Thursday, November 7, 2019

Surah Yunus - Jonah: 10th Chapter of Quran - Exegesis Part IV

Sūrah Yünus " يونس‎, " (Jonah) is the tenth sūrah / chapter of the Holy Qur'an, part of the 11th Juz containing 109 ayats divided into 11 rukus. The Sūrah  takes its name from verse 98, in which there is a reference to Prophet Yünus (Jonah): 

فَلَوۡلَا كَانَتۡ قَرۡيَةٌ اٰمَنَتۡ فَنَفَعَهَاۤ اِيۡمَانُهَاۤ اِلَّا قَوۡمَ يُوۡنُسَ ۚؕ لَمَّاۤ اٰمَنُوۡا كَشَفۡنَا عَنۡهُمۡ عَذَابَ الۡخِزۡىِ فِى الۡحَيٰوةِ الدُّنۡيَا وَمَتَّعۡنٰهُمۡ اِلٰى حِيۡنٍ‏

"Did it ever happen that the people of a town believed on seeing God's chastisement and its believing profited them? (There is no such instance) except of the people of Yünus. When they believed We granted them reprieve from humiliating chastisement in this world, and We let them enjoy themselves for a while." (10:98) 

The name, as usual, is symbolical and does not indicate that the Sūrah deals with the story of Prophet Jonah.

The central theme of Sūrah Yunus is that Allah's wonderful Creation must not be viewed by us as a creation of material things only, once made and finished with. Most wonderful of all is how He reveals Himself to men through Prophets and Scriptures; how prophets are rejected by men, and the Message disbelieved until it is too late for repentance; and how, as in the case of Yünus (Jonah) and his people, even the rejection (when repentance supervenes) does not prevent Allah's grace and mercy from working, and how far that working is beyond man's comprehension.

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 1-4 [Verses 1-40] 
  • Part II  : Ruku / Sections 5-7 [Verses 41-70] 
  • Part III : Ruku / Sections 8-9 [Verses 71-92] 
  • Part IV:  Ruku / Sections 10-11 [Verses 93-109] 
We have already presented the exegesis of Parts I-III. Here is the last part, i.e., Part IV, covering Ruku / Sections 10-11 [Verses 93-109]  of the Sūrah. Wherein it is said that forced conversion is prohibited, but when Guidance has arrived, so choose carefully, lest you be the loser.

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"

