25. Surah Al Furqan (The Criterion)

Name

The Surah takes its name "Al-Furqan" from the first verse. Though it is symbolic like the names of many other Surahs, it has a close relation to its subject matter.

Period of Revelation

It appears from its style and subject matter that, like Surah Al- Mu'minun, it was also revealed during the third stage of Prophethood at Makkah. Ibn Jarir and Imam Razi have cited a tradition of Dahhak bin Muzahim that this Surah was revealed eight years before Surah An Nisa. This also confirms our opinion as to its period of revelation. (Ibn Jarir, Vol. XIX, pp. 28-30, and Tafsir Kabir, Vol. VI,p. 358).

Subject Matter and Topics

The Surah deals with the doubts and objections that were being raised against the Qur'an, the Prophethood of Muhammad (Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) and his teachings by the disbelievers of Makkah. Appropriate answers to each and every objection have been given and the people have been warned of the consequences of rejecting the Truth. At the end of the Surah, a clear picture of the moral superiority of the Believers has been depicted as in the beginning of Surah Al-Mu'minun, as if to say, 'Here is the criterion for distinguishing the genuine from the counterfeit. This is the noble character of those people who have believed in and followed the teachings of the Holy Prophet and this is the kind of people that he is trying to train. You may yourselves compare and contrast this type of people with those Arabs, who have not as yet accepted the Message, and who are upholding "ignorance" and exerting their utmost to defeat the Truth. Now you may judge for yourselves as to which you would like to choose." Though this question was not posed in so many words, it was placed before every one in Arabia in a tangible shape. It may be noted that during the next few years, the practical answer given to this question by the whole nation, with the exception of a small minority, was that they chose Islam.


Surah 25. Al-Furqan (1-44)
 
 

 Surah 25. Al-Furqan (1-44)

تَبَارَكَ الَّذِي نَزَّلَ الْفُرْقَانَ عَلَى عَبْدِهِ لِيَكُونَ لِلْعَالَمِينَ نَذِيرًا﴿25:1﴾ 
(25:1) Highly blessed *1 is He, Who has sent down Al-Furqan *2 , *3 to His servant so that it may be a warner to all mankind : *4
*1 The Arabic word tabaraka is very comprehensive, and cannot be understood fully and completely by "highly blessed", not even by a sentence. However, its meanings may be grasped by keeping in view the remaining portion of vv. 1-2. Here it has been used to convey the following meanings:
(1) He is the most Beneficent: that is why He has bestowed the great blessing of Al-Furqan by degrees on His servant so that he may admonish all mankind.
(2)He is the most Exalted and Great: for the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth belongs to Him.
(3) He is the most Holy, Pure and Perfect: He is free from every tinge of shirk and has neither a partner in His Godhead, nor needs a son to succeed Him; for He is Ever-Lasting.
(4) He is the Highest and the Most Supreme in rank: the Kingdom and the Dominion wholly and solely belong to Him, and there is none who has any share in His Authority and Powers.
(5) He is the sole Creator of the universe and has created each and everything in it and predetermined its destiny. For further details, see E.N. 14 of AIMu'minun and E.N. 19 of AI-Furgan.
*2 Al-Furgan: The Criterion. The Qur'an has been called AI-Furgan because it is the Criterion for judging right and wrong virtue and vice, truth and falsehood.
*3 The word nazzala implies revelation of the Qur'an piecemeal by degrees. The wisdom of this introductory remark will be explained in the study of verse 32, where the objection of the disbelievers of Makkah -as to why the Qur'an has not been sent down all at once-has been dealt with
*4 ..... warner to all mankind": To warn all mankind of the evil consequences of their heedlessness and deviation. The warner may be AI-Furgan or the Holy Prophet to whom it was revealed. In fact, both were the warners because they were both sent for one and the same purpose. The message of the Qur'an and Prophethood of Muhammad (Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) were not meant for any particular country but for the whole world; and not for their own time, but for alI times to come. This has been stated at several places in the Qur'an; for instance: "O Muhammad, say, O mankind, I am a Messenger to aII of you from Allah ....." (Al-A`raf: 158); "..... and this Qur'an has been revealed to me so that I should thereby warn you aII and whom it may reach." (AlAn'am: 19); "We have sent you only as a bearer of good news and as a warner to all mankind." (Saba: 28); and "We have sent you as a mercy to all mankind." (AIAnbiya': 107) The Holy Prophet himself has stated this clearly in the Hadith; for instance, he said: "I have been sent to aII men-the red and the black." "Before me a Prophet was sent only to his own people, but 1 have been sent to all mankind." (Bukhari, Muslim). "I have been sent to all mankind, and I am the Last of the Prophets." (Muslim).
 
الَّذِي لَهُ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَلَمْ يَتَّخِذْ وَلَدًا وَلَمْ يَكُن لَّهُ شَرِيكٌ فِي الْمُلْكِ وَخَلَقَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ فَقَدَّرَهُ تَقْدِيرًا﴿25:2﴾ 
(25:2) He to Whom belongs the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth: *5 Who has begotten no son: *6 Who has no partner in His Sovereignty: *7 Who created each and every thing and then ordained its destiny. *8
*5 Another translation may be: "To Him belongs the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth." That is, He alone has an exclusive right to it, and no one else has any right to it nor any share in it
*6 That is, "He has neither any relation of direct parenthood to anyone, nor has He taken anyone as a son. Therefore, none else in the universe is entitled to worship. He is Unique and there can be no partner in His Godhead. Thus alI those who associate with Him angels or jinns or saints as His offspring, are ignorant. Likewise, those who believe that some one, is His "son", are also ignorant. They have no true conception of the Greatness of AIIah and consider Him to be weak and needy like human beings, who require some one to become their inheritor. It is sheer ignorance and folly." For further details, see E.N.'s 66 to G8 of Surah Yunus .
*7 The Arabic word mulk means Sovereignty, Supreme Authority, and Kingship. Thus the sentence will mean: "AIIah is the Absolute Ruler of the whole universe and there is none other who may have any right to authority; therefore He alone is God." For whenever a man takes anything else as his lord, he does so under the presumption that his deity has the power to do good or bring harm and make or mar his fortune; nobody will like to worship a powerless deity. Now when it is recognized that none but AIIah has the real power and authority in the universe, nobody will bow before anyone other than Him in worship, nor will sing anybody else's hymns, nor commit the folly of bowing in worship before any thing else except his real God, or recognize any other as his ruler, because "To AIIah belongs the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth and to Him alone."
*8 There may be other translations of this also: "He has ordained it in due proportion"; or "He has appointed an exact measure for everything." But no translation can convey its real meaning, which is: "Allah has not only created everything in the universe but also determined its shape, size, potentialities, characteristics, term of existence, the limitations and extent of its development and aII other things concerning it. Then, He has created the means and provisions to enable it to function properly in its own separate sphere. " This is one of the most comprehensive verses of the Qur'an with regard to the Doctrine of Tauhid. According to Traditions, the Holy Prophet himself taught this verse to every child of his family as soon as it was able to speak and utter a few words. Thus, this verse is the best means of impressing the Doctrine of Tauhid on our minds, and every Muslim should use it for educating his children as soon as they develop understanding.
 
