The Virtues of Surah Alif Lam Mim Al-Sajdah
In the Book of the Friday prayer, Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Hurayrah said,
"The Prophet used to recite in Fajr on Fridays: الم تَنزِيلَ Alif Lam Mim. The revelation of..., Surah Al-Sajdah, and هَلْ أَتَى عَلَى الإِنسَـنِ Has there not been over man... Surah Al-Insan (76).''
This was also recorded by Muslim.
Imam Ahmad recorded that Jabir said,
"The Prophet would never sleep until he recited: الم تَنزِيلَ Alif Lam Mim. The revelation of..., Surah As-Sajdah, and تَبَارَكَ الَّذِى بِيَدِهِ الْمُلْكُ Blessed be He in Whose Hand is the dominion... Surah Al-Mulk (67).''
The Qur'an is the Book of Allah in which there is no Doubt
Alif Lam Mim.
We discussed the individual letters at the beginning of Surah Al-Baqarah, and there is no need to repeat it here.
تَنزِيلُ الْكِتَابِ لَا رَيْبَ فِيهِ ...
The revelation of the Book in which there is no doubt,
means, there is no doubt whatsoever that it has been revealed.
... مِن رَّبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ ﴿٢﴾
from the Lord of all that exists.
Then Allah tells us about the idolators:
أَمْ يَقُولُونَ افْتَرَاهُ ...
Or say they: "He has fabricated it'':
they say, he has fabricated it, i.e., he has made it up by himself.
... بَلْ هُوَ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّكَ لِتُنذِرَ قَوْمًا مَّا أَتَاهُم مِّن نَّذِيرٍ مِّن قَبْلِكَ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَهْتَدُونَ ﴿٣﴾
Nay, it is the truth from your Lord, so that you may warn a people to whom no warner has come before you, in order that they may be guided.
means, in order that they may follow the truth.
Allah is the Creator and Controller of the Universe
اللَّهُ الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا فِي سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍ ثُمَّ اسْتَوَى عَلَى الْعَرْشِ ...
Allah it is He Who has created the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them in six Days. Then He Istawa over the Throne.
Allah tells us that He is the Creator of all things. He created the heavens and earth and all that is between them in six days, then He rose over the Throne -- we have already discussed this matter elsewhere.
... مَا لَكُم مِّن دُونِهِ مِن وَلِيٍّ وَلَا شَفِيعٍ ...
You have none, besides Him, as a protector or an intercessor,
means, only He is the Sovereign Who is in control of all affairs, the Creator of all things, the Controller of all things, the One Who is able to do all things. There is no Creator besides Him, no intercessor except the one to whom He gives permission.
... أَفَلَا تَتَذَكَّرُونَ ﴿٤﴾
Will you not then remember! --
this is addressed to those who worship others apart from Him and put their trust in others besides Him -- exalted and sanctified and glorified be He above having any equal, partner, supporter, rival or peer, there is no God or Lord except Him.
يُدَبِّرُ الْأَمْرَ مِنَ السَّمَاء إِلَى الْأَرْضِ ثُمَّ يَعْرُجُ إِلَيْهِ ...
He directs the command from the heavens to the earth; then it will go up to Him,)
means, His command comes down from above the heavens to the furthest boundary of the seventh earth.
This is like the Ayah,
اللَّهُ الَّذِى خَلَقَ سَبْعَ سَمَـوَتٍ وَمِنَ الاٌّرْضِ مِثْلَهُنَّ يَتَنَزَّلُ الاٌّمْرُ بَيْنَهُنَّ
It is Allah Who has created seven heavens and of the earth the like thereof. The command descends between them, (65:12)
Deeds are raised up to the place of recording above the lowest heaven. The distance between heaven and earth is the distance of five hundred years traveling, and the thickness of the heaven is the distance of five hundred years.
Mujahid, Qatadah and Ad-Dahhak said,
"The distance covered by the angel when he descends or ascends is the distance of five hundred years, but he covers it in the blink of an eye.''
... فِي يَوْمٍ كَانَ مِقْدَارُهُ أَلْفَ سَنَةٍ مِّمَّا تَعُدُّونَ ﴿٥﴾
ذَلِكَ عَالِمُ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ ...
That is He, the All-Knower of the unseen and the seen,
meaning, He is controlling all these affairs. He sees all that His servants do, and all their deeds, major and minor, significant and insignificant, ascend to Him. He is the Almighty Who has subjugated all things to His control, and to Whom everybody submits, and He is Most Merciful to His believing servants. He is Almighty in His mercy and Most Merciful in His might. This is perfection: might combined with mercy and mercy combined with might, for He is Merciful without any hint of weakness.
... الْعَزِيزُ الرَّحِيمُ ﴿٦﴾
the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful.
The Creation of Man in Stages
Allah tells us that He has created everything well and formed everything in a goodly fashion.
Malik said, narrating from Zayd bin Aslam:
الَّذِي أَحْسَنَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ خَلَقَهُ ...
