Section 5: The Guidance Man Gets From the Working of Nature
أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى رَبِّكَ كَيْفَ مَدَّ الظِّلَّ وَلَوْ شَاء لَجَعَلَهُ سَاكِنًا ثُمَّ جَعَلْنَا الشَّمْسَ عَلَيْهِ دَلِيلًا
ثُمَّ قَبَضْنَاهُ إِلَيْنَا قَبْضًا يَسِيرًا
45. “Have you not seen (the might of) your Lord, how He extends the shadow? And if He had pleased He would certainly have made it stationary, then We have made the sun an indication of it;”
46. “Then We draw it in towards Ourselves, by an easy (gradual) contraction.”
The best way of knowing Allah for all is to ponder the phenomena of existence, which are created according to divine wisdom. The rotation of the earth around itself and around the sun is not accidental. It is wisely and prudently.
Imam Baqir (as) said:
“The purpose of the extension of shadow in the verse is the shade that is between the dawn and rising of sun.”1
Although some count the shade as the shade of night or afternoon, but with regard to the next sentence which says:
what Imam says is accepted.
Anyway, these two noble verses mention some of the main parts of divine blessings as the secrets of monotheism and knowledge of Allah. Deliberating on these affairs helps us to be more familiar with our Creator.
It first says:
Certainly, this part of the verse refers to the importance of the blessing of vast and moving shades. These shades do not stay still but they move.
Commentators have various opinions about the purpose of the shade or which shade is meant by the verse:
Some say that this spread and vast shade is that one which covers the earth between the dawn and the rising of the sun which is the most pleasant shade and hours of the day. This pale shading light begins from the dawn and at the rising of the sun, sun’s brightness replaces it.
Some have said that its purpose is all shade of night that begins from evening and ends with the rising of the sun, for we know that night is in fact the shade of the hemisphere of the earth that is in front of the sun. This shade is conical that expands in space in opposite side. That conical shade always moves. It ends in an area with the rising of the sun and it begins in another area.
Some others have also said that it is the shade of objects that forms in afternoon and it gradually expands.
Of course, if there were not the next sentences, we would understand an extensive meaning from this sentence that includes all shades, but other indications that have come later show that the first commentary is more proper, for the verse continues:
This refers to the fact that if there was not the sun, the concept of shade would not be clear. Basically, shade is formed by rays of the sun, for shade is usually partial darkness that happens for objects. It happens when light is cast on an impassible object and in front of it a shade will be formed.
Therefore, we must not only know shade by light according to the law ‘know objects by their opposites’, but also the existence of shade is caused by light.
In the next verse, Allah says:
We know that when sun rises, shades are gradually taken away until noontime that there will be no shade in some areas for the sun is above every creature, and in other areas it will be in its minimum size.
Therefore, shades neither appear instantly nor are taken away instantly. This is one of the wisdoms of Allah, for if this changing of light and darkness happened immediately, it would surely be harmful for all creatures. This gradual system of changing is in a way that it has the most benefits for all creatures without having any harm.
The Arabic word /yasira/ (gradual) refers to the gradual withdrawal of shades, or it refers to this matter that special system of light and darkness is a simple and easy thing comparing with the might of Allah.
The Qur’anic word /’ilayna/ also emphasizes this divine might.
The holy verse continues saying:
Anyway, there is no doubt that as man needs light in his life, he needs shade for modification and prevention of intense light. Continual light makes life deranged, as stable and permanent shade is fatal.
In the first case, all creatures would be burnt and in the second case all creatures would be frozen. This alternative system of light and shade makes life pleasant and possible for man.
وَهُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمُ اللَّيْلَ لِبَاسًا وَالنَّوْمَ سُبَاتًا وَجَعَلَ النَّهَارَ نُشُورًا
47. “And He it is Who appointed the night for you to be a covering, and sleep as a rest, and He appointed the day a rising.”
Alternation of day and night, calmness in the night and working in the day are the signs of Allah’s lordship. Therefore, after mentioning the blessing of shades, the holy Qur’an brings up two other blessings that are very appropriate with it. In this way, a little of the secrets of the universe, which indicates the existence of the Essence of Allah, is mentioned.
What a beautiful and interesting sentence ‘appointed the night for you to be a covering’! This dark curtain covers not only men but also all creatures of the earth. Like garment it protects them. It wraps man like a cover that he uses at the time of sleep for creating darkness and rest.
