Surah Al-Ahqaf (in Arabic: اَلْأَحْقَافُ) is the 46th chapter of the Qur’an with 35 ayats. It is classified as a Meccan Surah. The title of this Surah in English is “The Sand Dunes”.
In Surah Ahqaf, it refers to the people of ‘Ad and Allah’s punishment for their sins. The people of ‘Ad were a prosperous nations until they were destroyed by violent storm after having rejected the teachings of Tawhid.
“Say, “My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to work righteousness of which You will approve and make righteous for me my offspring. Indeed, I have repented to You, and indeed, I am of the Muslims.”
Surah Al-Ahqaf Ayat 15
Read Surah Ahqaf with English Translation and Transliteration
Bismillah Hir Rahman Nir Raheem
In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful
1. Ha, Meem.
تَنزِيلُ ٱلْكِتَـٰبِ مِنَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلْعَزِيزِ ٱلْحَكِيمِ
Tanzeelul Kitaabi minal laahil-‘Azeezil Hakeem
2. The revelation of the Book is from Allah, the Exalted in Might, the Wise.
مَا خَلَقْنَا ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضَ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَآ إِلَّا بِٱلْحَقِّ وَأَجَلٍۢ مُّسَمًّۭى ۚ وَٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ عَمَّآ أُنذِرُوا۟ مُعْرِضُونَ
Maa khalaqnas samaawaati wal arda wa maa bainahumaaa illaa bilhaqqi wa ajalim musammaa; wallazeena kafaroo ‘ammaaa unziroo mu’ridoon
3. We did not create the heavens and earth and what is between them except in truth and [for] a specified term. But those who disbelieve, from that of which they are warned, are turning away.
قُلْ أَرَءَيْتُم مَّا تَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ أَرُونِى مَاذَا خَلَقُوا۟ مِنَ ٱلْأَرْضِ أَمْ لَهُمْ شِرْكٌۭ فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ ۖ ٱئْتُونِى بِكِتَـٰبٍۢ مِّن قَبْلِ هَـٰذَآ أَوْ أَثَـٰرَةٍۢ مِّنْ عِلْمٍ إِن كُنتُمْ صَـٰدِقِينَ
Qul ara’aytum maa tad’oona min doonil laahi aroonee maazaa khalaqoo minal ardi am lahum shirkun fis samaawaati eetoonee bi kitaabim min qabli haazaaa aw asaaratim min ‘ilmin in kuntum saadiqeen
4. Say, [O Muhammad], “Have you considered that which you invoke besides Allah ? Show me what they have created of the earth; or did they have partnership in [creation of] the heavens? Bring me a scripture [revealed] before this or a [remaining] trace of knowledge, if you should be truthful.”
وَمَنْ أَضَلُّ مِمَّن يَدْعُوا۟ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ مَن لَّا يَسْتَجِيبُ لَهُۥٓ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ ٱلْقِيَـٰمَةِ وَهُمْ عَن دُعَآئِهِمْ غَـٰفِلُونَ
Wa man adallu mimmany yad’oo min doonil laahi mallaa yastajeebu lahooo ilaa Yawmil Qiyaamati wa hum’an du’aaa’ihim ghaafiloon
5. And who is more astray than he who invokes besides Allah those who will not respond to him until the Day of Resurrection, and they, of their invocation, are unaware.
وَإِذَا حُشِرَ ٱلنَّاسُ كَانُوا۟ لَهُمْ أَعْدَآءًۭ وَكَانُوا۟ بِعِبَادَتِهِمْ كَـٰفِرِينَ
Wa izaa hushiran naasu kaanoo lahum a’daaa’anw wa kaanoo bi’ibaadatihim kaafireen
6. And when the people are gathered [that Day], they [who were invoked] will be enemies to them, and they will be deniers of their worship.
وَإِذَا تُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِمْ ءَايَـٰتُنَا بَيِّنَـٰتٍۢ قَالَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ لِلْحَقِّ لَمَّا جَآءَهُمْ هَـٰذَا سِحْرٌۭ مُّبِينٌ
Wa izaa tutlaa ‘alaihim Aayaatunaa baiyinaatin qaalal lazeena kafaroo lilhaqqi lammaa jaaa’ahum haazaa sihrum mubeen
7. And when Our verses are recited to them as clear evidences, those who disbelieve say of the truth when it has come to them, “This is obvious magic.”
أَمْ يَقُولُونَ ٱفْتَرَىٰهُ ۖ قُلْ إِنِ ٱفْتَرَيْتُهُۥ فَلَا تَمْلِكُونَ لِى مِنَ ٱللَّهِ شَيْـًٔا ۖ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا تُفِيضُونَ فِيهِ ۖ كَفَىٰ بِهِۦ شَهِيدًۢا بَيْنِى وَبَيْنَكُمْ ۖ وَهُوَ ٱلْغَفُورُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ
Am yaqooloonaf taraahu qul inif taraituhoo falaa tamlikoona lee minal laahi shai’an Huwa a’lamu bimaa tufeedoona feehi kafaa bihee shaheedam bainee wa bainakum wa Huwal Ghafoorur Raheem
8. Or do they say, “He has invented it?” Say, “If I have invented it, you will not possess for me [the power of protection] from Allah at all. He is most knowing of that in which you are involved. Sufficient is He as Witness between me and you, and He is the Forgiving the Merciful.”
قُلْ مَا كُنتُ بِدْعًۭا مِّنَ ٱلرُّسُلِ وَمَآ أَدْرِى مَا يُفْعَلُ بِى وَلَا بِكُمْ ۖ إِنْ أَتَّبِعُ إِلَّا مَا يُوحَىٰٓ إِلَىَّ وَمَآ أَنَا۠ إِلَّا نَذِيرٌۭ مُّبِينٌۭ
Qul maa kuntu bid’am minal Rusuli wa maaa adreee ma yuf’alu bee wa laa bikum in attabi’u illaa maa yoohaaa ilaiya ya maaa ana illaa nazeerum mubeen
9. Say, “I am not something original among the messengers, nor do I know what will be done with me or with you. I only follow that which is revealed to me, and I am not but a clear warner.”
قُلْ أَرَءَيْتُمْ إِن كَانَ مِنْ عِندِ ٱللَّهِ وَكَفَرْتُم بِهِۦ وَشَهِدَ شَاهِدٌۭ مِّنۢ بَنِىٓ إِسْرَٰٓءِيلَ عَلَىٰ مِثْلِهِۦ فَـَٔامَنَ وَٱسْتَكْبَرْتُمْ ۖ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يَهْدِى ٱلْقَوْمَ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ
Qul ara’aytum in kaana min ‘indil laahi wa kafartum bihee wa shahida shaahidum mim Banee Israaa’eela ‘alaa mislihee fa aamana wastak bartum innal laaha laa yahdil qawmaz zaalimeen (section 1)
10. Say, “Have you considered: if the Qur’an was from Allah, and you disbelieved in it while a witness from the Children of Israel has testified to something similar and believed while you were arrogant… ?” Indeed, Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people.
وَقَالَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ لِلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ لَوْ كَانَ خَيْرًۭا مَّا سَبَقُونَآ إِلَيْهِ ۚ وَإِذْ لَمْ يَهْتَدُوا۟ بِهِۦ فَسَيَقُولُونَ هَـٰذَآ إِفْكٌۭ قَدِيمٌۭ
Wa qaalal lazeena kafaroo lillazeena aamanoo law kaana khairam maa sabaqoonaaa ilyh; wa iz lam yahtadoo bihee fasa yaqooloona haazaaa ifkun qadeem
11. And those who disbelieve say of those who believe, “If it had [truly] been good, they would not have preceded us to it.” And when they are not guided by it, they will say, “This is an ancient falsehood.”
وَمِن قَبْلِهِۦ كِتَـٰبُ مُوسَىٰٓ إِمَامًۭا وَرَحْمَةًۭ ۚ وَهَـٰذَا كِتَـٰبٌۭ مُّصَدِّقٌۭ لِّسَانًا عَرَبِيًّۭا لِّيُنذِرَ ٱلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا۟ وَبُشْرَىٰ لِلْمُحْسِنِينَ
Wa min qablihee kitaabu Moosaaa imaamanw-wa rahmah; wa haazaa Kitaabum musad diqul lisaanan ‘Arabiyyal liyunziral lazeena zalamoo wa bushraa lilmuhsineen
12. And before it was the scripture of Moses to lead and as a mercy. And this is a confirming Book in an Arabic tongue to warn those who have wronged and as good tidings to the doers of good.
إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ قَالُوا۟ رَبُّنَا ٱللَّهُ ثُمَّ ٱسْتَقَـٰمُوا۟ فَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
Innal lazeena qaaloo Rabbunal laahu summas taqaamoo falaa khawfun ‘alaihim wa laahum yahzanoon
13. Indeed, those who have said, “Our Lord is Allah,” and then remained on a right course – there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve.
أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ أَصْحَـٰبُ ٱلْجَنَّةِ خَـٰلِدِينَ فِيهَا جَزَآءًۢ بِمَا كَانُوا۟ يَعْمَلُونَ
Ulaaa’ika Ashabul Jannati khaalideena feehaa jazaaa’am bimaa kaano ya’maloon
14. Those are the companions of Paradise, abiding eternally therein as reward for what they used to do.
وَوَصَّيْنَا ٱلْإِنسَـٰنَ بِوَٰلِدَيْهِ إِحْسَـٰنًا ۖ حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُۥ كُرْهًۭا وَوَضَعَتْهُ كُرْهًۭا ۖ وَحَمْلُهُۥ وَفِصَـٰلُهُۥ ثَلَـٰثُونَ شَهْرًا ۚ حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا بَلَغَ أَشُدَّهُۥ وَبَلَغَ أَرْبَعِينَ سَنَةًۭ قَالَ رَبِّ أَوْزِعْنِىٓ أَنْ أَشْكُرَ نِعْمَتَكَ ٱلَّتِىٓ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَىَّ وَعَلَىٰ وَٰلِدَىَّ وَأَنْ أَعْمَلَ صَـٰلِحًۭا تَرْضَىٰهُ وَأَصْلِحْ لِى فِى ذُرِّيَّتِىٓ ۖ إِنِّى تُبْتُ إِلَيْكَ وَإِنِّى مِنَ ٱلْمُسْلِمِينَ
Wa wassainal insaana biwaalidaihi ihsaanan hamalathu ummuhoo kurhanw-wa wada’athu kurhanw wa hamluhoo wa fisaaluhoo salaasoona shahraa; hattaaa izaa balagha ashuddahoo wa balagho arba’eena sanatan qaala Rabbi aqzi’neee an ashkura ni’matakal lateee an’amta ‘alaiya wa ‘alaa waalidaiya wa an a’mala saalihan tardaahu wa aslih lee fee zurriyyatee innee tubtu ilaika wa innee minal muslimeen
15. And We have enjoined upon man, to his parents, good treatment. His mother carried him with hardship and gave birth to him with hardship, and his gestation and weaning [period] is thirty months. [He grows] until, when he reaches maturity and reaches [the age of] forty years, he says, “My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to work righteousness of which You will approve and make righteous for me my offspring. Indeed, I have repented to You, and indeed, I am of the Muslims.”
أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ ٱلَّذِينَ نَتَقَبَّلُ عَنْهُمْ أَحْسَنَ مَا عَمِلُوا۟ وَنَتَجَاوَزُ عَن سَيِّـَٔاتِهِمْ فِىٓ أَصْحَـٰبِ ٱلْجَنَّةِ ۖ وَعْدَ ٱلصِّدْقِ ٱلَّذِى كَانُوا۟ يُوعَدُونَ
Ulaaa’ikal lazeena nata qabbalu ‘anhum ahsana maa ‘amiloo wa natajaawazu ‘an saiyiaatihim feee Ashaabil jannati Wa’das sidqil lazee kaanoo yoo’adoon
16. Those are the ones from whom We will accept the best of what they did and overlook their misdeeds, [their being] among the companions of Paradise. [That is] the promise of truth which they had been promised.
وَٱلَّذِى قَالَ لِوَٰلِدَيْهِ أُفٍّۢ لَّكُمَآ أَتَعِدَانِنِىٓ أَنْ أُخْرَجَ وَقَدْ خَلَتِ ٱلْقُرُونُ مِن قَبْلِى وَهُمَا يَسْتَغِيثَانِ ٱللَّهَ وَيْلَكَ ءَامِنْ إِنَّ وَعْدَ ٱللَّهِ حَقٌّۭ فَيَقُولُ مَا هَـٰذَآ إِلَّآ أَسَـٰطِيرُ ٱلْأَوَّلِينَ
Wallazee qaala liwaali daihi uffil lakumaaa ata’idanineee an ukhraja wa qad khalatil quroonu min qablee wa humaa yastagheesaanil laaha wailaka aamin inna wa’dal laahi haqq, fa yaqoolu maa haazaaa illaaa asaateerul awwaleen
17. But one who says to his parents, “Uff to you; do you promise me that I will be brought forth [from the earth] when generations before me have already passed on [into oblivion]?” while they call to Allah for help [and to their son], “Woe to you! Believe! Indeed, the promise of Allah is truth.” But he says, “This is not but legends of the former people” –
أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ ٱلَّذِينَ حَقَّ عَلَيْهِمُ ٱلْقَوْلُ فِىٓ أُمَمٍۢ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِن قَبْلِهِم مِّنَ ٱلْجِنِّ وَٱلْإِنسِ ۖ إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا۟ خَـٰسِرِينَ
Ulaaa’ikal lazeena haqqa ‘alaihimul qawlu feee umamin qad khalat min qablihim minal jinni wal insi innahum kaanoo khaasireen
18. Those are the ones upon whom the word has come into effect, [who will be] among nations which had passed on before them of jinn and men. Indeed, they [all] were losers.
