Wednesday 20 November 2019

Surah Hud - 11th Chapter of Holy Quran - Exegesis Part IV

Sūrah Hūd " هود‎ " is the 11th chapter of the Qur'an with 123 āyāts (verses) with 10 ruku / sections, part of the 11th-12th Juz'. This Surah has been named after Prophet Hud (peace be upon him) whose story has been related in verses 50-60.

For the chronological place of this Sūrah and the general argument of Sūrahs x to xv, please read Overview of Sūrah 10 Yunus  (Jonah).

The Surah deals with the same subject as Sūrah Yunus, in which the stress was laid on the side of Allah's dealing with man which leans to Mercy. Here in this sūrah the invitation to the Message, admonition and warning, with this difference that the warning is sterner when all Grace is resisted.

As already mentioned in the Overview that owing to the length of the Sūrah, it has been divided into four parts as under:
  • Part I    : Ruku / Sections 1-2 [Verses 1-24]
  • Part II   : Ruku / Sections 3-4 [Verses 25-49]
  • Part III  : Ruku / Sections 5-7 [Verses 50-83] 
  • Part IV : Ruku / Sections 8-10 [Verses 84-123] 
We have already presented the exegesis of Parts I-III. Here is the last part, i.e., Part IV, covering Ruku / Sections 8-10 [Verses 84-123]  of the Sūrah. In this part, mention of prophets continue as it started from the Prophet Noah in Part II, and Prophets Hud, Saleh, Abraham, Lut, in Part III. Here mention of Prophets Shu'aib and Moses (peace be upon them all) will be made besides focus on the general theme once more.

The 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"

Ayat 84–95 deal with the Prophet Shu'aib sent to Median. Once more, the people ignore the prophet's warnings; this time, Shu'aib reminds the people of the fate of the people of Noah, Hud, Saleh, and Lot. It doesn't work, and the people spare Shu'aib from death by stoning only because he comes from a powerful clan. Shu'aib and those who believe are rescued by God. Afterward, the unbelievers "[were] seized by a punishment from heaven, and lay overturned in their homes in the morning as though they had not dwelt there at all."
( 84 )   And to Madyan [We sent] their brother Shu'ayb. He said, "O my people, worship Allah; you have no deity other than Him. And do not decrease from the measure and the scale. Indeed, I see you in prosperity, but indeed, I fear for you the punishment of an all-encompassing Day.
The territory of Madyan (Median) lay to the north-west of Hijaz and south of Palestine on the coast of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba, and part of the territory stretched to the northern border of the Sinai Peninsula. The Medianites and their towns were situated at the crossroads of the trade routes from Yemen through Makkah and Yanbu' to Syria along the Red Sea coast, and from Iraq to Egypt. Median was, therefore, quite well known to the Arabs. In fact it persisted in their memory long after its destruction for the Arab trade caravans en route to Syria and Egypt passed through territories which were full of the ruins of their monuments.

Another point worth noting about the people of Median is that they were reckoned to be descendants of Meidyan, a son of the Prophet Abraham born of his third wife, Qatura. According to a custom of the time, persons who attached themselves to a notable family were gradually counted as members of that family, as the descendants of that family's ancestor. It is for this reason that a large majority of Arabs were called the descendants of Ismai'l. Likewise those who embraced faith at the hands of Ya'qab's sons bore the general name 'the People of Israel'. Now, since the inhabitants of Median owed allegiance to Median, son of Abraham, they were referred to as the descendants of Median and their territory was called Median.

In view of this it should not be thought that the Prophet Shu'ayb invited them, for the first time, to follow Divine Guidance. At the time of the advent of Shu'ayb their state was no different from that of the Israelites at the time of the advent of Moses. They too were originally a Muslim people who had subsequently moved far away from Islam. For six to seven centuries they lived among a people who were steeped in polytheism and moral corruption, and this led to their contamination with polytheism and moral corruption. Despite their deviation and corruption, however, they claimed to be the followers of the true faith, and were proud of their religious identification.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Cf. vii. 85-93. The location of Madyan is explained in vii. 85 and the chronological place of Shu'aib in vii. 93. The point of the reference here is different from that in S. vii. Here the emphasis is on Allah's dealings with men and men's crooked and obstinate ways: there the emphasis was rather on their treatment of their Prophet, thus throwing light on some of the sins of the Makkans in later times.

