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.