Who made everything He has created good,
means, "He created everything well and in a goodly fashion.''
When Allah mentions the creation of the heavens and the earth, He follows that by mentioning the creation of man.
... وَبَدَأَ خَلْقَ الْإِنسَانِ مِن طِينٍ ﴿٧﴾
and He began the creation of man from clay.
meaning, He created the father of mankind, Adam, from clay.
ثُمَّ جَعَلَ نَسْلَهُ مِن سُلَالَةٍ مِّن مَّاء مَّهِينٍ ﴿٨﴾
Then He made his offspring from semen of despised water.
means, they reproduce in this fashion, from a Nutfah which comes from the loins of men and from between the ribs of women.
ثُمَّ سَوَّاهُ ...
Then He fashioned him in due proportion,
means, when He created Adam from clay, He created him and gave him shape and made him upright.
... وَنَفَخَ فِيهِ مِن رُّوحِهِ وَجَعَلَ لَكُمُ السَّمْعَ وَالْأَبْصَارَ وَالْأَفْئِدَةَ ...
and breathed into him the soul; and He gave you hearing, sight and the sense of deduction.
... قَلِيلًا مَّا تَشْكُرُونَ ﴿٩﴾
Little is the thanks you give!
means, for these strengths with which Allah has provided you; the one who is truly blessed is the one who uses them to worship and obey his Lord, may He be exalted and glorified.
Refutation of Those Who think the Resurrection is unlikely to happen
And they say:
Allah tells us how the idolators thought it unlikely that the resurrection would ever come to pass, and how they said:
... أَئِذَا ضَلَلْنَا فِي الْأَرْضِ ...
When we are lost in the earth,
meaning, `when our bodies have been scattered and have disintegrated and dispersed in the earth,'
... أَئِنَّا لَفِي خَلْقٍ جَدِيدٍ ...
shall we indeed be created anew,
means, `after that, will we come back again'
They thought it unlikely that this would happen, and in terms of their own feeble abilities it is indeed unlikely, but this is not the case with regard to the power of the One Who created them from nothing, Who when He wills a thing merely says to it, "Be!'' and it is.
... بَلْ هُم بِلِقَاء رَبِّهِمْ كَافِرُونَ ﴿١٠﴾
Nay, but they deny the meeting with their Lord!)
Then Allah says:
قُلْ يَتَوَفَّاكُم مَّلَكُ الْمَوْتِ الَّذِي وُكِّلَ بِكُمْ ...
Say: "The angel of death, who is set over you, will take your souls...''
The apparent meaning of this Ayah is that the angel of death is a specific personality among the angels, as is also apparent from the Hadith of Al-Bara' which we quoted in (our Tafsir of) Surah Ibrahim.
In some reports he (the angel of death) is called `Izra'il, which is well known. This is the view of Qatadah and others.
The angel of death has helpers. It was reported in the Hadith that his helpers draw out the soul from the rest of the body until it reaches the throat, then the angel of death takes it.
Mujahid said, "The earth is brought together for him and it is like a platter from which he takes whenever he wants.''
... ثُمَّ إِلَى رَبِّكُمْ تُرْجَعُونَ ﴿١١﴾
Then you shall be brought to your Lord.
means, on the Day when you are resurrected and brought forth from your graves to receive your reward or punishment.
The Bad State in which the Idolators will be on the Day of Resurrection
وَلَوْ تَرَى إِذِ الْمُجْرِمُونَ نَاكِسُو رُؤُوسِهِمْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ ...
And if you only could see when the criminals shall hang their heads before their Lord, (saying):
Allah tells us the state of the idolators on the Day of Resurrection and what they will say when they see the Resurrection and are standing before Allah -- may He be glorified -- humiliated and brought low, with their heads bowed, i.e., in shame.
They will say:
... رَبَّنَا أَبْصَرْنَا وَسَمِعْنَا ...
Our Lord! We have now seen and heard,
meaning, `now we hear what You say and we will obey You.'
This is like the Ayah,
أَسْمِعْ بِهِمْ وَأَبْصِرْ يَوْمَ يَأْتُونَنَا
How clearly will they see and hear, the Day when they will appear before Us! (19:38)
And they will blame themselves when they enter the Fire, and will say:
لَوْ كُنَّا نَسْمَعُ أَوْ نَعْقِلُ مَا كُنَّا فِى أَصْحَـبِ السَّعِيرِ
"Had we but listened or used our intelligence, we would not have been among the dwellers of the blazing Fire!'' (67:10)
Similarly, here they are described as saying:
... رَبَّنَا أَبْصَرْنَا وَسَمِعْنَا فَارْجِعْنَا ...
Our Lord! We have now seen and heard, so send us back, (to the world),
... نَعْمَلْ صَالِحًا إِنَّا مُوقِنُونَ ﴿١٢﴾
that we will do righteous good deeds. Verily, we now believe with certainty.
means, `now we are sure and we believe that Your promise is true and that the meeting with You is true.'
