The Qur'an is Guidance and Glad Tidings for the Believers, a Warning to the Disbelievers, and it is from Allah
In (the comments on) Surah Al-Baqarah, we discussed the letters which appear at the beginning of some Surahs.
... تِلْكَ آيَاتُ الْقُرْآنِ وَكِتَابٍ مُّبِينٍ ﴿١﴾
These are the Ayat of the Qur'an, and (it is) a Book (that is) clear.
It is plain and evident.
هُدًى وَبُشْرَى لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ ﴿٢﴾
A guide and glad tidings for the believers.
meaning, guidance and good news may be attained from the Qur'an for those who believe in it, follow it and put it into practice.
الَّذِينَ يُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَهُم بِالْآخِرَةِ هُمْ يُوقِنُونَ ﴿٣﴾
Those who perform the Salah and give the Zakah and they believe with certainty in the Hereafter.
They establish obligatory prayers, pay Zakah and believe with certain faith in the Hereafter, the resurrection after death, reward and punishment for all deeds, good and bad, and Paradise and Hell.
This is like the Ayat:
قُلْ هُوَ لِلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ هُدًى وَشِفَآءٌ وَالَّذِينَ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ فِى ءَاذَانِهِمْ وَقْرٌ
Say: "It is for those who believe, a guide and a healing. And as for those who disbelieve, there is heaviness (deafness) in their ears...'' (41:44)
لِتُبَشِّرَ بِهِ الْمُتَّقِينَ وَتُنْذِرَ بِهِ قَوْماً لُّدّاً
that you may give glad tidings to those who have Taqwa, and warn with it the Ludd (most quarrelsome) people. (19: 97)
Allah says here:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَةِ ...
Verily, those who believe not in the Hereafter,
meaning, those who deny it and think that it will never happen,
... زَيَّنَّا لَهُمْ أَعْمَالَهُمْ فَهُمْ يَعْمَهُونَ ﴿٤﴾
We have made their deeds fair seeming to them, so that they wander about blindly.
means, `We have made what they are doing seem good to them, and We have left them to continue in their misguidance, so they are lost and confused.'
This is their recompense for their disbelief in the Hereafter, as Allah says:
وَنُقَلِّبُ أَفْئِدَتَهُمْ وَأَبْصَـرَهُمْ كَمَا لَمْ يُؤْمِنُواْ بِهِ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ
And We shall turn their hearts and their eyes away, as they refused to believe therein for the first time. (6:110)
أُوْلَئِكَ الَّذِينَ لَهُمْ سُوءُ الْعَذَابِ ...
They are those for whom there will be an evil torment.
in this world and the Hereafter.
... وَهُمْ فِي الْآخِرَةِ هُمُ الْأَخْسَرُونَ ﴿٥﴾
And in the Hereafter they will be the greatest losers.
means, no one but they, among all the people who will be gathered, will lose their souls and their wealth.
وَإِنَّكَ لَتُلَقَّى الْقُرْآنَ مِن لَّدُنْ حَكِيمٍ عَلِيمٍ ﴿٦﴾
And verily, you are being taught the Qur'an from One, All-Wise, All-Knowing.
وَإِنَّكَ (And verily, you), O Muhammad. Qatadah said: لَتُلَقَّى (are being taught) "Are receiving.''
...الْقُرْآنَ مِن لَّدُنْ حَكِيمٍ عَلِيمٍ
the Qur'an from One, All-Wise, All-Knowing.
from One Who is Wise in His commands and prohibitions, and Who knows all things, major and minor. Whatever He says is absolute Truth, and His rulings are entirely fair and just, as Allah says:
وَتَمَّتْ كَلِمَةُ رَبِّكَ صِدْقاً وَعَدْلاً
And the Word of your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and in justice. (6:115)
The Story of Musa and the End of Fir`awn
Here Allah tells His Messenger Muhammad about what happened to Musa, peace be upon him, how Allah chose him, spoke with him and gave him mighty, dazzling signs and overwhelming proof, and sent him to Fir`awn and his people, but they denied the proof, disbelieved in him and arrogantly refused to follow him.
إِذْ قَالَ مُوسَى لِأَهْلِهِ ...
when Musa said to his household,
meaning, remember when Musa was traveling with his family and lost his way. This was at night, in the dark. Musa had seen a fire beside the mountain, i.e., he had noticed a fire burning brightly, and said,
... لِأَهْلِهِ إِنِّي آنَسْتُ نَارًا سَآتِيكُم مِّنْهَا بِخَبَرٍ ...
to his household: "Verily, I have seen a fire; I will bring you from there some information...''
meaning, `about the way we should take.'
... أَوْ آتِيكُم بِشِهَابٍ قَبَسٍ لَّعَلَّكُمْ تَصْطَلُونَ ﴿٧﴾
or I will bring you a burning ember, that you may warm yourselves.
meaning, so that they could keep warm. And it was as he said: "He came back with great news, and a great light.''
فَلَمَّا جَاءهَا نُودِيَ أَن بُورِكَ مَن فِي النَّارِ وَمَنْ حَوْلَهَا ...
But when he came to it, he was called: "Blessed is whosoever is in the fire, and whosoever is round about it!''
meaning, when he came to it, he saw a great and terrifying sight: the fire was burning in a green bush, and the fire was burning ever brighter while the bush was growing ever more green and beautiful. Then he raised his head, and saw that its light was connected to the clouds of the sky.
Ibn Abbas and others said, "It was not a fire, rather it was shining light.''
According to one report narrated from Ibn Abbas, it was the Light of the Lord of the worlds. Musa stood amazed by what he was seeing and نُودِيَ أَن بُورِكَ مَن فِي النَّارِ (he was called: "Blessed is whosoever is in the fire...''),
Ibn Abbas said, "This means, Holy is (whosoever is in the fire).''
وَمَنْ حَوْلَهَا (and whosoever is round about it) means, of the angels.
This was the view of Ibn Abbas, Ikrimah, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Al-Hasan and Qatadah.
... وَسُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ ﴿٨﴾
And glorified be Allah, the Lord of all that exists,
Who does whatever He wills and there is nothing like Him among His creation. Nothing He has made can encompass Him, and He is the Exalted, the Almighty, Who is utterly unlike all that He has created. Heaven and earth cannot contain Him, but He is the One, the Self-Sufficient Master, Who is far above any comparison with His creation.
يَا مُوسَى إِنَّهُ أَنَا اللَّهُ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ ﴿٩﴾
O Musa! Verily, it is I, Allah, the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.
Allah told him that the One Who was addressing him was his Lord Allah, the All-Mighty, Who has subjugated and subdued all things, the One Who is Wise in all His words and deeds.
"And throw down your stick!''
Then He commanded him to throw down the stick that was in his hand, so that He might show him clear proof that He is the One Who is able to do all things, whatever He wills.
When Musa threw that stick down, it changed into the form of a huge and terrifying snake, moving quickly despite its size.
... فَلَمَّا رَآهَا تَهْتَزُّ كَأَنَّهَا جَانٌّ ...
But when he saw it moving as if it were a Jann (snake).
Jann refers to a type of snake that is the fastest-moving and most agile.
When Musa saw that with his own eyes,
... وَلَّى مُدْبِرًا وَلَمْ يُعَقِّبْ ...
he turned in flight, and did not look back.
meaning, he did not turn around, because he was so afraid.
... يَا مُوسَى لَا تَخَفْ إِنِّي لَا يَخَافُ لَدَيَّ الْمُرْسَلُونَ ﴿١٠﴾
O Musa! Fear not: verily, the Messengers fear not in front of Me.
means, `do not be afraid of what you see, for I want to choose you as a Messenger and make you a great Prophet.'
إِلَّا مَن ظَلَمَ ثُمَّ بَدَّلَ حُسْنًا بَعْدَ سُوءٍ فَإِنِّي غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ ﴿١١﴾
Except him who has done wrong and afterwards has changed evil for good; then surely, I am Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
This is an exception of the exclusionary type.
This is good news for mankind, for whoever does an evil deed then gives it up and repents and turns to Allah, Allah will accept his repentance, as He says:
وَإِنِّى لَغَفَّارٌ لِّمَن تَابَ وَآمَنَ وَعَمِلَ صَـلِحَاً ثُمَّ اهْتَدَى
And verily, I am indeed forgiving to him who repents, believes and does righteous good deeds, and then Ahtada. (20:82)
وَمَن يَعْمَلْ سُوءاً أَوْ يَظْلِمْ نَفْسَهُ
And whoever does evil or wrongs himself... (4:110).
And there are many other Ayat which say the same.
وَأَدْخِلْ يَدَكَ فِي جَيْبِكَ تَخْرُجْ بَيْضَاء مِنْ غَيْرِ سُوءٍ ...
And put your hand into the opening of your garment, it will come forth white without hurt.
This is another sign, further brilliant proof of the ability of Allah to do whatever He wills. It is also confirmation of the truth of the one to whom the miracle was given.
Allah commanded him to put his hand into the opening of his garment, and when he put his hand in and took it out again, it came out white and shining as if it were a piece of the moon or a flash of dazzling lightning.
... فِي تِسْعِ آيَاتٍ ...
among the nine signs,
means, `these are two of the nine signs which you will be supported with and which will serve as proof for you. '
... إِلَى فِرْعَوْنَ وَقَوْمِهِ إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا قَوْمًا فَاسِقِينَ ﴿١٢﴾
to Fir`awn and his people. Verily, they are a people who are rebellious.
These were the nine signs of which Allah said:
وَلَقَدْ ءَاتَيْنَا مُوسَى تِسْعَ ءَايَـتٍ بَيِّنَاتٍ
And indeed We gave Musa nine clear signs. (17:101) --
as we have stated there.
فَلَمَّا جَاءتْهُمْ آيَاتُنَا مُبْصِرَةً ...
But when Our Ayat came to them, clear to see,
i.e., clear and obvious,
... قَالُوا هَذَا سِحْرٌ مُّبِينٌ ﴿١٣﴾
they said: "This is a manifest magic''.
They wanted to oppose it with their own magic, but they were defeated and were returned disgraced.
And they belied them,
... وَاسْتَيْقَنَتْهَا أَنفُسُهُمْ ...
though they themselves were convinced thereof.
means, they knew deep down that this was truth from Allah, but they denied it and were stubborn and arrogant.
... ظُلْمًا وَعُلُوًّا ...
wrongfully and arrogantly,
means, wronging themselves because this was the despicable manner to which they were accustomed, and they were arrogant because they were too proud to follow the truth.
... فَانظُرْ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الْمُفْسِدِينَ ﴿١٤﴾
So, see what was the end of the mischief-makers.
meaning, `see, O Muhammad, what were the consequences of their actions when Allah destroyed them and drowned every last one of them in a single morning.'
The point of this story is: beware, `O you who disbelieve in Muhammad and deny the Message that he has brought from his Lord, lest the same thing that befell them befall you also.'
But what is worse, is that Muhammad is nobler and greater than Musa, and his proof is stronger than that of Musa, for the signs that Allah has given him are combined with his presence and his character, in addition to the fact that previous Prophets foretold his coming and took a covenant from the people that they would follow him if they should see him, may the best of blessings and peace from his Lord be upon him.
Dawud and Suleiman (peace be upon them), the organization of Suleiman's Troops and His passage through the Valley of the Ants
Here Allah tells us about the great blessings and favors which He bestowed upon two of His servants and Prophets, Dawud (David) and his son Suleiman (Solomon), peace be upon them both, and how they enjoyed happiness in this world and the Hereafter, power and authority in this world, and the position of being Prophets and Messengers. Allah says:
وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا دَاوُودَ وَسُلَيْمَانَ عِلْمًا وَقَالَا الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي فَضَّلَنَا عَلَى كَثِيرٍ مِّنْ عِبَادِهِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ﴿١٥﴾
And indeed We gave knowledge to Dawud and Suleiman, and they both said:
"All the praises and thanks be to Allah, Who has preferred us above many of His believing servants!''
وَوَرِثَ سُلَيْمَانُ دَاوُودَ ...
And Suleiman inherited from Dawud.
means, in kingship and Prophethood. What is meant here is not wealth, because if that were the case, Suleiman would not have been singled out from among the sons of Dawud, as Dawud had one hundred wives. Rather what is meant is the inheritance of kingship and Prophethood, for the wealth of the Prophets cannot be inherited, as the Messenger of Allah said:
نَحْنُ مَعَاشِرَ الْأَنْبِيَاءِ لَا نُورَثُ، مَا تَرَكْنَاهُ فَهُوَ صَدَقَة
We Prophets cannot be inherited from; whatever we leave behind is charity.
... وَقَالَ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ عُلِّمْنَا مَنطِقَ الطَّيْرِ وَأُوتِينَا مِن كُلِّ شَيْءٍ...
And (Suleiman) said: O mankind! We have been taught the language of birds, and we have been given from everything.
Here Suleiman was speaking of the blessings that Allah bestowed upon him, by giving him complete authority and power, whereby mankind, the Jinn and the birds were subjugated to him.
He also knew the language of the birds and animals, which is something that had never been given to any other human being -- as far as we know from what Allah and His Messenger told us.
Allah enabled Suleiman to understand what the birds said to one another as they flew through the air, and what the different kinds of animals said.
Suleiman said: عُلِّمْنَا مَنطِقَ الطَّيْرِ وَأُوتِينَا مِن كُلِّ شَيْءٍ (We have been taught the language of birds, and we have been given from everything). i.e., all things that a king needs.
... إِنَّ هَذَا لَهُوَ الْفَضْلُ الْمُبِينُ ﴿١٦﴾
This, verily, is an evident grace.
means, `this is clearly the blessings of Allah upon us.'
وَحُشِرَ لِسُلَيْمَانَ جُنُودُهُ مِنَ الْجِنِّ وَالْإِنسِ وَالطَّيْرِ فَهُمْ يُوزَعُونَ ﴿١٧﴾
And there were gathered before Suleiman his hosts of Jinn and men, and birds, and they all were set in battle order.
means, all of Suleiman's troops of Jinn, men and birds were gathered together, and he rode with them in a display of might and glory, with people marching behind him, followed by the Jinn, and the birds flying above his head. When it was hot, they would shade him with their wings.
... فَهُمْ يُوزَعُونَ
and they all were set in battle order.
The first and the last of them were brought together, so that none of them would step out of place.
Mujahid said: "Officials were appointed to keep each group in order, and to keep the first and the last together so that no one would step out of line -- just as kings do nowadays.''
