Showing posts with label Chapter-38. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chapter-38. Show all posts

Saturday 15 January 2022

Surah Ṣād - The Letter Saadh: Exegesis/Tafsir 38th Chapter of Qur'an - Part II

Sūrah Ṣād is the thirty eighty sürah with 88 āyāt with five rukus, with one Sajdah, part of the 23rd Juzʼ  of the Qur'ān. The Surah takes its name from the alphabetic letter Saadh with which it begins. Saadh - also pronounced Suad (ص) is the name of the eighteenth letter in the Arabic alphabet. The Surah is one of those surahs the begin with "Huroof e Muqattt'at - The Disjoined Letters.'

The sürah has been divided into Five Ruku as under:
  • Ruku One:  Verses 1- 14: AL-Quran is full of admonition Unbelievers are in sheer arrogance for calling the Prophet as liars
  • Ruku Two: Verses 15-26: Story of Prophet Dawood (David) - mountains and birds used to sing the rhymes of Allah and Story of the two litigants who came to Dawood for a decision.
  • Ruku Three: Verses 27-40: Verses 27-29 mention that Allah has not created the heavens and the earth in vain, while verses 30-40 narrate the Story of Sulaiman's (Prophet Solomon) inspection of steeds to be used in Jihad.
  • Ruku Four: Verses 41-64: Verses 41-48 are about the Story of Ayub (Job), his sickness and relief, followed by verses 49-64 which mention that AL-Quran is but a reminder about the reward of Paradise and punishment of the hellfire 
  • Ruku Five: Verses 65-88: Verses 65-70 talk of The mission of the Rasools' is to warn people and declare that there is no divinity except Allah. This is followed by verses 71-88 that mention the Story of the creation of Adam and disobedience of Iblees (Shaitan)
Owing to the length of the Surah, the exegesis / tafsir has been divided into two parts as under:
  • Part I (This Part): Ruku 1-3 verses 1-40
  • Part II: Ruku 3-4, verses 41-88
We have already presented the overview / summary and commentary of the sürah by renowned Muslim scholar Nouman Ali Khan and Part I covering Ruku 1-3/ , Let us now read the verse by verse translation and exegesis / tafseer of verses 41-88 ruku 4-5, in English. You may also listen to recitation of the sürah in Arabic with English subtitles at the end.

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

Ruku Four: Verses 41-64:

وَاذۡكُرۡ عَبۡدَنَاۤ اَيُّوۡبَۘ اِذۡ نَادٰى رَبَّهٗۤ اَنِّىۡ مَسَّنِىَ الشَّيۡطٰنُ بِنُصۡبٍ وَّعَذَابٍؕ‏ 
( 41 )   And remember Our servant Job, when he called to his Lord, "Indeed, Satan has touched me with hardship and torment."
This is the fourth place in the Qur'an where the Prophet Ayūb (Job, peace be upon him) has been mentioned. Before this he has been mentioned in An-Nisa. 163, Al-An'am: 84 and AI-Anbiya': 83-84 above. For the details about him, please see notes to verses 83-84 of Surah 21. Al-Anbiya'  

This does not mean that Satan has afflicted me with illness and brought distress upon me, but it means: "The affliction of the severities of illness, the loss of property and wealth, and the desertion of the near and dear ones, is not so great a torment and trouble for me as the temptation of Satan, who is exploiting my condition to despair me of my Lord and wants that I should turn ungrateful to Him and become desperate and impatient." This meaning of the lamentation of the Prophet Job is preferable for two reasons: (1) According to the Qur'an, Allah has granted Satan only the power of temptation: He has not given him the power to afflict with illness the worshipers of Allah and compel them to deviate from the way of service and obedience by causing them physical ailments. (2) In Surah Al Anbiya' when the Prophet Job puts before Allah his complaint about illness and disease, he does not mention Satan at all, but says only: "I have been afflicted with the disease and You are most Merciful." 

Muhammad Asad Explanation: I.e., with life-weariness in consequence of suffering. As soon as he realizes that God has been testing him, Job perceives that his utter despondency and weariness of life - eloquently described in the Old Testament (The Book of Job iii) - was but due to what is described as "Satan's whisperings": this is the moral to be drawn from the above evocation of Job's story.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: The distress was of many kinds. See note to xxi. 83. He suffered from loathsome sores; he lost his home, his possessions, and his family; and almost his balance of mind. But he did not lose Faith but turned to Allah (see verse 44 below), and the recuperative process began.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: Like David (sws) and Solomon (sws), he too was an Israelite prophet whose period of prophethood was sometime in the 9th century BC.

There is a background to his pleading. Imām Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī has explained it. He writes:
... It is evident from the Book of Job in the Bible that Job (sws) possessed great wealth and majesty. In spite of this, he was very sympathetic to the poor and very austere in worshipping the Almighty. Satan and his agents were very jealous of this state of his and they started a propaganda campaign against him. They asked what great achievement had been reaped by Job (sws) if he worshipped the Almighty day and night because a person who had so much wealth and so many means could easily afford this involvement. What else could he do? They continued this vicious campaign saying that only if he was deprived of those things by God and he still continued with such devotion in worship would they really acknowledge him as a great human being. At last, God deprived Job (sws) of all those things. He neither had any wealth left, nor any sons and grandsons nor other assets that had brought him such grandeur. However, in spite of this great affliction, he did not despair; on the contrary, he fell down in prostration before his Lord and said: “I was born naked from the womb of my mother and naked will I go to my Lord.” It is mentioned in the Book of Job (sws) that after this God said to Satan that the latter had seen how Job (sws) still remained God’s obedient servant in spite of being deprived of everything. Satan replied that this was because the deprivation related to wealth and children and he was patient in their loss; however, he would only be convinced if Job (sws) was inflicted with great bodily harm and he still showed such devotion in worship. So after this, Job’s body was afflicted with such harms that one shudders if one reads their details in the Bible. Yet in spite of this, he turned towards God in even greater devotion and he defeated Satan even in this trial. After this defeat of Satan, the Almighty blessed Job (sws) which much more than was taken away from him. (Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 6, 539)
Job (sws) has attributed his sorrow and suffering to Satan. This is with respect to the cause. Imām Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī writes:
… All the trials a person goes through are at the bidding of God; however, one of their causes is Satan as well. Hence, as far as intention and will are concerned, trials are ascribed to God; but with regard to their reason they are ascribed to Satan. (Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 6, 539)
اُرۡكُضۡ بِرِجۡلِكَ​ ۚ هٰذَا مُغۡتَسَلٌ ۢ بَارِدٌ وَّشَرَابٌ‏ 
( 42 )   [So he was told], "Strike [the ground] with your foot; this is a [spring for] a cool bath and drink."
That is, "As soon as he stamped his foot on the ground, a spring gushed forth by Allah's Command, drinking from which and washing with which was the remedy of the Prophet Job's disease." Most probably he was suffering from some skin disease. According to the Bible also: "Satan smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. " (Job, 2: 7). 

Muhammad Asad Explanation: According to the classical commentators, the miraculous appearance of a healing spring heralded the end of Job's suffering, both physical and mental.

Yusuf Ali explanation: The recuperative process having begun, he was commanded to strike the earth or a rock with his foot, and a fountain or fountains gushed forth,-to give him a bath and clean his body; to refresh his spirits; and to give him drink and rest. This is a fresh touch, not mentioned in S. xxi. or in the Book of Job, but adding beautifully to our realisation of the picture.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: Ie., God directed thus when he had defeated Satan.

This is nothing far-fetched. If the upper surface of the land on the shores of seas is dug by the hand or feet, such streams do gush out.

وَوَهَبۡنَا لَهٗۤ اَهۡلَهٗ وَمِثۡلَهُمۡ مَّعَهُمۡ رَحۡمَةً مِّنَّا وَذِكۡرٰى لِاُولِى الۡاَلۡبَابِ‏ 
( 43 )   And We granted him his family and a like [number] with them as mercy from Us and a reminder for those of understanding.
Traditions show that during this illness everyone except his wife had deserted the Prophet Job; even his children had turned away. To this Allah has alluded, saying: "When We granted him health, the whole family returned to him, and then We granted him even more children." 

That is, in it there is a lesson for an intelligent man: "Neither should man forget God and become arrogant in good times nor despair of Him in bad times: Good fortune and misfortune are entirely in the Power of Allah, the One. If He wills He can change the best times of man into the worst times and the worst into the best. Therefore, a wise person should trust in Him alone in all sorts of circumstances and should pin all his hopes on Him." 

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: Details of this are found in the Book of Job. It is written:
. The Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house … The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. And he also had seven sons and three daughters … After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. (42:10-16)
In order to prove the faithfulness of His servants, the Almighty at times makes them pass through very severe trials. However, these trials do not exceed a certain limit and what secures a person from them is turning to God.

وَخُذۡ بِيَدِكَ ضِغۡثًا فَاضۡرِبْ بِّهٖ وَلَا تَحۡنَثۡ​ؕ اِنَّا وَجَدۡنٰهُ صَابِرًا​ ؕ نِعۡمَ الۡعَبۡدُ​ ؕ اِنَّـهٗۤ اَوَّابٌ‏ 
( 44 )   [We said], "And take in your hand a bunch [of grass] and strike with it and do not break your oath." Indeed, We found him patient, an excellent servant. Indeed, he was one repeatedly turning back [to Allah].
A careful study of these words shows that the Prophet Job during illness had been annoyed with somebody (according to traditions, his wife) and sworn to beat him or her by giving so many stripes. When Allah restored him to health and the anger of the illness was gone, he became worried as how to fulfill the oath. For if he carried out the oath, he would be inflicting pain on an innocent person, and if he did not, he would be committing the sin of breaking the oath. Allah took him out of the difficult situation by the Command: "Take a broom containing as many sticks of straw as the number of the stripes you had sworn to give; then strike the person just once with the broom so as both to fulfill your oath and to avoid giving undue trouble to the person concerned."
Some jurists hold the view that this concession was specially meant for the Prophet Job, and some others think that other people also can take advantage of it. The first view has been cited by Ibn 'Asakir from Hadrat 'Abdullah bin 'Abbas and by Abu Bakr al-Jassas from Mujahid, and Imam Malik also held the same view. The second view has been adopted by Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Abu Yusuf, Imam Muhammad, Imam Zufar and Imam Shafe' i. They say that if a person, for instance, has sworn to give his servant ten stripes, and afterwards combines ten whips and strikes him only once in a way that some part of each whip strikes him, his oath will be fulfilled.
Several Ahadith show that the Holy Prophet, in order to inflict the prescribed punishment on a fornicator who was too ill or too weak to receive a hundred stripes, also adopted the method taught in this verse. 'Allama Abu Bakr al-Jassas has related a tradition on the authority of Hadrat Said bin Sa'd bin 'Ubadah to the effect that a person from the tribe of Bani Sa`idah happened to commit fornication, and he was a sick man and a mere skeleton. Thereupon the Holy Prophet commanded: "Take a branch of the palm tree with a hundred twigs on it and strike him therewith once and for all. " (Ahkam al Qur 'an). In Musnad Ahmad, Abu Da'ud, Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, Tabarani, 'Abdur Razzaq and other collections of Hadith also there are several Ahadith supporting it, which conclusively proves that the Holy Prophet had devised this very method for inflicting the prescribed punishment on a sick or weak person. However, the jurists lay the condition that some part of every twig or piece of straw must strike the culprit, and even if only one stroke, it must also hurt the culprit; that is, it is not enough just to touch him but he must be struck with it.
Here the question also arises that if a person has sworn to do something and afterwards he comes to know that it is improper, then what should he do? Then is a tradition from the Holy Prophet to the effect that in such a case one should do only that which is better, and the same is the atonement for the oath. Another tradition from him says that one should do something good instead of the improper thing and should atone for his oath. This verse supports this second tradition, for if keeping oneself from an improper thing had been the atonement for the oath, Allah would not have told the Prophet Job to strike the broom once and fulfill his oath, but would have said: "Do not do this improper thing, and your restraint itself is the atonement for your oath."

This verse also shows that it is not necessary to carry out immediately what one has sworn to do. The Prophet Job had sworn an oath in the state of illness, and fulfilled it after complete recovery, and not immediately even after the recovery.

Some people have regarded this verse as an argument for practicing pretense under the Shari'ah. No doubt it was a pretense which the Prophet Job had been taught but it had been taught not for evading anything obligatory but for avoiding an evil. Therefore, in the Shari 'ah those pretenses only are lawful, which are adopted to remove injustice and . sin and evil from one's own self or from another person, otherwise practice of pretense is highly sinful if it is employed for the purpose of making the unlawful lawful, or evading the obligatory duties and righteous acts. For a person who practices pretense for such impious objects, in fact, tries to deceive God. For example, a person who transfers his wealth to another before the completion of a year on it, only for the purpose of evading payment of the Zakat on it, not only evades an obligatory duty, but also thinks that Allah will get deceived by this trickery and will consider him as relieved of his duty. The jurists who have mentioned such pretenses in their books, do not mean that one should practice them in order to evade the Shari ah obligations, but they mean to point out that a judge or ruler cannot take to task a person who escapes the consequences of a sin under a legal cover for his affair is with Allah. 

The Prophet Job has been mentioned in this context to impress the reader that when the righteous servants of Allah are afflicted with hardships and calamities, they do not complain of their distress to Allah but endure the tests and trials set by Him patiently and invoke only Him for help. They do not despair of God and do not turn to others for help if their distress is not removed after making invocations to God for some time, but they believe that whatever they will get, they will get only from Allah. Therefore, they remain hopeful of His mercy, no matter how long they might have to suffer the distress. That is why they arc honored and blessed with the favors and bounties with which the Prophet Job was honored and blessed in his life. So much so that if they get involved in a moral dilemma due to a state of agitation, Allah shows them a way out of it- in order to save them from evil, as He showed a way to the Prophet Job. 

Muhammad Asad Explanation: In the words of the Bible (The Book of Job ii, 9), at the time of his seemingly hopeless suffering Job's wife reproached her husband for persevering in his faith: "Doss thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die." According to the classical Qur'an-commentators, Job swore that, if God would restore him to health, he would punish her blasphemy with a hundred stripes. But when he did recover, he bitterly regretted his hasty oath, for he realized that his wife's "blasphemy" had been an outcome of her love and pity for him; and thereupon he was told in a revelation that he could fulfil his vow in a symbolic manner by striking her once with "a bunch of grass containing a hundred blades or more". (Cf. 5:89 - 'God will not take you to task for oaths which you may have uttered without thought.")

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: In his worst distress Job was patient and constant in faith, but apparently his wife was not. According to the Book of Job (ii. 9-10), "Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips." He must have said in his haste to the woman that he would beat her: he is asked now to correct her with only a wisp of grass, to show that he was gentle and humble as well as patient and constant.

Cf. xxxviii. 30 above, where similar words are spoken of Solomon. Patience and constancy are also a form of service, if our attitude is due to an active faith in Allah, and not mere passivity. So Milton in his Sonnet: "They also serve who only stand and wait. "

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: If an oath is instrumental in infringing on the rights of God, a person’s own self or of others, it is essential to break it. However, since it is actually making God as a witness on a promise and since promises have a great significance in religion, he was directed to fulfil it in this symbolic manner. This will not inflict him with any unwarranted harm and the oath will also stand fulfilled. An atonement for breaking an oath has been prescribed in religion. However, at that time, Job (sws) was neither financially in a position to atone for his oath nor physically able to do so. Thus this was the only option left through which he could assure his heart. This was a favour of God to save a person from undue harm. One should not be audacious to go as far as to make it a pretext to lift the prohibition of something or to give relief to something mandatory or to fabricate excuses to not do a virtuous deed.

The reason probably for this was that in the times of trial, he uttered something which was against steadfastness and turning towards God. At this, he swore an oath that he will punish himself by whipping himself with a certain number of lashes

This attribute has also been highlighted in the account of Solomon (sws). This directs our attention to the purpose for which these accounts have been narrated.

وَاذۡكُرۡ عِبٰدَنَاۤ اِبۡرٰهِيۡمَ وَاِسۡحٰقَ وَيَعۡقُوۡبَ اُولِى الۡاَيۡدِىۡ وَالۡاَبۡصَارِ‏ 
( 45 )   And remember Our servants, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - those of strength and [religious] vision.
The actual words in the Text mean "Those who possessed the hands and the insights." The hand, as we have explained above, implies power and capability. To describe these Prophets as "men of great power and in sight" means that they were practical men: they possessed great power to obey Allah and to abstain from sin, and they had made great efforts for raising the Word of Allah in the world. "Insight" does not mean eye-sight but the vision of the heart and mind. They could sec and recognize the Truth: they did not live like the blind in the world, but they walked the straight path of guidance, in the full light of knowledge, with open eyes. In these words, there is a subtle allusion to this also that the people who commit evil, and have gone astray, arc in fact, deprived of the hands as well as the eyes. He only, who works in the cause of Allah, possesses the hands, and he, who distinguishes between the light of the Truth and the darkness of falsehood, only possesses the eyes. 

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: In the last Surah (xxxvii. 83-113). Abraham and Isaac (and by implication Jacob) were mentioned as resisting Evil and winning through. Here they are mentioned as men with spiritual power and vision. Israelite patriarchs, who bore witness to the Gospel of the Hereafter, and were therefore a blessing to their people, for they taught the Truth.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: This is a reference to the patriarchal leadership which these illustrious prophets had among their people.

اِنَّاۤ اَخۡلَصۡنٰهُمۡ بِخَالِصَةٍ ذِكۡرَى الدَّارِ​ۚ‏ 
( 46 )   Indeed, We chose them for an exclusive quality: remembrance of the home [of the Hereafter].
That is, "The real cause for their success and eminence was that there was no tinge of-worldliness in their character: all their efforts, mental and physical, were directed towards the Hereafter. They remembered it themselves and urged others also to remember it. That is why Allah exalted them to such high ranks as have never been attained by those who remained absorbed in earning worldly wealth and prosperity. In this regard, one should also keep in view the subtle point that Allah here has only used the word ad-dar (that abode, or the real abode) for the Hereafter. This is meant to impress the truth that this world is no abode for man, but only a passage and a rest house, which man has to leave in any cast. The real abode is the abode of the Hereafter. He who works to adorn that abode is the man of insight and such a one should inevitably be a commendable person in the sight of Allah. As for him who in order to adorn his transitory abode in this rest house behaves in a way as to ruin his real abode in the Hereafter, is foolish, and naturally cannot be liked by Allah. 

