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

Thursday 14 November 2019

Surah Hud: 11th Chapter of Quran - Exegesis Part II

Sūrah Hūd " هود‎ " is the 11th chapter of the Qur'an with 123 āyāts (verses) with 10 ruku / sections, part of the 11th-12th Juz'. This Surah has been named after Prophet Hud (peace be upon him) whose story has been related in verses 50-60.

For the chronological place of this Sūrah and the general argument of Sūrahs x to xv, please read Overview of Sūrah 10 Yunus  (Jonah).

The Surah deals with the same subject as Sūrah Yunus, in which the stress was laid on the side of Allah's dealing with man which leans to Mercy. Here in this sūrah the invitation to the Message, admonition and warning is though the same but with this difference that the warning is sterner when all Grace is resisted.

As already mentioned in the Overview that owing to the length of the Sūrah, it has been divided into four parts as under:
  • Part I    : Ruku / Sections 1-2 [Verses 1-24]
  • Part II   : Ruku / Sections 3-4 [Verses 25-49]
  • Part III  : Ruku / Sections 5-7 [Verses 50-83] 
  • Part IV : Ruku / Sections 8-10 [Verses 84-123] 
Story of Prophet Noah (Nuh, peace be upon him)
Ruku 3-4, verses / āyāts 25–49 tell the story of Noah and how his people did not believe his commands to follow God. The unbelievers are drowned in a flood, which includes Noah's son; Noah asks God about this act, but God rebukes Noah as being ignorant and says that Noah's son is "not a member of his family." Surah 66, At-Tahrim, elaborates on this and says that Noah's wife is an unbeliever in hell who was unfaithful to her husband.

The translation and exegesis / tafseer is in English. 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"

Ruku / Section 3 [25-35]
Prophet Nuh's address to his people and Nuh's people challenged him and asked for the scourge of Allah:
وَلَقَدۡ اَرۡسَلۡنَا نُوۡحًا اِلٰى قَوۡمِهٖۤ اِنِّىۡ لَـكُمۡ نَذِيۡرٌ مُّبِيۡنٌۙ‏  
( 25 )   And We had certainly sent Noah to his people, [saying], "Indeed, I am to you a clear warner
For the detailed exegesis of this verse, please refer to explanation of verses 59-64 of Surah 7 Al A'raaf.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
The actual words are: نَذِيْرٌ مُبِيْنٌ. that is one who warns with full clarity and absolute certainty. These words carry a subtle allusion in them as well.

It was a tradition among the Arabs that they would construct turrets on every high hillock or hill in which a guard would always sit. His job would be to tear his clothes, strip naked and shout واصباحا when some enemy would advance to attack his people. This was an alarm for the whole nation and they would unsheathe their swords and come out. That person would be called "a naked warner." messengers of God also came to warn their people about a torment and they informed people in the same manner as if it is about to descend from behind. For this reason, the Qur'an has used the words نَذِيْرٌ مُبِيْنٌ for these messengers.   
( 26 )   That you not worship except Allah. Indeed, I fear for you the punishment of a painful day."
This is the same thing that has been put into the mouth of Muhammad (peace be upon him) in (Ayats 2-3).

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Noah's mission was to a wicked world, plunged in sin. The mission had a double character, as in the mission of all Prophets of Allah: it had to warn men against evil and call them to repentance, and it had to give them the glad tidings of Allah's Grace in case they turned back to Allah: it was a Guidance and Mercy.
( 27 )   So the eminent among those who disbelieved from his people said, "We do not see you but as a man like ourselves, and we do not see you followed except by those who are the lowest of us [and] at first suggestion. And we do not see in you over us any merit; rather, we think you are liars."
The same foolish objection was being raised by the people against the Prophet (peace be upon him). They argued like this: You are a man like us: you eat and drink, you walk and sleep and have a family, and there is nothing in you that might show that you have been sent by God.

The big people of Makkah passed the same remarks about those who followed the Prophet (peace be upon him). They taunted him with things like these: Your followers consist of mere inexperienced boys or slaves or the lowest strata of society, in short, of such people as are credulous and lack commonsense and wisdom. Refer to (verses 54-57 of Surah 6 Al-Ana'am) and (verse 77 of Surah 10 Yunus).

This is to say, You claim that you are the favored ones of God Whose blessings are on you, and that those who do not follow your way are under His wrath. But the reverse of this is true for it is we who have been favored with wealth, servants and power and you possess nothing of the sort. Please point out anything in which you are superior to us.
( 28 )   He said, "O my people have you considered: if I should be upon clear evidence from my Lord while He has given me mercy from Himself but it has been made unapparent to you, should we force it upon you while you are averse to it?
 This is the same thing that has been put into the mouth of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in( Ayat 17). That is, At first I recognized the reality of Tauhid by observing keenly the signs of God in the universe and in my own self. Then the same was confirmed by revelation to me. This shows that all the Prophets acquired the knowledge of the Unseen by observation and contemplation. Then Allah blessed them with the actual knowledge of the same at the time of their appointment as Prophets.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Noah's answer (like that of the Prophet of Allah who spoke in later ages in Makkah and Madinah) is a pattern of humility, gentleness, firmness, persuasiveness, truth, and love for his own people. First, he meekly (not exultingly) informs them that he has got a Message from Allah. Secondly, he tells them that it is a Message of Mercy even in its warning, though in their arrogance the Mercy may be hidden from them. Thirdly, he tells them plainly that there can be no compulsion in Religion: but will they not accept with goodwill what is for their own benefit? He pleads with them as one of their own.
( 29 )   And O my people, I ask not of you for it any wealth. My reward is not but from Allah. And I am not one to drive away those who have believed. Indeed, they will meet their Lord, but I see that you are a people behaving ignorantly.
This was to bring home to them the fact that he had no selfish motive in the performance of his mission, as if to say: I am conveying the admonition to you without any demand or hope or expectation of worldly gains. Nay, I am bearing all the sufferings in the hope that you may at last realize that I have no ax to grind. And you cannot point out anything to show that I have any personal or selfish interest before me in the mission of the Message. See. (verse 72 Surah Al-Mominoon), (verse 12 of Surah Saba and (verse 23 of Surah Ash-Shura).

That is, their true worth will be known only when they shall meet their Lord. Therefore it is not proper for you to treat them with contempt here in this world. Maybe they are precious stones, their Lord alone knows, and you are treating them as mere worthless stones. See (Surah Al- Ana'am, Ayat, 52), (Surah Al-Kahaf, Ayat 28).
( 30 )   And O my people, who would protect me from Allah if I drove them away? Then will you not be reminded?
But (seventhly) again he pleads, with as much earnestness as ever, that he is one of themselves, and just doing his truest duty. Would they have him do less? Indeed, would they not themselves see the Truth and come into the goodly company of Believers?
( 31 )   And I do not tell you that I have the depositories [containing the provision] of Allah or that I know the unseen, nor do I tell you that I am an angel, nor do I say of those upon whom your eyes look down that Allah will never grant them any good. Allah is most knowing of what is within their souls. Indeed, I would then be among the wrongdoers."
This is the answer to their objection that he was no more than a man like themselves. Prophet Noah (peace be upon him) admitted this: In fact I am a man and I never claimed to be more than this. My only claim is that God has shown me the right way of knowledge and action and you are welcome to test this in any way you like. But instead of this, you are asking me questions about the Unseen, though I never claimed to have its knowledge. You ask me to produce such things as can be produced only by that person who possesses God’s treasures and I never claimed to possess them. You object that my physical life is like that of other men, though I never claimed that I was an angel and not a man. The true test of my claim is that you should ask me about the true creeds, the principles of morality and culture and not about frivolous things about the future events for I never claimed to possess their knowledge.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The eighth point that Noah urges is that he is not a mere vulgar soothsayer pretending to reveal secrets not worth knowing, nor an angel living in another world, with no ties to them. He is their real well-wisher, delivering a true Message from Allah.

