قُلْ اِنَّمَآ أَعِظُكُم بِوَاحِدَةٍ أَن تَقُومُوا لِلَّهِ مَثْنَي وَفُرَادَيثُمَّ تَتَفَكَّرُوا مَا بِصَاحِبِكُم مِن جِنَّةٍ إِنْ هُوَ اِلاَّ نَذِيرٌ لَّكُم بَيْنَ يَدَيْ عَذَابٍ شَدِيدٍ
46. “Say: ‘I exhort you only to one (thing), that rise up for Allah’s sake two by two and one by one, then ponder: there is no madness in your comrade (the Prophet), he is only a Warner to you before a severe chastisement’.”
One of the duties of the Divine prophets (as) is giving admonition to people.
In this verse, and the next verses, Allah again commands the Prophet of Islam (S) that he should invite them to the Truth by means of different proofs, and dissuade them from aberration.
Similar to the contents of the former discussions, the Prophet (S) is addressed for five times and is told to say to them as follows:
Each of the words and meanings mentioned in this verse points to an important matter that ten points of which are referred to in the following:
1- The sentence ‘I exhort you’ in fact points to this fact that your goodness and interest is considered in this saying, not in any other matter.
2- The application of the Arabic word /wahidah/ (only one thing), specially with the term /’innama/ (only) for emphasis, is a clear indication to this reality that the root of all individual and social improvements is the utilization of intellects.
Whenever the thought of a nation is inactive, it will be invaded by the thieves and robbers of faith, religion, freedom, and independence. But when thoughts become active the way will be closed to those robbers.
3- The application of the Arabic term /qiyam/ here does not mean ‘to stand on one’s two feet’, but it means readiness for performing affairs, because when a person stands on his feet he is almost ready to fulfil different programs of the life.
Therefore, contemplation needs a former preparation which brings a motion and motive into being in man so that he willingly and intentionally begins to contemplate.
4- The application of the word /lillah/ (for the sake of Allah) points to this meaning that standing and preparation must have a divine godly motive, and the contemplation which originates from such a motive is worthy.
In principle, sincerity in affairs, and even in thinking, is the cause of deliverance, happiness, and beatitude.
It is interesting that the faith in Allah has here been taken certain so contemplation for other issues is an indication to this fact that Monotheism is an innate thing which is clear even without thinking.
5- The application of the Qur’anic phrase: /mathna wa furada/ (two by two and one by one) points to this fact that pondering and contemplation must be done far from tumults.
People ought to rise singly or maximum two by two and utilize their thoughts, because contemplation inside a tumult will not be so deep, in particular that the factors of egotism and bigotry in the path of defending from one’s own belief in front of a crowd is rather more evident.
Some other commentators also believe that these two meanings are probably for this purpose that men must learn the ‘individual’ thought and the congregational thought, i.e., with consultation.
A person must both contemplate lonely and enjoy the others’ proper thoughts, because despotism in thought and judgment is often the cause of destruction; and cooperation in thought and struggle for solving the scientific difficulties, where it does not stretch to tumult, has a better effect, and it is perhaps for this reason that the word /mathna/ (two by two) has been preceded by the word /furada/ (one by one).
6- The application of the Qur’anic word /sahibikum/ (your companion), in respect to the holy Prophet (S), has an indication to this fact that he is not an unfamiliar person for you.
He has lived among you for many years, and you have known him for his deposit, perspicacity, truthfulness, and veracity. You have never seen any dark or weak point in his biography. Therefore, justly all the accusations you attribute to him are baseless.
7- The Arabic word /jinnah/ in the sense of madness is originally derived from the word /jinn/ with the sense of ‘cover’, and in view of the fact that a mad man is such that as if his wisdom were covered, this meaning has been used about him.
However, the notable point is in this that it seems to say this fact that how is it possible that an inviter to contemplation to be mad himself? And this fact that he is caller to thinking itself is an indication to his utmost wisdom and perspicacity.
8- The sentence saying:
summarizes the messengership of the Prophet of Islam (S) in the subject of ‘warning’, that is, to give warning unto people concerning the responsibilities and the court and retribution of Allah.