وَاتَّخَذُوا مِن دُونِهِ آلِهَةً لَّا يَخْلُقُونَ شَيْئًا وَهُمْ يُخْلَقُونَ وَلَا يَمْلِكُونَ لِأَنفُسِهِمْ ضَرًّا وَلَا نَفْعًا وَلَا يَمْلِكُونَ مَوْتًا وَلَا حَيَاةً وَلَا نُشُورًا﴿25:3﴾ 
(25:3) Yet the people have set up, besides Him, deities, who do not create anything but are themselves created : *9 who can neither harm nor help even themselves: who have no power over life or death, nor can they raise up the dead. *10
*9 The words are comprehensive and cover aII the false gods whom the mushriks worship whether they are angels, jinns, Prophets, saints, the sun, the moon, the stars, trees, rivers, animals etc., which have been created by AIIah, or those which have been created by man, as the idols of stone, wood, etc.
*10 That is, "Allah has sent down AI-Furqan on His servant so that he may invite the people to the Truth, which they have forsaken due to heedlessness and waywardness, and warn them of the evil consequences of their folly. The Furqan is being revealed piecemeal so that he may distinguish right from wrong and the genuine from the counterfeit. "
 
وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِنْ هَذَا إِلَّا إِفْكٌ افْتَرَاهُ وَأَعَانَهُ عَلَيْهِ قَوْمٌ آخَرُونَ فَقَدْ جَاؤُوا ظُلْمًا وَزُورًا﴿25:4﴾ 
(25:4) Those who have rejected the Message of the Prophet, say, "This (A1-Furgan) is a forgery which this man himself has devised, and some others have helped him at it. " What a cruel injustice *11 and an impudent lie!
*11 Another translation may be: "a great injustice."
 
وَقَالُوا أَسَاطِيرُ الْأَوَّلِينَ اكْتَتَبَهَا فَهِيَ تُمْلَى عَلَيْهِ بُكْرَةً وَأَصِيلًا﴿25:5﴾ 
(25:5) They say, "These things are the writings of the ancients which he has got copied down for himself, and then these are recited to him in the morning and evening.''

 
قُلْ أَنزَلَهُ الَّذِي يَعْلَمُ السِّرَّ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ إِنَّهُ كَانَ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا﴿25:6﴾ 
(25:6) O Muhammad, say to them, "This has been sent down by Him, Who knows the secret of the heavens and the earth." *12 The fact is that He is very Forgiving and Merciful. *13
*12 This is the same objection which the modern orientalists have raised against the Qur'an, but strange as it may seem, no contemporary of the Holy Prophet ever raised such an objection against him. Nobody, for instance, ever said that Muhammad (Allah's peace be upon him) as a boy had met Buhairah, the monk, and had attained religious knowledge from him, nor did anybody claim that he had obtained all that information from the Christian monks and Jewish rabbis during the trade journeys in his youth. In fact, they knew that he had never travelled alone but in the caravans and if they said such a thing, it would be refuted by hundreds of their own people from the city.
Then, one could ask, if he had gained all that knowledge from Buhairah when he was about 12, and during trade journeys when he was 25, why did he keep it secret from the people till he became 40? whereas he did not leave his country even for a single day, but lived for years among his own people in the same city. That is why the people of Makkah dared not bring such an impudent and baseless charge against him. Their objections related to the time when he claimed to be a Prophet of Allah and not to the time preceding that claim. Their argument was like this: "This man is illiterate and cannot obtain any knowledge through books. He has lived among us for forty years, but we have never heard from him anything that might have shown that he had any acquaintance with what he is preaching; therefore he must have had the help of other people who copied these things from the writings of the ancients for him: he learns these things from them and recites them as Divine Revelations: this is a fraud." So much so that according to some traditions, they named some of his "helpers", who were the people of the Book, were illiterate and lived in Makkah. They were: (1) Addas, a freed slave of Huvaitib bin `Abdul `Uzza(2) Yasar, a freed slave of 'Ala bin AlHadrami, and (3) Jabr, a freed slave of `Amir bin Rabbi`ah .
Apparently this is a weighty argument. For there can be no greater proof of the "fraud" of Prophethood than to specify its source. But it looks strange that no argument has been put forward to refute this charge except a mere denial, as if to say, "Your charge is an impudent lie: you are cruel and unjust to bring such a false charge against Our Messenger; for the Qur'an is the Word of Allah Who knows all the secrets in the heavens and the earth. " Had their charge been based on facts, it would not have been rejected with contempt, for in that case the disbelievers would have demanded a detailed and clear answer. But they realized the strength of the arguments and did not make such a demand. Moreover, the fact that the "weighty" argument failed to produce any doubt in the minds of the new Muslims, was a clear proof that it was a lie.
The enigma is clearly explained if we keep in view the prevalent circumstances
(1) The disbelievers of Makkah did not take any decisive steps to prove their charge, although they could, had there been any truth in their charge. For instance, they could have made raids on the houses of the alleged helpers and on the house of the Holy Prophet himself and taken hold of the whole "material" which was being used in this "fraud", and made it public to expose his Prophethood. And this was not difficult for them because they never hesitated to resort to anything to defeat him, including persecution, as they were not bound by any moral code.
(2) The alleged helpers were not strangers. As they lived in Makkah, everyone knew it well how learned they were. The disbelievers themselves knew that they could never have helped to produce a unique and sublime Book like the Qur'an which had the highest literary excellence and merit. That is why none of them challenged the answer to the charge. That is why even those people, who did not know them, considered this frivolous. Then if the alleged helpers were such geniuses, why did they not claim to be prophets themselves?
(3) Then, aII the alleged helpers were freed slaves who were attached"to their former masters even after their freedom according to the customs of Arabia; therefore they could not have become willing accomplices of the Holy Prophet in this "fraud" of false prophethood because their former masters could have coerced them to expose it. The only reason for them to help the Holy Prophet in his claim could have been some greed or interest which, under the circumstances, could not even be imagined. Thus, apparently there was no reason why they should have offended those whose protection and patronage they needed and enjoyed, and become accomplices in the "fraud".
(4) Above all, all these alleged helpers embraced Islam. Could it be possible that those very persons, who had helped the Holy Prophet to make his "fraud" successful, could have possibly become his devoted followers? Moreover, if, for the sake of argument, it be admitted that they helped him, why was not any of them raised to a prominent rank as a reward of his help? Why were not 'Addas and Yasar and Jabr exalted to the same status as were Abu Bakr and 'Umar and Abu 'Ubaidah? Another odd flung is that if the "fraud" of prophethood was being carried on with the help of the alleged helpers, how could it remain hidden from Zaid bin Harithah, 'AIi bin Abi Talib, Abu Bakr and other people, who were the Holy Prophet's closest and most devoted Companions? Thus the charge was not only frivolous and false, but it was also below the dignity of the Qur'an to give any answer to it. The charge has been cited merely to prove that those people had been so blinded by their opposition to the Truth that they could say anything.
*13 "... He is very Forgiving and Merciful" is very meaningful here. It means that Allah is giving full respite to the enemies of the Truth, for He is "Forgiving and Merciful"; otherwise He would have sent down a scourge to annihilate them because of the false charges they were bringing against the Messenger. It also contains an admonition, as if to say, "O unjust people! if even now you give up your enmity and obduracy and accept the Truth, We shall forgive your previous misdeeds.
 
