Exposition of the Holy Quran – 11 Surah Hud (G A Parwez)
Surah 11: Hud
(1-4) Allah, Aleem and Raheem, says, “This is the book whose contents rest upon strong foundations and have been set forth clearly by One who is all-wise and all-informed.” The fundamental teaching of this book is that none except Allah should be obeyed. Say to them, O Rasool, “I have come to you from Him to warn you about the consequences of wrong-doing, to give you glad tidings about the results of good deeds, and to ask you to seek protection from your Rabb, always turning to Him for guidance. Should you do this, He will bestow upon you His blessings for a term, and these blessings will increase as your merit increases. But if you turn away, I fear that you will face a severe chastisement. So, you should always turn towards Allah who has devised measures for the consequences of all actions.”
(5) Although what you have warned them about is very clear, they will still lead a dual life professing things other than what is hidden in their hearts. They should know however, that Allah knows what they hide and what they disclose. Indeed, He knows every secret within their breasts (71:7).
(6) There is no living being on the face of the earth for which means of nurture have not been provided by Allah(1). Life is not static but passes through evolutionary stages. It pauses for a while at a particular stage until it acquires the capacity to reach a higher plane to which it is entrusted for further development. The sustenance received at each stage should meet the requirements of that stage. All this is clearly
indicated in the book containing Allah’s laws (6:99, 55:29).
(7) It is Allah who has created the heavens and the earth in six stages. He has supreme control over the source of life which depends upon water (21:30). He has vested human beings with freedom of will and choice to see who leads a balanced life. When it is said to those who do not believe in Allah’s laws, that they shall be raised after death, they exclaim, “This is a pure lie (45:24).”
(8) The consequences of evil-doing become tangible not only in the life hereafter but also in this life. However, due to the law of respite there is an interval between an action and the manifestation of its consequences. Those who do not believe in Allah’s laws object, “What is keeping back the chastisement?” Tell them that when the chastisement will overtake them suddenly, none will be able to avert it and that which they scoff at will encompass them from all sides.
(9-10) When a man enjoys a blessing and it is taken away from him, he falls into despair and is also ungrateful. On the other hand, when any favour is bestowed upon him after he has gone through some trouble, he joyfully and boastfully declares, “Now no trouble will touch me.”
(11) As against such persons, there are others who bear adversity with patience and continue to do good deeds. They shall have protection from Allah and a great reward.
(12) The warnings contained in the revelation are displeasing to your opponents. However, you cannot withhold them simply to please them. It distresses you when your opponents tauntingly say, “Why was not a treasure sent down to him or why did not an angel accompany him in support of his warnings?” But you are only communicating to them the warnings from Allah. You should not, therefore, be distressed by what they say. Remember, Allah’s law is such that it takes care of everything.
(13-14) These people also say that you have fabricated the Qur’an. Say to them, “Bring of your devising ten surahs like it and associate with you whoever you wish besides Allah in doing so if what you say in true (2:23, 10:38). But if you and those whom you associate cannot accept this challenge, then it should become clear to you that the Qur’an has been sent down by Allah out of His knowledge alone and that there is no authority in the universe besides Him. Ask them, “Will you not submit to it?”
(15-16) The fact is that these people believe only in the life of this world. Allah’s law is that those who choose the life of the present with all its deceptive glamour are paid in full measure in this world and are not deprived in the least of what they merit. But they shall have nothing in the next world save chastisement. All that they shall have wrought in this world will come to naught and all their actions will be rendered waste.
(17) Only those people will believe in the Qur’an who: (1) try to understand it through reason and reflection; (2) witness the good results accruing from the actions of those who adhere to it; and (3) study history and learn from it that adhering to Allah’s laws such as the revelation given to Moses before this, whom he made a guidance and rahma (for himself as well as for his people), always produces similar results (10:39). Those who do not follow the above process do not believe in the validity of Allah’s laws and whatever party or faction they belong to, their final destination is jahannam about which you should not have any doubt because it is the very truth from your Rabb. Still many people will not believe in it.
