Surah Al-Hadid (Arabic: سورة الحديد) is the 57th chapter of the Qur’an with 29 ayats or verses. It is classified as a Medinan Surah and titled “The Inevitable”.
The Surah was revealed during a period when the tiny Islamic State was attacked from all sides by non-believers. It encourages Muslims to make sacrifices for their faith “Who is it that would loan Allah a goodly loan so He will multiply it for him and he will have a noble reward?” Ayat 11.
Read Surah Hadid in it’s entirety with transliteration to help with pronunciation and Sahih International English translation to help with understanding. At the end of the Surah we’ve provided different tafseer including one by Ibn Kathir.
“In order that you not despair over what has eluded you and not exult [in pride] over what He has given you. And Allah does not like everyone self-deluded and boastful”
Surah Hadid Ayat 23
Surah Hadid with Translation and Transliteration
Bismillah Hir Rahman Nir Raheem
In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful
سَبَّحَ لِلَّهِ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ ۖ وَهُوَ ٱلْعَزِيزُ ٱلْحَكِيمُ
Sabbaha lillaahi maa fissamaawaati wal ardi wa Huwal ‘Azeezul Hakeem
1. Whatever is in the heavens and earth exalts Allah, and He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.
لَهُۥ مُلْكُ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ ۖ يُحْىِۦ وَيُمِيتُ ۖ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَىْءٍۢ قَدِيرٌ
Lahoo mulkus samaawaati wal ardi yuhyee wa yumeetu wa Huwa ‘alaa kulli shai’in Qadeer
2. His is the dominion of the heavens and earth. He gives life and causes death, and He is over all things competent.
هُوَ ٱلْأَوَّلُ وَٱلْءَاخِرُ وَٱلظَّـٰهِرُ وَٱلْبَاطِنُ ۖ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَىْءٍ عَلِيمٌ
Huwal Awwalu wal’Aakhiru waz Zaahiru wal Baatinu wa huwa bikulli shai’in Aleem
3. He is the First and the Last, the Ascendant and the Intimate, and He is, of all things, Knowing.
هُوَ ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضَ فِى سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍۢ ثُمَّ ٱسْتَوَىٰ عَلَى ٱلْعَرْشِ ۚ يَعْلَمُ مَا يَلِجُ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ وَمَا يَخْرُجُ مِنْهَا وَمَا يَنزِلُ مِنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ وَمَا يَعْرُجُ فِيهَا ۖ وَهُوَ مَعَكُمْ أَيْنَ مَا كُنتُمْ ۚ وَٱللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌۭ
Huwal lazee khalaqas samaawaati wal arda fee sittati ayyaamin summas tawaa ‘alal ‘Arsh; ya’lamu maa yaliju filardi wa maa yakhruju minhaa wa maa yanzilu minas samaaa’i wa maa ya’ruju feeha wa Huwa ma’akum ayna maa kuntum; wallaahu bimaa ta’maloona Baseer
4. It is He who created the heavens and earth in six days and then established Himself above the Throne. He knows what penetrates into the earth and what emerges from it and what descends from the heaven and what ascends therein; and He is with you wherever you are. And Allah, of what you do, is Seeing.
لَّهُۥ مُلْكُ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ ۚ وَإِلَى ٱللَّهِ تُرْجَعُ ٱلْأُمُورُ
Lahoo mulkus samaawaati wal ard; wa ilal laahi turja’ul umoor
5. His is the dominion of the heavens and earth. And to Allah are returned [all] matters.
يُولِجُ ٱلَّيْلَ فِى ٱلنَّهَارِ وَيُولِجُ ٱلنَّهَارَ فِى ٱلَّيْلِ ۚ وَهُوَ عَلِيمٌۢ بِذَاتِ ٱلصُّدُورِ
Yoolijul laila fin nahaari wa yoolijun nahaara fil lail; wa Huwa ‘Aleemum bizaatis sudoor
6. He causes the night to enter the day and causes the day to enter the night, and he is Knowing of that within the breasts.
ءَامِنُوا۟ بِٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِۦ وَأَنفِقُوا۟ مِمَّا جَعَلَكُم مُّسْتَخْلَفِينَ فِيهِ ۖ فَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ مِنكُمْ وَأَنفَقُوا۟ لَهُمْ أَجْرٌۭ كَبِيرٌۭ
Aaaminoo billaahi wa Rasoolihee wa anfiqoo mimmaa ja’alakum mustakh lafeena feehi fallazeena aamanoo minkum wa anfaqoo lahum ajrun kabeer
7. Believe in Allah and His Messenger and spend out of that in which He has made you successors. For those who have believed among you and spent, there will be a great reward.
وَمَا لَكُمْ لَا تُؤْمِنُونَ بِٱللَّهِ ۙ وَٱلرَّسُولُ يَدْعُوكُمْ لِتُؤْمِنُوا۟ بِرَبِّكُمْ وَقَدْ أَخَذَ مِيثَـٰقَكُمْ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ
Wa maa lakum laa tu’minoona billaahi war Rasoolu yad’ookum lituu’minoo bi Rabbikum wa qad akhaza meesaaqakum in kuntum mu’mineen
8. And why do you not believe in Allah while the Messenger invites you to believe in your Lord and He has taken your covenant, if you should [truly] be believers?
هُوَ ٱلَّذِى يُنَزِّلُ عَلَىٰ عَبْدِهِۦٓ ءَايَـٰتٍۭ بَيِّنَـٰتٍۢ لِّيُخْرِجَكُم مِّنَ ٱلظُّلُمَـٰتِ إِلَى ٱلنُّورِ ۚ وَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ بِكُمْ لَرَءُوفٌۭ رَّحِيمٌۭ
Huwal lazee yunazzilu ‘alaa ‘abdiheee Aayaatim baiyinaatil liyukhrijakum minaz zulumaati ilan noor; wa innal laaha bikum la Ra’oofur Raheem
9. It is He who sends down upon His Servant [Muhammad] verses of clear evidence that He may bring you out from darknesses into the light. And indeed, Allah is to you Kind and Merciful.
وَمَا لَكُمْ أَلَّا تُنفِقُوا۟ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ وَلِلَّهِ مِيرَٰثُ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ ۚ لَا يَسْتَوِى مِنكُم مَّنْ أَنفَقَ مِن قَبْلِ ٱلْفَتْحِ وَقَـٰتَلَ ۚ أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ أَعْظَمُ دَرَجَةًۭ مِّنَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَنفَقُوا۟ مِنۢ بَعْدُ وَقَـٰتَلُوا۟ ۚ وَكُلًّۭا وَعَدَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلْحُسْنَىٰ ۚ وَٱللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌۭ
Wa maa lakum allaa tunfiqoo fee sabeelil laahi wa lillaahi meeraasus samaawaati wal-ard; laa yastawee minkum man anfaqa min qablil fat-hi wa qaatal; ulaaaika a’zamu darajatam minal lazeena anfaqoo mim ba’du wa qaataloo; wa kullanw wa’adallaahul husnaa; wallaahu bimaa ta’maloona Khabeer
10. And why do you not spend in the cause of Allah while to Allah belongs the heritage of the heavens and the earth? Not equal among you are those who spent before the conquest [of Makkah] and fought [and those who did so after it]. Those are greater in degree than they who spent afterwards and fought. But to all Allah has promised the best [reward]. And Allah, with what you do, is Acquainted.
مَّن ذَا ٱلَّذِى يُقْرِضُ ٱللَّهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًۭا فَيُضَـٰعِفَهُۥ لَهُۥ وَلَهُۥٓ أَجْرٌۭ كَرِيمٌۭ
man zal lazee yuqridul laaha qardan hasanan fa yudaa’ifahoo lahoo wa lahooo ajrun kareem
11. Who is it that would loan Allah a goodly loan so He will multiply it for him and he will have a noble reward?
يَوْمَ تَرَى ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَٱلْمُؤْمِنَـٰتِ يَسْعَىٰ نُورُهُم بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَبِأَيْمَـٰنِهِم بُشْرَىٰكُمُ ٱلْيَوْمَ جَنَّـٰتٌۭ تَجْرِى مِن تَحْتِهَا ٱلْأَنْهَـٰرُ خَـٰلِدِينَ فِيهَا ۚ ذَٰلِكَ هُوَ ٱلْفَوْزُ ٱلْعَظِيمُ
Yawma taral mu’mineena walmu’minaati yas’aa nooruhum baina aydeehim wa biaymaanihim bushraakumul yawma jannaatun tajree min tahtihal anhaaru khaalideena feeha; zaalika huwal fawzul ‘azeem
12. On the Day you see the believing men and believing women, their light proceeding before them and on their right, [it will be said], “Your good tidings today are [of] gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein you will abide eternally.” That is what is the great attainment.
يَوْمَ يَقُولُ ٱلْمُنَـٰفِقُونَ وَٱلْمُنَـٰفِقَـٰتُ لِلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ ٱنظُرُونَا نَقْتَبِسْ مِن نُّورِكُمْ قِيلَ ٱرْجِعُوا۟ وَرَآءَكُمْ فَٱلْتَمِسُوا۟ نُورًۭا فَضُرِبَ بَيْنَهُم بِسُورٍۢ لَّهُۥ بَابٌۢ بَاطِنُهُۥ فِيهِ ٱلرَّحْمَةُ وَظَـٰهِرُهُۥ مِن قِبَلِهِ ٱلْعَذَابُ
Yawma yaqoolul munaa fiqoona walmunaafiqaatu lillazeena aamanun zuroonaa naqtabis min noorikum qeelarji’oo waraaa’akum faltamisoo nooran faduriba bainahum bisooril lahoo baab, baatinuhoo feehir rahmatu wa zaahiruhoo min qibalihi-‘azaab
13. On the [same] Day the hypocrite men and hypocrite women will say to those who believed, “Wait for us that we may acquire some of your light.” It will be said, “Go back behind you and seek light.” And a wall will be placed between them with a door, its interior containing mercy, but on the outside of it is torment.
يُنَادُونَهُمْ أَلَمْ نَكُن مَّعَكُمْ ۖ قَالُوا۟ بَلَىٰ وَلَـٰكِنَّكُمْ فَتَنتُمْ أَنفُسَكُمْ وَتَرَبَّصْتُمْ وَٱرْتَبْتُمْ وَغَرَّتْكُمُ ٱلْأَمَانِىُّ حَتَّىٰ جَآءَ أَمْرُ ٱللَّهِ وَغَرَّكُم بِٱللَّهِ ٱلْغَرُورُ
Yunaadoonahum alam nakum ma’akum qaaloo balaa wa laakinnakum fatantum anfusakum wa tarabbastum wartabtum wa gharratkumul amaaniyyu hatta jaaa’a amrul laahi wa gharrakum billaahil gharoor
14. The hypocrites will call to the believers, “Were we not with you?” They will say, “Yes, but you afflicted yourselves and awaited [misfortune for us] and doubted, and wishful thinking deluded you until there came the command of Allah . And the Deceiver deceived you concerning Allah .
فَٱلْيَوْمَ لَا يُؤْخَذُ مِنكُمْ فِدْيَةٌۭ وَلَا مِنَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ ۚ مَأْوَىٰكُمُ ٱلنَّارُ ۖ هِىَ مَوْلَىٰكُمْ ۖ وَبِئْسَ ٱلْمَصِيرُ
Fal Yawma laa yu’khazu minkum fidyatunw wa laa minal lazeena kafaroo; maawaakumun Naaru hiya maw laakum wa bi’sal maseer
15. So today no ransom will be taken from you or from those who disbelieved. Your refuge is the Fire. It is most worthy of you, and wretched is the destination.
۞ أَلَمْ يَأْنِ لِلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ أَن تَخْشَعَ قُلُوبُهُمْ لِذِكْرِ ٱللَّهِ وَمَا نَزَلَ مِنَ ٱلْحَقِّ وَلَا يَكُونُوا۟ كَٱلَّذِينَ أُوتُوا۟ ٱلْكِتَـٰبَ مِن قَبْلُ فَطَالَ عَلَيْهِمُ ٱلْأَمَدُ فَقَسَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ ۖ وَكَثِيرٌۭ مِّنْهُمْ فَـٰسِقُونَ
Alam yaani lillazeena aamanooo an takhsha’a quloo buhum lizikril laahi wa maa nazala minal haqqi wa laa yakoonoo kallazeena ootul Kitaaba min qablu fataala ‘alaihimul amadu faqasat quloobuhum wa kaseerum minhum faasiqoon
16. Has the time not come for those who have believed that their hearts should become humbly submissive at the remembrance of Allah and what has come down of the truth? And let them not be like those who were given the Scripture before, and a long period passed over them, so their hearts hardened; and many of them are defiantly disobedient.
ٱعْلَمُوٓا۟ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحْىِ ٱلْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا ۚ قَدْ بَيَّنَّا لَكُمُ ٱلْءَايَـٰتِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ
I’lamooo annal laaha yuhyil arda ba’da mawtihaa; qad baiyannaa lakumul Aayaati la’allakum ta’qiloon
17. Know that Allah gives life to the earth after its lifelessness. We have made clear to you the signs; perhaps you will understand.
إِنَّ ٱلْمُصَّدِّقِينَ وَٱلْمُصَّدِّقَـٰتِ وَأَقْرَضُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًۭا يُضَـٰعَفُ لَهُمْ وَلَهُمْ أَجْرٌۭ كَرِيمٌۭ
Innal mussaddiqeena wal mussaddiqaati wa aqradul laaha qardan hassanany yudaa’afu lahum wa lahum ajrun kareem
18. Indeed, the men who practice charity and the women who practice charity and [they who] have loaned Allah a goodly loan – it will be multiplied for them, and they will have a noble reward.
وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ بِٱللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِۦٓ أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلصِّدِّيقُونَ ۖ وَٱلشُّهَدَآءُ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ لَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ وَنُورُهُمْ ۖ وَٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ وَكَذَّبُوا۟ بِـَٔايَـٰتِنَآ أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ أَصْحَـٰبُ ٱلْجَحِيمِ
Wallazeena aamanoo billaahi wa Rusuliheee ulaaa’ika humus siddeeqoona wash shuhadaaa’u ‘inda Rabbihim lahum ajruhum wa nooruhum wallazeena kafaroo wa kazzaboo bi aayaatinaaa ulaaaika As haabul jaheem
19. And those who have believed in Allah and His messengers – those are [in the ranks of] the supporters of truth and the martyrs, with their Lord. For them is their reward and their light. But those who have disbelieved and denied Our verses – those are the companions of Hellfire.
ٱعْلَمُوٓا۟ أَنَّمَا ٱلْحَيَوٰةُ ٱلدُّنْيَا لَعِبٌۭ وَلَهْوٌۭ وَزِينَةٌۭ وَتَفَاخُرٌۢ بَيْنَكُمْ وَتَكَاثُرٌۭ فِى ٱلْأَمْوَٰلِ وَٱلْأَوْلَـٰدِ ۖ كَمَثَلِ غَيْثٍ أَعْجَبَ ٱلْكُفَّارَ نَبَاتُهُۥ ثُمَّ يَهِيجُ فَتَرَىٰهُ مُصْفَرًّۭا ثُمَّ يَكُونُ حُطَـٰمًۭا ۖ وَفِى ٱلْءَاخِرَةِ عَذَابٌۭ شَدِيدٌۭ وَمَغْفِرَةٌۭ مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ وَرِضْوَٰنٌۭ ۚ وَمَا ٱلْحَيَوٰةُ ٱلدُّنْيَآ إِلَّا مَتَـٰعُ ٱلْغُرُورِ
I’lamooo annamal hayaa tud dunyaa la’ibunw wa lahwunw wa zeenatunw wa tafaakhurum bainakum wa takaasurun fil amwaali wal awlaad, kamasali ghaisin a’jabal kuffaara nabaatuhoo summa yaheeju fataraahu musfaaran summa yakoonu hutaamaa; wa fil aakhirati ‘azaabun shadeedunw wa magh firatum minal laahi wa ridwaan; wa mal haiyaa tuddun yaaa illaa mataa’ul ghuroor
20. Know that the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children – like the example of a rain whose [resulting] plant growth pleases the tillers; then it dries and you see it turned yellow; then it becomes [scattered] debris. And in the Hereafter is severe punishment and forgiveness from Allah and approval. And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion.
سَابِقُوٓا۟ إِلَىٰ مَغْفِرَةٍۢ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَجَنَّةٍ عَرْضُهَا كَعَرْضِ ٱلسَّمَآءِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ أُعِدَّتْ لِلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ بِٱللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِۦ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ فَضْلُ ٱللَّهِ يُؤْتِيهِ مَن يَشَآءُ ۚ وَٱللَّهُ ذُو ٱلْفَضْلِ ٱلْعَظِيمِ
Saabiqooo ilaa maghfiratim mir Rabbikum wa jannatin ‘arduhaa ka-‘ardis samaaa’i wal ardi u’iddat lillazeena aamanoo billaahi wa Rusulih; zaalika fadlul laahi yu’teehi many yashaaa’; wal laahu zul fadlil ‘azeem
21. Race toward forgiveness from your Lord and a Garden whose width is like the width of the heavens and earth, prepared for those who believed in Allah and His messengers. That is the bounty of Allah which He gives to whom He wills, and Allah is the possessor of great bounty.
مَآ أَصَابَ مِن مُّصِيبَةٍۢ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ وَلَا فِىٓ أَنفُسِكُمْ إِلَّا فِى كِتَـٰبٍۢ مِّن قَبْلِ أَن نَّبْرَأَهَآ ۚ إِنَّ ذَٰلِكَ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ يَسِيرٌۭ
Maaa asaaba mim musee batin fil ardi wa laa feee anfusikum illaa fee kitaabim min qabli an nabra ahaa; innaa zaalika ‘alal laahi yaseer
22. No disaster strikes upon the earth or among yourselves except that it is in a register before We bring it into being – indeed that, for Allah, is easy –
لِّكَيْلَا تَأْسَوْا۟ عَلَىٰ مَا فَاتَكُمْ وَلَا تَفْرَحُوا۟ بِمَآ ءَاتَىٰكُمْ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ مُخْتَالٍۢ فَخُورٍ
Likailaa taasaw ‘alaa maa faatakum wa laa tafrahoo bimaaa aataakum; wallaahu laa yuhibbu kulla mukhtaalin fakhoor
23. In order that you not despair over what has eluded you and not exult [in pride] over what He has given you. And Allah does not like everyone self-deluded and boastful –
ٱلَّذِينَ يَبْخَلُونَ وَيَأْمُرُونَ ٱلنَّاسَ بِٱلْبُخْلِ ۗ وَمَن يَتَوَلَّ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ هُوَ ٱلْغَنِىُّ ٱلْحَمِيدُ
Allazeeena yabkhaloona wa yaamuroonan naasa bil bukhl; wa many yatawalla fa innal laaha Huwal Ghaniyyul Hameed
24. [Those] who are stingy and enjoin upon people stinginess. And whoever turns away – then indeed, Allah is the Free of need, the Praiseworthy.
لَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا رُسُلَنَا بِٱلْبَيِّنَـٰتِ وَأَنزَلْنَا مَعَهُمُ ٱلْكِتَـٰبَ وَٱلْمِيزَانَ لِيَقُومَ ٱلنَّاسُ بِٱلْقِسْطِ ۖ وَأَنزَلْنَا ٱلْحَدِيدَ فِيهِ بَأْسٌۭ شَدِيدٌۭ وَمَنَـٰفِعُ لِلنَّاسِ وَلِيَعْلَمَ ٱللَّهُ مَن يَنصُرُهُۥ وَرُسُلَهُۥ بِٱلْغَيْبِ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ قَوِىٌّ عَزِيزٌۭ
Laqad arsalnaa Rusulanaa bilbaiyinaati wa anzalnaa ma’ahumul Kitaaba wal Meezaana liyaqooman naasu bilqist, wa anzalnal hadeeda feehi baasun shadeedunw wa manaafi’u linnaasi wa liya’lamal laahu many yansuruhoo wa Rusulahoo bilghaib; innal laaha Qawiyyn ‘Azeez
25. We have already sent Our messengers with clear evidences and sent down with them the Scripture and the balance that the people may maintain [their affairs] in justice. And We sent down iron, wherein is great military might and benefits for the people, and so that Allah may make evident those who support Him and His messengers unseen. Indeed, Allah is Powerful and Exalted in Might.
وَلَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا نُوحًۭا وَإِبْرَٰهِيمَ وَجَعَلْنَا فِى ذُرِّيَّتِهِمَا ٱلنُّبُوَّةَ وَٱلْكِتَـٰبَ ۖ فَمِنْهُم مُّهْتَدٍۢ ۖ وَكَثِيرٌۭ مِّنْهُمْ فَـٰسِقُونَ
Wa laqad arsalnaa Noohanw wa Ibraaheema wa ja’alnaa fee zurriyyatihiman nubuwwata wal Kitaaba faminhum muhtad; wa kaseerum minhum faasiqoon
26. And We have already sent Noah and Abraham and placed in their descendants prophethood and scripture; and among them is he who is guided, but many of them are defiantly disobedient.
ثُمَّ قَفَّيْنَا عَلَىٰٓ ءَاثَـٰرِهِم بِرُسُلِنَا وَقَفَّيْنَا بِعِيسَى ٱبْنِ مَرْيَمَ وَءَاتَيْنَـٰهُ ٱلْإِنجِيلَ وَجَعَلْنَا فِى قُلُوبِ ٱلَّذِينَ ٱتَّبَعُوهُ رَأْفَةًۭ وَرَحْمَةًۭ وَرَهْبَانِيَّةً ٱبْتَدَعُوهَا مَا كَتَبْنَـٰهَا عَلَيْهِمْ إِلَّا ٱبْتِغَآءَ رِضْوَٰنِ ٱللَّهِ فَمَا رَعَوْهَا حَقَّ رِعَايَتِهَا ۖ فَـَٔاتَيْنَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ مِنْهُمْ أَجْرَهُمْ ۖ وَكَثِيرٌۭ مِّنْهُمْ فَـٰسِقُونَ
Summa qaffainaa ‘alaa aasaarihim bi Rusulinaa wa qaffainaa be ‘Eesab ni Maryama wa aatainaahul Injeela wa ja’alnaa fee quloobil lazeenat taba’ oohu raafatanw wa rahmatanw wa rahbaaniyyatanib tada’ oohaa maa katanaahaa ‘alaihim illab tighaaa’a ridwaanil laahi famaa ra’awhaa haqqa ri’aayatihaa fa aatainal lazeena aamanoo minhum ajrahum wa kaseerum minhum faasiqoon
27. Then We sent following their footsteps Our messengers and followed [them] with Jesus, the son of Mary, and gave him the Gospel. And We placed in the hearts of those who followed him compassion and mercy and monasticism, which they innovated; We did not prescribe it for them except [that they did so] seeking the approval of Allah . But they did not observe it with due observance. So We gave the ones who believed among them their reward, but many of them are defiantly disobedient.
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ ٱتَّقُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ وَءَامِنُوا۟ بِرَسُولِهِۦ يُؤْتِكُمْ كِفْلَيْنِ مِن رَّحْمَتِهِۦ وَيَجْعَل لَّكُمْ نُورًۭا تَمْشُونَ بِهِۦ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ۚ وَٱللَّهُ غَفُورٌۭ رَّحِيمٌۭ
Yaaa ayyuhal lazeena aamaanut taqullaaha wa aaminoo bi Rasoolihee yu’tikum kiflaini mir rahmatihee wa yaj’al lakum nooran tamshoona bihee wa yaghfir lakum; wallaahu Ghafoorur Raheem
28. O you who have believed, fear Allah and believe in His Messenger; He will [then] give you a double portion of His mercy and make for you a light by which you will walk and forgive you; and Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.
لِّئَلَّا يَعْلَمَ أَهْلُ ٱلْكِتَـٰبِ أَلَّا يَقْدِرُونَ عَلَىٰ شَىْءٍۢ مِّن فَضْلِ ٱللَّهِ ۙ وَأَنَّ ٱلْفَضْلَ بِيَدِ ٱللَّهِ يُؤْتِيهِ مَن يَشَآءُ ۚ وَٱللَّهُ ذُو ٱلْفَضْلِ ٱلْعَظِيمِ
Li’alla ya’lama Ahlul kitaabi allaa yaqdiroona ‘alaa shai’im min fadlil laahi wa annal fadla bi Yadil laahi u’teehi many yashaaa’; wallaahu Zul fadilil ‘azeem (End Juz 27)
29. [This is] so that the People of the Scripture may know that they are not able [to obtain] anything from the bounty of Allah and that [all] bounty is in the hand of Allah ; He gives it to whom He wills. And Allah is the possessor of great bounty.
Tafsir of Surah Hadid
The Qur’an was revealed as a book of proof that Islam is the one true religion and to be a book of guidance. We should not only just read the Qur’an but also make it a study. We’ve added this section to include various tafseer of Surah Hadid for those looking to benefit from reading the commentary on this Surah.
Tafsir Surah Hadid by Ibn Kathir
Imam Ahmad recorded that `Irbad bin Sariyah said that the Messenger of Allah used to recite Al-Musabbihat before he went to sleep, saying,
(In them there is an Ayah that is better than a thousand Ayat.) Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa’i collected this Hadith; At-Tirmidhi said, “Hasan Gharib.” The Ayah referred to in this Hadith is — and Allah knows best —
(He is Al-Awwal and Al-Akhir, Az-Zahir and Al-Batin. And He is the All-Knower of everything.)(57:3) Allah willing, we will again mention this subject. Upon Allah we trust and our total reliance and dependence are on Him, and sufficient He is to us as Supporter and Helper.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
In this Ayah, Allah states that everything that exists in the heavens and earth praises and glorifies Him, including creatures and plants. Allah said in another Ayah,
(The seven heavens and the earth and all that is therein, glorify Him and there is not a thing but glorifies His praise. But you understand not their glorification. Truly, He is Ever Forbearing, Oft-Forgiving.)(17:44) And His saying:
(and He is the Almighty,) meaning the One to Whom all things submit humility,
(All-Wise.) in His creating, commanding and legislating,
(His is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. It is He Who gives life and causes death;) He is the absolute Owner of His creation, bringing life and death and granting what He wills to whom He wills,
(and He is Able to do all things.) whatever He wills, is, and whatever He does not will, will never be. He said,
(He is Al-Awwal and Al-Akhir, Az-Zahir and Al-Batin.) This is the Ayah indicated in the Hadith of `Irbad bin Sariyah that is better than a thousand Ayat. Abu Dawud recorded that Abu Zamil said, “I mentioned to Ibn `Abbas that I felt something in my heart. He said, `Doubts’ and then laughed. Next, he said, `No one can escape this. Allah the Exalted stated,
(So if you are in doubt concerning that which We have revealed to you, then ask those who are reading the Book before you. Verily, the truth has come to you from your Lord.)(10:94)’ He then said to me, `When you feel any of this in your heart, recite,
(He is Al-Awwal and Al-Akhir, Az-Zahir and Al-Batin. And He is the All-Knower of everything.)”’ There are about ten and some odd number of different sayings collected from the scholars of Tafsir regarding the explanation of this Ayah. Al-Bukhari said, “Yahya said, `Az-Zahir: knowing all things, Al-Batin: knowing all things.”’ Our Shaykh Al-Hafiz Al-Mizzi said, “Yahya is Ibn Ziyad Al-Farra’, who authored a book entitled Ma`ani Al-Qur’an.” There are Hadiths mentioned about this. Among them, Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah would recite this supplication while going to bed,
(O Allah, Lord of the seven heavens and Lord of the Magnificent Throne! Our Lord, and the Lord of everything, Revealer of the Tawrah, the Injil and the Furqan, the Splitter of the grain of corn and the date stone! I seek refuge with You from the evil of everything whose forhead You have control over. O Allah! You are Al-Awwal, nothing is before You; Al-Akhir, nothing is after You; Az-Zahir, nothing is above You; and Al-Batin, nothing is below You. Remove the burden of debt from us and free us from poverty.) Muslim recorded this Hadith via Sahl, who said, “Abu Salih used to order us to lay on our right side when we were about to sleep, and then say,
(O Allah, Lord of the seven heavens and Lord of the Magnificent Throne! Our Lord, and the Lord of everything, Revealer of the Tawrah, the Injil and the Furqan, the Splitter of the grain of corn and the date stone! I seek refuge with You from the evil of everything whose forhead You have control over. O Allah! You are Al-Awwal, nothing is before You; Al-Akhir, nothing is after You; Az-Zahir, nothing is above You; and Al-Batin, nothing is below You. Remove the burden of debt from us and free us from poverty.) And he used to narrate that from Abu Hurayrah from the Prophet .”
