Surah 29. Al-`Ankabut (45-69)
 
 

Surah 29. Al-`Ankabut (45-69)

  

اتْلُ مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ تَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاء وَالْمُنكَرِ وَلَذِكْرُ اللَّهِ أَكْبَرُ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ﴿29:45﴾ 
(29:45) (O Prophet, recite this Book which has been revealed to you, and establish the Salat. *77 Surely the Salat restrains from indecent and evil acts, *78 and the remembrance of Allah is a thing even greater *79 than this; Allah knows whatever you do.
*77 The address apparently is directed to the Holy Prophet but, in fact, it is meant for all the believers. Until now they were being counselled patience and reliance on Allah to brave the extreme trying conditions in which they found themselves and the persecutions they were being subjected to on account of their faith. Now they are being told to recite the Qur'an and establish the Salat as a practical device, for these are the two things which endow a believer with a strong character and a wonderful capacity by which he can not only brave successfully the most violent storms of evil and falsehood but can even subdue them. But man can acquire this power from the recitation of the Qur'an and the Prayer only when he does not retrain content with the mere recital of the words but also understands well the Qur'anic teachings and absorbs them in his soul, and his Prayer does not remain confined to physical movements but becomes the very function of his heart and the motive force for his morals and character. The desired quality of the Prayer is being mentioned by the Qur'an itself in the next sentence. As for its recitation, one should know that the recitation which does not reach the heart beyond the throat, cannot even give tnan enough power to remain steadfast to his faith, not to speak of enabling him to withstand the furies of unbelief. About such people, a Hadith says: "They will recite the Qur'an, but the Qur'an will not go beyond their throats; they will leave the Faith just as the arrow leaves the bow." (Bukhari, Muslim, Mu'atta`). As a matter of fact, the recitation which dces not effect any change in a man's way of thinking, and his morals and character, and he goes on doing what the Qur'an forbids, is not the recitation of a believer at all. About such a one the Holy Prophet has said: ;'He who makes lawful what the Qur'an has declared unlawful, has not believed in the Qur'an at all." (Tirmidhi, on the authority of Suhaib Rumi). Such a recitation dces not reform and strengthen a maws self and spirit, but makes him even more stubborn against Allah and impudent before his own conscience, and destroys his character altogether. For the case of the person who believes in the Qur'an as a Divine Book, reads it and comes to know what his God has enjoined, and then goes on violating His injunctions, is of the culprit, who commits a crime not due to ignorance but after full knowledge of the law. The Holy Prophet has elucidated this point in a brief sentence, thus: "The Qur'an is a testimony in your favour as well as against you." (Muslim). That is, "If you follow the Qur'an rightly it is a testimony in your favour. Whenever you are called to account for your deeds, here or in the hereafter, you can produce the Qur'an as a testimony in your defence, saying that whatever you did was in accordance with this Book. If what you did was precisely according to it, no jurist in the world will be able to punish you, nor will God in the Hereafter hold you accountable for it. But if this Book has reached you, andyou have read it and found out what your Lord demands from you, what He enjoins and what He forbids, and then you adopt an attitude opposed to it, then this Book will be a testimony against you. It will further strengthen the criminal case against you in the Court of God. Then it will in no way be possible for you to escape the punishment, or receive a light punishment, by making the excuse of ignorance. "
*78 This is an important characteristic out of the many characteristics of the Prayer, which has been presented here prominently in view of its relevance to the context. To counter the severe storm of opposition and resistance that the Muslims were experiencing in Makkah, they stood in need of a moral force rather than any material power. To bring about the moral force and develop it suitably two practical devices were pointed out in the first instance, the recitation of the Qur'an and the establishment of the Salat. Now they are being told that the establishment of the Salat is the means through which they can get rid of those evils in which they themselves had been involved before they embraced Islam and in which the non-Muslim Arabs and the non-Arab world around them were involved at that tithe. With a little thinking one can easily understand why this special advantage of the Prayer has been particularly mentioned here. Evidently, getting rid of the moral evils is not only useful insofar as it is beneficial for those who attain the moral purity, both here and in the Hereafter, but its inevitable advantage is that it gives them unique superiority over those who might be involved in diverse moral evils, and who might be exerting their utmost to sustain the impure system of ignorance, which nourishes those evils, against the efforts of the morally pure people. Indecent and evil acts are those which man by nature abhors, and which have always been held as evil in principle by the people of every community and society, however depraved and perverted practically. The Arab society in the days of the revelation of the Qur'an was no exception to this. Those people also were aware of •.he moral virtues and the evils: they valued the good above the evil and there might be none among them, who regarded the evil as identical with the good, or depreciated good. Under such conditions, in a perverted society like that, the emergence of a movement which revolutionised morally members of the same society itself as soon as they came into contact with it, and raised them in character high above their contemporaries, inevitably had widespread effects. The common Arabs could not possibly fail to feel the moral impact of the movement, which eradicated evils and promoted goodness, and instead go on following those who were themselves morally corrupt and were fighting to sustain the system of ignorance, which had been nourishing those evils since centuries. That is why the Qur'an at that time exhorted the Muslims to establish Sa/at instead of urging them to collect material resources and force and strength that could win over the people's hearts and defeat the enemy without any material force. The virtue of the Prayer that has been mentioned here has two aspects: its essential and