وَلِكُلٍّۢ دَرَجَـٰتٌۭ مِّمَّا عَمِلُوا۟ ۖ وَلِيُوَفِّيَهُمْ أَعْمَـٰلَهُمْ وَهُمْ لَا يُظْلَمُونَ
Wa likullin darajaatum mimmaa ‘amiloo wa liyuwaf fiyahum a’maalahum wa hum laa yuzlamoon
19. And for all there are degrees [of reward and punishment] for what they have done, and [it is] so that He may fully compensate them for their deeds, and they will not be wronged.
وَيَوْمَ يُعْرَضُ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ عَلَى ٱلنَّارِ أَذْهَبْتُمْ طَيِّبَـٰتِكُمْ فِى حَيَاتِكُمُ ٱلدُّنْيَا وَٱسْتَمْتَعْتُم بِهَا فَٱلْيَوْمَ تُجْزَوْنَ عَذَابَ ٱلْهُونِ بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَسْتَكْبِرُونَ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ بِغَيْرِ ٱلْحَقِّ وَبِمَا كُنتُمْ تَفْسُقُونَ
Wa Yawma yu’radul lazeena kafaroo ‘alan Naai azhabtum taiyibaatikum fee hayaatikumud dunyaa wastam ta’tum bihaa fal Yawma tujzawna ‘azaabal hooni bimaa kuntum tastakbiroona fil ardi bighairil haqqi wa bimaa kuntum tafsuqoon (section 2)
20. And the Day those who disbelieved are exposed to the Fire [it will be said], “You exhausted your pleasures during your worldly life and enjoyed them, so this Day you will be awarded the punishment of [extreme] humiliation because you were arrogant upon the earth without right and because you were defiantly disobedient.”
۞ وَٱذْكُرْ أَخَا عَادٍ إِذْ أَنذَرَ قَوْمَهُۥ بِٱلْأَحْقَافِ وَقَدْ خَلَتِ ٱلنُّذُرُ مِنۢ بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِۦٓ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوٓا۟ إِلَّا ٱللَّهَ إِنِّىٓ أَخَافُ عَلَيْكُمْ عَذَابَ يَوْمٍ عَظِيمٍۢ
Wazkur akhaa ‘Aad, iz anzara qawmahoo bil Ahqaafi wa qad khalatin nuzuru mim baini yadaihi wa min khalfiheee allaa ta’budooo illal laaha inneee akhaafu ‘alaikum ‘azaaba Yawmin ‘azeem
21. And mention, [O Muhammad], the brother of ‘Aad, when he warned his people in the [region of] al-Ahqaf – and warners had already passed on before him and after him – [saying], “Do not worship except Allah . Indeed, I fear for you the punishment of a terrible day.”
قَالُوٓا۟ أَجِئْتَنَا لِتَأْفِكَنَا عَنْ ءَالِهَتِنَا فَأْتِنَا بِمَا تَعِدُنَآ إِن كُنتَ مِنَ ٱلصَّـٰدِقِينَ
Qaaloo aji’tanaa litaa fikanaa ‘an aalihatinaa faatinaa bimaa ta’idunaaa in kunta minas saadiqeen
22. They said, “Have you come to delude us away from our gods? Then bring us what you promise us, if you should be of the truthful.”
قَالَ إِنَّمَا ٱلْعِلْمُ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ وَأُبَلِّغُكُم مَّآ أُرْسِلْتُ بِهِۦ وَلَـٰكِنِّىٓ أَرَىٰكُمْ قَوْمًۭا تَجْهَلُونَ
Qaala innamal ‘ilmu indal laahi wa uballighukum maaa uriltu bihee wa laakinneee araakum qawman tajhaloon
23. He said, “Knowledge [of its time] is only with Allah, and I convey to you that with which I was sent; but I see you [to be] a people behaving ignorantly.”
فَلَمَّا رَأَوْهُ عَارِضًۭا مُّسْتَقْبِلَ أَوْدِيَتِهِمْ قَالُوا۟ هَـٰذَا عَارِضٌۭ مُّمْطِرُنَا ۚ بَلْ هُوَ مَا ٱسْتَعْجَلْتُم بِهِۦ ۖ رِيحٌۭ فِيهَا عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌۭ
Falammaa ra awhu ‘aaridam mustaqbila awdiyatihim qaaloo haazaa ‘aaridum mumtirunaa; bal huwa masta’jaltum bihee reehun feehaa ‘azaabun aleem
24. And when they saw it as a cloud approaching their valleys, they said, “This is a cloud bringing us rain!” Rather, it is that for which you were impatient: a wind, within it a painful punishment,
تُدَمِّرُ كُلَّ شَىْءٍۭ بِأَمْرِ رَبِّهَا فَأَصْبَحُوا۟ لَا يُرَىٰٓ إِلَّا مَسَـٰكِنُهُمْ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ نَجْزِى ٱلْقَوْمَ ٱلْمُجْرِمِينَ
Tudammiru kulla shai’im bi-amri Rabbihaa fa asbahoo laa yuraaa illaa masaakinuhum; kazaalika najzil qawmal mujrimeen
25. Destroying everything by command of its Lord. And they became so that nothing was seen [of them] except their dwellings. Thus do We recompense the criminal people.
وَلَقَدْ مَكَّنَّـٰهُمْ فِيمَآ إِن مَّكَّنَّـٰكُمْ فِيهِ وَجَعَلْنَا لَهُمْ سَمْعًۭا وَأَبْصَـٰرًۭا وَأَفْـِٔدَةًۭ فَمَآ أَغْنَىٰ عَنْهُمْ سَمْعُهُمْ وَلَآ أَبْصَـٰرُهُمْ وَلَآ أَفْـِٔدَتُهُم مِّن شَىْءٍ إِذْ كَانُوا۟ يَجْحَدُونَ بِـَٔايَـٰتِ ٱللَّهِ وَحَاقَ بِهِم مَّا كَانُوا۟ بِهِۦ يَسْتَهْزِءُونَ
Wa laqad makkannaahum feemaaa im makkannaakum feehi waj’alnaa lahum sam’anw wa absaaranw wa af’idatan famaaa aghnaa ‘anhum samu’uhum wa laaa absaaruhum wa laaa af’idatuhum min shai’in iz kaanoo yajhadoona bi Aayaatil laahi wa haaqa bihim maa kaanoo bihee yastahzi’oon (section 3)
26. And We had certainly established them in such as We have not established you, and We made for them hearing and vision and hearts. But their hearing and vision and hearts availed them not from anything [of the punishment] when they were [continually] rejecting the signs of Allah ; and they were enveloped by what they used to ridicule.
وَلَقَدْ أَهْلَكْنَا مَا حَوْلَكُم مِّنَ ٱلْقُرَىٰ وَصَرَّفْنَا ٱلْءَايَـٰتِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ
Wa laqad ahlaknaa ma hawlakum minal quraa wa sarrafnal Aayaati la’allahum yarji’oon
27. And We have already destroyed what surrounds you of [those] cities, and We have diversified the signs [or verses] that perhaps they might return [from disbelief].
فَلَوْلَا نَصَرَهُمُ ٱلَّذِينَ ٱتَّخَذُوا۟ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ قُرْبَانًا ءَالِهَةًۢ ۖ بَلْ ضَلُّوا۟ عَنْهُمْ ۚ وَذَٰلِكَ إِفْكُهُمْ وَمَا كَانُوا۟ يَفْتَرُونَ
Falaw laa nasarahumul lazeenat takhazoo min doonil laahi qurbaanan aalihatam bal dalloo ‘anhum’ wa zaalika ifkuhum wa maa kaanoo yaftaroon
28. Then why did those they took besides Allah as deities by which to approach [Him] not aid them? But they had strayed from them. And that was their falsehood and what they were inventing.
وَإِذْ صَرَفْنَآ إِلَيْكَ نَفَرًۭا مِّنَ ٱلْجِنِّ يَسْتَمِعُونَ ٱلْقُرْءَانَ فَلَمَّا حَضَرُوهُ قَالُوٓا۟ أَنصِتُوا۟ ۖ فَلَمَّا قُضِىَ وَلَّوْا۟ إِلَىٰ قَوْمِهِم مُّنذِرِينَ
Wa iz sarafinaaa ilaika nafaram minal jinni yastami’oonal Quraana falammaa hadaroohu qaalooo ansitoo falammaa qudiya wallaw ilaa qawmihim munzireen
29. And [mention, O Muhammad], when We directed to you a few of the jinn, listening to the Qur’an. And when they attended it, they said, “Listen quietly.” And when it was concluded, they went back to their people as warners.
قَالُوا۟ يَـٰقَوْمَنَآ إِنَّا سَمِعْنَا كِتَـٰبًا أُنزِلَ مِنۢ بَعْدِ مُوسَىٰ مُصَدِّقًۭا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ يَهْدِىٓ إِلَى ٱلْحَقِّ وَإِلَىٰ طَرِيقٍۢ مُّسْتَقِيمٍۢ
Qaaloo yaa qawmanaaa innaa sami’naa Kitaaban unzila mim ba’di Moosa musaddiqal limaa baina yadihi yahdeee ilal haqqi wa ilaa Tareeqim Mustaqeem
30. They said, “O our people, indeed we have heard a [recited] Book revealed after Moses confirming what was before it which guides to the truth and to a straight path.
يَـٰقَوْمَنَآ أَجِيبُوا۟ دَاعِىَ ٱللَّهِ وَءَامِنُوا۟ بِهِۦ يَغْفِرْ لَكُم مِّن ذُنُوبِكُمْ وَيُجِرْكُم مِّنْ عَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍۢ
Yaa qawmanaaa ajeeboo daa’iyal laahi wa aaminoo bihee yaghfir lakum min zunoobikum wa yujirkum min ‘azaabin aleem
31. O our people, respond to the Messenger of Allah and believe in him; Allah will forgive for you your sins and protect you from a painful punishment.
وَمَن لَّا يُجِبْ دَاعِىَ ٱللَّهِ فَلَيْسَ بِمُعْجِزٍۢ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ وَلَيْسَ لَهُۥ مِن دُونِهِۦٓ أَوْلِيَآءُ ۚ أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ فِى ضَلَـٰلٍۢ مُّبِينٍ
Wa mal laa yujib daa’iyal laahi falaisa bimu’jizin fil ardi wa laisa lahoo min dooniheee awliyaaa’; ulaaa ika fee dalaalim mubeen
32. But he who does not respond to the Caller of Allah will not cause failure [to Him] upon earth, and he will not have besides Him any protectors. Those are in manifest error.”
أَوَلَمْ يَرَوْا۟ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضَ وَلَمْ يَعْىَ بِخَلْقِهِنَّ بِقَـٰدِرٍ عَلَىٰٓ أَن يُحْۦِىَ ٱلْمَوْتَىٰ ۚ بَلَىٰٓ إِنَّهُۥ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَىْءٍۢ قَدِيرٌۭ
Awalam yaraw annal laahal lazee khalaqas samaawaati wal larda wa lam ya’ya bikhal qihinna biqaadirin ‘alaaa aiyuhyiyal mawtaa; balaaa innahoo ‘alaa kulli shai’in Qadeer
33. Do they not see that Allah, who created the heavens and earth and did not fail in their creation, is able to give life to the dead? Yes. Indeed, He is over all things competent.
وَيَوْمَ يُعْرَضُ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ عَلَى ٱلنَّارِ أَلَيْسَ هَـٰذَا بِٱلْحَقِّ ۖ قَالُوا۟ بَلَىٰ وَرَبِّنَا ۚ قَالَ فَذُوقُوا۟ ٱلْعَذَابَ بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَكْفُرُونَ
Wa Yawma yu’radul lazeena kafaroo ‘alan naari alaisa haaza bil haqq; qaaloo balaa wa Rabbinaa; qaala fazooqul ‘azaaba bimaa kuntum takfuroon
34. And the Day those who disbelieved are exposed to the Fire [it will be said], “Is this not the truth?” They will say, “Yes, by our Lord.” He will say, “Then taste the punishment because you used to disbelieve.”
