Section 4: Job’s Patience Rewarded

Surah Sad - Verses 41-42

وَاذْكُرْ عَبْدَنَآ أَيُّوبَ إِذْ نَادَي رَبَّهُ أَنّـِي مَسَّنِيَ الشَّيْطَانُ بِنُصْبٍ وَعَذَابٍ

ارْكُضْ بِرِجْلِكَ هَذَا مُغْتَسَلٌ بَارِدٌ وَشَرَابٌ

41. “And remember Our servant Job, when he called to his Lord ‘Verily, Satan has afflicted me with toil and torment’.”
42. “(We told him:) ‘Stamp with your foot, here is a cool washing-place and a drink’.”

The history of the great men should not be forgotten. The history of the Divine prophets is instructive even for the friends of Allah: because being acquainted with others’ difficulties may strengthen patience and perseverance.

In the former verses the words were about Solomon and his glory which showed the god-given power and this itself was a glad tiding for the Prophet of Islam (S) and the Muslims of Mecca who were in a serious pressure at that proper time.

These verses are about Job, the sample of patience and perseverance in order to teach the Muslims of that day, today, and tomorrow to show perseverance in the face of difficulties of life, and to invite them to assistance and to make the good end of this patience clear.

Job is the third prophet a part of whose life story has been mentioned in this Surah, and our great Prophet was enjoined to remember his life story and to reiterate it for the Muslims so that they would not fear from tiresome difficulties and never become hopeless from the grace and favour of Allah.

The name or the life story of Job has been mentioned in several Suras of the Qur’an: in Surah An-Nisa’, No. 4, verse 163; and in Surah Al-’An‘am, No. 6, verse 84 where only his name has been mentioned in the row of other Divine prophets in order to confirm the rank of his prophethood.

It is contrary to the existing Torah which has not counted him among the Divine prophets, but it introduces him as a rich righteous servant of Allah who had a lot of properties and children.

There is a short explanation about his life in Surah Al-’Anbiya’, No. 21, verses 83 and 84, but his biography has been mentioned in the verses under discussion through four verses more in details than any other place of the Holy Qur’an.

The verse says:

“And remember Our servant Job, when he called to his Lord ‘Verily, Satan has afflicted me with toil and torment’.”

The Qur’anic terms /nusb/ and /nasb/ both mean: toil and torment.

By the Arabic phrase /‘abdana/, mentioned in this verse, firstly, the high rank of Job with Allah is clearly understood. Secondly, the holy verse ambiguously refers to the severe and tiresome afflictions of Job and that he had too much pain and toil.

The explanation of this affliction has not been mentioned in the Qur’an, but it has been said in the well known commentary books and traditions as follows:

“Someone asked Imam Sadiq (as):

‘What was the affliction for that Job tolerated?’ (And he thought Job had probably done a wrong action that Allah caused him to be so.)

In reply to him, Imam Sadiq (as) gave a detailed answer the summery of which is as follows:

Job was not afflicted with those great calamities because of ungratefulness to blessings, but, on the contrary, it was for the gratitude to the blessings, since Satan said to Allah:

‘If You find Job grateful, it is because of the abundant bounties You have given him. It is certain that if these bounties are taken from him, he surely will not be a thankful servant’.

In order to make the sincerity of Job clear to all, and to set him be grateful to Allah at the time of both bountifulness and pain, He let Satan dominate his whole world.

Satan asked Allah that Job’s abundant wealth, his tilth, his sheep and his children would be entirely annihilated. Then the pests and calamities destroyed them all in a short length of time; but not only the status of the thankfulness of Job did not decrease, but also it was increased.

This time Satan asked to dominate over Job’s body and he should be so sick that he would twist in bed as the result of pain and sickness.

This bodily sickness did not decrease anything from his state of thankfulness, either. But there happened something that annoyed Job and hurt his spirit very much. This event was that a group of the monks of the children of Israel came to meet him. They said:

‘What have you done that you were afflicted with painful punishment?’

In answer to them Job said:

‘By my Lord! There has not been any wrong, and I have always been studious in the obedience of Allah. Whenever I ate a little food, there have been an orphan and an indigent present at my table.’

It is true that Job became worried from this taunt of the friends more than any other calamities, yet he did not lose his patience and did not polluted the pure sincere thankfulness with ungratefulness.

He only turned to Allah and uttered the abovementioned sentences. Since he had passed the Divine examinations successfully, He opened the doors of His favour again to him, this patient servant, and He returned the last bounties to him one after another and even more than before so that everybody might know the good end of patience and gratitude.1

Some commentators believe that the pain and hurt of Satan to job might be from his different temptations. Sometime he said to Job that his sickness had become long and his Lord had forgotten him.

Sometimes he said:

“How great bounties you had! What a safety, power and strength you had and He took them all from you! Do you yet give thank to Him?”

Perhaps this commentary is for the sake that they have considered the domination of Satan on a prophet like Job and on his soul, property and progeny impossible.

But, regarding to the fact that firstly this domination had been done by the command of Allah, secondly it had been limited and temporal, and, thirdly, it had been done for the trial of this great prophet and electing his degree, it brings no problem.