حَتَّى إِذَا أَتَوْا عَلَى وَادِي النَّمْلِ ...
Till, when they came to the valley of the ants,
meaning, when Suleiman, the soldiers and the army with him crossed the valley of the ants,
... قَالَتْ نَمْلَةٌ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّمْلُ ادْخُلُوا مَسَاكِنَكُمْ لَا يَحْطِمَنَّكُمْ سُلَيْمَانُ وَجُنُودُهُ وَهُمْ لَا يَشْعُرُونَ ﴿١٨﴾
one of the ants said: "O ants! Enter your dwellings, lest Suleiman and his armies should crush you, while they perceive not.''
Suleiman, peace be upon him, understood what the ant said,
فَتَبَسَّمَ ضَاحِكًا مِّن قَوْلِهَا وَقَالَ رَبِّ أَوْزِعْنِي أَنْ أَشْكُرَ نِعْمَتَكَ الَّتِي أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيَّ وَعَلَى وَالِدَيَّ وَأَنْ أَعْمَلَ صَالِحًا تَرْضَاهُ ...
So he smiled, amused at her speech and said:
"My Lord! Grant me the power and ability that I may be grateful for Your favors which You have bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I may do righteous good deeds that will please You,
meaning: `inspire me to give thanks for the blessings that You have bestowed upon me by teaching me to understand what the birds and animals say, and the blessings that You have bestowed upon my parents by making them Muslims who believe in You.'
... وَأَنْ أَعْمَلَ صَالِحًا تَرْضَاهُ ...
and that I may do righteous good deeds that will please You,
means, `deeds that You love which will earn Your pleasure.'
... وَأَدْخِلْنِي بِرَحْمَتِكَ فِي عِبَادِكَ الصَّالِحِينَ ﴿١٩﴾
and admit me by Your mercy among Your righteous servants.
means, `when You cause me to die, then join me with the righteous among Your servants, and the Higher Companion among Your close friends.'
The Absence of the Hoopoe
He inspected the birds,
Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr and others narrated from Ibn Abbas and others that the hoopoe was an expert who used to show Suleiman where water was if he was out in open land and needed water.
The hoopoe would look for water for him in the various strata of the earth, just as a man looks at things on the surface of the earth, and he would know just how far below the surface the water was. When the hoopoe showed him where the water was, Suleiman would command the Jinn to dig in that place until they brought water from the depths of the earth.
One day Suleiman went to some open land and checked on the birds, but he could not see the hoopoe.
... فَقَالَ مَا لِيَ لَا أَرَى الْهُدْهُدَ أَمْ كَانَ مِنَ الْغَائِبِينَ ﴿٢٠﴾
and (Suleiman) said: "What is the matter that I see not the hoopoe Or is he among the absentees!''
One day Abdullah bin Abbas told a similar story,
and among the people was a man from the Khawarij whose name was Nafi` bin Al-Azraq, who often used to raise objections to Ibn Abbas. He said to him,
"Stop, O Ibn Abbas; you will be defeated (in argument) today!''
Ibn Abbas said: "Why?''
Nafi` said: "You are telling us that the hoopoe can see water beneath the ground, but any boy can put seed in a trap and cover the trap with dirt, and the hoopoe will come and take the seed, so the boy can catch him in the trap.''
Ibn Abbas said, "If it was not for the fact that this man would go and tell others that he had defeated Ibn Abbas in argument, I would not even answer.''
Then he said to Nafi`:
"Woe to you! When the decree strikes a person, his eyes become blind and he loses all caution.''
Nafi` said: "By Allah I will never dispute with you concerning anything in the Qur'an.''
I will surely punish him with a severe torment,
Al-A`mash said, narrating from Al-Minhal bin `Amr from Sa`id that Ibn Abbas said: "He meant, by plucking his feathers.''
Abdullah bin Shaddad said: "By plucking his feathers and exposing him to the sun.''
This was also the view of more than one of the Salaf, that it means plucking his feathers and leaving him exposed to be eaten by ants.
... أَوْ لَأَذْبَحَنَّهُ ...
or slaughter him,
means, killing him.
... أَوْ لَيَأْتِيَنِّي بِسُلْطَانٍ مُّبِينٍ ﴿٢١﴾
unless he brings me a clear reason.
i.e., a valid excuse.
Sufyan bin Uyaynah and Abdullah bin Shaddad said:
"When the hoopoe came back, the other birds said to him: "What kept you, Suleiman has vowed to shed your blood.''
The hoopoe said: "Did he make any exception (did he say `unless!').''
They said, "Yes, he said: لَأُعَذِّبَنَّهُ عَذَابًا شَدِيدًا أَوْ لَأَذْبَحَنَّهُ أَوْ لَيَأْتِيَنِّي بِسُلْطَانٍ مُّبِينٍ (I will surely punish him with a severe torment or slaughter him, unless he brings me a clear reason).
The hoopoe said, "Then I am saved.''
How the Hoopoe came before Suleiman and told Him about Saba'
فَمَكَثَ غَيْرَ بَعِيدٍ ...
But (the hoopoe) stayed not long,
meaning, he was absent for only a short time.
... فَقَالَ ...
Then he came and said to Suleiman:
... أَحَطتُ بِمَا لَمْ تُحِطْ بِهِ ...
I have grasped which you have not grasped,
meaning, `I have come to know something that you and your troops do not know.'
... وَجِئْتُكَ مِن سَبَإٍ بِنَبَإٍ يَقِينٍ ﴿٢٢﴾
and I have come to you from Saba' with true news.
meaning, with true and certain news.
Saba' (Sheba) refers to Himyar, they were a dynasty in Yemen.
Then the hoopoe said:
إِنِّي وَجَدتُّ امْرَأَةً تَمْلِكُهُمْ ...
I found a woman ruling over them,
Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, "This is Bilqis bint Sharahil, the queen of Saba'.''
... وَأُوتِيَتْ مِن كُلِّ شَيْءٍ ...
she has been given all things,
means, all the conveniences of this world that a powerful monarch could need.
... وَلَهَا عَرْشٌ عَظِيمٌ ﴿٢٣﴾
and she has a great throne.
meaning, a tremendous chair adorned with gold and different kinds of jewels and pearls.
The historians said,
"This throne was in a great, strong palace which was high and firmly constructed. In it there were three hundred and sixty windows on the east side, and a similar number on the west, and it was constructed in such a way that each day when the sun rose it would shine through one window, and when it set it would shine through the opposite window. And the people used to prostrate to the sun morning and evening."
This is why the hoopoe said:
وَجَدتُّهَا وَقَوْمَهَا يَسْجُدُونَ لِلشَّمْسِ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ وَزَيَّنَ لَهُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ أَعْمَالَهُمْ فَصَدَّهُمْ عَنِ السَّبِيلِ ...
I found her and her people worshipping the sun instead of Allah, and Shaytan has made their deeds fair seeming to them, and has prevented them from the way,
meaning, from the way of truth,
... فَهُمْ لَا يَهْتَدُونَ ﴿٢٤﴾
so they have no guidance.
... وَزَيَّنَ لَهُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ أَعْمَالَهُمْ فَصَدَّهُمْ عَنِ السَّبِيل ِفَهُمْ لَا يَهْتَدُونَ
and Shaytan has made their deeds fair seeming to them, and has prevented them from the way, so they have no guidance,
أَلَّا يَسْجُدُوا لِلَّهِ ...
so they do not prostrate themselves before Allah.
They do not know the way of truth, prostrating only before Allah alone and not before anything that He has created, whether heavenly bodies or anything else.
This is like the Ayah:
وَمِنْ ءَايَـتِهِ الَّيْلُ وَالنَّهَارُ وَالشَّمْسُ وَالْقَمَرُ لاَ تَسْجُدُواْ لِلشَّمْسِ وَلاَ لِلْقَمَرِ وَاسْجُدُواْ لِلَّهِ الَّذِى خَلَقَهُنَّ إِن كُنتُمْ إِيَّاهُ تَعْبُدُونَ
And from among His signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. Prostrate yourselves not to the sun nor to the moon, but prostrate yourselves to Allah Who created them, if you indeed worship Him. (41:37)
... الَّذِي يُخْرِجُ الْخَبْءَ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ...
Who brings to light what is hidden in the heavens and the earth,
Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas said: "He knows everything that is hidden in the heavens and on earth.''
This was also the view of Ikrimah, Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Qatadah and others.
... وَيَعْلَمُ مَا تُخْفُونَ وَمَا تُعْلِنُونَ ﴿٢٥﴾
and knows what you conceal and what you reveal.
means, He knows what His servants say and do in secret, and what they say and do openly.
This is like the Ayah:
سَوَآءٌ مِّنْكُمْ مَّنْ أَسَرَّ الْقَوْلَ وَمَنْ جَهَرَ بِهِ وَمَنْ هُوَ مُسْتَخْفٍ بِالَّيْلِ وَسَارِبٌ بِالنَّهَارِ
It is the same whether any of you conceals his speech or declares it openly, whether he be hid by night or goes forth freely by day. (13:10)
اللَّهُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ رَبُّ الْعَرْشِ الْعَظِيمِ ﴿٢٦﴾
Allah, La ilaha illa Huwa, the Lord of the Supreme Throne!
means, He is the One to be called upon, Allah, He is the One other than Whom there is no god, the Lord of the Supreme Throne, and there is none greater than Him in all of creation.
Since the hoopoe was calling to what is good, and for people to worship and prostrate to Allah alone, it would have been forbidden to kill him.
Imam Ahmad, Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah recorded that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said that:
the Prophet forbade killing four kinds of animals:
- hoopoes and
- the sparrow hawks.
Its chain of narration is Sahih.
Suleiman's Letter to Bilqis
Allah tells us what Suleiman said to the hoopoe when he told him about the people of Saba' and their queen:
قَالَ سَنَنظُرُ أَصَدَقْتَ أَمْ كُنتَ مِنَ الْكَاذِبِينَ ﴿٢٧﴾
(Suleiman) said: "We shall see whether you speak the truth or you are (one) of the liars.''
meaning, `are you telling the truth!'
أَمْ كُنتَ مِنَ الْكَاذِبِينَ (or you are (one) of the liars). meaning, `or are you telling a lie in order to save yourself from the threat I made against you!'
اذْهَب بِّكِتَابِي هَذَا فَأَلْقِهْ إِلَيْهِمْ ثُمَّ تَوَلَّ عَنْهُمْ فَانظُرْ مَاذَا يَرْجِعُونَ ﴿٢٨﴾
Go you with this letter of mine and deliver it to them then draw back from them and see what they return.
Suleiman wrote a letter to Bilqis and her people and gave it to the hoopoe to deliver.
It was said that he carried it on his wings, as is the way with birds, or that he carried it in his beak. He went to their land and found the palace of Bilqis, then he went to her private chambers and threw the letter through a small window, then he stepped to one side out of good manners.
Bilqis was amazed and confused when she saw that, then she went and picked up the letter, opened its seal and read it.
The letter said: it is from Suleiman, and it (reads): `In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful; Be you not exalted against me, but come to me submitting (as Muslims).'
So she gathered her commanders and ministers and the leaders of her land, and
She said: (said to them),
... يَا أَيُّهَا المَلَأُ إِنِّي أُلْقِيَ إِلَيَّ كِتَابٌ كَرِيمٌ ﴿٢٩﴾
"O chiefs! Verily, here is delivered to me a noble letter.''
She described it as such because of the wondrous things she had seen, that it was delivered by a bird who threw it to her, then stood aside out of good manners. This was something that no king could do.
Then she read the letter to them:
إِنَّهُ مِن سُلَيْمَانَ وَإِنَّهُ بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ ﴿٣٠﴾
Verily, it is from Suleiman, and it (reads):
`In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
أَلَّا تَعْلُوا عَلَيَّ وَأْتُونِي مُسْلِمِينَ ﴿٣١﴾
Be you not exalted against me, but come to me submitting (as Muslims).'
Thus they knew that it was from Allah's Prophet Suleiman, upon him be peace, and that they could not match him.
This letter was the utmost in brevity and eloquence, coming straight to the point.
أَلَّا تَعْلُوا عَلَيَّ Be you not exalted against me,
Qatadah said: "Do not be arrogant with me. وَأْتُونِي مُسْلِمِينَ but come to me submitting (as Muslims).''
Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said: "Do not refuse or be too arrogant to come to me, وَأْتُونِي مُسْلِمِينَ (but come to me submitting (as Muslims).''
Bilqis consults with Her Chiefs
When she read Suleiman's letter to them and consulted with them about this news, then she said:
... يَا أَيُّهَا المَلَأُ أَفْتُونِي فِي أَمْرِي مَا كُنتُ قَاطِعَةً أَمْرًا حَتَّى تَشْهَدُونِ ﴿٣٢﴾
"O chiefs! Advise me in (this) case of mine. I decide no case till you are present with me.''
meaning, `until you come together and offer me your advice.'
قَالُوا نَحْنُ أُوْلُوا قُوَّةٍ وَأُولُوا بَأْسٍ شَدِيدٍ ...
They said: "We have great strength, and great ability for war...''
They reminded her of their great numbers, preparedness and strength, then they referred the matter to her and said:
... وَالْأَمْرُ إِلَيْكِ فَانظُرِي مَاذَا تَأْمُرِينَ ﴿٣٣﴾
but it is for you to command; so think over what you will command.
meaning, `we have the power and strength, if you want to go to him and fight him.'
The matter is yours to decide, so instruct us as you see fit and we will obey.
Ibn Abbas said: "Bilqis said:
... إِنَّ الْمُلُوكَ إِذَا دَخَلُوا قَرْيَةً أَفْسَدُوهَا وَجَعَلُوا أَعِزَّةَ أَهْلِهَا أَذِلَّةً ...
Verily, kings, when they enter a town, they destroy it and make the most honorable amongst its people the lowest.
And Allah said:
... وَكَذَلِكَ يَفْعَلُونَ ﴿٣٤﴾
And thus they do.
Then she resorted to peaceful means, seeking a truce and trying to placate Suleiman, and said:
وَإِنِّي مُرْسِلَةٌ إِلَيْهِم بِهَدِيَّةٍ فَنَاظِرَةٌ بِمَ يَرْجِعُ الْمُرْسَلُونَ ﴿٣٥﴾
But verily, I am going to send him a present, and see with what the messengers return.
meaning, `I will send him a gift befitting for one of his status, and will wait and see what his response will be. Perhaps he will accept that and leave us alone, or he will impose a tax which we can pay him every year, so that he will not fight us and wage war against us.'