inseparable quality that it restrains from evil and indecent acts, and its desired quality that the one who performs it should in actual fact refrain from evil and indecent acts. As for the first quality the Prayer does restrain people from the evils. Anyone who ponders a little over the nature of the Prayer, will admit that of aII the checks and brakes that can be put on man to restrain him from the evils, the Prayer can be the most effective. After all, what check could be more effective than this that man should be called upon five times a day for the remembrance of Allah and made to remind himself again and again that he is not wholly free and independent in this world but is the servant of One God, and his God is He Who is aware of his open as well as hidden acts, even of the most secret aims and intentions of his heart, and a time will surely come when he will have to account for all his deeds before his God. Then he is not only reminded of this but is given practical training at every Prayer time that he should not disobey any of his God's Commands even secretly. From the time that he stands up for the Prayer till its completion man has to perform continuously certain acts in which there is no third person, besides him and his God, who can know whether he has obeyed God's law or , disobeyed it. For instance, if the man's wudu (state of ablutions ) has become void and he stands up for the Prayer, there ca.. be no one, besides him and God, who will know that he is no longer in the state of wudu. If the man has expressed no intention of the Prayer but just goes on performing all the required movements and recites poetry, for instance, instead of the prescribed texts quietly, there is none, besides him and his God who can be aware of the secret that he has not, in fact, performed his Prayer at all. Notwith standing this, if a person offers the Prayer five times a day, fulfilling faithfully aII the conditions of the Divine law in respect of the cleanliness of the body and dress, and the essentials of the Prayer and its recitation, etc. it means that through this Prayer his conscience is being awakened to life several times a day, he is being helped to-become a responsible and dutiful person, and he is being practically trained that he should, under his own urge of obedience, abide by the law which he has believed in openly as well as secretly, regardless whether there is any external force to make him abide by it or not, and whether the people of the world have any knowledge of his intentions and deeds or not. Thus considered, one cannot help admitting that the Prayer not only restrains man from the evils and indecencies, but, in fact, there is no other method of training in the world, which may be so effective as the Prayer is in restraining man from the evils. As for the question whether or not man in actual fact refrains from the evils even after attendance at the Prayer, this depends upon the man himself, who is undergoing training for self-reform. If he has the intention to benefit from it, and endeavours for it, the reformatory effects of the Prayer will certainly have their impact on him. Otherwise, evidently, no reformatory device in the world can be effective with a person, who is not prepared to receive any impact of it, or tries to avoid its impact intentionally. This can be explained by an example. The essential quality of food is to nourish the body and develop it. But this advantage can be had only when food is allowed to be assimilated. If a person vomits what he eats after every meal, his food cannot profit him in any way. Just as, keeping such a person in view, one cannot say that food is not nutritious for the body, because so-and-so is becoming a skeleton in spite of eating food, so can no one present the example of an unrighteous offerer of the Prayer and say that the Prayer dces not restrain from the evils, because so-and-so is unrighteous in spite of his Prayer. Just as about such a person it will be apt to say that he dces not offer the Prayer at all, so about the person who vomits everything he eats, it will be apt to say that he does not eat his food at all. Precisely the same thing has been reported from the Holy Prophet and some great Companions and their followers. `Imran bin Husain reports that the Holy Prophet said: "He Whose Prayer did not restrain him from the evil and indecent acts, offered no Prayer at all." (Ibn Abi Hatim). -Ibn `Abbas has reported the Holy Prophet as saying: "The Prayer which did not restrain a person from the evil and indecent acts, led him further away from Allah." (Ibn Abi Hatim, Tabarani). A Hadith containing the same theme has been reported by Hasan Basri directly from the Holy Prophet (Ibn Jarir, Baihaqi). Another Hadith reported on the authority of Ibn Mas`ud is to the effect: "He who did not obey the Prayer, offered no Prayer at all, and obedience to the Prayer is that one should refrain from the evil and indecent acts." (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Hatim). Several sayings to the same effect have been reported on the authority of 'Abdullah bin Mas`ud, `Abdullah bin `Abbas, Hasan Basri, Qatadah and A`amash, etc. Imam Ja`far Sadiq has said: "He who wants to know whether his Prayer has been accepted or not, should see how far his Prayer has restrained him from the evil and indecent acts. If he has been restrained from the evils, his Prayer has been accepted." (Ruh al Ma `ani).
*79 This can have several meanings: (1) "That the remembrance of Allah (i.e. Prayer) is a thing of much higher value: it not only restrains from the evils, but, over and above that, it induces people to act righteously and urges them to excel one another in good acts," (2) "that Allah's remembrance in itself is a great thing: it is the best of acts: no act of man is greater in value than this. ` (3) "that Allah's remembrance of you is a greater thing than your remembrance of Him. Allah has said in the Qur'an: "So remember Me: I will remember you'." (Al-Baqarah: 156). Thus, when the servant remembers Allah in the Prayer, inevitably AIIah also will remember him, and the merit of Allah's remembering the servant is certainly greater than the servant's remembering Allah. Besides these three meanings, there is another subtle meaning also, which the wife of Hadrat Abud Darda has explained. She says, "Allah's remembrance is not restricted to the Prayer, but, its sphere is much vaster. When a man observes a fast, or pays the Zakat or performs a righteous act, he inevitably remembers Allah. That is why the righteous act emanates from him. Likewise, when a man refrains from an evil act when an opportunity exists for it, even this also is the result of Allah's remembrance. Thus, the remembrance of Allah pervades the entire life of a believer."
 
