Tuesday 16 March 2021

Surah Al Qalam (The Pen): Exegesis / Tafsir 68th Chapter of Quran

Sūrah Al Qalam (The Pen) is the sixty eighth sürah with 52 āyāt with two rukus, part of the 29th Juzʼ  of the Qur'ān. This Surah is also called Nun " نٓ​ ", the words with which it begins. Chronologically, this is the first appearance of any of the "disjointed" [i.e., single] letters (muqatta'at) which precede a number of the surahs of the Qur'an.

The surah consists of three themes: (1) Replies to the opponents objections, (2) administration of warning and admonition to them, and (3) exhortation to the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) to patience and constancy. These are discussed in the two Ruku is as under:

Ruku One (Verses 1-33):
At the outset, the Holy Prophet has been addressed, to the effect: "The disbelievers call you a madman whereas the Book that you are presenting and the sublime conduct that you practice, are by themselves sufficient to refute their false accusations. Soon they will see as to who was mad and who was sane; therefore, do not at all yield to the din of opposition being kicked up against you, for all this is actually meant to cow you and make you resort to a compromise with them."
Then, in order to enlighten the common people the character of a prominent man from among the opponents, whom the people of Makkah fully well recognized, has been presented, without naming him: At that time, the Holy Prophet's pure and sublime conduct was before them, and every discerning eye could also see what sort of character and morals were possessed by the chiefs of Makkah, who were leading the opposition against him.
Then, in vv. 17-33, the parable of the owners of a garden has been presented, who after having been blessed by Allah turned ungrateful to Him, and did not heed the admonition of the best man among them when it was given them. Consequently, they were deprived of the blessing and they realized this, when all they had lay devastated. With this parable the people of Makkah have been warned to the effect: "With the appointment of the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) to Prophethood, you, O people of Makkah, too, have been put to a test similar to the one to which the owners of the garden had been put. If you do not listen to him, you too will be afflicted with a punishment in the world, and the punishment of the Hereafter is far greater."
Ruku Two (Verses 34-52):
In verses 34-47 continuously, the disbelievers have been admonished, in which the address sometimes turns to them directly and sometimes they are warned through the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace). A summary of what has been said in this regard, is this: Well being in the Hereafter inevitably belongs to those who spend their lives in the world in full consciousness of God. It is utterly against reason that the obedient servants should meet in the Hereafter the same fate as the guilty. There is absolutely no basis of the disbelievers misunderstanding that God will treat them in the manner they choose for themselves, whereas they have no guarantee for this. Those who are being called upon to bow before God in the world and they refuse to do so, would be unable to prostrate themselves on the Day of Resurrection even if they wanted to do so, and thus would stand disgraced and condemned. Having denied the Qur'an they cannot escape Divine punishment. The rein they are being given, has deluded them. They think that since they are not being punished in spite of their denial, they must be on the right path, whereas they are following the path of ruin. They have no reasonable ground for opposing the Messenger, for he is a preacher without any vested interest: he is not asking any reward of them for himself, and they cannot either make the claim that they know with certainty that he is not a true Messenger, nor that what he says is false.
In conclusion, the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) has been exhorted to the effect: "Bear with patience the hardships that you may have to face in the way of preaching the Faith till Allah's judgment arrives, and avoid the impatience which caused suffering and affliction to the Prophet Jonah (peace be on him)."
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"

نٓ​ وَالۡقَلَمِ وَمَا يَسۡطُرُوۡنَۙ‏ 
( 1 )   Nun. By the pen and what they inscribe,
The great commentator Mujahid says that by pen here is meant the pen with which the Quran was being written down. From this it automatically follows that that which was being written implies the Quran itself.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
(ن Nun), is like Allah's saying: (ص Sad), and Allah's saying: (ق Qaf), and similar to them from the individual letters that appear at the beginning of Qur'anic chapters. This has been dis- cussed at length previously and there is no need to repeat it here.

The Explanation of the Pen Concerning- Allah's statement: ( وَالْقَلَمِ (By the pen) The apparent meaning is that this refers to the actual pen that is used to write. 
This is like Allah's saying: (Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous. Who has taught by the pen. He has taught man that which he knew not.) (96:3-5) 
Therefore, this statement is Allah's swearing and alerting His creatures to what He has favored them with by teaching them the skill of writing, through which knowledge is attained.

Thus, Allah continues by saying: (وَمَا يَسْطُرُونَ (and by what they Yastur.) Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and Qatadah all said that this means, "what they write.'' As-Suddi said, "The angels and the deeds of the servants they record.'' Others said, "Rather, what is meant here is the pen which Allah caused to write the decree when He wrote the decrees of all creation, and this took place fifty-thousand years before He created the heavens and the earth.'' For this, they present Hadiths that have been reported about the Pen. 

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded from Al-Walid bin `Ubadah bin As-Samit that he said, "My father called for me when he was dying and he said to me: `Verily, I heard the Messenger of Allah say: (Verily, the first of what Allah created was the Pen, and He said to it: "Write.'' The Pen said: "O my Lord, what shall I write'' He said: "Write the decree and whatever will throughout eternity.'')'' This Hadith has been recorded by Imam Ahmad through various routes of transmission. At-Tirmidhi also recorded it from a Hadith of Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi and he (At-Tirmidhi) said about it, "Hasan Sahih, Gharib.''
Yusuf Ali Explanation: Nun is an Abbreviated Letter and may mean a fish, or an ink-holder, or it may be just the Arabic letter of the alphabet, N. In the last case, it may refer to either or both of the other meanings. Note also that the Arabic rhyme in this Surah ends in N. The reference to ink would be an appropriate link with the Pen in verse 1. The reference to the fish would be appropriate with reference to the story of Jonah in verses 48-50. Jonah's title is "the Companion of the Fish", (Zun-Nun, xxi. 87), as he was, in the story, swallowed by the Fish.

The Pen and the Record are the symbolical foundations of the Revelation to man. The adjuration by the Pen disposes of the flippant charge that Allah's Messenger was mad or possessed. For he spoke words of power, not incoherent, but full of meaning, and through the Record of the Pen, that meaning unfolds itself, in innumerable aspects to countless generations. Muhammad was the living Grace and Mercy of Allah, and his very nature exalted him above abuse and persecution.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Chronologically, this (Nun) is the first appearance of any of the "disjointed" [i.e., single] letters (al-muqatta'at) which precede a number of the surahs of the Qur'an. The supposition of some of the early commentators (extensively quoted by Tabari) that the letter n, pronounced nun, represents here an abbreviation of the identically-pronounced noun which signifies both "great fish" and "inkwell" has been convincingly rejected by some of the most outstanding authorities (e.g., Zamakhshari and Razi) on grammatical grounds.

For the meaning of the adjurative particle wa at the beginning of this sentence, see first half of note [23] on 74:32 (reproduced below):
This is the earliest Qur'anic instance of the adjurative particle wa used in the sense of a solemn, oath-like assertion - a calling to witness, as it were - meant (as in the expression "by God!") to give weight to a subsequently stated truth or evidence of the truth: hence, I am rendering it here and elsewhere as "consider". In the present case, the truth thus to be stressed is the implied statement that just as the changing phases of the moon and the alternation of night and day are the outcome of God-given, natural laws, so, too, a sinner's suffering in the hereafter is but a natural outcome of his deliberate wrongdoing in this world. (See also explanation of 2:7 .) 
The mention of "the pen" is meant to recall the earliest Qur'anic revelation, namely, the first five verses of surah {96} ("The Germ-Cell"), and thus to stress the fact of Muhammad's prophethood. As regards the symbolic significance of the concept of "the pen", see {96:3-5} and the corresponding note [3].

مَاۤ اَنۡتَ بِـنِعۡمَةِ رَبِّكَ بِمَجۡنُوۡنٍ​ۚ‏ 
( 2 )   You are not, [O Muhammad], by the favor of your Lord, a madman.
That is, for which an oath has been sworn by the pen and by the Book. It means that this Quran which is being inscribed by the hands of the writers of revelation, is by itself enough to refute the slander of the disbelievers who say that the Prophet (peace be upon him) is, God forbid, a madman, Before his claim to the Prophethood, the people of Makkah looked upon him as the best of their men and trusted his honesty, intelligence and sagacity. But when he started reciting the Quran before them, they began to call him a madman. This meant that the Quran itself in their sight was the cause because of which they accused him of madness; Therefore, it was said: The Quran by itself is a sufficient proof for the refutation of this slander. The presentation of this highly eloquent revelation which consists of sublime themes, is an argument which proves that Muhammad (peace be upon him) has been especially favored by Allah, and nor an argument which might be used to prove that he has, God forbid, gone mad. Here, one should remember that although the address apparently is directed to the Prophet (peace be upon him), yet the real object is to nail the calumny of the disbelievers. Therefore, no one should have the doubt that this verse was sent down only to assure the Prophet (peace be upon him) that he was not mad. Obviously, the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself had no such doubt for removing which he might have stood in need of such an assurance. The object was to tell the disbelievers, as if to say: The Quran because of which you are calling the one presenting it a madman, is by itself an argument that your accusation is false. (For further information see explanation of (verse 29 of Surah 52. At-Toor).

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: meaning -- and all praise is due to Allah -- `you are not crazy as the ignorant among your people claim. They are those who deny the guidance and the clear truth that you have come with. Therefore, they attribute madness to you because of it.'

Yusuf Ali Explanation: People usually call any one mad whose standards are different from their own. And madness is believed to be due to demoniacal possession, an idea distinctly in the minds of the New Testament writers: for Luke speaks of a man from whom the "devils" were cast out, as being then "clothed, and in his right mind" (Luke, viii. 35).

