Surah An Najm (in Arabic text: النجم) is the 53rd chapter of the Qur’an with total of 62 ayat (verses). It is classified as a Meccan Surah and titled “The Star”.
Surah Najm discusses Mi’raj and closeness of Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him) to Allah. It also warns the disbelievers about the errors in judgement towards the message of Qur’an.
One of the goals of the My Islam site it to make it easy to read and understand the Quran. Below you can read the entire Surah with Sahih International English translation and transliteration to help with pronunciation. At the end of the Surah we’ve provided different tafseer for those looking to read commentary.
“Those who avoid the major sins and immoralities, only [committing] slight ones. Indeed, your Lord is vast in forgiveness. He was most knowing of you when He produced you from the earth and when you were fetuses in the wombs of your mothers. So do not claim yourselves to be pure; He is most knowing of who fears Him.”
Surah Najm Ayat 32
Surah An-Najm with English Translation and Transliteration
Bismillah Hir Rahman Nir Raheem
In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful
وَٱلنَّجْمِ إِذَا هَوَىٰ
Wannajmi izaa hawaa
1. By the star when it descends,
مَا ضَلَّ صَاحِبُكُمْ وَمَا غَوَىٰ
Maa dalla saahibukum wa maa ghawaa
2. Your companion [Muhammad] has not strayed, nor has he erred,
وَمَا يَنطِقُ عَنِ ٱلْهَوَىٰٓ
Wa maa yyantiqu ‘anilhawaaa
3. Nor does he speak from [his own] inclination.
إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا وَحْىٌۭ يُوحَىٰ
In huwa illaa Wahyuny yoohaa
4. It is not but a revelation revealed,
عَلَّمَهُۥ شَدِيدُ ٱلْقُوَىٰ
‘Allamahoo shadeedul quwaa
5. Taught to him by one intense in strength –
ذُو مِرَّةٍۢ فَٱسْتَوَىٰ
Zoo mirratin fastawaa
6. One of soundness. And he rose to [his] true form
وَهُوَ بِٱلْأُفُقِ ٱلْأَعْلَىٰ
Wa huwa bil ufuqil a’laa
7. While he was in the higher [part of the] horizon.
ثُمَّ دَنَا فَتَدَلَّىٰ
Summa danaa fatadalla
8. Then he approached and descended
فَكَانَ قَابَ قَوْسَيْنِ أَوْ أَدْنَىٰ
Fakaana qaaba qawsaini aw adnaa
9. And was at a distance of two bow lengths or nearer.
فَأَوْحَىٰٓ إِلَىٰ عَبْدِهِۦ مَآ أَوْحَىٰ
Fa awhaaa ilaa ‘abdihee maaa awhaa
10. And he revealed to His Servant what he revealed.
مَا كَذَبَ ٱلْفُؤَادُ مَا رَأَىٰٓ
Maa kazabal fu’aadu maa ra aa
11. The heart did not lie [about] what it saw.
أَفَتُمَـٰرُونَهُۥ عَلَىٰ مَا يَرَىٰ
Afatumaaroonahoo ‘alaa maayaraa
12. So will you dispute with him over what he saw?
وَلَقَدْ رَءَاهُ نَزْلَةً أُخْرَىٰ
Wa laqad ra aahu nazlatan ukhraa
13. And he certainly saw him in another descent
عِندَ سِدْرَةِ ٱلْمُنتَهَىٰ
‘Inda sidratil muntaha
14. At the Lote Tree of the Utmost Boundary –
عِندَهَا جَنَّةُ ٱلْمَأْوَىٰٓ
‘Indahaa jannatul maawaa
15. Near it is the Garden of Refuge –
إِذْ يَغْشَى ٱلسِّدْرَةَ مَا يَغْشَىٰ
Iz yaghshas sidrata maa yaghshaa
16. When there covered the Lote Tree that which covered [it].
مَا زَاغَ ٱلْبَصَرُ وَمَا طَغَىٰ
Maa zaaghal basaru wa maa taghaa
17. The sight [of the Prophet] did not swerve, nor did it transgress [its limit].
لَقَدْ رَأَىٰ مِنْ ءَايَـٰتِ رَبِّهِ ٱلْكُبْرَىٰٓ
Laqad ra aa min aayaati Rabbihil kubraaa
18. He certainly saw of the greatest signs of his Lord.
أَفَرَءَيْتُمُ ٱللَّـٰتَ وَٱلْعُزَّىٰ
Afara’aytumul laata wal ‘uzzaa
19. So have you considered al-Lat and al-‘Uzza?
وَمَنَوٰةَ ٱلثَّالِثَةَ ٱلْأُخْرَىٰٓ
Wa manaatas saalisatal ukhraa
20. And Manat, the third – the other one?
أَلَكُمُ ٱلذَّكَرُ وَلَهُ ٱلْأُنثَىٰ
A-lakumuz zakaru wa lahul unsaa
21. Is the male for you and for Him the female?
تِلْكَ إِذًۭا قِسْمَةٌۭ ضِيزَىٰٓ
Tilka izan qismatun deezaa
22. That, then, is an unjust division.
إِنْ هِىَ إِلَّآ أَسْمَآءٌۭ سَمَّيْتُمُوهَآ أَنتُمْ وَءَابَآؤُكُم مَّآ أَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُ بِهَا مِن سُلْطَـٰنٍ ۚ إِن يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا ٱلظَّنَّ وَمَا تَهْوَى ٱلْأَنفُسُ ۖ وَلَقَدْ جَآءَهُم مِّن رَّبِّهِمُ ٱلْهُدَىٰٓ
In hiya illaaa asmaaa’un sammaitumoohaaa antum wa aabaaa’ukum maaa anzalal laahu bihaa min sultaan; inyyattabi’oona illaz zanna wa maa tahwal anfusu wa laqad jaaa’ahum mir Rabbihimul hudaa
23. They are not but [mere] names you have named them – you and your forefathers – for which Allah has sent down no authority. They follow not except assumption and what [their] souls desire, and there has already come to them from their Lord guidance.
أَمْ لِلْإِنسَـٰنِ مَا تَمَنَّىٰ
Am lil insaani maa taman naa
24. Or is there for man whatever he wishes?
فَلِلَّهِ ٱلْءَاخِرَةُ وَٱلْأُولَىٰ
Falillaahil aakhiratu wal oolaa
25. Rather, to Allah belongs the Hereafter and the first [life].
۞ وَكَم مِّن مَّلَكٍۢ فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ لَا تُغْنِى شَفَـٰعَتُهُمْ شَيْـًٔا إِلَّا مِنۢ بَعْدِ أَن يَأْذَنَ ٱللَّهُ لِمَن يَشَآءُ وَيَرْضَىٰٓ
Wa kam mim malakin fissamaawaati laa tughnee shafaa’atuhum shai’an illaa mim ba’di anyyaazanal laahu limany yashaaa’u wa yardaa
26. And how many angels there are in the heavens whose intercession will not avail at all except [only] after Allah has permitted [it] to whom He wills and approves.
إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِٱلْءَاخِرَةِ لَيُسَمُّونَ ٱلْمَلَـٰٓئِكَةَ تَسْمِيَةَ ٱلْأُنثَىٰ
innal lazeena laa yu’minoona bil aakhirati la yusammoonal malaaa’ikata tasmiyatal unsaa
27. Indeed, those who do not believe in the Hereafter name the angels female names,
وَمَا لَهُم بِهِۦ مِنْ عِلْمٍ ۖ إِن يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا ٱلظَّنَّ ۖ وَإِنَّ ٱلظَّنَّ لَا يُغْنِى مِنَ ٱلْحَقِّ شَيْـًۭٔا
Wa maa lahum bihee min ‘ilmin iny yattabi’oona illaz zanna wa innaz zanna laa yughnee minal haqqi shai’aa
28. And they have thereof no knowledge. They follow not except assumption, and indeed, assumption avails not against the truth at all.
فَأَعْرِضْ عَن مَّن تَوَلَّىٰ عَن ذِكْرِنَا وَلَمْ يُرِدْ إِلَّا ٱلْحَيَوٰةَ ٱلدُّنْيَا
Fa a’rid ‘am man tawallaa ‘an zikrinaa wa lam yurid illal hayaatad dunyaa
29. So turn away from whoever turns his back on Our message and desires not except the worldly life.
ذَٰلِكَ مَبْلَغُهُم مِّنَ ٱلْعِلْمِ ۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَن ضَلَّ عَن سَبِيلِهِۦ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَنِ ٱهْتَدَىٰ
Zalika mablaghuhum minal ‘ilm; inna rabbaka huwa a’lamu biman dalla ‘an sabee lihee wa huwa a’lamu bimanih tadaa
30. That is their sum of knowledge. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who strays from His way, and He is most knowing of who is guided.
وَلِلَّهِ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَمَا فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ لِيَجْزِىَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَسَـٰٓـُٔوا۟ بِمَا عَمِلُوا۟ وَيَجْزِىَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَحْسَنُوا۟ بِٱلْحُسْنَى
Wa lillaahi maa fis samaawaati wa maa fil ardi liyajziyal lazeena asaaa’oo bimaa ‘amiloo wa yajziyal lazeena ahsanoo bilhusnaa
31. And to Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth – that He may recompense those who do evil with [the penalty of] what they have done and recompense those who do good with the best [reward] –
ٱلَّذِينَ يَجْتَنِبُونَ كَبَـٰٓئِرَ ٱلْإِثْمِ وَٱلْفَوَٰحِشَ إِلَّا ٱللَّمَمَ ۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ وَٰسِعُ ٱلْمَغْفِرَةِ ۚ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِكُمْ إِذْ أَنشَأَكُم مِّنَ ٱلْأَرْضِ وَإِذْ أَنتُمْ أَجِنَّةٌۭ فِى بُطُونِ أُمَّهَـٰتِكُمْ ۖ فَلَا تُزَكُّوٓا۟ أَنفُسَكُمْ ۖ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَنِ ٱتَّقَىٰٓ
Allazeena yajtaniboona kabaaa’iral ismi walfawaa hisha illal lamam; inna rabbaka waasi’ul maghfirah; huwa a’lamu bikum iz ansha akum minal ardi wa iz antum ajinnatun fee butooni umma haatikum falaa tuzakkooo anfusakum huwa a’lamu bimanit taqaa
32. Those who avoid the major sins and immoralities, only [committing] slight ones. Indeed, your Lord is vast in forgiveness. He was most knowing of you when He produced you from the earth and when you were fetuses in the wombs of your mothers. So do not claim yourselves to be pure; He is most knowing of who fears Him.
أَفَرَءَيْتَ ٱلَّذِى تَوَلَّىٰ
Afara’ayatal lazee tawallaa
33. Have you seen the one who turned away
وَأَعْطَىٰ قَلِيلًۭا وَأَكْدَىٰٓ
Wa a’taa qaleelanw wa akdaa
34. And gave a little and [then] refrained?
أَعِندَهُۥ عِلْمُ ٱلْغَيْبِ فَهُوَ يَرَىٰٓ
A’indahoo ‘ilmul ghaibi fahuwa yaraa
35. Does he have knowledge of the unseen, so he sees?
أَمْ لَمْ يُنَبَّأْ بِمَا فِى صُحُفِ مُوسَىٰ
Am lam yunabbaa bimaa fee suhuhfi Moosa
36. Or has he not been informed of what was in the scriptures of Moses
وَإِبْرَٰهِيمَ ٱلَّذِى وَفَّىٰٓ
Wa Ibraaheemal lazee waffaaa
37. And [of] Abraham, who fulfilled [his obligations] –
أَلَّا تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌۭ وِزْرَ أُخْرَىٰ
Allaa taziru waaziratunw wizra ukhraa
38. That no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another
وَأَن لَّيْسَ لِلْإِنسَـٰنِ إِلَّا مَا سَعَىٰ
Wa al laisa lil insaani illaa maa sa’aa
39. And that there is not for man except that [good] for which he strives
وَأَنَّ سَعْيَهُۥ سَوْفَ يُرَىٰ
Wa anna sa’yahoo sawfa yuraam
40. And that his effort is going to be seen –
ثُمَّ يُجْزَىٰهُ ٱلْجَزَآءَ ٱلْأَوْفَىٰ
Summa yujzaahul jazaaa ‘al awfaa
41. Then he will be recompensed for it with the fullest recompense
وَأَنَّ إِلَىٰ رَبِّكَ ٱلْمُنتَهَىٰ
Wa anna ilaa rabbikal muntahaa
42. And that to your Lord is the finality
وَأَنَّهُۥ هُوَ أَضْحَكَ وَأَبْكَىٰ
Wa annahoo huwa adhaka wa abkaa
43. And that it is He who makes [one] laugh and weep
وَأَنَّهُۥ هُوَ أَمَاتَ وَأَحْيَا
Wa annahoo huwa amaata wa ahyaa
44. And that it is He who causes death and gives life
وَأَنَّهُۥ خَلَقَ ٱلزَّوْجَيْنِ ٱلذَّكَرَ وَٱلْأُنثَىٰ
Wa annahoo khalaqaz zawjainiz zakara wal unsaa
45. And that He creates the two mates – the male and female –
مِن نُّطْفَةٍ إِذَا تُمْنَىٰ
Min nutfatin izaa tumnaa
46. From a sperm-drop when it is emitted
وَأَنَّ عَلَيْهِ ٱلنَّشْأَةَ ٱلْأُخْرَىٰ
Wa anna ‘alaihin nash atal ukhraa
47. And that [incumbent] upon Him is the next creation
وَأَنَّهُۥ هُوَ أَغْنَىٰ وَأَقْنَىٰ
Wa annahoo huwa aghnaa wa aqnaa
48. And that it is He who enriches and suffices
وَأَنَّهُۥ هُوَ رَبُّ ٱلشِّعْرَىٰ
Wa annahoo huwa rabbush shi’raa
49. And that it is He who is the Lord of Sirius
وَأَنَّهُۥٓ أَهْلَكَ عَادًا ٱلْأُولَىٰ
Wa annahooo ahlak a ‘Aadanil oolaa
50. And that He destroyed the first [people of] ‘Aad
وَثَمُودَا۟ فَمَآ أَبْقَىٰ
Wa samooda famaaa abqaa
51. And Thamud – and He did not spare [them] –
وَقَوْمَ نُوحٍۢ مِّن قَبْلُ ۖ إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا۟ هُمْ أَظْلَمَ وَأَطْغَىٰ
Wa qawma Noohim min qablu innahum kaanoo hum azlama wa atghaa
52. And the people of Noah before. Indeed, it was they who were [even] more unjust and oppressing.
Wal mu’tafikata ahwaa
53. And the overturned towns He hurled down
فَغَشَّىٰهَا مَا غَشَّىٰ
Faghashshaahaa maa ghashshaa
54. And covered them by that which He covered.
فَبِأَىِّ ءَالَآءِ رَبِّكَ تَتَمَارَىٰ
Fabi ayyi aalaaa’i Rabbika tatamaaraa
55. Then which of the favors of your Lord do you doubt?
هَـٰذَا نَذِيرٌۭ مِّنَ ٱلنُّذُرِ ٱلْأُولَىٰٓ
Haazaa nazeerum minan nuzuril oolaa
56. This [Prophet] is a warner like the former warners.
57. The Approaching Day has approached.
لَيْسَ لَهَا مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ كَاشِفَةٌ
Laisa lahaa min doonil laahi kaashifah
58. Of it, [from those] besides Allah, there is no remover.
أَفَمِنْ هَـٰذَا ٱلْحَدِيثِ تَعْجَبُونَ
Afamin hazal hadeesi ta’jaboon
59. Then at this statement do you wonder?
وَتَضْحَكُونَ وَلَا تَبْكُونَ
Wa tadhakoona wa laa tabkoon
60. And you laugh and do not weep
Wa antum saamidoon
61. While you are proudly sporting?
فَٱسْجُدُوا۟ لِلَّهِ وَٱعْبُدُوا۟ ۩
Fasjudoo lillaahi wa’budoo (make sajda)
62. So prostrate to Allah and worship [Him].
Tafsir of Surah An-Najm
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 read the Qur’an but also make it a study to learn it’s teaching and message. We’ve added this section for those looking to benefit from reading commentary of Surah Najm.
