Friday 23 August 2019

Surah Al Hajj - The Pilgrimage: Exegesis / Tafseer 22nd Chapter - Holy Quran - Part II

Surah Al Hajj is the 22nd Chapter of Holy Quran with 78 ayahs with ten rukus, part of the 17th Juzʼ  of the Holy Qur'an. The chapter gets its title from the reference to the rite of pilgrimage that Muslims believe was initiated by Abraham [verse 27].

As already mentioned in the Overview to this Surah, the subject matter of this Surah is concerned mainly with the spiritual implications of the Sacred House, the Pilgrimage, the Sacrifices, Striving and Fighting in deference of Truth when attacked, and other acts that make for the Unselfishness and uproot Falsehood.

Owing to the lengthy explanations of the verses, the exegesis / tafseer has been divided into two parts:
  • Part I : Rukhu / Sections 1-6 [Verses 1-48]
  • Part II: Rukhu / Sections 7-10 [Verses 49-78]
Part I has already been presented in one of our previous posts. The summary of Part I is as under:

  • Rukhu 1-2 [Verses 1-25] - Importance of the spiritual future, and need of firmness in Faith: help for Truth and punishment for evil
  • Rukhu 3-6 [Verses 26-48] - Purity, Prayer, Humanity and Faith are implied in the Pilgrimage; in solemn Sacrifice we express gratitude and reverence to Allah, and our desire to share food with our poorer brethren; Striving and Fighting in defence of Truth when attacked are necessary as tests of self sacrifice.

Let us now read the translation and exegesis / tafseer in English of the Part II of the Surah, Rukhu / Sections 7-10 [Verses 49-78]. This Part deals with the promptings of evil that may hinder the work of Allah's Prophet, but that work must triumph, and the Mercy and Truth of Allah must be established; therefore serve Allah humbly, and He will protect and help you.

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 7 [49-57]
Verses 49-51 Acceptors of Truth shall be forgiven, while others will not go unpunished:
( 49 )   Say, "O people, I am only to you a clear warner."
It is the Messenger's duty to convey the warning in the clearest terms to the wicked. It is no part of his duty to coerce them or judge them, or bring on the Punishment for them. That only rests with Allah. But the warning itself is full of Mercy: for it gives the highest hope to the repentant sinner who turns and comes to Allah.
( 50 )   "Those who believe and work righteousness for them is forgiveness and a sustenance most generous. 
The believers shall have forgiveness’ means that Allah will overlook their faults, weaknesses, and acts of omission and commission. They will have honorable provisions means that they will have excellent supplies which will be given to them in an honorable way.

The "sustenance" must be construed in the widest sense, spiritual as well as intellectual and physical. The reward of righteousness is far more generous than any merit there may be in the creature following the Will of his Creator.
( 51 )   But the ones who strove against Our verses, [seeking] to cause failure - those are the companions of Hellfire.
It will not be in their power to frustrate Allah's Plan; all they will do is to go further and further down in their spiritual state, deeper and deeper in their Hell.

Verses 52-57 Shaitan tempered with the wishes of all Rasools / Messengers but Allah abrogated such interjection and On the Day of Judgement Allah Himself shall be the Judge for all:
( 52 )   And We did not send before you any messenger or prophet except that when he spoke [or recited], Satan threw into it [some misunderstanding]. But Allah abolishes that which Satan throws in; then Allah makes precise His verses. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.
Here in this verse, the words Rasool and Nabi have been used. The the distinction between Nabi and Rasul is as under:
  • Rasul literally means the one who is sent; therefore it is used for an ambassador, envoy, messenger and representative. The Quran has used this title for angels, who are sent by Allah on a special mission, or for the human beings who brought His Message to mankind.
  • As regards the word Nabi, it literally means the one who brings news, or the one who is high in rank, or the one who shows the way. This title is used for the Prophets in all the three senses. Thus Moses was a Messenger Prophet because he was a Messenger of high rank who gave news from Allah and showed the right way to the people.
  • The Quran does not necessarily differentiate between the use of the two titles, for sometimes it uses the title Rasul for one person at one place and the title Nabi for the same person at another place, and sometimes uses both the titles together for one and the same person. However, at some places each title has been used in a way as to show that there is some technical distinction between the two, though that has not been precisely marked out, except that every Rasul (Messenger) is a Nabi (Prophet) as well, but every Nabi may not be a Rasul, and that a Rasul has a special and more important mission to perform. This is supported by a tradition of the Prophet (peace be upon him), which has been reported by Imam Ahmad from Abu Umamah and by Hakim from Abu Zarr. When the Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked how many Messengers and Prophets had been sent to the world, he said that the number of the Messengers was 313 or 315 and of the Prophets 124,000.
The Arabic word tamanna used in the verse has two meanings: “desire” and “to recite” something:
  • If the first meaning is taken, it will imply: Satan tried to prevent the fulfillment of his desire. If the second meaning is taken, it will imply: When the Prophet recited the Revelations, Satan created different sorts of doubts about its truth and meanings in the minds of the people.
  • If the first meaning is adopted, it will imply: Allah fulfills the Prophet’s desire and makes his mission successful in spite of the obstacles of Satan and confirms the truth of His revelations by fulfilling His promises to the Prophet. In case of the second meaning, it will imply: Allah eradicates all the doubts and objections inspired by Satan in the hearts of the people and clarifies the confusion created about any verse of the Quran in subsequent revelations.
Prophets and messengers are but human. Their actions are righteous and their motives pure. But in judging things from a human point of view, the suggestion may come to their mind (from Satan) that it would be good to have power or wealth or influence for furthering Allah's cause, or that it may be good to conciliate some faction which may be irreconcilable. In fact, in Allah's Plan, it may be the opposite. Allah, in His mercy and inspiration, will cancel any false or vain suggestions of this kind, and confirm and strengthen His own Commands and make known His Will in His Signs or revelations.