The Medianites were a commercial people, and their besetting sin was commercial selfishness and fraudulent dealings in weights and measures. Their Prophet tells them that that is the surest way to cut short their "prosperity", both in the material and the spiritual sense. When the Day of Judgment comes, it will search out their dealings through and through: "it will compass them all round," and they will not be able to escape then, however much they may conceal their frauds in this world.
( 85 )   And O my people, give full measure and weight in justice and do not deprive the people of their due and do not commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Both Plato and Aristotle define justice as the virtue which gives every one his due. From this point of view Justice becomes the master virtue, and includes most other virtues. It was the lack of this that ruined the Medianites. Their selfishness was "intent on mischief," i.e., spoiling other people's business by not giving them their just dues.
( 86 )   What remains [lawful] from Allah is best for you, if you would be believers. But I am not a guardian over you."
That is, I have no power over you. The most I can do for you is to admonish you as a well wisher, but it rests with you to accept my advice or reject it. As you are accountable to Allah and not to me for your deeds, therefore you should fear Him and desist from your mischievous deeds, if you sincerely believe in Him.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Allah's Law does not require that a man should deprive himself of the things that are necessary for his own well-being and development. If he follows Allah's Law, what is left him after he renders to others their just dues will be not only enough, but will be the best possible provision for his own physical and spiritual growth. Even the kindness and consideration which Allah's Law inculcates are in the best interests of the man's own soul. But of course the kindness and consideration must be spontaneous. It must flow from the man's own will, and cannot be forced on him by the Prophet who come from Allah to show him the way.
( 87 )   They said, "O Shu'ayb, does your prayer command you that we should leave what our fathers worship or not do with our wealth what we please? Indeed, you are the forbearing, the discerning!"
This taunting question was an expression of the feelings of hatred those ungodly people cherished against the religious observances of Prophet Shu'ayb (peace be upon him) and other God fearing pious people. They selected Salat as a target of their taunt because it is the first and foremost outwardly observance of true religion which naturally has always been strongly hated by all ungodly wicked people. This hatred may also be noticed today among those who deliberately intend to follow the wicked ways, for they consider religious observances to be the greatest threat to their evil ways. As they regard Salat to be a symbol of the coming trouble, they begin to taunt the one who observes it. For they know that the victim of the disease of religiosity will not rest content with his own reformation but will exert his utmost to reform others as well. They fear that he will preach piety and righteous ways to them and criticize their ungodly and immoral ways. That is why Salat becomes the target of the taunts of wicked people. And if the person who observes Salat actually begins to preach the observance of virtues and criticize their evil ways just as they had feared, then they condemn it even more vehemently as though it were the cause of the whole trouble.

These two things clearly distinguish the theory of the way of ignorance from the theory of the way of Islam. The way of ignorance is based on the assumption that one should follow the way of his forefathers, and for the mere reason that it has been inherited from his forefathers. Its second assumption is that one’s faith and religion are concerned only with worship, and these have nothing to do with the worldly affairs of life, in which one is absolutely free to do as he pleases. On the other hand, the basic theory of Islam is that every way that is not founded on the submission to Allah is wrong, and, therefore, should not be followed, for no other way has any proof of its truth from reason, knowledge and revelation. Besides, Islam is not confined to the worship of Allah but it covers in its entirety all aspects of cultural, social, economic and political life. This is because all that man possesses really belongs to Allah and, therefore, man has absolutely no right to do as he pleases with his possessions.

Incidentally, this demand of the people of Prophet Shu'ayb (peace be upon him) that they had every right to do as they pleased with their goods and possessions shows that there is nothing new about the theory of the division of life into separate compartments, religious and mundane. Some three thousand years or so ago they insisted on this division just as western and westernized people insist on it today. And they are absolutely wrong to presume that their division is the result of the light that had dawned upon humanity because of the intellectual progress that man has made as a result of the evolutionary process. Thus it is clear that it is not light but darkness which prevailed with the same intensity thousands of years ago as it is today and that the conflict of Islam against it is also as old as that.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
It is the way of selfish and material minded people (1) to scoff at spiritual things like prayer and worship and (2) to hug their own property rights as if there were not other rights even greater than those of property!

They grow sarcastic against Shu'aib. In effect they say: "You are a fine man! You teach us that we must be kind and forbearing with other people's faults, and now get at what you call our sins! You think you are the only right minded man!"
( 88 )   He said, "O my people, have you considered: if I am upon clear evidence from my Lord and He has provided me with a good provision "  رِزۡقًا حَسَنًا​" from Him...? And I do not intend to differ from you in that which I have forbidden you; I only intend reform as much as I am able. And my success is not but through Allah. Upon him I have relied, and to Him I return.
Here rizq "رِزۡقً " implies two things: (1) provision of the knowledge of the truth and (2) provision of the necessities of life from Allah. In the first sense, it refers to the same thing that has been declared in this Surah by Prophets Muhammad, Noah and Salih (peace be upon them all), that is, Allah bestowed on me by revelation that knowledge of the truth, which I already had gained by making keen observations of my own self and of the phenomena of nature. Therefore I cannot be a party to your evil creeds and unlawful practices. In the second sense, it is the answer to this taunt of theirs: Indeed you are the only generous and righteous person left in the land! It meant, so to say, this: When my Lord has bestowed on me both the knowledge of the truth and the good and lawful provisions of life, your taunts cannot turn this favor into disfavor. Therefore I cannot be so ungrateful to Him as to declare your deviations to be the truth and your unlawful practices lawful.