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: Ie., the House of the Hereafter. Prophets of God have primarily been sent for this purpose.

وَاِنَّهُمۡ عِنۡدَنَا لَمِنَ الۡمُصۡطَفَيۡنَ الۡاَخۡيَارِؕ‏ 
( 47 )   And indeed they are, to Us, among the chosen and outstanding.

وَاذۡكُرۡ اِسۡمٰعِيۡلَ وَ الۡيَسَعَ وَذَا الۡكِفۡلِ​ؕ وَكُلٌّ مِّنَ الۡاَخۡيَارِؕ‏  
( 48 )   And remember Ishmael, Elisha and Dhul-Kifl, and all are among the outstanding.
The Prophet AI-Yas`a has been mentioned only twice in the Qur'an, in Surah Al-An'am: 86 and here, without any detail about him; only his name appears in the chain of the Prophets. He was one of the major Prophets of Israel, belonged to Abel Meholah, a place on the river Jordan, and is well known as Elisha among the Jews and Christians. When the Prophet Elijah (peace be upon him) had taken refuge in the Sinai peninsula, he was commanded to return to Syria and Palestine for some important works, one of which was to prepare the Prophet Elisha for his successorship. Accordingly, when the Prophet Elijah came to his town, he found Elisha ploughing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth. The Prophet Elijah passed by him and cast his mantle upon him, and he left the oxen and followed him. (I Kings, 19:15-21). He remained under training with him for 10 to 12 years. Then, when Allah recalled Elijah, he was appointed Prophet in his place. (2 Kings, oh.2). The Second Book of the Kings gives a detailed account of the Prophet Elisha (chs., 2 to 13), which shows that when the Israeli state of northern Palestine got lost in polytheism and idol-worship and moral evils, Elisha a pointed Jehu, the son of Jehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi, king of Israel against the royal dynasty due to whose misdeeds those evils had spread in Israel. Jehu not only put an end to Baal-worship, but also condemned to death every member of the wicked family, including its children. But in spite of this reformist revolution the evils that had taken root in Israel could not be completely eradicated, and after the death of the Prophet Elisha they assumed enormous proportions; so much so that the Assyrians began to invade Samaria whenever they pleased. (For further details, see note to verse 5 of Surah Bani-Isra'il and verse 123 and 125 of Surah As-Saaffat). 

Dhul-Kifi also has been mentioned only twice in the Qur'an, in Al Anbiya': 85 and here. For our research about him see note to verse 85 of Al-Anbiya`. 

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Isma'il, the Patriarch of the Arab race, was also mentioned (xxxvii. 101-107) as a pattern of self-sacrifice; now he is mentioned in the company of the Good, i.e., of those who were a blessing to their people. Here he is bracketed with Elisha (for whom see note to vi. 86), and Zul-Kifl (for whom see note to xxi. 85). All these three were examples of constancy and patience under suffering.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: There are two prophets of God mentioned in the Bible with a similar name. One is Joshua which is closer in pronunciation. He preached around 713 BC. He lived at place called Abel-meholah on the banks of the river Jordan. The other is Isaiah whose period was around 620 BC.

Nothing is known about his account. However, this much is evident that he too was among the prophets whose distinctive trait was steadfastness.

هٰذَا ذِكۡرٌ​ؕ وَاِنَّ لِلۡمُتَّقِيۡنَ لَحُسۡنَ مَاٰبٍۙ‏ 
( 49 )   This is a reminder. And indeed, for the righteous is a good place of return

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Some of the preeminent examples of the Elect and the Good having been mentioned, we have now a reference to the Righteous as a body (rank and file as well as leaders) and their future in the Hereafter as won by victory over Evil.

جَنّٰتِ عَدۡنٍ مُّفَتَّحَةً لَّهُمُ الۡاَبۡوَابُ​ۚ‏ 
( 50 )   Gardens of perpetual residence, whose doors will be opened to them.
The words mufattahat-al-lahum-ul-abwab may have several meanings: (1) They will go about in the Gardens (Paradise) freely without any hesitation; (2) no effort will have to be made to open the gates of Paradise: they will open automatically as soon as they will have the desire to enter them; (3) the angels appointed for keeping Paradise will open the gates for them as soon as they see them. This third meaning has been expressed more clearly at another place in the Qur'an, thus: "When they arrive there, and its gates shall already have been opened, its keepers will say: Peace be upon you: you have fared well: enter here to dwell for ever. " (Az-Zumar: 73) 

Muhammad Asad Explanation: In all the eleven instances in which the noun 'adn occurs in the Qur'an - and of which the present is the oldest - it is used as a qualifying term for the "gardens" (jannat) of paradise. This noun is derived from the verb 'adana, which primarily denotes "he remained [somewhere]" or "he kept [to something]", i.e., permanently: cf. the phrase adantu l-balad ("I remained for good [or "settled"] in the country"). In Biblical Hebrew - which, after all, is but a very ancient Arabian dialect - the closely related noun 'eden has also the additional connotation of "delight", "pleasure" or "bliss". Hence the combination of the two concepts in my rendering of 'adn as "perpetual bliss". As in many other places in the Qur'an, this bliss is here allegorized - and thus brought closer to man's imagination - by means of descriptions recallinc earthly iovs.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: The Final Bliss will not be a hole-and-corner thing, a pale reflection of some Palace or Retreat, where mystery reigns behind closed doors. Its doors will be open, and its inmates will be free to go in and out as they will, because their wills will be purified and brought into accord with the Universal Law.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: Ie., will be opened before their arrival just as they are opened to welcome honourable guests.

مُتَّكِـئِيۡنَ فِيۡهَا يَدۡعُوۡنَ فِيۡهَا بِفَاكِهَةٍ كَثِيۡرَةٍ وَّشَرَابٍ‏  
( 51 )   Reclining within them, they will call therein for abundant fruit and drink.

وَعِنۡدَهُمۡ قٰصِرٰتُ الطَّرۡفِ اَتۡرَابٌ‏ 
( 52 )   And with them will be women limiting [their] glances and of equal age.
“Of equal age” may mean that they will be of equal age among themselves, and also that they will be of the same age as their husbands.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Lit., "such as restrain their gaze", i.e., are of modest bearing and have eyes only for their mates (Razi). This allegorical reference to the delights of paradise occurs in the Qur'an three times (apart from the above instance, which is chronologically the earliest, in 37:48 and 55:56 as well). As an allegory, this phrase evidently applies to the righteous of both sexes, who in the life to come will be rejoined with those whom they loved and by whom they were loved in this world: for, "God has promised the believers, both men and women, gardens through which running waters flow, therein to abide, and goodly dwellings in gardens of perpetual bliss" ( 9:72 ); and, "anyone - be it man or woman - who does [whatever he can] of good deeds and is a believer withal, shall enter paradise" ( 4:124 , with similar statements in 16:97 and 40:40 ). Finally, we are told in 36:56 that in this paradise "will they and their spouses on couches recline" - i.e., will find peace and inner fulfilment with and in one another. (For an explanation of the term atrab rendered by me as "well-matched", see note [15] on 56:38 .)

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Cf. xxxvii. 48 and n. 4064, and xxxvi. 56, n. 4002. As we conceive happiness in this life, it is not complete if it is only solitary. How we hanker after some one who can share in our highest joy! That feeling is also figured here.

To make the social happiness complete, we want companionship of equal age. Age and youth cannot be happy together. It is not suggested that in the Timeless state figured here, there will be old age; but if it is possible to conceive of temperamental differences then, the company will be so arranged that it will be congenial. Or we can accept the type of youth and freshness as common to all in that happy state.

هٰذَا مَا تُوۡعَدُوۡنَ لِيَوۡمِ الۡحِسَابِ‏ 
( 53 )   This is what you, [the righteous], are promised for the Day of Account.

اِنَّ هٰذَا لَرِزۡقُنَا مَا لَهٗ مِنۡ نَّـفَادٍ ​ۖ ​ۚ‏ 
( 54 )   Indeed, this is Our provision; for it there is no depletion.

Verses 55-64: The Day of Judgment

هٰذَا​ ؕ وَاِنَّ لِلطّٰغِيۡنَ لَشَرَّ مَاٰبٍ ۙ‏ 
( 55 )   This [is so]. But indeed, for the transgressors is an evil place of return -

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: This is in parallel contrast to the state of the Blessed in xxxviii. 49 above.

جَهَـنَّمَ​ ۚ يَصۡلَوۡنَهَا​ ۚ فَبِئۡسَ الۡمِهَادُ‏ 
( 56 )   Hell, which they will [enter to] burn, and wretched is the resting place.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Cf. xiv. 29. This continues the parallel contrast to the state of the Blessed already described.

هٰذَا ۙ فَلۡيَذُوۡقُوۡهُ حَمِيۡمٌ وَّغَسَّاقٌ ۙ‏ 
( 57 )   This - so let them taste it - is scalding water and [foul] purulence.
Several meanings of the word ghassaq, as used in the original, have been given by the lexicographers: (1) Any moisture that is discharged by the body in the forth of pus, blood, or mixture of pus and blood, etc. and this includes tears as well; (2) something extremely cold; and (3) something stinking and giving out offensive smell. However, the word is generally used in the first meaning only, though the other two meanings also are correct lexically. 

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Cf. x. 4. The conjunction of the boiling fluid with the dark, murky, intensely cold fluid heightens the effect of the Penalty. In place of harmony, there is the discord of extreme opposites. And the discord is not confined to this: it runs through the whole idea of Hell. See the next verse.

وَّاٰخَرُ مِنۡ شَكۡلِهٖۤ اَزۡوَاجٌ ؕ‏ 
( 58 )   And other [punishments] of its type [in various] kinds.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Lit., "of its kind": i.e., corresponding in intensity to what the Qur'an describes as hamim and ghassaq. For my rendering of hamim as "burning despair", see surah {6}, note to verse 70. The term ghassaq, on the other hand, is derived from the verb ghasaqa, "it became dark" or "intensely dark" (Taj al-'Arus); thus, al-ghasiq denotes "black darkness" and, tropically, "the night" or, rather, "the black night". According to some authorities, the form ghassaq signifies "intense [or "icy"] cold". A combination of these two meanings gives us the concept of the "ice-cold darkness" of the spirit which, together with "burning despair" (hamim), will characterize the suffering of inveterate sinners in the life to come. All other interpretations of the term ghasseq are purely speculative and, therefore, irrelevant.

هٰذَا فَوۡجٌ مُّقۡتَحِمٌ مَّعَكُمۡ​ۚ لَا مَرۡحَبًۢـا بِهِمۡ​ؕ اِنَّهُمۡ صَالُوا النَّارِ‏ 
( 59 )   [Its inhabitants will say], "This is a company bursting in with you. No welcome for them. Indeed, they will burn in the Fire."

Muhammad Asad Explanation: I.e., "people whom you had seduced, and who thereupon blindly followed you": an apostrophe stressing the double responsibility of the seducers.

In Arabic usage, the phrase "no welcome to them" or "to you" (la marhaban bihim, resp. bikum) is equivalent to a curse. In this context - carried on into the next verse - it expresses a mutual disavowal of the seducers and the seduced.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: The wonder is that so many people should embrace Evil, and in so much hurry and eagerness! Here they may be welcomed by the leaders of Evil, but in the final state it will be the opposite of welcome. They will be followed with reproaches and curses.

قَالُوۡا بَلۡ اَنۡتُمۡ لَا مَرۡحَبًۢـا بِكُمۡ​ؕ اَنۡتُمۡ قَدَّمۡتُمُوۡهُ لَنَا​ۚ فَبِئۡسَ الۡقَرَارُ‏ 
( 60 )   They will say, "Nor you! No welcome for you. You, [our leaders], brought this upon us, and wretched is the settlement."

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: It is the nature of Evil to shift the blame on to others. The followers will reproach the leaders, but none can escape personal responsibility for his own acts and deeds!

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: In this sentence, the inchoative (mubtadā’) is repeated and there also is a parenthetical sentence between two inchoatives. It is as if intense anger is exuding from every single word.

قَالُوۡا رَبَّنَا مَنۡ قَدَّمَ لَنَا هٰذَا فَزِدۡهُ عَذَابًا ضِعۡفًا فِى النَّارِ‏ 
( 61 )   They will say, "Our Lord, whoever brought this upon us - increase for him double punishment in the Fire."

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Cf. 7:38 (and the corresponding notes as well as {33:67-68}.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Cf. vii. 38, and note. See also xi. 20. The evil ones now vent their spite on others. Here they ask for a double penalty for their misleaders, but they forget their own personal responsibility. In the next verse, they express their surprise that others have escaped the torments, which they themselves have earned!

وَقَالُوۡا مَا لَنَا لَا نَرٰى رِجَالًا كُنَّا نَـعُدُّهُمۡ مِّنَ الۡاَشۡرَارِؕ‏ 
( 62 )   And they will say, "Why do we not see men whom we used to count among the worst?
This implies the believers whom the disbelievers used to look down upon as bad people in the world. It means: They will look around bewildered and will find only themselves and their guides in Hell but will find no trace of those people of whom they used to talk disparagingly in the world, and whom they used to mock in their meetings for talking about God, the Messenger and the Hereafter. 

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: The bad ones: i.e., the ones whom they (evil ones) ridiculed as fools sure to come to an evil end, because they refused to join in with the evil ones in their plots. The values are now reversed. The good ones are among the Blessed, and are not to be seen in the "Bed of Misery". The ridicule is now against the evil ones.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: Ie., they counted them among those who were ancestral enemies of their religion, humiliated their deities and disrupted national unity.

اَ تَّخَذۡنٰهُمۡ سِخۡرِيًّا اَمۡ زَاغَتۡ عَنۡهُمُ الۡاَبۡصَارُ‏ 
( 63 )   Is it [because] we took them in ridicule, or has [our] vision turned away from them?"

Muhammad Asad Explanation: I.e., the prophets and the righteous, who - as the Qur'an points out in many places - have always been derided by people enamoured of the life of this world and, therefore, averse to all moral exhortation.

اِنَّ ذٰ لِكَ لَحَقّ ٌ تَخَاصُمُ اَهۡلِ النَّارِ‏ 
( 64 )   Indeed, that is truth - the quarreling of the people of the Fire.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: The mutual recriminations and spite are themselves a part of the Penalty, for such feelings increase their unhappiness.

Ruku Five: Verses 65-88:

قُلۡ اِنَّمَاۤ اَنَا مُنۡذِرٌ ​​ۖ  وَّمَا مِنۡ اِلٰهٍ اِلَّا اللّٰهُ الۡوَاحِدُ الۡقَهَّارُ​ ۚ‏ 
( 65 )   Say, [O Muhammad], "I am only a warner, and there is not any deity except Allah, the One, the Prevailing.
Now the discourse turns to the same theme with which it began. One should read it with vv. 1-14 in order to understand the meaning fully. 

In verse 4 it was said: "The people wonder that a warner from among themselves has come to them." Here it is being said: "Tell them: I am only a warner. ' That is, "I do not command an army that I may forcibly pull you from a wrong way and put you on the Right Way: If you do not listen to me and do not accept my message, you will only be causing a loss to yourselves. If you like to remain ignorant, you may continue to be heedless, for you will sec your end yourselves."

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Cf. xii. 39, where Joseph preaches to the men in prison. The one supreme Message of importance to mankind was (and is) the Unity of Allah: that He is the Creator and Sustainer of all: that His Will is supreme; that He can carry out His Will without question, and no powers of Evil can defeat it; and that He forgives by His grace again and again. This Message the holy Prophet came to deliver, and he delivered it.

Verses 66-88 The holiness and validity of the Qur’an

رَبُّ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالۡاَرۡضِ وَمَا بَيۡنَهُمَا الۡعَزِيۡزُ الۡغَفَّارُ‏ 
( 66 )   Lord of the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them, the Exalted in Might, the Perpetual Forgiver."

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: In note to xxii. 40, I have explained the full import of 'Aziz as a title applied to Allah, and I have expressed two of the leading ideas involved, in the two lines here. The argument in this Surah turns upon the contrast between earthly Power and the Divine Power: the one is impotent and the other is supreme.

Gaffar is the emphatic intensive form, and I have accordingly translated it as "forgiving again and again". Cf. xx. 82.

قُلۡ هُوَ نَبَؤٌا عَظِيۡمٌۙ‏ 
( 67 )   Say, "It is great news

اَنۡتُمۡ عَنۡهُ مُعۡرِضُوۡنَ‏ 
( 68 )   From which you turn away.
This is the answer to what the disbelievers said in verse 5: "Has he made just One God in place of all the gods? This is indeed a strange thing." It means: "You may frown and scowl as you like, but this is a reality of which I am informing you, and your frowning and scowling cannot change it."

This answer not only contains the statement of the truth, but it also contains the argument for it. The mushriks said: "Deities are many of whom one is Allah also. How is it that you have done away with all other deities and kept only One Allah?" In answer it was said: "The real Deity is One Allah alone, for He is dominant over everything: He is the Owner of the earth and the heavens, and everything in the Universe belongs to Him. Every being other than Him, whom you have set up as other gods in the Universe, is dominated and subdued before Him; therefore, the subservient beings cannot be associates in the Godhead of the Dominant and All-Mighty God. Therefore, there is no ground for which they may be regarded as deities.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: The Message which is of supreme import to mankind,-from that they turn away. Instead of profiting by it, they turn away to side issues, or unprofitable speculation: such as: what is the origin of Evil; when will Judgment come? etc.

مَا كَانَ لِىَ مِنۡ عِلۡمٍۢ بِالۡمَلَاِ الۡاَعۡلٰٓى اِذۡ يَخۡتَصِمُوۡنَ‏  
( 69 )   I had no knowledge of the exalted assembly [of angels] when they were disputing [the creation of Adam].

Muhammad Asad Explanation: For the allegorical contention of the angels ("the host on high") against the creation of man, see 2:30 ff. and the corresponding notes. The allegory of man's creation, of God's command to the angels to "prostrate themselves" before the new creature, and of lblis' refusal to do so appears in the Qur'an six times ({2:30-34}, 7:11 ff., {15:28-44}, {17:61-65}, 18:50 , and {38:69-85}) each time with an accent on a different aspect of this allegory. In the present instance (which is undoubtedly the earliest in the chronology of revelation) it is connected with the statement, in 2:31 , that God "imparted unto Adam the names of all things", i.e., endowed man with the faculty of conceptual thinking (see note on 2:31 ) and, thus, with the ability to discern between what is true and what false. Since he possesses this faculty, man has no excuse for not realizing God's existence and oneness - the "message tremendous" referred to in the preceding passage.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: The hierarchy of angels in Heaven, discuss questions of high import in the Universe. Those are not necessarily revealed to men, except in so far as it is good for men to know, as in verses 71-85 below. But the chief thing for man is to know that Allah is Most Merciful, that He forgives again and again, and that Evil has no power over those who trust in Allah.

