The Light of The Holy Qur'an Interpretation of Sura Al-Furqan
The Light of The Holy Qur'an Interpretation of Sura Al-Furqan
Author : Sayyid Kamal Faghih Imani and A Group of Muslim Scholars
The Apostle (Muhammad) a Warner to the whole world (Mankind) - There is no son nor any partner to Allah - The knowledge accommodated in the Qur'an - The Apostle, disbelieved and called an imposter
In the Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful
1. "Blessed is He Who sent down the Furqan (The Distinction of right and wrong) upon His servant that he may be a Warner to the worlds;"
The Qur'anic word /tabaraka/ may be is derived from the word /baraka/ in the sense of 'stable' and 'fixed'. Or it is possible that it is derived from /barakat/ that means 'abundant goodness'. It implies that He Who descended the Holy Qur'an is the source of many blessings and one of His blessings, as an example, is this very descending of the Qur'an. Yes, what blessing is more important than the divine law that has led milliards of people from darkness to the light of guidance in the course of history?
The Qur'anic word /nuzul/ means to send down at once and immediately, if it is in the form of the word /'anzalna/, and it means to send down gradually if it is in the form of the word /nazzala/. But the holy Qur'an has enjoyed both kinds of descending; one time is in the Night of determination (Honour) in which Qur'an was revealed to the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) at one instance, about which, it says: "Surely, We sent it (the Qur'an) down on the Night of Honour." 1 And the other time is done gradually during 23 years.
The .Qur'an says: "And (it is) Qur'an which We have divided (in sections) so that you may read it to the people at a slow pace and We have sent it down gradually in portion." 2 And in another occurrence it says: "... He Wh33o sent down the Furqan (the Distinction of right and wrong) upon His servant... " 3
Anyway, the Qur'an has come from a blessed source, thus, through the first verse, it says:
"Blessed is He Who sent down the Furqan(The Distinction of right and wrong) upon His servant that he may be a Warner to the worlds;"
It is interesting that the blessedness of Allah's Essence is introduced by descending of Furqan, that is Qur'an, the separator of truth and falsehood. This shows that the best favour and blessing is that man has got a means for cognition, knowing the difference between truth and falsehood.
Another interesting thing is that the Qur'anic word Furqan has sometimes been used in the sense of Qur'an and sometimes it means the miracles that distinguish truth from falsehood. Sometimes it is applied to Torah, but here, with regard to the context of this verse and the other verses, it means the Qur'an.
In some narrations we read that when Imam Sadiq (a.s.) was asked about the difference between the Qur'an and Furqan, he said: "The Qur'an refers to these celestial Books wholly, and Furqan refers to the clear verses." 4
This noble narration is not in contrast with Furqan being distinguisher of all verses of the Qur'an and its purpose is that clear verses have got a clearer and more obvious extension of Furqan and distinguishing of truth from falsehood.
The blessing of 'distinguishing and knowing' is so important that the Glorious Qur'an has been introduced as the great reward of those who are pious, where it says: " O you who have Faith! If you be in awe of Allah, He will assign for you a discrimination (between right and wrong) ... " 5
Yes, distinguishing truth from falsehood is possible only through piety, for sins, love and hatred cover truth with a thick veil and they blind man's perception and insight.
Anyway, the Glorious Qur'an is the best Furqan. It is a means for distinguishing truth from falsehood in all life system of man. It is a means for knowing truth and falsehood during personal and social life and it is a criterion for thoughts, beliefs, laws, judgments, customs, rules and ethics.
This matter is also important that the verse says: "... Who sent down the Furqan (The Distinction of right and wrong) upon His servant ..." Yes, it is the sincere servitude and submission that makes a man deserving and worthy for receiving Furqan and accepting the criteria of knowing truth and falsehood.
Finally, the last matter mentioned in this verse is that the ultimate aim of Furqan is to warn people of the world, a warning that leads man to feel responsibility for duties and obligations that are put on his shoulder. The Qur'anic phrase /lil 'alamin/, meaning: '(the peoples) of the worlds', shows that Islam religion is universal and is not limited to a certain region, race and tribe.
But some have used it for the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) as being the seal of the prophets, for the word /'alamin/ not only is not limited to place, but also it is not chronologically limited to a special time and it includes all the future generations, too.
2. " He to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and He has not taken any son (unto Himself), nor has He any partner in His dominion, and He created everything, then ordered them in due proportions."
Polytheists, Jews, and Christians each believed in a way that Allah has got a partner or child, and the holy Qur'an has rejected these false beliefs many times, including this verse that describes Allah, Who has descended Furqan, with four attributes one of which is, in fact, the base and the rest are its results and branches. First it says:
" He to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, ..." 6
Yes, He is the ruler of all universe, the skies and the earth, and nothing is out of His sovereignty. With regard to the matter that the Qur'anic word /lahu/ has come before the phrase /mulk-us-samawat/, and according to Arabic literature it is a reason for limitation and exclusivity, it is understood that the real domination and authority of the skies and the earth belongs to Him (s.w.t), for His rulership is general, perpetual and real, contrary to other rulerships that are unstable, insignificant, and, in the meantime, dependent on Him.
Then polytheists' beliefs are one by one rejected:
"... and He has not taken any son (unto Himself),..."
Basically needing child, as we said before, is whether for using his or her physical power, or for having him or her at the time of loneliness. Certainly none of the above needs are part of His Pure Essence. In this way, the Christians' belief that Jesus Christ (a.s.) is the Son of God and the belief of the Jews that Ezra is the Son of God both are rejected. Moreover, Arab polytheist's belief in this regard is rejected.
Then the verse continues saying:
"... nor has He any partner in His dominion,..."
Arab polytheists believed in partner or partners which they considered as partner of Allah. When they wanted to worship, they turned to them for the sake of intercession and they asked their help for fulfilling their needs so that they explicitly uttered ugly and polytheistic words and sentences when they wanted to say 'Labbayk' (at your service) at the time the rites of Hajj, saying: " I accepted Your call, oh Lord,
Who has no partner except the partner that belongs to You and You are the Owner of this partner and You are the Owner of what he owns." The holy Qur'an rejects all these vain imaginations. In the last sentence, it implies that not only Allah has created all things but also He has precisely defined their proportions and administrations. The verse says:
"... and He created everything, then ordered them in due proportions."