(18) Who is more unjust than one who foists a lie upon Allah? Such persons will one day be set before their Rabb and those who know about them shall testify, “These are the people who had foisted a lie on their Rabb.” They will be deprived of all blessings from Allah.
(19-22) They not only reject Allah’s laws themselves but prevent others from following Allah’s path and try to misinterpret it, declining to believe in the life hereafter. They cannot escape from Allah’s Law of Mukafat and shall have no protector. They shall receive two-fold punishment – one for their own rejection of Allah’s laws and the other, and one for preventing others from pursuing His ways, since they were so hardened in their perversity that they paid no heed to reason, or see things in a proper perspective. They harm no one but their own selves and all that they fabricate shall forsake them. There is no doubt that they shall be great losers at the end.
(23) On the other hand, those who believe and do right and submit to Allah’s laws shall be the inmates of janna wherein they shall abide.
(24) The two above-mentioned groups may be compared to (1) the blind and the deaf, and (2) those who see and hear. Can the two be on the same footing? Will you not reflect on this (13:16-19, 35:19)?
(25-26) The history of past nations proves the truth of this assertion. For instance, Noah was sent to his people and he told them, “I am a clear warner from Allah; You should not obey anyone except Allah and if you do so, I fear that a dreadful chastisement shall overtake you.”
(27) The chiefs of his people, who rejected his call, said, “We see that you are just a human being like ourselves and we do not see that anyone would follow you except those who are quite obviously the most abject amongst us; indeed, we see in you no particular merit to prefer you to ourselves. We, therefore, regard you and your followers as liars.”
(28) He said, “O my people! Think over it. I act according to a clear directive from my Rabb who has bestowed his rahma upon me in the shape of His revelation and the capacity to see the right way which you do not want to see (under the circumstances it would be futile to) compel you to follow the right way when you are averse to it.”
(29-30) “Also, reflect upon this: For all that I have been doing for your betterment I do not seek any monetary return from you. Allah alone will determine my recompense. But mind this that I shall never forsake those who believe in Allah, however low in rank they might seem to you to be. (Such class-discrimination is against Allah’s plan according to which all human beings merit equal respect 17:70.) If I fulfil your desire, what would be my defence before Allah when such believers meet their Rabb (and complain to Him about me)? I see that you are a people who do not care to understand.”
(31) “You have said that I am only a human being like yourselves. I have never said that I possess treasures of Allah, or have knowledge of the unseen or that I am an angel. But I do say that you are wrong in stating that my followers are low in the sight of Allah Who will not bestow His blessings upon them. According to the measures devised by Allah, the worth of human beings is determined by their faith and action. If I should do what you want me to do, I shall then be indeed from amongst the zalimeen.”
(32) They could not refute Noah’s arguments, so they said, “O Noah! You have disputed with us too much and disputed unnecessarily. If you are true to your word, bring on us the chastisement you are threatening us with.”
(33) Noah replied, “It is not within my power to bring that chastisement upon you but rest assured that Allah will certainly bring it upon you and it will not be possible for you to avert it.”
(34) “(At that stage) my advice will not benefit you – much as I desire to give you advice (because of your wrong deeds you have made yourself liable) to remain lost in grievous error. Also remember, it is your Rabb alone who has total control over you and all that you do will be recompensed according to His Law of Mukafat.”
(35) Allah asked Noah, “Do these people accuse you of having fabricated the revelation? If they do so, say to them: ‘If I have forged the revelation, I am culpable for the crime. On the other hand, you will have to suffer the consequences of what you do. I am free of all responsibility with regards to your actions.’ ”
(36) It was revealed to Noah that none other than those who had already believed would believe in him and that he should not grieve about their actions or the results of their actions.
(37) It was further revealed, “Now you should make an ark under Our surveillance and according to Our directives. Do not plead on behalf of these zalimeen. They are doomed to be drowned (23:27).”
(38-39) Thus Noah began to build an ark. When the elders amongst his people would pass by him, they would laugh at him scornfully. In response, Noah would say, “You may laugh at us now but a time will come when you will be laughed at. You will soon know on whom shall alight chastisement which will disgrace him and on whom a lasting chastisement will fall.”