Ruku / Section 10 [93-103] 
Verses 93-95 Children of Israel were provided with good dwellings and food:
( 93 )   And We had certainty settled the Children of Israel in an agreeable settlement and provided them with good things. And they did not differ until [after] knowledge had come to them. Indeed, your Lord will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning that over which they used to differ
This refers to the dissensions the Israelites had caused in the divine way and the new religions they had invented. This verse accuses them of falling into variances, even though they possessed the divine knowledge, which had provided them with the criterion of judging between the right way and the wrong ways. They did this because of mischief of their hearts in spite of the fact that the right way had been made clear to them, and its fundamental principles had been imparted to them and instructions had been given about its implications and demands and its boundaries had been distinctly demarcated from those of the ways of unbelief. Besides, they had been admonished to follow the path of obedience and guard against the paths of disobedience, and establish their lives entirely in accordance with the rules and regulations based on that knowledge, for they shall have to render an account of all they did in this life. But in spite of all the instructions that were given to them, they divided one original religion into many divergent sects and built different ways on foundations other than those laid down by Allah.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
After many wanderings the Israelites were settled in the land of Canaan, described as "a land flowing with milk and honey" (Exod. iii. 8). They had a prosperous land; and they were supplied with spiritual sustenance by men sent to deliver Allah's Message. They should have known better than to fall into disputes and schisms, but they did so. This was all the more inexcusable considering what bounties they had received from Allah. The schisms arose from selfish arrogance, and Allah will judge between them on the Day of Judgment.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
In these Ayat, Allah tells us about all the worldly and religious gifts which He bestowed upon the Children of Israel. Allah's statement, "(honorable dwelling place)" means in Egypt and Syria, around Jerusalem, as it was said by some. When Allah destroyed Fir`awn and his soldiers, the Mosaic State took control of all of Egypt as Allah said:
(And We made the people who were considered weak to inherit the eastern parts of the land and the western parts thereof which We have blessed. And the fair Word of your Lord was fulfilled for the Children of Israel, because of their endurance. And We destroyed completely all the great works and buildings which Fir`awn and his people erected.)(7:137) 
He said in other Ayat:
(So, We expelled them from gardens and springs. Treasures, and every kind of honorable place. Thus, and We caused the Children of Israel to inherit them.)(26:57 -59) 
He also said:
(How many of gardens and springs that they left behind. ..) (44:25-27) They then continued with Musa, to seek Jerusalem -- the land of Ibrahim, the friend of Allah. There were giant people in Jerusalem. The Children of Israel refrained from fighting them. So Allah expelled them into the wilderness for forty years. During this time in the wilderness, first Harun died and then Musa. Yusha` bin Nun led after them. Allah supported them to conquer Jerusalem and rule it for a period of time.
( 94 )   So if you are in doubt, [O Muhammad], about that which We have revealed to you, then ask those who have been reading the Scripture before you. The truth has certainly come to you from your Lord, so never be among the doubters.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Allah's Truth is all one, and even in different forms men sincere in Religion recognize the oneness. So sincere Jews like 'Abdullah ibn Salam, and sincere Christians like Waraqa or the Nestorian monk Bahira, were ready to recognize the mission of Muhammad Al-Mustafa. "The Book" in this connection is Revelation generally, including pre-Islamic revelations.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
Allah said: (Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write whom they find written of with them in the Tawrah and the Injil.)(7:157) They are as certain of this as they are about who their children are, yet they hide it and distort it. They did not believe in it despite its clear evidence.

Therefore Allah said:
(Truly, those, against whom the Word (wrath) of your Lord has been justified, will not believe. Even if every sign should come to them, until they see the painful torment.) meaning they would not believe in a way that they might benefit from that belief. This is when they believe at a time one may not be able to benefit from his belief. An example is when Musa prayed against Fir`awn and his chiefs, saying:
(Our Lord! Destroy their wealth, and harden their hearts, so that they will not believe until they see the painful torment.)(10:88) 
And Allah said:
(And even if We had sent down unto them angels, and the dead had spoken unto them, and We had gathered together all things before their very eyes, they would not have believed, unless Allah willed, but most of them behave ignorantly.) (6:111) 
( 95 )   And never be of those who deny the signs of Allah and [thus] be among the losers.
Though these words were addressed to the Prophet (peace be upon him), they were meant for those who expressed doubts about his message. As regards to the reference to the people of the Book, it is because they possessed the knowledge of the scriptures, whereas the common people of Arabia lacked this, and were, therefore, strangers to the voice of the Quran. It was also expected that their just and pious scholars would testify that its message was the same as that of the scriptures of the former Prophets.
Verses 96-98 Belief after seeing the scourge did not benefit any nation except the nation of Yunus:
( 96 )   Indeed, those upon whom the word of your Lord has come into effect will not believe,
Allah’s decree that had become applicable to them was this: Allah does not thrust the faith on those who do not seek after the truth: who obstinately and obdurately shut their hearts against it with prejudice: who are so lost in the love of this world that they do not care at all about the Hereafter.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Allah has given frequent warnings against Evil and want of Faith in all ages, through Signs and through inspiration,-the latter ("the Word") being even more direct and personal than the former. Those who did not heed the warning found to their cost that it was true, and they perished. Such contumacy in the rejection of Truth only yields when the actual penalty is in sight. Belief then is induced by irresistible facts: it is not efficacious as Faith, as was proved against Pharaoh, See x. 90 [mentioned in Part III].
( 97 )   Even if every sign should come to them, until they see the painful punishment.
In verse 98, a brief mention of Prophet Yunus (Jonah, peace be upon him) is made. And it is this verse from this surah takes it title: Surah Yunus: 
( 98 )   Then has there not been a [single] city that believed so its faith benefited it except the people of Jonah? When they believed, We removed from them the punishment of disgrace in worldly life and gave them enjoyment for a time.
Though Prophet Jonah (peace be upon him) 860-784 B.C. was an Israelite Prophet, he was sent to Iraq for the guidance of the Assyrians, who have been called the people of Jonah for this reason. At that time, Nineveh, a very ancient and famous city, was their capital. Its vast remains are scattered on the left bank of the Tigris, opposite to the city of Mosul, and one of the mounds bears the name of Prophet Jonah. In order to form an estimate of the glory of these people, suffice it to say that the circumference of their capital Nineveh was 60 miles or so.

