Showing posts with label Noah. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Noah. Show all posts

Sunday 30 April 2023

Supplication Attributed to Prophet Noah (Nuh علي السلام) in Qur'an

Man can never fathom the wisdom behind Divine actions, not even the prophets. We more often than not are momentarily awe stricken when something very unusual happens to us and we lament as if we have been unnecessarily wronged. But when the Divine Wisdom starts to unfold in time, we begin to understand the many WHYs we earlier had.

There are many examples given in this context in the Qur'an which are to stress upon the servants of their Lord to bow to the Divine Will and be rest assured that Divine wisdom is far above the ordinary mindset of humans who cannot fathom the depth of Divine Wisdom.

Today we share the 47th verse of Surah 11. Hud, of one such incident wherein even Prophet Noah (Nuh علي السلام) could not understand the Divine Wisdom when God did not allow him to save his son by taking him onboard the ark before ethe great flood. The Qur'an has cited the story of the drowning of the son of Prophet Noah in the verses earlier to the selected verse, a summary of which is given in explanation of the verse. The purpose of this Godly action is to bring home to the people that Allah's decrees are absolutely just and final.

Noah, in his natural affection and respect for ties of relationship, was overcome with human weakness in wishing to reverse the Decree of Allah. It was not sin but ignorance. His ignorance was corrected by divine inspiration, and he immediately saw the full Truth, acknowledged his error, and asked for Allah's forgiveness and mercy. This is the standard set for us all.

Those who have watched the movie Noah's Ark, may find this incident ill reported as the unfaithful son was taken onboard and created mischief on the ark. It was shown later that the unfaithful son walked away after the ark had settled when the flood water subsided.

Thus, for correcting the misinformation, we share the actual story as narrated in the Qur'an.

قَالَ رَبِّ اِنِّىۡۤ اَعُوۡذُ بِكَ اَنۡ اَسۡـئَلَكَ مَا لَـيۡسَ لِىۡ بِهٖ عِلۡمٌ​ؕ وَاِلَّا تَغۡفِرۡ لِىۡ وَتَرۡحَمۡنِىۡۤ اَكُنۡ مِّنَ الۡخٰسِرِيۡنَ‏ 
(11:47) Noah said: 'My Lord! I take refuge with You that I should ask you for that concerning which I have no knowledge. And if You do not forgive me and do not show mercy to me, I shall be among the losers.

Tafsir Qur'an Wiki:
The admonition is needed lest Noah become one of those who are ignorant of the real ties and relationships, or unaware of God’s promise and its interpretation. For God’s promise has been done and Noah’s true family has been saved. Noah, a true believer and God’s humble servant, trembles with fear that he may have erred in what he said to his Lord. He, therefore, appeals to Him, praying for His forgiveness.

Now that the storm has subsided and the ark has come to rest, the paternal love of a distressed father is once again felt by Noah. He makes this appeal to God: “Noah called out to his Lord, saying: ‘Lord, my son is of my family. Surely Your promise always comes true, and You are the most just of judges.’” (Verse 45) Noah makes clear that he has absolutely no doubt that God is just and wise. Nothing He does is without reason. Yet he has been promised that his family will be safe and now he requests that God fulfil the promise He made to spare his family. God’s answer states the fact which Noah has overlooked. By God’s standards and according to His principles, one’s family are not necessarily one’s blood relations. The true relationship is that of faith. This son was not a believer, and as such he was not a member of the family of Noah, the Prophet.

The answer is firm and emphatic. Indeed, there is an element of reproach and warning in the answer: “‘Noah,’ He answered, ‘he was not of your family; his was unrighteous conduct. Do not question Me about matters of which you have no knowledge. I admonish you lest you become one of the ignorant.” (Verse 46) A great principle of this religion states that the paramount relationship that exists between individuals is not one based on family affinity: “He was not of your family; his was an unrighteous conduct.” Your relationship with him is thus severe despite the fact that he was your own son. Since the basic tie between the two of you does not exist, no other tie has any significance.

Since Noah’s prayer requested the fulfilment of a promise which he felt had not happened, the answer includes an implicit reproach and warning: “Do not question Me about matters of which you have no knowledge. I admonish you lest you become one of the ignorant.” (Verse 46) The admonition is needed lest Noah become one of those who are ignorant of the real ties and relationships, or unaware of God’s promise and its interpretation. For God’s promise has been done and Noah’s true family has been saved. Noah, a true believer and God’s humble servant, trembles with fear that he may have erred in what he said to his Lord. He, therefore, appeals to Him, praying for His forgiveness: “My Lord, I do indeed seek refuge with You from ever questioning You about anything of which I have no knowledge. Unless You grant me, forgiveness and have mercy on me, I shall be among the losers.” (Verse 47)

One of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi notes that this also served as a warning to the Quraish who considered themselves to be immune from the torment of Allah simply because they were the descendants of Prophet Abraham, and had several gods and goddesses as their interceders. Likewise, it was a warning to the Jews and the Christians who cherished, and still cherish, such beliefs, nay, even to those Muslims, who foolishly believe that their saintly ancestors and holy people will guard them against the consequences of the justice of Allah. For the tragic scene depicted here categorically refutes such false expectations and beliefs, saying, "O foolish people! Why do you cherish such false hopes? When Our Prophet Noah could not save his son who was drowned before his very eyes, and his prayer for the son was not only rejected but he was rebuked for making such a prayer, how can you then expect that anyone much less than a Prophet can deliver you from the justice of Allah?"
May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, which is embodiment of commandments of Allah contained in the Qur'ān. May Allah help us have unflinching faith and trust in Divine Wisdom and decisions and should never lament for we do not know that something better has been planned for us by our most caring Lord. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 
وَمَا عَلَيۡنَاۤ اِلَّا الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِيۡنُ‏ 
(36:17) and our duty is no more than to clearly convey the Message.”
That is Our duty is only to convey to you the message that Allah has entrusted us with. Then it is for you to accept it or reject it. We have not been made responsible for making you accept it forcibly, and if you do not accept it, we shall not be seized in consequence of your disbelief, you will yourselves be answerable for your actions on Day of Resurrection.

Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully. It will also help the Muslims to have grasp over social issues and their answers discussed in the Qur'an and other matter related to inter faith so that they are able to discuss issues with non-Muslims with authority based on refences from Qur'an.

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

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

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Invocations / Dua " دُعا " from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
Photo | Reference: | 1 | 2 | 3 |
Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that the exegesis of the chapters of the Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  

In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
In addition, references of other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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Thursday 11 February 2021

Surah Nuh (Noah): Exegesis / Tafsir 71th Chapter of Qur'an

Sūrah Nūḥ " نُوحٌ‎ " (Noah) is the seventy first sürah with 28 āyāt with two rukus, part of the 29th Juzʼ of the Qur'ān. "Nuh" is the name of this Surah as well as the title of its subject matter, for in it, from beginning to the end, the story of the Prophet Nūḥ (Noah, peace be upon him) and the great flood that followed as a wrath of Allah on people who disobeyed the Divine message conveyed to them through Prophet Nuh, has been mentioned. This also is one of the earliest Surahs to be revealed at Makkah.

In this sūrah the story of the Prophet Noah has not been related only for the sake of story telling, but its object is to warn the disbelievers of Makkah, so as to say: "You, O people of Makkah, are adopting towards Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings) the same attitude as the people of the Prophet Noah had adopted towards him; if you do not change this attitude, you too would meet with the same end." This had not been said in so many words anywhere in the Surah, but in the background of the conditions under which this story was narrated to the people of Makkah, this subject itself became obvious.

Note: While studying this Surah one should keep in view the details of the Prophet Noah's story which have been given in the Qur'an in Sūrah Al-Araf: 59-64 Sūrah Yunus: 71,73, Sūrah Hud: 25-49, Sūrah Al-Mu'minun: 23-31, Sūrah Ash- Shua'ra: 105-122, Sūrah Al-Ankabut: 14,15, Sūrah As-Saaffat: 75-82, and Sūrah Al-Qamar: 9-16.

The surah has been divided into two Ruku as under:
  • Ruku One [Verses 1-20]: Prophet Nuh's preaching and submission to Allah after exhausting all his efforts - in that verses  2-4 briefly explain how he began his mission and what he preached. Then after suffering hardships and troubles in the way of preaching his mission for ages the report that he made to his Lord has been given in verses 5-20. In it he states how he had been trying to bring his people to the right path and how his people had stubbornly opposed him.
  • Ruku Two [Verses 21-28]: Prophet Nuh's prayer not to leave any unbeliever on the surface of the earth and Allah granted his wish - In that the Prophet Noah's final submission has been recorded in vv. 21-24, in which he prays to his Lord, saying: "These people have rejected my invitation: they are blindly following their chiefs, who have devised a tremendous plot of deceit and cunning. Time now has come when these people should be deprived of every grace to accept guidance." This was not an expression of impatience by the Prophet Noah, but when after having preached his message under extremely trying circumstances for centuries be became utterly disappointed with his people, he formed the opinion that no chance whatever was left of their coming to the right path. His this opinion fully conformed to Allah's own decision. Thus, in the next verse (25), it has been said: "The torment of Allah descended on those people because of their misdeeds." In the concluding verse, the Prophet Noah's supplication that he made to his Lord, right at the time the torment descended, has been recorded. In it he prays for his own and for all the believers' forgiveness, and makes a submission to Allah to the effect: "Do not leave any of the disbelievers alive on the earth, for they have become utterly devoid of every good: they will not beget any but disbelieving and wicked descendants."
We have already presented the overview / summary of the sürah. Let us now read the verse by verse translation and exegesis / tafseer in English. You may also listen to its recitation in Arabic with English subtitles at the end of the post:
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"

Ruku One [Verses 1-20]

Verses 1-14  The call of Noah:
Noah is perhaps the first prophet after Adam.  The message that he gave to the corrupt people of those days has been put here in three words: worship, fear of God, and obedience to the Prophet, i.e.  worshipping only Him and renouncing all false deities, leading one’s life in the world with the fear of God in one’s heart, and considering the prophet of God an example to be followed in all matters. Religion cannot be complete if any one of the above is missing.  We readily understand worship of God and following the way of the Prophet, but what is the significance of ‘fear of God?’ It is actually the awareness that God is watching over us, which makes us lead a clean life.  Therefore, a God-conscious person will constantly be alert about all his words, deeds and thoughts, and will strive towards sincerity and purity at all times.
Noah warmed his people before a painful punishment comes.  He asked them to serve God, be mindful of Him and obey him.  He promised that God will forgive them their sins and give them respite until their appointed time, because when God’s appointed time arrives it cannot be postponed.  He called his people night and day, but the more he called them, the further they ran away.  Every time he called them so He may forgive them, they thrust their fingers into their ears, covered their heads, persisted in rejection, and grew more arrogant.  He preached to them in public and private, asking them to ask forgiveness of their Lord, reminding them that He is ever forgiving; He will send down rain, give them wealth and sons, and provide them with gardens and rivers.  He spared no effort to bring people on to the right path, but his people were not ready to accept him.  One would think that such a true and complete message will be instantly appreciated and accepted but humans generally dislike any warning that hinders their selfish and careless attitude towards life.
اِنَّاۤ اَرۡسَلۡنَا نُوۡحًا اِلٰى قَوۡمِهٖۤ اَنۡ اَنۡذِرۡ قَوۡمَكَ مِنۡ قَبۡلِ اَنۡ يَّاۡتِيَهُمۡ عَذَابٌ اَلِيۡمٌ‏ 
( 1 )   Indeed, We sent Noah to his people, [saying], "Warn your people before there comes to them a painful punishment."
“Warn your people”: Warn them that the errors and moral evils that they were involved in would only earn them Allah’s punishment if they did not desist from them, and tell them what way they should adopt in order to ward off that punishment.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: Nuh's Invitation to His People - Allah says concerning Nuh that He sent him to his people commanding him to warn them of the punishment of Allah before it befell them. He was to tell them that if they would repent and turn to Allah, then the punishment would be lifted from them. 

Due to this Allah says, (verse 1-2): ("Warn your people before there comes to them a painful torment.'' He said: "O my people! Verily, I am a plain warner to you.'') meaning, clarity of the warning, making the matter apparent and clear.

(That you should worship Allah, and have Taqwa of Him,) meaning, `abandon those things that He has forbidden and avoid that which He has declared to be sinful.' (and obey me,) `In that which I command you to do and that which I forbid you from.'

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Noah's mission is referred to in many places. See specially xi. 25-49. His contemporaries had completely abandoned the moral law. A purge had to be made, and the great Flood made it. This gives a new starting point in history for Noah's People,-i.e., for the remnant saved in the Ark.

قَالَ يٰقَوۡمِ اِنِّىۡ لَـكُمۡ نَذِيۡرٌ مُّبِيۡنٌۙ‏ 
( 2 )   He said, "O my people, indeed I am to you a clear warner,

Yusuf Ali Explanation: His Warning was to be both clear (i.e., unambiguous) and open (i.e., publicly proclaimed). Both these meanings are implied in Mubin. Cf. lxvii. 26. The meaning of the Warning was obviously that if they had repented, they would have obtained mercy.

اَنِ اعۡبُدُوا اللّٰهَ وَاتَّقُوۡهُ وَاَطِيۡعُوۡنِۙ‏ 
( 3 )   [Saying], 'Worship Allah, fear Him and obey me.
The three things which the Prophet Noah presented before his people at the outset of his mission of Prophethood were: (1) Worship of Allah, (2) Adoption of piety (taqwa) and (3) Obedience of the Messenger.

Worship of Allah meant that they should give up worship and service of all others and should acknowledge Allah alone as their Deity and should worship and carry out His commands alone. Taqwa (piety) meant that they should refrain from all those works which caused Allah’s anger and displeasure, and should instead adopt such attitude in their lives as the God fearing people should adopt. As for “obey me”, it meant that they should obey the commands that he gave them as Allah’s Messenger.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: meaning, `abandon those things that He has forbidden and avoid that which He has declared to be sinful.' (and obey me,) `In that which I command you to do and that which I forbid you from.'

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Three aspects of man's duty are emphasized: (1) true worship with heart and soul; (2) God-fearing recognition that all evil must lead to self-deterioration and Judgment; (3) hence repentance and amendment of life, and obedience to good men's counsels.

يَغۡفِرۡ لَـكُمۡ مِّنۡ ذُنُوۡبِكُمۡ وَيُؤَخِّرۡكُمۡ اِلٰٓى اَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى​ؕ اِنَّ اَجَلَ اللّٰهِ اِذَا جَآءَ لَا يُؤَخَّرُ​​ۘ لَوۡ كُنۡتُمۡ تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ‏
( 4 )   Allah will forgive you of your sins and delay you for a specified term. Indeed, the time [set by] Allah, when it comes, will not be delayed, if you only knew.' "
The sentence yaghfir la-kum min dhunub-i-kum " يَغۡفِرۡ لَـكُمۡ مِّنۡ ذُنُوۡبِكُمۡ " in the original does not mean that Allah will forgive some of their sins, but its correct meaning is: If you accept and acknowledge the three things which are being presented before you, He will forgive all the sins that you have committed in the past.

(Allah will forgive you of your sins..) That is, if you accepted these three things, you would be given respite to live in the world until the time that Allah has appointed for your natural death.

(and delay you for a specified term) “A term appointed”: The time fixed by Allah for sending down a torment on a people. In this regard the Quran has at several places stated explicitly that when Allah’s torment has been decreed for a certain people, they are not pardoned even if they affirm the faith after it.

( when it comes, will not be delayed) That is, if you come to know that the time which is now passing after you have received Allah’s message through me is, in fact, a period of respite that has been granted to you for affirming the faith and there is no chance of escape from Allah’s torment after the term of respite has elapsed, you would testify to the faith without delay and would not like to postpone it until the torment actually started descending on you.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: (He will forgive you of your sins) meaning, `if you do what I command you to do and you believe in what I have been sent with to you, then Allah will forgive you for your sins. '

(and respite you to an appointed term.) meaning, `He will extend your life span and protect you from the torment that He would have made befall you if you did not stay away from His prohibitions.' This Ayah is used as proof by those who say that obedience (to Allah), righteousness and maintaining the family ties truly increase the life span of a person. 

