Category Archives: Visual Lessons

Tafseer (Commentary) of Surah Yaseen (Part 17)Conclusion and Surah Saaffaat (Part 1)

SuraYaseen continues in verse 81 and states:

  1. Is not He, Who created the heavens and the earth Able to create the like of them? Yes, indeed! He is the All-Knowing Supreme Creator.

In this verse, Allah draws man’s attention to His great power and ability. He makes it known to them that it is He who has created the massive structure of the seven heavens and the seven earth with all the various creations that exist in them.  As such, He is fully capable to create the like of them after death and Has complete power and ability to restore life to their dead bodies after they have become decayed and decomposed. For certainly, a Being who has the ability to create such large and mighty structures, can surely re-create human beings after they are dead, since the creation of humans from their rotten bones is not bigger and greater than the creation of the heavens and earth. As such, One who is not unable to create a creation much greater/bigger than human beings, cannot be unable to produce life in the bones (of humans) after these have become rotten and disintegrated. (Tafseer Ibn Jareer vol.23 pg. 40 Dar Ihya At Turath Al Arabi Beirut 2013)

In the verse, Allah Himself answers the above question and says, ‘Yes, indeed! He is the All Knowing, Supreme Creator’. It means that Allah is certainly All Able to create the like of them (human beings), for He creates whatever He wishes. He is the Innovator and Inventor of every creation and creature, and He has full knowledge of every single thing which He has created in the past and will create in the future. Nothing is hidden from His knowledge.

SuraYaseen goes further in verse 82 and states:

  1. Verily, His Command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says to it, “Be!” and it is!

This verse is connected to the previous verse, and explains how easy it is for Allah to create anything. The verse explains that whenever Allah wishes to create anything, He simply says ‘Kun’ (‘Be’) and it comes into existence. Therefore, nothing is difficult for Allah. Whenever He wants something to come into being, it comes into existence without any difficulty, effort, trouble or submissiveness to anyone.

SuraYaseen continues in verse 83 and states:

  1. So Glorified is He and Exalted above all that they associate with Him, and in Whose Hands is the dominion of all things, and to Him you shall be returned.

This is the last verse of Sura Yaseen and it speaks of the purity of Allah. The verse explains that Allah is pure and free from all imperfections and deficiencies. He is the Great and Mighty One, in whose hands is the dominion of the heavens and the earth. He has complete control, power and ability over all things. Man is reminded here, that his return will be to Allah. He will be presented before Allah for reckoning and requital. Hence, he must be conscious of his acts and deeds, and prepare for his return to Allah.

SURAH AS SAFFAT

SYNOPSIS OF SURAH AS SAFFAT

Surah As Saffat is from among the Makkan Surahs and comprises of 182 verses. Being a Surah which was revealed in Makka, it discusses the foundation of Islamic Beliefs, particularly, Tawheed (Oneness of Allah), Wahi (revelation of the Quran), Al Ba’ath Wal Jaza (Resurrection and Recompense in the Hereafter). Like all other Makkan Surahs, the call given in the Surah is towards Imaan (faith) and belief in Allah.

The Surah begins with an introduction of the great Angels who are deputed by Allah in different positions. Some of them are standing in Salaah in full worship and devotion to Allah. Others have been given the task of driving the clouds in whatever direction Allah orders, and others have been commissioned to recite the revelation from Allah to the Prophets.

Information is then given about the Jinns and how they are pelted with flames of fire. This is mentioned as a refutation against those who believe that the Jinns have a special closeness and rank with Allah. The Surah goes on to prove the truth of the Resurrection and the Day of Reckoning, and shows the misguided path of the unbelievers and pagans who disbelieve in these realities.

The Surah further discusses the believer and the unbeliever, and shows that the believer is on the straight path, while the unbeliever is on the path of error and misguidance. Eventually, the believer, on account of his faith, will enter the gardens of delight in Paradise, and the unbeliever, on account of his disbelief, will enter the blazing fire of Hell.

The Surah also cites incidents regarding some prophets and the message of Tawheed to their people. In this regard, mention is made about  prophets like Nuh, Ibraheem, Ismail, Moosa, Haroon, Ilyas and Lut (A.S). Then, in a detailed manner the trial which came as a test of faith to Prophets Ibraheem (A.S) and his son Ismail (A.S) is mentioned. The sacrifice and willingness to surrender to Allah and His order, which was seen from Prophet Ibraheem (A.S) was mentioned as a lesson and message to all believers.

The Surah then concludes by showing that the help of Allah always came to the prophets and righteous servants in this world, and will be with them in the Hereafter. It makes it clear that  ultimate success will be  for the believers.

The Surah has been named ‘As Saffat’ to describe the nature of the worship of the Angels. ‘As Saffat’ means rows, and it tells of those Angels who are constantly in Allah’s worship while standing in rows.

 

COMMENTARY OF SURAH AS SAFFAT

The Surah begins with the following three verses:

  1. By those who stand in rows.
  2. By those who drive away.
  3. By those who recite the ‘reminder’.

 

As mentioned by the Sahabahs and great exegetes of the Holy Quran, like Abdullah bin Abbas (R.A), Abdullah bin Masood (R.A), Ikramah, Saeed bin Jubair, Mujahid and Qatada (A.R), the above three verses speak about the angels and the different actions they are occupied in.

Verse 1 speaks about the angels who stand in rows. They stand in rows in the skies just as people stand in rows on the earth for Salaah. Some scholars have stated that it means that their wings are always standing in the air, ready and waiting for Allah’s orders. This is just like when slaves stand in front of their masters in full readiness to carry out their orders.

Hasan Basri (A.R) says that it refers to angels when they form their lines in front of Allah for Salaah. Some scholars are of the opinion that ‘those who stand in rows’ as mentioned in verse 1, do not refer to angels. Instead, it refers to believers when they stand in rows for Salaah, or in Jihaad. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.15 pg. 57 Maktaba Rasheediya Queta Pakistan)

While speaking of the angels and their standing in rows, the Prophet (S.A) once said to the companions, ‘Will you not form rows like the angels do in front of Allah?’ The Sahabahs (companions) asked, ‘How do the angels form rows in front of their Lord?’ The Prophet (S.A) replied, ‘They first complete the front rows and stand close together’. (Sahih Muslim Hadith # 430; Abu Dawood Hadith # 661; Ibn Majah Hadith # 992 – Tafseer Ibn Katheer vol.5 pg. 300 Dar Al Kitab Al Arabi Beirut 2013)

In another tradition, Huzaifah (R.A) narrates that the Prophet (S.A) said, ‘We have been honoured above all others with three things. These are: Our rows (for Salaah) have been made like the rows of the angels. The entire earth has been made as a place of prayer for us, and the dirt/clay of the earth has been made as a means of purity for us when we do not find water’. (Sahih Muslim Hadith # 522)

Verse 2 states, ‘By those who drive away’. As mentioned by the Sahabahs and the great scholars of the Holy Quran, like Abdullah bin Abbas (R.A), Abdullah bin Masood (R.A), Masrooq, Mujahid  and As Suddi (A.R), these refer to the angels who drive the clouds or those angels who prevent people from the disobedience of Allah through exhortation and advice. Some scholars like Qatada (A.R) have stated that the verse refers to the restrictions and limitations which Allah has placed in the Quran. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.15 pg. 58; Tafseer Ibn Katheer vol. 5 pg. 300 Dar Al Kitab Al Arabi Beirut 2013)

Verse 3 states, ‘By those  who recite the ‘reminder’. Here also, Abdullah bin Abbas (R.A), Abdullah bin Masood (R.A), Hasan, Mujahid, Saeed bin Jubair and As Suddi (A.R) have stated that the verse refers to angels who recite the Book of Allah. They bring the Book of Allah and the Quran to mankind and recite it to the Prophets.

Tafseer (Commentary) of Surah Yaseen (Part 16)

Verse 78 goes further to speak of the argumentative nature of the unbelievers and says, ‘And he puts forth for Us a parable, and forgets his own creation. He says: “Who will give life to these bones when they have rotted away and became dust?”

The verse speaks of the attitude of the unbeliever and states that he brings examples (like the incident of Ubayy bin Khalaf) to question the power and ability of Allah. Yet, he forgets his own creation. He overlooks the fact that it is Allah who created him from non-existence and placed life in him. He forgets the wonderful, strange and amazing way in which he was created. He then questions the power of Allah and says, ‘Who will give life to these bones after they are rotten and have become dust’.

This is the conduct of the unbeliever. He looks at rotten and decomposed bones that have become like dust particles and believes that no one has the power to put life into these decomposed particles. He judges Allah as he will judge a human being and thinks to himself that since no man can create life into dead bones, so too, Allah will not be able to do so. His thoughts are however, wrong and misguided. In response to his argument, and to guide his thoughts, Allah mentions in verse 79, Say: (O Muhammad ) “He will give life to them Who created them for the first time! And He is the All-Knower of every creation!”

The Prophet (S.A) was asked to tell the unbeliever Ubayy bin Khalaf and others like him (as a way to silence and rebuke them), that the One who will re-create and restore life to the decayed bones and resurrect them after death , will be the same One who brought them into being from non-existence and created them at the first time without anything. Hence, that One who is able to begin a creation, has full ability and power to repeat it.

The unbelievers were also told  that ‘Allah is the All Knower of every creation’. It means that He has full knowledge of  how He creates a being, and in what manner He originates it. Hence, resurrecting bodies after death is not difficult upon him. While explaining this verse, Hafiz Ibn Katheer says, ‘It means that Allah Has full knowledge of all the bones that are in the various  parts of the earth and  in different directions and areas. He knows where these bones have been buried and scattered, and where these have been ripped apart. (Hence, He will gather all these (bones) together and bring life into them).

