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Surah Maryam
Qur'anic Exegesis
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi
(Tr. by:Dr. Shehzad Saleem)

In the name of God, the Most-Gracious, the Ever-Merciful.

كهيعص. ذِكْرُ رَحْمَةِ رَبِّكَ عَبْدَهُ زَكَرِيَّا. إِذْ نَادَى رَبَّهُ نِدَآءً خَفِيًّا. قَالَ رَبِّ إِنِّیْ وَهَنَ الْعَظْمُ مِنِّیْ وَاشْتَعَلَ الرَّأْسُ شَيْبًا وَّلَمْ أَكُن بِدُعَائِكَ رَبِّ شَقِيًّا. وَإِنِّیْ خِفْتُ الْمَوَالِیَ مِن وَّرَائِیْ وَكَانَتِ امْرَأَتِیْ عَاقِرًا فَهَبْ لِیْ مِنْ لَّدُنْكَ وَلِيًّا. يَرِثُنِیْ وَيَرِثُ مِنْ آلِ يَعْقُوْبَ وَاجْعَلْهُ رَبِّ رَضِيًّا.

This is Surah Ka Ha Ya ‘Ayn Su‘ad.1 This is a mention2 of the blessings and mercy of your Lord which He had bestowed on His servant3 Zakariyya when he secretly called on him.4 He pleaded:5 “Lord! My bones have grown old and my head has glowed white with old age, and Lord! I have never remained deprived after asking from You. I fear my brethren after me6 and my wife is barren.7 So, grant me an heir from Yourself who is not only my heir but also of Jacob’s family. And Lord! Make him a likeable person.”8 (1-6)

 

يَا زَكَرِيَّا إِنَّا نُبَشِّرُكَ بِغُلَامٍ اسْمُهُ يَحْيَى لَمْ نَجْعَل لَّهُ مِنْ قَبْلُ سَمِيًّا. قَالَ رَبِّ أَنَّى يَكُونُ لِیْ غُلَامٌ وَّكَانَتِ امْرَأَتِي عَاقِرًا وَقَدْ بَلَغْتُ مِنَ الْكِبَرِ عِتِيًّا. قَالَ كَذَلِكَ قَالَ رَبُّكَ هُوَ عَلَیَّ هَيِّنٌ وَقَدْ خَلَقْتُكَ مِن قَبْلُ وَلَمْ تَكُ شَيْئًا. قَالَ رَبِّ اجْعَلْ لِّیْ آيَةً قَالَ آيَتُكَ أَلَّا تُكَلِّمَ النَّاسَ ثَلَاثَ لَيَالٍ سَوِيًّا. فَخَرَجَ عَلَى قَوْمِهِ مِنَ الْمِحْرَابِ فَأَوْحَى إِلَيْهِمْ أَنْ سَبِّحُوْا بُكْرَةً وَعَشِيًّا.

[God said:] “O Zakariyya! We give you glad tidings of a boy who will be called Yahya.9 We have not created anyone like him before.”10 He said: “Lord! How can a boy be born to us when my wife is barren and I too have reached the extreme of old age.” It was said: “Thus shall it happen.11 It is the declaration of your Lord: ‘This is very easy for me. Before this, I have created you when you were nothing.’” Zakariyya said: “My Lord! Appoint a sign for me.”12 God said: “The sign for you is that you will not be able to speak to people for three days and nights even though you will be perfectly healthy.”13 Hence, he came out to people from his abode of worship. He then gestured to them to glorify God from dawn to dusk.14 (7-11) 

 

يَا يَحْيَى خُذِ الْكِتَابَ بِقُوَّةٍ وَآتَيْنَاهُ الْحُكْمَ صَبِيًّا. وَّحَنَانًا مِّنْ لَّدُنَّا وَزَكَاةً وَكَانَ تَقِيًّا. وَّبَرًّا بِوَالِدَيْهِ وَلَمْ يَكُنْ جَبَّارًا عَصِيًّا. وَسَلَامٌ عَلَيْهِ يَوْمَ وُلِدَ وَيَوْمَ يَمُوتُ وَيَوْمَ يُبْعَثُ حَيًّا.

 [These glad tidings materialized. Thus when that boy matured into an adult, God said:] “Yahya! Hold fast to Our Book.”15 We gave him the ability to decide [between right and wrong] in his childhood and blessed him with warmth and compassion16 specially from Ourself and [external and internal] purity and he was very pious17 and also very obedient to his parents.18 He was not rebellious and defiant. And [glad tidings of] peace were for him the day he was born and the day he will die and the day he will be raised to life.19 (12-15)

 

وَاذْكُرْ فِی الْكِتَابِ مَرْيَمَ إِذِ انتَبَذَتْ مِنْ أَهْلِهَا مَكَانًا شَرْقِيًّا. فَاتَّخَذَتْ مِنْ دُونِهِمْ حِجَابًا فَأَرْسَلْنَا إِلَيْهَا رُوْحَنَا فَتَمَثَّلَ لَهَا بَشَرًا سَوِيًّا. قَالَتْ إِنِّیْ أَعُوذُ بِالرَّحْمَن مِنْكَ إِنْ كُنْتَ تَقِيًّا. قَالَ إِنَّمَا أَنَا رَسُوْلُ رَبِّكِ لِأَهَبَ لَكِ غُلَامًا زَكِيًّا. قَالَتْ أَنَّى يَكُوْنُ لِیْ غُلَامٌ وَّلَمْ يَمْسَسْنِیْ بَشَرٌ وَّلَمْ أَكُ بَغِيًّا. قَالَ كَذَلِكِ قَالَ رَبُّكِ هُوَ عَلَیَّ هَيِّنٌ وَلِنَجْعَلَهُ آيَةً لِلنَّاسِ وَرَحْمَةً مِّنَّا وَكَانَ أَمْرًا مَّقْضِيًّا.

Mention [now] in this Book the name of Mary, when she had left her family and stationed herself on the eastern side20 [of the Temple], and had kept herself in seclusion from them.21 Then We sent to her Our angel and he appeared before her in the form of a full-grown man.22 [When] Mary [saw him,] she said: “I seek refuge from you with the Merciful God, if you fear him.” He said: “I have only been sent by your Lord [and have been sent] that I grant you a noble son.” Mary said: “How can a boy be born to me; neither has a man touched me nor have I ever been of loose character?”23 He said: “This is what will happen. Your Lord says: ‘This is very easy for Me. And We will do this so that he be Our messenger and so that We make him a sign24 for people and a mercy from Us.’” And this decree has been destined. (16-21)

 

فَحَمَلَتْهُ فَانتَبَذَتْ بِهِ مَكَانًا قَصِيًّا. فَأَجَآءَهَا الْمَخَاضُ إِلَى جِذْعِ النَّخْلَةِ قَالَتْ يَا لَيْتَنِیْ مِتُّ قَبْلَ هَذَا وَكُنْتُ نَسْيًا مَّنسِيًّا.

So, Mary became pregnant with that child and [leaving the Temple] went away from everyone with what she bore to a distant place.25 Then [the time also arrived when] labour pains made her come to the trunk of the date-palm.26 [At that time, in utter helplessness] she said: “Alas! Would that I had died before this and had been totally forgotten.”27 (22-23)

 

فَنَادَاهَا مِنْ تَحْتِهَا أَلَّا تَحْزَنِیْ قَدْ جَعَلَ رَبُّكِ تَحْتَكِ سَرِيًّا. وَهُزِّیْ إِلَيْكِ بِجِذْعِ النَّخْلَةِ تُسَاقِطْ عَلَيْكِ رُطَبًا جَنِيًّا. فَكُلِی وَاشْرَبِیْ وَقَرِّیْ عَيْنًا فَإِمَّا تَرَيِنَّ مِنَ الْبَشَرِ أَحَدًا فَقُولِیْ إِنِّیْ نَذَرْتُ لِلرَّحْمَنِ صَوْمًا فَلَنْ أُكَلِّمَ الْيَوْمَ إِنسِيًّا.

