Thursday 17 November 2022

Qur'an: A Book of guidance and glad tidings to those who have submitted to Allah

Today in our series of posts on Selected verses from Qur'an, we present to our readers the meaning and explanation of 89th verse of Surah 16. An Nahl. The verse is in fact is an allusion to the Day of Judgment, when the prophets whom God has called forth within every community - or, in the wider sense of the term ummah, within every civilization or cultural period - will symbolically bear witness to the fact that they had delivered God's message to their people and explained to them the meaning of right and wrong, thus depriving them of any subsequent excuse.[3]

It also mentions the sending down of Qur'an, the last of the four Divine Scriptures which serves as a guidance and mercy and glad tidings to those who have submitted to Allah:

وَيَوۡمَ نَـبۡعَثُ فِىۡ كُلِّ اُمَّةٍ شَهِيۡدًا عَلَيۡهِمۡ مِّنۡ اَنۡفُسِهِمۡ​ وَجِئۡنَا بِكَ شَهِيۡدًا عَلٰى هٰٓؤُلَاۤءِ ​ؕ وَنَزَّلۡنَا عَلَيۡكَ الۡـكِتٰبَ تِبۡيَانًا لِّـكُلِّ شَىۡءٍ وَّ هُدًى وَّرَحۡمَةً وَّبُشۡرٰى لِلۡمُسۡلِمِيۡنَ
(16:89) (O Muhammad), warn them of the coming of a Day when We shall bring forth a witness against them from each community and We shall bring you forth as a witness against them all; (and it is for that purpose that) We sent down the Book to you which makes everything clear,86 and serves as a guidance and mercy and glad tidings to those who have submitted to Allah.
The Qur'an makes manifest everything on which depends guidance or deviation, success or failure: whose knowledge is essential for following the Right Way: which clearly distinguishes Truth from false hood.

In this connection one should guard against that meaning of this sentence and the like in the Qur'an according to which some people interpret "everything" to mean "the knowledge of all sciences, arts, etc.," and in order to prove the correctness of their interpretation, they have to pervert the real meaning of the Qur'an. 

This Book, i.e. Qur'an, is a guide for those who surrender to it as a Divine Book and follow it in every aspect of life. Then it will bring Allah's blessings upon them, and will give them the good news that they will come out successful in the Court of Allah on the Day of Judgment. Or. the contrary, those people who reject it shall not only be deprived of guidance and blessing but will also find it as a testimony against themselves on the Day of Resurrection when Allah's Messenger will stand up to testify against them. This Book will prove to be a strong argument against them, for Allah's Messenger will say that he had conveyed its Message which made manifest the distinction between Truth and falsehood.

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir: (Every Prophet will bear Witness against his Nation on the Day of Resurrection.) In this verse, Allah addressed His servant and Messenger Muhammad, saying:

(وَيَوْمَ نَبْعَثُ فِى كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ شَهِيدًا عَلَيْهِمْ مِّنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ وَجِئْنَا بِكَ شَهِيدًا عَلَى هَـؤُلآءِ -
(And on the Day when We resurrect a witness from each nation from among themselves, and We bring you (O Muhammad) as a witness against these.), meaning, your Ummah. The Ayah means: remember that Day and its terrors, and the great honor and high position that Allah has bestowed upon you. 

This Ayah is like the Ayah with which `Abdullah bin Mas`ud ended when he recited to the Messenger of Allah from the beginning of Surat An-Nisa'. When he reached the Ayah:

( فَكَيْفَ إِذَا جِئْنَا مِن كُلِّ أمَّةٍ بِشَهِيدٍ وَجِئْنَا بِكَ عَلَى هَـؤُلاءِ شَهِيداً How (will it be) then, when We bring from each nation a witness and We bring you (O Muhammad) as a witness against these) [4:41] the Messenger of Allah said to him:(Enough.) Ibn Mas`ud said: "I turned to him and saw his eyes streaming with tears.'

The Qur'an explains Everything: وَنَزَّلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَـبَ تِبْيَانًا لِّكُلِّ شَىْء((And We revealed the Book (the Qur'an) to you as an explanation of everything,) Ibn Mas`ud said: "Allah made it clear that in this Qur'an there is complete knowledge and about everything.'' The Qur'an contains all kinds of beneficial knowledge, such as reports of what happened in the past, information about what is yet to come, what is lawful and unlawful, and what people need to know about their worldly affairs, their religion, their livelihood in this world, and their destiny in the Hereafter - (a guidance) means, for their hearts, (a mercy, and good news for the Muslims.) 

Al-Awza`i said:(And We have revealed the Book (the Qur'an) as an explanation of everything,) meaning, with the Sunnah. The is the reason why the phrase, (وَنَزَّلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَـبَ And We have revealed the Book to you) is mentioned immediately after the phrase,

(وَجِئْنَا بِكَ شَهِيدًا عَلَى هَـؤُلآءِ And We shall bring you (O Muhammad) as a witness against these. ) the meaning - and Allah knows best - is that the One Who obligated you to convey the Book which He revealed to you, will also ask you about that on the Day of Resurrection.

