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


بِسْمِ اللّٰهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ

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


اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّٰهِ فَاطِرِ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالْاَرْضِ جَاعِلِ الْمَلٰٓئِكَةِ رُسُلًا اُولِیْ اَجْنِحَةٍ مَّثْنٰي وَثُلٰثَ وَرُبٰعَ يَزِيْدُ فِی الْخَلْقِ مَا يَشَآءُ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ عَلٰی كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيْرٌ.

Worthy of gratitude is the God, creator of the heavens and the earth, Who makes angels messengers1 that have two, three and four wings.2 He increases a physical form in whatever way He intends.3 Surely, God has power over everything. (1)


مَا يَفْتَحِ اللّٰهُ لِلنَّاسِ مِنْ رَّحْمَةٍ فَلَا مُمْسِكَ لَهَا وَمَا يُمْسِكْ فَلَا مُرْسِلَ لَهُ مِنْ بَعْدِهِ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيْزُ الْحَكِيْمُ.

Whatever blessing God unravels for people, none can stop it and whatever He withholds, none can unravel it after His stopping.4 He alone is Powerful and Wise. (2)


يٰاَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اذْكُرُوْا نِعْمَتَ اللّٰهِ عَلَيْكُمْ هَلْ مِنْ خَالِقٍ غَيْرُ اللّٰهِ يَرْزُقُكُمْ مِّنَ السَّمَآءِ وَالْاَرْضِ لَآ اِلٰهَ اِلَّا هُوَ فَاَنّٰی تُؤْفَكُوْنَ.

[For this reason,] People! Pay heed to the favours God has done to you. Is there any other creator than God Who provides you with sustenance from the heavens and the earth? No, there is no God except Him.5 Then where do you lose your sanity? (3)


وَاِنْ يُّكَذِّبُوْكَ فَقَدْ كُذِّبَتْ رُسُلٌ مِّنْ قَبْلِكَ وَاِلَی اللّٰهِ تُرْجَعُ الْاُمُوْرُ.

[In spite of this, O Prophet] if they deny you, grieve not the slightest because before you many messengers had also been similarly denied. [God is watching them] and all these matters shall finally be presented before God alone. (4)


يٰاَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اِنَّ وَعْدَ اللّٰهِ حَقٌّ فَلَا تَغُرَّنَّكُمُ الْحَيٰوةُ الدُّنْيَا وَلَا يَغُرَّنَّكُمْ بِاللّٰهِ الْغَرُوْرُ. اِنَّ الشَّيْطٰنَ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ فَاتَّخِذُوْهُ عَدُوًّا اِنَّمَا يَدْعُوْا حِزْبَهُ لِيَكُوْنُوْا مِنْ اَصْحٰبِ السَّعِيْرِ. اَلَّذِيْنَ كَفَرُوْا لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ شَدِيْدٌ وَالَّذِيْنَ اٰمَنُوْا وَعَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ لَهُمْ مَّغْفِرَةٌ وَّاَجْرٌ كَبِيْرٌ.

People! The promise of God is certain. So, let not the life of this world deceive you in any way, nor let that great deceiver6 ever deceive you about God. In reality, Satan is your enemy. Hence, you too consider him as your enemy. He calls his faction to himself so that they can be among the dwellers of Hell. [So, be on guard;] those who have disbelieved, for them there is a grave torment there and those who have accepted faith and have done righteous deeds, for them is forgiveness and a great reward. (5-7)


اَفَمَنْ زُيِّنَ لَهُ سُوْٓءُ عَمَلِهِ فَرَاٰهُ حَسَنًا فَاِنَّ اللّٰهَ يُضِلُّ مَنْ يَّشَآءُ وَيَهْدِيْ مَنْ يَّشَآءُ فَلَا تَذْهَبْ نَفْسُكَ عَلَيْهِمْ حَسَرٰتٍ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ عَلِيْمٌۣ بِمَا يَصْنَعُوْنَ.

[If they do not believe, it is no fault of yours, O Prophet!] Then can you guide him whose foul deed has been made fair to his eyes and he thinks that it is good?7 Because it is God only [Who according to His law] leads astray whomsoever He wants and guides whomsoever He desires. So, do not fret by expressing sorrow on them8 because God is fully aware of whatever they are doing. (8)


وَاللّٰهُ الَّذِيْ اَرْسَلَ الرِّيٰحَ فَتُثِيْرُ سَحَابًا فَسُقْنٰهُ اِلٰی بَلَدٍ مَّيِّتٍ فَاَحْيَيْنَا بِهِ الْاَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا كَذٰلِكَ النُّشُوْرُ.وَاللّٰهُ الَّذِيْ اَرْسَلَ الرِّيٰحَ فَتُثِيْرُ سَحَابًا فَسُقْنٰهُ اِلٰي بَلَدٍ مَّيِّتٍ فَاَحْيَيْنَا بِهِ الْاَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا كَذٰلِكَ النُّشُوْرُ.

