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Section 3: The Holy Prophet Muhammad, the Apostle For Humanity as a Whole

Surah As-Saba- Verse 22

قُلِ ادْعُوا الَّذِينَ زَعَمْتُم مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ لاَ يَمْلِكُونَ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَلاَ فِي الأَرْضِ وَمَا لَهُمْ فِيهِمَا مِن شِرْكٍ وَمَا لَهُ مِنْهُم مِن ظَهِيرٍ

22. “Say: ‘Call upon those whom you have asserted apart from Allah; they own not the weight of an atom in the heavens nor in the earth, nor for them is any partnership in either (of them), nor for Him is (there) from among them any one to back Him up.”

No one other than Allah is the owner of the heavens and the earth, nor is any one His partner and helper.

At the beginning of this holy Surah it was said that a considerable part of the verses of this Surah is about Origin and the End and the true beliefs, so that by joining them together there comes into being a collection of true Qur’anic wisdom.

In this section of verses, in fact, the Holy Qur’an takes the polytheists into trial and by some logical questions it knocks them out. It makes manifest their baseless decayed logic in the field of intercession of idols.

In these verses the Qur’an addresses the Prophet (S) for five times and commands him to say to them something, and every time it propounds a new matter in connection with the fate of idols and idolatry, in a manner that at the end anybody feels that there is no empty school worse than the school of idolism, and that it can not be called even a school of thought and a religion.

By the above verse, it implies that they may call those that they consider (as their object of worship) other than Allah, but they should know that these idols never answer their pray nor do they solve any problem of theirs.

It says:

“Say: ‘Call upon those whom you have asserted apart from Allah…”

Then, the Qur’an refers to the reasoning of this statement and implies that it is for the sake that these hand-made objects of worship do not own anything.

It continues saying:

“…they own not the weight of an atom in the heavens nor in the earth, nor for them is any partnership in either (of them), nor for Him is (there) from among them any one to back Him up.”

If they were able to solve any problem they would have one of these three qualities: they owned something in the heavens and the earth; or, at least, they were partner of Allah in the creation, or, at last, they were assistants of Allah in something of these affairs.

While it is clear that ‘necessary being’ is only One and the rest are all ‘possible being that are dependant to Him, so that if He takes His grace from them, all of them will pave the way of destruction.

It is interesting that when it says:

“…the weight of an atom in the heavens nor in the earth…”

it means that the beings which do not own anything as heavy as the weight of an atom in the endless heavens and in the vast earth, what kind of difficulty can they remove from themselves than from you?

Surah As-Saba- Verse 23

وَلاَ تَنفَعُ الشَّفَاعَةُ عِندَهُ اِلاَّ لِمَنْ أَذِنَ لَهُ حَتَّي إِذَا فُزّ‌ِعَ عَن قُلُوبِهِمْ قَالُوا مَاذَا قَالَ رَبُّكُمْ قَالُوا الْحَقَّ وَهُوَ الْعَلِيُّ الْكَبِيرُ

23. “And intercession will not avail with Him except for him to whom He gives leave; till, when terror is lifted from their hearts, they will say: ‘What is it that your Lord said?’ They will say: ‘The truth’; and He is the Most High, the Great’.”

In Hereafter, there is the possibility of intercession, but by the leave of Allah.

Therefore, in this verse the Qur’an implies that there are some intercessors in the Court of Allah who can intercede only by His leave and command, since; the verse says:

“And intercession will not avail with Him except for him to whom He gives leave…”

Therefore, the pretext of the idolaters for worshipping their idols that they said:

“…these are our intercessors with Allah’…”1

will be ceased by this statement, because Allah has never given any leave to them for any intercession.

That whether the sentence:

“…except for him to whom He gives leave…”

refers to the intercessors or to the interceded ones, commentators have offered two probabilities; but in relation to the fact that in this verse the words are about idols and those people consider the idols as their intercessors, it is appropriate that it refers to ‘intercessors’.

Is the purpose of the word ‘intercession’ mentioned here the intercession in the world or in the Hereafter? Both of them are probable, but the subsequent sentence shows that it is meant the intercession in the Hereafter.

So, after this sentence, it implicitly says that in that Day there will be such an anxiety and horror upon the hearts that both the intercessor and the one who is interceded will be full of anxiety, and they expect to see to whom Allah gives permission to intercede, and for whom.

This state of anxiety will continue until when it will be removed from the hearts and the command from the side of Allah will be issued.

