of the different discourses that were being revealed by Allah; it was not merely meant to be a code of laws or of moral principles, but a Book, which was being sent down piecemeal to guide the movement in all its stages to suit its requirements on different occasions.
( 34 )   The ones who are gathered on their faces to Hell - those are the worst in position and farthest astray in [their] way.
This verse may be compared and contrasted with verse 24 above. Here the argument is rounded off about the distinction between the Good and Evil in their final Destiny. The Good are to have "the fairest of places for repose", and in contrast, the Evil are, "as to Path, most astray". They have no repose, and their wanderings lead nowhere.

Rukhu / Section - 4 [35-44]
Verses 35-44 All nations which rejected Allah's revelations and His Rasools / Messengers were utterly destroyed and Those who have taken their desires as their gods are nothing but animals
( 35 )   And We had certainly given Moses the Scripture and appointed with him his brother Aaron as an assistant.
Here by the Scripture is not meant the Torah, which was given to Prophet Moses after the exodus from Egypt, but it implies that divine guidance which was given to him after his appointment as a Prophet up to the Exodus. It included the orations delivered by him in the court of Pharaoh and also the instructions given to him during his conflict with Pharaoh as mentioned in the Quran here and there. Most probably, these things were not included in the Torah; the Torah began with the Ten Commandments which were given to Moses engraved on stone tablets on Mount Sinai after the exodus.
( 36 )   And We said, "Go both of you to the people who have denied Our signs." Then We destroyed them with [complete] destruction.
The divine teachings which had reached them through Prophets Jacob and Joseph, and which had been preached to them by the righteous people of Israel for centuries.
( 37 )   And the people of Noah - when they denied the messengers, We drowned them, and We made them for mankind a sign. And We have prepared for the wrongdoers a painful punishment.
They did not charge only Prophet Noah (peace be upon him) with imposture because he was a man, but, in fact, charged all the Prophets with imposture because they were all human beings. And for them a painful chastisement in the Hereafter waits.
( 38 )   And in like manner were the 'Ad and the Thamud destroyed and the people of al-Rass and many a nation in the centuries in between.
Commentators are not clear as to who the "Companions of the Rass" were. The root meaning of "rass" is an old well or shallow water-pit. Another root connects it with the burial of the dead. But it is probably the name of a town or place. The "Companions of the Rass" may well have been the people of Shu'aib, as they are here mentioned with the 'Ad, the Thamud, and Lot's people, and the people of Shu'aib are mentioned in a similar connection in Surah xxvi. 176-190 and in Surah xi. 84-95. Shu'aib was the prophet of the Madyan people in the north-west of Arabia, where many old wells are found. There is however an oasis town al-Rass in the district of Qasim in Middle Najd, about thirty-five miles south-west of the town of 'Unaiza, reputed to be the central point of the Arabian Peninsula, and situated midway between Makkah and Basra.

See Doughty's Arabia Deserts, thin-paper one-volume edition, London 1926, 11, 435 and Map, Lat. 26*N., and Long. 43*E.
( 39 )   And for each We presented examples [as warnings], and each We destroyed with [total] destruction.
( 40 )   And they have already come upon the town which was showered with a rain of evil. So have they not seen it? But they are not expecting resurrection.
The habitation referred to was that of the people of Prophet Lot (peace be upon him), which was destroyed by a rain of stones. The people of Hijaz while traveling to Palestine and Syria, passed by its ruins and heard the horrible tales of its destruction.

As the disbelievers did not believe in the Hereafter, they looked at these ancient ruins as mere spectators and did not take any warning from them. Incidentally, this is the difference between the observation of a disbeliever and of a believer in the Hereafter. The former looks at such things as a mere spectator or at the most as an archaeologist whereas the latter learns moral lessons from the same and obtains an insight into the realities beyond this worldly life.
( 41 )   And when they see you, [O Muhammad], they take you not except in ridicule, [saying], "Is this the one whom Allah has sent as a messenger?
( 42 )   He almost would have misled us from our gods had we not been steadfast in [worship of] them." But they are going to know, when they see the punishment, who is farthest astray in [his] way.
Obviously there is a contradiction between the question posed by the disbelievers and the assertion made by them about their deities. The question was meant to bring the Prophet (peace be upon him) into contempt, as if to say: You are making a claim that is far above your low position. On the other hand, their assertion shows that they indirectly admitted the force of the arguments and the high character of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and were even afraid of the effectiveness and success of his message, because, according to them, it was going to turn them away from their false gods.
( 43 )   Have you seen the one who takes as his god his own desire? Then would you be responsible for him?
“The person who makes his desire as his god” is the one who becomes the slave of his lusts and desires. As he serves his lust like the one who worships his deity. He becomes as much guilty of shirk as the one who worships an idol. According to a tradition, related by Abu Hurairah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Of all the false gods being worshipped and served instead of Allah, the worst in the sight of Allah is one’s own lust. (Tabarani).

The man who keeps his desires under control, and uses his common sense to make decisions, can be expected to come to the right path by making an appeal to his reason even though he might have been involved in shirk or disbelief. For if he decides to follow the right way, he will remain firm and steadfast on it. On the other hand, the man who is the slave of his own lust, is like a ship without an anchor, who wanders about on any path where his lust leads him to. He is least bothered about the distinction between the right and the wrong, the true and the false, and has no desire to choose one against the other. And, if at all, such a person is persuaded to accept the message of guidance, no one can take the responsibility that he will observe any moral laws.
( 44 )   Or do you think that most of them hear or reason? They are not except like livestock. Rather, they are [even] more astray in [their] way.
They are only like the cattle because they follow their lusts blindly. Just as the sheep and cattle do not know where their driver is taking them, to the meadow or to the slaughter house, so are these people also following their leaders blindly without knowing or judging where they are being led, to success or to destruction. The only difference between the two is that the cattle have no intelligence and will not be accountable as to the place where they are being taken by the driver. But it is a pity that human beings who are endowed with reason, should behave like cattle; therefore their condition is worse than that of cattle.