Allah the Exalted states that He created the heavens and earth, and all that is between them, in six Days and then rose over the Throne after He created them. We discussed this before in the explanation of Surat Al-A`raf, so it is not necessary to repeat the meaning here. Allah’s statement,
(He knows what goes into the earth), indicates His knowledge in the amount of seeds and drops of water that enter inside the earth’s surface,
(and what comes forth from it) of plants, vegetation and fruits. Allah the Exalted said in another Ayah,
(And with Him are the keys of all that is hidden, none knows them but He. And He knows whatever there is in the land and in the sea; not a leaf falls, but He knows it. There is not a grain in the darkness of the earth nor anything fresh or dry, but is written in a Clear Record.)(6:59) Allah’s statement,
(and what descends from the heaven), pertains to rain, snow, hail and whatever Allah decides descends from heaven of decisions and commandments brought down by the honorable angels. Allah’s statement,
(and what ascends thereto.), refers to angels and deeds. In the Sahih, there is a Hadith in which the Prophet said,
(To Him ascend the deeds of the night before the day falls and the deeds of the day before the night falls.) Allah said,
(And He is with you wheresoever you may be. And Allah is the All-Seer of what you do.) meaning, He is watching over you and witnessing your deeds wherever you may be, on land or at sea, during the night or the day, at home or in open areas or deserts. All of that is the same before His knowledge and all of it is under His sight and hearing. He hears your speech and sees where you are. He knows your secrets and your public statements,
(No doubt! They did fold up their breasts, that they may hide from Him. Surely, even when they cover themselves with their garments, He knows what they conceal and what they reveal. Verily, He is the All-Knower of the (secrets) of the breasts. )(11:5) Allah the Exalted said,
(It is the same (to Him) whether any of you conceals his speech or declares it openly, whether he be hid by night or goes forth freely by day.)(13:10) Surely, there is no deity worthy of worship, except Allah. In the Sahih, there is a Hadith in which the Messenger of Allah answered Jibril, when he asked him about Ihsan:
(To worship Allah as if you see Him, and even though you cannot see Him, He surely sees you.) Allah’s statement,
(His is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. And to Allh return all the matters.) asserts that Allah is the King and Owner of this life and the Hereafter. Allah said in another Ayah,
(And truly, unto Us (belong) the last (Hereafter) and the first (this world).)(92:13) Surely, Allah is praised for this attribute, just as He said in other Ayat,
(And He is Allah, La ilaha illa Huwa, all praise is His in the first and in the last.)(28:70), and,
(All the praise is Allah’s, to Whom belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. His is all the praise in the Hereafter, and He is the All-Wise, the All-Aware.)(34:1) Allah owns everything that is in the heavens and earth, and all their inhabitants are servants to Him and humble before Him, just as He said,
(There is none in the heavens and the earth but comes unto the Most Gracious as a servant. Verily, He knows each one of them, and has counted them a full counting. And every one of them will come to Him alone on the Day of Resurrection.) (19:93-95) This is why Allah said here,
(And to Allah return all the matters.) meaning that all matters will be referred to Him on the Day of Resurrection and He will judge His creation as He wills. Indeed, He is the Most Just, Who never falls into injustice, not even the weight of a speck of dust; if one performs even one good deed, Allah will multiply it up to ten times,
(and gives from Him a great reward. )(4:40),
(And We shall set up Balances of justice on the Day of Resurrection, then none will be dealt with unjustly in anything. And if there be the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it. And sufficent are We to take account.)(21:47) Allah’s statement,
(He merges night into day, and merges day into night,) meaning, He does what He wills with His creatures. He alternates the night and day and measures them by His wisdom, as He wills. Sometimes, He makes the night longer than the day, and sometimes the opposite. Sometimes, He makes the length of night and day equal. Sometimes, He makes the season winter, then changes it to spring, then summer then autumn. All this He does by His wisdom and His due measure of everything in His creation,
(and He has full knowledge of whatsoever is in the breasts.) He knows the secrets, no matter how concealed they are.
Allah the Exalted and Blessed orders having perfect faith in Him and in His Messenger, and that one should persist on this path adhereing firmly to it. Allah encourages spending from what He has made mankind trustees of, the wealth that you – mankind – have, that He has lent you. This wealth was in the hands of those before you and was later transferred to you. Therefore, O mankind, spend as Allah commanded you from the wealth that He entrusted to you for His obedience. Otherwise, He will hold you accountable and punish you for your ignoring what He ordained on you in this regard. Allah’s statement,
(of that whereof He has made you trustees.), indicates that you – mankind — will surrender this wealth to someone else. In this case, those who will inherit from you might obey Allah with their wealth, and thus acquire more happiness than you on account of what Allah has granted them. They might disobey Allah, and in this case you will have helped them commit evil and transgression. Imam Ahmad recorded that `Abdullah bin Ash-Shikhkhir said, “I came to Allah’s Messenger as he was reciting and saying,
((abundance diverts you.)( The Son of `Adam claims, “My wealth, my wealth.” But is there anything belonging to you, except that which you consumed, which you used, or which you wore and then it became worn or you gave as charity and sent it forward) Muslim also collected with the addition:
(Other than that, you will go away from it and leave it behind for other people.) Allah’s statement,
(And such of you as believe and spend, theirs will be a great reward.) encourages having faith and spending in acts of obedience. Allah the Exalted said,
(And what is the matter with you that you believe not in Allah! While the Messenger invites you to believe in your Lord;) meaning, “what prevents you from believing, while the Messenger is among you calling you to faith and bringing forward clear proofs and evidences that affirm the truth of what he brought you” And we have reported the Hadith through different routes in the beginning of the explanation on the chapter on Faith in Sahih Al-Bukhari, wherein one day the Messenger of Allah said to his Companions,
(Who do you consider among the believers as having the most amazing faith) They said, “The angels.” He said,
(And what prevents them from believing when they are with their Lord) They said, “Then the Prophets.” He said,
(What prevents them from believing when the revelation comes down to them) They said, “Then us.” He said,
(What prevents you from believing, when I am amongst you Actually, the believers who have the most amazing faith, are some people who will come after you; they will find pages that they will believe in.) We mentioned a part of this Hadith when explaining Allah’s statement in Surat Al-Baqarah,
(who believe in the Ghayb (unseen).)(2:3) Allah’s statement,
(and He has indeed taken your covenant,) is similar to another of His statements,
(And remember Allah’s favor to you and His covenant with which He bound you when you said: “We hear and we obey.”)(5:7), which refers to giving the pledge of allegiance to the Prophet . Ibn Jarir said that the covenant mentioned here, is that taken from mankind, when they were still in Adam’s loin. This is also the opinion of Mujahid, and Allah knows best. Allah said,
(It is He Who sends down manifest Ayat to His servant) clear proofs, unequivocal evidences and plain attestations,
(that He may bring you out from darkness into light.) from the darkness of ignorance, disbelief and contradictory statements to the light of guidance, certainty and faith,
(And verily, Allah is to you full of kindness, Most Merciful.) by revealing the Divine Books and sending the Messengers to guide mankind, eradicating doubts and removing confusion. After Allah commanded mankind to first believe and spend, He again encouraged them to acquire faith and stated that He has removed all barriers between them and the acquisition of faith. Allah again encouraged them to spend,
(And what is the matter with you that you spend not in the cause of Allah And to Allah belongs the heritage of the heavens and the earth.) means, spend and do not fear poverty or scarcity. Surely, He in Whose cause you spent is the King and Owner of the heavens and earth and has perfect control over their every affair, including their treasuries. He is the Owner of the Throne, with all the might that it contains, and He is the One Who said,
(And whatsoever you spend of anything, He will replace it. And He is the best of providers.)(34:39), and,
(whatever is with you, will be exhausted, and whatever is with Allah will remain.)(16:96) Therefore, those who trust in and depend on Allah will spend, and they will not fear poverty or destitution coming to them from the Owner of the Throne. They know that Allah will surely compensate them for whatever they spend.
(Not equal among you are those who spent before the conquering and fought.) meaning those who did not fight and spend before the Conquest are not equal to those who spent and fought. Before Makkah was conquered, things were difficult for Muslims and only the righteous ones embraced Islam. After Makkah was conquered, Islam spread tremendously throughout the known world and people embraced the religion of Allah en masse. Similarly He said:
(Such are higher in degree than those who spent and fought afterwards. But to all Allah has promised the best (reward).) The majority considers the Conquest here to be the conquest of Makkah. Ash-Sha`bi and several others said that the Ayah refers to the treaty at Al-Hudaybiyyah. There is proof for this opinion found in a Hadith from Anas, collected by Imam Ahmad. Anas said, “Khalid bin Al-Walid and `Abdur-Rahman bin `Awf had a dispute. Khalid said to `Abdur-Rahman, `You boast about days (battles) that you participated in before us.’ When the news of this statement reached the Prophet he said,
(Do not bother my Companions, for by He in Whose Hand is my soul! If you spend an amount of gold equal to (Mount) Uhud, (or equal to the mountains), you will not reach the level of their actions.)” It is a known fact that Khalid bin Al-Walid, whom the Prophet addressed this statement to, embraced Islam during the period between the treaty of Al-Hudaybiyyah and the conquering of Makkah. The dispute between Khalid and `Abdur-Rahman occurred because of the battle of Bani Jadhimah. The Prophet sent Khalid bin Al-Walid to them after the conquest of Makkah, and they said, “Saba’na,” instead of saying, “Aslamna” (we embraced Islam). So Khalid ordered their execution and the execution of their prisoners (of war); `Abdur-Rahman bin `Awf and `Abdullah bin `Umar opposed him. This is the reason behind the dispute that occurred between Khalid and `Abdur-Rahman. But in the Sahih, the Messenger of Allah said,
(None should revile my Companions, for by He in Whose Hand is my soul! If one of you were to spend as much gold as Uhud, it would not reach the level of them equal to an amount as much as one Mudd of one of them or half of it.) Allah said,
(But to all Allah has promised the best (reward).) meaning, those who spent before and after the conquest of Makkah; they all will gain a reward for their good deeds, even though some of them vary in rank and earn a better reward than others as Allah said,
(Not equal are those of the believers who sit (at home), except those who are disabled, and those who strive hard and fight in the cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives. Allah has preferred in grades those who strive hard and fight with their wealth and their lives above those who sit (at home). Unto each, Allah has promised good, but Allah has preferred by a great reward those who strive hard and fight, above those who sit (at home).)(4:95) There is a Hadith in the Sahih that states,
(The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer; both have goodness in them.) The Prophet ended his statement this way to draw attention to the second type of believer, so that their own qualities are not forgotten in the midst of preferring the former type. In this way, the latter is not dismissed as being degraded in the Hadith. Therefore, the Prophet ended his statement by praising the second type — the weak believers — after giving preference to the first type. Allah said:
(And Allah is All-Aware of what you do.) meaning, since Allah is perfectly aware of all things, He made distinctions between the rewards of the believers who spent and fought before the Conquest and those who spent and fought afterwards. Surely, Allah does this by His knowledge of the intention of the former type and their perfect sincerity to Him, all the while spending in times of hardship, poverty and dire straits. This is found in the Hadith,
(Spending one Dirham is preceded over a hundred thousand.) There is no doubt that the people of faith consider Abu Bakr As-Siddiq to be the person who has the best share according to the meaning of this Ayah. He was the chief of those who implemented it, among all followers of all Prophets. He spent all of his wealth seeking the Face of Allah, the Exalted and Most Honored. He did it voluntarily too, not to repay a debt or a favor that anyone from mankind had on him. May Allah be pleased with him.
(Who is he that will lend Allah a handsome loan:) `Umar bin Al-Khattab said that this Ayah refers to spending in Allah’s cause. It was also said that it pertains to spending on children. What is correct is that it is more general than that. So all those who spend in the cause of Allah with good intentions and a sincere heart, then they fall under the generality of this Ayah. This is why Allah the Exalted said in another Ayah:
(Who is he that will lend Allah handsome loan: then (Allah) will increase it manifold to his credit (in repaying),) and in another Ayah,
(many times) (2:245), meaning, being handsome reward and tremendous provisions: Paradise on the Day of Resurrection. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud said, “When this Ayah,
(Who is he that will lend Allah handsome loan: then (Allah) will increase it manifold to his credit (in repaying),) was revealed, Abu Ad-Dahdah Al-Ansari said, `O Allah’s Messenger! Does Allah ask us for a loan’ The Prophet said,
(Yes, O Abu Ad-Dahdah.) He said, `Give me your hand, O Allah’s Messenger,’ and the Prophet placed his hand in his hand. Abu Ad-Dahdah said, `Verily, I have given my garden as a loan to my Lord.’ He had a garden that contained six hundred date trees; his wife and children were living in that garden too. Abu Ad-Dahdah went to his wife and called her, `Umm Ad-Dahdah!’ She said, `Here I am.’ He said, `Leave the garden, because I have given it as a loan to my Lord, the Exalted and Most Honored.’ She said, `That is a successful trade, O Abu Ad-Dahdah!’ She then transferred her goods and children. The Messenger of Allah said,
(How plentiful are the sweet date clusters that Abu Ad-Dahdah has in Paradise!)” In another narration, the Prophet said,
(How many a date tree that has lowered down its clusters, which are full of pearls and gems in Paradise for Abu Ad-Dahdah!)
Allah the Exalted states that the believers who spend in charity will come on the Day of Resurrection with their light preceding them in the area of the Gathering, according to the level of their good deeds. As reported from `Abdullah bin Mas`ud:
(their light running forward before them), he said, “They will pass over the Sirat according to their deeds. Some of them will have a light as large as a mountain, some as a date tree, some as big as a man in the standing position. The least among them has a light as big as his index finger, it is lit at times and extinguished at other times.” Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Jarir collected this Hadith. Ad-Dahhak commented on the Ayah, “Everyone will be given a light on the Day of Resurrection. When they arrive at the Sirat, the light of the hypocrites will be extinguished. When the believers see this, they will be concerned that their light also will be extinguished, just as the light of the hypocrites was. This is when the believers will invoke Allah, `O our Lord! Perfect our light for us.”’ Allah’s statement,
(and in their right hands.) Ad-Dahhak said: “Their Books of Records.” As Allah said:
(So whosoever is given his record in his right hand.)(17:71) Allah said,
(Glad tidings for you this Day! Gardens under which rivers flow,) meaning, it will be said to them, “Receive glad tidings this Day, of gardens beneath which rivers flow,
(to dwell therein forever!), you will remain therein forever,”
(Truly, this is the great success!)
(On the Day when the hypocrites men and women will say to the believers: “Wait for us! Let us get something from your light!”) Allah informs us in this Ayah of the terrible horrors, horrendous incidents and tremendous events that will take place on the Day of Resurrection in the Gathering Area. No one will be saved on that Day, except those who believed in Allah and His Messenger, obeyed Allah’s commands and avoided His prohibitions. Al-`Awfi, Ad-Dahhak and others reported from Ibn `Abbas: “When the people are gathering in darkness, Allah will send light, and when the believers see the light they will march towards it. This light will be their guide from Allah to Paradise. When the hypocrites see the believers following the light, they will follow them. However, Allah will extinguish the light for the hypocrites and they will say (to the believers),
(Wait for us! Let us get something from your light.) The believers will reply by saying,
`(Go back to your rear!) to the dark area you were in, and look for a light there!”’ Allah said,
(So, a wall will be put up between them, with a gate therein. Inside it will be mercy, and outside it will be torment.) Al-Hasan and Qatadah said that the wall mentioned here is located between Paradise and Hellfire. `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said that the wall mentioned in this Ayah is the wall that Allah described in His statement,
(And between them will be a (barrier) screen.)(7:46) Similar was reported from Mujahid and others, and it is correct. Allah said,
(Inside it will be mercy,) meaning, Paradise and all that is in it,
(and outside it will be torment.) meaning, the Hellfire, according to Qatadah, Ibn Zayd and others. Allah said,
((The hypocrites) will call the believers: “Were we not with you”) meaning, the hypocrites will call out to the believers saying, “Were we not with you in the life of the world, attending Friday prayers and congregational prayers Did we not stand with you on Mount `Arafah (during Hajj), participate in battle by your side and perform all types of acts of worship with you”
(The believers will reply: “Yes!…”) The believers will answer the hypocrites by saying, “Yes, you were with us,
(But you led yourselves into temptations, you looked forward to our destruction; and you doubted (in faith) and you were deceived by false hopes,) ” Qatadah said,
(you looked forward to destruction), “Of the truth and its people.”
(and you doubted,) that Resurrection occurs after death,
(and you were deceived by false hopes,) meaning: you said that you will be forgiven your sins; or, they say it means: this life deceived you;
(till the command of Allah came to pass.) meaning: you remained on this path until death came to you,
(And the deceiver deceived you in regard to Allah.) `the deceiver’ being Shaytan. Qatadah said, “They were deceived by Ash-Shaytan. By Allah! They remained deceived until Allah cast them into Hellfire.” The meaning here is that the believers will answer the hypocrites by saying, “You were with us in bodies which were heartless and devoid of intentions. You were cast in doubt and suspicion. You were showing off for people and remembered Allah, little.” Mujahid commented, “The hypocrites were with the believers in this life, marrying from among each other, yet betraying them even when they were associating with them. They were dead. They will both be given a light on the Day of Resurrection, but the light of the hypocrites will be extinguished when they reach the wall; this is when the two camps separate and part!” Allah’s statement,
(Your abode is the Fire.) means, the Fire is your final destination and to it will be your return for residence,
(That is your protector,) meaning, it is the worthy shelter for you rather than any other residence, because of your disbelief and doubt, and how evil is the Fire for Final Destination.
Allah asks, `Has not the time come for the believers to feel humility in their hearts by the remembrance of Allah and hearing subtle advice and the recitation of the Qur’an, so that they may comprehend the Qur’an, abide by it, and hear and obey Muslim recorded that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud said, “Only four years separated our acceptance of Islam and the revelation of this Ayah, in which Allah subtly admonished us,
(Has not the time yet come for the believers that their hearts should be humble for the remembrance of Allah)” This is the narration Muslim collected, just before the end of his book. An-Nasa’i also collected this Hadith in the Tafsir of this Ayah. Allah’s statement,
(Lest they become as those who received the Scripture before, and the term was prolonged for them and so their hearts were hardened) Allah is prohibiting the believers from imitating those who were given the Scriptures before them, the Jews and Christians. As time passed, they changed the Book of Allah that they had, and sold it for a small, miserable price. They also abandoned Allah’s Book behind their back and were impressed and consumed by various opinions and false creeds. They imitated the way others behaved with the religion of Allah, making their rabbis and priests into gods beside Allah. Consequently, their hearts became hard and they would not accept advice; their hearts did not feel humbled by Allah’s promises or threats,
(And many of them were rebellious.) meaning, in action; therefore, their hearts are corrupt and their actions are invalid, just as Allah the Exalted said,
(So, because of their breach of their covenant, We cursed them and made their hearts grow hard. They changed the words from their (right) places and have abandoned a good part of the Message that was sent to them.)(5:13) meaning, their hearts became corrupt and they hardened, and they acquired the behavior of changing Allah’s Speech from their appropriate places and meanings. They abandoned acts of worship that they were commanded to perform and committed what they were prohibited to do. This is why Allah forbade the believers from imitating them in any way, be it basic or detailed matters. Allah the Exalted said,
(Know that Allah gives life to the earth after its death! Indeed We have made clear the Ayat to you, if you but understand.) This Ayah indicates that He brings subtleness to hearts after they have become hard, guides the confused after they were led astray, and relieves hardships after they have intensified. And just as Allah brings life back to the dead and dry earth by sending the needed abundant rain, He also guides the hardened hearts with the proofs and evidences of the Qur’an. The light (of faith) would have access to the hearts once again, after they were closed and, as a consequence, no guidance was able to reach them. All praise is due to Him Who guides whomever He wills after they were misguided, Who misguides those who were led aright before. Surely, it is He Who does what He wills and He is the All-Wise, the Most Just in all that He does, the Most Subtle, the Most Aware, the Most High, the Proud.
Allah the Exalted describes the reward that He will award to those who spend from their wealth, whether male or female, on the needy, the poor and the meek,
(and lend Allah handsome loan,) meaning, they give in charity with a good heart seeking the pleasure of Allah. They do not seek worldly rewards or appreciation from those to whom they give in charity. Allah’s statement,
(it shall be increased manifold,) indicating that He will multiply the good deeds from tenfold, up to seven hundredfold and even more than that,
(and theirs shall be an honorable good reward.) theirs will be a generous, handsome reward, a good dwelling to return to and an honorable final destination. Allah’s statement,
(And those who believe in Allah and His Messengers — they are the Siddiqun) This completes His description of those who have faith in Him and in His Messengers, by describing them as Siddiqun, true believers. Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas about
(And those who believe in Allah and His Messengers — they are the Siddiqun) that its meaning does not continue to the next Ayah,
(and the martyrs (are) with their Lord. They shall have their reward and their light.) Abu Ad-Duha (stopped after he) recited,
(they are the Siddiqun), then initiated recitation:
(and the martyrs (are) with their Lord.) Masruq, Ad-Dahhak, Muqatil bin Hayyan and others said similarly. Al-A`mash narrated from Abu Ad-Duha from Masruq from `Abdullah bin Mas`ud commented on Allah’s statement,
(they are the Siddiqun, and the martyrs with their Lord.) “They are of three categories,” meaning there are those who spend in charity, the Siddiqun and the martyrs. Allah the Exalted said,
(And whoso obey Allah and the Messenger, then they will be in the company of those on whom Allah has bestowed His grace, of the Prophets, the Siddiqin, the martyrs, and the righteous.)(4:69) Therefore, Allah made a distinction between the Siddiqin and the martyrs, indicating that they are of two distinct categories, so there is no doubt that Siddiq is a better status than the martyr. Imam Malik bin Anas recorded in his Muwatta’ that Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(The people of Paradise will look at the dwellers of the lofty mansions as one looks at a brilliant star far away in the east or in the west on the horizon, because of their superiority over one another.) On that the people said, “O Allah’s Messenger! Are these lofty mansions for the Prophets whom none else can reach” The Prophet replied,
(No! By Him in Whose Hand is my soul! these are for men who believe in Allah and believe in the Messengers.) Al-Bukhari and Muslim also collected this Hadith. Allah’s statement,
(and the martyrs with their Lord.) means that they will be in the gardens of Paradise, as recorded in the Sahih:
(The souls of the martyrs live in the bodies of green birds, who fly wherever they wish in Paradise and then return to their nests in chandeliers. Once your Lord cast a glance at them and said, `Do you want anything” They said, “We wish that You return us to the life of the world, so that we may fight in Your cause and be killed as we were killed the first time.” Allah said, “I have decreed that they shall not be returned to it again.”) Allah’s statement,
(They shall have their reward and their light.), means that Allah will grant them a generous reward and a tremendous light that will precede before them. In this, the believers vary regarding the level of reward they receive, according to their good actions in the life of this world. Imam Ahmad recorded that `Umar bin Al-Khattab said that he heard the Messenger of Allah say,
(There are four ranks of martyrs. The first is a man who believes and who is true in faith, who meets the enemy (in battle), fulfills his duty to Allah and is killed. This is the type that the people will look up to (his level in Paradise), like this.) The Prophet raised his head until his cap fell off his head, and the same happened to `Umar. The Prophet continued,
(The second is a believer who meets the enemy and is struck by a stray arrow which causes him to die. This believer is in the second grade. The third is a believer who has combined good deeds with evil deeds; he meets the enemy and is truthful to his duty to Allah until he is killed. This is the third category. And the fourth is a believer who has committed sins excessively, so he meets the enemy and is truthful to his duty to Allah, and is killed. This is the fourth category.) `Ali bin Al-Madini also reported this Hadith and said, “This Egyptian chain is Salih useful.” At-Tirmidhi said, “Hasan Gharib.” Allah’s statement,
(But those who disbelieve and deny Our Ayat — they shall be the dwellers of the blazing Fire.) mentions the destination and the condition of the miserable ones, after Allah mentioned the destination and rewards of the happy ones.
Allah the Exalted degrades the significance of this life and belittles it by saying,
(that the life of this world is only play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting among you, and rivalry in respect of wealth and children.) meaning, this is the significance of this life to its people, just as He said in another Ayah,
(Beautified for men is the love of things they covet; women, children, much of gold and silver (wealth), branded beautiful horses, cattle and well-tilled land. This is the pleasure of the present world’s life; but Allah has the excellent return with Him.)(3:14) Allah the Exalted also sets a parable for this life, declaring that its joys are fading and its delights are perishable, saying that life is,
(Like a rain (Ghayth),) which is the rain that comes down to mankind, after they had felt despair. Allah the Exalted said in another Ayah,
(And He it is Who sends down the Ghayth (rain) after they have despaired.)(42:28) Allah’s statement,
(thereof the growth is pleasing to the tiller;) meaning that farmers admire the vegetation that grows in the aftermath of rain. And just as farmers admire vegetation, the disbelievers admire this life; they are the most eager to acquire the traits of life, and life is most dear to them,
(afterwards it dries up and you see it turning yellow; then it becomes straw.) meaning, that vegetation soon turns yellow in color, after being fresh and green. After that, the green fades away and becomes scattered pieces of dust. This is the parable of this worldly life, it starts young, then matures and then turns old and feeble. This is also the parable of mankind in this life; they are young and strong in the beginning. In this stage of life, they look youthful and handsome. Slowly, they begin growing older, their mannerism changes and their strength weakens. They then grow old and feeble; moving becomes difficult for them, while doing easy things becomes beyond their ability. Allah the Exalted said,
(Allah is He Who created you in (a state of) weakness, then gave you strength after weakness, then after strength gave (you) weakness and grey hair. He creates what He wills. And He is the All-Knowing, the All-Powerful.)(30:54) This parable indicates the near demise of this life and the imminent end of it, while in contrast, the Hereafter is surely coming. Those who hear this parable should, therefore, be aware of the significance of the Hereafter and feel eagerness in the goodness that it contains,
(But in the Hereafter (there is) a severe torment, and (there is) forgiveness from Allah and (His) pleasure. And the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment.) meaning, surely, the Hereafter that will certainly come contains two things either severe punishment or forgiveness from Allah and His good pleasure. Allah the Exalted said,
(And the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment.) meaning, this life is only a form of enjoyment that deceives those who incline to it. Surely, those who recline to this life will admire it and feel that it is dear to them, so much so, that they might think that this is the only life, no life or dwelling after it. Yet, in reality, this life is insignificant as compared to the Hereafter. Imam Ahmad recorded that `Abdullah said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Paradise is nearer to any of you than the strap on his shoe, and so is the (Hell) Fire.) Al-Bukhari collected this Hadith through the narration of Ath-Thawri. This Hadith indicates the close proximity of both good and evil in relation to mankind. If this is the case, then this is the reason Allah the Exalted encouraged mankind to rush to perform acts of righteousness and obedience and to avoid the prohibitions. By doing so, their sins and errors will be forgiven and they will acquire rewards and an exalted status. Allah the Exalted said,
(Race with one another in hastening towards forgiveness from your Lord, and Paradise the width whereof is as the width of the heaven and the earth,) Allah the Exalted said in another Ayah,
(And march forth in the way (to) forgiveness from your Lord, and for Paradise as wide as the heavens and the earth, prepared for those who have Taqwa.)(3:133) Allah said here,
(prepared for those who believe in Allah and His Messengers. That is the grace of Allah which He bestows on whom He is pleased with. And Allah is the Owner of great bounty.) meaning, “This, that Allah has qualified them for, is all a part of His favor, bounty and compassion.” We mentioned a Hadith collected in the Sahih in which the poor emigrants said to the Messenger , “O Allah’s Messenger! The wealthy people will get higher grades and permanent enjoyment.” He asked,
(Why is that) They said, “They pray like us and fast as we do. However, they give in charity, whereas we cannot do that, and that free servants, whereas we cannot afford it.” The Prophet said,
(Shall I tell you of a good deed that, if you acted upon, you would catch up with those who have surpassed you none would overtake you and be better than you, except those who might do the same. Say, “Glorious is Allah,” “Allah is Most Great,” and “Praise be to Allah,” thirty three times each after every prayer.) They later came back and said, “Our wealthy brethren heard what we did and they started doing the same.” Allah’s Messenger said,
This is the favor of Allah that He gives to whom He wills.)
