بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ
المر تِلْكَ ءَايَاتُ الْكِتَابِ وَالَّذِي اُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِن رَبّـِكَ الْحَقُّ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ
1. “Alif ‘A’, Lam ‘L’, Mim ‘M’, Ra ‘R’. These are the verses of the Book; and that which has been revealed to you from your Lord is the Truth, but most people do not believe.”
At the beginning of this Holy Surah, again we have the abbreviated letters which are found in 29 suras of the Qur’an. The abbreviated letters here are a combination of ‘Alif ’, ‘Lam’, and ‘Mim’, which has occurred at the beginning of several suras, while ‘Alif’ ‘Lam’ and ‘Ra’ are mentioned at the beginning of some other suras.
Thus, in fact, this Surah is the only Surah that begins with ‘Alif, ‘Lam’, ‘Mim’, and ‘Ra’.
In view of the fact that the particular abbreviated letters at the beginning of every Surah seem to have a direct connection with the content of that Surah, it is probable that the present combination of the abbreviated letters at the beginning of Surah Ar-Ra‘d indicate that the content of this Surah consists of the contents of both group of suras which begin with ‘Alif, Lam, Mim’ and ‘Alif, Lam, Ra’. A careful attention over the contents of these suras also testifies this idea.
Since there have been talked upon the abbreviated letters of the Qur’an stated at the beginning of suras Al-Baqarah, ‘Al-i-‘Imran and Al-’A‘raf, their repetition is not so necessary here again.
The first verse, on the dignity of the Qur’an, says:
“…These are the verses of the Book; and that which has been revealed to you from your Lord is the Truth…”
There is no room for any doubt to be seen in it, because it is the statement of the objective facts of the world of creation, and its relation with humankind.
It is a truth that the Qur’an has not been mixed with falsehood. That is why the signs of its legitimacy is found even in its appearance so that there in no need of further reasoning.
Yet, the ignorant and empty-headed persons, who form the majority of people, do not believe in the revelations.
“…but most people do not believe.”
اللَّهُ الَّذِي رَفَعَ السَّمَاوَاتِ بِغَيْرِ عَمَدٍ تَرَوْنَهَا ثُمَّ اسْتَوَي عَلَي الْعَرْشِ وَسَخَّرَ الشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ كُلٌّ يَجْرِي لأَجَلٍ مُسَمّي يُدَبّـِرُ الأَمْرَ يُفَصّـِلُ الاَيَاتِ لَعَلَّكُم بِلِقَآءِ رَبّـِكُمْ تُوقِنُونَ
2. “Allah is He Who raised the heavens without any pillars which you (can) see, then He established Himself on ‘Arsh (the Throne of authority) and subjected the sun and the moon, each one runs unto an appointed term.
He directs the affair (of existence). He explains the signs (in detail) so that you may be certain of the meeting with your Lord.
Here, in this verse, which is stated after the abbreviated letters, the Qur’an refers to an important part of the evidences of monotheism and the signs of Allah in the world of creation.
What a beautiful statement it is when it says:
“Allah is He Who raised the heavens without any pillars which you (can) see…”
This verse unveils a scientific fact which was not manifest for anyone at the time of the revelation of the Qur’an. At that time the Ptolemaic system governed over the scientific centers and the thoughts of people. According to it, the planets and heavens were considered as the layers of an onion which were located over each other, and the earth was in the center.
About one thousand years after the revelation of these verses, the knowledge of humankind realized that the mentioned theory was utterly wrong and the reality is that the celestial planets each rotates on a fix axis in its own position, suspending and also invariable, without having anything to lean against.
The only factor which supports them to be fix in their own particular rotations is the equilibrium resulted from the attractive and repelling forces.
This equilibrium of the attractive and repelling forces, as an unseen pillar, keeps the celestial planets fix in their positions and orbits.
Then, the verse continues saying:
“…then He established Himself on ‘Arsh (the Throne of authority)…”
Next to the statement of creation of the heavens, and the existence of Allah’s authority over them all, it refers to the subjection of the sun and the moon which is under His control.
