Sunday 22 November 2020

Surah ʻAbasa - He Frowned: Exegesis 80th Chapter of Quran

Sūrah ʻAbasa " 
سورة عَبَسَ " is the eightieth sürah with 42 āyāt with two rukus, part of the 30th Juzʼ  of the Holy Qur'ān. The Surah is so designated after the word `abasa " عَبَسَ " with which it opens.

This is an early Makkan Surah, and is connected with an incident which reflects the highest honour on the Prophet's sincerity in the Revelations that : vouchsafed to him even if they seemed to reprove him for some natural human zeal that led him to a false step in his mission according to his own standards.

He was once deeply and earnestly engaged in trying to explain the holy Quran to Pagan Quraish leaders, when he was interrupted by a blind man, Adullah ibn Umm-i-Muktiim, one who was also poor, so that no one took notice of him. He wanted to learn the Our-an. The holy Prophet naturally disliked the interruption. Perhaps the poor man's feelings were hurt. But he whose gentle heart ever sympathized with the poor and the afflicted, got new light from above, and without the least hesitation published this revelation, which forms part of the sacred scripture of Islam, as described in verses 13-16. And the Prophet always afterwards held the man in high honour.

The incident was only a passing incident, but after explaining the eternal principles of revelation, the Surah recapitulates the Mercies of Allah to man and consequences of a good or a wicked life here, as seen in the world to come, lie Hereafter.

We have already presented the overview / summary of the sürah. A quick preview of the Surah leaves a profound effect on the reader. Its message and its implications are so powerful that no human heart can avoid being deeply touched, even by a quick perusal of it. Let us now read the verse by verse translation and exegesis / tafseer in English. You may also listen to commentary on the surah by eminent scholar Nouman Ali Khan at the end of the post:

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

عَبَسَ وَتَوَلّٰٓىۙ‏ 
( 1 )   The (Prophet) frowned and turned away

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
The Prophet being reprimanded because He frowned at a Weak Man: More than one of the scholars of Tafsir mentioned that one day the Messenger of Allah was addressing one of the great leaders of the Quraysh while hoping that he would accept Islam. While he was speaking in direct conversation with him, Ibn Umm Maktum came to him, and he was of those who had accepted Islam in its earliest days. He (Ibn Umm Maktum) then began asking the Messenger of Allah about something, urgently beseeching him. The Prophet hoped that the man would be guided, so he asked Ibn Umm Maktum to wait for a moment so he could complete his conversation. He frowned in the face of Ibn Umm Maktum and turned away from him in order to face the other man. 

Thus, Allah revealed, (He frowned and turned away. Because there came to him the blind man. And how can you know that he might become pure) meaning, he may attain purification and cleanliness in his soul.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: See the Introduction to this Surah for the incident to which this refers. The lesson is that neither spiritual worth nor the prospect of effective spiritual guidance is to be measured by a man's position in life. The poor, or the blind, the halt, or the maimed, may be more susceptible to the teaching of Allah's Word than men who are apparently gifted, but who suffer from arrogance and self-sufficiency.

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation:
The Surah opens by criticizing the Prophet’s behavior laying down clearly the values and principles upon which Islamic society is founded. Not only was he corrected but the error in his approach was also pointed out. When a person embarks on the mission of spreading the message of Islam, it’s natural that he approaches the influential people in the society first. It is not because he regards rich as noble and poor as contemptible but rather it makes the task easy for even if his invitation spreads among the poor and weak people, it cannot make much difference. The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam also adopted almost the same method in the beginning. His motive was sincere and he desired promotion of Islam. He did not discriminate between the rich and poor.

اَنۡ جَآءَهُ الۡاَعۡمٰىؕ‏ 
( 2 )   Because there came to him the blind man, [interrupting].
The style of this first sentence is elegant and subtle. Although in the following sentences the Prophet (peace be upon him) has been directly addressed, which by itself shows that the act of frowning and turning aside had issued forth from him, the discourse has been opened in a manner as though it was not him but someone else who had so acted. By this style the Prophet (peace be upon him), by a subtle method, has been made to realize that it was an act unseemly for him. Had somebody familiar with his high morals witnessed it, he would have thought that it was not him but some other person who had behaved in that manner.

The blind man referred to here implies, as we have explained in the Introduction, the well-known companion, Ibn Umm Maktum. Hafiz Ibn Abdul Barr in Al-Istiab and Hafiz Ibn Hajar in Al-Isbah have stated that he was a first cousin of the Prophet’s wife, Khadijah. His mother, Umm Maktum, and Khadijah’s father, Khuwailid, were sister and brother to each other. After one knows his relationship with the Prophet (peace be upon him), there remains no room for the doubt that he had turned away from him regarding him as a poor man having a low station in life, and attended to the high-placed people, for he was the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) brother-in-law and a man of noble birth. The reason why the Prophet (peace be upon him) had shown disregard for him is indicated by the word aama (blind man), which Allah Himself has used as the cause of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) inattention. That is, the Prophet (peace be upon him) thought that even if a single man from among the people whom he was trying to bring to the right path, listened to him and was rightly guided, be could become a powerful means of strengthening Islam. On the contrary, Ibn Umm Maktum was a blind man, who could not prove to be so useful for Islam because of his disability as could one of the Quraish elders on becoming a Muslim. Therefore, he should not interrupt the conversation at that time; whatever he wanted to ask or learn, he could ask or learn at some later time.