But the Lord, may He be exalted, knows that if He were to send them back to this world, they would behave as they did previously, and they would reject and disbelieve in the signs of Allah and would go against His Messengers, as He says:
وَلَوْ تَرَى إِذْ وُقِفُواْ عَلَى النَّارِ فَقَالُواْ يلَيْتَنَا نُرَدُّ وَلاَ نُكَذِّبَ بِـَايَـتِ رَبِّنَا
If you could but see when they will be held over the (Hell) Fire! They will say: "Would that we were but sent back! Then we would not deny the Ayat of our Lord,'' (6: 27)
And Allah says here:
وَلَوْ شِئْنَا لَآتَيْنَا كُلَّ نَفْسٍ هُدَاهَا ...
And if We had willed, surely We would have given every person his guidance,
This is like the Ayah,
وَلَوْ شَآءَ رَبُّكَ لآمَنَ مَن فِى الاٌّرْضِ كُلُّهُمْ جَمِيعًا
And had your Lord willed, those on earth would have believed, all of them together. (10:99)
... وَلَكِنْ حَقَّ الْقَوْلُ مِنِّي لَأَمْلَأَنَّ جَهَنَّمَ مِنَ الْجِنَّةِ وَالنَّاسِ أَجْمَعِينَ ﴿١٣﴾
but the Word from Me took effect, that I will fill Hell with Jinn and mankind together.
i.e., from both classes, so their abode will be Hell and they will have no escape from it and no way out.
We seek refuge with Allah and in His perfect Words from that.
فَذُوقُوا بِمَا نَسِيتُمْ لِقَاء يَوْمِكُمْ هَذَا ...
Then taste because of your forgetting the meeting of this Day of yours.
means, it will be said to the people of Hell by way of rebuke: `taste this punishment because you denied it and believed that it would never happen; you tried to forget about it and acted as if you had forgotten it.'
... إِنَّا نَسِينَاكُمْ ...
Surely, We too will forget you,
means, `We will deal with you as if We have forgotten you,' but nothing escapes Allah's attention, and He makes the punishment fit the crime, as He says:
الْيَوْمَ نَنسَاكُمْ كَمَا نَسِيتُمْ لِقَآءَ يَوْمِكُمْ هَـذَا
This Day We will forget you as you forgot the meeting of this Day of yours. (45:34)
... وَذُوقُوا عَذَابَ الْخُلْدِ بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ ﴿١٤﴾
so taste you the abiding torment for what you used to do.
i.e., because of your disbelief and rejection, as Allah says in other Ayat:
لاَّ يَذُوقُونَ فِيهَا بَرْداً وَلاَ شَرَاباً - إِلاَّ حَمِيماً وَغَسَّاقاً
Nothing cool shall they taste therein, nor any drink. Except Hamim, and Ghassaq)
فَلَن نَّزِيدَكُمْ إِلاَّ عَذَاباً
No increase shall We give you, except in torment. (78:24-30)
The State of the People of Faith and Their Reward Allah states:
إِنَّمَا يُؤْمِنُ بِآيَاتِنَا ...
Only those believe in Our Ayat,
means, who accept them as true,
... الَّذِينَ إِذَا ذُكِّرُوا بِهَا خَرُّوا سُجَّدًا ...
who, when they are reminded of them, fall down prostrate,
means, they listen to them and obey them in word and deed.
... وَسَبَّحُوا بِحَمْدِ رَبِّهِمْ وَهُمْ لَا يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ ﴿١٥﴾
and glorify the praises of their Lord, and they are not proud.
means, they are not too proud to follow them and submit to them, unlike the ignorant among the rebellious disbelievers.
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ عَنْ عِبَادَتِى سَيَدْخُلُونَ جَهَنَّمَ دَخِرِينَ
Verily, those who scorn My worship, they will surely enter Hell in humiliation! (40:60)
Then Allah says:
تَتَجَافَى جُنُوبُهُمْ عَنِ الْمَضَاجِعِ ...
Their sides forsake their beds,
meaning, they pray the voluntary night prayer and forego sleep and resting on a comfortable bed.
Mujahid and Al-Hasan said that the Ayah تَتَجَافَى جُنُوبُهُمْ عَنِ الْمَضَاجِعِ (Their sides forsake their beds), refers to voluntary night prayer.
Ad-Dahhak said, "It refers to Salat Al-`Isha' in congregation and Salat Al-Fajr in congregation."
... يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُمْ خَوْفًا وَطَمَعًا ...
to invoke their Lord in fear and hope,
means, in fear of His punishment and in hope of His reward.
... وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ ﴿١٦﴾
and they spend out of what We have bestowed on them.
means, they do both obligatory and supererogatory acts of worship. Their leader in this world and the Hereafter is the Messenger of Allah.