However, it is said that the sickness, pain, and hurt of Job prolonged seven years, or, according to another narration, it lasted eighteen years, and his circumstances changed to a state that his closest friends and companions left him.

It was only his wife who showed steadfastness in loyalty to Job. This is itself an evidence for the loyalty of some wives to their husbands.

But among all these calamities and pains what hurt the Job’s spirit most was the taunts of the enemies.

So, a narration indicates that next to the time Job regained his health and the doors of Divine mercy were opened to him, he was asked what his worst pain was, and he said:

“The taunt of the enemies.”2

Through the next verse Job was ordered as follows:

“(We told him:) ‘Stamp with your foot, here is a cool washing-place and a drink’.”

The Arabic term /’urkud/ is derived from /rakd/ in the sense of ‘to stamp on the earth’ and sometimes it means ‘to run’, and here it has been used in the first meaning.

The same Lord Who caused the spring of Zamzam to gush in that dry hot desert under the foot of Ishmael, that little baby, and the same Lord from Whose side is every motion, every stop, every bounty, and every merit, also issued this command for Job (as). The spring began gushing cold and wholesome water and cured his inside and outside sicknesses.

Some commentators believe that this spring had a kind of mineral water which had been both wholesome for drinking and the effects of remedy for the sicknesses. Whatever it was, it was the grace and mercy of Allah, the Almighty, for a patient Divine prophet.

The Arabic word /muqtasil/ means the water with which washing is done, while some others have taken it in the sense of the place of washing, but the first meaning is more correct. However that water being qualified with ‘coldness’, perhaps is a hint to the special effect of washing with cold water for health and bodily welfare, as it has been proved in the medicine of today.

It is also a tender hint to this fact that the perfection of water is in this thing that from the point of purity and cleanliness it should be like drinking water. The reference of this statement is that in Islamic recommendations we also recite that before having a ritual ablution, you do drink a little of its water.3

Surah Sad - Verses 43-44

وَوَهَبْنَا لَهُ أَهْلَهُ وَمِثْلَهُم مَعَهُمْ رَحْمَةً مِنَّا وَذِكْرَي لأُوْلِي الأَلْبَابِ

وَخُذْ بِيَدِكَ ضِغْثاً فَاضْرِبْ بّـِهِ وَلاَ تَحْنَثْ إِنَّا وَجَدْنَاهُ صَابِراً نِعْمَ الْعَبْدُ اِنَّهُ أَوَّابٌ

43. “And we gave him his family and the like of them with them as a mercy from Us, and a reminder for those with understanding.”
44. “And (We said to him:) ‘Take in your hand a bunch of (thin) stick and strike (your wife) with it, and do not break your oath. Verily We found him patient, an excellent servant. Verily he was a penitent.”

In hardships never be hopeless of the mercy of Allah. The first and the most important Divine blessing, which was health, convalescence, and safety, came back to Job and it was the turn of returning other merits and blessings.

In this regard, the Qur’an says:

“And we gave him his family and the like of them with them as a mercy from Us, and a reminder for those with understanding.”

There are various commentaries said upon the question that how Job’s family were returned to him. It is said that they had passed away and Allah returned them again to the life of the world.

But some other Qur’anic commentators say that as the result of the prolonged sickness of Job they went away from around of him and when Job gained back his health, they gathered around him again.

This probability has also been suggested that all, or at least some of them, had also been afflicted by kinds of sicknesses. So, the mercy of Allah enveloped them, too, and all of them gained their health back and gathered kindly around the father, Job.

The additional phrase ‘The like of them with them’ refers to this matter that Allah caused his family gathering to become warmer than before and He, the Merciful, granted him some more children.

There is nothing said in these verses about Job’s wealth, but the context shows that Allah returned his properties back to him in a richer form, too.

It is interesting that, at the end of this verse, the aim of returning the Divine merits to Job is mentioned two things: one is the mercy of Allah to him, which has a personal aspect, and it is, in fact, a prize and reward from the side of Allah given to this patient servant; and the other is giving a lesson to all those who possess intellect and understanding throughout of the history, so that they do not lose their patience when facing with difficulties and terrible events and they may always be hopeful to the mercy of Allah.

The next verse indicates that the only problem that Job had was the oath he had taken in respect to his wife. It was so that he saw a wrong which she did and, at the time of his sickness, he swore that if he got his power, he would strike one hundred whips, or less than that, on her.

But after his convalescence, as a reward for her loyalties and services to him, he wanted to forgive her, but the problem of oath and the name of Allah hindered him.

Allah solved this problem for him, too, and as the Qur’an says:

“And (We said to him:) ‘Take in your hand a bunch of (thin) stick and strike (your wife) with it, and do not break your oath…”

The Arabic term /diqth/ means a bundle of (thin) stick formed of stems of wheat and barely, or some branches of date strings or bundle of flower and the like.

The name of Job’s wife, according to some narration, was Laya, the daughter of Jacob. Concerning her wrong action to Job, there have been different ideas cited among the Qur’anic commentators.