The verse says:
“…and subjected the sun and the moon…”
But the material system of the world is not eternal, and all the celestial bodies, such as the sun and the moon, will continue to rotate along their defined orbits until an appointed time.
The verse says:
“…each one runs unto an appointed term…”
Next to that, the Qur’an implies that these acts of to and fro are not undue and do not exist with no result, because it is Allah Who arranges everything. Then there is an account for every movement, and every account has been appointed for a particular aim.
The verse continues saying:
“…He directs the affair (of existence)…”
Then, it adds:
“…He explains the signs (in detail) so that you may be certain of the meeting with your Lord.”
1. There are some verses in the Qur’an which indicate that Allah maintains the heavens and the earth. Among them are the followings:
A. “Allah is He Who raised the heavens without any pillars which you (can) see…” (The above mentioned verse).
B. “Verily Allah holds the heavens and the earth lest they come to naught; and if they come to naught none besides Him can hold them back…” (Surah Fatir, No. 35, verse 41)
C. “…And He withholds the heaven from falling on the earth…”
In Tafsir Al-Mizan, ‘Allamah Tabataba’i says that the purpose of the Qur’anic word /tafsil/ (explanation) is separation of the celestial planets and the earth from each other. The observation of this separation makes us aware of the separation of people in the Hereafter.
The Arabic word /‘amad/ is the plural form of /‘amūd/ which means ‘pillar’. However, when we do not see something, it cannot be taken as a reason for its inexistence.
Imam Rida (as) said:
“There are some pillars, but you do not see them”.1
There is a very attractive tradition in this field narrated from Amir-ul-Mu’mineen Ali (as) who has said:
“These stars, which are in the sky, are some cities like the cities on the earth, every one of which is connected with another by means of a pillar of light.”2
Could there be found a more expressive and clearer meaning than ‘invisible pillar’ or ‘a pillar of light’ in the expansion of the literature of that time for mentioning the concept of ‘attractive force’ and its resulting equilibrium against the ‘repelling force’?
D. The creation of the world with no Resurrection is a vain action. The reference for Resurrection is the same reasoning of theism. The same One Who creates and directs the affairs of existence, can accomplish the Resurrection and Hereafter, too.
“…so that you may be certain of the meeting with your Lord.”
Once Ali-ibn-Abi Talib (as) was asked how Allah reckons (the deeds of) all mankind in Hereafter. Then he answered:
“In the same way that He sustains all humankind.”3
The above-mentioned verse indicates that Allah (s.w.t.) has subjected the sun and the moon. There are also many other verses in the Qur’an which denote that the entire celestial stars, all beings on the earth, the day and the night, and the like of them are wholly subjected to mankind.
In one occurrence, it says:
“…and He has made the rivers subservient to you.”4
By another statement in the same verse the holy Qur’an says:
“…and He has made the ships subservient to you…” 5
In another occurrence, the Qur’an says:
“And He has made the night and the day, and the sun and the moon subservient to you…” 6
In a holy verse, the Qur’an says:
“And He has made the constantly moving sun and the moon subservient to you…”7
The Qur’an also in another occurrence says:
“And He it is Who has made the sea subservient that you may eat fresh meat from it…”8
In another occurrence, the Qur’an questions:
“Do you not see that Allah has made subservient to you whatsoever is in the earth…?”9
And, finally, somewhere else the Qur’an says:
“And He has made subservient to you whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth, all, from Himself…” 10
From the totality of these verses, it is well understood that: Man is the most complete being in the world of creation, and, from the view of Islam, he is so worthy and respected that Allah has made all other beings subservient to him; i.e., it is the Man who is the representative of Allah, and whose heart is the place fit for the Light of Allah.
However, it is evident that the Qur’anic word /tasxir/ (subjection), referred to in these verses, does not mean that man can bring all these things under his own command, but it implies that they are alongside his benefit and service. For example, the celestial planets reflect the light for him, or have some other advantages for him, which he may utilize.
