2 Aralık 2016 Cuma

3rd Year of Revelation - Chronological Order of The Holy Qur'an - UPDATE(02Dec16)

3rd Year of Revelation

96. Al Alaq (The Clinging Clot) or Iqra' (Read!)  (96:6-19)

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

6. Day, but man doth transgress all bounds,(6208) 

6208 All our knowledge and capacities come as gifts from Allah. But man, in his inordinate vanity and insolence, mistakes Allah's gifts for his own achievements. The gifts may be strength or beauty, wealth, position, or power, or the more subtle gifts of knowledge or talents in individuals-or Science, or Art, or Government, or Organisation for mankind in general. 

7. In that he looketh upon himself as self-sufficient. 

8. Verily, to thy Lord is the return (of all).(6209) 

6209 Man is not self-sufficient, either as an individual, or in his collective capacity. If he arrogates Allah's gifts to himself, he is reminded-backwards, of his lowly physical origin (from a drop of animal matter), and forwards, of his responsibility and final return to Allah. 

9. Seest thou one who forbids-(6210) 

6210 The words, may be applied generally to perverse humanity, which seeks not only to rebel against Allah's Law, but also to prevent others from following it. There may however be a reference here to Abu Jahl, an inveterate enemy of Islam, who used, in its early days, to insult and persecute the Prophet and those who followed his teaching. He used, in particular, to use shameful methods to prevent the Prophet from going to the Ka'bah for devotions, and forbid any who came under his influence, from offering prayers or performing devotions. He was arrogant and purse-proud and met his end in the battle of Badr. 

10. A votary when he (turns) to pray? 

11. Seest thou if(6211) he is on (the road of) Guidance?- 

6211 Man's insolence leads to two results: (1) self-destruction through selfmisleading; (2) a false example or false guidance to others. The righteous man must therefore test human example or human guidance by the question, "Is there Allah's guidance behind it?" And risible light would be thrown on it by the question, "Does it lead to righteousness?" A flouting of Allah and Allah's truth answers the first question in the negative, and conduct which turns back from the eternal principles of Right answers the second. 

12. Or enjoins Righteousness? 

13. Seest thou if he(6212) denies (Truth) and turns away? 

6212 The usual trick of the ungodly is to refuse to face Truth. If they are placed in a corner, they deny what is obvious to reasonable men, and turn their backs. 

14. Knoweth he not that Allah doth see? 

15. Let him beware! If he desist not, We will drag him by the forelock,-(6213) 

6213 Cf.  11:56, and n. 1551. The forelock is on the forehead, and is thus symbolical of the summit and crown of the man's power or dignity. To be dragged by it is to suffer the lowest dregs of humiliation. Nasfa'an is a syncopated form of the emphatic first person plural. 

16. A lying, sinful forelock! 

17. Then, let him call (for help) to his council(6214) (of comrades): 

6214 The Pagan Quraysh, who formed an oppressive junta or council to manage the Ka'bah were in sympathy with Abu J ahl, though they did not go to the unbridled lengths to which Abu J ahl went. But they could not, all combined, resist the onward march of the divine mission, though they did all they could to check it. 

18. We will call on the angels of punishment (to deal with him)!(6215) 

6215 All the combined forces of evil, though they may have worldly appearances in their favour, and though they may seem to be successful for a time, cannot stand against Allah. He has but to command His forces of punishment to exert themselves, and they will subdue evil, protect Allah's votaries and justify the faith for which the votaries suffer. 

19. Day, heed him not: But bow down in adoration, and bring thyself the closer (to Allah)!(6216) 

6216 The righteous man has no fear. He can disregard all the forces of evil that are brought against him. But he must learn humility: that is his defence. He will bow down in adoration to Allah. He must have the will to bring himself closer to Allah. For Allah is always close to him,-closer to him than his life blood in the jugular vein, (50:16). Man's humility and adoration remove him from being an insolent rebel on the one hand and, on the other, prepare his will to realise his nearness to Allah.

88. Al Ghashiyah (The Overwhelming Event) (88:17-26)

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

17. Do they not look at the Camels,(6103) how they are made?- 

6103 In case men neglect the Hereafter as of no account, they are asked to contemplate four things, which they can see in everyday life, and which are full of meaning, high design, and the goodness of Allah to man. The first mentioned is the domesticated animal, which for Arab countries is par excellence the Camel. What a wonderful structure has this Ship of the Desert? He can store water in his stomach for days. He can live on dry and thorny desert shrubs. His limbs are adapted to his life. He can carry men and goods. His flesh can be eaten. Camel's hair can be used in weaving. And withal, he is so gentle! Who can sing his praises enough? 

18. And at the Sky,(6104) how it is raised high?- 

6104 The second thing they should consider is the noble blue vault high above them-with the sun and moon, the stars and planets, and other heavenly bodies. This scene is full of beauty and magnificence, design and order, plainness and mystery. And yet we receive our light and warmth from the sun, and what would our physical lives be without these influences that come from such enormous distances? 

19. And at the Mountains,(6105) how they are fixed firm?- 

6105 From everyday utility and affection in the Camel, to the utility in grandeur in the heavens above us, we had two instances touching our individual as well as our social lives. In the third instance, in the Mountains we come to the utility of mankind generally in the services the Mountains perform in storing water, in moderating climate, and in various other ways which it is the business of Physical Geography to investigate and describe. 

20. And at the Earth,(6106) how it is spread out?

6106 The fourth and last instance given is that of the Earth as a whole, the habitation of mankind in our present phase of life. The Earth is a globe, and yet how marvellously it seems to be spread out before us in plains, valleys, hills, deserts, seas, etc.! Can man, seeing these things, fail to see a Plan and Purpose in his life, or fail to turn to the great Creator before Whom he will have to give an account after this life is done? 

21. Therefore do thou give admonition, for thou art one to admonish. 

22. Thou art not one to manage (men´s) affairs.(6107)

6107 The Prophet of Allah is sent to teach and direct people on the way. He is not sent to force their will, or to punish them, except insofar as he may receive authority to do so. Punishment belongs to Allah alone. And Punishment is certain in the Hereafter, when true values will be restored. 

23. But if any turn away and reject Allah,- 

24. Allah will punish him with a mighty Punishment, 

25. For to Us will be their return; 

26. Then it will be for Us to call them to account.

88. Al Ghashiyah (The Overwhelming Event) (88:6-7)

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

6. No food will there be for them but a bitter Dhari´(6099) 

6099 The root meaning implies again the idea of humiliation. It is a plant, bitter and thorny, loathsome in smell and appearance, which will neither give fattening nourishment to the body nor in any way satisfy the burning pangs of hunger—a fit plant for Hell , ,,  , like Zaqqum (56:52; or 17:60, n. 2250). 

7. Which will neither nourish nor satisfy hunger.

75. Al Qiyamah (The The Ressurection) (75:7-13)

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

7. At length, when the sight is dazed,(5815) 

5815 At the Hour of Judgement the full light and glory of the Lord will shine, and the effulgence will daze man's eyes. For the world as we knew it will go to pieces and a new World will come into being. 

8. And the moon is buried in darkness.(5816) 

5816 Not only will man's sight be dazed, but the great luminaries themselves will lose their light. The moon with its present reflected light will then cease to shine. All reflected or relative truth or goodness will sink into nothing before the true and Eternal Reality. (R). 

9. And the sun and moon are joined together,-(5817) 

5817 To the moon the sun is the original light, but the sun itself is a created light, and it will sink into nothingness along with the moon. Both will be like empty shells "whose lights are fled, whose glories dead", because the Prototype of all Light now shines in full splendour in a new World. See n. 4344 to 39:69. 

10. That Day will Man say: "Where is the refuge?" 

11. By no means! No place of safety!

12. Before thy Lord (alone), that Day will be the place of rest. 

13. That Day will Man be told (all) that he put forward, and all that he put back.(5818) 

5818 All good and bad deeds, positive and negative, i.e., all sins of commission and omission, and all the good that a man did and all the evil that he omitted, all the influence that he radiated before him and all that he left behind him.

75. Al Qiyamah (The The Ressurection)(75:20-40)

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

20. Nay, (ye men!) but ye love the fleeting life,(5821) 

5821 Cf. 21:37. Man loves haste and things of haste. For that reason he pins his faith on transitory things that come and go, and neglects the things of lasting moment, which come slowly, and whose true import will only be fully seen in the Hereafter. 

21. And leave alone the Hereafter. 

22. Some faces, that Day,(5822) will beam (in brightness and beauty);- 

5822 This passage (especially with reference to verses 26-28) would seem to refer to what our Doctors call the Lesser Judgement (at Qiyamah al Sughra), which takes place immediately after death, and not to the Greater or General Judgement, which may be supposed to be referred to in such passages as occur in S. 56. There are other passages referring to the Lesser Judgement immediately after death; e.g., 7:37 etc. If I understand aright, the punishment of sin takes place in three ways; (1) it may take place in this very life, but this may be deferred, to give the sinner respite; (2) it may be an agony immediately after death, with the Partition or Barzakh (23:100) separating the sinner from the final Resurrection; and (3) in the final Resurrection, when the whole of the present order gives place to a wholly new World: 14:48. 

23. Looking towards their Lord; 

24. And some faces, that Day, will be sad and dismal, 

25. In the thought that some back-breaking calamity was about to be inflicted on them; 

26. Yea, when (the soul)(5823) reaches to the collarbone (in its exit), 

5823 A symbolic picture of the agony of death. 

27. And there will be a cry, "Who is a magician (to restore him)?" 

28. And he(5824) will conclude that it was (the Time) of Parting; 

5824 'He' = the dying man, whose soul is referred to in verse 26 above. 

29. And one leg will be(5825) joined with another: 

5825 When the soul has departed, the legs of the dead body are placed together in position, in preparation for the rites preliminary to the burial. Saq (literally, leg) may also be taken metaphorically to mean a calamity: calamity will be joined to calamity for the poor departed sinner's soul, as his life story in this world is now done. Willy-nilly, he will now have to go before the Throne of Judgement. 

30. That Day the Drive will be (all) to thy Lord! 

31. So he gave nothing in charity, nor did he pray!(5826) 

5826 His indictment in this and the succeeding verse consists of four counts: (1) he neglected prayer; (2) he neglected charity; (3) he rejected Truth; and (4) he turned away. In 74:43-46, the four counts are: (1) neglecting prayer; (2) neglecting charity; (3) talking vanities; (4) denying the Day of Judgement; see n. 5803, Nos. (1) and (2) are identical in both places, and Nos. (3) and (4) are analogous. Rejecting the truth is equivalent to talking vanities and making an alliance with falsehoods. Denying the Day of Judgement means behaving as if no account was to be given of our actions. i.e., turning away from right conduct. An additional touch is found here in verse 33. See next note. 

32. But on the contrary, he rejected Truth and turned away! 

33. Then did he stalk to his family in full conceit!(5827) 

5827 Conceit or arrogance is the root cause of most Evil. By that cause fell Iblis: see 2:34. 

34. Woe to thee, (O men!), yea, woe! 

35. Again, Woe to thee, (O men!), yea, woe! 

36. Does man think that he will be left uncontrolled, (without purpose)?(5828) 

5828 Suda: has many implications; (1) uncontrolled, free to do what he likes; (2) without any moral responsibility; not accountable for his actions; (3) without a purpose, useless; (4) forsaken. 

37. Was he not a drop of sperm emitted (in lowly form)?(5829) 

5829 Cf. 22:5, where the argument is developed in greater detail. The briefer argument here may be stated thus. His lowly animal origin makes him no higher than a brute; his foetal development is still that of a brute animal; then at some stage come human limbs and shape; the divine spirit is poured into him, and he is fashioned in due proportion for his higher destiny. In spite of that the mystery of sex remains in his nature: we are living souls, yet men and women. Allah Who creates these wonders-has He not the power to bring the dead to life at the Resurrection? (see also n. 5116). 

38. Then did he become a leech-like clot; then did ((Allah)) make and fashion (him) in due proportion. 

39. And of him He made two sexes, male and female. 

40. Has not He, (the same), the power to give life to the dead?

95. Al Tin (The Fig) (95:1-8)

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

1. By the Fig(6194) and the Olive,(6195) 

6194 The substantive proposition is in verse 4-8, and it is clinched by an appeal to four sacred symbols. viz., the Fig, the Olive, Mount Sinai, and the sacred City of Makkah . About the precise interpretation of the first two symbols, and especially of the symbol of the Fig, there is much difference of opinion. If we take the Fig literally to refer to the fruit or the tree, it can stand as a symbol of man's destiny in many ways. Under cultivation it can be one of the finest, most delicious, and most wholesome fruits in existence: in its wild state, it is nothing but tiny seeds, and is insipid, and often full of worms and maggots. So man at his best has a noble destiny: at his worst, he is "the lowest of the low". Christ is said to have cursed a fig tree for having only leaves, and not producing fruit (Matt. 21:18-29), enforcing the same lesson. There is also a parable of the fig tree in Matt. 24:32-35. See also the parable of the good and evil figs in Jeremiah, 24:1-10. But see n. 6198 below. 
6195 For the sacred symbolism of the Olive, see n. 2880 to 23:20, and notes 3000-3002 to 24:35, where the parable of Allah's Light includes a reference to the Olive. But it is possible that the Olive here refers to the Mount of Olives, just outside the walls of the City of Jerusalem (see n. 5038 to 52:2), for this is the scene in the Gospel story (Matt. 24:3-4) of Christ's description of the Judgement to come. 

2. And the Mount of Sinai,(6196) 

6196 6196 6196 6196 This was the Mountain on which the Law was given to Moses. See 19:52, and n. 2504. The Law was given, and the glory of Allah was made visible. But did Israel faithfully obey the Law thereafter? 

3. And this City(6197) of security,-(6198) 

6197 "This City of security" is undoubtedly Makkah. Even in Pagan times its sacred character was respected, and no fighting was allowed in its territory. But the same City, with all its sacred associations, persecuted the greatest of the Prophets and gave itself up for a time to idolatry and sin, thus presenting the contrast of the best and the worst. 

6198 Having discussed the four symbols in detail, let us consider them together. It is clear that they refer to Allah's Light or Revelation, which offers man the highest destiny if he will follow the Way. Makkah stands for Islam, Sinai for Israel , and the Mount of Olives for Christ's original and pure Message. It has been suggested that the Fig stands for the F i c u s I n d i c a , the Bo-tree, under which Gautama Buddha obtained Nirvana. I hesitate to adopt the suggestion, but if accepted it would cover pristine Buddhism and the ancient Vedic religions from which it was an offshoot. In this way all the great religions of the world would be indicated. But even if we refer the Fig and the Olive to the symbolism in their fruit, and not to any particular religion, the contrast of Best and Worst in man's destiny remains, and that is the main thing. 

This raises a doctrinal question of considerable importance: how does Islam view the ancient vedic religions and Buddhism, or for that matter, any other religion? 

As Muslims we are not in a position to affirm whether Budha was a prophet or not. Although the Qur'an states that Allah sent Prophets to every people (35:24), it does not mention the names of all of them. In fact it mentions by name relatively few of the Prophets of the Semitic tradition, or only such as with whom its first audience, the Arabs were generally familiar. As to its present form, we find the doctrines of Buddhism clearly at variance with monotheism and cardinal Principles of the True Religion as explained in the Qur'an. This may have been the result of distortion or loss by the followers of its original teachings. 

As a general rule, we cannot describe anyone as a Prophet or Messenger of Allah unless explicitly mentioned in the Qur'an, or Hadith. The Message as brought by Prophet Muhammad preserves in itself all that was essential in the earlier revelations or scriptures: it abrogates all the previous messages sent through earlier Prophets (3:85). (R). 

4. We have indeed created man in the best of moulds,(6199) 

6199 Taqwim: mould, symmetry, form, nature, constitution. There is no fault in Allah's creation. To man Allah gave the purest and best nature, and man's duty is to preserve the pattern on which Allah has made him: 30:30. But by making him His vicegerent, Allah exalted him in posse even higher than the angels, for the angels had to make obeisance to him (2:30-34, and n. 48). But man's position as vicegerent also gives him will and discretion, and if he uses them wrongly he falls even lower than the beasts. See next note. 

5. Then do We abase him (to be) the lowest of the low,(6200) 

6200 This verse should be read with the next. If man rebels against Allah, and follows after evil, he will be abased to the lowest possible position. For Judgement is sure. Those who use their faculties aright and follow Allah's Law will reach the high and noble destiny intended for them. That reward will not be temporary, but unfailing. 

6. Except such as believe and do righteous deeds: For they shall have a reward unfailing. 
7. Then what can, after this, contradict thee,(6201) as to the judgment (to come)? 

6201 Thee: may refer to the Prophet, or to man collectively. After this: i.e., when it is clearly shown to you that Allah created man true and pure, that He guides him, and that those who rebel and break His law will be punished and brought down in the Hereafter, who can doubt this, or contradict the Prophet when he gives warning? 

8. Is not Allah the wisest of Judges?(6202) 

6202 Allah is wise and just. Therefore the righteous have nothing to fear, but the evil ones cannot escape punishment.

75. Al Qiyamah (The The Ressurection) (75:1-6)

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

1. I do call to witness(5809) the Resurrection Day; 

5809 Cf. 70:40, and n. 5700. Here the point to be enforced is understood: I have added it in brackets; "eschew Evil". The appeal is made to two considerations: (1) That every act has to be accounted for, and evil must have its recompense at the Resurrection; and (2) that man's own spirit has a conscience which would reproach him of sin, if he did not suppress that inner voice. 

2. And I do call to witness the self-reproaching spirit:(5810) (Eschew Evil). 

5810 Our doctors postulate three states or stages of the development of the human soul; (1) Ammarah (12:53), which is prone to evil, and, if not checked and controlled, will lead to perdition; (2) Lawwamah, as here, which feels conscious of evil, and resists it, asks for Allah's grace and pardon after repentance and tries to amend; it hopes to reach salvation; (3) Mutma'innah (89:27), the highest stage of all, when it achieves full rest and satisfaction. Our second stage may be compared to Conscience, except that in English usage Conscience is a faculty and not a stage in spiritual development.

3. Does man think that We cannot assemble his bones?(5811) 

5811 The Unbelievers' usual cry is: "What! when we are reduced to bones and dust, how can our personality be called to account?" (17:49). The answer is: Allah has said so, and He will do it; for the death here is not the end of all things. 

4. Nay, We are able to put together in perfect order the very tips of his fingers.(5812) 

5812 An idiom for the most delicate parts of the body. 

5. But man wishes to do wrong (even) in the time in front of him.(5813) 

5813 It is bad enough not to repent of past sins. But the evildoer who rejects a Day of Reckoning and has no conscience wants to go on in his career of sin and jeopardise his future also. 

6. He questions: "When(5814) is the Day of Resurrection?" 

5814 The question is sceptical or derisive. He does not believe that there is any chain of consequences in the Hereafter. He does not believe in a Hereafter. 

75. Al Qiyamah (The The Ressurection) (75:14-19)

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

14. Nay, man will be evidence against himself,(5819) 

5819 Cf. 24:24, and n. 2976: "On the Day when their tongues, their heads, and their feet will bear witness against them as to their actions." It is not what a man says about himself, or what others say of him, that determines judgement about him. It is what he is in himself. His own personality betrays him or commends him. 

15. Even though he were to put up his excuses. 

16. Move not thy tongue concerning the (Qur´an) to make haste therewith.(5820) 

5820 Cf. 20. 114, and n. 2639: "Be not in haste with the Qur'an before its revelation to thee is completed." S. 75. is an earlier revelation, and the shade of meaning is slightly different. The immediate meaning was that the Prophet was to allow the revelation conveyed to him to sink into his mind and heart and not to be impatient about it; Allah would certainly complete it according to His Plan, and see that it was collected and preserved for men, and not lost; that the inspired one was to follow it and recite it as the inspiration was conveyed to him; and that it carries its own explanation according to the faculties bestowed by Allah on man. The general meaning follows the same lines; we must not be impatient about the inspired Word; we must follow it as made clear to us by the faculties given to us by Allah. 

17. It is for Us to collect it and to promulgate it:

18. But when We have promulgated it, follow thou its recital (as promulgated): 

19. Nay more, it is for Us to explain it (and make it clear):

56. Al Waqi'ah (The Inevitable) (56:1-96)

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

1. When the Event Inevitable(5222) cometh to pass, 

5222 The Event Inevitable is the Hour of Judgement. People may doubt now whether it will come. But when it comes, as it will come, suddenly upon them, it will come with such tremendous reality that it will be burnt deep into the experience of every soul. No one can then be deceived or entertain false notions about it. 

2. Then will no (soul) entertain falsehood concerning its coming. 

3. (Many) will it bring low;(5223) (many) will it exalt; 

5223 There will be a sorting out of Good and Evil. Or rather, (verse 7 below), there will be three main classes. Among the Good there will be the specially exalted class, those nearest to Allah ( al muqarrabun, 56:11- 26), and the righteous people generally, called the Companions of the Right Hand (Ashab al maymanah, 56:27-40). And there will be those in agony, the Companions of the Left Hand (Ashab al mash'amah. 56:41-56). Many who were high and mighty in this life will be brought low for their sins, and many who were lowly but virtuous will be exalted to various ranks and degrees. The old landmarks will be lost in the inner world, as they will be in the outer world. 

4. When the earth shall be shaken to its depths, 

5. And the mountains shall be crumbled to atoms,(5224) 

5224 The old physical world will disappear in the New Creation. 

6. Becoming dust scattered abroad, 

7. And ye shall be sorted out into three classes.(5225) 

5225 See n. 5223 above. 

8. Then (there will be) the Companions of the Right Hand;- What will be the Companions of the Right Hand? 

9. And the Companions of the Left Hand,- what will be the Companions of the Left Hand? 

10. And those Foremost (in Faith) will be Foremost (in the Hereafter).(5226) 

5226 Foremost (in Faith): There are two meanings, and both are implied. (1) Those who have reached the highest degree in spiritual understanding, such as the great prophets and teachers of mankind, will also take precedence in the Hereafter. (2) Those who are the first in time—the quickest and readiest—to accept Allah's Message—will have the first place in the Kingdom of Heaven . Verses 8, 9 and 10 mention the three main categories or classifications after Judgement. In the subsequent verses their happiness or misery are symbolised. This category, Foremost in Faith, is nearest to Allah.

11. These will be those Nearest to Allah:(5227) 

5227 See n. 5223 above. Nearness to Allah is the test of the highest Bliss, (see also n. 3779). (R). 

12. In Gardens of Bliss: 

13. A number of people from those of old,(5228) 

5228 Of great Prophets and Teachers there were many before the time of the Prophet Muhammad. As he was the last of the Prophets, he and the great Teachers under his Dispensation will be comparatively fewer in number, but their teaching is the sum and flower of all mankind's spiritual experience. 

14. And a few from those of later times. 

15. (They will be) on Thrones(5229) encrusted (with gold and precious stones), 

5229 Cf. 15:47 ; 37:44, 52:20, and 88:13. [Eds.]. 

16. Reclining on them, facing each other.(5230) 

5230 But they will not be separate each in his own corner. They will face each other. For they are all one, and their mutual society will be part of their Bliss. 

17. Round about them will (serve)(5231) youths of perpetual (freshness),

5231 Cf. 52:24. and n. 5058. The youth and freshness with which the attendants will serve is a symbol of true service such as we may expect in the spiritual world. That freshness will be perpetual and not subject to any moods, or chances, or changes. 

18. With goblets, (shining) beakers, and cups (filled) out of clear-flowing fountains: 

19. No after-ache will they receive therefrom, nor will they suffer intoxication:(5232) 

5232 The Feast of Reason and the Flow of Soul are typified by all that is best in the feasts in this imperfect world, but there will be none of the disadvantages incident to such feasts in this world, such as satiety, aches, excess, a sense of exhaustion, or loss of senses, etc. Cf. 37:47, and n. 4063. A goblet is a bowl without handles; a beaker has a "lip" and a stem; "cup" is a general term. 

20. And with fruits, any that they may select: 

21. And the flesh of fowls, any that they may desire. 

22. And (there will be) Companions with beautiful, big, and lustrous eyes,-(5233) 

5233 Cf. 44:54, and n. 4729. The companionship of Beauty and Grace is one of the highest pleasures of life. In this bodily life it takes bodily form. In the higher life it takes a higher form. (R). 

23. Like unto Pearls(5234) well-guarded. 

5234 Cf. 52:24, where this description is applied to the youths who serve. See also n. 5058 there. In 56:78 below the adjective maknun is applied to the Qur'an, "the well-guarded Book". 

