The Light of The Holy Qur'an Interpretation of Sura Nazi'at and Abasa and Takwir
The Light of The Holy Qur'an Interpretation of Sura Nazi'at and Abasa and Takwir
Author : Sayyid Kamal Faghih Imani and A Group of Muslim Scholars
Contents of the Sura
The theme in this Sura, like Sura Nabaa, is about Resurrection and, on the whole, can be divided into six parts:
1. It emphasizes on the certainty of the Great Day and lays stress on its occurrence by emphatic statements which relate to the Resurrection.
2. It points to one part of the frightening and dreadful incidents of that Day.
3. It precisely mentions the story of Moses and the end of the arrogant Pharaoh as a consolation for both the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) and the believers, as well as giving a warning to the disbelievers, and also contains an indication to the fact that the denial of the Resurrection is the source of many sins.
4. It mentions a few of the countless Powers of Allah which exist in the heavens and on the Earth; themselves, being evidences of the possibility of Resurrection and the new life after death.
5. It describes another part of the horrible events, on that Great Day, and the painful end of the disbelievers in contrast to the rewards of the righteous.
6. At the end of the Sura, it emphasizes on the fact that no one knows the date of that Day, however, it is certain that it is near.
The name 'Naziat' is derived from the first verse of this Sura.
The Virtue in studying this Sura
It is narrated that the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) said: "For he who studies Sura Nazi'at the length of his stay and his reckoning on the Day of Judgment will last as long as the saying of a daily prayer and, thereafter, he will come into Paradise". 1
A tradition from Imam Sadiq (p.b.u.h.) says: "He who studies it (Sura Naziat) will not pass away but satisfied, will not be brought into the Resurrection but satisfied, and will not come into Paradise but satisfied", (with the infinite Grace of Allah) .
The shocking verses of this Sura awaken the sleeping souls and draw their attention to their duties. Then, it is certain that only those who spiritually put the contents of this Sura into practice will receive these rewards; not those who content themselves with the mere reading of its words.
In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful
1. By those (angels) who tear out (the souls of the wicked) with violence;
2. By those (angels) who gently draw out (the souls of the Blessed) ;
3. And by those who glide along (on errands of mercy) ,,
4. Then press forward as in a race,
5. And those who manage the affair,
By The Angels Who Try Hard
There are five important matters sworn to in the above verses and whose aim is to settle the rightfulness and certainty of the Resurrection.
"By those (angels) who tear out (the souls of the wicked) with violence,"
"By those (angels) who gently draw out (the souls of the blessed) ";
And by those(who glide along (on errands of mercy) ",
Then press forward as in a race,
And these who manage the affair,
First, some particular terms used in these verses should be made clear before we proceed with the commentary of the verses.
The word /nazi'at/ is based on 'naza'a' which means 'to pluck out', or 'to draw out somewhat sharply, like drawing a bow to shoot arrows'. This word is sometimes used for spiritual matters, such as the detachment of enmity or love from the heart.
The term /qaraqa/, according to many philologists, means 'to sink, the act of drowning' and sometimes it has been used in the sense of 'being entirely busy in an event or a disaster'.
Or, the term /qarq/, according to Ibn-Manzur in Lisan-al-Arab, is a noun replacing the infinitive with the meaning of /iqraq/ 'to exaggerate' which originally means 'to draw a bow to the extreme possible point', hence, to exagerate in anything.
This clearly shows that, in the above verse, the word does not mean 'to sink, or to drown', but it means 'to do something to the exreme end'. 2
The term /nashitat/ is derived from /nasht/ which originally means 'to untie the knots which are easily unfastened'. 'A shallow well', from which the bucket can be drawn easily at one pull, is called /inshat/. 'A camel which is instigated by a subtle hint and moves very fast' is called /nashitah/ Therefore, this word is generally used in any case where a movement is fluently done.
The term /sabihat/ I is based on /sabh/ which means 'a quick movement in water or air'. Hence, it is applied to swimming, or a swimming motion, or a swift gallop, or to perform a daily affair, quickly. The word /tasbih/ 'to praise Allah' is from the same root, as if the one who praises Allah goes quickly forward in worship of the Lord.
The term /sabiqat/ is derived from /sabqah/ which means 'to precede' and since the action is usually impossible without full speed, this term is sometimes used in the sense of 'speed', too.
The term /mudabbirat/ is based on /tadbir/ which means 'to mediate upon, or consider the end of an action', and since foresight causes one to arrange his affairs in a better manner, this word is used here in that sense.
Now, with due attention to what was explained about the words concerning the verses, we are going to proceed with the commentary.
To whom or to what do these five oaths refer? The oaths, at first sight, seem rather ambiguous, while at the same time this ambiguity stimulates us to mediate more deeply and thus causes our progressive thinking.
In this regard, commentators have given many different ideas and commentaries which mainly revolve around three points:
1. The oaths are aimed at 'angels' who are ordered to tear out the souls of the wicked and the pagan, violently; those souls who have never assumed to submit to the Truth and to the angels who are appointed to draw out the souls of the blessed, gently and smoothly.
Then, it refers to the angels who move fast and fluently to carry out the Divine Command. And in so doing, they race each other to fulfill their errands.
Finally, they arrange the affairs according to Allah's plan.
2. The oaths refer to the 'stars' which continually set on one horizon and rise above another.
A group of them moves slowly, but another goes swiftly, from one place to another, with speed. They are floating above us in immense space, taking the lead one after another.
And finally, these stars, having their own influence and effects (like the effect of su!1ight and moonlight on the Earth) , arrange the affairs according to Allah's plan.
3. The oaths are aimed at the fighters of 'Holy War' (Jihad) , or at their horses, and who leave their own houses and cities with expressive grief, but, then they smoothly and happily leave for the battlefield taking the lead one after another directing and running the affairs of war.