As regards to the question why the threatened torment was warded off from the people of Jonah as an exception to the divine principle, “Why was there not a (single) township (among those We warned) that believed so its belief benefited it,” the Quran does not give any details of this, but merely refers to the story at three places. See (Surah Al-Anbia, Ayats 87, 88); (Surah As-Sajadah, Ayats 139-148); (Surah Al-Qalam, Ayats 48-50). Though the story contained in the Book of Jonah gives some details, these cannot be depended upon because it was neither composed by Prophet Jonah nor it is a revealed Book but was written by some unknown person and then inserted in the Bible. Besides this, it contains some apparently absurd things which cannot be accepted as true. Nevertheless if we consider this deeply in the light of the allusions made in the Quran and details in the Book of Jonah, the explanation given by various commentators of the Quran seems to be correct. Prophet Jonah left the place of his mission without divine permission after warning the people of the torment. Therefore Allah forgave the Assyrians when they repented after seeing some signs of the coming torment. This was in accordance with the divine principles as stated in the Quran. For, according to one of these, Allah does not inflict any torment on any people, till He has the message fully demonstrated to them. As the Prophet did not continue his admonition in accordance with the appointed term and left the place of his mission of his own accord, Allah’s justice did not inflict the chastisement because the legal argument against his people had not been fulfilled. For further explanation see ((((E.N. 85 of Surah Yaseen))).

When the Assyrians believed in the message, they were given a new lease of life. But after some time, they adopted the wrong ways of thought and deed. Prophet Nahum (720-698 B.C.) warned and admonished them but without any effect. Then Prophet Zephaniah (640-609 B.C.) gave them the last warning that “He .... will destroy Assyria and will make Nineveh a desolation”, but it also proved in vain. At last in about 612 B.C. Allah made the Medes dominant over them.

The Median king, with the help of the Babylonians, invaded Assyria, and their army was defeated and was besieged within the walls of Nineveh. They put up a stiff resistance for some time but then the floods in the Tigris swept away the city wall and the invaders swarmed into the city and burnt it to ashes along with the surrounding countryside. The Assyrian king set fire to his palace and was himself burnt to death. Thus the Assyrian Empire and its culture came to an end forever. The recent archaeological excavations reveal widespread effects of the fire.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Allah in His infinite Mercy points out the contumacy of Sin as a warning, and the exceptional case of Nineveh and its Prophet Jonah is alluded to. The story of Jonah is told in Surah xxxvii. As Saffat 139-148, which would be an appropriate place for further comments. [Read our post on Story of Jonah]

Here it is sufficient to note that Nineveh was a very ancient town which is now no longer on the map. Its site is believed to be marked by the two mounds on the left bank of the Tigris, opposite the flourishing city of Mosul on the right bank, about 230 miles north-north-west of Baghdad. One of the mounds bears the name of "the Tomb of Nabi Yunus." Archaeologists have not yet fully explored its antiquities. But it is clear that it was a very old Sumerian town, perhaps older than 3500 B.C. It became the capital of Assyria. The first Assyrian Empire under Shalmaneser I, about 1300 B.C., became the supreme power in Western Asia. Babylon, whose tributary Assyria had formerly been, now became tributary to Assyria. The second Assyrian Empire arose about 745 B.C., and Sennacherib (705-681 B.C.) beautified the town with many Public Works. It was destroyed by the Scythians (so-called Medes) in 612 B.C. If the date of Jonah were assumed to be about 800 B.C., it would be between the First and the Second Assyrian Empire; when the City was nearly destroyed for its sins, but on account of its repentance was given a new lease of glorious life in the Second Empire.

