Rafed English

Interpretation of Sura al-Fatir - Verse 39

39.“He is the One Who appointed you viceroys in the earth, so whoever disbelieves, his disbelief shall be against him, and their unbelief does not increase the infidels with their Lord in anything except hatred; and their unbelief does not increase the infidels but loss.”

Commentary

Stating the dangers of sins is a factor to restrain the sinner from committing it.

Following the discussions which were upon the previous verses about the fate of infidels and polytheists, in the verse under discussion they are called to account in another way, and the nullification of their style has been made manifest by some clear proofs. It says:

“He is the One Who appointed you viceroys in the earth, …”

The Arabic word /xala-’if/, whether it means the viceroys and vicegerents of Allah on the earth or it means the vicegerents of the former nations, (though the second meaning seems more appropriate here), indicates to the utmost grace of Allah upon human beings for whom He has provided all of the facilities of living.

Allah (s.w.t.) has given wisdom, understanding, thought, and intelligence to man. He has bestowed kinds of bodily powers on him. He has filled the surface of the earth with different sorts of bounties, and He has taught man the way of using these facilities. Yet, how has man forgotten his main benefactor and refers to the superstitions and artificial objects of worship?

In fact, this sentence is the statement of ‘the Unity of Lordship’ which itself is a clear proof over ‘the Unity of worship’.

This sentence, however, is a warning unto all human beings that they should know that their course is not eternal and everlasting. In the same way that they became the vicegerents of the former nations, after a few days these people will also pass away and some others will succeed them. Therefore they must be careful what they do in their short lifetime. They must consider their future fate, and that what kind of record will they leave in the history of the world from them? That is why the verse immediately says:

“… so whoever disbelieves, his disbelief shall be against him, and their unbelief does not increase the infidels with their Lord in anything except hatred; …”

However, their disbelief does not add to them except loss. It continues saying:

“… and their unbelief does not increase the infidels but loss.”

In fact, the last two sentences are as a commentary upon the sentence: “… whoever disbelieves, his disbelief shall be against him, …”, because this sentence implicitly says that the infidelity of a person results a loss upon him. Then the Qur’a-n brings two kinds of reasoning for this subject.

The first is that disbelief and infidelity with their Lord, Who is the giver of all bounties, does not result aught save Divine Wrath and punishment.

The other is that, besides the Divine Wrath, this infidelity does not give anything to them except loss. They lose their lifetime and the capital of their own existence and take wretchedness, degradation, and darkness for it. What a loss is greater than this?

And either of these two proofs is enough for condemning this incorrect style.

The repetition of the Arabic term /la-yazi-d/ (does not increase), which is in present tense, is an indication to the continuation of action and points to this fact that man is naturally looking for increase and excess. If he paves the path of Monotheism, he will have the increase of happiness and perfection, but if he paves the path of disbelief, he will obtain the increase of Wrath of Allah and loss.

Adopted from the book : "The Light of the Holy Qur'an; Interpretation of Surah al-Fatir" by : "Sayyid Kamal Faghih Imani and a Group of Muslim Scholars"

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