"May Allah have mercy on her and be pleased with her -- how wise she was as a Muslim and (before that) as an idolator! She understood how gift-giving has a good effect on people.''
Ibn Abbas and others said:
"She said to her people, if he accepts the gift, he is a king, so fight him; but if he does not accept it, he is a Prophet, so follow him.''
The Gift and the Response of Sulayman
فَلَمَّا جَاء سُلَيْمَانَ قَالَ ...
So, when (the messengers with the gift) came to Suleiman, he said:
More than one of the scholars of Tafsir among the Salaf and others stated that she sent him a huge gift of gold, jewels, pearls and other things.
It is apparent that Suleiman, peace be upon him, did not even look at what they brought at all and did not pay any attention to it, but he turned away and said, rebuking them:
... أَتُمِدُّونَنِ بِمَالٍ ...
"Will you help me in wealth!''
meaning, `are you trying to flatter me with wealth so that I will leave you alone with your Shirk and your kingdom!'
... فَمَا آتَانِيَ اللَّهُ خَيْرٌ مِّمَّا آتَاكُم ...
What Allah has given me is better than that which He has given you!
means, `what Allah has given to me of power, wealth and troops, is better than that which you have.'
... بَلْ أَنتُم بِهَدِيَّتِكُمْ تَفْرَحُونَ ﴿٣٦﴾
Nay, you rejoice in your gift!
means, `you are the ones who are influenced by gifts and presents; we will accept nothing from you except Islam or the sword.'
ارْجِعْ إِلَيْهِمْ ...
Go back to them,
means, with their gift,
... فَلَنَأْتِيَنَّهُمْ بِجُنُودٍ لَّا قِبَلَ لَهُم بِهَا ...
We verily, shall come to them with armies that they cannot resist,
they have no power to match them or resist them.
... وَلَنُخْرِجَنَّهُم مِّنْهَا أَذِلَّةً ...
and we shall drive them out from there in disgrace,
`we shall drive them out in disgrace from their land.'
... وَهُمْ صَاغِرُونَ ﴿٣٧﴾
and they will be abased.
means, humiliated and expelled.
When her messengers came back to her with her undelivered gift, and told her what Suleiman said, she and her people paid heed and obeyed him.
She came to him with her troops in submission and humility, honoring Suleiman and intending to follow him in Islam.
When Suleiman, peace be upon him, realized that they were coming to him, he rejoiced greatly.
How the Throne of Bilqis was brought in an Instant
Muhammad bin Ishaq reported from Yazid bin Ruman:
"When the messengers returned with word of what Suleiman said, she said: `By Allah, I knew he was more than a king, and that we have no power to match him, and that we can gain nothing by being stubborn with him. So, she sent word to him saying:
"I am coming to you with the leaders of my people to see what you will instruct us to do and what you are calling us to of your religion.''
Then she issued commands that her throne, which was made of gold and inlaid with rubies, chrysolite and pearls, should be placed in the innermost of seven rooms, one within the other, and all the doors should be locked.
Then she told her deputy whom she was leaving in charge, "Take care of my people and my throne, and do not let anyone approach it or see it until I come back to you.''
Then she set off to meet Suleiman with twelve thousand of her commanders from the leaders of Yemen, under each of whose command were many thousands of men.
Suleiman sent the Jinn to bring him news of her progress and route every day and night, then when she drew near, he gathered together the Jinns and humans who were under his control and,
قَالَ يَا أَيُّهَا المَلَأُ أَيُّكُمْ يَأْتِينِي بِعَرْشِهَا قَبْلَ أَن يَأْتُونِي مُسْلِمِينَ ﴿٣٨﴾
He said: O chiefs! Which of you can bring me her throne before they come to me surrendering themselves in obedience (as Muslims).''
قَالَ عِفْريتٌ مِّنَ الْجِنِّ ...
An `Ifrit from the Jinn said:
Mujahid said, "A giant Jinn.''
Abu Salih said, "It was as if he was a mountain.''
... أَنَا آتِيكَ بِهِ قَبْلَ أَن تَقُومَ مِن مَّقَامِكَ ...
I will bring it to you before you rise from your place.
Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "Before you get up from where you are sitting.''
As-Suddi and others said:
"He used to sit to pass judgments and rulings over the people, and to eat, from the beginning of the day until noon.''
... وَإِنِّي عَلَيْهِ لَقَوِيٌّ أَمِينٌ ﴿٣٩﴾
And verily, I am indeed strong and trustworthy for such work.
Ibn Abbas said: "Strong enough to carry it and trustworthy with the jewels it contains. Suleiman, upon him be peace, said, "I want it faster than that.''
From this it seems that Suleiman wanted to bring this throne as a demonstration of the greatness of the power and authority that Allah had bestowed upon him and the troops that He had subjugated to him. Power such as had never been given to anyone else, before or since, so that this would furnish proof of his Prophethood before Bilqis and her people, because this would be a great and wondrous thing, if he brought her throne as if he were in her country, before they could come to it, although it was hidden and protected by so many locked doors. When Suleiman said, "I want it faster than that,
قَالَ الَّذِي عِندَهُ عِلْمٌ مِّنَ الْكِتَابِ ...
One with whom was knowledge of the Scripture said:
Ibn Abbas said, "This was Asif, the scribe of Suleiman.''
It was also narrated by Muhammad bin Ishaq from Yazid bin Ruman that: he was Asif bin Barkhiya' and he was a truthful believer who knew the Greatest Name of Allah.
Qatadah said: "He was a believer among the humans, and his name was Asif.''
... أَنَا آتِيكَ بِهِ قَبْلَ أَن يَرْتَدَّ إِلَيْكَ طَرْفُكَ ...
I will bring it to you within the twinkling of an eye!
Meaning, lift your gaze and look as far as you can, and before you get tired and blink, you will find it before you.
Then he got up, performed ablution and prayed to Allah, may He be exalted.
Mujahid said: "He said, O Owner of majesty and honor.''
... فَلَمَّا رَآهُ مُسْتَقِرًّا عِندَهُ ...
Then when he saw it placed before him,
When Suleiman and his chiefs saw it before them,
... قَالَ هَذَا مِن فَضْلِ رَبِّي ...
he said: "This is by the grace of my Lord...''
meaning, `this is one of the blessings which Allah has bestowed upon me.'
... لِيَبْلُوَنِي أَأَشْكُرُ أَمْ أَكْفُرُ وَمَن شَكَرَ فَإِنَّمَا يَشْكُرُ لِنَفْسِهِ ...
...to test whether I am grateful or ungrateful! And whoever is grateful, truly, his gratitude is for himself;
This is like the Ayat:
مَّنْ عَمِلَ صَـلِحاً فَلِنَفْسِهِ وَمَنْ أَسَآءَ فَعَلَيْهَا
Whosoever does righteous good deed, it is for himself; and whosoever does evil, it is against himself. (41:46)
وَمَنْ عَمِلَ صَـلِحاً فَلاًّنفُسِهِمْ يَمْهَدُونَ
and whosoever does righteous good deed, then such will prepare a good place for themselves. (30:44)
... وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ رَبِّي غَنِيٌّ كَرِيمٌ ﴿٤٠﴾
and whoever is ungrateful, certainly my Lord is Rich, Bountiful.
He has no need of His servants or their worship.
كَرِيمٌ (Bountiful), He is Bountiful in and of Himself, even if no one were to worship Him. His greatness does not depend on anyone.
This is like what Musa said:
إِن تَكْفُرُواْ أَنتُمْ وَمَن فِى الاٌّرْضِ جَمِيعًا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَغَنِىٌّ حَمِيدٌ
If you disbelieve, you and all on earth together, then verily, Allah is Rich, Owner of all praise. (14:8)
It is recorded in Sahih Muslim:
يَقُولُ اللهُ تَعَالَى:
- يَا عِبَادِي لَوْ أَنَّ أَوَّلَكُمْ وَآخِرَكُمْ وَإِنْسَكُمْ وَجِنَّكُمْ كَانُوا عَلَى أَتْقَى قَلْبِ رَجُلٍ مِنْكُمْ مَا زَادَ ذَلِكَ فِي مُلْكِي شَيْئًا.
- يَا عِبَادِي لَوْ أَنَّ أَوَّلَكُمْ وَآخِرَكُمْ وَإِنْسَكُمْ وَجِنَّكُمْ كَانُوا عَلَى أَفْجَرِ قَلْبِ رَجُلٍ مِنْكُمْ مَا نَقَصَ ذَلِكَ مِنْ مُلْكِي شَيْئًا.
- يَا عِبَادِي إِنَّمَا هِيَ أَعْمَالُكُمْ أُحْصِيهَا لَكُمْ ثُمَّ أُوَفِّيكُمْ إِيَّاهَا فَمَنْ وَجَدَ خَيْرًا فَلْيَحْمَدِ اللهَ،وَمَنْ وَجَدَ غَيْرَ ذَلِكَ فَلَا يَلُومَنَّ إِلَّا نَفْسَه
Allah, may He be exalted, says:
- "O My servants, if the first of you and the last of you, mankind and Jinn alike, were all to be as pious as the most pious among you, that would not add to My dominion in the slightest.
- O My servants, if the first of you and the last of you, mankind and Jinn alike, were all to be as evil as the most evil one among you, that would not detract from My dominion in the slightest.
- O My servants, these are deeds which I am recording for you, and I will judge you according to them, so whoever finds something good, let him praise Allah, and whoever finds otherwise, let him blame no one but himself.''
The Test of Bilqis
He (Suleiman) said:
When Suleiman brought the throne of Bilqis before she and her people arrived, he issued orders that some of its features should be altered, so that he could test her and see whether she recognized it and how composed she would be when she saw it. Would she hasten to say either that it was her throne or that it was not! So he said:
... نَكِّرُوا لَهَا عَرْشَهَا نَنظُرْ أَتَهْتَدِي أَمْ تَكُونُ مِنَ الَّذِينَ لَا يَهْتَدُونَ ﴿٤١﴾
Disguise her throne for her that we may see whether she will be guided, or she will be one of those not guided.
Ibn Abbas said: "Remove some of its adornments and parts.''
"He issued orders that it should be changed, so whatever was red should be made yellow and vice versa, and whatever was green should be made red, so everything was altered.''
Ikrimah said, "They added some things and took some things away.''
"It was turned upside down and back to front, and some things were added and some things were taken away.''
فَلَمَّا جَاءتْ قِيلَ أَهَكَذَا عَرْشُكِ ...
So when she came, it was said: "Is your throne like this'!'
Her throne, which had been altered and disguised, with some things added and others taken away, was shown to her. She was wise and steadfast, intelligent and strong-willed. She did not hasten to say that this was her throne, because it was far away from her. Neither did she hasten to say that it was not her throne, when she saw that some things had been altered and changed.
... قَالَتْ كَأَنَّهُ هُوَ ...
She said: (It is) as though it were the very same.
This is the ultimate in intelligence and strong resolve.
... وَأُوتِينَا الْعِلْمَ مِن قَبْلِهَا وَكُنَّا مُسْلِمِينَ ﴿٤٢﴾
Knowledge was bestowed on us before her, and we had submitted to Allah.
Mujahid said, "This was spoken by Suleiman.''
وَصَدَّهَا مَا كَانَت تَّعْبُدُ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ إِنَّهَا كَانَتْ مِن قَوْمٍ كَافِرِينَ ﴿٤٣﴾
And Saddaha that which she used to worship besides Allah has prevented her, for she was of a disbelieving people.
This is a continuation of the words of Suleiman -- according to the opinion of Mujahid and Sa`id bin Jubayr, may Allah be pleased with them both -- i.e., Suleiman said: وَأُوتِينَا الْعِلْمَ مِن قَبْلِهَا وَكُنَّا مُسْلِمِينَ (Knowledge was bestowed on us before her, and we had submitted to Allah). and what stopped her from worshipping Allah alone was مَا كَانَت تَّعْبُدُ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ إِنَّهَا كَانَتْ مِن قَوْمٍ كَافِرِينَ (that which she used to worship besides Allah, for she was of a disbelieving people).
What Mujahid and Sa`id said is good; it was also the view of Ibn Jarir.
Then Ibn Jarir said, "It could be that the subject of the verb وَصَدَّهَا (And Saddaha) refers to Suleiman or to Allah, so that the phrase now means: مَا كَانَت تَّعْبُدُ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ (She would not worship anything over than Allah), إِنَّهَا كَانَتْ مِن قَوْمٍ كَافِرِينَ (for she was of a disbelieving people).
I say: the opinion of Mujahid is supported by the fact that she declared her Islam after she entered the Sarh, as we shall see below.
قِيلَ لَهَا ادْخُلِي الصَّرْحَ فَلَمَّا رَأَتْهُ حَسِبَتْهُ لُجَّةً وَكَشَفَتْ عَن سَاقَيْهَا ...
It was said to her: "Enter As-Sarh'' but when she saw it, she thought it was a pool, and she (tucked up her clothes) uncovering her legs.
Suleiman had commanded the Shayatin to build for her a huge palace of glass beneath which water was flowing. Anyone who did not know the nature of the building would think that it was water, but in fact there was a layer of glass between a person walking and the water.
... قَالَ إِنَّهُ صَرْحٌ مُّمَرَّدٌ مِّن قَوَارِيرَ ...
He (Suleiman) said: "Verily, it is a Sarh Mumarrad of Qawarir.''
means a palace or any lofty construction.
Allah says of Fir`awn -- may Allah curse him -- that he said to his minister Haman:
ابْنِ لِى صَرْحاً لَّعَـلِّى أَبْلُغُ الاٌّسْبَـبَ
Build me a Sarh that I may arrive at the ways. (40:36-37)
Sarh is also used to refer to the high constructed palaces in Yemen.
Mumarrad means sturdily constructed and smooth.
... مِّن قَوَارِيرَ ...
means, made of glass, i.e., it was built with smooth surfaces.
Marid is a fortress in Dawmat Al-Jandal. What is meant here is that Suleiman built a huge, lofty palace of glass for this queen, in order to show her the greatness of his authority and power. When she saw for herself what Allah had given him and how majestic his position was, she submitted to the command of Allah and acknowledged that he was a noble Prophet, so she submitted to Allah and said:
... قَالَتْ رَبِّ إِنِّي ظَلَمْتُ نَفْسِي ...
She said: My Lord! Verily, I have wronged myself,
meaning, by her previous disbelief and Shirk and by the fact that she and her people had worshipped the sun instead of Allah.
