Interpretation of Sura an-Nur - Verse 39
Adopted from the book: "The Light of the Holy Qur'an - Interpretation of Sura an-Nur" by: "Sayyid Kamal Faghih Imani & a Group of Muslim Scholars"
39. "And (for) those who disbelieve, their deeds are as a mirage in a desert, which the thirsty one supposes to be water until when he comes unto it he finds it naught, and finds Allah with him Who pays him his reckoning in full; and Allah is swift in taking account."
Since the previous verses spoke about Allah's light, the light of faith and guidance, the above verse speaks about obscurity of disbelief, ignorance,, faithlessness, dark-hearted pagans and hypocrites in order to complete the discussion and to make their position clear, and compare their status with others'. The verse speaks about those whose entity is 'layer upon layer of darkness'; in contrary to the believers whose life and thoughts are 'light upon light'.
Here the word is about individuals who are after mirage instead of water in the dry and hot desert of life and then lose their life because of thirst, while the believers have found the clear spring of guidance under the auspices of faith and have settled beside it.
At first, the verse says:
"And (for) those who disbelieve, their deeds are as a mirage in a desert,,..."
Then it continues saying:
"... which the thirsty one supposes to be water until when he comes unto it he finds it naught, and finds Allah with him Who pays him his reckoning in full; and Allah is swift in taking account." 81
The Arabic word /sarab/ is derived from the word 'Saraba', which means: 'walking in a slope', and the word 'Sarb' means: 'an inclined way'. Therefore, 'Sarab' is applied to a shine that appears from a distance in deserts and slopes and it seems that there is water over there, while it is nothing but a reflection of sunlight.
The Arabic word /qi'ah/ means 'a vast area and ground that has no water and plant', and, in other words, it is applied to arid deserts in which mirage is often seen.
Commentators of the Qur'an and lexicologists consider this word singular and its plural form is /qi'an/ or /qi'at/. 82
Physicists say that when the air gets warm, the layer of air, that is directly above the earth, gets less dense and becomes different than the adjacent layer, then the waves of light are broken and mirage is because of this. An English dictionary defines a mirage as: 'It is caused by the refraction of light rays from the object through layers of air having different densities as the result of unequal temperature distribution.'
81. Imam Ali (a.s.) was asked about how Allah reckons all people together. He said: "As He provides all sustenance in one time." (Majma' ul- Bayan)
82. Majma' ul-Bayan, Ruh ul-Ma'ani, the Commentary by QurtAbi, and Tafsir-i-Fakhr-i-Razi
Share this article