It is therefore said that “Allah is All-Knower” and has full knowledge of the mischief worked by Satan and of its effects, and being All- Wise, He counteracts every mischief of Satan.
( 53 )   [That is] so He may make what Satan throws in a trial for those within whose hearts is disease and those hard of heart. And indeed, the wrongdoers are in extreme dissension.
If any suggestion comes to the human mind that is not in accordance with Allah's Will and Plan, it has two opposite effects: to evil minds it is a trial and temptation from the satan but to the mind well-instructed in Faith, it stands self-condemned at once, and becomes a means of strengthening the Faith and stimulating redoubled efforts to conform to the Will of Allah.

By "disease in the heart" it is meant to be an earlier state of curse, which leads in an intensified form to a complete "hardening of the heart".

Note: The explanation of the verse 54 is very important to understand for it clarifies many a misconceptions and misinterpretations that have since been evolved to misquote historical facts:
( 54 )   And so those who were given knowledge may know that it is the truth from your Lord and [therefore] believe in it, and their hearts humbly submit to it. And indeed is Allah the Guide of those who have believed to a straight path.
That is, Allah lets Satan work such mischief to put to the test both the righteous and the wicked people. The people with a perverted mentality deduce wrong conclusions from these and deviate from the right way, while those, who think on the right lines, realize that all these things are the mischief of Satan and that the message of the Prophet is based on the truth. They conclude that the very fact that Satan has been so much agitated and become active against it is a clear proof of its being the truth. It is very important to understand the real significance of this passage (verses 52-54) for this has given rise to a grave misunderstanding.

If we consider it in the context in which it occurs, it becomes obvious that it was sent down to refute the wrong appraisal of the casual observers that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had failed to achieve his desired object. This was because he had striven for thirteen long years to persuade his people to accept his message but the apparent result was that he had not only failed in this, but he and the small band of his followers had been forced to leave their homes. As this exile contradicted his claim that he was a Prophet of Allah and had His approval and succor with him, some people became skeptical about it. Moreover, they became doubtful about the truth of the Quran, because they were not being visited by the scourge, which was inflicted on those who treated the Prophet as false. His antagonists scoffed at him, saying: Where is that succor of Allah and the scourge with which we were threatened? The answer to these doubts of the disbelievers was given in the preceding passage, and in this passage the addressees were those who were influenced by this propaganda. Briefly the whole answer was to this effect.

It is not a new thing that the people of a Messenger have treated him as an impostor for it has always been happening like this. You can see from the remnants of those peoples who treated their Messengers as impostors how they were punished for their mischief. You can learn a lesson from them, if you will. As regards to the delay in the coming of scourge, the Quran never threatened the disbelievers with immediate punishment, nor is it the job of the Messenger to inflict punishments. The scourge is sent by Allah, but He is not hasty in sending His torment. He gives respite to the people to mend their ways as He is giving you now. Therefore, you should not be under any delusion that the threats of scourge are empty threats.

It is also not a new thing that the desires and wishes of a Prophet meet with obstacles or that false propaganda is made against his message for the same has already happened with regard to the messages of the former Prophets. But ultimately Allah eradicated the mischief worked by Satan and made the message successful. Therefore you should take a warning from the past history of Satan’s mischief and its ultimate failure. You should note it well that the obstacles and the mischief of Satan are a trial and means that help attract the righteous people towards Islam and winnow the dishonest people away from it.

It is a pity that in spite of the above clear and simple meaning of the passage which fits in well with the context, a grave misunderstanding has arisen because of a tradition which has not only changed its meaning entirely and rendered it irrelevant in the context but has helped make doubtful the very basic articles of the faith. Therefore we are making a critical appraisal of the tradition in order to show how to make the right use of traditions for the correct interpretation of the Quran.

According to this tradition, the Prophet (peace be upon him) had a strong longing and desire to this effect: I wish some revelations were sent down to tone down the abhorrence of the mushrik Quraish against Islam so as to bring them nearer to it, or at least the criticism against their creed may not be so severe as to arouse their enmity.

While he was cherishing this desire, it so happened that one day when he was sitting in a big gathering of the Quraish, Surah An-Najm was revealed and he began to recite it. When he came to (verses 19, 20): Have you ever considered about this Lat and this Uzza, and a third (goddess) Manat, all of a sudden he recited, “These are exalted goddesses; indeed their intercession may be expected”. After this he continued to recite Surah An-Najm up to the last verse and then fell down in prostration and all the Muslims and the mushriks of the Quraish also did the same, for the latter said: Now we have no difference with Muhammad. We also profess that Allah is the Creator and the Provider and that these deities of ours are merely our intercessors with Him. After this, when in the evening Angel Gabriel came, he said: What have you done? I did not bring these two sentences. At this the Prophet (peace be upon him) became very sad and Allah sent down (verse 73-75 of Surah Bani Israil): O Muhammad, these people have left no stone unturned to tempt you away from that which We have revealed to you so that you might fabricate something in Our name. Had you done that, they would have made you their friend. It was just possible that you might have inclined a little towards them, if We had not given you strength. But if you had done so, We would have made you taste double chastisement in this world as well as in the Hereafter, then you would have found no helper against Us.

But in spite of this, he continued to be grieved till Allah sent down (verse 52 of this Surah Al-Hajj) in which Allah consoled him, saying that the same had been happening to the former Prophets.

Another thing that happened in the meantime was that the story reached the migrants to Habash that there had been a reconciliation between the Prophet and the disbelievers of Makkah. Accordingly, many of them returned to Makkah only to learn that the news of reconciliation was wrong and the conflict between Islam and kufr was raging as furiously as before.

Now let us make a critical study of this story which has been cited by Ibn Jarir and many other commentators and is even contained in many collections of traditions.