فَٱصْبِرْ كَمَا صَبَرَ أُو۟لُوا۟ ٱلْعَزْمِ مِنَ ٱلرُّسُلِ وَلَا تَسْتَعْجِل لَّهُمْ ۚ كَأَنَّهُمْ يَوْمَ يَرَوْنَ مَا يُوعَدُونَ لَمْ يَلْبَثُوٓا۟ إِلَّا سَاعَةًۭ مِّن نَّهَارٍۭ ۚ بَلَـٰغٌۭ ۚ فَهَلْ يُهْلَكُ إِلَّا ٱلْقَوْمُ ٱلْفَـٰسِقُونَ
Fasbir kamaa sabara ulul ‘azmi minar Rusuli wa laa tasta’jil lahum; ka annahum Yawma yarawna maa yoo’adoona lam yalbasooo illaa saa’atam min nahaar; balaagh; fahal yuhlaku illal qawmul faasiqoon (section 4)
35. So be patient, [O Muhammad], as were those of determination among the messengers and do not be impatient for them. It will be – on the Day they see that which they are promised – as though they had not remained [in the world] except an hour of a day. [This is] notification. And will [any] be destroyed except the defiantly disobedient people?
Tafsir of Surah Ahqaf
The purpose of the revelation of the Quran was to call people to Islam, the one true religion. It’s message was to show and provide guidance to people. This is why it’s important we continue to read the Quran regularly but let’s not forget to make it a study and understand it’s teaching. Below you benefit from reading the commentary of Surah Muhammad by Ibn Kathir and from Tafheem ul Quran by Abul A’a Maududi.
Surah Ahqaf Tafsir by Ibn Kathir
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Allah informs that He has revealed the Book to His servant and Messenger Muhammad — may Allah’s blessings be upon him until the Day of Judgement. Allah then describes Himself as being of unimaginable glory, possessing ultimate wisdom in His statements and actions. Allah then says,
(We created not the heavens and the earth and all that is between them except in truth,) meaning, not in idle play and falsehood.
(and for a specified term.) meaning, for a fixed and specified duration that will not increase or decrease. Allah continues,
(But those who disbelieve, turn away from that of which they are warned.) Meaning, the disbelievers are distracted from what is intended for them. Allah has indeed revealed to them a Book and sent to them a Messenger. Yet, they obstinately turn away from all of that. Therefore, they will soon realize the consequence of their behavior.
Allah then says,
(Say) meaning, to these idolators who worship others besides Allah.
(Think you about all that you invoke besides Allah Show me what they have created of the earth) (46:4) meaning, `show me the place that they have independently created from the earth.’
(Or have they a share in the heavens) which means that they are not partners in anything in the heavens, nor on earth. They do not own even the thin membrane covering a date’s pit. The dominion and control only belong to Allah, Exalted is He. `How then would you worship others or join them as partners with Him Who guided you to that Who called you to that Did He command you to do it, or is it something that you suggested yourselves’ Thus, He says,
(Bring me a scripture prior to this) meaning, `bring a book from among the Books of Allah that have been revealed to the Prophets, that commands you to worship these idols.’
(or some trace of knowledge,) meaning, `some clear evidence justifying this way you have chosen.’
(if you are truthful!) meaning, `you have absolutely no evidence for that — neither textual (from revelation) nor rational.’ For this reason, some recited it; (أَوْ أَثَرَةٍ مِنْ عِلْمٍ) “or something inherited from knowledge” meaning, `or true knowledge that you have inherited from anyone before you.’ This is similar to Mujahid’s statement when he said,
(or some trace of knowledge.) “Or anyone who has inherited any knowledge.” Allah then says,
(And who is more astray than those who invokes besides Allah others who will not answer them until the Day of Resurrection, and who are unaware of their invocations to them) meaning, no one is more misguided than those who invoke idols instead of Allah, asking them for things that they cannot give — until the Day of Judgment. They (the idols) are unaware of what he asks, they can neither hear, see, or act. This is because they are inanimate, senseless stones. Allah then says,
(And when mankind are gathered, they will become their enemies and will deny their worship.) This is similar to Allah’s saying:
(They have taken gods beside Allah, that they might give them dignity. No! They will deny their worship of them, and will be opponents to them.) (19:81, 82) meaning, they will betray them when they need them the most. (Ibrahim) Al-Khalil, peace be upon him, said:
(You have taken only idols besides Allah! The love between you is only in the life of this world. On the Day of Resurrection, you shall disown each other and curse each other, and your abode will be the Fire, and you shall have no helpers.)(29:25)
Concerning the disbelief and rebellion of the idolators, Allah says that when the clear Ayat of Allah are recited to them they say;
(This is plain magic!) meaning, simple magic. In this statement of theirs, they have lied, invented a falsehood, went astray and disbelieved.
(Or they say: “He has fabricated it.” ) They are referring to Muhammad . Allah responds saying,
(Say: “If I have fabricated it, you have no power to support me against Allah…”) which means, `if I lie against Allah and falsely claim that He sent me when He actually had not, then He would punish me with a severe punishment. No one on the earth — you or anyone else — would then be able to protect me from Him.’ It is similar to Allah’s saying,
(Say: “None can protect me from Allah, nor would I find a refuge except in Him. (My duty) is only to convey from Allah and (deliver) His Messages. ”) (72:22-23) Allah says,
(And if he made up a false saying concerning Us, We surely would have seized him by the right hand. Then we would have cut off his life artery. And none of you could withhold Us from (punishing) him.) (69:44-47) Thus, Allah says here,
(Say: “If I have fabricated it, still you have no power to support me against Allah. He knows best of what you say among yourselves concerning it (i.e. this Qur’an)! Sufficient is He as a witness between me and you!…”) This is a severe threat, intimidation and warning for them. Allah then says,
(And He is the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.) This is an encouragement for them to repent and turn to Allah. It means, `despite all of this, if you turn back and repent, Allah will accept your repentance, pardon you, forgive you, and have mercy upon on.’ This is similar to Allah’s saying in Surat Al-Furqan,
(And they say: “(This Book is) legends of the ancients that he has written down, and they are dictated to him morning and afternoon.” Say: “It has been sent down by the One Who knows every secret within the heavens and the earth. Truly, He is ever Forgiving and Merciful.”) (25:5-6) Allah then says,
(Say: “I am not a new thing among the Messengers…”) which means, `I am not the first Messenger who ever came to the world. Rather, Messengers came before me. Therefore, I am not an unprecedented incident that should cause you all to reject me and doubt my being sent to you. Indeed, Allah has sent before me all of the Prophets to various nations.’ Allah then says,
(nor do I know what will be done with me or with you.) `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas that he said, “It (this Ayah) was followed in revelation by,
(That Allah may forgive for you your sins of the past and future). Similarly, `Ikrimah, Al-Hasan, and Qatadah all said that this Ayah was abrogated by the Ayah;
(That Allah may forgive for you your sins of the past and future). They said that when the latter Ayah was revealed, one of the Muslims said to Allah’s Messenger , “Allah has declared what He will do for you. But what will He do for us” Then Allah revealed;
(That He may admit the believing men and the believing women to Gardens under which rivers flow). This is what they said. That which has been confirmed in the Sahih is that the believers said, “May you enjoy that, O Allah’s Messenger! But what do we get” So Allah revealed this Ayah. Imam Ahmad recorded that Kharijah bin Zayd bin Thabit, reported that Umm Al-`Ala’ — a woman from the Ansar who had given her pledge of loyalty to Allah’s Messenger — said, “When the Ansar drew lots regarding taking in the Muhajirun to dwell with them, our lot was to have `Uthman bin Maz`un. Later, `Uthman fell sick in our house, so we nursed him until he died, and we wrapped him in his garments (for burial). Allah’s Messenger then came in, and I said, `O Abu As-Sa’ib! May Allah have mercy on you. I bear witness that Allah has indeed honored you.’ Allah’s Messenger asked,
(How do you know that Allah has honored him) I said, `I do not know — may my father and mother both be ransoms for you!’ Allah’s Messenger then said,
(As for him, certainty (death) has reached him from his Lord, and I surely wish well for him. But by Allah, even though I am Allah’s Messenger, I do not know what will happen to me (after death).) I then said, `Never will I claim a person to be pious after this.’ This incident caused me some distress, and I went to sleep thereafter. I saw in my dream that `Uthman owned a running water spring. I went to Allah’s Messenger and told him about that. Allah’s Messenger said,
(That was his (good) deeds.)” Al-Bukhari recorded this Hadith but Muslim did not. In one of the narrations, Allah’s Messenger said,
(Even though I am Allah’s Messenger, I do not know what will happen to him.) This and similar texts indicate that it is not allowed to declare that a specific person will enter Jannah except for those who were distinctly indicated by Allah or his Messenger . Examples of those are the Ten, Ibn Sallam, Al-Ghumaysa’, Bilal, Suraqah, `Abdullah bin `Amr bin Haram (Jabir’s father), the Seventy Recitors (of Qur’an) who were assassinated near the Well of Ma`unah, Zayd bin Harithah, Ja`far, Ibn Rawahah, and other similar individuals, may Allah be pleased with them. Allah then says,
(I only follow that which is revealed to me, ) which means, `I only follow what Allah has revealed to me of the revelation.’
(and I am but a plain warner.) meaning, `my warnings are obvious to every person with sound intellect and reason.’ And Allah knows best.
(Say) meaning, `O Muhammad to these idolators who disbelieve in the Qur’an.’
(Tell me! If it was) meaning, this Qur’an.
(from Allah, and you disbelieved in it) meaning, `what do you think that Allah will do to you if this Book that I have come to you with is actually revealed to me from Him in order that I convey it to you, and yet you disbelieve in it and deny it
((at the same time), a witness from among the Children of Israel has testified to something similar) meaning, `the previous Scriptures that were revealed to the Prophets before me all testify to its truthfulness and authenticity. They have prophecied, well in advance, about things similar to that which this Qur’an informs of.’ Concerning Allah’s statement,
(and believed) `this person who testified to its truthfulness from the Children of Israel, due to his realization that it was the truth.’
(while you rejected (the truth)!) `whereas you have arrogantly refused to follow it.’ Masruq said: “That witness believed in his Prophet and Book, while you disbelieved in your Prophet and Book.”
(Verily, Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people.) The witness here refers to any witness in general. It includes `Abdullah bin Salam and other from them as well. For indeed, this Ayah was revealed in Makkah before `Abdullah bin Salam had accepted Islam. This is similar to the statement of Allah,
(And when it is recited to them, they say: “We believe in it. Verily, it is the truth from our Lord. Indeed, even before it we have been Muslims.”) (28:53) It is also similar to Allah’s saying,
(Verily! Those who were given knowledge before it — when it is recited to them, they fall upon their faces in prostration, and they say: “Exalted is our Lord! Truly, the promise of our Lord has been fulfilled.”) (17:107-108) It has been narrated from Sa`d, may Allah be pleased with him, that he said, “I have not heard Allah’s Messenger say about anyone walking on the surface of the earth that he is of the people of Jannah — except for `Abdullah bin Salam. Concerning him the following Ayah was revealed,
((at the same time), a witness from among the Children of Israel has testified to something similar)” This has been recorded in the Two Sahihs and An-Nasa’i. Similarly, Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah, `Ikrimah, Yusuf bin `Abdullah bin Salam, Hilal bin Yasaf, As-Suddi, Ath-Thawri, Malik bin Anas and Ibn Zayd all said that this refers to `Abdullah bin Salam. Allah then says,
(And those who disbelieve say of those who believe: “Had it been good, they (the weak and poor) would not have preceded us to it!”) which means that those who disbelieve say of those who believe in the Qur’an: “Had it (the Qur’an) been any good, they (the weak and poor) would not have preceded us to it!” By that, they meant Bilal, `Ammar, Suhayb, Khabbab, may Allah be pleased with them, and others like them of the weak, the male servants, and female servants. The pagans said this only because they thought that they held a high status with Allah, and that He took special care of them. By that, they made a great and obvious error, as Allah says:
(Thus have We tried some of them with others, that they might say: “Is it these whom Allah has favored from among us”) (6:53) meaning, they wonder how could those weaklings be the ones who were guided from among them. Thus, Allah says,
(Had it been good, they (the weak and poor) would not have preceded us to it!) Contrary to this is the position of Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah: They say about any act or saying that has not been reported from the Companions: “It is an innovation. If there was any good in it, they would have preceded us in doing it, because they have not left off any of the good characteristics except that they hurried to perform them.” Allah continues,
(And when they have not been guided by it,) meaning, the Qur’an.
(they say: “This is an ancient falsehood!”) meaning, an old lie. They mean by this that the Qur’an has been quoted and taken from the ancient people, thereby belittling the Qur’an and its followers. This is clear arrogance, as Allah’s Messenger said:
((Arrogance is) rejecting the truth and belittling the people.) Allah then says,
(And before this was the Scripture of Musa) and it was the Tawrah.
(as a guide and mercy. And this is a Book) meaning, the Qur’an.
(confirming) meaning, that which came before it of the previous Books.
(in the Arabic tongue,) means that it is eloquent and clear.
(to warn those who do wrong, and as glad tidings for the doers of good.) meaning, it contains a warning to the dis- believers and glad tidings for the belie- vers. Allah then says:
(Verily, those who say: “Our Lord is (only) Allah,” and thereafter stand firm,) The explanation of this has been dis- cussed earlier in Surat As-Sajdah. ﴿See 41:30﴾ Allah then says,
(on them shall be no fear,) meaning, con- cening their future.