24. A Reward for the deeds of their past (life). 

25. Not frivolity will they(5235) hear therein, nor any taint of ill,- 

5235 Cf. 52:23. Apart from the physical ills, worldly feasts or delights are apt to suffer from vain or frivolous discourse, idle boasting, foolish flattery, or phrases pointed with secret venom or moral mischief. The negation of these from spiritual Bliss follows as a matter of course, but it is specially insisted on to guard against the perversities of human nature, which likes to read ill into the best that can be put in words. 

26. Only the saying,(5236) "Peace! Peace". 

5236 Qil is best translated "saying", rather than "word". For the saying is an act, a thought, a fact, which may be embodied in a word, but which goes far beyond the word. The "Peace of Allah" is an atmosphere which sums up Heaven even better than "Bliss". 

27. The Companions of the Right Hand,- what will be the Companions of the Right Hand? 

28. (They will be) among(5237) Lote-trees without thorns, 

5237 Lote trees: see 34:16 n. 3814. (R). 

29. Among Talh trees(5238) with flowers (or fruits) piled one above another,- 

5238 Talk: some understand by this the plantain or banana tree, of which the fruit is borne in bunches, one tier above another; but the banana tree does not grow in Arabia and its ordinary Arabic name is Mawz; perhaps it is better to understand a special kind of Acacia tree, which flowers profusely, the flowers appearing in tiers one above another. 

30. In shade long-extended, 

31. By water flowing constantly, 

32. And fruit in abundance. 

33. Whose season is not limited, nor (supply) forbidden,(5239) 

5239 As it is not like earthly fruit, its season is not limited, nor is there any prohibition by law or custom or circumstance as to when or how it is to be consumed. (R). 

34. And on Thrones (of Dignity), raised high. 

35. We have created (their Companions)(5240) of special creation. 

5240 The pronoun in Arabic is in the feminine gender, but lest grosser ideas of sex should intrude, it is made clear that these Companions for heavenly society will be of special creation-of virginal purity, grace, and beauty inspiring and inspired by love, with the question of time and age eliminated. Thus every person among the Righteous will have the Bliss of Heaven and the Peace of Allah. 

36. And made them virgin - pure (and undefiled), - 

37. Beloved (by nature), equal in age,- 

38. For the Companions of the Right Hand. 

39. A (goodly) number from those of old,(5241) 

5241 This class-the righteous-will be a large company in Heaven, belonging to all the ages of the world. Cf. n. 5228 to 56:13 above. Such is the unbounded Bounty of Allah, 

40. And a (goodly) number from those of later times. 

41. The Companions of the Left Hand,- what will be the Companions of the Left Hand? 

42. (They will be) in the midst of a Fierce Blast of Fire(5242) and in Boiling Water, 

5242 Notice the parallelism in the contrast between those in Bliss and those in Misery. The allegory in each case pursues the idea of contrast, and the allegories about Misery lose nothing by their terse brevity. The fierce Blast of Fire and the Boiling Water are in contrast to the happy Lote tree and the flowers and fruits in verses 28-29 above. 

43. And in the shades of Black Smoke:(5243) 

5243 Even the Shades get a different quality in the Abode of Misery: shades of black smoke in contrast to the cool and refreshing long extended shades of trees by brooks in verses 30-31 above.

44. Nothing (will there be) to refresh, nor to please: 

45. For that they were wont to be indulged, before that, in wealth (and luxury),(5244) 

5244 Cf. 34:34, and 43:23. We must read verses 45-46 together. They had wealth and the good things of life, but they used them in self-indulgence and shameless crime, and now they are in humiliation. 

46. And persisted obstinately in wickedness supreme!(5244-A) 

5244-A Wickedness supreme: i.e., their associating others with Allah in His divinity. [Eds.]. 

47. And they used to say, "What! when we die and become dust and bones,(5245) shall we then indeed be raised up again?- 

5245 Their want of belief and ridicule of Allah's Message contrasts with the stern reality which they see around them now. 

48. "(We) and our fathers of old?" 

49. Say: "Yea, those of old and those of later times, 

50. "All will certainly be gathered together for the meeting appointed for a Day well-known.(5246) 

5246 In 26:38 (see n. 3159) the phrase a day well-known is used for a solemn day of festival, when the multitude of people gather together. The Day of Judgement is such a day in the supreme sense of the word. 

51. "Then will ye truly,- O ye that go wrong, and treat (Truth) as Falsehood!- 

52. "Ye will surely taste of the Tree of Zaqqum.(5247) 

5247 This is the Cursed Tree mentioned in 17:60, where see n. 2250. 

Cf. also 37:62. n. 4072; and 44:43-46 and n. 4722. 

53. "Then will ye fill your insides therewith, 

54. "And drink Boiling Water on top of it: 

55. "Indeed ye shall drink like diseased camels raging with thirst!"(5248) 

5248 A terrible picture of Misery in contrast to the Companionship of the Good, the True, and the Beautiful, on Thrones of Dignity, for the Companions of the Right Hand, in verses 34-38 above. 

56. Such will be their entertainment on the Day of Requital! 

57. It is We Who have created you: why do ye(5249) not testify to this truth? 

5249 Man is apt to forget his Creator, and even the fact that he, man, is a created being. The seed of his body, out of which his physical life starts, is not created by man, but by Allah in the process of the unfoldment of the world. Why will not man recognise and bear witness of this fact by a life of obedience to Allah's Law? 

58. 5588.. 58. Do ye then see?- The (human Seed) that ye throw out,- 

59. Is it ye who create it, or are We the Creators? 

60. We have decreed Death to be your common lot,(5250) and We are not to be frustrated 

5250 Just as Allah has created this life that we see, so He has decreed that Death should be the common lot of all of us. Surely, if He can thus give life and death, as we see it, why should we refuse to believe that He can give us other forms when this life is over? The Future Life, though indicated by what we know now, is to be on a wholly different plane. (R). 

61. from changing your Forms and creating you (again) in (forms) that ye know not. 

62. And ye certainly know already the first form of creation: why then do ye not celebrate His praises? 

63. See ye the seed that(5251) ye sow in the ground? 

5251 Having appealed to our own nature within us, He appeals now to the external nature around us, which should be evidence to us (1) of His loving care for us, and (2) of its being due to causes other than those which we produce and control. Three examples are given: (1) the seed which we sow in the soil; it is Allah's processes in nature, which make it grow; (2) the water which we drink; it is Allah's processes in nature, that send it down from the clouds as rain, and distribute it through springs and rivers; (3) the fire which we strike; it is again a proof of Allah's Plan and Wisdom in nature. 

64. Is it ye that cause it to grow, or are We the Cause? 

65. Were it Our Will, We could crumble it to dry powder, and ye would be left in wonderment, 

66. (Saying), "We are indeed left with debts (for nothing):(5252) 

5252 The Cultivator contracts debts for seed and gives labour for ploughing, swing, watering, and weeding, in the hope of reaping a harvest. Should he not give thanks to Allah when his harvest is in? 

67. "Indeed are we shut out (of the fruits of our labour)" 

68. See ye the water which ye drink? 

69. Do ye bring it down (in rain) from the cloud or do We? 

70. Were it Our Will, We could make it salt (and unpalatable):(5253) then why do ye not give thanks? 

5253 The mystery of the two streams of water, one sweet and the other salt, constantly mingling, and yet always separate, is referred to more than once. The never-ending circuit is established by streams and rivers mingling with the ocean, the ocean sending forth mists and steam through a process of evaporation which forms clouds, and the clouds by condensation pouring forth rain to feed the streams and rivers again: see notes 3111-3112 to 25:53, and n. 5185 to 55:19, and the further references given there. 

71. See ye the Fire which ye kindle? 

72. Is it ye who grow the tree which feeds(5254) the fire, or do We grow it? 

5254 The relation of Fire to Trees is intimate. In nearly all the fire that we burn, the fuel is derived from the wood of trees. Even mineral coal is nothing but the wood of prehistoric forests petrified under the earth through geological ages. Fire produced out of green trees is referred to in 36:80; and n. 4026 there gives instances. 

73. We have made it a memorial (of Our handiwork),(5255) and an article of comfort and convenience for the denizens of deserts.(5256) 

5255 Fire is a fit memorial of Allah's handiwork in nature. It is also an emblem of man's earliest civilisation. It can stand as a symbol of physical comfort and convenience to man, of the source of spiritual light, and also of the warning to Evil about its destruction. In the same way the sower's seed has a symbolical meaning in the preaching of the Message: see 48:29, and n. 4917: and the Rain and the Streams of water have a symbolical meaning: see notes 2404-5 to 18:60. 

5256 Cf. 20:10 , and n. 2541, where the mystic meaning of the Fire which Moses saw in the desert is explained. Even ordinarily, a fire in a desert is a sign of human habitation; by following it you may get human society and human comfort. A fire, or light, or beacon in many places directs a traveller on the way. Lighthouses at sea and beacons in modern aerodromes serve the same purpose for mariners and airmen. Another parable about fire will be found in 2:17-18, and n. 38.

74. Then celebrate with praises(5257) the name of thy Lord, the Supreme!

5257 Seeing all these Signs in nature and their symbolical meaning in the spiritual world, man must turn to Allah and do His Will. 

75. Furthermore I call to witness the setting(5258) of the Stars,- 

5258 The setting of the Stars: a number of mystic meanings are attached. Here are three. (1) Cf. 43:1 and n. 5085; the setting of a glorious star is a symbol of humility before the power, beauty, and goodness of Allah. (2) It may refer to the extinction of the stars at the Day of Judgement, betokening the establishment of Allah's Justice and the Truth of His Revelation. (3) What is bright or beautiful to our senses may disappear from our ken within a few hours, even though its own existence may continue. All light is relative except the Light of Allah. 

76. And that is indeed a mighty adjuration(5259) if ye but knew,- 

5259 The glory of the firmament as it exists, and the wonder of its passing away, are both evidence, to the discerning mind, of the Future which Allah has prepared, but this evidence can only be effective if men "but knew", i.e., turned their earnest attention to it. 

77. That this is indeed a qur´an most honourable,(5260) 

5260 Your attention is drawn to the momentous issues of the Future by the Qur'an. It is a Revelation described by four characteristics. (1) It is most honourable, karim, which implies, besides the fact that it is worthy of receiving honour, that it confers great favours on those who receive it. (2) It is well-guarded, maknun; precious in itself, and well-preserved in its purity; see n. 5234 to 56:23; see also 15:9, and n. 1944. (3) None but the clean shall touch it—clean in body, mind, thought, intention, and soul; only such can achieve real contact with its full meaning. (4) It is a Revelation from the Lord of the Worlds, and therefore universal for all. 

78. In Book well-guarded, 

79. Which none shall touch but those who are clean: 

80. A Revelation from the Lord of the Worlds. 

81. Is it such a Message that ye would hold(5261) in light esteem? 

5261 The Message being such as is described in the last note, how can anyone ignore it or treat it with contempt or refuse to allow it to improve his life? 

82. And have ye made it(5262) your livelihood that ye should declare it false? 

5262 The worst indictment of an enemy of Revelation would be that he should make Falsehood a source of filthy lucre for himself, or that he should let his precious life be corrupted by such unholy occupation. 

83. Then why do ye not(5263) (intervene) when (the soul of the dying man) reaches the throat,- 

5263 There is a hiatus after why do ye not?—and two parenthetical clauses-after which the clause why do ye not? i s resumed again in verse 86 below, with its complement in verse 87. It is permissible to the translator to add some such word as intervene here, to make the translation run smoothly.

84. And ye the while (sit) looking on,-(5264) 

5264 The dying man's friends, relatives and companions may be sitting round him and quite close to him in his last moments, but Allah is nearer still at all times for He is nearer than the man's own jugular vein (50:16), and one of Allah's own titles is "Ever Near" (34:50). 

85. But We are nearer to him than ye, and yet see not,- 

86. Then why do ye not,-(5265) If you are exempt from (future) account,-

5265 These words resume the sentence begun at verse 83 above and interrupted by the two parenthetical clauses in verses 84 and 85. See n. 5263 above. 

87. Call back the soul,(5266) if ye are true (in the claim of independence)? 

5266 The sentence may now be briefly paraphrased. 'If you disbelieve in Revelation and a future Judgement, and claim to do what you like and be independent of Allah, how is it you cannot call back a dying man's soul to his body when all of you congregate round him at his death-bed? But you are not independent of Judgement. There is a Day of Accounts, when you will have to be judged by your deeds in this life.' 

88. Thus, then, if he be of those Nearest to Allah,(5267) 

5267 See above, 56:11-26 and notes. 

89. (There is for him) Rest and Satisfaction,(5268) and a Garden of Delights. 

5268 Rayhan: sweet-smelling plants, as in 55:12. Here used as symbolical of complete Satisfaction and Delight. 

90. And if he be of the Companions of the Right Hand,(5269) 

5269 See above, 56:27-38 and notes. 

91. (For him is the salutation), "Peace be unto thee",(5270) from the Companions of the Right Hand. 

5270 In 56:26 above the salutation of "Peace, Peace!" is addressed to those Nearest to Allah. Here we learn that it is also addressed to the Companions of the Right Hand. Both are in Gardens of Bliss: only the former have a higher Dignity than the latter. 

92. And if he be of those who treat (Truth) as Falsehood,(5271) who go wrong, 

5271 Cf. above 56:51 -55. 

93. For him is Entertainment with Boiling Water. 

94. And burning in Hell-Fire. 

95. Verily, this is the Very Truth and Certainly.(5272) 

5272 "The assurance of the Hereafter" is one of the strongest features of Faith. For without it the apparent inequalities and injustices of this Life cannot be satisfactorily explained. 

96. So celebrate with praises(5273) the name of thy Lord, the Supreme. 

5273 Cf. 56:74 above. That was the conclusion of the argument about the Future from the examples of Allah's goodness in nature. Now we have the conclusion of the same argument from Allah's revelation through His inspired Messengers.

55. Al Rahman (The Most Gracious) (55:1-5 & 8-27)

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

1. (Allah) Most Gracious! 

2. It is He Who has(5172) taught the Qur´an. 

5172 The Revelation comes from Allah Most Gracious, and it is one of the greatest Signs of His grace and favour. He is the source of all Light, and His light is diffused throughout the universe. 

3. He has created man: 

4. He has taught him speech(5173) (and intelligence). 

5173 Bayan: intelligent speech: power of expression: capacity to understand clearly the relation of things and to explain them. Allah has given this to man, and besides this revelation in man's own heart, has aided him with revelation in nature and revelation through prophets and messengers. 

5. The sun and the moon follow courses (exactly) computed;(5174) 

5174 In the great astronomical universe there are exact mathematical laws, which bear witness to Allah's Wisdom and also to His favours to His creatures; for we all profit by the heat and light, the seasons, and the numerous changes in the tides and the atmosphere, on which the constitution of our globe and the maintenance of life depend.

8. In order that ye may not transgress (due) balance. 

9. So establish weight with justice(5178) and fall not short in the balance. 

5178 To be taken both literally and figuratively. A man should be honest and straight in every daily matter, such as weighing out things which he is selling: and he should be straight, just and honest, in all the highest dealings, not only with other people, but with himself and in his obedience to Allah's Law. Not many do either the one or the other when they have an opportunity of deceit. Justice is the central virtue, and the avoidance of both excess and defect in conduct keeps the human world balanced just as the heavenly world is kept balanced by mathematical order. 

10. It is He Who has spread out the earth(5179) for (His) creatures: 

5179 How can Allah's favours be counted? Look at the earth alone. Life and the conditions here are mutually balanced for Allah's creatures. The vegetable world produces fruit of various kinds and corn or grain of various kinds for human food. The grain harvest yields with it fodder for animals in the shape of leaves and straw, as well as food for men in the shape of grain. The plants not only supply food but sweet-smelling herbs and flowers. Rayhan is the sweet basil, but is here used in the generic sense, for agreeable produce in the vegetable world, to match the useful produce already mentioned. 

11. Therein is fruit and date-palms, producing spathes (enclosing dates); 

12. Also corn, with (its) leaves and stalk for fodder, and sweet-smelling plants. 

13. Then which of the favours(5180) of your Lord will ye deny? 

5180 Both the pronoun "your" and the verb "will ye deny" are in the Arabic in the Dual Number. The whole Surah is a symphony of Duality, which leads up to Unity, as explained in the Introduction. All creation is in pairs: 51:49, and notes 5025-26; 36:36, n. 3981. Justice is the conciliation of two opposites to unity, the settlement of the unending feud between Right and Wrong. The things and concepts mentioned in this Surah are in pairs: man and outer nature; sun and moon; herbs and trees; heavens and earth; fruit and corn; human food and fodder for cattle; things nourishing and things sweet-smelling; and so on throughout the Surah. Then there is man and Jinn, for which see n. 5182 below. Will ye deny? that is, fail to acknowledge either in word or thought or in your conduct. If you misuse Allah's gifts or ignore them, that is equivalent to ingratitude or denial or refusal to profit by Allah's infinite Grace.

14. He created man from sounding clay(5181) like unto pottery, 

5181 See n. 1966 to 15:26. The creation of men and J inns is contrasted. Man was made of sounding clay, dry and brittle like pottery. The Jinn (see next note) was made from a clear flame of fire. Yet each has capacities and possibilities which only Allah's Grace bestows on them. How can they deny Allah's favours? 

15. And He created Jinns(5182) from fire free of smoke: 

5182 For the meaning of Jinn, see n. 929 to 6:100. They are spirits, and therefore subtle like a flame of fire. Their being free from smoke implies that they are free from grossness, for smoke is the grosser accompaniment of fire. (R). 

16. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?(5183) 

5183 Part of the idea of this refrain will be found in 16:71, 72; 40:81: and 53:55 (where see n. 5122). 

17. (He is) Lord of the two Easts(5184) and Lord of the two Wests: 

5184 The two Easts are the two extreme points where the sun rises during the year, and includes all the points between. Similarly the two Wests include the two extreme points of the sun's setting and all the points between. The Dual Number fits in with the general atmosphere of Duality in this Surah. Allah is Lord of every region of the earth and sky, and He scatters His bounties everywhere. See also n. 4641 to 43:38, and n. 4034 to 37:5. 

18. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny? 

19. He has let free(5185) the two bodies of flowing water, meeting together: 

5185 See 25:53 and nn. 3111-3112, where it is explained how the two bodies of water, salt and sweet, meet together, yet keep separate, as if there was a barrier or partition between them. This is also one of the favours of Allah. Sea water is a sanitating agent, while fresh water is sweet and palatable to drink. For the allegorical interpretation, see notes 2404-2405 to 18:60; also n. 5186 (end) below. 

20. Between them is a Barrier which they do not transgress: 

21. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny? 

22. Out of them come Pearls and Coral:(5186) 

5186 Pearls are produced by the oyster and coral by the polyp, a minute marine creature which, working in millions, has by its secretions produced the reefs, islands, and banks in and on both sides of the Red Sea and in other parts of the world. The pearl has a translucent lustre, usually white, but sometimes pink or black. Coral is usually opaque, red or pink, but often white, and is seen in beautiful branching or cup-like shapes as visitors to Port Sudan will recall. Both are used as gems and stand here for gems generally. Mineral gems, such as agate and cornelian, are found in river-beds. Pearl oysters are also found in some rivers. Taken allegorically, the two kinds of gems would denote the jewels of this life and the jewels of the spiritual world. The jewels of this world—like coral—are hard, widely spread over the world, comparatively cheap, and less absorptive of the light from above. The spiritual jewels—like pearls—are soft, rare, costly, and translucent, absorbent of light and showing the more lustre the more they are in light. The analogy can be carried further to the two seas—the two bodies of flowing water— mentioned in verses 19-20 above. They are the two kinds of knowledge—human and divine—referred to in the story of Moses and Khidr: see notes 2404-2405 to 18:60. 

23. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny? 

24. And His are the Ships(5187) sailing smoothly through the seas, lofty as mountains:(5188) 

5187 The Ships-sailing ships and steamers, and by extension of the analogy, aeroplanes and airships majestically navigating the air-are made by man, but the intelligence and science which made them possible are given by man's Creator; and therefore the Ships also are the gifts of Allah. 

5188 Lofty as mountains: both in respect of the high sails, or masts, and in respect of the height to which the top of the ship towers above the surface of the sea. The 'Queen Mary II'-the biggest ship afloat in 2004-has a height, from the keel to the top of the funnel of 236 feet. (Eds.)

25. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny? 

26. All that is on earth will perish: 

27. But will abide (for ever) the Face of thy Lord,-(5189) full of Majesty, Bounty and Honour.(5190) 

5189 The most magnificent works of man-such as they are-are but fleeting. Ships, Empires, the Wonders of Science and Art, the splendours of human glory or intellect, will all pass away. The most magnificent objects in outer Nature-the mountains and valleys, the sun and moon, the Constellation Orion and the star Sinus-will also pass away in their appointed time. But the only One that will endure forever is the "Face" of Allah. "Face" expresses Personality, Glory, Majesty, Inner Being, Essence, Self-all the noble qualities which we associate with the Beautiful Names of Allah. See n. 114 to 2:112; also n. 1154 to 7:180, and n. 2322 to 17:110. 

5190 Ikram: two ideas are prominent in the word. (1) the idea of generosity, as proceeding from the person whose attribute it is, and (2) the idea of honour, as given by others to the person whose attribute it is. Both these ideas are summed up in "nobility". To make the meaning quite clear, I have employed in the translation the two words "Bounty and Honour" for the single word Ikram. The same attributes recur in the last verse of this Surah. In the Fact of Allah's Eternity is the Hope of our Future.

55. Al Rahman (The Most Gracious) (55:46-77)

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

46. But for such as fear the time when they will stand before (the Judgment Seat(5204) of) their Lord, there will be two Gardens-(5205) 

5204 The reference to the Punishment of Sin having been dismissed in a few short lines, we now come to a description of the state of the Blessed. (R).

5205 Here two Gardens are mentioned, and indeed four, counting the other two mentioned in 55:62-76. Opinions are divided about this, but the best opinion is that the two mentioned in verses 46-61 are for the degree of those Nearest to Allah (Muqarrabun), and those in verses 62-76 for the Companions of the Right Hand: Why two for e a c h ? The Duality is to express variety, and the whole scheme of the Surah runs in twos. There will be no dullness of uniformity: as our minds can conceive it now, there will be freshness in change, but it will be from Bliss to Bliss, and there will be Unity. (R). 

47. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?- 

48. Containing all kinds (of trees and delights);- 

49. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?- 

50. In them (each) will be two Springs flowing (free);(5206) 

5206 Two Springs, for the same reasons as there will be two Gardens. See last note. 

51. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?- 

52. In them will be Fruits of every kind, two and two.(5207) 

5207 The Duality of Fruits is for the same reason as the Duality of the Gardens. See n. 5205. 

53. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny? 

54. They will recline on Carpets, whose inner linings will be of rich brocade: the Fruit of the Gardens will be near (and easy of reach).(5208) 

5208 The toil and fatigue of this life will be over: Cf. 35:35 and n. 5654 to 69:23. 

55. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny? 

56. In them will be (Maidens),(5209) chaste, restraining their glances,(5210) whom no man or Jinn before them has touched;- 

5209 See notes 4728-4729 to 44:54. (R). 

5210 Cf. 37:48 and n. 4064. Their purity is the feature chiefly symbolised. 

57. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?- 

58. Like unto Rubies and coral.(5211) 

5211 Delicate pink, with reference to their complexions and their beauty of form. The gems also indicate their worth and dignity (Cf. nn. 4064-4065). 

59. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny? 

60. Is there any Reward for Good - other than Good?(5212) 

5212 This is the summing up of all the symbolism used to express the Fruit of Goodness or Good. The symbolism must necessarily resort to comparative terms, to subjective ideas of Bliss. But the fullest expression can only be given in abstract terms: "Is there any reward for Good—other than Good?" Can anything express it better? 

61. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny? 

62. And besides these two, there are two other Gardens,(5213) 

5213 See n. 5205 above. 

63. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?- 

64. Dark-green in colour(5214) (from plentiful watering).

5214 Dark green in colour"; these Gardens will also be fruitful and flourishing, and watered plentifully; but their aspect and characteristics will be different, corresponding to the subjective differences in the ideas of Bliss among those who would respectively enjoy the two sets of Gardens. 

65. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny? 

66. In them (each) will be two Springs pouring forth water(5215) in continuous abundance: 

5215 In comparison with the Springs in the other two Gardens, described in 55:50 above, these Springs would seem to irrigate crops of vegetables and fruits requiring a constant supply of abundant water. 

67. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny? 

68. In them will be Fruits, and dates and pomegranates:(5216) 

5216 See last note. 

Cf. also with 55:52 above, where "fruits of every kind" are mentioned. 

69. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny? 