The verse says:

“…till, when terror is lifted from their hearts…”

However, on that Day there is a surprising tumult. Those who expect to be interceded look worriedly at the intercessor and by non-verbal language or by their own tongues, they eagerly ask them for intercession.

But the intercessors also have waited for the command of Allah to see how and about whom He gives permission for intercession. This common and general anxiety will continue until when the command of intercession about those who are eligible for it will be issued from the side of Allah, the Wise.

It is in this circumstance that the both groups turn their faces to each other and ask each other (or the guilty ask the intercessors) as follows:

“…they will say: ‘What is it that your Lord said?’…”
“…They will say: ‘The truth’…”

And ‘the truth’ is not anything save the permission of intercession about those who had not entirely ceased their relation with Allah, not the polluted ones who had broken all the links and means of communication, and who had wholly become alien with Allah, the Prophet (S) and his friends.

At the end of the verse, the Qur’an adds:

“…and He is the Most High, the Great’.”

This sentence is the continuation of the statement of the intercessors and its complement. Indeed, they say that since Allah is the Most High and the Great, whatever command He issues is the exact truth, and any truth adapts His command.

Whatever was said in the above is the nearest commentary that is consistent to the sentences of the verse.

In this regard, commentators have also cited some other commentaries, and it is wonderful that in some of them the relation and dependence of the beginning and the end of the verse, and its before and after, have never been considered at all.

Surah As-Saba- Verse 24

قُلْ مَن يَرْزُقُكُم مِنَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ قُلِ اللَّهُ وَإِنَّآ أَوْ إِيَّاكُمْ لَعَلَي هُدًي أَوْ فِي ضَلاَلٍ مُبِينٍ

24. “Say: ‘Who gives you sustenance from the heavens and the earth?’ Say: ‘Allah’. And verily we or you are upon right guidance, or in manifest error.”

In training and teaching we should make the conscience of the addressees awaken by the use of the method of asking questions and cause their thought to work. That is why, for nullifying the beliefs of polytheists, next to the question of ‘creation’ mentioned in the previous verses, the subject of the act of the giver of sustenance is questioned.

This reasoning is also in the form of ‘question and answer’ in order to awaken their sleeping conscience by this way, and that by the answer which emerges from their inside they find out their mistake.

The Qur’an says:

“Say: ‘Who gives you sustenance from the heavens and the earth?’…”

It is evident that none of them could say that the stone and wooden idols could bring rain down from the sky, grow plants from the earth and give them the earthly and heavenly sources to use.

It is interesting that without waiting for any answer, the Qur’an immediately adds:

“…Say: ‘Allah’…”

Tell them it is Allah Who is the Origin of all these bounties. That is, the matter is so clear and evident that it does not need the opposite party to answer. But the questioner and hearer both say one thing, because even the polytheists knew Allah as the Creator and Giver of sustenance and, for the idols, they considered only the rank of intercession.

This point is also noteworthy that Allah’s sustenance, which comes down from heaven for human beings, is not limited to rain. The light and heat of the sun, the air which exists in the atmosphere of the earth, are also more important than the life- giving drops of rain.

Also, the blessings of the earth are not allocated to plants. kinds of water sources in the ground, various mains some of which had been discovered at that time and some others of them were discovered by the pass of time, all are under this title.

At last, the verse refers to a matter which itself can form the foundation of a proof, a true proof accompanied with the utmost justice and reverence, in a shape that opposite party may come down from the platform of pride and obstinacy and begin to think.

It says:

“…And verily we or you are upon right guidance, or in manifest error.”

This statement points to this matter that there is clear contrast in our belief and yours, therefore it is impossible that both of them are right, because never two opposite things gather with together, therefore one group is upon guidance and the second group is in error.

Now contemplate which group is on guidance and which is on misguidance. You can see the signs in both groups and observe which group contains the signs of guidance and which group has the signs of misguidance.

And this is one of the best methods of discussion and dispute which makes the opposite party contemplate. Some consider it as a kind of precautionary concealment, which is the utmost mistake.

It is interesting that in Arabic text of the verse the word ‘guidance’ has been mentioned with the Arabic word /‘ala/ (upon) and the word ‘error’ is mentioned with the Arabic word: /fi/ (in), which points to this fact that ‘the guided ones’ seem to be riding on a calm horse, or are located on a high place and dominate over all things, while the misguided ones are in deep error and in the darkness of their ignorance.