Hafiz Ibn Katheer then mentioned the following tradition to explain his commentary. He says, ‘Uqba bin Amr once said to Huzaifa (R.A), ‘Will you not narrate to us what you heard from the Messenger of Allah (S.A)?’ Huzaifah (R.A) said, ‘I heard him (the Prophet S.A) saying, ‘There was a man (from those before you) to whom death came. When he became hopeless of life, he advised his family members, saying, ‘When I die, gather an abundant amount of fire sticks for me, then ignite it with fire and burn me in it. When the fire devours my flesh and reaches to my bones, and I am burnt, then take my bones, crush them to powder, and throw them in the open sea’. The man thereafter passed away, and the family members did as they were advised. After this was done, Allah gathered the bones together, and brought the man before Him. He then said (to the man), ‘Why did you do this?’ The man said, ‘On account of Your fear O Allah’. Allah then pardoned the man for this’. Uqba bin Amr then said to Huzaifa (R.A), ‘I heard the Prophet (S.A) saying the same’. (Hadith is Saheeh (sound). Recorded by Ahmad and Ibn Hibban – Tafseer Ibn Katheer vol.5 pg. 297 Dar Al Kitab Al Arabi Beirut 2013)

Sura Yaseen goes further in verse 80 and states:

  1. He, Who produces for you fire out of the green tree, when behold! You kindle therewith.

This verse speaks of  the great power and ability of Allah. The verse explains that nothing is difficult for Allah. He is the One, who, through His power and ability, creates fire from green trees. These are trees that are normally filled with moisture, and hence, fire cannot be produced from them. However, Allah, the All Powerful and Able, produces fire from them, and does whatever He wishes. No task is difficult for Him. As such, restoring life to dead and decomposed bones, and resurrecting man after death, is not difficult for Him.

While explaining this verse, Hafiz Ibn Katheer (A.R) writes, ‘Allah is He who has created these trees from water. Then, they become green and fresh and produce fruits and  vegetation. Allah then causes them to become dry sticks from which fire is kindled. Thus, Allah does whatever He wishes. He is All Able to do what He wants and nothing can prevent Him. (Tafseer Ibn Katheer vol.5 pg. 297  Dar Al Kitab Al Arabi Beirut 2013). This explanation shows that the verse alludes to every green tree. Allah, the All Powerful One, causes the green tree to become dry, and then makes it the source of fuel and fire.

Some commentators have explained that the verse, ‘He who produces for you fire out of the green tree’ refers to two trees which were well known in Arabia. These were the Markh tree and the Afar tree. Both of these grew in the land of Hijaz. When a person wanted to kindle a fire and did not have a flint, he used to take two green twigs (branches), (one from the Markh tree and the other from the Afar tree), and rub one on the other.  On account of this, fire used to be produced from these twigs. Thus, they (the Arabs) used to produce fire from rubbing the branches of these green trees on one another. This in itself was a clear sign, which demonstrated that Allah is All Able to do whatever He wishes. (Tafseer Al Baghwi vol.4 pg. 21 Idara Taleefat Ashrafiya Multan Pakistan; Tafseer Ibn Katheer vol.5 pg. 297, 298 Dar Al Kitab Al Arabi)

Imam Qurtubi has given another explanation of this verse (v.80) and stated, ‘In this verse, Allah notifies the unbelievers of His Oneness, and indicates to His perfect and complete ability to restore life to the dead, based on what they witness from the emergence of fire from a green branch. The unbelievers thought (to themselves) that the semen (from which a man is created) is hot (in its temperament) and moist. Both of these attributes have the ability to produce life, and so, life emanates from it (the semen). The bone however, is cold (in its temperament) and dry. Both of these have the characteristics of  being dead and lifeless. Therefore, it is impossible for life to evolve from this (the bone).

In order to refute this stray notion, Allah revealed the verse saying, ‘He who produces for you fire out of the green tree’. Here, Allah explained to the unbelievers that the green tree which they use as a flint to kindle a fire, is moist and contains water. The characteristic of water is that it is cold and moist, and is directly opposite to fire. Therefore, both being opposites, cannot mix with each other and come together. Hence, in accordance to this trend of thought, it will be totally impossible for fire to originate from a green tree which has moisture and water. Yet, Allah has done this, and has caused fire to emit from green trees. Hence, He is All Powerful and able to create and bring about a thing from its opposite. The green tree mentioned in the verse, refers to the Markh and Afar trees, which were the firestones for the Arabs. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi – Al Jami li Ahkam Al Quran vol.15 pg. 55 Maktaba Rasheediya Queta Pakistan).

SuraYaseen continues in verse 81 and states:

  1. Is not He, Who created the heavens and the earth Able to create the like of them? Yes, indeed! He is the All-Knowing Supreme Creator.

In this verse, Allah draws man’s attention to His great power and ability. He makes it known to them that it is He who has created the massive structure of the seven heavens and the seven earth with all the various creations that exist in them.  As such, He is fully capable to create the like of them after death and Has complete power and ability to restore life to their dead bodies after they have become decayed and decomposed. For certainly, a Being who has the ability to create such large and mighty structures, can surely re-create human beings after they are dead, since the creation of humans from their rotten bones is not bigger and greater than the creation of the heavens and earth. As such, One who is not unable to create a creation much greater/bigger than human beings, cannot be unable to produce life in the bones (of humans) after these have become rotten and disintegrated. (Tafseer Ibn Jareer vol.23 pg. 40 Dar Ihya At Turath Al Arabi Beirut 2013)

In the verse, Allah Himself answers the above question and says, ‘Yes, indeed! He is the All Knowing, Supreme Creator’. It means that Allah is certainly All Able to create the like of them (human beings), for He creates whatever He wishes. He is the Innovator and Inventor of every creation and creature, and He has full knowledge of every single thing which He has created in the past and will create in the future. Nothing is hidden from His knowledge.

 

Tafseer (Commentary) of Surah Yaseen (Part 15)

Sura Yaseen continues in verse 74 and states:

  1. And they have taken besides Allah aliha (gods), hoping that they might be helped (by those so called gods).

In the previous verses (71, 72, 73 of Sura Yaseen), Allah enumerated His favours and established evidences to prove His existence and oneness. Now, in verse 74, He rebukes and reprimands those who have turned a ‘blind eye’ to His favours and evidences, and have taken others as gods besides Him. About them, Allah says: And they have taken besides Allah, aliha (gods), hoping that they might be helped (by those so called gods)’ (v.74). They are those who have taken objects, images, stones and idols, for their worship, which cannot hear them and cannot benefit them. They expect help and assistance from their idols but these are deaf and dumb, how can they help them? This is further emphasized in verse 75 which states:

  1. They cannot help them, but they will be brought forward as a troop against those who worshipped them (at the time of Reckoning).

The idols and images cannot help their followers because they cannot hear them nor can they respond to their supplications. Hence, those that the unbelievers have taken as their objects of worship, cannot come to their help nor can they intercede and plead for them on the Day of Judgement. Instead, ‘they will be brought forward as a troop against them’. It means that the idols, images and objects that were worshipped on the face of the earth, will be brought up against their worshippers on the Day of Judgement.

While explaining this verse, the great exegete, Mujahid (A.R) states, ‘The idols (which were worshipped) will be gathered on the Day of Judgement, and will be present for the reckoning of those who worshipped them. This will cause more humiliation to them, and will be used as the best proof against them in what they did’. (Tafseer Ibn Katheer vol.5 pg 296 Dar Al Kitab Al Arabiya Beirut 2013)

Another commentary of the verse states that a likeness of everything which people used to worship on the earth, besides Allah, will be brought up on the Day of Judgement. They shall then follow their objects of worship to the fire of Hell. In this regard, an authentic tradition narrated from Abu Hurairah (R.A) states that the Prophet (S.A) said, ‘Allah shall gather all the people on the Day of Judgement on one plain open space. The Lord of the worlds shall then make Himself manifest to them and say, ‘Behold! Let everyone follow that which he used to worship’. The likeness of a cross shall be brought for those who worshipped it. The likeness of a picture/image shall be brought for those who worshipped it, and fire will be brought for those who worshipped it. All shall then follow what they used to worship, and the Muslims shall remain’. (Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi – Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.15 pg. 53 Maktaba Rasheediya Queta Pakistan). Some scholars have stated that the idols which were worshipped will be present with those who worshipped them in the fire of Hell. One will not be able to help another in that fire.

The great commentator, Hasan Basri (A.R) has stated, ‘The idol worshippers prevent others from ill speaking their idols and they defend them’. Similarly, Qatada (A.R) has stated, ‘The idol worshippers become angry for their idols in the world, while they (the idols) do not bring any good to them, nor do they protect them from any harm. They are nothing but idols’. It has also been said that, ‘The meaning of the verse is that they (the idolaters) worship their gods and look after them. They are to them like a troop, while they are not able to help them’. After narrating these, Imam Qurtubi says, ‘These three explanations are close to each other in meaning’. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.15 pg. 53)

The gist of these explanations is that those who have taken idols as their gods, (they) defend them and protect them. They show enmity to those who condemn their idols in the worldly life, and become angry for their sake. They worship their idols, look after them and fight those who speak ill of them. They are therefore, servants, troops and soldiers who guard their idols, while these lifeless objects cannot help them in the least.

The above explanation given by Qatada regarding verse 75 which states, ‘and they are for them a troop which will be present’ has been considered by Imam Ibn Jareer At Tabari as the best commentary of the verse. In this regard, he (Ibn Jareer) mentioned the opinions of both Mujahid (A.R) and Qatada (A.R) and then said, ‘The explanation of Qatada is the best of the two opinions which is correct in our understanding, as the interpretation of the verse’. (Tafseer At Tabari vol.23 pg. 37 Dar Ihya At Turath Al Arabi Beirut 2001)

Sura Yaseen goes further in verse 76 and states:

  1. So let not their speech, then, grieve you (O Muhammad ). Verily, We know what they conceal and what they reveal.

In this verse, Allah gave comfort to the Prophet (S.A) and advised him that he should not let the statements of the unbelievers grieve him. Although they denied him, and called him by many offensive names which caused great pain and grief to him, the Prophet (S.A) was instructed by Allah to continue upon his sacred mission and pay no heed to what they were saying to him. He should not allow any distress and sorrow to come over him on account of their statements, but should entrust everything to Allah who will take care of everything.

About their statements and actions, Allah says, ‘Verily, We know what they conceal and what they reveal’. It means that Allah is fully aware of all that they say and do. He knows what they do privately and publicly and He has full knowledge of what they conceal in their hearts and what they reveal on their tongues. He will therefore, take them to task for their deeds and will requite them with a fair requital.

Sura Yaseen continues in verses 77, 78 and 79 to give evidences for the resurrection and gathering on the Day of Judgement. These verses state:

  1. Does not man see that We have created him from Nutfah (mixed male and female discharge semen drops). Yet behold! He (stands forth) as an open opponent.
  2.  And he puts forth for Us a parable, and forgets his own creation. He says: “Who will give life to these bones when they have rotted away and became dust?”
  3. Say: (O Muhammad ) “He will give life to them Who created them for the first time! And He is the All-Knower of every creation!”

