Friday 20 November 2020

Surah At-Takwir - The Folding Up / The Cessation: Exegesis 81st Chapter of Quran

Sūrah At-Takwīr " التكوير " is the eighty first Sūrah with 29 āyāt is part of the 30th Juzʼ  of the Holy Qur'ān. Its title is derived from the word kuwwirat " كُوِّرَتۡ "in the first verse. Kuwwirat is passive voice from takvir in the past tense, and means "that which is folded up", thereby implying that it is a Sūrah in which the "folding up" has been mentioned

This is quite an early Makkan Sūrah, perhaps the sixth or seventh in chronological order. Comparable with this Sūrah are the Sūrahs lxxxii and lxxxiv which may be read with this.

This Surah may be divided into two parts, each of them treating one major principle of faith.  The first is the principle of resurrection accompanied by a great upheaval in the universe, which affects the sun and the stars, the mountains and seas, heaven and earth, wild and domestic animals, as well as man. In fact it opens with a series of highly graphic images portraying: break-up of the world as we know it (verses 1-13). 

The second principle is that of revelation. It begins with and the enforcement of complete personal responsibility for each soul (verse 14). Which is then followed by a passage showing how the Quranic Revelation was true, and revealed through Angel Gabriel, and not merely a rhapsody from one possessed. Revelation given for man's spiritual guidance (verses 15-29).

We have already presented the overview / summary of the sürah. Let us now read the verse by verse translation and exegesis / tafseer in English. You may also listen to tafseer at the end of the post:

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

Verses 1 to 13 are conditional clauses, and the substantive clause is in verse 14. The time will come when nature's processes as we know them will cease to function, and the soul will only then know by self conviction the results of its actions. With reference to an individual soul, its resurrection is its supreme crisis: the whole world of sense, and even of imagination and reason, melts away, and its whole spiritual scroll is laid bare before it.

The conditional clauses are twelve, in two groups of six. The first six affect the outer or physical life of man; the last six, his inmost spiritual life. Let us take them one by one. [3]

اِذَا الشَّمۡسُ كُوِّرَتۡ 
( 1 )   When the sun is wrapped up [in darkness]
This is a matchless metaphor for causing the sun to lose its light. Takwir means to fold up; hence takwir al-amamah is used for folding up the turban on the head. Here, the light which radiates from the sun and spreads throughout the solar system has been likened to the turban and it has been said that on the Resurrection Day the turban will be folded up about the sun and its radiation will fade.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
`Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas:  (When the sun is Kuwwirat.) "This means it will be darkened.'' Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas; "It will go away.'' Qatadah said, "Its light will go away.'' Sa`id bin Jubayr said, "Kuwwirat means it will sink in.'' Abu Salih said, "Kuwwirat means it will be thrown down.'' At-Takwir means to gather one part of something with another part of it (i.e., folding). From it comes the folding of the turban (`Imamah) and the folding of clothes together. 

Thus, the meaning of Allah's statement, Kuwwirat) is that part of it will be folded up into another part of it. Then it will be rolled up and thrown away. When this is done to it, its light will go away. 

Al-Bukhari recorded from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet said, (The sun and the moon will be rolled up on the Day of Judgement.) Al-Bukhari was alone in recording this Hadith and this is his wording of it.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
(1) The biggest factor affecting us in the external physical World is the light, heat, and perhaps electric or magnetic energy of the sun. The sun is the source of all the light, heat, and energy, and indeed the source and support of all the physical life that we know. It is the biggest factor and yet most remote from us in our solar system. Yet the sources of our inner spiritual life will be greater and more lasting, for they will survive it. The sun as the center of our solar system also stands as a symbol of the present order of things. The physical forces, as defined in Newton's laws of Matter and Attraction, will also break up with the break-up of the sun. 

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation:
The initial ayaat sketch a scene of great upheaval which envelopes the whole universe. The Surah aims to get this idea of the inevitable upheaval well established in people’s hearts and minds so that they may attach little or no importance to the values and riches of this world, though these may seem to be of lasting consequence. People should establish a firm bond with the everlasting truth, i.e. the truth of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, the Eternal, who never changes when everything else changes and disappears.

The word takweer means to fold up; hence takweer al’amamah is used for folding up the turban on the head. Here, the implication is that the light radiating from the sun will be folded up and sun’s radiation will fade. The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “The sun and the moon will be rolled up on the Day of Judgment.” [Bukhari]

وَاِذَا النُّجُوۡمُ انْكَدَرَتۡ
( 2 )   And when the stars fall, dispersing,
That is, when the force which is keeping them in their orbits and positions is loosened and all the stars and planets will scatter in the universe. The word inkidar also indicates that they will not only scatter away but will also grow dark.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
Meaning, when they are scattered. This is as Allah says, (And when the stars have fallen and scattered.) (82:2) The basis of the word Inkidar is Insibab, which means to be poured out. Ar-Rabi` bin Anas reported from Abu Al-`Aliyah, who reported from Ubayy bin Ka`b that he said, "Six signs will take place before the Day of Judgement. The people will be in their marketplaces when the sun's light will go away. When they are in that situation, the stars will be scattered. When they are in that situation, the mountains will fall down upon the face of the earth, and the earth will move, quake and be in a state of mixed up confusion. So the Jinns will then flee in fright to the humans and the humans will flee to the Jinns. The domestic beasts, birds and wild animals will mix together, and they will surge together in a wave (of chaos).

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
(2) Next after the sun, we can derive faint lights from the innumerable stars in the firmament. For all the ages of which we have any record, these stars have remained fixed. Nothing can be more fixed; yet they can and will fail.

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation:
“And when the stars fall, dispersing,” [81: 2]. The word inkidar is derived from insibab which means “to be poured out”. Ubayy bin Ka’b said, “Six signs will take place before the Day of Judgment. The people will be in their marketplaces when the sun’s light will go away. When they are in that situation, the stars will be scattered. When they are in that situation, the mountains will fall down upon the face of the earth, and the earth will move, quake and be in a state of mixed up confusion. So the Jinns will then flee in fright to the humans and the humans will flee to the Jinns. The domestic beasts, birds and wild animals will mix together, and they will surge together in a wave (of chaos).” Here, the impression has been given that when the force that is keeping the stars in their orbits and positions is loosened and all the stars and planets will scatter in the universe.

The earth also will lose its force of gravity because of which the firmly rooted mountains will be uprooted from their places and become weightless; moving and flying as the clouds move in the atmosphere (verse 3 below).

وَاِذَا الۡجِبَالُ سُيِّرَتۡ‏ 
( 3 )   When the mountains shall be set in motion
 In other words, the earth will also lose its force of gravity because of which the mountains have weight and are firmly set in the earth. Thus, when there is no more gravity the mountains will be uprooted from their places and becoming weightless will start moving and flying as the clouds move in the atmosphere.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Cf. lxxviii. 20. (3) On our own earth the mountains-the "eternal hills"-seem the most striking examples of stability; yet they will be swept away like a mirage, as if they had never existed.

