Surah Insan (In Arabic: سورة الإنسان) also referred to as Surah Dahr is the 76th Surah of Quran. It is classified as a Medinan Surah meaning it’s revelation was after the Prophet (ﷺ) migrated from Mecca to Medina (Yathrib). It is composed of 31 ayat and in English the title of Surah Insan translates to “Human” or “Man”.
This Surah discusses matters about spiritual growth and outlines the benefits and rewards of those who will attain paradise.
Below you can read Surah Insan in it’s entirety. Below every ayat you’ll find transliteration to help with pronunciation and Sahih international translation to help with understanding. For those looking to learn more about this chapter of the Qur’an in detail you’ll find various tafseer at the bottom of the Surah.
“Indeed, We guided him to the way, be he grateful or be he ungrateful.”
Surah Al-Insan Ayat 3
Read Surah Insan with English Translation and Transliteration
In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful
1. Has there [not] come upon man a period of time when he was not a thing [even] mentioned?
2. Indeed, We created man from a sperm-drop mixture that We may try him; and We made him hearing and seeing.
3. Indeed, We guided him to the way, be he grateful or be he ungrateful.
4. Indeed, We have prepared for the disbelievers chains and shackles and a blaze.
5. Indeed, the righteous will drink from a cup [of wine] whose mixture is of Kafur,
6. A spring of which the [righteous] servants of Allah will drink; they will make it gush forth in force [and abundance].
7. They [are those who] fulfill [their] vows and fear a Day whose evil will be widespread.
8. And they give food in spite of love for it to the needy, the orphan, and the captive,
9. [Saying], “We feed you only for the countenance of Allah . We wish not from you reward or gratitude.
10. Indeed, We fear from our Lord a Day austere and distressful.”
11. So Allah will protect them from the evil of that Day and give them radiance and happiness
12. And will reward them for what they patiently endured [with] a garden [in Paradise] and silk [garments].
13. [They will be] reclining therein on adorned couches. They will not see therein any [burning] sun or [freezing] cold.
14. And near above them are its shades, and its [fruit] to be picked will be lowered in compliance.
15. And there will be circulated among them vessels of silver and cups having been [created] clear [as glass],
16. Clear glasses [made] from silver of which they have determined the measure.
17. And they will be given to drink a cup [of wine] whose mixture is of ginger
18. [From] a fountain within Paradise named Salsabeel.
19. There will circulate among them young boys made eternal. When you see them, you would think them [as beautiful as] scattered pearls.
20. And when you look there [in Paradise], you will see pleasure and great dominion.
21. Upon the inhabitants will be green garments of fine silk and brocade. And they will be adorned with bracelets of silver, and their Lord will give them a purifying drink.
22. [And it will be said], “Indeed, this is for you a reward, and your effort has been appreciated.”
23. Indeed, it is We who have sent down to you, [O Muhammad], the Qur’an progressively.
24. So be patient for the decision of your Lord and do not obey from among them a sinner or ungrateful [disbeliever].
25. And mention the name of your Lord [in prayer] morning and evening
26. And during the night prostrate to Him and exalt Him a long [part of the] night.
27. Indeed, these [disbelievers] love the immediate and leave behind them a grave Day.
28. We have created them and strengthened their forms, and when We will, We can change their likenesses with [complete] alteration.
29. Indeed, this is a reminder, so he who wills may take to his Lord a way.
30. And you do not will except that Allah wills. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise.
يُدْخِلُ مَن يَشَاءُ فِي رَحْمَتِهِ ۚ وَالظَّالِمِينَ أَعَدَّ لَهُمْ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا
31. He admits whom He wills into His mercy; but the wrongdoers – He has prepared for them a painful punishment.
Tafseer of Surah Insan
Here you can read various different tafseer of Surah Insan including the tafsir by Ibn Kathir.
We should make it a practice to read the Quran in Arabic daily. In Hadith of Sunan Ibn Majah number 3779, it tells us those who find it difficult to read the Quran will receive twice the reward because of their effort.
But let’s not forget, the purpose of the revelation of the Quran is to provide clear evidence that Islam is the one true religion and it serves as a guidance for those who believe. Inside this book, it has timeless stories and teachings which is why we should not only read the Quran but make it a study.
This is done best by either listening to lectures or reading the tafseer. We believe the tafseer provides a more structured and is more dense then a formal talk. Below you can begin your journey by reading the various interpretations of Surah Al Insan.
Surah Dahr Tafsir Ibn Kathir
It has been mentioned previously that it is recorded in Sahih Muslim from Ibn `Abbas that the Messenger of Allah used to recite in the Morning prayer on Friday:
(Alif Lam Mim. The revelation…)(32) and;
(Has there not been over man…) (76)
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Allah informs that He brought man into existence after he was not even a thing worth mentioning, due to his lowliness and weakness. Allah says,
(Has there not been over man a period of time, when he was not a thing worth mentioning) Then Allah explains this by saying,
(Verily, We have created man from Nutfah Amshaj,) meaning, mixed. The words Mashaj and Mashij mean something that is mixed together. Ibn `Abbas said concerning Allah’s statement,
(from Nutfah Amshaj,) “This means the fluid of the man and the fluid of the woman when they meet and mix.” Then man changes after this from stage to stage, condition to condition and color to color. `Ikrimah, Mujahid, Al-Hasan and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas all made statements similar to this. They said, “Amshaj is the mixing of the man’s fluid with the woman’s fluid.” Concerning Allah’s statement,
(in order to try him,) means, `We test him.’ It is similar to Allah’s statement,
(That He may test you which of you is best in deed.) (67:2) Then Allah says,
(so, We made him hearer and seer.) meaning, `We gave him the faculties of hearing and sight so that he would be able to use them for obedience and disobedience.’
(Verily, We guided to him the way,) meaning, `We explained it to him, made it clear to him and showed it to him.’ This is as Allah says,
(And as for Thamud, We guided them but they preferred blindness to guidance.) (41:17) Allah also said,
(And We guided him to the two ways.) (90:10) meaning, `We explained to him the path of good and the path of evil.’ This is the statement of `Ikrimah, `Atiyah, Ibn Zayd and Mujahid from what is well-known from him and the majority. Allah then says,
(Whether he be grateful or ungrateful.) This is his decree. Thus, with this he is either wretched or happy. This is like what has been recorded by Muslim in a Hadith from Abu Malik Al-Ash`ari. He said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(All of mankind wakes up in the morning the merchant of his own soul. So he either imprisons it or sets it free.)
Allah informs of what he has waiting for those who disbelieve in Him from His creatures of chains, iron collars and Sa`ir. Sa`ir is the flame and fire of the Hell. This is as Allah says,
(When iron collars will be rounded over their necks, and the chains, they shall be dragged along, in the boiling water, then they will be burned in the Fire.) (40:71,72) After mentioning the blazing Fire He has prepared for these wretched people, Allah goes on to say,
(Verily, the Abrar (righteous believers) shall drink of a cup mixed with Kafur.) The properties of the Kafur (camphor) are well known; cooling, having a nice fragrance and in addition to this its taste will be delicious in Paradise. Al-Hasan said, “The coolness of the camphor will be in the pleasantness of ginger.” Thus Allah said,
(A spring wherefrom the servants of Allah will drink, causing it to gush forth abundantly.) meaning, this (drink) that will be mixed for these righteous people will be taken from Kafur, which is a spring that Allah’s close servants will drink directly from, without it being mixed with anything, and they will drink to their fill from it. The word Yashrabu (to drink) includes the meaning of Yarwa (to quench one’s thirst). Allah then says,
(causing it to gush forth abundantly (Tafjir).) meaning, they will have control of it however and wherever they wish. They will have access to it from their castles, their homes, their sitting rooms and their residences. At-Tafjir means to cause to gush forth or flow out. This is as Allah says,
(And they say: “We shall not believe in you until you cause a spring to gush forth from the earth for us.) (17:90) And Allah says,
(We caused a river to gush forth in the midst of them.) (18:33) Mujahid said,
(causing it to gush forth abundantly.) “This means that they will divert it to wherever they wish.” `Ikrimah and Qatadah both made similar statements. Ath-Thawri said, “They will cause it to flow wherever they wish.”
(They fulfill vows, and they fear a Day whose evil will be wide-spreading.) meaning, they devote to worship Allah using that which He made obligatory upon them from actions of obligatory obedience that is based on Islamic legislation. They also worship Him by fulfilling their vows. Imam Malik reported from Talhah bin `Abdul-Malik Al-Ayli, who reported from Al-Qasim bin Malik, from `A’ishah that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Whoever makes a vow to obey Allah, then he should obey Him. And whoever makes a vow to disobey Allah, then he should not disobey Him.) Al-Bukhari also recorded this Hadith from Malik. These people also abandon those forbidden things which He (Allah) has prohibited for them, due to their fear of having an evil reckoning on the Day of Return. This is the Day when the evil will spread out among all people except for those upon whom Allah has had mercy. Ibn `Abbas said, “Spreading.” Qatadah said, “By Allah! The evil of that Day will spread until it fills the heavens and the earth.” Concerning Allah’s statement,
(And they give food, inspite of their love for it,) It has been said that this means the love of Allah, the Most High. In their view the pronoun refers to Allah. However, the most apparent meaning is that the pronoun refers to the food. This would mean, they give food while they themselves love it and desire it. This was stated by Mujahid and Muqatil, and it was the preferred opinion of Ibn Jarir. This is similar to Allah’s statement,
(And gives his wealth, in spite of love for it.) (2:177) Allah also says,
(By no means shall you attain Al-Birr unless you spend of that which you love.) (3:92) In the Sahih, there is a Hadith which states,
(The best charity is that which you give while you are healthy, covetous, hoping for wealth and fearing poverty.) This means in the condition of your love for wealth, your eagerness for it and your need for it. Thus, Allah says,
(And they give food, inspite of their love for it, to the poor, the orphan and the captive,) Concerning the poor person and the orphan, an explanation of them and their characteristics has already preceded. In reference to the captive, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Al-Hasan and Ad-Dahhak all said, “He is the captive among the people of the Qiblah (i.e., the Muslims).” Ibn `Abbas said, “At that time (when this Ayah was revealed) their (the Muslims’) captives were idolators.” Proof for this is that on the day of Badr the Messenger of Allah commanded his Companions to treat the captives respectfully. They (the Companions) would give them preference over themselves when eating their meals. `Ikrimah said, “They (captives) are the slaves.” Ibn Jarir preferred this opinion since the Ayah generally refers to both the Muslim and the idolators. Sa`id bin Jubayr, `Ata’, Al-Hasan and Qatadah all made similar statements. The Messenger of Allah advised treating servants well in more than one Hadith. This held such importance with him that the last statement of advice that he gave (before dying) was his saying,
(The prayer (As-Salah) and what your right hand possesses (slaves).) Mujahid said, “He (the captive) is the prisoner.” This means that these (righteous) people give food to others even though they themselves desire it and love it, saying at the same time,
(We feed you seeking Allah’s Face only.) meaning, hoping for the reward of Allah and His pleasure.
(We wish for no reward, nor thanks from you.) meaning, `we do not seek any reward from you in return for it. We also are not seeking for you to thank us in front of the people.’ Mujahid and Sa`id bin Jubayr both said, “By Allah! They do not say this with their tongues, but rather, Allah knows it in their hearts and He commends them for it. Every seeker should seek after this.”