وَقَالُوا مَالِ هَذَا الرَّسُولِ يَأْكُلُ الطَّعَامَ وَيَمْشِي فِي الْأَسْوَاقِ لَوْلَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مَلَكٌ فَيَكُونَ مَعَهُ نَذِيرًا﴿25:7﴾ 
(25:7) They say, "What sort of a Messenger is he that he eats food and moves about in the streets? *14 Why has not an angel been sent down to accompany him and threaten (the disbelievers)? *15
*14 That is, "He cannot be a Messenger of AIIah because he is a human being like us. Had Allah willed to send a Messenger, He would have sent an angel, and f at aII a human being was to be sent, he should have been a king or a millionaire, who would have resided in a castle and been guarded by attendants. A Messenger could not be an ordinary person who has to move about in the market places like the common people, for it is obvious that such a human Messenger cannot attract the attention of the people. In other words, they thought that a Messenger was not meant to guide the people to the right path but to coerce them to obedience by show of worldly power and grandeur. For further details, see E.N. 26 of AI-Mu'minun.
*15 That is, "If a human being was to be sent as a Messenger, an angel should have been appointed to accompany him to proclaim: `If you do not believe in him, 1 will scourge you." But what son of a Messenger is he, who has to suffer from abuse and persecution?"
 
أَوْ يُلْقَى إِلَيْهِ كَنزٌ أَوْ تَكُونُ لَهُ جَنَّةٌ يَأْكُلُ مِنْهَا وَقَالَ الظَّالِمُونَ إِن تَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا رَجُلًا مَّسْحُورًا﴿25:8﴾ 
(25:8) Or why has not at least a treasure been sent down for him or a garden given to him for (easy) sustenance?" *16 And the wicked people say, "You are following a man bewitched." *17
*16 That is, "If nothing else, Allah should at least have made extraordinary arrangements for his livelihood. But this man has no treasure and no gardens; yet he claims to be a Messenger of the Lord of the universe."
*17 The disbelievers of Makkah made the false propaganda against the Holy Prophet that he had been bewitched by some jinn or by the sorcery of an enemy or by the curse of some god or goddess for his insolence. But it is strange that they also admitted that he was a clever man who could make use of extracts from the ancient writings for the sake of his "prophethood", could practise sorcery and was also a poet.
 
انظُرْ كَيْفَ ضَرَبُوا لَكَ الْأَمْثَالَ فَضَلُّوا فَلَا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ سَبِيلًا﴿25:9﴾ 
(25:9) Just see what strange arguments they bring forward with regard to you! They have gone so far astray that they cannot charge any thing against you. *18
*18 As these objections were frivolous and meaningless like others, the Qur'an has ignored them, saying, "Your objections are irrelevant, unreasonable and void of sense. You bring no sound argument to prove your doctrine of shirk, ur to refute the Doctrine of Tauhid put forward by him, whereas the Messenger gives such proofs of the Doctrine of Tauhid that you cannot refute them except by saying, 'He is bewitched'. The same is true of the doctrine of the life-after-death and of the moral system of the Qur'an, which has produced men of high character. You cannot deny these things; you reject them, saying, "He is a human being like us, etc. etc."
 
تَبَارَكَ الَّذِي إِن شَاء جَعَلَ لَكَ خَيْرًا مِّن ذَلِكَ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ وَيَجْعَل لَّكَ قُصُورًا﴿25:10﴾ 
(25:10) Highly blessed *19 is He, Who, if He wills, could give you much more and better things than what they propose for you: (Not one but) many gardens, beneath which rivers flow; and big castles:
*19 Here again the word tabaraka has been used and in the context it means: "AIIah has full control over everything and has unlimited powers: if he wills to favour somebody, He can do so as and when He wills without Iet or h indrance. " .
 