The point of the allusion here may be thus explained. Nineveh was a great and glorious City. But it became, like Babylon, a city of sin. Allah sent the prophet Yunus (Jonah) to warn it. Full of iniquities though it was, it listened to the warning, perhaps in the person of a few just men. For their sake, the All-Merciful Allah spared it, and gave it a new lease of glorious life. According to the chronology the new lease would be for about two centuries, after which it perished completely for its sins and abominations. Note that its new lease of life was for its collective life as a City, the life of the Present, i.e., of this World. It does not mean that individual sinners escaped the spiritual consequences of their sin, unless they individually repented and obtained Allah's mercy and forgiveness.

Verses 99-103 Forcing someone to convert to Islam is prohibited:
( 99 )   And had your Lord willed, those on earth would have believed - all of them entirely. Then, [O Muhammad], would you compel the people in order that they become believers?
This refers to the freedom that Allah has granted to mankind to believe or not to believe in Him. Otherwise He could have very easily created all the people as born believers and obedient servants and there would have been no disbelief and disobedience at all on the earth. Or He could have very easily inspired them to turn towards belief and obedience. But these methods would have defeated the wisdom that underlies the creation of mankind.

This does not at all mean that the Prophet (peace be upon him) desired to force people to become believers, and that Allah was forbidding him to do this. In fact, the Quran has here adopted the same method of admonishing the people that it has adopted at many other places, that is, though the words have apparently been addressed to the person of the Prophet (peace be upon him), in fact, these have been addressed to the people. The implication is this: “O people! Our Messenger has made the distinction between the guidance and deviation quite clear and plain by argument and pleading. Now, therefore, it is for you to believe or not to believe in the guidance. If you accept that someone should force you to adopt the right way, you should know that this duty has not been assigned to Our Prophet. Had Allah willed this, He could have done it Himself: then there would have been no need of sending any Prophet to you.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
If it had been Allah's Plan or Will not to grant the limited Free-will that He has granted to man, His omnipotence could have made all mankind alike: all would then have had Faith, but that Faith would have reflected no merit on them. In the actual world as it is, man has been endowed with various faculties and capacities, so that he should strive and explore, and bring himself into harmony with Allah's Will. Hence Faith becomes a moral achievement, and to resist Faith becomes a sin. As a complementary proposition, men of Faith must not be impatient or angry if they have to contend against Unfaith, and most important of all, they must guard against the temptation of forcing Faith, i.e., imposing it on others by physical compulsion. Forced faith is no faith. They should strive.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
It is not Part of Allah's Decree to compel Belief.
Allah said: (And had your Lord willed) meaning `O Muhammad, if it had been the will of your Lord, He would make all the people of the earth believe in what you have brought to them. But Allah has wisdom in what He does.' 

Similarly, Allah said:
(And if your Lord had so willed, He could surely have made mankind one Ummah, but they will not cease to disagree. Except him on whom your Lord has bestowed His mercy and for that did He create them. And the Word of your Lord has been fulfilled (His saying): "Surely, I shall fill Hell with Jinn and men all together.'') (11:118-119)
He also said,
(Have not then those who believed yet known that had Allah willed, He could have guided all mankind) (13:31) 
Therefore, Allah said: (So, will you then compel mankind) and force them to believe. (until they become believers.) meaning, it is not for you to do that. You are not commanded to do that either. It is Allah Who (sends astray whom He wills, and guides whom He wills.)(35:8). (So do not destroy yourself in sorrow for them.) (It is not up to you to guide them, but Allah guides whom He wills.)[2:272]. And (It may be that you would kill yourself with grief because they are not believers.) [26:3], thus (Your duty is only to convey, and it is up to Us to reckon. ) [13:40] (So remind, you are only one who reminds. You are not a dictator over them.) [88:21-22]

There are other Ayat besides these which prove that Allah is the doer of what He wants, guiding whom He wills, leading whom He wills to stray, all out of His knowledge, wisdom, and justice.

