Thursday 5 December 2019

Surah Al Hijr - The Rocky Tract: 15th Chapter of Quran

Sūrah Al-Ḥijr " الْحِجْر " - "The Rocky Tract" or "The Stone-land" is the fifteenth surah with 99 ayahs with six rukus, part of the 14th Juzʼ  of the Holy Qur'an. The Sūrah takes its name from verse 80:

وَلَـقَدۡ كَذَّبَ اَصۡحٰبُ الۡحِجۡرِ الۡمُرۡسَلِيۡنَۙ‏ 
(15:80) Surely the people of al-Hijr also rejected the Messengers, calling them liars.

This is the last of the six Sūrahs of the A.L.M. series (x. to xv.). Its place in chronology is the late Makkan period, probably somewhere near the middle of that period. See Overview of  Sūrah 10 Yunus. where will be found also an indication of the general subject-matter of the whole series in the gradation of Quranic teachings. 

It is clear from its topics and style that the period of its revelation is about the same as that of Sūrah 14. Ibrahim, for two things are quite prominent in its background. First, it appears from the repeated warnings in this Sūrah that despite the fact that the Holy Prophet had been propagating the Message for many years, his people in general had not shown any inclination towards its acceptance instead, they had become more and more obdurate and stubborn in their antagonism, enmity and ridicule with the passage of time. Secondly, by that time the Holy Prophet had begun to feel a little tired of making strenuous efforts to eradicate disbelief and opposition of his people. That is why Allah has consoled and comforted him over and over again by way of encouragement.

Like other Surahs of this period, it praises Allah. A quality of Meccan surahs is that the ayats are shorter and the rhyme of the surahs is more efficient and quicker. One of he main theme of the surah is the creation of Adam, how Iblis did not bow down to Adam and when commanded by Allah, and Iblis' promise to Allah to lead the mankind astray. 

The special subject-matter of this Sūrah is the protection of Allah's Revelation and Allah's Truth. Evil arose from Pride and the warping of man's will, but Allah's Mercy is the antidote, as was proved in the case of Abraham  and Lot, and might have been proved by the people of the Aika and the Hijr if they had only attended to Allah's "Signs".  The surah ends with the message that the Qur'an, beginning with the Seven Oft-repeated Verses, is the precious vehicle for the praises of Allah.

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 [1-15]
1-15 Al-Quran is the Divine Book and that on the Day of Judgement, the unbelievers will wish that they were Muslims and Allah Himself has taken the responsibility of preserving Al-Quran:
الۤرٰ تِلۡكَ اٰيٰتُ الۡـكِتٰبِ وَقُرۡاٰنٍ مُّبِيۡنٍ‏ 
( 1 )   Alif, Lam, Ra. These are the verses of the Book and a clear Qur'an.
"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.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Note how appropriately the different phrases in which the Qur'an is characterized bring out its different aspects as a Revelation. Let us just consider the phrases used at the beginning of the six Alif, Lam, Ra Surahs of which this is the last in order of arrangement. In x.1 we read, "Ayats (or verses or Signs) of the Book of Wisdom", the theme being the wonders of Allah's creation, and its relation to His Revelation. In xi. 1 we read, "a Book, with verses basic or fundamental, further explained in detail": the theme is Allah's Justice and punishment, to preserve the fundamental scheme of His Laws. In xii. 1 we read, "The Symbols verses of the Perspicuous Book"; the wonderful unfolding of Allah's Plan is explained in Joseph's story. In xiii. 1 we read, "The Signs (or verses) of the Book": the contrasts in the modes of Allah's Revelation and its reception by man are pointed out, but not illustrated by detailed examples as in Joseph's perspicuous story. In xiv. 1 we read, "A Book revealed to lead out of darkness into light": the theme being Abraham's prayer for man to be rescued from the darkness of false worship into the light of Unity. Here,in xv.1 we read, "Ayats (or verses) of Revelation,-of a Qur'an that makes things clear (or perspicuous)": the theme being an explanation of evil, and how Allah's Truth is protected from it.
( 2 )   Perhaps those who disbelieve will wish that they had been Muslims.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The time must inevitably come when those who allow themselves to be deceived by falsehood or deliberately break Allah's Law will find themselves in a terrible plight. They will then wish, ardently and again and again, that they had sought Allah's Will and walked in the light of Truth. That time may be early or late,-in this life, or at death, or at the Day of Judgment, but it must come. Man's own highest interest requires that he should awake to the Reality before it is too late for repentance.
( 3 )   Let them eat and enjoy themselves and be diverted by [false] hope, for they are going to know.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Literally, "to eat", Cf. v. 66

The foolish and the wicked set great store by the pleasures of this world. In their pride they think they have all knowledge. In the foulness of knowledge they will see how wrong they were. Meanwhile those who have received the Light should not for a single moment wonder at the apparent prosperity of the ungodly in this world. They should leave them alone, confident in the goodness and justice of Allah.
( 4 )   And We did not destroy any city but that for it was a known decree.
This is to refute the fallacious argument of the disbelievers that Muhammad (peace be upon him) was not a true Prophet because they had received no prompt punishment for their disbelief. It is like this: We have never seized a community at the first committal of kufr.

We prescribe a limit for every community to hear and understand the message and reform its ways. Then We tolerate its mischief and evil deeds up to that limit and allow it full freedom to do as it likes, and give it respite till the term expires. That is why We are tolerating their attitude of ridicule and denial. (For the full meaning of respite, please refer to explanation of verse 10 of Surah 14. Ibrahim).
( 5 )   No nation will precede its term, nor will they remain thereafter.
Cf ii.34
وَ قَالُوۡا يٰۤاَيُّهَا الَّذِىۡ نُزِّلَ عَلَيۡهِ الذِّكۡرُ اِنَّكَ لَمَجۡنُوۡنٌؕ‏ 
( 6 )   And they say, "O you upon whom the message has been sent down, indeed you are mad.
The word zikr literally means “to cause to remember”, “to caution” and “to give advice”. But the Quran has used it as a technical term for “admonition”, which comes as a precept. Thus all the Books that had been sent down to the Messengers were zikr, and the Quran is also zikr.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The Prophet of Allah was accused by the ungodly of being mad or possessed, because he spoke of higher things than they knew, and acted from motives purer and nobler than they could understand. So, in a minor degree, is the lot of all the righteous in the presence of an ungodly world. Their motives, actions, words, hopes, and aspirations are unintelligible to their fellows, and they are accused of being mad or out of their senses. But they know that they are on the right path, and it is the ungodly who are really acting against their own best interests.
( 7 )   Why do you not bring us the angels, if you should be among the truthful?"
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Cf. vi. 8-9. On the part of the unbelievers, this is a mere taunt. They neither believe in Allah nor in angels nor in revelation nor in any but material things. It is ridiculous to suppose that they could be taken seriously.
( 8 )   We do not send down the angels (in frivolity); and when We do send them down, We do so with Truth; then people are granted no respite.
This was a sarcastic remark that was made by the opponents, for they did not acknowledge that the admonition had been sent down to the Prophet (peace be upon him): otherwise they could not say that he was insane. What they really meant by this remark was: You, who claim that the admonition has been sent down to you, are insane. A similar remark was also made by Pharaoh concerning Prophet Moses (peace be upon him). Addressing his courtiers, he said: The Messenger who has been sent to you is insane. (Surah Ash-Shuara, Ayat 27).

“We do not send down the angels.” We do not send down the angels for the mere fun of it in response to the request of the people, nor are they sent to unveil the reality before them in order to show to them all the unseen things to which the Messengers invite them to believe. As a matter of fact, angels are sent down on that occasion when it is decreed to pass judgment on sane wicked people. At that time the judgment comes into operation without extending any invitation to the condemned people to accept the message, for their period of respite ends as soon as the reality is unveiled before them. “Except with truth.”