The dualists' belief, which implies that part of the world creatures is created by Lord and the other part is created by Devil, is also rejected. According to dualists, creation is divided between Lord and Devil, because they believe that the world is a collection of the bad and the good, while a real monotheist believes that except goodness there is nothing in the world, and if there is any bad it is relative or negative or it is the result of our deeds.
1. Exact measurement of creatures: Not only the calculated stable system of the world is among the strong reasons of monotheism and knowing Allah (s.w.t.), but also its exact measurement is another clear reason. We cannot consider measurement of various creatures of this world and its calculated quality and quantity as effect of accident. It is not in line with probability theory.
Scientists have studied about it, and uncovered some mysteries which cause the astonishment of man so much that he unintentionally begins to praise Allah's magnificence and might. Here we refer to some of them:
Scientists say that if the outer cover of the earth were 10 feet thicker, there would be no oxygen, a vital material of life. Or if the depth of seas were several feet more than what is today, all oxygen and carbon of the earth would be absorbed and it would be impossible to have a vegetable or animal life on the earth,and when most probably the crust of the earth and the water of the seas would absorb the whole existing oxygen, and for his growth and man would have to wait for the growth of plants so that through them he could use needed oxygen.
According to studious researches, it gets clear that it may be possible to gain needed oxygen for human from various sources, but the important matter is that this amount of oxygen is as much as the amount that has scattered in the air for man's use.
If the earth atmosphere were a little thinner than what is today, heavenly bodies and shooting stars, that cannot reach the earth, would hit the earth million times a day.
These heavenly bodies move 6 to 40 miles per second and if they hit any place, that place will be burnt and destroyed. If their speed were less than what it is, and for example equal to the speed of a bullet, all of them would come to the earth and it is clear that they would destroy everything.
If man himself were placed on the way of one of the smallest heavenly bodies, the intensity of the heat of them, that move 90 times faster than a bullet, would rend and destroy him.
The density of the earth atmosphere is to the extent that it allows cosmic rays pass as much as the growth of plants needs. And all harmful microbes are destroyed in the atmosphere and beneficial vitamins are created by them. While there are various vapors that have come out of the depth of the earth during many centuries, nevertheless, the air of the earth does not get polluted and it is always well balanced for the continuity of man's life.
The great machine that creates and keeps such strange balance is the very seas and oceans from which vital and nutritional materials, rain, moderation of air and plants and finally man himself originate. Every person who is able to understand must bow down before the sea and thank it for its favours.
2. Strange proportion and very exact balance that is between oxygen and carbonic acid gas, that is for creating animal and vegetable life, has attracted the attention of all thinkers and scientists and make them think about it.
The importance of carbonic acid gas is still uncovered to many people. It must also be mentioned that carbonic acid gas is the gas that is used for making fizzy drinks.
Carbonic acid gas is a heavy and dense gas that is fortunately near the surface of the earth. It separates from oxygen uneasily and with problem. When a piece of wood is set on fire, wood, which includes oxygen, hydrogen and carbon, is analysed chemically and carbon will be mixed with oxygen very quickly and carbon acid gas is so created. Its hydrogen is quickly mixed with oxygen and water vapour will be created. Smoke is pure carbon which is not mixed up.
When man breathes, he inhales some oxygen. Blood takes it to all places of body. Oxygen burns food in various cells slowly and with a weak heat. Its vapour and carbonic acid gas goes out. Carbonic acid gas that is created by burning of food in cells returns to lung and with later breathings it goes out of the body. Thus all living creatures inhale oxygen and exhale carbonic acid gas.
3. How wonderful the way of controlling and balancing in this world is. Because of this natural balance, animals cannot dominate the world, no matter how much they are huge or brutal. Only man can change this natural balance and transfer animals and plants from one place to other places. By the way, he pays the fine of his impudence, because blights and pests cause him irretrievable harms.
The following story is a good example that shows how man must observe this balance for the sake of his life:
Some years ago in Australia a famous plant named Cactus was planted near farms fences and because no pest could harm it at that time it started to grow a lot strangely. Very soon it covered an area that was as big as England and people had to escape from villages and hamlets. It destroyed all their farms and made farming impossible.
The local inhabitants used whatever they had, but nothing they could do. Australia confronted the danger and threat of stubborn Cactus army. Scientists and researchers started to find a solution for this dangerous problem. At last, they found out that there is an insect that only feeds on stem, leaf and root of Cactus and except this food it eats nothing. And it multiplies easily and no enemy it has in Australia.
In this case animal defeated plant and there is no danger of Cactus today. And when Cactus was destroyed, that insect also disappeared. Only some of them remained so that they control the growth of Cactus. Creation has set this balance in the nature and it is very beneficial, too.
What has happened that malaria mosquito has not spread all over the world and has not destroyed man generation,while common mosquitoes can also be found even in polar areas?
Or what happened when the mosquito of yellow fever came near New York but did not kill all people of the world? Or what has happened that tsetse fly is created in a way that can live only in equatorial areas and has not vanished the human generation throughout the world? (All of these have been prevented by a very calculated system.)
It is only enough to remember the fact that with what pests and maladies we have fought during many centuries. How wonderfully we were formerly protected against these maladies while we did not know any health matters! 7
3. " Yet they have taken gods, besides Him, gods that do not create anything while they are themselves created and they do not own for themselves any hurt or profit, nor can they control death nor life nor resurrection."
The reason of man's servitude is Allah's power in solving problems and knotty affairs, while idols cannot do such thing. ('They do not own')
This holy verse continues the previous discussion about struggling with polytheism, idol worshipping, and baseless claims of idol worshippers about their idols and then-accusations of the holy Qur'an and the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) mentioned in former verses.
First, polytheists are in fact called to trial and, to pick then-conscience with a clear, simple, decisive logic, it says:
"Yet they have taken gods, besides Him, gods that do not create anything while they are themselves created ..."
The real deity is the Creator of the universe, but they did not have such a claim about idols and they knew them as creatures of Allah.
