Alif Lam Mim.
غُلِبَتِ الرُّومُ ﴿٢﴾
The Romans have been defeated.
In the nearest land, and they, after their defeat, will be victorious.
In Bid`i years. The decision of the matter, before and after is only with Allah. And on that day, the believers will rejoice.
With the help of Allah. He helps whom He wills, and He is the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful.
وَعْدَ اللَّهِ لَا يُخْلِفُ اللَّهُ وَعْدَهُ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ ﴿٦﴾
A promise from Allah, and Allah fails not in His promise, but most men know not.
يَعْلَمُونَ ظَاهِرًا مِّنَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَهُمْ عَنِ الْآخِرَةِ هُمْ غَافِلُونَ ﴿٧﴾
They know only the outer appearance of the life of the world, and they are heedless of the Hereafter.
Foretelling the Victory of the Romans
These Ayat were revealed about the victory of Sabur, the king of Persia, over Ash-Sham (Greater Syria), the adjoining partisan states of the Arabian Peninsula, and the outlying regions of the land of the Romans.
Heraclius, the emperor of the Romans, was forced to flee to Constantinople where he was besieged for a lengthy period. Then Heraclius regained the upper hand.
Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, commented on this Ayah, Alif Lam Mim. The Romans have been defeated. In the nearest land,
He said, "They were defeated and then they were victorious.''
"The idolators wanted the Persians to prevail over the Romans, because they were idol worshippers, and the Muslims wanted the Romans to prevail over the Persians, because they were People of the Book. This was mentioned to Abu Bakr, who mentioned it to the Messenger of Allah. The Messenger of Allah said:
أَمَا إِنَّهُمْ سَيَغْلِبُون
They will certainly prevail.
Abu Bakr mentioned this to the idolators, and they said,
"Set a time limit for that, and if we prevail, we will get such and such; and if you prevail, you will get such and such.''
So he set a limit of five years, and they (the Romans) did not prevail. Abu Bakr mentioned that to the Messenger of Allah and he said:
أَلَا جَعَلْتَهَا إِلَى دُونَ أُرَاهُ قَالَ: الْعَشْرِ
Why do you not make it less than I (the narrator) think he meant less than ten.
Sa`id bin Jubayr said: "Bid` means less than ten.''
Then the Romans were victorious, and he said, "That is what Allah said:
Alif Lam Mim. The Romans have been defeated. In the nearest land, and they, after their defeat, will be victorious. In Bid`i years. The decision of the matter, before and after is only with Allah. And on that day, the believers will rejoice -- with the help of Allah. He helps whom He wills, and He is the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful.
This was also recorded by At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa'i. At-Tirmidhi said: "Hasan Gharib.''
Abu Isa At-Tirmidhi recorded that Niyar bin Mukram Al-Aslami said:
"When the following Ayat were revealed, Alif Lam Mim. The Romans have been defeated. In the nearest land, and they, after their defeat, will be victorious. In Bid` years….on the day they were revealed, the Persians were prevailing over the Romans. The Muslims wanted the Romans to prevail over them (the Persians), because they were both people who followed a Book.
Concerning this Allah said:
... وَيَوْمَئِذٍ يَفْرَحُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ بِنَصْرِ اللَّهِ يَنصُرُ مَن يَشَاء وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الرَّحِيم
And on that day, the believers will rejoice -- with the help of Allah. He helps whom He wills, and He is the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful.
The Quraysh, on the other hand, wanted the Persians to prevail, because neither of them were people who followed a Book and neither of them believed in the Resurrection. When Allah revealed these Ayat, Abu Bakr went out proclaiming throughout Makkah:
Alif Lam Mim. The Romans have been defeated. In the nearest land, and they, after their defeat, will be victorious. In Bid` years.
Some of the Quraysh said to Abu Bakr, `This is (a bet) between us and you. Your companion claims that the Romans will defeat the Persians within three to nine years, so why not have a bet on that between us and you.'
Abu Bakr said, `Yes.'
This was before betting had been forbidden. So, Abu Bakr and the idolators made a bet, and they said to Abu Bakr:
`What do you think, Bid` means something between three and nine years, so let us agree on the middle.'
So they agreed on six years.
Then six years passed without the Romans being victorious, so the idolators took what they had bet with Abu Bakr. When the seventh year came and the Romans were finally victorious over the Persians, the Muslims rebuked Abu Bakr for agreeing on six years.
He said: `Because Allah said: "In Bid` years.'''
At that time, many people became Muslim.''
This is how it was narrated by At-Tirmidhi, then he said, "this is a Hasan Hadith.''
Who were the Romans
Alif Lam Mim.
We have already discussed the separate letters which appear at the beginning of some Surahs in the beginning of our Tafsir of Surah Al-Baqarah.
The Romans have been defeated.
With regard to the Romans (Ar-Rum), they are the descendents of Al-`Iys bin Ishaq bin Ibrahim. They are the cousins of the Children of Isra'il, and are also known as Bani Al-Asfar. They used to followed the religion of the Greeks, who were descendents of Yafith bin Nuh, the cousins of the Turks. They used to worship the seven planets, and they prayed facing the direction of the North Pole. It is they who founded Damascus and built its temple in which there is a prayer niche facing north.
The Romans followed this religion until approximately three hundred years after the time of the Messiah.
The king who ruled Greater Syria along with the Fertile Crescent (semicircle of fertile land from Syrian Desert to Persian Gulf) was called Caesar.
The first of them to enter the Christian religion was Constantine the son of Costas, whose mother was Maryam Al-Hilaniyyah Ash-Shadqaniyyah, from the land of Harran. She had become Christian before him, and she invited him to her religion. Before that he had been a philosopher, then he followed her.
It was said that this was merely an outward show of belief. Then the Christians met with him. During his time they debated with Abdullah bin Ariyus (Arius) and great differences arose which could not be reconciled.
Then a gathering of three hundred and eighteen bishops reached an agreement, and presented their creed to Constantine. This is what they call the Great Trust, but in fact it is the Worst Betrayal. They presented to him their laws, i.e., books of rulings on what was lawful and prohibited, and other things that they needed. They changed the religion of the Messiah (peace be upon him), adding some things and taking some things away. They began praying towards the East, and changed the Sabbath (Saturday) rites to Sunday. They worshipped the cross, permitted eating of pigs, adopted innovated observances such as the festival of the cross, Mass, baptism, etc., Palm Sunday and other occasions. They appointed a pope, as their leader, and patriarchs, metropolitans, bishops, priests and deacons, and they invented monasticism.
The king built churches and places of worship for them, and he founded the city which is named after him, Constantinople. It was said that during his time twelve thousand churches were built, three places of prayer in Bethlehem, and that his mother built the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. These are the ones who followed the religion of the kings.
Then after them came the Jacobites, followers of Ya`qub Al-Askaf, then the Nestorians, the followers of Nestorius. There are many groups and sects among them, as the Messenger of Allah said:
إِنَّهُمْ افْتَرَقُوا عَلَى اثْنَتَيْنِ وَسَبْعِينَ فِرْقَة
They split into seventy two sects.
The point here is that they continued to follow Christianity. Every time one Caesar died, another succeeded him, until the last of them, Heraclius, came to power. He was a wise man, one of the most astute and intelligent of kings, who had deep insight and well-formed opinions. His was a great and glorious reign. He was opposed by Chosroes, the king of Persia and of regions such as Iraq, Khurasan, Ar-Riy and all the lands of the Persians. His name was Sabur Dhul-Aktaf, and his kingdom was greater than the kingdom of Caesar. He was the leader of the Persians and was as stubborn as the Persians who were Zoroastrian fire worshippers.
How Caesar defeated Chosroes (Kisra)
It was previously reported that Ikrimah said: "Chosroes sent his deputy and his army against Caesar, and they fought.''
It is well-known that Chosroes himself fought in the army that invaded his land, and he defeated Caesar and overwhelmed him until he had nothing left except the city of Constantinople, where Chosroes besieged him for a long time, until things became very difficult for him. He was highly venerated among the Christians, and Chosroes was not able to conquer the city because it was well fortified, and half of it faced the land while the other half faced the sea, from where supplies were able to reach them.
After this had gone on for a long time, Caesar thought of a clever trick. He asked Chosroes to let him leave his city in return for money given as a peace-offering, on whatever terms he (Chosroes) wanted. Chosroes agreed to that and asked for a huge amount of wealth -- gold, jewels, fabric, servant-women, servants, and much more -- such that no king on earth could ever pay.