That is, It is a proof of the truth of my claim that I myself practice what I preach to you. For instance, if I had forbidden you to visit the shrines of gods and goddesses but had myself become the guardian of some such shrine, you would have been justified in bringing this charge against me that I was preaching the doctrine of Tauhid merely for the sake of ruining the business of others in order to make room for my own trade. Likewise, if I had prohibited the use of unlawful means for you but had myself applied the same in my own trade, you would have been justified in charging me with preaching honesty merely for winning good reputation for the prosperity of my own trade. But you yourselves are a witness to this that I myself abstain from those evils which I forbid you to practice and I keep myself pure from those blemishes of which I desire to cleanse you and I follow the way to which I invite you. All this is a clear proof that I believe in the truth of the message I am conveying to you.
( 89 )   And O my people, let not [your] dissension from me cause you to be struck by that similar to what struck the people of Noah or the people of Hud or the people of Salih. And the people of Lot are not from you far away.
That is, your land is not far from the land of the people of Lot, which has been totally destroyed. It is quite near and what happened did not take place long ago. here

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Finally, Shu'aib appeals to them as man to man. "Because I differ from you, do not think I do not love you or feel for you. Let it not drive you into obstinacy and sin. I see things that you do not. My vision takes in the fate of previous generations who sinned, and perished on account of their sins. Turn therefore to Allah in repentance."

The generation of Lut was not far off from the generation of Shu'aib chronologically if Shu'aib was only in the fourth generation from Abraham (see vii. 93). Nor was its habitat geographically far from that of Shu'aib, as the Medianites wandered about from Sinai Peninsula to the Jordan valley (see vii. 85).
( 90 )   And ask forgiveness of your Lord and then repent to Him. Indeed, my Lord is Merciful and Affectionate."
Prophet Shu'aib (peace be upon him) brought the attribute of love of Allah for His creation specially to the notice of his people in order to induce them to give up despair and turn to Allah for forgiveness for their evil deeds, so as to say: Allah is not hard hearted and cruel, and cherishes no feelings of enmity towards His creatures. He does not desire to punish them anyhow as if He were to derive pleasure from their torture. As a matter of fact, He inflicts punishment on you only when you transgress all limits and that, too, for the good of mankind. Therefore if you feel ashamed of your sins and repent of these, you will find Him Forbearing, for He loves His creation very much.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) has explained the same thing by citing a parable. He said: Suppose one of you was traveling in a water-less desert and lost his camel on whom he had laden all his provisions for the journey. He made a thorough search for the missing camel, but in vain. Then, in despair of his life, he lay down under a tree. Then, all of a sudden, the camel with all the provisions intact on it appeared before him. Just imagine his happiness. Allah is more pleased than that man, when a sinful servant returns to Him in penitence. There is another incident even more effective than this related by Umar: Once some prisoners of war were brought before the Prophet (peace be upon him). One of them was a mother whose infant child had been lost. This had made her so restless and uneasy that she would hold any child she came across close to her breasts and suckle it. When the Prophet (peace be upon him) saw this, he put this question to the bystanders: Can you imagine that this mother would ever throw her own child into the fire? We replied, never; not to speak of throwing it into the fire, she would do her utmost in every possible way to prevent it from falling into the fire. Then the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Allah is much more merciful to His servants than this mother is to her child.

Let us consider the same thing from another point of view. It is Allah Who has created love in the hearts of the mother and the father for their child, and without this parental love, they would never have shown the care and the sacrifice they shower on their child; nay, they would have even become its enemies because of the trouble and inconvenience they have to bear for it. From this, it is quite evident that the love of the Creator of this parental affection for His own Creation must be far greater than this parental love.
( 91 )   They said, "O Shu'ayb, we do not understand much of what you say, and indeed, we consider you among us as weak. And if not for your family, we would have stoned you [to death]; and you are not to us one respected."
They did not understand what Prophet Shu'ayb (peace be upon him) said to them, not because he talked to them in some foreign language or because the theme was too difficult or complicated for them. For he talked to them in their own language and his theme was simple and clear. As a matter of fact, they did not understand because they would not: Their crooked thinking left neither any desire nor any aptitude for understanding his talk. And this is true of all those people who become such slaves of their prejudices and lusts as render them incapable of accepting anything against their preconceived notions. For they are neither inclined to listen to such things nor understand them as though these things were not for them nor were they for them.

While studying this part of the story of Prophet Shu'ayb (peace be upon him), it should be kept in view that similar conditions were prevalent at Makkah at the time of the revelation of this story. The Quraish were as blood thirsty to kill the Prophet (peace be upon him) as were the people of Median to take the life of Prophet Shu'ayb (peace be upon him). Just as the people of Prophet Shu'ayb (peace be upon him) desisted from this evil design because they were afraid of his family, likewise the Quraish were afraid of Bani Hashim and refrained from executing their evil designs. So this story was being related to warn the Quraish that they should learn a lesson from the answer of Prophet Shu'ayb (peace be upon him) (Ayats 92-93), as if to say: O people of Quraish, this same is the answer to you from Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Spiritual things are easy to understand if we bring the right mind to them. But those who are contemptuous of them deliberately shut their eyes to Allah's Signs, and then pretend in their superior arrogance that they are 'quite beyond them'!