... وَأَسْلَمْتُ مَعَ سُلَيْمَانَ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ ﴿٤٤﴾
and I submit, together with Suleiman to Allah, the Lord of all that exists.
meaning, following the religion of Suleiman, worshipping Allah alone with no partner or associate, Who created everything and measured it exactly according to its due measurements.
Salih and Thamud
وَلَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا إِلَى ثَمُودَ أَخَاهُمْ صَالِحًا أَنِ اعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ ...
And indeed We sent to Thamud their brother Salih, (saying): "Worship Allah.''
Allah tells us about Thamud and how they responded to their Prophet Salih, when Allah sent him to call them to worship Allah alone, with no partner or associate.
... فَإِذَا هُمْ فَرِيقَانِ يَخْتَصِمُونَ ﴿٤٥﴾
Then look! They became two parties quarreling with each other.
Mujahid said, "These were believers and disbelievers.''
This is like the Ayah,
قَالَ الْمَلاَ الَّذِينَ اسْتَكْبَرُواْ مِن قَوْمِهِ لِلَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُواْ لِمَنْ ءامَنَ مِنْهُمْ أَتَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّ صَـلِحاً مُّرْسَلٌ مّن رَّبّهِ قَالُواْ إِنَّا بِمَآ أُرْسِلَ بِهِ مُؤْمِنُونَ
قَالَ الَّذِينَ اسْتَكْبَرُواْ إِنَّا بِالَّذِى ءامَنتُمْ بِهِ كَـفِرُونَ
The leaders of those who were arrogant among his people said to those who were counted weak -- to such of them as believed: "Know you that Salih is one sent from his Lord.''
They said: "We indeed believe in that with which he has been sent.''
Those who were arrogant said: "Verily, we disbelieve in that which you believe in.'' (7:75-76)
قَالَ يَا قَوْمِ لِمَ تَسْتَعْجِلُونَ بِالسَّيِّئَةِ قَبْلَ الْحَسَنَةِ ...
He said: "O my people! Why do you seek to hasten the evil before the good!''
meaning, `why are you praying for the punishment to come, and not asking Allah for His mercy!'
Then he said:
... لَوْلَا تَسْتَغْفِرُونَ اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ ﴿٤٦﴾
"Why seek you not the forgiveness of Allah, that you may receive mercy!''
قَالُوا اطَّيَّرْنَا بِكَ وَبِمَن مَّعَكَ ...
They said: "We augur an omen from you and those with you.''
This means: "We do not see any good in your face and the faces of those who are following you.''
Since they were doomed, whenever anything bad happened to any of them they would say, "This is because of Salih and his companions.''
Mujahid said, "They regarded them as bad omens.''
This is similar to what Allah said about the people of Fir`awn:
فَإِذَا جَآءَتْهُمُ الْحَسَنَةُ قَالُواْ لَنَا هَـذِهِ وَإِن تُصِبْهُمْ سَيِّئَةٌ يَطَّيَّرُواْ بِمُوسَى وَمَن مَّعَهُ
But whenever good came to them, they said: "Ours is this.'' And if evil afflicted them, they saw it as an omen about Musa and those with him. (7:131)
And Allah says:
وَإِن تُصِبْهُمْ حَسَنَةٌ يَقُولُواْ هَـذِهِ مِنْ عِندِ اللَّهِ وَإِن تُصِبْهُمْ سَيِّئَةٌ يَقُولُواْ هَـذِهِ مِنْ عِندِكَ قُلْ كُلٌّ مِّنْ عِندِ اللَّهِ
And if some good reaches them, they say, "This is from Allah,'' but if some evil befalls them, they say, "This is from you.''
Say: "All things are from Allah.'' (4:78)
i.e., by virtue of His will and decree.
And Allah tells us about the dwellers of the town, when the Messengers came to them:
قَالُواْ إِنَّا تَطَيَّرْنَا بِكُمْ لَئِن لَّمْ تَنتَهُواْ لَنَرْجُمَنَّكُمْ وَلَيَمَسَّنَّكُمْ مِّنَّا عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ
قَالُواْ طَـئِرُكُم مَّعَكُمْ
They (people) said: "For us, we see an omen from you; if you cease not, we will surely stone you, and a painful torment will touch you from us.''
They (Messengers) said: "Your omens are with yourselves! (36:18)
And these people (Thamud) said:
اطَّيَّرْنَا بِكَ وَبِمَن مَّعَكَ قَالَ طَائِرُكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ ...
"We augur an omen from you and those with you.''
He said: "Your omen is of Allah; meaning, Allah will punish you for that.
... بَلْ أَنتُمْ قَوْمٌ تُفْتَنُونَ ﴿٤٧﴾
nay, but you are a people that are being tested.
Qatadah said: "You are being tested to see whether you will obey or disobey.''
The apparent meaning of the phrase تُفْتَنُونَ (are being tested) is: you will be left to get carried away in your state of misguidance.
The Plot of the Mischief-Makers and the End of the People of Thamud
Allah tells us about the evildoers of Thamud and their leaders who used to call their people to misguidance and disbelief, and to deny Salih. Eventually they killed the she-camel and were about to kill Salih too. They plotted to let him sleep with his family at night, then they would assassinate him and tell his relatives that they knew nothing about what happened to him, and that they were telling the truth because none of them had seen anything.
وَكَانَ فِي الْمَدِينَةِ ...
And there were in the city,
meaning, in the city of Thamud,
... تِسْعَةُ رَهْطٍ ...
meaning, nine people,
... يُفْسِدُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا يُصْلِحُونَ ﴿٤٨﴾
who made mischief in the land, and would not reform.
They forced their opinions on the people of Thamud, because they were the leaders and chiefs.
Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn Abbas said: "These were the people who killed the she-camel,''
Meaning, that happened upon their instigation, may Allah curse them.
فَنَادَوْاْ صَـحِبَهُمْ فَتَعَاطَى فَعَقَرَ
But they called their comrade and he took (a sword) and killed (the she-camel). (54:29)
إِذِ انبَعَثَ أَشْقَـهَا
When the most wicked man among them went forth (to kill the she-camel). (91:12)
Abdur-Razzaq said that Yahya bin Rabi`ah As-San`ani told them, "I heard `Ata' -- i.e. Ibn Abi Rabah -- say:
وَكَانَ فِي الْمَدِينَةِ تِسْعَةُ رَهْطٍ يُفْسِدُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا يُصْلِحُونَ
(And there were in the city nine Raht, who made mischief in the land, and would not reform),
`They used to break silver coins.'''
They would break off pieces from them, as if they used to trade with them in terms of numbers (as opposed to weight), as the Arabs used to do.
Imam Malik narrated from Yahya bin Sa`id that Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib said: "Cutting gold and silver (coins) is part of spreading corruption on earth.''
What is meant is that the nature of these evil disbelievers was to spread corruption on earth by every means possible, one of which was that mentioned by these Imams.
قَالُوا تَقَاسَمُوا بِاللَّهِ لَنُبَيِّتَنَّهُ وَأَهْلَهُ ...
They said: "Swear one to another by Allah that we shall make a secret night attack on him and his household...''
They took a mutual oath, pledging that during the night, whoever met the Allah's Prophet Salih, peace be upon him, he would assassinate him.
... ثُمَّ لَنَقُولَنَّ لِوَلِيِّهِ مَا شَهِدْنَا مَهْلِكَ أَهْلِهِ وَإِنَّا لَصَادِقُونَ ﴿٤٩﴾
and thereafter we will surely say to his near relatives: `We witnessed not the destruction of his household, and verily, we are telling the truth.'''
But Allah planned against them and caused their plot to backfire.
Mujahid said, "They took a mutual oath pledging to kill him, but before they could reach him, they and their people were all destroyed.''
Abdur-Rahman bin Abi Hatim said: "When they killed the she-camel, Salih said to them:
تَمَتَّعُواْ فِى دَارِكُمْ ثَلَـثَةَ أَيَّامٍ ذلِكَ وَعْدٌ غَيْرُ مَكْذُوبٍ
"Enjoy yourselves in your homes for three days. This is a promise (i.e., a threat) that will not be belied.'' (11:65)
They said: `Salih claims that he will finish with us in three days, but we will finish him and his family before the three days are over.'
Salih had a place of worship in a rocky tract in a valley, where he used to pray. So they set out to go to a cave there one night, and said, `When he comes to pray, we will kill him, then we will return. When we have finished him off, we will go to his family and finish them off too.'
Then Allah sent down a rock upon them from the mountains round about; they feared that it would crush them, so they ran into the cave and the rock covered the mouth of the cave while they were inside.
Their people did not know where they were or what had happened to them. So Allah punished some of them here, and some of them there, and He saved Salih and the people who were with him.
Then he recited:
وَمَكَرُوا مَكْرًا وَمَكَرْنَا مَكْرًا وَهُمْ لَا يَشْعُرُونَ ﴿٥٠﴾
So, they plotted a plot, and We planned a plan, while they perceived not.
فَانظُرْ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ مَكْرِهِمْ أَنَّا دَمَّرْنَاهُمْ وَقَوْمَهُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ ﴿٥١﴾
These are their houses in utter ruin,
... بِمَا ظَلَمُوا إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَةً لِّقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ ﴿٥٢﴾
for they did wrong. Verily, in this is indeed an Ayah for people who know.
وَأَنجَيْنَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَكَانُوا يَتَّقُونَ ﴿٥٣﴾
And We saved those who believed, and had Taqwa of Allah.
Lut and His People
وَلُوطًا إِذْ قَالَ لِقَوْمِهِ ...
And (remember) Lut! When he said to his people:
Allah tells us about His servant and Messenger Lut, peace be upon him, and how he warned his people of Allah's punishment for committing an act of immorality which no human ever committed before them -- intercourse with males instead of females. This is a major sin, whereby men are satisfied with men and women are with women (i.e., homosexuality).
... أَتَأْتُونَ الْفَاحِشَةَ وَأَنتُمْ تُبْصِرُونَ ﴿٥٤﴾
Do you commit immoral sins while you see!
meaning, `while you see one another, and you practice every kind of evil in your meetings.'
أَئِنَّكُمْ لَتَأْتُونَ الرِّجَالَ شَهْوَةً مِّن دُونِ النِّسَاء بَلْ أَنتُمْ قَوْمٌ تَجْهَلُونَ ﴿٥٥﴾
Do you practice your lusts on men instead of women! Nay, but you are a people who behave senselessly.
means, `you do not know anything of what is natural or what is prescribed by Allah.'
This is like the Ayah:
أَتَأْتُونَ الذُّكْرَانَ مِنَ الْعَـلَمِينَ
وَتَذَرُونَ مَا خَلَقَ لَكُمْ رَبُّكُمْ مِّنْ أَزْوَجِكُمْ بَلْ أَنتُمْ قَوْمٌ عَادُونَ
Go you in unto the males of mankind, and leave those whom Allah has created for you to be your wives. Nay, you are a trespassing people! (26:165-166)
فَمَا كَانَ جَوَابَ قَوْمِهِ إِلَّا أَن قَالُوا أَخْرِجُوا آلَ لُوطٍ مِّن قَرْيَتِكُمْ إِنَّهُمْ أُنَاسٌ يَتَطَهَّرُونَ ﴿٥٦﴾
There was no other answer given by his people except that they said: "Drive out the family of Lut from your city. Verily, these are men who want to be clean and pure!''
means, `they feel embarrassed because of the deeds you are doing, and because you approve of your actions, so expel them from among yourselves, for they are not fit to live among you in your city.'
So, the people resolved to do that, and Allah destroyed them, and a similar end awaits the disbelievers.
فَأَنجَيْنَاهُ وَأَهْلَهُ إِلَّا امْرَأَتَهُ قَدَّرْنَاهَا مِنَ الْغَابِرِينَ ﴿٥٧﴾
So, We saved him and his family, except his wife. We destined her to be of those who remained behind.
meaning, she was one of those who were destroyed, with her people, because she was a helper to what they did and she approved of their evil deeds.
She told them about the guests of Lut so that they could come to them. She did not do the evil deeds herself, which was because of the honor of the Lut and not because of any honor on her part.
وَأَمْطَرْنَا عَلَيْهِم مَّطَرًا ...
And We rained down on them a rain.
means; stones of Sijjil, in a well-arranged manner one after another. Marked from your Lord; and they are not ever far from the evildoers.
... فَسَاء مَطَرُ الْمُنذَرِينَ ﴿٥٨﴾
So, evil was the rain of those who were warned.
meaning, those against whom proof was established and whom the warning reached, but they went against the Messenger and denied him, and resolved to drive him out from among them.
The Command to praise Allah and send Blessings on His Messengers
Allah commands His Messenger to:
قُلِ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ...
Say: Praise and thanks be to Allah,
meaning, for His innumerable blessings upon His servants and for His exalted Attributes and most beautiful Names.
... وَسَلَامٌ عَلَى عِبَادِهِ الَّذِينَ اصْطَفَى ...
and peace be on His servants whom He has chosen!
And He commands him to send peace upon the servants of Allah whom He chose and selected, i.e., His noble Messengers and Prophets, may the best of peace and blessings from Allah be upon them.
This was the view of Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam and others;the meaning of the servants He has chose is the Prophets. He said, This like He said in the Ayah;
سُبْحَـنَ رَبِّكَ رَبِّ الْعِزَّةِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ - وَسَلَـمٌ عَلَى الْمُرْسَلِينَ - وَالْحَمْدُ للَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَـلَمِينَ
Glorified be your Lord, the Lord of honor and power! (He is free) from what they attribute unto Him! And peace be on the Messengers! And all the praises and thanks be to Allah, Lord of all that exists.'' (37:180-182)
Ath-Thawri and As-Suddi said,
"This refers to the Companions of Muhammad, may Allah be pleased with them all.''
Something similar was also narrated from Ibn Abbas, and there is no contradiction between the two views, because they were also among the servants of Allah whom He had chosen, although the description is more befitting of the Prophets.
... آللَّهُ خَيْرٌ أَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ ﴿٥٩﴾
Is Allah better, or what they ascribe as partners (to Him)!
This is a question aimed at denouncing the idolators for their worship of other gods besides Allah.
Some more Proofs of Tawhid
Then Allah begins to explain that He is the Only One Who creates, provides and controls, as He says:
أَمَّنْ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ ...
Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth,
meaning, He created those heavens which are so high and serene, with their shining stars and revolving planets. And He created the earth, with its varying heights and densities, and He created everything in it, mountains, hills, plains, rugged terrain, wildernesses, crops, trees, fruits, seas and animals of all different kinds and colors and shapes, etc.