70. In them will be fair (Companions), good, beautiful;(5217) 

5217 see n. 5209 above. Goodness and Beauty are specially feminine attributes. 

71. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?- 

72. Companions restrained (as to(5218) their glances), in (goodly) pavilions;-(5219) 

5218 Maqsurat here is the passive participle of the same verb as the active participle Qasirat in 55:56, 37:48 and 38:52- As I have translated Qasirat by the phrase "restraining (their glances)", I think I am right in translating the passive Maqsurat by "restrained (as to their glances)". This is the only place in the Qur'an where the passive form occurs. 

5219 The Pavilions seem to add dignity to their status. In the other Gardens (55:58), the description "like rubies and corals" is perhaps an indication of higher dignity. 

73. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?- 

74. Whom no man or Jinn before them has touched;- 

75. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?- 

76. Reclining on green Cushions(5220) and rich Carpets of beauty. 

5220 Cf. the parallel words for the other two Gardens, in 55:54 above, which suggest perhaps a higher dignity. Rafraf is usually translated by Cushions or Pillows, and I have followed this meaning in view of the word "reclining". But another interpretation is "Meadows", in view of the adjective "green"— 'abqari: carpets richly figured and dyed, and skillfully worked. 

77. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?

87. Al A'la (The Most High) (87:7) 

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

7. Except as Allah wills:(6086) For He knoweth what is manifest and what is hidden. 

6086 There can be no question of this having any reference to the abrogation of any verses of the Qur'an, for this Surah is one of the earliest revealed, being placed about eighth according to the most accepted chronological order. While the basic principles of Allah's Law remain the same, its form, expression, and application have varied from time to time, e.g., from Moses to Jesus, and from Jesus to Muhammad. It is one of the beneficent mercies of Allah that we should forget some things of the past, lest our minds become confused and our development is retarded. Besides, Allah knows what is manifest and what is hidden, and His Will and Plan work with supreme wisdom and goodness. 

87. Al A'la (The Most High) (87:10-19) 

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

10. The admonition will be received by those who fear ((Allah)): 

11. But it will be avoided by those most unfortunate ones, 

12. Who will enter the Great Fire,(6089) 

6089 The Great Fire is the final Penalty or Disaster in the Hereafter, as contrasted with the minor Penalties or Disasters from which all evil suffers from within in this very life. 

13. In which they will then neither die nor live.(6090) 

6090 A terrible picture of those who ruin their whole future by evil lives here below. They introduce a discord into Creation, while life should be one great universal concord. And their past clings to them as part of their own will. They are not even like the dry swarthy stubble mentioned in verse 5 above, which grew naturally out of the luscious pasture, for they have grown harmful, in defiance of their own nature. "Neither die nor live"; Cf. 20:74. 

14. But those will prosper(6091) who purify themselves,(6092) 

6091 Prosper; in the highest and spiritual sense; attain to Bliss or Salvation: as opposed to "enter the Fire". 
6092 The first process in godliness is to cleanse ourselves in body, mind, and soul. Then we shall be in a fit state to see and proclaim the Glory of Allah. That leads us to our actual absorption in Praise and Prayer. 

15. And glorify the name of their Guardian-Lord, and (lift their hearts) in prayer. 

16. Day (behold), ye prefer the life of this world; 

17. But the Hereafter is better and more enduring. 

18. And this is in the Books of the earliest (Revelation),(6093) 

6093 The law of righteousness and godliness is not a new law, nor are the vanity and short duration of this world preached here for the first time. But spiritual truths have to be renewed and reiterated again and again. 

19. The Books of Abraham(6094) and Moses.(6095) 

6094 No Book of Abraham has come down to us. But the Old Testament recognises that Abraham was a prophet (Gen. 20:7, 18:17-19). There is a book in Greek, which has been translated by Mr. G.H. Box, called the Testament of Abraham (published by the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, London , 1927). It seems to be a Greek translation of a Hebrew original. The Greek Text was probably written in the second Christian century, in Egypt, but in its present form it probably goes back only to the 9th or 10th Century. It was popular among the Christians. Perhaps the Jewish Midrash also refers to a Testament of Abraham. 

6095 The original Revelation of Moses, of which the Present Pentateuch is a surviving recension. See Appendix II., p. 288-290. 

The present Gospels do not come under the definition of the "earliest" Books. Nor could they be called "Books of Jesus"; they were written not by him, but about him, and long after his death.

1. Al Fatiha (The Opening Chapter) (1:1-7)

1. In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful(19). 

19 The Arabic words "Rahman and Rahim," translated "Most Gracious" and "Most Merciful" are both intensive forms referring to different aspects of Allah's attribute of Mercy. The Arabic intensive is more suited to express Allah's attributes than the superlative degree in English. The latter implies a comparison with other beings, or with other times or places, while there is no being like unto Allah, and He is independent of Time and Place. Mercy may imply pity, long-suffering, patience, and forgiveness, all of which the sinner needs and Allah Most Merciful bestows in abundant measure. But there is a Mercy that goes before even the need arises, the Grace which is ever watchful, and flows from Allah Most Gracious to all His creatures, protecting them, preserving them, guiding them, and leading them to clearer light and higher life. For this reason the attribute Rahman (Most Gracious) is not applied to any but Allah, but the attribute Rahim (Merciful), is a general term, and may also be applied to Men. To make us contemplate these boundless gifts of Allah, the formula: "In the name of Allah Most Gracious, Most Merciful": is placed before every Surah of the Qur'an (except the ninth), and repeated at the beginning of every act by the Muslim who dedicates his life to Allah, and whose hope is in His Mercy. 
Opinion is divided whether the Bismillah should be numbered as a separate verse or not It is unanimously agreed that it is a part of the Qur'an. Therefore it is better to give it an independent number in the first Surah. For subsequent Surahs it is treated as an introduction or headline, and therefore not numbered. 

2. Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer(20) of the worlds; 

20 The Arabic word Rabb, usually translated Lord, has also the meaning of cherishing, sustaining, bringing to maturity. Allah cares for all the worlds He has created (see n. 1787 and n. 4355). 

There are many worlds - astronomical and physical worlds, worlds of thought, spiritual world, and so on. In every one of them, Allah is all-in-all. We express only one aspect of it when we say: "In Him we live, and move, and have our being." The mystical division between (1) Nasut, the human world knowable by the senses, (2) Malakut, the invisible world of angels, and (3) Lahut, the divine world of Reality, requires a whole volume to explain it. 

3. Most Gracious, Most Merciful; 

4. Master of the Day of Judgment. 

5. Thee do we worship(21), and Thine aid we seek. 

21 On realizing in our souls Allah's love and care, His grace and mercy, and His power and justice (as Ruler of the Day of Judgement), the immediate result is that we bend in the act of worship, and see both our shortcomings and His allsufficient power. The emphatic form means that not only do we reach the position of worshipping Allah and asking for His help, but we worship Him alone and ask for His aid only. For there is none other than He worthy of our devotion and able to help us. Then plural "we" indicates that we associate ourselves with all who seek Allah, thus strengthening ourselves and strengthening them in a fellowship of faith (see n. 586). 

6. Show(22) us the straight way, 

22 If we translate by the English word "guide," we shall have to say: "Guide us to and in the straight Way." For we may be wandering aimlessly, and the first step is to find the Way; and the second need is to keep in the Way: Our own wisdom may fail in either case. The straight Way is often the narrow Way, or the steep Way, which many people shun (90:11). By the world's perversity the straight Way is sometimes stigmatized and the crooked Way praised. How are we to judge? We must ask for Allah's guidance. With a little spiritual insight we shall see which are the people who walk in the light of Allah's grace, and which are those that walk in the darkness of Wrath. This also would help our judgement. 

7. The way of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy Grace, those whose (portion) is not wrath(23), and who go not astray(24). 

23 Note that the words relating to Grace are connected actively with Allah; those relating to Wrath are impersonal. In the one case Allah's Mercy encompasses us beyond our deserts. In the other case our own actions are responsible for the Wrath - the negative of Grace, Peace, or Harmony. 

24 Are there two categories? - those who are in the darkness of Wrath and those who stray? The first are those who deliberately break Allah's law; the second those who stray out of carelessness or negligence. Both are responsible for their own acts or omissions. In opposition to both are the people who are in the light of Allah's Grace: for His Grace not only protects them from active wrong (if they will only submit their will to Him) but also from straying into paths of temptation or carelessness. The negative ghayr should be construed as applying not to the way, but as describing men protected from two dangers by Allah's Grace.

100. Al 'Adiyat (Those That Run) (100:1-11)

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

1. By the (Steeds)(6241) that run, with panting (breath), 

6241 The substantive proposition is in verses 6-8 below, and the metaphors and symbols enforcing the lesson are in verses 1-5 here. These symbols have at least three layers of mystic meaning: (1) Look at the chargers (mares or swift camels) panting for war on behalf of their masters. Off they go, striking fire with their hoofs by night at the behest of their riders; they push home the charge in the morning, chivalrously giving the enemy the benefit of daylight; and regardless of flashing steel or the weapons of their enemies they boldly penetrate into the midst of their foe, risking their lives for the Cause. Does unregenerate man show that fidelity to his Lord Allah? On the contrary he is ungrateful to Allah; he shows that by his deeds; he is violently in love with wealth and gain and things that perish. (2) By the figure of metonymy the brave fidelity of the war horse may stand for that of the brave and true men who rally to the standard of Allah and carry it to victory, contrasted with the poltroonery and pettiness of unregenerate man. (3) The whole conflict, fighting, and victory, may be applied to spiritual warfare against those who are caught and overwhelmed by the camp of Evil. 

2. And strike sparks of fire,(6242) 

6242 With their hoofs. If we suppose the march to be in the dead of night, the sparks of fire would be still more conspicuous. 

3. And push home the charge in the morning,(6243) 

6243 We may suppose a surprise attack, but yet a chivalrous attack by daylight. The foe is punished through his own lethargy and unpreparedness, apart from the strength, fire, and spirit of the forces of righteousness. 

4. And raise the dust in clouds the while,(6244) 

6244 The clouds of dust typify the ignorance and confusion in the minds of those who oppose Truth. 

5. And penetrate forthwith into the midst (of the foe) en masse;-(6245) 

6245 The forces of evil mass themselves for strength, but their massing itself may become a means of their speedy undoing. 

6. Truly man is, to his Lord,(6246) ungrateful; 

6246 Man, i.e., unregenerate man, in contrast to those who receive guidance and wage unceasing war with Evil, is ungrateful to his Lord and Cherisher, Him Who created him and sustains him, and sends His blessings and favours at all times. The ingratitude may be shown by thoughts, words, and deeds-by forgetting or denying Allah and His goodness, by misusing His gifts, or by injustice to His creatures. He is in this respect worse than the war horse that risks his life in the service of his master. 

7. And to that (fact) he bears witness (by his deeds);(6247) 

6247 Man himself, by his conduct, proves the charge of treason against himself. 

8. And violent is he in his love of wealth.(6248) 

6248 What an evil choice he makes in committing treason against his own Benefactor by going after the petty baubles of this world's wealth of fleeting gains? 

9. Does he not know,- when that which is in the graves is scattered abroad(6249) 

6249 Dead bodies, secret plots, evil thoughts and imaginings, long since buried, will yet stand forth before the Judgement Seat of Allah. Instead of being closely hidden or blotted out-as they will have been from the consciousness of mankindthey will stand out as from the consciousness of Allah, which is all-embracing and never suffers from sleep or fatigue. 

10. And that which is (locked up) in (human) breasts is made manifest- 

11. That their Lord had been Well-acquainted with them, (even to) that Day.?(6250) 

6250 Allah's knowledge is full and vigilant at all times. But on that day it will reveal to men secrets which they had long forgotten; for the Book of their Deeds will be made manifest at Judgement.

69. Al Haqqah (The Sure Reality) (69:38-52)

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

38. So I do call to witness(5665) what ye see, 

5665 This is an adjuration in the same form as that which occurs in 56:75, 70:40, 90:1, and elsewhere. Allah's Word is the quintessence of Truth. But what if someone doubts whether a particular message is Allah's Word communicated through His Messenger, or merely an imaginary tale presented by a poet, or a soothsayer's vain prophecy? Then we have to examine it in the light of our highest spiritual faculties. The witness to that Word is what we know in the visible world, in which falsehood in the long run gives place to truth, and what we know in the invisible world, through our highest spiritual faculties. We are asked to examine and test it in both these ways. 

39. And what ye see not, 

40. That this is verily the word of an honoured messenger;(5666) 

5666 Honoured messenger: one that is worthy of honour on account of the purity of his life, and may be relied upon not to invent things but to give the true inner experiences of his soul in Revelation. 

41. It is not the word of a poet:(5667) little it is ye believe! 

5667 A poet draws upon his imagination, and the subjective factor is so strong that though we may learn much from him, we cannot believe as facts the wonderful tales he has to tell. And the poet who is not a Seer is merely a vulgar votary of exaggerations and falsehoods. 

42. Nor is it the word of a soothsayer:(5668) little admonition it is ye receive. 

5668 A soothsayer merely pretends to foretell future events of no profound spiritual consequence. Most of his prophecies are frauds, and none of them is meant to teach lessons of real admonition. Such admonition is the work of an honoured prophet. 

43. (This is) a Message sent down from the Lord of the Worlds. 44. 4444.. 44. And if the messenger were to invent any sayings in Our name, 

45. We should certainly seize him by his right hand,(5669) 

5669 5669 5669 5669 The right hand is the hand of power and action. Anyone who is seized by his right hand is prevented from acting as he wishes or carrying out his purpose. The argument is that if an imposter were to arise, he would soon be found out. He could not carry out his fraud indefinitely. But the prophets of Allah, however much they are persecuted, gain more and more power every day, as did the Prophet, whose truth, earnestness, sincerity, and love for all, were recognised as his life unfolded itself. (R). 

46. And We should certainly then cut off the artery of his heart:(5670) 

5670 This would effectually stop the functioning of his life. 

47. Nor could any of you withhold him(5671) (from Our wrath). 

5671 The protection which the prophets of Allah enjoy in circumstances of danger and difficulty would not be available for imposters. (R). 

48. But verily this is a Message for the Allah.fearing. 

49. And We certainly know that there are amongst you those that reject (it). 

50. But truly (Revelation) is a cause of sorrow(5672) for the Unbelievers. 

5672 The Message of Allah is glad tidings for those who believe in Him and follow His Law, for it is a message of Mercy and Forgiveness through repentance and amendment. But in the case of the wicked it is a cause of sorrow, for it denounces sin and proclaims the punishment of those who do not turn from evil (Cf. 2:187). 

51. But verily it is Truth(5673) of assured certainty. 

5673 All Truth is in itself certain. But as received by men, and understood with reference to men's psychology, certainty may have certain degrees. There is the probability or certainty resulting from the application of man's power of judgement and his appraisement of evidence. This is Him al yaqin, certainty by reasoning or inference. Then there is the certainty of seeing something with our own eyes. "Seeing is believing."This is 'a i n a l y a q i n , certainty by personal inspection. See 102:5, 7. Then, as here, there is the absolute Truth, with no possibility of error of judgement or error of the eye, (which stands for any instrument of sense-perception and any ancillary aids, such as microscopes, etc.). This absolute Truth is the haqq al yaqin spoken of here. 

52. So glorify the name(5674) of thy Lord Most High. 

5674 As Allah has given us this absolute Truth through His Revelation, it behooves us to understand it and be grateful to Him. We must celebrate His praises in thought, word and deed.

79. Al Nazi'at (Those Who Tear Out) (79:27-46)

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

27. What! Are ye the more difficult to create or the heaven (above)?(5934) (Allah) hath constructed it: 

5934 If man grows arrogant or forgets his accountability to Allah, in his ignorance or thoughtlessness, he is reminded that he is only an insignificant speck in Allah's spacious Creation (Cf. 36:81). All the excellence that man acquires is the gift of Allah, Who had bestowed on him a high Destiny if he fulfils the purpose of his creation: 2:30-39. Then follows a nature passage, pointing to the glory of the heavens and the earth, and how they are both made to subserve the life of man. 

28. On high hath He raised its canopy, and He hath given it order and perfection.(5935) 

5935 Cf. 2:29. The mystery of the heavens with their countless stars and the planets obeying the laws of motion, and the sun and moon influencing the temperature and climates of the earth from thousands or millions of miles, illustrate the order and perfection which Allah has given to His Creation. Can man then remain exempt from his responsibility for his deeds, endowed as he is with a will, or deny the Day of Sorting Out, which is the Day of Judgement? 

29. Its night doth He endow with darkness, and its splendour doth He bring out (with light).(5936) 

5936 Its of course refers to the starry heaven. Both the Night and the Day have each its own beauty and its utility for man, as has been frequently pointed out in the Qur'an. The night is a period of darkness, but it has also its splendours of light in the moon, or the planets Jupiter or Venus, or stars like Sirius or the Milky Way. These countless lights of night have their own beauty, and by day there is splendour of the sun for us, which in Creation as a whole, is just one of countless stars. 

30. And the earth, moreover,(5937) hath He extended (to a wide expanse);

5937 Moreover: or, more literally, after that. See n. 4475 to 41:11. 

31. He draweth out therefrom its moisture and its pasture;(5938) 

5938 The underground springs and wells as well as rivers and glaciers in northern climates are due to the different levels of highlands not lowlands. They spread the moisture evenly as wanted, and give corn, fruits, and vegetables to man, and pastures and feeding grounds to beasts of the fields. For the wonderful circuit or cycle of water between heaven and earth, see notes 3106 (25:49) and 3111 (25:53). 

32. And the mountains hath He firmly fixed;-(5939) 

5939 See n. 2038 to 16:15. the "eternal hills" are the main reservoirs for the storage and gradual distribution of water, the very basis of the life of man and beast. 

33. For use and convenience(5940) to you and your cattle. 

5940 This clause I construe to apply to verses 30, 31, and 32 above. Everything on earth as, by Allah's bountiful providence, been arranged to subserve the use and convenience of man and the lower life which depends upon him. The intermediary between Allah's providence and the actual use made for Allah's other gifts is man's own intelligence and initiative, which are also gifts of Allah. 

34. Therefore, when there comes the great, overwhelming (Event),-(5941) 

5941 The Judgement, the time for sorting out all things according to their true, intrinsic, and eternal values. 

35. The Day when man shall remember (all) that he strove for,(5942) 

5942 The Judgement will be not only for his acts but for his motives, "all he strove for", In this life he may forget his ill-deeds, but in the new conditions he will not only remember them, but the Fire of Punishment will be plainly visible to him, and not only to him, but it will be "for all to see". This will add to the sinner's humiliation. 

36. And Hell-Fire shall be placed in full view(5943) for (all) to see,- 

5943 Cf. 26:91. 

37. Then, for such as had transgressed all bounds, 

38. And had preferred(5944) the life of this world, 

5944 The abiding Punishment will be for those who had willfully and persistently rebelled against Allah, "transgressing all bounds", and had given themselves up to the vanities and lusts of this lower life. This Punishment will not touch those who had repented and been forgiven, nor those guilty, through human frailty, of minor sins, whose deeds will be weighed in the balance against their good deeds: 101:6-9. 

39. The Abode will be Hell-Fire; 

40. And for such as had entertained the fear of standing before(5945) their Lord´s (tribunal) and had restrained (their) soul from lower desires, 

5945 The contrast is complete and parallel: the persistent rebels against Allah's Law, who preferred the lower life, are to dwell in the Fire of Punishment, while those who humbly feared the punishment of sin and believing in their Lord's warnings restrained their lower desires, will dwell in the Garden. See last note. 

41. Their abode will be the Garden. 

42. They ask thee(5946) about the Hour,-´When will be its appointed time? 

5946 Cf. 7:187 and n. 1159. Only Allah can reveal it. But were it known, "heavy were its burden through the heavens and the earth". 

43. Wherein art thou (concerned) with the declaration thereof? 

44. With thy Lord in the Limit(5947) fixed therefor. 

5947 Our time has no sort of comparison with the timeless state in the new spiritual World in which the final Judgement will take place. Nor can its limits— how long it will last—be set except in fhe Will of Almighty Allah, Lord of Supreme Wisdom, Justice, and Goodness: 11:107-108. But it is near, in the sense explained in n. 5914 to 78:40. 

45. Thou art but a Warner for such as fear it.(5948) 

5948 The warning is only effective for those who believe in Allah and in the Final Account. Such men immediately turn in repentance to Allah, and it is to lead such men and help them, that Prophets are sent. 

46. The Day they see it, (It will be) as if they had tarried but a single evening, or (at most till) the following morn!(5949)

5949 Cf. 10:45, where the expression used is: "it will be as if they had tarried but an hour of a day." Here the metaphor used is "a single evening, or at most, 'till the following morn". Death is like sleep, and may be compared to the evening of life. In sleep we do not know how the time passes. When we wake up from the sleep of Death at the Resurrection, we shall not know whether it was the following moment or the following hour after we slept, but we shall feel that it is morning, for we shall be conscious of all that goes on, as one awakened in the morning.

111. Al Lahab (The Flame) (111:1-5)

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

1. Perish the hands of the Father of Flame!(6294) Perish he! 

6294 Abu Lahab: "Father of Flame", was the nickname of an uncle of the Prophet, from his fiery hot temper and his ruddy complexion. He was one of the most inveterate enemies of early Islam. When the Prophet called together Quraysh and his own kith and kin to come and listen to his preaching and his warning against the sins of his people, the "Father of Flame" flared up and cursed the Prophet, saying "Perdition to thee!" According to the English saying, "the causeless curse will not come". His words were futile, but his power and strength were equally futile. The star of Islam rose higher and higher every day, and its persecutors dwindled in strength and power. Many of the leaders of persecution perished at Badr, and Abu Lahab himself perished a week after Badr, consumed with grief and his own fiery passions. Verse 3 was prophetic of his end in this very life, though it also refers to the Hereafter. 

2. No profit to him from all his wealth, and all his gains! 

3. Burnt soon will he be in a Fire of Blazing Flame! 

4. His wife shall carry the (crackling) wood - As fuel!(6295) 

6295 Abu Lahab's wife was a woman of equally passionate spite and cruelty against the sacred person of the Prophet. She used to tie bundles of thorns with ropes of twisted palm-leaf fibre and carry them and strew them about on dark nights in the paths which the Prophet was expected to take, in order to cause him bodily injury. "To carry firewood" may also be symbolical for carrying tales between people to embroil them. This was also one of her vices. But she was laying up for herself another kind of Fire and another kind of Rope, the Fire of Punishment, and the Rope of Slavery to Evil. Thus does Evil prepare its own fate. This is the general lesson of sustained craft and cruel wrongdoing recoiling on the wrongdoer's head. See also Introduction to this Surah. 

5. A twisted rope of palm-leaf fibre round her (own) neck!

113. Al Falaq (The Daybreak) (113:1-5)

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

1. Say: I seek refuge(6301) with the Lord of the Dawn(6302) 

6301 In Allah's created world, there are all kinds of forces and counterforces, especially those put in motion by beings who have been endowed with some sort of will. The forces of good may be compared to light, and those of evil to darkness. Allah can cleave the depths of darkness and produce light (6:96), and therefore we should cast off fear and take refuge in divine guidance and goodness. 

6302 Falaq is the Dawn or Daybreak, the cleaving of darkness and the manifestation of light. This may be understood in various senses: (1) literally, when the darkness of the night is at its worst, rays of light pierce through and produce the dawn; (2) when the darkness of ignorance is at its worst, the light of Allah pierces through the soul and gives it enlightenment: 24:35; (3) non-existence is darkness, and life and activity may be typified by light. The author and source of all true light is Allah, and if we seek Him, we are free from ignorance, superstition, fear, and every kind of evil. 

2. From the mischief of created things;(6303) 

6303 See n. 6301 above. Our trust in Allah is the refuge from every kind of fear and superstition, every kind of danger and evil. Three special kinds of mischief are specified in the next three verses, against which our best guard is our trust in Allah, the Light of the heavens and the earth. They are: (1) physical dangers, typified by darkness, (2) psychical dangers within us, typified by Secret Arts, and (3) psychical dangers from without us, resulting from a perverted will, which seeks to destroy any good that we enjoy. 

3. From the mischief of Darkness as it overspreads;(6304) 

6304 The darkness of the night, physical darkness, is a good type of physical dangers and difficulties. Many people are afraid of physical darkness, and all are afraid of physical injuries, accidents, and calamities. We should not fear, but having taken reason able precautions, trust in Allah. 