It has been narrated from Ibn-‘Abbas, the famous Islamic commentator, who said that Satan, or a wicked person, appeared to Job’s wife and said that he would treat her husband but the only condition he had was that when Job had got his convalescence she would tell him (as) that he (the one) had been the only factor of his convalescence and he would demand no other wage.

The wife of Job, who was much inconvenienced for the continuation of the sickness of her husband, accepted it and she offered this suggestion to Job. Job, who knew the trap of Satan, became very angry and made an oath that he would punish his wife.

And, finally, in the last sentence of the holy verse under discussion, which, in fact, is an extract of this story from beginning to the end, it says:

“…Verily We found him patient, an excellent servant. Verily he was a penitent.”

It is evident that Job’s invocation to the presence of Allah and that he asked Him to remove the temptations of Satan and the pain and affliction of his sickness does not contradict with the rank of patience, tolerating pain, sickness and poverty for about seven years, or according to another tradition for eighteen years and yet being thankful.

It is noteworthy that in this sentence Job (as) has been qualified with three qualifications which whoever possesses is a complete human:

1- The rank of servitude;

2- Patience and perseverance; and

3- Constant returning to Allah.

When the waves of calamities and painful events surround a person from every side, he must not become hopeless and disappointed, but he should think of it as the sign and premise for the entrance of the Divine bounties.

Amir-ul-Mu’mineen Ali (as) says:

“At the extremity of hardship comes relief, and at the tightening of the chains of tribulation comes ease.” 4

Surah Sad - Verses 45-48

وَاذْكُرْ عِبَادَنَآ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ أُوْلِي الأَيْدِي وَالأَبصَارِ

إِنَّآ أَخْلَصْنَاهُم بِخَالِصَةٍ ذِكْرَي الدَّارِ

وَإِنَّهُمْ عِندَنَا لَمِنَ الْمُصْطَفَيْنَ الأَخْيَارِ

وَاذْكُرْ اِسْمَاعِيلَ وَالْيَسَعَ وَذَا الْكِفْلِ وَكُلٌّ مِنَ الأَخْيَارِ

45. “And remember Our servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, men of might and insight.”
46. “Verily We purified them by a pure quality, the remembrance of the Abode.”
47. “And truly they are with Us of the elect, the good ones.”
48. “And remember Ishmael and Elisha and Zulkifl, they all were of the good ones.”

We must keep the history of the pure, the prophets, and the saints alive because the origin of all virtues of Divine prophets is servitude.

Following the former verses which explained some details about the lives of David, Solomon, and a shorter explanation about the life of Job and the outstanding points of the life of this great Divine prophet, the verses under discussion mention the names of six other great Divine prophets and have briefly referred to their outstanding qualities which can be as examples for all human beings.

It is interesting that the Qur’an has mentioned six different specifications for these great prophets each of which contains a special meaning.

At first, the verse addresses the Prophet of Islam (S) and says:

“And remember Our servants Abraham, Isaac,
and Jacob…”

The rank of servitude is the first quality which has been mentioned for them and verily it contains everything. The servitude of Allah means having absolute dependence on Him. It means to have no will against His will, and obeying His command in all conditions.

The servitude of Allah means to be self-sufficient from other than Him and being heedless to what is other than Allah and being hopeful to only His grace. This is the very summit of man’s perfection and it is his highest dignity and honour. Then, the Qur’an implies that they possessed some strong hands and mighty eyes.

It adds:

“…men of might and insight.”

The Arabic word /’aidi/ is the plural form of /yad/, and /absar/ is the plural form of /basar/ in the sense of ‘eye’ and ‘insight’.

For gaining his aims, man needs two powers: the power of discrimination, and the power of work and activity. In other words, he must get help from knowledge and strength so that he reaches his aim.

Allah has qualified these prophets with having ‘the strong ability of comprehension, discrimination, and insight’ and ‘enough might for performing actions’.

They were not some unaware persons. The level of their religious knowledge was high. They had some considerable acknowledgment of the religion of Allah, the secrets of creation and the mysteries of life.

From the points of will, decision, and the power of action, they were not some feeble, despicable, weak and unable persons, but they were some wilful and powerful persons with strong decisive decisions.

This is an example for all those who pave the path of the truth that, after the rank of servitude of Allah, they must be equipped with these two effective arms.

It was made clear by what was said that the terms ‘hands’ and ‘eyes’ here do not mean the two particular limbs, because there are many people who have these two limbs, but they have neither an enough apprehension, nor power of making decision, nor ability of action. So, these two wards indicate to the two qualities of ‘knowledge’ and ‘power’.

For their fourth quality, in the next verse, Allah says:

“Verily We purified them by a pure quality, the remembrance of the Abode.”

Yes, they were always in the remembrance of the next world. Their sight in the life was not limited to the few days of living in this world with its few pleasures. Beyond this temporary life, they saw the perpetual abode with its infinite bounties, and they always tried and struggled for it.

Therefore, the real purpose of the Arabic term: /’ad-dar/ (abode), which has been mentioned absolutely, is the abode in the next world. It seems there is no abode other than that, and whatever exists other than that is a pass way towards Him.