On occasion, some commentators have tried to combine these three ideas by choosing one part from one commentary and another part from another one, but the framework is the same. 3
There is no contrast, of course, among these commentaries and it is possible that the above verses refer to all of them. But, on the whole, the first commentary, regarding its suitability to the main theme, Resurrection, and with the traditions by the sinless Imams, seems to be the most fitting.
6.The Day on which everything that can be in commotion will be in violent commotion,
7. Followed by another mighty convulsion,
8. Hearts that Day will be in agitation,
9. Cast down will he (their) eves.
10. They say (now) : What shall we indeed he returned to (our) former state?
11. What! when we shall have become rotten bones?
12. They said: That then will he a losing return.
13. But it :hall he only a single blast.
14. When, behold they shall he in the awakened state.
The Resurrection Will Happen with a Single Great Blast!
The occurrence of the Resurrection, in the aforementioned verses, was described as a certain event confirmed by five strict oaths. Now, in the present verses, some of the signs and incidents on that Great Day are described.
The Day on which everything that can be in commotion will be in violent commotion,
Followed by another mighty convulsion.
The term /rajifah/ is based on /rajf/ which means: 'an agitation or a violent quake'; and seditious news is called 'arajif' because it causes a society to become agitated.
The term /radifah/ is derived from /radf/ which means: 'a person or a thing streaming one after another'.
Many commentators believe that /rajifah/ refers to 'the first Blast of the trumpet' which is to precede the blast of the quake and the destruction of the universe, and the term /radifah/ refers to the second Blast after which the Resurrection will occur and the new life begins.
Therefore, this verse is somewhat similar to what was revealed in Sura Zumar No. 39, verse 68, thus: And the Trumpet will (just) be sounded, when all that are in the heavens and on earth will swoon, except such as it will please Allah (to exempt) . Then will a second one be sounded when, behold, they will be standing and looking on!
Some others have also said that the term /rajifah/ refers to 'the that will destroy the earth' and the term /radifah/ means: 'the quake that will wreck the sky'. However, the first commentary seems more appropriate.
Hearts that Day will be in agitation,
Being anxious for the Reckoning and penalty at the Judgment,
the hearts of the criminals, the sinners and the Unjust will severely tremble.
The term /wajifah/ is derived from /wajf/ which originally means 'to Move fast'; where the term /aujaf/ is used with the meaning of 'to make a horse or camel move briskly with a bounding pace'; and since a quick movement causes shaking and anxiety, this word is also used in the sense of 'violent agitation'.
This inner anxiety is so violent that its effects appear in the whole body of the sinners.
Cast down will be (their) eyes.
On that Day, the eyes will subside, coming to a stop and be dazed as if they are blinded by fear.
Then the scope of the speech changes from the Hereafter to this world.
"They say (now) : what! shall we indeed be returned to (our) former state?"
The term /hafirah/ is based on /hafr/ which originally means 'to dig' and the cavity resulting from this action is called /hufrah/ 'ditch'. The hoof is also called /hafir/ because it is usually used to dig the soil. In any event, the term /hafirah/ is metonymically used in the sense of 'a beginning, or original state, or former condition'.
what! when we shall have become rotten bones?
This is the very thing that the rejecters of the Resurrection always used to emphasize on and said that it was not believable that rotten bones could come to life, again, because they imagined that the distance between rotten bones of dust and living creatures was too far. They had forgotten that they had been created from that very same dust.
term /naxirah/ is based on /naxr/ which originally means: 'a rotten tree which is hollow and makes a whistling sound when the wind blows'; hence, a nasal sound is called 'naxir'; and, so, the word has been used for everything which is rotten and worn.
The disbelievers are not satisfied with the idea of Resurrection, so, they ridicule it.
They said: That then will be a losing return.
Commenting on the verse, another probability can come about which is that they expressed their view in a serious manner. If so, then, they want to say: 'If there is a return it will be a uselessly repeated one, which will be injurious'. If this life is good why does Allah not continue the same one, and if it is bad why is there a return?
Regarding the term 'hafirah' which means: 'a ditch', the sentence Shall we indeed be returned to (our) former state? can, also, be an evidence for this commentary. But, the first is a more well-known commentary.
It is worth noting that in the former verses the term /yaquluna/ denoted that they used to say their words repeatedly, but in the current verse the word /qalu/ shows that they did not always repeat the statement.
At the end of this part, the Resurrection and the occurrence of the Hereafter is again mentioned in a decisive and shocking tone.
But is shall be only a single blast."
When, behold, they shall be in the awakened state.
It means that the event of the Resurrection will not be the fruit of a difficult and complicated action for Allah. It only depends on His command and when the second blow of the Trumpet occurs all rotten
bones, which are scattered in the earth, will be gathered, revived and raised from their graves.
term /zajrah/ means 'to cry for moving', and, here, it means 'the second blast'. Regarding the content of the meaning of these two terms /zajratun - wahidah/ 'only a single blast', they denote that the Resurrection is a sudden happening and it is easy for Allah's Power that with a cry of an order by the angel of the Trumpet, all the dead come to life again and are presnt in the Hereafter for the Reckoning.
The term /sahirah/ is based on /sahar/ which means: 'to sit up at night', and since es frightful occurrence removes the sleep of night from the eyes and, moreover, since the land of the Hereafter is horrible, so, the gathering place, in the Hereafter, is called /sahirah/. The term is also used for any desert, since, all deserts are generally frightful and it seems that this fright takes the sleep from the eyes.
15. Has the story of Moses reached you?
16. When his Lord called to him in the holy valley of Tuwa:
17. Go to Pharaoh, surely he has transgressed all bounds:
18. And say to him: 'Wouldst thou that thou shouldst be purified (from sin) ?'
19. 'And that I guide thee to thy Lord, so thou shouldst fear (Him) ?'
