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

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

وَالصَّافَّاتِ صَفًّا. فَالزَّاجِرَاتِ زَجْرًا. فَالتَّالِيَاتِ ذِكْرًا. إِنَّ إِلَهَكُمْ لَوَاحِدٌ. رَبُّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا وَرَبُّ الْمَشَارِقِ.


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

Angels who are ever-present in rows bear witness,1 then those who sternly scold the devils,2 then those who remember God3 that your god is one God.4 He Who is the Lord of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them and is the Lord of all the borders of the east and the west.5 (1-5)


إِنَّا زَيَّنَّا السَّمَاء الدُّنْيَا بِزِينَةٍ الْكَوَاكِبِ. وَحِفْظًا مِّن كُلِّ شَيْطَانٍ مَّارِدٍ. لَا يَسَّمَّعُونَ إِلَى الْمَلَإِ الْأَعْلَى وَيُقْذَفُونَ مِن كُلِّ جَانِبٍ. دُحُورًا وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ وَاصِبٌ. إِلَّا مَنْ خَطِفَ الْخَطْفَةَ فَأَتْبَعَهُ شِهَابٌ ثَاقِبٌ.

Undoubtedly, We have decked your nearest sky6 with the adornment of stars and have fully protected it from the interference of every rebellious devil. They are not able hear anything from the mala-i a‘la and if they do so they are repelled from everywhere to ward them off and this is an eternal torment for them. Yet if a devil is able to overhear something, a dazzling flame pursues him. 7 (6-10)


فَاسْتَفْتِهِمْ أَهُمْ أَشَدُّ خَلْقًا أَم مَّنْ خَلَقْنَا إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاهُم مِّن طِينٍ لَّازِبٍ. بَلْ عَجِبْتَ وَيَسْخَرُونَ. وَإِذَا ذُكِّرُوا لَا يَذْكُرُونَ. وَإِذَا رَأَوْا آيَةً يَسْتَسْخِرُونَ. وَقَالُوا إِنْ هَذَا إِلَّا سِحْرٌ مُّبِينٌ. أَئِذَا مِتْنَا وَكُنَّا تُرَابًا وَعِظَامًا أَئِنَّا لَمَبْعُوثُونَ. أَوَآبَاؤُنَا الْأَوَّلُونَ.

Now ask them: “Is it more difficult to create them or those whom We have created [before them]?”8 In reality, We had created them from sticking clay.9 No, this is not the slightest difficult; in fact, you wonder [that why do they not believe in such a clear fact] and are making fun [regarding the kind of things you believe in.] And when they are reminded, they do not pay heed and when they see a sign, they make fun of it and say: “Nothing! This is only plain magic; what! when we die and become clay and bones, will we be raised again? And our earlier forefathers too?” (11-17)


قُلْ نَعَمْ وَأَنتُمْ دَاخِرُونَ. فَإِنَّمَا هِيَ زَجْرَةٌ وَاحِدَةٌ فَإِذَا هُمْ يَنظُرُونَ. وَقَالُوا يَا وَيْلَنَا هَذَا يَوْمُ الدِّينِ. هَذَا يَوْمُ الْفَصْلِ الَّذِي كُنتُمْ بِهِ تُكَذِّبُونَ.

Say: Yes and you will also be humiliated. Thus it will only be a shout; then right at that time they will [get up and] look about10 and say: “Our misfortune! This is the day of reckoning.” – yes indeed; it is precisely that day of judgement which you people had been denying.11 (18-21)


احْشُرُوا الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا وَأَزْوَاجَهُمْ وَمَا كَانُوا يَعْبُدُونَ. مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ فَاهْدُوهُمْ إِلَى صِرَاطِ الْجَحِيمِ. وَقِفُوهُمْ إِنَّهُم مَّسْئُولُونَ. مَا لَكُمْ لَا تَنَاصَرُونَ. بَلْ هُمُ الْيَوْمَ مُسْتَسْلِمُونَ.

It will be directed: “Gather these unjust people12 and their sorts as well and they also which they have been worshipping besides God; then show all of them the way to Hell.” And, yes, keep them awhile; something has to be asked from them as well. What is the matter! You are not helping one another at this time? They are speechless; in fact, today they have become very obedient.13 (22-26)


وَأَقْبَلَ بَعْضُهُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ يَتَسَاءلُونَ. قَالُوا إِنَّكُمْ كُنتُمْ تَأْتُونَنَا عَنِ الْيَمِينِ. قَالُوا بَل لَّمْ تَكُونُوا مُؤْمِنِينَ. وَمَا كَانَ لَنَا عَلَيْكُم مِّن سُلْطَانٍ بَلْ كُنتُمْ قَوْمًا طَاغِينَ. فَحَقَّ عَلَيْنَا قَوْلُ رَبِّنَا إِنَّا لَذَائِقُونَ. فَأَغْوَيْنَاكُمْ إِنَّا كُنَّا غَاوِينَ. فَإِنَّهُمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ فِي الْعَذَابِ مُشْتَرِكُونَ.

At that time, they will focus their attention towards one another to mutually ask questions. [Thus] they will say [to their leaders]: “It is you who would come to us from the right …”14 They [will interject and] reply: “No! In fact, you yourselves were not willing to believe and we had no control over you; in fact, you yourselves were a rebellious people. So, the word of our Lord has been fulfilled on us.15 Undoubtedly, we have to taste its flavour. In reality, we had gone astray; so, we led you astray as well.” In this way, all of them will share the punishment on that day.16 (27-33)


إِنَّا كَذَلِكَ نَفْعَلُ بِالْمُجْرِمِينَ. إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا إِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ. وَيَقُولُونَ أَئِنَّا لَتَارِكُوا آلِهَتِنَا لِشَاعِرٍ مَّجْنُونٍ. بَلْ جَاء بِالْحَقِّ وَصَدَّقَ الْمُرْسَلِينَ.

Thus shall We deal with the wrongdoers. Such were they that when it was said to them that there is no deity except God, they would show arrogance and [like you, O People of the Quraysh, they too] would say: “Should we leave our deities at the behest of a mad poet?” Certainly not!17 In fact, he has come with the truth and is in fulfillment of the prophecies of the messengers.18 (34-37)


إِنَّكُمْ لَذَائِقُو الْعَذَابِ الْأَلِيمِ. وَمَا تُجْزَوْنَ إِلَّا مَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ. إِلَّا عِبَادَ اللَّهِ الْمُخْلَصِينَ. أُوْلَئِكَ لَهُمْ رِزْقٌ مَّعْلُومٌ. فَوَاكِهُ وَهُم مُّكْرَمُونَ. فِي جَنَّاتِ النَّعِيمِ. عَلَى سُرُرٍ مُّتَقَابِلِينَ. يُطَافُ عَلَيْهِم بِكَأْسٍ مِن مَّعِينٍ. بَيْضَاء لَذَّةٍ لِّلشَّارِبِينَ. لَا فِيهَا غَوْلٌ وَلَا هُمْ عَنْهَا يُنزَفُونَ. وَعِنْدَهُمْ قَاصِرَاتُ الطَّرْفِ عِينٌ. كَأَنَّهُنَّ بَيْضٌ مَّكْنُونٌ.

