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Surahs Mulk - Qalam
Qur'anic Exegesis
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi
(Tr. by:Dr. Shehzad Saleem)


Both these sūrahs form a pair with regard to their subject matter. In Sūrah Mulk, the Quraysh are warned of the Day of Judgement while in Sūrah Qalam they are warned of the punishment which a people necessarily face if they deny their messenger. Though the Prophet Muhammad (sws) is also addressed at various places in these sūrahs, a little deliberation shows that in all places they are actually directed at the leaders of the Quraysh. It is evident from the subject discussed in the sūrahs that they were revealed in Makkah during the phase of indhār-i ‘ām (general warning) of the Prophet’s mission.

The theme of the first sūrah is to explain to the Quraysh that the way this world has come into existence and for the purpose it has come into existence show that it will necessarily culminate on the Day of Judgement. Therefore, by disregarding this Day they should not take themselves to the point when they will have no option but to confess their crimes and to face the consequences of this confession. They should be fearful of the Almighty Who can seize them even now in any way and at any time.

The arguments in this sūrah have been mainly drawn from the manifestations and signs of the Almighty’s mercy, power and providence which every person can behold around him.

The theme of second sūrah is to warn the leaders of the Quraysh to not adopt a rebellious and arrogant attitude adopted by them against the Book and Prophet of Allah. This warning is sounded by comparing the Book presented by the Prophet (sws) and his character with the character of the Quraysh leaders and their presumptive notions. They are told that all their treasured possessions and estates are vulnerable to punishment. They should be sensible for they have nothing to say. They are only indulging in idle talk because they are being given respite by the Almighty: it shall not be long before His decree arrives. 

At the end of the sūrah, the Prophet (sws) is directed to patiently wait for this decree.



بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

تَبَارَكَ الَّذِي بِيَدِهِ الْمُلْكُ وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ (١) الَّذِي خَلَقَ الْمَوْتَ وَالْحَيَاةَ لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ أَيُّكُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلًا وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْغَفُورُ (٢)

الَّذِي خَلَقَ سَبْعَ سَمَاوَاتٍ طِبَاقًا مَّا تَرَى فِي خَلْقِ الرَّحْمَنِ مِن تَفَاوُتٍ فَارْجِعِ الْبَصَرَ هَلْ تَرَى مِن فُطُورٍ (٣) ثُمَّ ارْجِعِ الْبَصَرَ كَرَّتَيْنِ يَنقَلِبْ إِلَيْكَ الْبَصَرُ خَاسِأً وَهُوَ حَسِيرٌ (٤)

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful.

Very exalted and very Benevolent is the Lord in whose hands is the dominion [of the worlds], and He has power over all things.1 [He] Who created death and life that He might test you as to which of you does good deeds.2 And He is also Mighty and Forgiving.3 (1-3)

[He] Who created seven heavens one above the other. You will not find any fault with what has been created by the Most Gracious. Then look again: can you see any flaw? Then look again and again. Your look will come back to you worn out and overcome.4 (3-4)



وَلَقَدْ زَيَّنَّا السَّمَاء الدُّنْيَا بِمَصَابِيحَ وَجَعَلْنَاهَا رُجُومًا لِّلشَّيَاطِينِ وَأَعْتَدْنَا لَهُمْ عَذَابَ السَّعِيرِ (٥) وَلِلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بِرَبِّهِمْ عَذَابُ جَهَنَّمَ وَبِئْسَ الْمَصِيرُ (٦)

[Do you not see that] We have adorned the lowest heaven with lamps5 and We have made them [these lamps] a means of bombardment on the devils. And We have also prepared for them the torment of the Blazing Fire.6 Those who have denied their Lord7 there is [similarly] the punishment of Hell and what an evil abode it is!8 (5-6)



إِذَا أُلْقُوا فِيهَا سَمِعُوا لَهَا شَهِيقًا وَهِيَ تَفُورُ (٧) تَكَادُ تَمَيَّزُ مِنَ الْغَيْظِ كُلَّمَا أُلْقِيَ فِيهَا فَوْجٌ سَأَلَهُمْ خَزَنَتُهَا أَلَمْ يَأْتِكُمْ نَذِيرٌ (٨) قَالُوا بَلَى قَدْ جَاءنَا نَذِيرٌ فَكَذَّبْنَا وَقُلْنَا مَا نَزَّلَ اللهُ مِن شَيْءٍ إِنْ أَنتُمْ إِلَّا فِي ضَلَالٍ كَبِيرٍ (٩) وَقَالُوا لَوْ كُنَّا نَسْمَعُ أَوْ نَعْقِلُ مَا كُنَّا فِي أَصْحَابِ السَّعِيرِ (١٠) فَاعْتَرَفُوا بِذَنبِهِمْ فَسُحْقًا لِّأَصْحَابِ السَّعِيرِ (١١)