They bring down truth with them. That is, they come down to eradicate falsehood and to establish truth in its stead. Or, in other words, it means, they come down to put into force the judgment of Allah.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Angels are not sent down to satisfy the whim or curiosity of the unbelievers. They are sent to bring inspiration to Allah's messengers and to execute Allah's decrees.

If the angels were to appear before the ungodly, it would mean that they came to execute just punishment, and then there would be no hope of respite possible for the ungodly.
( 9 )   Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur'an and indeed, We will be its guardian.
That is, you should note it well that it is We Who have sent down this zikr. Thus it is not Our Messenger whom you are calling insane but in fact this abusive remark applies to Us. Moreover, you should know that it is Our Word and We are preserving it. Therefore, you can do no harm to it, nor can you discredit it by your ridicules, taunts and objections, nor can you hamper its progress. Whatever you may do against it, no one will ever be able to change or tamper with it.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The purity of the text of the Qur'an through fourteen centuries is a foretaste of the eternal care with which Allah's Truth is guarded through all ages. All corruptions, inventions, and accretions pass away, but Allah's pure and holy Truth will never suffer eclipse even though the whole world mocked at it and were bent on destroying it.

وَلَـقَدۡ اَرۡسَلۡنَا مِنۡ قَبۡلِكَ فِىۡ شِيَعِ الۡاَوَّلِيۡنَ‏ 
( 10 )   And We had certainly sent [messengers] before you, [O Muhammad], among the sects of the former peoples.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Shiya'un, plural of Shi'atun = a sect, a religious division. Mankind sees fragments of Truth at a time, and is apt to fall into fragments and divisions. All true messengers of Allah come to reconcile these fragments or divisions, for they preach the true Gospel of Unity. So came Al-Mustafa to bring back to Unity the many jarring sects among the Jews, Christians, and Pagans. His mission was held up to ridicule, but so was the mission of his predecessors. Mockery itself should not discourage the preachers of Truth.
( 11 )   And no messenger would come to them except that they ridiculed him.( 12 )   Thus do We insert denial into the hearts of the criminals.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
If evil and disbelief exist in the world, we must not be impatient or lose our faith. We must recognize that if such things are permitted, they are part of the Universal Plan and purpose of Allah, Who is All-Wise and All-Good, but Whose wisdom and goodness we cannot fully fathom. One consolation we have, and that is stated in the next verse and the next note.
( 13 )   They will not believe in it, while there has already occurred the precedent of the former peoples.
The majority of the translators and commentators are of the opinion that the pronoun “it”( Ayat 12), refers to their mockery, occurring in (Ayat 11), and in “they would not believe in it” in (Ayat 13), refers to the admonition occurring in (Ayat 9). Then (Ayats 12-13) will be rendered like this: “Thus we cause mockery enter into the hearts of the criminals and they do not believe in the admonition”. Though grammatically there is nothing wrong with this version, yet our version of “it” will be better even grammatically. According to this (Ayat 12) will mean, when the admonition enters into the hearts of the believers it gives them peace of mind and comfort of heart. But when the same enters into the hearts of the criminals it becomes a hot rod, and burns their minds and hearts.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Sects, divisions, and systems invented by men tend to pass away, but Allah's pure Truth of Unity endures for ever. This we see in history when we study it on a large scale. Cf. the parable in xiv. 24-26 Khalat: I have translated it here in the same sense as in xiii. 30 x. 102, and other places. Some Commentators give it a slightly different shade of meaning. The other meaning is seen in xlviii. 23.
( 14 )   And [even] if We opened to them a gate from the heaven and they continued therein to ascend,
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Cf. vi. 35. The spiritual kingdom is open to all to enter. But the entrance is not a mere matter of physical movement. It is a question of a total change of heart. Evil must cease to be evil, before it can see or enjoy Good. If we could suppose Evil, like Bottom the weaver, to be "translated" or in some way carried up to heaven, it would only think that the Truth was an illusion, and the reality was mere witchery. The taint is in its very nature, which must first be purified and rendered fit for the reception of light, truth, and bliss.
( 15 )   They would say, "Our eyes have only been dazzled. Rather, we are a people affected by magic."
Ruku / Section 2 [16-25]
Verses 16-25 Allah created and decorated the heavens and also created everything suitable for human life on earth:
وَلَـقَدۡ جَعَلۡنَا فِى السَّمَآءِ بُرُوۡجًا وَّزَيَّـنّٰهَا لِلنّٰظِرِيۡنَۙ‏  
( 16 )   And We have placed within the heaven great stars and have beautified it for the observers.
In the preceding( Ayats 14-15) it was stated that the disbelievers had become so hardened against the Quran that they would not have believed in it even if they had ascended the Heaven and seen with their own eyes the signs mentioned in it. Now in (Ayats 16-22), some of the signs are being cited in order to convince there of its truth.

Buruj (mansions of stars) are signs of Allah. For it is not possible to pass through one sphere of the Heaven into another, as each sphere of the space has been fortified by invisible boundaries. In this connection, it may be noted that literally the Arabic word burj means a fortified place, but as a technical term of ancient astronomy this stood for each of the twelve signs of the Zodiac, which marked the sun’s path through the heavens. This has led some of the commentators to form the opinion that in this verse the word buruj refers to the same. But there are some others who think that it means stars or planets. However, if we consider this word in the context of (Ayat 19), we are led to the conclusion that probably it stands for spheres.

“We have beautified it”: We have placed a shining star or planet in each of these spheres and made them look beautiful. In other words, it means; We have not made the boundless universe dismal, desolate and frightful, but so beautiful that one finds marvelous order and harmony in it everywhere, and sights therein are so attractive that each one of these charms hearts and minds. This wonderful structure of the universe is a clear proof of the fact that its Creator is not only Great and All-Wise but is also a perfect Artist. The Quran has also stated this aspect of the Creator in (Surah As-Sajadah, Ayat 7): (Allah is) that God Who has created in perfect beauty everything He has created.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Evil having been described, not as an external thing, but as a taint of the soul, we have in this section a glorious account of the purity and beauty of Allah's Creation. Evil is a blot on it, not a normal feature of it. Indeed, the normal feature is the guard which Allah has put on it, to protect it from evil.

In the countless millions of stars in the universe which we see, the first step in our astronomical knowledge is to find marvelous order, beauty, and harmony, on a scale of grandeur which we appreciate more and more as our knowledge increases. The first broad belt that we distinguish is the Zodiac, which marks the sun's path through the heavens year after year and the limit of the wanderings of the moon and the planets. We make twelve divisions of it and call them Signs of the Zodiac. Each marks the solar path through the heavens as we see it, month after month. We can thus mark off the seasons in our solar year, and express in definite laws the most important facts in meteorology, agriculture, seasonal winds, and tides. Then there are the mansions of the moon, the mapping out of the Constellations, and the other marvelous facts of the heavens, some of which affect our physical life on this earth. But the highest lessons we can draw from them are spiritual. The author of this wonderful Order and Beauty is One, and He alone is entitled to our worship.

وَحَفِظۡنٰهَا مِنۡ كُلِّ شَيۡطٰنٍ رَّجِيۡمٍۙ‏ 
( 17 )   And We have protected it from every devil expelled [from the mercy of Allah]
That is, these spheres are so fortified that they are beyond the reach of every Satan, for all Satans including those of jinns, have been confined to that sphere in which the Earth has been placed and they enjoy no more access to visit other spheres than the other dwellers of this sphere. This has been mentioned in order to remove a common misunderstanding. The common people believed, and still believe, that Satan and his descendants have a free access to every place in the universe. On the contrary, the Quran says that Satans cannot go beyond a certain limit and they have no unlimited power of ascension.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Taking the physical heavens, we can imagine the supreme melody of harmony- guarded from every disturbing force.