اِنۡ يُّوۡحٰۤى اِلَىَّ اِلَّاۤ اَنَّمَاۤ اَنَا۟ نَذِيۡرٌ مُّبِيۡنٌ‏ 
( 70 )   It has not been revealed to me except that I am a clear warner."

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Lit., "otherwise than that I be (illa annama ana) a plain warner" - i.e., of the prospect of spiritual self-destruction inherent in a willful disregard of the fact of God's existence and oneness, which is the core of all religious cognition and, hence, of all true prophethood.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Two things are implied in Mubin: (1) that the warning should be clear and perspicuous; there should be no mincing of matters, no ambiguity, no compromise with evil, vii. 184; (2) that the warning should be delivered publicly, before all people, in spite of opposition and persecution, xxvi. 115. Both these ideas I have tried to express in this passage.

Verses 71-85: Story of Iblis and Hell

اِذۡ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلۡمَلٰٓـئِكَةِ اِنِّىۡ خَالِـقٌ ۢ بَشَرًا مِّنۡ طِيۡنٍ‏ 
( 71 )   [So mention] when your Lord said to the angels, "Indeed, I am going to create a human being from clay.
This is the explanation of the dispute referred to about, and the dispute implies Satan's dispute with God, as becomes evident from the verses that follow. In this regard, one should bear in mind the fact that "the exalted ones" implies the angels, and the dialogue between Allah and Satan was not direct but it took place through some angel. Therefore, no one should have the misunderstanding that Allah also was included among the exalted ones. This story has already been narrated at the following places about: Al-Baqarah: 30-39, AI-A'raf: 11-25, Al-Hijr: 26-44, Bani Isra'il: 61-65, Al-Kahf: 50, Ta Ha: 116-126. 

Lexically, bashar means a gross body whose surface is bare and uncovered by anything else. After the creation of man this word has been used for man himself, but mentioning him by the word bashar before his creation and making him from clay clearly means: "I am about to make an image of clay, which will be without any feathers and hair, etc., whose skin will not be covered by wool or hair or feathers like the skin of other animals. 

Muhammad Asad Explanation: For this rendering of idh, see surah {2:30}as appended below:
The interjection "lo" seems to be the only adequate rendering, in this context, of the particle idh, which is usually - and without sufficient attention to its varying uses in Arabic construction - translated as "when". Although the latter rendering is often justified, idh is also used to indicate "the sudden, or unexpected, occurrence of a thing" (cf. Lane I, 39), or a sudden turn in the discourse. The subsequent allegory, relating as it does to the faculty of reason implanted in man, is logically connected with the preceding passages..
Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Two passages may be compared with this: viz.: (1) ii. 30-39, where merely the first stages of the Rebellion against Allah and its consequences to mankind are mentioned, and (2) xv. 29-40, where the further intrusion of evil in man's life here below is referred to, and an assurance is given that Evil will have no power except over those who yield to it. The latter is the passage most relevant here, as we are now dealing with the spiritual power of Revelation to defeat the machinations of Evil.

This shows that the material world round us was created by Allah before Allah fashioned man and breathed of His soul into him. Geology also shows that man came on the scene at a very late stage in the history of this planet.

فَاِذَا سَوَّيۡتُهٗ وَنَفَخۡتُ فِيۡهِ مِنۡ رُّوۡحِىۡ فَقَعُوۡا لَهٗ سٰجِدِيۡنَ‏  
( 72 )   So when I have proportioned him and breathed into him of My [created] soul, then fall down to him in prostration."
For explanation " After I have created him and breathed into him of My spirit," , see (Surah Al-Hijr, Ayats 29-30), and (note to verse 9 of Surah As-Sajdah).

For explanation  "fall you down, prostrating yourselves to him."", see (Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayats 34); (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayat 11) and the notes thereof.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: See note to to xv. 29, where the spiritual significance of this is explained.

فَسَجَدَ الۡمَلٰٓـئِكَةُ كُلُّهُمۡ اَجۡمَعُوۡنَۙ‏ 
( 73 )   So the angels prostrated - all of them entirely.

اِلَّاۤ اِبۡلِيۡسَؕ اِسۡتَكۡبَرَ وَكَانَ مِنَ الۡكٰفِرِيۡنَ‏ 
( 74 )   Except Iblees; he was arrogant and became among the disbelievers.
 For explanation, see (Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayat 34); (Surah Al-Kahf, Ayat 50) and the notes thereof.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Arrogance (self-love) is thus the root of Evil and of Unfaith.

قَالَ يٰۤـاِبۡلِيۡسُ مَا مَنَعَكَ اَنۡ تَسۡجُدَ لِمَا خَلَقۡتُ بِيَدَىَّ​ ؕ اَسۡتَكۡبَرۡتَ اَمۡ كُنۡتَ مِنَ الۡعَالِيۡنَ‏ 
( 75 )   [Allah] said, "O Iblees, what prevented you from prostrating to that which I created with My hands? Were you arrogant [then], or were you [already] among the haughty?"
These words have been used to point out the honor, rank and glory bestowed on man by his Creator. In other words, Allah did not get man created through his angels but created him Himself because his creation was a highly noble task. Therefore, what is meant to be said is: "What has prevented you from prostrating yourself before him whom I have made directly Myself?"

The words "both hands" probably are meant to refer to the fact that this new creation combines in itself two important aspects of Allah's power of creation: (1) That man has been given an animal body on account of which he belongs to the animal kingdom; and (2) that on account of the Spirit breathed into him, he has been characterized with qualities which place him in honor and merit above all earthly creations and creatures. 

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Cf. the metaphorical phrase "the things which Our hands have wrought" in 36:71 , explained in the corresponding note. In the present instance, the stress lies on the God-willed superiority of man's intellect - which, like everything else in the universe, is God's "handiwork" - over the rest of creation (see note on 2:34 ).

This "question" is, of course, only rhetorical, since God is omniscient. The phrase interpolated by me ("to bow down before another created being") reflects Zamakshari's interpretation of this passage.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Man, as typified by Adam, is in himself nothing but frail clay. But as fashioned by Allah's creative power into something with Allah's spirit breathed into him, his dignity is raised above that of the highest creatures.

If, then, Satan refuses, it is a rebellion against Allah. It arises from arrogance or haughtiness, an exaggerated idea of Self. Or, it is asked, are you really sufficiently high in rank to dispute with the Almighty? Of course he was not.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: Ie., created with such thoroughness by Him. This has been stated because a human being is a masterpiece of God with regard to his creation and has some extra-ordinary innate traits and abilities.

قَالَ اَنَا خَيۡرٌ مِّنۡهُ​ ؕ خَلَقۡتَنِىۡ مِنۡ نَّارٍ وَّخَلَقۡتَهٗ مِنۡ طِيۡنٍ‏
( 76 )   He said, "I am better than him. You created me from fire and created him from clay."

Muhammad Asad Explanation: I.e., out of something non-corporeal and, therefore (in the view of Iblis), superior to the "clay" out of which man has been created. Inasmuch as "fire" is a symbol of passion, the above "saying" of Iblis contains, I believe, a subtle allusion to the Qur'anic concept of the "satanic forces" (shayatin) active within man's own heart: forces engendered by uncontrolled passions and love of self, symbolized by the preceding characterization of Iblis, the foremost of the shayatin, as "one of those who think only of themselves as high" (min al-'al~n).

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: The leaders of the Quraysh were also under the same deception. Thus they would ask why was not this Qur’ān revealed to some affluent person of Makkah or Ṭā’if? Why had it been revealed to such a poor person like him?

قَالَ فَاخۡرُجۡ مِنۡهَا فَاِنَّكَ رَجِيۡمٌ  ۖ​ ۚ‏ 
( 77 )   [Allah] said, "Then get out of Paradise, for indeed, you are expelled.
"From here": from the place where Adam was created and where the angels were commanded to bow down before Adam, and where Iblis committed disobedience of Allah. 

Lexically, the word rajim, as used in the original, means "cast off" or "smitten"; in common usage it is used for the person, who has been thrown down from a place of honor and humiliated. In Surah AI-A`raf, the same thing has been expressed thus: "Get out: you are indeed one of those who wish themselves ignominy." (v. 13). 

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: The actual word is: مِنْهَا. The antecedent of the pronoun in it is the same orchard in which Adam (sws) was kept and the angels and the jinn were asked to prostrate before him.

وَّاِنَّ عَلَيۡكَ لَعۡنَتِىۡۤ اِلٰى يَوۡمِ الدِّيۡنِ‏ 
( 78 )   And indeed, upon you is My curse until the Day of Recompense."
This does not mean that there will be no curse on him after the Day of Judgment, but rather it means: "He will remain accessed till the Day of Judgment because of his disobedience, and after the Day of Judgment he will be punished for the sins which he will have committed from . the creation of Adam till Resurrection. " 

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: See note to xv. 35, where it is explained why the respite is to the Day of Judgment. The whole of that passage in S. xv. forms a good commentary on this.

قَالَ رَبِّ فَاَنۡظِرۡنِىۡۤ اِلٰى يَوۡمِ يُبۡعَثُوۡنَ‏ 
( 79 )   He said, "My Lord, then reprieve me until the Day they are resurrected."

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: For the significance of the respite see note to xv. 36., reproduced below:
What was this respite? The curse on Iblis remained, i.e. he was deprived of Allah's grace and became in the spiritual world what an outlaw is in a political kingdom. An earthly kingdom may not be able to catch and destroy an outlaw. But Allah is Omnipotent, and such power as Iblis may have can only come through the respite granted by Allah. The respite then is what is expressed in xv. 39 below. In Allah's grant of limited free-will to man is implied the faculty of choosing between good and evil, and the faculty is exercised through the temptations and allurements put forward by Satan, "the open enemy" of man. This is for the period of man's probation on this earth. Even so, no temptations have power over the sincere worshippers of Allah, who are purified by His grace.
قَالَ فَاِنَّكَ مِنَ الۡمُنۡظَرِيۡنَۙ‏ 
( 80 )   [Allah] said, "So indeed, you are of those reprieved

اِلٰى يَوۡمِ الۡوَقۡتِ الۡمَعۡلُوۡمِ‏ 
( 81 )   Until the Day of the time well-known."

Muhammad Asad Explanation: The grant of "respite" to Iblis implies that he would have the power to tempt man until the end of time.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: It is not an indefinite respite. It is for a period definitely limited, while this our Probation lasts in this world. It is part of the test as to how we use our limited free-will. After that, our whole existence will be on a different plane. The good will have been sorted out, the chain of consequences of the present world will be broken, and "a new Creation" will have taken the place of the present World.

قَالَ فَبِعِزَّتِكَ لَاُغۡوِيَنَّهُمۡ اَجۡمَعِيۡنَۙ‏ 
( 82 )   [Iblees] said, "By your might, I will surely mislead them all

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: This phrase, this oath of Satan, is a fresh point introduced in this passage, because here we are dealing with Power-the Power of Good contrasted with Evil,-the Power of Allah as contrasted with the power that we see in our earthly affairs. Satan acknowledges that even his Power, such as it is, has no reality except in so far as it is permitted to operate by Allah in Allah's wise and universal Plan, and that it cannot harm the true and sincere worshippers of Allah.

Also see note to xv. 39.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: He meant that he will try his best to sabotage the scheme of the Almighty according to which He had selected the progeny of Adam (sws) for Paradise.

اِلَّا عِبَادَكَ مِنۡهُمُ الۡمُخۡلَصِيۡنَ‏ 
( 83 )   Except, among them, Your chosen servants."
This does not mean: I will not lead Your chosen servants astray, but it means: I shall have no power over Your chosen servants.

قَالَ فَالۡحَقُّ  وَالۡحَقَّ اَ قُوۡلُ​ ۚ‏
( 84 )   [Allah] said, "The truth [is My oath], and the truth I say -

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Cf. 15:41 - "This is, with Me, a straight way" - and the corresponding note [31].

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Cf. note to xv. 64. That is:
Al-Haqq: the Punishment which is justly and inevitably due, which must certainly come to pass. Cf. xxii. 18.
لَاَمۡلَئَنَّ جَهَنَّمَ مِنۡكَ وَمِمَّنۡ تَبِعَكَ مِنۡهُمۡ اَجۡمَعِيۡنَ‏  
( 85 )   [That] I will surely fill Hell with you and those of them that follow you all together."
"With you" is not only addressed to Iblis but to the whole species of satans; that is, Iblis and his whole army of the satans who will be joining him in misleading mankind till Resurrection. 

This whole story has been related in answer to this saying of the chiefs of the Quraish: "Was he the only (fit) person among us to whom Allah's Admonition should have been sent down?" Its first answer was the one given in vv. 9-10, saying: "Are you the owners of the treasures of the mercy of your Mighty and Bounteous Lord? And does the kingdom of the heavens and the earth belongs to you, and is it for you to decide as to who should be appointed God's Prophet and who should not be appointed?" The second answer is: In this the chiefs of the Quraish have been told: ¦Your jealousy, your pride and arrogance against Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings) arc similar to the jealousy and arrogance of Iblis against Adam (peace be upon him). Iblis also had refused to acknowledge the right of Allah to appoint anyone He pleased His vicegerent, and you also are refusing to acknowledge His right to appoint anyone He pleases as His Messenger: he disobeyed the Command to bow down before Adam, and you are disobeying the Command to follow Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace). Your resemblance with him does not end here, but your fate also will be the same as has been pre-ordained for him, i.e.. the curse of God in the world and the fire of Hell in the Hereafter. "

Besides, in connection with this story, two other things also have been stressed: (1) Whoever is disobeying Allah in this world, is in fact, falling a prey to Iblis, his eternal enemy, who has resolved to mislead and misguide mankind since the beginning of creation; and (2) the one who disobeys Allah on account of arrogance and persists in His disobedience is under His wrath: such a one has no forgiveness from Him.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Cf. vii. 18; vii. 179; and xi. 119. The punishment of defiance, disobedience, and rebellion is inevitable and just, and the followers who chose to identify themselves with the disobedience must suffer as well as the leaders. Cf. x. 33.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:  Found in these words obviously is a warning for the addressees that they can see their fate too as a reflection from this mirror.

قُلۡ مَاۤ اَسۡـئَـلُكُمۡ عَلَيۡهِ مِنۡ اَجۡرٍ وَّمَاۤ اَنَا مِنَ الۡمُتَكَلِّفِيۡنَ‏  
( 86 )   Say, [O Muhammad], "I do not ask you for the Qur'an any payment, and I am not of the pretentious
That is, "I am a selfless person: I have no vested interest in preaching this message."

That is, "I am not one of those who arise with false claims for the sake of vanity and pose to be what actually they are not. " The Holy Prophet has not been made to say this merely for the information of the disbelievers of Makkah but this is testified by his whole life which he lived among the same people for forty years before his advent as a Prophet. Every child of Makkah was a witness that Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace) was not an impostor. Never had anybody from among the people of Makkah ever heard anything from him, which might have caused somebody the doubt that he aspired to be a great man and was planning and scheming for that end. 

Muhammad Asad Explanation: The expression mutakallif denotes, primarily, "a person who takes too much upon himself", be it in action or in feeling; hence, a person who pretends to be more than he really is, or to feel what he does not really feel. In this instance, it indicates the Prophet s disclaimer of any "supernatural" status.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Cf. xxv. 57; xxvi. 109; and many other passages. The prophet of Allah neither seeks nor expects any reward from men. On the contrary he suffers much at their hands. He is unselfish and offers his services under Allah's inspiration. He is satisfied with the hope "that each one who will may take a straight Path to his Lord." That is his reward. And the reward he hopes for from Allah is similarly unselfish. He earnestly hopes to win His Good Pleasure i.e. "to see His Face."

Mutakallif: a man who pretends to things that are not true, or declares as facts things that do not exist, one who takes upon himself tasks to which he is not equal. True prophets are not people of that kind.

اِنۡ هُوَ اِلَّا ذِكۡرٌ لِّلۡعٰلَمِيۡنَ‏ 
( 87 )   It is but a reminder to the worlds.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation:  So far from there being any false or selfish motive in the Message proclaimed in Revelation, it is a healing mercy to all mankind. More, it is in accord with all parts of Allah's Creation, and makes us kin with all Creation, the handiwork of the One True God.

وَلَتَعۡلَمُنَّ نَبَاَهٗ بَعۡدَ حِيۡنِ‏ 
( 88 )   And you will surely know [the truth of] its information after a time."
That is, Those of you who live will see for themselves within a few years that what I am saying is fulfilled; those who die will come to know as soon as they pass through the gate of death that the truth is the same which I am preaching.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: There may be many things which we in our "muddy vesture of decay" may not fully understand or take in. If we only follow the right Path, we shall arrive at the Goal in the Hereafter, and then everything will be dear to us.

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

Please refer to our Reference Page "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, explanation and exegesis of all other chapters of the Qur'an. You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
Reading the Holy Quran should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully. An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Holy Qur'an from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that:
  • The plain translation and explanation has been taken from the Holy Quran officially published by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. [1]
  • The exegesis of the chapters of the Holy Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  [2]
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided by [2], additional input has been interjected from following sources (links to Reference Pages given below):  
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Qur'an Wiki
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
  • Tafsir Nouman Ali Khan
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
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

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Friday 7 January 2022

Surah Ṣād - The Letter Saadh: Exegesis/Tafsir 38th Chapter of Qur'an - Part I

Sūrah Ṣād is the thirty eighty sürah with 88 āyāt with five rukus, with one Sajdah, part of the 23rd Juzʼ  of the Qur'ān. The Surah takes its name from the alphabetic letter Saadh with which it begins. Saadh - also pronounced Suad (ص) is the name of the eighteenth letter in the Arabic alphabet. The Surah is one of those surahs the begin with "Huroof e Muqattt'at - The Disjoined Letters.'