This is also noteworthy that the holy verse at first mentions ‘guidance’ and the word ‘error’ is cited after it, because at the beginning of the sentence at first it says: ‘We’ and after that it says: ‘you’ in order to have a delicate and colourless hint to the guidance of the first group and the lack of guidance of the second group.

Some of the commentators of the Qur’an believe that the modifier /mubin/ (manifest) refers to /dalal/ (error), because error consists of different kinds and the error of polytheism is the most manifest of all.

But there is also this probability that this modifier is used for both ‘guidance’ and ‘error’, because in these circumstances, inside the words of the eloquent, modifier is not repeated. Thus, both ‘guidance’ and ‘error’ are qualified by ‘manifest’, as in other verses of the Qur’an this qualification is seen for both of them.2

Surah As-Saba- Verses 25-26

قُل لاَ تُسْأَلُونَ عَمَّآ أَجْرَمْنَا وَلاَ نُسْأَلُ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ

قُلْ يَجْمَعُ بَيْنَنَا رَبُّنَا ثُمَّ يَفْتَحُ بَيْنَنَا بِالْحَقّ‌ِ وَهُوَ الْفَتَّاحُ الْعَلِيمُ

25. “Say: ‘You will not be questioned as to what we are guilty of, nor shall we be questioned as to what you do’.”
26. “Say: ‘Our Lord will gather us together, then will He judge between us (and you) with the truth, and He is the greatest Judge, the All-knowing’.”

The divine prophets’ urge on the guidance of people is mostly because of their sympathy, not for the sake that the recompense of people’s sins might be upon the prophets, or vice versa.

With the same just tone that the previous verse brought down the enemy from the platform of pride and obstinacy, this verse continues and says:

“Say: ‘You will not be questioned as to what we are guilty of, nor shall we be questioned as to what you do’.”

It is surprising that here the Prophet (S) is ordered to use the word ‘guilty’ concerning him, and concerning the opponent, he is commanded to use the phrase:

What you do”.

Thus, he is to make this fact clear that everybody must be responsible of his own deeds, since the sequels of the deeds of every person, beautiful or ugly, shall reach the same person himself.

By the way, the verse also contains a smooth hint to this point that if we urge to guide you, it is not for the sake that your sin will be written upon us or your polytheism has any harm for us. But we urge on this matter from the view of sympathy, truth-seeking and legitimacy.

In the second holy verse the reality is stated that how the situation of everybody will be dealt with, right and wrong will be separated from each other, and, according to their responsibilities, everyone will be given reward or retribution.

It says:

“Say: ‘Our Lord will gather us together, then will He judge between us (and you) with the truth…”

He will do this and separate us from each other so that the guided ones should be recognized from the misguided ones, and every one of them receives the fruit of his own deeds.

If you see that today all people are mixed and everybody claims that he is right and is the one who will prosper, this situation will not last for ever, and the day of the separation of the groups will come.

The Lordship of Allah requires that finally there will come a Day when correct will be separated from incorrect, pure from impure and right from wrong and each of them will be set on their own place.

Now you may think what will you do on that Day? And in which group will you be? And have you made ready an answer for the questions of your Lord on that Day?

In order to make clear that this scene shall certainly occur, at the end the verse it adds:

“…and He is the greatest Judge, the All-knowing’.”

One of these two names, which are among the Most Beautiful Names of Allah, refers to His Power upon separating the men’s rows, and the next refers to His Infinite Knowledge, because separating the rows of right and wrong from each other is impossible without these two.

The Arabic term /fath/, as Raqib has said in Mufradat, originally means: ‘removing complexity and difficulty’, which is of two kinds: sometimes it is seen by the eye, like unlocking a lock; and sometimes it is understood by contemplation, like: complexity of grief, sorrows, and opening the secrets of science, and also judging between two persons and solving the problem of their conflict.

It is worthy to be noted that in some Islamic narrations the phrase ‘Ya Fattah’ has been emphasized on for solving the difficulties, since this great Name of Allah, which has been mentioned in the form of /fattah/, which is the Arabic amplification form of /fath/, refers to the Power of Allah upon opening any difficulty and putting an end to any grief and sorrow, and providing the means of any conquest and victory.

In fact, nobody is “fattah” (The Opener) except Him and the key of all closed doors is with Him, His Power.

Surah As-Saba- Verse 27

قُلْ أَرُونِيَ الَّذِينَ أَلْحَقْتُم بِهِ شُرَكَآءَ كَلاَّ بَلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ

27. “Say: ‘Show me those you have joined to Him as associates! By no means (can you do it). Nay! He is Allah, the Mighty, the Wise’.”