(nor shall they grieve.) meaning, over what they have left behind. Allah continues,
(Such shall be the dwellers of Paradise, abiding therein (forever) — a reward for what they used to do.) meaning, the deeds are a cause for their attaining the mercy and their being engulfed by it — and Allah knows best.
After mentioning that one must confess His Oneness, worship Him with sincerity, and remain upright in obeying Him, Allah follows that by giving instructions regarding the parents. These appear together in many places of the Qur’an, such as Allah’s saying,
(Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be dutiful to your parents.) (17:23) Allah says,
(Be grateful to Me and to your parents. Unto Me is the final destination.) (31:14) There are many other Ayat like this as well. Here Allah says,
(And We have enjoined on man to be dutiful and kind to his parents.) (46:15) meaning, `We have commanded him to treat them well and show compassion towards them. Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi recorded from Sa`d bin Abi Waqqas, may Allah be pleased with him, that his mother said to him: “Hasn’t Allah commanded that you obey your parents Then I will not eat any food or drink any drink until you disbelieve in Allah.” Thus she stubbornly abstained from eating and drinking, until they had to open her mouth with a stick. Then this Ayah was revealed,
(And We have enjoined on man to be dutiful and kind to his parents. ) This was also recorded by Muslim and the Sunan compilers, except for Ibn Majah. Allah continues,
(His mother bears him with hardship.) which means that the mother suffers hardship because of her child, such as fatigue, sickness, vomiting, heaviness, distress, and other forms of hardship that the pregnant women suffer.
(And she delivers him with hardship.) meaning, she also delivers him with hardship, suffering the pains of labor and their severity.
(And (the period of) his gestation and weaning is thirty months,) `Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, used this Ayah along with the following two Ayat to prove that the minimum period of pregnancy (gestation) is six months:
(And his weaning is in two years.) (31:14) and
(The mothers suckle their children two complete years — for those who desire to complete the term of suckling. ) (2:233) This is a strong and valid conclusion, and it was approved by `Uthman and a number of the Companions. Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar narrated from Ba`jah bin `Abdullah Al-Juhani that a man from his tribe (Juhaynah) married a woman from Juhaynah. She delivered a baby after six months. So her husband went to `Uthman, may Allah be pleased with him, and told him about that. Thus, `Uthman summoned her. When she was getting dressed, her sister started crying. She asked her: “Why do you cry By Allah, no one has ever approached me (for sexual relations) of Allah’s creation except him (my husband). So let Allah decree (for me) as He wills.” When she was brought before `Uthman, he commanded that she be stoned to death (for adultery). `Ali heard of this, came to `Uthman, and said: “What are you doing” He (`Uthman) said: “She delivered after six months! Can this ever happen” `Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “Don’t you read the Qur’an” He said: “Yes, of course!” He (`Ali) then said: `Haven’t you heard Allah’s saying,
(and his gestation and weaning is thirty months), and;
( two complete years) (2:233) (Subtracting the two numbers) we are only left with six months.” `Uthman, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “By Allah, I did not see that! Bring the woman back.” But they found that she had already been killed. Ba`jah continued: “By Allah, no two crows and no two eggs are more similar than that child turned out to be to his father! When his father saw that he said, `By Allah! This is my son without any doubt.’ Later on, Allah afflicted him with a skin abscess in his face (because of his false accusation to his wife). It kept eating him up until he died.” Ibn Abi Hatim related from his father that Farwah bin Abi Al-Maghra’ told them that `Ali bin Mushir narrated to them from Dawud bin Abi Hind, who narrated from `Ikrimah that Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “When a woman delivers after nine months, the baby will only need twenty-one months of suckling. When she delivers after seven months, the baby will need twenty-three months of suckling. When she delivers after six months, the baby will need two full years of suckling, because Allah says,
(and his gestation and weaning is thirty months, till when he attains full strength).” meaning, he becomes strong, youthful, and attains full ability.
(and reaches forty years,) meaning, his complete intellect, understanding, and patience reach the level of maturity. It has also been said that usually one will not change his ways once he reaches the age of forty.
(he says: “My Lord! Grant me the power and ability) meaning, `inspire me.’
(that I may be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents, and that I may do righteous good deeds, such as please You,) meaning, in the future.
(and make my offspring good.) meaning, my offspring and descendants.
(Truly, I have turned to You in repentance, and truly, I am one of the Muslims.) This contains an instruction for anyone who reaches forty years of age to renew his repentance and turn to Allah with strong resolution. Allah then says,
(Those are the ones from whom We shall accept the best of what they did and overlook their evil deeds. (They shall be) among the dwellers of Paradise.) meaning, those to whom applies the above description — those who repent to Allah, turn back to Him, and rectify their shortcomings through repentance and seeking forgiveness – those are the ones from whom We will accept the best of what they did and overlook their evil deeds. Many of their errors will be forgiven and Allah will accept from them a modest amount of deeds.
(among the dwellers of Paradise.) which means that they will be among the dwellers of Paradise. That is Allah’s ruling concerning them, as He has promised for those who repent and turn to Him. Thus, He says,
(That is the promise of truth that they had been promised.)
In the previous Ayat, Allah mentions the dutiful offspring who supplicate for their parents and treat them with kindness. He describes the success and salvation He has prepared for them. Here He connects to that discussion the situation of the wretched offspring who are undutiful toward their parents. Allah says,
(But he who says to his parents: “Uff to you! …”) As for the saying “Uff” in this Ayah, it is a general description applying to anyone who says it to his parents. Some people claim that it was revealed about `Abdur-Rahman bin Abi Bakr. But this claim is weak and rejected, because `Abdur-Rahman bin Abi Bakr embraced Islam after this was revealed. His adherence to Islam was excellent, and he was among the best of his contemporaries. Al-Bukhari recorded from Yusuf bin Mahak that Marwan (bin Al-Hakam) was governor of Hijaz (Western Arabia), appointed by Mu`awiyah bin Abi Sufyan. He (Marwan) delivered a speech in which he mentioned Yazid bin Mu`awiyah and urged the people to give a pledge of allegiance after his father. `Abdur-Rahman bin Abi Bakr said something to him in response to that, upon which Marwan commanded his men: “Arrest him!” But he entered `Aishah’s house, and they were not able to capture him. Marwan then said: “This is the one about whom Allah revealed:
(But he who says to his parents: “Uff to you! Do you promise me that I will be raised — when generations before me have passed”)” From behind the curtain, `Aishah responded: “Allah did not reveal any Qur’an in our regard (i.e. the children of Abu Bakr), except for the declaration of my innocence.” In another report recorded by An-Nasa’i, Muhammad bin Ziyad reported that when Mu`awiyah was soliciting people to pledge allegiance to his son, and Marwan declared: “This follows the tradition of Abu Bakr and `Umar.” On hearing this, `Abdur-Rahman bin Abi Bakr said: “Rather, this is the tradition of Heraclius and Caesar.” Marwan responded: “This is the one about whom Allah revealed,
(But he who says to his parents: “Uff to you!”)” When that was conveyed to `A’ishah, she said: “Marwan is lying! By Allah, that was not revealed about him. If I wish to name the person meant by it, I could. On the other hand, Allah’s Messenger placed a curse on Marwan’s father (Al- Hakam bin Abi Al-`As when Marwan was still in his loins, so Marwan (bin Al-Hakam) is an outcome of Allah’s curse.” As for Allah’s statement:
(Do you promise me that I will be raised) meaning, resurrected.
(when generations before me have passed) meaning, generations of people have already passed away, and none of them has ever returned to tell (what happened to them)
(While they invoke Allah for help) meaning, they ask Allah to guide him, and they say to their son,
(“Woe to you! Believe! Verily, the promise of Allah is true.” But he says: “This is nothing but the legends of the ancient.”) Allah then says,
(They are those against whom the Word (of torment) has justified among the previous generations of Jinn and mankind that have passed away.Verily, they are ever the losers.) This indicates that all such people will be among their likes and their peers among the disbelievers, who will lose themselves and their families on the Day of Resurrection. Allah’s saying,
(Those are) after He said,
(But he who says ) confirms what we have mentioned above that the latter is a general description of a type of people including all those who fall under that description. Al-Hasan and Qatadah both said, “This applies to the disbelieving, sinful person who is undutiful to his parents and who denies resurrection.” Allah then says,
(And for all, there will be degrees according to that which they did,) meaning that there will be degrees of punishment for each of them according to what they did.
(so that He might fully recompense them for their deeds, and they will not be wronged.) which means Allah will not be unjust to them even in the amount of a speck of dust or less. `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said: “The levels of the Fire descend, and those of Paradise ascend.” Allah then says,
(On the Day when those who disbelieve will be exposed to the Fire (it will be said): “You received your good things in the life of the world, and you took your pleasure therein…”) which means that this will be said to them by way of blame and reprimand. The Commander of the faithful, `Umar bin Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, gave up many of the joys of food and drink and refrained from them while saying, “I am afraid of being like those whom Allah has reproached and condemned by saying,
(You received your good things in the life of the world, and you took your pleasure therein).” Abu Mijlaz said: “Some people will lose good deeds that they had in the worldly life, and they will be told,
(You received your good things in the life of the world).” Then Allah says,
(Today, you will be recompensed with the torment of extreme humiliation, because you were arrogant upon the earth without a right, and because you used to rebel against Allah’s command.) which indicates that their punishment will be of a type comparable to their deeds. They enjoyed themselves, were arrogant in their denial of the truth, and were involved in sinning and disobedience. Thus, Allah punishes them with extreme humiliation, disgrace, severe pains, continued sorrow, and positions in the terrible depths of Hell — may Allah protect us from all of that.
Allah says, consoling His Prophet in regard to the rejection of those who opposed him among his people,
(And remember the brother of `Ad,) This refers to Hud, peace be upon in him. Allah sent him to the first people of `Ad who inhabited Al-Ahqaf. Ahqaf is plural of Haqf. According to Ibn Zayd, it means a sand dune; and according to `Ikrimah, it means a mountain or a cave. Qatadah said: “We were informed that `Ad was a tribe in Yemen. They dwelt among sand (hills), and overlooked the sea in a land called Ash-Shihr.” Under the chapter, “He Who supplicates should first mention Himself,” Ibn Majah recorded that Ibn `Abbas narrated that the Prophet said:
(May Allah have mercy on us and the Brother of `Ad.) Allah then says,
(And surely, warners had already passed on before him and after him.) meaning, Allah had sent Messengers and warners to the towns surrounding the land of `Ad. This is similar to Allah’s saying,
(And We made it a deterrent punishment for those who were present and those who succeeded them. ) (2:66) And it is also similar to Allah’s saying,
(But if they turn away, then say: “I have warned you of a thunderbolt like the thunderbolt that struck `Ad and Thamud. (That occurred) when the Messengers had come to them from before them and after them (saying): “Worship none but Allah.”) (41:13-14) Allah then says,
(truly, I fear for you the torment of a mighty Day.) meaning, Hud said this to them (his people), and they responded to him saying,
(Have you come to delude us from our gods) meaning, to prevent us.
(from our gods)
(Then bring us that with which you threaten us, if you are one of the truthful!) They sought to hasten Allah’s torment and punishment, believing that it will not happen. This is similar to Allah’s saying,
(Those who do not believe in it (the Last Hour) seek to hasten it) (42:18). Hud’s response was,
(He said: “The knowledge (of that) is only with Allah.”) which means, `Allah knows best about you. If you deserve the punishment to be hastened, He will do that to you. As for me, my duty is to deliver my message to you.’
(But I see that you are a people given to ignorance!) which means, `you have no comprehension or understanding.’ Allah then says,
(Then, when they saw it as a dense cloud approaching their valleys,) meaning, when they saw the punishment coming towards them, they thought it to be clouds full of rain. That made them happy and joyful, because they had a drought and needed rain. Allah then said,
(Nay, but it is that which you were asking to be hastened — a wind wherein is a painful torment!) meaning, this is the torment that you called for saying, “Bring to us what you promise us if you should be of the truthful.”
(Destroying every thing) meaning, destroying every part of their land that could normally be destroyed.
(by the command of its Lord!) meaning, it had Allah’s permission to do that. This is similar to Allah’s saying,
d(It spared nothing that it reached, but blew it into broken spreads of rotten ruins.) (51:42) meaning, like something dilapidated (or decrepit). Because of this, Allah says,
(So they became such that nothing could be seen except their dwellings!) means, all of them were destroyed, and none of them were spared. Allah then says:
(Thus do We recompense the criminal people!) which means that this is Our judgement regarding those who reject Our Messengers and disobey Our commands. Imam Ahmad recorded from `A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, that she said, “I never saw Allah’s Messenger fully laughing so that I would see his uvula. He would only smile.” She added that when Allah’s Messenger saw clouds or wind, that would reflect on his face (as discomfort). She asked him: “O Allah’s Messenger! When the people see clouds, they become happy, hoping that they bring them rain. But I notice that when you see them, displeasure appears on your face.” Allah’s Messenger replied,
(O `A’ishah! What would guarantee to me that they do not bring punishment Some nations had been punished with wind. On seeing the punishment approaching them, a nation once said: “This is a cloud bringing us rain.”) This is also recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim. Imam Ahmad recorded that `A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said that when Allah’s Messenger saw clouds on any of the horizons, he would leave whatever he was doing — even if he was in prayer — and say:
(O Allah! I seek refuge with you from any harm that it (the cloud) contains.) If Allah removed those clouds, the Prophet would praise Allah, and if rain fell, he would say:
(O Allah! Make it pouring and beneficent.) Muslim also recorded in his Sahih from `A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, that when the wind blew, Allah’s Messenger would say,
(O Allah! I ask You of its good, the good that it contains, and the good with which it has been sent. And I seek refuge in You from its evil, the evil that it contains, and the evil with which it has been sent.) She added that if the sky became cloudy, his color would change; he would exit, enter, come, and go. When it rained, his anxiety would be relieved. When `A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, noticed that, she asked him about it and he said:
(O `A’ishah! It could be like what the people of `Ad said, (Then, when they saw it as a dense cloud approaching their valleys, they said: “This is a cloud bringing us rain!”)) We have previously mentioned the story of the destruction of the people of `Ad in both Surat Al-A`raf and Surah Hud. Thus, there is no need to repeat it here; and verily Allah is worthy of all praise and gratitude.