We have already given a detailed account of the time of revelation of this surah and other historical facts in the overview / summary of the surah. Here we just present a brief of the subject matter before we commence with detailed explanation/tafsir of each verse of the Surah:
The Surah talks about the basic message of all the Prophets and Messengers of Allah. And briefly tells the story of nine of the Prophets, one after the other. The Prophets suffered and went through much hardship in presenting God’s message. It compares the arrogance of the unbelievers of Mecca to the pride found in previously destroyed nations, and with the arrogance of Satan that the same arrogance which was preventing them from accepting Muhammad as a prophet had prevented Iblis/Devil also from bowing before Adam. However, this Surah simultaneously also tells that David and Solomon who were great prophets as well as powerful kings, they obeyed Allah and were His true slaves. Their power did not corrupt them or made them ungrateful.
The sürah has been divided into Five Ruku as under:
  • Ruku One:  Verses 1- 14: AL-Quran is full of admonition Unbelievers are in sheer arrogance for calling the Prophet as liars
  • Ruku Two: Verses 15-26: Story of Prophet Dawood (David) - mountains and birds used to sing the rhymes of Allah and Story of the two litigants who came to Dawood for a decision.
  • Ruku Three: Verses 27-40: Verses 27-29 mention that Allah has not created the heavens and the earth in vain, while verses 30-40 narrate the Story of Sulaiman's (Prophet Solomon) inspection of steeds to be used in Jihad.
  • Ruku Four: Verses 41-64: Verses 41-48 are about the Story of Ayub (Job), his sickness and relief, followed by verses 49-64 which mention that AL-Quran is but a reminder about the reward of Paradise and punishment of the hellfire 
  • Ruku Five: Verses 65-88: Verses 65-70 talk of The mission of the Rasools' is to warn people and declare that there is no divinity except Allah. This is followed by verses 71-88 that mention the Story of the creation of Adam and disobedience of Iblees (Shaitan)
Owing to the length of the Surah, the exegesis / tafsir has been divided into two parts as under:
  • Part I (This Part): Ruku 1-3 verses 1-40
  • Part II: Ruku 3-4, verses 41-88
We have already presented the overview / summary and commentary of the sürah by renowned Muslim scholar Nouman Ali Khan, Let us now read the verse by verse translation and exegesis / tafseer of verses 1-40, ruku 1-3, in English. You may also listen to recitation of the sürah in Arabic with English subtitles at the end.

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

Ruku One:  Verses 1- 14:

صٓ​ وَالۡقُرۡاٰنِ ذِى الذِّكۡرِؕ‏ 
( 1 )   Sad. By the Qur'an containing reminder...
Although like all other enigmatic letters (mugatta'at) it is difficult to determine the meaning of the letter Suad also, yet the interpretation of it given by Ibn 'Abbas and Dahhak is quite plausible. According to them, it implies: Sadiq-un fi' qauli-hi, or Sadaqa Muhammad-un: Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings) is Truthful: whatever he says is the very Truth. 

The words dhi-dh-dhikr "  ذِى الذِّكۡرِؕ‏ " of the Text can have two meanings: (1) Dhi sharaf: the noble Qur'an; and (2) Dhi at-tadhkir: the Qur'an which is full of admonition, or the Qur'an which serves as a reminder, or arouses a heedless person. 

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Saad - "CONSIDER" - 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".

"this Qur'an, endowed with all that one ought to remember!" - Or: "endowed with eminence" (Zamakhshari), since the term dhikr (lit., "reminder" or "remembrance") has also the connotation of "that which is remembered", i.e., "renown", "fame" and, tropically, "eminence". As regards the rendering preferred by me, see i 1:10, where the phrase fihi dhikrukum (relating, as above, to the Qur'an) has been translated as "wherein is found all that you ought to bear in mind", i.e., in order to attain to dignity and happiness.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Sad is a letter of the Arabic alphabet. It is used here as an Abbreviated Letter. No dogmatism is permissible in trying to interpret Abbreviated Letters. This Surah is concerned mainly with the stories of David and Solomon as illustrative of the relative positions of spiritual and worldly power. Sale's note: "it may stand for Solomon": is a real howler; for in Arabic the letter Sad does not occur at all in the name of Solomon.

"By the Qur'an full of Admonition: (this is the Truth)" Full of admonition: the word zikr is far more comprehensive than any single word or phrase that I can think of in English: it implies (1) remembrance in a spirit of reverence; (2) recital, celebrating the praises of Allah; (3) teaching, admonition, warning; (4) Message, Revelation, as in Ah-luz-zikr, "those who possess the Message" (xvi. 43). Devotional exercises are also called zikr.

بَلِ الَّذِيۡنَ كَفَرُوۡا فِىۡ عِزَّةٍ وَّشِقَاقٍ‏ 
( 2 )   But those who disbelieve are in pride and dissension.
If the interpretation given of suad by Ibn 'Abbas and Dahhak is accepted, the sentence would mean this: "By this noble Qur'an, or by this Qur'an which is full of admonition, Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace) is presenting the Truth, but the people who persist in their denial, are in fact, involved in arrogance and stubbornness." And if suad is taken as one of those enigmatic letters whose meaning cannot be determined, then the answer to the oath is omitted, which is indicated by "but" and the sentence following it. The meaning then would be: "The reason for the denial of these disbelievers is not that the religion which is being presented before them is unsound, or that Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace) has shown some slackness in the matter of presenting the Truth before them, but their own boasting and bragging, their haughtiness and stubbornness, and this is borne out by this Qur'an itself, which is full of admonition. Every unbiased person who studies it will admit that fill justice has been done in it to the task of making the people understand the Truth.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: The great root of Evil and Unbelief is Self-glory or Arrogance, as is pointed out in several places with regard to Satan; cf. below, xxxviii. 74-76. This leads to Envy and opposition or a desire to start a peculiar doctrine or sect of one's own, instead of a desire to find common grounds of belief and life, which lead to the Religion of Unity of Allah. This teaching of Unity was what the Pagans objected to in the holy Prophet (verse 5 below)!

Muhammad Asad Explanation: I.e., they refuse to acknowledge the fact of divine revelation because such an acknowledgment would imply an admission of man's responsibility to God - and this their false pride, manifested in their arrogant belief in man's "self-sufficiency", does not allow them to do. The same idea is expressed in 16:22 and, in a more general way, in 2:206 . Cf. also {96:6-7}.

كَمۡ اَهۡلَـكۡنَا مِنۡ قَبۡلِهِمۡ مِّنۡ قَرۡنٍ فَنَادَوْا وَّلَاتَ حِيۡنَ مَنَاصٍ‏ 
( 3 )   How many a generation have We destroyed before them, and they [then] called out; but it was not a time for escape.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Teaching, Warning, Signs have been given by Allah to all nations and at all times, and yet nations have rebelled and gone wrong and suffered destruction. If only later generations could learn that wrong-doing results in self-destruction! For the justice of Allah merely carries out the result of their own choice and actions. At any time during their probation they could repent and obtain mercy, but their "Self-glory and Separatism" stand in the way. Ultimately they do cry for a way of escape, but it is then too late.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: "How many a generation" - It is to be noted that the term qarn "  قَرۡنٍ " signifies not merely a "generation" but also - and quite frequently in the Qur'an - "people belonging to a particular period and environment", i.e., a "civilization" in the historical connotation of this word.

"have We destroyed before their time [for this very sin]! And [how] they called [unto Us] when it was too late to escape!" - Lit., "while there was no time for escaping".

وَعَجِبُوۡۤا اَنۡ جَآءَهُمۡ مُّنۡذِرٌ مِّنۡهُمۡ​ وَقَالَ الۡكٰفِرُوۡنَ هٰذَا سٰحِرٌ كَذَّابٌ​ ۖ​ۚ‏
( 4 )   And they wonder that there has come to them a warner from among themselves. And the disbelievers say, "This is a magician and a liar.
That is, "They are so foolish that when a man from their own kind and from their own clan and brotherhood, whom they knew fully well, was appointed to warn them, they wondered at it, whereas it would have been strange if some other kind of creature had been sent down from heaven to warn human beings, or an utter stranger had arisen among them suddenly and started functioning as a prophet. In that case they would have been perfectly justified to say, "What an odd thing! How can this strange creature know our conditions and feelings and requirements that he should guide us? How can we test and find out the truth about the stranger who has suddenly arisen among us and know whether he is trustworthy or not? And how can we decide whether we should or should not believe in him when we have not judged and seen his character and personality?"

The disbelievers used the word sahir (sorcerer, magician) for the Holy Prophet in the sense that whoever came in contact with him was so influenced by him that he would become his follower like a possessed person; he would least mind severing of his connections with others or incurring material losses; the father would give up the son and the son the father; the wife would separate from the husband and the husband from the wife; he would at once be prepared to leave his country if it was so required; he would even be ready to pass through the severest persecutions for the sake of the faith. (For further details, see Surah 21. Al Anbiya' : 3 and explanation). 

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Their wonder is only stimulated. They are full of envy and spite against one of themselves who has been chosen by Allah to be His Messenger, and they vent their spite by making all sorts of false accusations. The man who was pre-eminent for truth and conscientious consideration, they call "a sorcerer and a liar"!

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Although this passage describes, in the first instance, the attitude of the pagan Quraysh towards the Prophet, it touches upon the reluctance of most people, at all times, to recognize "a man from their own midst" - i.e., a human being like themselves - as God-inspired. (See explanation of 50:2)

اَجَعَلَ الۡاٰلِهَةَ اِلٰهًا وَّاحِدًا ۖۚ اِنَّ هٰذَا لَشَىۡءٌ عُجَابٌ‏ 
( 5 )   Has he made the gods [only] one God? Indeed, this is a curious thing."

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Divorced from its purely historical background, this criticism acquires a timeless significance, and may be thus paraphrased: "Does he claim that all creative powers and qualities are inherent exclusively in what he conceives as 'one God'?" - a paraphrase which illustrates the tendency of many people to attribute a decisive influence on human life - and, hence, a quasi-divine status - to a variety of fortuitous phenomena or circumstances (like wealth, "luck", social position, etc.) rather than to acknowledge the overwhelming evidence, in all observable nature, of God's unique existence.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: And what is the offence of the Messenger of Unity? That he has made all their fantastic gods disappear; that in place of chaos he has brought harmony; that in place of conflict he brings peace! It is a wonderful thing, but not in the sarcastic sense in which the Unbelievers scoff at it!

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: They said this to incite people against him by contending that he was denying the divinity of the beings which were regarded sacred by them and worshipped.

وَانْطَلَقَ الۡمَلَاُ مِنۡهُمۡ اَنِ امۡشُوۡا وَاصۡبِرُوۡا عَلٰٓى اٰلِهَتِكُمۡ​ ​ۖۚ​ اِنَّ هٰذَا لَشَىۡءٌ يُّرَادُ ۖ​ۚ‏ 
( 6 )   And the eminent among them went forth, [saying], "Continue, and be patient over [the defense of] your gods. Indeed, this is a thing intended.
The allusion is to the chiefs who got up and left Abu Talib when they had heard what the Holy Prophet said. 

"This thing" : the Holy Prophet's asking them to affirm faith in "La ilaha ill-Allah " so as to overpower both Arabia and the adjoining lands. 

What they meant to say was this: "Muhammad has some vested interests: He is extending this invitation to us in order to subjugate us and rule us as his subjects." 

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Lit., "a thing desired" or "to be desired", i.e., a sensible course of action.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: When the message of Islam was being preached in its infancy, and the Preacher and his followers were being persecuted by the Pagans, one of the devices adopted by the Pagan leaders was to get the Prophet's uncle Abu Talib to denounce or renounce his beloved nephew. A conference was held with Abu Talib for this purpose. On its failure the leaders walked away, and began to discredit the great movement by falsely giving out that it was designed against their personal influence, and to throw power into the hands of the Prophet. Hadhrat 'Umar's conversion occurred in the sixth year of the Mission (seventh year before the Hijrat). The circumstances connected with it greatly alarmed the Quraish chiefs, who, greedy of autocracy themselves, confused the issue by accusing the righteous Preacher of plotting against their power.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: Ie., inspite of all his efforts, the need is to adhere to their deities. This is a depiction of the attitude which the leaders of the Quraysh generally adopted to drive away people from the message of monotheism preached by the Prophet (sws). Thus whenever they saw that people were being influenced by him, they would leave the gathering saying something similar.

مَا سَمِعۡنَا بِهٰذَا فِى الۡمِلَّةِ الۡاٰخِرَةِ ۖۚ اِنۡ هٰذَاۤ اِلَّا اخۡتِلَاقٌ ​ ۖ​ۚ‏ 
( 7 )   We have not heard of this in the latest religion. This is not but a fabrication.
That is, "There have been our own elderly people in the recent past; there arc Christians and Jews also living in our land and in the adjoining lands; and there arc the Zoroastrians abounding in Iran and Iraq and eastern Arabia. None of them has ever preached that man should only believe in One Allah, Lord of the worlds, and in none else beside Him: no one can remain content with one God only: everyone believes in the beloved ones of Allah also: they arc All paying obeisance to them, making offerings at their shrines and praying for fulfillment of their needs and requirements. From one place people get children and from another provisions of life, and from yet another whatever they. pray for. The whole world believes in their powers and capabilities, and those who have benefited from them tell how the needs of the people are being met and their difficulties being removed through their help and grace. Now this man is telling us a queer thing which we had never heard before. He says that none of these holy men has any share in Godhead and that Godhead wholly belongs only to Allah!" 

Muhammad Asad Explanation: I.e., "in any of the faiths prevalent in our days": an oblique reference to Christianity and its dogma of the Trinity, which contrasts with the Qur'anic concept of God's oneness and uniqueness, as well as to any other faith based on the belief in a multiplicity or multiform incarnation of divine powers (e.g., Hinduism with its triad of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva).

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: 'Whatever may have been the case in the past', they said, 'our own immediate ancestors worshipped these idols in Makkah and why should we give them up?' Self- complacency was stronger with them than Truth; and so they call Truth "a made-up tale"! Some Commentators interpret millat akhirat to refer to the last religion preached before Islam, viz. Christianity, which had itself departed from Monotheism to Trinity.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: Ie., the statement that God is one and what this person is attributing to their elders like Abraham (sws) and Ishmael (sws) has not been heard by them from people who lived in the recent past; had these elders said such a thing, it would have found mention in some way among the people of this last period.

A little deliberation shows that this reasoning is presented in this manner by people of every era.

ءَاُنۡزِلَ عَلَيۡهِ الذِّكۡرُ مِنۡۢ بَيۡنِنَا​ؕ بَلۡ هُمۡ فِىۡ شَكٍّ مِّنۡ ذِكۡرِىۡ​ۚ بَلْ لَّمَّا يَذُوۡقُوۡا عَذَابِؕ‏ 
( 8 )   Has the message been revealed to him out of [all of] us?" Rather, they are in doubt about My message. Rather, they have not yet tasted My punishment.
In other words Allah says: " Muhammad, these people are not belying you but Me. As for your truthfulness, they had never doubted it before; now that they are doubting it, it is because of My Admonition; now that I have entrusted to you the Mission of admonishing them, they have started doubting the truthfulness of the very person whose righteousness and piety they used to swear by " The same theme has also been discussed above in Al-An'am: 33 and E.N. 21 thereof. 

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Lit., "that they are in doubt of": i.e., it is not the personality of the Prophet that fills them with distrust, but, rather, the substance of the message proclaimed by him - and, in particular, his insistence on God's absolute oneness and uniqueness, which runs counter to their habits of thought and social traditions.

" Nay, they have not yet tasted the suffering which I do impose! " Sc., "on people who refuse to accept the truth".

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Here comes in envy. 'If a Message had to come, why should it come to him, the orphan son of 'Abdullah, and not to one of our own great men?'

They have no clear idea of how Allah's Message comes! It is not a worldly thing to be given to any one. It is a divine thing requiring spiritual preparation. If they close their eyes to it now, it will be brought home to them when they taste the consequences of their folly!

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: They would utter this statement being inebriated with their position of authority. They asked why this person was selected, leaving aside their prominent leaders. This is an expression of conceit which is mentioned by the word فِيْ عِزَّةٍ at the beginning of the sūrah.

The implication is that all this stubbornness and vanity are only because until now they are not convinced that the punishment with which they are being warned will actually come. In fact, also because they cannot be convinced by mere reasoning; unless they see something with their eyes they will never believe in anything.

اَمۡ عِنۡدَهُمۡ خَزَآئِنُ رَحۡمَةِ رَبِّكَ الۡعَزِيۡزِ الۡوَهَّابِ​ۚ‏ 
( 9 )   Or do they have the depositories of the mercy of your Lord, the Exalted in Might, the Bestower?

Muhammad Asad Explanation: I.e., "Do they think that it is for them to decide as to who should and who should not be graced with divine revelation?"

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: If they set themselves to judge Allah, have they anything to show comparable to Allah's Mercy and Power! He has both in infinite measure. Who are they to question the grant of His Mercy and Revelation to His own Chosen One?

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: Ie., the Lord Who is the sole master of all His treasures, has complete control over them and is also very generous. 

Imām Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī writes: … He gives to those of His people in abundance who may not have any status in the eyes of these arrogant yet have a high status in the eyes of God. Thus these arrogant people should realize that if they have been given some ordinary things of life by God on which they are showing conceit, He has given the dominion of prophethood and wisdom to whomsoever He wanted to. No greater a status can be imagined beyond this. (Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 6, 515)

اَمۡ لَهُمۡ مُّلۡكُ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالۡاَرۡضِ وَمَا بَيۡنَهُمَا​فَلۡيَرۡتَقُوۡا فِى الۡاَسۡبَابِ‏ 
( 10 )   Or is theirs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and what is between them? Then let them ascend through [any] ways of access.
This is an answer to this saying of the disbelievers "Was he the only (fit) person among us to whom Allah's Admonition should have lien sent down?' Allah says: "it is for Us to decide whom We should choose and appoint as a Prophet and whom We should not. These people do not possess any power and authority to exercise choice in this regard. If they wish to attain such an authority they should try to reach the Divine Throne in order to obtain control over the office of sovereignty of the Universe, so that revelation should come down on him whom they regard as deserving their mercy and not on him whom We regard as fit for it. "This theme has occurred at several places in the Qur'an, because the unbelieving Quraish again and again said, `How did Muhammad (upon whom be Allah' peace) become a Prophet? Did Allah find no better man among the principal leaders of the Quraish worthy of this office?"(See Surah Bani Isra'il: . verse 100; Az-Zukhruf: 31-32). 

Muhammad Asad Explanation: I.e., "Do they think that human beings are so highly endowed that they are bound to attain, some day, to mastery over the universe and all nature, and thus to God-like power?" Cf. in this connection {96:6-8} and the corresponding note. - As regards my rendering of al-asbab as "all [conceivable] means", see note [82] on 18:84 .