At this, an angel from below Mary called her and said: “Grieve not! Your Lord has made a stream to flow from below you. And shake the trunk of the date-palm towards yourself; fresh dates will drop on you.28 So, eat and drink and soothe your eyes [when you see the child]. Then if you see some person [who wants to ask you something], gesture29 to him: ‘I have vowed to fast for the Merciful God; so, today I will not talk to any human being.’”30 (24-26)

 

فَأَتَتْ بِهِ قَوْمَهَا تَحْمِلُهُ قَالُوْا يَا مَرْيَمُ لَقَدْ جِئْتِ شَيْئًا فَرِيًّا. يَا أُخْتَ هَارُوْنَ مَا كَانَ أَبُوْكِ امْرَأَ سَوْءٍ وَّمَا كَانَتْ أُمُّكِ بَغِيًّا.

After that, she came over to her people with the child in her lap. [When they saw her,] they remarked: “Mary! You have done a very grave thing. O Sister of Aaron!31 Neither was your father an evil person nor was your mother a harlot.” (27-28)

 

فَأَشَارَتْ إِلَيْهِ قَالُوْا كَيْفَ نُكَلِّمُ مَنْ كَانَ فِی الْمَهْدِ صَبِيًّا. قَالَ إِنِّیْ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ آتَانِیَ الْكِتَابَ وَجَعَلَنِیْ نَبِيًّا. وَجَعَلَنِیْ مُبَارَكًا أَيْنَ مَا كُنْتُ وَأَوْصَانِیْ بِالصَّلَاةِ وَالزَّكَاةِ مَا دُمْتُ حَيًّا. وَبَرًّا بِوَالِدَتِیْ وَلَمْ يَجْعَلْنِیْ جَبَّارًا شَقِيًّا. وَالسَّلَامُ عَلَیَّ يَوْمَ وُلِدْتُّ وَيَوْمَ أَمُوْتُ وَيَوْمَ أُبْعَثُ حَيًّا.

In reply, she gestured towards the child [that he will respond to them].32 People said: “What should we say to him who is a mere child in the lap?” The child spoke: “I am a servant of God. He has bestowed the Book on me and made me a prophet and made me a fountainhead of blessings wherever I be. He has directed me to be diligent in the prayer and in zakah as long as I am alive and made me obedient to my parents; not someone who is rebellious and wretched.33 And [glad tidings of] peace are on me the day I was born and the day I will die and the day I will be raised to life.” (29-33)

 

ذَلِكَ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ قَوْلَ الْحَقِّ الَّذِیْ فِيْهِ يَمْتَرُوْنَ. مَا كَانَ لِلَّهِ أَنْ يَتَّخِذَ مِنْ وَّلَدٍ سُبْحَانَهُ إِذَا قَضَى أَمْرًا فَإِنَّمَا يَقُوْلُ لَهُ كُنْ فَيَكُوْنُ. وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ رَبِّیْ وَرَبُّكُمْ فَاعْبُدُوهُ هَذَا صِرَاطٌ مُّسْتَقِيْمٌ.

This was Jesus, son of Mary. The real truth about him in which these people are disputing. It is not befitting for God to make anyone His offspring. Exalted is He. When He decides upon some matter, He need only say: “Be” to it and it happens.34 (34-35) And [the child said]: “Indeed, God is my Lord and yours too. So, worship Him only. This is the straight path.”35 (36)

 

فَاخْتَلَفَ الْأَحْزَابُ مِنْ بَيْنِهِمْ فَوَيْلٌ لِّلَّذِيْنَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ مَّشْهَدِ يَوْمٍ عَظِيْمٍ. أَسْمِعْ بِهِمْ وَأَبْصِرْ يَوْمَ يَأْتُوْنَنَا لَكِنِ الظَّالِمُوْنَ الْيَوْمَ فِیْ ضَلَالٍ مُّبِيْنٍ. وَأَنْذِرْهُمْ يَوْمَ الْحَسْرَةِ إِذْ قُضِیَ الْأَمْرُ وَهُمْ فِیْ غَفْلَةٍ وَّهُمْ لَا يُؤْمِنُوْنَ. إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَرِثُ الْأَرْضَ وَمَنْ عَلَيْهَا وَإِلَيْنَا يُرْجَعُوْنَ.

[This was the teaching of Jesus.] Then various sects from among those who believed in him differed with one another. So, now for those who have denied [these truths]36 there is devastation because of a horrible day of assembly.37 How well will they hear and see the day they shall come before Us! However, today these wrongdoers are in open error. [O Prophet!] Warn them of that day of longing38 when the matter shall be decided. At this time, they are paying no heed and not believing. There is no doubt that ultimately We will be the inheritors of the earth and its inhabitants and all these people will be returned to Us.39 (37-40)

 

وَاذْكُرْ فِیْ الْكِتَابِ إِبْرَاهِيْمَ إِنَّهُ كَانَ صِدِّيْقًا نَّبِيًّا. إِذْ قَالَ لِأَبِيْهِ يَا أَبَتِ لِمَ تَعْبُدُ مَا لَا يَسْمَعُ وَلَا يُبْصِرُ وَلَا يُغْنِیْ عَنكَ شَيْئًا. يَا أَبَتِ إِنِّیْ قَدْ جَآءَنِیْ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ مَا لَمْ يَأْتِكَ فَاتَّبِعْنِیْ أَهْدِكَ صِرَاطًا سَوِيًّا. يَا أَبَتِ لَا تَعْبُدِ الشَّيْطَانَ إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ كَانَ لِلرَّحْمَنِ عَصِيًّا. يَا أَبَتِ إِنِّیْ أَخَافُ أَنْ يَمَسَّكَ عَذَابٌ مِّنَ الرَّحْمَن فَتَكُوْنَ لِلشَّيْطَانِ وَلِيًّا.

 And mention Abraham in this Book.40 Indeed, he was an upright person41 and a prophet [of God]. Recall, when he said to his father: “Why do you worship those things that neither hear nor see and cannot be of any benefit to you? Father! In truth that knowledge has come to me which has not come to you. So, follow me, I will show you the straight path. Father! Do not worship Satan. Surely, Satan is very defiant to God, the Most Gracious. Father! [If you do not listen to me,] I fear that some torment of the Most Gracious God may seize you and you will become the companion of Satan.”42 (41-45)

 

قَالَ أَرَاغِبٌ أَنْتَ عَنْ آلِهَتِیْ يَا إِبْراهِيْمُ لَئِن لَّمْ تَنْتَهِ لَأَرْجُمَنَّكَ وَاهْجُرْنِیْ مَلِيًّا.

 The father said: “Are you becoming averse to my deities? If you do not desist, I will certainly stone you to death.43 So, [if you want that nothing happens to you, then] stay away from me forever.” (46)

 

قَالَ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكَ سَأَسْتَغْفِرُ لَكَ رَبِّیْ إِنَّهُ كَانَ بِیْ حَفِيًّا. وَأَعْتَزِلُكُمْ وَمَا تَدْعُوْنَ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ وَأَدْعُو رَبِّیْ عَسَى أَلَّا أَكُوْنَ بِدُعَآءِ رَبِّیْ شَقِيًّا.

Abraham said: “[Okay then] peace be to you.44 I will pray to my Lord to forgive you.45 In reality, he is very merciful to me. [If this is what the opinion of you people is] I also forsake all of you and those also whom you call instead of God. I will only call my Lord. I am hopeful that I will not remain deprived after calling my Lord.”46 (47-48)

 

فَلَمَّا اعْتَزَلَهُمْ وَمَا يَعْبُدُوْنَ مِنْ دُوْنِ اللَّهِ وَهَبْنَا لَهُ إِسْحَقَ وَيَعْقُوْبَ وَكُلًّا جَعَلْنَا نَبِيًّا. وَوَهَبْنَا لَهُم مِّنْ رَّحْمَتِنَا وَجَعَلْنَا لَهُمْ لِسَانَ صِدْقٍ عَلِيًّا.

