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Surah al-Zukhruf, Verses 40 - 63

Surah al-Zukhruf - Verse 40

أَفَأَنْتَ تُسْمِعُ الصُّمَّ أَوْ تَهْدِي الْعُمْيَ وَمَنْ كَانَ فِي ضَلالٍ مُبِينٍ

40. Can you [O Muhammad!] make the deaf to hear, or can you guide the blind or him who is in manifest error?

Divine Word may solely affect the God fearing who are alive at heart. The message of the Messenger of God (S) may not affect those who are not prepared to give ears to his words.

Addressing the Noble Prophet (S), thus the blessed Verse inquires him:

“Do you expect to make the deaf listen to you or can you guide the blind to the path of Guidance? Are you able to make those who are astray and tread the path of manifest error to turn toward the right path of the Islamic faith?

It is beyond your means. One whose heart is covered by the dark veil of neglect, vanity, and arrogance and the eyes and ears of his heart are blind and deaf may never be affected by Qur’anic Verses, the Divine Message revealed to the Messenger of God (S), so that he may proceed toward the Truth. It will be of no avail.”

Surah al-Zukhruf - Verses 41 - 42

فَإِمَّا نَذْهَبَنَّ بِكَ فَإِنَّا مِنْهُمْ مُنْتَقِمُونَ

أَوْ نُرِيَنَّكَ الَّذِي وَعَدْنَاهُمْ فَإِنَّا عَلَيْهِمْ مُقْتَدِرُونَ

41. And when We take you away [from among them], We shall indeed take vengeance on them.
42. Or [if you happen to be alive] We show you that wherewith We threaten them: then verily We have perfect command over them.

Disbelievers should not imagine that they will not be chastised so long as the Noble Prophet (S) is alive, or there will be no chastisement following his demise. By Divine Chastisement, Divine Just Recompense, rather than hatred and abhorrence as the source of human vengeance, is intended.

The blessed Verse is a consolation to the Prophet (S) saying that if God Almighty takes him to His Closeness of Mercy before his taking vengeance of disbelievers, He will take his vengeance of them.

It is also said that the Verse means that if God Almighty takes him from Mecca without his taking vengeance of Quraysh disbelievers, He will take vengeance of them on the day of the Battle of Badr.

It is mentioned in the Prophet’s Household’s (as) exegesis that God Almighty will take vengeance of them through ‘Ali (as).1

Two points may be inferred from the blessed Verse in question.

Firstly, reference is made to the Noble Messenger of God (S) as

“a Mercy bestowed upon the world,”

since he tolerated all the polytheists’ persecutions and it is unknown whether he ever cursed them but it is known that he asked God Almighty to bestow forgiving upon them through His Mercy and Favor.

It is mentioned in the Qur’an:

“Whether you [O Muhammad (S)!] ask forgiveness for them or ask not forgiveness for them [and even] if you ask seventy times for their forgiveness – Allah will not forgive them,”2).

Secondly, the afflictions other than jihad inflicted on disbelievers by Divine Command might have been inconsistent with his noble disposition since Quraysh disbelievers were his kith and kin and despite their dire persecutions he did not wish for their being afflicted by Divine torment; as a consequence of which he is told that when we take you from the world or when you emigrate from Mecca God Almighty will take vengeance of them which is confirmed by another Qur’anic Verse,

“And Allah would not chastise them while you are amongst them”3.

Verse 42 is a consolation for the Noble Prophet (S) according to which God Almighty will take vengeance of them following his demise or emigration from Mecca to Medina.

It may also serve as a warning to Meccans to the effect that God Almighty will take His Messenger’s (S) vengeance of them in his lifetime in the Battle of Badr or at a later time. God Almighty is Omnipotent and may take vengeance of them at any time.

