Surah Zukhruf >> Currently viewing Surah Zukhruf Ayat 81 (43:81)

Surah Zukhruf Ayat 81 in Arabic Text

قُلْ إِن كَانَ لِلرَّحْمَـٰنِ وَلَدٌۭ فَأَنَا۠ أَوَّلُ ٱلْعَـٰبِدِينَ
Qul in kaana lir Rahmaani walad; fa-ana awwalul ‘aabideen

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 81

Sahih International
Say, [O Muhammad], “If the Most Merciful had a son, then I would be the first of [his] worshippers.”

Yusuf Ali
Say: “If (Allah) Most Gracious had a son, I would be the first to worship.”

Abul Ala Maududi
Say: “If the Merciful One had a son, I would have been the first one to worship him.”

Muhsin Khan
Say (O Muhammad SAW): “If the Most Beneficent (Allah) had a son (or children as you pretend), then I am the first of Allah’s worshippers [who deny and refute this claim of yours (and the first to believe in Allah Alone and testify that He has no children)].” [Tafsir At-Tabari].

Say (O Muhammad): If the Beneficent One hath a son, then, I shall be first among the worshippers. (But there is no son).

Dr. Ghali
Say, “In case The All-Merciful has a child, then I am the first among the worshippers.

Abdel Haleem
Say [Prophet], ‘If the Lord of Mercy [truly] had offspring I would be the first to worship [them], but-

Quran 43 Verse 81 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Zukhruf ayat 81, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.


(43:81) Say: “If the Merciful One had a son, I would have been the first one to worship him.”[64]

64. It means: My rejection of somebody’s being God’s offspring and my refusal to worship those whom you regard as His offspring is not due to any stubbornness and obduracy. My reason for the refusal is only this that God has no son or daughter, and your such beliefs are against the reality; otherwise I am such a faithful servant of my Lord that if at all the reality had been the same as you state I would have submitted myself in worship before you.


81. Say: “If the Most Gracious had a son, then I am the first of the worshippers.” 82. Glorified is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, the Lord of the Throne! Exalted be He from all that they ascribe (to Him). 83. So leave them (alone) to speak nonsense and play until they meet the Day of theirs which they have been promised. 84. It is He Who is the only God in the heaven and the only God on the earth. And He is the All-Wise, the All-Knower. 85. And Blessed be He to Whom belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, and with Whom is the knowledge of the Hour, and to Whom you (all) will be returned. 86. And those whom they invoke instead of Him have no power of intercession — except for those who bear witness to the truth knowingly, and they know. 87. And if you ask them who created them, they will surely say: “Allah.” How then are they turned away 88. And his saying: “O my Lord! Verily, these are a people who believe not!” 89. So turn away from them, and say: Salam (peace!) But they will come to know.

﴿بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ ﴾

﴿حـم – تَنزِيلُ الْكِتَـبِ مِنَ اللَّهِ الْعَزِيزِ الْعَلِيمِ ﴾

(Ha-Mim. By the manifest Book.) means, plain and clear in both wording and meaning, because it was revealed in the language of the Arabs, which is the most eloquent language for communication among people. Allah says:

﴿إِنَّا جَعَلْنَـهُ﴾

(Verily, We have made it) meaning, revealed it,

﴿قُرْءَاناً عَرَبِيّاً﴾

(a Qur’an in Arabic) meaning, in the language of the Arabs, eloquent and clear;

﴿لَعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ﴾

(that you may be able to understand.) means, that you may understand it and ponder its meanings. This is like the Ayah:

﴿بِلِسَانٍ عَرَبِىٍّ مُّبِينٍ ﴾

(In the plain Arabic language.) (26:195)

﴿وَإِنَّهُ فِى أُمِّ الْكِتَـبِ لَدَيْنَا لَعَلِىٌّ حَكِيمٌ ﴾

(And verily, it is in the Mother of the Book with Us, indeed exalted, full of wisdom.) This explains the high status of the Qur’an among the hosts on high (the angels), so that the people of earth will respect it, venerate it and obey it.


(And verily, it) means, the Qur’an,

﴿فِى أُمِّ الْكِتَـبِ﴾

(is in the Mother of the Book) meaning, Al-Lawh Al-Mahfuz (the Preserved Tablet). This was the view of Ibn `Abbas and Mujahid.


(with Us,) means, in Our presence. This was the view of Qatadah and others.


(indeed exalted) means, occupying a position of honor and virtue. This was the view of Qatadah.