وَاِذَا الۡعِشَارُ عُطِّلَتۡ‏ 
( 4 )   And when full-term she-camels are neglected
This was by far the best way of giving an idea of the severities and horrors of Resurrection to the Arabs. Before the buses and trucks of the present day there was nothing more precious for the Arabs than the she-camel just about to give birth to her young. In this state she was most sedulously looked after and cared for, so that she is not lost, stolen, or harmed in any way. The people’s becoming heedless of such she-camels, in fact, meant that at that time they would be so stunned as to become unmindful of their most precious possessions.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
(And when the pregnant she-camels (`Ishar) are neglected (`Uttilat);) `Ikrimah and Mujahid said, "`Ishar are (pregnant she-) camels.'' Mujahid said, "`Uttilat means abandoned and left.'' Ubayy bin Ka`b and Ad-Dahhak both said, "Their owners will neglect them.'' Ar-Rabi` bin Khuthaym said, "They will not be milked or tied up. Their masters will leave them abandoned.'' Ad-Dahhak said, "They will be left with no one to tend to them.'' And the meaning of all of these statements is similar. What is intended is that the `Ishar is a type of camel. It is actually the best type of camel, and particularly the pregnant females of them when they have reached the tenth month of their pregnancies. One of them is singularly referred to as `Ushara', and she keeps that name until she gives birth. So the people will be too busy to tend to her, take care of her or benefit from her, after she used to be the most important thing to them. This will be due to what will suddenly overtake them of the great, terrifying and horrible situation. This is the matter of the Day of Judgement, the coming together of its causes, and the occurrence of those things that will happen before it.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
(4) The type of Arab property, as well as the type of the Arab pet, was the camel, and the most precious camel was the she-camel just about to be delivered of her young. She would in normal times be most sedulously cared for. But when all our landmarks of this life vanish, even she would be left untended. Nothing would then be as it is now.

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation:
“And when full-term she-camels are neglected,” [81: 4]. This was by far the best way of giving an idea of the severities and horrors of Resurrection to the Arabs. Nothing was more precious to the Arabs than a she-camel just about to give birth. She was about to add to their wealth a highly valued young camel, and to give them a lot of milk. In this state she was most sedulously looked after and cared for, so that she is not lost, stolen, or harmed in any way. However, on that day, which will witness such overwhelming events, such priceless camels will be left without care, completely untended.

The wild beasts will forget their mutual enmities, and come together to move toward an unaware direction. They neither seek their homes nor chase their prey as they usually do. The overwhelming terror changes the character of even the wildest of beasts. What then will it do to man?

وَاِذَا الۡوُحُوۡشُ حُشِرَتۡ 
( 5 )   And when the wild beasts are gathered
When a general calamity befalls the world, all kinds of beasts and animals gather together in one place, then neither the snake bites, nor the tiger kills and devours.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
(And when the wild beasts are gathered together.) meaning, gathered. 

This is as Allah says, (There is not a moving creature on earth, nor a bird that flies with its two wings, but are communities like you. We have neglected nothing in the Book, then unto their Lord they shall be gathered.) (6:38) Ibn `Abbas said, "Everything will be gathered, even the flies.'' This statement was recorded by Ibn Abi Hatim. 

Allah also says, (And (so did) the birds assembled.) [38:19] meaning, gathered.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
(5) In the present world, the wild animals fear each other, and they all fear man and normally keep away from human habitations. But when this order passes away, there will be scarcely any differentiation between human habitations and the wilds of the forests.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
I.e., when they crowd together in terror of the manifestation of the Last Hour, or - as Mu'tazili commentators maintain - in order to be indemnified by God for man's cruelty to them (Razi). It is also said that the animals which were loved by human beings will live in the hereafter together with those who loved them (Zamakhshari). This interpretation is evidently based on 6:38 - "there is no beast that walks on earth and no bird that flies on its two wings which is not [God's] creature like yourselves" - followed almost immediately by the words, "Unto their Sustainer shall they [all] be gathered."

وَاِذَا الۡبِحَارُ سُجِّرَتۡ 
( 6 )   And when the seas are filled with flame
The word sujjirat " سُجِّرَتۡ " as used in the original in passive voice from tasjir in the past tense. Tasjir means to kindle fire in the oven. Apparently it seems strange that on the Resurrection Day fire would blaze up in the oceans. But if the truth about water is kept in view, nothing would seem strange. It is a miracle of God that He combined oxygen and hydrogen, one of which helps kindle the fire and the other gets kindled of itself and by the combination of both He created a substance like water which is used to put out fire. A simple manifestation of Allah’s power is enough to change this composition of water so that the two gases are separated and begin to burn and help cause a blaze, which is their basic characteristic.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
Ibn Jarir recorded from Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib that `Ali said to a Jewish man, "Where is the Hell'' The man said, "The sea.'' `Ali then said, "I think he is truthful, as Allah says (And by the seas kindled (Masjur).) (52:6) 

and; (And when the seas become as blazing fire.)'' This has already been discussed previously with the explanation of Allah's statement, (And by the seas kindled (Masjur).) (52:6)

(And when the seas become as blazing fire)'' Ubayy said, "The Jinns will say, `We come to you with news.' So they will all go to the sea, and it will be a blazing fire. While they are in that state, the earth will be split with one huge crack that will extend from the lowest, seventh earth to the highest, seventh heaven. So while they are in that state, a wind will come that will kill all of them.'' Ibn Jarir recorded this narration with this wording.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
See lii. 6. (6) The oceans, which now keep their bounds, will surge and boil over, and overwhelm all landmarks. At present the waters seem to have reached their fixed and normal levels, but the whole equilibrium will then be disturbed. Such will be the complete wreck of this transitory world, at the approach of the dawn of the permanent Reality. But these are physical symbols, relating to the outer nature surrounding the physical nature of man. 

The remaining six. viz.,: the 7th to the 12th, describe the ordering of the new World, from which all present seeming incongruities will be removed.

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation:
The Arabic term, sujjirat, used in the ayah is from the root seen-jeem-ra which means “to fill (oven) with fuel, heat, burn, fill (with water), overflow, swell.”  One might wonder how the sea will catch fire. When one reflects on the composition of water he learns that it is composed of hydrogen and oxygen.   One element helps kindle the fire and the other gets kindled of itself. A simple manifestation of Allah’s power is enough to change this composition of water so that the two gases are separated and begin to burn and help cause a blaze, which is their basic characteristic. It could also be atomic explosions of some sort. If the explosion of a limited number of atoms in a hydrogen or atom bomb produces such dreadful consequences as we have seen, then the atomic explosion of the waters of the oceans, in whatever manner it may occur, will produce something much too fearful for our minds to visualize.

وَاِذَا النُّفُوۡسُ زُوِّجَتۡ‏ 
( 7 )   And when the souls are paired
From here begins mention of the second stage of Resurrection. When the men will be resurrected precisely in the state as they lived in the world before death with body and soul together.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
Every type (of soul) will be gathered with its peer (or mate). This is as Allah says, (It will be said to the angels): "Assemble those who did wrong, together with their companions (from the devils).) (37:22) 

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded from An-Nu`man bin Bashir that the Messenger of Allah said, ((And When the souls are joined with their mates.)( Those who are alike. Every man will be with every group of people who performed the same deeds that he did. (This is because Allah says, (And you (all) will be in three groups. So those on the Right Hand - how (fortunate) will be those on Right Hand! And those on the Left Hand - how (unfortunate) will be those on the Left Hand!) (56: 7-10) (They are those who are alike.)