Muhammad Asad Explanation: This is an allusion to the taunt with which most of Muhammad's contemporaries greeted the beginning of his preaching, and with which they continued to deride him for many years. In its wider sense, the above passage relates - as is so often the case in the Qur'an - not merely to the Prophet but also to all who followed or will follow him: in this particular instance, to all who base their moral valuations on their belief in God and in life after death.

وَاِنَّ لَڪَ لَاَجۡرًا غَيۡرَ مَمۡنُوۡنٍ​ۚ‏ 
( 3 )   And indeed, for you is a reward uninterrupted.
That is, you will get an unlimited and continuous reward, for although you have to hear discouraging and disturbing things in response to the efforts that you are making for the instruction and guidance of the people, yet you are steadfastly performing your mission of calling them to the right way.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: (And verily, for you will be reward that is not Mamnun.) meaning, `for you is the great reward, and abundant blessings which will never be cut off or perish, because you conveyed the Message of your Lord to creation, and you were patient with their abuse.' 

The meaning of: (غَيْرُ مَمْنُونٍ (not Mamnun) is that it will not be cut off. This is similar to Allah's statement:
(عَطَآءً غَيْرَ مَجْذُوذٍ (a gift without an end.) (11:108) and His statement: فَلَهُمْ أَجْرٌ غَيْرُ مَمْنُونٍ Then they shall have a reward without end.) (95:6) 
Mujahid said, "غَيْرُ مَمْنُونٍ " (Without Mamnun) means "Without reckoning.'' And this refers back to what we have said before.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Instead of being out of his right mind, the Prophet of Allah had been raised to a great spiritual dignity, a reward that was not like an earthly reward that passes away, but one that was in the very core of his being, and would never fail him in any circumstances. He was really granted a nature and character far above the shafts of grief or suffering, slander or persecution.

وَاِنَّكَ لَعَلٰى خُلُقٍ عَظِيۡمٍ‏ 
( 4 )   And indeed, you are of a great moral character.
Here, this sentence gives two meanings:
(1) That you stand exalted to a high and noble character; that is why you are enduring all these hardships in your mission of guiding the people to the right way, otherwise a man of weak character could not have done so.
(2) That besides the Quran, your high and noble character is also a clear proof that the accusation of madness that the disbelievers bring against you is absolutely false, for high morals and madness cannot co-exist in one and the same person.
A madman is he whose balance of mind is upset, who has lost his temperamental equilibrium. Contrary to this, the high morals of a person testify that he is a right-minded and sound-natured person, who possesses perfect temperamental equilibrium. The people of Makkah were not unaware of the morals and character possessed by the Messenger (peace be upon him) of Allah. Therefore, it was enough just to make a reference to them so that every reasonable man of Makkah was made to think how shameless were those people who were calling a  man of such sublime morals and character a madman. Their absurd conduct was not at all harmful for the Prophet (peace be upon him) but for themselves, for maddened in their craze for opposition they were saying such a thing about him which could not be regarded as credible by any man of understanding. The same is also the case with those men of knowledge and scholarship, who in the modern time are accusing the prophet (peace be upon him) of having fits of madness and epilepsy. The Quran is available everywhere in the world and the Holy Prophet’s life also exists in the written form in entire detail. Every person can see it for himself what a foolish and meaningless thing is being uttered in their blind enmity by those who regard this man, who brought this unique and matchless Book and who possessed such sublime morals and character, as a mentally deranged person.

The best description of the Holy Prophet’s character has been given by Aishah in her statement: Kana khuluqu-hul- Quran: the Quran was his character. Imam Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Daud. Nasai, Ibn Majah, Darimi and Ibn Jarir have cited, with a little variation in wording, this saying with several chains of transmitters. This means that the Prophet had not merely presented the teaching of the Quran before the world but also given its practical demonstration by his personal example. Whatever was enjoined in the Quran was acted upon practically by himself in the first instance. Whatever was forbidden in it was shunned and avoided by himself most of all. His own self was characterized most of all by the moral qualities which were declared as sublime by it, and his own self was most free from those qualities which were declared as abhorrent and reprehensible by it. In another tradition Aishah has stated: The Prophet (peace be upon him) never hit a servant, never raised his hand on a woman, never used his hand to kill a person outside the battlefield, never avenged himself on anyone for an injury caused unless someone violated a sanctity enjoined by Allah and he avenged it for the sake of Allah. His practice was that whenever he had to choose between two things, he would choose the easier one unless it was a sin, and if it was a sin he would keep away from it most of all (Musnad Ahmad). Anas says: I served the Prophet (peace be upon him) for ten years. He never did so much as express even a slight disgust over what I did or said. He never asked why I had done what I had done, and never inquired why I had not done what I had not done. (Bukhari, Muslim).

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas, "Verily, you are on a great religion, and it is Islam.'' Likewise said Mujahid, Abu Malik, As-Suddi and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas. Ad-Dahhak and Ibn Zayd also said this. 
Sa`id bin Abi `Arubah reported from Qatadah that he said concerning Allah's statement: (وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَى خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ  And verily, you are on an exalted (standard of) character.) "It has been mentioned to us that Sa`d bin Hisham asked `A'ishah about the character of the Messenger of Allah , so she replied: `Have you not read the Qur'an' Sa`d said: `Of course.' Then she said: `Verily, the character of the Messenger of Allah was the Qur'an.''' `Abdur-Razzaq recorded similar to this and Imam Muslim recorded it in his Sahih on the authority of Qatadah in its full length. This means that he would act according to the commands and the prohibition in the Qur'an. His nature and character were patterned according to the Qur'an, and he abandoned his natural disposition (i.e., the carnal nature). So whatever the Qur'an commanded, he did it, and whatever it forbade, he avoided it. Along with this, Allah gave him the exalted character, which included the qualities of modesty, kindness, bravery, pardoning, gentleness and every other good characteristic. This is like that which has been confirmed in the Two Sahihs that Anas said, "I served the Messenger of Allah for ten years, and he never said a word of displeasure to me (Uff), nor did he ever say to me concerning something I had done: `Why did you do that' And he never said to me concerning something I had not done: `Why didn't you do this' He had the best character, and I never touched any silk or anything else that was softer than the palm of the Messenger of Allah . And I never smelled any musk or perfume that had a better fragrance than the sweat of the Messenger of Allah.''
Imam Al-Bukhari recorded that Al-Bara' said, "The Messenger of Allah had the most handsome face of all the people, and he had the best behavior of all of the people. And he was not tall, nor was he short.'' The Hadiths concerning this matter are numerous. Abu `Isa At-Tirmidhi has a complete book on this subject called Kitab Ash-Shama'il. Imam Ahmad recorded that `A'ishah said, "The Messenger of Allah never struck a servant of his with his hand, nor did he ever hit a woman. He never hit anything with his hand, except for when he was fighting Jihad in the cause of Allah. And he was never given the option between two things except that the most beloved of the two to him was the easiest of them, as long as it did not involve sin. If it did involve sin, then he stayed farther away from sin than any of the people. He would not avenge himself concerning anything that was done to him, except if the limits of Allah were transgressed. Then, in that case he would avenge for the sake of Allah.''
Imam Ahmad also recorded from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah said, (I have only been sent to perfect righteous behavior.) Ahmad was alone in recording this Hadith. 

Muhammad Asad Explanation: The term khuluq " خُلُقٍ " , rendered by me as "way of life", describes a person's "character", "innate disposition" or "nature" in the widest sense of these concepts, as well as "habitual behaviour" which becomes, as it were, one's "second nature" (Taj al-'Arus). My identification of khuluq with "way of life" is based on the explanation of the above verse by 'Abd Allah ibn 'Abbas (as quoted by Tabari), stating that this term is here synonymous with din: and we must remember that one of the primary significances of the latter term is "a way [or "manner"] of behaviour" or "of acting" (Qamus). Moreover, we have several well-authenticated Traditions according to which Muhammad's widow 'A'ishah, speaking of the Prophet many years after his death, repeatedly stressed that "his way of life (khuluq) was the Qur'an" (Muslim, Tabari and Hakim, on the authority of Sa'id ibn Hisham; Ibn Hanbal, Abu Da'ud and Nasa'i, on the authority of Al-Hasan al-Basri; Tabari, on the authority of Qatadah and Jubayr ibn Nufayl; and several other compilations).

فَسَتُبۡصِرُ وَيُبۡصِرُوۡنَۙ‏ 
( 5 )   So you will see and they will see

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Though Al-Mustafa's nature raised him above the petty spite of his contemporaries, an appeal is made to their reason and to the logic of events. Was it not his accusers that were really mad? What happened to Walid ibn Mugaira, or Abu Jahl, or Abu Lahab? -and to Allah's Messenger and those who followed his guidance? The world's history gives the answer. And the appeal is not only to his contemporaries, but for all time.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: (verses 5-6) mean, `you will know, O Muhammad -- and those who oppose you and reject you, will know -- who is insane and misguided among you.' 
This is like Allah's statement: (Tomorrow they will come to know who is the liar, the insolent one!) (54:26) Allah also says, And verily (either) we or you are rightly guided or in plain error.) (34:24) 
Ibn Jurayj reported from Ibn `Abbas, it means "You will know and they will know on the Day of Judgement.'' Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas; (بِأَيِّكُمُ الْمَفْتُونُ (Which of you is Maftun (afflicted with madness) means which of you is crazy. This was also said by Mujahid and others as well. The literal meaning of Maftun is one who has been charmed or lured away from the truth and has strayed from it. Thus, the entire statement means, `so you will know and they will know,' or `you will be informed and they will be informed, as to which of you is afflicted with madness.' And Allah knows best. 