Again in this holy verse the Qur’an returns to the subject of Monotheism with which it had begun the words and by this subject it concludes the discussion.

It says:

“Say: ‘Show me those you have joined to Him as associates! By no means (can you do it)…”

What worth and eligibility do they have? If your objective meaning is this lifeless and silent mass of stone and wood, what a great misfortune and shame that you take the same manufacture that you yourselves have chosen from the lowest beings of the world of inanimate objects and considered as the great Lord!

If you imagine these things as the symbol of souls and angels, it is also a calamity and aberration, because they are His creatures, too, and are ready to obey Him.

Therefore, in the continuation of the verse, the Holy Qur’an with a single word nullifies their whole conjectures and says:

“…Nay!…”

These material things are never worthy of being the object of worship, and in these conjectures of yours there is not found anything of reality. Sufficient it is! You should become vigilant. How long do you continue this wrong way?

In fact, the word ‘Nay’ is a small word which has encompassed all these meanings. Then, at the end of the verse, for emphasis and strengthening this statement, it says:

“…He is Allah, the Mighty, the Wise’.”

His Honour and His Might requires that none finds any way into the realm of His Lordship, and His Wisdom also requires that He uses this Might in its correct place.

Yes, having these attributes is the sign of His being necessary existence, and the necessary existence of the world of existence is infinite and can never be more than One and has no associate and resemblance because every plurality makes him limited and possible, but the infinite being is always One.

Surah As-Saba- Verse 28

وَمَآ أَرْسَلْنَاكَ اِلاَّ كَآفَّةً لّـِلنَّاسِ بَشِيراً وَنَذِيراً وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ

28. “And We have not sent you but unto the whole of mankind, a Bearer of glad tidings and a Warner, but most of the people do not know (it).”

The prophethood of the Prophet of Islam (S) is for the whole world.

The most important function of the Divine prophets in guiding people is warning and glad tiding.

This holy verse points to the prophethood of the Prophet of Islam (S), and the verses after this verse discuss about Resurrection, and regarding to the fact that the words in the previous verses were also about Unity, they form a complete collection of religious beliefs which are fitting to the Meccan suras, such as Surah Saba.

At first, it points to the vastness of the invitation of the Prophet (S) and the generality of his prophecy over all human beings.

It says:

“And We have not sent you but unto the whole of mankind, a Bearer of glad tidings and a Warner, but most of the people do not know (it).”

The Arabic term /kaffah/ is in the sense of the palm of the hand; and since man takes things with his hands, or makes them aloof from himself, this term has sometimes been used in the sense of ‘to gather’ and sometimes in the sense of ‘to repel’.

The commentators have also suggested the both meanings probable in the verse.

The first is that it may be used in the sense of ‘to gather’, and in this case the concept of the verse is the same thing which was mentioned in the above; saying:

“And We have not sent you but unto the whole of mankind…”,

which points to the invitation of the Prophet of Islam (S) as a universal one.

The numerous authentic narrations recorded upon the commentary of this verse by the way of both Shi‘ites and Sunnites all strengthen this very interpretation, too.

Therefore, the content of the verse is like that of Surah Al-Furqan, No. 25, verse one which says:

“Blessed is He Who sent down the Furqan (the distinction of right and wrong) upon His servant that he may be a Warner to the worlds.”

And also like Surah Al-’An‘am, No. 6, verse 19 which says:

“…and this Qur’an has been revealed to me that I may warn you thereby…”

In the tradition that some of the commentators have mentioned in relation with the above verse, the generality of the invitation of the Prophet (S) is understood as one of his great honours, where he (S) says:

“Allah bestowed on me five things, and I do not say it as a boast (but I say as the gratitude of the bounty). I was appointed to all men, white and black, and the earth was appointed for me pure and purifier and (everywhere of it being) as a mosque.

The booties of war are lawful for me while they were not lawful for anyone before me. I have been aided (by fear and horror in the hearts of the enemies) so that it paves the way of one month journey in front of me; and I was given (the rank of) intercession then I have stored it for my Ummah in Hereafter.”3

Surah As-Saba- Verses 29-30

وَيَقُولُونَ مَتَي هَذَا الْوَعْدُ اِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ

قُل لَكُم مِيعَادُ يَوْمٍ لاَ تَسْتَأْخِرُونَ عَنْهُ سَاعَةً وَلاَ تَسْتَقْدِمُونَ

29. “And they say: ‘When will this promise be (fulfilled) if you are truthful’?”
30. “Say: ‘You have the appointment of a day from which you cannot hold back any while, nor can you bring it on’.”