Then when he abandoned them and they also who they worshipped instead of God, We blessed him with Isaac and Jacob and made each of them a prophet47 and granted them a share of Our mercy and gave them a lofty status, true and eternal.48 (49-50)

 

وَاذْكُرْ فِی الْكِتَابِ مُوسَى إِنَّهُ كَانَ مُخْلَصًا وَّكَانَ رَسُوْلًا نَّبِيًّا. وَنَادَيْنَاهُ مِنْ جَانِبِ الطُّورِ الْأَيْمَنِ وَقَرَّبْنَاهُ نَجِيًّا. وَوَهَبْنَا لَهُ مِنْ رَّحْمَتِنَا أَخَاهُ هَارُوْنَ نَبِيًّا.

And mention the name of Moses in this Book. He was a chosen person49 and a messenger prophet.50 We called him from the sacred side of Ṭur51 and called him close while We were talking to him about some secrets. And with Our grace gave him his brother Aaron [as his helper] by making him a prophet. (51-53).

 

وَاذْكُرْ فِی الْكِتَابِ إِسْمَاعِيْلَ إِنَّهُ كَانَ صَادِقَ الْوَعْدِ وَكَانَ رَسُوْلًا نَّبِيًّا. وَكَانَ يَأْمُرُ أَهْلَهُ بِالصَّلَاةِ وَالزَّكَاةِ وَكَانَ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِ مَرْضِيًّا.

And mention the name of Ishmael in this Book. He was true to his promises52 and a messenger prophet. He would urge his people to the prayer and the zakah53 and was a likeable person to His Lord.54 (54-55)

 

وَاذْكُرْ فِی الْكِتَابِ إِدْرِيسَ إِنَّهُ كَانَ صِدِّيقًا نَّبِيًّا. وَرَفَعْنَاهُ مَكَانًا عَلِيًّا.

And mention Idris in this Book. Indeed, he was also upright and a prophet and [like Abraham] We had made him rise to a lofty status.55 (56-57)

 

أُوْلَئِكَ الَّذِيْنَ أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ مِّنَ النَّبِيِّيْنَ مِنْ ذُرِّيَّةِ آدَمَ وَمِمَّنْ حَمَلْنَا مَعَ نُوحٍ وَّمِنْ ذُرِّيَّةِ إِبْرَاهِيْمَ وَإِسْرَآئِيْلَ وَمِمَّنْ هَدَيْنَا وَاجْتَبَيْنَا إِذَا تُتْلَى عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُ الرَّحْمَن خَرُّوْا سُجَّدًا وَبُكِيًّا. فَخَلَفَ مِنْ بَعْدِهِمْ خَلْفٌ أَضَاعُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَاتَّبَعُوا الشَّهَوَاتِ فَسَوْفَ يَلْقَوْنَ غَيًّا. إِلَّا مَنْ تَابَ وَآمَنَ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَأُوْلَئِكَ يَدْخُلُوْنَ الْجَنَّةَ وَلَا يُظْلَمُوْنَ شَيْئًا. جَنَّاتِ عَدْنٍ الَّتِیْ وَعَدَ الرَّحْمَنُ عِبَادَهُ بِالْغَيْبِ إِنَّهُ كَانَ وَعْدُهُ مَأْتِيًّا. لَا يَسْمَعُوْنَ فِيْهَا لَغْوًا إِلَّا سَلَامًا وَلَهُمْ رِزْقُهُمْ فِيْهَا بُكْرَةً وَّعَشِيًّا. تِلْكَ الْجَنَّةُ الَّتِیْ نُوْرِثُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا مَنْ كَانَ تَقِيًّا.

These are the people whom God blessed from among His messengers from among the progeny of Adam56 and from the progeny of those whom We had boarded with Noah [on the Ark] and from the progeny of Abraham and Israel and from among those whom We had guided and chosen. When the revelations of the merciful God were recited to them, they would fall down in prostration and continue to weep.57 Then, after them, those wicked succeeded them who squandered the prayer and followed their desires.58 So, soon they will face the consequences of going astray. However, those who repent, accept faith and do righteous deeds, it is these people who will enter Paradise and will face not the slightest injustice. In eternal orchards that were promised to His servants by the merciful Lord in that world which is hidden from the eyes. His promise shall definitely be fulfilled. They will not hear any evil talk in it. Salutations of peace will be there for them everywhere.59 Their sustenance will be available in it for them morning and evening.60 This is the Paradise that We will give in inheritance to those among Our servants who fear God.61 (58-63)

 

وَمَا نَتَنَزَّلُ إِلَّا بِأَمْرِ رَبِّكَ لَهُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِينَا وَمَا خَلْفَنَا وَمَا بَيْنَ ذَلِكَ وَمَا كَانَ رَبُّكَ نَسِيًّا. رَبُّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا فَاعْبُدْهُ وَاصْطَبِرْ لِعِبَادَتِهِ هَلْ تَعْلَمُ لَهُ سَمِيًّا.

[We know62 O Muhammad that you wait for us. But our matter is that] We descend only at the directive of your Lord. Whatever is in front of us and what is behind us all is in His authority and that all also which is in between. [Rest assured,] your Lord does not forget [anything].63 He is the master of the heavens and the earth and all that lies in between them. So, worship Him alone and adhere to His worship.64 Is there anyone similar to Him in your knowledge?65 (64-65)

 

وَيَقُوْلُ الْإِنْسَانُ أَئِذَا مَا مِتُّ لَسَوْفَ أُخْرَجُ حَيًّا. أَوَلَا يَذْكُرُ الْإِنْسَانُ أَنَّا خَلَقْنَاهُ مِنْ قَبْلُ وَلَمْ يَكُ شَيْئًا. فَوَرَبِّكَ لَنَحْشُرَنَّهُمْ وَالشَّيَاطِيْنَ ثُمَّ لَنُحْضِرَنَّهُمْ حَوْلَ جَهَنَّمَ جِثِيًّا. ثُمَّ لَنَنزِعَنَّ مِنْ كُلِّ شِيْعَةٍ أَيُّهُمْ أَشَدُّ عَلَى الرَّحْمَنِ عِتِيًّا. ثُمَّ لَنَحْنُ أَعْلَمُ بِالَّذِيْنَ هُمْ أَوْلَى بِهَا صِلِيًّا. وَإِن مِّنْكُمْ إِلَّا وَارِدُهَا كَانَ عَلَى رَبِّكَ حَتْمًا مَّقْضِيًّا.

Man66 says: “Will I be taken out and given life again after I die?” Does man not remember that We have created him before when he was nothing.67 So, by your Lord! We will surely gather them and their devils also.68 Then We will bring them forth around Hell such that they will be sitting on their knees [like criminals]. Then from each group We shall sort people by separating those who were the most rebellious against the merciful God.69 Then it is We Who would be the most aware of those most worthy of entering Hell.70 [O you who are being arrogant before the merciful God,] each of one you will surely enter it.71 This is a matter decided [O Prophet] to fulfill which is the responsibility of your Lord. (66-71)

 

ثُمَّ نُنَجِّی الَّذِيْنَ اتَّقَوا وَّنَذَرُ الظَّالِمِيْنَ فِيْهَا جِثِيًّا.

Then We will save those72 who feared God, and those who were unjust to their souls, We will leave them sitting in it on their knees.73 (72)

 

وَإِذَا تُتْلَى عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُنَا بَيِّنَاتٍ قَالَ الَّذِيْنَ كَفَرُوْا لِلَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوا أَيُّ الْفَرِيقَيْنِ خَيْرٌ مَّقَامًا وَأَحْسَنُ نَدِيًّا. وَكَمْ أَهْلَكْنَا قَبْلَهُمْ مِّن قَرْنٍ هُمْ أَحْسَنُ أَثَاثًا وَرِئْيًا. قُلْ مَنْ كَانَ فِی الضَّلَالَةِ فَلْيَمْدُدْ لَهُ الرَّحْمَنُ مَدًّا حَتَّى إِذَا رَأَوْا مَا يُوعَدُونَ إِمَّا الْعَذَابَ وَإِمَّا السَّاعَةَ فَسَيَعْلَمُونَ مَنْ هُوَ شَرٌّ مَّكَانًا وَّأَضْعَفُ جُنْدًا.