بِاَيِّٮكُمُ الۡمَفۡتُوۡنُ‏ 
( 6 )   Which of you is the afflicted [by a devil].

اِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ اَعۡلَمُ بِمَنۡ ضَلَّ عَنۡ سَبِيۡلِهٖ وَهُوَ اَعۡلَمُ بِالۡمُهۡتَدِيۡنَ‏ 
( 7 )   Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has gone astray from His way, and He is most knowing of the [rightly] guided

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: `He knows which of the two groups are truly guided among you, and He knows the party that is astray from the truth.'

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Men set up false standards of judgment. The right standard is that of Allah. For His knowledge is complete and all-embracing; He reads hidden motives as well as things that appear before men's sight; and He knows the past history in which the roots of present actions are embedded, as well as the future consequences of present actions. 

فَلَا تُطِعِ الۡمُكَذِّبِيۡنَ‏ 
( 8 )   Then do not obey the deniers.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:  The enemies of Allah's truth are sometimes self-deceived. But quite often they have a glimmering of the truth in spite of their desire to shut their eyes. Then they compromise, and they would like the preachers of inconvenient truths to compromise with them. On those terms there would be mutual laudation. This easy path of making the best of both worlds is a real danger or temptation to the best of us, and we must be on our guard against it if we would really enter into the company of the Righteous who submit their wills to the Will of Allah. Abu Jahl freely offered impossible compromises to the holy Prophet.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: Prohibition of giving in to the Pressure of the Disbelievers and Their Suggestions, and that They like to meet in the Middle of the Path - Allah says, `just as We have favored you and given you the upright legislation and great (standard of) character,'

Verses 8-9  So, do not obey the deniers. They wish that you should compromise with them, so they (too) would compromise with you.) Ibn `Abbas said, "That you would permit them (their idolatry) and they also would permit you (to practice your religion).'' 

Mujahid said, (They wish that you should compromise with them, so they (too) would compromise with you.) "This means that you should be quiet about their gods and abandon the truth that you are upon.'' 

وَدُّوۡا لَوۡ تُدۡهِنُ فَيُدۡهِنُوۡنَ‏ 
( 9 )   They wish that you would soften [in your position], so they would soften [toward you].
That is, if you slackened a little in your propagation of Islam, they also would slacken in their opposition to you. Or, if you became inclined to effect some changes in your faith to suit these people, they too would effect a compromise with you.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: I.e., "they would like thee to be conciliatory in the matter of ethical principles and moral valuations, whereupon they would reciprocate and desist from actively opposing thee".

وَلَا تُطِعۡ كُلَّ حَلَّافٍ مَّهِيۡنٍۙ‏ 
( 10 )   And do not obey every worthless habitual swearer
The word mahin " مَّهِيۡنٍۙ‏ " is used for a contemptible, degraded and mean person. This is indeed a necessary quality of a person who swears many oaths. He swears an oath for every minor thing because he himself has the feeling that the people take him for a liar and would not believe him until he swore an oath. For this reason he is not only degraded in his own eyes but commands no respect in society either.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: This is because the liar, due to his weakness and his disgracefulness, only seeks protection in his false oaths which he boldly swears to while using Allah's Names, and he uses them (false oaths) all the time and out of place (i.e., unnecessarily). Ibn `Abbas said, "Al-Mahin means the liar.''

Yusuf Ali Explanation: The type of each of these hateful qualities is not uncommon, though the combination of all in one man makes him peculiarly despicable, as was Walid ibn Mugaira, who was a ringleader in calumniating our Prophet and who came to an evil end not long after the battle of Badr, in which he received injuries.

It is only liars who swear on all occasions, small or great, because their word is not believed in. The true man's word, according to the proverb, is as good as his bond.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Lit., "And". The subsequently enumerated types of moral deficiency are, of course, mentioned only as examples of the type of man to whose likes or dislikes no consideration whatever should be shown.

هَمَّازٍ مَّشَّآءٍۢ بِنَمِيۡمٍۙ‏ 
( 11 )   [And] scorner, going about with malicious gossip 

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: (هَمَّازٍ A Hammaz, ) Ibn `Abbas and Qatadah both said, "This is slander.''

(مَّشَّآءِ بِنَمِيمٍ going about with Namim,) This refers to the one who goes around among people instigating discord between them and carrying tales in order to corrupt relations between people when they are good and pleasant. 

It is confirmed in the Two Sahihs that Mujahid reported from Tawus that Ibn `Abbas said, "The Messenger of Allah once passed by two graves and he said: (Verily, these two are being punished, and they are not being punished for something major. One of them was not careful about protecting himself from urine (when relieving himself). The other one used to spread Namimah.)'' This Hadith has been recorded by the Group in their books through routes of transmission that are all on the authority of Mujahid. Imam Ahmad recorded that Hudhayfah said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah saying, (The slanderer will not enter into Paradise.)'' This Hadith has been reported by the Group except for Ibn Majah.

مَّنَّاعٍ لِّلۡخَيۡرِ مُعۡتَدٍ اَثِيۡمٍۙ‏ 
( 12 )   A preventer of good, transgressing and sinful,
Khayr " خَيۡرِ " in Arabic is used both for wealth and for good. If it is taken in the meaning of wealth, the meaning would be that he is miserly and stingy; he would not even spend a farthing on anyone. And if khayr is taken in the meaning of goodness and virtue, it would mean that he creates a hindrance in every good work as well as that he is very active in hindering the people from accepting Islam.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: it means, he refuses to give and withholds that which he has of good. (مُعْتَدٍ transgressor,) this means, in attaining that which Allah has made permissible for him, he exceeds the legislated bounds. (اَثِيۡمٍۙ‏ sinful,) meaning, he delves into the forbidden things.

عُتُلٍّ ۢ بَعۡدَ ذٰلِكَ زَنِيۡمٍۙ‏ 
( 13 )   Cruel, moreover, and an illegitimate pretender.
The word utul " عُتُلٍّ ۢ " is used for a person who is stout and strong and greedy in eating and drinking and is also ill-mannered, quarrelsome and cruel at the same time.

The word zanim " زَنِيۡمٍۙ " is used to describe a person of illegitimate birth, who does not, in fact, belong to a family but has joined it. Saeed bin Jubair and Shabi say that this word is used for a person who is notorious among the people for his evildoing.

The views of the commentators with regard to the person who has been described in these verses are different. Some one says it was Walid bin Mughirah; another one says it was Aswad bin Abdi Yaghuth, and still another has applied this description to Akhnas bin Shurayq, and some other people have pointed to some other persons. But the Quran has only described his attributes without naming him. This shows that in Makkah the man concerned was so notorious for his such qualities that there was no need to name him definitely. Hearing his description every person could understand who was being referred to.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: `Utul " عُتُلٍّ " means one who is cruel, harsh, strong, greedy and stingy. Imam Ahmad recorded from Al-Harithah bin Wahb that the Messenger of Allah said:
Shall I inform you of the people of Paradise (They will be) every weak and oppressed person. When he swears by Allah, he fulfills his oath. Shall I inform you of the people of the Fire Every `Utul (cruel person), Jawwaz and arrogant person.) Al-Waki` said, "It (`Utul) is every Jawwaz, Ja`zari and arrogant person.'' Both Al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded this in their Two Sahihs, as well as the rest of the Group, except for Abu Dawud. All of its routes of transmission are by way of Sufyan Ath-Thawri and Shu`bah who both reported it from Sa`id bin Khalid. The scholars of Arabic language have said that Ja`zari means rude and harsh, while Jawwaz means greedy and stingy. 
Concerning the word Zanim, Al-Bukhari recorded from Ibn `Abbas that he said concerning the Ayah: ( عُتُلٍّ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ زَنِيمٍ `Utul (cruel), and moreover Zanim.) "A man from the Quraysh who stands out among them like the sheep that has had a piece of its ear cut off.'' The meaning of this is that he is famous for his evil just as a sheep that has a piece of its ear cut off stands out among its sister sheep. In the Arabic language the Zanim is a person who is adopted among a group of people (i.e., he is not truly of them). Ibn Jarir and others among the Imams have said this.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Besides the self-deceiver and the easy-going man, there is a third type, even more degraded. He has no idea of truth or sincerity. He is ready to swear friendship with every one and fidelity to every cause. But at the same moment he will slander and backbite, and cause mischief even between good but credulous persons. Evil seems to be his goal, and good his evil. He will not only pursue evil courses himself but prevent other people from doing right. When checked, he resorts to violence. In any case, he will intrude where he has no right, claiming relationship or power or consideration in circles which would gladly disown him. He is vain of his wealth or because he has a large following at his beck and call. Religion is to him merely old-fashioned superstition.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: The term 'utul " عُتُلٍّ ۢ " - derived from the verb 'atala, "he dragged [someone or something] in a rough and cruel manner" - is used to describe a person combining within himself the attributes of cruelty and greed; hence the composite rendering adopted by me.

The commentators give the most divergent interpretations to the term zanim, which is evidently derived from the noun zanamah, denoting either of the two wattles, or fleshy skin protuberances, hanging below the ears of a goat. Since these wattles do not seem to have any physiological function, the term zanim has come to signify "someone [or "something"] not needed" (Taj al-'Arus): in other words, redundant or useless. It is, therefore, logical to assume that in the above context this term describes a person who is entirely useless in the social sense.

