Section 3: Allah’s Bounties as Signs of Guidance to Mankind
وَءَايَةٌ لَّهُمُ الأَرْضُ الْمَيْتَةُ أَحْيَيْنَاهَا وَأَخْرَجْنَا مِنْهَا حَبّاً فَمِنْهُ يَأْكُلُونَ
33. “And a sign for them is the dead and; We give life to it and We bring forth from it grain so they eat of it.”
The best way of having faith in Resurrection is carefulness in the created things.
The verse under discussion states some signs of Unity and Resurrection with together in order that it can be a means for the rejecters to become aware and believe in the Origin and Resurrection.
At first it refers to the revival of the dead lands and the blessings from which reach to mankind.
The subject of life is one of the most important proofs of Monotheism. It is a very complicated, mysterious and wonderful problem which has caused the intellect of all scientists to surprise. With all great progresses which man has gained in science, none has opened its puzzle yet.
It has not exactly been known to anyone that under what factors at the beginning the inanimate beings changed into living cells.
Still no one knows how the seeds of plants and their different levels have minutely been built; and what mysterious laws administer them that they move when the suitable conditions are provided, and they begin to grow and absorb the atoms of the dead land into their own being; and, in this way, they change the dead beings into some tissues of the living creature so that every day it shows some new manifestations of life.
From one side, the subject of life in the world of plants, animals, and revival of the dead lands are some clear proofs upon the fact that there have been applied a great knowledge in the creation of this world; and, on the other hand, they are as a manifest sign upon Resurrection.
It is clear that the Arabic pronoun /lahum/ (for them) refers to /‘ibad/ (servants) which has been mentioned in previous verses; and the purpose of /‘ibad/ here is all the servants who made mistake and deviated in the subjects of Origin and Resurrection, and the Qur’an counts their circumstance as the cause of regret and sigh.
The application of the Arabic word /’ayah/ in an indefinite form points to the greatness, importance and clarity of this monotheistic sign.
The Qur’anic sentence /fa minhu ya’kulun/ (so they eat of it), from one side, points to this fact that man feed from a part of vegetal grains, and some others of them are not edible for man, but they have some other benefits, such as: food for animals, producing the colouring matters, medicine, and other things which are utilized in man’s life.
And, on the other side, by preceding the word /minhu/ to /ya’kulun/, which is usually used for restriction, expresses this point that the most (and also the best) source of man’s food is vegetal stuffs, so much so that as if they form all foods of man.
وَجَعَلْنَا فِيهَا جَنَّاتٍ مِن نَّخِيلٍ وَأَعْنَابٍ وَفَجَّرْنَا فِيهَا مِنَ الْعُيُونِ
لِيَأْكُلُوا مِن ثَمَرِهِ وَمَا عَمِلَتْهُ أَيْدِيهِمْ أَفَلاَ يَشْكُرُونَ
34. “And We made therein gardens of date-palms and grape vines, and We caused springs to flow forth in it,”
35. “That they may eat of its fruit, and of what their hands have produced; will they not then be grateful?”
In man’s nutrition, cereals and grains have the first function and then there are fruits.
The man’s duty for bounties is cognition and thanks giving. Allah gives life to the dead land and makes plants and fruits available that man eats them and thanks.
This holy verse refers to the life of dead lands.
In the previous verse the words were about grains, but here the strengthening and nutritive fruits, two outstanding samples of them are date and grapes each of which is counted a complete food.
As we have formerly said in detail, too, the studies of scholars show that these two fruits, in particular, have kinds of necessary vitamins and different vital materials for man’s body. Moreover, these two useful fruits can be kept and used in different forms during the year for eating.
The Arabic term /’a‘nab/ is the plural form of /‘inab/ and the term /naxil/, as Raqib says in Mufradat, is the plural form of /naxl/ but with this difference that the term /‘inab/ is usually called to ‘grapes’ itself and it is rarely used for a vine, while the word /naxl/ is a name for the tree, the fruit of which is fresh date and is called /tamr/ (fresh but dry date).
Some believe that this difference of meaning that in one place the Qur’an says: ‘Tree’ and in another place it says: ‘fruit’ is for the sake that date-palm, as it is popular, all its parts are useful: its trunk, its branches and leaves are totally used differently, and its fruit is superior to all of these things, while vine is usually planted for its fruit and its trunk and branches have not much usage.