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Cf. lvi. 7, where the sorting out into three classes is mentioned, viz.,: Those Nearest to Allah, the Companions of the Right Hand, and the Companions of the Left Hand. That was a sort of broad general division. The meaning in this passage is wider, (7) Whereas in this world of probation, good is mixed with evil, knowledge with ignorance, power with arrogance, and so on, in the new world of Reality, all true values will be restored, and like will consort with like, for it will be a world of perfect Peace, Harmony, and Justice.

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation:
The pairing of souls may mean the reunion of body and soul at the time of resurrection. It may also mean their grouping, like with like. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded from An-Nu’man bin Bashir that the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Every man will be with every group of people who performed the same deeds that he did. This is because Allah says, ‘And you (all) will be in three groups. So those on the Right Hand – how (fortunate) will be those on Right Hand! And those on the Left Hand – how (unfortunate) will be those on the Left Hand!’ [56: 7-10]. They are those who are alike.”

وَاِذَا الۡمَوۡءٗدَةُ سُـئِلَتۡ
( 8 )   And when the girl [who was] buried alive is asked

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
Questioning the Female Infant Who was buried Alive, Allah says, (And when the female infant (Al-Maw'udah) buried alive is questioned: For what sin was she killed) The majority have recited it as Su'ilat (she is questioned), as it is here. Al-Maw'udah is the female infant that the people of the pre-Islamic time of ignorance would bury in the dirt due to their hatred of girls. Therefore, on the Day of Judgement, the female infant will be asked what sin she committed that caused here to be murdered. This will be a means of frightening her murderer. For verily, if the one who was wronged is questioned, what does the wrongdoer (the one who is guilty of the oppression) think then. 

As for the atonement for burying Infant Girls Alive, `Abdur-Razzaq said that Isra'il informed them from Simak bin Harb, from An-Nu`man bin Bashir, who reported from `Umar bin Al-Khattab that he said concerning Allah's statement, (And when the female infant buried alive is questioned.) "Qays bin `Asim came to the Messenger of Allah and said, `O Messenger of Allah! Verily, I buried some daughters of mine alive in the period of pre-Islamic ignorance.' 

The Messenger of Allah said, (Free a slave for each one of them.) Then Qays said, `O Messenger of Allah! Verily, I am an owner of camels.' The Prophet said, (Then sacrifice a camel for each one of them.)''

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation:
Al-Maw’udah  " الۡمَوۡءٗدَةُ  " is the female infant that the people of the pre-Islamic time of ignorance would bury in the dirt due to their hatred of girls. Therefore, on the Day of Judgment, the female infant will be asked what sin she committed that caused her to be murdered. This will be a means of frightening her murderer.

بِاَىِّ ذَنۡۢبٍ قُتِلَتۡ​ۚ‏ 
( 9 )   For what sin she was killed
The style of this verse reflects an intensity of rage and fury inconceivable in common life. The parents who buried their daughters alive, would be so contemptible in the sight of Allah that they would not be asked: Why did you kill the innocent infant? But disregarding them the innocent girl will be asked: For what crime were you slain? And she will tell her story how cruelly she had been treated by her barbarous parents and buried alive. Besides, two vast themes have been compressed into this brief verse, which though not expressed in words, are reflected by its style and tenor. First that in it the Arabs have been made to realize what depths of moral depravity they have touched because of their ignorance in that they buried their own children alive; yet they insist that they would persist in the same ignorance and would not accept the reform that Muhammad (peace be upon him) was trying to bring about in their corrupted society. Second, that an express argument has been given in it of the necessity and inevitability of the Hereafter. The case of the infant girl who was buried alive, should be decided and settled justly at some time, and there should necessarily be a time when the cruel people who committed this heinous crime, should be called to account for it, for there was none in the world to hear the cries of complaint raised by the poor soul. This act was looked upon with approval by the depraved society; neither the parents felt any remorse for it, nor anybody in the family censured them, nor the society took any notice of it. Then, should this monstrosity remain wholly unpunished in the Kingdom of God?

This barbaric custom of burying the female infants alive had become widespread in ancient Arabia for different reasons. One reason was economic hardship because of which the people wanted to have fewer dependents so that they should not have to bear the burden of bringing up many children. Male offspring were brought up in the hope that they would later help in earning a living, but the female offspring were killed for the fear that they would have to be raised till they matured and then given away in marriage. Second, the widespread chaos because of which the male children were brought up in order to have more and more helpers and supporters; but daughters were killed because in tribal wars they had to be protected instead of being useful in any way for defense. Third, another aspect of the common chaos also was that when the hostile tribes raided each other and captured girls they would either keep them as slave-girls or sell them to others. For these reasons the practice that had become common in Arabia was that at childbirth a pit was kept dug out ready for use by the woman so that if a girl was born, she was immediately cast into it and buried alive. And if sometimes the mother was not inclined to act thus, or the people of the family disapproved of it, the father would raise her for some time half-heartedly, and then finding time would take her to the desert to be buried alive. This tyranny and hardheartedness was once described by a person before the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself. According to a Hadith related in the first chapter of Sunan Darimi, a man came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and related this incident of his pre-Islamic days of ignorance: I had a daughter who was much attached to me. When I called her, she would come running to me. One day I called her and took her out with me. On the way we came across a well. Holding her by the hand I pushed her into the well. Her last words that I heard were: Oh father, oh father! Hearing this, the Prophet (peace be upon him) wept and tears started falling from his eyes. One of those present on the occasion said: O man, you have grieved the Prophet (peace be upon him). The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Do not stop him, let him question about what he feels so strongly now. Then the Prophet (peace be upon him) asked him to narrate his story once again. When he narrated it again the Prophet (peace be upon him) wept so much that his beard became wet with tears. Then he said to the man: Allah has forgiven what you did in the days of ignorance: now turn to Him in repentance.

It is not correct to think that the people of Arabia had no feeling of the harshness of this hideous, inhuman act. Obviously, no society, however corrupted it may be, can be utterly devoid of the feeling that such tyrannical acts are evil. That is why the Quran has not dwelt upon the vileness of this act, but has only referred to it in awe-inspiring words to the effect: A time will come when the girl who was buried alive, will be asked for what crime she was slain? The history of Arabia also shows that many people in the pre-Islamic days of ignorance had a feeling that the practice was vile and wicked. According to Tabarani, Sasaah bin Najiyah al-Mujashii, grandfather of the poet, Farazdaq, said to the Prophet (peace be upon him): O Messenger of Allah, during the days of ignorance I have also done some good works, among which one is that I saved 360 girls from being buried alive: I gave two camels each as ransom to save their lives. Shall I get any reward for this? The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: Yes, there is a reward for you, and it is this that Allah has blessed you with Islam.

As a matter of fact, a great blessing of the blessings of Islam is that it not only did put an end to this inhuman practice in Arabia but even wiped out the concept that the birth of a daughter was in any way a calamity, which should be endured unwillingly. On the contrary, Islam taught that bringing up daughters, giving them good education and enabling them to become good housewives, is an act of great merit and virtue. The way the Prophet (peace be upon him) changed the common concept of the people in respect of girls can be judged from his many sayings which have been reported in the Hadith. As for example, we reproduce some of these below:

(1) The person who is put to a test because of the birth of the daughters and then he treats them generously, they will become a means of rescue for him from Hell. (Bukhari, Muslim).