 When Our clear revelations are recited to them, these disbelievers say to the believers: “Tell us which among our two groups is better in status and more grand in gatherings?”74 How many a nation before them have We destroyed who were far greater than them in possessions and in outer majesty. Tell them: “Those who persist in error, the practice of God [about them] is75 that He grants them full respite until when they see the thing they are being promised – whether it is God’s torment76 or the hour of judgement – then at that time they will fully know whose status is evil and whose faction is weak.77 (73-75)

 

وَيَزِيْدُ اللَّهُ الَّذِيْنَ اهْتَدَوْا هُدًى وَالْبَاقِيَاتُ الصَّالِحَاتُ خَيْرٌ عِنْدَ رَبِّكَ ثَوَابًا وَخَيْرٌ مَّرَدًّا.

Contrary to this, those who adopt the path of guidance, God increases their guidance and good deeds78 that remain are better before your Lord with regard to reward as well as their consequence.79 (76)

 

أَفَرَأَيْتَ الَّذِیْ كَفَرَ بِآيَاتِنَا وَقَالَ لَأُوتَيَنَّ مَالًا وَوَلَدًا. اَطَّلَعَ الْغَيْبَ أَمِ اتَّخَذَ عِنْدَ الرَّحْمَنِ عَهْدًا. كَلَّا سَنَكْتُبُ مَا يَقُولُ وَنَمُدُّ لَهُ مِنَ الْعَذَابِ مَدًّا. وَنَرِثُهُ مَا يَقُولُ وَيَأْتِينَا فَرْدًا.

Then have you seen that person80 who rejected Our revelations and who claimed: “I shall definitely be blessed [in a similar way] with wealth and children [in the Hereafter].”81 Has he peeped into the future or has he taken a promise from the merciful God? Certainly not! Whatever he says, We will write it down and [because of this claim of his] continue to increase the torment in his favour and We shall inherit the things he lays claim to and he shall come before us alone.82 (77-80)

 

وَاتَّخَذُوْا مِنْ دُوْنِ اللَّهِ آلِهَةً لِّيَكُوْنُوْا لَهُمْ عِزًّا. كَلَّا سَيَكْفُرُوْنَ بِعِبَادَتِهِمْ وَيَكُوْنُوْنَ عَلَيْهِمْ ضِدًّا.

These people have set up deities besides God so that they may be of support to them.83 Certainly not! [There will be no supporter there]. All of them will deny their worship and, on the contrary, become their opponents. (81-82)

 

أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّا أَرْسَلْنَا الشَّيَاطِيْنَ عَلَى الْكَافِرِيْنَ تَؤُزُّهُمْ أَزًّا. فَلَا تَعْجَلْ عَلَيْهِمْ إِنَّمَا نَعُدُّ لَهُمْ عَدًّا.

Have you not seen that We have let loose devils on these disbelievers.84 They are enticing them a lot. So, do not show haste in the decision against them. We are only completing their count.85 (83-84)

 

يَوْمَ نَحْشُرُ الْمُتَّقِيْنَ إِلَى الرَّحْمَنِ وَفْدًا. وَّنَسُوْقُ الْمُجْرِمِيْنَ إِلَى جَهَنَّمَ وِرْدًا. لَا يَمْلِكُوْنَ الشَّفَاعَةَ إِلَّا مَنِ اتَّخَذَ عِنْدَ الرَّحْمَنِ عَهْدًا.

Remind them when We will bring together the pious towards the merciful God as guests and drive the wrongdoers towards Hell thirsty. On that day, they will not have authority to bring any recommendation except he who has taken a promise from the merciful God.86 (85-87)

 

وَقَالُوا اتَّخَذَ الرَّحْمَنُ وَلَدًا. لَقَدْ جِئْتُمْ شَيْئًا إِدًّا. تَكَادُ السَّمَاوَاتُ يَتَفَطَّرْنَ مِنْهُ وَتَنْشَقُّ الْأَرْضُ وَتَخِرُّ الْجِبَالُ هَدًّا. أَن دَعَوْا لِلرَّحْمَنِ وَلَدًا. وَمَا يَنبَغِیْ لِلرَّحْمَنِ أَن يَتَّخِذَ وَلَدًا. إِن كُلُّ مَن فِیْ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ إِلَّا آتِی الرَّحْمَنِ عَبْدًا. لَقَدْ أَحْصَاهُمْ وَعَدَّهُمْ عَدًّا. وَكُلُّهُمْ آتِيْهِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ فَرْدًا. إِنَّ الَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ سَيَجْعَلُ لَهُمُ الرَّحْمَنُ وُدًّا.

They say: “The merciful God has children.”87 You have given a very grave statement.88 It may well be that because of this the heavens tear apart, the earth is rent asunder and the mountains collapse to fall down that people have ascribed children to the merciful God.89 It is not befitting for the Merciful to make someone His children. Whoever are in the heavens and the earth will be brought forth in the presence of the most Merciful as none but His servants.90 He is embracing them and He has fully counted them.91 Each of them will come forth before Him alone in the Hereafter. However, those who have accepted faith and done righteous deeds, for them the Merciful will soon create [an atmosphere of] love and affection [in His presence].92 (88-96)

 

فَإِنَّمَا يَسَّرْنَاهُ بِلِسَانِكَ لِتُبَشِّرَ بِهِ الْمُتَّقِيْنَ وَتُنْذِرَ بِهِ قَوْمًا لُّدًّا. وَكَمْ أَهْلَكْنَا قَبْلَهُم مِّنْ قَرْنٍ هَلْ تُحِسُّ مِنْهُمْ مِّنْ أَحَدٍ أَوْ تَسْمَعُ لَهُمْ رِكْزًا.

So, [O Prophet!] We have made this Qur’an93 easy and apt for you in your language so that through it you may give glad tidings to those who are fearful to God and warn these stubborn people.94 How many a nation have We destroyed before them. Do you hear any faint sound of any of them or hear their mention?95 (97-98).

 

 

Kuala Lumpur

31st Dec 2012

 

(Translated by Dr Shehzad Saleem)

 

 

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1. What is the meaning of this name? I have explained in detail my view about it while discussing verse 2 of Surah al-Baqarah.

2. The word ذِكْر here is in the same meaning as the imperative أُذْكُرْ ahead.

3. The actual word used is عَبْد. This emphasizes a trait of Zakariyya (sws). In the words of Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi what can be a greater honour for a person than God Himself calling him His servant? Who was Zakariyya? It has been mentioned while explaining verse 37 of Surah Al-i ‘Imran that he was from the family of the Prophet Aaron (sws) and was the husband of Mary’s maternal aunt. According to the system of religious administration which was in vogue among the Israelites in those times, the family of Jacob’s son Levite was specifically reserved for religious service. Then from among the Levites also at the holy of holies the task of lighting the incense and consecrating holy things was entrusted to the family of Aaron (sws). Others from among the Levites were not allowed to go into the holy of holies. They would work in open verandahs and small quarters. On the Sabbath and eid days they would present burnt offerings and help the tribe of Aaron (sws) in guarding the holy of holies. The Prophet Zakariyya (sws) was the head of the Abya in the family of Aaron (sws). Consequently, it was he who on behalf of his family would serve the place of worship.

4. Ie., whispered his pleadings. This is the etiquette of supplication because in it a person presents his request to God while being fully devoted to Him.

5. It is indicated in verses ahead that he made this request in the temple probably while he was stationed there in i‘tikaf.

6. Ie., they are not good people as far as religious and moral conduct is concerned. Thus he feared that after he passed away they would not be able to keep intact the traditions set by him and his family which were their real distinctive feature.

7. Till here is the prelude to Zakariyya’s (sws) request that he made ahead. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: 

... Before Zakariyya (sws) presented his request he built up a background for it. Undoubtedly, so effective was this prelude that if it be not considered impertinence, I would say that he tried to capture the mercy of God through it. Firstly, he presented his frailty and weakness as a recommendation to God and secondly, the way he related himself to God all his life. He said that he had never been deprived after asking God. One can see that a person’s request cannot be turned down by a source from where he has never been refused specially now when he has become weak and frail and his bones have gone dry. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 4, 635)  

8. Ie., he should have noble traits and should not have the shortcomings which had crept into the family at that time.

9. Zakariyya had supplicated to God at the right time, with the correct objective and with very sincere emotions. So, as soon as the supplication was uttered, God accepted it. If a person’s supplication spontaneously expresses the conviction that he has only one place to go; it is the only place from where he had obtained the desired response in the past and now also he expects the same, then the mercy of God appears for him from where he cannot even imagine.

