Exposition of the Holy Quran – 07 Surah Al-A’raaf (G A Parwez)
Surah 7: Al-A’raaf
(1) Thus says Allah, the knowing, the wise and the insightful:
(2) This book has been sent down to you so that you may warn the erring and remind the momineen of their responsibilities. You will have to confront strong opposition; do not be disconcerted by it.
(3) O Jamat-ul-Momineen! Follow only that which has been revealed to you by your Rabb and do not follow another ally. This course of life is clear but people generally do not follow it absolutely.
(4-5) Those who rejected divine laws were ultimately destroyed. Destruction overtook them by night or when they were in their mid-day siesta. Then they cried, “Without doubt we were zalimeen (usurpers) and so deserve this (21:11-15).”
(6-7) Their destruction will not be arbitrary. We will ask Our rusul whether they had communicated Our message to them and also ask them if they had received the message. Allah knows the truth but these questions will be asked to meet the requirements of the process of law.
(8-9) The life and death of nations is determined by their own deeds. If a nation’s good deeds outweigh its ill deeds, it continues to prosper but if the opposite is the case, this will lead to its decline and fall. On the day of reckoning, the actions of all nations will be weighed and those whose good deeds outweigh the ill in the scale, will be deemed successful but those whose ill deeds outweigh the good will be the losers since they had disregarded Our messages (101:7-8).
(10) O mankind! We have established you on earth and provided for you means of sustenance. How little gratitude you show!
(11) Ingratitude produces disorder in the land. This is illustrated by the story of Adam which has been narrated earlier (2:30-38). We created you and fashioned you and then We asked the malaika to bow before Adam, the representative of humanity. They all bowed, but Iblees did not; he was not amongst those who submitted themselves.
(12) Allah said to Iblees, “What prevented you from bowing to Adam when We had asked you to do so?” He replied, “I am superior to him. You have created me of fire and him of mere clay.”
(13) Allah said, “This cannot be a valid proof of your superiority. You should not have been arrogant(1). By doing so, you have degraded yourself. You can therefore no more remain with those who submit to My laws and obey My commandments.”
(14-15) He said, “Grant me respite as long as there are human beings on earth.” Allah said, “Your request is granted(2) (15:35-39 and 38:77-79).”
(16-17) Iblees said, “You have led me astray. You did this on account of Adam. I will sit in ambush for them (human beings) on Your straight path. I shall come upon them from the front, from behind them, from their right and from their left. Then You will find very few of them truly faithful to You.”
(18) Allah said, “Be gone from here, despised and banished! As for such of them who follow you, I will most certainly fill jahannam with all of you.”
(19) Allah said to Adam, “You and your companion should dwell in janna and eat from wherever you please. But do not create dissension and differences. If you do so, you will be from amongst the zalimeen (2:35).”
(20-21) Satan whispered suggestions to both of them, after which their private parts got revealed to them which had hitherto remained unnoticed by them. He told them, “Allah has imposed this restriction on you lest you attain unlimited power or become immortal,” and he swore to them both, saying, “I am your sincere adviser.”
(22) So by deceit he brought about their fall and the significance of their private parts dawned on them. They began to cover themselves with the leaves of the Garden. And their Rabb called to them, “Did I not warn you against such a pattern of life and also told you that Satan was certainly your avowed enemy(3)?”
(23) They both cried out, “O Our Rabb! We have indeed wronged ourselves and unless you provide protection and rahma for us, we will be ruined(4).”
(24-25) Allah said to them, “Since you have accepted responsibility for your fault, your repentance is accepted. But you and all other human beings will have to start your life from a lower level. The dissension which you have caused will make all of you each other’s enemies. You will stay on earth for a while and will be provided means of nourishment so that you may be able to develop yourselves and attain a higher level of life. You will live on earth, and die thereon, and have life thereafter.”
(26) O mankind! You will start your life on earth from a lower level. This does not mean that earthly things are forbidden (7:32). They have their utility and also their aesthetic value (3:13). However, the most valuable of all is adherence to the divine laws. But only those who reflect on it will take note of it.
(27) O mankind! Beware that Satan does not lead you astray as he did your ancestors exposing their private parts to them. Satan and his companions watch you from where you cannot see them. They become the friends of those who do not believe in Allah’s laws.
(28) Whenever such people commit any indecency they say that their ancestors had done the same and surely Allah commanded us (through our ancestors) to do so.
O Rasool! Tell them that Allah never commands indecency. Would you attribute to Allah, something of which you have no knowledge?
(29) Tell them, “My Rabb commands only what is right. You should concentrate upon exclusive and sincere obedience to Allah’s laws. This way you will once again attain that paradisiacal life from which your ancestors were expelled.”
(30) This is how Allah manifests the straight path. One group follows this path, but the other goes astray. The latter are those who consider Satan their friends and delude themselves into thinking that they are following the right path.
(31) O mankind! Be mindful that the attractive things of the world are not forbidden. They do not stand in the way of obedience to Allah. You may eat, drink and utilize these things but do not exceed the limits prescribed by Allah.
(32) Say to them, “Who can declare to be haram the good things and wholesome (tayyab) articles of food made available to human beings by Allah? In this world these things are available to both believers and non-believers but in the hereafter they will only be for those who believe. Thus, We make Our guidance clear to a people who understand.”
