Exposition of the Holy Quran – 47 Muhammad (G A Parwez)
Surah 47: Muhammad
(1) People who not only reject the divine order themselves, but also hinder others from coming towards the path of Allah, will find that their efforts will go waste. The divine order will be definitely established.
(2) On the contrary, those who believe in the truth of the divine order and code of life (the Qur’an), which is their Rabb’s established truth, as revealed unto Muhammad, and work according to His constructive programme, will find that their firm faith and continuous efforts will set right the disorder prevalent in their society. Furthermore, their abilities will develop and result in the betterment of their lot.
(3) This is because those who oppose the divine order follow what is false, while those who believe in it pursue the programme given by their Rabb. This programme is based on truth and is capable of producing positive results.
This is how Allah explains to people the parables of their affairs.
(4) (People’s opposition has transgressed to the extent that a clash seems imminent.) Therefore, when you face them in the battlefield, you too should kill them. And when their strength is broken and you have fully subdued them, the remaining should be taken into your custody as prisoners of war (8:67). Then (as the circumstances demand) set them free either as an act of grace(1) or after taking ransom (monetary reward or in exchange of your own prisoners – 38:39), till all possibility of waging a war is eliminated (and peace and order returns). (It is for this purpose that you are permitted to raise arms.)
Also remember that if Allah had so willed, He could have punished these opponents in other ways. However, He desires that an open clash like this should clearly show how much capability you have acquired to fight against the enemy and to survive. As for those who have laid down their lives for the establishment of the divine order, rest assured that their deeds will not go waste. (Life is continuous and does not finish with physical death.)
(5-6) Allah will guide them to their destination, improve their lot and bless them with a blissful and pleasant heavenly life, that was introduced to them earlier in the Qur’an.
(7) In the light of these facts, O Jamat-ul-Momineen! You should clearly understand that if you work towards establishing the divine order, He will also help and stabilize you. (That will be the outcome of your steadfastness.)
(8) Those who reject the truth will be so crushingly defeated that they will be unable to rise again; and all their efforts will go waste.
(9) This is because they hate the divine order revealed by Allah (through the Qur’an for the benefit of mankind). Therefore, all their deeds will be fruitless. (Only those deeds, which are for human betterment, produce positive results – 13:17, while those which are detrimental to humanity will be wasted.)
(10) (This is an unalterable law for which the history of earlier communities provides evidence.) If these people had travelled the earth they would have seen evidence of the other nations which lived before them. These nations refused to adopt the path ordained by Allah and so they perished. Any nation which adopts this attitude will be destroyed. (The outcome of destructive attitudes is always the same everywhere. This is the law of the uniformity of nature.)
(11) Allah is the associate and protector of those who follow His laws. His laws support and back them up. Those who reject His laws shall have no such associate or backup and support.
(12) The essential aspect of Allah’s association, help and support is that, as a result of their eiman and righteous deeds, He will bestow on them a blissful heavenly life, the freshness of which will never fade. However, for people who deny the truth and think that life means only physical existence in this world, there is no difference between their lives and that of animals. Like animals they eat, drink and enjoy life (and then die). The result of this concept of life is nothing but death and destruction (of human dignity).
(13) (Similarly) There were many nations (living at such an animal level) which We destroyed; and no power in the world could save them from destruction. (O Rasool!) They were far stronger than your nation which has driven you out (from your homeland). (Since they were all destroyed, how can this nation stay safe?)
(14) (The fact is very clear and simple.) One follows a simple, straight and clear path in the light of wisdom granted him by the Almighty. The other follows his own desires and emotions which subdue his faculties of reason, to the extent that even the evil of his own doings seems good and pleasing to him. Can the two of them be alike?
(15) (This was the similitude of the path of life and attitude one adopts. Now consider the matter of destination.) Consider the one whose destination is janna, as promised to muttaqeen. The likeness of janna is of a place that has rivers of ever-flowing sweet water which does not deteriorate (water deteriorates only if it stagnates). (As in a community enjoying heavenly life no resources or provisions are held back. All resources are kept open for everybody and as such the community does not deteriorate – 107:7.) Streams of milk that does not spoil or change taste; rivers of wine, delightful to those who drink it (and one who drinks it will not become intoxicated – 52:23, 56:19); rivers of honey, pure and clear; the enjoyment of all types of fruit and means of nourishment; and due protection from all kinds of danger. This is the parable of life of janna.
In comparison is the parable of a person living in jahannam, where one gets boiling water to drink which (instead of providing nourishment) destroys their digestive track (4:16). Say! Can the two of them be alike?
(16) Some of them (amongst those opposing you) are listening to you very attentively (7:198, 10:42). (They come and join your gatherings and give this impression.) However, when they leave you, they ask those who have gained knowledge and insight of Allah’s book, “What was this man (Rasool) saying?” (This is not because they do not understand the Qur’an. It is because they do not want to act upon it.) They only follow their desires and selfish interests; and (people who are in such a state of mind) lose all sense and capability to understand (4:155, 10:74, 16:106-7, 17:45, 47:24, 83:14).
(17) On the other hand for people who seek guidance from the divine laws, Allah Almighty increases their capabilities to follow His guidance. This enables them to guard the divine laws to the fullest extent and live their lives accordingly.
(18) (These people have gone to the extreme in their opposition, so much so that even after driving you out of your homeland, they have not given up.) Are they now waiting for the revolution to suddenly come upon them? The early signs have already appeared and when that time comes, all their wisdom will be of no avail to them.
(19) You should have the firm conviction that no one except Allah wields any authority or power in this universe. Therefore, you should not become depressed by allegations and aspersions concocted by your opponents, against yourself and momin men and women. Seek protection under the divine laws, against their negative effects(2) (40:55; 48:2). He knows about the progress of your movement (from Makkah to Madinah) and what the ultimate destination is.