Yusuf Ali  Explanation:  Weak and puny creatures though they are, they dare to raise their heads against the Omnipotent, as if they had dominion over Creation and not He! If they had any power, let them mount up to heaven and use all the means they have to that end, and see how they can frustrate Allah's Purpose!

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: The actual words are: فَلْيَرْتَقُوْا فِي الْاَسْبَابِ. The word اَسْبَاب connotes اَسْبَاب السَّمٰوٰتِ. This word is also used for add-ons and borders of something.

جُنۡدٌ مَّا هُنَالِكَ مَهۡزُوۡمٌ مِّنَ الۡاَحۡزَابِ
( 11 )   [They are but] soldiers [who will be] defeated there among the companies [of disbelievers].
" This is only a small army out of the several armies that will suffer defeat here." - "Here" implies the city of Makkah. That is, `The time is coming when these people shall be humbled and routed in the very place where they are opposing and mocking you., Then, they will be standing, with heads hung down, before the same man whom they despise and refuse to recognize as a Prophet of Allah."

Muhammad Asad Explanation: The collective noun jund " جُنۡدٌ  ", which primarily denotes "a host" or "an army", has also the meaning of "created beings", in this context obviously human beings; in combination with the particle ma " مَّا ", "any number of human beings". The term hizb (of which ahzab is the plural " اَحۡزَابِ "), on the other hand, denotes "a party" or "a group of people of the same mind" or "people leagued together", i.e., for a definite purpose.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Of course they cannot frustrate Allah's Purpose. In that world-they will be ignominiously routed, even if they form the strongest confederacy of the Powers of Evil that ever could combine. Cf. the last clause of verse 13 below.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: The actual words are: جُنۡدٌ مَّا. The word جُنْدٌ is not defined to express its magnitude and extent, and the word مَّا is meant to further emphasize this magnitude.

كَذَّبَتۡ قَبۡلَهُمۡ قَوۡمُ نُوۡحٍ وَّعَادٌ وَّفِرۡعَوۡنُ ذُو الۡاَوۡتَادِۙ‏ 
( 12 )   The people of Noah denied before them, and [the tribe of] 'Aad and Pharaoh, the owner of stakes,
The use of dhil-autad " ذُو الۡاَوۡتَادِۙ " (of the stakes) for Pharaoh is either in the sense that his kingdom was very strong as though a stake were firmly driven into the ground, or for the reason that wherever his large armies camped, pegs of the tents were seen driven into the ground on every side, or because he would torture and punish at the stakes anyone with whom he was angry; and possibly the stakes may imply the pyramids of Egypt which seem to be driven into the earth like the stakes. 

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Lit., "before them", i.e., before the people who opposed or oppose Muhammad's message.

In classical Arabic, this ancient Bedouin term is used idiomatically as a metonym for "mighty dominion" or "firmness of power" (Zamakhshari). The number of poles supporting a Bedouin tent is determined by its size, and the latter has always depended on the status and power of its owner: thus, a mighty chieftain is often alluded to as "he of many tent-poles".

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: In their day, Noah's contemporaries, or the 'Ad and the Thamud, so frequently mentioned, or Pharaoh the mighty king of Egypt, or the people to whom Lot was sent (cf. xxxvii. 75-82; vii. 65-73; vii. 103-137; vii. 80-84) were examples of arrogance and rebellion against Allah: they rejected the divine Message brought by their messengers, and they all came to an evil end. Will not their posterity learn their lesson?

The title of Pharaoh, "Lord of the Stakes", denotes power and arrogance, in all or any of the following ways: (1) the stake makes a tent firm and stable, and is a symbol of firmness and stability; (2) many stakes mean a large camp and a numerous army to fight; (3) impaling with stakes was a cruel punishment resorted to by the Pharaohs in arrogant pride of power.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: Ie., having large armies. 

Imām Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī writes: … In Arabic, pegs signify tents and from here this world is allegorically used for armies. This allegorical use of the word is similar to using the expression قُدُوْرٌ رَّاسِيَاتٌ to signify the generosity of a person. This expression is used in the Qur’an (34:13) to refer to the generosity of Solomon (sws). Here the expression ذُو الۡاَوۡتَادِ refers to the large number of the Pharaoh’s armies who lived in tents. At many places in the Qur’ān, their plentiful number is referred to and all these armies had drowned with him when the divine scourge visited them. (Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 6, 516)

وَثَمُوۡدُ وَقَوۡمُ لُوۡطٍ وَّاَصۡحٰبُ لْئَیْكَةِ​ ؕ اُولٰٓـئِكَ الۡاَحۡزَابُ‏  
( 13 )   And [the tribe of] Thamud and the people of Lot and the companions of the thicket. Those are the companies.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Companions of the Wood; Also mentioned xv. 78 (as appended below):
"Companions of the Wood": As-hab ul Aikati. Perhaps Aika is after all a proper noun, the name of a town or tract. Who were the Companions of the Aika? They are mentioned four times in the Qur'an, viz., here, and in xxvi. 176-191; xxxviii. 13; and 1. 14. The only passage in which any details are given is xxvi. 176-191. There we are told that their Prophet was Shu'aib, and other details given correspond to those of the Madyan, to whom Shu'aib was sent as Prophet;, see vii. 85-93. In my notes to that passage I have discussed the question of Shu'aib and the Madyan people. It is reasonable to suppose that the Companions of the Wood were either the same as the Madyan, or a Group among them or in their neighbourhood.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: This is a reference to the people of Madyan. The word اَيْكَة means “forest.” It seems that there was a forest near Madyan because of which its people were called thus.

The actual words are: اُولٰٓئِكَ الْاَحْزَابُ. The enunciative (khabar) is suppressed. This is because it is self-evident from the occasion and context and the next part of the verse is pointing to it.

اِنۡ كُلٌّ اِلَّا كَذَّبَ الرُّسُلَ فَحَقَّ عِقَابِ‏ 
( 14 )   Each of them denied the messengers, so My penalty was justified.

Ruku Two: Verses 15-26:
وَمَا يَنۡظُرُ هٰٓؤُلَاۤءِ اِلَّا صَيۡحَةً وَّاحِدَةً مَّا لَهَا مِنۡ فَوَاقٍ‏  
( 15 )   And these [disbelievers] await not but one blast [of the Horn]; for it there will be no delay.
That is, `Only a single blast of the torment will be enough to annihilate them; no other will be needed for the purpose." Another meaning of the sentence can be: "After this they will get no more relief and no more respite. " 

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Sc., "beyond the term set for it by God".

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Cf. xxxvi. 29
Fawaq: delay, the interval between one milking of a she-camel, and another, either to give her a breathing space or to give her young time to suck,-or perhaps the milker to adjust his fingers. Such interval will be quite short. The derived meaning is that when the inevitable just punishment for sin arrives, it will not tarry, but do its work without delay.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: Ie., there is no possibility of any further respite.

وَقَالُوۡا رَبَّنَا عَجِّلْ لَّنَا قِطَّنَا قَبۡلَ يَوۡمِ الۡحِسَابِ‏ 
( 16 )   And they say, "Our Lord, hasten for us our share [of the punishment] before the Day of Account"
That is, Allah's torment will be so severe and terrible as mentioned above, but just consider the behavior of these foolish people: they are telling the Prophet. mockingly: `Do not put off our affairs till the Day of Reckoning with which you are threatening us, but settle our account just now: whatever punishment is to be inflicted on us should be inflicted immediately.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Cf. 8:32 . This mocking "demand" of the unbelievers is mentioned in several other places in the Qur'an.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Cf. xxvi. 204. Those who do not believe in the Hereafter say ironically: "Let us have our punishment and sentence now: why delay it?" The last verse and the next verse supply the commentary. As to those who mock, they will find out the truth soon enough, when it is too late for repentance or mercy. As to the prophets of Allah, who are mocked, they must wait patiently for Allah to fulfil His Plan: even men who had worldly strength and power, like David had to exercise infinite patience when mocked by their contemporaries.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: The implication was to let the Day of Accountability they were being threatened with by him come so that it could be decided whether that person was truthful or only bluffing. They did not fear that any punishment would visit them and hence because of arrogance even uttered these words.

From verses 17-26 is the Story of David and the Two Litigants:

اِصۡبِرۡ عَلٰى مَا يَقُوۡلُوۡنَ وَاذۡكُرۡ عَبۡدَنَا دَاوٗدَ ذَا الۡاَيۡدِ​ۚ اِنَّـهٗۤ اَوَّابٌ‏ 
( 17 )   Be patient over what they say and remember Our servant, David, the possessor of strength; indeed, he was one who repeatedly turned back [to Allah].
The allusion is to the absurd conversation of the disbelievers of Makkah, as narrated above, to the effect that the Holy Prophet was a sorcerer and a liar, and to their objection whether he was the only fit person in the sight of Allah to be appointed as a Messenger, and to their some accusation that he had vested interest in preaching the doctrine of Tauhid to the people and not any religious mission. 

Another translation of this sentence can be: `Remember Our servant Dawood (David)." According to the first translation, it would mean: "There is a lesson in this story for these people," and according to the second: "The remembrance of this story will help you too, to have patience. " As the narrative is meant to serve both purposes, comprehensive words have been used as contain both meanings. (For the story of the prophet David, see AI-Baqarah :251, Bani Isra'il: 55, Al Anbiya': 78-81, An-Naml: 15 and Surah 34 Saba:10 and explanations thereof). 

The words in the original are: dhal-ayd (possessor of the hands). The word "hand" is used metaphorically for strength and power not only in Arabic but in other languages also. When as an attribute of the Prophet David it is said that he was a "possessor of the hands", it will necessarily mean that he possessed great powers. These powers may mean the physical strength which he displayed during his combat against Goliath, military and political power by which he crushed the neighboring idolatrous nations and established a strong Islamic empire, moral strength by which he ruled like a poor king and always feared Allah and observed the bounds set by Him, and the power of worship by virtue of which, besides his occupations in connection with rule and government and fighting in the cause of Allah, he fasted every alternate day and spent a third of the night in worship according to a tradition of Bukhari. Imam Bukhari in his History has related, on the authority of Hadrat Abu ad-Darda', that whenever the Prophet David was mentioned, the Holy Prophet used to say: "He was the greatest worshiper of God. " 

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: David was a man of exceptional strength, for even as a raw youth, he slew the Philistine giant Goliath. See ii. 249-252, and notes 286-87. Before that fight, he was mocked by his enemies and chidden even by his own elder brother. But he relied upon Allah, and won through, and afterwards became king.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: David (sws) should be remembered so that the Prophet (sws) receives assurance through his steadfastness and also directs the attention of his addressees that in spite of being mightier and wealthier than them, he was never inflicted by arrogance. This has been stated because David (sws) was God’s prophet as well as a great king of the Israelites. It has been stated earlier in the exegesis of Sūrah Sabā that his kingdom extended from the Gulf of ‘Aqabah to the western shores of the Euphrates. He ruled this area until 965 BC.

Ie., power and might did not make him haughty; in fact, they increased his humility and penitence. Imām Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī writes:
... The Qur’ān here by simultaneously mentioning both attributes of ذَا الۡاَيۡدِ and اَوَّاب has shown that a person who has power and political authority will only be liked by the Almighty when, besides being powerful, he is also penitent. If power makes a person haughty and arrogant, then this turns him into a Nimrod and a Pharaoh who are cursed and have incurred the wrath of the Almighty. (Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 6, 522)
اِنَّا سَخَّرۡنَا الۡجِبَالَ مَعَهٗ يُسَبِّحۡنَ بِالۡعَشِىِّ وَالۡاِشۡرَاقِۙ‏  
( 18 )   Indeed, We subjected the mountains [to praise] with him, exalting [Allah] in the [late] afternoon and [after] sunrise.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: See explanation to xxi. 79. All nature sings in unison and celebrates the praises of Allah. David was given the gift of music and psalmody, and therefore the hills and birds are expressed as singing Allah's praises in unison with him. The special hours when the hills and groves echo the songs of birds are in the evening and at dawn, when also the birds gather together, for those are respectively their roosting hours and the hours of their concerted flight for the day.

وَالطَّيۡرَ مَحۡشُوۡرَةً ؕ كُلٌّ لَّـهٗۤ اَوَّابٌ‏ 
( 19 )   And the birds were assembled, all with him repeating [praises].
For explanation, see exegesis ( Surah Al-Anbiya, Ayat 79).

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Note the mutual echo between this verse and verse 17 above. The Arabic awwab is common to both, and it furnishes the rhyme or rhythm of the greater part of the Surah, thus echoing the main theme: 'Turn to Allah in Prayer and Praise, for that is more than any worldly power or wisdom.'

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: Ie., when in his moving voice he sang the hymns of the Psalms the deserts and the mountains, the birds and the beasts joined him in this chanting. At another instance, the Qur’ān has specified that every object of this universe glorifies God, yet human beings are unable to understand this. However, this was not the case of David (sws). In the words of Imām Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī, just as the Almighty had blessed David (sws) with the mellow voice to melt mountains and attract birds, He had also blessed him with the earnest ears to understand their glorification of the Almighty (Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 6, 522).

وَشَدَدۡنَا مُلۡكَهٗ وَاٰتَيۡنٰهُ الۡحِكۡمَةَ وَفَصۡلَ الۡخِطَابِ‏ 
( 20 )   And We strengthened his kingdom and gave him wisdom and discernment in speech.
That is, "He was never ambiguous in speech but clear and forthright. Whatever problem he talked about he would lay bare its basic points, and would clearly and precisely determine the real issue under question, and would pass a decisive judgment. " This quality is not attained by a person unless he is granted wisdom, understanding and mastery of language of the highest degree. 

Yusuf Ali  Explanation:  Cf. notes to xxi. 79 for David's sound judgment in decisions; he could also express himself aptly.

وَهَلۡ اَتٰٮكَ نَبَؤُا الۡخَصۡمِ​ۘ اِذۡ تَسَوَّرُوا الۡمِحۡرَابَۙ‏ 
( 21 )   And has there come to you the news of the adversaries, when they climbed over the wall of [his] prayer chamber -
The object why the Prophet David has been mentioned here is to relate the story that begins from here; the object of mentioning his sterling qualities in the introduction was only to point out the high caliber of the Prophet David with whom this incident took place. 

Muhammad Asad Explanation: The story which, according to the oldest sources at our disposal, is alluded to in verses {21-26} affects the question as to whether God's elect, the prophets - all of whom were endowed, like David, with "wisdom and sagacity in judgment" - could or could not ever commit a sin: in other words, whether they, too, were originally subject to the weaknesses inherent in human nature as such or were a priori endowed with an essential purity of character which rendered each of them "incapable of sinning" (ma'sum). In the form in which it has been handed down from the earliest authorities (including, according to Tabari and Baghawi, Companions like 'Abd Allah ibn'Abbas and Anas ibn Malik, as well as several of the most prominent of their immediate successors), the story contradicts the doctrine - somewhat arbitrarily developed by Muslim theologians in the course of the centuries - that prophets cannot sin by virtue of their very nature, and tends to show that their purity and subsequent sinlessness is a result of inner struggles and trials and, thus, represents in each case a moral achievement rather than an inborn quality. As narrated in some detail by Tabari and other early commentators, David fell in love with a beautiful woman whom he accidentally observed from his roof terrace. On inquiring, he was told that she was the wife of one of his officers, named Uriah. Impelled by his passion, David ordered his field-commander to place Uriah in a particularly exposed battle position, where he would be certain to be killed; and as soon as his order was fulfilled and Uriah died, David married the widow (who subsequently became the mother of Solomon). This story agrees more or less with the Old Testament, which gives the woman's name as Bath-Sheba (II Samuel xi), barring the Biblical allegation that David committed adultery with her before Uriah's death (ibid. xi, 4-5) - an allegation which has always been rejected by Muslims as highly offensive and slanderous: cf. the saying of the fourth Caliph, 'Ali ibn Abi Talib (quoted by Zamakhshari on the authority of Sa'id ibn al-Musayyab): "If anyone should narrate the story of David in the manner in which the story-tellers narrate it, I will have him flogged with one hundred and sixty stripes - for this is a [suitable] punishment for slandering prophets" (thus indirectly recalling the Qur'anic ordinance, in 24:4 , which stipulates flogging with eighty stripes for accusing ordinary persons of adultery without legal proof). According to most of the commentators, the two "litigants" who suddenly appeared before David were angels sent to bring home to him his sin. It is possible, however, to see in their appearance an allegory of David's own realization of having sinned: voices of his own conscience which at last "surmounted the walls" of the passion that had blinded him for a time.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation:  This story or Parable is not found in the Bible, unless the vision here described be considered as equivalent to Nathan's parable in 11 Samuel, xi, and xii. Baidhawi would seem to favour that view, but other Commentators reject it. David was a pious man, and he had a well-guarded private chamber (mihrab) for Prayer and Praise.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: This style of address points to the significance of the incident and also has a general appeal for the addressees to listen to it with full attention.

Ie., in the private room of David (sws). There were several arches in royal palaces of those times. From here, the word also came to be used for rooms, verandas and sitting places. In the Urdu language also, this usage of the word is common.

The actual words are: اِذْ تَسَوَّرُوا الْمِحْرَابَ. There is a taḍmīn in this expression and the overall expression would be to the effect:تَسَوَّرُوا الجِدَارَ وَ دَخَلُوا الْمِحْرَابَ (they climbed the wall and entered the miḥrāb).

اِذۡ دَخَلُوۡا عَلٰى دَاوٗدَ فَفَزِعَ مِنۡهُمۡ​ قَالُوۡا لَا تَخَفۡ​ۚ خَصۡمٰنِ بَغٰى بَعۡضُنَا عَلٰى بَعۡضٍ فَاحۡكُمۡ بَيۡنَنَا بِالۡحَقِّ وَلَا تُشۡطِطۡ وَاهۡدِنَاۤ اِلٰى سَوَآءِ الصِّرَاطِ‏ 
( 22 )   When they entered upon David and he was alarmed by them? They said, "Fear not. [We are] two adversaries, one of whom has wronged the other, so judge between us with truth and do not exceed [it] and guide us to the sound path.
He was alarmed because the two men had appeared in the private quarters of the ruler of the land suddenly, by climbing over the wall, instead of going before him by the proper entrance.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: David used to retire to his private chamber at stated times for his devotions. One day, suddenly, his privacy was invaded by two men, who had obtained access by climbing over a wall. David was frightened at the apparition. But they said: "We have come to seek thy justice as king: we are brothers, and we have a quarrel, which we wish thee to decide."