Surah al-Zukhruf - Verses 43 - 44

فَاسْتَمْسِكْ بِالَّذِي أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ إِنَّكَ عَلَی صِرَاطٍ مُسْتَقِيمٍ

وَإِنَّهُ لَذِكْرٌ لَكَ وَلِقَوْمِكَ وَسَوْفَ تُسْأَلونَ

43. Therefore, hold you fast to that which is revealed to you. Indeed you are on the Straight Path.
44. And verily this [the Holy Qur’an] is indeed a Reminder [and a Glory] for you and your people and you will be questioned [about it].

One who is on the Right Path benefiting from Divine Revelation is supposed to be assiduous and of lively disposition in his work:

(“hold you fast”)

and he is supposed to entertain doubts regarding his true beliefs because of people’s oppositions:

(“Indeed you are on the Straight Path”).

Addressing His Noble Prophet (S), God Almighty says unto him:

“O Muhammad (S)! Do not disturb your noble disposition by disbelievers’ persistence in staying in error and the contemptuous words they say about you and hold fast to Qur’anic Verses and Divine Traditions revealed to you by God Almighty and be content that your are certainly on the Straight Path.”

The antecedent of “this” (inna-hu) is the Holy Qur’an in which lie the glory, honor, and the Straight Path for you and your followers. You and your people will be asked about the Holy Qur’an before long on the Day of Resurrection.

The Divine Book is full of Wisdom and Beacons of the Path to human felicity and virtue and you will be asked about what you did with Its instructions.

Surah al-Zukhruf - Verse 45

وَاسْأَلْ مَنْ أَرْسَلْنَا مِنْ قَبْلِكَ مِنْ رُسُلِنَا أَجَعَلْنَا مِنْ دُونِ الرَّحْمَنِ آلِهَةً يُعْبَدُونَ

45. And ask those of Our Messengers [through their followers or by consulting their Books] whom We sent before you: “Did We ever appoint gods to be worshipped besides the Most Gracious [Allah]?”

Divine Unity is a dogmatic principle shared by all religions and the Noble Prophet of the Islamic faith (S) pursues the Call of his predecessors:

(“And ask those of Our Messengers whom We sent before you”).

To reject idolatry and polytheist beliefs, the blessed Verse in question says:

“Inquire of the messengers sent before you whether we asked them to worship gods other than the Most Gracious Allah.”

The Verse is a reference to the messengers of God who called people to believe in Divine Unity and they decisively condemned polytheism en masse.

Therefore, the opposition of the Noble Prophet of Islam (S) against idolatry was not unprecedented, but he solely revived his predecessors’ long standing tradition; however, idolaters and polytheists proceed against the Path beaconed by all prophets.

According to the present exegesis it is the Noble Prophet of Islam (S) who was inquired about his predecessors, but all communities and even his opponents are asked the same question.

Those inquired include the followers of earlier prophets, their true and trustworthy adherents, or even laity among them, since their words lead to a unanimous assertion (khabar mutawatir) bearing testimony to the prophets’ belief in Divine Unity.

It is to be noted that even those deviating from the dogma of Divine Unity, e.g. Christians of modern times believing in trinity, still discuss the question of Divine Unity saying that their trinity is not inconsistent with Divine Unity as a dogmatic principle shared by all prophets! Thus, inquiring from these peoples will suffice to negate polytheist claims.

Yet, some exegets also maintain that another possibility exists as to the interpretation of the Verse in question based on a number of traditions.4

It is also worthy of note that from among the Beautiful Divine Names,

“the Most Gracious” (Rahman)

receives emphasis in the Verse which makes references to the all inclusiveness of Divine Mercy and the fact that some people worship idols who engender neither gain nor loss.

Surah al-Zukhruf - Verses 46 - 47

وَلَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا مُوسَى بِآياتِنَا إِلَی فِرْعَوْنَ وَمَلَأِهِ فَقَالَ إِنِّي رَسُولُ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

فَلَمَّا جَاءَهُمْ بِآياتِنَا إِذَا هُمْ مِنْهَا يَضْحَكُونَ

46. And indeed We did send Moses with Our Ayat [Signs, Miracles, Verses] to Pharaoh and his chiefs. Then he said: “Indeed, I am a Messenger of the Lord of the world.
47. But when he came to them with Our Ayat, they laughed at them [Ayat and Miracles].