Caesar went along with that and gave him the impression that he had all that he had asked for, although he thought he was crazy for asking for such a thing, because even if the two of them were to combine all of their wealth, it would not amount to even one-tenth of that. He asked Chosroes to let him go out of the city to Ash-Sham and the other regions of his kingdom, so that he could gather that from his storehouses and places where his wealth was buried.
Chosroes let him go, and when Caesar was about to leave Constantinople, he gathered his people together and told them: "I am going out on a mission I have decided to do so with some soldiers I have selected from my army; if I come back to you before one year passes, I will still be your king but if I do not come back after that, you will have the choice. Then, if you wish, you may remain loyal to me, or if you wish you may appoint someone instead of me.
Signs of Tawhid
Allah tells us that pondering His creation will show that He exists and that He is Unique in creating it, and that there is no god nor lord besides Him. So He says:
أَوَلَمْ يَتَفَكَّرُوا فِي أَنفُسِهِمْ ...
Do they not reflect upon themselves!
Thinking and pondering how Allah created various things in the upper and lower realms and in the space between, realizing that this was not created in jest or in vain, but in truth, and that it will continue until an appointed time, the Day of Resurrection, as Allah says:
... مَا خَلَقَ اللَّهُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ وَأَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى ...
Not but for just ends and for a term appointed, did Allah create the heavens and the earth, and all between them:
... وَإِنَّ كَثِيرًا مِّنَ النَّاسِ بِلِقَاء رَبِّهِمْ لَكَافِرُونَ ﴿٨﴾
And indeed many of mankind deny meeting with their Lord.
Then Allah tells us of the truth of the Message brought by the Messengers and how He supported them with miracles and clear signs, such as when He destroyed those who disbelieved in them and saved those who believed in them.
أَوَلَمْ يَسِيرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ ...
Do they not travel in the land,
means, `do they not understand and think and see and hear about the people of the past,'
... فَيَنظُرُوا كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ كَانُوا أَشَدَّ مِنْهُمْ قُوَّةً ..
and see what was the end of those before them! They were superior to them in strength,
meaning, `the nations of the past who came before you were stronger than you to whom Muhammad has been sent; they had more wealth and more sons. You have not been given one-tenth of what they were given. They stayed longer in this world than you will stay. They were more civilized than you and were more prosperous in the land than you.' Yet despite all that, when their Messengers came to them with clear signs, while they were enjoying their life of luxury, Allah punished them for their sins and they had no one who could protect them from Allah. Their wealth and sons could not protect them from the wrath of Allah in the slightest, and Allah was not at all unjust towards them when He sent His punishment upon them. It is as Allah says:
.... وَأَثَارُوا الْأَرْضَ وَعَمَرُوهَا أَكْثَرَ مِمَّا عَمَرُوهَا وَجَاءتْهُمْ رُسُلُهُم بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ فَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيَظْلِمَهُمْ وَلَكِن كَانُوا أَنفُسَهُمْ يَظْلِمُونَ ﴿٩﴾
they tilled the soil and populated it in greater numbers than these have done: there came to them their apostles with Clear (Signs): it was not Allah Who wronged them,but they used to wrong themselves.
They brought destruction upon themselves, when they rejected and mocked the signs of Allah. All of this only happened because of their previous sins and their rejection (of the Messengers).
ثُمَّ كَانَ عَاقِبَةَ الَّذِينَ أَسَاؤُوا السُّوأَى أَن كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ وَكَانُوا بِهَا يَسْتَهْزِؤُون ﴿١٠﴾
Then evil was the end of those who did evil, because they denied the Ayat of Allah and made a mockery of them.
This is like the Ayat:
وَنُقَلِّبُ أَفْئِدَتَهُمْ وَأَبْصَـرَهُمْ كَمَا لَمْ يُؤْمِنُواْ بِهِ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ وَنَذَرُهُمْ فِى طُغْيَانِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ
And We shall turn their hearts and their eyes away, as they refused to believe therein for the first time, and We shall leave them in their trespass to wander blindly. (6:110)
فَلَمَّا زَاغُواْ أَزَاغَ اللَّهُ قُلُوبَهُمْ
So when they turned away, Allah turned their hearts away. (61:5)
فَإِن تَوَلَّوْاْ فَاعْلَمْ أَنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ أَن يُصِيبَهُم بِبَعْضِ ذُنُوبِهِمْ
And if they turn away, then know that Allah's will is to punish them for some sins of theirs. (5:49)
It was said that the meaning of the phrase ثُمَّ كَانَ عَاقِبَةَ الَّذِينَ أَسَاؤُوا السُّوأَى (Then evil was the end of those who did evil), is that; evil was their inevitable end, because they rejected the signs of Allah and made fun of them.
This is the view of Ibn Jarir, which he recorded from Ibn Abbas and Qatadah.
Ibn Abi Hatim also recorded it from them and from Ad-Dahhak bin Muzahim.
This is the apparent meaning -- and Allah knows best -- of the phrase: وَكَانُوا بِهَا يَسْتَهْزِؤُون (and made a mockery of them).
اللَّهُ يَبْدَأُ الْخَلْقَ ثُمَّ يُعِيدُهُ ...
Allah originates the creation, then He will repeat it,
Just as He was able to create it in the first place, so He is also able to repeat it.
... ثُمَّ إِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ ﴿١١﴾
then to Him you will be returned.
on the Day of Resurrection, when each will be requited according to his deeds.
Then Allah says:
وَيَوْمَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ يُبْلِسُ الْمُجْرِمُونَ ﴿١٢﴾
And on the Day when the Hour will be established, the criminals will be plunged into destruction with despair.
Ibn Abbas said, "The sinners will be filled with despair.''
Mujahid said, "The sinners will be exposed;''
according to another report he said, "The sinners will grieve.''
وَلَمْ يَكُن لَّهُم مِّن شُرَكَائِهِمْ شُفَعَاء ...
No intercessors will they have from those whom they made equal with Allah,
means, the gods whom they used to worship instead of Allah will not intercede for them;
... وَكَانُوا بِشُرَكَائِهِمْ كَافِرِينَ ﴿١٣﴾
and they will reject and deny their partners.
they will reject them and betray them despite their desperate need of them.
Then Allah says:
وَيَوْمَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ يَوْمَئِذٍ يَتَفَرَّقُونَ ﴿١٤﴾
And on the Day when the Hour will be established -- that Day shall (all men) be separated.
Qatadah said: "By Allah, this refers to the separation after which there will be no reunion.''
In other words, if one person is taken up to the highest heights and another is sent down to the lowest depths of Hell, that is the last they will ever see of one another.
فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ فَهُمْ فِي رَوْضَةٍ يُحْبَرُونَ ﴿١٥﴾
Then as for those who believed and did righteous good deeds, such shall be honored and made to enjoy a luxurious life in a Garden of Delight.
Mujahid and Qatadah said, "This means, they will enjoy a life of luxury.''
Allah says about the disbelievers:
وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَكَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا وَلِقَاء الْآخِرَةِ فَأُوْلَئِكَ فِي الْعَذَابِ مُحْضَرُونَ ﴿١٦﴾
And as for those who disbelieved and denied Our Ayat, and the meeting of the Hereafter, such shall be brought forth to the torment.
The Command to pray Five Times Daily
فَسُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ حِينَ تُمْسُونَ وَحِينَ تُصْبِحُونَ ﴿١٧﴾
So glorify Allah, when you enter the evening, and when you enter the morning.
Here Allah glorifies Himself and commands His servants to glorify and praise Him at these times which come one after the other and are indicative of His might and power in the heavens. This is when the night comes with its darkness, then in the morning the day comes with its light.
This glorification is followed by befitting praise, as Allah says:
وَلَهُ الْحَمْدُ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ...
And His is all the praise in the heavens and the earth;
meaning, He is the One who is to be praised for what He has created in the heavens and on earth.
Then Allah says:
... وَعَشِيًّا وَحِينَ تُظْهِرُونَ ﴿١٨﴾
and in `Ashiyya and when Tuzhirun. --
the `Ashiyy is the time when the darkness is most intense, and Izhar is the brightest point of the day.
Glory be to the One Who created both of them, the Cleaver of the daybreak and the One Who makes night a time of rest.
وَالنَّهَارِ إِذَا جَلَّـهَا - وَالَّيْلِ إِذَا يَغْشَـهَا
By the day as it shows up its brightness. By the night as it conceals it. (91:3-4)
وَالَّيْلِ إِذَا يَغْشَى - وَالنَّهَارِ إِذَا تَجَلَّى
By the night as it envelops. By the day as it appears in brightness. (92:1-2)
وَالضُّحَى - وَالَّيْلِ إِذَا سَجَى
By the forenoon (after sunrise). By the night when it darkens. (93:1-2)
And there are many similar Ayat.
