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Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Surah Maryam - Mary: 19th Chapter of Quran Exegesis Part III


Sürah Maryam " مريم " is the 19th sūrah of the Qur'an. It has 98 verses (āyāt), 6 ruku and is part of the 16th Juz of the Holy Quran. A "Meccan sūrah" that is named after Mary, Mother of Prophet Eesa (Jesus, peace be upon him), the mention of which appears in verse 16. It was revealed before the first ever Muslim migration to Habash, for as per authentic Traditions that Hadrat Ja'afar recited verses 1-40 of this sūrah in the court of Negus when the latter called the migrants to his court.

As already mentioned in the Overview of this surah, the exegesis of the surah has been divided into three parts as per the theme and the subject matter discussed therein as under:
  • Part I  : Ruku 1-2 [Verses 1-40] - Mention of Prophets Zechariah, John and Jesus
  • Part II : Ruku 3-4 [Verses 41-65] Mention of Prophets Abraham, Moses, Ishmael and Idris
  • Part III: Ruku 5-6 [Verses 66-98] The concluding passages
We have already presented the Overview and Parts I and II of the exegesis of the sürah. Let us now read the translation and exegesis / tafseer in English of the last part, that is Part III 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"

Ruku / Section 5 [ 66-82 ]
Mention of Believers and unbelievers' life in this world and their life in the Hereafter:

In that, verses 66-75 talk of the deniers of resurrection, their punishment, and attitudes: The Arabs, who were first addressed by the Quran, accepted life after death, but their acceptance was purely formal and as such had no impact on their lives.  This indifference persists because people do not give serious consideration to this matter.  If they did, they would realize that the initial, first birth is in itself an argument in support of re-birth.
( 66 )   Man [the disbeliever] is prone to say: "Shall I be raised to life after I die?"
This was the most asked question by the disbelievers of Makkah from the Prophet of Allah. In fact the tone of this question smacked of sarcasm rather than genuineness.
( 67 )   Does man not remember that We created him before, while he was nothing?
And here is the divine reply to their mockery. It is being told to them fair and square that Allah who created them from nothing in the first place, would find it not difficult to recollect the scattered bones and put over them the flesh as it was done in the mother's womb and made to be born in perfect living condition. So all the dead, no matter since how long, will be taken out of their graves and presented before their Lord and questioned for their deeds and awarded and rewarded accordingly.
( 68 )   So by your Lord, We will surely gather them and the devils; then We will bring them to be present around Hell upon their knees.
The disbelief in a future life is not merely a philosophic doubt, but a warped will, a disingenuous obstinacy in face of our inner spiritual instincts and experiences. We were nothing before. Cannot the same Allah, Who created us out of nothing also continue our personality? But if we refuse to accept His light and guidance, our state will grow worse and worse. We shall be deprived of His grace. We shall be herded with satans. In utter humiliation we shall be faced with all the consequences of our refusal of Truth.

Round about Hell: There are many ways leading to evil, and people get to it from all round. Hence the mention of the seven Gates to Hell:
(Surah 15. Al-Hijr :44) "There are seven gates in it, and to each gate a portion of them has been allotted."
Sinners will be divided into different groups in accordance with their different sins for their entry into Hell from seven different gates specified for each different sin. For instance, the group of atheists shall enter into Hell by one of the seven gates specified for their group. Likewise, mushriks, hypocrites, self-seekers, sensualists, tyrants, propagandists and leaders of disbelief etc. shall each enter into Hell through the gates specified for their group.
( 69 )   Then We will surely extract from every sect those of them who were worst against the Most Merciful in insolence.( 70 )   Then, surely it is We who are most knowing of those most worthy of burning therein.
وَاِنۡ مِّنْکُمْ اِلَّا وَارِدُهَا ​ؕ كَانَ عَلٰى رَبِّكَ حَتۡمًا مَّقۡضِيًّا​ۚ‏ 
 ( 71 )   And there is none of you except he will come to it. This is upon your Lord an inevitability decreed.
According to some traditions, “pass over it (Hell)” means to enter Hell, but none of these traditions is authentic. Then this interpretation goes against the Quran and a great many authentic traditions, which clearly state that the true believers will never be cast into Hell. Lexically also, variduha (being presented unto) is not synonymous with dukhul (causing to enter). Therefore, the correct meaning would be that every human being will be presented before Hell, but then, as the next verse clarifies, the pious people will be rescued and the transgressors left therein on their knees.