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَخْشَوْنَ رَبَّهُم بِالْغَيْبِ لَهُم مَّغْفِرَةٌ وَأَجْرٌ كَبِيرٌ (١٢) وَأَسِرُّوا قَوْلَكُمْ أَوِ اجْهَرُوا بِهِ إِنَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ (١٣) أَلَا يَعْلَمُ مَنْ خَلَقَ وَهُوَ اللَّطِيفُ الْخَبِيرُ (١٤)

When will be cast into it, they shall hear it roaring and it shall be seething. It will seem that it is bursting with rage. Every time a multitude is cast into it, its keepers will ask: “Did no warner come to you?” “Yes indeed a warner did come,” they will reply “but we rejected him and said: ‘God has not sent down anything;’ [we said:] ‘You are only in grave error.’”9 And they will say: “If only we had listened or used our intellect, we would not have been among these dwellers of Hell [today].” In this way, they will confess their sin; so [now] cursed be these companions of Hell. (7-11)

[On the other hand], for those who feared the Lord even though they did not see Him,10 there is indeed forgiveness and a great reward. [O People!] Whether you speak secretly or openly, He has knowledge of even all that is in the hearts.11 Would He not know Who has created? He is Very Discerning and Well-Acquainted. (12-14)


هُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمُ الْأَرْضَ ذَلُولًا فَامْشُوا فِي مَنَاكِبِهَا وَكُلُوا مِن رِّزْقِهِ وَإِلَيْهِ النُّشُورُ (١٥)

أَأَمِنتُم مَّن فِي السَّمَاء أَن يَخْسِفَ بِكُمُ الأَرْضَ فَإِذَا هِيَ تَمُورُ (١٦) أَمْ أَمِنتُم مَّن فِي السَّمَاء أَن يُرْسِلَ عَلَيْكُمْ حَاصِبًا فَسَتَعْلَمُونَ كَيْفَ نَذِيرِ (١٧) وَلَقَدْ كَذَّبَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ فَكَيْفَ كَانَ نَكِيرِ (١٨)

He Who made the earth12 an obedient camel;13 so walk about in its shoulders and eat from His subsistence and [remember that one day] You shall rise up before Him.14 (15)

Are you not afraid of Him Who is in the heavens that He may thrust you in the earth? Then you would suddenly see it running very swiftly.15 Are you not afraid of Him Who is in the heavens that He may send upon you a stone hurling wind? So now you shall know how My warning is.16 Those also who were before them [similarly] denied; so [you saw] how terrible was my curse.17  (16-18)


أَوَلَمْ يَرَوْا إِلَى الطَّيْرِ فَوْقَهُمْ صَافَّاتٍ وَيَقْبِضْنَ مَا يُمْسِكُهُنَّ إِلَّا الرَّحْمَنُ إِنَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ بَصِيرٌ (١٩)

أَمَّنْ هَذَا الَّذِي هُوَ جُندٌ لَّكُمْ يَنصُرُكُم مِّن دُونِ الرَّحْمَنِ إِنِ الْكَافِرُونَ إِلَّا فِي غُرُورٍ (٢٠) أَمَّنْ هَذَا الَّذِي يَرْزُقُكُمْ إِنْ أَمْسَكَ رِزْقَهُ بَل لَّجُّوا فِي عُتُوٍّ وَنُفُورٍ (٢١)

[They do not think.] Have these people not seen the birds [flying] above them with wings outstretched and they [in a similar manner] also draw them in? None except the Most Gracious is holding them. Indeed, He keeps a watch on all things.18  (19)

[You demand to see the torment; so speak up:] “What army do you have who will help you against the Most Gracious?” In reality, these disbelievers are in mere deception. Speak up: “Who will give you sustenance19 if He withholds His sustenance?” [They are aware that there is no one]. Yet they persist in rebellion and in denying the truth. (20-21)




 أَفَمَن يَمْشِي مُكِبًّا عَلَى وَجْهِهِ أَهْدَى أَمَّن يَمْشِي سَوِيًّا عَلَى صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ (٢٢) قُلْ هُوَ الَّذِي أَنشَأَكُمْ وَجَعَلَ لَكُمُ السَّمْعَ وَالْأَبْصَارَ وَالْأَفْئِدَةَ قَلِيلًا مَّا تَشْكُرُونَ (٢٣) قُلْ هُوَ الَّذِي ذَرَأَكُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَإِلَيْهِ تُحْشَرُونَ (٢٤)

