Monday 22 March 2021

Surah Al Mulk (The Kingdom): Exegesis/Tafsir 67th Chapter of Quran

Sūrah Al Mulk (The  Kingdom) is the sixty seventh sürah with 30 āyāt with two rukus, part of the 29th Juzʼ  (Tabāraka -lladhi تَبٰرَكَ الَّذِىۡ ) of the Qur'ān. The Surah takes its name al-Mulk from the very first sentence.

Abdullah Yusuf Ali, a renowned exegete of Qur'an notes: We have now done fourteen-fifteenths of the Our-an, and have followed step by step the development of its argument establishing the Ummat or Brotherhood of Islam. [6]
There is a logical break here. The remaining fifteenth consists of short Lyrics, mostly of the Makkan period, dealing mainly with the inner life of ma~, and in its individual aspects. They may be compared to Hymns or Psalms m other religious literature. But these short Quranic Surahs have a grandeur, a beauty, and a force of earnestness under persecution, all their own. With their sources in the sublimes regions of heaven; their light penetrates into the darkest recesses of Life, into the concrete facts which are often mistaken for the whole of Reality, though they are but an insignificant portion and, on the surface, and fleeting.
It is the contrast between the shadows of Reality here and the eternal Reality, between the surface world and the profound inner World, that is urged on our attention here.
This Surah of 30 verses belongs to the Middle Makkan period, just before S. lxix. and S. lxx. Allah is mentioned here by the name Rahman (Most Gracious), as He is mentioned by the names of Rabb (Lord and Cherisher) and Rahman (Most Gracious) in S. xix.

In this Sūrah, on the one hand, the teachings of Islam have been introduced briefly, and, on the other, the people living in heedlessness have been aroused from their slumber in a most effective way. A characteristic of the earliest surahs of the Makkan period is that they present the entire teachings of Islam and the object of the Holy Prophet's mission, not in detail, but briefly, so that they are assimilated by the people easily. Moreover, they are particularly directed to make the people shun heedlessness, to make them think, and to arouse their dormant conscience.  The surah emphasizes that no individual can impose his will on another; he may only guide and set an example (67:26).
It may be added for information that the entire Qur'an is a well-connected and systematic book. Each division has a distinct theme. Topics within a division are more or less in the order of revelation. Within each division, each member of the pair complements the other in various ways. The Seventh Division commences from Sūrah 67. Al Mulk and terminates at the end of the last Sūrah 114. An Nas. [10]
Sūrah Al Mulk consists of two Ruku as under:
  • Ruku One (Verses 1-14): Kingdom of the universe belong to Allah and Lower heaven is decorated with the lamps (stars) and Conversation between the dwellers of hell and her guards
  • Ruku Two (Verses 15-30): No one can help you against Allah and No one can provide you sustenance besides Allah and No one can save you from the punishment of Allah
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 its recitation in Arabic with English subtitles at the end of the post:

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"
Ruku One (Verses 1-14)
In the first five verses man has been made to realize that the universe in which he lives is a most well organized and fortified Kingdom in which he cannot detect any fault, any weakness or flaw, how ever hard he may try to probe. This Kingdom has been brought from nothing into existence by Allah Almighty Himself and All the powers of controlling, administering and ruling it are also entirely in Allah's hand and His power is infinite. Besides, man has also been told that in this wise system he has not been created without a purpose, but he has been sent here for a test and in this test he can succeed only by his righteous deeds and conduct.
تَبٰرَكَ الَّذِىۡ بِيَدِهِ الۡمُلۡكُ وَهُوَ عَلٰى كُلِّ شَىۡءٍ قَدِيۡرُۙ‏ 
( 1 )   Blessed is He in whose hand is dominion, and He is over all things competent -
Tabaraka " تَبٰرَكَ " is a superlative from barkat. Barkat comprehends the meanings of exaltation and greatness, abundance and plentiful, permanence and multiplicity of virtues and excellences. When the superlative tabaraka is formed from it, it gives the meaning that Allah is infinitely noble and great. He is superior to everything beside Himself in His essence and attributes and works. His beneficence is infinite, and His excellences are permanent and everlasting. (For further information, see explanation of verses ( 54 of Surah 7. Al-Aaraf); (1-3 of Surah 23. Al-Muminoon); (1 and 10 of Surah 25. Al-Furqan).

As the word al-Mulk has been used, it cannot be taken in any limited meaning. Inevitably, it would imply sovereignty over everything that exists in the universe. In Whose hand is the dominion does not mean that He has physical hands, but that He is possessor of all power and authority and no one else has any share in it.

Since it is He in Whose Hand is the dominion of the Universe, He can do whatever He wills, nothing can frustrate or hinder Him from doing what He pleases.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
What do we mean when we bless the name of Allah, or proclaim (in the optative mood) that the whole Creation should bless the name of the Lord? We mean that we recognise and proclaim His beneficence to us; for all increase and happiness is through Him, "in His hands',-in the hands of Him Who also holds Dominion or Power. In our human affairs we sometimes see the separation of Dominion or Power from Goodness or Beneficence: in the divine nature we recognise that there is no separation or antithesis.

Mulk: Dominion, Lordship, Sovereignty, the Right to carry out His Will, or to do all that He wills. Power (in the clause following) is the Capacity to carry out His Will, so that nothing can resist or neutralise it. Here is beneficence completely identified with Lordship and Power; and it is exemplified in the verses following. Note that "Mulk" here has a different shade of meaning from Malakut in xxxvi. 83. Both words are from the same root, and I have translated both by the word "Dominion". But Malakut refers to Lordship in the invisible World, while Mulk to Lordship in the visible World. Allah is Lord of both.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
Glorification of Allah and mentioning the Creation of Death, Life, the Heavens and the Stars - Allah the Exalted glorifies His Noble Self and informs that the dominion is in His Hand. This means that He deals with all of His creatures however He wishes and there is none who can reverse His decree. He is not questioned concerning what He does because of His force, His wisdom and His justice. 

For this reason Allah says, " وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَىْءٍ قَدِيرٌ " and He is Able to do all things.) Then Allah says:

اۨلَّذِىۡ خَلَقَ الۡمَوۡتَ وَالۡحَيٰوةَ لِيَبۡلُوَكُمۡ اَيُّكُمۡ اَحۡسَنُ عَمَلًا ؕ وَهُوَ الۡعَزِيۡزُ الۡغَفُوۡرُۙ‏ 
( 2 )   [He] who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed - and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving -
That is, the object of giving life to man in the world and causing his death is to test him to see which of them is best in deeds. Allusion has been made in this brief sentence to a number of truths:

(1) That life and death are given by Allah, no one else can grant life nor cause death.

(2) That neither the life nor the death of a creation like man, which has been given the power to do both good and evil, is purposeless. The Creator has created him in the world for the test. Life is for him the period of the test and death means that the time allotted for the test has come to an end.

(3) That for the sake of this very test the Creator has given every man an opportunity for action, so that he may do good or evil in the world and practically show what kind of a man he is.

(4) That the Creator alone will decide who has done good or evil. It is not for us to propose a criterion for the good and the evil deeds but for Almighty Allah. Therefore, whoever desires to get through the test, will have to find out what is the criterion of a good deed in His sight. Every person will be recompensed according to his deeds, for if there was no reward or punishment the test would be meaningless.

He is the Most Mighty, the Most Forgiving " This has two meanings and both are implied here:

(1) That He is Almighty, in spite of being dominant over all His creatures, He is Merciful and Forgiving for them, not tyrannous and cruel.

(2) That He has full power to punish the evildoers. No one can escape His punishment. But He is forgiving for him who feels penitent, refrains from evil and asks for His forgiveness.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
(" الَّذِى خَلَقَ الْمَوْتَ وَالْحَيَوةَ " Who has created death and life) Those who say that death is an existing creation use this Ayah as a proof because it is something that has been created. This Ayah means that He brought creation into existence from nothing in order to test the creatures. He examines them to see which of them will be best in deeds. 
This is similar to Allah's statement: (How can you disbelieve in Allah Seeing that you were dead and He gave you life.) (2:28) In this Ayah Allah named the first stage, which is non-existence, "death.'' Then he named the origin or beginning of existence, "life.'' 
This is why Allah says: (Then He will give death, then again will bring you to life ( on the Day of Resurrection)) (2:28). 
Concerning Allah's statement: (" لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ أَيُّكُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلاً " He may test you which of you is best in deed.) it means best in deeds. This is as Muhammad bin `Ajlan said. It should be noted that Allah did not say "which of you does the most deeds.'' 