بَلْ كَذَّبُوا بِالسَّاعَةِ وَأَعْتَدْنَا لِمَن كَذَّبَ بِالسَّاعَةِ سَعِيرًا﴿25:11﴾ 
(25:11) The fact of the matter is that these people have denied "the Hour" *20 , *21 --And for the one who denies the coming of the Hour, We have prepared a blazing Fire.
*20 The word As-Sa'at, meaning the Time or the Hour, has been used in the Qur'an as a term for the promised Hour of Resurrection, when all human beings of all ages will be raised from the dead and gathered together before AIIah Almighty to account for their beliefs and deeds, right or wrong, and rewarded or punished accordingly. '
*21 That is, "The objections they are raising are not due to the reason that they doubt the authenticity of the Qur'an on some rational ground, or that they do not believe in you for the reason that you eat food and walk about in the streets like the common people, or that they did not accept your Message of Truth only because you were not escorted by an angel, or were not given a treasure. But the real reason why they are putting forward alI sorts of absurd arguments to reject your Message, is that they do not believe in the life-after-death, and this denial has made them free from alI moral obligations. For when one denies the life-afterdeath, there remains no need for him to consider and decide what is true or false, or what is right or wrong, etc. Their argument is like this: 'There is going to be no life after this one on the earth when we will be called to account for our deeds before God. Death will be the end of everything, and it will therefore make no difference whether one was a worshipper of God or a disbeliever or a mushrik or an atheist When the ultimate end is to become one with the dust, there is no need of judging what is right and what is wrong except by the criterion of "success" and "failure" in this life'. Those who deny the Hereafter also see that worldly success or failure does not entirely depend upon one's faith or conduct; nay, they very often see that the righteous and the wicked persons meet with the same end irrespective of their faith for which there is no ordained punishment or reward in this life; one righteous person may be living a life of hardship while another enjoying all the good things of life; one wicked person may be suffering for his misdeeds while the other enjoying a life of pleasure and plenty. As such, as far as the worldly consequences of adopting a particular moral attitude are concerned, the disbelievers in the Hereafter cannot be satisfied whether it is right or wrong. In view of this, those who deny the Hereafter, do not see any need to consider an invitation to faith and morality even if it is presented in a most forceful way."
 
إِذَا رَأَتْهُم مِّن مَّكَانٍ بَعِيدٍ سَمِعُوا لَهَا تَغَيُّظًا وَزَفِيرًا﴿25:12﴾ 
(25:12) When it will see *22 them from afar, they will hear the sounds of its raging and roaring.
*22 "The Fire will see them" The words used in the Text may be metaphorical, or they may mean that the Fire of Hell will be endowed with the faculties of seeing, thinking and judging .
 
وَإِذَا أُلْقُوا مِنْهَا مَكَانًا ضَيِّقًا مُقَرَّنِينَ دَعَوْا هُنَالِكَ ثُبُورًا﴿25:13﴾ 
(25:13) And when they are chained together and flung into a narrow space therein, they will begin to call for death.

 
لَا تَدْعُوا الْيَوْمَ ثُبُورًا وَاحِدًا وَادْعُوا ثُبُورًا كَثِيرًا﴿25:14﴾ 
(25:14) (Then it will be said to them:) "Do not call for one death today, but call for many deaths."

 
قُلْ أَذَلِكَ خَيْرٌ أَمْ جَنَّةُ الْخُلْدِ الَّتِي وُعِدَ الْمُتَّقُونَ كَانَتْ لَهُمْ جَزَاء وَمَصِيرًا﴿25:15﴾ 
(25:15) Ask them "Is this (Fire) better or the everlasting Garden which has been promised to the God-fearing righteous people ?" which will be the recompense of their good deeds and the final destination of their journey

 
لَهُمْ فِيهَا مَا يَشَاؤُونَ خَالِدِينَ كَانَ عَلَى رَبِّكَ وَعْدًا مَسْؤُولًا﴿25:16﴾ 
(25:16) wherein they will get everything they desire and wherein they will dwell for ever. This is a promise which your Lord has taken upon Himself to fulfil. *23
*23 Literally: "It is a promise whose fulfilment can be demanded (from AIIah)". Here one ma ask the question: How can the promise of the Garden and the threat of the Fire produce any effect on the attitude of a parson who denies Resurrection and the existence of Paradise and Hell? In order to understand the wisdom of this method of admonition, one should keep in view that it is meant to appeal to the self-interest of an obdurate person, who dces not otherwise listen to such arguments. This is, as if to say, "Even if, for the sake of argument, there is no proof of the reality of the life-after-death, there is also no proof that such an event will not occur at all, and there is a possibility for both. In the latter case, the Believer and the disbeliever both will be in one and the same position, but if there is life in the Hereafter, as the Prophet asserts, then the disbelievers will be doomed to utter ruin". Therefore, such an approach breaks the stubbornness of the disbelievers and proves to be highly effective when the entire scene of Resurrection gathering of the people, their accountability and of Hell and Heaven is presented in a vivid manner as if the Prophet had himself seen it with his own eyes. Fur further explanation, see Ha Mim Sajdah: 52 and E. N. 69 thereof, and A I-Ahqaf: 10.
 