20. Then did (Moses) show him The Great Sign.
21. But (Pharaoh) rejected it and disobeyed (guidance) ;
22. Further, he turned his back, striving hard (against Allah) .
23. Then he collected (his men) and made a proclamation,
24. And said: I am your Lord, Most High.
25. So Allah seized him for an exemplary punishment in the Hereafter and in this life.
26. Surely in that is a lesson for him who fears (Allah) .
Pharaoh used to say: I am your Lord, Most High.
After a considerable description in the former verses about Resurrection and the rejection of the disbelievers, in the following verses the painful end of Pharaoh, one of the great arrogant blasphemers and rebels of history, is pointed out, to show Pagan Arabs that those who were stronger than them could not stand against Allah's wrath and punishment, and encourages the believers not to be afraid of the apparent strength of their enemies, because it is easy for Him to destroy them all.
Has the story of Moses reached you?
It is interesting that it addresses the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) and begins with a question to attract the attention of the listener in order to make him ready to hear this wonderful story.
When his Lord called to him in the holy valley of Tuwa."
'Tuwa' may be the name of a sacred valley just below Mount Sinai, which was located in Sham (Damascus) between Madyan and Egypt, and where Moses, subsequently, received, in his heart, the first light of inspiration. The term is also mentioned in Sura Ta-Ha No 20, verse 12 where Moses hears a voice say: Verily I am thy Lord! therefore (in My presence) put off thy shoes: thou art in the sacred valley Tuwa.
Or, it has a descriptive meaning derived from the term /tay/ which means 'the act of rolling up', as if the land is rolled up in holiness and sanctity, or as Raqib cites: Moses should cover a long distance to be prepared to receive the inspiration, but Allah rolled up the way and made it near for Moses to reach the goal.
Then, in three short, but meaningful sentences, it refers to the message that Allah sent to Moses in that valley where He commanded:
"Go to Pharaoh, surely he has transgressed all bounds."
And say to him: 'Wouldst thou that thou shouldst be purified (from sin) ?'
And that I guide thee to thy Lord, so thou shouldst fear (Him) ?
And, since invitations should be accompanied by reasons, in the next verse it says: Then did (Moses) show him The Great Sign.
The Great Sign, whether being the 'white shining hand' or the rod that became a 'snake active in motion' or both of them, has been one of the Great Signs that Moses relied on in the prime of his prophetic mission.
There are some interesting points in these four verses that should be noted:
1. It says that Moses is told to go to Pharaoh, because he has transgressed, and this shows that one of the great missions that the prophets had was to guide the rebels or to oppose them decisively.
2. This invitation to purity, by Moses, with those conciliatory words and in the most benevolent terms, to Pharaoh, where Allah tells Moses to go: And say (to him) 'Wouldst thou that thou shouldst be purified (from sin) ? ' is similar to the sense found in Sura Ta-Ha No.20, verse 44 which says: But speak to him mildly....
3. This meaning has a delicate hint to the fact that the goal of the prophecy of the prophets is to purify men and lead them to their real purified nature. By the way, it does not say 'I purify you', it says:...Wouldst thou that thou shouldst be purified?..., which indicates that purification should come about from inside and by one's own intention; not from an imposition from an outside source.
4. The statement of 'guidance' after mentioning the sense 'to purify' is a reason for showing that 'purification' is a preliminary step to 'guidance'.
5. The term /rabbika/'your Lord', indeed, is an emphasis on this fact that 'I take you to Him Who is your master and your cherisher. Why do you flee from the path of happiness? '.
6. 'Fear of Allah' is the fruit of guidance. Truly, those who are guided to monotheism feel responsible before Allah, the Almighty, because fear of Allah never appears without knowing Him. That is why in Sura Fatir, No.35, verse 25 it says: ..those truly fear Allah among His Servants, who hove knowledge....
7. First, Moses appeals to Pharaoh's emotional guidance and then, he evokes his rational and logical guidance by showing him his Great Sign, his great miracle. The most effective way of preaching is by influencing emotions and, then, presenting the reasons and evidences.
Now, we will deal with Pharaoh and his reaction to so much affection and love and the beautiful, reasonable speech and the Great Sign that Moses showed him.
The fact is that many signs were given, but Pharaoh and his men were steeped in arrogance.
But (Pharaoh) rejected it and disobeyed (guidance) .
This shows that rejection is the primary step in transgression, as well as faith, and admitting the truth is paramount to obedience.
Pharaoh was not satisfied with only rejecting the guidance.
Further, he turned his back, striving hard (against Allah) .
Since the miracle of Moses threatened the whole devilish unity of Pharaoh, he sent some men to different cities to gather the sorcerers and he also ordered to announce people to come to see the challenge between the sorcerers and Moses.
Then he collected (his men) and made a proclamation.
Though the term /hashara/ is mentioned, here, alone, but with reference to the term /hasirin/ in Sura A'raf, No.7, verses 111-112 which say: ...and send to (he cities men to collect, And bring up to thee all (our) sorcerers well-versed, and also referring to the term /nada/ 'made a proclamation', though it is absolute, it points to the invitation of Pharaoh to the people to gather and watch the challenge; with the evidence from Sura Shuara No.26, verse 39 which says: And the people were told: Are you (now) assembled?
He did not quit with these plots and he made claims with the worst statements.
And said: I am your Lord, Most High.
Verily, it is amazing that these arrogant transgressors, when riding on the horse-back of pride, know no limit for their selfishness. They are not content with their claim of being Lord; they want to be 'Lord of Lords'.
This statement denotes that he says, If you worship idols, it is accepted. but I am the highest of all and I am your Lord.
And, it is interesting that Pharaoh, himself, was one of the idol-worshippers as Sura Araf, No.79 verse 127 attests to: ...wilt thou leave Moses and his people, to spread mischief in the land, and so to abandon thee and thy gods?, but here, he claims that he is their Lord, Most High, that is, he considered himself still higher than his own god; and this is in the vain statements of all transgressors.