وَمَا يُدۡرِيۡكَ لَعَلَّهٗ يَزَّكّٰٓىۙ‏ 
( 3 )   But what would make you perceive, [O Muhammad], that perhaps he might be purified

اَوۡ يَذَّكَّرُ فَتَنۡفَعَهُ الذِّكۡرٰىؕ‏ 
( 4 )   Or be reminded and the remembrance would benefit him?

Yusuf Ali Explanation: It may be that the poor blind man might, on account of his will to learn, be more likely to grow in his own spiritual development or to profit by any lessons taught to him even in report than a self-sufficient leader. In fact it was so. For the blind man became a true and sincere Muslim and lived to become a governor of Madinah.

اَمَّا مَنِ اسۡتَغۡنٰىۙ‏ 
( 5 )   As for he who thinks himself without need,

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Such a one would be a Pagan Quraish leader, whom the holy Prophet was anxious to get into his fold, in order that the work of preaching Allah's Message might be facilitated. But such a Message works first amongst the simple and lowly, the poor and despised folk, and the mighty ones of the earth only come in when the stream rushes in with irresistible force.

فَاَنۡتَ لَهٗ تَصَدّٰىؕ‏ 
( 6 )   To him you give attention.

وَمَا عَلَيۡكَ اَلَّا يَزَّكّٰٓىؕ‏ 
( 7 )   And not upon you [is any blame] if he will not be purified.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Allah's Message is for all, but if the great ones arrogantly keep back from it, it is no fault of the preacher, so long as he has proclaimed the Message. He should attend to all, and specially to the humble and lowly.

وَاَمَّا مَنۡ جَآءَكَ يَسۡعٰىۙ‏ 
( 8 )   But as for he who came to you striving [for knowledge]

وَهُوَ يَخۡشٰ
( 9 )   While he fears [Allah],

Yusuf Ali Explanation: The fear in the blind man's heart may have been two-fold. (1) He was humble and God-fearing, not arrogant and self-sufficient; (2) being poor and blind, he feared to intrude; yet his earnest desire to learn the Qur-an made him bold, and he came, perhaps unseasonably, but was yet worthy of encouragement, because of the purity of his heart.

فَاَنۡتَ عَنۡهُ تَلَهّٰى​ۚ‏ 
( 10 )   From him you are distracted.
This is the real point which the Prophet (peace be upon him) had overlooked in the preaching of Islam on that occasion, and for teaching him the same Allah first reproved him on his treatment of Ibn Umm Maktum, and then told him what really deserved to occupy his attention as preacher of the truth and what did not. There is a man whose apparent state clearly shows that he is a seeker after truth: he fears lest he should follow falsehood and invite Allah’s wrath; therefore, he comes all the way in search of the knowledge of the true faith. There is another man, whose attitude clearly reflects that he has no desire for the truth; rather on the contrary, he regards himself as selfsufficient, having no desire to be guided to the right way. Between these two kinds of men one should not see whose becoming a Muslim would be of greater use for Islam and whose becoming a believer could not be of any use in its propagation. But one should see as to who was inclined to accept the guidance and reform himself, and who was least interested in this precious bargain. The first kind of man, whether he is blind, lame, crippled or an indigent mendicant, who might apparently seem incapable of rendering any useful service in the propagation of Islam, is in any case a valuable man for the preacher to the truth. To him therefore he should attend, for the real object of this invitation is to reform the people, and the apparent state of the person shows that if he was instructed he would accept guidance. As for the other kind of man, the preacher has no need to pursue him, no matter how influential he is in society. For his attitude and conduct openly proclaim that he has no desire for reform; therefore, any effort made to reform him would be mere waste of time. If he has no desire to reform himself, he may not, the loss would be his, the preacher would not at all be accountable for it.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
meaning, `you are too busy.' Here Allah commands His Messenger not to single out anyone with the warning. Rather, he should equal warn the noble and the weak, the poor and the rich, the master and the slave, the men and the women, the young and the old. Then Allah will guide whomever He chooses to a path that is straight. He has the profound wisdom and the decisive proof. Abu Ya`la and Ibn Jarir both recorded from `A'ishah that she said about, (He frowned and turned away.) was revealed.'' At-Tirmirdhi recorded this Hadith but he did not mention that it was narrated by `A'ishah. I say it is reported like this in Al-Muwatta' as well.

كَلَّاۤ اِنَّهَا تَذۡكِرَةٌ ۚ‏
( 11 )   No! Indeed, these verses are a reminder;
That is, you should never do so: do not give undue importance to those who have forgotten God and become proud of their high worldly position. The teaching of Islam is not such that it should be presented solicitously before him who spurns it, nor should a man like you try to invite these arrogant people to Islam in a way as may cause them the misunderstanding that you have a selfish motive connected with them, and that your mission would succeed only if they believed, otherwise not, whereas the fact is that the truth is as self-sufficient of them as they are of the truth.

