Surah 31. Luqman(20-34)
 
 

Surah 31. Luqman(20-34)

أَلَمْ تَرَوْا أَنَّ اللَّهَ سَخَّرَ لَكُم مَّا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَأَسْبَغَ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعَمَهُ ظَاهِرَةً وَبَاطِنَةً وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يُجَادِلُ فِي اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَلَا هُدًى وَلَا كِتَابٍ مُّنِيرٍ﴿31:20﴾ 
(31:20) Do you not see that Allah has subjected to you whatever is in the earth and the heavens, *35 and has bestowed on you all His favours, visible as well as invisible? *36 Yet there are some among the people who wrangle about Allah, *37 without any knowledge, or guidance, or an enlightening Book. *38
*35 A thing can be subjected to somebody in two ways: (11 The thing may be made subordinate to him and he may be authorised to use and exploit it as he likes, and 12) the thing may be subjected to a law and system so that it becomes useful for him and serves his interests accordingly. AIIah has not subjected everything in the earth and heavens to man in one and the same sense, but has subjected certain things in the first sense and certain others in the second sense. For example, He has subjected the air, water, earth, fire, vegetation, minerals, cattle and many other things in the first sense, and the sun, the moon, etc. in the second sense.
*36 "Visible favours" imply those favours which are perceived by man in one way or the other, or arc known to him. And the "invisible favours" arc those which are neither perceived by him nor arc known to him. There are countless things in mans own body and in the world outside him, which are working in his interest, but man is utterly unaware of the means which his Creator has provided for his protection and safety, for his development and provision of sustenance to him, and for his well-being and happiness. Research of man in the different branches of science is revealing many such favours of God as were hidden from him before. And the favours and blessings which have so far been revealed are insignificant as against those which still lie hidden froth man.
*37 °Who wrangle about AIIah": Who wrangle and dispute aborts questions such as these: Dces AIIah exist or not? Is He One God alone, or are there other gods also? What are His attributes and what is their nantre? What is the nantre of His relationship with His creations etc.?
*38 That is, `They neither have any means of knowledge by which they might themselves have observed or experienced the reality directly, nor do they have the guidance of a guide available to them, who might have guided them after observing the reality, nor do they possess a Divine Book, which might be the basis of their belief."
 
وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمُ اتَّبِعُوا مَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ قَالُوا بَلْ نَتَّبِعُ مَا وَجَدْنَا عَلَيْهِ آبَاءنَا أَوَلَوْ كَانَ الشَّيْطَانُ يَدْعُوهُمْ إِلَى عَذَابِ السَّعِيرِ﴿31:21﴾ 
(31:21) And when it is said to them, "Follow what Allah has sent down," they say, "We shall only follow that upon which we found our forefathers." What !will they still be following them even if Satan had been calling them to the raging Fire? *39
*39 That is, It is not at aII necessary that the forefathers of every person and every family and nation should have been on the right path. The mere argument that a particular way of life had been bequeathed by the elders cannot be a proof of its being right also. No sane person can commit the folly that he should blindly go on following the way of his forefathers even if they were not rightly guided, and should never bother to find out where the way is leading him."
 
وَمَن يُسْلِمْ وَجْهَهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَهُوَ مُحْسِنٌ فَقَدِ اسْتَمْسَكَ بِالْعُرْوَةِ الْوُثْقَى وَإِلَى اللَّهِ عَاقِبَةُ الْأُمُورِ﴿31:22﴾ 
(31:22) Whoever surrenders himself to Allah, *40 and is a doer of good, *41 he has indeed taken hold of a reliable support *42 and the ultimate disposal of all affairs is in the hand of Allah.
*40 "Whoever........Allah": Who submits himself wholly to the service of AIIah, entrusts alI his affairs to Him and makes His Guidance the law of his entire life.
*41 That is, practically also he should adopt the attitude of an obedient servant of Allah.
*42 That is, 'He will neither have the apprehension that he will be misguided, nor the fear that he will meet an evil end after having served Allah."
 