(1) None of its reporters, except Ibn Abbas, is a companion.

(2) There are many major discrepancies and variations in its details.

(3) The wording ascribed to the Prophet (peace be upon him) in praise of the idols in each tradition is different from that of others.

Moreover, these words have been attributed to different sources according to different traditions: (a) These words were put in by Satan during the revelation and the Prophet (peace be upon him) imagined that they were revealed by Gabriel. (b) He himself uttered these words inadvertently, being urged by his own desire. (c) He was dozing when he uttered these words. (d) He intentionally uttered these words but in a manner as to question their veracity. (e) Satan interpolated these words into the revelation, giving an impression that the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself had recited them. (f) It was one of the mushriks who had recited these words.

Yet scholars of tradition like Hafiz Ibn Hajar and jurists like Abu Bakr al Jassas and rationalists like Zamakhshari and commentators like Ibn Jarir accept this story as true and consider it as a commentary on (verse 52) of this Surah. Ibn Hajar argues like this:

"Even though the links by which this tradition has been related are either weak or broken, except in one case, the very fact that it has been related through so many links is a proof that there is some truth about it. The one which has strong links is by Said bin Jubair who has related it from Ibn Abbas and the reporters of two more traditions (which have been cited by Tabari) have been declared authentic by Bukhari and Muslim.

On the other side, there are other eminent scholars who declare this story to be utterly baseless. Ibn Kathir says: All the links of this tradition are unauthentic and I have found no correct version of this with continuous links. Baihaqi says: This story has not been proved to be correct by the rules of reporting. When Ibn Khuzaimah was asked about it, he said: This story has been invented by heretics. Qazi Ayad says: The very fact that this tradition is neither contained in any of the six authentic collections of Hadith nor has it been related in an authentic way by authentic reporters shows its weakness. Besides them, Imam Razi, Qazi Abu Bakr Ibn al-Arabi, Alusi etc. have rejected it altogether.

It is a pity that even those who reject this story have not done full justice to their cases. There are some who reject it because its links are weak. In other words, they would have accepted it, if its links were strong. Then there are others who reject it because its acceptance makes the whole faith doubtful. This kind of reasoning may satisfy the believers but it cannot satisfy those who are already skeptical or intend to make a research into it with a view to making a correct appraisal of Islam. They will rather say: When a story is related by an eminent companion and is contained in the collections of traditions, there is no reason why we should reject it just because it makes your faith doubtful.

Now let us consider the story critically and rationally to prove that it is unacceptable.

(1) Its internal evidence proves it to be wrong: (a) According to the story the incident happened after the first migration to Habash, for according to it some of the migrants returned to Makkah after hearing the story. Now the fact is that the migration took place in the month of Rajab of the fifth year of Prophethood and some of the migrants returned to Makkah three months later, i.e. in Shawwal of the same year. (b) (Verses 73-75 of Surah Al- Isra) in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) was reproved for this incident were revealed in the eleventh or twelfth year of Prophethood. In other words, he was reproved by Allah five or six years after the incident. (c) This (verse 52) in which the interpolation by Satan was abrogated was sent down in the first year of Hijrah, i.e. about two years after the reproof. Can a person in his senses believe that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was reproved for the interpolation after six years, and it was abrogated after nine years?

(2) According to the story, this interpolation was made in Surah An-Najm. When the Prophet was reciting the words, “And a third (goddess) Manat”; he also recited the interpolated sentence, and then continued the recital up to the end of the Surah. It is said that the disbelievers of Makkah were so pleased with the interpolation that they declared: The differences between us and Muhammad (peace be upon him) have now come to an end.

Let us now read (verses 19-23 of An-Najm) along with the alleged interpolation (in italics): Have you ever considered about the reality of this Lat and Uzza and a third (goddess) Manat? These are exalted goddesses; indeed their intercession may be expected. What, do you have sons for yourselves and daughters for Him (Allah)? This is indeed an unfair division. They are nothing but mere names which you and your forefathers have invented. Allah has sent down no authority in regard to them. They follow only conjectures and the whims of their own minds, although right guidance has come from their Lord.

Even a casual reader will detect an obvious contradiction in the passage. Immediately after praising the goddesses there is a hard hit on their worshipers, as if to say: O foolish people! How is it that you have ascribed daughters to Allah and sons to yourselves? All this is your own invention which has no authority from Allah. On the face of it, the interpolation makes the passage absurd which cannot be assigned even to a rational person not to speak of Allah. Then the story presumes that all the Quraish who were listening to it must have lost their senses; otherwise they could not have declared that their differences with Muhammad (peace be upon him) had been made up from thence.

From this internal evidence it has become clear that this story is absurd and meaningless.

(3) Now let us consider whether the occasions, ascribed by the commentators to the revelation of the verses under discussion, fit in with the chronological order of the Quran. According to the story, the interpolation in Surah An-Najm was made in the fifth year of Prophethood. The reproof was made in (verses 73-75 of Bani Israil) and then the interpolation was annulled and the incident explained in (verses 52-54 of Surah Al-Hajj). Now there could be only two possibilities about the time of their revelation. Either the verses containing the reproof and the abrogation were sent down in the period in which the interpolation took place, or the verse containing the reproof was sent down along with Surah Al-Hajj. In the first case, the question arises: Why were these verses (Surah Bani-Israil, 73-75) not inserted in Surah An-Najm? Why were they held in abeyance for six long years and then inserted in Surah Bani Israil, when it was revealed, and (verses 52-54) (containing the abrogation) inserted in Surah Al-Hajj after a further delay of more than two years? Does it mean that the verses were sent down on one occasion and inserted years later haphazardly in one Surah or the other? In the second case, the question would arise: Does it stand to reason that the verses containing the reproof (Surah Bani-Israil, 73-75)were sent down six years after the interpolation, and the verse of abrogation (Surah Al-Hajj, Ayat 52) nine years after the incident? Still another question arises: What was the occasion of the revelation of the verses of reproof and abrogation in Surahs Surah Bani-Israil and Al-Hajj in the context in which they occur?