(40) (Noah’s people did not seriously reflect upon what he said or did; this is why they simply laughed at him.) At last the time came when the water gushed forth into the valley. We then said to Noah, “Take into the ark two pairs of each (kind of animal) and also your family except those for whom a decision has already been taken, as well as the few who believed (11:45, 66:10).”
(41) Noah said to his companions, “Get into the ark.” (When they asked him where they were going, he said,) “Everything is being done according to Allah’s guidance. He will direct the ark’s course and its moorings. Rest assured that Allah will protect us from every danger.”
(42) The ark moved on with them amidst waves which appeared to be mountain-high. Before the ark started on its course, Noah called out to his son who was standing apart, “Embark with us, O my son, and do not stay away with the unbelievers.”
(43) Noah’s son replied, “I shall not accompany you but you need not worry about me. I will climb up the mountain which shall protect me from the flood.” Noah said, “None is saved this day from the decree of Allah except those who take refuge in His rahma.”
A wave rushed forth between them and Noah’s son was amongst those who were drowned.
(44) And Allah’s command issued forth, “O earth! Swallow up your water, and O sky! Cease pouring.” Thus the flood abated and Allah’s plan was fulfilled and the ark came to rest on Mount Judi. It was said, “The zalimeen have been deprived of the blessings of life.”
(45) Noah called on his Rabb and said, “You had promised to save those belonging to me (which I understood to be my family). Your promise always holds good because You are the most just of all the judges (and there is no one above You who can change your decisions so – why then was my son not saved?).”
(46) Allah replied, “O Noah! My promises no doubt hold good. But he did not belong to you. Only those belong to you who believed and acted righteously which he did not. Do not plead with me regarding matters of which you have no knowledge. I do not wish that you should be counted amongst the jahileen.”
(47) Noah said, “I asked my question out of sheer ignorance. Give me refuge in Your rahma, otherwise I will be amongst the lost if You do not do so.”
(48) It was said to him, “O Noah! Disembark because there is now no danger and My blessings are with you, your companions and some (righteous ones that will spring) from them. But so far as others are concerned, they will be provided physical sustenance for a while but thereafter, a grievous punishment from Allah will fall upon them.”
(49) O Rasool! The details of the story which We have narrated to you through revelation were not known to you or to your people before this. The story has been narrated to you so that you and your people should know what the consequences of wrong-doing are and what is the future of those who adhere to Allah’s law. This, however, takes time. You should, therefore, be patient and adhere steadfastly.
(50) To the people of Aad We sent Hud (Eber) as a rasool; he was one of their kin. He said to them, “O my people! Obey Allah’s laws and accept no authority except His. Anything else is nothing but invention of falsehood by you.”
(51) “I ask for no return from you for the service which I am rendering to you. My recompense is with Him who has created me. Will you not reflect on what I say?”
(52) “O my people! If you seek protection from Allah and return to Him for obedience He will send down copious rains upon you and carry you forward from strength to strength. You should not go against Allah’s laws.”
(53-55) They said, “You have not brought us any tangible proof in support of your claim. We cannot give up our gods merely at your bidding. In fact we do not believe that you are a truthful man. Formerly you used to talk sense. But it seems that some of our deities have put a curse upon you that you are talking in such a way.” Hud said, “I can only make Allah my witness and you should also take note of it that I absolve myself of the responsibility for your setting up peers to Allah. You may conspire against me as you will and do what you want without giving me respite.”
(56) “I place my trust in Allah who is not only my Rabb but also yours. There is no living creature who can escape the grip of His Law of Mukafat. Surely, the path of my Rabb is straight (1:5, 6:126-127, 6:153-154, 42:53).”
(57) “If you turn away from that path, I will not be responsible for the consequences. My mission was to communicate to you the messages with which I was sent to you. If you go astray, the Law of Mukafat will replace you by another people and you will not, in the least, hurt Allah who keeps a watch over everything.”
(58) When the time for the chastisement came, We rescued Hud and those who had believed with Him. It was a grievous chastisement from which they were rescued.