No school of thought, other than Islam, has considered so much worth and high rank for Man, and in no other doctrine and philosophy Man has such an exalted position and personality. These are the specialties of the ideology of Islam which promote the value of man high as such.
Knowing this fact has a deep moral effect in man; because, when he mediates that Allah has bestowed upon him so much grandeur in a state that every thing; such as: the sun, the moon, the celestial sphere and all other things, are at his service, he will not tend to negligence and meanness so that he becomes as captive to lusts, wealth, ranks, and ungodly forces.
Such a man is the one who removes all barriers and promotes high and higher.
How can one says that the sun and the moon are not at the service of man while they illuminate and warm the scene of his life by their lights? Without sunshine, there will be no movement and development on the earth.
Moreover, by its gravity, the sun causes the earth to rotate on its orbit, the moon causes the low tides and the high tides appear in the seas, which are the source of many blessings and benefits for man.
The ships on the seas, the rivers, the day and the night, and the like of them, each serves and helps man in a particular way. A careful observation and contemplation over them, and over the regular order they have, makes it clear that they are some manifest evidences unto the Greatness, Power and Wisdom of the Creator.
وَهُوَ الَّذِي مَدَّ الأَرْضَ وَجَعَلَ فِيهَا رَوَاسِيَ وَأَنْهَاراً وَمِن كُلِّ الثَّـمَرَاتِ جَعَلَ فِيهَا زَوْجَيْنِ اثْنَيْنِ يُغْشِي الَّيْلَ النَّهَارَ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لاَيَاتٍ لِقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
3. “And He it is Who spread the earth and placed mountains and streams in it and inserted in it two pairs of the each kind of fruit. He covers the day with the night. Certainly, there are signs in these matters for a people who reflect.”
This verse reveals the Divine signs in the upper universe and calls on man to meditate on the earth, the mountains, the streams the various kinds of fruits, and the dawn and sunset, saying that Allah spread the earth so as to make it ready for man to live in it and to grow plants and breed livestock in it.
The verse says:
“And He it is Who spread the earth…”
The Qur’an then goes on dealing with the issue of the emergence of mountains implying that Allah has placed mountains in the earth.
It continues saying:
“…and placed mountains and streams in it…”
These are the very same mountains which are referred to as /’aut ad/ meaning the nails of the earth.
Probably, it is because mountains are interconnected with each other from underneath and armour-like they have covered the face of the earth so as to counter-balance not only the internal pressure, which is being exerted from within the crust of the earth, but also to counteract the extraordinary gravity power of the moon and its ebb and tide from outside.
Therefore, they are meant to respond to the continuous earth tremors and earth quakes as well as the tensions which are brought about as a result of them, and to pave the way for calm and relaxation on the terrestrial globe for man to live in.
In the meantime, the verse, alluding to the rivers and the springs which are flowing on the earth, declares that there are streams placed therein.
The irrigation system of the earth supported by mountains and the interdependence of the mountains with the streams are noteworthy, for many of the mountains on the earth deposit water in the form of snow within the cracks of their valleys or on their tops.
This snow eventually and gradually melts and travels from higher altitude regions to the lower altitude regions owing to the natural law of gravitation. Sometimes also, there are lakes formed at the outskirts of the mountains.
Then, the Qur’an makes mention of foodstuffs and fruits which grow, as a result of the water and sunshine, from the earth and are best for human nutrition, implying that He has placed two pairs of each type of fruit in the earth. Here is allusion made to the fact that fruits are living beings that contain male and female cells which are fertilized through the process of cross – fertilization.
The verse says:
“…and inserted in it two pairs of the each kind of fruit…”
Although ‘Linet’, the Swedish famous botanist and scientist succeeded himself in the discovery of general and universal fertilization inside the world of plants in the mid eighteenth century, the Glorious Qur’an revealed this truth more than one thousand and four hundred years ago which can by itself be considered as one of its miracles, showing the magnitude of this great celestial Book.
