at Makka and at Madina, its portents 165.
In the name of Allah, the Compassionate,
in the name of the God, the Compassionate, the Merciful, who mercies the
slaves and bestows upon them.
As the previous surah concluded
with the dominion of the heavens and the earth being Allah’s, so this surah
begins in the same way as that conclusion:
Allah’s, who created the heavens and the earth
and set the
darknesses and the light,
those who disbelieve in their Master
Praise be Allah’s, who created
the heavens and the earth… ‘Praise’ is given for al-hamd, literally ‘the praise’, meaning that all praise is
Allah’s, since all praises return ultimately to Him. ‘The heavens’ (al-samawaat) normally comes in plural form, whereas ‘the earth’ come
sin the singular. This shows that the heavens are so many more than the
earths, for otherwise there are also seven earths – as He says, glorified be
He, ‘…and the earth the same as them.’ (65:13).
…and set the darknesses and the
light,… That is, He made their
existence. Darkness is the non-existence of a quality (‘adam
malaka) so that its creation is the creation of
non-existence, yet those things that efface a quality have a share in
existence, the philosophers say. ‘Darknesses’ (zulumaat) comes in the plural in conformity with the previous
‘heavens and the earth’. Perhaps the plural is on account of how darkness
divides around light, for light splits the path of darkness which is then
divided. Or perhaps it is on account of how darkness has different qualities,
in that the nearer it is to the light, the less dense it becomes.
Allah, glorified be He, then expresses indignation at those who take rivals
instead of Allah, when all things belong to Allah, glorified be
…thereupon those who
disbelieve… Despite all these portents and
…in their Master equate. That is, they equate Him to other than Him, and put Him as
an equivalent, a partner, a likeness of other things, although they have no
signs and created nothing. (1)
Because the general current of
this surah revolves around beliefs in the Origin and the Return, and the
existential things that He has created, glorified be He, the portents of this
surah turn from belief to belief, and from creation to creation:
He it is who
created ye from earth,
and a named
term is alongside Him,
ye are in
He it is who created ye from
earth,… Either as the sons of Adam, wellbeing be upon him, or as far as every human being is created from earth and
water, for the human is created from sperm, which derives from animal and
vegetable, both of which are from earth and water.
…then decreed a term,… A period for man in
general, until the world is ended; or for each individual there is an
allotted life span which he cannot exceed.
…and a named term is alongside Him,… This is a complete, sufficient phrase. Either it adds
detail to the previous ‘decreed a term’, so that it means that it is Allah
who is the origin of the term named for every person, and all others can do
is journey through their terms; or the meaning is that the resurrection,
which concludes the term and the period of human existence in the world alive
and dead, is alongside Him – that is, in His hands is the commencement of the
…thereupon ye,… Ye, O human beings.
…ye are in doubt. Ye
doubt about Allah, glorified be He, and ye doubt that creation, death and the
resurrection are in the hands of none but Him. (2)
How can ye doubt about Him and
take others as His partners, given that:
And He is
heavens and the earth.
He knows the
hidden of ye
and the open
and He knows
what ye earn.
And He is Allah… There is no god other than Him.
…in the heavens and the earth…. The creator and disposer of all of existence is none
but Allah, as opposed to those who designate a god for the sky, and another
for the earth. The adverb ‘in’ is metaphorical, for Allah, glorified be He,
is located in no place, for a place would mean Him having a limit, which
would mean Him having parts, and these are the attributes of the created, not
of the Creator.
…He knows the secret of ye… Hidden,
concealed, whether kept secret or simply concealed in the breast.
…and the open of ye,… It means all the things that people are open about, the
opposite of both the above meanings.
…and He knows what ye earn. That is: the actions ye do, for actions are among the
things that people earn. In this portent is a
refutation of those who say that the heavens and the earth are eternal, and
secondly of those who claim two gods, one of light and one of darkness, and
thirdly of the partnerists who assign partners to Him, glorified be He, and
finally of those ignorant philosophers who hold that His knowledge or His
power is not universal and all-comprehending, as well as of other deviated
beliefs about the God of all existence. (3)
Thereupon He informs, glorified
be He, about the disbelievers who were mentioned at the beginning of the
portent comes to them
portents of their Master
And no portent comes to them… ‘Portent’ (ayah) means
miracle, evidence, proof, conclusive demonstration.
…among the portents of their
Master … Demonstrating His existence and
the genuineness of the message of Allah’s Messenger, may
Allah condescend upon him and his House.
…save that from it they turn
away. They refused to accept the clear evidences, not
considering the matter fairly in a rational way. (4)
certainly belied the truth when it came to them,
shall come to them
announcements of what they were ridiculing.
And they certainly belied the
truth when it came to them,… The
disbelievers belied the Quran and the Messenger and the other portents.
…so shortly… On the day of resurrection. Or it means in the world, when
the Messenger was triumphant and His genuineness was clear through his
pre-eminence and domination.