وَيَوْمَ يَحْشُرُهُمْ وَمَا يَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ فَيَقُولُ أَأَنتُمْ أَضْلَلْتُمْ عِبَادِي هَؤُلَاء أَمْ هُمْ ضَلُّوا السَّبِيلَ﴿25:17﴾ 
(25:17) And on that Day (y our Lord will gather :.II these people together as well as their deities, *24 whom they worship besides AIlah. Then He will ask them, "Did you mislead these servants of Mine, or did they themselves go astray?" *25
*24 Here, deities do not mean idols but the angels, the prophets; the saints, the martyrs and the pious men, whom the mushriks of different communities have made their deities.
*25 Such dialogues between Allah and the gods of the disbelievers occur at several places in the Qur'an. For instance, in Surah Saba it has been stated: "On the day when He will gather them all together, He will ask the angels, 'Did these people worship you?' They will answer, `Glory be to Thee ! Thou art our Patron and not they: they in fact worshipped the jinns (that is, satans); most of these believed in them." (vv. 40-41). Similarly in Surah Al-Ma'idah, it is said:" And when AIIah will say "O Jesus, son of Mary, did you ever say to the people: `Make me and my mother gods instead of Allah?' He will answer, `Glory be to Thee ! It did not behove me to say that which I had no right to say...I told them only that which Thou didst bid me: 'Worship Allah, Who is myLord as well as your Lord'." (vv. 116, 117).
 
قَالُوا سُبْحَانَكَ مَا كَانَ يَنبَغِي لَنَا أَن نَّتَّخِذَ مِن دُونِكَ مِنْ أَوْلِيَاء وَلَكِن مَّتَّعْتَهُمْ وَآبَاءهُمْ حَتَّى نَسُوا الذِّكْرَ وَكَانُوا قَوْمًا بُورًا﴿25:18﴾ 
(25:18) They will answer, "Glory be to Thee! We dared not take anyguardian besides Thee: (they were misled because) Thou didst give them and their forefathers all the good things of life till they forgot the Admonition, and incurred the punishment. " *26
*26 That is, "They were mean people: You gave them all the provisions of life so that they may show gratitude to You, but they became ungrateful and ignored all the admonitions given by the Prophets. "
 
فَقَدْ كَذَّبُوكُم بِمَا تَقُولُونَ فَمَا تَسْتَطِيعُونَ صَرْفًا وَلَا نَصْرًا وَمَن يَظْلِم مِّنكُمْ نُذِقْهُ عَذَابًا كَبِيرًا﴿25:19﴾ 
(25:19) Thus will your gods deny alI that you are professing today. *27 Then you shall neither be able to repel your punishment nor shall get any help from anywhere; and whoso is guilty. of iniquity'' *28 among you, We shall make him taste a severe torment.
*27 That is, "On that Day your religion, which you now believe, to be true. will prove to be false and even your gods, whom you yourselves have set up,' will declare it to be a lie; for none of them ever asked you to make them your deities and worship them as such. Consequently, instead of interceding on your behalf; they will bear witness against you."
*28 "... who will be guilty of iniquity ...": " .... who will be unjust to the Reality and the Truth and guilty of disbelief and shirk "The context shows that those who reject the Prophet and set up other deities instead of Allah and deny life in the Hereafter, are guilty of zulm (iniquity).
 
وَما أَرْسَلْنَا قَبْلَكَ مِنَ الْمُرْسَلِينَ إِلَّا إِنَّهُمْ لَيَأْكُلُونَ الطَّعَامَ وَيَمْشُونَ فِي الْأَسْوَاقِ وَجَعَلْنَا بَعْضَكُمْ لِبَعْضٍ فِتْنَةً أَتَصْبِرُونَ وَكَانَ رَبُّكَ بَصِيرًا﴿25:20﴾ 
(25:20) O Muhammad, , all the Messengers whom We sent before you also ate food and moved about in the streets. *29 In fact, We have made you all a means of test for one another. *30 Will you show patience? *31 for your Lord sees everything. *32
*29 This is an answer to the objection of the disbelievers of Makkah that Muhammad (Allah's peace be upon him) could not be a Messenger of Allah because he ate food and moved about in the streets. They have been told that all the Messengers of Allah who came before Muhammad (Allah's peace be upon him)like Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Moses and many others whom they knew and acknowledged as Prophets and Messengers of Allah also ate food and walked about in the streets. Nay, even Prophet Jesus, son of Mary, himself, whom the Christians had made the son of God (and whose image had also been placed in the Ka`bah by the disbelievers of Makkah) ate food and walked about in the streets like a common man even according to the Gospels themselves.
*30 It is obvious that the Messenger and the Believers were a test for the disbelievers as to whether they would believe even after hearing the Divine Message and seeing their pure character. On the other hand, the disbelievers were a test for the Messenger and his followers in the sense that they were a means of proving and trying their true Faith by their persecution. For it is this test alone which helps to discriminate the true Believers from the hypocrites. That is why, at tirst, only the poor arid the helpless but sincere people embraced Islam. Had there been no persecution and hardships but prosperity, wealth and grandeur, the worshippers of the world and the selfish people would have been the first to embrace Islam.
*31 That is, "Now when you have understood the wisdom of the test by persecution, it is hoped that you will endure all kinds of hardships without complaint, and willingly undergo the persecutions that are inevitable."
*32 It probably means two things: First, the way your Lord is conducting your affairs, is according to His will and nothing that happens is without His knowledge. Second, He is fully aware of your sincerity and righteousness in serving His cause under all kinds of hardships. You should therefore rest assured that you will have your full reward. He also sees the persecution and iniquity of the disbelievers; therefore they will not escape the consequences of their wickedness .
 
وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ لَا يَرْجُونَ لِقَاءنَا لَوْلَا أُنزِلَ عَلَيْنَا الْمَلَائِكَةُ أَوْ نَرَى رَبَّنَا لَقَدِ اسْتَكْبَرُوا فِي أَنفُسِهِمْ وَعَتَوْ عُتُوًّا كَبِيرًا﴿25:21﴾ 
(25:21) Those people, who have no fear of coming before Us, say,"Why should not the angels be sent down to us? *33 Or else we should see our Lord. " *34 Great arrogance have they assumed in regard to themselves, *35 and have transgressed all limits in their rebellion.
*33 That is, "If Allah had really intended to convey His Message to us, He would not have chosen a prophet and sent an angel only to him, but to each one of us individually with the guidance, or He should have sent a deputation of angels to appear before the people with the Message". The same objection has been stated in Surah Al-An`am thus: "When a Revelation comes before them, they say, `We will not believe in it unless we are given the like of what has been given to the Messengers of Allah.' Allah knows best whom to entrust with His Mission and how it should be enforced." (v. 124) appeal . "
*34 That is. "Allah Himself should appear before us and make the appeal.
*35 Another translation could be: "They have formed a very high opinion of their own selves."
 