يُخْرِجُ الْحَيَّ مِنَ الْمَيِّتِ وَيُخْرِجُ الْمَيِّتَ مِنَ الْحَيِّ ...
He brings out the living from the dead, and brings out the dead from the living.
This is what we see of His power to create things and their opposites.
These Ayat which come one after the other are all of the same; in each of them Allah mentions the creation of things and their opposites, to indicate to His creation the perfection of His power. Thus He creates the plant from the seed and the seed from the plant; He creates the egg from the chicken and the chicken from the egg; He creates man from sperm and sperm from man; He creates the believer from the disbelievers and the disbeliever from the believers.
... وَيُحْيِي الْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا ...
And He revives the earth after its death.
This is like the Ayat:
وَءَايَةٌ لَّهُمُ الاٌّرْضُ الْمَيْتَةُ أَحْيَيْنَـهَا وَأَخْرَجْنَا مِنْهَا حَبّاً فَمِنْهُ يَأْكُلُونَ
And a sign for them is the dead land. We give it life, and We bring forth from it grains, so that they eat thereof.
وَفَجَّرْنَا فِيهَا مِنَ الْعُيُونِ
and We have caused springs of water to gush forth therein. (36:33-34)
وَتَرَى الاٌّرْضَ هَامِدَةً فَإِذَآ أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْهَا الْمَآءَ اهْتَزَّتْ وَرَبَتْ وَأَنبَتَتْ مِن كُلِّ زَوْجٍ بَهِيجٍ
And you see the earth barren, but when We send down water on it, it is stirred, and it swells and puts forth every lovely kind.
وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ يَبْعَثُ مَن فِى الْقُبُورِ
and certainly, Allah will resurrect those who are in the graves. (22:5-7)
وَهُوَ الَّذِى يُرْسِلُ الرِّيَاحَ بُشْرىً بَيْنَ يَدَىْ رَحْمَتِهِ حَتَّى إِذَآ أَقَلَّتْ سَحَابًا ثِقَالاً
And it is He Who sends the winds as heralds of glad tidings, going before His mercy. Till when they have carried a heavy-laden cloud,
so that you may remember or take heed. (7:57)
Allah says here:
... وَكَذَلِكَ تُخْرَجُونَ ﴿١٩﴾
And thus shall you be brought out.
Among the Signs of Allah
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَكُم مِّن تُرَابٍ ...
And among His signs is this that He created you from dust, --
which speak of His might and power, is the fact that He created your father Adam out of dust.
... ثُمَّ إِذَا أَنتُم بَشَرٌ تَنتَشِرُونَ ﴿٢٠﴾
and then -- behold you are human beings scattered!
So man's origins lie in dust, then in a despised liquid, then he is formed and becomes a clot, then a lump of flesh, then bones in the form of a human being. Then Allah clothes the bones with flesh. Then the soul is breathed into him and he can hear and see. Then he comes forth from his mother's womb, small and weak, but the longer he lives, the stronger he becomes, until he reaches the age where he can build cities and strongholds, and he travels to different lands and across the seas, earning a living and amassing wealth, and he is smart and intelligent and crafty, with ideas and opinions of his own, and each one is able to achieve great things in this world and in the Hereafter according to his individual means.
Glory be to the One Who has enabled them and made it easy for them to learn all kinds of skills for earning a living, and has caused them to vary in their levels of knowledge and intellectual ability, and in how handsome or ugly, rich or poor they are, and in whether they are blessed and doomed.
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَكُم مِّن تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ إِذَا أَنتُم بَشَرٌ تَنتَشِرُونَ
And among His signs is this that He created you from dust, and then -- behold you are human beings scattered!
Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Musa said, "The Messenger of Allah said:
إِنَّ اللهَ خَلَقَ آدَمَ مِنْ قَبْضَةٍ قَبَضَهَا مِنْ جَمِيع الْأَرْضِ، فَجَاءَ بَنُو آدَمَ عَلَى قَدْرِ الْأَرْضِ، جَاءَ مِنْهُمُ الْأَبْيَضُ وَالْأَحْمَرُ وَالْأَسْوَدُ وَبَيْنَ ذَلِكَ، وَالْخَبِيثُ وَالطَّيِّبُ، وَالسَّهْلُ وَالْحَزْنُ وَبَيْنَ ذَلِك
Allah created Adam from a handful taken from throughout the earth. Hence the sons of Adam vary as the earth varies, so they are white and red and black and (colors) in between, evil and good, easy-going or difficult -- or something in between.''
This was also recorded by Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi, who said, "This Hadith is Hasan Sahih.''
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا ...
And among His signs is this that He created for you wives from among yourselves,
meaning, `He created females of your own kind, to be wives for you.'
... لِّتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا ...
that you may find repose in them,
This is like the Ayah,
هُوَ الَّذِى خَلَقَكُمْ مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَحِدَةٍ وَجَعَلَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا لِيَسْكُنَ إِلَيْهَا
It is He Who has created you from a single person, and He has created from him his wife, in order that he might enjoy the pleasure of living with her. (7:189)
This refers to Hawwa'. Allah created her from Adam, from the short rib on his left. If Allah had made all of Adam's progeny male, and created the females from another kind, such as from Jinn or animals, there would never have been harmony between them and their spouses. There would have been revulsion if the spouses had been from a different kind.
... وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُم مَّوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً ...
and He has put between you affection and mercy.
Out of Allah's perfect mercy He made their wives from their own kind, and created love and kindness between them. For a man stays with a woman because he loves her, or because he feels compassion towards her if they have a child together, or because she needs him to take care of her, etc.
And Allah reminds:
... إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ ﴿٢١﴾
Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect.
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ ...
And among His signs,
indicating His magnificent power.
... خَلْقُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ...
is the creation of the heavens and the earth,
The heavens with their vast height and brightness and beauty of the stars and planets, and the earth with its density and its mountains, valleys, seas, plains, animals and trees.
... وَاخْتِلَافُ أَلْسِنَتِكُمْ وَأَلْوَانِكُمْ ...
and the difference of your languages and colors,
So, we see that some speak Arabic, and the Tatars have their own language, as do the Georgians, Romans, Franks, Berbers, Tou Couleurs (of Sudan), Ethiopians, Indians, Persians, Slavs, Khazars, Armenians, Kurds and others. Only Allah knows the variety of languages spoken among the sons of Adam.
And the difference of their colors mentioned here refers to their appearance, for all the people of this world, from the time that Allah created Adam, and until the Hour begins, each of them has two eyes, two eyebrows, a nose, a forehead, a mouth and two cheeks, but none of them looks like another; there is bound to be some difference in posture, appearance and speech, whether it is apparent or is hidden and can only be noticed with careful observation. Each face has its own characteristics and does not look like another; even if there was a group of people who looked alike, having a beautiful or ugly characteristic in common, there would still be a difference between one person and the next.
... إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّلْعَالِمِينَ ﴿٢٢﴾
Verily, in that are indeed signs for men of sound knowledge.
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ مَنَامُكُم بِاللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ وَابْتِغَاؤُكُم مِّن فَضْلِهِ ...
And among His signs is your sleep by night and by day, and your seeking of His bounty.
Among His signs is the cycle of sleep that He has created during the night and the day, when people are able to cease moving and rest, so that their tiredness and exhaustion will go away. And He has enabled you to seek to earn a living and to travel about during the day, this is the opposite of sleep.
... إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَسْمَعُونَ ﴿٢٣﴾
Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who listen.
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ ...
And among His signs,
which speak of His greatness,
... يُرِيكُمُ الْبَرْقَ خَوْفًا وَطَمَعًا ...
He shows you the lightning, for fear and for hope,
Sometimes you fear the heavy rain and destructive thunderbolts that follow it, and sometimes you feel hope, when you see a flash of lightning, that much-needed rain will come.
... وَيُنَزِّلُ مِنَ السَّمَاء مَاء فَيُحْيِي بِهِ الْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا ...
and He sends down water from the sky, and therewith revives the earth after its death.
After it was barren, with nothing growing there, then the water comes to it and
اهْتَزَّتْ وَرَبَتْ وَأَنبَتَتْ مِن كُلِّ زَوْجٍ بَهِيجٍ
it is stirred, and it swells and puts forth every lovely kind (of growth). (22:5)
In this is a clear sign and proof of the resurrection and the coming of the Hour.
... إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَعْقِلُونَ ﴿٢٤﴾
Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who understand.
Then Allah says:
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَن تَقُومَ السَّمَاء وَالْأَرْضُ بِأَمْرِهِ ...
And among His signs is that the heaven and the earth stand by His command.