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: It is evident from the case which is presented ahead that the two were not parties of an actual dispute. They were people who wanted to inform David (sws) of his mistake in a symbolic way and had entered the palace in this way. They may have been his well-wishers or could also have been angels of God who came in human form and went away once their task was done. The Bible corroborates the first of these scenarios; however, deliberation shows that the second one is more plausible. This is because it is not easy at all to understand how a few subjects of the king can climb the wall and enter his private abode. However, this does show that David (sws) was a very God-fearing and forbearing king: he was not at all disgruntled at this happening; in fact, immediately took to hear the case because of his proclivity towards justice, even though it seems from the words لَا تُشۡطِطۡ that their style of conversation was not very polite.

اِنَّ هٰذَاۤ اَخِىۡ لَهٗ تِسۡعٌ وَّتِسۡعُوۡنَ نَعۡجَةً وَّلِىَ نَعۡجَةٌ وَّاحِدَةٌ فَقَالَ اَكۡفِلۡنِيۡهَا وَعَزَّنِىۡ فِى الۡخِطَابِ‏ 
( 23 )   Indeed this, my brother, has ninety-nine ewes, and I have one ewe; so he said, 'Entrust her to me,' and he overpowered me in speech."
"Brother" does not mean a real brother but a brother-in-faith and a member of one's own clan. 

To understand what follows one should note that the complainant did not say that the other person had taken away his only ewe and added it to his own ewes, but said that he was asking for it, and since he was a powerful person he had prevailed over him in the matter and he could not reject his demand, being a weak and poor man. 

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: The brother who was most aggrieved said: "This my brother has a flock of ninety-nine sheep, and I have but one; yet he wants me to give up my one sheep to his keeping; and moreover he is not even fair-spoken. He talks like one meditating mischief, and he has not even the grace to ask as an equal, or one sharing in a business or an inheritance. What shall I do?"

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: In the societies of those times, ewes and sheep were the real wealth of people. Thus the parable mentions them.

His implication was that since that person is wealthy while he himself is a poor person, all those around are favouring him; so, he has been prevailed upon by him and cannot win in argument.

قَالَ لَقَدْ ظَلَمَكَ بِسُؤَالِ نَعْجَتِكَ إِلَىٰ نِعَاجِهِۦ ۖ وَإِنَّ كَثِيرًا مِّنَ ٱلْخُلَطَآءِ لَيَبْغِى بَعْضُهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ وَعَمِلُوا۟ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ وَقَلِيلٌ مَّا  هُمْ ۗ وَظَنَّ دَاوُۥدُ أَنَّمَا فَتَنَّـٰهُ فَٱسْتَغْفَرَ رَبَّهُۥ وَخَرَّ رَاكِعًا وَأَنَابَ ۩
( 24 )   [David] said, "He has certainly wronged you in demanding your ewe [in addition] to his ewes. And indeed, many associates oppress one another, except for those who believe and do righteous deeds - and few are they." And David became certain that We had tried him, and he asked forgiveness of his Lord and fell down bowing [in prostration] and turned in repentance [to Allah]. ۩
Here, one should not doubt that the Prophet David gave his decision after hearing only what one party had to say. The fact of the matter, is that when the respondent kept quiet at the complaint of the complainant and said nothing in defense it by itself amounted to a confession by him. That is why the Prophet David came to the conclusion that the facts of the case were the same as the complainant had stated. 
There is a difference of opinion as to whether it is obligatory to perform a sajdah (prostration) on this occasion or not. Imam Shafe'i says that it is not obligatory, for this is only a Prophet' tepentance; but Imam Abu Hanifah has opined that prostration here is obligatory. The traditionalists have related three traditions from lbn- 'Abbas in this regard. According to 'Ikrimah, Ibn 'Abbas said: "this is not one of those verses on the recitation of which prostration is obligatory, but I have seen the Holy Prophet prostrating himself on this occasion. "(Bukhari, Abu Da'ud, Tirmidhi, NASa'I, Musnad Ahmad). The second tradition which Said bin Jubair has related froth Ibn 'Abbas is to the effect: 'The Holy Prophet prostrated himself in Surah Suad and said: 'The Prophet David (on whom be peace) had prostrated himself in order to express his repentance and we prostrate ourselves as a token of gratitude, because his repentance was accepted. (Nasa'i) In the third tradition that Mujahid has related from him, he says: "Allah has commanded the Holy Prophet, in the Qur'an: "These were the ones whom Allah had shown the Right Way: therefore, you should follow their way'." (AI-An'am: 90). Now, since David was a Prophet and he had prostrated himself on this occasion, the Holy Prophet also prostrated himself here only to follow his way. (Bukhari). These three arc the statements of Hadrat Ibn 'Abbas: and Hadrat Abu Sa' id Khudri says: "The Holy Prophet once recited Surah Suad in his address, and when he came to this verse, he descended from the pulpit and performed a prostration and the audience also did the same along with him. Then, on another occasion, he recited this same Surah and when the people heard this verse, they were ready to perform the prostration. The Holy Prophet said 'This is the repentance of a Prophet, but I see that you have got ready to perform the prostration' --Saying this he descended from the pulpit and prostrated himself and the people also did the same." (Abu Da'ud). Although these traditions do not provide any absolute argument to prove that it is obligatory to perform the prostration here, yet they prove at least that because the Holy Prophet generally performed a prostration on this occasion, it is in any case commendable to prostrate here.
Another thing that one notices in this verse is that Allah has used the words kharra raki'an (fell in ruku') here, but All the commentators arc agreed that this implies kharra sajid-an (fell in sajdah: prostration). On this very basis, Imam Abu Hanifah and his companions have expressed the opinion that one may perform only a ruku' instead of a sajdah, when one recites or hears being recited a verse requiring a sajdah in the Prayer or outside it. For when Allah has used the word ruku' to imply sajdah, it becomes obvious that ruku' can represent sajdah. Imam Khattabi, a Shafe'ite jurist, also holds the same opinion, Though this opinion in itself is sound and reasonable, we do not find any precedent in the practices of the Holy Prophet and his Companions that they might have been content with performing a ruku' only instead of a sajdah on a verse requiring a sajdah. Therefore, one should act upon the view only when there is an obstruction in performing the sajdah; it would be wrong to make it a practice, Imam Abu Hanifah and his companions themselves also did not intend that it should be made a practice; they only ruled that it was permissible. 
Muhammad Asad Explanation: The term khulata' (sing. khalit) denotes, literally, "people who mix [i.e., are familiar or intimate] with others or with one another". In the present instance it evidently alludes to the "brotherhood" between the two mysterious litigants, and is therefore best rendered as "kinsmen".

Sc., "and that he had failed" (in the matter of Bath-Sheba).

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: The circumstances were mysterious; the accusation was novel; it was not clear why the unjust brother should also have come with the complainant, risking his life in climbing the wall to evade the guard, and he certainly said nothing. David took them literally, and began to preach about the falsehood and the fraud of men, who should be content with what they have, but who always covet more.

Especially, said David, is it wrong for brothers or men in partnership to take advantage of each other; but how few are the men who are righteous? He had in his mind his own devotion and justice. But lo and behold! the men disappeared as mysteriously as they had come. It was then that David realised that the incident had been a trial or temptation-a test of his moral or spiritual fibre! Great though he was as a king, and just though he was as a judge, the moment that he thought of these things in self- pride, his merit vanished. In himself he was as other men: it was Allah's grace that gave him wisdom and justice, and he should have been humble in the sight of Allah.

Judged by ordinary standards, David had done no wrong; he was a good and just king. Judged by the highest standard of those nearest to Allah (Muqarraban, lvi. 11), the thought of self-pride and self-righteousness had to be washed off from him by his own act of self-realisation and repentance. This was freely accepted by Allah, as the next verse shows. A) Some commentators say that David's fault here was his hastiness in judging before hearing the case of the other party. When he realised his lapse, he fell down in repentance.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: The actual words are: لَقَدْ ظَلَمَكَ بِسُؤَالِ نَعْجَتِكَ اِلٰي نِعَاجِهٖ. The word سُؤَالِ here connotes “demand.” It is commonly used in this meaning in Arabic. The preposition اِلٰي after it shows that it encompasses the meaning of ضَمَّ (add) or خَلَطَ (mix).

Ie., are guilty of injustice in this way by converting their 99 ewes into 100.

The actual words are: وَ خَرَّ رَاكِعًا وَّ اَنَابَ. The word خَرَّ shows that he did not merely kneel down; he even prostrated.

فَغَفَرۡنَا لَهٗ ذٰ لِكَ​ ؕ وَاِنَّ لَهٗ عِنۡدَنَا لَزُلۡفٰى وَحُسۡنَ مَاٰبٍ‏ 
( 25 )   So We forgave him that; and indeed, for him is nearness to Us and a good place of return.
This shows that the Prophet David had certainly committed an error, and it was an error which bore some resemblance with the case of the ewes. Therefore, when he gave a decision on it, he at once realized that he was being put to the test. But the nature of the error was not such as could be forgiven, or if forgiven, it would have deposed him from his high rank. Allah Himself says: "When he fell down prostrate and repented, he was not only forgiven but his high rank in the world and the Hereafter also remained unaffected. 

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: What was this mistake? The Qur’ān has not specified it; hence we too should not strive to look for it. What most can be said in the light of the dispute that came to his knowledge in the form of a parable is that as a king a desire probably arose in his heart to exercise control on someone’s asset for private or public use or this desire was expressed by him in words. Ultimately, he was admonished by God in this way.

يٰدَاوٗدُ اِنَّا جَعَلۡنٰكَ خَلِيۡفَةً فِى الۡاَرۡضِ فَاحۡكُمۡ بَيۡنَ النَّاسِ بِالۡحَقِّ وَلَا تَتَّبِعِ الۡهَوٰى فَيُضِلَّكَ عَنۡ سَبِيۡلِ اللّٰهِ​ ؕ اِنَّ الَّذِيۡنَ يَضِلُّوۡنَ عَنۡ سَبِيۡلِ اللّٰهِ لَهُمۡ عَذَابٌ شَدِيۡدٌۢ بِمَا نَسُوۡا يَوۡمَ الۡحِسَابِ‏ 
( 26 )   [We said], "O David, indeed We have made you a successor upon the earth, so judge between the people in truth and do not follow [your own] desire, as it will lead you astray from the way of Allah." Indeed, those who go astray from the way of Allah will have a severe punishment for having forgotten the Day of Account.
This is the warning that Allah gave the Prophet David on accepting his repentance along with giving him the good news of exalting his rank. This by itself shows that the error that he had committed contained an clement of the desires of the flesh; it also pertained to the abuse of power and authority; and it was an act which was unworthy of a just and fair-minded ruler.

We are confronted with three questions here:

(1) What was the error that the Prophet David committed?

(2) Why has Allah made only tacit allusions to it instead of mentioning it openly and directly?

(3) What is its relevance to the present context?

The people who have studied the Bible (the Holy Book of the Jews and Christians) are not unaware that in this Book the Prophet David has been accused clearly of committing adultery with the wife of Uriah the Hittite and then marrying her after having Uriah intentionally slain in a battle. It has also been alleged that this same woman, who had surrendered herself to the Prophet David, while being another man's wife, was the mother of the Prophet Solomon. This story is found with all its details in chapters 11 and 12 of the Second Book of Samuel in the Old Testament. It had been included in it centuries before the revelation of the Qur'an. Any Jew or Christian who read his Holy Book anywhere in the world, or heard it read, was not only aware of this story but also believed in it as true. It spread through them, and even in the present time no book is written in the West on the history of the Israelites and the Hebrew religion, in which this charge against the Prophet David is not repeated. This well known story also contains the following:

And the Lord sent Nathan onto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor. The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds: But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe Iamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter. And there Came a traveler Unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man' Iamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him. And David's anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die: And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity. And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; And I gavc thee thy master's house, and thy master's wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in his sight? Thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon." (2 Samuel, ch 12: 1-9).

When this story was so well known among the people there was no need that a detailed account of it should have been given in the Qur'an, nor is it the way of Allah to mention such things openly in His Holy Book. That is why only tacit allusions have been made to it here as well as pointed out what the actual event was and what the people of the Book have turned it into. The actual event as one clearly understands from the aforesaid statement of the Qur'an was:

The Prophet David peace be upon him) had only expressed this desire before Uriah (or whatever be the name of the man) that he should divorce his wife; as this desire had been expressed not by a common man but by an illustrious king and a great Prophet before a member of the public, the man was finding himself constrained to yield to it even in the absence of any compulsion. On this occasion, before the man could act as the Prophet David had desired, two righteous men of the nation suddenly made their appearance before David and presented before him this matter in the form of an imaginary case. At first, the Prophet David thought it was a real case, and so gave his decision after hearing it. But as soon as he uttered the words of the decision, his conscience gave the warning that the parable precisely applied to the case between him and the person, and that the act which he was describing as an injustice had issued forth from his own person. As soon as he realized this, he fell down prostrate, repented and reversed his decision. "

The question, as to how this event took the ugly shape as related in the Bible, also becomes obvious after a little consideration. It appears that the Prophet David had come to know of the unique qualities of the woman through some means and had started thinking that she should be the queen of the country instead of being the wife of an ordinary officer, Overwhelmed by the thought he expressed the desire before her husband that he should divorce her. He did not see any harm in it because it was not looked upon as anything improper among the Israelites. It was an ordinary thing among them that if a person happened to like the wife of another, he would freely request him to give her up for him. Nobody minded such a request, and often it so happened that friends would divorce their wives for each other's sake of their own accord, so that the other may marry her. However, when the Prophet David expressed this desire, he did not realize that the expression of such a desire could be without compulsion and coercion when expressed by a common Man, but it could never be so when expressed by a king. When his attention was drawn to this aspect of the matter through a parable, he gave up his desire immediately, and the thing was forgotten. But afterwards when, without any desire or planning on his part, the woman's husband fell martyr on the battlefield, and he married her, the evil genius of the Jews started concocting stories and this mischievous mentality became even more acute after a section of the Israelites turned hostile to the Prophet . Solomon. (Please see E. N . 56 of An-Naml). Under these motives the story was invented that the Prophet David, God forbid, had seen Uriah's wife washing herself from the roof of his palace. He had her called to his house and committed adultery with her and she had conceived. Then he had sent Uriah on the battle-front to fight the children of Ammon, and had commanded Joab, the army commander, to appoint him in the forefront of the battle where he should be killed. And when he was killed, he married his widow, and from the same woman the Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him) was born. The wicked people described all these false accusations in their "Holy Book", so that they should go on reading it generation after generation and slandering the two most illustrious men of their community, who were their greatest benefactors after the Prophet Moses.

A section of the commentators of the Qur'an has almost entirely accepted these tales that have reached them through the Israelites. They have dropped only that pan of these traditions in which mention has been made of the accusation of adultery against the Prophet David and the woman's having conceived. The rest of the story. as found in the traditions reproduced by them is the same as it was well known among the Israelites. Another group of the commentators has altogether denied that any such act was ever committed by the Prophet David, which bore any resemblance with the case of the ewes. Instead of this, they have put forward such interpretations of this story as are wholly baseless, unauthentic and without relevance to the context of the Qur'an itself. But among the Muslim commentators themselves there are some who have accepted the truth and the facts of the story through the clear references made to it in the Qur'an. Here are, for instance, some of their views:

Both Masruq and Said bin Jubair have related this saying of Hadrat 'Abdullah bin 'abbas. "The only thing that the Prophet David did was that he expressed his desire before the woman' husband that he should give up his wife for him. " lbn Jarir).

'Allama Zamakhshari writes in his commentary Al-Kashshaf. 'The way Allah has narrated the story of the Prophet David indicates that he had only expressed his desire before the man that he should leave his wife for him. "

'Allama Abu Bakr al-Jassas has expressed the opinion that the woman was not the other man's wedded wife but was only his betrothed. The Prophet David had also asked for the same woman's hand in marriage. This earned him Allah's displeasure, for he had asked for her hand in spite of the fact that another Muslim had already asked for her hand, and the Prophet David had several wives already with him in his house. (Ahkam al-Qur an). Some other commentators also have expressed the same opinion, but this does not entirely conform to what the Qur'an has said. The words of the suitor as related in the Qur'an are to the effect: "I have only one ewe; he says: Give this ewe also in my charge." The Prophet David also said the same thing in his decision: "This person has certainly wronged you in demanding your ewe to be added to his ewes." This parable could apply to the case between the Prophet David and Uriah only in case the woman was the latter's wife. Had it been the cast of asking for the woman's hand when another Muslim had already asked for her hand, the parable would have been like this: "I desired to have an ewe, ard this man said: Icave this also for me."

Qadi Abu Bakr Ibn al-'Arabi has discussed this question in detail in his Ahkam al-Qur an and concluded: "What actually happened was just that the Prophet David asked one of his men to leave his wife for him and made this demand seriously ...The Qur'an does not say that the man gave up his wife on this demand and the Prophet David then married her and the Prophet Solomon was born of her womb . . . W hat displeased Allah was that he asked the woman's husband to leave her for him. This act, even if otherwise lawful, was unworthy of the office of Prophethood; that is why he earned Allah's displeasure and was admonished. "

This commentary fits in well with the context in which this story has been told. A little consideration of the context shows that it has been related in the Qur'an on this occasion for two objects. The first object is to exhort the Holy Prophet to patience, and for this purpose he has been addressed and told: ¦Have patience on what these people say against you, and remember Our servant David." That is, 'You are being accused only of sorcery and lying, but Our servant David was even accused of adultery and having a person killed willfully, by the wicked people: therefore, bear up against what you may have to hear from these people." The other object is to warn the disbelievers to the effect: ¦You are committing all sorts of excesses in the world with impunity, but the God in Whose Godhead you are committing these misdeeds does not spare anyone from being called to account. Even if a favorite and beloved servant of His happens to commit but a minor error, He calls him to strict accountability. For this very object the Holy Prophet has been asked: 'Tell them the story of Our servant David, who was a man of high character, but when he happened to commit sin, We did not even spare him but condemned him severely' . "

In this regard, there is another misunderstanding which mast also be removed. The suitor in his parable said that his brother had 99 ewes and he had only one ewe, which he was demanding from him. From this one gets the idea that perhaps the Prophet David had 99 wives, and by having another he wanted to make their number 100. But, in fact, it is not necessary that every minor part of the parable should be literally applicable to the case between the Prophet David and Uriah the Hittite. In common idiom the numbers ten, twenty, fifty, etc. are mentioned to express plurality and not to indicate the exact number of something. When a man tells another that he has told him something ten times over, he only means to stress that he has been told that thing over and over again. The same is also true here. By means of the parable the suitor wanted the Prophet David to realize that he already had several wives with him, and even then he desired to have the only wife of the other man. This same thing has been cited by the commentator Nisaburi from Hadrat Hasan Basri: `The Prophet David did not have 99 wives: this is only a parable." (For a detailed and well-reasoned discussion of this story, see our book Tafhimat, vol. II, pp. 29.44).