Incidentally it should be noted that this passage (verses 43, 44) is not meant to dissuade the Prophet (peace be upon him) from conveying the message to such people, but it is an indirect warning to the disbelievers of the consequences if they continued to behave like cattle.

Rukhu / Section - 5 [45-60]
Verses 45-50 Allah has made the night a mantle, sleep to rest, and the day to work
( 45 )   Have you not considered your Lord - how He extends the shadow, and if He willed, He could have made it stationary? Then We made the sun for it an indication.
We saw in Surah An Nur xxiv. 35 that Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. We have now another sublime passage, in which we are asked to contemplate the Glory of Allah by a parable of the subtle play of Light and Shade in Allah's creation.

In our artificial life and surroundings we fail to see some of the finest mysteries of Light and Shade. We praise, and rightly, the wonderful colors of sunset. We see, particularly in climates more northerly countries, the subtle play of Light and Shade in the twilights succeeding sunsets. If we were as assiduous in seeing sunrises and the play of Light and Shade preceding them, we should see phenomena even more impressive, as the early morning seems to us more holy than any other time in the twenty-four hours of the sun's daily journey. There is first the false dawn, with its curious uncertain light and the curious long uncertain shadows which it casts. Then there are the streaks of black in the East, succeeded by the true dawn, with its delicate tones of colours and light and shade. The light of this true or false Dawn is not given by the direct rays of the sun. In a sense it is not light, but the shadows or reflections of light. And they gradually merge into actual sunrise, with its more substantial or more defined shadows, which we can definitely connect with the sun.

The morning shadows are long but more definite, and their length and direction are seen to be guided by the sun. But they change insensibly every second or fraction of a second.
( 46 )   So (as the sun rises), We gradually roll up that shade unto Us..
We annihilate it or cause it to disappear, for everything which is annihilated returns to Allah, because everything comes from Him and returns to Him.

The Quran has used the phenomenon of the shadow caused by the sun for two purposes. (if it is taken literally, it is meant to warn the disbelievers that they should learn a lesson from this and should not behave like cattle, as if to say: If you had considered the benefits of the shadow in regard to your everyday experience, you would have accepted without any hesitation the doctrine of Tauhid. Had the shadow been constant, there would have been no life on earth, for life depends on the light and heat of the sun. On the other hand, if there had been no shadow at all, the constant heat and light of the sun would have made life impossible. Besides this, if there had been sudden changes in the sun and the shadow, they would not have been able to endure it for long; therefore you should reflect on this phenomenon and understand it well that it has been so ordained by the All-Wise and the All-Powerful Creator so that it always increases or decreases gradually in accordance with fixed natural laws. Thus it is obvious that it could not have come into existence by itself nor produced by blind mechanisms nor functioned so regularly and continuously under many independent gods.

But if it is taken in the metaphorical sense, there is between the lines a subtle suggestion, and it is this: Just as the shadow does not remain in one and the same state, likewise the shadow of disbelief and shirk, which appears to have spread far and wide, will begin to shorten as the sun of guidance gradually rises; but it requires patience, for Allah never brings about sudden changes.
( 47 )   And it is He who has made the night for you as clothing and sleep [a means for] rest and has made the day a resurrection.
The night is a garment in the sense that it covers and hides things.

This verse has three objects:

  1. It provides a proof of Tawhid.
  2. It furnishes a proof of the possibility of life-after-death from everyday human experience.
  3. It bears the good news that the night of ignorance has come to an end and now the bright day of knowledge and guidance has dawned. It is therefore inevitable that those who were sleeping in ignorance, will sooner or later wake up, but those who have slept the sleep of death, will not wake up and will themselves be deprived of life, while the business of the day will go on thriving even without them. 
In other words, the contrast between Light and Shade continues; but the shade of Night is as a Robe to cover and screen us and give us Repose from activity; and the Light of Day is for striving, work, activity. Or again, the Night is like Death, our temporary Death before Judgment, the time during which our senses are as sealed in Sleep; and the Day is like the renewal of Life at the Resurrection.
( 48 )   And it is He who sends the winds as good tidings before His mercy, and We send down from the sky pure water
 The Winds are heralds of Joy, ushering in Rain, which is one form of Allah's Mercy. Again, the symbolism presents a fresh point of view. Heat (which is connected with light) sets up currents in the atmosphere, besides sucking up moisture from the seas, and distributing it by means of Winds over wide surfaces of the earth. In the physical world we know the beneficent action of heat on life, and by contrast, we also know how intolerable high temperatures may become, and how the cloud-bearing Winds come as welcome heralds of rain.