(4) Now let us turn to the third principle of correct appraisal of the Quran.

For a correct appreciation of the Quran it is essential to consider whether a particular commentary fits in with the relevant context of the Quran or not. If we make even a cursory study of (Surah Bani Israil, verses 71-73), it will become obvious that there was no occasion for the alleged reproof in (verse 73) and that there is no tinge of reproof in it, for the words of the verse refute the allegation that the Prophet was taken in by the mischief of the disbelievers. Then in Surah Al-Hajj, if we make a critical study of the verses that precede (verses 52-54 )and follow them, it will become obvious that there was no occasion to console the Prophet for the interpolation and to annul it after nine years.

(5) We reiterate that no tradition, however strong links it might have, can be accepted when the text itself is a clear evidence against it, and when it does not fit in with the wording, the context, the order etc. of the Quran. When the incident is considered in this background, even a skeptical research scholar would be convinced that the tradition is absolutely wrong. As regards to a believer, he can never accept it, when he knows that it contradicts not only one verse but a large number of other verses of the Quran. He would rather believe that the reporters of the tradition might have been deluded by Satan and not the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). He would never believe that the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) could interpolate even a single word in the Quran under the influence of a desire of his own: or that there could ever occur such a desire in his mind that he should make a compromise with the disbelievers by associating shirk with Tauhid: or that he could ever wish that Allah might not say anything to displease the disbelievers: or that the revelation was made in such an unsafe and doubtful manner as to enable Satan to mix with it even a word in a manner as if it was also brought by Gabriel. Each of these things is contradictory to the clear revelation of the Quran and the basic articles of the faith which we have learned from the Quran and the Prophet (peace be upon him). God forbid that we should accept any such tradition that might lead to the above mentioned presumptions just because the tradition seems to be authentic in every way.

It will be worth-while to consider the question: How is it that so many reporters of traditions have related this story? Does it not show that there must have been some reality about it? Otherwise, so many reporters, who included many authentic and eminent scholars, could not have made such an heinous slander against the Quran and the Prophet (peace be upon him). Its answer is contained in the authentic collections of traditions by Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Nasai and Musnad Ahmad. The reality of the incident is this.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) recited Surah An-Najm and performed prostration at the end of it. At this, all the hearers, both the Muslims and the mushriks, fell down in prostration. This was what really happened and there is nothing strange about it. Let us depict the occasion: The Prophet (peace be upon him) was reciting a forceful piece of the eloquent Quran in a very impressive manner. Naturally the occasion produced an emotional effect and all the listeners instinctively fell down in prostration along with him. It was because of such ecstasies produced by the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) recital of the Quran as this that the disbelievers dubbed him a sorcerer. As regards the story that the Prophet (peace be upon him) praised the deities of the disbelievers, it appears that the Quraish concocted the story to hide their defeat. Probably someone or other of them explained away their defeat, saying: We ourselves heard Muhammad praising our deities. Therefore we also fell down in prostration along with him. As regards to the migrants to Habash, they returned to Makkah when they heard the concocted story that there had been a compromise between the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Quraish. It appears that some of those people who had seen the Muslims and the mushriks falling down together in prostration, presumed that peace had been made between them, so the story traveled to the migrants in Habash who had no means to verify it and thus thirty three of them returned to Makkah.

Naturally these three things, prostration by the Quraish, their explanation of it, and the return of the migrants from Habash, combined to evolve that story. So much so that some authentic people were also deluded by it, for to err is human, and the pious and intelligent people are no exception to it. However, the error of the latter proves to be more harmful, because their credulous followers accept with closed eyes their misconceptions along with their right conclusions. On the other hand, mischief mongers collect all such errors of the righteous people and exploit them to prove that all the collections of traditions are false and should be rejected forthwith.
( 55 )   But those who disbelieve will not cease to be in doubt of it until the Hour comes upon them unexpectedly or there comes to them the punishment of a barren Day.
The epithet “barren” has been applied to the day in its metaphorical and not literal sense. :A day is barren if all the plans, hopes and devices remain unproductive in it, or it does not bring forth its night. For instance, the days on which the people of Prophet Noah, the tribes of Aad and Thamud, the people of Lot and of Midian met with their destruction by scourge from Allah, were barren days in this sense, because those days did not bring forth any tomorrow for them, and no device of theirs could avert their doom.
( 56 )   [All] sovereignty that Day is for Allah; He will judge between them. So they who believed and did righteous deeds will be in the Gardens of Pleasure.
Such power as Evil has over those who yield to it (xvii. 62-64) will then be gone, as the respite granted to Satan be over, and Allah's Kingdom will be established.
( 57 )   And they who disbelieved and denied Our signs - for those there will be a humiliating punishment.
Rukhu / Section 8 [58-64]
Verses 58-64 Those who migrated for the sake of Allah shall be generously rewarded and Allah is the only One who is real, all other deities are false:
( 58 )   And those who emigrated for the cause of Allah and then were killed or died - Allah will surely provide for them a good provision. And indeed, it is Allah who is the best of providers.
In this verse the word Rizq: sustenance, provision, is used preferably is its latter meaning, because after death we can only think of rizq in a large metaphorical sense. i.e., all the provision necessary to equip the person for a full and happy Future Life, and also, a provision for his dependents and near and dear ones in this life.
( 59 )   He will surely cause them to enter an entrance with which they will be pleased, and indeed, Allah is Knowing and Forbearing.
Martyrdom is the sacrifice of life in the service of Allah. Its reward is therefore even greater than that of an ordinarily good life. The martyr's sins are forgiven by the very act of martyrdom, which implies service and self-surrender in the highest sense of the word. Allah knows all his past life but will forbear from calling him to account for things that should strictly come into his account.
( 60 )   That [is so]. And whoever responds [to injustice] with the equivalent of that with which he was harmed and then is tyrannized - Allah will surely aid him. Indeed, Allah is Pardoning and Forgiving.
The preceding verses referred to those persecuted people who could not retaliate and here the reference is to those victims of persecution who could fight back.