The allusion is to the Quran.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
Meaning, this Surah, or this advice in conveying knowledge equally among people, whether they are of noble or low class. Qatadah and As-Suddi both said, (Nay; indeed it is an admonition.) "This means the Qur'an.''

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Allah's Message is a universal Message, from which no one is to be excluded, rich or poor, old or young, great or lowly, learned or ignorant. If anyone had the spiritual craving that needed satisfaction, he was to be given precedence if there was to be any question of precedence at all.

فَمَنۡ شَآءَ ذَكَرَهٗ​ۘ‏ 
( 12 )   So whoever wills may remember it.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
So whoever wills, he remembers Allah in all of his affairs. The pronoun could also be understood to be referring to the revelation since the conversation is alluding to it. Allah said:

فِىۡ صُحُفٍ مُّكَرَّمَةٍۙ‏ 
( 13 )   [It is recorded] in honored sheets,

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
(In Records held in honor, exalted, purified.) meaning, this Surah or this admonition. Both meanings are connected to each other. Actually, all of the Qur'an is in honored pages, meaning respected and revered.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: At the time this Surah was revealed, there were perhaps only about 42 or 45 Surahs in the hands of the Muslims. But it was a sufficient body of Revelation of high spiritual value, to which the description given here could be applied. It was held in the highest honor; its place in the hearts of Muslims was more exalted than that of anything else; as Allah's Word, it was pure and sacred; and those who transcribed it were men who were honorable, just and pious. The legend that the early Suras were not carefully written down and preserved in books is a pure invention. The recensions made later in the time of the first and the third Khalifas were merely to preserve the purity and safeguard the arrangement of the text at a time when the expansion of Islam among non-Arabic-speaking people made such precautions necessary.

مَّرۡفُوۡعَةٍ مُّطَهَّرَةٍ ۭۙ‏ 
( 14 )   Exalted and purified,
Purified: free from all kinds of mixtures of false ideas and thoughts, and presenting nothing but the pure truth. There is no tinge whatever in these scrolls of the impurities with which the other religious books of the world have been polluted. They have been kept pure and secure from all kinds of human speculation and evil suggestions.

بِاَيۡدِىۡ سَفَرَةٍۙ‏ 
( 15 )   [Carried] by the hands of messenger-angels,

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak, and Ibn Zayd, all said, "These are the angels.'' Al-Bukhari said, "Safarah (ambassadors) refers to the angels. They travel around rectifying matters between themselves. The angels when they descend with the revelation of Allah, bringing it like the ambassador who rectifies matters between people.''

كِرَامٍۢ بَرَرَةٍؕ‏ 
( 16 )   Noble and dutiful.
This refers to the angels who were writing the scrolls of the Quran under the direct guidance of Allah, were guarding them and conveying them intact to the Prophet (peace be upon him). Two words have been used to qualify them: karim, i.e. noble, and barara, i.e. virtuous. The first word is meant to say that they are so honored and noble that it is not possible that such exalted beings would commit even the slightest dishonesty in the trust reposed in them. The second word has been used to tell that they carry out the responsibility entrusted to them of writing down the scrolls, guarding them and conveying them to the Messenger with perfect honesty and integrity.

If the context in which these verses occur, is considered deeply, it becomes obvious that here the Quran has not been praised for the sake of its greatness and glory but to tell the arrogant people, who were repudiating its message with contempt, plainly: The glorious Quran is too holy and exalted a Book to be presented before you humbly with the request that you may kindly accept it if you so please. For it does not stand in need of you as you stand in need of it. If you really seek your well-being, you should clear your head of the evil thoughts and submit to its message humbly; otherwise you are not so self-sufficient of this Book as this Book is self-sufficient of you. Your treating it with scorn and contempt will not affect its glory and greatness at all, rather your own pride and arrogance will be ruined on account of it.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
(Honorable and obedient.) meaning, they are noble, handsome, and honorable in their creation. Their character and their deeds are righteous, pure and perfect. Here it should be noted that it is necessary for one who carries the Qur'an (i.e., the angel) to be following righteousness and guidance. 

Imam Ahmad recorded from `A'ishah that the Messenger of Allah said, (He who recites the Qur'an proficiently, will be with the noble, righteous, ambassador angels, and the one who recites it with difficulty will receive two rewards.) This Hadith was reported by the group.

قُتِلَ الۡاِنۡسَانُ مَاۤ اَكۡفَرَهٗؕ‏ 
( 17 )   Cursed is man; how disbelieving is he.
From here the rebuke turns directly against the disbelievers, who were treating the message of the truth with scant attention. Before this, from the beginning of the Surah to verse 16, the address though apparently directed to the Prophet (peace be upon him), was actually meant to reprimand the disbelievers, as if to say: O Prophet (peace be upon him), why are you ignoring a seeker after truth and paying all your attention to those who are worthless from your mission’s point of view? They do not deserve that a great Prophet like you should present a sublime thing like the Quran before them.