That is, such water as is pure and free from all sorts of impurities, germs and poison, which cleanses and washes away filth and becomes a source of life for men, beasts as well as all kinds of plant life.
( 49 )   That We may bring to life thereby a dead land and give it as drink to those We created of numerous livestock and men.
The verse contains a subtle suggestion that the period of the drought of ignorance has been replaced through Allah’s mercy by the blessed rain of Prophethood, which is showering the life giving knowledge of revelation from which many servants of Allah will certainly benefit, if not all.
( 50 )   And We have certainly distributed it among them that they might be reminded, but most of the people refuse except disbelief.
“We have repeated it among them” may have three meanings:
  • We have cited the phenomenon of rainfall over and over again in the Quran in order to make plain to them the reality.
  • We are time and again showing them the wonderful phenomenon of the heat and drought, seasonal winds and clouds, rainfall and its life producing effects.
  • We go on changing the system of the distribution of rainfall throughout the world year after year, so that the same place does not receive the same amount of rainfall every time. Sometimes a place is left completely dry, another has more or less of rainfall than usual, while some other is flooded with rain water. They see all these different phenomena with their countless different results in their daily life.
The verse means to impress that the wonderful system of rainfall is by itself a proof of the existence of Allah, of One Lord of the universe, and of His attributes. Its wonderful distribution during the year and over different parts of the earth is a clear proof that there is an All-Wise Designer. But the obdurate disbelievers do not learn any lesson from it, and persist in their ingratitude, though this has been cited in the Quran repeatedly for this purpose.

It is also a proof of the life-after-death, for the disbelievers themselves see that rainfall brings to life dead land year after year. This clearly shows that Allah has the power to bring the dead back to life, but the disbelievers do not learn any lesson from it and persist in their irresponsible ways.

If verse 48 is taken in the metaphorical sense, the pure water of rain will mean the blessings of Prophethood. Human history shows that whenever this blessing has been sent down, ignorance has been replaced by knowledge, injustice by justice and wickedness by righteousness. The coming of Prophets has always proved to be the harbinger of a moral revolution. But only those who accepted their guidance benefited from it. This is the lesson of history, yet the disbelievers reject it because of their ingratitude.

Verses 51-60 Do not yield to the unbelievers; make Jihad against them with Al-Quran and Put your trust in Ever-Living (Allah), Who will never die
( 51 )   And if We had willed, We could have sent into every city a warner.
Allah's Message has been distributed to all nations. If it had been necessary, a Prophet could have been sent to every town and village. But Allah's Plan is different. He has sent His Light to every heart, through His Signs in man's conscience, in Nature, and in Revelation.
( 52 )   So do not obey the disbelievers, and strive against them with the Qur'an a great striving.
وَهُوَ الَّذِىۡ مَرَجَ الۡبَحۡرَيۡنِ هٰذَا عَذۡبٌ فُرَاتٌ وَّهٰذَا مِلۡحٌ​ اُجَاجٌ ۚ وَجَعَلَ بَيۡنَهُمَا بَرۡزَخًا وَّحِجۡرًا مَّحۡجُوۡرًا‏  
( 53 )   And it is He who has released [simultaneously] the two seas, one fresh and sweet and one salty and bitter, and He placed between them a barrier and prohibiting partition. 
This phenomenon has been perceived in many places in the sea and on the land that sweet water and bitter water has existed side by side. Turkish Admiral Syedi Ali Rais, in his book Mirat-al-Mamalik, written in the 16th century, has mentioned a place in the Persian Gulf, where springs of sweet waver exist under the bitter waters of the sea, where he could get drinking water for his fleet.

Maraja: literally, let free or let loose cattle for grazing. Bahrain: two seas, or two bodies of flowing water; for bahr is applied both to the salt sea and to rivers. In the world taken as a whole, there are two bodies of water, viz.,: (1) the great salt Ocean, and (2) the bodies of sweet water fed by rain, whether they are rivers, lakes or underground springs: their source in rain makes them one, and their drainage, whether above-ground or underground, eventually to the Ocean, also makes them one. They are free to mingle, and in a sense they do mingle, for there is a regular water-cycle: and the rivers flow constantly to the sea, and tidal rivers get sea-water for several miles up their estuaries at high tide. Yet in spite of all this, the laws of gravitation are like a barrier or partition set by Allah, by which the two bodies of water as a whole are always kept apart and distinct. In the case of rivers carrying large quantities of water to the sea, like the Mississippi or the Yangtse-Kiang, the river-water with its silt remains distinct from sea-water for a long distance out at sea. But the wonderful Sign is that the two bodies of water, though they pass through each other, remain distinct bodies, with their distinct functions.

In Allah's overall scheme of things, bodies of salt and sweet water, which are adjoining and yet separate, have significant functions. Weaving a harmonious fabric out of these different fibres shows both Allah's power and wisdom. Incidentally, this verse points to a fact which has only recently been discovered by science. This fact relates to the oceans of the world: they meet and yet each remains separate for Allah has placed "a barrier, a partition" between them.
( 54 )   And it is He who has created from water a human being and made him [a relative by] lineage and marriage. And ever is your Lord competent [concerning creation].
Here the miracle of the birth of man from a mere sperm drop and the procreation of his offspring from man and woman have been cited as a proof of Tauhid. Though both man and woman belong to the same genus, they are two species, having important common human characteristics but different physical structures and psychological traits. It is a proof of Tauhid that the All- Powerful Allah has used this difference for making the two as complements and not antagonists. It is also the design of the All-Powerful Creator that He is creating sons and daughters in the world in due proportion Then the sons marry and create blood relationships, and the daughters are married and become means of forming new relationships. This process goes on widening to produce families, tribes and nations belonging to the same race and bound by the same civilization.