وَمَا كَانَ لِنَفۡسٍ اَنۡ تُؤۡمِنَ اِلَّا بِاِذۡنِ اللّٰهِ​ؕ وَيَجۡعَلُ الرِّجۡسَ عَلَى الَّذِيۡنَ لَا يَعۡقِلُوۡنَ‏ 
( 100 )   And it is not for a soul to believe except by permission of Allah, and He will place defilement upon those who will not use reason.
This is to emphasize the principle that the bestowal of all these blessings is in the power of Allah alone: therefore none can acquire or bestow on anyone any blessing without the permission of Allah. As faith and guidance are also blessings, they, too, can be acquired only with Allah’s permission; and no one can acquire these without His permission nor bestow these on anyone else even though one should desire to do so. That is why, even if the Prophet had sincerely desired to make people believers forcibly, he could not have done this, for this could be done only with Allah’s permission and help.

This points out clearly that the above principle is not applied blindly and irrationally so as to bestow the blessing of faith on or withhold it from anyone without any rhyme or reason, but it works according to a system which is based on wisdom. Allah bestows this on anyone who uses his common sense properly in search of the truth, for Allah provides for such a one the means of attaining it in proportion to the sincerity of his intention and the extent of his exertion and grants him its correct knowledge required for faith. But He throws the filth of ignorance, deviation, wrong thinking and wrong doing on the one who is not a seeker after the truth and does not use his common sense properly because of his prejudices, or does not use it at all in search of the truth. And this is what such people deserve.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
To creatures endued with Will, Faith comes out of an active use of that Will. But we must not be so arrogant as to suppose that that is enough. At best man is weak, and is in need of Allah's grace and help. If we sincerely wish to understand, He will help our Faith; but if not, our doubts and difficulties will only be increased. This follows as a necessary consequence, and in Quranic language all consequences are ascribed to Allah.

Rijs (from rajisa, yarjasu, or rajusa, yarjusu) has various meanings: e.g., (1) filth, impurity, uncleanness, abomination, as in ix. 95; (2) hence, filthy deeds, foul conduct, crime, abomination, thus shading off into (1), as in v. 90; (3) hence punishment for crime, penalty, as in vi. 125; (4) a form of such punishment, viz., doubt, obscurity, or un-settlement of mind, anger, indignation, as in ix. 125, and here, but perhaps the idea of punishment is also implied here.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
(It is not for any person to believe, except by the leave of Allah, and He will put the Rijs) That is, disorder and misguidance (upon those who do not reason) meaning, Allah's proofs and evidences, and He is the Just in all matters, guiding whom He wills to guide, and leading whom He wills astray.
( 101 )   Say, "Observe what is in the heavens and earth." But of no avail will be signs or warners to a people who do not believe
This is the answer to the condition that they would believe him to be a true Prophet, if a sign would be shown to them. The Prophet (peace be upon him) has been asked to say to them: There are countless signs in the heaven and the earth, which confirm and testify the message I am giving you. You could have easily recognized them, had you observed and considered them with open eyes and open hearts. But if you lack this urge and desire for the truth, you will not accept and acknowledge it, however wonderful, miraculous and supernatural the sign may be, for you will declare that it was a piece of sorcery like Pharaoh and his chiefs. The fact is that the people, who suffer from this malady, see the truth only when the torment with all its horrors overtakes them, just as Pharaoh came to believe only when he was drowning. But you should note it well that the repentance at the time of punishment is of no avail.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
If Faith results from an active exertion of our spiritual faculties or understanding, it follows that if we let these die, Allah's Signs in His Creation or in the spoken Word which comes by inspiration through the mouths of His Messengers will not reach us any more than music reaches a deaf man.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
Allah, the Exalted, guides His servants to reflect upon His blessings. What Allah has created in the heavens and the earth is part of the clear signs for those who possess correct understanding. From that which is in the heavens are the luminous stars, the firmaments, the moving planetary bodies, the sun and the moon. This also includes the night and day, their alternating, and their merging so that one is long and the other is short. Then they alternate (through the year) so that the long one becomes short and the short one becomes long. Likewise, from the signs in the heavens is the rising of the sun, its vastness, its beauty and its adornment. Also, whatever rain that Allah sends down from the heavens, thereby bringing the earth to life after its death, and causing various types of fruits, crops, flowers and plants to grow, is from its signs. Whatever Allah creates in the earth from the various species of beasts, with their differing colors and benefits (for man), are signs. The mountains, plains, deserts, civilizations, structures and barren lands of the earth are signs. Then there are the wonders of the sea and its waves. Yet, it still has been made subservient and submissive to those who travel upon its surface. It carries their ships, allowing them to traverse upon it with ease. This is all under the control of the Most Able; there is no God worthy of worship except Him and there is no true Lord other than Him.