Then, it refers to the blessing of sleep when it continues saying:
The Arabic word /subat/ is derived from the word /sabt/ that means ‘to terminate’. Then it was used to mean to stop working for taking rest. That Saturday is called in Arabic language /yaum-us-sabt/ is because its appellation is taken from schedule of the Jews who set Saturday their holiday.
In fact, this word refers to the termination of all physical activities at the time of sleep, for we know that at the time of sleep most of the activities of body are terminated, and some other parts, such as heart and lung, lessen their usual work and continue more slowly so that tiredness will be removed and power will be back.
Well-timed and measured sleep revives all powers of body and it brings happiness and might. It is the best means for calming the nerves. On the contrary, termination of sleep for a long time is very harmful and even fatal. Therefore, one of the main tortures that torturers use is to terminate the sleep program and so to break man’s resistance very soon.
In the end of the verse, the blessing of day is mentioned.
The Qur’anic word /nušūr/ is derived from the word /našr/ that means: ‘to spread’, which is the opposite of folding. This may refer to spreading of soul throughout the body when man awakes. It is like reviving after death. It may refer to men’s participation in social activities and movement for various works of life on the earth.
It is narrated that the Prophet (S) used to state this sentence every morning:
“Praise belongs to Allah Who brings us to life after death and (finally) we will return to Him.”2
Verily, the brightness of day causes movement in man bodily and spiritually, as darkness brings sleep and calmness.
In nature, the first ray of the sun brings great movement and ferment in all creatures. A resurrection happens among them and each of them follows its own program. Even plants grow when light is cast on them. When the sun sets and night comes, reveille is warbled throughout the entire universe: birds return to their nests and living creatures sleep and take rest.
Even plants go to some kind of sleep.
In the end, in the holy Qur’an, there are several things that are mentioned as garment:
وَهُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ الرِّيَاحَ بُشْرًا بَيْنَ يَدَيْ رَحْمَتِهِ وَأَنزَلْنَا مِنَ السَّمَاء مَاء طَهُورًا
لِنُحْيِيَ بِهِ بَلْدَةً مَّيْتًا وَنُسْقِيَهُ مِمَّا خَلَقْنَا أَنْعَامًا وَأَنَاسِيَّ كَثِيرًا
48. “And He it is Who sends the winds as heralds of glad tidings going before His Mercy (rain), and We send down pure water from the sky.”
49. “That thereby We may give life to a dead land, and We give many beasts and men that We have created to drink thereof.”
After mentioning these great blessings in the pervious holy verses, which are as the main principles of man’s life, now another important blessing is mentioned.
The function of winds as herald of descending of divine blessing is not concealed to anyone, for if they did not exist, a drop of rain would never fall on dry land. It is true that the shining of the sun evaporates water of the seas and the condensing of vapors in cold layer of atmosphere forms rain clouds.
But if winds do not move these rain clouds from oceans to dry lands, once more clouds change into rain and falls on the seas.
In short, these heralds of blessing that move continually throughout the earth quench the thirst of dry lands, brings the enlivening rain, forms streams, springs, wells, and grows various kinds of plant.
Always some of these winds, that move in font of clouds and are mixed with mild moisture, create a pleasant breeze which emits the smell of rain. They are like givers of glad tidings that announce the coming of a dear traveler.
Using the Qur’anic word /riyah/ (winds) may refer to the various kinds of wind: some of them flow from the north, some flow from the south, some flow from east to west, and some flow from west to east. Consequently they spread clouds in all areas of the earth.
It is worth-considering that here the adjective ‘pure’ is attributed to ‘water’. This is overstatement, therefore, its meaning is being pure and to purify. It means that water is both essentially clean and can purify defiled things. In addition to water, there are many objects that are clean, but they can never purify a defile object.
Anyway, besides being enlivener, water can purify. If there were not water, all of our life, body and soul would be defiled and dirty. Though water cannot kill microbes, it can dissolve and wash microbes. In this way, it is an effective help to man’s health and it fights against many diseases.
Moreover, we know that for purification of soul we also perform ritual bathing and ablution. So this enlivening liquid purifies both soul and body.
However, this purifying characteristic of water is in the second rank, though it is important.
Therefore, in this noble verse, Allah adds:
1. In this verse, ‘many beasts and men’ are mentioned, though all of animals and men use rainwater.
This is because it wants to refer to those who dwell in desert and nomads who do not have permanent water and use rainwater directly. They perceive this important blessing more than other people do.