Allah reminds of His measuring and deciding the destiny of all things before He created the creation,
(No calamity occurs on the earth nor in yourselves) meaning, `there is nothing that touches you or happens in existence,’
(but it is inscribed in the Book of Decrees before We bring it into existence.) meaning, `before We created the creation and started life.’ Qatadah commented on this Ayah,
(No calamity occurs on the earth) refers to famine, while,
(or nor in yourselves) refers to suffering and diseases.” He also said, “We were told that every person who suffers a prick of a thorn, a twisted ankle, or a bleeding vein, has it occur on account of his sins. What Allah forgives is even more.” This great, honorable Ayah provides clear evidence to the misguidance of the cursed Qadariyyah sect, who deny Allah’s Preordaihnent and His knowledge of everything before it occurs. Imam Ahmad recorded that `Abdullah bin `Amr bin Al-`As said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah say,
(Allah ordained the measures (of everything) fifty thousand years before He created the heavens and the earth.)” Muslim collected this Hadith in his Sahih with the addition:
(And His Throne was over the water.) At-Tirmidhi also collected it and said, “Hasan Sahih.” Allah’s statement,
(Verily, that is easy for Allah.) means that He knows all things before they occur, and He records them exactly as they will occur when they occur, and this is easy for Him. Verily, Allah knows what happened, what will happen and what did not happen, and what shape and form it will take if it were to happen.
(In order that you may not grieve at the things over that you fail to get, nor rejoice over that which has been given to you.) meaning, `We informed you of Our encompassing knowledge, recording all things before they occur and creating all things in due measure known to Us, so that you may know that what has met you would never have missed you and what has missed you would never have met you. Therefore, do not grieve for what you have missed of fortune, because had it been destined for you, you would have achieved it.’ (It is also recited:) (وَلَا تَفْرَحُوْا بِمَا أَتَاكُمْ) (nor rejoice over that which came to you) meaning, come to you. According to the recitation,
it means (which has been given to you.) Both meanings are related. Allah says here, `do not boast before people about what Allah has favored you with, because it is not you who earned it by your efforts. Rather, all this came your way because Allah destined them for you and provided them for you as provisions. Therefore, do not use what Allah has granted you as a reason to boast and become arrogant with others.’ Allah’s statement,
(And Allah likes not prideful boasters.) meaning, who acts arrogantly with other people. `Ikrimah commented by saying, “Everyone of us feels happiness and grief. However, make your joy with gratitude and endure your grief with patience.”
Allah the Exalted then said,
(Those who are misers and enjoin miserliness upon people.) meaning those who commit evil and encourage people to commit it,
(And whosoever turns away,) from abiding by Allah’s commandments and obeying Him,
(then Allah is Rich, Worthy of all praise.) As Musa, peace be upon him, said,
(If you disbelieve, you and all on earth together, then verily, Allah is Rich, Owner of all praise.)(14:8)
Allah the Exalted said next,
(Indeed We have sent Our Messengers with clear proofs) in reference to the miracles, the unequivocal evidences and the plain proofs,
(and revealed with them the Scripture) which contains the true text,
(and the Mizan), that is, justice, according to Mujahid, Qatadah and others. This Ayah refers to the truth that is attested to by the sound, straight minds that oppose misguided opinions and ideas, just as Allah said in other Ayat,
(Can they (Muslims) who rely on a clear proof from their Lord, and whom a witness from Him follows it (be equal with the disbelievers).)(11:17),
(Allah’s Fitra (religion) with which He has created mankind.) (30:30), and,
(And the heaven: He has raised it high, and He has set up the Mizan.)(55:7) This is why Allah said here,
(that mankind may keep up justice), truth and fairness that is found in the obedience of the Messengers, in all that they conveyed from their Lord, and following all they commanded. Surely, what the Prophets brought forth is the truth, beyond which there is no truth, just as Allah said,
(And the Word of your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and in justice.)(6:115), His Word is true in what it conveys, and just in all its orders and prohibitions. This is why the believers say, when they take up their rooms in Paradise and assume their high grades and lined thrones,
(All praise is due to Allah, Who has guided us to this, and never could we have found guidance, were it not that Allah had guided us! Indeed, the Messengers of our Lord did come with the truth.)(7:43)
(And We brought forth iron wherein is mighty power,) meaning, `We made iron a deterrent for those who refuse the truth and oppose it after the proof has been established against them.’ Allah’s Messenger remained in Makkah for thirteen years. During that time, the revelation continued being sent to him, containing arguments against the idolators and explaining Tawhid with detail and proofs. When the evidence was established against those who defied the Messenger , Allah decreed the Hijrah. Then He ordered the believers to fight the disbelievers using swords, using them to strike the necks and foreheads of those who opposed, rejected and denied the Qur’an. Imam Ahmad and Abu Dawud recorded that `Abdullah bin `Umar said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(I was sent with the sword just before the Hour so that Allah be worshipped alone without partners. My provision was placed under the shadow of my spear, and those who defy my order were disgraced and humiliated, and he who imitates a people is one of them.) This is why Allah the Exalted said,
(wherein is mighty power,) in reference to weapons, such as swords, spears, daggers, arrows, shields, and so forth,
(as well as many benefits for mankind,) meaning, in their livelihood, such as using it to make coins, hammers, axes, saws chisels, shovels and various tools that people use for tilting the land, sowing, cooking, making dough and manufacturing other objects necessary for their livelihood. Allah’s statement,
(that Allah may test who it is that will help Him (His religion) and His Messengers in the unseen.) meaning, whose intention by carrying weapons is the defense of Allah (His religion) and His Messenger,
(Verily, Allah is Powerful, Almighty.) meaning, surely, Allah is Powerful, Almighty, and He gives victory to those who give victory and aid to Him. However, Allah does not need mankind’s help, but He ordered Jihad to test people with each other.
Allah the Exalted states that since He sent Nuh, peace be upon him, all the Prophets and Messengers He sent after that were from his offspring. All the revealed Divine Books and all the Messengers that received revelation after Ibrahim, Allah’s Khalil, peace be upon him, were from Ibrahim’s offspring. Allah the Exalted said in another Ayah:
(and placed in their offspring prophethood and Scripture.) ﴿29:27﴾ The last among the Prophets of the Children of Israel was `Isa, son of Mary, who prophecied the good news of the coming of Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon them both. Allah the Exalted said,
(Then, We sent after them Our Messengers, and We sent ‘Isa the son of Maryam, and gave him the Injil.) refering to the Injil that Allah revealed to him,
(And We ordained in the hearts of those who followed him,) i.e., the disciples,
(compassion) and tenderness,
(and mercy.) toward the creatures. Allah’s statement,
(But the monasticism which they invented for themselves,) refers to the monasticism that the Christian nation invented,
(We did not prescribe for them) `We — Allah — did not ordain it for them, but they chose it on their own.’ There are two opinions about the meaning of,
(only to please Allah therewith,) The first is that they wanted to please Allah by inventing monasticism. Sa`id bin Jubayr and Qatadah said this. The second meaning is: “We did not ordain them to practice that but, rather, We ordained them only to seek what pleases Allah.” Allah’s statement,
(but that they did not observe it with the right observance.) meaning, they did not abide by what they ordered themselves to do. This Ayah criticizes them in two ways: first, they invented in things in their religion, things which Allah did not legislate for them. The second is that they did not fulfill the requirements of what they themselves invented and which they claimed was a means of drawing near to Allah, the Exalted and Most Honored. GIbn Jarir and Abu `Abdur-Rahman An-Nasa’i — and this is his wording – recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, “There were kings after `Isa who changed the Tawrah and the Injil when there were still believers who recited Tawrah and the Injil. Their kings were told, `We were never confronted by more severe criticism and abuse than of these people.’ — they recite the Ayah,
(And whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, such are the disbelievers.)(5:44), as well as, they accuse us of short comings in our actions, while still they recite. Therefore, summon them and let them recite these Ayat our way and believe in them our way.’ The king summoned them and gathered them and threatened them with death if they did not revert from reciting the original Tawrah and Injil to using the corrupted version only. They said, `Why do you want us to do that, let us be.’ Some of them said, `Build a narrow elevated tower for us and let us ascend it, and then give us the means to elevate food and drink to us. This way, you will save yourselves from hearing us.’ Another group among them said, `Let us go about in the land and eat and drink like beasts do, and if you find us in your own land, then kill us.’ Another group among them said, `Build homes (monasteries) for us in the deserts and secluded areas, where we can dig wells and plant vegetables. Then, we will not refute you and will not even pass by you.’ These groups said this, even though they all had supporters among their tribes. It is about this that Allah the Exalted and Most Honored sent down this Ayah,
(But the monasticism which they invented for themselves, We did not prescribe for them, but (they sought it) only to please Allah therewith, but that they did not observe it with the right observance.) ”’ Imam Ahmad recorded that Anas bin Malik said that the Prophet said,
(Every Prophet has Rahbaniyyah (monasticism); Jihad in the cause of Allah, the Exalted and Most Honored, is the Rahbaniyyah of this Ummah.) Al-Hafiz Abu Ya`la collected this Hadith and in this narration, the Prophet said,
(Every Ummah has Rahbaniyyah; Jihad in the cause of Allah is the Rahbaniyyah of this Ummah.) Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri said that a man came to him and asked him for advice, and Abu Sa`id said that he asked the same of Allah’s Messenger . Abu Sa`id said, “So, I advise you to adhere by the Taqwa of Allah, because it is the chief of all matters. Fulfill the obligation of Jihad, because it is the Rahbaniyyah of Islam. Take care of remembering Allah and reciting the Qur’an, because it is your closeness (or status) in the heavens and your good fame on earth.” Only Imam Ahmad collected this Hadith.
Earlier we mentioned a Hadith that An-Nasa’i collected from Ibn `Abbas that this Ayah is about the People of the Scriptures who believe in Islam, and that they will earn double their reward if they do so. There is an Ayah in Surat Al-Qasas to support this meaning. Also, there is a Hadith from Ash-Sha`bi from Abu Burdah from his father from Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Three will get their reward twice. A believer from the People of the Scriptures who has been a true believer in his Prophet and then believes in me, will get a double reward. A slave who fulfills Allah’s rights and obligations as well as the duties of his master, will get a double reward. A person who has a slave-girl and he educates her properly and teaches her good manners properly (without violence) and then manumits and marries her, will get a double reward.) This Hadith is recorded in the Two Sahihs. Ad-Dahhak, `Utbah bin Abi Hakim and others agreed with Ibn `Abbas in this, and Ibn Jarir preferred it. Allah the Exalted said in another Ayah,
(O you who believe! If you have Taqwa of Allah, He will grant you a criterion, and will expiate for you your sins, and forgive you; and Allah is Owner of the great bounty.)(8:29) Sa`id bin `Abdul-`Aziz said, `Umar bin Al-Khattab asked a Jewish rabbi, `What is the maximum a reward would be increased for you’ He replied, `A Kifl (portion) which is about three hundred and fifty good merits.’ So `Umar said, `Praise be to Allah who gave us two Kifls.’ Then Sa`id mentioned Allah’s saying:
(He will give you a double portion of His mercy,) Sa`id said, “And the two Kifls on Friday are similar to that.” This was recorded by Ibn Jarir. This view has support from the Hadith that Imam Ahmad recorded from `Abdullah bin `Umar that the Messenger of Allah said,
(The parable of you and the Jews and Christians is that of a person who employed some laborers and asked them, “Who will work for me from the Dawn prayer until midday for one Qirat (a special weight of gold) each” So, the Jews worked. The person asked, “Who will do the work for me from the Zuhr prayer to the time of the `Asr prayer for one Qirat each” So, the Christians worked. Then the person asked, “Who will do the work for me from `Asr prayer until sunset for two Qirat each” You are those who did this work. The Jews and the Christians got angry and said, “We did more work, but got less wages.” Allah said, “Have I been unjust to you with your reward” They said, “No.” So, Allah said, “Then it is My grace which I bestow on whomever I will.”) Al-Bukhari collected this Hadith. Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Musa said that the Prophet said,
(The parable of the Muslims, Jews and Christians is that of a man who employed laborers to work for him from morning until night for a known wage. So, they worked until midday and said, `We are not in need of the wages that you promised and our work was in vain.’ So, the man said, `Do not quit now, complete the rest of the work and yours will be the full wage I have fixed for it.’ However, they refused and quit, and he had to hire another batch of workers. He said (to the second batch), `Complete the work for the rest of the day and I will give you the same wage I promised the first batch.’ So, they worked until the time of the `Asr prayer and said, `Whatever we have done is in vain and we forfeit the wages you promised us.’ He said to them, `Complete your day’s work, for only a small part of the day remains.’ However, they refused, and he employed another batch to work for the rest of the day, and they worked until sunset and received the wages of the two former batches. This is an example of them (i.e., the Jews and Christians) and of those who accepted this light (i.e., Islam).) Al-Bukhari was alone in recording it. Allah the Exalted said;
(So that the People of the Scriptures may know that they have no power whatsoever over the grace of Allah,) meaning, so that they become sure that they cannot prevent what Allah gives, or give what Allah prevents,
(and that (His) grace is (entirely) in His Hand to bestow it on whomsoever He wills. And Allah is the Owner of great bounty.)
This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Hadid, all praise is due to Allah, and all favors come from Him.
[57:1] Allah’s purity has been proclaimed by all that is in the heavens and the earth, and He is the Mighty, the Wise.
Some of the Merits of Surah Al-Hadid
It is recorded in Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi and Nasa’i that Sayyidna ` Irbad Ibn Sariyah ؓ said that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ used to recite Al-Musabbihat before he went to sleep and said: “In them there is a verse that is more meritorious than a thousand verses.” The collective name of the series Al-Musabbihat refers to the following five Surahs:  Al-Hadid;  Al-Hashar;  As-Saff;  Jumu’ah; and  At-Taghabun. Having cited this Hadith, Ibn Kathir says that the best verse referred to in Surah Al-Hadid is verse  هُوَ الْأَوَّلُ وَالْآخِرُ وَالظَّاهِرُ وَالْبَاطِنُ ۖ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ (He is the First and the Last, and the Manifest and the Hidden, and He is All-Knowing about everything….57:3] Among the five Surahs, the first three, namely Al-Hadid, Al-Hashr and As-Saff commence with the past perfect tense ‘sabbaha’ [purity has been proclaimed] whilst the last two, namely Al-Jumu` ah and Al-Taghabun commence with the imperfect tense yusabbihu [purity is proclaimed]. This implies that the purity of Allah should be declared at all times, the past, the present and the future. [Mazhari]
[57:2] To Him belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. He gives life and brings death, and He is Powerful to do everything.
[57:3] He is the First and the Last, and the Manifest and the Hidden, and He is All-Knowing about everything.
Remedy for Diabolical Whisperings
Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas ؓ said that if the Shaitan casts an evil scruple in anyone’s heart, and thus causes skepticism about Allah and the religion of truth, he should softly recite the following verse : هُوَ الْأَوَّلُ وَالْآخِرُ وَالظَّاهِرُ وَالْبَاطِنُ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ (He is the First and the Last, the Manifest and the Hidden and He is All-Knowing about everything.)
What is meant by Allah’s being First and Last, and Manifest and Hidden? There are more than ten different interpretations of these attributes, and they are not contradictory. The scope is wide enough to accommodate all interpretations. The meaning of the attribute al-awwal [the First] is more or less fixed, signifying that ontologically there was nothing before Allah, and that He created everything and He is the First Cause of all existent things. The attribute Al-‘akhir [the Last] means that He will exist even after everything will perish, as the following verse testifies: كُلُّ شَيْءٍ هَالِكٌ إِلَّا وَجْهَهُ (Everything has to perish except His Countenance… [28:88]. It should be noted that death or perishing covers two possibilities, either actual death or potential death. Therefore the verse means that all existent creatures will either actually perish on the Day of Judgment, or they may not actually perish, but potentially they could perish. They have the inherent capacity for death and destruction. Thus despite their being existent they may still be described as halik or fani [perishing]. As for instance, Paradise and Hell, and the righteous or unrighteous inmates entering them will not actually perish, but potentially they have the inherent capacity to perish. Only the Supreme Being of Allah is such that neither non-existence has ever occurred to Him, nor can death overtake Him. Thus Allah is Al-‘Akhir [the Last].
Imam Ghazali (رح) has another explanation. He interprets the attribute ‘Akhir [the Last] from the point of view of ma’rifah [Knowledge] in the sense that knowing Allah Ta’ ala is the ultimate goal which man hopes to achieve. He moves in the direction of this goal, passing on the way through all the different stages and stations until he attains the Divine Knowledge. [Ruh ul Ma’ ani]
The attribute Az-zahir [the Manifest] signifies a Being whose manifestation is superior to everything. Since ‘manifestation’ is an offshoot of ‘existence’, and the Existence of Allah is First and superior to all existent entities, the Divine Manifestation surpasses the manifestation of all other beings. Nothing in this universe is more manifest than Him. The manifestation of His wisdom and His power is visible in every particle of this world.
The attribute Al-batin [the Hidden] means that the accurate nature and essence of Allah’s Being is hidden in the sense that the Divine Essence [dhat] is beyond human perception. No intellect or thought can ever reach the accurate and Intrinsic Essence of Allah.
اے برتراز قیاس و گمان و خیال و وھم
و زھرچہ دیدہ ایم شنیدہ ایم وخواندہ ایم
He is far beyond any hypothesis, any guess, any assumption, any imagination,
And who is far beyond whatever we have ever seen, heard or read about.
اے بروں از جملہ قال و قیلِ من
خاک بر فرق من و تمثیل من
He is beyond all our discussions and debates.
Whatever example I cite to explain Him is no more than a sheer failure.
[57:4] He is the One who created the heavens and the earth in six days, then He positioned Himself on the Throne. He knows whatever goes into the earth and whatever comes out there from, and whatever descends from the sky, and whatever ascends thereto. And He is with you wherever you are, and Allah is watchful of whatever you do.
وَهُوَ مَعَكُمْ أَيْنَ مَا كُنتُمْ (…And He is with you wherever you are, …57:4) No man is able to comprehend the essential nature of Allah’s company or His being with us, though it is absolutely true that He is with us, because no man can exist or do any work without it. The Divine Will [mashiyyah] and power is necessary for everything. Therefore, Allah is with every human being in every situation, at every place. Allah knows best!
[57:5] To Him belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth, and to Allah all matters are returned.
[57:6] He makes the night enter into the day, and makes the day enter into the night, and He is All-Knowing about whatever lies in the hearts.
[57:7] Believe in Allah and His Messenger, and spend out of that (wealth) in which He has appointed you as deputies.1 So, for those of you who have believed and spent (in Allah’s way), there is a big reward.
 The original word used in the text is ‘mustakhlafin’ which has two meanings: ‘deputies’ and ‘successors’. Taken in the first meaning, the verse indicates that the wealth held by human beings originally belongs to Allah, but He has made them His deputies or representatives to use it according to His directions. Although He has allowed them to use it for their own benefit, it should always be subject to the rules prescribed by Him in Shari’ah. Once it is believed that one is not the absolute owner of this wealth, it should not be difficult for him to spend according to the command of its absolute Owner. This is the interpretation of the verse according to the majority of commentators. However, some other exegetes have taken the word ‘mustakhlafin’ in the sense of ‘successors’. In this case the verse reminds us that whatever wealth we have in our hands today has reached us from other people who owned it before us. We have succeeded them in its ownership, and ultimately it will be passed on to some others through any mode of transfer including inheritance. All kinds of wealth are thus in transit, moving from one person to another. Therefore, one should not hesitate in spending it in Allah’s way, because it has to be passed on to some others in any case. (Muhammad Taqi Usmani)
[57:8] And what is wrong with you that you do not believe in Allah, while the Messenger invites you to believe in your Lord, and He has taken your covenant, if you are believers?
وَقَدْ أَخَذَ مِيثَاقَكُمْ (…and He has taken your covenant ….57:8) This could refer to the covenant taken in ` anal’ (pre-eternity). According to verses 172-174 of Surah Al-A’raf, Allah gathered all the souls even before they took the form of their existence, and took the covenant of ‘alast’ [the pre-eternal covenant]. He asked them: اَلَستُ بِرَبِّکُم (“Am I not your Lord?” ) They replied: بَلیٰ (Of course You are, we affirm). Another possibility is that this covenant could refer to the pledge taken from the previous prophets and their followers to believe in the final Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and support him. This covenant is mentioned by the Holy Qur’an in the following words:
ثُمَّ جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولٌ مُّصَدِّقٌ لِّمَا مَعَكُمْ لَتُؤْمِنُنَّ بِهِ وَلَتَنصُرُنَّهُ ۚ قَالَ أَأَقْرَرْتُمْ وَأَخَذْتُمْ عَلَىٰ ذَٰلِكُمْ إِصْرِي ۖ قَالُوا أَقْرَرْنَا ۚ قَالَ فَاشْهَدُوا وَأَنَا مَعَكُم مِّنَ الشَّاهِدِينَ
“…then comes to you a messenger verifying what is with you; you shall have to believe in him and you shall have to support him. He said: ‘Do you affirm and accept my covenant in this respect?’ They said: ‘We affirm.’ He said: ‘Then, bear witness, and I am with you among the witnesses.” (3:81)
إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ (…if you are believers – 57:8). A question may arise here: In the earlier part of this very verse , the infidels and idolaters were reprimanded in the following words, “And what is wrong with you that you do not believe in Allah” This goes to show that the addressees of this phrase are ‘non-believers’, then how is it appropriate to say ‘if you are believers’?
The answer to this question is that the unbelievers did not deny the existence of the Creator. In point of fact, they claimed to believe in God, and thus they used to say مَا نَعْبُدُهُمْ إِلَّا لِيُقَرِّبُونَا إِلَى اللَّـهِ زُلْفَىٰ (We only worship them [the idols] that they may bring us nearer to Allah in position….39:3) In this context, the concluding phrase of verse  implies that ‘If your claim [that you believe in God] is true, then go about the perfect and right way in “believing in God” which is not only to believe in God but also to believe in His Messenger ﷺ .
[57:9] He is the One who reveals clear verses to His slave, so that He brings you out from layers of darkness towards the light. And to you, indeed, Allah is Very-Kind, Very-Merciful.
[57:10] And what is wrong with you that you should not spend in the way of Allah, while to Allah belongs the inheritance of the heavens and the earth? Those who spent before the Conquest (of Makkah), and fought (in Allah’s way), are not at par (with others). Those are much greater in rank than those who spent later and fought, though Allah has promised the good (reward) for each. And Allah is well aware of what you do.
وَلِلَّـهِ مِيرَاثُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ (…while to Allah belongs the inheritance of the heavens and the earth?….57:10) The word mirath [inheritance, heritage] is the process by which the assets of a deceased person pass to the living heirs and beneficiaries. This transfer of ownership takes place automatically by virtue of the law of Shari` ah; the deceased has no choice in the matter. On this occasion, Allah has described the ownership of heaven and earth by the expression mirath [inheritance, heritage] presumably because all those assets deemed to be owned by men will ultimately return to Allah, no matter whether men like it or not. Although the Real Owner and Master of the heavens and the earth is Allah, He transferred part-ownership of things to man by His grace, but on the Day of Judgment, even this outward and partial ownership will no longer remain in the hands of anyone. At that stage, all sorts of ownership, apparent and real, outward and inward, will belong to none but Allah. Therefore, if those who are apparently owners of some wealth today spend it in Allah’s way, they will receive its compensation in the Hereafter, and thus anything spent in the way of Allah will become the eternal property of the spender.
It is recorded in Tirmidhi on the authority of Sayyidah ‘A’ishah ؓ that one day a goat was slaughtered. Most of it was distributed among other people, except for a foreleg. The Holy Prophet ﷺ wanted to know from her whether any part of it was spared from distribution. She said ‘yes, a foreleg’. The Holy Prophet ﷺ said, “The entire goat is spared, except this foreleg.” He meant that the entire goat was spent in the way of Allah and thus it was spared for their benefit in the Hereafter, because it would remain with Allah for compensation. On the contrary, there would be no compensation for the foreleg that had been kept for later use, because that would perish here. [Mazhari]
لَا يَسْتَوِي مِنكُم مَّنْ أَنفَقَ مِن قَبْلِ الْفَتْحِ وَقَاتَلَ (…Those who spent before the Conquest [of Makkah], and fought [in Allah’s way], are not at par [with others]…10) It means that there are two types of people who spend wealth in the way of Allah:  those who embraced Islam before the victory of Makkah and, being believers, spent their wealth in the cause of Allah;  those who participated in jihad after the conquest of Makkah and spent their wealth in Allah’s way. The two types are not equal in the sight of Allah. They differ in status and reward. The first category is described as higher in status and reward than the second category who will receive reward commensurate with their status.
Conquest of Makkah: The Dividing Line in Determining the Status of the noble Companions ؓ
The verse declares the Conquest of Makkah as the dividing line in determining the status of the two categories of the noble Companions ؓ ، presumably because the political conditions of Makkah before the Conquest were very bleak and difficult for Muslims. In terms of extrinsic causes, the survival of Muslims was threatened and their progress was doubted. The people at large could not rule out the possibility that, like other movements, Islam would soon erode and suffer a natural attrition or death. Wise men of the world would not join a movement where there was a fear of defeat or annihilation. They wait for results. When the movement shows signs of success, they join it. Some people, though think that it is the truth, do not pluck courage to join it for fear of persecution and on account of their own weaknesses. But when the courageous and determined people are convinced about the veracity of a theory or belief system, they accept it instantly. They do not bother about victory or defeat, and smaller or larger membership of the movement does not concern them.
