26. Surah Ash Shuaraa (The Poets)


Name

The Surah takes its name from verse 224 in which the word Ash-Shu`araa' occurs.


Period of Revelation

The subject matter and the style show, and the traditions confirm, that it was revealed during the middle Makkan period. According to Ibn Abbas, Surah Ta Ha was revealed first, then Surah Al Waqiah, and then Surah Ash-Shu'araa.(Ruh-ul-Ma'ani, Vol. xx, p. 64). About Surah Ta Ha it is well known that it had been revealed before Hadrat Umar embraced Islam.


Subject Matter and Topics

The background of the Surah is that the disbelievers of Makkah were persistently refusing, on one pretext or the other, to accept the message of Islam given by the Holy Prophet. Sometimes they would say that he did not show them any sign to convince them of his Prophethood; sometimes they would brand him as a poet or a sorcerer and mock his message; and sometimes they would ridicule his Mission, saying that his followers were either a few foolish youth, or the poor people and slaves - whereas, they argued, if his Mission had really some value for the people, the nobles and the elders would have accepted it first. Thus, while on the one hand, the Holy Prophet was becoming wearied by his efforts to show them rationally the errors of their creeds and prove the truth of the Doctrines of Tauhid and the Hereafter, the disbelievers, on the other, were never tired of adopting one kind of obduracy after the other. This state of affairs was causing great anguish and grief to the Holy Prophet.


Such were the conditions when this Surah was revealed. It begins with words of consolation to the Holy Prophet, implying, "Why do you fret for their sake?If these people have not believed in you, it is not because they have not seen any Sign, but because they are obdurate. They will not listen to reason they want to see a Sign which makes them bow their heads in humility. When this Sign is shown in due course of time, they will themselves realize that what was being presented to them was the Truth."


After this introduction, till verse 191, one and the same theme has been presented continuously, and it is said: "The whole earth abounds in such Signs as can guide a seeker after truth to Reality, but the stubborn and misguided people have never believed even after seeing the Signs, whether these were the Signs of the natural phenomena or the miracles of the Prophets. These wretched people have stubbornly adhered to their erroneous creeds till the Divine scourge actually overtook them." It is to illustrate this that the history of seven of the ancient tribes has been told, who persisted in disbelief just like the disbelievers of Makkah. In this connection, the following points have been stressed:


The Signs are of two kinds:(a) Those which are scattered all over the earth, and by seeing which an intelligent person can judge for himself whether what the Prophet is presenting is the Truth or not and (b) those which were seen by Pharaoh and his people, Noah's people, the Ad and the Thamud, Lot's people and the people of Aiykah. Now it is for the disbelievers to decide which kind of the Signs they are eager to see.


The mentality of the disbeliever has been the same throughout the ages; their arguments and their objections, and their excuses and subterfuges for not believing have been similar and ultimately the fates that they met have also been the same. Likewise, the Prophets in every age presented the same teachings, their personal character and their reasoning and arguments against their opponents were the same, and they were all similarly blessed with mercy by Allah Almighty. Both these patterns of behavior and conduct are found in history, and the disbelievers could themselves see as to which respective patterns they and the Holy Prophet belonged.


Allah is All Mighty, All Powerful and All Merciful at the same time. History contains instances of His Wrath as well as of His Mercy. Now, therefore, it is for the people to decide whether they would like to deserve Allah's Mercy or His Wrath.


Lastly, the discussion has been summed up, saying "O disbelievers, if at all you want to see the Signs, why should you insist on seeing those horrible Signs that visited the doomed communities of the past? Why don't you see the Qur'an which is being presented in your own language? Why don't you see Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and mercy) and his Companions? Can the revelations of the Qur'an be the work of a satan or a jinn? Does the recipient of the Qur'an appear to be a sorcerer? Are Muhammad and his Companions no different from a poet and his admirers? Why don't you give up disbelief and search your hearts for their judgment? When in the heart of your hearts you yourselves believe that the Revelations of the Qur'an have nothing in common with sorcery and poetry, then you should know that you are being cruel and unjust, and will certainly meet the doom meant for the cruel and unjust."



Surah 26. Ash-Shu`araa (1-22)
 
 

Surah 26. Ash-Shu`araa (1-22)

طسم﴿26:1﴾ 
(26:1) Ta Sin Mim.

 
تِلْكَ آيَاتُ الْكِتَابِ الْمُبِينِ﴿26:2﴾ 
(26:2) These are the verses of the lucid Book *1
*1 That is, the verses being presented in this Surah are of that Book, which presents and explains its subject-matter clearly and plainly so that every reader and listener may easily understand what it invites to, what it enjoins and what it forbids, and what it regards as true and what as false. To believe or not to believe is a differen! matter; but no one can have the excuse that he could not understand the teachings of the Book and its injunctions and prohibitions.
"Al-Kitab-ul-Mubin" also has the meaning that the Qur'an is, beyond any doubt, a Divine Book. Its language, its diction and themes, the facts presented by it and the background of its revelations, all testify !o the fact that this is indeed the Book of the Master of all Creation. In this sense, its every sentence is a Sign and a miracle. As such, any person who has common sense has no need of any other Sign than the verses of this Book for believing in the Prophethood of Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings).
This brief introductory sentence, which covers both these meanings, has a close connection with the subject-matter of this Surah. The disbelievers of Makkah demanded a miracle from the Holy Prophet so as to be convinced that the message he gave was really from AIIah. In answer to that, it has been said that if some one really wanted a Sign for believing in the Prophet, he should study the verses of this Book. Then, the disbelievers accused the Holy Prophet of being a sorcerer. This charge has been refuted by saying that the Qur'an has nothing ambiguous or mysterious in it; butit plainly puts forward aII its teachings which cannot be the creation of a poet or a sorcerer's imagination.
 
لَعَلَّكَ بَاخِعٌ نَّفْسَكَ أَلَّا يَكُونُوا مُؤْمِنِينَ﴿26:3﴾ 
(26:3) O Muhammad, you will perhaps consume yourself with grief because these people do not believe. *2
*2 The words bakhi'un-nafsaka literally mean: "You would kill yourself." The verse in fact describes the extreme anguish, anxiety and grief of the Holy Prophet over the Makkan disbelievers' ways of deviation, moral degradation, and obduracy and opposition to his message of reform. Sometimes it seemed as if his grief and mental suffering for their sake would cause his death. This state of the Holy Prophet has been referred to at other places in the Qur'an as well, for instance in AI-Kahf: 6, thus: "Well, O Muhammad, it may be that you will consume your life for their sake out of sorrow if they do not believe in this message. And in Al-Fatir: 8, thus:" ....Iet not your life be consumed in grief for their sake."
 
إِن نَّشَأْ نُنَزِّلْ عَلَيْهِم مِّن السَّمَاء آيَةً فَظَلَّتْ أَعْنَاقُهُمْ لَهَا خَاضِعِينَ﴿26:4﴾ 
(26:4) If We will, We can send down from the sky a Sign before which they will bend down their necks in submission. *3
*3 That is, "It is not at all difficult for Allah to send down a Sign which would make all the disbelievers yield and submit. If, however, He does not send one, it does not mean that such a thing is beyond His powers, but the reason is that . belief under compulsion is not acceptable to Him. Allah wants that people should use their common-sense and recognize the Truth through the verses of the Divine Book and the Signs which are scattered all over the universe and are found even in their ownselves. Then, when their hearts are satisfied that the message of the Prophets contains the Truth, and the beliefs and the creeds which are opposed to it, are false, they should willingly give up falsehood and adopt the Truth. This voluntary belief, acceptance of the Truth and rejection of falsehood, is what Allah demands from man. It is for this reason that Allah has bestowd upon man choice and free will, and freedom to follow any way, right or wrong, that he pleases. For the same reason He has placed in his nature both the tendencies, towards good and towards evil, and opened up before him both the ways, to piety and to sin. For the same purpose He has given Satan the freedom and respite to mislead him and has made arrangements of Prophethood, Revelation and invitation to goodness to guide him to the right way, and has placed man on trial to see whether he adopts the way of belief and obedience or of disbelief and sin. On the other hand, if Allah had adopted a method of coercing people to believe and obey, it would have defeated the very purpose of the trial and test. Then there was no need to send down the Signs for the purpose, but He would have created man with a pure nature, without any inclination for evil, disbelief and sin, and made him obedient by birth like the angels. This has been referred at several places in the Qur'an, for instance in Yunus: 99: ` Had your Lord willed aII the dwellers of the earth would have believed in Him;" and in Hud: 118: '"Your Lord could have made mankind one community had He so willed, but now they will continue to follow different ways, but only those on whom Allah has His mercy (escape wrong ways). It will be so because He has created them for this (very freedom of choice and action)." For further explanation, see E.N.'s 101,102 of Yunus and E.N. 116 of Hud.
 
وَمَا يَأْتِيهِم مِّن ذِكْرٍ مِّنَ الرَّحْمَنِ مُحْدَثٍ إِلَّا كَانُوا عَنْهُ مُعْرِضِينَ﴿26:5﴾ 
(26:5) Whatever new admonition comes to them from the Merciful, they turn away from it.

 
فَقَدْ كَذَّبُوا فَسَيَأْتِيهِمْ أَنبَاء مَا كَانُوا بِهِ يَسْتَهْزِئُون﴿26:6﴾ 
(26:6) Now that they have rejected it, they will soon come to know (in various forms) the reality of what they have been mocking *4 .
*4 That is, the people who show lack of feeling and interest for every rational attempt made to bring them to the right way, cannot be made to believe forcibly by sending down Signs from heaven. They only deserve to be shown their evil end after they have been duly warned and shown guidance, which they not Only treated with indifference but rejected scornfully. This evil end can be shown to them in several ways:
(1) The Truth which they have bitterly opposed and scoffed at should prevail in the world in front of their very eyes in spite of their antagonism.
(2) They should be visited by a painful torment and eliminated from the world.
(3) Alter a few years of misguided life they should meet death and see for themselves that what they had been following wholeheartedly throughout their lives was nothing but falsehood and what the Prophets had been presenting was the very Truth, which they had been scoffing at. Thus the evil end can take place differently for different people as it happened in the past.
 
أَوَلَمْ يَرَوْا إِلَى الْأَرْضِ كَمْ أَنبَتْنَا فِيهَا مِن كُلِّ زَوْجٍ كَرِيمٍ﴿26:7﴾ 
(26:7) And have they never looked at the earth (and seen) how We have created in it a variety of fine vegetation in abundance ?