When a piece of cloud appears in the sky and the rain falls, pits will be filled with clean water. Then their animals drink water from them and they themselves also use that water. They will perceive life and movement in themselves and their domestic animals.
2. The Arabic word /nusqih/ is derived from the word /’isqa’/. As Raqib, in Mufradat, and other commentators say, its difference from the word /saqiya/ is in that /’isqa’/ means to prepare water and to let man to drink it whenever he likes, while the word /saqiya/ means to give someone a container of water for drinking. In other words, the word /’isqa’/ has got more extensive meaning.
3. In this verse ‘dead land’ is mentioned first and then beasts and after that men are brought up. This is because when dead lands are not enlivened by rain, beasts do not have food and when beasts are not fed, men cannot use them as food.
4. Mentioning enlivenment of water after the issue of purification may refer to their close relationship.6
5. The Qur’anic word /tahūr/ is applied to something that is both very pure and purifier.
6. The Arabic word /bilad/ means land, whether it is city or village or farm, for the verse of Surah Al-’A‘raf, No. 7, verse 58 says:
It is clear that the growth of plant is not limited to city.
7. The Arabic word /’anasi/ is the plural form of the word /’insi/ which means man.
8. Since the meaning of the Arabic word ‘Balad’ is the same as the word ‘Baldah, instead of the word ‘Maytatan’, the word ‘Maytan’ is used to describe it.7
9. In using water, agriculture ranks first, then there is the rank of animals, and then men are the last. Therefore, in the verse, first agriculture and revivification of land, then animals and finally men are mentioned.
10. Winds have got many benefits such as fining of weather, transferring of clouds, lessening of heat, and fecundation of plants.
وَلَقَدْ صَرَّفْنَاهُ بَيْنَهُمْ لِيَذَّكَّرُوا فَأَبَى أَكْثَرُ النَّاسِ إِلاَ كُفُورًا
50. “And indeed We have distributed it amongst them so that they may remember (Allah), but most of mankind are averse (to aught) save ingratitude.”
Remembrance of Divine blessings is to express gratitude for them and negligence of them is to express ingratitude and rejection for them.
In this noble verse, Allah refers to the holy Qur’an and says:
Although many of commentators such as the deceased Tabarsi and Shiykh Tūsi in Tibyan, and ’Allamah Tabataba’i in Al-Mizan have said that the pronoun of the word ‘Sarrafnah’ refers to rain, that in this case its concept is that Allah sends drops of rain in various directions and places and divides them among people for the sake of remembrance of this great blessing of Allah, but it is right to say that this pronoun refers to the Qur’an and its verses, for this kind of structure (past tense and present continuous tense) is used 10 times in the holy Qur’an and 9 of them explicitly refer to the verses of the Qur’an.
And in many cases the Qur’anic phrase /liyazzakkarū/ (that they may remember) is placed before them and so it seems impossible that only in this holy verse this phrase has got a different meaning.
Basically the Arabic word /tasrif/, which means to change and transform, is not very consistent with sending down rainwater, while it is more consistent with the verses of the Qur’an which are presented in various forms, sometimes in the form of promise, sometimes in the form of threat of punishment, sometimes in the form of prohibition, sometimes in the form of enjoinment order, and sometimes in the form of the life story of ancient people.
وَلَوْ شِئْنَا لَبَعَثْنَا فِي كُلِّ قَرْيَةٍ نَذِيرًا
فَلاَ تُطِعِ الْكَافِرِينَ وَجَاهِدْهُم بِهِ جِهَادًا كَبِيرًا
51. “And if We had pleased certainly We would have raised up a warner in every town.”
52. “So do not follow the infidels, and strive against them with it (the Qur’an) a strenuous strife.”
This verse somehow speaks about the Prophet (S) as the seal of prophets and about the comprehensiveness of his religion, for it implies that no prophet was appointed anywhere with him, since he can control the entire society and no body else is needed. He has such a rank and state that prophethood is closed with his existence.
It is also possible that some polytheists used this pretext along with other ones that it was better that Allah appointed a prophet in every village and city.
Anyway, this verse is a reason for magnificence of the Prophet’s rank and it shows also the necessity of unity of leadership and heaviness of his duty.
For this reason, in the next holy verse, two important commandments that are the main programs of prophets are stated.
