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Is All About
This is a Volume II And will be continue to Vol. III
Sayyid Abul A’la Mawdudi
What The Qur’an Is All About-Vol II 2
Compiled and Edited by
Akm Fakhrul Islam
New York, USA
© All Rights Reserved by Editor.
Qur’an Is All About Vol. II
Sayyid Abul A’la Mawdudi
Compiled and Edited by
Akm Fakhrul Islam
First Edition: December, 2007
Published by: Sharif Abdullah Al-Masud Shaker Abdullah Al-Morshed Sadek Abdullah Al-Mujahid Nurul Alam For Tel: 01712-532-557 Tel: 01914-884-801 Tel: 01911-350-715 Tel: 01714-088-875
Al-Qur’an Research FoundationUSA
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In the words of Qur’an:
Nothing from me,
What The Qur’an Is All About-Vol II 3 Except with the help of God Almighty. . Printed at:
Compilation and comparison for
Mufti Mohammad Shafi
Meaning of the Holy Qur’an
Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Maryland, USA
The Glorious Qur’an
I-877-WHY-ISLAM PUBLICATIONS New Jersy, USA
The Meaning of the Qur’an
Sayyid Abul A’la Maududi
The Noble Qur’an
Dr. Muhammad Taqiuddin Al-Hilali Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan New Delhi, India
Index of the Holy Qur’an
Dr. A. Majeed Ahmed, Lahore, Pakistan The Encyclopaedic
What The Qur’an Is All About-Vol II 4
Index of the Qur’an
Syed Muhammad Osama
New Delhi, India
What The Qur’an Is All About
Sl. Subjects Page 14.00.00:Attractive proposals of Quraish Leader Utbah to Mohammad and it’s response 14.01.00:Response from Allah through Mohammad(pbuh) against the Proposal of Utbah 14.02.00:Words of Allah Revealed to Mohammad(pbuh) against the Proposal of Utbah 14.03.00:They say: ‘there is a curtain between you and us due to the Quranic invitation’ 14.04.00:Woe to the Mushriks and reward for the believers 14.05.00:Allah bestowed blessings on the Earth 14.06.00:Allah provided the means of sustenance adequately as per the needs and demands of all the creatures 14.07.00:The earth along with its provisions became complete
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in four days in all 14.08.00:Allah turned to the heaven 14.09.00:How this argument has to an end
Sl. Subjects Page 14.10.00:Difference between Divine Creation and human workmanship 14.11.00:What’s the significance of ‘Seven Heavens’ 14.12.00:Allah made Fortified spheres in the Heavens 14.13.00:The Messengers tried in every way to make them understand the truth 14.14.00:The ignominous torment of ‘Ad was an Answer to their arrogance and vanity 14.14.01:The details of the torment to ‘Ad mentioned in several places of the Qur’an 14.14.02:Ahqaf was the territory of the ‘Ad tribes 14.14.03:When Prophet Hud Warned his people in Ahqaf 14.14.04:The people of Hud said, ‘Bring down your torment with which you threaten us’ 14.14.05:Prophet Hud said to his people in reply of their demands for the torment 14.14.06:This torment destroyed them at all 14.14.07:The various details about the People of ‘Ad in the Qur’an 14.15.00:The torment on the
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Thamud as stated by Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) to Utbah 14.15.01:Thamud rejected the Messengers
Sl. Subjects Page 14.15.02:Just as the most prominent Features of the Thamud civilization 14.15.03:What was the Purpose and Objects to built the castles on the plains? 14.15.04:Some of the Thamudic Works exist even today 14.15.05:The Thamud tribe of Arabia 14.15.06:The central city of Thamud 14.15.07:Prophet Salih warned them about a torment of a dreadful day 14.15.08:The menifesto, which Prophet Salih Presented before his people 14.15.09:They replied in response of Prophet Salih’s menifesto that he presented before his people 14.15.10:As soon as the Prophet Salih Embarked on his mission, his people were divided into two groups 14.15.11:The reasons for their refusal to Obey and follow the Prophet Salih 14.15.12:In response to the demand for a miracle Prophet Salih presented a she-camel before his people 14.15.13:After presenting the she-camel before them the challenge given
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to the wicked people of Thamud 14.15.14:Yet they hamstrung her
Sl. Subjects Page 14.15.15:Nine ring-leaders of the men pledged on an oath by Allah to attack Salih and his household by night 14.15.16:The torment overtook them 14.16.01:The charms of the Personality, Character and Words of the Holy Prophet 14.16.02:The Prophet never used a ‘tit for tat’ answer to the followers of the falsehood 14.16.03:The Chiefs decided to start a propaganda campaign to Counteract against the gaining Adherents of Prophets’ Message 14.16.04:The false propaganda of the Quraish had just the opposite effect 14.16.05:Tufail bin ‘Amr Dausi the Poet of the clan of Daus put cotton into his ears 14.16.06:The Quraish confessed in their private meeting that all their charges against the Holy Prophet were false 14.16.06.01:When the Qur’anic Dawah spread everywhere Walid bin Mugirah addressed in a meeting
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14.16.07:Answer to the demand for a Sign to the effect
Sl. Subjects Page 14.16.08:Answer to their objection: This man is no more than a Human being like yourselves 14.16.09:Allah told the Prophet for instance the story of the people of the inhabitation for them 14.16.10:They told the Messengers, ‘You are no more than men like us’ 15.00.00:The enemies of Allah will be Gathered together to be driven to Hell 15.01.00:When a stubborn culprit will go on denying his crimes, the limbs of the body will bear the witness 15.01.01:Human beings will be resurrected with the body and soul as they are now in this world 15.01.02: They will say to their skins, ‘Why have you borne witness against us?’ 15.01.03:The earth will bear witness against him 15.02.00:They thought that even Allah had no knowledge of many of their deeds 15.03.00: That is Hell
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The requital of the enemies of Allah Wherein they shall live forever 15.04.00:Good news for the believers
Sl. Subjects Page 15.05.00:The believers are being exhorted towards their real duty 16.00.00:Allah challenged to the Disbelievers to forge something like the Qur’an 17.00.00:Allah swore by the Qur’an 18.00.00:Names of the Qur’an
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In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate
ِ ّ ِ ْ ّ ْ ِ ب ِسم ِ اللهِ الرح ٰمن الرحي ْم
Attractive proposals of Quraish Leader Utbah to Mohammad and it’s response
Quraish Leader Utbah placed an attractive proposal to Prophet Mohammad: O my dear nephew, if your object is to become a rich man: (a) We can give you so much wealth that you will become the richest man among us.
(b) If you are seeking a high rank, we will make you our chief. (c) Even our king, if you so like. (d) But if you are suffering from a mental illness, which makes you see illusions, we will have you treated by the best physicians.
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He went on talking in this strain and the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) remained silent.
Response of Mohammad (pbuh) After listening with patience the Attractive proposals of Utbah
When Quraish leader had a long talk, the Holy Prophet said, ‘Abul Walid, have you had your say or do you want to say anything more?’ He replied that he had said what he had to say. Then the Holy Prophet said, ‘Now listen to me.’ And he began to recite Surah Ha Mim Sajdah (chapter XLI of the Qur’an) after Bismillah and ‘Utbah listened to him as if he had been charmed. When the Holy Prophet came to verse 38, he fell down in prostration. Then raising his head, he said, ‘O Abul Walid, I have said whatever I had to say, and you have heard it. Now I have nothing more to say.’ After this ‘Utbah walked back towards the chiefs who perceived him to be a changed man, and remarked. ‘By God! His face shows that he is not the same man that he was when he went from here.’ When he came to them, they asked, ‘What has been the result of your mission?’ He answered, ‘By God! today I have heard a thing the like of which I had
What The Qur’an Is All About-Vol II 12
never heard before. By Allah! It is not poetry nor sorcery nor divination. O people of Quraish, I advise you to leave him to himself. From what I have heard from, I conclude that his message is going to bring about a great revolution here. If the Arabs overcome him, you will stand absolved from the charge of murdering your own brother, and is he over-powers the Arabs, his sovereignty will be your own sovereignty and his honor your own honor.’ The people answered, ‘By God! You, too, O Abul Walid, have been charmed by him’. To this he replied, ‘I have expressed my opinion. Now it is for you to accept or reject it.’ (Ibn Hisham, Volume I, pp. 313314) Baihaqi, in his narration of the above event, makes his addition: ‘When the Holy Prophet recited verse 13 of Surah Ha-Mim-As-Sajdah:
َ ْ ُ ﴿31:14﴾ فَإ ِن أ َعْرضوا فَقل أن نذ َرت ُك ُم ُ َ ْ ْ ْ َ َ ِ َ َ ّ ً َ ِ َ َ صاعقة مث ْل صاعقةِ عادٍ وَث َمود ُ
Now if they turn away from your message, *17 say to them (O Prophet!), "I have warned you of coming a thunderbolt, like the thunderbolt that visited the 'Ad and the Samud. (Surah Ha-Mim-As-Sajdah, v.41:13) ‘Utbah placed his hand on the mouth of the Holy Prophet, saying, ‘For God’s sake, have mercy on your own people.’
What The Qur’an Is All About-Vol II 13
Words of Allah Revealed to Mohammad (pbuh) Against the Proposal of Utbah
It has been expressed in the Surah Ha-mim AsSajdah, v. 41:1-4
﴿1﴾ حننم ﴿2﴾ تنزيننل مننن الرحمننن ِ َ ْ ّ َ ّ ٌ ِ َ الرحيننم ِ ﴿3﴾ ك ِتنناب فُصننل َت آيننات ُه ِ ّ ٌ َ ُ َ ْ ّ ﴿ قُرآن ًننا ع َرب ِي ّننا ل ّقننوْم ي َعْل َمننون َ ن ْ ن َ ُن ٍ َ َن 4﴾ ب َشيرا وَن َذيرا فَأعْرض أ َك ْث َرهنم ْ ُ ُ َ َ ً ِ ً ِ َ ْ فَهُم ل ي َسمعون َ ُ َ ْ
(1) Ha-Mim. (2) This is a revelation from the All Compassionate, the All-Merciful God, (3) A book whose verses are well-expounded, an Arabic Qur’an for those who have knowledge, (4) a giver of good news and a Warner. Yet most of these people have turned away from it, and they pay no heed.
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A study of the following discourse can show what relevance the things mentioned in it has with the theme that follows: Firstly: The first thing said is that this Word is being sent down by God, as if to say, ‘You, O people, may go on saying again and again that this Word is being composed by Muhammad (pbuh) but the fact is that its revelation is from God, Lord of the worlds. ‘Futhermore, the addresses have also been warned, so as to say: ‘If you express your displeasure on hearing this discourse, this displeasure is not against Muhammad (pbuh) but against God. If you reject it, you reject Allah’s Word, not of a man, and if you turn away from it, you do not turn away from a man but from Allah.’ Secondly: that the one sending it down is that God, Who is extremely Merciful (Rahman and Rahim) to his creatures. The mention of the attribute of mercy of the Sender of Revelation, instead of any other attributes, points to the truth that He has sent down this Word under the requirement of His mercifulness. This has warned the addresses, so as to say: ‘if someone spurns this Word, or rejects it, or expresses displeasure at it, he in fact is his own enemy. This is indeed a supreme blessing, which God has sent down, out of this infinite mercy, for the guidance and well-being and happiness of man. If God were merciless to mankind, He would have left them to wander about in darkness and would have least cared what pit they fell into. But this is His bounty and
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beneficence that along with bringing men into existence and providing for them he has taken on Himself the responsibility to show them the light of knowledge also in order to adorn their lives, and is sending down this Word to a servant of His for the same purpose. Now, who could be more ungrateful and a greater enemy of himself than the one who instead of benefiting from this mercy made up his mind to fight it?’ Thirdly: that the verses of this book are well expounded. That is, there is nothing confusing and ambiguous in it so that somebody might excuse himself from accepting it on the ground that he was unable to understand the contents of the Book. It has been plainly told in it what is the truth and what is the falsehood, what are the right beliefs and what are the wrong beliefs, what is good and what is evil, what is high morality and what is vice, in what way lies the good of man and in what he incurs loss for himself. If a person rejects such clear and manifest guidance, or pays no heed to it, he cannot offer any excuse for it. His attitude clearly implies that he wants to remain in the wrong willfully. Fourthly: that this is an Arabic Qur’an, which implies this: ‘If this Qur’an had been sent down in some other language, the Arabs would have presented the excuse that they were ignorant of the language in which God had sent His Book. But this is
What The Qur’an Is All About-Vol II 16
their own language. They cannot put forward the excuse that they cannot understand it. Fifthly: that this Book is for those who possess knowledge. That is, only the people of understanding can draw any benefit from this Book. For the ignorant it is as useless as a precious diamond for the one who cannot distinguish it from a mere stone. Sixthly: that this Book gives good news and administers warning. That is, it does not consist of mere fantasy, or a philosophy, or a specimen of good literary composition, which one may accept or rejects without entailing any consequence, but it is openly administering a warning to the whole world that the results of accepting and believing in it are marvelous and of rejecting it very dreadful. Thus only a fool could reject it with scant attention.
They say: ‘there is a curtain between you and us due to the Quranic invitation’
Prophet Mohammad also states to Utbah that:
ُ َ ﴿5:14﴾ وَقالوا قُلوب ُنا في أ َك ِنننةٍ ممننا ّ ِ َ ُ ّ ّ ت َد ْعونا إ ِل َي ْهِ وَفي آذان ِنا وَقْر وَمن ِ ٌ َ َ ِ َ ُ ْ َ َ ٌ َ ِ َن ب َي ْن ِنا وَب َي ْن ِنك حجناب فاعْمنل إ ِن ّننَنا َ عاملون َ ُ ِ َ
They say, ‘our hearts are covered with veils from that to which you are calling us; our ears have become deaf, and between you and us there is a curtain. So do as you please; we shall do as we will.’ (Surah HaMim As- Sajdah, 41:5) They says, ‘this Quranic invitation has divided us; it has cut us off from you; it has become a hindrance for us to join you.’ ‘So do as you please; we shall do as we will.’ It has two meanings: (a) That we have nothing to do with you, and (b) That if you do not desist from your preaching, you may go on doing your mission, we also will not stop our opposition to you, and we will do whatever we to defeat and frustrate your mission.
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Woe to the Mushriks and Unfailing reward for the believers
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In his addressing to Utbah the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) stated that:
﴿6:14﴾ قننل إ ِن ّمننا أ َنننا ب َشننر مث ْل ُكننم َ ْ ُ ّ ٌ َ َ ْ ُ َ ِ َ ٌ ْ ٌ يوحى إ ِل َي أن ّما إ ِل َهُك ُم إ ِل َه واحنند َ ُ َ ّ َ ْن ُفاس ننت َقيموا إ ِل َينْننهِ واس ننت َغْفروه ُ ِ َ ْن ُ ِ ٌ وَوَي ْل ل ّل ْمشرِكين َ ِ ْ ُ
(41:6) O Prophet, say to them I am only a man, like you. *5 I am told by revelation that your God is only One God: *6 therefore, turn straight to Him alone *7 and ask for His forgiveness. *8 In response of the disbelievers the Prophet Mohammad has been expressed to them: (01) It is not in my power to remove the covering that envelopes your hearts, open your ears, and tear away the curtain, which you have drawn between yourselves and me.*5 (02) I am only a man. I can make only him understand who is inclined to listen, and can only meet him who is ready to meet me. *5 (03) You may if you so like putting coverings on your hearts and making your ears deaf, but the fact are that you don’t have many gods; there is only one God, whose servants you are.*6 (04) And this is not philosophy, which I might have thought out myself, and which might have equal probability of being true or false, but this reality
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has been made known to me through revelation, which cannot admit of any likelihood of error. *6 (05) Do not make any other your God. (06) Do not serve and worship any other deity. (07) Do not involve any other for help. (08) And do not obey and bow to any other. (09) And do not follow the customs and laws and codes made and set by others. *7 (10) Ask for His forgiveness for the unfaithfulness that you have been showing so far towards Him, for the shirk and disbelief and disobedience that you have been committing till now, and for the sins that you happened to commit due to forgetfulness of God. *8 Woe to the mushriks:
َ َ ِ َ ّ َ ُ ﴿7:14﴾ ال ّذين ل ي ُؤْتون الزكاةَ وَهننم ُ بالخرةِ هُم كافِرون َ ُ َ ْ َ ِ ْ ِ
(41:7) Woe to the mushriks who do not pay the Zakat *9 and deny the Hereafter. Then he said: ‘Woe to the mushriks who do not pay the Zakah.’ Here, the commentators have disputed the meaning of the word Zakah. Ibn ‘Abbas and his illustrious pupils, ‘Ikrimah and Mujahid say that Zakah here implies the purity of the soul and self which accrues from belief in Tauhid and obedience to Allah. According to this explanation, the translation
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of the verse would be: ‘Woe to the mushriks, who do not adopt purity.’*9 The other group which includes commentators like Qatadah, Suddi, Hasan Basri, Dahhak, Muqatil and Ibn As-Sa’ib take this word here also in the meaning of the Zakah on property and wealth. According this explanation, the verse means: ‘Woe to those who do not fulfill the right of Allah by committing shirk and the right of the men by withholding the Zakah.’*9 Unfailing reward:
ُ ِ ﴿8:14﴾ إ ِن النننذين آمننننوا وَعَملنننوا ُ َ َ ِ ّ ّ الصال ِحات ل َهُم أ َجر غَي ْر ممنون ِ َ ّ ٍ ُ ْ َ ُ ٌ ْ ْ
(41:8) As for those who have believed and done right, for them there is surely an unfailing reward. *10 He also said: ‘As for those who have believed and done right, for them there is surely an unfailing reward.’ *10 Here the word ‘ajrun ghairu mamnun’ in the original have two other meanings also: (1) That it will be a reward which will never decrease and diminish, and (2) That this reward will not be given with reminders of good done, like the gift made by a miserly person, who keeps on reminding the beneficiary of his favor if at all he gives away anything.
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Allah bestowed blessings on the Earth
:The Prophet also said to Utbah
ُ ْ ﴿9﴾ قننل أ َئ ِن ّكننم ل َت َك ْفننرون بالننذي ُ ُ َ ِ ّ ِ ُ ْ خل َننننقَ ال َرض فِ نننني ينَننننوْمي ْن ْ ْ َ ن َن َ ِ َ ْ ُ وَت َجعَلننون لننه أننندادا ذ َلننك رب َ ً ِ َ َ ّ َ َ ُ ال ْعال َمين َ ِ َ ﴿01﴾ وَجعَننل فيهَننا رواسنني مننن َ ن َ ِ ن َ َ ِ ن َ ِن فَوْقِهَ نا وَبنَنارك فيهَ نا وَقَ ند ّر فيهَ نا َ ِ ن َ َ ِ ن ن أ َقْوات َهَ نا فِ ني أ َرب َعَ نةِ أ َينّنام ٍ س نواء َ ن ن َ َ ْ للسائ ِلين ّ ّ ِ َ
,(9) O Prophet! Say to them, ‘Do you deny that God and set up others as equals with Him, Who created
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the earth in two days? He indeed is the Lord of all creation. (10) He set mountains over the earth (after its creation) and bestowed blessings on it, *11 and provided in it means of sustenance adequately according to the needs and demands of all those who ask. *12 This was done in four days. *13 (Surah HaMim As-Sajdah, v.41:9-10) *11‘Blessings of the earth’ imply those measureless and countless things, which have been continuously coming out of it since millions of years, and are fulfilling the ever-increasing needs and requirements of all the creatures from the microscopic germs to the highly civilized man. Among these the principal blessings are the air and the water by which alone vegetable, animal and then human life became possible on the earth.
Allah provided the means of sustenance adequately as per the needs and demands of all the creatures
And he said:
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﴿01﴾ وَجعَننل فيهَننا رواسنني مننن َ ن َ ِ ن َ َ ِ ن َ ِن فَوْقِهَ نا وَبنَنارك فيهَ نا وَقَ ند ّر فيهَ نا َ ِ ن َ َ ِ ن ن أ َقْوات َهَ نا فِ ني أ َرب َعَ نةِ أ َينّنام ٍ س نواء َ ن ن َ َ ْ للسائ ِلين َ ِ ّ ّ
And He provided in it means of sustenance adequately according to the needs and demands of all those who ask. (Surah Ha-Mim As- Sajdah, 41:10) The sentence has been interpreted commentators in different ways: by the
Opinion-1: According to some commentators it means: ‘The provisions of the earth were placed in it precisely according to the needs and requirements of those who ask, in exactly four days.’ That is, it took exactly four days, neither more nor less. Opinion-2: Ibn ‘Abbas, Qatadah and Suddi interpret it to mean: ‘The provisions of the earth were placed in it in four days. The answer to those who ask is completed.’ That is, whoever asks as to how long it took, his complete answer is that it took four days. Opinion-3: According to Ibn Zaid it means:
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The provisions of the earth were placed in it for those who ask within four days, precisely in accordance with the demand and need of everyone. As far as the rules of the language are concerned, the words of the verse admit of all these three meanings. Opinion-4: According to Sayed Abul A’la Maududi, a renowned world’s Islamic Scholar stated his opinion in the Tafhimul Qur’an that the first two meanings have no merit. In view of the context, it is immaterial whether the work was completed in exactly four days and not in more or less four days. There is no need whatever for such an addition to make up for any deficiency in supporting the description of Allah’s perfects power, perfect providence and perfect wisdom. Likewise, the commentary: ‘The answer to those who ask is completed,’ is a very weak commentary. There is no indication in the theme preceding the verse and following it, to show that at that time somebody had asked the question as to how long it had taken for those works to be completed, and this verse was sent down as an answer to it. That is why Moulana Mawdudi has adopted the third meaning in his translation. According to opinion-4 the correct meaning of the verse is this: ‘Allah placed within the earth the full provisions of food precisely and exactly in accordance with the demands and needs of every
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kind of creature that Allah had to create in the earth from the beginning of the creation till Resurrection.’ There are countless kinds of vegetation found on land and in water and the food requirements of each kind are different from those of other kinds. Allah has created countless species of living creatures in the air and on land and in water, and every species demands a different kind of food. Then unique among all these is the species of man, who requires different kinds of food not only for the development and nourishment of his body but also for the satisfaction of his taste. Who beside Allah could know how many members of the different kinds of creatures would be born on this globe, from the beginning of life till its end, and when and where they would be born and how much and what kind of food would be required for their nourishment? Just as He had made the plan of creating those creatures that stood in need of food in His scheme of creation, so He made full arrangements of food also to meet their requirements and demands. In the modern age, the people who have brought out the Islamic edition of the Marxist conception of Socialism in the name of ‘the Qur’anic order of providence’, translate the words ‘sawa-al-lis-sa-ilin’ as ‘equal for all those who ask’, and raise the edifice of reasoning on it, saying that Allah has kept equal provisions for all the people in the earth; therefore, in order to fulfill the intention of the verse a system of
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the state is needed which may provide equal rations of food to everybody. For in the system of individual ownership the equality, which the ‘Qur’anic law’ demands, cannot be established. But these people, in their enthusiasm to press the Qur’an in the service of their theories, forget that ‘those who ask’, who have been mentioned in this verse, are not only human beings but all those different species of animals and plants who need food for survival. Has Allah really established equality among all of them, or even among all the numbers of each different species of the creatures, in the matter of the provision of food? If that is not the case, it means that in the vegetable and animal kingdom, where the distribution of the provisions is directly being arranged by the State of Allah, and not by the human state, Allah Himself is violating His own this ‘Qur’anic law’, rather, God forbid, is practicing injustice! Then, they also forget that ‘those who ask’ also include those animals which man domesticates ad arranging provisions for which is also his responsibility, e.g. sheep, goats, cows, buffaloes, horses, asses, mules, camels, etc. If the Qur’anic law is that equal food be given to all those who ask, and to enforce the same law a state is needed, which may administer the order of providence, will that state establish economic equality between men and animals also?
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14.07.00 The earth along with its provisions became complete in four days in all
• This was done in four days. (Surah Ha-Mim AsSajdah, 41:10)
َ وجعل فيها رواسي م بن فوقهببا وبببار َ َ َ َ ِ َ َ َ ِ َ ِ ْ َ ْ ِ َ َ َ َك ٍ َّ ِ َ َ ْ َ ِ َ َ َ ْ َ َ ِ َ ّ َ َ َ ِ فيها وقدر فيها أقواتهببا فببي أربعبة أيببام ﴾41:10﴿ سواء للسائلين َ ِِ ّ ِ ً َ َ
(41:10) (After creating the earth) He set up firm mountains on it, blessed it, *11 and provided it with
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sustenance in proportion to the needs of all who seek (sustenance). *12 All this was done in four days. *13 *11 "Blessings of the earth" imply those measureless and countless things which have been continuously coming out of it since millions and millions of years, and are fulfilling the ever increasing needs and requirements of all the creatures from the microscopic germs to the highly civilized man. Among these the principal blessings are the air and the water by which alone vegetable, animal and then human life became possible on the earth. *12 The commentators have been interpreted this sentence in different ways: Some of them interpret it to mean: "The provisions of the earth were placed in it precisely according to the needs and requirements of those who ask, in exactly four days." That is, it took exactly four days, neither more nor less. Ibn `Abbas, Qatadah and Suddi interpret it to mean: ‘the provisions of the earth were placed in it in four days. The answer to those who ask is completed.’ That is, whoever asks as to how long it took, his complete answer is that it took four days. According to Ibn Zaid it means: "The provisions of the earth were placed in it for those who ask within four days, precisely in accordance with the demand and need of everyone. " As far as the rules of the language are concerned, the words of the verse admit
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of all these three meanings, but in our opinion the first two meanings have no merit. In view of the context, it is immaterial whether the work was completed in exactly four days and not in more or less four days. There is no need whatever for such an addition to make up for any deficiency in supporting the description of Allah's perfects power, perfect providence and perfect wisdom. Likewise, the commentary: "The answer to those who ask is completed," is a very weak commentary. There is no indication in the theme preceding the verse and following it, to show that at that time somebody had asked the question as to how long it had taken for those works to be completed, and this verse was sent down as an answer to it. That is why we have adopted the third meaning in our translation (S.S.A.Mawdudi). In our opinion the correct meaning of the verse is this: "Allah placed within the earth the full provisions of food precisely and exactly in accordance with the demands and needs of every kind of creature that Allah had to create in the earth from the beginning of the creation till Resurrection. There are countless kinds of vegetation found on land and in water and the food requirements of each kind are different from those of other kinds. Allah has created countless species of living creatures in the air and on land and in water, and every species demands a different kind of food. Then unique among all these is the species of man,
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who requires different kinds of food not only for the development and nourishment of his body but also for the satisfaction of his taste. Who beside Allah could know how many members of the different kinds of creatures would be born on this globe, from the beginning of life till its end, and when and where they would be born and how much and what kind of food would be required for their nourishment? Just as He had made the plan of creating those creatures that stood in need of food in His scheme of creation, so He made full arrangements of food also to meet their requirements and demands. In the modern age, the people who have brought out the Islamic edition of the Marxist conception of Socialism in the name of "the Qur'anic order of providence", translate the words sawa-al-lis-sa'-ilin as `equal for all those who ask", and raise the edifice of reasoning on it, saying that Allah has kept equal provisions for All the people in the earth; therefore, in order to fulfill the intention of the verse a system of the state is needed which may provide equal rations of food to everybody. For in the system of individual ownership the equality, which the ‘Qur’anic law’ demands, cannot be established. But these people, in their enthusiasm to press the Qur'an in the service of their theories, forget that °those who ask", who have been mentioned in this verse, are not only human beings but All those different species of animals and plants who need food for survival. Has Allah really established equality among all of them, or even among all the members of each different species of
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the creatures, in the matter of the provision of food? Do you find anywhere in this entire system of nature the arrangement of the distribution of equal rations of food? If that is not the case, it means that in the vegetable and animal kingdom, where the distribution of the provisions is directly being arranged by the State of Allah, and not by the human state, Allah Himself is violating His own this "Qur'anic law", rather, God forbid, is practicing injustice! Then, they also forgo that "those who ask" also include those animals which man domesticates and arranging provisions for which is also his responsibility, e.g. sheep, goats, cows, buffaloes, horses, asses, mules, camels, etc: If the Qur'anic law is that equal food be given to all those who ask, and to enforce the same law a state is needed, which may administer the order of providence, will that state establish economic equality between men and animals also?
*13 Here, the commentators generally have been
confronted with this question. If it is admitted that the creation of the earth took two days and the setting up of the mountains and placing of the provisions and blessings in it took four days, and the creation of the heavens, as mentioned below, took another two days, the total number of the days would be eight, whereas at several places in the Qur’an Allah has said that: • The creation of the earth and heavens took six days in all. (For example, see Surah Al-A’raf, v.
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7:54; Surah Yunus, 10:3; Surah Hud, v.11:7; Surah Al-Furqan, v.59). On this very basis, all most all commentators agree that these four days include the two days of the creation of the earth. That is, two days were taken for the creation of the earth and two days for the creation of the rest of the things within the earth, as mentioned below. Thus, the earth along with its provisions became complete in four days in all. But this not only is against the apparent words of the Qur’an, but the difficulty also is, in fact, an imaginary difficulty, to avoid which need for this interpretation has been left. The two days of the creati0on of the earth are, in fact, not separate from the two days in which this universe as a whole was created. If we consider the following verses, we see that in them the creation of both the earth and the heavens has been mentioned together, and then it has been stated that Allah made the seven heavens in two days. These seven heavens imply the whole universe, one part of which is also our earth. Then, when like the other countless stars and planets of the universe this earth also took the shape of the unique globe within two days, Allah began to prepare it for animate creatures, and in four days created in it all those provisions which have been mentioned in the above verse. What development works were carried out in the other stars and planets in these four days have not been mentioned by Allah, for not to speak of the man of the period of the revelation of the
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Qur’an, even the man of the present age does not have the capability to digest and assimilate this information.
14.08.00 Allah turned to the heaven
Then the Prophet said to Utbah:
َ ََ ٌ َ ُ َ ِ َ ِ َ ّ ثم استوى إلى السماء وهي دخان فقببال َِ َ َ ْ ّ ُ لها وللرض ائتيا طوعا أو كرها قالتببا َ َ َ ً ْ َ ْ َ ً ْ َ َ ِ ْ ِ ِ ْ َْ َِ َ َ ﴾41:11﴿ أتينا طائعين َ ِ ِ َ َْ ََ
Then He turned to the heaven while it was all smoke. He said to the heaven and the earth: ‘Come (into being), willingly or unwillingly.’ They said: ‘Here we come (into being) in willing obeisance.’ *15 (Surah Ha-Mim As- Sajdah, 41:11)
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Three things need to be explained here: (1) By ‘heaven’ is meant the whole universe, as becomes obvious from the following sentences. In other words, ‘turning to the heaven’ means that Allah turned to the creation of the universe. (2) By ‘smoke’ is implied the initial and primary stage of matter, in which it lay diffused in space in a shapeless, dust like condition before the formation of the universe. Scientists of the modern age describe the same thing as nebulae, and the same also is their view about the beginning of the universe, that is, before creation the matter of which the universe was built lay diffused in smoke like nebulous form. (3) It would be wrong to interpret ‘then He turned to the heaven’ to mean that first He created the earth, then set mountains in it, then arranged blessings and provisions of food in it, and then, at the end. He turned towards the creation of the universe. This misunderstanding is removed by the following sentence: ‘He said to the heavens and the earth: Come into being; and they said, we come in submission.’ This makes it clear that in this verse and in the following verses, mention is being made of the time when there was neither the earth nor the heaven, but the creation of the universe was being started. Only the word Summa (then) cannot be made the argument to say that the earth had been created before the heavens. There are several instances of this in the Qur’an that the word Summa is not necessarily used to show the
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chronological order but it is also used for the order of Presentation. (Please see E.N. 12 of Surah AzZumar). Among the earliest commentators the dispute has been going on for ages as to what was created first according to the Qur’an, the earth or the heavens. One group of them argues on the basis of this verse and verse 29 of Surah Al-Baqarah that the earth was created first. The other group argues from verses 2733 of Surah An-Nazi’at that the heavens were created first, because there it has been clearly stated that the earth was created after the heavens.
14.09.00 How this argument has to an end
*14 But the fact is that nowhere in the Qur’an has the mention of the creation of the universe been made to teach Physics or Astronomy, but while inviting towards belief in the doctrines to Tauhid and the Hereafter, like countless other Signs, the creation of the heavens and the earth also has been presented as food for thought. For this purpose it was not at all necessary that the chronological order of the creation of the heavens and the earth should have been presented, and it should have been told whether the heavens were created first or the earth. No matter whether this was created first or that, in any case both are an evidence of Allah Almighty’s being the One and only Deity, and are a testimony that their Creator
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has not created this whole universe as a plaything for a care free person. This is why the Qur’an sometimes mentions the creation of the earth first and sometimes the creation of the heavens first. There are two objects to describe this matter as follows: (a) The object is to make man realize the blessings of God: Where the object is to make man realize the blessings of God, there generally are has mentioned earth first, for it is closer to man.
(b)The object is to give man the concept of God’s greatness: Where the object is to give man the concept of God’s greatness and His omnipotence there it has generally mentioned the heavens first, for the scene of the revolving heavens has always been awe-inspiring for man.
14.10.00 Difference between Divine Creation and human workmanship
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فقال لها وللرض ائتيا طوعا أو كرهببا ً ْ َ ْ َ ً ْ َ َ ِ ْ ِ ِ ْ َْ َِ َ َ َ َ َ ﴾41:11﴿ قالتا أتينا طائعين َ ِ ِ َ َْ ََ ََ َ
He said to the heaven and the earth: ‘Come (into being), willingly or unwillingly.’ They said: ‘Here we come (into being) in willing obeisance.’ *15 or He said to the heaven and the earth: ‘Come into being, whether you like it or not.’ They both said, ‘We do come in submission.’ (Surah Ha-Mim AsSajdah, 41:11) *15 In these Allah has described the nature of His method of creation in a manner as to differentiate between Divine creation and human workmanship:
When man wants to make something: (a) He prepares a plan for it in his mind. (b) Then gathers together the necessary material. (c) Then works persistently hard to mould the material according to his plan. (d) And in the process of his effort the material, which he wants to mould according to his mental plan consistently, resists him. (e) So much so that sometimes the resistance of the material succeeds and the thing is not made precisely according to the desired plan.
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(f) And sometimes man’s effort overcomes the resistance and he succeeds in giving it the desired form and shape. For example, when a tailor wants to make a shirt: (a) He first conceives in his mind the shape of the shirt. (b) Then collecting the cloth, as he wants. (c) Then arranging the cloth he tries to cut. (d) And sew it according to his concept of the shirt. During this effort sometimes he is in troubles and sometimes in succeed: And during this effort, he has constantly to face the resistance of the cloth, for it does not easily yield to be molded according to the tailor’s concept; so much so that sometimes the resistance of the cloth dominates and the shirt doesn’t take the desired shape, and sometimes the tailor’s effort dominates and he is able to shape it precisely according to his concept.
(II) Allah’s mode of creation:
Now, consider Allah’s mode of creation. The matter of the universe lay scattered and diffused in the form of smoke. Allah willed to give it the shape of the universe as it is now. For this purpose, (a) He did not have to sit down, like a human artisan, and chisel and mould the earth and the moon and the sun and the other stars and planets.
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(b) But He only commanded the scheme of the universe that was in His mind to come into being, i.e. the smoke like diffused matter to take the shape of the galaxies and stars and planets, which He wanted to create.
No matter has the power to Resist the Command of Allah:
This matter did not have the power to resist the Command of Allah. Allah did not have to make any effort to give it the shape of the universe. No sooner was the Command given than the matter started contracting and condensing and taking shape obediently according to the scheme of its Master, so that the whole universe including the earth became ready in 48 hours. This same scheme of Allah’s method of creation has been described at several other places in the Qur’an like this: When Allah decides to do something He only Commands it to be and it is done. See the following verses:
ْ ُ ُ َ َ ُ َ ْ َ ً ْ َ َ َ َ َ ِ ُ ُ ْ َ َ ِّ إنما أمره إذا أراد شيئا أن يقول لبه كبن ﴾36:82﴿ فيكون ُ ُ ََ
Whenever He intends anything, He needs only say; ‘Be’ and it is. (Surah Ya Sin, v.36:82)
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ْ ُ ُ َ ُ ُ َ َ َِّ ً ْ َ َ َ َ ِ َ ف بإذا قضببى أم برا فإنمببا يقببول ل به ك بن ﴾40:68﴿ فيكون ُ ُ ََ
Whatever He decrees, He only Commands it to ‘be’ and it is. (Surah Al-Mu’min, v. 40:68)
ُ َ َ ُ َ ْ َ ُ َ ْ َ َ َ ِ ٍ ْ َ ِ َ ُْ َ َ ّ ِ إنما قولنا لشيء إذا أردناه أن نقببول ل به ﴾16:40﴿ كن فيكون ُ ُ ََ ْ ُ
(As regards its possibility.) When We desire to bring a thing into existence, We need only say, "Be", and it is there. *36 (Surah An Nahl, v.16:40) *36 This is the answer to those who imagined that it was the most difficult thing to raise the dead, and that, too, to raise together at once all the people who had died at any time. They have been told that it is an easy thing for Allah, Who has the power to bring into existence anything He desires, merely by His command, ‘Be’, for He does not stand in need of any provisions, any means and any favorable environment for this. His mere Command produces necessary provisions, means and environment. This world was brought into existence by His mere Command, ‘Be’, and likewise the Next world will at once come into existence by His single Command.
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What’s the significance of ’‘Seven Heavens
:The Prophet also said to Utbah
ََ َ ُ ّ َ ْ َ َ َ َ ٍ ِ َ ْ َ ْ ِ فقضبباهن سبببع سببموات فببي يببومين وأوحببى فببي ك بل س بماء أمرهببا وزينببا ََ ْ َ ِ ُ ّ َ َ ٍ َ ْ َ َ َ َ ّ ّ الس بماء ال بدنيا بمصببابيح وحفظببا ذل ب َ ّ َ َ ّ ْ َ ِ َ َ ِ َ َ ِ ْ ً َِ ك تقدير العزيز العليم ﴿21:14﴾ َ ْ ِ ُ ْ َ ِ ِ ْ َِ ِ
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Then He made them seven heavens in two days and revealed to each heaven its law. And We adorned the lower heaven with lamps, and firmly secured it. *16 All this is the firm plan of the All Mighty, the AllKnowing. (Surah Ha-Mim As- Sajdah, 41:12) The same thing has been expressed in other place:
هببو الببذي خلببق لكببم مببا فببي الرض ِ ْ َْ ِ َ ْ ُ َ َ ََ ِ ّ َ ُ ُّ ّ ََِ َ ّ جميعا ثم استوى إلببى الس بماء فس بواهن َِ َ َ ْ ّ ُ ً ِ َ ﴾2:29﴿سبع سموات وهو بكل شيء عليم ٌ َِ ٍ ْ َ ّ ُ ِ َ ُ َ ٍ َ َ َ َ ْ َ
He it is Who created for you all that there is on the Earth; He then turned to the sky and ordered it into seven heavens *34. And He has full knowledge of everything *35. (Surah Al-Baqarah, v.2:29) *34. It is difficult to explain precisely what is meant by the 'seven heavens'. In all ages man has tried, with the help of observation and speculation, to conceptualize the 'heavens', i.e. that which lies beyond and above the earth. As we well known, the concepts that have thus developed have constantly changed. Hence it would be improper to tie the meaning of these words of the Qur'an to any one of these numerous concepts. What might be broadly inferred from this statement is that either God has divided the universe beyond the earth into seven distinct spheres, or that this earth is located in that
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part of the universe, which consists of seven different spheres. ‘And He has full knowledge of everything’. *35
In this sentence attention is drawn to two important facts:
(a) First, man is warned against disbelief and rebellion against God, for God knows all that man does and none of his actions are hidden from Him. (b) Second, it is suggested to man that if he turns away from the All-Knowing God, from the One Who is the source of all knowledge; this can only leave him grouping in the darkness of ignorance and error. When there is no source of truth knowledge except God, and when that very light which alone can illuminate man's life can be obtained from none else but Him, what good can come out of deviation from the Truth? In other place it has been expressed regarding the heavens:
objections from the minds of the disbelievers.
ال ب ال بذي رف بع الس بموات بغي بر عم بد ٍ َ َ ِ َْ ِ ِ َ َ ّ َ ََ ِ ّ ّ ُ َ َ َ ْ َ َ ُ ّ ْ َ َ ََ ْ َ ْش َ َ خ ترونها ثم استوى على العبر ِ وسب ّر الشمس والقمر كل يجري لجل مسمى ّ َ ُ ٍ َ ِ ِ ْ َ ّ ُ َ َ َْ َ َ ْ ّ َ
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يدبر المر يفصبل اليببات لعلكبم بلقبباء ِ َ ِِ ْ ُ َّ َ ِ َ َْ ُ ّ َ ُ َ ْ َْ ُ ّ َ ُ ﴾13:2﴿ ربكم توقنون َ ُِ ُ ْ ُ َّ
It is Allah Who raised up the heavens without such pillars as you could see: *2 then He sat Himself upon the Throne of His Kingdom: *3 He subjected the sun and the moon to a law. *4 Everything in the universe is running its course to its fixed term. *5 And Allah alone is directing the whole affair. He makes His signs plain: *6 perhaps you may be convinced of meeting your Lord. *7 (Surah Ar-Ra’ad, v.13:2)
It is Allah Who raised up the heavens without such pillars as you could see: *2 *2 In other words, "Allah keeps the myriad's of heavenly bodies in space without any visible and perceptible support." Though there is nothing apparent and visible that is supporting these bodies, yet there is an invariable and imperceptible Power which is not only holding and keeping each and everyone of these huge bodies including the earth we inhabit in their proper places and orbits but also does not let any collision take place between them.