The above question asked in verse 77, is one of reproach and rebuke. In this verse, the unbelievers are reprimanded for having not looked at the things around them to recognize the power of Allah. Allah says, ‘Have not the unbelieving man looked carefully and pondered over the power of his Lord? Had he given due consideration, then he would have known that it is Allah who has created him from an insignificant despicable discharge which is impure. Allah, who has created man in the first instance, is All-Able to create him again for a second time for resurrection.

With respect to the above verses, many commentators have mentioned that these were revealed concerning an incident which occurred at the time of the Prophet (S.A). According to a narration from Saeed bin Jubair from Abdullah bin Abbas (R.A), it states that Aas bin Wa’il once picked up a decomposed bone from ‘Al Batha’, broke it with his hand and said to the Prophet of Allah (S.A), ‘Can Allah give life to this after it has become dust?’ The Prophet of Allah (S.A) said, ‘Yes, Allah will give life to this. Then Allah will give death to you. He will resurrect you and then enter you in the fire of Hell’. (Tafseer Ibn Katheer vol.5 pg. 296 Dar Al Kitab Al Arabiya Beirut 2013). Hafiz Ibn Jareer has also mentioned the above tradition from Saeed bin Jubair in his famous commentary.

It is also narrated that the above incident occurred with Ubayy bin Khalaf and not Aas bin Wa’il. In a narration from Mujahid, Ikramah, Urwa bin Zubair, Suddi and Qatada, it is stated that Ubayy bin Khalaf came to the Messenger of Allah (S.A) with a decomposed bone in his hand. He then broke it and threw the dust in the air. He then said, ‘O Muhammad! Do you think that Allah can resurrect this?’ The Prophet (S.A) said, ‘Yes. Allah will cause you to die. He will then resurrect you and gather you in Hell’. Upon this, the above verses of Sura Yaseen were revealed. (Tafseer Ibn Katheer vol.5 pg. 296)

After narrating these incidents, Hafiz Ibn Katheer (A.R) said, ‘Whether this incident occurred with Aas bin Wa’il or Ubayy bin Khalaf or with both of them, the verses are general to everyone who denies the resurrection. (Ibid). These verses refute the misconceptions held by the unbelievers, and establish the fact that Resurrection is a ‘truth’ which will take place.

Verse 77 explains that although man has been created from a ‘discharge’ which is weak, impure and despised, and he recognizes that he has been created and fashioned in the beautiful form of a human being by Allah, yet he becomes an open adversary, and an opponent to Allah. He forget his Creator and becomes an antagonist. He argues with his Lord, rejects His power and ability, and denies the Resurrection and the Judgement. He must give consideration to the fact that Allah who created him as a human being from a drop of liquid, in the first instance, is fully able and powerful to create him another time for Resurrection.

Verse 78 goes further to speak of the argumentative nature of the unbelievers and says, ‘And he puts forth for Us a parable, and forgets his own creation. He says: “Who will give life to these bones when they have rotted away and became dust?”

The verse speaks of the attitude of the unbeliever and states that he brings examples (like the incident of Ubayy bin Khalaf) to question the power and ability of Allah. Yet, he forgets his own creation. He overlooks the fact that it is Allah who created him from non-existence and placed life in him. He forgets the wonderful, strange and amazing way in which he was created. He then questions the power of Allah and says, ‘Who will give life to these bones after they are rotten and have become dust’.

This is the conduct of the unbeliever. He looks at rotten and decomposed bones that have become like dust particles and believes that no one has the power to put life into these decomposed particles. He judges Allah as he will judge a human being and thinks to himself that since no man can create life into dead bones, so too, Allah will not be able to do so. His thoughts are however, wrong and misguided. In response to his argument, and to guide his thoughts, Allah mentions in verse 79, Say: (O Muhammad ) “He will give life to them Who created them for the first time! And He is the All-Knower of every creation!”

The Prophet (S.A) was asked to tell the unbeliever Ubayy bin Khalaf and others like him (as a way to silence and rebuke them), that the One who will re-create and restore life to the decayed bones and resurrect them after death , will be the same One who brought them into being from non-existence and created them at the first time without anything. Hence, that One who is able to begin a creation, has full ability and power to repeat it.

The unbelievers were also told  that ‘Allah is the All Knower of every creation’. It means that He has full knowledge of  how He creates a being, and in what manner He originates it. Hence, resurrecting bodies after death is not difficult upon him. While explaining this verse, Hafiz Ibn Katheer says, ‘It means that Allah Has full knowledge of all the bones that are in the various  parts of the earth and  in different directions and areas. He knows where these bones have been buried and scattered, and where these have been ripped apart. (Hence, He will gather all these (bones) together and bring life into them).

Hafiz Ibn Katheer then mentioned the following tradition to explain his commentary. He says, ‘Uqba bin Amr once said to Huzaifa (R.A), ‘Will you not narrate to us what you heard from the Messenger of Allah (S.A)?’ Huzaifah (R.A) said, ‘I heard him (the Prophet S.A) saying, ‘There was a man (from those before you) to whom death came. When he became hopeless of life, he advised his family members, saying, ‘When I die, gather an abundant amount of fire sticks for me, then ignite it with fire and burn me in it. When the fire devours my flesh and reaches to my bones, and I am burnt, then take my bones, crush them to powder, and throw them in the open sea’. The man thereafter passed away, and the family members did as they were advised. After this was done, Allah gathered the bones together, and brought the man before Him. He then said (to the man), ‘Why did you do this?’ The man said, ‘On account of Your fear O Allah’. Allah then pardoned the man for this’. Uqba bin Amr then said to Huzaifa (R.A), ‘I heard the Prophet (S.A) saying the same’. (Hadith is Saheeh (sound). Recorded by Ahmad and Ibn Hibban – Tafseer Ibn Katheer vol.5 pg. 297 Dar Al Kitab Al Arabi Beirut 2013)

Tafseer (Commentary) of Surah Yaseen (Part 14)

Sura Yaseen goes further in verse 68 and states:

  1. And he whom We grant long life, We reverse him in creation (weakness after strength). Will they not then understand?

Here, in this verse Allah gives a clear proof that He is All Able to transfigure people and transform them into different creatures. He also has the ability to blot out their sight and make them blind. The clear proof given in this verse is that Allah shows man that in his lifetime many changes take place which take him to weakness and losing of his faculties. All these changes which reverse man to a state similar to that of a child are done only by Allah. Therefore, He alone has full control and power over His entire creation.

That which is witnessed by man is that he is created in a state where he is weak in body, and devoid of intelligence and knowledge. Allah then increases him in strength, ability and intelligence, and takes him from one state to another, until He reaches him to full maturity and complete strength. Man thus becomes intelligent and knowledgeable, and understands what is beneficial for him and others. However, when he reaches the peak of his strength, intelligence and ability, Allah reverses him in creation. At that time, he gradually begins to decrease; his faculties become weaker, he slowly becomes deaf, weak sighted and weak in physical strength. He eventually loses his understanding and declines to a state similar to that of a child. These are conditions that are witnessed by every human being in their daily lives and they give a clear indication to the fact that just as Allah takes man from one state to another, so too, He can completely transfigure a person and transform him into another creature. (Tafseer Al Bahr Al Muheet vol.9 pg. 79, 80 Dar Al Fikr Beirut 1992)

The verse explains that whomsoever Allah grants long life to, He changes him in stages and reverses him in creation, until he becomes like a child, having no knowledge and understanding. While commenting on this verse, the great Mufassir, Qatada (A.R) says, ‘A man is reversed to old age which resembles the state of childhood. Thus, long life makes the youth an old person. It changes strength into weakness and brings decrease to growth’. (Safwah At Tafaseer vol.13 pg. 60 Dar Al Quran Al Kareem)

Hafiz Ibn Katheer (A.R) has given a beautiful message while explaining this verse (i.e. 68) and has stated, ‘Here, Allah informs about the children of Adam and says that whenever his life is lengthened, he is returned to weakness after possessing strength, and inability after possessing energy. It is the same as Allah has said, ‘Allah is He who created you in (a state of) weakness then gave you strength after weakness, then after strength gave you weakness and grey hair. He creates what He wills. And it is He who is the All Knowing, the All Powerful’ (Ar Ruum v.54). Allah has also stated, ‘And among you there is he who is brought back to the miserable old age, so that he knows nothing after having known’. (Sura Al Hajj v.5)

(After quoting these) Hafiz Ibn Katheer (A.R) writes, ‘the message of these, and Allah knows best, is to inform (man) that this world is one which is moving and will come to an end. It is not one which will continue (to exist) or remain forever. It is for this reason, Allah says (in verse 68 of Sura Yaseen, after mentioning that man will be reversed in creation), ‘Will they not understand?’ It means that they should ponder over their states in the beginning of their creation. Then they were changed to youth and maturity and then to old age. From this, they must know that they were created for another world. In that world, they would not be moved, nor would they come to an end, and that is the world of the Hereafter’. (Tafseer Ibn Katheer (Tafseer Al Quran Al Adheem) vol.5 pg. 291 Dar Al Kitab Al Arabi Beirut 2013)

SuraYaseen continues in verse 69 and states:

  1. And We have not taught him (Muhammad ) poetry, nor is it meet for him. This is only a Reminder and a plain Qur’an.

Here, in this verse Allah makes it abundantly clear that He did not teach the Prophet (S.A) poetry, nor was it fitting for a Prophet. The Quran is a revelation from Allah. It is a message of truth, a Reminder, and a book of guidance which is free from poetry.

While explaining this verse, Imam Qurtubi writes, ‘Allah refutes the statement of the unbelievers who said that the Prophet (S.A) was a poet. Allah made it clear to them that he was not a poet and the Quran was not poetry. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.15 pg. 48). The statement of the unbelievers that the Quran was poetry and  the Prophet (S.A) was a poet, was done in an effort to deny the Quran as the speech of Allah, and to deny the Prophet (S.A) as a Messenger of Allah with whom Allah communicates. Since poetry was composed of a speech that is beautified and measured, and it was based on unfounded thoughts and delusive imaginations, they wanted to tell the Prophet (S.A) that the Quran was nothing but imaginary tales and stories of the old. In the verse, Allah outrightly refuted their false notion about the Holy Quran, and categorically stated that He did not teach the Prophet (S.A) poetry, nor did He reveal poetry to the Prophet (S.A). In truth, it was the Holy Quran, a Reminder to man, which was sent to the Prophet (S.A).