(33) Say, “My Rabb has declared to be haram (1) indecencies – in action or in thought; (2) all those things which debilitate human capabilities; (3) unjustifiable rebellion (4) associating other authorities with Allah; Allah has in no way sanctioned it, and (5) attributing to Allah that of which you have no knowledge.”
(34) Our law is that as long as a people follow the right path, they achieve prosperity, but if they deviate from it, they gradually decline until they are overtaken by death. This is called ‘the term’ of that people which they can neither retard nor advance.
(35-36) O mankind! Our messengers will come to you and announce Our directives to you. Whoever adheres to them and lives righteously by doing noble deeds, which are healthy and constructive for one’s own self as well as for society, will be free of fear, grief and anxiety. But those who discredit them and treat them with arrogance, will be the inmates of jahannam wherein they shall abide.
(37) Who can be more zalim than one who foists a lie on Allah and discredits His laws? During the period of their respite, provisions for physical life according to Allah’s laws will be available. When their term of life ends, Our malaika will come to them and ask them, “Where are they on whom you used to call besides Allah?” They will say, “They have all forsaken us,” and will testify that they are kafireen.
(38) Allah will say to them, “You should join the batches of jinn and ins who have preceded you in hell.”
Different batches will enter hell one after the other. When a new batch enters, it curses the one immediately preceding it. When they are all gathered, the last one pointing to the preceding one will say, “O Our Rabb, these are the people who had misled us; give them double chastisement.” Allah will say, “All of you will have double chastisement – one for following the wrong path and the other for misleading others (16:25). You do not realize all this.”
(39) Those who have entered hell earlier will say to the ones entering later, “You are no better than us so you should taste the chastisement you have earned.”
(40-41) Those who discredit Our laws and treat them with arrogance will never receive those blessings which accrue as a result of obeying Allah’s laws. Just as a twisted rope cannot pass through a needle’s eye, it will not be possible for them to enter janna. This is how wrong-doers are recompensed. For them there is the fire of jahannam – as a couch below and folds of covering above. This is how the zalimeen are requited.
(42) On the contrary, for those who believe and do good things and do not transgress the limits imposed on them, We only impose restrictions on a person in order to broaden his nafs, (self), they are the inmates of janna (paradise) (2:286, 6:153), wherein they shall abide.
(43) During their earthly life human beings conceal many negative feelings which they have towards others even though they may have cordial relations with them. There will be no such feelings amongst the inmates of janna wherein streams will flow (the blessings of such a social order would be everlasting). They will say, “Sincerest hamd is due to Allah who has guided us to such a destination. Without divine guidance we would never have reached this place. This truth was brought to us by Allah’s rusul.” It will be proclaimed, “This is the janna which you have inherited; and since you have inherited this janna as a result of your good deeds, you will not be expelled from it.”
(44-45) The inmates of janna will call out to the inmates of jahannam, “We have got what Allah promised us. Have you got what Allah promised you?” They will answer, “Yes, zalimeen have been deprived of all these blessings. They are those who turned others away from the path of Allah. They made twisted and crooked the straight and clear deen of Allah and did not believe in the Law of Mukafat and the life hereafter.”
(46) Between the people of janna and jahannam there will be a veil(5) (57:13). On the higher planks there will be people with insight who will recognize others by their visage. They will greet those who, in their estimate, are worthy of entering janna with salam (2:143, 4:41, 56:10-11).
(47) When they turn their eyes towards the inmates of hell, they will cry out, “O our Rabb! Do not make us companions of the zalimeen.”
(48-49) The people on the higher planks will recognize another group and say to them, “What you amassed, and on account of which you were arrogant, has turned out to be of no avail to you,” and, pointing to the dwellers of janna, they will say, “Are not these the people about whom you used to swear that Allah will never bestow His rahma upon them? They are entering janna where there will be no fear, grief or anxiety.”
(50-52) The dwellers of jahannam will say to the dwellers of janna, “Give us something of the life-giving resources or the provisions bestowed on you by Allah.” They will reply, “Allah has made these things haram for the kafireen who made their deen into a play and a pastime and who were deluded by the attractions of physical life. They rejected Allah’s laws and did not reflect seriously on the fact that one day they would have to confront the consequences of their deeds. That is why they have been deprived of Allah’s blessings. We had given them a book clearly explaining Our laws which was a blessing and rahma for those who believed in it. But they rejected it.”
(53) The fact that they do not believe means that they are waiting for the consequences of their deeds to come before them in visible form. When the concrete results of their deeds come before them they will cry out in despair, “Allah’s rusul did come to us and warn us. But we did not take them seriously. Are there any intercessors who will intercede on our behalf? Or is it possible that we may be sent back to act differently from the way we acted in our earlier life?” This will not be possible. They had earned this ruin for themselves. They have been forsaken by whatever they had fabricated.
(54) O Rasool! Tell them that your Rabb is the One who has created the universe in six aeons and kept His control over it (10:3). In accordance with His laws, the planets revolve in such a way that day and night succeed each other in quick succession. The Sun, the Moon and other stars also obey His orders. Take note! The domains of khalq and amr both belong to Allah Who is the source of all blessings and Rabb of all the worlds.
(55) Invoke your Rabb in humility from within (6:63). He does not like those who do not observe proprieties.