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He sat Himself upon the Throne of His Kingdom: *3 *3 For the fuller details of "He sat Himself on the Throne of His Kingdom," please refer to E.N. 41 of Al-A’araf. Here the purpose will be served if it is understood that this thing has been mentioned in the Qur'an at many places in order to bring out clearly the fact that Allah has not only created the earth, but also rules over His Kingdom, and that His universe is a factory that is not working automatically as some ignorant people seem to think nor is it being ruled by many gods as other ignorant people seem to believe. But it is a regular system that is being run and ruled over by its Creator. He subjected the sun and the moon to a law. *4: *4 It should be noted here that the addressees themselves accepted the truth of all the claims that have been made in this verse. Therefore no proofs were required of the facts that it is Allah Who raised up the heavens without any visible support and subjected the sun and the moon to a fixed order. These things have been mentioned here only as
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arguments to prove that Allah is the sole Sovereign and ruler of the whole universe. Now let us consider this question: How can such an argument as this convince those who do not believe at all in the existence of God nor acknowledge that He is the Creator of the universe and the Director of all its affairs? The answer is that the arguments in support of the Doctrine of Tauhid advanced in the Qur'an to convince the mushriks equally apply against the atheists to prove the existence of God. It is like this: The whole of the universe-the earth, the moon, the sun and the countless heavenly bodiesconstitute a perfect system which is working, under the same all-powerful Law. This is a proof that some All-Powerful Sovereign, Who possesses wisdom and unerring knowledge, must have designed such a system. This proves conclusively the existence of that Allah Who has no other equal nor associate nor partner. For there can be no system without an administrator, no law without a ruler, no wisdom without a sage, and no knowledge without the possessor of that knowledge. Above all, no one can ever conceive that there can be any creation without a Creator except the one who is obdurate or has no sense left in him at all.
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Everything in the universe is running its course to its fixed term. *5 *5 This system is not only a standing proof of the fact that an All-Powerful Sovereign is ruling over it, but is also an evidence of the great wisdom underlying it; it also bears witness that there is nothing ever-lasting in it. Everything in it remains for a fixed term after which it comes to an end. This is equally true for each and every component part of it as well as for the whole system. It is quite evident from its physical structure that there is nothing ever lasting and immortal. There must be some fixed term for the system as a whole, after the expiry of which it shall come to an end. Then there shall be another world: therefore it is most likely that there shall be Resurrection as predicted in the Qur'an: nay, its inevitability is beyond any doubt. And Allah alone is directing the whole affair. He makes His signs plain: *6 *6 Allah makes plain those Signs, which help prove the truth of what the Holy Prophet was informing them. These Signs are spread all over the universe and everyone who observes these with open eyes
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can perceive that the realities towards which the Qur'an invites the people are testified by these Signs. Perhaps you may be convinced of meeting your Lord. *7 *7 The preceding Signs have been cited to prove two things. First, the universe has only one Creator and Administrator. Second, there shall be life in the Hereafter in which everyone shall be judged in the Divine Court and awarded rewards and punishments on merit. As the first thing was quite obvious, it has not been mentioned in the conclusion drawn from the Signs. But the second thing, life in the Hereafter, has been mentioned because that was rather hidden from perception. Therefore it has specifically been stated that these Signs have been made plain in order "to convince you that you shall meet your Lord in the Hereafter and render an account of all your actions in this world.’ Now let us consider how these Signs help prove life in the Hereafter. These make it evident in two ways: (1) When we consider how big heavenly bodies as
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the sun and the moon are completely subject to the will of Allah, our hearts feel convinced that Allah Who has created these things and regulated their movements so orderly around their orbits, has undoubtedly the power to bring to life the whole human race after its death. (2) The terrestrial system also proves that its Creator is All Wise. Therefore it can never be imagined that the All-Wise Creator could have created man and endowed him with wisdom and intelligence and invested him with power and authority, and then left him free to do what he liked with these, without being responsible and accountable for their use or abuse. For His Wisdom demands that He should take full account of all the acts and deeds of man in this world. It requires that. He should take to task those who committed aggressions and compensate their victims and He should give rewards to those who practiced virtue and punishments to those who did wicked deeds. In short, His Wisdom requires that He should call to account every human being and demand: "How did you carry out the trust that was placed in your hands in the shape of your wonderful body with its wonderful faculties and the numerous resources of the earth?" It may be that a
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foolish and unjust ruler of this world might entrust the affairs of his kingdom in the hands of his agents and then forget to call them to account, but such a thing can never be expected from the All-Wise and All-Knowing Allah. It is this way of observing and considering the heavenly bodies that can convince us that life in the Hereafter is both possible and inevitable.
Allah made Fortified spheres in the heavens
In other place it has been expressed regarding the heavens created as fortified spheres:
ولقد جعلنا في السبماء بروجبا وزينا َبا ّ َ ِ ُ ُ ًب َ َ ّ ّ هب ِ َ ْ َ َ ْ َ ََ ﴾15:16﴿ للناظرين َ ِِ ِّ
It is We Who have divided the heavens into many fortified spheres *8 for the sake of administration and adorned and decked them out fair to the beholders, *9 (Surah Al-Hijr, v.15:16)
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*8 In the preceding verses 15:14-15 it was stated the disbelievers had become so hardened against the Qur’an that they would not have believed in it even if they had ascended the Heaven and seen with their own eyes the Signs mentioned in it. Now here, some of the Signs are being cited in order to convince them of its truth. ‘It is We Who have divided the heavens into many fortified spheres.’ *8: Here ‘Fortified spheres’ (buruj) are Signs of Allah for it is not possible to pass through one sphere of the Heaven into another, as each sphere of the space has been fortified by visible boundaries. In this connection, it may be noted that: (a) Literally the Arabic word buruj means ‘a fortified place’. (b) But as technical term of ancient astronomy this stood for each of the twelve Signs of the Zodiac, which marked the sun’s path through the heavens. (c) This has led some of the commentators to form the opinion that in this verse the word buruj refers to the same. (d) But there are some others who think that it means ‘planets’. (e) However, if we consider this word in the context of verse 19 (i.e. We stretched forth the Earth, and set mountains firmly upon it, and caused to grow therein every kind of vegetable in balanced measured), we are led to the conclusion that probably it (the word buruj) stands for ‘spheres’.
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‘And adorned and decked them out fair to the beholders.’ *9 Here Allah said: We have adorned and decked the ‘fortified spheres’: (a) It means: ‘We have placed a shining star or planet in each of these spheres and made them look beautiful’. (b) In other words, it means: ‘We have not made the boundless universe dismal, desolate and frightful, but so beautiful that one finds marvelous order and harmony in it everywhere, and sights therein are so attractive that each one of these charms hearts and minds. This wonderful structure of the universe is a clear proof of the fact that its Creator is not only Great and All-Wise but is also a perfect Artist’. Abdullah Yusuf Ali, a dignified and great scholar, thinker and commentator mentioned in his Tafsir, the meaning of the Holy Qur’an: In the countless millions of stars in the universe, which we see, the first step in our astronomical knowledge is to find marvelous order, beauty, and harmony, on a scale of grandeur which we appreciate more and more as our knowledge increases. The first broad belt that we distinguish is the Zodiac, which marks the sun’s path through the heavens year after year and the limit of the wanderings of the moon and the planets. We make twelve divisions of it and call them Signs of the Zodiac. Each marks the solar path through the
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heavens as we see it, month after month. We can thus mark off the seasons in our solar year, and express in definite laws the most important facts in meteorology, agriculture, seasonal winds, and tides. Then there are the mansions of the moon, the mapping out of the Constellation, and other marvelous facts of the heavens, some of which affect our physical life on this earth. But the highest lessons we can draw from them are spiritual. The author of this wonderful Order and Beauty is One, and He alone is entitled to our worship. This is also mentioned in other place of the Qur’an such as:
تبارك البذي جعبل فببي السبماء بروجببا ً ُُِ َ ّ ِ َ َ َ ِ ّ َ َ ََ ﴾25:61﴿ وجعل فيها ِراجا وقمرا منيرا ً ُِ ً َ َ َ ً َ َ َ َ َ ِ َ س
Blessed is He Who made Constellations in the skies. And placed therein a Lamp and a Moon giving Light. (Surah Al Furqan, v.25:61) The glorious Lamp of the skies is the Sun, and next to him is the Moon, which gives borrowed light. The Constellations of course, include the Signs of the Zodiac, which mark the path of the planets in the heavens. How nice and defect less Creation of Allah, can you imagine! The Qur’an has also stated this aspect of the Creator in the Surah As-Sajdah, 32:7
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ُ َ ََ ٍ ْ َ ّ ُ َ َ ْ َ ِ ّ الذي أحسن كل شيء خلقه
(Allah is) that God Who has created in perfect beauty everything He has created. In this limitless universe He has created countless numbers of things: (1) But none them are ugly and ill shaped. (2) Everything has its own special beauty. (3) Everything is proportionate and symmetrical in its own way. (4) Whatever He has made for a particular purpose, He has given it the most appropriate form and invested it with the most suitable qualities for it. (5) No better and more appropriate structure could be conceived, for example, for the eye and the ear which have been made for seeing and hearing. (6) The air has precisely the same qualities, which it should have for the purpose for which it has been made, and the water precisely the same qualities for the purpose for which it has been made. (7) No one can point out any defect or flaw in the design of anything made by God, nor can anyone offer an alteration or modification in it. Allah guarded all the Fortified Spheres from every Satan:
ٍ ِ َ ٍ َ ْ َ ّ ُ ْ ِ َ َْ ِ َ َ وحفظناها من كل شيطان رجيم
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And guarded them from every accursed Satan.*10 No Satan can pass through them. (Al-Hijr, v.15:17)
*10 These spheres are so fortified that they are beyond the reach of every Satan, for all Satans including those of Jinns, have been confined to that sphere in which the Earth has been placed and they enjoy no more access to visit other spheres than the other dwellers of this sphere. This has been mentioned in order to remove a common misunderstanding. The common people believed, and still believe, that Satan and his descendants have a free access to every place in the universe. On the contrary, the Qur’an says that Satans cannot go beyond a certain limit and they have no unlimited power of ascension. No Satan can pass through them. Except that an eavesdropper might hear something:
ٌ إل م بن اس بترق الس بمع ف بأتبعه ش بها ِ ّ َ ِ ْ َ َ َ ّ ْ َ َ َ َْ َ ُ ِ َ ب ﴾15:18﴿ مبين ٌ ُِ
Except that an eavesdropper might hear something *11, but a fiery flame pursues that eavesdropper. *12 (Surah Al-Hijr, v.15:17-18)
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No Satan can pass through them except that an eavesdropper might hear something*11 *11 This is the answer to the false claim of the soothsayers, diviners, hermits, conjurers and the like who pretended to receive communications from the Heaven. The Qur’an says that in fact they do not possess any means of obtaining information about unseen things. Satans, however, try to eavesdrop because they are by nature more like angels than human beings, but in reality, they succeed in obtaining very little information about it. But a fiery flame pursues that eavesdropper:*12 *12 In Arabic, the word
ٌ ُِ ٌ َ ِ شهاب مبين
‘shihab-i-mubin’ literally means ‘Fire flame’. In the Surah As-Saffat, v.37:10, the same thing has been called :
ٌ َ ِ ُ َ َْ َ َ َ َ ْ َ ْ َ ِ َ ْ َ ّ ِ إل مبن خط بف الخطفبة فبأتبعه شبهاب ﴾37:10﴿ ثاقب ٌ َِ
(37:10) And if any is able to snatch a fragment, he is pursued by a piercing flame. *7
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ٌ ِ َ ٌ َِ شهاب ثاقب
‘shihab-i-saqib’ means ‘flame that pierces through darkness.’ This may or may not necessary be a ‘meteor’ for it is just possible that it may be some type of rays such as ‘Cosmic Rays’ or even a stronger type, which we have not been able to discover as yet. Anyhow if the ‘fiery flame’ that pursues Satans may be taken to be a meteor, a countless number of these can form a fortification around our sphere of the universe. Scientific observations made with the help of the telescope have shown that billions of these meteors are rushing from space in mass of ‘rainfall’ towards the Earth’s atmosphere. Such a scene was witnessed in an eastern part of North America on November 13, 1833. This is so strong a fortification that it can prevent Satans from passing through any fortified sphere. With the help of the above, one can form a mental picture of the ‘fortified spheres.’ Though there is no visible ‘wall’ to keep distinct and separate one sphere from the others, Allah has securely guarded each of these spheres by invisible ‘walls’ against each other. That is why our ‘planet’ has remained safe in spite of the occasional ‘rainfall’ of countless meteors. For as soon as they cross the protective wall of our sphere, they are burnt to ashes. But sometimes a meteorite
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reaches the earth from outer space as if to warn the dwellers of this planet of the existence of the ‘power’ of the Creator. For instance, the biggest of these weighs 645 pounds and it is obvious from this that if the earth had not been made safe and secure by means of ‘fortified spheres’ the rain of the shooting stars would have utterly annihilated it long long ago. It is these ‘fortified spheres’, which the Qur’an calls ‘buruj’.
The Messengers tried in everyway to make them understand the truth
The Qur’an says:
َ ْ ِ ً َ ِ َ ْ ُ ُْ َ ْ َ ْ ُ َ ُ َ ْ َ ْ َِ فإن أعرضوا فقل أنذرتكم صاعقة مثل ﴾41:13﴿ صاعقة عاد وثمود َ ُ ََ ٍ َ ِ َ ِ َ
But if they turn away, *17 tell them: “I warn you against a sudden scourge like that which struck Ad and Thamud.” (Surah Ha-Mim-As-Sajdah, v.41:13)
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*17 That is, "If they do not believe that God and Deity is One and only One, who has created this earth and the whole universe, and still persist in their ignorance that they would make others also, who are in fact His creatures and slaves, deities beside Him, and regard them as His associates in His Being and rights and powers.
ْ ِ َ ْ ِ ِ َْ ِ َْ ْ ِ ُ ُ ّ ُ ُ َْ َ ْ ِ إذ جاءتهم الرسل من بين أيببديهم ومببن َ َ ْ َ ُ َ ّ ّ ِ ُ ُْ َ ّ َ ْ ِ ِ َْ خلفهم أل تعبدوا إل ال ب قببالوا ل بو شبباء َ ِ ِ ْ ُْ ِ ْ ُ َ ِ َِّ ً َ ِ َ َ َ َ ْ َ َ َّ ربنا لنزل ملئكة فإنبا بمبا أرسبلتم ببه ﴾41:14﴿ كافرون َ َُِ
When the Messengers (of Allah) came to them from the front and from the rear, *18 saying: “Do not serve any but Allah”; they said: “Had our Lord so willed, He would have sent down angels. So we deny the Message you have brought.” *19 (Surah Ha-Mim-AsSajdah, v.41:14) ‘Now, if they turn away’ that is, ‘if they do not believe that God and Deity is One and only One, who has created this earth and the whole universe, and still persist in their ignorance that they would make others also, who are in fact His creatures and slaves, deities beside Him, and regard them as His associates in His being and rights and powers.’
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When the Messengers of God came to them from every side, from front and from behind, saying, ‘Worship none but Allah’. This sentence can have several meanings: (a) That the Messengers continued to come to them one after another. (b) That the Messengers tried in every way to make them understand the truth and did not leave any stone unturned to bring them to the Right Path. (c) That the Messengers came to them in their own country as well as in the adjoining countries. But, they said, ‘Had Lord so willed. He would have sent down angels; therefore, we deny what you have been sent with.’ It means: ‘If Allah had disapproved of our religion, and willed to send a messenger to us to keep us away from it, He would have sent the angels. As you are not an angel but a man like us, we do not believe that you have been sent by God, and sent for the purpose that we give up our religion and adopt the way of life that you are presenting.’ The disbelievers’ saying that they deny ‘what you have been sent with’, was only sarcastic. It does not mean that they believed him to have been sent by God and then denied what he said. But this is a sarcastic expression of the type that Pharaoh had uttered before his countries about the Prophet Moses:
ْ ُ ْ َِ َ ِ ْ ُ ِ ّ ُ ُ َ ُ َ ّ ِ َ َ قببال إن رسببولكم الببذي أرسببل إليكببم ﴾26:27﴿ لمجنون ٌ ُْ َ َ
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Pharaoh said (to all those present), "This messenger of yours, who has been sent to you, seems to be utterly mad." (Surah Ash Shua’ra, 26:27)
The ignominious torment of ‘Ad was an answer to their arrogance and vanity
The words of Lord came in response of Utbah’s Proposal like this:
﴿51:14﴾ فَأ َم نا عَناد ٌ فاس نت َك ْب َروا فِ ني ن ّن ن ْ َ ُ ُ ن ْ ال َرض ب ِغَي ْنرِ ال ْح نقّ وَقَ نالوا م نن َ ْ َ ِ ْ َ َ أشد ّ منا قُوّةً أ َوَل َم ي َنروا أ َن الل ّنه ّ ِ ّ َ ْ َ ْ َ ًال ّذي خل َقهُم هُوَ أ َشد ّ من ْهُم قُ نوّة ِ ْ ِ ْ َ َ ﴿ وَك َننننانوا بآيات ِن َننننا ي َجح نننندون ْ َن ُ ِ َ ن ن َ ُ 61:14﴾ فَأ َرسننننل ْنا عَل َي ْهننننم ريحننننا َ ً ِ ْ َ ْ ِ
صرصنننرا فِننني أ َي ّنننام ٍ ن ّحسنننات ٍ َ ِ ً َ ْ َ ل ّننُننذيقهُم ع َننذاب ال ْخننزي فِنني ِن ْ ِ ن َ َ ِ َ ْ ن ال ْحينناةِ النند ّن ْيا وَل َعننذاب الخننرة ِ َ ِ ْ ُ َ َ َ َ َ أ َخزى وَهُم ل ينصرون َ ُ َ ُ َ ْ َ ْ
(15) As for Ad, they waxed proud in the land without justification and said: “Who is greater than we in strength?” Did they not see that Allah, Who created them, is greater in strength than they? They continued to deny Our Signs. (16) Whereupon We sent upon them a fierce wind on inauspicious days *20 that We might make them taste a degrading chastisement in the life of this world. *21And surely the chastisement of the Hereafter is even more degrading. There will be none to help them there. (Surah Ha-Mim AsSajdah, 41:15-16) *20 "Ill-omened days" does not mean that the days in themselves were ill-omened, and the torrent came because the people of 'Ad met with those ill-omened days. If these were the meaning and there were some ill omen in the days themselves, the torment would have visited all the nations of the world. The cornet meaning, therefore, is that since in those days God's torment descended on this nation, the days were illomened for the people of 'Ad. It is not cornet to argue on the basis of the verse that some days are ill omened and some auspicious.
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The lexicographers have disputed the meaning of the words: Riih’an soar soaran, these words have been used for the stormy wind. There are some opinions regarding the meanings of these Arabic words: Opinion-1: Some say that they imply an intensely hot wind. Opinion-2: Others say that they imply an extremely cold wind. Opinion-3: And some others say that they imply a wind, which produces a great noise when it blows. In any case, they all agree that the words are used for a severe storm. The details of this torment given at other places in the Qur'an show that this wind continued to rage for seven nights and eight days consecutively. This ignominious torment was an Answer to their arrogance and vanity: *21 This ignominious torment was an answer to their arrogance and vanity because of which they had assumed greatness in the land without any right, and would boast that there was none more powerful than they on the entire earth. Allah disgraced them and destroyed the major part of their population along with their civilization. The torment of their
ريحا صرصرا ً ِ ً َ ْ َ
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population was humbled and debased before those very nations whom they used to overawe by their show of power and might. (For the details of the story of 'Ad see Al-A'raf: 65-72; Hud: 50-60; AlMu'minun: 32-41; Ash-Shua’ra’: 123-140; Al-'Ankabut; 40 and the relevant E.N.'s).
The details of the torment to ‘Ad
The details of the torment given at other places in the Qur’an show that:
ُ َ ﴿6﴾ وَأ َمنننا عننناد ٌ فنننأ ُهْل ِكوا ب ِرينننح َ ّ ِ ٍ َ ٍصرصرٍ عات ِي َة َ ْ َ ﴿7﴾ سننخرها عَل َي ْهننم سننب ْعَ ل َيننال َ َ ّ َ َ ْ ِ ٍ َ وَث َمان ِينَننة أ َينّننام ٍ حسننوما فَتنَننرى َ ً ُ ُن َ َ َ ال ْقوم فيها صرعى ك َأ َنهم أ ّ ُ ْ عْجاز َ ْ َ ُ َ َ ِ َ ْ َ ن َخل خاوِي َة َ ٍ ْ ٍ
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(6) and the Ad were destroyed by a furiously raging wind-storm. (7) Which He let loose upon them for seven nights and eight days in succession; so that (if you had been there) you might have seen people lying prostrate, as though they were uprooted trunks of hollowed palm trees. (Al Haqqah, v.69:6-7) It has been stated in other place of the Qur’an:
﴿14:15﴾ وَفي عادٍ إ ِذ ْ أ َرس نل ْنا عَل َي ْهِ نم َ َ َ ْ ِ ُ الريح ال ْعَقيم َ ّ َ ِ ّ َ َ َ ُ ِ َ ْ ٍ َ َ ْ ََ ْ ِ إ ﴿24:15﴾ مببا تببذر مببن شببيء أتببت عليببه ِل ِ ِ ّ َ ُ ْ ََ َ جعلته كالرميم
(41) There is also a Sign for you in (the story of) Ad, when We let loose upon them an ominous or blighting wind (42) That left nothing that it came upon without reducing it to rubble. *39 (Surah AdhDhariyat, v.51:41-42) *39 The word used for this wind is ‘aqim’, which is used for a barren woman, though literally it means dry. Now, Literal meaning of the word ‘aqim’: If the literal meaning were taken it would mean that it was such an intensely hot and dry wind that on whatever it blew it caused it to become absolutely dry. Idiomatic sense of the word ‘aqim’:
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And if it is taken in the idiomatic sense it would mean that: (a) Like a barren woman it was a wind without any benefit. (b) Neither it was pleasant. (c) Nor it brought rain. (d) Nor fertilized the trees. (e) Nor contained any other benefit for which the wind blows. At other places in the Qur’an regarding the word ‘aqim’: *39 It has been stated that this wind was not only useless and dry but it blew so violently that it swept the people off the ground and it continued to rage for eight days and seven nights continuously, till it laid the entire land of the ‘Ad waste. When the people of ‘Ad saw:
َ ْ ْ ّ ً ﴿42:64﴾ فَل َما رأ َوْهُ عارِضا مسننت َقب ِل َ َ ّ ُ َ ْ أ َوْدِي َت ِهنننم قنننالوا هنننذا عنننارِض َ َ َ ٌ ِ ْ َ ُ ْ ّ ِممط ِرنا ب َل هُوَ ما است َعْجل ْتم ب ِنه ُ َ ْ َ ريح فيها عَذاب أ َلي نم ﴿52:64﴾ ت ُند َمر ٌ ِ ٌ َ َ ِ ٌ ُ ّ َ كِ ُل شيء بأ َمر ربها فَأ َ ّ َ ْ ٍ ِ ْ ِ َ ّ َ صننب َحوا ل ُ ْ
َ ْ ي ُرى إ ِل مساك ِن ُهُم كننذ َل ِك ن َجننزي َ َ ّ َ ِ ْ َ ال ْقوْم ال ْمجرِمين َ َ َ ِ ْ ُ
(46:24) When they saw the scourge advancing towards their valleys, they said: “This is a cloud that will bring much rain to us.” “By no means; *28 it is what you had sought to hasten – a wind-storm bearing a grievous chastisement. (46:25) That will destroy everything by the command of its Lord.” Thereafter nothing was left to see except their dwellings. Thus do We requite the wrongdoers? *29 (Surah Al-Ahqaf, 46:24-25) *28 Here, there is no indication as to who gave them this answer. However, the style shows explicitly that this was the answer they were given by the existing conditions. They thought it was a cloud, which was coming to give rain to their valleys, but in reality it was a windstorm that was coming on to completely exterminate them. *29 For the details of the story of 'Ad, see Al-A'raf: 65-72, Hud: 50-60, Al-Mu'minun: 31-41. AshShu'ara: 123-140, Al-'Ankabut: 40, Ha-Mim AsSajdah: 15-16; and the corresponding E.N.'s. There are a lot of evidences in the Qur’an regarding the torments on ‘Ad some of those are as follows:
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َ َ َ ﴿56﴾ وَإ ِلى عادٍ أ َخاهُم هودا ً قال ينَنا َ ُ ْ َ قَوْم ِ اعْب ُدوا ْ الل ّه ما ل َكم من إ ِلنه ٍ َ ْ ّ ُ ُ َ َ ُ غَي ْنره أ َفَل َ ت َت ّق نون ﴿66﴾ قَ نال ال ْمل َ ن َ ُن َ ُ ُ َ َ ال ّذين ك َفروا ْ من قَوْمهِ إ ِنا ل َن َراك ّ ِ ِ ُ َ َ ِ فنني سننفاهَةٍ وِإ ِنننا ل َن َظ ُنننك مننن َ َ ّ ِ َ ِ َ ّ َ ن ال ْكاذِبين ﴿76﴾ قَ نال ينَنا قَ نوْم ِ ل َي ْنس َ َ ِ َ بي سنفاهَة وَل َك ِنني رسنول منن ٌ َ َ ّ ُ َ ّ ٌ ِ ُرب ال ْعال َمين ﴿86﴾ أب َل ّغُك ُم رِسالت ِ ّ ّ َ ْ َ ِ َ َ ربي وأ َنا ْ ل َك ُم ناصح أ ْ َ ِ ٌ مين َ َ ّ َ ٌ ِ
(7:65) And to 'Ad *51 We sent forth their brother Hud. He said: '0 my people! Serve Allah; you have no other god than Him. Will you, then, not avoid evil?'(66) The unbelievers among the leading men of his people said: 'Indeed we see you in folly, and consider you to be liars.' (67) He said: '0 my people! There is no folly in me; rather I am a Messenger from the Lord of the universe. (68) I convey to you the messages of my Lord, and I give you sincere advice. (Surah Al-A’araf, 7:65-68) ‘Ad was one of the most ancient tribes of Arabia. Their stories were well known and were related all over the country. The stories of their power and wealth had become proverbial and their utter
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annihilation was also cited as an example. Their notoriety helped to produce some new words ‘akin’ to their name. Every ancient thing is called ‘adi’ and archaeological remains are called ‘adiyyat’. The land, which has no owner left and thus becomes fallow, is called ‘adi-ul-ard’. This tribe is often mentioned in the ancient Arabic poetry. The experts in the art of genealogy of the Arab tribes, mention ‘Ad as the first of the extinct tribes of Arabia. There is a tradition that: • Once a man of Bani Zahl-bin-Shaiban, who was a resident of the territory where the ‘Ad tribe lived, came to the Holy Prophet and related stories about ‘Ad, that had come down from ancient times. Allah says in the Qur’an:
ِ ألم تر كيف فعل ربك بعبباد ﴿6﴾ إرم ذا ََ ْ َ َ َ ْ َ َ َ َ َ ّ َ ِ َ ٍ ِ َ َ َ ت ِ َ ِ ْ ِ َ ُْ ِ ْ َْ ُ ْ َ ِ ّ ِ َ ِ ْ العماد ﴿7﴾ التي لم يخلق مثلها فببي البلد
(6) Have you *2 not seen how your Lord dealt with ‘Ad (7) of Iram, *3 known for their lofty columns, (8) the like of whom no nation was ever created in the lands of the world? *4 (Surah Al-Fajr, v.89:6-8)
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*3 ‘Ad Iram implies the ancient tribe of ‘Ad, who have been called, ‘Ad Ula’ in the Qur’an and Arabian history. In Surah An-Najm, v.53:50, it has been said:
وأنه أهلك عادا الولى َ ُْ ً َ َ َْ َ ُ ّ ََ
(53:50) That He it is Who destroyed the ancient ‘Ad, *45 *45 'Ad Ula signifies the ancient 'Ad to whom the Prophet Hud (peace be upon him) had been appointed a Prophet. When those people were inflicted with the torment in consequence of denying the Prophet Hud, the believers only escaped the punishment. Their descendants are called `Ad Ukhra, or the latter 'Ad, in history. *3 The ‘Ad are those nations, to whom the prophet Hud had been sent, and who were punished with a scourge. The people of ‘Ad who remained safe and flourished afterwards are remembered as ‘Ad Ukhra in Arabian history. The ancient ‘Ad are called ‘Ad Iram for the reason that they belonged to that branch of the Semitic race which descended from Iram son of Shem son of Noah (peace be upon them).
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Several other sub-branches of this main branch are well known in history: (a) One of which were the Thamud, who have been mentioned in the Qur’an. (b) Another are the Aramaeans, who in the beginning inhabited the northern parts of Syria and whose language Aramaic occupies an important place among the Semitic languages. The words dhat-ul-imad (of lofty pillars) have been used for the ‘Ad because they built high buildings and the pattern of architecture of erecting edifices on lofty pillars was introduced by them in the world. At another place in the Qur’an this characteristic has been mentioned in connection with the Prophet HUD, who said to them:
َ َُْ َ ً ََ ٍ ِ ّ ُ ِ َ ُْ ََ أتبنون بكل ريع آية تعبثون
What! You erect for mere pleasure, a monument on every high spot, *90 (Surah Ash-Shu’ara, v.26:128) *90 That is, "You build grand buildings merely to show off your wealth and power, whereas they have no use and purpose except that they stand as monuments to your grandeur and glory. "
َ ُ ُْ َ ْ ُ َّ َ َ ِ َ َ َ ُ ِ ّ َ َ وتتخذون مصانع لعلكم تخلدون
And build huge castles as if you were immortal; *91 (Surah Ash-Shu’ara, v.26:129)
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*91 That is ‘Though you have built other buildings also for dwelling purposes, in order to make them grand, beautiful and strong, you expend your wealth and mental and physical abilities in a manner as if you were going to live for ever, and there was no purpose of life except seeking of comfort and pleasure and nothing beyond this worldly life which might deserve your attention.’ In this connection, one should bear in mind the fact that extravagance in architecture is not a solitary vice in a people. This happens as a result of a people's becoming affluent and then crazy for selfish gains and materialistic pursuits. When a people reach such a stage, their whole social system becomes corrupted and polluted. Prophet Hud's criticism of his people's extravagant and luxurious architecture was not simply aimed at the high castles and monuments, but he was actually criticizing their corrupt civilization and social system, whose glaring symptoms could be seen everywhere in the land in the shape of castles and monuments.
Ahqaf was the territory of the ‘Ad tribes
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According to the Qur’an, the tribe of ‘Ad lived in Ahqaf, surrounded by Hijaz, Yaman and Yamamah. From here they had established their authority over a vast territory that extended from the western coast of Yaman and ‘Umman and Hadar Mout to Iraq. Though their remains have become quite extinct from the historical point of view, yet there are some remnants in Southern Arabia that are ascribed to ‘Ad. At one place in Hadar Mout, there is a tomb which is said to be of Prophet Hud. In 1837, James R. Wellested, an officer in the British Navy, discovered near Hisn-i-Ghurab a tablet, which contained a mention of Prophet Hud. Moreover, the waiting on the tablet showed that they were the followers of the Law of Prophet Hud.
When Prophet Hud Warned his people in Ahqaf
Allah remined to Mohammad(pbuh):
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ِ َ ْ َْ ِ ُ َ ْ َ َ َ ْ َ ْ ِ ٍ َ َ َ ْ ُ ْ َ واذكر أخا عاد إذ أنذر قومه بالحقبباف ِ ِ ْ َ ْ ِ َ ِ ْ َ َ ِ ْ َ ْ ِ ُ ُ ّ ِ ََ ْ َ َ وقد خلت النذر من بين يديه ومن خلفبه ْ ُ ْ ََ ُ َ َ ّ ِ ّ ّ ِ ُ ُ ْ َ ّ َ أل تعبببدوا إل البب إنببي أخبباف عليكببم َ ﴾46:21﴿ عذاب يوم عظيم ٍ ِ َ ٍْ َ َ ََ
(46:21) Recount to them the story of (Hud), the brother of (the tribe of) ‘Ad. Hud warned his people beside the sand dunes *25 – and there have been other warners before him and since his time – saying: “Serve none but Allah. Verily I fear that the chastisement of an awesome day shall come upon you.”(Surah Al-Ahqaf, 46:21) As the chiefs of the Quraish had a false pride of their superiority and exulted in their wealth and prosperity, the story of ‘Ad is being related to them about whom it was well known that they had been the mightiest people in Arabia. Literally, Ahqaf (pl. of hiqf) are long dunes of sand less in height than mountains, but technically it is a name given to the southern-western part of the Arabian Desert (Ar-Rub’ul-khali), which is wholly un-inhabited. (Please see the map in Page 672 vol.IV) Ibn Ishaq says that the territory of ‘Ad extended from ‘Oman to Yaman, and the Qur’an tell us that they actually belonged to Al-Ahqaf from where they spread to the adjoining lands and subdued weak
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nations. 125 miles to the north of the present day city of Makkah there is a place in Hadramaut, where the people have built a tomb to the People Hud, and the place is well known as the Grave of Hud. A religious festival is held there on the 15th of Sha’ban and thousands of people from different parts of Arabia gather there annually. Although it is not historically established, the grave’s being built there and the southern Arabs’ visiting it in large numbers is at least a proof that local tradition regards this very territory as the land of ‘Ad. Besides, there are several ruins in Hadramaut which the natives still call by the name of Dar-‘Ad(Abode of ‘Ad). From the present condition of Al-Ahqaf no one can even imagine that this land might have been the home of a mighty people boasting of magnificent civilization. Probably it was a green and fertile land thousands of years ago, and then the change of climate might have turned it into a sandy desert. Today it is a vast, wind-swept desert, and no one can dare go into its interior. In 1843 A.D. a Brave soldier was able to reach its southern edge. He says that if one looks down from the northern plateau of Hadramaut one can see this desert about a thousand feet in the depression. Here and there in it there are white areas where if a thing falls it goes on sinking into the sand and decays. The Arab Beduins fears this land and is never willing to step into it at any cost. Once when the Beduins was not ready to take him there, he went by himself. He says that the sand there
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is very fine powder, and when he threw a plummet into it from a distance, it sank into it within five minutes and the end of the lone to which it was attached, also decayed. For detailed information, see: (a) Arabia and The Isles, Harold Ingrams, London, 1946. (b) The Unveiling of Arabia, R.H. Kiman, London, 1937. (c) The Empty Quarter, Philby, London, 1933.
The people of Hud said, ‘Bring down your torment with which you threaten us’
The Qur’an says:
َ ُ ﴿22:64﴾ قننالوا أ َجئ ْت َنننا ل ِت َأ ْفِك َنننا عننن َ ِ َ َ ْ آل ِهَت ِننَنا فَأ ْت ِننَنا ب ِمنا ت َعِند ُنا إن كننت َن ُ َ َ ِ من الصادِقين ّ ِ َ ِ َ
They said, ‘Have you come to seduce us away from our own gods? Well, bring down your torment with .which you threaten us, if you are really truthful )22:64 ,(Surah Al-Ahqaf :Another place Allah says
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َ ﴿96:7﴾ أ َوَعَجب ْت ُم أن جاءك ُم ذِك ْر من َ ٌ ّ ْ ِ ْ رب ّك ُم عَلى رجل منك ُنم ل ِيننذِرك ُم ْ ُ َ ْ ْ َ َ ُ ٍ ّ ّ واذك ُنروا ْ إ ِذ ْ جعَل َك ُنم خل َف ناء م نن ِن ْ ُ َن َ ُ َ ب َعْدِ قَوْم ِ نوح وَزاد َك ُم في ال ْخل ْق ْ ِ ُ ٍ َ َ ِ ْ ً َ ب َسط َة فاذ ْك ُروا ْ آلء الل ّنهِ ل َعَل ّك ُنم ْ ُ ن ُ َ ت ُفل ِحون ﴿07:7﴾ قَ نالوا ْ أجئ ْت َننَنا ل ِن َعْب ُند َ ْ ُ َ ِ َ َن الل ّه وَح ند َهُ وَن َنذ َر م نا كنَنان ي َعْب ُند ُ َ َ ْ آباؤُننَنا فَأ ْت ِننَنا ب ِمنا ت َعِند ُنا إن كن نت َن َ ُ َ َ ِ من الصادِقين ّ ِ َ ِ َ
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(69) Do you wonder that an exhortation should come to you from your Lord through a man from amongst yourselves that he may warn you? And do call to mind when He made you successors after the people of Noah and amply increased you in stature. Remember then the wondrous bounties *52 of Allah, that you may prosper.' (70) They said: 'Have you come to us that we should worship none other than Allah and forsake all whom our forefathers were wont to worship? *53 Then bring upon us the scourge with which you have threatened us if you are truthful?' (Surah Al-A’araf, 7:69-70) *52. The word ala' used in the above verse stands for bounties, wondrous works of nature, and praiseworthy qualities. The purpose of the verse is to impress upon man to gratefully, recognize the favors God has lavished upon him, bearing in mind that God also has the Power to take them away. *53. It is worth noting that the people of 'Ad neither disbelieved in God nor refused to worship Him. They did not, however, follow, the teachings of Hud who proclaimed God alone should he worshipped, and that none other may be associated in servitude to Him.
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Prophet Hud said to his people in reply of their demands for the torment
Prophet Hud said to his people:
َ ُ َْ َ َ ِ ُ ّ َ َ ِ ّ ُ ّ َ ﴿231﴾ واتقوا الذي أمدكم بما تعلمون ٍ ّ َج ﴿331﴾ أمبببدكم بأنعبببام وبنيبببن ﴿431﴾ و َنبببات َ ِ َ َ ٍ َ ْ َِ ُ ّ َ َ ٍ َ َ َ َ ْ ُ ْ ََ ُ َ َ ّ ِ وعيون ﴿531﴾ إني أخاف عليكم عبذاب يبوْم ٍ ُُ َ ْعظيم ﴿631﴾ قالوا سواء علينا أوعظت أم لم َ ْ َ َ ْ َ َ َ َ ْ ََ َ َ ُ َ ٍَِ ُ ُُ ّ ِ َ َ ْ ِ تكن من ال بواعظين ﴿731﴾ إن ه بذا إل خل بق َ ِ ِ َ ْ َ ّ َُ ﴿ الوليببببن ﴿831﴾ ومببببا نحببببن بمعببببذبين َ ِّ َ ُ ِ ُ ْ َ َ َ َ ِّ َْ 931﴾ فكذبو ُ فَهلكناهم إن في ذِك لية َما َ َ َ ّ ُ ه َأ َْ ْ َ ُ ْ ِ ّ ِ َل َ َ َ ً و َ ِِ ْ ّ ُ ُ َْ َ َ َ كان أكثرهم مؤمنين
(132) Fear Him (Allah) Who has bestowed on you all that you know. (133) He gave you cattle and children (134) And gardens and water springs. (135) I fear the torment of a dreadful Day for you. (136) They replied, ‘whether you admonish us or not, such things have been said in the past as well, *93. (137)
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Such things have been said in the past as well. (138) And we are certainly not going to be chastised.’ (139) At last, they rejected him, and We destroyed them. *94. Indeed there is a Sign in this, but most of these people would not believe. (Surah AshShu’arah, 26:132-139) * 93 The people of ‘Ad said, ‘such things have been said in the past as well.’ This can have two meanings: (a) Whatever we are doing is not new but has been happening from the time of our elders since centuries: (i) They had the same creed. (ii) The same way of life. (iii) The same morality. (iv) And the same kind of dealings. And yet they remained unharmed and safe from every calamity. If there was any evil in this way of life, we should have met the doom with which you are threatening us. (b) The things you are preaching have been preached and said before also by religious maniacs and socalled moralists, but they could not change the ways of the world. It has never happened that the world suffered a disaster only because people refused to listen to preachers like you. On the basis of the above arguments they said, ‘And we are certainly not going to be chastised.’
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* 94 In reply of their above arguments Allah said: ‘At last, they rejected him, and We destroyed them.’ According to the Qur’an, the people of ‘Ad were destroyed by a violent windstorm. When they saw it advancing towards their valleys, they rejected with the hope that those were dense clouds, which would bring much rain for them, but in reality it was Allah’s scourge. The windstorm contained to rage for eight days and seven nights and destroyed everything. The people were swept away like straw and everything on which the hot, and dry wind blew was left rotting. The storm did not abate until the last man of the wicked tribe had met his doom. Only ruins of their habitations remained to tell the tale of their terrible fate, and today even the ruins have become extinct. The whole territory of Ahqaf has turned into dreadful desert.
The Qur’an says:
َ َ ﴿32﴾ قننال إ ِن ّمننا ال ْعِلننم عننند َ اللننه ِ ُ ْ ِ ّ َ وَأ ُب َل ّغُكم منا أ ُرسنل ْت ب ِنهِ وَل َك ِننّني ُ ِ ْ ُ ّن ُ ْ أ َراكننم قَوْمننا ت َجهَلننون ﴿42﴾ فَل َمننا َ ّ ً ْ ُ َ َ ْ ْ ّ ًن رأ َوْهُ عارِض نا مس نت َقب ِل أ َوْدِي َت ِهِ نم َ ْ َ ُ َ قالوا هَذا عارِض ممط ِرنا ب َل هُو َ َ َ ْ َ ُ ْ ّ ٌ
ما است َعْجل ْتم ب ِهِ ريح فيها عَذاب ُ َ ْ ٌ َ َ َ ِ ٌ ِ أ َليم ٌ ِ
(23) He (Hud) said, ‘the knowledge of this is with Allah, *26 I am only conveying to you the message with which I have been sent. But I see that you are a people sunk in ignorance. *27 (24) Then when they saw the torment coming towards their valleys, they said, ‘This is a cloud that will give us much rain.’ – Nay, *28 but this is the same thing which you asked to be hastened. This is a storm of wind bringing a painful torment. (Surah Al-Ahqaf, 46:23-24)
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َ َ ﴿17:7﴾ قَننال قنند ْ وَقَ نعَ عَل َي ْك ُننم مننن ّ رب ّك ُم رِجس وَغَضب أ َت ُجادِلون َني ِ ُ َ ٌ َ ْ ٌ ْ ّ َفنني أ َسننماء سننميتموها أن َ ن ّ ْ ُ ُ َ تنُننم ِن ْ َ ْن َ ّ وآبنَنآؤكم منا ن َنزل الل ّنه ب ِهَنا منن ُ ن ِن ُ ّن َ س نل ْطان فَ نانت َظ ِروا ْ إ ِننّني معَكنُنم َ ٍ ن ُ َ ُ َمننن ال ْمنتظريننن ﴿27:7﴾ فَأن َ َ ُجي ْننناه َ َ ّ ِ ِ َ ُ وال ّذين معَه ب ِرحمةٍ منا وَقَط َعْنننا َ ّ ّ َ ْ َ ُ َ َ ِ َ ْ داب ِر ال ّذين ك َذ ّبوا ْ بآيات ِنا وَما كانوا ُ َ َ َ َ ِ ُ َ ِ َ َ مؤْمنين َ ِ ِ ُ
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(71) To this, he replied, ‘you have already incurred the curse of Allah and His wrath. Do you dispute with me about mere names, which you and your forefathers have invented, *54 and for which Allah has sent down no authority? 55 Well, you may wait and I, too, will wait with you.’ (72) Ultimately, We saved Hud and his companions with Our Mercy, and We cut off the roots of those who treated Our Revelations as lies, and did not intend to believe. *56 (Surah Al-A’raf, v.7:71-72) *54 Allah says: ‘Do you dispute with me about mere names, which you and your forefathers have invented?’ It means you call one ‘the lord of rain’, the other ‘the lord of air’ or ‘lord of wealth’ or ‘lord of disease’, when, in fact, none of these is lord of anything. There are some names that you have invented. In or own time they call one ‘the remover of difficulties’ and the other ‘the bestowed of treasurers’, whereas he has no treasure to bestow on anyone. They have made one ‘the giver’, when he owns nothing to give, and so on. In fact, such titles are empty words without any corresponding possessor of such qualities, entitling anyone to these titles. Therefore, if one argues to justify these titles, he, in fact, raises disputes over mere names that have no reality behind them. *55 ‘And for which Allah has sent down no authority.’ It means Allah, Whom you yourselves acknowledge to be the Overlord, has not delegated to
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any of these gods the powers of a lord or god. He has never said that He has delegated a part of His Godhead to such and such a one, nor has He sent Command authorizing anyone with the powers of ‘giver’ or ‘remover of difficulties’. You yourselves have, of your own accord, bestowed such titles on the ones you pleased. *56Allah says: ‘We cut off the roots of those who treated Our Revelations as lies, and did not intend to believe.’ It means, ‘We destroyed them so completely that no sign of theirs was left in the world.’ This is a fact that has been established by the traditions of Arabia. The archaeological remains also bear testimony that the people of the ‘First ‘Ad’ were so completely annihilated that even their monuments were effaced from the world. The Arab historians count the ‘Ad tribe among the extinct tribes. They, however, assert it as a fact that the followers of Hud were saved and were known as the ‘Second ‘Ad’ and the tablet of Hisn-i-Ghurab mentioned in one of their monuments. Here are some extracts of the inscriptions which were inscribed on it some 1800 years before Christ: ‘We have lived for a long period in this fort in great prosperity. Our canals were always full of water.. .. And our rulers were noble kings who were free from evil. They were, hard on those who disturbed the peace. They ruled over us in accordance with the Law of Hud and used to enter all-important decisions
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in a book. We believe in miracles and life after death.’ The above extracts bear witness to the fact stated in the Qur’an that the followers of Hud became the inheritors of the ancient glory and prosperity of the ‘Ad tribe.