And, more astonishing than this is that in Sura Qasas, No.25, verse 35 he claims ...No god do I know for you but myself..,; but in the current verse he goes further and says: I am your Lord, Most High and this is the manner of these air-headed rebels.
He reached the ultimate point of disobedience and deserved the most painful punishments. He and his corrupted surroundings should perish by the order of Allah that is why, in the next verse, it says:
So Allah seized him with an exemplary punishment in the Hereafter and in this life.
The term /nakal/ originally means 'weakness' and 'disability', so it is said of a person who fails to pay his debt and since the divine chastisement makes people weak and stops others from doing sin; it is called /nakal/.
The term /nakal-al-axirah/ means 'the chastisement of the Hereafter' which will envelop Pharaoh and his people and because of its importance it is mentioned first and the term /ula/ 'former life' which meant 'the punishment in this world', is mentioned second and is that which destroyed Pharaoh and all his followers in waters of the sea.
There is another commentary which says that /ula/ means 'the first word that Pharaoh said claiming to be a deity' (Sura Qasas, No.25. verse 32) , and 'axirah' refers to the last word that he said in which he claimed that he was their Lord, Most High. Then, Allah punished him for these two blasphemous statements, even in this life.
This very idea is narrated in a tradition from Imam Baqir who added that 40 years had elapsed between the occurrence of these two statements (meaning that Allah did not just punish him to complete the argument). 4
This commentary is more fitting with the term 'akhaza' which is a verb in the past tense, and indicates that the punishment was completely fulfilled in the present world. and also with the next verse that considers the event to be a lesson.
Surely in that is a lesson for him who fears (Allah) .
This verse clearly shows that learning a lesson from these events is possible only for those who, more or less, fear Allah and possess a feeling of responsibility in their hearts.
Yes, that was the destiny of Pharaoh, the blasphemer; an example to make other pagans and chiefs of the Arab disbelievers and all those who follow on the path of Pharaoh, in any age, understand the facts and know that Allah's law is always true, firm and unchangeable.
A Small Sample of the Elegance of Holy Qur'an.
Careful attention paid to the above eleven short verses is enough to show us the fine elegance and fluency of Qur'an; a summary of all the statements and activities concerning Moses and Pharaoh: the motive of prophethood. its aim, the means of purification, the manner of invitation, kinds of actions and reactions, the description of Pharaoh's plot, some examples of his vain claims, and, finally, the painful punishment of this arrogant blasphemer, which can, consequently, teach a lesson to all those who have insight, are illustrated.
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.
A REASON FOR THE RESURRECTION:
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.
34.But when the great calamity comes,
35. That Day man shall remember what he strove for,
36. And Hell-fire shall be manifest for him who sees,
37. Then as for him who transgressed!
38. And had preferred the life of this world,
39. Then surely Hell-fire will be the Abode.
40. And as for him who feared his Lord's presence and restrained the soul from the low desires,
41. Then surely the Garden will be the Abode.
Those who restrain their soul from low desires.
To continue stating the details of the Resurrection, mentioned in the former verses, the following verses refer to the subject, again, and explain the destiny of those who fear Allah and of those who disobey and follow their low desires.
But when the great calamity comes
The term /tammah/ is derived from /tamm/ which originally means 'to fill' and anything which is in a high state is called /tammah/ hence, it is used for the great and difficult events and also for the grievous, disastrous happenings to come. Here, it refers to the Hereafter, which is full of horrible incidents. It is characterized by the word 'great' as an emphasis on the importance of this unique event.
That Day man shall remember what he strove for.
But what is the use of this remembrance? How could it be helpful to him? If he asks to return to this world to recompense the past, his request will be denied and the reply will be:'Nay!'.
If he repents for the pardoning of his evil deeds, it will be useless, since it will be too late for it.
Then, he can do nothing, but regret and as the Qur'an says: The Day that the wrongdoer will bite at his hands.... (Sura Furqan, No. 25. Verse 27.)
It should be noted that the term /yatazakkaru/ is a verb in the future tense, which usually expresses the constancy of an action, i.e. on that Day Man will constantly remember all his deeds because on that Day the hearts and the souls of men will be unveiled and all the hidden facts will be made manifest.
And Hell-fire shall be manifest for him who sees.
Hell exists at the present time. Furthermore, according to Sura Ankabut No. 29. verse 54 But, of a surely Hell will encompass the rejecters of Faith!, however, the curtains of this world hinder it to be seen; hence, on the Day of Judgment, that is, the Day of the manifestation of everything, Hell becomes apparent and the most clearly visible.
The words /liman yara/ 'for him who sees' denote that Hell, on that Day, will be so visible that everyone who has the ability to see, and with no exception, will see it. It will be covert neither to the righteous nor to the evildoers, whose abode is Hell.
It is, also, probable that the words refer to those who have eyes to see with on that Day, because according to Sura Ta-Ha No. 20. verse 124, some will be blind then: ...and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Judgment. But the first meaning which is accepted by many commentators seems more fitting, because Hell, for the evildoers, is a punishment and a doubled penalty. That some of them will be blind, perhaps, occurs at some definite sites in the Hereafter, not everywhere.
Then, attention is paid to the status of sinners and disbelievers in the Hereafter and, in a few short, but meaningful sentences, both the destiny of theirs and its causes are expressed:
Then as for him who transgressed,
And had preferred the life of this world,
Then surely Hell-fire will be the Abode.
In the first sentence, their corrupted belief is referred to since transgression originates from self-complacence and self-conceit which, itself, is caused by the absence of knowledge of Allah.
One who knows Allah the Almighty, finds himself insignificant and never rejects his servitude.
The second sentence points to their corrupted deeds, because transgression causes man to consider the glitter of the lusts of this scintillating world his highest values and prefers it to everything else.