(We also gave them hearing, vision, and hearts. But their hearing, vision, and hearts availed them nothing when they used to deny Allah’s signs, and they were completely encircled by that which they used to ridicule!) meaning, they were encircled by the torment and exemplary punishment that they denied and whose occurrence they doubted. This means, you listeners must beware of being like them lest a punishment similar to theirs strikes you in this life and the Hereafter. Allah then says,
(And indeed We have destroyed towns round about you, ) This is addressed to the people of Makkah. Allah destroyed the nations who disbelieved in the Messengers who lived around Makkah, such as `Ad who were at Al-Ahqaf in Hadramawt near Yemen, Thamud whose dwellings were between Makkah and Ash-Sham (Greater Syria), Saba’ who were in Yemen, the people of Madyan who were on the route and passage to Ghazzah (Western Palestine), and the people of Lut who dwelt by the lake (the Dead Sea) which they used to pass by (on the way to Jordan) as well. Allah then says,
(and We have shown (them) the signs in various ways) meaning, `We explained and clarified them.’
(so that perhaps they might return. As for those whom they had taken for gods besides Allah, as the means of approach to Him, why then did they not aid them) meaning, did they help them when they were in the greatest need for them
(but they vanished completely from them.) Rather, they completely left them alone when they needed them the most.
(And that was their falsehood, ) meaning, their lie.
(and what they were fabricating.) which means that they fabricated lies by taking them as gods, and they lost and failed in their worship of them and their reliance upon them — and Allah knows best.
Imam Ahmad recorded from Az-Zubayr that he commented on the Ayah;
(And (remember) when We sent towards you a group of the Jinn, to listen to the Qur’an.) “They were at a place called Nakhlah while Allah’s Messenger was performing the `Isha’ prayer, and
(they crowded on top of each other to hear him.) (72:19)” Sufyan said, “They stood on top of each other like piled wool.” Ahmad was alone in recording this. Imam Ahmad and the famous Imam, Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr Al-Bayhaqi in his book Dala’il An-Nubuwwah, both recorded that Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “Allah’s Messenger never recited Qur’an to the Jinns, nor did he see them. Allah’s Messenger was heading with a group of his Companions towards the `Ukaz market. At that time, the devils had been prevented from eavesdropping on the news of the heavens, and they were being attacked by burning flames (whenever they tried to listen). When the devils went back to their people, they asked them what happened to them, and they answered, `We have been prevented from eavesdropping on the news of the heavens, and burning flames now attack us.’ Their people told them, `You have only been prevented from eavesdropping on the information of the heavens because of something (major) that has happened. So go all over the earth, east and west, and see what is it that has obstructed you from eavesdropping on the news of the heavens.’ Thus they traveled all over the earth, east and west, seeking that which had obstructed them from eavesdropping on the news of the heavens. A group of them went towards Tihamah, and found Allah’s Messenger while he was at a place called Nakhlah along the way to the `Ukaz market. He was leading his Companions in the Fajr prayer. When the Jinns heard the recitation of the Qur’an, they stopped to listen to it, and then they said: `By Allah! This is what has prevented you from eavesdropping on the news of the heavens.’ Then they returned to their people and told them: `Our people! We certainly have heard an amazing recitation (the Qur’an), it guides to the right path. So we have believed in it, and we will join none in worship with our Lord.’ So Allah revealed to His Prophet ,
(Say: It has been revealed to me that a group of Jinns have listened (to the Qur’an).) (72:19) Thus, what was revealed to him was only the saying of the Jinns.” Al-Bukhari recorded a similar narration, and Muslim recorded it (as it is here). At-Tirmidhi also recorded it, as did An-Nasa’i in his Tafsir. `Abdullah bin Mas`ud reported that the Jinns came down upon the Prophet while he was reciting the Qur’an at a place called Nakhlah. When they heard him,
(They said: “Listen quietly.”) meaning, hush! They were nine in number, and one of them was called Zawba`ah. So Allah revealed,
(And when We sent toward you a group of Jinns, to listen to the Qur’an. When they attended it, they said: “Listen quietly!” And when it was concluded, they returned to their people as warners.) until His saying:
( manifest error.) Thus, this report along with the above one by Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, indicate that Allah’s Messenger was not aware of the presence of the Jinns at that time. They only listened to his recitation and went back to their people. Later on, they came to him in groups, one party after another, and one group after another. As for Allah’s saying,
(they returned to their people as warners.) It means that they went back to their people and warned them about what they heard from Allah’s Messenger . This is similar to Allah’s saying,
(…that they may obtain understanding in religion and warn their people when they return to them, so that they might be cautious (of evil).) (9:122) This Ayah has been used as evidence that the Jinns have warners from among themselves, but no Messengers. There is no doubt that Allah did not send Messengers from among the Jinns, because He says,
(And We did not send before you as Messengers any but men, to whom We revealed from among the people of cities.) (12:109) And Allah says,
(And We never sent before you any of the Messengers but verily they ate food and walked in the markets.) (25:20) And He says about Ibrahim Al-Khalil, upon him be peace,
(…And We placed in his descendants prophethood and Scripture.)(29:27) Thus, every Prophet whom Allah sent after Ibrahim was from his offspring and progeny. As for Allah’s saying in Surat Al-An`am,
(O company of Jinns and human beings! Did there not come to you Messengers from among you) (6:130) It only applies to the two kinds collectively, but specifically pertains to just one of them, which is the human. This is like Allah’s saying,
(From both of them (salty and fresh waters) emerge pearl and Marjan.) (55:22) Although He said “both of them” this applies to only one of the two types of water (the salty water). Allah then explains how the Jinns warned their people. He says,
(They said: “O our people! Verily, we have heard a Book sent down after Musa…”) They did not mention `Isa, peace be upon him, because the Injil that was revealed to him contained admonitions and exhortations, but very few permissions or prohibitions. Thus, it was in reality like a complement to the legislation of the Tawrah, the Tawrah being the reference. That is why they said, “Sent down after Musa.” This is also the way that Waraqah bin Nawfal spoke when the Prophet told him about his first meeting with Jibril, An-Namus, peace be upon him. He said: “Very good, very good! This is (the angel) that used to come to Musa. I wish that I was still a young man (to support you).”
(confirming what came before it,) meaning, the Scriptures that were revealed before it to the previous Prophets. They then said,
(it guides to the truth) means in belief and information.
(and to the straight path.) which means, in deeds. For verily, the Qur’an contains two things: information and commandments. Its information is true, and its commandments are all just, as Allah says,
(And the Word of Your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and in justice.) (6:115) Allah says,
(It is He Who has sent His Messenger with the guidance and the religion of truth.) (9:122) The guidance is the beneficent knowledge, and the religion of truth means the righteous good deeds. Thus, the Jinns said,
(it guides to the truth) in matters of belief,
(and to the straight path.) meaning, in regard to actions.
(O our people! Respond to Allah’s Caller,) This is proof that Muhammad has been sent to both the human beings and the Jinns. Thus, Allah says,
(Respond to Allah’s Caller and believe in him.) Then Allah says,
(He will then forgive you some of your sins,) Some scholars say that “some” here is auxiliary, but this is questionable since it is rarely used to strengthen an affirmative meaning. Others say that it means partial forgiveness.
(and protect you from a painful torment.) meaning, He will protect you from His painful punishment. Then Allah informs that they said,
(And whosoever does not respond to Allah’s Caller, he cannot escape on earth,) meaning, Allah’s power encompasses him and surrounds him.
(and he will not have besides Allah any protectors.) meaning, no one can protect him against Allah.
(Those are in manifest error. ) This is a threat and warning. Thus, those Jinns called their people with encouragement and warning. Because of this, many of the Jinns took heed and came to Allah’s Messenger in successive delegations; and verily, Allah is worthy of all praise and gratitude, and Allah knows best.
Allah then commands His Messenger to observe patience with those who rejected him among his people. He says,
(Therefore be patient as did those of determination among the Messengers.) meaning, as they were patient with their people’s rejection of them. “Those of determination” among the Messengers are Nuh, Ibrahim, Musa, `Isa and the last of all of the Prophets, Muhammad . Allah has specifically mentioned their names in two Ayat: Surat Al-Ahzab (33:7) and Surat Ash-Shura (42:13).
(and be in no hurry for them.) which means, `do not rush the punishment for them.’ This is similar to Allah’s saying:
(And leave Me alone to deal with the rejectors, those who are in possession of good things of life. And give them respite for a little while.) (73:11)
(So allow time for the disbelievers, and leave them for a while.) (86:17) Then Allah says:
(On the Day when they will see that which they are promised, it will be as though they had not remained (in the world) except an hour in a day.) Which is similar to Allah’s saying,
(On the Day they see it (the Hour), it will be as though they had not remained (in the world) except for a day’s afternoon or its morning.) (79:46) and as He says,
(And on the Day when He shall gather them together, (it will be) as if they had not stayed but an hour of a day. They will recognize each other.)(10:45) Then Allah says,
(A clear message.) meaning, this Qur’an provides a clear concept.
(But will any be destroyed except the defiantly rebellious people) Which means that Allah does not destroy anyone except those who choose the way of destruction. It is part of Allah’s justice that He does not punish anyone except those who deserve the punishment — and Allah knows best.
This concludes the explanation of Surat Al-Ahqaf. And all praise and blessings are due to Allah. Both success and protection from faults are by His help.
Tafseer by Abul A’la Maududi
46. Surah Al Ahqaf (The Wind Curved Sand Dunes)
It is derived from the sentence idh andhara qauma-hu bil Ahqaf-i of verse 21.
Period of Revelation
It is determined by an historical event that has been mentioned in vv. 29-32. This incident of the visit of the jinn and their going back after listening to the Qur’an had occurred, according to agreed traditions of the Hadith and biographical literature, at the time when the Holy Prophet had halted at Makkah during his return journey from Ta’if to Makkah. And according to all authentic historical traditions he had gone to Ta’if three years before the Hijrah; therefore it is determined that this Surah was sent down towards the end of the 10th year or in the early part of the 11th year of the Prophethood.
The 10th year of the Prophethood was a year of extreme persecution and distress in the Holy prophet’s life. The Quraish and the other tribes had continued their boycott of the Bani Hashim and the Muslims for three years and the Holy Prophet and the people of his family and Companions lay besieged in Shi’b Abi Talib. The Quraish had blocked up this locality from every side so that no supplies of any kind could reach the besieged people. Only during the Hajj season they were allowed to come out and buy some articles of necessity. But even at that time whenever Abu Lahab noticed any of them approaching the market place or a trading caravan he would call out to the merchants exhorting them to announce forbidding rates of their articles for them, and would pledge that he himself would buy those articles so that they did not suffer any loss. This boycott which continued uninterrupted for three years had broken the back of the Muslims and the Bani Hashim; so much so that at times they were even forced to eat grass and the leaves of trees.
At last, when the siege was lifted this year, Abu Talib, the Holy Prophet’s uncle, who had been shielding him for ten long years, died, and hardly a month later his wife, Hadrat Khadijah, who had been a source of peace and consolation for him ever since the beginning of the call, also passed away. Because of these tragic incidents, which closely followed each other, the Holy Prophet used to refer to this year as the year of sorrow and grief.
After the death of Hadart Khadijah and Abu Talib the disbelievers of Makkah became even bolder against the Holy Prophet. They started treating him even more harshly. So much so that it became difficult for him to step out of his house. Of these days Ibn Hisham has related the incident that a Quraish scoundrel one day threw dust at him openly in the street.