The people, who embraced Islam before conquest of Makkah, were witnessing the small number and political weakness of the Muslims and the consequent hardships. Muslims were very small in number and they were weak, on account of which the pagans persecuted them. Especially in the early days of Islam, disclosing one’s faith in Islam would amount to losing his life, hearth and home. It is obvious that those who put their lives at stake by embracing Islam in such circumstances, and offered their lives and wealth for the help of the Holy Prophet ﷺ and for the service of Islam had such a high level of sincerity in their faith and practice that no other people can be compared to them.
Gradually, conditions changed. Muslims grew in power, so much so that eventually Makkah was conquered, after which Islam spread tremendously throughout the Arab world, people embraced the religion of Allah en masse [as the Qur’an says: يَدْخُلُونَ فِي دِينِ اللَّـهِ أَفْوَاجًا (…people entering Allah’s [approved] religion in multitudes) [110:2] This happened because many people were convinced of the veracity of Islam, but reluctant to embrace it publicly on account of their own weaknesses, owing to the might and power of the opposition and for fear of their persecution. These hurdles were now out of their way, and they started entering the fold of Islam in multitudes.
Although such people too are shown respect and honour by this verse, and forgiveness and mercy is promised to them, it has been made clear that their status cannot be equal to those who, due to their unshaken faith and resolute courage, declared their Islam despite all apprehensions of extreme hardships and persecution, and offered themselves to Islam in very difficult times.
Allah promises Paradise and Forgiveness to all Noble Sahabah ؓ
In the current set of verses, a distinction is drawn between the different categories of the noble Sahabah (Companions ؓ of the Holy Prophet ﷺ ، but towards the end of verse 10 it is declared that وَكُلًّا وَعَدَ اللَّـهُ الْحُسْنَىٰ (…though Allah has promised the good [reward] for each ….57:10). The word husna [good reward] means that the promise of Paradise and forgiveness extends to all the noble Companions ؓ ، whether they spent and fought before or after the Conquest. This includes almost the entire concourse of Companions ؓ ، because it is hardly conceivable that, despite being Muslims, some of them might have not spent anything in Allah’s way or not participated against the hostile foes of Islam. Thus the Qur’anic proclamation of Paradise and forgiveness is for the general body of Companions ؓ .
Ibn Hazm (رح) says that the meaning of verse  becomes even clearer when we append to it verses [101-102] of Surah Al-Anbiya’: إِنَّ الَّذِينَ سَبَقَتْ لَهُم مِّنَّا الْحُسْنَىٰ أُولَـٰئِكَ عَنْهَا مُبْعَدُونَ لَا يَسْمَعُونَ حَسِيسَهَا ۖ وَهُمْ فِي مَا اشْتَهَتْ أَنفُسُهُمْ خَالِدُونَ (Surely, those for whom the good (news) from Us has come earlier shall be kept far away from it (i.e. from the Hell). They will not hear the slightest of its sound, and they will remain forever in what their selves desire.) [21:101-102].
The verses under comment contain the phrase كُلًّا وَعَدَ اللَّـهُ الْحُسْنَىٰ (..though Allah has promised the good (reward) for each …[57:10] In verses [21:101-102], Allah Ta’ ala proclaims that those who have received the good news of reward [al-husna] will be kept far away from Hell. The Qur’an thus guarantees that all the Companions ؓ ، whether from the first category or from the second one, are immune from Hell. Even if someone from them would commit a sin, he will not persist in it, but he will either repent from it, or will be forgiven for it because of the blessed company of the Holy Prophet ﷺ he enjoyed, his help offered to him, the good deeds he performed and many services he rendered to Islam. Therefore, he would not leave this world unless his sins would be forgiven and his account of deeds would have been clear. It is also possible that worldly calamities would serve as an expiation to wipe out his shortcomings or painful experience in the grave or ` Alam-ul-barzakh will expiate his faults.
There are Traditions that report torment for some of the noble Companions, but that does not refer to the torture of the Hereafter or punishment of the Hell. It refers to the chastisement of the grave or ` Alam-ul-barzakh. It would not be far-fetched to assume that if a Companion committed a sin and did not find an opportunity to repent and cleanse himself, he would be purified by infliction of the grave, so that no chastisement will be inflicted on him in the Hereafter.
The Status of the Noble Sahabah ؓ in the light of Qur’ an and Sunnah, not in terms of Historical Narratives
The Noble Sahabah are not like the general body of the Muslim Community. They are a medium between the Holy Prophet ﷺ and the general body of the Muslim Community. Without them neither the Qur’an nor its meaning or the teachings of the Holy Prophet ﷺ can reach the Ummah. Therefore, they enjoy a special status in Islam. The status of the blessed Companions ؓ cannot be recognized by the historical narrations that are a mixture of right and wrong. It is rather recognized in the light of Qur’an and Sunnah.
If any of them slips up, in most cases it would not exceed a khata’ ijtihadi or error in judgment, not a sin or willful transgression of law. In fact, according to the clear text of a Prophetic Tradition, if a mujtahid were to slip up or err in his judgment, he still receives one reward. Even if they committed a sin, it would be counted as nil in view of their life-long righteous deeds, and supporting the Holy Prophet ﷺ and Islam. The reverence and awe of Allah was engrossed in their hearts to such a high degree that they would shudder at the very thought of ordinary sins and would repent forthwith. As a result, they would inflict punishment on themselves. Some would tie themselves to the column of the mosque, and as long as they are not certain that their sins would be forgiven they would remain tied.
In addition, each one of them performed so many righteous deeds that they could expiate for their sins. Moreover, Allah has announced a general amnesty for their sins in this and other verses. He not only pardoned their sins, but also proclaimed رَّضِيَ اللَّـهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ (Allah is well-pleased with them, and they are well-pleased with Him. 98:8). It is absolutely forbidden to speak ill of them or taunt them or revile them because of their mutual differences and disagreements. According to a Prophetic Tradition, doing so is incurring Allah’s curse and putting one’s own faith in jeopardy.
Nowadays, on the basis of false and weak historical narratives some writers have made the noble and blessed Companions the target of taunts and reproach. First of all, the basis on which the historical narratives are founded are unreliable and questionable. Even if it is taken for granted that they have some historical substance, they are clearly in conflict with Qur’an and Sunnah. Hence, they must be refuted in the strongest terms possible. The original statement stands: The noble and blessed Companions ؓ are forgiven and pardoned.
Unanimous Belief of the Ummah regarding the Noble Sahabah ؓ
It is obligatory on Muslims to show respect and honour to all the Companions ؓ ، to love them and praise them. It is likewise imperative to observe silence regarding their mutual differences and disagreements. It is compulsory to abstain from making any of them the target of accusations and reproach. All texts of Islamic beliefs make plain this consensual belief of the Ummah. Imam Ahmad (رح) has written a monograph on the subject which reached us on the authority of Istakhri. A section of it partly reads:
لَا یَجُوزُ لِاَحَدٍ ان یَّذکُرَ شَیٔاً مِّن مَّسَاویھم وَلَا یَطعَنُ عَلٰی اَحَدٍ مَّنھُم بِعَیبٍ وَلَا نَقصٍ فَمَن فَعَلَ ذٰلِکَ وَجَبَ تَادِیبُہ،۔
“It is not lawful for anyone to speak ill of the Companions, or cast aspersions against them, or find fault with them. Whoever does so should be punished.” [Shark-ul-` Aqidah Al-Wasitiyyah, known as Ad-Durrah A1-Mudi’ah]
Ibn Taimiyyah in his As-Sam-ul-Maslul has cited many verses of the Qur’an and Prophetic Traditions regarding the virtues and characteristics of the noble Companions ؓ ، after which he concludes:
وَھٰذَا مِمَّا لَا نَعلَمُ فِیہِ خِلَافاً بَینَ اَھلِ الفِقہِ وَالعِلمِ مِن اَصحَابِ رَسُولِ اللہ ﷺ وَالتَّابِعِینَ لَھُم بِاِحسَانٍ وَسَایٔرِ اَھلِ السُّنَّۃِ وِالجَمَاعَۃِ فَاِنَّھُم مُجمِعُون عَلٰی اَنَّ الوَاجِبَ الثَّنَاُء علَیھِم وَالاِستِغفَار لَھُم وَ التَّرحُّمُ عَلَیھِم وَ التَّرَتضِّی عَنھُم وَ اعتِقَادُ مَحَبَتَّھِم وَ مَوالَاتِھِم وَ عَقُوبَۃُ مَن اَسَاَء فِیھِمُ القُول۔
“As far as we know, there is no difference of opinion in this issue among the scholars and the jurists from Companions and their followers, and the Ahl-us-sunnah wal-jama’ah. There is consensus of the Ummah that it is imperative to praise the Companions, to seek forgiveness for them, to remember them with compassion and pleasure, and to express love and friendship for them. Anyone who dishonours them should be punished.”
Ibn Taimiyyah confirms, in Sharh-ul-` Aqidah Al-Wasitiyyah, the consensual belief of the Ahl-us-sunnah wal-jama’ah of the entire Ummah of the Holy Prophet Muhammad ﷺ relating to the mutual disagreement of the Companions ؓ :
وَیُمسِکُونَ عَمَّا شَجَرَ بَینَ الصَّحَابَۃِ وَیَقُولُونَ ھٰذِہِ الاٰثَارُ المَروِیَّۃُ فِی مَسَاوِیھِم مَنھَا مَا ھُوَ کِذبٌ وَّ مَنھِا مَازِیدَ فِیھَا وَ نُقِصَ وَغُیِّرَ وَجھُہ وَ الصَّحِیحُ مِنہُ ھُم فِیہِ مَعذورُونَ اَمَّا مُجتَھِدُونَ مُصِیبُونَ وَ اما مُجتَھِدُونَ مُخَطِٔؤنَ ، وَھُم مَعَ ذلِکَ لَا یَعتَقِدُونَ اَنَّ کُلَّ وَاحِدٍ مَّنَ الصَّحَابَۃِ مَعصُومٌ مِّن کَبَایٔرِ الاِثمِ وَصَغَایٔرِہٖ بَل یَجُوزُ عَلَیھِمُ الذُّنُوبُ فِی الجُملَۃِ وَلَھُم مِّنَ الفَضَایٔلِ وَالسَّوَابِقِ مَا یُوجِبُ مَغفِرَۃً مَا یَصدُرُ مِنھُم حَتّٰی اَنَّھُم یُغفَرُلَھُم مِّنَ السَّیِّٔاتِ مَالَا یُغفِرُ لِمَن م بَعدَھُم۔
‘Ahl-us-sunnah wal jama` ah observe silence relating to matters in which the noble Companions ؓ mutually disagreed. According to them, the position of the narratives that find fault with them may be summarized as follows: Some of them are absolutely false whilst others have been distorted or perverted. Reports that are authentic have a plausible explanation, (because they did what they did on the basis of ‘ijtihad’ which Shari’ah recognizes). If they reached the right conclusion (by exercising reasoning), they would be rewarded doubly; and if they arrived at an incorrect conclusion (by exerting effort to derive the law on an issue by expending all the available means of interpreting at the jurist’s disposal and by taking into account all the legal evidences related to the issue,) they are still excused (and deserve a single reward). Despite this situation, the Ummah does not believe that every Companion is innocent, infallible or sinless. In fact, it is possible for them to commit sins – major or minor, but their virtues and great services to Islam are such that they demand forgiveness. The scope of their forgiveness and pardon would be so wide that the later members of the Ummah would not have such a wide scope.”
A detailed account of the status of the sahabah is given in Surah Al-Fath under verse . I have written a book entitled maqam-e-sahabah in which I have collected relevant Qur’anic verses and Prophetic Traditions pertaining to the status of the Companions. This book has already been published. The Ummah is unanimous on the point that all the blessed Companions ؓ are impartial, unbiased, reliable and worthy of confidence. The book deals elaborately with their disagreements and the civil wars that took place among them. It deals with the status of the historical narratives and their true place in critical study. Some of these issues to the degree necessary have been included in the commentary of Surah Muhammad and Surah Al-Fath. Please refer to the relevant sections there. Allah’s help is sought and on Him is our reliance!
[57:11] Who is the one who advances a loan, a good loan, to Allah so that He multiplies it for him, and he may have a noble reward?
[57:12] On the Day when you wild see the believing men and the believing women, their light proceeding in front of them and to their right hands, (it will be said to them,) “Good news for you today! Gardens beneath which rivers flow, to live therein forever! That is the great achievement,
The Believers will be awarded Light on the Day of Resurrection
يَوْمَ تَرَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَسْعَىٰ نُورُهُم بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَبِأَيْمَانِهِم (On the Day when you will see the believing men and the believing women, their light proceeding in front of them and to their right hands,….57:12) ‘The day’ refers to the ‘Day of Resurrection’. The fact of ‘light running before them’ will take place just prior to people’s passing over the bridge of sirat. The details are given in a Tradition reported by Sayyidna Abu Umamah Bahili ؓ Ibn Kathir has cited it on the authority of Ibn Abi Hatim (رح) . The Tradition is lengthy. It recounts that Sayyidna Abu Umamah Bahili ؓ attended a funeral in Damascus. When it was over, he reminded people about death, the grave, the Resurrection and the Hereafter. A few of the statements are reproduced below in translation:
“Then you will be transferred from the graves to the plane of gathering where there will be different stages and spots to stand or wait. Then there will come a stage when some faces will brighten up and others will be darkened by the Divine command. Then there will come a stage when people – believers and non-believers – all will assemble on the Plane of Gathering. An intense darkness will prevail and nobody will be able to see anything. Thereafter light will be distributed. (Another report of Ibn Abi Hatim (رح) ، reported by Ibn Kathir, which he narrates on the authority of Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn Masud ؓ says that each believer will receive the light commensurate with his deeds; some will have light as large as a mountain, some as a date tree, some as big as the height of a man. The least among them will have a light as big as his index finger; it will lit at times and extinguished at other times.) Sayyidna Abu Umamah Bahili ؓ then went on to say that the hypocrites and the infidels would not receive any light. The Holy Qur’an exemplifies it thus:
أَوْ كَظُلُمَاتٍ فِي بَحْرٍ لُّجِّيٍّ يَغْشَاهُ مَوْجٌ مِّن فَوْقِهِ مَوْجٌ مِّن فَوْقِهِ سَحَابٌ ۚ ظُلُمَاتٌ بَعْضُهَا فَوْقَ بَعْضٍ إِذَا أَخْرَجَ يَدَهُ لَمْ يَكَدْ يَرَاهَا ۗ وَمَن لَّمْ يَجْعَلِ اللَّـهُ لَهُ نُورًا فَمَا لَهُ مِن نُّورٍ
‘or their deeds are like layers of darkness in a vast deep sea overwhelmed by a wave, above which there is another wave-layers of darkness, one above the other. When one puts forth his hand, he can hardly see it. And the one to whom Allah does not give light can have no light at all.” (24:40)
From this narration, it is learnt that the infidels and the hypocrites will be deprived of the light from the very beginning point where Allah will distribute light to the believing men and women after the intensely dark spot. But Tabrani reports a Tradition on the authority of Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas ؓ عنہما that the Messenger of Allah said:
“Allah will send light to every believer at the bridge, and also to every hypocrite, but when the hypocrites reach the bridge, their light will be snatched away.” (Ibn Kathir)
This shows that the hypocrites will initially receive light, but when they reach the bridge, they will be deprived of it. Be that as it may, whether they will be deprived of light initially or it will be extinguished later on after receiving it at an earlier stage, they will plead to the believers: ‘Please wait for us! Let us take advantage of your light, because we were with you in the world when we performed salah, paid zakah, performed Hajj and even participated in jihad expeditions?’ The request will be declined. The rejoinder to this plea is forthcoming in full details. It is in keeping with the characteristic of the hypocrites that they should first be shown the light, then it should be extinguished to leave them in total darkness, just as they behaved deceitfully in the world, as the Qur’an states:
يُخَادِعُونَ اللَّـهَ وَهُوَ خَادِعُهُمْ
Surely, the hypocrites [try to] deceive Allah while He is the One who leaves them in deception … [4:142]
Imam Baghawi says that ‘deception’ here means that first the light will be sent to them, but it will be snatched away from them just in the nick of time when they will be needing it most crucially. At that crucial moment, the believers too will fear lest their light should be snatched away. As a result, they would implore thus:
يَوْمَ لَا يُخْزِي اللَّـهُ النَّبِيَّ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَعَهُ ۖ نُورُهُمْ يَسْعَىٰ بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَبِأَيْمَانِهِمْ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا أَتْمِمْ لَنَا نُورَنَا وَاغْفِرْ لَنَا ۖ إِنَّكَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
“…on the Day when Allah will not disgrace the Prophet and those who believed with him. Their light will run before them and to their right hands. They will say, “Our Lord, perfect for us our light, and forgive us. Indeed you are powerful over everything.” [66:8] (Mazhari)
Muslim, Ahmad and Darqutni record on the authority of Sayyidna Jabir Ibn ` Abdullah the Prophetic Hadith that at first, light will be given to both believers and hypocrites, but when the latter would reach the bridge, it will be snatched away from the hypocrites.
Mazhari reconciles the two versions thus: There are two types of hypocrites, one of whom appeared in the time of the Holy Prophet ﷺ . This type will be treated like the infidels. The non-believers will not receive light from the very outset. Likewise, the hypocrites of the time of the Holy Prophet ﷺ will be deprived of the light from the very outset. The second type of hypocrites appeared after the time of the Holy Prophet ﷺ ، but they cannot be so called in the true sense of the word because revelation ended with the departure of the Holy Prophet ﷺ and without definitive evidence on the basis of revelation no one can be labeled, identified or classified as a munafiq [hypocrite]. The munafiq manifests the form of a man of faith in his outward practice, but his inner dimension is completely devoid of faith and belief. There is no way of knowing this for common people. However, Allah is fully aware of his inner and outer dimensions. He will treat each one accordingly. The munafiqs will be shown the light in the beginning, but when they would arrive at the bridge, their light will be put out and they will be groping in total darkness.
In this category of munafiqs fall those people of this Ummah who distort the Qur’an and Hadith twisting their meanings to suit their own purposes. We seek Allah’s refuge from it.
Causes of Light and Darkness on the Plane of Gathering
Tafsir Mazhari, on this occasion, has, on the basis of Qur’an and Hadith, described the causes of light and darkness on the Plane of Gathering. Below, we reproduce those causes the knowledge of which is more important than pure academic research, in the hope that Allah will grant us light:
 The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Give glad tidings to those who go to the mosque in the darkness of night that they will receive perfect light on the Day of Judgment.” (Reported by Abu Dad and Tirmidhi from Buraidah, and Ibn Majah from Anas ؓ . This Hadith is also reported by Sahl Ibn Sa’d, Zaid Ibn Harithah, Ibn ` Abbas, Ibn ‘Umar, Harithah Ibn Wahb, Abu ‘Umamah, Abu-ad-Darda, Abu Musa, Abu Hurairah, ` A’ishah ؓ
 The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:
مَن حَافَظَ عَلَی الصَّلَوَاتِ کَانَت لَہُ ، نُوراً وَّ بُرھَاناً وَّ نَجَاۃً یَّومَ القِیٰمۃِ وَمَن لَّم یُحافِظُ عَلیِھَا لَم یَکُن لَّہُ ، نُوراً وَّ لَا بُرھَاناً وَّلَا نَجَاۃً کَانَ یَومَ القِیامَۃِ مَعَ قَارُون وَ ھَامَانَ وَ فِرعَونَ ۔
“He who takes care of his five daily prayers [that is, performs them regularly fulfilling all their essentials], it will serve as light, proof and salvation for him on the Day of Judgment. He who fails to take care of it, there will be no light, nor proof or salvation for him on the Day of Judgment. The latter will be in the company of Qarun, Haman and Fir’aun.” (Reported by Ahmad and Tabarani from Ibn Umar ؓ
 The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Whoever recites Surah Al-Kahf, there will be so much of light for him on the Day of Judgment that it will spread from his place to Makkah.” In another narration, “Whoever recites Surah Al-Kahf on a Friday, light will extend from his feet to the heights of the heaven on the Day of Judgment.” (Reported by Tabaram from Abu Said ؓ
 The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Whoever recites just a single verse of the Qur’an, it will be a light for him on the Day of Judgment.” (Reported by Ahmad from Abu Hurairah ؓ
 The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Whoever sends salah (durud) to me, it shall be the cause of light on the Bridge of Sirat.” (Reported by Dailami from Abu Hurairah ؓ
 The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said when detailing the rules of Hajj: “The hair, that falls on the ground at the time of shaving it when coming out of the state of ihram, will be a light for him on the Day of Judgment” (Tabarani from Ubadah Ibn Samit ؓ
 The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Stoning the jamarat in Mina will be a light on the Day of Judgment.” (Musnad of Bazzar from Ibn Masud ؓ
 The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “He whose hair turns gray in Islam, it will be a light for him on the Day of Judgment.” (Tabarani, with a good chain, from Abu Hurairah ؓ
 The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “He who shoots even one arrow in Allah’s way while fighting in jihad, it will be a light for him on the Day of Judgment.” (Bazzar with a good chain from Abu Hurairah ؓ
 The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “He who remembers Allah in the marketplace will receive light for every strand of hair on the Day of Judgment.” (Baihaqi in Shu` ab-ul-‘Iman with an interrupted chain from Ibn Umar ؓ
 The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “He who alleviates the calamity of a Muslim, Allah will create two compartments of light for him at the bridge which will brighten up a whole world. No one besides Allah knows its number.” (Tabarani from Abu Hurairah ؓ
 The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: اِیَّاکُم وَ الظُلمَ فَاِنَّہ، ھُوَ الظُلُمٰتُ یَوم القِیامَۃِ “Beware of zulm [injustice] because that will yield zulumat [layers of darkness] on the Day of Judgment.” (Bukhari and Muslim from Ibn Umar ؓ ، Muslim from Jabir ؓ and Hakim from Abu Hurairah and Ibn ` Umar ؓ ، and Tabarani from Ibn Ziyad ؓ .
[57:13] the Day when the hypocrite men and hypocrite women will say to those who believe, “Wait for us, so that we may have a share from your light”, it will be said (to them), “Go back to your rear, and search for light.” Then a wall will be placed between them, which will have a gate. In its inner side, there will be the divine mercy, while towards its outer side, there will be the divine punishment.
يَوْمَ يَقُولُ الْمُنَافِقُونَ وَالْمُنَافِقَاتُ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا انظُرُونَا نَقْتَبِسْ مِن نُّورِكُمْ (…the Day when the hypocrite men and hypocrite women will say to those who believe, “Wait for us, so that we may have a share from your light…(57:13) The meaning is self-evident.
قِيلَ ارْجِعُوا وَرَاءَكُمْ فَالْتَمِسُوا نُورًا (…it will be said [to them], “Go back to your rear, and search for light ….57:13) This reply will be given by either the believers, or by the angels. [Ibn ` Abbas ؓ and Qatadah (رح)]
فَضُرِبَ بَيْنَهُم بِسُورٍ لَّهُ بَابٌ بَاطِنُهُ فِيهِ الرَّحْمَةُ وَظَاهِرُهُ مِن قِبَلِهِ الْعَذَابُ (…Then a wall will be placed between them, which will have a gate. In its inner side, there will be the Divine mercy, while towards its outer side, there will be the Divine punishment…57:13). Having received the reply from either the believers or the angels, the hypocrites will return to the place where the light was distributed. They will find nothing there, so they will attempt to go back to the believers but in the meantime a wall will be set up between the hypocrites and the believers. As a result, the hypocrites will be separated from the believers and will not be able to reach them. They will be left in complete darkness. On the side of the believers there will be Allah’s mercy while on the side of the hypocrites there will be chastisement.
Ruh-ul-Ma’ ani cites Ibn Zaid’s view that this wall refers to A` raf, which will be a barrier between the believers and the hypocrites. Other commentators express the view that the wall is not the barrier of A’raf, but it is some other wall or barrier. The door in the wall could serve one of two purposes:  It will be a way through which the believers and the hypocrites will communicate with one another; or  all the believers will pass through this door and then sealed off permanently.
In the matter of light, the infidels are not mentioned anywhere, because in their case there is no question of having such a light. The hypocrites are, however, mentioned and there are two narrations concerning them:  That they will not receive light at all from the outset; or  They will receive it at first, but when they arrive at the Bridge of Sirat, it will be extinguished. A wall will be erected as a barrier between them and the believers. This goes to show that only the believers will cross the Bridge of Sirat from above the Hell. The infidels and pagans will not pass through the Bridge. They will be pushed into the Fire direct through the doors of Hell. The sinful believers, who will be kept in the Hell for a while to be cleansed of their sins, will fall into the Hell while crossing the Bridge. The rest of the believers will cross the bridge safely and enter Paradise, as explicitly stated by Shah Abdul-Qadir Dehlawi (رح) and supported by Durr. Allah knows best!
[57:14] They (the hypocrites) will call out to them (the believers), “Were we not with you?” They will say, “Yes, (you were,) but you led your souls to a wrong way, and kept waiting (for an evil end to the Muslims), and remained in doubt, and were deluded by fancies, until Allah’s command came to pass, and you were deceived about Allah by the Big Deceiver (Iblis).
[57:15] So, no ransom will be accepted from you today, nor from those who disbelieved (openly). Your abode is the Fire, and it is an evil end.”
[57:16] Has the time not yet come for those who believe that their hearts should be humble for the remembrance of Allah and for the truth that has descended (through revelation)? And they must not be like those to whom the Book was given before, but a long period passed on them (in which they did not repent), therefore their hearts became hard, while many of them were sinners.
أَلَمْ يَأْنِ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَن تَخْشَعَ قُلُوبُهُمْ لِذِكْرِ اللَّـهِ وَمَا نَزَلَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ (Has the time not yet come for those who believe that their hearts should be humble for the remembrance of Allah and for the truth that has descended [through revelation]?…57:16) The phrase khushu’-ul-qalb means ‘for the heart to soften; to be receptive to advice; to be obedient; to submit’. [Ibn Kathir] In the Qur’anic context, it implies ‘a complete willingness to yield to the Divine injunctions, or the Divine imperatives and prohibitions without allowing any laxity in following them. [Ruh-ul-Ma’ ani]
This verse admonishes the believers. Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn ` Abbas ؓ reports that some of the believers were found to be lacking in firmness, and somewhat laziness was felt in their practices. So this verse was revealed. Imam A’mash (رح) said: After settling down in Madinah, the blessed Companions ؓ experienced socio-economic comfort and prosperity; as a result some of them relaxed in exerting their efforts to do good works as they used to do previously. Thus this verse was revealed. [Ruh-ul-Ma’ ani]
Sayyidna Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas ؓ is narration also carries the additional information that this admonitory verse was revealed thirteen years after the revelation had started. [Recorded by Ibn Abi Hatim (رح)] Sayyidna Abdullah Ibn Masud ؓ narrates that this admonitory verse was revealed four years after they had embraced Islam to administer this mild reproof. Allah knows best!
In any case, the Muslims are cautioned in this verse that they should prepare themselves to turn to Allah totally and completely, and act upon the teachings of their religion. All actions revolve around khushu`-ul-qalb Sayyidna Shaddad Ibn Aws ؓ narrates that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “The first thing that will be taken away from the people will be their humility or humbleness [khushu’].” [Ibn Kathir]
[57:17] Know well that Allah revives the land after its death. We have made the signs clear for you, so that you may understand.
