Surah al-Hadid, Chapter 57, Verses 1 - 15
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ
The Chapter, revealed in Medina, has twenty-nine Verses. Besides placing the doctrine on a firm basis, the Chapter in question treats of certain injunctions in the domains of society and government.
The opening Verses present twenty Divine Attributes. Then, the Chapter proceeds with the grandeur of the Holy Qur’an, the states of believers and hypocrites on the Day of Resurrection, accounts of former nations, spending in the Cause of Allah for the establishment of social justice, critique of monasticism, and social seclusion.
Imam Sajjad (as) said:
"God Almighty knows that a group well-known for the profundity of their thoughts shall appear in the last days of the world; as a consequence of which, He sent down Surah al-Tawhid (or Ikhlas, Chapter 112) and some of the Verses of Surah al-Hadid such that people may gain a better knowledge of God Almighty and be aware that whoever acknowledges other Divine Attributes shall be perished.”1
Interesting merits are mentioned in Islamic traditions concerning the recitation of the Chapter. It is worthy of note, however, that recitation must be accompanied by reflection and practice.
It is narrated from the Noble Prophet (S) that:
"He who recites Surah al-Hadid shall be regarded among those who believed in Allah and His Messenger (S)."2
According to a tradition narrated from Imam Baqir (as):
"He who recites the Chapters opening with praises of God (musabbahat), Hadid (57), Hashr (59), Saff (61), Jum‘a (62), and Taghabun (64), shall not die until he meets Imam Mahdi (may God Almighty hasten his arrival), but if he dies before Mahdi's arrival, he shall be the neighbor of Allah's Messenger (S)."3
For the sake of brevity, other traditions in this vein have not been mentioned.
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ
سَبَّحَ لِلَّهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ
لَهُ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ وَهُوَ عَلَی كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
هُوَ الْأَوَّلُ وَالْآخِرُ وَالظَّاهِرُ وَالْبَاطِنُ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ
1. Whatsoever is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Allah and He is the Glorious, All-Wise.
2. His is the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth. It is He Who gives life and causes death and He is Able to do all things.
3. He is the First and the Last, the Manifest, and the Unmanifest. And He is the Omniscient.
In Divine world view, all the world of existence glorifies God Almighty, even if we do not perceive it. God Almighty is glorified of any defect and weakness all the world of creation bears witness to it.
It is worthy of note that the Chapter opens with an enumeration of approximately twenty Divine Attributes that increase human knowledge and reflect His Majesty and Beauty.
The more thinkers reflect upon these Attributes, the more they perceive novel truths. In this vein, it is narrated from Imam ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn (as) that being asked about Divine Unity, he replied:
"God Almighty know that certain peoples would come in the last days of the world who reflect profoundly upon issues; as a consequence of which He sent down Chapter 112 (Ikhlas) and Verses one to six of Surah al-Hadid. Whoever seeks beyond that shall perish."4
The tradition reflects that these blessed Verses lead seekers to the attainment of utmost possible knowledge.
The first blessed Verse of the Chapter in question opens with glorification of God Almighty;
"Whatsoever is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Allah and He is the Glorious, All-Wise."
The preceding Chapter came to its end with glorification of God Almighty and this Chapter opens with the same. The three instances of glorification are expressed through the Arabic past verbal form sabbaha (in Chapters 57, 59, 61 and in two instances in Chapters 62 and 64, the present verbal form yusabbih is employed). The different forms of expression may reflect that the creatures of this world have always glorified His Most Sacred Essence.
True glorification designates negation of any defect and deficiency and bearing witness by all the creatures of the world reflects that the Purity of His Most Sacred Essence is free from any defect and deficiency since the world of creation follows such order and wisdom and it abounds in such wonders that they all glorify God Almighty and praise their Lord Whose Omnipotence and Wisdom are boundless.
Thus, the blessed Verse ends with:
"He is the Glorious, All-Wise."
