Saturday 30 November 2019

Surah Ibrahim - Abraham: 14th Chapter of Quran (Exegesis)

Sürah Ibrāhīm " إبراهيم‎ " is the fourteenth surah with 52 ayahs with seven rukus, part of the 13th Juzʼ  of the Holy Qur'an. The Surah takes its name from v. 35 in which mention has been made of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham). But it does not mean that it contains the life story of Prophet Abraham. The name is merely a symbol lid the names of many other surahs, i.e., the Surah in which Abraham's mention has been made. However, ayats 35-41 focus on a prayer of Abraham's, which reveals the quality of Abraham's character.

The chronological place of this Sürah and the general argument of Sürahs x to xv. has been described in the Overview to Sürah 10 Yunus.

As for the time of revelation of this Sürah, it appears from its tone that it belongs to that group of the Sürahs which were revealed during the last stage of the Makkan period. For instance, verse 13 ("The disbelievers warned their Messengers, 'you shall have to return to our community or we will assuredly expel you from our land'") clearly indicates that the persecution of the Muslims was at its worst at the time of the revelation of this Sürah, and the people of Makkah were bent on expelling the Believers from there like the disbelievers of the former Prophets. That is why in verse 14 they have been warned, "We will destroy these evil doers," and the Believers have been comforted as were the believers before them, "and after them settle you in the land" Likewise the stern warning contained in the concluding portion (verses 43-52 also confirms that the Surah relates to the last stage of the Makkan Period.)

This Sürah is an admonition and a warning to the disbelievers who were rejecting the Message of the Holy Prophet and devising cunning schemes to defeat his Mission. But warning, reproof, censure and reproach dominate admonition. This is because a good deal of admonition had already been made in the preceding Surahs, but in spite of this their obduracy, enmity, antagonism, mischief, persecution etc. had rather increased.

Yusuf Ali sums up this Sürah as: "The special subject-matter of this Sürah is a continuation of the concluding portion of the last Sürah (Sürah Ar'rad), which explained how Allah's revelation gains ground in spite of selfish men's opposition. Here illustrations are given from the story of Moses and Abraham, and Abraham's Prayer for Makkah forms the core of the Sürah."

Let us now read the translation and exegesis / tafseer in English of the Sürah segmented into portions as per the subject matter. For Arabic Text, please refer to the references given at the end and may also listen to its recitation in Arabic with English subtitles:

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"
Ruku / Section 1 [1-6]
Verses 1-3: This Book is revealed to bring the mankind out from darkness into light:

الۤرٰ​ كِتٰبٌ اَنۡزَلۡنٰهُ اِلَيۡكَ لِـتُخۡرِجَ النَّاسَ مِنَ الظُّلُمٰتِ اِلَى النُّوۡرِ  ۙ بِاِذۡنِ رَبِّهِمۡ اِلٰى صِرَاطِ الۡعَزِيۡزِ الۡحَمِيۡدِۙ‏ 
( 1 )   الۤرٰ  Alif, Lam, Ra.
 "Alif Lam Ra" are *The Muqaṭṭaʿāt (Arabic: حُرُوف مُقَطَّعَات‎ ḥurūf muqaṭṭaʿāt, "mysterious letters"), a combination of between one and five Arabic letters figuring at the beginning of 29 out of the 114 chapters (surahs) of the Quran just after the opening Bismillāh, thus also called the or occasionally called Fawatih (openers). Alif, Lam, Ra here in this sūrah are also part of these letters, the meaning of which is not known.
A Book which We have revealed unto thee in order that thou mightest lead mankind out of the depths of darkness into light by the leave of their Lord to the Way of (Him) Exalted in Power Worthy of all Praise!
This is the purpose for which the Prophet (peace be upon him) had been sent. He was entrusted with the mission that he should bring mankind back from the ways of darkness and ways of wickedness into the way of God by the help of the light of the Quran. For everyone who is not on the way of God is, in fact, wandering about in the ways of the darkness and ignorance, even though he might consider himself to be very enlightened and full of knowledge. On the other hand, the one who finds the Way of Allah, comes into the light of knowledge, even though he might be an illiterate person.

As regards to “by the permission of their Lord”, this implies that the most a missionary of Islam, even though he be a Messenger of Allah, can do is to present the right way. It is not in his power to bring anyone forcibly to the way, for this can only happen by the help and permission of Allah. That is why only that person whom Allah helps and permits gets guidance. Otherwise, even a perfect missionary like a Messenger fails to bring a person to the right way. As regards to the divine law, according to which Allah helps and permits a person to gain guidance, we learn from different passages of the Quran that Allah gives help only to that person who himself has a desire to get guidance: who frees himself from obduracy, obstinacy and prejudice: who is not a follower of his lust, nor a slave of his desires: who is inclined to see with open eyes and hear with open ears and think with a clear mind, and is ready to accede to any reasonable thing.

The word Hameed is more comprehensive than Mahmud. A person will be entitled to be Mahmud only when he is praised. But the Being Who is Hamed, is naturally and permanently worthy of praise, whether anyone praises Him or not, because the element of praise is inherent in Him and is inseparable from Him.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
It is insisted on that every Prophet speaks not from himself but from Allah. His leading into the light is but by the grace and mercy of Allah, not by any power of his own, or by any merit of those who hear him.

In this and the next verse where the sentence is completed, three qualities of Allah are mentioned, viz., (1) His exalted position above all Creation; (2) His goodness, which entitles Him, and Him alone, to Praise- and (3) His Power in all heaven and earth. Thus He stands in no need of man's worship; His goodness is all for the good of man (and His creatures); and His control over His creatures is complete; so He can carry out His Will and Plan.
( 2 )   Allah, to whom belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And woe to the disbelievers from a severe punishment
This is a figurative way of saying that idols have been the means of turning many people away from Allah’s way into the ways of deviation.

This forbearance shown towards those who followed a different way from the right way is an instance of Prophet Abraham’s (peace be upon him) leniency to mankind. He left their case to the Forgiveness and Mercy of Allah for he could not bear to see them under divine scourge. Another instance of this has been cited in Surah Houd. When the angels were on their way to destroy the wicked people of Lot, Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) began to plead for them: Abraham began to dispute with Us concerning the people of Lot for he was tender hearted and merciful. (Surah Houd, Ayats 74-75). Likewise Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) was so tender hearted that even when Allah will show to him that his followers had deviated from the right way, he will plead their case: Now if you punish them, they are your own servants, and if you forgive them, you are All-Mighty and All-Wise. (Surah Al-Maidah, Ayat 118).
( 3 )   The ones who prefer the worldly life over the Hereafter and avert [people] from the way of Allah, seeking to make it (seem) deviant. Those are in extreme error.
Those who reject the truth are the people whose interests are entirely bound with the life of this world, and who do not care at all for the interests of the life of the Hereafter: who are prepared to undergo any punishment in the next world for the sake of the interests, pleasures and comforts of this world: who, on the other hand, cannot bear the sacrifice of even the smallest pleasure in this world, nor are ready to bear any loss or encounter danger or trouble in this world for the sake of the joys of the next world. In short, such are the people who have coolly considered and weighed the pleasures of this world against the joys of the next world, and decided in favor of this world: therefore, they readily sacrifice the interest of the next world whenever there is a clash between the two.

That is, "They do not want to follow the Way of Allah, but endeavor that Allah's Way should follow their desires: it should adjust itself in such a way as to include all their conjectures, theories and whims as its part and parcel, and exclude every creed that does not suit their way of life: it should provide sanction for all their habits, customs and manners: it should not demand from them anything which they do not like: in short, the way of Allah should be their obedient slave and turn in the direction their devilish lusts want it to turn: nay, it should neither criticize them nor ask them to follow Allah’s injunctions. This is their condition for accepting the guidance of Allah.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The Unbelievers are here characterized in three ways: (1) they love this ephemeral life and its vanities more than the true Life which goes into the Hereafter; (2) they not only harm themselves but mislead others, (3) their own crooked minds search for something crooked in Allah's straight Path (Cf. vii. 45). But in doing so, they go farther and farther from the Truth.