وَلَا تُجَادِلُوا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ إِلَّا بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مِنْهُمْ وَقُولُوا آمَنَّا بِالَّذِي أُنزِلَ إِلَيْنَا وَأُنزِلَ إِلَيْكُمْ وَإِلَهُنَا وَإِلَهُكُمْ وَاحِدٌ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَ﴿29:46﴾ 
(29:46) And *80 do not dispute with the people of the Book except in the best manner, *81 -save with those who are wicked among them *82 ' and say to them, "We have believed in that which has been sent down to us as well as in that which had been sent down to you. Our God and your God is One, and to Him we have surrendered *83 (as Muslims).
*80 It should be noted that a little below in this Surah the people are being exhorted to migrate. At that time Habash was the only place of safety to which the Muslims could migrate, and Habash in those days was under the domination of the Christians. Therefore, in these verses the Muslims are being instructed as to how they should argue and discuss matters concerning religion with the people of the Book when such an occasion arises.
*81 That is, "The discussion should be conducted rationally, in a civilized and decent language, so that the ideas of the other person may be reformed. The preacher's chief aim should be to appeal to the addressee's heart, convey the truth to him and bring him to the right path. He should not fight like a wrestler whose only object is to defeat his opponent. He should rather conduct himself like a physician who is ever cautious not to cause the patient's ailment to worsen by any of his own mistakes, and tries to cure him with the least possible trouble. This instruction bas been given here especially in connection with the conduct of a discussion with the people of the Book, but is a general instruction pertaining to the preaching of the religion and it has been given at several places in the Qur'an. For example, "O Prophet, invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and excellent admonition and discuss things with the people in the best manner." (AnNahl: 125). "O Prophet, goodness and evil are not alike. Repel evil with what is best. You will see that he. with whom you had enmity, has become your closest friend. ' (Ha Mim As-Sajdah: 34). "O Prophet, repel evil with what is best: We are fully aware of what they utter against you." (Al-Mu'minun: 96) "O Prophet, adopt the way of leniency and forbearance; enjoin what is good and avoid useless discussions with the ignorant people. If Satan ever excites you to anger, seek refuge in Allah."
*82 That is, "With those who adopt an attitude of wickedness a different attitude may also be adopted according to the nature and extent of their wickedness. In other words, one cannot, and should not adopt a soft and gentle attitude towards aII sorts of the people under aII circumstances at all time, which might be mistaken for the weakness and meekness of the inviter to the Truth. Islam does teach its followers to be polite, gentle and reasonable, but it does not teach them to be unduly humble and meek so that they are not taken for granted by every cruel and wicked person."
*83 In these sentences Allah Himself has provided guidance to the best method of discussion, which the inviters to the Truth should adopt. The method is this: "Do not make the error or deviation of the other person the basis and starting point of the discussion, but begin the discussion with those points of truth and justice which are common between you and your opponent. That is, the discussion should start' from the points of agreement and not from the points of difference. Then, arguing froth the agreed points, the addressee should be made to understand that, in the matter of the things in which you differ, your stand is in conformity with the agreed points whereas his stand is contradictory to them In this connection, one should bear in mind the fact that the people of the Book did not deny Revelation, Prophethood and Tauhid, like the polytheists of Arabia, but believed in these realities just tike the Muslims. After agreement on these basic things, the main thing that could become the basis of difference Between them could be that the Muslim would not believe in the Divine Scriptures sent down to them and would invite them to believe in the Divine Book sent down to themselves, and would declare them disbelievers if they did not believe in it. This would have been a strong basis of their conflict. But the Muslims had a different stand. They believed as true all those Books that were with the people of the Book, and then also had believed in the Revelation that had been sent down to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Allah's peace be upon him). After this it was for the people of the Book to tell the rational ground for which they believed in one Book sent by Allah and rejected the other. That is why Allah here has instructed the Muslims that whenever they have to deal with the people of the Book, they should tirst of all present before them this very point of view in a positive manner. Say to them: "We believe in the same God in Whom you believe and we are obedient to Him. We have submitted ourselves to aII those Commands and injunctions and teachings that have come from Him, whether they were sent down to you, or to us. We are obedient servants of God and not of a country or a community or a race, that we should submit to God's Command when it is sent down in one place and reject it when it is sent down in another place. This thing has been repeated at several places in the Qur'an and particularly in relation to the people of the Book, it has been presented forcefully. For this,see AI-Baqarah: 4, 136, 177, 285; Al-i-`Imran: 84; An-Nisa': 136, 150 to 152, 162 to 164; AshShu'araa: 13.
 