4. From the mischief of those who practise Secret Arts;(6305) 

6305 Those who practise Secret Arts : literally, 'those (feminine) who blow on knots', this having been a favourite form of witchcraft practiced by perverted women. Such secret arts cause psychological terror. They may be what is called magic, or secret plottings, or the display of false and seductive charms (3:14), or the spreading of false and secret rumours or slanders to frighten men or deter them from right action. There is fraud in such things, but men are swayed by it. They should cast off fear and do their duty. 

5. And from the mischief of the envious one as he practises envy.(6306) 

6306 Malignant envy, translated into action, seeks to destroy the happiness or the material or spiritual good enjoyed by other people. The best guard against it is trust in Allah with purity of heart

90. Al Balad (The City) (90:1-20)

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

1. I do call to witness(6130) this City;- 

6130 The appeal to the mystic ties between the Prophet and his parent city of Makkah has been explained in the Introduction to this Surah. It is a symbol of man's own history. Man is born for toil and struggle, and this is the substantive proposition in verse 4 below, which this appeal leads up to. 

2. And thou art a freeman(6131) of this City;- 

6131 Hillun: an inhabitant, a man with lawful rights, a man freed from such obligations as would attach to a stranger to the city, a freeman in a wider sense than the technical sense to which the word is restricted in modern usage. The Prophet should have been honoured in his native city. He was actually being persecuted. He should have been loved, as a parent loves a child. Actually his life was being sought, and those who believed in him were under a ban. But time was to show that he was to come triumphant to his native city after having made Madihah sacred by his life and work. 

3. And (the mystic ties of) Parent and Child;-(6132) 

6132 A parent loves a child ordinarily: the father is proud and the mother, in spite of her birth pains, experiences supreme joy when the child is born. But in abnormal circumstances there may be misunderstandings, even hatred between parent and child. So Makkah cast out her most glorious son, but it was only for a time. Makkah was sound at heart; only her power had been usurped by an ignorant autocracy which passed away, and Makkah was to receive back her glory at the hands of the son whom she had rejected but whom she welcomed back later. And Makkah retains for all time her sacred character as the centre of Islam. 

4. Verily We have created man into toil and struggle.(6133) 

6133 Cf. "Man is born unto troubles as the sparks fly upward" (Job, 5:7); "For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief (Ecclesiastes, 2:23). Man's life is full of sorrow and vexation; but our text has a different shade of meaning: man is born to strive and struggle; and if he suffers from hardships, he must exercise patience, for Allah will make his way smooth for him (65:7; 94:5-6). On the other hand no man should boast of worldly goods or worldly prosperity (see verses 5-7 below). 

5. Thinketh he, that none hath power over him?(6134) 

6134 See the end of last note. If a man has wealth, influence, or power, he should not behave as if it is to last forever, or as if he has no responsibility for his acts and can do what he likes. All his gifts and advantages are given to him for trial. Allah, Who bestowed them on him, can take them away, and will do so if man fails in his trial. 

6. He may say (boastfully); Wealth have I squandered in abundance!(6135)

6135 The man who feels no responsibility and thinks that he can do what he likes in life forgets his responsibility to Allah. He boasts of his wealth and scatters it about, thinking that he can thus purchase the support of the world. For a time he may. But a rude awakening must come soon, for he bases his hopes on unsubstantial things. Or if he spends his substance on self-indulgence, he is weakening himself and putting himself into snares that must destroy him. 

7. Thinketh he that none beholdeth him?(6136)

6136 Allah watches him, and sees all his acts and motives, and all the secret springs of his follies. But lest he should think the higher spiritual forces too remote for him, let him look within himself and use the faculties which Allah has given him. See the next verses following. 

8. Have We not made for him a pair of eyes?- 

9. And a tongue,(6137) and a pair of lips?- 

6137 The eyes give us the faculty of seeing, and may be taken in both the literal and the metaphorical sense. In the same way the tongue gives us the faculty of tasting in both senses. Along with the lips, it also enables us to speak, to ask for information and seek guidance, and to celebrate the praises of Allah. 

10. And shown him the two highways?(6138) 

6138 The two highways of life are: (1) the steep and difficult path of virtue, which is further described in the verses following, and (2) the easy path of vice and the rejection of Allah, referred to in verses 19-20 below. Allah has given us not only the faculties implied in the eyes, the tongue, and the lips, but also given us the judgement by which we can choose our way; and He has sent us Teachers and Guides, with Revelation, to show us the right and difficult way. 

11. But he hath made no haste on the path that is steep.(6139) 

6139 In spite of the faculties with which Allah has endowed man and the guidance which He has given him, man has been remiss. By no means has he been eager to follow the steep and difficult path which is for his own spiritual good. Cf. Matt. 7:14: "Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (see also 1:6 and n. 22). 

12. And what will explain to thee the path that is steep?- 

13. (It is:) freeing the bondman;(6140) 

6140 The difficult path of virtue is defined as the path of charity or unselfish love, and three specific instances are given for our understanding: viz. (1) freeing the bondman, (2) feeding the orphan, and (3) feeding the indigent down in the dust. As regards the bondman, we are to understand not only a reference to legal slavery, but many other kinds of slavery which flourish especially in advanced societies. There is political slavery, industrial slavery, and social slavery. There is the slavery of conventions, of ignorance, and of superstition. There is slavery to wealth or passions or power. The good man tries to liberate men and women from all kinds of slavery, often at great danger to himself. But he begins by first liberating himself. (R). 

14. Or the giving of food in a day of privation(6141) 

6141 Feed those who need it, both literally and figuratively; but do so especially when there is privation or famine, literal or figurative, i.e., when or where the sources of sustenance, physical, moral, or spiritual, 

15. To the orphan with claims of relationship,(6142) 

6142 All orphans should be fed and helped. But ordinary orphans will come under the indigent in verse 16 below. The orphans related to us have a special claim on us. They should be near and dear to us, and if charity begins at home, they have the first claim on us. 

16. Or to the indigent (down) in the dust.(6143) 

6143 Persons down in the dust can only be helped from motives of pure charity, because nothing can be expected of them-neither praise nor advertisement nor any other advantage to the helper. Such help is help indeed. But there may be various degrees, and the help will be suited to the needs. 

17. Then will he be(6144) of those who believe, and enjoin patience, (constancy, and self-restraint), and enjoin deeds of kindness and compassion. 

6144 Such practical charity and love will be the acid test of Faith and the teaching of all virtues. The virtues are summed up under the names of Patience (the Arabic word includes constancy and self-restraint) and compassionate kindness. Not only will they be the test by which the sincerity of their Faith will be judged: they will be the fruit which their Faith will constantly produce. 

18. Such are the Companions of the Right Hand.(6145) 

6145 Cf. 56:27-40, also n. 5223. They will be those who achieve salvation. 

19. But those who reject Our Signs, they are the (unhappy) Companions of the Left Hand.(6146) 

6146 Cf. 56:41-56, also n. 5223. They will be the unfortunate ones enveloped in the Fire of lasting Penalty, heaped over them and all round them.

20. On them will be Fire vaulted over (all round)
.
102. Al Takathur (The Piling Up) (102:3-8)

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

3. But nay, ye soon shall know (the reality). 

4. Again, ye soon shall know! 

5. Nay, were ye to know with certainty of mind,(6259) (ye would beware!)

6259 Three kinds of yaqin (certainty of knowledge) are described in n. 5673 to 69:51. The first is certainty of mind or inference mentioned here: we hear from someone, or we infer from something we know: this refers to our own state of mind. If we instruct our minds in this way, we should value the deeper things of life better, and not waste all our time in ephemeral things. But if we do not use our reasoning faculties now, we shall yet see with our own eyes, the Penalty for our sins. It will be certainty of sight. We shall see Hell. See next verse. But the absolute certainty of assured Truth is that described in 69:51. That is not liable to any human error or psychological defect. 

6. Ye shall certainly see Hellfire!(6260) 

6260 See 19:71-72, and n. 2518. 

7. Again, ye shall see it with certainty of sight! 

8. Then, shall ye be questioned that Day about the joy(6261) (ye indulged in!). 

6261 We shall be questioned, i.e., we shall be held responsible for every kind of joy we indulge in; whether it was false pride or delight in things of no value, or things evil, or the enjoyment of things legitimate-the last, to see whether we kept this within reasonable bounds.

105. Al Fil (The Elephant) (105:1-5)

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

1. Seest(6270) thou not how thy Lord dealt with the Companions of the Elephant?(6271) 

6270 Seest thou not?-i.e. with thy mental vision. The incident happened in the very year of the Prophet's birth, barely two months before it. 

6271 These were the troops of Abrahah the Abyssinian, who invaded Makkah with a large army, in which were some elephants. See Introduction to this Surah. 

2. Did He not make their treacherous plan go astray? 

3. And He sent against them Flights of Birds,(6272) 

6272 The miracle consisted in the birds coming in large flights and flinging stones at the army which caused a great pestilence to arise and destroy the whole of Abrahah's army. 

4. Striking them with stones(6273) of baked clay. 

6273 Sijjil: See n. 1579 to 11:82. The word also occurs at 15:74. Stones of baked clay, or hard as baked clay, are part of the miracle in the story. 

5. Then did He make them like an empty field(6274) of stalks and straw, (of which the corn) has been eaten up.(6275) 

6274 A field, from which all the corn has been eaten up and only straw with stalks or stubble is left, is a field dead and useless. And such was the army of Abrahahdead and useless. Another possible rendering would be: "like eaten straw and stubble found in the dung of animals". The meaning would be the same, but much more emphatic. 

6275 The lesson to be drawn is twofold. For the Pagan Quraysh of Makkah it was: Allah will protect His own; if you persecute the Prophet, he is greater than the mere building of the Ka'bah: will not Allah protect him? For men in all ages it is: 'a man intoxicated with power can prepare armies and material resources against Allah's Holy Plan; but such a man's plan will be his own undoing; he cannot prevail against Allah'.

68. Al Qalam (The Pen) (68:1-16)

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

1. Nun.(5592-A) By the Pen(5593) and the (Record) which (men) write,- 

5592- A See note above. 

5593

2. Thou art not, by the Grace of thy Lord, mad or possessed.(5594) 

5594 People usually call anyone mad whose standards are different from their own. And madness is believed by superstitious people to be due to demoniacal possession, an idea distinctly in the minds of the New Testament writers: for Luke speaks of a man from whom the "devils" were cast out, as being then "clothed, and in his right mind." (Luke, 8:35). (R). 

3. Nay, verily for thee is a Reward unfailing:(5595) 

5595 Instead of being out of his right mind, the Prophet of Allah had been raised to a great spiritual dignity, a reward that was not like an earthly reward that passes away, but one that was in the very core of his being, and would never fail him in any circumstances. He was really granted a nature and character far above the shafts of grief or suffering, slander or persecution. 

4. And thou (standest) on an exalted standard of character. 

5. Soon wilt thou see,(5596) and they will see, 

5596 Though Al Mustafa's nature raised him above the petty spite of his contemporaries, an appeal is made to their reason and to the logic of events. Was it not his accusers that were really mad? What happened to Al Walid ibn Al Mughayrah, or Abu jahl, or Abu Lahab?-and to Allah's Messenger and those who followed his guidance? The world's history gives the answer. And the appeal is not only to his contemporaries, but for all time. 

6. Which of you is afflicted with madness. 

7. Verily it is thy Lord that knoweth best, which (among men) hath strayed from His Path: and He knoweth best(5597) those who receive (true) Guidance. 

5597 Men set up false standards of judgement. The right standard is that of Allah. For His Knowledge is complete and all-embracing; He reads hidden motives as well as things that appear before men's sight; and He knows the past history in which the roots of present actions are embedded, as well as the future consequences of present actions. 

8. So hearken not to those who deny (the Truth).(5598) 

5598 The enemies of Allah's truth are sometimes self-deceived. But quite often they have a glimmering of the truth in spite of their desire to shut their eyes. Then they compromise, and they would like the preachers of inconvenient truths to compromise with them. On those terms there would be mutual laudation. This easy path of making the best of both worlds is a real danger or temptation to the best of us, and we must be on our guard against it if we would really enter into the company of the Righteous who submit their wills to the Will of Allah. Abu Jahl freely offered impossible compromises to the Prophet. 

9. Their desire is that thou shouldst be pliant: so would they be pliant. 

10. Heed not the type of despicable men,-(5599) ready with oaths,(5600) 

5599 The type of each of these hateful qualities is not uncommon, though the combination of all in one man makes him peculiarly despicable, as was Al WalTd ibn Al Mughiyrah, who was a ringleader in calumniating our Prophet and who came to an evil end not long after the battle of Badr, in which he received injuries. 
5600 It is only liars who swear on all occasions, small or great, because their ordinary word is not believed in. The true man's word, according to the proverb, is as good as his bond. 

11. A slanderer, going about with calumnies, 

12. (Habitually) hindering (all) good, transgressing beyond bounds, deep in sin, 

13. Violent (and cruel),-(5601) with all that, base-born,- 

5601 Besides the self-deceiver and the easy-going man, there is a third type, even more degraded. He has no idea of truth or sincerity. He is ready to swear friendship with everyone and fidelity to every cause. But at the same moment he will slander and backbite, and cause mischief even between good but credulous persons. Evil seems to be his good, and good his evil. He will not only pursue evil courses himself but prevent other people from doing right. When checked, he resorts to violence. In any case, he will intrude where he has no right, claiming relationship or power or consideration in circles which would gladly disown him. He is vain of his wealth or because he has a large following at his beck and call. Religion is to him merely old-fashioned superstition. 

14. Because(5602) he possesses wealth and (numerous) sons. 

5602 Because may connect with heed not in verse 10, or with violent and cruel in verse 13. In the former case, we construe: 'Pay no attention to despicable men of the character described, simply because they happen to have wealth or influence, or much backing in manpower'. In the latter case, we construe: the fellow is violent and cruel, because he is puffed up with his wealth or riches or backing in manpower'. In the eyes of Allah such a man is in any case branded and marked out as a sinner. 

15. When to him are rehearsed Our Signs,(5603) "Tales of the ancients",(5604) he cries! 

5603 Allah's Signs, by which He calls us, are everywhere—in nature and in our very heart and soul. In Revelation, every verse is a Sign, for it stands symbolically for far more than it says. "Sign" (Ayah) thus becomes a technical term for a verse of the Qur'an. 

5604 Cf. 6:25.  

16. Soon shall We brand (the beast) on the snout!(5605) 

5605 Literally, proboscis, the most sensitive limb of the elephant. The sinner makes himself a beast and can only be controlled by his snout.

89. Al Fajr (The Dawn) (89:14-27)

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

14. For thy Lord is (as a Guardian) on a watchtower.(6118) 

6118 Even though Allah's punishment is delayed, it is not to be supposed that He does not see all things-Allah's providence is ever vigilant: His punishment of evildoers is a form of justice to the weak and the righteous whom they oppress. It is part of the signification of His title as Rabb (Cherisher). (R). 

15. Now, as for man,(6119) when his Lord trieth him, giving him honour and gifts, then saith he, (puffed up), "My Lord hath honoured me." 

6119 Contrast with Allah's justice and watchful care, man's selfishness and pettiness. Allah tries us both by prosperity and adversity: in the one we should show humility and kindness; and in the other patience and faith. On the contrary, we get puffed up in prosperity and depressed in adversity, putting false values on this world's goods. 

16. But when He trieth him, restricting his subsistence(6120) for him, then saith he (in despair), "My Lord hath humiliated me!" 

6120 Subsistence, in both the literal and the figurative sense. Allah provides for all, but people complain if the provision is measured and restricted to their needs, circumstances, and antecedents, and does not come up to their desires or expectations, or is different from that given to people in quite different circumstances. 

17. Nay, nay! But ye(6121) honour not the orphans! 

6121 Even at our own valuation, if we are favoured with superfluities, do we think of the fatherless children, or the struggling poor? On the contrary, too many men are but ready to embezzle the helpless orphan's inheritance, and to waste their own substance in worthless riot instead of supplying the people's real needs. 

18. Nor do ye encourage one another(6122) to feed the poor!- 

6122 Kindness and generosity set up standards which even worldly men feel bound to follow out of social considerations even if they are not moved by higher motives. But the wicked find plausible excuses for their own hardheartedness, and by their evil example choke up the springs of charity and kindness in others (Cf. 69:34 and n. 6282). 

19. And ye devour inheritance -(6123) all with greed, 

6123 Inheritance is abused in two ways. (1) Guardians and trustees for the inheritance of minors or women or persons unable to look after their own interests should fulfil their trusts with even more care than they devote to their own interests. Instead of that they selfishly "devour" the property. (2) Persons who inherit property in their own rights should remember that in that case, too, it is a sacred trust. They must use it for the purposes, objects, and duties which they also inherit. It gives them no licence to live in idleness or waste their days in riotous show. 

20. And ye love wealth with inordinate love! 

21. Nay! When the earth is pounded to powder,(6124) 

6124 Our attention is now called to the Day of Reckoning. Whether we failed to respect the rights of the helpless here or actually suppressed those rights in our mad love for the good things of this life, we shall have to answer in the realm of Reality. This solid earth, which we imagine to be so real, will crumble to powder like dust before the real Presence, manifested in glory (Cf. 69:14). 

22. And thy Lord cometh, and His angels, rank upon rank, 

23. And Hell, that Day,(6125) is brought (face to face),- on that Day will man remember, but how will that remembrance profit him? 

6125 The Retribution will at last come, and we shall realise it in our inmost being, all the illusions of this fleeting world having been swept away. Then we shall remember, and wish, too late, that we had repented. Why not repent now? Why not bring forth the fruits of repentance now, as a preparation for the Hereafter? 

24. He will say: "Ah! Would that I had sent forth (good deeds) for (this) my (Future) Life!" 

25. For, that Day, His Chastisement will be such as none (else) can inflict,(6126) 

6126 "Chastisement" in this verse and the "binding in bonds" in the next verse are two distinct phases of the Penalty. "Chastisement" involves pain and agony, such as cannot be imagined anywhere else, or from any other source, for it touches our inmost soul and cannot be compared with anything our bodies may suffer or others may inflict. "Bonds" imply confinement, want of freedom, the closing of a door which was once open but which we deliberately passed by. We see that others accepted in faith and entered that door. This shutting out of what might have been is worse than any other bonds or confinement we can imagine, and may be worse than actual chastisement. 

26. And His bonds will be such as none (other) can bind. 

27. (To the righteous soul will be said:) "O (thou) soul,(6127) in (complete) rest and satisfaction! 

6127 The righteous enter into their inheritance and receive their welcome with a title that suggests freedom from all pain, sorrow, doubt, struggle, disappointment, passion, and even further desire: at rest, in peace; in a state of complete satisfaction. 

In Muslim theology, this stage of the soul is the final stage of bliss. The unregenerate human soul, that seeks its satisfaction in the lower earthly desires, is the Ammarah (12:53). The self-reproaching soul that feels conscious of sin and resists it is the Lawwamah (75:2, and n. 5810).

99. Al Zalzalah (The Earthquake (99:1-8)

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

1. When the earth is shaken to her (utmost) convulsion,(6235) 

6235 To the ordinary human observer a violent earthquake is a terrifying phenomenon, in its suddenness, in its mysterious origin, and in its power to destroy and uproot the strongest buildings and to bring up strange materials from the bowels of the earth. The Overwhelming Event (S. 88) which ushers in the Judgement will be a bigger and more far-reaching convulsion than any earthquakes that we know. And yet the incidents of earthquakes may give us some idea of that supreme world-shaking Event. 

2. And the earth throws up her burdens (from within),(6236) 

6236 An earthquake, if accompanied by a volcanic eruption, throws up enormous boulders and lava from beneath the crust of the earth. They are thrown up as if they were a burden to the Earth personified. They may be all kinds of minerals, or treasures buried for secrecy. So in the great and final Convulsion, the dead who had been buried and forgotten will rise; matters and motives which had been secretly hidden and metaphorically buried will be brought to the light of day, and justice will be done in the full glare of absolute Truth. 

3. And man cries (distressed): ´What is the matter with it?´-(6237) 

6237 The puzzled agony suffered by the victims of violent earthquakes is as nothing compared to the experience of the new and wonderful world which will then open out to the gaze of man.

4. On that Day will she declare her tidings:

5. For that thy Lord will have given her inspiration.(6238) 

6238 The present order may he personified as the earth. It will pass away, but the Deeds done therein, even the most secret, will be brought to the full light of day. And this will be because Allah will give the Command, the inspiration or Word, by which alone all events do proceed. The "inspiration" is the Command or direction conveyed by instruction breathed into the Earth personified: it is directed to tell the whole story of what it knows. Cf. 16:68, n. 2097. 

6. On that Day will men proceed in companies sorted out,(6239) to be shown the deeds that they (had done). 

6239 In this world good and evil are mixed together. But then they will be sorted out, and each grade of good and evil will be sorted out. So they will proceed in companies to receive judgement. And they will be shown the exact import of everything that they had thought, said, or done, in this life of probation, however they may have concealed or misinterpreted it in this life. Everything will be considered in taking the account, and the account will convince the persons concerned themselves. 

7. Then shall anyone who has done an atom´s weight(6240) of good, see it! 

6240 Dharrah: the weight of an ant, the smallest living weight an ordinary man can think of. Figuratively the subtlest form of good and evil will then be brought to account, and it will be done openly and convincingly: he "shall see it". 

8. And anyone who has done an atom´s weight of evil, shall see it.

86. Al Tariq (The Night Star) (86:1-10)

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

1. By the Sky(6067) and the Night-Visitant(6068) (therein);- 

6067 The appeal here is to a single mystic Symbol, 

viz,: the Sky with its Night Visitant: and the substantive proposition is in verse 4: "There is no soul but has a protector over it". In the last Surah we considered the persecution of Allah's votaries, and how Allah protects them. Here the same theme is presented in another aspect. In the darkest sky shines out most brilliantly the light of the most brilliant star. So in the night of spiritual darkness-whether through ignorance of distress-shines the glorius star of Allah's revelation. By the same token the man of Faith and Truth has nothing to fear. Allah will protect His own. 

6068 This is explained in verse 3 below. The "Star of piercing brightness" is understood by some to be the Morning Star, by others to be the planet Saturn, by others again to be Sirius, or the Pleiades or shooting stars. I think it is best to take "Star" in the collective or generic sense, for stars shine on every night in the year, and their piercing brightness is most noticeable on the darkest night. 

2. And what will explain to thee what the Night-Visitant is?- 

3. (It is) the Star of piercing brightness;- 

4. There is no soul but has a protector over it.(6069) 

6069 If man has a true spiritual understanding, he has nothing to be afraid of. He is protected by Allah in many ways that he does not even know. He may be an insignificant creature as a mere animal, but his soul raises him to a dignity above other creation. And all sorts of divine forces guard and protect him. 

5. Now let man but think from what he is created! 

6. He is created from a drop emitted-(6070) 

6070 See n. 5832 to 76:2. See also last note. 

7. Proceeding from between the backbone and the ribs:(6071) 

6071 A man's seed is the quintessence of his body. It is therefore said metaphorically to proceed from his loins, i.e., from his back between the hipbones and his ribs. His backbone is the source and symbol of his strength and personality. In his spinal cord and in the brain is the directive energy of the central nervous system, and this directs all action, organic and psychic. The spinal cord is continuous with the Medulla Oblongata in the brain. 

8. Surely (Allah) is able to bring him back (To life)!(6072) 

6072 The Creator who can mingle the forces of psychic and physical muscular action in the creation of man, as explained in the last note, can surely give a new life after physical death here, and restore man's personality in the new world that will open out in the Hereafter. 

9. The Day that (all) things secret will be tested, 

10. (Man) will have no power, and no helper.(6073) 

6073 In that new world, all our actions, motives, thoughts, and imaginings of this life, however secret, will be brought into the open, and tested by the standards of absolute Truth, and not by false standards of custom, prejudice, or partiality. In that severe test, any adventitious advantages of this life will have no strength or force whatever, and cannot help in any way.

53. Al Najm (The Star) (53:34-62)

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

34. Gives a little, then hardens (his heart)? 

35. What! Has he knowledge of the Unseen so that he can see?(5109) 

5109 'So that he can see what will happen in the Hereafter': for no bargains can be struck about matters unknown. 

36. Nay, is he not acquainted with what is in the books(5110) of Moses- 

5110 Books of Moses: apparendy not the Pentateuch, in the Tawrah, but some other book or books now lost. For example, the Book of the Wars of Jehovah is referred to in the Old Testament (Num. 21:14 ) but is now lost. The present Pentateuch has no clear message at all of a Life to come. 

37. And of Abraham(5111) who fulfilled his engagements?-(5112) 

5111 No original Book of Abraham is now extant. But a book called "The Testament of Abraham" has come down to us which seems to be a Greek translation of a Hebrew original. See n. 6094 to 87:19, where the Books of Moses and Abraham are again mentioned together. 

