Section 9: The Apostle (Muhammad)
تِلْكَ الدَّارُ الاَخِرَةُ نَجْعَلُهَا لِلَّذِينَ لاَ يُرِيدُونَ عُلُوّاً فِي الاَرْضِ وَلاَ فَسَاداً وَالْعَاقِبَةُ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ
83. “That abode of the Hereafter, we assign it for those who do not intend to exalt themselves in the earth nor (to make) mischief and the good end is for the pious ones.”
This verse works the resolution of the story of Korah, indicating that any amassing wealth and self-superiority is the cause of destruction in the world and wretchedness in the Hereafter. According to some Islamic narrations, Hadrat Ali-ibn-Abitalib (as) recited this holy verse for the merchants in the market.1
A tradition indicates that if a person thinks of himself as superior to another person because of having a better shoelace, he is one of those who intend to exalt themselves in the earth.2
There are many people who, for providing a residence, vehicle, clothing, speech, marriage and nominating their child, do something that they may become recognized in the society and attract people to themselves. Such people, as the above tradition denotes, intend to exalt themselves in the earth and will be deprived from Heaven.
After mentioning the agitating story of that rich, proud, and criminal man, i.e., Korah, there is a statement in this verse which, in fact, is a general conclusion from this event.
Not only they are not self-superior and mischievous, but also they do not even intend to do it. Their heart is free from these affairs and their soul is far from these pollutions.
Whatever causes the deprivation of man from the merits of the abode of Hereafter is found, indeed, in these very two things. All sins are concentrated in self-superiority and mischief in the earth.
The reason is that whatever Allah has prohibited us from is surely against the system of the creation of man and the development of his entity. Therefore performing it disturbs the system of his life and, thus, it is the source of mischief in the earth.
Even the subject of self-superiority is itself one of the clear expanses of mischief in the earth, but its extraordinary importance has caused it to be mentioned particularly.
Islamic narrations have specially emphasized on this subject very much. A tradition from Imam Amir-ul-Mu’minin Ali (as) denotes that he said:
“sometimes it happens that someone likes that his shoelace is better than that of his friend and for this very thing he will be counted in this verse, (because this mood is a small branch of self-superiority).”3
It is interesting that the author of Kashshaf commentary, after mentioning this tradition says:
“Some of the covetous ones say that according to the sentence:
the word ‘to exalt’ mentioned in the abovementioned verse refers to Pharaoh, and according to the sentence:
‘mischief’ refers to Korah, and they say he who is not like Pharaoh and Korah, Paradise and the eternal abode belong to him, and thus they send only Pharaoh and Korah and those similar to these two out from Heaven and consider the rest belonging to them.
They have not taken the last sentence of this verse under consideration which says:
such that Ali (as) has taken it in mind.’
The matter that we must add to this statement is that this group of people have been in err even for knowing Pharaoh and Korah, because Pharaoh both exalted in the earth and was a mischief-maker, when the verse says:
And Korah also was both a mischief-maker and exalted according to the sentence which says:
Another tradition about Imam Ali- (as) indicates that during his apparently caliphate, Ali (as) used to walk in the market, leading those who were lost, helping the weak and, when passing by the sellers and trades men, he recited this verse for them:
then he (as) usually said:
“This verse has revealed about the just and humble rulers and also other powerful ones among people.”8
This means that in the same manner that I have not use the government as a means for my self-superiority, you must not use your financial ability as means for your domination over others, either, because the good end belongs to that group who do not want to make mischief and do not seek self-superiority.
The Qur’an at the end of the verse says:
The word ‘end’ in its vast concept is ‘the good end’, victory in this world, and Heaven and its bounties in the next world. We saw what an evil fate had the people like Korah and Pharaoh, though their might was unique. Since they were not pious they afflicted the most painful fate.
We conclude the speech about this verse by a tradition narrated from Imam Sadiq (as).