Allah then says: (" وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْغَفُورُ " And He is the Almighty, the Oft-Forgiving.) This means that He is the Almighty, the Most Great, the Most Powerful and the Most Honorable. However, along with this He is Most Forgiving to whoever turns to Him in repentance and seeks His pardon after having disobeyed Him and opposed His commandment. Even though Allah is Almighty, He also forgives, shows mercy, pardons and excuses.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
"Created Death and Life." Death is here put before Life, and it is created. Death is therefore not merely a negative state. In ii. 28 we read: "Seeing that ye were without life (literally, dead), and He gave you life: then will He cause you to die, and will again bring you to life; and again to Him will ye retum." In liii. 44, again, Death is put before Life. Death, then, is (1) the state before life began, which may be non-existence or existence in some other form: (2) the state in which Life as we know it ceases, but existence does not cease; a state of Barzakh (xxiii. 100), or Barrier or Partition, after our visible Death and before Judgment; after that will be the new Life, which we conceive of under the term Eternity.

Creation, therefore, is not in mere sport, or without a purpose with reference to man. The state before our present life, or the state after, we can scarcely understand. But our present Life is clearly given to enable us to strive by good deeds to reach a nobler state.

All this is possible, because Allah is so Exalted in Might that He can perfectly carry out His Will and Purpose, and that Purpose is Love, Mercy, and Goodness to His creatures.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
Since what is termed "death" is stated here to have been created, it cannot be identical with "non-existence", but obviously must have a positive reality of its own. To my mind, it connotes, firstly, the inanimate state of existence preceding the emergence of life in plants or animated beings; and, secondly, the state of transition from life as we know it in this world to the - as yet to us unimaginable - condition of existence referred to in the Qur'an as "the hereafter" or "the life to come" (al-akhirah).

We learn a few things from these ayahs: [7]

1. That life and death are given by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala no one else can grant life nor cause death; That man’s creation has not been without purpose. Allah

2. That man’s creation has not been without purpose. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala created man to test him. This test will end with the end of his life in this world;

3. That for the sake of this test Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has given every man an opportunity for action. It is his choice to pursue good or the evil path;

4. That Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala alone will decide who has done good or evil. It is not for us to judge. Every person will be recompensed according to his deeds, for if there was no reward or punishment the test would be meaningless.

What is a beautiful action? Only that which is beautiful in the Sight of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. The intention for that deed is correct (sincerely done for the sake of Allah) and it is done according to the Sunnah of the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. For he was the beloved of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala sent for our guidance with the best character. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala loved his actions. Therefore, we need to study his seerah and learn how is eating, drinking, sleeping, and other day-to-day matters were like.

Everyone has found their own way of worshipping. Imagine a student being given a particular curriculum and he goes on to learn something else. Will he clear his exams? Definitely, not. Similarly, if we are to enter Jannah then we must follow the curriculum that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah.

Everything around us is performing its purpose. It is only man who is going on varying ways. Some have found their purpose in life while for others this life is still a place of play and entertainment. We see that the other living beings are performing their purpose. The sun rises and sets at its defined time. If it doesn’t there will be a chaos. So because we are not living according to the purpose of our creation our lives are in a mess.

Another thing note here is that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala does not want quantity rather quality. He wants to see who among us is better. Everything that we do in our life is a deed. For example, what do we do while we are waiting for our commute to come? Do we curse because it’s late or do we make use of the time and do dhikr? What do we do while our computer is booting-up? What does one talk about and how much does he talk? Does he waste his own and other’s time or keep his conversation to the point? Does he turn away upon seeing someone or is he the first one to greet them? Let’s all make the most of our time and watch our speech.

“And He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving,” (67: 2) meaning even though Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is Almighty, He also forgives, shows mercy, pardons and excuses. He is not tyrannous and cruel. He has the full power to punish the evildoers and none can escape His punishment, however, along with this He is Most Forgiving to whoever turns to Him in repentance and seeks His pardon after having disobeyed Him and opposed His commandment.

الَّذِىۡ خَلَقَ سَبۡعَ سَمٰوٰتٍ طِبَاقًا​ ؕ مَا تَرٰى فِىۡ خَلۡقِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ مِنۡ تَفٰوُتٍ​ ؕ فَارۡجِعِ الۡبَصَرَۙ هَلۡ تَرٰى مِنۡ فُطُوۡرٍ‏
( 3 )   [And] who created seven heavens in layers. You do not see in the creation of the Most Merciful any inconsistency. So return [your] vision [to the sky]; do you see any breaks?
For explanation, see( E.N. 34 of Surah Al-Baqarah); ( E.N. 2 of Surah Ar-Raad); ( E.N. 8 of Surah Al-Hijr); ( E.N. 113 of Surah Al-Hajj); (E.N. 15 of Surah Al-Muminoon); (E.N. 5 of Surah As-Saaffat); (E.N. 90 of Surah Al-Mumin).

Literally, tafawut تَفٰوُتٍ​ is disproportion: two things being out of accord and in disagreement with each other. So, the divine words mean: You will not see any indiscipline, any disorder and discordance anywhere in the universe, there is nothing disjointed and out of proportion in this world created by Allah: all its parts are well connected and in perfect harmony and coordination.

The word futoor  فُطُوۡرٍ  means a crack, rift, fissure, or a thing’s being split and broken. The verse means to say that the whole universe is so closely well-knit and everything in it, from a particle on the earth to the huge galaxies, so well connected and coherent that the continuity of the system of the universe seems to break nowhere, however hard one may try to probe and investigate. (For further explanation, see (E.N. 8 of Surah Qaf).

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Cf. lxv. 12. The heavens as they appear to our sight seem to be arranged in layers one above another, and ancient astronomy accounted for the motions of the heavenly bodies in an elaborate scheme of spheres. What we are concerned with here is the order and beauty of the vast spaces and the marvelous bodies that follow regular laws of motion in those enormous spaces in the visible world. From these we are to form some conception of the vastly greater Invisible World, for which we want special spiritual vision.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Or: "conforming [with one another]", this being the primary significance of tibaq (sing. tabaq). 
The term sama' ("heaven" or "sky") is applied to anything that is spread like a canopy above any other thing. Thus, the visible skies which stretch like a vault above the earth and form, as it were, its canopy, are called sama': and this is the primary meaning of this term in the Qur'an; in a wider sense, it has the connotation of "cosmic system". As regards the "seven heavens", it is to be borne in mind that in Arabic usage - and apparently in other Semitic languages as well - the number "seven" is often synonymous with "several" (see Lisan al-'Arab), just as "seventy" or "seven hundred" often means many or "very many" (Taj al-'Arus). This, taken together with the accepted linguistic definition that "every sama' is a sama' with regard to what is below it" (Raghib), may explain the "seven heavens" as denoting the multiplicity of cosmic systems.

Following is my rendering of thumma, at the beginning of this sentence, as "and" (as explained for verse 7:54:

The conjunctive particle thumma which precedes this clause does not always denote order in time ("then" or "thereupon"). In cases where it is used to link parallel statements it has often the function of the simple conjunction wa ("and") - as, for instance, in 2:29 ("and has applied His design...", etc.)   

ثُمَّ ارۡجِعِ الۡبَصَرَ كَرَّتَيۡنِ يَنۡقَلِبۡ اِلَيۡكَ الۡبَصَرُ خَاسِئًا وَّهُوَ حَسِيۡرٌ‏ 
( 4 )   Then return [your] vision twice again. [Your] vision will return to you humbled while it is fatigued.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Reverting to the indication of the external or visible world, we are asked to observe and study it again and again, and as minutely as our powers will allow. However closely we observe it, we shall find no flaw in it. Indeed the region of enquiry is so vast and stretches so far beyond our ken, that our eyes, aided with the most powerful telescopes, will confess themselves defeated in trying to penetrate to the ultimate mysteries. We shall find no defect in Allah's handiwork: it is our own powers that we shall find fail to go beyond a certain compass.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Sc., in its endeavour to encompass the mysteries of the universe.

وَلَـقَدۡ زَيَّـنَّا السَّمَآءَ الدُّنۡيَا بِمَصَابِيۡحَ وَجَعَلۡنٰهَا رُجُوۡمًا لِّلشَّيٰطِيۡنِ​ وَاَعۡتَدۡنَا لَهُمۡ عَذَابَ السَّعِيۡرِ‏ 
( 5 )   And We have certainly beautified the nearest heaven with stars and have made [from] them what is thrown at the devils and have prepared for them the punishment of the Blaze.
The world’s heaven: the heaven the stars and planets of which can be seen with the naked eye; the objects beyond that which can be seen only through telescopes are the distant heaven; and the heavens still farther away are those which have not yet been seen even with telescopes.