 
إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَةً وَمَا كَانَ أَكْثَرُهُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ﴿26:8﴾ 
(26:8) This surely has a Signs *5 but most of them would not believe.
*5 That is, the seeker after truth does not have to look far for a Sign. If only he sees with open eyes the phenomena of vegetation around him, he will be able to judge for himself whether the reality about the system of the world (i.e., Tauhid) which was being presented by the Prophets is true, or the speculations of the polytheists and atheists. From the variety and abundance of creation found on the earth, the various elements and factors supporting it, the laws of nature causing it to grow and flourish, and the accord and harmony existing between its characteristics and the countless needs and demands of innumerable creatures, only a fool will conclude that all this is happening automatically without the wisdom, knowledge, power and design of an All-Mighty, All-Powerful Creator. Obviously, many masters and gods could not have by any device arranged and produced the perfect harmony and accord between the soil, the sun and the moon, and the animal and plant life produced with their help and the needs of a great variety of creatures living on the earth. A sensible person, unless he is prejudiced and biased, cannot help feeling convinced that these are the clear signs and proofs of the existence of One God, and there is no further need of a miracle to convince him of the reality of Tauhid.
 
وَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الرَّحِيمُ﴿26:9﴾ 
(26:9) The fact is that your Lord is Mighty as well as Merciful. *6
*6 That is, "He has the power and ability to annihilate completely anyone whom He wills to punish, but it is His mercy that He dces not hasten to punish the wrung-doer, but gives him respite for years and centuries to allow him time to think, understand and mend his ways, and is ever ready to forgive the sins of a lifetime if the sinner offers repentance but once."
 
وَإِذْ نَادَى رَبُّكَ مُوسَى أَنِ ائْتِ الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ﴿26:10﴾ 
(26:10) Relate to them the story of the time when your Lord called Moses, *7 saying: "Go forth to the wicked people-the people of Pharaoh *8 .
*7 After a brief introduction, historical events have been presented beginning with the story of Prophet Moses and Pharaoh, and attention has been drawn specifically to the following points:
(1) The conditions under which Prophet Moses had to work were much harsher and more severe than those faced by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Allah's peace be upon him). Prophet Moses belonged to a slave community very much suppressed by Pharaoh and his people. In contrast to them, the Holy Prophet was a member of the clan of Quraish and his family enjoyed an equal status with the other clans. Then Prophet Muses had been bred and brought up in the house of Pharaoh and after remaining a fugitive for ten years due to a charge of murder, he was commanded to go before the same king from whom he had fled for life. The Holy Prophet did not have to face any such situation. Then the empire of Pharaoh was the most extensive and powerful empire of the time and the meagre power of the Quraish had no comparison with it. In spite of that Pharaoh could not do any harm to Prophet Moses and ultimately perished in the conflict. From this Allaln wanted the Quraish to learn this lesson: "None can defeat the one who has Allah to help him? When Pharaoh with all his might became helpless against Moses, how can you, O poor Quraish, succeed against Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings)'?
(2) There could not be clearer and more manifest Signs (miracles) than those which were shown to Pharaoh through Moses. Then in an open contest with the magicians before a gathering of hundreds of thousands of people to meet the challenge of Pharaoh himself, it had been conclusively demonstrated that what was presented by Moses, was not magic. The skilful magicians who were themselves Egyptians and had been summoned by Pharaoh himself bore witness to the fact that turning of Moses' staff into a serpent was a real change of nature, which could only happen through a Divine miracle, and not by any trick of magic. Then the magicians' believing in Moses inunediately, even at the risk of life, proved beyond any doubt that the Sign presented by Moses was a miracle and not magic. Yet the disbelievers were not inclined to believe in the Prophet. Now how can you, O Quraish, say that you will believe only when you are shown a perceptible miracle and a physical Sign '? As a matter of fact, if a person is free from prejudice, false sense of prestige and vested interest, and has an open mind to appreciate the distinction between truth and falsehood, and is prepared to give up falsehood for the truth, he does not stand in need of any other signs than those found in this Book, in the life of the one presenting it and in the vast universe around him. On the contrary, an obstinate person, who is not interested in the truth, and who hecause of selfish motives is determined not to recognize and accept any such truth as may clash with his interests, will not be prepared to believe after seeing any sign whatever, even if the earth and the heaven are turned upside down in front of Iris eyes .
(3) 'the tragic end of such obstinacy as met by Pharaoh is not something for which other people should become so impatient. Those who do not believe even after seeing with their own eyes the Signs of Divine power have inevitably to meet a similar fate. Therefore, instead of learning a lesson why do you insist nn seeing such a dreadful sign? For comparison, see AIA'raf: 103-137, Y'unus: 75-92, Bani Isra'il: 101-104, and Ta Ha: 9-79.
*8 The epithet of "the wicked people" describes the extremely wicked character of the people of Pharaoh.
 
قَوْمَ فِرْعَوْنَ أَلَا يَتَّقُونَ﴿26:11﴾ 
(26:11) Do they not fear ?" *9
*9 That is, "O Moses! Just see how these people are perpetrating crime and injustice presuming that they are all-powerful in the land having no fear of God, Who will call them to account in the Hereafter".
 
قَالَ رَبِّ إِنِّي أَخَافُ أَن يُكَذِّبُونِ﴿26:12﴾ 
(26:12) Moses answered, "My Lord, I am afraid that they will treat me as a liar.

 
وَيَضِيقُ صَدْرِي وَلَا يَنطَلِقُ لِسَانِي فَأَرْسِلْ إِلَى هَارُونَ﴿26:13﴾ 
(26:13) My breast straitens and I am not eloquent of tongue: so appoint Aaron to Prophethood. *10
*10 The sentence, "My breast straitens", shows that Prophet Moses was somewhat hesitant of going alone on such a difficult mission, and also had the feeling that he was not eloquent in speech. That is why he begged Allah to appoint Aaron too, as messenger to assist him who, being more vigorous in speech, could support and strengthen him as and when the need arose. It is just possible :hat in the beginning, the Prophet Moses might have begged that Aaron be appointed to Prophet hood instead of him, but later when he felt that Allah willed him to be appointed to that position, he might have appealed that Aaron should at least be made his counselor and assistant. We say this because here Prophet Moses is not praying for Aaron to be made his counselor, but says, "Appoint Aaron to Prophet hood." On the other hand, in Surah Ta Ha, he says, "Appoint for me a counselor from my family-(Iet it be) my brother Aaron." Then in Surah AlQasas, he says, "My brother Aaron is more vigorous in speech than myself, so send him as an assistant with me to confirm (and support) me." From this it appears that these two requests were made later, but originally Prophet Moses had begged Allah to appoint Aaron to Prophet hood instead of himself.
The Bible has a different story to tell. According to it, Prophet Moses, fearing that he would be rejected by the people of Pharaoh, and putting forward the excuse of his faltering speech, had declined to accept his appointment to prophet hood on the pretext that he lacked vigour and eloquence in speech : "O my, Lord, send, I pray Thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send." (Exodus, 4: 13), Then Allah, of His own will, appointed Aaron to be his assistant and persuaded them: to go together before Pharaoh. (Exodus, 4: 1-13). For further details, see E.N. 19 of Ta Ha.
 
وَلَهُمْ عَلَيَّ ذَنبٌ فَأَخَافُ أَن يَقْتُلُونِ﴿26:14﴾ 
(26:14) And they have the charge of a crime against me, too; therefore, I fear that they will put me to death." *11
*11 The allusion is to the incident of Prophet Moses' giving a blow to an Egyptian, who was fighting with an Israelite, and thus causing his death. Then as soon as Moses came to know that the report had reached Pharaoh and his people and they were planning to take revenge, he fled the country and took refuge in Midian. (See Al-Qasas: 15-21) Now when after a period of almost ten years of hiding he was suddenly called upon and commanded to go before Pharaoh, who had already a charge of murder against him, with the message, Prophet Moses rightly felt apprehensive that he would immediately be involved in the murder case even before he was able to convey the message as commanded by Allah.
 
قَالَ كَلَّا فَاذْهَبَا بِآيَاتِنَا إِنَّا مَعَكُم مُّسْتَمِعُونَ﴿26:15﴾ 
(26:15) Allah said: "No, never! Go, both of you, with Our Signs: *12 We shall be with you, hearing everything.
*12 . Here by "Signs" are meant the miracles of the staff and the shining hand, which were liven to Moses. For details see Al-A`raf: 106-117, Ta Ha: .1723, An-Naml: 7-14, and Al-Qasas: 31-32).
 
فَأْتِيَا فِرْعَوْنَ فَقُولَا إِنَّا رَسُولُ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ﴿26:16﴾ 
(26:16) Go to Pharaoh and tell him, `We have been sent by the Lord of all Creation (with the message)

 
أَنْ أَرْسِلْ مَعَنَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ﴿26:17﴾ 
(26:17) that you should let the Israelites go with us'." *13
*13 The Mission of the Prophets Moses and Aaron was twofold: First, to invite Pharaoh to the worship and obedience of Allah which has been the foremost aim of the Mission of every Prophet, and secondly, to liberate the Israelites from the bondage of Pharaoh, which was specifically assigned to them. The Qur`an has mentioned sometimes only the first part of their Mission (as in Surah An-Nazi`at) and sometimes only the second.
 
قَالَ أَلَمْ نُرَبِّكَ فِينَا وَلِيدًا وَلَبِثْتَ فِينَا مِنْ عُمُرِكَ سِنِينَ﴿26:18﴾ 
(26:18) Pharaoh said."Did we not bring you up as a child in our house? *14 You lived quite a few years of your life among us,
*14 This remark of Pharaoh shows that he was not the same Pharaoh who had brought up Moses in his house, but his son. Had he been the same Pharaoh, he would have said, "I brought you up." But, on the contrary. he says, "You were brought up among ourselves." For a detailed discussion, see E.N.'s 85-93 of AlA'raf.
 
وَفَعَلْتَ فَعْلَتَكَ الَّتِي فَعَلْتَ وَأَنتَ مِنَ الْكَافِرِينَ﴿26:19﴾ 
(26:19) and then you did what you did, *15 you are indeed an un grateful man."
*15 The allusion is to the incident of murder committed by Moses accidentally.
 
قَالَ فَعَلْتُهَا إِذًا وَأَنَا مِنَ الضَّالِّينَ﴿26:20﴾ 
(26:20) Moses answered, "I did it inadvertently; *16
*16 The word dalalat dces not always mean "straying away", but it is also used in the sense of ignorance, folly, error, forgetfulness, inadvertence, etc. As mentioned in Surah Al-Qasas, Prophet Moses had only given a blow to the Egyptian (Copt) when he saw him treating an Israelite cruelly. A blow dces not cause death, nor is it given with the intention of causing death. It was only an accident that the Egyptian died. As such, it was not a case of deliberate murder but of accidental murder. A murder was committed but not intentionally, nor was any weapon used, which is usually employed for murder, or which can cause murder.
 
فَفَرَرْتُ مِنكُمْ لَمَّا خِفْتُكُمْ فَوَهَبَ لِي رَبِّي حُكْمًا وَجَعَلَنِي مِنَ الْمُرْسَلِينَ﴿26:21﴾ 
(26:21) then I fled from you out of fear; then my Lord bestowed wisdom and knowledge upon me," *17 and included me among the Messengers.
*17 The word. hukm means wisdom, knowledge or authority, which is granted by Allah to a Prophet so that he may speak with confidence and power.
 