[57:18] Surely those men who give sadaqah (charity) and those women who give sadaqah and have advanced a good loan to Allah, for them it will be multiplied, and for them there is a noble reward.
[57:19] And those who believed in Allah and His Messengers, it is they who are the siddiqs (the most righteous after prophets) and the shuhada’ (martyrs) in the sight of your Lord. For them shall be their reward and their light. And those who disbelieved and rejected Our verses – those are the people of the Hell.
Is every Believer a ‘Siddiq’ and a ‘Shahid’?
” وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِاللَّـهِ وَرُسُلِهِ أُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الصِّدِّيقُونَ وَالشُّهَدَاءُ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ “And those who believed in Allah and His messengers, it is they who are the siddiqs [the most righteous] and the shuhada’ (martyrs) in the sight of your Lord. …57:19) This verse indicates that every ‘believer’ is a ‘Siddiq’ and a ‘Shahid’. On the basis of this verse Qatadah and ‘Amr Ibn Maimun maintain that anyone who believes in Allah and His Messenger ﷺ is a ‘Siddiq’ and a ‘Shahid’. Ibn Jarir reports that Sayyidna Bara’ Ibn ` Azib ؓ narrates that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: مَؤمِنُوا اُمَّتِی شُھَدَآُء “The believers of my Ummah are all Shahids (martyrs).” In support of this, he recited the current verse.
Ibn Abi Hatim reports that Sayyidna Abu Hurairah ؓ narrates that one day some of the Companions ؓ had gathered around him, and he stated کُلُّکُم صِدِّیقُ وَّ شَھِیدُ Each one of you is a ‘Siddiq’ and a ‘Shahid’. This startled them and they exclaimed: “What are you saying, Abu Hurairah?” He replied: “If you do not believe me, then read the present verse  وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِاللَّـهِ وَرُسُلِهِ أُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الصِّدِّيقُونَ ۖ وَالشُّهَدَاءُ.
However, another verse of the Qur’an seems to be against this concept. It is the verse [4:69]: فَأُولَـٰئِكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللَّـهُ عَلَيْهِم مِّنَ النَّبِيِّينَ وَالصِّدِّيقِينَ وَالشُّهَدَاءِ وَالصَّالِحِينَ (And those who obey Allah and the Messenger are with those whom Allah has blessed, namely, the Prophets, the Siddiqin, the Shuhada’ and the righteous…) This indicates that not every believer is a ‘Siddiq’ and a ‘Shahid’ because in addition to the Prophets, the general body of Muslims comprise three categories of believers who are specially mentioned:  the Siddiqin;  the Shuhada ; and  the righteous. It would appear that the three categories are distinctly different. Otherwise, there would have been no need to mention them separately. Therefore, some scholars believe that the ‘Siddiqin’ and the ‘Shuhada’ in fact constitute the highest and most sublime categories bearing the supreme attributes. Here all believers are referred to as ‘Siddiq’ and ‘Shahid’ in the sense that every believer is in some degree included in the group of ‘Siddiqin’ and ‘Shuhada’. Ruh-ul-Ma’ ani states that it is appropriate to believe that the verse under comment refers to people who have perfect faith and perform deeds of righteousness. Otherwise, people who are believers but indulge in deeds that are not in keeping with the dictates of their faith can hardly be called ‘Siddiq’ or ‘Shahid’.
The Holy Prophet ﷺ is reported to have said: اَللَّعَّانُونَ لَا یَکُونُونَ شُھَدَاَء (The cursers cannot be ‘Shuhada”.” This Tradition supports the notion. Sayyidna ` Umar Al-Faruq ؓ once said to the people: “What is the matter with you? You see someone defaming people, you neither stop him nor do you raise your eyebrows about it! They replied: ‘We are afraid of his violent tongue. If we tell him something, he will also attack our honour.’ Sayyidna ` Umar ؓ made a rejoinder ‘if that is the case, then you cannot be ‘Shuhada”‘. Ibn Athir cited this narration and said: ‘This means that such coward people will not be among the ‘Shuhada’ who will bear witness against the communities of the previous Prophets.’ [Ruh-ul-Ma’ ani]. Mazhari states that the word الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ‘believers’ in verse  refers only to the Companions ؓ of the Holy Prophet ﷺ who reposed their faith in Allah and His Messenger ﷺ ، saw him and had the pleasure of his company. As such, the restrictive phrase, هُمُ الصِّدِّيقُونَ ‘it is they who are the Siddiqs..’ in Verse  indicate that the status of Siddiq is limited or restricted to the noble Companions of the Holy Prophet ﷺ . Mujaddid Alf Thani states that all the noble Companions ؓ had a share in the noble qualities of prophet-hood. Any Companion who saw him in a state of faith even for a short time is absorbed and drowned in such qualities of perfection. Allah, the Pure and Exalted, knows best!
[57:20] Know well that the worldly life is but a play and an amusement, and a show of beauty, and exchange of boastful claims between you, and a competition of increase in riches and children. (All this is) like a rain, the vegetation of which attracts the farmers, then it withers, and you see it turning yellow, then it becomes straw. And in the Hereafter there is a severe punishment (for the disbelievers), and forgiveness from Allah and (Allah’s) pleasure (for the believers and the righteous). And the worldly life is nothing but a material of delusion.
The Life of this World is Fleeting Enjoyment
The preceding verses described the conditions of the inmates of Paradise and those of the inhabitants of Hell, which will materialize in the Hereafter and will be permanent and eternal. Since the basic cause for one’s deprivation of the bounties of the Hereafter and his being seized by the divine punishment is his involvement in the temporary pleasures of this worldly life that tempt him to forget the life to come, the verse under comment describes the reality of the worldly life and its being unreliable. The verse depicts the involvements of a human being that he cheerfully enjoys from the inception of his life up to its end. The verse summarizes these involvements in the same order in which they occur. From the inception to the end of his life, man leads his life in the following order: la’ib [play], lahw [amusement], zinah [show of beauty], tarakhur [exchange of boastful claims] and takathur [competition of increase in riches and children].
The word la’ib (play) refers to a play that has no purpose at all, like the movements of little children. The lahw [amusement or pastime] is a game or sport meant initially for amusement and enjoyment, but it may serve also some other subsidiary purpose like physical exercise. It includes all the sports of the bigger children such as playing with a ball or swimming or target-shooting. Prophetic Traditions have termed swimming and target-shooting as good sports. The early stage of one’s life is spent in play and amusement. Then comes a stage in his youth when man wants to adorn his body and dress and to show their beauty, which is described in the verse as ‘zinah’. Then comes a stage in which man is tempted to prove his superiority over his mates and to make boastful claims. In old age, a keen competition and rivalry sets in to amass wealth and multiply children.
When man goes through a particular phase of life, he feels satisfied with it. But when that phase is over, he realizes its absurdity and hollowness and takes to the next phase of life. For example, a child is most fascinated with his phase of life and regards the stage of la’ib (play) the goal of his life. Should someone snatch one of his toys, he feels as much aggrieved as a big man is grieved by his valuable wealth and property being usurped. However, when he grows a little bigger, he realizes the things he deemed to be the goal of his life were nothing but some useless and absurd activities. The same thing happens in one’s youth when he is attracted by adorned beauties. In old age, man gathers wealth and multiplies children. Power, prestige, pride and position are his capital goods and investments to wield dominance in life. The Qur’an reminds him that this phase too will pass away. The next stage is barzakh [grave] followed by the Day of Resurrection. Man needs to think about those stages or phases of life because they are really eternal without an end. Allah has described the fleeting enjoyment of this world in such an order that the appropriate parable given in verse  follows naturally.
کمَثَلِ غَيْثٍ أَعْجَبَ الْكُفَّارَ نَبَاتُهُ ثُمَّ يَهِيجُ فَتَرَاهُ مُصْفَرًّا ثُمَّ يَكُونُ حُطَامًا (…[All this is] like a rain, the vegetation of which attracts the farmers, then it withers, and you see it turning yellow, then it becomes straw….57:20) The word ghaith means ‘rain’. The word kuffar, being the plural of kafir, is generally used as opposed to mu’minin [believers], in the sense of non-believers, but its literal sense carries the meaning of ‘farmers’ also. Some scholars have taken the word here in this literal sense, explicating that the farmers are happy to see the vegetation that grows in the aftermath of rain. Other commentators have taken the word kuffar in its popular sense of non-believers, explaining the verse to mean that the non-believers are attracted by the greenery. This explanation may be criticized on the ground that being happy with the greenery is not confined to non-believers, but also the believers admire the lush vegetation when it abounds in vigorous growth. The commentators have appraised the criticism thus: There is a world of difference between the happiness and admiration of a believer and that of a non-believer. A believer’s pleasure is directed towards Allah. He believes that everything is the outcome of Allah’s power, wisdom and mercy. He does not make it the goal of his life; he gives up the cherished and precious things of this mortal world in consideration for the higher, eternal things of the life yet to come in the Hereafter. That is the goal of his life he worries about. Therefore, any believer who fulfills the requirements of his faith is not attracted, even by the biggest wealth in this world as a kafir does. That is why the attraction by the vegetation is attributed to a non-believer.
In short, the parable means that in the wake of rain vegetation of all sorts grows, and it pleases the farmers, especially the non-believers. But the vegetation soon turns yellow in colour, after being fresh and green. After that, the green fades away and become scattered particles of dust. This is example of mankind in this life. They are young and strong in the beginning. In this stage of life, they look youthful and handsome. Gradually, old age overcomes them which does away with all their beauty and freshness until they die and become dust. This parable indicates the end of this life, while in contrast, the Hereafter is surely coming, the significance of which is given in the following words:
وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ شَدِيدٌ وَمَغْفِرَةٌ مِّنَ اللَّـهِ وَرِضْوَانٌ(…And in the Hereafter there is a [Allah’s] pleasure [for the believers and the righteous] …57:20). In the Hereafter the people will certainly have to face one of two things:  severe punishment for the non-believers; and  forgiveness of Allah, His mercy and His good pleasure. Punishment has been mentioned here first, because the preceding verses described the behavior of the infidels that they are over-absorbed in worldly pleasures, the outcome of which is also severe chastisement. As opposed to this outcome, two things have been laid down for the believers:  Divine forgiveness; and  Divine pleasure. This indicates that forgiveness of sins is though a boon that saves one from the punishment, yet in addition to being saved from the punishment, he will attain Paradise and its eternal favors. This will be the manifestation of Divine pleasure.
وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا مَتَاعُ الْغُرُورِ (And the worldly life is nothing but a material of delusion….57:20) The current phrase states concisely the reality of this world. Having seen and understood all that has been explained in the foregoing verses about the transitory nature of this world, sound and intelligent people can come to only one conclusion: that is, the life of this world is a material of delusion; it is not a capital that may be useful in odd times. Therefore, after knowing the reality of the worldly life and the punishment of the Hereafter, a reasonable man should not be over-involved in worldly pleasures, and should be eager to obtain the bounties of the Hereafter. This is what the next verses say.
[57:21] Compete each other in proceeding towards forgiveness from your Lord, and to Paradise the width of which is like the width of the sky and the earth. It has been prepared for those who believe in Allah and His messengers. That is the bounty of Allah that He gives to whomever He wills, and Allah is the Lord of the great bounty.
سَابِقُوا إِلَىٰ مَغْفِرَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَجَنَّةٍ عَرْضُهَا كَعَرْضِ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ (Compete each other in proceeding towards forgiveness from your Lord and to Paradise, the width of which is like the width of the sky and the earth …57:21) The competition or race referred to in this verse may have either of the two meanings:  No one has a guarantee for the continuance of his life, health and strength. One should not procrastinate, delay, defer, or put off performing righteous deeds for future, because the time might not come on account of illness, any inability or even death. One should race against inability, weakness and death, so that one may accumulate the treasure of good deeds that may lead one to Paradise before such inabilities may arrive and stop one from the good deeds.  Another meaning may be to compete with one another in good deeds, as Sayyidna ` Ali ؓ advises: “Be among the first ones to go to the mosque and the last ones to come out.” Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn Masud ؓ advises: “Go forward to be in the first line of jihad.” Sayyidna Anas ؓ states: “Try to be present for the first takbir of the congregational prayer.” [Ruh]
The verse under comment defines that Paradise will be as wide as the heaven and the earth. A similar verse occurs in Surah Al-` Imran [3:133] where the word ‘skies’ is plural, whereas here the word sama’ (sky) is singular, from which we gather that both the words, the singular as well as the plural, refer to all the seven heavens, meaning if the vastness of the seven heavens and the earth are put together, that will be the width of Paradise. Obviously, the length of anything is greater than its breadth. This shows that the length of Paradise is greater than the length of the seven heavens and earth. Sometimes the word width or breadth is used in the general sense of ‘vastness’ irrespective of its length. In both cases, the purport of the verse is to describe that Paradise is very vast, so vast that it can accommodate the entire heavens and the earth in its vastness.
ذَٰلِكَ فَضْلُ اللَّـهِ يُؤْتِيهِ مَن يَشَاءُ وَاللَّـهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ (That is the bounty of Allah that He gives to whomever He wills, and Allah is the Lord of the great bounty…57:21) The foregoing verse enjoined upon us to march forth and compete each other in marching to Paradise and its bounties. This could give rise to the thought that Paradise and its eternal pleasures and delights are the direct result of our actions. This verse clarifies the point that good actions are not necessarily the sufficient cause for the attainment of Paradise. Man’s life-long actions cannot be an adequate price even for the bounties he has received in this world, let alone the everlasting bounties of Paradise and its eternal blessings. Anyone who enters Paradise will do so out of Allah’s grace and mercy, as is mentioned in a Prophetic Hadith, recorded in Sahilhain on the authority of Sayyidna Abu Hurairah ؓ who reports that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ has said: “No one will attain salvation by means of his actions only.” The Companions enquired: “Not even you, 0 Messenger of Allah?” He replied: “No, not even I will attain Paradise because of my actions, unless Allah bestows His grace and compassion on me.” [Mazhari]
[57:22] No calamity befalls the earth or your own selves, but it is (pre-destined) in a Book before We bring it into being, Indeed it is easy for Allah.
Factors affecting Mankind are duly measured and destined
There are two sets of factors that make man unmindful of Allah and the Hereafter:  wealth, comfort and other luxuries of this world; one’s over-involvement in such luxuries makes him neglectful of Allah. The previous verses have warned against it.  calamities, problems and other hardships that cause one to be hopeless and in turn neglectful towards Allah. The current set of verses deal with this second cause of negligence.
مَا أَصَابَ مِن مُّصِيبَةٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فِي أَنفُسِكُمْ إِلَّا فِي كِتَابٍ مِّن قَبْلِ أَن نَّبْرَأَهَا (No calamity befalls the earth or your own selves, but it is [pre-destined] in a Book before We bring it into being ….57:22) The expression ‘Book’ refers to ‘Preserved Tablet [lawh mahfuz] and the verse means that Allah had measured and decided the destiny of all things even before He created them. The expression ‘No affliction befalls in the earth’ refers to famine, earthquake, destruction of crops, loss in business, loss of wealth and property and loss of friends and loved ones. The expression ‘in yourselves’ refers to illnesses of all sorts, all kinds of wounds, hurt and injury.
[57:23] so that you may neither grieve on what has escaped you, nor over-exult on what He has given you. And Allah does not love any self-admirer, over-proud,
Patience and Gratitude
لِّكَيْلَا تَأْسَوْا عَلَىٰ مَا فَاتَكُمْ وَلَا تَفْرَحُوا بِمَا آتَاكُمْ (…so that you may neither grieve on what has escaped you, nor over-exult on what He has given you …57:23) This means that Allah has informed us of His encompassing knowledge, recording all things before they occur and creating all things in due measure known to Him, so that we may know that what has met us would never have missed us, and what has missed us would never have met us. Therefore, we are commanded not to over-grieve on the good things we have missed, nor to over-exult on the comforts or wealth we enjoyed in this life, and in turn be neglectful about Allah and the Hereafter. Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn ` Abbas ؓ says that it is man’s natural disposition that certain things cheer him up and other things make him miserable, whereas the true position should have been as follows: When any misery befalls him, he should endure it with patience and earn reward in the Hereafter, and when he experiences joy, he should experience it with gratitude to Allah and earn reward in the Hereafter. [Reported by Hakim who rates it as sahib. See Ruh]
وَاللَّـهُ لَا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ مُخْتَالٍ فَخُورٍ (…And Allah does not love any self-admirer, over-proud…57:23) The expression “does not love” in fact implies that Allah ‘hates’ those who become proud of the bounties they enjoy in this world. But instead of using the word ‘hates’ the expression ‘does not love’ is perhaps an indication that an intelligent person should consider about all his actions whether or not the intended act is dear to Allah. This is the reason why the verse uses the phrase ‘does not love’.
[57:24] those who are miserly and bid others to be miserly. And whoever turns away, then Allah is the All-Independent, the Ever-Praised.
[57:25] We have indeed sent Our messengers with clear proofs, and sent down with them the Book and the Balance, so that people may uphold justice. And We sent down iron in which there is strong power, and benefits for the people; and (We did it) so that Allah knows the one who helps Him and His messengers without seeing (Him). Surely Allah is Strong, Mighty.
Establishing Justice: The Real Purpose of sending Prophets and Divine Books
لَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا رُسُلَنَا بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ وَأَنزَلْنَا مَعَهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْمِيزَانَ لِيَقُومَ النَّاسُ بِالْقِسْطِ ۖ وَأَنزَلْنَا الْحَدِيدَ فِيهِ بَأْسٌ شَدِيدٌ
We have indeed sent Our messengers with clear proofs, and sent down with them the Book and the Balance, so that people may uphold justice. And We sent down iron in which there is strong power, and benefits for the people; and [We did it] so that Allah knows the one who helps Him and His messengers without seeing [Him]. Surely Allah is Strong, Mighty (57:25)
The word bayyinat means ‘clear’ or ‘evident’ things. It could also mean ‘clear injunctions’. It may refer to ‘miracles, clear proofs and evidences of Prophet-hood and Messenger-ship. [Ibn Kathir and Ibn Hayyan]. After bayyinat, the mention sending down the Book supports the last interpretation, that is, bayyinat refers to ‘miracles and proofs’ and that ‘the Book’ sets out details of injunctions. In addition to the Book, another thing has been mentioned, which is mizan [Balance or Scale]. Originally, this word refers to an instrument of weighing. Besides the customary balance, there are other kinds of instruments that are invented from time to time to weigh and measure other things. For example, nowadays we have instruments with which to weigh and measure ‘light’, ‘wind’ and other things. All these instruments will fall under the category of ‘mizan [Balance].
This verse speaks of sending down ‘the Balance’ like ‘the Book’. The notion of the Book coming down from the heaven and reaching the prophets through the agency of the angels is quite understandable. But it is not clear what it means for the Balance to come down. Ruh-ul-Ma’ ani, Mazhari and others have explained that ‘the coming down of Balance’ refers to the Divine laws that were revealed pertaining to the use of the Balance and administration of justice. Qurtubi explains that it was the Book that was sent down, the Balance has been merely appended to the same verb but connoting the sense of inventing and placing. This is quite common in Arabic language and literature. Thus this sentence in full will read as follows: انزَلنَا الکِتاب وَ وَضَعنَا المِیزَان (We sent down the Book and placed the Scale.) The readers may compare this verse with verse  of Surah Ar-Rahman وَالسَّمَاءَ رَفَعَهَا وَوَضَعَ الْمِيزَانَ (And He raised the sky high, and placed the scale…55:7) where Scale is said to have been set up or placed.
Some Traditions narrate that a balance was actually sent down from the heavens to Sayyidna Nuh (علیہ السلام) and he was enjoined to weigh with it and fulfill the rights of people. Allah knows best!
Alongside ‘the Book ‘ and ‘the Balance’, a third thing was sent down, that is, ‘the iron’. The verb ‘sent down’ in relation to the iron stands for ‘created’ because it was not sent down from the heaven. There are other occasions where the verb anzala [He sent down] is used in the sense of khalaqa [He created], as for instance in this وَأَنزَلَ لَكُم مِّنَ الْأَنْعَامِ ثَمَانِيَةَ أَزْوَاجٍ (He sent down to you of the cattle eight couples…39:6) In this verse, the verb anzala [He sent down] is unanimously used in the sense of khalaqa [He created]. This expression is adopted to indicate that everything in this world is ‘sent down from the heaven’ in the sense that everything that exists in the world was recorded in the Preserved Tablet long before it came into existence. [Ruh-ul-Ma’ ani]
According to the verse, ‘iron’ serves two purposes:  it represents power and holds the hostile opponents in great awe, and may compel the rebellious people to abide by Divine laws and system of justice.  it also holds great benefits for man. In other words, iron is a thing of common utility as it is used on a large scale in various industries. It is indispensable for the invention of every device, machine, mechanical apparatus, contrivance, and there is some iron in almost everything man innovates. No contrivance is possible without iron.
Special Note 
The fundamental purpose of sending the Prophets, revealing the divine books and erecting the Balance is mentioned as follows: لِيَقُومَ النَّاسُ بِالْقِسْطِ (so that people may uphold justice…57:25) After that a third element is introduced: the creation of ‘iron’. This, in fact, complements the same basic purpose of ‘administration of justice’ because the Prophets and the Divine Books set forth clear and sound arguments to establish justice. If the defiant group fails to establish it, it is warned about punishment in the Hereafter. The ‘Balance’ sets up the parameters within which justice should operate. If the defiant group obdurately refuses to accept the parameters of justice and is left free to go about violating them, he will not allow justice to be established. In this case, the higher authority of the state will have no choice but to take up arms against them.
Special Note 
Another point of consideration here is that the Holy Qur’an has set forth two factors as fundamental to the establishment of justice:  the Book; and  the Balance. The Book sets forth the Divine rights and the human rights, and the need to fulfill them; it prohibits their violation. The Balance lays down the system which maintains just equilibrium in human social relations. The purpose of revealing these two factors is لِيَقُومَ النَّاسُ بِالْقِسْطِ (so that people may uphold justice…57:25). The factor of ‘iron’ has been mentioned last. This indicates that in the establishment of justice iron may be used only as a last resort, not as the first step. The real purpose of improving human society and establishing justice among them is to improve them in intellectual development and growth. The government may not exert its might and power to achieve the purpose of developing them intellectually. It may use it, only as the ultimate option, if they stand in the way of justice. The main thing is to cultivate the minds of the people by educating them.
وَلِيَعْلَمَ اللَّـهُ مَن يَنصُرُهُ وَرُسُلَهُ بِالْغَيْبِ (…and [We did it] so that Allah knows the one who helps Him and His messengers without seeing ….57:25) Here the conjunction ‘and’, according to Ruh-ul-Ma’ ani, explains that this subjunctive phrase is conjoined to another subjunctive phrase that is understood in the context: لِيَعْلَمَ (so that it may benefit them) in their trade and industry; so that Allah may legally and outwardly know who will assist Him and His Messenger ﷺ by carrying weapons of war made of iron and fight jihad in defence of His religion’. The restrictive adverbs ‘legally and outwardly’ have been added because Allah knows everything pre-eternally as He pre-recorded them in the Book of Decrees, and when man performs the action, it is recorded in his Account Book by the angels. In this way, its legal manifestation becomes plainly apparent.
[57:26] And we have indeed sent Nuh and Ibrahim, and kept the Book and prophet-hood (continuing) in their progeny. So, some of those (to whom they were sent) were on the right path, and many of them were sinners.
Many of the Nations of the Prophets (علیہم السلام) were Rebellious
In the preceding verses it was mentioned that in order to give guidance to the world and to establish justice therein, Allah sent His Messengers and revealed to them the divine books and set up Balance. The current verses give specific names of some of those Divine Messengers. Among them, Prophet Nuh (علیہ السلام) stands first in the list, because he is second ‘Adam (علیہ السلام) in the sense that all human beings after the Deluge were from his progeny. Then the Prophet Ibrahim Khalil-ullah (علیہ السلام) is mentioned as he is the father of the prophets and recognized as an ideal for all the divine religions. It has been made plain here that all the Prophets and Messengers (علیہ السلام) sent after these two prophets were from their offspring. Out of many branches of the progeny of Nuh (علیہ السلام) ، the branch singled out for prophet-hood was that of Prophet Ibrahim Khalil-ullah (علیہ السلام)
[57:27] Then We made Our messengers follow them one after the other, then We sent after them ` Is, the son of Maryam (Jesus, son of Mary), and gave him the Injil, and placed tenderness and mercy in the hearts of his followers. As for monasticism, it was invented by them; We did not ordain it for them, but (they adopted it) to seek Allah’s pleasure, then could not observe it as was due. So We gave those of them who believed their reward. And many of them are sinners.
After specific mention of these two Prophets, the whole chain of prophets is referred to by the words, ثُمَّ قَفَّيْنَا عَلَىٰ آثَارِهِم بِرُسُلِنَا “Then We made Our messengers follow them one after the other”. Lastly ` Isa (علیہ السلام) has been specifically mentioned, as he was the last among the Israelite prophets. Then the Last of all prophets Sayyidna Muhammad ﷺ and his Shari’ah has a pointed reference in the next verse.
The special characteristics of the disciples of Prophet ` Isa (علیہ السلام) are given in part of verse 27 as follows: وَجَعَلْنَا فِي قُلُوبِ الَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُ رَأْفَةً وَرَحْمَةً (…and placed tenderness and mercy in the hearts of his followers) In other words, Allah inculcated two qualities in the hearts of the followers of Prophet ` Isa (علیہ السلام) and his Divine Book Injil [Gospel]:  tenderness and  mercy. As a result, they showed tenderness and compassion to one another. Or it could mean that they showed tenderness and kindness to the entire creation of Allah.
Generally, the two words ra’fah (tenderness) and rahmah (mercy) are treated as synonyms or near-synonyms, but since they are employed here in opposition to each other, some lexicologists explained that the word ra’fah is stronger in degree than the word rahmah. Others have explained that there are two requirements of tenderness and mercy. The word ra’fah means to alleviate the calamity of someone, while the word rahmah means to give to someone what he needs. In short, ra’fah is concerned with repelling harm and rahmah is concerned with deriving benefit. As ‘repelling harm’ is normally prior to ‘deriving benefit’, ra’fah takes precedence over rahmah when the two words are expressed simultaneously.
On this occasion, ‘tenderness’ and ‘mercy’ are mentioned as the special characteristics of the disciples [Howariyyun] of the Prophet ` Isa (علیہ السلام) . Similarly, some characteristics of the blessed Companions ؓ of the Holy Prophet Muhammad ﷺ are given in Surah Al-Fath, one of which is رُحَمَاءُ بَيْنَهُمْ (…compassionate among themselves….48:29). But another characteristic of them is given before this as: أَشِدَّاءُ عَلَى الْكُفَّارِ (…hard against the disbelievers ….48:29). The reason for this difference seems to be that there were no laws pertaining to jihad against the non-believers in the Shari’ah of the Prophet ` Isa (علیہ السلام) . Therefore, there was no occasion for them to be hard against the disbelievers. Allah knows best!