The word masabih in the original has been used as a common noun, and therefore, automatically gives the meaning of the lamp’s being splendid and glorious. It means: We have not created this universe dark, dismal and desolate, but have beautified and decorated it with stars, the glory and grandeur of which at night strike man with amazement.

This does not mean that the stars themselves are pelted at the Satans, nor that the meteorites shoot out only to drive away the Satans, but it means that the countless meteorites which originate from the stars and wander in space at tremendous speeds and which also fall to the earth in a continuous shower prevent the Satans of the earth from ascending to the heavens. Even if they try to ascend heavenward these meteorites drive them away. This thing has been mentioned here because the Arabs believed about the soothsayers, and this also was the claim made by the soothsayers themselves, that the Satans were under their control, or that they had a close contact with them, and through them they received news of the unseen, and thus, could foretell the destinies of the people. That is why at several places in the Quran, it has been stated that there is absolutely no possibility for the Satans ascending to the heavens and bringing news of the unseen. (For more information, see explanation of verses (16-18 of Surah 15. Al-Hijr), (7-8 of Surah As- Saaffat).

As for the truth about meteorites, man’s information in this regard is still without a scientific basis. However, the theory which seems best to account for all the facts known today and the information gathered from the examination of the meteorites fallen on the earth, is that meteorites originate from the disintegration of one or more planets and wander in space and sometimes fall to the earth under its gravitational pull. (See Encyclopedia Britannica, vol. XV, under Meteorites).

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: "Lowest (or nearest) heaven": as explained for xxxvii. 6 (reproduced below):
Allah is the Lord of everything that exists-'the heavens and the earth, and all between them'. He is the Lord of the Mashariq,-of every point at the rising of the sun. As the Commentators tell us, there are in the solar year only two equinoctial days, when the sun rises due east: on every other the sun rises at a shifting point either north or south of due east. In vii. 137 we have Mashariq al ardhi wa magaribaha, where the plural of the words for East and West is negligible, as the conjunction of the two embraces all points. The same may be said of lxx. 40, where Allah is called "Lord of all points in the East and the West". If we are speaking of longitudes, they may embrace all latitudes. In lv. 17 Allah is called "Lord of the two Easts and the two Wests", referring to the extreme points in either case. A cursory reader may ask, why is only the East referred to here? The reply is that it is not so much the East as the rising of the sun, on which stress is laid. The Arabic mashriq or mashariq is close enough to the root-word sharaqa, to suggest, not so much the East as the rising of the sun, especially when the plural form is used. The glorious sun rises from different points, as seen by us, but it illuminates the whole heaven and earth. It is an emblem of Unity.
The phenomenon of the shooting stars has been, explained in xv. 16-18; and in xxxvii. 6-10.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Lit., "lamps" - i.e., stars: cf. 37:6 "We have adorned the skies nearest to the earth with the beauty of stars".

For the wider meaning of shayatin - a term which in this context points specifically to "the satans from among mankind, that is, the astrologers" (Baydawi) - see surah {15}, note [16]. As regards the term rajm (pl. rujum), which literally denotes the "throwing [of something] like a stone," - i.e., at random - it is often used metaphorically in the sense of "speaking conjecturally" or "making [something] the object of guesswork" (Jawhari, Raghib - the latter connecting this metaphor explicitly with the above verse -, Lisan al-'Arab, Qamus, Taj al-'Arus, etc.). Cf. also {37:6-10}.
In verses 6-11, dreadful consequences of disbelief which will appear in the Hereafter have been mentioned, and the people told that Allah, by sending His Prophets, has warned them of these consequences in this very world, as if to say "Now, if you do not believe in what the Prophets say and correct your attitude and behavior accordingly, in the Hereafter you will yourself have to admit that you really deserved the punishment that was being meted out to you."
وَلِلَّذِيۡنَ كَفَرُوۡا بِرَبِّهِمۡ عَذَابُ جَهَنَّمَ​ؕ وَبِئۡسَ الۡمَصِيۡرُ‏  
( 6 )   And for those who disbelieved in their Lord is the punishment of Hell, and wretched is the destination.
That is, the fate of all those, whether men or Satans, who disbelieve in their Lord. (For the explanation of the meaning of disbelieving in the Lord (Rabb), see explanation of verses (161 of Surah 2. Al-Baqarah); (151 of Surah 4. An-Nisa); (37 of Surah 18. Al-Kahf); (4 of Surah 40. Al-Momin).

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: We have seen how the fire in the stars can suggest the beauty and order of the external world; and yet, when it meets with resistance and disharmony, it can burn and destroy. So in the moral and spiritual world. What can be a greater sign of evil, disharmony, and rebellion than to reject the Cherisher and Sustainer, on Whom our life depends, and from Whom we receive nothing but goodness? The Punishment, then, is Fire in its fiercest intensity, as typified in the next two verses.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: I.e., by presuming to know what will happen in the future - a knowledge which rests with God alone. This connects with the statement in verse {4} that man can never truly unravel the mysteries of cosmic space ("the heavens"), which in its turn implies that he should not presume to foretell terrestrial events from the position and the aspects of the stars. Since only God knows "that which is beyond the reach of a created being's perception" (al-ghayb), any such attempt is a blasphemy (kufr).

اِذَاۤ اُلۡقُوۡا فِيۡهَا سَمِعُوۡا لَهَا شَهِيۡقًا وَّهِىَ تَفُوۡرُۙ‏ 
( 7 )   When they are thrown into it, they hear from it a [dreadful] inhaling while it boils up.
The word shahiq is used for producing a cry like the donkey’s braying. The sentence may also mean that it could be the sound of Hell itself, as well as that it would be the sound coming from Hell, where the people already flung into it would be screaming and crying. This second meaning is supported by (Surah Houd, Ayat 106), where it has been said: Therein they will pant and hiss (because of thirst), and the first meaning is confirmed by (Surah Al- Furqan, Ayat 12), which says: When the Hell will see them from afar, they will hear the sounds of its raging and roaring. On this basis, the correct meaning is that it would be the noise made both by Hell and by the dwellers of Hell.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: For shahiq see xi. 106 (reproduced below):
The first word, Zafir, translated "sighs", is applied to one part in the process of the braying of an ass, when he emits a deep breath. The second, Shahiq, translated, "sobs", is the other process in the braying of an ass, when he draws in a long breath. This suggestion of an animal proverbial for his folly implies that the wicked, in spite of their arrogance and insolence in this world below, will at last realize that they have been fools after all, throwing away their own chances whenever they got them. In lxvii. 7 the word Shahiq is applied to the tremendous roaring in-take or devouring of Hell-fire.
There shahiq (sobs) was contrasted with zafir (sighs): in the one case it is the drawing in of breath, and in the other the emission of a deep breath. Here the latter process is represented by the verb fara, to swell, to blaze forth, to gush forth. In xi. 40, the verb fara was applied to the gushing forth of the waters of the Flood; here the verb is applied to the blazing forth of the Fire of Punishment. Fire is personified: in its in-take it has a fierce appetite; in the flames which it throws out, it has a fierce aggressiveness. And yet in ultimate result evil meets the same fate, whether typified by water or fire.

تَكَادُ تَمَيَّزُ مِنَ الۡغَيۡظِ​ؕ كُلَّمَاۤ اُلۡقِىَ فِيۡهَا فَوۡجٌ سَاَلَهُمۡ خَزَنَـتُهَاۤ اَلَمۡ يَاۡتِكُمۡ نَذِيۡرٌ‏ 
( 8 )   It almost bursts with rage. Every time a company is thrown into it, its keepers ask them, "Did there not come to you a warner?"
The real nature of this question will not be of a question that the keepers of Hell would like to ask them whether a warner from Allah had come to them or not, but the object would be to make them realize that no injustice had been done to them by casting them into Hell. They would try to make them confess that Allah had not kept them uninformed and unwarned. He had sent the Prophets to them. He had informed them of the truth and of the right way. He had warned them that if they followed a way other than the right way, it would lead them to Hell, in which they had been cast. But they had not listened to the Prophets. Hence, they rightly deserved the punishment which was being meted out to them at that time.

