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Saturday, October 26, 2019

Surah An-Nahl - The Bee: 16th Chapter of Quran Exegesis Part II


Sürah An-Naḥl " الْنَّحْل " " (The Bees) is the 16th chapter (sūrah) of the Qur'an, containing 128 āyāts.  with sixteen rukus, part of the 14th Juzʼ  of the Holy Qur'an. It also has one sajda-e-talawat (Prostration of Recitation) in the 50th verse. The Sürah takes its name from the 68th verse:
وَاَوۡحٰى رَبُّكَ اِلَى النَّحۡلِ اَنِ اتَّخِذِىۡ مِنَ الۡجِبَالِ بُيُوۡتًا وَّمِنَ الشَّجَرِ وَمِمَّا يَعۡرِشُوۡنَۙ‏ 

"Your Lord inspired the bee, saying: "Set up hives in the mountains and in the trees and in the trellises that people put up" 

This Sürah was revealed during the last Makkan stage of Prophethood and the following verses tend to support the assertion:
  • Verse 41 clearly shows that persecution had forced some Muslims to emigrate to Habash before the revelation of this Surah.
  • Verse 106 indicates to the fact that at that time the persecution of the Muslims was at its height. Therefore a problem had arisen in regard to the utterance of a blasphemous word, without actual disbelief, under unbearable conditions. The problem was that if one did so how he should be treated.
  • Verses 112-114 refer to the end of seven year famine that had struck Makkah some years after the appointment of the Holy Prophet as Allah's Messenger.
  • There is a reference to verse 116 of this Surah in Surah VI Al-An'am: 145, and verse 118 of this Surah contains a reference to Surah VI Al-An'am: 146. This is a proof that both these Surahs (VI and XVI) were sent down in the same period.
  • The general style of the Surah also supports the view that this was revealed during the last stage at Makkah.
In subject matter it sums up, from a new point of view, the arguments on the great questions of Allah's dealings with man. All the topics of the Surah revolve round different aspects of the Message, i.e., refutation of shirk, proof of Tawhid, and warning of the consequences of the rejection of and opposition and antagonism to the Message.

This sürah warns against polytheism, saying that the pagan gods cannot create anything ([Quran 16:20]), and against comparisons between Allah and any created beings ([Quran 16:74]). It praises Allah for giving the Earth with all its wealth to mankind. According to this sürah, all wonders of the natural world, like seas, stars, mountains are proofs of God's infinite power ([Quran 16:14]).


Owing to the length of the sürah, the exegesis / tafseer has been divided into three parts as under:
  • Part I   : Ruku / Sections 1-6 [Verses 1-50] 
  • Part II  : Ruku / Sections 7-12 [Verses 51-89] 
  • Part III : Ruku / Sections 13-16 [Verses 90-128] 
We have already presented the Part I. Let us now read the exegesis / tafseer of the Part IIThe translation and exegesis / tafseer is in English. For Arabic Text, please refer to the references given at the end and may also listen to its recitation in Arabic with English subtitles:

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"

Ruku / Section 7 Verses [51-60]

Summary Verses 51-60: Whenever unbelievers are in distress they call upon Allah alone; no sooner does He relieve them that they start committing shirk
( 51 )   And Allah has said, "Do not take for yourselves two deities. He is but one God, so fear only Me."
Negation of two gods by itself negates the existence of more than two gods. This verse clearly states that there is no gods but One True Allah and He does not have any associates in any form or even in mere thinking. Those who take other deities at par with Allah are there in grave error and committal of greatest sin.

Yousaf Ali Explanation:
The ancient Persians believed in two powers in the Universe, one good and the other evil. The Pagan Arabs also had pairs of deities: e.g., Jibr (Sorcery) and Tagut (Evil), referred to in iv. 51, n. 573, or the idols on Safa and Marwa referred to in n. 160 to ii. 158: their names were Isaf and Naila.
( 52 )   And to Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and the earth, and to Him is [due] worship constantly. Then is it other than Allah that you fear?
Since Allah alone is the God, the entire system of the universe exists on its obedience to Him. When it is so, will you then make the fear of any other than God the basis of the system of your life?

Yousaf Ali Explanation:
The Pagans might have a glimmering of the One True God, but they had also a haunting fear of malevolent Powers of Evil. They are told that such fears are groundless. Evil has no power over those who trust in Allah: xv. 42. The only fear they should have is that of the Wrath of Allah. To the righteous all good things come from Allah, and they have no fear in their hearts.
( 53 )   And whatever you have of favor - it is from Allah. Then when adversity touches you, to Him you cry for help.
That is, the fact, that you run to Allah for help in your distress and not to anyone else, is a clear proof of the Oneness of Allah, which has been embedded in your own hearts. At the time of your affliction, your true nature, which had been suppressed by the gods you had forged, involuntarily comes to the surface and invokes Allah, for it knows no other god or lord or master, having any real power.

That God alone possesses all power and authority, and has full control over the things which cause either benefit or harm to men, and that He alone holds the reins of their destiny are facts to which there is ample testimony in man's own being. For instance, whenever man is faced with a really hard time, and when the resources upon which he normally fails back seem to fail him, he instinctively turns to God. In spite of such a clear sign, people set up partners to God without any shred of evidence that anyone other than God has any share in His power and authority.
( 54 )   Then when He removes the adversity from you, at once a party of you associates others with their Lord
That is, at the time of showing gratitude to Allah for removing his affliction, he begins to make offerings also to some god, goddess or saint to show that Allah’s kindness to him was due to the intercession of his patron, for he imagines that otherwise Allah would not have removed his distress.
( 55 )   So they will deny what We have given them. Then enjoy yourselves, for you are going to know.
( 56 )   And they assign to what they do not know a portion of that which We have provided them. By Allah, you will surely be questioned about what you used to invent.
Yousaf Ali Explanation:
Idols and fictitious gods are certainly things of which they have no knowledge, idols being lifeless things of whose life or doings no knowledge is possible, and fictitious gods being but figments of their imagination.

Cf. Surah vi. Al Ana'am 136-140, 142-144, and Surah v. Al Maida 103. The Pagans, in assigning and dedicating some of their children, or some of their cattle, or some of the produce of their fields, to their false gods as sharers with the true Supreme God, made themselves doubly ridiculous; first, because every good thing that they valued was given to them by Allah, and how could they patronizingly assign to Him a share of His own gifts?-and secondly, because they brought in other gods as sharers, who had no existence whatever! Besides, the cattle and produce was given for their physical sustenance and the children for their social and spiritual sustenance, and how can they, poor creatures, give sustenance to Allah?
( 57 )   And they attribute to Allah daughters - exalted is He - and for them is what they desire.
This refers to a tradition of the ancient Arabs. Some of the Pagan Arabs called angels the daughters of Allah. In their own life they hated to have daughters, as explained in the next two verses. They practiced female infanticide. In their state of perpetual war sons were a source of strength to them; daughters only made them subject to humiliating raids!
( 58 )   And when one of them is informed of [the birth of] a female, his face becomes dark, and he suppresses grief.
( 59 )   He hides himself from the people because of the ill of which he has been informed. Should he keep it in humiliation or bury it in the ground? Unquestionably, evil is what they decide.
This attitude of contempt towards daughters has been mentioned to bring home to them the height of their folly, ignorance and impudence in regard to God. This is why they did not hesitate to assign daughters to Allah, though they themselves felt that to have daughters was a matter of disgrace for them. Besides this, it shows that they had a very low estimation of Allah, which had resulted from their ways of shirk. So they felt nothing wrong in ascribing such foolish and absurd things to Allah Who is above such things.