(Verily, We fear from our Lord a Day that is `Abus and Qamtarir.) meaning, `we only do this so that perhaps Allah may have mercy on us and treat us with gentleness on the Day that is `Abus and Qamtarir.’ `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas, “`Abus means difficult and Qamtarir means long.” `Ikrimah and others said from Ibn Abbas,
(a Day that is `Abus and Qamtarir (hard and distressful, that will make the faces look horrible from extreme dislike to it.)) “The disbeliever will frown on that day until sweat will flow between his eyes like tar.” Mujahid said, “Abus `Abis means (frowning with) the two lips and Qamtarir means drawing up the face in a scowl.” Sa`id bin Jubayr and Qatadah said, “Faces will be made to frown due to dismay. Qamtarir is the contraction of the forehead and what is between the two eyes due to dismay.” Ibn Zayd said, ” `Abus is the evil and Qamtarir is the severity.”
(So, Allah saved them from the evil of that Day, and gave them Nadrah (a light of beauty) and joy.) This is used as a way of eloquence in stating similarity (i.e., two similar things).
(So, Allah saved them from the evil of that Day,) meaning, He protects them from that which they fear of it.
(and gave them Nadrah (a light of beauty)) meaning, in their faces.
(And joy) in their hearts. Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Qatadah, Abu `Aliyah and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas all stated this. This is similar to Allah’s statement,
(Some faces that Day will be bright, laughing, rejoicing at good news.) This is because if the heart is happy, then the face will be enlightened. As Ka`b bin Malik said in his lengthy Hadith about Allah’s Messenger , whenever he was happy, then his face will be radiant until it will be as if it is a piece of the moon. `A’ishah said, “The Messenger of Allah entered into my home happy and his facial expression was glowing.” And the Hadith continues. dAllah then says,
(And their recompense because they were patient) meaning, due to their patience He will give them, bestow upon them and accommodate them with Paradise and silken garments. This means a home that is spacious, a delightful life and fine clothing. Al-Hafiz Ibn `Asakir said in his biography of Hisham bin Sulayman Ad-Darani, “Surat Al-Insan was recited to Abu Sulayman Ad-Darani, and when the reciter reached the Ayah where Allah says,
(And their recompense shall be Paradise, and silken garments, because they were patient.) he (Abu Sulayman) said, `Because they were patient in leaving off their desires in the world.”’
Allah tells us about the people of Paradise and the eternal delights they will experience, as well as the comprehensive favors that they will be given. Allah says,
(Reclining therein on raised couches.) This has already been discussed in Surat As-Saffat and the difference of opinion about the meaning of reclining. Is it lying down, reclining on the elbows, sitting down cross-legged, or being firmly seated We have also mentioned that the Al-Ara’ik are couches beneath curtained canopies. Concerning Allah’s statement,
(they will see there neither the excessive heat, nor the excessive bitter cold.) meaning, there will be no disturbing heat with them, nor any painful cold, rather there will only be one climate that will be always and eternal and they will not want it to be changed.
(And the shade thereof is close upon them.) meaning, the branches will be close to them.
(And the bunches of fruit thereof will hang low within their reach.) meaning, whenever he attempts to get any fruit, it will come nearer to him and come down from its highest branch as if it hears and obeys. This is as Allah says in another Ayah,
(And fruits of the two gardens will be near at hand.) (55:54) Allah also says,
(The fruits in bunches whereof will be low and near at hand.) (69:23) Mujahid said,
(And the bunches of fruit thereof will hang low within their reach.) “If he stands it will rise with him an equal amount, if he sits it will lower itself for him so that he can reach it and if he lies down it will lower itself for him more so that he can reach it. So this is Allah’s statement,
(will hang low within their reach). ” Qatadah said, “No thorn or distance will repel their hands away from it (the fruit).”
(And among them will be passed round vessels of silver and cups of crystal) meaning, servants will go around them with containers of food made of silver and cups of drink. These are drinking vessels that do not have handles or spouts. Then Allah says,
((Qawarir) Crystal-clear, made of silver.) Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Al-Hasan Al-Basri and others have all said, “It (Qawarir) is the whiteness of silver in the transparency of glass.” Qawarir is only made of glass. So these cups are made of silver, but due to their fine thinness, what is inside of them will be visible from outside of them (as if they are glass). This is among the things of which there is nothing like in this world. Allah said,
(They will determine the measure thereof.) meaning, according to the amount that will quench their thirst. It will not be more than that nor less than it, rather it will be prepared in an amount that is suitable for quenching the thirst of their drinkers. This is the meaning of the statement of Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Abu Salih, Qatadah, Ibn Abza, `Abdullah bin `Ubayd bin `Umayr, Ash-Sha`bi and Ibn Zayd. This was stated by Ibn Jarir and others. This is the most excellent provision, distinction and honor.
(And they will be given to drink there of a cup mixed with Zanjabil (ginger),) meaning, they — the righteous — will also be given a drink from these cups.
(a cup) meaning, a drink of wine.
(mixed with Zanjabil (ginger),) So on one occasion they will be given a drink that is mixed with camphor, and it is cool. Then on another occasion they will be given a drink mixed with ginger, and it is hot. This is so that their affair will be balanced. However, those who are nearest to Allah, they will drink from all of it however they wish, as Qatadah and others have said. The statement of Allah has already preceded which says,
(A spring wherefrom the servants of Allah will drink.) (76:6) And here Allah says,
(A spring there, called Salsabil.) `Ikrimah said, “It (Salsabil) is the name of a spring in Paradise.” Mujahid said, “It is called this due to its continuous flowing and the severity of its current.”
(And round about them will (serve) boys of everlasting youth. If you see them, you would think them scattered pearls.) meaning, young boys from the boys of Paradise will go around serving the people of Paradise.
(everlasting youth.) meaning, in one state forever which they will be never changing from, they will not increase in age. Those who have described them as wearing earings in their ears have only interpreted the meaning in such a way because a child is befitting of this description and not an adult man. Concerning Allah’s statement,
(If you see them, you would think them scattered pearls.) meaning, when you see them dispersing to fulfill the needs of their masters, their great number, their beautiful faces, handsome colors, fine clothing and ornaments, you would think that they were scattered pearls. There is no better quality than this, nor is there anything nicer to look at than scattered pearls in a beautiful place. Allah says,
(And when you look) meaning, `when you see it, O Muhammad.’
(there) meaning, there. This refers to Paradise and its beauty, its vastness, its loftiness and the joy and happiness it contains.
(You will see a delight, and a great dominion.) meaning, there will be a great kingdom that belongs to Allah and a dazzling, splendid dominion. It has been confirmed in the Sahih that Allah will say to the last of the people of the Fire to be taken out of it, and the last of the people to enter into Paradise,
(verily, you will have similar to the world and ten worlds like it (in addition to it).”) If this is what He will give to the least of those who will be in Paradise, then what do you think about the one who will have a higher status and will be favored even more by Allah , nor any painful cold, rather there will only be one climate that will be always and eternal and they will not want it to be changed. This refers to Paradise and its beauty, its vastness, its loftiness and the joy and happiness it contains.
(You will see a delight, and a great dominion.) meaning, there will be a great kingdom that belongs to Allah and a dazzling, splendid dominion. It has been confirmed in the Sahih that Allah will say to the last of the people of the Fire to be taken out of it, and the last of the people to enter into Paradise,
(verily, you will have similar to the world and ten worlds like it (in addition to it).”) If this is what He will give to the least of those who will be in Paradise, then what do you think about the one who will have a higher status and will be favored even more by Allah
(Their garments will be of fine green silk, and Istabraq.) meaning, among the garments of the people of Paradise is silk and Sundus, which is a high quality silk. These garments will be shirts and similar clothing from the undergarments. Concerning Istabraq (velvet), from it there is that which has a glitter and shimmer to it, and it is that which is worn as outer clothes, just as is well-known in clothing.
(They will be adorned with bracelets of silver,) This is a description of the righteous. In reference to those who will be near to Allah, then their description is as Allah says,
(Wherein they will be adorned with bracelets of gold and pearls and their garments therein will be of silk.) (22:23) After Allah mentions the outward beautification with silk and ornaments, He then says,
(and their Lord will give them a purifying drink.) meaning, it will purify their insides of envy, despise, hatred, harm and the other reprehensible character traits. This is just as we have recorded from the Commander of the believers, `Ali bin Abi Talib, that he said, “When the people of Paradise come to the Gate of Paradise, they will find two springs there. Then it will be as if they were inspired with what to do, so they will drink from one of them and Allah will remove whatever harmfulness there may be within them. Then they will bathe in the other spring and a glow of delight will run all over them. Thus, Allah informs of their outward condition and their inner beauty.” Allah then says,
(Verily, this is a reward for you, and your endeavor has been accepted.) meaning, this will be said to them in honor of them and as a goodness towards them. This is as Allah says,
(Eat and drink at ease for that which you have sent forth before you in days past!) (69:24) Allah also says,
(And it will be cried out to them: “This is the Paradise which you have inherited for what you used to do.”) (7:43) Then Allah says,
(and your endeavor has been accepted) mean- ing, `Allah the Exalted will reward you for a small amount (of deeds) with a large amount (of reward).’
Allah reminds His Messenger of how He blessed him by revealing the Magnificent Qur’an to him.
(Therefore be patient with constancy to the command of your Lord.,) meaning, `just as you have been honored by what has been revealed to you, then be patient with His decree and decision and know that He will handle your affairs in a good manner.’
(And obey neither a sinner (Athim) nor a disbeliever (Kafur) among them.) meaning, `do not obey the disbelievers and the hypocrites if they wish to deter you from what has been revealed to you. Rather convey that which has been revealed to you from your Lord and put your trust in Allah, for verily, Allah will protect you from the people.’ The Athim is the sinner in his deeds and the Kafur is the disbeliever in his heart.
(And remember the Name of your Lord every morning and afternoon.) meaning, at the beginning of the day and at its end.
(And during the night, prostrate yourself to Him, and glorify Him a long night through.) This is similar to Allah’s statement,
(And in some parts of the night offer the Salah with it (the Qur’an), as an additional prayer (Tajhajjud) for you. It may be that you Lord will raise you to Maqam Mahmud.) (17:79) Similarly, Allah also says,
(O you wrapped! Stand all night, except a little. Half of it or a little less than that, or a little more. And recite the Qur’an Tartil.) (73:1-4)
Allah reprimands the disbelievers and those similar to them who love the world and are devoted and dedicated to it, who put the abode of the Hereafter behind them in disregard. He says;
(Verily, these love the present life of this world, and put behind them a heavy Day.) meaning, the Day of Judgement. Then Allah says,
(It is We Who created them, and We have made them of strong build.) Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and others have said, “This means their creation.”
(And when We will, We can replace them with others like them with a complete replacement.) meaning, `when We wish, We will resurrect them on the Day of Judgement and change them, repeating their creation in a new form.’ Here the beginning of their creation is a proof for the repetition of their creation. Ibn Zayd and Ibn Jarir both said,
(And when We will, We can replace them with others like them with a complete replacement.) “This means, if We wish We can bring another group of people besides them (in their place).” This is like Allah’s statement,
(If He wills, He can take you away, O people, and bring others. And Allah is capable over that.) (4:133) This is also like His statement,
(If He wills, He can remove you and bring a new creation! And for Allah that is not hard or difficult.) (14:19-20)
Allah then says,
(Verily, this is an admonition,) meaning, this Surah is a reminder.