5112 One of the titles of Abraham is Hanif, the True in Faith: Cf. 16:120, 123. 

38. Namely, that no bearer(5113) of burdens can bear the burden of another; 

5113 Here follows a series of eleven aphorisms of ancient wisdom apparently incorporated in current Semitic folklore. The first is that a man's spiritual burden—die responsibility for his sin—must be borne by himself and not by another: Cf. 6:164; 17:15 ; 35:18; 39:7. There can be no vicarious atonement. 

39. That man can have nothing but what he strives for; 

40. That (the fruit of) his striving(5114) will soon come in sight: 

5114 The second and third aphorisms are that man must strive, or he will gain nothing; and that if he strives, the result must soon appear in sight and he will find his reward in full measure. 

41. Then will he be rewarded with a reward complete; 

42. That to thy Lord is the final Goal;(5115) 

5115 The fourth, fifth, and sixth aphorisms are that all things return to Allah; that all our hope should be in Him and we should fear none but Him; and that He alone can give Life and Death. 

43. That it is He Who granteth Laughter and Tears; 

44. That it is He Who granteth Death and Life; 

45. That He did create in pairs,- male and female,(5116) 

5116 The seventh aphorism relates to the mystery of sex: all things are created in pairs: each sex performs its proper function, and yet its wonderful working is part of the creative process of Allah: the living seed fructifies, but contains within itself all the factors disclosed in its later development and life. 

46. From a seed when lodged (in its place); 

47. That He hath promised a Second Creation (Raising of the Dead);(5117)

5117 No less wonderful is the promise He has made about the raising of the dead, and a new life in the Hereafter, and this is the subject of the eighth aphorism. 

48. That it is He Who giveth wealth and satisfaction;(5118) 

5118 Wealth and material gain are sought by most men, in the hope that they will be a source of enjoyment and satisfaction. But this hope is not always fulfilled. There is a psychical and spiritual side to it. But both the material and the spiritual side depend upon the working of Allah's Plan. This is referred to in the ninth aphorism. 

49. That He is the Lord of Sirius (the Mighty Star);(5119) 

5119 The tenth aphorism refers to a mighty phenomenon of nature, the magnificent star Sirius, which is such a prominent object in the skies, in the early part of the solar year, say, from January to April. It is the brightest star in the firmament, and its bluish light causes wonder and terror in Pagan minds. The Pagan Arabs worshipped it as a divinity. But Allah is the Lord, Creator and Cherisher, of the most magnificent part of Creation, and worship is due to Him alone. 

50. And that it is He Who destroyed the (powerful) ancient ´Ad (people),(5120) 

5120 The eleventh and last aphorism refers to the punishment of the most powerful ancient peoples for their sins. For the 'Ad people, see n. 1040 to 7:65, and for Thamud, see n. 1043 to 7:73. They were strong; and they were talented: but their strength and their talents did not save them from being destroyed for their sins. The same may be said about the earlier generation of Noah, who were destroyed in the Flood: they "rejected Our Signs: they were indeed a blind people" (7:64); see also n. 1039 to 7:59; and 11:25-49. A n c i e n t 'A d ( p e o p l e ) : some Commentators construe, First ‘Ad people, distinguishing them from the later 'Ad people, a remnant that had their day and passed away. 

51. And the Thamud nor gave them a lease of perpetual life. 

52. And before them, the people of Noah, for that they were (all) most unjust and most insolent transgressors, 

53. And He destroyed the Overthrown Cities(5121) (of Sodom and Gomorrah). 

5121 Verses 53-60 may be construed as a commentary on the aphorisms. The story of the Overthrown Cities, to which Lot was sent for a warning, will be found in 11:74-83 and the notes thereon. This story may well be treated as separate from the aphorisms as it refers to events that happened in the later life of Abraham. 

54. So that (ruins unknown) have covered them up. 

55. Then which of the gifts(5122) of thy Lord, (O man,) wilt thou dispute about? 

5122 With a slight modification this forms the refrain of the next Surah but one, the highly poetical Surah of Al Rahman. In S. 54:15, 17 etc., there is a similar refrain in different words. Every gift and benefit you have is from Allah, and to save you from the just punishment of your sins, Allah at all times sends revelations and Messengers to warn you. Why not accept Allah's Grace instead of disputing about it?

56. This is a Warner,(5123) of the (series of) Warners of old! 

5123 The Prophet before Quraysh (and before us) continues the line of messengers of Allah who have come to teach mankind and lead men into unity and righteousness. Shall we not listen to his voice? Every day that passes, the Judgement approaches nearer and nearer. But Allah alone can say at what precise hour it will come to any of us. It is certain, and yet it is a mystery, which Allah alone can lay bare. 

57. The (Judgment) ever approaching draws nigh: 

58. No (soul) but Allah can lay it bare. 

59. Do ye then wonder(5124) at this recital? 

5124 Mere wondering will not do, even if it is the wonder of admiration. Each soul must strive and act, and Allah's Mercy will take it under its wings. 

60. And will ye laugh(5125) and not weep,- 

5125 The higher issues of Life and the Hereafter are serious, and therefore all that we do in this life is serious and important. We must shun inanities and frivolities. It is no laughing time. If we only realised our own shortcomings, we should weep, with our good angels who weep for us. But weeping by itself will not help. We must try and understand Allah and adore Him. Thus shall we be able to understand ourselves and our fellow-men. 

61. Wasting your time in vanities? 

62. But fall ye down in prostration to Allah, and adore (Him)!(5126)

5126 And so we are invited to prostrate ourselves and adore Him. For this is the true end of Revelation and the true attitude when we understand the world, Nature, History and the working of Allah's Plan.

101. Al Qari'ah  (The Great Calamity) (101:1-11)

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

1. The (Day) of Noise and Clamour:(6251) 

6251 The Day of Noise and Clamour is the Day of Judgement, when the whole of the present order of things will be overthrown with a tremendous convulsion. Cf. n. 6235 to 99:1, and n. 6096 to 88:1. AJ] our present landmarks will be lost. It will be a stunning experience to begin with, but it will inaugurate a new world of true and permanent values, in which every human deed will have its true and just consequences, as if weighed in the balance. See verses 6-11 below. 

2. 22.. 2. What is the (Day) of Noise and Clamour? 

3. And what will explain to thee what the (Day) of Noise and Clamour is?

4. (It is) a Day whereon men will be like moths scattered about,(6252) 

6252 Moths are frail light things. To see them scattered about in a violent storm gives some idea of the confusion, distress, and helplessness in which men will be at first overwhelmed on the Day of Account. Old memories will be like a book almost blotted out. New hopes will be vague in a new world just rising on the horizon. But it will be a perfectly just world, and no good action will be lost and no evil one but will have its compensating value estimated. 

5. And the mountains will be like carded wool.(6253) 

6253 Cf. n. 5682 to 70:9. The mountains are solid things, which seem as if nothing could move them. But in that tremendous cataclysm they will be scattered about like flakes of teased or carded wool. This is a metaphor to show that what we consider very substantial in this life will be as an airy nothing in the spiritual world. 

6. Then, he whose balance (of good deeds)(6254) will be (found) heavy, 

6254 The Good Deeds will be weighed and appraised. This appraisement will be of the nicest and justest kind: for it will take into account motives, temptations, provocations, surrounding conditions, antecedents, subsequent amends, and all possible connected circumstances. Against them, presumably, will be deeds of the opposite kind, appraised in the same way. If the good predominates, the judgement will be in the man's favour, and he will be ushered into a life of good pleasure and satisfaction. This will of course be on another plane. (R). 

7. Will be in a life of good pleasure and Satisfaction.(6255) 

6255 Cf. 98:8, and n. 6233, but perhaps the Bliss is not of the same grade for all men. In every case it is bliss, but bliss suited to the particular nature of the individual concerned. 

8. But he whose balance (of good deeds) will be (found) light,- 

9. Will have his home in a (bottomless) Pit.(6256) 

6256 Just as grades of bliss are indicated for the righteous, so apparently we are to understand grades of punishment suited to the sins of the individual sinners concerned. 

10. And what will explain to thee what this is? 

11. (It is) a Fire Blazing fiercely!

37. Al Saffat (Those Ranged in Ranks) (37:1-182)

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

1. By(4030) those who range themselves in ranks,(4031) 

4030 At a later stage, we shall study the general meaning of the adjurations in the Qur'an indicated by the particle wa. See App. XI, p. 1694. Here we may note that the last Surah (Ya Sin) practically began with the adjuration "by the Qur'an, full of wisdom", emphasising the fact that Revelation was the evidence by which we could learn the highest wisdom of the spiritual world. Here our attention is called in three verses or clauses, to three definite attitudes which illustrate the triumph of Good and the frustration of Evil. See the notes following. 
4031 Two questions arise: (1) are the doers of the three things noted in verses 1-3 the same persons, whose actions or qualities are differently described, or are they three distinct sets of persons? (2) in either case, who are they? As to (1) the most authoritative view is that the three clauses describe the same set of persons in different aspects. As to (2) some take them to refer to angels, and others understand by them the good men, the men of God, who strive and range themselves in Allah's service. The words are perfectly general, and I interpret them to refer to both classes. The feminine form is grammatically used in Arabic idiom for the indefinite plural. In 37:165 below, the word saffun is used in the definite plural, and seems to be spoken by these beings, angels or men of God or both, according to how we interpret this verse.

2. And so are strong in repelling (evil),(4032) 

4032 The three acts in verses 1-3 are consecutive, as shown by the particle fa. I understand them to mean that angels and good men (1) are ever ready to range themselves in ranks in the service of Allah and work in perfect discipline and accord at all times; (2) that they check and frustrate evil wherever they find it and they are strengthened in doing so by their discipline and their ranging themselves in ranks; and (3) that this service furthers the Kingdom of Allah and proclaims His Message and His glory to all creation. 

3. And thus proclaim the Message (of Allah.! 

4. Verily, verily, your Allah is one!-(4033) 

4033 That divine Message is summed up in the gospel of Divine Unity, on which the greatest emphasis is laid: "verily, verily your God is One". It is a fact intimately connected with our own life and destiny.' Your Lord is one Who cares for you and cherishes you; you are dear to Him. And He is One. it is only He that you have to look to, the source of all goodness, love, and power. You are not the sport of many contending, forces or blind chances. There is complete harmony and unity in heaven and you have to put yourselves into unison with it-by discipline in ranks, by unity of plan and purpose in repelling evil, and by concerted action in promoting the Kingdom of God.' Here is the mystery of the manifold variety of creation pointing to the absolute Unity of the Creator. 

5. Lord of the heavens and of the earth and all between them, and Lord of every point at the rising of the sun!(4034) 

4034 Allah is the Lord of everything that exists-'the heavens and the earth, and all between them'. He is the Lord of the Maskariq-of every point at the rising of the sun. As the Commentators tell us, there are in the solar year only two equinoctial days, when the sun rises due east: on every other the sun rises at a shifting point either north or south of due east. In 7:137 we have mashariqalardi wa magharibaha, where the plural of the words for East and West is negligible, as the conjunction of the two embraces all points. The same may be said of 70:40, where Allah is called "Lord of all points in the East and the West". If we are speaking of longitudes, they may embrace all latitudes. In 55:17 Allah is called "Lord of the two Easts and the two Wests", referring to the extreme points in either case. A cursory reader may ask, why is only the East referred to here? The reply is that it is not so much the East as the rising of the sun, on which stress is laid. The Arabic mashriq or mashariq is close enough to the root word sharaqa, to suggest, not so much the East as the rising of the sun, especially when the plural form is used. The glorious sun rises from different points, as seen by us, but it illuminates the whole heaven and earth. It is an emblem of Unity. 

6. We have indeed decked the lower heaven(4035) with beauty (in) the stars,-(4036) 

4035 Cf. 67:3-5. 

4036 'Stars' may be taken here in the popular sense, as referring to fixed stars, planets, comets, shooting stars, etc. On a clear night the beauty of the starry heavens is proverbial. Here they are meant to illustrate two points: (1) their marvellous beauty and their groupings and motions (apparent or real) manifest and typify the Design and Harmony of the One true Creator: and (2) the power and glory behind them typify that there is a guard against the assaults of Evil (see verse 7 below). 

7. (For beauty) and for guard(4037) against all obstinate rebellious evil spirits, 

4037 Verses 7-11 seem to refer to shooting stars- Cf. 15:17 -18, and notes 195153. The heavens typify not only beauty but power. The Good in Allah's world is guarded and protected against every assault of Evil. The Evil is not part of the heavenly system: it is a thing in outlawry, merely a self-willed rebellion-"cast away on every side, repulsed under a perpetual penalty" (verses 8-9). 

8. (So) they should not strain their ears in the direction of the Exalted Assembly(4038) but be cast away from every side, 

4038 We can form a mental picture of the Court of the Most High, in the highest heaven, conforming to the highest idea we can form of goodness, beauty, purity, and grandeur. The Exalted Assembly of angels is given some knowledge of the Plan and Will of Allah. Evil is altogether foreign to such an atmosphere, but is actuated by feelings of jealousy and curiosity. It tries to approach by stealth and overhear something from the august Assembly. It is repulsed and pursued by a flaming fire, of which we can form some idea in our physical world by the piercing trail of a shooting star. 

9. Repulsed, for they are under a perpetual penalty, 

10. Except such as snatch away something by stealth, and they are pursued by a flaming(4039) fire, of piercing brightness. 

4039 See last note and Cf. 15:18 and notes 1953-54. 

11. Just ask their(4040) opinion: are they the more difficult to create, or the (other) beings We have created? Them have We created out of a sticky clay!(4041) 

4040 Their, "they" are the doubters, the evil ones, the deniers of Allah's grace and mercy, who laugh at Revelation and disbelieve in a Hereafter. Are they more important or more difficult to create than the wonderful variety of beings in Allah's spacious Creation? Do they forget their own lowly state, as having been created from muddy clay? 

4041 Cf. 6:2; 7:12 ; 32:7; etc. 

12. Truly dost thou marvel,(4042) while they ridicule, 

4042 It is indeed strange that unregenerate man should forget, on the one hand, his lowly origin, and on the other hand, his high Destiny, as conferred upon him by the grace and mercy of Allah. The indictment of him here comprises four counts: (1) they ridicule the teaching of Truth; (2) instead of profiting by admonition, they pay no heed; (3) when Allah's Signs are brought home to them, they ridicule them as much as they ridiculed the teaching of Truth: and (4) when they have to acknowledge incontestable facts, they give them false names like "sorcery", which imply fraud or something which has no relation to their life, although the facts touch the inner springs of their life intimately (Cf. 46:7). 

13. And, when they are admonished, pay no heed,- 

14. And, when they see a Sign, turn it to mockery, 

15. And say, "This is nothing but evident sorcery!

16. "What! when we die, and become dust and bones, shall we (then) be raised up (again) 

17. "And also our fathers(4043) of old?" 

4043 Although the Hereafter, and the spiritual life of which it is a corollary, are the most solid facts in our intelligent existence, materialists deny them. They cannot believe that they could have any existence beyond the grave-still less their ancestors who died ages and ages ago: how could they ever come to life again? 

18. Say thou: "Yea, and ye shall then be humiliated (on account of your evil)."(4044) 

4044 They are assured that the future life is a solid fact, but that it will be in very different conditions from those they know now. All their present arrogance will have been humbled in the dust. There will be another plane, in which souls will have experiences quite different from those in their probationary life here. In that life the virtues they lacked will count, and the arrogance they hugged will be brought low ( Cf. 40:60). 

19. Then it will be a single (compelling) cry;(4045) and behold, they will begin to see!(4046) 

4045 Cf. 36:29, 49, and 53. 

4046 Their spiritual blindness will then leave them. But they will be surprised at the suddenness of their disillusion. 

20. They will say, "Ah! Woe to us! This is the Day of Judgment!" 

21. (A voice will say,) "This is the Day(4047) of Sorting Out, whose truth ye (once) denied!" 

4047 The Day of Judgement is the day of sorting out. 

Cf. 36:59. Good and evil will finally be separated, unlike the apparently inexplicable conditions in the present probationary life, when they seem to be mixed together (see also n. 4718). 

22. "Bring ye up", it shall be said, "The wrong-doers and their wives,(4048) and the things they worshipped- 

4048 That is, if their wives were also wrongdoers. They are separately mentioned, because the Arabic phrase for "wrongdoers" is of the masculine gender. All the associates in wrongdoing will be marshalled together. There will be personal responsibility: neither husband nor wife can lay the blame on the other. 

23. "Besides Allah, and lead them to the Way to the (Fierce) Fire! 

24. "But stop them,(4049) for they must be asked: 

4049 The scene here is after judgement. As, in an earthly tribunal, the prisoner or his advocate is asked why sentence should not be pronounced upon him, so here those who are proved to have been guilty of wrong are allowed to consider if anything or anyone can help them. Then comes the exposure of the misleaders. 

25. "´What is the matter with you that ye help not each other?´"(4050) 

4050 Obviously no one can stand and intercede, for it is a question of personal responsibility for each soul. No one can help another. 

26. Nay, but that day they shall submit (to Judgment);(4051) 

4051 All the previous arrogance of this life will be gone, but they will face each other, and those who were given a false lead, as in the story of Pharaoh (Cf. 20:79), will question their misleaders as in the following verses.

27. And they will turn to one another, and question one another. 

28. They will say: "It was ye who used to come to us from the right hand (of power and authority)!"(4052) 

4052 This is the mutual recrimination of the sinners-those who sinned, against those whose instigation or evil example led them into sin. The misleaders in the life here below often used their power and influence to spread evil. The "right hand" is the hand of power and authority. Instead of using it for righteous purposes, they used it for evil,-selfishly for their own advantage, and mischievously for the degradation of others ( Cf. 37:93).

29. They will reply: "Nay, ye yourselves had no Faith!(4053) 

4053 But the fact that others mislead, or that evil example is before us, does not justify us in falling from right conduct. Faith should save us from the fall. But if we have ourselves no Faith-in righteousness, or a future life, or the reality of Allah's Law, how can we blame others? The misleaders can well say, 'You will be judged according to your misdeeds!" The responsibility is personal, and cannot be shifted on the other. The others may get a double punishment,—for their own evil, and for misleading their weaker brethren. But the weaker brethren cannot go free from responsibility of their own deeds; for evil means a personal rebellion against Allah, if we believe in a personal God. Evil has no authority over us, except insofar as we deliberately choose it. 

30. "Nor had we any authority over you. Nay, it was ye who were a people in obstinate rebellion! 

31. "So now has been proved true,(4054) against us, the word of our Lord that we shall indeed (have to) taste (the punishment of our sins). 

4054 Allah's decree of justice requires that every soul should taste the consequences of its own sins, and that decree must be fulfilled. No excuses can serve. It is only Allah's mercy that can save. 

32. "We led you astray: for truly(4055) we were ourselves astray." 

4055 Further, the misleaders can well urge against those who reproach them for misleading them: "How could you expect anything better from us? You were warned by Allah's Message that we were astray." 

33. Truly, that Day, they will (all) share in the Penalty. 

34. Verily that is how We shall deal with Sinners. 

35. For they, when they were told that there is no god except Allah, would puff themselves up with Pride,(4056) 

4056 Selfish arrogance was the seed of sin and rebellion: 2:34 (of Satan): 28:39 (of Pharaoh); etc. It is that kind of arrogance which prevents man from mending his life and conduct. When he speaks of ancestral ways, or public opinion, or national honour, he is usually thinking of himself or of a small clique which thrives on injustice. The recognition of Allah, the one true God, as the only standard of life and conduct, the Eternal Reality, cuts out Self, and is therefore disagreeable to Sin. If false gods are imagined, who themselves would have weaknesses that fit in with sin, they give countenance to evils, and it becomes difficult to give them up, unless Allah's grace comes to our assistance. (R). 

36. And say: "What! shall we give up our gods for the sake of a Poet possessed?"(4057) 

4057 Possessed of an evil spirit, or mad. Such was the charge which the Unbelievers sometimes levelled at the Prophet in the early stages of his preaching. 

37. Nay! he has come with the (very) Truth, and he confirms (the Message of) the messengers (before him).(4058) 

4058 The message of Islam, so far from being "mad" or in any way peculiar, is eminently conformable to reason and the true facts of nature as created by Allah. It is the Truth in the purest sense of the term, and confirms the Message of all true Messengers that ever lived. 

38. Ye shall indeed taste of the Grievous Penalty;- 

39. But it will be no more than the retribution(4059) of (the Evil) that ye have wrought;- 

4059 Justice demands that those who sow evil should reap the fruit, but the punishment is due to their own conduct and not to anything external to themselves.

40. But the sincere (and devoted) Servants of Allah,- 

41. For them is a Sustenance(4060) determined,(4061) 

4060 
Cf. 
7:50 . Sustenance, metaphorical sense, correlated with the Fruits mentioned below: see next verse. 

4061 Determined: Ma'lum: the reward of the Blessed will not be a chance or a fleeting thing. It will follow a firm Decree of Allah, on principles that can be known and understood. 

42. Fruits (Delights);(4062) and they (shall enjoy) honour and dignity, 

4062 Fruits: Cf. 36:57, and n. 4003. The spiritual Delights are figured forth from parallel experiences in our present life, and follow an ascending order: Food and Fruits; Gardens of Bliss, (with all their charm, design, greenery, birds' songs, fountains, etc.); the Home of Happiness and Dignity, with congenial company seated on Thrones; Delicious Drinks from crystal Springs, for social pleasure; and the society of Companions of the opposite sex, with beauty and charm but none of the grossness too often incidental to such companionship in this life. 

43. In Gardens of Felicity, 

44. Facing each other on Thrones (of Dignity): 

45. Round will be passed to them a Cup from a clearflowing fountain, 

46. Crystal-white, of a taste delicious to those who drink (thereof), 

47. Free from headiness;(4063) nor will they suffer intoxication therefrom. 

4063 The passing round of the social cup, as in the case of odier pleasures, is without any of the drawbacks and evil accompaniments of the pleasures of this world, which are taken as types. In drink there is no intoxication: in fruit there is no satiety. Cf. Dante: "The bread of Angels upon which One liveth here and grows not sated Sby it." (Paradiso, Canto II., Longfellow's translation.) 

48. And besides them will be chaste women, restraining their glances, with big eyes(4064) (of wonder and beauty). 

4064 In the emblem used here, again, the pure type of chaste womanhood is figured. They are chaste, not bold with their glances: but their eyes are big with wonder and beauty, prefiguring grace, innocence, and a refined capacity of appreciation and admiration. 

49. As if they were(4065) (delicate) eggs closely guarded. 

4065 This is usually understood to refer to the delicate complexion of a beautiful woman, which is compared to the transparent shell of eggs in the nest, closely guarded by the mother-bird; the shell is warm and free from stain. In 55:58 the phrase used is "like rubies and coral", referring to the red or pink of a beautiful complexion. 

50. Then they will turn to one another and question one another.(4066) 

4066 Cf. above, 37:27, where the same phrase is used in the reverse conditions. In each case there is a going back to the earlier memories or experiences of this life
51. One of them will start the talk and say: "I had an intimate companion (on the earth),(4067) 

4067 This companion was a sceptic, who laughed at Religion and a Hereafter. How the tables are now turned! The devout man backed up his Faith with a good life and is now in Bliss: the other was a cynic and made a mess of his life, and is now burning in the Fire.(R) 

52. "Who used to say, ´what! art thou amongst those who bear witness to the Truth (of the Message)? 

53. "´When we die and become dust and bones, shall we indeed receive rewards and punishments?´" 

54. (A voice) said: "Would ye like to look down?" 

55. He looked down and saw him in the midst of the Fire.(4068) 

4068 He is allowed a peep into the state which he so narrowly escaped by the grace of Allah. 

56. He said: "By Allah. thou wast little short of bringing me to perdition! 

57. "Had it not been for the Grace of my Lord,(4069) I should certainly have been among those brought (there)! 

4069 And he gratefully acknowledges his shortcomings: "I should have been a sinner just like this, but for the grace of Allah!" He sees that if he had erred it would have been no excuse to plead the other man's example. He had Faith and was saved, to walk in the path of righteousness. 

58. "Is it (the case) that we shall not die, 

59. "Except our first death, and that we(4070) shall not be punished?" 

4070 After he realises the great danger from which he narrowly escaped, his joy is so great that he can hardly believe it! Is the danger altogether past now? Are the portals of death closed forever? Is he safe now from the temptations which will bring him to ruin and punishment? (Cf, 44:56) 

60. Verily this is the supreme achievement!(4071) 

4071 The answer is: Yes. "Beyond the flight of Time, Beyond the realm of Death. There surely is some blessed clime, Where Life is not a breath!" In the words of Longfellow this was an aspiration on this earth. In the Hereafter it is a realisation! Some interpret verses 60-62 as a continuation of the speech of the man in heaven. The meaning would in that case be the same. 