At last, the Holy Prophet left for Ta’if with the intention that he should invite the Bani Thaqif to Islam, for even if they did not accept Islam, they might at least be persuaded to allow him to work for his mission peacefully. He did not have the facility of any conveyance at that time, and traveled all the way to Ta’if on foot. According to some traditions, he had gone there alone, but according to others, he was accompanied by Zaid bin Harithah. He stayed at Ta’if for a few days, and approached each of the chiefs and nobles of the Bani Thaqif and talked to him about his mission. But not only they refused to listen to him, but plainly gave him the notice that he should leave their city, for they feared that his preaching might “spoil” their younger generation. Thus, he was compelled to leave Ta’if. When he was leaving the city, the chiefs of Thaqif set their slaves and scoundrels behind him, who went on crying at him, abusing him and petting him with stones for a long way from either side of the road till he became broken down with wounds and his shoes were filled with blood. Wearied and exhausted he took shelter in the shade of the wall of a garden outside Ta’if, and prayed:
“O God, to Thee I complain of my weakness, little resource, and lowliness before men. O Most Merciful, Thou art the Lord of the weak, and Thou art my Lord. To whom wilt Thou confide me? To one afar who will misuse me?Or to an enemy to whom Thou hast given power over me?If Thou art not angry with me I care not. Thy favor is more wide for me. I take refuge in the light of Thy countenance by which the darkness is illumined, and the things of this world and the next are rightly ordered, lest Thy anger descend upon me or Thy wrath light upon me. It is for Thee to be satisfied until Thou art well pleased. There is no power and no might save in Thee.” (Ibn Hisham:A. Guillaume’s Translation, p. 193).
Grieved and heart broken when he returned and reached near Qarn al-Manazil, he felt as though the sky was overcast by clouds. He looked up and saw Gabriel in front of him, who called out:”Allah has heard the way your people have responded. He has, therefore, sent this angel in charge of the mountains. You may command him as you please.” Then the angel of the mountains greeted him and submitted :”If you like I would overturn the mountains from either side upon these people.” The Holy Prophet replied : “No, but I expect that Allah will create from their seed those who will worship none but Allah, the One.” (Bukhari, Dhikr al Mala’ikah; Muslim: Kitab al-Maghazi; Nasa’i :Al-Bauth).
After this he went to stay for a few days at Makkah, perplexed as to how he would face the people of Makkah, who, he thought, would be still further emboldened against him after hearing what had happened at Ta’if. It was here that one night when he was reciting the Qur’an in the Prayer, a group of the jinn happened to pass by and listened to the Qur’an, believed in it, and returned to their people to preach Islam. Thus, Allah gave His Prophet the good news that if the men were running away from his invitation, there were many of the jinn, who had become its believers, and they were spreading his message among their own kind.
Subject Matter and Topics
Such were the conditions when this Surah was sent down. Anyone who keeps this background in view, on the one hand, and studies this Surah, on the other, will have no doubt left in his mind that this is not at all the composition of Muhammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace), but “a Revelation from the All Mighty, All Wise Allah.” For nowhere in this Surah, from the beginning to the end, does one find even a tinge of the human feelings and reactions, which are naturally produced in a man who is passing through such hard conditions. Had it been the word of Muhammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace) whom the occurrence of personal griefs one after the other and the countless and the recent bitter experience at Ta’if had caused extreme anguish and distress, it would have reflected in some degree the state of the mind of the man who was the subject of these afflictions and griefs. Consider the prayer that we have cited above: it contains his own language its every word is saturated with the feelings that he had at the time. But this Surah which was sent down precisely in the same period and was recited even by him under the same conditions, is absolutely free from every sign or trace of the time.
The subject matter of the Surah is to warn the disbelievers of the errors in which they were involved, and also resisted arrogantly, and were condemning the man who was trying to redeem them. They regarded the world as a useless and purposeless place where they were not answerable to anyone. They thought that invitation to Tauhid was false and stuck to the belief that their own deities were actually the associates of Allah. They were not inclined to believe that the Qur’an was the Word of the Lord of the worlds. They had a strange erroneous concept of apostleship on the basis of which they were proposing strange criteria of judging the Holy Prophet’s claim to it. In their estimation one great proof of Islam’s not being based on the truth was that their elders and important chiefs of the tribes and so called leaders of their nation were not accepting it and only a few young men, and some poor folks and some slaves had affirmed faith in it. They thought that Resurrection and life after death and the rewards and punishments of the Hereafter were fabrications whose occurrence was absolutely out of the question.
In this Surah each of these misconceptions has been refuted in a brief but rational way, and the disbelievers have been warned that if they would reject the invitation of the Qur’an and the Prophethood of the Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace) by prejudice and stubbornness instead of trying to understand its truth rationally, they would only be preparing for their own doom.
In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
1-6 Allah created the heavens, earth and all that lies between them to manifest the truth and Those deities to whom Mushrikin invoke are not even aware that they are being invoked
(46:1) Ha’. Mim.1 (46:2) The revelation of this Book is from Allah, the Most Mighty, the Most Wise. (46:3) We have created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them in Truth and for an appointed term.2 But those who disbelieve have turned away from what they were warned against.3 (46:4) Tell them, (O Prophet): “Did you consider those whom you call upon beside Allah? Show me, which part of the earth they created? Or do they have any share in creating the heavens? Bring to me any Scripture earlier than this one, or any vestige of knowledge (in support of your belief) if you are truthful.4 (46:5) Who is farther strayed from the Right Path than he who calls upon others than Allah that cannot answer his call till the Day of Resurrection,5 the while they are not even conscious that callers are calling upon them?6 (46:6) When all human beings will be gathered together those who had been called upon will become the enemies to their votaries and will disown their worship.7
1. For explanation, see (E.N. 1 of Surah Az-Zumar); (E.N. 1 of Surah Al-Jathiyah) and also( E.N. 1 of Surah As-Sajdah )for understanding the true spirit of this introduction.
2. For explanation, see (Surah Al-Anaam, Ayat 73); (Surah Younus, Ayats 5-6); (Surah Ibrahim, Ayat 19); (Surah Al-Hijr, Ayat 85); (Surah An-Nahl, Ayat: 3); (Surah AI-Anbiya, Ayats 16-18); (Surah Al-Muminun, Ayat 115); (Surah Al-Ankabut, Ayats 44); (Surah Ar-Room, Ayat 8 and the corresponding E.Ns).
3. That is, the fact is that this universe is not a purposeless plaything but a purposeful, wise system in which the decisions regarding the good and the bad, the oppressor and the oppressed, will necessarily be based on justice. The present system of the universe is not permanent and eternal, but it has a fixed term appointed for it on the expiry of which it will inevitably come to an end. For the court of Allah also there is a settled time and it will certainly be established when the time for it reaches its term. But the people who have refused to believe in Allah’s Prophet (peace be upon him) and His Book, have an aversion to these truths. They are least mindful of this that a time has to come when they will have to render an account of their deeds. They think that the Messenger (peace be upon him) of Allah has done them a great wrong by warning them of these truths, whereas he has done them a great good by fore-warning them not only of the time when they will be subjected to accountability but also of what they will be questioned at that time so that they may prepare themselves accordingly.
To understand the following discourse it should be borne in mind that man’s basic error is the one that he commits with regard to determining his belief about God. In this regard, the adoption of a creed carelessly on the basis of mere hearsay, without any serious and deep thought and investigation is a stupendous folly, which vitiates man’s entire attitude towards life in the world and ruins his destiny for ever afterwards. But the reason why man becomes involved in this dangerous kind of heedlessness is that he regards himself as irresponsible and un-answerable and develops the misunderstanding that whatever creed he may adopt about God, it would make no difference, because either there is no life after death in which he might have to face accountability, or if there is any such life and he is also called to account, the beings of whom he is a devotee, will save him from any evil fate. This same lack of the sense of responsibility renders him frivolous in the selection of a religious creed, and on the basis of the same he fabricates all sorts of absurd creeds, from atheism to every form of polytheism, or adopts the creeds fabricated by others.
4. As the addresses are a polytheistic people, they are being told the reality of the irrational creed in which they persisted carelessly due to lack of the sense of responsibility. Along with acknowledging Allah as the Creator of the universe they had made many other beings their deities. They invoked them, regarded them as fulfillers of their needs and removers of hardships, prostrated themselves and made offerings before them, and thought they had the powers of making and unmaking of their destinies. About the same beings, they are being asked: On what basis have you made them your deities? Obviously, there can be only two bases for regarding someone as an associate in worship along with Allah: Either man himself should know through some means of knowledge that his deity too has a share in making the earth and heavens, or Allah Himself may have stated that so and so also is His associate in the functions of Godhead. Now, if a polytheist can neither make the claim that he possesses direct knowledge of his deity’s being an associate of God, nor he can show in a Book sent by God that God Himself has appointed somebody as His associate, his creed would inevitably be baseless.
In this verse, “a Book revealed before this” implies a Book sent by Allah before the Quran, and some remnant of knowledge, implies some part of the teachings of the Prophets and righteous men of the ancient times, which may have reached the later generations reliably. There is no tinge of shirk in whatever man has received through these two means. All the heavenly Books unanimously present the same Tauhid to which the Quran invites the people, and no existing remnant of the ancient lore bears evidence to this that some Prophet or saint or righteous man might have taught the people to serve and worship any other than God. Even if we do not take a Book to mean a divine Book and remnant of knowledge the knowledge bequeathed by the Prophets and righteous men, no authentic book or the research made by a scholar of religious or secular lore has pointed out that such and such a thing in the earth or the heavens has been created by such and such a saint or god, or a certain blessing of the blessings of life which man is benefiting from in the universe has been created by such and such a deity instead of God.
5. “Cannot respond to him”: Cannot answer the supplications of any one. That is, these gods do not possess the powers by virtue of which they could give decisions on the prayers and petitions of their devotees. (For further explanation, see( E.N. 33 of Surah Az-Zumar).
“Until the Day of Resurrection” means that as long as the world lasts they will get no answer to their supplications and prayers from their deities, but when Resurrection will have taken place, the deities will turn hostile to their worshipers themselves, as becomes explicit from the next verse.
6. That is, they do not even hear the supplications of the supplicants, neither through their own ears nor through any other means. This thing can be elaborated like this: The being whom the polytheists the world over have been invoking are divided into three categories:
(1) Lifeless and inanimate creation.
(2) The pious men who have passed away.
(3) The wicked men who had themselves gone astray, and who misled others and passed away.
As for the first category of the deities they will naturally remain unaware of the supplications of their worshipers. As for the deities of the second kind, who were favorites with their God, there are two reasons of their remaining unaware: (a) They are in the presence of Allah in a state where human voices cannot reach them directly; and (b) even Allah and His angels do not inform them that the people whom they had been teaching to invoke Allah alone in the world, were invoking them instead, for no information could cause them a greater shock than this, and Allah does not at all like to vex the souls of His righteous servants.
Now if we consider the case of the third kind of the deities, we shall see that there are two reasons also of their remaining unaware: (a) That they have been placed in confinement as the accused, and no voice from the world can reach them; and (b) that even Allah and His angels do not convey to them the news that their mission is flourishing in the world, and the people have set them up as deities, for this news would be a happy news for them, and Allah does not like to make the wicked people happy.
In this connection, one should also understand that Allah conveys to His righteous servants the greetings of peace and prayers of mercy from the people of the world, for these things are a source of joy and pleasure for them. Likewise, He informs the culprits of the curses, censures and condemnations of the people of the world, as the disbelievers killed in the Battle of Badr were made to hear the curse of the Prophet (peace be upon him) according to a Hadith, for it is a cause of anguish for them. But anything which might cause distress to the righteous people and joy to the culprits is not conveyed to them. This explanation makes the truth about the question of hearing by the dead plain and easy to understand.
7. That is, they will say: We had neither told the people to invoke us for help, nor are we aware that they used to invoke us. They themselves had presumed that we could fulfill their needs and so had started invoking us.
7-10 Al-Quran is the word of Allah, not the Prophet and Prophet is but a plain Warner
(46:7) When Our Clear Messages are rehearsed to them, the unbelievers exclaim about the Truth when it came to them: “This is plain sorcery.”8 (46:8) Do they claim that the Messenger himself has fabricated it?9 (If so), tell them: “If I have fabricated it, then you have no power to protect me from Allah’s chastisement. He knows well the idle talk in which you indulge. He suffices as a witness between me and you.10 He is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful.”11 (46:9) Tell them: “I am not the first of the Messengers; and I do not know what shall be done with me or with you. I follow only what is revealed to me, and I am nothing but a plain warner.”12 (46:10) Tell them, (O Prophet): “Did you consider (what would be your end) 13 if this Qur’an were indeed from Allah and yet you rejected it? And this even though a witness from the Children of Israel has testified to the like of it. But he believed, while you waxed arrogant.14 Verily Allah does not guide such wrong-doers to the Right Way.
8. It means: When the revelations of the Quran were recited before the disbelievers of Makkah, they realized that the Quran was far superior to human speech. The compositions of their greatest poets, orators and literary men were no match with the un-paralleled eloquence, enchanting oratory, sublime themes and heart-moving style of the Quran. Above all, even the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) own words and speech were not comparable with the discourses that were being sent down to him by God. Those who had known him since childhood knew well the vast difference that was there between his language and words and the words of the Quran, and it was not possible for them to believe that a man who had been living day and night among them for forty years would suddenly one day forge a speech whose diction and style would bear no resemblance with his familiar and known manner of speech and style. This thing made the truth plain before them, but since they were bent upon denial, they would say: This is plain magic, instead of acknowledging it as divine word after witnessing this manifest sign. (They regarded the Quran as magic from another aspect also, which we have explained in our commentary of (Surah Al-Anbiya, Ayat 3) and ( E.N. 5 of Surah Suad).