So, addressing the Prophet (S), it says:
Do not conciliate with the deviated persons in any step you take, for conciliation with them is the malady of the call to Allah. Stand fast against them and try to reform them, but be careful not to yield to their low desires and superstitions.
The second commandment is as follows:
That is, his strife must be like magnificence of his mission and the magnificence of all former prophets’ endeavour, an endeavour that includes all dimensions of people’s soul and intellect, and it includes all spiritual and materialistic aspects.
Undoubtedly the purpose of Jihad (strife), here, is only intellectual, cultural, and propagation endeavour. Its purpose is not Holy war with weapon, for this Surah is a Meccan Surah and we know that the command of armed war was not issued in Mecca.
As the deceased Tabarsi says in Majma‘ul-Bayan, this verse is a clear reason for this fact that the intellectual effort and the struggle of propagation against temptations of the deviated people and the enemies of the Truth is of the greatest Jihad (strife).
Even it is possible that the famous tradition of the Prophet (S) refers to this Jihad and the magnificence of the learned and scientists’ job in propagation of religion, when he (S) says:
“We returned from small Jihad to the greater Jihad.”
This shows the greatness of the rank of the Qur’an, too, for it is a means for the greater warfare and it is an effective weapon whose power of explanation and argumentation, deep effect and attraction is beyond men's imagination and power.
It is an effective means that is as shining as the sun, as brightening as the day, as canning as curtains of night, as motion-imparting as winds, as great as clouds, and as enlivening as drops of rain, the qualities of which were referred to in the previous verses.
وَهُوَ الَّذِي مَرَجَ الْبَحْرَيْنِ هَذَا عَذْبٌ فُرَاتٌ وَهَذَا مِلْحٌ أُجَاجٌ وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَهُمَا بَرْزَخًا وَحِجْرًا مَّحْجُورًا
53. “And He it is Who had made the two seas join and flow together, one palatable and sweet, and the other salt and bitter; and between the two He has made a barrier and inviolable obstruction.”
Again this noble verse argues on Allah’s magnificence by mentioning His blessings in the system of creation. Consisting with mentioning descending of enlivening drops of rain in the previous verses, it refers to not mixing of sweet waters and salty ones, and says:
The Qur’anic word /maraja/ is derived from the word /maraj/ that means ‘to mix or to send and to deliver free’, and here it means to set salty water and sweet water beside each other.
The Arabic word /‘aǒb/ means wholesome, pure and cool. And the word /furat/ means sweet and delicious. The Arabic word /milh/ means ‘salty’, and the word /’ujaj/ means ‘bitter and warm’. So /‘aǒb/ and /furat/ are opposite in meaning with /milh/ and /’ujaj/. The word ‘Barzakh’ means a bar and partition between two things.
But the phrase ‘Hijran Mahjura’ (inviolable obstruction), as was said in the 22nd verse of the current Surah, is an expression that was used by Arabs when they met a person whom they feared. They said it for protecting themselves.
They wanted to say, ‘excuse and protect us and be away from us!’
Anyway, this noble verse depicts one of the wonderful manifestations of Allah's might in the world of creation, how an invisible veil and an undetectable bar is set between salty and sweet seas and it does not allow them to get mixed.
Of course, today we know that this undetectable bar is ‘the density difference of sweet and salty water’ or it is so-called ‘specific gravity’ of theirs which causes them not to be mixed for a long time.
Some commentators have tried to find out where such two salty and sweet seas are located on the earth that they do not mix.
But this problem has been solved for us, for we know that all great sweet rivers that empty into seas form a sea of sweet water in seashore and send salty water back and this situation continues for a long time. For the different degree of their density, they avoid mixing with each other and say to each other: ‘Hijran Mahjura’.
It is interesting that because of flow and ebb, water of seas comes up and goes down two times a day as the result of the moon’s gravitation. This sweet water, which forms a sea, goes forth into the land at the estuary of the same rivers and, the places around there.
Since ancient times, men have taken this matter into consideration and have dug canals in such places of sea and farmed many lands irrigated by this sweet water that spreads in vast areas by means of flow and ebb.
Just now, there are millions of palm trees in the south of Iran, which are irrigated in this way. They are located very far from the sea. When rain falls less, and the water of great rivers that empties into the sea decreases, and sometimes salty water increases, local farmers get worried, for they fear that it harms their farming.
Usually this is not so. This ‘pleasant and sweet’ water which is placed besides ‘salty and warm’ water does mix with it, and this is a great capital for them.