(full of wisdom.) means, clear, with no confusion or deviation. All of this indicates its noble status and virtue, as Allah says elsewhere:

﴿إِنَّهُ لَقُرْءَانٌ كَرِيمٌ – فِى كِتَـبٍ مَّكْنُونٍ – لاَّ يَمَسُّهُ إِلاَّ الْمُطَهَّرُونَ – تَنزِيلٌ مِّن رَّبِّ الْعَـلَمِينَ ﴾

(That (this) is indeed an honorable recitation. In a Book well-guarded. Which none can touch but the pure. A revelation from the Lord of the all that exists.) (56:77-80)

﴿كَلاَّ إِنَّهَا تَذْكِرَةٌ فَمَن شَآءَ ذَكَرَهُ فَى صُحُفٍ مُّكَرَّمَةٍ مَّرْفُوعَةٍ مُّطَهَّرَةٍ بِأَيْدِى سَفَرَةٍ كِرَامٍ بَرَرَةٍ ﴾

(Nay, indeed it is an admonition. So whoever wills, let him pay attention to it. (It is) in Records held (greatly) in honor, exalted, purified, in the hands of scribes (angels), honorable and obedient.) (80:11-16)

﴿أَفَنَضْرِبُ عَنكُمُ الذِّكْرَ صَفْحاً أَن كُنتُمْ قَوْماً مُّسْرِفِينَ ﴾

(Shall We then take away the Reminder (this Qur’an) from you, because you are a people excessive.) means, `do you think that We will forgive you and not punish you, when you do not do as you have been commanded’ This was the view of Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, Abu Salih, Mujahid and As-Suddi, and was the view favored by Ibn Jarir.

﴿أَفَنَضْرِبُ عَنكُمُ الذِّكْرَ صَفْحاً﴾

(Shall We then take away the Reminder (this Qur’an) from you,) Qatadah said, “By Allah, if this Qur’an had been taken away when the first generations of this Ummah rejected it, they would have been doomed, but Allah by His mercy persisted in sending it and calling them to it for twenty years, or for as long as He willed.” What Qatadah said is very good, and his point is that Allah, by His grace and mercy towards His creation, did not stop calling them to the truth and to the wise Reminder, i.e., the Qur’an, even though they were heedless and turned away from it. Indeed, He sent it so that those who were decreed to be guided might be guided by it, and so that proof might be established against those who were decreed to be.

(In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Consolation to the Prophet for the Disbelief of Quraysh

Then Allah consoles His Prophet for the disbelief of his people, and commands him to bear it with patience.

﴿وَكَمْ أَرْسَلْنَا مِن نَّبِيٍّ فِى الاٌّوَّلِينَ ﴾

(And how many a Prophet have We sent amongst the men of old.) meaning, among the sects (communities) of old.

﴿وَمَا يَأْتِيهِم مِّنْ نَّبِىٍّ إِلاَّ كَانُواْ بِهِ يَسْتَهْزِءُونَ ﴾

(And never came there a Prophet to them but they used to mock at him.) means, they disbelieved him and mock at him.

﴿فَأَهْلَكْنَآ أَشَدَّ مِنْهُم بَطْشاً﴾

(Then We destroyed men stronger than these) means, `We destroyed those who disbelieved in the Messengers, and they were stronger in power than these who disbelieve in you, O Muhammad.’ This is like the Ayah:

﴿أَفَلَمْ يَسِيرُواْ فِى الاٌّرْضِ فَيَنظُرُواْ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَـقِبَةُ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ كَانُواْ أَكْـثَرَ مِنْهُمْ وَأَشَدَّ قُوَّةً﴾

(Have they not traveled through the earth and seen what was the end of those before them They were more in number than them and mightier in strength) (40:82). And there are many similar Ayat.

﴿وَمَضَى مَثَلُ الاٌّوَّلِينَ﴾

(and the example of the ancients has passed away. ) Mujahid said, “The way of their life.” Qatadah said, “Their punishment.” Others said, “Their lesson,” i.e., `We made them a lesson for those disbelievers who came after them, that they would suffer the same end as them,’ as in the Ayah at the end of this Surah:

﴿فَجَعَلْنَـهُمْ سَلَفاً وَمَثَلاً لِّلاٌّخِرِينَ ﴾

(And We made them a precedent, and an example to later generations.) (43:56);

﴿سُنَّةَ اللَّهِ الَّتِى قَدْ خَلَتْ فِى عِبَادِهِ﴾

(this has been the way of Allah in dealing with His servants) (40:85).

﴿وَلَن تَجِدَ لِسُنَّةِ اللَّهِ تَبْدِيلاً﴾

(and you will not find any change in the way of Allah.) (33:62)

The Idolators’ admission that Allah is the Sole Creator, and Further Evidence of that

Allah says: `If you, O Muhammad, were to ask these idolators who associate others with Allah and worship others besides Him,’

﴿مَّنْ خَلَقَ السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضَ لَيَقُولُنَّ خَلَقَهُنَّ الْعَزِيزُ الْعَلِيمُ﴾

(“Who has created the heavens and the earth” They will surely say: “The All-Mighty, the All-Knower created them.”) In other words, they will admit that the Creator of all that is Allah Alone, with no partner or associate, yet they still worship others — idols and false gods — alongside Him.