Rajim: driven away with stones, rejected, accursed. Cf. iii. 36.

اِلَّا مَنِ اسۡتَرَقَ السَّمۡعَ فَاَ تۡبَعَهٗ شِهَابٌ مُّبِيۡنٌ‏ 
( 18 )   Except one who steals a hearing and is pursued by a clear burning flame.
 This is the answer to the false claim of the soothsayers, diviners, hermits, conjurers and the like who pretended to receive communications from the Heaven. The Quran says that in fact they do not possess any means of obtaining information about unseen things. Satans, however, try to eaves-drop because they are by nature more like angels than human beings, but in reality, they succeed in obtaining very little information about it.

In Arabic the word shihab-i-mubin literally means a fiery flame. In Surah (As-Saffaat, Ayat 10), the same thing has been called shihab-i-thaqib (flame that pierces through darkness). This may or may not necessarily be a meteor for it is just possible that it may be some type of rays such as cosmic rays or even a stronger type which we have not been able to discover as yet. Anyhow, if the fiery flame that pursues Satans may be taken to be a meteor, a countless number of these can form a fortification around our sphere of the universe. Scientific observations made with the help of the telescope have shown that billions of these meteors are rushing from space in a mass of rainfall. towards the earth's atmosphere. Such a scene was witnessed in an eastern pan of North America on November 13, 1833.

This is so strong a fortification that it can prevent Satans from passing through any fortified sphere. With the help of the above, one can form a mental picture of the "fortified spheres" . Though there is no visible "wall" to keep distinct and separate one sphere from the others, Allah has securely guarded each of these spheres by invisible "walls" against each other. That is why our "planet" has remained safe in spite of the occasional "rainfall" of countless meteors. For as soon as they cross the protective wall of our sphere, they are burnt to ashes. But sometimes a meteorite reaches the earth from outer space as if to warn the dwellers of this planet of the existence of the "power" of the Creator. For instance, the biggest of these weighs 645 pounds and it is obvious from this that if the earth had not been made safe and secure by means of "fortified spheres" the rain of the shooting stars would have utterly annihilated it long long ago. It is these "fortified spheres" which the Qur'an calls "buruj."
( 19 )   And the earth - We have spread it and cast therein firmly set mountains and caused to grow therein [something] of every well-balanced thing.
The growth of every kind of plant in a limited extent is another sign of the wisdom and power of Allah. For the generative power of every vegetable plant is so great that if free growth had been allowed to even one kind of plant, it would have covered the whole surface of the earth. But it is by the design of the All-Wise and All-Powerful Creator that every kind of vegetable is produced in a balanced measure. There is another aspect of the vegetable life. Each and every kind of it is allowed to grow only to a fixed size, height, and thickness, which is a proof of the fact that the Creator himself prescribed the structure, the shape, the size, the height, the leaves and branches, and the number of each and every plant, and no plant is allowed to go beyond any of these fixed limits.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Majesty, order, beauty and harmony are shown in all Allah's Creation, but especially in the heavens. Coming nearer to man, Allah's care for man and His goodness are shown (besides His other qualities) in His creation of the earth. In highly poetical language, the earth is described as spread out like a carpet, on which the hills act as weights to keep it steady.

And every kind of thing is produced on the earth in due balance and measure. The mineral kingdom supports the vegetable and they in their turn support the animal, and there is a link of mutual dependence between them. Excess is eliminated. The waste of one is made the food of another, and vice versa. And this is a chain of gradation and inter-dependence.
( 20 )   And We have made for you therein means of living and [for] those for whom you are not providers.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
See last note. 'We provide sustenance of every kind, physical, mental, spiritual, etc., for you (i.e. for mankind). But We do more. We provide for everyone of Our creatures. And there are those of which mankind is not even cognizant. We provide for them also. There are those who may at first sight appear hostile to man, or whom man may consider hostile, such as wild and noxious animals. They are Our creatures, and We provide for them also, as they are Our creatures. But there is due order and balance in the economy of Our universal Plan.'

وَاِنۡ مِّنۡ شَىۡءٍ اِلَّا عِنۡدَنَا خَزَآئِنُهٗ وَمَا نُنَزِّلُهٗۤ اِلَّا بِقَدَرٍ مَّعۡلُوۡمٍ‏ 
( 21 )   And there is not a thing but that with Us are its depositories, and We do not send it down except according to a known measure.
This is to bring home the fact that it is not vegetable life alone that has a fixed limit to its growth, etc. The same is true of everything that exists, whether it be air, water, light, heat, cold, mineral, vegetable, animal or power or energy, in short, each and every thing exists in the prescribed quantity, number, etc. which neither decreases nor increases. It is this determined course in each and every thing which has produced appropriate balance and proportion in the entire system of the universe to such a perfection that one is led to the inevitable conclusion that the whole thing has been designed by its All-Wise Creator. For, had the universe come into existence by mere accident or had it been created by many gods, it was impossible to have such a perfect balance and appropriate proportion with perpetual consistence in so many different things and powers.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Khaza'in: treasures; store-houses; places where valuable things are accumulated, from which supplies are distributed from time to time as need arises.

All the wonderful gifts and forces and energies which we see in the world around us have their sources and fountain-heads with Allah, the Creator and Sustainer of the Worlds. And what we see, or perceive or imagine is just a small portion of what exists. That portion is sent out to us and to our world according to our needs or its needs from time to time as the occasion arises. It is strictly limited according to rule and plan. Its source is unlimited and inexhaustible. In the same way the forces which we see operating around us, in nature or in the spiritual world, according to laws which we can grasp and, ascertain, are mere derived forces, in the 2nd, 3rd, or nth degree. Their source and ultimate fountain head is with Allah.

​وَاَرۡسَلۡنَا الرِّيٰحَ لَوَاقِحَ فَاَنۡزَلۡنَا مِنَ السَّمَآءِ مَآءً فَاَسۡقَيۡنٰكُمُوۡهُ​ۚ وَمَاۤ اَنۡتُمۡ لَهٗ بِخٰزِنِيۡنَ‏ 
( 22 )   And We have sent the fertilizing winds and sent down water from the sky and given you drink from it. And you are not its retainers.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
This verse must be understood as furnishing an example of illustration of what is said in the last verse.

Lawaqih, plural of laqih, from laqaha, to impregnate or fecundate the female date-palm by putting the pollen of the male tree on to the ovaries of the female tree. The date palm is uni-sexual. The wind performs this office for many flowers. Here, by a bold metaphor, its fecundating quality is transferred to the clouds, which by means of rain produce all kinds of fruit, grain, and vegetation. The clouds as vapour are manipulated by the winds, which set up atmospheric currents resulting in condensation and the descent of rain. Note the appropriateness of the little article "then", showing the connection of winds with rain.

Cf. the previous verse. Man may store water in cisterns, tanks, lakes, and head-waters of canals. But he has no control over its original sources, which are the clouds, which by the help of the winds, act as the grand distributors of water over wide spaces of the world's surface.
( 23 )   And indeed, it is We who give life and cause death, and We are the Inheritor.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Note how the argument has mounted up from xv. 16 onward to xv. 23-from things most remote from man to things touching his inmost being, and each of them in its own way is a wonderful instance of Allah's glory and goodness, and the beauty, order and harmony of His creation. First, the heavens, the zodiacal Signs, the stars , and the mysterious phenomena that we see above us; then the earth, and the perfect balance of life and forces therein, with man as an important factor, but not the only factor; then, the inexhaustible sources of energy, of which Allah alone is the Provider, but which come to us in measured proportions, as needed; and lastly, Life and Death itself, which will pass away but Allah will remain. A noble passage, and a fine vindication of Allah's wisdom and providence in dealing with His creatures.