[If you do not believe in him,] you will certainly taste a painful punishment and [this will not be any injustice;] you will be returned what you have been doing. However, the selected servants of God19 will remain secure from it. It is these people for whom there will be a known sustenance; fruits20 of all kinds. And in the orchards of delight they will be in great honour, sitting on thrones facing each other; 21 for them goblets of pure wine will be passing around; absolutely crystal clear; of very pleasant taste for the drinkers! It will neither intoxicate nor will make them lose their senses. For them will be large-eyed women with lowered gazes,22 as if they are sheltered eggs [of an ostrich].23 (38-49)


فَأَقْبَلَ بَعْضُهُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ يَتَسَاءلُونَ. قَالَ قَائِلٌ مِّنْهُمْ إِنِّي كَانَ لِي قَرِينٌ. يَقُولُ أَئِنَّكَ لَمِنْ الْمُصَدِّقِينَ. أَئِذَا مِتْنَا وَكُنَّا تُرَابًا وَعِظَامًا أَئِنَّا لَمَدِينُونَ. قَالَ هَلْ أَنتُم مُّطَّلِعُونَ. فَاطَّلَعَ فَرَآهُ فِي سَوَاء الْجَحِيمِ. قَالَ تَاللَّهِ إِنْ كِدتَّ لَتُرْدِينِ. وَلَوْلَا نِعْمَةُ رَبِّي لَكُنتُ مِنَ الْمُحْضَرِينَ. أَفَمَا نَحْنُ بِمَيِّتِينَ. إِلَّا مَوْتَتَنَا الْأُولَى وَمَا نَحْنُ بِمُعَذَّبِينَ. إِنَّ هَذَا لَهُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ. لِمِثْلِ هَذَا فَلْيَعْمَلْ الْعَامِلُونَ

Then they will turn towards one another so that they may mutually converse. One of the speakers will say: “I had a companion who would ask me [with great amazement]: ‘Are you too one of those who attests to the Day of Judgement? What, when we die and become clay and bones, will we be called to reckoning?’’ He will say: “Will you take a little peep to see [where he is and in what circumstances?]” After saying this, he will glance down; so he will see him in the middle of Hell.24 [Then he will spontaneously cry out:] “By God! You were after ruining me! If the favour of my Lord had not been with me, I too would have been among those who have come apprehended. Then has it not happened that the first death that had to come to us, has come. Now we will not die nor will we be punished?”25 Indeed, this is what is great success. So to this success, those who strive should strive.26 (50-61)


أَذَلِكَ خَيْرٌ نُّزُلًا أَمْ شَجَرَةُ الزَّقُّومِ. إِنَّا جَعَلْنَاهَا فِتْنَةً لِّلظَّالِمِينَ. إِنَّهَا شَجَرَةٌ تَخْرُجُ فِي أَصْلِ الْجَحِيمِ. طَلْعُهَا كَأَنَّهُ رُؤُوسُ الشَّيَاطِينِ. فَإِنَّهُمْ لَآكِلُونَ مِنْهَا فَمَالِؤُونَ مِنْهَا الْبُطُونَ. ثُمَّ إِنَّ لَهُمْ عَلَيْهَا لَشَوْبًا مِّنْ حَمِيمٍ. ثُمَّ إِنَّ مَرْجِعَهُمْ لَإِلَى الْجَحِيمِ. إِنَّهُمْ أَلْفَوْا آبَاءهُمْ ضَالِّينَ. فَهُمْ عَلَى آثَارِهِمْ يُهْرَعُونَ. وَلَقَدْ ضَلَّ قَبْلَهُمْ أَكْثَرُ الْأَوَّلِينَ. وَلَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا فِيهِم مُّنذِرِينَ

[Ask them:] “Is this feast good or the tree of zaqqum?” We have made it a trial for these wrongdoers.27 It is a tree that grows at the bottom of Hell.28 Its buds are like heads of devils.29 So, these wrongdoers will eat from it and fill their bellies from it. Then on top of it they will be given boiling water mixed in it. Then they will have to return to Hell come what may.30 [These are those people that] they found their forefathers in error. Then they continued to run in their footsteps.31 Before them, most in previous generations had also gone astray in this manner. We had sent warners among them too. Then see the fate of those who had been warned! Only the chosen servants of God were protected from it. (64-72)


فَانظُرْ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الْمُنذَرِينَ. إِلَّا عِبَادَ اللَّهِ الْمُخْلَصِينَ. وَلَقَدْ نَادَانَا نُوحٌ فَلَنِعْمَ الْمُجِيبُونَ. وَنَجَّيْنَاهُ وَأَهْلَهُ مِنَ الْكَرْبِ الْعَظِيمِ. وَجَعَلْنَا ذُرِّيَّتَهُ هُمْ الْبَاقِينَ. وَتَرَكْنَا عَلَيْهِ فِي الْآخِرِينَ. سَلَامٌ عَلَى نُوحٍ فِي الْعَالَمِينَ. إِنَّا كَذَلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُحْسِنِينَ. إِنَّهُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا الْمُؤْمِنِينَ. ثُمَّ أَغْرَقْنَا الْآخَرِينَ.

[For this,] Noah pleaded to Us [the foremost].32 Then see how gracious do We hear pleadings! We saved him and his people33 from a great calamity and [in later times] made only his progeny to survive34 and We left a group among the earlier generations on his ways.35 Peace be to Noah among all the people of the world. Thus do We reward those who are thorough in their deeds. No doubt, He was from among Our true believers. Then [after separating him and his followers] We drowned others.36 (75-82)


وَإِنَّ مِن شِيعَتِهِ لَإِبْرَاهِيمَ. إِذْ جَاء رَبَّهُ بِقَلْبٍ سَلِيمٍ. إِذْ قَالَ لِأَبِيهِ وَقَوْمِهِ مَاذَا تَعْبُدُونَ. أَئِفْكًا آلِهَةً دُونَ اللَّهِ تُرِيدُونَ. فَمَا ظَنُّكُم بِرَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ. فَنَظَرَ نَظْرَةً فِي النُّجُومِ. فَقَالَ إِنِّي سَقِيمٌ. فَتَوَلَّوْا عَنْهُ مُدْبِرِينَ. فَرَاغَ إِلَى آلِهَتِهِمْ فَقَالَ أَلَا تَأْكُلُونَ. مَا لَكُمْ لَا تَنطِقُونَ. فَرَاغَ عَلَيْهِمْ ضَرْبًا بِالْيَمِينِ. فَأَقْبَلُوا إِلَيْهِ يَزِفُّونَ. قَالَ أَتَعْبُدُونَ مَا تَنْحِتُونَ. وَاللَّهُ خَلَقَكُمْ وَمَا تَعْمَلُونَ. قَالُوا ابْنُوا لَهُ بُنْيَانًا فَأَلْقُوهُ فِي الْجَحِيمِ. فَأَرَادُوا بِهِ كَيْدًا فَجَعَلْنَاهُمُ الْأَسْفَلِينَ. وَقَالَ إِنِّي ذَاهِبٌ إِلَى رَبِّي سَيَهْدِينِ. رَبِّ هَبْ لِي مِنَ الصَّالِحِينَ. فَبَشَّرْنَاهُ بِغُلَامٍ حَلِيمٍ.