But Noah will not close his argument without defending the men of Faith, whom the Chiefs despise because they are lacking in worldly goods. He tells them plainly that Allah perhaps sees in them something in which they, the arrogant Chiefs, are lacking. Their spiritual faculties can only be appreciated truly by Him to Whom all the secrets of the spirit are open. But he, Noah, must declare boldly his own Faith, and this is the ninth point in his argument.
( 32 )   They said, "O Noah, you have disputed us and been frequent in dispute of us. So bring us what you threaten us, if you should be of the truthful."
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
To Noah's address the worldly Chiefs give a characteristic reply. In its aggressive spirit it is the very antithesis of the gentle remonstrances of Noah. Because he had gently and patiently argued with them, they impatiently accuse him of "disputing with them" and "prolonging the dispute". They are unable to deal with his points. So they arrogantly throw out their challenge, which is a compound of hectoring insolence, unreasoning skepticism, and biting irony. "You foretell disaster to us if we don't mend our ways! Let us see you bring it on! Now, if you please! Or shall we have to call you a liar?"
( 33 )   He said, "Allah will only bring it to you if He wills, and you will not cause [Him] failure.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
To the blasphemous challenge addressed to Noah his only answer could be: "I never claimed that I could punish you. All punishment is in the hands of Allah, and He knows best when His punishment will descend. But this I can tell you! His punishment is sure if you do not repent, and when it comes, you will not be able to ward it off!"
( 34 )   And my advice will not benefit you - although I wished to advise you - If Allah should intend to put you in error. He is your Lord, and to Him you will be returned."
That is, all my efforts to do good to you cannot prove effective, if Allah has decided to withhold the right way from you because of your obduracy in evil and the lack of interest in good ways. For Allah lets people go astray on the way they choose for themselves.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
But Noah's heart bleeds for his people. They are preparing their own undoing! All his efforts are to be vain! Obstinate as they are, Allah's grace must be withdrawn, and then who can help them, and what use is any counsel? But again he will try to remind them of their Lord, and turn their face to Him. For their ultimate return to His judgment-seat is certain, to answer for their conduct.
( 35 )  Or do they say [about Prophet Muhammad], "He invented it"? Say, "If I have invented it, then upon me is [the consequence of] my crime; but I am innocent of what [crimes] you commit."
The wording of the verse shows that during the recital of the story of Prophet Noah (peace be upon him), the opponents of the Prophet (peace be upon him) might have felt that he himself had invented that story in order to hit them hard indirectly. So they might have interrupted him, saying: You are inventing such stories as these in order to apply these to us and hit us hard indirectly. That is why the narration of the story has been broken to answer their false accusation.

And the fact is that the mean people always behave like this. As they have no interest in goodness, they would turn to the dark side of everything. Even if one gives them wise counsel or teaches them a useful lesson or warns them of an error, they would never benefit from these nor mend their ways. Instead of this, they would search out for that aspect of the matter which will not only undo the wisdom and goodness of the counsel but also bring an accusation against the admonisher. It is obvious that in this way, even the best of counsels can be made void and ineffective, if the hearer dubs that as a hit and takes it ill as an affront. Moreover, their thinking is always based on suspicion and mistrust. Supposing there is a certain story which appears to be true. A wise man will take it as a fact and learn a lesson from it, even if it applies exactly to his own condition and points out his error. On the contrary, a suspicious and crooked man will at once jump to the conclusion without any proof at all that the story had been invented for the sole purpose of applying it to him in order to hit him hard.

The same was the condition of those who accused the Prophet (peace be upon him) that he himself had forged the story and ascribed it to Allah to make it more effective. Allah has asked him to say to them: If I have forged the story, I shall have to bear its consequences, but this cannot lessen the punishments of the crimes you are committing for which you alone will be held responsible.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The fine narrative of dramatic power is here interrupted by a verse which shows that the story of Noah is also a Parable for the time and the ministry of Muhammad the Prophet. The wonderful force and aptness of the story cannot be denied. The enemy therefore turns and says, "Oh! but you invented it!" The answer is, "No! but it is Allah's own truth! You may be accustomed to dealing in falsehoods, but I protest that I am free from such sins." The place of this verse here corresponds to the place of verse 49 at the end of the next Section. While understanding this verse to refer to Al-Mustafa, as most of the accepted Commentators understand it, it is possible also, I think, to read it into the story of Noah, for all Prophets have similar experience.

Ruku / Section 4 [36-49] 
Verses 36-39: Allah commanded Nuh to build an ark
( 36 )   And it was revealed to Noah that, "No one will believe from your people except those who have already believed, so do not be distressed by what they have been doing.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The story of Noah is resumed. A point was reached, when it was clear that there was no hope of saving the sinners, who were courting their own destruction. It was to be a great Flood. So Noah was ordered to construct a great Ark or Ship, a heavy vessel to remain afloat in the Flood, so that the righteous could be saved in it.
( 37 )   And construct the ship under Our observation and Our inspiration and do not address Me concerning those who have wronged; indeed, they are [to be] drowned."
This verse lays down the limits of the divine law of respite. When the message of a Prophet has been conveyed to a people and is rejected, they are granted respite from punishment only as long as there is the possibility that some of them might accept it. But when there remains no such possibility and there is left nothing but evil element among them, Allah does not grant them any further respite. And this is a manifestation of His mercy, just as for the safety of the good fruit the rotten ones should be thrown away and discarded. Conversely, it shall be an act of cruelty to the good people and the future generations if pity is shown to those wicked people who are incorrigible.
( 38 )   And he constructed the ship, and whenever an assembly of the eminent of his people passed by him, they ridiculed him. He said, "If you ridicule us, then we will ridicule you just as you ridicule.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The ridicule of the sinners, from their own point of view, was natural. Here was a Prophet turned carpenter! Here was a plain in the higher reaches of the Mesopotamian basin, drained by the majestic Tigris, over 800 to 900 miles from the sea Arabian Gulf in a straight line! Yet he talks of a flood like the Sea! All material civilizations pride themselves on their Public Works and their drainage schemes. And here was a fellow relying on Allah! But did not their narrow pride seem ridiculous also to the Prophet of Allah! Here were men steeped in sin and insolence! And they pit themselves against the power and the promise of Allah! Truly a contemptible race is man!

The Arabic Aorist may be construed either by the present tense or the future tense, and both make good sense here. Following Zamakhshari, I construe in the present tense, because the future is so tragic for the sinners. For the time being the worldly ones looked down on the Believers as they always do: but the Believers relied on Allah, and pitied their critics for knowing no better!-for their arrogance was really ridiculous.
( 39 )   And you are going to know who will get a punishment that will disgrace him [on earth] and upon whom will descend an enduring punishment [in the Hereafter]."
This is a very appropriate example of the points of view of those who look merely at the surface of things and of others who know the reality about them. It appears that when Prophet Noah (peace be upon him) was building the Ark on the land, it looked to be a ridiculous act to those wicked people who did not believe in him. They jeered at him as if to say: Just see the madness of the old man. He wishes to float a ship on the land. For they could never imagine that after a few days, a ship would actually float there. Therefore naturally they regarded that act of Prophet Noah (peace be upon him) to be a clear proof of his madness. Probably they might be pointing their fingers at him and the Ark he was constructing, saying to one another: Have you any doubt now, if you had any before, that he is really a mad man, who is constructing a ship to float on the water-less land? But the one, who had the knowledge of the reality and who knew that a ship would actually be needed there in the near future, was laughing at their ignorance and lack of knowledge of the real matter and their arrogant self satisfaction, as if to say: How foolish these people are. The catastrophe is threatening them overhead but they are not only self satisfied but also regard me mad, who has warned them of it and who is himself making preparations to meet it. And these are exactly the two ways, in general, of judging the wisdom or folly of things. One man judges an act to be wise by looking merely at the surface, while the other goes down deep into it and knows it to be foolish. Likewise the former considers an act to be foolish and mad while the latter who has the real knowledge of the matter, knows that it is based on wisdom and foresight, and is the very same thing that was required under the circumstances.

Verses 40-41: Allah commanded Nuh to embark and gather on board the believers and a pair from every species 
( 40 )   [So it was], until when Our command came and the oven overflowed, We said, "Load upon the ship of each [creature] two mates and your family, except those about whom the word has preceded, and [include] whoever has believed." But none had believed with him, except a few.
Different interpretations have been given of this, but we are of the opinion that the correct one is the one that is based on the plain words of the text. The deluge started from at-tannur, a particular oven from under which water began to boil up. At the same time heavy rain began to fall and springs began to gush up water from many places in the earth. This is given in detail in( Ayats 11-12 of Surah Al- Qamar): We opened the gates of the sky from which it began to rain heavily and constantly, and We tore open the earth and springs began to gush forth water from every side. Thus the two kinds of water gathered together to fulfill the destined doom.

In this connection, it should also be noted that the prefix al (the) before tannur (oven) shows that a particular oven had been specifically marked by God for the purpose of starting the deluge. This began to boil up water as soon as it was commanded to do so, and afterwards it began to be called the oven. It has been explicitly stated in (Ayat 7 of Surah Al- Mominoon) that the said tannur was specified before hand.

That is, don’t embark in the Ark those who had specifically been marked as unbelievers from your household, for they do not deserve to be shown Our compassion. Most probably they were two persons. One was his son who was drowned (Ayat 43), and the other was his wife. (Surah At-Tahrim, Ayat 10). And if there were any others, they have not been mentioned in the Quran.