(59-60) This is the story of the people of Aad who had rejected Allah’s laws, had gone against His rusul and had obeyed the commandments of their tyrannical rulers(2).
As a result of this they were deprived of the blessings of Allah both in this life and in the hereafter. Behold how Aad, the people of Hud, were cast away for their rejection of Allah’s laws.
(61) Similarly, We had sent Saleh to the people of Thamud as a rasool; he was one of their kin. He said to them, “Obey only Allah and accept the authority of none besides Him. He established you in the land and provided you with means of sustenance. Seek protection from Allah against the consequences of your wrong-doings and turn towards Him who is ever-near, responding.”
(62) They said to him, “O Saleh! Till now we had placed great hopes in you that you would strengthen our religion and spread it but you have shattered our hopes by saying that We should give up the deities of our ancestors. What you call us to, we regard with suspicion.”
(63) Saleh replied, “O my people! Just reflect upon this! Allah has bestowed clear guidance upon me through His rahma. Who will help me against Allah if I go against it? Your concern about me will only add to my loss.”
(64) “O my people! This is a she-camel set free in the name of Allah, so leave her alone to pasture on Allah’s earth and inflict no harm on her – lest speedy chastisement seizes you. But they hamstrung her and then he said, ‘Enjoy life in your dwellings for three days. This is a threat that will not be belied.’ ”
(65) But they did hamstring her. And thereupon (Saleh) said, “You have only three days more to enjoy life in your dwellings. This is the pronouncement which shall not be belied.”
(66-68) When the time came for the fulfilment of Our decree, We rescued Saleh and those who believed along with him from ignominy. Verily, your Rabb is powerful and mighty. A violent commotion overtook the zalimeen, and in the morning they were found lying face downwards in their dwellings which looked so desolate as if no one had ever lived there. They had rejected the laws of their Rabb and were cast away as a consequence thereof (7:78, 91:14-15).
(69-70) The people of Lot were destroyed in a similar way. Their story is thus: Allah’s messengers came to Abraham with glad tidings and said, “Peace (on you),” and Abraham replied, “Peace (on you too).” To offer hospitality to his guests, Abraham served them a roasted calf. When he saw that they made no effort to partake of the food, he felt suspicious and became apprehensive. They said to him, “Do not feel apprehensive. We have been sent by Allah to the people of Lot” (15:51-77).
(71-72) Abraham’s wife was standing by. The messengers announced to her glad tidings that she would have a son – Isaac, and that Isaac would have a son – Jacob. She laughed and said, “Ah! Can I have a child when my husband and I are so old? If it comes to pass, it would indeed be extraordinarily astonishing.”
(73) They said, “Why are you surprised at Allah’s decree? This (in fact) is Allah’s rahma and blessing on you. O members of this household! Surely Allah is worthy of all hamd and He is sublime”
(74-75) On receiving these glad tidings Abraham’s fear passed. When the messengers explained their mission to him, he pleaded with Allah for the people of Lot. Surely, Abraham was of a kindly disposition, forbearing and relenting.
(76) The messengers said to him, “O Abraham! Desist from this pleading. The decree of your Rabb has already gone forth – and verily the chastisement shall fall upon them which none can avert.”
(77) When Our messengers came to Lot, he was distressed and his heart became straitened. He said, “This is indeed a day of great catastrophe.”
(78) Having heard of the arrival of the newcomers, Lot’s people came rushing towards him. They had been long addicted to practising abominations. He said to them, “O my people! Here are (your wives who are like) my daughters whom you have discarded; they are more proper companions for you. You should, therefore turn to them. You should adhere to Allah’s laws and do not put me to shame by attempting to misbehave with my guests. Is there no right-minded man amongst you who will resort to reason (15:61, 72, 7:80, 21:74, 26:165, 27:54, 51:35)?”
(79) They said, “You know that We are not attached to those whom you call your daughters and you also know what our intentions are.”
(80) Lot said, “Would that I had the power to prevent you from doing what you intend to do or had a powerful support to fall back on!”
