Rafed English

Interpretation of Sura Nazi'at - Verses 27-33

27. Is the creation of you harder or the heaven He built?

28. He raised its vault and regulated it,

29. And He made dark its night and brought forth its daylight,

30. And the earth, after that He spread it out;

31. He brought forth from it its water and its pasture,

32. And the mountains, He set them firm,

33. For use and convenience to you and your cattle.



Are you more difficult to create or the heaven He built?

With the story of Moses and Pharaoh as a lesson for all transgressors and rejecters, our attention is turned to the Resurrection, again, and the statements are about some attributes of Allah's infinite Power, as a proof to the possible existence of Resurrection. These words convey the explanation of some of the unlimited blessings of Allah endowed to Man to evoke a sense of gratitude, in the soul, which is the origin of knowing Allah.

At first, it addresses the rejecters of the Resurrection and, in a scorning tone, questions:

Is the creation of you harder or the heaven He built?

This statement is, in fact, a reply to their words in the former verses, thus: They say (now) : What! shall we indeed be returned to (our) former state? Now, this verse says that those who have any degree of understanding know that the creation of this lofty sky, with so many celestial gigantic bodies and endless galaxies, is not comparable with the creation of Man. He who has this authority, how could He be unable to return you to life again?

He raised its vault and regulated it,

The term /samk/ originally means 'height, or altitude'. It has also been used with the meaning of 'ceiling'.

In Tafsir Kabir, a commentary by Fakhr-ud-din Mohammad Razi it is said that when we measure from the top to the bottom of something it is called depth ('umq) , and when we measure it from bottom to top it is called height (samk) . 5

The term /sawwaha/ is based on the term /taswiyah/ which means 'to make level or equal, to proportion something'.It refers, here, to the accurate regularity that dominates all the celestial bodies; and, if /samk/ means 'ceiling' it refers to the thick atmosphere which, like a hard and safe shield, has surrounded the earth and protects it from the rush of meteorites and fatal cosmic rays.

Some have considered the above sense to mean the globular from of the atmosphere that covers all around of the earth. They believe that using the term, with the sense of 'equal', refers to the equal distance between the parts of the ceiling and its center, that is the Earth; and this cannot exist, but only by being globular.

It is also probable that the verse points to both the height of the sky and the extreme long distance of the celestial bodies from us, and the safe vault around the Earth.

In any case, this verse is similar to what Sura Mo'min, No. 40. Verse 57 says: Assuredly the creation of the heavens and the earth is a greater (matter) than the creation of men; yet most men understand not.

And He made dark its night and brought forth its daylight.

Each of these two has an extraordinary important role in the life of any living creature whether animal or plant. Man cannot live without sunlight, because all of his sustenance, his senses and movement depend on it, as well as his life is not possible without the darkness, which is the cause of his tranquility.

The term /aqtasa/ is based on /qats/ with the sense of 'dark' hut, Raqib cites in his book, Mufradat, that its origin is 'aqtas' which means 'a person who has weak or dim eyes'.

The terms /wa duha/ means 'when the full brightness of the sun spreads in the heaven and over the earth.'

And the earth, after that He spread it out.

The term duha is derived from dahw which means 'to spread, to expand'. Some have also rendered it to mean 'to move something from its original place'.And since these two meanings are interdependent, they return to one root.

The objective meaning of /dahw-ul-ard/ is that, at first, the surface of the Earth was totally covered with water from the prime rainfalls, the water of which was gradually sucked down through the holes and ditches in the ground, and, then, parts of the land appeared. It expanded. little by little, until it formed its present state. (And this happened after the creation of heavens and the Earth.)

He brought forth from it its water and its pasture.

This idea shows that there was water stored in the layers of the earth. Then, it appeared flowing over the ground in the form of springs and streams and forming the seas and lakes.

The term /mar'a/ is a place-noun and means 'pasture'. It is originally derived from /ra'y/ in the sense of 'animal protection' from the point of view of foodstuff or, feeding cattle, or in other respects; then the term /mura'at/ has been used in the sense of protection and arranging the affairs. The known proverb: Each of you all is a shepherd and responsible, is, also, a reference to the necessity of people needing to be protected by each other.

Even though different factors, such as continuous storms, gravitational pull; caused by the sun or the moon having an effect on the surface of the land, and earthquakes; produced from the pressure of the inner molten lava of the earth, could disturb the peace and calmness of the ground, it became still and peaceful due to the existence of high mountain ranges throughout the earth.

And the mountains, He set them firm

For use and convenience to you and your cattle.

Yes, He raised the vault of the sky, and set the light and darkness regular. He expanded the earth, and put forth water and plants from it. He made the mountains over the face of the earth to protect it; preparing everything for the life of Man, so that all of them obey and are at His service.

The reason is that Man enjoys the bounties of life and should be grateful to Allah Who created them all, and obey His laws.

These affairs are, on the one hand, the kinds of power He has over the Resurrection and, on the other hand, they refer to some reasons and signs along the path of the existence of unity and knowing Allah.


(5) Tafsir Kabir, vol.31, p.46.

Adapted from the book: "The Light of The Holy Qur'an; Interpretation of Sura Nazi'at and Abasa and Takwir" by: "Sayyid Kamal Faghih Imani and A Group of Muslim Scholars"

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