It happened that when Imam Sadiq (as) recited this verse he began weeping and said:
“By Allah! With this verse, all of the hopes have entirely perished,”
and it is difficult to gain the good abode of Hereafter.9
مَنْ جَآءَ بِالْحَسَنَةِ فَلَهُ خَيْرٌ مِنْهَا وَمَن جَآءَ بِالسَّيّـِئَةِ فَلاَ يُجْزَي الَّذِينَ عَمِلُوا السَّيّـِئاتِ إِلاَّ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
84. “Whoever brings good, he shall have (reward) better than it, and whoever brings evil, then those who commit misdeeds shall not be requited except for what they used to do.”
After mentioning this fact that the good abode of Hereafter and its bounties are specific to the humble, pious truth-seekers, in this verse the Qur’an refers to stating a general law which is a complex of ‘justice’ and ‘favour’ concerning both reward and retribution.
This is the stage of favour or kindness. That is, Allah is not ill-liberate, as some people are, that they try to pay the wage or reward of someone so just and exact in order to observe justice.
Sometimes, He gives the reward of a deed tenfold and sometimes one hundred fold out of His unending grace, and at least He pays ten fold of it, as Surah Al-’An‘am, No. 6, verse 160 says:
And only Allah knows its maximum, a part of which concerning the payment of the alms-tax in the way of Allah is mentioned in Surah Al-Baqarah, No. 2, verse 61.
Of course, this is not an additional or undue reward. It depends on the level of purity of the deed, sincerity, good intention and serenity of the heart, and this is the stage of Divine favour for the righteous.
Then the Qur’an points to the punishment of the wrong doers.
This is the stage of Divine Justice, because, according to the verses of the Qur’an, they will not be punished more than what they have done, even as an atom.
It is interesting that it implies that their own deeds are their retribution. That is, their deed, that according to the law of permanence of beings in the world of existence, the effect of which remains in this world, whether inside of the soul or outside of it, and on the Day of Hereafter, which is the day of manifestation of what is hidden, will be depicted in an appropriate form and will accompany the sinners and will torture them.
إِنَّ الَّذِي فَرَضَ عَلَيْكَ الْقُرْءَانَ لَرَآدُّكَ إِلَي مَعَادٍ قُل رَبّـِي أَعْلَمُ مَن جَآءَ بِالْهُدَي وَمَنْ هُوَ فِي ضَلاَلٍ مُبِينٍ
85. “Verily He Who has (revealed and) ordained the Qur’an unto you will bring you back to the destination. Say: ‘My Lord knows best him who has brought the guidance and him who is in manifest error.”
A group of commentators have narrated an occasion of revelation for this verse from Ibn-Abbas, the content of which is as follows:
When the Prophet (S) was coming as migration from Mecca to Medina, he reached Juhfah, a land not so distanced from Mecca. He thought of his home, Mecca, a city which is the secure sanctuary of Allah, and where Ka‘bah was located, the thing that the heart and soul of the Prophet (S) had an unbroken link with it.
The signs of this yearning, which had been mixed with an impression and sadness, were seen in his blessed face. Here Gabriel, the harbinger of revelation, came down and asked him (S) whether he was fond of his city and home town. The Prophet answered him positively.
And we know that this great promise was finally fulfilled and the Prophet of Islam (S), with a mighty army and with abundant glory, returned to Mecca victoriously, and the secure sanctuary of Allah was given to him without fighting and blood shedding.
Thus, the abovementioned verse is one of the miraculous predictions of the Qur’an which stated such a prophecy so decisively and without any condition and it happened after a short time.
This verse addresses the Prophet of Islam (S) and, following the statement about some parts of the life story of Moses, the son of ‘Imran (as), and his struggle against Pharaoh, gives a glad tidings with some serious instructions to the Prophet of Islam (S).
We said that the first verse out of these verses, as it is circulated, was revealed in Juhfah when the Prophet (S) was going to Medina. He was going to go to Yathrib and change its name to Madinat-ur-Rasul in order to form the main center of the Islamic government there and to cause the people’s talents to open to blow.