[People!] It is God Who sent the winds; then they drive forth the clouds; then We propelled them to a dead piece of land. Then through their water, enlivened that land after it had died. Similar will be the way in which people shall be raised up again.9  (9)


مَنْ كَانَ يُرِيْدُ الْعِزَّةَ فَلِلّٰهِ الْعِزَّةُ جَمِيْعًا اِلَيْهِ يَصْعَدُ الْكَلِمُ الطَّيِّبُ وَالْعَمَلُ الصَّالِحُ يَرْفَعُهُ وَالَّذِيْنَ يَمْكُرُوْنَ السَّيِّاٰتِ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ شَدِيْدٌ وَمَكْرُ اُولٰٓئِكَ هُوَ يَبُوْرُ.

He who wants honour [there] should request it from God because all honour is for God only.10 Pure words11 reach His presence and good deeds lift them upwards. And those who are plotting evil schemes,12 for them is a grave torment and all their schemes will finally be defeated. (10)


وَاللّٰهُ خَلَقَكُمْ مِّنْ تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ مِنْ نُّطْفَةٍ ثُمَّ جَعَلَكُمْ اَزْوَاجًا وَمَا تَحْمِلُ مِنْ اُنْثٰي وَلَا تَضَعُ اِلَّا بِعِلْمِهِ وَمَا يُعَمَّرُ مِنْ مُّعَمَّرٍ وَّلَا يُنْقَصُ مِنْ عُمُرِهِ اِلَّا فِيْ كِتٰبٍ اِنَّ ذٰلِكَ عَلَي اللّٰهِ يَسِيْرٌ.

And [O People!] God created you from clay; then from a drop of water; then made you in pairs. Without His knowledge neither does a woman conceive nor give birth; neither a person having age is given years nor is his age reduced except that it is also written in a book. [He does not need help for any of these tasks.] In reality, this is quite easy for God.13 (11)


وَمَا يَسْتَوِي الْبَحْرٰنِ هٰذَا عَذْبٌ فُرَاتٌ سَآئِغٌ شَرَابُهُ وَهٰذَا مِلْحٌ اُجَاجٌ وَمِنْ كُلٍّ تَاْكُلُوْنَ لَحْمًا طَرِيًّا وَّتَسْتَخْرِجُوْنَ حِلْيَةً تَلْبَسُوْنَهَا وَتَرَي الْفُلْكَ فِيْهِ مَوَاخِرَ لِتَبْتَغُوْا مِنْ فَضْلِهِ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُوْنَ. يُوْلِجُ الَّيْلَ فِي النَّهَارِ وَيُوْلِجُ النَّهَارَ فِی الَّيْلِ وَسَخَّرَ الشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ كُلٌّ يَّجْرِيْ لِاَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّي ذٰلِكُمُ اللّٰهُ رَبُّكُمْ لَهُ الْمُلْكُ وَالَّذِيْنَ تَدْعُوْنَ مِنْ دُوْنِهِ مَا يَمْلِكُوْنَ مِنْ قِطْمِيْرٍ. اِنْ تَدْعُوْهُمْ لَا يَسْمَعُوْا دُعَآءَكُمْ وَلَوْ سَمِعُوْا مَا اسْتَجَابُوْا لَكُمْ وَيَوْمَ الْقِيٰمَةِ يَكْفُرُوْنَ بِشِرْكِكُمْ وَلَا يُنَبِّئُكَ مِثْلُ خَبِيْرٍ.

[This world is a place of conflicting elements among which God creates harmony. Reflect that] both seas are not the same. One is sweet, quenches thirst, pleasant to drink and one is sour and you obtain fresh meat from both and eat it and take out ornaments you wear. And you see the ships cutting across that water so that you can obtain the bounty of God [from far off lands] and so that you may thank Him. He makes the night enter the day and the day enter the night and He has subdued the sun and the moon. Both are moving until an appointed time. It is this God Who is your Lord! Sovereignty is His and those who you call upon besides Him do not even own the crust of a date-seed. If you call them, they will not hear your call and even if they hear it, they will not be able to respond to it and on the Day of Judgement will deny your polytheism. And none can inform you [of these facts] the way one who is informed will.14 (12-14)


يٰاَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اَنْتُمُ الْفُقَرَآءُ اِلَی اللّٰهِ وَاللّٰهُ هُوَ الْغَنِيُّ الْحَمِيْدُ. اِنْ يَّشَاْ يُذْهِبْكُمْ وَيَاْتِ بِخَلْقٍ جَدِيْدٍ. وَمَا ذٰلِكَ عَلَي اللّٰهِ بِعَزِيْزٍ.