61. For the like of this let all strive, who wish to strive. 

62. Is that the better entertainment or the Tree of Zaqqum?(4072) 

4072 Cf. 17:60, n. 2250. This bitter tree of Hell is a symbol of the contrast with the beautiful Garden of heaven with its delicious fruits. 

63. For We have truly made it (as) a trial(4073) for the wrong-doers. 

4073 
Cf. 
44:43-46.This dreadful bitter Tree of Hell is truly a trial to the wrongdoers. (1) It grows at the bottom of Hell; (2) even its fruit-stalks, which should have been tender, are like the heads of devils; (3) its produce is eaten voraciously; (4) on top of it is a boiling mixture to cut up their entrails (see next note); and (5) every time they complete this round of orgies they return to the same game. A truly lurid picture, but more lurid in reality are the stages in spiritual Evil. (1) It takes its rise in the lowest depths of corrupted human nature; (2) its tenderest affections are degraded to envy and hate: (3) the appetite for Evil grows with what it feeds on; (4) its "cures" serve but to aggravate the disease; and (5) the chain of evil is unending; one round is followed by another in interminable succession. 

64. For it is a tree that springs out of the bottom of HellFire: 

65. The shoots of its fruit-stalks are like the heads of devils: 

66. Truly they will eat thereof(4074) and fill their bellies therewith. 

4074 The parable of fruits and drinks in the contrasted fortunes of the Good and the Evil is further

67. Then on top of that they will be given a mixture made of boiling water. 

68. Then shall their return(4075) be to the (Blazing) Fire. 

4075 When they eat of the zaqqum in the lowest depths of hell, they are apparently brought up to drink of the mixture as a further punishment, after which they go back to repeat the round. 

69. Truly they found their fathers on the wrong Path; 

70. So they (too) were rushed(4076) down on their footsteps! 

4076 A grim reproach. You found your fathers doing wrong; and you must rush headlong in their footsteps to perdition!' 

71. And truly before them, many of the ancients went astray;- 

72. But We sent aforetime,(4077) among them, (messengers) to admonish them;- 

4077 It is human to err. The error is forgiven if there is repentance and amendment. The point is that Allah in His mercy at all times in history sent messengers and teachers to give His Message, and men deliberately rejected that Message. 

73. Then see what was the end of those who(4078) were admonished (but heeded not),- 

4078 It is on the reception or rejection of Allah's teachings and guidance that judgement will come. In this world itself, see what is the teaching of history. Unrighteousness and wrongdoing never prosper in the long run. 

74. Except the sincere (and devoted)(4079) Servants of Allah. 

4079 But there is always a band of sincere and devoted men who serve Allah, and the highest spiritual life is open to them (Cf. 37:160). 

Note that this verse occurs at 37:40 above, where the argument of the difference between the fates of the righteous and the unrighteous was begun. Here it is rounded off with the same phrase, and now we proceed to take illustrations from the early Prophets. 

75. (In the days of old), Noah cried to Us,(4080) and We are the best to hear prayer. 

4080 Cf. 21:76-77. The story of Noah occurs in many places; here the point is that when men gird themselves against evil, Allah protects them, and Evil cannot triumph against Allah's Plan. 

76. And We delivered him and his people from the Great Calamity,(4081) 

4081 The Deluge, the Flood of Noah. The main story will be found in 11:25 -48. 

77. And made his progeny to endure (on this earth);(4082) 

4082 Noah's posterity survived the Rood in the Ark , while the rest perished. 

78. And We left (this blessing) for him among generations(4083) to come in later times: 

4083 His name is remembered forever, commencing a new era in religious history. Note that the words in verses 78-81, with slight modifications, form a sort of refrain to the following paragraphs about Abraham, Moses, and Elias, but not about Lot and Jonah. Lot was a nephew of Abraham, and may be supposed to belong to the story of Abraham. Jonah's career nearly ended in a tragedy for himself, and his people got a further lease of power "for a time" (37:148). And both Lot and Jonah belong to a limited local tradition. 

79. "Peace and salutation to Noah among the nations!"(4084) 

4084 The story of the Flood is found in some form or other among all nations, and not only among those who follow the Mosaic tradition. In Greek tradition the hero of the flood is Deukalion, with his wife Pyrrha; in Hindu tradition (Shatapatha Brahmana and Mahabharata) it is the sage Manuand the Fish. The Chinese tradition of a great Flood is recorded in Shu-King. Among American Indians the tradition was common to many tribes. 

80. Thus indeed do we reward those who do right. 

81. For he was one of our believing Servants. 

82. Then the rest we overwhelmed in the Flood. 

83. Verily among those who followed his Way was Abraham.(4085) 

4085 The main story will be found in 21:51-73; but the episode about his readiness and that of his son to submit to the most extreme form of self-sacrifice under trial (in verses 102-107 below) is told here for the first time, as this Surah deals with the theme, "Not my will, but Thine be done!" In "followed his way", the pronoun "his" refers to Noah, "he", of verse 81 above. 

84. Behold! he approached his Lord with a sound heart.(4086) 

4086 "A sound heart"; qalbsalim : a heart that is pure, and unaffected by the diseases that afflict others, As the heart in Arabic is taken to be not only the seat of feelings and affections, but also of intelligence and resulting action, it implies the whole character. Cf. Abraham's title of Hanif (the True); 2:135 and n. 134. Cf. also 26:89: "only he will prosper who brings to Allah a sound heart." 

85. Behold! he said to his father and to his people, "What is that which ye worship? 

86. "Is it a falsehood- gods other than Allah. that ye desire?(4087) 

4087 False worship—worship of idols or stars or symbols, or Mammon or Self-is due either to false and degrading conceptions of Allah, or to a sort of make believe, where practice is inconsistent with knowledge or ignores the inner promptings of Conscience. Abraham's challenge to his people is: 'Are you fools or hypocrites?' 

87. "Then what is your idea about the Lord of the Worlds?"(4088) 

4088 'Do you not realise that the real Creator is One-above all the forms and superstitions that you associate with Him?' 

88. Then did he cast a glance at the Stars. 

89. And he said, "I am indeed sick (at heart)!"(4089) 

4089 The grief was really preying on his mind and soul, that he should be associated with such falsehoods. His father himself was among the chief supporters of such falsehoods, and his people were given up wholly to them. He could not possibly share in their mummeries, and they left him in disgust. Then he made his practical protest in the manner narrated in 21:56 -64. 

90. So they turned away from him, and departed. 

91. Then did he turn to their gods and said, "will ye not eat (of the offerings before you)?... 

92. "What is the matter with you that ye speak not (intelligently)?"

93. Then did he turn upon them, striking (them)(4090) with the right hand.(4091) 

4090 See the reference in the last note. 

4091 With the right hand: as the right hand is the hand of power, the phrase means that he struck them with might and main and broke them (Cf. 37:28). 

94. Then came (the worshippers) with hurried steps, and faced (him).

95. He said: "Worship ye that which ye have (yourselves) carved?(4092) 

4092 His action was a challenge, and he drives home the challenge now with argument. 'Do you worship your own handiwork? Surely worship is due to Him Who made you and made possible your handiwork!' 

96. "But Allah has created you and your handwork!" 

97. They said, "Build him a furnace, and throw him(4093) into the blazing fire!" 

4093 The argument of Abraham was so sound that it could not be met by argument. In such cases Evil resorts to violence, or secret plotting. Here there was both violence and secret plotting. The violence consisted in throwing him into a blazing Furnace. But by the mercy of Allah the fire did not harm him (21:69), and so they resorted to plotting. But the plotting, as the next verse (37:98) shows, was a boomerang that recoiled on their own heads. 

98. (This failing), they then sought a stratagem against him,(4094) but We made them the ones most humiliated! 

4094
Cf. 
21:71. Their plot against the righteous Abraham failed. Abraham migrated from the country (Chaldea, Babylon , and Assyria) and prospered in Syria and Palestine . It was his persecutors that suffered humiliation. 

99. He said: "I will go to my Lord! He will surely guide me!(4095) 

4095 This was the Hijrah of Abraham. He left his people and his land, because the Truth was dearer to him than the ancestral falsehoods of his people. He trusted himself to Allah, and under Allah's guidance he laid the foundations of great peoples. See n. 2725 to 21:69. 

100. "O my Lord! Grant me a righteous (son)!" 

101. So We gave him the good news(4096) of a boy ready to suffer and forbear.(4097) 

4096 This was in the fertile land of Syria and Palestine . The boy thus born was, according to Muslim tradition, the first-born son of Abraham, viz., IsmaTl. The name itself is from the root Sami'a, to hear, because Allah had heard Abraham's prayer (verse 100). Abraham's age when IsmaTl was born was 86 (Gen. 16:16). (R). 
4097 The boy's character was to be Halim, which I have translated "ready to suffer and forbear". This title is also applied to Abraham (in 9:114 and 11:75). It refers to the patient way in which both father and son cheerfully offered to suffer any self-sacrifice in order to obey the Command of Allah. See next verse. 

102. Then, when (the son) reached (the age of) (serious) work with him, he said: "O my son! I see in vision(4098) that I offer thee in sacrifice:(4099) Now see what is thy view!" (The son) said: "O my father! Do as thou art commanded: thou will find me, if Allah so wills one practising Patience and Constancy!" 

4098 Where did this vision occur? The Muslim view is that it was in or near Makkah. Some would identify it with the valley of Mina, six miles north of Makkah, where a commemoration sacrifice is annually celebrated as a rite of the Hajj on the tenth of Dhu alHijjah, the 'Id of Sacrifice, in memory of this Sacrifice of Abraham and IsmaTl (see n. 217 to 2:197). Others say that the original place of sacrifice was near the hill of Marwah (the companion hill to Safa, 2:158), which is associated with the infancy of Ismail. 

4099 At what stage in Abraham's history did this occur? See n. 2725 to 21:69. It was obviously after his arrival in the land of Cannan and after IsmaTl had grown up to years of discretion. Was it before or after the building of the Kab'ah (2:127)? There are no data on which this question can be answered. But we may suppose it was before that event, and that event may itself have been commemorative. 

103. So when they had both(4100) submitted their wills (to Allah., and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (for sacrifice),(4101) 

4100 Note that the sacrifice was demanded of both Abraham and Ismail. It was a trial of the will of the father and the son. By way of trial the father had the command conveyed to him in a vision. He consulted the son. The son readily consented, and offered to stand true to his promise if his self-sacrifice was really required. The whole thing is symbolical. Allah does not require the flesh and blood of animals ( 22:37 ), much less of human beings. But he does require the giving of our whole being to Allah, the symbol of which is that we should give up something very dear to us, if Duty requires that sacrifice, (R). 

4101 Our version may be compared with the Jewish-Christian version of the present Old Testament. The Jewish tradition, in order to glorify the younger branch of the family, descended from Isaac, ancestor of the Jews, as against the elder branch, descended from Isma'il, ancestor of the Arabs, refers this sacrifice to Isaac (Gen. 22:1-18). Now Isaac was born when Abraham was 100 years old (Gen. 21:5), while Isma'il was born to Abraham when Abraham was 86 years old (Gen. 16:16). Isma'il was therefore 14 years older than Isaac. During his first 14 years Isma'il was the only son of Abraham; at no time was Isaac the only son of Abraham. Yet, in speaking of the sacrifice, the Old Testament says (Gen. 22:2): 'And He said, Take now thy son, thine only son Issac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah : and offer him there for a burnt offering..." This slip shows at any rate which was the older version, and how it was overlaid, like the present Jewish records, in the interests of a tribal religion. The " land of Moriah " is not clear: it was three days journey from Abraham's place (Gen. 22:4). There is less warrant for identifying it with the hill of Moriah on which Jerusalem was afterwards built than with the hill of Marwah which is identified with the Arab tradition about Isma'il. 

104. We called out to him,(4102) "O Abraham! 

4102 In the Biblical version Isaac's consent is not taken: in fact Isaac asks, 'where is the lamb for sacrifice?' and is told that 'God would provide it'. It is a complete human sacrifice like those to Moloch. In our version it is as much a sacrifice by the will of Isma'il as by that of Abraham. And in any case it is symbolic: "this was obviously a trial"; "thou hast already fulfilled thy vision": etc. 

105. "Thou hast already fulfilled the vision!" - thus indeed do We reward those who do right. 

106. For this was obviously a trial- 

107. And We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice:(4103) 

4103 The adjective qualifying "sacrifice" here, 'azim, (great, momentous) may be understood both in a literal and a figurative sense. In a literal sense it implies that a fine sheep or ram was substituted symbolically. The figurative sense is even more important. It was indeed a great and momentous occasion, when two men, with concerted will, "ranged themselves in the ranks" of those to whom selfsacrifice in the service of Allah was the supreme thing in life. In this sense, said Jesus, "he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it", (Matt. 10:39 ). (R). 

108. And We left (this blessing)(4104) for him among generations (to come) in later times: 

4104 Cf. above, 37:78-81 and n. 4083, also 43:28. 

109. "Peace and salutation to Abraham!" 

110. Thus indeed do We reward those who do right. 

111. For he was one of our believing Servants. 

112. And We gave him(4105) the good news of Isaac - a prophet,- one of the Righteous. 

4105 Isaac was Abraham's second son, born of Sarah, when Abraham was 100 years of age. See n. 4101. He was also blessed and became the ancestor of the Jewish people. See next note. 

113. We blessed him and Isaac: but of their progeny are (some) that do right, and (some) that obviously(4106) do wrong, to their own souls. 

4106 So long as the Children of Israel upheld the righteous banner of Allah, they enjoyed Allah's blessing and their history is a portion of sacred history. When they fell from grace, they did not stop Allah's Plan: they injured their own souls. 

114. Again (of old) We bestowed Our favour on Moses and Aaron,(4107) 

4107 The story of Moses is told in numerous passages of the Qur'an. The passages most illustrative of the present passage will be found in 28:4 (oppression of the Israelites in Egypt ) and 20:77-79 (the Israelites triumphant over their enemies when the latter were drowned in the Red Sea ). 

115. And We delivered them and their people from (their) Great Calamity;(4108) 

4108 What could have been a greater calamity to them than that they should have been held in slavery by the Egyptians, that their male children should have been killed and their female children should have been saved alive for the Egyptians? 

116. And We helped them, so they overcame (their troubles);(4109) 

4109 The Israelites were delivered by three steps mentioned inverses 114,115, and 116 respectively; but the consummation of Allah's favour on them was (verses 117-118) the Revelation given to them, which guided them on the Straight Way, so long as they preserved the Revelation intact and followed its precepts. The three steps were: (1) the divine commission to Moses and Aaron: (2) the deliverance from bondage; and (3) the triumphant crossing of the Red Sea and the destruction of Pharaoh's army. 

117. And We gave them the Book which helps(4110) to make things clear; 

4110 Mustabin has a slightly different force from Mubin. I have translated the former by "which helps to make things clear", and the latter by "which makes things clear"—apt descriptions as applied to the Tawrah and the Qur'an. 

118. And We guided them to the Straight Way. 

119. And We left (this blessing)(4111) for them among generations (to come) in later times: 

4111 See above, 37:78-81 and n. 4083. 

120. "Peace and salutation to Moses and Aaron!" 

121. Thus indeed do We reward those who do right. 

122. For they were two of our believing Servants. 

123. So also was Elias(4112) among those sent (by Us). 

4112 See n. 905 to 6:85. Elias is the same as Elijah, whose story will be found in the Old Testament in 1 Kings 17-19 and 2 Kings 1-2. Elijah lived in the reign of Ahab (B.C. 896-874) and Ahaziah (B.C. 874-872), kings of the (northern) kingdom of Israel or Samaria . He was a prophet of the desert, like John the Baptist— unlike our Prophet, who took part in, controlled, and guided all the affairs of his people. Both Ahab and Ahaziah were prone to lapse into the worship of Ba'l, the sun-god worshipped in Syria . That worship also included the worship of nature-powers and procreative powers, as in the Hindu worship of the Lingam, and led to many abuses. King Ahab had married a princess of Sidon , Jezebel, a wicked woman who led her husband to forsake Allah and adopt Ba'1-worship. Elijah denounced all Ahab's sins as well as the sins of Ahaziah and had to flee for his life. Eventually, according to the Old Testament (2 Kings, 2:11 ) he was taken up in a whirlwind to heaven in a chariot of fire after he had left his mantle with Elisha the prophet. (R). 

124. Behold, he said to his people, "Will ye not fear ((Allah))? 

125. "Will ye call upon Ba'l(4113) and forsake the Best of Creators,- 

4113 For Ba'1-worship see last note. 

126. "(Allah), your Lord and Cherisher and the Lord and Cherisher of your fathers of old?" 

127. But they rejected him,(4114) and they will certainly be called up (for punishment),- 

4114 They persecuted him and he had to flee for his life. Eventually he disappeared mysteriously; see n. 4112. 

128. Except the sincere and devoted Servants of Allah (among them). 

129. And We left (this blessing)(4115) for him among generations (to come) in later times: 

4115 See above, 37:78-81, and n. 4083. 

130. "Peace and salutation to such as Elias!"(4115-A) 

4115-A Ilyasin may be an alternative form of Ilyas: Cf. Sayna'a (23:20) and Sinin (95:2). Or it may be the plural of Ilyas, meaning "such people as Ilyas". 

131. Thus indeed do We reward those who do right. 

132. For he was one of our believing Servants. 

133. So also was Lut(4116) among those sent (by Us). 

4116 The best illustration of this passage about Lut will be found in 7:80-84. He was a prophet sent to Sodom and Gomorrah , Cities of the Plain, by the Dead Sea . The inhabitants were given over to abominable crimes, against which he preached. They insulted him and threatened to expel him. But Allah in His mercy saved him and his family, with one exception, (see the following note), and then destroyed the Cities. 

134. Behold, We delivered him and his adherents, all 

135. Except an old woman who was among those who lagged behind:(4117) 

4117 Cf. 7:83, and n. 1051. Lot 's wife had no faith: she lagged behind, and perished in the general ruin. 

136. Then We destroyed the rest. 

137. Verily, ye pass(4118) by their (sites), by day- 

4118 Cf. 15:76, and n. 1998. The tract where they lay is situated on the highway to Syria where the Arab caravans travelled regularly, "by day and by night". Could not future generations learn wisdom from the destruction of those who did wrong? 

138. And by night: will ye not understand? 

139. So also was Jonah(4119) among those sent (by Us). 

4119 For illustrative passages, see 21:87-88, n. 2744, and 68:48-50. Jonah's mission was to the city of Nineveh , then steeped in wickedness. He was rejected and he denounced Allah's wrath on them, but they repented and obtained Allah's forgiveness. But Jonah "departed in wrath" (21:87), forgetting that Allah has Mercy as well as forgiveness. See the notes following, Cf. 10:98, n. 1478. 

140. When he ran away (like a slave from captivity)(4120) to the ship (fully) laden, 

4120 Jonah ran away from Nineveh like a slave from captivity. He should have stuck to his post and merged his own will in Allah's Will. He was hasty, and went off to take a ship. As if he could escape from Allah's Plan! 

141. He (agreed to) cast lots,(4121) and he was condemned: 

4121 The ship was fully laden and met foul weather. The sailors, according to their superstition, wanted to find out who was responsible for the ill-luck: a fugitive slave would cause such ill-luck. The lot fell on Jonah, and he was cast off. 

142. Then the big Fish(4122) did swallow him, and he had done(4123) acts worthy of blame. 

4122 The rivers of Mesopotamia have some huge fishes. The word used here is Hut, which may be a fish or perhaps a crocodile. If it were in an open northern sea, it might be a whale. The locality is not mentioned: in the Old Testament he is said to have taken ship in the port of Joppa (now Jaffa ) in the Mediterranean (Jonah. 1:3), which would be not less than 600 miles from Nineveh . The Tigris river, mentioned by some of our Commentators, is more likely, and it contains some fishes of extraordinary size. 

4123 See n. 4120. 

143. Had it not been that he (repented and) glorified Allah,(4124)

4124 "But he cried through the depths of darkness, 'There is no god but Thee; glory to Thee! I was indeed wrong!" (21:87). 

144. He would certainly have remained inside the Fish(4125) till the Day of Resurrection. 

4125 This is just the idiom. This was to be the burial and the grave of Jonah. If he had not repented, he could not have got out of the body of the creature that had swallowed him, until the Day of Resurrection, when all the dead would be raised up. 

145. But We cast him forth on the naked shore in a state of sickness,(4126) 

4126 Cf. 37:89 above. His strange situation might well have caused him to be ill. He wanted fresh air and solitude. He got both in the open plain, and the abundantly shady Gourd Plant or some fruitful tree like it gave him both shade and sustenance. The Gourd is a creeper that can spread over any roof or ruined structure. 

146. And We caused to grow, over him, a spreading plant of the gourd kind. 

147. And We sent him (on a mission) to a hundred thousand(4127) (men) or more. 

4127 The city of Nineveh was a very large city. The Old Testament says: " Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey" (Jonah, 3:3); "wherein are more than six score thousand persons" (Jonah, 4:11 ). In other words its circuit was about 45 miles, and its population was over a hundred and twenty thousand inhabitants. 

148. And they believed; so We permitted them to enjoy (their life)(4128) for a while. 

4128 They repented and believed, and Nineveh got a new lease of life. For the dates to which Jonah maybe referred, and the vicissitudes of the City's history as the seat of the Assyrian Empire, see notes 1478-1479 to 10:98. 

The lessons from Jonah's story are: (1) that no man should take upon himself to judge of Allah's wrath or Allah's mercy; (2) that nevertheless Allah forgives true repentance, whether in a righteous man, or in a wicked city; and (3) that Allah's Plan will always prevail, and can never be defeated. 

149. Now ask them their opinion:(4129) Is it that thy Lord has (only) daughters, and they have sons?- 

4129 We begin a new argument here. The Pagan Arabs called angels daughters of Allah. They themselves were ashamed of having daughters, and preferred to have sons, 

150. 150. 150. 150. Or that We created the angels female, and they are witnesses (thereto)? 

151. Is it not that they say, from their own invention, 

152. "(Allah) has begotten children"?(4130) but they are liars! 

4130 Any attribution to Allah of ideas derogatory to His Oneness and His supreme height above all creatures is likely to degrade our own conception of Allah's Universal Plan, and is condemned in the strongest terms. 

153. Did He (then) choose(4131) daughters rather than sons? 

4131 There is the strongest irony in this passage. 

154. What is the matter with you? How judge ye? 

155. Will ye not then receive admonition? 

156. Or have ye an authority manifest? 

157. Then bring ye your Book (of authority) if ye be truthful! 

158. And they have invented a blood-relationship(4132) between Him and the Jinns: but the Jinns know (quite well) that they have indeed to appear (before his Judgment- Seat)! 

4132 The angels are at least pure beings engaged in the service of Allah. But the Pagan superstitions not only connect them with Allah as daughters but even connect Allah by relationship with all kinds of spirits, good or evil! In some mythologies the most evil powers are gods or goddesses as if they belonged to the family of Allah the Creator and had some semblance of equality with Him! This, too, is repudiated in the strongest terms. For J inns see n. 929 to 6:100. 

159. Glory to Allah. (He is free) from the things they ascribe (to Him)!

160. Not (so do) the Servants of Allah, sincere and devoted.(4133) 

4133 Those sincere in devotion to Allah never ascribe such degrading ideas to Allah (Cf. 37:74). 

161. For, verily, neither ye nor those ye worship- 

162. Can lead (any)(4134) into temptation concerning Allah, 

4134 Evil has no power over faith, truth, and sincerity. Such power as it has is over those who deliberately put themselves in the way of Destruction. It is their own will that leads them astray. If they were fortified against Evil by Faith, Patience, and Constancy, Evil would have no power to hurt them. Allah would protect them, 

163. Except such as are (themselves) going to the blazing Fire! 

164. (Those ranged in ranks say):(4135) "Not one of us but has a place appointed; 

4135 To round off the argument of the Surah we go back to the idea with which it began. Those who range themselves in ranks for the united service of Allah (see above, 37:1 and n. 4031)—whether angels or men of God—are content to keep their ranks and do whatever service is assigned to them. It is not for them to question Allah's Plan, because they know that it is good and that it will ultimately triumph. Any seeming delays or defeats do not worry them. Nor do they ever break their ranks. 

165. "And we are verily ranged in ranks (for service); 

166. "And we are verily those who declare ((Allah)´s) glory!" 

167. And there were those(4136) who said, 

4136 There were the sceptics or Unbelievers—primarily the Pagan Arabs, but in a more extended sense, all who doubt Allah's providence or revelation. 