And that both of them are mentioned in plural form, this may refer to the different kinds of these two fruits, because each of them is of more than 10 kinds, with different specialties and suitable for everybody and for various tastes.
This point is also noteworthy that in the previous verse the meaning was referred to giving life to the dead lands, which is usually accompanied in the Qur’an with the statement of the descent of rain, but in this verse the words are about the flowing springs, because for a great deal of agriculture only rainwater is not enough and fruit trees are usually in need of flowing water, too.
The Arabic term /fajjarna/ is derived from /tafjir/which here means: ‘to create a vast gap’, and since springs are gushed forth by splitting the land, this meaning has been used for coming out spring-water from the land.
The next holy verse states the aim of the creation of these fruitful trees as such:
Yes, the fruits which appeared on the branches of trees, without being in need of any changes, are eatable when they are picked up from the trees; and this shows the utmost grace and greatness of Allah unto humankind.
He has packed this delicious prepared food as well that it can be maintained for a long time without that it loses its nutritiousness. This is different from the foods man makes from natural god-given stuffs that they often become putrid quickly.
There is another commentary upon this verse which is noteworthy, too. It says: the Qur’an intends to point both to the fruits that are used without any change, and to the kinds of different foods which are obtained with an action on these fruits. (In the first commentary the Arabic word /ma/ in the Qur’anic sentence is a negative sign, while in the second one is a ‘relative pronoun’.
However, the aim is that this sense of gratitude and thanksgiving of men may be moved so that, by the way of thanksgiving they can step in the stage of knowing Allah, in which thanking the Benefactor is the first step of knowing Allah (s.w.t.).
سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ الأَزْوَاجَ كُلَّهَا مِمَّا تُنْبِتُ الأَرْضُ وَمِنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ وَمِمَّا لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ
36. “Glory be to Him Who created pairs (of) all things, of what the earth grows, and of their selves and of what they do not know.”
One of the scientific miracles of the Qur’an is the statement of the law of matrimony in all things: plants, human beings, and that which people did not know at that time and now they know.
This holy verse talks about the glorification of Allah and nullifies the polytheism of the polytheist about which the former verse referred to and shows all human beings the way of Monotheism.
Yes, the Lord, Who created these all pairs in the expanse of the world of existence, whose Knowledge and Power are infinite, and there is no defect and blemish in His Essence, has no partner, no like, and no equal. So if some groups of people have counted some pieces of the stone, wood and other creatures of His like, He is far off from these undue attributes.
It is evident that Allah does not need to glorify Himself. This is an instruction for the servants and it is a prescription for paving the path of development.
Commentators have rendered the Qur’anic term /’azwaj/ (pairs), mentioned here, into different meanings. What is certain is that the term /’azwaj/ is the plural form of /zauj/ which is called to the two genders of masculine and feminine, whether they are in the world of animals, or other than them.
Then, this word has been expanded and every two beings which are companions to each other, or even they are opposite to each other, are called /zauj/. This word is used even for two similar rooms in a house, or two halves of a door, or two fellow-members. And, thus, it considers a pair for any being in the world.
However, it is not impossible that matrimony here is used with the same specific sense of masculine gender and feminine gender, and, in this verse, the Qur’an informs of the existence of matrimony in the world of all plants, human beings, and other beings that people are not aware of.
These beings may be plans that the vastness of the scope of matrimony had not been discovered yet at that time.
Or it may point to the animals in the depth of the seas of which on that day nobody was aware and today a part of it has been discovered for human beings.
Or it points to other living creatures that live in other heavenly spheres.
Or they are very small living creatures, although the modern scientists do not know any masculine and feminine among them; but the world of these living creatures is so mysterious and secret that the knowledge of man has not found a way to this part of it.
Even, as we said, the existence of matrimony in the world of plants was unknown at the time of the revelation of the Qur’an, except some special instances, like the trees of dates and the like, and the Qur’an uncovered it. In the present centuries, by the way of science, this meaning has been proved that the subject of matrimony in the world of plants is a general and common subject.
This probability has also been delivered that ‘matrimony’ here refers to the existence of positive and negative particles inside the centre of atom and the electrons which rotate around it and which has been proved.