This torment destroyed them at all
The Qur’an says:
﴿52:64﴾ ت ُد َمر ك ُل شنيء ب ِنأ َمرِ رب ّهَنا ْ َ ن ٍ ْ َ ّ ُ ّ فَأ َصننب َحوا ل يننرى إ ِل مسنناك ِن ُهُم ُ ْ َ َ ّ ْ َ ُ َ ك َذ َل ِك ن َجزي ال ْقوْم ال ْمجرِمين َ َ َ ِ ْ ُ ِ ْ َ ﴿62:64﴾ وَل َقننند ْ مك ّنننناهُم فيمنننا إن َ ّ َ َ ِ ْ ِ مك ّناك ُم فيهِ وَجعَل ْننَنا ل َهُ نم س نمعا ِ ْ ّ ّ ً ْ َ ْ َ وَأ َب ْصارا وَأ َفْئ ِد َةً فَما أ َغْنى عَن ْهننم َ ْ ُ َ ً َ َسننننننمعهم ول أب َ ْ ُ ْ ُ ُ ْ َ َ ْصننننننارهُم وَل َ َ َ أ َفْئ ِد َت ُهننم مننن شننيء إ ِذ ْ كننانوا ٍ ْ ُ َ ّ ُ ّ ي َجحدون بآيات اللنهِ وَحناقَ ب ِهنم ِ َ ِ َ ُ َ ْ َ ِ ُ ما كانوا ب ِهِ ي َست َهْزِؤون ُ َ ّ ْ
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(25) It will destroy everything by the Command of its Lord. Consequently, there remained nothing to be seen except their (empty) dwelling places. Thus do We recompense the culprits.*29 (26) We had given them that which We have not given you.*30 We had given them ears and eyes and hearts, but nothing did their ears and their eyes and their hearts, but nothing did their ears and their eyes and their hearts avail them, because they denied the Revelations of Allah,*31 and they were encompassed by the same thing that they mocked. (Surah Al-Ahqaf, 46:25-26) *31 Allah says: ‘We had given them ears and eyes and hearts, but nothing did their ears and their eyes and their hearts, but nothing did their ears and their eyes and their hearts avail them, because they denied the Revelations of Allah.’ An important truth has been stated in this brief sentence. It is only the Revelations of Allah which give the right knowledge and understanding of the truth and reality to man. If man has this understanding and knowledge he sees that the right thing with his eyes, hears the right thing with his ears, thinks the right thing with his mind and intellect and takes the right decisions. But when he refuses to believe in the Revelations of Allah, he fails to see the truth in spite of the eyes, becomes deaf to every word of admonition in spite of the ears, and misuses the blessings of the mind and intellect that God has granted him, and goes on drawing wrong conclusions one after the other; so much so that he
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starts using all his capabilities for his own destruction.
The various details about the People of ‘Ad in the Qur’an
We should keep in mind the various details about the people of ‘Ad which the Qur’an has given at different places. For instance, it says: (1) After the destruction of the people of Noah, the ‘Ad were given power and prominence in the world:
واذك ُنروا ْ إ ِذ ْ جعَل َك ُنم خل َف ناء م نن ِن ْ ُ َن َ ُ َ ب َعْدِ قَوْم ِ نوح ٍ ُ
Do not forget that after Noah’s people your Lord made you the successors. (Surah Al-A’raf, 7:69) (2) Physically they were very robust and powerful people:
وَزاد َك ُم في ال ْخل ْق ب َسط َة ً ْ ِ ْ َ ِ َ
And your Lord made you very robust. (Surah AlA’raf, 7:69)
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(3) They had no parallel as a nation in the world:
﴿8:98﴾ ال ّتنِني ل َنم ي ُخل َنقْ مث ْل ُهَ نا فِ ني ِ ن ن ْ ْ َ ِال ْب ِلد
The likes of which was not created in the lands of the world. *4 (Surah Al-Fajr, 89:8) They were a matchless people of their time; no other nation in the world compare with them in strength, glory and grandeur. In other place Allah said:
َ ﴿031:62﴾ وَإ ِذا ب َط َشننننتم ب َط َشننننت ُم ْن ُ ْن ْ جبارين َ ِ ّ َ
And when you seize somebody, you seize him like a tyrant.*92 (Surah Ash Shu’ara, v.26:130) It means, in order to meet the demands of your ever rising standards of life, you do not rest content with small living quarters but you build castles and fortresses, and yet being unsatisfied you erect lofty edifices unnecessarily just for ostentation. But as human beings you have become so depraved that there is no mercy in your hearts for the weak, no justice for the poor, and all people of lower social strata, living inside or around your land, are being
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oppressed tyrannically and none is safe from your barbarities. (4) They were civilized and were well-known in the world for their great skill and art in erecting lofty buildings with tall columns:
َ َ َ َ ن َ ٍ﴿6﴾ أل َم ت َر ك َي ْف فَعَنل رب ّنك ب ِعَناد َ ْ ِ7﴾ إ ِرم ذات ال ْعِماد ِ َ َ َ َ
(6) Have you not seen what your Lord did with ‘Ad*2 (7) Iram, of lofty columns? *3 (Surah Al-Fajr, 89:6-7) (5) This material progress and physical power had made them arrogant and vain:
﴿51:14﴾ فَأ َما عَناد ٌ فاسنت َك ْب َروا فِني ن ّ ن ْ َ ُ ُ ن ال َرض ب ِغَي ْنرِ ال ْح نقّ وَقَ نالوا م نن َ ْ َ ْ ْ ِ ّ أ َشد ّ منا قُوّةً أ َوَل َم ي َنروا أ َن الل َ ّ نه ّ ِ َ ْ َ ْ َ ًال ّذي خل َقهُم هُوَ أ َشد ّ من ْهُم قُ نوّة ِ ْ ِ ْ َ َ وَكانوا بآيات ِنا ي َجحدون َ ُ َ ْ َ َ ِ ُ َ
As for ‘Ad, they deviated from the right path and adopted an arrogant attitude in the land and said, ‘who is mightier than we in power. (Surah Ha-MimAs-Sajdah, 41:15)
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(6) Their political power was in the hands of a few tyrants before whom none could dare raise his voice:
﴿95:11﴾ وَت ِلننك عنناد ٌ جحنندوا ْ بآيننات َ َ ْ ِ َ ِ ُ َ َ رب ّهِم وَعَصوْا ْ رسل َه وات ّب َعوا ْ أ َمننر ُ َ ُ ُ ُ ْ َ َ َ ْ ِ ٍك ُل جبارٍ عَنيد ّ َ ّ
Such were 'Ad. They repudiated the signs of their Lord, disobeyed His Messengers, *65 and followed the bidding of every tyrannical enemy of the truth. (Surah Hud, 11:59) (7) They were not disbelievers in the existence of Allah, but were involved in shirk; they only denied that Allah alone should be worshipped and none else: They said (to Hud), ‘Have you come to us (with the demand) that we should worship Allah alone and discard those whom our elders have been worshipping?’
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Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) reminded to Utbah regarding the torment on the Thamud
The Qur’an says:
﴿71﴾ وَأ َمنننننا ث َمنننننود ُ فَهننننند َي ْناهُم ْ َ ُ ّ َ فاس نت َحبوا ال ْعَم نى عَل َنى ال ْهُ ندى ن َن َ ّ َ ْ َ فَأ َخذ َت ْهُم صاعقة ال ْعَذاب ال ْهننون َ ُ َ ِ َ ْ ُ ِ َ ِ ب ِمننا كننانوا ي َك ْسننبون ﴿81﴾ وَن َجي ْنننا َ ّ ُ َ ُ ِ َ ال ّذين آمنوا وَكانوا ي َت ّقون ُ َ ُ َ َ ِ َ ُ
(17) As for the Thamud, We presented before them the right way, but they preferred to remain blind rather than see the way. Consequently, a humiliating scourge overlooks them all of a sudden on account of their misdeeds. (18) And We saved those, who had
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.believed and refrained from error and wrongdoing )81-71:14 ,(Surah Ha-Mim As- Sajdah
Thamud rejected the Messengers
:The Qur’an says
﴿141﴾ كنَننذ ّب َت ث َم ننود ُ ال ْمرس ننلين ْ ُن ُ ْ َن ِ َ ٌ َ َ َ 241﴾ إ ِذ ْ قال ل َهُم أ َخوهُم صننال ِح أ َل ْ ُ ْ َ ت َت ّقون ﴿341﴾ إ ِني ل َك ُم رسول أ َمين ّ ُ َ ْ َ ُ ٌ ِ ٌ َ َ ﴿441﴾ فنننات ّقوا اللنننه وَأطيعنننون ﴿ ُ ِ ُ ّ َ ِ 541﴾ وَما أ َسنأ َل ُك ُم عَل َي ْنهِ منن أ َجنر ْ ْ َ ِ ْ ْ ٍ ّ إ ِن أ َجرِيَ إ ِل عَلى رب ال ْعننال َمين َ َ َ ّ ْ ْ ِ َ ﴿641﴾ أ َت ُت ْركون في ما هاهُنا آمنيننن َ ُ َ ِ َ َ َ ِ ِ َ ﴿741﴾ في جنات وَعُيون ﴿841﴾ وَزروع َ ّ ٍ ِ ُ ٍ ُ ُ ٍ وَن َخل ط َل ْعُها هَضيم ﴿941﴾ وَت َن ْحتون ِ ُ َ ِ ٌ َ ْ ٍ
َ منننن ال ْجبنننال ب ُيوتنننا فنننارِهين ً ُ ِ ِ َ ِ َ ِ َ ﴿051﴾ فات ّقوا الل ّه وَأ َطيعون ُ َ َ ِ ُ ِ
(141) Thamud rejected the Messengers. *95 (142) Remember the time when their brother Salih said to them, ‘Do you not fear? (142) I am a Messenger to you, worthy of full trust. 95 (144) So fear Allah and obey me. (145) I do not ask of you any reward for this duty, for my reward is with the Lord of the worlds. (146) Will you be left in security amidst all that is around you here? *97 (147) In the gardens and the water springs? (148) In the cornfields and the date groves laden with juicy fruit? *98 (149) You proudly carve out dwellings in the hills. *99 (150) Fear Allah and obey me. (Surah Ash Shu’ara, v.26:141-150) Thamud achieved power and glory after the destruction of ‘Ad and as far as progress in civilization is concerned, they followed in the footsteps of their predecessors. In their case, too, the standards of living went on rising higher and higher and the standards of humanity continued to fall lower and lower, suffering oneself deterioration after the other. On the one hand, they erected large edifices on the plains and hewed beautiful houses out of the hills like those in the caves of Ellora and Ajanta of India, and on the other, they became addicted to idolworship and the land was filled with tyranny and oppression. The worst men became leaders and rulers in the land. As such, Prophet Salih’s message of
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Truth only appealed to the weak people belonging to the lower social strata and the people of the upper classes refused to believe in him. • Prophet Salih said to them, ‘I am a Messenger to you, worthy of full trust.’ According to the Qur’an, the people of Prophet Salih themselves admitted that he was a man of great integrity and extraordinary caliber. Salih asked them, ‘Will you be left in security amidst all that is around you here?’ It means, ‘do you consider that your life of indulgence and pleasure is everlasting, and you will never be asked to account for Allah’s favors to you and for your own misdeeds?’ It has been expressed:
﴿26:11﴾ قالوا ْ يا صال ِح قَد ْ كنت فين َننا ِ َ ُ ُ َ َ ُ َ َ َ َ َ َ َ َ َ مرجوا قَب ْل هنذا أت َن ْهانا أن ن ّعْبنند ُ ّ ُ ْ َ ّ َ ما ي َعْب ُند ُ آباؤُننَنا وَإ ِن ّننَنا ل َف ني ش نك ِن َ َ مما ت َد ْعونا إ ِل َي ْهِ مريب َ ُ ّ ّ ٍ ِ ُ
They replied, ‘O Salih, till now you were such a person among us of whom we had great expectations. What! Do you forbid us to worship gods whom our forefathers worshipped? Indeed we have a strong doubt about the way to which you are calling us and
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this has caused a feeling of distraction in us. (Surah Hud, v.11:62) There are three things mentioned in this verse : (a) They replied, ‘O Salih, till now you were such a person among us of whom we had great expectations. It means, We had expected that by your wisdom, intelligence, foresight, serious behavior and dignified personality, you would become a great and prosperous man. So we had looked forward to the great success you would achieve and to the manifold advantages we would gain over and other clans and tribes because of you. But you have brought to naught all of our hopes by adopting the Way based on Tauhid and the hereafter which is bound to lead us to utter ruin.’ It may be noted here that the people of Mohammad (Allah’s peace be upon him) have had the same great expectations of him. They, too, had a very high option of his abilities and capabilities before his appointment as a Prophet. For they expected that he would become a great leader, and his foresight would bring innumerable benefits to them also. But when, contrary to their expectations, he began to invite them to the doctrines of Tauhid and the Hereafter, and preach the principles of high morality, they lost not only all hope in him, but began to entertain and express quite the reverse views. They said, ‘What a pity!
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This man who was quite good till now has, under the influence of some charm, not only ruined his own career but has destroyed all of our hopes as well.’ (b) They said, ‘What! Do you forbid us to worship gods whom our forefathers worshipped?’ That was their argument for the worship of their gods. They said that they would worship them because their forefathers worshipped them. Prophet Salih, argued like this: ‘Worship Allah… Who has created you from the earth, and who made it a living place for you.’ In answer to this they argued, as if to say, ‘these deities are also worthy of worship, and we will not give them up, because our forefathers have been worshipping them since a long time.’ This is an apt example of the type of arguments employed by the supporters of Islam and ‘Ignorance’. The former base their arguments on sound reasoning, while the latter base them on blind imitation. (c) They said, ‘Indeed we have a strong doubt about the way to which you are calling us and this has caused a feeling of distraction in us.’ The Qur’an has not specified the nature of the doubts and ‘feelings of distraction’. This is because, though all of them had these feelings, these were different in different persons. For it is one of the
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characteristics of the Message that it takes away the peace of mind of all these people to whom it is addressed. Though the feelings of distraction are of various kinds, everyone gets a portion of them. This is because it becomes simply impossible for anyone to continue treading the paths of deviation with that peace of mind which one had before the coming of the Message. For it impels everyone to think whether one is following the Right Way or any of the wrong ways of ‘ignorance’. No one can shut one’s ears and eyes against the penetrating and merciless criticism of the weaknesses of the ways of ‘ignorance’, and the strong and rational arguments for the Right Way. Then the high moral character of the Messenger, his perseverance, his nobility, his gentle conduct, his frank and righteous attitude and his dignity cannot fail to make their impressions even on the most obdurate, and prejudiced opponents. The Message by itself attracts the best elements from that society and brings about the most revolutionary changes in the characters of its followers so as to make them models of excellence. Naturally all these things combine to produce the feelings of distraction in the minds of those who desire to uphold the ways of ‘ignorance’ even after the coming of the Truth.
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Just as the most prominent Features of the Thamud civilization
Just as the most prominent feature of the ‘Ad civilization was that they built large edifices with pillars, so the most prominent feature of the Thamud civilization for which they were known among the ancient peoples was that: They carved out dwellings in the hills. That is why in the Surah Fajr: (i) The ‘Ad has been referred to as ‘(people) of the pillars’. (ii)But the Thamud as ‘those who hewed rocks in the valley’.
﴿9:98﴾ وَث َمود َ ال ّنذين جنابوا الصنخر ُ ِ َ َن ُ َ ْ ّ ِبال ْواد َ ِ
And with Thamud as those who had hewed out the rocks in the valley. *5 (Surah Al Fajr, 89:9) *5 The valley wad-il-Qura, where the Thamud carved out dwellings in the mountains, and probably in history they were the first people who started cutting out such buildings into the rocks. Allah said to Thamud:
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﴿47:7﴾ واذ ْكننروا ْ إ ِذ ْ جعَل َكننم خل َفنناء َ ُ ْ ُ َ ُ ُ َ من ب َعْدِ عادٍ وَب َوّأ َك ُم فنني ال َرض َ ِ ْ ِ ِ ْ ت َت ّخننذون مننن سننهول ِها قُصننورا ِ َ ُ ِ َ ُ ُ ً ُ ْ وَت َن ْحتون ال ْجبنَنال ب ُيوتنًنا فَ ناذ ْك ُروا ن ُ َ َ ُ ِ ِ ُ ّ آلء اللننهِ وَل َ ت َعْثننوا فنني ال َرض ِ ْ َ ِ ْ مفسدين َ ِ ِ ْ ُ
And remember the time When Allah made you successors of ‘Ad and established you in the land with dignity and enabled you to make castles on the plains and hew out houses in the hills. *59 So do not be neglectful of the manifestations of Allah’s powers,
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and do not spread disorder on the earth.*60 (Surah Al A’raf, v.7:74) *59. The Thamud were highly skilful in rock carving, and made huge mansions by carving the mountains, as we have mentioned earlier (see n. 57 above). In this regard the works of the Thamud resemble the rock-carvings in the Ajanta and Ellora caves in India and several other places. A few buildings erected by the Thamud are still intact in Mada'in Salih and speak of their tremendous skills in civil engineering and architecture. The people of Thamud used to carve out grand houses in the hills. Some of them are still intact at Madain-i-Salih and bear witness to the wonderful skill they had achieved in engineering. *60. The Qur'an asks people to draw a lesson from the tragic end of the 'Ad. For just as God destroyed that wicked people and established Muslims in positions of power and influence previously occupied by them, He can also destroy the Muslims and replace them by Others if they should become wicked and mischievous. (For further elaboration see n. 52 above.) ‘So do not be neglectful of the manifestations of Allah’s powers, and do not spread disorder on the earth.’ It means, ‘you should take a warning from the woeful end of ‘Ad. The same Allah, Who destroyed that mischievous tribe and made you its successor,
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has the power to destroy you and make someone else your successor, if you become mischievous like ‘Ad.’
What was the Purpose and Objects to build the castles on the plains?
These people also built castles on the plains, the purpose and object of which was nothing but display of wealth and power and architectural skill as there was no real necessity for them. There are, in fact, the ways of the perverted people: (i) The poor among them do not have proper shelters. (ii)And the wealthy members not only have sufficient fine dwellings but over and above those they raise monuments for ostentation and display.
Some of the Thamudic Works exist even today
Some of these Thamudic works exist even today, which have been seen in December, 1959 by Allama Sayyed Abul A’la Moududi, one of the most
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prominent commentators of the Holy Qur’an and great Islamic scholar. (See pictures in page 109-114, vol. 10 Bangla of Tafhim) This place is situated between Al-Madinah and Tabuk, a few miles to the north of Al-‘Ula (Wad-ilQura of the Holy Prophet’s time) in Hejaz. The local inhabitants call it Al-Hijr and Mada’in Salih even today. Al-‘Ula is still a green and fertile valley abounding in water springs and gardens, but Al-Hijr appears to be an abandoned place. It has thin population, little greenery and a few wells one of which is said to be the one at which Prophet Salih’s she-camel used to drink water. This well is now dry and located within a deserted military post of the time of the Turks. When the above mentioned scholar entered this territory and approached Al-‘Ula, he found hills which seemed to have been shattered to pieces from top to bottom as if by a violent earthquake. He saw the same kind of hills while traveling to the east, from Al-‘Ula to Khaibar, for about 50 miles, and towards the north inside Jordan, for about 30 to 40 miles. This indicated that an area, stretching well over 300 to 400 miles in length and 100 miles in width, had been devasted by the terrible earthquake. A few of the Thamudic type monuments that they saw at Al-Hijr were also found at Madyan along the Gulf of ‘Aqabah and at Petra in Jordan. At Petra specially the Thamudic and Nabataean works stand
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side by side, and their styles and architectural designs are so different that anyone who examines them will find that they were neither built in the same age nor by the same nation. (See pictures for contrast) Doughty, the British orientalist, in his attempt to prove the Qur’an as false, has claimed that the works found at Al-Hijr were carved out by the Nabataeans but not by Thamud. The above commentator of the view that the art of carving houses out of the rocks started with the Thamud, and thousands of years later, in the second and first centuries B.C., it was considerably developed by the Nabataeans and it reached perfection in the works of the caves of Ellora, which were carved out about 700 years after Petra.
The Thamud tribe of Arabia
After ‘Ad, Thamud is the second most widely known ancient tribe of Arabia. Before the revelation of the Qur’an, their stories were very common among the Arabs. Their mention occurs in the poetry and the addresses of pre-Islamic Arabia, and on the tablets found in Assyria. The ancient historians and geographers of Greece, Alexandria and Rome also mention this tribe. Some of their remains existed till some years before the birth of Prophet Jesus.
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According to the Roman historians, the people of this tribe joined the Roman army and fought against the Nabataeans, their enemies. The tribe of Thamud inherited the territory in the northwestern part of Arabia and is even today known by the name of Al-Hijr. It’s capital was Madain-iSalih, which is nowadays a railway station on the Hijaz railway between Al-Madinah and Tabuk. Its old name is Hijr. There are even ‘now spread over thousands of acres land, those story buildings that they had hewn out of hills. Even a cursory glance at this dead city leads one to the conclusion that its population must have been about five hundred thousand people. At the time of the revelation of the Qur’an, the trading caravans from Hijaz used to pass through the archaeological remains of Thamud. When Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) was leading his followers to Tabuk, he passed by and pointed out towards the remains and asked them to bear in mind the lesson which such things hold out for every close observer. He pointed to a well from which the she-camel of Prophet Salih drank water, and told them to drink water only from that well. Then he showed them a pass over a hill and said that the she-camel used to come through it to the well for drinking water. That pass is still called Fajj-un-Naqah (the pass of the shecamel). Then he assembled together those Muslims who were enjoying a walk through the remains and
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said, ‘this is the territory of the tribe on which Allah inflicted His scourge. Therefore, pass through this with as much haste as you can, because this is not a place of enjoyment but a place of lamentation.’
The central city of Thamud
Al-Hijr was the capital city of the people of Thamud, and its ruins are found near the modern city of Al-‘Ula’ which is to the north west of Al-Madinah, and lies on the route from Al-Madinah to Tabuk. Though the caravans had to pass through the valley of Al-Hijr, the Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) had forbidden the Muslims to stay in the valley on their journey.
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When Ibn Batutah reached there in the eighth century of Hijrah on his way to Makkah, he wrote: ‘I have seen the buildings of Thamud hewed into red mountains; the paintings look so bright as if they have been put on only recently… and rotten bones of human beings are found in them even today.
Prophet Salih warned them about a torment of a dreadful day.
The Qur’an says in Surah Ash Shu’ara, v.26:151158)
(26:151) And do not follow the transgressors.
َ ﴿151:62﴾ وَل ت ُطيعوا أ َمر ال ْمسرِفين ُ ِ َ ِ ْ ُ َ ْ
ْ ﴿251:62﴾ ال ّذين ي ُفسدون في ال َرض ِ َ ُ ِ ْ َ ِ ِ ْ َ وَل ي ُصل ِحون َ ُ ْ
(26:152) Who spread mischief in the land and reform nothing." *100 *100 That is, "You should give up obedience to your chiefs, guides and rulers under whose leadership you are following an evil way of life. These people have transgressed all bounds of morality: they cannot bring about any reforms and they will corrupt every system of life that they adopt: The only way for you towards success and well-being is that you should inculcate fear of God, give up obedience to the misguides and obey me, because I am God's Messenger: you are fully aware of my honesty and integrity: I have no personal interest and motive for undertaking the work of reform. " This was in short the manifesto which Prophet Salih presented before his people: it not only contained the religious message but invitation to cultural, moral and political revolution as well.
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َ ُ َ ﴿351:62﴾ قنننالوا إ ِن ّمنننا أننننت منننن ِ َ َ َ ال ْمسحرين َ ِ ّ َ ُ
(26:153) They replied, "You are, only an enchanted person: *101 *101 "Enchanted person": Mad and insane person who has lost reasoning power. According to the ancient conceptions, madness was either due to the influence of jinn or magic. That is why a mad person
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was either called majnun (one under the influence of a jinn) or one enchanted by magic.
َ ﴿451:62﴾ ما أنت إ ِل ب َشر مث ْل ُنا فَ نأ ْت ِ َ ّ ٌ َ ّ َ َ بآي َةٍ إن كنت من الصادِقين ِ َ ِ ّ َ ِ َ ُ ِ
(26:154) "You are no more than a man like us: bring forth a sign if you are truthful." *102 *102 That is, "We cannot believe you to be a Messenger from God because you are just like us and we see no distinction in you. However, if you are true in your claim that God has appointed you as His Messenger, you should present such a clear miracle as should make us believe that the Creator and Master of the universe have really sent you.
َ َ ﴿551:62﴾ قال هَذِهِ ناقَ نة ل ّهَ نا ش نرب َ ٌ ْ ِ ٌ ن ُ ّ ْوَل َ ُم شرب و ُ ْ ِ ْ ٍ م ٍ معْلومis َ يshe-camel. *103كOne (26:155) Salih said, "Here a
day will be for her to drink, and one day for you all to take water. *104 *103 From the context it appears that it was not a common she-camel, but it was brought about in a supernatural manner because it was presented in response to the demand for a miracle. Prophet Salih could not have produced before the people an ordinary she-camel as a proof of his Prophethood because that would not have satisfied them. At other places in the Qur'an it has been clearly referred to as
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a miracle. In Surah Al-A`raf and Hud it has been said:
ُ قَد ْ جاءت ْكم ب َي ّن َة من رب ّك ُم هنننذِه َ ْ ِ َ ّ ّ ٌ ْ ناقَة الل ّهِ ل َك ُم آي َة فَ نذ َروها ت َأ ْك ُنل َ ُ ً ْ ُ َ ّ فننني أ َرض اللنننهِ وَل َ ت َمسنننوها َ ِ ّ َ ِ ْ ْ ب ِسوَء فَي َأخذ َك ُم عَذاب أ َليم ٍ ُ ُ ٌ ِ ٌ َ ْ
Truly there has come to you a clear proof from your Lord. This she-camel from Allah is a Divine portent for you. *58 So leave her alone to pasture on Allah's earth, and touch her with no evil lest a painful chastisement should seize you. (Surah Al-A`raf, v.7:73) In Surah Bani Isra'il the same thing has been stated more emphatically:
َ ﴿95:71﴾ وَما من َعَنا أن ن ّرسل باليات ِ َ ِ َ ِ ْ َ َ َ َ إ ِل ّ أن ك َنذ ّب ب ِهَ نا ال َوّل ُنون وآت َي ْننَنا َ ن َ ن َ ث َمود َ الناقَة مب ْصرةً فَظ َل َموا ْ ب ِهننا ُ ُ َ َ ِ ُ َ ّ وَما ن ُرسل باليات إ ِل ّ ت َخويفا ً ِ ْ ِ َ ِ ُ ِ ْ َ
(17:59) And nothing has hindered Us from sending Signs *67 except that the former people refused to acknowledge them as such. (For example,) We sent
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the She-camel as an open Sign to Thamud but they treated her with cruelty; *68 whereas We send Signs only by way of warning. *69 (Surah Bani Isra’il, v.17:59) Moreover, the challenge given to the wicked people of Thamud, after presenting the she-camel before them, was such that it could only be given after presenting a miracle. *104 That is, "One day the she-camel will drink water all alone at your wells and springs, and one day you and your animals will take water, and this arrangement will not be violated in any way." There could hardly be a greater challenge for the people of Arabia, for taking of water had been the foremost cause of feuds and fights among them, which mostly resulted in bloodshed, even loss of life. As such, the challenge given by Prophet Salih was indeed a challenge to the whole nation, which could not be acceptable unless the people were sure that the challenger had a great power at his back. But Prophet Salih threw this challenge all by himself without any worldly power behind him, and the whole nation not only received it quietly, but also abided by it submissively for quite some days. In Surahs Al-A`raf and Hud there is an addition to this:
﴿46:11﴾ وَينَنا قَ نوْم ِ هن نذِهِ ناقَ نة الل ّنه ُ َ ِ َ ل َك ُم آي َة فَذ َروها ت َأ ْك ُل فنني أ َرض َ ُ ً ْ ِ ْ ِ ْ
الل ّهِ وَل َ ت َمسوها ب ِسوء فَي َأ ْخذ َك ُم ٍ ُ ُ َ ّ َ ْ عَذاب قَريب ٌ ِ ٌ َ
My people! This she-camel of Allah is a sign for you. So let her pasture on Allah's earth, and do not hurt her or else some chastisement - which is near at hand should overtake you.'(Surah Hud, v.11:64) That is, the challenge was not only this that the shecamel would drink water all alone every alternate day, but, in addition, she would freely move about and graze at will in their fields and gardens and palm groves and pastures and was not to be touched with an evil intention.
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ٍ ﴿651:62﴾ وَل ت َمسننننننوها ب ِسننننننوء َ ُ ّ َ َ فَي َأ ْخذ َك ُم عَذاب ي َوْم ٍ عَظيم ُ ُ َ ْ ٍ ِ
(26:156) Do not at all molest her; otherwise you will be overtaken by the torment of a dreadful day".
(26:157) Yet they hamstrung her, *105 and then became regretful,
﴿751:62﴾ فَعَقروها فَأ َصب َحوا نادِمين َ ُ َ ُ ْ َ ِ َ
*105 This does not mean that as soon as they heard the challenge, they attacked the she-camel at once and hamstrung her. Actually, when the she-camel became a problem for the whole nation, the hearts of
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the people were filled with rage, and they began to hold lengthy consultations as to how to get rid of her. At last, a haughty chief undertook the task of putting an end to her, as mentioned in Surah Ash-Shams thus:
﴿21:19﴾ إ ِذِ انب َعَث أ َشقاها َ َ ْ َ
(91:12) When the most wretched of them rose up, in his rage, And in Surah Al-Qamar thus:
(54:29) At last, they called out to their companion, who took up the responsibility and killed her. *20 *20 These words by themselves indicate that the shecamel roamed at will in their settlements for along period of time. No one could dare approach a source of water on the day of her turn. At last, they called out to a haughty chief of theirs who was well known for his courage and boldness, and urged him to put an end to her Emboldened by the false encouragement he took up the responsibility and killed the shecamel. This clearly means that the people were very frightened. They felt that she had extraordinary power, and so they dared not touch her with .m evil
َ ﴿92:45﴾ فَننناد َوا صنناحب َهُم فَت َعنناطى َ َ ْ ِ َ ْ فَعَقر َ َ
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intention. That is why the killing of a mere she-camel especially when the Prophet who had presented her, did not possess any army that could be a deterrent for them amounted to undertaking a dangerous and difficult task. (For further details. see E.N 58 of Surah AI-A'raf and E.N.'s 104. 105 of Surah AshShua'ra' ).
﴿851:62﴾ فَأ َخننذ َهُم ال ْعننذاب إ ِن فنني َ ِ ّ ُ َ َ ُ ذ َلننك ليننة وَمننا كننان أ َك ْث َرهننم ُ ُ َ َ َ ً َ َ َ ِ مؤْمنين َ ِ ِ ّ
(26:158) For the torment overtook them. *106. Indeed there is a Sign in this, but most of these people would not believe; *106 As stated at other places in the Qur'an, when the she-camel was killed, Prophet Salih declared:
﴿56:11﴾ فَعَقروها فَقال ت َمت ّعُنوا ْ فِني ن َ َ َ ن َ ُ َ َ دارِك ُم ث َل َث َة أ َيام ٍ ذ َل ِنك وَعْند ٌ غَي ْنر ّ َ َ ْ ُ مك ْذوب ٍ ُ َ
But they slaughtered her. Thereupon Salih warned them: 'Enjoy yourselves in your homes for a maximum of three days. This is a promise which shall not be belied.'(Surah Hud, v.11:65)
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When this time limit came to an end, a shocking explosion took place in the night at about dawn, followed by a violent earthquake, which destroyed the whole nation completely. In the morning their dead bodies lay scattered here and there like dry pieces of bush trampled down by animals around an enclosure. Neither their stony castles nor their rockhewn caves could protect them against the calamity. Allah says:
﴿13:45﴾ إ ِنننا أ َرسننل ْنا عَل َي ْهننم صنني ْحة ً َ َ ْ ِ َ َ ْ ّ واحد َةً فَكانوا ك َهَشيم ِ ال ْمحت َظ ِر ِ َ ِ ُ َ ْ ُ ِ
(54:31) We let loose on them a single blast and they became as the trampled twigs of the fence of a fold builder. *21 (Surah Al-Qamar, v.54:31).
ْ ﴿87:7﴾ فَأ َخذ َت ْهُم الرجف نة فَأ َص نب َحوا َ ُ َ ْ ّ ُ ُ ْ في دارِهِم جاث ِمين ِ َ َ ِ َ ْ
(7:78) Thereupon a shocking catastrophe seized or overtook them, *62 so that they lay prostrate in their dwellings. (Surah Al-A’raf, v.7:78) *62. Other Qur'anic expressions used for the calamity are 'rajifah' (earthquake): like
﴿6:97﴾ ي َوْم ت َرجف الراجفة ُ َ ِ ّ ُ ُ ْ َ
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The Day when the quake shall cause a violent jolt. (Surah An-Nazi'at, v.79:6); 'sayah' (awesome cry): like
﴿76:11﴾ وَأ َخذ َ ال ّذين ظ َل َموا ْ الصي ْحة َ ُ َ ّ ُ َ ِ فَأ َصب َحوا ْ في دِيارِهِم جاث ِمين ِ َ ُ ْ َ ِ َ ْ
And the Blast overtook those who were wont to do wrong, and then they lay lifeless in their homes. (Surah Hud 11:67) 'Sa'iqah' (thunderbolt): like
﴿55:2﴾ وَإ ِذ ْ قُل ْتنُننم يننا موسننى ل َننن ن ُ َن َ ْ ًن ّؤْمن ل َك حتى ن َرى الل ّنه جهْ نرة ّ َ َ َ ِ َ َ َ َ َ ُ َ ِ فَأ َخننننذ َت ْك ُم الصنننناعقة وَأنتننننم َ ُ ْ ُ ّ تنظ ُرون َ ُ َ
Remember when you said, "O Moses, we are not going to believe you until we see with our own eyes Allah (talking to you)". At that very time a thunderbolt struck you while you were looking on and you fell lifeless. (Surah Al-Baqarah, v.2:55) And 'taghiyah'' (roaring noise): like
Thamud were destroyed by a violent catastrophe *5 (Surah Al-Haqqah, v.69:5) *5 In Surah Al-A'raf: 78, it has been called ar-rajfah (a terrible earthquake); in Surah Hud: 67 as-sayhah (a violent blast); in Surah Ha Mim As-Sajdah: 17, it has been said: "They were overtaken by sa`iqa-tul-'adhab (a humiliating scourge); and here the same punishment has been described as at-taghiyah (a violent catastrophe). These words describe different aspects of the same calamity.
﴿5:96﴾ فَأ َما ث َمود ُ فَأ ُهْل ِكوا بالطاغي َة ِ ِ ّ ِ ُ ُ ّ
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﴿38:51﴾ فَأ َخذ َت ْهُم الصي ْحة مص نب ِحين َ ُ َ ِ ْ ُ ُ َ ّ ْ ﴿48:51﴾ فَما أ َغْننَنى عَن ْهُنم منا كنَنانوا ّن ن ُ َ ي َك ْسبون َ ُ ِ
At last a violent blast overtook them with the approach of the morning, and all that they had achieved proved of no avail to them. (Surah Al-Hijr, v.15:83-84).
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The manifesto, which Prophet Salih presented before his people
Prophet Salih said to his people:
ال ْمسرِفين َ ِ ْ ُ ْ في ال َرض ِ ِ ْ
َ ﴿151:62﴾ وَل ت ُطيعوا أ َمر ُ ِ َ ْ ﴿251:62﴾ ال ّذين ي ُفسدون َ ُ ِ ْ َ ِ َ وَل ي ُصل ِحون َ ُ ْ
And do not follow the transgressors, who spread mischief in the land and reform nothing.(Surah AshShu’arah, v.26:151-152) ’ It means, ‘ (1) You should give up obedience to your chiefs, guides and rulers under whose leadership you are following an evil way of life, because: (a) These people have transgressed all bounds of morality. (b) They cannot bring about any reforms, and (c) They will corrupt every system of life that they adopt. (2) The only way for you towards success and wellbeing is that you should inculcate fear of God, give up obedience to the misguidance and obey me; because: (a) I am God’s Messenger. (b) You are fully aware of my honesty and integrity. (c) I have no personal interest and motive for undertaking the work of reform.
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This was in short the manifesto, which Prophet Salih presented before his people: it not only contained the religious message but invitation to cultural, moral and political revolution as well.
They replied in response of Prophet Salih’s manifesto that he presented before his people
The people of Thamud says:
َ ُ َ ﴿351:62﴾ قنننالوا إ ِن ّمنننا أننننت منننن ِ َ َ َ ال ْمسحرين َ ِ ّ َ ُ
They replied, "You are, only an enchanted person: *101 (Surah Ash-Shu’arah, v.26:153)
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It means mad and insane person who has lost reasoning power. According to the ancient conceptions, madness was either due to the influence of Jinn or magic. That is why a mad person was either called ‘majnun’ (one under the influence of Jinn) or one enchanted by magic. They also said:
َ ﴿451:62﴾ ما أنت إ ِل ب َشر مث ْل ُنا فَ نأ ْت ِ َ ّ ٌ َ ّ َ َ بآي َةٍ إن كنت من الصادِقين ِ َ ِ ّ َ ِ َ ُ ِ
You are no more than a man like us: bring forth a sign if you are truthful." *102 (Surah Ash-Shu’arah, v.26:154) It means, ‘We cannot believe you to be a Messenger from God because you are just like us and we see no distinction in you. However, if you are true in your claim that God has appointed you as His Messenger, you should present such a clear miracle as should make us believe that you have really been sent by the Creator and Master of the universe.’