It needs not mentioning that the existence of natural reasons in such issues does not devaluate them. What is nature? It is nothing except Allah’s will and intention that has bestowed such attributes to these creatures.
It is interesting that whenever man flies over them with airplane, it is clearly seen that these two waters have got various colours and do not get mixed. This makes man remember this Qur’anic point.
Moreover, locating this verse among the verses that are about ‘faith’ and ‘faithlessness’ may refer to this matter that sometimes in a society or city, or even in a home, there are faithful persons who are like sweet and pleasant water along with unfaithful persons who are like salty and warm water.
They have two various ideas and opinions and they have pure deeds and impure deeds, but they do not get mixed.
وَهُوَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ مِنَ الْمَاء بَشَرًا فَجَعَلَهُ نَسَبًا وَصِهْرًا وَكَانَ رَبُّكَ قَدِيرًا
54. “And He it is Who has created man from water, then He made him related in blood and in wedlock; and your Lord is ever Powerful.”
The purpose of ‘water’ in this noble verse is the sperm of man, and the evidence of it is found in the following two verses:
Since the previous verses talked about the falling of rain as well as the locating of the salty and sweet waters besides each other, now this verse mentions the creation of man from water,
Verily carving on water and shaping such a novel figure on water is the reason for omnipotence of Allah. In fact, the former verses talked about the growth of plants because of rain water, but here it speaks about a higher level that is the creation of man from water.
Therefore, commentators say that the purpose of water here is sperm from which all men are generated by Allah’s might. By sexual intercourse, man's sperm, which is floating in water, joins woman's ovum and the first blossom of man’s life, that is the first living cell of man, will be created.
If man carefully studies the various phases of forming sperm from the beginning up to the end of fetal period, he sees a lot of signs of Allah’s might and magnificence so that they will be enough to know His Pure Essence.
This commentary will be proved by the sentence that follows the verse and we will explain it.
Moreover, undoubtedly most of man’s body consists of water; therefore we can say that the main material of every man is water. Consequently, man can very scarcely resist lack of water, while he can survive many days and weeks without eating food.
Of course, it is also possible that all of these meanings are included in the concept of the verse. That is, both the first man is created from water, and all human beings are created from (seaman) water, and water is the most important material of man’s body. Water is the simplest material of the world, but how has it become the source of such wonderful creation? This is the reason for His might.
After mentioning the creation of man, the increase of generations is brought up.
The purpose of the Arabic word ‘Nasab’ (blood) is the relationship that is between men by way of reproductions and births, such as the relationship between father and offspring or relationship between brothers.
The purpose of the Qur’anic word /sihr/ (wedlock), which originally means ‘groom’, is the relationship that occurs through marriage between two families, such as the relation of man with the close relatives of his wife which is created in this way.
These two are what Islamic jurists say as ‘the indirect cause’ and ‘lineage’ in the subject of marriage.
In Surah An-Nisa’, No. 4, seven of the unmarriageable ones (mother, daughter, sister of mother, sister of father, daughter of brother, and daughter of sister) that are created by lineage or parentage, and four cases of the indirect cause (daughter of wife, mother of wife, wife of issue, and wife of father) are mentioned.
Of course, there are other opinions about this sentence stated by commentators, but this one is stronger and clearer, including this one: some say that the word ‘Nasab’ means ‘male offspring’ and the word /sihr/ means ‘female offspring’, for blood relationships traditionally are counted depending on fathers not mothers.
But as we said in the commentary of the 61st verse of Surah ’Al-i-‘Imran, it is a big mistake that is originated from customs and traditions that were before Islam. They thought that blood relationship has been originated only from father, and mother has no role.
But as it is specified by Islamic jurisprudence and all the Islam learned persons, all ordinances that are about lineally being unmarriageable are from both the father side and mother side.
It is interesting that there is a famous tradition which is recorded in Shi‘ite and Sunni books.
According to this tradition, this verse is sent down about the Prophet (p.b.u.li.) and Imam Ali (as), for the Prophet (S) married his daughter, Fatimah (as), off to Ali (as), therefore, Ali (as) was both the cousin of the Prophet (S) and spouse of his daughter. This is the meaning of the Qur’anic phrase ‘Nasaban Wa Sehran’ (related in blood and in wedlock).10
As we have repeatedly said, these narrations are some clear extensions of the verse and they do not prevent generality of the meaning of the verse. This verse includes any relationship that is created by the way of blood and marriage and one of its clear extensions is the bilateral relationship of Ali (as) and Prophet (S).