Some have also believe that it refers to the combination of the things from ‘matter’ and ‘form’, or ‘substance’ and ‘accident’ while some others consider that it is an implicit declaration of different kinds of plants, human beings, animals, and other beings in the world.
But it is clear that when we can adapt these words to the real meaning (masculine and feminine genders) and there is not any frame of reference contrary to it, why do we refer to the allusive meanings; and, as was said, there are several interesting commentaries for the real meaning of matrimony here.
However, this verse is one of the verses that state that man’s knowledge is limited and which shows that there are a great deal of facts in this world which are not known to our knowledge.1
وَءَايَةٌ لَّهُمُ الَّيْلُ نَسْلَخُ مِنْهُ النَّهَارَ فَإِذَا هُم مُّظْلِمُونَ
وَالشَّمْسُ تَجْرِي لِمُسْتَقَرٍّ لَّهَا ذَلِكَ تَقْدِيرُ الْعَزِيزِ الْعَلِيمِ
37. “And a sign for them is the night; We strip it of the day and behold they are plunged in darkness.”
38. “And the sun runs unto a resting-place fixed for it; that is the decree of the Mighty, the Knowing.”
Night is one of the signs of Power and Wisdom of Allah. It is a fixed program in the length of history which has no disorder. This fact is the sign of the existence of a Wise and Knowing Geomancer.
These verses state another part of the signs of the greatness of Allah in the world of existence; and following the discussion mentioned in the former verses about Resurrection and reviving the dead lands, plants and trees, another form of the forms of Monotheism is stated.
While the light of sun has covered everywhere, and the army of darkness has been drawn back, Allah says:
The Arabic term /naslaxu/ is derived from /salax/ which originally means ‘taking off the skin of an animal’ and it is a tender meaning. As if the light of the day were a white clothing which has been put on the body of the night. At the sunset this clothing is taken off of its body, like the skin, in order that its innate becomes manifest.
To be careful in this meaning reiterates this point that the main nature of the earth is darkness, and light is something casual which is given to it from another source. It is like a shirt put on the body of a person that when he takes it off, the natural colour of the body is made manifest.
Here, the Qur’an has emphasized on the darkness of night. It seems it intends to state the change of the light of the day into darkness of the night, as an example of the death after life, and this is next to the statement of giving life to the dead lands, which was mentioned as a sign out of the Divine signs in the previous verses.
However, when man is in the midst of the darkness of night, he remembers the light and its blessings, the light and its excitements, the light and its source, and, by a comparison he will be acquainted with ‘the Creator of light and darkness’.
In the next verse, which has been pointed out next to the night as a sign, there is the light of sun as a sign.
This verse clearly states the constant motion of the sun, but, concerning the purpose of this motion, commentators have delivered different discussions. A group of them say that this motion refers to the apparent motion of the sun round the earth which will continue until the end of the world and, in fact, is the destination of the sun and it is the end of its lifetime.
Some others have rendered it to the declamation of the sun in summer and winter towards the North and South of the earth, because we know that from the beginning of spring the sun declines from the moderate line (equator) toward the North and goes forth as far as 23 northern degree and from the beginning of summer it returns back until the beginning of autumn when it reaches the moderate line (equator).
It also continues its movement toward the South until the beginning of winter, and from the beginning of winter it moves toward the line of equinox and it reaches it at the beginning of spring.
Of course, all these motions, in fact, are because of the movement of the earth and the inclination of its excess due to the level of its orb, though apparently and as the result of the sense it seems relates to the movement of the sun.
Some others consider it as an indication to the rotation of the ‘sun globe’, because the studies of the scientists have decisively proved that the sun turns round itself.
The last and the most modern commentary for the abovementioned verse is the same thing that scientists have recently discovered. It says that the sun moves with the solar system in the midst of our galaxy toward an appointed direction and toward a far distanced star which has been called ‘Weca’.
These meanings do not contrast to each other and the Arabic phrase /tajri/ may refer to all these movements and the movements which have not been known to our knowledge and that they may be discovered in future.
However, to move the sun, this very great globe which is one million and two thousand times bigger than the earth and with an accurate movement in the endless atmosphere, is possible by no one save by Allah Whose Power is above all powers and Whose Knowledge is infinite.
That is why, at the end of the verse, the Qur’an says:
The last word about this verse is that there is a meaningful hint in its content upon the system of the solar year which comes into being by means of the movement of the sun in zodiacs a system that gives order and program to the living of man, and arranges its different aspects.