What they do understand is brute strength. They practically say: "Don't you see that we have all the power and influence, and you, Shu'aib, are only a poor Teacher? We could stone you or imprison you or do what we like with you! Thank us for our kindness that we spare you, for the sake of your family. It is more than you yourself deserve!"
( 92 )   He said, "O my people, is my family more respected for power by you than Allah? But you put Him behind your backs [in neglect]. Indeed, my Lord is encompassing of what you do.( 93 )   And O my people, work according to your position; indeed, I am working. You are going to know to whom will come a punishment that will disgrace him and who is a liar. So watch; indeed, I am with you a watcher, [awaiting the outcome]."
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
If the wicked will continue to blaspheme and mock, what can the godly say but this? "Watch and wait! Allah's Plan works without fail! I have faith, and I too will watch with you for its fulfillment." Cf. x. 102.
( 94 )   And when Our command came, We saved Shu'ayb and those who believed with him, by mercy from Us. And the shriek seized those who had wronged, and they became within their homes [corpses] fallen prone( 95 )   As if they had never prospered therein. Then, away with Madyan as Thamud was taken away.
The remaining text of the surah discusses the general theme once more, with occasional references to Moses. The harsh punishment is explained as "We did not wrong them; they wronged themselves." Other gods are decried as false, powerless, and useless. Believers are commanded to walk the straight path and follow God, and those who disbelieve will suffer in Hell.
( 96 )   And We did certainly send Moses with Our signs and a clear authority
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The story of Moses and Pharaoh is referred to in many places in the Qur'an, each in connection with some special point to be illustrated. Here the point is that Allah's dealings with man are in all things and at all times just. But man falls under false leadership by deliberate choice and perishes along with his false leaders accordingly. In exercise of the intelligence and choice given him, man should be particularly careful to understand his own responsibilities and to profit from Allah's Signs, so as to attain to Allah's Mercy and blessings.
( 97 )   To Pharaoh and his establishment, but they followed the command of Pharaoh, and the command of Pharaoh was not [at all] discerning.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Pharaoh is the type of the arrogant, selfish, and false leader, who poses as a power in rivalry with that of Allah. Such an attitude seems to attract unregenerate humanity, which falls a willing victim, in spite of the teaching and warning given by the men of Allah and the many moral and spiritual forces that beckon man towards Allah's Grace.
( 98 )   He will precede his people on the Day of Resurrection and lead them into the Fire; and wretched is the place to which they are led.
From this verse and some other narrations of the Quran it appears that the leaders of a community in this world will be its leaders also on the Day of Resurrection. If they guided and led the people towards virtue, righteousness and truth in this world, their followers will gather together under their banner on the Day of Resurrection and march to the Gardens under their leadership. On the other hand, if they called people to some deviation, immorality or unrighteous ways, their followers will follow them there also, and march to the fire of Hell under their leadership. The Prophet (peace be upon him) explained this thing in a tradition: On the Day of Resurrection, the banner of the poets of ignorance will be in the hands of Imra-ul-Quais, and all of them will march towards Hell under his leadership.

Now let us try to picture the march of these two processions. It is obvious that the first procession will march happily and joyously, praying for and praising their leaders whose guidance had led them to this happy state of marching to the blessed Paradise. On the other hand, when the followers of the leaders of errors will find themselves in the miserable plight, to which the leaders had brought them, naturally their anger against them will be beyond description. For the followers will march towards Hell, abusing and cursing their leaders, who had brought them to that horrible state of torture.

يَقۡدُمُ قَوۡمَهٗ يَوۡمَ الۡقِيٰمَةِ فَاَوۡرَدَهُمُ النَّارَ​ؕ وَبِئۡسَ الۡوِرۡدُ الۡمَوۡرُوۡدُ‏ 

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Awrada = to lead, as cattle, down to their watering place. The metaphor is apt. The true herdsman is trusted by his normal flock, and he leads them in the heat of the day down to pleasant and cool watering places in order that they may slake their thirst and be happy. The false leader does the opposite: he takes them down to the fire of eternal misery! And yet men sin against their own intelligence, and follow the false leader like cattle without intelligence!
( 99 )   And they were followed in this [world] with a curse and on the Day of Resurrection. And wretched is the gift which is given.
( 100 )   That is from the news of the cities, which We relate to you; of them, some are [still] standing and some are [as] a harvest [mowed down].
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Some are standing: like corn, which is ready to be reaped. Among the communities which remained was, and is, Egypt, although the Pharaoh and his wicked people have been swept away. The simile of standing corn also suggests that at no time can town or community expect permanency, except in the Law of the Lord.