This is like the Ayat:
وَيُمْسِكُ السَّمَآءَ أَن تَقَعَ عَلَى الاٌّرْضِ إِلاَّ بِإِذْنِهِ
He withholds the heaven from falling on the earth except by His leave. (22: 65)
إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُمْسِكُ السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضَ أَن تَزُولاَ
Verily, Allah grasps the heavens and the earth lest they should move away from their places. (35:41)
Whenever Umar bin Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, swore an emphatic oath, he would say,
"No, by the One by Whose command the heaven and the earth stand,''
i.e., they stand firm by His command to them and His subjugation of them. Then, when the Day of Resurrection comes, the Day when the earth will be exchanged with another earth and the dead will come forth from their graves, brought back to life by His command and His call to them,
... ثُمَّ إِذَا دَعَاكُمْ دَعْوَةً مِّنَ الْأَرْضِ إِذَا أَنتُمْ تَخْرُجُونَ ﴿٢٥﴾
Then afterwards when He will call you by a single call, behold, you will come out from the earth.
This is like the Ayat:
يَوْمَ يَدْعُوكُمْ فَتَسْتَجِيبُونَ بِحَمْدِهِ وَتَظُنُّونَ إِن لَّبِثْتُمْ إِلاَّ قَلِيلاً
On the Day when He will call you, and you will answer with His praise and obedience, and you will think that you have stayed but a little while! (17:52)
فَإِنَّمَا هِىَ زَجْرَةٌ وَحِدَةٌ - فَإِذَا هُم بِالسَّاهِرَةِ
But it will be only a single Zajrah. When behold, they find themselves on the surface of the earth alive after their death. (79:13-14)
إِن كَانَتْ إِلاَّ صَيْحَةً وَحِدَةً فَإِذَا هُمْ جَمِيعٌ لَّدَيْنَا مُحْضَرُونَ
It will be but a single Sayhah, so behold they will all be brought up before Us! (36:53)
وَلَهُ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ...
To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and the earth.
means, He owns it and it is enslaved to Him.
... كُلٌّ لَّهُ قَانِتُونَ ﴿٢٦﴾
All are obedient to Him.
they are humble before Him and submit to Him, whether willingly or unwillingly.
Repeating the Creation is easier for Allah
وَهُوَ الَّذِي 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.
Ibn Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas said, "This means it is easier for Him.''
Mujahid said: "Repeating it is easier for Him than originating it, and originating it is easy for Him.''
This was also the view of Ikrimah and others.
Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Prophet said:
كَذَّبَنِي ابْنُ آدَمَ وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ ذَلِكَ، وَشَتَمَنِي وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ ذَلِكَ، فَأَمَّا تَكْذِيبُهُ إِيَّايَ فَقَوْلُهُ: لَنْ يُعِيدَنِي كَمَا بَدَأَنِي وَلَيْسَ أَوَّلُ الْخَلْقِ بِأَهْوَنَ عَلَيَّ مِنْ إِعَادَتِهِ، وَأَمَّا شَتْمُهُ إِيَّايَ فَقَوْلُهُ: اتَّخَذَ اللهُ وَلَدًا، وَأَنَا الْأَحَدُ الصَّمَدُ الَّذِي لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ كُفُوًا أَحَد
"The son of Adam denied Me, and he had no right to do so. And he reviled Me, and he had no right to do so.
As for his denying Me, it is his saying: `He will not remake me as He originated me' -- while originating the creation is not easier for Me than re-creating him.
As for his reviling Me, it is his saying: `Allah has taken to Himself a son,' while I am the One, the Self-Sufficient Master; I beget not, nor was I begotten, and there is none comparable to Me.''
This was recorded only by Al-Bukhari.
... وَلَهُ الْمَثَلُ الْأَعْلَى فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ...
His is the highest description in the heavens and in the earth.
Ali bin Abi Talhah reported Ibn Abbas said,
"This is like the Ayah:
لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَىْءٌ
There is nothing like Him. (42:11)''
Qatadah said: "His description is La ilaha illallah, and there is no Lord but He.''
... وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ ﴿٢٧﴾
And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.
A Parable of Tawhid
This is the parable Allah makes of the idolators, those who worship others besides Him and attribute partners to Him, while at the same time admitting that these so-called partners -- idols and false gods -- are enslaved to and belong to Him.
In their Talbiyah (during Hajj and Umrah they used to say, "At Your service, You have no partner except the partner that You have, You own Him and whatever he owns.''
Allah says here:
ضَرَبَ لَكُم مَّثَلًا مِنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ ...
He sets forth for you a parable from yourselves,
`something which you yourselves can see witness, and understand.'
... هَل لَّكُم مِّن مَّا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُم مِّن شُرَكَاء فِي مَا رَزَقْنَاكُمْ فَأَنتُمْ فِيهِ سَوَاء ...
Do you have partners among those whom your right hands possess to share as equals in the wealth We have bestowed on you...
`None of you would like to have his servant as a partner in his wealth, each of them having an equal share.'
... تَخَافُونَهُمْ كَخِيفَتِكُمْ أَنفُسَكُمْ ...
whom you fear as you fear each other.
`You fear that they will have a share in your wealth with you.'
Abu Mijlaz said,
"You do not fear that your servant will have a share in your wealth, because he has no such right; similarly, Allah has no partner.''
The point is, that since any one of you would abhor such a thing, how can you attribute rivals to Allah from among His creation!
At-Tabarani recorded that Ibn Abbas said, "The people of Shirk used to say in their Talbiyah,
`At Your service, You have no partner except the partner that You have, You own Him and whatever he owns.'
Then Allah revealed the words:
... هَل لَّكُم مِّن مَّا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُم مِّن شُرَكَاء فِي مَا رَزَقْنَاكُمْ فَأَنتُمْ فِيهِ سَوَاء تَخَافُونَهُمْ كَخِيفَتِكُمْ أَنفُسَكُمْ ...
Do you have partners among those whom your right hands possess to share as equals in the wealth We have bestowed on you, whom you fear as you fear each other...''
If humans have this characteristic, this parable shows that it is even less befitting for Allah to have a partner.
... كَذَلِكَ نُفَصِّلُ الْآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْقِلُونَ ﴿٢٨﴾
Thus do We explain the signs in detail to a people who have sense.
Then Allah points out that when the idolators worship others instead of Him, doing so out of their own folly and ignorance:
Nay, but those who do wrong follow...,
meaning, the idolators,
... أَهْوَاءهُم بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ ...
...their own lusts without knowledge.
means, in their worship of false gods without knowledge.
... فَمَن يَهْدِي مَنْ أَضَلَّ اللَّهُ ...
Then who will guide him whom Allah has sent astray,
means, no one can guide them if Allah has decreed that they will be misguided.
... وَمَا لَهُم مِّن نَّاصِرِينَ ﴿٢٩﴾
And for such there will be no helpers.
means, there is no one who can save them from the power of Allah or grant them a way out, for what He wills, happens and what He does not will, does not happen.
The Command to adhere to Tawhid
فَأَقِمْ وَجْهَكَ لِلدِّينِ حَنِيفًا فِطْرَةَ اللَّهِ الَّتِي فَطَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَيْهَا ...
So, set you your face towards the religion as a Hanif. Allah's Fitrah with which He has created mankind.
`so set your face and persevere in the religion which Allah has prescribed for you, the worship of Allah Alone, the religion of Ibrahim, to which Allah has guided you and which He has perfected for you with the utmost perfection. In this manner, you will also adhere to the sound Fitrah with which He created His creation.'
Allah created His creation to recognize Him and know His Tawhid, and that there is no God except Him, as we have already seen when discussing the Ayah,
وَأَشْهَدَهُمْ عَلَى أَنفُسِهِمْ أَلَسْتَ بِرَبِّكُمْ قَالُواْ بَلَى
and made them testify as to themselves (saying): "Am I not your Lord?''
They said: "Yes!...'' (7:172)
And according to a Hadith, Allah said,
إِنِّي خَلَقْتُ عِبَادِي حُنَفَاءَ، فَاجْتَالَتْهُمُ الشَّيَاطِينُ عَنْ دِينِهِم
"I created my servants Hunafa (i.e., monotheists), then the Shayatin misled them from their religion.''
We will see in the Hadiths that Allah created His creation with the Fitrah of Islam, then among some of them there emerged corrupt religions such as Judaism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism.
... لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِخَلْقِ اللَّهِ ...
No change let there be in Allah's Khalq,
Some of them said that this means, `do not change the creation of Allah, for if you do, you will divert the people away from the Fitrah with which He created them.'