اَنۡ كَانَ ذَا مَالٍ وَّبَنِيۡنَؕ‏
( 14 )   Because he is a possessor of wealth and children,
This sentence may be connected with the preceding theme as well as with the following sentence. In the first case, it would mean: Do not yield to the influence of such a person just because he has plenty of wealth and children. In the second: He has become proud because he possesses abundance of wealth and children; so when Our revelations are recited to him, he says: These are tales of ancient times.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: "Because" may connect with "heed not" in verse 10, or with "violent and cruel" in verse 13. In the former case, we construe: 'Pay no attention to despicable men of the character described, simply because they happen to have wealth or influence, or much backing in man-power'. In the latter case, we construe: 'the fellow is violent and cruel, he is puffed up with his wealth or riches or backing in man-power'. In the eyes of Allah such a man is in any case branded and marked out as a sinner.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: Verses 14-15: ((He was so) because he had wealth and children. When Our Ayat are recited to him, he says: "Tales of the men of old!'') Allah is saying, `this is how he responds to the favors that Allah has bestowed upon him of wealth and children, by disbelieving in Allah's Ayat and turning away from them while claiming that they are a lie that has been taken from the tales of the ancients.' 

This is similar to Allah's statement:
(Leave Me alone (to deal) with whom I created lonely (without any wealth and children etc.). And then granted him resources in abundance. And children to be by his side. And made life smooth and comfortable for him. After all that he desires that I should give more. Nay! Verily, he has been opposing Our Ayat. I shall oblige him to face a severe torment! Verily, he thought and plotted. So let him be cursed, how he plotted! And once more let him be cursed, how he plotted! Then he thought. Then he frowned and he looked in a bad tempered way. Then he turned back, and was proud. Then he said: "This is nothing but magic from that of old, this is nothing but the word of a human being!'' I will cast him into Hellfire. And what will make you know what Hellfire is It spares not (any sinner), nor does it leave (anything unburned)! Burning and blackening the skins! Over it are nineteen (angels as keepers of Hell).) [74:11-30]
اِذَا تُتۡلٰى عَلَيۡهِ اٰيٰتُنَا قَالَ اَسَاطِيۡرُ الۡاَوَّلِيۡنَ‏ 
( 15 )   When Our verses are recited to him, he says, "Legends of the former peoples."

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Allah's Signs, by which He calls us, are everywhere-in nature and in our very heart and soul. In Revelation, every verse is a Sign, for it stands symbolically for far more than it says. "Sign" (Ayat) thus becomes a technical term for a verse of the Qur-an.

Cf. vi. 25. " And of them there are some who appear to pay heed to you, but upon their hearts We have laid coverings so they understand it not; and in their ears, heaviness (so they hear not).17 Even if they were to witness every sign, they would still not believe in it so much so that when they come to you, they dispute with you, those who disbelieve contend: 'This is nothing but fables of the ancient times."

Muhammad Asad Explanation: The term banun (lit., "children" or "sons") is often used in the Qur'an metonymically, denoting "popular support" or "many adherents"; in conjunction with the term mal ("worldly goods") it is meant to illustrate a certain mentality which attributes a pseudo-religious significance to wealth and influence, and regards these visible signs of worldly success as a post-factum evidence of the "righteousness" of the person concerned and, hence, of his not being in need of further guidance.

سَنَسِمُهٗ عَلَى الۡخُـرۡطُوۡمِ‏ 
( 16 )   We will brand him upon the snout.
Because he thought he was a man of high prestige, his nose has been called a snout, and branding him on the snout means disgracing him. That is, We shall so disgrace him in the world and in the Hereafter that his mark of disgrace will become indelible.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: Ibn Jarir said, "We will make his matter clear and evident so that they will know him and he will not be hidden from them, just as the branding mark on the snouts (of animals).'' 

Others have said, (سَنَسِمُهُ We shall brand him) This is the mark of the people of the Hell-fire; meaning, `We will blacken his face on the Day of Judgement,' and the face has been referred to here as snout.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Literally, proboscis, the most sensitive limb of the elephant. The sinner makes himself a beast and can only be controlled by his snout.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Lit., "We shall brand him on the snout" (khurtum)". All commentators point out that this idiomatic phrase has a strictly metaphorical meaning, namely, "We shall stigmatize him with indelible disgrace" (cf. Lane II, 724, quoting both Raghib and Taj al-'Arus).

اِنَّا بَلَوۡنٰهُمۡ كَمَا بَلَوۡنَاۤ اَصۡحٰبَ الۡجَـنَّةِ​ ۚ اِذۡ اَقۡسَمُوۡا لَيَصۡرِمُنَّهَا مُصۡبِحِيۡنَۙ‏ 
( 17 )   Indeed, We have tried them as We tried the companions of the garden, when they swore to cut its fruit in the [early] morning
Here, one should also keep (Surah Al-Kahf, Ayat 32-44 )in view, in which the parable of the owners of two gardens has been cited for teaching a lesson.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: A Parable of the Removal of the Earnings of the Disbelievers - This is a parable that Allah made of the behavior of the Quraysh disbelievers with the great mercy, and tremendous favors He granted them. The mercy and favor of sending of Muhammad to them. But they met him with denial, rejection and opposition. 

Therefore Allah says: ( إِنَّا بَلَوْنَـهُمْ Verily, We have tried them) meaning, `We have tested them.' ( كَمَا بَلَوْنَآ أَصْحَـبَ الْجَنَّةِ as We tried the People of the Garden,) This refers to a garden containing different types of fruits and vegetation.

( إِذْ أَقْسَمُواْ لَيَصْرِمُنَّهَا مُصْبِحِينَ when they swore to pluck the fruits of the (garden) in the morning,) meaning, they vowed between themselves during the night that they would pluck the fruit of the garden in the morning so that poor and the beggars would not know what they were doing. In this way they would be able to keep its fruit for themselves and not give any of it in charity.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: "Why do the wicked flourish?" is a question asked in all ages. The answer is not simple. It must refer to (1) the choice left to man's will, (2) his moral responsibility, (3) the need of his tuning his will to Allah's Will, (4) the patience of Allah, which allows the widest possible chance for the operation of (5) His Mercy, and (6) in the last resort, to the nature of the Punishment, which is not a merely abrupt or arbitrary act, but a long, gradual process, in which there is room for repentance at every stage. All these points are illustrated in the remarkable Parable of the People of the Garden, which also illustrates the greed, selfishness, and heedlessness of man, as well as his tendency to throw the blame on others if he can but think of a scapegoat. All these foibles are shown, but the Mercy of Allah is boundless, and even after the worst sins and punishments, there may be hope of an even better orchard than the one lost, if only the repentance is true, and there is complete surrender to Allah's Will. But if, in spite of ail this, there is no surrender of the will, then, indeed, the punishment in the Hereafter is something incomparably greater than the little calamities in the Parable.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: I.e., by bestowing on them affluence out of all proportion to their moral deserts.

وَلَا يَسۡتَثۡنُوۡنَ‏ 
( 18 )   Without making exception.
That is, they were so sure and confident of their power and authority that they swore they would surely pluck the fruit of their garden next morning, without feeling any need to say: We shall do so if Allah so willed.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: We must always remember, in all our plans, that they depend for their success on how far they accord with Allah's Will and Plan. His universal Will is supreme over all affairs. These foolish men had a secret plan to defraud the poor of their just rights, but they were put into a position where they could not do so. In trying to frustrate others, they were themselves frustrated.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: I.e., they resolved upon their objective without the reservation, "if God so wills points to the first lesson to be derived from this parable, as well as to its connection with the rhetorical question in verses {14-15} above.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: meaning their vow that they made. Therefore, Allah broke their vow. He then said: meaning, it was afflicted with some heavenly destruction (verse 19 below).

فَطَافَ عَلَيۡهَا طَآئِفٌ مِّنۡ رَّبِّكَ وَهُمۡ نَآئِمُوۡنَ‏ 
( 19 )   So there came upon the garden an affliction from your Lord while they were asleep.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: It was a terrible storm that blew down and destroyed the fruits and the trees. The whole place was changed out of all recognition. 

فَاَصۡبَحَتۡ كَالصَّرِيۡمِۙ‏ 
( 20 )   And it became as though reaped.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:  Ibn `Abbas said, "Like the dark night.'' Ath-Thawri and As-Suddi both said, "Like the crop when it is harvested withered and dry.''

فَتَـنَادَوۡا مُصۡبِحِيۡنَۙ‏ 
( 21 )   And they called one another at morning,

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: meaning, when it was (early) morning time they called each other so that they could go together to pick the harvest or cut it (its fruits). Then Allah said:

اَنِ اغۡدُوۡا عَلٰى حَرۡثِكُمۡ اِنۡ كُنۡتُمۡ صٰرِمِيۡنَ‏ 
( 22 )   [Saying], "Go early to your crop if you would cut the fruit."

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Awaking from sleep, they were not aware that the garden had been destroyed by the storm overnight. They were in their own selfish dreams: by going very early, they thought they could cheat the poor of their share. See next note.

فَانۡطَلَقُوۡا وَهُمۡ يَتَخَافَتُوۡنَۙ‏ 
( 23 )   So they set out, while lowering their voices,

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: (verses 23-24) meaning, they spoke privately about what they were doing so that no one could hear what they were saying. Then Allah, the All-Knower of secrets and private discussions, explained what they were saying in private. 

He said: (So they departed, and they were whispering: "No poor person shall enter upon you into it today.'') meaning, some of them said to others, "Do not allow any poor person to enter upon you in it (the garden) today.'' 

اَنۡ لَّا يَدۡخُلَنَّهَا الۡيَوۡمَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ مِّسۡكِيۡنٌۙ‏ 
( 24 )   [Saying], "There will surely not enter it today upon you [any] poor person."