(20) (At that time circumstances were extremely tense.) There was a longing in the minds of momineen, who questioned the lack of any revelation for a clear-cut divine directive allowing them to raise arms. At long last they were given the permission to fight. (This raised the spirit and enthusiasm of the momineen, but) Those whose hearts were diseased with hypocrisy looked as if they were going to faint for fear of death. See what grievous ignominy they are in!
(21) (The moment the order for jihad was given, they should have welcomed it spontaneously and exclaimed) “We are ever ready to obey!” Then they should have discussed various aspects of their strategy for carrying out the programme approved by the system. Thereafter, when the final decision for war had been taken, they should have proved the truthfulness of their claim by taking part in it.
This would have been the proper and appropriate course of action for them to adopt. (Alas! Their diseased heart could not let them do this!)
(22) (Tell them) If you now back out from your promise, this will create disorder in the society (by joining hands with the kuffar); and break off your ties with your kith and kin (the majority of whom are with the Muslims).
(23) (How sad this reality is that) On account of their attitude they were deprived of the blessings which they would have otherwise received by taking part in the jihad. Their senses became so blurred that they could neither hear nor see.
(24) It is a matter of great surprise that these people do not seriously apply their minds to what the Qur’an says. Why have their hearts become so blocked that nothing reasonable gets into them (4:82)?
(25) In actual fact people who turn their backs even after clearly understanding Qur’anic guidance, do so because their desires encourage them to strive for their selfish gains and entertain false hopes. (Thus they give preference to their individual short-term selfish interests, over Qur’anic guidance which promotes benefit for mankind.)
(26) Then they secretly join hands with those who abhor the divine laws and tell them, “We shall obey you in certain matters.”
Tell them that Allah is fully aware of their secret intentions and plans.
(27) (At present they are content to conspire in this way but) What will be their state when death faces them and the adverse results of their erroneous deeds overwhelm them?
(28) This is because they follow the path that is against the divine laws. Living in obedience to the divine law is most displeasing to them. (Consequently they will not be able to achieve any success and) All that they have been doing will go waste.
(29) Do those whose hearts are diseased with hypocrisy expect that Allah will not expose their secret malice (and will let them live forever under the veil of hypocrisy)?
(30) If We so desire We can bring them before you one by one, so that you can identify them properly. (However, We will not do this as this will be against Our overall scheme of non-interference in human affairs). Nonetheless, using your own commonsense and intellect you can recognize them from the tone of their voices. As far as your (and their) deeds are concerned, nothing remains hidden from our Law of Mukafat. The consequences are bound to manifest themselves.
(31) If We were to adopt any extraordinary means (there would be no need for any clash or struggle. But) We want this clash to take place so that the mujahideen amongst you can stand out; and it would become evident to what extent they are steadfast. In other words, these are the ones who are ready to sacrifice everything for the sake of establishing this system; and to face all challenges with fortitude and steadfastness. We want that everything about each of you should be revealed to the public (and the whole world should see the wonderful change this eiman has brought within you).
(32) Remember those who deny the divine laws also obstruct others from the path of Allah and continue to oppose the Rasool in spite of the clear guidance they have received, can do no harm to Allah. He will make all their adverse efforts and actions go waste.
(33) (But O Jamat-ul-Momineen! You should not think that all this will be done by the Almighty Himself and that you will have to do nothing. For you it is important that) You should obey the divine system that the Rasool has established, in its entirety. Do not ever take a step which causes your efforts to go waste.
(34) If those who deny the divine laws and obstruct others from adopting the divine order do not change their ways and die while continuing to do so, they will never be protected from the adverse consequences of their erroneous deeds.
(Therefore, if one is not punished in this world, it does not mean that he is saved from retribution. The consequences of one’s deeds have to be faced after death.)
(35) (O Jamat-ul-Momineen) Now that war with these opponents is imminent, do not be disheartened and reduce your struggle (because of the activities of the munafikeen); nor call for peace by considering yourself weaker and subdued. Rest assured that you shall overcome them due to the support and assistance provided by the divine laws. He shall never reduce the consequences of your efforts. He will never let you down.
(36) (Also remember that) Your aim should not be the gains of this worldly life. You should keep your attention focussed on the sublime and permanent values of life. Worldly life and its gains are nothing more than a mere play and passing amusement. If you have firm faith in this reality and guard permanent values, then the divine Law of Mukafat will grant you full reward for your efforts without asking for anything in return. (Therefore, at this juncture, you should contribute whatever you can for the establishment of the divine order. All this will be returned manifold to you.)
(37) If the divine order demands something for itself forcibly, you may be hesitant to sacrifice your material possessions. If such demands keep following you like barefoot beggars and it becomes difficult for you to get rid of them, then out of sheer disgust you may say whatever is concealed in your heart. (However, this order will not adopt such a course of action, as whatever it demands is for yourself. Hence give to it willingly.)
(38) But some amongst you act miserly when asked to keep their wealth open for the divine order. They should know that the one who is miserly in this matter in fact harms none but himself, for Allah is indeed opulent. (Allah does not need you to give Him anything.) It is for your growth that you need His system. Should you turn back from your commitment, He will replace you with another nation which will not be like you! (This is so because the law for life, death and supremacy amongst nations is that only the nation with the correct system of life survives. Those which have a wrong system are destroyed and replaced by another nation that has a better system. The decisions about life and death of nations are taken in light of their ideologies and practical implementation of their programme.)
(1) The Arabs used to enslave men and make them prisoners of war and women were made concubines. The Qur’an closed the doors to slavery forever by this command.
(2) This could also mean minor errors and omissions which are committed while establishing a divine system.
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