وَكَذَلِكَ أَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ فَالَّذِينَ آتَيْنَاهُمُ الْكِتَابَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِهِ وَمِنْ هَؤُلَاء مَن يُؤْمِنُ بِهِ وَمَا يَجْحَدُ بِآيَاتِنَا إِلَّا الْكَافِرُونَ﴿29:47﴾ 
(29:47) (O Prophet,) We have likewise sent down the Book to you: *84 therefore, those to whom We gave the Book before this, believe in it, *85 and so do many of these people, *86 and none but the disbelievers deny Our Revelations. *87
*84 This can have two meanings: (1) "Just as We had sent down the Books to the former Prophets, so We have sent down this Book to you"; and (2) "We have sent down this Book with the teaching that it should be believed in not by rejecting Our former Books but by affirming faith in all of them. "
*85 The context itself shows that this dces not imply all the people of the Book but only those who were blessed with the right understanding and the knowledge of the Divine Scriptures, and were "the people of the Book ' in the we sense. When this last Book of Allah came before them, confirming His earlier Books, they did not show any stubbornness or obstinacy but accepted it sincerely as they had accepted the previous Books.
*86 "These people": the people of Arabia. What it means to say is: The truth-loving people, whether they already possess a Divine Book or do not possess any, are affirming faith in it everywhere.
*87 Here, "the disbelievers" imply those people who are not prepared to give up their prejudices and accept the truth, or those who reject the truth because they do not want their lusts and their unbridled freedom to be subjected to restrictions.
 
وَمَا كُنتَ تَتْلُو مِن قَبْلِهِ مِن كِتَابٍ وَلَا تَخُطُّهُ بِيَمِينِكَ إِذًا لَّارْتَابَ الْمُبْطِلُونَ﴿29:48﴾ 
(29:48) (O Prophet,) you did not read any book before this, nor did you write any with your hand. If it were so, the worshippers of falsehood could have been involved in doubt. *88
*88 This is the same argument that has already been given in Surahs Yunus and Qasas as a proof of the Holy Prophet's Prophethood. (See E.N. 21 of Yunus and E.N.'s 64 and 109 of AI-Qasas. For further explanation, see E.N. 107 of An-Nahl, E.N. 105 of Bani Isra'il, E.N. 66 of AI-Mu'minun, E.N. 12 of Al-Furqan, and E.N. 84 of Ash-Shu`araa). The basis of the argument in this verse is that the Holy Prophet was unlettered. His compatriots and his kinsmen among whom he had spent his whole life, from birth to old age, knew fully well that he had never read a book nor ever handled a pen. Presenting this actual fact Allah says: "This is a proof of the fact that the vast and deep knowledge of the teachings of the Divine Books, of the stories of the former Prophets, of the beliefs of the various religions and creeds, of the histories of the ancient nations, and the questions of social and moral and economic life, which is being presented through this ulettered, illiterate man could not have been attained by him through any means but Revelation. If he had been able to read and write and the people had seen him reading books and undertaking serious studies, the worshippers of falsehood could have had some basis for their doubts, that he had acquired the knowledge not through Revelation but through study and reading. But the fact of his being absolutely illiterate has left no basis whatever for any such doubt. Therefore, there can be no ground, except sheer stubbornness, which can be regarded as rational in any degree for denying his Prophethood."
 
بَلْ هُوَ آيَاتٌ بَيِّنَاتٌ فِي صُدُورِ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ وَمَا يَجْحَدُ بِآيَاتِنَا إِلَّا الظَّالِمُونَ﴿29:49﴾ 
(29:49) These are, in fact, clear Signs in the hearts of those who have been given knowledge; *89 and none deny Our Revelations except the wicked.
*89 That is, "The presentation of a Book like the Qur'an by an unlettered person, and the manifestation by him, all of a sudden, of extraordinary qualities of character while nobody ever noticed him making any preparation for these previously, are in fact the clearest Signs which serve as pointers to his Prophethood for those who are possessed of knowledge and wisdom. " If one reviews the life-story of any great historical personage, one can always discover the factors in his environment, which moulded his personality and prepared him for the excellences and qualities that emanated from him in life. There always exists a clear relationship between his environment and the component aspects of his personality. But no source whatever can be discovered in his environment of the wonderful qualities and excellences that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (may Allah's peace be upon him) displayed. In his case, neither in the contemporary Arab society nor in the society of the neighbouring countries with which Arabia had any relations can one discover those factors which could have any remote relationship with the component aspects of the Holy Prophet's personality. This is the reality on whose basis it has been asserted here that the Holy Prophet Muhammad's personality is not one Sign but a collection of many clear Signs. An ignorant person may not see any of these Signs but those who are possessed of knowledge have become convinced in their hearts by seeing these Signs that he is most certainly a true Prophet of Allah.
 