Some of the commentators have suggested this probability that the purpose of the Qur’anic word /’ad-dar/ mentioned here is the abode of this world, and the application of the Qur’anic phrase: /ŏikr-ad-dar/ refers to the good name which has remained from these prophets in this world.

But this probability seems very improbable specially regarding to the absoluteness of the term /’ad-dar/, and it does not so consistent with the word /ŏikra/ (remembrance), either.

However, others may sometimes remember the abode of the next world, specially when one of their friends passes away, or they attend in the ceremonies of funeral, or remembrance meeting, of one of their dear relatives, but this remembrance is not pure and sincere, it is mixed with the remembrance of the world.

But the godly men have a sincere, deep, constant and continual attention to the next world, as if it is always present before their eyes, and the application of the Qur’anic word /xalisah/ in the verse refers to this very meaning.

In the third verse the words are about the fifth and sixth qualities of theirs which have been mentioned in the next verse, too.

It says:

“And truly they are with Us of the elect, the good ones.”

Their faith and righteous deeds have caused that Allah would elect them from among His servants and honoured them to the rank of prophecy.

Their righteousness had reached to an extend that they earned the title of ‘’Akhyar’ (the goodness) in its absolute meaning. Their thoughts were good, their temper, behaviour, and programs throughout their lives were good.

That is why some of the commentators have taken this meaning that Allah, without any condition, has called them /’axyar/ and used the rank of ‘innocence’ for the Divine prophets, because if a person is ‘absolute good’ he is certainly innocent.5

The application of the Arabic phrase /‘indana/ (with us) is a very expressive meaning.

It points to this fact that their being elected and their goodness is not with only people who sometimes commit kinds of negligence and sparing in their assessments, but the qualification with these two qualities by the phrase ‘with us’ is certain that this assessment has been done with full accuracy and from their outward and inward.

After pointing to the outstanding ranks of three prophets, the turn comes to other three prophets, and it says:

“And remember Ishmael and Elisha and Zulkifl, they all were of the good ones.”

Each of these prophets had been the example of patience perseverance, and obedience to the command of Allah (s.w.t.), specially Ishmael who agreed to sacrifice his life in the way of Allah and that was why he was called /ŏabihallah/ (the sacrificed in the cause of Allah).

He, accompanied with his father Abraham, helped in building the House of Ka‘bah and furnishing this great centre, which survives the spirit of piety, sacrifice, and donation in human beings, and makes them resisting against the difficulties and horrible events.

The application of the clause: ‘they all were of the good ones’, regarding that this very quality (good ones) was exactly used for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as the last quality of theirs, may refer to this fact that these three prophets have had the whole qualities of the former three prophets, because ‘the absolute good’ has a vast meaning which envelops both prophethood, and attention to the next world, and the rank of servitude, knowledge and power.

Among these three prophets, Ishmael is the most famous and known.

But Elisha, whose name has been mentioned two times in the Qur’an6 as the Qur’an indicates, is one of the great prophets of Allah, and he is among those about whom Allah says:

“…and everyone (of them) did We prefer above all beings.”7

Some commentators believe that he (Al-Yasa‘) is the same as Yusha‘- Ibn-Nun, the famous prophet of the Children of Israel to whose name the Arabic ‘Alif’ and ‘Lam’ have been added and the letter Shin (š) has been changed into Sin (s), while adding ’Alif and Lam to a non-Arabic name (and here Hebrew) is not a new thing, in the same way that Arabs know ‘Alexander’ as ‘Al-Alexander’.

Some others think that ‘Al-Yasa‘’ is an Arabic word which is derived from /yasa‘a/ (a verb in future tense taken from /wus‘at/), and after that it was used as a noun, the letters ’Alif and Lam, which an Arabic noun is qualified with, were added to it.

The verse No. 86 of Surah Al-’An‘am shows that Elisha was from the progeny of Abraham, but it does not make clear whether he had been one of the prophets of the children of Israel, or not.

In Torah in the book ‘The Kings’ his name has been recorded ‘Al-Yasha‘’, the son of Shafat; and the word Al-Yasha‘ in the Hebrew language means: ‘deliverer’ and the word ‘Shafat’ means: ‘Judge’.

Some commentators have taken him and Khidr the same, but there is not a clear evidence available for this meaning. Some others say that he is the same as Zulkifl but this contrast the explicit text of the verse under discussion because the word ‘Zulkifl’ has been added to Al-Yasa‘. However, he is a high-ranked and resisting prophet, and this is enough for us to take inspiration from his life.

It is known that Zulkifl had been one of the prophets and the existence of his name in Surah Al-’Anbiya’, No. 21, verse 85 in the row of the names of prophets after the names of Ishmael and Enoch (’Idris) is an evidence for this meaning.