(Then We shall indeed question those (people) to whom it (the Book) was sent and We shall indeed question the Messengers.) (7:6)

(So, by your Lord, We question them all about what they did.) (15:92-92)

( يَوْمَ يَجْمَعُ اللَّهُ الرُّسُلَ فَيَقُولُ مَاذَآ أُجِبْتُمْ قَالُواْ لاَ عِلْمَ لَنَآ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ عَلَّـمُ الْغُيُوبِ On the Day when Allah gathers the Messengers together and says to them: "What was the response you received (to your Message)'' They will say: "We have no knowledge, indeed only You are the Knower of all that is hidden.'') (5:109) And Allah says:

( إِنَّ الَّذِى فَرَضَ عَلَيْكَ الْقُرْءَانَ لَرَآدُّكَ إِلَى مَعَادٍ Verily, He Who obligated the Qur'an upon you (O Muhammad) will surely bring you back to the return.) [28:85] meaning, the One Who gave you the obligation of conveying the Qur'an will bring you back to Him, and your return will be on the Day of Resurrection, and He will question you about you commission of the duty He gave you. This is one of the opinions, and it presents a good understanding of it.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
Although the Arabian contemporaries of the Prophet were, naturally, the first to whom his revelation was conveyed - a fact that gave a particular weight to the manner in which they responded to it - the Qur'anic message as such is addressed to all mankind (see in this connection, in particular, 7:158 and 21:107, as well as the corresponding notes).

I.e., everything that pertains to the knowledge of good and evil, in both the individual and social senses of these terms. - Regarding my rendering of nazzalna, it should be borne in mind that this particular grammatical form is often used in the Qur'an to bring out the fact that it was revealed gradually ("step by step") over a considerable period of time, and not in one piece.

Yusuf Ali Explanation
To the thought expressed in xvi. 84 (One day We shall raise from all peoples a witness: then will no excuse be accepted from Unbelievers nor will they receive any favors), is added another detail here in verse 89. But first explanation of verse 84 for it is relevant to verse 89:
To each People is sent Allah's Messenger or Teacher, to point out the right way. There may be one, or there may be many. Such a Messenger (Rasul) will be a witness that Allah's Truth was preached to all peoples in express terms, in addition to the Signs of Allah everywhere in nature. There will then be no room for excuses of any kind. Those who rejected Allah after repeated warnings cannot reasonably ask for more respite, as they had every kind of respite during their life of probation; nor can they now take refuge behind Allah's Grace, which they had repeatedly rejected. A) That is, they will not be allowed to seek grace by repentance. Cf. xxx. 57, xlv. 35.
Now coming back to verse 89: Not only will there be witnesses from Peoples, but the witnesses will be men from amongst the Peoples themselves, men of their own kith and kin, who understood them and explained Allah's Message in their own language. The Prophet Muhammad will be witness against all those who rejected the Message he brought. For those who believe in him of (all races and peoples), the Book which he brought will be an explanation, a guide, a mercy and a Gospel.

Tafsir Qur'an Wiki:
This applies to all people and communities. The Sūrah then singles out a special situation involving the Prophet with his own people:

“One day We will raise up within every nation a witness from among themselves to testify against them. And We will bring you, [Prophet] as a witness against these [i.e. your people]. We have bestowed from on high upon you the book to make everything clear, and to provide guidance and grace, and to give good news to those who submit themselves to God.” (Verse 89)

What a gloomy and fraught scene is chosen as the background: that of a pagan people looking on when the false deities they used to worship declare that they are liars, and those very deities declare their own submission to God, totally disowning their former worshippers.

Against this background, the Prophet’s position is clearly stated. He will be the witness against his own people. This timely piece of detail adds power to the whole scene: “And We will bring you, [Prophet] as a witness against these [i.e. your people].” (Verse 89) The verse mentions then that the revelations given to the Prophet “makes everything clear,” leaving no excuse for anyone to justify turning away from them. The revelation of the Qur’ān also provides “guidance and grace and gives good news to those who submit themselves to God.” (Verse 89) This shows clearly that whoever wishes to follow right guidance and receive God’s mercy should declare his submission to God before the arrival of that awesome and fearful day. For when it comes, no one will be given leave to justify his position or to make amends for past deeds. Thus, we see that the scenes of the Day of Judgement given in the Qur’ān serve a definite purpose endorsing the message given in the section where they occur.

Now you may listen to the following short clipped video to explanation of the aforesaid Ayat by eminent Muslim scholar Nouman Ali Khan:
May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, which is embodiment of commandments of Allah contained in the Qur'ān. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others' lives miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 
وَمَا عَلَيۡنَاۤ اِلَّا الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِيۡنُ‏ 
(36:17) and our duty is no more than to clearly convey the Message.”
That is Our duty is only to convey to you the message that Allah has entrusted us with. Then it is for you to accept it or reject it. We have not been made responsible for making you accept it forcibly, and if you do not accept it, we shall not be seized in consequence of your disbelief, you will yourselves be answerable for your actions on Day of Resurrection.

Reading the Qur'ān 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. It will also help the Muslims to have grasp over social issues and their answers discussed in the Qur'an and other matter related to inter faith so that they are able to discuss issues with non-Muslims with authority based on refences from Qur'an.

May Allah forgive me if my posts ever imply a piety far greater than I possess. I am most in need of guidance.

Note: When we mention God in our posts, we mean One True God, we call Allah in Islam, with no associates. Allah is the Sole Creator of all things, and that Allah is all-powerful and all-knowing. Allah has no offspring, no race, no gender, no body, and is unaffected by the characteristics of human life.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages  and Understanding Al Qur'an for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
Photo | Tafsir References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that the exegesis of the chapters of the 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.  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, additional input has been interjected from the following sources: 
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Translation Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Qur'an Wiki
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
In addition, references of other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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