وَتِلْكَ نِعْمَةٌ تَمُنُّهَا عَلَيَّ أَنْ عَبَّدتَّ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ﴿26:22﴾ 
(26:22) As for the favour of which you have reminded me, the fact is that you had reduced the Israelites to bondsmen." *18
*18 That is, "If you had not been unjust and cruel to the Israelites. I should not have been brought to your house for upbringing. It was only on account of your barbarism that my mother put me in a basket and cast it into the river. Had it not been so, I should have been happily brought up in my own house. Therefore, it dces not behove you to remind me of your favour of bri nging me up in your house."
 
قَالَ فِرْعَوْنُ وَمَا رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ﴿26:23﴾ 
(26:23) Pharaoh said, *19 "And what is this Lord of all Creation?" *20
*19 Here the details that Prophet Moses went before Pharaoh as the Messenger of the Lord of the universe and conveyed to him His message, have been omitted, and only the conversation that took place between them has. been related.
*20 This question of Pharaoh concerned the assertion of Moses that he had been sent by the Lord, Master and Ruler of all Creation with the message that he should let the Israelites go with him. This was a political message. It implied that the One, Whom Moses claimed to represent, possessed authority and sovereign rights over all the people of the world including Pharaoh and that he was not only encroaching upon his sphere of sovereignty as Supreme Ruler, but was also sending him the Command that he should hand over a section of his subjects to the representative appointed by Him, so that he should take them out of his kingdom. That is why Pharaoh asked, "Who is this Master and Ruler of aII Creation who is sending such a command to the king of Egypt through an ordinary subject of his kingdom?"
 
قَالَ رَبُّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا إن كُنتُم مُّوقِنِينَ﴿26:24﴾ 
(26:24) Moses answered, "The Lord of the heavens and the earth and of all that is between them, if only you care to believe! *21
*21 That is, "I have not been sent by any mortal king ruling in the world, but I come from Him Who is the Owner of the heavens and the earth. If you believe that, there is a Creator and Master and Ruler of this universe, it should not he difficult for you to understand who is the Lord of all Creation."
 
قَالَ لِمَنْ حَوْلَهُ أَلَا تَسْتَمِعُونَ﴿26:25﴾ 
(26:25) Pharaoh said to those around him, "Do you hear?"

 
قَالَ رَبُّكُمْ وَرَبُّ آبَائِكُمُ الْأَوَّلِينَ﴿26:26﴾ 
(26:26) Moses said, "Your Lord as well as Lord of your forefathers who have gone before. " *22
*22 These words were addressed to the chiefs of Pharaoh, whom he had asked, "Do you hear?" Prophet Moses said: "I do not believe in the false gods who exist today, but did not exist yesterday, or who existed yesterday but do not exist today. This Pharaoh, whom you worship as your lord today, did not exist yesterday, and the Pharaohs whom your elders worshipped yesterday, do not exist today; whereas I believe in the sovereignty and authority of that Lord Who is both your Lord and Pharaoh's Lord as much today as He was your elders' Lord before this."
 
قَالَ إِنَّ رَسُولَكُمُ الَّذِي أُرْسِلَ إِلَيْكُمْ لَمَجْنُونٌ﴿26:27﴾ 
(26:27) Pharaoh said (to all those present), "This messenger of yours, who has been sent to you, seems to be utterly mad."

 
قَالَ رَبُّ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ﴿26:28﴾ 
(26:28) Moses said, "(He is) Lord of the east and the west and of all that is between them, if only you people have any common-sense" *23
*23 That is, "You regard me as a mad person, but if you think you are wise people, you should yourself decide as to who is the real lord: this wretched Pharaoh who is ruling over a small piece of earth, or He Who is the Owner of the east and the west and of everything bounded by the east and the west including the land of Egynt. I believe in His sovereignty alone and have been sent to convey His message to a creature of His."
 
قَالَ لَئِنِ اتَّخَذْتَ إِلَهًا غَيْرِي لَأَجْعَلَنَّكَ مِنَ الْمَسْجُونِينَ﴿26:29﴾ 
(26:29) Pharaoh said, "If you take any one other than me as a deity, will cast you among those who are rotting in the prisons." *24
*24 To understated and appreciate this conversation fully, one should bear in mind the fact that as it is today, in the ancient times too, the concept of "deity" was confined to its religious sense only. The deity was meant to be worshipped and presented offerings and gifts, and because of its "supernatural powers" and author ity the people were to pray to it for help and fulfilment of their desires. But a deity's being supreme legally and politically also and his right to enjoin anything he pleased in the mundane affairs and man's duty to submit to his commands as to superior law, has never been recognized by the socalled worldly rulers. They have always claimed that in the mundane affairs, they alone possess absolute authority and no deity has any right to interfere in the polity and law prescribed by them. This very thing has been the real cause of the conflict between the Prophets and their righteous followers, on the one hand, and the worldly kingdoms and governments on the other. The Prophets have been trying their utmost to make the worldly rulers acknowledge the sovereign and absolute rights of the Lord of the Worlds, but they in return have not only been claiming sovereign powers and rights for themselves, but have been considering every such person as a criminal and rebel, who has held someone else as a deity in the political and legal sphere. With this background one can easily understand the real significance of Pharaoh's words. Had it been a question of mere worship and offerings, he would have least bothered that Moses, forsaking all gods, regarded only Allah, the Lord of all Creation, as worthy of those rights. if Moses had invited him to serve Allah alone, he would not have felt provoked and offended. At the most he would have refused to give up the creed of his forefathers, or would have challenged Moses to have a debate with his own religious scholars. But what caused him provocation was that Prophet Moses was presenting himself as the representative of the Lord of all Creation and was conveying to him a political command as if he was a subordinate ruler and the representative of the superior authority was demanding obedience from him to the command. In this sense, he was not prepared to acknowledge any other political or legal authority, nor allow any of his subjects to acknowledge anybody instead of himself as the supreme ruler. That is why he challenged the teen "Lord, of all Creation", for the message sent by Him clearly reflected sovereignty in the political and trot in the mere religious sense. Then, when Prophet Moses explained over and over again what he meant by the "Lord of all Creation", Pharaoh threatened that if he held any one other than him as sovereign in the land of Egypt, he would be cast into prison.
 
قَالَ أَوَلَوْ جِئْتُكَ بِشَيْءٍ مُّبِينٍ﴿26:30﴾ 
(26:30) Moses said, "Even if I bring forth a convincing thing?" *25
*25 That is, "Will you still deny me and send me to prison, even if I present a convincing Sign to prove that I am really the Messenger of God, Who is Lord of all Creation , Lord of the heavens and the earth and Lord of the east and the west?
 
قَالَ فَأْتِ بِهِ إِن كُنتَ مِنَ الصَّادِقِينَ﴿26:31﴾ 
(26:31) Pharaoh replied, "Well, bring it if you are truthful." *26
*26 This reply of Pharaoh shows that he was not in any way different from the common polytheists of the ancient and modern times. Like all other polytheists he believed in Allah's being the highest Deity in the supernatural sense. Who wielded greater power and authority than all other gods and goddesses. That is why Prophet Moses said to him, "If you do not believe that I have been appointed by AIlah, I can present such clear Signs as will prove that I have really been sent by Him", and that is why Pharaoh said, " I f you are true in your claim, come out with your Sign", otherwise if he had any doubt about the existence of Allah or His being Master of the universe, he would not have asked for the Sign .
 
فَأَلْقَى عَصَاهُ فَإِذَا هِيَ ثُعْبَانٌ مُّبِينٌ﴿26:32﴾ 
(26:32) (No sooner had he uttered these words than) Moses cast down his staff, and suddenly it became a serpent. *27
*27 Thub an means a serpent. At other places, the Qur'an has used hayyatun (snake) and jaann (a small snake) to describe the snake of the staff. The interpretation given by Imam Razi is that the snake of the staff looked like a serpent from its big size and has been called jaann on account of its swift movement which is characteristic of small snakes.
 
وَنَزَعَ يَدَهُ فَإِذَا هِيَ بَيْضَاء لِلنَّاظِرِينَ﴿26:33﴾ 
(26:33) Then he drew out his hand (from the armpit) and it was shining bright for all the spectators. *28
*28 Some commentators under the influence of the Israelite traditions have translated baida' as white and have taken it to mean that the healthy hand when drawn out of the armpit became white as if struck by leprosy. But commentators like Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir, Zamakhshari, Razi, Abul Sa'ud `Imadi, Alusi and others are agreed that baida' here means shining and bright. As soon as Prophet Moses took out his hand from the armpit, it made the whole place bright as if by the sun. For further explanation, see E.N. 13 of Ta Ha.
 
قَالَ لِلْمَلَإِ حَوْلَهُ إِنَّ هَذَا لَسَاحِرٌ عَلِيمٌ﴿26:34﴾ 
(26:34) Pharaoh said to the chiefs around him, "This fellow is certainly a skilled magician:

 
يُرِيدُ أَن يُخْرِجَكُم مِّنْ أَرْضِكُم بِسِحْرِهِ فَمَاذَا تَأْمُرُونَ﴿26:35﴾ 
(26:35) he wants to drive you out of your land by means of his magic. *29 Now, what is your command ?" *30
*29 The impact of the two miracles can be judged from the fact that a moment before this Pharaoh was calling Moses a mad man, because he had claimed to be a Prophet and had had the boldness to openly demand release of the Israelites. He was also threatening Moses that if he took somebody else as Lord instead of him, he would cast him into the prison for life. But, after he had seen the Signs, he became so terror-stricKen that he felt his kingdom to be at stake, and in his contusion he did not realize that he was talking meaninglessly to his servants in the court. Two men from the oppressed community of the Israelites were standing before the most powerful ruler of the time: they had no military force with them, they belonged to a weak and lifeless community, and there was no sign of any rebellion in any corner of the country, nor did they have the support of any foreign power, yet as soon as the miracles of the snake of the staff and the shining hand were shown, the tyrant desperately cried out: "These two men want to seize power and deprive the ruling class of their sovereign rights!" His apprehension that Moses would do so by force of his magic again reflected a confused state of mind, for nowhere in the world has a political revolution been ever brought about, nor a country taken, nor a war won merely by force of tragic. There were many magicians in Egypt, who could perform masterly tricks of tragic, but Pharaoh knew it well that they were nonentities because they performed magic only for the sake of rewards.
*30 30. This sentence further shows Pharaoh's perplexed state of mind. A moment before he was the deity of his courtiers and, now, struck by awe, the deity is asking his servants as to what he should do to meet the dangerous situation.
 
قَالُوا أَرْجِهِ وَأَخَاهُ وَابْعَثْ فِي الْمَدَائِنِ حَاشِرِينَ﴿26:36﴾ 
(26:36) They said, "Detain him and his brother for a while, and send forth heralds to the cities

 
يَأْتُوكَ بِكُلِّ سَحَّارٍ عَلِيمٍ﴿26:37﴾ 
(26:37) to summon every skilled magician into your presence .