According to Yousaf Ali, three interpretations are possible, (1) The general interpretation is that every person must pass through or by or over the Fire. Those who have had Taqwa (see. n. 26 to ii. 2) will be saved by Allah's Mercy, while unrepentant sinners will suffer the torments in ignominy, (2) If we refer the pronoun "you" to those "in obstinate rebellion" in verse 69 above, both leaders and followers in sin, this verse only applies to the wicked, (3) Some refer this verse to the Bridge over Hell, the Bridge Sirat, over which all must pass to their final Destiny. This Bridge is not mentioned in the Qur'an.
( 72 )   Then We will save those who feared Allah and leave the wrongdoers within it, on their knees.
( 73 )   And when Our verses are recited to them as clear evidences, those who disbelieve say to those who believe, "Which of [our] two parties is best in position and best in association?"
In response to the recital of clear revelations, instead of accepting their message, the unbelievers put such questions as these to the believers to show that they were in the right: Who has grander houses to live in? Who has a higher standard of life? Who enjoys splendid meetings? If we are enjoying all these things while you are deprived of them, you may decide for yourselves whether we, who are enjoying happy worldly lives, are in the wrong, or you who are living miserable lives of indigence are in the right? 
( 74 )   And how many a generation have We destroyed before them who were better in possessions and [outward] appearance?
 ( 75 )   Say: "If any men go astray (Allah) Most Gracious extends (the rope) to them. Until when they see the warning of Allah (being fulfilled) either in punishment or in (the approach of) the Hour they will at length realize who is worst in position and (who) weakest in forces!
Allah's warning is that every evil deed must have its punishment, and that there will be a Hereafter, the Day of Judgment, or the Hour, as it is frequently called. The punishment of evil often begins in this very life. For instance, over-indulgence and excesses of all kinds bring on their Nemesis quite soon in this very life. But some subtler forms of selfishness and sin will be punished as every evil will be punished-in its own good time, as the Hour approaches. In either case, the arrogant boasting sinners will realize that their taunt-who is best in position and in forces? (xix. 73)-is turned against themselves.

Verse 76 Reward of the guided: Just as one who keeps worldly interests in view, progresses in this world, similarly, one who acts with the afterlife in view, keeps accumulating his good deeds. 

وَيَزِيۡدُ اللّٰهُ الَّذِيۡنَ اهۡتَدَوۡا هُدًى​ؕ وَالۡبٰقِيٰتُ الصّٰلِحٰتُ خَيۡرٌ عِنۡدَ رَبِّكَ ثَوَابًا وَّخَيۡرٌ مَّرَدًّا‏
( 76 )   And Allah increases those who were guided, in guidance, and the enduring good deeds are better to your Lord for reward and better for recourse.
That is, on every critical occasion, Allah guides them to make right decisions and helps them to adopt the right way, and protects them from evil and wrong things; thus they go on making more and more progress on the right way.

These lines are the same as in Surah 18. Al-Kahf: 46 (second clause), except that the word maradd (eventual returns) is here substituted for amal (hope). The meaning is practically the same: but "hope" is more appropriate in the passage dealing generally with this world's goods, and "eventual returns" in the passage dealing with the sinner's specific investments and commitments in worldly position and organised cliques.