The blessed Verse may also reflect that all the atoms of the world of creation possess some kind of perception such that they praise and glorify God Almighty in their own spheres despite that fact that owing to our limited knowledge, we are unaware of their states.
It is also worthy of note that
"Whatsoever is in the heavens"
(sabbaha li-lah ma fi ’l-samawat) covers a broad semantic range including all the creatures of the world inclusive of those having intellect, animate, and inanimate beings.
Following an enumeration of two Divine Attributes, All-Glorious and All-Wise, in the first blessed Verse, the second blessed Verse treats of His Possession and Sovereignty in the world of existence as the pre-requisites of Omnipotence and Wisdom, saying:
"His is the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth. It is He Who gives life and causes death and He is Able to do all things. Divine Possession of the world of existence is true and formative rather than statutory or hypostasized.”
In other words, His Omnipotence and Wisdom encompasses everything and all the world of existence is dependent upon His Might, Will, and Command. It is in this vein that the blessed Verse treats of giving life and causing death and Divine Omnipotence.
Thus, so far mention is made of six Divine Attributes in these two blessed Verses. Giving life and causing death is reflected in numerous Qur’anic Verses. These two issues are secrets, namely no one but God Almighty is truly aware of life and death, but we are solely aware of the tokens. It is however a source of surprise life and death are nearest to us but the truth and secrets of the same of the most unraveled issues.
It is worthy of note that the Arabic present verbal forms yuhyi wa yumit
("gives life and causes death")
reflect continuity of life and death at all times and the twain encompass all forms of life and death ranging from the world of angels to other animate beings like animals and plants not only in this mundane life but also the forms of life in purgatory and the Day of Resurrection. Life and death in all forms are dependent upon Divine Omnipotence.
The blessed Verse three deals with five more Attributes saying:
"He is the First and the Last, the Manifest, and the Unmanifest. And He is the Omniscient."
The Divine Attributes
are delicate expressions reflecting His Pre-Eternality and Everlastingness, since we know that His Being is Infinite and He is the Necessary Being, namely His Existence lies within His Essence rather than without as a consequence of which He has neither origin nor end but He is Pre-Eternal and Everlasting.
God Almighty is the Origin of the world of existence and He shall exist following the annihilation of the world. Thus, the expressions do not reflect the beginning and the end of some specific time span.
also reflect His existential encompassing of all things. He is more Manifest than anything, since His tokens have encompassed everywhere. At the same time, He is more Unmanifest than anything, since profundity of His Essence is unknown to others.
It is noteworthy that one of the consequences of the aforesaid Attributes is that "He is Omniscient," since the Pre-Eternal and Everlasting Being, Manifest and Unmanifest in the world, is undoubtedly All-Aware of all things.
The traditions narrated from the Noble Prophet (S) and the Pure Imams (as) in this vein reflect interesting points elucidating these meaningful Verses.
According to a tradition narrated from the Noble Prophet (S) included in Muslim's Sahih:
"O Lord! You are the First unpreceded by anything and the Last followed by nothing. You are so Manifest and All-Conquering that no one is superior to you. You are so Unmanifest that nothing is imaginable beyond you."5
It is narrated from the Commander of the Faithful, Imam ‘Ali (as):
"There is no beginning for His Pre-Eternality and there is no end to His Everlastingness. He is the First Who has always been. He is Everlasting superseded by no being. He is so Manifest that His Origin is unknown and He is so Unmanifest that His location is unbeknownst."6
Imam Hasan Mujtaba (as) said in a sermon:
"Praise be to God Almighty Who is Pre-Eternal and Everlasting. His Attributes defy intellect, thought, and wisdom. No one may ever say anything about His Pre-Eternality, Manifestation, and Unmanifestation."7
هُوَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ فِي سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍ ثُمَّ اسْتَوَی عَلَی الْعَرْشِ يَعْلَمُ مَا يَلِجُ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَمَا يَخْرُجُ مِنْهَا وَمَا يَنزِلُ مِنَ السَّمَاء وَمَا يَعْرُجُ فِيهَا وَهُوَ مَعَكُمْ أَيْنَ مَا كُنتُمْ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ
4. He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six days [and period of time] and then rose over the Throne. He is All-Aware of what goes into the earth and what comes forth from it and what descends from the heaven and what ascends thereto. And He is with you wherever you may be. And Allah is the All-Seer of what you do.