Notions grow and ripen and are mowed down. If they disobeyed Allah, their end is evil; if they were true and godly, their harvest was good.
( 101 )   And We did not wrong them, but they wronged themselves. And they were not availed at all by their gods which they invoked other than Allah when there came the command of your Lord. And they did not increase them in other than ruin.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
All false and fleeting shadows must vanish before the reality and permanence of the decree of Allah. If we worshiped the false, we carned nothing but perdition.
( 102 )   And thus is the seizure of your Lord when He seizes the cities while they are committing wrong. Indeed, His seizure is painful and severe.
( 103 )   Indeed in that is a sign for those who fear the punishment of the Hereafter. That is a Day for which the people will be collected, and that is a Day [which will be] witnessed.
That is, in these historical events there is a sign which will show conclusively to the one who considers this deeply that the torment of the Hereafter is inevitable, as warned by the Messengers. One can also judge from this how terrible it will be. This knowledge will fill one with such fear that will keep him on the straight way.

Now let us consider the question: How are these historical events a sign of the Hereafter and the chastisement therein. Everyone who makes a critical study of history with this consideration that it is not merely a collection of events, but also a means of drawing logical conclusions, will find that the rise and fall of communities and nations has been taking place in a regular succession. Moreover, one will find that this rise and fall takes place in accordance with some moral laws in an extraordinary way. This is a clear proof that man is subordinate to the Sovereign, Who is ruling over the universe in accordance with some rational moral laws. Accordingly, He raises up those who keep the moral limits above a certain minimum standard set for this purpose and degrades those who fall below it. Then He gives respite to the latter to mend their ways, but if they do not avail of it and continue their downward march and fall below the limit set for their complete degradation, He annihilates them in a way as to serve as a lesson for others. The fact that these events always take place in a regular cycle leaves no shadow of doubt that rewards and punishments are permanent parts of the law of His kingdom.

A further consideration of the chastisements that were inflicted on different communities shows that, though these punishments fulfilled the demands of justice to some extent, there was still need of more to fulfill all the demands of justice, for these criminals were punished only for those sins which they themselves committed but not for those committed by the succeeding communities, which followed the bad example left by them as their predecessors. It is obvious from the study of history that the law of retribution must take its course and justice demands that they should be punished for the evil legacy they left for others to follow after them. Common sense and justice demand that life in this world should be reproduced in its entirety in order to fulfill all the demands of the law of retribution. The just Sovereign will, therefore, bring into existence all those people for this purpose and award them due punishments.

The reason why Allah will again bring the whole mankind to life is to reward the believers and to punish the disbelievers. After showing that this is possible to raise the dead, it is stated that it is absolutely necessary to fulfill the demands of common sense and justice, for full justice cannot be done without this. Common sense and justice demand that those who believe and do righteous deeds should be given their full rewards, and those who disbelieve and reject the truth and do evil deeds, should be duly punished. As every sensible and just person knows that this demand of justice is not fulfilled in its entirety, and cannot be fulfilled, in this world. It is absolutely essential that the entire mankind should again be brought to life for this purpose.
( 104 )   And We do not delay it except for a limited term.
( 105 )   The Day it comes no soul will speak except by His permission. And among them will be the wretched and the prosperous.
This is to warn these foolish people who depend on the promises of their intercessors that they would protect them from the torment of the Day. They have been warned to desist from the evil deeds they are committing in the hope that their intercessors would not rest content till they succeed in obtaining from Allah permits of forgiveness for their sinful followers. This is because they believe them to be the beloved favorites of Allah Who cannot afford to displease them at any cost. Then they have been told that, not to speak of wielding any such influence, they shall not dare utter a word except with His permission. No saint, no angel, howsoever high, is so powerful or influential as to speak a word or make any recommendation in the Court of the Highest Sovereign unless He Himself permits it. Therefore such people as make offerings to others than Allah will be utterly disillusioned and disappointed on that Day, for they will come to know that they were foolish in relying on their intercessors and committing evil deeds in the world in the hope that they would deliver them from the torment of the Day.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Speak i.e., either in self-defence or in accusation of others or to intercede for others, or to enter into conversation or ask questions, one with another. It will be a solemn Day, before the Great Judge of all, to whom everything will be known and whose authority will be unquestioned. There will be no room for quibbling or equivocation or subterfuge of any kind, nor can any one lay the blame on another or take the responsibility of another. Personal responsibility will be enforced strictly.

Shaqi (wretched) and Said (blessed) have become almost technical theological terms. They are explained in the four following verses.
( 106 )   As for those who were [destined to be] wretched, they will be in the Fire. For them therein is [violent] exhaling and inhaling.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The first word, Zafir " زَفِيۡرٌ ", translated "sighs", is applied to one part in the process of the braying of an ass, when he emits a deep breath. The second, Shahiq "  شَهِيۡقٌ ", translated, "sobs", is the other process in the braying of an ass, when he draws in a long breath. This suggestion of an animal proverbial for his folly implies that the wicked, in spite of their arrogance and insolence in this world below, will at last realize that they have been fools after all, throwing away their own chances whenever they got them. In lxvii. 7 the word Shahiq is applied to the tremendous roaring in-take or devouring of Hell-fire.
( 107 )   [They will be] abiding therein as long as the heavens and the earth endure, except what your Lord should will. Indeed, your Lord is an effecter of what He intends.
This is to emphasize that there is no power that can deliver them from that everlasting torment. Of course, Allah has full powers to forgive anyone He wills or to make a change in the term of the torment of anyone, for He Himself devises laws for Himself and there is no law higher than His Law so as to limit His powers.