وَمَن كَفَرَ فَلَا يَحْزُنكَ كُفْرُهُ إِلَيْنَا مَرْجِعُهُمْ فَنُنَبِّئُهُم بِمَا عَمِلُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ﴿31:23﴾ 
(31:23) As for the one who disbelieves, let not his disbelief grieve you. *43 To Us they have to return; then We shall tell them what they had been doing. Most surely Allah knows the hidden secrets of the breasts.
*43 This means to say, "O Prophet, the one who refuses to listen to you, thinks that by rejecting Islam and insisting on unbelief he has harmed you, but in fact he has not harmed you but harmed only himself. If he does not listen to you, you need not bother yourself about him at all. "
 
نُمَتِّعُهُمْ قَلِيلًا ثُمَّ نَضْطَرُّهُمْ إِلَى عَذَابٍ غَلِيظٍ﴿31:24﴾ 
(31:24) We are allowing them to enjoy themselves for a while in the world; then We shall drag them to a severe torment in a helpless condition.

 
وَلَئِن سَأَلْتَهُم مَّنْ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ لَيَقُولُنَّ اللَّهُ قُلِ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ بَلْ أَكْثَرُهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ﴿31:25﴾ 
(31:25) If you ask them, "Who has created the earth and the heavens?" they will surely say, "Allah." Say, "Praise is then only for Allah," *44 but most of them do not know. *45
*44 That is, "Thank God that you at least know this and believe in this. But if this be the reality, all praise should then belong to AIIah alone. How can any other being deserve praise when it has no share whatever in the creation of the universe?"
*45 That, is, Most of the people do not know what are the inevitable results and demands of accepting Allah as the Creator of the universe, and what contradicts it. When a person acknowledges Allah as the Creator of the earth and the heavens. He should also acknowledge that Allah alone is the Deity and Lord: that He alone is worthy of worship and obedience: that He alone can be invoked for needs, and no one other than He can be the Law-Giver and Ruler of His creation. To acknowledge one as the Creator and another as the deity is contrary to reason and a contradiction in terms, which can be upheld only by an ignorant person. Likewise, it would be a contradiction in terms to believe in one Being as the Creator and to regard another from among the creation as remover of hardships or as a deity and possessor of power and authority and sovereignty. which no reasonable will acknowledge and accept."
*46 That is, 'The reality is not merely this that AIIah is the reator of the earth and the heavens, but in fact He alone is the Master of aII things found in the earth and heavens. AIIah has not created •.his universe and left it to others to become masters of the whole or a part of it, but He Himself is Master of His creation and everything that exists in this universe is His. Here. He alone possesses Divine rights and powers and no one else. "
 
لِلَّهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الْغَنِيُّ الْحَمِيدُ﴿31:26﴾ 
(31:26) Whatever is in the heavens and the earth, is Allah's *46 . Indeed, Allah is self-Sufficient and Self Praiseworthy. *47 ...
*47 This has been explained in E. N. 19 above.
 