Mention is again herein made of the story of Moses (as), Pharaoh, and the Children of Israel since the destiny of Moses (as) and his people resembles that of the Prophet of Islam (S) and the people of Mecca – Pharaoh made excuses about Moses’ (as) poverty saying that he is the sovereign in Egypt and likewise the chiefs of Meccan disbelievers regarded the Prophet of Islam (S) poor and an orphan where as they considered themselves to be men of substance and dignity.

It is needless to say that mockery and derision indicates their opponents’ lightheadedness and frivolity.

The two blessed Verses are revealed as a consolation to the Prophet of Islam (S) by which mention is made of the story of Moses (as) saying that God Almighty sent him with many a miracle, e.g. the walking stick that turned into a serpent, his hand that shined when he took it out of his armpit, locusts, lice, frogs, and blood serving as tokens of his Divine appointment to prophethood since he was ordered by the Lord of Creation to guide Pharaoh and the dignitaries of his land.

According to Verse 47, when Moses (as) said that he had been sent by the Lord of the World and presenting his walking stick and his shining hand as proofs of his prophethood, Pharaoh and his followers, instead of using their intellect to distinguish between sorcery and miracle and acknowledge his prophethood, derided him.

Surah al-Zukhruf - Verses 48 - 50

وَمَا نُرِيهِمْ مِنْ آيَةٍ إِلَّا هِيَ أَكْبَرُ مِنْ أُخْتِهَا وَأَخَذْنَاهُمْ بِالْعَذَابِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ

وَقَالُوا يَا أَيُّهَا السَّاحِرُ ادْعُ لَنَا رَبَّكَ بِمَا عَهِدَ عِنْدَكَ إِنَّنَا لَمُهْتَدُونَ

فَلَمَّا كَشَفْنَا عَنْهُمُ الْعَذَابَ إِذَا هُمْ يَنْكُثُونَ

48. And not a miracle We showed them but it was greater than another and We seized them with torment in order that they might return [to Monotheism].
49. And they said: “O you sorcerer! Invoke your Lord for us [to remove the torment from us. Then, we] will certainly acknowledge your guidance.”
50. But when [because of Moses’ invocation] We removed the torment from them, they broke their covenant [and disbelieved].

Sending down Divine Guidance precedes chastisement:

(“and not a miracle We showed them”).

Divine Wrath in this world is for people to return to Monotheism). Inasmuch as Pharaoh and his people waxed their disbelief and denial of truth, God Almighty made Moses (as) show them a greater miracle inflicting torments on them, e.g. swarms of locusts descended upon them.

Following supplications, they asked for a covenant to the effect that if the affliction be removed from them, they will believe, but after the removal of the affliction, they broke their covenant and persisted in their disbelief.

They were also afflicted with lice, frogs, blood in their water and the like in order that they may acknowledge Moses’ (as) Call and return to Monotheism. Despite the diversity of Moses’ (as) miracles, they all concerned natural phenomena, e.g. animate beings.

Likewise, other prophets presented their peoples with miracles. Though the Noble Prophet of Islam (S) presented miracles concerned with extraordinary phenomena but his main miracle is the inimitability of the Holy Qur’an revealing the Divine Dominion and the secrets of His Sovereignty through which man may acquaint himself with intangible worlds thanks to Which human soul and perception of truth may exceed the realm of natural phenomena and find acquaintance with the metaphysical world.

It is an intelligible matter that the world, particularly human species as they follow Allah’s Laws constantly proceeds toward perfection and the Islamic faith is supposed to serve as Divine Guidance for mankind to the Resurrection Day; as a consequence of which Prophetic miracles are supposed to exceed natural and tangible phenomena and beacon man toward spirituality so that he may avail himself of Divine Guidance and everyone may benefit from this inimitable Divine Word on the basis of his faculties and capabilities; however, other prophets’ miracles suited their contemporaries.