Preceded by an enumeration of eleven Divine Attributes of Divine Pure Essence, the blessed Verse 4 treats of five other Attributes, the first of which is Divine Creativity.
The blessed Verse in question is saying that He is the One Who created the heavens and the earth in six days:
("He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six days [and period of time] and then rose over the Throne. He is All-Aware of what goes into the earth and what comes forth from it and what descends from the heaven and what ascends thereto. And He is with you wherever you may be. And Allah is the All-Seer of what you do").
"Creation in six days"
is attested seven times in the Glorious Qur’an the first and the last of which are mentioned in 7:54 and 57:4.
As mentioned above, the word
(yawm) in the blessed Verses in question do not denote a normal day but it connotes "period of time" be it brief or long.
It may even last millions of years. Such expression is to be found in the Arabic as well as other languages. For instance, it is said that today, it is the turn of such and such group to rule and tomorrow it will be the turn of others. The connotation of "periods" in this context was elaborated upon in details under 7:54.
It is worthy of note that God Almighty could create the whole world in one single moment, but creating in that manner could not reflect Divine Glory, Omnipotence, and Omniscience, but creating the world within a period of billions of years in different periods and forms based on an order and measure may reflect further manifest tokens of His Omniscience and Wisdom.
Furthermore, such creation in time serves as a model for the gradual development of mankind and lack of haste in attaining to different goals. The blessed Verse proceeds with world Sovereignty, saying that following the creation of the world, God Almighty rose over the Throne and took the reign of the Sovereignty of the world.
God Almighty has undoubtedly no body nor the word
mentioned herein denotes the royal throne, but this expression delicately reflects Divine Absolute Sovereignty and His All-Encompassing Omnipotence over the world of existence.
The Arabic word ‘arsh denotes something with a roof over it or the roof itself. It is also employed to denote the royal throne, but it also connotes might, as it is said in the Persian tongue: "The feet of his throne collapsed," which connotes that he lost his power.
It is noteworthy that contrary to what some ignorant people imagine that God created the world and abandoned it, He is the Sovereign and the Ruler of the world and the dependence of the systematicity of the world on His Pure Essence is such that if He deceases His emanation and Grace for one single moment, everything will collapse.
Taking such truth into account bestows such perception and insight upon man that he may see, feel, and love God Almighty everywhere and in everything including his own heart.
The blessed Verse proceeds to treat of another aspect of Divine Omniscience saying that He is All-Aware of what penetrates into the earth and what comes out of it and also what descends from the heaven and what ascends to heaven;
("He is All-Aware of what goes into the earth and what comes forth from it and what descends from the heaven and what ascends thereto. And He is with you wherever you may be. And Allah is the All-Seer of what you do").
Although all these points are encompassed in
"And He is All-Aware of all things"
mentioned in the preceding Verses, but an exposition of such meanings makes man attend further to Divine Omniscience. He is All-Aware of what penetrates into the earth, like rains drops and torrents. He is All-Aware of the seeds of plants disseminated on the earth by wind or insects penetrating into it.
He is All-Aware of the roots of trees penetrating into the depth of the earth in search of nutrients. He is All-Aware of all the mines and treasures which were on the face of the earth but they were interred thereafter.
He is All-Aware of treasures, corpses, insects making their subterranean nests, plants growing from the ground, fountains springing from the heart of rocks and soil, manifesting mines and treasures, humankind growing on it, volcanoes erupting from the heart of the earth, insects growing in their nests, gases emitting from the earth, gravitation waves arising from it, what descends from the heaven, ranging from rain drops to the life giving rays of the sun to the host of angels to the powerful waves of Revelation and Divine Scriptures, from cosmic rays to meteors and shooting stars absorbed by the earth.