From this verse, Imam Shafai has concluded that retaliation will be effected in the way as life was taken in the original act. If a person is killed by immersion in water, the killer also should be put to death by immersion in water; or if a person is burnt to death, the killer also will be burnt to death. The Hanafites dispute this. According to them, retaliation against a murderer will be incurred in one and the same established way no matter how life was taken by the culprit in the original act.

This verse may imply two things: (1) Allah forgives that killing which is done in self-defense, though killing of people is not a good thing in itself. (2) As Allah, Whose slaves the believers are, is Forgiving and Forbearing, they should also forgive and forbear as much as possible. Though they have the right of retaliation, they should not resort to carnage and massacre.

Another explanation of verse 60 could be: Ordinarily Muslims are enjoined to bear injuries with patience and return good for evil (xxiii. 96). But there are occasions when human feelings get the better of our wise resolutions, or when, in a state of conflict or war, we return "as good as we get". In that case our retaliation is permissible, provided the injury we inflict is not greater than that we receive. After such retaliation we are even, but if the other side again acts aggressively and goes beyond all bounds in attacking us, we are entitled to protection from Allah in spite of all our faults; for Allah is One that blots out our sins, and forgives again and again.

ذٰ لِكَ بِاَنَّ اللّٰهَ يُوۡلِجُ الَّيۡلَ فِى النَّهَارِ وَيُوۡلِجُ النَّهَارَ فِى الَّيۡلِ وَاَنَّ اللّٰهَ سَمِيۡعٌۢ بَصِيۡرٌ‏ 
( 61 )   That is because Allah causes the night to enter the day and causes the day to enter the night and because Allah is Hearing and Seeing.
“That is” (as stated in the preceding paragraph) because Allah is the Ruler of the universe and has the power to give punishments and rewards to those who deserve them.

The fact that “Allah causes.........night” is a proof that He is the Master, Sovereign and Ruler of the universe. But the deeper meaning of the verse is that Allah, Who is able to bring forth the light of the day out of the darkness of the night, has the power to bring out the light of the truth out of the darkness of disbelief and ignorance, and the light of justice out of the darkness of tyranny.

He hears everything and sees everything and is not unaware of anything.

Another explanation could be: To some it may appear strange or even irreconcilable that Allah should be both Merciful and Just; that He should both protect His devotees and yet ask for their self-sacrifice-that he should command them to return good for evil, and yet permit retaliation under certain restrictions. But such thoughts are short-sighted. Do they not see many inconsistencies in all Life, all Nature, and all Creation? Why, even in such simple phenomena as Night and Day, the one merges into the other, and no one can tell when precisely the one begins and the other ends. Yet we can see in a rough sort of way that the one gives rest and the other activity, that the one reveals the beauties of the starry heavens and the other the splendour of the sun. In countless ways we can see there the wisdom and the fine artistry of Allah. And there are subtle nuances and mergings in nature that our intelligence can hardly penetrate. Now human life and human relations are far more complicated, and it is Allah alone Who can see all the subtle distinctions and hear the cries of all His creatures, in a world which Tennyson described as "red in tooth and claw".

Note: For two attributes of Allah Al Sami and Al Baseer in verse 61 and Al Ali and Al Kabeer in verse 62,  and Al Latif and Al Khabeer in verse 63 see explanation of verse 64 below.

ذٰ لِكَ بِاَنَّ اللّٰهَ هُوَ الۡحَـقُّ وَاَنَّ مَا يَدۡعُوۡنَ مِنۡ دُوۡنِهٖ هُوَ الۡبَاطِلُ وَاَنَّ اللّٰهَ هُوَ الۡعَلِىُّ الۡكَبِيۡرُ‏ 
( 62 )   That is because Allah is the Truth, and that which they call upon other than Him is falsehood, and because Allah is the Most High, the Grand.
The emphatic construction calls attention to the fact that Allah is the only abiding Reality. All else is like shadows that will pass away. Our vain imaginings, groundless doubts, foolish subtleties, and false worship should all give place to trust and faith in the one and only Reality.

As Allah is in fact the Sovereign of the universe, His worshipers will surely attain true success and the worshipers of false gods will meet with utter failure.

اَلَمۡ تَرَ اَنَّ اللّٰهَ اَنۡزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَآءِ مَآءً  فَتُصۡبِحُ الۡاَرۡضُ مُخۡضَرَّة ً  ؕاِنَّ اللّٰهَ لَطِيۡفٌ خَبِيۡرٌ​ ۚ‏ 
( 63 )   Do you not see that Allah has sent down rain from the sky and the earth becomes green? Indeed, Allah is Subtle and Acquainted.
This verse has a deeper meaning also, though apparently it merely declares that Allah alone has the power to send down rain which makes the land green. The deeper meaning is that the rainfall of the blessed revelation will, in the near future, turn the barren land of Arabia into a garden of knowledge, morality and bring forth a high and righteous civilization.

Latif, as a name of Allah, is as difficult to define in words as the idea it seeks to represent is difficult to grasp in our minds. It implies: (1) fine, subtle (the basic meaning); (2) so fine and subtle as to be imperceptible to human sight; (3) so pure as to be incomprehensible; (4) with sight so perfect as to see and understand the finest subtleties and mysteries; (5) so kind and gracious as to bestow gifts of the most refined kind; extraordinarily gracious and understanding. No. 4 is the predominant meaning here and in xii. 100; Nos. 2 and 3 in vi. 103; and No.5 in xlii. 19; but every shade of meaning must be borne in mind in each case, as a subsidiary factor in the spiritual melody.