(so whosoever wills, let him take a path to his Lord.) meaning, a path and a way. This means, whoever wishes to be guided by the Qur’an. This is similar to Allah’s statement,
(And what loss have they if they had believed in Allah and in the Last Day.) (4:39) Then Allah says,
(But you cannot will, unless Allah wills.) meaning, no one is able to guide himself, enter into faith or bring about any benefit for himself,
(Unless Allah wills. Verily, Allah is Ever All-Knowing, All-Wise.) meaning, He is Most Knowledgeable of who deserves to be guided. So, He makes guidance easy for him and He predestines for him that which will be a cause for it. However, whoever deserves misguidance, He averts guidance from him. Unto Him belongs the most excellent wisdom and the most irrefutable argument. Thus, He says,
(Verily, Allah is Ever All-Knowing, All-Wise.) Then He says,
(He will admit to His mercy whom He wills and as for the wrongdoers — He has prepared a painful torment.) meaning, He guides whomever He wishes and He leads astray whomever He wishes. Whoever He guides, there is no one who can lead him astray; and whoever He leads astray, there is no one who can guide him.
This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Insan. And all praise and thanks are due to Allah.
[77:1] There has come upon man a period of time in which he was nothing worth mentioning.
Surah Ad-Dahr has also been called Surah Al-Insan (Man) and Surah Al-Abrar (The Righteous) Ruh]. The Surah describes in a very effective, eloquent and elegant style the inception and end of human creation, reward and punishment of deeds, and the conditions of the Hereafter, Paradise and Hell.
هَلْ اَتٰى عَلَي الْاِنْسَانِ حِيْنٌ مِّنَ الدَّهْرِ لَمْ يَكُنْ شَيْـــًٔا مَّذْكُوْرًا
(There has come upon man a period of time in which he was nothing worth mentioning 76:1). The interrogative particle hal is used linguistically] to introduce an interrogative sentence. Often, however, an interrogative construction is used to emphasise a self-evident truth. Such an interrogative means that whenever this question is put to anyone at anytime, the same answer is likely to come forth. There can be no other possibility. For instance, if a question is posed to anyone in the middle of day ‘Is it not a day?’, it is an interrogative sentence, but the answer is predictable and will emphasise its obviousness. Therefore, some scholars say that the particle hal is used here in the sense of qad ‘indeed’. In both cases, the verse signifies that there has come upon man a period of time in which he was nothing worth mentioning. The word hinun with nunation which is the sign of ‘indefiniteness’] signifies ‘a long indefinite period of time; The verse mentions that a long period of time came upon man. This indicates that man essentially did exist at that time in one form or another, (but he was not worth mentioning), because time could not have come upon ‘man’ if he was in a state of pure non-existence Al-‘adam-ul- mahd]. Therefore, most commentators say that the ‘period of time’ here refers to the period when he was conceived in the mother’s womb till his birth, which normally is nine months. This period covers all the stages of his creation, right from his being a sperm-drop up to his having a body and organs, and then his acquiring life and soul. During this time, he is thought existent, neither his gender is known to anyone, nor his name or his shape or size. Therefore, he is unmentionable.
The statement of the verse may also be taken in a wider sense. The inception of human creation takes place with the sperm that is produced by food. This food and its source and substance was existent in one or other form. If the period of that time is calculated, this long indefinite period of time can stretch into thousands of years. In any case, Allah has drawn man’s attention in this verse to a particular fact. If he uses his sense, he will discover his own reality. In addition, he will have no choice but to have complete faith and unshaken belief in the Allah, His Omniscience and His Omnipotence. Suppose, a person of seventy years reflects that he was unmentionable in any way about seventy-one years ago, even his and parents had not imagined his particular existence, though they might have had a general concept of a child, then what caused his creation, what bewildering power drew together particles from different parts of the world to form a perfect human being, making him an intelligent, a hearing and seeing creature? Such a reflection will spontaneously force such a person to confirm the Persian poet who says:
ما نبودیم وتقاضا مانبود، لطف تو ناگفتہ مامی شنود
[77:2] We have created man from a mixed sperm-drop to put him to a test, so We made him able to hear, able to see.
Neither we were there, nor was there any demand from us. It is only Your mercy that listened to what we never said.
Verse 2] describes the inception of human creation thus:
اِنَّا خَلَقْنَا الْاِنْسَانَ مِنْ نُّطْفَةٍ اَمْشَاجٍ (We have created man from a mixed sperm-drop __76:2). The word amshaj is the plural of mashj or mashj which means a ‘mixture’. Here obviously it refers to the male and female gametes according to most commentators, but some commentators say, as cited in Ruh-ul-Ma` ni, that amshaj refers to the four fluids of the body blood, phlegm, choler and melancholy] of which the sperm is composed.
Man Is Made up of Particles from Different Parts of the World
If we reflect carefully, the cardinal fluids are made up of various kinds of nutriment. If we reflect further on man’s food, it contains elements of water and air from distant parts of the globe. Thus, if we were to analyse man’s present body, we will discover that it is composed of elements and particles that were scattered in every nook and corner of the world. A marvellous system set by Allah has, in a wonderful way, put them together in human structure. If this sense of amshaj ‘mixed’ is taken into account here, it allays the greatest doubt of the rejecters of Resurrection. Their main objection is that when they are dead, reduced to crumbled bones and dust, how will they be raised to life again? They thought this was impossible.
The interpretation of amshaj as ‘cardinal humours/fluids’ allays their doubt once and for all. At the inception, when man was created, he was composed of particles and elements from all parts of the world. Allah did not find this difficult the first time. Why should He find its recreation difficult the second time. According to this interpretation, the addition of the word ‘amshaj’ (mixed) could have a special significance of its own. And Allah knows best!
نَّبْتَلِيْهِ (to put him to a test…76:2). The Arabic verb is derived from ibtila’ which means ‘to put to test’. This phrase puts forward the Wisdom underlying human creation. Allah has created man to put him to a test. This test is defined in forthcoming verses. Allah sent Prophets and celestial Books for the purpose of showing him both ways, one leading to Paradise, and the other to Hell. Man has been given a choice to adopt any one of the two ways. This led mankind into two groups, thus:
اِنَّا هَدَيْنٰهُ السَّبِيْلَ اِمَّا شَاكِرًا وَّاِمَّا كَفُوْرًا (We have shown him the way to (let him) become either grateful or ungrateful…76:3). The first group was of those who, appreciating Allah’s bounties, offered gratitude to Allah, and believed in Him, while the second group was of those who remained ungrateful to Allah’s favours, disbelieved. After the description of the two groups, the next verse describes the punishment and evil consequences of the disbelievers. Allah has prepared, for the disbelievers, shackles and iron-collars and a blazing Fire. On the other hand, huge bounties are mentioned for the believers and righteous people. Out of these bounties, drinkables are mentioned first. They will have a drink from a goblet, blended with (a drink from) Camphor.
اِنَّ الْاَبْرَارَ يَشْرَبُوْنَ مِنْ كَاْسٍ كَانَ مِزَاجُهَا كَافُوْرًا (The righteous will have a drink from a goblet, blended; with a drink from] Camphor….76:5). Some of the commentators say that kar (Camphor) refers to a fountain in Paradise. In order to enhance the taste and pleasure of this drink, it will be mixed with water from this spring. If the word ‘camphor’ is taken in its popular sense, it does not necessarily signify that the camphor of Paradise be equated with the camphor available in this world, because the latter is not palatable.
[77:3] We have shown him the way to (let him) become either grateful or ungrateful.
[77:4] We have prepared for the disbelievers shackles and iron-collars and a blazing Fire.
[77:5] Indeed, the righteous will have a drink from a goblet, blended with (a drink from) Camphor
[77:6] that will be a spring from which Allah’s slaves will drink, making it flow (wherever they wish) profusely.
عَيْنًا يَّشْرَبُ بِهَا عِبَادُ اللّٰهِ (that will be a spring from which Allah’s slaves will drink…76:6). Grammatically, ` ainan (spring) is a complement badal] to kaf ran which explains Kf r. Given this construction, it becomes certain that fur is the name of a spring. However, if the word ` ainan is taken as an explanation to ka’s (goblet), the meaning would be that the goblet will contain a drink from a spring specified for Allah’s slaves. In this case, it is also possible that the term ‘Allah’s slaves’ refers to a category other
than ‘Abrar’ (Righteous).
[77:7] They (are the ones who) fulfil the vows, and fear a day whose evil (events) will be widespread,
يُوْفُوْنَ بِالنَّذْرِ (They are the ones who] fulfill the vows…76:7). This describes the reason why the righteous believers and Allah’s slaves will receive these favours and bounties. This verse signifies that whenever they vow to do a good act, they invariably fulfill the vow. The word ‘vow’ literally means ‘to take upon oneself an obligation which Shari` ah has not obligated on him’. Once a vow is taken, it becomes obligatory to fulfill it. Here it is stated that great rewards and favours for the inmates of Paradise would be apportioned to them because they fulfilled the vow. The verse indicates that when they are so particular about fulfilling their vows that are taken by them upon themselves, they would be even more particular about fulfilling the obligations enjoined upon them by Allah. Thus ‘the fulfillment of vows’ covers the entire spectrum of religious obligations. They would receive the favours of Paradise, if they completely obey Allah and rigorously apply His sacred laws. In any case, this statement emphasises the importance and obligation of fulfillment of vows.
(1) It should be noted that in the original text of Ma` rif-ul-Qur’an, the expression is such that the vow may be confused by a layman with oath. To understand the point, it should be borne in mind that if a person makes a vow to commit a sin, like telling a lie, or drinking liquor, this vow is not recognized in Shri` ah. It is necessary for such a person to abstain from the sin, and since the vow is not recognized by the Sharl’ah, no expiation (kaffarah) is needed. However, it is the rule about oath that has been mentioned in the text above. That is, if someone swears an oath to tell a lie, for example, he has to break the oath and offer karah.(Muhammad Taqi Usmani)
There are several conditions that must be met before a vow can be constituted: 1] The vow must be legitimate and permissible – not a sin. If a person swears an oath to commit a sinful act, it is necessary for him to break the oath, and pay the expiation for violating it.” ) 2] It must not be legislated by Allah as an obligatory duty, as for instance if a person were to vow that he will perform the prescribed prayer or witr prayer, the vow would be null and void, because it is already a prescribed obligation. 3] According to Imam A` zam Abu Hanifah, it is also a condition that the vowed act must be an act of worship in itself, and such act of worship should belong to those forms of worship which have been made obligatory in some way or the other, as for instance prayers, fasting, charity, sacrifice and so on. If the vowed act is not prescribed as a worship, such a vow will be void. For instance, if a person were to vow that he will pay a visit to a sickly patient, or follow a funeral procession, this vow will not be valid, because although these acts carry rewards as acts of worship, yet they are not acts, of worship in themselves (Al ` Ibadat ul Maqsudah). Detailed rules and principles related to vows and oaths are available in books of jurisprudence.
[77:8] and they give food, despite their love for it, to the needy, and the orphan, and the captive,
وَيُطْعِمُوْنَ الطَّعَامَ عَلٰي حُبِّهٖ مِسْكِيْنًا وَّيَـتِـيْمًا وَّاَسِيْرًا (and they give food, despite their love for it, to the needy, and the orphan, and the captive… 76:8). The other reason why the inmates of Paradise will receive these favours is given in this verse, that is, their feeding the needy, the orphans and the captives.
عَلٰي حُبِّهٖ (despite their love for it). This would mean that they give food to the needy while they themselves love it and desire it_ not that they eat to their fill and give the left-over food to the needy and poor. That feeding the poor and orphans is a form of worship and attracts reward is obvious. The word ‘captive’ refers to all prisoners, Muslim criminals, as well as infidels who are kept in prisons according to the principles of Shari` ah. It is the responsibility of the Islamic government to feed them. Anyone who feeds them is actually assisting the government and the public treasury. Therefore, feeding the prisoners, even Non-Muslims, is an act of reward. In the early days of Islam, especially, feeding the prisoners and taking care of them or protecting them was a responsibility that was shared by the general body of Muslims, as it happened with the prisoners of the Battle of Badr.
