Section 2 : Ingratitude of Men Commentary : Verse 11
Reason for the respite given Man prays for help when in difficulty but forgets Allah immediately as he is relieved Men were one single people but later they disagreed and got separated in tribes, and communities and nations
(11) وَ لَوْ يُعَجِّلُ اللَّهُ لِلنَّاسِ الشَّرَّ اسْتِعْجالَهُمْ بِالْخَيْرِ لَقُضِيَ إِلَيْهِمْ أَجَلُهُمْ فَنَذَرُ الَّذينَ لا يَرْجُونَ لِقاءَنا في طُغْيانِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ
- " And if Allah were to hasten on for men the ill(they have earned)as they would hasten on the good, surely their term would already be decreed unto them. But We leave those who do not expect the meeting with Us, in their contumacy, wandering blindly. "
This verse also deals with the subject of punishment and reward meted out to the evildoers. First, the Qur'an implies if Allah punished the evil- doers swiftly in this world and hastened on their punishment at the same speed in which they are after the good things of this world and their own interests, that would be the end of the world and no traces of them would remain. The verse says:
" And if Allah were to hasten on for men the ill(they have earned)as they would hasten on the good, Surely their term would already be decreed unto them. ..."
However, as Allah's grace encompasses all His servants, even the evildoers, idol worshippers, and non- believers, He does not hasten on their punishment lest they wake- up and repent and be lead straight.
At the end of the verse, He says that punishment is for those who do not believe in the Resurrection and the Meeting with Him; they are left alone so that they may stray and remain in confusion, not knowing the truth from "untruth" and the right path from the wrong. The verse says:
"... But We leave those who do not expect the meeting with Us, in their contumacy, wandering blindly. "
Commentary : Verse 12
(12) وَ إِذا مَسَّ الْإِنْسانَ الضُّرُّ دَعانا لِجَنْبِهِ أَوْ قاعِداً أَوْ قائِماً فَلَمَّا كَشَفْنا عَنْهُ ضُرَّهُ مَرَّ كَأَنْ لَمْ يَدْعُنا إِلى ضُرٍّ مَسَّهُ كَذلِكَ زُيِّنَ لِلْمُسْرِفينَ ما كانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
- " And when an affliction touches a man, he calls Us(while reclining)on his side, or sitting, or standing. But when We remove from him his affliction, he passes on, as if he never called Us to an affliction that touched him. Thus is made fair seeming to the extravagant that which they have been doing. "
Then the Qur'an refers to the existence of the light of monotheism in man, which emanates from the depth of his soul. It indicates that when man suffers from the loss of something, and he is helpless on all sides, he seeks Allah's help by stretching his hands towards Him, calling Him in whatever state he is whether lying on his side, sitting or standing. The verse says:
" And when an affliction touches a man, he calls Us(while reclining)on his side, or sitting, or standing. ..."
Yes, the positive aspect of the difficulties and painful incidents is that they unveil the true character of human beings and, though it may last merely for a while, the light of monotheism eventually shines forth.
Then the Qur'an implies that these people, however, are so in capacious and unwise that as soon as their troubles are removed they once more become so immersed in oblivion that it is as if they had made no supplications at all, and He had not given them any assistance. The verse says:
"... But when We remove from him his affliction, he passes on, as if he never called Us to an affliction that touched him. Thus is made fair seeming to the extravagant that which they have been doing. "
It is this very ingratitude and negligence that has made the indecent acts of the mischief makers seemingly beautiful for them.
Commentary : Verse 13
(13) وَ لَقَدْ أَهْلَكْنَا الْقُرُونَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ لَمَّا ظَلَمُوا وَ جاءَتْهُمْ رُسُلُهُمْ بِالْبَيِّناتِ وَ ما كانُوا لِيُؤْمِنُوا كَذلِكَ نَجْزِي الْقَوْمَ الْمُجْرِمينَ
- " And certainly We destroyed the generations before you when they were unjust, and their messengers came to them with clear arguments and they would not believe. Thus do We recompense the guilty people. "
In this holy verse, Allah informs us of the calamities which were inflicted upon previous nations and warns the present nations against the descent of those calamities which may fall upon them.