 Verse 4: All Rasools speak the language of their own people:
( 4 )   And We did not send any messenger except [speaking] in the language of his people to state clearly for them, and Allah sends astray [thereby] whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.
This implies two things: First, Allah sent down His message in the language of the people from among whom a Prophet was raised so that they might not have any excuse left that they could not understand the language of the message. Secondly, this ruled out the presumption that a Messenger was ever given the message in a different language merely for the sake of a miracle. For Allah considered it more important to make the people understand the message and guide them rightly than to satisfy their curiosity. Obviously the purpose could best be served only if the message was sent down to them in their own language by their Prophet and not in any other.

Although the Messenger conveys the message in the mother tongue of the people, which is understood by everyone of them, yet all of them are not guided aright. This happens because of the fact that all of those who understand a message do not necessarily accept it. For it is entirely with Allah to show guidance by means of His message to anyone He wills and to let go astray anyone in spite of it.

As Allah is All-Powerful, no one is able by oneself to get guidance or to go astray, for none is completely independent but is under the power of Allah. But as He is All-Wise, He does not use His power blindly so as to show guidance to anyone He wills and to let go astray anyone He desires without rhyme or reason. In fact, the one who gets guidance from Him gets it on merit and the one who is let go astray is deprived of guidance because he himself deliberately chooses deviation.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
If the object of a Message is to make things clear, it must be delivered in the language current among the people to whom the Messenger is sent. Through them it can reach all mankind. There is even a wider meaning for "language". It is not merely a question of alphabets, letters, or words. Each age or people-or world in a psychological sense- casts its thoughts in a certain mould or form. Allah's Message-being universal-can be expressed in all moulds and forms, and is equally valid and necessary for all grades of humanity, and must therefore be explained to each according to his or her capacity or receptivity. In this respect the Qur-an is marvellous. It is for the simplest as well as the most advanced.

'Whom He pleases'; the usual expression for Mashiyat, the universal Will and Plan, which is all-wise and on the highest plane of goodness and righteousness.

Verses 5-6: Prophet Musa was (Moses, peace e upon him) sent to lead his people out from darkness into light.

وَلَـقَدۡ اَرۡسَلۡنَا مُوۡسٰى بِاٰيٰتِنَاۤ اَنۡ اَخۡرِجۡ قَوۡمَكَ مِنَ الظُّلُمٰتِ اِلَى النُّوۡرِ ۙ وَذَكِّرۡهُمۡ بِاَيّٰٮمِ اللّٰهِ​ؕ اِنَّ فِىۡ ذٰ لِكَ لَاٰيٰتٍ لّـِكُلِّ صَبَّارٍ شَكُوۡرٍ‏ 
( 5 )   And We certainly sent Moses with Our signs, [saying], "Bring out your people from darkness into the light and remind them of the days of Allah." Indeed in that are signs for everyone patient and grateful.
The Arabic word ayyam technically means memorable historical events. Therefore Ayyam-u-Allah (divine history) implies all those eventful chapters of human history which mention the rewards and punishments that were meted out to the great personalities and nations according to their deeds in the past ages.

Those historical events are signs in this sense that their proper and intelligent study provides proofs of the fact that there is only one God: and that the law of retribution is universal and is based absolutely on the differentiation between the knowledge and moral practice of the truth and falsehood: that this law also requires another world (the Hereafter) for its due fulfillment. Moreover, these events contain signs that serve as warnings against the evil consequences of building up systems of life on false creeds and theories, and help one to learn lessons from them.

Though these signs are always there, only those persons learn lessons from them who remain steadfast in trials and appreciate the blessings of Allah rightly and are grateful to Him. Obviously, frivolous and ungrateful persons cannot learn any lesson from these signs, even though they might grasp their significance.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
"The Days of Allah": the days when Allah's mercy was specially shown to them. Every day and every hour and minute, Allah's grace flows to us abundantly, but there are special events in personal or national history which may be commemorated as Red-letter Days. Those to the Israelites were set out in great detail in ii. 30-61 and on other places.

Sabbar is the intensive form, and includes all the ideas implied in Sabr (ii. 45, and ii. 153) in an intensive degree. Shakur and Shakir have in them the idea of appreciation, recognition, gratitude as shown in deeds of goodness and righteousness. Both terms are applied to Allah as well as to men. A slight distinction in shades of meaning may be noted. Shakur implies that the appreciation is even for the smallest favours and response on the other side; it is a mental attitude independent of specific facts. Shakir implies bigger and more specific things.
( 6 )   And [recall, O Children of Israel], when Moses said to His people, "Remember the favor of Allah upon you when He saved you from the people of Pharaoh, who were afflicting you with the worst torment and were slaughtering your [newborn] sons and keeping your females alive. And in that was a great trial from your Lord.
Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
Cf. ii. 49. The reference back to Israel and Moses serves a double purpose-as an appeal to the People of the Book, and as a reminder to the Quraish of the favour now conferred on them by the coming among them of a greater Prophet than Moses.

Mufti Muhammad Shaffi/Mufti Taqi Usmani's Explanation:
Verse (6) carries details of what was said earlier, that is, when Prophet Moses was commanded to remind his people, the Bani Israel, of the particular Divine blessing which changed their lives. Before the coming of Prophet Moses, they were living as slaves of the Pharaoh. Even as slaves, they were not treated humanly. Boys born among them were killed at birth. Only girls were left to survive and serve. After the appearance of Prophet Moses, such was his barakah (blessing) that Allah had them delivered from the punishing clutches of the Pharaoh.

Ruku / Section 2 [7-12]
Verses 7-12: If all the dwellers of earth become nonbelievers, it makes no difference to Allah and In Allah let the believers put their trust:
( 7 )   And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, 'If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.' 
That is, if you are grateful, you will appreciate Our favors and make right use of them, and will not rebel against Our commandments, but will surrender and submit to Us to show your gratitude to Us.

Deuteronomy (Bible) contains a long and detailed discourse to this effect. According to it, Prophet Moses (peace be upon him), on the eve of his death, reminded the Israelites of all important events from their history, and reiterated all the divine commandments of the Torah which Allah had sent to them through him. Then he told them in a long speech that if they obeyed their Lord, they would be given great rewards. But if they adopted the attitude of disobedience, they would get a terrible punishment. This discourse spreads over chapters 4, 6, 8, 10, 11 and 28, 30. Some of these passages are so impressive and instructive that it will be worthwhile to quote a few of them: Hear,
O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (Deut. 6: 47).
And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways; and to love him, and to serve the Lord Thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, to keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good? Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is thy Lord’s thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is. (Deut. 10: 12-14).
And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God. Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. The Lord shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face. The Lord shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto. The Lord shall establish thee an holy people unto himself. And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord; and they shall be afraid of thee. And thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow. And the Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath. (28: 1-13).
But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all those curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field. The Lord shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do. The Lord shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee. And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron. The Lord shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them. Thou shalt betroth a wife, and another man shall lie with her: thou shalt build an house and thou shalt not dwell therein: thou shalt plant a vineyard, and shalt not gather the grapes thereof. Thine ox shall be slain before thine eyes. Therefore, shalt thou serve thine enemies which the Lord shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: And he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee. And the Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other. (Deut: 28: 15-64). 
Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
Kafara implies: (1) to reject Faith, as in ii. 6 (2) to be ungrateful for mercies and favours received, as here; (3) to resist Allah or Faith, as in iii. 13; (4) to deny (the Signs of Allah), as in iii. 21, or deny the mission of Messengers, as in xiv. 9. Kafir in the most general sense may be translated "Unbeliever".