﴿الَّذِى جَعَلَ لَكُمُ الاٌّرْضَ مَهْداً﴾

(Who has made for you the earth like a bed,) means, smooth, stable and firm, so that you can travel about in it, and stand on it and sleep and walk about, even though it is created above water, but He has strengthened it with the mountains, lest it should shake.

﴿وَجَعَلَ لَكُمْ فِيهَا سُبُلاً﴾

(and has made for you roads therein,) means, paths between the mountains and the valleys.

﴿لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ﴾

(in order that you may find your way.) means, in your journeys from city to city, region to region, land to land.

﴿وَالَّذِى نَزَّلَ مِنَ السَّمَآءِ مَآءً بِقَدَرٍ﴾

(And Who sends down water from the sky in due measure, ) means, according to what is sufficient for your crops, fruits and drinking water for yourselves and your cattle.

﴿فَأَنشَرْنَا بِهِ بَلْدَةً مَّيْتاً﴾

(then We revive a dead land therewith,) means, a barren land, for when the water comes to it, it is stirred (to life), and it swells and puts forth every lovely kind (of growth). By referring to the revival of the earth, Allah draws attention to how He will bring bodies back to life on the Day of Resurrection, after they have been dead.

﴿كَذَلِكَ تُخْرَجُونَ﴾

(and even so you will be brought forth.) Then Allah says:

﴿وَالَّذِى خَلَقَ الأَزْوَجَ كُلَّهَا﴾

(And Who has created all the pairs) meaning, of everything that grows in the earth, all kinds of plants, crops, fruits, flowers, etc., and all different kinds of animals.

﴿وَجَعَلَ لَكُمْ مِّنَ الْفُلْكِ﴾

(and has appointed for you ships) or vessels,

﴿وَالاٌّنْعَـمِ مَا تَرْكَبُونَ﴾

(and cattle on which you ride.) means, He has subjugated them to you and made it easy for you to eat their meat, drink their milk and ride on their backs. Allah says:

﴿لِتَسْتَوُواْ عَلَى ظُهُورِهِ﴾

(In order that you may mount on their backs, ) meaning, sit comfortably and securely,

﴿عَلَى ظُهُورِهِ﴾

(on their backs) means, on the backs of these kinds of animals.

﴿ثُمَّ تَذْكُرُواْ نِعْمَةَ رَبِّكُمْ﴾

(and then may remember the favor of your Lord) means, whereby these animals are subjugated to you.

﴿إِذَا اسْتَوَيْتُمْ عَلَيْهِ وَتَقُولُواْ سُبْحَـنَ الَّذِى سَخَّرَ لَنَا هَـذَا وَمَا كُنَّا لَهُ مُقْرِنِينَ﴾

(when you mount thereon, and say: “Glory to Him Who has subjected this to us, and we could have never had it.”) means, if it were not for the fact that Allah has subjugated these things to us, we could never have done this by our own strength.’ Ibn `Abbas, Qatadah, As-Suddi and Ibn Zayd said: “We could not have done this ourselves.”

﴿وَإِنَّآ إِلَى رَبِّنَا لَمُنقَلِبُونَ ﴾

(And verily, to Our Lord we indeed are to return.) means, `We will return to Him after our death, and our ultimate destination is with Him.’ In this Ayah, mention of earthly journeys draws attention to the journey of the Hereafter, just as elsewhere, mention of earthly provision draws attention to the importance of ensuring provision for the Hereafter, as Allah says:

﴿وَتَزَوَّدُواْ فَإِنَّ خَيْرَ الزَّادِ التَّقْوَى﴾

(And take a provision (with you) for the journey, but the best provision is the Taqwa) (2:197). And mention of earthly garments is also used to draw attention to the raiment of the Hereafter:

﴿وَرِيشًا وَلِبَاسُ التَّقْوَى ذَلِكَ خَيْرٌ﴾

(and as an adornment; and the raiment of the Taqwa, that is better) (7:26).

Condemnation of the Idolators’ attribution of Offspring to Allah

Here Allah speaks of the lies and fabrications of the idolators, when they devoted some of their cattle to their false gods and some to Allah, as He described in Surat Al-An`am where He said:

﴿وَجَعَلُواْ لِلَّهِ مِمَّا ذَرَأَ مِنَ الْحَرْثِ وَالاٌّنْعَامِ نَصِيباً فَقَالُواْ هَـذَا لِلَّهِ بِزَعْمِهِمْ وَهَـذَا لِشُرَكَآئِنَا فَمَا كَانَ لِشُرَكَآئِهِمْ فَلاَ يَصِلُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَمَا كَانَ لِلَّهِ فَهُوَ يَصِلُ إِلَى شُرَكَآئِهِمْ سَآءَ مَا يَحْكُمُونَ ﴾