Yousaf Ali Explanation:
"It", in this and the following clause, refers grammatically to the "news" (ma bushshira bihi). In meaning it refers to the "female child"-by the figure of speech known as metonymy.

Cf. Surah lxxxi At Takwir: 8-9. The practice of female infanticide is condemned in scathing terms. Female children used to be buried alive by the Pagan Arabs.

It was an evil choice to decide on. Either alternative-to keep the poor girl as a thing of sufferance and contempt, bringing disgrace on the family, or to get rid of it by burying it alive-was cruel and indefensible.
( 60 )   For those who do not believe in the Hereafter is the description of evil; and for Allah is the highest attribute. And He is Exalted in Might, the Wise.
The word mathal ordinarily denotes a similitude, but in the context of the present verse, especially with reference to Allah, it signifies His sublime attributes rather than a similitude. Cf. Surah xxx.Ar Rum: 27.

Ruku / Section 8 Verses [61-65]

Summary Verses 61-65: If Allah were to punish for wrong doings, He would not leave even and animal around the wrongdoers and As water gives life to dead land so does Al-Quran to the human soul
( 61 )   And if Allah were to impose blame on the people for their wrongdoing, He would not have left upon the earth any creature, but He defers them for a specified term. And when their term has come, they will not remain behind an hour, nor will they precede [it].
Yousaf Ali Explanation:
Allah's decree works without fail. If He were to punish for every wrong or shortcoming, not a single living creature on earth would escape punishment. But in His infinite mercy and forgiveness, He gives respite: He provides time for repentance. If the repentance is forthcoming. Allah's Mercy is forthcoming without fail, if not, the punishment comes inevitably on the expiry of the Term. The sinner cannot anticipate it by an insolent challenge, nor can he delay it when the time arrives. Let him not think that the respite given him may mean that he can do what he likes, and that he can escape scot-free from the consequences.
( 62 )   And they attribute to Allah that which they dislike, and their tongues assert the lie that they will have the best [from Him]. Assuredly, they will have the Fire, and they will be [therein] neglected.
Yousaf Ali Explanation:
The philosophy of Pleasure (Hedonism) assumes that worldly enjoyment is good in itself and that there is nothing beyond. But it can be shown, even on its own ground, that every act has its inevitable consequences. No Good can spring out of Evil. For falsehood and wrong the agony of the Fire is waiting, and the boastful votaries of Falsehood will be the first to fall into it.
( 63 )   By Allah, We did certainly send [messengers] to nations before you, but Satan made their deeds attractive to them. And he is the disbelievers' ally today [as well], and they will have a painful punishment.
Yousaf Ali Explanation:
In all ages and among all Peoples Allah sent His Messengers to teach the Truth and point the way to righteousness. But the allurements of Evil seemed always attractive, and many men preferred their own ways and the ways of their ancestors to the more difficult path of rectitude. This happened again in the time of Al-Mustafa, and will always happen as long as men succumb to Evil.
( 64 )   And We have not revealed to you the Book, [O Muhammad], except for you to make clear to them that wherein they have differed and as guidance and mercy for a people who believe.
That is, this Book has afforded them an excellent opportunity to resolve their differences which have been caused by the superstitious creeds of their forefathers, and which have divided, them into warring factions. They can then unite on the permanent basis of the truth presented by the Quran, but those foolish people preferring their former condition even after the coming of this blessing, shall meet with disgrace and torment. On the other hand, only those, who believe in this Book, will find the right way and blessed with mercy and favors from Allah. 65. And Allah sends down from the sky water, then He revives therewith the earth after its death. Indeed, in this is a sure sign for a people who listen.

That is, had you listened to the message of the Prophet (peace be upon him), and observed those signs carefully, you would have cried from the core of your heart. These signs support his message. Year after year you witness these signs. There is the land, all barren before you, without any sign of life, no blade of grass, no bud or flower, and no insect. Then comes rain. All of a sudden, the same land is covered with life. There crop upon numerous kinds of insects of which no vestige had been left. You witness this process of life and death, and death and life, repeated year after year. Yet you doubt this when the Prophet (peace be upon him) tells you that Allah will again bring to life all human beings after their death. This is because you see these signs as animals do, who do not see the wisdom of the Creator underlying this phenomenon; otherwise you would have discovered that these signs support the message of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

Yousaf Ali Explanation:
The path of duty before Allah's Messenger is clear. He is sent with the Revelation (the Qur'an) for three express purposes; (1) that he should bring about unity among the jarring sects, for the Gospel of Unity, while preaching the One True God, leads also to the unity of mankind; (2) that the revelation should be a guide to right conduct; and (3) that it should show the path of repentance and Salvation, and thus be the highest mercy to erring sinners.
( 65 )   And Allah has sent down rain from the sky and given life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who listen.
Yousaf Ali Explanation:
When the earth with all its vegetation is well-nigh dead, parched and shrivelled up, a vivifying shower of rain from above gives it new life. This natural phenomenon is a sign of Allah's infinite power, especially of His power to resurrect the dead, and thereafter muster them for judgment.

Ruku / Section 9 Verses [66-70]

Summary Verses 66-70: There is a lesson for mankind in the lives of animals ie, milk-producing animals and the honeybee. 

The verse 66 talks about the miracle in milk formation in cattle: 
( 66 )   And indeed, for you in grazing livestock is a lesson. We give you drink from what is in their bellies - between excretion and blood - pure milk, palatable to drinkers.
“Between excretions and the blood”. This refers to the most wonderful process of the formation of pure milk in the bellies of the cattle. For, the fodder they eat turns into blood, filth and pure milk, which is altogether different from the first two in its nature, color and usefulness. Some cattle produce milk in such abundance that after suckling their young ones a large quantity of it is left to make excellent human food.

Yousaf Ali Explanation:
The spiritual sustenance which Allah gives is typified by the wonderful ways of sustenance in the physical world, which figure forth Allah's providence and loving care for His creation. And the wonderful transformations in the physical world, which all tend to the benefit of man, are also Signs of His supreme wisdom. In the previous verse rain was mentioned, which gives new life to dead nature. In this and the following two verses our attention is drawn to milk, the products of the date and the vine, and honey.

Their; in the Arabic, it is "its", in the singular number, for two reasons: (1) cattle is the generic plural, and may be treated as a singular noun; (2) the instructive Sign is in cattle collectively, but the milk is the product of each single individual.

Milk is a secretion in the female body, like other secretions, but more specialised. Is it not wonderful that the same food, eaten by males and females, produces in the latter, when they have young, the wholesome and complete food, known as milk? Then, when cattle are tamed and specially bred for milk, the supply of milk is vastly greater than is necessary for their young and lasts for a longer time than during the period they give suck to their young. And it is a wholesome and agreeable diet for man. It is pure, as typified by its whiteness. Yet it is a secretion like other secretions, between the excretions which the body rejects as worthless and the precious blood-stream which circulates within the body and is the symbol of life itself to the animal which produces it.
( 67 )   And from the fruits of the palm trees and grapevines you take intoxicant and good provision. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who reason.
Incidentally it implies that the juice of the fruits of date palms and vines contains two things. One is that which is pure and wholesome food for man and the other is that which turns into alcohol after it becomes rotten. But it has been left to the choice of man to obtain pure healthy food from this providence or to drink it as intoxicant wine to excite him and make him lose his self control. This also contains a hint as to the prohibition of wine.