This verse told the disbelievers that the Quran which was recited by the Prophet Muhammad (S.A)  was naught but an exhortation, an advice and a Reminder from Allah to His servants. It was the Quran, the recited Scripture, distinct, manifest, self evident and radiant with light. Poetry, the words of man, cannot combine with the words of the Almighty in any condition, nor can any dubiousness and obscurity arise with respect to the Quran being from Allah, the All Mighty.

SuraYaseen continues in verse 70 and states:

  1. That he may give warning to him who is living, and that Word (charge) may be justified against the disbelievers (dead, as they reject the warnings).

Having mentioned in the previous verse that the Quran was sent as a Reminder to man, this verse explains that with it (the Quran), the Prophet (S.A) will warn those whose hearts are alive with Imaan (faith) and those who possess keen insight. As for those whose hearts are dead with kufr (disbelief), then through the Quran, the Prophet (S.A) will announce to them that on account of their disbelief, the promise of the punishment will come to them. The Quran therefore, is a proof against the unbelievers, and will be an evidence against them on the Day of Judgement. (Tafseer Ibn Katheer vol.5 pg. 295 Dar Al Kitab Al Arabiya Beirut 2013; Safwah At Tafaseer vol.13 pg. 61 Dar Al Quran Al Kareem Beirut)

While explaining the above verse, the commentators of the Holy Quran have stated that in the verse, the words ‘to him who is living’ (or to those who are alive), refer to the believers since they alone benefit from the guidance and teachings of the Holy Quran.

In this regard, the great scholar Allama Qadhi Muhammad Thana’ullah (A.R) writes, ‘The one who is living refers to the believer, since it is the heart of a believer which is truly alive. He (the believer) is one who truly understands the reality of things. Everlasting life is achieved only through Imaan (faith), and only a believer benefits from this. As for the unbeliever, he is dead because his heart is dead. He does not benefit from the Quran nor from his own life. He cannot distinguish between good and bad. He worships images and stones, and considers obedience to Satan to be good. As for worshipping the Creator and following a Prophet, he (the unbeliever) considers this to be bad. Hence, in reality he is dead’. (Tafseer Mazhari vol.9 pg. 382 Dar Al Ishaat Karachi, Pakistan 2010)

SuraYaseen continues in verse 71 and states:

  1. Do they not see that We have created for them of what Our Hands have created, the cattle, so that they are their owners.

In this verse, Allah reminds man of His favours, and mentions proofs of His power and Oneness, so that these will become well-established evidences for His existence and greatness. Here, He questions people, especially the unbelievers, and enquires from them as to whether they have looked at these favours or not. The questioning is one of reproach and astonishment, where He rebukes the unbelievers for having not recognized the signs of His existence, greatness and Oneness, which  surround them in every direction. While using their intelligence and power of reasoning, they should have looked and pondered over the things Allah has created for them directly. In creating these, Allah did not seek the help of a partner, nor was He assisted in doing so. Instead, He alone created other creations from among the animals, like that of the camels, buffaloes and goats for their benefit. If due thought and consideration were given to these, then these evidences would have been sufficient for the unbelievers to recognize the Oneness and greatness of Allah.

In the verse, Allah highlights another favour to men by saying that He has made them the ‘owners’ of these animals. Therefore, a man considers himself as the ‘master’, ‘ruler’ and ‘owner’ of animals that are under his care. However, he must remember at all times that Allah is the real Owner of everything including the animals, and he (man) is only an interim master and owner. He must therefore follow the commands of Allah with respect to the care and treatment of these animals.

SuraYaseen goes further in verse 72 to highlight another favour which Allah has given to man regarding the animals which He has created for them. The verse states:

  1. And We have subdued them unto them so that some of them they have for riding and some they eat.

Here, Allah explains to man that it is He who has subdued these animals and brought them under his control. This is only on account of Allah’s great wisdom and kindness to man. If these animals were not subjugated to men, then it would have been impossible for them to benefit from these animals as they do. This is clearly seen from the fact that the animals like the camels, horses, elephants, buffaloes etc are far stronger than human beings. Man is very weak in comparison to these. On account of this, it would have been extremely difficult for a human being to tame/control any one of these animals. However, Allah, out of His wisdom and kindness to man, has created these animals in a manner that they become subservient and obedient to man. In this way, they follow the orders of man and also accept him as their master and owner. On account of this, man is able to use them in whatever manner he wishes, and in all situations, they will do what he orders them to do.

In the verse, Allah highlights His favours and says that from these animals, there are some which He has made for riding purposes. Man uses these for transportation and also for pleasure, and benefits tremendously from such animals. In a like manner, there are others which Allah has created, so that their flesh can be eaten as food. Man also benefits greatly from such animals, and seeks delight and enjoyment in consuming the meat of these animals. These are great blessings granted to man, and he is expected to show gratitude to Allah for these.

SuraYaseen continues in verse 73 and highlights other great benefits which man derives from the animals that Allah has created. The verse states:

  1. And they have (other) benefits from them (besides), and they get (milk) to drink, will they not then be grateful?

It means that there are countless other benefits which man gets from the animals besides that of riding and eating the meat. The skin, the wool, the hooves, bones and other parts of the animals are used in many different ways for the benefit of man. Besides these, Allah has created milk, a pure drink, inside some animals, from which human beings are nourished. These are indeed from the great bounties of Allah given to man, from which he benefits in many different ways. From this single creation (of the animals), man is provided with food, drink, clothing (from the skin and wool), bedding (from the skin and wool), transportation (to ride on and to carry his load) and an equipment to plough and irrigate the fields. Glory be to Allah, the Great, the Mighty, who has created such benefits for man through the animals. It is therefore essential upon man to recognize these favours and acknowledge these as blessings from Allah. While doing so, he must show gratitude to Allah by believing in His existence and Oneness, and thereafter, be fully obedient to Him.

 

Suratul Ahzab (Conclusion) {and Beginning of Surah Sabaa}

It means that by choosing to bear the responsibility of that great ‘trust’, man was unjust to himself. He did not consider the huge burden he was taking upon himself, and was totally ignorant of the results of bearing that responsibility. Regarding how man was unjust to himself, Abdullah bin Abbas (R.A) says, ‘He took the responsibility of fulfilling the trust with its rights, and he was unjust to himself. He was ignorant of that in which he entered’. Ibn Abbas (R.A), along with his companions, and Dhahak have also stated, ‘In the verse, the word ‘man’ refers to Adam (A.S). It means that he (Adam) took the responsibility to bear the ‘trust’ but was not able to fulfill it. He fell into a mistake which caused him to be taken out of Paradise’. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.14 pg. 229 Maktaba Rasheediya Queta Pakistan)

Abdullah bin Masood (R.A), as well as Abdullah bin Abbas (R.A), (in another opinion) stated, ‘It was the son of Adam, Qaabeel (Cain) (who was unjust to himself) when he killed his brother Habeel (Abel). He had taken the ‘trust’ from his father to protect the family after he (Adam) journeyed to Makka. (He however, betrayed the trust and killed his brother). (Tafseer Al Bahrul Muheet vol.8 pg. 511 Darul Fikr Beirut 1992)

Some scholars have stated that ‘man’ in the verse refers to the whole mankind. That is, when Allah said, ‘but man bore it. Verily he was unjust and ignorant’, it refers to the whole mankind. However, this does not mean that each and every human being is unjust and ignorant. It indicates to mankind in general, and considers only those who do not fulfill the injunctions of the Shariah, and fail to fulfill the rights of the ‘trust’ with respect to belief in Allah and obedience to Him, to be unjust and ignorant. Hence, based on this explanation, it is seen that blame has not been placed upon any specific individual like Adam (A.S), nor has it been laid on mankind as a whole. Instead, it has been placed upon those individuals who fail to fulfill the rights of the ‘trust’ which has been placed upon them. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.14 pg. 229 Maktaba Rasheediya Queta Pakistan; Ma’ariful Quran vol.7 pg. 255)

Having mentioned about the ‘trust’ placed upon mankind and the importance of fulfilling it, Sura Al Ahzab goes further in verse 73 and states:

73. So that Allah will punish the hypocrites, men and women, and the men and women who are Al-Mushrikun (the polytheists, idolaters, pagans etc). And Allah will pardon the true believers of the Islamic Monotheism, men and women. And Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Here, it shows that some people will be punished by Allah and others will be rewarded. This retribution and reward are all connected to the trust which man has taken upon him to bear. As for those who fail to establish the trust and disobey Allah, they will be punished for doing so. For those who fulfill the trust and are fully obedient to Allah, they will be rewarded for their good deeds, and will be forgiven for their sins. Thus, punishment will be the result for failing to fulfill the trust, and rewards will be the result of fulfilling it. While explaining this verse, Imam Qurtubi says, ‘It has been said that this reward and punishment are connected to the responsibility which has been placed upon man. Thus, it means that the trust was offered to all the creations, and then the responsibility of bearing it was placed upon man. This occurred so that the Shirk (idolatry) of the Mushrik (polytheist), and the Nifaq (hypocrisy) of the Munafiq (hypocrites) would be manifest, and they will then be punished for these. In a like manner, the Imaan (belief) of the Mu’min (believer) will become apparent, and he will then be rewarded for his beliefs. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.14 pg. 229)

The verse explains that those who made their Imaan apparent, but hid their kufr from the people, would be punished severely for their hypocrisy. Similarly, those whose hearts and actions were filled with idolatry, and joined partners with Allah while opposing the Messengers of Allah, they will also be severely punished for their actions. As for those who believed in Allah and did good deeds, from the males and females, they will be granted mercy and forgiveness from Allah and will be given entry into Paradise. The verse states that ‘Allah is Ever Oft Forgiving, Most Merciful’. It means that Allah’s forgiveness is All Encompassing for the believers, and so, He forgives their past sins and mistakes. He is extremely Merciful, Compassionate and Kind to them, and so, He rewards and honors them in many ways.

SURA SABA

SYNOPSIS OF SURA SABA

Sura Saba is from among the Suras which were revealed in Makka, and like other Makkan Suras, it discusses the topic of Islamic beliefs. In this regard, it deals with the fundamentals of Islam and establishes the Oneness of Allah, prophethood and the resurrection.