(And they assign to Allah share of the tilth and cattle which He has created, and they say: “This is for Allah” according to their claim, “and this is for our partners.” But the share of their partners reaches not Allah, while the share of Allah reaches their partners! Evil is the way they judge!) (6:136). Similarly, out of the two kinds of offspring, sons and daughters, they assigned to Him the worst and least valuable (in their eyes), i.e., daughters, as Allah says:

﴿أَلَكُمُ الذَّكَرُ وَلَهُ الاٍّنثَى – تِلْكَ إِذاً قِسْمَةٌ ضِيزَى ﴾

(Is it for you the males and for Him the females That indeed is a division most unfair!) (53:21-22) And Allah says here:

﴿وَجَعَلُواْ لَهُ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ جُزْءًا إِنَّ الإنسَـنَ لَكَفُورٌ مُّبِينٌ ﴾

(Yet, they assign to some of His servants a share with Him. Verily, man is indeed a manifest ingrate!) Then He says:

﴿أَمِ اتَّخَذَ مِمَّا يَخْلُقُ بَنَاتٍ وَأَصْفَـكُم بِالْبَنِينَ ﴾

(Or has He taken daughters out of what He has created, and He has selected for you sons) This is a denunciation of them in the strongest terms, as He goes on to say:

﴿وَإِذَا بُشِّرَ أَحَدُهُم بِمَا ضَرَبَ لِلرَّحْمَـنِ مَثَلاً ظَلَّ وَجْهُهُ مُسْوَدّاً وَهُوَ كَظِيمٌ ﴾

(And if one of them is informed of the news of that which he sets forth as a parable to the Most Gracious, his face becomes dark, and he is filled with grief!) means, if one of these people is given the news that there has been born to him one of those which he attributes to Allah, i.e., a daughter, he hates this news and it depresses and overwhelms him so much that he keeps away from people because he feels so ashamed. Allah says, so how can they dislike that so much and yet they attribute it to Allah

﴿أَوَمَن يُنَشَّأُ فِى الْحِلْيَةِ وَهُوَ فِى الْخِصَامِ غَيْرُ مُبِينٍ ﴾

(A creature who is brought up in adornments, and who in dispute cannot make itself clear) means, women are regarded as lacking something, which they make up for with jewelry and adornments from the time of childhood onwards, and when there is a dispute, they cannot speak up and defend themselves clearly, so how can this be attributed to Allah

﴿وَجَعَلُواْ الْمَلَـئِكَةَ الَّذِينَ هُمْ عِبَادُ الرَّحْمَـنِ إِنَـثاً﴾

(And they make females the angels who themselves are servants of the Most Gracious.) means, that is what they believe about them, but Allah denounces them for that and says:

﴿أَشَهِدُواْ خَلْقَهُمْ﴾

(Did they witness their creation) meaning, did they see Allah creating them as females

﴿سَتُكْتَبُ شَهَـدَتُهُمْ﴾

(Their testimony will be recorded,) means, concerning that,


(and they will be questioned!) means, about that, on the Day of Resurrection. This is a stern warning and a serious threat.

﴿وَقَالُواْ لَوْ شَآءَ الرَّحْمَـنُ مَا عَبَدْنَـهُمْ﴾

(And they said: “If it had been the will of the Most Gracious, we should not have worshipped them.”) means, (they said:) `if Allah had willed, He would have prevented us from worshipping these idols which are images of the angels who are the daughters of Allah; He knows about this and He approves of it.’ By saying this, they combined several types of error: First: They attributed offspring to Allah — exalted and sanctified be He far above that. Second: They claimed that He chose daughters rather than sons, and they made the angels, who are the servants of the Most Gracious, female. Third: They worshipped them with no proof, evidence or permission from Allah. This was based on mere opinion, whims and desires, imitation of their elders and forefathers, and pure ignorance. They used Allah’s decree as an excuse, and this reasoning betrayed their ignorance. Fourth: Allah denounced them for this in the strongest terms, for from the time He first sent Messengers and revealed Books, the command was to worship Him Alone with no partner or associate, and it was forbidden to worship anything other than Him. Allah says:

﴿وَلَقَدْ بَعَثْنَا فِى كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ رَّسُولاً أَنِ اعْبُدُواْ اللَّهَ وَاجْتَنِبُواْ الْطَّـغُوتَ فَمِنْهُم مَّنْ هَدَى اللَّهُ وَمِنْهُمْ مَّنْ حَقَّتْ عَلَيْهِ الضَّلَـلَةُ فَسِيرُواْ فِى الاٌّرْضِ فَانظُرُواْ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَـقِبَةُ الْمُكَذِّبِينَ ﴾