Imam Ahmad recorded that Mu`adh bin Jabal said,
"I was with the Messenger of Allah on a journey one morning, walking near him. I said, `O Prophet of Allah, tell me of a deed that will grant me admittance to Paradise and keep me away from Hell.'
لَقَدْ سَأَلْتَ عَنْ عَظِيمٍ وَإِنَّهَ لَيَسِيرٌ عَلَى مَنْ يَسَّرَهُ اللهُ عَلَيْهِ، تَعْبُدُ اللهَ وَلَا تُشْرِكُ بِهِ شَيْئًا، وَتُقِيمُ الصَّلَاةَ وَتُؤْتِي الزَّكَاةَ، وَتَصُومُ رَمَضَانَ، وَتَحُجُّ الْبَيْت
You have asked about something great, and it is easy for the one for whom Allah makes it easy.
- Worship Allah and do not associate anything with Him,
- establish regular prayer,
- pay Zakah,
- fast Ramadan and
- perform pilgrimage to the House.
Then he said:
أَلَا أَدُلُّكَ عَلَى أَبْوَابِ الْخَيْرِ؟
الصَّومُ جُنَّةٌ، وَالصَّدَقَةُ تُطْفِىءُ الْخَطِيئَةَ، وَصَلَاةُ الرَّجُلِ فِي جَوْفِ اللَّيْل
Shall I not tell you of the gates of goodness?
- Fasting is a shield,
- charity wipes out sin, and
- the prayer of a man in the depths of the night.
Then he recited: تَتَجَافَى جُنُوبُهُمْ عَنِ الْمَضَاجِع (Their sides forsake their beds), until he reached جَزَاء بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ (as a reward for what they used to do). Then he said:
أَلَا أُخْبِرُكَ بِرَأْسِ الْأَمْرِ وَعَمُودِهِ وَذِرْوَةِ سَنَامِهِ؟
Shall I not tell you of the greatest of all things and its pillars and pinnacle?
I said, `Of course, O Messenger of Allah.'
رَأْسُ الْأَمْرِ الْإسْلَامُ، وَعَمُودُهُ الصَّلَاةُ، وَذِرْوَةُ سَنَامِهِ الْجِهَادُ فِي سَبِيلِ الله
The greatest of all things is Islam, its pillars are the prayers and its pinnacle is Jihad for the sake of Allah.
Then he said:
أَلَا أُخْبِرُكَ بِمَلَاكِ ذلِكَ كُلِّهِ؟
Shall I not tell you the factor on which all of that depends?
I said, `Of course, O Messenger of Allah.'
He took hold of his tongue and said,
كُفَّ عَلَيْكَ هذَا
I said, `O Messenger of Allah, will we be accountable for what we say?'
ثَكِلَتْكَ أُمُّكُ يَا مُعَاذُ، وَهَلْ يَكُبُّ النَّاسَ فِي النَّارِ عَلى وُجُوهِهِمْ أَوْ قَالَ: عَلى مَنَاخِرِهِمْ إِلَّا حَصَائِدُ أَلْسِنَتهِم
May your mother be bereft of you, O Mu`adh! Will the people be thrown into Hell -- (or he said) on their faces -- except because of what their tongues say.
It was also recorded by At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah in their Sunans.
At-Tirmidhi said, "It is Hasan Sahih.''
فَلَا تَعْلَمُ نَفْسٌ مَّا أُخْفِيَ لَهُم مِّن قُرَّةِ أَعْيُنٍ ...
No person knows what is kept hidden for them of delights of eyes,
means, no one knows the vastness of what Allah has concealed for them of everlasting joy in Paradise and delights such as no one has ever seen. Because they conceal their good deeds, Allah conceals the reward for them, a fitting reward which will suit their deeds.
Al-Hasan Al-Basri said,
"If people conceal their good deeds, Allah will conceal for them what no eye has seen and what has never crossed the mind of man."
It was recorded by Ibn Abi Hatim.
Al-Bukhari quoted the Ayah: فَلَا تَعْلَمُ نَفْسٌ مَّا أُخْفِيَ لَهُم مِّن قُرَّةِ أَعْيُنٍ (No person knows what is kept hidden for them of delights of eyes), then he recorded that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Messenger of Allah said:
قَالَ اللهُ تَعَالى:
أَعْدَدْتُ لِعِبَادِي الصَّالِحِينَ مَا لَا عَيْنٌ رَأَتْ، وَلَا أُذُنٌ سَمِعَتْ، وَلَا خَطَرَ عَلى قَلْبِ بَشَر
"I have prepared for My righteous servants what no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and it has never crossed the mind of man.''
Abu Hurayrah said:
"Recite, if you wish: فَلَا تَعْلَمُ نَفْسٌ مَّا أُخْفِيَ لَهُم مِّن قُرَّةِ أَعْيُنٍ (No person knows what is kept hidden for them of delights of eyes).
It was also recorded by Muslim and At-Tirmidhi. At-Tirmidhi said, "It is Hasan Sahih.''