Yousaf Ali Explanation:
There are wholesome drinks and foods that can be got out of the date-palm and the vine: e.g., non-alcoholic drinks from the date and the grape, vinegar, date-sugar, grape-sugar, and dates and grapes themselves for eating. If sakar is taken in the sense of fermented wine, it would refer to the time before intoxicants were prohibited, for this is a Makkan Sura and the prohibition came in Madinah. In such a case it would imply a subtle disapproval of the use of intoxicants and mark the first of a series of steps that in time culminated in total prohibition.

Verse 68 contains a comparison of the industry and adaptability of honey bees to the industry of man:
وَاَوۡحٰى رَبُّكَ اِلَى النَّحۡلِ اَنِ اتَّخِذِىۡ مِنَ الۡجِبَالِ بُيُوۡتًا وَّمِنَ الشَّجَرِ وَمِمَّا يَعۡرِشُوۡنَۙ‏ 
( 68 )   And your Lord inspired to the bee, "Take for yourself among the mountains, houses, and among the trees and [in] that which they construct.
The lexical meaning of the Arabic word wahi is secret inspiration which is felt only by the one who inspires and the other who is inspired with. The Quran has used this word both for the instinctive inspiration by Allah to His creation in general and for the revelation towards His Prophets in particular. Allah sends His wahi to the heavens with His command and they begin functioning in accordance with it (Surah Al-Momin, Ayat 12). He will send this to the earth with His command and it will relate the story of all that had happened on and in it. He sends wahi to the bee and inspires it with faculties to perform the all of its wonderful work instinctively (Ayat 68). The same is true of the bird that learns to fly, the fish that learns to swim, the newly born child that learns to suck milk, etc. Then, it is also wahi with which Allah inspires a human being with a spontaneous idea (Surah Al-Qasas, Ayat 7). The same is the case with all the great discoveries, inventions, works of literature and art, etc. which would not have been possible without the benefit of wahi. As a matter of fact, every human being at one time or the other feels its mental or spiritual influence in the form of an idea or thought or plan or dream, which is confirmed by a subsequent experience to be the right guidance from the unseen wahi.

Then there is the wahi (revelation) which is the privilege of the Prophets. This form of wahi has its own special features and is quite distinct from all other forms. The Prophet, who is inspired with it, is fully conscious and has his firm conviction that it is being sent down from Allah. Such a revelation contains doctrines of creed, commandments, laws, regulations and instructions for the guidance of mankind.

Yousaf Ali Explanation:
Auha: wahyun ordinarily means inspiration, the Message put into the mind or heart by Allah. Here the Bee's instinct is referred to Allah's teaching, which it undoubtedly is. In xcix. 5, it is applied to the earth; we shall discuss the precise meaning when we come to that passage. The honey-comb, itself, with its hexagonal cells, geometrically perfect, is a wonderful structure, and is well called buyut, homes. And the way the bee finds out inaccessible places, in the hills, in the trees, and even among the habitations of men, is one of the marvels of Allah's working in His Creation.
( 69 )   Then eat from all the fruits and follow the ways of your Lord laid down [for you]." There emerges from their bellies a drink, varying in colors, in which there is healing for people. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who give thought.
“Follow the ways of your Lord” means work in accordance with the methods which have been taught to thee by Allah’s wahi for the smooth running of hive life. It is Allah’s wahi (instinctive inspiration) that has taught the bees how to build their wonderful factory with separate combs to rear brood, combs to turn nectar into honey, combs to store food, in short, separate combs to fulfill every aspect of hive life. It is wahi that has taught the bees how to organize themselves into a cooperative society for collective effort to run the factory with the queen and thousands of workers to perform a variety of specific tasks. All these things have been made so smooth for them by wahi that the bees never feel the necessity of ever thinking about it. They have been running smoothly their factory with their collective effort for thousands of years with perfect accuracy.

Though honey is a wholesome food with a sweet taste and has medicinal power as well, its latter quality has been mentioned only because the former is too obvious. It is used as a medicine to cure several diseases because it contains the juice and glucose of flowers and fruits in the best form. Besides this, it is also used in preparing and preserving other medicines because it does not rot. It also preserves other things from decay. That is why it has been used for centuries as a substitute for alcohol. And if the beehive is built at a place, which abounds in certain medicinal herbs, its honey does not remain mere honey, but becomes also the essence of that herb. It is expected that if bees are used methodically for extracting essence from herbs, that essence will prove to be much better than the one obtained in the laboratories.

This passage (Ayats 48-69) contains proofs of Tawhid and life after death. These were necessitated, for the disbelievers and the mushriks were bitterly opposed to the Prophet (peace be upon him) mainly because of these two doctrines. The acceptance of the first doctrine demolished the whole system of life based on shirk or atheism because to acknowledge Allah to be the sole Provider, the Helper and the Protector left no room for the worship of any god or goddess. The proof of Tauhid is based on the observance of the structure of the cattle, the bees, the date palms and vineyards and their usefulness to mankind. Naturally the question arises: Who has designed these in the manner and for the purpose they have been created? The only obvious answer is that it is the All-Wise and All-Beneficent Allah Who has designed all these things for the benefit of mankind to produce such varieties of food that are so wholesome and so tasty. The Prophet, therefore, rightly demanded: When you yourselves admit, and you cannot but admit, that it is Allah alone Who has provided milk, honey, dates, grapes and the like, He and none but He is worthy of your worship, praise, gratitude and allegiance. Why do you then insist on making offerings to your self made gods and goddesses?

The second doctrine to which the disbelievers took strong objection was that there is surely the life after death. They were against this doctrine for its acceptance changed the whole moral system and they were not prepared to change their immoral ways. Their objection was based on the presumption that it was impossible to bring to life anyone after death.

They have been asked to observe that the barren land, which once had been covered with vegetable life, was again covered with it after rainfall and they have been watching such repetition of life year after year. That Allah, Who could so easily bring to life the dead vegetable, could do the same and bring to life all the dead without any difficulty at all.

Yousaf Ali Explanation:
The bee assimilates the juice of various kinds of flowers and fruit, and forms within its body the honey which it stores in its cells of wax. The different kinds of food from which it makes its honey give different colours to the honey, e.g., it is dark-brown, light-brown, yellow, white, and so on. The taste and flavour also varies, as in the case of heather honey, the honey formed from scented flowers, and so on. As food it is sweet and wholesome, and it is used in medicine. Note that while the instinctive individual acts are described in the singular number, the produce of "their bodies" is described in the plural, as the result of their collective effort.