He wanted to make it a platform for availability to the vast Divine government and his aims. Yet, his love and affection to Mecca vexed him hard and that periodic from that secure sanctuary of Allah was very inconvenient for him.
Here, the light of revelation enlightened his pure heart and gave him the good tidings of returning to his hometown, and announced:
Do not grieve! The same Lord Who returned Moses to his mother when he was a baby; the same Lord Who after ten years of absence returned him from Egypt to his main home-town in order to lighten the light of Monotheism and form the government of the oppressed after breaking the power of Pharaoh and his people, the same Lord will return you to Mecca with full might and strength and will lighten the light of Monotheism by your hand in this holy land.
These affairs are easy for the power of the Lord, the same Lord Who sent down the Qur’an unto your heart and made its conveyance obligatory and its ordinances incumbent. Yes, He is the Lord of the Qur’an, the Mighty Lord of the earth and heavens.
Then the Qur’an adds that, against the stubbornness of the obstinate opponents, the Prophet (S) must treat as follows:
The way of guidance is clear, and their aberration is manifest. They make themselves tied in vain. Allah is well aware and the truth-seeking hearts also know this reality.
Of course, the manifest commentary of the verse was the same thing which was said in the above, but some of the commentators have delivered some other probable meanings upon the Qur’anic word /ma‘ad/ and said that the purpose of /ma‘ad/ is ‘returning to life after death’, or ‘the land’, or ‘the rank of the Great Intercession’, or ‘Paradise’, or Jerusalem which was the place of ascension of the first prophet, and the like.
But regarding to the whole content of Surah Qasas and what is said in the story life of Moses and the Children of Israel, as well as the occasion of revelation that was cited in the above, all of these meanings seem improbable except the commentary of /ma‘ad/ i.e., the place of return, the land of Mecca.
In addition, Resurrection on the Day of Hereafter is not something that can be specific to the Prophet (S), while the verse speaks only about the Prophet (S), and this verse, being mentioned after the verse concerning the reward and retribution in the Hereafter, not only is not an evidence for this matter but also it may be a reason for its contrary, because the previous verse talks about the felicity in the next world and it is appropriate that the verse under discussion talks about the victory in this world.
By the way, the commentaries of Burhan, Safi, and ‘Atyab-ul-Bayan narrated from Jabir, from Hadrat Imam Baqir (as) and Imam Sadiq (as) that the purpose of the Qur’anic phrase: /la radduka ’ila ma‘ad/ is the period of Raj‘at (return to this world after death) when the Prophet (S), Imam Amir-ul-Mu’minin Ali (as), the Immaculate Imams (as), those who are absolutely believers, and those who are absolutely disbelievers will return to this world and the Imams will govern throughout the world and will take vengeance from the enemies.
The narrations of Raj‘at are widely transmitted and Raj‘at is of the self-evident knowledge of Shi‘ah sect. There are also some verses in the Holy Qur’an that adapt to it.
and some other verses. Up to now the religion of Islam has not prevailed over all religions and the promise of Allah has not been done yet, but it will not fail either, and this belongs only to the period of Raj‘at.
The Late Sayyid Murtada ‘Alam-al-Huda has narrated in his book: ‘Muhkam Wa Mutashabih’ from Amir-ul-Mu’minin Ali (as) that this verse relates to Raj‘at in this world.12
At the presence of Imam Baqir (as) Jabir-ibn-‘Abdillah-’Ansari was spoken about, when Imam Baqir said:
“May Divine Mercy be upon Jabir. He was one of our jurisprudents.