This is like that which has been reported in the Hadith, (Maintaining the family ties increases the life span.) 

(Verily, the term of Allah when it comes, cannot be delayed, if you but know.) means, hasten to the obedience (of Allah) before the coming of His vengeance. For verily, if He commands that to happen, it cannot be repulsed or prevented. For He is the Great One Who compels everything, and He is the Almighty Whose might all of creation succumbs to.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Allah gives respite freely; but it is for Him to give it. His command is definite and final; neither man nor any other authority can alter or in any way modify it. If we could only realize this to the full in our inmost soul, it would be best for us and lead to our happiness.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Namely until the end of each person's life - implying that although they might be forgiven all sins committed before their postulated change of heart, they would henceforth, until their death, be held fully accountable for their behaviour in the light of that new-found faith. Cf. 4:18 - "repentance shall not be accepted from those who do evil deeds until their dying hour and then say, 'Behold, I now repent'".

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: The actual words used are: ذُنُوۡبِکُمۡ. Words to the effect ما تقدم (previous) are suppressed before them which have been accounted for in the translation.

Ie., He will give them respite which He has appointed for the death and life of people and nations. 

Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: The condition اَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّی (specific time period) shows that no time granted in this world is unlimited. Everything of this world is transient and temporary. Even if a person spends his life as a practicing believer, he is not granted an infinite life span; one day, he has to die. The only difference is that he is not destroyed by some punishment of the Almighty; he is granted respite to live his full life. Similarly, if a nation embraces faith, fears the limits set by the Almighty and remains obedient to his prophet, the Almighty allows it to flourish as long as it adheres to faith and remains fearful of God. As soon as it deviates from this path, it begins to plunge from the height it had attained, and when its moral decadence reaches its lowest limit its span of life reaches its end, and it is destroyed in its capacity of a nation. Similar is the case of this whole world as well. Its life span is also fixed. A day will come when this place of test will be disbanded and a new world – called the Hereafter – with new laws and regulations will come into being. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 8, 593)

قَالَ رَبِّ اِنِّىۡ دَعَوۡتُ قَوۡمِىۡ لَيۡلًا وَّنَهَارًا ۙ‏ 
( 5 )   He said, "My Lord, indeed I invited my people [to truth] night and day.
Omitting the history of a long period of preaching, now the Prophet Noah’s petition that he made to Allah in the last stage of his worldly mission is being related.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: Nuh complains about his Encounter with His People - Allah tells about His servant and Messenger, Nuh, and that he complained to his Lord about the response he received from his people, and how he was patient with them for this long period of time -- which was nine hundred and fifty years. He complained due to his explaining and clarifying matters for them and his calling them to guidance and the straightest path. 

So he (Nuh) said, (O my Lord! Verily, I have called to my people night and day,) meaning, `I did not abandon calling them night and day, carrying out Your command and in obedience to You.'

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: It was after almost nine-hundred and fifty years of preaching by Noah (sws) when this phase came in which he pleaded before his Lord in these words that his preaching has proved absolutely fruitless. In deference to eloquence, these words have actually been suppressed. 

Imam Amin Ahsan Islahihas explained them thus: … Noah (sws) uttered a sentence in which the consequence of an action (forgiveness) was placed in place of the action (seeking forgiveness) so that the wretchedness and misfortune of his people becomes fully evident. In other words, the implication of the verse is that Noah (sws) tried his best that his people should become worthy of God’s forgiveness, but so worthless were they that they did not care to even listen to him.(Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 8, 595)

فَلَمۡ يَزِدۡهُمۡ دُعَآءِىۡۤ اِلَّا فِرَارًا‏ 
( 6 )   But my invitation increased them not except in flight.
That is, as I went on calling them towards You, they went on fleeing farther and farther away from You.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: meaning, `the more I called them to come to the truth, the more they fled from it and avoided it.'

Yusuf Ali Explanation: When convincing arguments and warnings are placed before sinners, there are two kinds of reactions. Those who are wise receive admonition, repent, and bring forth fruits of repentance, i.e., amend their lives and turn to Allah. On the other hand, those who are callous to any advice take it up as a reproach, fly farther and farther from righteousness, and shut out more and more the channels through which Allah's healing Grace can reach them and work for them.

وَاِنِّىۡ كُلَّمَا دَعَوۡتُهُمۡ لِتَغۡفِرَ لَهُمۡ جَعَلُوۡۤا اَصَابِعَهُمۡ فِىۡۤ اٰذَانِهِمۡ وَاسۡتَغۡشَوۡا ثِيَابَهُمۡ وَاَصَرُّوۡا وَاسۡتَكۡبَرُوا اسۡتِكۡبَارًا​ ۚ‏ 
( 7 )   And indeed, every time I invited them that You may forgive them, they put their fingers in their ears, covered themselves with their garments, persisted, and were arrogant with [great] arrogance.
“That you may forgive them”: That they might give up their attitude of disobedience and beg forgiveness of Allah, for in that way alone they could be forgiven by Allah.

They covered their faces either because they did not even like to have a look at Prophet Noah’s (peace be upon him) face, not to speak of listening to what he said, or they did so in order to hide their own faces from him as they passed by him so that he could not recognize and address them. This precisely was the attitude and conduct which the disbelievers of Makkah were adopting towards the Prophet (peace be upon him). In (Surah Houd, Ayat 5), their attitude has been described thus: Behold, they turn aside their chests in order to hide themselves from him: Beware, even when they cover themselves up with their garments, Allah knows alike what they hide and what they show. He indeed knows even the secrets they conceal in their breasts. (For explanation, see verses 5-6 of Surah 11. Houd).

Arrogance implies that they thought it was below their dignity to bow before the truth and accept the admonition of Allah’s Messenger. As for example, if a gentleman admonishes a perverted person and he, in response, shakes his head and walks away haughtily, this would amount to rejecting the admonition with arrogance.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: (And verily, every time I called unto them that You might forgive them, they thrust their fingers into their ears, covered themselves up with their garments,) meaning, `they closed up their ears so that they could not hear what I was calling them to.' 

This is similar to what Allah said about the disbelievers of the Quraysh. (And those who disbelieve say: "Listen not to this Qur'an, and make noise in the midst of its (recitation) that you may overcome.'') (41:26)

(covered themselves up with their garments,) Ibn Jarir recorded from Ibn `Abbas that he said, "They concealed themselves under false pretenses from him so that he would not recognize them.'' Sa`id bin Jubayr and As-Suddi both said, "They covered their heads so that they could not hear what he was saying.'' 

(and persisted,) meaning, they continued in what they were upon of associating partners with Allah and great disbelief. (and magnified themselves in pride.) meaning, they were turned away from following the truth and submitting to it.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: The literal meaning would be that, just as they thrust their fingers into their ears to prevent the voice of the admonisher reaching them, so they covered their bodies with their garments that the light of truth should not penetrate to them and that they should not even be seen by the Prophet.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: For the reason of the above interpolation - which endows the concept of "garments" with a metaphorical meaning - see explanation of 74:4; cf. also the expression "garment of God-consciousness" (libas at-taqwa) in 7:26.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: The verse portrays the reaction of the leaders of Noah’s people: as soon as they heard these words of Noah (sws), they wrapped their shawls around themselves with great aversion and went away.

In the expression وَ اَصَرُّوۡا وَ اسۡتَکۡبَرُوا اسۡتِکۡبَارًا, a verbal noun is suppressed after the verb اَصَرُّوۡا ie. اِصْرَاراً وَ اَصَرُّوۡا. This is because the mention of اِسۡتِکۡبَارًا after اِسۡتَکۡبَرُوا was enough to make its presence understood and thereby it be suppressed.

ثُمَّ اِنِّىۡ دَعَوۡتُهُمۡ جِهَارًا ۙ‏ 
( 8 )   Then I invited them publicly.

ثُمَّ اِنِّىۡۤ اَعۡلَـنۡتُ لَهُمۡ وَاَسۡرَرۡتُ لَهُمۡ اِسۡرَارًا ۙ‏ 
( 9 )   Then I announced to them and [also] confided to them secretly

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: meaning, in discussions with them. So he tried various types of propagation to be more effective with them.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Noah used all the resources of the earnest preacher: he dinned the Message of Allah into their ears; he spoke in public places; and he took individuals into his confidence, and appealed privately to them; but all in vain.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: The actual words are: ثُمَّاِنِّیۡۤ اَعۡلَنۡتُ. After this, a verbal noun is suppressed just as it was after اَصَرُّوۡا.

فَقُلۡتُ اسۡتَغۡفِرُوۡا رَبَّكُمۡؕ اِنَّهٗ كَانَ غَفَّارًا ۙ‏ 
( 10 )   And said, 'Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Indeed, He is ever a Perpetual Forgiver.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: The implication is that what is only needed for God’s forgiveness is sincere repentance. None is a greater forgiver than Him so that a person’s recommendation may be of any avail before Him.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: (verses 10-11) meaning, `return to Him and turn away from what you are involved in. Repent to Him soon, for verily, He is Most Accepting of the repentance of those who turn to Him in repentance. He will accept repentance no matter what the sin is, even if it is disbelief and polytheism.' 

Thus, he said, (I said: Ask forgiveness from your Lord, verily, He is Oft-Forgiving; He will send rain to you Midrar,) meaning, continuous rain. Thus, it is recommended to recite this Surah in the prayer for rain due to this Ayah. This has been reported from the Commander of the faithful, `Umar bin Al-Khattab. He ascended the Minbar to perform the prayer for rain, and he did not do more than seeking Allah's forgiveness and reciting the Ayat that mention seeking Allah's forgiveness.

Among these Ayat: (I said: Ask forgiveness from your Lord, verily, He is Oft-Forgiving; He will send rain to you Midrar, disbelievers of the Quraysh. Qu ? s? ? ? ? A ? Nuh complains about his Encounter with His People Allah tells about His servant and Messenger, Nuh, and that he complained to his Lord about the response he received from his people, and how he was patient with them for this long period of time -- which was nine hundred and fifty years. He complained due to his explaining and clarifying matters for them and his calling them to guidance and the straightest path. So he (Nuh) said,

يُّرۡسِلِ السَّمَآءَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ مِّدۡرَارًا ۙ‏ 
( 11 )   He will send [rain from] the sky upon you in [continuing] showers

Yusuf Ali Explanation: They had perhaps been suffering from drought or famine. If they had taken the message in the right way, the rain would have been a blessing to them. They took it in the wrong way, and the rain was a curse to them, for it flooded the country and drowned the wicked generation. In the larger Plan, it was a blessing all the same; for it purged the world, and gave it a new start, morally and spiritually.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: The actual words are: یُرۡسِلِ السَّمَآءَ عَلَیۡکُمۡ مِّدۡرَارًا. The word مِدۡرَارًا means كثير الدرر ie. something which rains a lot. The word سَمَآء occurs for rain-laden clouds. In Arabic, it is used in this meaning as well.

وَّيُمۡدِدۡكُمۡ بِاَمۡوَالٍ وَّبَنِيۡنَ وَيَجۡعَلۡ لَّـكُمۡ جَنّٰتٍ وَّيَجۡعَلۡ لَّـكُمۡ اَنۡهٰرًا ؕ‏ 
( 12 )   And give you increase in wealth and children and provide for you gardens and provide for you rivers.
This theme has been expressed at several places in the Quran that the rebellious attitude against God causes man to lead a wretched life not only in the Hereafter but also in this world, Contrary to this, if a nation adopts the way of faith and piety and obedience to divine commands, instead of disobedience, it benefits it not only in the Hereafter but also in the world; it is favored with every kind of blessing. In Surah Ta Ha it has been said: And whoever turns away from My admonition, will have a wretched life in the world, and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Resurrection. (verse 124). In Surah Al-Maidah it has been said: Had the people of the Book observed the Torah and the Gospel and the other Books which had been sent down by their Lord, abundance of provisions would have been given to them from above and from beneath.(verse 66). In Surah Al-Aaraf: Had the people of the settlements believed and adopted the way of piety, We would have opened on them doors of blessings from the heavens and the earth. (verse 96). In Surah Houd, the Prophet Houd (peace be upon him) addressed his people, saying: And O my people, beg forgiveness of your Lord, then turn to Him in penitence, and He will open the gates of heavens for you and add more strength to your present strength.(verse 52). Through the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself in this very Surah Houd, the people of Makkah have been admonished to the effect: And you should beg forgiveness of your Lord, then return to Him, and He will provide you with good provisions of life till an appointed term. (verse 3). According to the Hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to the Quraish: There is a word which if you accept, would enable you to rule over the Arab as well as the non- Arab world. (For explanation, see (verse 66 of Surah 5. Al- Maidah); (verses 3, 52 of Surah 11. Houd); (verse 124 of Surah 20 Ta Ha); Introduction to Surah Suad).

Acting on this same instruction from the Quran, once during a famine Umar came out to invoke Allah for the rain and begged only forgiveness of Him. The people said: O commander of the faithful, you have not prayed for the rain. He replied: I have knocked at the doors of heaven wherefrom the rain is sent down, and then he recited these verses of Surah Nooh to them. (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir). Likewise, when in the assembly of Hasan Basri, a person complained of drought, he said to him “Beg forgiveness of Allah.” Another person complained of poverty, a third one said that he was not being blessed with children, a fourth one said that his harvest had failed, and he continued to remind everyone to beg forgiveness of Allah. The people asked: How is it that you have suggested to all the people one and the same cure for the different complaints? He in response recited these verses of Surah Nooh to them. (Al-Kashshaf).

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: meaning, `if you repent to Allah, seek His forgiveness and obey Him, He will increase your provisions for you and provide you with water from the blessings of the sky. He will cause the blessings of the earth and crops to grow for you. He will increase your live stock animals for you and give you more wealth and children. This means that He will give you more wealth, more children and gardens with various types of fruits. He will cause rivers to flow among these gardens.' This is the position of the invitation with encouragement. Then He made it balanced for them by using intimidation.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Each of these blessings-rain and crops, wealth and man-power, flourishing gardens, and perennial streams-are indications of prosperity, and have not only a material but also a spiritual meaning. Note the last point, "rivers of flowing water". The perennial springs make the prosperity as it were permanent: they indicate a settled population, honest and contented, and enjoying their blessings here on earth as the foretaste of the eternal joys of heaven. A) I.e., why don't you fear Allah's Majesty, His greatness and consequent punishment for your sinfulness, and hope for His mercy, kindness and reward for your faith and good deeds. The words of the verse contain the twin strands-fear and hope-simultaneously.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: The two last-mentioned blessings are an allusion to the state of happiness in the hereafter, symbolized in the Qur'an as "gardens through which running waters flow".

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: This is a mention of the established practice of God which necessarily materializes for those who accept the calls of a messenger. The way the repetition of the phrase یَجۡعَلۡ لَّکُمۡ has enhanced the stature of these favours is not hidden before the eyes of the connoisseurs of the Arabic language.

مَا لَـكُمۡ لَا تَرۡجُوۡنَ لِلّٰهِ وَقَارًا​ ۚ‏ 
( 13 )   What is [the matter] with you that you do not attribute to Allah [due] grandeur
It means: as for the petty chiefs of the world, you think it would be dangerous to do anything against their dignity, but as for the Creator and Lord of the universe, you do not expect that He would also be a Being endowed with dignity. You rebel against Him, associate others in His Divinity, disobey His commands, and yet you are not at all afraid that He would punish you for your misconduct.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: meaning, great majesty. This has been said by Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and Ad-Dahhak. Ibn `Abbas said, "That you all do not magnify Allah in the proper manner that He deserves to be magnified. Meaning, you do not fear His punishment and His vengeance.''