These two, in fact, are the 'cause and effect' of each other. Transgression caused by corrupted belief is the source of corrupted deeds and also preferring this fleeting life to all, brings about the blazing fire of Hell.
Hazrat Ali (p.b.u.h.) has said: He who transgresses, goes astray and Acts not reasonably. (1)
This is because of self-complacence in which Man acknowledges his low desires and conceives them as being valuable.
Then, through two short and extremely meaningful sentences, it characterizes the Blessed, thus:
And as for him who feared his Lord's presence and restrained the soul from the low desires.
Then surely the Garden will be the Abode.
Yes, the first condition of being 'blessed' is 'fear' caused by 'knowledge' knowing the presence of the Lord and being afraid of disobeying His command. The second condition, which is, indeed, the fruit of knowledge and fear of Allah, is restraining the soul from rebellion, since, all the sins, corruptions and disasters, come from low desires which is the worst god worshipped in the world.
The means of Satan to influence in Man's entity, is still 'low desire'. It is this inner evil that opens the gate for the outer Evil to come in, or else this case would never be possible, as Sura Al-Hijr, No. 15 verse 42 says: For over My servants no authority shalt thou have, except such as pat themselves in the wrong and follow thee.
What is the meaning of the Presence of the Lord?
It is worthy to note that in Verse 40, of the current Sura, it says: ...as for him who feared his Lord's presence... but it does not say: 'as for (1) Nur-uth-Thaqalayn, vol.5, p.506, Tradition No.43.
him who feared his Lord'. Then, what is 'the 'Lord's presence'?
The following are some different commentaries to be considered:
1. It means 'the halting-places in the Hereafter' wherein Man stands in front of the Lord for Judgment.Therefore, 'the Lord's presence' is in the sense of 'his presence with his Lord', i.e. the standing of Man before his Lord.
2. It points to 'Allah's knowledge and His protection' for all human beings; as Sura Rad No. 11, verse 33 says: Is then He Who standeth over every soul (and knoweth) all that it doth, (like any others) ?
The next evidence to this commentary is the tradition that has been narrated from Imam Sadiq who said: He who knows that Allah sees him, hears what he says, knows what he does regarding good or evil, and this consciousness keeps him away from doing wrong, it is he who '...feared his Lord's presence and restrained the soul from the low desires'.
3. It means 'His Justice' since, His Holy Essence is not frightening. The fear is for His Justice. In fact, this fear is obtained from the comparison between our actions and His Justice. Criminals tremble when they see the just judge, and fear when they hear the words 'court and Judgment', while an innocent person feels no fear of any of them.
These three commentaries do not contrast with each other and all of them may be gathered in the meaning of the verse.
The Relation between the Rebels and Worldliness
In fact, the above verses clearly and in a beautiful style illustrate the principles of both Man's happiness and adversity. The adversity of Man is considered in his worldliness, and his happiness is found in his fear of Allah and the absence of low desires; the whole of which is the extract and essence in the teachings of all Prophets and Saints.
A tradition from Hazrat Ali (p.b.u.h.) says: O' people what I fear most about you are two thin!: acting according to desires and extending of hope. As regards acting according to desires, this prevents from truth; and as regards extending of hopes, it makes one forget the next world. 6
Low desires put a curtain over Man's mind, decorates his evil deeds to seem good in his sight, robs him of the sense of recognition; which is the greatest gift of Allah is the privilege of Man over animal, and makes him preoccupied with himself. This is the very thing that Jacob, the conscientious prophet, told his guilty children: ...Nay, but your minds have made up a tale (that may pass) with you ...., (Sura Yusuf, No. 12, verse 18) .
There are many things to say in this regard, but we will conclude this subject with two traditions from Ahlul-Bayt (P.B.U.H. th.) containing many facts.
Imam Baqir has said: Paradise is covered in pain and patience. Then he who shows patience in suffering and toils in this life, will enjoy Heaven. Hell is covered in (unlawful) pleasures and lusts. Then, he who leaves his soul in them, will enter into the fire." 7
Imam Sadiq has said: Don't let the soul free in its low desires. Surely low desires cause the death of the soul, and if you leave the soul flee in its low desires, it causes pain for it, and keeping it apart from its low desires is a remedy for it. 8 Not only is the fire of the Next World the fruit of lusts and low desires, but, it is also the blazing fires of this world, such as: insecurities, chaoses, wars, murders, conflicts, hatreds and vengeances which totally originate from them.
There are only Two Groups.
In the above verses people are categorized in only two groups: the worldly rebels and the pious who fear Allah The permanent abode of the first group is Hell, and the eternal site of the second group is Heaven.
Of course, there is, here, a third group who are not mentioned in these verses. They are those guilty believers, of minor sins, through human fraility, who had repented and been forgiven and if they deserve it will join the blessed, and if not, will enter Hell, but, they will not be there for ever.
42. They ask you about the Hour, When will it come to pass?
43. Wherein art thou (concerned) with the declaration thereof?
44. With thy Lord is the limit fixed therefore.
45. You ore but a Warner to him who fears it.
46. It shall seem to them on the day when they behold it, as though they tarred not (in their graves) but an evening or a forenoon.
Only Allah knows the Final Hour, the Resurrection.
In the aforementioned verses the Hereafter and the destiny of the righteous and the wrongdoers, on that Day, is described and, now, in the following verses the focus is on the common question of the rejecters of the Resurrection. It says:
They ask you about the Hour, When will it come to pass?
Answering this question, to make them understand that no one knows when the final Great Event will take place, the Holy Qur'an addresses the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) and says:
Wherein art thou (concerned) with the declaration thereof?
When the date of the occurrence of the Hereafter is hidden even from the Prophet, then the status of others is obvious. This is of the knowledge which is hidden and exclusively belongs to Allah It is out of reach for all.