At all such places in the Quran, man does not imply every individual of the human race but the people whose evil traits of character are intended to be censured. At some places the word man is used because the evil traits are found in most of human beings, and at others for the reason that if the particular people are pin-pointed for censure, it engenders stubbornness. Therefore, admonition is given in general terms so as to be more effective. 

This subject has also been mentioned in 41st verse of Surah Ha Mim As- Sajdah as under; 
(41:49) Man wearies not of praying for good,65 but when evil visits him, he despairs and gives up all hope.
“For good”: For prosperity, abundance of provisions, good health, well-being of children, etc. And man here does not imply every human being for it also includes the prophet and the righteous people, who are free from this weakness as is being mentioned below. But here it implies the mean and shallow person who starts imploring God humbly when touched by harm and is beside himself with joy when he receives the good things of life as most human beings are involved in this weakness, it has been called a weakness of man.
And verse 42. of Surah 42. Ash-Shura:
(42:48) (O Prophet), if they turn away from the Truth, know that We did not send you to them as their overseer.74 Your task is only to convey (the Message). Indeed when We give man a taste of Our Mercy, he exults in it. But if any misfortune afflicts them on account of their deeds, man is utterly ungrateful.
That is, you have not been made responsible that you must bring them to the right path anyhow, nor will you be held accountable as to why these people did not come to the right path.
Man here implies the mean and shallow people who are the subject of the discourse here, who have gotten a measure of the worldly provisions and are exulting in this, and who do not pay any attention when they are admonished to come to the right path. But when they are visited by a disaster in consequence of their own misdeeds, they start cursing their fate, and forget all those blessings which Allah has blessed them with, and do not try to understand how far they themselves are to be blamed for the condition in which they are placed. Thus, neither does prosperity become conducive to their reformation nor can adversity teach them a lesson and bring them to the right path. A study of the context shows that this is, in fact, a satire on the attitude of the people who were the addressees of the above discourse, but they have not been addressed to tell them of their weakness directly, but the weakness of man has been mentioned in a general way and pointed out that what is the real cause of his sad plight. This gives an important point of the wisdom of preaching: the weaknesses of the addressee should not be made the target directly, but they should be mentioned in a general way so that he is not provoked, and if his conscience has still some life in it, he may try to understand his shortcoming with a cool mind.
Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
The Refutation against Whoever denies Life after Death: Allah rebukes those who deny the Resurrection and the Final Gathering. 

(Qutila mankind!) Ad-Dahhak reported from Ibn `Abbas that he said, (Qutila mankind!) "May man be cursed.'' Abu Malik also made a similar statement. He said, "This refers to the rejecting type of man, due to his abundant denial without any supporting argument. Rather he denies simply because he thinks it is farfetched and because he lacks knowledge of it.'' 

Ibn Jurayj said, (How ungrateful he is!) "This means none is worse in disbelief than he is.'' Qatadah said, (How ungrateful he is!) "This means none is more cursed than he is.'' Then Allah explains how He created him from something despised and that He is able to bring him back to life just as He created him initially.

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation:
In the second part of the Surah, man’s ungrateful attitude towards Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and his denial of Him come up for discussion. Here man is reminded of his origin; how his life is made easy; how Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala determines his death and resurrection; and how, after all this, he fails to carry out His orders, “Cursed is man; how disbelieving is he?” [80: 17]

مِنۡ اَىِّ شَىۡءٍ خَلَقَهٗؕ‏ 
( 18 )   From what substance did He create him?

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: He decreed his life span, his sustenance, his deeds, and whether he would be miserable or happy.

مِنۡ نُّطۡفَةٍؕ خَلَقَهٗ فَقَدَّرَهٗ ۙ‏
( 19 )   From a sperm-drop He created him and destined for him;
That is, let him first consider out of what he was created, where he was nourished and developed, by what way he came into the world, and from what helpless state he began his life in the world. Why does he forget his such beginning and becomes involved in conceit and haughtiness and why does he feel so puffed up as to resist his Creator and stand before Him as an adversary? (The same theme has been expressed in( Surah YaSeen, Ayats 77-78).

That is, he was yet developing and taking shape in his mother’s womb when his destiny was set for him. It was determined what would be his sex, his color, his size; the extent and volume of his body, the extent to which his limbs would be sound or unsound, his appearance and voice, the degree of physical strength and mental endowments, what would be the land, the family, the conditions and environments in which he would take birth, develop and be molded into a specific person, what would be the hereditary influences and effects of the surroundings and the role and impact of his own self in the make-up of his personality, the part he would play in his life of the world, and how long he would be allowed to function on the earth. He cannot swerve even a hair-breadth from his destiny, nor can effect the slightest alteration in it. Then, how strange is his daring and stubbornness! He commits disbelief of the Creator before Whose destiny he is so helpless and powerless.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Cf. lxxvi. 2. The origin of man as an animal is lowly indeed. But what further faculties and capacities has not Allah granted to man? Besides his animal body, in which also he shares in all the blessings which Allah has bestowed on the rest of His Creation, man has been granted divine gifts which entitle him to be called the Vicegerent on earth: ii. 30. He has a will; he has spiritual perception; he is capable of divine love; he can control nature within certain limits, and subject nature's forces to his own use. And he has been given the power of judgment, so that he can avoid excess and defect, and follow the middle path. And that path, as well as all that is necessary for his life in its manifold aspects, has been made easy for him.