10. Ie., He has not blessed such a child to an old father and a barren mother. Hence, he is a child who has no precedence if the normal practice is taken into account in this regard.

11. It is evident from concomitant indications that this answer was given by an angel. The enunciative (khabar) of كَذَالِكَ is suppressed in the verse for the purpose of stress and emphasis.

12. It is evident from this that though Zakariyya thought that these glad tidings are from God yet he did have the concern somewhere in his heart that this could be a prompting from Satan amidst his own desires and he wrongly construed it from the angels. Thus, the request was made by him to re-assure himself.

13. Ie., this will not be because of some ailment or some error but because of being a sign from God. He will be able to exalt God and expresses His oneness but will not be able to speak to people. Verse 41 of Surah Ali-i ‘Imran specifically mentions this. In the words of Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi: 

... Obviously, a state in which a person is able to remember God but is not able to mention Him with his tongue cannot be a product of Satan. It can only be ascribed to God. Thus Zakariyya was overcome by this state. When he came out to people from his abode of worship, he was not able to speak anything. He gestured to them to remain engaged in exalting God and in expressing His oneness. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 4, 638) 

14. The word مِحْرَاب here refers to the abodes of the place of worship in which people stationed themselves to worship the Almighty. It is evident from this that at the time of his supplication and receiving glad tidings he was engaged in worship in some part of the Temple. It is specified in verse 39 of Surah Ali-i ‘Imran that when he received these glad tidings he was standing in prayer. Also evident from this is that people were waiting for him outside for some reason. It is mentioned in the Gospel of Luke (1:22) that he had seen some dream. Thus he came out and gestured to them to exalt God and declare His oneness. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: 

... Hidden in this gesture was that he had been entrusted with a great secret from God and that it was not yet the time to reveal it. People were to wait while remaining busy in praising God and in exalting Him and see what ultimately transpired. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 4, 638) 

15. Ie., the Torah. This directive was given because the satans among men and jinn have the greatest enmity for the Book of God. Thus they go all out in trying to force its adherents to leave it.

16. The actual word is حَنَان. It means love, liveliness and compassion. When the Almighty specially blesses a servant of His, He grants him ample share of these traits. This is because these traits signify that the heart and soul are vibrant and living. The way John was blessed with these qualities can be seen to some extent from his statements in the Gospels. There was a special tinge to his preaching. He would ask people to repent for their sins and would make those who repented take a bath to purify both their body and soul. That is why he was called John the Baptist. He is also called the foundation of Jesus (sws). Thus he would proclaim his arrival by asking them to repent because the kingdom of God is near, (John, 1:23).

17. Jesus had said: “Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist,” (Matthew, 11:11). The extent of his piety and devoutness are evident from this statement. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: 

... He led an ascetic life all through. He publicly asked people to repent in such a loud tone that its reverberations could be heard all around. When he delivered a speech in the Temple people’s hearts would shake and shudder. He gave everything that he had to this world but took nothing from it. He would live on wild honey and locusts and covered his body with an apparel of coarse camel hair and the body for which he never made a shelter was sacrificed by him for the cause of God’s Book. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 4, 639) 

This incident happened when he was imprisoned for criticizing the deviant practices of Herod Antipas, the Jewish ruler in his times. John was in jail when Herod on the occasion of his birthday witnessed the dance of Herodias’ daughter. Herodias was the wife of Herod’s brother Philip whom Herod had unlawfully taken possession of. Herod was so impressed by the dance that he told her that he would grant any wish she made. The girl asked her lecherous mother at which she advised her to ask for John’s head. This was because Herodias considered the preaching of John (sws) a potential danger for women like her. Though Herod regarded John (sws) to be a holy person and thereby respected him but he could not reject the wish of his beloved’s daughter. He had John beheaded and presented his severed head placed in a platter to the dancing girl. (See: Matthew, 14:3-12; Mark, 6:17-29; Luke, 3: 19-20)

Here it needs to be kept in consideration that the reason for which John (sws) had adopted a very humble and simple life as referred to earlier was that he and Jesus (sws) were the last messengers of God who had come to the Israelites to finally deliver the truth to the Israelites in a conclusive manner before God’s promise of retribution was destined to be fulfilled for them. How could they make a home for themselves while living in a city that was facing floods and how could they have been happy in the orchard that was about to wither away? If people who knock at the door of each person to warn them of the imminent storm start to build their own houses and cultivate their own lands, then they become guilty of shirking their responsibility. Thus both of them preferred celibacy, lived on bare minimum sustenance, wore simple clothes, regarded the sky to be their roof and the earth to be their floor and left the world in this state.

18. Ie., he was very obedient in spite of the fact that from birth to education and instruction he was not dependent on his parents. He passed through all these stages under the direct surveillance of the Almighty.

19. This is a reference to the greetings of the angels with which they will welcome him in every phase of life.

20. The place of i‘tikaf and worship was on the eastern side of the Temple.

21. It is evident from this that she apparently stationed herself in i‘tikaf.

22. The purpose of this probably was to test Mary (sws). It is evident from succeeding verses that she was successful in this test and at that delicate moment displayed the same character which was expected from a lady of her calibre and repute.

23. These words are only appropriate to be uttered by a chaste virgin lady. Hence they are explicit testimony to the fact that what is mentioned in the Gospel of Luke as her being married to a person named Joseph is totally incorrect.

24. Ie., a sign of God’s great power observing which no one can have any doubt that one day He will similarly be able to recreate all creatures. It is for this very reason that Jesus (sws) has been called عِلْمٌ لِّلسَّاعَةِ (sign of the Judgement Day) in verse 61 of Surah al-Zukhruf.

25. It is evident from the Gospels that this place was Bethlehem. In her situation, the only option left was to go far away from the notice of people to secure herself from any cursing and accusation at least in her period of pregnancy. She belonged to the holiest family of Aaron’s tribe and had been dedicated to serve the Temple.

26. The actual word is النَّخْلَة. It perhaps was a date-palm outside the city. Whether she accidentally came towards it or was divinely bidden to, both are possible. However, this much is certain that the tree was pre-determined because the word النَّخْلَة is appended by alif lam.

27. The great agony and anguish with which Mary (sws) was inflicted at that time can be seen from these words. The humiliation which is in store for a virgin giving birth is aptly reflected in this sentence.

28. The implication is that that was the arrangement made for her there. When the Almighty assigns some mission of His to a person, His mercy envelops that person in this way. Thus the directive of shaking the palm tree was merely an excuse for the manifestation of God’s mercy. Otherwise, obviously Mary (sws) could not have the power to shake the date palm tree in the age in which it bears fruit.

29. The actual word is: قُوْلِي. Just as this word is used in the Arabic language to utter something from the tongue, it also means to make a gesture.

30. The implication is that when she is fasting and someone tries to communicate with her, this is the manner she should put off that person. It is evident from this that in the shari‘ah of the Jews, the fast of silence could be kept in also the situation in which Mary (sws) was. Their scriptures also corroborate it.

31. Mary (sws) belonged to the Banu Harun (the tribe of Aaron). In ancient tribal languages, it is common to address someone by ascribing him or her to the forefather of that clan. For example, in the Arabic language a person belong to the Mudar tribe would be addressed as:

يا أخا مضر. Similar is the case with other tribes. In my opinion, here too this meaning is implied because at the time of an accusation it is very appropriate to say: O woman of a holy tribe! Your father is a noble person and your mother is chaste. What a pity that you have still done such a despicable thing.

32. She probably had been told that she will remain silent while the infant will respond to all the accusations made against her and that he will bear witness to her chastity and to his own noble countenance. She should rest assured that she will not be needed to say anything. God will make someone talk in her favour who will silence everyone. If God has put her in an extra-ordinary trial He will carry her through it with full success and honour and this is not at all difficult for Him.