In (Ayats 107-108), the words “the heavens and the earth” might have been used idiomatically to denote the everlasting state or they might refer to the new earth and the heavens that will be made in the next world. Anyhow these cannot be the earth and the heavens in their existing state for two reasons. First, according to the Quran, they shall be changed on the Day of Resurrection. Secondly, the events that are being related in these verses will happen in the Hereafter.
( 108 )   And as for those who were [destined to be] prosperous, they will be in Paradise, abiding therein as long as the heavens and the earth endure, except what your Lord should will - a bestowal uninterrupted.
That is, they will not be sent to the Garden nor will dwell there in accordance with any extraneous law which might have forced Allah to let them dwell therein anyhow. They shall dwell there simply because of His favor. He has full powers to make any changes, if He will, about them.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Exactly the same arguments apply as in the last note. The felicity will be uninterrupted, unlike any joy or happiness which we can imagine in this life and which is subject to chances and changes, as our daily experience shows.
( 109 )   So do not be in doubt, [O Muhammad], as to what these [polytheists] are worshiping. They worship not except as their fathers worshiped before. And indeed, We will give them their share undiminished.
It does not mean at all that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had any doubts concerning their deities. Though these words have been addressed to the Prophet (peace be upon him), as a matter of fact they are meant for the common people. What they mean is this: No reasonable person should entertain any presumption that the people who worship the deities must have been convinced of their miraculous powers, otherwise they would not have worshiped them nor offered gifts to them nor invoked their help. The fact of the matter is that their worship, their offerings and their prayers are not based on any knowledge nor any experience nor any real observation, but are the result of blind imitation of their forefathers. The proof of their falsehood is that the deities could not save them when Allah's scourge visited their worshipers who were completely annihilated in spite of them.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Their worship is not based on any spiritual attitude of mind. They merely follow the ways of their fathers. Allah will take fully into account all their motives in such mummery as they call worship, and they will have their full spiritual consequences in the future.
( 110 )   And We had certainly given Moses the Scripture, but it came under disagreement. And if not for a word that preceded from your Lord, it would have been judged between them. And indeed they are, concerning the Qur'an, in disquieting doubt.
It means this: There is nothing new in the different opinions expressed by different people regarding the Quran. They behaved in the same manner towards the Book that was given to Prophet Moses (peace be upon him). Therefore, O Muhammad (peace be upon him), do not be disheartened by their rejection of the Quran, though its teachings are simple and plain.

This is to reassure the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the believers that they should patiently wait for the consequences of the misbehavior of the unbelievers towards the Quran. But this will happen in due course as previously ordained by Allah, for Allah does not make haste in passing judgment, though the people demand haste.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Cf. x. 19. Previous revelations are not to be denied or dishonoured because those who nominally go by them have corrupted and deprived them of spiritual value by their vain controversies and disputes. It was possible to settle such disputes under the flag, as it were, of the old Revelations, but Allah's Plan was to revive and rejuvenate His Message through Islam, among a newer and younger people, unhampered by the burden of age long prejudices.

Cf. xi. 62. There is always in human affairs the conflict between the old and the new,-the worn-out system of our ancestors, and the fresh living spring of Allah's inspiration fitting in with new times and new surroundings. The advocates of the former look upon this latter not only with intellectual doubt but with moral suspicion, as did the People of the Book upon Islam, with its fresh outlook and vigorous realistic way of looking at things.
( 111 )   And indeed, each [of the believers and disbelievers] - your Lord will fully compensate them for their deeds. Indeed, He is Acquainted with what they do.( 112 )   So remain on a right course as you have been commanded, [you] and those who have turned back with you [to Allah], and do not transgress. Indeed, He is Seeing of what you do.( 113 )   And do not incline toward those who do wrong, lest you be touched by the Fire, and you would not have other than Allah any protectors; then you would not be helped.( 114 )   And establish prayer at the two ends of the day and at the approach of the night. Indeed, good deeds do away with misdeeds. That is a reminder for those who remember.
This was to urge Salat at three times, that is, morning, evening and Isha. This shows that this was revealed before Salat had been made obligatory five times a day during the Miraj.

This is to comfort and console the Prophet (peace be upon him), as if to say: Allah does not intend to destroy them yet, for He has appointed for them a term of respite, so you should endure with patience whatever they do against you and hear their harsh talk and go on performing the obligations of your mission. For this purpose you should offer Salat in accordance with the prescribed times because it will create in you necessary forbearance and fortitude.