Yusuf Ali Explanation: The poor man has a right in the harvest-whether as a gleaner or as an artisan or a menial in an Eastern village. The rich owners of the orchard in the Parable wanted to steal a march at an early hour and defeat this right, but their greed was punished, so that it led to a greater loss to themselves. They wanted to cheat but had not the courage to face those they cheated, and by being in the field before any one was up they wanted to make it appear to the world that they were unconscious of any rights they were trampling on. 

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Ever since Biblical times it has been understood that the poor have a right to a share in the harvest of the fields and gardens owned by their more fortunate fellow-men (cf. 6:141 - "give [unto the poor] their due on harvest-day". The determination of the "owners of the garden" to deprive the poor of this right is the second type of sin to which the above parable points: and inasmuch as it is a social sin, it connects with verses {10-13}.

وَّغَدَوۡا عَلٰى حَرۡدٍ قٰدِرِيۡنَ‏ 
( 25 )   And they went early in determination, [assuming themselves] able.
The word hurd " حَرۡدٍ " in Arabic is used for hindering and withholding for a purpose and resolution and for making haste. Hence, the composite rendering adopted by us.

فَلَمَّا رَاَوۡهَا قَالُوۡۤا اِنَّا لَـضَآلُّوۡنَۙ‏ 
( 26 )   But when they saw it, they said, "Indeed, we are lost;

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Their fond dreams were dispelled when they found that the garden had been changed out of all recognition. It was as if they had come to some place other than their own smiling garden. Where they had expected to reap a rich harvest, there was only a howling wilderness. They reflected. Their first thought was of their own personal loss, the loss of their labour and the loss of their capital. They had plotted to keep out others from the fruits: now, as it happened, the loss was their own.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: meaning, when they arrived at it and came upon it, and it was in the condition which Allah changed from that luster, brilliance and abundance of fruit, to being black, gloomy and void of any benefit. They believed that they had been mistaken in the path they took in walking to it. 

This is why they said, ( إِنَّا لَضَآلُّونَ Verily, we have gone astray.) meaning, `we have walked down a path other than the one we were seeking to reach it.' This was said by Ibn `Abbas and others. Then they changed their minds and realized with certainty that it was actually the correct path.

بَلۡ نَحۡنُ مَحۡرُوۡمُوۡنَ‏ 
( 27 )   Rather, we have been deprived."
That is, on seeing the garden they didn’t believe it was their own garden, and they said: Perhaps we have lost our way and come to another place. But, when they considered it seriously and found it was their own garden, they cried out: Alas we are deprived.

قَالَ اَوۡسَطُهُمۡ اَلَمۡ اَقُلۡ لَّكُمۡ لَوۡلَا تُسَبِّحُوۡنَ‏ 
( 28 )   The most moderate of them said, "Did I not say to you, 'Why do you not exalt [Allah]?' "
This means that when they were saying on oath: We shall surely pluck the fruit of our garden tomorrow, this person had warned them at that time, saying: Have you forgotten God? Why don’t you say: If Allah so wills? But they did not listen to him. Then, while they were making up their mind not to give away anything to the needy, he again advised them to remember Allah and to desist from their evil intention, but they persisted in what they had resolved.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: ( قَالَ أَوْسَطُهُمْ The Awsat among them said,) Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr, `Ikrimah, Muhammad bin Ka`b, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, Ad-Dahhak and Qatadah all said, "This means the most just of them and the best of them.''

(أَلَمْ أَقُلْ لَّكُمْ لَوْلاَ تُسَبِّحُونَ Did I not tell you, `Why do you not Tusabbihun') 

Mujahid, As-Suddi and Ibn Jurayj all said that (لَوْلاَ تُسَبِّحُونَ Why do you not Tusabbihun) this means "why do you not say, `If Allah wills''' As-Suddi said, "Their making exception due to the will of Allah in that time was by glorifying Allah (Tasbih).'' Ibn Jarir said, "It is a person's saying, `If Allah wills.''' It has also been said that it means that the best of them said to them, "Did I not tell you, why don't you glorify Allah and thank Him for what He has given you and favored you with''

Yusuf Ali Explanation:  This was not necessarily a righteous man, but there are degrees in guilt. He had warned them, but he had joined in their unjust design.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: This is obviously a reference to their failure to realize that nothing can come about unless the Almighty so wills (verse {18}).

قَالُوۡا سُبۡحٰنَ رَبِّنَاۤ اِنَّا كُنَّا ظٰلِمِيۡنَ‏ 
( 29 )   They said, "Exalted is our Lord! Indeed, we were wrongdoers."

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: They became obedient when it was of no benefit to them, and they were remorseful and confessed when it was not of any use. Then they said:

فَاَقۡبَلَ بَعۡضُهُمۡ عَلٰى بَعۡضٍ يَّتَلَاوَمُوۡنَ‏ 
( 30 )   Then they approached one another, blaming each other.
That is, each reproached and blamed the other that because of his wrong counsel they had forgotten God and resolved upon an evil course.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: meaning, they started blaming each other for what they had resolved to do, preventing the poor people from receiving their right of the harvested fruit. Thus, their response to each other was only to confess their error and sin.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:  When greed or injustice is punished people are ready to throw the blame on others. In this case, one particular individual may have seen the moral guilt of defying the Will of Allah and the right of man, but if he shared in the enterprise in the hope of profit, he could not get out of all responsibility.

قَالُوۡا يٰوَيۡلَنَاۤ اِنَّا كُنَّا طٰغِيۡنَ‏ 
( 31 )   They said, "O woe to us; indeed we were transgressors.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:  meaning, `we have transgressed, trespassed, violated and exceeded the bounds until what this happened to us.'

عَسٰى رَبُّنَاۤ اَنۡ يُّبۡدِلَـنَا خَيۡرًا مِّنۡهَاۤ اِنَّاۤ اِلٰى رَبِّنَا رٰغِبُوۡنَ‏ 
( 32 )   Perhaps our Lord will substitute for us [one] better than it. Indeed, we are toward our Lord desirous."

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:  It has been said, "They were hoping for something better in exchange in this life.'' It has also been said, "They were hoping for its reward in the abode of the Hereafter.'' And Allah knows best. Some of the Salaf mentioned that these people were from Yemen. Sa`id bin Jubayr said, "They were from a village that was called Darawan which was six miles from San`a' (in Yemen). '' It has also been said, "They were from the people of Ethiopia whose father had left them this garden, and they were from the People of the Book. Their father used to handle the garden in a good way. Whatever he reaped from it he would put it back into the garden as it needed, and he would save some of it as food for his dependents for the year, and he would give away the excess in charity. Then, when he died, and his children inherited the garden they said, `Verily, our father was foolish for giving some of this garden's harvest to the poor. If we prevent them from it, then we will have more.' So when they made up their minds to do this they were punished with what was contrary to their plan. Allah took away all of what they possessed of wealth, gain and charity. Nothing remained for them.''

Yusuf Ali Explanation:  If the repentance was true, there was hope. For Allah often turns a great evil to our good. If not true, they only added hypocrisy to their other sins. The Parable presupposes that the garden came into the possession of selfish men, who were so puffed up with their good fortune that they forgot Allah. That meant that they also became harsh to their fellow-creatures. In their arrogance they plotted to get up early and defeat the claims of the poor at harvest time. They found their garden destroyed by a storm. Some reproached others, but those who sincerely repented obtained mercy. The "better garden" may have been the same garden, flourishing in a future season under Allah's gift of abundance.

كَذٰلِكَ الۡعَذَابُ​ؕ وَلَعَذَابُ الۡاٰخِرَةِ اَكۡبَرُ ​ۘ لَوۡ كَانُوۡا يَعۡلَمُوۡنَ‏  
( 33 )   Such is the punishment [of this world]. And the punishment of the Hereafter is greater, if they only knew.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: (كَذَلِكَ الْعَذَابُ Such is the punishment,) meaning, such is the punishment of whoever opposes the command of Allah, is stingy with what Allah has given him and favored him with, withholds the right of the poor and needy, and responds to Allah's blessings upon him with ungratefulness (or disbelief).

(وَلَعَذَابُ الاٌّخِرَةِ أَكْبَرُ لَوْ كَانُواْ يَعْلَمُونَ but truly, the punishment of the Hereafter is greater if they but knew.) meaning, this is the punishment in this life, as you have heard, and the punishment of the Hereafter is even harder.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Even in this life the punishment for heedless or selfish arrogance and sin comes suddenly when we least expect it. But there is always room for Allah's Mercy if we sincerely repent. If the Punishment in this life seems to us so stupefying, how much worse will it be in the Hereafter, when the Punishment will not be only for a limited time, and the time for repentance will have passed?

Ruku Two (Verses 34-52)

اِنَّ لِلۡمُتَّقِيۡنَ عِنۡدَ رَبِّهِمۡ جَنّٰتِ النَّعِيۡمِ‏ 
( 34 )   Indeed, for the righteous with their Lord are the Gardens of Pleasure.
This is, a rejoinder to the chiefs of Makkah, who argued with the Muslims, thus: The blessings that we are enjoying in the world are a sign that we are favorites of Allah, and the miserable lives that you are living are a proof that you are under the wrath of Allah. Therefore, even if there was any life after death, as you say, we shall have good time there too, and the torment would be imposed on you, not on us.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: The Garden is a joy, but the joy of this Garden is the sense of nearness to Allah.

اَفَنَجۡعَلُ الۡمُسۡلِمِيۡنَ كَالۡمُجۡرِمِيۡنَؕ‏ 
( 35 )   Then will We treat the Muslims like the criminals?