وَيَقُولُونَ مَتَى هَذَا الْوَعْدُ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ (٢٥) قُلْ إِنَّمَا الْعِلْمُ عِندَ اللهِ وَإِنَّمَا أَنَا نَذِيرٌ مُّبِينٌ (٢٦) فَلَمَّا رَأَوْهُ زُلْفَةً سِيئَتْ وُجُوهُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَقِيلَ هَذَا الَّذِي كُنتُم بِهِ تَدَّعُونَ (٢٧)

So is he who walks with his face bent down20  rightly guided or he who walks upright on a straight path? [Alas!] Tell them: “It is He Who has raised you up [as human beings] and made for you ears, eyes and hearts [so that you may understand the truth.] Yet seldom are you grateful.” Tell them: “It is He who has sown you in the earth. [He will surely reap what He has sown,] and [for this] towards Him you shall [certainly] be gathered.” (22-24)

They ask: “When will this promise be fulfilled if you are truthful?” Tell them: “Its knowledge is only with Allah; I am only an open warner.”21  [This is what they say now], but when they see it drawing near, the faces of these disbelievers will turn gloomy and it shall be said to them: “This is what you had been asking for.” (25-27)


قُلْ أَرَأَيْتُمْ إِنْ أَهْلَكَنِيَ اللهُ وَمَن مَّعِيَ أَوْ رَحِمَنَا فَمَن يُجِيرُ الْكَافِرِينَ مِنْ عَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ (٢٨)

قُلْ هُوَ الرَّحْمَنُ آمَنَّا بِهِ وَعَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلْنَا فَسَتَعْلَمُونَ مَنْ هُوَ فِي ضَلَالٍ مُّبِينٍ (٢٩) قُلْ أَرَأَيْتُمْ إِنْ أَصْبَحَ مَاؤُكُمْ غَوْرًا فَمَن يَأْتِيكُم بِمَاء مَّعِينٍ (٣٠

[O Prophet! They await the turn of fortunes for you]. Ask them: “Have you ever thought that if God destroys me and my companions or has mercy on us [what will you gain? Tell us:] “Who shall save the disbelievers from an afflictive doom?” (28)

Tell them: “[We are making no claims for ourselves. Yes! definitely] He is the Most Gracious. We have believed in Him and in Him we have put our trust. So, soon you will know who is in manifest error.” Tell them: “Have you ever thought that if this water of yours sinks down into the earth,22  who will then bring out for you unsullied springs of water?” (29-30)




بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

ن وَالْقَلَمِ وَمَا يَسْطُرُونَ (١) مَا أَنتَ بِنِعْمَةِ رَبِّكَ بِمَجْنُونٍ (٢) وَإِنَّ لَكَ لَأَجْرًا غَيْرَ مَمْنُونٍ (٣) وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلى خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ (٤) فَسَتُبْصِرُ وَيُبْصِرُونَ (٥) بِأَييِّكُمُ الْمَفْتُونُ (٦) إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَن ضَلَّ عَن سَبِيلِهِ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ (٧)

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful.

This is Sūrah Nūn.23 The pen bears witness and what [the scribes] write24 [from it] that you are not, by the grace of your Lord, mad, and that indeed for you is a reward unending, and you are of a lofty character.25 So it shall not be long before you shall see and they shall also see which of you has been led astray.26 Your Lord only best knows those who have strayed from His path and those who are rightly guided.27 (1-7)



فَلَا تُطِعِ الْمُكَذِّبِينَ (٨) وَدُّوا لَوْ تُدْهِنُ فَيُدْهِنُونَ (٩) وَلَا تُطِعْ كُلَّ حَلَّافٍ مَّهِينٍ (١٠) هَمَّازٍ مَّشَّاء بِنَمِيمٍ (١١) مَنَّاعٍ لِّلْخَيْرِ مُعْتَدٍ أَثِيمٍ (١٢) عُتُلٍّ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ زَنِيمٍ (١٣) أَن كَانَ ذَا مَالٍ وَبَنِينَ (١٤) إِذَا تُتْلَى عَلَيْهِ آيَاتُنَا قَالَ أَسَاطِيرُ الْأَوَّلِينَ (١٥) سَنَسِمُهُ عَلَى الْخُرْطُومِ (١٦)