وَقَالُوا لَوْلَا أُنزِلَ عَلَيْهِ آيَاتٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِ قُلْ إِنَّمَا الْآيَاتُ عِندَ اللَّهِ وَإِنَّمَا أَنَا نَذِيرٌ مُّبِينٌ﴿29:50﴾ 
(29:50) They say, "Why have Signs *90 not been sent down upon this person from hi Lord ?" Say, "The Signs are with Allah: I am only a plain warner."
*90 That is, miracles by seeing which one may be convinced that Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace) is really a Prophet of Allah.
 
أَوَلَمْ يَكْفِهِمْ أَنَّا أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ يُتْلَى عَلَيْهِمْ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَرَحْمَةً وَذِكْرَى لِقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ﴿29:51﴾ 
(29:51) Is this (Sign) not enough for these people that We have sent down to you the Book, which is recited to them? *91 Indeed, there is mercy in it and admonition for those who believe. *92
*91 That is, "A Book like the Qur'an has been sent down to you in spite of your being unlettered. Is it not by itself a great miracle which should convince the people of your Prophethood? Do they yet need another miracle after this? The other miracles were the miracles for those who witnessed them. But this miracle is ever present in front of them. It is being recited before them almost daily; they can witness it as and when they like. Even after such an assertion and argument by the Qur'an the audacity of those who try to prove that the Holy Prophet was literate is astonishing. The fact, however, is that the Qur'an here has presented in clear terms the Holy Prophet's being illiterate as a strong proof of his Prophet hood. The traditions which lend support to the claim that the Holy Prophet could read and write, or had learnt reading and writing later in life, stand rejected at first glance, for no tradition opposed to the Qur'an can be acceptable. Then these traditions in themselves are too weak to become the basis for an argument. One of these is a tradition from Bukhari that when the peace treaty of Hudaibiya was being written down, the representative of the disbelievers of Makkah objected to the word Rasul Allah being added to the name of the Holy Prophet. At this the Holy Prophet ordered the writer (Hadrat `Ali) to cross out the word Rasul-Allah and write Muhammad bin 'Abdullah instead. Hadrat `Ali refused to cross out Rasul-Allah. Then the Holy Prophet took it in his own hand, struck out the word himself and wrote Muhammad bin `Abdullah. But this tradition from Bara' bin `Azib appears at four places in Bukhari and at two places in Muslim and everywhere in different words: (1)At one place in Bukhari (Kitab-us-S, ulh) the words of this tradition are to the effect: "The Holy Prophet told Hadrat `Ali to strike out the words. He submitted that he could not do that. At last, the Holy Prophet crossed them out with his own hand." (2) In the same book the second tradition is to the effect: "Then he (the Holy Prophet) said to `Ali: Cross out Rasul-Allah. He said: By God, I shall never cross out your name. At last, the Holy Prophet took the document and wrote: This is the treaty concluded by Muhammad bin `Abdullah." (3) The third tradition, again from Bara' bin `Azib is found in Kitab-ul-Jizia in Bukhari to the effect: "The Holy Prophet himself could not write. He said to `Ali: Cross out Rasul-Allah. He submitted: By God, I shall never cross out these words. At this, the Holy Prophet said: Show me the place where these words arc written. He showed him the place, and the Holy Prophet crossed out the words with his own hand." (4) The fourth tradition is in Bukhari's Kitab-ul-Maghazi to the effect: "So the Holy Prophet took the document although he did not know writing, and he wrote: This is the treaty concluded by Muhammad bin `Abdullah." (5) Again from Bara' bin `Azib there is a tradition in Muslim (Kitab-ul-Jihad) saying that on Hadrat `Alt's refusal the Holy Prophet himself wiped off the words Rasul-Allah. " (6) The second tradition from him in the same book says, "The Holy Prophet said to `Ali: Show me where the word Rasul Allah is written. Hadrat `Ali showed him the place, and he wiped it off and wrote Ibn `Abdullah. The disparity in the traditions clearly indicates that the intermediary reporters have not reported the words of Hadrat Bara' bin `Azib (may Allah be pleased with him) accurately. Therefore, none of these reports can be held as r perfectly reliable so that it could be said with certainty that the Holy Prophet had written the words "Muhammad bin `Abdullah° with his own hand. Probably when Hadrat 'Ali, refused to wipe off the word Rasul-Allah, the Holy Prophet might have himself wiped it off after finding, out the place where it was written, and then might have got the word Ibn `Abdullah substituted by him or by some other writer. Other traditions show that there were two writers who were writing down the peace treaty; Hadrat `Ali and Muhammad bin Maslamah (Fath al-Sari, Vol. V, p. 217). Therefore, it is not impossible that what one writer did not do was got done by the other writer. However, if the Holy Prophet actually wrote his name with his own hand, there are plenty instances of this in the world. The illiterate people learn to write their own name although they cannot read or write anything else. The other tradition on whose basis it has been claimed that the Holy Prophet was literate, has been reported by Ibn Abi Shaibah and `Umar bin Shabbah from Mujahid. It says: "The Holy Prophet had learnt reading and writing before his death." But in the first place, it is a weak tradition on account of its links as said by Hafiz Ibn Kathir: "It is weak: it has no basis." Secondly, it is weak otherwise also, for if the Holy Prophet had really learnt reading and writing later in life, it would have become a well known fact. Many of the Companions would have reported it, and it would also have been known from which person (or persons) he had learnt this. But no one except one man, 'Aun bin 'Abdullah, from whom Mujahid heard this, has reported it. And this 'Aun was not even a Companion,, but a follower of the Companions, who dces not at aII tell from which Companion (or Companions) he got this information. Evidently, on the basis of such weak traditions nothing which contradicts well known facts can become acceptable.
*92 That is, "The revelation of this Book is, without any doubt, a great bounty of AIIah, and it contains great admonitions for the people. But only those people can benefit by it, who believe in it."
 