Monasticism: An Analysis
وَرَهْبَانِيَّةً ابْتَدَعُوهَا (…As for monasticism, it was invented by them; ). The word rahbaniyyah (monasticism) is attributed to ruhban. The words rahib (singular) and ruhban (plural) mean ‘the one who fears’. After Prophet ` Isa (علیہ السلام) ، transgression became common. In particular, the kings and the leaders publicly defied the laws of the Gospel. When the scholars and the righteous people among them attempted to stop them from doing evil deeds, they were put to death. Those that remained, felt that they would not be able to stop them, nor did they have the power of resistance. If they lived in society, there was every likelihood that their religion too would be destroyed. Therefore, they took upon themselves in earnest that they would give up all pleasures and comforts of this life including the legitimate ones. Thus they avoided marriage, abandoned any activity to earn livelihood and any effort to build homes, and took to jungles, mountains and caves, or took to nomadic life in order to protect their religion and follow their religious duties freely and completely. They did all this out of fear of God. Therefore, they were referred to as rahib or ruhban. Their practice is referred to as rahbaniyyah.
As the Christians introduced monasticism under forced circumstances in order to protect their faith, it was not reproachable in its origin. But once anyone has imposed anything on himself, it becomes binding on him, and its violation is a sin. For example, making a vow for an act of worship is not obligatory. But if a person were to vow to do an act of worship or abstain from a lawful thing, it becomes binding on him in Shari’ah to maintain the vow; its violation becomes a sin. Some of the Christian monks invented monasticism with the best of intentions, but there were others who could not endure the hardships of monastic life and soon succumbed to the pursuit of material gains and physical pleasures when the general body of people believed in them, offered them gifts and oblations. History bears ample testimony to the fact that the monks who detested the system of marriage indulged in indecent acts and fornication. (The free intermingling of men and women in monasteries turned those places into centers of evil).
The current verse denounces the practice of the monks who imposed monasticism upon themselves, and once they had imposed it, they should have observed its requirements which they did not.
That there was nothing wrong originally in what they had introduced as rahbaniyyah is proved by a Hadith narrated by Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn Masud ؓ and recorded by Ibn Kathir with reference to Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Jarir رحمۃ اللہ علیہما who have cited a lengthy narration in which the Messenger of Allah ﷺ is reported to have said:
“Allah has split the Children of Israel into seventy-two sects. Only three of them were saved from punishment. These are groups who, after Prophet ` Isa (علیہ السلام) ، stopped the oppressive kings and affluent and powerful transgressors from violating the Divine laws. Among those who raised the voice of Truth against them and invited them to the religion of Prophet ` Isa (علیہ السلام) ، the first group faced the oppressors with whatever power they had at their command, but they were defeated and killed. Then after them a second group stood against the tyrants and aggressors who did not have even that much fighting strength as the first group had. However they conveyed the Truth without caring for their lives. This group too was killed. Some of them were ripped apart with saws and others were burnt alive. But they, for the sake of Allah’s pleasure, bore all pains and attained salvation. Then a third group stood against them. But this group was weak: They had no resources to fight the tyrants nor could they live in that corrupt society and follow their religion. Therefore, they took to the jungles and mountains, and became monks. It is to this third group that Allah refers in the current verse وَرَهْبَانِيَّةً ابْتَدَعُوهَا مَا كَتَبْنَاهَا عَلَيْهِمْ ; ‘As for monasticism, it was invented by them; We did not ordain it for them, …’.”
This narration indicates that the people who originally adopted monasticism from among the Israelites and took care of its essentials and endured its hardships were among those who attained salvation.
According to this interpretation, the present verse shows that the monasticism initially adopted by such people was not bad or evil in itself, though it was not a religious obligation either. They had made it obligatory on themselves at their own will and wish. The element of evil starts from the fact that after making it binding on themselves, most of them were not able to keep to its essentials. As a result, in keeping with the adage لِلاَکثرِ حُکمُ الکُلّ (Majority takes the status of all), the Qur’an attributed this evil aspect to the entire Israelites in that they invented it and could not practice it and did not take care of its requirements: حَقَّ رِعَايَتِهَا (…but [they adopted it] to seek Allah’s pleasure, then could not observe it as was due 57:27).
It is also learnt from the above discussion that the word ibtida’, derived from bid’ah, used in ابْتَدَعُوهَا (…it was invented by them …) is used in its literal sense of invention, and not in its technical or religious sense of heresy. The religious concept of bid’ah (which refers to a baseless faith or practice that is made part of the religion) has been denounced in the following narration of the Holy Prophet ﷺ (Every religious innovation is deviation).
The context of the verse is very clear about it. Let us first study the following sentence: وَجَعَلْنَا فِي قُلُوبِ الَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُ رَأْفَةً وَرَحْمَةً وَرَهْبَانِيَّةً (And We placed in the hearts of his followers tenderness and mercy and the monasticism they had invented; We did not prescribe it for them, except to seek Allah’s pleasure. Then they did not observe it as was due…57:27) (l) The context indicates that just as ‘tenderness and mercy’ are not evil qualities, likewise ‘monasticism’ which they adopted is not an evil quality in itself. Otherwise Allah would not have listed it alongside the favorable qualities of ‘tenderness and mercy’. Scholars, like Qurtubi, who held monasticism as absolutely prohibited, had to face grammatical difficulties. They had to go out of their way to show that rahbaniyyah is not a part of the conjunctive expression joined together by the conjunction ‘waw’ [and] They treated the sentence starting with “…and monasticism…” as a separate sentence, and understood the verb ibtada’ as omittted. The interpretation adopted above renders this construction unnecessary. That is why the Holy Qur’an does not reject their adoption of monasticism in principle, but their failure to keep it up, and take care of its rights and obligations. This interpretation is possible only if the word ibtida’ (invention) is taken in its literal sense. Had it been employed in its religious or technical sense, the Qur’an would have denounced adoption of monasticism in itself, because bid’ah (innovation in religion) in its technical sense is deviation.
(1) It should be noted that according to the grammatical construction of this verse, it can be translated in two ways. One translation is given above in the text. The second possible translation is that which is given here. Since the following discussion is based on this second translation, we have adpted it here instead of the translation given in the text. Mu hammadTaqi Usmani
Sayyidna Abdullan Ibn Masud’s ؓ foregoing narration makes it clear that the groups that adopted monastic life attained salvation. If they were guilty of committing religious innovation, they would never have been counted among the saved ones, but rather among the deviant ones.
Is rahbaniyyah (Monasticism) absolutely Prohibited or is it a relative Concept?
The fact is that rahbaniyyah (translated as monasticism) generally means to give up some lawful things and pleasures. It has several stages, one of which is to treat a permissible thing as impermissible doctrinally or practically. This is distortion of religion. From this point of view, monasticism is absolutely prohibited as declared by the Holy Qur’an at several places, like verse  of Surah Al-Ma’idah that lays down the principle يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُحَرِّمُوا طَيِّبَاتِ مَا أَحَلَّ اللَّـهُ لَكُمْ. (0 believers, do not prohibit the good things which Allah has made lawful to you…) The prohibitive verb (‘do not prohibit’ ) in this verse indicates that it relates to a situation where a person holds unlawful what Allah has made lawful, either in his belief or in practice, and as such it will amount to distortion or perversion of the Divine laws.
The second stage is when a person does not, dogmatically or practically, turn a lawful thing into unlawful, but gives it up for some mundane or religious reason. In mundane affairs, a person might give up eating a lawful thing on account of some disease. In religious matters, a person might give up the company of people and mixing with them, lest he should commit moral sins like lying and backbiting, or he might abandon some permissible things temporarily in order to suppress his base desires. This restriction is no more than a treatment of a spiritual disease. When the treatment is over, the restriction is no longer observed. Some Sufi adepts require a novice in the initial stages of his spiritual journey to exercise ascetic discipline, such as eating little, sleeping little and mixing little with people. This brings him to a state of greater harmony and balance [I` tidal]. This ascetic discipline is a ‘means’ and not an ‘end’ in itself. When the perfect balance is attained and the nafs (inner-self) is brought under control, and there is no longer the danger of committing sins, they are asked to give up the exercise. This in fact is not monasticism but taqwa or righteousness which the religion requires and was practiced by our predecessors, the blessed Companions, their followers and the leaders in religion.
The third stage is when a person does not turn a permissible thing into unlawful. However, he abstains from its use under the belief that its giving up has more virtue and carries more reward, while such use is proved through Sunnah (the practice of the Holy Prophet ﷺ) This is in fact ghuluww (over-indulgence). Many of the Prophetic Traditions prohibit ghuluww.
The Holy Prophet ﷺ is reported to have said: لَا رَھبَانِیُّۃَ فَہ الاِسلَامِ (There is no monasticism in Islam.) This relates to a situation where someone abandons permissible things with the mistaken notion that it will bring him reward. If the Children of Israel initiated monasticism for the protection of their religion, it will fall under the second category of righteousness. But the people of the book were given to ghuluww or practicing religious fanaticism. If they turned lawful into unlawful, they fell under the first category and are guilty of committing haram. If they fall under the third category, then too they are guilty of committing something that is condemned. Allah, the Pure and Exalted, knows best!
[57:28] 0 those who believe, fear Allah, and believe in His Messenger, and He will give you two shares (of reward) out of His mercy, and will make for you a light whereby you will walk, and will forgive you,-And Allah is Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ وَآمِنُوا بِرَسُولِهِ يُؤْتِكُمْ كِفْلَيْنِ مِن رَّحْمَتِهِ (0 those who believe, fear Allah, and believe in His Messenger, and He will give you two shares [of reward] out of His mercy,..28) The vocative expression يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا “O those who believe…” in this verse refers to the People of the Book who believed in Prophet ` Isa (علیہ السلام) . As a general rule, the Qur’an uses this vocative expression for Muslims only, not for Jews or Christians. The expression used for them is ahlul-kitab [People of the Book] because their believing in Prophets Musa and ` Isa (علیہما السلام) is not tantamount to being ‘believers’. They need to believe in the Holy Prophet Muliammad ﷺ . Only in that case can they be called الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا “0 those who believe”. But here the Qur’an deviates from the general rule, and addresses them by the words, “0 those who believe” presumably because the concluding verse reminds the Christians that believing in Prophet ` Isa (علیہ السلام) is not sufficient: the true meaning of believing in Prophet ` Isa (علیہ السلام) dictates that they should believe in the Last Prophet ﷺ . If they do, then they deserve to be called as الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ‘those who believe’.
Then the verse promises the People of the Book that believe in the Holy Prophet ﷺ ، their reward will be doubled. The first reward is on account of their believing in Prophet ` Isa (علیہ السلام) or Musa (علیہ السلام) and following their Shari’ ah, and the second reward is for their believing in the Holy Prophet ﷺ and acting upon his Shari’ ah. The reason for their double reward is that Jews and Christians were unbelievers until they believed in the Holy Prophet ﷺ ، and no worship of an unbeliever is acceptable. It required that any action they had performed according to a previous Shari` ah would go waste. But the present verse clarifies that when an unbeliever embraces Islam, all his good actions are restored, hence he is doubly rewarded.
[57:29] so that the People of the Book may know that they have no power over anything from Allah’s bounty, and that bounty is in Allah’s hand; He gives it to whom He wills, and Allah is the Lord of the great bounty.
لِّئَلَّا يَعْلَمَ أَهْلُ الْكِتَابِ (so that the People of the Book may know ….57:29) The negative particle la [no] is grammatically redundant [but rhetorically it serves to emphasise the expression]. This final verse states that the People of the Book need to know that faith in Prophet ` Isa (علیہ السلام) is not necessarily faith in the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ . In the circumstances, they do not deserve any Divine grace unless they embrace faith in the Last Prophet t. Allah, the Pure and Exalted, knows best!
The Commentary on
57. Surah Al Hadid (The Iron)
The Surah takes its title from the sentence, Wa anzalna’ l-hadida, of verse 25.
Period of Revelation
This is unanimously a Madani Surah, and a study of its subject matter shows that it was probably sent down some time during the interval between the Battle of Uhud and the Truce of Hudaibiyah. This was the time when the tiny Islamic State of Madinah had been hemmed in by the disbelievers and the handful of the ill equipped Muslims were entrenched against the combined power of entire Arabia. In this state Islam not only stood in need of the sacrifice of Life from its followers, but it also needed monetary help and assistance. In this Surah a forceful appeal has been made for the same. This view is further strengthened by verse 10 in which Allah has addressed the believers to the effect “Those of you who would spend and fight after the victory can never be equal to those who have spent and fought before the victory.” And the same is supported by the traditions that Ibn Marduyah has related on the authority of Hadrat Anas. In respect of the verse: Alam ya’n-i lilladhina aamanu an takhsha’a qulubu- hum li-dhikrillah-i, he says that 17 years after the commencement of the revelation of the Qur’an this verse was sent down to arouse the believers to action. Reckoned thus the period of the revelation of this Surah falls between the 4th and the 5th year after the hijrah.
Theme and Subject Matter
The theme of this Surah is to exhort the Muslims to spend in the cause of Allah. At the most critical juncture of the history of Islam when it was engaged in a life and death struggle against Arab paganism, this Surah was revealed to persuade the Muslim’s to make monetary sacrifices in particular, and to make them realize that Islam did not merely consist in verbal affirmation and some outward practices but its essence and spirit is sincerity towards Allah and His Religion. The faith of the one who was devoid of this spirit and who regarded his own self and wealth as dearer to himself than Allah and His Religion, was hollow and therefore of little worth in the sight of Allah.
For this object, first the attributes of Allah Almighty have been mentioned so that the listeners may fully realize as to Who is addressing them. Then, the following themes have been expressed in sequence:
The inevitable demand of the Faith is that one should not shirk spending one’s wealth for the sake of Allah. This would not only be contrary to the Faith but also wrong realistically. For the wealth indeed belongs to Allah, on which man has been given proprietary rights only as His vicegerent. Yesterday this wealth was in other people’s possession today it is with one particular man, and tomorrow it will pass into some one else’s hand. Ultimately, it will go back to Allah, Who is the inheritor of everything in the universe. Only that much of this wealth will be of any use to a man, which he spends in the cause of Allah during the period it is in his possession.
Although making sacrifices for the sake of Allah is commendable in any case, the true worth of these sacrifices is determined by the nature of the occasion. There is an occasion when the power of paganism is overwhelming and there is a danger that it might subdue and overcome Islam completely; there is another occasion when Islam is in a stronger position in its struggle against un-Islam and the believers are attaining victories. Both these states are not equal as regards their respective importance. Therefore, the sacrifices that are made in these different states would also not be equal. Those who sacrifice their lives and expend their wealth to further promote the cause of Islam when it is already strong cannot attain to the rank of those who struggled with their lives and their wealth to promote and uphold the cause of Islam when it was weak.
Whatever is spent for the cause of the Truth is a loan on Allah, and Allah will not only return it increasing it manifold but will also give from Himself the best reward for it.
In the Hereafter the Light shall be bestowed only on those believers who would have spent their wealth in the cause of Allah. As for the hypocrites who watched and served only their own interests in the world, and who least bothered whether the Truth or falsehood prevailed will be segregated from the believers in the Hereafter although they might have lived in close association with them in the world. They will be deprived of the Light, and they will be counted among the disbelievers.
The Muslims should not behave like those followers of the earlier Books, whose lives have been. spent in the worship of the world and whose hearts have become hardened due to negligence with the passage of time. He cannot be a believer whose heart does not melt at the remembrance of Allah and does not bow to the Truth sent down by Him.
The sincere upholders of the Truth and the true witnesses of the Faith in the sight of Allah are only those believers who spend their wealth in His way sincerely, without any desire of show.
The life of this world is only a short lived spring and a means of pride and show. Its sports and pastimes, its adornments and decorations, its pride of place, its wealth and possessions, for which the people try to vie with one another, are transient. Its likeness is of the crop which flourishes and blooms, then turns pale and then finally is reduced to chaff. The everlasting life is the life hereafter when results of great consequence will be announced. Therefore, if one has to vie with another for something, one should strive for Paradise.
Whatever good man meets with and whatever hardship he suffers in the world, are pre-ordained by Allah. A true believer is he who does not lose heart in affliction and is not puffed up with pride in good times. It is the character of a hypocrite and disbeliever that he is puffed up with pride when Allah favors him with His blessings, behaved boastfully and shows stinginess when called upon to spend in the cause of the same God Who blessed him, and also counsels others to be stingy like himself.
Allah sent His Messengers with clear signs and the Book and the Law of Justice so that the people may adhere to justice; besides, He sent down iron also so that power may be used to establish the Truth and vanquish falsehood. Thus, Allah likes to see as to who from among the people would rise to support and succor His true Religion even at the risk of their lives. These opportunities Allah has created for man’s own advantage and development; otherwise Allah does not stand in need of others for His works.
Prophets came from Allah in the past, and by their preaching some people adopted the Right Path, but most of them persisted in wickedness. Then the Prophet Jesus came, whose teachings brought about many moral improvements in the lives of the people, but his community invented monasticism. Now Allah has sent the Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be His peace and blessings). Those who affirm faith in him and pass their life fearing Allah’s accountability, will be given by Allah a double share of His mercy and He will bless them with the Light by which they will see and walk the straight path among the crooked paths met with at every step in the life of this world. Although the followers of the earlier revelation regard themselves as the monopolists of Allah’s bounties, the fact remains that Allah Himself controls His bounties He may bless with these whomever He pleases.
In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
1-10 All that is in the heavens and earth glorifies Allah, Who created the heavens and earth in six periods and has the knowledge of everything and Those who spend in charity will be richly rewarded
(57:1) All that is in the heavens and the earth extols the glory of Allah.1 He is the Most Mighty, the Most Wise.2 (57:2) His is the dominion of the heavens and the earth. He gives life and causes death, and He has power over everything. (57:3) He is the First and the Last, and the Manifest and the Hidden,3 and He has knowledge of everything. (57:4) He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six days and then established Himself on the Throne.4 He knows all that enters the earth and all that comes forth from it, and all that comes down from the heaven and all that goes up to it.5 He is with you wherever you are.6 Allah sees all that you do. (57:5) His is the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and to Him are all matters referred (for judgement). (57:6) He causes the night to pass into the day, and causes the day to pass into the night, and He fully knows all that is hidden in the breasts of people. (57:7) Believe in Allah and in His Messenger7 and expend8 of what He has entrusted to you.9 A great reward awaits those of you who believe and spend their wealth.10 (57:8) How is it that you do not believe in Allah when the Messenger calls you to believe in your Lord11 and although he has taken a covenant from you,12 if indeed you are believers? (57:9) He it is Who sends down Clear Signs to His servant so as to bring you out from darkness into light. Surely Allah is Most Kind and Most Compassionate to you. (57:10) How is it that you do not expend in the Way of Allah when to Allah belongs the inheritance of the heavens and the earth?13 Those who spent their wealth and took part in fighting before the Victory cannot be equated (with those who spent their wealth and took part in fighting afterwards). They are higher in rank than those who spent and fought afterwards.14 But to each Allah has promised a good reward. Allah is well aware of all that you do.15
1. That is, it has always been so that everything in the universe has proclaimed the truth that its Creator and Sustainer is free from every blemish and defect, every weakness, error and evil. He is glorified in His essence, He is glorified in His attributes, He is glorified in His works as well as His commands whether they relate to the creation, or to the religious law for mankind. Here sabbaha has been used in the past tense; at other places yusabbihu has been used which includes both the present and the future tenses. This would signify that every particle in the universe has always been extolling the glory of its Creator and Sustainer in the past, is doing at present and will continue to do the same in the future forever and ever.
2. That is, not only is He All-Mighty and All-Wise, but the truth is that He alone is All-Mighty and All-Wise. The word Aziz signifies a mighty and powerful Being Whose decrees cannot be prevented by any power in the world from being enforced, Whom no one can oppose and resist, Who has to be obeyed by every one whether one likes it or not, Whose rebel cannot escape His accountability and punishment in any way. The word Hakim signifies that whatever He does, He does it wisely. His creation, His administration and rule, His commands and guidance, all are based on wisdom. None of His works is tarnished by any tract of folly or ignorance.
There is another fine point here, which one should fully understand. Seldom in the Quran has Allah’s attribute of Aziz (All-Mighty) been accompanied by His attributes of being Qawi (Strong), Muqtadir (Powerful), Jabber (Omnipotent), Dhuntiqam (Avenger) and the like, which only signify His absolute power, and this has been so only in places where the context demanded that the wicked and disobedient be warned of Allah’s relentless punishment. Apart from such few places, wherever the word Aziz has been used for Allah, it has everywhere been accompanied by one Or other of His attributes of being Hakim (Wise), Alim (Knower), Rahim (Merciful), Ghafur (Forgiving), Wahhab (Generous) and Hamid (Praiseworthy). The reason is that if a being who wields un-limited power is at the same time unwise, ignorant, un-forgiving as well as stingy and devoid of character, its power and authority cannot but lead to injustice and wickedness. Thus, wherever injustice and wickedness is being committed in the world, it is only because the one who wields authority over others, is either using his power un-wisely and foolishly, or he is merciless and hardhearted, or evil-minded and wicked. Wherever power is coupled with these evil traits of character, no good can be expected to result. That is why in the Quran Allah’s attribute of Aziz has necessarily been accompanied by His attributes of being All-Wise and Knowing, Compassionate and Forgiving, Praiseworthy and Generous. So that man may know that the God Who is ruling this universe has, on the one hand, such absolute power that no one, from the earth to the heavens, can prevent His decrees from being enforced. But, on the other hand, He is also All-Wise: His each decision is based on perfect wisdom. He is also All- Knowing: whatever decision He makes, it is precisely according to knowledge. He is also Compassionate: He does not use infinite power mercilessly. He is Forgiving as well: He does not punish His creatures for trifling faults, but overlooks their errors. He is also Generous: He does not treat His subjects stingily, but liberally and benevolently. And He is also Praiseworthy: He combines in Himself all praiseworthy virtues and excellences.
The importance of this statement of the Quran can be better understood by those people who are aware of the discussions of the philosophy of politics and law on the question of sovereignty. Sovereignty connotes that the one who possesses it should wield un-limited power: there should be no internal and external power to change or modify his decision or prevent it from being enforced, and none should have any alternative but to obey him. At the mere concept of this infinite and un-limited power, man’s common-sense necessarily demands that whoever attains to such power, should be faultless and perfect in knowledge and wisdom, for if the one holding this power is ignorant, merciless and evil, his sovereignty will inevitably lead to wickedness and corruption. That is why the philosophers, who regarded a single man, or a man-made institution, or an assembly of men as the holder of this power, have had to presume that he or it would be infallible. But obviously, neither can unlimited sovereignty be actually attained by a human power, nor is it possible for a king, or a parliament, or a nation, or a party that it may use the sovereignty attained by it in a limited circle faultlessly and harmlessly. The reason is that the wisdom that is wholly free of every trace of folly, and the knowledge that fully comprehends all the related truths, is not at all possessed even by entire mankind, not to speak of its being attained by an individual, or an institution, or a nation. Likewise, as long as man is man, his being wholly free of and above selfishness, sensuality, fear, greed, desires, prejudice and sentimental love, anger and hate is also not possible. If a person ponders over these truths, he will realize that the Quran is indeed presenting here a correct and perfect view of sovereignty. It says that no one except Allah in this universe is possessor of absolute power, and with this unlimited power He alone is faultless, All-Wise and All- Knowing, Compassionate and Forgiving, and Praiseworthy and Generous in His dealings with Hid subjects.
3. That is, when there was nothing, He was, and when there will be nothing, He will be. He is the most Manifest of all the manifests, for whatever manifests itself in the world, does so only by His attributes and His works and His light. And He is the Most Hidden of all the hidden, for not only do the senses fail to perceive Him but the intellect and thought and imagination also cannot attain to His essence and reality. The best commentary in this regard is a supplication of the Prophet (peace be upon him) which Imam Ahmad, Muslim, Tirmidhi, and Baihaqi have related on the authority of Abu Hurairah, and Hafiz Abu Yala Mosuli in his Musnad on the authority of Aishah:
Antal Awwal, fa-laisa qablaka shaiin; wa Antal Akhir falaisa ba daka shaiin; wa Antal Zahir, fa-laisa fauqaka shai in; wa Anfal Batin, fa laisa dunaka shaiin. You alone are the First; none is before You; You alone are the Last: none is after You; You alone are the Exalted none is above You; You alone are the Hidden: none is more hidden than You.
Here, the question arises: How does this accord with the immortality and eternal life of the dwellers of Paradise and Hell mentioned in the Quran when Allah alone is the Last and Eternal? Its answer has been provided by the Quran itself: Everything is perishable except Allah Himself. (Surah Al-Qasas, Ayat 88). In other words no creature is immortal in its personal capacity; if a thing exists or continuous to exist, it does so because Allah keeps it so, and can exist only by His letting it exist; otherwise in its own capacity everything is perishable except Allah. Immortality in Heaven and Hell will not be bestowed upon somebody because he is immortal by himself, but because Allah will grant him eternal life. The same is true of the angels, they are not immortal by themselves. When Allah willed they came into existence, and will continue to exist only as long as He wills.
4. That is, He alone is the Creator of the universe as well as its Ruler. (For further explanation, see (E.Ns 41, 42 of Surah Al-Aaraf); (E.N. 4 of Suran Younus); (E.Ns 2 to 5 of Surah Ar-Raad), (E.Ns 11 to 15 of Surah HaMim As- Sajdah).
5. In other words, He is not only the Knower of the all but also of the parts. He knows each seed that goes under the layers of the soil, each leaf and bud that comes out of the soil, each rain-drop that falls from the sky, and each molecule of the vapor that ascends from the seas and lakes to the sky. He is aware of every seed lying anywhere under the soil. That is how He causes it to split and sprout up and develop. He is aware of how much vapor has risen from each different place and where it has reached. That is how he collects it into cloud and distributes it and causes it to fall as rain in due measure on different place of the earth. The same is true of the details of everything that goes into the earth and comes out of it, and of everything that ascends to the sky and descends from it. If all this were not comprehended by Allah in His knowledge, it would not be possible for Him to plan and order each thing separately and to regulate and control it in a wise manner.
6 That is, nowhere are you outside Allah’s knowledge, His power, His rule, His management and administration. Allah knows wherever you are, whether in the earth, or the air, or the water, or in a secret place. Your being alive there is by itself a proof that Allah is providing for you in that very place. If your heart is beating, if your lungs are breathing, if yow hearing and yow sight are functioning, it is only because all parts of yow body are working under Allah’s rule. And if death comes to you at any place; it comes because Allah takes a decision to stop providing for you and to recall you from the world.
7. The addressees here are not the non-Muslims, but, as is borne out by the whole subsequent discourse, the Muslims who had affirmed the faith and joined the ranks of the believers, but were not fulfilling the demands of the faith and conducting themselves as true believers should. It is obvious that non-Muslims cannot be invited to affirm the faith and then immediately asked to subscribe generously to the cause of jihad for the sake of Allah, nor can they be told that whoever would fight and spend his wealth in the cause of Allah before the victory, would attain to a higher rank than him who would perform these services later, For, when a non-Muslim is invited to the faith, the preliminary demands of it only are presented before him and not the ultimate once, Therefore, in view of the context, the meaning of saying: “Believe in Allah and His messenger,” here would be: O people, who profess to have affirmed the faith and have joined the ranks of the Muslims, believe in Allah and Messenger (peace be upon him) sincerely and conduct yourselves as the true and sincere believers should.