(2) The one who brought up two girls till they attained their maturity, will appear along with me on the Resurrection Day. Saying this, the Prophet (peace be upon him) joined and raised his fingers. (Muslim).

(3) The one who brought up three daughters, or sisters, taught them good manners and treated them with kindness until they became self-sufficient, Allah will make Paradise obligatory for him. A man asked: what about two, O Messenger (peace be upon him) of Allah? The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: the same for two. Ibn Abbas, the reporter of the Hadith, says: Had the people at that time asked in respect of one daughter, the Prophet (peace be upon him) would have also given the same reply about her. (Sharh as-Sunnh).

(4) The one who has a daughter born to him and he does not bury her alive, nor keeps her in disgrace, nor prefers his son to her, Allah will admit him to Paradise. (Abu Daud).

(5) The one who has three daughters born to him, and he is patient over them, and clothes them well according to his means, they will become a means of rescue for him from Hell. (Bukhari, Al-Adab al-Mufrad, Ibn Majah).

(5) The Muslim who has two daughters and he looks after them well, they will lead him to Paradise. (Bukhari: Al- Adab al-Mufrad).

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to Suraqah bin Jusham: Should I tell you what is the greatest charity (or said: one of the greatest charities)? He said: Kindly do tell, O Messenger of Allah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Your daughter who (after being divorced or widowed) returns to you and should have no other bread-winner. (Ibn Majah, Bukhari Al-Adab al-Mufrad).

This is the teaching which completely changed the viewpoint of the people about girls not only in Arabia but among all the nations of the world, which later become blessed with Islam.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
(And when the female infant (Al-Maw'udah) buried alive Su'ilat:) "This means that she will ask.'' Abu Ad-Duha made a similar statement when he said, "She will ask, meaning she will demand restitution for her blood.'' The same has been reported from As-Suddi and Qatadah. Hadiths have been reported concerning the Maw'udah. 

Imam Ahmad recorded from `A'ishah, who reported from Judamah bint Wahb, the sister of `Ukkashah, that she said, "I was in the presence of the Messenger of Allah when he was with some people, and he said, (I was about to prohibit sexual relations with breast feeding women, but then I saw that the Romans and the Persians have sexual relations with their women who breast feed their children and it does not harm the children at all.) Then they asked him about interruption of sexual intercourse to prevent the male discharge from entering the womb of the woman

And he said, (That is the minor infanticide and it is the female infant buried alive (Maw'udah) that will be questioned.)'' Muslim, Ibn Majah, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa'i, all recorded this Hadith as well.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
(8) In this world of sin and sorrow, much unjust suffering is caused, and innocent lives sacrificed, without a trace being left, by which offenders can be brought to justice. A striking example before the Quraish was female infanticide: cf. xvi. 58-59, and n. 2084. The crime was committed in the guise of social plausibility in secret collusion, and no question was asked here. But in the world of Justice, full questions will be asked, and the victim herself-dumb here-will be able to give evidence, for she had committed no crime herself. The proofs will be drawn from the very means used for concealment.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
The barbaric custom of burying female infants alive seems to have been fairly widespread in pre-Islamic Arabia, although perhaps not to the extent as has been commonly assumed. The motives were twofold: the fear that an increase of female offspring would result in economic burdens, as well as fear of the humiliation frequently caused by girls being captured by a hostile tribe and subsequently preferring their captors to their parents and brothers. Before Islam, one of the foremost opponents of this custom was Zayd ibn 'Amr ibn Nufayl, a cousin of 'Umar ibn al-Khattab and spiritually a precursor of Muhammad (cf. Bukhari, Fada'il Ashab an-Nabi, on the authority of 'Abd Allah ibn 'Umar); he died shortly before Muhammad's call to prophethood (Fath al-Bari VII, 112). Another man, Sa'sa'ah ibn Najiyah at-Tamimi - grandfather of the poet Farazdaq - achieved equal fame as a saviour of infants thus condemned to death; he later embraced Islam. Ibn Khallikan (II, 197) mentions that Sa'sa'ah saved about thirty girls by paying ransom to their parents.

وَاِذَا الصُّحُفُ نُشِرَتۡ
( 10 )   And when the pages are made public
That is when the scrolls of (men's) deeds shall be unfolded

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
Ad-Dahhak said, "Every person will be given his paper in his right hand or in his left hand.'' Qatadah said, "O Son of Adam ! It (your paper) is written in, then it is rolled up, then it will be distributed to you on the Day of Judgement. So let each man look at what he himself dictated to be written in his paper.''

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
(9) The Scrolls recording the deeds of men, good or bad, will then be laid open before all. cf. 1. 17-18,; also lxxxii. 11-12. In the present phenomenal world, things may be concealed; but in the world of absolute Reality, every secret is opened out, good or bad. The whole tale of acts, omissions, motives, imponderable spiritual hurt, neglect, or help will be laid bare.

وَاِذَا السَّمَآءُ كُشِطَتۡ
( 11 )   And when the sky is stripped away
That is, everything which is hidden from view now will become visible. Now one can only see empty space, or the clouds, hanging dust, the moon, the sun or stars, but at that time the Kingdom of God will appear in full view before the people, without any veil in between, in its true reality.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The Sky, or Heaven as standing for both the Blazing Fire and the Garden, the Home of the Hereafter. (10) Just as when an animal is skinned, its real flesh and blood and inner organs become visible, without any outer coating to hold them together, so the inmost state of every soul will then become plain.

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation:
When the word ‘sky’ is used, our first thoughts reach to the blue cover hoisted over our heads. Its stripping means the removal of that cover. How this happens remains a matter of conjecture. It is enough to say that when we look up we will no longer see our familiar blue dome.

وَاِذَا الۡجَحِيۡمُ سُعِّرَتۡ
( 12 )   And when Hellfire is set ablaze

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
(11) Then will burn the Blazing Fire of the Hell, worse than the fiercest fire.

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation:
The last scene of that fearful day is about heaven and hell. Where is hell? How does it burn? What fuel is used in lighting and feeding its fire? The only thing we know of it is that it “has the fuel of men and stones,” [66: 6]. Heaven, on the other hand, is brought near to those who have been promised admission. They see it to be of easy access.

وَاِذَا الۡجَـنَّةُ اُزۡلِفَتۡ
( 13 )   And when Paradise is brought near,
That is, in the Plain of Resurrection, when the hearing of the cases of the people will be in progress, the blazing fire of Hell will also be in full view, and Paradise with all its blessings will also be visible to all, so that the wicked would know what they are being deprived of and where they are going to be cast, and the righteous as well would know what they are being saved from and with what being blessed and honored.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
(12) Lastly the Garden will come in sight, not yet attained, but visible, or "brought near". For the scales have fallen from the eyes, and the soul knows itself.

This is the conclusion. It is only on such conditions that the soul reaches its full realization. Put forward: cf. "the Deeds which his hands have sent forth" in lxxviii. 40.

عَلِمَتۡ نَفۡسٌ مَّاۤ اَحۡضَرَتۡؕ‏ 
( 14 )   A soul will [then] know what it has brought [with it].