Literally, "We are the Heirs, or Inheritors," Cf. iii. 180; "To Allah belongs the heritage of the heavens and the earth." See also the vi. 165.
( 24 )   And We have already known the preceding [generations] among you, and We have already known the later [ones to come].
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Meaning may be: "those who preceded you in point of time and those who come after you in point of time; they are all known to Allah, and He will gather them all together on the Day of Judgment."
( 25 )   And indeed, your Lord will gather them; indeed, He is Wise and Knowing.
“He is All-Wise”, therefore His Wisdom demands that He should gather the entire mankind and reward or punish each individual in accordance with his deeds. And “He is All-Knowing”, therefore no individual, whosoever he may be, can escape from Him. As each and every particle of each and every individual is in His knowledge, He is able to bring entire mankind to life in the Hereafter. Thus anyone who denies life in the Hereafter is really ignorant of the Wisdom of Allah; and anyone who considers it impossible that those particles of the human body, which were all scattered about, could again be brought together in the form of the body that was alive, is ignorant of the All Comprehensive knowledge and power of Allah.

Ruku / Section 3 [26-44]
Verses 26-44 Story of Adam's creation; prostration of the angels before him and the refusal of Shaitan to prostrate and Shaitan and his followers are destined for hell: 

وَلَـقَدۡ خَلَقۡنَا الۡاِنۡسَانَ مِنۡ صَلۡصَالٍ مِّنۡ حَمَاٍ مَّسۡنُوۡنٍ​ۚ‏  
( 26 )   And We did certainly create man out of clay from an altered black mud.
The Arabic word salsal means the dried clay which produces a sound like pottery. Hams is the black mud which has become so rotten as to be in a fermented state.

Masnun has a double meaning: (a) rotten clay which has become greasy, (b) clay which has been molded into a shape. It is clear from the wording of the text that at first the image of man was made of clay from rotten earth and when it dried up, soul was breathed into it. Thus the Quran positively refutes the Darwinian theory of evolution that man came into existence after passing through continuous genetic adaptations. It will, therefore, be a futile attempt, as some modernized commentators have done, to prove that theory from the Quran.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Salsal: dry clay which produces a sound, like pottery. Cf. iv. 14. Taking verses 26 and 29 together, I understand the meaning to be: that man's body was formed from wet clay moulded into shape and then dried until it could emit sound; that it was then further fashioned and completed; that into the animal form thus fashioned was breathed the spirit from Allah, which gave it a superiority over other Creation: and that the order for obeisance was then given.

وَالۡجَـآنَّ خَلَقۡنٰهُ مِنۡ قَبۡلُ مِنۡ نَّارِ السَّمُوۡمِ‏ 
( 27 )   And the jinn We created before from scorching fire.
As samum is not wind, nar-i-samum will mean flame of intense heat and not of fire. This is the explanation of those passages in which it has been stated that jinns have been created from fire.  Cf vi.100
( 28 )   And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, "I will create a human being out of clay from an altered black mud.
( 29 )   And when I have proportioned him and breathed into him of My [created] soul, then fall down to him in prostration."
“And have breathed into him of My Spirit” means when I have cast a reflection of My divine characteristics on him. This shows that the soul of man implies life, knowledge, power, will, discretion and other human characteristics in the aggregate. These are in reality a slight reflection of divine characteristics that has been cast on the human body, which was originally created from dried clay. And it is this divine reflection on the human body which has raised him to the position of the vicegerent of Allah and made him that worthy being before whom angels and every earthly thing should bow down.

As a matter of fact, the source of each characteristic of everything is one divine characteristic or the other, as is borne by a tradition: Allah divided mercy into one hundred parts: then He reserved ninety-nine parts for Himself and sent down the remaining one part to the earth. It is because of that one part that the creatures show mercy to one another. So much so that it is due to this that an animal refrains from placing the hoof on its young ones.

In this connection one has to be on strict guard against the notion that the possession of a part of any divine characteristic amounts to the possession of a part of Godhead. This is because Godhead is absolutely beyond the reach of each and every creation.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Among other passages where the creation of Adam is referred to, cf. the following; ii. 30-39; vii. 11-25. Note that here the emphasis is on three points: (1) the breathing from Allah's spirit into man i.e., the faculty of God-like knowledge and will, which, if rightly used, would give man superiority over other creatures: (2) the origin of evil in arrogance and jealousy on the part of Satan, who saw only the lower side of man (his clay) and failed to see the higher side, the faculty brought in from the spirit of Allah; (3) that this evil only touches those who yield to it, and has no power over Allah's sincere servants, purified by His grace (xv. 40, 42). Adam is not here mentioned by name, but only Man.
( 30 )   So the angels prostrated - all of them entirely,
Please compare this passage (Ayats 30-43) with (Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayats 30-39); (Surah An-Nisa, Ayats 117-120); and (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayats 11-25).
( 31 )   Except Iblees, he refused to be with those who prostrated.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Cf. n. 49 to ii. 34.

Iblis: the name has in it the root-idea of desperateness or rebellion. Cf. n. 52 to ii. 36.

Apparently Iblis's arrogance had two grounds: (1) that man was made of clay while he was made of fire; (2) that he did not wish to do what others did. Both grounds were false; (1) because man had the spirit of Allah breathed into him; (2) because contempt of the angels who obeyed Allah's words showed not Iblis's superiority but his inferiority.
( 32 )   [Allah] said, O Iblees, what is [the matter] with you that you are not with those who prostrate?"( 33 )   He said, "Never would I prostrate to a human whom You created out of clay from an altered black mud."( 34 )   [Allah] said, "Then get out of it, for indeed, you are expelled.
( 35 )   And indeed, upon you is the curse until the Day of Recompense."
After the Day of Judgment the whole constitution of the universe will be different. There will be a new world altogether, on a wholly different plane. (Cf. xxi. 104).
( 36 )   He said, "My Lord, then reprieve me until the Day they are resurrected."
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
What was this respite? The curse on Iblis remained, i.e. he was deprived of Allah's grace and became in the spiritual world what an outlaw is in a political kingdom. An earthly kingdom may not be able to catch and destroy an outlaw. But Allah is Omnipotent, and such power as Iblis may have can only come through the respite granted by Allah. The respite then is what is expressed in xv. 39 below. In Allah's grant of limited free-will to man is implied the faculty of choosing between good and evil, and the faculty is exercised through the temptations and allurements put forward by Satan, "the open enemy" of man. This is for the period of man's probation on this earth. Even so, no temptations have power over the sincere worshipers of Allah, who are purified by His grace.
( 37 )   [Allah] said, "So indeed, you are of those reprieved( 38 )   Until the Day of the time well-known."
( 39 )   [Iblees] said, "My Lord, because You have put me in error, I will surely make [disobedience] attractive to them on earth, and I will mislead them all
That is, thou hast beguiled me by commanding me to bow down before a creature who is inferior to me: for it is obvious that I could not obey such an order. Therefore, I will now beguile them and disobey Thee. In other words, Iblis meant to say: I will make the worldly life, its enjoyments and its transitory benefits so alluring for man that he will forget the responsibilities of the vicegerent of Allah, and that he shall have to render his account in the Hereafter. They will also forget Thee and will disobey Thee, even though they would profess to remember Thee.
( 40 )   Except, among them, Your chosen servants."
( 41 )   [Allah] said, "This is a path [of return] to Me [that is] straight.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
To be sincere in the worship of Allah is to obtain purification from all stain of evil and exemption from all influence of evil. It changes the whole nature of man. After that, evil cannot touch him. Evil will acknowledge him to be beyond its power and will not even tempt him. Apart from such purified souls, everyone who worships Allah invites Allah's grace to protect him. But if he puts himself in the way of wrong and deliberately chooses evil, he must take the consequences. The blame is not even on Satan, the power of evil, it is on the sinner himself, who puts himself into his power; xiv. 22: xv. 42.
( 42 )   Indeed, My servants - no authority will you have over them, except those who follow you of the deviators.
This (verse 42) also may have another meaning: You will have no power over My servants (common people) to force them to disobey Me. However, We will give freedom of action to those who will willingly or deliberately follow you, and we will not forcibly prevent them from your way, if they intended to follow you.