[77:9] (saying to them,) “We feed you only for the sake of Allah; we have no intention of (receiving) either a return from you or thanks.
[77:10] In fact, we are fearful of a day, from our Lord, that will be frowning, extremely frowning.”
[77:11] So Allah will save them from the evil of that day, and will grant them bloom and delight,
[77:12] and will give them, in return for their patience, garden and (garments of) silk,
[77:13] wherein they will be reclining on couches, feeling neither heat of the sun, nor intense cold,
[77:14] and shades of gardens will be hanging low on them, and its fruits will be put entirely into their service.
[77:15] And circulated among them will be vessels of silver, and cups that will be (as transparent as) crystals,
[77:16] _crystals (as shining as if made) of silver, measured by those (who filled them) with due measure.
قَوَا۩رِيْرَا۟ مِنْ فِضَّةٍ (vessels of silver…76:16). Silver vessels in this world are dense which can never be like glass, and that which is made of glass can never be silver. Thus silver and glass are two contradictory concepts in this world. However, it is a characteristic of Paradise that its glasses will be as bright as silver, and as transparent and sparkling as crystal.
Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas said: The blessings given in Paradise have their likes in this world also, except these vessels that are made of silver, but as transparent as a mirror.”
[77:17] And they will be served with a goblet of drink blended with ginger,
وَيُسْقَوْنَ فِيْهَا كَاْسًا كَانَ مِزَاجُهَا زَنْجَبِيْلًا (And they will be served with a goblet of drink blended with ginger…76:17). The word zanjabil means ‘ginger’. The Arabs loved that their drink should be mixed with ginger. Therefore, it is mentioned in the context of Paradise so that they are served with drinks flavoured with ginger of paradisiacal quality and splendour]. Some scholars say that the only thing the blessings of Paradise and the blessings of this world share in common is their name, and they have nothing else in common. Therefore, the ‘ginger’ of this world cannot be equated with the ‘ginger’ of Paradise.
[77:18] a spring therein called Salsabil.
[77:19] And circling around them will be serving boys, blessed with eternal youth; when you would see them, you would take them as scattered pearls.
[77:20] And when you will look around there, you will see the Bliss, and a magnificent realm.
[77:21] Upon them will be garments of green sundus (a kind of fine silk), and of istabraq (a kind of thick silk). And they will be adorned by bracelets of silver, and their Lord will give them a pure beverage to drink.
وَّحُلُّوْٓا اَسَاوِرَ مِنْ فِضَّةٍ ۚ (…And they will be adorned by bracelets of silver…76:21). The asawir is the plural of siwar that refers to a ‘bracelet’. It is a piece of jewellery worn around the wrist. This verse speaks of’silver bracelets’. On another occasion 22:23], the Qur’an speaks of asawira min dhahab ‘gold bracelets’. There is no discrepancy between the two verses, because sometimes the silver bracelets will be worn, and at other times the gold bracelets, or some will wear gold bracelets and others will wear silver bracelets.
However, a question arises in any case: A bracelet looks good on women, but does not suit men. Why will the men of Paradise wear bracelets? The Answer is that suitability of any piece of jewellery to men or women depends on custom. The style and appeal of jewellery differ from country to country and vary from nation to nation. In some cultures, a piece of jewellery is treated as highly inappropriate for men, and in other cultures it is regarded as highly beautiful and elegant. The Chosros Persian kings] used to wear bracelets around their wrists, and various kinds of jewellery used to be studded on their chest and crown. This was counted as a distinctive feature of their prestige and honour. After the conquest of Persian empire, the treasures that fell into Muslims’ hands contained the Persian Emperor’s bracelets. Thus the various cultures and nations differ in their taste for jewellery in this very world. The flair and taste for jewellery for men in Paradise cannot be equated with their flair for it in this world.
[77:22] (It will be said to them,) “This is a reward for you, and your effort has been appreciated.”
اِنَّ هٰذَا كَانَ لَكُمْ جَزَاۗءً وَّكَانَ سَعْيُكُمْ مَّشْكُوْرًا (It will be said to them,] This is a reward for you, and your effort has been appreciated….76:22). Allah will address the inmates of Paradise once they have entered Paradise, and will announce to them that the amazing bounties are granted to them as a reward for their good deeds they had done in the world, and their deeds have been appreciated by Allah. These expressions will be made to them by way of congratulation. For the people of love, the Divine congratulatory expressions will outweigh all the other blessings of Paradise put together. The congratulatory words are a proof positive of Divine pleasure.
Having mentioned the general blessings of the inmates of Paradise, special blessings that are conferred on the Holy Prophet are listed. Firstly, the blessing in the form of the revelation of the Qur’an is mentioned. The Holy Prophet is, then, directed that the opponents and obdurate non-believers will obstinately reject the message and persecute him. So, he is to submit patiently to Allah’s decision, and he should not obey any sinner or ungrateful person. Secondly, he is commanded to pronounce the name of Allah, and worship Him day and night. Further, he should prostrate before Him, during the night, and pronounce His purity for long times at night. This preoccupation will serve as a remedy for the non-believers’ persecution. Towards the conclusion of the passage, the verse shows the reason for the persistence of the obdurate infidels. These ignoramus are intoxicated with the fleeting pleasures of this world, and have neglected the Hereafter, whereas if they had pondered in their own being or existence, they would have recognised and understood their Creator and Maker.
نَحْنُ خَلَقْنٰهُمْ وَشَدَدْنَآ اَسْرَهُمْ ۚ وَاِذَا شِئْنَا بَدَّلْنَآ اَمْثَالَهُمْ تَبْدِيْلًا (We have created them and have made their joints strong. And whenever We will, We would replace them with others like them, a total replacement. …76:28)
Miracles of Nature Respecting Human Joints
This verse alludes to the fact that even though man’s limbs and organs are perpetually in motion, and the wear and tear on them is phenomenal, they continue to function from birth to death. When machines made of iron or steel wear out and require regular servicing to remain functioning for even a short period, man’s body, made of soft tissues and muscles, functions for decades and scores of years without maintenance. Let us take the joints of the fingers or other joints of the human body]. They are moved vigorously in different ways in an uncountable number of times. Heavy pressure and force is applied to them for seventy to eighty years on an average], yet the finger joints and other joints] remain intact. It is certainly only Allah Who makes this possible. ‘Glorious is Allah, the Best of Creators!’
[77:23] Indeed we have revealed to you the Qur’an through a gradual process.
[77:24] So, submit patiently to your Lord’s decision, and do not obey any one of them who is sinner or ungrateful.
[77:25] And pronounce the name of Allah morning and evening.
[77:26] And in some parts of night, prostrate before Him, and pronounce His purity for long times at night.
[77:27] In fact these people love that which is immediate, and neglect a Heavy Day ahead of them.
[77:28] We have created them, and have made their joints strong. And whenever We will, We would replace them with others like them, a total replacement.
[77:29] Indeed, this is a reminder; so let anyone who so wishes, adopt a way to his Lord.
[77:30] And you will not so wish, unless Allah so wills. Indeed Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.
[77:31] He admits whomsoever He wills to His mercy. As for the wrongdoers, for them He has prepared a painful punishment.
The Commentary on
Tafseer by Abul A’la Maududi
76. Surah Al Insan (Man), also known as Surah Ad Dahr (Time)
This Surah is called Ad-Dahr as well as Al-Insan after the words occurring in the first verse.
Period of Revelation
Most of the commentators, including Allama Zamakhshari, Imam Razi, Qadi, Baidawi, Allama Nizam ad-Din Nisaburi, Hafiz Ibn Kathir and many others, regard it as a Makki Surah, and, according to Allama Alusi, the same is the opinion of the majority of scholars. However, some commentators hold the view that the Surah was revealed at Madinah, and some others say that it was revealed at Makkah but vv. 8-10 of it were sent down at Madinah.
As far as the subject matter and the style of the Surah are concerned, these are very different from those of the Madani Surahs. A little study of it rather shown that it is not only a Makki Surah but it was revealed during the earliest period at Makkah, which began just after the revelation of the first seven verses of Surah Al-Muddaththir. As for vv 8-10, they are so naturally set in the theme of the Surah that if they are read in their proper context, no one can say that the theme preceding and following them had been sent down 15 to 16 years earlier but these three verses which were revealed many years later were inserted here unnaturally.
In fact, the basis of the idea that this Surah; or some verses of it were revealed at Madinah, is a tradition which has related from Ibn Abbas (may Allah bless him). He says that once Hadrat Hasan and Husain fell ill The Holy Prophet and some of his Companions visited them. They wished Hadrat Ali to make a vow to Allah for the recovery of the two children. Thereupon, Hadrat Ali, Hadrat Fatimah and Fiddah their maid servant, vowed a fast of three days if Allah restored the children to health. The children recovered by the grace of Allah and the three of them began to fast as avowed. As there was nothing to eat in the house, Hadrat Ali borrowed three measures (sa’) of barley from somebody (according to another tradition, earned through labor). When on the first day they sat down to eat after breaking the fast, a poor man came and begged for food. They gave all their food to him, drank water and retired to bed. The next day when they again sat down to eat after breaking the fast, an orphan came and begged for something. They again gave away the whole food to him, drank water and went to bed. On the third day when they were just going to eat after breaking the fast, a captive came up and begged for food likewise. Again the whole food was given away to him. On the fourth day Hadrat Ali took both the children with him and went before the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace). The Holy Prophet (on whom be peace) seeing the weak condition of the three, returned with them to the house of Hadrat Fatimah and found her lying in a corner half dead with hunger. This moved him visibly. In the meantime the Angel Gabriel (peace be on him) came and said; “Look, Allah has congratulated you on the virtues of the people of your house!”When the Holy Prophet asked what it was, he recited this whole Surah in response. (According to Ibn Mahran’s tradition, he recited it from verse 5 till the end. But the tradition which Ibn Marduyah has related from Ibn Abbas only says that the verse Wa yut’imun-at ta’am… was sent down concerning Hadrat Ali and Hadrat Fatimah; there is no mention of this story in it). This whole story has been narrated by Ali bin Ahmad al-Wahidi in his Commentary of the Qur’an, entitled Al’Basit, and probably from the same it has been taken by Zamakhshari, Razi, Nisaburi and others.
In the first place, this tradition is very weak as regards its chain of transmission. Then, from the point of view of its subject matter also, it is strange that when a poor man, or an orphan, or a captive, comes to beg for food, he is given all the food. He could be given one member’s food and the five of them could share the rest of it among themselves:Then this also is incredible that illustrious persons like Hadrat Ali and Hadrat Fatimah, who possessed perfect knowledge of Islam, should have regarded it as an act of virtue to keep the two children, who had just recovered their health and were still weak, hungry for three consecutive days. Moreover, in respect of the captives also, it has never been a practice under the Islamic government that they should be left to beg for food for themselves. For if they were prisoners of the government, the government itself was responsible to arrange food and clothing for them, and if they were in an individual’s custody, he was made responsible to feed and clothe them. Therefore, it was not possible that in Madinah a captive should have gone about begging food from door to door. However, overlooking the weaknesses of transmission and the probability of subject matter, even if the narrative is accepted as it goes, at the most what it shows is that when the people of the Holy Prophet’s house acted righteously as they did, Gabriel came and gave him the good news that Allah had much appreciated their act of virtue, for they had acted precisely in the righteous way that Allah had commanded in these verses of Surah Ad-Dahr. This does not necessitate that these verses too were sent down on that very occasion. The same is the case with many traditions concerning the occasion of revelation. When about a certain verse it is said that it was sent down on a particular occasion, it in fact does not mean that the verse was sent down on the very occasion the incident took place. But it means that the verse applies precisely and exactly to the incident. Imam Suyuti in Al-Itqan has quoted this from Hafiz Ibn Taimiyyah: “When the reporters say that a verse was sent down concerning a particular incident, it sometimes implies that the same incident (or matter) occasioned its revelation, and sometimes that the verse applies to the matter although it may not have occasioned its revelation.”Further on he quotes Imam Badr ad-Din Zarkashi’s view from his Al-Burhan fi Ulum al-Quran:”It is well known in respect of the Companions and their immediate successors that when one of them says that a verse was sent down concerning a particular matter, it means that the ruling contained in it applied to that matter and not that the matter itself occasioned the revelation of the verse. Thus, it only uses the ruling of the verse for the purpose of reasoning and not for stating a fact.” (Al-Itqan fi Ulum al-Quran, vol. I, p. 31, Ed. 1929).