Read Tafsir by Ibn Kathir
Al-Bukhari recorded that `Abdullah ﴿bin Mas`ud﴾ said, “Surat An-Najm was the first Surah in which a prostration was revealed. The Prophet (recited it in Makkah) and prostrated. Those who were with him did the same, except an old man who took a handful of soil and prostrated on it. Later on, I saw him killed as a disbeliever; he was Umayyah bin Khalaf.” Al-Bukhari recorded this Hadith in several places of his Sahih, as did Muslim, Abu Dawud and An-Nasa’i, using various chains of narration through Abu Ishaq from `Abdullah.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ash-Sha`bi and others stated that the Creator swears by whatever He wills among His creation, but the created only vow by the Creator. Allah said,
(By the star when it goes down.) Ibn Abi Najih reported that Mujahid said, “The star refers to Pleiades when it sets at Fajr.” Ad-Dahhak said “When the Shayatin are shot with it.” And this Ayah is like Allah’s saying;
(So, I swear by the setting of the stars. And verily, that is indeed a great oath, if you but know. That is indeed an honorable recitation. In a Book well-guarded. Which none can touch but the pure. A revelation from the Lord of all that exists.)(56:75-80) Allah said;
(Your companion has neither gone astray nor has erred.) This contains the subject of the oath. This part of the Ayah is the witness that the Messenger of Allah is sane and a follower of Truth. He is neither led astray, such as in the case of the ignorant who does not proceed on any path with knowledge, nor is he one who erred, such as in the case of the knowledgeable, who knows the Truth, yet deviates from it intentionally to something else. Therefore, Allah exonerated His Messenger and his Message from being similar to the misguided ways of the Christians and the erroneous paths of the Jews, such as knowing the Truth and hiding it, while abiding by falsehood. Rather, he, may Allah’s peace and blessings be on him, and his glorious Message that Allah has sent him with, are on the perfect straight path, following guidance and what is correct.
(Nor does he speak of desire), asserting that nothing the Prophet utters is of his own desire or wish,
(It is only a revelation revealed.), means, he only conveys to the people what he was commanded to convey, in its entirety without additions or deletions. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Umamah said that he heard the Messenger of Allah say,
(Verily, numbers similar to the two tribes, or one of them, Rabi`ah and Mudar, will enter Paradise on account of the intercession of one man, who is not a Prophet.) A man asked, “O Allah’s Messenger! Is not Rabi`ah a subtribe of Mudar.” The Prophet said,
(I said what I said.) Imam Ahmad recorded that `Abdullah bin `Amr said, “I used to record everything I heard from the Messenger of Allah so it would be preserved. The Quraysh discouraged me from this, saying, `You record everything you hear from the Messenger of Allah , even though he is human and sometimes speaks when he is angry’ I stopped recording the Hadiths for a while, but later mentioned what they said to the Messenger of Allah , who said,
(Write! By He in Whose Hand is my soul, every word that comes out of me is the Truth.)” Abu Dawud also collected this Hadith.
Allah the Exalted states that the Message His servant and Messenger Muhammad brought to people was taught to him by,
(mighty in power), he is Jibril, peace be upon him,
(Verily, this is the Word a most honorable messenger, owner of power, with (Allah) the Lord of the Throne, obeyed (by the angels) and trustworthy.)(81:19-21) Allah said here,
(Dhu Mirrah), meaning, he is mighty in power, according to Mujahid, Al-Hasan and Ibn Zayd. In an authentic Hadith from `Abdullah bin `Umar and Abu Hurayrah, the Prophet said,
(Charity is not allowed for a rich person nor Dhu Mirrah (a strong person) of sound mind and body.) Allah said;
(then he Istawa (rose).) this refers to the angel Jibril, according to Al-Hasan, Mujahid, Qatadah and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas,
(While he was in the highest part of the horizon.) meaning, Jibril rose to the highest part of the horizon, according to `Ikrimah and several others; `Ikrimah said, “The highest horizon where the morning comes from.” Mujahid said, “It is (the place of) sunrise.” Qatadah said, “That from which the day comes.” Ibn Zayd and several others said similarly. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abdullah bin Mas`ud said, “The Messenger of Allah saw Jibril in his original shape having six hundred wings, each wing filling the side of the horizon, with a colorful array, and pearls and rubies falling from each wing as much as only Allah knows.” Only Imam Ahmad collected this Hadith. Imam Ahmad recorded that `Abdullah bin `Abbas said, “The Prophet asked Jibril to appear himself to him in his original shape and Jibril said to him, `Invoke your Lord.’ The Prophet invoked his Lord the Exalted and Most Honored, and a great huge figure appeared to him from the east and kept rising and spreading. When the Prophet saw Jibril in his original shape, he was knocked unconscious. Jibril came down and revived the Prophet and wiped the saliva off of his cheeks.”’ Only Ahmad collected this Hadith.
(And was at a distance of two bows` length or less.) means, Jibril came closer to Muhammad when Jibril was descending to him on earth. At that time, the distance between them became only two bow lengths, when the bows are extended to full length, according to Mujahid and Qatadah. It was said that the meaning here is the distance between the bow’s string and its wood center. Allah’s statement,
(or less) indicates that the distance was as only as far described, not more. This type of usage is found in several instances in the Qur’an, such as,
(Then, after that, your hearts were hardened and became as stones or even worse in hardness.)(2:74) The Ayah says that their hearts became not softer than rocks, but as hard and difficult as rocks, and more. There is a similar Ayah,
(fear men as they fear Allah or even more.)(4:77), and Allah’s statement,
(And We sent him to hundred thousand (people) or even more.)(37:147), indicating that they were not less than a hundred thousand, but that amount or more. Therefore, this verifies the facts mentioned, leaving no doubt or means of refute. Similarly, Allah said,
(And was at a distance of two bow lengths or less.) We stated before that it was Jibril who came down near the Prophet , according to `A’ishah, the Mother of the faithful, `Abdullah bin Mas`ud, Abu Dharr and Abu Hurayrah. We will mention their statements about this soon afterwards, Allah willing. Ibn Jarir recorded that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud said about this Ayah,
(And was at a distance of two bow lengths or less.) “Allah’s Messenger said,
(I saw Jibril; he had six hundred wings.)” Al-Bukhari recorded that Talq bin Ghannam said that Za’idah said that Ash-Shaybani said, “I asked Zirr about the Ayah,
(And was at a distance of two bow lengths or less. So (Allah) revealed to His servant whatever He revealed.) Zirr said, “Abdullah narrated to us that Muhammad saw Jibril having six hundred wings.” Allah’s statement,
(So he revealed to His servant whatever He revealed.) means, Jibril conveyed to Allah’s servant Muhammad whatever he conveyed. Or, the meaning here could be: Allah revealed to His servant Muhammad whatever He revealed through Jibril. Both meanings are correct. Sa`id bin Jubayr said about Allah’s statement,
(So He revealed to His servant whatever He revealed.) “Allah revealed to him,
(Did He not find you an orphan.)(93:6), and,
(And have We not raised high your fame)(94:4)” Someone else said, “Allah revealed to the Prophet that the Prophets will not enter Paradise until he enters it first, and the nations will not enter it until his Ummah enters it first.”
Allah said next,
(The heart lied not in what he saw. Will you then dispute with him about what he saw) Muslim recorded from Ibn `Abbas about:
(The heart lied not in what he saw), and,
(And indeed he saw him at a second descent.) “He saw Allah twice in his heart.” Simak reported a similar from `Ikrimah from Ibn `Abbas. Abu Salih, As-Suddi and several others said similarly that the Prophet saw Allah twice in his heart.Masruq said, “I went to `A’ishah and asked her, `Did Muhammad see his Lord’ She said, `You said something that caused my hair to rise!’ I said, `Behold!’ and recited this Ayah,
(Indeed he saw of the greatest signs of his Lord.) She said, `Where did your mind wander It was Jibril. Whoever says to you that Muhammad saw his Lord, or hid any part of what he was commanded (i.e., Allah’s Message), or knew any of the five things which only Allah knows,
(Verily, Allah, with Him is the knowledge of the Hour, He sends down the rain…)(31:34), Then he invents a great lie against Allah! The Prophet only saw Jibril twice, in his original shape, once near Sidrat Al-Muntaha and another time in Ajyad (in Makkah) while Jibril had six hundred wings that covered the horizon.”’ Muslim recorded that Abu Dharr said, “I asked the Messenger of Allah , `Have you seen your Lord’ He said,
(How can I see Him since there was a light)” In another narration, the Prophet said,
(I only saw a light.) Allah’s statement,
(And indeed he saw him at a second descent. Near Sidrat Al-Muntaha.) “The Messenger of Allah said,
(I saw Jibril while he had six hundred wings and a colorful array of pearls and rubies falling from the feathers of his wings.)” This Hadith has a good, strong chain of narration. Ahmad also recorded that `Abdullah ﴿Ibn Mas`ud﴾ said, “The Messenger of Allah saw Jibril in his original shape while Jibril had six hundred wings, each wing covering the side of the horizon. From his wings, precious stones were dropping of which only Allah has knowledge.” This Hadith has a good chain of narration. Imam Ahmad recorded that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud said, “The Messenger of Allah said,
(I saw Jibril over Sidrat Al-Muntaha while he had six hundred wings.)” One of the subnarrators of the Hadith asked `Asim about Jibril’s wings and `Asim refused to elaborate. So some of his companions were asked and one of them said, “Each wing was covering what is between the east and the west.” This Hadith has a good chain of narration. Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn Mas`ud said that Allah’s Messenger said:
(Jibril came to me wearing green with pearls hanging down.) This Hadith has a good chain of narration. Imam Ahmad recorded that `Amir said that Masruq asked `A’ishah, “O Mother of the faithful, has Muhammad seen his Lord, the Exalted and Most Honored” She said, “Glorious is Allah! My hair is standing on end because of what you said. Three matters, if one tells you about any of them, will have lied. Whoever tells you that Muhammad has seen his Lord, will have lied.” She then recited these two Ayat,
(No vision can grasp Him, but He grasps all vision.)(6:103), and,
(It is not given to any human being that Allah should speak to him unless (it be) by revelation, or from behind a veil.)(42:51) She went one, “And whoever tells you that Muhammad knew what the morrow will bring, will have uttered a lie.” She then recited,
(Verily, Allah, with Him is the knowledge of the Hour, He sends down the rain, and knows that which is in the wombs.)(31:34) `A’ishah said, “And whoever tells you that Muhammad has hidden any part of the Message will have lied,” and she then recited this Ayah,
(O Messenger proclaim which has been sent down to you from your Lord.)(5:67).She went one, “However, he saw Jibril twice in his original shape.” Imam Ahmad also recorded that Masruq said, “I asked `A’ishah, `Did not Allah say,
(And indeed he saw him in the clear horizon.)(81:23), and,
(And indeed he saw him at a second descent)’ She said, `I was the first among this Ummah to ask Allah’s Messenger about it. He said,
(That was Jibril.) He only saw him twice in his actual and real figure. He saw Jibril descend from heaven to earth and was so huge that he covered the whole horizon between the sky and earth.)”’ This Hadith is recorded in the Two Sahihs via Ash-Sha`bi.
(When that covered the lote tree which did cover it!) We mentioned before, in the Hadiths about Al-Isra’ that the angels, Allah’s Light, and spectacular colors covered the Sidrah. Imam Ahmad recorded that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud said, “When the Messenger of Allah was taken on the Isra’ journey, he ascended to Sidrat Al-Muntaha, which is in the seventh heaven. There everything terminates that ascends from the earth and is held there, and terminates everything that descends from above it is held there,
(When that covered the lote tree which did cover it!) He said, “Golden butterflies. The Messenger of Allah was given three things: He was given the five prayers, he was given the concluding verses of Surat Al-Baqarah (2:284-286), and remission of serious sins for those among his Ummah who do not associate anything with Allah.” Muslim collected this Hadith. Allah’s statement,
(The sight turned not aside, nor it transgressed beyond the limit.) indicates that the Prophet’s sight did not turn right or left, according to `Ibn `Abbas,
(nor it transgressed beyond the limit.) not exceeding what has been ordained for it. This is a tremendous quality that demonstrates the Prophet’s firm obedience to Allah, because he only did what was commanded and did ask beyond what he was given. Allah’s statement,
(Indeed he saw of the greatest signs of his Lord.) is similar to another Ayah,
(In order that We might show him of Our Ayat.)(17:1), meaning, signs that testify to Allah’s might and greatness. Relying on these two Ayat, some scholars of Ahl us-Sunnah said that the Prophet did not see Allah during the Isra’ journey, because Allah said,
(Indeed he saw of the greatest signs of his Lord.) They said that, had the Prophet seen his Lord, Allah would have conveyed this news and the Prophet would have narrated it to the people.
Allah the Exalted rebukes the idolators for worshipping idols and taking rivals to Him. They built houses for their idols to resemble the Ka`bah built by Prophet Ibrahim, Allah’s Khalil.
(Have you then considered Al-Lat,) Al-Lat was a white stone with inscriptions on. There was a house built around Al-Lat in At-Ta’if with curtains, servants and a sacred courtyard around it. The people of At-Ta’if, the tribe of Thaqif and their allies, worshipped Al-Lat. They would boast to Arabs, except the Quraysh, that they had Al-Lat. Ibn Jarir said, “They derived Al-Lat’s name from Allah’s Name, and made it feminine. Allah is far removed from what they ascribe to Him. It was reported that Al-Lat is pronounced Al-Lat because, according to `Abdullah bin `Abbas, Mujahid, and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, Al-Lat was a man who used to mix Sawiq (a kind of barley mash) with water for the pilgrims during the time of Jahiliyyah. When he died, they remained next to his grave and worshipped him.” Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn `Abbas said about Allah’s statement,
(Al-Lat, and Al-`Uzza.) “Al-Lat was a man who used to mix Sawiq for the pilgrims.” Ibn Jarir said, “They also derived the name for their idol Al-`Uzza from Allah’s Name Al-`Aziz. Al-`Uzza was a tree on which the idolators placed a monument and curtains, in the area of Nakhlah, between Makkah and At-Ta’if. The Quraysh revered Al-`Uzza.” During the battle of Uhud, Abu Sufyan said, “We have Al-`Uzza, but you do not have Al-`Uzza.” Allah’s Messenger replied,
(Say, “Allah is Our Supporter, but you have no support.”) Manat was another idol in the area of Mushallal near Qudayd, between Makkah and Al-Madinah. The tribes of Khuza`ah, Aws and Khazraj used to revere Manat during the time of Jahiliyyah. They used to announce Hajj to the Ka`bah from next to Manat. Al-Bukhari collected a statement from `A’ishah with this meaning. There were other idols in the Arabian Peninsula that the Arabs revered just as they revered the Ka`bah, besides the three idols that Allah mentioned in His Glorious Book. Allah mentioned these three here because they were more famous than the others. An-Nasa’i recorded that Abu At-Tufayl said, “When the Messenger of Allah conquered Makkah, he sent Khalid bin Al-Walid to the area of Nakhlah where the idol of Al-`Uzza was erected on three trees of a forest. Khalid cut the three trees and approached the house built around it and destroyed it. When he went back to the Prophet and informed him of the story, the Prophet said to him,
(Go back and finish your mission, for you have not finished it.) Khalid went back and when the custodians who were also its servants of Al-`Uzza saw him, they started invoking by calling Al-`Uzza! When Khalid approached it, he found a naked woman whose hair was untidy and who was throwing sand on her head. Khalid killed her with the sword and went back to the Messenger of Allah , who said to him,
(That was Al-`Uzza!)” Muhammad bin Ishaq narrated, “Al-Lat belonged to the tribe of Thaqif in the area of At-Ta’if. Banu Mu`attib were the custodians of Al-Lat and its servants.” I say that the Prophet sent Al-Mughirah bin Shu`bah and Abu Sufyan Sakhr bin Harb to destroy Al-Lat. They carried out the Prophet’s command and built a Masjid in its place in the city of At-Ta’if. Muhammad bin Ishaq said that Manat used to be the idol of the Aws and Khazraj tribes and those who followed their religion in Yathrib (Al-Madinah). Manat was near the coast, close to the area of Mushallal in Qudayd. The Prophet sent Abu Sufyan Sakhr bin Harb or `Ali bin Abi Talib to demolish it. Ibn Ishaq said that Dhul-Khalasah was the idol of the tribes of Daws, Khath`am and Bajilah, and the Arabs who resided in the area of Tabalah. I say that Dhul-Khalasah was called the Southern Ka`bah, and the Ka`bah in Makkah was called the Northern Ka`bah. The Messenger of Allah sent Jarir bin `Abdullah Al-Bajali to Dhul-Khalasah and he destroyed it. Ibn Ishaq said that Fals was the idol of Tay’ and the neighboring tribes in the Mount of Tay’, such as Salma and Ajja. Ibn Hisham said that some scholars of knowledge told him that the Messenger of Allah sent `Ali bin Abi Talib to Fals and he destroyed it and found two swords in its treasure, which the Prophet then gave to `Ali as war spoils. Muhammad bin Ishaq also said that the tribes of Himyar, and Yemen in general, had a house of worship in San`a’ called Riyam. He mentioned that there was a black dog in it and that the religious men who went with Tubba` removed it, killed it and demolished the building. Ibn Ishaq said that Ruda’ was a structure of Bani Rabi`ah bin Ka`b bin Sa`d bin Zayd Manat bin Tamim, which Al-Mustawghir bin Rabi`ah bin Ka`b bin Sa`d demolished after Islam. In Sindad there was Dhul-Ka`bat, the idol of the tribes of Bakr and Taghlib, the sons of the Wa’il, and also the Iyad tribes.