يَوْمَ يَرَوْنَ الْمَلَائِكَةَ لَا بُشْرَى يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُجْرِمِينَ وَيَقُولُونَ حِجْرًا مَّحْجُورًا﴿25:22﴾ 
(25:22) The Day, when they will see the angels, will not be a day of rejoicing for the criminals ; *36 they will cry out, "May Allah save us!"
*36 This very theme has been expressed in much greater detail in AlAn'am: 8, Al-Hijr: 7-8 and 51-64, and also in Bani Isra`il: 90-95.
 
وَقَدِمْنَا إِلَى مَا عَمِلُوا مِنْ عَمَلٍ فَجَعَلْنَاهُ هَبَاء مَّنثُورًا﴿25:23﴾ 
(25:23) Then We shall turn to what they had done and render it vain like scattered dust. *37
*37 For explanation, see Ibrahim: 18 and E. N.'s 25, 26 thereof.
 
أَصْحَابُ الْجَنَّةِ يَوْمَئِذٍ خَيْرٌ مُّسْتَقَرًّا وَأَحْسَنُ مَقِيلًا﴿25:24﴾ 
(25:24) (On the contrary) only those who have deserved the Garden, will have a good abode on that Day and a cool place for midday rest. *38
*38 In contrast to the miserable plight of the disbelievers on the Day of Resurrection, the Believers will be protected from the hardships of that Day; they will be treated with honour and will have a blissful place for midday rest. According to a Tradition, the Holy Prophet said: "I declare on oath by AIIah, in Whose hand is my life, that the long, horrible Day of Resurrection will be made very short and light for a Believer, as short and light as the time taken in offering an obligatory Prayer." (Musnad Ahmad).
 
وَيَوْمَ تَشَقَّقُ السَّمَاء بِالْغَمَامِ وَنُزِّلَ الْمَلَائِكَةُ تَنزِيلًا﴿25:25﴾ 
(25:25) On that Day, a cloud will appear rending the sky and the angels will be senthi down rank after rank.

 
الْمُلْكُ يَوْمَئِذٍ الْحَقُّ لِلرَّحْمَنِ وَكَانَ يَوْمًا عَلَى الْكَافِرِينَ عَسِيرًا﴿25:26﴾ 
(25:26) The real Kingdom on that Day will belong only to the Merciful, *39 and it will be a very hard Day for the disbelievers.
*39 That is, "On that Day all other kingdoms, which deluded man in the world, will come to an end, and there will be only the Kingdom of Allah, Who is the real Sovereign of the universe. In Surah Mu'min: 16, the same thing has been stated thus: "On that Day when aII the people will stand exposed, and nothing of them will be hidden from Allah, it will be asked, `Whose is the Sovereignty today?' The response from every side will he: `Of Allah, the Almighty'." According to a Tradition, the Holy Prophet said, "AIlah will take the heavens in one hand and the earth in the other, and will declare: `I am the Sovereign: I am the Ruler. Where are the other rulers of the earth? Where are those tyrants`? Where are the arrogant people?" (Musnad Ahmad, Bukhari, Muslim, and Abu Da'ud, with slight variations).
 
وَيَوْمَ يَعَضُّ الظَّالِمُ عَلَى يَدَيْهِ يَقُولُ يَا لَيْتَنِي اتَّخَذْتُ مَعَ الرَّسُولِ سَبِيلًا﴿25:27﴾ 
(25:27) The unjust man will bite at his hand and say, "Would that I had stood by the Messenger!

 
يَا وَيْلَتَى لَيْتَنِي لَمْ أَتَّخِذْ فُلَانًا خَلِيلًا﴿25:28﴾ 
(25:28) O, woe to me ! Would that I had not chosen so and so for a friend!

 
لَقَدْ أَضَلَّنِي عَنِ الذِّكْرِ بَعْدَ إِذْ جَاءنِي وَكَانَ الشَّيْطَانُ لِلْإِنسَانِ خَذُولًا﴿25:29﴾ 
(25:29) For it was he, who had deluded me to reject the Admonition which had come to me. Satan has proved very treacherous to man. " *40
*40 "Satan has proved very treacherous to man" may also be a part of the disbelievers' lament, or it may be a remark by AIIah, in which case the meaning will be: "And Satan is indeed the one who always deceives man."
 
وَقَالَ الرَّسُولُ يَا رَبِّ إِنَّ قَوْمِي اتَّخَذُوا هَذَا الْقُرْآنَ مَهْجُورًا﴿25:30﴾ 
(25:30) And the Messenger will say, "O my Lord, my people had made this Qur'an the object of their ridicule." *41
*41 The Arabic word mahjur is capable of several meanings. As such, the sentence may mean:" "these people did not regard the Qur'an as worthy of their consideration: they neither accepted it nor followed it"; or "They considered it to be a nonsense or the delirium of insanity: or "They made it the target of their ridicule and mockery."
 
وَكَذَلِكَ جَعَلْنَا لِكُلِّ نَبِيٍّ عَدُوًّا مِّنَ الْمُجْرِمِينَ وَكَفَى بِرَبِّكَ هَادِيًا وَنَصِيرًا﴿25:31﴾ 
(25:31) O Muhammad, in this very way We have made the criminals the enemies of every Prophet, *42 but your Lord suffices for you as your Guide and Helper. *43
*42 That is, "It is not a new thing that the disbelievers have become your enemies, for it has always been so with all the former Prophets and Messengers. (See also Al-An'am: 112-113). This is inevitable because it is Our Law that the criminals will always oppose the Truth. You should, therefore, pursue your mission with full confidence and determination without expecting any immediate results."
*43 "Guidance" does not only imply bestowing of the knowledge of the Truth, but it also means giving the right guidance at the right time to guide the Islamic Movement on the right lines and to defeat the strategy and scheme of the enemies of Islam "Help" means all kinds of moral, spiritual and material help to the followers of the Truth in their conflict against falsehood. Thus, Allah is AllSufficient for the righteous people and they need no other support provided they have full faith in Allaln and fight falsehood with all their energies and strength. This meant to encourage the Holy Prophet, otherwise the previous assertion would have been very discouraging without this. It meant to say, "Even :f the unbelievers have become your enemies, you should continue your mission, for We shall guide you in every stage and situation and help you against them. We shall defeat aII the schemes of your enemies and help you in every way in your conflict with falsehood. We shall provide you with material means also, but you should trust in Us and exert your utmost against falsehood."
 
وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لَوْلَا نُزِّلَ عَلَيْهِ الْقُرْآنُ جُمْلَةً وَاحِدَةً كَذَلِكَ لِنُثَبِّتَ بِهِ فُؤَادَكَ وَرَتَّلْنَاهُ تَرْتِيلًا﴿25:32﴾ 
(25:32) The disbelievers say, "Why has not the entire Qur'an been sent down to this man all at nce?" *44 -Well, this has been done to impress it deeply on your mind, *45 and (for the same object) We have sent it down piecemeal by degrees.
*44 As the disbelievers of Makkah considered this objection to be very strong, they repeated it over and over again. The Qur'an also has cited it with its answer at several places; for instance, see E.N.'s 101-106 of Surah An-Naml and E.N. 119 of Bani Isra'il. Their question implied: "Had the Qur'an been really the Word of Allah, it would have been sent as a complete book aII at once; for Allah has the knowledge of everything and every human affair. Thus it is obvious that nothing is being sent down from above; but this man himself fabricates all its themes or gets these from other people or other books. "
*45 Another translation can be: "So that by it We may strengthen your heart and imbue it with courage." The words are comprehensive and imply both the meanings. This concise sentence contains the following explanation why the Qur'an was revealed piecemeal by degrees:
(1) So that the Holy Prophet may commit it to memory perfectly and recite it to his people, who are illiterate, rather than present it in a written form.
(2) So that its teachings and messages may be impressed deeply on the minds.
(3) So that the way of life it teaches, may be followed with complete conviction, which would not be possible if all the Commandments and the whole system of life had been sent down all at once.
(4) So that the hearts of the Prophet and his followers may be imbued with courage during the conflict between the Truth and falsehood. This required that the Divine Guidance and messages of encouragement should be revealed as and when needed according to the practical situation. Obviously, this could not have been possible if these had been sent down all at once. This also showed that Allah had not left His Messenger alone amidst persecution to counter all sorts of resistance and opposition after appointing him to the mission, but He Himself was watching the struggle with concern and guiding His Prophet through every difficulty by direct communion in every critical situation.
 
وَلَا يَأْتُونَكَ بِمَثَلٍ إِلَّا جِئْنَاكَ بِالْحَقِّ وَأَحْسَنَ تَفْسِيرًا﴿25:33﴾ 
(25:33) And (there is another wisdom in this : whenever they brought to you an odd thing (or a strange question), We sent its right answer to you in time and explained it all in the best manner, *46
*46 This is yet another point of wisdom of sending down the Qur'an by degrees. Allah did not intend to produce a book on "Guidance" and spread its teachings through the agency of His Prophet. Had it been so the disbelievers would have been justified in their objection as to why the Qur'an had not been sent down as a complete book all at once. The real object of the revelation of the Qur'an was that Allah intended to start a Movement of faith, piety and righteousness to combat disbelief, ignorance and sin, and He had raised a Prophet to lead and guide the Movement. Then, on the one hand, Allah had taken it upon Himself to send necessary instructions and guidance to the leader and his followers as and when needed, and on the other, He had also taken the responsibility to answer the objections and remove the doubts of opponents and give the right interpretation of things which they misunderstood. Thus the Qur'an was the collection of the differentdiscourses that were being revealed by Allah; it was not merely meant to be a code of laws or of moral principles, but a Book, which was being sent down piecemeal to guide the Movement in all its stages to suit its requirements on different occasions. (See also Introduction: The Meaning of the Qur'an, Vol. I, pp. 9- 18).
 
الَّذِينَ يُحْشَرُونَ عَلَى وُجُوهِهِمْ إِلَى جَهَنَّمَ أُوْلَئِكَ شَرٌّ مَّكَانًا وَأَضَلُّ سَبِيلًا﴿25:34﴾ 
(25:34) those who are going to be driven to Hell upon their faces, have taken an utterly wrong stand and their way is most erroneous ! *47
*47 That is, "They will be driven towards Hell upon their faces because of their perversion and their perverted thinking."
 
وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا مُوسَى الْكِتَابَ وَجَعَلْنَا مَعَهُ أَخَاهُ هَارُونَ وَزِيرًا﴿25:35﴾ 
(25:35) We gave Moses the Book *48 and appointed his brother Aaron as his counsellor:
*48 Here by "the Book" is not meant the Torah, which was given to Prophet Moses after the exodus from Egypt, but it implies that Divine Guidance which was given to him after his appointment as a Prophet up to the Exodus. It included the orations delivered by him in the court of Pharaoh and also the instructions given to him during his conflict with Pharaoh as mentioned in the Qur'an here and there. Most probably, these things were not included in the Torah; the Torah began with the Ten Commandments which were given to Moses engraved on stone tablets on Mount Sinai after the Exodus.
 
فَقُلْنَا اذْهَبَا إِلَى الْقَوْمِ الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا فَدَمَّرْنَاهُمْ تَدْمِيرًا﴿25:36﴾ 
(25:36) then We said to them, "Go to the people who have treated Our Revelations as false. " *49 So We annihilated those people utterly.
*49 "Revelations": The Divine teachings which had reached them through Prophets Jacob and Joseph, and which had been preached to them by the righteous people of Israel for centuries
 
وَقَوْمَ نُوحٍ لَّمَّا كَذَّبُوا الرُّسُلَ أَغْرَقْنَاهُمْ وَجَعَلْنَاهُمْ لِلنَّاسِ آيَةً وَأَعْتَدْنَا لِلظَّالِمِينَ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا﴿25:37﴾ 
(25:37) The same was the case with the people of Noah when they charged the Messenger with imposture: *50 We drowned them and made them a sign of warning for entire mankind, and We have prepared a painful chastisement for the unjust. *51
*50 They did not charge only Prophet Noah with imposture because he was a man, but, in fact, charged all the Prophets with imposture because they were aII human beings.
*51 That is, a painful chastisement in the Hereafter.
 