Certainly, Abraham37 too was from among his group.38 Recall, when with an upright heart39 he came to the presence of his Lord.40 When he said to his father and to the people of his nation: “What is this that you worship? Do you desire false deities besides God? Then what do you think about the Lord of the worlds?”41 [When people were about to depart from the place of worship where Abraham had spoken these words,] he glanced at the stars42 [to estimate the time]; then he said: “I am feeling tired.”43 Thus they left him and went away.44 So, Abraham furtively went over to their deities45 and said: “Why don’t you eat? 46 What is the matter, you do not speak as well.”47 After that, as soon as he saw an opportunity, he pounced upon them and struck them with a strong hand.48 [As soon as people got this news,] they ran towards him. Abraham said: “Do you worship what you invent? In reality, it is God Who has created you and they too which you make.”49 They said: “[If this is his how he behaves,] erect a building for him; then throw him in a raging fire.”50 So, they tried to play a trick with him;51 but We did not let them succeed.52 Abraham said: “[Leaving you aside, now] I will go towards my Lord. He will definitely guide me.53 Lord! Grant me righteous children.54 [As soon as Abraham prayed, in response] We gave him glad tidings of a forbearing boy.55 (83-101)


فَلَمَّا بَلَغَ مَعَهُ السَّعْيَ قَالَ يَا بُنَيَّ إِنِّي أَرَى فِي الْمَنَامِ أَنِّي أَذْبَحُكَ فَانظُرْ مَاذَا تَرَى قَالَ يَا أَبَتِ افْعَلْ مَا تُؤْمَرُ سَتَجِدُنِي إِن شَاء اللَّهُ مِنَ الصَّابِرِينَ. فَلَمَّا أَسْلَمَا وَتَلَّهُ لِلْجَبِينِ. وَنَادَيْنَاهُ أَنْ يَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ. قَدْ صَدَّقْتَ الرُّؤْيَا إِنَّا كَذَلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُحْسِنِينَ. إِنَّ هَذَا لَهُوَ الْبَلَاء الْمُبِينُ. وَفَدَيْنَاهُ بِذِبْحٍ عَظِيمٍ. وَتَرَكْنَا عَلَيْهِ فِي الْآخِرِينَ. سَلَامٌ عَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ. كَذَلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُحْسِنِينَ. إِنَّهُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا الْمُؤْمِنِينَ. وَبَشَّرْنَاهُ بِإِسْحَقَ نَبِيًّا مِّنَ الصَّالِحِينَ. وَبَارَكْنَا عَلَيْهِ وَعَلَى إِسْحَقَ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِهِمَا مُحْسِنٌ وَظَالِمٌ لِّنَفْسِهِ مُبِينٌ.

[That boy reached maturity.] Then when he reached the age56 to work about with him, Abraham said to him [one day]: “My son! [Since the past few days,57] I dream that I am slaughtering you. So reflect; what is your opinion?”58 He said: “Father! Do as you are being directed. God willing, you will find me steadfast.” Then when both of them submitted and the father laid down his son on his forehead59 and We called out to him: “Abraham! You have made your dream come true,”60 imagine how the sea of mercy must have stirred.61 In reality, this is how We reward those who are thorough in their deeds.62 Surely, this was a clear trial.63 [When Abraham successfully came out of it,] We ransomed Ishmael against a grand sacrifice64 and [gave Abraham such fame that] We left a group among the earlier generations on his ways. Peace be to Abraham.65 Thus do We reward those who are thorough in their deeds. Undoubtedly, he was among Our believing servants.66 [It was at this instance that] We gave him glad tidings of Isaac; a prophet from among righteous.67 And We sent Our blessings to both Ishmael and Isaac. Now there are those in their progeny who are thorough in their deeds and also those who are openly unjust to their souls.68 (102-113)


وَلَقَدْ مَنَنَّا عَلَى مُوسَى وَهَارُونَ. وَنَجَّيْنَاهُمَا وَقَوْمَهُمَا مِنَ الْكَرْبِ الْعَظِيمِ. وَنَصَرْنَاهُمْ فَكَانُوا هُمُ الْغَالِبِينَ. وَآتَيْنَاهُمَا الْكِتَابَ الْمُسْتَبِينَ. وَهَدَيْنَاهُمَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ. وَتَرَكْنَا عَلَيْهِمَا فِي الْآخِرِينَ. سَلَامٌ عَلَى مُوسَى وَهَارُونَ. إِنَّا كَذَلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُحْسِنِينَ. إِنَّهُمَا مِنْ عِبَادِنَا الْمُؤْمِنِينَ.

In a similar way, We had sent Our blessings to Moses and Aaron69 too and had delivered them and their nation70 from a great calamity and had helped them. So, ultimately, it was they who remained dominant and We had given both of them a radiant book71 and had guided them to the straight path and [like Noah and Abraham,] We had left a group from the earlier generations on their ways. Peace be to Moses and Aaron. Thus do We reward those who are thorough in their deeds. No doubt, both of them were also among Our true believers. (114-122)


وَإِنَّ إِلْيَاسَ لَمِنْ الْمُرْسَلِينَ. إِذْ قَالَ لِقَوْمِهِ أَلَا تَتَّقُونَ. أَتَدْعُونَ بَعْلًا وَتَذَرُونَ أَحْسَنَ الْخَالِقِينَ. وَاللَّهَ رَبَّكُمْ وَرَبَّ آبَائِكُمُ الْأَوَّلِينَ. فَكَذَّبُوهُ فَإِنَّهُمْ لَمُحْضَرُونَ. إِلَّا عِبَادَ اللَّهِ الْمُخْلَصِينَ. وَتَرَكْنَا عَلَيْهِ فِي الْآخِرِينَ. سَلَامٌ عَلَى إِلْ يَاسِينَ. إِنَّا كَذَلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُحْسِنِينَ. إِنَّهُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا الْمُؤْمِنِينَ.

