Tafseer (Commentary) of Surah Yaseen (Part 13)

Sura Yaseen goes further in verse 66 and states:

وَلَوْ نَشَاءُ لَطَمَسْنَا عَلَىٰ أَعْيُنِهِمْ فَاسْتَبَقُوا الصِّرَاطَ فَأَنَّىٰ يُبْصِرُونَ {66}

And if it had been Our Will, We would surely have wiped out (blinded) their eyes, so that they would struggle for the Path, how then would they see?

The verse explains that if Allah had willed, He would have blinded them and then they would have struggled to find a path. But then, how would they be able to see at that time? While commenting on this verse, Abdullah bin Abbas (R.A) says, it means that Allah is saying, ‘If We had so wished, We could have made them blind to guidance. Then, they would never be able to be guided to the path of truth’. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.15 pg. 47 Maktaba Rasheediya Queta Pakistan)

Other great commentators like Hasan Basri have stated, it means that if Allah had so wished, He would have blotted out their eyes and leave them in a state of blindness, wobbling and staggering in their movements. (Tafseer Ibn Katheer vol.5 pg. 290 Dar Al Kitab Al Arabiya Beirut 2013). Qatada has stated, it means that if Allah had so wished, he would have left them in the state of blindness, wavering from side to side. (Tafseer At Tabari vol.23 pg. 32)

After quoting various commentaries of the great exegetes of the Quran, Hafiz Ibn Jareer At Tabari (A.R) concludes by saying, ‘The opinions of Hasan Basri and Qatada are closer to the explanation and interpretation of the verse. It is so because (in this verse) Allah has threatened the unbelievers. Hence, there is no reason for Allah to say, ‘If We had so wished We would have misguided them’, when they were already misguided (unbelievers). But the message (of threat) to them is that Allah has stated, ‘If We had so wished, We would have punished them for their disbelief and blotted out their eyes, so they would become blind, not able to see the pathway, nor would they be guided to the right path’. (Tafseer At Tabari vol.23 pg. 32 Dar Ihya At Turath Al Arabi Beirut 2001)

This explanation has also been endorsed by Imam Qurtubi in his commentary. While discussing the verse, he said, ‘The meaning of the verse is that Allah has stated, ‘If We had so wished, We would have made them blind. In this way, they would not be able to see the path in discharging their duties and functions by going to their homes or other places’. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.15 pg. 47). Thus, the verse sends a message to the unbelievers that Allah is All Powerful over mankind. He can punish people in whatever manner He likes, and besides the punishment in the Hereafter, He can also punish people in this world. Hence, if it is His will, He can obliterate the eyes of the unbelievers for their kufr and shirk, and leave them in total blindness. This is not difficult for Him to do.

Sura Yaseen continues in verse 67 and states:

(67) وَلَو نَشاءُ لَمَسَخناهُم عَلىٰ مَكانَتِهِم فَمَا استَطاعوا مُضِيًّا وَلا يَرجِعونَ

  1. And if it had been Our Will, We could have transformed them (into animals or lifeless objects) in their places. Then they should have been unable to go forward (move about) nor they could have turned back.

In this verse, Allah explains that He can punish the wrongdoers in different ways, whenever He wishes to do so. In the previous verse, He mentioned that if He wanted, He could have made them blind, and they would not have been able to see anything. In this verse, He mentions that if He wished, He can transform them into other creatures. He has full control over them, and hence, on account of their disbelief and shirk, He can change their appearance and transfigure them into pigs and apes, just as He did with previous nations. In this way, they would be totally deprived of their senses and abilities, and will then be unable to move about.

While commenting on this verse, Abdullah bin Abbas (R.A) says, ‘It means that if Allah wishes, He can destroy them in their homes and residences’. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.15 pg. 48 Maktaba Rasheediya Queta Pakistan; Tafseer At Tabari vol.23 pg. 34 Dar Ihya Turath Al Arabi Beirut). Other commentators have explained that it means that if Allah had wished, He would have transfigured them at the places where they have committed the sins. It is also possible that this may occur on the Day of Judgement when Allah will blot out the eyes of the unbelievers while they are crossing the bridge, as stated by some Scholars. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi – (Al Jami li Ahkaam Al Quran vol.15 pg. 48 Maktaba Rasheediya Queta Pakistan)


A famous commentary of this verse which has been given by Hasan and Qatada is that Allah says, ‘If it had been Our will, We would have made them sit on their feet. In this way, they would not have been able to move forward or backward’. (Tafseer At Tabari – (Jami Al Bayan an Taweel Aaya Al Quran) vol.23 pg. 33 Dar Ihya At Turath; Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.15 pg. 48). The above were threats given by Allah to those who continue to remain upon disbelief.

Sura Yaseen goes further in verse 68 and states:

(68) وَمَن نُعَمِّرهُ نُنَكِّسهُ فِي الخَلقِ ۖ أَفَلا يَعقِلونَ

  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)