Theme and Subject Matter
The theme of this Surah is to inform man of his true position in the world and to tell him that if he understood his true position rightly and adopted the attitude of gratefulness, he would meet with such and such good end, and if he adopted the way of disbelief, he would meet with such and such evil ends In the longer Surahs of the Qur’an this same theme has been presented at length, but a special characteristic of the style of the earliest Surahs revealed at Makkah is that the subjects dealt with at length in the later period, “have been presented in a brief but highly effective way in this period in such concise, elegant sentences as may automatically be preserved in the memory of the hearers.
In this Surah, first of all man has been reminded that there was a time when he was nothing; then a humble beginning of him was made with a mixed drop of sperm and ovum of which even his mother was not aware; even she did not know that he had been conceived nor anyone else seeing the microscopic cell could say that it was a man, who in future would become the best of creation on the earth. After this, man has been warned, so as to say: “Beginning your creation in this way We have developed and shaped you into what you are today in order to test and try you in the world. That is why, unlike other creatures, you were made intelligent and sensible and were shown both the way of gratitude and the way of ingratitude clearly so that you may show, in the interval that you have been granted here for work, whether you have emerged as a grateful servant from the test or an unbelieving, Un- grateful wretch!”
Then, just in one sentence, it has been stated decisively what will be the fate to be met with in the Hereafter by those who emerged as unbelievers from this test.
After this, in vv. 5-22 continuously, the blessings with which those who do full justice to servitude in the world, will be favored, have been mentioned in full detail. In these verses, not only have their best rewards been mentioned but they have also been told briefly what are the acts on the basis of which they would become worthy of those rewards. Another special characteristic of the earliest Surahs revealed at Makkah is that besides introducing in them briefly the fundamental beliefs and concepts of Islam, here and there, those moral qualities and virtuous acts have been mentioned, which are praiseworthy according to Islam, and also those evils of deed and morality of which Islam strives to cleanse human life. And these two things have not been mentioned with a view to show what good or evil result is entailed by them in the transitory life of the world, but they have been mentioned only to point out what enduring results they will produce in the eternal and everlasting life of the Hereafter, irrespective of whether an evil quality may prove useful or a good quality may prove harmful in the world.
This is the subject matter of the first section (vv. 1-22). In the second section, addressing the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace), three things have been stated: first, that “it is in fact We Ourself Who are revealing this Qur’an piecemeal to you, and this is intended to inform the disbelievers, not you, that the Qur’an is not being fabricated by Muhammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace and blessings) but it is “We Who are revealing it, and it is Our Own wisdom which requires that We should reveal it piece by piece and not all at once.”Second, the Holy Prophet has been told: “No matter how long ,it may take for the decree of your Lord to be enforced and no matter what afflictions may befall you in the meantime, in any case you should continue to perform your mission of Apostleship patiently, and not to yield to the pressure tactics of any of these wicked and unbelieving people.”The third thing he has been told is: “Remember Allah day and night, perform the Prayer and spend your nights in the worship of Allah, for it is these things which sustain and strengthen those who call to Allah in the face of iniquity and disbelief.”
Then in one single sentence, the actual cause of the disbelievers wrong attitude has been stated: they have forgotten the Hereafter and are enamored of the world. In the second sentence, they have been warned to the effect: “You have not come into being by yourself: We have created you. You have not made these broad chests, and strong, sturdy hands and feet for yourselves, it is We Who made these for you; and it so lies in Our power to treat you as We please. We can distort your figures, We can destroy you and replace you by some other nation. We can cause you to die and can recreate you in whatever form We like.”
In conclusion, it has been said: This is an Admonition: whoever wills may accept it and take a path to his Lord. But man’s own will and desire is not everything in the world. No one’s will and desire can be fulfilled unless Allah (also) so wills. And Allah’s willing is not haphazard: whatever He wills, He wills it on the basis of His knowledge and wisdom. He admits into His mercy whomever He regards as worthy of His mercy on the basis of His knowledge and wisdom, and He has prepared a painful torment for those whom He finds unjust and wicked.
In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
1-12 Universe was there before mankind, then Allah created man, provided him guidance and let him use his free will, either to believe or to disbelieve
(76:1) Was there a period of time when man was not even worthy of a mention? 1 (76:2) Verily We created man out of a drop of intermingled sperm2 so that We might try him,3 and We therefore endowed him with hearing and sight.4 (76:3) Surely We showed him the Right Path, regardless of whether he chooses to be thankful or unthankful5 (to his Lord). (76:4) For the unbelievers, We have kept ready chains and fetters and a Blazing Fire. (76:5) The virtuous6 shall drink from a cup tempered with camphor water. (76:6) This will be a gushing spring7 wherefrom Allah’s servants8 shall drink wine, a spring from which they will take out channels wherever they wish.9 (76:7) These will be the ones who fulfil their vows10 and dread the Day whose woe shall be spread far and wide; (76:8) those who, for the love of Him,11 feed the needy, and the orphan, and the captive,12 (76:9) (saying):13 “We feed you only for Allah’s sake; we do not seek of you any recompense or thanks,14 (76:10) we fear from our Lord a Day that shall be long and distressful.” (76:11) So Allah shall guard them against the woe of that Day, and will procure them freshness and joy,15 (76:12) and will reward them for their steadfastness16 with Paradise and robes of silk.
1. Most of the commentators and translators have taken hal in the first sentence hal ata alal-insan-i, in the meaning of qad. Accordingly, they interpret this sentence to mean; “No doubt, there has indeed passed on man a time.” But, in fact, the word hal in Arabic is used only as an interrogative particle, and its object is not to ask a question in every case, but this apparently interrogative particle is used in different meanings on different occasions. For example, sometimes, in order to find out whether a certain incident has taken place or not, we ask: “Has this thing happened?” Sometimes, we do not mean to ask a question but to deny something and we express the denial, thus: “Can any other also do this?” Sometimes, we want somebody to affirm something and so ask him: “Have I paid what was due to you?” And sometimes, we do not intend to have something just affirmed but we put a question in order to make the addressee pay particular attention to something which follows his affirmation as a sequel. For example, we ask someone: “Have I harmed you in any way?” The object is not only to make him affirm that one has not done him any harm, but also to make him think how far one is justified to harm somebody who has not harmed him in any way. The interrogative sentence in the verse before us illustrates this last meaning. The object is not only to make man affirm that there has indeed passed on him such a time but also to make him think that the God Who developed and shaped him into a perfect man from an insignificant, humble beginning, would not be helpless to create him once again.
In the second sentence, hin um-min ad-dahr the word dahr implies the endless time, the beginning and end of which are unknown to man and this is the particular period of time which might at some time have passed during this endless period. What is meant to be said is that in this immensely long span of time there has passed a long period when human race was altogether non-existent. Then a time came in it when a species called man was created, and in the same period a time has passed on every person when a beginning was made to bring him into existence from nothingness.
The third sentence, “When he was not a thing (even) to be mentioned” implies that a part of him existed in the form of a microscopic gene in the sperm drop of the father and a part in the form of a microscopic ovum in the mother. For long ages man did not even know that he comes into being when the sperm gene and the ovum combined. Now both have been observed by means of powerful microscopes but even now no one can say how much of man exists in the father’s sperm and how much in the mother’s ovum. Then, the initial cell that comes into being by the combination of the two at the time of conception is such an insignificant thing that it can be seen only through highly powerful microscopes, and seeing it also no one at first sight can claim that it is a man taking shape, nor that even if a man emerges from this humble beginning, what will be his size and stature, what will be his form and figure, and what will be his capabilities and personality like. This is the meaning of the sentence that at that time he was not yet a thing worthy of any mention although a beginning of his being as a man had been made.
2. “From a mixed sperm drop”: From the intermingling of the male sperm with the female ovum and not separately from the sperm or the ovum. During sexual intercourse normally 200-500 million sperms are deposited into the female birth canal. The sperms swim and reach site of mixing with ovum in 4-6 hours on an average time. Most of the sperms are lost in this journey. Chemical changes occur during this travel and sperms remove their protective covering from their heads while getting ready to release special chemicals from the heads in their attempts and preparation to penetrate into the ovum. Usually, only one sperm is allowed to fuse and mix with the ovum. (Ref. Maternity and Gynecology Care, Mosby Year Book Publishing Inc. St Louis Missouri USA Chapter 7, Page 162).
3. This shows man’s real position in the world and the position of the world for man. He is not like the trees and animals that the object of his creation be fulfilled on the earth itself, and he should die and perish here after he has played his appointed role over a period of time according to the law of nature. Furthermore, this world is neither a place of punishment for him, as the monks think, nor a place of rewards as the believers of the law of transmigration think, nor a place of entertainment and enjoyment, as the materialists think, nor a battlefield, as the followers of atheists think, but in fact it is a place of test and trial for him. That which he regards as his age, is in fact the time given to him for the test. Whatever powers and capabilities he has been given in the world, the things that have been placed under his control and authority, the various positions and capacities in which he functions, and the relationships that he enjoys with other people, all these are the countless manners of the test and this test continues till the last breath of his life. The result is not to be announced in this world but in the Hereafter when all his answer books will have been assessed, decision will be given whether he has come out successful or failed. And his success or failure wholly depends on what he thought of himself while he functioned here and how he answered the questions that were given to him here. If he believed that he had no God, or that he was the slave of many gods, and while answering the questions he thought that he was not to be held accountable before his Creator in the Hereafter, his whole lifework went wrong. And if he regarded himself as the slave of One God and worked in the way approved by God, with the accountability of the Hereafter always in view, he stood successful in the test. This theme has occurred at many places in the Quran.
4. The words sami (hearing) and baseer (seeing) in the original text actually imply being “sensible and intelligent”. These words of the Arabic language are never used in respect of the animal although it also hears and sees. Thus, hearing and seeing here do not imply the powers of hearing and seeing which have been given to the animals too, but those means through which man obtains knowledge and then draws conclusions from it. Besides, since hearing and seeing are among the most important means of knowledge for man, only these two have been mentioned briefly; otherwise it actually implies giving man all those senses of the body by which he gathers information. Then the senses given to man are quite different in their nature from those given to animals, for at the back of every sense he has a thinking brain, which collects information gained through the senses; arranges it, draws conclusions from it, forms opinions, and then takes some decisions which become the basis of his attitude and conduct in life. Hence, after saying, “We created man in order to try him,” to say, “therefore, We made him capable of hearing and seeing” actually contains the meaning that Allah gave him the faculties of knowledge and reason to enable him to take the test. Obviously, if this were not the meaning and the meaning of making man hearing and seeing just implied the one who could hear and see, then a blind and deaf person would stand exempted from the test, whereas unless a person is utterly devoid of knowledge and reason, there can be no question of his being exempted from the test.