This thing has been pointed out over and over again in the Quran that the test for which Allah has sent man in the world is not being conducted by keeping man absolutely unaware and uninformed of the requirements of the test only to see whether he found the right way by himself or not; but Allah has made the most appropriate arrangements that could possibly be made of guiding him to the right way, and it is that He has raised the Prophets and sent down the Books. Now the test of man lies in this whether he accepts the Prophets and the Books brought by them and adopts the straight way, or turns away from them to follow his own desires, wishes and speculations. Thus, the Prophethood, in fact, is Allah’s argument which He has established against man and his entire future life depends on its acceptance or rejection. No one, after the appointment of the Prophets, can present the excuse that he remained unaware of the truth, or that he has been caught and put to the hard test unawares, or that he is being punished while he was innocent. This theme has been presented in many different ways in the Quran; for instance, see explanation of( Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayat 213); ( Surah An-Nisa, Ayats 41-42, 165); (Surah Al-An'aam, Ayats 130-131); (Surah Bani Israil, Ayat 15); (Surah Ta Ha, Ayat 134); (Surah Al-Qasas, Ayats 47, 59, 65); (Surah Fatir, Ayat 37); (Surah Al-Momin, Ayat 50).

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Cf. xxxix. 71. "Every time": it may not be the same angels who are guarding the gates of Hell every time new inmates come in. The pure, innocent angel nature does not know the crookedness of human evil, and is surprised at so many human beings coming in for punishment: it wonders if no warning was conveyed to men, whereas in fact men have a warning in Clear Signs during all the period of their probation. The Clear Signs come from Revelation, from their own conscience, and from all nature around them.

قَالُوۡا بَلٰى قَدۡ جَآءَنَا نَذِيۡرٌ  ۙ فَكَذَّبۡنَا وَقُلۡنَا مَا نَزَّلَ اللّٰهُ مِنۡ شَىۡءٍ ۖۚ اِنۡ اَنۡتُمۡ اِلَّا فِىۡ ضَلٰلٍ كَبِيۡرٍ‏ 
( 9 )   They will say," Yes, a warner had come to us, but we denied and said, 'Allah has not sent down anything. You are not but in great error.'"
That is, not only you but the people who have believed in and followed you also are misguided and lost in grave error.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Allah's Signs were not only rejected or defied, but their very existence was denied. Nay, more, even their possibility was denied, and alas! righteous people and Prophets were persecuted or mocked (xxxvi. 30). They were called fools or madmen, or men under a delusion!

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Lit., "You are in nothing but a great error (dalal)" - thus denying the reality of divine revelation as such.

وَقَالُوۡا لَوۡ كُنَّا نَسۡمَعُ اَوۡ نَعۡقِلُ مَا كُنَّا فِىۡۤ اَصۡحٰبِ السَّعِيۡرِ‏  
( 10 )   And they will say, "If only we had been listening or reasoning, we would not be among the companions of the Blaze."
 If we had listened or understood: If we had listened to the Prophets with attention as seekers after truth or used our intellect to understand what actually was the message they were presenting before us. Here listening has been given priority over understanding, the reason being that the pre-requisite of obtaining guidance is to listen to what the Prophet teaches, or to read if it is in the written form, like a seeker after truth. To ponder over it in an attempt to understand the truth is secondary. Without the Prophet’s guidance man cannot by himself reach the truth directly by using his intellect and common sense.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Reason, properly used, must lead man to a cognition of God's existence and, thus, of the fact that a definite plan underlies all His creation. A logical concomitant of that cognition is the realization that certain aspects of the divine plan touching upon human life - in particular, the distinction between right and wrong - are being continuously disclosed to man through the medium of the revelation which God bestows on His chosen message-bearers, the prophets. This innate "bond with God" (referred to in 2:27 and explained in the corresponding note [19]) may be broken only at the expense of man's spiritual future, with suffering in the life to come as the inevitable alternative.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Man has himself the power given to him to distinguish good from evil, and he is further helped by the teachings of the great Messengers or World Teachers. Where such Teachers do not come into personal contact with an individual or a generation, the true meaning of their teaching can be understood by means of the Reason which Allah has given to every human soul to judge by. It is failure to follow a man's light sincerely that leads to his degradation and destruction.

فَاعۡتَرَفُوۡا بِذَنۡۢبِهِمۡ​ۚ فَسُحۡقًا لِّاَصۡحٰبِ السَّعِيۡرِ‏ 
( 11 )   And they will admit their sin, so [it is] alienation for the companions of the Blaze.
The word dhanb (sin) has been used in the singular. It means that the real sin because of which they became worthy of Hell was to belie the Messengers and refuse to obey them. All other sins are its consequences.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: The will then have passed through the fire of Judgment and will now be in the fire of Punishment. The Reality will not only now be clear to them, but after the questionings of the angels they cannot even pretend to make any excuses. They will freely confess, but that is not repentance, for repentance implies amendment, and the time for repentance and amendment will have long been past.
In verses 12-l4, the truth that has been impressed on the minds is that the Creator cannot be unaware of His creation, as if to say: "He is aware of each open and hidden secret of yours, even of the innermost ideas of your hearts. Hence, the right basis of morality is that man should avoid evil, fearing the accountability of the unseen God, whether in the world there is a power to take him to task for this or not, and whether in the world there is a possibility of being harmed by such a power or not. Those who adopt such a conduct in the world alone will deserve forgiveness and a rich reward in the Hereafter."
اِنَّ الَّذِيۡنَ يَخۡشَوۡنَ رَبَّهُمۡ بِالۡغَيۡبِ لَهُمۡ مَّغۡفِرَةٌ وَّاَجۡرٌ كَبِيۡرٌ‏ 
( 12 )   Indeed, those who fear their Lord unseen will have forgiveness and great reward.
That is, there are two inevitable results of fearing God unseen.

(1) That whatever errors and sins one will have committed because of human weaknesses, will be forgiven provided these were not committed because of fearlessness of God.

(2) That whatever good acts a man performs on the basis of this belief, he will be rewarded richly for them.

The address is to all human beings, whether they are believers or unbelievers. For the believer, it contains the admonition that while living his life in the world he should always remember that not only his open and hidden deeds but even his secret intentions and innermost thoughts are not hidden from Allah. And for the unbeliever, the warning that he may do whatever he may please fearless of God, but nothing that he does can remain un-noticed and unseen by Him.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: See explanation of xxxv. 18. Read "unseen" adverbially. To fear the Lord is to love Him so intensely that you fear to do anything which is against His Will, and you do it because you realise Him intensely in your hearts, though you do not see Him with your bodily senses. Nor is it of any consequences whether other people see your love or the consequences that flow from your love, for your good deeds are for the love of Allah and not for show in the eyes of men. Such intensity of love obtains forgiveness for any past, and is indeed rewarded with Allah's love, which is immeasurably precious beyond any merits you may possess.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Al-ghayb (commonly, and erroneously, translated as "the Unseen") is used in the Qur'an to denote all those sectors or phases of reality which lie beyond the range of human perception and cannot, therefore, be proved or disproved by scientific observation or even adequately comprised within the accepted categories of speculative thought: as, for instance, the existence of God and of a definite purpose underlying the universe, life after death, the real nature of time, the existence of spiritual forces and their inter-action, and so forth. Only a person who is convinced that the ultimate reality comprises far more than our observable environment can attain to belief in God and, thus, to a belief that life has meaning and purpose. By pointing out that it is "a guidance for those who believe in the existence of that which is beyond human perception", the Qur'an says, in effect, that it will - of necessity - remain a closed book to all whose minds cannot accept this fundamental premise.

وَاَسِرُّوۡا قَوۡلَـكُمۡ اَوِ اجۡهَرُوۡا بِهٖؕ اِنَّهٗ عَلِيۡمٌۢ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُوۡرِ‏  
( 13 )   And conceal your speech or publicize it; indeed, He is Knowing of that within the breasts.
The address is to all human beings, whether they are believers or unbelievers. For the believer, it contains the admonition that while living his life in the world he should always remember that not only his open and hidden deeds but even his secret intentions and innermost thoughts are not hidden from Allah. And for the unbeliever, the warning that he may do whatever he may please fearless of God, but nothing that he does can remain un-noticed and unseen by Him.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: While the primary significance of the noun qawl " قَوۡلَـكُمۡ " is "a saying" or "an utterance", it is often used tropically in the sense of "a statement", i.e., of a belief, an opinion, a teaching, a doctrine, etc. In the present context it evidently relates to man's beliefs in general, be they affirmative or negative: hence the plural form in my rendering of this term.

He knows why one person believes in Him and another rejects this belief; hence, He takes man's innermost motivations, abilities and inabilities fully into account.