ثُمَّ السَّبِيۡلَ يَسَّرَهٗۙ‏ 
( 20 )   Then He eased the way for him;
That is, He created all those means and provisions in the world, which he could utilize, otherwise all the capabilities of his body and mind would have remained useless, had not the Creator provided the means and created the possibilities on the earth to employ them. Furthermore, the Creator also gave him the opportunity to choose and adopt for himself whichever of the ways, good or evil, of gratitude or ingratitude, of obedience or disobedience that he pleased. He opened up both the ways before him and made each way smooth and easy so that he could follow any way that he liked.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas, "Then He made his coming out of his mother's belly easy for him.'' This was also said by `Ikrimah, Ad-Dahhak, Abu Salih, Qatadah, As-Suddi, and it was the explanation preferred by Ibn Jarir. Mujahid said, "This is similar to Allah's statement:
(Verily, We guided him on the path, he is either grateful or ungrateful.) (76:3) meaning, We explained it to him, clarified it, and made it easy for him to act upon.'' 
Al-Hasan and Ibn Zayd both said the same. This is the most correct view and Allah knows best. 

ثُمَّ اَمَاتَهٗ فَاَقۡبَرَهٗۙ‏ 
( 21 )   Then He causes his death and provides a grave for him.
That is, not only in the matter of birth and destiny but also in the matter of death he is absolutely helpless before his Creator. Neither can he take birth by his choice nor die by his choice, nor can defer his death even by a moment. He dies precisely at the appointed time, in the appointed place, under the appointed circumstances that have been decreed for his death, and he is deposited in the type of grave destined for him whether it is the belly of the earth, the depths of the sea, a bonfire or the stomach of a beast. Nothing to say of the man. The whole world together cannot change the Creator’s decree in respect of any person.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Cf. xx. 55. Death is an inevitable event after the brief life on this earth, but it is also in a sense a blessing, a release from the imperfections of this world, a close of the probationary period, after which will dawn the full Reality. "The Grave" may be understood to be the period between physical death and immortal Life, whatever may be the mode of disposal of the dead body. This intermediate period is the Barzakh or Partition: see  xxiii. 101.

ثُمَّ اِذَا شَآءَ اَنۡشَرَهٗؕ‏ 
( 22 )   Then when He wills, He will resurrect him.
That is, he does not either have the power to refuse to rise up when the Creator may will to resurrect him after death. When he was first created, he was not consulted: he was not asked whether he wanted to be created or not. Even if he had refused, he would have been created. Likewise, his resurrection is also not dependent upon his will and assent that he may rise from death if he so likes, or refuse to rise if he does not like. In this matter, he is also absolutely helpless before the Creator's will. Whenever He wills, He will resurrect him, and he will have to rise whether he likes it or not.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
He resurrects him after his death and this is called Al-Ba`th (resurrection) and An-Nushur (resuscitation). (And among His signs is this that He created you from dust, and then behold, you are human beings scattered.) (30:20)

(And look at the bones, how We bring them together and clothe them with flesh.) (2:259) In the Two Sahihs it is narrated by way of Al-A`mash from Abu Salih, from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet said, (All of the Sons of Adam (men) will decay except for the bone of coccyx (tailbone). From it he (man) was created and by it he will be reconstructed.)''

كَلَّا لَـمَّا يَقۡضِ مَاۤ اَمَرَهٗؕ‏ 
( 23 )   No! Man has not yet accomplished what He commanded him.
He commanded him: Implies the duty that Allah has enjoined on every man in the form of natural guidance as well as the duty to which man’s own existence and every particle of the universe, from the earth to the heavens, and every manifestation of divine power are pointing, and also that duty which Allah has conveyed in every age through His Prophets and Books and disseminated through the righteous people of every period. (For explanation, see(E.N. 5 of Surah Ad-Dahr). In the present context the object is to express the meaning that on the basis of the truths stated in the above verses, it was man’s duty to have obeyed his Creator, but, contrary to this, he adopted the way of disobedience and did not fulfill the demand of his being His creature.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
 Ibn Jarir said, "Allah is saying, `Nay, the matter is not as this disbelieving man says. He claims that he has fulfilled Allah's right upon him regarding himself and his wealth.

(But he has not done what He commanded him.) Allah is saying that man has not fulfilled for his Lord the obligations that were imposed upon him.'' What seems apparent to me of its actual meaning -- and Allah knows best -- is that the Ayah.