It is mentioned, repeatedly, that one of the things that are veiled for everyone is the exact time of the Hereafter whose training effect is not possible save being secret; since, if the exact time appointed for it were revealed and it were far away, everyone would sink deeply in negligence; and if it were near, avoiding sin would be done confusingly and far from free-will and intention, both of which are worthless from the point of training.
There have been other probabilities cited, also, and among them is that: 'you were not appointed in order to tell the time of the occurrence of the Hereafter but, you are appointed to inform others of its existence and that it will certainly happen'.
Moreover, 'your appointment shows that the Day of Judgment is coming nearer'. So, the holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) is reported to have said, showing his two forefingers: My appointment and the Hour are like these. (1) But the first commentary is the most appropriate.
With thy Lord is the limit fixed therefore.
It is only He Who knows the Hour. No man knows the mystery and no effort and endeavor is useful for finding the answer.
This is the same idea that Sura Luqman, No.31, verse 34 says: Verily the knowledge of the Hour is with Allah (alone) ....
And, again, from Sura A'raf. No. 7, verse 187: ...Say: 'the knowledge thereof is with my Lord (alone) .,.
Some have said that the objective point of the above sentence is that the actual occurrence of the Hereafter is under His control, and the (1) Tafsir-i-Fakhr-i-Razi, The Commentary, vol.29, p.29. This matter is mentioned referring to Sura 49, verse 18 in Majma'-al-Bayan, Qartabi, Fizalal and others.
sentence is a statement for the cause of what is said in the previous verse. To combine these two commentaries is possible, too.
You are but a Warner to him who fears.
'Your duty is only to warn them and you are not responsible to tell them the final Hour.'
It is worthy to note that the warning referred to, here, is only to those who fear that Day and this is similar to what Sura Bqarah, No.2, verse 2 says: This is the Book; in it is guidance without doubt, to those who fear Allah . These kind of statements refer to the fact that when there is an absence in the soul for seeking the right and the truth and a lack of the sense of responsibility in front of Allah exists, then, Man neither goes in search of the heavenly books for information about the Resurrection nor does he listen to the warnings of the Prophets and Saints.
Finally, to express that there is not a great deal of time until the Day of Judgment, it says:
It shall seem to them on the day when they behold it, as though they tarried not (in their graves) but an evening or a forenoon."
The length of the life, in this world, is so short and the period of the intermediate state (Barzakh) passes so quickly, that when they rise, again, for the Day of Judgment the whole period seems to them as if it were only a few hours.
This idea, that the life in this world is short and fleeting, is both practical and true and, in comparison with the Hereafter and the life of the whole Universe, it is like a moment.
The term /ashiyyah/ means 'evening', and /duha/ is used for 'a period when the sun has come up and its beam of light has spread'.
Some verses of the Qur'an indicate that on the Day of Judgment the sinners will talk about the length of their stay in partition (purgatory) or their life in this world, in this manner: In whispers will they consult each other: 'Ye tarried not longer than ten (days) ' (Sura Ta-Ha No. 20, verse 103) .
But those of them who think more soundly say: ...their leader most eminent in conduct will say: 'Tarred not longer than a day. (Sura No. 20, verse 104) .
In another Sura, it narrates the sinners idea: On the Day that the Hour (of reckoning) will be established, the transngressors will swear that they tarred not but an hour...(Sura Rum, No. 30, Verse 55) .
The difference between these various statements is that the sinners want to compare the shortness of this time with an approximate length of their stay, therefore, each of them states his own feelings, and they all have one thing in common which is that the shortness of life in this world is compared to the life in the Hereafter. This, of course, is a matter that shakes Man, and awakens him from the sleep of negligence.
O Lord! Gift us the calmness and tranquility on that Great Day, in partition (purgatory) and in this world.
O Lord! No one can erase the troubles of that Great Day, but by your Grace. Then, we seek your holy Grace.
O Lord! Lead us so that you put us among those who fear your presence and restrain their soul from low desires and will reside in eternal Heaven.
The End of Sura Nazia't (Those Who Tear Out)
Contents of the Sura
Sura 'Abasa is short, but contains various important subjects which especially emphasize on the Resurrection and can be summarized under five topics:
1. Allah's serious admonishment to the one who did not show suitable behavior to a truth-seeking blind man.
2. The importance of the Holy Qur'an.
3. Man's ungratefulness toward the blessings of Allah.
4. A partial description about His blessings in the field of nutrition for Men and animals in order to stimulate a sense of thankfulness.
5. Some hints about the terrible incidents of the Day of Judgment, and the fate of the believers and disbelievers on that Day.
The name of the Sura is derived from its first verse.
The Virtue in Studying this Sura:
A tradition from Prophet Mohammad (p.b.u.h.) says: One who studies Sura 'Abasa will arrive at the Gathering Place smiling and rejoicing on The Day of Judgment.
In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful
1. He frowned and turned away,
2. Because there came to him the blind man.
3. And what would make you know that he might (spiritually) purify himself,
4. Or become reminded so that the reminder might profit him?
5. As to one who regards himself as self-sufficient,
6. To him do you address yourself
7. Though it is no blame on you if he would not (spiritually) purify himself.
8. But as to him who comes to you striving hard.
9. And he fears (Allah in his heart) ,
10. Of him wast thou unmindful.
The Occasion of Revelation:
These words show that Allah has blamed someone for an action which gave superiority to a man or men of wealth rather than to a blind man who was seeking the truth. But who was the admonished one? There are a variety of ideas on this subject, but, the most famous commentary among the scholars is the following:
Once the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) was deeply engaged in trying to explain the Holy Qur'an to some pagan Quraish leaders such as 'Atabat ibn-i-Rabi'ah, Abu-Jahl, 'Abbas-ibn-'Abdul-Mutallib and Some others. He was hopeful that it would attract them to Islam, and in St) doing. surely a lot of others would come to Islam, too. and therefore. put an end to their sabotage. But, suddenly, he was interrupted by a blind man,
'Abdullah-ibn-Ummi-Maktuum, who was apparently poor, so that no one took notice of him. He wanted to learn the Qur'an and asked the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) to teach him. He repeated his statement again and again, because he did not know exactly whom he was talking to.
The Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) naturally did not like the frequent interruptions and this was seen on his face.These Arab leaders, he said to himself may think of Mohammad as a Prophet of the poor and the blind. Then he turned away from 'Abdullah and continued the work at preaching Allah's Message to them.
At that moment he received the new verses stated above, which admonished the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) for this action. Afterwards, he always held 'Abdullah in high honor, and whenever he saw him he used to tell him Hail to the one for whom Allah admonished me.
And, then, he questioned the man: Is there anything that I can do for you ?
The blind man became a true and sincere Muslim and as a direct appointment by the Prophet, himself, become a governor of Medina on two occasions when the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) went to battle.
A second opinion about this revelation is given for these verses, which is that a man from the Umayyads was sitting with the Prophet Mohammad (p.b.u.h.) when 'Abdullah-ibn Ummi-Maktum arrived. when this man saw 'Abdullah, he frowned and turned his back to him, as if he might become infected by him.
The aforementioned verses were about the man sitting with the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) and the admonishment was for him. It has been narrated that Imam Sadiq (p.b.u.h.) agreed with this opinion when he was asked about this occasion of revelation. The late Sayyed Murtaza, the great scholar of Islam, approved with this occasion of revelation, as well.
There is nothing, of course, in the verse, itself, to show clearly that the one who is addressed is Mohammad (p.b.u.h.) . The only sign may be found in verses 8 to 10 where they say: But as to him who comes to you striving hard, And he fear's (Allah in his heart) . Of him wast thou unmindful.
This is the matter that can be true about the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) more than anyone else. But, according to what 'Sayyed Murtaza' has said, there are some signs in the verses showing that 'the one' is not the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) . Some of them are as follows:
'To be frowning' was not one of the Prophets' character traits, especially for the Prophet of Islam. He spoke gently and with a kind face even to his own enemies and was even more kind to the truth-seeking believers.
Moreover, paying attention to the wealthy people and neglecting the poor is not agreeable, at all, with what is said about him in Sura Qalam, No. 65, verse 4 which says: And thou (standst) on an exalted standard of character, (with the particular note that Sura Qalam had been revealed before the revelation of Sura 'Abasa) .
But, supposing the first occasion of revelation is true, this act is not more than 'leaving to the better' /tark-i-ula/ and there is nothing in it that contrasts with the state of spinelessness.
Since, first, the purpose of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) was definitely to absorb the Quraish leaders in order to spread Islam and to stop their sabotage.
Secondly, it does not matter so much to frown at a blind man, because he cannot see. Moreover, 'Abdullah-ibn-Ummi-Maktum did not keep the rules of etiquette, since, he should not have interrupted the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) when he was busy talking to the people who were gathered there.
On the one hand, since Allah's emphasis is on love and affection for the poor and the afflicted, among the believers, it does not approve of the little amount of heedlessness from His prophet to that believing servant, so He admonishes him.
On the other hand, if we consider the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) as a true, great prophet, from these verses we see that they are almost a miracle, because the great leader of Islam mentions such important resposibilities in the heavenly Holy Book, about himself, that he finds the slightest 'leaving to the better' an option: i.e. the little amount of heedlessness to a blind truth-seeking believer, which Allah admonishes him for. This is an evidence for the fact that this Book is from Allah and he is a true prophet, because if the Book were not from Allah surely it would not have such content.
A more astonishing matter is that according to the above mentioned narration, whenever the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) saw 'Abdullah-ibn-Ummi-Maktum, he remembered the occasion and onored him very much.
The other aspect, which the verses contain, is that of the Islamic culture in relation to the behavior shown to the oppressed and to the arrogant: as to how it considers the blind, poor believer in comparison to those rich, powerful pagan Arab leaders. This clearly shows that Islam is a support for the oppressed and is against the arrogant.
In conclusion, we repeat that though the first thought about the occasion of this revelation is well-known among the commentators, it should be confessed that there is nothing vivid, in the verse, to prove the idea that the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) is the clear target of the admonition.
Harsh Admonition for Heedlessness Shown to a Truth-seeking Blind Man.
Keeping in mind what was said about the first idea regarding the occasion of revelation of the verses, we will now discuss the given commentary.
He frowned and turned away.
Because there came to him the blind man".
And what would make you know that he might (spiritually) purify himself".
Or become reminded so that the reminder might profit him?
The reminder can be, at least, an advice to him. If it does not affect him to be really virtuous, it may make him aware and this awareness would change him a little.
As to one who regards himself as self-sufficient To him do you address yourself.
And 'you' insist on guiding him, but he is entangled with pride due to his wealth and selfishness. It is the pride from which rebellion and disobedience originate, as Sura 'Alaq, No.96, verses 6-7 say:Nay, most surely man does transgress (all bounds) , For he thinks himself self-sufficient.
Though it is no blame on you if he would not (spiritually) purify himself'.
It is for 'you' only to deliver His message; they may take its advice or merely become annoyed. Therefore, you should not neglect the truth-seeking blind man or annoy him for the sake of the rich leaders, although you mean to guide them.
But as to him who comes to you striving hard,
And he fears (Allah in his heart)
The very motive, fear of Allah, has forced him to come to you in order to hear some truth and, thereafter, employ them in order to purify himself and grow in understanding.
Of him wast thou unmindful.
Indeed, the term /anta/ 'you, thee' is used to say that a person, such as the Prophet, should not divert himself, even for a moment, from such a truth-seeking man and should not pay attention to others although he definitely wanted to guide them, because the priority is given to that of the pure-hearted oppressed.