اَلَا يَعۡلَمُ مَنۡ خَلَقَؕ وَهُوَ اللَّطِيۡفُ الۡخَبِيۡرُ
( 14 )   Does He who created not know, while He is the Subtle, the Acquainted?
Another translation can be: Would He not know His own creatures? In the original text khalaqa has been used, which may mean: Who has created as well as whom He has created, In both cases the meaning remains the same. This is the argument for what has been said in the preceding sentence. That is, how is it possible that the Creator should be unaware of His creation? The creation may remain unaware of itself, but the Creator cannot be unaware of it. He has made every vein of your body, every fiber of your heart and brain. You breathe because He enables you to breathe, your limbs function because He enables them to function, How then can anything of yours remain hidden from Him.

The word Latif as used in the original means the One Who works in imperceptible ways as well as the One Who knows the hidden truths and realities.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: The term latif " لَّطِيۡفُ " denotes something that is extremely subtle in quality, and therefore intangible and unfathomable. Whenever this term occurs in the Qur'an with reference to God in conjunction with the adjective khabir " خَبِيۡرُ " ("all-aware"), it is invariably used to express the idea of His inaccessibility to human perception, imagination or comprehension, as contrasted with His Own all-awareness (see, apart from the above verse, also 22:63 , 31:16 , 33:34 and 67:14 . In the two instances where the combination of latif and khabir carries the definite article al ( 6:103 and 67:14 ), the expression huwa 'l-latif has the meaning of "He alone is unfathomable" - implying that this quality of His is unique and absolute.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: He Who creates must necessarily know His own handiwork. But lest we should measure His knowledge by such imperfect knowledge as we possess. His knowledge is further characterised as understanding the finest mysteries and being well acquainted with them (Latif and Khabir): see xxii. 63.

Read more about these attributes Allah:
  • Al-Latif (اللطيف) - The Subtle, The Gracious, The Refined
  • Al-Khabir (الخبير) - The Inner-Aware, The Reality-Knower
Ruku Two (Verses 15-30)
In Verses 15-23 , making allusions, one after the other to those common truths of daily occurrence, which man does not regard as worthy of much attention, he has been invited to consider them seriously. It has been said: "Look: the earth on which you move about with full satisfaction and peace of mind, and from which you obtain your sustenance has been subdued for you by Allah; otherwise this earth might at any time start shaking suddenly so as to cause your destruction, or a typhoon might occur, which may annihilate you completely. Look at the birds that fly above you; it is only Allah Who is sustaining them in the air. Look at your own means and resources: if Allah wills to inflict you with a scourge, none can save you from it; and if Allah wills to close the doors of sustenance on you, none can open them for you. These things are there to make you aware of the truth, but you see them like animals, which are unable to draw conclusions from observations, and you do not use your sight, hearing and minds which Allah has bestowed on you as men; that is why you do not see the right way."
هُوَ الَّذِىۡ جَعَلَ لَـكُمُ الۡاَرۡضَ ذَلُوۡلًا فَامۡشُوۡا فِىۡ مَنَاكِبِهَا وَكُلُوۡا مِنۡ رِّزۡقِهٖ​ؕ وَاِلَيۡهِ النُّشُوۡرُ‏ 
( 15 )   It is He who made the earth tame for you - so walk among its slopes and eat of His provision - and to Him is the resurrection.
That is, this earth has not become subdued for you of its own accord, and the provisions also that you are eating have not become available here by themselves, but Allah has so arranged it by His wisdom and power that your life became possible here and this splendid globe became so peaceful that you are moving about on it with full peace of mind, and it has become such a vast table spread with food that it contains endless and limitless provisions for your sustenance. If you are not lost in heedlessness and look about yourself intelligently, you will find how much wisdom underlies in the making of this earth habitable for you and arranging in it immeasurable stores of provisions for you. (For explanation, see explanation of verses (60-61 and 64 of Surah An-Naml); (35, 37 of Surah Ya Seen); (64 of Al-Momin), (10 of Surah Az-Zukhruf), (5 of Surah Al-Jathiyah), (15 of Surah Qaf).

While you move about on the earth and eat of what Allah has provided for you here, you should not forget that ultimately you have to appear before God one day.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Zalal is used in ii. 71 for an animal trained and tractable: here it is used to qualify the earth, and I have translated 'manageable'. Man has managed to make paths through deserts and over mountains: through rivers and seas by means of ships; through the air by means of airways; he has made bridges and tunnels and other means of communication. But this he has only been able to do because Allah has given him the necessary intelligence and has made the earth tractable to that intelligence.

In describing Allah's gifts and mercies and watchful care in this our temporary sojourn on this earth, it is made clear that the ultimate end is the Hereafter. The real Beyond, which is the goal, is the life after the Resurrection.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Lit., "who has made the earth submissive (dhalulan) to you": i.e., yielding to the intelligence with which He has endowed man.

ءَاَمِنۡتُمۡ مَّنۡ فِىۡ السَّمَآءِ اَنۡ يَّخۡسِفَ بِكُمُ الۡاَرۡضَ فَاِذَا هِىَ تَمُوۡرُۙ‏ 
( 16 )   Do you feel secure that He who [holds authority] in the heaven would not cause the earth to swallow you and suddenly it would sway?
This does not mean that Allah lives in the heavens, but it has been so said because man naturally looks up to the heaven whenever he wants to turn to Allah, raises his hands heavenward in prayer and implores Allah turning his eyes up to heaven whenever he finds himself helpless in an affliction. Then whenever a calamity befalls him suddenly, he says it has descended from heaven; whenever something unusual happens, he says it has come from heaven; and he calls the Books revealed by Allah as heavenly Books. 
Accordingly to a tradition in Abu Daud, a person came before the Prophet (peace be upon him) with a black slave girl and said: It has become obligatory on me to set a slave free; can I set this slave-girl free? Prophet (peace be upon him) asked the slave-girl: Where is Allah? She pointed heavenward with her forger. The Prophet (peace be upon him) asked: Who am I? She first pointed towards him and then towards the heaven, by which she obviously meant to say: You have come from Allah. Thereupon the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Set her free; she is a believer. (A story closely resembling this has been narrated in Muwatta, Muslim and Nasai also). About Khawla bint Thaibah, Umar once said to the people: She is the lady whose complaint was heard above the seven heavens. (In (verse 1 of Surah al-Mujadalah), we have given full details concerning this). All this clearly shows that it is natural with man that whenever he thinks of God, his mind turns to the heaven above and not to the earth below. 
In view of this very thing the words man fis-samaa " فِىۡ السَّمَآءِ " (He Who is in the heaven) have been used about Allah. There is no room here for any doubt that the Quran regards Allah Almighty as living in the heaven. In fact, there cannot be any basis for this doubt, for in the very beginning of this Surah Al-Mulk, it has been stated: He Who created seven heavens, one above the other, and in Surah Al-Baqarah it has been said: You will face Allah in whatever direction you turn your face. (verse 115).

Muhammad Asad Explanation: This expression is, of course, purely metaphorical since God is limitless in space as well as in time. Its use here is apparently meant to stress the unfathomable quality of His existence and power, which penetrates, and reveals itself in, every aspect of His cosmic creativeness, symbolized in the term "heaven".

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Cf. xvii. 68. Also cf. the story of Qarun in xxviii. 76-82. If we feel safe on land, it is because Allah has made this earth amenable, manageable and serviceable to us (verse 15 above). But if we defy Allah and break His Law, have we any security, that even this comparatively unimportant safety in a fleeting world will last? Looking at it from a purely physical point of view, have there not been dreadful earthquakes, typhoons, and tornadoes?

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation: In these ayaat (16-19) we will learn more about Allah’s gentleness and mercy in dealing with His creatures. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is able to punish them because some of them disbelieve in Him and worship others besides Him, yet He is forbearing, He pardons, and He gives respite for an appointed time without hastening.

(67: 16-17). The meaning of these ayaat is that our survival and well-being on the earth are all dependent upon Allah’s grace and bounty. We are not strutting about on this earth by our own will and power. We are under His protection for each moment of our life. Otherwise, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala at any moment may cause such an earthquake to occur as may make this earth to become our grave instead of the cradle that it is, or may cause a windstorm to blow razing all our towns and settlements to the ground.

And if all that happens then we will know how His warnings and admonitions are. These are the warnings either given through the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam or the Qur’an. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala not allow us to live our lives heedlessly and surrender to Him before we are held accountable for our deeds, aameen.