Verse 49 says that when Pharaoh’s people were afflicted with torments, they took refuge with Moses (as) and since common people were too ignorant to draw a distinction between miracle and sorcery, they regarded him as a great sorcerer and inquired of him to invoke his Lord and ask Him to remove the torments from them thanks to His covenant with him.

The covenant may refer to his prophethood, answering his invocation by his Lord, or the one according to which anyone opposing him will be afflicted with torment.

They asked Moses (as) to invoke his Lord to remove the torment from them so that they believe in his Call and find Guidance. Verse 50 says that when the torments were removed from them thanks to Moses’ (as) invocations, they broke their covenant and persisted in their disbelief.

These are all lessons to be taken by Muslims and a consolation to the Noble Prophet (S) to preserver tirelessly despite his opponents’ obduracy and animosity without entertaining hopelessness in his heart.

Muslims may hereby take a lesson from the story of Moses (as) and the Children of Israel who despite hardships attained to victory over Pharaoh and his people. It also serves as a warning to the obdurate enemies of Islam so that they may see the fate of disbelievers and take a lesson from their dire fate.

Surah al-Zukhruf - Verses 51 - 52

وَنَادَی فِرْعَوْنُ فِي قَوْمِهِ قَالَ يَا قَوْمِ أَلَيْسَ لِي مُلْكُ مِصْرَ وَهَذِهِ الْأَنْهَارُ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِي أَفَلا تُبْصِرُونَ

أَمْ أَنَا خَيْرٌ مِنْ هَذَا الَّذِي هُوَ مَهِينٌ وَلا يَكَادُ يُبِينُ

51. And Pharaoh proclaimed among his people: “O my people! Is not mine the dominion of Egypt and these rivers flowing underneath [my palace]? See you not [my greatness]?”
52. “Am I not better than this one who is despicable and can scarcely express himself clearly?”

As mentioned in the Holy Qur’an, the clause:

“Am I not better” (ana khayrun)

is uttered by Iblis and Pharaoh. These two Verse clearly reveal fear, vainglory, despotism, vanity, false belief, reliance on worldly possessions, and the use of adornments which are characteristics of tyrants.

Having premonitions, tyrants make attempts at propaganda:

(“And Pharaoh proclaimed”).

Lacking logicality, tyrants rely on their palaces and worldly possessions;

(“Is not mine the dominion of Egypt?”).

The blessed Verse 51 says that when Pharaoh with his great power and glory failed to resist Moses (as) and noticed that Moses’ (as) followers are on the increase, resorted to hypocrisy and ordered his men to gather people so that he may deceive them by his sovereignty and worldly possessions and make himself greater in their eyes.

Addressing the believing Children of Israel he said:

“Is not mine the dominion of Egypt and these rivers flowing underneath [my palace]? Am I not better than this one who is despicable and can scarcely express himself clearly?”

It is reported from some exegets in Atyab al-Bayan and Majma’ al-Bayan that when God Almighty send Moses (as) to Pharaoh, he removed his stuttering, as mentioned in the Holy Qur’an:

“And loose the knot from my tongue”5

to whom God Almighty answered thus:

“You are granted your request, O Moses!”6.

Pharaoh meant to remind people of former times and reveal Moses’ (as) speech defect.

Surah al-Zukhruf - Verses 53 - 54

فَلَوْلا أُلْقِيَ عَلَيْهِ أَسْوِرَةٌ مِنْ ذَهَبٍ أَوْ جَاءَ مَعَهُ الْمَلائِكَةُ مُقْتَرِنِينَ

فَاسْتَخَفَّ قَوْمَهُ فَأَطَاعُوهُ إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا قَوْماً فَاسِقِينَ

53. “[If Moses is in the right] whey then are not golden bracelets bestowed on him or [as a proof of his prophethood] angels sent along with him?”
54. Thus he [Pharaoh] belittled his people and they obeyed him. Indeed they were a people who were disobedient [to Allah].