The subject matter discussed in Verses 77-95 is the Annulling plurality of the deities and the ascription of sons to God: Man wants to be able to do as he likes in this world, but he does not want to suffer the consequences of his wrongdoings.  Therefore, man courts beings supposedly near and dear to God who could plead his case to Him.  Such useless pleading are based on false assumptions.  Those beings whom he ritually worshipped will disown him on Judgment Day, showing him nothing but hatred.
( 77 )   Then, have you seen he who disbelieved in Our verses and said, "I will surely be given wealth and children [in the next life]?"
The boastful person was not a particular man but a typical chief of the disbelievers of Makkah. Everyone of them claimed: Howsoever you may call me an erroneous and un-righteous person and threaten me with the divine scourge, the fact is that I am more prosperous than you today and shall continue being blessed with favors in future as well. Just have a look at my riches, at my grandeur and at my estate, and at my well-known sons, and then say where you see any signs of the wrath of God.
( 78 )   Has he looked into the unseen, or has he taken from the Most Merciful a promise?
( 79 )   No! We will record what he says and extend for him from the punishment extensively.
That is, the boastful words of his shall also be included in the record of his crimes and he shall have to bear the consequences of his arrogant claim.
( 80 )   And We will inherit him [in] what he mentions, and he will come to Us alone.
Literally, "We shall inherit", [correlate xix. 40]. Even if the man had property and power, it must go back to the Source of all things, and the man must appear before the Judgment-seat, alone and unaccompanied, stripped of all the things from which he expected so much!

وَاتَّخَذُوۡا مِنۡ دُوۡنِ اللّٰهِ اٰلِهَةً لِّيَكُوۡنُوۡا لَهُمۡ عِزًّا ۙ‏  
( 81 )   And they have taken besides Allah [false] deities that they would be for them [a source of] honor.
The Arabic word Izzan (from 'Izz: exalted rank, glory, power, might, the ability to impose one's will or to carry out one's will) implies a powerful and strong person whom nobody may dare do any harm; here it means a person’s having such a strong supporter that no enemy or opponent of his may even cherish an evil intention against him.
( 82 )   No! Those "gods" will deny their worship of them and will be against them opponents [on the Day of Judgement].
That is, they will say: We never asked them to worship us nor were we aware that these foolish people were worshiping us.

Cf. Surah 10. Yunus 28-30, where the idols deny that they knew anything of their worship, and leave their worshippers in the lurch;
(10:28) And the Day when We shall muster them all together, We shall say to those who associated others with Allah in His divinity: 'Keep to your places - you and those whom you associated with Allah.' Then We shall remove the veil of foreignness separating them. Those whom they had associated with Allah will say. 'It was not us that you worshipped.  (10:29) Allah's witness suffices between you and us that (even if you worshipped us) we were totally unaware of your worshipping us.(10:30) Thereupon everyone shall taste the recompense of his past deeds. All shall be sent back to Allah, their true Lord, and then all the falsehoods they had fabricated will have forsaken them.
Ruku / Section 6 [ 83-98 ]
83-98 No god other than Allah will be able to save you on the Day of Judgement and Those who say Allah has begotten as son preach such a monstrous lie that even the heavens may crack, earth split and mountains crumble to pieces and Allah has made the Quran easy for Mankind:
( 83 )   Do you not see that We have sent the devils upon the disbelievers, inciting them to [evil] with [constant] incitement?
Under the laws instituted by Allah, when evil reaches a certain stage of rebellion and defiance, it is left to gather momentum and to rush with fury to its own destruction. It is given a certain amount of respite, as a last chance: but failing repentance, its days are numbered. The godly therefore should not worry themselves over the apparent worldly success of evil, but should get on with their own duties in a spirit of trust in Allah.
( 84 )   So be not impatient over them. We only count out to them a [limited] number.
That is: Endure their persecutions patiently a little more, for the time of their punishment is coming near, for We have given them respite for a fixed term, and let that term expire.
( 85 )   On the Day We will gather the righteous to the Most Merciful as a delegation( 86 )   And will drive the criminals to Hell in thirst
Note the contrast between the saved and the doomed. The one march with dignity like honoured ones before a king, and the other rush in anguish to their punishment like a herd of cattle driven down by thirst to their watering place. Note the metaphor of the water. They rush madly for water but are plunged into the Fire!
( 87 )   None will have [power of] intercession except he who had taken from the Most Merciful a covenant.
This implies two things: (1) Intercession will be allowed only for the one who might have received permission for it from the Merciful, that is, the one who believed in Allah in the world and made himself deserving of His pardon. (2) Only that one will be able to plead intercession who might have received permission for this from the Merciful, and not those ones whom people themselves had made their intercessors without any reason.