So it is instructive; just as His saying, وَمَن دَخَلَهُ كَانَ آمِنًا And whoever enters it, he is safe (3:97)
This is a good and correct interpretation. Others said that this means, Allah made all of His creation equal, all of them have the same sound Fitrah and are by nature upright; they are all born with this nature and there is no disparity among people in this regard.
Ibn Abbas, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Mujahid, Ikrimah, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak and Ibn Zayd said that the Ayah: لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِخَلْقِ اللَّه (No change let there be in Allah's Khalq),
means, the religion of Allah.
Al-Bukhari said: لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِخَلْقِ اللَّه (No change let there be in Allah's Khalq), "It means, the religion of Allah, and the religion, and the Fitrah is Islam.''
Then he reported that Abu Hurayrah said, "The Messenger of Allah said:
مَا مِنْ مَوْلُودٍ يُولَدُ إِلَّا عَلَى الْفِطْرَةِ فَأَبَوَاهُ يُهَوِّدَانِهِ أَوْ يُنَصِّرَانِهِ أَوْ يُمَجِّسَانِهِ،كَمَا تُنْتَجُ الْبَهِيمَةُ بَهِيمَةً جَمْعَاءَ، هَلْ تُحِسُّونَ فِيهَا مِنْ جَدْعَاءَ ؟
No child is born except in a state of Fitrah, then his parents make him a Jew or a Christian or a Zoroastrian, just as each animal produces a perfect animal like itself -- do you see any among them that are born mutilated?
then the narrator (Abu Hurayrah) said (recite this Ayah), فَطَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَيْهَا لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِخَلْقِ اللَّهِ ذَلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ Allah's Fitrah with which He has created mankind. No change let there be in Allah's Khalq, that is the straight religion.''
This was also recorded by Muslim.
... ذَلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ ...
that is the straight religion,
means, adherence to the Shariah and the sound Fitrah is the true, straight religion.
... وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ ﴿٣٠﴾
but most men know not.
means, most people do not know this and they deviate far astray from it, as Allah says:
وَمَآ أَكْثَرُ النَّاسِ وَلَوْ حَرَصْتَ بِمُؤْمِنِينَ
And most of mankind will not believe even if you desire it eagerly. (12:103)
وَإِن تُطِعْ أَكْثَرَ مَن فِى الاٌّرْضِ يُضِلُّوكَ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ
And if you obey most of those on the earth, they will mislead you far away from Allah's path. (6:116)
مُنِيبِينَ إِلَيْهِ ...
turning in repentance to Him,
Ibn Zayd and Ibn Jurayj said, "This means, returning to Him.''
... وَاتَّقُوهُ ...
and have Taqwa of Him;
means, fear Him and remember that He is always watching.
... وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ ...
and perform the Salah,
which is the greatest act of worship.
... وَلَا تَكُونُوا مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ ﴿٣١﴾
and be not of the idolators.
Be of those who single out Allah, devoting their worship sincerely for Him alone, not anyone or anything other than Him.
Ibn Jarir recorded that Yazid bin Abi Maryam said: "Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, passed by Mu`adh bin Jabal and asked, `What is the foundation of this Ummah?'
Mu`adh said, `Three things, and they are the things that will bring salvation:
- Al-Ikhlas (doing a deed for Allah alone), which is the Fitrah with which Allah created mankind;
- Salah, which is the thing that tells a believer apart from a disbeliever;
- and obedience, which is protection.'
Umar said: `You have spoken the truth.
Splitting into Sects and the Saved Sect
مِنَ الَّذِينَ فَرَّقُوا دِينَهُمْ وَكَانُوا شِيَعًا كُلُّ حِزْبٍ بِمَا لَدَيْهِمْ فَرِحُونَ ﴿٣٢﴾
Of those who Farraqu Dinahum (split up their religion), and became sects, each sect rejoicing in that which is with it.
means, do not be of the idolators who split up their religion, i.e., changed it by believing in parts of it and rejecting other parts.
Some scholars read this as Faraqu Dinahum, meaning "neglected their religion and left it behind them.''
These are like the Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, idol worshippers and all the followers of false religions, besides the followers of Islam, as Allah says:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ فَرَّقُواْ دِينَهُمْ وَكَانُواْ شِيَعًا لَّسْتَ مِنْهُمْ فِى شَىْءٍ إِنَّمَآ أَمْرُهُمْ إِلَى اللَّهِ
Verily, those who divide their religion and break up into sects, you have no concern in them in the least. Their affair is only with Allah. (6:159)
The followers of the religions before us had differences of opinions and split into false sects, each group claiming to be following the truth. This Ummah too has split into sects, all of which are misguided apart from one, which is Ahlus-Sunnah Wal-Jama`ah, those who adhere to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah and what was followed by the first generations, the Companions, their followers, and the Imams of the Muslims of earlier and later times.
In his Mustadrak, Al-Hakim recorded that the Messenger of Allah was asked which of the sects was the saved sect and he said:
مَا أَنَا عَلَيْهِ وَأَصْحَابِي
What I and my Companions are upon.
How man sways between Tawhid and Shirk, and between Joy and Despair, according to His Circumstances
وَإِذَا مَسَّ النَّاسَ ضُرٌّ دَعَوْا رَبَّهُم مُّنِيبِينَ إِلَيْهِ ثُمَّ إِذَا أَذَاقَهُم مِّنْهُ رَحْمَةً إِذَا فَرِيقٌ مِّنْهُم بِرَبِّهِمْ يُشْرِكُونَ ﴿٣٣﴾
And when harm touches men, they cry sincerely only to their Lord, turning to Him in repentance; but when He gives them a taste of His mercy, behold, a party of them associates partners in worship with their Lord.
Allah tells us that when man is in dire straits, he calls upon Allah alone with no partner or associate, then when times of ease come and they have the choice, some people associate others with Allah and worship others alongside Him.
لِيَكْفُرُوا بِمَا آتَيْنَاهُمْ فَتَمَتَّعُوا ...
So as to be ungrateful for the graces which We have bestowed on them. Then enjoy;
Then Allah warns them by saying:
... فَسَوْفَ تَعْلَمُونَ ﴿٣٤﴾
but you will come to know.
One of them said: By Allah, if a law enforcement officer were to say this to me, I would be afraid, so how about when the One Who is issuing the warning is the One Who merely says to a thing "Be!'' and it is.
Then Allah denounces the idolators for fabricating lies and worshipping others instead of Him with no evidence or proof:
أَمْ أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ سُلْطَانًا ...
Or have We revealed to them an authority,
... فَهُوَ يَتَكَلَّمُ ...
... بِمَا كَانُوا بِهِ يُشْرِكُونَ ﴿٣٥﴾
of that which they have been associating with Him!
This is a rhetorical question intended to denounce them, for they have no such thing.
وَإِذَا أَذَقْنَا النَّاسَ رَحْمَةً فَرِحُوا بِهَا وَإِن تُصِبْهُمْ سَيِّئَةٌ بِمَا قَدَّمَتْ أَيْدِيهِمْ إِذَا هُمْ يَقْنَطُونَ ﴿٣٦﴾
And when We cause mankind to taste of mercy, they rejoice therein; but when some evil afflicts them because of what their hands have sent forth, behold, they are in despair!
This is a denunciation of man for the way he is, except for those whom Allah protects and helps, for when man is given blessings, he is proud, and says:
ذَهَبَ السَّيِّئَاتُ عَنِّي إِنَّهُ لَفَرِحٌ فَخُورٌ
"Ills have departed from me.'' Surely, he is exultant, and boastful. (11:10)
He rejoices over himself and boasts to others, but when difficulties befall him, He despairs of ever having anything good again. Allah says:
إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ صَبَرُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ الصَّـلِحَاتِ
Except those who show patience and do righteous good deeds.
They are patient during times of difficulty and do good deeds at times of ease.
It was reported in the Sahih:
عَجَبًا لِلْمُؤْمِنِ لَا يَقْضِي اللهُ لَهُ قَضَاءً إِلَّا كَانَ خَيْرًا لَهُ، إِنْ أَصَابَتْهُ سَرَّاءُ شَكَرَ فَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَهُ، وَإِنْ أَصَابَتْهُ ضَرَّاءُ صَبَرَ فَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَه
How wonderful is the affair of the believer. Allah does not decree anything for him but it is good for him. If good things happen to him, he gives thanks, and that is good for him; and if bad things happen to him, he bears that with patience, and that is good for him.
أَوَلَمْ يَرَوْا أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَبْسُطُ الرِّزْقَ لِمَن يَشَاء وَيَقْدِرُ ...
Do they not see that Allah expands the provision for whom He wills and straitens (it for whom He wills).