The Sura begins with the praises and glorification of Allah, who has created all the creations of the heavens and earth. He is the One who administrates the affairs of the world and governs the Universe with His wisdom. He is thus, the Creator, Innovator and the Wise. He is the All Knower who is fully aware of everything in His kingdom and nothing escapes His Knowledge, not even a thing that is to the size of a mustard seed in the heavens and earth. All these great attributes of Allah are proofs that establish the Oneness of the Lord of the worlds.

The Sura then discusses the disbelief of the polytheists with respect to their denial of the hereafter and life after death. On this, the Prophet (S.A) was made to swear by Allah that the hour of Judgment will surely come, and there is no doubt about this.

The Sura also highlights the incidents of some of the prophets of Allah. In this regard, it makes mention of Dawood (A.S) and his son, Sulaiman (A.S), and the great favors, blessings and miracles they were given by Allah. Mention is also made of the doubts of the polytheists which they held regarding the prophethood of Prophet Muhammad (S.A). These doubts were cleared up and disproved with irrefutable evidences and unequivocal proofs, just as the existence and Oneness were proven. The Sura then concludes with an invitation to the polytheists to believe in one God, Allah, in whose hand is the governance of His entire creation.

The Sura has been named ‘Saba’ since the incident regarding this nation has been discussed in the chapter. According to many scholars, Saba was a nation who lived in Yemen. They were a people who enjoyed great favors and blessings from Allah. They lived in comfort and happiness and their dwellings were situated in beautiful gardens. However, when they began to disobey Allah, these favors were seized from them, and they were punished by Allah.

 

COMMENTARY OF SURA SABA

1. All the praises and thanks are to Allah, to Whom belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. His is all the praises and thanks in the Hereafter, and He is the All-Wise, the All-Aware.

The verse explains that perfect and complete praises are for Allah alone, the Great, the Mighty. To Him belongs everything in the Universe with respect to their creation, possession and governance. It is He who has created everything, He possesses everything, and He governs everything. All things therefore, are in His dominion and are owned by Him. All are His slaves and servants, and are under His subjugation and control, and are beneath the power of His decision and choice. All praises are for Him in this world on account of His complete and perfect power and control, and all praises are for Him in the hereafter for His all-encompassing and embracing mercy.

To Him belong praises in all their forms and no one deserves these except Him, for He is the Giver of favors and the grantor of kindness upon the people of this world and those of the hereafter. He is the Most Wise in all that He does, and is fully informed and knowledgeable of His entire creation. Therefore, no objection can be made against Him with respect to His actions.

Suratul Ahzab (verse 71 continued and verse 72)

71.  He will direct you to do righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger (S.A) he has indeed achieved a great achievement.

Here, the believers are informed that if they truly fear Allah by being fully obedient to Him, refraining from His disobedience, and by speaking the truth, then Allah will reward them immensely for this. He will correct their actions (for them) by giving them the assistance (Tawfeeq) to do good deeds and will forgive all their past sins. As for the sins which may occur in future, He (Allah) will inspire them to repent for those sins. (Tafseer Ibn Katheer vol.3 pg. 521 Amjad Academy Lahore Pakistan 1982)

The verse then states, ‘And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, he has indeed achieved a great success’. Here, the believers are informed that those who are obedient to Allah and His Messenger (S.A), will achieve a great success which is protection from the fire of Hell and entry into Paradise. This is indeed the greatest success and achievement which every soul will desire in the hereafter.

Obedience to Allah requires one to do that which Allah has commanded, and refrain from that which Allah has ordered one to abstain from. In the same manner, one should obey the Messenger of Allah in what he has asked one to do, and must refrain from that which has been prohibited. When this occurs, true obedience to Allah and His Messenger (S.A) will come about, and will then bring the great success which has been promised in the above verse.

While commenting on the above verses of Sura Ahzab, some scholars have stated that a beautiful lesson is drawn from these. They have stated that the believers have been taught that if they speak the truth and control their speech, Allah will correct their other actions and make them right. They (the scholars) have stated, ‘One who gains control over his tongue, learns to harness his/her power of speech and becomes accustom to saying what is true and right, then Allah Ta’ala will take care of the rest of his deeds, have them corrected and made better, as well as forgive any errors or slips made therein’. (Ma’ariful Quran vol.7 pg. 247)

Sura Al Ahzab goes further in verse 72 and states:

72. Truly, We did offer Al-Amanah (the trust) to the heavens and the earth, and the mountains, but they declined to bear it and were afraid of it. But man bore it. Verily, he was unjust (to himself) and ignorant (of its results).

In this verse Allah mentions that He offered ‘Al Amanah’ (the trust) to the heavens, the earth and to the mountains, however, all declined to bear it. Only one category of the creation took the responsibility to bear the Amanah, and it was the humans.

With respect to what was the ‘Amanah’ (trust) that was offered to these creations which they declined to bear, the exegetes/commentators have given various explanations. Regarding this, some commentators have stated that it refers to the obedience of Allah. Others like Qatada have stated that it means the religion of Allah, compulsory duties and the punishments in religious law. Zaid bin Aslam has stated that ‘the trust are three; Salaah, Fasting, and taking a bath from Janaabah (sexual pollution). After narrating this, Hafiz Ibn Katheer writes, ‘There is no inconsistency between these statements and all are linked to each other. Together, they all refer to the laws of religion placed upon the servants and the acceptance of the commandments and prohibitions of Allah with their conditions. This means that if a person fulfills these laws, he shall be rewarded, and if he fails, he shall be punished. Humans, notwithstanding their weakness, ignorance and unjust nature, chose to accept the responsibility of fulfilling these orders. (Tafseer Ibn Katheer vol.3 pg. 522 Amjad Academy Lahore Pakistan 1982)

While explaining the verse, Hafiz Ibn Katheer has narrated from Abdullah bin Abbas (R.A) that he said, ‘Al Amanah (the trust) is that of obedience to Allah. The responsibility of bearing this trust was offered to these creations (the heavens, earth and mountains) before Adam (A.S), but they declined to accept it. Allah then said to Adam (A.S), ‘O Adam, I have placed the Amanah (trust) upon the heavens, the earth and the mountains but they were not able to bear this responsibility. Would you take this responsibility?’ Adam (A.S) said, ‘O my Lord, what is in it?’ Allah said, ‘If you do well (in fulfilling the responsibility), you shall be rewarded, and if you do bad (and fail in bearing this responsibility), you shall be punished. Adam (A.S) then took the responsibility’.

Ibn Abbas (R.A) also narrated, ‘The Amanah (trust) was the Fara’iz (compulsory duties of the Shariah) which Allah placed upon the heavens, earth and mountains, saying that if they fulfilled it, they will be rewarded. But if they failed they will be punished. They disliked this (declined to take it) and were afraid even though they did not commit any sin. They were afraid because of the great respect they showed to the religion of Allah and fearing that they may not be able to fulfill the responsibility of the trust. Allah then placed this ‘trust’ to Adam (A.S) and he accepted it’. Abdullah bin Abbas (R.A) narrated,  ‘ When Adam (A.S) took the responsibility of the trust, not much time passed, not even to the duration of that which was between Asr and the night, except that he fell into the mistake’. (Tafseer Ibn Katheer vol.3 pg. 522 Amjad Academy Lahore Pakistan 1982)

Imam Qurtubi has also given the same explanation in his Tafseer, and has stated, ‘This explanation is that which the exegetes/commentators of the Holy Quran have accepted’. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.14 pg. 227 Maktaba Rasheediya Queta Pakistan). The message established from the verse is that Allah had created understanding in these creations and placed the responsibility of fulfilling the compulsory duties and injunctions of His religion upon them. They, in turn, saw the great responsibility that was being offered to them, and being afraid that they may not be able to fulfill the right of the trust, declined from this Amanah. Adam (A.S) (the human being created by Allah) however, accepted it when it was presented to him.

It is to be noted that the courteous refusal shown by the heavens, earth and mountains to bear the responsibility of the Amanah (trust) given by Allah, was not due to an open denial or rejection to Allah’s order. Instead, it was on account of their fear and fright which they had for not being able to fulfill the responsibility if they took it. In this regard, the great scholar Ibn Al Jawzi says, ‘By saying that ‘they refused’ in the verse, it did not mean that they refused on account of rejection and violation (of Allah’s order). They refused because of their fear for Allah, since the order given to them was based on an option and choice. (It was not a mandatory one). (Safwatut Tafseer vol.12 pg. 75 Darul Quran Al Kareem Beirut from Zaadul Maseer)

A commentary given by the great Mufassir (exegete), Maqatil bin Hayan explains the nature of the refusal of these great creations of Allah and says, ‘When Allah created the creations, he gathered the humans, Jinns, heavens, earth and mountains. He then started with the heavens and placed ‘the trust’ upon them. He said to the mountains, ‘Would you bear this ‘trust’ and for you shall be kindness, honor and rewards in Paradise? They said, ‘O Lord, we are not able to bear this responsibility, and there is no strength with us to do so. However, we are fully obedient to You’. Allah then placed the ‘trust’ upon the earths and said to them, ‘Would you bear this ‘trust’ and accept it from Me, and I will grant you kindness and honor in this world?’ They said, ‘O Lord, we do not have the patience for this, and we do not have the power to do so. However, we listen to You, and are obedient to You. We do not disobey You in any matter which You have ordered us to do’. Then Allah brought Adam (A.S) close to Him and said, ‘Would you bear this ‘trust’ and guard/fulfill it in accordance to its rights?’ Adam said, ‘What will I get by doing this?’ Allah said, ‘O Adam, if you do well and you obey, and you guard/fulfill the ‘trust’, I will grant you honor, kindness and a good reward in Paradise. But if you disobey and you do not fulfill the rights of the ‘trust’, and you sin, then I will punish you and inflict a penalty on you, and send you to the fire of Hell. Upon this, Adam (A.S) said, ‘I am pleased (and I agree) O my Lord. I will bear the trust’. Allah said, ‘Then I have placed it upon you’. (Tafseer Ibn Katheer vol.3 pg. 522 Amjad Academy Lahore Pakistan)

It was in regards to this, Allah said in the verse, ‘But man bore it’. About this action of man, Allah further said, ‘Verily he was unjust (to himself) and ignorant of its results’. It means that by choosing to bear the responsibility of that great ‘trust’, man was unjust to himself.