8. Here, by spending is not implied spending on public welfare, but, as is clearly borne out by the words of verse 10, it implies subscribing to the cause of the war effort that was being waged at that time under the leadership of the Prophet (peace be upon him) to uphold Islam against paganism. Two things, in particular, were such for which the Islamic Government at that time stood in great need of financial help. First, the war equipment; second, supporting and sustaining the oppressed Muslims, who, due to persecution by the disbelievers had emigrated, and were still emigrating, to Al-Madinah from every corner of Arabia, The sincere Muslims were trying their best to render as much help as they could but meeting the entire expenses in this regard was much beyond their means and resources, and their this same spirit of sacrifice has been commended in verses 10, 12, 18 and 19 below. But among the Muslims there were quite a number of well-to-do people, who were watching this struggle between Islam and paganism as mere spectators and had no feelings whatsoever that the faith they claimed to believe in also imposed certain rights on their life and wealth. This second kind of people are the addressees of this verse, They have been exhorted to believe sincerely, and to spend their wealth in the cause of Allah.
9. This has two meanings and both are implied here. The first meaning is: The wealth that you possess is not, in fact, your personal property but has been given to you by Allah. You are not its exclusive master and owner. Allah has given you proprietary right over it as His vicegerent. Therefore, you should have no hesitation in spending it in the service of the real Master. It is not for the vicegerent to withhold the Master’s wealth from being spent for the Master’s own sake. The second meaning is: Neither has this wealth been with you since ever, nor will it remain in your possession for ever, Yesterday it was in some other people’s possession; then Allah made you their successor and entrusted it to you, A time will come when it will not remain with you but some other people will succeed you as its owners, Therefore, in this short-lived ownership, when you are its trustees, spend it in the cause of Allah so that in the Hereafter you may be rewarded for it permanently and eternally. This same thing has been stated by the Prophet (peace be upon him) in a Hadith. Tirmidhi relates that once a goat was slaughtered in the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) house and its flesh was given away to the poor. When he came to the house and asked: What remains of the goat? Aishah replied: Nothing but a shoulder. Thereupon the Prophet (peace be upon him) remarked: Nay, the whole goat but the shoulder. That is, whatever has been given away for the sake of Allah, has, in fact, been saved. According to another Hadith, a person asked: O Messenger (peace be upon him) of Allah, what kind of charity brings the highest reward? He replied: That you should give away a thing in charity when you are hale and hearty: When you feel it could be saved and may like to invest it in the hope of earning more. Do not wait till death when you may say: Give this to so and so and that to so and so, for at that time the wealth has in any case to pass on to so and so. (Bukhari, Muslim). According to another Hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Man says: My wealth! My wealth! whereas his own share in his wealth is no more than what he has eaten up, or worn away, or passed on in charity? Whatever remains will leave him and will be passed on to others (Muslim).
10. Here again, spending wealth in the cause of jihad has been regarded as an essential demand of the faith and a proof of one’s sincerity in it, as if to say: The true and sincere believer is he who does not shirk spending wealth on such an occasion.
11. That is, you are adopting this unbelieving attitude and conduct at a time when the Messenger (peace be upon him) of Allah is present among you, and you are receiving the invitation to the faith not through an indirect and remote means but directly through the Messenger (peace be upon him) of Allah himself.
12. Some commentators have taken this pledge to imply the pledge of service to Allah, which had been taken at the beginning of creation from the future offspring of Adam (peace be upon him), and some others take it for the pledge with which man has been naturally endowed to serve and obey Allah. But the truth is that it implies the conscious pledge of obedience to Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) that every Muslim makes to his Lord by the affirmation of the faith. At another place in the Quran this same pledge has been referred to thus:
Keep in mind the blessing Allah has bestowed upon you and do not forget the solemn covenant which He made with you and which you confirmed, when you said: We have heard and submitted. Fear Allah for Allah knows the very secrets of the hearts. (Surah Al-Maidah, Ayat 7).
Ubadah bin Samit relates: The Messenger (peace be upon him) of Allah had made us pledge that we would listen and obey both in sound health and in ill health; would spend in the cause of Allah both in prosperity and in adversity; would enjoin the good and forbid the evil; would proclaim the truth for the sake of Allah and would not fear the blame of any one in this regard (Musnad Ahmad).
13. This has two meanings:
(1) Your wealth is not going to stay with you forever. One day you will leave it behind; then Allah alone will inherit it. Thus the best thing would be that you should spend it yourself in the cause of Allah so that your reward for it is guaranteed with Allah. If you do not spend it yourself, it will in any case return to Allah, but then you will not be entitled to any reward from Him.
(2) You should have no fear of indigence and poverty when you spend it in the cause of Allah, because Allah for Whose sake you would spend your wealth is the Owner of all the treasures of the heavens and the earth. He possessed not only what He has bestowed on you today but has much more to bestow on you tomorrow. This same thing has been expressed at another place, thus:
O Prophet, say to them: My Lord gives abundantly to whomever of His servants He wills and sparingly to whomever He wills. Whatever you spend, He replenishes it by other provisions: He is the best of Providers. (Surah Saba, Ayat 39).
14. That is, although both are entitled to the reward, yet the former are necessarily higher in rank than the latter, for they faced greater risks for the sake of Allah in difficult circumstances, which the latter not. They spent their wealth at a time when there appeared no remote chance of victory that would compensate for their expenditure, and they fought the disbelieves at a critical time when there was an ever present apprehension that the enemy might overpower and crush the followers of Islam completely. Mujahid, Qatadah and Zaid bin Aslam, from among the commentators, say that the word victory in this verso has been used for the conquest of Makkah, and Amir Shabi says that it refers to the truce of Hudaibiyah. The former view has been adopted by most of the commentators, and in support of the latter this tradition from Abu Saeed Khudri is presented: During the time when the truce of Hudaibiyah was concluded, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to us: In the near future there will appear the people whose deeds will make you look upon your own deeds as mean and trifling, but even if one of them possessed a mountain of gold and he spent all of it in the cause of Allah, he would not attain to your spending two pounds, or even one pound of it. (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Hatim, Ibn Marduyah, Abu Nuaim Isfahani). Furthermore, it is also supported by the Hadith which Imam Ahmad has related on the authority of Anas. He says: Once a dispute arose between Khalid bin Walid and Hadrat Abdur Rahman bin Auf, in the course of which Khalid said to Abdur Rahman: You people assume your superiority over us on account of your past services. When this thing came to the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) notice, he said: By God in whose hand is my lift, even if you people spent gold equal (in weight) to Mount Uhud, or equal to other mountains, you would not attain to the deeds of these people. From this it is argued that in this verse victory refers to the truce of Hudaibiyah, for Khalid bin Walid had embraced Islam after this truce and had participated in the conquest of Makkah. However, whether victory in this particular case is taken to imply the truce of Hudaibiyah or the conquest of Makkah, in any case the verse does not mean that the distinction of the ranks is confined to this one victory alone, but as a general principle it shows that those who fight and spend in the cause of Islam at the time when disbelief and disbelievers appear to be dominant and Islam seems to have no remote chance of victory, are far superior in rank to those who make sacrifices after the conflict between Islam and paganism has been decided in favor of Islam.
15. That is, Allah does not bestow His favors blindly. Ho sees who has performed what deeds, under what kind of circumstances, and with what motive and then determines the rank and the reward of the deed of each person with full justice and awareness.
11-19 On that day the true believers will have their light shining before them while the hypocrites will have their fate no different than the disbelievers and Those who spend in charity will be repaid manyfold and also be given liberal reward besides it
(57:11) Who is it that will give Allah a beautiful loan? A loan that Allah will repay after increasing it many times and grant him a generous reward.16 (57:12) On that Day you will see believing men and women that their light will be running before them and on their right hands.17 (They will be told): “A good tiding to you today.” There shall be Gardens beneath which rivers flow; therein they shall abide. That indeed is the great triumph. (57:13) On that Day the hypocrites, both men and women, shall say to the believers: “Look at us that we may extract some light from your light.”18 They will be told: “Go back and seek light for yourselves elsewhere.” Then a wall shall be erected between them with a door in it. On the inside of it there will be mercy, and on the outside of it there will be chastisement.19 (57:14) The hypocrites will call out to the believers: “Were we not with you?”20 The believers will reply: “Yes; but you allowed yourselves to succumb to temptations,21 and you wavered22 and you remained in doubt23 and false expectations deluded you until Allah’s command came to pass,24 and the Deluder25 deluded you concerning Allah. (57:15) So no ransom shall be accepted from you today, nor from those who disbelieved.26 You are destined for the Fire. That will be your guardian.27 And that indeed is a grievous destination. (57:16) Is the time not come that the hearts of the believers should be humbled to Allah’s remembrance and to the Truth that He has revealed,28 and that they should not be like those who were vouchsafed the Book and then a long time elapsed so that their hearts were hardened? A great many of them are now evil-doers.29 (57:17) Know well that Allah revives the earth after it becomes lifeless. We have clearly shown Our Signs to you, perchance you will use your reason.30 (57:18) Verily those who give alms31 be they men or women, and give Allah a beautiful loan shall be repaid after increasing it many times; and theirs shall be a generous reward. (57:19) In Allah’s sight only those who truly believe in Allah and His Messengers32 are utterly truthful33 and true bearers of witness(for the sake of Allah).34 For them is their reward and their light.35 As for those who gave the lie to Our Signs, they are the people of Hell.
16. How Generous and Beneficent is Allah that if a man spends the wealth granted by Himself in His way, He calls it a loan Himself, provided that it is a good loan, that is, a loan which in given with a pure intention, without any selfish motive of winning reputation and renown, or of doing favor to somebody, but only for the sake of Allah’s approval and to win His good-will and rewards. Allah makes two promises in this regard:
(1) That He will repay it increasing it manifold.
(2) That He will also give from Himself the best reward for it.
According to a Hadith reported by Abdullah bin Masud, when this verse was revealed and the people heard it from the Prophet (peace be upon him), Abud Dahdah Ansari asked: O Messenger (peace be upon him) of Allah, does Allah want a loan from us?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: Yes, O Abud-Dahdah. He said: Kindly show me your hand. The Prophet (peace be upon him) extended his hand towards him. He took his hand in his own hand and said: I give away my garden in loan to my Lord. Abdullah bin Masud says that the garden had 600 datepalms and also his own house in which his family lived. Saying this to the Prophet (peace be upon him) he went straight back home, and calling out to his wife said: Come out, O mother of Dahdah, I have loaned this garden to my Lord. She replied: Dahdah’s father, you have made a good bargain, and she immediately vacated and left the garden with her children. (Ibn Abi Hatim). This incident throws light on the conduct of the sincere believers of that time, and from this one can also understand the kind of the good loan that Allah has promised to return increasing it manifold with a rich reward in addition.
17. This and the following verses show that the light on the Day of Judgment will be specifically meant for the righteous believers only. As for the disbelievers and the hypocrites and the wicked people, they will be wandering about in the darkness as they had been in the world. The light there will be the light of righteous deeds. The sincerity of the faith and the piety of the character and conduct will turn into light that will lend brightness to the personality of the virtuous. The brighter the deed the more luminous will be his person, and when he will walk towards Paradise, his light will be running forward before him. The best explanation of it is Qatadah’s mursal tradition in which he says; The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The light of some one will be so strong and sharp that it will be running on before him equal to the distance between Al-Madinah and Aden, of another equal to the distance between Madinah and Sana, and of another even less than that; so much so that there will be a believer whose light will jsut extend beyond his steps. (Ibn Jarir). In other words, the intensity of the light of a person will be proportionate to the extent of the good done and spread by him in the world, and the beams of his light will be running on before him in the Hereafter extending as far as his good will have extended in the world.
Here, a question may arise in the mind of the reader: One can understand the meaning of their light running on before the believers but what does their light running on only on their right hand mean? Will there be darkness on their left side? The answer is: When a man is walking with a light on his right hand, his left side also will be bright, though the fact of the matter is that the light will be on his right hand. This has been explained by the Hadith, which Abu Dharr and Abu Darda have reported, saying that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: I shall recognize the righteous people of my ummah by their light which will be running on before them and on their right and on their left. (Hakim, Ibn Abi Hatim, Ibn Marduyah).
18. It means that when the believers will be going towards Paradise, the light will be before them, and the hypocrites will be stumbling about in the darkness behind. At that time they will call out to the believers, who lived with them together in the same Muslim society in the world, saying: Look back towards us awhile so that we also may get some light.
19. This means that the people of Paradise will enter it through a gate and then the gate will be closed. On one side of the gate there will be the blessings of Paradise and on the other the torment of Hell. For the hypocrites it will not be possible to cross the barrier that will stand between them and Paradise.
20. That is, did we not live with you together in the same Muslim society? Did we not affirm the faith? Did we not offer the Prayers along with you and observe the Fast and perform the Hajj and pay the Zakat? Did we not sit with you in your assemblies and were we not bound in marriage ties and kinship with you? Then, how is it that we have been separated from you today?
21. That is, in spite of your claim to be Muslims, you never believed like true and sincere Muslims and remained suspended between belief and unbelief. You still had your interests attached to disbelief and the disbelievers and you never gave yourselves up wholly to Islam.
22. Tarabbus (from which tarabbastum of the text is derived) means to wait and tarry for an opportunity. When a person is unable to decide which of the two alternative ways he should choose but stands and waits to consider which way should be more favorable for him to follow, he is involved in tarabbus. The hypocrites had adopted the same attitude during the critical time of the conflict between Islam and un-Islam. Neither were they siding with disbelief openly nor were spending their energy to support and help Islam with full conviction. They were sitting on the fence, waiting to see which party in the conflict became dominant, so that if it was Islam they may join it on the basis of their affirmation of the faith, and if it was unbelief they may side with its supporters taking advantage of their neutral position in the conflict.
23. This implies different kinds of doubts that a hypocrite suffers from, and the same also are the actual causes of his hypocrisy. He doubts the existence of God, the Prophethood of the Prophet, the Quran’s being Allah’s book, the Hereafter, its accountability, and its rewards and punishments, and he doubts whether the conflict between the truth and falsehood is real, or a mere delusion; as for himself he considers the only truth to be that one should enjoy life and its pleasures to the full. For unless a person is involved in such doubts he can never be a hypocrite.
24. This can have two meanings:
(1) Until death came to him, you could not shed this delusion till the last moment.
(2) That Islam became dominant, while you looked on unconcerned.
25. That is, Satan.
26. This clearly shows that in the Hereafter the hypocrites will be doomed to the same fate as the disbelievers.
27. The words hiya maula kum (Hell is your maula) can have two meanings:
(1) That Hell is the only proper place for you.
(2) That you never took Allah as your maula (friend, patron) so that He may look after you. Now Hell only is your maula, therefore, Hell now will look after you.
28. Here again, the word believers is general, but it does not apply to all the Muslims; it refers to those particular Muslims who had professed the faith verbally and joined the followers of the Prophet (peace be upon him) though their hearts were devoid of any concern for Islam. They were watching that the pagan forces were bent upon wiping out Islam; they had encircled the handful of Muslims from all sides, who were being made the target of persecution everywhere in Arabia, and thus the oppressed Muslims were fleeing to Al-Madinah empty-handed for refuge; the sincere Muslims were extending to them whatever economic help they could; yet they were, at the same time, engaged in a life and death struggle with the enemy. But, in spite of this, these people who professed the faith were not being moved at all. So, here, they are being put to shame. As if to say: What kind of believers are you? At this critical juncture for Islam, is it not yet the time that your hearts should melt at the mention of Allah and be filled with the spirit of sacrifice for the sake of His religion. Can the believers be such that they have no feelings for Islam when it is confronted with hard times. That they may sit unconcerned when they are summoned in the name of Allah. That the hearts may neither tremble out of fear of Allah nor bow to His command when He Himself should make an appeal for contributions in the Book sent down by Him, declaring it as a loan to Himself and plainly telling that the one who would regard his wealth as dearer than the cause of the true faith would be a hypocrite and not a believer.
29. That is, the Jews and the Christians seem to have lost fervor and degenerated spiritually and morally hundreds of years after the passing away of their Prophets. But have you already become so depraved that while the Prophet (peace be upon him) is still present among you, and the Book of God is still being revealed, and not much time has passed over you since you affirmed the faith, and you have started behaving like the Jews and the Christians who have reached this state through centuries of playing and tempering with the Book of Allah and its verses.
30. The point contained here should be well understood. At several places in the Quran the Prophethood and the revelation of the Book have been compared to the rainfall, for the effects produced by them on humanity are precisely like those produced by rain on the soil. Just as the dead earth swells and blooms as soon as it receives a shower of rain, so it is with the dead humanity in a country where a Prophet is raised through Allah’s mercy and revelation begins to be sent down to him. It starts revealing those virtues which lay hidden and suppressed for ages. It starts manifesting from within itself excellent morals and good deeds and virtues of every kind. Allusion has been made to this truth here so as to open the eyes of the Muslims of the weak faith and to make them ponder their state. The way humanity was being reformed by the blessed rainfall of the Prophethood and revelation and the way it was being richly and generously blessed in every way was not a remote story for them. They were observing it themselves in the pious and righteous society of the companions and experiencing it day and night around them. Polytheism with all its evils was present before them while the virtues and good things emanating from Islam were also blooming and flourishing before their eyes. Therefore, they did not need to be told any details. An allusion was enough to the effect. The signs of how Allah grants life to the dead earth through the rainfall of His mercy have been shown to you. Now you should use your common sense and consider it for yourself as to what benefit you arc deriving from this blessing.
31. Sadaqah, as an Islamic term, is the charity given sincerely and with a pure intention only with a view to seek Allah’s good pleasure without making any show of it, and without the intention of doing any favor to the recipient. The donor should give it only because he has a true feeling of the service of his Lord. The word is derived from sidq, therefore, sadaqat (sincerity) is of its essence. No charity and no spending of the wealth can be a sadaqah unless it springs from a sincere and pure motive of spending only for the sake of Allah.
32. Here, the believers imply those people of true faith whose attitude and conduct was absolutely different from that of the people of weak faith and the false claimants to Islam, and who were at that time vying with one another in making monetary sacrifices and were struggling with their lives in the cause of the true faith.
33. Siddiq (most truthful) is the superlative from sidq; however, one should clearly understand that sidq is not merely a statement conforming to the truth, but a statement which is not only true in itself but its speaker also upholds it as a truth sincerely. For instance, if a person says that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is Allah’s Messenger, this is by itself precisely according to the truth, for the Prophet (peace be upon him) is truly Allah’s Messenger, but the person would be true in his statement only if he also believed and upheld him as Allah’s Messenger. Therefore, a thing would be sidq if what was said was in conformity with the truth as well as with the speaker’s own conscience. Likewise, sidq also contains the sense of faithfulness, sincerity and practical righteousness. Sadiq-ul-waad would be the person who kept his promise practically, who never broke it. Sadiq (true friend) would be he who did full justice to friendship in the time of need, and who never proved faithless to anybody in any way. In war, sadiq-fil-qital (true soldier) would be the one who fought with all his heart and body and established his valor practically. Thus, sidq in essence implies that one’s deed should fully conform to his word. The one who acts contrary to his word cannot be sadiq. On that very basis, the one who preaches one thing and acts contrary to it is regarded as a false preacher. With this meaning of sidq and sadiq in view one can fully appreciate the meaning of the superlative sadiq. It would inevitably imply a righteous person who is free from every impurity, who has never swerved from the truth and piety, who could never be expected to say anything against his conscience. Who believed in whatever he believed with full sincerity and remained faithful to it under all circumstances, and who has practically proved that he is a true believer in the full sense of the word. (For further explanation, see (E.N. 99 of Surah An-Nisa).
34. The early commentators have differed about the explanation of this verse. Ibn Abbas, Masruq, Dahhak, Muqatil bin Hayyan and others say that the previous sentence ended with humsssiddiqun; and wash-shuhadauinda Rabbihim la-hum ajru-hum wa nuru-hum is a separate and independent sentence According to this explanation, the translation of the sentence would be: Those who have believed in Allah and His Messenger, are indeed the most truthful (as siddiqun); as for the true witnesses (ash-shuhada), they will have their reward and their light from their Lord. Contrary to this, Mujahid and several other commentators regard this whole expression as one sentence. According to them the translation would be that which we have given in the text above. The two commentaries differ because the first group has taken the word shahid in the meaning of the martyr in the way of Allah and seeing that every believer is not a shahid in this sense, has taken wash-shuhadau inda Rabbi-him as a separate sentence. But the other group takes shahid in the meaning of the witness of the truth, and not in the sense of the martyr, and in this sense every believer is a shahid. We are of the opinion that this second commentary is preferable and this is;
And thus We have made you a middle nation that you may be witnesses against mankind, and the messenger may be a witness against you. (Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayat 143).
Allah had called you Muslims before this and has also called you (by the same name) in this (Quran) so that the Messenger may be a witness in regard to you and you may be witnesses in regard to the rest of mankind. (Surah Al- Hajj, Ayat 78).
In a Hadith, Bara bin Azib has related that he heard the Prophet (peace be upon him) say: The believers of my Ummah are shahid (the witnesses); then he recited this very verse of Surah Al-Hadid. (Ibn Jarir). Ibn Marduyah has related on the authority of Abu ad-Darda the tradition that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The one who emigrates from a land in order to save his life and his faith from temptation, is recorded as a siddiq (most truthful), and when he dies, Allah takes his soul as a shahid (true witness). Then after this, the Prophet (peace be upon him) recited this very verse. (For the explanation of this meaning of shahadat, see (E.N. 144 of Surah Al-Baqarah); (E.N. 99 of Surah An-Nisa), (E.N. 82 of Surah Al-Ahzab).
35. That is, each one of them will receive the reward and the light of the measure and degree he deserves. They will all get their own respective rewards and lights and their shares have already been reserved for them.
20-25 Life of this world is but a play, amusement and illusion and Do not grieve for the things that you miss, nor overjoy at what you gain
(57:20) Know well that the life of this world is merely sport and diversion and adornment and an object of your boasting with one another, and a rivalry in the multiplication of riches and children. Its likeness is that of rain: when it produces vegetation it delights the tillers. But then it withers and you see it turn yellow, and then it crumbles away. In the Hereafter there is (either) grievous chastisement (or) forgiveness from Allah and (His) good pleasure. The life of this world is nothing but delusion.36 (57:21) So vie with one another37 in seeking to attain your Lord’s forgiveness and a Garden whose width is as the width of the heaven and the earth,38 one which has been prepared for those who believe in Allah and His Messengers. That is Allah’s bounty which He bestows upon those whom He pleases. Allah is the Lord of abounding bounty. (57:22) No misfortune ever befalls on earth, nor on yourselves but We have inscribed it in the Book39 before We make it manifest.40 Surely that is easy for Allah.41 (57:23) (We do so) that you may not grieve over42 the loss you suffer, nor exult over what He gave you. Allah does not love the vainglorious, the boastful, (57:24) those who are niggardly and bid others to be niggardly.43 And he who turns away, (should know that) Allah is Self-Sufficient, Immensely Praiseworthy.44 (57:25) Indeed We sent Our Messengers with Clear Signs, and sent down with them the Book and the Balance that people may uphold justice.45 And We sent down iron, wherein there is awesome power and many benefits for people,46 so that Allah may know who, without even having seen Him, helps Him and His Messengers. Surely Allah is Most Strong, Most Mighty.47
36. To understand this theme fully one should keep the following verses of the Quran in mind: (Surah Aal-Imran, Ayats 14-15); (Surah Younus, Ayats 24-25); (Surah Ibrahim, Ayat 18); (Surah Al-Kahf, Ayats 45-46); (Surah An-Noor, Ayat 39). In all these verses the truth that has been impressed on the mind is: The life of this world is a temporary life: its spring as well as its autumn is temporary. There is much here to allure man. But this, in fact, consists of base and insignificant things which man because of his shallowness of mind regards as great and splendid and is deluded into thinking that in attaining them lies supreme success. The truth however is that the highest benefits and means of pleasure and enjoyment that one can possibly attain in the world, are indeed short and insignificant and confined to a few years of temporary life and can be destroyed by just one turn of fate. Contrary to this, the life in Hereafter is a splendid and eternal life. Its benefits are great and permanent and its losses too are great and permanent. The one who attains Allah’s forgiveness and His goodwill there, will indeed have attained the everlasting bliss beside which the entire wealth of the world and its kingdom become pale and insignificant. And the one who is seized in God’s torment there, will come to know that he had made a bad bargain even if he had attained all that he regarded as great and splendid in the world.
37. Musabaqat (from which sabiqu of the original is derived) means to compete and vie with each other in order to excel. The meaning is: Give up your rivalries with one another for amassing wealth, and pleasures and benefits of the world and instead make the forgiveness of your Lord and Paradise the object of your struggle and rivalries.
38. Some commentators have taken the word ard in arduha ka-ardis-samai wal-ard in the sense of breadth, but actually this word has been used here in the meaning of spaciousness and extensiveness. In Arabic the word ard is not only used for breadth, as a counterpart of length, but also for spaciousness, as it has been used in( Surah HaMim As-Sajdah, Ayat 51): fadhu dua in arid: Then he is full of long supplications. Besides, one should also understand that the object here is not to foretell the area or extent of Paradise, but to give an idea of its vastness and extensiveness. Here its vastness has been described as the vastness of the heaven and earth, and in Surah Aal-Imran it has been said: Hasten to follow the path that leads to your Lord’s forgiveness and to Paradise whose vastness is that of the universe, which has been prepared for the righteous (verse 133). When both these verses are read together, one gets the idea that the gardens and palaces man will receive in Paradise will only serve as his dwellingplace but the entire universe will be his home. He will not be restricted to one place as he is in this world, where just for reaching the moon, his nearest neighbor in space, he has had to struggle hard for years and expend excessive resources only to overcome the difficulties of a short journey. There the whole universe will be accessible to him. He will be able to see whatever he would desire from his station and be able to visit whichever place he would like easily.
39. A Book: the writ of destiny.
40. Here, “it” may be referring to the affliction as well as to the earth, or the self of man, or in view of the context, to all the creatures.
41. That is, it is not at all difficult for Allah to pre-ordain the destiny of each and every one of His creatures.
42. In order to understand why this has been said in that context, one should keep in mind the conditions through which the Muslims were passing at the time this Surah was revealed. An ever present danger of attack by the enemy, battles in quick succession, a state of constant siege, hardships caused by economic boycott by the disbelievers, persecution of the converts to Islam everywhere in Arabia, these were the conditions that the Muslims were confronted with at that time. The disbelievers looked upon these as a proof of the Muslims having been forsaken and rejected, and the hypocrites took these as a confirmation of their own suspicions and doubts. As for the sincere Muslims, they were facing these bravely and resolutely, yet the excess of hardship and suffering would sometimes become trying even for them. So, the Muslims are being consoled, as if to say: No affliction, God forbid, has befallen you without the knowledge of your Lord. Whatever you are experiencing is according to the pre-ordained scheme of Allah, which is already recorded in the writ of destiny. And you are being made to pass through these trials and tribulations for the sake of your own training for the great service that Allah wills to take from you. If you are made to attain to success without passing through these hardships, weaknesses will remain in your character due to which you will neither be able to digest power and authority nor withstand the tempests and furies of falsehood.
43. The allusion is to the trait of character that everyone could experience among the hypocrites in the Muslim society itself. As regards to the outward affirmation of the faith, they could not be distinguished from the true Muslims. But owing to lack of sincerity they were not receiving the sort of training that was being given to the sincere Muslims. Therefore, the little prosperity and leadership that they were enjoying in an ordinary town of Arabia, was causing them to be swollen with pride. As for their stinginess, not only were they themselves unwilling to give away anything in the cause of God Whom they professed to believe in and the Messenger (peace be upon him) whom they professed to follow and the faith which they professed to have accepted, but also tried to prevent others from making any contribution, for, they thought, it was a useless cause. Obviously, if there had been no trials and tribulations, these worthless people, who were of no use to Allah, could not be separated from the sincere and worthy believers, and without weeding them out a mixed crowd of sincere and insincere Muslims could not be entrusted with the high office of leadership of the world, the great blessings of which the world subsequently witnessed in the rightly-guided Caliphate.