Yusuf Ali  Explanation:  Cf. ii. 30, and note. David's kingly power, and the gifts of wisdom, justice, psalmody, and prophethood were bestowed on him as a trust. These great gifts were not to be a matter of self-glory.

As stated in note for verse 21 above, this vision and its moral are nowhere to be found in the Bible. Those who think they see a resemblance to the Parable of the prophet Nathan (2 Samuel, xii. 1-12) have nothing to go upon but the mention of the "one ewe" here and the "one little ewe-lamb" in Nathan's Parable. The whole story is here different, and the whole atmosphere is different. The Biblical title given to David, "a man after God's own heart" is refuted by the Bible itself in the scandalous tale of heinous crimes attributed to David in chapters xi and xii. of 2 Samuel, viz., adultery, fraudulent dealing with one of his own servants, and the contriving of his murder. Further, in chapter xiii, we have the story of rapes, incest, and fratricide in David's own household! The fact is that passages like those are mere chroniques scandaleuses, i.e., narratives of scandalous crimes of the grossest character. The Muslim idea of David is that of a man just and upright, endowed with all the virtues, in whom even the least thought of self-elation has to be washed off by repentance and forgiveness.

Ruku Three: Verses 27-40:

وَمَا خَلَقۡنَا السَّمَآءَ وَالۡاَرۡضَ وَمَا بَيۡنَهُمَا بَاطِلًا ​ؕ ذٰ لِكَ ظَنُّ الَّذِيۡنَ كَفَرُوۡا​ۚ فَوَيۡلٌ لِّلَّذِيۡنَ كَفَرُوۡا مِنَ النَّارِؕ‏
( 27 )   And We did not create the heaven and the earth and that between them aimlessly. That is the assumption of those who disbelieve, so woe to those who disbelieve from the Fire.
That is, "We have not created anything in the world merely in sport and fun so that it may be without any wisdom and purpose and justice, and there may acme no result from any act, good or bad." This is the conclusion of the preceding discourse as well as an introduction to the following theme. The object of this statement as a conclusion to the discourse is to impress the following truth: ¦Man has not been left to wander about at will in the world, nor is this world a lawless kingdom that one may do here whatever one likes with impunity." As an introduction to the following theme, the sentence is meant to say: "The person who does not believe in the meting out of the rewards and punishments, and thinks that both the good and the evil people will ultimately end up in the dust after death and that nobody will be called to account, nor will anyone be rewarded for good or punished for evil, in fact, regards the world as a plaything and its Creator a senseless player, and thinks that by creating the world and man in it, the Creator of the Universe has committed a useless thing. The same thing has been stated in different ways at several places in the Qur'an, e.g. ¦Did you think that We created you without any purpose, and that you would never be brought back to Us?" (AI-Mu'minun: 115).

"We have not created the heavens and the earth and whatever lies between them merely in sport: We have created them with the truth, but most of them do not know. For the resurrection of them all the appointed time is the Day of Decision." (Ad-Dukhan: 38-40). 

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Cf. 3:191 . The above statement appears in the Qur'an in several formulations; see, in particular, note on 10:5 . In the present instance it connects with the mention of the Day of Reckoning in the preceding verse, thus leading organically from a specific aspect of David's story to a moral teaching of wider import.

A deliberate rejection of the belief that the universe - and, in particular, human life - is imbued with meaning and purpose leads unavoidably - though sometimes imperceptibly - to a rejection of all moral imperatives, to spiritual blindness and, hence, to suffering in the life to come.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Cf. iii. 191. Unbelief is the subjective negation of a belief in Order, Beauty, Purpose, and Eternal Life. Unbelief is to Faith as Chaos is to Cosmos, as the Fire of Misery is to the Garden of Bliss.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: The premise stated is corroborated here: if a Day of Judgement does not come about, it would mean that this world is a place of evil that has no purpose and its creator is a merry-maker who has created this world for his amusement; no distinction exists in it between good and evil. Such statements obviously can be given by those who have decided to accept everything except the Hereafter however indisputable the arguments in its favour may be.

اَمۡ نَجۡعَلُ الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَعَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ كَالۡمُفۡسِدِيۡنَ فِى الۡاَرۡضِ اَمۡ نَجۡعَلُ الۡمُتَّقِيۡنَ كَالۡفُجَّارِ‏ 
( 28 )   Or should we treat those who believe and do righteous deeds like corrupters in the land? Or should We treat those who fear Allah like the wicked?
That is, "Do you think it is reasonable and fair that both the pious and the wicked should be treated alike in the end? Do you regard this concept as satisfying that the pious man should not get any reward for his piety and the wrongdoer should not receive any punishment for his sins? Obviously, if there is to be no Hereafter, and there is to be no accountability and no rewards and no punishments for human acts, it negates both Allah's wisdom and His justice, and the entire order of the Universe becomes a blind order. On this assumption there remains no motive for doing good and no deterrent against evil. God forbid, if the Godhead of God should be such a lawless kingdom, the one who leads a pious lift in the face of all kinds of hardships in the world and endeavors to reform the people, would be a foolish person, and the one who gains benefits by committing All kinds of excesses and enjoys sinful pleasures of life, would be a wise man."

Muhammad Asad Explanation: By implication, belief in resurrection, judgment and life after death is postulated in this passage (verses {27-28}) as a logical corollary - almost a premise - of all belief in God: for, since we see that many righteous people suffer all manner of misery and deprivations in this world, while, on the other hand, many of the wicked and depraved enjoy their lives in peace and affluence, we must either assume that God does not exist (because the concept of injustice is incompatible with that of Godhead), or - alternatively - that there is a hereafter in which both the righteous and the unrighteous will harvest in full what they had morally sown during their lives on earth.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: The reference to the Hereafter at the end of verse 26 above is of a piece with the whole tenor of this Surah, which deals with the superiority of the spiritual kingdom and the Hereafter. If there were no Hereafter, how could you reconcile the inequalities of this world? Would not the Unbelievers be right in acting as if all Creation and all life were futile? But there is a Hereafter and Allah will not treat the Good and Evil alike. He is just and will fully restore the balance disturbed in this life.

كِتٰبٌ اَنۡزَلۡنٰهُ اِلَيۡكَ مُبٰرَكٌ لِّيَدَّبَّرُوۡۤا اٰيٰتِهٖ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ اُولُوا الۡاَلۡبَابِ‏ 
( 29 )   [This is] a blessed Book which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded.
The Qur'an has been called a blessed Book in the sense that it is highly useful for man: it gives him the best guidance to improve and reform his life: by following it he has only to gain and nothing to lose.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Revelation is not a mere chance or haphazard thing. It is a real blessing-among the greatest that Allah has bestowed on man. By meditation on it in an earnest spirit man may learn of himself, and his relation to nature around him and to Allah the Author of all. Men of understanding may, by its help, resolve all genuine doubts that there may be in their minds, and learn the true lessons of spiritual life.

Verses 30-40: Story of Solomon

وَوَهَبۡنَا لِدَاوٗدَ سُلَيۡمٰنَ​ ؕ نِعۡمَ الۡعَبۡدُ​ ؕ اِنَّـهٗۤ اَوَّابٌ ؕ ‏ 
( 30 )   And to David We gave Solomon. An excellent servant, indeed he was one repeatedly turning back [to Allah].
The Prophet Solomon has been mentioned already at the followings places: AI-Baqarah: 102, Bani Isra'il: 5, AI-Anbiya': 78-82, An-Naml: 15-44, Saba: 12-14. 

Muhammad Asad Explanation: I.e., he would always think of God, as illustrated by the example given in the sequence.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: The greatest in this life have yet need of this spiritual blessing: without it all worldly good is futile. Referring back to the story of David, we are now introduced to Solomon, who was a great king but greater still because he served Allah and turned to Him. The Qur'an, unlike the old Testament, represents Solomon as a righteous king, not as an idolater, doing "evil in the sight of the Lord" (1 Kings. xi. 6).

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: The way this is mentioned here shows that Solomon (sws) was given to David (sws) as a reward for his thorough deeds. Solomon ruled from 965 to 926 BC.

This is God’s testimony on the servitude of Solomon (sws). After this, what else can a believer desire in this world?

"No doubt, He was very penitent towards God" This attribute has been mentioned for David (sws) as well. It is thus evident that in the case of this attribute he was a reflection of his illustrious father. Imām Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī writes:
… The real majesty of a human being is that his heart is always attentive towards his God, and if there is any mistake in this regard he hurries back to God in the blink of an eye. It is this penitent attitude which the Almighty likes most in His creatures. A person is able to gain much more than what he loses because of a sin if he truly repents later. (Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 6, 530)

اِذۡ عُرِضَ عَلَيۡهِ بِالۡعَشِىِّ الصّٰفِنٰتُ الۡجِيَادُ ۙ‏ 
( 31 )   [Mention] when there were exhibited before him in the afternoon the poised [standing] racehorses.
The words as-sefinat-ul- jiyad " الصّٰفِنٰتُ الۡجِيَادُ ۙ‏ " in the original imply the horses, which are very calm and quiet when they stand, and very fast-moving when they run. 

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: The passages about David and Solomon have been variously interpreted by the Commentators. The versions which I have suggested have good authority behind them, though I have followed my own judgment in filling in the details.

Safinat: literally, horses that stand, when at ease, on three legs, firmly planted, with the hoof of the fourth leg resting lightly on the ground. This would imply breeding and a steady temper, to match with their quality of swiftness mentioned in the next clause.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: Earlier, the penitent character of David (sws) was highlighted through an example; now an example of the same trait is being expressed about Solomon (sws).

This sentence has not been expressed by the Qur’ān in words, but the succeeding sentence points towards it.

فَقَالَ اِنِّىۡۤ اَحۡبَبۡتُ حُبَّ الۡخَيۡرِ عَنۡ ذِكۡرِ رَبِّىۡ​ۚ حَتّٰى تَوَارَتۡ بِالۡحِجَابِ‏ 
( 32 )   And he said, "Indeed, I gave preference to the love of good [things] over the remembrance of my Lord until the sun disappeared into the curtain [of darkness]."
The Arabic word khair in the text is used for abundance of wealth as well as for horses metaphorically. As the Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him) had kept these horses for fighting in the way of Allah, he called them khair.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: The story is not found in the Old Testament. I interpret it to mean that, like his father David, Solomon was also most meticulous in not allowing the least motive of self to be mixed up with his spiritual virtues. He was fond of horses; he had great armies and wealth; but he used them all in Allah's service. Cf. xxvii. 19; xxvii. 40. His battles were not fought for lust of blood, but as Jihad in the cause of righteousness. His love of horses was not like that of a mere race-goer or of a warrior: there was a spiritual element in it. He loved by a kind of love which was spiritual,-the love of the highest Good. Some commentators interpret this verse saying that Solomon, peace be upon him, was so engrossed in the inspection of his fine horses that he completely forgot to say his 'Asr prayer before the sunset'.

His review of his fine horses was interrupted by his evening devotions, but he resumed it after his devotions.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: The word اَحۡبَبۡتُ is used in the verse with the preposition عَنْ. This indicates that the verb encompasses the meaning of evasion or heedlessness. Moreover, this too is evident that the prayer that was missed was the ‘aṣr prayer because this incident happened in the last part of the day before the setting of the sun. Here it should be kept in mind that the timings of the prayer have always remained the same in the religion of the prophets.

The actual words are: حَتّٰي تَوَارَتْ بِالْحِجَابِ. The subject of the verb تَوَارَتۡ which is الشَّمْس is suppressed here. Imām Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī has explained it. He writes:
… In Arabic, verbs and pronouns occur in such a way for known and famous objects. The subject of a verb or the antecedent of a pronoun is understood through contextual indications. Here the word عَشِيّ is a contextual indication to the subject of the verb تَوَارَتْ and hence it was not needed at all to be expressed in words. (Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 6, 531)
رُدُّوۡهَا عَلَىَّ ؕ فَطَفِقَ مَسۡحًۢا بِالسُّوۡقِ وَ الۡاَعۡنَاقِ‏ 
( 33 )   [He said], "Return them to me," and set about striking [their] legs and necks.
There is a difference of opinion among the commentators about the translation and commentary of these verses.

One section of them interprets them as follows:
The Prophet Solomon became so absorbed in reviewing the horses and watching their races, that he forgot to offer his 'Asr Prayer, or according to some others, to perform certain devotions that he used to perform before the sunset. Then when the sun went down, he commanded that the horses be brought back, and when they came back, the Prophet Solomon started slashing them with the sword, or in other words, slaughtering them as a sacrifice to Allah, because they had caused him to become heedless of the remembrance of Allah. Accordingly, the verses have been translated thus: "And he :aid: I so preferred the love of this wealth that I became heedless of the remembrance (the 'Asr Prayer, or the special devotions) of my Lord till (the sun) went down (behind the veil of the west). (Then he commanded : ) bring them back, (and when the horses came back) he began to stroke their shanks and necks (with the sword)." Although this commentary has been given by some major commentators, it is not plausible for the reason that in this the commentator has to add three things from himself, which have no basis whatever. In the first place, he has to assume that the Prophet Solomon's 'Asr Prayer was lost in the occupation, or some special devotions that he used to perform at that time, whereas the words of the Qur'an are only to the effect: "I so preferred this wealth that I became heedless of the remembrance of my Lord. " In these there is no ground for taking any word for the `Asr Prayer or the special devotions. Secondly, he also assumes that the sun set where as there is no mention of the sun whatever. On the contrary, when one reads the words hatta tawarar bil-hijab (when they disappeared from sight) one's mind automatically turns to as-safinat ul jiyad (well-bred horses) which have been mentioned in the preceding verse. Thirdly, he also has to assume that the Prophet Solomon did not simply stroke the shins and necks of the horses with the hand but stroked them with the sword, whereas the Qur'an does not contain the words mashan-bis-saif or any other pointer from which stroking may be taken to mean stroking with the sword. We have a fundamental difference with this kind of the commentary. In our opinion, only in four cases it would be right to interpret the words of the Qur'an in other than their normally accepted meaning: (1) Either there should be a pointer to it in the words of the Qur'an itself; or (2) there should be an allusion to it at some other place in the Qur'an; or (3) an explanation of it should be afforded by some authentic Hadith; or (4) it should have some other reliable source, e.g., if it pertains to history, there should be an historical evidence to support it; if it pertains to the manifestations of the universe, there should be authentic scientific knowledge to substantiate it; and if it pertains to the Shari'ah values, the sources of Islamic law should explain it. In the absence of any of these, we do not think it is right to invent a story on the basis of one's own imagination and add it to the words of the Qur'an.
One section of the commentators has differed a little from the about translation and commentary. They say that:
The pronoun in both hatta tawarat bil-hijab and ruddu-ha 'alayya turns only to the sun. That Is, when the `Asr Prayer was lost and the sun went down behind the veil of the west, the Prophet Solomon said to the workers of destiny: "Turn the sun back so that the `Asr time comes back for me to offer the Prayer." So, the sun retreated and he performed his Prayer. Hut this commentary is even more unacceptable than the previously mentioned one not because Allah is powerless to bring the sun back, but because Allah has made no mention of it anywhere. On the contrary, if such a wonderful miracle had actually been worked for the sake of the Prophet Solomon, it would certainly be worthy of mention. Moreover, if the extraordinary event of the returning of the sun after having set had actually taken place; the history of the would would never be without it. In support of this commentary these commentators _present some Ahadith also in order to prove that the returning of the sun after having set is not a rare event that happened only once, but it has happened several times. There is the mention of bringing the sun back in connection with the Holy Prophet's Ascension (mi'raj); the sun was also brought back on the occasion of the Battle of the Trench for the Holy Prophet, and also for Hadrat `Ali, when the Holy Prophet was sleeping with his head in Hadrat Ali's lap and his 'Asr Prayer was lost: then the Holy Prophet had prayed for the return of the sun and it had returned. But the reasoning from these traditions is even weaker than the commentary in support of which they have been presented. Ibn Taimiyyah has proved as fabricated the tradition about Hadrat `Ali after a detailed discussion of its chains and transmitters. Imam Ahmad says it has no basis, and Ibn Jauzi says that it is without any doubt a forged tradition. The tradition of the sun's being brought back on the occasion of the Battle of the Trench also is weak according to some traditionalists and fabricated according to others. As far as the tradition regarding the event of the Ascension is concerned, the truth about it is that when, the Holy Prophet was describing what had happened in the Night of Ascension, before the disbelievers of Makkah, they asked for a proof of it. The Holy Prophet replied that on the way from Jerusalem he had seen a caravan at such and such a place, which had met with such and such an accident. When asked as to when that caravan would reach Makkah, the Holy Prophet named the day. When the day came, the people of the Quraish waited for the caravan all day till the sun began to set. On this occasion the Holy Prophet prayed that the sun should not set till the caravan had arrived. So, the caravan actually arrived before the sunset. Some reporters even have stated that the day on that occasion had been enhanced by an hour, and the sun had stood still for that long. The question is: Are such traditions sufficient evidence for the proof of such an extraordinary event? As we have said above, the returning of the sun, or its standing still for an hour, is no ordinary event. Had such an event actually taken place, it would have become well known the world over. Its mention and narration could not remain restricted to only a few reporters.
The third section of the commentators interprets these verses as any unbiased person would interpret them from these words. According to this commentary, what actually happened was this: When a squadron of fine, well bred horses was presented before the Prophet Solomon, he said: "I love this wealth not for the sake of personal glory or desire but for the cause of raising the Word of my Lord." Then he ordered that the horses run a race, and they disappeared from sight. Then he ordered that they be brought back, and when they were brought back, according to Ibn `Abbas: "He started passing his hand on their necks and shanks with love." This same commentary is correct in our opinion, because it corresponds to the words of the Qur'an, and for the sake of the full meaning, nothing needs to be added to it, which may neither be in the Qur'an, nor in any authentic Hadith, nor in the Israelite history.