According to the first rendering, these verses will mean this: The way followed by My sincere servants is the only straight way to reach Me. Satan will have no power over those people who follow it, for I will choose them to be My own servants. Satan himself admitted that he will not be able to entice them. On the contrary, he will succeed in beguiling those people who themselves will deviate from the way of obedience. They will then wander farther and farther away following his temptations and allurements.

According to the second meaning, the passage will mean this: When Satan challenged that he would beguile people from the way of Allah by making this worldly life very tempting to them, Allah accepted his challenge but made it clear to him that he was being allowed only to beguile people with temptation, but was not being given any power to force them to deviate from the right way. At this, Satan clarified that his challenge did not apply to those people whom Allah will choose for Himself. As this exception might have led to a misunderstanding that Allah may choose any people for Himself to keep them safe and secure from the reach of Satan, Allah clarified it, saying: Only that person will follow you, who himself will deviate from the right way. As a corollary to this, that person, who will not deviate from the right way will not follow you, and will, thus become Our servant, whom We will choose for Our self.
( 43 )   And indeed, Hell is the promised place for them all.
In order to comprehend the purpose for which the story of Prophet Adam and Satan has been related here, we should keep in mind the context in which this has occurred. In the preceding (verses 1-25), it has been stated that the disbelievers were following the ways of deviation that would lead them to perdition. This story has been related to warn them that the ways they were following were the ways of Satan, their eternal enemy, so as to say: You should realize the consequences of following Satan, who has enticed you in this snare, and is leading you to the lowest depths of degradation because of this enmity and envy. In contrast to this, Our Prophet is doing his utmost to free you from his snare and lead you to the height of success, which as a man you should desire to achieve. But it is a pity that you are regarding your enemy (Satan) as your friend, and your friend (Our Prophet) as your enemy.

Secondly, the story also makes quite clear to them this thing: "There is only one way of salvation and that is the way of obedience to Allah. If you discard this way, every other way will be a way of Satan which will take you directly to Hell. Then this story is meant to bring home to them this fact: You yourselves are responsible for your wrong deeds and not Satan; for, the most he can do is to beguile you from the obedience of Allah and hold temptations before you. It is, therefore, your own concern and responsibility to be beguiled or not to be beguiled by Satan. "
( 44 )   It has seven gates; for every gate is of them a portion designated."
Sinners will be divided into different groups in accordance with their different sins for their entry into Hell from seven different gates specified for each different sin. For instance, the group of atheists shall enter into Hell by one of the seven gates specified for their group. Likewise, mushriks, hypocrites, self-seekers, sensualists, tyrants, propagandists and leaders of disbelief etc. shall each enter into Hell through the gates specified for their group.

Ruku / Section 4 [45-60]
 Verses 45-50 The righteous will be awarded paradise:
( 45 )   Indeed, the righteous will be within gardens and springs.( 46 )   [Having been told], "Enter it in peace, safe [and secure]."
( 47 )   And We will remove whatever is in their breasts of resentment, [so they will be] brothers, on thrones facing each other.
That is, if any spite might have been caused in their hearts in this world because of misunderstandings between the pious people, it shall be removed at the time of their entry into Paradise and they will bear no ill feelings there against each other.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Cf. vii. 43, and n. 1021. The hearts and minds will be so purified that all past rancour, jealousy, or sense of injury will be obliterated. The true Brotherhood will be realized there, when each will have his own dignity, there will be no question of invidious comparisons; each will face the others with joy and confidence. There will be no sense of toil or fatigue, and the joy will last for ever.
( 48 )   No fatigue will touch them therein, nor from it will they [ever] be removed.
This verse is explained by the following tradition: It will be announced to the dwellers of the Gardens: Now you will remain hale and hearty forever and shall never fall ill, now you will enjoy eternal life and shall never die, now you will remain young forever and never grow old, and now you will remain forever in Paradise and shall never have to move away from it. There are other traditions that further elucidate life in Paradise to this effect: The dwellers shall have no toil to perform for their livelihood and necessities of life. They will get everything without any labor whatsoever.

نَبِّئۡ عِبَادِىۡۤ اَنِّىۡۤ اَنَا الۡغَفُوۡرُ الرَّحِيۡمُۙ‏ 
( 49 )   [O Muhammad], inform My servants that it is I who am the Forgiving, the Merciful.
Two attributes of Allah " الۡغَفُوۡرُ "   and   " الرَّحِيۡمُۙ‏" have been used here. We must realize both sides of Allah's attributes: His mercy, grace, and forgiveness are unbounded; if we reject all this, His justice and punishment will also be beyond all that we can conceive.

Please refer to post 99 Attributes of Allah for detailed explanation.
( 50 )   And that it is My punishment which is the painful punishment.
Verses 51-60 Prophet Ibrahim is given the good news of a son by two angels:
( 51 )   And inform them about the guests of Abraham,
The story of Prophets Abraham and Lot (peace be upon them) has been related to tell the disbelievers of Makkah how angels come down with truth. This was in response to their demand: Why do you not bring angels before us, if what you say is true? (Ayat 7). Then, only this brief answer was given: We do not send down angels in this way. When they come down, they come down with truth (Ayat 8). Now these two events are cited as two concrete forms of truth with which the angels came, as if to ask the disbelievers: Now decide for yourselves which of these two forms of truth would you want angels to bring to you. It is obvious that you do not deserve that truth which was sent to Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him). Do you then desire that truth which the angels brought to the people of Prophet Lot (peace be upon him)?

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
In illustration of the contrasts between Good and Evil, and the consequences that flow from them, we have now a reference to four incidents from the past, viz.: (1) an incident from the story of Abraham; (2) from that of Lot, nephew of Abraham, and the end of the Cities of the Plain, which he was sent to warn; (3) the People of the Wood; and (4) the People of the Rocky Tract (Hijr), after whom this Surah is called. As usual, the recital of Allah's abounding grace comes first.
( 52 )   When they entered upon him and said, "Peace." [Abraham] said, "Indeed, we are fearful of you."
For a full understanding of this reference to the angels who were Abraham's guests and came to announce the birth of a son to him in his old age, read Surah xi. Houd: 69-73. The appearance of two strangers of uncommon appearance, who refused to partake of the host's sumptuous hospitality, made Abraham at first suspicious and afraid.
( 53 )   [The angels] said, "Fear not. Indeed, we give you good tidings of a learned boy."
“A boy possessing knowledge”, Prophet Isaac (peace be upon him). His name has been mentioned in connection with this good news in Surah xi. Houd, Ayat 71.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The birth of a son in old age, to a son-less father was glad tidings to Abraham personally. The birth of a son endowed with wisdom promised something infinitely more. Considering that the angels were divine messengers, the wisdom referred to was divine wisdom, and the event became an event of prime importance in the world's religious history. For Abraham became, through his progeny, the root of the three great universal religions, diffused throughout the world.
( 54 )   He said, "Have you given me good tidings although old age has come upon me? Then of what [wonder] do you inform?"( 55 )   They said, "We have given you good tidings in truth, so do not be of the despairing."( 56 )   He said, "And who despairs of the mercy of his Lord except for those astray?"( 57 )   [Abraham] said, "Then what is your business [here], O messengers?"
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
When cordial understanding was established between Abraham and his guests and probably when the guests were about to depart, Abraham put a question to them: "What is the mission on which you are going?" It was further implied: "Is there anything I can do to help?" But no. The mission was one of Punishment for abominable sins. Note that the mention of Allah's Wrath is always linked with that of Allah's Mercy, and the Mercy comes first. The same angels that came to punish Sodom and Gomorrah were charged first to give the good news of Allah's Mercy to Abraham in the shape of a long line of Teachers of Righteousness.
( 58 )   They said, "Indeed, we have been sent to a people of criminals,
The fact that the angels did not name the people of Lot (peace be upon him) but merely referred to them as the wicked people, shows that these people had become so notorious for their wicked deeds that there was no need to mention them by name before Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him), who was well acquainted with the moral condition of all the people around him.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The Cities of the Plain round the Dead Sea, which to this day is called the Bahr Lut. They were given to unspeakable abominations. Read in this connection Surah xi. Houd: 77- 83.
( 59 )   Except the family of Lot; indeed, we will save them all
( 60 )   Except his wife." Allah decreed that she is of those who remain behind.
See xi. 81