This is the remedy for eradicating evil from the world: Do good deeds and defeat evil with them. The best way of making you virtuous is to establish salat, which will remind you of Allah over and over again: which will produce those good characteristics in you that shall help you fight successfully against the systematic and united front of evil that has been formed against the mission of the truth. This will also enable you to establish practically the system of virtue and reform.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The two ends of the day: Morning and afternoon. The morning prayer is the Fajr, after the light is up but before sunrise: we thus get up betimes and begin the day with the remembrance of Allah and of our duty to Him. The early afternoon prayer, Zuhr, is immediately after noon: we are in the midst of our daily life, and again we remember Allah. There is no disagreement among scholars regarding which prayer is meant by one of these two ends of the day. They agree that it is Fajr prayer which may be performed from dawn until a little before sunrise. There is disagreement, however, regarding the prayer which ought to be performed at the other end of the day. It is said variously that the reference is to Asr or Maghrib prayer.

Approaches of the night: Zulafun " زُلَـفًا", plural of Zulfatun, an approach, something near at hand. As Arabic has, like Greek, a dual number distinct from the plural, and the plural number is used here, and not the dual, it is reasonable to argue that at least three "approaches of the night" are meant. The late afternoon prayer, 'Asr, can be one of these three, and the evening prayer, Maghrib, just after sunset, can be the second. The early night prayer, 'Isha, at supper time-when the glow of sunset is disappearing, would be the third of the "approaches of the night", when we commit ourselves to Allah before sleep. These are the five canonical prayers of Islam.

"Those things that are good": in this context the words refer primarily to prayers, but they include all good thoughts, good words, and good deeds. It is by them that we keep away everything that is evil, whether referring to the past, the present, or the future.
( 115 )   And be patient, for indeed, Allah does not allow to be lost the reward of those who do good.
( 116 )   So why were there not among the generations before you those of enduring discrimination forbidding corruption on earth - except a few of those We saved from among them? But those who wronged pursued what luxury they were given therein, and they were criminals.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Baqiyat: some virtue or faculty that stands assault and is lasting; balanced good sense that stands firm to virtue and is not dazzled by the lusts and pleasures of this world, and is not deterred by fear from boldly condemning wrong if it was fashionable or customary. It is leaders possessed of such character that can save a nation from disaster or perdition. The scarcity of such leaders-and the rejection of the few who stood out- brought ruin among the nations whose example has already been set out to us as a warning. In xi. 86 the word has a more literal meaning.

The exceptional men of firm virtue would have been destroyed by the wicked to whom they were an offence, had they not been saved by the grace and mercy of Allah. Or perhaps, but for such grace, they might themselves have succumbed to the evil around them, or been overwhelmed in the general calamity.
( 117 )   And your Lord would not have destroyed the cities unjustly while their people were reformers.
In this passage, the real cause of the fall of the communities mentioned in( Ayats 25-99 )has been pointed out in a very instructive manner. In reviewing their history Allah declares that the cause of the downfall of not only these but of all the former communities was this: When Allah bestowed His favors on them, they abused these favors and were so intoxicated with their own prosperity that they began to make mischief in the land. By and by, their collective conscience became so corrupt that no righteous persons were left among them to forbid evil and, if a few were left, their voice was so weak that they could not prevent them from causing mischief. As a result of this, evil became so strong and prevalent among them as to warrant the scourge of Allah. Otherwise Allah bears no enmity against His servants that He should destroy them without any just cause, while they were performing righteous works. This has been mentioned here for impressing the following three things.

First, it is imperative that there should be some persons who should invite the people to virtue and forbid evil. For Allah approves virtue only and tolerates evil for its sake so long as there is any potential good left in them. But when a community has no righteous persons left in it and contains only wicked ones, or even if there be some such righteous persons in it as are so weak that nobody pays any heed to them, and the community as a whole rushes headlong towards moral degradation, then Allah’s scourge becomes its inevitable doom.

Second, a community, which tolerates everything and everyone except those few who invite it to righteous deeds seals its own doom and invites its destruction.

Third, it is clear from this passage that the destiny of a community is determined by the influence the righteous people can wield in it. If it contains such a number of good persons as may be able to eradicate evil and mischief and establish virtue and righteousness, a general scourge is withheld from it so as to afford an opportunity to them for carrying on their work of reform. On the other hand, if the number of the righteous persons in it remains too small to carry on the reform work, and the community does not tolerate them at all and does not allow them to perform their reform work, then that community incurs its own destruction, for thus it proves itself to be a worthless community which has no justification for its existence.