5. That is, We did not just leave him to himself after giving him the powers of knowledge and reason, but We also guided him so that he knows which is the path of gratefulness and which of ungratefulness, so that whichever path he chooses in his later life, he himself is responsible for it. In Surah Al-Balad, the same subject has been expressed, thus “And We showed him both the conspicuous ways (of good and evil).” And in Surah Ash-Shams, thus: “By the human self, and by Him Who balanced it (with all the external and internal powers), then inspired it with its wickedness and its piety.” When all these explanations are kept in view, and also those detailed statements of the Quran in which it has been stated what arrangements Allah has made for man’s guidance in the world, it becomes evident that in this verse “We guided him to the way” does not imply any one form of guidance but many forms of it which are limitless and countless. For example:
(1) Along with the faculties of knowledge and reason, man has also been endowed with a moral sense by which he discerns between good and evil, regards some acts and qualities as evil even if he himself is involved in them, and regards some other acts and qualities as good even if he himself is avoiding them. So much so that even those people who for the satisfaction of their selfish motives and desires have invented philosophies by which they have justified many evils for themselves, protest loudly when they are themselves treated with the same evils by others, and then it becomes known that in spite of their false philosophies they actually regard them as evil. Likewise, when a man himself is benefited by a good treatment from another person, he is from within forced to commend and appreciate it even though he might be looking upon good acts and qualities as ignorance folly and antiquated things,
(2) In every man Allah has placed the faculty of conscience (the lawwamah), which checks and pricks him every time he is about to commit an evil, or is in the process of committing it, or has already committed it. However hard man may try to silence his conscience or make it insensitive, he does not have the power to destroy it completely. He may become shameless and prove himself to be absolutely devoid of the conscience, he may also try to deceive the world by argumentation, he may even invent a thousand excuses to justify his acts in order to deceive himself, but despite all this the censor, that Allah has placed in his nature, is so active and powerful that it does not let remain hidden from an evil person what he actually is. This same thing has been stated in Surah Al-Qiyamah, thus: “Man knows his own self best even though he may offer many excuses.” (Ayat 15).
(3) In man’s own self and outside of him, from the earth to the heavens, there lie scattered in the universe countless such signs which clearly show that all this could not happen without a God, nor could there be many gods to create this life and control and administer it. Likewise, these very signs, inside man and outside him, clearly point also to the Resurrection and Hereafter. If man shuts down his eyes on them, or refuses to ponder over them intelligently, or avoids to admit the truths which they point out, he himself would be to blame. For Allah has shown no negligence in laying out every possible sign of the truth for the guidance of man.
(4) Man does come across in his own life, and in the contemporary world and in the experiences of past history, countless such incidents which prove that a supreme power is ruling over him and the entire universe, before Whom he is absolutely powerless, whose Will is dominant over everything and whose help he needs at every moment. These experiences and observations which point to the truth do not exist only outside him but in man’s own nature as well there exists the evidence of the existence of the supreme power on the basis of which even the most confirmed atheist spreads out his hands in prayer before God when in distress, and the most hardened polytheist abandons all false gods and starts invoking One God only for help.
(5) Man’s intellect and his nature assert positively that crime ought to be punished and good deeds ought to be rewarded. On this very basis in every society of the world a system of the courts is established in one form or another. The services and works, which are regarded as commendable are also rewarded in one way or another. This is a clear proof of the fact that there is a necessary relationship between morality and the law of retribution, which man cannot possibly deny. Now, if it is admitted that in this world there are countless such crimes which cannot be punished at all to say nothing of punishing them fully and adequately, and there are also countless such virtues, which cannot be rewarded at all, to say nothing of rewarding them fully and adequately, there is no alternative but to acknowledge the Hereafter. Unless, of course, a foolish person may assume, or a stubborn person may insist on having the opinion, that man who has been endowed with the concept of justice, has taken birth in a world which in itself is devoid of the concept of justice; and then it remains for him to answer the question as to how and wherefrom this man, who was born in such a world, obtained this concept of justice.
To reinforce these means of guidance Allah sent Messengers and revealed Books in the world for the purpose of giving clear and definite guidance to man. In these Books it was clearly explained what is the way of gratefulness and what is the way of ungratefulness and unbelief and what will be the consequences of following either way. The teaching brought by the Prophets and the Books has spread throughout the world in countless perceptible, and imperceptible ways, on such a large scale that no section of human population has remained unaware of the concept of God and the Hereafter, of the distinction between good and evil, and of the moral principles and legal rulings presented by them, whether it knows or does not know that it has obtained this knowledge only through the teachings of the Prophets and the Books they brought. Even those who disbelieve in the Prophets and the Books today, or are unaware of them, also are following many of those things which have reached to them actually through their teachings while they do not know what is the real source of these teachings. 4
6. The word abrar as used in the original implies the people who have done full justice to their Lord’s obedience, have carried out the duties enjoined by Him and abstained from the things forbidden by Him.
7. That is, it will not be camphor-mixed water but a natural fountain, the purity, coolness and agreeable odor of its water will resemble camphor.
8. Although the words ibad Allah (servants of Allah), or ibad ar-Rehman (servants of ar-Rehman), can be used for all men literally, for every human being is God’s servant, yet wherever these words occur in the Quran they only imply the righteous men. In other words, the wicked ones who have excused themselves from Allah’s servitude do not deserve that Allah should honor them with the honorable title of ibad-Allah or ibad ar-Rehman, attributing them to His own Holy Name.
9. It does not mean that they will use spades and picks to dig out its channels and will take out its branches whithersoever they please, but that their one single command and desire will be enough to cause a fountain to gush forth from wherever they please in Paradise.
10. One meaning of fulfilling the vow is that one should fulfill. The second, that one should fulfill what one has pledged oneself to do. The third, that one should fulfill what one has been enjoined; what is obligatory for one to do, whether one has been enjoined it, or is self imposed. Of these three the second meaning is the best known and generally the same is implied by fulfilling the vow. In any case, these righteous people have been regarded as praiseworthy either because they carry out the duties enjoined by Allah, or because if they vow to Allah to perform certain good deeds which Allah has not enjoined on them, they fulfill even those self imposed vows, not to speak of showing any negligence in carrying out the duties which Allah has actually enjoined on them.
As for the commandments concerning the vow, it would be useful to explain at length here so as to enable the people to avoid the errors and rid themselves of the misunderstandings with regard to fulfilling the vow and learn the correct rules pertaining to it.
(1) The jurists have mentioned four kinds of the vow: (a) that one should pledge to Allah that he would perform such and such a good act to earn His good pleasure; (b) that one should make a vow that he would perform such and such a good act in gratitude to Allah if He fulfilled his such and such wish and desire or need. Both these kinds of the vow have been termed nadhr tabarrur (i.e. vows for a good cause) by the jurists, and it is agreed by all that it is obligatory to fulfill them; (c) That one should pledge to do an unlawful thing or to refrain from an obligatory thing; (d) that one should bind oneself to do a permissible thing, or to refrain from an obligatory thing, or pledge to do an unworthy thing. These two kinds of the vow have been termed nadhr lajaj (i.e. vow of ignorance, disputation and stubbornness) by the jurists. About the third kind of the vow (c), it is agreed that it does not take place at all; and about the fourth kind of the vow (d), the juristic opinion is divided. Some jurists say that it should be fulfilled; some others say that one should expiate the breaking of the oath, and still others that one has the option to fulfill the vow or to expiate it. According to the Shafeis and the Malikis this vow does not take place at all, and according to the Hanafis both these kinds of the vow entail expiation.
(2) Several Ahadith show that the Prophet (peace be upon him) has forbidden making a vow with a view to changing the destiny, or with a view to making an offer to Allah that if He fulfilled his such and such wish, he would perform such and such good act, not in gratitude to Allah, but in exchange for His help. Abdullah bin Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) has reported that once the Prophet (peace be upon him), while he forbade the making of a vow, said; “It cannot avert anything which is about to befall, but through it something is extracted from the miserly person.” The last sentence of the Hadith means: The miserly person is not prone to spend anything in the cause of Allah; because of the vow he gives away something in charity in the greed that Allah would accept his offer and change his destiny for him. Another tradition from Abdullah bin Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) is to the effect; The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: the vow can neither hasten anything nor defer anything, but through it something is extracted from the miserly person. In another tradition he says that the Prophet (peace be upon him) forbade making of the vow and said: “It does not bring any good, but it is a means whereby something is extracted from the miserly person.” Several traditions on the same subject have been related by Muslim from Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him), and in one tradition which both Bukhari and Muslim have related, he reports that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “As a matter of fact, the vow cannot bring the son of Adam anything which Allah has not ordained for him, but the vow sometimes coincides with the destiny itself and through it the divine will takes out from the possession of the miserly person that which he was not inclined to give away willingly.” This same theme is further explained by the tradition of Abdullah bin Amr bin Aas according to which the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “True vow is that whereby Allah’s goodwill and approval may be sought.”
(3) Another rule that the Prophet (peace be upon him) gave concerning the vow is that only that vow should be fulfilled, which is in obedience to Allah; the vow made in disobedience to Allah should never be fulfilled. Likewise, there can be no vow concerning a thing which is not in his power to perform. Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) has reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The one who made a vow that he would obey Allah, should obey Him, and the one who made a vow that he would disobey Allah, should not disobey.” Thabit bin Dahhak says that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “There can be no question of fulfilling a vow made in the disobedience of Allah, nor in something which is not in his possession.” Muslim has related a tradition on the same subject from Imran bin Husain; and in Abu Daud a tradition has been reported in greater detail from Abdullah bin Amr bin Aas, saying that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “No vow and no oath is of any use in an act which is not in the power of man to perform, or which involves disobedience of Allah, or severance of relations with kindred.”
(4) One should not fulfill a vow which is made to perform an act which is of no good in itself, which is useless, or involves unbearable hardship or self torture, and might have been self imposed as an act of virtue. In this connection, the sayings of the Prophet (peace be upon him) are very clear and definite. Abdullah bin Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) says that once when the Prophet (peace be upon him) was giving a sermon, he saw a man who was standing in the sun. He asked who he was and why he was standing in the sun. The people said that he was Abu Israil: he had vowed that he would keep standing and would not sit, nor take shade, nor speak to anybody, and would keep fasting. Thereupon the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Tell him to speak, to come in the shade and sit, but to observe the fast.” Uqbah bin Amir Juhani says: “My sister vowed that she would go for Hajj barefoot and also vowed that she would not cover her head with a garment during the journey. The Prophet said: Tell her to go by a conveyance and to cover her head.” Muslim has related several traditions on this subject with a little variation in wordings. Abdullah bin Abbas reporting the incident concerning Uqbah bin Amir’s sister, has reported the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) words to the effect: “Allah has no need of her vow: tell her to use a conveyance.” In another tradition Ibn Abbas says, “A man said: My sister has vowed to go and perform Hajj on foot. The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: “Allah has no need that your sister should undergo hardship. She should go for Hajj by a conveyance.” Anas bin Malik has reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) saw, probably during the Hajj journey, an old man being supported between his two sons. When he asked what was the matter with him, it was said that the old man had vowed to go on foot. Thereupon the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Allah is free from this that the man should place himself in agony. Then he commanded him to ride.”