Similarly, Ilyas72 too was surely among our prophets. Recall when he said to his nation:73 “Do you have no fear? Do you call upon Ba‘l74 and leave aside Him Who is the best of Creators? God, Who is your Lord and of your previous ancestors as well?” Ultimately, they rejected him; so, now they too will also surely come apprehended. God’s chosen servants will however remain secure. We [blessed Ilyas too and] left a group from the earlier generations on his ways. Peace be to the great Ilyas.75 Thus do We reward those who are thorough in their deeds.76 Surely, he was from among Our believing servants. (123-132)


وَإِنَّ لُوطًا لَّمِنَ الْمُرْسَلِينَ. إِذْ نَجَّيْنَاهُ وَأَهْلَهُ أَجْمَعِينَ. إِلَّا عَجُوزًا فِي الْغَابِرِينَ. ثُمَّ دَمَّرْنَا الْآخَرِينَ. وَإِنَّكُمْ لَتَمُرُّونَ عَلَيْهِم مُّصْبِحِينَ. وَبِاللَّيْلِ أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ.

And without a doubt, Lot77 too was among our messengers. Recall when We delivered him and all his family except an old woman78 so that she was among those who remained behind. After that, We destroyed others. [People of the Quraysh!] you do pass by these settlements in the morning and in the evening too. Then do you not use your intellect?79 (133-138)


وَإِنَّ يُونُسَ لَمِنَ الْمُرْسَلِينَ. إِذْ أَبَقَ إِلَى الْفُلْكِ الْمَشْحُونِ. فَسَاهَمَ فَكَانَ مِنْ الْمُدْحَضِينَ. فَالْتَقَمَهُ الْحُوتُ وَهُوَ مُلِيمٌ. فَلَوْلَا أَنَّهُ كَانَ مِنْ الْمُسَبِّحِينَ. لَلَبِثَ فِي بَطْنِهِ إِلَى يَوْمِ يُبْعَثُونَ. فَنَبَذْنَاهُ بِالْعَرَاء وَهُوَ سَقِيمٌ. وَأَنبَتْنَا عَلَيْهِ شَجَرَةً مِّن يَقْطِينٍ. وَأَرْسَلْنَاهُ إِلَى مِئَةِ أَلْفٍ أَوْ يَزِيدُونَ. فَآمَنُوا فَمَتَّعْنَاهُمْ إِلَى حِينٍ.

Similarly, Jonah80 too was among the messengers. Recall when [forsaking his nation,] he ran towards the ship81 which had become packed with passengers.82 Then [the ship was caught in a storm and at their bidding83] he cast lots [then it so happened that it fell upon him84 and] he was thrown into the sea.85 Then a fish swallowed him86 and he had become blameworthy.87 So, if he had not become those who glorify God, he would have remained in the belly of the fish until the day when people will be raised. [However, he glorified God;88] Thereupon We placed him in an open field and at that time he was exhausted. We [looked upon him with more favour] and made a climbing tree grow over him89 and [to those whom he was assigned,] We sent him [again] to [the same] one hundred thousand, in fact to even more.90 Then they accepted faith; so, We gave them the respite to live till a period of time.91 (139-148)


فَاسْتَفْتِهِمْ أَلِرَبِّكَ الْبَنَاتُ وَلَهُمُ الْبَنُونَ. أَمْ خَلَقْنَا الْمَلَائِكَةَ إِنَاثًا وَهُمْ شَاهِدُونَ. أَلَا إِنَّهُم مِّنْ إِفْكِهِمْ لَيَقُولُونَ. وَلَدَ اللَّهُ وَإِنَّهُمْ لَكَاذِبُونَ. أَصْطَفَى الْبَنَاتِ عَلَى الْبَنِينَ. مَا لَكُمْ كَيْفَ تَحْكُمُونَ. أَفَلَا تَذَكَّرُونَ. أَمْ لَكُمْ سُلْطَانٌ مُّبِينٌ. فَأْتُوا بِكِتَابِكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ.

 [If they still not believe,] ask them:92 “Are there daughters for your Lord and sons for them?”93 Or have We made angels as women and they were observing this at that time? Listen! In reality, they are only saying what they have fabricated themselves: “God has given birth to children,” and they are absolute liars. Has God preferred daughters to sons? 94 What has come over you; what sort of a judgement do you make? Then do you not use your senses?95 Or do you have a clear argument [from the Book of God]? So, bring your book if you are truthful.96 (149-157)


وَجَعَلُوا بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَ الْجِنَّةِ نَسَبًا وَلَقَدْ عَلِمَتِ الْجِنَّةُ إِنَّهُمْ لَمُحْضَرُونَ. سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ. إِلَّا عِبَادَ اللَّهِ الْمُخْلَصِينَ. فَإِنَّكُمْ وَمَا تَعْبُدُونَ. مَا أَنتُمْ عَلَيْهِ بِفَاتِنِينَ. إِلَّا مَنْ هُوَ صَالِ الْجَحِيمِ.

They have also made up a relation between God and the jinn. And the jinn know very well that if they show disobedience, they too will definitely come apprehended – God is exalted from the statements they make97 – Only the chosen servants of God will remain secure [from being seized by Him.] So, you and your deities, you can make only those obsessed with them who are to enter Hell [because of their misdeeds.] (158-163)


وَمَا مِنَّا إِلَّا لَهُ مَقَامٌ مَّعْلُومٌ. وَإِنَّا لَنَحْنُ الصَّافُّونَ. وَإِنَّا لَنَحْنُ الْمُسَبِّحُونَ.

[They regard us to be daughters of God?98 Certainly not!] Such is Our matter that each one of us has a specified position99 and as far as we are concerned, we only stand arrayed in rows in His presence and we are [continuously] busy in glorifying Him.100 (164-166)


وَإِنْ كَانُوا لَيَقُولُونَ. لَوْ أَنَّ عِندَنَا ذِكْرًا مِّنْ الْأَوَّلِينَ. لَكُنَّا عِبَادَ اللَّهِ الْمُخْلَصِينَ. فَكَفَرُوا بِهِ فَسَوْفَ يَعْلَمُونَ.

These people101 used to say: “Had the reminder102 of the earlier generations been with us, we would have been the special servants of God.”103 [But when it came to them,] they denied it. So, soon they will know what its fate now will be. (167-170)


وَلَقَدْ سَبَقَتْ كَلِمَتُنَا لِعِبَادِنَا الْمُرْسَلِينَ. إِنَّهُمْ لَهُمُ الْمَنصُورُونَ. وَإِنَّ جُندَنَا لَهُمُ الْغَالِبُونَ. فَتَوَلَّ عَنْهُمْ حَتَّى حِينٍ. وَأَبْصِرْهُمْ فَسَوْفَ يُبْصِرُونَ.

 [You are a messenger of God and] Our verdict has already been delivered about servants who We send as messengers that only they will be worthy of help. And indeed only Our army is destined to prevail.104 So, ignore them awhile and keep observing them; for soon they will also observe. (171-175)


أَفَبِعَذَابِنَا يَسْتَعْجِلُونَ. فَإِذَا نَزَلَ بِسَاحَتِهِمْ فَسَاء صَبَاحُ الْمُنذَرِينَ. وَتَوَلَّ عَنْهُمْ حَتَّى حِينٍ. وَأَبْصِرْ فَسَوْفَ يُبْصِرُونَ.