 
فَجُمِعَ السَّحَرَةُ لِمِيقَاتِ يَوْمٍ مَّعْلُومٍ﴿26:38﴾ 
(26:38) So, the magicians were gathered together on an appointed day and time, *31
*31 As already mentioned in Surah Ta Ha (v. 59), the day fixed for the purpose was the day of the national festivities of the Egyptians so that large crowds of people coming to the festivals from every part of the country should also witness the grand "contest which was to be held in the broad daylight so that the spectators could see the performances clearly.
 
وَقِيلَ لِلنَّاسِ هَلْ أَنتُم مُّجْتَمِعُونَ﴿26:39﴾ 
(26:39) and the people were asked, "Would you come to the gathering? *32
*32 That is, besides proclamation heralds were sent to urge the people to come and see the contest. It appears that the news of the miracle shown by Prophet Moses before the packed court had reached the common people also, and Pharaoh fearing that the people at large might be influenced, wanted that they should come together in large numbers so that they could see for themselves that turning a staff into a snake had nothing extraordinary in it because such a trick could be performed by every common magician of their own country as well.
 
لَعَلَّنَا نَتَّبِعُ السَّحَرَةَ إِن كَانُوا هُمُ الْغَالِبِينَ﴿26:40﴾ 
(26:40) We may perhaps still follow the magicians' way if they are dominant. " *33
*33 This sentence confirms the idea that those who had witnessed the miracle of Moses in the royal court and those who had heard of it reliably outside were losing faith in their ancestral religion, and now the strength of their faith depended on this that their own magicians also should give a performance similar to that of Moses. That is why Pharaoh and his chiefs themselves regarded this contest as a decisive one, and their heralds were busy moving about in the land, impressing on the people that if the magicians won the day, they would yet be secured against the risk of being won over to Moses' religion, otherwise there was every possibility of their creed's being exposed and abandoned for ever.
 
فَلَمَّا جَاء السَّحَرَةُ قَالُوا لِفِرْعَوْنَ أَئِنَّ لَنَا لَأَجْرًا إِن كُنَّا نَحْنُ الْغَالِبِينَ﴿26:41﴾ 
(26:41) When the magicians arrived for the contest, they said to Pharaoh, "Shall we have rewards if we win ?" *34
*34 Such was the mentality of the supporters of the polytheistic creed of the land, whose only ambition was to win rewards from the king if they won the day.
 
قَالَ نَعَمْ وَإِنَّكُمْ إِذًا لَّمِنَ الْمُقَرَّبِينَ﴿26:42﴾ 
(26:42) He replied, "Of course,and then you will be included among those nearest to me. " *35
*35 This was then the highest honour that the king could confer on those who served the creed best Thus, at the very outset, Pharaoh and his magicians manifested by their conduct the great moral distinction that exists between a Prophet and a magician. On the one side, there stood that embodiment of courage and confidence, who in spite of belonging to the suppressed community of the Israelites and having remained to hiding for ten long years on account of a charge of murder, had suddenly appeared in Pharaoh's court to proclaim fearlessly that he had been sent by the Lord of all Creation and demanded release of the Israelites. He did not even feel the least hesitation in starting a discussion face to face with Pharaoh not caring in' the least for his threats. On the other side, there were the wretched magicians wholly lacking in moral fibre, who had been summoned by Pharaoh himself to help secure the ancestral religion, and yet they were begging for rewards in return for the services. And when they are told that they will not only be given rewards but will also be included among the royal courtiers, they feel greatly overjoyed. These two types of characters clearly bring out the difference between the grand personality of a Prophet and that of a mere magician. Unless a tnan loses all sense of modesty and decency, he cannot have the audacity to call a Prophet a magician.
 
قَالَ لَهُم مُّوسَى أَلْقُوا مَا أَنتُم مُّلْقُونَ﴿26:43﴾ 
(26:43) Moses said, "Cast down what you have to cast down.'

 
فَأَلْقَوْا حِبَالَهُمْ وَعِصِيَّهُمْ وَقَالُوا بِعِزَّةِ فِرْعَوْنَ إِنَّا لَنَحْنُ الْغَالِبُونَ﴿26:44﴾ 
(26:44) They forthwith cast down their cords and staffs and said. "By Pharaoh's honour, we shall surely win" *36
*36 As soon as they cast down their cords and staffs, these started moving like so many snakes- towards Moses. This has been described in greater detail at other places in the Qur'an. According to Al-A`raf: 116: "When they threw down their devices, they bewitched the eyes of the people and terrified their hearts: for they had indeed produced a great magic." And according to Ta Ha: 66, 67: "Suddenly it so appeared to Moses that their cords and staffs were running about by the power of their magic, and Moses' heart was filled with fear."
 
فَأَلْقَى مُوسَى عَصَاهُ فَإِذَا هِيَ تَلْقَفُ مَا يَأْفِكُونَ﴿26:45﴾ 
(26:45) Then Moses cast down his staff, and to ! it started devouring up their false devices.

 
فَأُلْقِيَ السَّحَرَةُ سَاجِدِينَ﴿26:46﴾ 
(26:46) At this, alI the magicians fell down in prostration,

 
قَالُوا آمَنَّا بِرَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ﴿26:47﴾ 
(26:47) and cried out, "We have believed in the Lord of all creation

 
رَبِّ مُوسَى وَهَارُونَ﴿26:48﴾ 
(26:48) the Lord of Moses and Aaron ! " *37
*37 This was not merely an acknowledgment of their defeat at the hands of Moses as though he was a greater magician, but their falling prostrate in submission to Allah, Lord of the universe, was an open declaration before thousands of Egyptians that what Moses had brought about was no magic at all, but a manifestation of the powers of Allah, Almighty.
 
قَالَ آمَنتُمْ لَهُ قَبْلَ أَنْ آذَنَ لَكُمْ إِنَّهُ لَكَبِيرُكُمُ الَّذِي عَلَّمَكُمُ السِّحْرَ فَلَسَوْفَ تَعْلَمُونَ لَأُقَطِّعَنَّ أَيْدِيَكُمْ وَأَرْجُلَكُم مِّنْ خِلَافٍ وَلَأُصَلِّبَنَّكُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ﴿26:49﴾ 
(26:49) Pharaoh said, "You have believed in Moses even before I should have permitted you ! He must be your chief who has taught you magic *38 Well, you shall soon come to know: 1 shall have your hands and feet cut off on opposite sides and shall crucify you all" *39
*38 This only shows the extreme obstinacy and obduracy of Pharaoh, who even after witnessing a clear miracle and the testimony of the magicians on it, was still insisting that it was magic. But according to Al-A`raf: 123, Pharaoh said, "Indeed it was a plot you conspired in the capital to deprive the rightful owners of their power." Thus he tried to make the people believe that the magicians had yielded to Moses not because of the miracle but due to a conspiracy with Moses before they entered the contest, so that they might seize political power and enjoy its fruits together.
*39 This horrible threat was held out by Pharaoh to justify his thinking that the magicians had entered a conspiracy with Moses. He thought that the magicians, in order to save their lives, would confess the plot and thus the effect produced by their falling prostrate and believing in Moses in front of thousands of spectators would be gone.
 
قَالُوا لَا ضَيْرَ إِنَّا إِلَى رَبِّنَا مُنقَلِبُونَ﴿26:50﴾ 
(26:50) They replied, "We care not: we shall pass into our Lord's presence

 
إِنَّا نَطْمَعُ أَن يَغْفِرَ لَنَا رَبُّنَا خَطَايَانَا أَن كُنَّا أَوَّلَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ﴿26:51﴾ 
(26:51) and we expect that our Lord will forgive us our sins because we are the first to believe. " *40
*40 That is, "We have to return to our Lord in any case. If you kill us now, we shall present ourselves before Him just today, and we have nothing to worry in this. We rather expect that we shall be forgiven our sins and errors because out of this eatire gathering we were the first to believe as soon as reality became known to us."
This reply of the magicians made two things absolutely clear to the people who had been gathered together by Pharaoh heralds
: First, that Pharaoh was a dishonest obdurate and deceitful person. When he saw that Moses had come out successful in the contest which he himself had arrangedto be decisive, he concocted a plot and forced the magicians to confess it by coercion and threats. Had there been any truth in it, the magicians would not have readilyoffered to have their hands and feet cut off on opposite sides and get crucified. The fact that the magicians remained steadfast and firm in their belief even in the face of such a horrible threat, proves that the accusation of plotting a conspiracy against Pharaoh was baseless. The fact was that the magicians being experts in their art had realized that what Moses had displayed was no magic, but surely a manifestation of the powers of Allah, Lord of the universe.
Secondly, thousands of the people who had gathered together from all corners of the land had themselves witnessed the great moral change that had occurred in the magicians as soon as they professed belief in the Lord of the universe. The same magicians who had been summoned to strengthen and secure the ancestral creed by means of their magic and who, a minute before, were humbly begging Pharaoh for rewards had now become so bold and ennobled spiritually that they would not take any notice of Pharaoh's powers and his threats and were even prepared to face death and extreme physical torture for the sake of their Faith. Thus psychologically there could not be a better occasion to expose the polytheistic ,creed of the Egyptians in their own eyes and help impress the truth of Moses' religion in the minds of the people.
 
وَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَى مُوسَى أَنْ أَسْرِ بِعِبَادِي إِنَّكُم مُّتَّبَعُونَ﴿26:52﴾ 
(26:52) We inspired Moses with this *41 : "Set off with My servants by night, for you will be pursued. " *42
*41 The mention of migration here does not mean that Prophet Moses and the Israelites were immediately ordered to leave Egypt. The history of the intervening period has been related in Al-A`raf: 127-135 and Yunus: 83-89, and a part of it has been mentioned in Al-Mu`min: 23-46 and Az-Zukhruf: 46-56. Here the story is being cut short and only the final phase of the conflict between Pharaoh and Prophet Moses is given to show the tragic end of Pharaoh who had remained obdurate even after witnessing clear Signs and the ultimate success of Moses who had Divine support behind his message.
*42 The warning that "you will be pursued" shows the wisdom of the instruction to set off during the night. The idea was that before Pharaoh came out with his hosts to pursue them, they should have gone far enough so as to be out of reach of him. It should be borne in mind that the Israelites were not settled in one place in Egypt but were scattered in cities and habitations all over the country and lived in large numbers especially in the land between Memphis and Rameses called Goshen. (See map in Vol . III, p. 31, on the Exodus of the Israelites). It appears that when Prophet Moses was commanded to leave Egypt, he must have sent instructions to the Israelite habitations telling the people to make necessary preparations' for migration and he must have also fixed a night for them to leave their homes for the exodus.
 