اَمۡ اَمِنۡتُمۡ مَّنۡ فِى السَّمَآءِ اَنۡ يُّرۡسِلَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ حَاصِبًا​ ؕ فَسَتَعۡلَمُوۡنَ كَيۡفَ نَذِيۡرِ‏ 
( 17 )   Or do you feel secure that He who [holds authority] in the heaven would not send against you a storm of stones? Then you would know how [severe] was My warning.
The object is to impress this: Your very survival and well-being on the earth are at all times dependent upon Allah Almighty’s grace and bounty: you are not strutting about on this earth at will by your own power: you are under obligation only to Allah’s protection for each moment of your life that you are passing here, otherwise Allah at any moment may cause such an earthquake to occur as may make this very earth to become your grave instead of the cradle that it is, or may cause a windstorm to blow razing all your towns and settlements to the ground.

My warning: the warning that was being given through the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Quran to the disbelievers of Makkah to the effect: If you do not refrain from your disbelief and polytheism and do not accept the message of Tauhid being given to you, you will be overtaken by the scourge of God.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Cf. xvii. 68; and xxix. 40. Such a violent wind destroyed the wicked Cities which defied Lut's warning.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Lit., "a storm-wind that raises stones".

وَلَـقَدۡ كَذَّبَ الَّذِيۡنَ مِنۡ قَبۡلِهِمۡ فَكَيۡفَ كَانَ نَكِيۡرِ‏ 
( 18 )   And already had those before them denied, and how [terrible] was My reproach.
The allusion is to the communities who had belied the Messengers, who had come to them previously and consequently been afflicted with divine punishment.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Lit., "before them" (min qablihim " مِنۡ قَبۡلِهِمۡ "). This personal pronoun relates - as does the whole of the passage beginning with verse {13} - to people of all times, who are herewith reminded of what happened to deniers of the truth in earlier times; hence my rendering of min qablihim as "aforetime".

اَوَلَمۡ يَرَوۡا اِلَى الطَّيۡرِ فَوۡقَهُمۡ صٰٓفّٰتٍ وَّيَقۡبِضۡنَؕ ۘ مَا يُمۡسِكُهُنَّ اِلَّا الرَّحۡمٰنُ​ؕ اِنَّهٗ بِكُلِّ شَىۡءٍۢ بَصِيۡرٌ‏ 
( 19 )   Do they not see the birds above them with wings outspread and [sometimes] folded in? None holds them [aloft] except the Most Merciful. Indeed He is, of all things, Seeing.
That is, each bird that flies in the air, does so in the protection of the All-Merciful God. He it is Who has given to each bird the form and structure by which it became able to fly. He it is Who has taught each bird the method to fly. He it is Who has made the air obey the laws by which it became possible for the heavier than air bodies to fly in it, and He it is Who upholds every bird in the air, otherwise the moment Allah withdraws His protection from it, it drops to the ground.

That is, this is not confined only to birds, but whatever exists in the world, exists because of Allah’s keeping and guardianship. He alone provides the means necessary for the existence of everything, and He alone keeps watch that everything created by Him is provided with the necessities of life.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: The flight of birds is one of the most beautiful and wonderful things in nature. The make and arrangement of their feathers and bones, and their stream-line shapes, from beak to tail, are instances of purposive adaptation. They soar with outstretched wings; they dart about with folded wings; their motions upwards and downwards, as well as their stabilization in the air, and when they rest on their feet, have given many ideas to man in the science and art of aeronautics. But who taught or gave to birds this wonderful adaptation? None but Allah, Whose infinite Mercy provides for every creature just those conditions which are best adapted for its life.

In the Arabic, there is an artistic touch which it is not possible to reproduce in the translation. Saffat (spreading their wings) is in the form of the active participle, suggesting the continuous soaring on outspread wings; while yaqbidhna " يَقۡبِضۡنَؕ " (folding them in) is in the Aorist form, suggesting the spasmodic flapping of wings.

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation: Each bird that flies in the air does so in the protection of the All-Merciful God. He it is, Who has given to each bird the form and structure by which it became able to fly. He it is, Who has taught each bird the method to fly. He it is, Who has made the air obey the laws by which it became possible for the heavier than air bodies to fly in it. And He it is, Who upholds every bird in the air, otherwise the moment Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala withdraws His protection from it, it drops to the ground.

“Indeed, He is, of all things, Seeing,” (67: 19) meaning that this is not confined only to birds, but whatever exists in the world exists because of Allah’s guardianship. He alone provides the means necessary for the existence of everything, and He alone keeps watch that everything created by Him is provided with what is beneficial and suitable for it.

اَمَّنۡ هٰذَا الَّذِىۡ هُوَ جُنۡدٌ لَّكُمۡ يَنۡصُرُكُمۡ مِّنۡ دُوۡنِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ​ؕ اِنِ الۡكٰفِرُوۡنَ اِلَّا فِىۡ غُرُوۡرٍ​ۚ‏ 
( 20 )   Or who is it that could be an army for you to aid you other than the Most Merciful? The disbelievers are not but in delusion.
Another translation can be: Who is there beside the Merciful, who comes to your rescue as your army? The translation that we have adopted in the text above has relevance to the following sentence, and this second to the preceding discourse.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Not the greatest army that man can muster is of any use against the Wrath of Allah; while the constant watchful care of Allah is all-in-all to us, and we can never do without it. If the godless wander about in search for blessings otherwise than in the Mercy and Grace of Allah, they are wandering in vain delusions.

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation: Notice that Allah’s Name Ar-Rahman " الرَّحۡمٰنِ​ؕ " has been used and not Allah. This is a reminder for the deniers that He Who is Ar-Rahman, Whose blessings and favors you have been enjoying is the One that you are denying? Then who besides Him can save you from His torment? “The disbelievers are not but in delusion,” (67: 20), a deluded person thinks something good is going to come out of what they are doing and there may be external factors which support their claim, but they are really following a road to danger.

اَمَّنۡ هٰذَا الَّذِىۡ يَرۡزُقُكُمۡ اِنۡ اَمۡسَكَ رِزۡقَهٗ​ ۚ بَلۡ لَّجُّوۡا فِىۡ عُتُوٍّ وَّنُفُوۡرٍ‏ 
( 21 )   Or who is it that could provide for you if He withheld His provision? But they have persisted in insolence and aversion.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: "Sustenance" here, as elsewhere, (e.g., in xvi. 73), refers to all that is necessary to sustain and develop life in all its phases. Allah Most Gracious is the Source of all our Sustenance, and if we persist in looking to Vanities for our Sustenance, we are pursuing a mirage, and, if we examine the matter, we are only following obstinate unpulses of rebellion and impiety.

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation: meaning who is it that can provide for you if Allah cuts off your sustenance. There is no one who gives, withholds, creates, provides and helps other than Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala alone, Who has no partner. This proves that they know this, yet they still worship others besides Him. therefore, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “But they have persisted in insolence and aversion,” (67: 21) meaning they persist in their transgression, lying and misguidance, abstaining and fleeing away from the truth. They do not listen to it nor do they follow it.

اَفَمَنۡ يَّمۡشِىۡ مُكِبًّا عَلٰى وَجۡهِهٖۤ اَهۡدٰٓى اَمَّنۡ يَّمۡشِىۡ سَوِيًّا عَلٰى صِرَاطٍ مُّسۡتَقِيۡمٍ‏ 
( 22 )   Then is one who walks fallen on his face better guided or one who walks erect on a straight path?
Walking fallen on his face: walking with face turned down like the cattle on the same track on which someone put him.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Cf. xxvii. 90. The man of probity is the man who walks evenly on a Straight Way, his feet guided by Allah's Light and his heart sustained by Allah's Mercy. The man who chooses evil grovels, with his face down, in paths of Darkness, stumbling on the way, and in constant distrust and fear, the fear of Evil. The two kinds of men are poles apart, although they five on the same earth, see the same Signs, and are fed with the same Mercies from Allah.

Like Abraham trying to guide his unbelieving father: Cf. xix. 43.

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation: This is a parable which Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala made of the believer and the disbeliever. So the condition of the disbeliever is like one who walks prone on his face. This is like a person walking bent over on his face (with his head down) instead of walking upright. This person does not know where he is going or how. Rather, he is lost, astray and confused. Is this person more guided or he walks erect on a straight path? This person who walks upright is on a clear path and he is straight within himself while his path is straight as well. This is their likeness in this world, and their likeness will be the same in the Hereafter. So the believer will be gathered (on the Day of Judgment) walking upright upon the straight path and the vast and spacious Paradise will be opened up for him. However, the disbeliever will be gathered walking down on his face to the Hellfire.
قُلۡ هُوَ الَّذِىۡۤ اَنۡشَاَكُمۡ وَجَعَلَ لَـكُمُ السَّمۡعَ وَالۡاَبۡصَارَ وَ الۡاَفۡـئِدَةَ ​ ؕ قَلِيۡلًا مَّا تَشۡكُرُوۡنَ‏ 
( 23 )   Say, "It is He who has produced you and made for you hearing and vision and hearts; little are you grateful."
That is, Allah had made you men, not cattle. You were not meant to follow blindly whatever error and deviation you found prevailing in the world, without considering for a moment whether the way you had adopted was right or wrong. You have not been given these ears that you may refuse to listen to the one who tries to distinguish the right from the wrong for you, and may persist in whatever false notions you already had in your mind. You have not been given these eyes that you may follow others like the blind and may not bother to see whether the signs scattered around you in the world testified to the unity of God, which the Messenger (peace be upon him) of God is preaching, or whether the system of the universe is Godless, or is being run by many gods simultaneously. 