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
This is the conclusive response of the previous statements, meaning at the time these matters occur, every soul will know what it has done, and that will be brought forth for it, as Allah says, (On the Day when every person will be confronted with all the good he has done, and all the evil he has done, he will wish that there were a great distance between him and his evil.) (3:30) 

Allah also says, (On that Day man will be informed of what he sent forward, and what he left behind.) (75:13)

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Cf. lvi. 75, for the witness that the heavenly bodies bear to the power, beauty, and goodness of Allah, in sending His Revelation. See explanation to lxxiv. 32, for the significance of an adjuration in the Qur'an.

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation:
This is the conclusive response of the previous statements, meaning at the time these matters occur, every soul will know what it has done, and that will be brought forth for it. No additions or deletions in the records can be made.

In these events of the Day of Judgment, people will find themselves completely separated from all that has been familiar to them, and from their world as a whole. Everything will have undergone a total change except Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Therefore, if man turns his attention to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala in this life, he will find His support in the Hereafter.

Verses 15-29 explain that Al-Quran is conveyed to the Prophet through angel Gabriel and This message is for all the people of the world:

فَلَاۤ اُقۡسِمُ بِالۡخُنَّسِۙ‏ 
( 15 )   So I swear by the retreating stars -
That is, you are not correct that what is being presented in the Quran is the bragging of an insane person, or the evil suggestion of a devil.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
The Explanation of the Words Al-Khunnas and Al-Kunnas: Muslim recorded in his Sahih, and An-Nasa'i in his Book of Tafsir, in explaining this Ayah, from `Amr bin Hurayth that he said, "I prayed the Morning prayer behind the Prophet , and I heard him reciting, (But nay! I swear by Al-Khunnas, Al-Jawar Al-Kunnas, and by the night when it `As`as, and by the day when it Tanaffas.)'' Ibn Jarir recorded from Khalid bin `Ar`arah that he heard `Ali being asked about the Ayah; (لَا أُقْسِمُ بِالْخُنَّسِ. الْجَوَارِ الْكُنَّسِ) (Nay! I swear by Al-Khunnas, Al-Jawar Al-Kunnas.) and he said, "These are the stars that withdraw (disappear) during the day and sweep across the sky (appear) at night.''

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The appeal here is made to three things, the Planets, the Night, and the Dawn. (1) The Planets have a retrograde and a forward motion, and, during occultation, hide or disappear behind the sun or moon, or are otherwise invisible or appear stationary. They behave differently from the millions of stars around them. Yet they are not mere erratic bodies, but obey definite laws, and evidence the power and wisdom of Allah.

How the Night gradually declines after its height at midnight! It seems gradually to steal away, and as Dawn approaches, to merge into Day. So a soul in spiritual darkness gradually awakes to its spiritual Dawn through Revelation.

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation:
The second part of the Surah opens with a form of oath using some beautiful scenes of the universe. Essentially, this oath is made to assert the nature of revelation, the angel carrying it, and the Messenger receiving and delivering it to us, as well as people’s attitudes to it, all in accordance with Allah’s will.

The stars referred to here are those which turn in their orbit, and are characterized by their swift movement and temporary disappearance. Ibn Jareer recorded from Khalid ibn ‘Ar’arah that he heard ‘Ali being asked about this ayah and he said, “These are the stars that withdraw (disappear) during the day and sweep across the sky (appear) at night.”

الۡجَوَارِ الۡكُنَّسِۙ‏ 
( 16 )   Those that run [their courses] and disappear -

وَالَّيۡلِ اِذَا عَسۡعَسَۙ‏ 
( 17 )   And by the night as it closes in

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
There are two opinions about this statement. One of them is that this refers to its advancing with its darkness. Mujahid said, "It means its darkening.'' Sa`id bin Jubayr said, "When it begins.'' Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, "When it covers the people.'' This was also said by `Atiyah Al-`Awfi. 

`Ali bin Abi Talhah and Al-`Awfi both reported from Ibn `Abbas: (when it `As`as) "This means when it goes away.'' 

Mujahid, Qatadah and Ad-Dahhak, all said the same. Zayd bin Aslam and his son `Abdur-Rahman also made a similar statement, when they said, (when it `As`as) "This means when it leaves, and thus it turns away.'' I believe that the intent in Allah's saying, (when it `As`as) is when it approaches, even though it is correct to use this word for departing also. However, approachment is a more suitable usage here. It is as if Allah is swearing by the night and its darkness when it approaches, and by the morning and its light when it shines from the east. 
This is as Allah says, (By the night as it envelops. By the day as it appears in brightness) (92:1-2) 
And He also says, (By the forenoon. By the night when it darkens.) (93:1-2) 
Allah also says, (Cleaver of the daybreak. He has appointed night for resting.) (6:96) 
And there are other similar Ayat that mention this. Many of the scholars of the fundamentals of language have said that the word `As`as is used to mean advancing and retreating, with both meanings sharing the same word. Therefore, it is correct that the intent could be both of them, and Allah knows best.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The slow "breathing out" of the darkness by the Dawn, shows us, by beautiful imagery, that these wonderful operations, of which people in their ignorance are frightened if they have to do with darkness, are really beneficent operations of Allah. They have nothing to do with evil spirits, or witches, or magic. For three questions were actually raised about the holy Prophet's Ministry by the ignorant. (1) Did his wonderful works come from himself and not from Allah? (2) Was he possessed of an evil spirit? In other words, was he mad? For that was the theory of madness then current. (3) Was he a soothsayer, or necromancer, or magician? For he had virtues, powers and eloquence, so extraordinary that they could not understand him.

وَالصُّبۡحِ اِذَا تَنَفَّسَۙ‏ 
( 18 )   And by the dawn when it breathes
That for which the oath has been sworn, has been stated in the following verses. The oath means: Muhammad (peace be upon him) has not seen a vision in darkness, but when the stars had disappeared, the night had departed and the bright morning had appeared, he had seen the Angel of God in the open sky. Therefore, what he tells you is based on his own personal observation and on the experience that he had in full senses in the full light of day.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
They are told here that all their three theories were foolish. The Revelation was really from Allah. Their wonder should cease if they observe the daily miracles worked round them in nature. The bringer of Allah's Message was the angel Gabriel, and not an evil spirit.

اِنَّهٗ لَقَوۡلُ رَسُوۡلٍ كَرِيۡمٍۙ‏ 
( 19 )   [That] indeed, the Qur'an is a word [conveyed by] a noble messenger
A noble messenger: the Angel who brought down revelation, as becomes explicit from the following verses. The word of a noble messenger does not mean that the Quran is the word of the Angel himself, but, as the context shows, of Him Who appointed him a messenger. In (Surah Al-Haaqqah, Ayat 40), likewise, the Quran has been called the word of Muhammad (peace be upon him), and there too it does not mean that it is the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) own composition, but describing it as the word of an honorable messenger, it has been made clear that the Prophet (peace be upon him) is presenting it in his capacity as the Messenger of God and not as Muhammad bin Abdullah (peace be upon him). At both places, the word has been attributed to the Angel and to Muhammad (peace be upon him) on the ground that the message of Allah was being delivered to Muhammad (peace be upon him) by the Angel and to the people by Muhammad (peace be upon him). 