His knowledge had reached to a point that he knew the verse:
which relates to Raj‘at.”13
Once Imam Sadiq (as) was asked about the commentary of this verse. He said:
“By Allah, the world will not end until the holy Prophet (S) and Amir-ul-Mu’minin Ali (as) meet each other in Thuwiyyah. They will build a mosque there the doors of which will be numerous.”14
Thuwiyyah is the name of a province in the suburb of Kufah.15
وَمَا كُنْتَ تَرْجُوا أَن يُلْقَي إِلَيْكَ الْكِتَابُ إِلاَّ رَحْمَةً مِن رَبّـِكَ فَلاَ تَكُونَنَّ ظَهِيراً لِلْكَافِرِينَ
86. “And you did not hope that the Book should be cast unto you, except it be a mercy from your Lord, therefore be not a supporter of the disbelievers.”
The Divine prophets, with that purity of soul and perfection in worship, did not expect to receive revelation. Revelation and sending Heavenly Books are among the affairs of sovereignty of Allah.
There are two similarities between Hadrat Musa (as) and Hadrat Muhammad (S) found in the verses of this holy Surah:
1. Hoping to obtain fire Hadrat Musa went toward it and he reached a Light. The Prophet of Islam went into Hirra cave intending to worship and he was acquainted with Heavenly revelation.
This verse points to one of the greatest bounties of Allah bestowed on the Prophet (S).
A great deal of people had heard the glad tidings of the advent of the new religion and, perhaps, a group of the People of the Book, and other than them, were waiting that the revelation might be sent down on them and Allah would give them this responsibility, but the Prophet (S) did not think of it and Allah knew him the most eligible for it.
Then the verse continues implicitly saying that now for giving thanks upon this great bounty he should follow this command:
Surely the Prophet (S) was never a supporter of the disbelievers, this commandment was an emphasis concerning him, and it was the statement of an important duty for others.
This meaning, in fact, agrees with the matter which was mentioned in former verses about Moses that he (as) said:
وَلا يَصُدُّنَّكَ عَنْ ءَايَاتِ اللَّهِ بَعْدَ إِذْ اُنزِلَتْ إِلَيْكَ وَادْعُ إِلَي رَبّـِكَ وَلا تُكُونَنَّ مِنَ المُشْرِكِينَ
87. “And let them not turn you away from the signs of Allah after they have been sent down unto you, and invite (mankind) unto your Lord, and be not of the polytheists.”
Being attentive to Monotheism and negation of paganism and infidelity, it is so important that in these verses Allah has warned the Prophet (S) about them.
Most sentences concerning this matter in these recent verses are accompanied with the Arabic signs of emphasis, and with the exaggeration form:
The two ending verses of the Surah are an emphasis on the subject of Monotheism with some different expressions and reasoning. It is Monotheism which is the origin of all religious affairs, a Monotheism that is both source and branch, both whole and part.
In this holy verse there are four instructions given to the Prophet (S) and Allah is qualified by four attributes which complete the whole discussions of the verses of this Surah.
At first, it says about the pagans:
Although the prohibition is for pagans, its concept is that the Prophet (S) should not surrender for their hindrances and plots. It is just like that we say so and so must not temptate you, i.e., you should not surrender to his temptations.
Thus, the Prophet (S) is commanded that when the Divine verses are sent down, he should stand decisively on them without any hesitation and doubt. He (S) must remove the hindrances that are on his way, and go forward to the destination with firm steps, because Allah is with him and supports him.
According to the statement of Ibn-Abbas, the famous commentator, though the addressee is the Prophet (S), the purpose of the verse is all mankind.
Following this instruction, which had a negative aspect, this holy verse issues the second instruction, which has a positive aspect.
He is the Lord Who is your owner, your trainee, and your fosterer.
After invitation to Allah, the third instruction is negation of any polytheism and idolatry. It says implicitly that he (S) should never become of the polytheists, because the way of Monotheism is brightly clear and those who pave it are on the straight way.
وَلا تَدْعُ مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلهاً ءَاخَرَ لآ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ كُلُّ شَيْءٍ هَالِكٌ إِلاَّ وَجْهَهُ لَهُ الْحُكْمُ وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ
88. “And do not call upon another god with Allah, there is no god but He. Every thing is perishable but He. He is the Authority and unto Him shall you be returned.”