…shall come to them the
announcements of what they were ridiculing. The truth. The portent is a warning, a threat. (5)
He then warns them, glorified
be He, lest they be afflicted by that which afflicted the previous communities
on account of their belying and disobedience and insolence regarding the
affair of their Divine Master:
Have they not
seen how many a generation before them
We have destroyed –
facilitated them in the earth with such
that We have
not facilitated for ye.
And We sent
down the heaven upon them in torrents,
and We set
rivers flowing under them,
destroyed them for their sins,
them We produced a generation, others.
Have they not seen how many a
generation before them We have destroyed… ‘Seen’,
here, has the meaning of ‘know’, that is: ‘Do they not know how many…’ The
interrogative is a criticism and a reminder. ‘Generation’ is put for qarn, meaning the people of a particular period.
…–We facilitated them in the earth… Those previous generations and communities were set up in
that they were made rulers and leaders, with large numbers and extensive
equipment and resources.
…with such that We have not
facilitated for ye…. Their resources were more
than those of the addressees. These seem to be the disbelievers of the time
of the Messenger, may Allah condescend upon him and his House, in particular, in that the earlier generations had more
resources than them. There is no room to say that the resources and
possibilities of the former generations was more than all of those who come
after, until the judgement day, which is what would lead from the address
being general. On the contrary, it is clear from ‘have they not seen’ that
the nations meant are those before the disbelievers in the age of the
Messenger, may Allah condescend upon him and his House, for they had seen the reports of those nations, not those
that came later.
…And We sent down the heaven
upon them in torrents,… ‘Torrents’ is given for midrar, a superlative for heavy rain, so that they are
endowed with goodness and blessings and wealth. ‘Sending down the heaven’
means ‘sending down rain’, an instance of a condition being given the name of
the location of that condition, which is not unknown in Arabic literature.
…and We set rivers flowing
under them,…That is, He created their
waters that flow under their palaces and villas, and at the bottom of their
gardens, below their shrubs and trees. Or it is ‘under’ in the sense that the
water levels are generally lower than the land on which people walk. But all
of this was of no use to their survival or renown.
…Then We destroyed them for
their sins,… They were destroyed in that
they had no personal survival, no traces of their identities were left, and no
offspring and descendants. And this was on account of their disobedience and
their disbelief, in contrast to the Prophets and the virtuous who have
remained among the people until today, whose virtues and good deeds have
preserved their traces, their renown and their actions.
…and after them We produced a
generation, others. After them, He created
another nation, and a community of others. (6)
Then He explains, glorified be
He, that the disbelievers cling stubbornly and obstinately to their
disbelief, and that it is not that they do not know the truth:
And had We
sent down upon thee a book in sheets,
for them to
touch with their hands,
disbelieve would have said,
nothing but clear magic.’
And had We sent down upon thee… Upon Allah’s Messenger, may
Allah condescend upon him and his House.
a book in sheets,… That is, written down on sheets of paper, testifying to
…for them to touch with their
hands,… Sensory, touchable by hand, so
that they could be certain that it was not some jugglery or a trick of the
…those who disbelieve would
have said, ‘This… That is, the book.
…is nothing but clear magic.’ Still they would not have corroborated it, but would have
denounced it as plain magic, the clear tricks of a conjurer. It is said that
they portent was sent down concerning a group of disbelievers said, ‘O
Muhammad, we will not believe in you until you bring us a book from Allah and
with it four angels testifying over it that it is from Allah and that you are
His messenger.’ (7)
And they say,
‘Why was an angel not sent down upon him?’
And had We
sent down an angel, the affair would have been decreed,
they would not be regarded.(respited)
And they say,
‘Why was an angel not sent down upon him?’… The disbelievers asked why an angel from the heavens was
not sent down with the Messenger, may Allah condescend upon him
and his House, confirming him, for them too
to confirm and corroborate him. Allah refutes their objection in His word:
…And had We
sent down an angel,… In accordance to their
would have been decreed,… That
is, their times would be up, their life-spans would be at an end.
thereupon they would not be regarded. They would
have perished, have died. That is because of how Allah’s norm flows: He only
sends down an angel to those who stubbornly deny at the time of their deaths.
Here it might be objected that this does not answer the disbelievers, for
they could then say, ‘Let Allah change His norm and send down an angel and
keep us alive until we believe.’ A second question here is: why does Allah’s
norm flow in this way? Is not the guidance of the people the purpose of the
creation? So why not add to the guidance by sending down an angel? The answer
to the first is that the norm of Allah flows in such a way that death follows
the sending down of an angel, just as it His norm that being burned follows
being cast into a fire. And the disbelievers have no justification for this
demand, for the Prophet could say, ‘Why do you want an angel to be sent down?