Some commentators believe that he is one of the prophets of the Children of Israel. It is said that he was Jacob’s son whose main name was ‘Bushr’, or Bashir, or Sharaf, while some others say that he is the same as Hizqil (Ezekiel) for whom Zulkifl has been chosen as nick name.8

That why he has been called Zulkifl, regarding to the fact that /kafl/ has been used in the sense of both ‘share’ and surety ship (to stand bail), there have been delivered different probabilities. Sometimes they have said: since Allah had given him a large share of rewards and of His mercy he has been called Zulkifl, the owner of sufficient share.

Sometimes they have said: Since he had promised that he would get up for worship at nights, to be fast during the days, and would never be angry at the time of judgment, and kept this his promise, this nickname was given to him.

And sometimes they have said since he stood bail a group of the prophets of the children of Israel and protected their lives against the cruel king of the time he was called by this name.

However, this very amount that we know about his life today is an evidence upon his steadfastness in the path of obedience and servitude of Allah and resistance against the tyrant which can be as an example for us now and our future, though because of long length of time we can not judge minutely about the details of their lives.

Surah Sad - Verses 49-51

هَذَا ذِكْرٌ وَإِنَّ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ لَحُسْنَ مَأَبٍ

جَنَّاتِ عَدْنٍ مُفَتَّحَةً لَهُمُ الأَبْوَابُ

مُتَّكِئِينَ فِيهَا يَدْعُونَ فِيهَا بِفَاكِهَةٍ كَثِيرَةٍ وَشَرَابٍ

49. “This is a reminder; and verily for the pious there is an excellent resort.”
50. “Gardens of perpetuity, whereof the gates are open to them.”
51. “Wherein they recline, and wherein they call for fruits abundant, and drink.”

The Qur’anic term /ŏikr/ has different dimensions:

Qur’an is the Reminder:

“Verily, We Ourself have sent down the Reminder…”.9

Prayer is /ŏikr/ (remembrance):

“And establish prayer for My remembrance.”10

The history of the elites is also /ŏikr/ (reminder):

“…This (Qur’an) is a blessed Reminder…”11

The history of the elites is a means of: vigilance, remembrance, and learning lessons; while piety is the means of having a good end.

From here on, there begins another variety of theme of the verses of this Surah where the pious ones are compared with the disobedient ones. These verses, explaining the fates of these two groups in Hereafter, on the whole complete the discussions in the former verses.

At first, as a conclusion from the life stories of the past prophets and pointing to the instructive points of their lives, it says:

“This is a reminder…”

Yes, the purpose of pointing to some parts of their glorious history was not merely telling stories.

Its aim was a remembrance and admonition, as this issue has been being emphasized from the beginning of this Surah:

“Sad (S). By the Qur’an, full of admonition”

The aim is to awaken the negligent thoughts, elevating the level of knowledge and cognizance; increasing the strength of perseverance and steadfastness in Muslims for whom these holy verses have been sent down.

Then the issue is changed from stating about the private form of the lives of the prophets into a general form, and the destiny of the pious ones is discussed in general.

It says:

“…and verily for the pious there is an excellent resort.”

After this short ambiguous sentence which illustrates their welfare briefly, the second verse, by using the style of epitome and expansion, which is the style of the Qur’an, explains it (their resort) in details.

It says:

“Gardens of perpetuity, whereof the gates are open to them.”

The Qur’anic term /jannat/ refers to the gardens of Paradise; and the term /‘adn/ is in the sense of ‘stand still’ and ‘perpetuity’, and the Arabic word /ma‘dan/ (mine) is so called because metals and some precious materials are settled there. However, the usage of this meaning here is a hint to the perpetuity of the gardens of Paradise.

The application of the Qur’anic phrase:

The gates are open to them

points to this that there is not even the trouble of opening the doors for the people of Paradise. It seems Paradise is waiting for them, and when Paradise meets them, it opens its bosom and invites them to enter.

This peace and special reverence of the people of Paradise is stated in the third verse in this form:

“Wherein they recline, and wherein they call for fruits abundant, and drink.”

Whenever they desire anything of them, immediately it comes to them. But whether the servants of Paradise bring them before them or only their will is enough that they come to them, both probabilities exist.

The emphasis on ‘fruit’ and ‘drink’ may refer to this matter that the utmost food of the people of Paradise is fruit, though, according to the verses of the Holy Qur’an other kinds of food are also available there. It is in the same way that the best and the healthiest food of man in this world is fruit, too.

The application of the word ‘abundant’ points to the kinds of fruit in Paradise; as its drink and its ‘purified drink’ are in various kinds, too. These facts have been pointed out in different verses of the Qur’an.

Surah Sad - Verses 52-54

وَعِندَهُمْ قَاصِرَاتُ الطَّرْفِ أَتْرَابٌ

هَذَا مَا تُوعَدُونَ لِيَوْمِ الْحِسَابِ

إِنَّ هَذَا لَرِزْقُنَا مَالَهُ مِن نَّفَادٍ

52. “And beside them will be chaste women restraining their glances, (companions) of equal age.”
53. “This is what you are promised for the Day of Reckoning.”
54. “Verily this is Our sustenance for which there is no end.”

Reclining on the thrones, eating fruits, drinking pure drinks, and having spouse all are signs that the Resurrection is of the bodily resurrection.