Yusuf Ali Explanation: The spiritual arrogance which rejects faith in Allah is perhaps the worst Sin, because it makes itself impervious to the Mercy of Allah, as a bed of clay is impervious to the absorption of water. It sets up its own standards and its own will, but how can it measure or bind the Will of Allah? It sets up its own fetishes,-idols, priests, gods, or godlings. The fetishes may be even God-given gifts or faculties. Intellect or Science, if pushed up to the position of idols. If they are made rivals to Allah, question them: Will they solve Allah's mysteries, or even the mysteries of Life and Soul?

Muhammad Asad Explanation: This is the earliest occurrence of the term muslimun (sing. muslim) in the history of Qur'anic revelation. Throughout this work, I have translated the terms muslim and Islam in accordance with their original connotations, namely, "one who surrenders [or "has surrendered"] himself to God", and "man's self-surrender to God"; the same holds good of all forms of the verb aslama occurring in the Qur'an. It should be borne in mind that the "institutionalized" use of these terms - that is, their exclusive application to the followers of the Prophet Muhammad - represents a definitely post-Qur'anic development and, hence, must be avoided in a translation of the Qur'an.

مَا لَـكُمۡ كَيۡفَ تَحۡكُمُوۡنَ​ۚ‏ 
( 36 )   What is [the matter] with you? How do you judge?
That is, it is against reason that God should not differentiate between the obedient servant and the guilty. How do you regard this as reasonable that the Creator of the universe should, like a blind ruler, not judge which people in the world obeyed His commands and refrained from evildoing, and which people committed every sin and crime and perpetrated every cruelty fearless of His punishment? You have seen the adversity of the believers and your own prosperity, but you have not appreciated the distinction between their good morals and your own evildoing, and have given your judgment without the thought that these obedient people will be treated like culprits by God and the guilty like you will be granted Paradise.

اَمۡ لَـكُمۡ كِتٰبٌ فِيۡهِ تَدۡرُسُوۡنَۙ‏
( 37 )   Or do you have a scripture in which you learn
That is, the Book sent down by Allah. 

اِنَّ لَـكُمۡ فِيۡهِ لَمَا تَخَيَّرُوۡنَ​ۚ‏ 
( 38 )   That indeed for you is whatever you choose?

Yusuf Ali Explanation: It is clearly against both logic and justice that men of righteousness should have the same End as men of sin. Even in this life, man cannot command whatever he chooses though he is allowed a limited freedom of choice. How can he expect such a thing under a reign of perfect Justice and Truth?

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Lit., "so that in it you [may] have all that you choose [to have] - i.e., a moral justification of the claim that whatever is considered "expedient" is eo ipso right.

اَمۡ لَـكُمۡ اَيۡمَانٌ عَلَيۡنَا بَالِغَةٌ اِلٰى يَوۡمِ الۡقِيٰمَةِ​ ۙ اِنَّ لَـكُمۡ لَمَا تَحۡكُمُوۡنَ​ۚ‏ 
( 39 )   Or do you have oaths [binding] upon Us, extending until the Day of Resurrection, that indeed for you is whatever you judge?
 Or have We sworn a covenant with you which We are bound to keep till the Day of Resurrection, (a covenant requiring that whatever you ordain for yourselves shall be yours)?

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Nor can the Pagans plead that they have any special Covenants with Allah which give them a favoured position above other mortals. The 'Chosen Race' idea of the Jews is also condemned. It is quite true that a certain race or group, on account of special aptitude may be chosen by Allah to uphold His truth and preach it. But this is conditional on their following Allah's Law. As soon as they become arrogant and selfish, they lose that position. They cannot have a perpetual and unconditional lease till the Day of Judgment.

سَلۡهُمۡ اَيُّهُمۡ بِذٰلِكَ زَعِيۡمٌ ۛۚ‏ 
( 40 )   Ask them which of them, for that [claim], is responsible.
Zaeem " زَعِيۡمٌ " in Arabic is used for a person who stands a surety on behalf of another, or is a spokesman of others. Thus, the verse means to ask: Which of you will come forward and say that he has made such and such a covenant with Allah on your behalf.

اَمۡ لَهُمۡ شُرَكَآءُ ۛۚ فَلۡيَاۡتُوۡا بِشُرَكَآئِهِمۡ اِنۡ كَانُوۡا صٰدِقِيۡنَ‏  
( 41 )   Or do they have partners? Then let them bring their partners, if they should be truthful.
That is, the judgment you are passing concerning yourselves has no basis whatever. It is against reason and you cannot show any such thing written in any divine Book either. No one can make the claim that he has made Allah promise some such thing, and you cannot make any of your deities vouch that they would take the responsibility of securing Paradise for you from God. How then have you been involved in such a misunderstanding.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: "Partners" in Godhead. as in the doctrine of the Trinity, or indeed in any form of polytheism. Such a doctrine destroys the cardinal doctrine of the Unity of Allah.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Lit., "Or have they any associates?" - i.e., wise people ('uqala') who would share their views and their way of life (Zamakhshari and Razi). Accordingly, the expression shuraka'uhum in the next sentence has been rendered as "those supporters of theirs".

يَوۡمَ يُكۡشَفُ عَنۡ سَاقٍ وَّيُدۡعَوۡنَ اِلَى السُّجُوۡدِ فَلَا يَسۡتَطِيۡعُوۡنَۙ‏  
( 42 )   The Day the shin will be uncovered and they are invited to prostration but the disbelievers will not be able,
Literally: The Day the Shin shall be uncovered. A section of the companions and their successors says that these words have been used idiomatically, for according to Arabic idiom, kashf-i-saq implies befalling of an affliction. Abdullah bin Abbas has also given this same meaning of this and has supported it by evidence from Arabic poetry. According to another saying that has been cited from Ibn Abbas and Rabi bin Anas, kashf-i-saq implies uncovering the facts and truths. In view of this interpretation, the meaning would be: The Day when all truths shall be bared and the people’s deeds shall become open and manifest.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: The Terror of the Day of Judgement - After Allah mentions that those who have Taqwa, will have Gardens of Delight with their Lord, He explains when this will be, and its actual occurrence. 

He says: (The Day when the Shin shall be laid bare and they shall be called to prostrate themselves, but they shall not be able to do so.) meaning, the Day of Judgement and the horrors, earthquakes, trials, tests and great matters that will occur during it. 

Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri said that he heard the Prophet saying:
(Our Lord will reveal His Shin, and every believing male and female will prostrate to Him. The only people who will remain standing are those who prostrated in the worldly life only to be seen and heard (showing off). This type of person will try to prostrate at that time, but his back will made to be one stiff plate (the bone will not bend or flex).)'' This Hadith was recorded in the Two Sahihs and other books from different routes of transmission with various wordings. It is a long Hadith that is very popular.
Yusuf Ali Explanation: "The Day that the Shin shall be laid bare", that is, when men are confronted with the stark reality of the Day of Judgment. On that occasion men will be summoned to adoration, not necessarily in words, but by the logic of facts, when the Reality will be fully manifest: the Glory will be too dazzling for the Unbelievers, whose past deliberate refusal, when they had freedom to choose and yet rejected, will stand in way.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Lit., "when the shin[-bone] shall be bared": i.e., when man's innermost thoughts, feelings and motivations will be laid bare. The implication is that their erstwhile claim that whatever is "expedient" is morally justifiable (see note [19] above), shall be revealed in all its nakedness - namely, as something indefensible and spiritually destructive.

خَاشِعَةً اَبۡصَارُهُمۡ تَرۡهَقُهُمۡ ذِلَّةٌ ؕ وَقَدۡ كَانُوۡا يُدۡعَوۡنَ اِلَى السُّجُوۡدِ وَهُمۡ سٰلِمُوۡنَ‏ 
( 43 )   Their eyes humbled, humiliation will cover them. And they used to be invited to prostration while they were sound.
It means: On the Resurrection Day it will be openly and publicly demonstrated as to who in the world had actually worshiped Allah and who was disinclined to do so. For this purpose the people will be called upon to prostrate themselves before Allah. Then, those who had been sincerely worshiping Allah in the world would prostrate themselves, and those who had declined to bow before Him in the world would be unable to do so. It will become impossible for them to put up a false show of being worshipers. Therefore, they will remain standing, degraded and downcast with shame.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: ( خَـشِعَةً أَبْصَـرُهُمْ تَرْهَقُهُمْ ذِلَّةٌ Their eyes will be cast down and ignominy will cover them;) means, in the final abode, due to their crimes and arrogance in the worldly life. Thus they will be punished with the opposite of what they did. When they were called to prostrate in the worldly life, they refused to do so even though they were healthy and secure. Therefore, they will be punished with the lack of ability to do so in the Hereafter. When the Almighty Lord makes Himself visible (before the believers), then the believers will fall down in prostration to Him, but no one of the disbelievers and hypocrites will be able to prostrate. rather, their backs will become one plate. Every time one of them attempts to prostrate, he will bow his neck but will not be able to prostrate. This is just like in the life of this world, when these people were in opposition to what the believers were doing. 

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Their past memories, combined with their present position, will then fill them with a sense of the deepest dismay and humiliation. See last note.

Salimun " سٰلِمُوۡنَ‏ ": whole, in full possession of the power of judgment and will; not constrained, as they now will be, by the Punishment staring them full in the face.

فَذَرۡنِىۡ وَمَنۡ يُّكَذِّبُ بِهٰذَا الۡحَـدِيۡثِ​ؕ سَنَسۡتَدۡرِجُهُمۡ مِّنۡ حَيۡثُ لَا يَعۡلَمُوۡنَۙ‏ 
( 44 )   So leave Me, [O Muhammad], with [the matter of] whoever denies the Qur'an. We will progressively lead them [to punishment] from where they do not know.
That is, do not worry yourself as to how to deal with them, it is for Me to see how to chastise them.