The same message appears in the 40th verse of Surah Al- Haaqqah as under:

اِنَّهٗ لَقَوۡلُ رَسُوۡلٍ كَرِيۡمٍۚ ۙ‏  (69:40) that this is the speech of an honourable Messenger
Here, “a noble Messenger” implies the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and in( Surah At- Takweer, Ayat 19). the angel Gabriel, the argument being that after describing the Quran as the word of an honorable Messenger, it has been said: It is not the word of a poet nor of a soothsayer, and obviously the disbelievers of Makkah branded the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and not Gabriel as a poet and soothsayer. On the contrary, in Surah At-Takweer, after describing the Quran as the word of “a noble messenger” it has been said: That Messenger has great power, and has high ranks with the Owner of the Throne: there he is obeyed and held as trustworthy. And Muhammad (peace be upon him) has seen him on the bright horizon. (verses 20-23). Almost the same thing has been stated in (Surah An-Najm, Ayats 5-10) about Gabriel.
Here, the question arises; In what sense has the Quran been described as the word of Muhammad (peace be upon him) and of Gabriel. The answer is: the people were hearing it being recited by the tongue of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Prophet (peace be upon him) by the tongue of Gabriel. Thereupon, in one way it was the word of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and in another way of Gabriel, but a little below it has been explicitly stated: It is indeed a Revelation from the Lord of the worlds, which is being presented before Muhammad (peace be upon him) by the tongue of Gabriel and before the people by the tongue of Muhammad (peace be upon him). The word Messenger itself points to the truth that the word belongs to neither of them but they have presented it as Messengers of the One Who has sent it down.

Ibn Kathir Explanation: indeed this Qur'an is being conveyed by a noble messenger, which is referring to an honorable angel, who has good character and a radiant appearance, and he is Jibril. Ibn `Abbas, Ash-Sha`bi, Maymun bin Mihran, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, Ad-Dahhak and others have said this.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Not only was the bringer of the Revelation, Gabriel, an honorable Messenger, incapable of deceit, but he had, in the angelic kingdom, rank and authority before Allah's Throne, and he could convey an authoritative divine Message. He was, like the holy Prophet, faithful to his trust; and therefore there could be no question of the Message being delivered in any other way than exactly according to the divine Will and Purpose. These epithets could apply to the Prophet himself, but in view of verse 23 below, it is best to understand them of Gabriel.  

Muhammad Asad Explanation: By "calling to witness", certain natural phenomena which are familiar to man because of their permanent recurrence, attention is drawn to the fact that what we call "laws of nature" are but the observable elements of God's plan of creation - a plan in which His revelations (referred to in this and the subsequent verses) play a decisive role: and so, by implication, the divine writ granted to Muhammad is as intrinsically "natural" as any other phenomenon, concrete or abstract, in the realm of God's creation.

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation: As the Qur’an makes this brief, full-of-life description it establishes a spiritual link between them and man, with the result that, as we read, we feel the power which created these phenomena, and the truth which we are called upon to believe. It says, “indeed, the Qur’an is a word [conveyed by] a noble messenger,” [81: 19]. It then goes on to describe this chosen messenger, “[who is] possessed of power and with the Owner of the Throne, secure [in position], obeyed there [in the heavens] and trustworthy,” [81: 20-21]. This Messenger is Jibreel Ameen ‘alayhi salaam.

What a great honor for Jibreel ‘alayhi salaam (Angel Gabriel) to enjoy such a position with the Lord of the universe. He is “obeyed in heaven” by the other angels. He is also “trustworthy” in carrying and discharging such an important message that is the Qur’an.

These qualities add up to a definite conclusion: that the Qur’an is a noble, mighty and exalted message and that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala takes special care of man. It is a manifestation of this care that He has chosen an angel of Jibreel’s caliber to bring His revelations to the man He has chosen as His Messenger salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. As man reflects on this divine care he should feel humble. For he himself is worth very little in the kingdom of Allah, were it not for the care Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala takes of him and the honor He bestows on him.

ذِىۡ قُوَّةٍ عِنۡدَ ذِى الۡعَرۡشِ مَكِيۡنٍۙ‏ 

( 20 )   [Who is] possessed of power and with the Owner of the Throne, secure [in position],
 (Surah An-Najm, Ayat 45) deals with the same theme, thus “It is but a revelation which is sent down to him. One, mighty in power, has taught him.” As to what is implied by the mighty powers of the Angel Gabriel is ambiguous. In any case it at least shows that he is distinguished even among the angels because of his extraordinary powers. In Muslim (kitab-al-iman) Aishah has reported the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) saying to the effect: I have twice seen Gabriel in his real shape and form: his glorious being was encompassing the whole space between the earth and the heavens. According to the tradition reported from Abdullah bin Masud in Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi and Musnad Ahmad, the Prophet (peace be upon him) had seen Gabriel with his six hundred wings. From this one can have an idea of his mighty powers.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
(Dhi Quwwah) This is similar to Allah's statement, (He has been taught by one mighty in power, Dhu Mirrah.) (53:5-6) meaning, mighty in creation, mighty in strength and mighty in actions. (with the Lord of the Throne Makin,) meaning, he has high status and lofty rank with Allah.

(He has been taught by one mighty in power, Dhu Mirrah.) (53:5-6) meaning, mighty in creation, mighty in strength and mighty in actions.

(with the Lord of the Throne Makin,) meaning, he has high status and lofty rank with Allah.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
After describing the credentials of the Archangel Gabriel, the Text now appeals to the people to consider their own "Companion", the Prophet, who had been born among them and had lived with them, and was known to be an honorable, truthful, and trustworthy man. If Gabriel was the one who brought the Message to him, then there was no question of demoniacal possession. And the Prophet had seen him in his inspired vision "in the clear horizon".

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
Lit., "with Him of the throne of almightiness". It is to be noted that the Qur'anic term 'arsh - of which the above is the earliest occurrence in the order of revelation - invariably signifies God's absolute sovereignty and almightiness (cf. note [43] on 7:54).

مُّطَاعٍ ثَمَّ اَمِيۡنٍؕ‏ 
( 21 )   Obeyed there [in the heavens] and trustworthy.
That is, he is the chief of the angels and all angels work under his command. That is, he is not one who would tamper with divine revelation, but is so trustworthy that he conveys intact whatever he receives from God.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
(Obeyed there,) meaning, he has prestige, his word is listened to, and he is obeyed among the most high gathering (of angels). Qatadah said, (Obeyed there) "This means in the heavens. He is not one of the lower ranking (ordinary) angels. Rather he is from the high ranking, prestigious angels. He is respected and has been chosen for (the delivery of) this magnificent Message.'' 

Allah then says,(trustworthy.) This is a description of Jibril as being trustworthy. This is something very great, that the Almighty Lord has commended His servant and angelic Messenger, Jibril, just as He has commended His servant and human Messenger, Muhammad by His statement,

وَ مَا صَاحِبُكُمۡ بِمَجۡنُوۡنٍ​ۚ‏ 
( 22 )   And your companion is not [at all] mad.
Your Companion: the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). Here, making mention of the Prophet (peace be upon him) as the companion of the people of Makkah, they have been made to realize that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was no stranger for them. He was not an outsider but a man of their own clan and tribe; he had lived his whole life among them; even their children knew that he was a very wise man. They should not be so shameless as to call such a man a mad man. 