(5) If it is not practically possible to fulfill a vow, it may be fulfilled in some other way. Jabir bin Abdullah says: “On the day of the conquest of Makkah, a man stood up and said: O Messenger (peace be upon him) of Allah, I had vowed that if Allah made Makkah fall at your hand, I would pray two rakahs in Bait al-Maqdis (Jerusalem). The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied, say the prayer here. He again asked the same thing and the Prophet (peace be upon him) again gave the same reply. When he asked it again, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: All right, as you please.” According to another tradition, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “By Him Who has sent Muhammad with the truth, if you pray here it will suffice for you instead of your praying at Bait al Maqdis.”
(6) The opinion among the jurists is divided concerning the person who vows to give away all his possessions for the cause of Allah. Imam Malik says that he should give away one third of his possessions, and Sahnun from among the Malikis has expressed the opinion that he should give away so much of his possessions as does not subject him to hardship later. Imam Shafei says that if the vow is of the nature of tabarrur (i.e. for a good cause), he should give away all his possessions, and if it is of the nature of lajaj (i.e. a vow of ignorance), he has the option to fulfill the vow or to expiate the oath. Imam Abu Hanifah says that he should give away all such possessions as are subject to zakat, but the vow will not apply to those possessions which are exempt from zakat, e.g. house, or other such properties. Imam Zufar from among the Hanafis is of the opinion that he should give away everything in charity after he has taken out two months’ maintenance for his family.
Hadrat Kaab bin Malik says: “When I was granted forgiveness for incurring Allah’s displeasure for staying behind on the occasion of the Battle of Tabuk, I went before the Prophet (peace be upon him) and submitted: My repentance also included that I would give away all my possessions in charity for the sake of Allah and His Messenger. The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: No, do not do that. I said, then half of the possessions? He said: No. I said, then one third of the possessions? He replied: Yes. According to another tradition, the Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: “Withhold some of your possessions for yourself: this would be better for you.” Imam Zuhri says: “Information has reached to me that Abu Lubabah (who had similarly incurred displeasure in connection with the battle of Tabuk) said to the Prophet (peace be upon him): “I shall give away all my possessions for the sake of Allah and His Messenger in charity.” The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: “For you it would be enough to give away only one third of it.”
(7) Should a person who vowed to perform a good act before embracing Islam, fulfill it after he has embraced Islam? The Prophet’s (peace be upon him) ruling in this connection is that he should fulfill it. According to a tradition in Abu Daud and Tahavi, Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) is reported to have vowed in the pre Islamic days that he would observe itikaf (devotional seclusion) in the Masjid al-Haram (for one night, or according to others, one day). After embracing Islam when he asked for the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) ruling, he replied: “Fulfill your vow.” Some jurists have taken this ruling of the Prophet (peace be upon him) to mean that it is obligatory to do so, and some others that it is commendable.
(8) About the question whether the heirs are under obligation to fulfill a vow made by the deceased person or not, the juristic opinion is divided. Imam Ahmad, Ishaq bin Rahawaih, Abu Thaur and the Zahiris say that if the deceased person had vowed to observe the fasting or perform the prayer but could not fulfill the vow, the heirs have to fulfill it. The Hanafis say that if the vow pertained to a bodily worship (e.g. the prayer or the fasting), the heirs are under no obligation to fulfill it, and if it pertained to monetary worship and the deceased did not leave any will for his heirs to fulfill it, they are again under no obligation to fulfill it, but if he left a will, it will be obligatory for the heirs to fulfill it from his inheritance up to one third of its extent. The Maliki viewpoint also is somewhat the same. The Shafeis say that if the vow pertains to a non monetary worship, or if it pertains to a monetary worship and the deceased person did not leave any inheritance, the heirs are under no obligation to fulfill it; and if the deceased left some inheritance, the heirs would be bound to fulfill the vow pertaining to a monetary worship, no matter whether the dying person left a will or not. In the Hadith there is a tradition from Abdullah bin Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) on this subject to the effect: Saad bin Ubadah asked for the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) verdict, saying: My mother has died and she had made a vow which she could not fulfill. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Fulfill the vow on her behalf. Another tradition from Ibn Abbas is to the effect: A woman went on a sea journey and vowed that if she returned home safe and sound, she would observe fast for a month. On her return home she died. Her sister or her daughter came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) to ask for his decision. The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: “Observe the fast on her behalf.” Abu Daud has related another tradition with the same content from Buraidah, saying: “A woman asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) a similar thing and he gave the same reply as mentioned above.” Since these traditions are not explicit as to whether the rulings the Prophet (peace be upon him) gave pertained to its being obligatory or commendable, and since about the vow made by Saad bin Ubadah’s mother also it is not clear whether it pertained to a monetary worship, or a bodily worship, there have arisen differences among the jurists on this question.
(9) As for an unlawful vow it is clear that it should not be fulfilled. However, there is a difference of opinion as to whether it entails expiation or not. On this point, since the traditions differ, the juristic opinion is also divided. According to one kind of the traditions the Prophet (peace be upon him) commanded the person concerned to make the expiation. Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) has reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: There is no vow in the disobedience of Allah, and its expiation is the expiation of breaking the oath. In the case of Uqbah bin Amir Juhani’s sister (mentioned above), the Prophet (peace be upon him) commanded that she should break her vow and fast for three days. In the case of another woman also who had vowed to go for Hajj on foot, he commanded that she should go by a conveyance and should make expiation for the oath. Ibn Abbas has reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The one who made a vow but did not specify what the vow was about, should expiate for the oath, and the one who made a vow to perform a sinful act, should expiate for the oath, and the one who made a vow to perform something which he does not have the power to perform, should expiate for the oath, and the one who made a vow to do something which he can do, should fulfill it. On the other hand, there are the traditions which show that there is no expiation in this case. The person who had vowed that he would stand in the sun and would not speak to anyone. Making a reference to him in Muwatta, Imam Malik writes: “I could not know by any means whether the Prophet (peace be upon him) besides commanding him to break the vow might also have told him to make the expiation. Abdullah bin Amr bin Aas has reported that the Prophet said: “If one swearing an oath for something later finds that another thing was better than that, he should abandon it and should adopt the better course and the abandonment itself is the expiation.” Baihaqi says that this Hadith and Abu Hurairah’s this tradition: “He should adopt the better course and this is its expiation” are not established. Imam Nawawi discussing these traditions of the Hadith in his commentary of Sahih Muslim writes: “Imam Malik, Shafei, Abu Hanifah, Daud, Zahiri and other scholars say that the vow made to do a sinful thing is void and ineffectual and it does not entail any expiation if not fulfilled, but lmam Ahmad says that it entails expiation.”
11. Most of the commentators hold the view that the pronoun in hubbi-hi refers to food. Accordingly, they interpret the sentence to mean: “In spite of the food’s being agreeable and tasty and that they need it, they give it away to others.” Ibn Abbas and Mujahid say: They do so because of their fondness for feeding the poor (ala hubb-il-it am); and Fudail bin Iyad and Abu Suleman ad-Darani say: They do so out of love for Allah. In our opinion the sentence in the next Ayat “We feed you only for the sake of Allah” supports the last meaning.
12. The custom in the ancient days was that the prisoners were put in fetters and shackles and taken out daily to go about the streets begging food. Later the Islamic government abolished this custom. In this verse, the captive implies every such person who is in bondage, whether he is an unbeliever, a Muslim, a war prisoner, or imprisoned in consequence of a crime, and whether he is provided food in that state, or made to beg for it. In any case, to feed a helpless person who cannot do anything to earn a living is an act of great virtue.
13. Although feeding a poor man is in itself a great virtue, yet fulfilling the other needs of an indigent person is no less virtuous. For example, to clothe a poor man, to arrange treatment for a sick person, or to help a debtor who is harassed by his creditor, is an act of equally great virtue. Here, a particular kind of virtue in view of its importance has been presented only as an example, but the real object is to stress giving help to the needy.
14. It is not necessary that this may be said in so many words while feeding the poor man. It may be said in the heart; in the sight of Allah this is as meritorious as saying it with the tongue. But saying these words with the tongue has been particularly mentioned so as to set the person being helped at ease that no thanks or recompense is due from him, so that he eats with full satisfaction and peace of mind.
15. Radiance and joy: radiance of the face and joy of the heart. In other words, all the severities and terrors of the Day of Resurrection will be meant only for the disbelievers and the culprits. The righteous will on that Day remain immune from every hardship and will be well pleased with their lot. The same theme has been expressed in (Surah Al Anbiya Ayat 103), thus: The time of great fright will not trouble them at all; the angels will rush forth to receive them, saying: this is the Day that you were promised; and in (Surah An-Naml Ayat 89) thus: He who brings good deeds, will have a reward better than that, and such people shall be secure from the terror of that Day.
16. Here the word sabr (patience) has been used in a very comprehensive sense. The whole worldly life of the righteous believers in fact has been described as a life of patience. From the time a man attains discretion, or believes, till death; his suppressing of unlawful desires, adhering to the bounds set by Allah, carrying out the duties enjoined by Him, sacrificing his time, his wealth, his effort, powers and abilities, even his life if so required, ignoring every greed and temptation, which might turn him away from Allah’s way, meeting every danger and enduring every hardship faced on the way of the truth, giving up every gain and pleasure accruing from unlawful ways and means, bearing every loss and suffering and affliction incurred on account of his love for truth, and doing all this with full faith in the promise of Allah that He will bless the doer with the fruits of this righteous conduct not in this world but in the second life after death, turns the whole life of a believer into a life of patience, eternal and perpetual patience, all pervasive and life long patience.
13-22 Exemplary life in paradise for those who choose to believe
(76:13) There they will recline on elevated couches and will be subjected neither to the burning heat of the sun nor to bitter cold. (76:14) The shades of Paradise will bend over them, and its fruits will be brought within their easy reach; (76:15) and there shall be passed around them vessels of silver17 and goblets of crystal,18 (76:16) goblets bright as crystal but made of silver, filled to exact measure.19 (76:17) Therein they shall be served a cup flavoured with ginger, (76:18) drawn from a spring (in Paradise) called Salsabil.20 (76:19) There boys of everlasting youth shall go about attending them: when you see them, you would think that they are scattered pearls.21 (76:20) Whitherto you look around, you will see an abundance of bliss and the glories of a great kingdom.22 (76:21) They [i.e., the virtuous] shall be attired in garments of fine green silk and rich brocade23 and will be adorned with bracelets of silver.24 Their Lord will give them a pure wine to drink.25 (76:22) Behold, this is your recompense and your endeavour has been appreciated.26
17. According to (Surah Az-Zukhruf Ayat 71), vessels of gold shall be passed round to them, but here of silver. This shows that vessels of gold as well as of silver shall be passed round to them as required by the occasion.
18. That is, though silver, it will be as transparent as glass, vessels of this kind of transparent, crystal like silver will be the special characteristic of the vessels in which drinks will be served to the people of Paradise.
19. “In due measure”: filled accurately according to the desire of every person, neither over-filled nor under-filled. In other words, the attendants of the dwellers of Paradise will be so judicious and discerning that they will have accurate judgment about everybody whom they serve wine as to how much of it he wishes to drink. (For the characteristics of the wine of Paradise, see (Surah As-Saffat Ayats 45-47 and the E.Ns 24-27), (Surah Muhammad Ayat 15 and E.N. 22), (Surah At-Tur: Ayat 23 and E.N. 18), (Surah Al-Waqiah Ayat 19 and E.N. 10).
20. This is to suit the taste of the Arabs who liked the wine flavored with ginger mixed water. But this flavoring will not be achieved by adding ginger mixed water to it: it will be a natural fountain which will have the flavor of ginger but without its bitterness; Therefore, it will be called Salsabil, which implies such water as flows gently and pleasantly down the throat on account of its being sweet, light and palatable. Most commentators think that the word salsabil has been used here as an adjective of the fountain and not as a name for it.