Muhammad Asad Explanation: I.e., "that you refuse to believe in God" (Zamakhshari). Some authorities (e.g., Jawhari) give to the above phrase the meaning, "that you will not fear God's majesty", which, too, implies lack of belief in Him.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: In other words do they not expect that in spite their wrongdoings, the wrath of God will not manifest itself, and He will not hold them accountable for the anarchy they have created in this world. 

Imam Amin Ahsan Islahih as explained them thus: … If this is their conception of God, it means that they have no idea of His majesty and anger. God forbid, they regard Him to be absolutely insensitive and devoid of any sense of honour. They think that whatever highhandedness they may exhibit in this world will not be taken notice of by God’s majesty and honour.(Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 8, 598)
وَقَدۡ خَلَقَكُمۡ اَطۡوَارًا‏ 
( 14 )   While He has created you in stages?
That is, He has brought you to the present stage after passing you through different stages of creation and phases of development. 

In the beginning you lay in the form of sperm and ovum separately in the loins of your father and mother. Then the two were combined by the power of Allah and you were conceived. Then for nine months in the womb of the mother you were gradually formed into a perfect human form and were endowed with all those capabilities which you needed to function as a man in the world. Then you came out as a child from the mother’s womb, and you were developed from one state to another constantly until you attained to full youth and then old age. While passing through all these stages you lay wholly in the power of Allah at all times. Had He so willed, He would not have allowed you to be conceived but allowed another person to be conceived in your place. Had He so pleased, He would have made you blind, deaf, dumb, or a cripple in the mother’s womb itself, or made you mentally deficient. Had He so liked, you would not have been born as a living child. Even after your birth He could have destroyed you any time by causing you to fall a victim to one or other accident suddenly. About that God under Whose power you are so powerless, how could you have taken it into your head that you could commit any insolence against Him, could regard Him with every treachery and ingratitude, could rebel against Him as and when you pleased, and could do all this with impunity?

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: It has been said that this means from a drop of sperm, then from a hanging clot, then from a lump of flesh. Ibn `Abbas, `Ikrimah, Qatadah, Yahya bin Rafi`, As-Suddi and Ibn Zayd, all said this.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Cf. xxii. 5; also xxiii. 12-17. The meaning here may be even wider. Man in his various states exhibits various wonderful qualities or capacities, mental and spiritual, that may be compared with the wonderful workings of nature on the earth and in the heavens. Will he not then be grateful for these Mercies and turn to Allah, Who created all these marvels?

Muhammad Asad Explanation: I.e., by a process of gradual evolution, in the mother's womb, from a drop of sperm and a fertilized germ-cell (the female ovum), up to the point where the embryo becomes a new, self-contained human entity (cf. 22:5 : all of which points to the existence of a plan and a purpose and, hence, to the existence of a conscious Creator.

Verses 15-25  Noah reminds his people of the proofs for the Oneness of Allah and their attitude towards that:
Noah’s people did accept God, but the consciousness of the Majesty of God had not become ingrained, as it should have been.  The fact is that this acceptance of God’s greatness is the real standard of God-worship.  The one whose heart is not immersed in God’s greatness is not a true believer.  God asks if we have ever wondered how God created the seven heavens, one above the other, placed the moon as a light in them and the sun as a lamp, how He will return us into the land and then bring us out again, and how He has spread the Earth out for us to walk along its spacious paths.
Noah complained to God that people have disobeyed him and followed those whose riches and children only increase their ruin.  The people denied Noah’s pleas for reform because they thought that, compared to the words of Noah, the utterances of those who had attained a higher status from the worldly point were more worth considering.  The great ones rejected the call for truth, so the lesser ones rejected it because the great ones had done so!
The opponents of Noah devised many great schemes against him.  One of those was to spread a rumor about Noah that he was against their great ones of old.  They made a grand plan to not renounce their gods, in particular Wadd, Suwa, Yaghuth, Yauq, or Nasr (names of their idols)!  All had been men of great piety in ancient times who gradually became sanctified and ultimately people started worshipping them.  It was easy to turn people against Noah in the name of these men.  Eventually, Noah prayed to God to bring destruction down on the evildoers!
اَلَمۡ تَرَوۡا كَيۡفَ خَلَقَ اللّٰهُ سَبۡعَ سَمٰوٰتٍ طِبَاقًا ۙ‏ 
( 15 )   Do you not consider how Allah has created seven heavens in layers

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: (verses 15-16) meaning, one above another. Can this be comprehended simply by hearing it only or is it of the matters that actually can be perceived with the senses which are known about the movements (of the heavenly bodies) and the eclipses. It is known that they (the scholars) have many different opinions about these matters that we will not discuss here. 

The only intent here is that (Allah has created the seven heavens in tiers and has made the moon a light therein, and made the sun a lamp) meaning, He made a distinction between them (the sun and moon) in reference to their lighting. He made each one of them in a set manner with a distinct quality so that the night and day may be known. They (the night and day) are known by the rising and setting of the sun. He also determined fixed stations and positions for the moon, and He made its light vary so that sometimes it increases until it reaches a maximum, then it begins to decrease until it is completely veiled. This shows the passing of months and years. 
This is as Allah said, (It is He Who made the sun a shining thing and the moon as a light and measured out for its stages that you might know the number of years and the reckoning. Allah did not create this but in truth. He explains the Ayat in detail for people who have knowledge.) (10:5) 
وَّجَعَلَ الۡقَمَرَ فِيۡهِنَّ نُوۡرًا ۙ وَّجَعَلَ الشَّمۡسَ سِرَاجًا‏ 
( 16 )   And made the moon therein a [reflected] light and made the sun a burning lamp?

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Cf. xxv. 61, where the sun is referred to as the glorious Lamp of the heavens: "Blessed is He Who made the Constellations in the skies, and placed therein a lamp, and a moon giving light."

Muhammad Asad Explanation: See 10:5 , where the sun is described as "a [source of] radiant light" (diya') and the moon as "light [reflected]" (nur); both these interpolations are explained in the explanation of verse 10:5 .

وَاللّٰهُ اَنۡۢبَتَكُمۡ مِّنَ الۡاَرۡضِ نَبَاتًا ۙ‏ 
( 17 )   And Allah has caused you to grow from the earth a [progressive] growth.
Here, the creation of man out of the substances of the earth has been compared to the growth of vegetation. Just as at one time there was no vegetation on the earth, then Allah caused it to grow, so at one time man did not exist, then Allah created him.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: This (Nabat) is a verbal noun (for emphasis) and its usage here is most excellent.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Cf. iii. 37, where the growth of the child Mary the Mother of Jesus is described by the same word nabat, ordinarily denoting the growth of plants and trees. The simile is that of a seed sown, that germinates, grows, and dies, and goes back to the earth. In man, there is the further process of the Resurrection. Cf. also xx. 55.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: This phrase has a twofold meaning. In the first instance, it alludes to the evolution of the individual human body out of the same substances - both organic and inorganic - as are found in and on the earth as well: and in this sense it enlarges upon the creation of the human individual "in successive stages" referred to in verse {14} above. Secondly, it alludes to the evolution of the human species, which, starting from the most primitive organisms living on earth, has gradually ascended to ever higher stages of development until it has finally reached that complexity of body, mind and soul evident in the human being.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: This is the mention of a fact because before starting the process of creating man from the womb of a mother, he was created by God directly from the earth. If one analyzes the occasion of the discourse, one will find a inimitable eloquence in it: the claim is substantiated by the claim itself: since God has made to grow them like vegetation, so just as he enlivens dead vegetation once again, in a similar manner, He will make them come out from the earth whenever He intends.

ثُمَّ يُعِيۡدُكُمۡ فِيۡهَا وَيُخۡرِجُكُمۡ اِخۡرَاجًا‏ 
( 18 )   Then He will return you into it and extract you [another] extraction.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: meaning, when you die. On the Day of Judgement He will repeat your creation just as He first originated you.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: The verbal nouns نَبَاتًا (previous verse) and اِخۡرَاجًا are meant to emphasize their respective verbs. The Urdu language [and the case of English is no different] does not contain a style to express all their aspects. The aspect I have adopted is the one which is congruous to the occasion of the discourse.

وَاللّٰهُ جَعَلَ لَـكُمُ الۡاَرۡضَ بِسَاطًا ۙ‏ 
( 19 )   And Allah has made for you the earth an expanse

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: meaning, He spread it out, leveled it, settled it, and stabilized it with firm and lofty mountains.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: The interposed verses end here and the discourse once again connects to the prayer of Noah (sws). The signs of God’s immense power, profound wisdom and universal providence to which these verses direct our attention clearly show that the God Who is capable of showing such marvels of creation will not find it any difficult to re-create mankind.

لِّـتَسۡلُكُوۡا مِنۡهَا سُبُلًا فِجَاجًا
( 20 )   That you may follow therein roads of passage.' "

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: meaning, He created it so that you may settle in it and travel in it wherever you wish, from its different sides, areas and regions. All of this is from what Nuh informed them of concerning Allah's power and His greatness in creating the heavens and the earth. It demonstrates the favor that He did for them by making both heavenly benefits and earthly benefits. For He is the Creator and the Sustainer Who made the heaven as a building and the earth as a bed, and He enlarged His provisions for His creatures. Therefore, He is the One Who it is obligatory to worship, and accept as One God. No one should be associated with Him as a partner, because He has no equal, peer, rival, coequal, mate, son, minister or advisor, rather He is the Most High, the Most Great.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Fijaj " فِجَاجًا " implies valley-roads or passes between mountains. Though there are mountain chains on the earth, Allah's artistry has provided even in such regions, valleys and channels by which men may go about. Mountain roads usually follow the valleys. A) Sinners always resent it as a reproach that righteous men should speak to them for their own good. They prefer smooth flatterers, and they worship power even though the depositaries of power are selfish men, who neither profit themselves nor profit others by the wealth and man-power that they collect round themselves. They forget that mere material things may be a delusion and a snare unless the moral and spiritual factor behind them sanctifies them.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: I.e., "He has provided you with all facilities for a good life on earth" - the unspoken implication being, "Will you not, then, acknowledge Him and be grateful to Him?"

Ruku Two [Verses 21-28]

قَالَ نُوۡحٌ رَّبِّ اِنَّهُمۡ عَصَوۡنِىۡ وَاتَّبَعُوۡا مَنۡ لَّمۡ يَزِدۡهُ مَالُهٗ وَوَلَدُهٗۤ اِلَّا خَسَارًا​ ۚ‏ 
( 21 )   Noah said, "My Lord, indeed they have disobeyed me and followed him whose wealth and children will not increase him except in loss.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: Nuh complains to His Lord about His People's Response - Allah says that Nuh turned to Allah to inform Allah - the All Knowing from Whom nothing escapes - that he presented the clear call, as mentioned previously, and the comprehensive invitation in various ways. He called them sometimes by encouragement and sometimes by intimidating warnings. Yet, they disobeyed him, opposed him, denied him and followed the children of the world. They were those who were heedless of the command of Allah and they possessed delights of wealth and children. However, these things (worldly benefits) were also for gradual punishment and temporary respite, not for honor or blessing. 

Thus, Allah says, (and followed one whose wealth and children give him no increase but loss.)

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Lit., "and have followed him whose wealth and children do not increase him in aught but loss": i.e., people whose propensity and power only enhance their false pride and arrogance, and thus lead them to spiritual ruin. Beyond this, we have here a subtle allusion to the fact that an exclusive devotion to material prosperity must of necessity, in the long run, destroy all moral values and, thus, the very fabric of society.

وَمَكَرُوۡا مَكۡرًا كُبَّارًا​ ۚ‏ 
( 22 )   And they conspired an immense conspiracy.
“Mighty plot”: All those deceits, deceptions and frauds which the chiefs and religious guides were employing in an attempt to mislead the common people against the teachings of the Prophet Noah. For example, they said: Noah is no more than a mere man like yourselves. How can one believe that Allah sends down Revelations to him? (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayat 63); (Surah Houd, Ayat 27). We also see that only the meanest of us have become his followers without due thought. Had there been some weight in what he says, the elders of the people would have believed in him.(Surah Houd, Ayat 27). Had Allah willed, He would have sent down angels. (Surah Al-Mominoon, Ayat 24). Had he been sent by Allah, he would possess treasures, he would know the unseen, and he would be free from all human needs, like the angels (Surah Houd, Ayat 31). We find nothing in him that might give him superiority over us. (Surah Houd, Ayat 27). He merely intends to obtain superiority over you. (Surah Al-Mominoon, Ayat 24). Obviously, this man is possessed. (Surah Al-Mominoon, Ayat 25). Similar were the things that the Quraish chiefs said to mislead the people against the Prophet (peace be upon him).

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Having got material resources the wicked devise plots to get rid of the righteous whose presence is a reproach to them. For a time their plots may seem tremendous and have the appearance of success, but they can never defeat Allah's Purpose.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: that they plotted a deceptive plot for their followers tricking them into believing that they were following the truth and correct guidance. This is like what they will say to them on the Day of Judgement, (Nay, but it was your plotting by night and day: when you ordered us to disbelieve in Allah and set up rivals to Him!) (34:33) For this reason He says here:

وَ قَالُوۡا لَا تَذَرُنَّ اٰلِهَتَكُمۡ وَلَا تَذَرُنَّ وَدًّا وَّلَا سُوَاعًا  ۙ وَّ لَا يَغُوۡثَ وَيَعُوۡقَ وَنَسۡرًا​ ۚ‏ 
( 23 )   And said, 'Never leave your gods and never leave Wadd or Suwa' or Yaghuth and Ya'uq and Nasr.
Of the gods of the Prophet Noah’s people only those gods have been mentioned whom later the people of Arabia had also started worshipping and whose shrines were found all over the country at the advent of Islam. It is not impossible that the later generations heard the names of the ancient gods of Noah’s people from the people who were saved from the flood, and when ignorance once again spread among their children, they made idols of the same gods and started worshipping them again.
Wadd was the god of the Bani Kalb bin Wabash, a branch of the Qudaah tribe, whose shrine had been built at Daumat al-Jandal. In the ancient Arabian inscriptions he has been named as Waddam ibam (father Wadd). Kalbi has stated that the image built to him was of a man of enormous size. The Quraish also acknowledged him as god and called him Wudd. It is after him that a person has been named Abd-i Wudd (slave of Wudd) in history.
Suwa was the goddess of the Hudhayl tribe and her idol was a female figure. Her temple was situated at Ruhat near Yanbu.
Yaghuth was the god of Anum, a branch of the Tay tribe, and of some branches of the Madhjih tribe. The people of Madhjih had installed its idol, the image of a lion, at Jurash, a place between Yaman and Hijaz. Among the Quraish also some people had been named Abd-i Yaghuth.
Yauq was the god of Khaywan, a branch of the Hamdan tribe, in the territory of Hamdan in Yaman; its idol was of the horse’s figure.
Nasr was the god of Al-i dhul-Kula, a branch of the Himyar tribe, in the territory of Himyar; it had its idol installed at Balkha and had the image of the vulture. In the ancient inscriptions of Saba its name has been written as Nasor. Its temple was called bayt Nasor (house of Nasor) and its devotees ahl Nasor (people of Nasor). The ruins of the ancient temples that are found in Arabia and in the adjoining lands have the image of the vulture made on the doors of most of them.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: (And they have plotted a mighty plot. And they have said: `You shall not leave your gods, nor shall you leave Wadd, nor Suwa`, nor Yaghuth, and Ya`uq and Nasr.') These are the names of their idols which they used to worship besides Allah. Al-Bukhari recorded from Ibn `Abbas that he said, "The idols that were among the people of Nuh wound up among the Arabs afterwards. In reference to Wadd, it became the idol of the people of Kalb in the area of Dawmat Al-Jandal. Suwa` became the idol of the people of Hudhayl. Yaghuth became the idol of the people of Murad, then the people of Bani Ghutayf at Al-Juruf in the area of Saba' worshipped it after them. Ya`uq became the idol of the people of Hamdan. Nasr became the idol of the people of Himyar for the family of Dhu Kala`. These idols were all named after righteous men from the people of Nuh. Then when these men died, Shaytan inspired his (Nuh's) people to erect statues in honor of them at their gathering places where they used to come and sit, and to name these statues after these men (with their names). So they did this (as Shaytan suggested), but these statues were not worshipped until after those people (the ones who built them) had died and the knowledge was lost. Then, those statues were later worshipped.'' This has also been similarly reported from `Ikrimah, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah and Ibn Ishaq. `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas that he said, "These are statues that were worshipped in the time of Nuh.'' Ibn Jarir recorded from Muhammad bin Qays that he said concerning Yaghuth, Ya`uq and Nasr, "They were righteous people between the time of Adam and Nuh, and they had followers who used to adhere to their guidance. Then, when they died, their companions who used to follow them said, `If we make images of them, it will increase our desire to perform worship when we remember them.' So they made images of them. Then, when those people died and other people came after them, Iblis approached them and said, `They (your predecessors) used to worship these statues and they were granted rain by their worship of them.' Thus, they (the latter people) worshipped them.'' 

