Rafed English

Interpretation of Sura an-Nur - Verse 43

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"

43. "Have you not seen that Allah drives gently the clouds, then joins them together, then converts them into a mass, and you see the rain coming forth from the midst of thema And He sends down from the heaven from the (clouds like) mountains wherein is hail, afflicting therewith whom He pleases, and turning it away from whom He pleases. The flash of its lightning well-nigh blinds the sight."

Commentary

To study creation is the best way for knowing Allah which causes to have His love. All movements in the universe are done with Divine will and power and also for a wise aim. Therefore, in this verse, we face a little part of the wonders of creation, and the science, wisdom and magnificence that are behind them. All of them are reasons of His Pure Essence and monotheism. So the Qur'an, addressing the Prophet (p.b.u.h.), says:

"Have you not seen that Allah drives gently the clouds, then joins them together, then converts them into a mass, and you see the rain coming forth from the midst of thema..."

The Arabic word /yuzji/ is derived from the word /'izja'/ which means 'to drive softly'. It is the driving that is used for arranging the scattered creatures, and this word is exactly true about clouds. Every piece of clouds come from a place of the seas and then Allah drives them towards each other, links and condenses them.

The Arabic word /rukam/ means objects and things that are piled up.

The Qur'anic word /wadq/, as many commentators believe, means: 'drops of rain that come from clouds.' But, in Mufradat, Raqib says that it has another meaning and that is the tiny bits of water that are scattered in the air at the time of raining. But, the first meaning is more proper here, for what shows Allah's magnificence more is those enlivening drops of rain, not those dust-like bits of rain. Moreover, wherever the holy Qur'an mentions clouds and descending of favours, it refers to the issue of rain.

Yes, it is the rain that enlivens dead grounds and the earth, basically and covers trees with life dress and waters both men and animals.

Then another wonderful phenomenon of sky and clouds is referred to. It says:

"... And He sends down from the heaven from the (clouds like) mountains wherein is hail, afflicting therewith whom He pleases, and turning it away from whom He pleases...."

When hail falls, the blossoms of trees, fruits, the products of farms, even some animals and men are usually not safe from its harm.

Yes, it is Allah Who sometimes sends down enlivening rain from cloud and sometimes with a little change in it, He converts it into harmful and even deadly hail. This shows the ultimate of His power and grandeur, where He sets harm and benefit, as well as death and life of men beside each other and even He has interwoven them.

In the end of the verse, another heavenly phenomenon, that is the sign of monotheism, is mentioned:

"... The flash of its lightning well, nigh blinds the sight."

These clouds which are, in fact, made of water bits which emit such a fire when they become full of electricity that their lightning rivets eyes and their thunder sometimes shakes everything. Such great power that is among this delicate vapor is verily wonderful.

The only question that remains here is that: From which mountain of heaven do these hails fall and come down? Here, commentators have different opinions:

1. Some say that the Arabic word /jibal/ (mountains) here has got ironical aspect, as we say 'mountain of trouble' or 'mountain of food'. Therefore, a huge amount or mountain of hail is created by clouds in the sky and part of it descends on cities, some on deserts, and even some of it may hit some individuals.

2. Some have said that the purpose of 'mountains' is huge masses of cloud that are dimensionally like mountains.

3. The writer of the commentary of Fi Zilal, (Vol. 6, P. 109), says something else which seems more proper. He says that masses of cloud in the sky are truly like mountains. Though when we look at them from the earth, we see them even, while those who fly with aircraft above them see that clouds seem like mountains and valleys that are on the earth In other words, looking from the above, the surface of clouds is never even and like the surface of the earth has got a lot of unevenness. So, from this point of view, calling 'clouds like mountain' is proper.

Besides the above clear statement, the explanation of some scientists can be added here:

Hail is precipitation of balls or pieces of ice with a diameter of 5 mm to 10 cm (about 0.2 to 4 inches). Small hail (also called sleet, or ice pellets) has a diameter of less than 5 mm. Because the formation of hail usually requires cumulonimbus or other convective clouds with strong updrafts, it often accompanies thunderstorms. Large hailstones are often characterized by alternating layers of clear and opaque ice, caused by irregular rates of freezing. In areas where the temperature is not far below 0° C (32° F), freezing occurs slowly,

allowing trapped air to escape and producing clear ice. When the hailstone then moves into a much colder area, freezing occurs quickly, trapping air and producing a layer of white ice. Hail is extremely destructive to buildings and crops; if large enough, it may be dangerous to animals exposed to it. Hailstones about 15 cm (6 inches) in diameter have fallen during thunderstorms in the Middle Western United States. Hailstorms are most common in the middle latitudes and usually last around 15 minutes. They ordinarily occur in middle to late afternoon. 93

Regarding this matter, the scientific point that exists will be clearer, for huge hails are formed only when masses of cloud get very dense so that when storm throws frozen balls of hail into them, they absorb more water. And this is when masses of cloud are upwardly located like mountain and they will be a considerable source for forming hail.

There is another analysis by other writers, the summary of which is as follows: "In the concerning verses, lofty clouds explicitly refer to mountains of ice, or, in other words, mountains in which there is a kind of ice, and this is very interesting.For after invention of aircraft and the possibility of high flight, man's knowledge was developed and scientists found clouds that consist of icy pillars and so the appellation 'mountains of ice' is truly applied to them. And it is again surprising that one of Russian scientists has used the phrase 'mountains of cloud' or 'mountains of snow' in describing stormy raining clouds. Thus, it is now obvious that there are really mountains of ice in the heaven. This is the miracle of the holy Qur'an that, 14 centuries before, it said: "... And He sends down from the heaven from the (clouds like) mountains wherein is hail..."

Notes:

93. From Encyclopedia Britannica

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