Suratul Ahzab (verse 69 continued and verse 70 – 71)

While commenting on the different narrations which highlighted the harms caused to Moosa (A.S) by the Israelites, the great Mufassir (exegete) Hafiz Ibn Jareer At Tabari writes, ‘The preferred statement which is correct to say on this matter is that the Israelites harmed a prophet of Allah with that which he detested, and Allah cleared his name from that which they harmed him with. It is possible that the harm was on account of their statement that he suffered from leprosy. It is possible that it was on account of their false allegation that he killed his brother Haroon (A.S), and it is possible that all these occurred. The gist is that they caused harm to their Prophet, and Allah cleared his name from all that they accused him of’. (Tafseer At Tabari vol.22 pg. 63 Dar Ihya At Turath)

The verse itself speaks of the great status that Moosa (A.S) had in the sight of Allah and states, ‘and he (Moosa) was extremely honorable in the sight of Allah’. In the verse, the Arabic word used to describe Moosa (A.S) as ‘extremely honorable’ is ‘Wajeeh’. This word in the Arabic language has a very deep and significant meaning when it is used to describe the status one has in the sight of Allah. It refers to one who has a great rank and high position in the sight of Allah.

While explaining this word (‘Wajeeh’)  which has been used for Moosa (A.S), the great scholar Ibn Zaid (A.R) says, ‘it means that he has great acceptance in the sight of Allah. He is one whose duas (supplications) are answered. He does not ask for anything except that it is given, except having the sight of Allah in this world’. (Tafseer Al Bahrul Muheet vol.8 pg. 508 Dar Al Fikr Lebanon 1992)

Hafiz Ibn Katheer (A.R) has also explained this word in the verse, ‘And he (Moosa) was ‘Wajeeh’ in the sight of Allah’ and said, ‘It means that he had high esteem and standing in the sight of Allah. Hasan Al Basri says, ‘He was Mustajaab Ad Da’wah in the sight of Allah (one whose supplications are always accepted by Allah). Others from the pious predecessors have stated that he did not ask for anything except that he was given. However, Allah has prohibited one from seeing Him from whomsoever He wishes. Some scholars have stated that, ‘from the great standing and high esteem that Moosa (A.S) had in the sight of Allah was that he interceded to Allah to send his brother Haroon with him to Pharoah and his people, and Allah accepted his dua and deputed Haroon to accompany him on his mission. (Tafseer Ibn Katheer vol.3 pg. 521 Amjad Academy Lahore Pakistan 1982). The verse thus, prohibited the believers from causing harm and hurt to the Prophet (S.A) as the Israelites did to Moosa (A.S).

With respect to the harm which was caused to the Prophet (S.A) on account of which the verse was revealed, commentators have given different commentaries. In this regard, it is mentioned that after the battle of Hunain, while distributing the booty, the Prophet (S.A) happened to give some people more than others. Upon this, someone said, ‘This distribution is without justice’ or ‘This distribution was not done for the pleasure of Allah’. When the Prophet (S.A) heard this, he became angry and said, ‘If Allah and His Messenger are not just, then who is? May Allah have mercy on Moosa (A.S); he was harmed more than this, but exercised patience’. (Bukhari, Ahmad – Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.14 pg. 223; Tafseer Al Bahrul Muheet vol.8 pg. 508 Dar Al Fikr Lebanon)

Regarding the above incident, the scholars have stated that the wealth distributed by the Holy Prophet (S.A) on that occasion was not part of the booty itself, but it was the wealth which Allah had allotted for the Prophet (S.A) which he could have given it to whomsoever he wished. (Anwarul Bayaan vol.4 pg. 276)

Some scholars have stated that the incidents of Zaid (R.A) and that of Zainab bint Jahsh (R.A), and what people said about them caused harm to the Prophet (S.A). Some commentators have also stated that the incident of slander against Aisha (R.A) caused great pain and hurt to the Prophet (S.A). This affected him so much that on one occasion he said, ‘No prophet has been hurt in the manner that I have been hurt’. (Tafseer Al Bahrul Muheet vol.8 pg. 508)

These explanations show that on many occasions, the Prophet (S.A) was harmed by different people. Sometimes by the unbelievers, the hypocrites and even by the Muslims who were unaware of the fact that what they did or said caused harm to the Prophet (S.A). On account of this, Allah issued a general command which strictly prohibited the believers from causing any sort of harm to the Prophet (S.A).

Sura Al Ahzab continues in verse 70 and states:

70. O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allah and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth.

Having been instructed in the previous verse (i.e. 69) that they must not cause harm to the Prophet (S.A) as the followers of Moosa (A.S) caused harm to him, the believers are further ordered in verse 70 to inculcate Taqwa and fear Allah in all matters and speak the correct thing at all times. They must refrain from His disobedience and fear His punishment. Additionally, with respect to speech, they must say the correct thing and speak the truth on all occasions.

In the verse, the Arabic word used is ‘Sadeed’, which has been translated as ‘truth’ by many scholars. Hence, the meaning of the verse which states, ‘O you who believe, fear Allah and say a word which is ‘Sadeed’ (Qawlan Sadeeda), is ‘O you who believe, fear Allah and speak the ‘truth’. This word however, (‘Sadeed’, as used in the verse) has many different meanings and all are intended from the verse. Based on this, the exegetes/commentators of the Holy Quran have explained the injunction given in the verse with various meanings which in essence, are all meant from the verse.

In this regard, Hafiz Ibn Katheer says, ‘and say a word which is ‘Sadeed’ (truth), means ‘Say that which is straight. There should be no crookedness in it and no digression or deviation from the truth’. (Tafseer Ibn Katheer vol.3 pg. 521 Amjad Academy Lahore Pakistan 1982)

Imam Qurtubi has stated, ‘it means to speak objectively and the truth’. Abdullah bin Abbas (R.A) states that ‘it means to speak that which is right and proper’. Qatada and Maqatil have stated that it means ‘to speak the correct thing regarding the matter of Zainab (R.A) and Zaid (R.A) and do not attribute to the Prophet (S.A) that which is not permissible’. Ikrama and Abdullah bin Abbas (R.A) have also stated that, ‘saying the correct word’ means to say, ‘Laa ilaha illallah’. It is also stated that it means to speak in a manner that the uttered speech conforms to that which is in the heart. (That is, there must be no insincerity or dissimulation while speaking). It has been stated that it means that one’s speech must be done for the pleasure of Allah. Some have stated that it means to speak in a manner that creates peace between people’. Having mentioned these statements, Imam Qurtubi writes, ‘The correct speech or the speech of truth (Al Qawlus Sadeed) has a general meaning which includes all types of goodness. Hence, it is inclusive of all that have been mentioned’. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi (Al Jami’u li Ahkaam Al Quran) vol.14 pg. 225 Maktaba Rasheediya Queta Pakistan)

While explaining this verse, the great exegete, Hafiz Ibn Jareer states that it means, ‘Speak about the Prophet (S.A) and the believers in a manner that the speech/words/statements are just, straight and pleasant and do not speak in an unjust, unpleasant and outrageous manner. Speak that which is the truth, and do not speak that which is false. (Tafseer At Tabari (Jami Al Bayaan an Ta’weel Ayah Al Quran) vol.22 pg. 63 Dar At Turath Al Arabi Beirut Lebanon)

Having outlined to the believers that they must fear Allah and speak the truth, verse 71 continues and says:

71.  He will direct you to do righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger (S.A) he has indeed achieved a great achievement.

Suratul Ahzab (review of verses 63 – 65 and verse 66 – 69)

Sura Al Ahzab continues in verse 63 and states:

63. People ask you concerning the Hour, say: “The knowledge of it is with Allah only. What do you know? It may be that the Hour is near!”

It is related that when the polytheists (Mushrikeen) heard about the punishment of Allah and about the Judgment day, they used to mockingly ask the Prophet (S.A) as to when it will come. Their purpose of questioning was to show their denial for it and to show him that they did not believe that a Day of Judgment will occur. It is about this conduct of the polytheists, the verse stated: ‘The people ask you about the Judgment day (Qiyamah). Say, ‘Its knowledge is only with Allah’ (Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.14 pg. 221; Sawatut Tafseer vol.12 pg. 73).

Here, the Prophet (S.A) was ordered to inform them that he does not possess such knowledge and only Allah, the Knower of the Unseen has this knowledge. Allah, out of His wisdom, has kept this knowledge hidden, and has not informed even the closest angel nor a beloved prophet of its time. The message of the Prophet (S.A) also informed them that this knowledge being concealed from him did not make his prophethood ineffective, nor was it a condition for any Prophet to have knowledge of the Unseen without it being given by Allah. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.14 pg. 221)

Further in the verse, Allah has asked the Prophet (S.A) to say to the unbelievers/polytheists, ‘What do you know? It may be that the hour is near’. It means that they should ponder for a little while and think that it is possible that the hour of Judgment can be very close to them but  they are ignorant of this. This hour is unknown to man and it can occur at any moment, but many people are unaware of this. The Quran itself has indicated to the fact that it is close although many people think it is far. In one verse, Allah says, ‘Draws near for mankind their reckoning, while they turn away in heedlessness’. (Sura Ambiya (21) verse 1). In another verse, Allah says, ‘The Hour has drawn near, and the moon has been cleft asunder’. (Sura Al Qamar (54) verse 1).

In an authentic hadith, the Prophet (S.A) is reported to have said, ‘The hour of Judgment and I, are like these two fingers’, he then pointed to the index finger and the middle finger. (Bukhari, Muslim) The verse thus informs the polytheists that the hour of Judgment may be close to them. They should therefore prepare themselves for that day, instead of wasting their time in asking about its occurrence.

Verse 64 goes further to tell them that they should not feel happy that all is well with them in this life, while they disbelieve in the Judgment day which is yet to come. The verse states:

64. Verily, Allah has cursed the disbelievers, and has prepared for them a flaming Fire (Hell).

The verse tells them that although they seemed to be enjoying the worldly life in spite of their disbelief in Allah, in reality, they were living under the curse of Allah. On account of their actions, Allah had cast them away from His mercy and love, and has turned away from them. Thus, they continue to live under His displeasure and anger. As for the hereafter, they will suffer in an everlasting punishment which Allah has prepared for them.