Incidentally, this refutes the theory of the historians and genealogists who trace the genealogy of the whole human race to the three sons of Prophet Noah (peace be upon him). This wrong theory became prevalent because of the stories in the Bible that none other than Prophet Noah (peace be upon him), his three sons and his wife were rescued from the deluge. (Genesis 6: 18, 7: 7, 9, and 9: 19). But the Quran contradicts this in many places, saying that besides the people of his own household, some other people of his community, though small in number, were also rescued along with him. Moreover, the Quran declares that the generations which came after Prophet Noah (peace be upon him) were his descendants and of all those people who were rescued in the Ark: You are the descendants of those whom We bore in the Ark with Noah. (Surah Al-Isra, Ayat 3). They were from the descendants of Adam, and from the seed of those whom we carried in the Ark with Noah. (Surah Maryam, Ayat 58).

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Far-at-tannuru. Two interpretations have been given: (1) the fountains or the springs on the surface of the earth bubbled over or gushed forth; or (2) the oven boiled over. The former has the weight of the best authority behind it and I prefer it. Moreover, the same phrase occurs in xxiii. 27, where it is a clause coordinated (as here) with the coming of Allah's Command. These two passages may be compared with liv. 11-12, where it is said that water poured forth from the skies and gushed forth from the springs. This double action is familiar to any one who has seen floods on a large scale. The rain from above would saturate the great Ararat Plateau, and give great force to the springs and fountains in the valley of the Tigris below.

Zaujaini: the dual number refers to the two individuals in each pair of opposite sexes. Some of the most authoritative Commentators (e.g., Imam Razi) construe in this sense, though others construe it to mean two pairs of each species.

A disobedient and recalcitrant son (or step-son or grandson) of Noah is mentioned below (xi. 42-43, 45-56). A member of the family, who breaks away from the traditions of the family in things that matter, ceases to share in the privileges of the family.
( 41 )   And [Noah] said, "Embark therein; in the name of Allah is its course and its anchorage. Indeed, my Lord is Forgiving and Merciful."
This humility shown by Prophet Noah (peace be upon him) that his delivery from the deluge was not due to his own plans, measures and efforts but to the mercy and compassion of his Lord, who is most Forgiving, is the true characteristic of a believer. The servant of God adopts all necessary measures as a man of the world does, but he does not put his trust in those measures alone. Along with these he puts his trust in his Lord for their success, because he knows well that no measure can be adopted without His sanction, nor can it be put into practice nor can it achieve the required object unless it is helped by the compassion and favor of Allah.

Verses 42-49 Dialogue between Nuh, his son, and Allah 
( 42 )   And it sailed with them through waves like mountains, and Noah called to his son who was apart [from them], "O my son, come aboard with us and be not with the disbelievers."
The simile of mountains applies to the waves, which were mountain high, -literally, for the peaks were being submerged.
( 43 )   [But] he said, "I will take refuge on a mountain to protect me from the water." [Noah] said, "There is no protector today from the decree of Allah, except for whom He gives mercy." And the waves came between them, and he was among the drowned.
The Unbelievers refuse to believe in Allah, but have great faith in material things! This young man was going to save himself on mountain peaks, not knowing that the peaks were themselves being submerged.
( 44 )   And it was said, "O earth, swallow your water, and O sky, withhold [your rain]." And the water subsided, and the matter was accomplished, and the ship came to rest on the [mountain of] Judiyy. And it was said, "Away with the wrongdoing people."
According to the Quran, the Ark rested upon Mount Judi, which is situated to the north-east of Jazirah Ibn Umar in Kurdistan. But according to the Bible its resting place was Mount Ararat in Armenia, which is one of the ranges of mountains of the same name that extends from Armenia to southern Kurdistan. Mount Judi is one of the mountains of the Ararat range, and is known by the same name even today. The ancient histories confirm that the resting place of the Ark was Mount Judi. For instance, Berasus, a religious leader of Babylonia, who lived about 250 years before Christ, says in his history of the Chaldeans that Noah’s Ark rested upon Mount Judi. Abydenus, a student of Aristotle, not only confirms the same but also says that many people of Iraq of his time possessed pieces of the Ark, which they ground in water and gave to the sick as a medicine.

Now let us consider the question: Did the deluge mentioned here cover the whole earth or was it confined to that particular region where Prophet Noah (peace be upon him) lived? This is a question which has not been finally settled up to this day. As far as the Bible and the Israelite traditions are concerned, this was universal. (Genesis 7: 18- 24). But the Quran is silent about it, though it does say things which show that the whole human race after the deluge was the descendant of Prophet Noah (peace be upon him) and of those with him in the Ark, but this does not mean that the deluge covered all the earth. It may be explained like this: At that time of the history the only region of the earth, which was inhabited by the human race, was the region in which Noah lived, and the generations which came after the deluge, gradually spread over other parts of the earth. This theory is supported by two things. First, there is a conclusive proof that a great flood did come over the land of the Tigris and the Euphrates. This is confirmed by historical traditions, archaeological remains and geological evidence. But there are no such proofs in the other parts of the earth as might show that the deluge was universal. Secondly, traditions have come down to almost all the peoples of the earth living even in distant places like America and Australia, that once a great flood had come all over the earth. The only conclusion which can be drawn from the above is that at one time the forefathers of all the people of the earth lived at one place. But, when afterwards they spread over different lands in the earth; they carried the traditions of the deluge along with them. Refer to (verse 59 of Surah Al- Aaraf).

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
A wonderful passage. The whole picture is painted in just a few words. The chain of material facts are linked together, not only in their relations to each other, but also in their relation to the spiritual forces that control them, and the spiritual consequences of Sin and wrong-doing. The drowning in the material sense was the least part of the Penalty. A whole new world came into existence after the Deluge.

Let us get a little idea of the geography of the place. The letters J.B. and K are philologically interchangeable, and Judi, Gudi, Kudi are sounds that can pass into each other. There is no doubt that the name is connected with the name "Kurd", in which the letter r is a later interpolation, for the oldest Sumerian records name a people called Kuti or Gutu as holding the middle Tigris region not later than 2000 B.C. (see E.B., Kurdistan). That region comprises the modern Turkish district of Bohtan, in which Jabal Judi is situated (near the frontiers of modern Turkey, modern 'lraq, and modern Syria), and the town of Jazirat ibn 'Umar, (on the present Turco-Syrian frontier), and it extends into 'Iraq and Persia. The great mountain mass of the Ararat plateau dominates this district. This mountain system "is unique in the Old World in containing great sheets of water that are bitter lakes without outlets, Lake Van and Lake Urumiya being the chief," (E.B., Asia). Such would be the very region for a stupendous Deluge if the usual scanty rainfall were to be changed into a very heavy downpour. A glacier damming of Lake Van in the Ice Age would have produced the same result. The region has many local traditions connected with Noah and the Flood. The Biblical legend of Mount Ararat being the resting place of Noah's Ark is hardly plausible, seeing that the highest peak of Ararat is over 16,000 feet high. If it means one of the lower-peaks of the Ararat system, it agrees with the Muslim tradition about Mount Judi (or Gudi), and this is in accordance with the oldest and best local traditions. These traditions are accepted by Josephus, by the Nestorian Christians, and indeed by all the Eastern Christians and Jews, and they are the best in touch with local traditions. See (Viscount) J. Bryce, "Transcaucasia and Ararat," 4th ed., 1896. p. 216.
( 45 )   And Noah called to his Lord and said, "My Lord, indeed my son is of my family; and indeed, Your promise is true; and You are the most just of judges!"
That is, You promised that You will save the members of my family from this calamity; so save my son for he is also a member of my family. You are the greatest of all rulers: therefore Your decision is final and there can be no appeal against it. And You are the best of all rulers: therefore all Your decisions are based on perfect knowledge and absolute justice.
( 46 )   He said, "O Noah, indeed he is not of your family; indeed, he is [one whose] work was other than righteous, so ask Me not for that about which you have no knowledge. Indeed, I advise you, lest you be among the ignorant."
Allah has called the wicked son of Prophet Noah (peace be upon him), as “His conduct was other than righteous”, for children are entrusted by the Creator to the care of parents so that they may bring them up and train them to become good persons, and fulfill the purpose for which He created man. If a father does his very best to process and turn the child into a righteous person, but fails in his efforts, the child, who was a sort of raw material in his hands, would be likened to a worthless act. It is obvious that the wicked son was a worthless act, for he was not the sort of good work which his father had desired him to be. So in this sense he did not belong to the family of Prophet Noah (peace be upon him), whom the Creator had sent to mold all his people into good acts, especially those who were of his own flesh and blood. Thus that unrighteous son had forfeited all the rights of blood he had with the Prophet as far as the torment of the deluge was concerned.