He is All-Aware of what ascends to the heaven like angels, human souls, servants' deeds, invocations and devotions, different kinds of birds, vapors, and clouds. What is known and unknown to us are all manifest through His Omniscience.
If we reflect upon the facts that billions of different beings penetrate into the earth and billions of beings descend from the sky or ascend to it within one single moment and no one but God Almighty is aware of their numbers, we may be further acquainted with His Omniscience.
The fourth and the fifth Attributes emphasize that
"He is with you where ever you happen to be and as such, He is All-Aware of what you do. How could He be not with us when we depend on Him and His Grace for all the moments of our existence? He is the Spirit of the world of existence.
He is the Spirit of the world. He is superior to all. He was with us when we were scattered dust, when we were embryos in our mothers' wombs. He has been with us at all times. He will be with us in purgatory. How could He be unaware of us?”
Knowing that He is with us bestows majesty and grandeur to us on the one side and grants security and self confidence on the other. Such knowledge engenders bravery and boldness into man and also endows man with great obligations, since He is Omnipresent and watches over every being.
It is the greatest lesson of education, since it is the main root of fear of God, purity, and honest. The secret of His Majesty and Grandeur is that He is Omnipresent. It is not metaphorical and figurative, but such truth is both pleasant and satisfying on the one hand and entailing obligations and inspiring awe on the other.
It is narrated from the Noble Prophet (S):
"The most sublime degree of faith is that man be aware of Divine Omnipresence."8
According to another Prophetic tradition, Moses (as) inquired:
"Where may I find you, O Lord?"
Thus he was addressed:
"Whenever you will, you reach me."9
Such Divine Accompaniment of servants is so precise and delicate that any believing thinker may be aware of its profundity within the capacity of his faith and thought.
لَهُ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَإِلَی اللَّهِ تُرْجَعُ الأمُورُ
5. His is the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth and to Allah return all things.
Divine Sovereignty encompasses the heavens with such majesty and whatever is included in them like celestial bodies, and the vast earth and what is on it like mountains, oceans, animals of the land and seas and jinn and mankind visible or invisible whose existence depends on Divine Will.
All creatures return to Him Who is the Origin, the Point of Return, and the Agent and the Final Causes. God Almighty is the Creator of the world of existence and the Sovereign of all existential things. The world of existence shall return to Him.
يُولِجُ اللَّيْلَ فِي النَّهَارِ وَيُولِجُ النَّهَارَ فِي اللَّيْلِ وَهُوَ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ
6. He merges night into day and merges day into night and He has full knowledge of the secrets and intentions in the hearts.
The procession, wane, and wax of days and nights reflect Divine Sovereignty.
The blessed Verse in question makes mention of two more Divine Attributes, saying:
"He merges night into day and merges day into night."
He decreases a certain amount of time from one and adds it to the other thereby altering the length of day and time, namely the alteration affected by the four seasons of the year entailing all the blessings for mankind.
The blessed Verse proceeds to say that;
"He has full knowledge of the secrets and intentions in the hearts."
The Arabic word dhat denotes "having" herein connoting the intentions and beliefs controlling and ruling the hearts.
It is worthy of note that the preceding Verses reflect that God Almighty is All-Aware of our deeds;
("And Allah is the All-Seer of what you do")
and the blessed Verse in question designates that He is fully Aware of our intentions, beliefs, and thoughts;
("He has full knowledge of the secrets and intentions in the hearts").
Bura’ ibn ‘Azib narrates from the Commander of the Faithful, ‘Ali (as):
'O Commander of the Faithful! I ask you to inform me, for the sake of God Almighty and His Messenger (S), of the best thing which the Noble Prophet (S) bestowed upon you that was revealed to you by God Almighty through Gabriel.'