Allah the Exalted said,
(Have you then considered Al-Lat, and Al-`Uzza. And Manat, the other third), then Allah said,
(Is it for you the males and for Him the females) Allah asked the idolators, `do you choose female offspring for Allah and give preference to yourselves with the males If you made this division between yourselves and the created, it would be,
(a division most unfair!)’ meaning, it would be an unfair and unjust division. `How is it then that you make this division between you and Allah, even though this would be foolish and unjust, if you made it between yourselves and others’ Allah the Exalted refutes such innovated lies, falsehood and atheism they invented through worshipping the idols and calling them gods,
(They are but names which you have named — you and your fathers) of your own desire,
(for which Allah has sent down no authority.) meaning, proof,
(They follow but a guess and that which they themselves desire,) they have no proof, except their trust in their forefathers who took this false path in the past, as well as, their lusts and desires to become leaders, and thereby gain honor and reverence for their forefathers,
(whereas there has surely come to them the guidance from their Lord!), meaning, Allah has sent them Messengers with the clear truth and unequivocal evidence. However, they did not adhere to or follow the guidance that came to them through the Prophets.
Allah the Exalted said,
(Or shall man have what he wishes), asserting that not everyone gets the goodness that he wishes,
(It will not be in accordance with desires (of Muslims), nor those of the People of Scripture.)(4:123) Allah says, not everyone who claims to be guided is truly guided, and not everyone gets what he wishes for himself. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(When one of you wishes for something, let him be careful with what he wishes for, because he does not know what part of his wish will be written for him.)Only Ahmad collected this Hadith. Allah’s statement,
(But to Allah belongs the last and the first.) meaning, all matters belong to Allah and He is the King and Owner of this world and the Hereafter, Who does what He will in both lives. Whatever He wills, occurs and whatever He does not will, never occurs.
(And there are many angels in the heavens, whose intercession will avail nothing except after Allah has given leave for whom He wills and is pleased with.) As He said;
(Who is he that can intercede with Him except with His permission )(2:255) and,
(Intercession with Him profits not except for him whom He permits.) (34:23) `If this is the case with the angels who are close to Him, how can you, O ignorant ones, hope for Allah to grant you the intercession of the idols and rivals you worship with Him without having His permission or any divine legislation permitting you to worship them’ Rather, Allah has forbidden idol worshipping by the tongues of all of His Messengers and He revealed this prohibition in all of His Books.
Allah the Exalted admonishes the idolators for calling the angels female names and claiming that they are Allah’s daughters. Allah is far removed from what they ascribe to Him. Allah the Exalted said in another Ayah,
(And they make females the angels, who themselves are servants of the Most Gracious. Did they witness their creation Their testimony will be recorded, and they will be questioned!)(43:19) Allah’s statement here,
(But they have no knowledge thereof.) meaning, they have no correct knowledge testifying to their statements. What they say is all lies, falsehood, fake and utter atheism,
(They follow but conjecture, and verily, conjecture is no substitute for the truth.) meaning, conjecture is of no benefit and never takes the place of truth. In a Hadith recorded in the Sahih, the Messenger of Allah said,
(Beware of suspicion, for suspicion is the most lying speech.)
(Therefore withdraw from him who turns away from Our Reminder), means, stay away from those who turn away from the Truth and shun them,
(and desires nothing but the life of this world.) meaning, whose aim and knowledge are concentrated on this life; this is the goal of those who have no goodness in them,
(That is what they could reach of knowledge.) meaning, seeking this life and striving hard in its affairs is the best knowledge they have acquired. There is also the reported supplication:
(O Allah! Make not this life the greatest of our concerns nor the best knowledge that we can attain.) Allah’s statement,
(Verily, your Lord is He, Who knows best him who goes astray from His path, and He knows best him who receives guidance.) meaning, He is the Creator of all creatures and He knows whatever benefits His servants. Allah is the One Who guides whom He wills and misguides whom He wills, and all of this indicates His power, knowledge and wisdom. Certainly, He is Just and never legislates or decrees unjustly.
Allah asserts that He is the King and Owner of the heavens and earth and that He is independent of the need for anyone. He is the authority over His creation and rules them with justice. He created the creation in truth,
(that He may requite those who do evil with that which they have done, and reward those who do good, with what is best.) He recompenses each according to his or her deeds, good for good and evil for evil.
Allah stated that the gooddoers are those who avoid major sins and immoral sins. They sometimes commit minor sins, but they will be forgiven these minor sins and covered from exposure, as Allah mentioned in another Ayah;
(If you avoid the great sins which you are forbidden to do, We shall expiate from you your (small) sins, and admit you to a Noble Entrance.)(4:31) Allah said here,
(Those who avoid great sins and Al-Fawahish (immoral sins) except Al-Lamam), Al-Lamam means, small faults and minor errors. Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, “I have not seen anything that resembles Al-Lamam better than the Hadith that Abu Hurayrah narrated from the Prophet ,
(Verily, Allah the Exalted has decreed for the Son of Adam his share of Zina and he will certainly earn his share. The Zina of the eye is by looking, the Zina of the tongue is by talking and the heart wishes and lusts, but the sexual organ either substantiates all this or not.)” This Hadith is recorded in the Two Sahihs. Ibn Jarir recorded that Ibn Mas`ud said, “The eyes commit Zina by looking, the lips by kissing, the hands by transgressing, the feet by walking, and the sexual organ either materializes all of this or not. When one commits sexual intercourse, he will be someone who committed Zina. Otherwise, it is Al-Lamam.” Masruq and Ash-Sha`bi also held the same view. `Abdur-Rahman bin Nafi`, who is also known as Ibn Lubabah At-Ta’ifi, said, “I asked Abu Hurayrah about Allah’s statement,
(except the Lamam), and he said, `It pertains to kissing, winking one’s eye, looking and embracing. When the sexual organ meets the sexual organ in intercourse then Ghusl is obligatory, and that is Zina.”
(verily, your Lord is of vast forgiveness.) asserts that His Mercy encompasses everything, and His forgiveness entails every type of sin, if one repents,
(Say: “O My servants who have transgressed against them- selves! Despair not of the mercy of Allah: verily, Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”) (39:53) Allah said,
(He knows you well when He created you from the earth,) Allah says, `He was and still is the All-Knowing Whose knowledge encompasses your affairs, statements and all of the actions that will be committed by you, even when He created your father `Adam from the earth and took his offspring from his loin, as small as ants. He then divided them into two groups, a group destined for Paradise and a group to Hellfire,’
(and when you were fetuses in your mothers’ wombs.) when He commanded the angel to record one’s provisions, age, actions and if he would be among the miserable or the happy. Allah said,
(So, ascribe not purity to yourselves.) forbidding one from ascribing purity and praising himself and thinking highly of his actions,
(He knows best him who has Taqwa.) Allah said in another Ayah,
(Have you not seen those who claim sanctity for themselves. Nay, but Allah sanctifies whom He wills, and they will not be dealt with unjustly, even equal to the extent of a Fatil.) (4:49) In his Sahih, Muslim recorded that Muhammad bin `Amr bin `Ata said, “I called my daughter, Barrah (the pious one), and Zaynab bint Abu Salamah said to me, `The Messenger of Allah forbade using this name. I was originally called Barrah and he said,
(Do not ascribe purity to yourselves; Allah knows best who the pious people among you are)’ They said, `What should we call her’ He said,
(Call her Zaynab.)” Imam Ahmad recorded a Hadith from `Abdur-Rahman bin Abi Bakrah, from his father who said, “A man praised another man before the Prophet . The Messenger of Allah said,
(Woe to you, you have cut off the neck of your friend! (He repeated this) If one of you must praise a friend of his, let him say, “I think that so-and-so is this and that; Allah knows best about him and I will never purify anyone before Allah,” if he knows his friend to be as he is describing him.)” Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah collected this Hadith. Imam Ahmad recorded that Hammam bin Al-Harith said, “A man came before `Uthman bin `Affan and praised him. Al-Miqdad bin Al-Aswad started throwing sand in the face of that man, saying, `The Messenger of Allah ordered us to throw sand in their faces when we see those who praise.”’ Muslim and Abu Dawud also collected this Hadith.
Allah the Exalted chastises those who turn away from His obedience,
(So he (the disbeliever) neither believed nor prayed! But on the contrary, he belied and turned away!)(75:31-32),
(And gave a little, then stopped) Ibn `Abbas said, “Gave a little, then stopped giving.” Similar was said by Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr, `Ikrimah, Qatadah and several others. `Ikrimah and Sa`id said: “Like the case of a people who dig a well, during the course of which they find a rock preventing them from completing their work. So they say, `We are finished’ and they abandon the work.” Allah’s statement,
(Is with him the knowledge of the Unseen so that he sees) means, does this person, who stopped giving for fear of poverty and ended his acts of charity have knowledge of the Unseen and thus knows that if he does not stop giving, his wealth will go away No. Such a person has stopped giving in charity for righteous causes and did not keep relations with kith and kin because of his miserliness, being stingy and out of fear of poverty. The Prophet said in a Hadith,
(O Bilal, spend and fear not less provisions from the Owner of the Thone.) Allah the Exalted and Most honored said,
(And whatsoever you spend of anything (in Allah’s cause), He will replace it. And He is the Best of providers.)(34:39)
Allah the Exalted said,
(Or is he not informed with what is in the Suhuf of Musa. And of Ibrahim who fulfilled), Sa`id bin Jubayr and Ath-Thawri said it means: “Conveyed all that he was ordered to convey.” Ibn `Abbas said about:
(fulfilled) “He delivered all that Allah ordered him to deliver.” Sa`id bin Jubayr said about:
(fulfilled), “What he was ordered.” Qatadah said about:
(fulfilled), “He obeyed Allah and delivered His Message to His creatures.” This is the view preferred by Ibn Jarir because it includes the statement before it and supports it. Allah said,
(And (remember) when the Lord of Ibrahim tried him with (certain) commands, which he fulfilled. He said: “Verily, I am going to make you an Imam (a leader) for mankind.”)(2:124) Therefore, Ibrahim fulfilled all the commands of his Lord, stayed away from all the prohibitions, and conveyed Allah’s Message in its entirety. Therefore, he is worthy of being made a leader for mankind in all of his affairs, statements and actions. Allah the Exalted said,
(Then, We have sent the revelation to you (saying): “Follow the religion of Ibrahim, a Hanif, and he was not of the idolators.”)(16:123)
Allah the Exalted explained what He has revealed in the Scripture of Ibrahim and Musa,
(That no burdened person shall bear the burden of another.) Meaning, every soul shall carry its own injustices, whether disbelief or sin, and none else shall carry its burden of sin, as Allah states
(And if one heavily laden calls another to (bear) his load, nothing of it will be lifted even though he be near of kin.)(35:18) Allah said,
(And that man can have nothing but what he does.) So just as no soul shall carry the burden of any other, the soul shall only benefit from the good that one earns for himself. As for the Hadith recorded by Muslim in the Sahih, that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(When a person dies, his deeds will cease except in three cases: from a righteous son who invokes Allah for him, or an ongoing charity after his death, or knowledge that people benefit from.) These three things are, in reality, a result of one’s own deeds, efforts and actions. For example, a Hadith states,
(Verily, the best type of provision that one consumes is from what he himself has earned, and one’s offspring are among what he has earned.) The ongoing charity that one leaves behind, like an endowment, for example, are among the traces of his own actions and deeds. Allah the Exalted said,
(Verily, We give life to the dead, and We record that which they send before (them) and their traces.)(36:12) The knowledge that one spreads among people which they are guided by is among his actions and deeds. A Hadith collected in the Sahih states,
(Whoever invites to guidance, he will earn as much reward as those who follow him, without decreasing anything out of their own rewards.) Allah said,
(And that his deeds will be seen.) meaning, on the Day of Resurrection,
(And say: “Do deeds! Allah will see your deeds, and (so will) His Messenger and the believers. And you will be brought back to the All-Knower of the unseen and the seen. Then He will inform you of what you used to do.”)(9:105), Then Allah will remind you of your actions and recompense you for them in the best manner, good for good and evil for evil. Allah’s statement here,
(Then he will be recompensed with a full and the best recompense.)
Allah the Exalted said,
(And that to your Lord is the End.) meaning, the return of everything on the Day of Resurrection. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that `Amr bin Maymun Al-Awdi said, “Once, Mu`adh bin Jabal stood up among us and said, `O Children of Awd! I am the emissary of Allah’s Messenger to you; know that the Return is to Allah, either to Paradise or the Fire.”’ Allah’s statement,
(And that it is He Who makes you laugh, and makes you weep.) means that He created in His creatures the ability to laugh or weep and the causes for each of these opposites,
(And that it is He Who causes death and gives life.) In a similar statement, Allah said,
(Who has created death and life.)(67:2) Allah said,
(And that He creates the pairs, male and female. From Nutfah when it is emitted.) as He said:
(Does man think that he will be left neglected Was he not a Nutfah Then he became an `Alaqah (something that clings); then (Allah) shaped and fashioned (him) in due proportion. And made of him two sexes, male and female. Is not He (Allah) able to give life to the dead)(75:36-40) Allah the Exalted said,
(And that upon Him is another bringing forth.) meaning, just as He first originated creation, He is able to bring it back to life, resurrecting it for the Day of Judgement,
(And that it is He Who Aghna (gives much) and Aqna (a little).) It is Allah Who gives wealth to His servants and this wealth remains with them. This means they are able to use it to their benefit, is this out of the completeness of His favor. Most of the statements of the scholars of Tafsir revolve around this meaning, such as those from Abu Salih, Ibn Jarir and others. Mujahid said that,
(Aghna) meaning: He gives wealth.
(Aqna) meaning: He gives servants. Similar was said by Qatadah. Ibn `Abbas and Mujahid said;
(Aghna) means: He granted; while,
(Aqna) means: He gave contentment.
(And that He is the Lord of Ash-Shi`ra.) Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Qatadah and Ibn Zayd said about Ash-Shi`ra that it is the bright star, named Mirzam Al-Jawza’ (Sirius), which a group of Arabs used to worship.
(And that it is He Who destroyed the former `Ad) the people of Hud. They are the descendants of `Ad, son of Iram, son of Sam, son of Nuh. As Allah the Exalted said,
(Saw you not how your Lord dealt with `Ad. Of Iram, with the lofty pillars, the like of which were not created in the land)(89:6-8) The people of `Ad were among the strongest, fiercest people and the most rebellious against Allah the Exalted and His Messenger. Allah destroyed them,
(By a furious violent wind! Which Allah imposed in them for seven nights and eight days in succession.)(69:6-7) Allah’s statement,
(And Thamud. He spared none), declares that He destroyed them all and spared none of them,
(And the people of Nuh aforetime.) before `Ad and Thamud,
(Verily, they were more unjust and more rebellious and transgressing.) more unjust in disobeying Allah than those who came after them,
(And He destroyed the overthrown cities.) meaning, the cities (of Sodom and Gomorrah) to which Prophet Lut was sent. Allah turned their cities upside down over them and sent on them stones of Sijjil. Allah’s statement that whatever has covered it, has covered it, is like the case with the stones of Sijjil that He sent on them,
(And We rained on them a rain (of torment). And how evil was the rain of those who had been warned!)(26:173) Allah said,
(Then which of the graces of your Lord will you doubt) meaning, `which of Allah’s favors for you, O man, do you doubt,’ according to Qatadah. Ibn Jurayj said that the Ayah,
(Then which of the graces of your Lord will you doubt), is directed towards the Prophet saying: “O Muhammad!” However, the first ex- planation is better, and it is the meaning that Ibn Jarir preferred.