One who lacks sensibility resorts to worldly possessions and adornments and regards such possessions as a token of truthfulness and the lack of the same as a sign of falsehood:

(“[If Moses is in the right] whey then are not golden bracelets bestowed on him”).

It is the job of tyrants to make attempts at weakening Divine leadership and resorting to befooling others.

Blind devotion and obedience have their roots in cultural poverty, narrow mindedness, and superficiality:

(“Thus he belittled his people and they obeyed him”).

Verse 53 says that Pharaoh adds to his idle words saying that if Moses (as) is Divinely appointed to prophethood, why is he not wearing gold bracelets.

It is said that whoever was vested with governorship at the hand of Pharaoh, he would receive a gold bracelet and necklace and such adornments served as tokens of his rule.

He uttered such baseless words to show that Moses (as) did not deserve prophethood since he neither had worldly possessions nor did invisible beings like angels accompanied him to render him aid thereby he questioned adherence to him.

According to Verse 54, having deceived his people and hindered them from using their reason by his baseless words, they compared Divine honor with mundane glory as the majority of common people at any time make no distinction between true spiritual honor and the mundane and untrue one unaware of the truth that Divine honor whose perfect representation is prophethood springs from another source.

Surah al-Zukhruf - Verses 55 - 56

فَلَمَّا آسَفُونَا انْتَقَمْنَا مِنْهُمْ فَأَغْرَقْنَاهُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ

فَجَعَلْنَاهُمْ سَلَفاً وَمَثَلاً لِلْآخِرِينَ

55. Therefore, when they angered Us, We chastised them and drowned all of them.
56. And We made them an [evil] precedent and an example to later generations.

At times, people see their recompense in this world besides the one on the Day of Resurrection:

(“[We] drowned all of them”).

In the sphere of rebellion and exceeding bounds, those who issue and obey orders meet their dire end together:

(“all of them”).

Divine Wrath and Vengeance is for the sake of man’s deeds. History bears witness to the fact that destruction of tyrannical rules is an inevitable Divine Law:

(“And We made them an [evil] precedent and an example to later generations.”

In these Verses, God Almighty informs his Prophet (S) that when Pharaoh went to extremes in his rebellion and disobedience and angered God Almighty and Divinely appointed prophets, vengeance was taken of him and his followers and they were all drowned.

Verse 56 says that God Almighty set them a precedent and an example for disbelievers of later generations so that they learn that God is Wrathful and takes vengeance of disbelievers and is the Most Gracious Lord at the time of Mercy.

Surah al-Zukhruf - Verses 57 - 60

وَلَمَّا ضُرِبَ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ مَثَلاً إِذَا قَوْمُكَ مِنْهُ يَصِدُّونَ

وَقَالُوا أَآلِهَتُنَا خَيْرٌ أَمْ هُوَ مَا ضَرَبُوهُ لَكَ إِلَّا جَدَلاً بَلْ هُمْ قَوْمٌ خَصِمُونَ

إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا عَبْدٌ أَنْعَمْنَا عَلَيْهِ وَجَعَلْنَاهُ مَثَلاً لِبَنِي إِسْرائيلَ

وَلَوْ نَشَاءُ لَجَعَلْنَا مِنْكُمْ مَلائِكَةً فِي الْأَرْضِ يَخْلُفُونَ

57. And when the son of Mary (as) is quoted [by idolaters] as an example [that if objects of worship besides God will go to Hell, He will go there as well], your people cried out derisively [at the example].
58. And said: “Are your gods better or is he [better]? [If Jesus (as) who is better than our objects of worship is in Hell, ending up in Hell is neither important to us nor to our objects of worship.] They quoted not the above example except for argument but they are a quarrelsome people.
59. He [Jesus (as)] was not more than a servant. We granted Our Favor to him and We made him an example for the Children of Israel.
60. And if it were Our Will, We would have made angels to replace you on the earth.

