Surah Fussilat Ayat 11 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 11
Then He directed Himself to the heaven while it was smoke and said to it and to the earth, “Come [into being], willingly or by compulsion.” They said, “We have come willingly.”
Moreover He comprehended in His design the sky, and it had been (as) smoke: He said to it and to the earth: “Come ye together, willingly or unwillingly.” They said: “We do come (together), in willing obedience.”
Then He turned to the heaven while it was all smoke. He said to the heaven and the earth: “Come (into being), willingly or unwillingly.” They said: “Here we come (into being) in willing obeisance.”
Then He Istawa (rose over) towards the heaven when it was smoke, and said to it and to the earth: “Come both of you willingly or unwillingly.” They both said: “We come, willingly.”
Then turned He to the heaven when it was smoke, and said unto it and unto the earth: Come both of you, willingly or loth. They said: We come, obedient.
Thereafter He leveled Himself (How He did so is beyond human understanding) to the heaven (while) it was smoke, then said to it and to the earth, “Come up (you two) willingly (Or: in obedience ) or unwillingly!” They (both) said, “We come up willingly.”
Then He turned to the sky, which was smoke––He said to it and the earth, ‘Come into being, willingly or not,’ and they said, ‘We come willingly’––
Quran 41 Verse 11 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Fussilat ayat 11, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(41:11) Then He turned to the heaven while it was all smoke. He said to the heaven and the earth: “Come (into being), willingly or unwillingly.” They said: “Here we come (into being) in willing obeisance.”
14. Three things need to be explained here:
First, by heaven is meant the whole universe, as becomes obvious from the following sentences. In other words, turning to the heaven means that Allah turned to the creation of the universe.
Second, by smoke is implied the initial and primary stage of matter, in which it lay diffused in space in a shapeless, dust like condition before the formation of the universe. Scientists of the modern age describe the same thing as nebulae, and the same also is their view about the beginning of the universe: that is, before creation the matter of which the universe was built lay diffused in smoke-like nebulous form.
Third, it would be wrong to interpret “then He turned to the heaven” to mean that first He created the earth, then set mountains in it, then arranged blessings and provisions of food in it, and then, at the end, He turned towards the creation of the universe. This misunderstanding is removed by the following sentence: “He said to it and the earth: Come both of you, willingly or by compulsion. They said: We have come willingly.” This makes it clear that in this verse and in the following verses, mention is being made of the time when there was neither the earth nor the heaven, but the creation of the universe was being started. Only the word thumma (then) cannot be made the argument to say that the earth had been created before the heavens. There are several instances of this in the Quran that the word thumma is not necessarily used to show the chronological order but it is also used for the order of Presentation. (Please see (E.N. 12 of Surah Az-Zumar).
Among the earliest commentators the dispute has been going on for ages as to what was created first according to the Quran, the earth or the heavens. One group of them argues on the basis of this verse and (verse 29 of Surah Al- Baqarah )that the earth was created first. The other group argues from (verses 27-33 of Surah An-Naziat) that the heavens were created first, because there it has been clearly stated that the earth was created after the heavens. But the fact is that nowhere in the Quran has the mention of the creation of the universe been made to teach Physics or Astronomy, but while inviting towards belief in the doctrines to Tauhid and the Hereafter, like countless other signs, the creation of the heavens and the earth has also been presented as food for thought. For this purpose it was not at all necessary that the chronological order of the creation of the heavens and the earth should have been presented, and it should have been told whether the heavens were created first or the earth. No matter whether this was created first or that, in any case both are an evidence of Allah Almighty’s being the One and only Deity, and are a testimony that their Creator has not created this whole universe as a plaything for a care-free person. That is why the Quran sometimes mentions the creation of the earth first and sometimes the creation of the heavens first. Where the object is to make man realize the blessings of God, there generally it has mentioned the earth first, for it is closer to man; and where the object is to give man the concept of God’s greatness and His omnipotence there it has generally mentioned the heavens first, for the scene of the revolving heavens has always been awe-inspiring for man.
15. In these words Allah has described the nature of His method of creation in a manner as to differentiate between divine creation and human workmanship. When man wants to make something, he prepares a plan for it in his mind, then gathers together the necessary material, then works persistently hard to mold the material according to his plan, and in the process of his effort the material which he wants to mold according to his mental plan constantly resists him; so much so that sometimes the resistance of the material succeeds and the thing is not made precisely according to the desired plan, and sometimes man’s effort overcomes the resistance and he succeeds in giving it the desired form and shape. For example, when a tailor wants to make a shirt, he first conceives in his mind the shape of the shirt, then arranging the cloth he tries to cut and sew it according to his concept of the shirt, and during this effort, he has to face constantly the resistance of the cloth, for it does not easily yield to be molded according to the tailor’s concept; so much so that sometimes the resistance of the cloth dominates and the shirt doesn’t take the desired shape, and sometimes the tailor’s effort dominates and he is able to shape it precisely according to his concept. Now, consider Allah’s mode of creation. The matter of the universe lay scattered and diffused in the form of smoke. Allah willed to give it the shape of the universe as it is now. For this purpose, He did not have to sit down, like a human artisan, and chisel and mold the earth and the moon and the sun and the other stars and planets, but He only commanded the scheme of the universe that was in His Mind to come into being, i.e. the smoke like diffused matter to take the shape of the galaxies and stars and planets, which He wanted to create. This matter did not have the power to resist the command of Allah. Allah did not have to make any effort to give it the shape of the universe. No sooner was the command given than the matter started contracting and condensing and taking shape obediently according to the scheme of its Master, so that the whole universe including the earth became ready as planned.
This same scheme of Allah’s method of creation has been described at several other places in the Quran like this: When Allah decides to do something He only commands it to be and it is done. (See (Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayat 117); (Surah Aal-Imran, Ayats 47, 59); (Surah An-Nahl, Ayat 40); (Surah Maryam, Ayat 35); (Surah YaSeen, Ayat 82), (Surah Al-Mumin, Ayat 68).
The tafsir of Surah Fussilat verse 11 by Ibn Kathir is unavailable here.
Please refer to Surah Fussilat ayat 9 which provides the complete commentary from verse 9 through 12.
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