فَأَرْسَلَ فِرْعَوْنُ فِي الْمَدَائِنِ حَاشِرِينَ﴿26:53﴾ 
(26:53) At this, Pharaoh sent out heralds to the cities (for mobilization,

 
إِنَّ هَؤُلَاء لَشِرْذِمَةٌ قَلِيلُونَ﴿26:54﴾ 
(26:54) saying): "These are but a handful of people,

 
وَإِنَّهُمْ لَنَا لَغَائِظُونَ﴿26:55﴾ 
(26:55) who have provoked us much;

 
وَإِنَّا لَجَمِيعٌ حَاذِرُونَ﴿26:56﴾ 
(26:56) and we are a host who are always on our guard. " *43
*43 All this shows that Pharaoh in fact was terror-stricken, but was trying to hide his fear under cover of fearlessness. On the one hand, he was mobilizing forces to face the situation; on the other, he wanted to show that he was undaunted and undeterred, for a despotic ruler like Pharaoh could have no danger from a suppressed and slave community which had been living in disgrace for centuries. That is why his heralds made the people believe that the Israelites were just a handful of people, who could do them no harm, but had to be punished for the provocation they had caused. As for mobilization it was only a precautionary measure which had been taken to meet any eventuality in time.
 
فَأَخْرَجْنَاهُم مِّن جَنَّاتٍ وَعُيُونٍ﴿26:57﴾ 
(26:57) Thus did We draw them out from their gardens and their water-springs

 
وَكُنُوزٍ وَمَقَامٍ كَرِيمٍ﴿26:58﴾ 
(26:58) and their treasure-houses and fine dwellings *44 .
*44 The genera'. mobilization ordered by Pharaoh was aimed to crush the Israelites completely, but God's device turned the tables on him and drew out all his chiefs and courtiers from their dwelling places and drove them to the place where they and their hosts were to be drowned aII together. Had they not pursued the Israelites, nothing would have happened save that a community would have left the country quietly and they would have continued to enjoy life in their fine dwellings as before. But they in fact had cleverly planned not to allow the Israelites go away peacefully, but to attack the migrating caravans suddenly to finish them completely. For this very purpose the princes and the high chiefs and the nobles came out of their palaces and joined Pharaoh in the campaign, but their cleverness did not avail them anything. Not only did the Israelites succeed in escaping from Egypt, but also at the same time the elite of Pharaoh's tyrannical kingdom perished in the sea.
 
كَذَلِكَ وَأَوْرَثْنَاهَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ﴿26:59﴾ 
(26:59) This is how they were dealt with, while (on the other hand) We made the Children of Israel inherit all these things. *45
*45 Some commentators have interpreted this verse to mean that Allah made the Children of Israel to inherit the gardens, water-springs, treasure-houses and fine dwellings vacated and left behind by Pharaoh and his people. This would inevitably mean that after the drowning of Pharaoh, the Israelites returned to Egypt and took possession of the wealth and properties of Pharaoh's people. This interpretation, however, is neither supported by history nor by other verses of the Qur'an. The relevant verses of Surahs AI-Baqarah, AI-Ma'idah, AI-A`raf and Ta Ha confirm that after the destruction of Pharaoh in the sea, the Israelites did not return to Egypt but proceeded towards their destination (Palestine) and then, till the time of Prophet David (973-1013 B.C.) all the major events of their history took place in the lands which are now known as the Sinai Peninsula, northern Arabia, Transjordan and Palestine. As such, in our opinion the verses mean this: On the one hand, Allah deprived the people of Pharaoh of their wealth, possessions and grandeur, and on the other, He bestowed the same on the Children of Israel in Palestine, and not in Egypt. This same meaning is borne out by vv. 136-137 of A1-A'raf: "Then We took Our vengeance on them and drowned them in the sea because they had treated Our Signs as false and grown heedless of them. And after them We gave as heritage to those who had been abased and kept low, the eastern and the western parts of that land, which had been blessed bountifully by Us." The epithet of "the blessed land" has generally been used for Palestine in the Qur'an as in Surah Bani Isra'il: l, Al-Anbiya': 71-81, and Saba': 18.
 
فَأَتْبَعُوهُم مُّشْرِقِينَ﴿26:60﴾ 
(26:60) In the morning these people set out in pursuit of them.

 
فَلَمَّا تَرَاءى الْجَمْعَانِ قَالَ أَصْحَابُ مُوسَى إِنَّا لَمُدْرَكُونَ﴿26:61﴾ 
(26:61) When the two hosts came face to face with each other, the companions of Moses cried out: "We are overtaken !"

 
قَالَ كَلَّا إِنَّ مَعِيَ رَبِّي سَيَهْدِينِ﴿26:62﴾ 
(26:62) Moses said, "No, never! With me indeed is my Lord: He will sure]y guide me. " *46
*46 That is, "He will show me the way out of this calamity"
 
فَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَى مُوسَى أَنِ اضْرِب بِّعَصَاكَ الْبَحْرَ فَانفَلَقَ فَكَانَ كُلُّ فِرْقٍ كَالطَّوْدِ الْعَظِيمِ﴿26:63﴾ 
(26:63) We inspired Moses with the Command: "Smite the sea with your staff." The sea parted forthwith and its each part stood like a mighty mountain. *47
*47 Literally, tawd is a high mountain. It appears that as soon as Prophet Moses struck the sea with his staff, it tore the sea asunder and the waters stood like two mighty mountains on the sides and remained in that condition for so long that, on the one hand, the Israelite caravans consisting of hundreds of thousands of the nigrants were able to pass through safely, and on the other, Pharaoh and his hosts stepped in and reached the middle of the sea. In the natural course, a phenomenon like this has never occurred that due to a windstorm, however strong, the sea should have parted and stood like mighty mountains on either side for such a long time. According to verse 77 of Ta Ha, Prophet Moses was commanded by Allah "to make for them (the Israelites) a dry path across the sea. " This shows that the smiting of the sea did not only result in dividing the waters into two parts, which stood like mighty mountains on either side, but it also created a dry path in between without any mud or slush. In this connection, one should also consider verse 24 of Surah Dukhan, which says that after Moses had crossed the sea along with his people, he was commanded by Allah "to let the sea remain as it is because Pharaoh is to be drowned in it." This implies that if after crossing the sea, Moses had again struck it with his staff, the two sides would have rejoined, but he was forbidden to do so. Obviously, this was a miracle, and the view of those who try to interpret it as a natural phenomenon, is belied. For explanation, see E.N. 53 of Ta Ha.
 
وَأَزْلَفْنَا ثَمَّ الْآخَرِينَ﴿26:64﴾ 
(26:64) And We led to the same place the other host, too.

 
وَأَنجَيْنَا مُوسَى وَمَن مَّعَهُ أَجْمَعِينَ﴿26:65﴾ 
(26:65) We saved Moses and all his companions,

 
ثُمَّ أَغْرَقْنَا الْآخَرِينَ﴿26:66﴾ 
(26:66) and drowned the others *48 .
*48 That is, Pharaoh and his army.
 
إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَةً وَمَا كَانَ أَكْثَرُهُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ﴿26:67﴾ 
(26:67) There is indeed a Sign in this, *49 but most of these people would not believe.
*49 That is, the Quraish have this lesson to learn from this: "The obdurate people like Pharaoh, his chiefs and followers had not believed even though they had been shown clear miracles for years. They had been so blinded by obduracy that even on the occasion of their drowning in the sea although they had seen the sea parting asunder in front of their very eyes, the waters standing like high mountains on either side, and the dry path in between for the Israelite caravans to pass, yet they failed to understand that Moses had Divine succour and support with him which they had come out to fight. At last when they came to their senses, it was too late, because they had been overtaken by the wrath of Allah and the sea waters had covered them completely. It was on this occasion that Pharaoh had cried out "I have believed that there is no god but the real God in Whom the Children of Israel have believed and I am of those who surrender." (Yunus: 90).
On the other hand, there is a Sign in this for the believers, too. They should understand how Allah by His grace causes the Truth to prevail in the long run and the falsehood to vanish even though the forces to evil may appear to be dominant for the time being .
 
وَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الرَّحِيمُ﴿26:68﴾ 
(26:68) The fact is that your Lord is Mighty as well as Merciful.

 
وَاتْلُ عَلَيْهِمْ نَبَأَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ﴿26:69﴾ 
(26:69) And tell them the story of Abraham *50
*50 This part of the life-history of Prophet Abraham relates to the time when after his appointment to Prophethood, a conflict had started between him and his people on the questions of shirk and Tauhid. In this connection, the reader should also see Al-Baqarah: 258-260, Al-An`am: 75-83, Maryam: 41-50, Al-Anbiya': 51-70, As- Saffat: 83-113, and Al-Mumtahanah: 4-5.
The Qur'an has specially repeated this part of Prophet Abraham's lifestory over and over again because the Arabs in general and the Quraish in particular regarded themselves as his followers and professed his way and creed. Besides them, the Christians and the Jews also claimed that Abraham was their religious leader and guide. That is why the Qur'an admonishes them over and over again that the creed brought by Abraham was Islam itself, which is now being presented by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Allah's peace be upon him), and which they are opposing tooth and nail. Prophet Abraham was not a mushrik, but an antagonist against shirk, and for the same reason he had to leave his home and country and live as a migrant in Syria, Palestine and Hejaz. Thus he was neither a Jew nor a Christian, because Judaism and Christianity appeared centuries after him. This historical argument could neither be refuted by the mushriks, nor by the Jews or the Christians, because the mushriks themselves admitted that idol-worship in Arabia had started several centuries after Prophet Abraham, and the Jews and the Christians also could not deny that Prophet Abraham had lived long before the beginning of Judaism and Christianity. This obviously meant that the special beliefs and customs which those people thought formed the basis of their religion, were not part of the original religion taught by Prophet Abraham. True religion was the one which had no tinge of those impurities, but was based on those worship and obedience of One Allah alone. That is why the Qur`an says:
"Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was a Muslim, sound in the Faith, and he was not of those who set up partners with Allah. Surely only those people who follow Abraham are entitled to claim a relationship with him. Now this Prophet and the believers are better entitled to this relationship." (AIAn'am: 67, 68).
 
إِذْ قَالَ لِأَبِيهِ وَقَوْمِهِ مَا تَعْبُدُونَ﴿26:70﴾ 
(26:70) when he asked his father and his people: "What are these things that you worship?" *51
*51 Obviously the object of this question was to remind the people that the deities which they worshipped were false and absolutely powerless. In Surah AIAnbiya' the same question has been posed thus: "What are these images to which you are so devoted '?" (V. 52).
 
قَالُوا نَعْبُدُ أَصْنَامًا فَنَظَلُّ لَهَا عَاكِفِينَ﴿26:71﴾ 
(26:71) They answered, "These are idols which we worship and we serve them devotedly." *52
*52 Though everybody knew that they worshipped idols, their answer implied that they were firm in faith and their hearts were satisfied with it, as if to say, "We also know that these are idols of stone and wood, which we worship, but our faith demands that we should serve and worship them devotedly."
 
