Sura Yaseen goes further in verse 47 to mention another trait of the unbelievers. The verse states:
- And when it is said to them: “Spend of that with which Allah has provided you,” those who disbelieve say to those who believe: “Shall we feed those whom, if Allah willed, He (Himself) would have fed? You are only in a plain error.”
The verse explains that whenever the unbelievers were exhorted to spend some of that which Allah had given to them to the poor and needy, they would say to the poor believers, ‘Should we spend our wealth on these needy ones whom Allah has made poor?’ After saying this, they would tell the believers that they were in plain error for requesting them to do this.
While explaining this verse, some exegetes have stated that in Makka, when some slaves and poor relatives of the unbelievers accepted Islam, they (the unbelievers) immediately stopped the assistance which they used to give to them before. Upon this, some believers encouraged them to be kind to these poor Muslims, as they were their own slaves and relatives. However, they became annoyed with this advice and retorted, ‘Why should we feed those whom, if Allah willed, He would have fed’. (Tafseer Al Bahr Al Muheet vol.9 pg. 72)
Regarding the revelation of the verse, Abdullah bin Abbas (R.A) said, ‘There were some unbelievers who lived in Makka. When they were ordered to give charity to the poor, they said, ‘No, by Allah! (We will not give). Should Allah make them poor and then we must feed them?’ It is stated that they used to hear the believers attaching all the actions of Allah to His wishes. As such, they (the believers) would often say, ‘If Allah wishes, He can make so and so wealthy’. ‘If He wishes, He will grant honour to so and so, and if He wishes He can do so and so’. Therefore, based on these statements, as a mockery to the believers, the unbelievers would say, ‘If Allah wished to make someone poor, why should we feed him’. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.15 pg. 36; Tafseer Al Bahr Al Muheet vol.9 pg. 72)
The objective of the statement of the unbelievers was to refute the belief which the believers had about Allah. It was as if they were saying to the believers, ‘If the matter is as you say, that Allah is the Sustainer and Provider and that He is All Powerful, then He would have fed the poor and needy people. Why are you asking us to feed them?’
In response to this trend of thought, the great commentator, As Sabooni writes, ‘These ignorant and foolish unbelievers could not understand that the treasures of provisions are in the hands of the Creator, and that He has made some of His creation wealthy and some poor, as a test and trial to everyone. He looks to see how the wealthy will spend his wealth and how grateful he will be, and looks to see how patient and forbearing the poor ones would be. Allah has withheld the worldly goods from the poor, not on account of stinginess, and Has ordered the wealthy ones to spend their wealth, without having any need for that wealth. Both are trials sent upon man, and Allah does whatever He wishes. No one can object to His decree and His judgement’. (Safwah At Tafaseer vol.13 pg. 55 Dar Al Quran Al Kareem Beirut 1981)
Imam Qurtubi has also explained that such statements made by the unbelievers are absurd. It is so because whenever Allah makes a person the owner of wealth, and then places the right (Haqq) of another person in that wealth, then it means that Allah has already taken (seized) that amount (of the right) from the wealth of the wealthy person. Hence, there cannot be any objection against the law of spending one’s wealth on the poor and needy and giving one’s charity to them, since their rights (of receiving assistance) have already been apportioned in the wealth of the well-to-do persons. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.15 pg. 36 Maktaba Rasheediya Queta Pakistan)
SuraYaseen continues in verse 48 and states:
- And they say: “When will this promise (i.e. Resurrection) be fulfilled, if you are truthful?”
Here, Allah mentions that the polytheists rejected the belief in the hereafter, and thought that the Day of Judgement/Reckoning would not come. They would often come to the Prophet (s.a.s) and asked him to tell them when the Judgement Day will come, which he used to warn them about. They also requested him to tell them when the punishment will come which he told them about. They demanded an answer from him, saying that if he was true in his claim that there will be resurrection, judgement, reckoning and punishment in the hereafter, then he must tell them when these will occur.
The polytheists (Mushrikeen) and unbelievers made those requests to the Prophet (S.A), insisting that he tells them when these matters will occur, in an effort to show that he was fabricating these claims and that they were justified in denying the belief regarding the hereafter.
The commentators have also stated that when they were told in verse 45 to ‘Beware of that which is before you and that which is behind you’, they mockingly said to the Prophet (S.A), ‘When will this promise be fulfilled, if you are truthful’. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.15 pg. 36 Maktaba Rasheediya Queta Pakistan). In other words, they were not interested in finding out the truth regarding these occurrences, nor were they trying to reach the reality of these matters. Instead, it was a way of taunting the Muslims and making fun of them.
In response to their request of knowing when the Judgement/Resurrection/Punishment from Allah will come, Allah revealed to the Prophet (S.A):
- They await only but a single Saihah (shout, etc.), which will seize them while they are disputing!
Here, Allah makes it clear to them that their rejection of the Day of Judgement and their not being aware of the time of its coming, will not affect the Day of Judgement from coming. Regardless of their disbelief in it, the Judgement/Resurrection will surely come, and in a similar manner, all that which have been promised of the punishment of Allah and the matters of the hereafter will take place.
Allah says that ‘they await only but a single shout which will seize them while they are disputing’. It means that while they will be in their state of denial and will be arguing about it and other worldly matters, they will suddenly be seized with a loud violent scream which will bring an abrupt end to them. The sound will be so terrible that it will destroy and end the life of all living things. About their state at that time, Allah says:
- Then they will not be able to make bequest, nor they will return to their family.
It means that they will be dead, lying flat on the ground and motionless. They will not be able to make a bequest of that which they possessed, nor would they be able to return to their family and their homes. With respect to what the loud scream/sound is, the exegetes of the Holy Quran have stated that it is the first blowing of the trumpet (horn).
In this regard, Hafiz Ibn Katheer writes, ‘The trumpet/horn (soor) will be blown and this blowing will be that of Israfeel (A.S), which will strike terror in the hearts of people and make them unconscious (dead). At that time, the people will be in the market places, engaged in their jobs, and will be caught up in their habitual arguments and disputes. At that time, while they will be busy with their affairs, Allah will order Israfeel (A.S) who will then blow the trumpet/horn (soor). He will stretch the sound and will lengthen it. With this terrifying and dreadful sound, no one will remain on the face of the earth except that he will fall dead to the ground. At this time of sudden destruction, no one will be given the respite to return to their families and homes, nor will they be granted the respite to make a will regarding their properties’. (Tafseer Ibn Katheer vol.5 pg. 286 Dar Al Kitab Al Arabiya Beirut 2013)
It is mentioned in a hadith that two men will be busy in buying and selling cloth and they would have already spread out the cloth before them. However, the hour of Judgement will suddenly come upon them even before they can fold it up. Another man will be plastering his water tank in order to give his animals water to drink, but the hour of Judgement will suddenly come upon him before he can give the animals water. Another man will place a morsel of food in his mouth, but the hour of Judgement will suddenly come upon him before he can swallow the food. (Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad – Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.15 pg. 37 Maktaba Rasheediya Queta Pakistan)