As soon as the Prophet Salih Embarked on his mission, his People were divided into two groups
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َ َ َ ْ ﴿54﴾ وَل َقد ْ أ َرسل ْنا إ ِلى ث َمود َ أ َخاهُم َ ْ َ ُ َ صال ِحا أ َن اعْب ُدوا الل ّنه فَنإ ِذا هُنم ُ ً َ ْ َ ِ فَريقننان ي َخت َصننمون ﴿64﴾ قننال يننا َ َ َ َ ُ ِ ْ ِ َ ِ َ قَوْم ِ ل ِم ت َست َعْجلون بالسي ّئ َةِ قَب ْل ّ ِ َ ُ ِ ْ َ َ َ ال ْحسننن َةِ لننوْل ت َسننت َغْفرون اللننه ْ َ َ َ ّ َ ُ ِ ُ َ ل َعَل ّك ُم ت ُرحمون ﴿74﴾ قالوا اط ّي ّرنننا َ ْ َ ُ َ ْ ْ َ ب ِنك وَب ِم نن معَ نك قَ نال ط َنائ ِرك ُم َن ْ ُ َ ن َ ن ّ َ ْ عند َ الل ّهِ ب َل أنت ُم قَوْم ت ُفت َنون ِ َ ُ ْ ٌ ْ
(45) And *57 to Thamud We sent their brother Salih (with the message) that they should worship Allah, but they divided themselves forthwith into two wrangling groups. *58 (46) Salih said, ‘O my people, why do you hasten for the evil in preference to the good? *59 Why don’t you ask forgiveness of Allah? May be that you are shown mercy.’ (47) They said, ‘We regard you and your companions as a sign of bad omen.’60 Salih said, ‘Your good and bad omens issue forth from Allah. The fact is that you are a people of trial.’ *61 (Surah An-Naml, v.27:45-47) *58 As soon as the Prophet Salih embarked on his mission, his people were divided into two groups, the
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believers and the disbelievers, and a conflict started between them as stated elsewhere in the Qur’an: Even though the Thamud certainly knew that Prophet Salih is a Messenger from his Lord but they refused and disbelieve on him. It has been mentioned in the Qur’an:
ْ ﴿57:7﴾ قَنال ال ْمل ُ ال ّنذين اسنت َك ْب َروا َ ن ْ َ ِ َ ُ من قَوْمهِ ل ِل ّذين است ُضعِفوا ْ ل ِمن ُ ْ ْ َ ِ ِ ِ ْ َ آمنن من ْهنم أ َت َعْل َمنون أ َن صنال ِحا ً ْ ُ ِ َ َ َ ّ َ ُ ُ ن مرسنل منن رب ّنهِ قَنالوا ْ إ ِننّنا ب ِمنا َن ّ ّ ْ َ ٌ ّن َ ِ ْ أ ُرسل ب ِهِ مؤْمنون َ ُ ِ ُ ﴿67:7﴾ قننال الننذين اسننت َك ْب َروا ْ إ ِنننا ّ ْ َ ِ ّ َ َ ُ بال ّذِيَ آمنت ُم ب ِهِ كافِرون َ ُ َ ْ َ ِ
(75) The chiefs of his tribe, who were full of pride, said to those who had believed from among the oppressed people, ‘Do you know it for certain that Salih is a Messenger from his Lord?’ They replied, ‘Indeed we believe in the Message with which he has been sent.’ (76) But those who had arrogant assumption of superiority said, We deny that thing which you believe.’ (Surah Al-A’raf, 7:75-76)
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One should note that precisely the same situation arose in Makkah at the advent of the Holy Prophet Mohammad (may Allah’s peace be upon him). The nation was divided into two factions and a conflict started between them. Therefore, this story fully applied to the conditions in which these verses were revealed. *59 Prophet Salih said to his people, ‘Why do you hasten in asking for a torment instead of some good for Allah?’ The following saying of the chiefs of the Prophet Salih’s people has been related at another place:
وَقالوا ْ يا صال ِح ائ ْت ِنا ب ِما ت َعِد ُنا إن ُ َ َ ُ َ َ َ ِ َ كنت من ال ْمرسلين َ ِ َ ْ ُ َ ِ َ ُ
O Salih, bring that scourge with which you threaten us, if you really are one of the Messengers? (Surah Al-A’raf, 7:77) *60 They said, ‘We regard you and your companions as a sign of bad omen.’ It may be two meaning of this verse: (1) One meaning of what they said is: Your movement has proved to be an evil omen for us. Since you and your companions have revolted against the ancestral religion, one or the other calamity is befalling us almost daily, because our deities have become angry with us. In this sense, this saying is
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similar to the sayings of most of those polytheistic nations who regarded their Prophets as ominous. In Surah Yasin, v.36:18 for instance, a nation has been mentioned, which said to its Prophet:
ُ ن ﴿81:63﴾ قَنالوا إ ِننّنا ت َط َي ّرننَنا ب ِك ُنم ل َئن ِ ْ ْ ُ ّ َ ل ّم تنت َهوا ل َن َرجمن ّك ُنم وَل َي َمسنن ّكم ْ َ ُ ْ ُ َ ْ منا عَذاب أ َليم ّ ّ ٌ ِ ٌ َ
(36:18) The people said, "We regard you as an evil omen for ourselves. If you do not desist (froth this), we shall stone you, and you will receive a painful punishment from us. " *14 *14 What they meant was: "You are an evil omen for us. Our gods have become angry with us on account of what you have been saying against them. Now whatever calamity is befalling us is only because of you." Precisely the same thing used to be said by the disbelievers and the hypocrites of Arabia concerning the Holy Prophet:
وَإن ت ُصب ْهُم حسن َة ي َقول ُنوا ْ هننذِه ِ ْ َ َ ٌ ُ ن َ ِ ِ من عندِ الل ّهِ وَإن ت ُصننب ْهُم سنني ّئ َة ٌ ِ ْ ِ ِ َ ْ ِ ُ ُ َ ّ ْ ي َقولوا ْ هنذِهِ من عندِك قُ نل ك ُنل ِ ْ ِ َ
And when some good happens to them, they say: 'This is from Allah'; whereas when some misfortune befalls them, they say: 'This is because of you'. *109 Say: 'All is from Allah.' What has happened to this people that they seem to understand nothing? (Surah An-Nisa, v.4:78) *109. When such people encounter success and victory, they attribute it to the grace of God. They allow themselves to forget that this grace came to them through no one but the Prophet (peace be on him). When they are either beaten or face setbacks because of their own faults and weaknesses they gratuitously exonerate themselves and place the blame squarely on the Prophet (peace be on him). That is why at several places in the Qur'an these people have been told that in the ancient times also people used to say such things of ignorance in regard to their Prophets. The people of Thamud said to their Prophet:
ُ َ َن م نن عن ندِ الل ّنهِ فَم نا ل ِهن نؤلء ال ِ ْ ّ ً ِ َ َ ُ َ ْ َ ُ َ ْقَوْم ِ ل َ ي َكادون ي َفقهون حديثا
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ُ َ َ ِ َ ْ ﴿74:72﴾ قننالوا اط ّي ّرنننا بننك وَب ِمننن َ ْ معَك قال طائ ِرك ُم عند َ الل ّنهِ ب َنل ِ ْ ُ َ َ َ َ ّ َ أنت ُم قَوْم ت ُفت َنون َ ُ ْ ٌ ْ
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They said, "We regard you and your companions as a sign of bad omen. " *60 Salih said, "Your good and bad omens issue forth from Allah. The fact is that you are a people on trial." *61 (Surah An-Naml, v.27:47). And the same was the attitude of the people of Pharaoh:
ْ ﴿131:7﴾ فَإذا جاءت ْهُم ال ْحسن َة قننالوا ُ َ ُ َ َ َ َِ ُ ل َننَننا هن ننذِهِ وَإن ت ُص ننب ْهُم س نني ّئ َة ِن َن ٌ ْ َن ِ َ ي َط ّي ّنروا ْ ب ِموس نى وَم نن معَ نه أل َن ُ َن ُ ّ ُ َ ُ إ ِن ّمنا ط َنائ ِرهُم عنند َ الل ّنه وَلننك ِن ِ ْ ُ َن ن ّ أ َك ْث َرهُم ل َ ي َعْل َمون َ ُ ْ َ
But whenever prosperity came their way, they said: 'This is our due.' And whatever hardship befell them; they attributed it to the misfortune of Moses and those who followed him. Surely, Allah had decreed their misfortune - but most of them do not know that. (Surah Al-A’raf, v.7:131) Almost similar things were said in Makkah about the Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) also. (2) The other meaning of their saying is this:
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‘Your advent has stirred up divisions in our nation. Before this we were a united people, who9 followed one religion. Your ominous coming has turned brother against brother, and separated son from father.’ His opponents were bringing this very accusation against the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) over and over again. Soon after he started his mission of inviting the people to the Faith, the delegation of the Chiefs of the Quraish, who went to Abu Talib, he said, ‘give up to us this nephew of yours, because: (a) He was opposed your religion and your forefathers’ religion. (b) And has shown discord among your people. (c) And he has held the whole nation as foolish.’ (Ibn Hisham, Vol. I. p.285). On the occasion of Hajj, when the disbelievers of Makkah feared that the visitors from outside might be influenced by the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh), they held consultation and decided to approach the Arab tribes and tell them: ‘This man is a sorcerer, who by his sorcery separates son from father, brother from his brother, wife from her husband, and man from his family.’ (Ibn Hisham, Vol. I. p.289).
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Salih said, ‘your good and bad omens issue forth from Allah. The fact is that you are a people of trial.’ The truth is not that which you understand it to be. The fact which you have not yet realized is that: (01) My advent has put you to the test. (02) Until my arrival you were following a beaten track in your ignorance. (03) You could not recognize the truth from the falsehood. (04) You had no criterion for judging the genuine from the counterfeit. (05) Your worst people were lording over your best people, who were rolling in the dust. (06) But now a criterion has come against which you will all be judged and assessed. (07) Now a balance has been set up publicly, which will weigh everybody according to his true worth. (08) Now both the truth and the falsehood have been made manifest. (09) Whoever accepts the truth will weigh heavy whether he was not being held even worth a farthing so far. (10) And whoever persists in falsehood will not weigh grime even though he was being esteemed as the chief of the chiefs before this. (11) Now the judgment will not be based on the nobility or otherwise of the family one came of, or the abundance of the means and resources that one possessed, or one’s physical strength but on
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his whether one accepted the truth gracefully or preferred to remain attached to falsehood.
The reasons for their refusal to obey and follow the Prophet Salih
The Qur’an says:
ُ َن ﴿32﴾ ك َذ ّب َت ث َمود ُ بالن ّنذ ُرِ ﴿42﴾ فَقنالوا ِ ُ ْ ً أ َب َش نرا مننّنا واح ندا ن ّت ّب ِعُنه إ ِننّنا إ ِذا ً ِ َ ُ ّ ً َ ل ّفنني ضننلل وَسننعُرٍ ﴿52﴾ أ َؤُل ْقنني ِ ُ َ ِ ٍ َ َ ْ ال نذ ّك ْر عَل َي ْنهِ م نن ب َي ْن ِننَنا ب َنل هُ نو ِن َ ُ َ كنَننننننننذاب أ ﴿ ّ ٌ شننننننننر ِن ٌ
62﴾ س ني َعْل َمون غَندا م نن ال ْك َنذاب ُ ّ َ ُ َ ِ ّ ً ال َشر ُ ِ ْ
(23) Thamud rejected the warnings. (24) And said, ‘A solitary man he is from among ourselves, Shall we now follow him? *17 If we did so, we should indeed be gone astray and have committed folly. (25) Was he the only person among us to have God’s Reminder sent down to him? Nay, but he is an utter liar and a conceited person. *18 (26) (We said to Our Messenger; Tomorrow they shall know who is an utter liar and a conceited person. (Surah Al-Qamar, v.54:23-26) *17 ‘Thamud rejected the warnings and said, ‘A solitary man he is from among ourselves, Shall we now follow him?’ In other words there were three reasons for their refusal to obey and follow the Prophet Salih: (1) He is a human being and not a super human person so that we may regard him as superior to ourselves. (2) He is a member of our own nation: he is in no way superior to us. (3) He is a single man, one from among us. He is not a prominent chief with a large following, or an army of soldiers, or a host of attendants so that we may acknowledge his superiority. They wanted that:
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(a) A Prophet should either be a superman. (b) Or if he be a common man, he should not have been born in their land and nation, but should have descended from above. (c) Or sent from another land. (d) And if nothing else, he should at least have been a rich man, whose extraordinary splendor should make the people believe why Allah had selected him alone for the leadership of the nation. This same thing was the error of ignorance in which the disbelievers of Makkah were involved. They also refused to acknowledge the Prophet Mohammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace and blessings) as a Prophet on the ground that he was man who moved about in the streets like the common men, had been born among them only the other day and now was claiming that God had appointed him as a Prophet.
﴿08﴾ وَل َقند ْ ك َنذ ّب أ َصنحاب الحجنر َ ُ َ ْ َ ِ ْ ِ ﴿18﴾ وآت َي ْناهُم آيات ِنا ال ْمرسلين َ َ ْ َ َ َ ِ َ ْ ُ ﴿ فَكننانوا ْ عَن ْهننا معْرِضننين ُ َ ُ َ َ ِ 28﴾ وَكننانوا ْ ي َن ْحتننون مننن ال ْجبننال ُ َ ِ َ ِ َ ِ َ ُ ِ ب ُيوتا آمنين َ ِ ِ ً ُ
It has been mentioned in other place of the Qur’an:
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(80) The people of Al-Hijr *45 also treated the Messengers as impostors. (81) And We sent Our Revelations and showed Our Signs to them, but they went on ignoring all these things. (82) They hewed their dwellings into the mountains*46 and apparently lived in full security. (Surah Al-Hijr, v.15:80-82)
In response to the demand for a Miracle Prophet Salih presented a she-camel before his people
From the context it appears that it was not a common she-camel, but it was brought about in a supernatural manner because it was presented in response to the demand for a miracle. Prophet Salih could not have
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produced before the people an ordinary she-camel as a proof of his Prophet hood because that would not have satisfied them. At other places in the Qur’an it has been clearly referred to as a miracle in Surah Al-A’raf, v.7:73 and Surah Hud, v.11:64
هنذِهِ ناقَة الل ّهِ ل َك ُم آي َة ً ْ ُ َ َ
• Here is Allah’s she-camel, a Sign for you. In Surah Bani Isra’il, v.17:59 the same thing has been stated more emphatically:
َ ﴿95:71﴾ وَما من َعَنا أن ن ّرسل باليات ِ َ ِ َ ِ ْ َ َ َ َ إ ِل ّ أن ك َنذ ّب ب ِهَ نا ال َوّل ُنون وآت َي ْننَنا َ ن َ ن َ ث َمود َ الناقَة مب ْصرةً فَظ َل َموا ْ ب ِهننا ُ ُ َ َ ِ ُ َ ّ وَما ن ُرسل باليات إ ِل ّ ت َخويفا ً ِ ْ ِ َ ِ ُ ِ ْ َ
And nothing has hindered Us from sending Signs except that the former people refused to acknowledge them as such. (For example) We sent the she-camel as an open Sign to Thamud but they treated her with cruelty; *68 whereas We send Signs only by way of warning. *69
﴿37:7﴾ وَإ ِل َنى ث َم نود َ أ َخ ناهُم ص نال ِحا َن ُن ن ً ْ َن قال يا قَوْم ِ اعْب ُدوا ْ الل ّه م نا ل َكنُنم َ َن ُ َ َ َ َ ْ ّ ُ من إ ِلنهٍ غَي ْرهُ قَ ند ْ ج ناءت ْكم ب َي ّن َنة َن ٌ ُ من رب ّك ُم هن نذِهِ ناقَنة الل ّنهِ ل َك ُنم ُ َ ْ َ ْ ّ ْ آية فَ ّذ َروها تأ ُ َ َ ك ُل في أ َرض اللننه ً َ ِ ّ ِ ْ ِ ْ ْ ول َ تمس ننوها بس ننوء فَيأ َ َ َ ّ ن َ ِ ُ ن َ ٍ َ خ ننذ َك ُم ُن ْ عَذاب أ َليم ٌ ِ ٌ َ
And to Thamud *57 We sent forth their brother Salih. He said to them: '0 my people! Serve Allah, you have no other god than Him. Truly there has come to you a clear proof from your Lord. This she-camel from Allah is a Divine portent for you. *58 So leave her alone to pasture on Allah's earth, and touch her with no evil lest a painful chastisement should seize you. (Surah Al-A’raf, 7:73) The wording of the Text clearly shows that Allah’s she-camel was the clear proof, which has been called a sign here. The people of his tribe had themselves demanded from Prophet Salih to bring a clear Sign of his appointment as Messenger of Allah. In response to this, the prophet presented the she-camel as a Sign. The clear proofs of Sign are as: (a) This is a positive proof of the fact that the birth of the she-camel had taken place in some miraculous
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manner and her appearance was a miracle of the same kind as presented by other prophets to the disbelievers at their demand of a proof of their Prophet hood. (b) Another proof of her miraculous birth is the fact that Prophet Salih presented the she-camel to the disbelievers with a warning to this effect; ‘your lives are directly connected with the life of this she-camel. She shall graze freely in your fields and she shall be privileged to drink water at the well one day all alone by herself, and all your cattle shall drink water the following day, turn by turn; and if you touch her with an evil intention, Allah’s scourge will overtake you all of a sudden.’ It is obvious from this that the she-camel could have been presented in such a forcible manner only if the people had seen with their own eyes that she was an extraordinary animal. That is why they let her graze freely in their fields and let her drink water throughout the day all by herself, though in their heart of hearts they were not willing to accede to this. They were so much afraid of her that in order to kill her they had to hold long consultations and hatch secret plots, though Prophet Salih had no worldly power to prevent them from this. This shows that they knew there was some hidden power behind her that made her so bold as to roam about wherever she liked.
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The Qur’an does not say anything about its physique as to how it came into being. Moreover, there is no mention of its miraculous existence in any authentic Tradition. Therefore one is not bound to accept the stories the commentators have related concerning her birth, etc. However, it is quite evident from the Qur’an that she was a miracle in one-way or the other.
After presenting the she-camel before them the challenge given to the wicked people of Thamud
Moreover, the challenge given to the wicked people of Thamud, after presenting the she-camel before them, was such that it could only be given after presenting a miracle.
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One day will be for her to drink, and one day for you all to take water.’ It means, ‘one day the she-camel will drink water all alone at your wells and springs, and one day you and your animals will take water, and this arrangement will not be violated in any way.’ There could hardly be a greater challenge for the people of Arabia, for taking of water had been the foremost cause of feuds and fights among them, which mostly resulted in bloodshed, even loss of life. As such, the challenge given by Prophet Salih was indeed a challenge to the whole nation, which could not be acceptable unless the people were sure that the challenger had a great power at his back. But Prophet Salih threw this challenge all by himself without any worldly power behind him, and the whole nation not only received it quietly, but also abided by it submissively for quite some days. In Surah Al-A’raf, v.7:73 and Surah Hud, v.11:64 there is an addition to this:
هنذِهِ ناقَة الل ّهِ ل َك ُم آي َنة فَ نذ َروها َ ُ ً ُ َ َ ْ ت َأ ْك ُل في أ َرض الل ّهِ وَل َ ت َمسنوها َ َ ّن ِ ْ ْ ِ ْ ب ِسوَء فَي َأخذ َك ُم عَذاب أ َليم ٍ ُ ُ ٌ ِ ٌ َ ْ
Here is Allah’s she-camel, a Sign for you. So let her grazes at will in Allah’s land, and do not touch her with an evil intention. That is, the challenge was not only this that the shecamel would drink water all alone every alternate
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day, but, in addition, she would freely move about and graze at will in their fields and gardens and palm groves and pastures and was not to be touched with an evil intention. The same thing had mentioned in other place as below:
ُ ِ ْ ُ ّ ﴿72﴾ إ ِنا مرسنلو الناقَنةِ فِت ْن َنة ل ّهُنم ً ّ ْ فننارت َقب ْهُم واصننط َب ِر ﴿82﴾ وَن َب ّئ ْهننم ْ ُ ْ َ ْ ِ ْ َ ْ أ َن ال ْماء قِسمة ب َي ْن َهُم ك ُل شرب ٌ َ ْ ّ ْ َ ٍ ْ ِ ّ محت َضر ٌ َ ْ ّ
(27) We are sending the she-camel as a trial for them. Now, watch with patience what end they meet. (28) Tell them that the water will be divided between them and the she-camel, and each will have water on his Turn. *19 (Surah Al Qamar, v.54:27-28) *19 Here verse 28 is the explanation of verse 27. The trial was that suddenly a she-camel was produced before them and they were told that one day she would drink the water all by herself and the next day they would be allowed to have water for themselves and their cattle. On the day of her turn neither would any of them himself come to any of the springs and wells to neither take water nor bring his cattle for watering. This challenge was given on behalf of the person about whom they themselves admitted that he had no army and no hosts to support him.
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Yet they hamstrung her
This does not mean that as soon as they heard the challenge, they attacked the she-camel at once and hamstrung her. Actually, when the she-camel became a problem for the whole nation, the hearts of the people were filled with rage, and they began to hold lengthy consultations as to how to get rid of her. At last, a haughty chief undertook the task of putting an end to her, as mentioned in Surah Ash-Shams, v.91:11-15 as:
َ َ َ ِ﴿11﴾ كننذ ّب َت ث َمننود ُ ب ِط َغْواهننا ﴿21﴾ إ ِذ ُ ْ انب َعننث أ َشننقاها ﴿31﴾ فَقننال ل َهننم َ َ ْ َ َ ْ ُ َ َ ُ ُ َ رسول الل ّهِ ناقَ نة الل ّنهِ وَس نقياها َ َ ْ ُ َ َ ﴿41﴾ فَكنَننذ ّبوهُ فَعَقروهَ ننا فَد َم نند َم َ ُ ن ُ َ ْن ﴿ ع َل َي ْه نم رب ّهُ نم ب ِنذنب ِهم فَس نواها ِ ْ َ ن َ ّ َ ْ ِ َ 51﴾ وَل ي َخاف عُقباها َ َ ْ ُ َ َ
(11) Thamud *7 belied (the Truth) because of their transgression. *8 (12) When the most wretched of them rose up, in his rage, (13) The Messenger of Allah warned them, saying, "(Do not molest) the shecamel of Allah, and (do not hinder her from) drinking
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water. " *9 (14) But they belied what he said and killed the she-camel. *10 Consequently, their Lord let loose on them a scourge in consequence of their sin and leveled them down all together, (15) and he has no fear of any evil result (of his this action). *11(Surah Ash-Shams, v.91:11-15) And in Surah Al-Qamar, v.54:29 thus:
َ ﴿92:45﴾ فَننناد َوا صنناحب َهُم فَت َعنناطى َ َ ْ ِ َ ْ فَعَقر َ َ
(54:29) At last, they called out to their companion, who took up the responsibility and killed her. *20 These words by themselves indicate that the shecamel roamed at will in their settlements for a long period of time. No one could dare approach a source of water on the day of her turn. At last, they called out to a haughty chief of their s who was well known for the courage and boldness, and urged him to put an end to her. Emboldened by the false encouragement he took up the responsibility and killed the shecamel. This clearly means that the people were very frightened. They felt that she had extraordinary power, and so they dared not touch her with and evil intention. That is why the killing of a mere she-camel especially when the Prophet who had presented her, did not possess any army that could be a deterrent for them, amounted to undertaking a dangerous and difficult task.
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It has been mentioned in other place:
﴿77:7﴾ فَعَق نروا ْ الناقَ نة وَعَت َنوْا ْ عَ نن َ ّ ْ ُ َ ُ ْ َ ْ ن أ َمرِ رب ّهِم وَقَنالوا ْ ينَنا صنال ِح ائ ْت ِننَنا ُ َن ُ ب ِمننننا ت َعنننند ُنا إن كنننننت مننننن ِ ِ َ َ َ ِ َ ال ْمرسلين َ ِ َ ْ ُ
Then they killed the she-camel, and very insolently defied their Lord’s command, and challenged Salih, ‘Bring that scourge with which you threaten us, if you really are one of the Messengers of Allah. (Surah Al-A’raf, 7:77) Though only one man had killed the she-camel, the whole tribe has been declared to be guilty of the crime because it was backing him as a whole, and he was, in fact, merely its tool, for every crime which represents the will of a nation or is approved by it, is a national crime, even though it is committed by one individual. According to the Qur’an, even that crime, which is committed openly by an individual, and is tolerated by the community, is a national crime.
Nine ring-leaders of the men pledged on an oath by Allah to attack Salih and his household by night
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﴿84﴾ وَكننان فنني ال ْمدينننةِ ت ِسننعَة ُ َ ِ َ َ َ ِ ْ َ رهْ نط ي ُفس ندون فِ ني ال َرض وَل ٍ ْ ِ ُ َ ن ْ ْ َ ِ َ ُ ي ُصل ِحون ﴿94﴾ قالوا ت َقاسموا بالل ّه ِ ِ ْ ُ َ َ َ ُ ل َنبيتنه وأ َ ُ َ ّ َ ّ ُ َ هْل َه ث ُم ل َن َقول َن ل ِوَل ِي ّهِ ما ُ ّ ُ َ ّ َ َ شهِد ْنا مهْل ِك أ َهْل ِهِ وَإ ِنا ل َصادِقون ّ َ ُ َ َ َ ﴿05﴾ وَمك َروا مك ْنرا وَمك َرننَنا مك ْنرا َ ً َ ْ َ ً َ ُ َ وَهُم ل ي َشعُرون ﴿15﴾ فانظ ُر ك َينف ْ ْ َ ْ َ ْ ُ َ كان عاقِب َة مك ْرِهِم أ َننّنا د َمرننَناهُم َ َ َ ْ ْ ُ َ ّ ْ َ ﴿25﴾ فَت ِل ْنك وَقَوْمهُم أ َجمعي نن َ ْ ْ َ ِ َ ب ُيوت ُهُم خاوِي َة ب ِما ظ َل َموا إ ِن فِني ّ ن ْ َ ُ ُ ً َ ذ َلنننك لينننة ل ّقنننوْم ي َعْل َمنننون ﴿ َ َ َ ً َ ِ َ ُ ٍ َ 35﴾ وَأنجي ْنننا الننذين آمنننوا وَكننانوا َ ُ ّ ِ َ َ ُ َ َ ي َت ّقون ُ َ
(48) There were in that city nine ringleaders of the men, *62 who spread mischief in the land and reformed nothing. (49) They said to one another, "Let us pledge on an oath by Allah that we shall attack Salih and his household by night, and then tell his guardian *63 that we were not even present at the
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time his family were killed: we are telling the truth." *64 (50) They plotted thus, and We too devised a clot of which they were unaware. *65 (51) just see how their plot ended. We annihilated them and all their people together. (52) There, their houses lie desolate in consequence of their wicked deeds. There is a lesson in this for those who have knowledge; *66 (53) and We saved those who had believed and avoided disobedience. (Surah An-Naml, v.27:48-53) They said to one another, ‘Let us pledge on an oath by Allah that we shall attack Salih and his household by night, and then tell his guardian.’ ‘The guardian’ means, the chief of the Prophet Salih’s tribe, who, according to the ancient tribal tradition and custom, could make a claim to blood vengeance on behalf of his clan. They also planned to say, ‘we were not even present at the time his families were killed: we are telling the truth’. This precisely was the kind of plot, which the Makkan chiefs of the clans were devising against the Holy Prophet, and they devised the same ultimately on the occasion of migration (Hijrah) to kill him. They decided that men from all the clans would attack him in a body so that the Bani Hashim could not hold any one of the clans as responsible for the murder, and, therefore, would find it impossible to fight all of them at one and the same time.
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Then Allah said: They plotted thus, and We too devised a plot of which they were unaware. It means, before they could make the night attack on the Prophet Salih at the appointed time Allah sent down His scourge, which destroyed their whole nation completely. It appears that they made this plot after hamstringing the she-camel. According to Surah Hud, v.11:65 when they had killed the she-camel, Prophet Salih gave them a notice :
﴿56:11﴾ فَعَقروها فَقال ت َمت ّعُنوا ْ فِني ن َ َ َ ن َ ُ َ َ دارِك ُم ث َل َث َة أ َيام ٍ ذ َل ِنك وَعْند ٌ غَي ْنر ّ َ َ ْ ُ مك ْذوب ٍ ُ َ
(11:65) But they slaughtered her. Thereupon Salih warned them: 'enjoy yourselves in your homes for a maximum of three days. This is a promise which shall not be belied.' At this they might have thought that the torment with which Salih threatened them might come or might not, but they must take the vengeance on Salih himself. Therefore, most probably they chose the same night for the attack, which Allah had appointed for sending down the torment, and thus were struck down by Allah even before they could touch the Prophet Salih.
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Allah said: ‘There is a lesson in this for those who have knowledge.’ It means, the ignorant people will say: (a) There is no link between the Prophet Salih and his she-camel and the earthquake, which struck the people of Thamud. (b) These things have their natural causes. (c) Their occurrence or otherwise has nothing to do with the piety and wickedness of the people of a place, with their high-handedness or their show of mercy. (d) It is meaningless merely to say that such and such a city or land was filled with sin and wickedness, and therefore, it was overwhelmed by flood. (e) Or its habitation turned upside down by an earthquake, or it was ruined by a sudden disaster’. But the people who possess knowledge know that: (a) This universe is not being ruled by a deaf and blind God, but by an All-Wise, All-Knowing One Who is deciding the destinies. (b) His decisions are not subject to physical causes, but the physical causes are subject to His will. (c) His decisions to debase or exalt nations are not taken blindly but with wisdom and justice. (d) In His Book of Law there is also included the principle of retribution, according to which the wicked are made to suffer for their evil deeds even in this world, on moral grounds.
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(e) The people who are aware of these realities, cannot explain away the occurrence of an earthquake by citing physical and natural causes. (f) They will rather look upon them as the scourge of warning for themselves. (g) And they will learn a lesson from it. (h) They will try to understand those moral causes because of which the Creator annihilated a flourishing nation, which He Himself had created. (i) They will divert their conduct and attitude from the track that brings Allah’s wrath to the way that joins them to His mercy.
The torment overtook them
As stated at other places in the Qur’an, when the shecamel was killed, Prophet Salih warned them as mentioned below:
فَقنال ت َمت ّعُنوا ْ فِني دارِك ُنم ث َل َث َنة ن َن َ َ ن َ َ ْ َ أ َيام ٍ ذ َل ِك وَعْد ٌ غَي ْر مك ْذوب ّ ٍ ُ َ ُ
But they killed she-camel. At this Salih warned them, ‘Well, You have only three more days to enjoy yourselves in your houses. This is a time limit that will not prove false. (Surah Hud, v.11:65)
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When this time limit came to an end, a shocking explosion took place in the night at about dawn, followed by a violent earthquake, which destroyed the whole nation completely. In the morning their dead bodies lay scattered here and there like dry pieces of bush trampled down by animals around an enclosure. Neither their stony castles nor her rockhewn caves could protect them against the calamity. Allah said:
َ ِ ﴿34﴾ وَفي ث َمود َ إ ِذ ْ قيل ل َهُم ت َمت ّعوا ِ ُ َ ْ ُ ﴿44﴾ فَعَت َوا عَنن أ َم نر حتى حين ّ َ ْ ِ ْ ْ ٍَ ِ رب ّهِ نم فَأخ نذ َت ْهُم الص ناعقة وَهُ نم َ ُ َ ِ ّن ْ ُ ْ َ ينظ ُرون ﴿54﴾ فَما اس نت َطاعوا م نن ِن ُ َ َ ُ َ ْ َ قِيام ٍ وَما كانوا منت َصرين ُ َ َ َ َ ِ ِ ُ
(43) And (for you is a sign) in Thamud when it was said to them, "Enjoy yourselves for a while. " *40 (44) But in spite of this warning they defied the Command of their Lord. Consequently, they were overtaken by a thunderbolt *41 even while they looked on. (45) Then they could neither stand up nor were able to save them. *42 Allah says:
﴿66﴾ فَل َما جاء أ َمرننا ن َجي ْننا صنال ِحا َ ّ َ ُ ْ ً َ ّ َ وال ّنذين آمننُنوا ْ معَنه ب ِرحمنةٍ مننّنا ّ َ ْ َ ُ َ َ َ ِ َ وَمنن خنزي ينوْمئ ِذٍ إ ِن ربنك هنو ِ َ ِ ْ ِ ْ ِ َ ُ َ ّ َ ّ ال ْق نوِيّ ال ْعَزيننز ﴿76﴾ وَأ َخننذ َ الننذين َ َ ُ ِ َ ِ ّ ظ َل َم نوا ْ الص ني ْحة فَأ َص نب َحوا ْ فِ ني ن ُن ُ َ ّ ُ ْ َ ْ دِيارِهِم جاث ِمين ﴿86﴾ ك َأن ل ّم ي َغْن َوْا َ ْ َ ِ َ ْ َ فيها أ َل َ إ ِن ث َمود َ كفروا ْ رب ّهُم أ َل ْ َ ُ ّ َ ِ ُ َ َ ب ُعْدا ل ّث َمود ً ُ
(66) Then, when Our command came to pass, We saved Salih and those who shared his faith through Our special mercy, from the disgrace of that day. *74 Truly Your Lord is All-Strong, All Mighty. (67) And the Blast overtook those who were wont to do wrong, and then they lay lifeless in their homes (68) As though they had never lived there before. Oh, verily the Thamud denied their Lord! Oh, the Thamud were destroyed. (Surah Hud, v.11:66-68) According to the traditions that are current in the Sinai Peninsula, Allah delivered them from the Torment and let them there. There is a Mount near Jabal-i-Musa, known by the name of Prophet Salih
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where, it is said, the Prophet took refuge after the destruction of his people.
ْ ﴿87:7﴾ فَأ َخذ َت ْهُم الرجف نة فَأ َص نب َحوا َ ُ َ ْ ّ ُ ُ ْ في دارِهِم جاث ِمين ِ َ َ ِ َ ْ
Thereupon a shocking catastrophe seized them, *62 so that they lay prostrate (lifeless) in their dwellings. (Surah Al-A’raf, v.7:78)
Allah said in other place:
﴿38﴾ فَأ َخذ َت ْهُم الصني ْحة مصنب ِحين َ ُ َ ِ ْ ُ ُ َ ّ ْ 48﴾ فَمننا أ َغْنننى عَن ْهننم مننا كننانوا ُ َ َ ّ َ ُ ي َك ْسبون َ ُ ِ
(83) But at last a violent blast over took them with the approach of the morning, (84) and all that they had achieved proved of no avail. (Surah Al Hijr, v.15:83-84)
ُ ِ َ َ َ َ َ ْ ِ﴿03﴾ فَك َيننف كننان عننذابي وَنننذ ُر 13﴾ إ ِننّننا أ َرس ننل ْنا عَل َي ْهِ ننم ص نني ْحة ً َ ن ْ َن َ ْ َن واحد َةً فَكانوا ك َهَشيم ِ ال ْمحت َظ ِر ِ َ ِ ُ َ ْ ُ ِ
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(30) Then see how severe was My punishment and how true My warnings! (31) We let loose on them a single blast and they became as the trampled twinges of the fence of a fold builder. (Surah Al Qamar, v.54:30-31) The crushed and rotten bodies of the people of Thamud have been compared to the trampled and trodden twinges and pieces of bush around an enclosure for cattle. It has been said in other place:
(69:4) Thamud *3 and `Ad belied the coming of the sudden calamity: *4 (Surah Al-Haaqqah, v.69:4) *3 As the disbelievers of Makkah denied Resurrection and took the news of its coming lightly, they have been warned at the outset, as if to say: "Resurrection is inevitable: whether you believe in it; or not, it will in any case take place. Then, they are told: "It is not a simple and ordinary thing that a person accepts the news of the coming of an event, or not, but it has a deep relationship with the morals of the nations and with their future. The history of the nations, which lived before you, testifies that the nation which refused to believe in the Hereafter and thought this worldly life only to be the real life and denied that man would have ultimately to render an
﴿4:96﴾ ك َذ ّب َت ث َمود ُ وَعاد ٌ بال ْقارِعَة َ ِ َ ِ ُ ْ
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account of his deeds before God, corrupted itself morally until the punishment of God overtook it and eliminated it from the world. " *4 The word al-qariah is derived from qar', which means to hammer, to beat, to knock and to strike one thing upon the other. This other word for Resurrection has been used to give an idea of its terror and dread.
﴿5:96﴾ فَأ َما ث َمود ُ فَأ ُهْل ِكوا بالطاغي َة ِ ِ ّ ِ ُ ُ ّ
(69:5) Thamud were destroyed by a violent catastrophe *5 (Surah Al-Haaqqah, v.69:5) *5 In Surah Al-A'raf: 78, it has been called ar-rajfah (a terrible earthquake); in Surah Hud: 67 as-sayhah (a violent blast); in Surah Ha Mim As-Sajdah: 17, it has been said: "They were overtaken by sa`iqa-tul-'adhab (a humiliating scourge); and here the same punishment has been described as at-taghiyah (a violent catastrophe). These words describe different aspects of the same calamity.
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The charms of the Personality, Character and Words of the Holy Prophet
In this connection Ibn Ishaq has cited another event. Once a man from the clan of Arash came to Makkah with some camels and Abu Jahl bought them. When demanded their price, he put him off by lame excuses. At last the man came to the Sanctuary of the Ka’bah and began to bewail publicly the dishonesty of Abu Jahl. The Holy Prophet was also sitting in a corner of the Sanctuary. The chiefs of the Quraish said to the man, we cannot help you in any way in this matter; look there is a man sitting; go to him and he will get you your money.’ Accordingly the Arashi went towards the Holy Prophet and the chiefs began to whisper jokingly. ‘Today there will be great fun!’ When the man expressed his complaint before the Holy Prophet, he at once stood up and accompanied him to the house of Abu Jahl, followed by an informer of the chiefs. The Holy Prophet knocked at Abu Jahl’s door, who asked from inside, ‘Who is there?’ He answered, ‘Mohammad’. Hearing this, he at once came out and the Holy Prophet said to him, ‘Pay this man his dues.’ Accordingly, Abu Jahl went
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in without uttering a word, brought the price of the camels and paid the man. At this the informer ran back to the Quraish and told them the whole story and said, ‘By God! Today I have seen something, which I had never seen before. When Abu Jahl came out, Mohammad asked him to pay the dues, and he obeyed him as if he were spell bound.’ (Ibn Hisham, vol. II, pp. 29-30). It was this ‘charm’ of the personality, character and words of the Holy Prophet, which these people considered to be the effects of ‘charm’, and warned the people not to go near him for fear of his ‘magic’.
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The Prophet never used a ‘tit for tat’ answer to the falsehood followers
This is why the Prophet expressed the words that Allah revealed to him:
﴿4:12﴾ قال ربنّني ي َعْل َنم ال ْقنوْل فِني ُ َ َ ن َ َ َ السننماء وال َرض وَهننوَ السننميع ُ ِ ْ َ ُ ِ ّ َ ّ ال ْعَليم ُ ِ
To this the Prophet replied, ‘My Lord has the knowledge of everything that is said in the heavens and the earth for He is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.’ *6 (Surah Al-Anbiyaa, v.21:4)
*6 This was the answer of the Prophet to their false propaganda and whispering campaign. Instead of giving a `tit for tat' answer, he said, "My Lord will deal with you for He hears everything and knows everything."
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The Chiefs decided to start a propaganda campaign to Counteract against the gaining Adherents of Prophets’ Message
ُ َ ْ ﴿5:12﴾ ب َل قالوا ْ أ َضننغاث أ َحل َم ٍ ب َنل ْ ُ َ ْ ِ ْ افْت َراهُ ب َل هُوَ شاعر فَل ْي َأ ْت ِنا بآيننة ٍ َ ِ َ ٌ ِ َ َ َ ك َما أ ُرسل ال َ ْ ِ َ وّلون َ ُ
Then, they say, "It is a bundle of incoherent dreams: nay, he himself has invented it: nay, he is a poet; *7 if not, let him bring a sign like the signs with which the former Prophets were sent." (Surah Al-Anbiyaa, v.21:5) *7 The background of this verse is this: ‘When the message of the Holy Prophet started gaining adherents, the chiefs of Makkah decided among themselves to start a propaganda campaign to counteract it. For this purpose they decided that every visitor to Makkah for pilgrimage should be approached and his mind so poisoned against the
What the disbelievers said after hearing the Qur’an:
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Holy Prophet that he does not even go near and listen to him. Though this campaign continued throughout the year, in the pilgrimage season especially a huge number of men were deputed to go to the tents of the pilgrims to warn them to beware of the Holy Prophet. Different sorts of things were said against the Holy Prophet during these talks: (a) Sometimes it was said he was a sorcerer; (b) Or that he had fabricated the Qur’an himself but attributed it to Allah. (c) Some would say that his ‘Revelations’ were the words of an insane person and a bundle of incoherent ideas. (d) Others would say that these were ordinary poetic ideas, which were being dubbed as the words of Allah. All they wanted to do was to poison the minds of the visitors irrespective of the correctness of their own visions. They had no considered and definite opinion in the matter.
The false propaganda of the Quraish had just the opposite effect
*7 This false propaganda, however, had just the opposite effect. The name of the Holy Prophet became known throughout the length and breadth of the country through nefarious activities of the chiefs
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of Makkah. A positive kind of approach from the Muslims would not have achieved the same publicity in years as was achieved so rapidly through this negative campaign to the Quraish. It set everybody thinking: ‘After all, who is this man against whom such a campaign of vilification has been started?’ The serious type among them rather came to the conclusion that they must hear the Holy Prophet himself and said to themselves: ‘After all we are not children who can be easily enticed away.’ (Surah AlAnbiyaa, v.21:5, nn*7)
Tufail bin ‘Amr Dausi the Poet of the clan of Daus put cotton into his ears
*7 For instance, Ibn Ishaq has related in detail the story of Tufail bin ‘Amr Dausi in his own words: Ibn Ishaq has related in detail the story of Tufail bin ‘Amar Dousi in his own words: ‘ I was a poet of the clan of Daus. Once I went to Makkah and was, on my arrival there, surrounded by some people of the Quraish who told me all sorts of things against the Holy Prophet. So I grew suspicious and tried to avoid him as far as possible. The very next day, when I went to visit the Sanctuary, I saw him saying his prayer. By chance, I heard a few sentences and felt that what he was reciting were excellent words. I said to myself, ‘I am a poet and a sensible young man and
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no child who cannot discriminate between the right and the wrong. Why should I not therefore meet him and inquire what he is reciting? Accordingly, I followed him to his house and said, ‘The people had so much poisoned me against you that I had actually put cotton into my ears lest I should hear your voice, but what I have heard today from you by chance was so appealing that I feel urged to inquire into your Message rather in detail. At this the Holy Prophet recited a passage of the Qur’an, as a result of which I embraced Islam there and then. On my return home I induced my father and wife to become Muslims, which they did, and invited the people of my clan to embrace Islam with the result that till the Battle of the Trench as many as eighty families from my clan had entered the fold of Islam.’ (Ibn Hisham, Vol.II, pp. 22-24) and (Surah Al-Anbiyaa, v.21:5, nn*7)
The Quraish confessed in their private meeting that all their charges against the Holy Prophet were false
According to the tradition cited by Ibn Ishaq, the chiefs of the Quraish confessed in their private meetings that all their charges against the Holy Prophet were false.