He has not done it (resurrected them) as of yet, until the time period has expired and the extent of the earthly life of humanity is complete, according to the lives of all whom Allah has written it to exist from the time they are brought into existence into the world. Verily, Allah has decreed the existence of mankind, and its duration, therefore, when that is finished with Allah, He resurrects the creatures and repeats their creation just as He initially created them.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Though all these blessings and stages have been provided by Allah's Grace for the good of man, yet unregenerate man fails in carrying out the purpose of his creation and life.

فَلۡيَنۡظُرِ الۡاِنۡسَانُ اِلٰى طَعَامِهٖۤۙ‏ 
( 24 )   Then let mankind look at his food -
That is, let him consider the food, which he regards as an ordinary thing, how it is created. Had God not provided the means for it, it was not in the power of man himself to have created the food on the earth in any way.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
The Growth of the Seed and Other Things is a Proof of Life after Death: (Then let man look at his food) This is a call to reflect upon Allah's favor. It also contains an evidence in the vegetation's coming to life from the lifeless earth, that the bodies can be brought to life after being decayed bones and scattered dust.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
After a reference to man's inner history, there is now a reference to just one item in his daily outer life, his food: and it is shown how the forces of heaven and earth unite by Allah's Command to serve man and his dependents. "A provision for you and your cattle" (verse 32 below). If that is the case with just one item, food, how much more comprehensive is Allah's beneficence when the whole of man's needs are considered!

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation:
The third part directs man to reflect upon things of immediate concern to him, namely, his food, “Then let mankind look at his food,” [80: 24]. Absolute perfection of creation is obvious in the provision of food for man as it is obvious in the creation, proportioning and development of man himself.

اَنَّا صَبَبۡنَا الۡمَآءَ صَبًّا ۙ‏ 
( 25 )   How We poured down water in torrents,
 This refers to rainwater. Water vapors are raised in vast quantities from the oceans by the heat of the sun, then they are turned into thick clouds, then the winds blow and spread them over different parts of the earth, then because of the coolness in the upper atmosphere the vapors turn back to water and fall as rain in every area in a particular measure. The water not only falls as rain directly on the earth but also collects underground in the shape of wells and fountains, flows in the form of rivers and streams, freezes on the mountains as snow and melts and flows into rivers in other seasons as well than the rainy season. Has man himself made all these arrangements? Had his Creator not arranged this for his sustenance, could man survive on the earth.

ثُمَّ شَقَقۡنَا الۡاَرۡضَ شَقًّا ۙ‏ 
( 26 )   Then We broke open the earth, splitting [it with sprouts],
Then We split the earth in clefts: Implies cleaving it in a way that the seeds, or seed-stones, or vegetable seedlings that man sows or plants in it, or which are deposited in it by winds or birds, or by some other means, should sprout up. Man can do nothing more than to dig the soil, or plough it, and bury in it the seeds that God has already created. Beyond this everything is done by God. It is He Who has created the seeds of countless species of vegetable; it is He Who has endowed these seeds with the quality that when they are sown in the soil, they should sprout up and from every seed, vegetable of its own particular species should grow. Again it is He Who has created in the earth the capability that in combination with water it should break open the seeds and develop and nourish every species of vegetable with the kind of food suitable for it. Had God not created the seeds with these qualities and the upper layers of the earth with these capabilities, man could not by himself have arranged any kind of food on the earth.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
`We cause it (the water) to settle in it (the earth), and it enters into its boundaries, and mingles with the parts of the seeds that are left in the earth. From this the seeds grow, rise up and appear on the surface of the earth (in the form of vegetation).'

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The water comes from the clouds in plentiful abundance; the earth is ploughed, and the soil is broken up in fragments, and yields an abundant harvest of cereals (Corn), trellised fruit (Grapes), and vegetable food (nutritious Plants), as well as fruit that can keep for long periods and serve many uses, like olives and dates.

فَاَنۡۢبَتۡنَا فِيۡهَا حَبًّا ۙ‏ 
( 27 )   And caused to grow within it grain

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
(And We cause therein Habb to grow. And grapes and Qadb,) Al-Habb refers to all types of seeds (or grains). Grapes are well-known. Al-Qadb are the moist (green) herbal plants that animals graze on. It is also called Al-Qat. Ibn `Abbas, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak and As-Suddi, all said this. Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, "Al-Qadb is fodder.''

وَّ عِنَبًا وَّقَضۡبًا ۙ‏ 
( 28 )   And grapes and herbage

وَّزَيۡتُوۡنًا وَّنَخۡلًا ؕ‏
( 29 )   And olive and palm trees

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
(And olives) It is well-known, and it is a food just as its juice is a food. It is eaten for breakfast and used as an oil. (And date palms,) It (i.e., its fruit) is eaten as Balah, Busr, Rutab and Tamr, Niya' and Matbukh, all of which are varieties of dates that range from unripe, ripe and dried in their textures. Its juice is also extracted to make pulpy fruit drinks and vinegar.