Mufti Muhammad Shaffi/Mufti Taqi Usmani's Explanation:
(And when your Lord declared, "If you express gratitude, I shall certainly give you more, and if you are ungrateful, then My punishment is severe."). The word: تَاَذَّنَ (ta'adhdhana) is used in the sense of making known or announcing. The sense of the verse is that Allah has announced it for all to hear: 'If you are thankful for My blessings and do not waste them in acts of disobedience to Me and in deeds which have been prohibited, and try your best to mould your deeds to suit My pleasure, then, I shall increase these blessings for you.' This increase could be in the amount and volume of blessings, or it could be in their continuity and permanence as well. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) said: 'A person who is blessed with the Tauffq / blessed ability to be grateful shall never be deprived of barakah and increase in blessings.' (Reported by Ibn Marduwayh from Ibn 'AbbZs - Maqhari)

And then it was said: If you are ungrateful for My blessings then severe is My punishment too. The sum total of ungratefulness is that one spends out the blessings given by Allah in acts disobedient to Him and in things and ways which are impermissible; or, that one is tardy in fulfilling what has been made obligatory on him or her. As for the severe punishment against ungratefulness for blessings in the present world, it is possible that these blessings may be taken back all of a sudden; or, one may fall into some unwelcome circumstances as a result of which he remains unable to make use of that blessing, and finds punishment waiting for him in the Hereafter as well.

It is worth remembering at this point that in this verse, Allah does promise good return, reward and increase in blessing, and that too in an emphatic manner:  لَاَزِيۡدَنَّـكُمۡ (I shall certainly give you more). But, in contrast to this, for the ungrateful it was not said: "I shall certainly punish you)". Instead of that, given here is a limited warning which conveys the sense that 'My punishment too, to whomsoever it reaches, is very severe.' In this particular interpretation, there is a hint that it is not necessary that every ungrateful person has to undergo punishment - the likelihood of forgiveness also exists.
( 8 )   And Moses said, "If you should disbelieve, you and whoever is on the earth entirely - indeed, Allah is Free of need and Praiseworthy." 
It should be noted that a reference to Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) and his people has been made here to warn the people of Makkah of the consequences of their ingratitude towards this favor of Allah that He has raised Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) from among them. This was a timely warning, for at that time they were showing ingratitude by rejecting that message. They were, therefore, warned to learn a lesson from the miserable condition of the Israelites, which was the result of their ingratitude to and rebellion against Allah’s favors.

As the Quraish themselves could see the consequences of that rebellious attitude of the Israelites, they were, so to say, asked this question: Do you also desire to meet with the same consequences by showing ingratitude towards the message which is a great favor to you?

Obviously, the great favor which was shown to the Quraish was that Muhammad (peace be upon him) was raised from among them with that message about which he assured them over and over again: Accept this Message of mine: all the Arabs and the non-Arabs will surrender and submit to you?

Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
Ingratitude not only in feeling or words, but in disobedience, and wilful rejection and rebellion. If the whole of you band together against Allah, you do not detract from Allah's power one atom, because, Allah does not depend upon you for anything, and His goodness and righteousness and praiseworthiness cannot be called in question by your contumacy.

Cf- xxii. 64, xxix. 6, xxv. 15, lxvii. 38.
( 9 )   Has there not reached you the news of those before you - the people of Noah and 'Aad and Thamud and those after them? No one knows them but Allah. Their messengers brought them clear proofs, but they returned their hands to their mouths and said, "Indeed, we disbelieve in that with which you have been sent, and indeed we are, about that to which you invite us, in disquieting doubt." 
The speech of Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) ended with( Ayat 8). From here begins a direct address to the disbelievers of Makkah.

There has been a great deal of difference of opinion in regard to the meaning of the Arabic words of the text and different commentators have assigned different meanings to them. But we arc of the opinion that these express merely the intolerance and perplexity and a bit of anger that was being shown by the disbelievers towards the message and this is confirmed by the subsequent sentence.

They had a “grave doubt” about the message because it had taken away their peace of mind. This was because invitation to the message always makes the minds uneasy, for it becomes hard even for its opponents to reject it outright or oppose it with peace of mind. Howsoever they might give vent to their doubts about it and oppose it tooth and nail the force of its truth and its sound arguments, its frankness and candor and its winning manners of exposition produce a great agitation in the minds of its bitterest opponents. Then the pure and spotless character of the Messenger and the marked change for the better brought about in his followers produce such an accumulative effect on their minds that even their most bitter antagonists begin to feel uneasy about their own stand. Thus, those who try to disturb the peace of mind of the upholders of the truth are themselves deprived of their own peace of mind.

Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
Even the names of all the Prophets are not known to men, much less the details of their story. If some "news" of them (for the word translated "story" may also be translated "news") reaches us, it is to give us spiritual instruction for our own lives.

That is, either that the Unbelievers metaphorically put their hands up to the mouths of the Prophets to try to prevent them from proclaiming their Message, or that the Unbelievers put up their fingers to their own mouths, as much as to say "Don't listen to them," or bite their own fingers in token of incontinent rage. Whatever construction we adopt, the meaning is that they were intolerant of their prophets even as the Quraish were intolerant of Al-Mustafa and did all they could to suppress Allah's Truth.
وَاِنَّا لَفِىۡ شَكٍّ مِّمَّا تَدۡعُوۡنَـنَاۤ اِلَيۡهِ مُرِيۡبٍ‏ ....
Cf. xi. 62. The distinction between Shakk  شَكٍّ and raib رِيۡبٍ‏ may be noted. Shakk is intellectual doubt, a doubt as to fact; is it so, or is it not? Raib is something more than intellectual doubt; a suspicion that there is fraud or deception; something that upsets your moral belief and causes a disquiet in your soul. In lii. 30, it is used as equivalent to "calamity" or "disaster", some punishment or evil. Both kinds of doubts and suspicions are hinted at against Prophets of Allah.
( 10 )   Their messengers said, "Can there be doubt about Allah, Creator of the heavens and earth? He invites you that He may forgive you of your sins, and He delays your death for a specified term." They said, "You are not but men like us who wish to avert us from what our fathers were worshiping. So bring us a clear authority." 
The Messengers posed this question to those who rejected the message in order to bring home to them the absurdity of their stand with regard to God. For though, the mushriks of every age believed in the existence of God and acknowledged that He was the Creator of the heavens and the earth, they did not accept the message, its logical result, that He alone was entitled to their worship. That is why the Messengers asked them: Do you have any doubt about the existence of Allah?

In the case of individuals, the appointed term may be either the time of one’s death or the doomsday. As regards the appointed term for the rise and fall of communities, it is determined by their collective behavior. For instance, if a capable community degenerates before the expiry of its term, the assigned period is shortened and it is deposed. On the other hand, if a degenerate community changes its ways for the better, its term is extended, so much so that it may extend even to the doomsday. This same thing is implied in (Ayat 11 of Surah Ar-Raad): The fact is that Allah does not change a people’s lot unless they themselves change their own characteristics.

The disbelievers meant to imply: You are a human being like us in every respect: you eat, drink and sleep like us and have wife and children like us. You feel hungry and thirsty, and suffer from heat and cold, disease and calamities like us. In short, you have every human limitation like us, and we see nothing unusual and extraordinary in you to induct us to accept you as a Prophet and believe that God communicates with you and sends His angels to you.

Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
The Prophets (generally) clear both kinds of doubt. "You cannot doubt the existence of Allah! Behold His works! We are not speaking for ourselves or deceiving you. We speak according to the Message of inspiration from Allah.- Notice that the doubters had said to the Prophets, "Ye invite us." The Prophets say: "It is Allah Who invites you, and He does it to save you by His grace, and give you plenty of time (but not indefinite time) for penitence and amendment."

Infidelity is illogical and argues in a circle. If the Prophet speaks of Allah, the Unbeliever says, "You are only a man!" "But I speak from Allah!" "Oh well! our ancestral ways of worship are good enough for us!" "What if they are wrong?" "What authority have you for saying so?" "The highest authority, that from Allah!" And so we come back full circle! Then the wicked rely on violence, but it recoils on them, and they perish.
( 11 )   Their messengers said to them, "We are only men like you, but Allah confers favor upon whom He wills of His servants. It has never been for us to bring you evidence except by permission of Allah. And upon Allah let the believers rely. 
The disbelievers meant to imply: You are a human being like us in every respect: you eat, drink and sleep like us and have wife and children like us. You feel hungry and thirsty, and suffer from heat and cold, disease and calamities like us. In short, you have every human limitation like us, and we see nothing unusual and extraordinary in you to induct us to accept you as a Prophet and believe that God communicates with you and sends His angels to you.