Zululan: two meanings are possible; (1) ways easy and spacious, referring to the unerring way in which bees find their way from long distances to their combs; and (2) the idea of humility and obedience in them.
( 70 )   And Allah created you; then He will take you in death. And among you is he who is reversed to the most decrepit [old] age so that he will not know, after [having had] knowledge, a thing. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Competent.
Ruku / Section 10 Verses [71-76]

Summary Verses 71-76: There is a lesson in the process of your own creation; Why then, believe in deities who have no power to create anything and disbelieve in Allah, the Creator
( 71 )   And Allah has favored some of you over others in provision. But those who were favored would not hand over their provision to those whom their right hands possess so they would be equal to them therein. Then is it the favor of Allah they reject?
It will be worthwhile to give deep thought to the meanings of this verse, for some modern commentators of the Quran have founded strange economic theories and systems on it. Their interpretation is an instance of perverting the meaning of the Quran by isolating verses from their context and treating it as a separate whole in order to formulate a new philosophy and law of Islamic Economics. In their opinion the verse implies this: Those people to whom Allah has given more provisions than others, should share these equally with their servants and slaves: otherwise they shall be guilty of ingratitude to Allah in regard to the wealth with which He had blessed them. This commentary on the verse is obviously wrong and far fetched because in the context it occurs there is no mention at all of any law of economics. The whole passage in which this verse occurs deals with the refutation of shirk and proof of Tawhid. The same themes are continued in the subsequent verses. There seems to be no reason why an economic law should have been inserted here, which would have been absolutely irrelevant, to say the least. On the contrary, when the verse is considered in its context, it becomes quite obvious that it is no more than the statement of a fact to prove the same theme that is contained in this passage. It argues like this: When you yourselves do not make your servants and slaves equal partners in your wealth, which in fact is given to you by Allah, how is it that you join other gods with God in your gratitude to Him for the favors with which He has blessed you. You know that these gods have no powers to bestow anything on anyone, and, therefore, have no right in your worship of Allah, for they are after all His slaves and servants.

This interpretation of the verse under discussion is corroborated by (Surah Ar-Room, Ayat 28): “Allah sets forth to you an instance from your own selves. Do your slaves share with you the wealth We have bestowed on you so that you and they become equals in this? And do you fear them as you fear one another? Thus We make clear Our signs to those who use their common sense.” A comparison of the two verses makes it quite clear that these have been cited to bring home to the mushriks that they themselves do not associate their slaves with themselves in their wealth and status, but they have the impudence and folly to set up His own creature as partner with God. It appears that the erroneous interpretation has been strengthened by the succeeding sentence: What! do they then deny to acknowledge Allah’s favor? As this sentence immediately follows the similitude of the rich people and their slaves, they conclude that it will be ingratitude on the part of those, who possess more wealth not to share it equally with those who have less. As a matter of fact, everyone who has studied the Quran critically knows that ingratitude to Allah is to show gratitude to others than Allah for His blessings. This interpretation is so patently wrong that those who are well versed in the teachings of the Quran can have no misconception about it. And such verses as these can mislead only those who have a cursory knowledge of the Quran.

Now that the significance of the ingratitude towards Allah’s blessing has become plain, the meaning of the verse will be quite clear, and it is this: When the Mushriks understand the implication of the difference between the master and his slave and observe this distinction in their own lives, why do they then persist in ignoring the immense difference between the Creator and His creatures and set up the latter as His partners and pay homage of gratitude to them for the blessings bestowed on them by Allah.

Yousaf Ali Explanation:
Even in the little differences in gifts, which men enjoy from Allah, men with superior gifts are not going to abandon them so as to be equal with men of inferior gifts, whom, perhaps, they hold in subjection. They will never deny their own superiority. How then (as the argument is pursued in the two following verses), can they ignore the immense difference between the Creator and created things, and make the latter, in their thoughts, partners with Allah?

Exegesis by Maulana Mufti Muhammad Sharif, revised by Justice Mufti Muhammad Taqi  Usmani, discuss The Difference in Degrees of Economic Status is Mercy for Mankind:

In the previous verses, by referring to major manifestations of His knowledge and power and blessings which descend on human beings, Allah has the natural proof of His Oneness (Tawhid). By looking at it, even a person of ordinary commonsense would not accept that any created being can hold a share with Allah in His attributes of knowledge and power, or in any of the others. In the present verse, this very subject of Tawhid has been brought into focus by citing the example of a case in mutual dealing.

This verse makes it clear that the presence of different degrees of economic status among human beings - that someone is poor, another rich and yet another somewhere in the middle - is not accidental. It is as dictated by the wisdom of Allah, as required by considerations for human good, and is mercy for mankind. If this state (of human society) were not to prevail and if all human beings were to become equal in wealth and possessions, it would have caused a breach of function in world order. Therefore, since the time the world became populated, all human beings have never been equal in terms of wealth and property, in any period, or age, nor can they be. Should such an equality were to be created compulsorily, it will take only a few days when disruption and disorder become openly visible throughout the entire spectrum of human dealings. Allah has created human beings with varying degrees of temperaments as conditioned by intelligence, strength and functional ability. They have been further classified as low, high and average, a fact which cannot be rejected by any reasonable person. Similarly, it is also inevitable that there be different degrees in wealth and property as well so that every single person is rewarded in terms of individual cap- ability. If the capable and the incapable were made equal, it will discourage the capable. When the capable person has to stay at par with the in- capable in economic pursuits, what other motivation would compel him to go on striving and achieving excellence? The necessary outcome of such an approach will be no other but the demise of excellence acquired through functional capability.

This verse points towards Quranic injunctions against concentration of wealth: Whereas the Creator of the universe gave preference to some over others in physical and rational faculties, and established variance in pro- vision, wealth and property, subject to it, He has also established a strong system of economic equilibrium which aims that no particular group or party or a few individuals take over the treasures of wealth and centers of economic activity. This system also guards against the consequences of such a takeover which dries up the very field where capable people could thrive by utilizing their physical, intellectual and technical capabilities and advance economically. For this purpose, it was said in the Holy Qur'an: Surah Al-Hashr, 59:7:"We made the law of distribution of wealth,) so that wealth does not come to be revolving among the rich from among you."

The wide-spread turbulence being experienced in the economic systems of the modern world is directly the result of bypassing this wise law given to us by Divine wisdom. On the one hand, there is the capitalist system in which some individuals or groups virtually take over the nerve centers of wealth through the medium of interest and gambling and go on to enslave the entire creation of Allah economically. They are rendered so helpless that they have no escape route left but to serve like slaves and work like dogs in order to get what they can to eke out a living, no matter how miserable. In a situation so sordid, it is a far cry that they would ever be able to step into the field of industry or trade despite having the best of capabilities for this purpose.

As a reaction to this tyranny of capitalists, there rises a counter system in the name of socialism or communism. Their slogan is the removal of disparity between the rich and poor and the creation of equality between all. Masses of people already harassed by the injustices of the capitalist system go after the slogan. But, very soon, they discover that the slogan was nothing but deception. The dream of economic equality never came true. The poor person, despite poverty and hunger, had a certain human dignity, a certain right to do what he wished, but even that human dignity was snatched away by the system. In the communist system, the worth of a human person is no more than a part of its ma- chines. Private ownership of property is simply out of question there. The factory worker owns nothing, not even the spouse and children. Everyone is a part of the state machine. When the machine starts, they have no choice but to start working on their jobs. Other than the so-called objectives of the state, the worker has no conscience or voice. The slightest grievance against the tyranny of the state and that unbearable labour on the job is counted as rebellion against the state the punishment for which is death. In short, hostility towards God and religion and adherence to bland materialism is the basic principle of communism.

These are facts no communist can deny. The writings and doings of their commissars are proofs of this assertion for compiling relevant references to these amounts to making a regular book out of them.