The true monotheist is the one who is free from all objects of worship, great powers, deviated parties, and tyrants:
This holy verse is a second emphasis on the negation of any polytheism, when it says:
These consecutive instructions, each of which emphasizes on one another, make clear the importance of the subject of Monotheism in Islamic programs without which every thing is lost.
Next to these four instructions, the Qur’an qualifies Allah by four attributes all of which are some repeated emphasis on the subject of Monotheism.
At first, it says:
The Judgment and Sovereignty in the world of creation and the world of religion both are specific to His Pure Essence.
The verse says:
And the return of all of you is toward Him (s.w.t.):
These recent three qualities can be a reasoning upon proving the Monotheism and abandoning any kind of idolatry which is inside of the first quality, because:
When we are all perishable and existence is allocated to Him;
When the administration of the system of existence belongs to Him;
And when the return of all of us in the Hereafter is toward Him, what kind of function can other objects of worship have? And except Him, what is appropriate to be worshipped?
The great commentators of the Holy Qur’an have delivered different matters upon the sentence:
which turn on the axis of commenting the Qur’anic term: /wajh/ and the Arabic word /halik/.
Philologically the Arabic word /wajh/ is applied for a part of the body which is located on the face of man, but when it is used concerning Allah, it means ‘His Pure Essence.’
The Arabic term /halik/ is derived from /halak/ which means ‘death’ and ‘destruction’. Therefore the abovementioned sentence refers to the destruction of all beings except His Pure Essence.
They are perishable not only after the end of this world, but also they are perishable before Him just now, because all beings are dependant on His Pure Essence and in all moments they take their own possibility of being from Him and they have nothing from their own essence but that which is from Allah.
Moreover, all beings of this material world are variable and are in the expose of variations, even according to the belief of transubstantiation, the essence is the object of change, and we know motion and variation means perishing into a new thing permanently.
In any moment the beings of the world of matter die and are quickened. Therefore, just now they are perishable and destroyed. The only Essence that does not change, has not destruction, and is absolute independent is His Holy Essence.
We also know that at the end of this world destruction will have a more clear manifestation and, as the Qur’an says:
Not only the beings on the earth, but also those who are in heavens will perish.
The Qur’an says:
This is a commentary consistent with the apparent of this noble verse and other verses of the Qur’an. But some other commentators have delivered some other commentaries on it, too, including as follows:
The objective of the Qur’anic word /wajh/ is ‘righteous deed’, and the concept of the verse is that all deeds will perish save the deed which has been done for the Pure Essence of Allah.
Some others have said that the objective of the Qur’anic word /wajh/ is that very relation of the things to Allah. Thus, the concept of the holy verse is that everything is naturally perishable except for its relation to Allah.
Some commentators have said that the Qur’anic word /wajh/ means ‘religion’ and the concept of the verse is that all religions are perishable and nullified, except the religion of Allah. They have taken the Qur’anic phrase /la hul hukm/ in the sense of religious sovereignty and considered it an emphasis upon this commentary.
They have also commented the Qur’anic sentence:
in the sense of returning to Allah in choosing religion and a second emphasis on this meaning.
These interpretations, in fact, do not contrast to what was said in the above, because when we accept that the only thing that will remain in this world is the Pure Essence of Allah, it will become clear that whatever is somehow related to His Pure Essence, that thing will also take the colour of existence and eternity to it.
The religion which is from His side is eternal; the righteous deed that is done for Him is eternal; and the Divine leaders who relate to Him, from this point that they are related to Him, are eternal. In short, everything that is somehow related to the Pure Essence of Allah, from that point is not perishable and has not destruction.
At the end, some ‘fanatic sects’ of Sunnite people say that whoever calls upon other than Allah will become a polytheist, since Allah has said:
Therefore, those who call the saints of Allah in their supplications are polytheists.