O People! [Value this knowledge and reminding from Him.] It is you who are in need of God. [He does no need of your faith.] God is self-sufficient and has praiseworthy attributes. If He wants, He can take you away and bring forth a new creation here [in your place]. This is not the slightest difficult for God. (15-17)


وَلَا تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِّزْرَ اُخْرٰي وَاِنْ تَدْعُ مُثْقَلَةٌ اِلٰي حِمْلِهَا لَا يُحْمَلْ مِنْهُ شَيْءٌ وَّلَوْ كَانَ ذَا قُرْبٰي اِنَّمَا تُنْذِرُ الَّذِيْنَ يَخْشَوْنَ رَبَّهُمْ بِالْغَيْبِ وَاَقَامُوا الصَّلٰوةَ وَمَنْ تَزَكّٰي فَاِنَّمَا يَتَزَكّٰي لِنَفْسِهِ وَاِلَي اللّٰهِ الْمَصِيْرُ.

[So, be on guard! On the Day of Judgement] no bearer of burden will bear someone else’s burden. And if a person laden by his burden will call out to share it, nothing shall be shared from it even if [the one who is called] is near of kin.15 [If they do not listen, leave them to themselves O Prophet!] You can warn only those who fear their Lord without seeing him and have remained diligent in offering the prayer.16 [This is a call for purification] and he who receives purification, does so for himself and [one day] everyone shall have to return to God. (18)


وَمَا يَسْتَوِي الْاَعْمٰی وَالْبَصِيْرُ. وَلَا الظُّلُمٰتُ وَلَا النُّوْرُ. وَلَا الظِّلُّ وَلَا الْحَرُوْرُ. وَمَا يَسْتَوِي الْاَحْيَآءُ وَلَا الْاَمْوَاتُ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ يُسْمِعُ مَنْ يَّشَآءُ وَمَا اَنْتَ بِمُسْمِعٍ مَّنْ فِی الْقُبُوْرِ. اِنْ اَنْتَ اِلَّا نَذِيْرٌ. اِنَّا اَرْسَلْنٰكَ بِالْحَقِّ بَشِيْرًا وَّنَذِيْرًا وَاِنْ مِّنْ اُمَّةٍ اِلَّا خَلَا فِيْهَا نَذِيْرٌ. وَاِنْ يُّكَذِّبُوْكَ فَقَدْ كَذَّبَ الَّذِيْنَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ جَآءَتْهُمْ رُسُلُهُمْ بِالْبَيِّنٰتِ وَبِالزُّبُرِ وَبِالْكِتٰبِ الْمُنِيْرِ. ثُمَّ اَخَذْتُ الَّذِيْنَ كَفَرُوْا فَكَيْفَ كَانَ نَكِيْرِ.

[All your addressees are not the same.] In reality, the blind and those who can see are not equal. Light and expansive darkness are also not equal, neither sunlight and shade nor the living and the dead can be equal. Indeed, only God [according to His law17] grants the urge to listen to whomsoever He desires. You cannot make these dead in the graves hear – you are only a warner. We have sent you with truth as a deliverer of glad tidings and warnings. [Before this also,] there was no community to which a warner was not sent.18 If these people deny you, this is nothing new because those before them had similarly denied as well.19 To them also their messengers had come with clear arguments, scriptures and a radiant book.20 Then I seized their disbelievers; so, see how was My curse on them! (19-26)


اَلَمْ تَرَ اَنَّ اللّٰهَ اَنْزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَآءِ مَآءً فَاَخْرَجْنَا بِهِ ثَمَرٰتٍ مُّخْتَلِفًا اَلْوَانُهَا وَمِنَ الْجِبَالِ جُدَدٌ بِيْضٌ وَّحُمْرٌ مُّخْتَلِفٌ اَلْوَانُهَا وَغَرَابِيْبُ سُوْدٌ. وَمِنَ النَّاسِ وَالدَّوَآبِّ وَالْاَنْعَامِ مُخْتَلِفٌ اَلْوَانُهُ كَذٰلِكَ اِنَّمَا يَخْشَي اللّٰهَ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ الْعُلَمٰٓؤُا اِنَّ اللّٰهَ عَزِيْزٌ غَفُوْرٌ.