Hereafter is an important Day and its time of occurrence is not changeable.

In view of the fact that in the former verses this meaning was pointed out that Allah will gather all people in Hereafter and will judge between them, in this verse there has been suggested a question from the side of some of the deniers of Resurrection in the following form:

“And they say: ‘When will this promise be (fulfilled) if you are truthful’?”

The deniers of Resurrection used to ask this question very frequently from the Prophet of Islam (S) or from other prophets. It was sometimes for perceiving the matter, and perhaps most often for mockery, implying that when will this resurrection that you repeatedly emphasize on come if you are truthful?

This matter points to this fact that a truthful person should know all the details of the matter he informs of. He must be aware of its qualifications, its time, and its place. In answer to them the Prophet (S) was commanded to say its time is in the Knowledge of Allah.

And also we recite in many verses of the Qur’an that no one knows the time of Hereafter but Allah, and this is of the wisdom of Allah in order that human beings always spend time in the state of ‘being prepared’ and ready.

Moreover, the luck of knowledge of details is usually not a hinder for the faith in universals. For example, from the sound of the bell of the house you are acknowledged that someone is at the door, though you do not know any detail about that person whether the one is a male or a female, how old he is and how much he knows.

The lack of your knowledge unto these things does not damage your knowledge and faith that a person rang the bell of the house. Yes, we have knowledge about the Hereafter, though we do not know its time.

The Qur’an always restrains to give a clear answer to this question and to define the time of the occurrence of Hereafter, and it emphasizes that this is one of the things the knowledge of which is with Allah and none but He is aware of it.

So, in the next verse, this very meaning is reiterated in a different sentence.

It says:

“Say: ‘You have the appointment of a day from which you cannot hold back any while, nor can you bring it on’.”

This concealment of the date of the occurrence of the Hereafter, even unto the Prophet of Islam (S), as it was also pointed out before, is for the sake that Allah desires people to have a kind of freedom of action accompanied with the constant state of ‘being ready’, since if the date of Hereafter were defined, and its time was far, everybody would live in ignorance, pride and unawareness, and when its time was near, they would lose the freedom of action and their deeds would have the emergency state, and in both cases the man’s training aims would remain barren (fruitless).

It is for this reason that the date of the occurrence of Hereafter is concealed to all. It is in the same manner the night of Qadr, the night which has the virtue of one thousand months, or the date of the reappearance of Hadrat Mahdi (as).

The content of Surah Ta-Ha, No. 20, verse 15 which says:

“Verily the Hour (of doom) is coming, (but) I will to keep it hidden so that every soul may be rewarded for its endeavour.”

is a tender hint to this very meaning.

In the meanwhile that they considered that the Prophet (S), who informed of the Hereafter should know the exact date of it, was their ultimate mistake, and it was the reason of the lack of their knowledge from the duty of the prophecy.

He was commanded only to convey the Message and to give warning and glad tidings, but the question of Hereafter relates to Allah, and it is He Who is aware of all its details, and He has given to His Prophet (S) that part of the training issues that He had decided to be necessary for him.

Here, there arises a question and it is that the holy Qur’an, threatening the opponents about the appointed time of Hereafter, says:

“…you cannot hold back any while…”,

but why does it also say:

“…nor can you bring it on”?

What effect does it have in the goal of the Qur’an?

In answer, two points must be noted to. The first is that mentioning these two with together points to the decisiveness and exactness of the date of something. Just in the same way that we say so and so matter, sooner or later, has a decisive appointed time.

The second is that a group of obstinate pagans always put the Prophet (S) in pressure that why the Hereafter did not come, and in other words, they made haste for it, whether in mockery or other than it. The Qur’an tells them not to haste; its date is the same that Allah has appointed.

  • 1. Surah Yunus, No. 10, verse 18
  • 2. The following verses can be referred to: Surah An-Naml, verse 1; Surah An-Nur, verse 12; Surah Hud, verse 6; Surah Al-Qasas, verse 2; Surah An-Naml, verse 79
  • 3. Majma‘-ul-Bayan, under the verse; and in Durr-ul-Manthur it has been narrated from Ibn-i-‘Abbas.

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