It is true that the Prophet has the messengership of glad tiding, too, but that which mostly makes man move is ‘warning’.
So, in some other verses of the Qur’an, ‘giving warning’ has been mentioned as the only duty of the Prophet (S); such as Surah Al-Ahqaf, No. 46, verse 9 which says:
The like of this meaning is recited in Surah Sad, No. 38, verse 65, as well as in other verses, too.
9- The application of the Qur’anic sentence:
points to this meaning that Hereafter is so nigh that as if it is in front of you; and verily, in comparison with the life-time of this world it is so, too. This meaning has also been referred to in a few Islamic narrations.
The holy Prophet (S) said:
“My appointment (to prophecy) and the establishment of Hereafter are like these two; (then he put his fore-finger and his middle finger with together and showed the audience).”1
Thus, how is it possible that our religion like Islam be a means of stupefaction or be resulted by ignorance, while its bringer addresses all human beings, in its best form, and says that they mobilize for enlivening the asleep thoughts, in a quiet environment which is empty of any tumult.
It must be in an environment far from sensual desires, and poisonous atmosphere of propaganda.
It should be far from bigotries and aloof from obstinacies.
You must rise for the sake of Allah, and contemplate only for Him.
This is the only admonition of the Prophet (S) to you, and nothing else.
Is not this laughable that such a religion, that has repeated this very invitation both here and in many other instances, be accused to stupefaction of thoughts?
In particular that he says to you to contemplate not only in solitude and individually, but also you may ponder two by two and with the help of each other. You must hearken to the content of the invitation of the divine prophets, study their reasoning and if they adapt to wisdom, you accept it.
The recent events which happened because of the raise of revolutionary Muslims during our time in different countries against the hellish powers of the East and the West, and made the world dark in the view of the tyrants and threatened the pillars of their power, showed that they had understood this point correctly that the noble religious beliefs work as their severe enemy and is counted a great danger for them; and it also showed what was the aim of these hostile accusations that they attributed to Islam.
It is verily wonderful that in the philosophical analysis of the Western sociologists this subject has been considered certain that there is not any supernatural world, and religion is an artificial phenomena made by man. Then they quarrel upon this matter that: what is its cause? Is its cause the economical affairs, or the men’s fear, or the man’s lack of cognizance, or some spiritual complexes?
But they are not ready to, for a moment, empty their mind of this wrong pre-judgment and think that there is probably another world beyond the world of nature; and that they may contemplate about the clear proofs of Monotheism and the manifest signs of the prophecy of some divine prophets, such as: Muhammad (S).
These people are not unlike to the pagans of the Age of Ignorance, with this difference that the pagans were some illiterate zealous and obstinate people, while these are also zealous and obstinate but are literate, and for this reason, they are more dangerous and more seductive.
It is interesting that the last part of many of the verses of the Qur’an contains invitation to contemplation, or comprehension, or admonition.
Sometimes it says:
And sometimes it says:
And sometimes it says:
And sometimes the same sentence is stated as addressing the believers:
There are a great deal of such meanings in the Qur’an, like invitation to: understanding, wise, wisdom, and admiring those who use their wisdom, and intensively blaming those who do not apply their thought. This meaning has been referred to in the verse under discussion.6
There are many explanations in the Qur’an about men of knowledge, scientists, and the rank of knowledge that if we try to gather all of them with together and give commentary for them, it will become an independent book by itself.
In this respect it is enough to say that the holy Qur’an has mentioned one of the qualities of hellish people the lack of contemplation and wisdom, where it says about them:
In another occurrence, it implies that, in principle, there are some persons who have ears but they do not hear, they have eyes but they do not see, they have mind but they do not ponder.
The verse says:
1- In a tradition Imam Ali-ibn-Musa-ar-Rida (as) says:
“Worship is not by abundant prayer and fasting. Verily the real worship is contemplation in the work of Allah, Almighty and Glorious.”9
2- Another tradition indicates that most of the worship of Abuthar was contemplation.10
3- In a tradition we read that once someone asked Imam Sadiq (as) about the meaning of the statement of the Prophet (S) who said:
“One hour of contemplation is better than one night of worship.”
And how should this contemplation be done?