Ruku / Section 5 [61-79]
Verses 61-79 The same angels came to Prophet Lut and executed Allah's decree of stoning to death the nation of homosexuals:
( 61 )   And when the messengers came to the family of Lot,
Please compare this with (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayats 80-84) and (Surah Houd, Ayats 77-83).

Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
Al means people who adhere to the ways and teaching of a great Teacher; e.g., Al-u-Muhammad: it does not necessarily mean race or descendants. Ahl (xv. 65 below) usually implies "household" but may be taken in an extended sense to include People generally, see xv. 67. Qaum (xv. 62) may be any collection or aggregate of people. In xi. 70 the hostile inhabitants of the Cities of the Plain are called the qaum-u-Lut (the People of Lut). Ashab (companions) refers to a Group rather than to a People: Cf. xv; 78.
( 62 )   He said, "Indeed, you are people unknown."
Here the story has been related in brief. But we learn from (Surah Houd, Ayats 77-83) that Prophet Lot (peace be upon him) was greatly perturbed and distressed at the visit of the angels. He said to himself, “This is a day of woe.” The reason why he was distressed, as implied in the Quran and explicitly expressed in the traditions, was that the angels had come to Prophet Lot (peace be upon him) in the form of beautiful boys, and he knew how perverse and wicked his people were. He was distressed for he could not send them away because they were his guests, and because he did not know how to protect them from those villains.
( 63 )   They said, "But we have come to you with that about which they were disputing,
Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
The unusual appearance of the angels struck Lot as it had struck Abraham. Knowing the abominable vices to which the Cities were addicted, he feared to entertain handsome young men. They at once disclosed their mission to him. In effect they said: "You, Lot, have been preaching in vain to these wicked Cities. When you warn them of their inevitable end: Destruction, they laugh and doubt. Now their doubt will be resolved. Their destruction will be accomplished before the morning."
( 64 )   And we have come to you with truth, and indeed, we are truthful.
Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
Al-Haqq: the Punishment which is justly and inevitably due, which must certainly come to pass. Cf. xxii. 18.
( 65 )   So set out with your family during a portion of the night and follow behind them and let not anyone among you look back and continue on to where you are commanded."
That is, you should walk behind your people lest anyone of them should stay behind.

It did not mean: “look not behind thee, lest thou be consumed,” as stated in the Bible. But it merely meant to warn them: None of you should turn round to see what was happening behind them lest you should stop to see when you heard the cries of the smitten people. For it is neither the time nor the place viewing the destruction nor shedding tears of regret. If you stop even for a minute in the territory of the smitten people you also might get hurt from the rain of stones.
( 66 )   And We conveyed to him [the decree] of that matter: that those [sinners] would be eliminated by early morning.
Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
As the last remnants of the wicked were to be cut off, and as the Mercy of Allah wished to save every true soul who might be with Lot, Allah's decree was made known to Lot, so that he might save his adherents.
( 67 )   And the people of the city came rejoicing.
This shows that those People had gone to the lowest depths of immorality. No sooner did they hear the news of the arrival of handsome strangers in their town than they rushed rejoicing to the house of Prophet Lot (peace be upon him) and impudently demanded that he should hand over his guests to them for the gratification of their lust. The pity is that there had remained not a single person among them to make a protest against such a heinous sin. Moreover, this shows that all of them, as a community, had totally lost every sense of decency, and they felt no shame at all to make such a wicked demand on him openly. The very fact, that they felt no hesitation in making such a wicked demand brazen facedly from a pious and holy man like Prophet Lot (peace be upon him), shows that the heinous crime was so common among them that they would not spare anyone.

The Talmud records many instances of the all round moral degradation of the people of Lot. Once a stranger was passing through their territory. As the darkness approached, he was forced to pass the night near Sodom. As he had his own provisions with him, he did not stand in any need of help from the town’s folks, so he lay under a tree to pass the night. But a Sodomite entreated him to accompany him to his house. During the night he did away with the donkey and merchandise of the stranger. When he began to cry for help in the morning, the town’s folk came there not to help him but to rob him of what had been left with him.

On one occasion Sarah sent her slave to Sodom to inquire after Prophet Lot’s household. When the slave entered the town, he saw that a Sodomite was beating a stranger. Naturally the slave of Sarah tried to rouse his sense of decency, saying, why do you ill treat helpless strangers like this? In answer to this appeal, his head was broken in public.

On another occasion a poor man happened to come to Sodom but no one gave him anything to eat. When he was half dead with starvation, he fell to the ground in a helpless plight. A daughter of Prophet Lot saw him and sent some food for him. At this the Sodomites reproached Prophet Lot and his daughter and threatened to expel them from there if they would not refrain from such deeds.

After citing several similar incidents, the Talmud says that those people had become so cruel, so deceitful and so dishonest in their dealings that no traveler could pass safe through their territory nor could a poor person expect any food or help from them. Many a time it so happened that a poor stranger came there, and died from hunger. Then they would strip the clothes from his body and bury him naked. If a foreigner committed the blunder of visiting their territory, they would publicly rob him of everything, and make fool of him if he appealed to them to redress the wrong. Then they would openly commit shameless deeds in the gardens which they had grown in their valley because there was none to rebuke them except Prophet Lot (peace be upon him). The Quran has summed up the whole of their wicked story in two concise sentences: (1) They had already been committing very wicked deeds, (Surah Houd, Ayat 78), and (2) You gratify your lust with males: you rob travelers, and you commit wicked deeds publicly in your assemblies.

Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
They were addicted to unnatural crime, and the news of the advent of handsome youg men inflamed them. How true it is that at the very verge of destruction, men rush blindly to their fate, and cut off any last hope of repentance and mercy for themselves. Cf. xv. 72 below.
( 68 )   [Lot] said, "Indeed, these are my guests, so do not shame me.( 69 )   And fear Allah and do not disgrace me."( 70 )   They said, "Have we not forbidden you from [protecting] people?"
Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
I understand the meaning to be that Lot, the only righteous man in the City, had frequently remonstrated with the inhabitants against their unnatural crimes, and they had forbidden him to speak to them again on behalf of any one, "as if" (they might tauntingly say) "he was the protector of all and sundry." Some Commentators understand the verse to mean: 'Did we not forbid thee to entertain any strangers?'
( 71 )   [Lot] said, "These are my daughters - if you would be doers [of lawful marriage]."
In (E.N. 87 of Surah Houd), it has been explained what Prophet Lot (peace be upon him) meant by this. It may also be added that such words as these were uttered by an honorable man like him in the last resort, when all his entreaties and earnest requests had failed to prevent those people from their evil designs towards his guests.