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Nadr bin Harith addressing a meeting: According to Ibn Ishaq, addressing a meeting, Nadr bin Harith once said, ‘you cannot overcome Mohammad by the methods you are adopting against him. When he was a young man you regarded him as your best mannered person and looked upon him as your most truthful and honest man. Now that he has attained advanced age, you say, ‘He is a sorcerer: he is a soothsayer: he is a poet: he is insane.’ By God, he is not a sorcerer, for we very well know what kind of people the sorcerers are and what kind of tricks they resort to. By God, he is not a soothsayer, for we are fully aware of the guess-works of the soothsayers. By God, he is not a poet, for we know what poetry is and can judge that his words cannot be classified under poetry in any sense. By God, he is not insane, for we all know what nonsensical things the insane people utter. Therefore, O Chiefs of the Quraish, let us think of some other plan to defeat him.’ After this, he himself proposed that stories from Persia like those of Rustam and Asfandyar should be given publicity to divert the people’s attention from the Qur’an. Accordingly, they put this scheme into practice and Nadr himself began to relate such stories before the people. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. I, pp. 320-321) and (Surah Al-Anbiyaa, v.21:5, nn*7)
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When the Qur’anic Dawah spread everywhere Walid bin Mugirah addressed in a meeting
The earliest Revelation to the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) consisted of the first five verses of Surah Al-‘Alaq, v.96:1-5 in which it had been said:
َ َ ْ ِ ْ َ َ ِ َ﴿1﴾ اقْرأ باسم ِ رب ّنك ال ّنذي خل َنق ْ 2﴾ خل َق النسان من عَل َق ﴿3﴾ اقْرأ َ ْ ِ َ َ ِْ َ َ ٍ ْ َ وَربنّننك ال َكنْننرم ﴿4﴾ ال ّننذي عَل ّننم ِ ن ُ َ َ ن َ بنِنال ْقل َم ِ ﴿5﴾ عَل ّنم النسنان منا ل َنم َ ْ ِ َ ن َ َن َ ْ ي َعْل َم ْ
(1) Read *1 (O Prophet,) in the name of your Lord; *2 Who created. *3 (2) Created man from a clot of congealed blood. *4 (3) Read: and your Lord is Most Generous, (4) Who taught knowledge by the pen: *5 (5) taught man what he did not know. *6
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This was the first experience of Revelation met with suddenly by the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace). In this message it was not told what great mission he had been entrusted with and what duties he had to perform in future. He was only initiated into it and then left alone for a time so that the great strain this experience had caused should pass away and he should mentally become prepared to receive the Revelation and perform the prophetic mission in the future. After this intermission when Revelation was resumed, the first seven verses of the Surah AlMuddaththir, v. 74:1-7 were revealed:
﴿1:47﴾ يا أ َي ّها ال ْمد ّث ّر َ َ ُ ُ
(74:1) O you who lies enwrapped up, *1 *1 A study of the background of the revelation of these verses given in the introduction above can help one understand why the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) on this occasion has been addressed with Ya ayyuhal-Muddaththiru instead of Ya ayyuharRasulu (O Messenger), or Ya ayyuhan-Nabiyyu (O Prophet). As the Holy Prophet had been terrified when he had suddenly seen the Angel Gabriel (on whom be peace), sitting on a throne between heaven and earth, and had returned hastily home and asked the people of the house to cover him up, so Allah addressed him with Ya ayyuhal-Muddaththiru. From
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this fine way of address the meaning, which automatically follows, is: "O My dear Servant, why have you laid down thus enwrapped? You have been put under the burden of a great mission: you must now arise from your solitude to perform this mission with resolution and courage."
ْ ِ ََ ْ ُ ﴿2:47﴾ قم فأنذر
(74:2) arise and warn *2 *2 A command of this very nature had been given to the prophet Noah (peace be on him) while appointing him to the office of Prophet hood; "Warn the people of your nation before they are overtaken by a painful torment." (Nuh: 1) The verse means: "O you who lies enwrapped, stand up and arouse the people who live in heedlessness around you: warn them of the fate which would certainly overtake them if they remained involved in the same heedlessness, Warn them that they are not living in a lawless kingdom where they are free to conduct themselves as they like and where they can do wherever they please without any fear or being called to account for it. "
ْ َّ َ َ َّ َ ﴿3:47﴾ وربك فكبر
(74:3) and proclaim the greatness of your Lord; *3
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*3 This is the primary duty of a Prophet, which he has to perform in this world. His foremost duty is to refute the greatness of all those whom the ignorant people might be holding as great, and publicly proclaim that we greatness in this universe belongs to none but Allah alone. For this very reason the phrase Allahu Akbar has been Geld as of supreme importance in Islam. The adhan (call to prayer) begins with the proclamation of Allahu Akbar. The Muslim enters the Prayer itself with Allahu Akbar and repeats Allahu Akbar every time he sits or stands, He pronounces Bismillahi Allahu Akbar also when slaughtering an animal. The slogan of Allahu Akbar has become a most distinctive and prominent emblem of Muslims throughout the world today, for the Prophet of this Ummah himself had embarked on his mission with the magnification and glorification of Almighty Allah. Here, there is another fine point, which must be understood well. As we have learnt from the background of the revelation of these verses, this was the first occasion when the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) had been commanded to arise for performing the duties of the great mission of Prophet hood, and it was obvious that the city and society in which he was commanded to perform this mission, was the center of polytheism. Not only were
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the people around him polytheistic like the common Arabs but, more than that, the city of Makkah had become the most sacred place of pilgrimage for the polytheistic Arabs, and the Quraish were its attendants. Arising of a person in such a place all by himself and proclaiming the Oneness of God in the face of polytheism was full of risks. That is why the exhortation to "proclaim the greatness of your Lord" just after "arise and wan" contains this meaning also: "Do not at all mind the terrifying and dreadful forces that seem to be obstructing and impeding your work and proclaim publicly that your Lord is the greatest of all those who can hinder and resist you from giving your message. This is indeed the greatest encouragement for a person who embarks on a Divine mission. The one who has Allah's greatness and majesty deeply embedded in his heart will feel no hesitation at all in facing and fighting the entire world by himself for the sake of Allah.
ْ ّ َ َ َ َ ََِ ﴿4:47﴾ وثيابك فطهر
(74:4) and keep your garments pure, *4 *4 These are very comprehensive words, which are full of meaning. They mean this: "Keep your garments free from every filth and impurity, for the
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purity of the body and garments and the purity of the spirit are inter-linked and inter-dependent. " A pure spirit and an impure body with impure garments cannot live together. The society in which the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) had arisen with the invitation to Islam, was not only steeped in the evils of unbelief and immorality, but was also devoid of even the most elementary concepts of purity and cleanliness, and the Holy Prophet's task was to teach its members cleanliness in every way of life. Therefore he was instructed to establish and present a high standard of purity in his external life as well. Thus, it is the result of the same instruction that the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) gave mankind such detailed teaching about the cleanliness of the body and garments as is not possessed even by the most civilized nations of today, not to speak of the Arabs of the pre-Islamic days of ignorance. So much so that in most of the languages of the world there is no word synonymous with "taharat" ". On the contrary, in Islam every book of the Hadith and Fiqh begins with injunctions and instructions on taharat (purity), which distinguishes between purity and impurity and gives minute details about the methods and means of obtaining purity. The second meaning of these words is: "Keep your garments neat and
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clean." The criterion of religiosity given to the world by the monastic concepts was that a man was holy to the extent he was unclean. If a person happened to put on neat clothes, he was looked upon as a worldly man, whereas the fact is that human nature abhors filth and uncleanness and even a person of ordinary fine taste loves to be associated only with a neat and clean person. On this very basis, for the one calling the people to Allah it was made imperative that externally also he should look so neat and clean that the people should regard him with esteem and his personality should not be stained in any way so as to repel others. The third meaning of this Divine Command is: "Keep your garments free from moral evils: your dress should be neat and clean but it should bear no tinge of vanity and pride, display and exhibition, pomp and show. " The dress is the first thing that introduces the personality of a person to others. The kind of dress a person wears makes the people judge at first sight what kind of a man he is. The dresses of the rulers and princes, the dresses of the religious functionaries, the dresses of the vain and conceited people, the dresses of the mean and shallow people, the dresses of the evil-natured and characterless people, all represent the tastes and tempers of those who wear them. The temper of the
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one calling to Allah is naturally different from all such people. Therefore, his dress also should necessarily be different from all of them. He should wear such a dress as should make everyone else feel that he is a noble and refined person, who is not involved in any evil of the self. Its fourth meaning is: Keep away from moral evils. Ibn `Abbas, Ibrahim Nakha`i, Sha`bi, `Ata', Mujahid. Qatadah, Sa`id bin Jubair, Hasan Basri and other major commentators has given this very meaning to this verse: keep yourself morally pure and avoid all that is blameworthy. In Arabic usage also when it is said: "So and so is clean in his garments", it implies that he is morally good and pure; on the contrary, when it is said: "He is filthy in his garments", it means that he is dishonest and fraudulent in his dealings: he is unreliable.
﴿5:47﴾ والرجز فاهْجر ْ ُ َ َ ْ ّ َ
(74:5) And avoid filth, *5
*5 "Filth" implies every kind of filth, whether of belief and thought, of morals and deeds, of the body, dress or mode of life. The verse means: "Keep yourself free from the filth of evils which are prevalent in society around you: no one should ever impute to you the blame that
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your own life itself is stained in some degree with the evils that you tell others to avoid."
(74:6) And do not favor (others) expecting to get more, *6 *6 The words wa Ia tamnun tastakthir in the original are so vast in meaning that no one sentence can convey their full sense in translation. Their one meaning is: "Whomever you favor, you should favor him without any selfish motive. Your bestowal of an endowment and donation, your generosity and good treatment should be only for the sake of Allah: there should be no trace in it of the desire that you should receive any worldly gains in return for the favor done. In other words, do good to others for the sake of Allah, not for seeking any benefits." The second meaning is: "Although the mission of Prophet hood that you are performing is a great favor in itself, for the people are obtaining true guidance because of it, do not remind the people of this favor, nor try to obtain any personal benefits from it. " The third meaning is: "Although you are performing a great service, you should never gloat over it, nor should ever have the idea that by performing your prophetic
﴿6:47﴾ وَل ت َمنن ت َست َك ْث ِر ُ ْ َ ْ ُ
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duties, at the risk of life, you are doing any favor to your Lord."
﴿7:47﴾ وَل ِرب ّك فاصب ِر ْ ْ َ َ َ
(74:7) And be patient for the sake of your Lord. *7 *7 That is, "The task that is being entrusted to you is full of hazards: you will meet with great hardships and difficulties and troubles on this way: even your own people will turn hostile to you and the whole of Arabia will become your enemy. Yet you should endure with patience, for the sake of your Lord, whatever you may have to face in this way, and carry out all your duties firmly and resolutely. Fear, greed, friendship, enmity, love, all these will hinder your way, but you should stand your ground firmly and steadfastly." These were the very preliminary instructions, which Allah gave His Messenger (upon whom be peace) at the time when He commanded him to arise and start the work of Prophet hood. If a person ponders over these brief sentences and their meaning his heart will testify that no better instructions could be given W a Prophet at the commencement of his prophetic mission. In these he was told what he was required to do, what kind of life, morals and dealings he should adopt, and taught with what intention, mentality and mode of thought he should go about his mission and also forewarned what kind of conditions he would meet with in the performance of his mission and how he would have
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to face and overcome them Today the people who, blinded by their prejudices, say that these words were. God forbid, uttered by the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) during epileptic fits, should study these sentences carefully and judge for them whether these are the product of any epileptic fits, or the instructions of a God, which He gave to His Servant while appointing him to the mission of Apostleship. In these he was for the first time commanded: (1) To arise and warn the people of the consequences of the way of life they were following, and (2) To proclaim the greatness of God in the world where others were being magnified without any right. (3) Along with that he was given this instruction: the demand of the unique mission that you have to perform now is that your life should be pure in every respect; and (4) You should carry out the duty of reforming your people sincerely irrespective of any worldly gain. (5) Then, in the last sentence, he was exhorted to endure with patience, for the sake of his Lord, all the hardships and troubles that he might have to face while performing his mission. In the implementation of this Divine Command when the Holy Messenger of Allah began to preach Islam and recite the Qur’anic Surahs revealed successively, the people of Makkah felt alarmed, and it provoked a great storm of opposition and hostility. A few months
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passed in this state until the Hajj season approached. The people of Makkah scared that if Mohammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace) started visiting the caravans of the pilgrims coming from all over Arabia at their halting places and reciting the spell-binding and unique Revelations of the Qur’an in their assemblies on the occasion of Hajj, his message would reach every part of Arabia and influence countless people. Therefore, the Quraish Chiefs held a conference and settled that: (1) They would start a propaganda campaign against the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah’s peace) among the pilgrims as soon as they arrived. After they have agreed on this, Walid bin al-Mughirah said to the assembled people: ‘If you said contradictory things about Mohammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace and blessings), we all would lose our trust among the people. Therefore, let us agree upon one opinion which we should all say without dispute.’ (2) Some people said that they would call Mohammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace and blessings) a soothsayer. Walid said: No, by God, he is not a soothsayer. We have seen the soothsayers; what they murmur and what they utter has no remote resemblance with the Qur’an. (3) Some other people said; then we say he is possessed. Walid said, he is not a possessed one; we have seen mad and insane people: the way one talks disjointedly and behaves foolishly in that state is known to all; who would believe that what
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Mohammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace and blessings) presented was the incoherent speech of a madman? (4) The people said: Then we say, he is a poet. Walid said: No, he is not a poet, for we know poetry in all its forms, and what he presents conforms to no form of it. (5) The people said: Then he is a sorcerer. Walid said: He is no sorcerer either: we have seen sorcerers and we also know what methods they adopt for their sorcery. This also does not apply to Mohammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace and blessings). (6) Then Walid said, whichever of these things you said about Mohammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace and blessings), it would be known to be a false accusation By God, his speech is sweet, his root is deep and his branches are fruitful. (7) At this Abu Jahl urging on Walid said: Your people will never be pleased with you unless you say something about Mohammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace and blessings). (8) He said: let me think over it awhile. Then, after prolonged thought and consideration, he said: The nearest thing to the truth is that you tell the Arabs that he is a sorcerer, who has brought a message by which he separates a man from his father, and from his brother, and from his wife and children, and from his family. They all agreed on what Walid had proposed.
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Then, according to a scheme the men of Quraish spread among the pilgrims in the Hajj season and they warned everyone they met of the sorcery of Mohammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace and blessings) and of his stirring up divisions in the families by it. But the result was that by their plan the Quraish chiefs themselves made the name of the Holy Messenger known throughout Arabia. (Ibn Hisham, pp. 288-289. That Walid had made this proposal on the insistence of Abu Jahl has been related by Ibn Jarir in his Tafsir on the authority of ‘Ikrimah). That is why without mentioning the name of Walid bin Mughirah, Allah said in the Surah AlMuddaththir, v.74:11-26:
﴿11:47﴾ ذ َرني وَمن خل َقت وَحيدا ِ ْ ً ِ ُ ْ َ ْ َ
(74:11) Leave Me and the person *10 whom I created alone: *11 *10 The address is directed to the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) and it means: "O Prophet, leave the case of the person (Walid bin al-Mughirah) to Me, who in the disbelievers' conference proposed that you should be branded as a sorcerer among the pilgrims coming from different parts of Arabia; it is now for Me to deal with him; you need not bother yourself about it at all."
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*11 This sentence can have two meanings and both are correct: (1) "That when I created him, he was not at that time born with any wealth and children and position of authority and chieftainship; and (2) "That I alone was his Creator: those other gods whose godhead he is so ardently trying to keep established and is opposing your invitation to One God for the same object, were not My associates in creating him."
﴿21:47﴾ وَجعَل ْنت ل َنه منال ممندودا ً ُ ْ ّ ً ُ َن َ ُ 31:47﴾ وَب َنين شهودا ً ُ ُ َ ِ
(74:12) I gave him ample wealth (74:13) and sons to be present by his side, *12 Surah Al-Muddaththir, v.74:12-13) *12 Walid bin al-Mughirah had ten or twelve' sons of whom Hadrat Khalid bin Walid became most famous. For these sons the word shuhud has been used, which can have several meanings: (1) That they do not have to run about and go abroad in search of their livelihood: they have enough provisions at home; therefore, they can always remain at the beck and call of their father; (2) That all his sons are prominent and influential people: they sit in assemblies and conferences with him; and
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(3) That they are the people of high rank and position and their testimony is accepted in all matters of life.
﴿41:47﴾ وَمهدت ل َه ت َمهي ندا ﴿51:47﴾ ث ُنم ً ِ ْ ُ ّ ّ َ ّ َ َ َ ي َط ْمعُ أن أزيد َ ِ ْ
(14) and smoothed for him the way to his leadership (and prosperity). (15) Yet he desires that I should give him more. *13 (Surah Al-Muddaththir, v.74:1415) *13 Its one meaning is that: (1) There is still no end to his greed. In spite of having all this he still desires that he should be granted every good thing of the world. (2) Another meaning which Hadrat Hasan Basri, and some other scholars have given is: "He used to say: If what Muhmmad (upon whom be peace) says is really true that there is another life after death, and there will be a Paradise also in it, then that Paradise too has been prepared for me."
﴿61﴾ ك َل إ ِنننه كننان ليات ِنننا عَنينندا َ َ ِ َ َ ُ ّ ّ ً ِ 71﴾ سأ ُرهِقه ص نعودا ﴿81﴾ إ ِن ّنه فَك ّنر ً ُ َ ُ ُ ْ َ ُ َ َ ُ وَقَد ّر ﴿91﴾ فَقت ِل ك َي ْف قَد ّر َ َ َ
َ ﴿02﴾ ث ُم قُت ِل ك َي ْف قَد ّر ﴿12﴾ ث ُم ن َظ َر َ ّ ّ َ َ ﴿22﴾ ث ُم عَب َس وَب َس نر ﴿32﴾ ث ُنم أ َد ْب َنر ّ ّ َ َ َ َ ّ َ َ ْ َ واسننت َك ْب َر ﴿42﴾ فَقننال إ ِن هننذا إ ِل َ ْ َ َ ّ َ ُ سنحر ي ُنؤْث َر ﴿52﴾ إ ِن هَنذا إ ِل قَنوْل ْ ُ ٌ ْ ِ ُ ﴿62﴾ سأ َ صنننليه َن ِ ِ ْن ِال ْب َشنننر سقر َ َ َ
(16) No, ever! He is hostile to Our Revelations. (17) I shall soon make him ascend a hard ascent. (18) He pondered and tried to devise a plan. (19) May God destroy him: what he tried to devise! (20) Yes, may God destroy him: what he tried to devise! (21) Then he looked around: (22) then he frowned and scowled; (23) then he turned his back and showed arrogance. (24) At last, he said, "This is nothing but magic, handed down from the past; (25) nothing but the word of a mere mortal. *14 (26) Very soon I shall cast him into Hell. (Surah Al-Muddaththir, v.74:1626) *14 The reference is to what happened in the conference of the disbelievers of Makkah. From the details of it that we have given in the Introduction, it becomes obvious that this man in his heart had become fully convinced of the Qur'an's being Divine Word, but in order to save his position as a chief of
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his people, he was not prepared to affirm faith. When in the conference he himself turned down all the accusations that the Quraish chiefs were proposing against the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace), he was compelled to devise an accusation from himself, which could be spread among the Arabs in order to bring a bad name to the Holy Prophet. Then, the way he struggled against his conscience, and the way he devised an accusation at last after a prolonged mental conflict, has been vividly depicted here.
Answer to the demand for a Sign to the effect
It has been expressed in the Qur’an:
ُ َ ْ ﴿5:12﴾ ب َل قالوا ْ أ َضننغاث أ َحل َم ٍ ب َنل ْ ُ َ ْ ِ ْ افْت َراهُ ب َل هُوَ شاعر فَل ْي َأ ْت ِنا بآيننة ٍ َ ِ َ ٌ ِ َ َ َ ك َما أ ُرسل ال َ ْ ِ َ وّلون َ ُ
(21:5) Then, they say, "It is a bundle of incoherent dreams: nay, he himself has invented it: nay, he is a poet; *7 if not, let him bring a sign like the signs with
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which the former Prophets were sent." (Surah AlAnbiyaa, v.21:5) *7 The background of this verse is this: "When the message of the Holy Prophet started gaining adherents, the chiefs of Makkah decided among themselves to start a propaganda campaign to counteract it. For this purpose they decided that every visitor to Makkah for pilgrimage should be approached and his mind so poisoned against the Holy Prophet that he doe not even go near and listen to him. Though this campaign continued throughout the year, in the pilgrimage season especially a large number of men were deputed to go to the tents of the pilgrims to warn them to beware of the Holy Prophet. Different sorts of things were said against the Holy Prophet during these talks. Sometimes it was said that he was a sorcerer, or that he had fabricated the Qur'an himself but attributed it to Allah. Some would say that his `Revelations' were the words of an insane person and a bundle of incoherent ideas. Others would say that these were ordinary poetic ideas, which were being dubbed as the words of Allah. All they wanted to do was to poison the minds of the visitors irrespective of the correctness of their own versions. They had no considered and definite opinion in the matter.
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This false propaganda, however, had just the opposite effect. The name of the Holy Prophet became known throughout the length and breadth of the country through the nefarious activities of the chiefs of Makkah. A positive kind of approach from the Muslims would not have achieved the same publicity in years as was achieved so rapidly through this negative campaign of the Quraish. It set everybody thinking: "After all, who is this man against whom such a campaign of vilification has been started?" The serious type among them rather came to the conclusion that they must hear the Holy Prophet himself and said to themselves: "After all we are not children who can be easily enticed away". For instance, Ibn Ishaq has related in detail the story of Tufail-bin-'Amr Dausi in his own words: "I was a poet of the clan of Daus. Once I went to Makkah and was, on my arrival there, surrounded by some people of the Quraish who told me all sorts of things against the Holy Prophet. So I grew suspicious and tried to avoid him as far as possible. The very next day, when I went to visit the Sanctuary, I saw him saying his prayer. By chance, I heard a few sentences and felt that what he was reciting were excellent words. I said
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to myself, `I am a poet and a sensible young man and no child who cannot discriminate between the right and the wrong. Why should I not therefore meet him and inquire what he is reciting?' Accordingly, 1 followed him to his house and said, `The people had so much poisoned me against you that I had actually put cotton into my ears lest I should hear your voice, but what I have heard today from you by chance was so appealing that I feel urged to inquire into your Message rather in detail. At this the Holy Prophet recited a passage of the Qur'an, as a result of which I embraced Islam there and then. On my return home I induced my father and wife to become Muslims, which they did, and then invited the people of my clan to embrace Islam with the result that till the Battle of the Trench as many as eighty families from my clan had entered the fold of Islam." (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, pp. 22-24). According to another tradition cited by Ibn Ishaq, the chiefs of the Quraish confessed in their private meetings that all their charges against the Holy Prophet were false. According to him, addressing a meeting, Nadr bin Harith once said, "You cannot overcome Muhammad by the methods you are adopting against him. When he was a young man you
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regarded him as your best-mannered person and looked upon him as your most truthful and honest man. Now that he has attained advanced age, you say, He is a sorcerer: he is a sooth-sayer: he is a poet: he is insane.' By God, he is not a sorcerer, for we very well know what kind of people the sorcerers are and what kind of tricks they resort to. By God, he is not a soothsayer, for we are fully aware of the guessworks of the sooth-sayers. By God, he is not a poet for we know what poetry is and can judge that his words cannot be classified under poetry in any sense. By God, he is not insane, for we all know what nonsensical things the insane people utter. Therefore, O chiefs of the Quraish, let us think of some other plan to defeat him". After this, he himself proposed that stories from Persia like dose of Rustam and Asfandyar should be given publicity to divert the people's attention from the Qur'an. Accordingly, they put this scheme into practice and Nadr himself began to relate such stories before the people. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. l, pp. 320-321).
﴿6:12﴾ ما آمن َنت قَب ْل َهُ نم م نن قَري َنة ّن ن ٍ ْ ْ َ َ أ َهْل َك ْناها أ َفَهُم ي ُؤْمنون َ َ َ ُ ِ ْ
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The fact, however, is that no habitation, which We destroyed before them, believed (in spite of signs); now, will they, then, believe? *8 (Surah Al-Anbiyaa, v.21:6) *8 This contains a concise answer to the demand for a sign to the effect: (1) You ask for Signs like the ones, which were shown by the former, Messengers but you forget that those obdurate people did not believe in spite of the Signs shown to them. (2) While demanding a Sign, you fail to realize that the people, who disbelieved even after seeing a Sign, were inevitably destroyed. (3) It is indeed a favor of Allah that He is not showing the Sign as demanded by you. Therefore, the best course for you would be to believe without seeing a Sign. Otherwise, you will meet the same doom that the former communities met, when they did not believe even after seeing the Signs.
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Answer to their objection: This man is no more than a Human being like yourselves
The Qur’an says:
ْ ﴿3:12﴾ لهِينَنننة قُل ُنننوب ُهُم وَأ َسنننروا َ ً ن ْ ّ َن ّ َ ْ الن ّجوى ال ّذين ظ َل َموا ْ هَل هَذا إ ِل ُ َ ِ َ ْ ْ بشننر مث ْل ُكننم أ َفَتننأ َ تون السننحر َ ُ ْ ُ ّ ٌ َ َ َ ْ ّ َ وَأنت ُم ت ُب ْصرون َ ُ ِ ْ
And the unjust people whisper to one another, saying, ‘his man is no more than a human being like yourselves. What! Will you, then, be enticed by his sorcery while you perceive it?’*5 (Surah Al-Anbiyaa, v.21:3) In response of their whispering Allah said:
ً ﴿7:12﴾ وَما أ َرسنل ْنا قَب ْل َنك إ ِل ّ رِجنال َ َن َ َ َ َ نوحي إل َيهْم فاسأ ُ َ ِ ْ ِ ْ َ ْ لوا ْ أ َهْل ال نذ ّك ْر ِ ّ ِ إن كنت ُم ل َ ت َعْل َمون َ ُ ْ ُ ِ
And, O Muhammad, We sent before you also human beings as Messengers, to whom We revealed (Our Message). *9 If you (O objectors,) have no knowledge of this, you may ask the people of the Book. *10 (Surah Al-Anbiyaa, v.21:7) *9 ‘And O Mohammad, We sent before you also human beings as Messengers, to whom We revealed (Our Message).’ This is the answer to their objection: "This man is no more than a human being like yourselves", and therefore, cannot be a Messenger of God. They have been told that the former Prophets, too, whom you also recognize as Prophets, were human beings and were blessed with Revelations from Allah. *10 Allah asked them: ‘If you (O objectors!) have no knowledge of this, you may ask the people of the Book.’ That means: ‘You may have it testified by the Jews, who are the enemies of Islam like you, and are teaching you the ways to oppose it, that all the Messengers including Prophets were human beings.’
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ّ ً ﴿8:12﴾ وَمنننا جعَل ْنننناهُم جسننندا ل َ َ َ َ ْ َ ينننأ ْك ُلون الط ّعنننام وَمنننا كنننانوا ُ َ َ َ ُ َ َ َ خال ِدين َ ِ َ
We did not give them such bodies as could survive without food nor were they immortal. (Surah AlAnbiyaa, v.21:8)
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ُ ْ َ ﴿9:12﴾ ثننننم صنننند َقْناهُم ال ْوَعنننند ُ َ َ ّ َ فَأنجي ْننَناهُم وَم نن ن ّش ناء وَأ َهْل َك ْننَنا َن ْ َن َ ال ْمسرِفين َ ِ ْ ُ
Then We fulfilled Our promises with them and ultimately delivered them and whomsoever We willed, and destroyed the transgressors. *11 (Surah AlAnbiyaa, v.21:9) *11 History not only tells us that the former Messengers were human beings but it also contains a lesson that they all received Allah's succor as promised by Him and their enemies were completely destroyed. Therefore you should seriously consider the goal for which you are heading.
َ َ ﴿01:12﴾ ل َقد ْ أنزل ْنا إ ِل َي ْك ُنم ك ِتابنًنا في نه ِ ِ َ ْ َ َ َ ذِك ْرك ُم أ َفَل ت َعْقلون َ ُ ِ ْ ُ
O people, We have sent down to you a Book, which deals with matters concerning yourselves. What, do you not understand this? *12 (Surah Al-Anbiyaa, v.21:10) *12 Then Allah asking them: ‘O People, We have sent down to you a Book, which deals with matters concerning yourselves. What, do you not understand this?’ This is a comprehensive answer to the various objections which were being raised in desperation by the disbelievers of Makkah against the Qur’an and the Holy Prophet, as if to say: (a) What is there in this Book that you cannot understand? Why don’t you consider it in the right spirit? There is nothing contradictory in it. (b) It discusses you and your own problems and affairs of life. (c) It describes your own nature, origin and end. (d) It discriminates between good and evil and presents high moral qualities, which your own consciences endorse and confirm. Why don’t you, then, use your minds to understand this simple and easy thing?
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Allah told the Prophet for instance the story of the people of the inhabitation for them
Allah told the Prophet:
﴿31:63﴾ واضرِب ل َهُ نم مث َل ً أ َص نحاب َ ْ ْ ن َ َ ْ ّ ﴿ ال ْقريننةِ إ ِذ ْ جاءهننا ال ْمرسننلون َ َ َ ُ َ ْ ُ َ ْ َ 41:63﴾ إ ِذ ْ أ َرس نننل ْنا إ ِل َي ْهِ نننم اث ْن َينْنننن َ ْ َن ُ ن ِ ُ ٍ َن فَك َذ ّبوهُما فَعَززنا ب ِثنَنال ِث فَق نالوا َ ْ ّ ُ َ إ ِنا إ ِل َي ْكم مرسلون ّ َ ُ َ ْ ّ ُ
(13) (O Prophet!) Tell them, for instance, the story of the people of the habitation when the Messengers came to it. *10 (14) We sent to them two Messengers and they denied both. Then. We sent a third one to
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strengthen them, and they all said, "We have been sent to you as Messengers. (Surah Yasin, v.36:13-14) *10 The early commentators, generally, have expressed the opinion that the ‘habitation’ implies the Syrian city of Antioch, and the Messengers mentioned here did the Prophet Jesus for the preaching of his message there send the ones. Another thing that has been mentioned in this connection is that Antiochus was the king of this land at that time. But historically this story which Ibn ‘Abbas, Qatadah, ‘Ikrimah, Ka’b Ahbar and Wahb bin Munabbih, and others have related on the basis of unauthentic Christian traditions is baseless. There have been 13 kings of the Seleucid dynasty named Antiochus who reigned in Antioch, and the rule of the last king of this name, rather the rule of this dynasty itself, came to an end in 65 B.C. At the time of Prophet Jesus, the whole land of Syria and Palestine, including Antioch, was under the Romans. Then, no proof is forthcoming from any authentic tradition of the Christians that the Prophet Jesus might himself have sent any of his disciples to Antioch for preaching his message. On the contrary, the Acts of the Apostles (N.T.) shows that the Christian preachers had reached Antioch for the first time a few years after the event of the crucifixion. Now, evidently, the people who were neither appointed messengers by Allah nor by
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His Messenger cannot be regarded messengers of Allah by any interpretation even if they might have traveled for the purpose of preaching of their own accord. Moreover, according to the Bible, Antioch was the first city where the non-Israelites embraced Christianity in large numbers and were the Christian faith met with great success; whereas the habitation mentioned by the Qur’an was some such habitation, which rejected the invitation of the messengers, and was consequently punished with a Divine torment. History also does not bear any evidence that Antioch was ever afflicted with a destruction, which might be regarded as the result of denying the Prophet hood. On account of these reasons it cannot be accepted that the ‘habitation’ implies Antioch. The habitation has neither been clearly determined in the Qur’an nor in any authentic Hadith; the identity of the messengers also is not known through any authentic means or the time when they were appointed. To understand the purpose for which the Qur’an is narrating this story here, it is not necessary to know the names of the habitation and the messengers. The object is to warn the Quraish, as if to say: ‘You are following the same path of stubbornness, prejudice and denial of the truth as had been followed by the people of that habitation, and are preparing yourselves to meet the same doom as was met by them.’
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They told the Messengers, ‘You are no more than men like us’
Let’s see what the Qur’an says:
َ ُ َ ﴿51:63﴾ قالوا ما أنت ُم إ ِل ّ ب َشر مث ْل ُنننا َ ّ ٌ َ ْ َ َ وَما أنزل الرحمن من شنيء إ ِن ِ ْ ٍ ْ َ ْ ّ َ َ َ َ أنت ُم إ ِل ّ ت َك ْذِبون َ ُ ْ
The people said, "You are no more than men like us, *11 and the Merciful God has sent down nothing: *12 you are only telling a lie." (Surah Yasin, 36:15) The people said, "You are no more than men like us, *11
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*11 In other words, what they wanted to say was: ‘Since you are human beings, you cannot be the messengers of God.’ The same was the view of the disbelievers of Makkah. They also said, ‘Mohammad (pbuh), cannot not be a messenger because he is a man.’
The People also said: The Merciful God has sent down nothing: *12 you are only telling a lie (Surah Yasin, v.36:15, nn12): *12 This is another notion of ignorance in which the disbelievers of Makkah were involved. In it are also involved the so-called rationalists of today and in it have been involved the deniers of Revelation and Prophethood of every age since the earliest times. These people have held the view that Allah does not send down any Revelation at All for the guidance of man. He is only concerned with the affairs of the heavens: He has left the affairs and problems of man to be resoled by man himself.
ُ َ ﴿7:52﴾ وَقَننالوا مننال هَ نذا الرسننول ُ ّ ِ ِ َ ُ ي َأ ْكنُننل الط ّعَ ننام وَي َمش نني فِ نني ن ْ ِن َ ن
ُ َ ٌ َ َ ال َس نواق ل َنوْل أن نزِل إ ِل َي ْنهِ مل َنك ِ َ ْ ْ فَي َكون معَه ن َذيرا ً ِ ُ َ َ ُ
They say, "What sort of a Messenger is he that he eats food and moves about in the streets? *14 Why has not an angel been sent down to accompany him and threaten (the disbelievers)? *15 (Surah AlFurqan, v.25:7) *14 That is, "He cannot be a Messenger of Allah because he is a human being like us. Had Allah willed to send a Messenger, He would have sent an angel, and f at all a human being was to be sent, he should have been a king or a millionaire, who would have resided in a castle and been guarded by attendants. A Messenger could not be an ordinary person who has to move about in the market places like the common people, for it is obvious that such a human Messenger cannot attract the attention of the people. In other words, they thought that a Messenger was not meant to guide the people to the right path but to coerce them to obedience by show of worldly power and grandeur. For further details, see E.N. 26 of Al-Mu'minun. *15 That is, "If a human being was to be sent as a
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Messenger, an angel should have been appointed to accompany him to proclaim: `If you do not believe in him, 1 will scourge you." But what son of a Messenger is he, who has to suffer from abuse and persecution?"
َ ِ ّ َ ْ ّ ّ َ ََ ْ ُ ُ ُُ ً َ ِ َ لهي بة قلببوبهم وأس بروا النج بوى ال بذين َ ُ ْ َ َ َ ْ ُ ُْ ِ ٌ َ َ ّ ِ َ ََ ُ َ ْ ه ظلموا هل َذا إل بش بر مثلك بم أفت بأتون ﴾21:3﴿ السحر وأنتم تبصرون َ ُ ِ ْ ُ ْ ُ ْ ََ َ ْ ّ
And the unjust people whisper to one another, saying, ‘this man is no more than a human being like yourselves. What! Will you then be enticed by this sorcery while you perceive it? (Surah Al-Anbiya, v.21: 3) The Qur’an refutes this erroneous notion of the people of Makkah and says that it is not any new kind of ignorance, which these people are displaying, but all the ignorant people since the earliest times have been involved in the misunderstanding that a human being cannot be a messenger and a Messenger cannot be a human being. When the chiefs of the people of the Prophet Noah had rejected his Prophet hood, they had said the same thing:
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فقال المل الذين كفروا من قومه ما هذا َ َ َ ِ ِ ْ َ ْ ِ ُ ََ َ ِ ّ َ َ ْ َ ََ ُ ْ ُ ْ ََ َ ِ ّ َ َ ٌ ِ ُْ ُ ْ ُ ِ ُ َ ْ َ َ َض إل بشر مثلكبم يريبد أن يتف ّبل عليكبم ولو شاء ال لن بزل ملئك بة مببا س بمعنا َ ْ ِ َ َ ً َ ِ َ َ َ َ ْ َ ّ َ َ ْ ََ ُ ﴾23:24﴿ بهذا في آبائنا الولين َ ِّ َْ َ ِ َ َ ِ َ َ ِ
Those of the chiefs of his people, who had rejected his Message, said, "This person is no more than a human being like yourselves. *26 By this, he merely intends to obtain superiority over you. *27 Had Allah willed, He would have sent down angels? Since the time of our forefathers we have never heard (that a human being came as a Messenger). (Surah AlMu’minun, v.23:24) *26 There has been a common deviation that "a human being cannot be a Prophet, and a Prophet cannot be a human being." That is why the Qur`an has refuted this wrong conception over and over again, and has stated forcefully that all the Prophets were human beings and that a human being only could be sent as a Prophet to human beings. For details, see Al-A`araf (VII,): 63, 69, Yunus (X): 2, Hud (XI): 27-31, Yusuf (XII): 109, Ar-Ra`d (XIII): 38, Ibrahim (XIV): 10-11, An-Nahl (XVI): 43, Bani Isra'il (XVII): 94-95, Al-Kahf (XVIII): 110, AlAnbiya' (XXI): 3, 34, Al-Mu'minun (XXIII): 33-34,
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47, Al-Furqan (XXV): 7, 20, AshShu'ara` (XXVI): 154, 186, Ya Sin (XXXVI): 15, Ha Mim Sajdah (XLl): 6 along with the relevant E.N.'s. *27 This accusation is another old objection, which has always been raised against those who tried to reform their people. Their opponents always accused them of exploiting "religion" to gain domination in the land. Prophets Moses, Aaron and Jesus were accused of the same and so was Muhammad (Allah's peace be upon him). So much so that the disbelievers of Makkah offered to make the Holy Prophet their king, if he gave up his Message. As a matter of fact, the people who exhaust themselves in pursuit of worldly benefits and gains, cannot believe that somebody in this world could also exert himself sincerely and selflessly for the sake of human welfare. They regard deceptive slogans, which they raise to capture power, and false promises, which they make day and night to bring about reforms as natural. They think that sincerity and selflessness can be employed only to deceive people and these cannot be put to any better use. That is why those already in power have used
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the epithet of “power hungry” for the reformers in all ages as if their own power and domination in the land was their birthright, and they were in no way blame-worthy for struggling for it and achieving it. In this connection, it should also be noted that all those, who try to reform the prevalent corrupt system of life, have inevitably to fight against those in, power in order to establish the righteous system. That is why the powers that be, have always been against the Prophets and their followers, who had to dislodge the corrupt rulers. It is, however, obvious that here is a vast difference between those who want power to gain their own selfish ends and those who want it to reform their people. 27a. This is a clear proof of the fact that Noah's people were not disbelievers in the existence of God nor did they reject Him as Lord of the universe and the angels as His obedient servants. They were only guilty of shirk: they had set up other deities as partners in God's attributes and powers and rights. The people of ‘Aad had said the same about the Prophet Hud:
َ َ ﴿33:32﴾ وَقال ال ْمل ُ من قَوْمهِ ال ّذين ِ ِ َ َ َ ِ ك َفننروا وَكنَننذ ّبوا ب ِل ِقنناء الخننرة َن ِ َ ْ ِن ُ ُ َن وَأ َت ْرفْناهُم في ال ْحينَناةِ الند ّن ْيا منا َ َن ِ ْ َ َ َ ْ هنذا إل بشنر مث ْل ُك ُنم يأ ْ َ ك ُنل ممنا ُ ِ ّن ّ ٌ َ َ ِّ َ َ تنننأ ْك ُلون مننننه وَي َشنننرب ممنننا َ ّ ِ ُ َ ْ ُ ْ ِ َ ُ ت َشربون َ ُ َ ْ
Those of the chiefs of his people, who had rejected the Message and denied the life in the Hereafter and whom We had given prosperity in this worldly life, *35 said, "This person is no more than a human being like yourselves, for he eats of what you eat and drinks of what you drink. (Surah Al-Mu’minun, v.23:33) *35 It should be noted that all those people who opposed the Messengers had three common characteristics: (1) They were the chiefs of their people, (2) They denied life in the "Hereafter", and (3) They were prosperous in the worldly life. Obviously, they loved the life of this world and could never conceive that their way of life, which had made them chiefs and brought prosperity, could ever be wrong. Therefore they opposed their Messengers, who took away their peace of mind, by preaching that there was a life-after-death and they shall have to
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render an account to Allah of what they did in this world. And this was exactly what was happening at Makkah. Then the Qur’an says:
﴿43:32﴾ وَل َئ ِن أ َط َعْتنُنم ب َش نرا مث ْل َك ُنم ِ ً َ ْ ْ إ ِن ّك ُم إ ِذا ل ّخاسرون َ ُ ِ َ ً ْ
Now if you submit to a human being like yourselves you shall indeed be losers. *36 (Surah Al-Mu’minun, v.23:33) *36 Some commentators have wrongly opined that the chiefs exchanged these remarks against the Messenger between themselves. These remarks in fact were addressed to the common people. When the chiefs felt that the Message was spreading among the common people and there was a real danger that the pure character of the Messenger would influence them and that their superiority then would automatically come to an end, they began to delude them by raising such objections against him. It is worth while to note that both the chiefs of the people of Noah and the chiefs of the people of `Ad accused their Messengers of the "lust for power" but as regards themselves, they thought that power and prosperity were their inherent rights and they were in every respect entitled to be the chiefs of their people.
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The people of Thamud also said the said about the Prophet Salih:
ُ َ ﴿42:45﴾ فَقننالوا أ َب َشننرا منننا واحنندا ً ِ َ ّ ّ ً َ ن ّت ّب ِعُه إ ِنا إ ِذا ل ّفي ضلل وَسعُر ِ ً ّ ُ ٍ َ َ ٍ ُ
And said, "A solitary man he is from among ourselves. Shall we now follow him? *17 If we did so, we should indeed be gone astray and have committed folly. (Surah Al-Qamar, v.54:24) *17 In other words, there were three reasons for their refusal to obey and follow the Prophet Salih: (1) ‘He is a human being and not a super-human person so that we may regard him as superior to ourselves.’ (2) ‘He is a member of our own nation: he is in no way superior to us.’ (3) ‘He is a single man, one from among ourselves. He is not a prominent chief with a large following, or an army of soldiers. Or a host of attendants so that we may acknowledge his superiority.’ They wanted that a Prophet should either be a superman, or if he be a common man, he should not have been born in their own land and nation, but should have descended from above, or sent from another land, and if nothing else, he should at least have been a rich man, whose extraordinary splendor should make the people believe why Allah had
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selected him alone for the leadership of the nation. This it was the error of ignorance in which the disbelievers of Makkah were involved. They also refused to acknowledge the Prophet Muhammad (Upon Whom be Allah's peace and blessings) as a Prophet on the ground that he was a man who moved about in the streets like the common men, had been born among them only the other day and now was claiming that God had appointed him as a Prophet.