168. "If only we had had before us a Message from those of old, 

169. "We should certainly have been Servants of Allah,(4137) sincere (and devoted)!" 

4137 Such men take refuge in ancestral tradition. If our forefathers had had an inkling of Revelation or miracles, or had worshipped as we are now taught to worship, we should gladly have accepted. Or if they had had anything of the miracles which other nations of old are said to have received, we could then have accepted.' But now stronger and more convincing proofs have come to them in the Qur'an in their own tongue, and they doubt and reject it. 

170. But (now that the Qur´an has come), they reject it: But soon will they know!(4138) 

4138 Allah's Truth will manifest itself against all odds, and the whole world will see. 

171. Already has Our Word been passed before (this) to our Servants sent (by Us),

172. That they would certainly be assisted, 

173. And that Our forces,-(4139) they surely must conquer. 

4139 The victory will be the victory of Allah's Truth by the forces of Allah, but every soldier in the army of Truth, who has done his duty, will be entitled to claim a share in the victory. 

174. So turn thou away(4140) from them for a little while, 

4140 Addressed in the first instance to the Prophet, but good for all time. He was not to be discouraged by his initial failures. Soon came victory to him from Allah. So is it always in the struggles of truth and righteousness. The righteous can afford to ignore opposition, confident in the strength which comes from the Grace of Allah. 

175. And watch them (how(4141) they fare), and they soon shall see (how thou farest)! 

4141 Watch and wait, for the Right must come to its own. 

176. Do they wish (indeed)(4142) to hurry on our Punishment? 

4142 The last verse enjoined Patience under the attacks of Evil, in the knowledge that evil must be conquered at last. Evil may perhaps turn back scoffingly and say. If a punishment is to come, why not bring it on now? Why indeed? The answer is: when it comes, it will come like a rush by night when the enemy is overpowered, when he least expects it: when the day dawns, it is a sorry plight in which the enemy finds himself. Cf. 22:47 , and n. 2826: and 26:204, n. 3230
177. But when it descends into the open space(4143) before them, evil will be the morning for those who were warned (and heeded not)! 

4143 See last note. The parable is that of an enemy camp in a plain, which is surprised and destroyed by a night attack from the hills. Evil is the plight of any survivors in the morning. Their regrets will be all the more poignant if they had had some sort of a warning before hand and had paid no heed to it! 

178. So turn thou away(4144) from them for a little while, 

4144 This and the following verse repeat verses 174-175 (with a slight verbal alteration). The argument in verses 176-177 brought in a new point. When that is finished, the repetition carries us back to the main argument, and rounds off the whole Surah. 

179. And watch (how they fare) and they soon shall see (how thou farest)!

180. Glory to thy Lord,(4145) the Lord of Honour and Power! (He is free) from what they ascribe (to Him)! 

4145 This and the following two verses recapitulate: (1) Glory, Honour, and Power belong to Allah; (2) No one is equal to Him; (3) He sends Messengers and revelations, and His aid will overcome all obstacles; for (4) He loves and cherishes all His Creation. 

181. And Peace on the messengers! 

182. And Praise to Allah, the Lord and Cherisher of the Worlds.

82. Al Infitar (The Cleaving Asunder) (82:6-19)

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

6. O man! What has seduced thee from thy Lord Most Beneficent?- 

7. Him Who created thee. Fashioned thee in due proportion,(6003) and gave thee a just bias;(6004) 

6003 
Cf. 
15:29. Allah not only created man. but fashioned him in due proportions, giving him extraordinary capacities, and the means wherewith he can fulfil his high destiny. 

6004 See n. 834 to 6:1. Having given a limited free will, He gave us a just bias through our reason and our spiritual faculties. If we err, it is our will that is at fault. 

8. In whatever Form(6005) He wills, does He put thee together. 

6005 (Cf. 7:11). By "Form" (Surah) here I understand the general shape of things in which any given personality is placed, including his physical and social environments, his gifts of mind and spirit, and all that goes to make up his outer and inner life. The Grace of Allah is shown in all these things, for His Will is formed from perfect knowledge, wisdom, and goodness. 

9. Day! nit ye do reject Right and Judgment!(6006) 

6006 The goodness and mercies of Allah, and His constant watchful care of all His creatures should make men grateful, instead of which they turn away from the Right and deny the Day of Sorting Out, the Day when every action performed here will find its fulfilment in just reward or punishment. 

10. But verily over you (are appointed angels)(6007) to protect you,- 

6007 Besides the faculties given to man to guide him, and the Form and Personality through which he can rise by stages to the Presence of Allah, there are spiritual agencies around him to help and protect him, and to note down his Record, so that perfect justice may be done to him at the end. For these Guardian Angels, see 50:17-18, and n. 4954. 

11. Kind and honourable,- Writing down (your deeds): 

12. They know (and understand) all that ye do. 

13. As for the Righteous, they will be in bliss; 

14. And the Wicked - they will be in the Fire, 

15. Which they will enter(6008) on the Day of Judgement, 

6008 I understand this relative clause to govern "the Fire", i.e., the Punishment. It will be postponed as long as possible, to give the Sinner every chance of repentance and amendment. But once the period of probation is past, it will be irrevocable. There will be no going back from it. By inference, the Righteous may individually reach some stage of Bliss at once, possibly in this life, possibly after death, though the Final Judgement will be the general and complete cessation of this fleeting world and the creation of the world of Eternity. 

16. And they will not be able to keep away therefrom. 

17. And what will explain to thee what the Day of Judgment is? 

18. Again, what will explain to thee what the Day of Judgment is?(6009) 

6009 We can speak of Rewards and Punishments, the Fruits of Actions, the Resurrection and the Tribunal, the Restoration of True Values, the Elimination of all Wrong, and a hundred other phrases. They might serve to introduce our minds vaguely to a new World, of which they cannot possibly form any adequate conception under present conditions. The question is repeated in verses 17-18 to emphasise this difficulty, and a simple answer is suggested, as explained in the next note. 

19. (It will be) the Day when no soul shall have power (to do) aught for another:(6010) For the command, that Day, will be (wholly) with Allah. 

6010 The answer is suggested by a negative proposition: 'No soul shall have power to do aught for another'. This is full of meaning. Personal responsibility will be fully enforced. In this world we all depend on one another proximately, though our ultimate dependence is always on Allah, now and forever. But here a father helps a son forward; husband and wife influence each other's destinies; human laws and institutions may hold large masses of mankind under their grip; falsehood and evil may seem to flourish for a time, because a certain amount of limited free will has been granted to man. This period will be all over then. The good and the pure will have been separated from the evil and the rebellious; the latter will have been rendered inert, and the former will have been so perfected that their wills will be in complete consonance with Allah's Universal Will. The Command, thenceforward, will be wholly with Allah. 

69. Al Haqqah (The Sure Reality) (69:1-3)

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

1. The Sure Reality!(5635) 

5635 Al Kaqqah; the sure Truth: the Event that must inevitably come to pass; the state in which all falsehood and pretence will vanish, and the absolute Truth will be laid bare. The question in the three verses raise an air of mystery. The solution is suggested in what happened to Thamud and 'Ad, and other people of antiquity, who disregarded the Truth of Allah and came to violent end, even in this life-symbolically suggesting the great Cataclysm of the Hereafter, the Day of Doom. 

2. What is the Sure Reality? 

3. And what will make thee realise what the Sure Reality is?

69. Al Haqqah (The Sure Reality) (69:13-37)

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

13. Then, when one blast is sounded on the Trumpet,(5648) 

5648 We now come to the Inevitable Event, the Day of Judgement, the theme of this Surah. This is the first Blast referred to in 39:68, n. 4343. 

14. And the earth is moved, and its mountains,(5649) and they are crushed to powder at one stroke,- 

5649 The whole of our visible world, as we now know it, will pass away, and a new world will come into being. The mountains are specially mentioned, because they stand as a type of hardness, size, and durability. They will be "crushed to powder", i.e., lose their form and being at one stroke (Cf. 89:21). 

15. On that Day shall the (Great) Event come to pass. 

16. And the sky will be rent asunder, for it will that Day be flimsy, 

17. And the angels will be on its sides,(5650) and eight will, that Day, bear the Throne(5651) of thy Lord above them. 

5650 The whole picture is painted in graphic poetical images, to indicate that which cannot be adequately described in words, and which indeed our human faculties with their present limited powers are not ready to comprehend. The angels will be on all sides, arrayed in ranks upon ranks, and the Throne of the Lord on high will be borne by eight angels (or eight rows of angels). That will be the Day when Justice will be fully established and man be mustered to his Lord for reckoning. (R). 

5651 The number eight has perhaps no special significance, unless it be with reference to the shape of the Throne or the number of the angels. The Oriental Throne is often octagonal, and its bearers would be one at each corner. (R).

18. That Day shall ye be brought to Judgment: not an act of yours that ye hide will be hidden. 

19. Then he that will be given his Record in his right hand(5652) will say: "Ah here! Read ye my Record! 

5652 
Cf. 17:71, where the righteous are described as those who are given their record in their right hand at judgement. In 56:27, 38, and other passages, the righteous are called "Companions of the Right Hand". 

20. "I did really understand(5653) that my Account would (One Day) reach me!" 

5653 The righteous one rejoices that the faith he had during this world's life was fully justified, and is now actually realised before him. He quite understood and believed that good and evil must meet with their due consequences in the Hereafter, however much appearances may have been against it in the life in the lower world, "in the days that are gone." 

21. And he will be in a life of Bliss, 

22. In a Garden on high, 

23. The Fruits whereof(5654) (will hang in bunches) low and near. 

5654 The symbolism is that of ripe, luscious grapes, hanging low in heavy bunches, so near that they could be gathered and enjoyed in dignified ease. Cf. also 55:54 and 76:14. 

24. "Eat ye and drink ye, with full satisfaction; because of the (good) that ye sent before you,(5655) in the days that are gone!"(5656) 

5655 Cf. 2:110: "Whatever good ye send forth for your souls before you, ye shall find it with Allah: for Allah sees well all that ye do." 

5656 It will be a wholly new world, a new earth and a new heaven, when the blessed might well think with calm relief of "the days that are gone". Cf. 14:48, and n. 1925. Even Time and Space will be no more, so that any ideas that we may form here will be found to have become wholly obsolete by them. 

25. And he that will be given his Record in his left hand,(5657) will say: "Ah! Would that my Record had not been given to me! 

5657 This is in contrast to the righteous ones who will receive their record in their right hand. Cf. 69:19, n. 5652. The righteous are glad when they remember their past: their memory is itself a precious possession. The unjust are in agony when they remember their past. Their memory is itself a grievous punishment. 

26. "And that I had never realised how my account (stood)! 

27. "Ah! Would that (Death)(5658) had made an end of me! 

5658 The death as from this life was but a transition into a new world. They would wish that that death had been the end of all things, but it will not be. 

28. "Of no profit to me has been my wealth! 

29. "My power has perished from me!"...(5659) 

5659 The intensest agony is when the soul loses power over itself, when the personality tries to realise itself in new conditions and cannot: this is life in death. 

30. (The stern command will say): "Seize ye him, and bind ye him,(5660) 

5660 Perhaps the word for 'bind' should be construed: 'bind his hands round his neck, to remind him that his hands when they were free were closed to all acts of charity and mercy': Cf. 17:29.

31. "And burn ye him in the Blazing Fire. 

32. "Further, make him march in a chain, whereof(5661) the length is seventy cubits! 

5661 The sinful men who will be given their record on the Day of Judgement in their left hands will be in utter despair. Their power and authority which they misused to perpetrate injustice and oppression will be gone. The wealth that had made them turn a deaf ear to the call of truth will be no more. They will cry out in agony, "O would that we were never raised again! O would that death had obliterated us once for all". But these cries will be of no avail. They will be seized, bound in chains and thrown into the Blazing Fire for their crimes against Allah and man. [Eds.]. 

33. "This was he that would not believe(5662) in Allah Most High. 

5662 The grip of sin was fastened on sinners because they forsook Allah. They ran after their own lusts and worshipped them or they ran after Allah's creatures, ignoring Him Who is the cause and source of all good. 

34. "And would not encourage(5663) the feeding of the indigent! 

5663 Cf. 107:3; 89:18. The practical result of their rebellion against the God of Mercy was that their sympathies dried up. Not only did they not help or feed those in need, but they hindered others from doing so. And they have neither friend nor sympathy (food) in the Hereafter. 

35. "So no friend hath he here this Day. 

36. "Nor hath he any food except the corruption(5664) from the washing of wounds, 

5664 They wounded many people by their cruelty and injustice in this life, and it is befitting that they should have no food other than "the corruption from the washing of wounds". (R). 

37. "Which none do eat but those in sin."

70. Al Ma'arij (The Ways of Ascent) (70:19-44)

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

19. Truly man was created very impatient;-(5688) 

5688 Man, according to the Plan of Allah, was to be in the best of moulds (95:4). But in order to fulfil his high destiny he was given free will to a limited extent. The wrong use of this free will makes his nature weak (4:28), or hasty (17:11), or impatient, as here. That becomes his nature by his own act, but he is spoken of as so created because of the capacities given to him in his creation. 

20. Fretful when evil touches him; 

21. And niggardly when good reaches him;-(5689) 

5689 In adversity he complains and gets into despair. In prosperity he becomes arrogant and forgets other people's rights and his own shortcomings. Cf. 41:49-50. 

22. Not so those devoted to Prayer;-(5690) 

5690 The description of those devoted to Prayer is given in a number of clauses that follow, introduced by the words "Those who . . .". "Devoted to Prayer" is here but another aspect of what is described elsewhere as the Faithful and the Righteous. Devotion to prayer does not mean merely a certain number of formal rites or prostrations. It means a complete surrender of one's being to Allah. This means an earnest approach to and realisation of Allah's Presence ("steadfastness in Prayer"); acts of practical and real charity; and attempt to read this life in terms of the Hereafter; the seeking of the Peace of Allah and avoidance of His displeasure; chastity; probity; true and firm witness; and guarding the sacredness of the Presence (verse 34). 

23. Those who remain steadfast to their prayer; 

24. And those in whose wealth is a recognised right. 

25. For the (needy) who asks and him who is prevented (for some reason from asking);(5691) 

5691 See n. 5001 to 51:19. True charity consists in finding out those in real need, whether they ask or not. Most frequently those who ask are idle men who insolently wish to live upon others. But all cases of those who ask should be duly investigated, in case a little timely help may set the erring on the way. But the man with wealth or talent or opportunity has the further responsibility of searching out those in need of his assistance, in order to show that he holds all gifts in trust for the service of his fellow creatures. 

26. And those who hold to the truth of the Day of Judgment; 

27. And those who fear(5692) the displeasure of their Lord,- 

5692 A true fear of Allah is the fear of offending against His Holy Will and Law, and is therefore akin to the love of Allah. It proceeds from the realisation that all true peace and tranquillity comes from attuning our will to the Universal Will, and that sin causes discord, disharmony, and displeasure - another name for the Wrath of Allah. 

28. For their Lord´s displeasure is the opposite of Peace and Tranquillity;-(5693) 

5693 Some would construe this verse: "And their Lord's displeasure is one against which there is no security"; meaning that the punishment of sin may come suddenly at any time, when you least expect it. 

29. And those who guard their chastity, 

30. Except with their wives and the (captives) whom(5694) their right hands possess,- for (then) they are not to be blamed, 

5694 Captives of war may be married as such: see 4:25: but their status is inferior to that of free wives until they are free. This institution of the captives of war is now obsolete. Such inferiority of status as there was, was in the status of captivity, not in the status of marriage as such, in which there are no degrees except by local customs, which Islam does not recognise. 

31. But those who trespass beyond this are transgressors;- 

32. And those who respect their trusts and covenants;(5695) 

5695 For obligations of trusts and covenants, express or implied, see n. 682 to 5:1. They are just as sacred in ordinary everyday life as they are in special spiritual relationships. In addition, our life itself, and such reason and talents as we possess, as well as our wealth and possessions are trusts, of which we must fulfil the duties punctiliously. 

33. And those who stand firm in their testimonies;(5696) 

5696 If we know any truth of any kind, to that we must bear witness, as affecting the lives or interests of our fellow beings-firmly, not half-heartedly, without fear or favour, even if it causes loss or trouble to us, or if it loses us friends or associates.

34. And those who guard (the sacredness) of their worship;-(5697) 

5697 Worship or prayer includes honest work, charity, and every good deed. To guard the sacredness of this ideal is to sum up the whole duty of man. We began with "steadfastness in prayer" in verse 23 above, and after a review of various aspects of the good man's life, close with the sacredness of worship, i.e., living as in the sight of Allah.

 35. Such will be the honoured ones in the Gardens (of Bliss). 

36. Now what is the matter with the Unbelievers that they rush madly before thee-(5698) 

5698 Before thee. The Unbelievers did not believe in a Hereafter. When the Bliss of the Hereafter was described, as in the last verse, they ridiculed it and pretended to be running in for it as in a race. They are here rebuked in the same tone of sarcasm. 

37. From the right and from the left, in crowds? 

38. Does every man of them long to enter the Garden of Bliss? 

39. By no means! For We have created them out of the (base matter) they know!(5699) 

5699 The animal part of man is nothing to be proud of, and they know it. It is by spiritual effort, and long preparation through a good life that a man can rise above the mere animal part of him to his high dignity as a spiritual being, and his noble destiny in the Hereafter. 

40. Now I do call to witness(5700) the Lord of all points in the East and the West(5701) that We can certainly(5702) 

5700 For the form of adjuration, C., 69:38, n. 5665; also 56:75. Here the witness placed before us by Allah is His own power and glory manifested in the splendour of sunrise and sunset at different points through the solar year.

5701 See n. 4034 to 37:5. If Allah has such power in the wonderful phenomena of the rising of the sun at varying points, repeated year after year, can you not see that He can easily substitute better men than you Unbelievers and blasphemers? 

5702 The transition from the singular "I" to the plural "We" may be noted. See n. 56 to 2:38 

41. Substitute for them better (men) than they; And We are not to be defeated (in Our Plan). 

42. So leave them to plunge in vain talk and play about,(5703) until they encounter that Day of theirs which they have been promised!- 

5703 Their talk, their scepticism, is vain, because all spiritual evidence is against it, it is like the foolish play of people who do not think seriously. But the tremendous Day of Judgement and Reality will come, as described in the next two verses. 

43. The Day whereon they will issue from their sepulchres in sudden haste as if they were rushing to a goal-post (fixed for them),-(5704)

5704 Now there will be a definite Goalpost or Banner or Standard of Truth fixed, which all must acknowledge. But they will acknowledge it in shame and dejection. For the time for their repentance and amendment will then have passed. 

44. Their eyes lowered in dejection,- ignominy covering them (all over)! such is the Day the which they are promised!

83. Al Mutaffifin (The Dealing in Fraud) (83:1-36)

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

1. Woe to those that deal in fraud,-(6011) 

6011 "Fraud" must here be taken in a widely general sense. It covers giving short measure or short weight, but it covers much more than that. The next two verses make it clear that it is the spirit of injustice that is condemned-giving too little and asking too much. This may be shown in commercial dealings, where a man exacts a higher standard in his own favour than he is willing to concede as against him. In domestic or social matters an individual or group may ask for honour, or respect, or services which he or they are not willing to give on their side in similar circumstances. It is worse than one-sided selfishness: for it is double injustice. But it is worst of all in religion or spiritual life: with what face can a man ask for Mercy or Love from Allah when he is unwilling to give it to his fellow-men? In one aspect this is a statement of the Golden Rule. 'Do as you would be done by'. But it is more completely expressed. You must give in full what is due from you, whether you expect or wish to receive full consideration from the other side or not. 

2. Those who, when they have to receive by measure from men, exact full measure, 

3. But when they have to give by measure or weight to men, give less than due. 

4. Do they not think that they will be called to account?(6012) 

6012 Legal and social sanctions against Fraud depend for their efficacy on whether there is a chance of being found out. Moral and religious sanctions are of a different kind. 'Do you wish to degrade your own nature?' 'Do you not consider that there is a Day of Account before a J udge Who knows all, and Who safeguards all interests, for He is the Lord and Cherisher of the Worlds? Whether other people know anything about your wrong or not, you are guilty before Allah.' 

5. On a Mighty Day, 

6. A Day when (all) mankind will stand before the Lord of the Worlds? 

7. Day! Surely the record of the wicked is (preserved) in Sijjin.(6013) 

6013 This is a word from the same root as Sijn, a Prison. It rhymes with and is contrasted with "Illiyin in verse 18 below. It is therefore understood by many Commentators to be a place, a Prison or a Dungeon in which the Wicked are confined pending their appearance before the Judgement Seat. The mention of the Inscribed Register in verse 9 below may imply that Sijjin is the name of the Register of Black Deeds, though verse 9 may be elliptical and may only describe the place by the significance of its contents. 

8. And what will explain to thee what Sijjin is? 

9. (There is) a Register (fully) inscribed.(6014) 

6014 If we take Sijjin to be the Register itself, and not the place where it is kept, the Register itself is a sort of Prison for those who do wrong. It is inscribed fully: i.e., no one is omitted who ought to be there, and for every entry there is a complete record, so that there is no escape for the sinner. (R). 

10. Woe, that Day, to those that deny- 

11. Those that deny the Day of Judgement.(6015) 

6015 The fact of Personal Responsibility for each soul is so undoubted that people who deny it are to be pitied, and will indeed be in a most pitiable condition on the Day of Reckoning, and none but the most abandoned sinner can deny it, and he only denies it by playing with Falsehoods. 

12. And none can deny it but the Transgressor beyond bounds the Sinner! 

13. When Our Signs are rehearsed to him, he says, "Tales of the ancients!"(6016) 

6016 Cf. 6:25; 68:15; etc. They scorn Truth and pretend that it is Falsehood. 

14. By no means! but on their hearts is the stain of the (ill) which they do!(6017) 

6017 The heart of a man, as created by Allah, is pure and unsullied. Every time that a man does an ill deed, it marks a stain or rust on his heart. But on repentance and forgiveness, such stain is washed off. If there is no repentance and forgiveness, the stains deepen and spread more and more, until the heart is sealed (2:7), and eventually the man dies a spiritual death. It is such stains that stand in the way of his perceiving Truths which are obvious to others. That is why he mocks at Truth and hugs Falsehood to his bosom. 

15. Verily, from (the Light of) their Lord, that Day, will they be veiled.(6018)

6018 The stain of evil deeds on their hearts sullies the mirror of their hearts, so that it does not receive the light. At Judgement the true Light, the Glory of the Lord, the joy of the Righteous, will be hidden by veils from the eyes of the Sinful. Instead, the Fire of Punishment will be to them the only reality which they will perceive. 

16. Further, they will enter the Fire of Hell. 

17. Further, it will be said to them: "This is the (reality) which ye rejected as false! 

18. Day, verily the record of the Righteous is (preserved) in ´Illiyin.(6019) 

6019 l Iliyin: the oblique form of the nominative 'Iliyun, which occurs in the next verse. It is in contrast to the Sijjin which occurs in verse 7 above, where see n. 6013. Literally, it means the 'High Places', but it is probably not the same as the 'Heights' (A'raf) mentioned in 7:46. Nor need we necessarily identify it with the "dwellings on high" (gh urufat) mentioned in 34:37. Applying the reasoning parallel to that which we applied to Sijjin, we may interpret it as the Place where is kept the Register of the Righteous. 

19. And what will explain to thee what ´Illiyun is? 

20. (There is) a Register (fully) inscribed,(6020) 

6020 This repeats verse 9 above, where see n. 6014. But the Register is of the opposite kind, that of the Righteous. It contains every detail of the Righteous. (R). 

21. To which bear witness those Nearest (to Allah).(6021) 

6021 See 56:11, n. 5227; also n. 5223. Those Nearest to Allah will be witnesses to this Righteous Record; or as it may also be rendered, they will be present at the Record, and watch this Record. Metaphorically, the hightest spiritual dignitaries are always helping and assisting at the piling up of the good record of every soul that strives for good, however humble in rank that soul may be. 

22. Truly the Righteous will be in Bliss: 

23. On Thrones (of Dignity)(6022) will they command a sight (of all things): 

6022 Cf . 36:56. 

24. Thou wilt recognise in their Faces(6023) the beaming brightness of Bliss. 

6023 Cf. 75:22, and 76:11.

25. Their thirst will be slaked with Pure Wine sealed:(6024) 

6024 The Wine will be of the utmost purity and flavour, so precious that it will be protected with a seal, and the seal itself will be of the costly material of musk, which is most highly esteemed in the East for its perfume. Perhaps a better interpretation of the "seal" is to take it as implying the final effect of the drink: just as a seal closes a document, so the seal of the drink will be the final effect of the delicious perfume and flavour of musk, heightening the enjoyment and helping in the digestion. (R). 