(And verily, We have sent among every Ummah a Messenger (proclaiming): “Worship Allah, and avoid all false deities.” Then of them were some whom Allah guided and of them were some upon whom the straying was justified. So travel through the land and see what was the end of those who denied.) (16:36)

﴿وَاسْئلْ مَنْ أَرْسَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ مِن رُّسُلِنَآ أَجَعَلْنَا مِن دُونِ الرَّحْمَـنِ ءَالِهَةً يُعْبَدُونَ ﴾

(And ask those of Our Messengers whom We sent before you: “Did We ever appoint gods to be worshipped besides the Most Gracious”) (43:45) And Allah says in this Ayah, after mentioning this argument of theirs:

﴿مَّا لَهُم بِذَلِكَ مِنْ عِلْمٍ﴾

(They have no knowledge whatsoever of that.) meaning, of the truth of what they say and the arguments they put forward.

﴿وَإِنْ هُمْ إِلاَّ يَخْرُصُونَ﴾

(They do nothing but lie!) means, they tell lies and fabricate untruths.

﴿مَّا لَهُم بِذَلِكَ مِنْ عِلْمٍ إِنْ هُمْ إِلاَّ يَخْرُصُونَ﴾

(They have no knowledge whatsoever of that. They do nothing but lie!) Mujahid said, “They do not appreciate the power of Allah.”

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


(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:


(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.

Ibrahim’s Declaration of Tawhid Here

Allah tells us about His servant, Messenger and close Friend, the leader of the monotheists and the father of all subsequent Prophets, from whom Quraysh were descended and claimed to have taken their religion. He disowned his father’s and his people’s worship of idols and said:

﴿وَإِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَهِيمُ لاًّبِيهِ وَقَوْمِهِ إِنَّنِى بَرَآءٌ مِّمَّا تَعْبُدُونَ – إِلاَّ الَّذِى فَطَرَنِى فَإِنَّهُ سَيَهْدِينِ وَجَعَلَهَا كَلِمَةً بَـقِيَةً فِى عَقِبِهِ﴾

(“Verily, I am innocent of what you worship, except Him Who created me; and verily, He will guide me.” And he made it a Word lasting among his offspring,) The Word means the worship of Allah Alone with no partner or associate, and the denunciation of all gods apart from Him, i.e., La ilaha illallah. He left this word as an example to be followed by those of his progeny who were guided by Allah.

﴿لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ﴾

(that they may turn back.) means, come back to this word. `Ikrimah, Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah, As-Suddi and others commented on the Ayah:

﴿وَجَعَلَهَا كَلِمَةً بَـقِيَةً فِى عَقِبِهِ﴾

(And he made it a Word lasting among his offspring,) “This means, La ilaha illallah, and there are still those among his offspring who say it.” A similar view was narrated from Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him. Ibn Zayd said, “The word of Islam,” which refers to the same thing suggested by the group.

How the People of Makkah turned away from the Messenger and opposed Him, and His Response

Allah further says:

﴿بَلْ مَتَّعْتُ هَـؤُلاَءِ﴾

(Nay, but I gave to these) means, the idolators,


(and their fathers) means, they lived a long life in their misguidance.

﴿حَتَّى جَآءَهُمُ الْحَقُّ وَرَسُولٌ مُّبِينٌ﴾

(till there came to them the truth, and a Messenger making things clear.) means, his message is clear and his warning is clear.

﴿وَلَمَّا جَآءَهُمُ الْحَقُّ قَالُواْ هَـذَا سِحْرٌ وَإِنَّا بِهِ كَـفِرُونَ ﴾

(And when the truth came to them, they said: “This is magic, and we disbelieve therein.”) means, they were arrogant and stubborn, and they pushed him away out of disbelief, envy and transgression.


(And they say) means, objecting to that which Allah has revealed to him,

﴿لَوْلاَ نُزِّلَ هَـذَا الْقُرْءَانُ عَلَى رَجُلٍ مِّنَ الْقَرْيَتَيْنِ عَظِيمٍ﴾

(Why is not this Qur’an sent down to some great man of the two towns) meaning, why was this Qur’an not revealed to some man who was great and prominent in their eyes, from the two towns, i.e., Makkah and At-Ta’if This was the view of Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, `Ikrimah, Muhammad bin Ka`b Al-Qurazi, Qatadah, As-Suddi and Ibn Zayd. Several scholars of Tafsir stated that by this, the Quraysh meant Al-Walid bin Al-Mughirah and `Urwah bin Mas`ud Ath-Thaqafi. The apparent meaning is that what they meant was a great man from either of the two towns. Allah responded to their rejection by saying:

﴿أَهُمْ يَقْسِمُونَ رَحْمَةَ رَبِّكَ﴾

(Is it they who would portion out the mercy of your Lord) meaning, the matter has nothing to do with them; it is for Allah to decide. Allah knows best where to direct His Message, and He does not reveal it except to the one who is the purest in heart and soul, and of the noblest descent. Then Allah points out that He differentiates among His creation in terms of what He gives them of wealth, provision, intellect, understanding and other visible and hidden strengths:

﴿نَحْنُ قَسَمْنَا بَيْنَهُمْ مَّعِيشَتَهُمْ فِى الْحَيَوةِ الدُّنْيَا﴾

(It is We Who portion out between them their livelihood in this world,)

﴿لِّيَتَّخِذَ بَعْضُهُم بَعْضاً سُخْرِيّاً﴾

(so that some may employ others in their work.) It was said that this means that some employ others in their work, because one needs the other, and vice versa. This was the view of As-Suddi and others.