And the same thing happened with almost every Prophet that the disbelievers said:
َ ﴿01:41﴾ قننال َت رسننل ُهُم أ َفنني اللننه ِ ّ ِ ْ ُ ُ ْ شك فَ ناط ِرِ الس نماوات وال َرض َ ّ ن ِ ْ َ ِ َ َ ّ ي َد ْعوك ُم ل ِي َغْفر ل َكم من ذ ُنننوب ِك ُم ُ ُ ْ ّ ُ َ ِ ْ َ ْ َ ّ ُ وَيننؤَخرك ُم إ ِلننى أ َجننل مسنننمى ّ َ ّ ٍ َ َ ُ َ َ قننالوا ْ إ ِن أنتننم إ ِل ّ ب َشننر مث ْل ُنننا َ ّ ٌ ْ ُ ْ َ َ ت ُرينندون أن ت َصنندونا عَمننا كننان َ ّ ُ َ َ ُ ّ ْ يع ِبد آبآؤُنا فَأ َ ُ َ ْ ُ ُ َ َ تونا ب ِسل ْطان مبين َ ُ ٍ ِ ّ ٍ
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The Messengers said, "Do you have doubt about the existence of Allah. Who is the Creator of the heavens and the earth? *17 He calls you that He may forgive you your sins and give you respite till your appointed term. " *18 (Surah Ibrahim, v.14:10)
*17 The Messengers posed this question to those who rejected the Message in order to bring home to them the absurdity of their stand with regard to God. For though the mushriks of every age believed in the existence of God and acknowledged that He was the Creator of the heavens and the earth, they did not accept the Message, its logical result, that He alone was entitled to their worship. That is why the Messengers asked them, "Do you have any doubt about the existence of Allah?" *18 In the case of individuals, the `appointed term' may be either the time of one's death or the Doomsday. As regards the `appointed term' for the rise and fall of communities, it is determined by their collective behavior. For instance, if a capable community degenerates before the expiry of its term, the assigned period is shortened and it is deposed. On the other hand, if a degenerate community changes its ways for the better, its term is extended, So much so that it may extend even to the Doomsday. This same thing is implied in v.11 of Ar-R'ad: "The fact is that Allah does not change a
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people's lot unless they themselves change their own characteristics..."
﴿11:41﴾ قال َت ل َهُم رسل ُهُم إن ن ّحننن ْ َ ُ ْ ِ ْ ُ ُ ْ إ ِل ّ ب َشر مث ْل ُك ُم وَلنك ِن الل ّنه ي َمنن ّ ٌ َ ّ ُ َ ّ َ ْ َ عَلى من ي َشناء منن عبنَنادِهِ وَمنا َن َن ِ ْ ِ َ َ َ ُ ّ كان ل َنا أن نننأ ْت ِي َكم ب ِسننل ْطان إ ِل ّ َ َ َ ُ ٍ ب ِإ ِذ ْن الل ّنهِ وعل َنى الل ّنهِ فَل ْي َت َوَك ّنل َ ن ِ ِ ال ْمؤْمنون َ ُ ِ ُ
(14:11) They answered, "You are no more than human beings like ourselves. *19 You intend to debar us from the worship of the deities whom our forefathers have been worshipping. Well, bring a clear Sign. " *20 The Messengers replied, "It is true that we are no more than human beings like you, but Allah shows His favour to anyone of His servants He pleases. *21 And it is not in our power to bring any Sign for you. A Sign can come only by Allah's permission. And in Allah alone should the believers put their trust. (Surah Ibrahim, v.14:11) *19 The disbelievers meant to imply: "You are a human being like us in every respect: you eat, drink
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and sleep like us and have wife and children like us. You feel hungry and thirsty, and suffer from heat and cold, disease and calamities like us. In short, you have every human limitation like us, and we see nothing unusual and extraordinary in you to induct us to accept you as a Prophet and believe that God communicates with you and sends His angels to you." *20 That is, "If you still insist that you are a Prophet, bring a tangible proof of your appointment so as to convince us that you have really been sent by God and your Message is from Him." *21 That is, "No doubt we are human beings like you but it is Allah's will that He has chosen us from among you and blessed us with the knowledge of the Truth and keen discernment. And this is Allah's will and He has full powers to bestow anything on anyone He wills. We are not in a position to ask Him to send that blessing to you or to anyone else: nor can we deny the realities which have been shown to us." Then the Qur’an says that this very notion of ignorance has been preventing the people from accepting guidance in every age, and the same has been the cause of every nation’s downfall:
﴿5:46﴾ أ َل َم ي َأ ْت ِك ُم ن َب َنأ ُ ال ّنذين ك َف نروا ْ ْ ُ َ َ ِ ُ َ ُ منن قَب ْنل فَنذاقوا وَبنَنال أ َمرِهِنم ِن ْ ْ َ وَل َهُم عَذاب أ َليم ٌ ِ ٌ َ ْ
Has not the news reached you of those who had disbelieved before this, and then tasted the evil results of their deeds? And in the Hereafter there awaits them a painful torment. *10 (Surah AtThagabun, 64:5) *10 That is, "The evil that they tasted in the world in consequence of their misdeeds was neither the real punishment of their crimes nor the full punishment. The real and full punishment they have yet to suffer in the Hereafter. However, the people can learn a lesson from the torment that visited them. They can see how the nations which adopted an attitude of unbelief against their Lord, went an degenerating and consequently met with an evil and disgraceful end." (For further explanation, see E.N.'s 5, 6 of Al-A'raf, E.N. 105 of Hud).
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َ ﴿6:46﴾ ذ َل ِنننك ب ِنننأ َن ّه كنَننانت ت ّنننأ ْتيهِم َ ْ ِ ُ ُ ِ َن رس نل ُهم بال ْب َي ّننَنات فَق نالوا أ َب َش نر ِ ُ ُ ُ ٌ َ
ّ ي َهْدون َنا فَك َفروا وَت َوَلوا واست َغْنى َ ْ ّ َ ُ ُ َ ِ َ ّ ٌ الل ّه والل ّه غَن ِي حميد ُ َ ُ
They deserved this fate because their Messengers came to them with clear Signs, *11 but they said, "Shall mere human beings show us guidance?" *12 So they refused to believe and turned away; then Allah also became indifferent to them, and Allah is indeed Independent and worthy of all praise. *13 (Surah AtThagabun, 64:6) *11 The word bayyinet as used in the original has a vast meaning. Bayyin (sign of bayyinat) in Arabic is something, which is very clear and manifest. Saying about the Prophets that they came with bayyinat gives the meaning that firstly, they brought such manifest signs as bore clear testimony to their having been appointed by Allah; secondly, they presented whatever they presented with rational and clear arguments; thirdly, there was no ambiguity in their teaching; they clearly explained what was the truth and what was falsehood what was lawful and what was unlawful, what path man should follow and what he should avoid. *12 This was then the foremost and basic cause of
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their degeneration and ruin Mankind could not have known the right course of action in the world unless their Creator gave them the correct knowledge, and there could be no practical means of bestowing such knowledge by the Creator unless He blessed some of the human beings with the knowledge and entrusted them with the duty to convey it to other human beings. For this purpose He sent the Prophets with the manifest Signs bayyinat) so that there was-no reasonable ground for the people to doubt their being on the truth. But the people refused to believe that a human being could be a Messenger of God. Then, obviously there could be no other way for them to receive guidance. (For further explanation, see E.N. 11 of Surah Ya Sin). In this connection, however, a strange manifestation of the ignorance and folly of human beings is seen. They have in fact, never shown any hesitation in accepting the guidance of men, so much so that they have carried out gods of wood and stone according to their guidance, they have made human beings themselves God, the incarnation of God, even son of God and they have adopted such strange viewpoints by following the guidance of their miss-leaders blindly, which ruined human civilization and morals altogether. But when the Messengers of God came to them with the truth, and they presented
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the pure Truth before them without any selfish motive, they said, "Shall mere human beings show us guidance?" This amounted to saying that if a human begin misled them, they would follow his guidance willingly, but if he showed the right path to them, his guidance was not acceptable. *13 That is, when they treated the guidance sent down by Allah with indifference, then Allah also became indifferent to them and did not care what pit they fell in. Allah did not stand in need of their acknowledging Him God to sustain and support His Godhead. Nor was He in need of their worship, nor of their praise and adoration. He, in fact, willed to show them the right path only for their own good and well being. But when they turned away from it, Allah also became heedless of them. Then, neither He gave them guidance, nor remained responsible for their protection, nor saved them from being afflicted with calamities, nor prevented them from bringing about their own ruin for they themselves were not keen for His guidance and help.
َ ْ ﴿49:71﴾ وَما من َعَ الن ّنناس أن ي ُؤْمن ُننوا ِ َ َ َ َ ّ إذ ْ جنناءهُم ال ْهنندى إل ْ ُ ُ َ ِ أن قننالوا ُ َ َ ِ ً أ َب َعَث الل ّه ب َشرا رسول َ ُ ّ ً َ ُ
Whenever Guidance came before the people nothing prevented them from believing in it except this
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(excuse): they said: "Did Allah send a human being as His Messenger?" *107 (Surah Bani Isra’il, v.17:94) *107 It implies that this misunderstanding has always been common among the ignorant people of every age that a human being could not be a Messenger of Allah: They rejected a Messenger just because he was a human being and took his meals and had wife and children like themselves. In contrast to this, after the passage of the time the credulous followers of a Messenger began to claim that he was not a human being at all because he was a Messenger. That is why some people made their Messenger their God, others the son of God and still others the incarnation of God. In short, the ignorant people had never been able to understand that a human being could be a Messenger of Allah. Then the Qur’an says explicitly that: Allah has always sent human beings as the Messengers and a human being alone can be a Messenger for the guidance for mankind, and not an angel, or a supernatural being:
ً ﴿7:12﴾ وَما أ َرسنل ْنا قَب ْل َنك إ ِل ّ رِجنال َ َن َ َ َ َ نوحي إل َيهْم فاسأ ُ َ ِ ْ ِ ْ َ ْ لوا ْ أ َهْل ال نذ ّك ْر ِ ّ ِ إن كنتنننم ل َ ت َعْل َمنننون ﴿8:12﴾ وَمنننا َ َ ُ ْ ُ ُ ِ
ّ ً ْ َ َن جعَل ْننَننناهُم جس ننندا ل ينَنننأ ْك ُلون َ ُ َ الط ّعام وَما كانوا خال ِدين ُ َ َ َ َ َ ِ َ
(7) And, O Muhammad, We sent before you also human beings as Messengers, to whom We revealed (Our Message). *9 If you (O objectors,) have no knowledge of this, you may ask the people of the Book. *10 (8) We did not give them such bodies as could survive without food nor were they immortal. (Surah Al-Anbiya, v.21:7-8) *9 This is the answer to their objection: "This man is no more than a human being like yourselves", and therefore, cannot be a Messenger of God. They have been told that the former Prophets, too, whom you also recognize as Prophets, were human beings and were blessed with Revelations from Allah. *10 That is, ‘you may have it testified by the Jews, who are the enemies of Islam like you, and are teaching you the ways to oppose it, that all the Messengers including Prophet Moses were human beings.’
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﴿02:52﴾ وم ننا أ َرس ننل ْنا قَب ْل َننك م ننن َ ن َ ْ َن َ ن َ ْ ِن ّ َ ِ َ ْ ُ ال ْمرسنننلين إ ِل إ ِن ّهنننم ل َينننأك ُلون َ ُ َ ْ ُ
الط ّعام وَي َمشون فنني ال َسننواق ِ َ ُ ْ َ َ ِ َ ْ ْ وَجعَل ْننَننا ب َعْضننك ُم ل ِب َعْننض فِت ْننَننة ً َ َ ٍ ْ ن َ َ َ َ َ ُ ْ أ َت َصب ِرون وَكان رب ّك ب َصيرا ً ِ
O Muhammad, all the Messengers whom We sent before you also ate food and moved about in the streets. *29 In fact, We have made you all a means of test for one another. *30 Will you show patience? *31 for your Lord see everything. *32 (Surah Al-Furqan, v. 25:20) *29 This is an answer to the objection of the disbelievers of Makkah that Muhammad (Allah's peace be upon him) could not be a Messenger of Allah because he ate food and moved about in the streets. They have been told that all the Messengers of Allah who came before Muhammad (Allah's peace be upon him) like Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Moses and many others whom they knew and acknowledged as Prophets and Messengers of Allah also ate food and walked about in the streets. Nay, even Prophet Jesus, son of Mary, himself, whom the Christians had made the son of God (and whose image had also been placed in the Ka`bah by the disbelievers of Makkah) ate food and walked about in the streets like a
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common man even according to the Gospels themselves. *30 It is obvious that the Messenger and the Believers was a test for the disbelievers as to whether they would believe even after hearing the Divine Message and seeing their pure character. On the other hand, the disbelievers were a test for the Messenger and his followers in the sense that they were a means of proving and trying their true Faith by their persecution. For it is this test alone which helps to discriminate the true Believers from the hypocrites. That is why, at first, only the poor arid the helpless but sincere people embraced Islam. Had there been no persecution and hardships but prosperity, wealth and grandeur, the worshippers of the world and the selfish people would have been the first to embrace Islam. *31 That is, "Now when you have understood the wisdom of the test by persecution, it is hoped that you will endure all kinds of hardships without complaint, and willingly undergo the persecutions that are inevitable." *32 It probably means two things: First, the way your Lord is conducting your affairs, is according to His
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will and nothing that happens is without His knowledge. Second, He is fully aware of your sincerity and righteousness in serving His cause under all kinds of hardships. You should therefore rest assured that you will have your full reward. He also sees the persecution and iniquity of the disbelievers; therefore they will not escape the consequences of their wickedness.
ّ ُ ﴿59:71﴾ قننل لننوْ كننان فنني ال َرض ِ َ َ ِ ْ ملئ ِك َة ي َمشون مط ْمئ ِنين ل َن َزل ْنننا َ ّ َ ّ َ ُ َ ُ ْ ٌ َ ً عَل َي ْهم من السماء مل َكا رسول ُ ّ ً َ َ ّ َ ّ ِ
O Prophet! Say to them, "Had angels settled on the Earth and moved about in peace, We would certainly have sent an angel as a Messenger to them, " *108 (Surah Bani Isra’il, v.17:95) *108 This is to say that Messenger does not merely convey the Message but is sent to reform human life in accordance with it. He has to apply the principles of the Message to the circumstances of human beings and has himself to demonstrate practically those principles. Moreover, he has to remove the misunderstandings of those people who try to listen w and understand his Message. Besides this, he has to organize and train the Believers to create a society based on the teachings of his Message. He has to struggle against those who reject and oppose his
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Message in order to subdue those powers that are bent upon corruption, and bring about that reformation for which Allah has sent His Messenger. As alI these things have to be done in a society of human beings only a human Messenger can perform the mission. If an angel had been sent as a Messenger, the most he could have done was to convey the message, for he could not live among human beings and share their life and problems in order to reform them. It is thus clear that a human Messenger only could be suitable for this purpose.
15.00.00 The enemies of Allah will be Gathered together to be driven to Hell
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The Qur’an says:
َ ﴿91:14﴾ وَي َوْم ي ُحشر أ َعْداء الل ّهِ إ ِلى َ ُ َ ْ َ النارِ فَهُم يوزعون ّ َ ُ َ ُ ْ
And imagine the time when the enemies of Allah will be gathered together to be driven to Hell. *23 Their former generations will be withheld till their later generations also will join them. *24 (Surah Ha-MimAs-Sajdah, v.41:19) *23 What is meant to be said have is: "When they will be rounded up to be presented in the Court of Allah," though the words used are to the effect: "When they will be gathered to be driven to Hell," for Hell in any case will be their final destination. *24 ‘Their former generations will be withheld till their later generations also will join them.’ That is, All the former and latter generations and races will be gathered together at a time and called to account together, For whatever a person does in his lifetime, whether good yr evil, its influence and impact does not end with his life; but continues to operate even after his death for long periods of time, for which he is totally responsible. Likewise, whatever a generation does in its time, its influence continues to affect the later generations for centuries, and it is
responsible for its heritage. It is inevitable to examine All these influences and their results and to collect their
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evidences. For that very reason, generation after generation of the people will go on arriving and will be withheld. The Court will start its work when all the former and latter generations will have assembled together in the Plain of Resurrection. (For further explanation, see Al-A'raf: 38-39 and E.N. 30 on it).
The Qur’an says:
ُ َ ن ن ُن ْ ﴿83:7﴾ قَ نال اد ْخل ُنوا ْ فِ ني أم نم ٍ قَ ند َ ُ خلننت مننن قَب ْل ِكننم مننن ال ْجننن ِ ْ َ َ ّ ّ ِ والنس فِ ني الننّنارِ ك ُل ّم نا د َخل َنت َن َ ِ ِ ن َ ْ ْ أ ُمة ل ّعَن َت أ ُخت َها حتى إ ِذا اداركوا ُ َ ّ َ ٌ ّ ّ َ َ ْ ْ َ فيهنننا جميعنننا قنننال َت أ ُخراهنننم ً ِ َ ْ ُ َ ْ ْ َ ِ ُ َ َ ّ َ ُ َ َ َ ْ لول َهُم رب ّنا هنؤلء أ َضلونا فآت ِهِم ْ ّ ُ َ َ ّ َ ّ ً ِ ً َ عَذابا ضعْفا من النارِ قننال ل ِكننل ضعْف وَلنكن ل ّ ت َعْل َمون ِ َ ٌ ِ َ ُ
Allah will say: 'Enter the fire of Hell and join the nations of jinn and men that have gone before You.' As a nation enters Hill, it will curse the one that went before it, and when all are gathered there, the last of them shall say of the first: 'Our Lord! These are the ones who led us astray. Let their torment be doubled in Hell-Fire.' He will answer: 'Each will have a
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doubled torment; although you do not know.' *30 (Surah Al-A’raf, v.7:38) *30. As it is, each group of people is followed, even as others precede it. A group that inherits an error of outlook and conduct from its predecessors passes on the same, in turn, to future generations. In addition, whereas a group owes its wrong-doing partly to the wrong-doing of its predecessors, it will also be held responsible for leaving behind an evil legacy for the future generations. The Qur'an, therefore, pronounces a double punishment on such a group: it will incur punishment for its own misdeeds and also for leaving behind such a legacy for the coming generations. A number of traditions elucidate this point. According to one such tradition the Prophet (peace be on him) said: 'He who introduces a misleading innovation which does not please God and His Messenger shall be held guilty for the sins of all those who follow that innovation without lessening in the least the burden [of sins] of those who followed the innovation,' (Cf. Ibn Majah, Muqaddimat Bab Man Ahya Sunnah qad umitat, where the words are slightly different - Ed.) According to another tradition, he said: 'The responsibility for all the murders committed in the world is shared by the first son of Adam [i.e. Cain]
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for he was the first to have innovated murder.' (See Bukhari, Kitab al-Jana'iz, Bab Qawlih 'alay al-Salam Yu'addhab al-Mayyit bi Ba'd Buka'i ahlih 'alayh-Ed.) We thus know that the individual or group responsible for introducing a wrong idea or practice is not only responsible to the extent of those sins, but shares the responsibility of the sins of all those who are influenced by him. As long as the evil effects of that influence continue, their sins will be continually added to his account. This also shows that a person is not only accountable for the good or bad deeds that he commits. In fact he is also accountable for the influence of those deeds on others. This may be illustrated by considering the case of someone who indulges in unlawful sex. All those whose bad examples, evil company, and inducements to evil caused a man to indulge in such an act have a share in the sin that he committed. Others had influenced the persons who influenced him in turn. Were this chain of influence traced back to its ultimate origin, the blame would be fixed on the first person that demonstrated this unlawful way for satiating the sexual urge.
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This does not detract from the fact that anyone who indulged in fornication is also accountable for the sin he committed. This is so because when he committed a sin he did so because he failed to make proper use of his capacity to distinguish between good and evil with which he had been endowed. He also did not pay due heed to the voice of his conscience, and mobilize the power of self-control given him. Nor did he benefit from the knowledge of good and evil neither transmitted to him by pious men nor was he inspired by the noble examples of the God-fearing. Nor did he learn any lesson from the evil consequences of sexual misconduct. Instead, he totally succumbed to blind sexual lust, which sought gratification at all cost. This much relates to the responsibility of the person who indulged in sexual misconduct. But there is another dimension of that person's evil conduct - his propagation of that same evil among others which ruined the lives of countless people belonging to his own generation and to the generations that follow. It is also possible that some general disease, which he then communicated to his own generation and also to the generations that
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followed, might have afflicted him. His sexual misconduct might also have given birth to illegitimate children, unjustly passing on the burden of their upbringing to others, and making his offspring - without any justification - co-sharers in the fortunes and even the inheritance of others. The wrong that is thus perpetrated persists for many generations. Likewise, it is also possible that the said criminal might, by his cunning, have led an innocent girl to sexually corrupt behavior. That in turn is likely to awaken evil propensities in her which wreck the lives and homes of countless families, even generations. Also, by setting an evil example for his children, relatives, friends and the society at large a fornicator is likely to cast a bad influence on people around him and infect others with moral corruption. The evil consequences of such an act thus linger on for a long time. The moral corruption that ultimately, engulfs the society owes its origin to the person who initially introduced an evil. Justice, therefore, demands that such a culprit should also be held responsible for the subsequent evils, which may be traced, back to his initial act of corruption. The same holds true for good deeds. The reward for the heritage of goodness left behind by our
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predecessors from the earliest times should inevitably go to the credit of those men of the past who have continually transmitted that heritage to posterity down to our own time. If our own generation takes good care of that heritage, enriches it and passes it on to the coming generation, it also deserves due reward for that. As long as our good acts leave a trace of good influence on history and continue to cast a good influence on people, mankind will reap the benefits of those acts. This is the Qur'anic view of retribution. Every sensible person will agree that such a dispensation alone can ensure perfect justice. Appreciation of this concept should dispel the idea of those who believe that men can be fully rewarded or punished for their deeds within the confines of this worldly life. Likewise, such an appreciation should also dispel the views of those who believe that the transmigration of souls alone can ensure full justice to all men. Such people have blundered because they have neither grasped fully the nature and consequences of human acts nor the nature and requirements of perfect justice. It is obvious that the consequences of individuals' acts are not visible during their life span say sixty or seventy years or so. Instead, human
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activities, both good and evil, influence the lives of countless people belonging to countless generations. One cannot, therefore, be brought to justice during one's own lifetime, since only a small part of the consequences of those acts have yet come to the surface. Moreover, the limited possibilities available in the present world are quite inadequate for bringing people to justice. Just consider the hideous crime of someone who pushes us to a world war. As things stand, the catastrophic consequences of such a crime would affect the lives of billions of men through the ages. Is there any punishment -physical, spiritual or material - which can be deemed even remotely, proportionate to that crime? Likewise, no worldly reward, however valuable, can adequately recompense for the noble services rendered by a philanthropist, which will benefit numerous people for thousands of years. Having viewed the question from this angle one readily, concludes that there must necessarily be life in the Hereafter such that full justice can be meted out to everyone. Here all human beings are brought together, their full records are made available, and the reckoning is made by God Himself Whose knowledge embraces literally everything.
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Additionally, men should be granted unlimited spans of life, and infinite possibilities should be made available for receiving compensation. A little reflection on this will help us see how false the doctrine of the transmigration of souls is. Those who subscribe to this doctrine fail to realize that eternal life is needed to mete out recompense to people for the deeds they commit during their relatively brief spans of life. If one were to believe in the unending cycle of life and death it would become impossible to reward or punish anyone for his actions, for each span of life would go on accumulating endlessly. The arrears would never be cleared.
ُ ﴿93:7﴾ وَقال َت أول َهُم ل ُخراهُم فَم نا ْ َن ْ ْ ْ َ َ كنَننان ل َكنُننم عَل َي ْننَننا مننن فَضننل ِن َ ْ ٍ ْن ُ ُ َ فنننذوقوا ْ ال ْعنننذاب ب ِمنننا كنتنننم ْ ُ ُ َ َ َ َ ت َك ْسبون َ ُ ِ
Then the preceding ones will say to the succeeding ones: 'You were in no way superior to us; taste, then, this torment for your deeds.' *31(Surah Al-A’raf, v.7:39)
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*31. In addition to the above verse, the Qur'an elsewhere recounts the mutual incriminations of the dwellers of Hell. For example, it occurs in Sarah alSaba' in the following words: 'Could you but see when the wrong-doers will be made to stand before their Lord, throwing back the word (of blame) on one another! Those who had been abased will say to the arrogant ones: "Had it not been for you, we should certainly have been believers!" The arrogant ones will say, to those who had been abased: "Was it we who kept you back from Guidance after it reached you? Nay, rather it was you yourselves who transgressed" ' (al-Saba' 34: 31-2). This means that since the misguided people themselves were not keen on receiving the right guidance, they fell victims even more to the forces of misguidance. Out of their own excessive worldliness they chose to follow their ungodly leaders. Granted that it was the forces of misguidance, which had invented ideologies such as materialism, excessive worldliness, and nationalism. But when people were attracted to these false ideologies, they did so out of their own weaknesses. These forces of evil achieved success because what they offered was to the utmost liking of the people. Again, the people who were tempted to embrace counterfeit religious ideologies were themselves to blame for falling prey to them since there was an inner urge in them to accept such ideologies. Rather than submitting to the One True God and to rigorous moral discipline, they looked for deities that would
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help them to achieve their worldly purposes. Naturally, they invented deities of their own liking. They also desired the intercession of those who would let them grow in worldliness and godlessness, and yet who would also ensure their redemption in the Next World. As they preferred a religion that would not make their life a bit dry, permissive religious cults, which did not object to any kind of self-indulgence, were developed. This establishes clearly that the external forces of evil alone are not to blame. The people who succumb to evil and error equally share the blame. This neither condones the role of those who seek to mislead others, nor detracts from the responsibility of those who choose to be misled. There is a double chastisement for every generation for the sins it committed as successors, and for the sins it left for others as predecessor, because it followed the heritage of evil left by its predecessors and then left the heritage of evil for its successors. Therefore if its predecessor shares a part of the burden of responsibility for its sins, it also shares a part of the burden of the responsibility for the legacy of the sins left by it for its successors. There is a Tradition to this effect: • The one who initiates an innovation that is disapproved of by Allah and His Messenger shall be held responsible for the sins of all those people,
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who followed his innovation, without lessening in the least the burden of the responsibility for the sin committed by the inventor. Here is another Tradition: • Whenever a man is killed unjustly anywhere in the world, a part of the guilt of this murder is debited against the account of that son of Adam who was the first to murder his own brother, because he was the first to open the way of murder. It is clear from the above that the person or the group or the community that starts the wrong idea or a wrong attitude, is not only responsible for his or its own error, but is also partly responsible for the sins of all those who are influenced by the error, and as long as the effects of that error continue to influence others, they are credited to his or its account. This also shows that an individual is not only personally accountable for his own good or bad actions but also for its effects on the lives of others. As an illustration, let us take the case of an adulterer. All those persons whose bad example, or bad company or evil inducement misled him to adultery, share the responsibility for his becoming an adulterer and this responsibility extends above to all other persons, from whom those persons received this evil heritage. Thus it will go further and further upwards
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till it reaches the first person that initiated this evil way of sexuality. Then the adulterer himself shall have to bear the responsibility of his guilt, because he committed this in utter disregard of many deterrents. He did not discriminate between good and bad; he did not pay attention to the voice of his conscience; he did not resort to the power of self-control within him; he did not make use of the knowledge of good and bad he had received from virtuous people and of their noble examples, and he did not take warning from the evil consequences of sexual immorality. In the face of all the above factors, that could have restrained him from adultery, he gave himself up to the blind sex urge that wanted its satisfaction in any available way. Now let us consider the case of the adulterer from the point of view of its evil influences and heritage in relation to his contemporaries and successors. The responsibility of his guilt does not remain confined to his own acts of adultery but extends to all those evil acts that were prompted and influenced by these. At first he himself catches the infection of a venereal disease and then communicates it to his own generation and to countless successive generations; he causes illegitimate births and then throws the burden of nourishment on others and makes them unlawful inheritors at the expense of the lawful inheritors, and the evil results of this injustice may continue to influence countless generations.
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Moreover he seduces some innocent girl and induces her to surrender herself to sexual immorality, and then she, in her turn, spreads the evil to others and causes the ruin of countless families. Then he sets a bad example for his own children his relatives and his friends and for the other people of his society and becomes a cause of the moral ruin of many persons, who, in their turn, leave evil heritage, with all its evil influences on the countless succeeding generations. Therefore, justice demands that a part of the responsibility for all these evil results should be laid on him as long as the effects last. The case of the heritage of virtue may also be considered in the same way. All those persons, up to the first man, who left the heritage of virtue for us are entitled to a share of its reward. Then we shall also be entitled to a share of its reward, if we exert to preserve and increase it. Then we shall also be entitled to a share of its reward, if we leave behind us the legacy of virtue for others to follow, as long as its good effects go on influencing mankind and they benefit from it. Every sensible man will admit that the manner of retribution presented by the Qur’an is the only right and perfect way of doing full justice. The right understanding of this fact will help remove the misunderstandings of those who regard this worldly life to be quite sufficient for retribution, and also of those who believe that this purpose is achieved by the
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process of the transmigration of souls. As a matter of fact, neither of the groups has fully grasped the extent, the effects and the consequences of human acts, nor the full requirements of just retribution. Obviously it is not possible today to punish here the countless generations, which contributed to the good or bad acts of a person during his life in this world. Moreover the effects of his good or bad acts do not cease with his death, but will continue through the countless centuries and will go on influencing the lives of countless people after him. Justice requires that these should he credited to his account as long as the effects last. Therefore the requital of justice is impossible in this worldly life, when even the smallest part of the effects of his acts has not yet appeared. Then there are not enough means for awarding fully the rewards or the punishments for the acts of a man in the limited life of this world and its limited means. Just imagine the extent of the guilt of a man who kindles the fire of a World War and destroys and ruins the lives of millions of people and leaves a legacy of evil that will continue to influence the lives of billions of people for centuries. Can any punishment in this world, physical, or moral, or spiritual, however severe that may be, fully meet the requirements of justice? Or can any reward in this world, however great, fully recompense a man for his lifelong work for the good of humanity, which goes
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on benefiting millions of people for thousands of years? Anyone, who will consider the problem of retribution from this point of view, will come to the inevitable condition that for the requital of full justice, there should be another world where all the generations should be mustered together with their accounts; when there should be an all-knowing and all-aware judge to administer justice and there should also be human begins with eternal lives to receive the reward or punishment, as the case may be, and all kinds of means for the dispensation of justice as well. This way of thinking also helps expose the basic error of the doctrine of transmigration, which has led its advocates to believe in the passage of souls after death into other bodies according to their merits or demerits. This is because they have not been able to grasp the fact that for the retribution of the acts of this short worldly life, a thousand times longer life is required. It is thus obvious that another reborn life of the same length in this world will not help solve the problem of retribution because it is quite insufficient for the purpose. On the contrary, this will make it all the more complex, for the circle of transmigration will go on multiplying such acts-good or bad-and increasing their effects more and more in an endless chain. Thus, according to the doctrine of transmigration, the account of a person will remain unsettled forever.
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It has been said in the verse 7:39 that: ‘The preceding generation will say to the succeeding, ‘(If we were to blame) you, too, were no better than we. Now taste the torture for what you earned.’ The Qur’an has described at several places this sort of altercation between the dwellers of Hell. For instance, in The Surah As Saba, v.34:31-33, it says:
َ َ ﴿13:43﴾ وَقننال الننذين ك َفننروا لننن ُ َ َ ِ ّ َ َ ن ّؤْمن ب ِهَذا ال ْقرآن وَل بال ّذي ب َي ْن ِ ِ َ ِ ْ ُ َ َ ِ ّ َ ينند َي ْهِ وَلننوْ تننرى إ ِذِ الظننال ِمون َ ُ َ َ َ موْقوفُ ننون عن نند َ رب ّهِ ننم ي َرج ننع َ ِن َ ُ ن ُ َ ن ْ ْ ِن َ ْ ُ ُ ب َعْضهُم إ ِلى ب َعْض ال ْقننوْل ي َقننول ُ َ َ ٍ ال ّننننذين است ُضننننعِفوا ل ِل ّننننذين ُ ن ِ َ ْ ْن َ ِ ن َ َ است َك ْب َروا ل َوْل أنت ُم ل َك ُنا مؤْمنين ِ ِ ُ ّ ْ ْ َ ُ
The disbelievers say, "We shall never believe in this Qur`an, nor in any other Book which came before it. " *50 Would that you could see these wicked people at the time when they will be standing before their Lord! Then, they will blame one another. Those who had been oppressed in the world, will say to the arrogant, "But for you we would have been the believers. " *51
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*51 Those who had been oppressed in the world will say to the arrogant, ‘But for you, we would have been the believers.’ The common people who are following their leaders, chiefs, saints and rulers blindly, and are not prepared to listen to any word of advice from a well-wisher against them. When the same people will see the actual reality and will also remember how their religious leaders used to misrepresent things, and when they will realize what doom they are going to meet on account of following their leaders, they will turn on them, and say, ‘O wretched people, you led us astray: you are responsible for all our reflections. Had you not misguided us, we would have listened to the Messengers of Allah and believed in what they said.’
َ َ ﴿23:43﴾ قال ال ّذين است َك ْب َروا ل ِل ّنذين ْ َ ِ َ ِ ُ است ُضعِفوا أ َن َحن ص ند َد ْناك ُم عَ نن ُ ْ ْ ْ َ َ ُ ْ ِ ُ ْ ُ َن ال ْهُدى ب َعْ ند َ إ ِذ ْ ج ناءكم ب َنل كنتنُنم َ مجرِمين َ ِ ْ ّ
The arrogant ones will say to the oppressed once, "Did we hinder you from the guidance when it came to you? Nay, but you yourselves were guilty. " *52 (Surah As-Saba, v.34:32) *52 It means they will say: (01) You yourselves are to blame for discarding the Guidance.
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(02) You fell an easy prey to the greed with which we tempted you, to become our slaves, because you yourselves were greedy for wealth. (03) When we wanted to buy your conscience, you sold it because you yourselves were eager to sell it. (04) When we invited you to the worship of materialism, worldliness, nationalism and the like, you accepted our invitation, because you had an aversion to God-worship and a liking for this worldliness. This is why you rejected the invitation of the worshippers of Allah, and accepted ours. (05) When we deluded you with false religious things, you at once accepted these, because you yourselves were cherishing the same in your hearts. (06) For instance, you were in search of such Gods as might fulfill your desires without demanding any moral obligations from you, and we supplied such ones, and you accepted them. (07) You were in search of such intercessors as might take the responsibility for your entry into Paradise, allowing you to do whatever pleased you in the world, without minding the Guidance of Allah. So we invented such ones and you followed us; (08) You were in search of such religious as might guarantee short-cuts to salvation, freeing you from the hardships, restrictions and sacrifices for the cause of Allah, and permitting you to enjoy
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all sorts of indulgences, and we invented such easy pleasant religious for you, and you followed them. (09) In short, we alone are not responsible for your misguidance but you, too, share it equally with us; (10) If we supplied misguidance, you bought it of your own accord.’ Then they also will say: (01) We had no power by which a few of us could have compelled hundreds of thousands of the people like you to follow us. (02) If you had the will to believe, you could have deposed us from leadership and power and authority and government. (03) In fact, you were our army. (04) You were the source of our wealth and power. (05) But for your offerings and gifts and taxes we should have been paupers. (06) Had you not sworn allegiance to us, we could not have flourished as saints even for a day. (07) Had you not appreciated and applauded us as leaders, we would have remained unknown. (08) Had you not become our army and fought against the whole world for our sake, we could not have ruled over a single individual. (09) Now, why don’t you admit that you yourselves did not want to follow the way that the Messengers had presented before you?
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(10) You were the slaves of your own lusts and desires, and the demands of yourselves could not fulfilled by the righteous way of life presented by the Messengers but by what we presented before you. (11) You were heedless of the lawful and the unlawful and craved for the luxuries of life, which we only could provide you. (12) You were in search of such guides as could give you the license to commit any sin, any crime, and take on themselves the responsibility to have you forgiven by God, in exchange for gifts. (13) You wanted to listen to such religious scholars only who could please you by proving every kind of shirk and every innovation in religion and every lust of yourself to be the very truth. (14) You needed such forgeries who could invent a new religion by altering the Religion of God after your desires. (15) You wanted to follow such leaders who could help you become prosperous in this world, no matter how you fared in the Hereafter. (16) You wished to have such rulers who were immoral and dishonest so that under their patronage you also could have the freedom to indulge in any sin, and immorality. Thus, you and we were equal partners in the bargain. Now you cannot delude anyone by saying that you were absolutely innocent and that we had spoiled and corrupted you against your will.
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﴿33:43﴾ وَقَ ننال ال ّننذين است ُض ننعِفوا ُ ن َ ن ِ َ ْ ْن ل ِل ّذين است َك ْب َروا ب َنل مك ْنر الل ّي ْنل ْ َ ِ ِ ُ َ ْ ْ ُوالنهنننار إذ ْ تأ َ َ ّ َ ِ ِ َ مرون َننننا أن ن ّك ْفنننر ُ َ ُ ُ َ َ َ ْ بالل ّهِ وَن َجعَل ل َنه أن ندادا وَأ َس نروا ً َ َ ُ ِ ّ الن ّدامة ل َما رأ َوا ال ْعَذاب وَجعَل ْنننا َ َ َ َ ُ َ ّ َ َ َ ال َغْلل في أ َعْناق ال ّنذين ك َفنروا ِ َ َ ْ ُ َ َ ِ ِ َ هَل ي ُجزوْن إ ِل ما كانوا ي َعْملون ُ َ َ ّ َ َ ْ ْ َ ُ َ
The oppressed ones will say to the arrogant ones. "Nay, but it was your plotting by day and night when you told us to deny Allah and to set up others as equals with Him. " *53 At last, when they will see the torment, they will repent in their hearts, and We shall put fetters on the necks of the disbelievers. Can the people be requited except in accordance with their deeds? (Surah As-Saba, v.34:33) *53Then, the oppressed ones will say to the arrogant ones, ‘Nay, but it was your plotting by day and night when you told us to deny Allah and to set up others as equals with Him. In other words, the common people’s reply will be: ‘How can you hold us as equal partners in this responsibility? Do you also remember what sort of trickeries and deceptions and false propaganda you practiced and what efforts you used to make to tempt and entice the people day and night.
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It is not just that you presented the world before us and we were allured, but this also is a fact that you used to befool us by your frauds and deceptions and each one of you brought a new bait every day to tempt and lure the simple people.’
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When a stubborn culprit will go on denying his crimes, the limbs of the body will bear the witness
The Qur’an says:
َ َ ُ َ ّ َ َ ﴿02﴾ حتننى إ ِذا مننا جاؤوهننا شننهِد َ َ عَل َي ْهِنننم سنننمعُهُم وَأ َب ْصنننارهُم ْ ُ َن ْ ْ ن ْ َن ُ ُ وَجلود ُهُم ب ِما كانوا ي َعْملون ُ َ َ ْ َ ُ َ ُ َ ﴿12﴾ وَقالوا ل ِجل ُنودِهِم ل ِنم شنهدت ّم ُن ْ ِ َ َ ْ عَل َي ْننَنا قَ نالوا أنط َقننَنا الل ّنه ال ّنذي َ َ ُ ن ِ ُ َ أنط َنقَ ك ُنل شنيء وَهُنوَ خل َقك ُنم ٍ ْ َ ّ ْ َ َ أ َوّل مرةٍ وَإ ِل َي ْهِ ت ُرجعُ نون ﴿22﴾ وَم نا َن َ ْ َ ن ّ َ َ ْ ْ َ ُ ْ ْ ُ كنت ُم ت َست َت ِرون أ َن ي َشهَد َ عَل َي ْكننم ْ ُ َ ْ ُ َ ْ س نننننمعُك ُم وَل أ َب ْص نننننارك ُم وَل َن َن ْ َ َ ّ ّ ْ َ ُ ُ جلود ُك ُم وَل َكن ظ َننت ُم أ َن اللننه ل ِ ْ ي َعْل َم ك َثيرا مما ت َعْملون َ ُ َ ّ ّ ً ِ ُ
(20) Then, when all will have reached there, their ears and their eyes and their very skins will bear witness against them concerning what they had been doing in this world. (21) They will say to their skins, ‘Why have you borne witness against us?’ They will
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reply, ‘the same God who has given speech to everything has given us speech. He it is, who created you in the first instance, and now to Him you are being brought back. (22) When in the world you hid yourselves while committing crime, you never thought that your ears and your own eyes and your own skins would ever bear witness against you. (Surah Ha-Mim-As-Sajdah, v.41:20-22) The explanation of the above verse 21:20 given in the Hadith is that when a stubborn culprit will go on denying his crimes, and will even belie all the witnesses, then the limbs of his body will bear the witness, one after the other, by the Command of Allah, and will tell what offences he had committed through them. This thing has been reported by Hadrat nas, Hadrat Abu Musa Ash’ari, Hadrat Abu Sa’id Khudri and Hadrat Ibn ‘Abbas from the Holy Prophet, and traditionalists like Muslim, Nasa’I, Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Hatim, Bazzar and others have related these in their books. The same thing has been mentioned in the Surah Yasin, v.36:65, Allah said:
َ ُ ْ َ ﴿56:63﴾ ال ْي َوْم ن َخت ِم عَلننى أ َفننواهِهِم ْ َ ْ ْ وَت ُك َل ّمنا أ َي ْديهِم وَت َشننهَد ُ أ َرجل ُهننم َ ُ ْ ُ ُ ْ ْ ِ ب ِما كانوا ي َك ْسبون ُ َ َ َ ُ ِ
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(36:65) On that Day We shall seal their tongues: their hands will speak to Us, and their feet will testify as to what they had been earning in the world. *55 *55 This command will be given in respect of the stubborn culprits, who will refuse to confess their crimes, will belie the witnesses, and will also not acknowledge the genuineness of their conduct book. Then will Allah Almighty command: ‘Well, stop your babbling. Just see what your own limbs say about your misdeeds.’ In this connection, here only the evidence to be given by the hands and the feet has been mentioned. But at other places it has been said that their eyes and their ears and their tongues, and the very skins of their body, will tell how they had been employed in the world. The same thing has been mentioned are as follows:
ْ َ ﴿42:42﴾ ي َوْم ت َشهَد ُ عَل َي ْهِنم أ َل ْسنن َت ُهُم ِ ْ ْ وَأ َينْننديهِم وَأ َرجل ُهننم ب ِمننا كنَننانوا َن ُ ْ ِ ُ ُ ْ ي َعْملون َ ُ َ
They should not forget the Day when their own tongues and their own hands and feet will bear testimony to their misdeeds. (Surah An Nur, v.24:24)
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َ َ َن َ ُ ن َ ﴿02:14﴾ حتنّنى إ ِذا منا جاؤوهَنا شنهِد َ عَل َي ْهِنننم سنننمعُهُم وَأ َب ْصنننارهُم ْ ُ َن ْ ْ ن ْ َن ُ ُ وَجلود ُهُم ب ِما كانوا ي َعْملون ُ َ َ ْ َ ُ َ
Then, when all will have reached there, their ears and their eyes and their very skins will bear witness against them concerning what they had been doing in the world.*25 (Surah Ha-Mim-As-Sajdah, v.41:20) The question arises: on the one hand, Allah says, We shall seal their mouths,’ and on the other, in the verse of Surah An Nur, he says: ‘Their tongues will bear testimony against them.’ How can these two things be reconciled? The answer is: ‘To seal the mouths means to deprive them of their power of speech. That is, after this they will not be able to say whatever they like with their tongue. The testimony of their tongues means that their tongues themselves will tell how the wicked people had used them, what blasphemies and lies they had been made to utter, what mischief’s they had invented and what falsehoods they had been made to say on different occasions.’