'Whenever you intend to call God Almighty by His Greatest Attribute, recite the first six blessed Verses of Surah al-Hadid and the last four blessed Verses of Surah al-Hashr. Then, raise your hands and say:
'O God! Such are You. I invoke you to pay homage to Muhammad and answer my prayer.’
Then, say what you need. By God Almighty, besides Whom there is no other object of worship, your prayer will be answered, if God wills.’"10
The tradition reflects the majesty of the blessed Verses and the significance of their contents. However, it must be borne in mind that the Divine Greatest Attribute is not just the form but it requires assuming Divine Attributes.
آمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَأَنفِقُوا مِمَّا جَعَلَكُم مُّسْتَخْلَفِينَ فِيهِ فَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنكُمْ وَأَنفَقُوا لَهُمْ أَجْرٌ كَبِيرٌ
7. Believe in Allah and His Messenger and expend of that whereof He has made you trustees. And such of you who believe and expend in Allah's Cause, theirs shall be a great reward.
The blessed Verse addresses believers saying that the injunction as to believe in Allah and His Messenger (S) requires acting upon belief. Thos who claim to be believers should expend in Allah's Cause to substantiate their claims.
Being trustees in:
"He has made you trustees"
indicates that man is Allah's vicegerent on the earth as it is reflected elsewhere in the Holy Qur’an11:
"Verily I appointed [man] as the vicegerent."
Thus, the contextual meaning of the blessed Verse is:
"O believers! You are Allah's vicegerents on the earth and expend in Allah's Cause what you possess which is Allah's Possession vested with you."
It may also reflect that you people are the successors of your predecessors and your possessions used to be theirs. Thus, expend such possessions in Allah's Cause as they will be inherited by your heirs.12 It is worthy of note that belief is valuable when it is accompanied by bearing assistance to the needy and such expending is valuable when it arises from belief in God Almighty.
Man must be aware of the fact that whatever he possesses is trusted with him and the true possessor is Allah. Although belief and expending in Allah's Cause are obligations but they will be rewarded by God Almighty.
The reward is the key to encouraging man to act;
("And such of you who believe and expend in Allah's Cause, theirs shall be a great reward").
وَمَا لَكُمْ لاَ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالرَّسُولُ يَدْعُوكُمْ لِتُؤْمِنُوا بِرَبِّكُمْ وَقَدْ أَخَذَ مِيثَاقَكُمْ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ
8. And what is the matter with you that you believe not in Allah! While the Messenger invites you to believe in your Lord and He has indeed taken your covenant through intellect, natural innate disposition, and the Prophets, if you truly believe.
Following a reference to having faith and expending in Allah's Cause, the blessed Verse further treats of the same in the form of an argument.
First, disbelievers are reproached for not having believed in the Noble Prophet's (S) Prophetic call by asking:
"What is the matter with you that you believe not in Allah! While the Messenger invites you to believe in your Lord and He has indeed taken your covenant through intellect, natural innate disposition, and the Prophets, if you truly believe."
If you truly believe in Truth, the arguments thereof are crystal clear as such belief is substantiated by intellect, innate natural disposition, and narration. On the one hand, Allah's Messenger (S) called you with clear proofs, sings, and manifest miracles and on the other hand, God Almighty has taken your covenant by reflecting His tokens in the world of creation and your inward being.
Such covenant is formative. Believe in Him. But, you are indifferent toward intellect, the innate natural disposition, and Revelation. You fail to be prepared to believe since you are overwhelmed by ignorance, bias, and blind imitation.
The above reflects that:
"if you truly believe"
indicates that if you are prepared to believe in God Almighty and His Messenger, you must acknowledge the manifest arguments thereof. The point is that disbelievers saw the Noble Prophet (S), listened to his Prophetic call and witnessed his miracles, how could they produce any pretext?
In this vein, it is narrated from the Noble Prophet (S) that he asked his companions:
"Whose belief is more wondrous?"