Verses 88-93, there is a strong rebuttal for those who associate the notion of sub gods with Allah and that Allah has taken a son for Him:
( 88 )   And they say, "The Most Merciful has taken [for Himself] a son."( 89 )   You have done an atrocious thing.
The belief in Allah begetting a son is not a question merely of words or of speculative thought. It is a stupendous blasphemy against Allah. It lowers Allah to the level of an animal. If combined with the doctrine of vicarious atonement, it amounts to a negation of Allah's justice and man's personal responsibility. It is destructive of all moral and spiritual order, and is condemned in the strongest possible terms.
( 90 )   The heavens almost rupture therefrom and the earth splits open and the mountains collapse in devastation( 91 )   That they attribute to the Most Merciful a son.( 92 )   And it is not appropriate for the Most Merciful that He should take a son.
This basic principle was laid down early in the argument (xix. 35). It was illustrated by a reference to the personal history of many messengers, including Jesus himself, who behaved justly as men to their kith and kin and humbly served Allah. The evil results of such superstitions were pointed out in the case of many previous generations which went to their ruin by dishonouring Allah. And the argument is now rounded off towards the close of the sürah.
( 93 )   There is no one in the heavens and earth but that he comes to the Most Merciful as a servant.( 94 )   He has enumerated them and counted them a [full] counting.
Allah has no sons or favourites or parasites, such as we associate with human beings. On the other hand every creature of His gets His love, and His cherishing care. Everyone of them, however humble, is individually marked before His Throne of Justice and Mercy, and will stand before Him on his own deserts.
( 95 )   And all of them are coming to Him on the Day of Resurrection alone.
Verses 96-98 Conclusion: In conclusion it is emphasised that: (1) God loves those who believe and act righteously.(2) Quran is only in the Arabic language, but has been made easy for one to learn and memorize, and (3) Those who oppose the call for Truth err in thinking that, in doing so, they will not come to any harm.  There is evidence of the opponents of Truth being wiped out, but they do not take any lesson from it.  
( 96 )   Indeed, those who have believed and done righteous deeds - the Most Merciful will appoint for them affection.
This is to comfort the righteous people who were being persecuted and insulted in the streets of Makkah. They are being assured that the time is coming near when the people will honor and love them because of their righteous deeds and good conduct. Hearts will be attracted towards them and the world will hold them in high esteem. And this will happen according to a universal principle. Those who are wicked, proud and haughty and try to rule over the people with falsehood and hypocrisy can never captivate the hearts of the people.

On the other hand, those who invite the people to the right way with truth, honesty, sincerity and good conduct succeed in winning their hearts in the end, even though at first they might have to face the indifference and opposition of the dishonest people. 97. So, We have only made this (Quran) easy in your tongue that you may give good tidings therewith to those who are righteous, and warn with it a contentious people.
( 97 )   So, [O Muhammad], We have only made Qur'an easy in the Arabic language that you may give good tidings thereby to the righteous and warn thereby a hostile people.
( 98 )   And how many have We destroyed before them of generations? Do you perceive of them anyone or hear from them a sound?
Cf. xix. 74, from which this sentence is brought up as a reminiscence, showing the progress of sin, the Guidance which Allah gives to the good, the degradation of blasphemy, the respite granted, and the final End, when personal responsibility will be enforced.


Let us wake up to the reality of our powerlessness by acknowledging the power of God.  Total submission is the real strength in this world and a hope for everlasting success and happiness in the Hereafter.

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sürah Maryam 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). 

References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 |
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 order to augment and add more explanation as already provided by [2], additional input has been interjected from following sources:
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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