Then are they asking to hasten Our torment? So, when it will land in their open space, very evil will be the morning105 of those who had been warned of it. [So, leave them] and ignore them awhile and keep observing them; for soon they too will observe. (176-179)


سُبْحَانَ رَبِّكَ رَبِّ الْعِزَّةِ عَمَّا يَصِفُوْنَ. وَسَلَامٌ عَلَى الْمُرْسَلِيْنَ. وَالْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْنَ.

Your Lord, endowed with honour is exalted from all what they state and peace be to His messengers106 and gratitude is for God alone, Lord of the worlds.107 (180-182)


(Translated by Dr Shehzad Saleem)






1. The actual words are: وَالصَّافَّاتِ صَفًّا. The وَ signifies an oath. Such oaths are mentioned in the Qur’an not because what is sworn on has any sanctity but because it bears witness to a certain premise. The translation keeps this aspect in consideration. Concomitant indications show that these oaths refer to angels who are in the Almighty’s presence and stand arrayed before Him. Verse 75 of Surah al-Zumar mentions them.

2. Ie., when they try to enter the Mala’–i A‘la to eavesdrop.

3. Ie., they praise and glorify God. It is also evident that there exists a sequence in these attributes the way it exists in our prayers: we first stand arrayed before God, then seek refuge from the devils and then glorify and extol God.

4. This is the premise to which the oaths bear witness. The implication is that those who they regard to have a share in God’s divinity themselves bear witness that they are servants of God and are persistenly busy in glorifying and extolling Him.

5. This is the second consecutive enunciative (khabar). In the verse the word مَغَارب is suppressed after مَشَارِق because of concomitant indications and these plurals express their vastness in accordance with principles of the language. The implication is that in the unfathomable universe of God, there is no one except He Who rules even the farthest parts of it. He is the omnipresent Lord.

6. This refers to the heavens which we see with our eyes and observe through our telescopes. The Qur’an (65:14) has informed us that above it there are six other heavens, each of which has a planet that is inhabited like our earth.

7. Earlier the notions of the Idolaters about the angels were refuted. Now it is clarified about the jinn as well that they certainly do not have any knowledge of the unseen world. Hence people who try to make a relationship between them and God and worship them are absolutely foolish.

8. Ie., the angels and the jinn etc. The mind goes towards them because the مَّنۡ  in the مَّنۡ خَلَقۡنَا expression generally refers to living beings having intellect.

9. Ie., from the sticking clay which is found even now in large quantities with God. Hence neither at that time was it a hassle to create them nor is it the case now.

10. Here the Qur’an has very eloquently depicted the fear and horror these people will encounter.

11. This obviously will be the rejoinder by the angels.

12. The actual words are الَّذِیۡنَ ظَلَمُوۡا ie  اَنْفُسَهُمْ الَّذِیۡنَ ظَلَمُوۡا. This expression of the Qur’an refers to polytheism which is the greatest injustice. And a person does not do this injustice to others but to his own self.

13. This is the picture of humiliation about which it was earlier said: “Yes will be raised and also be humiliated.”

14. The actual words are: تَاۡتُوۡنَنَا عَنِ الۡیَمِیۡنِ (you would come to us from the right). After them the words الشِّمَالِ عَنِ وَ (and from the left) should have been mentioned. However, the leaders did not allow them to finish their words. Thus the Qur’an too has left it the way it is to portray the situation.

15. Ie., what the Almighty had stated in response to Satan that He would fill Hell with him and his followers.

16. This is because the Almighty has sent each person with the sense that he can distinguish good from evil. Thus the excuse of the followers that their leaders were the cause of their error will not be acceptable on that day.

17. Ie., he certainly is not is a mad person nor a poet. This answer has been given to the Quraysh and in this way the discourse has been brought in accordance with the situation of that time.

18. Ie., the fulfillment of the prophecies of all messengers from Abraham (sws) to Jesus (sws). This is a very clear proof of him being a true messenger.

19. Ie., those who because of their faith and deeds will become entitled to be chosen for God’s Paradise.

20. Ie., a sustenance which will be in accordance with their choice, it will be their own selection and known in every respect and will not be a cause of aversion or lethargy in any way.

21. The words that they will sit mutually facing each other are meant to express their mutual love and affection. The implication is that they will not sit with faces in opposite directions; on the contrary, they will sit in a manner that they attentively look towards and converse with one another.

22. This signifies the modesty and bashfulness of women. The Arabs considered this the greatest beauty of a woman.

23. All these comparisons reflect the specific taste of the Arabs because they were the foremost addressees of the Qur’an. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: 

… In classical Arabic literature, beautiful women are often compared with the eggs of an ostrich. Deliberation on this simile shows that it gives due regard to the chastity, protectedness and colour of women. The word مَّكْنُونٌ signifies that they are pure and untouched. It needs to be kept in mind that the Arabs were very sensitive and touchy in protecting their un-married women. It is known that an ostrich may go as far as to sacrifice his life in order to protect its eggs. The simile also denotes that these eggs are golden in colour. Arab poets often mention the golden complexion of beautiful women. The attribute صفراء (yellowish-golden) is very common for them for a beloved. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 6, 467) 

24. Ie., see him right from his place and also be able to talk to him. The extent of power and ability people will have when they enter Paradise can be imagined from this.

25. The happiness and bliss these words reflect can be seen by every person who has a flair for langauge. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: 

… In other words, this is the greatest of successes. Deliberation on the style of these verses reveals that their success will be so far beyond their expectations that even after seeing it they will not believe it and seek the attestation of their companions. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 6, 468) 

26. This is a remark by God on his statement.

27. This is said because when the addressees of the Qur’an heard that the tree of zaqqum will be found in Hell, instead of learning a lesson from it, they would mockingly say: “Listen to this new comic story: they say that trees will also sprout in the blazing fire of Hell.”

28. Ie., they may say what they like; it is a tree which in fact sprouts and grows in Hell.

29. This is an imaginative comparison. Such comparisons exist in every language of the world. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi has explained it. He writes:  

… At times, a comparison is made with an imaginary entity but it is more comprehensible to the mind than tangible and observable entities. For example, at times we call a person with an unruly appearance and disheveled hair a ghost. Though a ghost is an imaginative entity yet every person has some concept of a ghost in his mind. Seldom does any other comparison match the way this comparison portrays such a person. In a similar manner, here the leaves and thorns of the tree of zaqqum are likened to heads of devils. It is as if several devils are standing with their heads naked. This comparison is imaginary; yet since a horrible concept of devils is found in the minds, merely listening to it makes the body shudder. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 6, 469)  

30. Ie., after the feast. The word نُزُل  is used for it in the verse. It refers to the first feast which is given to guests as soon as they arrive. The implication is that as soon as they enter, they will get the fruits of the zaqqum tree and boiling water as an initial meal. After that, they will be sent to the real abode for eternal punishment.