The Imam (as), in answer to him, said:
“When he passes by a ruin or a (ruined) house (empty of dwellers) he should say to the house:
‘Where have your dwellers gone? What happened to your founders? Why do not you speak?”11
4- Amir-ul-Mu’mineen Ali (as) says:
“Contemplation invites to goodness and acting to it.”12
Imam Ali (as) said:
“Before making decision do ponder, consult before that you regret, and think deeply before you attack.”13
قُلْ مَآ سَأَلْتُكُم مِنْ أَجْرٍ فَهُوَ لَكُمْ إِنْ أَجْرِيَ إِلاَّ عَلَي اللَّهِ وَهُوَ عَلَي كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدٌ
قُلْ إِنَّ رَبّـِي يَقْذِفُ بِالْحَقِ عَلاَّمُ الْغُيُوبِ
47. “Say: ‘Whatever reward I have asked of you, it is for yourselves; my reward is only with Allah; and He is witness over all things’.”
48. “Say: ‘My Lord hurls the truth (on hearts), the great Knower of the Unseen’.”
The Divine emissaries ought to announce for people that they expect nothing from them; because if a spiritual leader expect some material thing from people, the society may not bear him.
In this holy verse and the following verses Allah orders His Messenger for five times that he should speak with those faithless aberrant people in different ways and shut the door of excuse to them.
In the previous verse, the words were about invitation to contemplation and about the negation of any lack of spiritual equilibrium in the Prophet (S).
In the first verse under discussion the words are about the lack of asking any reward from people for the Messengership.
This matter points to this fact that whatever a wise person does must naturally have a motive. When my perfect intellect is proved to you and you see that I have no material motive, you should know that the Divine and spiritual motive has made me do it.
In other words, I invited you to ponder. Now you do think and ask your own conscience what has caused me to warn you against the intense punishment of Allah? What benefit do I get from this, and what kind of material profit does it have for me?
In addition, if your pretext for this turning away from the truth is this that you must pay a dear price for it, principally, I have asked no compensate and reward from you.
This very meaning is clearly mentioned in Surah Al-Qalam, No. 68, verse 46 which says:
Upon the meaning of the Qur’anic phrase /fa huwa lakum/ (it is for yourselves) there are two commentaries: the first is that it may be an implicit declaration of the lack of asking for any kind of reward absolutely; like that we say:
Indicating that, I have wanted nothing from you. The witness to this statement is the sentence next to it which says:
The second is that: if you see that in some of my words that I have brought from my Lord I have told you:
The profit of this also returns to you, because the concept of the sentence: ‘The love of those near of kin’ returns to ‘deposit and Wilayah’ which is the continuation of the subject of messengership, that which is also necessary for the continuation of your guidance.
The evidence upon this recent statement is the occasion of revelation narrated here by some commentators.
They have said when the verse saying:
was revealed, the Prophet (S) told the pagans of Mecca:
“Do not annoy my relatives”
and they accepted this suggestion, too. But when the Prophet (S) said something bad against their idols, they said that Muhammad did not treat us justly.
From one side he wanted us we would not annoy his relatives, but on the other side, by saying something bad against our gods, he annoys us. It was here that the recently mentioned verse was revealed and told them that whatever the Prophet (S) wanted from them in this regard was for their own benefit, now the pagans may hurt them or not.15
And, at the end of the verse, it says:
If I ask my reward from him it is for the sake that He is aware of all my deeds and intentions.
Moreover, He is a witness to my legitimacy, because it is He Who has given me these clear signs and miracles.
And verily He is the best witness, because the one who knows the facts better than all, and can deliver it better than anyone, and there comes out of him nothing but the truth, he is the best witness, and He is Allah.
Regarding to what was said about the legitimacy of the invitation of the Prophet (S), the next verse implicitly says that Qur’an is a reality which is undeniable and it has been cast on the heart of the Prophet (S) from the side of Allah, and it announces:
Regarding to the fact that the Arabic word /yaqŏifu/ is derived from /qaŏf/ in the sense of ‘to throw from a far point’ or ‘to throw from a far distance’, there have been delivered different commentaries upon this verse which are consistent with each other.