As He is fully aware of everything, He knows how to conduct the affairs of His Kingdom.

لَهٗ مَا فِى السَّمٰوٰتِ وَمَا فِى الۡاَرۡضِ​ ؕ وَاِنَّ اللّٰهَ لَهُوَ الۡغَنِىُّ الۡحَمِيۡدُ 
( 64 )   To Him belongs what is in the heavens and what is on the earth. And indeed, Allah is the Free of need, the Praiseworthy.
Two more attributes of Allah have been mention in this verse: Al Ghani, Al Hameed: He alone is All-Sufficient and is not in need of anyone in any way. He is All-praiseworthy because all praise belongs to Him alone whether anyone praises Him or not.

Each of the verses xxii. 61-63 mentioned two attributes of Allah with reference to the contents of that verse. This verse now sums up the whole argument, and the two attributes with which it closes sum up the idea by which we can understand Allah's goodness. Allah's loving kindness and mercies are not like those of human creatures who all depend upon one another, and often expect some kindness or recognition in return. Allah is above all wants and depends in no way whatever on His creatures. His mercies have therefore a special quality, which we cannot describe except by gratefully singing the praises of Allah. [Also see Surah Al Baqarah ii. 267].

Rukhu / Section 9 [65-72]
Verses 65-67 Allah is the One Who has given you life, cause you to die and will bring you back to life for passing on His Judgement:

اَلَمۡ تَرَ اَنَّ اللّٰهَ سَخَّرَ لَـكُمۡ مَّا فِى الۡاَرۡضِ وَالۡـفُلۡكَ تَجۡرِىۡ فِى الۡبَحۡرِ بِاَمۡرِهٖ ؕ وَيُمۡسِكُ السَّمَآءَ اَنۡ تَقَعَ عَلَى الۡاَرۡضِ اِلَّا بِاِذۡنِهٖ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ بِالنَّاسِ لَرَءُوۡفٌ رَّحِيۡمٌ‏ 
( 65 )   Do you not see that Allah has subjected to you whatever is on the earth and the ships which run through the sea by His command? And He restrains the sky from falling upon the earth, unless by His permission. Indeed Allah, to the people, is Kind and Merciful.
Here “the heaven” implies the whole of the universe above and below the earth where everything is held in its own place and sphere.

Land and sea have been made subject to man by Allah's command, so that man can develop his life freely on earth.

The Arabic word "Samaa" used in this verse means (1) something high, (2) a roof, a ceiling, (3) the sky, the canopy of heaven. (4) cloud or rain. I understand the last meaning here, though most authorities seem to render it by some such words as "sky". If we understand rain here, we have a complete picture of the three elements in which man lives-land, air and sea. Rain is also appropriate for mention with Allah's kindness and mercy. He regulates the rain for man's benefit.

Two more attributes of Allah, Ar Rauf and Ar Raheem have been used in verse 65. For details on attributes of Allah, please read our post: 99 Attributes of Allah
( 66 )   And He is the one who gave you life; then He causes you to die and then will [again] give you life. Indeed, mankind is ungrateful.
لِّـكُلِّ اُمَّةٍ جَعَلۡنَا مَنۡسَكًا هُمۡ نَاسِكُوۡهُ​ فَلَا يُنَازِعُنَّكَ فِى الۡاَمۡرِ​ وَادۡعُ اِلٰى رَبِّكَ​ ؕ اِنَّكَ لَعَلٰى هُدًى مُّسۡتَقِيۡمٍ‏  
( 67 )   For every religion We have appointed rites which they perform. So, [O Muhammad], let the disbelievers not contend with you over the matter but invite them to your Lord. Indeed, you are upon straight guidance.
Rites and ceremonies may appear to be an unimportant matter compared with "weightier matters of the Law" and with the higher needs of man's spiritual nature. But they are necessary for social and religious organisation, and their effect on the individual himself is not to be despised. In any case, as they are visible external symbols, they give rise to the most heated controversies. Such controversies are to be deprecated. That does not mean that our rites and ceremonies are to be made light of. Those in Islam rest on the highest social and religious needs of man, and if we are convinced that we are on the Right Way, we should invite all to join us, without entering into controversies about such matters.

Here the Arabic word mansak has been used in its most comprehensive sense which also includes sacrifice (verse 34). It means service, worship, in short, the entire way of life. The same theme has been expressed in (Surah Al-Maidah, Ayat 48): We prescribed a law and a way of life for each of you.

That is, now you have brought a way of life just as the former Prophets brought ways of life for their people. Therefore the people have no right to dispute with you concerning the law you have brought.

Rukhu / Section 10 [73-78]
Verses 68-72 Allah will Judge between you concerning those matter in which you differ:
( 68 )   And if they dispute with you, then say, "Allah is most knowing of what you do.
'You are only wrangling about matters about which you have no knowledge nor any deep religious feeling. The springs of your conduct are all open before Allah, and He will judge you.'
( 69 )   Allah will judge between you on the Day of Resurrection concerning that over which you used to differ."
'You not only find fault with the very few and simple rites and ceremonies in Islam: you, outside Islam, have no rites and ceremonies which you are yourselves agreed upon, either as Christians or as Jews, or one compared with the other.'
( 70 )   Do you not know that Allah knows what is in the heaven and earth? Indeed, that is in a Record. Indeed that, for Allah, is easy.
We human beings can only think of knowledge being accurately and permanently preserved by means of a record. Allah's knowledge has all the qualities of a perfect record, and it is moreover complete and comprehensive. This is not difficult for Him from whom flow all knowledge and intelligence.