The Qur'an announces that Allah exterminated former nations by means of kinds of punishment when they inflicted injustice upon themselves by revolting, becoming disobedient, and after sending prophets to them with obvious miracles and clear proofs. The verse says:
" And certainly We destroyed the generations before you when they were unjust, and their messengers came to them with clear arguments and they would not believe. ..."
This verse carries this message that the secret of their eradication was that if they had been to remain existent, they definitely would not have believed in their prophets and the Books. Which were sent to them.
In the future, too, Allah will inflict calamities upon those unbelieving people who do not reform themselves in spite of offering them proofs for completing arguments, and with the full understanding that they are well- informed as to the consequences and that they will not believe. The verse continues saying:
"... Thus do We recompense the guilty people. "
Commentary : Verse 14
(14) ثُمَّ جَعَلْناكُمْ خَلائِفَ فِي الْأَرْضِ مِنْ بَعْدِهِمْ لِنَنْظُرَ كَيْفَ تَعْمَلُونَ
- " Then We made you successors in the earth after them to see how you behave. "
Allah expresses more explicitly the matter in this verse, implying that, after destroying them, He substituted you on the earth in their place so that He may observe the way you behave. The verse says:
" Then We made you successors in the earth after them to see how you behave. "
From the sentence "and they would not believe: ", mentioned in the previous verse, it is understood that Allah exterminates only those whose situation leaves no hope that they will even be probable believers in the future, for those who may become believers in the future are not involved in this category for such punishments.
Commentary : Verse 15
(15) وَ إِذا تُتْلى عَلَيْهِمْ آياتُنا بَيِّناتٍ قالَ الَّذينَ لا يَرْجُونَ لِقاءَنَا ائْتِ بِقُرْآنٍ غَيْرِ هذا أَوْ بَدِّلْهُ قُلْ ما يَكُونُ لي أَنْ أُبَدِّلَهُ مِنْ تِلْقاءِ نَفْسي إِنْ أَتَّبِعُ إِلاَّ ما يُوحى إِلَيَّ إِنِّي أَخافُ إِنْ عَصَيْتُ رَبِّي عَذابَ يَوْمٍ عَظيمٍ
- " And when Our Clear Signs are recited unto them, those who do not expect the meeting with Us, say: 'Bring us a Qur'an other than this, or alter it. ' Say: 'It is not for me to alter it of my own accord, I follow naught but what is revealed unto me; verily, I fear, if I were to disobey my Lord the Penalty of a Great Day(to come). '"
The Occasion of the Revelation:
This holy verse and the next two verses had been revealed concerning several idol- worshippers when they came to the Prophet(p. b. u. h)and said: "Whatever this Qur'an says about abandoning the worship of our great idols namely Lat, Uzza, Manat, Hubal and its disrespect of them is not acceptable and bearable to us. If you want us to follow you, get us another Qur'an which is free of this criticism, or, at least change such ideas in this present Qur'an. "
These holy verses, following the previous verses, are all concerned with 'Origin and End'.
First, The Qur'an alludes to one of the great mistakes of the idol- worshippers. It says:
" And when Our Clear Signs are recited unto them, those who do not expect the meeting with Us, say: 'Bring us a Qur'an other than this, or alter it. ' ..."
These ignorant people did not want the Prophet(p.b.u.h.) to guide them as a leader; they rather invited him to follow in the footsteps of their own superstitious conjectures.
The Qur'an explicitly enlightens them regarding their grave mistake, ordering the Prophet(p.b.u.h.) to tell them that it is impossible for him to alter the Divine revelation by himself. The verse says:
"... Say: 'It is not for me to alter it of my own accord, ..."