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15.01.01 Human beings will be resurrected With the body and soul as they are Now in this world
The verse v.41:20 is one of those many verses which prove that the Hereafter will not only be a spiritual world but human beings will be resurrected with the body and soul as they are now in this world. Not only this: they will be given the same body in which they live now. The same particles and atoms, which composed their bodies in the world, will be collected of the Day of Resurrection, and they will be resurrected with the same previous bodies in which they had lived and worked in the world. Evidently, the limbs of man can bear the witness in the Hereafter only in case they are the same limbs with which he committed a crime in his previous life. This subject is borne out decisively and absolutely by the following verses of the Qur’an:
ُ َ ﴿94﴾ وَقالوا ْ أ َئ ِذا ك ُنا عظاما وَرفاتننا ً َ ُ ً َ ِ ّ َ َ ُ ُ َ ﴿ أإ ِنننا ل َمب ْعوثننون خل ْقننا جدينندا ً َ َ ّ ً ِ َ َ ُ ﴿ 05﴾ قل كون ُنوا ْ حج نارة ً أوْ حدي ندا ُ ن ً ِ َ َ ِ َن 15﴾ أ َوْ خل ْقنننا ممنننا ي َك ْبنننر فننني ً َ ِ ُ ُ ّ ّ صدورِك ُم فَسي َقولون من ي ُعينند ُنا ِ َ ُ ُ َ َ ُ ُ َ ْ قننل الننذي فَط َركننم أ َوّل مننرة ٍ ّ َ َ ِ ّ ِ ُ ْ ُ َ فَسي ُن ْغِضنننون إ ِل َينننك رؤوسنننهُم ُ َ ُ ُ َ ْ َ َ ْ َ ويقولون متى هُو قُل عَسننى ْ َ أن َ َ َ ُ ََُ َ ُ ي َكننون قَريبننا ﴿25﴾ يننوْم ينند ْعوك ُم ُ َ َ َ ً ِ َ ْ فَت َست َجيبون ب ِحمدِهِ وَت َظ ُنننون إن ّ ْ َ َ ُ ِ ْ ِ َ ً ل ّب ِث ْت ُم إ ِل ّ قَليل ِ ْ
(49) They say, ‘What! Shall we really be raised up again into a new creation, when we are reduced to bones and dust?’ (50) (O Prophet!) Say to them, ‘(yes, most certainly you shall be brought back to life,) even if you be stone or iron. (51) Or even something harder than this which you consider in your minds impossible to be brought to life.’ At this they will ask, ‘Who is he who will bring us back to life?’ Say to them, ‘The same Being Who brought you to life in the first instance.’ Then they will shake their heads at you and ask, ‘Well, will this happen?’
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Say, ‘that true may be near at hand. (52) On the Day when he will call you, you will rise up in response to it, praising Him, and you will think. ‘We have remained in this state only for a little while.’*56 (Surah Bani Isra’il, v.17:49-52) *56 That is, "You will feel as if the intervening period between death and coming again to life on the Day of Resurrection was only a few hours or so, for you will think that you had just woken up after a short sleep by the sudden noise produced on the Day." As regards "...you will rise up praising Him," it is a subtle hint towards a great reality: at the time of rising up from death both the believer and the unbeliever will be uttering the praise of Allah. The believer will do so because in the worldly life also he believed in this creed and practiced it. As regards the unbeliever, he will have the urge to do so because of the inherent and ingrained tendency in him, which he had been suppressing by his folly. In the new life all those deliberate suppressions will vanish away and he will involuntarily utter the praise of Allah.
ْ ﴿89:71﴾ ذ َل ِك جزآؤُهم ب ِنأ َن ّهُم ك َفنروا ُ َ َ َ ُ َ ْ ُ َ بآيات ِنننا وَقننالوا ْ أ َئ ِذا ك ُنننا عظامننا ّ َ َ َ ِ ً َ ِ وَرفاتا أ َإ ِنا ل َمب ْعوثون خل ْقا جديدا ً ِ َ ً َ َ ُ ُ َ ّ ً َ ُ
﴿99:71﴾ أ َوَلننم يننروْا ْ أ َن اللننه الننذي ِ ّ َ ّ ّ َ َ ْ َ خل َنقَ الس نماوات وال َرض قَ نادِر َ ٌ ّ َ َ ِ َ ْ َ ن َ َ َ َ ْ عَلى أن ي َخل ُقَ مث ْل َهُم وَجعَل ل َهُم ْ ِ ْ أ َجل ً ل ّ ري ْب فيهِ فَأ َبى الظال ِمون ِ َ َ َ ُ ّ َ َ إ َل ّ ك ُفورا ً ُ
(98) They said, ‘What!, shall we really be raised up anew, when we have been reduced to bones and dust?’ (99) Could they not perceive that the same Allah, Who created the Earth and the Heavens, has the power to create the like of them? He has ordained a time for resurrecting them, which shall inevitably come, but these workers of iniquity persist in their disbelief. (Surah Bani Isra’il, v.17:98-99) The disbelievers says:
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﴿53:32﴾ أ َي َعِد ُك ُم أ َن ّك ُم إ ِذا مت ّم وَكنت ُم ْ ُ ْ ِ َ ْ ْ ﴿ ت ُرابا وَعظام نا أن ّك ُنم مخرج نون ِ َ ًن َ ن َ ّ ْ َ ُن ً َ ﴿ 63﴾ هَي ْهات هَي ْهات ل ِم نا توع َ ندون ُ َ َ َن َ ُ َ َ 73﴾ إ ِن هِي إ ِل حيات ُنا الد ّن ْيا ن َم نوت َ َ َ ّ َ ْ ُ َ ُن وَن َحيا وَما ن َحن ب ِمب ْعوثين َ ْ َ َ ِ ُ َ ُ ْ
(35) What! Does he tell you that after you are dead and turned into dust and become mere bones, you shall be brought out alive (from graves)? Impossible!
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Just impossible is that which you are being threatened with. (36) There is no other life than this worldly life. (37) We will live here and die here and will not be raised up again. (Surah Al-Mu’minun, v.23:35-37)
ُ ن ﴿28:32﴾ قَ نالوا أ َئ ِذا مت ْننَنا وَك ُننّنا ت ُرابنًنا ِ َ َ َ َ ْ وَعظاما أئ ِنا ل َمب ْعوثون ﴿38:32﴾ ل َقنند َ ُ ُ َ ّ ً َ ِ ُ ْ وُعد ْنا ن َحن وآباؤُنا هَذا من قَبننل ِ َ َ َ َ ُ ْ َ ِ ّ َ ْ إ ِن هَذا إ ِل أ َساطير ال َوّلين َ ِ ْ ُ ِ َ
(82) They say, ‘shall we be raised up again, when we have turned into dust after death and become mere bones? (83) We have heard many such threats and so did our forefathers before us. These are nothing but ancient tales.’ (Surah Al-Mu’minun, v.23:82-83)
The disbeliever’s objection About the Hereafter
ُ َ ﴿01:23﴾ وَقنننالوا أ َئ ِذا ضنننل َل ْنا فننني ِ َ َ َ ْ ال َرض أ َئ ِنا ل َفي خل ْنق جديندٍ ب َنل ِ َ ٍ َ ِ ّ ِ ْ ْ هم ب ِل ِقاء رب ّهِم كافِرون ُ َ ُ َ ْ َ َ
And*19 the people say, ‘When we have become dust, shall we be created again?’ The fact is that they
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disbelieve in the meeting with their Lord. *20 (Surah As-Sajdah, 32:10) Allah says, ‘The fact is that they disbelieve in the meeting with their Lord.’ Before this verse the people say, ‘When we have become dust, shall we be created again?’ The gap between these two sentences has been left for the listener to fill. Here the objection of the disbelievers as cited here is so absurd that no need has been felt to refute it. Only its citation was regarded as enough to show its absurdity. For, the two parts, which make up the objection, are both unreasonable. Such as: A. The first part of their objection: Their saying, ‘When we have become dust’ is meaningless which is ‘we’ can never become dust. Dust is the destiny of the body after it has become devoid of the ‘we’. The body itself is not the ‘we’. When alive, limbs and other parts of the body may be cut off one by one, but the ‘we’ remains intact. No part of it is cut off with the cut off limb. And when the ‘we’ has vacated a body, the ‘we’ remains no longer applicable even in its remotest sense although the body of his beloved, because the beloved is no more in the body. He buries not the beloved but the empty body, which was once the home of his beloved. Thus, the very first premise of the disbelievers’ objection is baseless. B. Second part of their objection:
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As for its second part of their objection, ‘shall we be re-created?’ this question containing surprise and denial would not have arisen, had the objectors considered and taken into account the meaning of the ‘We’ and its creation. The present existence of this ‘we’ is nothing more than that a little of coal and iron and lime and some other earthly substances got together from here and there to combine themselves into a body, which became the home of the ‘we’. Then what happens when it dies? When the ‘we’ has left the body, the constituent substances of its abode, which had been gathered together from different parts of the earth, go back to the same earth. The question is: He who had made this home for the ‘we’, can he not make the same home from the same substances once again and settle the ‘we’ in it? When this was possible before and has in actual fact existed, what can hinder its possibility and it exists as an actual fact once again? These are such things as can be understood by the application of a little of the common sense. But why doesn’t man allow his mind to think on these lines? Why does he raise the meaningless objections about the life hereafter and the Hereafter? Leaving out all these details, Allah has answered this question in the second sentence, saying: ‘The fact is that they disbelieve in the meeting with their Lord.’ That is, ‘The real thing is not this that the recreation of man is something odd and remote in possibility, which they cannot understand, but in fact, what prevents them from understanding this is their desire:
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(a) To live freely and independently in the world; (b) And to commit any sin; (c) Any access that they please and then escape scot-free from here; (d) They should not be held accountable for anything; (e) Nor answerable for any of their misdeeds.
What Allah says in response of The disbeliever’s objection About the Hereafter
ُ ّ ُ ْ ﴿11:23﴾ قُل ي َت َوَفّنناكم مل َنك ال ْم نوْت ِ َ َ ال ّذي وُك ّنل ب ِك ُنم ث ُنم إ ِل َنى رب ّك ُنم ّ ن ِ ْ ْ َ ت ُرجعون َ ُ َ ْ
(11) (O Prophet!) say to them, ‘The angel of death who has been appointed over you, shall seize you completely, and then to your Lord you will be made to return.’*21 (Surah As-Sajdah, 32:11) *21 That is, “Your ‘ego’ will not mix in the dust, but as soon as its term of action comes to an end, God’s angel of death will come and will take it out of the body and seize it completely. No part of it will be allowed to become dust with the body. It will be taken intact into custody and produced before its Lord.’
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Let us consider in some detail the facts which have been presented in this brief verse: (1) It says that death does not occur as a matter of course, like the stopping of a watch suddenly when it needs re-winding, but for this purpose Allah has appointed a special angel, who comes to receive the soul precisely in the manner as an official receiver take something into his custody. From the details which have been mentioned at other places in the Qur’an, it becomes apparent that the chief angel of death has a whole staff of the angels under him, who perform a variety of duties in connection with causing the death, seizing the soul and taking it into custody. Moreover, their treatment of a guilty soul is different from their treatment of a believing, righteous soul. (For details, see Surah An-Nisa, v.4:97; Surah Al-An’am, v.6:93; Surah An Nahl, v.16:28; Surah Al-Waqi’ah, v.56:83-94). (2) It also shows that man does not cease to exist after death, but his soul survives the body. The words of the Qur’an: ‘The angel of death shall seize you completely,’ point out the same reality. For something, which does not exist, cannot be seized. Seizing something and taking it into custody implies that the seized thing should be in possession of the seizer. (3) It also shows that at the time of death that which is seized is not the biological life of man but his self,
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his ego, which is connoted by the words like ‘I’ and ‘we’ and ‘you’. (a) Whatever personality this ego may have developed during its life activity in the world, the same is taken out intact as a whole, without effecting any increase or decrease in its characteristics, (b) And the same is made to return to its Lord after death. (c) The same personality will be given a new birth and a new body in the Hereafter. (d) The same will be subjected to trial. (e) The same will be called to account. (f) And the same will have to experience rewards or punishments. The disbelievers says:
﴿87﴾ قال من ي ُحيي ال ْعِظام وَهِني َ َ ِ ْ ْ َ َ َ َ رميم ﴿97﴾ قُل ي ُحييها ال ّذي أنشأ َها َ َ َ ِ ٌ ِ َ َ ِ ْ ْ أ َوّل مرةٍ وَهُوَ ب ِك ُل خل ْق عَليم ٌ ِ ٍ َ ّ ّ َ َ
(78) They says, ‘Who will give life to these bones when they are rotten?’ (79) (O Prophet!) Tell them, ‘He Who created them in the first instance will give them life again: He is skilled in every kind of creation. (Surah Ya-Sin, 36:78-79) They also says:
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(16) What! When we are dead and have become dust and bones, shall we be raised up to life? (17) And also our forefathers of ancient times? (18) (O Prophet!) Say to them, ‘Yes, and you are helpless (against God). (Surah As-Saffat, v.37:16-18) (47) And they used to say, ‘what! When we are dead and become dust and bones, shall we be raised up again? (48) And our forefathers too, who have gone before?’ (49) (O Prophet!) Say to them, ‘Surely, the former and the later, all shall be gathered together one day. (50) The hour of which has already been appointed. (Surah Al-Waqi’ah, v.56:47-50) (10) They say, ‘Shall we really be restored to our former state? (11) What, When we shall have become hollow, rotten bones?’ (12) They said, ‘It would then be a return with sheer loss! (13) Whereas it will only need a single shout. (14) And they will forthwith appear in an open plain. (Surah An-Naziat, v.79 : 10-14) In response of these objections Allah says to the disbelievers: (6) What! Have they never looked up to the sky above them, (and observed) how we made it and adorned it and how there is no flaw in it? (7) And We
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spread out the earth and set mountains in it and caused to grow in it every kind of beautiful vegetable. (8) All these things are eye openers and object lessons for every servant who turns (to the Truth). (9) And from the sky We sent down blessed water where-by We produced gardens and harvest grain; (10) And tall palm-trees laden with clusters of fruit, piled one over another. (11) This is the arrangement to provide food for the servants. With this water We revive a dead land; such also will be the resurrection (of the dead from the earth). (Surah Qaaf, v.50:6-11) ‘What! Have they never looked up to the sky above them, (and observed) how we made it and adorned it.’ Here, by the sky is implied the whole firmament that man finds spread over him, day and night, in which the sun shines in the day, and the moon and countless stars glitter at night, which amazes him even when he sees it with the bare eye, but which appears as a vast, limitless Universe when he looks at it through the telescope. It seems to be starting from nowhere and ending nowhere. Millions of times larger planets than our earth are moving in it like tiny balls; thousands of times brighter stars than our sun are shining in it; our this entire solar system is located in a corner of its only one galaxy; only in this one galaxy there exist at least three thousand million other stars like our own sun, and man’s observation has so far discovered one million such galaxies. Out of the hundred thousands of galaxies our nearest,
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neighboring galaxy is so distant from us that its light reaches the earth in one million years traveling at the speed of 186,000 miles per second. This shows vastness of that part of the Universe, which has so far been observed and explored by man. As to how vast is the entire Universe of God we have no means to estimate and judge. May be that the known Universe of man does not beat with the entire Universe even that ratio which a drop of water bears with the ocean. If about the God Who has brought this huge and wonderful Universe into being, this tiny talking animal, called man, who creeps the earth asserts that He cannot recreate him once again after death, it would be due to narrowness of his own mind. The power of the Creator of the Universe would not at all be affected by it! And then it has been expressed about the sky: ‘And how there is no flaw in it?’ Here Allah said: In spite of its amazing vastness the wonderful order of the Universe is so coherent and firm and its composition so perfect that there is no crack or cleft in it, and its continuity breaks nowhere. This can be understood by an example: Radio astronomers of the present age have observed a galactic system which they have named Source 3c 295. They think that its rays which are now reaching us might have left it more than four thousand million years ago. The question is: How could it be possible for the rays to reach the earth from such a distant source had the continuity and coherence of the Universe between the earth and the
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galaxy been broken somewhere and its composition had been split at some point. Allah, in fact, alludes to this reality and puts this question before man ‘When you cannot point out even a small breach in this system of My Universe, how did the concept of any weakness in My power enter your mind, that after the respite of your test is over, if I like to bring you back to life to subject you to accountability before Me, I would not be able to do so?’ This is not only a proof of the possibility of the hereafter but also a proof of Tauhid that means Oneness of God. These rays’ reaching the earth from a distance of Four thousand million light years and being detected by the man-made instruments expressly points to the fact that from the galaxy to the earth the entire world has been made up of one and the same substance continuously, one and the same kind of the forces are working in it, and they are functioning according to the same laws without any difference and disparity. Were it not so the rays could neither have reached here, not detected by the instruments which man had made after understanding the laws working on the earth and its surroundings. This proves that One God alone is the Creator of this whole Universe and its Master and Ruler and Controller. Allah said: ‘This is the arrangement to provide food for servants. With this water We revive a dead land;
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such also will be the resurrection.’ The reasoning is this: (a) Your conjecture about God Who made this sphere of the earth a suitable home for living creatures; and (b) Who by combining the lifeless clay of the earth with the lifeless water from the sky produced such a fine vegetable life that you witness flourishing in the form of your gardens and crops; and (c) Who made the vegetation a means of sustenance for both man and beast, that He has no power to resurrect you after death, is a foolish and absurd conjecture. You witness almost daily the phenomenon that: (a) A land is lying barren and lifeless; and (b) Then as soon as it receives a shower of rain, it gives birth to an endless train of life all of a sudden; (c) The roots lying dead for ages sprout up; and (d) A variety of insects emerge playfully from the layers of the earth. This is a manifest proof that life after death is not impossible. When you cannot deny this express observation of yours, how can you deny that when Allah wills, you too will sprout up from the earth as the vegetation sprouts up. In this connection, one may note that in many parts of Arabia it does not sometimes rain for as long as five years at a stretch and sometimes even for longer periods the land does not receive even a drop of rain.
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For such long intervals in the burning deserts it is not conceivable that the roots of grass and insects of the earth would survive. In spite of this, when a little of the rain has been fallen at some places, grass sprouts up and the insects of the earth return to life. Therefore, the inhabitants of Arabia can understand this reasoning much better than those people who do not have to experience such long period of drought.
They will say to their skins, ‘Why have you borne witness against us?’
When the limbs started to borne the witness against them: They will say to their skins, ‘Why have you borne witness against us?’ They will reply, ‘the same God who has given speech to everything has given us speech. He it is, who created you in the first instance, and now to Him you are being brought back. (Surah Ha-Mim-As-Sajdah, v.41:21). This shows that not only man’s own limbs will bear witness on the Day of Resurrection, but every such thing before which man would have committed any crime will also speak out. The same thing has been said in Surah Al-Zilzal, v.99:2-5: (2) The earth will cast out all the burdens, which lie within her (3) and man will say: what has befallen her? (4) On that Day shall she relate whatever had
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happened (on her)? (5) Because, your Lord will have commanded her (to do so).
The earth will bear witness against him
In the Surah Al-Zilzal, v.994: • On that Day shall she relate whatever had happened (on her); According to Hadrat Abu Hurairah (may Allah pleased on him), the Holy Prophet Mohammad (upon whom be peace) recited this verse and asked: ‘Do you know what annals it will relate?’ The people said: ‘Allah and His Messenger have the best knowledge.’ Thereupon the Holy Prophet said: ‘The annals are that the earth will testify to the deeds which every man and woman has done on its back.’ She will say: ‘He or she had done such and such a thing on such and such a day. These will be the annals the earth will narrate.’ (Musnad Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Nasa’I, Ibn Jarir, ‘Abd bin Humaid, Ibn alMundhir, Hakim, Ibn Marduyah, Baihaqi in AshShu’ab). According to Hadrat Rabi’al Kharashi, the Holy Prophet said: ‘Beware of the earth, for it is your root and basis, and there is nothing which a person does
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on it, and it will not report, whether it is good or bad.’ (Mu’jam at-Tabarani). Hadrat Anas reports that the Holy Prophet said: ‘the earth on the Day of Resurrection will bring out every act that would have been done on its back. Then he recited these verses.’ (Ibn Marduyah, Baihaqi). About Hadrat ‘Ali it is related that when he distributed the money of the Bait-ul-Mal (public treasury) among the needy ones and thus emptied it, he would perform two rak’ahs of the Prayer in it and say: ‘You will have to bear witness that I filled you with justice and emptied you with justice.’ It might have been difficult for a man of ancient times to understand how the earth will speak and narrate the annals and events happening on it on the Resurrection Day, but in the present age of the scientific discoveries and the inventions of cinema, loudspeaker, radio, television, tape-recorder, and electronic equipment. Etc., it is no longer difficult to understand how the earth will narrate its annals. The impression of whatever man speaks is preserved: (a) In the air; (b) In the radio waves; (c) On the particles of the walls and floors and ceilings of the houses; (d) And on the environments of the road, plain, or field if he spoke outside the house.
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If Allah so wills: (a) He can make these things repeat all these voices precisely in the way these were uttered in the first instance by man. (b) Man at that time will bear with his ears and know that it was his own voice, and all his acquaintances also will testify that whatever they were hearing was the person’s own voice and his own accent. (c) Then whatever man has done anywhere on the earth, and is whatever state, has had its impression on everything of the environment and its image inscribed on it. (d) Even if he did something in pitch dark, there are such rays in the Kingdom of God for which darkness and light make no difference; they can preserve his image in any case. (e) All these images will pass before man on the Resurrection Day like a motion picture, and will show him when and where he had done something during his life on the earth. The fact is that although Allah directly knows whatever a man does, yet in the Hereafter when he will establish His Court: (a) He will punish every culprit only after fulfilling all the demands of justice. (b) Any case which is brought before His Court against a criminal will be proved with such perfect
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evidence that no room will be left to doubt his being a criminal. (c) The first and foremost evidence against him is the record in which the two recording angels are recording his each word and deed. Allah says in the Qur’an: (16) We have created man and know every evil suggestion that arises in his heart: We are even closer to him than his neck-vein. (17) (And besides this direct knowledge of Ours) two scribes, sittings on his right hand on his left, are recording everything. (18) He utters not a word but there is an ever-ready observer to note it down. (Surah Qaf, v.50:16-18) Allah says, ‘Our power and Our knowledge has so encompassed man from within and without that Our power and knowledge is closer to him than his own neck-vein. We do not have to travel from a distance to hear what he says, but We directly know every thought that arises in his heart. Likewise, when We shall want to seize him, We will not have to seize him after covering a distance, for whether he is, he is in Our grasp; and whenever We will, We will seize him.’ Then also Allah says: ‘On the one hand, We Ourselves directly know man’s actions and movements, even his hidden thoughts; on the other, every man has two angels appointed over him, who are recording whatever he does not says, none of his
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actions or words is left unrecorded.’ This means that when man is produced in the Court of Allah, Allah at that time Himself also will be knowing what each person has done in the world; besides, there will also be two witnesses who will produce documentary evidence of the person’s actions and deeds. As to what will be the nature of this documentary evidence, it is difficult for us to have a precise conception of it. But from the facts that we are witnessing today, it seems certain that the voices and the pictures and marks of man’s actions and movements are being preserved and imprinted on every particle of the environment in which he lives and works, and each one of these can be reproduced in exactly the same form and voice so as to leave no difference whatever between the original and its copy. Man is doing this on a very limited scale with the help of his inventions, but the angels of God neither stand in need of these machines nor are bound by any limitation. Man’s own body and everything around it is their tape and their film upon which they can record every voice and every image along with its minutest and most delicate detail precisely and exactly, and can make man hear, on the Day of Resurrection, with his own ears, in his own voice, those very things which he talked in the world, and can make him see, with his own eyes, the pictures of all his misdeeds, whose genuineness he would not passively be able to deny.
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Here, one should also understand that in the Court of Hereafter Allah will not punish anybody only on the basis of His own knowledge, but will punish him after fulfilling all the requirements of justice. That is why an exhaustive record is being got prepared of every person’s words and deeds in the world so that a complete proof with undeniable evidence becomes available of everyone’s life work and activity. Allah also says: (10) Watchers have been appointed over you; (11) Honorable scribers; (12) who know whatever you do. (Surah Al-Infitar, v.82:10-12) Whether you deny the meting out of rewards and punishments, belie it, or mock it, the reality cannot change. The reality is that your Lord has not left you to yourself in the world, but has appointed over each one of you honest and upright guardians. These angels have two main qualities: (a) They are recording objectively and faithfully all your good and evil acts, and none of your acts is hidden from them, whether you commit it in darkness, or in private, or in far off jungles, or in secret when you are fully satisfied that whatever you have done has remained hidden from human eye. For these guardian angels Allah has used the words ‘kira-man-ka-tibin’ that is writers who are honorable and noble. They are neither attached in personal love with somebody, nor are inimical to anybody, so that they would prepare a fictitious
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record on the basis of their favoring one man and disfavoring another unduly. They are neither dishonest that without being present on duty they would make wrong entries by themselves, nor are they bribable so that they would take bribes and make false reports in favor of or against somebody. They are far above these moral weaknesses. Therefore, both the good and the bad people should be fully satisfied that each man’s good acts will be recorded without any omission, and no one will have an evil act recorded in his account which he has not done. (b)Then the second quality that has been mentioned of these angels is: ‘They know whatever you do.’ That is, they are not like the secret, intelligence agencies of the world, from which, despite all their search and scrutiny, many things remain hidden. They fully aware of everyone’s deeds. They accompany every person, at all places, under all conditions, in such a way that he himself does not know that someone is watching him, and they also know with what intention has somebody done a certain thing. Therefore, the record prepared by them is a complete record in which nothing has been left un-recorded. About this very thing it has been said in the Qur’an: • Woe to us! What sort of a book it is, it has left nothing un-recorded of our doings, small or great.
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They will see before them everything, whatever they had done. ( Surah Al-Kahf, v.18:49) (d) This record will be handed over to him and he will be asked to read it, for: • You yourself suffice as reckoned against yourself. (Surah Bani Isra’il, 17:14) Then there is man’s own body, which he had used in the world. In Allah’s Court his own tongue will bear witness as to what deeds he had committed through them. (Surah An-Nur, v.24:24) His eyes and his ears will bear witness as to what he saw and heard by their means. Even the skin of his body will bear witness to his deeds. Bewildered he will ask his limbs, ‘Why have you borne witness against me?’ They will reply: ‘The same God who has given speech to everything has given us speech.’ He it is, Who created you in the first instance, and now to Him you are being brought back. When in the world you hid yourselves while committing crime, you never thought that your years and own eyes and your own skins would ever bear witness against you. (Surah Ha-Mim As-Sajdah, v.41:20-22) On top of these, there will be the witnesses, which will be presented from the earth and all its environments, in which man will hear his own voice by his own ears and see the exact pictures of his own deeds by his eyes.
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Furthermore, the ideas, motives and aims hidden in the heart of man and the intentions with which he had performed every deed will be brought out and placed before him as is stated in Surah Al-Adiyat, v.100:10 • And all that lies (hidden) in the breasts shall be divulged and examined. It means, all the intentions, aims and objects, ideas and thoughts and the motives behind acts and deeds that lie hidden in the hearts will be exposed and examined in order to sort out the good from the evil. In other words judgment will not be passed only on the apparent and superficial as to what a man practically did but the secrets hidden in the hearts also will be brought out to see what were the intentions and motives under which a man did what he did. If man only considers this he cannot help admitting that real and complete justice cannot be done anywhere except in the Court of God. Secular laws of the world also admit in principle that a person should not be punished merely on the basis of his apparent act but his motive for so acting also should be seen and examined. But no court of the world has the means by which it may accurately ascertain the motive and intention. This can be done only by God: He alone can examine the underlying motive behind every apparent act of man as well as take the decision as to what reward or punishment he deserves. Then, as is evident from the words of the verse, this judgment will not be passed merely on the basis of
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the knowledge which Allah already has about the intentions and motives of the hearts, but on Resurrection Day, these secrets will be exposed and brought out openly before the people and after a thorough scrutiny in the Court it will be shown what was the good in it and what was the evil. That is why the words ‘hussila-ma-fis-sudur’ have been used. ‘Tahsil’ means to bring out something in the open, and to sort out different things from one another. Thus, the use of ‘Tahsil’ concerning hidden secrets of the hearts contain both the meanings: to expose them and to sort out the good from the evil. This same theme has been expressed in Surah At-Tariq, v.86:9 thus: • The Day the hidden secrets are held to scrutiny. ‘The hidden secrets’ means the acts of every person, which remained a secret to the world as well as those affairs, which came before the world only in their apparent form, but the intentions, aims and secret motives working behind them remained hidden from the people. On the Resurrection Day all this will be laid bare and not only will the acts and deeds of every person be examined but it will also be seen what was his motive and intention and object of so acting. Likewise, it also remained hidden from the world, even from the doer of the act himself, what effects and influences of his act appeared in the world, to what extent they spread and for how long they continued to work. This secret too will be revealed on
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the Resurrection Day and it will be fully examined as to what were the consequences of the seed that a person sowed in the world, what fruit it bore and for how long it affected the later generations for better or for worse. That is why with the production of such absolute, clear and undeniable proofs, man will be confounded and he will be left with no chance to say anything in self-defense to excuse him. The same thing mentioned as follows: (35) That is the Day when they shall neither speak (36) Nor be given leave to offer excuses. (Surah AlMursalat, v.77:35-36) This will be their ultimate state at the time they will be entering Hell. Before this in the plain of Resurrection they will be offering all sorts of excuses, blaming others for their errors and proving their own selves to be innocent, abusing their leaders and guides who led them astray; so much so that some of them will even disown their crimes shamelessly, as has been stated at several places in the Qur’an. But when their being criminals will have been established by every kind of evidence, and when their own hands and feet and limbs will have borne witness against them to prove their guilt fully, and when after fulfilling all requirements of justice rightly and truly, the sentence will be passed on them, they will be dumbfounded and no room will be left for them to offer any excuse. To refuse an opportunity or a permission to offer an excuse does
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not mean that judgment will be passed against them without giving them a chance for self-defense, but it means that their guilt and crime will be proved to the hilt and they will not be able to offer any excuse after it.
They thought that even Allah had no knowledge of many of their deeds
Regarding the disbelievers Allah said: (22) Rather you thought that even Allah had no knowledge of many of your deeds. (23) This same thought that you had concerning your Lord has ruined you, and on the same count you have incurred loss. (24) As such, whether they are patient (or not), the Fire will still be their abode, and if they want to make amends, they will not be allowed to do so. (25) We had set upon them companions who made everything, in front of them and behind them, seem fair to them. At last, the same Decree of punishment proved true against them, which had proved true against the Jinn and the men who had gone before them. Certainly they were the losers. (Surah HaMim-As-Sajdah, v.41:22-25) There are four main things mentioned here: (1) It has been said: ‘rather you thought that even Allah had no knowledge of many of your deeds. This same thought that you had concerning your Lord has ruined you, and on the same count you
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have incurred loss.’ Hadrat Hasan Basri (may Allah bless him) has explained this verse thus: (a) Every man’s attitude and conduct is determined by the thought and conjecture that he has about his God. (b) The conduct of a righteous believer is right because his thought and conjecture about his Lord is right. (c) And the conduct of a disbeliever and a hypocrite and a sinful person is wrong because his thought and conjecture about his Lord is wrong. This same theme has the Holy Prophet expressed in a comprehensive and brief Hadith, thus: • Your Lord says: I am with the thought and conjecture that My servant holds about Me. (Bukhari, Muslim). (2) The actual pictures or situations of the bad people in the Hereafter has been little bit expressed here: ‘As such, whether they are patient (or not), the Fire will still be their abode, and if they want to make amends, they will not be allowed to do so.’ There are three other meanings of this sentence are as follows: (a) If the disbelievers would want to return to the world, they would not be able to return. (b) If they would want to come out from Hell, they would not be able to come out of it.
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(c) If they would want to offer an excuse or repentance, it would not be accepted.
(3) Then regarding their bad companions, Allah says: ‘We had set upon them companions who made everything, in front of them and behind them, seem fair to them.’ This is the permanent and eternal way of Allah that: (a) He does not let the men with evil intentions and desires of good companions. (b) But lets them have bad companions according to their own inclinations. (c) Then, as they go on descending into the depths of vice, more and more evil and wicked men and devils go on joining them as their associates and advisers and companions. (d) Some people’s saying that so and so is himself a very good man but happens to have bad companions is, in fact, contrary to fact. (e) The law of nature is that every man gets same sort of friends as he himself is. (f) If bad people happen to be associated with a good man, they cannot remain associated with him for long. (g) Likewise, if good and noble men happen to be associated with evil intentioned and immoral men by chance, their association cannot last long.
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(h) An evil man naturally attracts only evil men to himself and only evil men become attracted towards him just as filth attracts flies, and flies are attracted by the filth. (4) Then Allah said regarding those people who were misguided and mislead by the bad companions in the world has been expressed here: ‘They (the bad companions) made everything, in front of them and behind them, seem fair to them,’ is thisThey assured them that: (a) Their past had been glorious and their future would also be bright; (b) They made them see everything attractive and pleasant on every side; (c) They told them that those who criticized them were foolish, because they were not doing anything novel or strange; (d) Those who had made any progress in the world before them had been doing the same that they were doing; (e) Ahead of them there was no Hereafter at all in which they might have to be called to account for their deeds; (f) But if at all the Hereafter did take place, as some foolish people assert it would, the God who was blessing them in the world, would bless them there too. (g) Hell had not been made for them but for those whom God had deprived of His blessings here.
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That is Hell The requital of the enemies of Allah Wherein they shall live forever
Qur’an says regarding the punishment of His enemies: (26) The disbelievers say, ‘Do not listen to this Qur’an, and when it is recited, cause interruption in it, so that you might attain the h upper hand.’ (27) We shall certainly make these disbelievers to taste a severe chastisement, and shall fully requite them for the worst of their misdeeds; (28) that is Hell, the requital of the enemies of Allah, wherein they shall live forever. This is the punishment of the crime that they denied Our Revelations. (29) There the disbelievers will say, ‘Our Lord, show us the Jinn and the men, who led us astray. We shall trample them under our feet so that they are utterly disgraced.’ It has been mentioned here regarding the evil plans of the disbelievers of Makkah:
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The disbelievers say, ‘Do not listen to this Qur’an, and when it is recited, cause interruption in it, so that you might attain the h upper hand.’ This was one of those plans of the disbelievers of Makkah with which they wanted to frustrate the Holy Prophet’s mission of preaching his message. They knew fully well that: (a) How impressive was the Qur’an; (b) How high was the character of the man presenting it; (c) And how effective, and inspiring the style of his preaching. (d) They knew that: (i) Anyone who heard such matchless discourses; (ii) In such an attractive style; (iii) From such a noble person; Could not help being lured and charmed. Therefore, they planned that: (a) They should neither hear it themselves; (b) Nor let anyone else hear it; (c) Whenever Mohammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace) should start reciting it, they should: (iv) Create noise; (v) Clamp hands; (vi) Pass taunting remarks; (vii) And raise all sorts of objections; (viii) And began such a hue and cry as to drown his voice.
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By this plan they hoped they would be able to defeat the Prophet of Allah. Then on the Day of Resurrection, it has been expressed that: There the disbelievers will say, ‘Our Lord, show us the Jinn and the men, who led us astray. We shall trample them under our feet so that they are utterly disgraced.’ It means: ‘In the world these people were at the beck and call of their leaders and religious guides and deceitful devils, but when on the Day of Resurrection they will come to know where their leaders had led them, they will curse them and would wish that they should somehow get hold of them so that they may trample them under their foot.’
Good news for the believers
After warning the disbelievers of the consequences of their opposition to the truth and their stubbornness, the address now turns to the believers and the Holy Prophet: (30) Those who said, ‘Allah is our Lord,’ and then stood steadfast, angels descend on them and say, ‘scared not nor grieve, and rejoice in the good news of Paradise that has been promised to you. (31) We are your companions in the life of this world, and in the Hereafter, too. There you will have whatever you
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desire, and whatever you ask for. (32) It will be yours an entertainment from the One, Who is All-forgiving, All-Merciful.’ (Surah Ha-Mim As-Sajdah, 41:30-32) It has been mentioned here regarding the believers’ stood steadfast: Those who said, ‘Allah is our Lord,’ and then stood steadfast.’ It means, the believers: (1) Did not call Allah their Lord merely incidentally; (2) Nor were they involved: (a) In the error to regard Allah as their Lord, and (b) At the same time others, as well as their lords; (3) But they embraced the Faith sincerely and stood by it steadfastly; (4) Neither adopted a creed contrary to it later; (5) Nor mixed it up with a false creed; (6) But they fulfilled the demands of the doctrine of Tauhid in their practical lives as well. ‘Standing steadfast on Tauhid’ what does it mean? The meaning of it has been explained by the Holy Prophet and the eminent Companions thus: Hadrat Anas (may Allah pleased with him) has reported that: • The Holy Prophet said, ‘Many people called Allah their Lord, but most of them became disbelievers. Firm and steadfast is he who remained firm on this creed till his death.’ (Ibn Jarir, Nasa’i, Ibn Abi Hatim).
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Hadrat Abu Bakr Siddique (may Allah be pleased with him) has explained it thus: • The he did not associate another with Allah; did not attend to any other deity beside Him. (Ibn Jarir) Hadrat ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) once recited this verse on the pulpit and said: • ‘By God, the steadfast are those who remained firm on obedience to Allah; did not run about from place to place like foxes.’ (Ibn Jarir) Hadrat ‘Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) says: • ‘Performed his deeds sincerely for the sake of Allah only.’ (Kashshaf) Hadrat ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) says: • ‘Performed the duties enjoined by Allah faithfully and obediently.’ (Kashshaf) Angels descend on the believers: If the believers have the above qualities then the ‘angels descend on them.’ It means, it is not necessary that: (a) The coming down of the angels may be perceptible; (b) And the believers may see them with the eyes; (c) Or hear their voices with the ears.
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Although Allah also sends the angels openly for whomever He wills, generally their coming down for the believers, especially in hard times when they are being persecuted by the enemies of the truth, takes place in imperceptible ways and their voices penetrate into the depths of the heart as peace and tranquility instead of just striking the ear-drums. Some commentators have regarded this coming down of the angels as restricted: (a) To the time of death; (b) Or grave; (c) Or the Plain of Resurrection. But if the conditions in which these verses were sent down are kept in view there remains no doubt that the real object of stating this thing here is to mention the coming down of the angels on those who struggle with their lives in this world in the cause of the Truth: (a) So that they are consoled; (b) And they are encouraged; (c) And they rest assured that: (i) They are not helpless, but (ii)The angels of Allah are at their back. Although: (a) The angels also come to receive the believers at the time of death, and (b) They also welcome them in the grave (in the state of barjakh); and
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(c) They will also accompany them constantly on the Day of Resurrection; from the time Resurrection takes place till their entry into Paradise. (d) Yet their company is not particularly restricted to the Hereafter but remains available in this world also. The context clearly shows that in the conflict between the Truth and the falsehood: (a) Just as the devils and mischievous people accompany the worshippers of falsehood; (b) And the angels accompany the believers. The companions of the Worshippers of falsehood show Their misdeeds seem fair to them: On the one hand, the companions of the worshippers of falsehood show their misdeeds seem fair to them and assure them that the tyrannical and dishonest acts that they are committing are the very means of their success and through them only will their leadership and dominance remain safe in the world. On the other, the angels come down to the worshippers of the Truth and give them the message that is being mentioned in the following sentences: The angels say to the believers: ‘Scared not nor grieve, and rejoice in the good news of Paradise that has been promised to you.’ These are very comprehensive words, which contain a new
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theme of consolation and peace for the believers, in every stage of life, from the world till the Hereafter. ‘This counsel of the Angels in this world’ means: (a) No matter how strong and powerful be the forces of falsehood, you should not be scared of them; (b) And whenever hardships and deprivations you may have to experience on account of your love of the Truth; (c) You should not grieve on account of them, for ahead there lay in store for you such things against which every blessing of the world is insignificant. When the angels say the same words at the time of death, they mean this: (a) There is no cause of scare for you in the destination you are heading for, for Paradise awaits you there; and (b) You have no cause of grief for those whom you are leaving behind in the world, for we are your guardians and companions here. When the angels will say these very words in the intermediary state between death and Resurrection and in the plain of Resurrection, they will mean: Here, there is nothing but peace for you. Do not grieve for the hardships you had to suffer in the world, and do not scare what you are going to face in the Hereafter, for we are giving you the good news of
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Paradise, which used to be promised to you in the world.