وَالْقَمَرَ قَدَّرْنَاهُ مَنَازِلَ حَتَّي عَادَ كَالْعُرْجُونِ الْقَدِيمِ
لاَ الشَّمْسُ يَنْبَغِي لَهَآ أَن تُدْرِكَ الْقَمَرَ وَلاَ الَّيْلُ سَابِقُ النَّهَارِ وَكُلٌّ فِي فَلَكٍ يَسْبَحُونَ
39. “And (as for) the moon, We have fixed for it the stages till its returns to be bent like an old palm branch.”
40. “Neither is it expedient for the sun that it should overtake the moon, nor can the night outstrip the day; and each swims along in (its own) orbit.”
The orb of the movement of the sun and the moon has been arranged in a way that they never crash each other, and there will not appear any confusion in the creation of the night and the day.
In spite of the attitude which said the sum was fixed, the Holy Qur’an says that the sun has motion, and a motion with a proper direction.
Therefore, in order to complete this discussion, these noble verses of the Holy Qur’an speak about the moon and its zodiacal signs, the system of the division of the days of the moon.
The objective meaning of ‘stages’ is the same twenty eight places at the moon passes before ‘its absence in the last nights of a lunar month’ and absolute darkness, because when a lunar month is fully thirty days, the moon is visible in the sky until the twenty eighth night, but by this night the moon appears very narrow with a yellow colour and a little light.
It is not visible during the ‘two remaining nights’ which is called in Arabic /muhaq/. In the lunar months, of course, which contains twenty nine days, the moon is usually seen in the sky until twenty seventh night, and ‘the two remaining aq/ (the absence of the moon).nights’ is /muh
These stages are completely exact and accurate, in a manner that the astronomers, according to their minute calculations, can foretell them from one hundred years sooner.
This marvellous system gives order to the men’s living. It is a natural celestial calendar which everybody is able to study. It is so that if a person is careful in the situation of the moon in different nights, he can, by looking at its situation, know, exactly or approximately, which night of the lunar month that night is.
This fact has been experienced, because, at the beginning the tips of the crescent are upward and gradually the bulk of the moon increases until the seventh night when a complete half of the moon is fully made manifest. Then its increasing state will continue on to the fourteenth night when it becomes a full moon.
From this night on, the moon decreases from down side until the twenty first night when the moon appears in a semicircle form. It continues being decreased until the twenty eighth night when the moon is seen with a weak colourless crescent the tips of which are downward.
Yes, the main basis of the men’s living is formed by order, and without defining the exact time having order is impossible; and Allah has set this exact monthly and yearly calendar in the sky for this very aim.
It is from this hint that the tender concept of the Qur’anic phrase /kal ‘urjun-il-qadim/ (to the best like an old palm branch) is made clear. As most commentators and philologists have said, the Arabic word /‘urjun/ means that part of the bunch of dates which is attached to the tree. The explanation is that: dates appear on the tree in the form of bunch of dates.
The end of this bunch is in the form of yellow wooden arc which is attached to the tree, and its tip is like a sweep, and the dates, like grapes, are joined to its strings. When the bunch of dates is cut, that wooden arc branch remains on the tree.
When it dries, it is completely similar to the crescent before /muhaq/, because, as the crescent of the last nights of the lunar month, which is in the east of the sky, appears nearly in the morning. It is like arc, yellow and withered, the tips of which is downward, and /‘urjun-il-qadim/ is also like this.
This similarity, in fact, appears in different dimensions. They are from the point of arc form of the date branch, from the point of yellow colour, from the point of withered state, from the point of its tips being downward, and from the point of it being inside the mass of green branches of the palm tree which is not unlike to the crescent of the last night inside the dark sky.
The moon is qualified as ‘old’ which points to its oldness, because the more old these branches are, the more narrow, withered, and yellowish they become, and they are more alike to the crescent of the last lunar month. Glory be to Allah! That how many tenders and beauties there are in a short phrase of the Holy Qur’an!
The last verse of the group of verses under discussion speaks about the perseverance and permanence of this order of year, month, day and night. The Lord has arranged such a program for them that there appears the least change in their situation, and it is for this very perseverance that the history of man can be arranged fully.