(This is a warner) in reference to Muhammad ,
(from the warners of old.) means, just like the warners of old, he was sent as a Messenger as they were sent as Messengers. Allah the Exalted said,
(Say: “I am not a new thing among the Messengers.”)(46:9) Allah said;
(The Azifah draws near.) that which is near, the Day of Resurrection, has drawn nearer,
(None besides Allah can avert it.) no one besides Allah can prevent it from coming, nor does anyone know when it will come, except Him. The warner is eager to convey his knowledge of the imminence of a calamity, so that it does not befall those to whom he is a warner. As He said;
(He is only a warner to you in face of a severe torment.) (34:46) And in the Hadith:
(I am the naked warner,) meaning, I was in such a hurry to warn against the evil I saw coming, that I did not wear anything. In this case, one rushes to warn his people in such haste that he will be naked. This meaning befits the meaning of the A0yah,
(the Azifah draws near.), in reference to the nearing Day of Resurrection. Allah said in the beginning of the Surah:
(The Hour has drawn near.)(54:1) Imam Ahmad recorded that Sahl bin Sa`d said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Beware of small sins! The example of the effect of small sin is that of people who settled near the bottom of a valley. One of them brought a piece of wood, and another brought another piece of wood, until they cooked their bread! Verily, small sins will destroy its companion, if one is held accountable for them.) Allah the Exalted admonishes the idolators because they hear the Qur’an, yet they turn away from it in heedless play,
(wonder) doubting that it is true.
(And you laugh) in jest and mock at it,
(and weep not,) just as those who believe in it weep,
(And they fall down on their faces weeping and it increases their humility.)(17:109) Allah said;
(While you are Samidun.) Sufyan Ath-Thawri reported that his father narrated that Ibn `Abbas said about Samidun, “Singing; in Yemenite dialect `Ismid for us’ means `Sing for us.”’ `Ikrimah said something similar. In another narration from Ibn `Abbas, he said that,
(Samidun) means, “Turning away.” Similar was reported from Mujahid and `Ikrimah. Allah the Exalted ordered His servants to prostrate to Him, worship Him according to the way of His Messenger, and to fulfill the requirement of Tawhid and sincerity,
(So fall you down in prostration to Allah and worship Him.) meaning, with submission, sincerity, and Tawhid. Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Ma`mar said that `Abdul-Warith said that Ayyub said that `Ikrimah said that, Ibn `Abbas said, “The Prophet prostrated upon reciting An-Najm and the Muslims, idolators, Jinns and mankind who were present prostrated along with him.” Only Muslim collected this Hadith. Imam Ahmad recorded that Al-Muttalib bin Abi Wada`ah said, “While in Makkah, the Messenger of Allah once recited Surat An-Najm, then prostrated along with all those who were with him at the time. I raised my head, however, and I refused to prostrate.” Al-Muttalib had not embraced Islam yet, but ever since he became Muslim, he would never hear anyone recite this Surah until the end, without prostrating with whomever was prostrating after reciting it. An-Nasa’i also collected this Hadith in the Book of Al-Bukhari, excluding prayer in his Sunan.
This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat An-Najm. All praise and thanks are due to Allah.
Tafseer by Abul A’la Maududi
53. Surah An Najm (The Star)
The Sarah derives its name from the very first word wan Najm. This title also does not relate to the subject matter, but is a name given to the Surah as a symbol.
Period of Revelation
According to a Tradition related by Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Da’ud and Nasai, on the authority of Hadrat Abdullah bin Mas’ud, the first Surah in which a verse requiring the performance of a sajdah (prostration) as sent down, is Surah An-Najm. The parts of this Hadith which have been reported by Aswad bin Yazid, Abu Ishaq and Zubair bin Mu’awiyah from Hadrat Ibn Mas’ud, indicate that this is the first Surah of the Qur’an, which the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had publicly recited before an assembly of the Quraish (and according to Ibn Marduyah, in the Ka’bah) in which both the believers and the disbelievers were present. At the end, when he recited the verse requiring the performance of a sajdah and fell down in prostration, the whole assembly also fall down in prostration with him, and even those chiefs of the polytheists who were in the forefront of the opposition to the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) could not resist falling down in prostration. Ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him) says that he saw only one man, Umayyah bin Khalaf, from among the disbelievers, who did not fall down in prostration but took a little dust and rubbing it on his forehead said that that was enough for him. Later, as Ibn Mas’ud relates, he saw this man die in the state of disbelief.
Another eye witness of this incident is Hadrat Muttalib bin Abi Wada’ah, who had not yet become a Muslim. Nasai and Musnad Ahmad contain his own words to the effect: “When the Holy Prophet recited the Surah An-Najm and performed the sajdah and the whole assembly fell down in prostration along with him, I did not perform the sajdah. Now to compensate for the same whenever I recite this Surah I make sure never to abandon its performance.”
Ibn Sad says that before this, in the Rajab of the 5th year of Prophethood, a small group of the Companions had emigrated to Abyssinia. Then, when in the Ramadan of the same year this incident took place the news spread that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had recited Surah An-Najm publicly in the assembly of the Quraish and the whole assembly, including the believers as well as the disbelievers, had fallen down in prostration with him. When the emigrants to Abyssinia heard this news they formed the impression that the disbelievers of Makkah had become Muslims. Thereupon, some of them returned to Makkah in the Shawwal of the 5th year of Prophethood, only to learn that the news was wrong and the conflict between Islam and disbelief was raging as furiously as before. Consequently, the second emigration to Abyssinia took place, in which many more people left Makkah.
Thus, it becomes almost certain that this Surah was revealed in the Ramadan of 5th year of Prophethood.
The details of the period of revelation as given above point to the conditions in which this Surah was revealed. During the first five years of his appointment as a Prophet, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had been extending invitation to Allah’s Religion by presenting the Divine Revelations before the people only in private and restricted meetings and assemblies. During this whole period he could never have a chance to recite the Quran before a common gathering openly, mainly because of the strong opposition and resistance from the disbelievers. They were well aware of how magnetic and captivating was the Holy Prophet’s personality and his way of preaching and how impressive were the Revelations of the Qur’an. Therefore, they tried their best to avoid hearing it them- selves and to stop others also from hearing it and to suppress his invitation by false propaganda by spreading every kind of suspicion against him. For this object, on the one hand, they were telling the people that Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had gone astray and was now bent upon misleading others as well; on the other hand, they would raise on uproar whenever he tried to present the Qur’an before the people so that no one could know what it was for which he was being branded as a misled and misguided person.
Such were the conditions when the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) suddenly stood up one day to make a speech in the sacred precincts of the Ka’bah, where a large number of the Quraish had gathered together. Allah at that time made him deliver this discourse, which we have now in the form of the Surah An-Najm with us. Such was the intensity of the impression that when the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) started reciting it the opponents were so completely overwhelmed that they could not think of raising any disorder, and when at the conclusion he fell down in prostration, they too fell down in prostration along with him. Later they felt great remorse at the weakness they had involuntarily shown. The people also started taunting them to the effect that whereas they had been forbidding others to listen to the Qur’an, that day not only had they themselves listened to it, with complete absorption but had even fallen down in prostration along with Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). At last, they had to invent a story in order to get rid of the people’s taunt and ridicule. They said “After he had recited afara’ait-ul Lata wal Uzza wa Manat ath-thalitha-al ukhra, we heard from Muhammad the words: tilk al-gharaniqa- tal-‘ula, wa anna shafa’at-u-hunna latarja: ‘They are exalted goddesses: indeed, their intercession may be expected.’ From this we understood that Muhammad had returned to our faith.” As a matter of fact, only a mad person could think that in the context of this Surah the sentences they claimed to have heard could have any place and relevance.(For details, please see E. N.’s 96 to 301 of Surah Al Hajj).
Subject Matter and Topics
The theme of the discourse is to warn the disbelievers of Makkah about the error of the attitude that they had adopted towards the Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).
The discourse starts in a way as if to say: “Muhammad is neither deluded nor gone astray, as you are telling others in your propaganda against him, nor has he fabricated this teaching of Islam and its message, as you seem to think he has. In fact, whatever he is presenting is nothing but Revelation which is sent down to him. The verities that be presents before you, are not the product of his own surmise and speculation but realities of which he himself is an eye witness. He has himself seen the Angel through whom this knowledge is conveyed to him. He has been directly made to observe the great Signs of his Lord: whatever he says is not what he has himself thought out but what he has seen with his own eyes. Therefore, your disputing and wrangling with him is just like the disputing and wrangling of a blind man with a man of sight over a thing which the blind man cannot see but he can see.”
After this, three things have been presented in their successive order:
First, the listeners have been made to understand that: “The religion that you are following is based on mere conjecture and invented ideas. You have set up a few goddesses like Lat and Manat and Uzza as your deities, whereas they have no share whatever in divinity. You regard the angels as the daughters of Allah, whereas you regard a daughter as disgraceful for your own selves. You think that these deities of fours can influence Allah in your favor, whereas the fact is that all the angels together, who are stationed closest to Allah, cannot influence Him even in their own favor. None of such beliefs that you have adopted, is based on knowledge and reason, but are wishes and desires for the sake of which you have taken some whims as realities. This is a grave error. The right and true religion is that which is in conformity to the reality, and the reality is never subject to thee people’s wishes and desires so that whatever they may regard as a reality and truth should become the reality and truth. Speculation and conjecture cannot help to determine as to what is according to the truth and what is not; it is knowledge. When that knowledge is presented before you, you turn away from it, and brand the one who tells you the truth as misguided. The actual cause of your being involved in this error is that you are heedless of the Hereafter. Only this world is your goal. Therefore, you have neither any desire for the knowledge of reality, nor you bother to see ‘whether the beliefs you hold are according to the truth or not.
Secondly, the people have been told that: Allah is the caster and Sovereign of the entire Universe. The righteous is he who follows His way, and the misguided he who has turned away from His way. The error of the misguided and the righteousness of the righteous are not hidden from Him. He knows whatever everyone is doing: He will requite the evil with evil and the good with good. The final judgment will not depend on what you consider yourself to be, and on tall claims you make of your purity and chastity but on whether you are pious or impious, righteous or unrighteous, in the sight of God. If you refrain from major sins, He in His mercy will overlook your minor errors.” .
Thirdly, a few basic principles of the true Religion which had been presented hundreds of years before the revelation of the Qur’an in the Books of the Prophets Abraham and Moses have been reiterated so that the people did not remain involved in the misunderstanding that the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had brought some new and novel religion, but they should know that these are the fundamental truths which the former Prophets of Allah have always been presenting in their respective ages. Besides, the same Books have been quoted to confirm the historical facts that the destruction of the ‘Ad and the Thamud and of the people of the Prophets Noah and Lot was not the result of accidental calamities, but Allah has destroyed them in consequence of the same wickedness and rebellion from which the disbelievers of Makkah were not inclined to refrain and desist in any case.
After presenting these themes and discourses the Surah has been concluded, thus: “The Hour of Judgment has approached near at hand, which no one can avert. Before the occurrence of that Hour you are being warned through Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and the Quran in the like manner as the former people had been warned before. Now, is it this warning that you find novel and strange? Which you mock and ridicule? Which you turn away from and cause disorder so that no one else also is able to hear what it is ? Don’t you feel like weeping at your folly and ignorance? Abandon this attitude and behavior, bow down to Allah and serve Him alone!”
This was that impressive conclusion hearing which even the most hardened deniers of the Truth were completely overwhelmed, and when after reciting these verses of Divine Word the Holy Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) fell down in prostration, they too could not help falling down in prostration along with him.
In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
1-18 Scene of the 1st Revelation, brought by angel Gabriel to Prophet Muhammad and Allah gave him a tour of heavens, paradise and other great signs
(53:1) By the star when it sets:1 (53:2) your companion2 has neither strayed nor is he deluded;3 (53:3) nor does he speak out of his desire. (53:4) This is nothing but a revelation that is conveyed to him,4 (53:5) something that a very powerful one has imparted to him,5 (53:6) one endowed with immense wisdom.6 He came forth and stood poised, (53:7) being on the higher horizon.7 (53:8) Then he drew near and hung above suspended, (53:9) until he was two bows’ length away, or nearer.8 (53:10) Then he revealed to Allah’s servant whatever he had to reveal.9 (53:11) His heart added no untruth to what he saw.10 (53:12) Are you, then, going to contend with him regarding what he sees with his eyes? (53:13) Indeed he saw him a second time, (53:14) by the lote-tree at the farthest boundary, (53:15) near which is the Garden of Abode.11 (53:16) (This was) when the lote-tree was covered with that which covered it. 12 (53:17) His eye did not waver, nor did it stray,13 (53:18) and he certainly saw some of the greatest Signs of His Lord.14
1. In the original the word an-najm has been used. Ibn Abbas, Mujahid and Sufyan Thauri opine that it implies the Pleides. Ibn Jarir and Zamakhshari have held this same interpretation as preferable, for in Arabic when the word an-najm is used absolutely, it usually implies the Pleides. Suddi says that it implies Venus; and Abu Ubaidah, the grammarian, holds that here the word an-najm has been used generically so as to express this idea: When the day dawned, and the stars set. In view of the context we are of the opinion that this last interpretation is more preferable.
2. Your companion: implies the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and the addressees are the Quraish. The word Sahib as used in the original means a friend, a companion, a close associate. Here, making mention of the Prophet by the word Sahib-u-kum (your companion) instead of Our Messenger is very meaningful. This is meant to make the people of the Quraish realize: The person being mentioned is no stranger to you. He is not an outsider whom you may not be knowing or recognizing already. He is a man of your own clan and tribe. He lives and moves among you; even your children know who and what he is, what his character is, what are his dealings, what are his ways and habits and characteristics, and how he has passed his life among you so far. If sameone of you were to say an improbable thing about him, there would be a thousand men among you who knew him, who could see for themselves whether what was said actually applied to him or not.
3. This is the thing for which an oath has been sworn by the setting star or stars. Going astray means a person’s adopting a wrong way being unaware of the right way, and being deluded means his adopting the wrong way knowingly and consciously. The verse means: Muhammad (peace be upon him) is a well-known man among you. Your accusation that he has gone astray, or is misguided, is utterly wrong. In fact, he is neither gone astray nor misguided. Here, the propriety of swearing by the setting stars is that in the darkness of the starry night a person cannot see the things of his surroundings clearly, and from their vague appearances can form wrong judgments about them, e.g. he may take a tree for a ghost in the dark, a string for a snake, a rock in the sand for a beast of prey. But when the stars have set and the day has dawned, everything appears before man in its real form and shape, and there remains no doubt whatsoever about the reality of things. The same is also the case of Muhammad (peace be upon him) among you. His life and personality is not hidden in darkness, but is manifest like the bright dawn. You are aware that this companion of yours is a rightminded, wise and sagacious man. How can somebody from among the Quraish have the misunderstanding that he has gone astray? You also know how well-intentioned and honest and righteous person he is. How can one of you form the view that he has knowingly adopted a crooked way not only for himself but has started inviting others also to the same falsehood?
4. It means this: The things for which you accuse him of having gone astray or been misled and deceived, have neither been fabricated by himself nor motivated by any selfish desire on his part, but they have been sent down, and are being sent down, to him by God. He did not intend to become a Prophet of his own desire so that he might have laid a claim to Prophethood in order to satisfy his desire, but when Allah appointed him to that office through revelation, then only did he rise to preach his mission and to tell you that he had been appointed God’s Messenger to you. Likewise, this invitation to Islam, this teaching of the doctrine of Tauhid, this news about the gathering together of all mankind on the Day of Resurrection and their accountability, the truths that he is presenting about the universe and man and the principles of leading a pure life, are not a philosophy propounded by himself, but the knowledge of all this has been bestowed on him by revelation. Likewise, this Quran that he recites before you, is also not of his own composition but it is divine word which is sent down to him by revelation. “He does not speak of his own desire; It is not but a revelation that is revealed.”