The Holy Qur'an has provided a system in between the two extremes of tyrannical capitalism and Quixotic communism keeping it free from excess and deficiency so that no individual or group could, despite there being a naturally placed dissimilarity in provision and wealth, go on to make the creation of Allah at large their slaves only to condemn them to ever rising prices of commodities and virtual famines. By declaring inter- est and gambling to be unlawful, it has demolished the foundations of il- legitimate capitalism. Then, by making a categorical statement that the poor and needy have a right in the wealth of every Muslim, they were admitted as sharers, which is not supposed to be some favour done to them. In fact, it is the fulfillment of a duty. The verse: (in their wealth, there is a known right for the asking and the deprived - Surah Al-Mairaj, 70:24) proves it. After that, by distributing the en- tire property of a deceased person over individual inheritors of the family, it has eliminated the concentration of wealth. Natural streams, high seas and the self-growing produce of mountain forests were declared to be the common capital of the entire creation of Allah. No individual or group can take possession over them as something owned by them. This is not permissible. Contrary to this, in a capitalist system, these blessings are handled as something owned by capitalists only (under one or the other pretext).

Since diversity and difference in intellectual and practical capabilities is a natural phenomena, and the pursuit of economic gains through them also depends on these very capabilities, therefore, diversity or dissimilarity in the ownership of wealth and property is also a dictate of wisdom. Whoever has the least sense of how things work in this world would find it hard to deny this truth. Even the champions of the slogan of equality could not go far enough with it. They had to abandon their claim of flat equality and were left with no choice but to introduce dissimilarity and incentive-oriented policy in national economy. On May 5, 1960, speaking before the Supreme Soviet, Nikita Khurshev said:
'We are against the movement to eliminate difference in wages. We are openly against the efforts to establish equality in emoluments and to bring them at par. This is the teaching of Lenin. He taught that material motivations will be given full consideration in a socialist society.' (Soviet World, p.346) 
That the dream of economic equality had translated itself into its absence since the very early stages, but it did not take much time to witness that this absence of equality and the disparity between the rich and the poor in the communist state of Russia had gone much beyond the general run of capitalist countries.

وَاللّٰهُ جَعَلَ لَـكُمۡ مِّنۡ اَنۡفُسِكُمۡ اَزۡوَاجًا وَّ جَعَلَ لَـكُمۡ مِّنۡ اَزۡوَاجِكُمۡ بَنِيۡنَ وَحَفَدَةً وَّرَزَقَكُمۡ مِّنَ الطَّيِّبٰتِ​ؕ اَفَبِالۡبَاطِلِ يُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ وَبِنِعۡمَتِ اللّٰهِ هُمۡ يَكۡفُرُوۡنَۙ‏ 
( 72 )   And Allah has made for you from yourselves mates and has made for you from your mates sons and grandchildren and has provided for you from the good things. Then in falsehood do they believe and in the favor of Allah they disbelieve?
“Is then in falsehood that they believe”: they have this false and baseless belief that there are certain gods and goddesses, jinns and saints, dead and alive, who possess the power to make or mar their fates, fulfill their desires and answer their prayers, give them children, cure their diseases and help them win law suits.

“In the bounty of Allah that they disbelieve”: by associating others with Allah in offering gratitude to Him for His favors, though they did not have any proof or authority that their false gods had played any part in regard to those favors. The Quran considers such an association to be the denial of Allah’s favors. It puts forward the fundamental principle: It is the denial of the favor of the real benefactor to offer gratitude for his favor to anyone who has not done that favor, or to presume without any proof or reason that the real benefactor has nor granted that favor of his own accord but because of the mediation or regard or recommendation or intercession of this or that person.

Yousaf Ali Explanation:
Of your nature: or of yourselves. Cf. Surah iv. An Nisa 1, Self, or Personality, or Soul, all imply a bundle of attributes, capacities, predilections, and dispositions, which we may sum up in the word Nafs, or nature. Woman was made to be (1) a mate or companion for man; (2) except for sex, of the same nature as man, and therefore, with the same moral and religious rights and duties; and (3) she is not to be considered a source of all evil or sin, as the Christian monks characterized her but rather as a blessing, one of the favours (Ni'mat) of Allah.

Hafadat: collective plural, grandchildren, and descendants. The root hafada also implies obedient service and ministration. Just as the sons (first mentioned) should be a source of strength, so daughters and grandchildren should serve and contribute to the happiness of fathers and grandparents, and are to be looked upon as further blessings.

Exegesis by Maulana Mufti Muhammad Sharif, revised by Justice Mufti Muhammad Taqi  Usmani:
In verse 72: وَاللّٰهُ جَعَلَ لَـكُمۡ مِّنۡ اَنۡفُسِكُمۡ اَزۡوَاجًا (Allah has created spouses from among you), a special blessing has been mentioned in that Allah Ta';?lZ has created spouses from the same genus so that they remain mutually familiar and their distinction and nobility inherent in the human species also remains stable through generations. 

Given here, there may be another hint towards the fact that spouses belong to each other's genus and, as such, their needs and feelings are common to both, therefore, mutual consideration is but necessary for them. 

The next sentence of the verse:  وَّ جَعَلَ لَـكُمۡ مِّنۡ اَزۡوَاجِكُمۡ بَنِيۡنَ وَحَفَدَةً has been translated as: 'and created for you from your spouses sons and grandsons. Though children are born to father and mother both, yet in this verse, their birth has been identified with mothers only. The indication given here is suggestive of the fact that the role of the mother in the birth and the creational formation of the child is more pronounced that that of the father. The father contributes only a lifeless drop. The locale where this drop goes through different kinds of stages from the transformation into human form and shape to becoming alive, and where all these inimitable achievements of nature take place, is a place no other than the womb of the mother. Therefore, in the Hadith, the right of the mother has been made to precede the right of the father. 

There is yet another hint visible in this sentence which mentions grandsons along with sons, that is, the real purpose behind creating spouses is the procreation and survival of human race so that they have children, then, their children have their children. What else would this be, if not the survival of human species? 


After that, by saying: وَّرَزَقَكُمۡ مِّنَ الطَّيِّبٰتِ​ؕ (and gave you provision from good things), mention was made of things which guarantee personal survival. In other words, once a human child is born, food is needed for its personal survival. That too was provided by Allah. The real meaning of the word: حَفَدَةً (hafadah) in this verse is that of one who helps and serves. That this word has been used for children suggests that children should always be at the service of their father and mother. 
( 73 )   And they worship besides Allah that which does not possess for them [the power of] provision from the heavens and the earth at all, and [in fact], they are unable. 
Yousaf Ali Explanation:
"Sustenance" (rizq) in all this passage (xvi. 65-74), as elsewhere, implies all that is necessary for man's life and growth, physical, mental, moral, and spiritual. Milk, fruit, and honey are examples of physical gifts, with a metaphorical reference to mental and moral health; family life is an example of moral and social and (ultimately) spiritual opportunities in the life of man; and in xvi. 65 is an example of rain in the physical world as a type of Allah's revelation in the spiritual world.
( 74 )   So do not assert similarities to Allah. Indeed, Allah knows and you do not know. 
“So do not make up any similitude for Allah”: You should not compare Allah with others nor consider Him to be unapproachable like worldly kings and rulers, to whom none can have access without the mediation and intercession of their courtiers and servants. As Allah is not surrounded by angels, saints, favorites, etc. everyone can have direct access to Him without mediation by anyone.