Then, to articulate further, he should add that he would only follow what was revealed to him, and that not only he could not make any alterations in that heavenly Revelation, but, also he feared the punishment of that Great Day(Resurrection)if he would disobey the Command of the Lord. The holy verse says:
"... I follow naught but what is revealed unto me; verily, I fear, if I were to disobey my Lord the Penalty of a Great Day(to come). '"
Commentary : Verse 16
(16) قُلْ لَوْ شاءَ اللَّهُ ما تَلَوْتُهُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَ لا أَدْراكُمْ بِهِ فَقَدْ لَبِثْتُ فيكُمْ عُمُراً مِنْ قَبْلِهِ أَ فَلا تَعْقِلُونَ
- " Say: 'Had Allah so willed, I would not have recited it to you, nor would He have taught it to you. Indeed I have lived amongst you a lifetime before it. Have you then no sense '"
In this verse the Qur'an brings a reason for the Divine order by commanding the Prophet to say that his ideas do not have the slightest role in this Holy Book, and had Allah wanted, he would not have read the Qur'an to them and they would not have been made aware of it. The verse says:
" Say: 'Had Allah so willed, I would not have recited it to you, nor would He have taught it to you. ..."
I have lived among you a long time before this. It provides reason for what I claim, for you have never heard me saying such things before. If the verses had come from me, you should have heard me saying them during the past forty years as they would have been at the tip of my tongue, or at least parts of it might have been heard by someone in the past. How can you not notice such an obvious matter The verse continues saying:
"... Indeed I have lived amongst you a lifetime before it. Have you then no sense ?'"
Commentary : Verse 17
(17) فَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنِ افْتَرى عَلَى اللَّهِ كَذِباً أَوْ كَذَّبَ بِآياتِهِ إِنَّهُ لا يُفْلِحُ الْمُجْرِمُونَ
- "Who is then more unjust than he who forges a lie against Allah, or belies His Signs Verily the guilty ones will never prosper. "
In order to emphasize the point, the Prophet(p.b.u.h.) adds that, being well aware that the worst kind of evil is that someone falsely attributes a lie to Allah, how could he then commit such a sin on the earth The verse says:
"Who is then more unjust than he who forges a lie against Allah, or belies His Signs ..."
And he who denies the Divine verses, his action is also the most cruel and unjust of all actions. If the unbelievers are unaware of the scope and volume of the severity and greatness of the sin of forging a lie to the Divine verses, the Prophet, on the contrary, is not so unaware. At any event, this action of theirs is a grave offence and those who perpetrate it will never be saved. The verse says:
"... Verily the guilty ones will never prosper. "
Commentary : Verse 18
(18) وَ يَعْبُدُونَ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ ما لا يَضُرُّهُمْ وَ لا يَنْفَعُهُمْ وَ يَقُولُونَ هؤُلاءِ شُفَعاؤُنا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ قُلْ أَ تُنَبِّئُونَ اللَّهَ بِما لا يَعْلَمُ فِي السَّماواتِ وَ لا فِي الْأَرْضِ سُبْحانَهُ وَ تَعالى عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ
- " And they worship, besides Allah, what can neither hurt them nor profit them, and they say: 'These are our intercessors with Allah. ' Say: 'Will you inform Allah of what He knows not either in the heavens or in the earth ' Glory be to Him! High be He exalted above what they associate(with Him). "
The issue of monotheism is also continued in this verse by negating the claim that these idols are associated with divinity, and it has been proved as groundless by offering clear reasons. They used to worship icons and idols which neither did any harm to them nor any good. They were neither feared by the idol worshippers nor did the idols provide them with any profit so that they were worshipped for gaining benefit thereof. The verse says:
" And they worship, besides Allah, what can neither hurt them nor profit them, ..."
The Qur'an deals with the groundless and unfounded claims of the idol worshippers when it implies that they claim that these idols serve as mediators between them and Allah which was one of the motives for worshipping them. The verse says:
"... and they say: 'These are our intercessors with Allah. ' ..."
The Qur'an, in response to such a way of thinking, tells the Prophet(p.b.u.h.) to ask them a question, as follows:
"... Say: 'Will you inform Allah of what He knows not either in the heavens or in the earth ' ..."