33. These words of Jesus (sws) are very meaningful. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi has explained them. He writes: 

The first thing he said was: إِنِّي عَبْدُاللهِ (I am God’s servant). In other words, what he intended to say was that no one should be misled by the miraculous nature of his birth into thinking that he is some super-human. He is but God’s servant. Here the Qur’an has expressed the real meaning of his words ابن اللّه. In Hebrew, the word ابن occurs for both “servant” and “son.” The context determines in which meaning it has been used. In the presence of the clear teachings of Jesus (sws), there was no ambiguity in the interpretation of this word. However, it was Paul who made it a means of mischief and invented the convoluted concept of the trinity. I have tried to dispel this myth in the light of the Gospels in the explanations of Surah Al-i ‘Imran and Suah al-Ma’idah. 

The second thing that he said was that God had blessed him with a divine book and with prophethood and wherever he was he would remain an embodiment of goodness for people. As fas the shari‘ah was concerned, Jesus (sws) followed and practiced the shari‘ah brought by Moses (sws), and also preached and revived it. However, he added the portion of wisdom to it. We find these counsels and sermons on wisdom in the Gospels in scattered form. He would shed these pearls from his mouth and light up his surroundings; any heart which had the slightest potential of life in it would spring to verve and vivacity by his words. 

The third thing that he said was that he had been directed to pray and pay the zakah all his life. It is primarily these two directives which are the foundation of all religions and shari‘ah. For this reason, they are mentioned the foremost in all divine religions. Their apparent forms have remained different in different religions but each of their forms has preserved in it the essence of God’s worship and sympathy for His creatures. The prayer joins a person to his Lord in the true sense and the zakah connects him to his brethren on the right footing. It is on adherence to these two things that adherence to the whole religion depends. If a person tries to raze these two pillars, he will raze the whole edifice of religion even though he may brag of following religion. 

The fourth thing that he said was that God had made him obedient to his mother and not rebellious and defiant to her. In other words, even though he had been born in a very special manner and had also been blessed with special favours from his Lord, he was still a son of his mother and an obedient one too. That he had been blessed with special favours of God must was not to be construed by anyone as that he was not a human being. At the same time, he explained parents the fact that a person who was not obedient to his was callous and cruel. These statements of Jesus (sws) refute certain narratives in the Gospel which apparently show that he did not even have the necessary respect for his mother. It seems that when the claim of divinity was attached to Jesus (sws) such narratives were inserted in the Gospels to corroborate it. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 4, 648) 

34. The implication is that God is not dependent on anyone to implement any of His plans and projects and He does not need children for this purpose. For every task, He only needs to utter the word كُنْ. Concealed in this fact is that Jesus (sws) is also a product of this word. It certainly does not mean that if he was born in a different way he is a physical manifestation of God or has any element of divinity in him.

This whole paragraph is a parenthetical sentence by God inserted in between the statements of Jesus (sws). In it, the addresses are informed of the reality of Jesus (sws) which he himself had uttered right after his birth.

35. This is part of the conversation cited before the parenthetical sentence. The words “my father” and “your father” mentioned in the Gospels at various places have been corrected here by the Qur’an. It is evident that this is what Jesus (sws) had actually said. However, since in Hebrew the words اب and ابن are equally used for “father” and “son” as well as for “God” and “servant” respectively, when the Christians invented the belief of the divinity of Jesus (sws) they used these words having common meanings to their advantage.

36. Among the followers of Jesus (sws), Simon Peter knew these facts very well; hence this is an allusion to the followers of Saint Paul who themselves are divided into many sects. The most prominent among them are Catholics and Protestants.

37. This is because on that day all truths will become evident and Jesus (sws) himself will stand to testify against them. In Surah al-Ma’idah, the Qur’an has explained the words: مَشْهَدِ يُوْمٍ عَظِيْمٍ.

38. The day of assembling before God has been called the day of longing because on that day everyone will longingly wish to be returned to the world so that they could lead a life of faith and righteous deeds and then return.

39. Ie., they will be returned to none other than God. Hence, they should not expect that there will be anyone there to help them or they will be able to have someone intercede for them without God’s permission.

40. Here the teachings of other messengers of God are presented to corroborate what Jesus (sws) presented. Abraham (sws) is taken up the foremost because he is the leader of all messengers which came in the era when his progeny had been selected to preach and communicate the truth.

41. The actual word is: صِدِّيْق. This trait of Abraham (sws) has been highlighted here in order to caution both the Jews and Christians that the person who they regard to be their forefather was not someone like them who was unfaithful to God and broke his promise to Him; on the contrary, he was upright, truthful and fully faithful to God. Hence, if they want to be ascribed to him and be his heirs, then they have only one path: they must also inculcate these traits in themselves.

42. This is a summary of Abraham’s conversations with his father Adhar after he had been chosen as a messenger. The repetition of the word يَآبَتِ shows how compassionately and affectionately he spoke to his father. In the words of Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi, evident from every sentence is the worry and love an obedient son should have for his father who has gone astray. He has directed the attention of his father to a few facts in this conversation. He writes: 

The very first thing he has questioned is the logic of worshipping idols carved with their own hands? Making someone a deity is not a matter of jest and entertainment. It relates to the biggest need of human beings. They believe in God and worship Him because He listens to their pleadings, delivers them from sorrows and helps them in every difficulty. So, what use are these self-carved idols they worship to them, which neither see nor hear nor are of any benefit to them? This, in other words, is a proof of polytheism being an absolute falsehood because its apparent form whatever its inner one clearly shows that it is blatant foolishness and has no relation to intellect and human nature. 

The second thing he has said is that determining God’s partners is not a matter of conjecture. A person believes in one God because his nature, intellect, the world inside him and the one around him bear witness to Him. Every person who is upright is compelled to believe in Him but what is the compulsion in believing in His partners without any reason? What can be relied upon in this matter is العلم ie. true knowledge which comes from God through divine revelation. Abraham (sws) called upon his father to not follow mere conjecture in such an important matter; rather he should follow him. He is presenting true knowledge to him which he has received from God. From this knowledge guidance will be obtained for the straight path that takes people to God. The expression “straight path” means that this path will make a person independent of any means and take him directly to God. In other words, this path is the path of monotheism. 

The third thing that he has explained is that as is evident from the account of Adam and Satan the greatest malice and enmity the latter has is for the straight path of monotheism. He has sworn that he will expend all his force to lead away the progeny of Adam from this straight path and make them entangled in polytheism. If a person faithfully obeys such a rebel of God, then this is like worshipping the rebel and unfortunate are those who leave God and worship Satan. 

The fourth thing which he has explained is that till then they had an excuse that God’s guidance had not reached them but now that it has reached them, they do not have any excuse. Hence he fears that they will now be seized by God and by becoming companions of Satan reach the fate which is destined for his friends. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 4, 658) 

43. In tribal societies, fathers had this kind of unlimited authority over their sons and masters over their slaves. Just as masters could kill their slaves for a crime, in a similar way fathers could give any punishment to their sons and daugthers.

44. At the time of his migration and acquittal, this is a very elegant way of expressing his farewell salutations.

45. In spite of such a callous attitude from his father, this promise by Abraham (sws) shows how soft, sympathetic and loving he was. It is evident from other instances in the Qur’an that he kept making this prayer until the Almighty stopped him.