قَالَ هَلْ يَسْمَعُونَكُمْ إِذْ تَدْعُونَ﴿26:72﴾ 
(26:72) Abraham asked, "Do they hear you when you call on them?

 
أَوْ يَنفَعُونَكُمْ أَوْ يَضُرُّونَ﴿26:73﴾ 
(26:73) "Or do they bring any good or harm to you?"

 
قَالُوا بَلْ وَجَدْنَا آبَاءنَا كَذَلِكَ يَفْعَلُونَ﴿26:74﴾ 
(26:74) They replied, "No, but we have found our elders doing the same. " *53
*53 That is, "We do not worship and serve them because they hear our prayers and supplications, or that they can harm and benefit us, but because we have seen our elders worshipping and serving them." Thus, they themselves admitted that the only reason of their worshipping the idols was the blind imitation of their forefathers. In other words, they meant this: "There is nothing new in what you are telling us, We know that these are idols of stone and wood, which do not hear anything, nor can haran or do good; but we cannot believe that our elders who have been worshipping them since centuries, generation after generation, were foolish people. They must have had some good reason for worshipping these lifeless images, so we are doing the same as we have full faith in them."
 
قَالَ أَفَرَأَيْتُم مَّا كُنتُمْ تَعْبُدُونَ﴿26:75﴾ 
(26:75) At this, Abraham said, "Have you ever seen (with open eyes) the things which

 
أَنتُمْ وَآبَاؤُكُمُ الْأَقْدَمُونَ﴿26:76﴾ 
(26:76) you and your elders have been worshipping ? *54
*54 That is, "Is it enough to say that a religion is true only because it has been held as such by their ancestors ? Should people, generation after generation, go on following their ancestors in their footsteps blindly without ever caring to see whether the deities they worship possess any divine attribute or not, and whether they have any power to influence their destinies? "
 
فَإِنَّهُمْ عَدُوٌّ لِّي إِلَّا رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ﴿26:77﴾ 
(26:77) They are all enemies to me, *55 except One Lord of the worlds, *56
*55 That is "When I consider them, I see that if I worship them, I shall ruin myself both in this world and in the Hereafter. As their worship is clearly harmful, worshipping them is worshipping one's enemy." These words of Prophet Abraham bear a close connection with verses 81, 82 of Surah Maryam, which say: "These people have set up other gods than Allah so that they may become their supporters. But they will have no supporter; all of them will not only disown their worship but also become their opponents (on the Day of Judgment)."
It should be noted that Prophet Abraham did not say, "They are enemies to you", but said, "They are enemies to me." In the first case, there was every chance that the people would have felt offended and provoked, because it would have been difficult for them to understand how their own gods could be their enemies. As a matter of fact, Prophet Abraham appealed to the natural feeling of man that he is his own well-wisher and cannot wish ill of himself deliberately. This would inevitably have led the addressees to think whether what they were doing was really for their good and was in no way harmful."
*56 That is, "Of all the deities who are being worshipped in the world, there is only One Allah alone, Lord of the universe, in whose worship I find any good for myself, and Whose worship is the worship of one's own Cherisher and Supporter, and not of one's enemy." Then Prophet Abraham briefly gives the arguments, which nobody could refute, as to why Allah alone is worthy of man's worship and indirectly suggests that his addressees (the idol-worshippers) had no rational basis for worshipping deities other than Allah except in blind imitation of their forefathers.
 
الَّذِي خَلَقَنِي فَهُوَ يَهْدِينِ﴿26:78﴾ 
(26:78) Who created me, *57 then He it is Who guides me,
*57 This is the first reason for which AIlah, and One Allah alone, is worthy of man's worship. The people also knew and believed that Allah alone was their Creator without any partner. Not only they but all the polytheists of the world also have always held the belief that even the deities they worshipped were the creation of Allah, and except for the atheists none have ever denied that Allah is the Creator of the whole universe. This argument of Prophet Abraham implied that being a creature, he could only worship his Creator, Who was alone worthy of his worship, and none else, because none besides Allah had any share in His creation.
 
وَالَّذِي هُوَ يُطْعِمُنِي وَيَسْقِينِ﴿26:79﴾ 
(26:79) Who gives me food and drink,

 
وَإِذَا مَرِضْتُ فَهُوَ يَشْفِينِ﴿26:80﴾ 
(26:80) and Who gives me health when 1 am ill, *58
*58 The second reason for worshipping Allah and Allah alone is that Allah had not become unconcerned with man after creating him and let him alone to see other supporters for help, but had also taken the responsibility of making arrangements for his guidance, protection and fulfilment of his needs. The moment a human child is born, milk is produced for it in the breasts of its mother, and some unseen power teaches it the way to suck it and take it down the throat. From the first day of his life till his death, the Creator has provided in the world around him all necessary means required for every stage of his life for his development and guidance, sustenance and survival. He has also endowed him with all those powers and abilities which are needed to use the means with advantage and given him all necessary guidance for every sphere of life. Then for the protection of human life against all sorts of disease, germs and poisons, He has created such effective antidotes that they have not yet been fully encompassed by human knowledge. If these natural arrangements had not been made, even a thorn-prick would have proved fatal. When this all-pervading mercy and providence of the Creator is supporting and sustaining man at all times in every way, there could be no greater folly and ingratitude on the part of man than this that he should bow down before others than Allah and seek their help in need and trouble.
 
وَالَّذِي يُمِيتُنِي ثُمَّ يُحْيِينِ﴿26:81﴾ 
(26:81) Who will cause me to die and then will give me life again,

 
وَالَّذِي أَطْمَعُ أَن يَغْفِرَ لِي خَطِيئَتِي يَوْمَ الدِّينِ﴿26:82﴾ 
(26:82) and of Whom l expect that He will forgive me my errors on the Day of Judgment." *59
*59 The third reason for worshipping none but Allah is that man's relation with his God is not merely confined to this worldly life, which will end at death, but extends to life-after-death also. The same God Who brought him into existence, recalls him and there is no power which can stop his return froth the world. No remedy, no physician no god or goddess has ever been able to catch the hand which takes man out of this world. Even all those men who were made deities and worshipped, could not ward off their own deaths. Onlv Allah judges and decides when a particular person is to be recalled from the world, and whenever somebody is recalled by Him, he has to leave this world in any case. Then it is Allah alone Who will decide as to when He should raise back to life all those people who were born in this world and died and buried here, and ask them to account for their worldly lives. Then also nobody will have the power to stop resurrection of himself or others. Every human being will have to rise on the Command of Allah and appear in His Court. Then Allah alone will be the Judge on that Day, and nobody else will be a partner in his judgment in any degree. To punish or to forgive will be entirely in Allah's hand. Nobody will have the power to get somebody forgiven if Allah would want to punish him, and punished if Allah would want to forgive him All those who are regarded as intercessors in the world, will themselves be hoping for Allah's mercy and grace for their forgiveness. In view of these facts anybody who worships others than Allah, is in fact preparing for his own doom. There can be no greater misfortune than this that man should turn away from Allah Who controls his life here as well as in the Hereafter, and should turn for help and support to those who are utterly powerless in this regard.
 
رَبِّ هَبْ لِي حُكْمًا وَأَلْحِقْنِي بِالصَّالِحِينَ﴿26:83﴾ 
(26:83) (After. this Abraham prayed:) "My Lord, bestow upon me knowledge and wisdom *60 and join me with the righteous, *61
*60 Hukm here dces not mean "Prophethood", because at the time this prayer was made, Prophet Abraham had already been appointed a Prophet. Even if this prayer was made before that, Prophethood is not bestowed on request, but it is something which Allah Himself bestows on those He wills. That is why, hukm has been translated wisdom, knowledge, right understanding and power of judgment. The Holy Prophet is also reported to have made a similar prayer : Arinal-ashyaa' Kama hiya: "O Allah, give us the power to see and understand a thing as it really is and to form an opinion about it according to its reality."
*61 "Join me with the righteous": "Give me a righteous society to live in in this world and raise me along with the righteous in the Hereafter." To be raised back to life with the righteous and to attain one's salvation have one and the same meaning. Therefore, this should be the prayer of every person who believes in the life-after-death and in reward and punishment. Even in this world a pious man cherishesthe desire that God should save him from living a life in an immoral and wicked society and should join him with the righteous people. A pious and righteous person will remain iII at ease and restless until either his own society should become clean and pure morally, or heleaves it to join another society which is practising and following the principles of truth and honesty.
 
وَاجْعَل لِّي لِسَانَ صِدْقٍ فِي الْآخِرِينَ﴿26:84﴾ 
(26:84) and grant me true renown among posterity, *62
*62 "Grant me true renown among posterity": "Grant me the grace that posterity should remember me as a good and pious man after my death and not as one of the unjust people, who were not only wicked themselves, but who left nothing but wickedness behind them in the world. Enable me to perform such high deeds that my life should become a source of light for others for all times to come, and I should be counted among the benefactors of humanity." This is not a prayer for worldly greatness and renown, but for true greatness and renown, which can be achieved only as a result of solid and valuable services. A person's achieving such true renown and glory has two good aspects:
(1) The people of the world get a good example to follow, as against bad examples, which inspires them with piety and encourages them to follow the right way; and
(2) The righteous person will not only get the rewards of works done by posterity who were guided aright by the good example left and set by him, but in addition to his own good works, he will have the evidence of the millions of people in his favour that he had left behind him in the world fountains of guidance, which went on benefiting people, generation after generation, till the Day of Resurrection.
 
وَاجْعَلْنِي مِن وَرَثَةِ جَنَّةِ النَّعِيمِ﴿26:85﴾ 
(26:85) and include me among the inheritors of the blissful Garden,

 
وَاغْفِرْ لِأَبِي إِنَّهُ كَانَ مِنَ الضَّالِّينَ﴿26:86﴾ 
(26:86) and forgive my father, for indeed he is from among those who have strayed, *63 ;
*63 Some commentators have interpreted this prayer of Prophet Abraham for his father's forgiveness to imply that he had prayed to God to grant his father the favour to accept Islam because forgiveness in any case is inter-linked with and dependent upon Faith. But this interpretation is not borne out by the other verses of the Qur'an. The Qur'an says that when Prophet Abraham left his home at the tyrannical treatment of his father, he said, "I bid farewell to you; I shall pray to my Lord to forgive you for He is very kind to me." (Maryam: 47) To fulfill this promise, he not only prayed for the forgiveness of his father, but for both his parents: "Lord, forgive me and my parents..." (Ibrahim: 41). But afterwards he himself realized that an enemy of the Truth, even if he be the father of a believer, does not deserve a prayer of forgiveness. Thus according to verse 114 of AtTaubah: "The prayer of Abraham for his father was only to fulfil a promise he had made to him, but when he realized that he was an enemy of Allah, he disowned him."
 