In order to understand the significance of this paragraph, we should keep in view (verse 55- 57) with which this is connected.
( 71 )   And they worship besides Allah that for which He has not sent down authority and that of which they have no knowledge. And there will not be for the wrongdoers any helper.
That is, neither there is any mention of their deities in any revealed Book nor do they have any other source of knowledge about them nor any authority to worship them. Therefore, it is sheer ignorance that they have associated their self invented deities with Allah and worship them, make vows and offer sacrifices to them and supplicate them for their needs etc.

This is to warn the foolish people that they are absolutely wrong in expecting that their deities would help them in this world and in the Hereafter because they have no power to help them. Thus, they will find no helper, for Allah alone could help them and they have already displeased Him by their rebellious behavior.

When plain common-sense shows the absurdity of false worship, behind which there is neither knowledge, intelligence, nor authority (quite the contrary), who or what can help the false misguided creatures who dishonour Allah by false worship?
( 72 )   And when Our verses are recited to them as clear evidences, you recognize in the faces of those who disbelieve disapproval. They are almost on the verge of assaulting those who recite to them Our verses. Say, "Then shall I inform you of [what is] worse than that? [It is] the Fire which Allah has promised those who disbelieve, and wretched is the destination."
The arabic word "Munkar" used in this verse means; (1) a refusal to accept something offered; (2) a denial of something stated or pointed out; (3) a feeling of disapproval or active aversion, or disgust.

There is irony here. 'You think Allah's revelations and Signs are distasteful to you! There will be something far more distasteful to you if you do not repent! What do you say to the inevitable Punishment. That you will meet with a far worse state of anguish than that which you display against those who recite divine revelations to you.

Verses 73-74 Gods besides Allah has no power to create even a creature like fly:
( 73 )   O people, an example is presented, so listen to it. Indeed, those you invoke besides Allah will never create [as much as] a fly, even if they gathered together for that purpose. And if the fly should steal away from them a [tiny] thing, they could not recover it from him. Weak are the pursuer and pursued.
This parable has been cited to impress upon the idol worshipers that their deities are absolutely powerless, for even if they all collaborated to create an insignificant thing like a fly, they could not; nay, even if a fly snatched away anything from them they could not prevent it. This shows how weak they themselves are and how powerless are the idols they supplicate.
( 74 )   They have not appraised Allah with true appraisal. Indeed, Allah is Powerful and Exalted in Might.
No one can have a true idea of Allah, who descends to the base forms of false worship. Allah has all power, and He is fully able to carry out every part of His Will and Plan.

Here two more attributes of Allah Al Qawwiyy and Al Aziz have been mentioned. He is exalted above all in power and dignity. Reference xxii. 40 for the full meaning of attribute of Allah 'Aziz. For details on attributes of Allah, please read our post: 99 Attributes of Allah

Verses 75-78 Allah named the believers as Muslims in the prior Scriptures and also in this (Al-Quran):
( 75 )   Allah chooses from the angels messengers and from the people. Indeed, Allah is Hearing and Seeing.
In continuation of the refutation of shirk, Allah has taken two kinds of the most revered of deities to show their real status, as if to say: The angels and the Prophets whom you have set up as deities are mere Messengers of Allah. Allah has chosen them to convey His messages to human beings and this does not make them God or partners in His Godhead.

Men are chosen as Messengers to ordinary men; for ordinary men will not be able to understand and be in communion with beings so refined as angels. But angels are sent as Messengers to Allah's chosen prophets, to convey the Message from time to time. In either case they are chosen by Allah, are subject to Allah's Will, and should not be worshipped as gods.

As Allah regards the humblest of His creatures and hears their prayer, He sends men messengers out of their own brethren (see last note), and to such messengers He communicates the highest spiritual Truths through His angels.

For two attributes mentioned here, refer to verse 61 For details on attributes of Allah, please read our post: 99 Attributes of Allah
( 76 )   He knows what is [presently] before them and what will be after them. And to Allah will be returned [all] matters.
The Quran employs this sentence to refute the creed of the mushriks in regard to intercession, as if to say: You imagine that angels, prophets, saints and the like can intercede with Allah on your behalf and therefore you worship them. You are absolutely wrong. For none of your deities knows what is good for you and what is not. Allah alone hears everything, sees everything and knows everything. Therefore He has not given the right of intercession and recommendation to anyone except when He Himself is pleased to give such permission.

This is to impress upon them that every affair and every matter, big or small, is presented before Allah for a decision. Therefore you should not invoke anyone else other than Allah, for all others are utterly helpless and powerless and cannot even fulfill their own desires and needs.

يٰۤـاَيُّهَا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا ارۡكَعُوۡا وَاسۡجُدُوۡا وَ اعۡبُدُوۡا رَبَّكُمۡ وَافۡعَلُوۡا الۡخَيۡرَ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تُفۡلِحُوۡنَ۩ ۚ‏ 
( 77 )   O you who have believed, bow and prostrate and worship your Lord and do good - that you may succeed.
This is the right way of attaining the success, but even after adopting these ways of worship and performing good deeds one should not rest content or be proud that he would surely attain success because he is worshiping Allah and is doing good deeds. He should only expect that Allah will by His grace accept his services and bless him with the success.

"۩" Imam Shafai, Ahmad bin Hanbal, Abdullah bin Mubarak and Ishaq bin Rahawayah hold the view that this verse of Surah Al-Hajj requires a prostration. But Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Malik, Hasan Basri, Said bin al-Musayyab, Said bin Jubair, Ibrahim Nakhai and Sufyan Thauri dispute this.

Views on Prostration by The former group of commentators base their opinion on the following:

(1) The verb in the verse is in the imperative mood.