(But neither Ayat nor warners benefit those who do not believe.) This means, `What thing will benefit such disbelieving people besides the heavenly and earthly signs, and the Messengers with their miracles, proofs and evidences that clearly prove the truthfulness of their message' This is similar to Allah's statement, (Truly! Those against whom the Word of your Lord has been justified, will not believe.) [10:96]
( 102 )   So do they wait except for like [what occurred in] the days of those who passed on before them? Say, "Then wait; indeed, I am with you among those who wait."
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Cf. x. 20. The argument about Allah's revelation of Himself to man was begun in those early sections of this Sura and is being now rounded off towards the end of this Surah with the same formula.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
(Then do they wait save for the likes of the days of men who passed away before them) This means, `Are these who reject you Muhammad, waiting for the vengeance and torment like the Days of Allah, when He punished those who came before them of the previous nations that rejected their Messengers'

(Say: "Wait then, I am waiting with you among those who wait.'' Then We save Our Messengers and those who believe!) This means, `Verily, We destroy those who reject the Messengers.'
( 103 )   Then, (when Allah's wrath falls upon the wicked) We save our Messengers and also those who believe. It is incumbent on Us to deliver the believers.' set fire to the whole city and its environs. The Assyrian king set his own palace ablaze and was himself burnt to death.
Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
(Thus it is incumbent upon Us to save the believers.) This means that this is a right that Allah, the Exalted, has obligated upon His Noble Self. This is similar to His statement, (Your Lord has written (prescribed) mercy for Himself) [6:54]
Ruku / Section 11 [104-109]
Verses 104-107 No one other than Allah can harm or benefit you:

In this concluding portion, the same thing that was stated at the beginning of the discourse, has been reiterated. Therefore it will be worthwhile to keep in view the introductory passage (Ayats 1-10).

قُلۡ يٰۤاَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اِنۡ كُنۡتُمۡ فِىۡ شَكٍّ مِّنۡ دِيۡنِىۡ فَلَاۤ اَعۡبُدُ الَّذِيۡنَ تَعۡبُدُوۡنَ مِنۡ دُوۡنِ اللّٰهِ وَلٰـكِنۡ اَعۡبُدُ اللّٰهَ الَّذِىۡ يَتَوَفّٰٮكُمۡ​ ۖۚ​ وَاُمِرۡتُ اَنۡ اَكُوۡنَ مِنَ الۡمُؤۡمِنِيۡنَۙ‏ 
( 104 )   Say, [O Muhammad], "O people, if you are in doubt as to my religion - then I do not worship those which you worship besides Allah; but I worship Allah, who causes your death. And I have been commanded to be of the believers
The Arabic word yatawaffa-kum literally means “gives you death”, but it has been purposely translated into “who causes you to die” in order to convey its real spirit in the content it occurs. It implies this: I worship only that One, who has full power over your life: He has complete authority and power to let you live as long as He wills and cause you to die at any moment He wills. That is why I am fully convinced that I should submit and surrender, worship, serve and obey Him alone.