وَحَدَآئِقَ غُلۡبًا ۙ‏ 
( 30 )   And gardens of dense shrubbery

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
meaning, gardens. Al-Hasan and Qatadah both said, "Ghulb are gardens of date palms that are thick and handsome.'' Ibn `Abbas and Mujahid both said, "It means everything that is gathered and collected.''

Yusuf Ali Explanation: We not only get field crops such as were mentioned in n. 5961 above, but we have the more highly cultivated garden crops, both in the way of lofty trees, and in the way of carefully tended fruits like the fig; and then we have grass and all kinds of fodder.

وَّفَاكِهَةً وَّاَبًّا ۙ‏ 
( 31 )   And fruit and grass

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
Fakihah includes every type of fruit. Ibn `Abbas said, "Al-Fakihah is everything that is eaten ripe, and Al-Abb is what the earth grows that is eaten by grazing animals and not people.'' In one narration reported from him he said, "It is the grass for the livestock animals.'' 

Abu `Ubayd Al-Qasim bin Sallam reported from Ibrahim At-Taymi that he said, "Abu Bakr As-Siddiq was asked about Allah's statement, (And fruits (Fakihah) and herbage (Abb).) and he said, `What sky would shade me and what earth would carry me if I said about the Book of Allah that which I did not have knowledge of.' '' hIn reference to what Ibn Jarir recorded from Anas, that he said, "Umar bin Al-Khattab recited (He frowned and turned away.) 

Then when he reached this Ayah (And fruits (Fakihah) and herbage (Abb).) he said, `We already know what Al-Fakihah is, but what is Al-Abb' Then he said, `By your life, O Ibn Al-Khattab, this is something over burdensome (i.e., unnecessary to ask about).''' This report has an authentic chain of narration. More than one person has narrated it from Anas. The meaning of the narration is that `Umar wanted to know how it looks, its type and its exact description, because he (`Umar) and everyone who reads this Ayah knows that it is one of the plants that grows from the earth. 

This is clear due to the Allah's saying, (And We cause therein the Habb to grow. And grapes and Qadb, and olives and date palms. And Ghulb Hada'iq. And fruits (Fakihah) and herbage (Abb).)

مَّتَاعًا لَّـكُمۡ وَلِاَنۡعَامِكُمۡؕ‏ 
( 32 )   [As] enjoyment for you and your grazing livestock.
 That is, a means of sustenance not only for you but also for those animals from which you obtain items of food like meat, fat, milk, butter, etc. and which also perform countless other services for your living. You benefit by all this and yet you disbelieve in God Whose provisions sustain you.

The same verse occurs at Ixxix. 33, which explains the wider meaning in that context.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
meaning, a means of livelihood for you all and your cattle in this life until the (coming of) the Day of Judgement.

فَاِذَا جَآءَتِ الصَّآخَّةُ‏ 
( 33 )   But when there comes the Deafening Blast
The final terrible sounding of the Trumpet at which all dead men shall be resurrected to life. Preliminary to the establishment of the Final Judgment.

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation:
The final part [80:33-36] touches upon the Deafening Blast and its fearful effects. The very sound of the words gives the impression of horror. It makes people unaware of anything around them. Their faces, however, provide a lucid account of what is happening to them. “But when there comes the Deafening Blast, on the Day a man will flee from his brother, and his mother and his father, and his wife and his children,” 

يَوۡمَ يَفِرُّ الۡمَرۡءُ مِنۡ اَخِيۡهِۙ‏ 
( 34 )   On the Day a man will flee from his brother

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
Verses 34-36 - The Day of Judgement and the fleeing of the People from Their Relatives during it: Ibn `Abbas said, "As-Sakhkhah is one of the names of the Day of Judgement that Allah has magnified and warned His servants of.'' Ibn Jarir said, "Perhaps it is a name for the blowing into Trumpet.'' Al-Baghawi said, "As-Sakhkhah means the thunderous shout of the Day of Judgement. It has been called this because it will deafen the ears. This means that it pierces the hearing to such an extent that it almost deafens the ears.''

(That Day shall a man flee from his brother. And from his mother and his father. And from his wife and his children.) meaning, he will see them and then flee from them, and seek to get away from them because horror will be so great and the matter will be so weighty. There is an authentic Hadith related concerning the intercession that states that every one of the great Messengers of firm resolve will be requested to intercede with Allah on behalf of the creation, but each of them will say, "O myself! O myself! Today I will not ask You (O Allah) concerning anyone but myself.'' Even `Isa bin Maryam will say, "I will not ask Him (Allah) concerning anyone but myself today. I will not even ask Maryam, the woman who gave birth to me.'

Thus, Allah says, (That Day shall a man flee from his brother, and from his mother and his father, and from his wife and his children.) Qatadah said, "The most beloved and then the next most beloved, and the closest of kin and then the next closest of kin -- due to the terror of that Day.''