Have you not seen that God has sent down water from the sky; then from it We produced fruits of various kinds and among the mountains also are ones white and red with different streaks and jet black also.21 Similarly, there are various streaks of colour too among human beings, beasts and cattle.22 [Hence everything should not be expected from everyone.23] In reality, only those among the servants of God shall fear Him who are endowed with knowledge.24 Indeed, God is Powerful and Forgiving.25 (27-28)


اِنَّ الَّذِيْنَ يَتْلُوْنَ كِتٰبَ اللّٰهِ وَاَقَامُوا الصَّلٰوةَ وَاَنْفَقُوْا مِمَّا رَزَقْنٰهُمْ سِرًّا وَّعَلَانِيَةً يَّرْجُوْنَ تِجَارَةً لَّنْ تَبُوْرَ. لِيُوَفِّيَهُمْ اُجُوْرَهُمْ وَيَزِيْدَهُمْ مِّنْ فَضْلِهِ اِنَّهُ غَفُوْرٌ شَكُوْرٌ. وَالَّذِيْ اَوْحَيْنَآ اِلَيْكَ مِنَ الْكِتٰبِ هُوَ الْحَقُّ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ بِعِبَادِه لَخَبِيْرٌ بَصِيْرٌ.

[O Prophet! Among your addressees] those who recite the Book of God, are diligent in offering the prayer and have been spending openly and secretly [in the way of God] from the sustenance We have given them, undoubtedly should expect a trade which shall never incur loss.26 They expect this so that God give them full reward of their deeds and also increase it for them from His grace. Indeed, God is Forgiving and One Who accepts.27 [Such are the people who will accept this call.28 Tell them:] The Book that We have revealed to you, it only is the truth29 in confirmation of the prophecies that already exist. Indeed, God is aware of His servants, All-Seeing.30 (29-31)


ثُمَّ اَوْرَثْنَا الْكِتٰبَ الَّذِيْنَ اصْطَفَيْنَا مِنْ عِبَادِنَا فَمِنْهُمْ ظَالِمٌ لِّنَفْسِه وَمِنْهُمْ مُّقْتَصِدٌ وَمِنْهُمْ سَابِقٌۣ بِالْخَيْرٰتِ بِاِذْنِ اللّٰهِ ذٰلِكَ هُوَ الْفَضْلُ الْكَبِيْرُ. جَنّٰتُ عَدْنٍ يَّدْخُلُوْنَهَا يُحَلَّوْنَ فِيْهَا مِنْ اَسَاوِرَ مِنْ ذَهَبٍ وَّلُؤْلُؤًا وَلِبَاسُهُمْ فِيْهَا حَرِيْرٌ. وَقَالُوا الْحَمْدُ لِلّٰهِ الَّذِيْ اَذْهَبَ عَنَّا الْحَزَنَ اِنَّ رَبَّنَا لَغَفُوْرٌ شَكُوْرُ. اِلَّذِيْ اَحَلَّنَا دَارَ الْمُقَامَةِ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ لَا يَمَسُّنَا فِيْهَا نَصَبٌ وَّلَا يَمَسُّنَا فِيْهَا لُغُوْبٌ.

[Precisely this truth was with the People of the Book as well. But they did not give it due importance.] Then We made those people the heirs of Our Book who We have selected from Our servants31 [for this honour.] So, some of them are unjust to their souls32 some who are on the middle path33 and some who by God’s grace take lead in virtues.34 This, in fact, is a great blessing.35 For them are eternal orchards which they shall enter. There they shall be decked with bracelets of gold and pearls and their robes there shall be of silk.36 And [after receiving these blessings,] they will say: “Gratitude is to the God Who has delivered us from every sorrow.37 In reality, Our Lord is forgiving, accepting, Who with His grace has landed us in this House of eternal stay. Here, we shall neither suffer any hardship nor shall we get tired.” (32-35)


وَالَّذِيْنَ كَفَرُوْا لَهُمْ نَارُ جَهَنَّمَ لَا يُقْضٰي عَلَيْهِمْ فَيَمُوْتُوْا وَلَا يُخَفَّفُ عَنْهُمْ مِّنْ عَذَابِهَا كَذٰلِكَ نَجْزِيْ كُلَّ كَفُوْرٍ. وَهُمْ يَصْطَرِخُوْنَ فِيْهَا رَبَّنَآ اَخْرِجْنَا نَعْمَلْ صَالِحًا غَيْرَ الَّذِيْ كُنَّا نَعْمَلُ اَوَلَمْ نُعَمِّرْكُمْ مَّا يَتَذَكَّرُ فِيْهِ مَنْ تَذَكَّرَ وَجَآءَكُمُ النَّذِيْرُ فَذُوْقُوْا فَمَا لِلظّٰلِمِيْنَ مِنْ نَّصِيْرٍ. اِنَّ اللّٰهَ عٰلِمُ غَيْبِ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالْاَرْضِ اِنَّهُ عَلِيْمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُوْرِ.