﴿وَرَحْمَةُ رَبِّكَ خَيْرٌ مِّمَّا يَجْمَعُونَ﴾

(But the mercy of your Lord is better than which they amass.) means, the mercy of Allah towards His creation is better for them than the wealth and conveniences of this world which they possess.

Wealth is not a Sign of Divine Pleasure

﴿وَلَوْلاَ أَن يَكُونَ النَّاسُ أُمَّةً وَحِدَةً﴾

(And were it not that mankind would have become of one community,) means, `were it not for the fact that many ignorant people would think that Our giving them wealth was a sign that We love the person to whom We give it, and thus they would have agreed upon disbelief for the sake of wealth.’ This is the view of Ibn `Abbas, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, As-Suddi and others.

﴿لَّجَعَلْنَا لِمَن يَكْفُرُ بِالرَّحْمَـنِ لِبُيُوتِهِمْ سُقُفاً مِّن فِضَّةٍ وَمَعَارِجَ﴾

(We would have provided for those who disbelieve in the Most Gracious, silver roofs for their houses, and elevators) means, ladders and staircases of silver. This was the view of Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Qatadah, As-Suddi, Ibn Zayd and others.

﴿عَلَيْهَا يَظْهَرُونَ﴾

(whereby they ascend,) means, go up. And their houses would have doors, i.e., locks on their doors,

﴿وَسُرُراً عَلَيْهَا يَتَّكِئُونَ﴾

(and thrones on which they could recline,) means, all of that would be made of silver.


(And adornments) means, and gold. This was the view of Ibn `Abbas, Qatadah, As-Suddi and Ibn Zayd.

﴿وَإِن كُلُّ ذَلِكَ لَمَّا مَتَـعُ الْحَيَوةِ الدُّنْيَا﴾

(Yet all this would have been nothing but an enjoyment of this world.) means, all that belongs to this transient world which is insignificant before Allah. He hastens their reward for good deeds in the form of luxuries in this world, so that when they reach the Hereafter, they will have no good merits with Allah for which they may be rewarded, as was reported in the Sahih Hadith. It was reported in another Hadith:

«لَوْ أَنَّ الدُّنْيَا تَزِنُ عِنْدَ اللهِ جَنَاحَ بَعُوضَةٍ مَا سَقَى مِنْهَا كَافِرًا شَرْبَةَ مَاء»

(If this world were worth a gnat’s wing before Allah, He would not give a disbeliever a drink of water.) Al-Baghawi narrated its chain of narration.

﴿وَالاٌّخِرَةُ عِندَ رَبِّكَ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ﴾

(And the Hereafter with your Lord is (only) for those who have Taqwa.) means, it is exclusively for them, and no one else will share it with them. When `Umar bin Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, visited the Messenger of Allah in seclusion, when he was keeping away from his wives, and he saw him resting on a rough mat which had left marks on his side, his eyes filled with tears and he said, “O Messenger of Allah, look at this Chosroes and this Caesar with all that they have, and you are the best of Allah’s creation. ” The Messenger of Allah was reclining, but he sat up and said:

«أَوَ فِي شَكَ أَنْتَ يَا ابْنَ الْخَطَّابِ؟»

(Are you in doubt, O son of Al-Khattab) Then he said:

«أُولئِكَ قَوْمٌ عُجِّلَتْ لَهُمْ طَـيِّـبَاتُهُمْ فِي حَيَاتِهِمُ الدُّنْيَا»

(Those are people for whom the enjoyments are hastened in this world.) According to another report:

«أَمَا تَرْضَى أَنْ تَــكُونَ لَهُمُ الدُّنْيَا وَلَنَا الْاخِرَة»

(Does it not please you that this world is for them and the Hereafter is for us) In as the Two Sahihs and elsewhere, it is reported that the Messenger of Allah said:

«لَا تَشْرَبُوا فِي آنِيَةِ الذَّهَبِ وَالْفِضَّةِ، وَلَا تَأْكُلُوا فِي صِحَافِهَا، فَإِنَّهَا لَهُمْ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَلَنَا فِي الْاخِرَة»

(Do not drink from vessels of gold and silver, and do not eat from plates of the same, for these things are for them in this world and for us in the Hereafter.) Allah has granted these things to them in this world because it is insignificant, as was reported by At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah via Abu Hazim from Sahl bin Sa`d, who said, “The Messenger of Allah said:

«لَوْ كَانَتِ الدُّنْيَا تَزِنُ عِنْدَ اللهِ جَنَاحَ بَعُوضَةٍ مَا سَقَى مِنْهَا كَافِرًا شَرْبَةَ مَاءٍ أَبَدًا»

n(If this world were worth a gnat’s wing before Allah, He would never give a disbeliever a drink of water.)” At-Tirmidhi said: “Hasan Sahih.”