A form of leading somebody to ruin in imperceptible ways is that an enemy of the truth and wicked person may be blessed in the world, and be granted health, wealth, children and worldly successes, by which he may be deluded into believing that whatever he is doing, he is doing well and right. There is nothing wrong with his acts and deeds. Thus, he may go on getting more and more deeply involved in enmity of the truth and wickedness and rebellious conduct and may not realize that the blessings he is being favored with are not a reward but, in fact, a means of his own ruin.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: For Whoever denies the Qur'an - Allah says: (فَذَرْنِى وَمَن يُكَذِّبُ بِهَـذَا الْحَدِيثِ Then leave Me alone with such as belie this narration.) meaning, the Qur'an. This is a sever threat which means, `leave Me alone with this person; I know about him and how I will gradually punish him and increase him in his falsehood. I am giving him respite for a while, then I will seize him with a mighty and powerful punishment.' 

Thus, Allah says, ( سَنَسْتَدْرِجُهُم مِّنْ حَيْثُ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ We shall punish them gradually from directions they perceive not.) meaning, and they will not even be aware of it. Rather, they will believe that it is a noble blessing from Allah, but really the same matter is actually a form of humiliation (for them). 

This is similar to Allah's statement:
(Do they think that in wealth and children with which We expand them, We hasten unto them with good things. Nay, but they perceive not.) (23:55,56) 
Yusuf Ali Explanation: Notice, the transition between "Me" and "We" in this verse, and again to "I" and "My" in the next verse. The first person plural ordinarily used in the holy Qur'an as Allah's Word, is the plural of respect. In Royal decrees the first person plural is always used. When the first person singular is used, it marks some special personal relation, either of Mercy or favours (as in ii. 38 or ii. 150) or of punishment, as here. (Cf. n. 56. to ii. 38).

Cf. vii. 182. We must not be impatient if we see the wicked flourish. It may be that the very appearance of flourishing here may be a part of the Punishment. There may be an eventual punishment by a sort of Cataclysm; but evolutionary punishment is gradual and sure. Allah may punish wicked people by granting them respite and providing them worldly benefits in abundance, which encourages them in sin and transgression. So when they are finally seized by the Wrath of Allah they are caught suddenly and utterly unprepared, as it were, red handed while engrossed in disbelief, a life of impiety and open revolt against their Lord!

Muhammad Asad Explanation: I.e., to divine revelation in general, and to the tiding of resurrection and judgment, in particular - the implication being that God alone has the right to decide whether or how to chastise them.

Lit., "without their knowing whence [it comes]". The above sentence, as well as the next (verse {45}), are found in exactly the same formulation in {7:182-183}.

وَاُمۡلِىۡ لَهُمۡ​ؕ اِنَّ كَيۡدِىۡ مَتِيۡنٌ‏ 
( 45 )   And I will give them time. Indeed, My plan is firm.
The word kayd " كَيۡدِىۡ " in the original means to devise a secret scheme against another. It is an evil only in case it is devised to harm somebody unjustly, otherwise there is nothing wrong with it, especially when such a scheme is adopted against a person who has made himself worthy of it.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:  meaning, `I will delay them, give them respite and extend their time. Yet, this is My plan, and My plot against them.

Thus, Allah says: (إِنَّ كَيْدِى مَتِينٌ Verily, My plan is strong.) meaning, `great against whoever opposes My command, rejects My Messengers and dares to disobey Me.' 

In the Two Sahihs it is recorded from the Messenger of Allah that he said:
(Verily Allah the Exalted gives respite to the wrongdoer until He seizes him and he will not be able to escape Him.) Then he recited: (Such is the punishment of your Lord when He seizes the towns while they are doing wrong. Verily, His punishment is painful (and) severe.) (11:102) 
اَمۡ تَسۡـئَـلُهُمۡ اَجۡرًا فَهُمۡ مِّنۡ مَّغۡرَمٍ مُّثۡقَلُوۡنَ​ۚ‏ 
( 46 )   Or do you ask of them a payment, so they are by debt burdened down?
The question apparently is being asked of the Prophet (peace be upon him), but its real audience are the people, who were crossing all limits in their opposition to him. They are being asked: Is Our Messenger asking you for a reward which makes you feel so upset. You know that he is absolutely selfless in his invitation and is exerting himself only for your own benefit and well-being. If you do not want to believe in what he says, you may not, but why are you feeling so enraged at his this invitation to you. (For further explanation, see (verse 40 of Surah 52. At-Toor).

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Cf. lii. 40. It costs the Unbelievers nothing to hear the Prophet, for the Prophet asks for no reward, and indeed suffers for their benefit. Al-Mustafa is addressed in the first instance, but there is always a universal interpretation. The righteous man asks for no reward for his preaching or example: if he did, the value would be too great for the world to pay for. The Unbelievers behave as if they had the secret of the Unseen, but they are empty triflers, for, if they only tried to formulate spiritual laws, they would fail.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: (for, behold, though I may give them rein for a while, My subtle scheme is exceedingly firm!) The term "subtle scheme" (kayd) evidently circumscribes here God's unfathomable plan of creation of which man can glimpse only isolated fragments and never the totality: a plan in which every thing and happening has a definite function, and nothing is accidental. (See in this connection note [11] on 10:5 - "None of this has God created without [an inner] truths.) Indirectly, the above passage alludes to the question as to the reason why God allows so many evil persons to enjoy their lives to the full, while so many of the righteous are allowed to suffer: the answer being that during his life in this world man cannot really understand where apparent happiness and unhappiness ultimately lead to, and what role they play in God's "subtle scheme" of creation.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: Verse 46-47: the explanation of these two Ayat preceded in Surat At-Tur. The meaning of it is, `you, O Muhammad, call them to Allah without taking any wages from them. rather, you hope for the reward with Allah. Yet, they reject that which you have brought to them simply due to ignorance, disbelief and obstinacy.'

اَمۡ عِنۡدَهُمُ الۡغَيۡبُ فَهُمۡ يَكۡتُبُوۡنَ‏
( 47 )   Or have they [knowledge of] the unseen, so they write [it] down?
This second question also appears to be directed to the Prophet (peace be upon him), but, in fact, its audience are his opponents. It means: Have you, O people, peered behind the unseen and found that the Messenger, in fact, is not a Messenger sent by God, and the truth that he is presenting before you is also false. That is why you are being so stubborn in belying what he says (For explanation of verse 41 of Surah 52. At-Toor).

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Cf. lii. 41. The Unseen is certainly not within their knowledge or control. If it were, they could clearly write it down for their own guidance or the guidance of others. They should listen to the words of inspiration, sent by the Knower of all things.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Sc., "and that, therefore, they need not listen to divine revelation. For the real significance of the term al-ghayb - of which the above is undoubtedly the earliest instance in the chronology of Qur'anic revelation - see surah {2}, verse [3]. 
(2:3) (who believe in [the existence of] that which is beyond the reach of human perception)
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.
Its use in the above context is meant to elucidate and further develop the idea already touched upon in 96:6 - "man becomes grossly overweening whenever he believes himself to be self-sufficient". More particularly, the present passage points to the fallacy of the arrogant belief that the solution of all the mysteries of the universe is "just around the corner" and that man-centered science - epitomized in the reference to its being "written down" - can and will teach its adepts how to "conquer nature" and to attain to what they regard as the good life.

فَاصۡبِرۡ لِحُكۡمِ رَبِّكَ وَلَا تَكُنۡ كَصَاحِبِ الۡحُوۡتِ​ۘ اِذۡ نَادٰى وَهُوَ مَكۡظُوۡمٌؕ‏ 
( 48 )   Then be patient for the decision of your Lord, [O Muhammad], and be not like the companion of the fish when he called out while he was distressed.
That is, the time when Allah will issue His decree about your success and victory and your opponents’ defeat, is yet far off. Till then you should go on enduring with patience whatever hardships and afflictions you may have to face in the way of preaching the faith.

That is, do not behave impatiently as did the Prophet Jonah (peace be on him), who an account of his impatience was driven into the fish’s belly. Immediately after exhorting the Prophet (peace be upon him) to have patience until Allah issued forth His decree, to tell him not to behave like the Prophet Jonah (peace be upon him) by itself gives the meaning that the latter had shown some kind of impatience before Allah gave His decision and thus had incurred His wrath. (See more in explanation of verses( Surah Yunus, Ayat 98); (Surah Al-Anbiya, Ayat 87-88); (Surah As-Saaffat, Ayat 139-148).

In Surah Al-Anbiya it has been explained thus: From inside the fish’s belly and the darkness of the sea, the Prophet Jonah (peace be upon him) invoked Allah, saying: La ilaha ills anta subhanaka inni kuntu min-az-zalimin: There is no god but You; glory be to You: I had indeed committed a wrong. Thereupon Allah heard his prayer and delivered him from this affliction. (verses 87-88).

Yusuf Ali Explanation: This was Zun-Nun, or Jonah, for whom see explanation of xxi. 87-88. Cf. also xxxvii. 139-148 and the notes there. Jonah was asked to preach to the people of Nineveh, a wicked city. He met with hostility and persecution, fled from his enemies, and took a boat. He was caught in a storm and thrown into the sea. He was swallowed by a fish or whale, but he repented in his living prison, and was forgiven. But the people of Nineveh were also forgiven, for they, too, repented. Here is a double allegory of Allah's mercy and forgiveness, and a command to patience, and complete and joyful submission to the Will of Allah.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: This is a reference to the Prophet Jonah - see 21:87 and the corresponding notes. As mentioned in 37:140 , "he fled like a runaway slave" from the task with which he had been entrusted by God, because his people did not all at once accept his preaching as valid: and so Muhammad is exhorted not to give in to despair or anger at the opposition shown to him by most of his contemporaries in Mecca, but to persevere in his prophetic mission.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: The Command to be Patient and to refrain from being Hasty like Yunus was.