That is, if you still insist that you are a Prophet, bring a tangible proof of your appointment so as to convince us that you have really been sent by God and your message is from Him.
( 12 )   And why should we not rely upon Allah while He has guided us to our [good] ways. And we will surely be patient against whatever harm you should cause us. And upon Allah let those who would rely [indeed] rely."
Ruku / Section 3 [13-21]
Verses 13-17: Allah punishes the wrongdoers and blesses those who dread His eminence:
( 13 )   And those who disbelieved said to their messengers, "We will surely drive you out of our land, or you must return to our religion." So their Lord inspired to them, "We will surely destroy the wrongdoers.
It will be wrong to conclude from this demand of theirs that the Prophets professed the religion of their people before their appointment to the divine office. This only meant that their people thought so because before their appointment they led a quiet life and did not propagate a new religion nor refuted the religion in vogue at that time. That is why their people were under the wrong impression that the Prophets also professed the religion of their forefathers, and, therefore, accused them of apostasy. The fact, however, is that they had never followed the religion of their mushrik forefathers and were not guilty of apostasy.

Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
The arguments in a circle were explained in explanation of verse 10. But Infidelity looks upon argument merely as an amusement. Its chief weapon is physical force. As its only belief is in materialism, it thinks that threats of force will put down the righteous. It offers the choice between exile and violence against conformity to its own standards of evil, which it thinks to be good. But Faith is not to be cowed down by Force. Its source of strength is Allah, and it receives the assurance that violence will perish ultimately by violence, and that Faith and Good must stand and be established. In fact the good must inherit the earth and the evil ones be blotted out.
( 14 )   And We will surely cause you to dwell in the land after them. That is for he who fears My position and fears My threat."
This was to reassure the Prophets that they should not worry at all about the threat that the disbelievers would banish them from their country, as if to say: We will uproot them from their land, and establish you and your followers firmly in their place.

Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
"Fear" means here "have present before their minds something which should cause fear, so that they should shape their conduct in order to avoid the ill consequences of wickedness."
( 15 )   They sought Our judgement. And (thanks to that judgement) every obstinate tyrant opposed to the Truth was brought to naught. 
In order to grasp the real significance of these historical events, it should be kept in view that these are being related here as answers to those objections which the disbelievers of Makkah raised before the Prophet (peace be upon him). As the conditions there at the time of the revelation of this Surah were exactly like those of the peoples of the former Prophets, they have been cited here to warn the Quraish along with the other mushriks of Arabia of the consequences, as if to say: The former disbelievers challenged their Messengers and were destroyed and the believers were established in the land. Likewise your future also entirely depends on the attitude you adopt towards the message of your Prophet. If you accept this, you will be allowed to remain in the land of Arabia, and if you reject it you shall be utterly uprooted from here. The subsequent events proved that this prophecy was literally fulfilled within fifteen years after this, for there remained not a single mushrik in the whole of Arabia.

Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
Cf. viii. 19. 1 have assumed that "they" in this verse is the same as "them" in the preceding verse, i.e., the ungodly. Hoping for victory they forced a decision, and they got it-against themselves. Or they challenged a punishment, and it came in good time. Some Commentators construe "they" here to mean "the Prophets": in that case the verse would mean: "The Prophets prayed for a victory and decision, and the ungodly were frustrated in their efforts to suppress the Truth."

Cf. xi. 59.
( 16 )   Before him is Hell, and he will be given a drink of purulent (consisting of, containing, or discharging pus) water.
( 17 )   He will gulp it but will hardly [be able to] swallow it. And death will come to him from everywhere, but he is not to die. And before him is a massive punishment.
Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
A graphic and deterrent picture, from the preaching of the earlier Prophets, of unrelieved horror of the torments of Hell. The door of escape by annihilation is also closed to them.

Verses 18-21 Allah has based the creation of the heavens and the earth on Truth:
( 18 )   The example of those who disbelieve in their Lord is [that] their deeds are like ashes which the wind blows forcefully on a stormy day; they are unable [to keep] from what they earned a [single] thing. That is what is extreme error.
That is, those who were perfidious, faithless, and disobedient to the divine message, and refused to adopt that way to which the Messengers invited, will find in the end that all the deeds and earnings of their lives were as worthless as a heap of ashes. Just as each and every particle of a high mound of ashes formed during a long course of years is scattered by the wind on a stormy day, likewise all their grand works will prove on the stormy doomsday to be no more than a mound of ashes. Their dazzling culture, their grand civilization, their wonderful kingdoms and states, their magnificent universities, their sciences and their literature, nay, even their hypocritical worship, and so called virtuous deeds, their charitable and reformative works of which they were very proud in the worldly life, shall prove to be as worthless as a heap of ashes, and will be scattered by the storm of the Day of Resurrection. So much so that there shall not remain a single particle of their works worthy of being placed in the divine scale on that Day in their favor.

Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
Note the fullness of the parable. The works of the ungodly are in themselves light and unsubstantial like ashes; they are the useless rubbish that remains out of the faculties and opportunities which they have misused by burning them up. Further, the ashes are blown about hither and thither by the wind: the ungodly have no compass, direction, or purpose that can stand. The wind, too, which blows on them is no ordinary wind, nor the day on which they seek to enjoy the fruits of their labours an ordinary tranquil day: a furious gale is blowing, for such is the Wrath of Allah. They have neither internal peace nor external gain. In the scattering of the ashes they lose control even of such things as they might have earned but for their misdeeds. Their whole nature is contaminated. All their wishes go astray. They are carried so far, far away from what was in their minds. What did they aim at, and what did they achieve?
( 19 )   Have you not seen that Allah created the heavens and the earth in truth? If He wills, He can do away with you and produce a new creation.
This is the proof of the preceding statement that the works of the disbelievers are worthless like ashes. The question implies: Why are you skeptical of this? Do you not see that the grand system of the earth and the heavens is based on the survival of truth and not on the survival of falsehood. Everything bears witness to the fact that anything which is not based on truth and reality but rests on unreal speculation and guess work cannot continue to live long. Therefore anyone who builds his works on the latter will most surely fail in his designs. For it is obvious that such a person builds his works on sand and should not, therefore, expect that they can last long. Likewise those who discard the truth and reality and build their works on false theories and presumptions should not expect at all that they can have any lasting value for they are bound to be scattered like worthless ashes. If this is obvious as it is, why should you cherish any doubts about the fact that anyone who builds the system of his life on the basis that he is independent of Allah or on the godhead of someone else (whereas there is no other God) shall inevitably find all his works to be worthless. When the fact is that man is not absolutely independent in this world nor is he the servant of anyone else than Allah, why should you not expect that anyone who builds his works on this falsehood, shall find that all his works were worthless like the heap of ashes that was scattered all over by the wind?

Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
Haqq: Truth, Right, Righteousness, True proportions, Reality. Allah's creation is not to be trifled with. It is built on righteousness, and those who do not obey its laws must give place to others who do. This warning is repeated again and again in history and in revelation. Cf. vi. 73.
( 20 )   And that is not difficult for Allah.
This is by way of admonition that follows immediately the proof of the statement in the preceding verse. This removes also any doubt that might arise concerning that decisive statement. One might question it like this: If the creation is really based on the survival of truth, why is it that every follower of falsehood and every wrongdoer is not destroyed forthwith? This is the answer: O foolish man, do you think that it is difficult for Allah to destroy such a person? Or, do you think that Allah does not destroy him because he has some close relationship with Him? If this is not so, and you yourself know that it is not so, you should understand it well that any community that follows falsehood and commits wicked deeds is always in danger of being removed to make room for a better community to work in its stead. If respite is given and the threat does not take a practical shape, it does not mean that there is no danger at all. Instead of being neglectful, you should make use of every moment of this respite and realize that the false system which you are following is not stable and durable. You should, therefore, build it on stable and durable foundations.