We know that the sun spends its term in twelve months during one year while the moon passes its stages during one month.
Therefore, the circular movement of the moon in its orb is twelve times quicker than the movement of the sun in its orb. That is why it implies that the sun in its own movement never reaches the moon so that it performs its one-year movement during one month and that the one year system varies.
Also, the night never outstrip the day so that it brings a part of it into itself and that the present system alters, but all of them continue their path without the least change for millions of years.
And, thus, the state of sun and moon swimming in their orbits also comes forth from this.
There is also this probability that the purpose of the ‘sun swims in its orbit’ is its movement accompanied with the solar system and accompanied with the galaxy inside which we are, because it has been proved that our solar system is a part of the great galaxy which is rotating round itself.
As many known commentators believe, the Qur’anic sentence:
refers to each of the sun, the moon and stars that have a separate orbit for themselves, though the word ‘stars’ has not formerly been mentioned in the verses, with regard to the mention of /layl/ (night) and companionship of stars with the sun and the moon, the recognition of this meaning does not seem impossible, in particular that un/ has been mentioned in plural form.the term /yasbah
There is also this interpretation that this sentence refers to each of sun, moon, night and day, because each of night and day has an orb for itself and exactly they turn round the earth. Always half of the earth is dark while another half has light and these two turn round the earth one complete round during twenty four hours.
The Qur’anic term /yasbaḥun/ is derived from /sabahat/ that, according to Mufradat by Raqib, originally means move ‘speedily’ in water and space, which points to the quick movement of the heavenly spheres. It has likened them to some intellectual beings that continue swiftly their rotation.
This fact has also been proved today that the celestial spheres are moving in their path with very surprising speeds, and sometimes with extra ordinary speed.
وَءَايَةٌ لَّهُمْ أَنَّا حَمَلْنَا ذُرِّيَّتَهُمْ فِي الْفُلْكِ الْمَشْحُونِ
وَخَلَقْنَا لَهُم مِن مّـِثْلِهِ مَا يَرْكَبُونَ
41. “And a sign for them is that We bore their offspring in the loaded ship.”
42. “And We have created for them the like of it whereon they ride.”
Taking benefit from ships and animals has frequently been mentioned as the Divine blessings.
Former verses were about the signs of Allah in the creation of the sun and the moon as well as the night and the day, and also the earth and the blessing of the earth. Now, in the verse under discussion the words are about the seas and a part of the bounties and merits of the seas, i.e. the movement of ships over them for taking passengers and commerce.
Moreover, the movement of these ships in the middle of oceans is not unlike to the movement of celestial spheres in the ocean of atmosphere.
So, at first, it says:
The Arabic pronoun /lahum/ not only returns to the pagans of Mecca but also to all servants and creatures of Allah whom were spoken about in the previous verses.
The Arabic term /ŏurriyah/, as Raqib says in Mufradat, originally means little offspring, although it is sometimes used in ordinary speaking for all children, young and old.
This word is used for both singular and plural; and that it implicitly says that Allah bore their offspring (or their small children) in this ships without that it speaks about them, perhaps it is for this sake that offspring need more to this still amount, since adults are more prepared for walking and paving the beaches on foot than little children.
Moreover, this meaning is more fitting for moving their sympathy.
The application of the Qur’anic term /mašhun/ (full) points to this fact that not only they themselves embark in the ship but also their goods and their necessary means are carried with them.
However, the movement of ships is the greatest and the most important means of transformation for human beings, and their benefit is thousands times more than other vehicles. This is the result of the particular specialties of water and the specific gravity of the materials that an ordinary ship has usually been made therewith.
All of these are the might and forces that Allah has made subservient to man and each of them, and also their entire existence, is a sign among the Divine signs.
In order that it should not misunderstand that the only god-given mount is ship, in the next verse it adds:
These are the vehicles which run on land, or in the sky and atmosphere and carry both men and their heavy means. Some commentators have simply rendered this holy verse into camel which has been called the ‘ship of desert’.
Some others have rendered it into all beasts, and some others into airplanes and aircrafts which have been invented in our time; and applying the Qur’anic phrase /xalaqna/ (We created) about them is for this view that their materials and means have been created formerly.
But the verse has a vast scope of meaning which envelops all these concepts and other than them, too.