Now let us consider the other question: Why was not the request of the Prophet regarding his own flesh and blood granted? The answer is this: If any part of the body of a man becomes so rotten that the surgeon is of the definite opinion that that part must be cut off for the sake of the safety of the rest of the body, the surgeon will not comply with the request of the man not to cut that part of his body, but will say: It is not a part of your body because it is rotten. This will not, however, mean that it was never actually a part of the body but will imply only this: As it has ceased to function rightly as a part of the body, it is no more a part of the body in the sense and for the purpose the healthy parts of the body are its parts. Likewise, when it was said to Prophet Noah (peace be upon him): He is not of your family, it did not negate the fact that he was from his loins but implied: He does not deserve to be treated as a member of your righteous family because of his spoiled morals and conduct. As the torment of the deluge has been brought about to punish those who had sided with the unbelievers in the conflict of kufr and faith, your son does not deserve to be rescued from it along with the believers. Had it been a conflict between your descendants and those of the unbelievers, the result would have been different, but this being a conflict between the righteous and the unrighteous, the former alone will be delivered from it.

The epithet, a worthless act, has been purposely applied to the son of Noah, for it is very meaningful. It points to the two different objects that the parents have in view in bringing up their children. Those parents who look merely at the surface of things, bring up and love their children because they are from their loins or their wombs, irrespective of the fact whether they are righteous or unrighteous. But this epithet requires the believers to look upon their children as pieces of work entrusted to them in a natural way by their Creator, so that they should prepare and mold them so as to fulfill the object for which Allah has created man. Therefore, if a certain parent fails in his efforts to mold his child in a way to fulfill the very object for which the child was entrusted to him and the latter becomes a servant of Satan instead of his Lord, the parent should regard all his efforts for the child to have gone utterly waste. In that case there is no reason why that parent should have any consideration for that worthless act.

As a corollary to the above, the same rule will apply to the other relationships of a believer. As a believer is one who believes in certain creeds and behaviors, all his relationships with the other people will be determined by those creeds and behaviors. If his blood relations have the qualities of a believer, their relationship with him becomes doubly stronger. But if they are void of the qualities of a believer; the believer will confine his relationship with them only to the extent of blood relationships and will have no spiritual relationship with them. Consequently, if such a relative comes face to face with the believer in the conflict between kufr and the faith, the believer should fight with him just as he would with any other unbeliever.

This warning from his Lord does not mean that Prophet Noah (peace be upon him) was suffering from the lack of faith or that his faith had any tinge of weakness or that he had beliefs like those of the ignorant people. His response to this is rather a proof of his high moral character. As Noah was like the other Prophets, a human being, he also suffered from the common human weakness, that is, natural parental love for children. So he begged his Lord to deliver his son from the deluge. Allah admonished him because the high character of a Prophet demanded that he ought not to have made such a request even for his own flesh and blood. That is why no sooner was the warning administered to him than he realized that he had come down from the high position of a Prophet to the level of a mere father because of the critical psychological human weakness. Therefore immediately after the warning, he repented of his weakness, and behaved as if his own son had not been drowned in the deluge a moment before this. This character shown by him is a clear proof that he was a true Prophet. He returned to the same height and meekly asked his Lord’s forgiveness for showing any concern for his own son who had forsaken the truth and sided with falsehood.
( 47 )   [Noah] said, "My Lord, I seek refuge in You from asking that of which I have no knowledge. And unless You forgive me and have mercy upon me, I will be among the losers."
The Quran has cited the story of the drowning of the son of Prophet Noah (peace be upon him) to bring home to the people that Allah’s decrees are absolutely just and final.

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 (peace be upon him), 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?
( 48 )   It was said, "O Noah, disembark in security from Us and blessings upon you and upon nations [descending] from those with you. But other nations [of them] We will grant enjoyment; then there will touch them from Us a painful punishment."
Those who truly seek Allah's light and guidance and sincerely bend their will to His Will are freely admitted to Allah's grace. Notwithstanding any human weaknesses in them, they are advanced higher in the stage on account of their Faith, Trust, and Striving after Right. They are given Allah's Peace, which gives the soul true calmness and strength, and all the blessings that flow from spiritual life. This was given not only to Noah and his family but to all the righteous people who were saved with him. And their descendants were also promised those blessings on condition of righteousness. But some of them fell from grace, as we know in history. Allah's grace is not a social or family privilege. Each people and each individual must earnestly strive for it and earn it.
( 49 )   That is from the news of the unseen which We reveal to you, [O Muhammad]. You knew it not, neither you nor your people, before this. So be patient; indeed, the [best] outcome is for the righteous.
That is, you and your companions will come out successful at the end of the conflict just as Prophet Noah (peace be upon him) and his companions did. For this is the divine law that those who exert for the right cause, avoiding erroneous ways for fear of Allah, should come out successful in the end, even though they should meet with failures in the beginning of the conflict at the hands of the enemies of the truth. Therefore you should patiently bear the afflictions which you are suffering and stand steadfast against the obstacles you are encountering in the way, and you should not be in the least disheartened by the painful and superficial successes of your enemies. If you practice fortitude, you will come out successful in the end like Noah and his companions.

The sum of the whole matter is that the righteous, who work for Allah and their fellow-men, may be traduced, insulted, and persecuted. But they will be sustained by Allah's Mercy. They must go on working patiently, for the End will all be for them and their Cause.

Here we come to the end of mention of Prophet Noah in this surah. In the next part (Part II), Ruku / sections 5-7 (verses 50-83), Allah mentions the stories of  Prophets Hud, Salih, Abraham and Lot (peace be upon them all).

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sūrah Hūd 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 following reference pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran:
Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 |
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. [2]
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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Monday 11 November 2019

Surah Hud: 11th Chapter of Quran - Exegesis Part I

Sūrah Hūd " هود‎ " is the 11th chapter of the Qur'an with 123 āyāts (verses) with 10 ruku / sections, part of the 11th-12th Juz'. This Surah has been named after Prophet Hud (peace be upon him) whose story has been related in verses 50-60.

For the chronological place of this Sūrah and the general argument of Sūrahs x to xv, please read Overview of Sūrah 10 Yunus  (Jonah).

The Surah deals with the same subject as Sūrah Yunus, in which the stress was laid on the side of Allah's dealing with man which leans to Mercy. Here in this sūrah the invitation to the Message, admonition and warning is though the same but with this difference that the warning is sterner when all Grace is resisted.

As already mentioned in the Overview that owing to the length of the Sūrah, it has been divided into four parts as under:
  • Part I    : Ruku / Sections 1-2 [Verses 1-24]
  • Part II   : Ruku / Sections 3-4 [Verses 25-49]
  • Part III  : Ruku / Sections 5-7 [Verses 50-83] 
  • Part IV : Ruku / Sections 8-10 [Verses 84-123] 
This First Part of the exegesis of the surah will cover the Ruku / Sections 1-2 [Verses 1-24] in which varied subjects like Quran and the attitude of the polytheists towards it and resurrection, Polar attitude towards God’s favors, Prophet Muhammad’s dealing with pagans, Authenticity of the Quran, Future consequences of present behavior and ends with a mention of Those who have faith and do good deeds will reside in Paradise.

The translation and exegesis / tafseer is in English. 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"

Ruku / Section 1 [1-8]
Verses 1-5: Teachings of Al-Quran

الٓر كِتٰبٌ اُحۡكِمَتۡ اٰيٰـتُهٗ ثُمَّ فُصِّلَتۡ مِنۡ لَّدُنۡ حَكِيۡمٍ خَبِيۡرٍۙ‏ 
*Alif, Lam, Ra[This is] a Book whose verses are perfected and then presented in detail from [one who is] Wise and Acquainted. (1) 

"Alif Lam Ra" are *The Muqaṭṭaʿāt (Arabic: حُرُوف مُقَطَّعَات‎ ḥurūf muqaṭṭaʿāt, "mysterious letters"), a combination of between one and five Arabic letters figuring at the beginning of 29 out of the 114 chapters (surahs) of the Quran just after the opening Bismillāh, thus also called the or occasionally called Fawatih (openers). Alif, Lam, Ra here in this sūrah are also part of these letters, the meaning of which is not known.

In the verse above, the Arabic word kitab has been translated into Book because of the context. For its meaning is not confined to book or something written but it includes command and sovereign decree as well and has been used in several places in the Quran in the same sense.

The contents of this Book are firm, strong, and unchangeable: they are well balanced and measured. There is no tinge of verbosity, pedantry, volubility, poetic fancy and rhetorical exaggeration. The truth has been stated accurately, and there is nothing more and nothing less than the truth. Moreover, the contents have been given in detail and everything has been made so clear and plain that there is neither confusion nor complication nor ambiguity in it.

Tafsir Mufti Muhammad Shaffi / Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani:
After Alif Lam Ra, it is said about the Holy Qur'an that it is a book the verses of which are made 'muhkam' (firm). The word: (muhkam is from: "ihkam" which means a perfectly correct and balancing of meaningful speech as would not leave the probability of any error or disorder in word or meaning. Based on this definition, the making of these verses 'muhkam,' firm or established would mean that Allah has made these verses such as do not admit of any likelihood and probability of any error in words, or disorder in meanings, or defect, or falsity. 