(56) After the Qur’anic system has restored order in the country, nothing should be done to disturb it. If you are fearful of losing something or have the desire to gain something – in both cases act according to Allah’s laws. Allah’s rahma is close to those who lead a balanced life in accordance with His laws.
(57) Allah’s rahma includes means of subsistence which Allah provides for His creatures without them having to make an effort. This is illustrated by one example taken from the world of natural phenomena. Winds come with tidings of the rahma to follow. They bring moisture-laden clouds, moving them towards dead land to shower water over it. The rain produces fruits of all kinds. This is how Allah revives that which is dead. You should reflect upon this.
(58) It is the same rain which falls on all land but, the soil which is rich produces abundantly whereas the soil which is not so rich produces scantily [likewise, the same guidance (Revelation) is received by all but different people react to it differently with different results].
In this way, We repeat Our directives in different ways so that people who want their efforts to bear rich fruit, should get guidance from them.
(59) Stories of previous anbiya and their people are narrated to illustrate what has been stated above.
To begin with, We sent Noah to his people who said to them, “Obey only the laws of Allah excepting whom there is no authority. If you disobey His laws, I am fearful that a severe chastisement of a dreadful day will come to you.”
(60) Thereupon the chiefs and elders of the people said, “We see that you have fallen into palpable error.”
(61-62) Noah said, “I have not fallen into any error. I am a rasool (messenger) from Rabb-il-Alameen (Sustainer of the Universe) to communicate His messages to you. I give you my sincere advice based upon knowledge from Allah which you do not have.
(63) Do you wonder why Allah has chosen a person from amongst you as His rasool to warn you about the consequences of your wrong-doings and to ask you to adhere to His laws so that you may receive His rahma?”
(64) But they treated him as a liar. When the Deluge came, he and those who were in the ark with him were rescued but those who rejected his message were drowned since they behaved like blind people.
(65) Likewise, to the tribe of Aad, We sent Hud, who was one of their kin. He said to them, “O my people obey only the laws of Allah excepting whom there is no authority. Will you not be heedful of the consequences of disobeying Him?”
(66-69) The unbelieving chiefs and elders of his people said, “We think that you are of unsound mind and we surely deem you to be a liar.” He said, “O my people, I am certainly not of unsound mind. I am a rasool from Rabb-il-Alameen to communicate His message to you. I give you my sincere and well-intentioned advice. Do you wonder why Allah has chosen a person from amongst you as His rasool to warn you about the consequences of your wrong-doings? Remember Allah’s blessing in making you successors of the people of Noah, and that He endowed you abundantly with power. Be grateful for the favours of Allah so that you may prosper.”
(70) They said, “Do you come to us so that we may give up the gods that our fathers worshipped and obey Allah? We reject what you say. Bring upon us the chastisement with which you threaten us if you are a truthful person.”
(71) He said, “Your chastisement has already begun in that you have lost your reason. You wrangle with me over mere names which you and your fathers have devised and for which you have no authority from Allah. Wait and see what follows. I too, will wait.”
(72) And through Our rahma We protected him and those who were on his side from chastisement and uprooted those who rejected Our laws. They were those who would have never believed.
(73-74) To the tribe of Thamud, We sent Saleh, who was one of their kinsfolk. He said to them, “O my people, obey only the laws of Allah excepting Whom there is no authority. A case has come before you to determine whether you believe in Allah’s laws or not. Here is a she-camel belonging to Allah(6). Leave her to pasture freely on Allah’s earth and cause her no harm. If you do so, a grievous chastisement will seize you. Remember Allah’s blessing in making you successors to the people of Aad. He has settled you so well in the land that you have built castles in the plains and hewn out houses in the mountains. Bear in mind the favours that you have received from Allah and do not spread disorder in the land.”
(75-76) The proud chiefs and elders did not answer Saleh but, turning towards those who were lowly amongst the believers, said, “Are you sure that Saleh (Salih) is a rasool of Allah”? They said, “We do believe in the truth of his message.” But those who were puffed up with pride said, “You may believe if you like but we do not.”
(77) They (broke their agreement with Saleh and thus) revolted against the commandment of their Rabb. They hamstrung the she-camel and said to Saleh, “Bring upon us what you threatened us with if you are from amongst the messengers of Allah.”
(78) Thereupon, an earthquake seized them unawares and the following morning they were found lying with their faces downward in their dwellings.
(79) Saleh had already turned away from them saying, “O my people I have delivered to you the message of my Rabb and given you my sincere advice. But you do not like your well-wishers.”
(80-81) Similarly, Lot was sent to his people to whom he said, “You commit indecencies such as were never committed before by any people. You go after men lustfully rather than after women. You are a people given to abnormal behaviour.”
(82) They did not answer Lot but said to each other: “Turn Lot and his followers out of the city. They are the people who make a show of being pure (T’ahireen).”
(83) We saved Lot and his followers but not his wife because she was one of those who lagged behind.
(84) And We rained on them a torrent of brimstone (11:82, 54:34). Then see what the end of such criminals was!
(85-87) And We sent Shuaib (Jethro), who was one of their kinsman, to the people of Midian. He said to them, “O my people! Obey only the laws of Allah excepting Whom there is no authority. There has come to you a clear directive from your Rabb. Give full in measure and in weight; do not diminish fraudulently what is due to another; do not cause disorder in the land after order has been restored therein. This will be in your own interest if only you believe in it (83:1-3).