Of course, in some verses of the Qur’an the word beasts has numerously been mentioned beside /fulk/ (ships), like the verse which says:
And also in Surah Al-Mu’min, No. 40, verse 80 we recite:
But these verses do not contrast to the generality of the concept of the verse.
وَاِن نَّشَأْ نُغْرِقْهُمْ فَلاَ صَرِيخَ لَهُمْ وَلاَ هُمْ يُنقَذُونَ
إِلاَّ رَحْمَةً مِنَّا وَمَتَاعاً إِلَي حِينٍ
43. “And if We please, We drown them, then there shall be none to help them, nor shall they be rescued.”
44. “Save (by) mercy from Us, and enjoyment for a while.”
It is Allah Who has set water in a form that man can move by ship on it, and this merit is among the signs of the Power of Allah. Therefore, for making this great bounty more clear, this verse states the situation which comes into being because of this bounty being changed.
We may order a huge wave to drown their ship; or We may command a whirlpool to take them inside itself; or We may tell a tempest to throw them in the midst of the waves like a blade of straw.
And if We please, We can alter the property of water, ship, the regularity of the blow of winds, and the stillness of the sea so that all their things confuse. It is We Who cause this system to continue in order that they enjoy; and if now and then We sent some events of this kind, it is for the sake that, by means of them, they know the bounty they are inside of it.
The Qur’anic term /sarix/ is derived from /sarax/ in the sense of ‘helper’; and the Arabic term /yunqaŏun/ is derived from /’inqaŏ/ in the sense of “to rescue, to deliver”.
At last, in order to complete this meaning, in the next holy verse it says:
Yes, by no means they can deliver, except that Our mercy comes to them and Our grace hastens to help them.
The Arabic word /hin/ means ‘time’ and in the above verse it refers to the end of the man’s life and his death. Some commentators have rendered it into the end of the world.
Yes, those who have embarked a ship (the old small ships or the huge great modern ships which run on the oceans) understand well the depth of the meaning of this verse, that the most gigantic ships of the world are like a blade of straw in the face of great waves of the sea and terrible storms of oceans, and if the mercy of Allah were not upon persons, their deliverance would be impossible.
In this narrow way, which is between death and life, He intends to show His Power to humankind, perhaps the misled ones of the way may find a path toward Him therefrom.
وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمُ اتَّقُوا مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيكُمْ وَمَا خَلْفَكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ
وَمَا تَأْتِيهِم مِنْ ءَايَةٍ مِنْ ءَايَاتِ رَبّـِهِمْ إِلاَّ كَانُوا عَنْهَا مُعْرِضِينَ
45. “And when it is said to them: ‘Be in awe of that which is before you and that which is behind you; haply you will be treated with mercy, (they turn back).”
46. “And there comes not to them any sign from the signs of their Lord but they turn aside from it.”
Piety is the secret of receiving the mercy of Allah.
The signs of Allah are many, but the People's acceptance is little.
In the former verses the words were about some important discussions concerning the Divine signs in the expanse of the world of existence. In the verses under discussion the reaction of the obstinate pagans against the Divine verses, and also the invitation of the Prophet of Islam (S) and warning to the punishment of Allah have been stated.
By the first holy verse, it says:
Concerning the Qur’anic phrases:
and their meanings, commentators have delivered different interpretations the most important of which is that the purpose of the Qur’anic phrase /ma bayna ’aydikum/ (that which is before you) is the chastisements of the world that one example of which is mentioned in the previous verses; and the purpose of the phrase /ma xalfakum/ is the chastisements of the Hereafter which they have in behind, and the application of ‘behind’ is for the sake that they have not come yet, as if they are running behind the one’s back and finally they reach him one day and will encompass him.
The purpose of ‘being in awe of them’ is that he may not create their factors and, in other words, he would not do something that he should meet these terrible chastisements.
The evidence for this statement is that the application of the Qur’anic term /’ittaqu/ in the verses of the Qur’an is either in concern with Allah, or in concern with Hereafter Day and Divine punishments that, in fact, both return to one meaning, because to be in awe of Allah (s.w.t.) is to be in awe of His punishment.
This itself is a proof upon the fact that to be in awe of Divine punishment mentioned in the verse under discussion is also the chastisement in this world and the next.