31. It is evident from this that the greatest factor of going astray is blind following of forefathers and elders.

32. This is a reference to the pleading by Noah (sws) after he had lost all hope in his nation accepting faith. It is known that his effort towards this end spanned a very long time. This pleading has been mentioned in verses 117-118 of Surah al-Shu‘ara’.

33. The actual word used is: أَهْل. Although this word is also used for someone’s companions and followers, yet it is known about Noah (sws) that the majority of people who professed faith in him were his family. Thus other believers should be subsumed under them.

34. Thus it is generally believed that later generations were mostly the progeny of his sons: Sam, Ham and Japeth.

35. In this sentence, the object of the verb تَرَكْنَا and a governing noun after عَلَی are suppressed in accordance with linguistic principles. The implication is that though the people of his nation did not believe in him, yet later a large group came into existence for a long time who followed his ways.

36. This was the first instance of worldly retribution that took place in this world and forever became a reminder of the fact that this same thing is going to happen one day with the whole world

37. Abraham (sws) was born around 2100 BC in the city of Ur in Iraq. He was an individual that belonged to the ‘Amilu tribe which was regarded as the most honourable tribe in that area. His father’s name was Āzar. He was a priest in the place of worship and held a key position in the government. At that time the Nim dynasity ruled there which later became known as Nimrod, an Arabic word.

38. Ie., from this category. Thus in the words of Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi, the two gave the same call to people and both showed the same extent of faith, thoroughness, veracity and sincerity for the cause of God. In other words, after Noah (sws), Abraham (sws) was the most prominent individual of the group referred to earlier by the words: وَتَرَكْنَا عَلَيْهِ فِي الْآخِرِيْنَ.

39. This refers to the heart which is cleansed from every ailment of polytheism and hypocrisy and which has nothing impure in it.

40. Ie., focussed his attention towards God and consigned himself to him with perfect veracity and sincerity.

41. This sentence is an example of profound brevity. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: 

... The implication is that if these people are desirous of other deities besides God, then what exactly is their estimation of God? Are they under the false estimation that God alone is powerless to cater for their needs and to protect them? Is He unable to administer this world independently and that is why they are after finding helpers for him? Are they under the false impression that God cannot be aware of every part of this world and of the circumstances of every person and hence in order to make Himself aware of this information He needs the help of other means and sources? Have they lost hope in His justice and mercy so that they have concocted some intercessors which will help them in procuring His justice and mercy? The implication is that unless a person has all these bad estimations about God he can never be as shameful as to tolerate partners with Him. And if a person has such a bad estimation about God, then he should remember that, God forbid, the Almighty is not devoid of honour and self-esteem so that He will put up with the interference of everyone in His Being and kingdom. On the contrary, He is powerful and strong and has a deep sense of honour. Thus, He will cast into Hell all those who claim to be His partners in His kingdom or make others His associates. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 6, 479)  

42. Ie., in precisely the same way, people of today look towards their watches while raising their wrists. In ancient times, people looked at the stars at night and the sun in the day time in this manner to get an idea of the time.

43. This was probably an instance of some solemn occasion in the place of worship. On such occasions, people generally become tired and fatigued. Abraham (sws) first cast a glance towards the sky to make people realize the time and then directed their attention to his exhaustion. By this, he gave the impression to the guards and custodians of the place of worship that because of fatigue and lateness of the hour, he did not want to go home; rather he wanted to spend the night there. This was an instance of use of well-intended double-meaning words for what he had in mind. It had no semblance of any falsehood in it.

44. Ie., went off to their homes and did not feel anything that could be a cause of concern for them.

45. Ie., went towards the place where the idols had been placed.

46. This is  a reference to the food that was presented to them.

47. This and the previous sarcastic remark shows the state of Abraham at that time: he was very fresh and had no traces of fear in him.

48. The actual words are: فَرَاغَ عَلَيْهِمْ ضَرْبًا بِالْيَمِينِ. Grammatically, the sentence is actually فَرَاغَ عَلَيْهِمْ لِيَضْرِبُهُمْ ضَرْبًا بِالْيَمِيْنِ. The word يَمِيْنِ is used for the right hand, and since the blow struck by the right hand is hefty, here it is used to connote a mighty blow. This measure adopted by Abraham (sws) did not constitute nahi ‘an al-munkar (stopping people from evil), as some people contend. It was done as part of a specific argument on which no objection can be raised. This argument of his has been cited in detail in Surah al-Anbiya’.

49. Ie., not only they, but the wood and stones also from which they carve out their idols as well as the jinn and the angels which these idols symbolically represent in their view. The Qur’an has suppressed some part of the account in accordance with its own style that has been expressed in Surah al-Anbiya’. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi has explained it. He writes:  

… When Abraham (sws) broke the idols, no one came to know of it at that time. Later, when the guards were informed of the incident, they cast the blame on Abraham (sws). They formed this opinion because they had heard him scorn the idols, and had also sounded a warning that he would make a scheme against them. As a result, everyone came running to Abraham (sws) and started questioning him. At first, he made fun of the people and while pointing to the big idol retorted that it was he who must have done all that. At the same time, to make them realize their foolishness asked them to inquire from the idols what has struck them instead of inquiring from him; if they could not subvert a calamity that struck them nor describe it, then what good were they? This argument by Abraham (sws) initially made them feel embarrassed but later emotional frenzy got the better of them and they replied as to how they could ask their idols when Abraham knew that they could not speak. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 6, 482

50. Ie., build a pyre and cast Abraham (sws) into the fire. For this decision of theirs the word used is كَيْد. It is evident from this that they did not utter these words this in front of Abraham (sws). They in fact said to themselves.

51. Ie., they wanted to throw him on the pyre on some pretext. The reason for this probably was that in case of a step taken openly, they could have feared some resistance from Abraham’s family. Thus it is known that in the case of the Prophet (sws) too, the Quraysh chiefs had to adopt a similar ploy.

52. It is explained at another instance of the Qur’an that though they were successful in casting Abraham (sws) into the fire, God did not let any harm come to him and the fire cooled down and became peaceful in entirety for him.

53. This is an expression of migration from his nation after Abraham (sws) had conclusively communicated the truth to them. When people are after killing a warner from God, His messengers are directed in this manner to migrate from them. On such occasions, it is not known what will happen in the future. Thus it is needed that every step that the Lord guide them on whose trust such a big decision has been made. These words express precisely this trust in God.

54. It is evident from this that Abraham (sws) was childless till that time. This is also substantiated from the book of Genesis of the Bible. Thus after severing relations with his family and relatives, this was his natural need which he requested from God.