9. This interrogative tone expresses great surprise and amazement. It means to say: Are these people so shameless that they accuse Muhammad (peace be upon him) of fabricating the Quran himself? Whereas they know that it cannot be his word and their calling it magic is by itself an express proof that they regard it as an extraordinary word, which cannot be of human composition even according to themselves.
10. As it was quite evident that their accusation was baseless and motivated by stubbornness, there was no need to present arguments to refute it. Therefore, only this much was regarded as a sufficient response: If I have really fabricated something and committed a grave crime by imputing it to Allah, as you accuse me of, you will not be able to rescue me from Allah’s punishment. But if it is really Allah’s Word, and you are rejecting it by bringing false accusations, Allah Himself will deal with you. For the reality is not hidden from Allah, and He is sufficient to decide between the truth and falsehood. If the whole world calls some one a liar, although he is truthful in Allah’s knowledge, the final decision will be in his favor. On the country, if the whole world regards some one as truthful though he is a liar in the knowledge of Allah, he will be regarded as a liar in the final judgment. Therefore, do not confuse things but pay heed to your final end.
11. Here, this sentence gives two meanings:
(1) It is in fact Allah’s mercy and His forbearance that these people are surviving in the world, although they have no hesitation in declaring Allah’s Word as falsehood; otherwise if a merciless and cruel god had been the master of this universe, he would not have allowed such insolent people to live even for a moment in the world.
(2) O unjust people, if you give up your stubbornness even now, the door of God’s mercy is still open for you, and whatever misdeeds you may have committed heretofore can be forgiven.
12. Its background is this: When the Prophet (peace be upon him) presented himself as Allah’s Messenger, the people of Makkah raised different kinds of objections against it. They said: What kind of a Messenger he is who has a family, who moves about in the streets, eats and drinks and lives a common man’s life. There is nothing special about him, which might distinguish him above the other people and therefore we may know that Allah has specially made this man His Messenger. Then they said: Had he ban appointed a Messenger by God, He would have sent an angel as an attendant with him who would have announced that he was God’s Messenger, and would have punished with a scourge every such person who had behaved insolently towards him. How strange that God should appoint a person as His Messenger and then should leave him alone to roam the streets of Makkah and suffer every kind of humiliation. If nothing else Allah should at least have created a magnificent palace and a blooming garden for His Messenger. He should not have been left to depend on his wife’s resources. Besides, these people demanded different kinds of miracles from him and asked news of the unseen. They thought that a person’s being God’s Messenger meant that he should possess supernatural powers so that mountains should move at his bidding and deserts at once turn into green fields. He should have the knowledge of the past and the future events and of everything hidden from others.
An answer to the same has been given in these sentences, and each sentence contains a world of meaning.
First, it is said: Tell them, I am not a novel Messenger. That is, my being appointed as a Messenger is not a novel event of its kind in the world so that you may have some confusion about the characteristics of a Messenger. Many Messengers have come to the world before me, and I am not any different from them. Never has a Messenger come, who did not have a family, who did not eat and drink, or who did not live a common man’s life. Never has an angel descended as an attendant with a Messenger, heralding his prophethood and carrying a whip before him. Never have gardens and palaces been created for a Messenger and never has a Messenger been spared of the hardships which I am suffering. Never has a Messenger shown a miracle by his own power, or known everything by his own knowledge. Then, how is it that you are bringing forth these strange criteria only to judge my Prophethood?
Then it is said: Tell them also, I do not know what shall befall you tomorrow nor what shall befall me. I only follow that which is revealed to me. That is, I am not a knower of the unseen so that everything of the past and present and future should be known to me, and I should have the knowledge of everything in the world. Not to speak of your future, I do not even know my own future. I only know that of which I am given knowledge by revelation. More than that I have never claimed to know, nor has there ever been a Messenger in the world, who made that claim. It is not a Messenger’s job to tell the whereabouts of the lost articles, or tell whether a pregnant woman will deliver a boy or a girl, or whether a sick patient will live or die. In conclusion, it is said: Say to them, I am no more than a plain warner. That is, I do not possess divine powers so that I may show you the wonderful miracles that you demand from me every next day. My only mission is that I should present the right way before the people, and should warn of an evil end those who do not accept it.
13. This same theme has been expressed in another way in ( Surah HaMim As-Sajdah, Ayat 62) above. For explanation, see( E.N. 69 of that Surah).
14. A large number of the commentators have taken this witness to imply Abdullah bin Salam, who was a famous Jewish scholar of Madinah, and who believed in the Prophet (peace be upon him) after the migration. As this thing happened in Madinah, these commentators say that this verse was revealed at Madinah. This commentary is based on a statement of Sad bin Abi Waqqas according to which this verse was sent down in respect of Abdullah bin Salam (Bukhari, Muslim, Nasai Ibn Jarir); and on the same basis have several major commentators like Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Qatadah, Dahhak, Ibn Sirin, Hasan Basri, Ibn Zaid and Auf bin Malik al-Ashjai accepted this commentary. But, on the other hand, Ikrimah and Shabi and Masruq say that this verse cannot be about Abdullah bin Salam for this entire Surah was revealed at Makkah. Ibn Jarir Tabari also has preferred this view. He says: The whole previous discourse is an address directed to the pagans of Makkah and the following discourse also is directed to them. In this context it is not conceivable that a verse revealed at Madinah was inserted here. The later commentators who have accepted this second version, do not reject the tradition of Saad bin Abi Waqqas, but have opined that as this verse also applies to Abdullah bin Salam’s affirmation of the faith, Saad expressed the opinion, in the tradition of the ancients, that it was sent down with regard to him. This does not, however, mean that when he believed, it was revealed then about him only, but that this verse precisely applied to him and his acceptance of Islam.
Apparently, this second view seems to be more correct and reasonable. Now, the question that remains to be answered is: Who is implied by this witness? Some of the commentators who have accepted the second view say that it implies the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him), but the following sentence: He believed while you showed arrogance, bears no relevance to this explanation. What seems to be nearer the truth is that which the commentator Nisaburi and Ibn Kathir have stated. They say: Here, by a witness is not meant any particular person but a common Israelite. The meaning is this: The teachings that the Quran is presenting before you are not new so that you could deny them by offering the excuse that they were novel teachings which had never been presented before man in the past. Before this these very teachings have been similarly revealed and exist with the Israelites in the form of the Torah and other scriptures, and a common Israelite has already believed in them, and also admitted that Allah’s revelation is a means of the coming down of these teachings. Therefore, you cannot make the claim that revelation and these teachings are incomprehensible. The only thing that hinders you from believing is your arrogance and baseless conceit.
11-14 Al-Quran conforms the revelation of Torah given to Prophet Musa
(46:11) The unbelievers say to the believers: If there was any good in this Book, others would not have beaten us to its acceptance.”15 But since they have not been guided to it, they will certainly say: “This is an old fabrication.”16 (46:12) Yet before this the Book was revealed to Moses as a guide and a mercy. This Book, which confirms it, is in the Arabic tongue to warn the wrong-doers17 and to give good tidings to those who do good. (46:13) Surely those who said: “Our Lord is Allah” and then remained steadfast shall have nothing to fear nor to grieve.18 (46:14) They are the people of Paradise. They shall remain in it forever as a reward for their deeds.
15. This is one of those arguments that the chiefs of the Quraish employed to beguile and mislead the common people against the Prophet (peace be upon him). They said: If the Quran were really based on the truth and Muhammad (peace be upon him) were inviting towards a right thing, the chiefs and the elders and the noblemen of the community would have been in the forefront to accept it. How could it be that a few young boys and mean slaves only should accept a reasonable thing but the distinguished men of the nation, who are wise and experienced, and who have been held as reliable by others, would reject it? This was the deceptive reasoning by which they tried to make the common people believe that there was something wrong with the new message; that is why the elders of the people were not believing it. Therefore, they also should avoid it.
16. That is, they regard themselves as a criterion of the truth and falsehood. They think that whatever (guidance) they reject must be falsehood. But accepting them since thousands of years also were devoid of wisdom and knowledge, and the whole wisdom has now become these people’s monopoly.
17. To warn the wrongdoers: To warn of the evil end those who are being unjust to themselves and to the truth itself by disbelieving in Allah and serving others than Allah, and are involved because of this deviation of theirs in the evils of morals and deeds, which have filled human society with every kind of wickedness and injustice.
18. For explanation, see( E.Ns 33 to 35 of Surah HaMim As- Sajdah).
15-20 Those who treat their parents with kindness shall be rewarded and those who rebuke their parents shall be punished
(46:15) We have enjoined man to be kind to his parents. In pain did his mother bear him and in pain did she give birth to him. The carrying of the child to his weaning is a period of thirty months.19 And when he is grown to full maturity and reaches the age of forty, he prays: “My Lord, dispose me that I may give thanks for the bounty that You have bestowed upon me and my parents, and dispose me that I may do righteous deeds that would please You,20 and also make my descendants righteous. I repent to You, and I am one of those who surrender themselves to You.” (46:16) Such are those from whom We accept their best deeds and whose evil deeds We overlook.21 They will be among the people of Paradise in consonance with the true promise made to them. (46:17) But he who says to his parents: “Fie on you! Do you threaten me that I shall be resurrected, although myriad generations have passed away before me (and not one of them was resurrected)?” The parents beseech Allah (and say to their child): “Woe to you, have faith. Surely Allah’s promise is true.” But he says: “All this is nothing but fables of olden times.” (46:18) It is against such that Allah’s sentence (of punishment) has become due. They will join the communities of humans and jinn that have preceded them. Verily all of them will court utter loss.22 (46:19) Of these all have ranks according to their deeds so that Allah may fully recompense them for their deeds. They shall not be wronged.23 (46:20) And on the Day when the unbelievers will be exposed to the Fire, they will be told: “You have exhausted your share of the bounties in the life of the world, and you took your fill of enjoyments. So, degrading chastisement shall be yours on this Day for you waxed arrogant in the earth without justification and acted iniquitously.”24
19. This verse tells that although the children should serve both the mother and the father, the mother’s right is greater in importance on the ground that she undergoes greater hardships for the sake of the children. The same is borne out by a Hadith, which has been related with a little variation in wording in Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Daud, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Musnad Ahmad, and in Adab al- Mufrad of Imam Bukhari, to the effect that a person asked the Prophet (peace be upon him): Who has got a greater right to my service? The Prophet replied (peace be upon him): Your mother. He asked: Who after her? He replied: Your mother. He asked: Who after her? He replied: Your mother. He asked: Who after her? He replied: Your father. This Hadith precisely explains this verse, for in it also allusion has been made to the triple right of the mother: (1) His mother bore him with hardship. (2) She gave him birth with hardship. (3) His bearing and his weaning took thirty months.
Another legal point also is derived from this verse and ( verse 14 of Surah Luqman) and( verse 233 of Surah Al- Baqarah), which was pointed out by Ali and Ibn Abbas in a law case and made Uthman change his decision. The story goes that during the caliphate of Uthman, a person married a woman from the Juhainah tribe, and just six months after the marriage she gave birth to a healthy and sound child. The man took the case before Uthman, who declared the woman to be an adulteress and ordered that she be stoned to death. On hearing this Ali immediately came to Uthman and asked: What sort of a decision have you given? He replied: She has given birth to a sound child six months after marriage. Is it not a clear proof of her being an adulteress? Ali did not agree, and recited the three above mentioned verses in their sequence. In Surah Al-Baqarah Allah says: The mothers shall suckle their children for two whole years, if the fathers desire the suckling to be completed. In Surah Luqman it is said: And his weaning took two years, and in Surah Al-Ahqaf: And his bearing and his weaning took thirty months. Now, if two years of suckling are taken away from 30 months, six months of bearing remain. This shows that the minimum period of pregnancy in which a sound child can be born is six months. Therefore, the woman who has given birth to a child six months after the marriage cannot be declared an adulteress. On hearing this reasoning of Ali, Uthman admitted that he had not considered that thing at all. Then he recalled the woman and changed his decision. According to another tradition, Ibn Abbas also supported the reasoning of Ali and then Uthman changed his decision. (Ibn Jarir, Ahkam al-Qur an by al-Jassas Ibn Kathir).
The following legal injunctions are derived from the three verses when they are read together: The woman who gives birth to a sound and complete child in less than six months after marriage (i.e. in a proper delivery and not abortion) will be declared an adulteress and her child’s lineage from her husband will not be established.
(2) The woman who delivers a sound and complete child six months or more after marriage, cannot be accused of adultery only on the basis of the child birth, nor can her husband have the right to slander her, nor can he refuse to acknowledge fatherhood of the child. The child will certainly be recognized as his, and the woman will not be punished.
(3) The maximum period for fosterage is two years. If a woman has suckled a child after this age, she will not be regarded as his foster mother, nor will the injunctions pertaining to fosterage ( Surah An-Nisa, Ayat 23) be applicable to her. In this regard, Imam Abu Hanifah has out of caution proposed the period of two and a half years instead of two years so that there remains no chance of error in a delicate matter like the prohibition of the foster relations. (For explanation, see ( E. N. 23 of Surah Luqman).