وَلَا تُخْزِنِي يَوْمَ يُبْعَثُونَ﴿26:87﴾ 
(26:87) and do not disgrace me on the Day when everybody will be raised back to life, *64
*64 That is, "Do not put me to disgrace on the Day of Judgement by inflicting punishment on my father in front of all mankind, when I myself shall be witnessing his punishment helplessly."
 
يَوْمَ لَا يَنفَعُ مَالٌ وَلَا بَنُونَ﴿26:88﴾ 
(26:88) when neither wealth will avail anybody, nor children,

 
إِلَّا مَنْ أَتَى اللَّهَ بِقَلْبٍ سَلِيمٍ﴿26:89﴾ 
(26:89) except that one should appear before Allah with a sound heart. " *65
*65 It cannot be said with certainty whether vv. 88, 89 are a part of Prophet Abraham's prayer, or they are an addition by AIlah. In the first case, they will mean that Prophet Abraham while praying for his father had a full realization of these facts. In the second case, they will be a comment by Allah on Abraham's prayer, as if to say, "On the Day of Judgement, only a sound heart, sound in faith and free from disobedience and sin, will be of any avail to man and not wealth and children, for wealth and children can be useful only if one possesses a sound heart. Wealth will be useful if one would have spent it sincerely and faithfully for the sake of Allah, otherwise even a millionaire will be a poor man there. Children also will he of help only to the extent that a person might have educated them in Faith and good conduct to the best of his ability; otherwise even if the son is a Prophet, his father will not escape punishment, if he died in the state of unbelief, because such a father will have no share in the goodness of his children. "
 
وَأُزْلِفَتِ الْجَنَّةُ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ﴿26:90﴾ 
(26:90) (On that Day) *66 Paradise will be brought close to the righteous,
*66 Verses 90-102 do not seem to be a part of Prophet Abraham's speech, but they are Allah's words.
 
وَبُرِّزَتِ الْجَحِيمُ لِلْغَاوِينَ﴿26:91﴾ 
(26:91) and Hell will be set open before the straying ones, *67
*67 That is, on the one hand, the righteous people will be shown the countless blessings which they will enjoy in Paradise by Allah's grace, and on the other, Hell will be set open with all its dreads and horrors before the straying people, when they will still be in the Plain of Resurrection.
 
وَقِيلَ لَهُمْ أَيْنَ مَا كُنتُمْ تَعْبُدُونَ﴿26:92﴾ 
(26:92) and they will be asked: "Where are those whom you worshipped

 
مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ هَلْ يَنصُرُونَكُمْ أَوْ يَنتَصِرُونَ﴿26:93﴾ 
(26:93) instead of Allah? Are they of any help to you, or even to themselves ?"

 
فَكُبْكِبُوا فِيهَا هُمْ وَالْغَاوُونَ﴿26:94﴾ 
(26:94) Then these deities and those erring people, and the hosts of Satan, all will be hurled into it,

 
وَجُنُودُ إِبْلِيسَ أَجْمَعُونَ﴿26:95﴾ 
(26:95) one upon the other. *68
*68 Kubkibu in the Text has two meanings: (1) They will be hurled into Hell one upon the other; and (2) they will go on rolling down into the depths of Hell.
 
قَالُوا وَهُمْ فِيهَا يَخْتَصِمُونَ﴿26:96﴾ 
(26:96) Therein they will dispute with one another, and these erring people will say (to their deities):

 
تَاللَّهِ إِن كُنَّا لَفِي ضَلَالٍ مُّبِينٍ﴿26:97﴾ 
(26:97) "By God ! We had certainly strayed

 
إِذْ نُسَوِّيكُم بِرَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ﴿26:98﴾ 
(26:98) when we held you equal in rank with the Lord of the worlds,

 
وَمَا أَضَلَّنَا إِلَّا الْمُجْرِمُونَ﴿26:99﴾ 
(26:99) and they were criminals indeed who led us astray. *69
*69 This is how the followers will treat their religious leaders and guides, whom they served and revered like deities in the world, whose words and patterns of behaviour they took as authoritative and before whom they presented all sorts of offerings in the world. In the Hereafter when the people will find that their guides had misled them and caused their ruin as well as their own, they will hold them responsible for it and will curse them. The Qur'an has presented this horrible scene of the Hereafter at several places so as to admonish the blind followers to see and judge carefully whether their guides in this world were leading them on the right path or not. For instance: "As each generation will be entering Hell, it will curse its preceding generation till all generations shall be gathered together there; then each succeeding generation will say regarding the preceding one, `O Lord, these were the people who led us astray; therefore give them a double chastisement of the Fire.' Allah will reply, `There is a double chastisement for every one but you know it not'." (Al-A`raf: 38). "And the disbelievers will say, `Our Lord, bring those jinns and men before us, who led us astray so that we may trample them under our feet and put them to extreme disgrace'." (Ha Mim Sajdah: 29). "And they will say, `Our Lord, we obeyed our chiefs and our great men and they misled us from the right path; our Lord, give them a double chastisement and curse them with a severe curse'." (Al-Ahzab: 67-68).
 
فَمَا لَنَا مِن شَافِعِينَ﴿26:100﴾ 
(26:100) Now we have neither any intercessor *70
*70 That is, "Those whom we regarded as our intercessors in the world and who, we believed, would take us safely into Paradise, are utterly helpless today and of no avail to us."
 
وَلَا صَدِيقٍ حَمِيمٍ﴿26:101﴾ 
(26:101) nor any true friend. *71
*71 That is, "We have no sympathizer either who could feel for us and console us." The Qur'an says that in the Hereafter only the believers will continue to be friends; as for the disbelievers, they will turn enemies of one another even though they had been sworn friends in the world. Each will hold the other as responsible for the doom and try to get him maximum punishment. "Friends on that Day will become enemies of one another except the righteous (who will continue to be friends)." (Az-Zukhruf: 67) .
 
فَلَوْ أَنَّ لَنَا كَرَّةً فَنَكُونَ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ﴿26:102﴾ 
(26:102) Would that we were given a chance to return (to the world) so that we became believers. *72
*72 That Qur'an has given an answer to this kind of longing and desire as well:".. evenif they be sent back to the earthly life, they would do all that they had beenforbidden to do." (Al-An`am: 28). As for the reasons why they will not be allowed to return to the world, please see E.N.'s 90-92 of Al-Mu'minun above.
 
إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَةً وَمَا كَانَ أَكْثَرُهُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ﴿26:103﴾ 
(26:103) Indeed there is a great Sign in this, *73 but most of these people would not believe.
*73 There are two aspects of the Sign in the story of Prophet Abraham: (I) On the one hand, the mushriks of Arabia, especially the Quraish, claimed that they were the followers of Prophet Abraham and were proud of being his descendents, but on the other, they were involved in shirk against which Prophet Abraham had been engaged in a relentless struggle throughout his life. Then these people were opposing and treating the Prophet who was inviting them towards the religion brought by Prophet Abraham in the like manner as Prophet Abraham himself had been opposed and treated by his people. They have been reminded that Abraham was an enemy of shirk and an upholder of Tauhid which they themselves admitted, and yet they persisted in their obduracy to follow the creed of shirk. (2) The people of Abraham were eliminated from the world: 'if any of them survived, it was the children of Prophet Abraham and his sons, Ishmael and Isaac (thay Allah's peace be upon them). Though the Qur'an dces not mention the torment that descended on Abraham's people after he had left them, it has included them among the tormented tribes: "Has not the story reached them of those who had gone before them: the people of Noah, the tribes of `Ad and Thamud, the people of Abraham, and the inhabitants of Midian and of the overturned cities ?" (AtTaubah: 70).
 
وَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الرَّحِيمُ﴿26:104﴾ 
(26:104) The fact is that your Lord is Mighty as well as Merciful .

 
كَذَّبَتْ قَوْمُ نُوحٍ الْمُرْسَلِينَ﴿26:105﴾ 
(26:105) Noah's people *74 rejected the Messengers. *75 .
*74 For comparison, see AI-A`raf: 59-64, Yunus: 71-73, Hud: 25-48, Bani Isra'il: 3, Al-Anbiya' 76-77, AI-Mu'minun:: 23-30, and Al-Furqan: 37. For the details of the story of Prophet Noah, see AI-'Ankabut:15, As-Saffat: 75-82, AIQamar: 9-15 and Surah Nuh itself.
*75 Though they had rejected only one Messenger, it amounted to rejecting all the messengers because all of them had brought one and the same message from Allah. This is an important fact which the Qur'an has mentioned over and over again in different ways. Thus, even those people who rejected just one Prophet have been regarded as unbelievers though they believed in all other Prophets, for the simple reason that the believer in the truth of one Messenger cannot deny the same truth in other cases unless he dces so on account of racial prejudice, imitation of elders, etc.
 
إِذْ قَالَ لَهُمْ أَخُوهُمْ نُوحٌ أَلَا تَتَّقُونَ﴿26:106﴾ 
(26:106) Remember the time when their brother Noah said to them: "Do you not fear? *76
*76 The initial address of Prophet Noah to his people, as mentioned at other places in the Qur'an, was as follows: "O my people, worship Allah alone: you have no other deity than Him. Are you not afraid (of Him)?" (Al-Mu'minun: 23); and "Warship Allah and fear Him and obey me." (Nuh: 3). That is, "Are you not afraid of the consequences of adopting an attitude of rebellion against AIIah and worshipping others than Him?
 
إِنِّي لَكُمْ رَسُولٌ أَمِينٌ﴿26:107﴾ 
(26:107) I am a Messenger to you worthy of full trust: *77
*77 It has two meanings: (1) "1 present before you nothing but what Allah reveals to me;" and (2) "I am a Messenger whom you have already known to be a trustworthy and honest and righteous man. When I have been honest and true in my dealings with you, how can 1 be dishonest and untrustworthy in conveying the Message of God'? Therefore, you should rest assured that whatever I am presenting is the Truth. "
 
فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُونِ﴿26:108﴾ 
(26:108) so fear Allah and obey me: *78
*78 That is, "When I am a truthiui and trustworthy Messenger, you are duty-bound to obey me alone as against all other patrons, and carry out my commands and instructions, because I represent the will of God: obedience to me is in fact obedience to God and disobedience to me is disobedience to Him." In other words, the people are not only required to accept a Messenger as a true Messenger sent by Allah, but it inevitably implies that they have to obey him and follow his Law against all other laws. To reject a Prophet, or to disobey him after accepting him as a Prophet, is tantamount to rebellion against God, which inevitably leads to His wrath. The words "fear AIlah" are, therefore, a warning that every heater should clearly understand the consequences of rejecting the message of a Messenger or of disobeying his commands.
 