وَلَوْ أَنَّمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ مِن شَجَرَةٍ أَقْلَامٌ وَالْبَحْرُ يَمُدُّهُ مِن بَعْدِهِ سَبْعَةُ أَبْحُرٍ مَّا نَفِدَتْ كَلِمَاتُ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ﴿31:27﴾ 
(31:27) If all the trees in the earth were to become pens and the ocean (an inkpot) which is replenished with ink by seven more oceans, (the writing of Allah's Words would trot exhaust. *48 Allah is indeed AllMighty and All-Wise.
*48 "Allah's Words": Allah's creative works and the manifestations of His power and wisdom. This very theme has been presented in Surah AI-Kahf: l()<) above a little differently. A person might think there is exaggeration in this. but if one considers the matter a little deeply, one will feel that there is in tact no exaggeration whatever in it. AII the pens that can be made from the trees of the world and aII the ink that can be provided by the oceans of the world, which are replenished by seven more oceans, cannot perhaps help prepare a complete list of aII the reations in the universe, not to speak of aII the manifestations of Allah's power and wisdom and creative works. When it is impossible even to count aII the things found on the earth only, how can one bring into writing aII the creations found in this limitless universe?
Here, the object is to make man realize that no creature can become a deity and an associate in the works of AIIah. Who has brought into being such a vast Universe, Who is administering its affairs and Whose powers and resources are limitless. Not to speak of becoming an associate in the administration of this vast Kingdom, it is not within the power of any creation to obtain a mere nodding acquaintance with the minutest portion of it. How can then one imagine that one or the other creation can have any share in the Divine powers and authority on the basis of which it may answer prayers and make or un-make destinies?
 
مَّا خَلْقُكُمْ وَلَا بَعْثُكُمْ إِلَّا كَنَفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ إِنَّ اللَّهَ سَمِيعٌ بَصِيرٌ﴿31:28﴾ 
(31:28) Your creation and your resurrection are as simple for Him as (the creation and resurrection) of a single soul. The fact is that Allah hears everything and sees everything. *49
*49 That is, 'He is hearing every sound in the universe distinctly at one and the same time, and no sound can absorb his hearing so completely that He may hear no other sound. Likewise, He is seeing the whole universe in each of its details as to thing and event at one and the same time and nothing can absorb His sight so completely that He may see nothing else. The same precisely is the case concerning the creation of men and their re-creation also. He can re-create instantaneously aII the men who have been born since the beginning of the creation and will be born till the end of time, His creative power is not absorbed so completely in the creation of one man that He may be unable to create other men at the same time. For Him the creation of one man and of the billions of men. therefore, is equal and one and the same thing.
 
أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ يُولِجُ اللَّيْلَ فِي النَّهَارِ وَيُولِجُ النَّهَارَ فِي اللَّيْلِ وَسَخَّرَ الشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ كُلٌّ يَجْرِي إِلَى أَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ﴿31:29﴾ 
(31:29) Do you not see that Allah causes the night to pass into the day and the day into the night? He has subjected the sun and the moon, *50 each voyaging (il its course) till an appointed time. *51 And (do you not know) that Allah is aware of whatever you do?
*50 That is, "The appearance and alternation of the day and night consistently and regularly by itself shows that the sun and the moon have been subjected to a system. " The sun and the moon have been mentioned here in particular because both these are the most prominent bodies of the heaven, which man has been worshipping as deities since the earliest times, and which many people worship as gods even today. The fact, however, is that Allah has bound aII the stars and planets of the universe including the earth into an unalterable system from which they cannot deviate even by an inch.
*51 That is, nothing in the world, whether the sun or the moon, or any other star or planet, in the universe, is eternal and ever-lasting. Everything has a term for it and can function only till its expiry. Everything has a beginning in time before which it was not there and an end in time after which it will not be there. This means to imply that such temporal and powerless things cannot become the deities of men.
 
ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الْحَقُّ وَأَنَّ مَا يَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِهِ الْبَاطِلُ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الْعَلِيُّ الْكَبِيرُ﴿31:30﴾ 
(31:30) This is because Allah is the very Truth, *52 and all those whom the people invoke instead of Allah, are false, *53 and (this is because) Allah alone is the High, the Great. *54
*52 That is, the real Sovereign is Allah. He alone is the real Owner of power and authority over the creation and its disposal.
*53 That is, "They are figments of your own imagination. You have yourselves presumed that so-and-so has got a share in Godhead, and so-and-so has been given the powers to remove hardships and fulfil needs, whereas in fact none of them has any power to make or un-make anything."
*54 That is, 'He is the Highest of aII before Whom everything is low, and He is the Greatest of aII before Whom everything is small".
 
أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ الْفُلْكَ تَجْرِي فِي الْبَحْرِ بِنِعْمَتِ اللَّهِ لِيُرِيَكُم مِّنْ آيَاتِهِ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّكُلِّ صَبَّارٍ شَكُورٍ﴿31:31﴾ 
(31:31) Do you not see that the ship sails in the sea by Allah's grace so that he may show you some of His Signs ? *55 Indeed, there are many signs in this for every patient and, grateful person. *56
*55 That is, "Such Signs as show that aII powers rest only with Allah. Man may make as strong and suitable ships for his sea journeys as he likes, and may achieve whatever perfection in marine science and in the related knowledge and experience, these by themselves cannot avail him anything to perform safe voyages especially when confronted by the terrible forces at the sea, unless he is succoured by the grace of Allah. As soon as Allah's grace is withdrawn, man immediately realizes how meagre and insufficient are the means and resources and knowledge of the sciences. Similarly, man in the state of peace and security may be a hardened atheist or polytheist, but when his boat loses balance in the storm at sea, even the atheist comes to realize that there is God and the polytheist that there is only One God. "
*56 That is When the people who possess these two qualities, recognize the reality by these signs, they come to understand Tauhid clearly and stick to it firmly. The first qualitiy is that they should be patient: they should not be fickle but fine and persistent: they should remain steadfast on the righteous belief under aII circumstances, pleasant or unpleasant, difficult or easy, favourable or unfavourable. They should not have the weakness that when the hard times come they Stan imploring God humbly, and when they change into good times, they forget God altogether. Or that, to the contrary, they should worship God in good times and start cursing Him when touched by afflictions and misfortunes. The other quality is that they should be grateful: they should not prove ungrateful and thankless: but appreciative of favour and should remain perpetually disposed from within to render thanks to the one who conferred the favour."
 
وَإِذَا غَشِيَهُم مَّوْجٌ كَالظُّلَلِ دَعَوُا اللَّهَ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ فَلَمَّا نَجَّاهُمْ إِلَى الْبَرِّ فَمِنْهُم مُّقْتَصِدٌ وَمَا يَجْحَدُ بِآيَاتِنَا إِلَّا كُلُّ خَتَّارٍ كَفُورٍ﴿31:32﴾ 
(31:32) And when a wave in the sea) covers them like the mountains, they invoke Allah making their faith pure for Him alone. Then, when He brings theta safe to the land, some one among them follows the middle ways *57 and does not deny Our Signs except the one who is treacherous and ungrateful. *58
*57 "Iqtisad" in the original may mean uprightness or moderateness. In the first case, the verse would mean: "A few of them only remain steadfast on Tauhid, which they had promised to follow when overwhelmed by the stone, and this makes them adhere to uprightness ever afterwards." If it is taken to mean moderateness, it would mean: Some of them become moderate and less rigid in their creed of atheism and polytheism, or they lose some of their fervour and enthusiasm that had been caused by the incident of calamity." Most probably AIlah has used this0 meaningful sentence here in order to allude to aII the three states simultaneously. The object probably is to point out the fact that during the storm at sea the mind of everybody is automatically set right, and everybody gives up atheism and polytheism and starts invoking One AIIah for help. But as soon as they safely land on the shore, only a few of them seem to have learnt any enduring lesson from their experience. Then, this small number also is divided into three groups: those who adopt uprightness ever afterwards, and those who become moderate in their disbelief, and Those who retain some of the spirit of enthusiasm caused temporarily by the calamity.
*58 These two qualities are the antithesis of the two qualities mentioned in the preceding verse. A treacherous person is he who is utterly disloyal and who has no regard for his promise and pledge, and the ungrateful he who does not acknowledge the good and the gains and the benefits received by him, and even behaves rebelliously towards his benefactor. The people having these qualities return to their disbelief, their atheism and their polytheism without any hesitation as soon as the danger has been averted. They do not admit that they had perceived some signs in their own selves as well as outside themselves of Allah's existence and of His being only One when overwhelmed by the stone, and their invoking aIlah was in fact the result of their recognition of the same reality. The atheists among them explain away their act, saying, "It was a weakness which we manifested in the state of confusion and bewilderment, whereas there exists no God, Who might have saved us from the storm: we in fact succeeded in escaping by virtue of such and such a device and means and resources. " As for the mushriks, they generally say, "We had the succour and protection of such and such a saint or god and goddess available to us by virtue of which we escaped. " Therefore, as soon as they land on the shore, they start giving thanks to these false gods and presenting offerings at their shrines. They do not bother to think that when they had lost hope, there was none beside Allah, the One, whom they might have implored and invoked for help.
 