The first is that: the purpose of ‘hurls the truth’ is casting the content of the heavenly Books and Divine revelation upon the hearts of the Divine prophets and the messengers of Allah, because as the result of being ‘Knower of the Unseen’ He knows the receptive hearts and chooses them and casts the revelation upon them so that it penetrates deeply into them.
Thus, this statement is not unlike to the tradition which says:
The application of ‘Knower of the Unseen’ verifies this.
Some others have said that its purpose is: ‘casting the Truth on the falsehood and knocking down the wrong by the ‘Truth. That is, the Truth has such a power that it removes all the barriers out of its way and none is able to stand against it. So, it is a threat against the opponents that they might not rise against the Qur’an, and know that the legitimacy of the Qur’an will defeat them.
In this case, it is similar to the matter which is mentioned in Surah Al-’Anbiya’, No. 21, verse 18 which says:
This probability has also been suggested that the purpose of the application of /qaŏf/ here is the penetration of the legitimacy of the Qur’an in both near and far points of the world and pointing to this fact that finally this heavenly revelation will be worldly and its light will light everywhere.
قُلْ جَآءَ الْحَقُّ وَمَا يُبْدِئُ الْبَاطِلُ وَمَا يُعِيدُ
قُلْ إِن ضَلَلْتُ فَإِنَّمَآ أَضِلُّ عَلَي نَفْسِي وَإِنِ اهْتَدَيْتُ فَبِمَـا يُوحِي اِلَيَّ رَبّـِي اِنَّهُ سَمِيعٌ قَرِيبٌ
49. “Say: ‘The Truth has come, and falsehood neither brings forth anything nor does it reproduce (it)’.”
50. “Say: ‘If I astray, I astray only against my own self, and if I am guided aright, it is of what my Lord has revealed unto me. Verily He is All-Hearing, the (Most) Nigh’.”
The Truth defeats the falsehood and is victorious over it.
In this verse, Allah commands:
Thus, falsehood can do nothing against the Truth and it has no function before it: neither a new function which is initiator, nor a repeated function, because its plans are entirely destroyed, and that is just why it cannot cover the light of the truth and wipe out its effect from the memories.
Some commentators have tried to limit the denotation expansions of the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ in this verse into some few ones, but it is clear that the concept of those two is very vast.
The Qur’an, the Divine revelation and the whole teachings of Islam are all gathered in the concept of ‘the Truth’, and polytheism, paganism, misguidance, injustice, sin, satanic temptations, and tyrannical primordial innovation all are simply compiled in the meaning of ‘falsehood’.
In fact, this verse is like Surah Al-’Isra’, No. 17, verse 81 which says:
Question: Why does falsehood still exist after coming the Qur’an and the Prophet of the Truth?
Answer: The logical and scientific sovereignty is different from practical and executive sovereignty. Whatever relates to Allah is sending the Truth, and that which relates to us is action and executing the Truth.
This is what we practically did not perform. Yes, the return of the health of a sick person depends on a correct prescription and consuming its medicine. One of them is the duty of physician and the other is the duty of the sick person.
Then, in order to make clear that whatever he says is from the side of Allah, and that the entire guidance is from Him, and that there happens no mistake in the Divine revelation, in the next verse,
That is, if I, too, be left alone to myself, as you claim, I will become astray, because finding the way of the Truth from among the mass of wrong ways is not possible except by His help; and the light of guidance in which there is no aberration, is the light of His revelation.
Then, you may come nigh toward this light, the Divine revelation, in order that you come out from the realm of darkness and arrive into the realm of light.
At the end of the verse, the Qur’an says:
You should not think that He may not hear our words and yours; or He hears them but He is far from us. No, He is both Hearing and Nigh. Therefore, nothing of our speaking and our demands is concealed to Him.
وَلَوْ تَرَي اِذْ فَزِعُوا فَلاَ فَوْتَ وَاُخِذُوا مِن مَكَانٍ قَرِيبٍ
وَقَالُوا ءَامَنَّا بِهِ وَأَنَّي لَهُمُ التَّنَاوُشُ مِن مَكَانٍ بَعِيدٍ
51. “And could you see when they shall become terrified, but (then) there shall be no escape and they shall be seized upon a near place (you will surprise),”
52. “And they shall say: ‘We believe in it’, and how shall the attaining (of faith) be possible to them from a distance place?”