(81) Lot’s guests said to him, “We are messengers from your Rabb. We know that they cannot do you any harm. Depart from here along with those who belong to you late in the night and let none of you ever look back. As for your wife – she will stay back and share the fate of the people who do not believe in Allah. The time appointed for their chastisement is the morning and the morning is fast approaching.”
(82-83) When the chastisement came, their dwellings were turned upside down and stones of baked clay rained on them incessantly as if they had been marked for their destruction. The punishment of zalimeen is never far off from them.
(84-85) And similarly to the people of Midian, We sent Shuaib (Jethro), one of their kin. He said to them, “O my people! Obey Allah excepting Who there is no authority. Do not give short measure and weight. At present you are indeed prosperous but you are not acting righteously. If you do not desist, I fear for you the chastisement which will encompass you from all sides. Base your economic order on justice and do not exploit others. This, according to Allah’s laws, is fasad (disorder) which should not be spread.”
(86) Remember (whatever you collect by deceitful means may appear to you in great quantity but it cannot be beneficial to you) only those things are beneficial and ever-lasting which accrue according to Allah’s laws – and His law is that only that thing lasts which is for the good of the whole of humanity (13:17). But this you will only understand if you bring faith on the truth of the message. (If you do not believe in this – I will not force you to accept it because) I am not a keeper over you.
(87) They said to Shuaib, “When you had asked us not to interfere in your obedience to Allah, We thought that it meant only your worship of Allah. Now we see that it goes beyond that. Your sala does not allow us to adhere to the religion of our ancestors, nor to use our wealth as we like(3). You act as though our ancestors were ignorant and you alone possess reason, and that you have a monopoly over sympathy for the poor people.”
(88) He said, “O my people! Reflect on this. I have been endowed with reason and rightful means of living. Why should I not deliver Allah’s message to you and call you to the right path? I also cannot desire to do myself what I forbid you to do. I only wish to reform you to the extent to which I can, and the accomplishment of my mission depends
on Allah’s help. In Him do I place my trust and to Him do I turn for help.”
(89-90) He said further, “O my people! Let not your opposition to me call forth upon you the like of that chastisement which befell the people of Noah, Hud, Saleh and Lot. The last one is still fresh in your memory. Seek protection from your Allah and turn to Him who is raheem and a fount of love.”
(91) They said to Shuaib (Jethro), “What you say is incomprehensible to us. At the same time, we do see clearly how weak you are in our midst. Were it not for your family, we surely would have stoned you and you could have done us no harm (7:88).”
(92) Shuaib said to them, “O my people! Now I understand that you are more fearful of my family than of Allah’s Law of Mukafat. You pay only lip service to Allah and regard Him merely as something ‘extra’ to fall back on, if nothing else works. Mind it! His Law of Mukafat encompasses you from all sides.
(93) I fear that good counsel will be of no benefit to you. The only alternative left is that you follow your plan (with which I will not interfere) and let me follow mine (without your interference). You will soon know who will receive a disgraceful punishment and who is a liar. You should, therefore, wait for the result and I too shall wait with you.”
(94-95) When the time came for the decree’s fulfilment, We rescued Shuaib and those who had believed along with him with Our rahma. And a violent commotion overtook the zalimeen and in the morning they were found lying face downwards in their dwellings which were devastated in such a way that it seemed as if no one had ever lived in them. Mark! The people of Midian were cast away for their evil deeds as had been the people of Thamud.
(96-97) Similarly, We had sent Moses to the Pharaoh and his nobles with Our directives and clear authority. Pharaoh’s nobles did whatever he wanted even though his orders were oppressive and not based upon reason.
(98-99) We said to Moses, “Do not worry. When your people rise against him, he will, in opposing you, lead his people towards destruction. How ignominious will be the abode to which they will be led. They will be deprived of all blessings in this life as well as in the hereafter. What a wretched reward that will be!”
(100) These are the stories of earlier people which We have narrated to you. The ruins of some of their dwellings are still standing whilst others have disappeared totally.
(101) We certainly did not deal with them unjustly. They wronged themselves. When the consequences of their deeds overtook them, all those whom they had set up as peers to Allah could be of no avail to them. In fact they added to their ruin.