The words in this verse are about the chaste women in Paradise.

It says:

“And beside them will be chaste women restraining their glances, (companions) of equal age.”

The Arabic word /tarf/ means eyelid, and it has also been used in the sense of ‘to look’.

The women of Paradise qualified by: “restraining their glances, (companions) of equal age” indicates that those women look only at their husbands and they are in love of only them and they do not think of anyone other than them, and this is one of the greatest advantages of a wife.

Some of the commentators have also rendered it into the state of languish of the eye which is an attractive state. The combination of these two meanings is also possible.

The Arabic term /’atrab/ in the sense of ‘of equal age’ is another attribute for the women of Paradise comparing their husbands, because the equality of age increases the attraction between two spouses. Or it is a description for those women themselves that they are all of the same age and they are young. The word /’atrab/ is the plural form of /tirb/.

In the next verse of the verses under discussion, all the great blessings of the people of Paradise, which were mentioned in the previous verses, are pointed out.

It says:

“This is what you are promised for the Day of Reckoning.”

It is a promise which does not fail, it is pleasant, and is a promise from the side of Allah.

In order to emphasize on the eternity of these merits, Allah adds:

“Verily this is Our sustenance for which there is no end.”

Therefore, the sadness of destruction, which we have for the blessings of this world, does not exist in the next world. Those blessings are always helped by the Divine sources and there is no limit for them, and there will not appear even any decrease in them, because they exist under the Will of Allah.

Surah Sad - Verses 55-57

هَذَا وَإِنَّ لِلطَّاغِينَ لَشَرَّ مَأَبٍ

جَهَنَّمَ يَصْلَوْنَهَا فَبِئْسَ الْمِهَادُ

هَذَا فَلْيَذُوقُوهُ حَمِيمٌ وَغَسَّاقٌ

55. “This (for the righteous), and verily for the wicked ones there is an evil resort.”
56. “Hell, wherein they enter, an evil is the place,”
57. “This water is boiling and pus, so let them taste it.”

Piety is at the top of all virtues, while contumacy and despotism is at the top of all vices, and contumacy is the cause of an evil end.

The verses which are under discussion, by using the style of opposition and comparison, which the Qur’an applies much, point to the evil end and various punishments of the wicked and disobedient ones against Allah.

At first, it says:

“This (for the righteous), and verily for the wicked ones there is an evil resort.”

The excellent resort of the pious was pointed out before (verse 49) and now the wicked ones have an evil resort.

The next holy verse, by using the style of epitome and expansion, explains this ambiguous sentence by saying: this evil resort, into which they will enter and will be burnt in its Fire, is Hell:

“Hell, wherein they enter, an evil is the place,”

It seems that the Qur’anic phrase: /yaslunaha/ (they will enter Hell and will be burnt) is for the statement of this that no one imagines that they only see Hell from a far distance, or they will be beside it, no, they will enter into its inside; and also that nobody imagines that they will be accustomed to the Fire of Hell and will be able to tolerate it; no, they will be constantly burning in it.

The Qur’anic term /mihad/, as was mentioned before, means a bed which is stretched for sleep and rest. It is also used for the cradle of a child.

Bed is the place of resting and from any point of view it must be fitting and pleasant for a person. But how will be the situation of those whose bed is the Fire of Hell?

The third verse refers to other kinds of their punishment.

It says:

“This water is boiling and pus, so let them taste it.”

The Qur’anic word /hamim/ means: ‘Some hot and boiling water’. It is one of the drinks of the people in Hell, opposite to the ‘purified drink’ which was mentioned for the people of Paradise in former verses.

The Qur’anic term /qassaq/ is derived from /qasaq/ in the sense of the intense dark of night. Ibn-Abbas has rendered it into a very cold drink which because of intense of coldness burns the man’s inside and hurts it.

But there is not anything in the meaning of the root of this word which denotes to this meaning except its opposition with the word /hamim/ which means ‘hot blazing water’ and this may have been the origin of such understanding.

Raqib in Mufradat has rendered it into the drops that come out from the skin of the body of the people of Hell (the pusses of their body).

The dark colour of it necessarily has caused this word to be used, because the products of that blazing Fire are not anything but some burnt bodies with some black exudations in the Hell.

However, it is understood from some of the words that /qassaq/ (pus) has a very bad sharp smell which hurts everybody.