Here, the question arises: Which of the words spoken by the Prophet (peace be upon him) are Allah’s Words: Do they apply to everything that he spoke, or to some of his words and not to others? The answer is: As far as the Quran is concerned, the divine words apply to it most completely. As for the other words, apart from the Quran, which the Prophet (peace be upon him) spoke, they could inevitably be of three kinds:
First, those words which he employed for preaching religion and inviting others to Allah, and for explaining the themes, teachings and commands of the Quran, or for giving admonition and instruction to the people to fulfill the object for which the Quran was revealed. In this regard, obviously nobody can have the doubt that, God forbid, he fabricated these things from his own mind. In these matters, his position, in fact, was of the official interpreter of the Quran and of Allah’s authorized representative. Although these things were not revealed to him literally as the Quran was revealed; yet these were necessarily based on the same knowledge that he had been given by revelation. The only difference between the Quran and these was that the Quran, both in word and in meaning, was entirely from Allah, and in these other things the meanings were those taught by Allah and the words those which he himself employed to express those meanings. On the basis of this very distinction, the Quran has been described as wahi-jali (manifest revelation) and the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) other sayings as wahi-khafi (concealed revelation).
The second kind of the words were those which the Prophet (peace be upon him) spoke in connection with the struggle of raising Allah’s Word and his services for establishing Islam. In this regard, he had to perform countless duties of different kinds as the leader and guide of the Muslim community. In this many a time he took counsel with his companions as well, and followed their advice instead of his own view. On being asked he sometimes told them that he was expressing a particular view not under Allah’s command but as his personal opinion, and on several occasions it so happened that he said something on the basis of his own opinion and later an instruction came down against it from Allah. None of the things of this nature that he said or did could be based on a selfish motive. As for the question whether these sayings were based on divine inspiration, the answer is that except for the things in regard to which he made it explicit that they were not based on divine command, or about which he took counsel with his companions and accepted their advice, or with regard to a thing against which Allah sent down an instruction after he had said or done something on the basis of his personal judgment, all other things were based on concealed revelation (wahi-khafi) just like the things of the first kind. For the office of the leader and guide of the Islamic movement and the chief of the believing community and the ruler of the Islamic State, which he held, was not self-invented or bestowed by the people, but he had been appointed to it by Allah, and whatever he said and did in carrying out the duties of this office, his position in it was of the representative of divine, will. In this matter, whatever he said on the basis of his personal judgment, his judgment in those matters was approved by Allah, and was, derived from the light of the knowledge which Allah had blessed him with. That is why whenever his personal judgment was even slightly turned away from Allah’s pleasure, it was immediately rectified by manifest revelation (wahi-jali). This rectification of some of his personal judgments is itself a proof that all the rest of his religious judgments and interpretations were precisely in accordance with divine will.
The third kind of the things were those he said concerning common matters of life as a man, which had nothing to do with the duties of Prophethood, which he said before being appointed a Prophet as well as continued saying even after having been appointed a Prophet. About this kind of the things it should be understood at the outset that there was no dispute with the disbelievers concerning them. They had not accused him of being a misled and misguided person because of these but because of the first two kinds of the things. These things were not disputed and therefore could not become the cause of a verse from Allah. But although they were not the subject of any dispute, yet the fact is that in this private aspect of his life also never did the Prophet (peace be upon him) utter a word that was opposed to the truth, but at all times, under all conditions, his words and deeds remained within the bounds that Allah had prescribed for living his life as a Prophet (peace be upon him) and righteous man. Therefore, the light of revelation shone in that sphere as well. This same thing has been reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him) in some authentic Ahadith. In Musnad Ahmad a tradition has been related on the authority of Abu Hurairah, saying that the Prophet (peace be upon him) once said: I never say anything but what is true and right. A companion said: O Messenger of Allah, you say things sometimes in jest also. The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: Indeed, I never say anything but the truth. According to Musnad Ahmad and Abu Daud, Abdullah bin Amr bin Aas is reported to have said: I used to write down whatever I heard from the sacred tongue of the Prophet (peace be upon him) so as to preserve it. The people of the Quraish forbade me to do this, saying: You are writing down everything whereas the Prophet (peace be upon him) is a man: he sometimes says things in the state of anger too. At this I gave up writing. Afterwards when I mentioned this before the Prophet (peace be upon him), he said: You should continue writing: By Him in Whose hand is my life, never have I said anything but the truth. (For a complete discussion of this question, see my book Tafhimat vol. 1, Article: Prophethood and its Injunctions).
5. That is, there is no human being who teaches him this, as you seem to think, but he obtains this knowledge through a supernatural source. According to some people, mighty in power implies Allah Himself, but a great majority of the commentators agree that it implies the Angel Gabriel. This same view has been reported from Abdullah bin Masud, Aishah, Abu Hurairah, Qatadah, Mujahid and Rabi bin Anas. Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir, Razi, Alusi and others also have adopted this very view. Shah Waliyullah and Ashraf Ali Thanwi also have followed this same view in their translations. And the fact is that from the other explanations of the Quran, this very thing is also confirmed. In Surah Takweer it has been said: This indeed is the word of a noble Messenger, who has great power and high rank with the Owner of the Throne: there he is obeyed and held as trustworthy. And (O people of Makkah), your companion is not mad. He has seen that Messenger on the bright horizon. (verses 19-23). Then, in (Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayat 97), the Angel has been mentioned by name through whom this teaching had been revealed on the heart of the Prophet (peace be upon him): Say to them, whoever is enemy to Gabriel should understand that he has, by Allah’s command, revealed to your heart the Quran. If these verses are read with this verse of Surah An-Najm, there remains no doubt that here mighty in power implies the Angel Gabriel and not Allah.
Here, some people express the doubt as to how the Angel Gabriel can be regarded as the Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) teacher. For this would mean that he was the teacher and the Prophet (peace be upon him) his pupil, and this would place him above the Prophet (peace be upon him) in rank. But this suspicion is misplaced, because Gabriel did not impart instruction to the Prophet (peace be upon him) from any personal knowledge of his own, which might give him superiority over the Prophet (peace be upon him). Allah, in fact, had made him a means of conveying knowledge to the Prophet (peace be upon him), and he was the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) teacher in the metaphoric sense for being only a medium of instruction. That does not give him any superiority whatever. To quote an example: After the Prayer was prescribed five times a day, Allah sent Gabriel to teach the Prophet (peace be upon him) the correct times of the Prayers, and he led him in the Prayers five times daily for two days. This has been related in Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Daud, Tirmidhi and Muwatta and other collections of the Ahadith, with authentic chains of reporters, and in this the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself has explained that he was the follower and Gabriel his leader in the Prayers. But his being made the leader only for the purpose of instruction does not mean that he was superior to the Prophet (peace be upon him) in rank.
6. Ibn Abbas and Qatadah take dhu mirra-tin of the text in the meaning of beautiful and grand. Mujahid, Hasan Basri, Ibn Zaid and Sufyan Thauri say that it means: strong and powerful. Saeed bin Musayyab has expressed the opinion that it means wise. In a Hadith the Prophet (peace be upon him) has used this word in the sense of healthy and sound. In Arabic usage this word is used in the meaning of sound in judgment, wise and learned also. Allah has chosen this word for Gabriel here because he possesses both intellectual and physical powers to the highest degree.
7. The horizon means the eastern edge of the sky where the sun rises and the day dawns. The same has been referred to as ufuq-mubin (bright horizon) in( Surah Takweer, Ayat 23). Both the verses make it explicit that when the Prophet (peace be upon him) saw Gabriel for the first time, he had appeared on the eastern horizon of the sky; and there are several authentic traditions which show that at that time he was in his real shape in which Allah has created him. We shall quote all such traditions below.
8. That is, After appearing on the uppermost edge of the sky, Gabriel started advancing towards the Prophet (peace be upon him) till he reached and hung suspended about him in mid air. Then he bent down to him and came within just two bow-lengths or even closer. The commentators generally have taken qaba-qausain in the meaning of two bow-lengths, but Abdullah bin Abbas and Abdullah bin Masud have taken qaus in the meaning of a dhira (an armlength, cubit), and have interpreted the words kama qaba qausain, saying that the distance between them was reduced to only two arm-lengths. And since all bows are not equal in length, the approximate distance has been expressed by two bow-lengths away or even closer.
9. The sentence faauha ila abdihi ma auha of the text can have two translations:
(1) He (Gabriel) revealed to His (Allah’s) servant whatever he revealed.
(2) He (Allah) revealed to His own servant whatever He revealed.
According to the first translation, the meaning would be: Gabriel revealed to the servant of Allah whatever he had to reveal; according to the second: Allah revealed through Gabriel to His servant whatever He had to reveal. The commentators have given both these meanings; the first meaning, however, fits in better with the context, and the same has been reported from Hasan Basri and lbn Zaid. Here, the question may be asked: How can the pronoun of abd-i-hi turn to Allah instead of to the subject of auha, whereas Allah has nowhere been mentioned from the beginning of the Surah to this place? The answer is that wherever it becomes apparent from the context that the antecedent of a pronoun refers to a particular person, the pronoun turns to him automatically whether it has been mentioned before or not. There are several instances of this available in the Quran itself. In Surah Al-Qadr, Ayat 1, Allah says: We have sent it down in the night of glory. There is no mention of the Quran in this sentence, but the context explicitly shows that the antecedent of the pronoun is the Quran. At another place Allah says: If Allah were to seize the people because of their misdeeds, He would not leave any creature (unpunished) on its back. In this sentence there is no mention of the earth anywhere, but the context clearly shows that its back implies the earth’s back. In (Surah YaSeen, Ayat 69), it has been said: We have not taught him poetry, nor does poetry behoove him. Here, there is no mention of the Prophet (peace be upon him), neither before this sentence nor after it, yet the context is explicit that the antecedent of the pronouns is the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself. In (Surah Ar-Rahman, Ayat 26), it has been said: Whatever exists on it shall perish. There is no mention of the earth either before or after it, but the style clearly shows that the pronoun of alaiha turns to it. In Surah (Al-Waqiah, Ayat 35), it has been said: We shall have created them especially. There is no noun or pronoun before or after it to which the pronoun of hunna may be referring. It is apparent from the context that it signifies the women of Paradise. Thus, as auha ila abdi hi cannot at all mean that Gabriel revealed to his servant, the meaning necessarily would be that Gabriel revealed to the servant of Allah, or that Allah revealed to His own servant through Gabriel.
10. That is, as the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) observed all this in broad daylight in the waking condition, with open eyes, his heart did not deem it was a delusion, or that it was a jinn or a devil, who had appeared before him, or that it was an imaginary figure, or a vision that he was seeing while awake. His heart fully confirmed what his eyes saw that it was the Angel Gabriel and the message he was conveying was indeed God’s revelation to him.
Here, the question arises: How is it that the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not entertain any doubt at all concerning such a wonderful and extraordinary observation, and he confirmed with full faith that whatever his eyes saw was a real face and not an imaginary figure, nor a jinn nor devil? When we consider this question deeply we are led to five reasons for it:
First, that the external conditions in which this observation was made, testified to its truth and validity. The Prophet (peace be upon him) did not observe this in darkness, or in a state of meditation, or in a vision, or in a sleep-like condition, but the day had dawned and he was fully awake, and he was seeing the whole scene in the broad daylight in the open with his own eyes precisely in the way as one sees the other things in the world. If doubt is cast on this, then whatever we see in the day time, e.g. rivers, mountains, men, houses, etc., also would become doubtful and illusory.
Second, that the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) own internal condition also testified to its validity. He was in his full senses. He had no idea whatever in his mind that he should observe, or that he was going to observe such a thing. His mind was absolutely free from such a thought and any longing for it, and in this state he met with this experience suddenly. There was no room for doubting that the eyes were seeing an actual scene, but that an imaginary thing had appeared before his eyes.
Third, that the being who had appeared before him in that condition was so marvelous and magnificent, so beautiful and bright, that neither had he ever had any concept of such a being before that he could take it for a product of his own imagination, nor could a jinn or a devil have such an appearance that he would have taken him for a being other than an angel. Abdullah bin Masud has reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: I saw Gabriel in the shape that he had six hundred wings. (Musnad Ahmad). In another tradition, Ibn Masud has further explained that each single wing of Gabriel was so extensive that it seemed to be covering the whole horizon. (Musnad Ahmad). Allah Himself has described him as shadid al-quwa (one mighty in power) and dhu-mirra (one endowed with great wisdom).
Fourth, that the teaching that the being was imparting also testified to the validity of the observation. The Prophet (peace be upon him) had no concept of the knowledge that he received suddenly through him, a knowledge that comprehended the realities and truths of the whole universe. About it he could not have the doubt that it consisted of his own ideas which were being set and arranged by his own mind. Likewise, there was no ground for thinking either that it was Satan who was imparting that knowledge to him and thus deluding him, for it is not for Satan that he should teach, nor can he ever teach, the doctrine of Tauhid to man as against polytheism and idolworship, that he should warn of the accountability of the Hereafter, that he should create contempt against ignorance and its practices, that he should invite people to moral excellences, and should exhort a person not only to accept that teaching himself but should also rise to eradicate polytheism, injustice, wickedness and sin from the world and replace these evils by the virtues of Tauhid, justice, equity and piety.
The fifth and by far the most important reason is that when Allah chooses a certain person for His Prophethood, He cleanses his heart of doubts and suspicions and evil suggestions and fills it with faith and conviction. In that state no hesitation or vacillation is caused in his mind about the validity of whatever his eyes see and his ears hear. He accepts with complete satisfaction of the heart every truth that is revealed to him by his Lord, whether it is in the form of an observation that he is made to witness with the eyes, or in the form of knowledge which he is inspired with, or in the form of a revelation that is recited to him literally. In all these cases the Prophet is fully aware that he is absolutely safe and secure against Satanic interference of every kind, and whatever he is receiving in any form is precisely and definitely from his Lord. Like all God-given feelings this sense and feeling of the Prophet also is a certainty which does not admit of any misunderstanding. Just as the fish has a God-given sense of being a swimmer, the bird of being a bird, and the man of being a man, and there can be no likelihood of any misunderstanding in this regard, so has the Prophet also a God given sense of his being a Prophet. He does not even for a moment entertain the doubt that he has perhaps been involved in the misunderstanding of being a Prophet.
11. This is about the Holy Prophet’s second meeting with Gabriel in which he appeared before him in his real shape and nature. The place where this meeting took place has been described as Sidrat-al-muntaha, along with which it has been said that nearby it is located Jannat-al-mava (Garden of Repose).
Sidrah in Arabic means the lote-tree and muntaha the extreme edge or limit. Thus, literally, sidrat-al-muntaha means the lote-tree that is situated on the extreme edge or limit. Allama Alusi in his Ruh al-Maani has explained it thus: At this the knowledge of every learned man comes to an end; whatever is beyond it is known to none but Allah. Almost the same explanation of it has been given by Ibn Jarir in his commentary, and by Ibn kathir in An-Nihayah fi Gharib alHadith wal-Athar. It is difficult for us to know what kind of a lote-tree it is that is situated at the farthest end of this physical world and what is its nature and state. These are the mysteries of the divine universe which are incomprehensible for us. In any case, it is some such thing for which there was no more appropriate word than sidrah in human language, in the sight of Allah.
Jannat al-mava literally means the Jannat (Garden) that is to be an abode. Hasan Basri says that this is the same Jannat which the believers and righteous will be given in the Hereafter, and from this same verse he has argued that that Jannat is in the heavens. Qatadah says that this is the Jannat in which the souls of the martyrs are kept, it does not imply the Jannat that is to be given in the Hereafter. Ibn Abbas also says the same but adds that the Jannat to be granted to the believers in the Hereafter is not in the heavens but here on the earth.
12. That is, its splendor and glory exceeds all description. The divine glory and effulgence was such as can neither be conceived by man nor can any human language depict it adequately.
13. That is, on the one hand, the Messenger (peace be upon him) of Allah was so firm and steadfast that even in the presence of the great divine splendor and glory his sight was not dazzled and he went on gazing at it with great composure. On the other hand, he was in such complete control of himself and so exclusively attentive that he kept his mind and his sight focused upon the object for which he had been summoned, and he did not let his sight wander to any side like a spectator’s to have a glimpse of the wonderful objects present there. This can be understood by the example of a person who gets an opportunity to be present in the court of a mighty and powerful king, where he comes across such glory and splendor that had never even been conceived by him before. Now, if he be a shallow person, he would be struck with amazement, and if he be un-initiated in the court etiquette, he would become heedless of the royal presence and would turn his gaze to every side to look at the embellishments of the court. But a noble, reverent and dutiful person will neither be stupefied and confounded, nor will become lost in witnessing the court, but will present himself with full dignity and will keep his mind concentrated on the object for which he had been summoned in the royal court. This very virtue and quality of the Prophet (peace be upon him) has been esteemed in this verse.