Yousaf Ali Explanation:
Cf. xvi. 60 above. One instance of false similitudes is where Pagans say their gods are mere types of symbols, or where men pray to men as Intercessors.

Exegesis by Maulana Mufti Muhammad Sharif, revised by Justice Mufti Muhammad Taqi  Usmani:
The statement: فَلَا تَضۡرِبُوۡا لِلّٰهِ الۡاَمۡثَالَ​ؕ  (So, do not coin similarities for Allah -74) clarifies an important aspect of the reality of things as they relate to Allah. If ignored, it becomes the breeding ground of all sorts of rejectionist doubts and scruples. The problem is that people would generally take Allah on the analogy of their own humankind and go on to declare the highest placed among them, a king and ruler, as similar to Allah. Then, relying on this wrong assumption, they start seeing the Di- vine system on the analogy of the system of human monarchs. This leads them to take a cue from the fact that since no king can, all by himself, run the administration of the whole kingdom, the system is run by delegating powers to subordinate ministers and officials who do that on his behalf. Similarly, they believe and propose that there have to be some other objects of worship under the authority of Allah who would help Him out in carrying out His tasks. This is the general theory of all idol-worshipers and polytheists. This sentence of the Qur'an has cut off the very root of these doubts by stating that suggesting examples of what has been created and applying them on Allah, the Creator, is something unreasonable by itself. He is far above similarities and analogies and conjectures and guesses.
( 75 )   Allah presents an example: a slave [who is] owned and unable to do a thing and he to whom We have provided from Us good provision, so he spends from it secretly and publicly. Can they be equal? Praise to Allah! But most of them do not know.
In the preceding verse, the mushriks were told not to make comparisons between Allah and His creatures, for there is nothing like Him. As the bases of their comparison were wrong, their conclusions were also misleading. In this verse appropriate similitude have been cited and right comparisons have been made to lead them to reality.

Between the last question and “Praise be to Allah” there is a gap which is to be filled with the help of the latter. When the question was posed, obviously the mushriks could not say that the two men were equal. So some of them would have admitted that they were not equal, while the others would have kept quiet for fear that in case of admission, they would have to abide by its logical conclusion, that is, the admission of refutation of the doctrine of shirk. Therefore, the words, “Praise be to Allah” have been put in the mouth of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in answer to both kinds of the response to the question. In the first case, it would mean: “Praise be to Allah” you have admitted at least so much. In the second case, it would mean: “Praise be to Allah” you have kept quiet in spite of all your obduracy and have not had the audacity to say that both were equal.

“But most of them do not know” this simple thing that while they feel and carefully observe the distinction between those who have powers and those who are powerless, they neither feel nor observe the clear distinction between the Creator and His creation. That is why they associate the creatures with the Creator in His Attributes and Powers and show the kind of allegiance to them as is the exclusive right of the Creator. The pity is that in their everyday life, they would beg for some thing from the master of the house and not from the servants but in contrast to this, they would beg for their needs from the servants of Allah and not from Him.
( 76 )   And Allah presents an example of two men, one of them dumb and unable to do a thing, while he is a burden to his guardian. Wherever he directs him, he brings no good. Is he equal to one who commands justice, while he is on a straight path?
In the first similitude, distinction between Allah and false gods has been made clear in regard to the possession of powers and the lack of these. In the second one, the emphasis is on the use of those powers. Allah is not only All Powerful, but also hears all the prayers and fulfills all the needs, while the slave is utterly powerless. He does not and cannot hear prayers, nor can make a response to them nor has the power to do anything at all. He is totally dependent on the Master and quite incapable of doing anything by himself. On the other hand, the Master is All-Powerful and All-Wise. He enjoins justice on the world: whatever He does is right and accurate. Ask them: Is it then a point of wisdom to regard such Master and such a slave as equal?

Yousaf Ali Explanation:
In the second Parable, one man is dumb; he can explain nothing, and he can certainly do nothing; he is only a wearisome burden to his master, no matter what his master asks him to do; or perhaps he is really harmful instead of bringing any good; such are idols (literal and metaphorical) when taken as false gods. The other man is in a position to command, and he commands what is just and righteous; not only his commands but his doings also are on the path of righteousness. Such are the qualities of Allah.

The gist of the argument is that those who deviate from the worship of Allah commit twofold treason. (1) They do not recognize the immense difference between the Creator and created things, although, in their own little selfish lives, they are tenacious of any little differences there may be between themselves and other fellow-creatures not so gifted. (2) They are guilty of gross ingratitude in forgetting that the source of goodness and power is Allah, to Whom alone they owe all the gifts they enjoy in life.

Ruku / Section 11 Verses [77-83]

Summary Verses 77-83: There are also signs of Allah in the lives of the birds and the animals
( 77 )   And to Allah belongs the unseen [aspects] of the heavens and the earth. And the command for the Hour is not but as a glance of the eye or even nearer. Indeed, Allah is over all things competent.
The subsequent sentence shows that this is the answer to a question which was frequently put to the Prophet (peace be upon him) by the disbelievers of Makkah. The question which has not been cited was this: If the Resurrection so often you talk of is really coming, let us know the date of its coming.

That is, don’t be under the delusion that the Resurrection will come gradually and take a long time: you will neither be able to see it coming at a distance nor guard against it and make preparations to meet it. For it will come suddenly without any previous notice, in the twinkling of an eye or even will take less time than this. Therefore, now is the time to consider this matter seriously and to decide about your attitude towards it. You should not depend upon this false hope that there is still a long time in the coming of the Resurrection and you will set matters right with Allah when you will see it coming.

It may be pointed out that the Resurrection has been mentioned here during the discussion on Tauhid in order to warn the people that the choice between the doctrines of Tauhid and shirk is not merely a theoretical question. For that choice determines different courses of life for which they will be called to account on the Day of Resurrection. They have also been warned that it will come all of a sudden at some unknown time. Therefore, they should be very careful to make that choice which will determine their success or failure on that Day.

Yousaf Ali Explanation:
The key to all things-not only those which we see and understand, but those which we do not see or of which we have no idea-is with Allah, Whose knowledge and power are supreme.

Lures of this world and its fleeting pleasures often make man forget that the life hereafter is an imminent reality. Many of those who claim to believe in the life to come act and behave as if it belonged to a distant future, and had no relevance to their present activities and mode of living. The Qur-An repeatedly reminds man that the Hour of Reckoning is not a distant possibility, but very close to man, and could come to pass any moment. The wisest course for man, therefore, is to be always alert and watchful and steer clear of all forms of sin and impiety, for when the Promised Hour comes it will come all of a sudden and without any prior notice. See also x. 45; xxx. 55, xlv. 35.
( 78 )   And Allah has extracted you from the wombs of your mothers not knowing a thing, and He made for you hearing and vision and intellect that perhaps you would be grateful.
This is to remind them that when they were born they were more helpless and ignorant than the young one of an animal, but Allah gave them ears to hear, eyes to see and minds to think and reflect. These have enabled them to acquire every kind of information and knowledge to carry on their worldly affairs efficiently. So much so that these sensory faculties are the only means which help man attain so much progress as to rule over everything on the earth.