... وَأَنزَلَ لَكُم مِّنَ السَّمَاء مَاء ...
and sends down for you water from the sky,
means, He sends it as a provision for His servants,
... فَأَنبَتْنَا بِهِ حَدَائِقَ ذَاتَ بَهْجَةٍ ...
whereby We cause to grow wonderful gardens full of beauty and delight
means, beautiful and delightful to behold.
... مَّا كَانَ لَكُمْ أَن تُنبِتُوا شَجَرَهَا ...
It is not in your ability to cause the growth of their trees.
meaning, `you are not able to cause their trees to grow. The One Who is able to do that is the Creator and Provider, Who is doing all this Alone and Independent of any idol and other rival.'
The idolators themselves admitted this, as Allah says in another Ayah:
وَلَئِن سَأَلْتَهُم مَّنْ خَلَقَهُمْ لَيَقُولُنَّ اللَّهُ
And if you ask them: "Who has created them!'' they will certainly say: "Allah.'' (31:25)
وَلَئِن سَأَلْتَهُمْ مَّن نَّزَّلَ مِنَ السَّمَآءِ مَآءً فَأَحْيَا بِهِ الاٌّرْضَ مِن بَعْدِ مَوْتِهَا لَيَقُولُنَّ اللَّه
And if you were to ask them: "Who sends down water from the sky, and gives life therewith to the earth after its death!'' they will surely reply: "Allah.'' (29:63)
Meaning they will admit that He is the One Who does all these things, Alone, with no partner or associate, but then they worship others alongside Him, others who they admit cannot create or provide anything. But the Only One Who deserves to be worshipped is the Only One Who can create and provide,
... أَإِلَهٌ مَّعَ اللَّهِ ...
Is there any god with Allah,
meaning, `is there any god that can be worshipped alongside Allah, when it is clear to you and anyone who with reason that He is the Creator and Provider, as you yourselves admit!'
Then Allah says:
... بَلْ هُمْ قَوْمٌ يَعْدِلُونَ ﴿٦٠﴾
Nay, but they are a people who ascribe equals (to Him)!
meaning, they describe others as being equal and comparable to Allah.
أَمَّن جَعَلَ الْأَرْضَ قَرَارًا ...
Is not He Who has made the earth as a fixed abode,
meaning, stable and stationary, so that it does not move or convulse, because if it were to do so, it would not be a good place for people to live on. But by His grace and mercy, He has made it smooth and calm, and it is not shaken or moved.
This is like the Ayah,
اللَّهُ الَّذِى جَعَـلَ لَكُـمُ الاٌّرْضَ قَـرَاراً وَالسَّمَآءَ بِنَـآءً
Allah, Who has made for you the earth as a dwelling place and the sky as a canopy. (40:64)
... وَجَعَلَ خِلَالَهَا أَنْهَارًا ...
and has placed rivers in its midst,
means, He has placed rivers which are fresh and sweet, cutting through the earth, and He has made them of different types, large rivers, small rivers and some in between. He has caused them to flow in all directions, east, west, south, north, according to the needs of mankind in different areas and regions, as He has created them throughout the world and sends them their provision according to their needs.
... وَجَعَلَ لَهَا رَوَاسِيَ ...
and has placed firm mountains therein,
means, high mountains which stabilize the earth and make it steadfast, so that it does not shake.
... وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَ الْبَحْرَيْنِ حَاجِزًا ...
and has set a barrier between the two seas,
means, He has placed a barrier between the fresh water and the salt water, to prevent them from mixing lest they corrupt one another. Divine wisdom dictates that each of them should stay as it is meant to be. The sweet water is that which flows in rivers among mankind, and it is meant to be fresh and palatable so that it may be used to water animals and plants and fruits. The salt water is that which surrounds the continents on all sides, and its water is meant to be salty and undrinkable lest the air be corrupted by its smell, as Allah says:
وَهُوَ الَّذِى مَرَجَ الْبَحْرَيْنِ هَـذَا عَذْبٌ فُرَاتٌ وَهَـذَا مِلْحٌ أُجَاجٌ وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَهُمَا بَرْزَخاً وَحِجْراً مَّحْجُوراً
And it is He Who has let free the two seas, this is palatable and sweet, and that is salty and bitter; and He has set a barrier and a complete partition between them. (25:53)
... أَإِلَهٌ مَّعَ اللَّهِ ...
Is there any god with Allah!
meaning, any god who could do this, or who deserves to be worshipped
Both meanings are indicated by the context.
... بَلْ أَكْثَرُهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ ﴿٦١﴾
Nay, but most of them know not!
means, in that they worship others than Allah.
Allah points out that He is the One upon Whom people call in times of difficulty, and He is the One to Whom they turn when calamity strikes, as He says elsewhere:
وَإِذَا مَسَّكُمُ الْضُّرُّ فِى الْبَحْرِ ضَلَّ مَن تَدْعُونَ إِلاَ إِيَّاهُ
And when harm touches you upon the sea, those that you call upon vanish from you except Him, (17:67)
ثُمَّ إِذَا مَسَّكُمُ الضُّرُّ فَإِلَيْهِ تَجْـَرُونَ
Then, when harm touches you, unto Him you cry aloud for help. (16:53)
Similarly, Allah says here:
Is not He Who responds to the distressed one, when he calls on Him,
meaning, Who is the only One to Whom the person in desperate need turns, and the only One Who can relieve those who are stricken by harm
... وَيَكْشِفُ السُّوءَ ...
and Who removes the evil,
Imam Ahmad reported that a man of Balhajim said: "O Messenger of Allah, what are you calling for?''
أَدْعُو إِلَى اللهِ وَحْدَهُ الَّذِي إِنْ مَسَّكَ ضُرٌّ فَدَعَوْتَهُ كَشَفَ عَنْكَ، وَالَّذِي إِنْ أَضْلَلْتَ بِأَرْضٍ قَفْرٍ فَدَعَوْتَهُ رَدَّ عَلَيْكَ، وَالَّذِي إِنْ أَصَابَتْكَ سَنَةٌ فَدَعَوْتَهُ أَنْبَتَ لَك
I am calling people to Allah Alone, the One Who,
- if you call on Him when harm befalls you, will relieve you; and
- when you are lost in the wilderness, you call on Him and He brings you back: and
- when drought (famine) strikes, you call on Him and He makes your crops grow.
He said: "Advise me.''
لَا تَسُبَّنَّ أَحَدًا وَلَا تَزْهَدَنَّ فِي الْمَعْرُوفِ، وَلَوْ أَنْ تَلْقَى أَخَاكَ وَأَنْتَ مُنْبَسِطٌ إِلَيْهِ وَجْهُكَ، وَلَوْ أَنْ تُفْرغَ مِنْ دَلْوِكَ فِي إِنَاءِ الْمُسْتَقِي، وَاتَّزِرْ إِلَى نِصْفِ السَّاقِ فَإِنْ أَبَيْتَ فَإِلَى الْكَعْبَيْنِ، وَإِيَّاكَ وَإِسْبَالَ الْإِزَارِ فَإِنَّ إِسْبَالَ الْإِزَارِ مِنَ الْمَخِيلَةِ وَإِنَّ اللهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمَخِيلَة
- Do not slander anyone and do not think of any good deed as insignificant, even if it is only meeting your brother with a cheerful face or emptying your vessel into the vessel of one who is asking for water.
- Wear your lower garment at mid-calf length, or -- if you insist -- let it reach your ankles, and beware of lowering the garment below the ankles along the ground, for it is a form of showing-off, and Allah does not like showing-off.
The Story of a Mujahid who fought for the sake of Allah
In his biography of Fatimah bint Al-Hasan Umm Ahmad Al-Ajaliyyah, Al-Hafiz bin Asakir reported that she said:
"One day the disbelievers defeated the Muslims in a battle. There was a good horse which belonged to a rich man who was also righteous. The horse just stood there, so its owner said, `What is the matter with you Woe to you! I was only preparing you for a day such as this.'
The horse said to him: `How can you expect me not to perform badly, when you delegated my feeding to the grooms, and they mistreated me and only fed me a little.'
The man said, `I make you a promise before Allah that from this day on, only I will feed you from my own lap.'
So the horse began to run, and his owner was saved, and after that he only ever fed the horse from his own lap.
This story became well known among the people, and they started to come to him to hear the story from his own lips. News of this reached the king of Byzantium, and he said: `A city where this man is, will be kept safe from harm.' He wanted to bring the man to his own city, so he sent an apostate (a man who had left Islam) who was living in his city to go to him, and when he reached him, he pretended that his intentions towards Islam and its followers were good, so the Mujahid trusted him.
One day they went out walking along the shore, but the apostate made a pact with another person, a follower of the Byzantine king, to come and help him take the Mujahid prisoner. When they made their move, he lifted his gaze to the sky and said, `O Allah! He has deceived me by swearing in Your Name, so protect me in whatever way You will.'
Then two wild animals came out and seized them, and the Mujahid came back safe and sound.''
The Inheritance of the Earth
... وَيَجْعَلُكُمْ خُلَفَاء الْأَرْضِ ...
and makes you inheritors of the earth,
means, each generation inherits from the generation that came before them, one after the other, as Allah says:
إِن يَشَأْ يُذْهِبْكُمْ وَيَسْتَخْلِفْ مِن بَعْدِكُم مَّا يَشَآءُ كَمَآ أَنشَأَكُمْ مِّن ذُرِّيَّةِ قَوْمٍ ءَاخَرِينَ
if He wills, He can destroy you, and in your place make whom He wills as your successors, as He raised you from the seed of other people, (6:133)
وَهُوَ الَّذِى جَعَلَكُمْ خَلَـئِفَ الاٌّرْضِ وَرَفَعَ بَعْضَكُمْ فَوْقَ بَعْضٍ دَرَجَـتٍ
And it is He Who has made you generations coming after generations, replacing each other on the earth. And He has raised you in ranks, some above others, (6:165)
وَإِذْ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلَـئِكَةِ إِنِّي جَاعِلٌ فِى الأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً
And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels: "Verily, I am going to place generations after generations on earth.'' (2:30)
meaning, people who will come after one another, as we have already stated.
... وَيَجْعَلُكُمْ خُلَفَاء الْأَرْضِ ...
and makes you inheritors of the earth,
means, nation after nation, generation after generation, people after people.
If He had willed, He could have created them all at one time, and not made some of them the offspring of others.
If He had willed, He could have created them all together, as He created Adam from dust.
If He had willed, He could have made some of them the offspring of others, but not caused any of them to die until they all died at one time; in this case the earth would have become constricted for them and it would be too difficult for them to live and earn a living, and they would have caused inconvenience and harm to one another.
But His wisdom and decree ruled that they should be created from one soul, then their numbers should be greatly increased, so He created them on the earth and made them generation after generation, nation after nation, until their time will come to an end and there will be no one left on earth, as Allah has decreed and as He has completely counted out their numbers. Then the Resurrection will come to pass, and each person will be rewarded or punished according to his deeds.
أَمَّن يُجِيبُ الْمُضْطَرَّ إِذَا دَعَاهُ وَيَكْشِفُ السُّوءَ وَيَجْعَلُكُمْ خُلَفَاء الْأَرْضِ أَإِلَهٌ مَّعَ اللَّهِ ...
Is not He Who responds to the distressed one, when he calls on Him, and Who removes the evil, and makes you inheritors of the earth, generations after generations! Is there any god with Allah,
meaning, is there anyone else able to do that, or a god with Allah worth worshipping -- while you know that He is the only one who can do that, having no partners
... قَلِيلًا مَّا تَذَكَّرُونَ ﴿٦٢﴾
Little is that you remember!
meaning, how little they think about that which would guide them to the truth and show them the straight path.
أَمَّن يَهْدِيكُمْ فِي ظُلُمَاتِ الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ ...
Is not He Who guides you in the darkness of the land and the sea,
meaning, by means of what He has created of heavenly and earthly signposts.
This is like the Ayah,
وَعَلامَـتٍ وَبِالنَّجْمِ هُمْ يَهْتَدُونَ
And landmarks and by the stars, they guide themselves. (16:16)
وَهُوَ الَّذِى جَعَلَ لَكُمُ النُّجُومَ لِتَهْتَدُواْ بِهَا فِى ظُلُمَـتِ الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ
It is He Who has set the stars for you, so that you may guide your course with their help through the darkness of the land and the sea... (6:97)
... وَمَن يُرْسِلُ الرِّيَاحَ بُشْرًا بَيْنَ يَدَيْ رَحْمَتِهِ ...
and Who sends the winds as heralds of glad tidings, going before His mercy,
meaning, ahead of the clouds which bring rain, by means of which Allah shows His mercy to His servants who are suffering drought and despair.
... أَإِلَهٌ مَّعَ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى اللَّهُ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ ﴿٦٣﴾
Is there any god with Allah! Exalted be Allah above all that they associate as partners!
أَمَّن يَبْدَأُ الْخَلْقَ ثُمَّ يُعِيدُهُ ...
Is not He Who originates creation, and shall thereafter repeat it,
He is the One Who, by His might and power, originates creation and then repeats it.
This is like the Ayat:
إِنَّ بَطْشَ رَبِّكَ لَشَدِيدٌ - إِنَّهُ هُوَ يُبْدِىءُ وَيُعِيدُ
Verily, the punishment of your Lord is severe and painful. Verily, He it is Who begins and repeats. (85:12-13)
وَهُوَ الَّذِى يَبْدَأُ الْخَلْقَ ثُمَّ يُعِيدُهُ وَهُوَ أَهْوَنُ عَلَيْهِ
And He it is Who originates the creation, then He will repeat it; and this is easier for Him. (30:27)
... وَمَن يَرْزُقُكُم مِّنَ السَّمَاء وَالْأَرْضِ ...
and Who provides for you from heaven and earth,
with the rain He sends down from the sky causing the blessings of the earth to grow, as He says elsewhere:
وَالسَّمَآءِ ذَاتِ الرَّجْعِ - وَالاّرْضِ ذَاتِ الصَّدْعِ
By the sky which gives rain, again and again. And the earth which splits. (86:11-12)
يَعْلَمُ مَا يَلْجُ فِى الاٌّرْضِ وَمَا يَخْرُجُ مِنْهَا وَمَا يَنزِلُ مِنَ السَّمَآءِ وَمَا يَعْرُجُ فِيهَا
He knows that which goes into the earth and that which comes forth from it, and that which descends from the heaven and that which ascends to it. (34:2)
Allah, may He be blessed and exalted, sends down water from the sky as a blessing, and causes it to penetrate the earth, and then come forth as springs. After that, by means of the water He brings forth all kinds of crops, fruits and flowers, in all their different forms and colors.