Allah's Messenger (S) said:
"It is not a wonder that they believe, since they are near unto Divine Threshold."
"How may they fail to believe when they received Divine Revelation?"
"It is not a wonder if you believe since I am among you."
The companions were silent.
The Noble Prophet (S) said:
"The most wondrous belief belongs to those who follow you and merely see some pages before them, but they believe in it, namely the Holy Qur’an."13
It is a fact that people who see the light a long time after the Noble Prophet's (S) demise and are solely informed of Prophetic traditions, but they acknowledge the Prophetic call and thereby are accorded great privileges. The term covenant (mithaq) may be a reference to the innate natural disposition toward Divine Unity reflected through intellectual arguments and witnessing the system of creation.
"in your Lord"
(bi-rabbikum) reflects Divine organicism in the world of creation. Some Qur’an exegetes maintain that "covenant" herein reflects that taken in the world of pre-existence (‘alam al-dharr). God Almighty knows better.
هُوَ الَّذِي يُنَزِّلُ عَلَی عَبْدِهِ آيَاتٍ بَيِّنَاتٍ لِيُخْرِجَكُم مِّنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَی النُّورِ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ بِكُمْ لَرَؤُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ
9. It is He Who sends down clear and elucidating Verses to His servant that He may bring you out from shadows into light. And indeed, Allah is to you full of kindness, Most Gracious.
Sincere devotion paves the ground for the bestowal of Divine Favors. The Prophets mainly aimed to deliver mankind from the shadows of ignorance, polytheism, and discord and lead them to the path of Divine Light; all paths besides it lead to shadows.
Thus, the blessed Verse in question encourages man to believe in God Who send down the blessed Verses unto His servant, Muhammad (S). Divinely revealed Verses clearly reflect their Divine Origin of Truth and they bear witness to His obedient servant's sincerity such that mankind may perceive Divine Argument and find no truth in pretexts.
God Almighty appointed the Prophets and revealed Scriptures out of His Bounty and Mercy such that mankind may be delivered from the darkness of ignorance and corruption and find the path toward the light of knowledge and appropriate manners and ethical principles. Thus, they may be reminded of their convent taken by their Lord on the pre-eternal day.
It is noteworthy that:
"Allah is to you full of kindness, Most Gracious"
delicately reflects the truth that such Divine emphatic and passionate call to having faith and expending in Allah's Cause manifests Divine Mercy encompassing all in this world and the Hereafter.
Some Qur’an exegetes draw a distinction between Kindness and Graciousness saying that the former and the latter represent His Mercy toward the obedient and the disobedient respectively.
وَمَا لَكُمْ أَلَّا تُنفِقُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَلِلَّهِ مِيرَاثُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ لاَ يَسْتَوِي مِنكُم مَّنْ أَنفَقَ مِن قَبْلِ الْفَتْحِ وَقَاتَلَ أُوْلَئِكَ أَعْظَمُ دَرَجَةً مِّنَ الَّذِينَ أَنفَقُوا مِن بَعْدُ وَقَاتَلُوا وَكُلًّا وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الْحُسْنَی وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ
10. And what is the matter with you that you expend not in the Cause of Allah [whereas you leave whatever you possess and pass away]? And to Allah belongs the heritage of the heavens and the earth. Not equal among you are those who spent and fought before the conquest [of Mecca]. Such are higher in degree than those who spent and fought afterwards. But to all Allah has promised the best [to both of them]. And Allah is All-Aware of what you do.
The blessed Verse in question criticizes those who fail to expend in Allah's cause despite the fact that they know that their possessions have been temporarily given to them by God Almighty Who is the True Possessor and whatever has been given to them will be inherited by their successors. God Almighty is the True Possessor of all possessions and whatever exists in the heavens and on the earth, namely they all reflect His Bounties and Graciousness and they shall all return to Him.