Here it will be worthwhile to clear the significance of the words which were uttered by Prophet Lot (peace be upon him) as they occur in Surah Houd (Ayat 78). When he entreated those wicked people not to molest his guests, saying, “Here are my daughters”, he was unaware that his guests were angels in the disguise of handsome boys. The angels revealed their identity only when the wicked crowd gathered at the residence of his guests and began to threaten them with their wicked designs, and Prophet Lot (peace be upon him) began to lament, “I wish I had the power to set you right or I could find some strong support for refuge.” It was then that the angels revealed themselves, saying, “We are envoys sent by your Lord.” This sequence of events shows that Prophet Lot (peace be upon him) had made that offer only when he had felt to be utterly helpless. It is very important to keep this in view because the sequence of events in this Surah is different from that in Surah Houd. One is liable to have a misunderstanding as to why Prophet Lot (peace be upon him) wailed and lamented when he knew all the while that his guests were angels and could defend themselves against those wicked people. As regards the apparent difference between the two sequences, it may be pointed out that here the important thing to be stated is that the angels come with the truth. Therefore that part of the story (Ayats 61-66) has been related first in order to make the point more prominent.
( 72 )   By your life, [O Muhammad], indeed they were, in their intoxication, wandering blindly.
The wild, mad fury of passion and sin attains its own destruction and cuts off the last hope of repentance or mercy.
فَاَخَذَتۡهُمُ الصَّيۡحَةُ مُشۡرِقِيۡنَۙ‏ 
( 73 )   So the shriek seized them at sunrise.
Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
As-Saihat, the mighty Blast, is mentioned as accompanying earthquakes: Cf. xi. 67-94. Here it was the violent wind and noise accompanying the shower of brimstone, possibly with some volcanic action.
فَجَعَلۡنَا عَالِيـَهَا سَافِلَهَا وَ اَمۡطَرۡنَا عَلَيۡهِمۡ حِجَارَةً مِّنۡ سِجِّيۡلٍؕ‏ 
( 74 )   And We made the highest part [of the city] its lowest and rained upon them stones of hard clay.
Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
Cf. xi. 82, in which the word Sijjil and its origin are explained.
( 75 )   Indeed in that are signs for those who discern.( 76 )   And indeed, those cities are [situated] on an established road.
That is, that smitten territory lies on the high road from Hijaz (Arabia) to Syria and Egypt. Travelers come across these signs of destruction which are very prominent in the territory that lies to the southeast of the Dead Sea. The geographers are of the opinion that there is no other land on the surface of the Earth which looks desolate as this territory, especially its southern part.

Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
The Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were utterly destroyed, and even their precise position cannot be identified. But the brimstone plain of the tract still exists, right on the highway between Arabia and Syria. To the traveler in the neighbourhood of the Dead Sea the whole locality presents a scene of dismal desolation which truly suggests the awful punishment for unspeakable crimes.
( 77 )   Indeed in that is a sign for the believers.
Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
Verse 75 refers to all who have the intelligence to grasp the Signs of Allah. Verses 76-77 specially refer to those who use the Arabia-Syria highroad. The desolation is specially brought home to them.
( 78 )   And the companions of the thicket were [also] wrongdoers.
The people of Al-Aikah were the community of Prophet Shuaib (peace be upon him) and were called Midianites after the name of their capital city and their territory. As regards Al-Aikah, it was the ancient name of Tabuk and literally means a thick forest.

Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
"Companions of the Wood": As-hab ul Aikati. Perhaps Aika is after all a proper noun, the name of a town or tract. Who were the Companions of the Aika? They are mentioned four times in the Qur'an, viz., here, and in xxvi. 176-191; xxxviii. 13; and 1. 14. The only passage in which any details are given is xxvi. 176-191. There we are told that their Prophet was Shu'aib, and other details given correspond to those of the Madyan, to whom Shu'aib was sent as Prophet;, see vii. 85-93. In my notes to that passage I have discussed the question of Shu'aib and the Madyan people. It is reasonable to suppose that the Companions of the Wood were either the same as the Madyan, or a Group among them or in their neighbourhood.
( 79 )   So We took retribution from them, and indeed, both [cities] are on a clear highway.
Median lay on the route from Hijaz to Palestine and Syria.

Ruku / Section 6 [80-99]
Verses 80-86 Punishment to the people of Hijr for their disbelief:
( 80 )   And certainly did the companions of Thamud deny the messengers.
Al-Hijr was the capital city of the people of Thamud, and its ruins are found near the modern city of Al-Ula which is to the north west of Al-Madinah, and lies on the route from AI-Madinah to Tabuk. Though the caravans had to pass through the valley of Al-Hijr, the Prophet (peace be upon him) had forbidden the Muslims to stay in the valley on their journey.

When Ibn Batutah reached there in the eighth century of Hijrah on his way to Makkah, he wrote: I have seen the buildings of Thamud hewed into red mountains; the paintings look so bright as if they have been put on only recently, and rotten bones of human beings are found in them even today." See (Surah 7 Al-Aaraf: 73).

Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
"The Rocky Tract" is undoubtedly a geographical name. On the maps of Arabia will be found a tract called the Hijr, north of Medina,  Jabal Hijr is about 150 miles north of Madinah. The tract would fall on the highway to Syria. This was the country of the Thamud.
( 81 )   And We gave them Our signs, but from them they were turning away.( 82 )   And they used to carve from the mountains, houses, feeling secure.
Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
Remains of these rock edifices in the Hijr are still found, and the City of Petra is not more than 380 miles from Jabal Hijr.  "Petra" in Greek means "Rock".
( 83 )   But the shriek seized them at early morning.
The mighty rumbling noise and wind accompanying an earthquake. See vii. 78.
( 84 )   So nothing availed them [from] what they used to earn.( 85 )   And We have not created the heavens and earth and that between them except in truth. And indeed, the Hour is coming; so forgive with gracious forgiveness.
This was to reassure the Prophet (peace be upon him) that ultimately he would come out successful because he was propagating the truth, and the entire universe was based on truth. Such an assurance was urgently needed because at that time falsehood appeared to be triumphant over the truth. This implies: O Prophet, do not worry at all at the apparent success of falsehood for this is temporary. Likewise the difficulties, the obstacles and the troubles in the way of truth are not permanent. Take courage, and have confidence in the cause of the truth and you will triumph over falsehood because the whole system of the universe is akin to truth and averse to falsehood. Therefore, truth is permanent and falsehood is perishable. Refer to Surah Ibrahim.

Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
Allah's Creation is all for a true, just, and righteous purpose. Cf. x. 5. It is not for mere whim or sport. xxi. 16.

The Hour will not be long delayed when the true Design and Pattern of Life will be manifest. We must not be impatient, if there appear to be, to our limited vision, apparent injustices. We must bear and forbear, and as far as our own personal feelings are concerned, we must overlook other people's faults with "a gracious forgiveness".
اِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ الۡخَـلّٰقُ الۡعَلِيۡمُ‏ 
( 86 )   Indeed, your Lord - He is the Knowing Creator.
These attributes of Allah have been mentioned to reassure the Prophet (peace be upon him) as if to say: As Allah is the Creator, He has complete power over all his creatures, and no one is able to escape His punishment. Moreover, He is All-Knowing. He is fully aware that you are exerting your utmost for their reform, and He knows also their evil machinations against your efforts for reform. Therefore, you need not worry on this account, but you should wait patiently and with confidence that at the appropriate time they will be dealt with justly.

Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
Khallaq: the emphatic intensive form, as meaning the Creator, Who is perfect in His skill and knowledge, and Whose creation answers perfectly to His design. Therefore no one should think that anything has gone wrong in Allah's creation. What may seem out of joint is merely the result of our short-sighted standards. It often happens that what appears to us to be evil or imperfect or unjust is a reflection of our own imperfect minds. See the next two verses and notes.

Verses 87-99 Al-Fatiha is also called, "Seven verses worthy of oft-recitation" And Proclaim the commandments of Allah publicly and turn away from the Mushrikin

Allah created the heaven and the earth and everything in between with a purpose.  The Hour will come (where the truth will become apparent), so Prophet Muhammad is advised to overlook and forgive their misbehavior.  Allah reminds Prophet Muhammad that He gave him great blessings like the seven oft-repeated verses (the opening chapter of Quran) and the Quran, in which there is light and guidance – so do not look at this world and its attractions, or the transient delights that we have given to its people.  Do not envy what they have in this world, and do not upset yourself with regret for their rejection of you and their opposition to your message.  Prophet Muhammad is further told to be kind to the believers and to tell the people that he is nothing except a warner.  All will be questioned about their behaviour including those who invented lies about the Quran just as others invented lies about their own scriptures.  Deliver the message and turn away from those who associate others with God. 
( 87 )   And We have certainly given you, [O Muhammad], seven of the often repeated [verses] and the great Qur'an.
These seven verses which are recited over and over again in every prescribed salat are the verses of Surah Al- Fatihah. Though some of the commentators are of the view that this Al-Mathani, refers to the seven Surahs which contain two hundred or more verses, that is, Surahs 2-7 and (8-9) or 10. But the majority of the early commentators opine that it refers to Al-Fatihah. Imam Bukhari has cited two authentic traditions in support of the view that it refers to Al-Fatihah.

The mention of the precious gift of the glorious Quran has been made also to console the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his followers that they should not even look at the worldly wealth of their opponents because that was nothing as compared with this precious wealth. In order to grasp the full significance of this, one should keep in view the fact that at that time the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his companions were suffering badly from poverty. The trading activities of the Prophet (peace be upon him) had almost come to an end during the period in which he had been engaged in his mission. Besides this, he had almost used up the entire wealth of Khaijah (may Allah be pleased with her). As regards to his companions, some of the young men had been turned out of their homes and reduced to poverty. The economic boycott had mined the business of those who were engaged in trade. There were others who were mere slaves or proteges of the Quraish and had no economic position whatsoever. In addition to their sad economic plight, all the Muslims, along with the Prophet (peace be upon him), were suffering persecution from the people of Makkah and its surroundings. In short, they were so much persecuted, ridiculed and insulted that no one of them was safe from physical and mental torture. On the other side, the Quraish, their opponents and persecutors, enjoyed all the good things of this world, and lived lives of happiness and luxury. This is the background of the reassurance given to the believers, as if to say: Why should you feel disheartened at this? We have given you wealth which surpasses all kinds of worldly riches. Therefore, your opponents should envy your knowledge and high morals; you need not envy their ill canned wealth and their wicked enjoyments, for when they will go before their Lord, they themselves will find that they had not brought such wealth as carries any value there.

Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
The Seven Oft-repeated Verses are usually understood to be the Opening Sura, the Fatiha. They sum up the whole teaching of the Qur'an. What can be a more precious gift to a Muslim than the glorious Qur'an or any Surah of it? Worldly wealth, honour, possessions, or anything else, sinks into insignificance in comparison with it.
( 88 )   Do not extend your eyes toward that by which We have given enjoyment to [certain] categories of the disbelievers, and do not grieve over them. And lower your wing to the believers
That is, do not grieve that they consider you as their enemy, though you are their sincere well wisher; that they regard their vices as their virtues; that they are not only themselves following but leading their followers on that way which inevitably leads to destruction. Nay, they are doing their best to oppose the reformative efforts of the one who is showing them the way of peace.

Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
It may be that other people have worldly goods which worldly men envy. Do they necessarily bring happiness? Even the temporary pleasure that they may give is not unmixed with spiritual poisons, and even so, will not last. The man of God looks with wistful eyes at other things,-the favour and countenance of Allah.

The Prophet of Allah, in his human love and sympathy, may grieve over certain classes of people who are puffed up with false notions and callous to the Message of Allah. But he should not make himself unhappy. There is no flaw in Allah's Plan, and it must prevail. This was addressed in the first instance to Al-Mustafa, but in a minor degree, it applies to all righteous men.

The metaphor is from a bird who lowers her wing in tender solicitude for her little ones. Cf. xvii. 24, where it is applied to "lowering the wing" to aged parents.
( 89 )   And say, "Indeed, I am the clear warner"
Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
In the ministry of Al-Mustafa there was no mincing of matters, no compromises with evil. Evil was denounced in unambiguous terms. Mubin implies both openness and clearness, i.e. freedom from ambiguity.
( 90 )   Just as We had revealed [scriptures] to the separators
Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
The Commentators differ as to the precise signification of verses 90 and 91. Are the persons referred to in the two verses the same, or different? And who were they? I adopt the view, for which there is good authority, that the two classes of persons were different but similar. Verse 90, I think, refers to the Jews and Christians, who took out of Scripture what suited them, and ignored or rejected the rest: ii. 85, 101. For verse 91 see next note.
( 91 )   Who have made the Qur'an into portions.
The schismatic were the Jews for they had split their religion into many parts and caused division in it. They believed in certain parts and rejected the other parts, and detracted some things from it and added others to it. Thus they had been divided into many sectarian groups, which were opposed to one another.

“They have made the Quran (Torah) into pieces” means that they believe in certain parts of it and reject other parts. The same thing has been stated in (Surah Al- Baqarah, Ayat 85) like this: Do you then believe in one part of the Scriptures and disbelieve in the other parts.

This warning is like the warning We sent to the schismatic Jews. This is meant to warn the disbelievers that they should learn a lesson from the plight of the Jews who neglected the warning that was given to than by God, and persisted in their wrong ways, as if to say: You are beholding the degradation of the Jews. Do you like to meet with the same end by neglecting this warning?

Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
The Makkan Pagans, in the early days of Islam, in order to dishonour and ridicule the Qur-an, divided what was so far revealed, into bits, and apportioned them to people coming on pilgrimage to Makkah by different routes, slandering and abusing the Prophet of Allah.
( 92 )   So by your Lord, We will surely question them all( 93 )   About what they used to do.
Those who ridicule Scripture in any form will all be called to account for their insolence, for they are all alike.
( 94 )   Then declare what you are commanded and turn away from the polytheists.( 95 )   Indeed, We are sufficient for you against the mockers
Yusuf Ali's Explanation:
If the whole world is ranged against the Prophet of Allah, as was at one time the case with the Prophet, and scoffs at all that is sacred, the sense of Allah's presence and protection outweighs all. And after all, the scoffers are creatures of a day. Soon will they find their level, and be undeceived as to all their falsehoods. But the Truth of Allah endures for ever.
( 96 )   Who make [equal] with Allah another deity. But they are going to know.( 97 )   And We already know that your breast is constrained by what they say.
Literally, 'that thy breast is constrained.'
( 98 )   So exalt [Allah] with praise of your Lord and be of those who prostrate [to Him].
( 99 )   And worship your Lord until there comes to you the certainty (death).
That is Salat and worship of your Lord are the only means which can generate in you that power of sustenance which is required to stand resolutely against the troubles and afflictions you will inevitably encounter in the propagation of the message of the truth and reform of humanity. This will comfort you, fill you with courage and enable you to perform that divine mission for which you have been sent in the face of abuse, derision and obstacles.

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sūrah Al-Ḥijr 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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