كُلُواْ وَارْعَوْا أَنْعَـمَكُمْ إِنَّ فِى ذلِكَ لأيَـتٍ لاٌّوْلِى النُّهَى
Eat and pasture your cattle; verily, in this are signs for men of understanding. (20:54)
... أَإِلَهٌ مَّعَ اللَّهِ ...
Is there any god with Allah!
meaning, who did this Or, according to another interpretation: after this who could be worth worship!
... قُلْ هَاتُوا بُرْهَانَكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ ﴿٦٤﴾
Say: "Bring forth your proofs, if you are truthful.''
Produce the evidence of that.
But it is known that they have no proof or evidence, as Allah says:
وَمَن يَدْعُ مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَـهَا ءَاخَرَ لاَ بُرْهَانَ لَهُ بِهِ فَإِنَّمَا حِسَابُهُ عِندَ رَبِّهِ إِنَّهُ لاَ يُفْلِحُ الْكَـفِرُونَ
And whoever invokes besides Allah, any other god, of whom he has no proof; then his reckoning is only with his Lord. Surely, the disbelievers will not be successful. (23:117)
The One Who knows the Unseen is Allah
قُل لَّا يَعْلَمُ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ الْغَيْبَ ...
Say: "None in the heavens and the earth knows the Unseen,
Allah commands His Messenger to inform all of creation that no one among the dwellers of heaven and earth knows the Unseen, except Allah.
... إِلَّا اللَّهُ ...
This is an absolute exception, meaning that no one knows this besides Allah, He is alone in that regard, having no partner in that knowledge.
This is like the Ayat:
وَعِندَهُ مَفَاتِحُ الْغَيْبِ لاَ يَعْلَمُهَآ إِلاَّ هُوَ
And with Him are the keys of the Unseen, none knows them but He. (6:59)
إِنَّ اللَّهَ عِندَهُ عِلْمُ السَّاعَةِ وَيُنَزِّلُ الْغَيْثَ
Verily, Allah, with Him is the knowledge of the Hour, He sends down the rain. (31:34). until the end of the Surah.
And there are many Ayat which mention similar things.
... وَمَا يَشْعُرُونَ أَيَّانَ يُبْعَثُونَ ﴿٦٥﴾
nor can they perceive when they shall be resurrected.
That is, the created beings who dwell in the heavens and on earth do not know when the Hour will occur, as Allah says:
ثَقُلَتْ فِى السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضِ لاَ تَأْتِيكُمْ إِلاَّ بَغْتَةً
Heavy is its burden through the heavens and the earth. It shall not come upon you except all of a sudden. (7: 187)
meaning, it is a grave matter for the dwellers of heaven and earth.
Nay, their knowledge will perceive that in the Hereafter. Nay, they are in doubt about it.
means their knowledge and amazement stops short of knowing its time.
Other scholars read this with the meaning "their knowledge is all the same with regard to that,''
which reflects the meaning of the Hadith in Sahih Muslim which states that the Messenger of Allah said to Jibril, when the latter asked him when the Hour would come:
مَا الْمَسْؤُولُ عَنْهَا بِأَعْلَمَ مِنَ السَّائِل
The one who is being asked about it does not know any more than the one who is asking.
In other words, they were both equal in the fact that their knowledge did not extend that far.
... بَلْ هُم مِّنْهَا عَمِونَ ﴿٦٦﴾
Nay, they are in doubt about it.
This refers to the disbelievers in general as Allah says elsewhere:
وَعُرِضُواْ عَلَى رَبِّكَ صَفَا لَّقَدْ جِئْتُمُونَا كَمَا خَلَقْنَـكُمْ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ بَلْ زَعَمْتُمْ أَلَّن نَّجْعَلَ لَكُمْ مَّوْعِدًا
And they will be set before your Lord in rows, (and Allah will say:) "Now indeed, you have come to Us as We created you the first time. Nay, but you thought that We had appointed no meeting for you (with Us).'' (18:48)
i.e., the disbelievers among you.
By the same token, Allah says here: بَلْ هُمْ فِي شَكٍّ مِّنْهَا (. meaning, they doubt that it will come to pass.
... بَلْ هُم مِّنْهَا عَمِونَ
Nay, they are in complete blindness about it.
They are blind and completely ignorant about it.
Scepticism about the Resurrection and Its Refutation
وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَئِذَا كُنَّا تُرَابًا وَآبَاؤُنَا أَئِنَّا لَمُخْرَجُونَ ﴿٦٧﴾
And those who disbelieve say: "When we have become dust -- we and our fathers -- shall we really be brought forth!''
Allah tells us about the idolators who deny the Resurrection, considering it extremely unlikely that bodies will be re-created after they have become bones and dust.
Then He says:
لَقَدْ وُعِدْنَا هَذَا نَحْنُ وَآبَاؤُنَا مِن قَبْلُ ...
Indeed we were promised this -- we and our forefathers before,
meaning, `we and our forefathers have been hearing this for a long time, but in reality, we have never seen it happen.'
... إِنْ هَذَا إِلَّا أَسَاطِيرُ الْأَوَّلِينَ ﴿٦٨﴾
verily, these are nothing but tales of ancients.
the promises that bodies will be restored are إِلَّا أَسَاطِيرُ الْأَوَّلِينَ (nothing but tales of ancients), meaning that they were taken by the people who came before us from books which were handed down from one to the other, but they have no basis in reality.
Responding to their thoughts of disbelief and their belief that there would be no Resurrection, Allah said,
Say (`O Muhammad, to these people,')
... سِيرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ فَانظُرُوا كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الْمُجْرِمِينَ ﴿٦٩﴾
Travel in the land and see how has been the end of the criminals.
meaning, those who denied the Messengers and their message of the Resurrection and other matters. See how the punishment and vengeance of Allah struck them and how Allah saved from among them the noble Messengers and the believers who followed them.
This will be an indication of the truth of the Message brought by the Messengers.
Then, to comfort the Prophet, Allah says:
وَلَا تَحْزَنْ عَلَيْهِمْ ...
And grieve you not over them,
meaning, `but do not feel sorry for them or kill yourself with regret for them,'
... وَلَا تَكُن فِي ضَيْقٍ مِّمَّا يَمْكُرُونَ ﴿٧٠﴾
nor be straitened because of what they plot.
means, `because they plot against you and reject what you have brought, for Allah will help and support you, and cause your religion to prevail over those who oppose you and stubbornly resist you in the east and in the west.'
Allah tells us about how the idolators asked about the Day of Resurrection, but thought it unlikely that it would ever come to pass.
وَيَقُولُونَ مَتَى هَذَا الْوَعْدُ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ ﴿٧١﴾
And they say: "When (will) this promise (be fulfilled), if you are truthful!''
Allah said, responding to them:
Say, (`O Muhammad,')
... عَسَى أَن يَكُونَ رَدِفَ لَكُم بَعْضُ الَّذِي تَسْتَعْجِلُونَ ﴿٧٢﴾
Perhaps that which you wish to hasten on, may be close behind you.
Ibn Abbas said, "That which you wish to hasten on has come close to you, or some of it has come close.''
This was also the view of Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak, Ata Al-Khurasani, Qatadah and As-Suddi.
This is also what is meant in the Ayat:
وَيَقُولُونَ مَتَى هُوَ قُلْ عَسَى أَن يَكُونَ قَرِيبًا
And they say: "When will that be!'' Say: "Perhaps it is near!'' (17:51)
يَسْتَعْجِلُونَكَ بِالْعَذَابِ وَإِنَّ جَهَنَّمَ لَمُحِيطَةٌ بِالْكَـفِرِينَ
They ask you to hasten on the torment. And verily, Hell, of a surety, will encompass the disbelievers. (29:54)
... عَسَى أَن يَكُونَ رَدِفَ لَكُم ...
may be close behind you.
means, it is being hastened for you. This was reported from Mujahid.
Then Allah says:
وَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَذُو فَضْلٍ عَلَى النَّاسِ ...
Verily, your Lord is full of grace for mankind,
meaning, He abundantly bestows His blessings on them even though they wrong themselves, yet despite that they do not give thanks for those blessings, except for a few of them.
... وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ لَا يَشْكُرُونَ ﴿٧٣﴾
yet most of them do not give thanks.
وَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَيَعْلَمُ مَا تُكِنُّ صُدُورُهُمْ وَمَا يُعْلِنُونَ ﴿٧٤﴾
And verily, your Lord knows what their breasts conceal and what they reveal.
means, He knows what is hidden in their hearts just as He knows what is easily visible.
سَوَآءٌ مِّنْكُمْ مَّنْ أَسَرَّ الْقَوْلَ وَمَنْ جَهَرَ بِهِ
It is the same (to Him) whether any of you conceals his speech or declares it openly. (13:10)
يَعْلَمُ السِّرَّ وَأَخْفَى
He knows the secret and that which is yet more hidden. (20: 7)
أَلا حِينَ يَسْتَغْشُونَ ثِيَابَهُمْ يَعْلَمُ مَا يُسِرُّونَ وَمَا يُعْلِنُونَ
Surely, even when they cover themselves with their garments, He knows what they conceal and what they reveal. (11:5)
Then Allah tells us that He is the Knower of the unseen in the heavens and on earth, and that He is the Knower of the unseen and the seen, i.e., that which is unseen by His servants and that which they can see.
And Allah says:
وَمَا مِنْ غَائِبَةٍ ...
and there is nothing hidden,
Ibn Abbas said, "This means, there is nothing
... فِي السَّمَاء وَالْأَرْضِ إِلَّا فِي كِتَابٍ مُّبِينٍ ﴿٧٥﴾
in the heaven and the earth but it is in a Clear Book.
This is like the Ayah,
أَلَمْ تَعْلَمْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا فِى السَّمَآءِ وَالاٌّرْضِ إِنَّ ذلِكَ فِى كِتَـبٍ إِنَّ ذلِكَ عَلَى اللَّهِ يَسِيرٌ
Know you not that Allah knows all that is in the heaven and on the earth! Verily, it is (all) in the Book. Verily, that is easy for Allah. (22:70)
The Qur'an tells the Story of the Differences among the Children of Israel, and Allah judges between Them
إِنَّ هَذَا الْقُرْآنَ يَقُصُّ عَلَى بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ ...
Verily, this Qur'an narrates to the Children of Israel,
Allah tells us about His Book and the guidance, proof and criterion between right and wrong that it contains.
He tells us about the Children of Israel, who were the bearers of the Tawrah and Injil.
... أَكْثَرَ الَّذِي هُمْ فِيهِ يَخْتَلِفُونَ ﴿٧٦﴾
most of that in which they differ.
such as their different opinions about `Isa. The Jews lied about him while the Christians exaggerated in praise for him, so the Qur'an came with the moderate word of truth and justice: that he was one of the servants of Allah, and one of His noble Prophets and Messengers, may the best of peace and blessings be upon him, as the Qur'an says:
ذلِكَ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ قَوْلَ الْحَقِّ الَّذِى فِيهِ يَمْتُرُونَ
Such is `Isa, son of Maryam. (It is) a statement of truth, about which they doubt. (19:34)
وَإِنَّهُ لَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةٌ لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ ﴿٧٧﴾
And truly, it is a guide and a mercy for the believers.
meaning, it is guidance for the hearts of those who believe in it, and a mercy to them.
Then Allah says:
إِنَّ رَبَّكَ يَقْضِي بَيْنَهُم ...
Verily, your Lord will decide between them,
meaning, on the Day of Resurrection,
... بِحُكْمِهِ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ ...
by His judgement. And He is the All-Mighty,
means, in His vengeance,
... الْعَلِيمُ ﴿٧٨﴾
Who knows all that His servants do and say.
The Command to put One's Trust in Allah and to convey the Message
فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ ...
So, put your trust in Allah;
in all your affairs, and convey the Message of your Lord.
... إِنَّكَ عَلَى الْحَقِّ الْمُبِينِ ﴿٧٩﴾
surely, you are on manifest truth.
meaning, you are following manifest truth, even though you are opposed by those who oppose you because they are doomed. The Word of your Lord has been justified against them, so that they will not believe even if all the signs are brought to them.
إِنَّكَ لَا تُسْمِعُ الْمَوْتَى ...
Verily, you cannot make the dead to hear,
meaning, you cannot cause them to hear anything that will benefit them. The same applies to those over whose hearts is a veil and in whose ears is deafness of disbelief.
... وَلَا تُسْمِعُ الصُّمَّ الدُّعَاء إِذَا وَلَّوْا مُدْبِرِينَ ﴿٨٠﴾
nor can you make the deaf to hear the call, when they flee, turning their backs.
وَمَا أَنتَ بِهَادِي الْعُمْيِ عَن ضَلَالَتِهِمْ إِن تُسْمِعُ إِلَّا مَن يُؤْمِنُ بِآيَاتِنَا فَهُم مُّسْلِمُونَ ﴿٨١﴾
Nor can you lead the blind out of their error. You can only make to hear those who believe in Our Ayat, so they submit (became Muslims).
meaning, those who have hearing and insight will respond to you, those whose hearing and sight are of benefit to their hearts and who are humble towards Allah and to the Message that comes to them through the mouths of the Messengers, may peace be upon them.
The Emergence of the Beast of the Earth
وَإِذَا وَقَعَ الْقَوْلُ عَلَيْهِمْ أَخْرَجْنَا لَهُمْ دَابَّةً مِّنَ الْأَرْضِ تُكَلِّمُهُمْ أَنَّ النَّاسَ كَانُوا بِآيَاتِنَا لَا يُوقِنُونَ ﴿٨٢﴾
And when the Word is fulfilled against them, We shall bring out from the earth a beast for them, to speak to them because mankind believed not with certainty in Our Ayat.
This is the beast which will emerge at the end of time, when mankind has become corrupt and neglected the commands of Allah and changed the true religion. Then Allah will cause a beast to emerge from the earth.
It was said that it will be brought from Makkah, or from somewhere else, as we shall discuss in detail below, if Allah wills.
The beast will speak to people about matters. Ibn Abbas, Al-Hasan and Qatadah said, and it was also narrated from Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, that it will speak words, meaning, it will address them.
Many Hadiths and reports have been narrated about the beast, and we will narrate as many of them as Allah enables us to, for He is the One Whose help we seek.