In another version of Al-Bukhari:
وَلَا خَطَرَ عَلَى قَلْبِ بَشَرٍ، ذُخْرًا مِنْ بَلْهِ مَا أُطْلِعْتُمْ عَلَيْه
"and no body has ever even imagined of. All that is reserved, besides which, all that you have seen is nothing.''
It was also reported from Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet said:
مَنْ يَدْخُلِ الْجَنَّةَ يَنْعَمْ لَا يَبْأَسْ، لَا تَبْلَى ثِيَابُهُ، وَلَا يَفْنَى شَبَابُهُ، فِي الْجَنَّةِ مَا لَا عَيْنٌ رَأَتْ، وَلَا أُذُنٌ سَمِعَتْ، وَلَا خَطَرَ عَلى قَلْبِ بَشَر
Whoever enters Paradise, will enjoy a life of luxury and never feel deprivation, his clothes will never wear out, his youth will never fade. In Paradise there is what no eye has ever seen, no ear has ever heard, and has never crossed the mind of man.
This was recorded by Muslim.
... جَزَاء بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ ﴿١٧﴾
as a reward for what they used to do.
The Believer and the Rebellious are not equal
أَفَمَن كَانَ مُؤْمِنًا كَمَن كَانَ فَاسِقًا لَّا يَسْتَوُونَ ﴿١٨﴾
Is then he who is a believer like him who is a rebellious! Not equal are they.
Allah tells us that in His justice and generosity, on the Day of Judgement He will not judge those who believed in His signs and followed His Messengers, in the same way as He will judge those who rebelled, disobeyed Him and rejected the Messengers sent by Allah to them.
This is like the Ayat:
أَمْ حَسِبَ الَّذِينَ اجْتَرَحُواْ السَّيِّئَـتِ أَن نَّجْعَلَهُمْ كَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ الصَّـلِحَـتِ سَوَآءً مَّحْيَـهُمْ وَمَمَـتُهُمْ سَآءَ مَا يَحْكُمُونَ
Or do those who earn evil deeds think that We shall hold them equal with those who believe and do righteous good deeds, in their present life and after their death Worst is the judgement that they make. (45:21)
أَمْ نَجْعَلُ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ الصَّـلِحَـتِ كَالْمُفْسِدِينَ فِى الاٌّرْضِ أَمْ نَجْعَلُ الْمُتَّقِينَ كَالْفُجَّارِ
Shall We treat those who believe and do righteous good deeds as corruptors on earth! Or shall We treat those who have Taqwa as the wicked! (38:28)
لاَ يَسْتَوِى أَصْحَـبُ النَّارِ وَأَصْحَـبُ الْجَنَّةِ
Not equal are the dwellers of the Fire and the dwellers of the Paradise... (59:20)
أَفَمَن كَانَ مُؤْمِنًا كَمَن كَانَ فَاسِقًا لَّا يَسْتَوُونَ
Is then he who is a believer like him who is a rebellious! Not equal are they.
i.e., before Allah on the Day of Resurrection.
Ata' bin Yasar, As-Suddi and others mentioned that this was revealed concerning Ali bin Abi Talib and Uqbah bin Abi Mu`it. Hence Allah has judged between them when He said:
أَمَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ ...
As for those who believe and do righteous good deeds,
meaning, their hearts believed in the signs of Allah, and they did as the signs of Allah dictate, i.e. righteous good deeds.
... فَلَهُمْ جَنَّاتُ الْمَأْوَى ...
for them are Gardens of Abode,
i.e., in which there are dwellings and houses and lofty apartments.
... نُزُلًا ...
as an entertainment,
means, something to welcome and honor a guest,
... بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ ﴿١٩﴾
for what they used to do.
وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ فَسَقُوا فَمَأْوَاهُمُ النَّارُ كُلَّمَا أَرَادُوا أَن يَخْرُجُوا مِنْهَا أُعِيدُوا فِيهَا ...
And as for those who rebel, their abode will be the Fire,every time they wish to get away therefrom, they will be put back thereto,
means, those who disobeyed Allah, their dwelling place will be the Fire, and every time they want to escape from it, they will be thrown back in, as Allah says:
كُلَّمَآ أَرَادُواْ أَن يَخْرُجُواْ مِنْهَا مِنْ غَمٍّ أُعِيدُواْ فِيهَا
Every time they seek to get away therefrom, from anguish, they will be driven back therein. (22:22)
Al-Fudayl bin Iyad said: "By Allah, their hands will be tied, their feet will be chained, the flames will lift them up and the angels will strike them.
... وَقِيلَ لَهُمْ ذُوقُوا عَذَابَ النَّارِ الَّذِي كُنتُم بِهِ تُكَذِّبُونَ ﴿٢٠﴾
and it will be said to them: "Taste you the torment of the Fire which you used to deny.''''
means, this will be said to them by way of rebuke and chastisement.