The impatience and fear of polytheists and their asking for help do not solve any problem out of their problems for them, because polytheists have no place of refuge.
Regarding to the discussions about the obstinate polytheists mentioned in the former verses, the above verses address the Prophet (S) again and illustrate the circumstance of this group when they are in the grips of the Divine chastisement, showing that how they will think of Faith after that they will be involved in it, but their faith will not be useful for them.
The opinions of the commentators are divided upon that to which time this impatience and fear relate.
Some of them believe that this status relates to the worldly chastisement or to the chastisement at the time of their death, while some others say that it relates to the punishment of the Day of Hereafter.
But in the last verse of the verses under discussion, there is a meaning which shows that these verses are all related to this world and the worldly sudden punishment for incorrigible wrong doers, or the punishment of the time of giving up one’s life, because in that verse the Qur’an says:
This meaning does not adapt to the punishment of the Day of Hereafter, because, on that Day, all will be gathered with together for Reckoning, as Surah Hud, No. 11, verse 103 says:
And Surah Al-Waqi‘ah, No. 56, verses 49-50 say:
Therefore, the purpose of the sentence: “…they shall be seized upon a near place” is that these faithless and cruel persons not only cannot escape from the realm of the Power of Allah, but also He will seize them from a place which is very near to them.
Were not the Pharaohs buried under the waves of the Nile which was the capital of their honour? Did not Korah sink into the earth with his treasures?
Did not the people of Sheba whose story is referred to in this very Surah afflict from the nearest place, i.e., the same great dam which was in the midst of their city and was the cause of their life and motion? So, Allah afflicts them from the nearest place in order that they see His Power.
A great deal of unjust kings were killed or destroyed by their nearest men; and many of the cruel powerful men received the last stroke from the inside of their homes.
Many Islamic narrations, introduced by the way of the Shi‘ites and the Sunnites, have adapted this verse to the revolt of Sufyani.
(There are a group of people who follow the school of thought of Abu-Sufyan, the continuation of the thought of the Age of Ignorance, who will raise against the adherents of the Truth in the threshold of the reappearance of Mahdi (as) and his army.)
At time when they will be going toward Mecca to occupy it they will afflict the Divine punishment. A severe earth-quake causes that the earth will split asunder and they will fall into it.
This meaning, in fact, is the statement of one of the expansions of the Qur’anic phrase:
that they shall meet the Divine punishment in a place where on they are standing.
Ibn-’Abbas, Ibn-Mas‘ud, Abu-Hurayrah, Abu-Hathifah, Umm-us-Salamah, and ‘Ayishah, according to what has been mentioned in the books of the Sunnites, have narrated the content of this tradition from the Messenger of Allah (S).17
And many of the commentators of the Shi‘ites have recorded this tradition in their commentary Books, such as: Qummi, Majma‘-ul-Bayan, Nur-uth-Thaqalayn, and As-Safi. Also a group of the commentators of the Sunnites such as the writer of the Commentary of Ruh-ul-Ma‘ani and Rauh-ul-Bayan, and Qurtubi have narrated it following to the verses under discussion.
The Late ‘Allamah Majlisi has narrated a lot of traditions in this regard in Bihar-ul-’Anwar from Imam Muhammad Baqir (as) and from the Prophet (S) which show that one of the denotation expansions of the verses under discussion is the revolt of Sufyani at the time of reappearance of Hadrat Mahdi (as), when Allah will seize and destroy them from the nearest place to them.18
As it has repeatedly been said, the narrations which are mentioned upon the commentary of the verses of the Qur’an mostly refer to the clear denotation expansions and they are never as a reason for limiting the concepts of them.
In the next verse, their circumstance, when they are involved in the grips of the Divine chastisement, is explained. It implicitly says that they will say they believe in the Qur’an, in its bringer, and in Origin and End.
Yes, when the death and the sudden punishment come, the doors of return will absolutely be closed, and, as if, there will be created a firm dam between man and recompense of the past wrong deeds. For this very reason, expression of Faith at that time is done from a very far distance.