Allah says: (فَاصْبِرْ So wait with patience) `O Muhammad, persevere against the harm your people cause you and their rejection. For verily, Allah will give you authority over them, and make the final victory for you and your followers in this life and the Hereafter.'

(وَلاَ تَكُن كَصَـحِبِ الْحُوتِ and be not like the Companion of the Fish) meaning, Dhun-Nun, who was Yunus bin Matta, when he went off angry with his people. Various things happened to him, such as riding on a ship at sea, being swallowed by a (large) fish, the fish carrying him off into the ocean, being in the darkness and depth of the sea and hearing the sea's and its dwellers glorification of the Most High, the Most Able (Allah). For He (Allah) is the One Whose execution of divine decree cannot be resisted. After all of this, he (Yunus) called out from the layers of darkness: (أَن لاَّ إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ أَنتَ سُبْحَـنَكَ إِنِّى كُنتُ مِنَ الظَّـلِمِينَ "That none has the right to be worshipped but You (O Allah), Glorified (and Exalted) are You! Truly, I have been of the wrongdoers.'') (21:87) 
Then Allah said concerning him, (فَاسْتَجَبْنَا لَهُ وَنَجَّيْنَـهُ مِنَ الْغَمِّ وَكَذلِكَ نُنجِـى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ So We answered his call, and delivered him from the distress. And thus We do deliver the believers.) (21:88) Allah also says, (Had he not been of them who glorify Allah, he would have indeed remained inside its belly (the fish) till the Day when they are resurrected.) (37:143,144) 
So here (in this Surah), Allah says: (when he cried out (إِذْ نَادَى وَهُوَ مَكْظُومٌ to Us) while he was Makzum.) Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and As-Suddi, all said, "while he was distressed.'' 

لَوۡلَاۤ اَنۡ تَدٰرَكَهٗ نِعۡمَةٌ مِّنۡ رَّبِّهٖ لَنُبِذَ بِالۡعَرَآءِ وَهُوَ مَذۡمُوۡمٌ‏ 
( 49 )   If not that a favor from his Lord overtook him, he would have been thrown onto the naked shore while he was censured.
When this verse is read with ( Surah As-Saaffat, Ayats 142-146), one learns that at the time the Prophet Jonah (peace be upon him) was caused to be swallowed by the fish, he was blameworthy. But when he glorified Allah and confessed his fault, although he was thrown out from the belly of the fish on a bare beach in a state of sickness, he was not blameworthy at that time. Allah by His mercy caused a creeper to grow over him so that its leaves should provide him shade and its fruit food and drink.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Cf. 37:143 - "had he not been of those who [even in the deep darkness of their distress are able to] extol God's limitless glory": i.e., who always remember God and pray for His forgiveness.

Lit., "while he was still blameworthy", i.e., burdened with sin and unredeemed by repentance: implying that but for God's grace he would have died as a sinner.

فَاجۡتَبٰهُ رَبُّهٗ فَجَعَلَهٗ مِنَ الصّٰلِحِيۡنَ‏ 
( 50 )   And his Lord chose him and made him of the righteous.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: Imam Ahmad recorded from `Abdullah that the Messenger of Allah said, (It is not befitting for anyone to say that I am better than Yunus bin Matta.) Al-Bukhari recorded this Hadith and it is in the Two Sahihs reported from Abu Hurayrah.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Jonah was chosen by Allah's Grace and Mercy to be Allah's Prophet to Nineveh. If in his human frailty he lost a little patience, he suffered his punishment, but his true and sincere repentance and recognition of Allah's goodness and mercy restored him from his physical. and mental distress, and from the obscuration of the spiritual Light in him.

Cf. iv. 69. In the beautiful Company of the Righteous there is room for all, of every grade of spiritual advancement, from the highest to the most ordinary. But as in democratic politics every citizen's rights and status have complete recognition, so, in this Company, the badge of Righteousness is the bond, even though there may be higher degrees of knowledge or experience.

وَاِنۡ يَّكَادُ الَّذِيۡنَ كَفَرُوۡا لَيُزۡلِقُوۡنَكَ بِاَبۡصَارِهِمۡ لَمَّا سَمِعُوا الذِّكۡرَ وَيَقُوۡلُوۡنَ اِنَّهٗ لَمَجۡنُوۡنٌ​ۘ‏ 
( 51 )   And indeed, those who disbelieve would almost make you slip with their eyes when they hear the message, and they say, "Indeed, he is mad."
Would make you slip: Would eat you up with their eyes. For a similar expression of the Makkan disbelievers’ rage and fury against the Prophet (peace be upon him), see also Surah Bani Israil, Aya

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and others have said, ( لَيُزْلِقُونَكَ would make you slip) "In order to have some effect on you.''

( بِأَبْصَـرِهِمْ with their eyes) meaning, `they will affect you by looking at you with their eyes (i.e., the evil eye).' This means `they are jealous of you due to their hatred of you, and were it not for Allah's protection of you, defending you against them (then their evil eye would harm you).'

The Effect of the Evil Eye is Real - In this Ayah is a proof that the effect of the evil eye and its affliction by the command of Allah is real. Many Hadiths have been reported concerning this through numerous routes of transmission. 
The Hadith of Buraydah bin Al-Husayb Abu `Abdullah bin Majah recorded from Buraydah bin Al-Husayb that the Messenger of Allah said: (There is no Ruqyah except to cure the evil eye and the sting.) This is how Ibn Majah recorded this Hadith. Imam Muslim also recorded this Hadith in his Sahih on the authority of Buraydah himself, but he did not attribute it to the Prophet . There is a story concerning this incident (as reported by Buraydah in Sahih Muslim), and At-Tirmidhi recorded the Hadith in this manner (like Muslim's version). 
This Hadith has also been recorded by Imam Al-Bukhari, Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi on the authority of `Imran bin Husayn, however, he did not attribute it to the Prophet . `Imran's wording is: (There is no Ruqyah except to cure the evil eye and the sting.)'' Muslim recorded in his Sahih from Ibn `Abbas that the Prophet said: (The evil eye is real. If anything were to overtake the divine decree (and change it), then it would be the evil eye. And if you perform Ghusl (to remove the evil eye) then wash well.) Muslim was alone in recording this Hadith, as Al-Bukhari did not mention it. 
It is reported from Ibn `Abbas that he said, "The Messenger of Allah used to invoke Allah's protection for Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn (his grandsons) by saying: (I seek protection for you two by the perfect Words of Allah from every Shaytan, and dangerous creature, and from every eye that is evil.) Then he would say: (Thus, did Ibrahim used to seek protection for Ishaq and Isma`il (his sons).)'' This Hadith was recorded by Al-Bukhari and the Sunan compilers.
The Hadith of Abu Umamah As`ad bin Sahl bin Hunayf - Ibn Majah recorded from Abu Umamah As`ad bin Sahl bin Hunayf that `Amir bin Rabi`ah passed by Sahl bin Hunayf while he was bathing and he said, "I haven't seen the skin of a beautiful virgin girl nicer than this that I see today (i.e., commenting on how nice Sahl's skin was).'' So he did not leave before he (Sahl) fell down on the ground. So he was brought to the Messenger of Allah and it was said to him (the Prophet ) that Sahl had been afflicted by a seizure. The Prophet then said: (Who do you blame (or hold responsible) for this) The people replied, ""Amir bin Rabi`ah.'' Then the Prophet said: Would one of you knowingly kill his brother If one of you sees something of his brother that he likes, then let him supplicate for blessings for him.) Then the Prophet called for some water and he commanded `Amir to perform Wudu' with the water. So he washed his face, his hands up to his two elbows, his two knees, and the inside of his Izar. Then the Prophet commanded him to pour the water over Sahl. Sufyan said that Ma`mar related from Az-Zuhri that he said, "The Prophet ordered him to turn the water pot over (empty its contents over) him (Sahl) from behind him.'' An-Nasa'i recorded this Hadith through different routes from Abu Umamah with the wording, "And he turned the pot over pouring its contents over him (Sahl) from behind him.'' 

The Accusation of the Disbelievers and the Reply to Them - Allah says: ( وَيَقُولُونَ إِنَّهُ لَمَجْنُونٌ and they say: "Verily, he is a madman!'') meaning, they cut at him with their eyes and attack him with their tongues saying, "Verily, he is a madman.'' They say this because he came with the Qur'an.  

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Thee eyes of evil men look at a good man as if they would "eat him up", or trip him up, or disturb him from his position of stability or firmness. They use all sorts of terms of abuse-"madman" or "one possessed by an evil spirit", and so on. Cf. lxviii. 2 above, and n. 5594. But the good man is unmoved, and takes his even course. The Message of Allah is true and will endure; and it is a Message to all Creation.

وَمَا هُوَ اِلَّا ذِكۡرٌ لِّلۡعٰلَمِيۡنَ‏ 
( 52 )   But it is not except a reminder to the worlds.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: This is the extreme antithesis to madness or demoniacal possession. So far from the holy Prophet uttering words disjointed or likely to harm people, he was bringing the Message of true Reality, which was to be the cure of all evil, in every kind of world. For the different kinds of worlds see n. 20 to i. 2.

This is the end of the explanation (Tafsir) of Surah Nun (or Al-Qalam), and all praise and blessing belong to Allah.

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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