Surah Zumar Ayat 29 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 29
Allah presents an example: a slave owned by quarreling partners and another belonging exclusively to one man – are they equal in comparison? Praise be to Allah! But most of them do not know.
Allah puts forth a Parable a man belonging to many partners at variance with each other, and a man belonging entirely to one master: are those two equal in comparison? Praise be to Allah! but most of them have no knowledge.
Allah propounds a parable: there is a man whose ownership is shared by several quarrelsome masters, each pulling him to himself; and there is another who is exclusively owned by one man. Can the two be alike? All praise and thanks be to Allah. But most of them are unaware.
Allah puts forth a similitude: a (slave) man belonging to many partners (like those who worship others along with Allah) disputing with one another, and a (slave) man belonging entirely to one master, (like those who worship Allah Alone). Are those two equal in comparison? All the praises and thanks be to Allah! But most of them know not.
Allah coineth a similitude: A man in relation to whom are several part-owners, quarrelling, and a man belonging wholly to one man. Are the two equal in similitude? Praise be to Allah! But most of them know not.
Allah has struck a smilitude: a man in whom associates are at variance with each other, and a man wholly submissive to (one) man. Are the two equal (in likeness)? Praise be to Allah; no indeed, (but) most of them do not know.
God puts forward this illustration: can a man who has for his masters several partners at odds with each other be considered equal to a man devoted wholly to one master? All praise belongs to God, though most of them do not know.
Quran 39 Verse 29 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Zumar ayat 29, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(39:29) Allah propounds a parable: there is a man whose ownership is shared by several quarrelsome masters, each pulling him to himself; and there is another who is exclusively owned by one man. Can the two be alike? All praise and thanks be to Allah. But most of them are unaware.
48. Allah in this parable has explained the difference between shirk and Tauhid and the impact each has on human life so clearly that it is not possible to put across such a vast theme so concisely and effectively in other words. Everyone will admit that the person who has many masters, each one pulling him to himself, and the masters are also so ill-tempered that no one spares him time in his service to obey the other, and no one rests content only with threatening and cursing him if he fails to carry out his command from among the contradictory commands of the other masters, but is bent upon punishing him, his life would certainly be in great anguish. On the contrary, the person, who is the slave or servant of only one master, would be living a life of ease and comfort because he will not have to serve and seek the pleasure of another master. This is such a straightforward thing which does not need deep consideration for its understanding. After this it remains no longer difficult for a person to understand that the peace of mind and satisfaction that accrue to him from the service of One God, can never accrue from the service of many gods.
Here, it should be understood well that the parable of many ill-tempered and contesting masters cannot apply to the images of stone, but it only applies to living masters, who practically give contradictory commands to man and keep pulling him to themselves in actual reality. One such master sits in his own self, which presents before him desires of every kind and compels him to fulfill them. Other countless masters are there in the house, in the family, in the brotherhood, in the society, among the religious guides and the rulers and legislators, in the business and economic circles and among the dominant powers of civilization whose contradictory demands and requirements keep on pulling man to themselves at All times; then any god whose demand he fails to fulfill in any way, does not let him go unpunished in his own circle. However, each one’s instrument of punishment is different. Someone causes a heart-break, another takes offense, another humiliates, another boycotts, another bankrupts, another makes a religious or a legal attack. Man has no other way of being saved from this anguish and agony but to adopt the way of Tauhid and become the slave of One God, and throw off the yoke of servitude of every other god.
Adoption of the Way of Tauhid also has two forms, which lead to different results:
First, that an individual should decide to become the servant of One God individually but his environment is hostile. In this case the external conflict and his anguish and agony might increase, but if he has adopted the way sincerely, internal peace and satisfaction will necessarily accrue. He will turn down every such desire of the self as goes against the divine commands, or whose fulfillment may clash with the demands of God-worship. He will also reject every such demand of the family, society, nation, government, religious guides and economic powers that conflicts with the divine law. Consequently, he might have to face extreme hardships, rather he will surely face, but his heart will have full satisfaction that he is fulfilling the demand of the servitude of that God Whose servant he actually is, and that those whose servant he is not, have no right on him, because of which he may have to serve them against the command of his God. No power of the world can deprive him of this satisfaction of the heart and peace of mind; so much so that even if he has to go to the gallows for its sake, he will go to it with a clear conscience, and he will have no compunction as to why he did not save his life by bowing before the false gods.
The second form is that the whole society be established on the basis of the Tauhid imbibing the principles of morality, civilization, culture, education, religion, law, social custom, politics, economics in every sphere of life as a creed, which the Master of the Universe has given through His Book and His Messenger. The law should declare as a crime everything which God’s religion has declared sinful and the government administration should try to eradicate the same. The system of education and training should prepare the minds and character to avoid the same. The same should be condemned from the religious pulpit, and regarded as vicious and forbidden in every economic enterprise. Likewise, everything that Allah’s religion has declared as good and virtuous should be protected and defended by the law, developed by the administrative forces, impressed in the minds and instilled in character by the entire system of education and training, infused from the religious pulpit, admired by the society and followed by it practically and enforced in every economic enterprise. This is how man can attain to perfect internal and external peace and satisfaction, and all the doors to material and spiritual progress are thrown open, for the conflict in it between God-worship and the worship of others would be reduced to the minimum.
Although Islam invites every single individual to adopt Tauhid as his creed and to worship Allah alone, braving every danger and hardship, even in the absence of the established order, it cannot be denied that Islam’s ultimate aim and object is to establish this second order. And the same has been the objective of the endeavors of all the Prophets to bring into existence a community of the Muslims who should follow Allah’s religion collectively, free from the domination and influence of unbelief and the unbelievers. No one, unless he is unaware of the Quran and the Sunnah and senseless, can say that the objective of the Prophets’ struggle has been only the faith and obedience of the individual, and that it has never been their aim to enforce and establish Islam in the society and state.
49. Here, in order to understand the real significance of alhamdu- lillah (praise be to Allah), one should visualize this scene. After presenting the above question before the people the speaker observed a pause so that the opponents of Tauhid could give an answer to it if they had any. Then, when they could not give any answer, and from nowhere it was said that both were equal, the speaker said: Al-hamdulillah: Thank God that you too appreciate the difference between the two situations and none among you can dare say that slavery to many masters is better than slavery to one master, or that both are equal.
50. That is, you fully understand and appreciate the difference between slavery to one master and slavery to many masters, but when you are made to understand the difference between God-worship and the worship of many gods, you show lack of understanding.
The tafsir of Surah Az-Zumar verse 29 by Ibn Kathir is unavailable here.
Please refer to Surah Zumar ayat 27 which provides the complete commentary from verse 27 through 31.
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