Do not sit in ambush upon the paths leading to truth hindering those who believe in it, and do not seek to make the path of Allah crooked. Remember when you were few He multiplied you and see what was the end of those who created disorder.
Some amongst you have believed in the message with which I have been sent, and some others have rejected it. So wait to see how Allah judges between us for He is the best of all the judges.”
(88-89) The chiefs among his people (who were intoxicated with power and wealth) said arrogantly, “O Shuaib! It is better for you if you return to our course of life, otherwise we will expel you and your followers.” He said, “Shall we return to your course of life even though we abhor it? If we return to your course after Allah has delivered us from it, this would indeed be foisting a lie upon Allah. We will never do it. We follow the course devised by Allah who has knowledge of everything. We put our trust in Him.” Shuaib then addressed his Rabb and said, “Decide justly between us and our opponents. You are the best of all to decide.”
(90) The chiefs among his people, who were bent upon denying the truth, said to their people, “If you follow Shuaib, you will surely be the losers.”
(91) Thereupon an earthquake seized them unawares and the following morning they were found lying with their faces downward in their dwellings.
(92) Those who had belied Shuaib (were destroyed) as if they had never dwelt in those homes; indeed, they were the losers.
(93) Shuaib had already turned away from them, saying, “O my people! I have communicated to you the directives from my Rabb and given you sincere advice. You did not listen to me (and were ruined). How then could I mourn people who had denied the truth?”
(94-95) Given above are examples related to a few of the anbiya. However, the fact is that whenever Allah sent a rasool to any people, they treated him in the same manner. Those who rejected the rusul were initially warned by means of lesser tribulations so that they might submit to Allah’s laws. Some of them heeded the warning and became prosperous. After a while they began to say that the history of their ancestors revealed that such changes in future occurred as a matter of course, and they reverted to their former ways. Thereupon, they were seized unawares.
(96) If those people had believed in and adhered to Allah’s laws, the blessings of this world as well as the hereafter would have been opened to them. They rejected those laws and Allah meted out to them what they had worked for (5:66, 7:4).
(97-99) How can those people feel assured that they will not be seized by chastisement whilst they are asleep or playing during the day? How can anyone disregard Allah’s plan and feel secure that he would escape the consequences of his actions? Only those who are bent upon self-ruin can feel this way.
(100) Have those who are successors to previous nations not learnt from them as to what the outcome of disobeying Allah’s laws is? The initial consequence of disregarding these laws is that people lose their capacity to understand.
(101-102) These are some of the people whose stories We have related to you O Rasool. Our rusul came to them with clear proofs regarding the truth of their mission. Those whose immediate reaction was to reject them without reflecting upon their message, stuck to their position out of stubbornness. This is how the capacity to understand is lost.
Most of them did make a covenant with Allah but could not keep it for long.
(103) After the earlier messengers We sent Moses with clear instructions to the Pharaoh and his nobles but they did not afford him proper treatment. Behold what was the end of such mufsideen!
(104-105) Moses said, “O Pharaoh! I am a rasool from Rabb-il-Alameen. It does not behove me to say anything but the truth about Allah. I have brought from Allah a clear verdict (that no person can keep another in his bondage). Therefore, let the Bani-Israel go with me (44:18).”
(106) The Pharaoh said, “If you are truthful and have brought a verdict from Allah, show it to us.”
(107-108) Moses explained to them the ruinous consequences of disregarding Allah’s laws and the blessings which accrue to those who adhere to these laws(7) (20:17-21, 26:32-33, 28:32).
(109-110) The nobles of the Pharaoh’s court counselled amongst themselves, “Assuredly, Moses is a very cunning and deceitful man. His plan appears to be to drive you out of the land (and become its ruler).”
(111-112) Then they turned towards the Pharaoh and said, “Put Moses and his brother off for a while and in the meantime, send your men to various cities to bring all priests(8) with expertise.”
(113) The priests came and said to the Pharaoh, “What will be our reward if we overpower Moses.”(9)
(114) The Pharaoh replied, “Certainly you will receive a reward and, in addition, you will be raised to the ranks of those nearest to me.”
(115) They said to Moses, “Would you initiate the debate or should we?”
(116) Moses said to them, “You may initiate it.” They presented their case in such a way that people were mesmerised and they
also struck them with awe by explaining the consequences of opposing the Pharaoh. And thus they threw a network of great Deceit.
(117) We asked Moses not to be fearful but to present his case as forcefully as he could. The result was that the bewitching arguments of the priests were totally demolished.
(118-119) In this way, the truth prevailed over falsehood. The priests were vanquished on the spot and withdrew humiliated.
(120-122) The priests recognized the truth and submitted simultaneously, saying, “We believe in Rabb-il-Alameen who is the Rabb of Moses and Aaron.”
(123-124) Enraged, the Pharaoh said, “You have believed in Moses without my permission. It appears that you are in league with him and the plan of both of you is to drive us out of the city, and take power in your own hands. You will soon know the consequences of your conspiracy. I shall cut off your hands and feet on alternate sides and then crucify all of you.”