Water is a fluid, unstable thing: yet from it arises the highest form of life known to us, in this world, man. And man has not only the functions and characteristics of the noblest animals, but his abstract relationships are also typical of his highest nature. He can trace lineage and pedigree, and thus remember and commemorate a long line of ancestors, to whom he is bound by ties of piety, which no mere animals can do. Further, there is the union in marriage: it is not only like the physical union of animals, but it gives rise to relationships arising out of the sexes of individuals who were not otherwise related to each other. These are physical and social facts.
( 55 )   But they worship rather than Allah that which does not benefit them or harm them, and the disbeliever is ever, against his Lord, an assistant [to Satan].
This is a characteristic of the typical disbeliever. He is a helper and defender of all those who are rebels against Allah and an enemy of all those who may he striving to raise Allah’s Word and enforce His Law in the world. He is associated directly or indirectly with all the works of Allah’s disobedience and opposes and resists in one way or the other every effort that is made to bring people to the path of Allah’s obedience and service.

Here is the highest contrast of all-material things which are inert, and Allah, Whose goodness and power are supreme; Faith and Un-faith, meriting glad tidings and admonition; the selfish man who is self-centered, and the man of God, who works for others without reward.
( 56 )   And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a bringer of good tidings and a warner.
This verse was meant to comfort the Prophet (peace be upon him) and to warn the disbelievers who opposed him and obstructed his work, as if to say: Your duty is only to convey the message of good news to the people and to warn them of the consequences of disbelief. You are not responsible as to whether they accept your message or reject it, or to reward the believers and punish the disbelievers.

Such words occur in the Quran at other places also and are obviously directed to the disbelievers, as if to say: The message of the Prophet is meant to reform the people without any tinge of selfishness. As he does not force the people to accept his message, there is no reason why you should feel offended. If you accept the message, it will be for your own good, and if you reject it, you will be harming yourselves alone. For after conveying the message, he is relieved of his duty and responsibility; then the matter will be between you and Us.

Although this is a very simple and clear interpretation of (verse 56) (and of similar other verses), yet some people erroneously conclude from it that the only duty and responsibility of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is to convey the message and nothing else. They forget that the Quran has stressed over and over again that the Prophet (peace be upon him) is not only a giver of good news to the believers but he is also their teacher, their lawgiver, judge and guide, a purifier of their morals and a model of life for them, and that every word which he utters is law which they have to obey and follow willingly in all walks of life and for all times to come.
( 57 )   Say, "I do not ask of you for it any payment - only that whoever wills might take to his Lord a way."
( 58 )   And rely upon the Ever-Living who does not die, and exalt [Allah] with His praise. And sufficient is He to be, with the sins of His servants, Acquainted
( 59 )   He who created the heavens and the earth and what is between them in six days and then established Himself above the Throne - the Most Merciful, so ask about Him one well informed.
No one is really very clear about the Throne mentioned here. The same has been mentioned in other surahs as well (Surah Al- Aaraf, Surah Younus and Surah of Houd.). However, following plausible explanations have been given by scholars:
  • It is quite difficult to appreciate fully the exact nature of the Qur'anic statement: '(Allah) ascended the Throne.' One possibility is that after the creation of the universe God focused His effulgence at a particular point in His Kingdom which is known as the Throne, from where He showers the blessings of life and power, and governs the whole universe. 
  • It is possible that the word 'Throne' stands for dominion and authority and that God's ascending the Throne signifies His actual taking over the reins of the universe after having created it. Whatever the exact meaning of the expression '(Allah) ascended the Throne', the main thrust of the verse is that God is not just the creator of the universe, but is also its sovereign and ruler; that after creating the universe He did not detach Himself from, nor become indifferent to, His creation. On the contrary, He effectively rules over the universe as a whole as well as every part of it. All power and sovereignty rest with Him. Everything in the universe is fully in His grip and is subservient to His will. Every atom is bound in obedience to Him. The fate of everything existent is in His Hands. Thus the Qur'an undermines the very basis of the misconception which leads man at times to polytheism, and at others to self-glorification and so to rebellion against God. This is the natural corollary of considering God divorced from the affairs of the universe. In such cases, there are two possibilities. One, that beings other than God are considered to have the power to make or mar man's destiny. Here, man is bound to turn to those beings in devotion and subservience. The second possibility is for man to consider himself as the master of his own destiny. Here, man considers himself independent of, and indifferent to, any higher being. 
  • It is significant that the words and figures of speech employed by the Qur'an to denote the relationship between God and man are closely related to kingship, dominion, and sovereignty. This is too conspicuous a fact to be missed by any careful student of the Qur'an. It is strange, however, that it has led some superficial critics and persons of biased outlook to conclude that the Qur'an reflects the milieu in which man's outlook was dominated by monarchical concepts, and that therefore its 'author', who in their view was the Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him), presented God as a sovereign ruler, an absolute monarch. 
  • Quite contrary to this is the fundamental truth which the Qur'an emphatically affirms - God's sovereignty over the heavens and the earth. It negates, with equal emphasis, that sovereignty belongs to anyone else. Such a doctrine demolishes the very assumption on the basis of which the above erroneous conclusion was derived. The Qur'anic concept of God's sovereignty is in sharp contrast to the idea that creatures of God may lay claim to sovereignty and kingship. In contrast to the weak, mortal kings of the world, God is eternal and all-powerful This undermines the very basis of the misconceived criticism that Islam has a monarchical basis since no hunian being can conform to the Islamic description of the sovereign. All sovereignty vests in the One True God. Hence, all those who claim total or partial sovereignty either for any person or group of people are merely cherishing an illusion. It is evident, therefore, that it is totally inappropriate for man, who is a part of the universe created and governed by God, to adopt any other attitude than that of acknowledging God as the only object of worship and as the only sovereign in a societal and political sense.
It is difficult to say what exactly is mean by six days. Here a day may mean a period of time or an ordinary day of this world.