The same message also appears in the 2nd verse of Surah 53An-Najm as under:
مَا ضَلَّ صَاحِبُكُمۡ وَمَا غَوٰى​ۚ‏   your companion has neither strayed nor is he deluded;
Your companion: implies the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and the addressees are the Quraish. The word Sahib as used in the original means a friend, a companion, a close associate. Here, making mention of the Prophet by the word Sahib-u-kum (your companion) instead of Our Messenger is very meaningful. This is meant to make the people of the Quraish realize: The person being mentioned is no stranger to you. He is not an outsider whom you may not be knowing or recognizing already. He is a man of your own clan and tribe. He lives and moves among you; even your children know who and what he is, what his character is, what are his dealings, what are his ways and habits and characteristics, and how he has passed his life among you so far. If sameone of you were to say an improbable thing about him, there would be a thousand men among you who knew him, who could see for themselves whether what was said actually applied to him or not.
This is the thing for which an oath has been sworn by the setting star or stars. Going astray means a person’s adopting a wrong way being unaware of the right way, and being deluded means his adopting the wrong way knowingly and consciously. The verse means: Muhammad (peace be upon him) is a well-known man among you. Your accusation that he has gone astray, or is misguided, is utterly wrong. In fact, he is neither gone astray nor misguided. Here, the propriety of swearing by the setting stars is that in the darkness of the starry night a person cannot see the things of his surroundings clearly, and from their vague appearances can form wrong judgments about them, e.g. he may take a tree for a ghost in the dark, a string for a snake, a rock in the sand for a beast of prey. But when the stars have set and the day has dawned, everything appears before man in its real form and shape, and there remains no doubt whatsoever about the reality of things. The same is also the case of Muhammad (peace be upon him) among you. His life and personality is not hidden in darkness, but is manifest like the bright dawn. You are aware that this companion of yours is a rightminded, wise and sagacious man. How can somebody from among the Quraish have the misunderstanding that he has gone astray? You also know how well-intentioned and honest and righteous person he is. How can one of you form the view that he has knowingly adopted a crooked way not only for himself but has started inviting others also to the same falsehood?
Yusuf Ali Explanation: Read along with this the whole passage in liii. 1-18 and explanations; specially verse 13, where the two occasions are mentioned [ The first occasion when Gabriel appeared in a visible form was at the Mountain of Light, when he brought his first revelation beginning with Iqraa:. The second was at the Prophet's Miraj or Ascension: see Introduction to S. xvii.] when there was a vision of inspiration: "For truly did he see, of the Signs of his Lord, the Greatest" (liii. 18). 

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
See surah {68}, note [3]. The characterization of Muhammad as "this fellow-man of yours" is meant to stress his absolute humanness, and thus to counteract any possibility on the part of his followers to deify him. (See also note [150] on 7:184).

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation:
Then follows a description of the Prophet who conveys this revelation to mankind, “And your companion is not [at all] mad,” [81: 22]. The Arabs knew the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam since his childhood. They knew that he was a man of upright character. But in spite of all this they claimed that he was mad, and that he received his revelations from the devil. The Surah seems to say: You have known Muhammad (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) very well over a considerable length of time. He has been known for his honesty and trustworthiness. Why, then are you fabricating tales about him, when he has been telling you the simple truth which he has been entrusted to deliver to you?

وَلَقَدۡ رَاٰهُ بِالۡاُفُقِ الۡمُبِيۡنِ​ۚ‏ 
( 23 )   And he has already seen Gabriel in the clear horizon.
(In Surah An-Najm, Ayats 7-9), this observation of the Prophet (peace be upon him) has been described in greater detail, 

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Such would be the words of a soothsayer, guarded, ambiguous, and misleading. Here everything was clear, sane, true, and under divine inspiration.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
This is evidently a reference to the Prophet's vision of the Angel Gabriel which ended the break in revelation (fatrat al-wahy) mentioned in the introductory note to surah {74}. See also 53:5 ff. and the corresponding notes.

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation:
“And he has already seen Jibreel in the clear horizon,” [81: 23] meaning that the Prophet is not making it all up. He did not saw Angel Jibreel in a dream rather he saw him with his own eyes, on a clear horizon where no confusion is possible. “And Muhammad is not a withholder of [knowledge of] the unseen,” [81: 24] meaning that he has not concealed anything. Whatever knowledge of the unseen he had such as the angels, life after death and Resurrection, and the heaven and hell, he has communicated everything without any change.

وَمَا هُوَ عَلَى الۡغَيۡبِ بِضَنِيۡنٍ​ۚ‏ 
( 24 )   And Muhammad is not a withholder of [knowledge of] the unseen.
That is, the Messenger (peace be upon him) of Allah does not conceal anything from you. Whatever of the unseen realities are made known to him by Allah, whether they relate to the essence and attributes of Allah, the angels, life-after death and Resurrection, or to the Hereafter, Heaven and Hell, he conveys everything to you without change.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Such as evil suggestions of envy, spite, greed, selfishness, or other vices. On the contrary the teaching of the Qur'an is beneficent, pointing to the Right Way, the Way of Allah. Rajim: literally, driven away with stones, rejected with complete ignominy. Cf. xv. 17. The rite of throwing stones in the valley of Mina at the close of the Makkan Pilgrimage [see explanation to ii. 197] suggests symbolically that the Pilgrim emphatically, definitely, and finally rejects all Evil.

وَمَا هُوَ بِقَوۡلِ شَيۡطٰنٍ رَّجِيۡمٍۙ‏ 
( 25 )   And the Qur'an is not the word of a devil, expelled [from the heavens].
That is, you are wrong in thinking that some Satan comes and whispers these words into the ear of Muhammad (peace be upon him). It does not suit Satan that he should divert man from polytheism, idol worship, atheism and sin and turn him to God-worship and Tauhid, make man realize that he should live a life of responsibility and accountability to God instead of living an irresponsible, care-free life, should forbid man to adopt practices of ignorance, injustice, immorality and wickedness and lead him to a clean life of justice, piety and high morals. (For further explanation, see (Surah 26. Ash-Shuara, Ayats 210-212 ), and (Ayats 221-223).

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
Indeed Muhammad saw Jibril, who brought him the Message from Allah, in the form that Allah created him in (i.e., his true form), and he had six hundred wings. (in the clear horizon. ) meaning, clear. This refers to the first sighting which occurred at Al-Batha' (Makkah). 

This incident is mentioned in Allah's statement, (He has been taught by one mighty in power (Jibril). Dhu Mirrah, then he rose. While he was in the highest part of the horizon. Then he approached and came closer. And was at a distance of two bows' length or less. So (Allah) revealed to His servant what He revealed.) (53:5-10) The explanation of this and its confirmation has already preceded, as well as the evidence that proves that it is referring to Jibril. It seems apparent -- and Allah knows best -- that this Surah (At-Takwir) was revealed before the Night Journey (Al-Isra'), because nothing has been mentioned in it except this sighting (of Jibril), and it is the first sighting. 