(125-126) They said, “You can do whatever you like. Your power extends only to our physical life (20:72). Your case as well as ours will ultimately be decided according to Allah’s Law of Mukafat. You are taking vengeance upon us simply because we believed in the clear message given by our Rabb as soon as it came to us.”
Then they prayed to Allah, “O our Rabb! Give us patience and consistency in such abundance that until our last breath we remain obedient to Your laws.”
(127) The chiefs said to the Pharaoh, “Will you allow Moses and his people to spread disorder in the land and to flout you and your gods?” The Pharaoh replied, “I have decided what to do with them. I shall degrade those respected members of their community who have courage and vitality and pose a danger to us while elevating those who are devoid of such qualities. They are our subject people and We have total power over them (2:49, 40:25).”
(128) Moses said to his people, “Do not be afraid of the Pharaoh’s threats; adhering to the laws of Allah, and persevere steadfastly. Allah, Who is the sole authority, has made laws for the good of humanity. Whosoever obeys these laws, attains honour and authority and whosoever violates them deprives himself of authority and power (3:25). This is how these matters are ultimately decided (21:105).”
(129) The people said to Moses, “We were oppressed before you came here (with your arrival hope was kindled that our tribulations would end soon). But, by taking a stand against the Pharaoh, you have created new problems for us.”
Moses said to them, “Your earlier troubles were due to your being in bondage. But the difficulties you face now are for the purpose of becoming free. If you remain steadfast, you will see how your enemy will be destroyed shortly and you will have an opportunity to rule in the land in his place. Then Allah will see how you acquit yourself in your own role.”
(130) In the beginning, the Pharaoh’s people were warned by means of lesser calamities like years of famine and scarcity of food, so that they might make amends for their wrong-doings.
(131) When good times came, the Pharaoh and his people ascribed it to themselves. But when seized by a calamity they attributed it to the ill-omened presence of Moses and his followers. What they took to be ill-omened was the result of their own actions according to the Law of Mukafat (3:164, 4:62-79, 42:30). But most of them did not understand.
(132) The Pharaoh and his people said to Moses, “Whatever you may do to intimidate us by your wizardry, we will never believe in you.”
(133) They were visited by calamities of various kinds like floods, locusts, insects, frogs and blood-diseases. All these were clear signs to show what happens when the administration of a country becomes steeped in wrong-doings, when the rulers become arrogant and crime becomes rampant.
(134-135) When any of these calamities befell them, the people said to Moses, “O Moses! Pray for us to your Rabb, with whom you say you have a covenant. If He removes this distress from us, we will accept what you say and let the Bani-Israel depart with you.” But whenever Allah gave them respite, so that they may be able to avoid the inevitable doom towards which they were heading, they broke their promises.
(136) So We inflicted Our Law of Retribution on them and caused them to drown in the sea, because they had repeatedly belied Our messages, in fact paid no heed to them.
(137) Power was taken away from their hands and the opportunity to govern the eastern and western portions of the country, so rich in natural resources, was given to those whom they had enfeebled and made powerless. Thus Allah fulfilled His word given to Bani-Israel because they had faced every confrontation steadfastly. And We completely destroyed whatever the Pharaoh and his people had wrought and the structures they had raised.
(138-141) The Bani-Israel were brought across the sea to a place whose inhabitants were devoted to the worship of some of their idols. They said to Moses, “O Moses! Make for us a god such as they have(10).” Moses replied, “You are a very ignorant people. The way which these idolaters follow will surely ruin them since they are clearly in the wrong. Should I seek for you a god other than Allah who has exalted you over other people? He rescued you from the people of Pharaoh who had subjected you to severe hardships, degrading the respectable members amongst you and elevating those devoid of courage and vitality (7:127). Thus Allah bestowed a great favour upon you (2:49, 40:25).”
(142) Then, it so happened that Moses, as per Our command, left his people for thirty nights and We added to them ten, whereby the term of forty nights set by his Rabb was fulfilled. Before going, Moses said to his brother Aaron, “Take my place amongst the people and keep them on the straight path. Beware of those who might create mischief (20:85).”
(143) Moses prepared for receiving directives which Allah revealed to him and said, “O my Rabb! Show Yourself to me so that I may behold You.” Allah replied, “You shall not see Me, but look towards the mountain – if it remains firm in its place, you shall see Me.” When Allah disclosed His glory on the mountain and caused it to crumble into pieces, Moses fell into a swoon. When he came to, he exclaimed, “You are much above our imagining. I turn to You in repentance and am the first of those who believe(11)”.
(144) Allah said to Moses, “I have already preferred you over others by giving you My revelation and entrusting to you the accomplishment of My plan. Therefore, hold fast to what I have revealed to you and be amongst those who are thankful.”
(145) According to Our instructions, Moses wrote upon the tablets what We had revealed to him in order that he may grasp their significance. Allah said to him, “Hold fast to them and ask your people to follow what is most suitable according to the situation out of these excellent commandments given for guidance, and I shall soon show you where those who disregard them stand.”
(146) According to His Law of Mukafat, Allah will put away those who, turning away from His message, exercise power unjustly. No matter how clear the directives are, they will not believe. They are so obsessed with their arrogance that even if they see the right path clearly, they will not follow it. But they will follow the wrong path readily. They do this because they belie Our message and do not reflect upon the truth,
(147) All the actions of those who discredit Our laws and belittle the idea of the life hereafter will go waste. Will they earn anything except what they have worked for?