For this reason, give no heed to any thing these disbelievers say.28 They desire that you be a little flexible; then they will also become flexible.29 Heed not any person30 who swears a lot,31 despicable, maker of evil gestures,32 who goes about sowing seeds of dissension, forbidder of good,33 transgressor, usurper of rights, cruel and moreover does not belong to the lineage he poses34 – because he has a lot of wealth and children.35 When Our revelations are recited to him he cries out: “These are but tales of the ancients.” [He thinks that he has a big nose. Listen! you shall see that] on this snout will We brand him.36 (8-16)



إِنَّا بَلَوْنَاهُمْ كَمَا بَلَوْنَا أَصْحَابَ الْجَنَّةِ إِذْ أَقْسَمُوا لَيَصْرِمُنَّهَا مُصْبِحِينَ (١٧) وَلَا يَسْتَثْنُونَ (١٨) فَطَافَ عَلَيْهَا طَائِفٌ مِّن رَّبِّكَ وَهُمْ نَائِمُونَ (١٩) فَأَصْبَحَتْ كَالصَّرِيمِ (٢٠) فَتَنَادَوا مُصْبِحِينَ (٢١) أَنِ اغْدُوا عَلَى حَرْثِكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ صَارِمِينَ (٢٢) فَانطَلَقُوا وَهُمْ يَتَخَافَتُونَ (٢٣) أَن لَّا يَدْخُلَنَّهَا الْيَوْمَ عَلَيْكُم مِّسْكِينٌ (٢٤) وَغَدَوْا عَلَى حَرْدٍ قَادِرِينَ (٢٥) فَلَمَّا رَأَوْهَا قَالُوا إِنَّا لَضَالُّونَ (٢٦) بَلْ نَحْنُ مَحْرُومُونَ (٢٧) قَالَ أَوْسَطُهُمْ أَلَمْ أَقُل لَّكُمْ لَوْلَا تُسَبِّحُونَ (٢٨) قَالُوا سُبْحَانَ رَبِّنَا إِنَّا كُنَّا ظَالِمِينَ (٢٩) فَأَقْبَلَ بَعْضُهُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ يَتَلَاوَمُونَ (٣٠) قَالُوا يَا وَيْلَنَا إِنَّا كُنَّا طَاغِينَ (٣١) عَسَى رَبُّنَا أَن يُبْدِلَنَا خَيْرًا مِّنْهَا إِنَّا إِلَى رَبِّنَا رَاغِبُونَ (٣٢) كَذَلِكَ الْعَذَابُ وَلَعَذَابُ الْآخِرَةِ أَكْبَرُ لَوْ كَانُوا يَعْلَمُونَ (٣٣)

We have tried them37 just as We tried the owners of the orchard38 when they vowed that they would surely pluck the fruit of their orchard in the morning and would not leave anything [for the poor and the needy].39 Then whilst they were asleep a mover from your Lord moved through it40 and that [blossoming orchard of theirs] became like a crop harvested. So, at daybreak, they called out to one another: “Go early in the morning to your plantation if you are to pick its fruit.”41 Then off they went whispering to one another: “No needy person should set foot in this [orchard] today.” They proceeded very excitedly thinking that everything was under their control. But when they saw the orchard, they cried out: “We have lost our way; in fact, we have been ruined.” Said the most upright among them: “Did I not tell you: ‘Why do you not glorify the Lord?’” They then cried out: “Glory be to our Lord; indeed, it is we who were the wrong-doers.” Then they started blaming one another. They cried: “Woe to us! We have been great transgressors! Perhaps our Lord will give us in its place something better than it. To our Lord, do we now turn to.”42 [O people!] In such a way shall the punishment come,43 and the punishment of the Hereafter shall be much greater than this. Alas! If these people only knew. (17-33)


إِنَّ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ جَنَّاتِ النَّعِيمِ (٣٤) أَفَنَجْعَلُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ كَالْمُجْرِمِينَ (٣٥) مَا لَكُمْ كَيْفَ تَحْكُمُونَ (٣٦) أَمْ لَكُمْ كِتَابٌ فِيهِ تَدْرُسُونَ (٣٧) إِنَّ لَكُمْ فِيهِ لَمَا يَتَخَيَّرُونَ (٣٨) أَمْ لَكُمْ أَيْمَانٌ عَلَيْنَا بَالِغَةٌ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ إِنَّ لَكُمْ لَمَا تَحْكُمُونَ (٣٩) سَلْهُم أَيُّهُم بِذَلِكَ زَعِيمٌ (٤٠) أَمْ لَهُمْ شُرَكَاء فَلْيَأْتُوا بِشُرَكَائِهِمْ إِن كَانُوا صَادِقِينَ (٤١)