The Shaytan is the Companion of the One Who turns away from Ar-Rahman

﴿وَمَن يَعْشُ﴾

(And whosoever Ya`shu (turns away blindly)) means, whoever willfully ignores and turns away

﴿عَن ذِكْرِ الرَّحْمَـنِ﴾

(from the remembrance of the Most Gracious,) Al-`Asha (the root of Ya`sh) refers to weakness of vision; what is meant here is weakness of insight.

﴿نُقَيِّضْ لَهُ شَيْطَاناً فَهُوَ لَهُ قَرِينٌ﴾

(We appoint for him Shaytan to be a Qarin (a companion) to him.) This is like the Ayat:

﴿وَمَن يُشَاقِقِ الرَّسُولَ مِن بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُ الْهُدَى﴾

(And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger after the right path has been shown clearly to him) (4:115),

﴿فَلَمَّا زَاغُواْ أَزَاغَ اللَّهُ قُلُوبَهُمْ﴾

(So when they turned away, Allah turned their hearts away) (61:5), and

﴿وَقَيَّضْنَا لَهُمْ قُرَنَآءَ فَزَيَّنُواْ لَهُم مَّا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْ﴾

(And We have assigned for them intimate companions, who have made fair seeming to them, what was before them and what was behind them) (41:25). Allah says here:

﴿وَإِنَّهُمْ لَيَصُدُّونَهُمْ عَنِ السَّبِيلِ وَيَحْسَبُونَ أَنَّهُم مُّهْتَدُونَ حَتَّى إِذَا جَآءَنَا﴾

(And verily, they hinder them from the path, but they think that they are guided aright! Until, when he comes to Us,) meaning, for this person who willfully neglects true guidance, We send to him a Shaytan to lead him astray and show him the path to Hell. When he comes before Allah on the Day of Resurrection, he will complain about the Shaytan who was appointed to accompany him.

﴿قَالَ يلَيْتَ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَكَ بُعْدَ الْمَشْرِقَيْنِ فَبِئْسَ الْقَرِينُ﴾

(he says, “Would that between me and you were the distance of the two easts — a worst companion (indeed)!”) Some of them recited it; (حَتْى إِذَا جَاءَانَا) (Till, when they both come to Us.) referring to the companion Shaytan and the one whom he accompanies. Then Allah says:

﴿وَلَن يَنفَعَكُمُ الْيَوْمَ إِذ ظَّلَمْتُمْ أَنَّكُمْ فِى الْعَذَابِ مُشْتَرِكُونَ ﴾

(It will profit you not this Day as you did wrong, (and) that you will be sharers in the punishment.) means, `your being together in the Fire will not help you in the slightest, and you will both partake of the painful punishment.’ Allah says:

﴿أَفَأَنتَ تُسْمِعُ الصُّمَّ أَوْ تَهْدِى الْعُمْىَ وَمَن كَانَ فِى ضَلَـلٍ مُّبِينٍ ﴾

Can you make the deaf to hear, or can you guide the blind or him who is in manifest error؟ means, `that is not up to you. All you have to do is convey the Message, but you do not have to guide them. Allah guides whomsoever He wills and sends astray whomsoever He wills, and He is Wise and Just in doing so.’

Allah’s Vengeance upon the Enemies of His Messenger will surely come to pass

Allah further says:

﴿فَإِمَّا نَذْهَبَنَّ بِكَ فَإِنَّا مِنْهُم مُّنتَقِمُونَ ﴾

(And even if We take you away, We shall indeed take vengeance on them.) means, `We will inevitably wreak vengeance upon them and punish them, even if you pass away.’

﴿أَوْ نُرِيَنَّكَ الَّذِى وَعَدْنَـهُمْ فَإِنَّا عَلَيْهِمْ مُّقْتَدِرُونَ ﴾

(Or (if) We show you that wherewith We threaten them, then verily, We have perfect command over them.) means, `We are able to do both,’ but Allah will not take His Messenger (in death) until He gives him the joy of seeing his enemies brought low and gives him power and authority over them and their wealth. This was the view of As-Suddi and was the opinion favored by Ibn Jarir.