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمْ وَاخْشَوْا يَوْمًا لَّا يَجْزِي وَالِدٌ عَن وَلَدِهِ وَلَا مَوْلُودٌ هُوَ جَازٍ عَن وَالِدِهِ شَيْئًا إِنَّ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقٌّ فَلَا تَغُرَّنَّكُمُ الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا وَلَا يَغُرَّنَّكُم بِاللَّهِ الْغَرُورُ﴿31:33﴾ 
(31:33) O people ! Avoid the wrath of your Lord and fear the Day when no father shall avail anything for his son, nor shall any son avail anything for his fathers *59 Allah' promise is surely true. *60 So let not this world' life deceive you, *61 nor let the deceiver deceive you concerning Allah. *62
*59 That is, "The relationship of a person with his friend, or his leader, or his spiritual guide, etc. is not so close and intimate as the relationship that exists between the children and their parents. But on the Day of Resurrection even the son and the father will not be able to help each other. The father will not have the courage to come forward and say that he may be seized instead of the son for his sins, nor will the son have the nerve to say that he may be sent to Hell instead of the father. How can then a person expect that one will be able to avail something for the other there? Therefore, foolish is the person who spoils his Hereafter in the world for the sake of another, or adopts the way of sin and deviation by dependence on others. Here, one should keep in view the theme of verse 15, in which the children have been admonished not to accept deviation in the matter of the faith and religion on behest of the parents, though in affairs of mundane life they are duty bound to serve them as best as they can. "
*60 "Allah's promise" : the promise of Resurrection, when the Court of AIIah will be established and everyone will be called to render an account of his deeds.
*61 The life of the world involves the people, who only see the superficial, in different kinds of misunderstandings. Someone thinks that life and death only belong to this world, and there is no life hereafter; therefore, whatever one has to do, one should do it here and now. Another one who is lost in his wealth and power and prosperity, forgets his death and gets involved in the foolish idea that his grandees and his power are everlasting. Another one overlooking the moral and spiritual objectives regards the material gains and pleasures in themselves as the only objectives and dces not give anything any importance but the "standard of living", no matter whether his standard of humanity gas on falling lower and lower as a result thereof. Someone thinks that worldly prosperity is the real criterion of truth and falsehood: every way of life that ensures this is the truth and everything contradictory to it is falsehood. Someone regards this very prosperity as a sign of being Allah's favourite, and assumes the law that whoever is leading a prosperous life here is Allah's beloved no matter by what means he might have achieved this prosperity, and whoever is leading a miserable life in the world, even if it be so due to his love of the truth and his uprightness, will live a miserable life in the Hereafter, too. These and other such misunderstandings have been called "deceptions of the worldly life" by Allah.
*62 Al-gharur (the deceiver) may be Satan or a man or a group of then, or even man's own self, or something else. The reason for using this comprehensive and meaningful word in its absolute form without identifying a particular person or thing, is that for different people there are different means that cause them deception. Any particular means or cause that deceived a person to be misled and misguided from the right way to the wrong way, will be al-gharur in his particular Case.
"To deceive (someone) concerning Allah" are also comprehensive words, which include countless kinds of deceptions. "The deceiver" deceives one man with the idea that there is no God at all, and another man with the idea that God after making the world has handed over its control and administration to the men and is no more concerned with it; he misleads another one, saying, "There arc some favourite ones of God: if you attain nearness to them, you will surely win your forgiveness whatever you may do, or may have done, in the world; " he deceives another one, saying, "God is AII-Forgiving and All-Merciful: you may go on committing sins freely, and He will go on forgiving each sin of yours. " He gives another person the idea of determinism and misguides him, saying, "Everything that you do is pre-ordained: if you commit evil, it is God Who makes you commit it: if you avoid goodness, it is God Who makes you avoid it." Thus, there are countless kinds of such deceptions with which tnan is being deceived concerning God. When analyzed it comes to light that the basic cause of all errors and sins and crimes is that man has been deceived concerning God in one way or the other, and that is how he has been misled to some ideological deviation or moral error. "
 