يَوْمَ يُكْشَفُ عَن سَاقٍ وَيُدْعَوْنَ إِلَى السُّجُودِ فَلَا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ (٤١٢) خَاشِعَةً أَبْصَارُهُمْ تَرْهَقُهُمْ ذِلَّةٌ وَقَدْ كَانُوا يُدْعَوْنَ إِلَى السُّجُودِ وَهُمْ سَالِمُونَ (٤٣)

For those, however, who fear [this punishment] there are gardens of bliss with their Lord.44 [You reckon that this would never be.] So are We to deal with those who submit to Us as We deal with those who transgress? What is the matter with you? What is this judgement you make? Have you a scripture in which you read that you will have there whatever you desire?45 Have you oaths with Us binding till the Day of Judgement that you will have what you yourselves ordain? Ask them if any of them will take responsibility of this? Do they have some associates [who will take this responsibility]? Let them produce these associates if what they say be true. (34-41)

They must remember the day when a great tumult will take place46 and they will be called to bow in adoration and they will not be able to do so.47 Downcast shall be their looks; ignominy shall cover them. [These wrongdoers! their backs have now become stiff whilst] they also used to be called to bow in adoration when they were capable. (42-43)



فَذَرْنِي وَمَن يُكَذِّبُ بِهَذَا الْحَدِيثِ سَنَسْتَدْرِجُهُم مِّنْ حَيْثُ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ (٤٤) وَأُمْلِي لَهُمْ إِنَّ كَيْدِي مَتِينٌ (٤٥)

أَمْ تَسْأَلُهُمْ أَجْرًا فَهُم مِّن مَّغْرَمٍ مُّثْقَلُونَ (٤٦) أَمْ عِندَهُمُ الْغَيْبُ فَهُمْ يَكْتُبُونَ (٤٧) فَاصْبِرْ لِحُكْمِ رَبِّكَ وَلَا تَكُن كَصَاحِبِ الْحُوتِ إِذْ نَادَى وَهُوَ مَكْظُومٌ (٤٨) لَوْلَا أَن تَدَارَكَهُ نِعْمَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِ لَنُبِذَ بِالْعَرَاء وَهُوَ مَذْمُومٌ (٤٩) فَاجْتَبَاهُ رَبُّهُ فَجَعَلَهُ مِنَ الصَّالِحِينَ (٥٠)

For this reason [now] leave Me with those who are denying this discourse.48 We are leading them step by step [to their ruin] from a place they know not. And I am giving them respite [so that they can do all what they can]. Truly powerful is My scheme. (44-45)

[Why don’t they listen]? Are you demanding some payment from them so that they are burdened with its cost? Or is it that they have knowledge of the Unseen [that they only will be successful in the Hereafter49 and] that they are writing it down? [No, nothing of this sort], so [O Prophet!] with perseverance wait for the judgement of your Lord50 and [with regard to your nation] be not like the companion of the fish [Jonah] 51 when he called in anguish [from the belly of the fish]. If [at that time] had not the favour of His Lord found him, he [as a result of his hastiness] would have been cast in disgrace in the [very] wilderness in which [the fish had ejaculated him. [Then he repented;] so His Lord chose him [once again] and placed him among [His] righteous [servants]. (46-50) 



وَإِن يَكَادُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لَيُزْلِقُونَكَ بِأَبْصَارِهِمْ لَمَّا سَمِعُوا الذِّكْرَ وَيَقُولُونَ إِنَّهُ لَمَجْنُونٌ (٥١) وَمَا هُوَ إِلَّا ذِكْرٌ لِّلْعَالَمِينَ (٥٢)

[So persevere, O Prophet!] When these disbelievers hear this reminder [from you], it seems that they will almost stumble you with their eyes and say: “He is surely a mad person.” Yet it is only a reminder to all mankind. (51-52)



(Translated from Al-Buyān by Dr Shehzad Saleem)





1. This verse actually states the conclusions which a sensible and pensive person should reach when he contemplates on the various signs of this universe. He is compelled to believe that the creator of this universe is neither someone irresponsible nor one Who has created this universe for His entertainment and enjoyment nor one Who is only the first cause Who has no further role in the affairs of this universe, as understood by some scientists and philosophers. On the contrary, He is very exalted and extremely benevolent and at the same time is profoundly powerful. Hence He cannot be indifferent to the good and evil of this world nor is making this world reach its fate a task difficult for him.