As man’s life and that of all other beings, especially that of the plants and fruits, can not go on without an exact and an accurate system of the timing of the day and the night, the Qur’an refers to it in another part of the verse, indicating that He covers day with night and He veils it.
The verse says:
“…He covers the day with the night…”
The reason for this is that once the dark veil of night does not cover the light, continuous sunshine burns away all plants, and no trace of the fruits and, generally speaking, of living beings would be left on the face of the earth.
At the end of the verse, the Qur’an points out that, in the foregoing discussions, there are signs for those who meditate.
The verse says:
“…Certainly, there are signs in these matters for a people who reflect.”
Honestly speaking, those who contemplate can witness the power of the Omnipotence and unending Omniscience of the Creator very clearly.
1. The previous verse dealt with the skies while this verse relates to the earth and earthly blessings.
2. The Arabic term /rawasi/ is the plural form of /rasiyah/ and it signifies ‘firmness’. That is why, mountains are alluded to as /rawasi/. The terms /zauj/ and /zaujan/ both mean male and female.
3. The male and female in plants are often in one tree and sometimes in one blossom and sometimes in two trees or two blossoms.11
4. The Qur’anic phrase /madd al ’ard/ probably refers to the emerging of the earth from under the water which has been mentioned in Islamic quotations as /dahw ul ’ard/. This probability is consonant with and compatible with the views of the contemporary geologists who claim that the earth has been originally covered with water. (Allah knows the best.)
5. The world of creation is based on a ‘pair system’.
The pairing system in plants:
“…and He puts for every kind of beautiful growth (in pairs).” 12
The pairing system in animals, where the Qur’an says:
“…He made mates for you from among yourself and mates of the cattle too…”13
Pairing in Human Beings:
“He created mates from your own kind for you.” 14
Pairing in everything:
“And of everything We have created pairs…”15
وَفِي الأَرْضِ قِطَعٌ مُّتَجَاوِرَاتٌ وَجَنَّاتٌ مِنْ أَعْنَابٍ وَزَرْعٌ وَنَخِيلٌ صِنْوَانٌ وَغَيْرُ صِنْوَانٍ يُسْقَي بِمَآءٍ وَاحِدٍ وَنُفَضّـِلُ بَعْضَهَا عَلَي بَعْضٍ فِي الأُكُلِ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لاَيَاتٍ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْقِلُونَ
4. “And in the earth there are tracts, side by side, and gardens of (different) grapes and corn-fields and palm trees, like and unlike, watered through one irrigation system, and We made some of them excel in taste than others. Verily, there are signs in this for a people who understand.”
The Arabic term /sinw an/ contrary to its appearance, which is in the form of dual (referring to two), is the plural form of /sinw/ and means ‘a branch which stems out of the principal tree’. It refers here to being similar or identical.
In this noble verse, we are confronted a series of interesting geological and botanical issues which are all the signs of a predetermined system of creation. The Qur’an first mentions that there are different tracts side by side in the earth, and there are gardens and trees which have different kinds of grapes and different plantations, and palm trees as well.
The verse says:
“And in the earth there are tracts, side by side, and gardens of (different) grapes and corn-fields and palm trees…”
The amazing thing is that these trees and their various kinds take their roots from one basic stem on some occasion, and at other times they have their roots from different stems. The verse continues saying:
“…like and unlike, watered through one irrigation system…”
This sentence probably provides clues as to the issue of the potentialities of trees for grafting which is occasionally based on the grafting of several parts on the original stem, each of which develop and consequently a special kind of fruit will be delivered.
What is more amazing is that they are all watered with one type of water.
“Watered through one irrigation system”.
In spite of all this, Allah has excelled some of these trees over others in their type of fruit.
The verse says:
“…and We made some of them excel in taste than others…”
Does each of these clues not provide us with sufficient reasons as to the leadership which is unique in its origin and is knowledgeable in its system? It is here where, at the end of the verse, the Qur’an declares that there are signs in these matters as to the magnitude of Allah for those who contemplate.
The verse says:
“…Verily, there are signs in this for a people who understand.”