Upon the revelation of:

“Disbelievers and the objects of worship [besides Allah] are fuel for Hell!”7,

the Noble Prophet of Islam (S) was asked:

“If it is true, Jesus (as) and Ezra (as) are the objects of worship for Christians and Jews and according to the Verse, they will be the fuel for Hell! If Jesus (as) is in Hell, We and our idols wish to be admitted to Hell.”

Disbelievers cried out derisively.

The Noble Prophet (S) replied:

“Objects of worship from amongst men who wish to be worshipped, like Pharaoh, will go to Hell, but Jesus (as) and Ezra (as) never wished to be worshipped.”

There are many reports narrated by exegets regarding the point in question,8 the summary of their contents is that the Noble Prophet (S) said:

“‘Ali (as) among my people is like Jesus (as) son of Mary among his people.”

His people dislike his words and uttered words mentioned in the following Verse.

The Noble Prophet (S) means that Jesus’ (as) followers divided into three sects:

1. A Jewish sect that turned into Jesus’ (as) bitterest enemies, hated him, and attributed false claims to him

2. A Christian sect that went to the extreme regarding him and regarded him as the Son of God and God Himself

3. A moderate sect that regarded him as the Arch-prophet, the Messenger of God, and God’s servant.

The first two sects went to extreme and became disbelievers and were condemned to torments in Hell. The third sect found deliverance and felicity. Likewise, a sect was the bitterest enemy of ‘Ali (as) and even attributed disbelief to him, e.g. tyrants, Ummayads, and Kharijis.

They entertained hatred against ‘Ali (as) and on the tenth day (‘Ashura) of Muharrum said unto Abi ‘Abd Allah (as):

“Verily, we will enter into battle with you out of hatred in the same manner that we did with your father and what we did in the Battles of Badr and Hunayn.”

The second sect went to the extreme and regarded ‘Ali (as) as the creator of the heavens and the earth. These two sects share their torment in Hell.

The third sect regard him as Imam and the immediate successor of the Noble Prophet (S) and consider ‘Ali’s (as) eleven male offspring as the Imams and people’s Guide after the Prophet (S).

They neither innovate anything in matters of religion nor do they deny the dogmatic principles. They act upon the religion of Islam and form the moderate community of Muslims who enjoy deliverance and felicity.

Regarding:

“And when the son of Mary (as) is quoted”

it is also said that the:

“quoter” (darib)

is the Noble Prophet and the similitude or example (mathal) is the Commander of the Faithful, Imam ‘Ali (as), who is likened to Jesus (as) son of Mary among the two communities in terms of beliefs in them.

“Your people cried out derisively [at the example]”

makes a reference to the hypocrites around the Noble Prophet (S) who were disbelievers outwardly Muslims and inwardly polytheists.

“Cried out derisively”

refers to disbelievers’ hatred against the Noble Prophet (S) and the Islamic faith and their likening ‘Ali (as) to Jesus (as).

“Crying out loudly derisively” (yasiddun)

indicates disbelievers’ hatred and animosity to such extent that they liken ‘Ali (as) to Jesus (as). The above is reported by Hafis Abu Bakr ibn Mardiwayh, the eminent Sunni scholar, in his Manaqib.9

According to Verse 58, polytheists said:

“Are our gods better or is he [better]?”

They quoted not the above example except for argument but they are a quarrelsome people. The antecedent of the pronoun “he” (am huwa) is a rhetorical question denoting that their idols are better than Jesus (as), since Jesus (as) is an ordinary human being undeserving divinity like other human beings.

The reply to their rhetorical question is that your idols are pieces of wood or metal undeserving to be worshipped like other pieces of wood and metal. Jesus (as) possessed understanding, perception, distinction, and he could move whereas your idols lack the same, since man stands above animals, plants, and inanimate objects in the hierarchy of existence. Some exegets maintain that the antecedent of the pronoun:

“he”

is the Commander of the Faithful, ‘Ali (as) asking why the Noble Prophet (S) did likened ‘Ali (as) to Jesus (as) so that some believe in him and some fail to do so.

