Exposition of the Holy Quran – 59 Al-Hashr (G A Parwez)

Surah 59: Al-Hashr

(The Gathering)


(1) Everything in the heavens and on the earth is busy fulfilling the programme ordained by Allah Almighty, the all-powerful. His power however, is not the force of blind nature; it is based on absolute wisdom.

(2) Amongst the examples of the manifestation of the authority and power of His Law of Mukafat, is the episode of the Ahl-ul-Kitab (the Jews). These people revolted against the divine order and ultimately ended up in a war. (They were very proud of their power and strength, but) As soon as the first battle took place with a section (of the momineen), the Ahl-ul-Kitab ran away from the battlefield. (They were then given another chance to correct themselves and give up deceit and disorder. Thus no further action was taken against them; except that as a precautionary measure) They were moved out of the city to another habitation.

As they were so proud of their fortifications, you could not expect them to leave their habitations so easily. They were confident that the fortifications would protect them against your attack. However, Allah’s Law of Mukafat (law of retribution) overtook them in a manner they never expected and filled their hearts with terror, to the extent that they left their homes on their own. (As for those who resisted) Their destruction came at your hands.

O you who are wise and rational! As you have seen what happens to those who oppose the truth, will you not learn a lesson from this episode?

(3) Had Allah not ordained this banishment for them they would have been given very severe punishment in this world. As for the punishment in the hereafter, it shall be an extreme chastisement.

(4) This is because they rebelled against the divine order being established by the Rasool (for the welfare of humanity. Everyone should bear in mind that) According to the Law of Mukafat, the end for whoever rebels against this system of justice and equity, would be miserable. This law does not stop pursuing offenders.

(5) (At the time of the siege and as necessitated by the strategy of battle) You cut down some palm trees and left some standing at their roots. You did all this according to divine laws which permitted you to wage war against them (22:39). The objective was to show that people who go astray suffer disgrace.

(6) And without war you obtained booty from this expedition. You did not have to charge horses or camels for it. As per His law of Mashiyya (Programme), Allah bestows upon His rusul victory over their adversaries. He has devised measures for everything and He has full control over them.

(7) The nature of gains which come into your possession without waging war is different from other booty (8:41). It should remain in the custody of the divine system, so that it is used for meeting the requirements of needy people. These may include near relations like orphans (of those who took part in battle or were killed); those who are left alone; the helpless in society, the one whose on-going business receives a setback; those who for some reason are not capable of doing any work; or the wayfarers who need help. Moreover, it should not be distributed in a manner that it becomes concentrated in the hands of those amongst you who are already rich (while the needy remain deprived). Therefore, willingly accept whatever the Rasool (the central authority of the divine system) gives you in this distribution and refrain from demanding from what he has withheld (9:59). Always guard the divine laws and remember that very strict action is taken against violators.

(8) Also in the spoils of war there is a share for immigrants (muhajireen) who were thrown out of their dwellings and deprived of their possessions. They certainly deserve financial help. They are always willing to help the divine order in whatever manner they can. These are the people who proved their claim to eiman by giving sacrifices. (That is why their opponents perpetrated all kinds of hardships and torture on them 22:40.)

(9) On the other side are those who are also true to their faith. They had consolidated their faith even before the Hijra and had made room in their own dwellings for the muhajireen. These people (the Ansar of Madinah) welcome with love and affection whoever comes to them from amongst the muhajireen. Further, they never think that they also should receive whatever is being given to the muhajireen. They always give preference to the needs of the newcomers, even if they themselves are indigent and living a life of hardship. (This is the symbol of a true momin.)

Remember! The people who are likely to achieve prosperity are those who change their personalities and no longer push others aside to selfishly quench their own thirst. Realizing that the other person’s thirst is more acute, they voluntarily allow them to satisfy it first.

(10) (There is no denying the fact that the status of those who professed eiman and migrated under adverse circumstances is very high. However) The faith of those who followed them is also very strong and firm. They express their desire by saying, “O our Rabb! Grant us means of protection; and also to our brethren who preceded us in professing eiman. Do not ever put any grudge in our hearts for those who profess eiman. You are compassionate and the provider of the means of nourishment.”

(11) (This then is the character of true momineen. On the other hand, have you ever considered the attitude of the munafiqeen? They say to the Ahl-ul-Kitab who have revolted against the divine order and with whom they have established brotherhood, “If you are thrown out of your dwellings, we too shall leave with you. We shall not obey anyone’s order. If war is waged against you, we shall certainly come to your help.”

However, Allah stands witness to the fact that they indeed are liars. (If they are untrue to their word in professing eiman, then they are also dishonest about their commitment.)

(12) If they (the Ahl-ul-Kitab) are driven out of their homes, these people (the munafiqeen will never accompany them. And if war is waged they (munafiqeen) will not come to their help. If they are forced to help, they will run away from the battlefield. Thus, they would not be of any help to them. (In fact this would amount to opposing them.)