He is the One Who is controlling and doing that, by His wisdom and justice, so He expands the provision for some people and restricts it for some.
... إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ ﴿٣٧﴾
Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who believe.
The Command to uphold the Ties of Kinship and the Prohibition of Riba Allah commands giving:
فَآتِ ذَا الْقُرْبَى حَقَّهُ ...
So, give to the kindred his due,
his due of respect and upholding the ties of kinship.
... وَالْمِسْكِينَ ...
and to Al-Miskin,
the one who has nothing to spend on his needs, or he has something but it is not enough.
... وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ ...
and to the wayfarer.
the traveler who is in need of money and other things during his journey.
... ذَلِكَ خَيْرٌ لِّلَّذِينَ يُرِيدُونَ وَجْهَ اللَّهِ ...
That is best for those who seek Allah's Face;
meaning; to look upon Him on the Day of Resurrection, which is the ultimate aim.
... وَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ ﴿٣٨﴾
and it is they who will be successful.
means, in this world and the Hereafter.
Then Allah says:
وَمَا آتَيْتُم مِّن رِّبًا لِّيَرْبُوَ فِي أَمْوَالِ النَّاسِ فَلَا يَرْبُو عِندَ اللَّهِ ...
And that which you give in Riba, in order that it may increase from other people's property, has no increase with Allah;
This means, that which is given as a gift to others in the hope that they will give back more than they were given. There is no reward for this with Allah.
This is how this Ayah was interpreted by Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah, Ikrimah, Muhammad bin Ka`b and Ash-Sha`bi.
... وَمَا آتَيْتُم مِّن زَكَاةٍ تُرِيدُونَ وَجْهَ اللَّهِ فَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُضْعِفُونَ ﴿٣٩﴾
but that which you give in Zakah seeking Allah's Face, then those they shall have manifold increase.
Those are the ones for whom Allah will multiply the reward.
It was reported in the Sahih:
وَمَا تَصَدَّقَ أَحَدٌ بِعَدْلِ تَمْرَةٍ مِنْ كَسْبٍ طَيِّبٍ إِلَّا أَخَذَهَا الرَّحْمَنُ بِيَمِينِهِ فَيُرَبِّيهَا لِصَاحِبِهَا،
كَمَا يُرَبِّي أَحَدُكُمْ فَلُوَّهُ أَوْ فَصِيلَهُ حَتَّى تَصِيرَ التَّمْرَةُ أَعْظَمَ مِنْ أُحُد
No person gives in charity the equivalent of a date which was earned in a lawful manner, but the Most Merciful takes it in His Right Hand and takes care of it for its owner, just as any one of you takes care of his foal or young camel, until the date becomes the size of Mount Uhud.
Creation, Provision, Life and Death are all in the Hand of Allah
اللَّهُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُمْ ثُمَّ رَزَقَكُمْ ...
Allah is He Who created you, then provided food for you,
means, He is the Creator and Provider.
He brings man forth from his mother's womb naked and knowing nothing, not able to see or hear, and having no strength. Then He provides him with all these things, giving him household effects, clothing, wealth, possessions and earnings.
... ثُمَّ يُمِيتُكُمْ ...
then will cause you to die,
means, after this life.
... ثُمَّ يُحْيِيكُمْ ...
then (again) He will give you life.
means, on the Day of Resurrection.
... هَلْ مِن شُرَكَائِكُم ...
Is there any of your partners,
means, those whom you worship instead of Allah,
... مَّن يَفْعَلُ مِن ذَلِكُم مِّن شَيْءٍ ...
that do anything of that,
meaning, none of them are able to do any of that. But Allah is the One Who is Independent in His powers of creation, provision, and giving life and death. Then He will resurrect His creation on the Day of Resurrection. This is why, after all this He says:
... سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ ﴿٤٠﴾
Glory be to Him! And Exalted be He above all that they associate.
meaning, exalted and sanctified and glorified be He far above having any partner, peer, equal, son or father, for He is the One, the Unique, the Self-Sufficient Master, Who begets not nor was He begotten, and there is none comparable unto Him.
The Effects of Sin in this World
ظَهَرَ الْفَسَادُ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِي النَّاسِ ...
Evil has appeared in Al-Barr and Al-Bahr because of what the hands of men have earned,
Ibn Abbas, Ikrimah, Ad-Dahhak, As-Suddi and others said:
"What is meant by Al-Barr here is the empty land or wilderness, and by Al-Bahr is towns and cities.''
According to a report narrated from Ibn Abbas and Ikrimah, Al-Bahr refers to towns and cities which are on the banks of rivers.
Others said that what was meant was the usual meaning of the words, i.e., land and sea.
Zayd bin Rafi` said: ظَهَرَ الْفَسَادُ (Evil has appeared),
"The rain is withheld from the land and this is followed by famine, and it is withheld from the sea, adversely affecting the animals which live in it.''
This was recorded by Ibn Abi Hatim, who said: "Muhammad bin Abdullah bin Yazid Al-Muqri' told us, from Sufyan from Humayd bin Qays Al-A`raj from Mujahid: ظَهَرَ الْفَسَادُ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ (Evil has appeared on land and sea),
"Evil on land means the killing of the son of Adam, and evil on the sea means piracy.''
According to the first opinion, the phrase, ظَهَرَ الْفَسَادُ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِي النَّاسِ means the shortfall in the crops and fruits is because of sins.
Abu Al-Aliyah said:
"Whoever disobeys Allah in the earth has corrupted it, because the good condition of the earth and the heavens depends on obedience to Allah.''
Hence it says in the Hadith which was recorded by Abu Dawud:
لَحَدٌّ يُقَامُ فِي الْأَرْضِ أَحَبُّ إِلَى أَهْلِهَا مِنْ أَنْ يُمْطَرُوا أَرْبَعِينَ صَبَاحًا
Any prescribed punishment which is carried out in the land is better for its people than if it were to rain for forty days.
The reason for that is that if the prescribed punishments are carried out, this will deter the people -- most or many of them -- from violating the prohibitions of Allah.
If they give up sin, this will be a cause of blessings in the skies and on the earth. So, when `Isa bin Maryam, peace be upon him, comes down at the end of time, he will judge according to this Shariah at that time, and will kill the pigs and break the cross and abolish the Jizyah. He will accept nothing except Islam or the sword. When Allah destroys the Dajjal and his followers, and Ya'juj and Ma'juj during his time, it will be said to the earth, bring forth your blessing. Then groups of people will eat from one pomegranate, and will seek shade beneath its skin, and the milk of one pregnant camel will be sufficient for a group of people.
This will only be because of the blessings that will result from application of the Shariah of Muhammad. The more justice is established, the more the blessings and good things will increase. It was reported in the Sahih:
إِنَّ الْفَاجِرَ إِذَا مَاتَ تَسْتَرِيحُ مِنْهُ الْعِبَادُ وَالْبِلَادُ وَالشَّجَرُ وَالدَّوَاب
When the evildoer dies, it is a relief for the people, the land, the trees and the animals.
Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal recorded that Abu Qahdham said:
"At the time of Ziyad or Ibn Ziyad, a man found a cloth in which were wrapped grains of wheat which were as big as date stones; on it was written: `This grew at a time when justice prevailed.'''
... لِيُذِيقَهُم بَعْضَ الَّذِي عَمِلُوا...
that He may make them taste a part of that which they have done,
means, He tries them with the loss of wealth, souls and fruits as a test and as a punishment for what they have done.
... لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ ﴿٤١﴾
in order that they may return.
means, from disobedience.
This is like the Ayah,
وَبَلَوْنَـهُمْ بِالْحَسَنَـتِ وَالسَّيِّئَاتِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ
And We tried them with good and evil in order that they might turn. (7:168)
Then Allah says:
قُلْ سِيرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ فَانظُرُوا كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلُ ...
Say: "Travel in the land and see what was the end of those before (you)!''
meaning, those who came before you.
... كَانَ أَكْثَرُهُم مُّشْرِكِينَ ﴿٤٢﴾
Most of them were idolators.
means, so see what happened to them when they rejected the Messengers and were ungrateful for the blessings.
The Command to follow the Straight Path before the Day of Resurrection
Here Allah commands His servants to hasten to obedience to Him and to hasten to do good deeds.
فَأَقِمْ وَجْهَكَ لِلدِّينِ الْقَيِّمِ مِن قَبْلِ أَن يَأْتِيَ يَوْمٌ لَّا مَرَدَّ لَهُ مِنَ اللَّهِ ...
So, set you your face to the straight and right religion, before there comes from Allah a Day which none can avert.
The Day of Resurrection, for when Allah wants it to happen, no one will be able to avert it.