It has been attributed to 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas that 'muhkam' (firm) at this place stands in contrast to 'mansukh' (abrogated). And the sense is that Allah has made the verses of the Qur'an as a whole firm, non-abrogated - that is, the way earlier Books, Torah, Injeel etc. were abrogated after the revelation of the Qur'an. But, after the revelation of this Book, since the very chain of the coming of prophets and revelations came to an end, therefore, this Book will not be abrogated until the last day of Qiamah / the Day of Judgement. 

In the same verse, given there was another standing feature of the Qur'an: ثُمَّ فُصِّلَتۡ (thumma fus--lat) that is, 'then these verses were elaborated'. The real meaning of tafsir or elaboration is to separate two things and make them distinct from each other. For this reason, different sections in ordinary (Arabic) books bear the heading of 'Fasl'. At this place, the elaboration of verses could also mean that the verses concerning beliefs, acts of worship, dealings, social living, morals etc. have been separated from each other and described clearly. 

And it could also mean that, as far as Allah's will is concerned, the entire Qur'an had already been embedded in the Preserved Tablet (al-lawh al-mahfuz). But, later it was revealed bit by bit in many installments as necessitated under different conditions prevailing among peoples and countries, so that its preservation could become easy and acting in accordance with it also turns out to be functionally convenient. 

After that, it was said: that is, all these verses have +* come from a Sacred Being who is absolutely and simultaneously Wise and Aware. In other words, there are so many considerations of wisdom ingrained in everything that issues forth from Him. It is impossible for human beings to encompass them all. Then He is fully aware of every particle, present now or to be present in the future, of this multi- faceted universe. He knows all states of their existence as it is and as it will be and releases His commands keeping all this in sight. This is not like what human beings do. No matter how intelligent, smart and experienced they may be, their reason and vision are still cordoned by a limited frame of reference. Their experience is the product of what is around them. And this, mostly, proves to be unsuccessful, even wrong, especially when it concerns what would happen in the future under different times and conditions. (Interestingly enough, the observations of the commentator apply to what we now know as the intellectual phenomena of Futurology with its pundits, fellow travelers and dabblers all over the world. 

اَلَّا تَعۡبُدُوۡۤا اِلَّا اللّٰهَ​ ؕ اِنَّنِىۡ لَـكُمۡ مِّنۡهُ نَذِيۡرٌ وَّبَشِيۡرٌ ۙ‏ 
( 2 )   [Through a messenger, saying], "Do not worship except Allah. Indeed, I am to you from Him a warner and a bringer of good tidings,"
Tafsir Mufti Muhammad Shaffi / Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani:
From the second verse begins the delineation of one of the most important and foremost themes, that of Tauhid, the Oneness of Allah.  It is said: you worship none but Allah. It means that among things stated in these verses the most important and foremost is that no one else should be worshiped except the One Allah.

After that, it was said: I am for you a warner from Him, and a bearer of glad tidings). It means that the noble messenger of Allah has been commanded to tell the whole world through these verses that he was for them a carrier of warning (against disobedience) and a bearer of glad tidings (of blessings in this life and in the life to come) from Allah.

The word: نَذِيۡرٌ (nadh'ir) is usually taken to mean a person who puts the fear of something into someone's heart. But, this word is not used to denote a fear-generating enemy or beast or others that harm. Instead of that, nadh'ir is applied to a person who, out of his love and affection to someone, warns him against and saves him from some harmful things. These could be things that harm in this world and might as well could be those that bring harm in the Hereafter.
( 3 )   And [saying], "Seek forgiveness of your Lord and repent to Him, [and] He will let you enjoy a good provision for a specified term and give every doer of favor his favor. But if you turn away, then indeed, I fear for you the punishment of a great Day.
The assurance that “He will let you enjoy a fair provision for a term appointed” has been given to remove the misunderstanding which Satan has imbued in the heart of every foolish worshiper of the world that piety ruins one’s worldly life, though it might lead to one’s success in the Hereafter. Allah has reassured the true believers that He will shower His blessings on God fearing people and they will live happy and peaceful lives and will be honored and respected everywhere. The same thing has been stated in a different manner in (Surah An-Nahal, Ayat 97): “Whoso will do good deeds, whether a man or a woman, provided the one is a believer, We will surely make such a one lead a pure and clean life in this world.” Allah has refuted this theory of Satan and his disciples that piety inevitably brings poverty, distress and affliction and ignominy to the person who adopts truth, righteousness and virtue. He has assured that He will make the life of the one who will believe in Him and adopt a righteous life truly successful both in this world and in the Hereafter. And it is common experience that only those people enjoy real peace of mind and are honored and respected who are God fearing and possess a pure character, who are fair and generous in all their affairs and dealings and who are free from evil. For they are trusted by all and none fears any wrong or wickedness from them.

According to the Quran, the provisions of life are either mataul-hasana meaning good provisions or mataul-ghuroor meaning deceptive provisions. Here those, who return to Allah, have been assured that they will be given good provisions of life and not deceptive ones. The provisions are good if their recipient becomes even more grateful to Allah than before and uses these for fulfilling His rights and the rights of mankind and of his own self. Such good provisions make his life truly successful in this world and also in the next world. On the contrary, the provisions are deceptive, if they become a temptation for the recipient, and get him involved in the worship of the things of this world more than before. Though the deceptive provisions might appear to be a blessing and a favor, these are, in fact, a curse and means of some future torment.

This verse enunciates a fundamental divine principle. The higher a person rises in character and conduct, the higher is the rank he obtains in the sight of Allah. That is to say that Allah does not let go waste the good deed of anyone. He does neither appreciate any evil deed, nor detracts from any good deed. Everyone will be given the honor which he deserves for his deeds.

Tafsir Mufti Muhammad Shaffi / Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani:
Out of the instructions given in these verses of the Qur'an, the second one appears in the third verse in the words: وَّاَنِ اسۡتَغۡفِرُوۡا رَبَّكُمۡ ثُمَّ تُوۡبُوۡۤا اِلَيۡهِ (and that you seek forgiveness from your Lord). It means that, in these verses of firm and established meaning, Allah has also instructed His servants to ask for forgiveness and pardon from their Lord, and make their Taubah before Him. Forgiveness (maghfirah) relates to past sins and Taubah (repentance) relates to the resolve of not going near these anymore. And, in reality, a correct and true Taubah is no more than being ashamed of past sins, praying to Allah that they be forgiven and resolving firmly that they would not be repeated in future. Therefore, some righteous elders have said that seeking forgiveness from Allah only verbally - without having made a firm resolution, and the necessary arrangements to implement it, in order to remain safe from future sins - is the Taubah (repentance) of liars (al- kadhdhzbh).

A promise was made of Good Life, both in Dunyh (This World)  and Ahhirah (The Hereafter), in the first sentence, and of everlasting blessings of Paradise, in the second. After that, it is said: وَاِنۡ تَوَلَّوۡا فَاِنِّىۡۤ اَخَافُ عَلَيۡكُمۡ عَذَابَ يَوۡمٍ كَبِيۡرٍ‏  (And if you turn away, then, I fear for you the punishment of a great day). That is: 'If you turn away from the good counsel given to you, fail to seek forgiveness for your past sins, and fail to remain safe against sins in the future, then, there is a strong likelihood that you will be seized by the punishment of a great day'. It refers to the day of Qiyamah for it would be a day of one thousand years and, also in terms of what ominous things would transpire in it, it will be the gravest.
( 4 )   To Allah is your return, and He is over all things competent."
In the fourth verse, the theme has been emphasized further. Let man do what he elects to. Let him live the way he fancies. But, ultimately, once dead, man has to return to Him and He is powerful over every- thing. It is not at all difficult for Him to have each particle man is made of reassembled after he is dead and becomes dust and see to it that there rises the man he was, all over again.
( 5 )   Unquestionably, they the disbelievers turn away their breasts to hide themselves from Him. Unquestionably, [even] when they cover themselves in their clothing, Allah knows what they conceal and what they declare. Indeed, He is Knowing of that within the breasts.
There were people of Makkah, who though not very active in their antagonism against the message of the Prophet (peace be upon him), nevertheless were very averse to it. Therefore they did not like to hear it nor come face to face with him, and did their very best to avoid him. If, by chance, they found him sitting somewhere and talking to the people, they would at once turn back on their heels. Or if they saw him coming towards them, they would slink away or hide their faces with cloth for fear that he might address them and convey his message to them. As they did not have the courage to face the truth, they would bury their heads ostrich-like and make believe that the reality from which they were hiding had disappeared, whereas it was all along there and watching their ridiculous attempts to hide from it.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
Turning away chests and walking away by covering themselves with clothing are portrayals of the aversion and diversion these people would adopt to ignore the words of the Prophet (sws) and to arrogantly walk away from him. The Qur'an tells one to look at these people who want to hide from the Being who knows what is even in the hearts. What greater a foolishness can engulf them after being warned by the Prophet (sws).