(148) While Moses was away from his people, they made an image of a calf out of their ornaments. The calf was so contrived that it seemed to utter a low. Did they not have the sense to realize that it could neither speak to them nor offer them any guidance or show them the right path? Yet they took it to be an object of worship. So they came in the category of zalimeen.
(149) When they realized their error, they repented and cried out, “If our Rabb will not show rahma to us and protect us (from the evil consequences of our folly) we shall surely be doomed.”
(150) When Moses returned to his people, he was angry and aggrieved and said, “How wrongfully you acted after I left you. You courted a speedy doom from your Rabb (20:86).” He set aside the tablets and seized his brother by the hair and pulled him towards himself. His brother said, “O son of my mother, your people considered me of no consequence and had conspired even to slay me. Do not make my enemies rejoice over my disgrace and do not count me amongst the zalimeen (20:94).”
(151) Moses prayed to Allah, “O my Rabb! I seek your protection for myself and my brother. Admit us both to Your rahma. Who other than You will show us rahma?”
(152) As for those who had worshipped the calf, they will soon confront the consequences of their wrong-doings. They will lead a most humiliating life in this world. This is how Allah recompenses those who invent falsehoods (2:54, 20:97).
(153) But those who, having done wrong, repent earnestly and believe in Allah, will receive protection from their Rabb.
(154) When Moses’ anger subsided, he took up the tablets on which it was inscribed that there will be rahma and guidance for those who are fearful of the consequences of their wrong-doings.
(155) Moses chose seventy men from amongst his people to meet at a time fixed by Allah. When the thundering noise of the earthquake seized them, he said, “O my Rabb! Had it been according to Your laws, they would have perished beside me long ago but You gave them respite. Will you destroy us for what some foolish people amongst us have done? I think that the earthquake was not for our destruction. It was just to see if we had the capacity to withstand natural calamities. Such occasions are critical. Those who do not reflect upon them go astray and those who ponder over them go right. You are our guardian, protect us and bestow Your rahma upon us as You are the best of all protectors.”
(156) And ordain for us what is good for us in this world as well as what is good for us in the world to come for we have turned towards You (92:55). Allah replied, “My chastisement falls on those who reject these laws, on the other hand, My rahma embraces all things but it is bestowed upon those who adhere to My laws, give zaka, and in short believe in the truth of My revelation.”
(157) [This was said to Moses, but now] Allah’s rahma will be bestowed upon those who follow the ummi Nabi (29:48) whom they find mentioned in the Torah and the Bible that is with them; who will enjoin what is wrong according to the Qur’an and declare halal all good things and haram all other things (5:3-4, 6:146); who will lift the burden under which humanity groans and free them from the shackles which bind them(12).
Those who believe in this Rasool, support him against his opponents, help him in his mission and follow the light of the Qur’an which has been revealed to him – these are the ones who will be successful and prosperous.
(158) (O Muhammad) Say, “O mankind, I am Allah’s Rasool sent to all of you – the Rasool of that Allah whose dominion encompasses the whole universe which is under His sole authority. Allah gives life and causes death according to His Law of Mukafat. Therefore, believe in Him and in His Rasool – the ummi Nabi who also believes in Allah and His revelation. You should follow him so that you may be guided rightly.”
(159) As already stated, a similar code of laws was given to Moses and there was a group in his people who guided others
along the path of truth and dispensed justice according to those laws (5:44, 5:48, 7:181).
(160) The Bani-Israel were divided into twelve tribes to form distinct communities. When they were confronted with shortage of water, We directed Moses to the place where water springs lay concealed. He reached that spot with his people, removed the earth from the rocks and thence, not one or two but twelve springs gushed forth. He allocated one spring to each tribe (2:60). They were shaded by heavy clouds and ate delicious food – the meat of fowl and manna (2:57). Then We said, “Partake of the good things which We have provided for you as sustenance.” (Even then they did not follow Our laws,) so, Allah never wronged them but they wronged themselves.
(161) (O Bani-Israel) We had, as stated earlier (2:58), expected that you would live in this land (Palestine) successfully (5:21) and be able to use the means of nurture as and when you chose, provided you adhered to Our laws. Thus you would not only have been protected from the ill-effects of the wrongs committed by you but your successes would also have been further enhanced.
(162) But you preferred a life of ease and lethargy to one of struggle and discipline and thus deviated from the path revealed by Us. As a result, you lost your strength and courage (2:59, 5:22-24).
(163) O Rasool! Ask them about the city which stood by the sea where the fish came to the water surface openly whenever its citizens observed the law of Allah (2:65, 4:154, 5:60, 16:124). Thus We tried them by means of their own iniquitous doings.
(164) A group amongst the citizens admonished them for not adhering to Allah’s laws (7:159) whilst some said to this group that it was futile to exert themselves for those who were bent upon self-destruction. The former said, “We do this to absolve ourselves from any charge of neglect of duty by Allah, and in the hope that they might perchance abstain from wrong-doings (6:70, 15:6).”
(165) When the wrong-doers totally disregarded the warning given to them, a severe chastisement was inflicted upon them for their iniquity, but those who admonished them were saved.
(166) When they arrogantly persisted in doing what was forbidden to them, they degraded their humanity and became objects of ridicule and scorn (2:65, 4:47).