Now let us consider why of all His characteristics, this quality of Allah was specifically cited here. This was to bring home to the mushriks of Makkah that the doctrine of shirk was absolutely false. For they also believed (and all the mushriks have always believed) that death is entirely in the hands of Allah, the Lord of the universe, and none else has any power over it; so much so that they confessed that even those beings, whom they believed to be partners with God in other qualities and powers of, His, could not avert death even from themselves. Thus the mention of this quality of Allah along with the statement of the doctrine of Tawhid has been made to serve as a proof of that creed. That is, I serve only Him for He alone has the full power over life and death. Why should, then, I serve others who have no power at all over their own lives and deaths, not to mention the lives and deaths of others? The eloquence and force of the statement has been enhanced manifold by saying, “Who gives you death” instead of “Who gives me death”. For this contains the statement of the doctrine, its proof and invitation to it, all the three combined in one concise sentence. Had it been said, “I serve that one Who gives me death” then it would have implied, “I alone should serve Him.” But by saying, “Who gives you death” the implication is: It is not only I, who should serve Him, but you also should serve Him. For it is absolutely wrong to serve any other than Allah, Who alone has such powers.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Other people may hesitate, or doubt, or wonder. But the righteous man has no doubt in his own mind, and he declares his Faith clearly and unambiguously to all, as did Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

The worship of the One and True God is not a fancy worship, to be arrived at merely by reasoning and philosophy. It touches the vital issues of life and death-which are in His hands and His alone. Nor is the worship of One God an invention of the Prophet. It comes as a direct command through him and to all.

Individual Faith is good, but it is completed and strengthened by joining or forming a Righteous Society, in which the individual can develop and expand. Islam was never a religion of monks and anchorites. It laid great stress on social duties, which in many ways test and train the individual's character.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
Allah, the Exalted, says to His Messenger, Muhammad , `Say: O mankind! If you are in doubt about the correctness of that which I have been sent with the Hanif (monotheism) religion - the religion which Allah has revealed to me -- then know that I do not worship those whom you worship besides Allah. Rather, I worship Allah alone, ascribing no partners to Him. He is the One Who causes you to die just as He gives you life. Then, unto Him is your final return. If the gods that you call upon are real, I still refuse to worship them. So call upon them and ask them to harm me, and you will see that they can bring no harm or benefit. The only One Who holds the power of harm and benefit in His Hand is Allah alone, Who has no partners.'

وَاَنۡ اَقِمۡ وَجۡهَكَ لِلدِّيۡنِ حَنِيۡفًا​ ۚ وَلَا تَكُوۡنَنَّ مِنَ الۡمُشۡرِكِيۡنَ‏ 
( 105 )   and to adhere exclusively and sincerely to the true faith, and not to be one of those who associate others with Allah in His divinity.
The force of the Arabic words “direct your face toward the religion” of the text means “dedicate yourself sincerely, exclusively and steadfastly to this faith”, is worth deep consideration. The purpose might have been served by the use of such words as “Adopt this faith” or “Follow this faith”. But Allah considered such expressions as weak and incapable of serving the real purpose, which is implied in the wording of the text. For the literal meaning is “Set your face steadfastly”, which implies: You should steadfastly turn your face in one direction only, without turning it even slightly to right or left, or backward, and go on marching in the same direction. Though these words were in themselves quite sufficient, the addition of the word made it all the more forceful. For hanif is one who turns away from all others and exclusively turns to one direction. Thus what Allah demands is this: Adopt this faith, this way of the worship of Allah and this way of life in such a manner that your worship, subjection, submission, servitude and obedience should be dedicated exclusively to Allah, the Lord of the universe, so that you do not deviate in the least after adopting this way. You should have nothing to do with those ways that you have discarded and that you should not even have a look at the crooked paths that erroneous people follow.

This negative way of forbidding from shirk has been purposely adopted. It implies this: You should not at all be one of those, who set up in any way whatsoever other gods as partners with Allah in His essence, His attributes, His rights and His powers, whether that god be one’s own self or another man or a group of men or some spirit or jinn or angel or some material or imaginary being. The demand of Tauhid has been made both in the positive form, “Dedicate.... faith”, and in the negative form, “and do not be of those who associate partners (to Allah).” Thus it forbids shirk both in deed and in creed, in individual and in collective life, in places of worship and in education, in courts and in legislative assemblies, in political and in economic activities. Therefore it demands from the worshiper of Tauhid to adopt a different way in every aspect of life from the way of those who adulterate God worship with ungodly worships, for the former can never be a fellow traveler with those who practice shirk. As such things can never be expected from him, it can never be imagined that he would follow them.