And Allah says:
وَلَنُذِيقَنَّهُمْ مِنَ الْعَذَابِ الْأَدْنَى دُونَ الْعَذَابِ الْأَكْبَرِ ...
And verily, We will make them taste of the near lighter torment prior to the greater torment,
Ibn Abbas said,
"The near torment means diseases and problems in this world, and the things that happen to its people as a test from Allah to His servants so that they will repent to Him.''
Something similar was also narrated from Ubayy bin Ka`b, Abu Al-Aliyah, Al-Hasan, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i, Ad-Dahhak, Alqamah, Atiyah, Mujahid, Qatadah, Abd Al-Karim Al-Jazari and Khusayf.
... لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ ﴿٢١﴾
in order that they may return.
وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّن ذُكِّرَ بِآيَاتِ رَبِّهِ ثُمَّ أَعْرَضَ عَنْهَا ...
And who does more wrong than he who is reminded of the Ayat of his Lord, then turns aside therefrom,
means, there is no one who does more wrong than the one whom Allah reminds of His signs and explains them to him clearly, then after that he neglects and ignores them, and turns away from them, forgetting them as if he does not know them.
"Beware of turning away from the remembrance of Allah, for whoever turns away from remembering Him will be the most misguided and the most in need, and the most guilty of sin.''
Allah says, warning the one who does that:
... إِنَّا مِنَ الْمُجْرِمِينَ مُنتَقِمُونَ ﴿٢٢﴾
Verily, We shall exact retribution from the criminals.
meaning, `We shall avenge Ourselves on those who do that in the strongest possible terms.'
The Book of Musa and the Leadership of the Children of Israel
وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا مُوسَى الْكِتَابَ ...
And indeed We gave Musa the Scripture.
Allah tells us that He gave the Book -- the Tawrah -- to His servant and Messenger Musa, peace be upon him.
... فَلَا تَكُن فِي مِرْيَةٍ مِّن لِّقَائِهِ ...
So, be not you in doubt of meeting him.
Qatadah said, "This refers to the Night of Isra','' then he narrated that Abu Al-Aliyah Ar-Riyahi said,
"The cousin of your Prophet, meaning Ibn Abbas, told me that the Messenger of Allah said:
أُرِيتُ لَيْلَةَ أُسْرِيَ بِي مُوسى بْنَ عِمْرَانَ رَجُلًا آدَمَ طِوَالًا جَعْدًا كَأَنَّهُ مِنْ رِجَالِ شَنُوءَةَ، وَرَأَيْتُ عِيسى رَجُلًا مَرْبُوعَ الْخَلْقِ إِلَى الْحُمْرَةِ وَالْبَيَاضِ، سَبْط الرَّأْسِ، وَرَأَيْتُ مَالِكًا خَازِنَ النَّارِ وَالدَّجَّال
On the night of Isra', I saw Musa bin Imran, a tall, brown-skinned man with curly hair, looking like the men of Shanu'ah; and I saw `Isa, a man of medium stature and ruddy white skin, and with lank hair. And I saw Malik the Keeper of Hell, and the Dajjal.
Among the signs which Allah showed him were: فَلَا تَكُن فِي مِرْيَةٍ مِّن لِّقَائِهِ (So, be not you in doubt of meeting him). i.e., he saw Musa and met with him on the Night of Isra'.''
... وَجَعَلْنَاهُ ...
And We made it
means, `the Book which We gave to him, '
... هُدًى لِّبَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ ﴿٢٣﴾
a guide to the Children of Israel.
This is similar to what Allah says in Surah Al-Isra':
وَءَاتَيْنَآ مُوسَى الْكِتَـبَ وَجَعَلْنَاهُ هُدًى لِّبَنِى إِسْرَءِيلَ أَلاَّ تَتَّخِذُواْ مِن دُونِى وَكِيلاً
And We gave Musa the Scripture and made it a guidance for the Children of Israel (saying): "Take none other than Me as Trustee.'' (17:2)
وَجَعَلْنَا مِنْهُمْ أَئِمَّةً يَهْدُونَ بِأَمْرِنَا لَمَّا صَبَرُوا وَكَانُوا بِآيَاتِنَا يُوقِنُونَ ﴿٢٤﴾
And We made from among them, leaders, giving guidance under Our command, when they were patient and used to believe with certainty in Our Ayat.
means, because they were patient in adhering to the commands of Allah and avoiding what He prohibited, and they believed in His Messengers and followed what they brought, there were among them leaders who guided others to the truth by the command of Allah, calling for goodness, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong. Then when they changed (the Words of Allah), twisting and distorting them, they lost that position and their hearts became hard. They change the words from their places, so they do no righteous deeds and have no correct beliefs.
وَجَعَلْنَا مِنْهُمْ أَئِمَّةً يَهْدُونَ بِأَمْرِنَا لَمَّا صَبَرُوا ...