Verses 6-8: Allah is the Sustainer of all creatures

وَمَا مِنۡ دَآ بَّةٍ فِى الۡاَرۡضِ اِلَّا عَلَى اللّٰهِ رِزۡقُهَا وَ يَعۡلَمُ مُسۡتَقَرَّهَا وَمُسۡتَوۡدَعَهَا​ؕ كُلٌّ فِىۡ كِتٰبٍ مُّبِيۡنٍ‏ 
( 6 )   And there is no creature on earth but that upon Allah is its provision, and He knows its place of dwelling and place of storage. All is in a clear register.
That is, it is foolish on your part to deceive yourselves that you can escape punishment by hiding yourselves from Allah Who has full and perfect knowledge of everything. Who knows the nest where the tiniest sparrow lives and the hole where the smallest insect resides, and provides their sustenance to them wherever they be. Who knows the dwelling place and the final resting place of every creature and gives life and death to them at the appointed time. Do you think that by hiding yourselves from His messenger, you can also hide yourselves from the All-Knowing Sovereign Who has sent him? Do you think that Allah does not see His messenger doing his very best to convey His message to you and you are trying to turn a deaf ear to it?

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Cf. vi. 59. Nothing happens in Creation except by the Word of Allah and with the knowledge of Allah. Not a leaf stirs but by His Will. Its maintenance in every sense is dependent on His Will.

Mustaqarr = definite abode; where a thing stops or stays for some time, where it is established. Mustauda = where a thing is laid up or deposited for a little while. Referring to animals, the former denotes its life on this earth; the latter its temporary pre-natal existence in the egg or the womb and its after-death existence in the tomb or whatever state it is in until its resurrection.

Tafsir Mufti Muhammad Shaffi / Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani:
Mentioned in the previous verse was the all-encompassing knowledge of Allah from whom nothing is hidden, nothing from the tiniest particle of the universe down to the secrets of the hearts. It is in consonance with it that the first verse (6) mentions a great favor be- stowed on human beings - that Allah has Himself taken the responsibility of providing their sustenance. Then, this is not restricted to human beings alone. It extends to every living form that walks over the earth. Its sustenance reaches it where it lives or goes to. That being the state of affairs, the intentions and efforts of disbelievers and hypocrites to hide things from Allah are nothing but ignorance and senselessness. Then, taken in a general sense, it would include all beasts, birds, insects and all animals of the land and the sea.

To intensify this generality, the word: (min) has been added and the text ,4 reads: ,وَمَا مِنۡ دَآ بَّةٍ (and there is no creature). Dabbah "دَآ بَّةٍ" is any creature that moves on earth. Birds are also included there because their nests are also located somewhere on the land. That creatures living in water have also a connection with the surface of the earth is no secret. Allah has taken the responsibility of providing sustenance for all these life forms and has put it in words which give the impression of a duty imposed on someone. It was said: عَلَى اللّٰهِ رِزۡقُهَا (its sustenance is on Allah). It is obvious that there is no power that could put a liability on Allah. What really happened is that Allah Himself has made this promise out of his grace and mercy. But, this promise comes from One who is True and Merciful. There is no probability of things happening otherwise, counter to the promise. This is a matter of certitude. It is to express this element of certitude that the word: عَلَى ('al'a: on) has been introduced at this place - a word used to describe duties, although, Allah takes no orders from anyone, nor is He responsible for something as obligated or necessary.

Lexically, رِزۡقُ rizq (sustenance, provision or livelihood) means some- thing from which a creature procures its food and through which the body grows and the soul survives.

According to the lexical meaning of the word 'rizq', it is not necessary that whoever has it should also be its owner - because, rizq is given to all animals, but they are not its owners. They are not cut out for ownership. Similarly, infants are not the owners of their rizq, but it is given to them. In terms of this general sense of rizq, 'many scholars have said that rizq could be bald (lawful) and it could also be haram (unlawful), because for a person who eats up what belongs to the other person, that property, no doubt, becomes his food, but so it becomes only unlawfully. Had this person not used unfair means blinded by his greed, he would have received the halal (lawful) rizq reserved and appointed for him.

After having made the promise in this verse that Allah has taken the responsibility of providing the rizq of every living creature, things have not been left at that. Instead, to put human beings further at ease, it was said:  وَ يَعۡلَمُ مُسۡتَقَرَّهَا وَمُسۡتَوۡدَعَهَا​ؕ (and He knows its permanent and its temporary place - 6). Different explanations of the words:  مُسۡتَقَرَّ (mustaqarr) and  َمُسۡتَوۡدَعَ (mustawda') have been reported but, lexically, what Tafsir al-Kashshaf carries is the closest. It says that mustaqarr is the place someone makes a permanent residence, or home; and mustawda' is a place where one stays temporarily to take care of some- thing (as it appears in the translation of the text).

The sense being driven home is that the responsibility of Allah should not be taken on the analogy of responsibilities as assumed by peoples and governments of the world of our experience. Here in this world, let us assume that there is a person or institution that would take the responsibility of delivering your 'rizq' to you. In that case, if you were going somewhere, you would inform that individual or institution that you were leaving your permanent place to go somewhere else. Then, you will have to give a firm itinerary that you will be living in such and such city or village, from such and such date to such and such date, and that you wanted your provider to deliver your rizq there! But, when things are 'on Allah' and under His responsibility, you do not have to take even this much of trouble because He knows when you move and He knows when you do not and He knows what you are doing in this or that state. He knows where you live permanently and He knows where you live temporarily. He needs no application, or advice or address to take care of your rizq. It is just delivered wherever you are.
( 7 )   And it is He who created the heavens and the earth in six days - and His Throne had been upon water - that He might test you as to which of you is best in deed. But if you say, "Indeed, you are resurrected after death," those who disbelieve will surely say, "This is not but obvious magic."
This is a parenthetical clause that has probably been inserted in answer to a question, which has not been cited: if the heavens and the earth were created afterwards in six days, what was there before their creation? The answer is: then there was water. It is not possible for us to say what exactly was the nature of that water. It might have been the common fluid known by that name. Or perhaps, the word water has been used as a symbol for the fluid state of the matter before it was changed to its present form. As regards to “His Throne was upon the water” I am of the opinion that it means: “His Kingdom was over water.”

This enunciates the purpose of the creation: Allah created the heavens and the earth for the sake of the creation of mankind and He created mankind to test human beings by delegating to them the powers of vicegerency and making them morally responsible for using or abusing them, just as they liked. Thus it has been emphasized that the sole purpose of the creation is the moral trial of man and his consequent accountability to the Creator for the use or abuse of the delegated powers, and the award of rewards and punishments. For without this basic purpose, the whole work of creation would have become meaningless and useless.

That is, the disbelievers very foolishly considered the purpose of the creation to be no more than a pastime in which they themselves were mere playthings. They were so absorbed in their foolish conception that when the Prophet (peace be upon him) told them what the real purpose of creation was and what part they were required to play in it, they would scoff at him, saying: Your message is like a piece of sorcery and beyond our understanding.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
It is scientifically correct to say that all life was evolved out of the waters, and this statement also occurs in the Qur'an, xxi. 30. Some such meaning, I think, also attaches to the Gen. i. 2. The past tense "was" refers to the time before life developed in solid forms, on land and in air.

The Creation we see around us is not idle sport or play or whim on the part of Allah. It is the medium through which our spiritual life is to develop, with such free-will as we have. This life is our testing time. The Unbelievers, who do not believe in a Future life, think all talk of it is like a sorcerer's talk, empty of reality. But in this they show their ignorance, and they are begging the question.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
These refer to the days of God about which the Qur'an has specified that they are equivalent to one thousand earth years and at times to fifty thousand earth years. The implication is that the creation of this world is not an accidental happening. It has come into being because of a calculated intention and scheme devised by God and according to a great sequence envisaged by Him. Not to speak of His wisdom in this planning. Hence this world cannot be a purposeless creation. It is bound to have a purpose which manifests itself soon or late.

Before this, the earth surface consisted of water only and was governed by the Almighty. In the times of the Prophet (sws), people may have wondered at this statement of the Qur'an; however, today's researches have shown that this information about the earth is a fact which the Qur'an had stated centuries ago.

This is a statement of the purpose for which this world was created in an elaborate way in six days – which are equivalent to millions of earth years. It is for this reason that God has given human beings the freedom of will and the awareness of good and evil. Their creator wants to see whether they adopt the path of right or wrong. They have been told that one day they will be held accountable for their choices and will be rewarded or punished accordingly.
( 8 )   And if We hold back from them the punishment for a limited time, they will surely say, "What detains it?" Unquestionably, on the Day it comes to them, it will not be averted from them, and they will be enveloped by what they used to ridicule.
In the eighth verse, an answer has been given to people who doubted the warnings of punishment given by prophets, peace be on them. Not willing to believe them, they used to ask them if they were true, and if they were, why the punishment they warned them of would not come?