At the end of the verse, in order to put emphasis on the former issues, the Qur’an says:
وَيَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ مَا لاَ يَنفَعُهُمْ وَلاَ يَضُرُّهُمْ وَكَانَ الْكَافِرُ عَلَى رَبِّهِ ظَهِيرًا
55. “And they worship besides Allah (things) which neither profit them nor harm them; and the infidel is a helper (of aberration) against his Lord.”
No reason and logic polytheists have got for worshipping their idols. Harm and benefit is only in the hand of Allah, not others.
Finally, in the above verse, the deviation of polytheists from the principle of monotheism, which is comparing the power of idols with Allah’s power and some of which are mentioned in the previous verses, is brought up.
The Holy Qur’an says:
It is certain that benefit and harm can not be the only criterion of worshipping, but by mentioning this the Qur’an intends to say that they have no pretext for worshiping idols, for idols are some objects that have no value, no positive and negative effect.
At the end of the verse, the Qur’an adds:
They are not alone in their deviated path and they certainly help each other. The powers which must be mobilized for the sake of Allah, are organized against Allah, His Prophet (S), and the true believers.
If we see that some of commentators have interpreted the Qur’anic word /kafir/ (disbeliever) here as ’Abū Jahl, they want to mention a clear extension, otherwise, the Arabic word /kafir/ has got extensive meaning everywhere which includes all disbelievers.
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلاَّ مُبَشِّرًا وَنَذِيرًا
56. “And We did not sent you but a bearer of glad tidings and a warner.”
In this short verse, both monotheism: ‘’Arsalna’ (We have sent), and prophethood: ‘Ka’ (you, O’ Muhammad!) and Resurrection (a bearer of glad tidings and a warner) are referred to.
Since the previous verses spoke about idol-worshippers’ insistence on worshipping idols that had no benefit and harm, in this holy verse the duty of the Prophet (S) to stubborn disbelievers is mentioned.
If they do not accept the call of the Prophet (S), there is no fault and responsibility on him; because he has done his duty that is to give good tidings and to warn, and he has called receptive persons to Allah.
This verse both specifies the duty of the Prophet (S) and sympathizes with him, and it is a kind of threat and heedlessness to these deviated persons.
قُلْ مَا أَسْأَلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ مِنْ أَجْرٍ إِلاَّ مَن شَاء أَن يَتَّخِذَ إِلَى رَبِّهِ سَبِيلًا
57. “Say: ‘I do not ask you a wage for it (my ministry) except for him who wishes to choose a way unto his Lord’.”
A successful leader is one who declares to people that he does not expect anything. Man gets the rank of sincerity when he does not want or demand any physical, positional, and verbal reward.
Thus, Allah commands the Prophet (S) to tell the people: he does not ask of them any reward for this Qur’an and conveying this heavenly religion, save that people will may choose a way unto their Lord.
The verse says:
It implies that the only reward and compensation of the Prophet (S) is people's guidance that has happened intentionally and willfully in them and not reluctantly and compulsorily. This is an interesting phrase that shows the maximum of kindness and benevolence of the holy Prophet (S) towards his followers, for he counts their happiness and bliss as his reward.
It is clear that guidance of the nation (Ummah) has got an extraordinarily spiritual reward for the Prophet (S), because whoever leads people to a good deed is like the one who does this deed.
There are also other possibilities about the commentary of this verse. Some say that the verse implies that the Prophet (S) does not want any reward from people, except they give some of their wealth to the poor for the sake of Allah, of course, if they will.
But the first commentary is more near to the meaning of the verse.
It is understood from what have been said above that the pronoun of the Qur’anic word /‘alayh/ (for this) refers to the Qur’an and propagation of Islam religion, for it speaks about not wanting reward and compensation for this call.
This sentence both stops the pretexts of pagans and makes clear that acceptance of this divine call is easy and simple for anybody without any trouble and expenditure.
This testifies to truthfulness of the Prophet’s call and purification of his thought and program, for false claimers do this certainly for the sake of some indirect or direct reward.
وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى الْحَيِّ الَّذِي لاَ يَمُوتُ وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِهِ وَكَفَى بِهِ بِذُنُوبِ عِبَادِهِ خَبِيرًا
58. “And rely on the (Ever) living One Who dies not, and celebrate with His praise, and sufficient is He as being aware of the faults of His servants,”
The Arabic word /tawakkul/ as well as its derivatives are mentioned 70 times in the Qur’an. It means to rely on Allah and to use Him as lawyer in all affairs.
In the previous verse the holy Prophet (S) was commanded to tell people he would not demand reward from them. And now this verse implies that religious leaders do not expect anything from people for their own life and they must trust Allah.
Therefore, in this verse, the main reliance of the Prophet (S) is made clear; it says:
By having such a Trust, Sanctuary, and Guardian Who is always alive and will be alive, the Prophet (S) does not need their reward and does not fear harm, hurt, and their conspiracy. Now that this is so, ‘hymn His praise’, do glorify Him and praise Him for all His perfect Attributes.
The verse says:
In fact, this sentence can be counted as the etiology of the former sentence, for when He has no fault and weakness and has got all good things and is perfect, such a One is deserved to be trusted.
Then it is added: implying that he (S) should not be worried of the enemies’ conspiracies for He suffices as the Knower of His bondmen’s sins, and He reckons them when its time comes.
The verse continues saying:
In the above verse, when the Prophet (S) is ordered to forget all creatures and to rely on the pure nature of Allah, He mentions some attributes for this pure nature, which are, in fact, the main qualifications of One Who can be the real and sure trust of people.
First, he must be alive, for a dead and unbeneficial creature, such as idols, cannot be someone’s trust.
Second, he must be immortal, so that, those who trust him do not get worried and irresolute about his death.
Third, he must be omniscient. He must know both all the needs of those who trust in him and the plots and plans of foes.
Forth, he must be omnipotent. He must have no weakness and disability that weakens this reliance.
Fifth, he must manage and control all affairs. And we know that these attributes are only found in the pure nature of Allah, thus, He is the only One Whom can be trusted and does not have instability in all events and disasters.
1. The Prophet (S) said:
“One who wants to be the most pious person of people has to trust Allah.”11
2. Imam Sadiq (as) said:
“Fearing only Allah and not fearing other than Allah is reliance.”12
3. The Prophet (S) said:
“The best servants with Allah are those who trust Allah more and obey His commandments.”13
4. Imam Ali (as) said:
“This is sufficient for your trust that you know no one as your sustainer but Allah, the Glorious.”14
5. Imam Ali (as) said:
“Oh people! Trust and have confidence in Allah, for He will be sufficient for the affairs of those who trust (in Him).”15
6. The Prophet (S) said:
“If one trusts Allah, He provides his provisions and livelihood from some ways that he has not thought. And Allah makes the world the trust of one who pins all his hopes on the world.”16
الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضَ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا فِي سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍ ثُمَّ اسْتَوَى عَلَى الْعَرْشِ الرَّحْمَنُ فَاسْأَلْ بِهِ خَبِيرًا
59. “(He) Who created the heavens and the earth and what is between them in six Days, then He established Himself on ‘Arsh (the Throne of authority) the Beneficent (God)! Ask then (what you need) from Him Who is aware (of everything).”
This noble verse states the power of Allah in the entire universe and describes this assured trust in another way.
One who has such omnipotence can protect those trust Him from every danger and disaster. He both has created the world and the management, leadership and administration of it are in His authority.
Moreover, gradual creation of the world shows that Allah does not hurry in any job. If He does not punish wrongdoers very quickly, it is because He wants to give them opportunity and respite to improve them. Furthermore, someone who fears for the passage of time hurries, and this is not true about Allah, the Mighty.
In the commentary of the 54th verse of the Surah Al-’A‘raf we talked about the creation of the universe in six days and we said that the purpose of ‘days’ in such cases is periods that each of which may last millions or milliards years.
We mentioned the evidences of this matter from Arabic literature and other languages. Also we specified all these 6 periods. The Qur’anic word /‘arš/ has also been explained there.
In the end of the verse it is added:
He is the One Whose encompassing mercy includes all creatures, and everyone who obeys Him, or everyone who disobeys Him, believers and disbelievers all enjoy His unconditional generosity.
Now that man has such a mighty and generous Lord, he must ask Him whatever he needs or he must ask Him Who knows everything.
The verse says:
As a matter of fact this sentence is the result of the former discussion; it implies that the Prophet (S) must declare that he does not want any reward from them and they must trust Allah Who has all these attributes, that is.