وَعَادًا وَثَمُودَ وَأَصْحَابَ الرَّسِّ وَقُرُونًا بَيْنَ ذَلِكَ كَثِيرًا﴿25:38﴾ 
(25:38) Likewise were destroyed the `Ad and the Thamud and the people of the Rass, *52 and many a generation in between.
*52 There is no definite knowledge about "the people of the Raas'' . Different commentators have said different things about them, but nothing is convincing. The only thing that may be said about them is that they were a people who had killed their Prophet by throwing him into or hanging him down a "Rass " (an old or dry well).
وَكُلًّا ضَرَبْنَا لَهُ الْأَمْثَالَ وَكُلًّا تَبَّرْنَا تَتْبِيرًا﴿25:39﴾ 
(25:39) We admonished each one of them by citing the examples (of those who were destroyed before them) and ultimately annihilated all of them.

 
وَلَقَدْ أَتَوْا عَلَى الْقَرْيَةِ الَّتِي أُمْطِرَتْ مَطَرَ السَّوْءِ أَفَلَمْ يَكُونُوا يَرَوْنَهَا بَلْ كَانُوا لَا يَرْجُونَ نُشُورًا﴿25:40﴾ 
(25:40) Surely, these people have passed by that habitation on which was rained an evil rain: *53 have they not seen its ruins ? But they do not expect another life in the Hereafter. *54
*53 The habitation referred to was that of the people of Prophet Lot, which was destroyed by a rain of stones. The people of Hijaz while traveling to Palestine and Syria, passed by its ruins and heard the horrible tales of its destruction .
*54 As the disbelievers did not believe in the Hereafter, they looked at these ancient ruins as mere spectators and did not take any warning from them. Incidentally, this is the difference between the observation of a disbeliever and of a Believer in the Hereafter: the former looks at such things as a mere spectator or at the most as an archaeologist whereas the latter learns moral lessons from the same and obtains an insight into the realities beyond this worldly life.
وَإِذَا رَأَوْكَ إِن يَتَّخِذُونَكَ إِلَّا هُزُوًا أَهَذَا الَّذِي بَعَثَ اللَّهُ رَسُولًا﴿25:41﴾ 
(25:41) When these people see you, they scoff at you, (saying), "Is this the man whom Allah has sent as His Messenger?

 
إِن كَادَ لَيُضِلُّنَا عَنْ آلِهَتِنَا لَوْلَا أَن صَبَرْنَا عَلَيْهَا وَسَوْفَ يَعْلَمُونَ حِينَ يَرَوْنَ الْعَذَابَ مَنْ أَضَلُّ سَبِيلًا﴿25:42﴾ 
(25:42) He had almost led us astray from our gods, had we not remained firm in our faith with regard to them. " *55 The time is not far when they will see the torment and realize who had strayed far from the truth.
*55 Obviously there is a contradiction between the question posed by the disbelievers and the assertion made by them about their deities. The question was meant to bring the Holy Prophet into contempt, as if to say, "You are making a claim that is far above your low position." On the other hand, their assertion shows that ,they indirectly admitted the force of the arguments and the high character of the Holy Prophet and were even afraid of the effectiveness and success of his Message, because, according to them, it was going to turn them away from their false gods.
 
أَرَأَيْتَ مَنِ اتَّخَذَ إِلَهَهُ هَوَاهُ أَفَأَنتَ تَكُونُ عَلَيْهِ وَكِيلًا﴿25:43﴾ 
(25:43) Have you ever considered the case of the person who has made his lust his god? *56 Can you take the responsibility of guiding such a one aright ?
*56 "...the person who makes his lust his god" is the one who becomes the slave of his lusts and desires. As he serves his lust like the one who warships ' his deity, he becomes as much guilty of .shirk as the one who worships an idol. According to a Tradition, related by Hadrat Abu Hurairah, the Holy Prophet said, "Of all the false gods being worshipped and served, instead of Allah, the worst in the sight of Allah is one's own lust." (Tabarani). For further explanation, see E.N. 50 of Al-Kahf, The man who keeps his desires under control, and uses his common sense to make decisions, can be expected to come to the right path by making an appeal to his reason even though he might have been involved in shirk or disbelief; for if. he decides to follow the right way he will remain firm and steadfast on it. On the other hand, the man who is the slave of his own lust, is like a ship without an anchor, who wanders about on any path where his lust leads him. He is least bothered about the distinction between the right and the wrong, the true and the false, and has no desire to choose one against the other. And, if ar alI, such a person is persuaded to accept the message of Guidance, no one can take the responsibility that he will observe any moral laws.
 
أَمْ تَحْسَبُ أَنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ يَسْمَعُونَ أَوْ يَعْقِلُونَ إِنْ هُمْ إِلَّا كَالْأَنْعَامِ بَلْ هُمْ أَضَلُّ سَبِيلًا﴿25:44﴾ 
(25:44) Do you think that most of them hear or understand ? They are only like the cattle; nay, even worse than the cattle. *57
*57 "They are only like the cattle" because they follow their lusts blindly. Just as the sheep and cattle do not know where their driver is taking them, to the meadow or to the slaughter house, so are these people also following their leaders blindly without knowing or judging where they are being led-to success or to destruction.. The only difference between the two is that the cattle have no intelligence and will not be accountable as to the place where they are being taken by the driver. But it is a pity that human beings who are endowed with reason, should behave like cattle; therefore their condition is worse than that of cattle.
Incidentally it should be noted that this passage (w . 43, 44) is not meant to dissuade the Holy Prophet from conveying the Message to such people, but it is an indirect warning to the disbelievers of the consequences if they continued to behave like cattle .