About this, the verse says: ‘and (Allah) has prepared for them a blazing fire’. This will be the flames of fire, extremely hot and rising high in Hell. The unbelievers and polytheists will be thrown in this flaming fire and will be made to remain there forever. Regarding this, verse 65 of Sura Ahzab states:

65. Wherein they will abide forever, and they will find neither a Wali (a protector) nor a helper.

The verse tells us that while in the blazing fire, the unbelievers will have no one to help them nor protect them from the terrible punishment.

Verse 66 further mentions their humiliating state and says:

66. On the Day when their faces will be turned over in the Fire, they will say: “Oh, would that we had obeyed Allah and obeyed the Messenger

It means that while in the scorching heat and in the blazing fire, their faces shall be turned from one direction to another. These will be overturned like meat roasted on fire, and shall change their color on account of the scorch of the fire. Sometimes their faces will be black and at times they will be red. Whenever the skins are burnt, they shall be replaced with new ones so that the punishment shall continue ceaselessly.

In that state, they (the unbelievers and polytheists) will regret their actions and will lament over their pitiable state. They will say, ‘Oh! If only we had obeyed Allah and obeyed the Messenger’. The verse mentions that at that time, they would reflect on their evil ways and the path of falsehood which they adopted on the face of the earth and will feel sorry for what they had done. They would reproach themselves for having disobeyed Allah and His Messenger, and would wish that they had taken to the path of obedience. They would know then, that if they had rejected kufr (disbelief) and accepted Imaan, they would have been saved from the fire of Hell just as the believers were saved. Then with deep regret over their mistakes, the unbelievers and polytheists will say to Allah:

67. And they will say: “Our Lord! Verily, we obeyed our chiefs and our great ones, and they misled us from the (Right) Way.

Here, it shows that they will put the blame of their disbelief upon their leaders. They will accuse their leaders of misguiding them and will say that they simply followed their chiefs and leaders. They will plead to Allah and say that it was their leaders who invited, encouraged and even forced them upon misguidance which they were on. (In this way, the unbelievers will try to absolve themselves from blame and place it upon their leaders)

Having identified to Allah who were responsible for their misguidance, they will then entreat Allah in the following manner:

68. Our Lord! give them double torment and curse them with a mighty curse!”

They (the unbelievers) will beseech Allah to double the punishment of their leaders and give them twice the amount that they will receive. Their statement shows that they will consider their leaders deserving of double punishment seeing that while they were misguided they also influenced and pulled others into that misguidance. Hence, they deserve to be punished in this world as well as the hereafter. They also need to be punished for their misguidance and for misguiding others. The followers will also appeal to Allah to ‘curse their leaders with a mighty curse’. Here, they will be asking Allah to curse their leaders with the worst type of curse and the most severe one.

Having explained how many people in the hereafter will regret their deeds done in the worldly life, Allah goes further to warn the believers of causing harm to the Prophet (S.A). Regarding this, Sura Ahzab states in verse 69:

69. O you who believe! Be not like those who annoyed Musa (Moses), but Allah cleared him of that which they alleged, and he was honorable before Allah.

Having mentioned about the hypocrites and the unbelievers, and the harms they caused to the Prophet (S.A), Allah cautions the believers in the above mentioned verse, about causing harm and hurt to the Messenger of Allah (S.A). The verse prohibits them from behaving like the Bani Israel who caused harms to their Prophet, Moosa (A.S).

With respect to the harms that were caused to Moosa (A.S) by the Bani Israel, it is narrated in a tradition that the Prophet (S.A) said, ‘The Bani Israel used to bathe naked, but Moosa (A.S) used to cover himself to the extent that none saw his body. (Because of this), some people started to say that Moosa (A.S) had a defect in his body. Either he was suffering from scrotal hernia, leprosy or another defect. On one occasion, Moosa (A.S) went to take a bath in a spring (separated from everyone). There, he took off his clothes and placed it on a large stone. While bathing in the spring, the stone began to roll away with his clothes. Seeing this, Moosa (A.S) came out of the water and began to run after the stone.  He continued to chase the stone saying, ‘My clothes, O stone! My clothes, O stone’. This, he did, until he passed in front of some of the leaders of Bani Israel. When they saw Moosa running after the stone, they looked at his body and found that he was the best of them with respect to creation, and the best of them with respect to shape and body features. With this, they realized that he was free from what they accused him of’. After narrating this, the Prophet (S.A) said, ‘It was about this, the Quran said, ‘but Allah cleared him of that which they alleged’. (Al Ahzab verse 69) (Recorded by Al Bukhari and Muslim from the narration of Abu Huraira R.A).

This tradition has been narrated with more explanation at another place. It states that the Prophet (S.A) said, ‘The Israelites used to bathe naked, looking at the private parts of each other. However, Moosa (A.S) used to bathe alone (so that no one can see him). Because of this, the people said, ‘By Allah, nothing prevents Moosa from bathing with us except that he has scrotal hernia. So one day, Moosa (A.S) went to bathe alone (away from the sight of others). He then took off his clothes and placed it on a stone. While in the spring, the stone took off with his clothes and started to run. Seeing this, Moosa (A.S) immediately came out of the spring and ran after it saying, ‘My clothes, O stone! My clothes, O stone’. While running unclothed behind the stone, the Israelites saw Moosa (A.S) and having looked at him carefully said, ‘By Allah! There is no defect with Moosa’. At that time, the stone stopped and Moosa (A.S) got his clothes. However, he took his staff and started to beat the stone to the extent that six or seven marks were left on the stone’. (Bukhari, Muslim – Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.14 pg. 223, 224 Maktaba Rasheediya; Tafseer Ibn Katheer vol.3 pg. 520 Amjad Academy Lahore Pakistan; Tafseer At Tabari vol.22 pg. 61, 62 Dar Ihya At Turath Al Arabi-Beirut Lebanon)

It is also narrated from Ali (R.A) that the manner in which they caused harm to Moosa (A.S) was that they accused him of killing Haroon (A.S). He (Ali) (R.A), is reported to have said, ‘They harmed Moosa (A.S) by saying that he killed Haroon (A.S). This occurred when Moosa and Haroon left the place of At Teeh and went up on a mountain. While on the mountain, Haroon (A.S) died. When Moosa (A.S) returned to the Israelites, they said to him, ‘You killed Haroon. He was more beloved to us than you and was more lenient to us than you’. Ali (R.A) said, ‘In this manner they harmed Moosa (A.S)’. (In order to clear the name of Moosa (A.S)), Allah ordered the angels to lift the body of Haroon and pass with it in front of the Israelites. In this way, they saw a great sign that guided them to the truthfulness of Moosa (A.S), and there was no indication of murder on the body of Haroon (A.S). It is also narrated that the angels spoke to them regarding the death of Haroon (A.S) until they recognized that Haroon (A.S) died a natural death. In this way, Allah cleared the name of Moosa (A.S). They then carried the body and buried it’. (Tafseer At Tabari vol.22 pg. 63 Dar Ihya At Turath Al Arabi-Beirut Lebanon; Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.14 pg. 224 Maktaba Rasheediya)

From the traditions recorded from the Prophet (S.A), it has been seen that the Israelites had a custom of bathing naked in front of each other, and would look at each other. Although this was a practice done by everyone, Moosa (A.S) who was a very shy person did not do this. When he needed a bath, he used to go separately from the people and take his bath where no one could have seen him. On account of this, some people started to accuse Moosa (A.S) of having a defect in his body. In order to clear Moosa (A.S) from this allegation, Allah caused a miracle to take place whereby He caused the large stone (rock) to run away with the clothing of Moosa (A.S). It was on account of this, Moosa (A.S) took off behind the stone, being totally unconscious of the fact that he was unclothed. His main concern and worry was to try to retrieve his clothes. In this way, the Israelites looked at his body and immediately realized that they were blaming him wrongfully and that he was free from what they attributed to him. This was the manner in which Allah cleared his name.

Suratul Ahzab (verse 60 continued and verse 61 – 65)

Some scholars have stated that the hypocrites and those who had a disease in their hearts were actually the same one group of people who were termed as ‘Munafiqoon’ (hypocrites). As for ‘those who spread rumours in Madina’, this is another group of people. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.14 pg. 219 Maktaba Rasheediya Queta Pakistan)

Those who spread rumours were doing so for the sake of creating mischief (fitna). It is narrated from Qatada and others that when the Muslims went out to meet the enemies, the mischief makers would spread false rumours and would say to the Muslims in Madina that the Muslim army was defeated or killed, and the enemies were marching towards them (in Madina). (Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.14 pg. 219 Maktaba Rasheediya Queta Pakistan)

On account of the mischief they created, Allah sent a threat to them and said to the Prophet (S.A), “If the hypocrites, and those in whose hearts is a disease, and those who spread false news among the people in Al-Madinah, cease not, We shall certainly let you overpower them, then they will not be able to stay in it as your neighbours but a little while”.

It means that if the hypocrites as well as the other mischief makers did not stop their mischief, then Allah will entrust the Prophet (S.A) over them. He will order to attack them and destroy them. At that time, they will not be able to live in Madina except for a short while. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.14 pg. 219)

Allah then says in verse 61:

61. Accursed, wherever found, they shall be seized and killed with a (terrible) slaughter.

It means that if the hypocrites and the mischief makers did not desist from their evils, they will be cursed in this world and the hereafter. If they remained upon their path, the Prophet (S.A) was commanded to seize them and kill them wherever they were caught. The reason for this command is that through the actions of these people, it became clear that they were open hypocrites who wanted to harm the Prophet (S.A) and the believers. Their actions clearly showed their enmity to Allah and His Messenger and were thus treated in the same manner as others who fought against the Prophet (S.A) and the religion of Allah.

As stated in the Holy Quran, this form of retaliation was always given to such people in the past and so, it was given to them also. It is about this, Allah says in verse 62:

62. That was the Way of Allah in the case of those who passed away of old, and you will not find any change in the Way of Allah.

It means that this was the way of Allah in dealing with the hypocrites and the manner in which he dealt with others in the past. While explaining this, Imam Qurtubi said, ‘Allah has made it a practice for those who make mischief with the prophets and show their hypocrisy that they be seized and killed’. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.14 pg. 221 Maktaba Rasheediya Queta Pakistan)

The verse further makes it clear that no change will come to the way established by Allah. It means that the way established by Allah will continue to exist and will not come to an end. While commenting on this verse, the great scholar Allama As Saawi writes, ‘In this verse, there is consolation for the Prophet (S.A) that he should not be worried and concerned about the presence of the hypocrites. This is something from old, just as among the nation of Moosa (A.S), there were Samiri and his followers and also Qaroon and his followers’. (Hashiya As Saawi vol.3 pg. 288)

Allah says that ‘this was a practice of those who passed before’. It means that in the previous nations, at the time of each prophet, there were hypocrites and mischief makers.