Is it because of your own obstinacy? That is no reason for your request to be
granted. Or is it because it would be a miracle, and producing miracles leads
to confirmation and corroboration? But I have brought you miracles. Or is it
because it is a particular miracle? But reasonable people will not find it
necessary to confirm a particular miracle and reject others. It is like when
a doctor produces some recommendation, and the patient tells him he wants the
recommendation of the leader of the government. Such a thing would be
considered idiocy by any one of reason. And as for the second set of
questions, Allah knows their obduracy, and that the sending down of an angel
would not profit them, as He explained in His word ‘And
had We sent down upon thee a book…’. And what
would stop them from saying that what they saw as an angel was itself a
magical illusion? (8)
And We set
him an angel,
We would have
made him a man,
And We would
have clothed over them as they are clothed.
certainly ridiculed the Messengers before thee,
and so that
which they were ridiculing
those of them who rediculed.
in the earth,
then look how
was the consequence of the beliars.
is that in the heavens and the earth?’
– He has written upon Himself mercy
certainly gather you unto the day of resurrection
– no doubt in it.’
Those who are
themselves in deficit,
so they do
And His is
what is still in the night
and the day,
and He is the
Say: ‘Am I to
take other than Allah as a Patron –
open of the heavens and the earth,
and He feeds
but eats not?’
I am ordered to be the first of those submitting,
and be not of
Say: Indeed I
were I to
disobey my Master,
chastisement of a magnificent day.
Whoso it is
turned from that day –
has mercied him.
And that is
the clear achievement.
And if Allah
touches thee with a harm,
there is no
lifter of it but Him.
And if He
touches thee with a goodness –
He over all
things is in power.
And He is the
Irresistible over His slaves,
and He is the
thing is a greater witnessing?’
is a witness between me and ye,
Quran is revealed to me for me to warn ye of Him
and whoso it
witness that along with Him
Say: ‘I do
Say: ‘He is
the One God,
and I am
renouncing what you partnerise.’
Those to whom
We have given the book recognise him
recognise their sons –
selves are in deficit,
and so they
And who is
forges unto Allah a lie
or belies His
wrongful thrive not.
The day We
then We say
to those who partnerised,
your partners you were alleging?’
their tribulation will be no more than that they say,
our (Divine) Master,
we were not
Look how they
lie against themselves,
and what they
forged has strayed from them.
them is whoso listens to thee,
have set a wrapping over their hearts
and in their
ears a cavity,
though they see every portent,
they do not
believe in it
until when they come to thee
wrangling against thee,
those who disbelieve say, ‘This is naught but the fables of the
they forbid from him,
and they keep
away from him,
destroy none but themselves,
And were thou
when they are
set before the fire,
say, ‘Would that we be returned
and not belie
the portents of our (Divine) Master,
and be among
they were concealing has manifested,
and were they
returned they would revert to what they were forbidden from,
are the liars.
And they say,
‘This is nought but the worldly life,
and we are
not to be raised.’
And were thou
when they are
set before their (Divine) Master,
He shall say,
‘Is this not the truth?’
They say, for
sure, by our (Divine) Master!’
He says, ‘So
taste the chastisement,
having been lying.’
those who belie the meeting with Allah,
the Hour comes to them of a sudden,
‘Anguish is ours, for our neglect in it!’
carry their burden on their backs.
evil is what they carry.
life is nought but play and distraction,
but the realm
of the hereafter is better
for those who
Will ye not
Truly We know
that what they say sorrows thee;
wrongful deny the portents of Allah.
And truly the
prophets before thee were belied,
restrained at their lying
succour comes to them.
There is no
substitutor of Allah’s word,
announcements of the Messengers
have come to
And if their
turning away is grievous for thee,
then if thou
can reach for a tunnel in the earth
of a ladder
in the sky,
so bring them
And had Allah
willed He would have gathered them on the guidance.
So be not of
will answer who hear;
and the dead,
Allah raises them,
Him they return.
And they say,
‘Why was not a portent
sent down to
him from his (Divine) Master?’
is able to send down a portent.’
But most of
them know not.
And there is
no animal in the earth
and no flyer
flying with its wings,
nations like yourselves.
neglected nothing in the book.
unto their (Divine) Master they are mustered.
And those who
belie our portents,
are deaf and
dumb in darkness.
wills – He makes him stray;
and whomso He
wills – He places him upon a straight road.
thou seen if Allah’s chastisement
or the Hour
was to come to ye,
would ye call
to other than Allah,
if ye are
Nay, Him ye
would call – and He would
lift that for
which ye called,
if He willed
– and ye would forget your partnerising.
And truly We
sent unto nations before thee
so We took
that they be
they were humble
violence came to them;
hearts were hardened,
and the devil
adorned what they were doing.
So when they
forgot what they had been reminded of,
We opened for
them the doors of all things,
so that when
they were rejoicing
at what they
had been given,
We took them
and at once
they were in despair.
remnant of the tribe who wronged was cut –
and praise be
Master of the worlds.
Say: ‘Have ye
if Allah were
to take your hearing and your sight,
over your hearts,
who is the
god other than Allah who would restore it for ye?
Look how We
display the portents;
them, they shun.
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