Some others have rendered it into a kind of penalty that none knows it save Allah, because they have committed some great sins and grievous tyrannies that none has been aware of them except Allah and their retribution must be such, too. It is in the same manner that the pious people of Paradise used to do some righteous deeds which knew none except Allah, and, therefore, they have been promised some rewards which knows none save Allah; the Holy Qur’an says:

“And no person knows what (important reward) is hidden for them of the joy of the eyes, in recompense for what (good) they were doing.”12

Surah Sad - Verses 58-61

وَءَاخَرُ مِن شَكْلِهِ أَزْوَاجٌ

هَذَا فَوْجٌ مُقْتَحِمٌ مَعَكُمْ لاَ مَرْحَباً بِهِمْ إِنَّهُمْ صَالُوا النَّارِ

قَالُوا بَلْ أَنتُمْ لاَ مَرْحَباً بِكُمْ أَنتُمْ قَدَّمْتُمُوهُ لَنَا فَبِئْسَ الْقَرَارُ

قَالُوا رَبَّنَا مَن قَدَّمَ لَنَا هَذَا فَزِدْهُ عَذَاباً ضِعْفاً فِي النَّارِ

58. “And other punishments of a similar kind to match them!”
59. “(To their leaders it shall be said:) ‘This is a group (of your followers) rushing in with you.’ (They say:) ‘There is no welcome for them! Verily they shall enter the Fire’!”
60. “They say: ‘No, it is you have no welcome: you forwarded it for us; how evil is the abode’.”
61. “They say: ‘Our Lord! Whoever has forwarded this for us, increase him a twofold chastisement in the Fire’.”

On the Day of Hereafter, the followers of corruption will hate their leaders.

By the way, the others’ invitation to sin does not remove the responsibility of the sinner.

Again these holy verses refer to other kinds of their painful punishments.

The Qur’an says:

“And other punishments of a similar kind to match them!”

The Arabic word /šakl/ means ‘like’, and the Qur’anic term /’azwaj/ here means ‘kinds, sorts’, and this is a slight hint to some other kinds of punishment like the aforementioned punishments which have been stated here ambiguously, and maybe they are not explainable and understandable for the prisoners of this world of material.

This, in fact, is the opposite point of ‘abundant fruits’ which was mentioned in the former verses and pointed to the kinds of different bounties and fruits in Paradise.

However, this similarity may be in severity, and in troublesome, or in all aspects.

The next holy verse points to their last punishment. This punishment is their companions, bad language with full of scorn.

The verse implies that when the leaders of mischief arrive into Hell and by their eyes see that their followers are being brought into Hell, too, they shall say to each other as follows:

“(To their leaders it shall be said:) ‘This is a group (of your followers) rushing in with you.’ (They say:) ‘There is no welcome for them! Verily they shall enter the Fire’!”

The Qur’anic sentence saying:

“This is a group (of your followers) rushing in with you…”,

with the context of the later sentences and verses, is from among the statements of the leaders of corruption.

When they see their followers are going to enter into Hell, they tell each other that these will be with you, too. Some commentators have also said that this is a sentence from the side of the angels addressing to the leaders of infidelity and disobedience; but the first meaning is more suitable.

The Arabic word /marhaba/ is a word which is said to a guest when he is welcome, but the Arabic word /la marhaba/ is opposite to it. This word is derived from infinitive /rahb/ in the sense of the vastness of place; it means: ‘You are welcome that you have arrived in a vast and suitable place’. The equivalent of it is ‘welcome’.

The Qur’anic word /muqtaham/ is derived from /’iqtiham/ in the sense of arriving into a hard and horrible deed; and it is often used in the case of arriving into some things without previous thought and study, too.

This application shows that the followers of mischief will arrive into the severe and horrible Fire of Hell because of only their carnal desires and blind limitations without formerly thought and study.

However, those followers hear this sound and they become very angry because of the leaders of mischief’s saying ‘no welcome’ for them.

They will address them and say, as the verse says:

“They say: ‘No, it is you have no welcome: you forwarded it for us; how evil is the abode’.”

This recent sentence: ‘How evil is the abode’ is, in fact, the opposite point to ‘Gardens of perpetuity’ (verse 50) which was mentioned about the pious ones, indicating that the great calamity is that Hell is not a temporary abode, but it is a permanent abode.

The purpose of ‘the followers’ from this meaning is that they want to say whatever it is, it has this goodness that you, the leaders of mischief, are in the same thing that we are, and this is the remedy of our heart. Or it points to this matter that your crimes, the leaders, unto us, are some great ones, because Hell is not a temporary abode for all of us, but it is our permanent abode.

Yet, the followers do not suffice to this saying, because they thought that the chiefs of mischief, who were the main factor of the crime, were more deserving than them.

So they turn to Allah and express as the verse says:

“They say: ‘Our Lord! Whoever has forwarded this for us, increase him a twofold chastisement in the Fire’.”

There must be a punishment for their aberration, and the second punishment must be for making us aberrant.

This verse is similar to what is said in Surah Al-’A‘raf, No. 17, verse 38 which says:

“…‘Our Lord! These are they who led us astray. Therefore give them a double chastisement of the Fire.’…”.

Though the same verse continues saying that both of them will have double chastisement, because the followers were also the executive factors of the leaders and the grounds of mischief and astray were provided by them, and if people do not help the tyrant they will not have power to do anything.

But, in any case, there is no doubt that the leaders will have a more grievous punishment, though both of them have double chastisement.

Yes, this is the end of those who made friend with each other and promised to lead others astray, and when they see the result of their evil deeds they will become the enemy of each other and curse each other.

It is noteworthy that the blessings of the pious are more various than the punishments of the disobedient: (there are seven merits mentioned for the former and five punishments for the latter.). This may be for the sake of preceding Allah’s Mercy to His wrath.