Sura Al Ahzab continues in verse 63 and states:

63. People ask you concerning the Hour, say: “The knowledge of it is with Allah only. What do you know? It may be that the Hour is near!”

It is related that when the polytheists (Mushrikeen) heard about the punishment of Allah and about the Judgment day, they used to mockingly ask the Prophet (S.A) as to when it will come. Their purpose of questioning was to show their denial for it and to show him that they did not believe that a Day of Judgment will occur. It is about this conduct of the polytheists, the verse stated: ‘The people ask you about the Judgment day (Qiyamah). Say, ‘Its knowledge is only with Allah’ (Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.14 pg. 221; Sawatut Tafseer vol.12 pg. 73).

Here, the Prophet (S.A) was ordered to inform them that he does not possess such knowledge and only Allah, the Knower of the Unseen has this knowledge. Allah, out of His wisdom, has kept this knowledge hidden, and has not informed even the closest angel nor a beloved prophet of its time. The message of the Prophet (S.A) also informed them that this knowledge being concealed from him did not make his prophethood ineffective, nor was it a condition for any Prophet to have knowledge of the Unseen without it being given by Allah. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.14 pg. 221)

Further in the verse, Allah has asked the Prophet (S.A) to say to the unbelievers/polytheists, ‘What do you know? It may be that the hour is near’. It means that they should ponder for a little while and think that it is possible that the hour of Judgment can be very close to them but  they are ignorant of this. This hour is unknown to man and it can occur at any moment, but many people are unaware of this. The Quran itself has indicated to the fact that it is close although many people think it is far. In one verse, Allah says, ‘Draws near for mankind their reckoning, while they turn away in heedlessness’. (Sura Ambiya (21) verse 1). In another verse, Allah says, ‘The Hour has drawn near, and the moon has been cleft asunder’. (Sura Al Qamar (54) verse 1).

In an authentic hadith, the Prophet (S.A) is reported to have said, ‘The hour of Judgment and I, are like these two fingers’, he then pointed to the index finger and the middle finger. (Bukhari, Muslim) The verse thus informs the polytheists that the hour of Judgment may be close to them. They should therefore prepare themselves for that day, instead of wasting their time in asking about its occurrence.

Verse 64 goes further to tell them that they should not feel happy that all is well with them in this life, while they disbelieve in the Judgment day which is yet to come. The verse states:

64. Verily, Allah has cursed the disbelievers, and has prepared for them a flaming Fire (Hell).

The verse tells them that although they seemed to be enjoying the worldly life in spite of their disbelief in Allah, in reality, they were living under the curse of Allah. On account of their actions, Allah had cast them away from His mercy and love, and has turned away from them. Thus, they continue to live under His displeasure and anger. As for the hereafter, they will suffer in an everlasting punishment which Allah has prepared for them.

About this, the verse says: ‘and (Allah) has prepared for them a blazing fire’. This will be the flames of fire, extremely hot and rising high in Hell. The unbelievers and polytheists will be thrown in this flaming fire and will be made to remain there forever. Regarding this, verse 65 of Sura Ahzab states:

65. Wherein they will abide forever, and they will find neither a Wali (a protector) nor a helper.

The verse tells us that while in the blazing fire, the unbelievers will have no one to help them nor protect them from the terrible punishment.

Suratul Ahzab (verse 57 continued and verse 58 – 60)

The Fuqaha (jurists) have stated, ‘A person who inflicts any pain on the Holy Prophet (S.A), suggests any fault in his person or attributes, whether expressly or in an implied manner, becomes a Kafir, and according to the verse (v.57 of Sura Ahzab), the curse of Allah will be upon him in this world as well as in the hereafter. (As stated by Qazi Thana’ullah in At Tafseer Al Mazhari – Ma’ariful Quran vol.7 pg. 237)

The curse of Allah upon a person in this world means that the person shall be cast away from the mercy of Allah and shall have the anger and wrath of Allah upon him. He will also be humiliated and disgraced in this world. Besides living under Allah’s curse in this world, those people will also face the curse of Allah in the hereafter. They shall be made to suffer severely in the hereafter, and shall be thrown into a painful punishment in Hell.

Having mentioned about causing harm to Allah and His Messenger in the previous verse, Sura Al Ahzab goes further in verse 58 to mention about causing harm to other believers. The verse states:

58. And those who annoy believing men and women undeservedly, shall bear on themselves the crime of slander and plain sin.

The verse speaks about those who cause harm to the believers by accusing/blaming them for that which they did not say/do. Such people will carry upon them the consequences/burden of the false slander and sin which they have committed.

Here, the verse makes it abundantly clear that it is totally unlawful and sinful for one to cause annoyance and harm to a believing man or woman when they are not deserving of it. It means that when a believer is not guilty of a statement or an action, then it will be sinful for another person to lay an accusation upon him in this regard. Included in this, is the act of finding faults in believers in order to dishonor and disgrace them, and to put them to shame. This is also sinful and must not be done by anyone. (Tafseer Ibn Jareer At Tabari vol.22 pg. 54 Dar Ihya Turath Al Arabi Beirut Lebanon)

Regarding this, the Prophet (S.A) has given many warnings, and has commanded the Muslims to refrain from such sinful practices. On one occasion, the Prophet (S.A) ascended the pulpit and said, ‘O those who have declared Islam with their tongues, whereas it has not penetrated their hearts! Do not harm the Muslims, do not slander (defame) them, and do not spy on their private affairs. Those who wish to reveal his Muslim brother’s faults will have Allah revealing his faults; and the person whose faults Allah reveals will be humiliated even though he may be sitting in his own home’. (Tirmizi – Anwarul Bayaan vol.4 pg. 271 Darul Ishaat Karachi)

It is narrated from Aisha (R.A) that the Prophet (S.A) once said to his companions, ‘Which is the worst usury in the sight of Allah?’ The companions replied, ‘Allah and His Messenger know best’. The Prophet (S.A) then said, ‘The worst usury in the sight of Allah is to regard the dishonoring of a Muslim to be lawful’. (That is, to regard it permissible to defame and dishonor a Muslim). (Tafseer Ibn Katheer vol.3 pg. 518 Amjad Academy Lahore 1982)

In another tradition, the Prophet (S.A) is reported to have said, ‘A true Muslim is  one from whose tongue and hands all Muslims are safe, and a true Mu’min is  one from whom people remain unharmed and safe in the matter of their lives and their properties’. (Tirmidhi)

The Holy Quran and the traditions of the Prophet (S.A) have condemned all sorts of harms that are caused to Muslims such as backbiting, slandering, harboring ill feelings etc. It is totally haram and unlawful to narrate and transmit from the believing men and women such words or actions which they did not do, in order to take out faults and to humiliate them. This is a great slander against them. Muslims should therefore safeguard their tongues from defaming and speaking ill of fellow Muslims.

Sura Al Ahzab continues in verse 59 and states:

59. O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies. That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Here, Allah has commanded the Prophet (S.A) to tell his wives, daughters and all believing women that they must cover themselves with their large shawls and sheets when they exit their homes to attend to some need. This is done so that they will be distinguished from the women of the days of ignorance (i.e. the non-Muslim women) and the slave women.

As mentioned by the commentators, the manner of ‘drawing the shawl/sheet/cloak’ over is that they must wear it from over the head and let it cover the entire body until the toes. In this way, the entire body will be covered except the eyes or one eye.

The Arabic word used in the Holy Quran to refer to the large shawl/sheet is ‘Jalabeeb’. This is the plural of the word ‘Jilbaab’ which means a loose outer garment, worn over the head scarf/veil. This is the explanation given by Abdullah bin Masood (R.A), Ubaidah, Qatada, Hasan Basri, Saeed bin Jubair, Ibraheem An Nakhi, Ata Al Khurasani and others. This is also the explanation given by Hafiz Ibn Katheer and he says that it is just like the large shawl that is worn. (Tafseer Ibn Katheer vol.3 pg. 518 Amjad Academy Lahore 1982)

Having mentioned to all believing women that they must cover themselves in the manner described in the verse, Allah says, ‘That will be better that they should be known so as not to be annoyed’. While explaining this, the great scholar As Suddi writes, ‘There were some of the transgressors of Madina who used to come out at night on the streets of Madina when it became dark. They will then interfere and tease the slave women passing on the road, and would do the same to the free women mistaking them for slave women. The houses in Madina were close together and were restricted to one area. During the period of the night, when the women passed on the streets while going to relieve themselves, the transgressors will follow them and tease them. However, when they saw a woman covered with the Jilbaab (large outer garment), they recognized that she was a free woman and refrained from interfering with her. As for those who were not covered with the Jilbaab, the transgressors would say that these were slave women and hence, interfered with them. Thus, with the law of covering with the ‘large outer garment’, the Muslim women were recognized as free women and were not teased by the transgressors on the streets. (Tafseer Ibn Katheer vol.3 pg. 518 Amjad Academy Lahore 1982)

It is for this reason Allah said, ‘This is better so that they may be recognized (as free women) so that they would not be annoyed (by the transgressors). The verse then states, ‘And Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful’. He will forgive what has passed already when they (the women) did not have the knowledge about covering themselves in this manner. He will not take them to account for what has happened in the days of ignorance because He is Most Merciful.

Sura Ahzab goes further in verse 60 and states:

60. If the hypocrites, and those in whose hearts is a disease, and those who spread false news among the people in Al-Madinah, cease not, We shall certainly let you overpower them, then they will not be able to stay in it as your neighbours but a little while.

The above verse speaks of the mischiefs of the hypocrites in Madina and states that they were people with a disease in their hearts, and they used to spread rumours in Madina to create mischief (fitna). As mentioned by many commentators, the verse does not speak about three different types of people, namely, those who were hypocrites, those who had a disease in their hearts and those who used to spread rumours in Madina. Instead, it was only one type of people, but they possessed three different traits. They were a people who made Islam manifest but hid their disbelief. Hence, they were hypocrites. This hypocrisy was actually a disease in their hearts, and they used to spread rumours in Madina. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.14 pg. 219 Maktaba Rasheediya Queta Pakistan)