وَاُمِّهٖ وَاَبِيۡهِۙ‏ 
( 35 )   And his mother and his father

وَصَاحِبَتِهٖ وَبَنِيۡهِؕ‏ 
( 36 )   And his wife and his children,
A theme closely resembling to this has already occurred in Surah Al-Maarij, Ayats 10-14. Fleeing may also mean that when he sees those nearest and dearest to him in the world, involved in distress, instead of rushing forth to help them, he will run away from them lest they should call out to him for help. And it may also mean that when they see the evil consequences of committing sin for the sake of one another and misleading one another, fearless of God and heedless of the Hereafter, in the world, each one would flee from the other lest the other should hold him responsible for his deviation and sin. Brother will fear brother, children their parents, husband his wife, and parents their children lest they should become witnesses in the case against them.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Even those who were nearest and dearest in this life will not be able or willing to help each other on that awful Day. On the contrary, if they have to receive a sentence for their sins, they will be anxious to avoid even sharing each other's sorrows or witnessing each other's humiliation; for each will have enough of his own troubles to occupy him. On the other hand, the Righteous will be united with their righteous families: lii. 21; and their faces will be "beaming, laughing, rejoicing" (lxxx. 38-39).

لِكُلِّ امۡرِیءٍ مِّنۡهُمۡ يَوۡمَـئِذٍ شَاۡنٌ يُّغۡنِيۡهِؕ‏ 
( 37 )   For every man, that Day, will be a matter adequate for him.
A tradition has been reported in the Hadith by different methods and through different channels, saying that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: On the Day of Resurrection all men will rise up naked. One of his wives (according to some reporters, Aishah, according to others, Saudah, or a woman) asked in bewilderment: O Messenger of Allah, shall we (women) appear naked on that Day before the people. The prophet (peace be upon him) recited this very verse and explained that on that Day each one will have enough of his own troubles to occupy him, and will be wholly unmindful of others. (Nasai, Tirmidhi, Ibn Abi Hatim,

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
meaning, he will be preoccupied in his business and distracted from the affairs of others. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded from Ibn `Abbas that the Messenger of Allah said, (You will all be gathered barefoot, naked, walking and uncircumcised.) 

So his wife said, "O Messenger of Allah! Will we look at or see each other's nakedness'' The Prophet replied, (Every man among them on that Day will have enough (worries) to make him careless of others) -- or he said: (he will be too busy to look.) 

Ibn `Abbas narrated that the Prophet said, (You will all be gathered barefoot, naked and uncircumcised.) So a woman said, "Will we see or look at each others nakedness'' 

He replied, (O so-and-so woman! Every man among them on that Day will have enough (worries) to make him careless of others.) At-Tirmidhi said, "This Hadith is Hasan Sahih.''

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Cf. lxx. 10-14. Nor friend will ask after a friend that Day. On the contrary the sinner will desire to save himself at the expense even of his own family and benefactors.

وُجُوۡهٌ يَّوۡمَـئِذٍ مُّسۡفِرَةٌ ۙ‏ 
( 38 )   [Some] faces, that Day, will be bright -

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
The Faces of the People of Paradise and the People of the Fire on the Day of Judgement: Allah says; (Some faces that Day will be bright (Musfirah), laughing, rejoicing at good news.) meaning, the people will be divided into two parties. There will be faces that are Musfirah, which means bright. (Laughing, rejoicing at good news.) meaning, happy and pleased due to the joy that will be in their hearts. The good news will be apparent on their faces. These will be the people of Paradise.

ضَاحِكَةٌ مُّسۡتَبۡشِرَةٌ ۚ‏ 
( 39 )   Laughing, rejoicing at good news.

وَوُجُوۡهٌ يَّوۡمَـئِذٍ عَلَيۡهَا غَبَرَةٌ ۙ‏ 
( 40 )   And [other] faces, that Day, will have upon them dust.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The dust on the faces of the sinners will be in contrast to the beaming light on the faces of the righteous; and the blackness in contrast to the "laughing, rejoicing" faces of the righteous. But the dust also suggests that being Rejecters of Allah, their faces and eyes and faculties were choked in dust, and the blackness suggests that being Doers of Iniquity they had no part or lot in Purity or Light. Another contrast may possibly be deduced: the humble and lowly may be "in the dust" in this life, and the arrogant sinners in sunshine, but the roles will be reversed at Judgment.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
they will be overcome and covered with Qatarah, which is darkness. Ibn `Abbas said, (Darkness (Qatarah) will cover them.) "This means that they (the faces) will be overcome with darkness.'' 

تَرۡهَقُهَا قَتَرَةٌ ؕ‏ 
( 41 )   Blackness will cover them.

اُولٰٓـئِكَ هُمُ الۡكَفَرَةُ الۡفَجَرَةُ
( 42 )   Those are the disbelievers, the wicked ones.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
Meaning, they are disbelievers in their hearts, evildoers in their actions. 

This is as Allah says, (And they will beget none but wicked disbelievers.) (71:27) This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat `Abasa, and to Allah all praise and thanks are due.

You may now like to listen to eminent Muslim scholar Nouman Ali Khan explaining the surah:

You may refer to our Reference Page "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, explanation and exegesis of other chapters of the Qur'an.

You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 67 | 8 | 9 | 10 |
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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