In any case, this reproachful speech, whether to the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) or to anyone else, clearly states the fact that Islam and the Qur'an give a special high regard to the servants of Allah, particularly to those of the oppressed.
Also, Islam takes a severe position against those who are intoxicated and become proud from the abundance of Allah's blessings, so much so that Allah is not content if the least annoyance is caused to the truth-seeking oppressed, because of giving attention to the affluent.
The reason is clear: such a message works first amongst the simple and lowly, the poor and despised folk, and the mighty ones, of the earth, only come around when the masses stream in like an irresistible force.
The oppressed always support Islam, sincerely, helping the great leaders of the religion in their affairs, and are the candidates of the battle fields for martyrdom. As Imam Ali (p.b.u.h.) said in his famous order to Malik-i-Ashtar:... While the common men, the poor and apparently the less imporlant section of your subjects are the pillars of Islam; they are the real assemblage of Muslims and the power and defensive force against the enemies of Islam. Keep an open mind for them, be more friendly with them and secure their confidence and sympathy.
11. Nay surely it is an admonishment,
12. So let him who pleases mind it,
13. (It is) in Books held (greatly) in honor,
14. Exalted (in dign4y) kept pure and holy,
15. In the hand of scribes,
16. Honorable and pious and just,
17. Cursed be man.' how ungrateful is he!
18. Of what thing did He create him?
19. Of a sperm-drop He created him, then molded him in due proportions;
20. Then He made the way easy for him,
21. Then He caused him to die, then assigned to him a grave,
22. Then, when it is His will, He will raise him to life again,
23. Nay but (man) has not done what He commanded him.
Only the Purified Ones Can much the Qur'an.
In connection with the aforementioned verses, which spoke about admonishing the one who was unmindful of a truth-seeking blind man, these verses are about the importance of the Qur'an, its pure origin, and the efficient effect it has on individuals.
Advising the one who was unmindful not to repeat this action again, it says: Nay, surely it is an admonishment.
'You' do not need to pay attention to those who are, apparently, gifted and self-sufficient and are, subsequently, proud, while neglecting the purified oppressed. It, is, also probable that the verse: Nay, surely it is an admonishment could be an answer to all accusations the pagans and the enemies of Islam uttered about the Qur'an. They called it 'a poetry', 'a magic', and sometimes 'a kind of soothsaying'. The Qur'an demands that none of them are right, but that these verses of Qur'an are reminders for acknowledgment, awareness and faith. It contains the proofs and documents in itself. The people who approach it can get the facts, themselves, except its enemies.
So let him who pleases, mind it. * * * *
This points 1to both the lack of obligation, and an evidence to exercise of free-will for everyone - that is, no one can obtain its merits unless one wishes to and makes the decision to follow its guidance.
(It is) in Books held (greatly) in honor,.
The term /suhuf/ is the plural form of /sahifah/ which means 'tablet' or 'sheet' or 'anything on which something can be written'. This shows that the verses of Qur'an had been written on some tablets before they were revealed to the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) , and the angels of revelation possessed them, therefore, it means that the tablets were in a very high position.
Some views have held that /suhuf/ means 'the Books of earlier prophets (p.b.u.h.) ,' which does not seem agreeable with its pre and post verses. Some have also said that it means 'the Preserved Tablet', but this idea does not seem suitable, either, because /suhuf/ is in a plural form and has not been used in the form of 'the Preserved Tablet'.
Exalted (in dignity) kept pure and holy.
It is beyond the reach of the aberrant ones; they cannot distort it; it is pure and kept far from tainted hands. Finally, it is pure from any contradiction, discrepancy and doubt.
Moreover, they are: In the hand of scribes, Who are: Honorable and pious and just.
The term /safarah/ is the plural form of /safir/ based on /safar/, which originally means 'to unveil a matter or a thing', so, one who comes unto people with a special mission; to remove their difficulties and uncover the ambiguous matters for them is called /safir/ 'an ambassador'. A writer is also called /safir/ since he or she uncovers the meaning of a matter.
Therefore, /safarah/ means 'the Divine angels who reveal Messages or write them down'.
A narration from Imam Sadiq (p.b.u.h.) says: One who learns the whole Qur'an by heart and acts accordingly is with the scribes, honorable and pious and just.
This clearly shows that those who know the Qur'an by heart, commentators, and those who act according to its instructions are in the same rank as the scribes. And it is a fact that when scholars and those who learn the Qur'an by heart, or preserve it, do something similar to what the angels and bringers of revelation do, then, they should be counted among them.
It is understood that, on the whole, any Muslim who tries to protect and keep the Holy Qur'an alive deserves a position as high as that of the 'honorable and pious angels'.
The term / kiram / is the plural form of /karim/ which means 'honorable, or beneficent' and refers to the greatness of the angels of revelation. It is sometimes said that it refers to their pureness of any sin, as Sura Anbiya, No 21, verses 26-27 say about the angels: ...Nay, they are honored servants, They do not precede Him in speech and (only) according to His commandment do they act.
The term /bararah/ is the plural form of /bar/ based on /bar/ which originally means 'vastness', then, 'a vast land' is called /barr/, and since good people's generosity is vast and benefits many others, they are called /bar/.
The term 'pious' used in this verse, of course, means 'obedient to His Command' and 'sinlessness'. Thus Allah characterizes the angels in three ways: first, they are His agents for His revelations; second, they are naturally pious and honorable; and third, they are pure, obedient and sinless.
Though there are so many signs of guidance from Allah in His 'Books held (greatly) in honor' containing all kinds of reminders revealed by the angels, the ungrateful Man does not resign himself to Him, hence, it says: Cursed be man! how ungrateful is he!
The term /kufr/ may mean 'disbelief' o
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