Question: Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu!
May Allah bless you all, Ameen!
Can you please explain the Tafsir of Ayah 3 of Surah Hadeed?
Assalamu Alaikom Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu
Answer: Wa Alaikum As Salaam,
Verse 3 of Surah Al Hadeed States:
“He is the First and the Last, The Manifest and the Intimate, and He is, of all things, Knowing.”
With respect to the commentary and meaning of this verse, the exegetes and commentators of the Holy Quran have differences of opinion, and up to ten commentaries and statements have been made regarding it. When looked at, all have been accepted as the meaning and message regarding the verse.
While explaining the verse, the commentators have stated that:
The word/attribute ‘الأول’ (Al Awwal) which means ‘The First’ explains that Allah is The First. There was nothing before Him. He Has created everything in the universe, and all things came from Him, and were created by Him. Hence, there is nothing before Him. He existed from eternity and existed before everything came into existence.
The word/attribute ‘لاخرI’ (Al Akhir) means ‘The Last’. It tells us that everything will come to an end, and Allah will remain forever. There is nothing after Him. He alone will continue to exist forever and ever.
The word/attribute ‘لظاهرI’ (Adh Dhahir) is translated as ‘The Manifest’. It means that Allah’s manifestation is superior to everything and surpasses the manifestation of all things. There isn’t anything that is more manifest that Him. He is known and recognized by numerous signs in the heavens and the earth.
The word/attribute of ‘الباطن’ (Al Baatin) is translated as ‘The Hidden’ and means that the true nature and essence of Allah’s being is hidden in the manner that the ‘Dhaat’ ‘Being of Allah’ is beyond man’s perception and comprehension. (Ma’ariful Quran Vol. 8 Pgs. 305,306).
While explaining the above verse, the great exegete, Imam Qurtubi writes, ‘The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) himself have given the explanation of this verse through his dua (supplication). In his supplication, he beseeched Allah and said,
اللَّهُمَّ أَ نْتَ الأَوَّلُ فَلَيْسَ قَبْلَكَ شَىْءٌ وَ اَنْتَ اْلاَخِرُ فَلَيْسَ بَعْدَكَ شَيْءٌ وَأَ نْتَ الظَّاهِرُ فَلَيْسَ فَوْقَكَ شَىْءٌ وَأَنْتَ الْبَاطِنُ
فَلَيْسَ دُونَكَ شَىْءٌ اقْضِ عنا الدَّيْنَ وَ أغننا مِنَ الْفَقْرِ
‘Allahumma Anta Awwal fa Laisa Qablaka Shai’un. Wa Antal Akhiru Fa Laisa Ba’daka Shai’un. Wa Antadh Dhahir Fa Laisa Fauqaka Shai’un. Wa Antal Baatin Fa Laisa Dunaka Shai’un. Aqdhi Anna Ad Dain Wa Agnina Minal Faqr.’
‘O Allah! You are The First, and there was nothing before You. And You are The Last, and there is nothing after you. And You are The Manifest, there is nothing higher than You. And You are The Hidden, there is nothing can measure up to You. Fulfil the debts on our behalf, and make us free from poverty.’ (Tafseer Al Qurtubi Vol. 17 pg. 203).
Some scholars have explained the word ‘Al Baatin’ to mean ‘the Most Near’.
Hafiz Ibn Katheer has mentioned a narration from Abdullah binAbbas (R.A) in his tafseer, in which it is stated that one who finds doubts in his heart regarding his religious beliefs should recite verse 3 of Surah Al Hadeed, which is:
(Tafseer Ibn Katheer Vol. 4 pg. 387 Maktaba Dar Al Faiha Damascus 1998).
And Allah Knows Best.
Mufti Waseem Khan.