55. This obviously refers to Ishmael (sws). In verse 112 ahead, the Qur’an itself has clarified that Isaac (sws) was given to Abraham (sws) after he had offered Ishmael (sws) for sacrifice and as a reward for that act. It is also specified in the Book of Genesis of the Bible that Isaac (sws) was born fourteen years after the birth of Ishmael (sws). In verse 39 of Surah Ibrahim, both these sons of Abraham (sws) are mentioned in this sequence. The Qur’an has also mentioned both sons with different attributes. Thus Ishmael is called غُلاَمٌ حَلِيْمُ here, whereas at the place where glad tiding of Isaac’s birth is given, the latter is mentioned as غُلاَمٌ عَلِيْمُ. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: 

… This attribute signifies his steadfastness and fortitude that he showed under the knife of his father. It was a result of this behaviour that the Almighty conferred the titles of صَادِقُ الوَعْد (true to his promises) and صَابِرٌ (patient) and حَلِيْمٌ (steadfast) upon him. It may also be noted that the Qur’an mentions precisely the same quality of حَلِيْمٌ for Abraham (sws). It is evident from this that Ishmael (sws) was the most prominent manifestation of his father’s attributes.  (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 6, 482) 

56. It has been stated earlier that this age was around 13 years. A son is endeared to his father at this age the most. Moroever, Ishmael (sws) was also Abraham’s (sws) sole son and in the life of isolation he was leading after migration, the only means of his mental strength was Ishmael (sws). It can be judged from this the extent of severity of the test mentioned ahead.

57. This style is evident from the discourse itself. This is because had he seen this dream only once, the appropriate style would have been: إِنِّي رَأَيْتُ فِي الْمَنَامِ.

58. The purpose of this question was to have an idea of the son’s courage if Abraham was to go ahead with what he saw in the dream.

59. Ie., in the posture of prostration. It is because this posture is the dearest one to God. Abraham (sws) thus desired that the son be presented to God in this posture.

60. The Almighty had not directly bidden Abraham (sws) to sacrifice his son; He had actually shown him that he was slaughtering his son in a dream and dreams need interpretation. The interpretation of this dream was that he was required to devote his son for the service of God’s House. The dream never meant that Ishmael (sws) was required to be slaughtered. However, the upright servant of God literally followed what he saw in the dream instead of interpreting it. Here the Almighty has expressed utmost love and praise for what Abraham (sws) set out to do by saying that he had actually made the dream come true. The reason is for the manner in which this directive was given, the attitude adopted was more akin to servitude to God. The purpose was also to see whether he interpreted the dream or followed it literally. It is for this reason that it is said ahead that this was an open trial and Abraham (sws) passed it in all respects. Thus it is a fact that Abraham (sws) is an imam of not only those who reflect on the wisdom of a directive more than the directive itself but also those who instantly follow the directive before pondering on its widsom. This is because in case of a test, the latter attitude is the correct one.

61. This is the answer to the conditional clause beginning from لَمَّا. It has actually been suppressed. This is because such is the enormous nature of God’s mercy that must have been roused at that instance that it can only be imagined. If it is expressed in words, it would be much less than its actual majesty and splendour. It has been revealed in the translation because a translation is already a lesser delineation of the original.

62. Ie., God’s mercy is roused for them in the manner it was roused at this instance.

63. This is further praise showered by God on Abraham’s success. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: 

… The trial was not trivial; it was a great one. Abraham (sws) came out of it with flying colours. A trial which is regarded to be great by the Almighty Himself is undoubtedly great. And if Abraham (sws) succeeded in this trial in such a manner that God Himself lauded him by the majestic words قَدۡ صَدَّقۡتَ الرُّءۡیَا (you have fulfilled your dream), then there can be no doubt about the fact that no greater a trial ever took place on this earth and no greater a success was achieved by anyone other than Abraham (sws). (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 6, 487) 

64. This is a reference to the sacrifice which Abraham (sws) offered at that time at God’s behest and to commemorate which every year a great tradition of animal sacrifice was initiated precisely at that date. It is this animal sacrifice that is offered by Muslims in a very thorough way as an optional act of worship in the rituals of hajj and ‘umrah and on the ‘id of al-aḍha. The verse calls it ذِبْحٌ عَظِيْمٌ. It is actually a ransom paid to secure the life of Ishmael (sws). Thus the words stated are: وَفَدَيْنَاهُ بِذِبْحٍ عَظِيمٍ.

65. Ie., reward people with peace and blessings in this way in this world and the next.

66. This is stated in its real essence. It is evident from this that the real splendour of faith is the one which was displayed through Abraham’s attitude.

67. In the case of Isaac (sws), this was the glad tiding that was meant to be given. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: 

… The mere birth of another son was of no significance to Abraham (sws). After Ishmael (sws), his thirst for a child had been quenched. Thus it is evident from the Torah that when he was given the glad tidings of the birth of Isaac (sws), he is reported to have said: “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!” (Genesis, 17:18). However, what could really constitute glad tidings for him was the mention of a son who would not only be righteous, but also be a prophet of God. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 6, 487

68. This sentence expresses sorrow. In other words, the same situation has been created which generally transpires in the case of human beings: even the progeny of such noble and lofty people rebels against God and adopts an injustice like polytheism.

69. After Abraham (sws), these were the most celebrated prophets of God. They lived around 1200 BC.

70. Ie., the Israelites, who in those times were slaves to the Pharaohs of Egypt. God helped them and emancipated them from their slavery. The verse calls it as الْكَرْبِ العَظِيْمِ (great difficulty). This help from the Almighty continued in later times as well. Its details have been mentioned in Surah al-Baqarah.

71. Ie., the Torah. This is because it is precisely this Book in which the shari‘ah of God has been mentioned with fully clarity and in a very organized way.

72. He was from the progeny of Aaron and lived in Jal‘ad. Researchers place him around 850 to 875 BC. He is called Elijah in the Bible. The Israelites never listened to him in his lifetime but after his death became so fond of him that they are now waiting for his return.

73. I.e., the Israelites whose kingdom had become divided into parts by that time. One part was occupied by the progeny of David (sws) and the other was governed by Akhi Abb. Elijah (sws) discharged his obligation of prophethood in both parts.

74. In ancient Semitic languages, this word is used in the meaning of إله. Thus they had given this name to a specific city. Ba‘l was the biggest idol of the Phonecian nation of Lebanon. His wife ‘Astarat was their most prominent female idol. When Akhi Abb the king of the Israelites married Isabel, the princess of Sayda (present Lebanon), the ailment of worshipping Ba‘l spread through her among the Israelites too and sacrifices were offered openly in the name of Ba‘l in the cities of the Israelites. It was this period which when Elijah (sws) was sent as a prophet to them.

75. The actual word is: اِلۡ یَاسِیۡنَ. It is the plural of اِلْيَاس the way the Qur’an has used the plural طُوْرسِيْنِيْن of the word طُوْر on similar lines. In Arabic, just as a plural denotes multiplicity it also denotes vastness or refers to the grandeur of a person or a thing. Here it is used to express grandeur in this writers opinion.

76. The reason that this sentence has been repeated is that reward and punishment is an established practice of God. It manifests itself several times in this world and it will surely do so in the Hereafter too.

77. He was the nephew of Abraham (sws). His nation lived in the area which is in the north of Syria lying between Iraq and Palestine. Today it is called Transjordan. In the Bible, their largest city has been mentioned as Sodom.