That is, you should be grateful to that Allah Who has bestowed upon you such blessings as these. It will be ingratitude on your part if you hear everything with your ears except the word of God, and see everything with your eyes except the signs of Allah and consider seriously about all the matters except your Benefactor Who has blessed you with these favors.

Explanation by Javed Ahmad Ghamidi (On authority of Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi):
The potent affect of the Qur'an is dependent on the state of the heart of a person. If a person seeks refuge of God through his tongue only, it does not have any influence on him. However, when this supplication comes out from the depth of his heart, he is braced with such force that it gives him support to counter the onslaught of Satan and his accomplices. This onslaught is a consequence of the trial which the Almighty has ordained in this world for human beings. Hence there is no escape from this in any situation. The hidden potential of a person comes to the surface because of this. If a person has the support of the blessing of seeking refuge with the Almighty, he can never be defeated by Satan and his agents.

Yousaf Ali Explanation:
Literally, 'hearts,' which are considered the centres of the affections, and in Arabic idiom, of intelligence also. We should therefore give thanks to Allah, not to imaginary deities or powers or forces.

Exegesis by Maulana Mufti Muhammad Sharif, revised by Justice Mufti Muhammad Taqi  Usmani:
The Divine statement:  لَا تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ شَيۡـئًا (when you knew nothing - 78) indicates that knowledge is not an ingrained personal excellence of man. When born, man has no knowledge or skill. Then, in proportion to growing human needs, man is made to absorb some knowledge, bit by bit, directly from Allah in which no role is played by the parents or teachers. First of all, man was taught to cry. This one qualification alone provides all he needs at that time. Hungry or thirsty, he cries. Feels hot or cold, he cries. If some other discomfort bothers him, he would still cry. Nature has poured a special kind of love in the hearts of the father and the mother for the needs of the infant, because of which, when they hear the sounds made by the child, they become all too eager to find out what is bothering the baby, and all too willing to remove the problem. If the child was not inducted into this act of crying as part of his or her early education from a side no less than that of Allah Himself, who else could have trained the child to employ this skill and start crying like that as and when there be some need. Along with it, Allah also taught the child, inspiration-wise, that he or she should use gums and lips to suck milk, the child's energy food, from the breast of the mother. If this education and training was not natural and direct, no teacher anywhere could dare make this new-born learn to pout and move the mouth right and suck nipples on the breast. Thus, with the increase in the needs of the child, nature took care of teaching its charge directly without the intermediary link of the father and mother, in a manner almost spontaneous and self-regulating. After the passage of some time, the child starts learning a little by hearing parents and others around say what they do, or pick up a few tips by seeing a few things around. This, then, creates in the child the ability to understand sounds heard and things seen.

Therefore, after:  لَا تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ شَيۡـئًا (when you knew nothing)  in  the  verse under comment, it was said:       وَّ جَعَلَ لَـكُمُ السَّمۡعَ وَالۡاَبۡصٰرَ وَالۡاَفۡـئِدَةَ​ ۙ (and He made for you ears, eyes and hearts). It means: Though, human beings knew nothing about anything at the early stage of their birth, but nature had in- stalled in their very frame of existence novel instruments to fulfill their need to learn. Out of these instruments, the first to be mentioned was 'sum", that is, the faculty of hearing which precedes perhaps for the reason that the very first knowledge, and the most of it, comes through nothing but ears. In the beginning, eyes are closed, but ears hear. Further- more, if we were to think about it, we shall not fail to realize that the amount of information one acquires in a whole life time is mostly what has been heard with ears. Information collected visually is much less than that.
( 79 )   Do they not see the birds controlled in the atmosphere of the sky? None holds them up except Allah. Indeed in that are signs for a people who believe.
All the wonderful things in creation are due to the artistry, power, and wisdom of Allah. Such is the flight of birds in mid-air. So also are the inventions and discoveries, due to man's intelligence, in the next verse; for man's intelligence is a gift direct from Allah.
( 80 )   And Allah has made for you from your homes a place of rest and made for you from the hides of the animals tents which you find light on your day of travel and your day of encampment; and from their wool, fur and hair is furnishing and enjoyment for a time.
Tents of skin which are in common use in Arabia. That is, when you want to start on a journey, you can easily fold your tents and carry them, and when you want to make a short halt, you can easily unfold them and pitch them for shelter and rest.

Yousaf Ali Explanation:
Man's social, intellectual, and spiritual gifts make, of his permanent dwellings, homes of rest and quiet, of refinement and the purer affections, which are the types, in this earthly life, of the highest spiritual Good, the love of Allah. The pure Home thus becomes the type of the highest spiritual Destiny of man. And these capacities in man are the gifts of Allah.

When man travels, he wants temporary dwellings, tents, which he can make of the skins of animals, or of the fabrics of vegetable fibers, similar to the skins of animals. These tents are easy to carry when moving, and easy to pitch during halts.

Suf, wool, is what we get from sheep. Sha'r, hair, is what we get from goats or similar animals, for weaving into fabrics. Wabar is the soft camel's hair of which, also, fabrics are woven; they may be considered intermediate between the other two; by extension and analogy the term may be applied to furs and such things, by way of illustration.

All such articles of refined luxury, and useful articles of comfort and convenience only last for a while, but they must be considered as Allah's gifts.
( 81 )   And Allah has made for you, from that which He has created, shadows and has made for you from the mountains, shelters and has made for you garments which protect you from the heat and garments which protect you from your [enemy in] battle. Thus does He complete His favor upon you that you might submit [to Him].
The Quran has not mentioned protection from cold for either of the two reasons:
(1) Because the use of garments in the summer season is a symbol of cultural perfection and obviously there is no need to mention the lower stages of culture. Or
(2) the use of garments in hot countries has specially been mentioned because the main use of garments there is for protection from the hot pestilential furious wind. Therefore, one has to cover one’s head, neck, ears, and the whole of his body to protect it from the hot wind which would otherwise scorch him to death.
“Thus does He perfect His favor upon you”: Allah makes provision for the minutest needs and necessities of every aspect of human life. For example, let us take the instance of the protection of the human body from external influences. We find that Allah has made such elaborate arrangements as require a complete book to relate them. These arrangements reach their perfection in the case of clothing and housing arrangement. Or, if we consider the food requirements, we realize that it is of many varieties which fulfill every need. More than this: the means Allah has provided for food requirements of man are so numerous that the list of the varieties and the names of different kinds of food require a big volume. This is the perfection of the blessing of food. Likewise, one would see perfection of the blessings of Allah in the fulfillment of each and every human need and necessity.

Yousaf Ali Explanation:
For example, trees, gardens, the roofs of houses; also from another point of view, the fact that the sun's rays at various times and in various parts of the earth, come obliquely, thus causing shadow along with sunshine. In the hills there are caves and grottoes.

Our clothes protect us from heat and cold, just as our armour protects us from the hurt which we might otherwise receive in battle.

All these blessings, which have both a physical and (by promoting the good of man) a spiritual purpose, should teach us to rally to Allah and tune our will with His Universal Will, which is another name for Islam.