Likewise, you have also not been given this knowledge and intelligence that you may give up thinking and understanding to others and may adopt every crooked way that was enforced by somebody in the world, and may not use your own intellect to see whether it was right or wrong. Allah has blessed you with knowledge and intelligence, sight and hearing, so that you may recognize the truth, but you are being ungrateful to Him in that you are employing these faculties for every other object than the one for which these had been granted. (For further information, see explanation of verses (59-60 of Surah An- Naml); (80 of Surah Al-Mominoon); (9 of Surah As-Sajdah); (26 of Surah Al-Ahqaf).

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: The Prophet is asked to draw constant attention to Allah, the source of all growth and development, the Giver of the faculties by which we can judge and attain to higher and higher spiritual dignity. And yet, such is our self-will, we use our faculties for wrong purposes and thus show our ingratitude to Allah.

For anshaa explanation to vi. 98. Reproduced below:
Produced: ansha-a= made you grow, increase, develop, reach maturity: another of the processes of creation. This supplements ii. 916 and vi. 94. It is one of the wonders of God's Creation, that from one person we have grown to be so many, and each individual has so many faculties and capacities, and yet we are all one. In the next verse we have the allegory of grapes and other fruits: all grapes may be similar to look at, yet each variety has a distinctive flavour and other distinctive qualities, and each individual grape may have its own special qualities. So for man.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: I.e., with the faculty of feeling as well as of rational thinking. 

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation: meaning He initiated your creation and endowed you with intellect and power of reasoning. How little you use these abilities that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has blessed you with to obey Him, to act according to His commandments, and avoid His prohibitions.

We are human beings and not cattle. We were not meant to follow blindly whatever error and deviation we found prevailing in the world, without considering for a moment whether the way we have adopted was right or wrong. We had not been given the sense of hearing that we may refuse to listen to the one who tries to distinguish the right from the wrong, and may persist in whatever false notions we already have in our mind. We had not been given eyesight that we may follow others like the blind and may not bother to see whether the signs scattered around us testified to the Unity of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, which the Messenger of God preached about, or whether the system of the universe is Godless, or is being run by many, gods simultaneously. Likewise, we had also not been given this knowledge and intelligence that we may give up thinking and understanding to others and may adopt every crooked way that was enforced by somebody in the world, and may not use our own intellect to see whether it was right or wrong. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has blessed us with knowledge and intelligence, sight and hearing, so that we may recognize the truth, but we are being ungrateful to Him in that we are employing these faculties for every other object than the one for which these had been granted.

In Verses 24-27, it has been said: "You have ultimately to appear before your God in any case. It is not for the Prophet to tell you the exact time and date of the event. His only duty is to warn you beforehand of its inevitable occurrence. Today you do not listen to him and demand that he should cause the event to occur and appear prematurely before you; but when it does occur, and you see it with your own eyes, you will then be astounded. Then, it will be said to you "This is the very thing you were calling to be hastened."
قُلۡ هُوَ الَّذِىۡ ذَرَاَكُمۡ فِى الۡاَرۡضِ وَاِلَيۡهِ تُحۡشَرُوۡنَ‏ 
( 24 )   Say, "It is He who has multiplied you throughout the earth, and to Him you will be gathered."
That is, after being resurrected from death, you will be gathered together from every corner of the earth and presented before Allah.  

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Mankind, from one set of parents, has been multiplied and scattered through the earth. Men have not only multiplied in numbers but they have developed different languages and characteristics, inner and outer. But they will all be gathered together at the End of Things, when the mischief created by the wrong exercise of man's will be cancelled, and the Truth of Allah will reign universally.

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation: He spread and distributed us all throughout the various regions and areas of the earth with our differing languages, colors, shapes, appearances and forms. We will come together after this separation and division. He will gather us all just as He separated us and He will bring us back again just as He originated us. Then while informing of the disbelievers who reject the final return, and doubt concerning its real occurrence, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said, “And they say, ‘When is this promise, if you should be truthful?’” (67: 25).

وَيَقُوۡلُوۡنَ مَتٰى هٰذَا الۡوَعۡدُ اِنۡ كُنۡتُمۡ صٰدِقِيۡنَ‏ 
( 25 )   And they say, "When is this promise, if you should be truthful?"
They did not ask this question in order to know the time and date of Resurrection so that if they were told the year, the month, the day and time of its occurrence, they would accept it. But, in fact, they thought that Resurrection was impossible, and its occurrence remote from reason, and they asked this question in order to have an excuse for denying it. They meant to say: When will this strange story of Resurrection and gathering together, that you are telling us, materialize? What for has it been put off? Why don’t you make it appear forthwith so that we are assured of it? In this connection, one should understand that one can be certain of Resurrection only by rational arguments, and these have been elaborated at many places in the Quran. As for the date of its occurrence only an ignorant person could raise such a question about it, for even if it is told, it does not make any difference. The unbeliever would say: Well, when it does occur on the date you tell, I shall then believe in it; how can I believe today that it will actually occur on that very day? (For further explanation, see verses (33 of Surah 31. Luqman); (63 of Surah 44. Al-Ahzab); (3, 29 of Surah 34. Saba ) (48 of 36. Ya Seen).

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: The Unbelievers are skeptical, but they are answered in the next two verses.

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation: The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam informed his people that no one knows the time of the Day of Judgment exactly except Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. He has commanded the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to inform us that it is real and it will definitely occur, so beware of it. In this connection, one should understand that only an ignorant person could raise a question about its occurrence, for even if it is told, it does not make any difference. For example, the exact time when a person will die is only known to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, however, all know that everyone has to die one day. This knowledge should be enough for us to pay heed to our lives and live it consciously. “I am only a clear warner,” (67: 26) meaning the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is only obligated to convey, and verily he has performed his duty of conveying the news to us.

قُلۡ اِنَّمَا الۡعِلۡمُ عِنۡدَ اللّٰهِ وَاِنَّمَاۤ اَنَا نَذِيۡرٌ مُّبِيۡنٌ‏  
( 26 )   Say, "The knowledge is only with Allah, and I am only a clear warner."
That is, this I know that it will certainly come, and knowing this much only is enough for warning the people before its actual occurrence. As for the question when it will actually come, the knowledge of it is with Allah, not with me, and there is no need of this knowledge for administering the warning. This can be better understood by an example. As to the exact time when a person will die, it is only known to Allah; however, all know that everyone has to die one day. Our this knowledge is enough that we may warn a heedless friend of ours that he should look after himself and his interests before death. For this warning it is not necessary to know the exact day on which he will die.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: The Judgment is certain to come. But when it will exactly come, is known to Allah alone. The Prophet's duty is to proclaim that fact openly and clearly. It is not for him to punish or to hasten the punishment of evil. Cf. xxii. 47-49.

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation: “I am only a clear warner,” (67: 26) meaning the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is only obligated to convey, and verily he has performed his duty of conveying the news to us.

فَلَمَّا رَاَوۡهُ زُلۡفَةً سِیْٓـئَتۡ وُجُوۡهُ الَّذِيۡنَ كَفَرُوۡا وَقِيۡلَ هٰذَا الَّذِىۡ كُنۡتُمۡ بِهٖ تَدَّعُوۡنَ‏ 
( 27 )   But when they see it approaching, the faces of those who disbelieve will be distressed, and it will be said, "This is that for which you used to call."
That is, they will be in the same agony as is suffered by the criminal who is being taken to the gallows.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: "It", i.e., the fulfilment of the promise, the Day of Judgment. When it is actually in sight, then the Unbelievers realize that those whom they used to laugh at for their Faith were in the right, and that they themselves, the sceptics, were terribly in the wrong.

They had defiantly asked for it. Now that it has come near, and it is too late for repentance, there is "weeping and gnashing of teeth".