But what was their motivation for worshipping idols? Idols that possess not hurt nor profit for themselves, and possess not death nor life, nor power to raise the dead (let alone others). The verse in this regard says:
"... and they do not own for themselves any hurt or profit, nor can they control death nor life nor resurrection."
The principles that are important for man are as follows: profit, loss, death, life, and resurrection.
Does one who is the owner of these affairs deserve worshipping? But idols cannot do such things for themselves, let alone they want to protect and support their worshippers?
What a shameful logic is that man follows a creature and worships it, while it cannot even control itself let alone others. Neither does this idol solve a problem in this world nor can it do anything in the other world.
This sentence shows that this group of polytheists, who have been addressed in this verse, had accepted resurrection in a way (although not physical one but spiritual resurrection).
Or the Qur'an was certain about their lack of belief in the resurrection and talked to them in a certain and decisive way. This is usual that sometimes man faces one person who denies truth, but he expresses his own ideas and beliefs resolutely without paying attention to that person's thoughts.
Especially when there is an implied reason for resurrection in the verse, because when a creator creates a creature and is the owner of creature's loss and benefit, he must have an aim for his creation. And this aim concerning man is impossible without accepting the issue of resurrection, for if everything ended with the death of man, life would be nonsense and it would be a reason indicating that that creator was not wise.
Meanwhile if we see that the issue of loss has come before the issue of benefit, it is because man first fears loss and the sentence 'protection from loss is prior to the achievement of benefit' has turned into an intellectual rule.
And if 'loss', 'benefit', 'death', 'life', 'resurrection' have been mentioned indeterminately, it is for the fact that these idols are not controlling benefit, loss, death, life, and resurrection even in one case, let alone all people.
And if the Qur'anic phrase /layamlikuna/ (they possess not) and /layaxluquna/ (they create naught) are mentioned in the masculine, plural, wise form (while stone and wooden idols have got no wisdom and sense), it is for the matter that these phrases are not only about wooden and stone idols, but also there was a group that worshipped Christ or angels and because sage and non-sage are all included in the meaning of the verse, all of them are mentioned as wise.
Or according to the opinion of the opposite party, it is said for showing their weakness and inability. It implies that they believed that these idols had intellect and sense, but these idols cannot protect themselves from loss and can not achieve any benefit!
4. " And those who disbelieve say: 'This (Qur'an) is nothing but a lie which he (our Apostle) has forged, and other people have helped him at it; so indeed they have done injustice and (uttered) a falsehood."
The Arabic word /ifk/ means lie, and the word /zur/ means a false word 8. In all of the Holy Qur'an only here the words /zulm/ (iniquity) and /zur/ have come together, because pagans prevented others from being guided by means of false accusation of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) and belying the heavenly Book. So this noble verse is about pagans' analysis or, in better words, their pretext-seeking against the call of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) when it says:
" And those who disbelieve say: 'This (Qur'an) is nothing but a lie which he (our Apostle) has forged, and other people have helped him at it;..."
In fact, in order not to shoulder the Truth - as those who in the course of history decided to be against divine leaders - they first accused him to calumny and falsehood, and especially, in order to scorn the Holy Qur'an, they used the word /haoa/ (this).
Then, in order to prove that he could not say such words by himself, because saying such meaningful words needs at least a lot of knowledge and they did not want to accept it, and in order to say that this was a calculated program, they said that he was not alone and others have helped him at it and that there was a conspiracy and they must stand against him.
Some of commentators have said that the purpose of/qaum un 'axarun/ (other people) is a group of Jews. And some others have said that the objective is three persons of the People of The Book, that is 'Adas', 'Yasar', and 'Hibr' (or 'Jibr').
Anyway, since such matters did not exist among the polytheists of Mecca and some part of it, such as: the story of the former prophets, was among Jews and the People of The Book, they had to drag the People of the Book into this accusation so that the people became less astonished and bewildered by hearing these verses.
But, in their answer here, the Holy Qur'an says only one sentence:
"...so indeed they have done injustice and (uttered) a falsehood." 9
It is /zulm/ (a wrong action) because they, as well as some of the People of the Book, accused a trustworthy, veracious and pure man such as the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) of giving a false impression of Allah and they did wrong action towards themselves and people. It is false and invalid, because their words were completely baseless and the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) had repeatedly called them to present some verses and Suras like those of the Holy Qur'an and,confronting this challenge of the Qur'an, they were somehow unable to achieve it.
This shows that these verses are not the product of man's mind, because if it were so, they could also present such verses with the help of the Jews and the People of the Book. Therefore, their inability to do it is the reason of their lie and their lie is the reason of their iniquity. So the short sentence saying: "... so indeed they have done injustice and (uttered) a falsehood." is a clear and expressive answer to their groundless claims.
The Arabic word /zur/ is in fact derived from a word that means the upper part of the chest. Then it was applied to whatever that inclines from the middle and, because lie deviates from truth and inclines toward falsehood, it is called /zur/.
5. "And they say: '(Qur'an is) the stories of the ancients he has got them written, so they are dictated before him morning and evening'."
6. " Say: 'He sent it down Who knows the secrets in the heavens and the earth. Verily He is ever Forgiving, Merciful'."
Pagans both found fault with the content of the Holy Qur'an, that these are old fables, and expressed doubt about the holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.), that he had made copy and they considered some unreal companions for him ("... they are dictated to him ..."). The purpose of 'old fables' is whether they believed that some persons wrote for him,or they said the Prophet(p.b.u.h.) was literate and negated his being uneducated.
In these holy verses, one of their derivative analyses and meaningless pretexts about the holy Qur'an is talked about. It says:
" And they say: '(Qur'an is) the stories of the ancients he has got them written,..."
This means that he, in fact, has nothing by himself. He has no knowledge and innovation, let alone revelation and prophethood. Some persons have helped him to gather some old legends and named it heavenly book.
In order to achieve this aim, he is helped by others every day. The verse continues saying:
"...so they are dictated before him morning and evening'."
He is helped in the morning and evening when there are few people out.
This is, in fact, explanation of the false accusations that were mentioned in the previous verse.