Exegesis by Maulana Mufti Muhammad Sharif, revised by Justice Mufti Muhammad Taqi  Usmani:
A note about the statement:  سَرَابِيۡلَ تَقِيۡكُمُ الۡحَـرَّ (shirts which protect you from heat - 81). Here, protection from heat has been identified as the purpose of a shirt - though, a shirt protects one from heat and cold both. This has been answered by Imam Al-Qurtub; and other commentators by saying that the Holy Qur'an has been revealed in the Arabic language, its first addressees are Arabs, therefore, it speaks by taking Arab habits and needs into account. Arabia is a hot country where the very thought of snow and winter chill is far-fetched, therefore, the statement was left with the mention of protection from heat as being sufficient. Yet another explanation is that in the beginning of this Surah, the Qur'an had already said:  لَـكُمۡ فِيۡهَا دِفۡ  (and for you, there is provision against cold in them - 16:5). Thus, it was in view of this earlier mention of beating cold and having warmth that only protection from heat has been mentioned here.
( 82 )   But if they turn away, [O Muhammad] - then only upon you is [responsibility for] clear notification.( 83 )   They recognize the favor of Allah; then they deny it. And most of them are disbelievers.
Here the denial of the blessings of Allah refers to practical denial by the disbelievers of Makkah. For they did not deny that all these blessings were from Allah but along with this they believed that their saints and gods also had contributed towards them. This is why they associated their intercessors in their gratitude to Allah for these blessings. Nay, they were even more grateful to them than to Allah. Allah regards this association as denial of His blessings, ingratitude and forgetfulness of His favors.

Yousaf Ali Explanation:
'Arafa is distinguished from 'alima is implying a specific discernment (or recognition) of various qualities and uses. All mankind recognized the value of the blessings they enjoy, but in forgetting or disobeying their Author, the wicked show gross ingratitude; for in practice they deny their obligation to Him for those blessings.

Ruku / Section 12 Verses [84-89]

Summary Verses 84-89: On the Day of Judgement a witness will be called from each nation and the unbelievers will face the reality of their invented false gods
( 84 )   And [mention] the Day when We will resurrect from every nation a witness. Then it will not be permitted to the disbelievers [to apologize or make excuses], nor will they be asked to appease [Allah].
The witness will be the Prophet of that community or his follower who invited that community to Tawhid and God worship and warned it of the consequences of shirk and superstitious rites and customs and cautioned it against the accountability on the Day of Resurrection. He will bear witness of the fact that he had conveyed the true message to those people, and that they committed evils deliberately and not in ignorance.

This does not mean that the criminals will not be given any opportunity to clear themselves but it means that their crimes will be proved to the hilt by means of irrefutable evidence which will leave no room for excuses.

Yousaf Ali Explanation:
To each People is sent Allah's Messenger or Teacher, to point out the right way. There may be one, or there may be many. Such a Messenger (Rasul) will be a witness that Allah's Truth was preached to all peoples in express terms, in addition to the Signs of Allah everywhere in nature. There will then be no room for excuses of any kind. Those who rejected Allah after repeated warnings cannot reasonably ask for more respite, as they had every kind of respite during their life of probation; nor can they now take refuge behind Allah's Grace, which they had repeatedly rejected. A) That is, they will not be allowed to seek grace by repentance. Cf. xxx. 57, xlv. 35.
( 85 )   And when those who wronged see the punishment, it will not be lightened for them, nor will they be reprieved.
That is, they will not be given the opportunity to beg pardon of their Lord for their crimes. For that will be the time of judgment as the time of begging pardon would have ended long before this. The Quran and the traditions are explicit on this point that the place for penitence is this world and not the next world. Even in this world the opportunity is lost as soon as signs of death begin to appear, for the penitence at that time will be of no avail when a person knows that the time of his death has come. Respite for deeds expires as soon as one enters into the boundary of death, and the only thing that remains after that is the award of reward and punishment.
( 86 )   And when those who associated others with Allah see their "partners," they will say," Our Lord, these are our partners [to You] whom we used to invoke besides You." But they will throw at them the statement, "Indeed, you are liars."
It does not mean that they would deny the fact that the mushriks used to invoke their help. They will call them liars in the sense that they had made them deities without their knowledge, information and permission, as if to say: We never told you to leave Allah aside and pray to us for help. As a matter of fact, we never approved of this. Nay, we were utterly unaware of this that you were invoking us. It was an utter lie that you considered us to be able to hear your prayers, answer them and help you out of your difficulties. As you yourselves were responsible for this shirk, why are you involving us in its consequences?

Yousaf Ali Explanation:
The worshipers of false gods will try to shift the responsibility from their own shoulders to that of the false gods. They will suggest (though they will not have the courage for such a bare-faced lie) that they were misled by the false gods. But their lying suggestion will be contradicted and thrown back at them as explained in the next note.
( 87 )   And they will impart to Allah that Day [their] submission, and lost from them is what they used to invent.
That is, all those things on which they had relied will prove to be false, for they will not find anyone to hear their supplication nor anyone to remove their hardships. Nay, there will be none who will come forward and say: These are my dependents, so no action should be taken against them.

Yousaf Ali Explanation:
In so far as the false gods were real things, such as deified men or forces of nature, they will openly disclaim them and then (as always) show their submission to Allah. In so far as the false gods were the invention of the fancy of the idolaters, they will leave their worshipers in the lurch, for they will be shown as non-existent.
( 88 )   Those who disbelieved and averted [others] from the way of Allah - We will increase them in punishment over [their] punishment for what corruption they were causing.
“We will increase punishment over punishment”: one for their own disbelief and the other for hindering others from the Way of Allah.
( 89 ) And [mention] the Day when We will resurrect among every nation a witness over them from themselves. And We will bring you, [O Muhammad], as a witness over your nation. And We have sent down to you the Book as clarification for all things and as guidance and mercy and good tidings for the Muslims.
The Quran makes manifest everything on which depends guidance or deviation, success or failure. Whose knowledge is essential for following the right way. What clearly distinguishes truth from falsehood.

In this connection one should guard against that meaning of this sentence and the like in the Quran according to which some people interpret “everything” to mean the knowledge of all sciences, arts, etc. and in order to prove the correctness of their interpretation, they have to pervert the real meaning of the Quran.

This Book is a guidance for those who surrender to it as a divine Book and follow it in every aspect of life. Then it will bring Allah’s blessings upon them, and will give them the good news that they will come out successful in the court of Allah on the Day of Judgment. Or, the contrary, those people who reject it shall not only be deprived of guidance and blessing but will also find it as a testimony against themselves on the Day of Resurrection when Allah’s Messenger will stand up to testify against them. This Book will prove to be a strong argument against them. For Allah’s Messenger will say that he had conveyed its message which made manifest the distinction between truth and falsehood.

Yousaf Ali Explanation:
To the thought expressed in xvi. 84 above, is added another detail here. Not only will there be witnesses from Peoples, but the witnesses will be men from among the Peoples themselves, men of their own kith and kin, who understood them and explained Allah's Message in their own language. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) will be witness against all those who rejected the Message he brought. For those who believe in him of (all races and peoples), the Book which he brought will be an explanation, a guide, a mercy and a Gospel.

With the explanation of verse 89, we come to the end of Part I of the exegesis of Surah An Nahl. Part II of the exegesis will follow next which will begin with a powerful reminder from Allah: "Surely Allah enjoins justice, kindness and the doing of good to kith and kin, and forbids all that is shameful, evil and oppressive. He exhorts you so that you may be mindful."

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sürah An-Naḥl with English subtitles:

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

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 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.

For attributes of Allah mentioned, please read details on each at: 99 Attributes of Allah.

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