قُلْ كَفَى بِاللَّهِ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَكُمْ شَهِيدًا يَعْلَمُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِالْبَاطِلِ وَكَفَرُوا بِاللَّهِ أُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْخَاسِرُونَ﴿29:52﴾ 
(29:52) (O Prophet,) say, "Allah suffices as a witness between me and you. He knows all that is there in the heavens and the earth. Those who believe in falsehood and deny Allah, shall be the losers."

 
وَيَسْتَعْجِلُونَكَ بِالْعَذَابِ وَلَوْلَا أَجَلٌ مُّسَمًّى لَجَاءهُمُ الْعَذَابُ وَلَيَأْتِيَنَّهُم بَغْتَةً وَهُمْ لَا يَشْعُرُونَ﴿29:53﴾ 
(29:53) These people wish that you hasten the torment on them. *93 Had a time not been fixed for it, the torment would already have overtaken them. And most certainly it shall come (at the appointed time) suddenly while they would least expect it.
*93 That is,"They are challenging you again and again that If you are a true messenger and they are really denying the Truth, then you should not delay the torment with which you threaten them. "
 
يَسْتَعْجِلُونَكَ بِالْعَذَابِ وَإِنَّ جَهَنَّمَ لَمُحِيطَةٌ بِالْكَافِرِينَ﴿29:54﴾ 
(29:54) They challenge you to hasten the torment, whereas Hell has encircled the disbelievers,

 
يَوْمَ يَغْشَاهُمُ الْعَذَابُ مِن فَوْقِهِمْ وَمِن تَحْتِ أَرْجُلِهِمْ وَيَقُولُ ذُوقُوا مَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ﴿29:55﴾ 
(29:55) (and they will know of it) on the Day when the torment will cover them from above them as well as from beneath their feet, and will say, "Now taste your own misdeeds. "

 
يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّ أَرْضِي وَاسِعَةٌ فَإِيَّايَ فَاعْبُدُونِ﴿29:56﴾ 
(29:56) O My servants, who have believed, My earth is vast: so worship Me alone *94 .
*94 This is an allusion to the Hijrah, which implies this: if you feel that it is becoming difficult to worship God in Makkah, you may leave it and move to another place where you can live as the we servants of God, for God's earth is vast. You should serve Allah and not your nation and country." This shows that the real thing is not the nation and the home and the country but the worship of Allah If at some time the demands of the nation and country's love clash with the demands of Allah's worship, it is the time of trial for the believer's faith. The true believer will worship Allah and spurn the nation and the country and home. The false claimant to the Faith will abandon the Faith and remain clinging to his nation and his country and home. This verse is clearly indicative of the fact that a true worshipper of God can be a patriot but he cannot be a worshipper of the nation and the country. For him the worship of God is the dearest thing in life for the sake of which he will sacrifice everything else, but with never be prepared to sacrifice it for anything else.
 
كُلُّ نَفْسٍ ذَائِقَةُ الْمَوْتِ ثُمَّ إِلَيْنَا تُرْجَعُونَ﴿29:57﴾ 
(29:57) Every living being has to taste death: then, ultimately you shall all be returned to Us. *95
*95 That is, "Do not be anxious for your life: one has to die sooner or later. No one has come to live for ever in this world. Therefore, your real problem is not how to save life, but your real problem is how to save your Faith, and fulfil the requirements of God-worship. You have ultimately to return to Us. If you lost your faith for the sake of saving your life the result in the Hereafter will be different, but if you lost your life for the sake of saving your faith the result will be just the opposite. Therefore, you should be anxious only about what you will bring when you return to Us. Will you come with a faith sacrificed for the sake of life, or a life sacrificed for the sake of the faith?"
 
وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَنُبَوِّئَنَّهُم مِّنَ الْجَنَّةِ غُرَفًا تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا نِعْمَ أَجْرُ الْعَامِلِينَ﴿29:58﴾ 
(29:58) Those who have believed and done good works, We shall lodge them in the high palaces of Paradise, beneath which canals will be flowing: therein they shall live for ever. What an excellent reward for the doers (of good) *96
*96 That is, "Even if you remained deprived of all the worldly blessings because of your faith and righteousness and ended up as a total failure from the worldly point of view, you should rest assured that you will be compensated for it; and not only compensated but rewarded excellently."
 
الَّذِينَ صَبَرُوا وَعَلَى رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ﴿29:59﴾ 
(29:59) for those who have shown patience *97 and put full trust in their Lord! *98
*97 "Who . . patience": who remained steadfast in faith in the face of hardships and afflictions and losses and persecutions; who have endured the consequences of the faith and have not turned away; who have seen the advantages and benefits of abandoning the faith and have not been lured away by them; who have seen the disbelievers and the wrongdoers prosper in the world and have not cast even a stray glance at their wealth and splendour. "
*98 "Put . . . Lord": Who did not put their trust in their possessions and their business and their clans and tribes but in their Lord; who were prepared to fight every power and endure every danger for the sake of their faith only on the basis of their trust in their Lord irrespective of the worldly means, and left their homes if their faith so demanded; who trusted their Lord that He would not let go waste the rewards of their faith and good works, and were sure that He would succour His believers and righteous servants even in this world and bless them with the best rewards in the Hereafter as well.
 
وَكَأَيِّن مِن دَابَّةٍ لَا تَحْمِلُ رِزْقَهَا اللَّهُ يَرْزُقُهَا وَإِيَّاكُمْ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ﴿29:60﴾ 
(29:60) How many creatures are there that do not carry their provisions with them: Allah provides for them and for you too: He hears everything and knows everything. *99
*99 That is, "While migrating you should not be worried about your means of livelihood as you should not worry about your life's safety. For none of the birds and the animals of the land and the sea that you find around yourself carries its provision with it. Allah is providing for all of them; wherever they go they get their provision through Allah's bounty. Therefore, do not be disheartened by the thought that if you left your homes for the sake of your faith, you would have nothing to eat. AIlah will provide for you as well from the sources from which He is providing for the countless of His other creatures:" Precisely the same thing was taught by the Prophet Jesus (may Allah's peace be upon him) to his disciples when he had said: "No tnan can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold :o the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than treat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall .we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek ) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." (Mate. 6: 2434). The background of these discourses of the Qur'an and the Gospel is the same. There always comes a stage in the way of the propagation of the Truth when the follower of the Truth is left with no alternative but to stake his very life only with trust in Allah, regardless of the support and means of the material world. In these conditions, those who are too calculating about the possibilities of the future and seeking guarantees of the saftey of life and assurance of provisions cannot do anything. Indeed, such conditions are changed only by the efforts and power of those who rise fearlessly in face of every danger and are even prepared to risk their very lives. It is all due to their sacrifices that ultimately the Word of Allah is raised high and all other words and creeds stand humbled and subdued before it.
 
وَلَئِن سَأَلْتَهُم مَّنْ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ وَسَخَّرَ الشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ لَيَقُولُنَّ اللَّهُ فَأَنَّى يُؤْفَكُونَ﴿29:61﴾ 
(29:61) If you ask them, *100 "Who has created the earth and the heavens and Who has subjected the moon and the sun?" they will surely say, "AIIah." How are they then being deceived?
*100 From here the discourse is again directed to the disbelievers of Makkah.
 
اللَّهُ يَبْسُطُ الرِّزْقَ لِمَن يَشَاء مِنْ عِبَادِهِ وَيَقْدِرُ لَهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ﴿29:62﴾ 
(29:62) Allah it is Who gives abundantly to those of His servants He pleases and sparingly to those He wills. Surely Allah knows everything.

 
وَلَئِن سَأَلْتَهُم مَّن نَّزَّلَ مِنَ السَّمَاء مَاء فَأَحْيَا بِهِ الْأَرْضَ مِن بَعْدِ مَوْتِهَا لَيَقُولُنَّ اللَّهُ قُلِ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ بَلْ أَكْثَرُهُمْ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ﴿29:63﴾ 
(29:63) If you ask them, "Who sent down rainwater from the sky and thereby raised the dead earth back to life?" they will surely say, "Allah!" Say, "Praise be to Allah!" *101 Yet most of them do not use their common sense.
*101 Here the word al-hamdu-lillah (Praise be to Allah) gives two meanings: (1) "When all this is done by Allah, then He alone is worthy of all praise, and none else", and (2) "Thank God that you yourselves also admit this."
 