(13) They (the Jews) had been cautioned and threatened with the Law of Mukafat since long. However, it did not create as much terror or fear in their hearts as now (by seeing your party and army) because these people (are impressed by visible and perceivable forces and) do not understand the force of law.

(14) (They hold you in so much awe that) Even if they all join up to face you they will not have the courage to fight you in an open battlefield. They will either fight you from within their own fortified strongholds or from behind the city walls. This is also because they have a lot of mistrust amongst themselves. Although they look united, their hearts are against one another. (If they use their intellect, they would understand that such superficial unity can never take them to success. Real unity is that of the heart and it comes with eiman and a common objective. Therein lies the real secret of strength.)

(15) Their (the munafiqeen’s) plight is also like that of those (Jews) who have just suffered the consequences of their own doings (59:2). Hence, they will be subjected to grievous chastisement like the Jews.

(16) (As for the munafiqeen who claim that they will help them) Their plight is like that of Satan who at first incites man to deny the truth; and when man does so (and the consequences show up) then he (Satan) stands apart and says bluntly, “I have nothing to do with whatever you have done and I take no responsibility. I really am afraid of Allah, the Rabb of all the worlds.” (Such is the consequence for those who trust the munafiqeen.)

(17) As such both of them end up in burning chastisement. In fact, such will be the end of those who commit zulm and aggression.

(18) (O Jamat-ul-Momineen! Beware lest you get into the same plight as the people mentioned before. Therefore) You should always guard the divine laws and (ignoring immediate individual gains) keep in view what you have done for the pleasures of the future. This would only be possible if you continue to guard the divine laws under all circumstances. Remember! The divine Law of Mukafat is fully aware of what you do. (It does not let anyone’s efforts go waste.)

(19) (Always keep the reality in mind that the objective of life is not the nourishment of the physical body only but also of the self. In fact, this is the basic objective of life; and the physical body is a means to attain it. This objective can only be achieved by following the divine laws. Therefore) You should not be like those who became oblivious to the divine laws with the result that they lost sight of their own self (and reduced their life to an animal level). They forgot their self and made “mine” their ultimate objective. These are the people who stray from the right course. The result of forgetting God is that man becomes oblivious of his own self.

(20) Remember that the life of janna calls for the nurturing and solidarity of the self. Neglecting the self would lead you to jahannam; and it is obvious that the residents of janna and jahannam can never be equal. Only the residents of janna will achieve pleasures and success.

(21) (And janna can only be attained if the Qur’an penetrates deep into your hearts. The impact of the Qur’an is so great that, to give you an example) If We had put the Qur’an in the heart of a mountain (and given it the faculty of consciousness), you would have seen it (the mountain) trembling in humility, just from the very thought of violating Allah’s law. And it would have burst under the sense of responsibility. We offer such parables so that people may reflect and comprehend the magnificence of the Qur’an and understand the consequences of violating it.

(22) And why should it not be magnificent? It is the book of Allah, the possessor of absolute power and authority. He has knowledge of the unseen and all that can be perceived. (He knows the present state of everything as well as its latent potentialities and abilities. Remember! The distinction between the seen and the unseen is from a human perspective only. From God’s point of view it is all evident and) He provides nourishment for the development of the abilities and potentialities of everything, free of cost.

(23) Yes all this is from Allah, besides Whom no one else enjoys any power or authority. The entire universe belongs to Him. Only His law is in force in it; and no one else’s. His powers and knowledge are unlimited. His Being is most perfect and beyond any defect; and He provides nourishment for the development and completion of one’s personality. He protects everything in the universe from the effects of destructive forces and nothing is outside the umbrella of His guardianship. He has complete control and authority; and He therefore has the power to take His programme to its destined goal. He has kept everything bound strictly within His laws so that these may not disperse and disturb the universal system. There is no one equal to Him and all greatness belongs to Him. He is far above the possibility that the power and authority of anyone else can be ascribed a share with Him.

(24) Allah is the creator of everything. Such is the pattern of His creative activity that He starts the process from its initial stage, then passes it through several evolutionary stages of development so that unnecessary elements wither away, and it finally takes a particular form that distinguishes it from other things. (At that stage you say that a thing has been created.)

The above are some of the divine attributes. All these attributes, in their most proportionate, perfect and highest form, are concentrated in His Being. Such is His system that everything in the heavens and on the earth, is busily fulfilling His designated programme. He alone is the possessor of all might; and His might is based on absolute wisdom.

(This is Allah, whose book is the Qur’an. It is obvious that the book of the Almighty Who has these attributes, would also have these magnificent qualities. Also, as far as is humanly possible, these divine attributes would also be reflected in the personality of the people who follow this book. They would stand as guarantors of universal peace and prosperity.)

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