14. This verse clearly states that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had not seen Allah but His wonderful sings. Even according to the context, this second meeting also took place with the same being with whom the first meeting had taken place. Therefore, one will have to admit that neither the one whom he had first seen on the uppermost horizon was Allah nor he whom he saw afterwards by the farthest lote-tree was Allah. Had he seen Allah Almighty on either occasion it would have been a great thing and must certainly have been mentioned here explicitly. About the Prophet Moses it has been said in the Quran that he had besought to see Allah And the reply given was: Lan tarani You cannot sec Me. (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayat 143). Now, obviously this honor was not granted to the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him). Had it been granted to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), it would by itself have been such an important thing which must have been stated in clear words. But we see that nowhere in the Quran has it been said that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had seen his Sustainer and Lord. But in Surah Bani-Israil also, where mention has been made of the event of Miraj (Ascension), it has been said that: We had transported Our servant…so that We may show him some of Our signs, (linuriya- hu min ayat-ina), and here also in connection with his visit at sidrat al-muntaha, it has been said: He saw of the greatest signs of His Lord (laqad ra a min ayat-i Rabb-i-hil kubra).
In view of these reasons apparently there was no ground for the dispute whether the Prophet (peace be upon him) on both these occasions had seen Allah Almighty or the Angel Gabriel. But, the reason that has given rise to this dispute is that the traditions of Hadith differ on this question. Below we reproduce in their sequence the Ahadith that have been reported from the different companions in this regard:
(1) Traditions of Aishah:
Masruq, as stated in Kitab at-Tafsir of Bukhari, asked Aishah: O mother of the faithful. Had Muhammad (peace be upon him) seen his Lord and Sustainer? She replied: Your question has terrified me. Why do you forget that if a person lays claim to three of the things, he would lay a false claim? (The first of these things that Aishah mentioned was): Whoever among you says that Muhammad (peace be upon him) had seen his Lord and Sustainer, tells a lie. Then Aishah recited these verses: La tudriku-hul-absar: Eyes cannot comprehend Him; and: Makanali-bashar-in anyyukallima-hullah-u ills wahy-an au min-wara-i-hijab-in au yursila rasul an fayu-hia bi-idhni hi ma yasha-u: It is not given to any mortal that Allah should speak to him, face to face; He, speaks either through revelation (secret instruction), or from behind a curtain, or He sends a messenger (an angel), who by Allah’s command, reveals whatever He wills. (Surah Ash-Shura, Ayat 51). Then she said: The Prophet (peace be upon him) in fact had seen Gabriel in his real shape twice.
A part of this Hadith is also found in Bukhari (chapter 4 of Kitab atTauhid) And in the tradition that Bukhari has cited from Masruq in Kitab Bida aI-Khalq, he states: Hearing this thing from Aishah, I asked: What would then Allah’s words, Thumma dana fa-tadalla, fa-Kana qaba qausain-i au adha: mean? She replied: This refers to Gabriel; he always appeared before the Prophet (peace be upon him) in human shape, but on this occasion he had appeared before him in his real shape and nature and the whole horizon was filled with him.
In Muslim (Kitab al-Iman, Babu fi Dhikr Sidrat almuntaha) this conversation between Aishah and Masruq has been related in greater detail, its most important part being this: Aishah said: The one who claims that Muhammad (peace be upon him) had seen his Lord and Sustainer imputes a lie to Allah. Masruq says: I was leaning back. Hearing this I sat up and said: Mother of the faithful, do not make haste: Has not Allah said: wa laqad raa-hu biufuq- i mubin? and laqad raa-hu nazlat-an ukhra. Aishah replied: I was the first one in this ummah who inquired of the Prophet (peace be upon him) about this. He had replied: It was Gabriel. I have never seen him in his real shape and form in which Allah has created him except on these two occasions. On these two occasions I saw him descending from the heavens and his great presence was covering the whole space between the earth and the heavens.
Ibn Marduyah has related this tradition of Masruq, thus: Aishah said: I was indeed the first person who asked the Prophet (peace be upon him): Did you ever see your Lord and Sustainer? He replied: No, I had only seen Gabriel descending from the heavens.
(2) Traditions of Abdullah bin Masud: Bukhari (Kitab at-Tafsir), Muslim (Kitab al Iman) and Tirmidhi (Abwab at-Tafsir) contain a tradition on the authority of Zirr bin Hubaish, saying that Abdullah bin Masud gave this commentary of fa-kana qaba qausain-i au adha: The Prophet (peace be upon him) saw Gabriel in the shape that he had six hundred wings.
In the other traditions of Muslim, Zirr bin Hubaish has reported this very commentary of Ma kadhab al-fu adu ma raa and laqad ra a min ayat-i Rabbi-hil kubra from Abdullah bin Masud.
In Musnad Ahmad this commentary of Ibn Masud has been reported by Abdur Rahman bin Yazid and Abu Wail also besides Zirr bin Hubaish. Furthermore, in Musnad Ahmad two more traditions of Zirr bin Hubaish have been related in which Abdullah bin Masud commenting upon wa laqad raa-hu nazlat-an ukhra, inda-sidrat-ilmuntaha stated: The Messenger (peace be upon him) of Allah said that he saw Gabriel by the lote-tree, he had six hundred wings. Imam Ahmad has also cited a tradition on the same subject, on the authority of Shaqiq bin Salamah, in which he states that he heard Abdullah bin Masud saying that the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself had said that he had seen Gabriel in that shape at sidrat al-muntaha.
(3) When Ata bin Abi Rabah asked Abu Hurairah the meaning of the verse laqad raa-hu nazlat-an ukhra, he replied: The Prophet (peace be upon him) had seen Gabriel. (Muslim: Kitab al lman).
(4) Imam Muslim has related in kitab al-Iman two traditions of Abdullah bin Shaqiq on the authority of Abu Dharr Ghifari, in one of which he says that he asked the Prophet (peace be upon him): Did you ever see your Lord? The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: Nur-un anna ara-hu; and in the other he says that the Prophet (peace be upon him) gave this answer to his question: Raaitu nur-an. Of the first answer of the Prophet (peace be upon him), Ibn al-Qayyim has given this meaning in his Zadal-Maad: Between me and the sight of my Lord there was Light, and of the second this: I did not see my Lord but only a Light.
Nasai and Ibn Abi Hatim have reported the saying of Abu Dharr, thus: The Prophet (peace be upon him) had seen his Lord with the heart (mind), not with the eyes.
(5) Imam Muslim in his Kitab al-Iman has related this tradition from Abu Musa al-Ashari: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The sight of no one from among His creatures has reached Allah Almighty.
(6) Traditions of Abdullah bin Abbas:
According to Muslim, when Abdullah bin Abbas was asked the meaning of: Ma kadhab al-fu adu ma ara, wa laqad raa hu nazlat-an ukhra, he said: The Messenger (peace be upon him) of Allah saw his Lord twice with his heart. This tradition is also contained in Musnad Ahmad.
Ibn Marduyah has cited this saying of Ibn Abbas, on the authority of Ata bin Abi Rabah: The Messenger (peace be upon him) of Allah had not seen Allah with the eyes but with the heart.
Nasai contains a tradition from Ikrimah saying that Ibn Abbas said: Do you wonder at this that Allah made the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) His friend, blessed Moses (peace be upon him) with His Word and honored Muhammad (peace be upon him) with His sight? Hakim also has cited this tradition and held it as authentic.
In Tirmidhi, there is a tradition from Shabi to the effect that Ibn Abbas said in a gathering: Allah had distributed His sight and His Word between Muhammad (peace be upon him) and Moses (peace be upon him). He spoke to Moses twice, and Muhammad saw Him twice. Hearing these very words of lbn Abbas, Masruq had approached Aishah with the question: Had Muhammad (peace be upon him) seen his Lord? She had replied: What you have said has made my hair stand on end. After this the same dialogue that we have cited above under the tradition of Aishah took place between Aishah and Masruq.
In one of the traditions reported in Tirmidhi from lbn Abbas, he says: The Prophet had seen Allah Almighty. In yet another he says: He had seen Him twice, and in a third one: He had seen Him with the heart.
In Musnad Ahmad, a tradition from Ibn Abbas is to the effect: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: I saw my Lord, the blessed, the exalted. In another tradition he says: The Messenger of Allah said: Tonight my Lord came to me in the best shape. I think that by this the Prophet (peace be upon him) meant that he saw Allah Almighty in a vision.
Tabarani and Ibn Marduyah have related this tradition also from Ibn Abbas: The Messenger (peace be upon him) of Allah had seen his Lord twice, once with the eyes and the second time with the heart.
(7) Muhammad bin Kab al-Qurzi states that when some of the companions asked the Prophet (peace be upon him): Did you ever see your Lord? He replied: I have seen Him twice with my heart. (Ibn Abi Hatim). Ibn Jarir has related this very tradition, thus: He said: I have not seen Him with the eye, but with the heart twice.
(8) A tradition of Anas bin Malik which Imam Bukhari has cited in his Kitab at-Tauhid in connection with the event of the Miraj, on the authority of Sharik bin Abdullah, contains words to the effect: When the Prophet (peace be upon him) reached sidrat al-muntaha, Allah Almighty drew near him and hung suspended above him till there remained between the Prophet (peace be upon him) and Him a distance equal to two bow-lengths or even less. Then, what Allah revealed to him included the command for 50 Prayers. But, besides the objections that Imam Khattabi, Hafiz lbn Hajar, Ibn Hazm and Hafiz Abdul Haq (author of Al-Jam bain al-Sahihain) have raised in respect of the authenticity and subject-matter of this tradition, the main objection against it is that it clearly contradicts the Quran, for the Quran mentions two separate occasions when the experience of the vision took place, the first initially at the uppermost horizon to which reference has been made in: Dane fa-tadalla, fa-kana qaba qausain-i au adna, and a second time near sidrat al muntaha. But this tradition mixes up the two occasions and presents them both as one occasion of the vision. Therefore, because of its being contradictory to the Quran, it cannot be acceptable in any case.
As for the other traditions that we have cited above, the weightiest among them are those that have been related from Abdullah bin Masud and Aishah, for both of them have unanimously reported this saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself that on neither occasion he had seen Allah but Gabriel, and these traditions fully conform to the explanations and allusions of the Quran. Furthermore, they are also confirmed by the sayings of the Prophet (peace be upon him) which Abu Dharr and Hadrat Abu Musa al-Ashari have reported from him. On the contrary the traditions that have been cited from Abdullah bin Abbas in the books of Hadith are self-contradictory. In some he regards both the experiences as a vision with the eyes, in some both as a vision with the heart, in some one with the eyes and the other with the heart, and in some he wholly negates the vision with the eyes. In none of these traditions he has cited any saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself and where he has cited such a saying, it contains no mention of either of the two experiences stated in the Quran; besides, the explanation of one of his traditions given by the other indicates that the Prophet at some time had seen Allah Almighty not in the waking condition but in a vision during sleep. Therefore, in fact, for the commentary of these verses the traditions ascribed to Abdullah bin Abbas cannot be held as reliable. Likewise, although the traditions of Muhammad bin Kaab al-Qurzi cite a saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him), they do not mention the names of the companions who might have heard this thing from the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself. Moreover, in one of them it has been said that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had clearly denied having seen Allah with the eyes.
19-25 Lat, Uzza and Manat (goddesses of Arabs) are nothing but names invented by pagan Arabs
(53:19) Have you ever thought about al-Lat and al-Uzza,15 (53:20) and about the third deity, al-Manat? (53:21) Shall you have the male issues, and He the female issues?16 (53:22) That is indeed an unfair division! (53:23) These are nothing but names that you and your forefathers have invented, for which Allah has sent down no authority.17 They are merely following their conjectures and their carnal desires18 although guidance has come to them from their Lord.19 (53:24) Does man imagine that whatever he wishes for is right for him?20 (53:25) To Allah belong both the Next World and the present.
15. That is, you regard the teachings being given to you by Muhammad (peace be upon him) as erroneous and falsehood, whereas he is being given this knowledge by Allah, and Allah has made him see with his own eyes the verities to which he is testifying before you. Now consider it for yourself as to how irrational are the beliefs that you are following persistently and as to whom you are causing loss by opposing and resisting the person who is guiding you to the right way. In this connection, especially the three goddesses that were worshiped generally by the people of Makkah, Taif and other parts of Hejaz have been taken as an example. About them, they have been asked: Have you ever considered rationally whether they could have even the slightest role in the affairs of the Godhead of the earth and heavens? Or could they bear any relationship whatever with the Lord of the Universe?
The shrine of Lat was in Taif and the Bani Thaqif were so devoted to it that when Abraha was advancing to Makkah with his army of elephants to destroy the Kabah, the people only in order to save the temple of their deity had provided the wicked man with guides to lead him to Makkah so that he should spare Lat, whereas like all the Arabs the people of Thaqif also believed that the Kabah is Allah’s House. Scholars have disputed the meaning of Lat. According to Ibn Jarir Tabari, it is the feminine gender of Allah, i.e. originally this word was allahatun which became al-Lat. According to Zamakhshari, it is derived from hva yalvi, which means to turn to or bow to somebody. As the polytheists turned to it for worship and bowed to it and circumambulated it, it began to be called Lat. Ibn Abbas reads it as Latt (with a stress on t) and holds it is derived from latt yalittu, which means to churn and mix together. He and Mujahid state that this, in fact, was a man, who lived on a rock near Taif, and used to entertain the pilgrims to Makkah with barley drinks and food. When he died the people built a shrine to him on the same rock and began to worship him. But this explanation of Lat, in spite of having been reported on the authority of scholars like Ibn Abbas and Mujahid, is not acceptable for two reasons. First, that in the Quran it has been called Lat and not Latt; second, that the Quran describes all the three as goddesses, and according to this tradition Lat was a man, not a woman.
Uzza is derived from izzat, and it means the one (female) enjoying veneration and respect. This was the special goddess of the Quraish and her shrine was situated at Hurad in the valley of Nakhlah, between Makkah and Taif. The people of Bani Shaiban, who were the allies of the Bani Hashim, were its attendants. The Quraish and the people of other tribes paid visits to it and presented offerings and made sacrifices to it. As for the Kabah, sacrificial animals were driven to it also and it was held in the highest esteem. Ibn Hisham relates that when Abu Uhaihah was on the point of death, Abu Lahab paid him a visit and found him weeping. Abu Lahab asked, Why do you weep, Abu Uhaihah? Are you afraid of death? And death is the destiny of everybody. He said: By God, I do not weep because of the fear of death, but I am grieved to think as to how Uzza will be worshipped after me. Abu Lahab said: It was neither worshipped for your sake in your lifetime, nor will it be given up after you have left the world. Abu Uhaihah said: Now I am satisfied that there are people who will take my place after me.
The shrine of Manat was situated at Qudaid by the Red Sea between Makkah and Madinah, and the people of Khuzaah and Aus and Khazraj were in particular its great devotees. People visited it as pilgrims, circumambulated it and made offerings and sacrifices before it. In the Hajj months as soon as the pilgrims became free from their visit to the Kabah and the religious services at Mina and Arafat, they would start raising cries of labbaik, labbaik even there for the purpose of visiting Manat, and the people who intended to go on this second hajj did not run between the Safa and the Marwah.
16. That is, you held these goddesses as daughters of Allah, Lord of the worlds, and did not consider while inventing this absurd creed that as for yourselves you regarded the birth of a daughter as disgraceful, and desired to have only male children, but as for Allah you assign to Him only daughters.
17. That is, those whom you call gods and goddesses are neither gods nor goddesses, nor do they possess any attribute of divinity, nor any share whatever in the powers of Godhead. You have of your own whim made them children of God and deities and associates in Godhead. Allah has sent down no authority which you may produce as a proof in support of your presumptions.
18. In other words, the basic causes of their deviation are two: First, that they do not feel any need for the knowledge of reality for the purpose of adopting a creed and religion, but make a supposition on the basis of a mere conjecture and then put belief in it as though it were the reality, Second, that they have, in fact, adopted this attitude in order to follow the desires of their souls: they desire that they should have such a deity as should help them attain their aims and objects in the world, and if at all there is to be a Hereafter, it should take the responsibility to have them granted forgiveness there too, But it should not impose any restriction of the lawful and the unlawful on them nor should bind them in any discipline of morality. That is why they do not feel inclined to worship One God as taught by the Prophets, and only like to worship these invented gods and goddesses.
19. That is, in every age the Prophets appointed by Allah have been guiding these wicked people to the truth, and now Muhammad (peace be upon him) has come to tell them as to whom belongs Godhead in reality in the universe.