26. The seal thereof will be Musk: And for this let those aspire, who have aspirations:(6025) 

6025 If you understand true and lasting values, this is the kind of pure Bliss to aspire for, and not the fleeting enjoyments of this world, which always leave a sting behind. 

27. With it will be (given) a mixture of Tasnim:(6026) 

6026 Tasnim literally indicates height, fulness, opulence. Here it is the name of a heavenly Fountain, whose drink is superior to that of the Purest Wine. It is the nectar drunk by Those Nearest to Allah {n. 5227 to 56:11), the highest in spiritual dignity; but a flavour of it will be given to all, according to their spiritual capacity. See n. 5835 to 76:5 (Kafur fountain), and n. 5849 to 76:17-28 (Salsabil), (R). 

28. A spring, from (the waters) whereof drink those Nearest to Allah. 

29. Those in sin used to laugh at those who believed, 

30. And whenever they passed by them, used to wink at each other (in mockery); 

31. And when they returned to their own people, they would return jesting; 

32. And whenever they saw them, they would say, "Behold! These are the people truly astray!"(6027) 

6027 The wicked laugh at the righteous in this world in many ways. (1) They inwardly laugh at their Faith, because they feel themselves so superior. (2) In public places, when the righteous pass, they wink at each other and insult them. (3) In their own houses they run them down. (4) Whenever and wherever they see them, they reproach them with being fools who have lost their way, when the boot is really on the other leg. In the Hereafter all these tricks and falsehoods will be shown for what they are, and the tables will be reversed. 

33. But they had not been sent as keepers over them!(6028) 

6028 But the wicked critics of the Righteous have no call in any case to sit in judgement over them. Who set them as Keepers or guardians over the Righteous? Let them look to their own condition and future first. 

34. But on this Day the Believers will laugh at the Unbelievers:(6029) 

6029 The tables will then be reversed, and he laughs best who laughs last.

35. On Thrones (of Dignity) they will command (a sight) (of all things).(6030) 

6030 A repetition of verse 23 above, but with a different shade of meaning. The Righteous on their Thrones of Dignity will be able to see all the true values restored in their own favour: but they will also see something else: they will also see the arrogant braggarts brought low, who brought about their own downfall by their own actions.

36. Will not the Unbelievers have been paid back for what they did?

44. Al Dukhan (The Smoke) (44:43-59)

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

43. Verily the tree(4721) of Zaqqum(4722) 

4721 Now follows a word-picture of the horrors to which Evil must lead us. What human language and what figures of speech can adequately describe them? 

4722 The opposite of "delicious Fruits" is the terrible tree of Zaqqum, which is further described in 37:62-68, where see n. 4073. Also see 17:60, n. 2250.

44. Will be the food of the Sinful,- 

45. Like molten brass; it will boil in their insides. 

46. Like the boiling of scalding water. 

47. (A voice will cry: "Seize ye him and drag him into the midst of the Blazing Fire! 

48. "Then pour over his head the Penalty of Boiling Water, 

49. "Taste thou (this)! Truly wast thou mighty, full of honour!(4723) 

4723 In this particular Surah the besetting sin we are considering is the arrogance born of place or power, wealth or honour, as understood in this world. The punishment of ignominy looks back to the kind of sin which is to be punished. 

50. "Truly this is what ye used to doubt!"(4724) 

4724 When the Punishment becomes a realised fact, how foolish will those look who doubted whether there would be a Hereafter? 

51. As to the Righteous (they will be) in a position of Security,(4725) 

4725 There will be no uncertainty, as on this earth; no danger of discontinuance; no possibility of their satisfaction being terminated? 

52. Among Gardens and Springs; 

53. Dressed in fine silk(4726) and in rich brocade, they will face each other;(4727) 

4726 Cf. 18:31 , and n. 2373. 

4727 Everything will be open and in social companionship: for all the petty feelings of jealousy or exclusiveness will have passed away. 

54. So; and We shall join them to Companions(4728) with beautiful, big, and lustrous eyes.(4729) 

4728 The Companions, like the scene, the dress, the outlook, and the fruit, will be beautiful. There will be life, but free from all earthly grossness. The women as well as the men of this life will attain to this indescribable bliss. (R). 

4729 Hur implies the following ideas: (1) purity; possibly the word Hawariyun, as applied to the first Disciples of Jesus, is connected with this root; (2) beauty, especially of eyes, where the intense white of the eyeballs stands out against the intense black of the pupil, thus giving the appearance of lustre, and intense feeling: as opposed to dullness or want of expression; and (3) truth and good will. 

55. There can they call for every kind of fruit(4730) in peace and security; 

4730 The metaphorical signification is explained in n. 4671 to 43:73. 

56. Nor will they there taste Death, except the first(4731) death; and He will preserve them from the Penalty of the Blazing Fire,-(4732) 

4731 First Death: the ordinary natural death from this life, which brought them to the Garden of Felicity : there will be no further death after that. Cf. 37:59, and n. 4071. 

4732 In Islam we are taught that salvation is not possible of our unaided efforts. Certainly, striving on our part is an indispensable condition: but it is the Mercy of Allah which comes to our help and keeps us from the Fire of final Punishment. This is mentioned last as the foundation on which is built our eternal felicity and our positive spiritual joys. (R). 

57. As a Bounty from thy Lord! that will be the supreme achievement!(4733) 

4733 This is our idea of Salvation: the negative avoidance of all the consequences of evil, and the positive attainment of all—and more than all—that our hearts could possibly desire. For Allah's Bounty outstrips anything that our eyes have seen, or our ears have heard of, or our imagination can conceive. (Cf. 4:13 ). 

58. Verily, We have made this (Qur´an) easy,(4734) in thy tongue, in order that they may give heed. 

4734 Easy: not only to understand, being in the Arabic tongue; but mellifluous, whose rhythm carries off our spirits to a higher spiritual plane. In another sense, it is difficult; for to get its deepest meaning, we shall have to strive hard, as the contents of this Surah alone will show. 

59. So wait thou and watch; for they (too) are waiting.

23. Al Mu'minun (The Believers) (23:1-11)

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

1. The believers must (eventually) win through,-(2865) 

2865 Aflaha: win through, prosper, succeed, achieve their aims or obtain salvation from sorrow and all evil. This verse connects on with verses 10 and 11 below. The success or victory may come in this world, but is certain and lasting in the world to come. 

2. Those who humble themselves(2866) in their prayers; 

2866 Humility in prayer as regards (1) their estimate of their own worth in Allah's presence, (2) as regards their estimate of their own powers or strength unless they are helped by Allah, and (3) as regards the petitions they offer to Allah. 

3. Who avoid vain talk; 

4. Who are active in deeds of charity; 

5. Who abstain from sex,(2867) 

2867 The Muslim must guard himself against ever;' kind of sex abuse or sex perversion. The new psychology associated with the name of Freud traces many of our hidden motives to sex, and it is common knowledge that our refinement or degradation may be measured by the hidden workings of our sex instincts. But even the natural and lawful exercise of sex is restricted to the marriage bond, under which the rights of both parties are duly regulated and maintained. 

6. Except with those joined to them in the marriage bond, or (the captives) whom their right hands possess,-(2868) for (in their case) they are free from blame,

2868 This is further explained and amplified in 4:25. It will be seen there that the status of a captive when raised to freedom by marriage is the same as that of a free woman as regards her rights, but more lenient as regards the punishment to be inflicted if she falls from virtue. 

7. But those whose desires exceed those limits are transgressors;- 

8. Those who faithfully observe their trusts and their covenants;(2869) 

2869 Trusts may be express or implied. Express trusts are those where property is entrusted or duties are assigned by some one to some other whom he trusts, to carry out either immediately or in specified contingencies, such as death. Implied trusts arise out of power, or position, or opportunity; e.g., a king holds his kingdom on trust from Allah for his subjects: the Afghan official phrase for their kingdom used to be Dawlat-i-Khuda-dad (' God-given kingdom'). The subject of covenants, express and implied, has been discussed in n. 682 to 5:1. Covenants create obligations, and express and implied trusts and covenants taken together cover the whole field of obligations. 

9. And who (strictly) guard(2870) their prayers;- 

2870 In verse 2 we were directed to the spirit of humility and earnestness in our prayers. Here we are told how necessary the habit of regular prayer is to our spiritual well-being and development, as it brings us closer to Allah, and thus sums up the light of the seven jewels of our Faith, viz.: (1) humility, (2) avoidance of vanity, (3) charity, (4) sex purity, (5) fidelity to trusts, and (6) to covenants, and (7) an earnest desire to get closer to Allah. 

10. These will be the heirs,(2871) 

2871 Cf. 21:105, where it is said that the righteous will inherit the earth. In the first verse of this Surah, the final success or victory is referred to. Truth will prevail even on this earth, but it may not be for any individual men of righteousness to see it: it may be in the time of their heirs and successors. But in the life to come, there is no doubt that every man will see the fruit of his life here, and the righteous will inherit heaven, in the sense that they will attain it after their death here. 

11. Who will inherit Paradise: they will dwell therein (for ever).

26. Al Shu'ara (The Poets) (26:52-145)

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

52. By inspiration we told Moses: "Travel by night with my servants; for surely ye shall be pursued. (3167)

3167 The rest of the story-of the plagues of Egypt -is passed over as not germane to the present argument. We come now to the story of the Israelites leaving Egypt , pursued by Pharaoh. Here again there are three contrasts; (1) the blind arrogance of the Egyptians, against the development of Allah's Plan; (2) the Faith of Moses, against the fears of his people: and (3) the final deliverance of the seed of righteousness, against the destruction of the host of brute force (Cf. 2:38 ). 

53. Then Pharaoh sent heralds to (all) the Cities, 

54. (Saying): "These (Israelites) are but a small band, 

55. "And they are raging furiously against us; 

56. "But we are a multitude amply fore-warned." 

57. So We expelled them(3168) from gardens, springs, 

3168 The Children of Israel certainly inherited the gardens, springs, treasures, and honourable positions in Palestine after many years' wanderings in the wilderness. But when they were false to Allah, they lost them again, and another people (the Muslims) inherited them when they were true in Faith. These latter not only inherited Palestine but also Egypt , and the old Pharaonic power and institutions were lost forever, Of such things: literally, "of them". (R). 

58. Treasures, and every kind of honourable position; 

59. Thus it was, but We made the Children of Israel inheritors(3169) of such things. 

3169 In deference to almost unanimous authority I have translated this passage {verses 58-60) as if it were a parenthetical statement of Allah's purpose. Personally I prefer another construction. According to that, verses 58-59 will be part of Pharaoh's proclamation: "We have dispossessed the Israelites from everything good in the land, and made them our slaves"; and verse 59 only will be parenthetical: "Poor ignorant men! You may oppress those who are helpless, but We (i.e. Allah) have declared that they shall inherit all these things", as they certainly did (for a time) in the Land of Promise , Palestine . 

60. So they pursued them(3170) at sunrise. 

3170 The story is here resumed after the parenthesis of verses 57-59. 

61. And when the two bodies saw each other, the people of Moses said: "We are sure to be overtaken." 
62. (Moses) said: "By no means! my Lord is with me! Soon will He guide me!"(3171) 

3171 Guide me: i.e., show me some way of escape from danger. This actually happened, for Pharaoh's host was drowned. The faith of Moses stands in strong contrast to the fears of his people. 

63. Then We told Moses by inspiration: "Strike the sea with thy rod." So it divided, and each separate part became like the huge, firm mass of a mountain. 

64. And We made the other party approach thither.(3172) 

3172 The miracle was twofold: (1) Moses with his people passed safely through the sea; and (2) Pharaoh and his great host were drowned in the sea. 

65. We delivered Moses and all who were with him; 

66. But We drowned the others. 

67. Verily in this is a Sign: but most of them do not believe.(3173) 

3173 As it was then, so it is now. In spite of the obvious Signs of Allah, people who are blind in their obstinate resistance to Truth accomplish their own destruction, while humble, persecuted men of Faith are transformed by the Light of Allah, and obtain salvation. 

68. And verily thy Lord is He, the Exalted in Might, Most Merciful.(3174) 

3174 Nothing that the powers of Evil can do, will ever defeat the merciful Purpose of Allah. Evil, in resisting good, will effect its own destruction. 

69. And rehearse to them (something of) Abraham´s story.(3175) 

3175 For the argument of this Surah the incidents in Abraham's life are not relevant and are not mentioned. What is mentioned is: (1) the steps by which he taught about the sin of false worship, in the form of a Dialogue; (2) the aims of a righteous man not only for his individual life, but for his ancestors and posterity, in the form of a Prayer; and (3) a picture of the Future Judgement, in the form of a vision. (1) is covered by verses 70-82; (2) by 83-86; and (3) by 88-102. 

70. Behold, he said to his father and his people: "What worship ye?"

71. They said: "We worship idols, and we remain constantly(3176) in attendance on them." 

3176 They want to show their true and assiduous devotion. But Abraham goes at once to the heart of the matter by asking: "To whom is your devotion paid? Is the object worthy of it?" 

72. He said: "Do they listen to you when ye call (on them), or do you good or harm?" 

73. Or do you good or harm?" 

74. They said: "Nay, but we found our fathers doing thus (what we do)." 

75. He said: "Do ye then see whom ye have been worshipping,- 

76. "Ye and your fathers before you?- 

77. "For they are enemies to me;(3177) not so the Lord and Cherisher of the Worlds; 

3177 The things that you worship are enemies to mankind: let me testify from my own personal experience: they are enemies to me: they can do me no good, but would lead me astray. Contrast with their importance or their power of mischief the One True God Whom I worship: He created me and all the Worlds; He cherishes me and guides me; He takes care of me; and when I die, He will give me new life; He will forgive me and grant me final Salvation. Will you then come to this true worship? How can you doubt, after seeing the contrast of the one with the other? Is it not as the contrast between Light and Darkness?' 

78. "Who created me, and it is He Who guides me; 

79. "Who gives me food and drink, 

80. "And when I am ill, it is He Who cures me; 

81. "Who will cause me to die, and then to life (again); 

82. "And who, I hope, will forgive me my faults on the day of Judgment. 

83. "O my Lord! bestow wisdom(3178) on me, and join me with the righteous; 

3178 Having shown clearly the distinction between the False and the True, Abraham now shows in the form of a Prayer what his inmost wishes are. (1) He wants his soul enlightened with divine wisdom, and (2) his heart and life filled with righteousness; (3) he will not be content with working for himself or his own generation; his view extends to all future generations; (4) and of course he wishes to attain the goal of the righteous, the Garden of the Bliss of the Divine Countenance; but he is not content with this; for (5) he wants his father and relatives to share in his spiritual joy, so that he can proudly see all whom he can reach, in an honourable station (contrasted with disgrace) on the Day of Judgement. 

84. "Grant me honourable mention on the tongue of truth(3179) among the latest (generations); 

3179 Cf. 19:50 . The whole of the passage about Abraham there may be compared with this passage. 

85. "Make me one of the inheritors of the Garden of Bliss; 

86. "Forgive my father, for that he is among those astray; 

87. "And let me not be in disgrace on the Day when (men) will be raised up;- 

88. "The Day whereon neither(3180) wealth nor sons will avail, 

3180 Now we have a vision of the Day of Judgement. Nothing will then avail except a pure heart; all sorts of the so-called "good deeds" of this world, without the motive of purity, will be useless. The contrast of the Garden of Bliss with the Fire of Misery will be plainly visible. Evil will be shown in its true colours -isolated, helpless, cursing and despairing, and all chances will then have been lost. 

89. "But only he (will prosper) that brings to Allah a sound heart;

90. "To the righteous, the Garden will be brought near,(3181) 

3181 The Good will only see good (the Garden of Bliss ), and the Evil will only see evil (the Fire of Hell). This type of contrast is shown to us in the world of our spiritual sense even in this life. 

91. "And to those straying in Evil, the Fire will be placed in full view; 

92. "And it shall be said to them: ´Where are the (gods) ye worshipped- 

93. "´Besides Allah. Can they help you or help themselves?´ 

94. "Then they will be thrown headlong into the (Fire),- they and those straying(3182) in Evil, 

3182 The false gods, being devils or personified false fancies, will all be involved in the punishment of Hell, together with their worshippers, and the ultimate sources of evil, the hosts of Iblis or Satan (Cf. 25:17-18). 

95. "And the whole hosts of Iblis together. 

96. "They will say there in their mutual bickerings: 

97. "´By Allah, we were truly in an error manifest,(3183) 

3183 Error manifest: 'our error is now plainly manifest, but it should have been manifest to us before it was too late, because the Signs of Allah were always around us'. This will be said by the ungodly, whose eyes will then be fully opened. 

98. "´When we held you as equals with the Lord of the Worlds; 

99. "´And our seducers were only those who were steeped in guilt.(3184) 

3184 They now see that the people who seduced them were themselves evil and subject to the penalties of evil, and their seductions were frauds. They feel that they ought to have seen it before, for who would deliberately follow the paths of those condemned to misery and punishment? How simple they were not to see the true character of their seducers, though they had been warned again and again against them! It was their own folly that made them accept such obviously false guidance! 

100. "´Now, then, we have none to intercede (for us), 

101. "´Nor a single friend to feel (for us). 

102. "´Now if we only had a chance of return we shall truly be of those who believe!´"(3185) 

3185 This apparent longing for a chance of return is dishonest. If they were sent back, they would certainly return to their evil ways: 6:27 -28. Besides, they have had numerous chances already in this life, and they have used them for mischief or evil. 

103. Verily in this is a Sign but most of them do not believe. 

104. And verily thy Lord is He, the Exalted in Might, Most Merciful. 

105. The people of Noah rejected the messengers.

106. Behold, their brother Noah(3186) said to them: "Will ye not fear ((Allah))? 

3186 Noah's generation had lost all faith and abandoned themselves to evil. They had rejected the Message of messengers previously sent to the world. Noah was sent to them as one of themselves ("their brother"). His life was open before them: he had proved himself pure in heart and conduct (like the Prophet of Arabia long after him), and worthy of every trust. Would they fear Allah and follow his advice? They could see that he had no ends of his own to serve. Would they not listen to him? 

107. "I am to you a messenger worthy of all trust:(3187) 

3187 Amin=one to whom a trust had been given, with several shades of meaning implied: e.g., (1) worthy of trust, (2) bound to deliver his trust, as a prophet is bound to deliver his Message, (3) bound to act entirely as directed by the trust, as a prophet is bound to give only the Message of Allah, and not add anything of his own, and (4) not seeking any interest of his own ( Cf. n. 3224). 

108. "So fear Allah, and obey me. 

109. "No reward do I ask of you for it: my reward is only from the Lord of the Worlds: 

110. "So fear Allah, and obey me."(3188) 

3188 Note the repetition rounds off the argument. See n. 3186 above. 

111. They said: "Shall we believe in thee when it is the meanest that follow thee?"(3189) 

3189 The leaders of the people are speaking, as the Quraysh leaders spoke in the time of the Holy Prophet. "We know that thou hast been trustworthy in thy life. But look at the 'rag tag and bob tail' that follow thee! Dost thou expect us to be like them or to be classed with them?" His answer was: "I know nothing against them; if they have done any wrong, or are only hypocrites, they are answerable to Allah; how can I drive them away from me, seeing that I am expressly sent to admonish all people?" 

112. He said: "And what do I know as to what they do? 

113. "Their account is only with my Lord, if ye could (but) understand. 

114. "I am not one to drive away those who believe.(3190) 

3190 Cf. 11:29 . All people who have faith have the right to come and listen to Allah's Word and receive Allah's Mercy, whether they are publicans and sinners, "Harijans" and "low-caste" men, men of "superior" or "inferior" races. The Prophet of Allah welcomes them all, as His Message had to shine before the whole world. (R). 

115. "I am sent only to warn plainly in public." 

116. They said: "If thou desist not, O Noah! thou shalt be stoned (to death)."(3191) 

3191 Two other cases occur to me where prophets of Allah were threatened with death by stoning: one was Abraham (19:46), and the other was 'Shu'ayb (11:91). In neither case did the threats deter them from carrying out their mission. On the contrary, the threats recoiled on those who threatened. So also did it happen in the case of Noah and the Prophet. 

117. He said: "O my Lord! truly my people have rejected me. 

118. "Judge Thou, then, between me and them openly, and deliver me and those of the Believers who are with me." 

119. So We delivered him and those with him, in the Ark filled (with all creatures).(3192) 

3192 The story of Noah's Flood is told in 11:36-48. Here, the point emphasised in Noah's patience and constancy against threats, and the triumph and preservation of Allah's truth even though the world was ranged against it. 

120. Thereafter We drowned those who remained behind. 

121. Verily in this is a Sign: but most of them do not believe.(3193) 

3193 This and the following verse run like a refrain throughout this Surah, and give the keynote to the subject matter: how the Message of Allah is preached, how it is rejected in all ages, and how it triumphs at last, through the Mercy of Allah. See 26:8-9, 67-68, 103-104, here (121-122), 139-140, 158-159, 174-175, and 190191. (R). 

122. And verily thy Lord is He, the Exalted in Might, Most Merciful. 

123. The ´Ad (people) rejected(3194) the messengers. 

3194 See n. 1040 to 7:65 for the 'Ad people and their location. Here, the emphasis is on the fact that they were materialists believing in brute force, and felt secure in their fortresses and resources, but were found quite helpless when Allah's Message came and they rejected it. 

124. Behold, their brother Hud said to them: "Will ye not fear ((Allah))? 

125. "I am to you a messenger worthy of all trust:(3195) 

3195 3195 3195 3195 Seen. 3187 to 26:107 above. 

126. "So fear Allah and obey me. 

127. "No reward do I ask of you for it: my reward is only from the Lord of the Worlds. 

128. "Do ye build a landmark on every high place to amuse yourselves?(3196) 

3196 Any merely material civilisation prides itself on show and parade. Its votaries scatter monuments for all sorts of things in conspicuous places-monuments which commemorate deeds and events which are forgotten in a few generations! Cf. Shelley's poem on Ozymandias: "I am Ozymandias. King of Kings! Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!...Boundless and bare the lonely and level sands stretch far away!" 

129. "And do ye get for yourselves fine buildings in the hope of living therein (for ever)? 

130. "And when ye exert your strong hand, do ye do it like men of absolute power?(3197) 

3197 "Without any responsibility or consideration for those who come within your power?" 

131. "Now fear Allah, and obey me.(3198) 

3198 See n. 3188 above. 

132. "Yea, fear Him Who has bestowed on you freely all that ye know.(3199) 

3199 The gifts are described generally, immaterial and material. "All that ye know" includes not only material things, but knowledge and the faculties by which knowledge may be used for human well-being, all that makes life beautiful and refined. "Cattle" means wealth generally, and "sons" means population and manpower. "Gardens and Springs" are things that contribute to the delight and pleasure of man. 

133. "Freely has He bestowed on you cattle and sons,- 

134. "And Gardens and Springs. 

135. "Truly I fear for you the Penalty of a Great Day."(3200) 

3200 "But you have misused all those gifts, and you will suffer the inevitable penalties for your misuse and for your ingratitude."

136. They said: "It is the same to us whether thou admonish us or be not among (our) Admonishers!(3201) 

3201 "We are not going to attend to you whether you preach to us or not." The construction of the second clause, "or be not among our admonishers" is a rapier cut at Hud, as if they had said: "Oh yes! we have heard plenty of admonishers like you!" See the next verse. 

137. "This is no other than a customary device of the ancients,(3202) 

3202 They said, as many of our modern enemies of religion say, "you are only reviving an ancient superstition, a dope of the crowd; there is no such thing as a Hereafter, or the sort of punishments you announce!" 

138. "And we are not the ones to receive Pains and Penalties!"

139. So they rejected him, and We destroyed them. Verily in this is a Sign: but most of them do not believe. 

140. And verily thy Lord is He, the Exalted in Might, Most Merciful. 

141. The Thamud (people) rejected(3203) the messengers. 

3203 For the Thamud people see n. 1043 to 7:73. They were great builders in stone and a people with agricultural wealth, but they were an exclusive people and oppressed the poor. The point emphasised here is: "How long will your wealth last, especially if you depress your own people and dishonour Allah's Signs by sacrilege?" The inscriptions on Thamud remains of rock-cut buildings in Al Hijr are described in Appendix VII at the end of this Surah. 

142. Behold, their brother Salih said to them: "Will you not fear ((Allah))? 

143. "I am to you a messenger worthy of all trust. 

144. "So fear Allah, and obey me. 

145. "No reward do I ask of you for it: my reward is only from the Lord of the Worlds.