The variety of fruits as to the colour, taste and smell and their different forms all have their origin in the Divine power, and are consonant with Allah’s will. Otherwise, one kind of water could not generate more than one type of fruit.
وَإِن تَعْجَبْ فَعَجَبٌ قَوْلُهُمْ أَءِذَا كُنَّا تُرَاباً أَءِنَّا لَفِي خَلْقٍ جَدِيدٍ اُوْلَئِكَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بِرَبّـِهِمْ وَاُوْلَئِكَ الأَغْلالُ فِي أَعْنَاقِهِمْ وَاُوْلَئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ
5. “And if you do wonder, then wondrous is their sayings: ‘ What, when we turn into dust, Will we then surly be in a new creation?’ They are those who disbelieve in their Lord and these shall have chains on their necks, and they are the people of the Fire, abiding therein for ever.’”
Addressing the Prophet (S), this verse implies that he should not be amazed at the denial of the prophecy by the people, for they are also astonished at Allah’s power in transforming the dead back into life and do not believe it.
The unbelievers in the Resurrection have not provided any proof for the impossibility of resurrection and they only consider its occurrence as remote. On the contrary, besides mentioning Allah’s Justice and Wisdom, which necessitates the existence of the Hereafter, the Qur’an has reiterated on many occasions and has provided answers to this denial.
The verse says:
“And if you do wonder, then wondrous is their sayings: ‘What, when we turn into dust, Will we then surly be in a new creation?’ They are those who disbelieve in their Lord and these shall have chains on their necks, and they are the people of the Fire, abiding therein for ever.’”
On one occasion it implies that if they were in doubt as to the advent of the Hereafter, they would remember their original creation and as to how Allah created them out of earth and sperm.16
Elsewhere, it commands the Prophet (S) to tell his people that: He Who originally created them will also recreate them in the Resurrection Day, and there is no room for any astonishment.17
Therefore, the denial and refutation of resurrection means the negation of Allah’s power, His Justice, as well as His Wisdom which implies profanity and paganism.
Such a person, who negates resurrection, will be involved with superstition and ignorance as his entire outlook centers around worldly aims and is entangled with material benefits and selfishness, and he will also be held in the chains of the Divine punishment in the Hereafter.
وَيَسْتَعْجِلُونَكَ بِالسَّيّـِئَةِ قَبْلَ الْحَسَنَةِ وَقَدْ خَلَتْ مِن قَبْلِهِمُ الْمَثُلاتُ وَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَذُو مَغْفِرَةٍ لِلنَّاسِ عَلَي ظُلْمِهِمْ وَإِنّ َرَبَّكَ لَشَديدُ الْعِقَابِ
6. “And they ask you to hasten on the evil (the chastisement) before the good while there have been exemplary punishments before them. And verily, your Lord is full of forgiveness for people despite their injustice; and verily your Lord is strict in retribution.”
The Arabic term /maul at/ is the plural form of /maulah/ which denotes punishment and penalty that man will be inflicted upon. Sometimes, enmity and obstinacy reaches the point where one is inclined to desire death and not to accept the truth.
There are allusions made in the Glorious Qur’an to the examples of such moods and feelings. Among them one is that the pagans used to say:
“O’ Allah! It this (Qur’an) is indeed the Truth from You, then storm us with stone from the sky, or bring us a painful punishment…”18
Elsewhere, the Qur’an says:
“If We had sent down it to any of non-Arabs, and had he recited it to them, they would not have believed in it.”19
Or the people of the Book would tell the pagans and idol worshippers:
“…These are better guided on the way than those who have believed (in Islam).”20
While, the people of the Book among the disbelievers are closer to Islam than the pagans. They were kept away from expressing the truth because of their obstinacy.
In the meantime, the haste shown by some people in the descending of the Divine punishment then may be due to the following reasons:
The ignorance and oblivion due to the history of the predecessors and the lack of belief in the Divine punishment and considering it as remote matter.