Besides, one should also note that Allah has narrated this event immediately after using epithets like ni'm al-'abd, inna-hu awwab (an excellent servant, who turned to His Lord over and over again) for the Prophet Solomon. This clearly shows that the object is to relate this message: Behold, what a good servant of Ours he was! He loved the means of kingly pomp and glory not for the sake of the world but for Our sake! After watching - and reviewing his grand cavalry he did not boast of his power and grandeur like the worldly rulers but even at that time he remembered only Us. 

Muhammad Asad Explanation: The story of Solomon's love of beautiful horses is meant to show that all true love of God is bound to be reflected in one's realization of, and reverence for, the beauty created by Him.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation:  Like all lovers of horses, he patted them on their necks and passed his hands over their fore-legs and was proud of having them-not as vanities but as a "lover of Good".

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: The word طَفِقَ indicates that Solomon (sws) was overcome with emotion. It was similar to the one with which ‘Umar (rta) was overcome when he heard that the Prophet (sws ) had died. As mentioned earlier, the Qur’ān has narrated this incident to express Solomon’s zeal for repentance and his fervour to turn to God, and, viewed thus, it no doubt is a splendid incident. One should not try to deduce principles of religion from it.

وَلَقَدۡ فَتَنَّا سُلَيۡمٰنَ وَاَلۡقَيۡنَا عَلٰى كُرۡسِيِّهٖ جَسَدًا ثُمَّ اَنَابَ‏ 
( 34 )   And We certainly tried Solomon and placed on his throne a body; then he returned.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: To explain this verse, some of the commentators advance the most fantastic stories, almost all of them going back to Talmudic sources. Razi rejects them all, maintaining that they are unworthy of serious consideration. Instead, he plausibly suggests that the "body" (jasad) upon Solomon's throne is an allusion to his own body, and - metonymically - to his kingly power, which was bound to remain "lifeless" so long as it was not inspired by God-willed ethical values. (It is to be borne in mind that in classical Arabic a person utterly weakened by illness, worry or fear, or devoid of moral values, is often described as "a body without a soul".) In other words, Solomon's early trial consisted in his inheriting no more than a kingly position, and it rested upon him to endow that position with spiritual essence and meaning.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: What was the trial of Solomon? All the power, wealth, and glory, which were given to him were a spiritual trial to him. They might have turned another man's head, but he was staunch and true, and while he enjoyed and used all the power he had-over the jinns, men, and the forces of nature, (see below), he kept his mind steady to the service of Allah. Cf. viii. 28, where "your possessions and your progeny" are declared to be "but a trial".

"The body on his throne" has been variously interpreted. The interpretation that appeals more is the following: Sulaiman was at his utmost height of power and glory. Allah Ta'ala tested him with a severe illness during which he was no more than a lifeless body on his throne. He came to realize how weak and powerless he was in the eyes of Allah. In this state of weakness and misery he turned to Allah with humility and humbleness.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: Ie., Solomon (sws) was made so helpless and sorrowful that it seemed that only a souless body was lying on the throne. This is a reference to the situation in which his enemies had occupied most of his territory and spread such disorder in the remaining ones that the system of governance was afflicted with great disruption. It is evident from history that during that time Solomon (sws) stayed confined to his capital city. The Qur’ān has depicted this whole situation in a very eloquent way by saying that the likes of a corpse was placed on the throne by the Almighty.

Ie., he did not lose hope even in such circumstances. In fact, thinking that he must have been punished for some mistake, turned to God in repentance.

قَالَ رَبِّ اغۡفِرۡ لِىۡ وَهَبۡ لِىۡ مُلۡكًا لَّا يَنۡۢبَغِىۡ لِاَحَدٍ مِّنۡۢ بَعۡدِىۡ​ۚ اِنَّكَ اَنۡتَ الۡوَهَّابُ‏ 
( 35 )   He said, "My Lord, forgive me and grant me a kingdom such as will not belong to anyone after me. Indeed, You are the Bestower."
In view of the contest, the real object here is to relate this event; the preceding verses are an introduction to it. Just as above this, first the Prophet David was praised, then the event narrated by which he was put to temptation, then it was said that Allah Almighty does not spare even such a beloved servant from accountability, then about his noble nature it was said that as soon as he was warned of the temptation, he repented and bowed before Allah and withheld himself from the act, so also here the sequence is like this: First, the Prophet Solomon's high rank and his deep sense of devotion has been mentioned, then it is said that he also was put to the test, then it has been stated that when a mere body was placed on his throne, he immediately felt warned on his error, and pleading the forgiveness of his Lord, withdrew from the act, because of which he was involved in the temptation. In other words, Allah by means of these two stories wants to impress two things upon the reader simultaneously: (1) Not to speak of the common men, even high-ranking Prophets were not spared from His strict accountability; and (2) the right attitude for man is not to brag and feel proud after committing an error, but to bow down humbly before his Lord as soon as he realizes his sin. It was the result of this attitude that Allah not only forgave the mistakes of those illustrious men but blessed them with still more favors and kindness.

Here, the question again arises as to what was the temptation in which the Prophet Solomon was involved; what is the meaning of placing a mere body on his throne, and what was the nature of the warning on the occurrence of which he repented? In reply to this the commentators have adopted four different points of view:

One section of them has related a long story whose details are disputed, but their resume is this: The error committed by the Prophet Solomon was either that one of his wives continued to worship the idols in the palace for forty days and he remained unaware of it, or that he remained confined to his residence for a few days and did not attend to redressing of the oppressed people's grievances. For this he was punished as follows: A satan somehow made away with his ring by which he ruled over the jinns, men and wind. As soon as he lost the ring he was deprived of his powers and he remained wandering from place to place for forty days; in the interval the satan continued to rule in the guise of Solomon. The placing of a mere body on Solomon's throne implied this very satan, who had sat on his -throne. Some people have gone to the extent to say that during that period even the chastity of the women in the royal household did not remain safe from the satan. At last from his conduct the ministers and the chiefs and the scholars of the court began to doubt that he was not Solomon. Therefore, when they opened the Torah before him, he fled. On the way the ring fell from his hand in the sea, or he cast it into the sea himself, and a fish swallowed it. Then, somehow the Prophet Solomon came by the fish. When in order to cook it, he cut open its belly he found his ring in it. Then, no sooner did he get the ring than the jinns and men presented themselves humbly before him.--This whole story, from the beginning to the end, is nonsensical and absurd, which the converts from among the Jews and Christians took from the Talmud and other Israelite traditions and spread it among the Muslims. It is strange that some of our well known scholars took these traditions as authentic and cited them as the explanation of the allusions of the Qur'an, whereas neither is there any truth in Solomon's ring, nor could his glorious works be attributed to any ring, nor had the satans been given the power that they might disguise themselves as Prophets and mislead the people, nor can it be imagined about Allah that He would punish a Prophet for an error in such a manner as to enable a satan to corrupt and destroy a whole community, disguised as a prophet. The Qur'an itself repudiates this commentary. In the verses that follow Allah says: When Solomon met with the trial, and he asked Our forgiveness for it, then We subdued the wind and the satans to him. Hut, on the contrary, according to the above commentary, the satans were already under his control by virtue of the ring. It is strange that the scholars who have made this commentary did not care to consider what the subsequent verses say.

The second section of them says that a son was born to the Prophet Solomon after twenty years. The satans feared that if he became king after Solomon, they would continue to remain slaves as they were under him. Therefore, they plotted to kill him. When Solomon came to know of this plot, he hid the child in the clouds so that he was brought up there. This was the temptation in which he was involved: he placed reliance on the protection of the clouds instead of having trust in Allah. For this he was punished in this way that the child died and fell on his throne as a mere body .... This tale also is baseless and is expressly against the Qur`an, for in this also it has been assumed that the winds and satans were already under the Prophet Solomon's control, whereas the Qur'an in clear words has stated their subjection to be an event that took place after the trial.

The third section says that the Prophet Solomon one day swore that he would go in to his 70 wives that night, and from each a warrior would be born, who would fight in the cause of Allah, but while he said this he did not say: Insha Allah: if Allah so wills. Consequently, only one wife conceived and from her also a defective child was born, whom the midwife brought and placed on his throne. This Hadith has been reported by Hadrat Abu Harairah from the Holy Prophet and it has been related by Bukhari and Muslim and other traditionists in several ways. In Bukhari itself this tradition has been related at different places in different ways. At one place the number of the wives has been stated as 60 and at others 70 or 90 or 99 or 100. As far as the chains of the transmitters are concerned, most of the traditions have strong chains, and their authenticity cannot be disputed from the point of view of the principles of reporting. But the subject-matter of the Hadith is patently against reason, and proclaims aloud that such a thing could not have been said by the Holy Prophet, as reported. But, on the contrary, he might have probably mentioned it as an example of the foolish and nonsensical tale-telling of the Jews, and the hearer might have misunderstood that the Holy Prophet himself had stated it as an event. To force the people to accept such traditions only on the strength of their chains of transmitters would be making religion a matter of mockery and jest. Everyone can calculate for himself that even in the longest night of winter the interval between the `Isha` and the Fajr Prayers cannot be of more than ten to cloven hours. If the minimum number of the wives be 60, it would mean that the Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him) went on having intercourse with them continuously for 10 to 11 hours that night at the rate of six wives per hour, without having a moment's rest. Is it practically possible? And can it be expected that the Holy Prophet might have related it as an event? Then in the Hadith nowhere has it been said that the body that had been placed on Solomon's throne, as stated in the Qur'an, implied the malformed child. Therefore, it cannot be claimed that the Holy Prophet had narrated this event as a commentary of this verse. Furthermore, though it is understandable why the Prophet Solomon asked for Allah's forgiveness on the birth of the child, one fails to understand why, along with the prayer for forgiveness, he prayed: "My Lord, grant me a kingdom as may belong to no one else after me. "

Another commentary which Imam Razi has preferred is this: The Prophet Solomon was afflicted with a serious disease, or on account of an impending danger his body had been reduced to a mere skeleton. But this commentary also does not conform to the words of the Qur'an. The Qur'an says: "We put Solomon to the test and placed a mere body on his throne. Then he turned (to Allah). " From these words no one can understand that the mere body implied the body of the Prophet Solomon himself. They clearly show that putting to the test implied some error that. he happened to commit. On this, the way he was given the warning was that a mere body was placed on his throne, and when he realized his error he turned to Allah.

As a matter of fact, this is one of the most difficult places of the Qur'an, and we do not find any indisputable ground for giving a definite and absolute commentary of it. But if the words of the Prophet Solomon's prayer: "My Lord, forgive me, and grant me a kingdom as may belong to no one else after me," are read in the light of the Israelite history, it appears that probably he cherished in his heart the desire that his son should succeed him on the throne so that His kingdom and sovereignty should continue in his own race after him. This same thing has been called a "temptation" for him by Allah, and he realized this when his heir Rehoboam grew up into an unworthy young man, whose ugly manners clearly foretold that he would not be able to sustain the mighty kingdom of the Prophets David and Solomon (peace be upon them) even for a few days. ¦Placing a mere body on his throne" probably means that the son whom he wanted to succeed him on the throne, was an unworthy person. Therefore, he restrained his desire, asked for Allah's forgiveness and prayed that the kingdom should end with him, and he would curb his desire to have it continued in his dynasty. The Israelite history also shows the same thing. The Prophet Solomon did not make any will about his successor, nor made it binding for the people to obey a particular person. After him his ministers put Rehoboam on the throne, but not long afterwards ten tribes of Israel took northern Palestine and broke away, and only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the throne of Jerusalem.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: I.e., a spiritual kingdom, which could not be inherited by anyone and, hence, would not be exposed to envy or worldly intrigue.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: The seeking of worldly Power, even if intended to be used for Allah's service, has a little of Self in it. It may be quite legitimate and even meritorious in ordinary men, but even the thought of it in a Prophet is to be apologised for. See a similar idea in the case of David explained in note to xxxviii. 24 above.

He asked for a Power that he would not misuse, though others might not be able to refrain from misusing it,-such as power over forces of nature or forces of violence (see the next three verses).

Cf. xxxviii. 9 above.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: Ie., in spite of his sins, he be granted such a kingdom which neither he deserves nor anyone after him. 

Imām Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī writes: The real emphasis in this prayer is not to receive an unparalleled majestic kingdom but on a kingdom which a person is not entitled to. Solomon (sws) actually meant that in spite of his folly he be granted a kingdom which no one after him is worthy of. The strong realization of his mistake found in this prayer bears testimony to Solomon’s humility and penitence. (Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 6, 534)

فَسَخَّرۡنَا لَهُ الرِّيۡحَ تَجۡرِىۡ بِاَمۡرِهٖ رُخَآءً حَيۡثُ اَصَابَۙ‏  
( 36 )   So We subjected to him the wind blowing by his command, gently, wherever he directed,
For explanation, see Surah Al-Anbiya`: 81 and accompanying note. However, there is one thing which requires further explanation here. In Surah Al Anbiya` where mention has been made of subjecting the wind for the Prophet Solomon, it has been described as `the strongly blowing wind, but here "which blew gently at his bidding" . This means that the wind in itself was strong and violent as is needed for moving the sailing-ships but it had been made gentle for the Prophet Solomon in the sense that it blew whither-so-ever he wanted it to blow for his commercial fleets. 

Muhammad Asad Explanation: I.e., as a reward for his humility and turning-away from worldly ambitions, implied in the prayer, "Forgive me my sins".

Cf. 21:81 and the corresponding note. For the meaning, in general, of the many legends surrounding the person of Solomon, see note on 21:82 .

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: The implication is that he had made such advancements in the art of sailing that the winds could be controlled through sails to such an extent that even during tempestuous storms, winds became favourable for sailing and his ships would reach wherever he wanted them to without any impediment. The word used for this is اَصَابَ. Ie., could make any destination he wished to be his target and would set off towards it whenever he wanted.

وَالشَّيٰطِيۡنَ كُلَّ بَنَّآءٍ وَّغَوَّاصٍۙ‏ 
( 37 )   And [also] the devils [of jinn] - every builder and diver

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Cf. xxi. 82, and note. Cf. also xxxiv. 12-13 and notes there: in the latter passage the spirits mentioned are called Jinns. The divers were probably those employed in pearl-fisheries.

وَّاٰخَرِيۡنَ مُقَرَّنِيۡنَ فِىۡ الۡاَصۡفَادِ‏ 
( 38 )   And others bound together in shackles.
For explanation, see Al-Anbiya': 82, An-Naml: 17, 39 and notes thereof. "The satans" imply the jinns, and "the satans bound in chains" imply the serving satans, who were fettered and imprisoned as a punishment for making mischief. It is not necessary that the fetters and chains in which those satans were bound might be made of iron and they might appear as bound in them like the human prisoners. In any case, they were imprisoned in a manner that they could neither escape nor were able to commit further mischief. 

Muhammad Asad Explanation: I.e., subdued and, as it were, tamed by him: see note [76] on 21:82 , which explains my rendering, in this context, of shayatln as "rebellious forces".

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Cf. xiv. 49, where the same expression "bound together in fetters" is applied to Sinners on the Day of Judgment.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:  Ie., God had also blessed him with a discipline of knowledge through which mischievous jinn could be subdued. Thus some of them would be assigned tasks while others would remain imprisoned in chains so that when needed they too could be put to work. The words used in the verse are: كُلَّ بَنَّآءٍ وَّ غَوَّاصٍ. The word كُلَّ here is meant to emphasize the attribute. It is like saying: هو العالم كل العالم.

هٰذَا عَطَآؤُنَا فَامۡنُنۡ اَوۡ اَمۡسِكۡ بِغَيۡرِ حِسَابٍ‏ 
( 39 )   [We said], "This is Our gift, so grant or withhold without account."
This verse can have three meanings: (1) "This is Our unlimited gift: you have the authority to give of it freely whomsoever you like and keep it from whomsoever you like;" (2) "this is Our gift: you may give of it to whomsoever you like and keep it from whomsoever you like: you will not be called to account for giving it or keeping it from the people;" and (3) Another meaning of it given by some commentators is: The satans have been placed entirely under your control: you may set free whomsoever you like and restrain whomsoever you like: you will not be held accountable for this." 

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Allah bestowed such abundant powers and bounties on Solomon that they could not be counted or measured: and he was free to give away anything he liked or keep anything he liked. In this was great temptation for an ordinary man. Solomon as a prophet withstood it and asked to be forgiven for power and such a kingdom as others might not be able to use lawfully. His earthly kingdom went to pieces after his death. But his name and fame endure. And what is more, he obtained a place among the Nearest Ones to Allah. See next verse.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: Ie., something which is beyond their estimation and expectation, and which they cannot even imagine.

This is a mention of the authority which every owner has on his assets. The implication is that it was his discretion to give away or to withhold. He could use his authority on his possessions in any way he wanted within moral limits.

وَاِنَّ لَهٗ عِنۡدَنَا لَزُلۡفٰى وَحُسۡنَ مَاٰبٍ‏ 
( 40 )   And indeed, for him is nearness to Us and a good place of return.
Here, the object is to tell that just as a servant's arrogance causes Allah's displeasure and wrath, so does his humility earns Allah's pleasure and approval for him. If a servant commits an error and becomes even more arrogant when warned, he is led to the same fate as is being mentioned in connection with the story of Adam and Satan below. Contrary to this, if a servant happens to commit an error and he repents and bows down before his Lord humbly, he is blessed with such bounties as the Prophets David and Solomon were blessed with. The prayer that Solomon had made after seeking Allah's forgiveness, was literally fulfilled and Allah actually granted him a kingdom as had neither been granted to anyone before him nor bestowed on anyone after him. Having control over the winds and the jinns is an extraordinary power, which has been granted only to the Prophet Solomon and to none else in human history.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: The same words are used of David in xxxviii. 25 above, thus symmetrically closing the argument about the two greatest kings in Israel.

For exegesis / tafsir of verses 41-88 (Ruku 4-5), please refer to Part II of the Surah (tp be published soon).
You may now like to listen to explanation of the sürah by eminent Muslim scholar Nouman Ali Khan:

Please refer to our Reference Page "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, explanation and exegesis of all other chapters of the Qur'an. You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
Reading the Holy Quran should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully. An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Holy Qur'an from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that:
  • The plain translation and explanation has been taken from the Holy Quran officially published by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. [1]
  • The exegesis of the chapters of the Holy Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  [2]
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided by [2], additional input has been interjected from following sources (links to Reference Pages given below):  
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Qur'an Wiki
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
  • Tafsir Nouman Ali Khan
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
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

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