Thus it is clear that it cuts at the very root of shirk, both jali (open) and khafi (hidden). As a matter of fact, shirk in its latter form is even more dangerous and should therefore be avoided most scrupulously. This warning is necessary, as some foolish people consider it to be almost harmless just because it is hidden. The fact is that open shirk is like an avowed enemy who makes an attack in the open and hidden shirk is like an enemy in the guise of a friend. Or the former is like a disease of which the symptoms are quite apparent and the latter like the hidden disease that gradually undermines one’s health. Thus it is obvious that when the open shirk comes into conflict with the faith of Tauhid, it may be cured. But the one who suffers from the hidden shirk does not realize the threat posed by it and slowly and gradually succumbs to it, while the victim remains quite unaware that his faith is being devoured by the deadly secret enemy.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
Concerning Allah's statement, (And that you direct your face towards the Hanif religion) This means to make one's intention in worship solely for Allah alone, being a Hanif. Hanif means one who turns away from associating partners with Allah.  For this reason Allah says, (and not be one of the idolaters. ) This statement is directly connected with the previous statement.
( 106 )   And do not invoke besides Allah that which neither benefits you nor harms you, for if you did, then indeed you would be of the wrongdoers.'"
( 107 )   And if Allah should touch you with adversity, there is no remover of it except Him; and if He intends for you good, then there is no repeller of His bounty. He causes it to reach whom He wills of His servants. And He is the Forgiving, the Merciful
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. Even when we suffer under trials and tribulations, it is for our good, and no one can remove them except He, when, in His Plan, He sees it to be best for all concerned. On the other hand, there is no power that can intercept His blessings and favours, and His bounty flows freely when we are worthy, and often when we are not worthy of it.

Verses 108-109 Declare that guidance has come-now to follow or not to follow is your choice. 
( 108 )   Say, "O mankind, the truth has come to you from your Lord, so whoever is guided is only guided for [the benefit of] his soul, and whoever goes astray only goes astray [in violation] against it. And I am not over you a manager."
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The Furqan, the Criterion between right and wrong, has been sent to us from Allah. If we accept guidance, it is not as if we confer favours on those who bring us guidance. They suffer unselfishly for us, in order that we may be guided for our own good. On the other hand, if we reject it, it is our own loss. We have a certain amount of free-will, and the responsibility is ours and cannot be shifted to the Prophets sent by Allah.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
Herein Allah, the Exalted, commands His Messenger to inform the people that that which he has brought them from Allah is the truth. It is a message concerning which there is no doubt or suspicion. Therefore, whoever is guided by it and follows it, then he only benefits himself by doing so. Likewise, whoever is misguided away from this message, then he will suffer the consequences against his own self.

(And I am not set over you as a guardian) This means, `I am not a guardian over you in order for you to become believers. I am only a warner to you and guidance belongs to Allah, the Exalted.'
( 109 )   And follow what is revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and be patient until Allah will judge. And He is the best of judges.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
When, in spite of all the efforts of the Prophets of Allah, people do not accept Truth, and evil seems to flourish for a time, we must wait and be patient, but at the same time we must not give up hope or persevering effort. For thus only can we carry out our part in the Plan of Allah.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
Concerning Allah's statement, (And follow what has been revealed to you, and be patient) This means, `Adhere to that which Allah has revealed to you, and inspired you with, and be patient with the opposition that you meet from the people.'

(until Allah gives judgment) This means, `Until Allah judges between you and them.'

(And He is the best of judges " وَهُوَ خَيۡرُ الۡحٰكِمِيۡ ") This means that He is the best of those who pass judgment, due to His Justice and His wisdom.
Here we come to the end of Part IV and exegesis of the entire Sūrah Yünus which was presented in four parts, in addition to the introduction expressed in the Overview.

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sūrah Yünus 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:
References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |  5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | Prophet Yunus and Allah's Displeasure
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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