But this verse explains that polytheist is the one who calls upon other than Allah as another god:
And it is evident that the Shi‘ite people do not call any rank as Allah, but they call the one as a person who has honour with Him, the honour that has been given him from the side of Allah, such as prophets, the friends of Allah, not any illusive intercessor and honoured, since the idol-worshippers in their imagination also consider an honour for their idol.
In this holy verse, wiping polytheism has been stated with different phrases:
1- Do not call upon another god with Allah.
2- There is no god but He.
3- Everything is perishable but He.
4- He is the Authority.
5- Unto Him shall you be returned.
Every year, the king of Sa‘udi Arabia invites the scholars of Islamic sects to entertain them on the Day of festival of sacrifice.
One year ‘Allamah Sayyid Sharaf-ud-Din Jabal-‘Amili (one of the outstanding scholars of Lebanon) was invited to that festival. As soon as ‘Allamah entered the meeting, he gave a Qur’an with leather cover as a gift to the king. The king took it and kissed it.
‘Allamah told him he was a polytheist. The king became inconvenient that why ‘Allamah accused him like that. ‘Allamah answered him that it was so because the king kissed a piece of leather which was an animal’s skin and respecting the skin of an animal is polytheism.
The king said:
“I do not kiss any skin. My shoe is made of leather and the skin of animal, but I never kiss it. This piece of leather has been used as the cover of the Qur’an.”
“We do not kiss any piece of iron, either. We kiss the iron which has been used as the box, or burial chamber, and the door and window of the grave of the Prophet (S) or that of our Immaculate Imams (as).”
Yes, polytheism is the case when we take someone or something as god instead of Allah, and consider an independent might for that. The Shi‘ite do not consider the might of the friends of Allah as an independent might, but they consider it a power dependent to the power of Allah.
Therefore, if the Shi‘ite make a dome, or build a shrine, it is for the sake that they inform people that there is a monotheist buried here, or the one who is buried here is a martyr in the way of Allah and has been devoted for Unity. Thus, a dome and an Islamic shrine usually means a center under which the call of Unity is heard, not a center opposite to mosque.
Imam Rida (as) said:
“The prophet of Allah and His Authorities on the earth are /wajhullah/ by whom Allah, religion, and His cognition are paid attention to.”19
We recite in Nudbah Supplication about the Expected Imam (May Allah hasten his glad advent):
“Where is the Authority of Allah that will come?”
And also we read in it:
“Where is the Authority of Allah who pays attention to the saints?”
O Lord! Do taste us the sweetness of recitation of the Qur’an, contemplation in it and being advised by it!
O Lord! Enlighten our hearts with the Light of the Qur’an, and set our entity a light giver!
O Lord! Cause our manner and speech to be emerged from Qur’an and from the manner and life of Prophet Muhammad (S) and his Immaculate progeny (Ahl-ul-Bayt) (as)
Amen, O the Lord of the Worlds!
- 1. Majma‘-ul-Bayan, following the verse.
- 2. Jawami‘-ul-Jami‘, the Commentary, following the verse
- 3. Jawami‘-ul-Jami‘, the Commentary, following the verse
- 4. The current Surah, verse 4
- 5. Ibid, verse 77
- 6. The current Surah, verse 4
- 7. The current Surah, verse 79
- 8. Zazan has narrated this tradition from Amir-ul-Mu’minin Ali (as), taken from Majma‘-ul-Bayan
- 9. The commentary of Ali-ibn-’Ibrahim, following the verse.
- 10. Surah At-Taubah, No. 9, verse 33
- 11. Surah An-Nur, No. 24, verse 55
- 12. Bihar-ul-’Anwar, Vol. 93, P. 87
- 13. Burhan commentary, Vol. 3, P. 240, and Al-’Iqaz, P. 386
- 14. Bihar, Vol. 53, P. 113
- 15. Mustadrak Safinah, Vol. 1, P. 429
- 16. The current Surah, verse 17
- 17. Surah Ar-Rahman, No. 55, verse 26 and 27
- 18. Surah Az-Zumar, No. 39, verse 68
- 19. Tauhid-i-Saduq, P. 117