Yusuf Ali's Explanation:

"وَّمَا ذٰلِكَ عَلَى اللّٰهِ بِعَزِيۡزٍ‏ "  'Aziz عَزِيۡزٍ: great, mighty, excellent, powerful, rare, precious.
( 21 )   And they will come out [for judgement] before Allah all together, and the weak will say to those who were arrogant, "Indeed, we were your followers, so can you avail us anything against the punishment of Allah?" They will say, "If Allah had guided us, we would have guided you. It is all the same for us whether we show intolerance or are patient: there is for us no place of escape."
The word baruz means to emerge and also implies to become known. That is why it has been translated into “shall appear before Allah”, for it implies both these meanings. As a matter of fact, all the people are fully exposed all the time before Allah but they do not realize it. They will, however, realize it on the Day of Judgment when they shall be presented before the Greatest of all Judges that they were fully exposed before Him all along. So much so that every deed they did and each and everything they thought and desired is known to Him.

This is to serve as a warning to all those people who follow others blindly or obey and submit to tyrants because they say: We are weak. They are warned, as if to say: You should note it well that those leaders, saints, officers and rulers whom you arc following blindly today, will not be able to protect you at all from the chastisement of Allah. Therefore, you should consider it well today where such people, whom you are following or obeying, are themselves going and where they are leading you.

Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
When the time for judgment comes, there are two kinds of disillusionment waiting for the ungodly: (1) Those who were misled and failed to see that each soul bears its own personal responsibility (ii. 134) and cannot shift it on to others, will turn to those who misled them, in the hope that they might intercede for them or do something to help them. They receive a plain answer as in the latter part of this verse. (2) Those who relied on Satan, His answer (in xiv. 22 below) is frank, cynical and brutal.

Those whose power or specious intelligence or influence misled them-such as false priests or leaders-will find themselves in a parlous state. How can they help others? They themselves failed to profit from Allah's guidance, and they can with some justice retort that they put them in the wrong path as they followed it themselves!

Ruku / Section 4 [22-27]
Verse 22: Shaitan has no power over human beings-he only invites and people follow:
( 22 )   And Satan will say when the matter has been concluded, "Indeed, Allah had promised you the promise of truth. And I promised you, but I betrayed you. But I had no authority over you except that I invited you, and you responded to me. So do not blame me; but blame yourselves. I cannot be called to your aid, nor can you be called to my aid. Indeed, I deny your association of me [with Allah] before. Indeed, for the wrongdoers is a painful punishment."
When the criminals will charge Satan with leading them astray, he will plead guilty, as if to say: You yourselves see now that all the promises and warnings made by Allah have come out true and all the promises which I made have proved to be false. I also confess that it was all deception that I gave you false assurances of prosperity, beguiled you by greed and enticed you in the snare of great expectations. I assured you that in the first instance there will be no life in the Hereafter, and that, if there be any, you will be freed by the intercession of such and such a saint. The only thing you have to do is to make offerings before him: then you may do whatever you please, for he will deliver you from all the consequences. I repeat that I said all these things and asked my agents to say the same.

That is, you cannot say and prove that it was I who forced you to follow the wrong way, whereas you wanted to follow the right way. You will yourselves admit that it is not so. I did no more than this that I invited you to falsehood in opposition to the invitation to the truth and tempted you to vice instead of virtue. But I had no power to force you to the wrong way, if you desired to follow the right way, when you had the power and the option to follow either of the ways. Now I am ready to bear the burden of the wicked invitation I extended to you, but you are not justified in any way to throw on me the burden of accepting my invitation for you did it on your own responsibility. You should, therefore, yourselves bear all its consequences.

This is a clear proof of shirk in practice, as apart from shirk in creed. As Satan will charge his followers with making him a partner with God, it is obvious that as far as creed is concerned there is no one who makes Satan a partner with God in His Godhead or His worship: nay, every one curses him for his evil ways. Nevertheless, people obey and submit to him and follow him blindly, as if he were their god and that is what has been termed shirk.

Let us now consider this thesis from the opposite point of view. Someone might say that this does not hold good, for this is based on a mere saying of Satan which has been cited here. First, this objection is not sound because Allah Himself would have refuted it, had it been baseless.

Secondly, this is not the only instance of shirk in practice in the Quran. Here are a few more instances of this.

(a) It charges the Jews and Christians with shirk because they set up their priests and monks as their Lords besides Allah. (Surah At-Tauba, Ayat 31).

(b) Those who follow the superstitious customs have been called mushriks. (Surah Al-Anaam, Ayats 136-139).

(c) Those who follow their lusts have been charged with making their selves as their god. (Al-Furqan, Ayat 43).

(d) Those who are disobedient to Allah have been accused of worshiping Satan. (Suranh Saba, Ayat 60).

(e) Those who follow man made laws without Allah’s sanction have been reproved for setting up the makers of the laws without Allah’s sanction as partners with God. (Surah Ham-Sajdah, Ayat 21).

All the above instances are clear proofs of the fact that shirk is not confined to this creed alone that one might set up a partner with Allah in His Godhead as an article of faith. But it is also shirk that one should follow and surrender to someone other than Allah without any divine sanction or in spite of a divine prohibition. Such a one shall be guilty of shirk even though the follower might be at the same time cursing him whom he follows and obeys. The only difference between the two kinds of shirk may be the extent of the crime and not its nature.

Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
After the Judgment, Evil declares itself in its true colours. Frankly it says: 'I deceived you. The promise of Allah was true, but you believed me rather than Allah. I had no power to force you. I had but to call you, and you came running after me. You must blame yourselves. Did you think I was equal with Allah? I know too well that I was not and never could be. If you did wrong, you must suffer the Penalty.'

See the last note. An alternative interpretation of this sentence may be: "I had already beforehand rebelled against Allah with Whom ye associated me."

 Verse 23: Greetings in Paradise will be 'Peace':
( 23 )   And those who believed and did righteous deeds will be admitted to gardens beneath which rivers flow, abiding eternally therein by permission of their Lord; and their greeting therein will be, "Peace!"
The Arabic word tahiyyah is literally a prayer for long life, but in usage it is a greeting at meeting. Therefore, the expression may mean: They will welcome one another with peace be upon you, or will be welcomed with these words. It may also be noted that the word salam implies both a prayer for peace and a congratulation on it.

Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
How this contrasts with the misery and the mutual self-recriminations of the ungodly!

Verses 24-27: Example of a "good word" and a "bad word":
( 24 )   Have you not considered how Allah presents an example, [making] a good word like a good tree, whose root is firmly fixed and its branches [high] in the sky?
Though the expression literally means pure word, here it stands for truthful saying and righteous creed. According to the Quran, this saying and creed are the acceptance of the doctrine of Tauhid, belief in Prophethood and revelation, and in the life of the Hereafter, for it declares these things to be the fundamental truths.

This is to show the strength and extent of the pure word. As the entire system of the universe hangs upon the reality contained in this pure word which the believer professes, the earth and its entire system cooperates with him and the heaven with its entire system welcomes him. There is, therefore, no conflict between him and the law of nature, and everything in its very nature extends its help to him.

Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
"Goodly word" is usually interpreted as the Divine Word, the Divine Message, the True Religion. It may also be interpreted in a more general sense as a word of truth, a word of goodness or kindness, which follows from a true appreciation of Religion. For Religion includes our duty to Allah and our duty to man. The "evil word" is opposite to this: false religion, blasphemy, false speech, or preaching or teaching unkindness and wrong-doing.
( 25 )   It produces its fruit all the time, by permission of its Lord. And Allah presents examples for the people that perhaps they will be reminded.
That is, the pure word is so fruitful that every person (or community) who bases his system of life on it, gets benefit from it every moment for it helps to produce clearness in thought, balance in temperament, strength in character, purity in morals, firmness in conduct, righteousness in talk, straightforwardness in conversation, good temperament in social behavior, nobility in culture, justice and equity in economy, honesty in politics, nobility in war, sincerity in peace; confidence in promises and pledges. In short, it is the elixir that changes everything into gold if one makes the proper use of it.

Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
The goodly tree is known for: (1) its beauty; it gives pleasure to all who see it; (2) its stability; it remains firm and unshaken in storms, because its roots are firmly fixed in the earth; (3) its wide compass; its branches reach high, and it catches all the sunshine from heaven, and gives shade to countless birds in its branches and men and animals beneath it, and (4) its abundant fruit, which it yields at all times. So is the Good Word. It is as beautiful as it is true. It abides in all the changes and chances of this life, and even beyond (see verse 27 below); it is never shaken by sorrow or what seems to us calamity; its roots are deep down in the bed-rock facts of life. Its reach is universal, above, around, below: it is illuminated by the divine light from heaven, and its consolation reaches countless beings of all grades of life. Its fruit-the enjoyment of its blessings-is not confined to one season or one set of circumstances; furthermore the fortunate man who is the vehicle of that word has no self-pride; he attributes all its goodness, and his act in spreading it, to the Will and Leave of Allah. Cf. the New Testament Parable of the Sower (Matt. iv. 14-20) or of the Mustard-seed (Matt. iv. 30- 32). In this Parable of the Qur'an there are fewer words and more spiritual meaning, and the emphasis is on more essential things.
( 26 )   And the example of a bad word is like a bad tree, uprooted from the surface of the earth, not having any stability.
Evil word is the opposite of pure word. It may be applied to everything that is unreal and wrong but here it stands for any false creed that one might adopt as a basis of his system of life, irrespective of whether it be atheism or heresy or disbelief or shirk or idol worship or any other ism that has not been brought by a Messenger.

And evil word (false creed) has no stability because it is against the law of nature. Therefore, everything in the universe opposes it and refutes it, as if the earth hates it and is ready to spit out its seeds every time they are sown in it, and if some seed succeeds in growing an evil tree, heaven suppresses down its branches. In fact, false creed could never have been allowed to develop, if man had not been given the freedom of choice and respite for work for the sake of his trial. That is why when same foolish people exert to establish a system of life on it, it is allowed to grow to a certain extent, but it produces nothing but harmful results as long as it lasts. And no sooner does it encounter with adverse circumstances than it is thoroughly uprooted from the earth.

The distinction between the pure word and the evil word is so apparent that anyone who makes a critical study of the religious, moral, intellectual and cultural history of the world can perceive it easily. For the pure word has always been the one and same during the whole history of mankind and has never been uprooted. On the contrary, there have been innumerable evil words but each and every one has been so uprooted that there has remained hardly anything of it except its name in the pages of history. Nay, some of these had proved to be so absurd that if these are mentioned today one wonders how one could have followed such nonsensical things.

There has been another noteworthy difference between the two words. Whenever and wherever the pure word has been adopted by an individual or a community, its blessings had not been confined to that individual and community but had benefited all around them. On the contrary, whenever and wherever an evil word has been adopted by an individual or a community, its evils had spread chaos and disorder all around them.

In this connection, it should also be noted that the parable of the pure word and the evil word explains the same theme that had been explained by the similitude of the mound of ashes that is blown away by the wind of the stormy day (Ayat 18) and of the foam of flood, and the scum of the melted metals. (Surah Ar-Ra'ad, Ayat 17).
( 27 )   Allah keeps firm those who believe, with the firm word, in worldly life and in the Hereafter. And Allah sends astray the wrongdoers. And Allah does what He wills.
That is, the believers remain steadfast during the life of this world because of their stable system of life based on this pure word. For this gives than a straight point of view, a sound system of thought and a comprehensive theory of life, and it serves as a master key to the unraveling of all knots and the solving of all problems. With its help, they acquire that strength of character and that firmness of conduct which keep them steady in the face of every vicissitude of life. This provides them also with such solid principles of life which give them peace of mind and heart, and prevent them from deviation and caprice. Above all, when, after the life of this world, they will enter into the life of the Hereafter, they will remain perfectly calm without any tinge of fear or anxiety, for they will find everything therein to be in accordance with their expectations, as if they were fully acquainted with every aspect of it before they entered into it. For they had been fully informed of, and therefore fully prepared for every stage and phase of this life. That is why they will pass through every stage with perfect calmness and firmness in contrast to the disbelievers who built their worldly lives on an evil word and will, therefore, be taken aback to find everything against their expectations.

That is, Allah lets the transgressors, who discard the pure word and follow an evil word, go astray by creating confusion in their minds and misdirecting their efforts because of this deviation. That is why they cannot find the right way of thought and action and so fail miserably.

Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
His Will and Plan may be above comprehension, but will prevail over all things. It is not like the will of man, who may plan good things but is not necessarily able to carry them out.

Ruku / Section 5 [28-34]
Verses 28-34: Those who show ingratitude towards Allah's favors shall be cast into Hell and Allah has given you countless favors:
( 28 )   Have you not considered those who exchanged the favor of Allah for disbelief and settled their people [in] the home of ruin?
Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
There is a particular and a general meaning. The particular meaning is understood to be a reference to the Makkan Pagans who turned the House of Allah into a place for the worship of horrible idols and the practice of unseemly rites and cults. There is no real difficulty in accepting this as part of a late Makkan Surah even without supposing it to be a prophecy. The Makkan Pagans had turned Religion into a blasphemous superstition, and were misguiding their people, persecuting the true Messenger of Allah and all who followed his teaching. Their cup of iniquity seemed about full, and they seemed to be heading to perdition, as later events indeed showed to be the case. The general meaning is also clear. Selfish men, when they seize power, want worship for themselves or their fantasies, in derogation of the true God. Power, which should have been an instrument of good, becomes in their hands an instrument of evil. They and their people rush headlong to perdition. "These be thy gods, 0 Israel!" has been a cry repeated again and again in history, in the face, or at the back, of men of God!
( 29 )   [It is] Hell, which they will [enter to] burn, and wretched is the settlement.
( 30 )   And they have attributed to Allah equals to mislead [people] from His way. Say, "Enjoy yourselves, for indeed, your destination is the Fire."
( 31 )   [O Muhammad], tell My servants who have believed to establish prayer and spend from what We have provided them, secretly and publicly, before a Day comes in which there will be no exchange, nor any friendships.
Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
Verse 31: Putting ourselves back in the position in which the Muslim community found themselves in Makkah just before the Hijrat, we can imagine how much encouragement and consolation they needed from the preaching, the Faith, and the steadfast character of Al-Mustafa. Intolerant persecution was the order of the day; neither the life nor the property or reputation of the Muslims was safe. They are asked to find strength and tranquillity in prayer and in helping each other according to their needs and resources.

Here, as elsewhere, "Sustenance" is to be taken in the literal as well as the metaphorical sense. There were many among the Muslims who were poor, or slaves, or depressed, because they were deprived of the means of livelihood on account of their Faith. They were to be fed, clothed, and sheltered, by those who had means. Charity was to be ordinarily secret, so as to cut out all show or parade, and perhaps also lest the enemy should dry up those sources by unprincipled violence; but there must be much that had to be open and organised, so that all the needy could know where to go to be relieved.

The great Day of Reckoning would be one on which all values would be changed. Wealth, as understood in this world, would no longer count. Should we not therefore use any wealth we have in this life, to give here and receive there? Bai inlcudes all bargaining,-barter, purchase and sale, etc. In this world, where wealth has some value, let us spend it and get for ourselves "treasures in heaven." In the next life each man will stand on his merits and personal responsibility. One man cannot help another. Let us here help each other to become true and righteous, so that our personal account may be favourable there.
( 32 )   It is Allah who created the heavens and the earth and sent down rain from the sky and produced thereby some fruits as provision for you and subjected for you the ships to sail through the sea by His command and subjected for you the rivers.
Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
We must realize that behind all our strength, skill, and intelligence there is the power and goodness of Allah, Who gave us all these things. Man can understand and control the forces of nature so as to bring them to his own service: he can only do so, because (1) he has got these gifts from Allah, and (2) Allah has fixed definite laws in nature, of which he can take advantage by Allah's command and permission. He has been made Vicegerent on earth (ii. 30); Allah commanded the highest creatures to bow down to Adam (ii. 34). Man, by Allah's command, can use rain to produce food for himself; make ships to sail the seas; use rivers as highways, and cut canals for traffic and irrigation. Not only this, but even the heavenly bodies can (by Allah's command) contribute to his needs (see next verse).