On the other hand, those who have disbelieved, for them is the Fire of Hell. Neither will death come to them so that they die nor will its torment be lessened a little so that they may breathe a while. We punish every ingrate in this manner. They will cry out in it: “Our Lord! Take us out. Now we will do virtuous deeds; not like what we would do [before.]” – Did We not give you a long enough life so that he who wants to be reminded could have been reminded in it and a warner had also come to you [from God]?38 So, taste now the flavour of what you did: there is no helper of the unjust here. [People! No one will have any opportunity there to present excuses before God.] Undoubtedly, God knows every unknown of the heavens and the earth. In reality, He even knows the secrets concealed in the hearts. (36-38)


هُوَ الَّذِيْ جَعَلَكُمْ خَلٰٓئِفَ فِي الْاَرْضِ فَمَنْ كَفَرَ فَعَلَيْهِ كُفْرُهُ وَلَا يَزِيْدُ الْكٰفِرِيْنَ كُفْرُهُمْ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ اِلَّا مَقْتًا وَلَا يَزِيْدُ الْكٰفِرِيْنَ كُفْرُهُمْ اِلَّا خَسَارًا.

It is He alone Who in this land has made you the inheritors of the earlier ones.39 [Now it is up to you whether you believe or disbelieve.] Then he who disbelieved, he alone shall face the evil consequences of his disbelief and in the sight of God the disbelief of the disbelievers is only a means of increasing His anger, and the disbelief of the disbelievers only increases their loss.  (39)


قُلْ اَرَءَيْتُمْ شُرَكَآءَكُمُ الَّذِيْنَ تَدْعُوْنَ مِنْ دُوْنِ اللّٰهِ اَرُوْنِيْ مَاذَا خَلَقُوْا مِنَ الْاَرْضِ اَمْ لَهُمْ شِرْكٌ فِي السَّمٰوٰتِ اَمْ اٰتَيْنٰهُمْ كِتٰبًا فَهُمْ عَلٰی بَيِّنَتٍ مِّنْهُ بَلْ اِنْ يَّعِدُ الظّٰلِمُوْنَ بَعْضُهُمْ بَعْضًا اِلَّا غُرُوْرًا.

Tell them: Just take a look at your associates that you call upon besides God. Show me what they have made in this earth? Or do they have any share in making the heavens? Or have We given them a Book so that they have a clear proof of this?40 Certainly not! In fact, these wrongdoers are only making promises of deceptive things with one another.41 (40)


اِنَّ اللّٰهَ يُمْسِكُ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالْاَرْضَ اَنْ تَزُوْلَا وَلَئِنْ زَالَتَآ اِنْ اَمْسَكَهُمَا مِنْ اَحَدٍ مِّنْ بَعْدِهِ اِنَّهُ كَانَ حَلِيْمًا غَفُوْرًا.

[You think that they will be able to save you from God’s grasp?] In reality, only God is holding the heavens and the earth that they may fall apart and if supposedly they do fall apart, there is no one besides God Who can hold them. [If you are sitting peacefully among them, then this respite is provided by Him.] Undoubtedly, He is very Forbearing and Forgiving. (41)


وَاَقْسَمُوْا بِاللّٰهِ جَهْدَ اَيْمَانِهِمْ لَئِنْ جَآءَهُمْ نَذِيْرٌ لَّيَكُوْنُنَّ اَهْدٰي مِنْ اِحْدَي الْاُمَمِ فَلَمَّا جَآءَهُمْ نَذِيْرٌ مَّا زَادَهُمْ اِلَّا نُفُوْرَا. اِسْتِكْبَارًا فِي الْاَرْضِ وَمَكْرَ السَّيِّئِ وَلَا يَحِيْقُ الْمَكْرُ السَّيِّئُ اِلَّا بِاَهْلِهِ فَهَلْ يَنْظُرُوْنَ اِلَّا سُنَّتَ الْاَوَّلِيْنَ فَلَنْ تَجِدَ لِسُنَّتِ اللّٰهِ تَبْدِيْلًا وَلَنْ تَجِدَ لِسُنَّتِ اللّٰهِ تَحْوِيْلًا. اَوَلَمْ يَسِيْرُوْا فِي الْاَرْضِ فَيَنْظُرُوْا كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الَّذِيْنَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ وَكَانُوْا اَشَدَّ مِنْهُمْ قُوَّةً وَمَا كَانَ اللّٰهُ لِيُعْجِزَهُ مِنْ شَيْءٍ فِي السَّمٰوٰتِ وَلَا فِي الْاَرْضِ اِنَّهُ كَانَ عَلِيْمًا قَدِيْرًا.