And We made from among them (Children of Israel), leaders, giving guidance under Our command, when they were patient,
Qatadah and Sufyan said: "When they patiently shunned the temptations of this world.''
This was also the view of Al-Hasan bin Salih.
"This is how these people were. A man cannot be an example to be followed unless he shuns the temptation of this world.''
وَلَقَدْ ءَاتَيْنَا بَنِى إِسْرَءِيلَ الْكِتَـبَ وَالْحُكْمَ وَالنُّبُوَّةَ وَرَزَقْنَـهُمْ مِّنَ الطَّيِّبَـتِ وَفَضَّلْنَـهُمْ عَلَى الْعَـلَمينَ وَءاتَيْنَـهُم بَيِّنَـتٍ مِّنَ الاٌّمْرِ
And indeed We gave the Children of Israel the Scripture, and the understanding of the Scripture and its laws, and the Prophethood; and provided them with good things, and preferred them above the nations. And We gave them clear proofs in matters. (45:16-17)
And He says here:
إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ يَفْصِلُ بَيْنَهُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ فِيمَا كَانُوا فِيهِ يَخْتَلِفُونَ ﴿٢٥﴾
Verily, your Lord will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection, concerning that wherein they used to differ.
meaning, with regard to beliefs and actions.
Learning the Lessons of the Past
أَوَلَمْ يَهْدِ لَهُمْ كَمْ أَهْلَكْنَا مِن قَبْلِهِم مِّنَ الْقُرُونِ ...
Is it not guidance for them: how many generations We have destroyed before them
Allah says: will these people who deny the Messengers not learn from the nations who came before them, whom Allah destroyed for their rejection of His Messengers and their opposition to what the Messengers brought them of the straight path. No trace is left of them whatsoever.
هَلْ تُحِسُّ مِنْهُمْ مِّنْ أَحَدٍ أَوْ تَسْمَعُ لَهُمْ رِكْزاً
Can you find a single one of them or hear even a whisper of them. (19:98)
... يَمْشُونَ فِي مَسَاكِنِهِمْ ...
in whose dwellings they do walk about,
meaning, these disbelievers walk about in the places where those disbelievers used to live, but they do not see any of those who used to live there, for they have gone --
كَأَن لَّمْ يَغْنَوْاْ فِيهَآ
As if they had never lived there. (11:68)
This is like the Ayat:
فَتِلْكَ بُيُوتُهُمْ خَاوِيَةً بِمَا ظَلَمُواْ
These are their houses in utter ruin, for they did wrong. (27:52)
فَكَأَيِّن مِّن قَرْيَةٍ أَهْلَكْنَـهَا وَهِىَ ظَالِمَةٌ فَهِىَ خَاوِيَةٌ عَلَى عُرُوشِهَا وَبِئْرٍ مُّعَطَّلَةٍ وَقَصْرٍ مَّشِيدٍ أَفَلَمْ يَسِيرُواْ فِى الاٌّرْضِ
And many a township did We destroy while they were given to wrongdoing, so that it lie in ruins, and (many) a deserted well and lofty castle! Have they not traveled through the land!
وَلَـكِن تَعْمَى الْقُلُوبُ الَّتِى فِى الصُّدُورِ
but it is the hearts which are in the breasts that grow blind. (22:45-46)
Allah says here:
... إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ ...
Verily, therein indeed are signs.
meaning, in the fact that these people are gone and have been destroyed, and in what happened to them because they disbelieved the Messengers, and how those who believed in them were saved, there are many signs, proofs and important lessons.
... أَفَلَا يَسْمَعُونَ ﴿٢٦﴾
Would they not then listen!
means, to the stories of those who came before and what happened to them.
The Revival of the Earth with Water is Proof of the Resurrection to come
أَوَلَمْ يَرَوْا أَنَّا نَسُوقُ الْمَاء إِلَى الْأَرْضِ الْجُرُزِ ...
Have they not seen how We drive water to the dry land,
Here Allah explains His kindness and goodness towards them by His sending water to them, whether from the sky or from water flowing through the land, water carried by rivers down from the mountains to the lands that need it at particular times.
إِلَى الْأَرْضِ الْجُرُزِ (to the dry land) which means the land where nothing grows, as in the Ayah,
وَإِنَّا لَجَاعِلُونَ مَا عَلَيْهَا صَعِيداً جُرُزاً
And verily, We shall make all that is on it a bare dry soil. (18:8)
i.e., barren land where nothing grows. Allah says here:
أَوَلَمْ يَرَوْا أَنَّا نَسُوقُ الْمَاء إِلَى الْأَرْضِ الْجُرُزِ فَنُخْرِجُ بِهِ زَرْعًا تَأْكُلُ مِنْهُ أَنْعَامُهُمْ وَأَنفُسُهُمْ أَفَلَا يُبْصِرُونَ ﴿٢٧﴾
Have they not seen how We drive water to the dry land that has no vegetation, and therewith bring forth crops providing food for their cattle and themselves. Will they not then see!