20. Another meaning of this verse can be: Is man entitled to take anyone he pleases as his god? Still another meaning can be: Can the desire of man to have his prayers answered by these gods ever be fulfilled?
26-32 Angels have no share in divinity, nor they can intercede without permission and Do not claim piety for yourselves, Allah knows who is Godfearing and pious
(53:26) Numerous are the angels in the heavens; yet their intercession shall be of no avail, except in regard to those whom He grants the leave of intercession and whose plea He is pleased to accept.21 (53:27) Those who do not believe in the Hereafter give angels the names of females,22 (53:28) although they have no knowledge regarding that. They only follow their conjecture23 and conjecture can never take the place of the Truth. (53:29) So leave alone those who turn away from the remembrance of Us24 and who seek nothing but the life of the world25 – (53:30) that26 being the utmost of their knowledge.27 Surely your Lord fully knows those who have strayed away from His Path and He also fully knows those who are rightly guided. (53:31) To Allah alone belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth.28 He will29 requite the evil-doers for their deeds and bestow a goodly reward on those who have done good, (53:32) on those who avoid grave sins30 and shameful deeds,31 even if they may sometimes stumble into lesser offences.32 Surely your Lord is abounding in His Forgiveness.33 Very well is He aware of you since He produced you from the earth, and while you were still in your mothers’ wombs and not yet born. So do not boastfully claim yourselves to be purified. He fully knows those that are truly Godfearing.
21. That is, even if all the angels together intercede for a person, it cannot be beneficial for him not to speak of the intercession by these invented deities of yours, which can do no one any good. All the powers of Godhead rest with Allah. Even the angels cannot dare intercede for somebody before Him unless He permits it and is pleased to hear their intercession in his behalf.
22 That is, their first folly is that they have taken these powerless angels who cannot even intercede for anyone before Allah as their deities. Their second folly is that they regard them as female and daughters of Allah. The basic reason for these errors is that they do not believe in the Hereafter. For, had they been believers in the Hereafter, they would never have behaved so irrationally and irresponsibly. Their denial of the Hereafter has made them heedless of their end, and they think that believing or disbelieving in God, or believing in a thousand gods, does not make any difference, for none of these creeds seems to entail any good or bad result in the present life of the world. Whether the people are deniers of God, or believers in many gods, or in One God, their crops ripen as well as fail, they fall ill as well as recover from illness, and they pass through all kinds of circumstances, good as well as bad. Therefore it is not at all an important and serious matter for them that man should or should not take some one as a deity, or should take as many deities or of any kind as he likes of his choice. When according to them the decision as to what is truth and what is falsehood is to take place in this very world, depending on the results thereof appearing here, obviously the results here do not decide absolutely that one creed is true and another false. Therefore, the adoption of one creed and rejection of another is a matter of mere whim with these people.
23. That is, they have not adopted this creed about the angels on the ground that they had found through some means of knowledge that they were females and daughters of God, but they have presumed this on mere conjecture and have set up these shrines at which they pray for fulfillment of desires, make offerings and pay tributes.
24. Dhikr here may imply the Quran as well as mere admonition; it may also mean that he does not like that even God be mentioned before him.
25. That is, you should not waste your time in making him understand the truth, for such a person will never be inclined to accept any invitation which is based on Godworship, which calls to objects and values higher than the material benefits of the world, and according to which the real aim of life may be the eternal success and well-being of the Hereafter. Instead of spending your time and energy on such a materialistic and ungodly person, you should devote attention to the people who are inclined to heed the remembrance of Allah and are not involved in the worship of the world.
26. This is a parenthetical sentence which has been inserted here as an explanation of the preceding verse.
27. That is, these people neither know nor can think anything beyond the world and its immediate gains; therefore, it is futile merely to spend time and energy on them.
28. In other words, neither the question whether a person is gone astray or is on right guidance, is to be decided in this world, nor has its decision been left to the judgment of the people of the world; the decision rests with Allah. He alone is the Master of the earth and heavens and He alone knows which way, out of the different ways being followed by the people of the world, is the way of guidance and which of error and deviation. Therefore, you should least bother if the polytheistic Arabs and the Makkan disbelievers think you are deluded and misguided and regard their own ignorance as truth and guidance. Leave them alone if they wish to remain lost in their falsehood. You need not waste your time in disputing with them.
29. The theme is resumed here and connected as a continuous whole with verse 29. Without the parenthesis, it would read: Leave him alone so that Allah may requite the evildoers for their evil deeds.
30. For explanation, see( E.N. 53 of Surah An-Nisa).
31. For explanation, see (E.N. 130 of Surah Al-Anaam) and (E.N. 89 of Surah An-Nahl).
32. The word lamam as found in the original is used for a small quantity of something, or its slight effect, or its mere closeness, or its existence for a short time. This word is used to express the sense that a person did not commit an act but was very near to committing it.
On the basis of its usages some commentators have taken the word lamam in the meaning of minor sins. Some others have taken it in the meaning that a person should practically reach very near a grave sin but should desist from actually committing it. Still others take it in the sense of a person’s remaining involved in a sin temporarily and then desisting from it. And according to some it implies that a person should think of, or wish, or intend to commit a sin but should rake no practical steps towards it. In this regard, the views of the companions and their immediate followers are as follows:
Zaid bin Aslam and Ibn Zaid opine, and a saying of Abdullah bin Abbas is also to the same effect, that it signifies those sins which the people had committed in the pre-Islamic days of ignorance, then after embracing Islam they refrained from them.
Another view of Ibn Abbas is, and the same is also the view of Abu Hurairah, Abdullah bin Amr bin Aas, Mujahid, Hasan Basri and Abu Salih, that it implies a person’s being involved in a grave sin or indecency temporarily, or occasionally, and then giving it up.
Abdullah bin Masud, Masruq and Shabi say, and the same has also been reported from Abu Hurairah and Abdullah bin Abbas in authentic traditions, that this implies a person’s approaching the very point of a grave sin and crossing all its preliminaries but then restraining himself at the final stage, e.g. a person goes out with the intention of stealing but refrains from it in the end, or has close association with other women, but refrains from committing adultery.
Abdullah bin Zubair, Ikrimah, Qatadah and Dahhak say that this signifies those minor sins for which no punishment has been prescribed in the world nor any threat of punishment held out in the Hereafter.
Saeed bin al-Musayyab says that this implies one’s thinking of a sin in the mind but restraining himself from committing it practically.
These are the different explanations which have been reported in the traditions from the companions and their immediate followers. The majority of the later commentators and doctors of law and jurists are of the opinion that this verse and verse 31 of Surah An-Nisa classify sins into two main kinds: the major sins and the minor sins, and these two verses give man the hope that if he abstains from the major sins and open indecencies, Allah will overlook his minor errors. Although some distinguished scholars have also opined that no sin is minor and the disobedience of Allah is by itself a major sin, yet as stated by Imam Ghazali the distinction between the major and the minor sins is something which cannot be denied, for the sources of knowledge of the Shariah values and injunctions all point to this.
As for the question, what is the distinction between the major and the minor sins, and what kinds of sins are major and what kinds of them minor? we are satisfied that: Every such act is a major sin which has been forbidden by a clear ordinance of the divine Book and the Shariah of the Prophet (peace be upon him), or for which Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) have prescribed a punishment in the world, or have held out a threat of punishment in the Hereafter, or have cursed the one guilty of committing it, or given the news of infliction of punishment on those guilty of committing it. Apart from this class of sins all other acts which are disapproved by the Shariah, come under the definition of minor sins. Likewise, the mere desire for a major sin, or an intention to commit it, is also not a major sin but a minor sin; so much so that even crossing all the preliminaries of a major sin does not constitute a major sin unless one has actually committed it. However, even a minor sin becomes a major sin in case it is committed with a feeling of contempt for religion and of arrogance against Allah, and the one guilty of it does not consider the Shariah that has declared it an evil worthy of any attention and reverence.
33. That is, the forgiveness for the one guilty of minor sins is not for the reason that a minor sin is no sin, but for the reason that Allah Almighty does not treat His servants narrow-mindedly and does not seize them on trifling faults; if the servants adopt piety and abstain from major sins and indecencies, He will not seize them for their minor errors and will forgive them magnanimously on account of His infinite mercy.
33-62 No soul shall bear the burden of another, there shall be nothing for a person except what he strived for
(53:33) (O Prophet), did you see him who turned away (from the Path of Allah), (53:34) who gave a little, and then stopped?34 (53:35) Does he have any knowledge of the world beyond the ken of sense-perception, and therefore, clearly sees (the Truth)?35 (53:36) Has he not been informed of what is in the Scrolls of Moses, (53:37) and of Abraham, who lived up to the trust?36 (53:38) “That no bearer of a burden shall bear the burden of another,37 (53:39) and that man shall have nothing but what he has striven for,38 (53:40) and that (the result of) his striving shall soon be seen,39 (53:41) and that he shall then be fully recompensed, (53:42) and that the final end is with your Lord, (53:43) and that He it is Who causes people to laugh and to cry,40 (53:44) and that He it is Who causes death and grants life, (53:45) and He it is Who created the two kinds, the male and the female, (53:46) from a drop of sperm when it was emitted,41 (53:47) and that it is for Him to grant the second life,42 (53:48) that He it is Who bestowed wealth and riches,43 (53:49) that He is the Lord of Sirius,44 (53:50) that He it is Who destroyed the ancient ‘Ad,45 (53:51) and Thamud, leaving no trace of them, (53:52) and that He it is Who destroyed the people of Noah before for they were much given to iniquity and transgression. (53:53) And He brought perdition upon the subverted cities (53:54) and caused them to be covered with that which He covered them with.46 (53:55) So,47 which of your Lord’s bounties will you doubt?”48 (53:56) This is a warning among the warnings of yore.49 (53:57) The imminent Hour has drawn near,50 (53:58) and none but Allah can avert it.51 (53:59) Will you, then, wonder at this?52 (53:60) Will you laugh at it rather than weep?53 (53:61) Will you occupy yourselves simply in merriment?54 (53:62) Prostrate yourselves before Allah, and serve Him.55
34. The reference is to Walid bin Mughirah who was one of the prominent chiefs of the Quraish. According to Ibn Jarir Tabari, this person had first become inclined to accept the invitation of the Prophet (peace be upon him), but when a polytheist friend of his came to know of his intention to become a Muslim, he counseled him not to give up his ancestral faith, and asked him that if he was afraid of the punishment of the Hereafter, he should pay him a certain amount of money and he would take the responsibility to suffer the punishment on his behalf. Walid accepted the offer and turned away from Allah’s way. Then he paid only a little of the amount that he had promised to his polytheist friend and withheld the rest, The allusion to this incident was meant to toll the disbelievers of Makkah what kind of errors and follies they were involved in because of their heedlessness of the Hereafter and their ignorance of the divine religion.
35. That is, does he know that this conduct is in any way beneficial for him? Does he know that a person can save himself even in this way from the punishment of the Hereafter?
36. In the following verses a resume is being given of the teachings sent down in the Books of the Prophets Abraham and Moses (peace be upon them). The Books of Moses (peace be upon him) signify the Torah. As for the Books of the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) they have become extinct and no mention of them is found even in the holy scriptures of the Jews and Christians. Only in the Quran at two places have some parts of the teachings contained in the Books of the Prophet Abraham been cited, here and in the concluding verses of Surah Al-Ala.
37. From this verse three cardinal principles are derived:
(1) That every person is responsible for himself for what he does.
(2) That the responsibility of one man’s act cannot be transferred to another unless he has a share in the commission of the act.
(3) That even if a person wishes he cannot take on himself the responsibility of another man’s act, nor can the actual culprit be let off on the ground that another person is willing to suffer the punishment on his behalf.
38. From this verse also three important principles are derived:
(1) That every person will get only the fruit of his own deeds.
(2) That the fruit of one man’s deeds cannot be given to another unless he has a share in that deed.
(3) That none can attain anything without striving for it.
Some people wrongly apply these three principles to the economic problems of the world and conclude that no person can become the lawful owner of anything except of his own earned income. But this conclusion clashes with several laws and injunctions given by the Quran itself, e.g. the law of inheritance, according to which many individuals inherit a person and are regarded as his lawful heirs, whereas the heritage is not their earned income. As for a suckling for instance, it cannot be proved by any stretch of imagination that its labor had any share in the wealth left by its father. Likewise, there are the injunctions about the zakat and voluntary charities according to which the wealth of one man is transferred to others only on the basis of their legal and moral entitlement and they become its lawful owners, whereas in the production of this wealth they did not make any contribution at all. Thus, it is against the intention of the Quran to take a verse of it and derive from it such conclusions as clash with the other teachings of the Quran itself.
Some other people regard these principles as concerning the Hereafter and raise the question whether, according to these principles, the deeds of one man can in some way be also beneficial for the other person, and whether the deeds of a person which he does for another person, or on his behalf, can be accepted from him, and whether it is also possible that a person may transfer the reward of his act to another. If the answer to these questions be in the negative, the sending of spiritual rewards (isal thawab) for the dead and performing Hajj on behalf of another, would be inadmissible; even the prayer of forgiveness for the other person would be meaningless, for this prayer also is not the concerned person’s own act and deed. However, this extreme point of view has been adopted by none among the followers of Islam except the Mutazilites. Only they take this verse in the meaning that one man’s acts and deeds can in no case be beneficial for the other. On the contrary, the followers of the sunnah are unanimous that the prayer of one man is beneficial for the other because it is confirmed by the Quran; however, they differ only in details, and not in principles, as to whether the sending of spiritual rewards for another and doing a good work on behalf of another is beneficial or not.
(1) The term isal-thawab means that after a person has performed a good act, he may pray to Allah to grant its rewards to another. In this regard, Imam Malik and Imam Shafei have expressed the opinion that the rewards of the pure bodily acts of worship, e.g. the Prayer, the Fasting and recitals of the Quran, etc. cannot reach the other person; however, the rewards of one’s monetary acts of worship, e.g. charities, or Hajj, which is a combination of the monetary and bodily worships, can reach the other, for the principle is that one man’s act should not be beneficial for the other. But since according to authentic Ahadith the rewards of charities can be conveyed, and Hajj on behalf of another also can be performed, they admit the permissibility of conveying of rewards to the extent of this kind of the acts of worship only. On the contrary, the Hanafi viewpoint is that a man can send the reward of each of his virtuous acts as a gift to the other, whether it is the Prayer, or the Fast, or the recitation of the Quran, or remembrance of Allah, or charity, or Hajj and Umrah. The argument is that just as a man after carrying out a piece of work can tell the master to pay the wages to such and such other person instead of him, so after performing a good deed also he can pray to Allah to grant its rewards to such and such other person instead of him. In this there is no rational ground for making exception of some kinds of virtues and keeping it restricted to some other kinds of virtues. The same is confirmed by a large number of the traditions:
A tradition, on the unanimous authority of Aishah, Abu Hurairah, Jabir bin Abdullah. Abu Rafi, Abu Talhah Ansari and Hudhaifah bin Usaid al-Ghifari has been reported in Bukhari, Muslim. Musnad Ahmad, Ibn Majah, Tabari, in Awsat, Musradrik and Ibn Abi Shaibah, saying that the Prophet (peace be upon him) got two rams and sacrificed one on behalf of himself and his family and the other on behalf of his ummah.
Muslim, Bukhari, Musnad Ahmad, Abu Daud and Nasai have related a tradition from Aishah to the effect that a person said to the Prophet (peace be upon him): My mother has died suddenly. I think if she had a chance to speak, she would have asked me giving away something in charity. Now, if I give away something in charity on her behalf, will she get a reward for it? The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: Yes, she will.
In Musnad Ahmad there is a tradition from Abdullah bin Amr bin Aas to the effect, that his grandfather, Aas bin Wail, had vowed in the pre Islamic days of ignorance to sacrifice 100 camels. His uncle, Hisham bin Aas, sacrificed fifty camels of his own share. Amr bin Aas, asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) as to what he should do. The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: If your father had affirmed faith in the Oneness of God, you may observe fasts on his behalf or give something in charity, this would be beneficial for him.
A tradition has been reported in Musnad Ahmad, Abu Daud, Nasai and Ibn Majah, on the authority of Hasan Basri, to the effect that Saad bin Ubadah asked the Prophet (peace be upon him): My mother has died. Should I give something in charity on her behalf? The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied in the affirmative. Several other traditions bearing on the same subject also have been related in Bukhari, Muslim, Musnad Ahmad, Nasai, Tirmidhi, Abu Daud, Ibn Majah, etc. on the authority of Aishah, Abu Hurairah and Ibn Abbas. According to which the Prophet (peace be upon him) permitted giving away of something in charity on behalf of the deceased person describing it as beneficial for him.