By these short sentences, they intend to impose some weak points on the holy Qur'an: First, the holy Qur'an has got no new matter or subject and it is some old legends. Second, the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) can not continue his job without others' help and every morning and evening matters must be read out to him and he writes them. Third, he can write and read and if he says that he is not educated, he is lying.
As a matter of fact, they intended to break up people who were with the Prophet (p.b.u.h.), but all wise persons who had lived for a time in that society knew well that the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) had not been educated by anybody and had nothing to do with the Jews and the People of the Book. If he were inspired by others every day and night, how would it be possible to remain hidden from others? Moreover the verses of Qur'an were revealed to him in journey, among people, in solitude and in all conditions.
Additionally, the holy Qur'an was a collection of doctrinal teachings, religious ordinances, laws and some part of the story of the prophets. When all of the holy Qur'an was sent down, it was not like what was in Old and New Testaments as well as Arab superstitious legends. If we compare both of them, we see what the truth is, because those scriptures were full of superstitions while these verses were free from any superstition.
Therefore, answering these groundless accusations, the last concerned verse says:
"Say: 'He sent it down Who knows the secrets in the heavens and the earth...."
It refers to this matter that the content of this Book and its various mysteries that are about sciences, the history of former nations, laws, man's needs, even some secrets of nature and news about the future, all indicate that it is not the product of man's mind and it is not compiled by the help of such and such persons. It is in fact generated by One Who knows mysteries of heavens and the earth and nothing is out of His knowledge realm.
Nevertheless, the path of return is open to those who are liar and evil thinkers, and, in the end of the verse, it says:
"... Verily He is ever Forgiving, Merciful'."
In agreement with His Mercy, He has sent prophets and heavenly Books, and in agreement with His forgiveness, He pardons our countless sins in the light of faith and penance.
7." And they say: 'What sort of a Messenger is this that he eats food and he walks about in the markets? Why has not an angel been sent down to him, to be a warner with him?"
8. " Or why has not a treasure been bestowed on him, or why has he not a garden to eat of it?' And the unjust say: 'You follow none other than a man bewitched'."
Occasion of Revelation
Imam Hassan 'Askara (a.s.) said that he asked his father, the tenth Imam, whether the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) argued against seeking pretext and reproaches of the Jews and pagans. His father said: "Yes, it happened many times, including the day when the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) was sitting beside Allah's house and 'Abdullah Ibn Abi-Omayah Makhzumi came to him and, standing in front of him, said: 'Oh! Muhammad, you have made a great claim and are stating terrible words!
You think that you are the messenger of the Lord of the peoples, but it is not appropriate for the Creator of all creatures and people to have a messenger like you, a human like us. You eat like us and walk in markets as we do!' The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) said: 'Oh Allah! You hear all words and speeches and know all things. You know what Your servants say. (You Yourself answer them.)' At this time the above verses were revealed and their seeking pretext were answered." 10
Since the former holy verses mentioned pagans' objections about the Glorious Qur'an and they were answered in them, the concerned verses bring about another part that is about the mission of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) and it is also answered. The verse says:
" And they say: 'What sort of a Messenger is this that he eats food and he walks about in the markets? ..."
They wanted to say that what a prophet he is. He needs food as other people need. He walks in markets for business and buying what he needs. This is neither the tradition of the messengers nor the custom of the kings, while he wants both to declare Divine invitation and to rule us!
They fundamentally believed that the outstanding persons must not go by themselves to market for buying what they need, but they must send servants and agents for this matter.
Then they said:
"... Why has not an angel been sent down to him, to be a warner with him?"
Very well! Suppose that a man can be a messenger of Allah, but why is he poor and destitute?
The verse says:
" Or why has not a treasure been bestowed on him, or why has he not a garden to eat of it?'..."
They did not get satisfied only with these and finally they accused him of insanity. In the end of the verse we read:
" ... And the unjust say: 'You follow none other than a man bewitched'."
They believed that sorcerers can influence the intellect and intelligence of individuals and own the faculty of reasoning!
It is understood from the above holy verses that they found some illusive faults with the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) and in every phase they retreated from their views.
They first believed that the messenger must be an angel. That he eats food and walks in markets shows that he is not an angel.
Then they said that if he is not an angel, an angel must be sent by Allah for helping him.
Again they took retrograde step and said that supposing Allah's prophet is a man, a treasure must be sent down to him from the heaven, so that it will be a reason for the matter that he is supported by Allah!
In the last phase they said supposing he has none of these, but he must be at least not a poor man. Like a wealthy farmer he must have a garden for marinating him. But he has none of these and still he is saying that he is a prophet.
As a conclusion, they said that his great claim in such conditions is the sign of insanity!!
9. " Behold, how they strike similitudes for you, but they have gone astray, so they shall not be able to find a way (to the truth)."
The Great Bounties of Allah awaiting the Apostle (Muhammad) - The grievous and the wicked will meet - Reward for the faithful - The Apostles of Allah were men.
10. " Blessed is He Who, if that were His will, could give you better (things) than all that, gardens beneath which rivers flow, and He will give you palaces."
One will get misled,if logic, miracle, and accomplishments of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) are not paid attention to and wealth, posts, and seeking pretext get to be the aim. ('... but they have gone astray, ...')
Therefore in a short sentence, the Qur'an in this noble verse says:
" Behold, how they strike similitudes for you, but they have gone astray, so they shall not be able to find a way (to the truth)."
This sentence clearly illustrates this fact that against the call of Allah and the Qur'an, whose content is an expressive proof of its relationship with Allali, they fell back on some illusive words and they wanted to cover the face of the truth by these groundless words.
This is just like a person who resorts to some seeking pretext, being clearly baseless, in order to stand against our logical arguments and we do not answer what he has said separately, but we simply say you may see with what illusive words does he want to stand against the logical reason?
And verily all of their words in all of their parts were so, because:
First: Why must a prophet be one of angels? But intellect and knowledge say that a human must lead human beings, so that he knows and perceives all their pains, needs, problems, and life issues, so, he will be a paragon in all aspects and people can be inspired in all programs. If an angel were sent down, certainly this aim would not be fulfilled and people would say: "If he speaks about piety and paying no attention to the world, it is because he is an angel and needs nothing. If he speaks about modesty and calls to chastity, it is because he knows nothing of sexual desire." And there are also many other matters.