Jealousy towards the possessions of others. As it is recorded in history, upon the accession of Amir-ul-Mu’mineen Ali (as) to the Imamat, someone desired his own death for he could not tolerate the event. This event has been mentioned and alluded to on the occasion of the revelation of Surah Al-Ma‘ arij, verse No. 1.
The feelings of being cut off, depressed, and reaching complete deadlock.
Ridiculing and lack of acceptance, even at the expense of losing one’s life.
Therefore, the verse indicates that: instead of asking for Allah’s blessings, they requested hastening of His punishment.
The verse says:
“And they ask you to hasten on the evil (the chastisement) before the good while there have been exemplary punishments before them…”
Do they think that Allah’s punishment is mere deception, despite the fact that there were divine penalties which were sent down upon the previous rogue and unruly nations the news of which have been recorded on the pages of history and in the heart of the earth?
Then the verse adds implication that the Lord is forgiving towards the people though they are committing cruelty, and,at the same time, He is capable of inflicting severe punishment as well.
The verse says:
“…And Verily, your Lord is full of forgiveness for people despite their injustice; and verily your Lord is strict in retribution.”
وَيَقُولُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لَوْلآ اُنزِلَ عَلَيْهِ ءَايَةٌ مِن رَّبّـِهِ إِنَّمَآ أَنتَ مُنذِرٌ وَلِكُلِّ قَوْمٍ هَادٍ
7. “And those who disbelieve say: ‘Why has there not been sent down a sign to him from his Lord? (O’ Prophet!) You are only a Warner, and there is a guide for every people.”
Ibn Abbas has been quoted to say that the blissful Prophet (S) putting his hand on his chest, said: /’anal munŏir/ (I am the Warner), and then alluding to Ali-Ibn-Abi-Talib (as), he said:
“You are the guide, those who will be guided after me will be guided through you.”21
Here, the holy verse deals with one of the criticisms of the obstinate pagans concerning the prophecy, saying that Allah did not send the Prophet (S) with miracles or signs.
The verse says:
“And those who disbelieve say: ‘Why has there not been sent down a sign to him from his Lord?…”
It goes without saying that one of the functions of the Prophet (S) is to present miracles as documentation for his legitimacy and his actual interconnection with the Divine revelation.
However, the opponents of the prophets have not always been entertaining sound intentions. That is, they did not seek miracles for the sake of discovering the truth but, to show their arrogance and disobedience against the Truth, every time they asked for an odd miracle.
So, when facing such individuals, the Prophet (S), without accepting their desires, used to say that performing miracles is in Allah’s hands and it is by His commands that such things happen; then his duty was to guide and train people.
Therefore, in response to these vain requests, the Qur’an continues telling the Prophet (S) that he is only a Warner and to provide people with instructions and guidance.
The verse says:
“…(O’ Prophet!) You are only a Warner…”
In actual fact, the Qur’an implies that these pagans have forgotten the primary objective of the prophet which is the issue of admonition and calling of people towards Allah. They have wrong thought that his primary function has been to perform miracles.
It is interesting to note that the difference between the Qur’anic terms /’inŏar/ and /hid ayat/ is that, the former relates to the leading of the misled to the right path and providing them with self-awareness, while the latter deals with guiding people and directing them forward after they have adjusted their way in the right direction.
Therefore, in various quotations from the Prophet (S) in the books of Shi‘ite and Sunni people, it is quoted that he said: he provided admonitions and Ali was the leader, by whom the guided are guided.
We have it in 26 traditions that, the objective meaning of /h ad/ (guide) is the Immaculate Imams (as).
“O’ people! If you are in doubt about the raising, then surely We created you from dust, then from a small seed, then from a clot, then from a lump of flesh, complete in make and incomplete, that We may make clear to you; and We cause what We please to stay in the wombs till an appointed time, then We bring you forth as babies, then that you may attain your maturity; and of you is he who is caused to die, and of you is he who is brought back to the worst part of life, so that after having knowledge he does not know anything; and you see the earth sterile land, but when We send down on it the water, it stirs and swells and brings forth of every kind a beautiful herbage.”