(102-106) All these stories have been narrated to illustrate the severity of Allah’s chastisement when His Law of Mukafat took any city in its grip for its zulm. Indeed, the grip was painful and terrible. In these stories is warning for one who is conscious of the chastisement which comes as a result of wrong-doing. In the same way, those who oppose you, O Rasool, will face the consequences of their actions on the day of confrontation between believers and unbelievers. In accordance with the law of respite Allah is postponing this day for a while. When that time comes everything will be decided according to Allah’s laws and none will be allowed to speak against them. At that time one party will feel miserable and the other will feel glad. Those consigned to misery will have hell as their abode; for them therein will be sighing and wailing.
(107) The people who are consigned to misery are those who have lost their capacity for life. They are, therefore, doomed for all time to come. All this takes place according to Allah’s laws which He has made to accomplish His plan.
(108) Those who are blessed with happiness will dwell in janna. Their blessings will be everlasting and uninterrupted.
(109) You should have no doubt about the fate of those who set up peers to Allah. The only justification they offer for their worst action is that it was followed by their ancestors. They will also suffer the fate of their ancestors. We shall surely pay them what they deserve without diminishing aught thereof.
(110-111) And, We gave Moses the Book, but his followers created differences in it. Had it not been for the Law of Respite, the matter would have been decided (much earlier) by your Rabb. The delay is creating doubts in their minds as regards the validity of the Law of Mukafat. Surely, Allah will recompense every one of them according to their deeds. He is well aware of all that they do.
(112) Therefore, O Rasool, you should follow the straight path steadfastly as you have been asked to do, along with those who, having forsaken the wrong path, have turned to the right one. Do not transgress Allah’s limits. Allah sees all that you do.
(113) O Jamat-ul-Momineen! Your opponents will try to reach a compromise with you but you should not lean towards them lest the fire touch you along with them. Mind it, you have no protector except Allah and shall receive no help from anyone else.
(114-115) For the accomplishment of your programme you should arrange for the assembly of sala at the break and close of the day and during the early hours of the night (17:78, 24:58). The results accruing from your good actions will efface the ill effects of your faltering, if any. This is a basic principle for those who adhere to Allah’s laws. So you should pursue your programme steadfastly and remember that Allah does not let the reward of mohsineen go waste.
(116) The stories of the earlier peoples show that a few of those whom We rescued, subsequently adhered to Allah’s laws and prevented others from spreading fasad upon the earth. The rest followed the way of zulm and exploitation and turned aggressors. They were also destroyed ultimately.
(117) You would have marked that Allah does not destroy a city or dwelling unjustly when its dwellers are musliheen.
(118-119) As stated earlier (5:48) if it had been Allah’s plan that all humanity should be one united ummah, it would not have been difficult for Him to bring that about by force. This was, however, not His plan. He endowed human beings with freedom of will and choice. They will, therefore, continue creating differences amongst themselves. Only those who follow Allah’s guidance will not do so. According to Allah’s laws, the abode of all the others – both jinn and ins – will be jahannam.
(120) All that We have related to you, O Rasool, from the accounts of the previous rusul is only
to strengthen your heart. This book contains truth for you and good counsel and laws for those who believe in it.
(121) Say to your opponents who do not believe, “You act according to your programme and we act according to ours.
(122) “Thereafter, you wait for the results of your actions and we too shall wait along with you.
(123) “The results, which at present, are not visible, will become manifest according to the laws of Allah, who alone knows even the hidden realities of the heavens and the earth, and all the decisions would ultimately be taken according to His laws.” So you should obey only Allah and have trust in Him. Your Rabb is not unaware of what you do.
- Allah has provided the means of nourishment. It is the responsibility of the divine order to make arrangements so that each individual receives sustenance according to his needs. This is called Nizam-e-Rabubiyya (6:152, 29:60, 36:47, 41:10).
- It follows from this that not only rising against Allah’s laws is a crime but submissive obedience of the orders of such tyrannical rulers also results in the downfall of a nation.
- This is the difference between religion (mazhab) and deen.
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