... يَوْمَئِذٍ يَصَّدَّعُونَ ﴿٤٣﴾
On that Day men shall be divided.
means, they will be separated, with one group in Paradise and another in Hell.
مَن كَفَرَ فَعَلَيْهِ كُفْرُهُ وَمَنْ عَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَلِأَنفُسِهِمْ يَمْهَدُونَ ﴿٤٤﴾
That He may reward those who believe. and do righteous good deeds, out of His bounty.
meaning that He may reward them from His bounty, in return for one good deed, he will get the reward for ten, up to seven hundred like it, as much as Allah wills.
... إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْكَافِرِينَ ﴿٤٥﴾
Verily, He likes not the disbelievers.
yet He is still just with them and does not oppress them.
Among the Signs of Allah are the Winds
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَن يُرْسِلَ الرِّيَاحَ مُبَشِّرَاتٍ ...
And among His signs is this that He sends the winds as glad tidings,
Here Allah mentions the favor He does for His creatures by sending winds to them, as harbingers of His mercy, meaning that they will be followed by rain.
... وَلِيُذِيقَكُم مِّن رَّحْمَتِهِ ...
giving you a taste of His mercy,
that is, the rain which will come down and revive people and the land.
... وَلِتَجْرِيَ الْفُلْكُ بِأَمْرِهِ ...
and that the ships may sail at His command,
means, on the sea, for they are driven by the wind.
... وَلِتَبْتَغُوا مِن فَضْلِهِ ...
and that you may seek of His bounty,
means, by trading, earning a living and traveling from one country to another, one region to another.
... وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ ﴿٤٦﴾
in order that you may be thankful.
means, that you may give thanks to Allah for the innumerable favors He has done for you, both visible and hidden.
Then Allah says:
وَلَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ رُسُلًا إِلَى قَوْمِهِمْ فَجَاؤُوهُم بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ فَانتَقَمْنَا مِنَ الَّذِينَ أَجْرَمُوا...
And indeed We did send Messengers before you to their own peoples. They came to them with clear proofs, then, We took vengeance on those who committed crimes;
These are words of consolation from Allah to His servant and Messenger Muhammad. They tell him that if many of his people and of mankind disbelieve in him, the previous Messengers were also rejected, despite the clear signs that they brought, but Allah punished those who rejected and opposed them, and saved those who believed in them.
... وَكَانَ حَقًّا عَلَيْنَا نَصْرُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ﴿٤٧﴾
and it was incumbent upon Us to help the believers.
This is a duty which Allah took upon Himself as a blessing and a favor to them.
This is like the Ayah,
كَتَبَ رَبُّكُمْ عَلَى نَفْسِهِ الرَّحْمَةَ
your Lord has prescribed mercy for Himself. (6:54)
Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Abu Ad-Darda', may Allah be pleased with him, said: "I heard Allah's Messenger saying:
مَا مِنِ امْرِىءٍ مُسْلِمٍ يَرُدُّ عَنْ عِرْضِ أَخِيهِ إِلَّا كَانَ حَقًّا عَلَى اللهِ أَنْ يَرُدَّ عَنْهُ نَارَ جَهَنَّمَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَة
No Muslim man defends the honor of his brother except that there would be a right upon Allah to defend him from the fire of Hell on the Day of Resurrection.
Then he recited this Ayah:
... وَكَانَ حَقًّا عَلَيْنَا نَصْرُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ
and it was incumbent upon Us to help the believers.''
The Revival of the Earth is a Sign of the Resurrection
Here Allah explains how He creates the clouds that rain the water.
اللَّهُ الَّذِي يُرْسِلُ الرِّيَاحَ فَتُثِيرُ سَحَابًا ...
Allah is He Who sends the winds, so that they raise clouds,
either from the sea, as was mentioned by more than one (of the scholars), or from whatever Allah wills.
... فَيَبْسُطُهُ فِي السَّمَاء كَيْفَ يَشَاء ...
and spread them along the sky as He wills,
means, He spreads them and causes them to increase and grow. From a little He makes a lot, and creates the clouds that look like shields. Then He spreads them out until they fill the horizon. Sometimes the clouds come from the sea, heavy and full, as Allah says:
وَهُوَ الَّذِى يُرْسِلُ الرِّيَاحَ بُشْرىً بَيْنَ يَدَىْ رَحْمَتِهِ حَتَّى إِذَآ أَقَلَّتْ سَحَابًا ثِقَالاً سُقْنَـهُ لِبَلَدٍ مَّيِّتٍ
And it is He Who sends the winds as heralds of glad tidings, going before His mercy. Till when they have carried a heavy-laden cloud, We drive it to a land that is dead
كَذَلِكَ نُخْرِجُ الْموْتَى لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ
Similarly, We shall raise up the dead, so that you may remember or take heed. (7:57)
Allah says here:
وَيَجْعَلُهُ كِسَفًا ...
and then break them into fragments,
Mujahid, Abu Amr bin Al-Ala', Matar Al-Warraq and Qatadah said, "This means pieces.''
Others said that it means `piled up,' as Ad-Dahhak said.
Others said that it means black, because they contained so much water, and sometimes they are heavy and close to the earth.
...فَتَرَى الْوَدْقَ يَخْرُجُ مِنْ خِلَالِهِ ...
until you see rain drops come forth from their midst!
means, `so you see the drops, i.e., the rain, which come from the midst of those clouds.'
... فَإِذَا أَصَابَ بِهِ مَن يَشَاء مِنْ عِبَادِهِ إِذَا هُمْ يَسْتَبْشِرُونَ ﴿٤٨﴾
Then when He has made them fall on whom of His servants as He wills, lo, they rejoice!
They rejoice at the rain when it comes to them because of their need for it.
وَإِن كَانُوا مِن قَبْلِ أَن يُنَزَّلَ عَلَيْهِم مِّن قَبْلِهِ لَمُبْلِسِينَ ﴿٤٩﴾
And verily, before that -- just before it was sent down upon them -- they were in despair!
The people to whom this rain came were in despair, thinking that it rain would never fall, just before it came to them. When it came to them, it came at the time of greatest need, so it was a tremendous event for them.
What this means is that they were in need of it before it fell, and there had been no rainfall for a long time, so they were waiting for it at the time when it was due, but it did not come to them at that time. The rain was late, and a long time passed. Then the rain came to them suddenly, after they began to despair, and after their land became dry and barren, it was stirred to life, and it swelled and produced every lovely kind of growth.
فَانظُرْ إِلَى آثَارِ رَحْمَتِ اللَّهِ ...
Look then at the effects of Allah's mercy,
meaning, the rain.
... كَيْفَ يُحْيِي الْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا ...
how He revives the earth after its death.
Thus Allah draws attention to the revival of people's bodies after they have died and disintegrated into nothing.
... إِنَّ ذَلِكَ لَمُحْيِي الْمَوْتَى ...
Verily, that (Allah) shall indeed raise the dead.
means, the One Who does that is able to raise the dead.
... وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ ﴿٥٠﴾
and He is able to do all things.
وَلَئِنْ أَرْسَلْنَا رِيحًا فَرَأَوْهُ مُصْفَرًّا لَّظَلُّوا مِن بَعْدِهِ يَكْفُرُونَ ﴿٥١﴾
And if We send a wind, and they see it turn yellow -- behold, they then would become unthankful (disbelievers).
وَلَئِنْ أَرْسَلْنَا رِيحًا ...
And if We send a wind,
means, a wind which dries up the crops which they have tended and cultivated and which have matured, and they see them turn yellow, and start to rot, if this were to happen, they would become ungrateful, i.e., they would deny the previous blessings that they were given.
This is like the Ayah,
أَفَرَءَيْتُم مَّا تَحْرُثُونَ
Then tell Me about the seed that you sow in the ground. until:
بَلْ نَحْنُ مَحْرُومُونَ
Nay, but we are deprived! (56:63-67)
The Disbelievers are like the Dead, Deaf and Blind
فَإِنَّكَ لَا تُسْمِعُ الْمَوْتَى وَلَا تُسْمِعُ الصُّمَّ الدُّعَاء إِذَا وَلَّوْا مُدْبِرِينَ ﴿٥٢﴾
So verily, you cannot make the dead to hear, nor can you make the deaf to hear the call, when they show their backs and turn away.
وَمَا أَنتَ بِهَادِي الْعُمْيِ عَن ضَلَالَتِهِمْ ...
And you cannot guide the blind from their straying;
Allah says, `just as you are not able to make the dead hear in their graves, or to make your words reach the deaf who cannot hear and who still turn away from you, so too you cannot guide the blind to the truth and bring them back from their misguidance.'