Second: Is it necessary to send an angel to be the company of man for the sake of confirming him? Are not miracles, specially a great miracle such as the holy Qur'an, enough for understanding this reality?
Third: Eating food like other men and going to markets cause him to associate with people more and to know their life more deeply.It helps him to carry out his mission better. There is not only loss or harm in this, but it is a kind of help for him.
Forth: Eminence and personality of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) does not depend on treasure, wealth, and huge gardens full of fruits. This is the pagan's deviating conception of personality and even nearness to Allah as being depended on wealth and money, while prophets have come to say that the value of man depends on his knowledge, faith and piety.
Fifth: According to what criterion did they call him insane and bewitched? According to history, his great revolution and his foundation of Islamic civilization were extraordinary, how can he be accused and given such ridiculous labels? Unless we say that breaking idols and not blindly following the ancestors is a reason of insanity!
According to what was said, it gets clear that the word /'amoal/ (similitudes), here, especially with regard of the context, means groundless and meaningless words. Using this word is perhaps because of the matter that they uttered their words in the form of truth, similitude and like a logical reason, while it was not really so.
Another matter that we must pay attention to is that the foes of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) used to accuse him of being sorcerer and sometimes being bewitched, though some of the commentators say that 'being bewitched' perhaps means 'being sorcerer' (because in Arabic sometime past participle is used as subject), but apparently these two words are different.
If they called him sorcerer, it was because his words extraordinarily influenced hearts and they did not want to accept this fact and, therefore, they resorted to the accusation of being sorcerer.
Being bewitched means to be mentally and intellectually influenced by sorcerers and to have distorted senses. This accusation originated from this fact that he broke the tradition and swam against the stream ideologically and was against personal interests, superstitious habits and customs. But all these accusations are answered by the above words.
A question now arises that why it is said: "... but they have gone astray, so they shall not be able to find a way (to the truth)."
Its answer is that man can find the path of the truth if he wills and wants the truth. But the one, who has already made decision by wrong and deviating prejudgments that originate from ignorance and stubbornness, not only does not find the truth but also stands against it.
The next verse, similar to the previous one, addresses the Prophet(p.b.u.h.) and says, with the intention of scorning their words and saying that they are unanswerable. It says:
" Blessed is He Who, if that were His will, could give you better (things) than all that, gardens beneath which rivers flow, and He will give you palaces."
Except Allah, who is it that has given gardens and palaces to them? Basically, except Allah, who is it that has created all of these beauties and blessings? Cannot such a powerful and mighty Allah provide better than these for you? But He does not want people to think that the personality of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) depends on wealth, money, garden, and palace. He wants the life of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) to be like the life of common people, the oppressed and the poor, so that he will be a sanctuary for all of them.
But, why it is said that gardens and palaces are better than what they wanted, for treasure by itself does not resolve all the problems and difficulties, but it must be changed to gardens and palaces by a lot of troubles. Moreover, they said that the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) must have a garden to sustain him, but the holy Qur'an says: "... He Who, if that were His will, could give you better (things) than all that, gardens beneath which rivers flow, and He will give you palaces.", (but the aim of the Prophet's mission is something else).
In a sermon called Qisi'ah, No. 192, by Imam Ali (a.s.), we find this matter expressed very explicitly: " When Musa, the son of 'Imran, went to Pharaoh along with his brother Harun (Aaron) wearing (coarse) shirts of wool and holding sticks in their hands, they guaranteed him retention of his country and continuity of his honour if he submitted; but he said:'Do you not wonder at these two men who guaranteed me the continuity of my honour and the retention of my country although you see their poverty and lowliness.
Otherwise, why do they not have gold bangels on their wrists?" He said so feeling proud of his gold and collected possessions, and belittled wool and wearing woolen garment.
When Allah, the Glorified,deputed His prophets, if He had wished to open for them the doors of treasures and mines of gold and (surround them with) planted gardens and to collect around them birds of the skies and beasts of the earth, He would have done so. If he had done so then there would have been no trial, nor recompense and no tidings (about the affairs of the next world).
Those who accepted (His message) could not be given the recompense falling due after trial and the believers could not deserve the reward for good acts, and all these words would not have retained their meanings. But Allah, the Glorified, makes His Prophets firm in their determinations and gives them weakness of appearance as seen from the eyes, along with contentment that fills the hearts and eyes resulting from care-freeness, and with the want that pains the ordinary eyes and ears.
If the prophets had possessed such authority that could not be assaulted, or honour that could not be damaged or domain towards which the necks of people would turn and the saddles of mounts could be set, it would have been very easy for people to seek lessons and quite difficult to feel vanity. They would have then accepted belief out of fear felt by them or inclination attracting them,and the intention of them all would have been the same, although their actions would have been different.
Therefore, Allah, the Glorified decided that people should follow His prophets, acknowledge His books, remain humble before His face, obey His command and accept His obedience with sincerity in which there should not be an iota of anything else; and as the trial and tribulation would be stiffer the reward and recompense too should be larger. 11
Some say that the purpose of palace and garden is that of the other world, but this commentary is not in line with the appearance of the verse.
However, the Arabic word/tabaraka/ is derived either from /baraka/ with the sense of 'fix' and 'ever lasting', or from /barakat/ which means 'abundant goodness'
11. " But they deny the Hour (of Resurrection), and We have prepared a Blazing Fire for him who denies the Hour."
The Arabic word /sa'ir/ (blaze) means a burning and ablaze fire. The source of pagans' pretexts is often disbelief in the Hereafter.
To continue the Qur'anic discussion of pagans' deviation from monotheism and prophethood which was in the previous verses, this noble verse talks about another part of their deviations from the view of the issue of the resurrection. In fact, with the statement of this part, it gets clear that they were utterly shaky and deviated in all principles of religion, both monotheism, and prophethood, and resurrection. Two of them have been mentioned in the former verses and now we turn to the third one. The verse says:
"But they deny the Hour (of Resurrection),..."