وَسَخَّرَ لَـكُمُ الشَّمۡسَ وَالۡقَمَرَ دَآئِبَيۡنِ​ۚ وَسَخَّرَ لَـكُمُ الَّيۡلَ وَالنَّهَارَ​ۚ‏ 
( 33 )   And He subjected for you the sun and the moon, continuous [in orbit], and subjected for you the night and the day.
The words sakh-khara-lakum "سَخَّرَ لَـكُمُ" of the text in (Ayats 32-33) have misled those people who have translated these into “subjected to you”. So much so that some of them interpret these verses to mean that the main aim of the life of man is to bring the earth and heavens under his subjection, whereas their real meaning is “the earth and heavens are subjected to certain laws and they serve you under these laws.” As a matter of fact Allah has subjected all these things to such laws as are beneficial for man. Had not a ship been subjected to certain physical laws, there could have been no navigation at all. Had not a river been subjected to certain laws, it could not have been possible to take out canals from them. Likewise if the heavenly bodies (the sun and the moon, etc.) and the earth and day and night had not been subjected to certain fixed laws, life could not have been possible, not to speak of civilized life

Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
The sun gives out heat, which is the source of all life and energy on this planet, and produces the seasons of the year, by utilizing which man can supply his needs, not only material, but immaterial in the shape of light, health, and other blessings. The sun and the moon together produce tides, and are responsible for atmospheric changes which are of the highest importance in the life of man. The succession of Day and Night is due to the apparent daily course of the sun through the skies; and the cool light of the moon performs other services different from those of warm day-light. Because there are laws here, which man can understand and calculate, he can use all such things for his own service, and in that sense the heavenly bodies are themselves made subject to him by Allah's command.
( 34 )   And He gave you from all you asked of Him. And if you should count the favor of Allah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, mankind is [generally] most unjust and ungrateful.
Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
Sincere and true prayer in faith is answered by Allah. Thus He gives us everything which a wise and benevolent Providence can give.

I have tried to render the intensive forms of the Arabic by what I consider their near equivalent here: the phrase "given up to injustice and ingratitude" suggests habitual ignoring of just values and ingratitude for the innumerable gifts and favours which Allah has showered on mankind.

Ruku / Section 6 [35-41]
Verses 35-41 The prayer of Prophet Ibrahim for the city of Mecca and its residents and The prayer of Prophet Ibrahim which is made a part of five daily prayers:
( 35 )   And [mention, O Muhammad], when Abraham said, "My Lord, make this city [Makkah] secure and keep me and my sons away from worshiping idols.
In the preceding (verses 32-35), an appeal was made to the Quraish to be grateful to that Allah Who has bestowed so many bounties on mankind in general. But in this passage the same appeal is being made on the plea that Allah had bestowed His special bounties on the Quraish in particular. They have been asked to remember that Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) had settled forefathers of the Quraish near the Kabah and made their city, Makkah, a city of peace and Allah showered His blessings on the Quraish in answer to the prayer of Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him). They have been admonished to remember those bounties and mend their ways.

Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
This Prayer of Abraham, the True in Faith, the progenitor of the Semitic peoples and the Prototype of their Religion, is introduced in this place, to illustrate the points referred to in the preceding section, xiv. 31-34, viz., how the new Revelation through the Ka'ba bears out the universal Revelation of Prayer and Charity, Love of Allah and man, Recognition of Allah's handiwork in nature, and Insistence on man's turning away from false worship and ingratitude to Allah. Notice the four divisions into which it falls: (1) verses 35-36 are spoken by Abraham as on his own behalf ("O my Lord!"); (2) verses 37-38 are spoken on behalf of his progeny ("O our Lord!") but with special reference to the elder branch, the children of Isma'il; (3) verses 39-40 are again a personal appeal, but both branches of his family, viz., the sons of Isma'il and Isaac, are expressly mentioned; (4) verse 41 is a Prayer for himself, his parents, and all Believers, typifying that in the universality of Islam all nations are to be blessed. Jerusalem, for the Mosaic Law and the Gospel of Jesus, was the centre and symbol for the Jewish race, though of course all Allah's Truth is universal; Makkah, the centre of the Arab race, was to throw off its tribal character and become universal, in spite of the Makkans themselves.

Cf. ii. 125-129. Abraham (with Isma'il) built the Ka'ba, and Abraham asks a blessing on his handiwork and forgiveness for such lapses into idolatry as both branches of his family might fall into.
( 36 )   My Lord, indeed they have led astray many among the people. So whoever follows me - then he is of me; and whoever disobeys me - indeed, You are [yet] Forgiving and Merciful.
This is a figurative way of saying that idols have been the means of turning many people away from Allah’s way into the ways of deviation.

This forbearance shown towards those who followed a different way from the right way is an instance of Prophet Abraham’s (peace be upon him) leniency to mankind. He left their case to the Forgiveness and Mercy of Allah for he could not bear to see them under divine scourge. Another instance of this has been cited in Surah Houd. When the angels were on their way to destroy the wicked people of Lot, Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) began to plead for them: Abraham began to dispute with Us concerning the people of Lot for he was tender hearted and merciful. (Surah Houd, Ayats 74-75). Likewise Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) was so tender hearted that even when Allah will show to him that his followers had deviated from the right way, he will plead their case: Now if you punish them, they are your own servants, and if you forgive them, you are All-Mighty and All-Wise. (Surah Al-Maidah, Ayat 118).
( 37 )   Our Lord, I have settled some of my descendants in an uncultivated valley near Your sacred House, our Lord, that they may establish prayer. So make hearts among the people incline toward them and provide for them from the fruits that they might be grateful.
Allah granted this prayer of Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him). That was why people from the whole of Arabia used to come there for Hajj and Umrah at the time of the revelation of this Surah, and now people gather there from all over the world.

Besides this, there is plenty of food and fruit in all seasons of the year, though the valley is absolutely barren and no vegetation grows in it even for animals.

Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
The Makkan valley is enclosed by hills on all sides, unlike Madinah, which has level cultivated plains. But just because of its natural isolation, it is fitted to be a centre for Prayer and Praise.

Cf. ii. 126, and n. 128. (The "Fruits" are there explained). The righteous, though they have to have sustenance, both in a literal and figurative sense, require also the love and sympathy of their fellow-men.
( 38 )   Our Lord, indeed You know what we conceal and what we declare, and nothing is hidden from Allah on the earth or in the heaven.
That is, Lord: You hears what I utter with my tongue and also has full knowledge of my thoughts and feelings.

"and nothing in the earth or in the heaven is hidden from Allah" is a parenthetical clause has been inserted to confirm the statement of Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him).

Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
In Abraham's prophetic mind was the secret and open enmity or contempt which the Children of Israel were to have for the Children of Isma'il (Arabs). He prays to Allah that they may be united in Islam, as indeed they were, except a small remnant.
( 39 )   Praise to Allah, who has granted to me in old age Ishmael and Isaac. Indeed, my Lord is the Hearer of supplication.
( 40 )   My Lord, make me an establisher of prayer, and [many] from my descendants. Our Lord, and accept my supplication.
 Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
Abraham prays for both branches of his family, having a wider vision than some of the later Children of Israel.
( 41 )   Our Lord, forgive me and my parents and the believers the Day the account is established."
Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) included his mushrik father in his prayer because he had made promise that he would pray to his Lord for his forgiveness (Surah Maryam, Ayat 48). But afterwards, Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) included his mushrik father in his prayer because he had made promise that he would pray to his Lord for his forgiveness (Surah Maryam, Ayat 48). But afterwards, when he realized that he should not pray for his forgiveness because he was an enemy of Allah, he absolved himself of that promise. (Surah At-Tauba, Ayat 114).

Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
Read again explanation of verse 35 above. Having prayed for his progeny, Abraham now prays for Allah's grace on himself, his parents, and the whole Brotherhood of Faith, irrespective of family or race or time, to be perfected in the ideal of Islam.

For the shades of meaning in the different words for Forgiveness, see ii. 109.

My parents. Abraham's father was an idolater (xliii. 26; vi. 74). Not only that, but he persecuted the Faith of Unity and threatened Abraham with stoning and exile (xix. 46); and he and his people cast him into the Fire to be burned (xxi. 52, 68). Yet Abraham's heart was tender, and he prayed for forgiveness for his father because of a promise which he had made (ix. 114), though he renounced the land of his fathers (Chaldea).

At the final Reckoning, all that may seem inequality or injustice in this world will be redressed. But the merits of the best of us will need Allah's Grace to establish us in that lasting Felicity which is promised to the righteous. And Abraham, as the father of Prophecy, prayed for all,-for the Universal Faith perfected in Islam.

Ruku / Section 7 [42-52]
Verses 42-51 Never think that Allah is unaware of the unjust, or that He will ever break His promise made to His Rasools:
( 42 )   And never think that Allah is unaware of what the wrongdoers do. He only delays them for a Day when eyes will stare [in horror].
( 43 )   Racing ahead, their heads raised up, their glance does not come back to them, and their hearts are void.
This graphic picture depicts the horrible plight of the wrongdoers on the Day of Reckoning. When they will realize the situation, they will be so taken aback that they will have their looks fixed straight in front of them without seeing anything.

Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
A picture of horror. The evil ones, when they realise the situation, will be dazed; their eyes will stare without expression, and never move back; their necks will be outstretched; their heads uplifted in terror of the Judgment from on High; and their hearts become empty of all hope or intelligence as the physical heart might become empty of blood when the circulation stops. In this state they will press forward to Judgment.
( 44 )   And, [O Muhammad], warn the people of a Day when the punishment will come to them and those who did wrong will say, "Our Lord, delay us for a short term; we will answer Your call and follow the messengers." [But it will be said], "Had you not sworn, before, that for you there would be no cessation?
وَاَنۡذِرِ النَّاسَ يَوۡمَ يَاۡتِيۡهِمُ الۡعَذَابُ فَيَـقُوۡلُ الَّذِيۡنَ ظَلَمُوۡا رَبَّنَاۤ اَخِّرۡنَاۤ اِلٰٓى اَجَلٍ قَرِيۡبٍۙ نُّجِبۡ دَعۡوَتَكَ وَنَـتَّبِعِ الرُّسُلَ​ؕ اَوَلَمۡ تَكُوۡنُوۡۤااَقۡسَمۡتُمۡ مِّنۡ قَبۡلُ مَالَـكُمۡ مِّنۡ زَوَالٍۙ‏   
Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
Zawal = decline from the zenith, as that of the sun, decline from the highest point reached by a heavenly body in its course through the sky. The ungodly are apt to think that their power will remain in the ascendant, on account of some material advantages given them temporarily by Allah, but they are constantly receiving warnings in history and revelation and from the example of others before them. There is a warning to the contemporary Pagan Makkans here; but the warning is perfectly general, and for all time.
( 45 )   And you lived among the dwellings of those who wronged themselves, and it had become clear to you how We dealt with them. And We presented for you [many] examples."
( 46 )   And they had planned their plan, but with Allah is [recorded] their plan, even if their plan had been [sufficient] to do away with the mountains.
That is, you have seen that the former people who violated the divine law, and who opposed the message, devised very effective and cunning schemes to avert the consequences of their iniquity, but Allah defeated them with His single counter device. You did not give up your crafty schemes against the message of truth in the vain hope that your strong measures would succeed where the schemes of your predecessors had failed.
( 47 )   So never think that Allah will fail in His promise to His messengers. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Owner of Retribution.
Though this has been addressed to the Prophet (peace be upon him), it is really meant for his opponents. They are being warned that they should not delude themselves because of the delay in their punishment. They should note it well that Allah fulfilled the promises He made to the former Messengers and defeated their opponents. Likewise He will surely fulfill the promises He had made to Muhammad (peace be upon him).
( 48 )   [It will be] on the Day the earth will be replaced by another earth, and the heavens [as well], and all creatures will come out before Allah, the One, the Prevailing.
It is obvious from this verse and some hints in the Quran that on the occasion of Resurrection, the Earth and the Heavens will not be totally destroyed but at the blowing of the First Trumpet, the existing physical system shall be disarranged. After this, between the blowing of the First and the Last Trumpet (Allah alone knows how long this interval will last), the present form and aspect of the earth and the heavens shall be transformed and a new physical system with new physical laws will come into existence. That will be the world of the Hereafter. When the Last Trumpet will be blown, all human beings from Adam to those born before the First Trumpet, shall be brought to life and appear before Allah. The Quran calls this Hashr which literally means “to muster and gather together”. It appears from the wording of the Quran and some clear statements in the traditions that this will take place on this Earth. The Seat of Judgment and the Scales will be established on the Earth and the decisions will be passed here. This is also clear from the Quran and the traditions that the life in the Hereafter will not merely be a spiritual life but the very physical and spiritual life which we are living now on this earth; and every individual shall receive his reward or punishment exactly in that personality in which he or she is living in the life of this world.

Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
"A new earth and a new heaven" refers to the entirely changed conditions at the end of things as we know them. Cf. xx. 105-107, xxxix. 67, 69, lxxiii. 14, lxxxii. 1, lxxxiv. 3.
( 49 )   And you will see the criminals that Day bound together in shackles,( 50 )   Their garments of liquid pitch and their faces covered by the Fire.
سَرَابِيۡلُهُمۡ مِّنۡ قَطِرَانٍ وَّتَغۡشٰى وُجُوۡهَهُمُ النَّارُۙ‏  
Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
Sirbal,- plural, Sarabil,- a garment or coat of mail, breast plate; something covering the most vital parts of the body; like the a lose shirt.

Qatiran: black pitch, a resinous substance exuding from certain kinds of trees like the terebinth or the pines, or distilled from wood or coal. It catches fire readily. Issuing from the upper garments (Sarabil) the flames soon cover the face, the most expressive part of man's essence or being. The metaphor of fetters (n. 1926) is now changed to that of pitch, which darkens and sets on fire the soul of man.
( 51 )   So that Allah will recompense every soul for what it earned. Indeed, Allah is swift in account.
Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
Its deserts: i.e., according to what it earned by its own acts, good or evil, in its life of probation.

Swift in calling to account: We can understand this in two significations. (1) Let not the wicked think that because Allah, out of His infinite grace and mercy, grants respite, therefore the retribution will be slow in coming. When the time comes in accordance with Allah's Plan and Wisdom, the retribution will come so swiftly that the ungodly will be surprised and they will wish they could get more respite (xiv. 44). (2) On the great Day of Reckoning, let it not be supposed that, because there will be millions of souls to be judged, there will be any delay in judgment as in a human tribunal. It will be a new world and beyond the flight of Time. Or if a metaphor from time as we conceive it in this world can be taken, it will all be as it were in the twinkling of an eye (xvi. 77).

  Verses 52 exclusively end the Surah saying Allah is the One and Only God:
( 52 )   This [Qur'an] is notification for the people that they may be warned thereby and that they may know that He is but one God and that those of understanding will be reminded.
Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
Here is another aspect of the Truth of Unity. Allah being One, all justice is of one standard, for Truth is one, and we see it as one as soon as the scales of phenomenal diversity fall from our eyes. The one true Reality then emerges. Blessed are those who treasured this Truth in their souls already in their life of probation.

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sürah Ibrāhīm 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 Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |
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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