Yusuf Ali Explanation: For an account of how these Pagan gods and superstitions connected with them originated, and how they became adopted into the Arabian Pagan Pantheon. 

Muhammad Asad Explanation: As is evident from early sources, these five gods were among the many worshipped by the pre-lslamic Arabs as well (see the small but extremely valuable work by Hisham ibn Muhammad al-Kalbi, Kitab al-Asnam, ed. Ahmad Zaki, Cairo 1914). Their cult had probably been introduced into Arabia from Syria and Babylonia, where it seems to have existed in earliest antiquity.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: These are the names of the prominent idols which the people of Noah (sws) worshipped, which the Arabs had also later started to worship. 

Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: It is clearly evident from the names of these idols that they are Arabic names. Noah’s people inhabited the north of Ḥijaz; so it is not improbable that their language was Arabic. The tenacity of these idols is remarkable as the deluge had destroyed every sign of Noah’s people yet these idols were still worshipped. It is evident from history that later on they were once again worshipped by various Arab tribes. Thus the Banu Kalb, a branch of the Quda‘ah tribe, worshipped the idol of Wadd. Suwa‘ was worshipped by the Hudhayl tribe and Yaguth was worshipped by some branches of the Ṭay tribe. Similarly, Ya‘uq was worshipped by one branch of the Hamdan tribe and Nasr was worshipped by one branch of the Ḥimyar tribe. The sequence in which these idols are mentioned here shows their ranks and status in descending order. In other words, Wadd and Suwa‘ occupied a higher status than Yaguth, Ya‘uq and Nasr. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 8, 603)

وَقَدۡ اَضَلُّوۡا كَثِيۡرًا​ ​ ۚ وَلَا تَزِدِ الظّٰلِمِيۡنَ اِلَّا ضَلٰلًا‏ 
( 24 )   And already they have misled many. And, [my Lord], do not increase the wrongdoers except in error."
The Prophet Noah (peace be upon him) did not invoke this curse out of impatience but he invoked it when, after doing full justice to the preaching of his mission for many centuries, he became totally despaired of any success with his people. Similar were the conditions under which the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) had also cursed Pharaoh and his people, thus: Lord, destroy their wealth and harden their hearts in a manner so that they do not believe until they see the painful torment. And Allah, in response, had said: The prayer of you both has been granted (Surah Younus, Ayats 88-89). Like the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him), the Prophet Noah’s (peace be upon him) curse was also in complete conformity with divine will. Thus, in Surah Houd, it has been said: And it was revealed to Noah (peace be upon him): No more of your people will believe in you now than those who have already believed. So, do not grieve at their misdeeds. (verse 36).

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Such Pagan superstitions and cults do not add to human knowledge or human well-being. They only increase error and wrong-doing. For example, how much lewdness resulted from the Greek and Roman Saturnalia! And how much lewdness results from ribald Holi songs! This is the natural result, and Noah in his bitterness of spirit prays that Allah's grace may be cut off from men who hug them to their hearts. They mislead others: let them miss their own mark! See also verse 28 below.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Lit., "increase Thou not the evildoers in aught but in straying-away", i.e., from an achievement of their worldly goals (Razi).

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: The Supplication of Nuh against His People and for whoever believed in Him - (And indeed they have led many astray.) meaning, by the idols that they took for worship, they mislead a large number of people. For verily, the worship of those idols continued throughout many generations until our times today, among the Arabs, the non-Arabs and all the groups of the Children of Adam. 

Al-Khalil (Prophet Ibrahim) said in his supplication, (And keep me and my sons away from worshipping idols. "O my Lord! They have indeed led astray many among mankind...'') (14:35,36)

Allah then says, (Grant no increase to the wrongdoers save error.) This is a supplication from him (Nuh) against his people due to their rebellion, disbelief and obstinacy. 

This is just as Musa supplicated against Fir`awn and his chiefs in his statement, (Our Lord ! Destroy their wealth, and harden their hearts, so that they will not believe until they see the painful torment.) (10:88) Verily, Allah responded to the supplication of both of these Prophets concerning their people and He drowned their nations due to their rejection of what he (that Prophet) had come with.

مِّمَّا خَطِٓيْئٰتِهِمۡ اُغۡرِقُوۡا فَاُدۡخِلُوۡا نَارًا  ۙ فَلَمۡ يَجِدُوۡا لَهُمۡ مِّنۡ دُوۡنِ اللّٰهِ اَنۡصَارًا‏ 
( 25 )   Because of their sins they were drowned and put into the Fire, and they found not for themselves besides Allah [any] helpers.
That is, drowning was not their end, but after death their souls were immediately subjected to the punishment of the Fire. This precisely was the treatment that was meted out to Pharaoh and his people, as has been stated in (Surah Al-Momin, Ayats 45-46). (For explanation, (see verse 46 of Surah 40. Al-Momin). This verse also is of those verses which prove the punishment of barzakh (intermediary stage between death and Resurrection).

None of the gods whom they looked upon as their supporters and helpers came to their rescue. This, in fact, was a warning to the people of Makkah, as if to say: If you too are subjected to the torment of Allah, these gods on whom you have placed all your reliance, will avail you absolutely nothing.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: (" مِّمَّا خَطِيئَـتِهِمْ " Because of their sins) It also has been recited as; (خَطَايَاهُمْ) (their errors.) 

(" أُغْرِقُواْ " they were drowned,) meaning, for their numerous sins, rebellion, persistence in disbelief and opposition to their Messengers. 

(" أُغْرِقُواْ فَأُدْخِلُواْ نَاراً " they were drowned, then were made to enter the Fire.) meaning, they will be carried from the flood of the seas to the heat of the Fire. 

(" فَلَمْ يَجِدُواْ لَهُمْ مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ أَنصَاراً " And they found none to help them instead of Allah.) meaning, they will have no helper, assistant, or savior who can rescue them from the punishment of Allah. 
This is similar to Allah's statement, (This day there is no savior from the decree of Allah except him on whom He has mercy.) (11:43)
Yusuf Ali Explanation: The Punishment of sin seizes the soul from every side and in every form. Water (drowning) indicates death by suffocation, through the nose, ears, eyes, mouth, throat, and lung. Fire has the opposite effects: it burns the skin, the limbs, the flesh, the brains, the bones, and every part of the body. So the destruction wrought by sin is complete from all points of view. And yet it is not death (xx. 74); for death would be a merciful release from the Penalty, and the soul steeped in sin has closed the gates of Allah's Mercy on itself. There they will abide, unless and "except as Allah willeth" (vi. 128). For time and eternity, as we conceive them now, have no meaning in the wholly new world.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Lit., "and were made to enter the fire" - the past tense indicating the inevitability of the suffering yet to come (Zamakhshari).

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: These are the words of the Almighty which once again interrupt Noah’s prayer before it ends to signify the fact that when a messenger of God prays in such a manner to Him after he has conclusively conveyed the truth to his people then as soon as he utters its very first sentence, the prayer is accepted.

The verb here denotes decision: it has been decided that they shall be cast into the fire.

Verses 26-28  Noah invokes God against the disbelievers
Noah prayed that God not leave any of the disbelievers on the earth as they will lead His servants astray and beget only sinners and disbelievers.  Noah also prayed for forgiveness for himself, his parents, and whoever entered his house as a believer.  Noah’s prayer extended to all believers, asking for their forgiveness as well!
It appears from Noah’s prayer that, in his own times, evil had reached its final limit.  Misguided beliefs and thoughts had become so prevalent in society that any child born and brought up in this society would have gone astray.  When this stage had been reached, Noah’s people were destined to face nothing less than destruction by Noah’s flood.  They were drowned and sent to Hell for their evildoings.  They found no one to help them against God. 
وَ قَالَ نُوۡحٌ رَّبِّ لَا تَذَرۡ عَلَى الۡاَرۡضِ مِنَ الۡكٰفِرِيۡنَ دَيَّارًا‏ 
( 26 )   And Noah said, "My Lord, do not leave upon the earth from among the disbelievers an inhabitant.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: meaning, do not leave a single one of them on the face of the earth, not even a lone individual. This is a method of speaking that gives emphasis to the negation. Ad-Dahhak said, "Dayyar means one.'' As-Suddi said, "Dayyar is the one who stays in the home.'' So Allah answered his supplication and He destroyed all of those on the face of the earth who were disbelievers. He (Allah) even destroyed Nuh's (biological) son from his own loins, who separated himself from his father (Nuh). 

He (Nuh's son) said, (I will betake myself to some mountain, it will save me from the water. Nuh said: "This day there is no savior from the decree of Allah except him on whom He has mercy.'' And waves came in between them, so he (the son) was among the drowned.) (11:43) Allah saved the people of the ship who believed with Nuh, and they were those whom Allah commanded Nuh to carry with him. 

Yusuf Ali Explanation: The Flood was sent in order to purge all sin. The prayer of Noah is not vindictive. It simply means, "Cut off all the roots of sin". See next note.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: These words of Noah (sws) (viz. they will beget none but sinners and disbelievers) should not be a cause of wonder keeping in view the fact that he had evaluated his people after warning them for almost nine hundred years.

اِنَّكَ اِنۡ تَذَرۡهُمۡ يُضِلُّوۡا عِبَادَكَ وَلَا يَلِدُوۡۤا اِلَّا فَاجِرًا كَفَّارًا‏
( 27 )   Indeed, if You leave them, they will mislead Your servants and not beget except [every] wicked one and [confirmed] disbeliever.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: (If You leave them, they will mislead Your servants,) meaning, `if You leave a single one of them they will lead your servants astray.' This refers to those whom He will create after them. 

(and they will beget none but wicked disbelievers.) meaning, wicked in their deeds and disbelieving in their hearts. He (Nuh) said this due to what he knew about them since he remained among them for nine hundred and fifty years.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Lit., "to such as are wicked (fajir), stubbornly ingrate (kaffar)": but since no one - and particularly not a prophet - is ever justified in assuming that the progeny of evildoers must of necessity be evil, it is obvious that the terms fajir and kaffar are used here metonymically, denoting qualities or attitudes, and not persons.

رَبِّ اغۡفِرۡلِىۡ وَلِـوَالِدَىَّ وَلِمَنۡ دَخَلَ بَيۡتِىَ مُؤۡمِنًا وَّلِلۡمُؤۡمِنِيۡنَ وَالۡمُؤۡمِنٰتِؕ وَلَا تَزِدِ الظّٰلِمِيۡنَ اِلَّا تَبَارًا
( 28 )   My Lord, forgive me and my parents and whoever enters my house a believer and the believing men and believing women. And do not increase the wrongdoers except in destruction."

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: Ad-Dahhak said, "This means, my Masjid.'' However, there is no harm in understanding the Ayah according to its apparent meaning, which would be that he (Nuh) supplicated for every person who entered his house who was a believer. 

Then he said, (and all the believing men and women.) He supplicated for all of the believing men and women, and that includes those of them who were living and those of them who were dead. For this reason, it is recommended to supplicate like this, in following the example of Nuh, and that which has been reported in the narrations and well-known, legislated supplications. 

Then, he said, (And to the wrongdoers, grant You no increase but destruction!) As-Suddi said, "But destruction.'' Mujahid said, "But loss.'' This means in both this life and in the Hereafter.This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Nuh. And all praise and thanks are due to Allah.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Indeed he prays for himself, his parents, his guests, and all who in earnest faith turn to Allah, in all ages and in all places. Praying for their forgiveness is also praying for the destruction of sin.

This is slightly different in form from verse 24 above.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Lit., "increase Thou not the evildoers in aught but destruction" - i.e., destruction of their aims and, thus, of evil as such.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: It is evident from this that in this phase of declaring his acquittal from his people, Noah (sws) had proclaimed that whoever wants to protect himself from punishment should take refuge in his house before its arrival.

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

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

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

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Monday 30 March 2020

Sürah Al-A'raf - The Heights: 7th Chapter of Quran (Exegesis Part II)

Sürah Al-A'raf " ٱلْأَعْرَاف " is the seventh surah with 206 ayahs with 24 rukus, part of the 8th-9th Juzʼ  of the Holy Qur'an. It also has one sajdah (prostration of recitation - verse 206).  This Sürah takes its name from verses 46-47 in which mention of A'araf occurs.

This Sürah is closely connected, both chronologically and in respect of the argument with the previous Sürah 6 An'aam. But it expounds the doctrine of revelation and man's religious history by illustrations from Adam onward, through various prophets, and the detail of Moses's struggles, to the time of the Prophet Muhammad (sws), in which Allah's revelation is completed.

The exegesis of this surah has been divided into five parts as already mentioned in the Overview. We now present the Part II covering Ruku / sections 8-12 (verses 59-99). This part includes the story of Noah and the Flood, and the stories of Hod, Salih, Lot, and Shu'aib, all point to the lesson that the Prophets were resisted and rejected, but truth triumphed in the end, and evil was humbled, for Allah's Plan never fails.

Let us now read the translation and exegesis / tafseer in English of the Sürah segmented into portions as per the subject matter. For Arabic Text, please refer to the references given at the end and may also listen to its recitation in Arabic with English subtitles:

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

In verses 59-73, the stories of Prophets Noah and Hud (peace be upon them) have been narrated. God sent Noah to his people and he asked them to worship God alone.  They denied Noah so God saved him and those with him in a ship, the others, who denied God’s signs, were drowned.  Prophet Hud was sent to the people of Aad, saying worship God alone but they denied him.  They called him a liar and a fool when he was giving them sincere advice.  Hud reminded them of the people of Noah and of the favours God has bestowed upon them, he warned them of a terrible punishment but they taunted him and asked Hud to bring on the punishment.  Hud said he would wait with them for the decision from God.  The disbelievers were annihilated; Hud and his companions were saved by the mercy of God.

Ruku / Section 8 [Verses 59-64]: Some lessons from the story of Prophet Noah -peace be upon him.

Verses 59-64 Prophet Nuh's address to his people, their disbelief and their fate:
( 59 )   We had certainly sent Noah to his people, and he said, "O my people, worship Allah; you have no deity other than Him. Indeed, I fear for you the punishment of a tremendous Day.
This historical narrative opens with an account of the Prophet Noah and his people. For the people of Noah were the first to drift away from the right way of life which was followed by the Prophet Adarn and his descendants. God, therefore, sent Noah to guide and reform them.

In light of the Qur'anic allusions and Biblical statements it seems certain the people of Noah inhabited the land presently known as Iraq. This view is also supported by inscriptions of pre-Biblical times discovered in the course of archaeological excavations in Babylonia. Those inscriptions contain almost the same account which is recounted in the Qur'an and the Torah. The locale of the event is the vicinity of Mosul. Kurdish and Armenian traditions also corroborate this account insofar as they mention that it was in this area that Noah's Ark anchored. Some relies ascribed to Noah are still found in Jazirat Ibn 'Urnar, situated to the north of Mosul and on the frontiers of Armenia in the vicinity of the Ararat mountain mass. The inhabitants of Nakhichevan (a landlocked enclave of the Republic of Azerbaijan) believe to this day that their town was founded by Noah.