By mentioning the Arabic word /bal/,the verse implies that what they say about monotheism and prophethood is just some pretexts that originate from denial of resurrection, because if one believes in such a great court and the divine reward and punishment, one neither boldly ridicules the truths nor rejects a prophet's call for illusive reasons, nor bows down before idols that he has made by himself.
But, here, the holy Qur'an has not given them any argumentative answers, for they were not men of reason and argument, but the Qur'an warns and threatens them severely and harshly and illustrates their gloomy and painful future for them. Sometimes this logic is more effective for such people. It continues saying:
"... and We have prepared a Blazing Fire for him who denies the Hour."
12. " When it sees them from a far place, they will hear its raging and roaring."
13. " And when they are cast, coupled in fetters, into a narrow place of that Fire, they will call out there for destruction.'
The Qur'anic word /taqayyuz/ means declaring one's anger and intensity of wrath which is sometimes along with sound and voice. The Arabic word /zafir/ means the sound of breathing when the chest is constricted because of abundance of sorrow. The Qur'anic word /muqarranin/ means to fasten with fetter and chain. The word /oubur/ means to express woe and regret.
In this verse, a strange description is provided for this blazing fire. It says:
" When it sees them from a far place, they will hear its raging and roaring."
In this statement there are several clear meanings which show how severe the divine punishment is:
1. The verse does not say that they see the Fire from afar, but it says that Fire sees them, as if it has eye and ear and looks forward them and expects these wrongdoers!
2. It does not need that they come near it in order to be fermented, but it cries out of anger from a long distance. Some narrations say that the distance is as long as one year of walking.
3. The word /taqayyuz/ is used to describe this Fire, which is a status in which man expresses his fury by means of cry and clamour.
4. The word /zafir/ is used to describe the Fire. It is like the situation in which man inhales and the ribs come up, and this is usually when man is very angry.
All of the above explanations show that the blazing Fire is like a brutal beast that awaits its prey. This waiting drags this group, (we take refuge in Allah!)
That is the condition of Fire when it sees them from a long distance, but the next verse describes their condition when they are in the Hell Fire, by saying:
" And when they are cast, coupled in fetters, into a narrow place of that Fire, they will call out there for destruction."
This is not because the Hell is small, since, according to the 30th verse of Sura Qaf, No. 50, the Qur'an says: "On the Day (when) We say unto Hell: 'Are you filled up?' And it says: 'Are there any more?"
Thus, Hell is a very vast place but they are so confined in it that, in some narration we read that their entrance into the Hell is like entering a nail into a wall. 12
Meanwhile, the Qur'anic word /oubur/ originally means 'decay and destruction'. When a man fears from something terrible or horrific, he cries: /wa oabura/ which means: 'woe to me.'
14. " (It will be said to them:) 'Call not this day for one destruction, but call for many destructions!"
This verse implies that they must not say /wa oAbira/ for one time, but they must say it many times. The verse says:
"(It will be said to them:) 'Call not this day for one destruction, but call for many destructions!"
Anyway, their cry and moaning does not have any result and there will be no death or destruction, but they must remain alive and experience painful chastisements.
This verse is in fact like the 16th verse of Sura At-Tur, No. 52, which says: "Endure the heat thereof, and whether you are patient of it or impatient of it is all one for you. You are only being paid for what you used to do."
That who tells such words to pagans, the context shows that angels of chastisement do this, because they deal with pagans.
But why they are told that they must not say /wa oabura/ for one time, but they must say it many times, perhaps it is because their painful chastisement is not temporal that it ends with saying this phrase one time, but they must always repeat it during this period. Moreover the divine punishment that is for these criminals is so miscellaneous that they face their death by experiencing each of these punishments and they cry /wa oabura/ each time. It seems that they die and become alive successively.
The Prophet(p.b.u.h.) in a tradition says:"The people of the Hell are under pressure like nail in wall." 13 Its reason is that: ignoring Allah leads to desperate straits in this world and the other world. Concerning what they have in this world, "... He makes his breast narrow and straitened..." 14,and:"And whoever turns away from My remembrance, verily for him is a life straitened, ..." 15, and in the other world, "And when they are cast, coupled in fetters, into a narrow place of that Fire ..". 16
On the contrary, paying attention to Allah and having faith in Him, is the cause of calmness and peacefulness both in this world: "We would have certainly opened up for them blessings from the heaven and the earth..." 17 and the other world "...when they reach it, the gates thereof are opened...". 18 In another occurrence, the Qur'an says: "Is one who follows the pleasure of Allah like him who incurs wrath from Allah, and whose abode will be Hell? And an evil destination it is! " 19
There has been narrated from Imam Sadiq, the sixth Imam (a.s.), who said: "The Hell has got 7 gates. From one of them our enemies and those who fight and belittle us enter. Certainly this gate is the greatest and the most blazing one." 20
The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) says: "The fire of this world is one part of the seventy parts of the Hell Fire. Each of those parts has got its own heat." 21
Imam Ali (a.s.) once says: "One who enters the Hell is miserable for ever." 22
The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) says: "The least punishment of the people of the Hell is wearing a blazing pair of shoes on the Day of Hereafter that are so hot that their brain begins to boil from them." 23
Imam Ali(a.s.) says: "Fear the Fire the heat of which is too much,and its bottom is very deep and its ornament is iron, and its beverage is boiling fetid water (blood mixed with filth)." 24
15. " Say: 'Is that better or the eternal garden which has been promised to the pious ones? That shall be a reward and a resort for them'."
16. " For them there will be therein whatever they desire: they will dwell(there) for aye. It is for your Lord a promise that must be fulfilled."
The promise of Paradise is to be fulfilled certainly. The demands of the people of the Paradise are logical and wise as the demands of Allah are so. It means that as "... Allah does what He will" 25, and He does it wisely, the believers have also got wise demands: "For them there will be therein whatever they desire ...". It will not be in a way that they want the people of the Hell to be freed or they want to have the rank of prophets, because such demands are not wise. Therefore, in this verse, the Prophet is addressed to call people to judge. It says:
" Say: 'Is that better or the eternal garden which has been promised to the pious ones? That shall be a reward and a resort for them'."