2. What is said above is re-iterated here in a different style. Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī writes:

Life after nothingness and then death after life bear testimony to the fact that this world has been created with a purpose and that it is not correct to construe that it will continue endlessly like this or suddenly end. If this was so, then this world would be a purposeless creation, which is against the majesty of a wise, powerful and benevolent creator. On the contrary, this is evidence to the fact that whomsoever the Almighty blesses with life He does so to test and try him; the test is whether this person spends his life to please the Almighty or to please his own base desires. A natural outcome of this test is that He bring about one day in which He give life to everyone, hold them accountable for their deeds and then reward or punish them accordingly. (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i-Qur’ān, vol. 8, 491)

3. Since He is Mighty, none among those who deserve His wrath once the period of trial ends shall escape from His punishment, and since He is Forgiving, all those who deserve His mercy shall in no way be deprived of it.

4. This verse invites man to observe God’s power, greatness, benevolence and providence referred to earlier. The implication is what task can be beyond the Lord whose signs just described can be witnessed by man as soon as he raises his eyes to observe them?

5. In other words, the Creator of the Universe is not just powerful; He is also very merciful. That is why He has adorned the roof of the sky with lamps whose beauty and benefits are beyond imagination.

6. This is a mention of the bombardment which continues to take place on the devils in the upper skies when they try to creep up in the skies to overhear divine commandments. The purpose of this mention is to direct attention to the fact that after creating the universe with such thoroughness, the Almighty is at all times directing its affairs and has not left them to others.

7. What does denying the Lord mean? Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī writes:

… The reason for this … is that denying the Hereafter is tantamount to denying all the basic attributes – power, justice, mercy and providence – of God. While denying these attributes, belief in God or disbelief in Him is equivalent. Consequently, on these very grounds, the Qur’ān at various instances has called the Idolaters as kuffār even though they never denied God. (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i-Qur’ān, vol. 8, 493)

8. This is a digression to the fate of human beings once the fate of the devils had been mentioned. These people are the ones who in spite of seeing the signs of power and mercy of their Lord deny the Hereafter, and in this manner it is as if they deny the Almighty Himself.

9. The actual words are: إِنْ أَنتُمْ إِلَّا فِي ضَلَالٍ كَبِيرٍ. The plural pronoun أَنتُمْ in them indicates that this is the answer they gave to every person who warned them.

10. The implication is that these people comprehend their Lord through their vision and intellect and fear Him on this very basis. They do not insist on seeing Him and then believing in Him. Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī writes:

… The real test of a person in this world is that by using his intellect and reasoning, he professes belief in what the Almighty has informed him through His prophets. He who succeeded in this test deserves every reward of God, and he who failed in it is like an animal or even worse even though he might be a great philosopher and scientist. (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i-Qur’ān, vol. 8, 495)

11. This statement is both an assurance and a warning. The implication is that the wrong-doers should know that none of their deeds is hidden from God and the obedient should rest assured that God will not leave them to themselves in this world and the next.

12. After the heavens, attention is now directed to the earth.

13. The actual word is: ذَلُول; however, there is a parable hidden in it which has been revealed in the translation. The words ذَلُولٌ and مَنَاكِب point to this parable. Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī writes:

… This earth has been compared to an obedient camel. The passages, valleys and mountain in the earth are likened to its shoulders. It is as if mankind is like lice which roams in the shoulders of the earth for its subsistence. These lice walk about and obtain their fodder from it. (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i-Qur’ān, vol. 8, 496)

14. The implication is that man should eat and drink but not forget that one day each person has to die, and after that he has to come into the presence of his Lord for accountability. He should remember that the God Who made all this elaborate arrangement for him without he being entitled to it will never leave him unaccountable.

15. The actual word is: مَوْرٌ. It means to move rapidly. The translation has been done accordingly. Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī writes:

…This is because firstly, the word مَوْرٌ primarily means “swift movement” and secondly, in a previous verse the earth is likened to an obedient camel. As a result, the meaning of the word which I have adopted seems more appropriate. The overall implied meaning of the verse is that it is indeed God’s blessing that He has put the earth and its resources to the service of man, and it is behaving like an obedient camel to him; however, if the Almighty lets loose the reins of this camel, man will see how swiftly it will run and no one will be able to control it.  (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i-Qur’ān, vol. 8, 497)

16. The actual word is: نَذِيرِ.  Here it connotes a verbal noun.

17. This is an advice to the Quraysh to seek a lesson from history.

18. This is an example which serves to illustrate that in a similar way the Almighty holds the stars of this unfathomable universe.

19. The actual word is: رِزْق. It is evident from the occasion of its use that it refers to rain which becomes a means of sustenance.