Ruku / Section 2 [9-24 ]

Verses 9-14: Mankind is ever ungrateful to Allah except the believers and Al-Quran is not forged by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
( 9 )   And if We give man a taste of mercy from Us and then We withdraw it from him, indeed, he is despairing and ungrateful.
That is he does not realize that some kinds of chastening are good for discipline and the training of our spiritual faculties.
( 10 )   But if We give him a taste of favor after hardship has touched him, he will surely say, "Bad times have left me." Indeed, he is exultant and boastful
This disgraceful characteristic of man has been mentioned here because the disbelievers were exhibiting it at that time. When the Prophet (peace be upon him) warned them of the consequences of their disobedience to Allah, they would scoff at him as if to say: Are you mad? Can't you see our prosperity and power? We are enjoying all the good things of life and dominating over everything and everyone all around us. How is it that you are prophesying torment for us?

The above mentioned arrogant behavior was due to the disgraceful human characteristic which has been mentioned in this verse. It is this: Man is, by nature, shallow and superficial and lacks the depth of thought. Therefore, when he enjoys prosperity and power he becomes joyous, arrogant and boastful; so much so that he never even dreams of any possibility that his happy condition would ever come to an end. And if and when adversity befalls him, he becomes an embodiment of despair and begins to complain of his misfortune here, there, and everywhere; so much so that he does not hesitate even to abuse God and taunt at His Godhead. But whenever there is a change for the better in his fortune, he again begins to brag of his foresight, wisdom and success. That is why the disbelievers were exhibiting such a shallow and superficial characteristic in answer to the warning of the Prophet (peace be upon him). They forgot that Allah was deferring their punishment because of His mercy to give them sufficient time to consider well their absurd attitude and mend their ways during the respite given to them, and not to delude themselves by imagining that their prosperity had very deep foundations and would last for ever.

اِلَّا الَّذِيۡنَ صَبَرُوۡا وَعَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِؕ اُولٰٓـئِكَ لَهُمۡ مَّغۡفِرَةٌ وَّاَجۡرٌ كَبِيۡرٌ‏
( 11 )   Except for those who are patient and do righteous deeds; those will have forgiveness and great reward.
Here " صَبَرُ " sabr (fortitude) also implies another meaning, that is, steadfastness, the antonym of shallowness etc. that has been mentioned in the preceding verse. Those “Who are steadfast” remain fine and unwavering in their purpose in spite of the vicissitudes of life. They are not influenced by the changes of circumstances but stick to the right reasonable and correct attitudes they have adopted. They do not give themselves airs nor become intoxicated nor over jubilant and boastful if they win power, prosperity and name. On the contrary, they are neither subdued nor depressed if they are visited by adversity. In short, they come out successful in their trial by Allah, whether it be in the shape of favor or adversity and remain steadfast in both the cases.

This is the favor that Allah shows to such people; He forgives their shortcomings and gives them rich rewards for their good deeds.
( 12 )   Then would you possibly leave [out] some of what is revealed to you, or is your breast constrained by it because they say, "Why has there not been sent down to him a treasure or come with him an angel?" But you are only a warner. And Allah is Disposer of all things.
In this verse, Allah has comforted and urged His Messenger (peace be upon him) to propagate the message without the least hesitation and not to waver in his determination for fear of ridicule or for lack of response from his people. He should convey the message in its entirety and leave the result to Allah for He has full power over everything. In order to grasp its full significance, we should keep in view the circumstances that necessitated it.

At the time of this revelation, the Quraish were the most powerful and influential of all the clans. As they were the guardians of the Kabah (Makkah), the religious center of the Arabs, they enjoyed religious, economic, and political superiority over the entire Arabia. Thus it was quite natural that they should resent and oppose that message which proclaimed: “The religion of which you are the leaders is absolutely false, and the system of life you are following is rotten to the core. As you are rejecting the message, torment of Allah is threatening you. The only way of escape from it is that you should accept the right way and the righteous system of life I have brought from Allah.” Obviously this message struck a hard blow at their superiority and therefore they were averse to it from the very beginning.

The second reason why they did not accept it was that the Messenger (peace be upon him) possessed nothing extraordinary to convince the people of his Prophethood except his pure character and his rational, and understandable message. Then for the Quraish, there was nothing to warrant a torment from Allah except the rotten condition of their religion, morality and culture. On the contrary, there was prosperity to delude them that that was a sure sign of the favors of Allah and of their gods and goddesses, which was a clear proof that the ways they were following were the right ways. The inevitable result was that only a small minority of those people, who had sound minds and hearts, accepted the message and the remaining large majority became hostile to it. Then some of them tried to suppress the message by persecutions and some did their worst to defame it by false accusations and frivolous objections and others resorted to calculated indifference to discourage it. There were still others who adopted an attitude of ridicule, derision, taunt and mockery in order to make light of it.

The above condition went on for many years and was liable to fill one with despair and discouragement. Therefore the Sovereign reassured His Messenger, as if to say, “We disapprove of these shallow, superficial and mean people, who are trying to make your mission a failure by their prejudice, indifference, ridicule, mockery and frivolous objections. You should go on following the right way with perseverance and courage: you should go on proclaiming the truth that has been revealed to you without the least hesitation: you should never be afraid of propagating the message for fear of ridicule or indifference: you should go on inculcating the truth in its entirety whether anyone accepts it or rejects it for it is Allah Who has everything in His power and charge and He alone affords guidance to everyone He considers fit for it.”
( 13 )   Or do they say, "He invented it"? Say, "Then bring ten surahs like it that have been invented and call upon [for assistance] whomever you can besides Allah, if you should be truthful."
 Tafsir Mufti Muhammad Shaffi / Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani:
A refutation of the false doubts engineered by Mushriks and Kzfirs in it has been made in the next two verses (13,14): These people say that the Prophet of Islam has himself made up the Qur'an - it is no book of Allah.

In answer, it was said: If you really think so, that Muhammad (peace be upon him) can make a Qur'an like this, all by himself, then, you too, better come up with only ten Surahs like that. And it is not necessary either that these ten Surahs have to be made by any one person. In- stead, let everyone in the world join forces and come up with it. And when they fail to make even ten Surahs, then, the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) was to tell them: Now the reality stands out loud and clear, for had this Qur'an been the word of some human being, other human beings could have also been able to make something like this. And that they all fail to do so is a strong proof of the fact that this Qur'an has been revealed only with the knowledge of Allah in which there is no room for the least increase or decrease and that it is beyond human power.

At this place, the Holy Qur'an has said that they should come up with ten Surahs like it. And in another verse it was also said: 'Then, bring a Surah the like of this - al-Baqarah, 2:23.'

The reason is that they were first asked to bring ten Surahs. They failed to do so. Then, to make their inability look more pronounced, it was said in the verse of Surah al-Baqarah quoted above: If you take the Qur'an to be a word of man, then, you too, bring no more than just one Surah being the like of it. But, despite this challenge of the Qur'an, made so easy for them, they could do nothing. It stood proved that the Holy Qur'an was a miracle, and the Word of Allah without any doubt. Therefore, at the end, it was said: ​ۚ فَهَلۡ اَنۡتُمۡ مُّسۡلِمُوۡنَ, that is, 'would you now believe and obey, or would you prefer to remain heedless as before?'
( 14 )   And if they do not respond to you - then know that the Qur'an was revealed with the knowledge of Allah and that there is no deity except Him. Then, would you [not] be Muslims?
Here one and the same argument has been advanced to prove two things. First, the Quran has been revealed by Allah. Secondly, it proves the truth of the doctrine of Tauhid. The argument is this:
(1) You say that the Quran has not been revealed by Allah but has been devised and invented by myself and ascribed to Him. If your claim had been genuine you would have been able to invent a book like this in answer to the challenge I have given you over and over again. As you have failed to do so even with your combined resources and forces, my claim that it has been revealed with Allah’s knowledge has been proved absolutely and completely true.
(2) Then there was a twofold challenge from the Quran to your deities but they utterly failed to meet it. They were challenged to come to your aid and help produce a book like the Quran. As they have not helped you, it is a clear proof that they are absolutely powerless and have no share at all in Godhead. You have seen that they have not only failed in this decisive test, but have also proved to be impotent to defend themselves against the open attacks made on them in this Book, which asks the people not to worship them for they have no share in the powers of Godhead. These things have proved that there is nothing divine in them and you have made them your deities without rhyme or reason.
Incidentally, this verse shows that chronologically this Surah was revealed earlier than Surah Yunus. For at first they were challenged in this Surah to bring ten Surahs like the Surahs of the Quran, but they failed to do so. Then in Surah Yunus they were challenged (Ayat 38) to bring even one Surah like this. 