That is a matter which rests with Allah, for by His power He can make the dead hear the voices of the living if He wills. He guides whom He wills and sends astray whom He wills, and no one but He has the power to do this.
... إِن تُسْمِعُ إِلَّا مَن يُؤْمِنُ بِآيَاتِنَا فَهُم مُّسْلِمُونَ ﴿٥٣﴾
you can make to hear only those who believe in Our Ayat, and have submitted (to Allah in Islam).
means, those who are humble and who respond and obey. These are the ones who will listen to the truth and follow it; this is the state of the believers; the former (being deaf and blind) is the state of the disbelievers, as Allah says:
إِنَّمَا يَسْتَجِيبُ الَّذِينَ يَسْمَعُونَ وَالْمَوْتَى يَبْعَثُهُمُ اللَّهُ ثُمَّ إِلَيْهِ يُرْجَعُونَ
It is only those who listen will respond, but as for the dead, Allah will raise them up, then to Him they will be returned. (6:36)
A'ishah, the Mother of the faithful, may Allah be pleased with her, used this Ayah -- إِنَّكَ لَا تُسْمِعُ الْمَوْتَى (So verily, you cannot make the dead to hear), as evidence against Abdullah bin Umar when he reported that the Prophet had addressed the slain disbelievers who had been thrown into a dry well three days after the battle of Badr, rebuking and reprimanding them, until Umar said, "O Messenger of Allah, are you addressing people who are dead bodies?''
وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ مَا أَنْتُمْ بِأَسْمَعَ لِمَا أَقُولُ مِنْهُمْ، وَلَكِنْ لَا يُجِيبُون
By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, you do not hear what I say any better than they do, but they cannot respond.
A'ishah interpreted this event to mean that the Prophet was making the point that now they would know that what he had been telling them was true.
Qatadah said: "Allah brought them back to life for him so that they could hear what he said by way of rebuke and vengeance.''
اللَّهُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُم مِّن ضَعْفٍ ثُمَّ جَعَلَ مِن بَعْدِ ضَعْفٍ قُوَّةً ...
Allah is He Who created you in weakness, then gave you strength after weakness,
Here Allah points out how man passes through different stages of creation, one phase after another.
He is originally created from dust, then from a Nutfah, then from a clot, then from a lump of flesh. Then he becomes bones, then the bones are clothed with flesh, then the soul is breathed into him. Then he emerges from his mother's womb, weak and thin and powerless.
Then he grows up little by little, until he becomes a child, then he reaches the stage of puberty, then he becomes a young man, which is strength after weakness. Then he starts to get older, reaching middle age, then old age and senility, weakness after strength, so he loses his resolve, power of movement and ability to fight, his hair turns grey and his characteristics, both inward and outward, begin to change.
... ثُمَّ جَعَلَ مِن بَعْدِ قُوَّةٍ ضَعْفًا وَشَيْبَةً يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاء ...
then after strength gave (you) weakness and grey hair. He creates what He wills.
He does whatsoever He wills and controls His servants in whatever way He wants.
... وَهُوَ الْعَلِيمُ الْقَدِيرُ ﴿٥٤﴾
And He is the All-Knowing, the All-Powerful.
وَيَوْمَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ يُقْسِمُ الْمُجْرِمُونَ مَا لَبِثُوا غَيْرَ سَاعَةٍ ...
And on the Day that the Hour will be established, the criminals will swear that they stayed not but an hour --
Here Allah tells us of the ignorance of the disbelievers in this world and in the Hereafter. In this world they worship idols, and in the Hereafter they will also display great ignorance. They will swear by Allah that they did not even stay for one hour in this world. They will mean that there was not enough time given to establish proof against them which would leave them with no excuse.
... كَذَلِكَ كَانُوا يُؤْفَكُونَ ﴿٥٥﴾
thus were they ever deluded.
وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ وَالْإِيمَانَ لَقَدْ لَبِثْتُمْ فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْبَعْثِ ...
And those who have been bestowed with knowledge and Faith will say: "Indeed you have stayed according to the decree of Allah, until the Day of Resurrection...''
The believers who have knowledge of the Hereafter will respond to them, just as they established the proof of Allah against them in this world. When they swear that they did not stay even one hour in this world, they will say to them:
... لَقَدْ لَبِثْتُمْ فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ ...
Indeed you have stayed according to the decree of Allah,
meaning, the Book of deeds,
... إِلَى يَوْمِ الْبَعْثِ ...
until the Day of Resurrection;
means, `from the day when you were created until the day you were resurrected. '
... فَهَذَا يَوْمُ الْبَعْثِ ...
so this is the Day of Resurrection,
... وَلَكِنَّكُمْ كُنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ ﴿٥٦﴾
but you knew not.
So, on that Day,
meaning, the Day of Resurrection,
... لَّا يَنفَعُ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مَعْذِرَتُهُمْ ...
no excuse of theirs will avail those who did wrong,
means, their excuses for what they did.
... وَلَا هُمْ يُسْتَعْتَبُونَ ﴿٥٧﴾
nor will they be allowed (then) to return to seek (Allah's) pleasure.
means, they will not be allowed to return to this world. This is like the Ayah,
وَإِن يَسْتَعْتِبُواْ فَمَا هُم مِّنَ الْمُعْتَبِينَ
and if they seek to please (Allah), yet they are not of those who will ever be allowed to please (Allah). (41:24)
Parables in the Qur'an and how the Disbelievers do not learn from them
وَلَقَدْ ضَرَبْنَا لِلنَّاسِ فِي هَذَا الْقُرْآنِ مِن كُلِّ مَثَلٍ ...
And indeed We have set forth for mankind, in this Qur'an every kind of parable.
means, `We have explained the truth to them and have made it clear to them, and have set forth for them parables so that they may understand the truth and follow it.'
... وَلَئِن جِئْتَهُم بِآيَةٍ لَيَقُولَنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِنْ أَنتُمْ إِلَّا مُبْطِلُونَ ﴿٥٨﴾
But if you bring to them any sign or proof, the disbelievers are sure to say (to the believers): "You follow nothing but falsehood and magic.''
If they were to see any kind of sign, whether it was at their own direction or otherwise, they would not believe in it and they would think that it was magic and falsehood, as they said when the moon was cleft asunder, etc., as Allah says:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ حَقَّتْ عَلَيْهِمْ كَلِمَةُ رَبِّكَ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ - وَلَوْ جَآءَتْهُمْ كُلُّ ءايَةٍ حَتَّى يَرَوُاْ الْعَذَابَ الاٌّلِيمَ
Truly, those, against whom the Word of your Lord has been justified, will not believe. Even if every sign should come to them, until they see the painful torment. (10:96-97)
Allah says here:
كَذَلِكَ يَطْبَعُ اللَّهُ عَلَى قُلُوبِ الَّذِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ ﴿٥٩﴾
Thus does Allah seal up the hearts of those who know not. So be patient.
فَاصْبِرْ إِنَّ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقٌّ ...
Verily, the promise of Allah is true;
meaning, `bear their stubborn opposition with patience, for Allah will fulfill His promise to grant you victory over them and cause you and those who follow you to prevail in this world and in the Hereafter.'
... وَلَا يَسْتَخِفَّنَّكَ الَّذِينَ لَا يُوقِنُونَ ﴿٦٠﴾
and let not those who have no certainty of faith discourage you (from conveying Allah's Message).
`Remain steadfast in the mission with which Allah has sent you, for it is truth in which there is no doubt. Do not turn away from it, for nowhere else is there truth which is to be followed; the truth rests exclusively in the Message with which you have been sent.'
Reports concerning the Virtues of this Surah and that it is recommended to recite it during Fajr
Imam Ahmad recorded from a man among the Companions of the Prophet that the Messenger of Allah led them in Fajr prayer and recited Ar-Rum in the prayer, but he became confused in his recitation. He said:
إِنَّهُ يَلْبِسُ عَلَيْنَا الْقُرْآنَ، فَإِنَّ أَقْوَامًا مِنْكُمْ يُصَلُّونَ مَعَنَا لَا يُحْسِنُونَ الْوُضُوءَ، فَمَنْ شَهِدَ مِنْكُمُ الصَّلَاةَ مَعَنَا فَلْيُحْسِنِ الْوُضُوء
We have become confused in our recitation of Qur'an, because some people among you are praying with us but they have not performed Wudu' properly. Whoever attends the prayer with us, let him perform Wudu' properly.
This has a Hasan chain of narration, the text itself is Hasan.
It contains amazing information, that the Prophet was affected by the faulty Wudu' of some of those whom he was leading in prayer. This indicates that the prayer of the person who is praying in the congregation is connected to the prayer of the Imam.