Here, it would be useful to know that according to the latest medical research a child needs at least 28 weeks to remain in the mother’s womb to be developed and delivered as a living baby. This period amounts to a little more than 6 months. The Islamic law has allowed a concession of about half a month, because a woman’s being declared an adulteress and a child’s being deprived of lineage is a grave matter, and its gravity demands that maximum period be allowed to save both the mother and the child from its legal consequences. Furthermore, no physician and no judge, not even the pregnant woman herself and the man impregnating her, can know as to when exactly did the conception take place. This thing also demands that a few more days be allowed in determining the minimum legal period of pregnancy.
20. That is, O Lord, grant me the grace of such righteous deeds as may conform to Your law in the apparent form as well as be acceptable to You in their actual worth. If an action, however good in the sight of the people, does not conform to obedience to Allah’s law, it cannot have any value in the sight of Allah, no matter how highly it is praised by the people. On the contrary, another action which conforms to the Shariah exactly and has no flaw or deficiency in its apparent form, becomes hollow from within, on account of an evil intention, conceit, arrogance and greed of the world, is worthless in the sight of Allah.
21. That is, their ranks in the Hereafter will be determined by the best deeds they would have done in the world, and their lapses and weaknesses and errors will be overlooked. It is just like a generous and appreciative master who determines the worth of his loyal and obedient servant not by the petty services that he renders but by some work of merit that he might accomplish or a feat of devotion and dedication that he might perform. He will not call his servant to account for his minor shortcomings and overlook his major services.
22. Here, two types of the character have been placed side by side and the listeners are asked the silent question as to which of them is better. At that time both these types of character practically existed in the society, and it was not at all difficult for the people to know where they could find the first type of the character and where the second. This is the answer to this saying of the chiefs of the Quraish: If it had been any good to believe in this Book, these few youngsters and slaves would not have believed in it before they did. In the light of this answer everyone could see for himself as to what was the character of the believers and what of the unbelievers.
23. That is, neither will the good deeds and sacrifices of the good people be lost, nor the evildoers will be awarded a greater punishment than what they will actually deserve. If a good man is deprived of his reward and receives a lesser reward than what is actually his due, it is injustice. Likewise, if an evildoer is not punished appropriately for his evil deeds, or receives a greater punishment than deserved, it is also injustice.
24. “Punishment of humiliation”, because of the arrogance that they showed. They thought they were big people and it was below their dignity to believe in the Messenger and join the poor and indigent believers. They were involved in the false pride that if the big people like them would believe in a thing which a few slaves and poor men had believed in, they would incur infamy. That is why Allah will disgrace them in the Hereafter and will destroy their pride.
21-26 Nation of A’d rejected Allah’s message, as a result she faced destruction
(46:21) Recount to them the story of (Hud), the brother of (the tribe of) ‘Ad. Hud warned his people beside the sand-dunes25 and there have been other warners before him and since his time saying: “Serve none but Allah. Verily I fear that the chastisement of an awesome day shall come upon you.” (46:22) They said: “Have you come to us to turn us away from our gods? Then, bring upon us the scourge that you threaten us with. Do so if you are truthful.” (46:23) He replied: “Allah alone knows about this.26 I only convey to you the Message that I have been sent with. But I see that you are an ignorant people.”27 (46:24) When they saw the scourge advancing towards their valleys, they said: “This is a cloud that will bring much rain to us.” “By no means;28 it is what you had sought to hasten a wind-storm bearing a grievous chastisement (46:25) that will destroy everything by the command of its Lord.” Thereafter nothing was left to be seen except their dwellings. Thus do We requite the wrong-doers.29 (46:26) We had established them firmly in a manner We have not established you.30 We had given them ears and eyes and hearts. But nothing availed them neither their ears, nor their eyes, nor their hearts, for they denied the Signs of Allah.31 Then what they had mocked at encompassed them.
25. As the chiefs of the Quraish had a false pride of their superiority and exulted in their wealth and prosperity, the story of Aad is being related to them about whom it was well known that they had been the mightiest people in Arabia.
Literally, Ahqaf (pl. of hiqf) are long dunes of sand less in height than mountains, but technically it is a name given to the southern-western part of the Arabian desert (Ar- Rubul-khali) which is wholly un-inhabited.
Ibn Ishaq says that the territory of Aad extended from Oman to Yaman, and the Quran tells us that they actually belonged to Al- Ahqaf from where they spread to the adjoining lands and subdued weak nations. 125 miles to the north of the present-day city of Makkah there is a place in Hadramaut, where the people have built a tomb to the Prophet Houd, and the place is well known as the grave of Houd. A religious festival is held there on the 15th of Shaban and thousands of people from different parts of Arabia gather there annually. Although it is not historically established, the grave’s being built there and the southern Arabs’ visiting it in large numbers is at least a proof that local tradition regards this very territory as the land of Aad. Besides, there are several ruins in Hadramaut which the natives still call by the name of Dar-Aad (Abode of Aad).
From the present condition of Al-Ahqaf, no one can even imagine that this land might have been the home of a mighty people boasting of magnificent civilization. Probably it was a green and fertile land thousands of years ago, and then the change of climate might have turned it into a sandy desert. Today it is a vast, wind-swept desert, and no one can dare go into its interior. In 1843 A.D. a Bavarian soldier was able to reach its southern edge. He says that if one looks down from the northern plateau of Hadramaut one can see this desert about a thousand feet in the depression. Here and there in it there are white areas where if a thing falls it goes on sinking into the sand and decays. The Arab Beduins fear this land and are never willing to step into it at any cost. Once when the Bedouins were not ready to take him there, he went by himself. He says that the sand there is very fine powder, and when he threw a plummet into it from a distance, it sank into it within five minutes and the end of the line to which it was attached, also decayed.
For detailed information, see:
Arabia and The Isles, Harold Ingrams, London, 1946.
The Unveiling of Arabia, R H. Kirnan, London, 1937.
The Empty Quarter. Philby. London, 1933.
26. That is, Allah alone knows as to when the torment will descend on you and for how long you will be granted respite.
27. That is, you are taking my warning as a joke in your ignorance and are demanding the torment for fun. You have no idea of how dreadful is God’s torment and how near at hand it might have approached because of your misdeeds.
28. Here, there is no indication as to who gave them this answer. However, the style shows explicitly that this was the answer they were given by the existing conditions. They thought it was a cloud which was coming to give rain to their valleys, but in reality it was a windstorm that was coming on to completely exterminate them.
29. For the details of the story of Aad, see (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayats 65-72); (Surah Houd, Ayats 50-60); (Surah Al- Muminun, Ayats 31-41); (Surah Ash-Shuara, Ayats 123-140); (Surah Al-Ankabut, Ayat 40); (Surah HaMim-AsSajdah, Ayats 15-16 and the corresponding E.Ns).
30. That is, you are no match for them as far as wealth, power, authority and other things are concerned: your sphere of authority is restricted to the bounds of the city of Makkah, but they had dominated a large part of the earth.
31. An important truth has been stated in this brief sentence. It is only the revelations of Allah which give the right knowledge and understanding of the truth and reality to man. If man has this understanding and knowledge he sees the right thing with his eyes, hears the right thing with his ears, thinks the right thing with his mind and intellect and takes the right decisions. But when he refuses to believe in the revelations of Allah, he fails to see the truth in spite of the eyes, becomes deaf to every word of admonition in spite of the ears, and misuses the blessings of the mind and intellect that God has granted him, and goes on drawing wrong conclusions one after the other, so much so that he starts using all his capabilities for his own destruction.
27-28 No deity can save people from the wrath of Allah
(46:27) Surely We destroyed many a town around you. We sent Our Messages to them repeatedly and in diverse forms that they may eschew (their evil ways) and return (to Allah). (46:28) So why did those whom they had set up as gods apart from Allah, hoping that they would bring them nearer to Him, not come to their aid?32 Instead, they failed them. This was the end of the lie they had fabricated and the false beliefs they had invented.
32. That is, they had put faith in those things in the beginning with the idea that they were favorite servants of God and through them they would attain nearness to Him, but then gradually they made them their gods. They started invoking them for help; they formed the belief that they had the powers to change their destinies and could answer their prayers and remove their hardships. To deliver them from this error Allah sent His revelations through His Messengers over and over again in different ways to bring them to the right path, but they persisted in the worship of their gods, and continued to insist that they would still invoke them instead of Allah. Now consider this: When the torment of Allah visited these polytheists because of their deviation, where had their redressers of grievances and removers of hardships disappeared? Why didn’t they come to their rescue at the time of affliction?
29-34 A group of jinns embraced Islam after hearing Al-Quran and became the preachers to their folk
(46:29) And call to mind when We sent to you a party of the jinn that they may listen to the Qur’an.33 When they reached the place (where you were reciting the Qur’an), they said to one another: “Be silent (and listen).” And when the recitation ended, they went back to their people as warners. (46:30) They said: “Our people, We have heard a Scripture revealed after Moses, verifying the Scriptures revealed before it; it guides to the Truth and to the Straight Way.34 (46:31) Our people, respond to the call of him who calls you to Allah and believe in him. Allah will forgive your sins and will protect you from a grievous chastisement.”35 (46:32) And36 he who does not respond to the one who calls to Allah will not be able to frustrate Him on earth, nor will they have anyone to protect them from Allah. Such people are in manifest error. (46:33) Do they not see that Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth and creating them did not wear Him out has the power to bring the dead back to life? Why not! He certainly has the power over everything. (46:34) On the Day when the unbelievers will be brought within sight of the Fire, they will be asked: “Is this not the Truth?” and they will answer “Yes, by Our Lord (this is the Truth).” Allah will say: “Then suffer the chastisement as a requital for your disbelieving.”
33. The traditions that have been related from Abdullah bin Masud, Zubair, Abdullah bin Abbas, Hasan Basri, Saeed bin Jubair, Zarr bin Hubaish, Mujahid, Ikrimah and others in connection with the commentary of this verse concur that this incident of the first visit of the jinns, which has been mentioned in this verse, had occurred in the valley of Nakhlah. And according to Ibn Ishaq, Abu Nuaim Isfahaini and Waqidi, this incident occurred during the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) return journey from Taif to Makkah. On the way, when he halted at Nakhlah, and was reciting the Quran in the Isha or the Fajr or the Tahajjud Prayer, a group of the jinns happened to pass by and stopped to listen to him. In this connection, all the traditions agree that on this occasion the jinns did not appear before the Prophet (peace be upon him), nor did he feel their presence, but Allah informed him afterwards by revelation that they had come and listened to the Quranic recitation.
The place where this incident took place was either Az- Zaimah or AsSayl-ul-Kabir, for both these places are situated in the valley of Nakhlah and at both water is available and are green; if the travelers from Taif have to halt in this valley, they can halt at either of the places.
34. This shows that these jinns had already had faith in the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) and in the divine Books. After hearing the Quran they felt that it gave the same teachings as the former Prophets had been preaching. Therefore, they believed in this Book forthwith and also in the Prophet (peace be upon him) who had brought it.
35. Authentic traditions show that after this several deputations of the jinns visited the Prophet (peace be upon him), one after the other, and met him face to face. When all the traditions related in the collections of Hadith on this subject are read together, it appears that at least six deputations had visited him in Makkah before the Hijrah.
About one of these deputations, Abdullah bin Masud relates: One day the Prophet (peace be upon him) remained missing from Makkah for the whole night. We could not know his whereabouts and feared he might have been attacked by somebody. Early in the morning we saw him coming from the direction of Hira. On inquiring he said that a jinn had come to invite him and he had accompanied him and recited the Quran to a gathering of them there. (Muslim, Musnad Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Abu Daud).
Abdullah bin Masud has related another tradition, saying: Once the Prophet (peace be upon him) asked his companions in Makkah as to which of them would accompany him that night to meet the jinns. I became ready to go with him. At a place in the upper quarters of Makkah the Prophet (peace be upon him) drew a line and told me not to cross it. Then he went forward and stood and began to recite the Quran. I saw that a number of the people had gathered around him and they stood between me and him. (Ibn Jarir, Baihaqi: Dalail an-Nubuwwat, Abu Nuaim Isfahani: Dalail an-Nubuwuat).
On another occasion also during the night Abdullah bin Masud was with the Prophet (peace be upon him) when he decided a case of the jinns at Hajun in Makkah. Many years later Ibn Masud saw a group of the villagers at Kufa and said that the group of the jinns he had seen at Hajun closely resembled those people. (Ibn Jarir).
36. This sentence might also be a part of the saying of the jinns, or it might be an addition by Allah to their saying. In view of the context the second view seems to be more reasonable.
35-35 Keep on passing the message of Allah and bear the disbelievers with patience
(46:35) So bear with patience, (O Prophet), even as the Messengers endowed with firmness of resolve37 (before you) bore with patience, and do not be hasty in their regard. The Day when they see what they had been warned against they will feel as though they had remained in the world no more than an hour of a day. (The Truth has been conveyed.) Will any, then, suffer perdition except those who disobey?
37. That is, just as the Prophets before you went on enduring with patience and ceaseless struggle the indifference, opposition, resistance and persecutions of their people for years, so should you also do the same, and do not entertain the idea that either the people should believe in you immediately or if they do not believe, Allah should visit them with His torment.