وَمَا أَسْأَلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ مِنْ أَجْرٍ إِنْ أَجْرِيَ إِلَّا عَلَى رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ﴿26:109﴾ 
(26:109) I do not ask of you any reward for this duty, for my reward is with the Lord of the worlds; *79
*79 This is the second of the two arguments of Prophet Noah about the truth of his message, the first being that they had known him as a trustworthy man during his earlier life, which he had lived among them. This second argument unplies this: "I do not have any selfish motive or personal interest in conveying the message which I am propagating day and night in spite of all sorts of opposition and antagonism from you. At least you should understand this that 1 am sincere in my invitation, and am presenting honestly only that which I believe to be the truth and in following which I see the true success and well-being of humanity at large. I have no personal motive in this that I should fabricate falsehood to fool the people. "
These two arguments are among the most important arguments which the Qur'an has advanced repeatedly as proofs of the truthfulness of the Prophets, and which it presents as criterion for judging Prophethood. A man who before Prophethood has lived a life in a society and has always been found to be honest, truthful and righteous, cannot be doubted even by a prejudiced person that he would suddenly start fabricating falsehood in the name of Allah and making people believe that he has been appointed a Prophet by Him, whereas he has been not. More important than that: such a lie cannot be fabricated with a good intention unless somebody has a selfish motive attachedto this kind of fraud. And even whena person indulges in this sort of fraud, he cannot hide it completely from the people. The foul means and devices adopted by him to promote his "business" become known and aII the various selfish interests and gains become all too apparent. Contrary to this, the personal life of a Prophet is full of moral excellencies: it has no trace of the employment of foul means and devices. Not to speak of any personal interest, he expends whatever he has for the cause of a mission which to aII appearances is fruitless. No person who possesses any common sense and also has a sense of justice, can ever imagine that a sensible man who was leading a perfectly peaceful life, would come out all of a sudden with a false claim, when such a false claim dces not do him any good, but on the contrary, demands alI his money, time and energy and earns him nothing in return but the antagonism and hostility of the whole world. Sacrifice of personal interests is the foremost proof of a man's sincerity; therefore, doubting the intentions and sincerity of a person who has been sacrificing his personal interests for years and years can only be the pastime of the one who himself is selfish and insincere. 'Please also see E.N. 70 of AI-Mu'minun above.
 
فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُونِ﴿26:110﴾ 
(26:110) therefore, you should fear Allah and obey me (without hesitation)." *80
*80 Repetition of this sentence is not without reason. In the first case Iv. I U8), it implied this: "You should fear Allah if you treat as false a true and trustworthy Messenger from Him, whom you yourselves have been regarding as a true and trustworthy tnan in the past." Here it means: "You should fear Allah if you doubt the intention of a person who is working sincerely only for the reformation of the people without any personal interest." This thing has been stressed because the chiefs of Prophet Noah's people, in order to find fault with his message of Truth, accused him of struggling merely for his personal superiority: "He merely intends to obtain superiority over you." (Al-Mu'minun: 24)
 
قَالُوا أَنُؤْمِنُ لَكَ وَاتَّبَعَكَ الْأَرْذَلُونَ﴿26:111﴾ 
(26:111) They replied, "Should we believe in you, whereas the meanest of the people have become your followers? " *81
*81 This answer to Prophet Noah's message of Truth was given by the chiefs, elders and nobles of his people as mentioned in Hud: 27: "In answer to this, those chiefs of his people, who had rejected his message, said, 'We see that you are no more than a mere man like ourselves, and we also see that only the meanest from among us have become your followers without due consideration, and we find nothing in you that might give you superiority over us'." This shows that those who believed in Prophet Noah were mostly the poor people, and ordinary workmen, or some youth who enjoyed no position in society. As for the influential and rich people, they had become his bitter opponents, and were trying by every trick and allurement to keep the common man behind them. One of the arguments they advanced against Prophet Noah was this: "Had there been some weight and substance in Noah's message, the rich people, scholars, religious divines, nobles and wise people of the community should have accepted it, but none of them has believed in him; the only people to follow him are the foolish people belonging to the lowest stratum of society, who have no common-sense. Now how can the noble and high ranking people like us join the company of the common people?" Precisely the same thing was being said by the unbelieving Quraish about the Holy Prophet and his followers. Abu Sufyan in reply to the questions asked by Heraclius had said: "Muhammad (Allah"s peace be upon him) has been followed by the poor and weak of our people." What they seemed to be thinking was that Truth was that which was considered as Truth by the chiefs and elders of the community, for only they had the necessary common-sense and power of judgment. As for the common people, their being common was a proof that they lacked sense and judgment. As such, if a thing was accepted by them but rejected by the chiefs, it meant that the thing itself was without worth and value. The disbelievers of Makkah even went further. They argued that a Prophet could not be a common man: if God had to appoint a Prophet, He would have appointed a great chief to be a Prophet: "They say: why has not the Qur'an been sent down to a prominent man of our two cities (Makkah and Ta'if)?" (Az-Zukhruf: 31).
 
قَالَ وَمَا عِلْمِي بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ﴿26:112﴾ 
(26:112) Noah said, "I have no knowledge of what they do:

 
إِنْ حِسَابُهُمْ إِلَّا عَلَى رَبِّي لَوْ تَشْعُرُونَ﴿26:113﴾ 
(26:113) their account is the concern of my Lord : would that you had used some common-sense! *82
*82 This is the first answer to their objection, which was based on the assumption that the poor people belonging to the working classes and lower social strata who performed humble duties, did not possess any mental maturity and were without intelligence and common sense. Therefore, their belief was without any rational basis, and so unreliable, and their deeds were of na value at all. To this Prophet Noah replies, "I have no means of judging the motives and assessing the worth of the deeds of the people who accept my message and act accordingly. This is not my concern but the responsibility of God".
 
وَمَا أَنَا بِطَارِدِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ﴿26:114﴾ 
(26:114) I am not here to drive away those who believe;

 
إِنْ أَنَا إِلَّا نَذِيرٌ مُّبِينٌ﴿26:115﴾ 
(26:115) I am only a plain Warner. " *83
*83 This is the second answer to their objection, which implied that since those who were gathering around Noah as believers, belonged to the lowest social strata, none of the nobles would like to join them, as if to say, "O Noah, should we believe in you in order to be counted among the low-ranking people like the slaves and servants and workmen?" To this Prophet Noah answers, "How can I adopt this irrational attitude that I should attend earnestly to those who do not like to listen to me, but drive away those who have believed and followed me? I am simply, a warner, who has declared openly that the way you are following is wrong and will lead you to ruin, and the way that I am inviting to is the way of salvation far all. Now it is up to you whether you heed my warning and adopt the right path, or go on following blindly the way to your ruin. It dces not behove me that I should start inquiring into the castes and ancestry and trades of the people who have heeded my warning and adopted the right path. They might be "mean" in your sight, but I cannot drive them away and wait to see when the "nobles" will' give up the path of destruction and adopt the way of salvation and success instead."
Precisely the same thing was going on between the Holy Prophet and the disbelievers of Makkah when these verses were revealed, and one can fully understand why the dialogue between Prophet Noah and the chiefs of his people, has been related here. The chiefs of the disbelievers of Makkah thought exactly the same way. They said how they could sit side by side with the slaves like Bilal, 'Ammar and Suhaib and other men of the working class, as if to say, "Unless these poor people areturned out, there can be no possibility that the nobles may consider to become believers; it is impossible that the master and the slave should stand shoulder to shoulder with each other." In answer to this the Holy Prophet was commanded by Allah to tell the vain and arrogant disbelievers plainly that the poor believers could not be driven out of Islam just for their sake: "O Muhammad, you attend earnestly to him who has shown indifference (to your message), whereas you have no responsibility if he dces not reform himself; and the one who comes to you earnestly, fearing Allah, to him you pay no attention. Nay! this indeed is an Admonition, so let him who wills, accept it." (`Abasa :5-12).
"And do not drive away those who invoke their Lord morning and evening and are engaged in seeking His favour. You are not in any way accountable for them, nor are they inany way accountable for you: so, if you should drive them away, you shall be counted among the unjust. As a matter of fact, in this way We have made some of them a means of test for others, so that, seeing them, they should say, `Are these the people from among us upon whom AIlah has showered His blessings?' --Yes: dces not Allah know His grateful servants better than they?" (AI-An'am: 52-53)
 
قَالُوا لَئِن لَّمْ تَنتَهِ يَا نُوحُ لَتَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْمَرْجُومِينَ﴿26:116﴾ 
(26:116) They said, "O Noah, if you do not desist from this, you will surely become one of the accursed." *84
*84 ' The words in the Text may have two meanings: (1) "You will be stoned to death"; and (2) "You will be showered with abuses from all sides, and cursed and reviled wherever you go. "
 
قَالَ رَبِّ إِنَّ قَوْمِي كَذَّبُونِ﴿26:117﴾ 
(26:117) Noah prayed: "My Lord, my people have treated me as a liar: *85
*85 That is, "They have rejected me completely and absolutely and now there is no hope of their becoming believers." Here nobody should have the misunderstanding that just after this conversation between Prophet Noah and the chiefs of his people, and the rejection of his message by them, the Prophet submitted a report to AIIah that his people had rejected him and now He should settle the accounts between them. The Qur'an has mentioned at different places the details of the long struggle that went on for centuries between Prophet Noah and his people, who persisted in unbelief. According to verse 14 of Surah AI'Ankabut, the struggle continued for 950 years: "He (Noah) remained among them for a thousand years save fifty years." Prophet Noah during this long period studied their collective behaviour, generation after generation, and came to the conclusion that they had no inclination to accept the Truth, and formed the opinion that in their future generations also there was no hope of anybody's becoming a believer and adopting the righteous attitude: "My Lord, if You should leave them, they will lead Your servants astray, and they will bear as children none but sinners and disbelievers." (Nuh: 27). AIlah Himself confirmed this opinion of Noah, saying, "No more of your people will believe in you now than those who have already believed. So do not grieve at their misdeeds." (Hud: 36)
 
فَافْتَحْ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَهُمْ فَتْحًا وَنَجِّنِي وَمَن مَّعِي مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ﴿26:118﴾ 
(26:118) now settle the accounts between us, and deliver me and the believers with me to safety. " *86
*86 "Deliver me and the believers with me to safety": "You should not only give Your judgment as to who is in the right and who is in the wrong, but deliver Your Judgment in such a manner that the followers of the Truth are saved and the followers of falsehood are completely annihilated from the earth.
 
فَأَنجَيْنَاهُ وَمَن مَّعَهُ فِي الْفُلْكِ الْمَشْحُونِ﴿26:119﴾ 
(26:119) At last, We rescued him and his companions in a laden Ark, *87
*87 "Laden Ark", because the Ark became full with the believers and the pairs of animals from every species. For further details, see Hud: 40.
 
ثُمَّ أَغْرَقْنَا بَعْدُ الْبَاقِينَ﴿26:120﴾ 
(26:120) and then drowned all the others.

 
إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَةً وَمَا كَانَ أَكْثَرُهُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ﴿26:121﴾ 
(26:121) Indeed there is a Sign in this, but most of these people would not believe.

 
وَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الرَّحِيمُ﴿26:122﴾ 
(26:122) The fact is that your Lord is Mighty as well as Merciful.