(167) O Rasool! Your Rabb had declared to Moses through revelation that if the Bani-Israel did not desist from their wrong-doings, He would impose on them the yoke of those who would oppress them for a long time. Your Rabb is swift in reckoning but grants respite so that wrong-doers might make amends.
(168) The initial result of their persistent wrong-doing was the Diaspora. Some groups amongst them were upright and acted righteously while others did not. Adversity and prosperity came to them in turns in order that they might return to Allah’s laws.
(169-170) Those who came after them to inherit the book aimed to capture the vain things of this passing world. They deluded themselves into believing that they would be forgiven and continued to barter the revelation for paltry gains. Would that someone had asked them if they had not made a covenant to speak naught but the truth about Allah? Did they not study the book in which it was written that for those who lived righteously the abode of the next world was of greater value than anything obtained in this world? Could they not realize the simple truth that the abode of the next world was for those who hold fast to the Book and establish the Nizam-us-Sala (the Quranic system)? Their right actions would not go unrequited.
(171) Recall that event in the history of Bani-Israel when there was a mountain behind them (2:63) like a shaking canopy. They were terrified. We told them that they did not need to be fearful of natural phenomena. We told them to hold fast to the book and remember what is stated therein and they would be safe from all danger.
(172) The history of mankind shows that, despite various serious calamities which could have wiped them off the earth, the human race has continued. This is clear evidence that Allah’s programme of creation and Rabubiyya is in operation continuously. We have narrated this history so that human beings may not say on the Day of Reckoning that they were unaware of it.
(173) Or, they might say that they had set up peers to Allah because their ancestors had done so, and should, therefore, not be punished for the errors of their forefathers.
(174) Thus We make Our laws clear so that they may return to the right path.
(175-177) What has been stated above about previous nations is elaborated by means of an example. There was a man who, by adhering to Allah’s laws, attained prosperity. Thereafter, he discarded these laws as a snake discards its skin which leaves no mark upon it. He was pursued by his base desires and became one of the seduced ones. We wanted that, by adherence to Our laws, he should be elevated to the sky, but by following his base desires, he sank to the lowest level and clung to it. He could be likened to a dog which pants and lolls out its tongue whether it is attacked or not; in other words, the lust of such a man is insatiable, regardless of circumstances. Such is the condition of those who declare Our laws to be false.
O Rasool! Narrate this story to them so that they might reflect upon it and see how miserable is the condition of the people who reject Our laws and thus destroy themselves.
(178) Take note! The path shown by Allah is the path leading to life’s blessings and those who go astray ruin themselves.
(179) You will see many amongst both the jinn and ins who are destined for jahannam for they have been given the faculties of thinking, seeing and hearing but they do not utilize them (to grasp the truth). They are just like brutes – and indeed worse than them. They remain unheeding of the laws of Allah.
These are the people whose abode will be jahannam (7:198, 10:42-43, 47:16, 67:10).
(180) To transform the life of jahannam into that of janna, one must inculcate in oneself, so far as it is humanly possible to do so, those qualities which reflect Allah’s attributes maintaining absolute balance therein. O Jamat-ul-Momineen! Keep aloof from those who go to extremes in emulating some of the divine qualities. That time is not far off when such people will have to pay for what they do.
(181) As stated earlier (7:159), amongst those whom We have created are some who guide others right and dispense justice according to the laws of Allah.
(182-183) Chastisement does not come immediately upon those who discard Allah’s laws, but they are led towards it gradually through ways which they do not perceive. This is the respite given to them; otherwise the grip of Our Law of Mukafat is inescapable (21:11-14).
(184) The reason for their rejecting the truth is that these people do not reflect. If only they had pondered, it would have become so visibly clear to them, that there is no madness in their companion (34:36). He is but a perspicuous warner.
(185) If they had reflected upon how Our laws operate in heaven and on the earth and with other things created by Allah, they would have come to see that those who adhere to Allah’s laws live and prosper whilst those who do not, are gradually led to their ultimate destruction. Ask them, “What remains after this whereby they come to believe (45:22)?”
(186) Those who go astray will find no guide and are left to eddy in their perfidy (2:15).
(187) O Rasool! They ask you when, after all, the destined hour would come. Say, “The knowledge of this hour is only with my Rabb Who will let it happen at a time determined by the Law of Mukafat (13:36-40). The calamity will rest heavy upon heaven and the earth and may come upon you suddenly.” They ask you this question as if you were eagerly in search of an answer. Say that the knowledge of the hour is with none save Allah but most of the people do not understand this (3:178, 6:50, 11:49, 27:65, 72:26-27).
(188) O Rasool! Tell them, “I do not even have the power to control what may be helpful or hurtful to me personally. All this is determined by Allah’s laws. If I had knowledge of the unknown, I could have accumulated much that was good for me and seen to it that no ill touched me. I am only a warner and announcer of glad tidings to those who believe in Allah.”
(189) Tell these people that Allah is He Who initiated your creation with a single life-cell which split into two parts – one male and the other female (4:1) – in order that the spouses may live together in mutual comfort. When he covers her, conception takes place and the woman (in the beginning) goes about carrying a light burden. When the burden becomes heavy(13), the spouses pray to Allah, “If you give us a healthy child we will surely be thankful to You.”