This is the promised Paradise where they will abide for ever, (khalidin). And the next verse says:
"For them there will be therein whatever they desire: they will dwell (there) for aye. It is for your Lord a promise that must be fulfilled."
This question and asking for judgment is for the sake that about which no one has doubt. It is not for the matter that those painful and terrible punishments can be compared with those matchless blessings and favours, but these kinds of questions are for striking sleeping consciences and wakening people, so that they may be faced with a dilemma.
If they say that these blessings are better and superior (and certainly they must say so), they have condemned themselves since their wouldly deeds are against it. If they say that those punishments are better than these blessings, they have proved that they are insane. This is like giving warning to a truant young man who has left school or university saying that those who escape from intellect and knowledge will go finally to jail, and asking them: "Which is better, going to jail or gaining the high ranks?"
1. In the above verses, one time it is said that Paradise is perpetual (khuld) as a quality for it, and one time it is said that the people of the Paradise are perpetual (khalidin). This is for stating this fact that both Paradise and its inhabitants are everlasting.
2. The sentence "For them there will be therein whatever they desire ..." is the opposite point of what is said about the people of the Hell in the 54th verse of Sura Saba, which says: "And a gulf is set between them and that which they desire..."
3. Using the Qur'anic word /masir/ (the place of return) occurring after the word /jaza/ (reward), concerning the Paradise is an emphasis on what is found in the concept of /jaza'/ (reward) and all of them are the opposite point of the people of the Hell that have been mentioned in the verses before it: "... they are cast, coupled in fetters, into a narrow place of that Fire ..."
4. The sentence "... It is for your Lord a promise that must be fulfilled." refers to this matter that the believers have prayed Allah for Paradise with all its blessings. They are seekers and Allah is sought of to provide, as we read in verse 194 of Sura 'al-i-'Imran, No. 3: " Our Lord! And give us what You have promised us through Your messengers ..."
All believers ask Allah such a thing mutely, for everyone who obeys His commandment has such a mute appeal. The angels also ask Allah such a thing for the believers; as we read in Sura Al-Mu'min, No. 40, that they say about the believers "Our Lord! And make them enter the Gardens of Eden which you have promised them ..." 26
There is another commentary here indicating that the Qur'anic word /mas'ulan/ is an emphasis on certainty of Allah's promise. It implies that this promise is so bound to be fulfilled that believers can demand it from Allah. It is like the time that we promise a person and we also know his right to have a claim.
But there is no problem that the word /mas'ulan/ includes all these meanings.
5. With the regard to the Qur'anic sentence "For them there will be therein whatever they desire ..." some persons ask this question that if we consider the extensive meaning of this sentence, its result is that if the people of the Paradise ask the rank of prophets and Allah's friends, they will be given what they have asked; or if they want that their sinful friends and relatives to be freed from the Hell (which they deserve), they will be freed. And there are things the like of them.
Regarding a matter its answer will be made clear there will be no curtains before the eyes of the Paradise inhabitants, they (curtains) will be put away. They perceive the truths very well and see all proportions well. Such a thought that is to ask Allah such demands does never come to their mind. This is just like the time that in this life we ask a school boy to become a professor of university, or a criminal thief to become judge of court. Do such thoughts come to the mind of a wise person here? In the Paradise it is so. Moreover, all their demands are overshadowed by Allah's will, and they desire what Allah desires.
Some traditions about the Paradise
1. The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) says: "Everyone who dies while he believes that Allah is true, he enters Paradise." 27
2. The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) says; "In the Paradise there are blessings (and favours) which no eye has ever seen, no ear has ever heard, and no mind has ever imagined." 28
3. Imam Ali (a.s.) says: "Your price and value is nothing but the Paradise. Do not sell yourself but for the Paradise." 29
4. The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) says: "Only Muslim will enter the Paradise." 30
17. " And (remember) the Day He will muster them and that which they worship instead of Allah, and He shall say: 'Was it you who misled these My servants or did they themselves go astray from the way?'"
18. "They will say: 'Glory be to You! It did not behoove us that we take any guardians besides you; but You did provide them and their fathers to enjoy until they forgot the Message and they were a people in perdition'."
Pagans and their deities will be put to question in the resurrection.
Since the previous verses have talked about the fate of believers and pagans in the Hereafter and their reward and punishment, the concerned verses continue this subject in another way. The question that Allah asks pagans' deities in the resurrection and their answer are mentioned as warning. It says:
" And (remember) the Day He will muster them and that which they worship instead of Allah, and He shall say: 'Was it you who misled these My servants or did they themselves go astray from the way?'"
But their answer will be as follows:
"They will say: 'Glory be to You! It did not behoove us that we take any guardians besides you;..."
Not only did we not call them to come to us, but also we confessed to Your guardianship and servitude and we did not take other man You as our deity for ourselves and for others.
The reason of their deviation was that, instead of thanking Allah for His blessings, they turned to low desires and their gratifications till they forgot the warning and, consequently they became lost folk. The verse continues saying:
"... but You did provide them and their fathers to enjoy until they forgot the Message and they were a people in perdition'."
19." (Allah will say to the idolaters:) 'So they shall indeed belie you of what you say, so you shall not be able to avert (your penalty) nor (get) help, and whoever of you be unjust, We will cause him taste a great torment."
A polytheist will be supported by no one in the Resurrection and cannot do any thing to rescue him. Thus, in this noble verse Allah addresses polytheists:
"(Allah will say): to the idolaters:) 'So they shall indeed belie you of what you say,..."
You said that they deviated you from the right path, but they count what you say as a lie.
And since the fact is such and they themselves committed their own deviation, therefore the verse says:
"... so you shall not be able to avert (your penalty) nor(get) help, and whoever of you be unjust, We will cause him taste a great torment."
Undoubtedly the Qur'anic word /zulm/ (oppression) has got an extensive concept. Though the subject of the verse is polytheism,which is one of the clear extensions of oppression, yet it does not abolish the generality of the concept of the verse. Meanwhile the purpose of 'deities' is whether humane deities such as Christ, or devil deities such as jinn or angels, each of which had been selected by a group of pagans for worshipping.