Why did he not liken him to our idols so that some of us believe in their divinity and some fail to do so? The reply to the question may be thus provided: firstly, regarding your idols there are two sects. Polytheists believe in their divinity but some people fail to do so saying that they are no more than pieces of metal and wood fashioned by you.

There were three sects regarding Jesus (as) and ‘Ali (as), two of whom went to the extreme and one treading the path of moderation.

Secondly, the Noble Prophet of Islam (S) believed that Jesus (as) was an Arch-prophet and the spirit of God and worked wonders such as reviving the dead, healing incurable diseases, e.g. leprosy and blindness, whereas idols made no effects. The Noble Prophet (S) intended to say that the rank of ‘Ali (as) is as elevated as that of Arch-angels even more elevated than them.

“They quoted not the above example except for argument.”

Disbelievers roused disputations to abrogate truth and substantiate falsehood in the same manner that they made attempts to attribute sorcery, lying, and the like to the Noble Prophet of Islam (S).

“But they are a quarrelsome people.”

They uttered such idle talk out of their animosity toward the Noble Prophet of Islam (S), but if they had distinction and could perceive the truth, they would not be ensnared in such error.

According to Verse 59,

“He [Jesus (as)] was not more than a servant. We granted Our Favor to him and We made him an example for the Children of Israel.”

It is said in Verse 60 that in the same manner that We could create a son without father,

“if it were Our Will,”

We have the Power to destroy you and

“make angels to replace you on the earth.”

Angels who obey Divine Decree know nothing but to obey Him.

Surah al-Zukhruf - Verses 61 - 62

وَإِنَّهُ لَعِلْمٌ لِلسَّاعَةِ فَلا تَمْتَرُنَّ بِهَا وَاتَّبِعُونِ هَذَا صِرَاطٌ مُسْتَقِيمٌ

وَلا يَصُدَّنَّكُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُبِينٌ

61. And he [Jesus (as) as he raised the dead] will be a known sign for [the coming of] the Hour [Day of Resurrection]. Therefore have no doubt concerning it [the Day of Resurrection]. And follow Me [Allah]. This is the Straight Path.
62. And let not Satan hinder you [from the Path to God]. Indeed, he is a plain enemy to you.

Against the polytheists’ false belief that regarded Jesus (as) an example for objects of worship besides God, the blessed Verse 61 makes mention of Jesus (as) as one of the signs of the coming of the Day of Resurrection.

He was born of a virgin mother that bears testimony to Divine Omnipotence to raise the dead on the Day of Resurrection as he did the same in this world and he will descend from the heaven as a prelude to Resurrection.

The Verse makes a reference to another characteristic of Jesus (as):

“he will be a known sign for [the coming of] the Hour [Day of Resurrection].”

His birth from a virgin mother indicates Divine Omnipotence in whose light there will be no room for questions concerning life after death. On the basis of numerous Islamic traditions, the descent of Jesus Christ (as) will occur in the Last Days and will serve as the coming of Resurrection Day.

The blessed Verse proceeds with the clause

“Therefore have no doubt concerning it [the Day of Resurrection].”

People are warned against neglect of Resurrection in terms of beliefs and practice:

“And follow Me [Allah]. This is the Straight Path.”

God’s Path is the straightest path treading which will make you aware of the risks and the way of deliverance from error and perils on the Day of Resurrection. The following Verse informs people that Satan wishes to keep you in ignorance and neglect.

Be alert lest

“Satan may hinder you from treading the Path to God”

and attending to your fate, since

“he is a plain enemy to you.”

He showed his animosity toward you when he tempted your parents, Adam and Eve and had them expelled from Paradise and once more, he took an oath to lead all the children of Adam, except

“sincere believers,”

into error. How could you stay dormant against such sworn enemy of yours and let him subjugate your hearts and hinder you from the Path toward God through his constant temptations?