22. Even if a person might have lived a pauper in the world, in the Hereafter when he is admitted to Paradise, on the basis of his good deeds, he will live as though he were the owner of a splendid kingdom.
23. The same theme has been expressed in (Surah Al-Kahf Ayat 31), thus: “They (the dwellers of Paradise) will wear colored robes of silk and rich brocade and will be reclining upon raised thrones.” On this basis, the opinion of the commentators who have expressed the view that this implies the sheets of cloth which will be hanging over their thrones or bedsteads or that this would be the dress of the boys who would be moving about serving them does not seem to be correct.
24. In (Surah Al-Kahf: Ayat 31), it has been said: “They will be adorned with bracelets of gold.” This same theme has also occurred in (Surah Al-Hajj: Ayat 23) and (Surah Fatir Ayat 33) above. When all these verses are read together, three possibilities become obvious.
(1) That sometimes they would like to wear bracelets of gold and sometimes bracelets of silver, both kinds of the ornaments being available for use as and when required;
(2) that they will wear bracelets of both gold and silver at the same time, for the combination of the two enhances the personal charms of the wearer;
(3) that whosoever desires will wear bracelets of gold and whosoever desires will wear bracelets of silver.
As for the question, why will the men be adorned with the ornaments when these are usually worn by the women? The answer is that in the ancient times the custom was that the kings and their nobles used to adorn their hands and necks and the crowns of their heads with different kinds of ornaments. In (Surah Az-Zukhruf Ayat 53), it has been said that when the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) arrived in the Pharaoh’s court in his simple dress, with only a staff in hand, and told him that he was a Messenger sent by Allah, Lord of the worlds, the Pharaoh said to his courtiers: “What kind of a messenger is he, who has appeared before me in this state? If he was sent by the King of the universe, why were not bracelets of gold sent down on him, or a company of angels as attendants?”
25. Two kinds of the wine have been mentioned above, first that to which water will be added from the fountain of camphor; second that to which water will be added from the fountain of ginger, After these, making mention of another wine, with the remark that their Lord shall give them a pure wine to drink, gives the meaning that this will be some superior kind of wine, which they will be given to drink as a special favor from Allah.
26. In the original, kana sayu kum mashkura: “your endeavors have been accepted and recognized.” Saii implies the entire lifework that a person accomplished in the world, the works and objectives to which he applied his energies and abilities; and its being mashkur means that Allah has appreciated it. Shukr when expressed by the servant to God implies his gratefulness to Him for His blessings, and when it is expressed by God for the servant, it means that He has appreciated his services. It is indeed the kindness of the Master that He should appreciate the endeavors of the servant when the servant has only carried out his duties according to the Master’s will.
23-31 Allah sent this Quran gradually according to the issues faced by mankind and This is and admonition for those who want to adopt the way to their Rabb (God)
(76:23) (O Prophet), indeed We have revealed the Qur’an to you in portions.27 (76:24) So persevere with the command of your Lord28 and do not pay any heed to the wicked and the unbelieving,29 (76:25) and remember the name of your Lord, morning and evening; (76:26) and prostrate yourself before Him at night, and extol His Glory during the long watches of the night.30 (76:27) Verily they love (the good of this world) that is hastily obtainable and are oblivious of the burdensome Day ahead of them.31 (76:28) We created them and strengthened their joints; and whenever We wish, We can change their faces entirely.32 (76:29) Verily this is an Exhortation; so let him who so will take a way to his Lord. (76:30) But your willing shall be of no avail until Allah Himself so wills.33 Surely Allah is All-Knowing, Most Wise. (76:31) He admits to His Mercy whomsoever He pleases. As for the wrong-doers, He has prepared for them a grievous chastisement.34
27. Though the addressee here apparently is the Prophet (peace be upon him), the discourse is directed to the disbelievers who said, “Muhammad (peace be upon him) composes the Quran deliberately by himself piece by piece; had it been from Allah, it would be revealed all at once. At some places on the Quran this objection bas been cited and answered see (E.Ns 102, 104, 105, 106 of Surah An-Nahl) and (E.N. 119 of Surah Bani Israil), but here Allah has answered it without citing it, saying emphatically: “It is We Who are sending it down, it is not the composition of Muhammad, and it is We Who are sending it gradually. That is, it is the requirement of Our wisdom that We should not send down Our message all together in a book form, but should send it piece by piece.”
28. “Be patient”: Face patiently the hardships and difficulties of the great Mission your Lord has entrusted to upon you; endure firmly and steadfastly whatever comes to pass, without showing any weakness in this regard.
29. “Do not obey”: Do not yield to any one of them so as to give up preaching of the true faith; do not be inclined to make even the least change in the religious beliefs for the sake of any denier of the truth, or in the moral teachings for the sake of a wicked person. Proclaim whatever is unlawful and forbidden to be so openly even if an immoral person might press you hard to show some lenience in this condemnation, and proclaim whatever is false as false and whatever is true as true publicly even if the disbelievers might use all their influence to silence you, or to make you adopt a little lenience in this regard.
30. The rule followed in the Quran is that wherever the Muslims have been exhorted to show patience against the disbelievers, immediately after it they have been commanded to remember Allah much and to observe the Prayer, which automatically implies that the power needed to meet the resistance of the enemies of the truth in the way of true faith can be obtained only by this means. To remember Allah morning and evening may also imply remembering Allah always but when the command to remember Allah at specific times is given, it implies the salat (Prayer). In this verse, bukrah means the morning and asil the time from the sun’s decline till sunset, which obviously covers the Zuhr and the Asr times. Night starts after sunset; therefore, the command “to prostrate yourself in the night” would apply to both the Maghrib and the Isha Prayers. Then, the command “to glorify Allah in the long hours of night”, clearly points to the time of the Tahajjud Prayer. see (E.Ns 92-97 of Surah Bani Israil), (E.N. 2 of Surah Al-Muzzammil). This also shows that these have been the Prayer times in Islam from the beginning. However, the command making the Prayer obligatory five times a day with fixed times and number of rakahs was given on the occasion of miraj (ascension).
31. That is, the reason why the disbelieving Quraish still persist in the errors and deviations of belief and morality and why they turn a deaf ear to your invitation to the truth is, in fact, their worship of the world and their heedlessness of the Hereafter. Therefore, the way being followed by a true God-worshipper is so different from and opposed to their way that there can be no question of any compromise between them.
32. The sentence, “And when We will, We can replace with others like them with a complete replacement” can have several meanings:
(1) That whenever We please We can destroy them and replace them by other people of their own kind, who will be different from them in conduct;
(2) That whenever We please We can change their forms; that is, just as We can make someone healthy and sound in body, so also We have the power to make somebody a paralytic, cause someone to be struck with facial paralysis and other to fall a victim to some disease or accident and become a cripple permanently;
(3) That whenever We will We can recreate them in some other form after death.
33. Three things have been said in these verses:
(1) That whoever wills may adopt the way to his Lord;
(2) that one’s willing to do a thing is not enough unless Allah so wills;
(3) That Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise. If one considers these three things deeply one can fully understand the relationship between man’s freedom of choice and Allah’s Will, and it helps to remove all the confusions from the people’s minds about the question of destiny.
The first verse shows that in this world the authority granted to man is only to the extent that he may decide to adopt any one of the different courses available for passing life here. This is the freedom of choice that Allah has given to him. For example, when a man confronts the question of earning a living for himself, he finds many ways before him of which some are lawful, as for example lawful kinds of labor, service, trade and business, industry, or agriculture, and some are unlawful as thievery, robbery, picking pockets, prostitution, trading in money (on interest), gambling, bribery and unlawful kinds of services and business, etc. The decision to adopt any one of these ways has been left to man’s own free choice as to how he would like to earn his living. Likewise, there are different modes of morality. On the one side, there are the good qualities, like honesty, nobility, decency, justice, pity, sympathy and chastity, and on the other, the evil traits like wickedness, meanness, tyranny, dishonesty, and frivolity. Man has full freedom to adopt any mode of morality he likes. The same is the case with religion; man has many ways open before him in this regard also; atheism and denial of God, polytheism and idol worship, different combinations of monotheism and polytheism, and the unalloyed creed of God worship which is taught by the Quran. In these also, the decision to choose has been left to man as to which of them he wants to adopt. Allah does not impose on him any decision of His own. If man may like to choose a lawful means of earning his living, Allah will not force him to adopt an unlawful means for it. Or that, man may like to follow the Quran, Allah will not force him to become an atheist, polytheist or disbeliever. Or that, man may like to become a good man, Allah will not force him to become an evil man.
But after man has exercised this freedom of choice whether can he practically also do the same which he wants to do, depends on Allah’s Will, His leave and His grace. If the Will of Allah be to let the man do what he has willed or decided to do, then alone can he do it; otherwise he cannot do anything without Allah’s Will and His leave, however hard and seriously he may try to do it. This same thing has been said in the second verse. This can be explained by an example. If man had been delegated all the powers in the world and permitted to do whatever he pleased, the system of the world would have been disrupted. One murderer was enough to murder all the people in the world if he were given the freedom to kill anybody he liked. One pickpocket could pick the pocket of everyone if he were given the option to pick anyone’s pocket he pleased. One thief was enough to steal whatever he liked; one adulterer to commit rape on every woman, one robber to plunder every house, if each one of these had full powers to act as he desired. Therefore, Allah has kept this in His own power whether He may allow or disallow the man to follow the right or the wrong path that he chooses to follow or not. The person who, giving up error, wants to adopt the right way is also granted righteousness only by Allah’s leave and will. However, the condition is that the decision to give up error and choose guidance should have been taken by the man himself; otherwise just as Allah does not make anybody a thief or murderer or atheist or polytheist forcibly, so also He does not make anybody a believer forcibly.
After this, the third verse removes the misunderstanding whether Allah’s willing may not be arbitrary. That is why it has been said that “Allah is All-Knowing, Al-Wise.” That is whatever He does, He does it on the basis of knowledge and wisdom; therefore, there can be no possibility of any error in His decisions. He decided with full knowledge and wisdom as to who should be given a particular kind of help and who should not be given it, who should be allowed to do a particular work and who should not be allowed to do it. To the extent that Allah provides opportunities to man and makes the conditions favorable for him, he can work according to his desire, whether it be good or evil. The question of guidance also is no exception to it. Allah alone knows on the basis of His knowledge and He alone determines on the basis of His wisdom as to who deserves to be guided and who does not. see(E.N. 41 of Surah Al-Muddaththir).
34. In this verse “wrongdoers” imply the people whom the revelations of Allah and the teachings of His Prophet (peace be upon him) may reach, yet they deliberately and consciously decide that they would not obey and follow them. This also includes those unjust people who may plainly say that they do not accept the revelation as God’s revelation and the Prophet as God’s Prophet, or that they do not believe in God at all, and also those wicked people who may not refuse to believe in God and the Prophet and the Quran, but they are resolved not to obey and follow them. As a matter of fact, both these groups are unjust and wicked. As regards the first group, their case is clear and obvious; but the second group is no less wicked; it is also hypocritical and treacherous. Verbally, they say that they believe in God and the Messenger and the Quran, but in their hearts and minds they are resolved not to follow them, and their practical conduct of life is also opposed to it. About both Allah has declared that He has prepared for them a painful torment. They might strut about in the world, enjoy life as they like, boast and brag of their superiority, but ultimately they will be subjected to a disgraceful punishment; they cannot enter and enjoy Allah’s mercy in any way.