Imam Ahmad recorded that Hudhayfah bin Asid Al-Ghifari said,
"The Messenger of Allah came out from his room while we were discussing the matter of the Hour. He said:
لَا تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ حَتَّى تَرَوْا عَشْرَ آيَاتٍ:
- طُلُوعُ الشَّمْسِ مِنْ مَغْرِبِهَا،
- وَخُرُوجُ يَأْجُوجَ وَمَأْجُوجَ،
- وَخُرُوجُ عِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ،
- وَثَلَاثَةُ خُسُوفٍ: خَسْفٌ بِالْمَغْرِبِ، وَخَسْفٌ بِالْمَشْرِقِ، وَخَسْفٌ بِجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِ،
- وَنَارٌ تَخْرُجُ مِنْ قَعْرِ عَدَنٍ تَسُوقُ أَوْ تَحْشُرُ النَّاسَ، تَبِيتُ مَعَهُمْ حَيْثُ بَاتُوا وَتَقِيلُ مَعَهُمْ حَيْثُ قَالُوا
The Hour will not come until you see ten signs:
- the rising of the sun from the west;
- the smoke (Ad-Dukhan);
- emergence of the beast;
- the emergence of Ya'juj and Ma'juj;
- the appearance of `Isa bin Maryam, upon him be peace;
- the Dajjal;
- and three land cave-ins, one in the west, one in the east and one in the Arabian Peninsula;
- and a Fire which will emerge from the midst of Yemen, and will drive or gather the people, stopping with them whenever they stop for the night or to rest during the day.''
This was also recorded by Muslim and the Sunan compilers from Hudhayfah, in a Mawquf report.
At-Tirmidhi said, "It is Hasan Sahih.''
It was also recorded by Muslim from Hudhayfah in a Marfu` report. And Allah knows best.
Muslim bin Al-Hajjaj recorded that Abdullah bin Amr said,
"I memorized a Hadith from the Messenger of Allah which I never forgot afterwards. I heard the Messenger of Allah say:
إِنَّ أَوَّلَ الْآيَاتِ خُرُوجًا طُلُوعُ الشَّمْسِ مِنْ مَغْرِبِهَا، وَخُرُوجُ الدَّابَّةِ عَلَى النَّاسِ ضُحًى، وَأَيَّتُهُمَا مَا كَانَتْ قَبْلَ صَاحِبَتِهَا فَالْأُخْرَى عَلَى إِثْرِهَا قَرِيبًا
The first of the signs to appear will be the rising of the sun from the west, and the emergence of the beast to mankind in the forenoon. Whichever of them appears first, the other will follow close behind it.
In his Sahih, Muslim recorded that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Messenger of Allah said:
بَادِرُوا بِالْأَعْمَالِ سِتًّا، طُلُوعَ الشَّمْسِ مِنْ مَغْرِبِهَا، وَالدُّخَانَ، وَالدَّجَّالَ، وَالدَّابَّةَ، وَخَاصَّةَ أَحَدِكُمْ، وَأَمْرَ الْعَامَّة
Hasten to do good deeds before six things appear:
- the rising of the sun from the west;
- the smoke; the Dajjal;
- the beast;
- the (death) of one of your favorite, or general affliction.
This was recorded by Muslim alone.
Muslim also recorded that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the the Prophet said:
بَادِرُوا بِالْأَعْمَالِ سِتًّا: الدَّجَّالَ، وَالدُّخَانَ، وَدَابَّةَ الْأَرْضِ، وَطُلُوعَ الشَّمْسِ مِنْ مَغْرِبِهَا، وَأَمْرَ الْعَامَّةِ، وَخُوَيْصَّةَ أَحَدِكُم
Hasten to do good deeds before six things appear:
- the Dajjal;
- the smoke;
- the beast of the earth;
- the rising of the sun from the west;
- and the (death of one of your favorite) or
- general affliction.
Ibn Majah recorded from Anas bin Malik that the Messenger of Allah said:
بَادِرُوا بِالْأَعْمَالِ سِتًّا: طُلُوعَ الشَّمْسِ مِنْ مَغْرِبِهَا، وَالدُّخَانَ، وَالدَّابَّةَ، الدَّجَّالَ، وَخُوَيْصَّةَ أَحَدِكُمْ، وَأَمْرَ الْعَامَّة
Hasten to do good deeds before six things appear:
the rising of the sun from the west;
- the smoke;
- the beast;
- the Dajjal; and
- the (death of one of your favorite) or
- general affliction.
He was the only one who recorded this version.
Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi recorded from Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah said:
تَخْرُجُ دَابَّةُ الْأَرْضِ وَمَعَهَا عَصَا مُوسَى وَخَاتَمُ سُلَيْمَانَ عَلَيْهِمَا السَّلَامُ، فَتَخْطِمُ أَنْفَ الْكَافِرِ بِالْعَصَا، وَتُجَلِّي وَجْهَ الْمُؤْمِنِ بِالْخَاتَمِ، حَتَّى يَجْتَمِعَ النَّاسُ عَلَى الْخِوَانِ يُعْرَفُ الْمُؤْمِنُ مِنَ الْكَافِر
A beast will emerge from the earth, and with it will be the staff of Musa and the ring of Suleiman, peace be upon them both. It will strike the nose of the disbelievers with the staff, and it will make the face of the believer bright with the ring, until when people gather to eat, they will be able to recognize the believers from the disbelievers.
It also was recorded by Imam Ahmad, with the wording:
فَتَخْطِمُ أَنْفَ الْكَافِر بِالْخَاتَمِ، وَتَجْلُو وَجْهَ الْمُؤْمِن بِالْعَصَا، حَتَّى إِنَّ أَهْلَ الْخِوَانَ الْوَاحِدِ لَيَجْتَمِعُونَ فَيَقُولُ هَذَا: يَا مُؤْمِنُ، وَيَقُولُ هَذَا: يَا كَافِر
It will strike the nose of the disbelievers with the ring, and will make the face of the believer bright with the staff, until when people gather for a meal, they will say to one another, O believer, or O disbeliever.
It was also recorded by Ibn Majah.
Ibn Jurayj reported that Ibn Az-Zubayr described the beast and said,
"Its head is like the head of a bull, its eyes are like the eyes of a pig, its ears are like the ears of an elephant, its horns are like the horns of a stag, its neck is like the neck of an ostrich, its chest is like the chest of a lion, its color is like the color of a tiger, its haunches are like the haunches of a cat, its tail is like the tail of a ram, and its legs are like the legs of a camel. Between each pair of its joints is a distance of twelve cubits. It will bring out with it the staff of Musa and the ring of Suleiman.
There will be no believer left without it making a white spot on his face, which will spread until all his face is shining white as a result; and there will be no disbeliever left without it making a black spot on his face, which will spread until all his face is black as a result, then when the people trade with one another in the marketplace, they will say, `How much is this, O believer?' `How much is this, O disbeliever?' And when the members of one household sit down together to eat, they will know who is a believer and who is a disbeliever.
Then the beast will say: `O so-and-so, enjoy yourself, for you are among the people of Paradise.'
And it will say: `O so-and-so, you are among the people of Hell,'
This is what Allah says:
وَإِذَا وَقَعَ الْقَوْلُ عَلَيْهِمْ أَخْرَجْنَا لَهُمْ دَابَّةً مِّنَ الْأَرْضِ تُكَلِّمُهُمْ أَنَّ النَّاسَ كَانُوا بِآيَاتِنَا لَا يُوقِنُونَ
Gathering the Wrongdoers on the Day of Resurrection
Allah tells us about the Day of Resurrection when the wrongdoers who disbelieved in the signs and Messengers of Allah will be gathered before Allah, so that He will ask them about what they did in this world, rebuking, scolding and belittling them.
وَيَوْمَ نَحْشُرُ مِن كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ فَوْجًا ...
And the Day when We shall gather out of every nation, a Fawj,
means, from every people and generation a group.
... مِّمَّن يُكَذِّبُ بِآيَاتِنَا ...
of those who denied Our Ayat.
This is like the Ayat:
احْشُرُواْ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُواْ وَأَزْوَجَهُمْ
"Assemble those who did wrong, together with their companions (from the devils).'' (37:22)
وَإِذَا النُّفُوسُ زُوِّجَتْ
And when the souls are joined with their bodies. (81:7)
... فَهُمْ يُوزَعُونَ ﴿٨٣﴾
and they shall be driven,
Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "They will be pushed.''
Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said: "They will be driven.''
حَتَّى إِذَا جَاؤُوا ...
Till, when they come,
and stand before Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, in the place of reckoning,
... قَالَ أَكَذَّبْتُم بِآيَاتِي وَلَمْ تُحِيطُوا بِهَا عِلْمًا أَمَّاذَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ ﴿٨٤﴾
He will say: "Did you deny My Ayat whereas you comprehended them not by knowledge, or what was it that you used to do!''
meaning they will be asked about their beliefs and their deeds. Since they are among the doomed and, as Allah says:
فَلاَ صَدَّقَ وَلاَ صَلَّى - وَلَـكِن كَذَّبَ وَتَوَلَّى
He neither believed nor performed Salah! But on the contrary, he denied and turned away! (75:31-32)
Then the proof will be established against them and they will have no excuse whatsoever, as Allah says:
هَـذَا يَوْمُ لاَ يَنطِقُونَ - وَلاَ يُؤْذَنُ لَهُمْ فَيَعْتَذِرُونَ
That will be a Day when they shall not speak. And they will not be permitted to put forth any excuse. (77:35-36)
Similarly, Allah says here:
وَوَقَعَ الْقَوْلُ عَلَيْهِم بِمَا ظَلَمُوا فَهُمْ لَا يَنطِقُونَ ﴿٨٥﴾
And the Word will be fulfilled against them, because they have done wrong, and they will be unable to speak.
They will be stunned and speechless, unable to give any answer. This is because they wronged themselves in the world, and now they have returned to the One Who sees the unseen and the seen, from Whom nothing can be hidden.
Then Allah points out His complete power, immense authority and greatness, all dictating that He is to be obeyed and that His commands must be followed, and that the message of inescapable truth brought by His Prophets must be believed in.
أَلَمْ يَرَوْا أَنَّا جَعَلْنَا اللَّيْلَ لِيَسْكُنُوا فِيهِ ...
See they not that We have made the night for them to rest therein,
Due to the darkness of the night they halt their activities and calm themselves down, to recover from the exhausting efforts of the day.
... وَالنَّهَارَ مُبْصِرًا ...
and the day sight-giving,
meaning filled with light, so that they can work and earn a living, and travel and engage in business, and do other things that they need to do.
... إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ ﴿٨٦﴾
Verily, in this are Ayat for the people who believe.
The Terrors of the Day of Resurrection, the Rewards for Good Deeds and the Punishments for Evil Deeds
وَيَوْمَ يُنفَخُ فِي الصُّورِ فَفَزِعَ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَن فِي الْأَرْضِ ...
And (remember) the Day on which the Trumpet (Sur) will be blown -- and all who are in the heavens and all who are on the earth, will be terrified,
Allah tells us about the terrors of the Day when the Sur will be blown.
The Sur, as described in the Hadith, is, قَرْنٌ يُنْفَخُ فِيه (a horn which is blown into).
According to the Hadith about the Sur (Trumpet), it is (the angel) Israfil who will blow into it by the command of Allah, may He be exalted. He will blow into it for the first time, for a long time. This will signal the end of the life of this world, and the Hour will come upon the most evil of people ever to live. Everyone who is in the heavens and on earth will be terrified,
... إِلَّا مَن شَاء اللَّهُ ...
except him whom Allah wills.
these are the martyrs, for they are alive, with their Lord, and being provided for.
Imam Muslim bin Al-Hajjaj recorded that Abdullah bin `Amr, may Allah be pleased with him, said that a man came to him and said,
"What is this Hadith that you are narrating, that the Hour will come upon such and such people?''
"Subhan Allah or `La Ilaha Illallah (or something similar), I had decided that I would not narrate anything to anyone now. I had only said that after a little while, you will see a major event which will destroy the House (the Ka`bah), and such and such will happen.''
Then he said, "The Messenger of Allah said:
يَخْرُجُ الدَّجَّالُ فِي أُمَّتِي فَيَمْكُثُ أَرْبَعِينَ لَا أَدْرِي أَرْبَعِينَ يَوْمًا أَوْ أَرْبَعِينَ شَهْرًا أَوْ أَرْبَعِينَ عَامًا فَيَبْعَثُ اللهُ عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ كَأَنَّهُ عُرْوَةُ بْنُ مَسْعُودٍ فَيَطْلُبُهُ فَيُهْلِكُهُ، ثُمَّ يَمْكُثُ النَّاسُ سَبْعَ سِنِينَ لَيْسَ بَيْنَ اثْنَيْنِ عَدَاوَةٌ، ثُمَّ يُرْسِلُ اللهُ رِيحًا بَارِدَةً مِنْ قِبَلِ الشَّامِ، فَلَا يَبْقَى عَلَى وَجْهِ الْأَرْضِ أَحَدٌ فِي قَلْبِهِ مِثْقَالُ ذَرَّةٍ مِنْ خَيْرٍ أَوْ إِيمَانٍ إِلَّا قَبَضَتْهُ، حَتَّى لَوْ أَنَّ أَحَدَكُمْ دَخَلَ في كَبِدِ جَبَلٍ لَدَخَلَتْهُ عَلَيْهِ حَتَّى تَقْبِضَه
The Dajjal will emerge in my Ummah, and will remain for forty -- I do not know whether he said forty days, or forty months, or forty years -- then Allah will send `Isa son of Maryam, who looks like Urwah bin Mas`ud, and he will search for him and destroy him.
Then mankind will remain for seven years during which there will not be any enmity between any two people.
Then Allah will send a cool wind from the direction of Syria, and no one will be left on the face of the earth who has even a speck of goodness or faith in his heart, but it will take him. Even if he entered into the heart of a mountain, the wind would follow him and seize him.''