Encouragement to adhere to the Qur’an

Allah then says;

﴿فَاسْتَمْسِكْ بِالَّذِى أُوحِىَ إِلَيْكَ إِنَّكَ عَلَى صِرَطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ ﴾

(So hold you fast to that which is revealed to you. Verily, you are on the straight path.) means, hold fast to the Qur’an which has been sent down to your heart, for it is truth and what it leads to is truth that shows the way to the straight path that leads to Gardens of Delight and eternal, everlasting goodness.

﴿وَإِنَّهُ لَذِكْرٌ لَّكَ وَلِقَوْمِكَ﴾

(And verily, this is a Dhikr for you and your people,) It was said that this means, `it is an honor for you and your people;’ this was the view of Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, Mujahid, Qatadah, As-Suddi and Ibn Zayd. This means that it is an honor for them in that it was revealed in their language, so they are the people who have the best understanding of it among mankind and hence are obliged to be the most steadfast in adhering to its commandments. This is how the best of them were, the first immigrants and those who emulated them and followed them. It was also said that the meaning of the phrase;

﴿وَإِنَّهُ لَذِكْرٌ لَّكَ وَلِقَوْمِكَ﴾

(And verily, this is indeed a Dhikr for you and your people,) was that `it was sent to remind you and your people.’ The fact that they are singled out does not exclude others. This is like the Ayat:

﴿لَقَدْ أَنزَلْنَآ إِلَيْكُمْ كِتَـباً فِيهِ ذِكْرُكُمْ أَفَلاَ تَعْقِلُونَ ﴾

(Indeed, We have sent down for you (O mankind) a Book in which there is Dhikrukum (your Reminder). Will you not then understand) (21:10)

﴿وَأَنذِرْ عَشِيرَتَكَ الاٌّقْرَبِينَ ﴾

(And warn your tribe of near kindred) (26:214)

﴿وَسَوْفَ تُسْـَلُونَ﴾

(and you will be questioned.) means, `about this Qur’an, and how you acted upon it and what your response to it was.’

﴿وَاسْئلْ مَنْ أَرْسَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ مِن رُّسُلِنَآ أَجَعَلْنَا مِن دُونِ الرَّحْمَـنِ ءَالِهَةً يُعْبَدُونَ ﴾

(And ask whom We sent before you of Our Messengers: “Did We ever appoint gods to be worshipped besides the Most Gracious”) means, `all the Messengers called their people to the same as that to which you are calling mankind, namely the worship of Allah Alone with no partner or associate, and they forbade the worship of idols and false gods.’ This is like the Ayah:

﴿وَلَقَدْ بَعَثْنَا فِى كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ رَّسُولاً أَنِ اعْبُدُواْ اللَّهَ وَاجْتَنِبُواْ الْطَّـغُوتَ﴾

(And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): “Worship Allah, and avoid all false deities.”) (16:36) Mujahid said that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud recited it: (وَاسْأَلِ الَّذِينَ أَرْسَلْنَا إِلَيْهِمْ قَبْلَكَ (مِنْ) رُسُلِنَا) (And ask those whom We sent before you of Our Messengers.) This was narrated by Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak and As-Suddi from Ibn Mas`ud, may Allah be pleased with him. Yet this appears to be an explanation rather than an alternate version of recitation. And Allah knows best.

Musa was sent with the Message of Tawhid to Fir`awn and His Chiefs

Here Allah tells us about His servant and Messenger Musa, peace be upon him, and how He sent him to Fir`awn and his chiefs. That is, his governors, ministers, leaders and followers among the Egyptians and the Children of Israel. Allah sent him to call them to worship Allah alone, with no partner or associate, and to forbid them from worshipping anything other than Him. He sent him with mighty signs, such as his hand and his staff, other signs such as the flood, locusts, Qummal, frogs and blood, and the loss of their crops and lives. Yet despite all that they remained arrogant and stubbornly refused to follow him; they rejected his message and made fun of it, and laughed at the one who had brought it.

﴿وَمَا نُرِيِهِم مِّنْ ءَايَةٍ إِلاَّ هِىَ أَكْبَرُ مِنْ أُخْتِهَا﴾

(And not an Ayah We showed them but it was greater than its fellow preceding it,) but despite that they would not give up their sin, misguidance, ignorance and confusion. Every time one of these signs came to them, they would go and implore Musa, saying,

﴿يأَيُّهَ السَّاحِرُ﴾

(“O you sorcerer!…”) meaning, expert or knowledgeable one — this was the view of Ibn Jarir. The scholars of that time were the sorcerers or magicians, and magic was not regarded as something reprehensible by them at that time, so this was not a slight on their part. They were in a state of need, so it would not have been appropriate for them to insult him. This was a way of honoring him, as they thought. On each occasion, they promised Musa that if the torment was lifted from them, they would believe in him and let the Children of Israel go with him, but on each occasion they went back on their word. This is like the Ayat:

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