We close the exegesis of Verse 61 with a citation from the exegetic work titled Atyab al-Bayan:

“And he will be a known sign for [the coming of] the Hour [Day of Resurrection].”

Exegets vary on the antecedent of the pronoun:

“he”

some of whom, based on the apparent meaning of the Verse, hold that the antecedent is Jesus (as), i.e., the descent of Jesus (as) from the heaven is one of the signs and prerequisites of the coming of the Hour, namely Resurrection Day.

Following the advent of Imam Mahdi (as), the Twelfth Shi’i Imam (“the Remainder of God,” Baqiyat Allah), Jesus (as) will descend from the heaven to establish prayer with the Imam, be appointed as his vizier, and slay Sufyani in Jerusalem. Four living prophets, Edris (Enoch [AS]), Jesus (as), Khidr (as), and Ilyas (Eliah [AS]) will appear at that time.

“The knowledge of the Hour” (‘ilm li-’l-sa’a)

denotes the sign for Resurrection as one of the prerequisites of the advent of Imam Mahdi (as). Nonetheless, according to a number of traditions narrated from Jabir and Imam Sadiq (as), the antecedent of the pronoun

“he”

is the Commander of the Faithful, ‘Ali (as) and it may make a reference to the return of Imam ‘Ali (as) in the third stage in which devils will be slain.

Surah al-Zukhruf - Verse 63

وَلَمَّا جَاءَ عِيسَی بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ قَالَ قَدْ جِئْتُكُمْ بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَلِأُبَيِّنَ لَكُمْ بَعْضَ الَّذِي تَخْتَلِفُونَ فِيهِ فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُونِ

63. And when Jesus (as) came with clear proofs [and miracles], he said: “I have come to you with Wisdom and [I have come] to make clear to you some of the [points] in which you differ. Therefore fear Allah and obey me.

Prophets came with clear, convincing, logical, and undistortable proofs and many a miracle:

(“Jesus (as) came with clear proofs [and miracles]”).

Following the points mentioned above, the blessed Verse in question informs us that when Jesus son of Mary (as) was Divinely appointed to prophethood, he worked many a miracle, e.g. raising the dead and making a bird out of clay thanks to Divine Omnipotence and blowing into it causing its flight. Based on such proofs he informed the Children of Israel of his prophethood and his Divine appointment for their guidance.

He said that his words had been based on wisdom and truth and he had brought the Bible in order to remove the differences existing between them and help them to draw a distinction between truth and falsehood. Addressing the Children of Israel, he asked them to abstain from opposition to Divine Command but acknowledge and obey It.

  • 1. Abu ‘l-Futuh Razi’s Tafsir (“Exegesis”).
  • 2. 9:80
  • 3. 8:33
  • 4. For further information, see the Exegeses by Qurtubi, Fakhr al-Din Razi, Nur al-Thiqalayn, Majma’ al-Bayan, Ihtijaj, and the Exegesis by ‘Ali ibn Ibrahim.
  • 5. 20:27
  • 6. 20:36
  • 7. 21:98
  • 8. For further information, see Shi’i and Sunni exegetic sources, e.g. Kulayni and Shaykh Óusi in Kafi, Ibn Babiwayh in Tahdhib, and Ibn Maghazili in Manaqib.
  • 9. Apud Kashf al-Ghumma, p. 95. The same point, with minor alterations, is mentioned in Mir Muhammad Salih Kashfi Tirmidhi’s Manaqib Murtadawi. Some other eminent Sunni and Shi’i scholars cite the same report with or without the blessed Verse in question. For further information, see Ihqaq al-Haqq, vol. 3, p. 398 ff.; Nur al-Thiqalayn [Exegesis], vol. 4, p. 609 ff.; Majma’ al-Bayan [Exegesis], under the blessed Verses in question.

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