"I heard it from the Messenger of Allah who said:
فَيَبْقَى شِرَارُ النَّاسِ فِي خِفَّةِ الطَّيْرِ وَأَحْلَامِ السِّبَاعِ لَا يَعْرِفُونَ مَعْرُوفًا، وَلَا يُنْكِرُونَ مُنْكَرًا، فَيَتَمَثَّلُ لَهُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ فَيَقُولُ: أَلَا تَسْتَجِيبُونَ؟ فَيَقُولُونَ: فَمَا تَأْمُرُنَا؟ فَيَأْمُرُهُمْ بِعِبَادَةِ الْأَوْثَانِ، وَهُمْ فِي ذَلِكَ دَارٌّ رِزْقُهُمْ حَسَنٌ عَيْشُهُمْ، ثُمَّ يُنْفَخُ فِي الصُّورِ فَلَا يَسْمَعُهُ أَحَدٌ إِلَّا أَصْغَى لِيتًا وَرَفَعَ لِيتًا قَالَ وَأَوَّلُ مَنْ يَسْمَعُهُ رَجُلٌ يَلُوطُ حَوْضَ إِبِلِهِ، قَالَ: فَيَصْعَقُ وَيَصْعَقُ النَّاسُ، ثُمَّ يُرْسِلُ اللهُ أَوْ قَالَ يُنْزِلُ اللهُ مَطَرًا كَأَنَّهُ الطَّلُّ أَوْ قَالَ:الظِّلُّ نُعْمَانُ الشَّاكُّ فَتَنْبُتُ مِنْهُ أَجْسَادُ النَّاسِ، ثُمَّ يُنْفَخُ فِيهِ أُخْرَى فَإِذَا هُمْ قِيَامٌ يَنْظُرُونَ، ثُمَّ يُقَالُ: يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ هَلُمُّوا إِلَى رَبِّكُمْ وَقِفُوهُمْ إِنَّهُمْ مَسْؤُولُونَ، ثُمَّ يُقَالُ: أَخْرِجُوا بَعْثَ النَّارِ، فَيُقَالُ: مِنْ كَمْ؟ فَيُقَالُ: مِنْ كُلِّ أَلْفٍ تِسْعَمِائَةٍ وَتِسْعَةً وَتِسْعِينَ، قَالَ: فَذَلِكَ يَوْمَ يَجْعَلُ الْوِلْدَانُ شِيبًا، وَذَلِكَ يَوْمَ يُكْشَفُ عَنْ سَاق
Then the most evil of people will remain, and they will be as nimble as birds and will be more temperamental than wild beasts. They will not recognize anything good or denounce anything evil. The Shaytan will appear to them and will say,
"Will you do as I tell you!''
They will say, "What do you command us to do?''
He will command them to worship idols but in spite of this their provision will be plentiful and they will lead comfortable lives.
Then the Sur (Trumpet) will be blown, and no one will hear it but he will tilt his head to hear the sound. The first person to hear it will be a man who is setting up the tank for watering his camels. He will fall down, and all the other people will also fall down.
Then Allah will send -- or send down -- rain like dew -- or he said, like shade (Nu'man was the one who was not sure) -- from which will grow the bodies of the people.
Then the Trumpet will be blown again, and they will get up and look around.
Then it will be said: "O mankind! Go to your Lord!'' And they will be stopped, for they are to be questioned.
Then it will be said: "Bring forth the people who are to be sent to the Fire.''
It will be asked: "How many are they?''
It will be said, "Out of every thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine.''
That will be the Day which will make the children grey-headed, and that will be the Day when the Shin shall be uncovered.
His saying; ثُمَّ يُنْفَخُ فِي الصُّورِ فَلَا يَسْمَعُهُ أَحَدٌ إِلَّا أَصْغَى لِيتًا وَرَفَعَ لِيتًا Then the Sur (Trumpet) will be blown, and no one will hear it but he will tilt his head to hear the sound.
means that they will tilt their heads so that they can better hear the sound coming from the heavens. That is the blast of the Sur which will terrify everyone, then after that will come the blast which will cause them to die, then the blast which will resurrect them to meet the Lord of the worlds -- this is when all of the creation will be brought forth from their graves.
... وَكُلٌّ أَتَوْهُ دَاخِرِينَ ﴿٨٧﴾
And all shall come to Him, humbled.
meaning, humbling themselves and obeying Him, and no one will go against His command.
This is like the Ayat:
يَوْمَ يَدْعُوكُمْ فَتَسْتَجِيبُونَ بِحَمْدِهِ
On the Day when He will call you, and you will answer with His praise and obedience. (17:52)
ثُمَّ إِذَا دَعَاكُمْ دَعْوَةً مِّنَ الاٌّرْضِ إِذَآ أَنتُمْ تَخْرُجُونَ
Then afterwards when He will call you by a single call, behold, you will come out from the earth. (30:25)
According to the Hadith about the Sur, when it is blown for the third time, Allah will command the souls to be put into the hole of the Sur (Trumpet), then Israfil will blow into it, after the bodies have grown in their graves and resting places, and when he blows into the Sur (Trumpet), the souls will fly, the believers' souls glowing with light, and the disbelievers' souls looking like darkness. And Allah will say: "By My might and majesty, every soul will go back to its body.''
And the souls will come back to their bodies and go through them like poison going through a person who is bitten or stung by a poisonous creature. Then they will get up, brushing off the dirt of their graves.
يَوْمَ يَخْرُجُونَ مِنَ الاٌّجْدَاثِ سِرَاعاً كَأَنَّهُمْ إِلَى نُصُبٍ يُوفِضُونَ
The Day when they will come out of the graves quickly as racing to a goal. (70:43)
وَتَرَى الْجِبَالَ تَحْسَبُهَا جَامِدَةً وَهِيَ تَمُرُّ مَرَّ السَّحَابِ ...
And you will see the mountains and think them solid, but they shall pass away as the passing away of the clouds.
meaning, you will see them as if they are fixed and as if they will remain as they are, but they will pass away as the passing away of the clouds, i.e., they will move away from their places.
This is like the Ayat:
يَوْمَ تَمُورُ السَّمَآءُ مَوْراً - وَتَسِيرُ الْجِبَالُ سَيْراً
On the Day when the heaven will shake with a dreadful shaking, And the mountains will move away with a (horrible) movement. (52:9-10)
وَيَسْـَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْجِبَالِ فَقُلْ يَنسِفُهَا رَبِّى نَسْفاً - فَيَذَرُهَا قَاعاً صَفْصَفاً - لاَّ تَرَى فِيهَا عِوَجاً وَلا أَمْتاً
And they ask you concerning the mountains: say, "My Lord will blast them and scatter them as particles of dust. Then He shall leave them as a level smooth plain. You will see therein nothing crooked or curved.'' (20:105-107)
" وَيَوْمَ نُسَيِّرُ الْجِبَالَ وَتَرَى الاٌّرْضَ بَارِزَةً
And (remember) the Day We shall cause the mountains to pass away, and you will see the earth as a leveled plain. (18:47)
... صُنْعَ اللَّهِ الَّذِي أَتْقَنَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ ...
The work of Allah, Who perfected all things,
means, He does that by His great power.
.. الَّذِي أَتْقَنَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ ...
Who perfected all things,
means, He has perfected all that He has created, and has fashioned it according to His wisdom.
... إِنَّهُ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَفْعَلُونَ ﴿٨٨﴾
verily, He is well-acquainted with what you do.
means, He knows all that His servants do, good or evil, and He will reward or punish them accordingly.
Then Allah describes the state of the blessed and the doomed on that Day, and says:
مَن جَاء بِالْحَسَنَةِ فَلَهُ خَيْرٌ مِّنْهَا ...
Whoever brings a good deed, will have better than its worth.
Qatadah said, "That is sincerely for Allah alone.''
Allah has explained elsewhere in the Qur'an that He will give ten like it.
... وَهُم مِّن فَزَعٍ يَوْمَئِذٍ آمِنُونَ ﴿٨٩﴾
and they will be safe from the terror on that Day.
This is like the Ayah,
لاَ يَحْزُنُهُمُ الْفَزَعُ الاٌّكْبَرُ
The greatest terror will not grieve them. (21:103)
and Allah said:
أَفَمَن يُلْقَى فِى النَّارِ خَيْرٌ أَم مَّن يَأْتِى ءَامِناً يَوْمَ الْقِيَـمَةِ
Is he who is cast into the Fire better or he who comes secure on the Day of Resurrection. (41:40)
وَهُمْ فِى الْغُرُفَـتِ ءَامِنُونَ
and they will reside in the high dwellings in peace and security. (34:37)
وَمَن جَاء بِالسَّيِّئَةِ فَكُبَّتْ وُجُوهُهُمْ فِي النَّارِ ...
And whoever brings an evil deed, they will be cast down on their faces in the Fire.
means, whoever comes to Allah with evil deeds, and with no good deeds to his credit, or whose evil deeds outweigh his good deeds.
... هَلْ تُجْزَوْنَ إِلَّا مَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ ﴿٩٠﴾
(And it will be said to them) "Are you being recompensed anything except what you used to do!''
The Command to worship Allah and to call People with the Qur'an
Allah commands His Messenger to say:
إِنَّمَا أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أَعْبُدَ رَبَّ هَذِهِ الْبَلْدَةِ الَّذِي حَرَّمَهَا وَلَهُ كُلُّ شَيْءٍ ...
I have been commanded only to worship the Lord of this city, Who has sanctified it and to Whom belongs everything.
This is like the Ayah,
قُلْ يأَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِن كُنتُمْ فِى شَكٍّ مِّن دِينِى فَلاَ أَعْبُدُ الَّذِينَ تَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ وَلَـكِنْ أَعْبُدُ اللَّهَ الَّذِى يَتَوَفَّاكُمْ
Say: "O you mankind! If you are in doubt as to my religion, then (know that) I will never worship those whom you worship besides Allah. But I worship Allah Who causes you to die. (10:104)
The fact that the word "Rabb'' (Lord) is connected to the word city (in the phrase "the Lord of this city'') is a sign of honor and divine care for that city.
This is like the Ayah,
فَلْيَعْبُدُواْ رَبَّ هَـذَا الْبَيْتِ - الَّذِى أَطْعَمَهُم مِّن جُوعٍ وَءَامَنَهُم مِّنْ خوْفٍ
So let them worship the Lord of this House (the Ka`bah), Who has fed them against hunger, and has made them safe from fear. (106:3-4)
...الَّذِي حَرَّمَهَا ...
Who has sanctified it,
means, the One Who made it a sanctuary by His Law and by His decree, making it sanctified.
It was recorded in the Two Sahihs that Ibn Abbas said: "On the day of the conquest of Makkah, the Messenger of Allah said:
إِنَّ هَذَا الْبَلَدَ حَرَّمَهُ اللهُ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ، فَهُوَ حَرَامٌ بِحُرْمَةِ اللهِ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ، لَا يُعْضَدُ شَوْكُهُ، وَلَا يُنَفَّرُ صَيْدُهُ وَلَا يَلْتَقِطُ لُقَطَتَهُ إِلَّا مَنْ عَرَّفَهَا وَلَا يُخْتَلَى خَلَاهَا
Verily, this city was made sacred by Allah the day He created the heavens and the earth, so it is sacred by the sanctity of Allah until the Day of Resurrection. Its thorny bushes should not be cut, its game should not be chased, and its lost property should not be picked up except by one who would announce it publicly and none is allowed to uproot its thorny shrubs...''
This was reported in Sahih, Hasan, Musnad narrations, through various routes, by such a large group that it is absolutely unquestionable, as has been explained in the appropriate place in the book Al-Ahkam, to Allah is the praise and thanks.
... وَلَهُ كُلُّ شَيْءٍ ...
and to Whom belongs everything.
This is a statement of general application following a specific statement, i.e., He is the Lord of this city, and the Lord and Sovereign of all things, there is no god worthy of worship besides Him.
... وَأُمِرْتُ أَنْ أَكُونَ مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ ﴿٩١﴾
And I am commanded to be from among the Muslims.
means, those who believe in Allah alone, who are sincere towards Him and who obediently follow His commands.
وَأَنْ أَتْلُوَ الْقُرْآنَ ...
And that I should recite the Qur'an,
means, to people, so as to convey it to them.
This is like the Ayah,
ذَلِكَ نَتْلُوهُ عَلَيْكَ مِنَ الآيَـتِ وَالذِّكْرِ الْحَكِيمِ
This is what We recite to you of the Ayat and the Wise Reminder. (3:58)
نَتْلُواْ عَلَيْكَ مِن نَّبَإِ مُوسَى وَفِرْعَوْنَ بِالْحَقِّ
We recite to you some of the news of Musa and Fir`awn in truth. (28:3)
meaning, `I am a conveyer and a warner.'
... فَمَنِ اهْتَدَى فَإِنَّمَا يَهْتَدِي لِنَفْسِهِ وَمَن ضَلَّ فَقُلْ إِنَّمَا أَنَا مِنَ الْمُنذِرِينَ ﴿٩٢﴾
then whosoever receives guidance, receives it for the good of himself; and whosoever goes astray, say (to him): "I am only one of the warners.''
meaning, `I have an example to follow in the Messengers who warned their people, and did what they had to do in order to convey the Message to them and fulfill the covenant they had made.'
Allah will judge their nations to whom they were sent, as He says:
فَإِنَّمَا عَلَيْكَ الْبَلَـغُ وَعَلَيْنَا الْحِسَابُ
your duty is only to convey and on Us is the reckoning. (13: 40)
إِنَّمَآ أَنتَ نَذِيرٌ وَاللَّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَىْءٍ وَكِيلٌ
But you are only a warner. And Allah is a Protector over all thing. (11:12)
وَقُلِ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ سَيُرِيكُمْ آيَاتِهِ فَتَعْرِفُونَهَا ...
And say: "All the praises and thanks be to Allah. He will show you His Ayat (signs), and you shall recognize them.
means, praise be to Allah, Who does not punish anyone except after establishing plea against him, warning him (and leaving him with no excuse).
Allah says: سَيُرِيكُمْ آيَاتِهِ فَتَعْرِفُونَهَا (He will show you His Ayat (signs), and you shall recognize them), This is like the Ayah,
سَنُرِيهِمْ ءَايَـتِنَا فِى الاٌّفَاقِ وَفِى أَنفُسِهِمْ حَتَّى يَتَبَيَّنَ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ
We will show them Our signs in the universe, and in themselves, until it becomes manifest to them that this is the truth. (41:53)
... وَمَا رَبُّكَ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ ﴿٩٣﴾
And your Lord is not unaware of what you do.
means, on the contrary, He witnesses and sees all things.
It was recorded that Imam Ahmad, may Allah have mercy upon him, used to recite the following two lines of verse, whether they were written by him or someone else:
"If you are alone one day, do not say, `I am alone.' Rather say, `Someone is watching me.'
Do not think that Allah will let His attention wander for even an instant, or that anything is hidden from Him.''