Traditions similar to the story of Noah are also found in classical Greek Egyptian, Indian and Chinese literature. Moreover, stories of identical import have been popular since time immemorial in Burma, Malaya, the East Indies, Australia, New Guinea and various parts of Europe and America. This shows clearly that the event took place at some point in the dim past when men lived together in one region and it was after Noah's Flood that they dispersed to different parts of the world. This is why traditions of all nations mention the Flood of the early time. This is notwithstanding the fact that the actual event has increasingly been shrouded in mystery, and the authentic elements of the event overlaid with myth and legend.

It is evident from the above verse and from other Qur'anic descriptions of the people of Noah that they were neither ignorant of, nor denied the existence of God, nor were they opposed to the idea of worshiping Him. Their real malady was polytheism. They had associated others with God in His godhead, and considered them akin to God in their claim that human beings should worship them as well. This basic error gave rise to a number of evils among them. There had arisen among them a class of people representing the false gods they themselves had contrived. Gradually this class of people virtually monopolized all religious, economic and political authority. This class also introduced a hierarchical structure of society which led to immense corruption and injustice. The moral degeneration which this system promoted sapped the roots of mankind's higher characteristics. When corruption reached a high peak, God sent Noah to improve the state of affairs. For long, Noah strove with patience and wisdom to bring about reform. All his efforts, however, were thwarted by the clergy which craftily kept people under its powerful hold. Eventually Noah prayed to God not to spare even a single unbeliever on the face of the earth, for they would go about misguiding human beings, and their progeny would likewise be wicked and ungrateful. (For a detailed discussion see( Hud 11: 25-48), (al-Shu'ara' 26: 105-22) and (Nuh 71: 1-28.)

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The story of Noah in greater detail will be found in xi. 25-49. Here the scheme is to tell briefly the stories of some of the Prophets between Noah and Moses, and lead up thus to a lesson for the contemporaries of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)  himself. When Noah attacked the wickedness of his generation, he was laughed at for a madman, for he mentioned the Great Day to come in the Hereafter. Allah's retribution came soon afterwards-the great Flood, in which his unbelieving people were drowned, but he and those who believed in him and came into the Ark were saved.
( 60 )   Said the eminent among his people, "Indeed, we see you in clear error."( 61 )   [Noah] said, "O my people, there is not error in me, but I am a messenger from the Lord of the worlds."( 62 )   I convey to you the messages of my Lord and advise you; and I know from Allah what you do not know.
( 63 )   Then do you wonder that there has come to you a reminder from your Lord through a man from among you, that he may warn you and that you may fear Allah so you might receive mercy."
 There were striking similarities between Muhammad and Noah (peace be on them). The Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) received the same treatment from his people as did Noah from his. The message that each of them sought to preach was also the same. Likewise, the doubts and objections raised by the people of Muhammad (peace be on him) with regard to his prophethood were the same as those raised by Noah's people several thousand years ago. Again, what Muhammad (peace be on him) said in response to the doubts and objections raised against him were exactly the same as what Noah had said.

The Qur'anic narration of the stories of the Prophets makes it amply clear that the attitude of the nations to whom the Prophets were sent had always been the same as that of the Makkans towards the Message of Muhammad (peace be on him). Apart from this, the accounts of the various Prophets and their people, display the same striking resemblances. Likewise, the Prophet Muhammad's (peace be on him) vindication of his teaching in response to the Makkans is identical with similar attempts by other Prophets to vindicate their teachings. So doing, the Qur'an seeks to emphasize that in the same way as the error and misguidance of which men become victims have remained essentially the same throughout the ages, the Message of God's Messengers has also been the same in all places and at all times. Again, there is a striking resemblance in the ultimate fate of all those peoples who reject the message of the Prophets and who persist in their erroneous and evil ways. This too has also been the same, namely utter destruction.
( 64 )   But they denied him, so We saved him and those who were with him in the ship. And We drowned those who denied Our signs. Indeed, they were a blind people.
An uninitiated reader of the Qur'an may, mistakenly conceive that the mission of each Prophet - to call his people to God - would have finished after the few attempts they made in that connection. Some people might even entertain a rather simplistic image of their mission. It might be thought that a Prophet would have suddenly risen and proclaimed to his people that he had been designated by God as a Prophet. This would have been followed by the raising of objections to that claim. Subsequently, the Prophet concerned would have explained the matter and might have removed their misgivings. The people would have stuck to their position, would have rejected the Prophet's claim and called him a liar. whereupon God must have visited that people with punishment.

The fact of the matter, however, is that the Qur'an has narrated in just a few lines a story that was worked out over a long period of time. The brevity of the Qur'anic description owes itself to the fact that the Qur'an is not interested per se in story-telling; that its narration and purpose are didactic. Hence, while recounting a historical event, the Qur'an mentions only those fragments of the event which are relevant, ignoring those details which are irrelevant to Qur'anic purposes. Again, at different places in the Qur'an the same event is mentioned for a variety of reasons. On every occasion only those fragments of the story which are relevant to a specific purpose are mentioned and the rest are left out. An instance in point is the above narrative about Noah. In narrating Noah's story the Qur'an aims to point out the consequences attendant upon the rejection of the Prophet's Message. Since the total period spent on conveying the Message does not have any direct relationship with that purpose, the Qur'an altogether ignores it here. However, in passages where the Prophet and the Companions have been asked to remain patient, the long duration of the Prophet Noah's missionary, effort has been mentioned. This has been done precisely, with a view to raising the morale of the believers and to prevent them from feeling low because they did not see any, good results coming out of that struggle. By mentioning how Noah strove patiently for such a long period of time and in the face of discouraging circumstances is quite relevant in this context as it helps to teach the lesson which is intended. That lesson is to persist in serving the cause of the truth and to refuse to be daunted by the adversity of the circumstances. See ( al-'Ankabut 29: 14).

It would be appropriate to remove, at this stage, a doubt which might agitate the minds of some people. For one frequently reads in the Qur'an accounts of nations which rejected their Prophets and charged them with lying. One also reads about the Prophets warning them of God's punishment, and then about its sudden advent, scourging the nation and totally destroying it. This gives rise to the question: Why do such catastrophic incidents not take place in our own time? Nations still rise and fall, but the phenomenon of their rise and fall is of a different nature. We do not see it happen that a nation is served with a warning, and is then totally destroyed by a calamity such as an earthquake. a flood, a storm, or a thunderbolt.

In order to understand this it should be remembered that a nation which has directly received God's Message from a Prophet is treated by God in a different manner from nations which have not witnessed a Prophet. For if a nation directly witnesses a Prophet - an embodiment of righteousness - and receives God's Message from his tongue, it has no valid excuse left for rejecting that Message. And if it still rejects the Message, it indeed deserves to be summarily punished. Other nations are to be placed in a different category since they received God's Message indirectly. Hence, if the nations of the present time are not visited by; the devastating punishments which struck the nations of the Prophets in the past, one need not wonder since prophethood came to an end with the advent of Muhammad (peace be on him). One should indeed have cause to wonder if one saw the opposite happen - that is, if the nations of the present were visited by punishments from God which had afflicted those nations that rejected their Prophets face to face.

This does not mean, however, that God has ceased to inflict severe punishments on nations which turn away from God and are sunk in ideological and moral error. The fact is that God's punishments still afflict different nations of the world. These punishments are both minor and major. Minor punishments are aimed at warning those nations, and the major ones are of a much more serious character and cause considerable damage. However, in the absence of the Prophets who are wont to draw attention to moral degeneration as the basic cause of these calamities, the historians and thinkers of our time only scratch the surface and explain these in terms of physical laws or historical causes. These sophisticated explanations are of little help. On the contrary, nations so afflicted with heedlessness and moral stupor are thereby further prevented from appreciating that God has always warned evil-doing nations against following their evil ways, and that when they willfully disregard these warnings and adamantly stick to their erroneous ways. He ultimately inflicts disastrous punishments upon them.

Ruku / Section 9 [Verses 65-72]: Lessons from the story of Prophet Hud- peace be upon him.

Verses 65-72 Prophet Hud's address to his people, their disbelief and their fate:
( 65 )   And to the 'Aad [We sent] their brother Hud. He said, "O my people, worship Allah; you have no deity other than Him. Then will you not fear Him?"
'Ad, an ancient Arab people, were well-known throughout Arabia. They were known for their proverbial glory and grandeur. And when they were destroyed, their extinction also became proverbial. So much so that the word 'Ad has come to be used for things ancient and the word 'adiyat for archaeological remains. The land whose owner is unknown and which is lying fallow, from neglect is called 'adi al-ard.

The ancient Arabic poetry is replete with references to this people. Arab genealogists consider the 'Ad as the foremost among the extinct tribes of Arabia. Once a person of the Banel Dhuhl b. Shayban tribe, who was a resident of the 'Ad territory, called on the Prophet (peace be on him). He related stories to the Prophet about the people of 'Ad, stories handed down to the people of that region from generation to generation. (See Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 3, p. 482 - Ed.)

According to the Qur'an the people of 'Ad lived mainly in the Ahqaf region which is situated to the south-west of the Empty Quarter (al-Rub' al-Khali) and which lies between Hijaz, Yemen and Yamamah. It was from there that the people of 'Ad spread to the western coast of Yemen and established their hegemony in Oman, Hadramawt and Iraq. There is very little archaeological evidence about the 'Ad. Only a few ruins in South Arabia are ascribed to them. At a place in Hadramawt there is a grave which is considered to be that of the Prophet Hud. James R. Wellested, a British naval officer, discovered an ancient inscription in 1837 in a place called Hisn al-Ghurab which contains a reference to the Prophet Hud. The contents unmistakably bear out that it had been written by those who followed the Shari'ah of Hud. (For details see Tafhim al-Qur'an, (al-Al. Ahqaf 46: 21)

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The 'Ad people, with their prophet Had, are mentioned in many places. See especially xxvi. 123-140, and xivi. 21-26. Their story belongs to Arabian tradition. Their eponymous ancestor 'Ad was fourth in generation from Noah, having been a son of 'Aus, the son of Aram, the son of Sam, the son of Noah. They occupied a large tract of country in Southern Arabia, extending from Umman at the mouth of the Arabian Gulf to Hadhramaut and Yemen at the southern end of the Red Sea. The people were tall in stature and were great builders. Probably the long, winding tracts of sands (ahqaf) in their dominions (xivi. 21) were irrigated with canals. They forsook the true God, and oppressed their people. A three years famine visited them, but yet they took no warning. At length a terrible blast of wind destroyed them and their land, but a remnant, known as the second 'Ad or the Thamud (see below) were saved, and afterwards suffered a similar fate for their sins. The tomb of the Prophet Hud (qabr Nabi Hud) is still traditionally shown in Hadhramaut, latitude 16 N, and longitude 49 1/2 E', about 90 miles north of Mukalla. There are ruins and inscriptions in the neighbourhood. See "Hadhramaut, Some of its Mysteries Unveiled," by D. van der Meulen and H. von Wissmann, Leyden, 1932.
( 66 )   Said the eminent ones who disbelieved among his people, "Indeed, we see you in foolishness, and indeed, we think you are of the liars."( 67 )   [Hud] said, "O my people, there is not foolishness in me, but I am a messenger from the Lord of the worlds."( 68 )   I convey to you the messages of my Lord, and I am to you a trustworthy adviser.
اَوَعَجِبۡتُمۡ اَنۡ جَآءَكُمۡ ذِكۡرٌ مِّنۡ رَّبِّكُمۡ عَلٰى رَجُلٍ مِّنۡكُمۡ لِيُنۡذِرَكُمۡ​ ؕ وَاذۡكُرُوۡۤا اِذۡ جَعَلَـكُمۡ ۚ خُلَفَآءَ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ قَوۡمِ نُوۡحٍ وَّزَادَكُمۡ فِى الۡخَـلۡقِ بَصۜۡطَةً​​ فَاذۡكُرُوۡۤا اٰ لَۤاءَ اللّٰهِ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تُفۡلِحُوۡنَ‏  
( 69 )   Then do you wonder that there has come to you a reminder from your Lord through a man from among you, that he may warn you? And remember when He made you successors after the people of Noah and increased you in stature extensively. So remember the favors of Allah that you might succeed.
The word ala' used in the above verse stands for bounties, wondrous works of nature, and praiseworthy qualities. The purpose of the verse is to impress upon man to gratefully, recognize the favours God has lavished upon him, bearing in mind that God also has the Power to take them away.
( 70 )   They said, "Have you come to us that we should worship Allah alone and leave what our fathers have worshiped? Then bring us what you promise us, if you should be of the truthful."
It is worth noting that the people of 'Ad neither disbelieved in God nor refused to worship Him. They did not, however, follow, the teachings of Hud who proclaimed God alone should he worshiped, and that none other may be associated in servitude to Him.
( 71 )   [Hud] said, "Already have defilement and anger fallen upon you from your Lord. Do you dispute with me concerning [mere] names you have named them, you and your fathers, for which Allah has not sent down any authority? Then wait; indeed, I am with you among those who wait."
They looked to gods of rain and gods of wind, wealth, and health. But none of these enjoys godhead. There are many instances in our own time of people whose beliefs are no different from the ones mentioned above. There are people who are wont to call someone Mushkil Kusha, 'the remover of distress' or to call someone else Ganjbakhsh, 'the bestower of treasures'. But God's creatures cannot remove the distresses of other creatures like themselves, nor do they have any treasure that they might give away to others. Their titles are merely empty words, bereft of the qualities attributed to them. All argumentation aimed at justifying those titles amounts to a lot of sound and fury about nothing.

The Makkans could produce no sanction from Allah - Whom they themselves acknowledged as the Supreme God - that He had transferred to their false gods any of His power or authority. None has any authorization from God to remove distress from, or bestow treasures on, others. It is the Makkans themselves who arbitrarily chose to confer parts of God's power on those beings.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The past tense may be understood in three ways. (1) A terrible famine had already afflicted the 'Ad as a warning before they were overwhelmed in the final blast of hot wind (see the last note). (2) The terrible insolence and sin into which they had fallen was itself a punishment. (3) The prophetic past is used, as much as to say: "Behold! I see a dreadful calamity: it is already on you!"

Why dispute over names and imaginary gods, the inventions of your minds? Come to realities. If you ask for the punishment and are waiting in insolent defiance, what can I do but also wait?-in fear and trembling for you, for I know that Allah's punishment is sure!
( 72 )   So We saved him and those with him by mercy from Us. And We eliminated those who denied Our signs, and they were not [at all] believers.
The Qur'an informs us that God brought about the total extermination of the 'Ad, a fact borne out by both Arabian historical traditions and recent archaeological discoveries. The 'Ad were so totally destroyed and their monuments so completely effaced that the Arab historians refer to them as one of the umam ba'idah (extinct peoples) of Arabia. The Arab tradition also affirms that the only people belonging to the 'Ad who survived were the followers of the Prophet Hud. These survivors are known as the Second 'Ad ('Ad Thaniyah). The Hisn al-Ghurib inscriptions referred to earlier (n. 51) above are among the remaining monuments of these people. One inscription, which is generally considered to date from the eighteenth century B.C., as deciphered by the experts, contains the following sentences:

We have lived for a long time in this fort in full glory, free of all want. Our canals were always full to the brim with water . . . Our rulers were kings who were far removed from evil ideas, who dealt sternly with mischief-makers and governed us according to the Law of Hud. Their edicts were recorded in a book. We believed in miracles and resurrection.

The above account fully corroborates the Qur'anic statement that it was only the companions of Hud who survived and inherited the glory and prosperity of the 'Ad.