(190) But when He gives them a healthy child, they offer thanks to others along with Allah thus committing shirk (polytheism). But Allah is high above all they join with Him.
(191-192) Do they associate with Allah those who cannot create anything whereas they are themselves created and they do not have the power even to help themselves, let alone others?
(193) Despite these clear arguments, if you call them to the right path, they will not follow you. Whether or not you call them, it will be the same for you. You are not under any obligation to make them follow the right path.
(194) Say to them, “Those on whom you call besides Allah are human beings like your own selves. If you believe that they have any supernatural powers, call on them and see if they answer your call and fulfil your desire.”
(195) Not only do these people set up human beings as peers to Allah but also idols who have no feet to walk with, no hands to hold anything with, no eyes to see with and no ears to hear with. Say to them O Rasool, “Call upon the so-called partners of Allah and do whatever you like. Give me no respite and see the result.”
(196-197) Tell them, “I throw this challenge to you in the firm conviction that Allah Who has given me this book is my protector; and He is the protector of all righteous people. But those whom you call on besides Allah cannot help you; they do not have the power even to help
(198) If you summon these people to the right path they will not listen to your call. They appear to be looking at you but their thoughts are elsewhere (10:42-43, 47:16).
(199) For the establishment of Nizam-e-Rabubiyya (system of universal sustenance), accept contributions from them and make allowance for man’s weakness. Enjoin them to do what is right and ignore those who wish to remain ignorant (2:219, 9:103).
(200) If provocation is given to you by any of the ringleaders amongst your opponents, seek protection in the laws of Allah Who hears and knows (16:98).
(201) Whenever an evil thought is put to them by Satan, the muttaqeen immediately remember Allah’s laws and the matter at once becomes clear to them.
(202) On the other hand, those (who do not seek help from the divine laws, are firstly unaware as to the destruction they are heading towards, and even if they get a slight feeling) their brothers in evil continue to drag them towards the wrong path and do not slacken in their efforts (35:51-57, 41:25, 43:36-38, 50:23-28).
(203) O Rasool! They go so far as to offer to make a compromise with you if you will bring forth a verse to their liking (10:15, 11:13, 17:74, 68:9). When you say that Allah will not reveal such a verse, they say to you, “Why do you not make one up yourself?” Tell them, “I only follow what is revealed to me by my Rabb and this revelation is an illumination from Him and a guidance and rahma for those who believe in it.”
(204-205) O Jamat-ul-Momineen! When the Qur’an is recited, listen to it attentively and in silence so that you might receive Allah’s rahma. But do not think that this is all that is required of you. Keep the laws of Allah in mind day and night and obey them in humility from the depth of your heart and without raising your voice (6:63, 7:55). Do not remain unheeding of them at any time.
(206) Those who obey Allah do not act with arrogance but try their utmost to accomplish Allah’s programme with all sincerity; they only bow before Allah’s laws and none else.
(1) Birth in a particular family, class or race is not a criterion of superiority or inferiority. The only way to claim superiority is by doing good deeds. All human beings are equally worthy of respect (17:70).
(2) Human beings may subdue but cannot eliminate evil forces (15:40, 38:83).
(3) Human beings have a strong desire for immortality. The way to attain immortality as prescribed by Allah is through the development of the self. Those who believe only in physical life think that they can gain immortality through their offspring. This wrong notion misleads them from the right path.
(4) Both Adam and Iblees disobeyed Allah’s commandment. When Allah asked Adam why he disobeyed Him, Adam accepted his mistake and repented. Iblees, on the other hand, did not accept responsibility for his act of disobedience but said that Allah Himself had led him astray. Since the possibility of Adam’s reform existed his repentance was accepted. On the other hand, since Iblees did not hold himself responsible for his deeds, there was no possibility of his reform. This allegorical story illustrates how the Qur’an affirms the idea of freedom of will and rejects determinism.
(5) Superficially, human beings are all alike. However, their outlook on life differentiates them from each other. This is what the veil means here.
(6) The details of this story are given in various chapters e.g., 11:61-68, 26:141-159, 27:45-53, 91:11-15.
(7) Asaa means staff, soban means serpent, yad means hand. These verses literally mean, “Thereupon Moses cast down his staff and it took the form of a serpent. He drew forth his hand and it appeared brilliantly white.”
(8) Sahir also means a magician.
(9) The motive behind every action of a priest is to get some reward – he does not work just to uphold the truth. This is because, religion is his profession, hence a source of income (26:42).
(10) The Bani-Israel had lived for a long time amongst the Egyptians who were idolaters. They had acquired many of their customs though they had not renounced their own religion. It requires a considerable period to eradicate such deeply ingrained habits and practices.
(11) The nature of the relationship between the anbiya and Allah, and the mode of communicating revelation cannot be comprehended , understood by anyone other than a nabi.
(12) The proclamation of the Qur’anic order is the death signal for all types of subjugation. It does not give any person the right to subjugate another (3:78). It snatches away all sources of nourishment from those who take advantage of others to become their masters (43:51, 79:24). It breaks the shackles of age-old blind followings (2:170, 43:22-23). It unveils the deceitful characteristics of monks and priests and then enables their followers to make their own decisions (9:31-34). It uproots the very system of capitalism (9:34-35).
(13) Embryonic stage and foetus stage
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