Allusion is here made to the fact that if the Almighty had such mediators who would protect them, and wherever on the earth or in the skies they might have existed, He would have been well aware of their existence.
At the end of the verse it stresses emphatically on the fact that Allah is pure and superior to those partners whom they envisage for Him. The verse says:
"... Glory be to Him! High be He exalted above what they associate(with Him). "
Commentary : Verse
(19) وَ ما كانَ النَّاسُ إِلاَّ أُمَّةً واحِدَةً فَاخْتَلَفُوا وَ لَوْ لا كَلِمَةٌ سَبَقَتْ مِنْ رَبِّكَ لَقُضِيَ بَيْنَهُمْ فيما فيهِ يَخْتَلِفُونَ
- " And mankind were only one community, then they differed, and had not a Word already gone forth from your Lord, their differences would have been judged between them. "
This verse refers to the monotheistic nature of all human beings, alluding in part to the previous verse in connection with negating unbelief and idol worshipping. It implies that in the beginning, all human beings were of a single nation, and, with no exception, all were monotheists. The verse says:
" And mankind were only one community, ..."
This monotheistic nature, that was untouched at the beginning, because of shortsightedness and some satanic attitudes, underwent changes. With the passage of time, some went astray from the monotheistic path and became the adherents of polytheism. Thus the human society spitted into two groups: Monotheists and Polytheists. The verse continues saying:
"... then they differed, ..."
Therefore, polytheism is in fact a deviation from what is innate in human nature, and its roots lie in some baseless ideas and conjectures. One might raise the issue at this point as to why the Almighty does not hasten to eradicate the origin of such differences by the speedy punishment of the polytheists ?
The Qur'an immediately gives an answer to this question implying that if Allah's command in regard to the absence of their speedy punishment had not been already issued, arbitration would have been administered and their differences would have been judged, then all of them would meet their painful fate. The verse says:
"... and had not a Word already gone forth from your Lord, their differences would have been judged between them. "
Commentary : Verse 20
(20) وَ يَقُولُونَ لَوْ لا أُنْزِلَ عَلَيْهِ آيَةٌ مِنْ رَبِّهِ فَقُلْ إِنَّمَا الْغَيْبُ لِلَّهِ فَانْتَظِرُوا إِنِّي مَعَكُمْ مِنَ الْمُنْتَظِرينَ
- " And they say: 'Why is not a Sign sent down to him from his Lord ' Say then: ' Verily the Unseen is only for Allah(to know). Wait you then, verily I, also with you, will be of those who wait'. "
Once again, the Qur'an deals with the pretexts of the polytheists for evading belief and faith in Islam. It indicates that the disbelievers complain about a miracle not being sent down from Allah to the Prophet(p.b.u.h.) . The verse in this regard says:
" And they say: 'Why is not a Sign sent down to him from his Lord ? ..."
They meant, of course, that any time they demanded a miracle they desired, the Prophet(p.b.u.h.) should have acted immediately and accordingly (1) to fulfill their demands. It was forthwith revealed to the Prophet(p.b.u.h.) that the invisible world and supernatural affairs,(miracles relating to the invisible and metaphysical world), belong to Allah alone. The verse says:
"... Say then:' Verily the Unseen is only for Allah(to know). ..."
(1) Some commentators state that Allah is aware of the world of Unseen and whatever stands in the way of divine miracles to be sent down is itself invisible, none is aware but Allah.
Therefore the Prophet(p.b.u.h.) should tell them he could not perform miracles according to their wishes, which they would later deny and which would not convince them to become believers. In the final analysis, they refrained from believing regardless of the pretext.
At the end of the verse, from his tongue, the Qur'an, in a threatening tone implies that if they did not stop being obstinate, they should expect divine punishment whilst, on the other hand, the Prophet(p.b.u.h.) should expect victory. The verse says:
"... Wait you then, verily I, also with you, will be of those who wait'. ..."