Verses 15-24: People of the Book (Jews and Christians) are of two kinds, those who can see the Truth, and those who choose not to
( 15 )   Whoever desires the life of this world and its adornments - We fully repay them for their deeds therein, and they therein will not be deprived.
This general statement has been made in continuation of the theme of the preceding verses, to refute the false excuses of the disbelievers mentioned therein for rejecting the message of the Quran. This verse says that in general those people who rejected the Quran then (and are rejecting it now) were the worshipers of this world and its pleasures. As the root cause of their rejection was (and is) this false creed that there is nothing more valuable than the pleasures of this world and its material gains. And there should be no restrictions, like the ones imposed in the Quran, on their acquisition. They first made this choice, and afterwards invented arguments, like the ones mentioned in the Quran, to deceive their own minds and those of others.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
If worldly men desire the glitter of this world, they shall have it in full measure, but it is false glitter, and it involves the negation of that spiritual life which comes from the guidance of the inner light and from the revelation of Allah, as described in verse 17 below.
( 16 )   Those are the ones for whom there is not in the Hereafter but the Fire. And lost is what they did therein, and worthless is what they used to do.
This is a clear and stern warning to the worshipers of the world. They should know that they will get the full reward for the exertions (whatever they be) they put forth in order to acquire the worldly gains but they should note it well that they would get nothing in the next world. As they confined their efforts to the benefits of this world, and did nothing to earn the benefits of the next world, they should expect nothing for the deeds they have done for the material gains of this world. In order to illustrate this, let us take the case of a person who desires to build a palace for himself in this world and adopts all those devices, measures and means which help build such a palace. Most surely, he will succeed in building a grand palace, for no brick will refuse to stick to its place simply because he was an unbeliever. But it is equally obvious that he shall have to leave behind in this world that grand palace along with all its furnishings as soon as he breathes his last breath. For there is no reason why the palace he had built (or done anything else) for this world, should be credited to him in the next world, if he had done nothing to provide himself with a palace in the next world. For only those who provide for themselves with the necessary material for a palace in the next world in accordance with the divine law, deserve to get a palace there.

Now a question arises in regard to the logical conclusion of this argument, according to which he should not get a palace in the next world. It is this: “Well, he may not get a palace, but why should he be thrown into the fire of Hell?” The answer is this (and the Quran itself has given this same answer in different places) that the one who exerts and works only for a palace in this world in utter disregard of the Hereafter, naturally and inevitably adopts such treasures and means as help build a large fire for himself in the Hell.
( 17 )   So is one who [stands] upon a clear evidence from his Lord [like the aforementioned]? And a witness from Him follows it, and before it was the Scripture of Moses to lead and as mercy. Those [believers in the former revelations] believe in the Qur'an. But whoever disbelieves in it from the [various] factions - the Fire is his promised destination. So be not in doubt about it. Indeed, it is the truth from your Lord, but most of the people do not believe.
This shows that even apart from revelation, there is ample evidence in man’s own self, in the structure of the heavens and the earth, and in the order that prevails in the universe to prove that God is the only creator, master, lord and sovereign of the universe. The evidence referred to above also inclines man to believe that the present life will be followed by another one in which man will be required to render an account of his deeds and wherein he might be requited.

The “witness from Him” is the Quran. The testimony of the natural phenomena combined with that provided by man’s own self had already created in man the disposition to affirm the truths mentioned earlier. All that was further reinforced by the Quran which came as reassurance that what he was predisposed to believe in was indeed true.

In the present context the verse means that those who are overly infatuated with the allurements of a worldly life will be inclined to reject the message of the Quran. Distinguishable from these are those who take full note of the testimony furnished by their own beings and by the structure and order prevailing in the universe in support of God’s unity. This testimony was further reinforced by the heavenly books revealed before the Quran. How could such persons close their eyes to such overwhelming testimony as this and join their voice with those of the unbelievers?

This verse clearly indicates that even before the Quran was revealed, the Prophet (peace be on him) had reached the stage of belief in the Unseen. We have seen, in (Surah Al- Anam Ayat 75), the case of Abraham. Before being appointed as a Prophet, Abraham (peace be on him) was led by a careful observation of the natural phenomena to knowledge of God’s unity. Likewise, the present verse makes it clear that by his reflection, the Prophet (peace be on him), had been led to believe in the Unseen even before the Quran was revealed. Subsequently, when the Quran was revealed it not only confirmed what he had already become inclined to accept, but also provided definite knowledge about it.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
"A witness from Himself': i.e., the Book which was given to Al-Mustafa, the Holy Qur-an, which is compared to the original Revelation given to Moses. We make no difference between one true and genuine Message and another, nor between one apostle and another,-for they all come from the One True God.

"Guide": the Arabic word here is Imam, a leader, a guide, one that directs to the true Path. Such a direction is an instance of the Mercy and Goodness of Allah to man. The Qur'an and the Prophet Muhammad are also called, each, a Guide and a Mercy, and so are these epithets applicable to previous Books and Prophets.
( 18 )   And who is more unjust than he who invents a lie about Allah? Those will be presented before their Lord, and the witnesses will say, "These are the ones who lied against their Lord." Unquestionably, the curse of Allah is upon the wrongdoers.
To invent a lie against God consists of stating that beings other than God also have a share with God in His godhead, that like God they are also entitled to be served and worshiped by God’s creatures. Inventing a lie against God also consists of stating that God is not concerned with providing guidance to His creatures, that He did not raise Prophets for that purpose, and that He rather left men free to behave as they pleased. Inventing a lie against God also consists of stating that God created human beings by way of jest and sport and that He will not have them render an account to Him, and that He will not requite them for their deeds. Such a proclamation would be made on the Day of Judgment.
( 19 )   Who averted [people] from the way of Allah and sought to make it [seem] deviant while they, concerning the Hereafter, were disbelievers.
This is a parenthetical statement. That is, that God’s curse will be proclaimed in the Hereafter against those who are guilty of the crimes mentioned. Such persons do not like the straight way being expounded to them. They would rather have the straight way rendered crooked by altering it under the influence of lust, prejudice, fancy, and superstition. It is only after the way that was once straight has been rendered crooked that they will be willing to accept it.

Cf: vii-45
( 20 )   Those were not causing failure [to Allah] on earth, nor did they have besides Allah any protectors. For them the punishment will be multiplied. They were not able to hear, nor did they see.
This, again, refers to what will happen in the next life. They will suffer punishment for being in error and for misleading others and leaving behind a legacy of error and misguidance for coming generations.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Cf. vii. 38. In this context, it is implied that they committed a two-fold wrong: (1) in inventing falsehoods against Allah, which deadened their own soul, and (2) in leading others astray or hindering them from Allah's path. Thus they lost the faculty of hearing, which they might have used to hear the Word of Allah, and they blinded the faculty of sight by shutting out Allah's light.
( 21 )   Those are the ones who will have lost themselves, and lost from them is what they used to invent.
All their conjectures regarding God, the universe and their own selves will prove to be absolutely baseless in the next life. Similarly, the notions they entertained about the help and support they would receive from those they considered to be either their deities, or their intercessors with God, or their patrons will prove to be false. Likewise, it will become obvious that all their notions about the Afterlife were utterly untrue.
( 22 )   Assuredly, it is they in the Hereafter who will be the greatest losers.
( 23 )   Indeed, they who have believed and done righteous deeds and humbled themselves to their Lord - those are the companions of Paradise; they will abide eternally therein.
This concludes the account about the Hereafter.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Note that the humility is to be "before their Lord," i.e., in Allah's sight. There is no virtue, quite the contrary, in rubbing our noses to the ground before men. We are not to be arrogant even before men because we are humble as in Allah's sight. Nor does true humility lose self-confidence; for that self-confidence arises from confidence in the support and help of Allah.
( 24 )   The example of the two parties is like the blind and deaf, and the seeing and hearing. Are they equal in comparison? Then, will you not remember?
Can the attitude and ultimate end of both these types of people be the same? Obviously, he who fails to see the right way and ignores the instruction of the guide who directs him to the right way will necessarily stumble and meet with some terrible mishap. However, he who perceives the right way and follows the instructions of his guide will reach his destination, and reach it safely.

The same difference is found between the two parties mentioned here. One of these carefully observes the realities of the universe and pays heed to the teachings of God’s Messengers. The other party, however, neither uses their eyes properly to perceive God’s signs nor pays heed to His Messengers. The behavior of the two parties is, therefore, bound to be different. And when their behavior is different, there is no reason to believe that their ultimate end will be identical.

Story of Prophet Noah (Nuh, peace be upon him)
Ruku 3-4, verses / āyāts 25–49 tell the story of Noah and how his people did not believe his commands to follow God. The unbelievers are drowned in a flood, which includes Noah's son; Noah asks God about this act, but God rebukes Noah as being ignorant and says that Noah's son is "not a member of his family." Surah 66, At-Tahrim, elaborates on this and says that Noah's wife is an unbeliever in hell who was unfaithful to her husband.

This will be covered in Part II.

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sūrah Hūd 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 following reference pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran:
Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 |
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. [2]
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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