Allah knows our faults better than we or anyone else. It is no use hiding anything from Him. We must put our trust completely in Him. His care is for all, and He is Allah Most Gracious.

The argument is about the question, in whom shall we put our trust? Worldly men put their trust in wordily things: the righteous man only in Allah. The true distinction will be quite clear from a ray of divine knowledge. If you do not see it all clearly, ask of those who possess such knowledge.

۩ وَاِذَا قِيۡلَ لَهُمُ اسۡجُدُوۡا لِلرَّحۡمٰنِ قَالُوۡا وَمَا الرَّحۡمٰنُ اَنَسۡجُدُ لِمَا تَاۡمُرُنَا وَزَادَهُمۡ نُفُوۡرًا 
( 60 )   And when it is said to them, "Prostrate to the Most Merciful," they say, "And what is the Most Merciful? Should we prostrate to that which you order us?" And it increases them in aversion.
This they said due to their arrogance and stubbornness just as Pharaoh had said to Prophet Moses: What is the Lord of the universe? For the disbelievers of Makkah were not unaware of the Merciful (Rahman), nor was Pharaoh unaware of the Lord of the universe. The wording of the verse itself shows that their question about the Merciful was not the result of their ignorance of Him but was due to their rebelliousness. Otherwise Allah would not have punished them for this but would have informed them politely that He Himself is Merciful. Besides this, it is well known historically that the word Rahman (Merciful) for Allah had been in common usage in Arabia since the ancient times.

All scholars agree that here a prostration of recital (Sajdah Talawat) has been enjoined, which means that every reader and every hearer must prostrate himself on reciting or hearing the recital of this verse.

Rukhu / Section - 6 [61-77]
Verses 61-77 Characteristics of the True Servants (believers) of Allah
( 61 )   Blessed is He who has placed in the sky great stars and placed therein a [burning] lamp and luminous moon.
That is, the sun, as mentioned clearly in (Surah Nooh, Ayat 16): And made the sun a lamp. The glorious Lamp of the skies is the Sun; and next to him is the Moon, which gives borrowed light. The Constellations of course include the Signs of the Zodiac, which mark the path of the planets in the heavens.
( 62 )   And it is He who has made the night and the day in succession for whoever desires to remember or desires gratitude.
The observation and deep consideration of the wonderful phenomenon of the alternation of the day and night is a proof of Tawhid and His Providence so that man may feel grateful to Him and prostrate himself before Him in all humility.

The scenes of the phenomenal world are Signs of the Self-Revelation of Allah, for those who understand and who have the will to merge their wills in His. This they do (1) by praising Him, which means understanding something of His nature, and (2) by gratitude to Him, which means carrying out His Will, and doing good to their fellow-creatures. These two attitudes of mind and heart give rise to various consequences in their lives, which are detailed in the following verse.
( 63 )   And the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth easily, and when the ignorant address them [harshly], they say [words of] peace,
That is, though all human beings are by birth the servants of the Merciful before Whom you have been invited to prostrate yourselves, and which you disdain, his true servants are those who adopt the way of His obedience consciously and develop such desirable characteristics. Then the natural consequences of the prostration are those found in the lives of the believers and the evil results of rejecting the invitation, those found in your lives. Here attention is being drawn to the two patterns of character and life. First of those who had accepted the message of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and were following it, and the second of those who persisted in the ways of ignorance. Here only the prominent characteristics of the true believers have been cited, and for contrast, the characteristics of the disbelievers have been left to every discerning eye and mind which could see them all around in the society and make its own decision.

They do not walk haughtily and arrogantly like the tyrants and mischief-makers, but their gait is of a gentle, right thinking and good natured person. Walking humbly does not mean walking like a weak or sick person, nor does it imply the gait of a hypocrite who walks ostentatiously to show humility or fear of God. According to traditions, the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself used to walk with firm, quick steps. One day Caliph Umar saw a young man walking slowly like a weak, sick person, and asked him: Are you ill? When the man replied in the negative, the Caliph raised his whip, rebuked him and told him to walk like a healthy man. This shows that the humble gait is the natural gait of a noble and gentle person and not a gait which shows weakness and undue humility.

In this connection, the first characteristic of the true servants of Allah to which attention has been drawn, is their gait. This is because the gait indicates the character of an individual. If a man walks in a humble and dignified way, as opposed to a haughty, vain and proud manner, it shows that he is a noble and gentle person. Thus the different gaits of different types of people show what sort of characters they possess. The verse means to imply that the true servants of the Merciful can be easily recognized by their gait among the people. Their attitude of Allah’s worship and obedience has changed them so thoroughly that it can be seen at first sight from their gate that they are noble, humble and good natured people, who cannot be expected to indulge in any mischief. .