The second sighting has been mentioned in Allah's statement, (And indeed he saw him (Jibril) at a second descent. Near Sidrah Al-Muntaha. Near it is the Paradise of Abode. When that covered the lote tree which did cover it !) (53:13-16) And these Ayat have only been mentioned in Surat An-Najm, which was revealed after Surat Al-Isra' (The Night Journey). The Prophet is not Stingy in conveying the Revelation (وَمَا هُوَ عَلَى الْغَيْبِ بِظَنِينٍ) (He is not Zanin over the Unseen) meaning Muhammad is not following false conjecture about what Allah revealed. Others have recited this Ayah with the `Dad' in the word Danin, which means that he is not stingy, but rather he conveys it to everyone. Sufyan bin `Uyaynah said, "Zanin and Danin both have the same meaning. They mean that he is not a liar, nor is he a wicked, sinful person. The Zanin is one who follows false supposition, and the Danin is one who is stingy.'' Qatadah said, "The Qur'an was unseen and Allah revealed it to Muhammad , and he did not withhold it from the people. Rather he announced it, conveyed it, and offered it to everyone who wanted it.'' `Ikrimah, Ibn Zayd and others have made similar statements. Ibn Jarir preferred the recitation Danin. I say that both of recitations have been confirmed by numerous routes of transmission, and its meaning is correct either way, as we have mentioned earlier.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
It has been shown that this is no word of a mortal, but that it is full of divine wisdom; that its teaching is not that of a madman, but sane to the core and in accordance with human needs; that it freely and clearly directs you to the right Path and forbids you the Path of evil. Why then hesitate? Accept the divine Grace; repent of your sins; and come to the higher Life.

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation:
it is because the devils by nature cannot provide such a straightforward and consistent code of conduct. Hence, the Surah asks disapprovingly, “So where are you going?” [81: 26]. How far can you err in your judgment? And where can you go away from the truth?

فَاَيۡنَ تَذۡهَبُوۡنَؕ‏ 
( 26 )   So where are you going?

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
It is not meant for one class or race; it is universal, and is addressed to all the Worlds. For the meaning of "Worlds", see explanation of i. 2.
[(1.2 "Praise be to Allah the Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds.") The Arabic word Rabb, usually translated Lord, has also the meaning of cherishing, sustaining, bringing to maturity. God cares for all the worlds He has created.]
اِنۡ هُوَ اِلَّا ذِكۡرٌ لِّلۡعٰلَمِيۡنَۙ‏ 
( 27 )   It is not except a reminder to the worlds

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
Meaning, this Qur'an is a reminder for all of mankind. They are reminded by it and receive admonition from it.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Cf. lxxiv. 55-56. Allah is the Cherisher of the Worlds, Lord of Grace and Mercy, and His guidance is open to all who have the will to profit by it. But that will must be exercised in conformity with Allah's Will (verse 29). Such conformity is Islam. Verse 28 points to human free-will and responsibility; verse 29 to its limitations. Both extremes, viz., cast-iron Determinism and an idea of Chaotic Free-will, are condemned.

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation: [81- 27-29]
It reminds us that it is up to every individual to choose whether to follow the right path or not. Since Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has granted everyone his or her free will, then every human being is responsible for himself to follow Allah’s guidance. All doubts have been dispelled, all excuses answered by this clear statement of all the relevant facts. The right path has been indicated for everyone who wishes to be upright. Anyone who follows a different path shall, therefore, bear the responsibility for his actions.

It is, therefore, man’s own will which leads him away from Allah’s guidance. He has no other excuse or justification.

 لِمَنۡ شَآءَ مِنۡكُمۡ اَنۡ يَّسۡتَقِيۡمَؕ‏ 
( 28 )   For whoever wills among you to take a right course.
In other words, although this is an admonition for all mankind, only such a person can benefit by it, who is himself desirous of adopting piety and righteousness. Man’s being a seeker after truth and a lover of right is the foremost condition of his gaining any benefit from it.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
Whoever seeks guidance, then he must adhere to this Qur'an, for verily it is his salvation and guidance. There is no guidance in other than it.

وَمَا تَشَآءُوۡنَ اِلَّاۤ اَنۡ يَّشَآءَ اللّٰهُ رَبُّ الۡعٰلَمِيۡنَ
( 29 )   And you do not will except that Allah wills - Lord of the worlds.
This theme has already occurred in (Surah Al- Muddaththir, Ayat 56) and (Surah Ad-Dahr, Ayat 20). 

The same subject has been dealt with in the 56th verse of Surah 74. Al-Muddaththir as under:

وَمَا يَذۡكُرُوۡنَ اِلَّاۤ اَنۡ يَّشَآءَ اللّٰهُ​ ؕ هُوَ اَهۡلُ التَّقۡوٰى وَاَهۡلُ الۡمَغۡفِرَةِ
(74:56) But they will not benefit from it unless Allah Himself so wills.1 He is worthy to be feared; and He is worthy to forgive (those that fear Him).
That is, a person’s taking heed does not wholly depend upon his own will, but he takes heed only when Allah also wills to grant him the grace to take heed. In other words, the truth that has been expressed here is that no act of man takes a concrete shape solely by his own will, but each act is implemented only when the will of God combines with the will of the man. This is a very delicate question, failure to understand which has often made human thought falter. Briefly it can be understood thus: If in this world every man had the power to accomplish whatever he wanted to accomplish, the system of the world would be disturbed. This system continues to hold only because the will of Allah is dominant over all other wills. Man can accomplish whatever he wants to accomplish only when Allah also wills that he be allowed to accomplish it. The same is also the case with guidance and error. Only man’s own desiring to have guidance is not enough for him to have guidance; he receives guidance only when Allah also takes a decision to fulfill his desire. Likewise, only man’s desiring to go astray by itself is also not enough, but when Allah in view of his desire decides that he be allowed to wander into evil ways, then he wanders into the evil ways in which Allah allows him to wander. As for example, if a person wants to become a thief, only his desire is not enough that he may enter into any house he likes and walk away with whatever he likes, but he can fulfill his desire only at the time and to the extent and in the form that Allah allows him to fulfill it, according to His supreme wisdom and expedience.
That is, the admonition being given to you to avoid Allah’s displeasure is not for the reason that Allah needs it, and if you did not take it, Allah would be harmed, but you are being so admonished because it is Allah’s right that His servants should seek His pleasure and good will and should avoid doing anything against His will.
That is, it behooves only Allah that He should receive into His mercy whoever desists from evil no matter how many acts of disobedience he might have committed in the past. Allah is not vengeful to His servants so that He may refuse to forgive their errors and be bent upon punishing them in any case.
Ibn Kathir Explanation:
This means that the will is not left to you all, so that whoever wishes to be guided, then he is guided, and whoever wishes to be astray, then he goes astray, rather, all of this is according to the will of Allah the Exalted, and He is the Lord of all that exists. 

It is reported from Sulayman bin Musa that when this Ayah was revealed, (To whomsoever among you who wills to walk straight.) Abu Jahl said, "The matter is up to us. If we wish, we will stand straight, and we do not wish, we will not stand straight.'' 

So Allah revealed, (And you cannot will unless (it be) that Allah wills the Lord of the all that exists.) This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat At-Takwir, and all praise and thanks are due to Allah.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
I.e., "you can will it only because God has willed to show you the right way by means of the positive instincts which He has implanted in you, as well as through the revelations which He has bestowed on His prophets": implying that the choice of the right way is open to everyone who is willing to avail himself of God's universal guidance. (Cf. a similar passage in {76:29-30}.)

May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala protect us from straying away from the guidance of Qur’an and the message that Rasoolullah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam brought. May He give us the ability to be sincere in our commitment to and affirmation of His Deen, aameen.

You may now like to listen to exegesis of the surah by eminent scholar Nouman Ali Khan:

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 | 6 | 7 | 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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