وَمَا هَذِهِ الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا لَهْوٌ وَلَعِبٌ وَإِنَّ الدَّارَ الْآخِرَةَ لَهِيَ الْحَيَوَانُ لَوْ كَانُوا يَعْلَمُونَ﴿29:64﴾ 
(29:64) And the life of this world is nothing but a sport and a pastime! *102 The home of real life is the Hereafter. Would that they knew ! *103
*102 That is "The reality of it is no more than the children's engaging in a sport and pastime for a while, and then returning home. The one has become a king here, has not become a king in reality but is only playing the king. A time comes when his play ends, and ne leaves the royal throne as empty-handed as he was when he had entered the world. Similarly, no phase of life here is enduring and lasting. Every one is playing his part only temporarily for a limited time. Those who are charmed by the short-lived triumphs of this life and are able to collect some means of enjoyment and pleasure and of glory and grandeur by losing their conscience and faith, are only engaged in a pastime. What will these toys profit them when after amusing themselves with these for a score or three score and ten years in the world they will enter through the gate of death empty-handed into the Next World of eternal life and find their same allurements to have caused them an everlasting affliction ?"
*103 That is, "If these people had known the reality that the life of this world is only a period of preparation for the test, and the real life for man, which is everlasting, is the life hereafter, they would not have wasted this preparatory period in sport and merry-making, but would instead have utilized each moment of it in works conducive to better results in the eternal life of the Hereafter.
 
فَإِذَا رَكِبُوا فِي الْفُلْكِ دَعَوُا اللَّهَ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ فَلَمَّا نَجَّاهُمْ إِلَى الْبَرِّ إِذَا هُمْ يُشْرِكُونَ﴿29:65﴾ 
(29:65) When they board the ship, they invoke Allah, making their Faith pure for Him only; then, when He brings them safe to land, they start committing shirk

 
لِيَكْفُرُوا بِمَا آتَيْنَاهُمْ وَلِيَتَمَتَّعُوا فَسَوْفَ يَعْلَمُونَ﴿29:66﴾ 
(29:66) that they may show ingratitude to Him for safe deliverance and enjoy (the life of this world). *104 .
*104 For explanation, see E.N.'s 29 and 41 of Surah Al-An`am; E.N.'s 29 and 31 of Surah Yunus and E.N. 84 of Surah Bani Isra'il.
 
أَوَلَمْ يَرَوْا أَنَّا جَعَلْنَا حَرَمًا آمِنًا وَيُتَخَطَّفُ النَّاسُ مِنْ حَوْلِهِمْ أَفَبِالْبَاطِلِ يُؤْمِنُونَ وَبِنِعْمَةِ اللَّهِ يَكْفُرُونَ﴿29:67﴾ 
(29:67) Well, they will soon come to know. Do they not see that We have made a safe Sanctuary, while the people are snatched away from aII around them? *105 Do they yet believe in falsehood and deny the favours of Allah ?
*105 That is, Has the City of Makkah, in whose surroundings they enjoy perfect safety and security, been made a sacred place by some Lat or Hubal? Was it possible for a god or goddess to have secured this place against all sorts of mischief and violence for 2,500 years or so, in a strife-ridden land like Arabia? Who could then keep and maintain its sacredness and sanctity except Us?
 
وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنِ افْتَرَى عَلَى اللَّهِ كَذِبًا أَوْ كَذَّبَ بِالْحَقِّ لَمَّا جَاءهُ أَلَيْسَ فِي جَهَنَّمَ مَثْوًى لِّلْكَافِرِينَ﴿29:68﴾ 
(29:68) Who would be more wicked then he who forges a lie against Allah, or denies the Truth when it has reached him? *106 Is not Hell the fit abode for such disbelievers?
*106 That is, "The Prophet has made a claim to Prophethood, and you have denied him. Now there can be only two alternatives: If the Prophet has made a false claim in the name of Allah, there can be no one more wicked than he, and if you have belied a true Prophet, there can be no one more wicked than you."
 
وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ﴿29:69﴾ 
(29:69) Those who will strive in Our cause, We shall guide them to Our own paths, *107 and surely Allah is with the righteous.
*107 The word mujahadah has already been explained in E.N: 8 above. There it was said that a person who exerts will exert for his own good (v. 6.). Here it is being reassured that Allah dces not leave alone those who strive in His cause sincerely, even at the risk of a conflict with the entire world, but He helps and guides them and opens for them ways towards Himself. He teaches them at every step the way of winning His approval and good-will and He shows them the light at every turning point to discriminate between the Right Way and the wrong ways of life. In short, Allah helps and succours and guides them according to their sincerity and intensity of desire for goodness.