44. That is, even if after hearing these words of admonition a person does not adopt the way of sincerity, faithfulness and sacrifice for the sake of Allah and His religion, and wishes to persist in his stubbornness, which Allah disapproves, then Allah has no use for him, for Allah is All- Sufficient and Independent of His creatures. He does not stand in need of their help in any way. And He is All- Praiseworthy. People of only good qualities are acceptable to Him. People of evil character cannot be entitled to receive any favor from Him.
45. In this brief sentence the whole essence of the mission of the Prophets bas been compressed, which one should clearly understand. It says that all the Messengers who came to the world from Allah, brought three things:
(1) Bayyenaat: manifest signs which clearly showed that they were really Allah’s Messengers, and were not impostors; convincing arguments which made it evident that what they were presenting as truth was really the truth, and what they condemned as falsehood was really falsehood. Clear instructions which told without any ambiguity what was the right way for the people in respect of beliefs, morals, acts of worship and dealings, which they should adopt, and what were the wrong ways which they should shun and avoid.
(2) Kitab: the Book which contained all the teachings required for the guidance of man so that people may turn to it for enlightenment.
(3) Mizan: the criterion of truth and falsehood which may precisely indicate, like a balance, the golden mean between two extremes in matters of thought, morals and dealings.
The object for which the Prophets were sent with these three things was that man’s conduct in the world and the system of human life, individually as well as collectively, should be established with justice. On the in hand, every man should precisely know the rights of God, the rights of his self and the rights of all those people with whom he may have to deal in any way, and should fulfill them faithfully. And on the other hand, the system of collective life should be built on such principles as should eliminate every kind of injustice from society, should safeguard every aspect of civilization and social life against extremism, should establish correct balance and equity in all spheres of collective life, so that all elements of society should receive their rights equitably and fulfill their obligations and duties responsibly.
In other words, the object of sending the prophets was to establish individual as well as collective justice. They wanted to establish justice in the personal life of each individual so as to bring about poise and equilibrium in his mind, his character, his conduct and his dealings. They also wanted to establish the whole system of human society on justice so that both the individual and the society should assist and cooperate with each other in their spiritual, moral and material well-being instead of being a hindrance and obstacle.
46. Sending down iron means creating iron in the earth just as in (Surah Az-Zumar, Ayat 6) it has been said: He sent down for you eight heads of cattle, male and female. As whatever exists in the earth, has come here by Allah’s command, and has not appeared by itself. Its being created has been expressed in the Quran as its being sent down. The mention of sending down iron which has great strength and other benefits for men immediately after stating the object of the mission of the Prophets by itself indicates that by iron here is meant political and military power. Thus the verse means: Allah did not raise His Prophets in the world just to present a scheme for the establishment of justice, but it was also a part of their mission to endeavor to enforce it practically, to collect necessary power to establish justice in all spheres of life, to punish those who might disrupt it and to break the power of those who might resist it.
47. That is, Allah does not need this help because He is neither weak nor cannot use His power to accomplish this work, but He has adopted this method for the trial of men. Man can advance on the way of his progress and well-being only by passing through this trial. Allah indeed has the power to subdue all the disbelievers by one command whenever He wills and give to His Messengers complete dominance over them, but in that case the believers in the Messengers would have nothing to do for which they should become entitled to rewards. That is why Allah instead of accomplishing this mission through His dominant power adopted the method of sending His Messengers to human beings with the signs and the Book and the criterion, and enjoined them to present the way of justice before the people and exhort them to refrain and desist from wickedness sad injustice At the same time, He gave us full option to accept the message of the Messengers or to reject it. He summoned those who accepted the invitation to come forward and help Him and His Messengers to establish justice, and to exert their utmost against those who were bent upon retaining the unjust system. Thus, Allah wants to see who among us reject the invitation to justice, who exert with their lives in order to retain injustice as against justice, who shirk supporting struggling for the cause of the message of justice after they have accepted it, and who stake their lives and their possessions for the sake of unseen God to help the truth become dominant in the world. Only for those who emerge successful in this test will avenues to future progress be opened up.
26-29 Prophets Nuh, Ibrahim and Isa (Jesus) were sent for the guidance to the Right Path, as for the monasticism, people instituted it themselves
(57:26) Indeed We48 sent forth Noah and Abraham and established in their line Prophecy and the Book.49 Then some of them embraced the guidance and many of them are wicked.50 (57:27) In their wake, We sent a succession of Our Messengers, and raised Jesus, son of Mary, after all of them, and bestowed upon him the Evangel, and We set tenderness and mercy51 in the hearts of those that followed him. As for monasticism,52 it is they who invented it;53 We did not prescribe it for them. They themselves invented it in pursuit of Allah’s good pleasure, and then they did not observe it as it ought to have been observed.54 So We gave their reward to those of them that believed. But many of them are wicked. (57:28) Believers, have fear of Allah and believe in His Messenger,55 and He will grant you a two-fold portion of His Mercy, and will appoint for you a light whereby you shall walk;56 and He will forgive you.57 Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Compassionate. (57:29) (You should do this) so that the People of the Book know that they have no control over Allah’s Bounty, and that all bounty is in Allah’s Hand; He bestows it on whomsoever He pleases. Allah is the Lord of abounding bounty.
48. Now it is being told what corruptions appeared among those who believed in the Prophets who came to the world before the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) with the signs and the Book and the criterion.
49. That is, whichever Messenger came with Allah’s Book, was from the progeny of the Prophet Noah (peace be upon him) and, after him, from the progeny of the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him).
50. Became transgressors and disobedient.
51. The words in the text are rafat and rahmat, which are almost synonymous. But when they are used together, rafat implies the compassion that a person feels on seeing another person in pain and distress, and rahmat is the feeling under which bhe tries to help him. As the Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) was highly compassionate and merciful towards the people, his this trait of character deeply influenced his disciples: therefore, they treated the people with pity and sympathy and served them with all their heart and soul.
52. The root rahb (from which rahbaniyyat or ruhbaniyyat is derived) means fear; thus rahbaniyyat means a mode of life which reflects fear and terror, and ruhbaniyyat means the mode of life of the terrified. As a term it implies a person’s abandoning the world out of fear (whether it is the fear of somebody’s tyranny, or fear of the worldly temptations and distractions, or fear of one’s personal weaknesses) and taking refuge in the jungles and mountains, or living alone as a hermit.
53. The words in the original can have two meanings:
(1) That We did not enjoin monasticism (ruhbaniyyat) upon them. We enjoined upon them only the seeking of Allah’s good pleasure.
(2) That monasticism was not enjoined by Us. They of their own accord enjoined it on themselves, to seek Allah’s good pleasure. In both cases this verse makes it explicit that monasticism is an un-Islamic creed, and it has never been part of the true faith. The same thing has been stated by the Prophet (peace be upon him) thus: There is no monasticism in Islam. (Musnad Ahmed). In another Hadith the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The monasticism of this ummah is to fight in the way of Allah. (Musnad Ahmed Musnad Abi Yala. That is, the way for this ummah to attain to spiritual piety lies not in abandoning the world but in fighting in Allah’s way. This ummah does not flee to the jungles and mountains out of fear of temptations and distractions but counteracts them by resort to fighting in Allah’s way. According to a tradition related both by Bukhari and by Muslim, one of the companions said that he would keep up Prayers throughout the night; another said that he would fast perpetually without ever observing a break; and a third one said the he would never marry and would have nothing to do with women. When the Prophet (peace be upon him) came to know of what they had resolved, he said: By God, I fear Allah the most and remain conscious of Him at all times; yet my way is that I observe the fast as well as break it. I keep up the Prayer during the night as well as have sleep. And I marry the women also. The one who does not follow my way, does not belong to me. Anas says that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to say: Do not be hard and severe to yourselves, lest Allah should be hard and severe to you. A community had adopted this way of severity towards itself, then Allah also seized it in severity. Look, the remainder of them are found in the monasteries and churches. (Abu Daud).
54. That is, they were involved in a double error. First, they imposed on themselves the restrictions which Allah had not imposed. Second, they did not observe in the right spirit the restrictions that they had imposed upon themselves with a view to attain to Allah’s goodwill, and conducted themselves in a way as to earn Allah’s wrath instead of His good pleasure.
To understand this theme fully we should have a look at the history of Christian Monasticism.
Until 200 years after the Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him), the Christian Church knew no monasticism. Its germs, however, were found in Christianity from the very beginning. To look upon asceticism as a moral ideal and to regard celibacy as superior to matrimonial and mundane life is the basis of monasticism. Both these existed in Christianity from the beginning. Owing to the sanctification of celibacy in particular, it was considered undesirable for those who performed religious services in the church to marry, have children and be involved in domestic chores; so much so that by the 3rd century monasticism began to spread like an epidemic in Christiandom. Historically, it had three main causes.
First, sensuality, immorality and worship of the world had so permeated the ancient polytheistic society that in their zeal to counteract it, the Christian scholars adopted the extremist way instead of the way of moderation. They so stressed chastity that the relationship between man and woman by itself came to be looked upon as filthy, even if it was within marriage. They reacted so violently to monasticism that to possess property of any kind ultimately was considered a sin for a religious person and to live like a poor man and ascetic the criterion of moral excellence. Likewise, in their reaction to the sensuality of the polytheistic society, they touched the other extreme. They made withdrawal from pleasure and all material comforts, self denial and curbing of the desires as the object of morality. They regarded torturing the body by different sorts of harsh discipline as the climax and proof of a person’s spirituality.
Secondly, when Christianity started achieving successes and spreading rapidly among the common people, the Church in its zeal to attract more and more adherents went on imbibing every evil that was prevalent in society. Thus, saint-worship replaced the ancient deities. Images of Christ and Mary began to be worshiped instead of the idols of Horus and Isis. Christmas took the place of Saturnalia. Christian monks began to practice every kind of occult art like curing the sick by amulets and magic incantations, taking omens and fortune-telling, driving out spirits, etc. as were prevalent in ancient days. Likewise, since the common people looked upon a dirty and naked person who lived in a cave or den as a holy and godly man, this very concept of sainthood became prevalent in the Christian Church, and legends of their miraculous powers began to abound in the memoirs of the Christian saints.
Thirdly, the Christians possessed no detailed law and definite traditions and practices to determine the bounds of religion. They had given up Mosaic Law and the Gospel by itself afforded no perfect code of guidance. Therefore, the Christian doctors went on permitting every kind of innovation to enter the religion partly under the influence of alien philosophies, customs and practices and partly under their personal preference and whim. Monasticism was one such innovation. Christian scholars and doctors of law took its philosophy and rules and practices from the Buddhist monks, Hindu Yogis and ascetics, Egyptian Anchorites, Iranian Manicheans, and the followers of Plato and Plotinus, and made the same the means and methods of attaining self-purification, spiritual loftiness and nearness to God. Those who committed this error were not ordinary men. From the 3rd to the 7th century (i.e. till about the time the Quran began to be revealed) the religious personalities who were recognized as the foremost scholars and religious guides and leaders of Christendom, both in the East and in the West, St. Athanasius, St. Basil, St. Gregory of Bazianzus, St. Chrysostom, St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, St. Augustine St. Benedict, St. Gregory the Great, all were monks themselves and great upholders of monasticism. It was under their influence that monasticism became popular in the Church.
Historically, monasticism among the Christians started from Egypt. Its founder was St. Anthony (A.D. 250 -350) who is regarded as the father of Christian Monasticism. He set up the first monastery at Pispir (now Der al Memum) in the Fayum. Later he established another monastery on the coast of the Red Sea, which is now called Der Mar Antonius. The basic cults of Christian Monasticism are derived from his writings and instructions. After this beginning the monastic movements spread like a flood in Egypt and monasteries for monks and nuns were set up everywhere in the land in some of which lived three thousand monks at a time. In 325 another ascetic, pachomius, appeared in Egypt, who founded ten major monasteries and nunneries for the monks and nuns. The monastic movement then began to spread in Palestine and Syria and different countries of Africa and Europe. The Christian Church in the beginning experienced some confusion in connection with monasticism, for although it recognized abandonment of the world, celibacy and voluntary poverty as an ideal of spiritual life, yet it could not declare marriage, producing children and possessing property or money to be sinful as the monks did. Subsequently, under the influence of holy men like St. Athanasius (d. 373), St. Basil (d. 379), St. Augustine (d. 430) and Gregory the Great (d. 609) many of the monastic rules became part and parcel of the Church.
This monastic innovation has some characteristics which are briefly as follows:
1. Inflicting pain on the body by severe exercises and novel methods. In this thing every monk tried to surpass the other. The achievements of these holy men as related in the memoirs of the Christian saints are to this effect: St. Macarius of Alexandria constantly carried on himself a weight of 80 pounds. For six months he slept in a swamp while poisonous flies preyed on his naked body. His disciple, St. Eusebius, even surpassed his master in suffering severities and rigors. He moved about carrying a weight of 150 pounds, and lay in a dry well for three years. St. Saba ate the maize that would start stinking having been soaked in water for a whole month. St. Bassarion lay in thorny bushes for 40 days and did not rest his back on the ground for 40 years. St. Pachomius passed 15 years of his life, and according to another tradition 50 years, without putting his back on the ground. St. John remained standing in worship for three years during which he neither sat nor lay down, he would only recline at times against a rock. His food consisted of the offering that was brought for him every Sunday. St. Simeon Styiltes (390- 449) who is counted among the most illustrious Christian saints, used to observe an un-broken 40 days fast and smiling. Owing to such concepts the bond of marriage between man and woman came to be looked upon as filthy. A monk was forbidden even to look at a woman, not to speak of marriage, and was required to abandon his wife if he was married. As for men it was also impressed on the women that if they wished to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, they should shun marriage and remain spinsters and if they were married, they should separate from their husbands. St. Jerome, the distinguished Christian scholar, ruled that the woman who remained a spinster as a nun for the sake of Christ, was the bride of Christ, and her mother was the mother-in-law of Christ, i.e. God. Elsewhere St. Jerome says: To cut asunder the bond of marriage with the ax of chastity is the primary duty of the true devotee of God. The first impact these teachings had on a Christian man or Christian woman, under religious fervor, was that his or her married life was ruined. And since there was no provision for divorce or separation in Christianity, the husband and the wife would separate from each other while they remained bound in wed-lock. St. Nilus was father of two children. When he came under the spell of monasticism, he immediately separated from his wife. St. Ammon, on the first night of his marriage, gave his bride a sermon on the filthiness of the marriage bond and then the two between themselves decided to keep aloof from each other throughout life. St. Abraham abandoned his wife on the very first night of marriage. The same was done by St. Alexis. The memoirs of the Christian saints are full of such incidents.
The Church continued to resist in one way or the other these extremist concepts for three centuries. In those days it was not required of a priest to be single and unmarried. If he was married before being appointed a minister, he could keep his wife. However, he was forbidden to marry after his appointment. Moreover, a person could not be appointed a minister if he had married a widow, or a divorced woman, or had two wives, or possessed a concubine. Gradually, by the 4th century, the concept became firm that for a married person it was odious to perform religious services in the Church. The Council of Gengra (A.D. 362) was the last one in which such ideas were held as anti-religious, but a little later in 386, Roman Synod counseled the priests to avoid marriage relations and the following year Pope Siricius decreed that the priest who married, or continued to have sex relations with his wife if already married should be dismissed from office. Illustrious scholars like St. Ambrose, and St. Augustine upheld this decision most fervently, and after a little resistance it became fully enforced in the Western Church. In this period several councils were convened to consider the complaints to the effect that the people who were already married were having illicit relations with their wives even after their appointment to perform religious duties. Consequently, with a view to reform them, rules were made to the effect that they should sleep in the open, should never meet their wives in private, and should meet them only in the presence of at least two other men. St. Gregory has made mention of a wonderful priest who did not have any relation with his wife for 40 years, and when the woman approached him at his death-bed, he rebuked her, saying: Woman, keep away.
2. Their second characteristic was that they were dirty and against cleanliness and bodily care. Washing or applying water to the body was regarded as opposed to Godworship. For, according to them purification of the body was tantamount to pollution of the soul. St. Athanasius has faithfully described this virtue of St. Anthony that he never washed his feet during life. St. Abraham, from the day he entered Christianity, neither washed his face nor feet for 50 years. A famous nun Virgin Sylvia never allowed any part of her body except the fingers to become wet with water throughout life It is said of 130 nuns of 8 convent that they never washed their feet and would shudder with horror at a mere reference to bath.
3. Monasticism practically forbade married life and ruthlessly discarded the institution of marriage. All religious writings of the 4th and 5th centuries are replete with the thought that celibacy is the highest moral virtue, and chastity meant that one should strictly abstain from sexual relation even if it was between husband and wife. The perfection of a pure spiritual life lay in complete selfdenial, with no desire for physical pleasure. It was necessary to suppress any carnal desire because it strengthened animal nature. For them pleasure and sin were synonymous so much so that being happy was regarded as being forgetful of God. St. Basil forbade even laughing before Easter every year. Once he kept standing on one leg for a whole year. Often he would leave his monastery and retire to a well. Later he got a 60 foot high pillar erected near Antioch, which was three feet wide at the top and railed round. He spent the last 30 years of his life on this pillar and remained permanently exposed to the elements. His disciples carried food to him by ladder and removed his filth. He had even tied himself to the pillar by a string, which cut into his flesh; when the flesh became rotten, it bred worms; whenever a worm fell out, he would restore it to the sore, saying: Eat what God has given you. Crowds of pilgrims flocked to him from far and near. When he died the Christian world proclaimed that he was the best model of a Christian saint.
The memoirs of the Christian saints of this period are full of such instances. One particular saint had the characteristic that he observed silence for 30 years. He was never seen speaking. Another had tied himself to a rock; another roamed the jungles and lived on grass; another moved about carrying a heavy load; another kept his limbs and body tied in fetters and chains; some saints lived in the dens of beasts, or in dry wells, or in old graves; and some others remained naked and concealed their private parts under long hair and would crawl on the ground. After death the bones of the illustrious saints were preserved in monastery. I saw a full library decked with such bones in St. Catherine’s monastery at the foot of Mount Sinai. There were skulls and foot-bones and hand bones arranged separately. A glass-case contained the whole skeleton of a saint.
4. The most painful and pathetic chapter of ascetic monasticism is that it cut asunder man’s relations with his parents, with his brothers and sisters, and even his children For the Christian saints love of the parents for son, love of the brothers and sisters for brother and love of the children for father also was sinful. They believed it was necessary for man to break off all those relations for the sake of spiritual progress. In the biographies of the Christian saints one comes across highly pathetic and heart-rending incidents. A monk, St. Evagrius, had been undergoing severe exercises in the desert for many years. Suddenly one day letters reached him from his father and mother, who were passing their days in great agony without him. The saint, fearing that the letters might arouse feelings of human love in his heart, cast the letters immediately into the fire, without even opening them. The mother and sister of St. Theodorus came to the monastery where he was staying, with recommendatory letters from many priests, and desired to have only a glimpse of him, but the saint refused to come out before them. St. Marcus’ mother went to the monastery to sec him. She somehow obtained the abbot’s permission for it and requested him to order her son to come out before her, but the son was adamant to her prayers. At last, he implemented the abbot’s orders by appearing before his mother disguised and with closed eyes. Thus, neither was the mother able to recognize her son, nor the son saw his mother. Another saint, St. Poemen ant his six brothers lived in a desert monastery of Egypt. Years later their old mother came to know of their whereabouts and went to see them in the monastery. As soon as the brothers saw their mother coming, they hurried into their cell and shut the door. The mother started crying and wailing outside saying: I have traveled in this old age from a distant place only to have a glimpse of you. There will be no harm if only I see you. Am I not your mother. But the saints did not open the door and told the mother that they would meet her in the next world. Even more painful and piteous is the story of St. Simeon Stylites, who left his parents and remained away from them without any trace of his whereabouts for 27 years. The father died of grief. When the fame of the son’s piety and holiness spread, the mother, who was still living in agony, came to know of his whereabouts. She came to the monastery to see him but women were not allowed to enter. She prayed that either the son should call her in, or he should himself come out to let her have a glimpse of him, but the saint refused to oblige her. The woman lay at the entrance for three days and three nights and at last breathed her last in the same state. Then the holy man emerged from his seclusion, mourned his mother’s death and prayed for her forgiveness. In the same harsh way these saints treated their sisters and children. There is the story of Mutius, a prosperous man by all means. Drawn out suddenly by the religious impulse, he took his 8-year-old son and went to a monastery. But for the sake of his progress to holiness it was necessary that he should give up love of his son. Therefore, first the son was separated from him. Then the innocent child was subjected to harsh treatment before his very eyes and he watched it patiently. Then, the abbot of the monastery ordered him to go and cast the child into the river. He became ready even for this; then right at the time when he was going to throw the child into the river, the monks saved the child’s life. Then it was admitted that he had actually attained to the rank of a holy man. The viewpoint of Christian monasticism in these matters was that the one who sought love of God, should break off all relations of human love that bound him in the world to his parents, his brothers and sisters and his children. St. Jerome says: Even if your nephew clings to you with his hands round your neck; even if your mother calls you back in the name of having suckled you; even if your father obstructs your way and lies down before you, you should hasten out to the banner of the cross, trampling the body of your father, without shedding a tear. Ruthlessness in this matter is piety itself. St. Gregory writes: A young monk who could not give up love of his parents, left the monastery one night in order to pay them a visit. God punished him for this error, for as soon as he returned to the monastery, he died. His body was buried in the grave but the earth did not accept it. He was placed in the grave again and again, and the earth threw him out every time. At last, St. Benedict placed a sacred offering on his chest, and then the grave accepted him. Of a nun it is said that for three days after her death, she remained subject to a torment because she had not been able to cleanse her heart of her mother’s love. About a saint it is written that he never treated anyone harshly except his relatives.
5. Their practice of meting out ruthless, cruel and harsh treatment to their nearest relatives, made their human feeling dead, with the result that they would treat with utmost enmity those with whom they had any religious differences. By the beginning of the 4th century, 80 to 90 religious sects had arisen in Christianity. St. Augustine has made mention of 88 sects of his own time, each of which regarded the other with extreme hatred. And the fire of this hatred also was fanned by the monks, who were always in the forefront to halt and destroy the opponent sects by their machinations. Alexandria was a great center of this sectarian conflict. There, in the beginning the Bishop of the Arian sect attacked the Athanasius party. Virgin nuns were dragged out of their convents, stripped naked and beaten with thorny branches and branded in order to make them give up their creed. Then, when the Roman Catholics came to power in Egypt, they treated the Arian sect likewise; so much so that according to the prevalent view Arius himself was also poisoned. Once in the same city of Alexandria the monks of St. Cyril created a turmoil. They seized a nun of the opponent sect and took her into their church; they killed her, backed her body to pieces, and cast it into the fire. Rome was not any different from this. In 366, at the death of Pope Liberius, two sects nominated their respective candidates for papacy; this resulted in great bloodshed; so much so that in one day 137 dead bodies were taken out from one church.
6. Side by side with this retreat from the world and life of seclusion and poverty, wealth of the world was also amassed most avariciously. By the beginning of the 5th century the condition was that the bishop of Rome lived in his palace like kings, and when his conveyance emerged in the city, it would be as stately and splendid as of the emperor himself. St. Jerome complains of the conditions of his time (later part of the 4th century) saying that the feast hosted by many of the bishops out-classed the feasts of the governors. The flow of wealth to monasteries and churches had assumed the proportions of a deluge by the beginning of the 7th century (the age of the revelation of the Quran). It had been deeply impressed on the minds that a person who happened to commit a grave sin could be redeemed only by making an offering at a saint’s shrine, or a sacrifice at the altar of a church or monastery. Then the same world and its luxuries and comforts abstention from which was the mark of distinction of the monks, lay at their feet. The factor which, in particular, caused this decline was that when the common people developed extreme reverence for the monks because of their undergoing severe exercises of self-discipline and self-denial, hosts of world seeking people also donned the monk’s garments and entered their ranks. Then under the garb of feigned poverty they turned acquisition of worldly wealth and possessions into a flourishing business.
7. In the matter of chastity monasticism was also repeatedly defeated in its fight against nature and defeated well and proper. In the monasteries some exercises of selfmortification were such as required the monks and nuns to live together in one and the same place, and they had often to pass the night in the same bed in their enthusiasm for more and more temptations. St. Evagarius, the well-known monk, has praised the self-control acquired by the Palestinian monks, saying: They had mastered their passion so completely that although they bathed with the women together, looked at their bodies, touched them, even embraced them, yet they remained invincible to nature. Although bathing was an odious thing in monasticism, such baths were also taken for the sake of exercise in selfcontrol. At last, about the same Palestine, St. Gregory of Nyssa (d. 396) writes that it bas become a center of wickedness and immorality. Human nature avenges itself on those who fight it. Monasticism fought it and ultimately fell in the pit of immorality the story of which is a most shameful blot on the religious history of the 8th to 11th centuries. An Italian bishop of the 10th century writes: If the penal law for misconduct is practically enforced against those who perform religious services in the church, none would escape punishment except the boys, and if the law to remove illegitimate children from religious services was also enforced, there might perhaps be left no boy among the attendants of the church. Books of the medieval authors are replete with the complaints that the nunneries had become houses of prostitution. Within their four walls newborn babies were being massacred; the priests and religious attendants of the church had developed illicit connections even with forbidden relatives; the crime of the unnatural act had spread like an epidemic in the monasteries; and the practice of confession had become a means of immorality in the churches. From these details, one can fully appreciate what corruption of Christianity is that which the Quran is alluding to when it says: The Christians themselves invented monasticism, but they did not observe it as it should have been observed.
55. The commentators differ in the explanation of this verse, One group says that the address here is directed to the people who believed in the Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him). It is being said to them: Believe in the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) now; for this you will be given a double reward, one reward for believing in the Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) and the other reward for believing in the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The second group says that the followers of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) are being addressed. They are being admonished to the effect: Do not rest content with your verbal affirmation of the faith only, but you should believe sincerely and truly. For this you will be given a double reward: one reward for giving up disbelief and turning to Islam, and the second reward for believing sincerely in Islam and remaining steadfast to it. The first commentary is supported by (verses 52-54 of Surah Al-Qasas), and furthermore by the tradition reported by Abu Musa al-Ashari, according to which the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: There are three men who will get a double reward, one of them is a person from among the followers of the earlier Books who believed in this earlier Prophet and then believed in the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). (Bukhari Muslim). The second commentary is supported by( verse 37 of Surah Saba), which says that the righteous believers will have a double reward. From the point of view of argument both the commentaries are equally weighty. However, considering the theme that follows, one feels that the second commentary is more in keeping with the context here; and in fact the whole theme of this Surah, from beginning to end, supports this very commentary. From the beginning of this Surah the addressees are the people who had entered Islam after affirming the Prophethood of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and it is they whom the Surah invites to believe sincerely and truly and not merely verbally with the tongue.
56. That is, He will bless you with such a light of knowledge and vision in the world by which you will be able clearly distinguish at every step the straight way of Islam from the crooked paths of ignorance in different matters of life, and in the Hereafter He will grant you the light that has been mentioned in verse 12 above.
57. That is, He will forgive you your errors that you may happen to commit due to human weaknesses in spite of your sincere efforts to fulfill the demands of the faith, and will also forgive those sins of yours that you had committed in the pre-Islamic days of ignorance.”