20. Ie., instead of walking with the head held straight and while evaluating what is in front and behind and on the left and right, he walks like an animal whose face is always bent towards the ground, and never contemplates on the facts this huge universe bears witness to.

21. Ie., after listening to everything, if they say anything it is an inquiry about the time of arrival of the Day of Judgement. The Qur’ān has not answered this question here in detail. Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī has explained this. He writes:

Since this objection raised by them is absolutely baseless, it is not answered in much detail. However, at some other places in the Qur’ān, we also find details: rejecting a thing simply because its exact time of arrival cannot be divulged is blatant foolishness. There are many incidents of this world which we experience in our everyday lives whose exact time of appearance is known to no one, yet we all believe in their happening. (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i-Qur’ān, vol. 8, 501)

22. The words مَاء مَّعِينٍ occur in the verse for the purpose of comparison. It is evident from them that the situation mentioned here in which water sinks into the earth is the one which probably arises because of a lack of rains or their scarcity as a result of which the water of the rivers and canals reduced and it becomes muddy.

23. The letter nūn denotes the meaning of fish. It had been pointed out at the beginning of Sūrah Baqarah’s tafsīr that initially these letters signified certain meanings. Some of them are still used in those ancient meanings. This letter nūn is among them. It means fish. This sūrah is called so because the Prophet Jonah (sws) is mentioned in it. It is known that he had been swallowed by a fish.

24. Ie., writing at this time. Obviously, this refers to the Qur’ān. It was written by the pen and the previous scriptures too were preserved through the pen. Viewed thus, this is in fact an evidence borne by all written divine teachings given to mankind in the form of the Torah, the Psalms and the Gospel. Their topics, predictions and teachings – all bear witness that just as the presenters of the Torah, the Psalms and the Gospel were not mad men, the Qur’ān too through the exaltedness and superiority of its topics, through its extra-ordinary style and unparalleled eloquence bears witness that its presenter too is not a mad person. Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī writes:

… The reason that the Quraysh called the Prophet (sws) mad was that their leaders were totally unable to understand from where the punishment with which he was emphatically and vehemently warning them as if he had seen it with his very eyes would arrive. They were worried that the extra-ordinary conviction found in his tone, the superhuman concern and anxiety found in his preaching endeavours and the heart-melting affection and sympathy found in his manner of reminding people was greatly influencing the masses. For this reason, they wanted to convince people that his anxiety and concern were not because there was any imminent danger of they being punished and that the Almighty had actually sent him to forewarn them of this punishment; the fact of the matter was that he was afflicted with hallucinations which made him imagine its coming from all sides. In order to further strengthen their claim, they would add that he was under some magical spell which had mentally deranged him and caused such nonsensical conversation from him. (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i-Qur’ān, vol. 8, 514)

25. Ie., just as the Book presented by the Prophet Muhammad (sws) mentions the same teachings which were presented by previous prophets, in the same manner he too is a supreme exemplar of the high moral conduct professed by these earlier prophets.

26. The actual words are: بِأَييِّكُمُ الْمَفْتُونُ. Before them occurs the verb: يُبْصِرُونَ. The preposition ب here shows that this word encompasses the meaning of عَلِمَ here. The implication is that very soon everyone will see who has been led away by Satan and has thereby led his people to ruin and who is secure from the lures of Satan and has shown his followers the path of success both in this world and in that to come.

27. Hence he should rest assured. He shall deal with each of them the way they are worthy of.

28. Ie., he should not pay attention to whatever the disbelievers say. The actual word is: إطَاعَةٌ. It is used commonly in this meaning. Parallels can be seen in classical Arabic literature and in the Qur’ān as well.

29. The actual words are: وَدُّوْا لَوْ تُدْهِنُ فَيُدْهِنُوْنَ. According to the common linguistic principles, the word فَيُدْهِنُوا should have been used. However, the Qur’ān has changed the style. The sentence actually was فَهُم َيُدْهِنُوْنَ. The inchoative (mubtadā’) is suppressed. Such suppression can be seen at other places of the Qur’ān as well. In other words, their opposition is not based on any principle. They want to make a deal on the basis of give and take. Hence, they will keep trying till they have hope. When this hope ends, their expectations will dwindle.

30. This is not a comparison of the high moral conduct of the Prophet (sws) with a specific person; this is a mention of the character of the all the leaders of the Quraysh’s leadership that they were exhibiting day and night to oppose the Islam and the Prophet (sws). Its indicators are very evident. Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī writes:

Firstly, this verse is co-ordinated to the previous verse: “pay no attention to the disbelievers”, and the word disbelievers of course does not refer to a specific person; the occasion of this word shows that it refers to all the leadership of the Quraysh.