According to Daraqutni, a person said to the Prophet (peace be upon him): I have been serving my parents while they were alive, what should I do now when they are dead? The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: This would also be their service if you offered the Prayer on their behalf along with your own Prayers, and observed the Fast on their behalf along with your own Fast. Another tradition in Daraqutni has been related from Ali according to which the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: If a person passing by the graveyard recites: Qul huwallahu ahad eleven times and gives away its reward for the dead, all the dead ones will be granted their due shares of the rewards.
This large number of the traditions which support one another explicitly state that the transfer of the spiritual rewards is not only possible but rewards of all kinds of acts of worship and virtuous deeds can be sent and conveyed and in it there is no specification of any particular kind of acts and deeds. In this connection, however, four things should be understood well:
First, that the reward of that act only can be transferred, which may have been performed purely for the sake of Allah and according to the Shariah injunctions; otherwise obviously an act which is performed for the sake of another than Allah, or in contravention of the Shari ah injunctions, cannot even entitle its doer himself to any reward, nothing to say of its transfer to another person.
Secondly, the gift of the rewards will certainly reach to those righteous persons who are staying as guests with Allah, but no rewards are expected to reach to those culprits who are placed in confinement there. The gift can reach the guests of Allah but the criminals of Allah cannot be expected to receive it. If a person sends his rewards to him because of a misunderstanding, it will not go waste but instead of reaching the culprit it will return to the actual worker himself just like the money order which returns to the sender in case it does not reach the one to whom it has been sent.
Thirdly, the transfer of the reward is possible but not the transfer of punishment. That is, it is possible that one may do a good deed and may willingly transfer its reward to the other and it reaches him, but it is not possible that one may commit a sin and transfer its punishment to the other and it reaches him.
The fourth thing is that a virtuous act is beneficial in two ways: First, on account of its those results which accrue to the soul and morality of the doer himself because of which he becomes worthy of a reward in the sight of Allah; Second, on account of the reward which Allah grants him as a gift and favor. The transfer of the spiritual reward does not concern the first but only the second. This can be understood by an example. A person tries to attain proficiency in the art of wrestling by constant practice. The strength and skill thus gained is in any way specially meant for his own self; it cannot be transferred to another. Similarly, if he is attached to a royal court, and there is a stipend fixed for him as a wrestler, he alone will receive it and no one else. However, in respect of the prizes and gifts that his patron may like to grant him as an appreciation for his creditable performance, he may request that they may be given to his coach, or parents, or some other benefactor, on his behalf. The same is the case with the virtuous deeds: their spiritual benefits are not transferable and their rewards also cannot be transferred to another, but as for their rewards and gifts he can pray to Allah that these may be granted to a near and dear one, or a benefactor of his. That is why it is termed as isal thawab (conveying of spiritual rewards) and not as isal jaza (conveying of material reward).
(2) Another form of a person’s work being beneficial for another is that one should either do a virtuous deed on the desire or beckoning of another, or without his desire or beckoning, on his behalf, which, in fact, was obligatory for him to carry out, but which he was unable to carry out himself. In this regard, the Hanafi jurists say that the acts of worship are of three kinds: purely physical, e.g. the Prayer; purely monetary, e.g. the zakat; and the compound acts of bodily and monetary worship, e.g. Hajj. As for the first kind, nobody can act as an agent of another. As for the second kind, one can act as an agent of the other, e.g. the husband can pay the zakat due on the ornaments of the wife. As for the third kind, one can act as an agent of the other only in case the actual person on whose behalf the act is being performed, is permanently, and not just temporarily, unfit to carry out his obligation himself. For example, Hajj can be performed on behalf of another only in case the person concerned is unable to go for Hajj himself, nor may have the hope that he would ever be able to perform it himself. The Malikis and the Shafei is also concur on, this. However, Imam Malik lays down the condition that if the father has willed that his son should perform Hajj after him, on his behalf, the son can perform Hajj on his father’s behalf, otherwise not, But the traditions in this regard are very explicit. Whether the father has expressed the desire, or made a will or not, the son can perform Hajj on his behalf.
Ibn Abbas has related that a woman from the tribe of Khatham said to the Prophet (peace be upon him): The command for Hajj reached my father at a time when he has become very old: he cannot even sit on the camel’s back. The Prophet replied (peace be upon him): You then may perform Hajj on his behalf. (Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad, Tirmidi, Nasai). A tradition bearing on the same subject has also been related by AIi. (Ahmad, Tirmidhi).
Abdullah bin Zabair has made mention of a man of the same tribe of Khatham, who also put a similar question to the Prophet (peace be upon him) concerning his aged father. The Prophet (peace be upon him) asked: Are you his eldest son? He answered in the affirmative. Thereupon the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: If your father had left behind a debt and you paid it off, would it stand paid on his behalf? He replied that it would. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Then you should likewise perform Hajj also on his behalf. (Ahmad, Nasai). Ibn Abbas relates that a woman from the tribe of Juhainah came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said: My mother had vowed to perform Hajj but she died before performing her vow. Now, can I perform Hajj on her behalf? The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: If your mother had left behind a debt, would you not have paid it? Likewise, you should also discharge the vow made to Allah, and Allah has a greater right that the vows made to Him be performed. (Bukhari, Nasai). Bukhari and Musnad Ahmad contain another tradition to the effect that a man came and put the same question to the Prophet (peace be upon him) concerning his sister as has been mentioned above, and the Prophet (peace be upon him) gave him also the same answer.
These traditions provide a clear proof that so far as the compound acts of bodily and monetary worships are concerned, one can act on behalf of another. As for the purely bodily acts of worship, there are some Ahadith which prove the permissibility of acting on behalf of another in this kind of worship as well. For example, Ibn Abbas has related that a woman from the tribe of Juhainah asked the Prophet (peace be upon him): My mother had vowed to observe the Fast and she died without performing her vow. Now, can I observe the Fast on her behalf? The Prophet replied (peace be upon him): Observe the Fast on her behalf. (Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad, Abu Daud). And Buraidah’s tradition that a woman asked concerning her mother: She had one month’s (according to another tradition two months) Fasts to observe; can I observe those Fasts on her behalf? The Prophet (peace be upon him) said that she could. (Muslim, Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Abu Daud). And Aishah’s tradition that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: If a person dies and he had some Fasts to observe, his guardian should observe those Fasts on his behalf. (Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad). In the tradition related by Bazzar the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) words are to the effect: If his guardian may so like, he may observe those Fasts on his behalf). On the basis of these very traditions the Ashab al-Hadith and Imam Auzai and the Zahiris have formed the view that one is also permitted to perform bodily acts of worship on behalf of the other. But Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Malik, Imam Shafei and Imam Zaid bin Ali have given the ruling that a fast cannot be observed on behalf of a dead person, and Imam Ahmad, Imam Laith and Ishaq bin Rahawaih opine that this can be done only in case the deceased person might have so vowed but might not have been able to perform his vow. Those who oppose this give the argument that the reporters of the Ahadith, which prove its permissibility, have themselves given their rulings against it. Ibn Abbas’s ruling has been related by Nasai, thus: No one should offer a Prayer or observe a Fast on behalf of another. And Aishah’s ruling, according to Abdur Razzaq, is: Do not observe the Fast on behalf of your dead ones; feed (the needy) instead. The same has also been related from Abdullah bin Umar by Abdur Razzaq that the Fast should not be observed on behalf of the deceased person. This shows that in the beginning it was permissible to perform acts of bodily worship on behalf of others, but the practice that became established in the end was that it was not permissible to do so; otherwise it was not possible that those who have reported these Ahadith from the Prophet (peace be upon him), should have themselves given rulings against them.
In this connection, it should be understood well that fulfillment of an obligation on behalf of another can be beneficial only to those people who have themselves been keen and desirous of fulfilling their obligations and might have been unable to do so being rendered helpless by circumstances. But a person who deliberately shirked going for Hajj although he had the necessary means for it and had no feeling whatever of this obligation in his heart either, cannot be benefited even if several Hajj be performed on his behalf afterwards. This would be analogous to the case of a person who deliberately avoided paying his debts and had no intention to pay them till the last. Afterwards even if every penny is paid off on his behalf, he would remain a debtor in the sight of Allah. The payment of the debts by another can relieve only such a person who in his lifetime was desirous of paying off his debts but was unable to do so due to straitened circumstances.
39. That is, in the Hereafter the people’s deeds shall be examined and judged in order to see what provisions they have brought with them. As this sentence occurs immediately after the preceding sentence, it by itself indicates that the preceding sentence relates to the rewards and punishments of the Hereafter, and the view of those who present it as an economic principle relating to this world is not correct. To interpret a verse of the Quran in a way as is irrelevant to the context as well as clashes with the other ordinances of the Quran cannot be right.
40. That is, Allah provides the means both for joy and for grief. He controls good and ill luck. There is no one else in the universe, who may have anything to do with making or marring of destinies.
41. For explanation, see( E.Ns 27 to 30 of Surah Ar-Room); (E.N. 77 of Surah Ash-Shura).
42. When this verse is read with the two preceding verses, the sequence by itself seems to provide the argument for the life-after-death also. The God Who has the power to give death and grant life and the God who brings about a creature like man from an insignificant sperm-drop, rather brings about two separate sexes – male and female – from the same substance and by the same method of creation, cannot be helpless to resurrect man once again.
43. Different meanings have been given by the lexicographers and commentators of the word aqna as used in the original. According to Qatadah, Ibn Abbas took it in the meaning of arda (pleased), and according to Ikrimah in the meaning of qannaa (satisfied). According to Imam Razi, whatever is given to a person over and above his need and requirement is aqna. Abu Ubaidah and several other lexicographers have expressed the view that aqna is derived from qunya-tun, which means lasting and secured property, e.g. the house, lands, gardens, cattle, etc. Ibn Zaid, however, has given quite a different meaning of it. He says that aqua here has been used in the sense of afqara (made penniless), and the verse means: He made whomever He pleased rich and whomever He pleased penniless.
44. Shiera is the brightest star in the heavens, which is also known by the names of Mirzam al-Jawza, al-Kalb al-Akbar, al-Kalb al-Jabbar, Ash-Shira al-Abur, etc. In English it is called Sirius, Dog Star and Canis Majoris. It is 23 times as luminous as the Sun, but as it shines over eight light-years away from the earth, it appears to be smaller and less luminous than the Sun. The Egyptians worshiped it, for it made its appearance at about the time of the season when the annual floods were beginning in the Nile; the Egyptians believed that Sirius caused the Nile floods. The pagan Arabs also held the belief that this star influenced human destinies. That is why they worshiped it as a deity, and the Bani Khuzaah, the neighboring tribe of the Quraish, were particularly well-known for being its devotees. What Allah says means: Your destinies are not made and controlled by Shiera but by the Lord of Shiera.
45. Aad Ula signifies the ancient Aad to whom the Prophet Houd (peace be upon him) had been appointed as a Prophet. When those people were inflicted with the torment in consequence of denying the Prophet Houd (peace be upon him), only the believers escaped the punishment. Their descendants are called Aad Ukhra, or the latter Aad, in history.
46. “The subverted settlements”: the settlements of the people of Lot, and “covered them that which did cover” probably imply the waters of the Dead Sea, which spread over their settlements after they had sunk underground, and covered the region even till this day.
47. According to some commentators this sentence is also a part of the resume of the Books of the Prophets Abraham and Moses, (peace be upon them) and according to others it ended with Fa ghashsha-ha ma ghashsha, and with this begins a new theme. According to the context, however, the first view seems to be preferable, for the following words This is a warning of the warnings already given, point out that the whole preceding passage is “of the warnings already given”, which had been sent down in the Books of the Prophets Abraham and Moses (peace be upon them).
48. The word tatamara, as used in the text, means both to doubt and to wrangle. The address is directed to every listener. To every person who may be listening to this discourse, it is being said: Even after witnessing what has been the fate in human history of denying the bounties of Allah and of wrangling with the Prophets concerning them, will you still commit the same folly? What the former peoples had doubted was whether the bounties and blessings they were enjoying in the world, had been bestowed by One God, or by other associates of His, or by no one, but had become available by themselves. On account of this they wrangled with the Prophets. The Prophets asserted that all these blessings had been granted to them by God, and by One God alone; therefore, they should be grateful to Him and should serve Him alone; but the people did not believe this and wrangled with the Prophets on this very account. Now, O man: Don’t you see in history what fate these nations met for entertaining this doubt and for their wrangling? Will you entertain the same doubt and indulge in the same wrangling as proved disastrous for others?
In this connection, one should also bear in mind that the Aad and the Thamud and the people of Noah had passed long before the Prophet Abraham, and the people of Lot had met with the torment during his own lifetime. Therefore, there can be no difficulty in regarding this passage as a part of the resume of the Prophet Abraham’s Books.
49. The words in the original are: Hadha nadhir-un-minan- nudhur-il-ula. The commentators have expressed three points of view in the explanation of this sentence. First, that nadhir here implies the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him); second, that it implies the Quran; third, that it implies the fate of the peoples already destroyed, which has been referred to in the foregoing verses. In view of the context, we are of the opinion that this last commentary is preferable.
50. That is, do not be under the delusion that there is yet enough time for thinking and consideration; therefore, you may not give immediate and serious attention to these things and may not decide that you should accept them without further delay. Nay: no one among you knows how much of the respite of life is left to him. Anyone of you can die at any time and the Last Hour can also take place suddenly. Therefore, do not think that the Hour of Judgment is yet far off. Whoever has any concern for the Hereafter, should mend his ways forthwith, for one may not have a chance to take a second breath after the present breath.
51. That is, when the Hour of Judgment does arrive, you will not be able to stop it, nor your deities other than Allah have the power to avert it. Allah alone can stop it but He will not.
52. The word hadh-al-Hadith as used in the original, signifies the whole teaching that was being presented in the Quran through the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and marvel implies the marvel that man expresses on hearing a novel and incredible thing. The verse means this: That to which Muhammad (peace be upon him) is inviting you is the same that you have already heard. Now, is it this very thing at which you marvel and feel alarmed, and express wonder as if something very strange and novel was being presented before you?
53. That is, instead of weeping at your ignorance and deviation you, on the contrary, are mocking, the truth.
54. Two meanings have been given of the word samidun by the lexicographers.
Ibn Abbas, Ikrimah and Abu Ubaidah, the grammarian, are of the view that in the Yarnanite tongue sumud means singing and playing, and the verse alludes that the disbelievers of Makkah, in order to suppress the recitation of the Quran and to divert the people’s attention away from it, would start singing in a loud voice.
The other meaning of it given by lbn Abbas and Mujahid is: Sumud means bending down the head out of arrogance; when the disbelievers of Makkah passed by the Prophet (peace be upon him), they would pass by him angrily with their faces lifted up. Raghib Isphahani in his Mafradat also has adopted the same meaning; accordingly, Qatadah has translated samidun into ghafilun and Saed bin Jubair into muridun.
55. According to Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Shafei and many other scholars, it is obligatory to perform a sajdah on the recitation of this verse. Although Imam Malik himself used to perform a sajdah here (as cited by Qadi Abu Bakr ibn al-Arabi in Ahkam al-Quran), yet he held the view that it was not obligatory to perform a sajdah here, the basis of his view being this tradition of Zaid bin Thabit: I recited Surah an-Najm before the Prophet (peace be upon him), and he did not perfom a sajdah. (Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Abu Daud, Nasai). But this Hadith does not negate the incumbency of the prostration here, for it is likely that the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not perform the sajdah then due to some reason but might have performed it later. Other traditions on the subject are explicit that the prostration was always performed on this verse. Abdullah bin Masud, Ibn Abbas and Muttalib bin Abi Wadaah have unanimously stated that when the Prophet (peace be upon him) recited this Surah for the first time in the Kabah, he had prostrated himself and along with him the whole assembly of the believers and the disbelievers had also fallen down prostrate. (Bukhari, Ahmad, Nasai). Ibn Umar has reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) recited Surah an-Najm in the Prayer and prostrated himself and lay long in that state. (Baihaqi, Ibn Marduyah). Saburat al-Juhani states that Umar recited Surah an-Najm in the Fajr Prayer and performed a sajdah, then stood up, recited Surah al-Zilzal and performed the ruku. (Saed bin Mansur). Imam Malik himself has related this act of Umar in his Muwatta (Bab Maja fi Sajud al- Quren).