Verses 74- 94 relate to the stories of Saleh, Lot and Shuaib
To the people of Thamud, God sent Prophet Saleh.  He asked them to worship God alone.  Saleh asked them to protect the she-camel sent from God and reminded them that they were the inheritors of Aad, capable of building great mansions in valleys and carving out homes from the sides of mountains.  Remember God’s blessings Saleh told his people, however the arrogant ones asked the believers if they really thought Saleh was sent from God.  They answered yes but the arrogant ones rejected this and hamstrung the camel they had been charged with protecting.  So bring us this promise (of God’s wrath) they said, so an earthquake seized them and they fell down dead.  Saleh turned away.
Lot was sent to his people and confronted them with the promise of punishment for the indecent acts they performed with each other, but their only response was to try to evict Lot and his family from their city.  God saved Lot and all his family, except for his wife who was among the evildoers, when the rain of stones destroyed them.
Shu'aib was sent to the people of Median and he asked them to worship God alone.  He asked them to cease their corrupt business practices and to stop waylaying visitors and wayfarers in their cities.  He reminded them that God increased their numbers and of the shocking ends to some previous nations but they did not want to heed the warning.  Instead of being grateful to God they attributed changing fortunes to the passage of time.  The people of Median were stuck down by an earthquake, those who had disbelieved Shu'aib’s warning ceased to exist.  Shuaib turned away without grieving for the disbelieving people.
Ruku / Section 10 [Verses 73-84]: 

Verses 73-79 Prophet Saleh's address to his people, their disbelief and their fate:
( 73 )   And to the Thamud [We sent] their brother Salih. He said, "O my people, worship Allah; you have no deity other than Him. There has come to you clear evidence from your Lord. This is the she-camel of Allah [sent] to you as a sign. So leave her to eat within Allah 's land and do not touch her with harm, lest there seize you a painful punishment.
The Thamud are another ancient Arab people, next only to the 'Ad in fame. Legends relating to them were quite popular in pre-Islamic Arabia. In fact poetry and orations of the pre-Islamic (Jahiliyah) period abound with references to them. They are also mentioned in the Assyrian inscriptions and in the Greek, Alexandrian and Roman works of history and geography. Some descendants of the Thamud survived to a little before the birth of Jesus. The Roman historians mention that they entered into the Roman army and fought against the Nabateans, their arch-enemy.

The Thamud lived in the north-western part of Arabia which is still called al-Hijr. In the present time there is a station on the Hijaz railway, between Madina and Tabuk. This is called Mada'in Salih, which was the capital town of Thamud and was then known as al-Hijr, the rock-hewn city. This has survived to this day and is spread over thousands of acres. It was once inhabited by no less than half a million people. At the time of the revelation of the Qur'an Arab trade caravans passed through the ruins of this city.

While the Prophet (peace be on him) was on his way, to Tabuk, he directed the Muslims to look upon these monuments and urged them to learn the lessons which sensible persons ought to learn from the ruins of a people that had been destroyed because of their evil-doing. The Prophet (peace be on him) also pointed to the well from which the she-camel of the Prophet Salih used to drink. He instructed the Muslims to draw water from that well alone and to avoid all other wells. The mountain pass through which that she-camel came to drink was also indicated by the Prophet (peace be on him). The pass is still known as Fajj al-Naqah. The Prophet (peace be on him) then gathered all the Muslims who had been directed to look around that city of rocks, and addressed them. He drew their attention to the tragic end of the Thamud, who by their evil ways had invited God's punishment upon themselves. The Prophet (peace he on him) asked them to hastily move ahead for the place was a grim reminder of God's severe punishment and he hence called for reflection and repentance. (See waqidi, al-maghazi, vol. 3, pp. 1006-8. See also the comments of Ibn Kathir on verses 73-8 - Ed.)

58. The context seems to indicate that the clear proof referred to in the verse stands for the she-camel which is also spoken of as 'a Divine portent'. In( al-Shu'ara' 26: 154-8) it is explicitly mentioned that the Thamud themselves had asked the Prophet Salih to produce some sign which would support his claim to be God's Messenger. Responding to it, Salih pointed to the she-camel.

This illustrates clearly that the appearance of the she-camel was a miracle. Similar miracles had been performed earlier by other Prophets with a view to fulfilling the demand of the unbelievers and thus of vindicating their claim to prophethood. The miraculous appearance of the she-camel reinforces the fact that Salih had presented it as a 'Divine portent' and warned his people of dire consequences if they harmed it. He explained to them that the she-camel would graze freely in their fields; that on alternate days she and other animals would drink water from their well, They were also warned that if they harmed the she-camel they would be immediately seized by a terrible chastisement' from God.

Such statements could obviously only have been made about an animal which was known to be of a miraculous nature. The Thamud observed the she-camel graze freely in their fields and she and the other camels drank water on alternate days from their well. The Thamud, though unhappy with the situation, endured this for quite some time. Later, however, after prolonged deliberations, they killed her. Such lengthy deliberations demonstrate that they were afraid to kill the she-camel. It is clear that the object of their fear was none other than the she-camel as they had no reason to be afraid of Salih, who had no power to terrify them. Their sense of awe for the she-camel explains why they let her graze freely on their land. The Qur'an, however, does not provide any detailed information as to what the she-camel looked like or how she was born. The authentic Hadith too provide no information about its miraculous birth. Hence, one need not take too seriously the statements of some of the commentators on the Qur'an about the mode of her birth. However, as far as the fact of her miraculous birth is concerned, that is borne out by the Qur'an itself.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The Thamud people were the successors to the culture and civilization of the 'Ad people, (see verse 65 above). They were cousins to the 'Ad, apparently a younger branch of the same race. Their story also belongs to Arabian tradition, according to which their eponymous ancestor Thamud was a son of 'Abir (a brother of Aram), the son of Sam, the son of Noah. Their seat was in the north-west corner of Arabia (Arabia Petraea), between Madinah and Syria. It included both rocky country (hijr. xv. 80), and the spacious fertile valley (Wadi) and plains country of Qura, which begins just north of the City of Madinah and is traversed by the Hijaz Railway. When the holy Prophet in the 9th year of the Hijra led his expedition to Tabuk (about 400 miles north of Madinah) against the Roman forces, on a reported Roman invasion from Syria, he and his men came across the archaeological remains of the Thamud. The recently excavated rock city of Petra, near Maan, may go back to the Thamud, though its architecture has many features connecting it with Egyptian and Graeco-Roman culture overlaying what is called by European writers Nabataean Culture. Who were the Nabataeans? They were an old Arab tribe which played a considerable part in history after they came into conflict with Antigonus I in 312 B.C. Their capital was Petra, but they extended their territory right up to the Euphrates. In 85 B.C. they were lords of Damascus under their king Haritha (Aretas of Roman history). For some time they were allies of the Roman Empire and held the Red Sea littoral. The Emperor Trajan reduced them and annexed their territory in A.D. 105. The Nabataeans succeeded the Thamud of Arabian tradition. The Thamud are mentioned by name in an inscription of the Assyrian King Sargon, dated 715 B.C., as a people of Eastern and Central Arabia (Encyclopedia of Islam). See also Appendix VII to S. xxvi. With the advance of material civilization, the Thamud people became godless and arrogant, and were destroyed by an earthquake. Their prophet and warner was Salih, and the crisis in their history is connected with the story of a wonderful she-camel: see next note.

The story of this wonderful she-camel, that was a sign to the Thamud, is variously told in tradition. We need not follow the various versions in the traditional story. What we are told in the Qur'an is: that (1) she was a Sign or Symbol, which the prophet Salih, used for a warning to the haughty oppressors of the poor: (2) there was scarcity of water, and the arrogant or privileged classes tried to prevent the access of the poor or their cattle to the springs, while Salih intervened on their behalf (xxvi. 155, liv. 28); (3) like water, pasture was considered a free gift of nature, in this spacious earth of Allah (vii. 73), but the arrogant ones tried to monopolize the pasture also; (4) this particular she-camel was made a test case (liv. 27) to see if the arrogant ones would come to reason; (5) the arrogant ones, instead of yielding to the reasonable rights of the people, ham-strung the poor she- camel and slew her, probably secretly (xci. 14, liv. 29): the cup of their iniquities was full, and the Thamud people were destroyed by a dreadful earthquake, which threw them prone on the ground and buried them with their houses and their fine buildings.
( 74 )   And remember when He made you successors after the 'Aad and settled you in the land, [and] you take for yourselves palaces from its plains and carve from the mountains, homes. Then remember the favors of Allah and do not commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption."
The Thamud were highly skillful in rock-carving, and made huge mansions by carving the mountains, as we have mentioned earlier see (verse 73 )above. In this regard the works of the Thamud resemble the rock-carvings in the Ajanta and Ellora caves in India and several other places. A few buildings erected by the Thamud are still intact in Mada'in Salih and speak of their tremendous skills in civil engineering and architecture.

The Qur'an asks people to draw a lesson from the tragic end of the 'Ad. For just as God destroyed that wicked people and established Muslims in positions of power and influence previously occupied by them, He can also destroy the Muslims and replace them by Others if they should become wicked and mischievous.
( 75 )   Said the eminent ones who were arrogant among his people to those who were oppressed - to those who believed among them, "Do you [actually] know that Salih is sent from his Lord?" They said, "Indeed we, in that with which he was sent, are believers."
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
As usually happens in such cases, the Believers were the lowly and the humble, and the oppressors were the arrogant, who in selfishly keeping back nature's gifts (which are Allah's gifts) from the people, were deaf to the dictates of justice and kindness. Salih took the side of the unprivileged, and was therefore himself attacked.

Notice the relation between the question and the answer. The godless chiefs wanted to discredit Salih, and put a personal question, as much as to say, "Is he not a liar?" The Believers took back the issue to the higher plane, as much as to say. "We know he is a man of Allah, but look at the justice for which he is making a stand: to resist it is to resist Allah". The answer of the godless was to reject Allah in words, and in action to commit a further act of cruelty and injustice in ham-stringing and killing the she-camel, at the same time hurling defiance at Salih and his God.
( 76 )   Said those who were arrogant, "Indeed we, in that which you have believed, are disbelievers."
( 77 )   So they hamstrung the she-camel and were insolent toward the command of their Lord and said, "O Salih, bring us what you promise us, if you should be of the messengers."
Although the she-camel was killed by an individual, as we learn also from surahs al-Qamar (54) and al-Sharns (91), the whole nation was held guilty since it stood at the killer's back. Every sin which is committed with the approval and support of a nation, is a national crime even if it has been committed by one person. In fact the Qur'an goes a step further and declares that a sin which is committed publicly in the midst of a gathering is considered to be the collective sin of the people who tolerate it.

فَاَخَذَتۡهُمُ الرَّجۡفَةُ فَاَصۡبَحُوۡا فِىۡ دَارِهِمۡ جٰثِمِيۡنَ‏ 
( 78 )   So the earthquake seized them, and they became within their home [corpses] fallen prone.
Other Qur'anic expressions used for the calamity are 'rajifah' (earthquake) (al-Nazi'at 79: 6); 'sayah' (awesome cry) (Hud 11: 67); 'Sa'iqah' (thunderbolt) (al-Baqarah 2: 55); and 'taghiyah'' (roaring noise) (al-Haqqah 69: 5).

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The retribution was not long delayed. A terrible earthquake came and buried the people and destroyed their boasted civilization. The calamity must have been fairly extensive in area and intense in the terror it inspired, for it is described (liv. 31) as a "single mighty blast" (saihatan wahidatan), the sort of terror-inspiring noise which accompanies all big earthquakes.
( 79 )   And he turned away from them and said, "O my people, I had certainly conveyed to you the message of my Lord and advised you, but you do not like advisers."
Verses 80-84 Prophet Lut's address to his people, their disbelief and their fate:
( 80 )   And [We had sent] Lot when he said to his people, "Do you commit such immorality as no one has preceded you with from among the worlds?
The land inhabited by the people of Lot, which lies between Iraq and Palestine, is known as Trans-Jordan. According to the Bible, its capital town was Sodom, which is situated either somewhere near the Dead Sea, or presently lies submerged under it.. Apart from Sodom, according to the Talmud, there were four other major cities, and the land lying between these cities was dotted with such greenery and orchards that the whole area looked like one big garden enchanting any onlooker. However, the whole nation was destroyed and today we can find no trace of it. So much so that it is difficult to even locate the main cities which they inhabited. If anything remains as a reminder of this nation it is the Dead Sea which is also called the Sea of Lot. The Prophet Lot who was a nephew of the Prophet Abraham, accompanied his uncle as he moved away from Iraq. Lot sojourned to Syria, Palestine and Egypt for a while and gained practical experience of preaching his message. Later God bestowed prophethood upon him and assigned to him the mission of reforming his misguided people. The people of Sodom have been referred to as the people of Lot presumably because Lot may have established matrimonial ties with those people.

One of the many accusations recorded against Lot in the Bible - and the Bible has been tampered with extensively by the Jews - is that Lot migrated to Sodom after an argument with Abraham (Genesis 13: 10-12).

The Qur'an refutes this baseless charge and affirms that Lot was designated by God to work as His Messenger among his people.

The author refers to an argument between Abraham and Lot which he considers to be a fabrication of Jews.The obvious basis of this is that such an argument between the Prophets is inconceivable since it is unbecoming of them as Prophets. The basis of this inference is a statement in Genesis 13:1-12.

It seems that there has been some confusion with regard to this inference. The verses of Genesis in question make no reference to any strife between the two Prophets. The strife to which it refers allegedly took place between the two Prophets. In addition, when the two Prophets parted company it was on a pleasant note for Abraham had suggested that since there was an abundance of land, Lot should choose that part of the land he proffered so as to exclude all possibilities of strife between their herdsmen. (See Genesis 13:1-5-Ed.)

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Lut is the Lot of the English Bible. His story is biblical, but freed from some shameful features which are a blot on the biblical narrative, (e.g., see Gen. xix. 30-36). He was a nephew of Abraham, and was sent as a Prophet and warner to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, cities utterly destroyed for their unspeakable sins. They cannot be exactly located, but it may be supposed that they were somewhere in the plain cast of the Dead Sea. The story of their destruction is told in the 19th chapter of Genesis. Two angels in the shape of handsome young men came to Lot in the evening and became his guests by night. The inhabitants of Sodom in their lust for unnatural crime invaded Lot's house but were repulsed. In the morning, the angels warned Lot to escape with his family. "Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; and He overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt." (Gen. xix. 24-26). Note that Lot's people are the people to whom he is sent on a mission. He was not one of their own brethren, as was Salih or Shu'aib. But he looked upon his people as his brethren (I. 13), as a man of God always does.
( 81 )   Indeed, you approach men with desire, instead of women. Rather, you are a transgressing people."
The hideous act of sodomy, for which the people of Lot earned notoriety, has no doubt been committed by perverts in all times. The Greeks philosophers had the distinction of glorifying it as a moral virtue. It was left, however, for the modern West to vigorously propagate sodomy so much so that it was declared legal by the legislatures of a few countries. All this has been done in the face of the obvious fact that this form of sexual intercourse is patently unnatural. God created distinctions between the sexes of all living beings for the purposes of reproduction and perpetuation of the species. As far as the human species is concerned, their creation into two sexes is related to another end as well: that the two should come together in order to bring into existence the family and establish human civilization. In view of this, not only were human beings divided into two sexes, but each sex was made attractive to the other. The physical structure and psychological make-up of each sex was shaped in keeping with the purpose of forging bonds of mutual cordiality between the members of the two sexes. The sexual act, which is intensely pleasurable is at once a factor leading to the fulfillment of nature's purposes as underlined by the sexual division of humankind as well as a reward for fulfilling these purposes.