46. Besides the affection found in this declaration of acquittal by Abraham (sws), it also shows his immense honour and regard for the truth. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: 

The emphasis, self-confidence and self-sufficience seen in this declaration of acquittal is evident from every word. In the first place, Abraham (sws) used the plural form وَ أَعْتَزِلُكُمْ which shows that he not only proclaimed acquittal from his father but also from all his companions, associates and members of the family. With it, by uttering the words وَمَا تَدْعُوْنَ مِنْ دُوْنِ الله (and those also whom you call instead of God)  he included all their deities in the declaration. It was as if he rejected them as well. Then he did not merely give a negative statement. He followed it up with a positive one: وَ أَدْعُوْا رَبِّي (I will only call my Lord) implying that he did not recognize any other deity. At the end, he expressed his unshakable trust in the Almighty by saying that he had never been deprived after calling his Lord and it was hoped that He would help and guide him in that trial as well. On the one hand, is this softness and the other this sternness. It is in fact this amalgam of soft and stern attitude which distinguishes a preacher of truth from others. Unless a person is soft as wax and hard as a rock, he cannot serve the cause of truth in any way. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 4, 660) 

47. Once a messenger migrates from his people, he is generally given death but in the case of Abraham (sws) this did not happen. The Almighty deputed him on another mission of establishing centres of monotheism in the lands of Palestine and Arabia and in return for his sacrifices chose all subsequent prophets from his descendents. Thus all his progeny is his chosen ummah that is given the responsibility of communicating the truth in a conclusive manner to other nations till the Day of Judgement. It is a mention of this favour that after him, his son Isaac (sws) and after Isaac, his son Jacob (sws) and after Jacob (sws), his son Joseph (sws) all were made prophets. As a result, this ummah was initiated with the majesty and splendour its status entailed. This prophethood is of the same nature as the one given to Adam (sws) in the very beginning. It was not necessary for this that they be assigned to a particular nation.

The matter of Ishmael (sws), however, was different. He was the greatest and foremost blessing of Abraham’s migration. Thus besides being assigned as a prophet he was also given the status of a messenger and was sent to people who inhabited the area around the Baytullah. It is for this reason that he is not mentioned here and referred to in detail independently ahead.

48. It is this fame for which Abraham (sws) had prayed. It is mentioned in verse 84 of Surah al-Shu‘ara’. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: 

... The implication is that God greatly augmented the effects of his preaching and he received such abiding respect and fame that thousands of years have passed ever since but it has not diminished. Hundreds and thousands of celebrated prophets and righteous people have arisen from this blessed clan and kept alive Abraham’s mission. At the end, Muhammad (sws) was assigned as God’s messenger from the progeny of Ishmael to revive the teachings of Abraham (sws). As a result, that fame and loftiness has become eternal. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 4, 662) 

49. The actual words are: مُخْلَصًا. God interacted with Moses (sws) in a special way by directly talking to him. This word portrays this distinction of his. The expression قَرَبّنَاهُ نَجِيَّا ahead explains it. From among God’s messengers, only he was chosen for direct conversation and a clandestine exchange. Being helped by a prophet is also another distinction which no other prophet had. This favour was bestowed on him at his own request because he was assigned to a tyrant like the Pharaoh. At the same time, he was also given the responsibility to organize a great nation as the Israelites which had reached the lowest mark as far as religion and ethics were concerned.

50. Ie., besides being a prophet of God, he was also his messenger. This meant that he was a court of justice for the people he was assigned to and would decide their fate in this world.

51. The actual word is الأَيْمَنْ. It means “the right (direction)” and “holy.” I have preferred the second of the two meanings because it is substantiated by verse 12 of Surah Ṭaha.

52. This is a reference to the promise which he made with his father regarding his sacrifice and when the time came for its realization he placed his head under the knife without any hesitation. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: 

In apparent form, the expression صَادِقَ الْوَعْدِ is composed of only two words. However, it is a comprenhesive portrayal of a true believer who submits to God. A servant of God who is true to what he has promised to Him and is prepared to sacrifice his life for it has truly attained the pinnacle of faith and submission to God. As for those who are indulging in gaining worldly benefits because of being descendents of Abraham (sws) and Ishmael (sws) and bragging about their association with them, they should see their hideous fate in the reflection of the mirror which the Qur’an has placed before them. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 4, 665) 

53. All the shari‘ah is based on these two things. They are mentioned here because those whose accounts are being narrated here were the progeny of Abraham (sws) but had become indifferent to both the prayer and to the zakah.

54. Ie., he was precisely the same before his Lord the way He wants His servants to be. This is the ultimate status for a person to be just and fair. Nothing can be said beyond it in this regard.

55. He is from among the prophets from the pre-Noah period. The reason he is mentioned here is that the series of prophets that ended on Abraham (sws) probably began with Idris (sws). Viewed, thus he was similar to him. Thus the qualities which are cited with his reference are the same as the ones cited for Abraham (sws) earlier. By mentioning him, the Qur’an has actually comprehensively covered the pre and post Abrahamic periods of prophethood.

56. This indication substantiates the view just expressed regarding Idris. Thus the general opinion is that he is  Enoch of the Bible.

57. This is a sarcastic remark on those who claimed to be adherents of the prophets but after listening to verses of the Qur’an would arrogantly deny them.

58. This is the real reason for which the above accounts were narrated. In other words, sorrow is expressed on the addressees that in spite of being from the progeny of Abraham (sws) and Jacob (sws) and other distinguished prophets they have ruined the religion bought by them. In this regard, wasting the prayer is specially mentioned. This is because the prayer reminds a person all the time of the covenant he has made with the Almighty. If the prayer is given up, then soon or late a person succumbs to the luring of Satan. After this, following of desires is mentioned the obvious consequence of which is deprivation of spending in the path of God. Thus the real hindrance is stated so that the prayer and the zakah are indicated as well as the reason which make them to go to waste and be ruined.

59. Ie., from one another and from God’s angels as well who will welcome them and pay their salutations to them because of their success.

60. The word رِزْق is used in the verse. In the words of Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi, this includes the blessings of God as well as spiritual advancement. The implication is that there they will be continually bestowed with favour of body and soul, heart and mind.

61. Here at the end it is made evident to the addressees that contrary to what they may think and claim, it is the verdict of God that claimants and slaves of desires do not have any right to His Paradise. Only they will enter it who fear Him.

62. This paragraph is parenthetical in nature. Gabriel expresses his apology in it for his delayed arrival and also urges the Prophet (sws) to show patience on his hastiness and anxiety. It is known that conclusive communication of the truth to his people was his responsibility as a messenger of God. It was but natural for him to show haste in completing it as soon as possible and succeed in the eyes of God. At the same time, the Quraysh too repeatedly demanded why the Qur’an was not being revealed in one go. If a person is receiving such a matchless Book as the Qur’an from the king of the universe and the lord of the worlds, it is but natural for him to wish for the whole book to be completed quickly. He acquired all the power of his heart, vibrancy of his soul, guidance for his intellect and stability for his resolve from the Qur’an alone. These factors too contributed to his desire to get hold of this divine treasure as soon as possible. In these verses, he has been urged to exercise patience on the hastiness which must have emanated from him if a long interval elapsed before the next revelation. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi has directed our attention to some of its aspects. He writes:  

The first thing worthy of note here is that Gabriel has actually presented a type of apology to the Prophet (sws) that his coming with divine revelation is based on God’s command. In other words, if angels do not come in quick succession to quench the Prophet’s (sws) desire and to end his wait, it is not because of some error on their part. Unless they are directed by God, they can neither descend to him nor bring down revelation to him. They have no say in this and are wholly under God’s command. 

The second thing worthy of note is that the status of Gabriel and the whole group of angels becomes evident: everything that is in front of and behind them and in between them is under the total control and protection of God. There is not the slightest possibility that anyone of them dare exceed his limits or carry out a plan out of his own will. God is not forgetful that anyone of them can use this forgetfulness to his advantage and implement his own will and still remain unpunished. The reason for explaining this status of the angels was to refute the notion of the Arab polytheists who worshipped angels and thought that if ever the Hereafter came these daughters of God would save them from the wrath of their father by interceding for them. By reciting this statement of Gabriel, these foolish people are informed that when in the court of the Almighty, Gabriel – the leader of all angels – occupies this frail position, it can well be imagined what power other angels have. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 4, 675) 

63. The implication is that if there is some delay, it is for some valid reason and it is not because of his Lord’s forgetfulness.

64. The actual words are: وَاصْطَبِرْ لِعِبَادَتِهِ. The word عِبَاَدَة here is in its wider meaning and includes both worship and obedience. Similarly, the word إِصْطِبَار used is used in place of صَبْر which has a greater amount of stress in it. Moreover, when the preposition after it comes in this way, it encompasses the meaning of to wait. It is not easy to unfold these understood aspects of the verse in a translation. The implication is that the Prophet (sws) should patiently wait for the directive of God and with full steadfastness follow whatever he is directed to do. This is what is expected of him in his capacity of God’s envoy.