Since they have common sense and intellect, they can be questioned. So, in order to complete the argument and to prove the falsehood of the statement of the polytheists, saying that these invited us to worship them, they are asked whether this speech is right, and they explicitly reject the polytheists' statement. Some points:
1. The Motivation of Deviation from Monotheism
Deities counted the main factor of this group of pagans' deviation as luxurious life. They say: ".. but you did provide them and their fathers to enjoy until they forgot the Message and they were a people in perdition", (instead of knowing blessings and thanking You for them, they have forgotten You).
Verily comfortable life is, on one hand, causing those who can not take welfare, and also their faith is weak, to feel conceited, for when they are given a lot of blessings, they get too big for their boots and forget Allah. Even sometimes, like Pharaoh, they cry: "I am the Lord".
On the other hand, such persons want to be as much as possible free and to face no boundary in gratification of their desires. They want that limitations and restrictions such as lawfulness, unlawfulness, legality and illegality do not prevent them from achieving their aims, thus they do not want to obey any rule or law and to accept the Resurrection and Reckoning Day.
Also now there are not many adherents of Allah's religion and prophets' teachings among rich people, this is the poor people who are willful supporters and faithful friends of religion.
Of course, there are some exceptions in each group, but the majority members of each group are as we said.
Meanwhile the above verse does not only put emphasis on their own prosperity, but also it emphasizes their ancestors' prosperity, for when a child grows up in affluence and wealth, it is natural that he mostly discriminates against others and he will not easily get rid of his interestand comfortable life.
While sticking with Allah's commands and religion programs need sacrificing, sometimes migration, even holy war and martyrdom and sometimes accepting kinds of deprivations and refusing to surrender themselves to the enemy, which goes with temperament of rich people less, unless their personality is superior to their material life. If one day everything is good, they thank Allah, and if it is not good, they do not get upset and unsteady. In other words, they dominate their material life and they are not its servant and slave.
2. The Qur'anic word /bur/ is derived from the word /bawar/, which originally means severity of stagnation of something. Since severity of stagnation causes corruption, this word is also applied to mean corruption and then to mean destruction. Since a land, which has no tree, flower, and plant, is in fact corrupted and dead, it is called /ba'ir/ (fallow).
Therefore, the sentence "... and they were a people in perdition" refers to this matter that, because of luxurious life and forgetting Allah and Resurrection, this group has been corrupted and destructed. And, like a dried and fallow desert, the land of their heart gets empty of flowers of humane values and fruits of virtues and spiritual life.
Studying nations that are blessed with this world's goods and know nothing of Allah and other nations makes the vast meaning of this verse more clear that how they are wallowing in moral corruption, and humane virtues can no longer be found in weathered land of their entity.
20. " And We never sent any messengers before you but they certainly ate food and walked in the markets; and We have made some of you a trial for the others: will you bear patiently? And your Lord is Ever-Seeing."
Occasion of Revelation
A group of commentators have said that some chiefs of polytheists came to the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) and said: "Oh Muhammad (p.b.u.h.)! What do you want us to do for you? If you want to be a chief, we make you our chief, if you like money and wealth, we will give you some of our wealth."
But when they saw that the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) did not give up against their propositions, they started to cook up some pretexts and said: "What a messenger of Lord are you that eat food and walk in the market?"
They rebuked the holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) for eating food, because they wanted him to be an angel. They criticized him for walking in markets, for they had seen Caesars and tyrannical kings who had never gone to market, while the Prophet(p.b.u.h.) associated with and joined people and, at the same time, he declared divine bans and orders. The pretext-seekers criticized and said: "He wants to be our ruler,while his custom and approach is different from kings' traditions."
The above verse was sent down and made clear that the method of the Prophet of Islam (p.b.u.h.) has been the same as that of the former prophets.
In the past several holy verses, one of the pretexts of the polytheists that why the Prophet of Islam (p.b.u.h.) eats food and walks in the market was mentioned and it was answered concisely. The concerned verse turns to that matter again and answers it more explicitly and in detail. It says:
"And We never sent any messengers before you but they certainly ate food and walked in the markets; and We ave made some of you a trial for the others:..."
This trail may be in this way that prophets are to be human and selected from oppressed people and this is a great test, for some people refuse to obey and take order from their fellow creature, especially one who is financially at a low level, and they are from this viewpoint at high level or older or more famous in society.
Another possibility is that its purpose is to test people generally by each other, for disabled people, the sick, and orphans are a test for those who are rich and healthy, and, on the contrary, healthy and rich people are a test for the poor and the sick. Are the members of the second group contented by Allah's will? Do the first group shoulder the responsibility for caring the second group?
Since these two commentaries are in line with each other, it is possible that both of them are included in the extensive concept of the verse.
Then, next to this statement, all people are addressed and are asked:
"... will you bear patiently? ..."
The most important pillar of victory and success in these trials is patience and resistance. Resisting unrestrained desires that prevent accepting the Truth, enduring difficulties that are faced at the time of doing duties and performing missions, and being patient with calamities and painful events, for man's life will not be empty of them.
In brief, in almost all cases it is only with the power of patience and endurance that one can succeed in passing this great test.
In the end of the verse under discussion, as a warning, the Qur'an says:
"... And your Lord is Ever-Seeing."
Never imagine that Allah sees none of your behaviors and deeds. His knowledge operates in minute detail and nothing is hidden from Him. He sees and knows everything precisely.
1. Sura Al-Qadr, No. 97, verse 1
2. Sura Al-'Issra', No. 17, verse 106
3. The verse under discussion
4. Burhan, Vol. 3, p. 155
5. Sura Al-'Anfal, No. 8, verse 29
6. According to Raqib in Mufradat, the word /mulk/ means: 'To take something in one's authority and having dominion on it.'
7. Extracted from the book 'The Mystery of Man Creation', pages 33-449
9. Thr word /ja'u/ means to come, but here it means to bring.
10. Nur-uth-Thaqalyn, Vol. 4, p. 6
11. Nahj-ul-Balaqah, sermon 192
12. Majma'-ul-Bayan, following the verse
13. Majma'-ul-Bayan, the commentary, following the verse
14. Sura Al-'An'am, No. 6, verse 125
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