“The ignorant people”: Rude and insolent people and not uneducated and illiterate ones. The true servants of the Merciful do not believe in vengeance, even though they may have to deal with the ignorant people who behave rudely and insolently towards them. If they happen to come across such people, they wish them peace and turn away. The same thing has been expressed in (Surah Al-Qasas, Ayat 55), thus: And when they hear something vain and absurd they turn away from it, saying, our deeds are for us and your deeds are for you, peace be to you, we have nothing to do with the ignorant. 
( 64 )   And those who spend [part of] the night to their Lord prostrating and standing [in prayer]
That is, they neither spend their nights in fun and merry making nor in gossips and telling tales, nor in doing wicked deeds, for these are the ways of the ignorant people. The true servants of Allah pass their nights in worshiping and remembering Him as much as they can. This characteristic of theirs has been brought out clearly at several places in the Quran, thus: Their backs forsake their beds and they invoke their Lord in fear and in hope. (Surah As-Sajdah, Ayat 16). These people (of Paradise) slept but little at night, and prayed for their forgiveness in the hours of the morning. (Surah Az-Zariyat, Ayats 17, 18). And: Can the end of the one, who is obedient to Allah, prostrates himself and stands before Him during the hours of the night, fears the Hereafter and places his hope in the mercy of his Lord, be like that of a mushrik. (Surah Az- Zumar, Ayat 9).
( 65 )   And those who say, "Our Lord, avert from us the punishment of Hell. Indeed, its punishment is ever adhering;
This is a prayer of humility: such a person relies, not on any good works which he may have done, but on the Grace and Mercy of Allah; and he shows a lively sense of the Day of Judgment, when every action will weigh for or against a soul.
( 66 )   Indeed, it is evil as a settlement and residence."
The misery which results from sin is not only grievous to live in ("an abode") but also grievous "to rest in" or "to stand in", if it be only for a short time.

That is, their worship has not made them vain and proud to presume that they are the beloved ones of Allah and that the Fire of Hell will not touch them. On the other hand, in spite of all their worship and good deeds, they are so filled with the fear of the torment of Hell that they pray to their Lord to save them from it, for they do not depend upon their own work for success in the Hereafter but upon the mercy of Allah.
( 67 )   And [they are] those who, when they spend, do so not excessively or sparingly but are ever, between that, [justly] moderate
In ordinary spending this is a wise rule. But even in charity, in which we give of our best, it is not expected that we should be extravagant, i.e., that we should either do it for show, to impress other people, or do it thoughtlessly, which would be the case if we "rob Peter to pay Paul". We should certainly not be niggardly, but we should remember everyone's rights, including our own, and strike a perfectly just balance between them.

That is the true servants of Allah adopt the golden mean between the two extremes in spending their money. They neither go beyond prudence and necessity in expenditure nor live in wretched circumstances in order to save and hoard money but are frugal. This was the characteristic of the followers of the Prophet (peace be upon him), which distinguished them from the well-to-do people of Arabia, who were either spend thrifts in regard to the gratification of their own lusts or niggardly in spending their money on good works.

According to Islam extravagance is: (1) To spend even the smallest amount of money in unlawful ways. (2) To go beyond one’s own resources in expenditure even in lawful ways, or to spend money for one’s own pleasure. (3) To spend money in righteous ways not for the sake of Allah but for mere show. On the other hand, one is miserly if one does not spend money for his own needs and requirements and those of his family in accordance with his resources and position, or if one does not spend money for good works. The way taught by Islam is the golden mean between the two extremes. The Prophet (peace be upon him) has said: It is a sign of wisdom to adopt the golden mean in one's living. (Ahmad, Tabarani).
( 68 )   And those who do not invoke with Allah another deity or kill the soul which Allah has forbidden [to be killed], except by right, and do not commit unlawful sexual intercourse. And whoever should do that will meet a penalty.
The true servants refrain from three great sins: shirk, murder and adultery. The Prophet (peace be upon him) himself warned of their gravity. According to Abdullah bin Masud, when someone asked him about the worst sins, he replied, (1) It is to set up someone as equal in rank with Allah, Who has created you. (2) To kill your own child for fear of its sustenance. (3) To commit adultery with the wife of your neighbor. (Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmizi, Nasai, Ahmad). Obviously this is not a complete list of the heinous sins. But these three instances have been cited because they were most prevalent in the Arab society of those days.

As regards to the inclusion of refraining from shirk among the excellences of the true servants, one may ask why it should be presented as virtue before the disbelievers who did not regard shirk as a vice. It is because the Arabs had doubts about the doctrine of shirk even though they appeared to be deeply involved in it. This is amply supported by their history. For instance, when Abraha invaded Makkah, the Quraish did not invoke their idols to save the Kabah from him, but they begged Allah to save it. Their contemporary poetry bears sufficient evidence that they regarded the destruction of the people of the elephant due to Allah’s power and supernatural interference and not due to any help of their idols. The Quraish and the polytheists of Arabia had also come to know that when Abraha reached Taif on his way to Makkah, the people of Taif had offered him their services to destroy the Kabah and had even provided him guides to take him safely to Makkah through the hills, for fear that he might also destroy the temple of Lat, their chief deity. This event so much offended the Arabs that for years after this they continued pelting the grave of the chief guide with stones for retaliation.

Moreover, the Quraish and the other Arabs attributed their creed to Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) and looked upon their religious and social customs and their Hajj rites as part of Abraham’s religion. They knew that Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) was a worshiper of Allah and not of idols. They also had traditions to show as to when they had started idol worship, and which idol had been brought from where, when and by whom.