Now, the crime of the person who commits sodomy in flagrant opposition to this scheme of things, is not limited to that act alone. In fact he commits along with it a number of other crimes. First, he wages war against his own nature, against his inherent psychological predilection. This causes a major disorder which leads to highly negative effects on the lives of both the parties involved in that unnatural act - effects which are physical, psychological as well as moral. Second, he acts dishonestly with nature since while he derives sexual pleasure he fails to fulfill the societal obligation of which this pleasure is a recompense. Third, such a person also acts dishonestly with human society. For, although he avails himself of the advantages offered by various social institutions, when he has an opportunity to act, he uses his abilities in a manner which not only fails to serve that society but which positively harms it. Apart from neglecting the obligations he owes to society, he renders himself incapable of serving the human race and his own family. He also produces effeminacy in at least one male and potentially pushes at least two females towards sexual corruption and moral depravity.
(82 )   But the answer of his people was only that they said, "Evict them from your city! Indeed, they are men who keep themselves pure."
 It is evident from the present verse that the people of Lot Were not only shameless and corrupt, but were also a people who had sunk in moral depravity to such a degree that even the presence of a few righteous persons had become intolerable to them. Their moral degradation left them with no patience for anyone who sought to bring about any moral reform. Even the slightest element of purity found in their society was too much for them, and they simply wished to have their society purged of it.

When these people reached such a low point of wickedness and hostility to good, God decreed that they be wiped out altogether. When the collective life of a people becomes totally bereft of goodness and purity, it forfeits the right to exist on earth. Their example is like that of a basket of fruit. As long as some fruit remains firm, there is some justification to keep that basket. But the basket has to be thrown away when the fruit becomes rotten.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
An instance of the withering sarcasm that hardened sinners use against the righteous. They wound with words, and follow up the insult with deeds of injustice, thinking that they would bring the righteous into disgrace. But Allah looks after His own, and in the end, the wicked themselves are overthrown when the cup of their iniquity is full.
( 83 )   So We saved him and his family, except for his wife; she was of those who remained [with the evildoers].
As the Qur'an mentions elsewhere, Lot's wife supported her disbelieving relatives to the last. Hence, when God directed Lot and his followers to migrate from that corrupt land, He ordained that Lot's wife be left behind.

This seems to be an inference from( al- Tahrim 66: 10 - Ed).

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
In the biblical narrative she looks back, a physical act: here she is a type of those who lag behind, i.e, whose mental and moral attitude, in spite of their association with the righteous, is to hark back to the glitter of wickedness and sin. The righteous should have one sole objective, the Way of Allah. They should not took behind, nor yet to the right or the left.
( 84 )   And We rained upon them a rain [of stones]. Then see how was the end of the criminals.
The 'rainfall' in the verse does not refer to the descent of water from the sky. It refers rather to the volley of stones. The Qur'an itself mentions that their habitations were turned upside down and ruined. See (verse 85); also (Hud 11:82-3); (al-Hijr 15:74-E.)

In light of this verse and other references in the Qur'an, sodomy is established as one of the deadliest sins; and that it incurred God's scourge on those who indulged in it. We also know from the teachings of the Prophet (peace be on him) that the Islamic state should purge society of this crime and severely punish those guilty of it. There are several traditions from the Prophet (peace be on him) which mention that very severe punishments were inflicted on both partners of this act. According to one tradition, the Prophet (peace be on him) ordered that both partners be put to death. (See Ibn Majah, Kitab al-Hudud, 'Bab man 'amila 'Amal Qawm ut'- Ed.) In another tradition it has been added that the culprits should be put to death whether they are married or un-married. (Ibn Majah, Kitab al-Hudad - Ed.) In another tradition it has been said that both parties should be stoned (to death). (Ibn Majah, Kitab al-Hudad, 'Bab man 'amila 'Amal Qawm Lut ' - Ed.) However, since no case of sodomy was reported in the lifetime of the Prophet (peace be on him), the punishment did not acquire a very clear and definitive shape. Among the Companions, 'Ali is of the view that such sinners should be beheaded and instead of being buried should be cremated. Abu Bakr also held the same view. However, 'Urnar and 'Uthman suggest that the sinners be made to stand under the roof of a dilapidated building, which should then be pulled down upon them. Ibn 'Abbas holds the view that those guilty of such a sinful act should be thrown from the top of the tallest building of the habitation and then pelted with stones. (See al-Fiqh 'ala al-Madhahib al-Arba'ah, vol. 5, pp. 141-2 - Ed.) As for the jurists, Shafi pronounces the punishment of death on both partners to sodomy irrespective of their marital status, and of their role whether it be active or passive. According to Sha'bi, Zuhri, Malik and Ahmad b. Hanbal, they should be stoned to death. Sa'id b. al-Musayyib, 'Ata', Hasan Basri, Ibrahim Nakha'i, Sufyan Thawri and Awa'i believe that such sinners deserve the same punishment as laid down for unlawful sexual-intercourse: that unmarried ones should be lashed a hundred times and exiled, and that married ones should be stoned to death. Abu Hanifah, however, does not recommend any specific punishment. For him, the sinner should be awarded, depending on the circumstances of each case, some deterrent punishment. According to one of the reports, the same was the view of Shafi'i. (See Ibn Qudamah, al-Mughni, vol. 8, pp. 187-8 - Ed.)

It should also be made clear that it is altogether unlawful for the husband to perpetrate this act on his wife. The Prophet (peace be on him), according to a tradition in Abu Da'ud, said: 'Cursed be he who commits this act with a woman.' (Abu Da'ud, Kitab al-Nikah, 'Bab fi Jami ' al Nikah' - Ed.) In other collections of Hadith such as Sunan of Ibn Majah and Musnad of Ahmad b. Hanbal. we find the following saying of the Prophet (peace be on him): 'God will not even look at him who commits this act of sodomy with his wife in her rectum.' (Ibn Majah, Kitab al-Nikah', 'Bab al-Nahy'an Ityan al-Nisa' fi Adbarihinn', Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 2, p. 344 - Ed.) Likewise the following saying of the Prophet (peace be on him) is mentioned in Tirmidhi: 'He who makes sexual intercourse with a menstruating woman, or indulges in sodomy with a woman. or calls on a soothsayer, believing him to be true, denies the faith sent down to Muhammad (peace be on him).' (Ibn Majah, Kitab al-Taharah, 'Bab al-Nahy 'an ityan al-Ha'id'- Ed.)

The shower is expressly stated in Q. xi. 82 to have been of stones. In xv. 73-74, we are told that there was a terrible blast or noise (saihat) in addition to the shower of stones. Taking these passages into consideration along with Gen. xix. 24. (see n. 1049 above), I think it is legitimate to translate: "a shower of brimstone."

Ruku / Section 11 [Verses 85-93]: Lessons from the story of Prophet Shu'aib -peace be upon him.

Verses 85-87 Prophet Shu'aib's address to his people, their disbelief and their fate:
( 85 )   And to [the people of] Madyan [We sent] their brother Shu'ayb. He said, "O my people, worship Allah; you have no deity other than Him. There has come to you clear evidence from your Lord. So fulfill the measure and weight and do not deprive people of their due and cause not corruption upon the earth after its reformation. That is better for you, if you should be believers.
The territory of Madyan (Midian) lay to the north-west of Hijaz and south of Palestine on the coast of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba, and part of the territory stretched to the northern border of the Sinai Peninsula. The Midianites and their towns were situated at the crossroads of the trade routes from Yemen through Makkah and Yanbu' to Syria along the Red Sea coast, and from Iraq to Egypt. Midian was, therefore, quite well known to the Arabs. In fact it persisted in their memory long after its destruction for the Arab trade caravans en route to Syria and Egypt passed through territories which were full of the ruins of their monuments.

Another point worth noting about the people of Midian is that they were reckoned to be descendants of Midyan, a son of the Prophet Abraham born of his third wife, Qatura. According to a custom of the time, persons who attached themselves to a notable family were gradually counted as members of that family, as the descendants of that family's ancestor. It is for this reason that a large majority of Arabs were called the descendants of Ismai'l. Likewise those who embraced faith at the hands of Ya'qub's sons bore the general name 'the People of Israel'. Now, since the inhabitants of Midian owed allegiance to Midyan, son of Abraham, they were referred to as the descendants of Midyan and their territory was called Midian.

In view of this it should not be thought that the Prophet Shu'ayb invited them, for the first time, to follow Divine Guidance. At the time of the advent of Shu'ayb their state was no different from that of the Israelites at the time of the advent of Moses. They too were originally a Muslim people who had subsequently moved far away from Islam. For six to seven centuries they lived among a people who were steeped in polytheism and moral corruption, and this led to their contamination with polytheism and moral corruption. Despite their deviation and corruption, however, they claimed to be the followers of the true faith, and were proud of their religious identification.

This shows that the people of Midian suffered from two major ailments - polytheism and dishonesty in business. Shu'ayb devoted his efforts to purging them of those evils.

In his exhortations to his people, Shu'ayb emphasized that they should not allow the order of life, established by the previous Prophets on the foundations of true faith and sound morals, to be corrupted by false beliefs and moral depravity.

This clearly shows that the people concerned claimed to be believers, as we have already pointed out. In fact, they were originally Muslims who had drifted away from Islam, who had become enmeshed in a range of evils. They not only professed to be believers, but took great pride in being so. See( n. 69) above - Ed. Shu'ayb made this fact the starting-point of his preaching. He told them that if they indeed were believers they should live up to that fact; they should consider their salvation to lie in practicing goodness and virtue, honesty and integrity; and they should distinguish between good and evil on the basis of the standards followed by righteous people rather than of those who believed neither in God nor in the Hereafter.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
"Madyan" may be identified with "Midian". Midian and the Midianites are frequently mentioned in the Old Testament, though the particular incident here mentioned belongs to Arab rather than to Jewish tradition. The Midianites were of Arab race, though, as neighbours of the Canaanites, they probably intermixed with them. They were a wandering tribe: it was Midianite merchants to whom Joseph was sold into slavery, and who took him to Egypt. Their principal territory in the time of Moses was in the northeast of the Sinai Peninsula, and east of the Amalekites. Under Moses the Israelites waged a war of extermination against them: they slew the kings of Midian, slaughtered all the males, burnt their cities and castles, and captured their cattle (Num. xxxi, 7-1 1). This sounds like total extermination. Yet a few generations afterwards, they were so powerful that the Israelites for their sins were delivered into the captivity of the Midianites for seven years: both the Midianites and their camels were without number: and the Israelites hid from them in "dens..... caves, and strongholds" (Judges vii. 1- 6). Gideon destroyed them again, (Judges vii. 1-25), say about two centuries after Moses. As the decisive battle was near the hill of Moreh, not far south of Mount Tabor, we may localize the Midianites on this occasion in the northern parts of the Jordan valley, at least 200 miles north of the Sinai Peninsula. This and the previous destruction under Moses were local, and mention no town of Midian. In later times there was a town of Madyan on the cast side of the Gulf of 'Aqaba. It is mentioned in Josephus, Eusebius, and Ptolemy: (Encyclopedia of Islam). Then it disappears from geography. In Muslim times it was a revived town with quite a different kind of population, but it never flourished. The Midianites disappeared from history.

Shu'aib belongs to Arab rather than to Jewish tradition, to which he is unknown. His identification with Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, has no warrant, and I reject it. There is no similarity either in names or incidents, and there are chronological difficulties (see verse 95 below). If, as the Commentators tell us, Shuaib was in the fourth generation from Abraham, being a great-grandson of Madyan (a son of Abraham), he would be only about a century from the time of Abraham, whereas the Hebrew Bible would give us a period of four to six centuries between Abraham and Moses. The mere fact that Jathro was a Midianite and that another name, Hobab, is mentioned for a father-in-law of Moses in Num x. 29, is slender ground for identification. As the Midianites were mainly a nomad tribe, we need not be surprised that their destruction in one or two settlements did not affect their life in wandering sections of the tribe in other geographical regions. Shu'aib's mission was apparently in one of the settled towns of the Midianites, which was completely destroyed by an earthquake (vii. 91). If this happened in the century after Abraham, there is no difficulty in supposing that they were again a numerous tribe, three or five centuries later, in the time of Moses (see last note). As they were a mixed wandering tribe, both their resilience and their eventual absorption can be easily understood. But the destruction of the settlement or settlements (if the Wood or Aika was a separate settlement, see xv. 78) to which Shu'aib was sent to preach was complete, and no traces of it now remain. The name of the highest mountain of Yemen, Nabi Shu'aib (11,000 ft.) has probably no connection with the geographical territory of the nomad Midianites, unless we suppose that their wanderings extended so far south from the territories mentioned in the last note.
( 86 )   And do not sit on every path, threatening and averting from the way of Allah those who believe in Him, seeking to make it [seem] deviant. And remember when you were few and He increased you. And see how was the end of the corrupters.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The Midianites were in the path of a commercial highway of Asia, viz., that between two such opulent and highly organised nations as Egypt and the Mesopotamian group comprising Assyria and Babylonia. Their besetting sins are thus characterised here:
(1) giving short measure or weight, whereas the strictest commercial probity is necessary for success, (2) a more general form of such fraud, depriving people of rightful dues, (3) producing mischief and disorder, whereas peace and order had been established (again in a literal as well as a metaphorical sense); (4) not content with upsetting settled life, taking to highway robbery, literally as well as (5) metaphorically, in two ways, viz., cutting off people from access to the worship of Allah, and abusing religion and piety for crooked purposes, i.e., exploiting religion itself for their crooked ends, as when a man builds houses of prayer out of unlawful gains or ostentatiously gives charity out of money which he has obtained by force or fraud, etc. 
After setting out this catalogue of besetting sins Shu'aib makes two appeals to the past: (1) You began as an insignificant tribe, and by Allah's favour you increased and multiplied in numbers and resources: do you not then owe a duty to Allah to fulfill His Law? (2) What was the result in the case of those who fell into sin? Will you not take warning by their example? So Shu'aib began his argument with faith in Allah as the source of all virtue, and ended it with destruction as the result of all sin. In the next verse he pleads with them to end their controversies and come to Allah.
( 87 )   And if there should be a group among you who has believed in that with which I have been sent and a group that has not believed, then be patient until Allah judges between us. And He is the best of judges."
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Madyan is torn by internal conflict. Shu'aib comes as a peace-maker, not in virtue of his own wisdom, but by appeal to the truth, righteousness and justice of God. As we see later, the real motives of his opponents were selfishness, arrogance, violence, lawlessness, and injustice. But he appeals to their better nature, and is prepared to argue on the basis that the party which wants to suppress those who believe in God's Message and in righteousness, has some sincere mental difficulty in accepting Shu'aib's mission, "If," he says to them, "that is the case, do you think it justifies your intolerance, your violence, or your persecution? On the contrary, events will prove by themselves who is right and who is wrong." To the small band who believe in his mission and follow his teaching, he would preach patience and perseverance. His argument to them would be: "You have faith; surely your faith is strong enough to sustain you in the hope that Allah's truth will triumph in the end; there is no cause for despair or dejection." How exactly these past experiences fit the times of our holy guide Muhammad! And it is for that analogy and that lesson that the stories of Noah, Hud, Salih, Lut, and Shuaib are related to us,-all different, and yet all pointing to the great lessons in Muhammad's life.

See the argument in the last note. Allah's decision may come partly in this very life, either for the same generation or for succeeding generations, by the logic of external events. But in any case it is bound to come spiritually on a higher plane eventually, when the righteous will be comforted and the sinners will be convinced of sin from their own inner conviction.

88-93 Behavior of the unbelievers with Prophet Shu'aib:
( 88 )   Said the eminent ones who were arrogant among his people, "We will surely evict you, O Shu'ayb, and those who have believed with you from our city, or you must return to our religion." He said, "Even if we were unwilling?"
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The gentle, all-persuasive arguments of Shuaib fell on hard hearts. Their only reply was: "Turn him out!-him and his people." When courtesy and a plea for toleration are pitted against bigotry, what room is there for logic? But bigotry and unrighteousness havc their own crooked ways of pretending to be tolerant. "O yes!" they said, "we are very tolerant and long-suffering! But we are for our country and religion. Come back to the ways of our fathers, and we shall graciously forgive you!" "Ways of their fathers!"- they meant injustice and oppression, high-handedness to the poor and the weak, fraud under cover of religion, and so on! Perhaps the righteous were the poor and the weak. Were they likely to love such ways? Perhaps there was implied a bribe as well as a threat. "If you come back and wink at our iniquities, you shall have scraps of prosperity thrown at you. If not, out you go in disgrace!"