Here the mention of Prophet Lot (peace be upon him) will be pertinent. Among the entire nation and in the entire land there was only one house that shone with the light of the faith and Islam, and it was no other but the house of the Prophet Lot (peace be upon him) himself. The rest of the nation was sunk deep in sin and wickedness and its whole country was brimming over with filth and immorality. Therefore Allah rescued the people of that one house and then sent down the torment on the land, which did not spare any one of the wicked people.
( 118 )   And if your Lord had willed, He could have made mankind one community; but they will not cease to differ.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Cf. x. 19. All mankind might have been one. But in Allah's Plan man was to have a certain measure of free-will, and this made difference inevitable. This would not have mattered if all had honestly sought Allah. But selfishness and moral wrong came in, and people's disputations became mixed up with hatred, jealousy, and sin, except in the case of those who accepted Allah's grace, which saved them. The object of their creation was to raise them up spiritually by Allah's grace. But if they will choose the path of evil and fall into sin, Allah's decree must be fulfilled, and His justice will take its course. In the course of that justice Hell will be filled with men and jinns, such is the number of those who go astray.
( 119 )   Except whom your Lord has given mercy, and for that He created them. But the word of your Lord is to be fulfilled that, "I will surely fill Hell with jinn and men all together."
This is the answer to the objection raised in the name of taqdir (destiny) against the principle that has been laid down in the preceding verse for the destruction of the wicked communities. It is this: Why should these communities be punished for lack of a sufficient number of righteous persons in them? Why didn’t Allah Himself will to produce that sufficient number of righteous persons in it? Allah has answered this objection, so as to say: It is not the will of Allah to bind mankind inherently to a fixed course of life as He has bound the vegetable and animal life. Had it been so, there would have been no need of sending the Messengers and the Books for inviting mankind to the faith. For, in that case all human beings would have been born Muslims and born believers and there would have been no unbelief and no disobedience. But it is the will of Allah to grant freedom of choice and action to man so that he may be free to choose and follow any way of life. That is why He has left open both the way to Paradise and the way to Hell for man and given every individual and every community the opportunity to choose and follow either of the two ways with full freedom and win any of the two abodes as a result of his own efforts and exertions. It is obvious that this scheme of Allah demands that it should be based on the freedom of choice and the option to adopt faith or unbelief.

This is why Allah does not compel a community to the right way if it itself intends to follow the wrong way, and plans and works for it. Allah’s scheme does not interfere with the plans and works of such a community. When it makes deliberate arrangements to mold the wicked, unjust, and sinful people, He does not supply it with righteous persons by birth to set it right. Every community is free to produce good or bad people as it wills. And if a community wills to follow a wrong way as a community, leaving little room for the production and the development of the righteous people in order to raise up the standard of virtue, God does not will to coerce it to follow the righteous way. He will let it follow the way it chooses for itself with its inevitable consequences. On the contrary, Allah shows His mercy to that community which produces a sufficiently large number of such people as accept the invitation to virtue, and leaves room in its collective system for such people to work for its reform and purification.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Cf. vii. 18 and vii. 179. If Satan and his evil soldiers tempt men from the path of rectitude, the responsibility of the tempted, who choose the path of evil, is no less than that of the tempters, and they will both be involved in punishment together.
( 120 )   And each [story] We relate to you from the news of the messengers is that by which We make firm your heart. And there has come to you, in this, the truth and an instruction and a reminder for the believers.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The stories of the Prophets in the Qur'an are not mere narratives or histories: they involve three things: (1) they teach the highest spiritual Truth; (2) they give advice, direction, and warning, as to how we should govern our lives, and (3) they awaken our conscience and recall to us the working of Allah's Law in human affairs. The story of Joseph in the next Sūrah (Sūrah Yusuf) is an illustration in point. A) Cf. xi. 93 and vi. 135, n. 957. The worst that ye can will not defeat Allah's Plan; and as for us who believe, our obvious duty is to do our part as taught to us by Allah's revelation.
( 121 )   And say to those who do not believe, "Work according to your position; indeed, we are working.( 122 )   And wait, indeed, we are waiting."
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Cf. xi. 93, and x. 102, If the wicked only wait, they will see how Allah's Plan unfolds itself. As for those who believe, they are glad to wait in perfect confidence, because they know that Allah is good and merciful, as well as just and true.
( 123 )   And to Allah belong the unseen [aspects] of the heavens and the earth and to Him will be returned the matter, all of it, so worship Him and rely upon Him. And your Lord is not unaware of that which you do.
At the end of the discourse, Allah has warned the champions of kufr, and comforted the believers, so as to say: Allah is closely watching the behaviors of both the parties in the conflict between kufr and Islam, and the Sovereign is fully aware of all that is happening in His kingdom. He is watching and controlling everything with perfect wisdom. He will reward richly the champions of the truth and will not let go waste their efforts and exertions. And though He is showing tolerance to the champions of kufr, and giving them respite, He will take them to task because they are unjustly persecuting the standard bearers of the truth and are spreading chaos in the land, and exerting their utmost to put obstacles in the way of the work of reform. All these things are in the knowledge of Allah and the evil doers shall have to bear the consequences of their misdeeds, and the true believers will ultimately come out successful.

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sūrah Hūd 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). 

You may also refer to our following reference pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran:
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.

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