This is like the Ayah,
فَلْيَنظُرِ الإِنسَـنُ إِلَى طَعَامِهِ أَنَّا صَبَبْنَا الْمَآءَ صَبّاً
Then let man look at his food: We pour forth water in abundance. (80:24-25)
Allah says here أَفَلَا يُبْصِرُونَ Will they not then see!
How the Disbelievers sought to hasten on the Punishment, and what happened to Them
Allah tells us how the disbelievers sought to hasten on the punishment, and to bring the wrath and vengeance of Allah upon themselves, because they thought this punishment would never happen, and because of their disbelief and stubbornness.
وَيَقُولُونَ مَتَى هَذَا الْفَتْحُ ...
They say: "When will this Fath be...''
meaning, `when will you prevail over us, O Muhammad, since you claim that there will be a time when you will gain the upper hand over us and take your revenge on us, so when will that happen! All we see of you and your companions is that you are hiding, afraid and humiliated.'
... إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ ﴿٢٨﴾
if you are telling the truth''
قُلْ يَوْمَ الْفَتْحِ ...
Say: "On the Day of Al-Fath...''
meaning, `when the wrath and punishment of Allah befall you, in this world and the next,'
... لَا يَنفَعُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِيمَانُهُمْ وَلَا هُمْ يُنظَرُونَ ﴿٢٩﴾
no profit will it be to those who disbelieve if they (then) believe! Nor will they be granted a respite.
This is like the Ayah,
فَلَمَّا جَآءَتْهُمْ رُسُلُهُم بِالْبَيِّنَـتِ فَرِحُواْ بِمَا عِندَهُمْ مِّنَ الْعِلْمِ...
Then when their Messengers came to them with clear proofs, they were glad with that which they had of the knowledge... (40:83-85)
Those who claim that this refers to the conquest of Makkah go too far, and have made a grievous mistake, for on the day of the conquest of Makkah, the Messenger of Allah accepted the Islam of the freed Makkan prisoners-of-war, who numbered nearly two thousand. If what was meant by this Ayah was the conquest of Makkah, he would not have accepted their Islam, because Allah says:
قُلْ يَوْمَ الْفَتْحِ لَا يَنفَعُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِيمَانُهُمْ وَلَا هُمْ يُنظَرُونَ
Say: "On the Day of Al-Fath, no profit will it be to those who disbelieve if they (then) believe! Nor will they be granted a respite.''
What is meant by Al-Fath here is Judgement, as in the Ayat:
فَافْتَحْ بَيْنِى وَبَيْنَهُمْ فَتْحاً
(Nuh said:) So Aftah (judge) between me and them. (26:118)
قُلْ يَجْمَعُ بَيْنَنَا رَبُّنَا ثُمَّ يَفْتَحُ بَيْنَنَا بِالْحَقِّ
Say: "Our Lord will assemble us all together, then He will judge between us with truth.'' (34:26)
وَاسْتَفْتَحُواْ وَخَابَ كُلُّ جَبَّارٍ عَنِيدٍ
And they sought judgement and every obstinate, arrogant dictator was brought to a complete loss and destruction. (14:15)
وَكَانُواْ مِن قَبْلُ يَسْتَفْتِحُونَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ
although aforetime they had invoked Allah to pass judgement over those who disbelieved. (2:89)
إِن تَسْتَفْتِحُواْ فَقَدْ جَآءَكُمُ الْفَتْحُ
If you ask for a judgement, now has the judgement come unto you? (8:19)
Then Allah says:
فَأَعْرِضْ عَنْهُمْ وَانتَظِرْ إِنَّهُم مُّنتَظِرُونَ ﴿٣٠﴾
So turn aside from them and await, verily, they (too) are awaiting.
meaning, `turn away from these idolators, and convey that which has been revealed to you from your Lord.'
This is like the Ayah,
اتَّبِعْ مَآ أُوحِىَ إِلَيْكَ مِن رَّبِّكَ لا إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ
Follow what has been revealed to you from your Lord, there is no God but Him. (6:106)
`Wait until Allah fulfills that which He has promised you, and grants you victory over those who oppose you, for He never breaks His promise.'
عَنْهُمْ وَانتَظِرْ (verily, they (too) are awaiting). means, `you are waiting, and they are waiting and plotting against you,'
أَمْ يَقُولُونَ شَاعِرٌ نَّتَرَبَّصُ بِهِ رَيْبَ الْمَنُونِ
Or do they say: "A poet! We await for him some calamity by time!'' (52:30)
`You will see the consequences of your patience towards them, and the fulfillment of the promise of your Lord in your victory over them, and they will see the consequences of their wait for something bad to befall you and your Companions, in that Allah's punishment will come upon them.'
Sufficient unto us is Allah, and He is the Best Disposer of affairs.
This is the end of the Tafsir of Surah Al-Sajdah; all praise is due to Allah and all the favors come from Him Alone.