Surah Zukhruf >> Currently viewing Surah Zukhruf Ayat 21 (43:21)

Surah Zukhruf Ayat 21 in Arabic Text

أَمْ ءَاتَيْنَـٰهُمْ كِتَـٰبًۭا مِّن قَبْلِهِۦ فَهُم بِهِۦ مُسْتَمْسِكُونَ
Am aatainaahum Kitaaban min qablihee fahum bihee mustamsikoon

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 21

Sahih International
Or have We given them a book before the Qur’an to which they are adhering?

Yusuf Ali
What! have We given them a Book before this, to which they are holding fast?

Abul Ala Maududi
Or did We bestow upon them a Book before on whose authority they are holding on (to angel-worship)?

Muhsin Khan
Or have We given them any Book before this (the Quran), to which they are holding fast?

Pickthall
Or have We given them any scripture before (this Qur’an) so that they are holding fast thereto?

Dr. Ghali
Or even have We brought them a Book even before it, (The Qur’an) so that they are upholding it fast.?

Abdel Haleem
or have We perhaps given them a book before this one, to which they hold fast?

Quran 43 Verse 21 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Zukhruf ayat 21, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(43:21) Or did We bestow upon them a Book before on whose authority they are holding on (to angel-worship)?[21]


21. It means this: These ignorant people think that whatever is happening in the world has the approval of Allah for it, because it is happening according to His will. This argument, however, is wrong. For it is not only shirk which is being committed in the world, but countless other crimes like stealing, robbery, murder, bribery, etc. are also taking place, which nobody likes. Then, can it be said by the same reasoning that all such acts are lawful and good only because Allah is letting them happen in His world, and when He allows them to happen, He must have approved of them also? The means of knowing what Allah likes and what He hates are not the events that are happening in the world, but the Book of Allah, which comes through His Messenger and in which Allah Himself states as to what beliefs, what deeds and what morals He likes and what He dislikes. If these people have a Book, which came before the Quran, and which tells that Allah has appointed the angels also as deities beside himself and that they should worship them also, they should cite it. (For further explanation, see (Surah Al-Anaam, Ayats 107-112, 137, 148-149); (Surah Al- Aaraf, Ayat 28); (Surah Younus, Ayat 99); (Surah Hud, Ayats 118-119); (Surah Ar-Raad, Ayat 31); (Surah An-Nahl, Ayats 9, 35-36, 93); and (E.N. 20 of Surah Az-Zumar) and (E.N. 11 of Surah Ash-Shura).

Ibn-Kathir

21. Or have We given them any Book before this (the Qur’an) to which they are holding fast 22. Nay! They say: “We found our fathers following a certain way and religion, and we guide ourselves by their footsteps.” 23. And similarly, We sent not a warner before you to any town (people) but the luxurious ones among them said: “We found our fathers following a certain way and religion, and we will indeed follow their footsteps.” 24. He said: “Even if I bring you better guidance than that which you found your fathers following” They said: “Verily, we disbelieve in that with which you have been sent.” 25. So We took revenge on them, then see what was the end of those who denied.


The Idolators have no Proof

Allah condemns the idolators for worshipping others instead of Allah with no evidence or proof for doing so.

﴿أَمْ ءَاتَيْنَـهُمْ كِتَـباً مِّن قَبْلِهِ﴾

(Or have We given them any Book before this) means, before their idolatry.

﴿فَهُم بِهِ مُسْتَمْسِكُونَ﴾

(to which they are holding fast) means, with regard to what they are doing. This is not the case. This is like the Ayah:

﴿أَمْ أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ سُلْطَـناً فَهُوَ يَتَكَلَّمُ بِمَا كَانُواْ بِهِ يُشْرِكُونَ ﴾

(Or have We revealed to them an authority (a Scripture), which speaks of that which they have been associating with Him) (30:35) meaning, that did not happen. Then Allah says:

﴿بَلْ قَالُواْ إِنَّا وَجَدْنَآ ءَابَآءَنَا عَلَى أُمَّةٍ وَإِنَّا عَلَى ءَاثَـرِهِم مُّهْتَدُونَ ﴾

(Nay! They say: “we found our fathers following a certain way and religion (Ummah), and we guide ourselves by their footsteps.”) meaning, they have no grounds for their belief in idolatry apart from the fact that they are imitating their fathers and forefathers who were following a certain Ummah or way, i.e., religion. The word Ummah is used in a similar manner elsewhere, where Allah says:

﴿إِنَّ هَـذِهِ أُمَّتُكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً﴾

(And verily, this your religion (Ummah) is one religion) (23:52), and they said;

﴿وَإِنَّا عَلَى ءَاثَـرِهِم﴾

(and we by their footsteps) means, behind them

﴿مُّهْتَدُونَ﴾

(We guide ourselves) This is their claim with no evidence. Then Allah points out that what these people say was already said by those who were like them among the nations of the past who disbelieved in the Messengers. Their hearts and their words are similar.

﴿كَذَلِكَ مَآ أَتَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ مِّن رَّسُولٍ إِلاَّ قَالُواْ سَـحِرٌ أَوْ مَجْنُونٌ – أَتَوَاصَوْاْ بِهِ بَلْ هُمْ قَوْمٌ طَـغُونَ ﴾

(Likewise, no Messenger came to those before them but they said: “A sorcerer or a madman!” Have they transmitted this saying to these Nay, they are themselves a people transgressing beyond bounds!) (51:52-53) And Allah says here:

﴿وَكَذَلِكَ مَآ أَرْسَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ فِى قَرْيَةٍ مِّن نَّذِيرٍ إِلاَّ قَالَ مُتْرَفُوهَآ إِنَّا وَجَدْنَآ ءَابَآءَنَا عَلَى أُمَّةٍ وَإِنَّا عَلَى ءَاثَـرِهِم مُّقْتَدُونَ ﴾

(And similarly, We sent not a warner before you to any town (people) but the luxurious ones among them said: “We found our fathers following a certain way and religion, and we will indeed follow their footsteps.”) Then He says:

﴿قُلْ﴾

(Say) — `O Muhammad, to these idolators –‘

﴿أَوَلَوْ جِئْتُكُمْ بِأَهْدَى مِمَّا وَجَدتُّمْ عَلَيْهِ ءَابَآءَكُمْ قَالُواْ إِنَّا بِمَآ أُرْسِلْتُمْ بِهِ كَـفِرُونَ﴾

(“Even if I bring you better guidance than that which you found your fathers following” They said: “Verily, we disbelieve in that with which you have been sent.”) `Even if they were convinced of the truth of what you have brought to them, they will not follow it, because of their evil intentions and their arrogance towards the truth and its people.’

﴿فَانتَقَمْنَا مِنْهُمْ﴾

(So We took revenge on them) means, on the disbelieving nations, by inflicting various kinds of punishments, as Allah has described in the stories of those nations.

﴿فَانظُرْ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَـقِبَةُ الْمُكَذِّبِينَ﴾

(then see what was the end of those who denied) means, see what became of them, how they were destroyed and how Allah saved the believers.

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