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation: When the Day of Judgment begins, and the unbelievers witness it, and they will see that the matter has drawn close, because everything that is to occur will occur even if takes a long time. So, when what they denied occurs, it will grieve them because they will know what is awaiting them there (in Hell) of the worst evil. It will surround them and Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will command what they were not able to reckon or fully comprehend to come to them. Then it will be said, “This is that for which you used to call,” (67: 27) meaning that you hastened for.

We see refuge with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala from a life and death of ghaflah, aameen.
In Verses 28-29  replies have been given to what the disbelievers of Makkah said against the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) and his Companions. They cursed the Holy Prophet and prayed for his and the believers destruction. To this it has been said: "Whether those who call you to the right way are destroyed, or shown mercy by Allah, how will their fate change your destiny? You should look after yourselves and consider who would save you if you were overtaken by the scourge of God?You regard those who believe in God and put their trust in Him as the misguided. A time will come when it will become evident as to who was misguided in actual truth.
قُلۡ اَرَءَيۡتُمۡ اِنۡ اَهۡلَـكَنِىَ اللّٰهُ وَمَنۡ مَّعِىَ اَوۡ رَحِمَنَا ۙ فَمَنۡ يُّجِيۡرُ الۡكٰفِرِيۡنَ مِنۡ عَذَابٍ اَلِيۡمٍ‏ 
( 28 )   Say, [O Muhammad], "Have you considered: whether Allah should cause my death and those with me or have mercy upon us, who can protect the disbelievers from a painful punishment?"
 When the Prophet (peace be upon him) started his mission in Makkah and the members of the different clans of Quraish began to embrace Islam, the people of every house started cursing him and his companions. They started practicing magic and charms on him to cause his death, even devising plots to kill him. At this, it was said: Say to them: what will it profit you whether we perish or we live by the grace of God? You should worry for yourselves as to how you will save yourselves from the punishment of Allah?

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation: This ayah means what will it profit the unbelievers whether the believers perish or live by the grace of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. They should worry about themselves as to how they will save themselves from His punishment. For there is nothing that can rescue them from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala except repentance, turning to Him for forgiveness and returning to His religion.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: The sceptics might say and do say to the righteous: "Ah well! if calamities come, they involve the good with the bed, just as you say that Allah showers His mercies on both good and evil!" The answer is: "Don't you worry about us: even supposing we are destroyed, with all who believe with us, is that any consolation to you? Your sins must bring on you suffering, and nothing can ward it off. If we get any sorrows or sufferings, we take them as a mere trial to make us better, for we believe in Allah's goodness and we put our trust in Him." See next verse.

قُلۡ هُوَ الرَّحۡمٰنُ اٰمَنَّا بِهٖ وَعَلَيۡهِ تَوَكَّلۡنَا​ۚ فَسَتَعۡلَمُوۡنَ مَنۡ هُوَ فِىۡ ضَلٰلٍ مُّبِيۡنٍ‏ 
( 29 )   Say, "He is the Most Merciful; we have believed in Him, and upon Him we have relied. And you will [come to] know who it is that is in clear error."
That is, we have believed in God, and you are denying Him; we have put our trust in Him, and you have put your trust in yourself, your own resources and false deities besides Allah; therefore, only we deserve to be shown mercy by Allah, not you.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: See the end of the last note. "Our Faith tells us that Allah will deliver us from all harm if we sincerely repent and lead righteous lives. You, Unbelievers, have no such hope. When the real adjustment of values is established, you will soon see whether we were in the wrong or you!"

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation: We believe in the Lord of all that exists the Most Glorious, the Most Merciful, while you (unbelievers) deny Him. Upon Him we rely in all of our affairs while you have put your trust in yourself, your own resources, and false deities besides Him. On the Day of Judgment you will come to know who has erroneous beliefs.
In conclusion, the people have been asked this question and left to ponder over it "If the water which has come out from the earth at some place in the desert or hill country of Arabia and upon which depends your whole life activity, should sink and vanish underground, who beside Allah can restore to you this life giving water?"
قُلۡ اَرَءَيۡتُمۡ اِنۡ اَصۡبَحَ مَآؤُكُمۡ غَوۡرًا فَمَنۡ يَّاۡتِيۡكُمۡ بِمَآءٍ مَّعِيۡنٍ
( 30 )   Say, "Have you considered: if your water was to become sunken [into the earth], then who could bring you flowing water?"
That is, does anyone else another beside Allah have the power to restore these springs of water to you? If none else has this power, and you know well that none has it, then who is worthy of worship: God or your false deities, who do not have the power to restore them? Then ask your own selves as to who is misled and misguided, those who believe in One God or those who believe in many gods.

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir: If it were to go away, disappearing into the lowest depths of the earth, then it would not be reachable with iron axes nor strong arms. `Gha'ir' (sinking) as used here in the Ayah, is the opposite of springing forth. 

This is why Allah says: (" فَمَن يَأْتِيكُمْ بِمَآءٍ مَّعِينٍ " who then can supply you with flowing water) meaning, springing forth, flowing, running upon the face of the earth. This means that no one is able to do this except Allah. So, it is merely out of His favor and His grace that He causes water to spring forth for you, and He makes it run to the various regions of the earth in an amount that is suitable for the needs of servants, be it little or abundant. So Allah's is all the praise and thanks. This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Mulk and all praise and thanks are due to Allah.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Apart from a further reminder of God's providential power (thus continuing the argument touched upon in verses {19-21}), the above verse has a parabolic significance as well. Just as water is an indispensable element of all organic life, so is a constant flow of moral consciousness an indispensable prerequisite of all spiritual life and stability: and who but God could enable man to regain that consciousness after all the older ethical stimuli have dried up and "vanished underground"?

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation: If the water was to go away and disappear into the lowest depths of the earth then it would not be reachable with iron axes or strong arms. No one besides Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has the power to restore these springs of water for us. So, it is merely out of Allah’s favor and His grace that He causes water to spring forth for us, and He makes it run to the various regions of the earth in an amount that is suitable for the needs of servants, be it little or abundant. All praise and thanks is for Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: The Surah is closed with a parable, taken from a vital fact of our physical life, and leading up to the understanding of our spiritual life. In our daily life, what would happen if we woke up some fine morning to find that the sources and springs of our water-supply had disappeared and gone down into the hollows of the earth? Nothing could save our life. Without water we cannot live, and water cannot rise above its level, but always seeks a lower-level. So in spiritual life. Its sources and springs are in the divine wisdom that flows from on high. Allah is the real source of that life, as He is of all forms of life. We must seek His Grace and Mercy. We cannot find grace or mercy or blessing from anything lower. His Wisdom and Mercy are like, fresh clear-flowing spring-water, not like the muddy murky wisdom and goodness of this lower world which is only relative, and which often hampers life rather than advances it.

Tafsir Ibn-KathirThe Virtues of Surat Al-Mulk
Imam Ahmad recorded from Abu Hurayrah that Allah's Messenger said,

إِنَّ سُورَةً فِي الْقُرْآنِ ثَلَاثِينَ آيَةً شَفَعَتْ لِصَاحِبِهَا حَتْى غُفِرَ لَهُ
(Verily, there is a chapter in the Qur'an which contains thirty Ayat that will intercede on behalf of its reciter until he is forgiven. (It is): (" تَبَارَكَ الَّذِى بِيَدِهِ الْمُلْكُ "Blessed be He in Whose Hand is the dominion.)) This Hadith was collected by At-Tirmidhi and the four Sunan Compilers. At-Tirmidhi said concerning it, "This is a Hasan Hadith.'' At-Tabarani and Al-Hafiz Ad-Diya' Al-Maqdisi both recorded from Anas that the Messenger of Allah said,

سُورَةٌ فِي الْقُرْآنِ خَاصَمَتْ عَنْ صَاحِبِهَا حَتْى أَدْخَلَتْهُ الْجَنَّةَ
(There is a chapter of the Qur'an that will argue on behalf of its reciter until it causes him to enter into Paradise. (It is): (" تَبَارَكَ الَّذِى بِيَدِهِ الْمُلْكُ " Blessed be He in Whose Hand is the dominion.))

For complete Tafsir of Surah Al Muk by Ibn Kathir, please click Here

You may now like to listen to the tafsir of the Surah by eminent Muslim scholar Nouman Ali Khan::

Please refer to our Reference Page "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, explanation and exegesis of all other chapters of the Qur'an. You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
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 and explanation 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 (links to Reference Pages given below):  
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
  • Tafsir Nouman Ali Khan
In addition the references of  other sources which have been explored have also been given below. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites:

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 67 | 8 | 9 | 10 |

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