The second verse emphasizes again on the same meaning, and distinguishes the obstinacy of the blind hearted people in neglecting the verses of Allah and the prophet’s teachings, where it says:
Neither is the statement of introversive verses effective in them, nor is the explanation of the extroversive verses; neither threat nor glad-tiding to the mercy of Allah. They accept neither the logic of intellect nor the command of sympathy and nature.
They are like some blind persons who do not see the nearest things around them and do not differ between the light of the sun and the darkness of the night.
وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ أَنفِقُوا مِمَّا رَزَقَكُمُ اللَّهُ قَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لِلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا أَنُطْعِمُ مَن لَوْ يَشَآءُ اللَّهُ أَطْعَمَهُ إِنْ أَنتُمْ إِلاَّ فِي ضَلاَلٍ مُبِينٍ
47. “And when it is said to them: ‘Spend out of what Allah has provided you with the sustenance, those who disbelieve say to those who believe: ‘Shall we feed him whom, if Allah willed, He could feed (Himself)? You are not but in a manifest error’.”
Man may reach a point where he considers infidelity and stinginess as a right path, and faith and charity as a deviated way.
In this holy verse, the Qur’an refers to one of the important instances of their obstinacy and renouncement and, in this regard, it says:
This is the same very vulgarly logic which is propounded from the side of self-loving and niggardly persons who usually say: If so and so is poor, he has surely done something that Allah desires him to remain poor; and if we are rich we have necessarily done something that we are in the grace of Allah; therefore, neither their poverty nor our richness is not void of wisdom.
They are heedless that the world is the field of trial. Allah tries someone with poverty and the other with wealth, and sometimes He puts one person under trial in both of them in different times.
He tries him whether he performs the rites of deposit, high-mindedness of nature, and gratitude, or he neglects all of them; and at the time he is wealthy whether he spends out what he has in his possession in the way of Allah, or not.
Some commentators have adopted the above verse upon some particular groups, such as: the Jews, or Arab pagans, or a group of atheists and rejecters of the religions of the Divine prophets, but the apparent is that the verse has a general concept and in any time there can be found some examples for it, though the reference of its concept at the time of the revelation of the verse had been a number of the Jews or polytheists.
This has been a common pretext in the length of centuries that they say: if the giver of sustenance is Allah then why do you want us to give sustenance to the poor persons? And if Allah has wished they remain deprived then why do we help the one whom Allah has made deprived?
They are unaware that sometimes the order of creation chooses something and the order of religion another thing.
The order of creation has required such that Allah, the wise, puts the earth with all its merits at the man’s disposal and lets them free in their actions in order that they pave the path of development, and in the meantime He has set some instincts in him each of which leads him toward a direction.
And the order of religion has required such that, in order to control the instincts, purification of the carnal souls, and training men by the way of donation, self-sacrifice, forgiveness, and spending out, it appoints some laws and causes man to reach, by this way, the rank of Allah’s viceroy for which he has potentiality.
By the way of Zakat (alms) they may purify their selves, and by means of charity they may wipe out miserliness, and thereby they dismiss the class division, which is the source of thousands of evils in man’s life.
This is just like that some persons say that what is the necessity in this that we study or teach others? If Allah desired, He would give knowledge to us all so that none was in need of learning knowledge. Does any wise person accept this logic?
The Qur’anic sentence:
which has emphasized on their disbelief, points to this fact that these superstitious logics and pretexts originate from infidelity.
Upon the commentary of the sentence:
it is said that its purpose is the speech of the pagans due to the believers. In fact, they wanted to be paid in their own coin opposite the believers and to attribute them to ‘a manifest error’,
وَيَقُولُونَ مَتَي هَذَا الْوَعْدُ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ
مَا يَنظُرُونَ إِلاَّ صَيْحَةً وَاحِدَةً تَأْخُذُهُمْ وَهُمْ يَخِصّـِمُونَ
فَلاَ يَسْتَطِيعُونَ تَوْصِيَةً وَلآ إِلَي أَهْلِهِمْ يَرْجِعُونَ
48. “And they say: ‘When will this promise come to pass if you are truthful?’”
49. “They are not awaiting for aught but a single (fatal) blast which will overtake them while they are disputing among themselves.”
50. “Then they shall not be able to make a bequest, nor shall they be able to return unto their families.”