قَدِ افۡتَرَيۡنَا عَلَى اللّٰهِ كَذِبًا اِنۡ عُدۡنَا فِىۡ مِلَّتِكُمۡ بَعۡدَ اِذۡ نَجّٰٮنَا اللّٰهُ مِنۡهَا​ ؕ وَمَا يَكُوۡنُ لَـنَاۤ اَنۡ نَّعُوۡدَ فِيۡهَاۤ اِلَّاۤ اَنۡ يَّشَآءَ اللّٰهُ رَبُّنَا​ ؕ وَسِعَ رَبُّنَا كُلَّ شَىۡءٍ عِلۡمًا​ؕ عَلَى اللّٰهِ تَوَكَّلۡنَا​ ؕ رَبَّنَا افۡتَحۡ بَيۡنَنَا وَبَيۡنَ قَوۡمِنَا بِالۡحَـقِّ وَاَنۡتَ خَيۡرُ الۡفٰتِحِيۡنَ‏ 
( 89 )   We would have invented against Allah a lie if we returned to your religion after Allah had saved us from it. And it is not for us to return to it except that Allah, our Lord, should will. Our Lord has encompassed all things in knowledge. Upon Allah we have relied. Our Lord, decide between us and our people in truth, and You are the best of those who give decision."
This phrase signifies substantively what is meant by the commonly used Islamic formula In-sha' Allah ('If Allah so wills'). Its meaning is evident from( al-Kahf 18: 23-4), in which the believers are directed not to make definitive statements about what they will do without making such actions contingent on God's will. This is understandable since a believer firmly believes in God's power and is ever conscious that his destiny is inalienably tied to God's will. It is impossible for such a person to make foolish statements about what he will do and what he will not do. He is bound to make it clear that he will accomplish what he intends only, if 'God so wills'.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The answer of the righteous is threefold. (1) "Coming back is all very well. But do you mean that we should practice the vices we detest?" (2) "You want us to lie against our conscience and our Lord, after we have seen the evil of your ways." (3) "Neither bribes nor threats, nor specious appeals to patriotism or ancestral religion can move us: the matter rests with Allah, Whose will and pleasure we obey, and on Whom alone we rely. His knowledge will search out all your specious pretenses."

This, of course, does not mean that anyone can ever return to evil ways with Allah's consent. Shu'aib has already emphatically repudiated the idea of returning "to your ways after Allah hath rescued us therefrom." But even if their ways had been good, the human will, he goes on to say, has no data to rely upon, and he and his followers would only be guided by Allah's Will and Plan.

Having answered the insincere quibblers among the godless, the righteous turn to Allah in earnest prayer. The endless controversies in this world about abstract or speculative things never end even where both sides are sincere in their beliefs. The decision must be taken to Allah, Who sits on the throne of Truth, and Whose decisions will, therefore, be free from the errors and imperfections of all human judgment. The sincere have nothing to fear in the appeal to Him, as their motives are pure.
( 90 )   Said the eminent ones who disbelieved among his people, "If you should follow Shu'ayb, indeed, you would then be losers."
One should not pass cursorily over this short sentence; instead one must reflect upon it. What the leaders of Midian in effect told their people was that Shu'ayb's exhortations to practice honesty and righteousness, and to strictly adhere to moral values, would spell their disaster. They implied that they could not succeed in the business carried on by the people of Midian if they were totally honest and straightforward in their dealings. Were they to let trading caravans pass by unmolested, they would lose all the advantages of being located at the crossroads of the major trade routes and by their proximity to the civilized and prosperous countries such as Egypt and Iraq. Also, if they were to become peaceful and to cease their attacks upon the trade caravans, they would no longer be held in awe by neighbouring countries.

Such attitudes have not, however, been confined to the tribal chiefs of Shu'ayb. People who stray away from truth, honesty and righteousness, regardless of their age and clime, have always found in honesty a means of great loss. People of warped mentalities in every age have always believed that trade, politics, and other worldly pursuits can never flourish unless they resort to dishonest and immoral practices. The main objection against the Message of truth in all ages has been that the pursuit of truth spells material doom.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The answer of the Unbelievers is characteristic. As all their bribes and subtleties have failed, they resort to threats, which are worse than the argument of the stick. "All right," they say, "there is nothing but ruin before you!" That means that the Believers will be persecuted, held up to obloquy, ostracized, and prevented from access to all means of honourable livelihood; their families and dependents will be insulted, reviled, and tortured, if they could but be got into the enemy's power: their homes destroyed, and their names held up to ridicule and contempt even when they are gone. But, as verse 92 says, their wicked designs recoiled on themselves; it was the wicked who were ruined and blotted out.
( 91 )   So the earthquake seized them, and they became within their home [corpses] fallen prone.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The fate of the Madyan people is described in the same terms as that of the Thamud in verse 78 above. An earthquake seized them by night, and they were buried in their own homes, no longer to vex Allah's earth. But a supplementary detail is mentioned in xxvi. 189, "the punishment of a day of overshadowing gloom," which may be understood to mean a shower of ashes and cinders accompanying a volcanic eruption. Thus a day of terror drove them into their homes, and the earthquake finished them. The lament of Shu'aib in verse 93 is almost the same as that of Salih in verse 79, with two differences: (1) Shu'aib's messages attacked the many sins of his people (see n. 1055) and are, therefore, expressed in the plural, while Salih's fight was chiefly against selfish arrogance, and his message is expressed in the singular; (2) the Thamud were the more cultured people of the two, and perished in their own pride; as Salih said, "ye love not good counselors"; the Midianites were a rougher people, and their minds were less receptive of argument or faith; as Shu'aib said, they were a people who "refused to believe."
( 92 )   Those who denied Shu'ayb - it was as though they had never resided there. Those who denied Shu'ayb - it was they who were the losers.
The destruction of the people of Midian remained proverbial in Arabia for a long time. As such the following lines in Psalms are significant:

Yea, they conspire with one accord;

against thee they make a covenant -

the tents of Edom and the Ish'maelites.

Moab and the Hagrites,

Gebal and Ammon and Am'alek,

Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre;

Assyria also has joined them;

they are the strong arms of the children of Lot.

Do to them as thou didst to Mid'ian (Psalms 83: 5-9).

Note also the following statement in Isaiah:

A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God. For though your people Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return. Destruction is decreed, overflowing with righteousness. For the Lord, the Lord of hosts, will make a full end, as decreed, in the midst of all the earth. Therefore, thus says the Lord, the Lord of hosts: 'O my people, who dwell in Zion be not afraid of the Assyrians when they smite you with their rod and lift up their staff against you as the Egyptians did. For in a very little while my indignation will come to an end, and my anger will be directed to their destruction. And the Lord of hosts will wield against them a scourge, as when he smote Mid'ian at the rock of Oreb . . .' (Isaiah 10: 21-6).
( 93 )   And he turned away from them and said, "O my people, I had certainly conveyed to you the messages of my Lord and advised you, so how could I grieve for a disbelieving people?"
The stories narrated here have a definite didactic purpose and were narrated with a view to highlighting their relevance to the time of the Prophet (peace be on him). In each of these stories one of the parties is a Prophet who in respect of his teachings greatly resembles Muhammad (peace be on him), in summoning his people to the right way, in admonishing them, in sincerely seeking their welfare. At the other end of the scale in each narrative are the unbelieving nations who greatly resembled the Quraysh in the time of the Prophet (peace be on him) with regard to their disbelief and moral degeneration.

By recounting the tragic end of each of these unrighteous nations of the past, the Quraysh are reminded of the moral purpose of these stories. Through the stories they are told that if, because of their stubbornness they fail to follow the Messenger of God during the term of respite granted to them, they will be subjected to the same destruction which befell those past nations who persisted in wrong-doing and error.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Can we get any idea of the chronological place of the destruction of the Midianites? Earlier (vii:85) we have discussed the geographical aspects. The following considerations will help us in getting some idea of their period. (1) The stories of Noah, Hud, Salih, Lut, and Shu'aib seem to be in chronological order. Therefore Shu'aib came after Abraham, whose nephew Lut was. (2) If Shu'aib was in the fourth generation from Abraham, (see xi. 80), it would be impossible for him to have been a contemporary of Moses, who came many centuries later. This difficulty is recognised by Ibn Kathir and other classical commentators. (3) The identification of Shu'aib with Jethro the father-in-law of Moses is without warrant; see (vii. 85). (4) Shu'aib must have been before Moses; see vii. 103. (5) The Midianites who were destroyed by Moses and by Gideon after him were local remnants, as we may speak of the Jews at the present day; but their existence as a nation in their original home-lands seems to have ended before Moses: "they became as if they had never been in the homes where they had flourished" (vii. 92). (6) Josephus, Eusebius, and Ptolemy mention a town of Madyan, but it was not of any importance (n. 1053). (7) After the first centuries of the Christian era, Madyan as a town appears as an unimportant place resting on its past.

Verses 94 – 99 Warnings against those who deny the Prophets and Messengers of Allah:

Whenever God sent a prophet to a town (or nation) he afflicted the people with adversity and misfortune in order that they might humble themselves before Him.  Then God changed their hardship to prosperity but the people did not recognize God’s grace.  Had they believed they would have been showered with riches but they did not so they were seized for their misdeeds.   God asks, did those people feel secure at night, or in the day? The only people who feel secure from the plan of God are those doomed to destruction.  Do people not understand, from the stories of those before them, that God can afflict them for their sins and seal their hearts?
Ruku / Section 12 [Verses 94-99]

Verses 94-99 Adversity and affluence are reminders from Allah:
( 94 )   And We sent to no city a prophet [who was denied] except that We seized its people with poverty and hardship that they might humble themselves [to Allah].
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Man was originally created pure. The need of a prophet arises when there is some corruption and iniquity, which he is sent to combat. His coming means much trial and suffering, especially to those who join him in his protest against wrong. Even so peaceful a prophet as Jesus said; "I came not to send peace but a sword" (Matt. x. 34). But it is all in Allah's Plan, for we must learn humility if we would be worthy of Him.
( 95 )   Then We exchanged in place of the bad [condition], good, until they increased [and prospered] and said, "Our fathers [also] were touched with hardship and ease." So We seized them suddenly while they did not perceive.
After narrating individually the stories of how various nations responded to the Message of their Prophets, the Qur'an now spells out the general rule which has been operative throughout the ages. First, before the appearance of a Prophet in any nation, conditions that would conduce to the acceptance of his Message were created. This was usually done by subjecting the nations concerned to a variety of afflictions and punishments. They were made to suffer miseries such as famine, epidemics, colossal losses in trade and business, defeat in war. Such events usually have a healthy impact on people. They lead to a softening in their hearts. They generate humility and modesty. They enable people to shake off their pride and shatter their reliance on wealth and power and induce them to trust the One Who is all-powerful and fully controls their destiny. Above all, such events incline people to heed the words of warning and to turn to God in humility.

But if the people continue to refrain from embracing the truth they are subjected to another kind of test - that of affluence. This last test signals the beginning of their destruction. Rolling in abundant wealth and luxury, people are inclined to forget the hard times they have experienced. Their foolish leaders also inculcate in their minds an altogether preposterous concept of history. They explain the rise and fall of nations and the alternation of prosperity and adversity among human beings by reference to blind natural forces, and in total disregard of moral values. Hence if a nation is seized by an affliction or scourge, such people see no reason why it should be explained in terms of moral failure. They are rather inclined to consider that a person's readiness to heed moral admonition or to turn humbly towards God, is a sign of psychological infirmity.

This foolish mentality has been portrayed all too well by the Prophet (peace be on him): 'A believer continually faces adversity until he comes out of it purified of his sins. As for the hypocrite, his likeness in adversity is that of a donkey who does not know why his master had tied him and why he later released him.' (Cited by Ibn Kathir in his comments on the verse - Ed.) Hence, when a people become so hard of heart that they neither turn to God in suffering, nor thank Him for His bounties in prosperity, they are liable to be destroyed at any moment.

It should be noted that the above rule which was applied to the nations of the previous Prophets, was also applied in the time of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him). When this surah was revealed the Quraysh displayed exactly the same characteristics and attitudes as those nations which had earlier been destroyed. According to a tradition narrated by both 'Abd Allah b. Mas'ud and Abd Allah b. 'Abbas, as the Quraysh grew in defiance to the Prophet's call, he prayed to God that he might be assisted by inflicting famine on the Quraysh, as in the days of the Prophet Joseph. Accordingly, God subjected the Quraysh to such a severe famine that they took to subsisting on carcasses, the skins of animals, bones, and wool. Unnerved by this the Quraysh, led by Abu Sufyan, implored the Prophet (peace be on him) to pray to God on their behalf. But when the Prophets prayer helped to improve the situation somewhat, the Quraysh reverted to their arrogant and ignorant way's. (Bukhari, Kitab al-Taharah, Bab idha istashfa'a al-Mushrikun bi al-Muslim' - Ed.) The wicked ones among them tried to dissuade from God those who had derived some lesson from the famine. They argued that famines take place in course of operation of natural laws, that they are merely a recurrent physical phenomenon. They emphasized that the occurrence of famine should not mislead people into believing in Muhammad (peace be on him). It was during this time that the surah under discussion was revealed. The above verses were thus quite relevant and it is against this backdrop that one appreciates their full significance. (For details see (Yunus 10: 21), (al-Nahl 16: 112), (al-Muminun 23: 75-6); and (al-Dukhan 44: 9-16.)

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Allah gives enough rope to the sinful. They grow and multiply, and become scornful. Neither suffering nor affluence teaches them the lessons which they are meant to learn, viz., patience and humility, gratitude and kindness to others. They take adversity and prosperity alike as a matter of chance. "O yes!" they say, "such things have happened in all ages! Our fathers had such experience before us, and our sons will have them after us. Thus goes on the world for all time!" But does it? What about the decree of Allah? They are found napping when Nemesis overtakes them in the midst of their impious tomfoolery!
( 96 )   And if only the people of the cities had believed and feared Allah, We would have opened upon them blessings from the heaven and the earth; but they denied [the messengers], so We seized them for what they were earning." 
( 97 )   Then, did the people of the cities feel secure from Our punishment coming to them at night while they were asleep?
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
This and the two following verses should be read together. They furnish a commentary on the story of the five prophets that has already been related. Allah's wrath may come by night or by day, whether people are arrogantly defying Allah's laws or are sunk in lethargy or vain dreams of unreality. Who can escape Allah's decree, and who can feel themselves outside it except those who are seeking their own ruin?
( 98 )   Or did the people of the cities feel secure from Our punishment coming to them in the morning while they were at play? 
اَفَاَمِنُوۡا مَكۡرَ اللّٰهِ​ ۚ فَلَا يَاۡمَنُ مَكۡرَ اللّٰهِ اِلَّا الۡقَوۡمُ الۡخٰسِرُوۡنَ 
( 99 )   Then did they feel secure from the plan of Allah? But no one feels secure from the plan of Allah except the losing people.
The expression makr signifies a secret strategy of which the victim has no inkling until the decisive blow is struck. Until then, the victim is under the illusion that everything is in good order.

Here we come to the end of the Part II of the exegesis of the Surah. Part III will be next to include Ruku / Sections 8-12 [Verses 100-157]. In this part, the story of Moses is told in greater detail, not only in his struggles with Pharaoh, but in his preparation for his mission, and his struggles with his own rebellious people. Even from the time of Moses the coming of the unlettered Prophet was foreshadowed.

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sürah Al-A'raf with English subtitles:

You may refer to our post "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, meaning and summary / exegesis of other chapters (Though not complete but building up from 30th Juzʼ / Part backwards for chapters in 30th Juzʼ / Part are shorter and easier to understand). 

You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |
Reading the Holy Quran should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Holy Qur'an from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that:
  • The plain translation has been taken from the Holy Quran officially published by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. [1]
  • The exegesis of the chapters of the Holy Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi. 
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided by [2], additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
In addition the references of  other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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