The fact is that the common Arab did not have much of reverence for his idols. He would even speak insultingly of it and withheld his offerings when it failed to fulfill his wishes and prayers. For instance, there is the story of an Arab who wanted to avenge the murder of his father. He went to the temple of his idol, Zul-Khalasah, and wanted to take an omen. The response came that he should abandon his intention. At this the Arab became furious and cried out: O Zul-Khalasah! Had you been in my place, and your father was murdered, you would not have said that the murderers should not be punished. Another Arab took his herd of camels to the shrine of his god, named Saad, for seeking its blessings. It was a tall idol which had been smeared with sacrificial blood. On seeing it, the camels became terrified and started running in all directions. The Arab was so filled with rage that he started pelting the idol with stones, shouting: May God destroy you. I had come to you to seek blessings for my camels, but you have deprived me of all of them. There were certain idols about whose origin filthy stories were current. For instance, the story about Asaf and Nailah whose images had been placed at Safa and Marwa, was that they were actually a man and a woman, who had committed adultery inside the Holy Kabah and had been turned into stone by God as a punishment. When the deities had such reputation, no worshiper could cherish any reverence for them in his heart. Frodm this one can easily understand that the Arabs did recognize the value of true God worship deep in their hearts, but, on the one hand, it had been suppressed by ancient customs and ways of ignorance, and on the other, the priestly class among the Quraish had vested interests, who were busy creating prejudices against it among the people. They could not give up idol worship because such a step would have brought to an end to their supremacy in Arabia.

This is why, refraining from shirk and worship of One Allah has been mentioned as a mark of superiority of the followers of the Prophet (peace be upon him) without any fear of contradiction by the disbelievers, for even they in their hearts knew that it was a weighty argument against them.
( 69 )   Multiplied for him is the punishment on the Day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein humiliated
This can have two meanings: (1) His punishment will never come to an end, but it will continue being inflicted relentlessly over and over again. (2) the person who in addition to the sins of disbelief, shirk and atheism, would have committed murders, adultery and other sins, will get separate punishment for rebellion and for each other sin. He will be accountable for each of his major and minor sins none of which will be pardoned. For instance, for each murder and for each act of adultery he will be given a separate punishment, and likewise, there will be a separate punishment for every sin committed by him.
( 70 )   Except for those who repent, believe and do righteous work. For them Allah will replace their evil deeds with good. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.
This is a good news for those who repented and reformed themselves, for they will have the benefit of the general amnesty contained in (verse 70). This was regarded as a great blessing by the true servants because very few of those who embraced Islam had been free from those vices during their ignorance, and were terrified by the threat contained in (verses 63-69), but this amnesty not only redeemed them but filled them with hope.

Many instances of such people, who sincerely repented and reformed their lives, have been related in the traditions. For instance, Ibn Jarir and Tabarani have related an incident from Abu Hurairah, who says: One day when 1 returned home after offering the lsha prayer in the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) Mosque, I saw a woman standing at my door. I saluted her and walked into my room, closed the door and busied myself in voluntary worship. After a while she knocked at the door. I opened the door and asked what she wanted. She said that she had come with a problem: She had committed zina, had become pregnant, given birth to a child and then killed it. She wanted to know if there was any chance of her sin being forgiven. I replied in the negative. She went back grief stricken, exclaiming, Ah! this beautiful body was created for the fire! The next morning, after the prayer, when I related the night’s incident before the Prophet (peace be upon him), he said: You gave a very wrong answer, Abu Hurairah: Haven’t you read the Quranic verse which says: (Those) who do not invoke any deity other than Allah...except the one who may have repented (after those sins) and have believed and done righteous deeds? Hearing this from the Prophet (peace be upon him), I went out in search of the woman, and had her traced again at the Isha time. I gave her the good news and told her what the Prophet (peace be upon him) had said in reply to her question. She immediately fell prostrate on the ground and thanked Allah, Who had opened a way for her forgiveness. Then she offered repentance and set a slave-girl, along with her son, free.

A similar incident about an old man has been related in the traditions. He came before the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said: O Messenger of Allah, all my life has passed in sin, there is no sin which I have not committed; so much so that if my sins were to be distributed over the people of the whole world, they would all be doomed. Is there any way out for my forgiveness? The Prophet (peace be upon him) asked him: Have you embraced Islam? He said: I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the Messenger of Allah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Go back, Allah is All-Forgiving and has the power to change your evil deeds into good deeds. He asked: Is it about all my crimes and errors? The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: Yes, it is about all your crimes and errors. (Ibn Kathir).
( 71 )   And he who repents and does righteousness does indeed turn to Allah with [accepted] repentance.
It has two meanings: (1) When he has repented sincerely, he will start a new life of belief and obedience to Allah and by His grace and help will start doing good deeds instead of evil deeds that he used to do in his life of unbelief, and his evil deeds will be replaced by good deeds. (2) Not only will his evil deeds done in the past be written off, but it will also be recorded in his conduct register that he was the servant who gave up rebellion against his Lord and adopted the way of His obedience. Then, as he will feel more and more sorry for his past sins and offer repentance, more and more good deeds will be credited to him. For repenting of one’s wrong doing and seeking forgiveness is in itself a good deed. Thus, good deeds will supersede all his evil deeds in his conduct register, and he will not only escape punishment in the Hereafter but, in addition, he will also be blessed with high favors by Allah.

That is, ultimately everyone has to return to Allah for Allah alone is man’s last and real refuge. He alone can reward him for his good deeds or punish him for his evil deeds. He alone is All-Merciful and All Compassionate, Who receives the penitent with forgiveness and Who does not rebuke him for his past errors provided that he has repented sincerely, and adopted the right attitude and reformed himself.

وَالَّذِيۡنَ لَا يَشۡهَدُوۡنَ الزُّوۡرَۙ وَ اِذَا مَرُّوۡا بِاللَّغۡوِ مَرُّوۡا كِرَامًا‏ 
( 72 )   And [they are] those who do not testify to falsehood, and when they pass near ill speech, they pass by with dignity.
This also has two meanings: (1) They do not give evidence (in the court of law etc.) in regard to a false thing in order to prove it right, when in fact it is a falsehood, or at best a doubtful thing. (2) They have no intention to witness anything which is false, evil or wicked as spectators. In this sense, every sin and every indecency, every sham and counterfeit act is a falsehood. A true servant of Allah recognizes it as false and shuns it even if it is presented in the seemingly beautiful forms of art.