He is both the Powerful, the Beneficent, and All-merciful, and All-aware, and the Omniscient. Thus man must ask Him whatever he wants.
Commentators have other opinions about this sentence and mostly they have interpreted the Qur’anic word /fas’al/ (ask), here, as to ask question or to question not to demand, and they say that the concept of this sentence is that if man wants to ask question about the creation and the power of Allah, he must ask Allah Himself, for He knows everything.
Some have not only interpreted 'ask' as ask question or to question, but also they say that the purpose of the Qur’anic word ‘Khabir’ is Gabriel or the Prophet of Islam (S), that, is if anyone has question about Allah's attributes, he must ask them.
Of course, the last commentary seems very unlikely and the commentary that is before the last one is not very consistent with the former verses. Thus, the meaning which says, to ask Allah whatever someone wants, seems more probable.
وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمُ اسْجُدُوا لِلرَّحْمَنِ قَالُوا وَمَا الرَّحْمَنُ أَنَسْجُدُ لِمَا تَأْمُرُنَا وَزَادَهُمْ نُفُورًا
60. “And when it is said to them: ‘Prostrate you to Rahman (The Beneficent Allah), they say: ‘And what is Rahman (the Beneficent Allah)? Shall we prostrate to what you bid us?’ And it increases them in aversion.”
In this verse the Arabic word /ma/ (what), which is use for inanimate and solid bodies, is repeated two times. The pagans used this word to scorn the Holy Divine Essence.
Therefore, instead of saying ‘Wa Man ir-Rahman’ (and who is the Beneficent?), they said: ‘Wa-Mar-Rahman’ (And what is the Beneficent?), and instead of saying ‘Liman Ta’muruna’ (to whom you bid us), they said ‘Lima Ta’muruna’ (to what you bid us).
Since the previous verses spoke about both the might and magnificence of Allah and His encompassing mercy, this verse implies that when they are told adore the Beneficent Allah, Whose mercy encompasses soul and body of yours, they say out of pride and conceit, or for redacting, what the Beneficent Allah is.
The verse says:
They said that they did not basically know Rahman and his word had no clear sense for them.
They continued saying:
We will not submit anybody and we are not the follower of the command of this and that.
They say this statement and, consequently, their hate and their distance from Allah will be increased.
Certainly the most proper name of Allah’s names for calling people to adoration and worship in His presence is ‘Rahman’ (the Beneficent) with its extensive meaning of His mercy, but because of blind-heartedness and stubbornness they not only presented no flexibility for this invitation, but also they embarked on scorning and mocking and they mockingly said:
As Pharaoh said in the opposition of Moses (as):
they did not even say: ‘and who is...?’
However, the root and the form of this word, ‘Rahman’ is Arabic, and the Prophet (S) always, at the beginning of each Surah of the Qur’an, said this name for them by the phrase:
Therefore, their aim was nothing but mocking and pretext-seeking.
The next sentence also testifies to this fact, for they say implicitly:
But as a matter of fact, the propagation of divine leaders only has effect on those persons whose hearts are receptive and the blind-hearted stubborn persons not only do not enjoy it, but also their hatefumess increases, for the verses of the Qur’an are like enlivening drops of rain that grows flower and meadow in gardens and grows thorn in the brackish lands.
So it is not surprisingly that it says:
- 1. Nūr uth-Thaqalayn
- 2. Qurtabī, Vol. 7, P. 4455
- 3. Surah Furqān, the verse under discussion
- 4. Surah Al-Baqarah, No. 2, verse 187
- 5. Surah Al-’A‘rāf, No. 7, verse 26
- 6. We have spoken in detail about the effects of water enlivenment in Surah Al-Anbiyā, No. 21, verse 30.
- 7. Qurtabī, the Commentary
- 8. Surah Al- Mursalāt, verse 20
- 9. Surah At-Tāriq, verse 6
- 10. Majma‘ ul-Bayān and Rūh ul-Ma‘ānī
- 11. Mishkāt ul-’Anwār, P. 50
- 12. Mishkāt ul-’Anwār, P. 56
- 13. Majmū‘ah Warram, Vol. 2, P. 123
- 14. Qurar-ul-Hikam, Vol. 3, P. 402
- 15. Kanz ul-‘Ummāl, Vol. 3, P. 703
- 16. Kanz ul-‘Ummāl, Vol. 3, P. 103
- 17. Surah Ash-Shu‘arā, No. 26, verse 23