78. This refers to the wife of Lot (sws). Without faith and righteous deeds, being a prophet’s wife was of no benefit and she faced the same torment which was faced by Lot’s nation.

79. At the end of each of these prophetic accounts, this verse is repeated. Here, instead of citing it, the attention of the addressees is directed at the purpose for which these accounts are being narrated. The reason is that at times the real purpose is lost in the wake of their lengthy narration. The Qur’an has adopted this style at many instances. Such verses come in between as a warning and then the discourse re-connects.

80. He is called Jonah (sws) in the Bible. It is said that he lived between 860 to 784 BC. He was sent as a prophet to Iraq to guide the Assyrians. Ninevah was their capital and occupied an area of approximately 60 square kilometers.

81. This is a reference to the incident in which Jonah (sws) overcome with the honour of his message – which was not being giving due importance –left his people. As a messenger of God he, however, did not have this right without God’s permission. The word أَبَقَ is used for this reason. It was as if a slave had run away from his master. This anecdote in which Jonah (sws) is rebuked for his behaviour has been narrated to warn the Quraysh and also to inform the Prophet (sws) and his companions that in their case too God would decide the time of their migration. They cannot take this decision on their own and if they ever do so because of the problems they are facing, the law of God is unbiased; it will be implemented on them. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: 

… A prophet is deployed by the Almighty at a frontier where good and evil forces are engaged in a conflict; for this reason, he is not allowed to leave that frontier without the permission of God even for a pious motive. The trials ordained by the Almighty for a prophet have to be endured by him. If he is worried because of one trial it is possible that while trying to save himself from it he ends up facing a greater trial. Similarly, the respite needed by a nation in which the truth is conclusively communicated to it is also essential, as per the established practice of God in this regard. Moreover, it is only God who knows when this has been done. Jonah (sws) out of his own estimation decided that the people of Nineveh would not accept faith even though later events showed that the whole nation had the potential to do so. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 6, 493)  

82. The purpose of this information is to tell that he reached the ship when it was ready to set sail. He too wanted to leave that place as soon as possible. So, he immediately embarked upon it and it set sail for its destination.

83. Ie., at the bidding of the passengers.

84. There was a tradition in those times among those who steered a ship that in case it got stuck in a storm, they would cast lots to see whether some criminal had boarded the ship because of whom this calamity visited them. Then whoever it fell upon, would be thrown into the sea. They believed that without doing this, the ship could not be saved from destruction. It seems that at this instance also this practice was followed and Jonah (sws) was given the responsibility of casting lots. The reason probably for this was that he must have appeared as the most earnest and trustworthy person in the ship.

85. If due deference is given to the word أَبَقَ, Jonah (sws) was regarded as a runaway slave and was cast into the sea for this crime.

86. This probably was a whale because it is only such fish that can swallow a complete human being.

87. Ie., he had become worthy of the punishment he was given. About His prophets, the law of the Almighty is that if they make any such mistake, they are punished in this very world. Thus it is stated in Surah al-Ḥaqqah that if God’s messenger was guilty of concocting something from his own self, he would have been seized by the strong hand of God and his life vein would then have been severed by Him.

88. This is a reference to those words which came out of his mouth at that time: There is no deity except you, O Lord. Glory be to you. Indeed, I have been unjust to my soul. The Almighty has cited these words uttered by him in verse 87 of Surah al-Anbiya. These are the best words of forgiveness which a person can say when he has done something wrong. Thus these words became a means of his salvation.

89. So that he could remain secure from heat in its shade and recovered his senses.

90. The actual words are: إِلَى مِئَةِ أَلْفٍ أَوْ يَزِيدُونَ. The word اَوْ (or) also means بَلْ (in fact) and it is used in Arabic in this meaning. It is evident from Biblical scriptures that those who professed faith were one hundred and fifty thousand.

91. There is a warning in this for the Quraysh: they can only live now if they have faith. If they do not do so, they will destroyed the way earlier people who denied their respective messengers were.

92. The actual word is فَاسْتَفْتِهِمْ In the beginning of the surah, after a negation was made of the divinity of the angels and the jinn, it was precisely this word from which the discourse diverted to warning the Quraysh and assuring the Prophet (sws). After adducing from the history of the prophets, the discourse returns to the issue of divinity. This is a common style of the Qur’an in which the closing section of a surah once again brings up what is mentioned in the opening one. This linguistic style is called ‘awd ‘ala# al-bad’ (return to the beginning)

93. The implication is that in the first place ascribing sons and daughters to God is utter foolishness; however, they have raised their foolishness to the next level by imputing something to God they never like for themselves.

94. Ie., as per their contention and has put up with something for Himself which they would never put up with if they had the opportunity. Here the style adopted is to direct the attention of the addressees on their foolishness by furnishing arguments from premises they fully acknowledge. The purpose is not to humiliate anyone.

95. The implication is that this can be understood with slight deliberation. Then why do they not pay heed?

96. It is evident from this that something can be said about God either on the basis of established facts derived from human nature and intellect or on the basis of a book of God. No one can say something about Him on his own behalf. This is tantamount to imputing falsehood to God.

97. This is a parenthetical sentence that has been inserted in the discourse to make an immediate negation. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: 

… This is meant to show that a certain thing is so evil and horrific that the speaker is not even ready to wait for the sentence to be completed. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 6, 499)

98. Here right in the middle of the discourse, Gabriel has negated all their foolish notions mentioned above. In other words, the leader of those who are being regarded as deities has himself expressed their status before God.

99. Ie., such is their matter that they cannot even cross limits not to speak of being part of God’s divinity. They have the status which has been decreed by God and dare not exceed it the slightest.

100. Ie., the angels are absolving God from the horrific things they vehemently impute to God. This is a reference to their prayer. At the beginning of the surah, this was referred to as: فَالتَّالِيَاتِ ذِكْرًا.

101. Ie., the Quraysh of Makkah who are the addressees of the surah.

102. This refers to the Book of God. The actual word used for it is: ذِكْر. This word has been used in the Qur’an at many instances for the Qur’an itself. The purpose is to express the fact that the Books of God were primarily revealed as reminders.

103. Precisely the same statement is cited in verse 42 of Surah al-Fatir. The implication is that like other nations, they would never have denied the reminder and would have in fact followed it and showed how to become servants of God.

104. This is a reference to the established practice of God which has been mentioned in the Qur’an at a number of instances: the adversaries of messengers can never subdue them; God necessarily helps His messengers and they are destined to prevail; if their addressees do not desist from their ill-ways, they are destroyed. The Qur’an here has also stated that if needed God sends down His army of angels (جُنْدَنَا) to achieve this objective

105. These words are used because in Arabia the time of plunder was primarily morning. The slogan واصباحا carries precisely this meaning.

106. The glad tidings mentioned earlier were meant for all messengers. Here the reference is to Muhammad (sws) in particular.

107. This is because God’s court of justice manifests itself like this and becomes a testimony of perfect justice for the believers which has to appear in the Hereafter.

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