 [Before this,] these people have been swearing strong oaths by God that if a warner comes to them, they will be more receptive than all other nations in accepting guidance.42 So, when a warner did come to them, then because of their arrogance43 his advent only increased their aversion and evil schemes. And an evil scheme [ultimately] besieges the person who contrives it. So, now they are waiting for that established practice which had manifested itself for others.44 [If this is the case,] you shall not find any change in that established practice of God nor shall you ever see that practice of God being deferred. Have they not roamed about in the land so that they could see the fate of those who have preceded them, even though they were mightier? [People!] There is nothing which can defeat God, neither in the heavens nor in the earth. Undoubtedly, He knows everything; He is very powerful. (42-44)


وَلَوْ يُؤَاخِذُ اللّٰهُ النَّاسَ بِمَا كَسَبُوْا مَا تَرَكَ عَلٰی ظَهْرِهَا مِنْ دَآبَّةٍ وَّلٰكِنْ يُّؤَخِّرُهُمْ اِلٰی اَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّی فَاِذَا جَآءَ اَجَلُهُمْ فَاِنَّ اللّٰهَ كَانَ بِعِبَادِهِ بَصِيْرًا.

 [Hence, they too shall be seized one day.] Had God immediately45 seized people for their deeds, He would not have left any living being on the earth’s surface. On the contrary, He gives them respite until an appointed time. Then when that time ends, He necessarily seizes them because God watches over His servants.46 (45)











1. This is a mention of the specific after the general. The implication is that the God Who has created the heavens and the earth has also brought the angels into existence and the purpose of this is to communicate with His creatures. Hence like the heavens and the earth and all creatures between them, these angels too are His creation. How can they be His partners in this process of creation? And how can they be considered to have a share in His divinity? Those who are granting the angels this status, in reality have neither recognized God’s worth nor of these messengers nor of their own.

2. Ie., are different with respect to their power of flying. Some fly with the power of two wings, some four and some even more. This difference in itself shows that someone has created them and made them in various categories. They have not come into being of their own accord nor could have made themselves equal in status. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: 

… The purpose of mentioning these details here is that the naïve who have accorded divinity to the angels are not aware of the exalted court of God. The angels have even different powers and abilities in accessing distances, let alone being His associates. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 6, 354) 

3. I.e., He can create beings with whichever abilities and potential He desires. Thus if He creates some creatures which have even more power and potential than the angels, this would be a very ordinary feat of His power and wisdom. This will never mean or can ever mean that they have become partners of God.

4. In this verse, first the feminine pronoun occurs and then a masculine one for the same antecedent. The reason for this is that at one place the word is kept in consideration and at the other its meaning. Several examples of this style are present in the Qur’an.

5. Ie., when He alone is the Creator and Sustainer, who else can be worshipped than Him? Certainly not! He is the real being worthy of worship. Without waiting for the answer to the question posed earlier, this answer is given because the addressees are the polytheists and they had acknowledged that God was the creator of the heavens and the earth  and was also the provider of sustenance to His creatures.

6. Ie., Satan. It is explained ahead.

7. The implication is that it is against the established practice of God for these people to be guided. God never guides a person who has become adept in regarding every wrong to be right and has become devoid of the basic concepts of good and evil ordained by God is his nature.

8. Scholars of syntax do not accept the prepositioning of a verbal noun’s preposition. In the opinion of Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi, the word عَلَيْهِمْ relates to حَسَرٰتٍ and the latter’s plurality is meant to express profundity of sorrow. Deliberation on the verse endorses his opinion. Thus the translation also keeps this in account.

9. The certain promise mentioned earlier is substantiated here. Deliberation shows that the style adopted needs attention. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: 

... First the past tense  اَرۡسَلَ is used and then the indefinite tense تُثِيۡرُ is used. After that, first person verbs سُقۡنٰهُ and اَحۡيَيۡنَا occur. This diversity in style has a number of benefits in it. Though this is not the place to go into the details, it should be kept in mind that the past tense is used only to narrate an incident, indefinite tense portrays an existing situation and the first person verbs signify affection. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 6, 363)  

10. This is stated because the Idolaters regarded their deities to be a means of procuring honour and success with God.

11. These pure words refer to “the word of faith.” This is evident from a mention of good deeds ahead. Just as the word صَالِح qualifies عَمَل in the verse, in a similar way, the word طَيِّب qualifes كَلِمْ. It refers to its lushness and luxuriance. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: 

… This is because, with regard to the philosophy of religion, this word is the foundation of all knowledge and wisdom. He who acquires it, acquires the key to all the treasure of knowledge and wisdom. It is also an acknowledged fact that faith and righteous deeds necessitate one another. Just as righteous deeds have no basis without faith, in a similar way, without righteous deeds, faith is a lifeless thing. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 6, 363) 

He goes on to write:

 … It is as if the word faith is like a grape vine which in itself is luxuriant yet its luxuriance and lushness depends on a support which it can lean upon, grow and develop. This support is achieved by it through a righteous deed. This deed nourishes and nurtures it to bear fruit otherwise just as without a support grape vines shrivel, in a similar way without righteous deeds, faith wilts away. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 6, 363)  

12. The actual words are: يَمْكُرُوْنَ السَّيِّاٰتِ. The word السَّيِّاٰتِ is an attribute of a verbal noun ie. يَمۡكُرُوۡنَ المَكَرَات السَّيِّاٰتِ. The reason for his is that the verb يَمۡكُرُوۡنَ is not transitive for السَّيِّاٰتِ to be regarded as its object.

13. The implication is that they should not remain under the misguided notion that the Almighty is not completely aware of the smallest aspects of this vast and extensive world and hence must necessarily need helpers for this task and that these helpers are the deities and religious leaders who were worshipped by their forefathers. It is stated that this is mere foolishness. God is not dependent on any of them. Whether big or small, His knowledge embraces everything.

14. Ie., like God because it is only He Who has direct knowledge of these facts. Others can at most state something which is based on intellectual reasoning which is primarily deductive. Hence they should be aware that what is hidden, and when and how it will manifest before them are only known to the real knower. At the moment, it is He Who is informing them that these conflicting elements have been created by Him and it is He, the powerful and ever-living, Who has created the harmony found among them. This in itself bears witness that there is an all-powerful and absolute force which is dominant on these conflicting elements and is using them for a designated purpose. None other can influence in any way His intentions and decisions. Thus it is a fact that He has no partner in the heavens and the earth.

15. The noun qualified by the word مُثۡقَلَةٌ is suppressed. Similarly, in the expression اِلٰي حِمۡلِهَا the muḍaf (governing noun) is suppressed before حِمْلِ and the noun of كَانَ is also suppressed. All these suppressions are common in classical Arabic. They have been revealed in the translation.

16. I.e., they are not indifferent to God’s remembrance and do not insist that they will only believe after seeing; on the contrary, logical reasoning is sufficient for them to believe in what is logical.

17. Ie., in accordance with the law that those who keep alive and value the innate abilities God has blessed them with and also benefit from their innate knowledge will be further enhanced in knowledge by Him. On the other hand, those who do not value these abilities and do not understand what they were innately given by God and plunge their hearts into darkness by not using their intellect, will be abandoned by Him to wander in the darkness they create for themselves.

18. Ie., at the time when it made itself a separate identity. Thus later this tradition of warning continued to be transferred to them generation after generation through their righteous and pious people.

19. This an assurance to the Prophet (sws). The implication is that this is not because of any mistake of his. The nations of messengers have always dealt with their messengers in this way.

20. Ie., to some with scriptures and to some with a radiant book. The particle و is for division and the radiant book refers to the Torah. Before the Qur’an, it was the Torah which occupied the status of a radiant book.

21. The actual words are: غَرَابِيۡبُ سُوۡدٌ. They should apparently have been:غَرَابِيۡبُ سُوۡدٌ . However, it is due to the eloquence of the Qur’an that it has deferred the attribute qualified by the word of emphasis. This has not only augmented the beauty in the rhyme but also the emphasis itself. It is much like saying: “this surface is silver, sparkling” instead of saying: “this surface is sparkling silver.”

22. Ie., they too have a lot of variation with respect to appearance, character, qualities, traits, temperaments and habits. If this variation is in their physical form, it is an expression of God’s power and wisdom and if it is moral, then it stems from the scheme of trial on which this world has been created.

23. The implication is that even though blessings are for everyone, each person will benefit from them according to his or her own capacity. When rain pours down, it transforms orchards into lush and luxuriant lands, but does not produce the same effect in deserts and barren lands. There weeds and wild foliage sprout. This capacity is created by God. In human beings, it is created in accordance with His law delineated earlier.

24. Ie., as a result of reminders sounded by God’s prophets have discovered the knowledge God has ordained in their nature: they are consciously aware of it. It is through this knowledge that a person comprehends God and distinguishes between good and evil. If he is not cognizant of this knowledge all other thoughts and disciplines of knowledge become redundant and only increase the rebelliousness of those who possess them. The word الْعُلَمآءُ refers to those who possess this knowledge ordained in their natures. A person need not go to some educational institution and obtain a degree for it. The distinctive feature of those who are endowed with such knowledge is that they have a deep understanding of things and always focus on the reality. They never indulge in hair-splitting and irrelevant banter. They never get entangled in words; rather they always try to find out their actual meanings; they do not view things outwardly; they look at them inwardly and while, diving deep into the sea of words, bring out pearls; they cannot even imagine that a person evade the truth once he has discovered it. The Qur’an states that it is such people who will accept its call. This cannot be expected from the ignorant who carry loads of books but do not open the book of God which He had revealed to them at the time of their very creation nor the one which He later revealed to His messengers.