(2) The tradition of Uqbah bin Amir which has been reported by Imam Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Tirmizi, Ibn Marduyah and Baihaqi, says: I asked, O Messenger of Allah! Does the merit of Surah Al-Hajj consist in the fact that it contains two verses requiring prostration? He replied: Yes, the one who does not prostrate on these two verses, should not recite them.

(3) The tradition of Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah in which Amr bin Aas says that he was told by the Prophet (peace be upon him) that there were two verses requiring prostration in Surah Al-Hajj.

(4) Sayings of Umar, Ali, Uthman, Ibn Umar, Ibn Abbas, Abul Darda, Abu Musa Ashari and Ammar bin Yasir to the effect that Surah Al Hajj contains two prostrations.

Views on Prostration by  The latter group of commentators argue as follows;

(1) The verse contains a command both for Sajdah (prostration) and for Ruku (bowing in prayer), which implies the whole Islamic Prayer according to the Quranic usage, and not prostration alone.

(2) The tradition reported by Uqbah bin Amir is unauthentic as it has weak links.

(3) The tradition of Amr bin Aas is also unreliable, because its reporters are not well known.

(4) As for the sayings of the companions, Ibn Abbas has clearly explained that prostration in respect of the first verse (in Surah Al-Hajj) is obligatory, whereas in regard to the second, it is only suggestive.

The last verse, verse 70, needs a little elaboration and its context must be understood clearly:
( 78 )   And strive for Allah with the striving due to Him. He has chosen you and has not placed upon you in the religion any difficulty. [It is] the religion of your father, Abraham. Allah named you "Muslims" before [in former scriptures] and in this [revelation] that the Messenger may be a witness over you and you may be witnesses over the people. So establish prayer and give zakah and hold fast to Allah. He is your protector; and excellent is the protector, and excellent is the helper.
The Arabic word "jihad" used in the verse  is very comprehensive. It includes every kind of effort, exertion, conflict and war. Jihad for the cause of Allah means that it should be performed for His service and for His approval against those who prevent others from following His Way. The performance of jihad also requires that one should first of all fight against his own self in order to subdue it. For there can be no true jihad unless one fights against his evil self and subdues his desires and lusts to the obedience of Allah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) himself has emphasized the need for this jihad. Once when the warriors for the cause of Allah returned from jihad, he said: You have returned from the lesser jihad to the greater jihad. They asked: What is that greater Jihad. The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: It is the jihad against his own desires and lusts.

Moreover, the battlefield for jihad is, in fact, the whole world, and Islam demands that one should exert his utmost against all the rebels of Allah and the wicked powers with all of his heart and mind and body and wealth.

The direct addressees of this were the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him), for they were the first who had the honor to be chosen for this service; others have been addressed only indirectly being their followers. This thing has been mentioned in the Quran in other ways as well. For reference, see (Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayat 143) and (Surah Aal-Imran, Ayat 110).

“(Allah) has not placed upon you in religion any hardship”. That is, the creed you have been given is very simple and straightforward and the laws and regulations you have to obey are practicable. You are free within its bounds to make as much progress as you can. This was to impress that the lives of the Muslims were free from all those useless and unnatural restrictions which had been imposed upon the former communities by their priests and law givers. The negative aspect of the same thing has been mentioned in (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayat 157): He enjoins them to follow virtue and forbids them from evil: He makes pure things lawful for them and impure things unlawful. He relieves them of their burdens and frees them from the shackles that bound them.

Though Islam may be called the religion of Prophets Noah, Moses, Jesus, etc. yet the Quran emphasizes over and over again that it is the religion of Prophet Abraham (peace be upon them all). Therefore, you should follow it. This is for three reasons.

(1) The first addressees of the Quran were the Arabs who were more familiar with Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) than with any other Prophet and acknowledged him to be a holy personage and their leader.

(2) Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) alone was the person whom the Jews, the Christians, the Muslims and the mushriks of Arabia and of the adjoining countries unanimously acknowledged as a great Prophet.

(3) When the Quran invites all these communities to follow the way of Abraham, it in fact, admonishes them that all their religions had been invented long after Prophet Abraham and, therefore, were not trustworthy because they contradicted many things taught by him. As for the mushriks of Arabia, they also acknowledged that idol worship among them had been started by Amr bin Luhayy, who was a leader of Bani Khuzaah, and had brought an idol, called Hubal, from Moab in about 600 B.C. So the religion to which Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) invited them was the same pure, unadulterated religion which was taught by Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him).

For further details, see (Surah Al-Baqarah 2: 134-135 ) and (E.Ns 58, 79 of Surah Aal-Imran 3: 65, 96) and (Surah An-Nahal 16: 120,123).

Here the word “you” has not been addressed exclusively to those believers who lived at the time of the revelation of this verse, or those who believed after its revelation. It includes all those human beings, who, from the beginning of human history, believed in Tauhid, the Hereafter, Prophethood and the divine Books. They were not Jews, Christians, etc. but Muslims in the sense that they had surrendered themselves to Allah. Likewise the followers of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) are not Muhammadans but Muslims.

“Hold fast to Allah”: Follow exclusively the guidance and the law of Allah: obey Him alone: fear Him and have all your hopes and expectations in Him: invoke Him alone for help: trust in Him and pray to Him for all your needs.

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Surah Al Hajj with English subtitles:

You may refer to our post "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, meaning and summary / exegesis of other chapters (Though not complete but building up from 30th Juzʼ / Part backwards for chapters in 30th Juzʼ / Part are shorter and easier to understand). 

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |
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. 
If you like Islam: My Ultimate Decision, and to keep yourself updated on all our latest posts to know more about Islam, follow us on Facebook

Please share this page to your friends and family members through Facebook, WhatsApp or any means on Social Media so that they can also be benefited by it and better understand Islam and the Holy Qur'an - Insha Allah (Allah Willing) you shall be blessed with the best of both worlds.


Post a Comment

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More