Principally, such a faith which is compulsory, and is because of extraordinary terror of the punishment they see by their own eyes, is not valuable.
Therefore, some other verses of the Qur’an say:
The Arabic word /tanawuš/ is derived from /nauš/ in the sense of ‘taking something’, and some have taken it in the sense of ‘to take easily’, i.e., how can they reach an aim easily which is very far?
وَقَدْ كَفَرُوا بِهِ مِن قَبْلُ وَيَقْذِفُونَ بِالْغَيْبِ مِن مَكَانٍ بَعِيدٍ
وَحِيلَ بَيْنَهُمْ وَبَيْنَ مَا يَشْتَهُونَ كَمَا فُعِلَ بِاَشْيَاعِهِم مِن قَبْلُ اِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا فِي شَكٍّ مُّرِيبٍ
53. “And indeed they did disbelieve in it before, and aim their conjectures about the unseen from a distant place.”
54. “And a barrier shall be set between them and that which they desire, as was done unto the likes of them afore-time; for they have been in a disquieting doubt.”
Those who were denigrating the Prophet (S) and the Qur’an yesterday, today that they have encountered a straiten circumstance, they believe, but what is its benefit?
In these verses, which are the last verses of Surah Saba, the Qur’an implicitly says: now that every thing has ended, how can they compensate their faults and believe? While before that when they were in the utmost freedom and authority, they disbelieved.
The verse says:
They not only disbelieved, but forged kinds of accusations to the Prophet of Islam (S) and his teachings.
The verse continues sayings:
As we said before, the Arabic word /qaŏf/ means ‘to throw something’, and the Qur’anic word /qayb/ means the world of beyond sense, and the Arabic phrase /makanin ba‘id/ means ‘a distant place’, and totally is a tender allusion of a person who judges about the world of supper-nature without having any knowledge, in the same manner that throwing something from a distant place rarely strikes to the target.
This conjecture and judgment of their does not strike the aim either.
Sometimes they called the Prophet (S) ‘sorcerer’, sometimes ‘mad’, and sometimes ‘a liar’.
Sometimes they considered the Qur’an as the production of the thought of a man, and sometimes they entirely denied the Paradise, the Hell, and Hereafter. All of these were a kind of ‘stoning to unseen’, ‘throwing an arrow in darkness’, and ‘throwing something from a distant place’.
Then it adds that finally death separated them from what they desired:
In a painful moment, they see that all their wealth and properties, all their castles and positions, and their desires are separated from them. Those who had clasped to even a penny and could not leave the least material possibilities, how will they be at the moment when they must suddenly say farewell to all of them and shut their eyes and go toward a dark and terrible future?
How beautiful says Amir-ul-Mu’mineen Ali (as) when he illustrates the moments of death and separation from the bounties of the world through his delightful words in the clearest form. He (as) says:
“…Pangs of death and grief for losing (this world) have surrounded them. Consequently their limbs become languid and their complexion changes. Then death increases its struggle over them.
In one of them, it stands in between him and his power of speaking although he lies among his people, looking with eyes, hearing with his ears, with full wits and intelligence. He then thinks over how he wasted his life and in what (activities) he passed his time.
He recalls the wealth he collected when he had blinded himself in seeking it, and acquired it from fair and foul sources. Now the consequences of collecting it have overtaken him. He gets ready to leave it. It would remain for those who are behind him. They would enjoy it and benefit by it.
It would be an easy acquisition for others but a burden on his back, and the man cannot get rid of it. He would thereupon bite his hands with teeth out of shame for what was disclosed to him about his affairs at the time of his death.
He would dislike what he coveted during the days of his life and would wish that he who envied him on account of it and felt jealous over him for it should have amassed it instead of he himself.”
Finally, in the last sentence of the verse under discussion, it implies that the reason of all these things is that they always spent their life in doubt and, naturally, such fate was waiting for them.
The verse says:
O’ Lord! Set us among those believers who before losing opportunities awaken and try to compensate whatever they had missed.
O’ Lord! Appoint us of those who at the time of affluence begin thanksgiving and do not become proud and neglectful, and that at the time of afflictions they do not complain but they take a lesson.