Secondly, the word كُلّ (every) shows that the character under discussion is that of the complete group and not of a specific individual.

Thirdly, in the coming verses, the word used is بَلَوْنَاهُمْ which obviously has a plural pronoun which shows that its antecedent is not an individual but a group of individuals.

Fourthly, the character traits which are portrayed here relate to the complete leadership of the Quraysh; if they are made to relate to a single individual, then this will require a lot of artificial effort. (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i-Qur’ān, vol. 8, 517)

31. Only those people swear a lot who do not have regard for their honour and self-esteem, and because of their lowly character always remain in the doubt that their addressees will only believe in them when they swear on what they say.

32. This making of evil gestures takes place through bodily movements and facial expressions as well as through words and sentences. People who do not possess the power of reasoning try to humiliate a person in the eyes of others through such bad behaviour.

33. The actual words are: مَنَّاعٍ لِّلْخَيْر. Though the words are general, they actually refer to the miserliness of these disbelievers which is mentioned in the Qur’ān at various places. It is pointed out that not only would they themselves not help the poor, they would also urge others not to spend on them.

34. This word insinuates that some among them afflicted with the ailment of inferiority complex and deprived of self-confidence actually do not actually belong to the tribe of Quraysh yet claim that they do. Thus because of this weakness of theirs they try to be more faithful to the tribe than members of the tribe itself and reach such an extent in opposing the truth where even the Quraysh have not reached.

35. This is a mention of the reason which has made them exhibit such a character. Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī writes:

This verse is very subtle: if God had blessed them with wealth and children they should have shown gratitude and obedience to Him and should have become the proponents of the truth revealed by Him; on the contrary, they became ingrates and utterly defiant. (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i-Qur’ān, vol. 8, 520)

36. The eloquence found in the expression used in this verse to signify arrogance and its punishment is beyond words.

37. Ie., the leaders of the Quraysh.

38. This is not the mention of any incident. In the Arabic language parables are mentioned in such a way. The defining particle alif lām in them or demonstrative nouns like الَّذِي and الّتِي also signify the portrayal of a situation. Hence, there is no need to search for the incident of a particular orchard and its owners in history books.

39. Ie., they swore to deviate from the tradition always upheld by generous people as per which whenever the fruit of a tree was picked or when a crop was harvested, some part of it was left for the poor and the needy. This parable is meant to warn the Quraysh that the wealth and riches they possess today have been given to them by the Almighty.

40. Ie. Such a calamity struck the orchard that it totally destroyed it. This calamity is attributed to God. Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī writes:

This alludes to two things: firstly, the calamity arrived without the slightest expectation that it would, and secondly, it was so devastating in nature that it miraculously routed the orchard to nothingness in the blink of an eye. (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i-Qur’ān, vol. 8, 522)

41. This refers to the orchard already mentioned earlier. Generally crops were also sown beneath trees. For this reason, in Arabic both الجنة and الحرث are used for an orchard.

42. This repentance is precisely the same as done by the Pharaoh when sea waves had engulfed him. The Qur’ān has made it clear that such repentance has no weight in the eyes of God.

43. Ie., the punishment which visits the nation of a messenger when they reject him.

44. Ie., for those who lead their lives fearing the grasp of God and accountability of the Hereafter unlike the arrogant people whose fate has been mentioned earlier.

45. This is a negation of their baseless claim that in the first place the Hereafter will never come, and if it ever does then just as they possess respect and leadership in this world, they will be the recipients of these favours in the Hereafter as well.

46. The actual words are: يَوْمَ يُكْشَفُ عَن سَاقٍ (when the shank will be exposed). This is an idiom of the Arabic language which means the onset of tough times. It was coined because at the time of a calamity even decent women run from it by lifting their lower apparel exposing their shanks.

47. They shall be directed to prostrate themselves before the Almighty as a conclusive verdict and to humiliate them so that their own body vouches for their deprivation in such a manner that they are not be able to deny it.

48. While there exists in these words a threat for the rejecters, there also is found assurance for the Prophet (sws) in them. He is consoled that he has fulfilled the responsibility of preaching imposed on him in the ultimate way; he should now stand aside and let God alone deal with them.

49. It is evident from verses 35-38 of Sūrah Najm that this sentence contains the referred to suppressed part.

50. The actual words are: فَاصْبِرْ لِحُكْمِ رَبِّكَ. The preposition ل is used with the word صبر shows that it compasses the meaning of “wait” in it.

51. Here at the end, the view of the disbelievers cited at the beginning of the sūrah is referred to again.

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