25. Ie., can seize the ignorant whenever He intends but does not actually do so because in spite of being powerful, He is also forgiving. Thus He gives them respite until the truth is conclusively communicated to them.

26. In verse 32 ahead, the good and evil elements among the Ishmaelites are mentioned by the words: “Then We made those people the heirs of Our Book.” This is a further indication of the fact that those who are mentioned here are the righteous from among the People of the Book, some of whose groups had come to Makkah from nearby areas to profess faith in Muhammad (sws).

27. Mentioned here is the motive of their spending in the way of God and the reward also which they will get from their Lord.

28. Ie., those who value the guidance which was already present among them and follow it.

29. Ie., is free from every semblance of evil both with respect to the word and its meaning and about which it is certain that it is from God and is His word.

30. Ie., He is not indifferent to them in that He may leave them to wander about and not make any arrangement for their guidance.

31. This refers to whom God had promised that He would send His last messenger with His final testament, the Ishmaelites.

32. Ie., they have decided, like Abu Jahal and Abu Lahab, that they will oppose the messenger with full force and deprive themselves of this great blessing. This is the first group.

33. This is a mention of the second group which does not oppose nor is active in their enmity, but at the same time does not also have the courage to accept the call and support it. The word used for this group is مُقْتَصِد. By using it, the Qur’an has raised the hope that soon or late their reluctance will go away and God willing they will not deprive themselves of this great blessing. Consequently, it happened thus and most of them later embraced faith

34. This is the third group which has been called السَّابِقُوْنَ الأوَّلُوْنَ at another intstance by the Qur’an (9:100). It was led by Abu Bakr (rta). Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

 … Those who belong to this category have such sharp ears for the truth that every call of the truth appeals to them immediately. So strong is their determination and resolve that when something appeals to them, they surmount all the difficulties on this path in one leap. They do not desist from the biggest sacrifice to support or defend this call. On the contrary, while valiantly facing all adversity to outrun others in the sphere of virtue they are even prepared to lay down their lives for it. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 6, 385) 

35. This, in a very eloquent style, is an invitation to the second group that there is still time; they too can reap the benefits of this blessing.

36. This mention of bracelets of gold, pearls and silk is merely to bring the favours of Paradise in accordance with the concept of the royal and luxurious living of the people of those times so that they could have an idea of the blessings of Paradise.

37. Ie., now neither any regret of the past remains nor any fear for the future. God has delivered them from all sorts of sorrows and fears.

38. It is evident from this statement that the punishment mentioned earlier was for those who had reached a reasonable age and a warner had also conclusively conveyed the truth to them. Those who do not reach such an age and die earlier and the truth is also not conclusively conveyed to them will certainly have an excuse, which in accordance with justice and fairness, can be accepted and also rejected.

39. Ie., of the ‘Ād, the Thamud and other ancient nations who inhabited Arabia before the Ishmaelites. Here at the end of the surah, they are directly addressed and warned. A little deliberation shows that the rhymes of the verse endings have also changed so that this change in style of the speaker cautions and jolts the addressees so that they are able to attentively hear what is being said to them.

40. Ie., a proof which shows that God Himself has acknowledged in this Book that He has certain  partners.

41. Ie., such promises as if they seek refuge with certain beings, they will succeed in this life and in the Hereafter too all their sins – however much they may be – will be forgiven as a result of their intercession.

42. The Ishmaelites must have said this in response to the Jews. It is evident from this that the tradition of a messenger’s advent existed among them. It could be that this tradition originated from the times of Ishmael (sws) or could have reached them through the Christians, about whom it is known that they were waiting for a messenger to come among the Ishmaelites.

43. Stated here is the reason of their aversion to the messenger: they had reached this extreme because of the haughtiness that originated in them merely because of the notion that they had a leading role in the land of Arabia.

44. In accordance with the general principles of Arabic, some words have been suppressed in this sentence. If these words are revealed, the statement would be to the effect: فَهَلۡ يَنۡظُرُوۡنَ  اِلَّا سُنَّتَ اللّهِ فيِ الۡاَوَّلِيۡنَ

45. Words to the effectعلَي عَجَلٍ  are suppressed after بِمَا كَسَبُوۡا. This is their translation. The suppression is evident from the words: وَّلٰكِنْ يُّؤَخِّرُهُمْ.

46. Ie., He has not become aloof from them as to permit them to do whatever they want without His knowledge. He is watching over them to see who is doing what and which fate he deserves.

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