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Interpretation of Sura Cow - Verse 210

210. " Are they waiting for aught but Allah should come to them in the shadows of clouds, with the angels? The matter has (already) been decided; and to Allah is the reversion of all affairs. "


In this verse Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) is addressed, where the Lord, following the previous subject, remarks whether all these available signs and clear evidences and ordinances are not enough to protect people from deviation and being safe from the grips of their obvious foe, (Satan) .

Do the followers of Satan's command, besides having all those clear signs, expect that Allah accompanied with the angels, should come unto them in canopies 98 of cloud and yield them some evidences more clear than the present ones? This is impossible, because Allah is not substance. Suppose this impossible happening becomes possible, what is the use of it when it is not needed? " Are they waiting for aught but Allah should come to them in the shadows of clouds, with the angles? ... "

It is in the case that the whole matter is decreed and determined, and nothing has remained undone. " ... The matter has (already) been decided; ..." And the destination of everything is to Allah, thus the end of all affairs is unto Him.

" ... and to Allah is the reversion of all affairs. " Therefore, the apparently interrogative sentence at the beginning of the verse, in meaning, is a negative question which means such a thing cannot happen. (This is besides that, as we said, the occurrence of this impossible action is not necessary, because all the means of guidance have sufficiently been provided for the human race) . So, according to this interpretation, there is nothing hidden in the meaning of the verse; and, therefore, the words of it have exactly and totally been commented on.

But, some of commentators have not taken the initial sentence of the verse as a positive interrogation with a negative sense. They have considered it a kind of warning against the sinners and those who follow the temptations of Satan, (a threat causing worldly punishment or the punishment of the world to come) . In this case, the meaning of the verse will be as follows:

Are such people, with those unbecoming deeds and behaviour of theirs, awaiting for the command of Allah and His angels (of wrath) to come upon them for their punishment and put them in the chastisement of this world or the coming world, and put an end to their affairs? Of course, their deeds have no fruit for them but this very mentioned one indeed.

It is also worthy to note the explanation by al-'Allamah as-Sayyid Muh¤ammad H¤usayn at-T¤abataba'i in Al-Mizan Commentary, vol. 3, pp. 152, 153 (English version) , about the verse under discussion where it says:

It is self-evident truth, which is also proved by the Qur'an and the sunnah, that attributes of the body connot be used for Allah, nor can He be described with adjectives of transient things. No such word, phrase of sentence can be used for Him which implies transience, need, deficiency or want. Allah says: Nothing whatsoever (is there) like the like of Him. (42:11) ; and Allah is He Who is Self-sufficient (35:15) ; Allah is the Creator of everything. (39:62) There are numerous such verses; and all of them are confirmed and decisive ones to which the ambiguous verses should be referred. It is these confirmed verses which guide us towards the correct interpretation of the ambiguous ones. If any verse apparently attributes to Allah and action or a characteristic of transient things, then it must be referred to the confirmed verses and interpreted in a way which is not below His dignity nor opposed to His beautiful names.

Now here is a verse which attributes the action of 'coming' to Allah. A few other verses also have used this word for Him. And comes your Lord with the angels arrayed in ranks (89:22) ; then came upon them Allah from whence they did not expect (59:2) ; so Allah came upon their structure from the foundations (16:26) . In all such verses, it is necessary to interpret them with such meaning which are worthy of Divine sublimity. We may give them the meaning of, let us say, sending His chastisement upon them or surrounding them with His power of wrath. Accordingly, the meaning of 'Allah should come to them' in this verse shall be: 'Allah should surround them with His power for enforcing His decree on them'.


98. The term /zulal/ is the plural form of /zullah/ meaning: 'awning, sun-shade, canopy, tent... , or whatever that produces shade' . Thus, the phrase /zulalin min-al-qa­mam/ means: 'canopies of clouds'.

Adapted from the book: "The Light of The Quran - Interpretation of Sura Al-Baqarah (The Cow)" by: "Sayyid Kamal Faghih Imani and A Group of Muslim Scholars"

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