The Arabic word laghv implies all that is vain, useless and meaningless and it also covers falsehood. The true servants pass by in a dignified manner if they ever come across what is vain, as if it were a heap of filth. They do not stay there to enjoy the filth of moral impurity, obscenity or foul language, nor do they intentionally go anywhere to hear or see or take part in any sort of filth. For further details, see (E.N. 4 of Surah Al-Mominoon).
( 73 )   And those who, when reminded of the verses of their Lord, do not fall upon them deaf and blind.
he true servants of Allah do not behave like the blind and the deaf towards the revelations of Allah, when they are recited to them for their admonition. They do not turn a deaf ear to their teachings and message and do not deliberately close their eyes to the signs that they are asked to observe, but are deeply moved by them. They follow and practice what they are enjoined and retrain from what is forbidden.

وَالَّذِيۡنَ يَقُوۡلُوۡنَ رَبَّنَا هَبۡ لَـنَا مِنۡ اَزۡوَاجِنَا وَذُرِّيّٰتِنَا قُرَّةَ اَعۡيُنٍ وَّاجۡعَلۡنَا لِلۡمُتَّقِيۡنَ اِمَامًا‏ 
( 74 )   And those who say, "Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes and make us an example for the righteous."
The most distinctive characteristic of the true servants is their eagerness for prayer to Allah. In (verse 65) their prayer for their own salvation and in (verse 74 )their prayer for their wives and children have been cited: Our Lord, make our wives and children true believers so that they should practice righteousness and become a source of comfort for us. Their prayer shows that the true servants of Allah are more concerned about the salvation of their beloved ones in the Hereafter than the enjoyment of the world.

It should be noted that this characteristic has been cited here to show that the true servants had sincerely believed in the message. That is why they were so concerned about the faith of their beloved ones. It should also be kept in mind that many of the near and dear ones of the believers had not as yet embraced Islam. If a husband had embraced Islam, the wife was still an unbeliever, and if a youth had accepted Islam, his parents and brothers and sisters were still involved in disbelief, and vice versa. Therefore, the true servants wept and prayed for them, whenever the picture of their horrible state in Hell came before their eyes.

That is, we should excel in piety, righteousness and good works; nay, we should become the leaders of the pious people so that we may lead them in the propagation of virtue and piety in the world. Incidentally, this characteristic of the true servants was in great contrast to that of the disbelievers, who strove in competition and rivalry with one another for superiority in worldly power and wealth. But it is a pity that some people in our time have misinterpreted this verse as containing sanction for seeking candidature for political leadership. According to them, the verse means: Our Lord, make us rulers over the pious people.

We must also pray for the maintenance of Allah's Law after us, through our wives and descendants: in our eyes they should not be mere accidents or play-things, but a real comfort and fulfillment of our spiritual longings. Perhaps, through them, as well through ourselves, we may, by Allah's grace, be able to give a lead for truth and righteousness.
( 75 )   Those will be awarded the Chamber for what they patiently endured, and they will be received therein with greetings and [words of] peace.
The word sabr (fortitude) has been used here in its most comprehensive sense. The true servants courageously endured their persecution by the enemies of the truth; they remained firm and steadfast in their struggle to establish Allah’s way in the land. They carried out their duties enjoined by Allah sincerely without any concern for the worldly losses and deprivation, and they withstood all temptations held out by Satan and all the lusts of the flesh.

Ghurfah is a high mansion and the word is generally used for the upper chamber of a two story house. But the reality is that the highest buildings made by man in this world, even the Taj Mahal of India and the skyscrapers of New York, are not true imitation of the excellent abodes in Paradise. They are so magnificent, grand and beautiful that human imagination cannot form any picture of their grandeur.
( 76 )   Abiding eternally therein. Good is the settlement and residence.
( 77 )   Say, "What would my Lord care for you if not for your supplication?" For you [disbelievers] have denied, so your denial is going to be adherent.
Let not the wicked think that it causes Allah any annoyance or uneasiness if they do not serve or worship Him. He is high above all needs. But He turns in His Mercy to all who call on Him. For those who arrogantly reject Him, the evil consequences of their rejection are inevitable, and must soon come to pass.

This warning to the disbelievers has been given in order to contrast it with the great rewards that have been promised to the true servants of Allah, as if to say: If you do not invoke Allah for help and protection, and do not worship Him, you will have no value and importance in His sight, and He will not care at all for you because He does not stand in need of any help from you. It is indeed for your own sake that He has given you the opportunity to invoke Him so that He may turn in mercy towards you; otherwise there is no difference between you and the rest of creation.

Let us recapitulate the virtues of the true servants of Allah: (1) they are humble and forbearing to those below them in spiritual worth; (2) they are constantly, by adoration, in touch with Allah; (3) they always remember the Judgment in the Hereafter; (4) they are moderate in all things; (5) they avoid treason to Allah, to their fellow-creatures, and to themselves; (6) they give a wide berth not only to falsehood but to futility; (7) they pay attention, both in mind and manner, to the Signs of their Lord; (8) their ambition is to bring up their families in righteousness and to lead in all good. A fine code of individual and social ethics, a ladder of spiritual development, open to all.

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sūrah Al-Furqān 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. In that:
  • The plain translation has been taken from the Holy Quran officially published by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. [1]
  • 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. [2]
  • 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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