We say:

“O’ He Whose mercy precedes His wrath.”

Surah Sad - Verses 62-64

وَقَالُوا مَا لَنَا لاَ نَرَي رِجَالاً كُنَّا نَعُدُّهُم مِنَ الأَشْرَارِ

أَتَّخَذْنَاهُمْ سِخْرِيّاً أَمْ زَاغَتْ عَنْهُمُ الأَبْصَارُ

إِنَّ ذَلِكَ لَحَقٌّ تَخَاصُمُ أَهْلِ النَّارِ

62. “And they say: ‘What has happened to us that we do not see the men whom we counted among the wicked ones?’”
63. “Did we take them (wrongly) for a laughing-stock or have our eyes missed them?”
64. “Verily the disputing of the inhabitants of the Fire is a Fact.”

In Hereafter everybody seeks for an accomplice in crime in order to put his sin on his shoulder.

These verses continues the discussions of the people of Hell, which were referred to in the former verses, and states one of their other debates which denotes to a deep tiresome regret of theirs that causes them a spiritual torture.

It implies that when the chiefs of astray look around them in Hell they ask this question, as the verse says:

“And they say: ‘What has happened to us that we do not see the men whom we counted among the wicked ones?’”

Yes, when persons such as Bujahl, Bulahab and the like see that there is no sign of the existence of the persons like ‘Ammar-i-Yasir, Khabab, Sahab, and Bilal in Hell, they come to themselves and will ask each other: ‘Then, what happened to such people?

We counted them as a group of vicious people, some mischief-mongers in the earth, and the wicked ones who used to try to confuse the calmness of the society and to destroy the honour of our ancestors. It seems that we were wrong.

Some Islamic narrations indicate that once a group of the Shi‘ites came to Ahl-ul-Bayt (as) and complained that there were a group who called them Rafidi and considered them worse than idolaters and pagans.

Imam (as) made an oath that the Shi‘ites will be involved in their intercession and those people will seek them in Hell, and then he recited this verse, saying:

“And they say: ‘What has happened to us that we do not see the men whom we counted among the wicked ones?’”13

In the next verse the Qur’an says:

“Did we take them (wrongly) for a laughing-stock or have our eyes missed them?”

Yes, they will say that they took these great men, who were of the personality, for laughing, and used to wrongly call them some wicked people; and sometimes they even came lower than this and considered them as some despised persons.

But it became known that their carnal desires, ignorance, and pride had put a curtain over their eyes so that they could not see that they were some near-stationed persons with Allah and now Paradise is their abode.

Some other Islamic commentators have suggested another probability for the commentary of the above verse.

They have said the issue of mockery points to the situation of this world and the sentence:

…or have our eyes missed them

refers to the situation of the Hell. That is, their eyes can not see them in the midst of flames of fire and smoke. But, of course, the first meaning seems more proper.

This point is notable that one of the lacks of understanding the facts is not to take the issues earnest and mocking the facts. The fact must always be dealt with an earnest decision so that the fact can be made clear.

As a conclusion to the debates between the people of Hell, and an emphasis on what was said, the third verse says:

“Verily the disputing of the inhabitants of the Fire is a Fact.”

The people of Hell are involved in enmity and quarrel in this world, too, and the status of quarrelsomeness and disputation predominate them.

Every day they make quarrel with a person, and in Hereafter, where the inner things manifest, whatever they had in their inside will appear and they will dispute in Hell with each other. The friends of yesterday will be the enemies of today, and the followers of yesterday become the opponents of today.

It is only the line of faith and monotheism which is the line of unity and sincerity both in this world and the next.

It is interesting that the inhabitants of Paradise are sitting on the thrones, busy speaking friendly, as the verses of the Qur’an denote, while the inhabitants of Hell are disputing and quarrelling. That itself is a great merit, and this is a painful punishment.

  • 1. The commentary of Nur-uth-Thaqalayn, ‘Ali-ibn-’Ibrahim, Qurtabi, Fakhr-i-Razi, Safi, and ’A‘lam-ul-Qur’an
  • 2. Bihar, Vol. 12, P. 351
  • 3. Wasa’il-ush-Shi‘ah, Vol. 1, Chapter 13, tradition one.
  • 4. Nahj-ul-Balaqah, saying 351
  • 5. The commentary by Fakhr-i-Razi, Vol. 26, P. 229
  • 6. here and Surah Al-’An‘am, No. 6, verse 86
  • 7. Surah Al-’An‘am, No. 6, verse 86
  • 8. ’A‘lam-ul-Qur’an, Tafsir-i-Qurtabi, Rouh-ul-Bayan, and Almizan each of which has pointed to a part of the matters
  • 9. Surah Al-Hijr, No. 15, verse 9
  • 10. Surah Al-’Anbiya’, No. 21, verse 50
  • 11. Surah Taha, No. 20, verse 14
  • 12. Surah As-Sajdah, No. 32, verse 17
  • 13. The commentary books of Atyab-ul-Bayan, Nur-uth-Thaqalayn, and kanz-ud-Daqayiq.