إِنَّ اللَّهَ عِندَهُ عِلْمُ السَّاعَةِ وَيُنَزِّلُ الْغَيْثَ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا فِي الْأَرْحَامِ وَمَا تَدْرِي نَفْسٌ مَّاذَا تَكْسِبُ غَدًا وَمَا تَدْرِي نَفْسٌ بِأَيِّ أَرْضٍ تَمُوتُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ﴿31:34﴾ 
(31:34) Allah alone has the knowledge of the Hour: He alone sends down the rain and He alone knows what is taking shape in the wombs of the mothers. No living being knows what he will earn the next day, nor does anybody know in what land he will die. Allah alone is All-knowing, All-Aware. *63
*63 This verse is, in fact an answer to the disbelievers' question as to when the Hour of Resurrection will come, which they asked when they heard the Holy Prophet mention it and the promise of the Hereafter, again and again. The Qur'an has answered this sometimes by citing the question and sometimes without citing it, because the addressees knew what they were asking. This is one of those verses which answer the question without citing the question itself.
The first sentence: 'AIIah alone has the knowledge of the Hour", is the real answer to the question. The four sentences that follow constitute the argument to support it. The argument means this: "O man. you do not have the knowledge even about those things with which you are most closely and intimately concerned in life. How then can it be possible for you to know as to when will the whole world cane to an end? Your prosperity and adversity mainly depend on the rain. But its control and regulation is entirely in the hand of Allah. He sends down the rain whenever and wherever and in whatever measure He pleases and withholds it whenever he pleases. You do not at aII know how much of the rain will fall at a particular place at a particular time and which land will remain without it, and which land will be adversely affected in spite of it. Your wives conceive by your own sperm-drop, which perpetuates your race in the future, but you do not know what is taking shape in their wombs, and in what form and with what good or evil it will emerge. You do not even know what you are going to meet with the next day A sudden accident can change your destiny; but you are unaware of it even a minute before its occurence. You do not know where your present life will eventually cane to an end. AIlah has kept all this information with Himself alone; and has not given you any knowledge of any of these. You actually desire that you should have the knowledge of each of these things so that you may make necessary preparations beforehand, but you have no other course open to you than to depend only on Allah's decree and disposal in these matters. Likewise, about the end of the world also there is no alternative but to rely on Allah's decree and decision. The knowledge of this also has neither been given to anybody, nor can it be given." Here, another thing also should be understood well, and it is this: This verse dces not give a list of the unseen and hidden things, which are known to no one but Allah. Here only some of the most apparent things have been pointed out only to serve as an illustration. These are the things with which man is most deeply and intimately concerned, yet he is unaware of them. From this it would be wrong to conclude that these are the only five unseen and hidden things which are known to no one but AIIah. As a matter of fact, ghaib applies to every such thing which is hidden from the creation but is in the knowledge of Allah, and such things are countless and limitless. (For a detailed discussion of this, see An-Naml: 65 and the E.N.'s thereof).