Pagans have not any proof for the denial of the Hereafter, and only by asking this question that ‘When will be Hereafter’ they mock it. When the Hereafter comes neither the tongue can speak, nor is the foot able to escape.
Following the mentioning the weak and pretext-seeking logic of the disbelievers concerning expending referred to in the former verses, in these verses the words are about their mockery unto the establishment of the Hereafter, and with a decisive answer, the Qur’an nullifies their hollow logic about the denial of Resurrection.
In addition, the discussions stated through former verses in the field of monotheism are completed with the discussions of Resurrection.
At first, it says:
They implicitly say: the fact that you can not define a proper time for the establishment of Hereafter is an evidence upon this matter that you are not truthful in your statement.
In answer to this question, which is accompanied with derision, the Holy Qur’an firmly and earnestly implies that the establishment of the Hereafter and the end of this world is not a complicated matter for Allah and it is not a difficult thing for Him, when it says:
This very single great heavenly Blast is enough to take the soul of every one of them immediately in any place and any state they are, and to change their material exiting lives, which contain disputations and constant quarrels, into a silent world, vacant from any sound and noise.
In Islamic narrations, it has been narrated from the Prophet of Islam (S) that this heavenly Blast occurs so suddenly that before that the two people who are bargaining and have spread a cloth can role it, the world will end, and there will be some people that, at that moment, have taken some food from the plate, but before it reaches their mouth the heavenly Blast comes and the world finishes.
There will be some people who are busy mending a pool in order that they water their cattle, but before that the cattle become satiated the Hereafter comes forth.3
The Qur’anic sentence: /ma yanzurun/ here means ‘they are not awaiting’, because, as Raqib says in Mufradat, the Arabic stem /nazar/ means the circulation of thought for observing or conceiving something. Sometimes it is used in the sense of deliberation and research, and also in the sense of knowledge resulted from research.
The Arabic term /sayhah/ (blast) originally means cleaving a piece of food or cloth and arising a sound from it. Then it has been used for any loud sound and cry-like. Sometimes, it has also been applied for the length of the body.
The Arabic phrase /yaxisimun/ is derived from /xusumat/ in the sense of ‘quarrel’ and ‘dispute’; but on what thing do they dispute?
This meaning has not been mentioned in the verse, but it is clear that the purpose is to dispute upon the worldly matter and the affairs of the material life.
But some commentators have taken it in the sense of disputation upon ‘Resurrection’, while the first meaning seems more fitting, though it is not improbable that taking a consistent meaning which includes both of them and that envelops any kind of disputation is also possible.
It is noteworthy that the numerous pronouns existing in the verse all refer to the pagans of Mecca who were doubtful in the subject of Resurrection, and they ridiculously asked that when Hereafter will occur.
But it is certain that the purpose is not they themselves, but the purpose is the kind of them. (It is the kind of those who are neglectful and unaware of Resurrection), because they died and did never see this heavenly Blast.
However, by this short and decisive statement, the Qur’an warns them that, firstly, Hereafter will suddenly be established, and secondly, it is not a complicated matter that they would be busy disputing and quarrelling about its possibility; everything will be ended by a single blast and the world will be finished.
Then, in the third verse, it implies that this subject will so quickly and suddenly happen that they will not be able even to make a bequest, or return to their houses or to their families.
When an event happens for a person, and he usually feels that the end of his life is near, wherever he is, he tries to go home in order to be among his family: with his wife and children; then, by testament, he gives his half-done affairs and the fate of his remaining persons to others that this or that person would undertake them and recommend them to other persons.
But the Blast of the end of the world gives no respite to anyone; and supposing there will be a respite, does anyone remain alive to listen to the recommendations of people? Or, for example, the wife and children sit by the spouse and father and take his head in bosom so that he dies peacefully? Nay, none of these things is possible.
And that the word ‘a bequest’ has been used in an infinitive form, it points to this fact that they will not have even the chance of a small bequest and recommendation, either.
- 1. Upon the matrimony of beings in the world, and particularly in the world of plants, there is a discussion under Surah Ash-Shu‘ara, No. 26, verse 7
- 2. Surah Az-Zukhruf, No. 43, verse 12
- 3. Majma‘-ul-Bayan, following the verse under discussion; and some other commentary books, such as: Tafsir-i-Qurtabi, Rauh-ul-Bayan and so on.