The believers are being exhorted towards their real duty
After consoling and encouraging the believers, now they are being exhorted towards their real duty. In the preceding verse they were told: (1) Being firm in the service to Allah; and (2) Standing steadfast on this way. After adopting it is by itself the basic good, which makes man: (a) A friend of the angels; and (b) Worthy of Paradise. Now the believers are being told: ‘the next thing which wins man the highest place of honor is that: (1) He should do good deeds himself; and (2) He should invite others to the service of Allah, and (3) Even in the environment of severe antagonism where to proclaim Islam is tantamount to inviting hardships for one, one should firmly say that one is a Muslim. It has been expressed in the Surah Ha-Mim-AsSajdah, v.41:33 regarding the real duty of the believers:
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• (33) And who could be better of speech than the one who called to Allah and did right and said, ‘I am a Muslim.’ To understand the full significance of these words, one should keep in view the conditions in which they were said. The conditions were that: (1) Anyone who proclaimed to be a Muslim would feel as if he had stepped into a jungle of beasts, where everyone was rushing at him to tear him into pieces. (2) More than that: if anyone opened his mouth to preach Islam he would feel as if he had called on the beasts to come and devour him. Such were the conditions when it was said: (1) A person’s believing in Allah as his Lord; and (2) Adopting the Right Way and standing steadfast on it is indeed a great and fundamental good; but (3) The greatest good is that: (a) Man should boldly say that he is Muslim; and (b) He should invite others towards Allah’s service. Scare less of the consequences, and while performing this duty should remain so pure and pious in conduct and character that no one should have a cause to find fault with Islam and with these who uphold it. Allah indicated the best way of preaching and highranking qualities of those who are inviting the people
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towards Allah are mentioned in the next verses, 41: 34-36 of Surah Ha-Mim As Sajdah: (34) And O Prophet, goodness and evil are not equal. Repel evil with what is best. You will see that he, with whom you had enmity, has become your closest friend. (35) But none can attain to this quality except those who are men of great good fortune. (36) And if you feel an incitement from Satan, seek refuge in Allah; He hears everything and knows everything. To understand the full significance of these words also, one should keep in view the conditions in which the Holly Prophet and, through him, his followers were given this instruction. The conditions were that: (01) The invitation to the truth was being resisted and opposed with extreme stubbornness and severe antagonism, in which all bounds of morality, humanity and decency were being transgressed. (02) Every sort of lie was being uttered against the Holy Prophet and his Companions; (03) Every kind of evil device was being employed to defame him and to create suspicious against him in the minds of the people; (04) Every kind of accusation was being leveled against him; and (05) A host of the propagandists were busy creating doubts against him in the hearts; (06) In short, he and his companions were being persecuted in every possible way;
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(07) Because of which a substantial number of the Muslims had been compelled to emigrate from the country. (08) Then the programmed that had been prepared to stop him from preaching was that a hand of the mischievous people was set behind him; (09) They would raise such a hue and cry that no one should be able to hear anything as soon as he opened his mouth to preach his message. (10) In such discouraging conditions when apparently every way of extending invitation to Islam seemed to be blocked. The Holy Prophet was taught this recipe for breaking the opposition. The ways of preaching taught him are as follows: (1) It was said that goodness and evil are not equal, as if to say ‘although apparently your opponents might have raised a dreadful storm of mischief and evil, as against which goodness might seem absolutely helpless and powerless, yet evil in itself has a weakness which ultimately causes its own destruction. For: (a) As long as man is man, his nature cannot hate evil. (b) Not only the companions of evil, even its own upholders know in their hearts that they are liars and wicked people and are being stubborn for selfish motives.
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(c) Not to speak of creating dignity and honor for them in the hearts of others, it lowers them in their own esteem; (d) And causes their morale to be weakened and destroyed in the event of every conflict. As against this evil, the good, which appears to be utterly helpless and powerless, goes on operating and working and it becomes dominant in the long run. For: (a) In the first place, the good has a power of its own which wins the hearts and no man however perverted and corrupted can help esteeming it in his own heart. (b) Then, when the good and evil are engaged in a face to face conflict and their nature and merits become apparent and known, after a long drawn out struggle, not many people would be left, who would not start hating the evil and admiring the good. (2) It was said that evil should be resisted not by the mere good but by a superior good, as if to say: ‘If a person treats you unjustly and you forgive him, it is the mere good. The superior is that you treat the one who ill-treats you with kindness and love.’ The result would be that: (a) ‘Your worst enemy would become your closest friend’, for that is human nature itself.
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(b) If you remain quiet in response to an abuse, it will be mere goodness but it will not silence the abuser. (c) But if you express good wishes for him in response to his abuses, even the most shameless opponent will feel ashamed, and then would hardly ever be able to employ invectives against you. (d) If a person doesn’t miss any opportunity to harm you, and you go on tolerating his excesses, it may well make him even bolder in his mischief. But if on an occasion he gets into trouble and you come to his rescue, he will fall down at your feet, for no mischief can hold out against goodness. However, it would be wrong to take this general principle in the meaning that every enemy will necessarily become a close friend when you have treated him with the superior good. There are such wicked people also in the world, whose Mimical nature will never change for the better no matter how tolerantly you may overlook their excesses and how benevolently you may react and respond to every evil committed by them. But such devilincarnates is as few in the world as the embodiments of goodness are. (3) It is said in the verse that ‘Have to have to be patience.’ Although a very efficacious recipe, it is not easy to use. For this:
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(a) It requires a brave man. (b) It also requires a great will power, resolution, courage, power of endurance and full control over one’s own self. (c) A man may act benevolently in response to an evil done, on an impulse, and there is nothing extraordinary in it. But when a person has to fight for years and years, for the sake of the Truth, those mischievous worshippers of falsehood, who do not feel any hesitation in violating any bond of morality, and are also intoxicated with power, it requires extraordinary grit to go on resisting the evil with good, and that too with the superior good, without ever showing any lack of restraint and self-control. (d) Such a work can be accomplished only by him who has resolved with a cool mind to work for the cause of upholding the Truth, who has subdued his self to intellect and sense and in whom good and righteousness have taken such deep roots that no malice and mischief of the opponents can succeed in deposing him from his high position. Only a man of very high rank is characterized by these qualities, and the one who possesses these qualities cannot be prevented by any power of the world from attaining to his goal of success. It is in no way possible that the depraved people may defeat him with their mean machinations and shameless devices.
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(4) Satan feels grieved when he sees that in the conflict between the Truth and falsehood meanness is being resisted with nobility and evil with goodness. (a) He wants that he should somehow incite the fighters for the sake of the truth and their prominent men in particular, and specially their leaders, to commit such a mistake, even if once, on the basis of which he may tell the common people that evil is not being committed by one side only; (b) If mean acts are being committed by one side, the people of the other side also are not morally any better: they too have committed such and such a shameless act. (c) The common people do not have the capability that they may assess and counterbalance fairly the excesses being committed by one party by the reactions of the other. (d) As long as they see that while the opponents are adopting every mean act yet these people do not swerve at all from the path of decency and nobility, goodness and righteousness, they continue to regard and esteem them highly. (e) But if at some time they happen to commit an unworthy act, even if it is in relation against a grave injustice, both the sides become equal in their esteem, and the opponents also get an excuse to counter one blamable act with a thousand abuses.
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That is why it has been said: (a) Be on your guard against the deceptions of Satan. (b) He will incite you as a well wisher to take note of every abuse and every insult and attack and urge you to pay opponent in the same coin, otherwise you would be regarded as a coward and weaken your image of strength. (c) On every such occasion whenever you feel any arousing you to anger and wants, you to commit a mistake. (d) And after having been warned do not be involved in the misunderstanding that you have full control over yourself, and Satan cannot make you commit any mistake. (e) This high opinion of one’s own power of judgment and will is another and more dangerous deception of Satan. Instead of it you should seek Allah’s refuge, for man can save himself from mistake only if Allah helps and grants him protection. The best commentary of this subject is the event, which: • Imam Ahmad has related in his Musnad on the authority of Hadrat Abu Hurairah. He says that once a man started uttering invectives against Hadrat Abu Bakr (rta), in the presence of the Holy Prophet (pbuh). Hadrat Abu Bakr (rta) kept on hearing the invectives quietly and the Holy Prophet (saw) kept on smiling at it. At last, Hadrat
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Abu Bakr(rta) could restrain himself no longer, he also uttered a harsh word for the person in response. No sooner did he utter the word than the Holy Prophet(pbuh) was seized by restraint, which appeared on his face, and he rose and left the place immediately. Hadrat Abu Bakr(r.t.a.) also rose and went behind him. On the way he asked, ‘How is it that as long as the person went on abusing me, you kept quiet and smiling, but when I also said a word in retaliation, you were annoyed?’ The Holy Prophet (pbuh) replied, ‘Until you were quiet an angel remained with you, who went on replying to him on your behalf, but when you spoke out Satan came in place of the angel: I could not sit with Satan,’ Then it has been expressed: ‘He (Allah) hears everything and knows everything.’ It means: After seeking Allah’s refuge against the storm of opposition, the thing that brings patience and peace and tranquility to the heart of the believer is this conviction: (a) Allah is not unaware. (b) He knows whatever we are doing as well as that which is being done against us. (c) He is hearing whatever we, and our opponents utter and watches the conduct of both of us. (d) On the basis of this very conviction the believer entrusts his own and the opponents of the truth’s affair to Allah and remains satisfied.
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This is the fifth place where the Holy Prophet and, through him, the believers have been taught this wisdom of preaching and reforming the people. For the other four places Al-A’raf, v.7:199-204, An-Nahl, v.16:125-128, Al-Mu’minun, v.23:96-98, AlAnkabut, v.29:46-47 have been mentioned in the book, Methods of Dawah P35-47 edited by me. In response of Proposal of Quraish leader Utbah, Prophet Mohammad
Allah challenged to the Disbelievers to forge something like the Qur’an
The first challenge to the disbelievers:
Allah challenged to the disbelievers has been expressed in the surah At-Tuur, v.52:33-34: • (33) Do they say, “This man himself has forged this Qur’an” The fact is that they do not want to
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believe. (34) Let them then produce a discourse like it, if they are true in what they say. Allah said, do they say, “This man himself has forged this Qur’an”. The fact is that they do not want to believe. It means that, the Quraish who think that Muhammad (pbuh) himself is the author of the Qur’an know it in their innermost hearts that it cannot be his word, and those others also whose mother tongue is Arabic not only clearly feel that it is far more sublime and superior to human speech but any one of them who knows Muhammad (pbuh) personally cannot ever suspect that this is actually his own word and speech. Therefore, the thing plainly is that those who ascribe the authorship of the Qur’an to the Holy Prophet do not in fact wish to affirm faith. That is why they are inventing false excuses one of which is this excuse. (For further explanation, see EN 21 of Yunus, EN 12 of Al-Furqan, EN 64 of AlQasas, EN 88-89 of Al-Ankabut, EN 1 to 4 of AsSajdah, EN 54 of Ha-Mim As sajdah, EN 8 to 10 of Al-Ahqaf in the Tafhimat). Allah challenged to the Disbelievers that: ‘Let them then produce a discourse like it, if they are true in what they say.’ It has been mentioned that, ‘Not only is the Qur’an not the word of Muhammad (pbuh) but also the truth is that it is not the word of human being at all. It is beyond the power of man to compose and produce it. If you think it is human, you are challenged to produce the like of it, which should
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also be human.’ This challenged had been given not only to the Quraish but also to all the disbelievers of the world first of all in this verse. Then it was repeated thrice in Makkah and then finally in Madinah (please see Yunus 38, Hud 13, Bani Israil 88, Al-Baqara 23). But no one could dare meet this challenge of the Qur’an at that time, nor has anyone else had so far the ability to compose and produce a man made work like the Qur’an. Since people because of lack of understanding the real nature of the challenge, say that not to speak of the Qur’an, no one has the power to write prose or consequence poetry to the style of another person. Homer, Rumi, Shakesphere, Goethe, Ghalib, Tagore, Iqbal, all are unique in their styles: it lies in no one’s power to produce poetry like theirs by imitation. Those who give this answer to the challenge of the Qur’an are in fact, involve in the misunderstanding that the meaning of ‘let them then produce a discourse like it’, is a challenge to man to compose and write a book like the Qur’an, in the style of the Qur’an, whereas it does not imply any resemblance in literary style but it implies this. Bring a book of the same sublimity and quality and rank, not only in Arabic but on any language of the world., that may be regarded as a match for the Qur’an in respect of the characteristics for which the Qur’an is a miracle. The following are in brief some of the main characteristics because of which the Qur’an has been a miracle (mu’jija) before as it is a miracle today:
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(1) The Qur’an is the highest and most perfect model of the literature of the language in which it was revealed. No word and no sentence in the entire Book is sub-standard. Whatever theme has been presented in it has been presented in the most appropriate words and in the most suitable style. One and the same theme has been presented over and over again but every time in a new style avoiding the defect or repetition everywhere. The entire Book, from the beginning to the end, is set in the choicest words, like chiseled and polished gems, that cannot be replaced. The discourses are so impressive that no one who knows the language, even if he is a disbeliever, can help being moved ecstasies on hearing them. Even after 1400 years this Book is still the model of Arabic literature and no other Arabic book can approach it in literary excellence not to speak of equaling it. Not only this: this Book (Qur’an) has so controlled the Arabic language that even after the passage of 14 centuries the standard of this language’s beauty and eloquence is the same that had been set by it; whereas in such long periods languages change out of recognition. No other language of the world has remained in the same state in so far as its spelling and diction, idiom, rules of language and usages are concerned. But it is only the power of the Qur’an that has held the Arabic language in place; each idiom of it is still use in Arabic literature; its literature is still the
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standard of Arabic; and in writing and speech still the same language is regarded as good Arabic that had been in the Qur’an 1400 years ago. Is there any man made book in any language of the world that bears the same characteristics? (2) This is the one single book in the world, which has no extensively and so universally influenced mankind’s thoughts, morals, civilization and way of life, as has no precedent in history. In the first instance, its impact changed one nation, then that nation rose and changed a major part of the world. No other Book has proved to be so revolutionary. This book has not remained confined to writing on paper but in the practical world its each word has formed and molded ideas and thoughts and built up a lasting civilization. Its influence has continued being operative for 1400 years and its circle of influence and impact is still expanding every day. (3) The theme that this Book discusses is the most expensive theme, which comprehends the whole Universe, from eternity to eternity. It deals with the reality of the Universe, its beginning and end, its system and law. It tells us to who is the Creator and Controller and Disposer of this Universe, what are His attributes, what are His powers and what is that essence and basis on which He has established this entire system of the world. It specifies man’s position and his place which he
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cannot change. It tells what is the write and correct way of thought and action for man in view of this place and position, which corresponds to the reality, and what are the wrong ways, which clash with the reality. Then to prove why the right way is right and the wrong ways wrong, it presents countless arguments from various phenomena of the earth and heavens, from different aspects of the system of the Universe, from man’s own self and existence and from man’s own history. Besides, it also tells how and for what reasons man adopts the wrong ways, by what means he can find out the right Way, which has always been one and shall remain one, and how he has been guided to it in every age. It does not merely point to the Right Way but presents a plan of the complete system of life for following that way, which contains a derailed and systematic code concerning beliefs, morals, purification of self, worship, social life, civilization, economy, politics, justice, law and every other aspect of human life. Furthermore, it also tells in full detail what are the results of following this Right Way and of adopting the wrong ways in this world and what consequences of this will appear in the Next World after the present system of the world has come to an end. It depicts fully the coming to an end of the present world and of the establishment of the New World. It gives every detail of the process of change; it portrays the Next World and describes fully how man will find a totally new
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life there, how his deeds from worldly life will be subjected to accountability, what things he will be questioned about, how his complete record, which he will not be able to deny or dispute, will be placed before him, what strong evidence will be produced in proof thereof, why the culprits will be punished and the righteous rewarded, what rewards will be bestowed on the righteous and in what forms will the culprits suffer the evil consequences of their misdeeds. The way this vast theme has been dealt with in this Book is not of the nature of some conclusions that its Author might have reached from some syllogistic premises but its nature is that its Author has the direct knowledge of the Reality. He (Allah, the Author of this Holy Qur’an) sees everything happening from eternity to eternity. All the realities are manifest for Him and the entire Universe is like an open book before Him. He sees the entire life of mankind, from its origin to its end, even beyond the present life into the second life simultaneously, and He is guiding man not on the basis of conjecture and speculation but on the basis of knowledge. Not a single truth that He presents as knowledge has been proved to be wrong so far. The concept of the Universe and Man that He presents fully explains all the phenomena and events and can become the basis of research in every branch of knowledge. His word contains the answer to all the ultimate
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problems of philosophy and natural and social sciences, and they are so coherent and consistent logically that a perfect, consistent and comprehensive system of thought can be built on their basis. Then from the practical aspect the guidance that He has given to man about various spheres of life is not only highly rational and pure but countless men have been living according to it in actual fact in different parts of the earth for 1400 years and have found it by experience to be the only valid way. Is there any man made book of the unique quality present in the world, or has ever been, which may be produced to match this Book? (4) This Book was not composed and written all at once and presented before the world, but reformatory movement was started with some basic and initial instructions and then for 23 years as the movement passed through different stages of its development, its parts were presented by the tongue of the leader, sometimes as lengthy discourses and sometimes as brief sentences, as the conditions and requirements of the occasion demanded. Then, when the Mission was brought to completion, these parts that had been issued at different times were compiled in the form of a complete Book, which has been known by the name of the ‘Qur’an’. The leader of the movement states that this discourses and sentences are not his original work but were sent down to him by the
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Lord of all creation. If a person asserts that they are the original work of the leader himself, he should produce a precedent from history to prove his contention. He should show whether it is possible that the speeches made and the instructions given by a man at different times while leading a powerful collective movement for years continuously by himself in different capacities, sometimes as a preacher and teacher of morals, sometimes as a leader of an oppressed class, sometimes as the ruler of a state, sometimes as the commander of a fighting army, sometimes as a victor, sometimes as a law giver and legislator, could form a complete and consistent and comprehensive system of thought and action, which should be free from every contradiction and inconsistency, which should appear to be dominated by the same central idea and pattern of thought, which should show that the leader has been building up a universal system of belief and action on the basis of the same foundation of his message with which he has started his work, and which should be a system each element and part of which is in perfect harmony and consistency with the other parts. Then the one who reads this collection of the discourses with a discerning eye cannot help realizing that the founder of the movement at the outset had a full plan of the movement in view till the last stage, and it never happened that a new idea might have struck him at some later stage, which was unknown to him
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before, or which he had to change later. If ever there has been a man of this caliber, his name should be made known to the world. (5) The leader who had been made to give these discourses and speak these sentences did not suddenly emerge from a hidden place to present these before the people nor would disappear after he had done so. He had lived his life in full view of the society before he started his movement as well as continued to live in the same society after that till his last breath. The people were well aware of the language and style of his conversation and speech. Hadith still presents a major part of it and by going through it the people who know Arabic can easily find out even today what was the leader’s own style of speech and conversation. His contemporaries who spoke his language felt then and those who know Arabic feel today that the language and the style of this Book is very different from the language and style of that leader. So much so that whenever in the midst of a sermon delivered by the leader there occurs a sentence or two of this Book, the distinction between the two becomes all too obvious. The question is: Has a man in the world ever had the power, or can he have capability, that he should go on conversing in two absolutely different styles consistently for years at a stretch and it should never become known that the two separate styles are, in fact, of one and the same
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person? It is possible that one may succeed in such affectation temporarily but it is not at all possible that one for twenty-three years continuously a person should have different diction and style when he recites the Revelations from Allah and a wholly different diction and style when he speaks in his personal capacity. (6) The leader while leading and guiding the movement met with different sorts of conditions. Sometimes he became the target of ridicule, humiliation and severe persecution of his fellow countrymen and the people of his own tribe and clan; sometimes his companions were so harshly treated that they were compelled to emigrate from the country; sometimes the enemies plotted against his life; sometimes he had to pass through extreme poverty and starvation; sometimes he had to fight wars successfully in which he suffered defeats as well as won victories; sometimes he overcome the enemies and the same enemies who had persecuted him, came before him humbled; sometimes he achieved such power which few people in the world have been able to achieve. Under all such conditions a person’s feelings obviously cannot remain the same. When on these different occasions the leader spoke in his personal capacity, his words and speeches carried the clear impression of his personal feelings, which naturally arise in the heart of a man on such occasions. But the discourses that were heard
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from him as Allah’s Revelations in these different conditions are wholly devoid of human feelings. At no place can even an acute observer and critic point out the play of human feelings in them. (7) The vast and comprehensive knowledge that is contained in this Book, is not possessed even by any of the distinguished learned people of this 20th century, not to speak of the people of Arabia and Rome and Greece and Iran of those days. The condition of today is that after a man has spent his whole life-time studying a branch of philosophy or a natural or social science, he comes to know what ultimate problems of his field of study are, but when he studies the Qur’an seriously he comes to know that this Book contains a clear answer to those problems. This thing is not confined to any one branch of knowledge but holds good in respect of all those sciences which have anything to do with the Universe and Man. How can one believe that 1400 years ago an unlettered man in the Arabian desert posed such deep insight into every branch of knowledge, and he had thought over every basic problem and thought out an absolute and final answer to it? Although there are several other aspects also of the Qur’an’s being a miracle, if a man ponders over these few aspects only he will realize that the Qur’an’s being a miracle is far more evident today than it was at the time when it was revealed and if Allah so wills,
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it will go on becoming more and more evident and manifest as time passes till the Day of Resurrection.
Second challenge in Makkah: (13) Do they say, ‘He (Muhammad) has invented the Book himself?’ say to them (O Mohammad!), ‘Very well, if it is so, bring ten fabricated Surahs like this; and you may call to your assistance whomsoever (of your deities) you can except Allah, if you be right (in considering them your deities). (14) Now if they (your deities) do not come to your help you should know that this Book has been revealed with Allah’s knowledge and that there is no true deity other than Allah. Do you then surrender to this (which is the very Truth)?’ (Surah Hud, v.11:13-14) Here one and the same argument has been advanced to prove two things: Firstly : It is absolutely and undoubtedly True that Allah has revealed the Qur’an. Secondly : It proves the truth of the doctrine of Tauhid (Oneness of God). The argument is this: Prophet Mohammad said to the disbelievers: (1) ‘You say that the Qur’an has not been revealed by Allah but has been devised and invented by myself and ascribed to Him. If your claim had been genuine you would have been able to invent
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a book like this in answer to the challenge I have given you over and over again. As you have failed to do so even with your combined resources and forces, my claim that is has been revealed with Allah’s knowledge has been proved absolutely, fully and completely.’ (2) ‘Then there was a two-fold challenge from the Qur’an to your deities but they utterly failed to meet it. They were challenged to come to your aid and help produce a book like the Qur’an. As they have not helped you, it is a clear proof that they are absolutely powerless and have no share at all in Godhead. You have seen that they have not only failed in this decisive test, but have also proved to be impotent to defend themselves against the open attacks made on them in this Book, which asks the people not to worship them, for they have no share in the powers of Godhead. These things have proved that there is nothing Divine in them and you have made them your deities without rhythm or reason.’ Incidentally, this verse shows that chronologically this Surah was revealed earlier than Surah Yunus. For at first they were challenged in this Surah to bring ten Surahs like the Surahs of the Qur’an, but they failed to do so. Then in Surah Yunus they were challenged (verse 10:38) to bring even one Surah like this Qur’an. (Surah Yunus, v.10:38) Third challenge in Makkah:
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Allah said: (38) Do they say that the prophet has composed it(Qur’an) himself? Tell them (O Mohammad!): if what you say be true, then produce one Surah like this, and you may call to your assistance anyone you can other than Allah. (39) The fact is that they have denied (on mere conjecture) what was not within the reach of their knowledge nor had they, as yet, tasted its consequences. Likewise, the people who went before them declared as false Revelations, but behold, what was the end of those unjust people! (40) Some of these people will believe in it and others will not, and your lord knows these mischief-makers. (Surah Yunus, v.10:38-40) Tell them (O Mohammad!): ‘If what you say be true, then produce one Surah like this, and you may call to your assistance anyone you can other than Allah.’ In this verse there is a general misunderstanding that the challenge of the Qur’an to produce (a book, nay) a Surah like this, is in regard to its eloquent, pure and unique literary excellence. This has been the natural result of the way in which discussions have been carried on to prove the miracle of the Qur’an. But the Qur’an is far above this that it should claim to be a unique and matchless book because of its excellent diction. There is no doubt at all that it is unique and matchless in this respect also, but the real basis of its claim and challenge, that no human brain is capable of producing a book like this, is its subject-matter and teachings. The Qur’an itself has stated at different
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places those aspects, which are a sure proof of its revelation from Allah and the refutation of the false aspersions that it was a human invention. This has already been explained at appropriate places and will be explained in the succeeding pages. Then it has been expressed that: ‘The fact is that they have denied (on mere conjecture) what was not within the reach of their knowledge nor had they, as yet, tasted its consequences.’ They could declare the Qur’an as forged on two grounds only but neither of these existed: (1) If they had a proof that the Book had not been revealed by Allah, but had been forged by someone; (2) That the Truths enunciated in it and the information given in it was false. But that is why: (1) No one could say on the basis of true knowledge that the Book had been really forged and then ascribed to God; (2) Nor could anyone say that he had peeped behind the curtains of the ‘unseen’ and discovered that there was not One God (as taught in this Book) but many gods in the heavens; (3) Nor could anyone assert on the basis of true knowledge that there were no angels, no Revelations and no God, but these were mere fictions that had been invented by some fertile imagination;
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(4) Nor had anyone witnessed by actually visiting the ‘Hereafter’ that the information about rewards and punishments was utterly wrong. But in spite of the lack of any proof to the contrary: they were challenging the genuineness of the Qur’an with the boldness and impudence of one who had made thorough research into the matter and proved it to the hilt. Then it has been expressed regarding those who do not believe in the Qur’an have been called ‘mischief makers’ because their rejection is to based on any sound reason but on prejudice and selfishness and because it prevents others from believing in it. And (O Prophet!), ‘your Lord knows them very well’ because there is nothing that is hidden from Him. (1) They can deceive the people that they are rejecting the Qur’an because they are convinced that it is not the Book of God; (2) But they cannot deceive Allah that they are doing this with good intentions for he knows that it is because of their mischief. (3) They are obdurate and obstinate and are suppressing the voice of their consciences and hearts. (4) They deliberately shut their ears and minds against the Truth; (5) They prefer their worldly interests, their fancies, their lusts and desires to it.
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That is why they cannot be regarded as ‘innocent’ sinners, but they are, in fact, the ‘mischief makers’. Fourth Challenge: In Makkah Allah said: (86) O Mohammad! We may, if We so will, take back from you all of what We have revealed to you: then you will find none to help you in getting it back from Us. (87) All that you have received is by the favor of your Lord. Indeed His favor to you is very great. (88) Declare this: Even if human beings and jinn’s should cooperate with one another to bring forth a book like The Holy Qur’an, they will never be able to bring anything like it, even though all of them help one another. (Surah Bani Isra’il, v.17:86-88) ‘All that you have received is by the favor of your Lord. Indeed His favor to you is very great.’ Though the Holy Prophet apparently addresses these words, they are in fact meant for the disbelievers who considered the Holy Qur’an to be either the invention of the Holy prophet himself or of some other man, who secretly taught him the Qur’an. They are being told that this is the Word of Allah, as if to say, ‘Our Prophet has not fabricated the Qur’an but We have bestowed this on him, and if We take it back from him, the prophet has no power to invent such a thing nor has any other man the power to help the Prophet to present such a miraculous Book.’
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‘Even if human beings and jinn’s should cooperate with one another to bring forth a book like The Holy Qur’an, they will never be able to bring anything like it, even though all of them help one another.’ This is the fourth challenge to the disbelievers. This challenge occurs at several other places in the Qur’an: Fifth challenge : Surah Al-Baqarah, v.2:23-24; Third challenge : Surah Yunus, v.10:38-39; Second challenge : Surah Hud, v.11:13-14; First challenge : Surah At-Tur, v.52:33-34; and Fourth challenge : Surah Bani Isra’il, v.17:86-88 At all these places, this has been cited as an answer to the charge of the disbelievers that Mohamad (Allah’s peace be upon him) has himself invented the Qur’an but is presenting it as Allah’s Word. Besides this, the same has also been refuted in Surah Yunus, v.10:16 • (O Mohammad!) Say also to them, ‘Had not Allah willed that I should recite the Qur’an to you, I could not have recited it to you, nor could I have been able to give you any information about it; already have I lived a lifetime among you before its revelation. Do you not use your common sense? Now let us turn the three arguments contained in these verses as a proof that the Qur’an is the Word of Allah:
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(1) The Qur’an is such a miracle in regard to its language, style, arguments, themes, topics, teachings and prophecies that it is beyond any human power to produce the like of it, as if to say, ‘You say that a man has invented this Qur’an but We challenge that even the whole of mankind combined cannot produce a Book like this Qur’an: nay, even if the Jinns, whom the mushriks (those who make partners with almighty Allah) worship as deities and whom this Book openly attacks, should come to the help of the disbelievers, they cannot produce a Book like this to refute this challenge.’ (2) As regards the charge that Mohammad (Allah’s peace be upon him) has himself invented this Book (Qur’an), the Qur’an refutes their claim, as if to say, ‘Mohammad is one of you and not a foreigner. He has lived among you for forty years before the revelation of the Qur’an. Did you ever hear words like those of the Qur’an from him even a day before his claim of Prophet hood, or did you ever hear him discussing themes and problems contained in the Qur’an? If you consider the matter from this point of view, it will become obvious to you that the sudden change which has come about in the language, ideas, information, style and the way of thinking of Mohammad, could not take place without Divine Guidance.’ (3) ‘Can you not see that after the recital of the Qur’an he does not disappear but lives among you? You hear other things than the Qur’an from
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him. Do you not notice that the distinction between the two different styles of expression is so obvious that no man can successfully adopt the two styles at one and the same time?’ The distinction can also be noticed, even today, between the language of the Qur’an and that of the Traditions of the Holy Prophet. Anyone well versed in the Arabic language and literature notices the difference, which is so marked that one, can categorically say that these modes of expression cannot belong to one and the same person.
Fifth Challenge: in Madinah
The challenge to the disbelievers had been given several times in the Qur’an at Makkah. It was meant to convince the opponents that the Qur’an is Divine Word and could not e produced by human mind. Now it was reiterated at Madinah (23) And if you be in doubt whether the Book We have sent down to Our servant is from Us or not, then produce, at least, one Surah like this. You may call all your associates to assist you and avail yourselves of the help of anyone other than Allah. If you are genuine in your doubt, do this. (24) But if you do not do this, and you can never do this, and then scare the Fire, which has been prepared for, the disbelievers and which shall have men and stones for fuel. (Surah Al-Baqarah, v.2:23-24)
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17.00.00 Allah swore by the Qur’an
Allah swore by the wise Qur’an: (1) Ya-Siin. (2) By the wise Qur’an; (3) You are indeed one of the Messengers; (4) Are on the Straight Way; (5) (And this Qur’an) is the Revelation of the All-Mighty, the All-Merciful One; (6) So that you may warn a people whose forefathers were not
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warned, and so, they live in heedlessness. (Surah Yasin, 36:1-6) ‘Ya-Siin.’ Hadrat Ibn ‘Abbas, ‘Ikramah, Dahhak, Hasan Basri and Sufyan bin ‘Uyainah have opined that the word ‘Ya-siin’ means ‘O man’ or ‘O Person’; some other commentators have regarded it as an abbreviation of ‘Ya-Sayyid’ as well, which, according to this interpretation, would be an address to the Holy Prophet. ‘By the wise Qur’an; you are indeed one of the Messengers.’ To begin a discourse like this does not mean that the Holy Prophet, God forbid, had some doubt about his Prophet hood, and Allah had to say this in order to reassure him of it. But the reason is that the disbelieving Quraish at that time were most vehemently refusing to believe in his Prophet hood; therefore, Allah at the very beginning of the discourse has said: ‘You are indeed one of the Messengers,’ which implies that the people who deny your Prophet hood, are misled and mistaken. To further confirm the same, an oath has been taken by the Qur’an, and the word ‘wise’ has been used as an epithet of the Qur’an, which means this: ‘An obvious proof of your being a Prophet is this Qur’an, which is full of wisdom. This it testifies that the person who is presenting such wise revelations is most surely a Messenger of God. No man has the power to compose such revelations. The people who know Mohammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace and
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blessings) can never be involved in the misunderstanding that he is himself forging these discourses, or reciting them after having learnt them from another man.’ (For further explanation, see Surah Yunus, v.10:16-17, 37-39; Surah Bani Isra’il, v.17:88; Surah An-Naml, v.27:75; Surah Al-Qasas, v.28:44-46, 85-87; Surah Al-Ankabut, 29:49-51; Surah Ar-Rum, v.30:1-5 and the relevant E.N.’s of Meaning of the Qur’an: By-Sayyid Abul ‘Ala Maududi). ‘(And this Qur’an) is the Revelation of the All Mighty, the All-Merciful One.’ Here, two of the attributes of the Sender of the Qur’an have been mentioned: (1) That He is All Mighty. This first attribute is meant to impress the reality-that the Qur’an is not the counsel of a powerless preacher, which if you overlook or ignore, will not bring any harm to you, but this is the Edict of that Owner of the Universe: (a) ‘Who is All-Mighty; (b) Whose decrees cannot be withheld from being enforced by any power; and (c)Whose grasp cannot be avoided by anyone.’ (2) That He is All Merciful. This second attribute is meant to make one realize that it is all due to His kindness and mercy that: (a) He has sent His Messenger for your guidance and instruction; and
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(b) Sent down this great Book: So that you may avoid errors and follow the right path, which may lead you to the successes of the world and the Hereafter. Then Allah said: ‘So that you may warn a people whose forefathers were not warned, and so, they live in heedlessness.’ Another translation can be: ‘You should warn the people of the same of which their forefathers had been warned, because they live in heedlessness.’ (1) If the first meaning, as given above, is taken, the forefathers would imply the forefathers of the immediate past, for in the ancient time several Prophets had appeared in Arabia. (2) And if the second meaning is adopted, it would imply this: ‘Revive and refresh the message that had been conveyed to the forefathers of this nation by the Prophets in the past, for these people have forgotten it.’ Obviously, there is no contradiction between the two translations, and, as to meaning, each is correct in its own place! A doubt may arise here: How could the forefathers of a nation to whom no warner had been sent at a particular time in the past, be held responsible for their deviation at that time? The answer is: When Allah sends a Prophet in the world, the influence of his message and teaching spreads far and wide, and is
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handed down by one generation to the other. As long as this influence remains and there continue arising among the followers of the Prophet such people as keep his message of guidance fresh, the period of time cannot be said to be without the guidance. And when the influence of the Prophet’s teaching dies out, or the teaching is tampered with, the appointment of another Prophet becomes inevitable. Before the advent of the Holy Prophet the influence of the teachings of the Prophets Abraham, Ishmael, Shu’aib and Moses and Jesus (peace be upon all of them) could be seen everywhere in Arabia and from time to time there had been arising among the Arabs, or coming from outside, men, who revived their teachings. When the influence was about to die out, and the real teaching was also distorted. Allah raised the Prophet Mohammad, and made such arrangements that his message can neither be wiped out nor tampered with. Allah swore by the Qur’an which is full of admonition: (1) Suad. By the Qur’an, which is full of admonition; (2) but the people who have disbelieved, are themselves involved in sheer arrogance and stubbornness; (3) how many a nation have we destroyed before them! (And when their doom approached) they cried out, but that was not the time of being saved. (Surah Suad, v.38:1-3)
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‘Suad.’ Although like all other enigmatic letters (muqatta’at) it is difficult to determine the meaning of the letter ‘Suad’ also, yet the interpretation of it given by Ibn ‘Abbas and Dahhak is quite plausible. According to them, it implies: Sadiq-un fi-quali-hi or Sadaqa Mohammad-un: Mohammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace and blessings) is Truthful: whatever he says is the very Truth. Then it has been expressed ‘By the Qur’an, which is full of admonition.’ The words dhi-dh-dhikr of the Text can have Two meanings: (1) Dhi-sharaf means the noble Qur’an; and (2) Dhi at-tadhkir means the Qur’an, which is full of admonition, or the Qur’an, which serves as a reminder, or arouses a heedless person. Then Allah said, ‘But the people who have disbelieved, are themselves involved in sheer arrogance and stubbornness.’ If the interpretation given of suad by Ibn ‘Abbas and Dahhak is accepted, the sentence would mean this: ‘By this noble Qur’an, or by this Qur’an which is full of admonition, Mohammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace and blessings) is presenting the Truth, but the people who persist in their denial, are in fact, involved in arrogance and stubbornness.’ And if ‘suad’ is taken as one of those enigmatic letters whose meaning cannot be determined, then the answer to the oath is omitted, which is indicated by
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‘but’ and the sentence following it. The meaning then would be: The reason for the denial of these disbelievers is not that the religion which is being presented before them is unsound, or that Mohammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace and blessings) has shown some slackness in the matter of presenting the Truth before them, but their own boasting and bragging, their haughtiness and stubbornness, and this is borne out by this Qur’an itself, which is full of admonition. Every unbiased person who studies it will admit that full justice has been done in it to the task of making the people understand the Truth.’ By the Glorious Qur’an Allah said: (1) Qaf, By the Glorious Qur’an! (2) Nay, but they wondered that a warner from among themselves had come to them. So the disbelievers said, ‘this is indeed a strange thing; (3) When we are dead and have become dust, (shall we be raised up again)? Such a return is far removed from reason.’ (4) (Whereas) we know very well whatever the earth consumes of their bodies, and We have a Book which preserves everything. (5) Nay, but these people plainly denied the Truth when it came to them. That is why they are confused now. (Surah Qaaf, v.50:1-5) Allah sworn by the Glorious Qur’an. What does it mean?
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Allah said, ‘Qaf, By the Glorious Qur’an’. Here the word ‘majid’ is used for expressing two meanings in Arabic: (1) For expressing the high rank, status, honor and dignity of a person; and (2) For saying that somebody is highly generous, charitable and beneficent. This word has been used for the Qur’an in both these meanings. (1) The Glorious Qur’an is for expressing the high rank, status, honor and dignity of a person: The Qur’an is great and glorious in the sense that no book of the world can be brought up against it. So, (a) The Qur’an is a miracle both in its language and literary excellence. (b) It is also a miracle in its teachings and wisdom. (c) Humans were helpless to produce the like of it at the time when it was sent down and are likewise helpless even today. (d) Nothing of it could ever be proved wrong in any age, nor can anything of it be proved wrong in the present age. (e) Falsehood can neither attack it from the front nor from the rear, nor defeat it. (2) The Glorious Qur’an is for saying that somebody is highly generous, charitable and beneficent. And it is generous and beneficent in the sense that:
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(a) The more a man goes on trying to gain guidance from it, the more of guidance it goes on giving him. (b) And the more he follows and obeys its commands and instructions the more he continues to be blessed with good things of the world and Hereafter. (c) There is no limit to its beneficent and advantages where a man may become independent of it, and where it may cease to be beneficial and useful for him. Then it has been expressed the First wonder of the disbelievers: ‘Nay, but they wondered that a warner from among themselves had come to them.’ This sentence is a unique example of eloquence. In it a vast topics has been compressed into a few brief words. The object for which, an oath has been sworn by the Qur’an has not been mentioned. Instead, a subtle gap has been left and the sentence is resumed with ‘nay’. If one thinks a little and also keeps in view the background in which this has been said, one comes to know, what is the topic of the gap that has been left between the oath and ‘nay’. In fact, what has been sworn of is this: ‘The people of Makkah have not refused to acknowledge the Prophet hood of Mohammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace and blessings) for any sound reason but for the highly unsound reason that a member of their own kind and an individual of their own nation has come to them as a warner from God
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and this is something highly surprising for them; whereas what would actually be surprising was: (a) If God had remained unconcerned about the wellbeing and adversity of His servants and made no arrangement whatever to warn them; (b) Or had sent a non-human to warn the human beings; (c) Or a Chinese to warn the Arabs. Therefore, this basis of the denial is absolutely unsound, and a reasonable person cannot but admit that there must exist arrangement from God to warn the servants, and in the form that the warner himself should be a person from among the people to whom he is sent. As for the question whether Mohammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace and blessings) is the person whom God has sent on this mission, no other evidence is needed to settle it but this glorious and beneficent Qur’an, which he is presenting; this is by itself enough to provide a proof of it. This explanation shows that in this verse an oath has been sworn by the Qur’an to impress the point that Mohammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace and blessings) is really the Messenger of Allah and the disbelievers’ surprise and wonder about his apostleship is misplaced, and the fact of the Qur’an’s being ‘majid’ is a proof of this claim. Then it has been expressed the Second wonder of the disbelievers:
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So the disbelievers said, ‘this is indeed a strange thing; When we are dead and have become dust, (shall we be raised up again)? Such a return is far removed from reason.’ This was the second cause of their surprise, the first being that a member of their own kind and clan had arisen with the claim that he had come as a warner to them from God. They were further surprised that the person was warning them to the effect that all men will be raised back to life after death and they will be produced all together in the Court of Allah where their deeds will be subjected to accountability and they will be rewarded and punished accordingly. Allah said, ‘We know very well whatever the earth consumes of their bodies.’ ‘(Whereas) we know very well whatever the earth consumes of their bodies, and We have a Book which preserves everything.’ That is, if it cannot be comprehended by intellect, it is their narrow mind to blame. It does not mean that Allah’s knowledge and power also should be narrow. They think that it is in no way possible to collect the scattered particles of the bodies of the countless human beings who have died since the beginning of creation and will die till Resurrection. But the fact is that Allah directly knows each of those particles in whatever form and in whichever place they are. Furthermore, a full record of this being maintained in the Register of Allah, and
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has not left out any particle un-recorded. Then, as soon as Allah commands, His angels will forthwith take out every particle from wherever it is with the help of this record, and will make up the same bodies once again, in which human beings had lived and worked in the world. This verse also is one of those verses which point out that the life hereafter will not only be a physical life as it is in this world, but the body of every person also will be the same which he had in this world. If it were not so, it would be meaningless to tell the disbelievers: ‘We know very well whatever the earth consumes of their bodies and We have a Book which preserves everything.’ When Mohammad (pbuh) Presented his message of the Truth the disbelievers denied it Then Allah said’ ‘Nay, but these people plainly denied the Truth when it came to them. That is why they are confused now.’ In this brief sentence also a vast topics has been compressed. It means: These people did not rest content only with expressing wonder and declaring the thing to be far removed from reason, but when the holy Prophet Mohammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace and blessings) presented his message of the Truth they denied it as falsehood without any hesitation. It’s inevitable result was, and the same only could follow from it, that they are not agreed on any one position with regard
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to the invitation and the Messenger who has presented it. Sometimes: (a) They brand him a poet; (b) Sometimes a sorcerer; and (c) Sometimes a madman. (d) Sometimes they say that he is a magician; and (e) Sometimes that he is bewitched. (f) Sometimes they say that he has fabricated this thing by himself in order to establish his superiority; and (g) Sometimes they bring the charge that there ……… [Vol-V, p114 missing E.N.5&6] *5 In this brief sentence also a vast subject has been compressed. It means: These people did not rest content only with expressing wonder and declaring the thing to be far removed from reason, but when the Holy Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings) presented his message of the Truth they denied it as falsehood without any hesitation. Its inevitable result was, and the same only could follow from it, that they arc not agreed on any one position with regard to the invitation and the Messenger who has presented it. Sometimes they brand him a poet, sometimes g sorcerer, and sometimes a madman. Sometimes they say that he is a magician and sometimes that he is bewitched. Sometimes they say that he has fabricated this thing by himself in order to establish-. his superiority, and sometimes they bring the charge that there peace and
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blessings) himself was standing in Makkah and reciting the Qur'an to the people, who had known and seen him grow up from childhood to youth and mature manhood before their eyes, the full meaning of these allusions was by itself clear and evident to every person. Therefore, leaving it aside, detailed easoning is now being presented about the authenticity of the second thing which those people regarded as strange and far removed from reason and intellect.
See in the Volume-III Regarding What The Qur’an Is All About?
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