65. Ie., when there is none who is a peer, equal or match, he should rest assured that no one can become a hindrance in the implementation of His will.

66. Gabriel’s words end here and it is now the Almighty Who begins His speech. Though a general word إِنْسَان is used, concomitant indications show that it refers to the Idolaters of Arabia who would utter such contradictory statements about the Day of Judgement.

67. In the words of Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi, when God has been able to create them from nothing how can it be difficult for Him to create them from something?

68. Ie., the devils which they followed from among jinnkind and mankind.

69. So that now they are the foremost in being cast into Hell.

70. Ie., no one else will need to inform Him. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: 

This is a subtle sarcasm on the wrong belief of intercession held by the idolaters: only he can intercede before God who can claim that he is more informed than Him. Now who can be a bigger a megalomaniac than he who can tell God that he knows more about someone; that he is very pious; so do not say anything to him and send him to Paradise directly. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 4, 678) 

71. The purpose here is to express extreme wrath. Hence the style of address has changed from indirect to direct.

72. Ie., save them from the Hell which would have become their abode – like it has for the wrongdoers mentioned here – if they had shown arrogance before God and not adhered to piety. This word has been used in the Qur’an at various places for the deliverance of God’s messenger and his companions from the punishment that has continued to come in this world after conclusive communication of the truth.

73. Earlier, precisely the same words were used for the situation in which they will await judgement. Here they are used for the situation when after God’s judgement they will be consigned to the keepers of Hell and will await going to their destination of punishment in accordance with the extent of their wrongdoings. The implication is that God will show His utter indifference to them by leaving them in this situation so that after all the humiliation they have suffered they are now in the grasp of those who will take them to their destination. Viewed thus, the word جِثِيَّا is used very aptly at both places because in the waiting phase criminals are generally made to sit in this manner.

74. Ie., it is very evident to them that if in this world they are better, they cannot become of no consequence in the next; when God has given them all this wealth here and deprived their opponents, in the next world too they will receive His favours.

75. The actual words are: فَلْيَمْدُدْ لَهُ الرَّحْمَنُ مَدًّا. This style has been adopted here because it refers to God’s established practice and His befitting way of doing things. The implication is that God’s power, wisdom and efficient planning entails that since He has made this world for trial He should not seize people immediately for their misdoings; on the contrary, He should give them as much respite as possible so that they are able to do what they want to the ultimate extent and are left with no excuse when the punishment comes.

76. This is a mention of the torment which necessarily visits a nation if it denies its messenger.

77. Superlative tenses are employed in the verse. In accordance with linguistic principles of Arabic, they are not necessarily meant for comparison. They occur without it as well.

78. The actual words are: وَالْبَاقِيَاتُ الصَّالِحَاتُ. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: 

... It is evident from this that only those deeds are righteous which are eternal and abiding. Deeds which are meant for a small period of time and are not eternal cannot be deemed as righteous. As for the question which deeds are eternal and which ones are not, the answer to this is that the latter are the ones which are done while keeping the objectives of this worldly life in mind; they are not eternal because this world is not eternal. Eternal deeds are only those which are done solely for God and the Hereafter because God is eternal and so is the Hereafter. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 4, 681) 

79. This is an assurance sounded to the believers: if, instead of focusing on immediate benefits, they keep in mind things which are beneficial to them in the Hereafter, they should rest assured that the kingdom of God will await them.

80. The actual word is: أَفَرَأَيْتَ. This style is adopted when the purpose is to point ahead to a megalomaniac or some very foolish statement.

81. This is not a reference to any particular person. It in fact portrays the mentality of a group which regards its worldly favours to be a product of its own abilities or personal entitlement. It does not regard them to be blessings from God. The Qur’an has adopted this style of comparison at many instances by using the demonstrative pronouns الَّذِي or اَلَّتِي. Deliberation shows that here it is true to the actual situation because all the leaders of the Quraysh were obsessed by this notion.

82. Ie., everything including their means, assets, helpers, associates as well as their splendour and majesty will be left behind. They will appear before God empty handed.

83. All the Idolaters had this belief. The Quraysh of Makkah worshipped the angels, regarding them to be daughters of God. Thus they expected that those beloved daughters of God would save them by interceding for them before Him.

84. This is stated in accordance with the established practice of God mentioned in verse 36 of Surah al-Zukhruf: devils are deputed on people who turn blind to God’s reminders.

85. It is evident from this that the enmity of the enemies had reached the extent that the Prophet (sws) too was waiting for God’s verdict.

86. Obviously, no such promise has been taken by anyone. Hence there is also no possibility of intercession for such criminals. This sentence is similar to when a person says: no one can know when the Day of Judgement will come except he who is informed by God.

87. After refuting the baseless notion of intercession, in the succeeding verses the gravest form of polytheism is refuted that emanates from this baseless notion. All three among the addressees of the Qur’an – the Jews, the Christians and the Idolaters of Arabia – were incriminated in it in some form or another and the driving cause for each of them was that they wanted some beings who could save them from God’s grasp through their intercession.

88. This is a change of address from indirect to direct and is done to express the severity of anger, as we have seen earlier in verse 71.

89. Ie., such is the grave nature of this statement that neither can it be tolerated by the sense of honour the Almighty has nor can any of His creatures bear it for their Lord. If God does not stop the earth, the heavens and the towering mountains, they would not tolerate it for a second and seethe with wrath and fall apart.

90. Ie., not in the capacity of sons and daughters but in that of humble servants they will be brought forth before God.

91. The implication is that neither is there any possibility of any error nor of the fact that anyone will escape from His grasp.

92. Ie., on the Day of Judgement when the angels will welcome them through salutations, they themselves will also be congratulating one another and their Lord too will express His pleasure through His mercy and affection. It is as if the atmosphere of love and liking will be created everywhere for them by the Merciful God.

In this section of verses, the Almighty has been repeatedly mentioned by His attribute al-Rahman (the Most Merciful). It is because wrong concepts about this attribute of God have produced many misled notions. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi has explained this. He writes: 

The Christians are mentioned the foremost in the surah. Let us first see how they were led away from the truth. The reason was that they thought that since human beings were eternal sinners and had remained so ever since their inception, hence there was no possibility of their salvation. It was the merciful God Who sent His son out of His grace who atoned for the sins of all those who would believe in him by sacrificing his own life. 

Though the misguided beliefs of the Jews are not directly mentioned in this surah but it is evident from the Qur’an that in order to hide their wrongdoings they took the pretext of God’s mercy. They thought that they were the progeny of prophets and the righteous and hence could not be cast into Hell and if ever they were, it would be only for a few days. After punishing them for a short time, the merciful God would forgive them. 

The Idolaters of Arabia worshipped the angels, regarding them to be the daughters of God. They thought that the Day of Judgement was a mere fantasy but if there was any reality in it, the daughters of the merciful God would earn salvation for them through their intercession. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 4, 688)

It is because of these misconceived and misguided notions that the word Rahman is mentioned repetitively. Thus the Almighty has made it evident that mercy and justice necessarily lead to one another. The mercy of God does not negate His justice; in fact, His justice manifests itself as a consequence of His mercy.

93. Actually a pronoun is used. However, its antecedent is so clear that a listener understands what it is referring to without any hesitation. In the opinion of Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi, such a style evidences the grandeur of the antecedent: even though it is not stated, a person knows it without it being mentioned.

94. The addressees of the surah are the Quraysh of Makkah. This is a reference to them. People living in tribal societies who are far removed from intellectual traditions often end up in such stagnation, crudeness and prejudice. The word لُدّ alludes to these traits.

95. The implication is that just as these nations have been utterly wiped out, these people too who deny the Prophet (sws) will reach this fate. Hence he should rest assured that his task is to warn people and to give them glad tidings, and for this purpose the Book that has been revealed to him is extremely appropriate, logical and well-reasoned. If his addressees want to understand, they have no excuse left for them. Thus nothing further is now required. It is sufficient that after reminding through it and conclusively delivering the truth through its means the Almighty delivers His verdict.

   
 
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