After encouraging believers to expend in Allah's Cause, the blessed Verse promises Divine Rewards to such expenders, saying that those who had expended in Allah's Cause before the conquest of Mecca and had waged wars with disbelievers and their concupiscent soul are not on a par with those who did likewise following the conquests and the dissemination of the Islamic faith.
The disparity is manifest since Muslims were few in number in the advent of the Noble Prophet's (S) call and Islam was not that strong against the great number of disbelievers. Thus, expending in Allah's Cause and participation in jihad entailed further significance and Divine Rewards compared to such acts carried out by later believers.
Both of them receive Divine Rewards, though there is a great difference between them in terms of degrees. Since the value of deeds lies in sincere devotion, the blessed Verse in question ends by saying that God Almighty is fully Aware of what you do in terms of quantity and quality as well as intention and sincerity.
مَن ذَا الَّذِي يُقْرِضُ اللَّهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا فَيُضَاعِفَهُ لَهُ وَلَهُ أَجْرٌ كَرِيمٌ
11. Who is he that will lend Allah a goodly loan? Then Allah will increase it manifold to his credit and he will have a good reward.
In order to encourage believers to expend in Allah's Cause, the blessed Verse makes use of another interesting expression saying:
"Who is he that will lend Allah a goodly loan? Then Allah will increase it manifold to his credit and he will have a good reward."
It is a surprising expression since God Almighty Who bestows all Bounties and all the atoms of our being are emanated every single moment from His boundless ocean of Emanation and they are all possessed by Him regards us as the owners of possessions and asks us to give Him a goodly loan such that He will increase it manifold, hundreds or even thousands times more.
Furthermore, such great rewards may not be bestowed by others besides Him. The Arabic word qardh denotes cutting and portioning a part of possession. miqradh denotes scissors and qiradha is applied to apportioned possession. Giving loans to God Almighty shall be increased manifold on the Day of Resurrection.
The word is accompanied by hasan:
connoting that it shall be reimbursed immediately without any trouble.
The blessings arising from such goodly loans include decrease in enmity and increase in love, safeguarding people's prestige and impeding their bankruptcy, betterment of the economic structure of society, impeding the prevalence of usury, checking avarice and miserliness, just distribution of wealth, and growth in the culture of cooperation.
According to a tradition narrated from Imam Kadim (as), the blessed Verse in question reflects contributions made to the Lord of the Age [namely, the Twelfth Imam (as)].14
يَوْمَ تَرَی الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَسْعَی نُورُهُم بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَبِأَيْمَانِهِم بُشْرَاكُمُ الْيَوْمَ جَنَّاتٌ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا ذَلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ
12. On the Day you shall see the believing men and the believing women: their light running forward before them and by their right hands. [It is said unto them:] Glad tidings for you this Day! Gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein forever! Verily, this is the great success.
The light of faith leads believers to Paradise on the Day of Resurrection.
Thus, the blessed Verse is saying:
"O Muhammad! Remember the Day when you see believing men and women whose light forwards before them and on their right hand side bearing them the glad tidings of being admitted to Paradise. Such light surrounding believers is that of faith, monotheism, and righteous good deeds. It is the spiritual light of belief and certitude in Divine Origin and Resurrection shedding light before them and that of righteous good deeds on their right hand side.
In the same manner that faith serves as man's guide to happiness and spiritual and ethical virtues, it will shed light when the world will be plunged into shadows. Such light, emanated inwardly, is the light of monotheism and certitude possessed by those near unto Divine Threshold. They are the people on the right. The intensity of the light depends upon faith, righteous good deeds, certitude, and fear of God Almighty.”
It is also reflected in traditions that the light of the good differs in terms of luminescence, namely, any God fearing believer will shed light before him and on his right depending the degree of his faith.
Thus, believers will be led to Paradise, the abode of Divine Grace, to dwell therein everlastingly. Angels of Mercy shall welcome them bearing them glad tidings of gardens under whose trees and arbors rivers of Divine Infinite Emanation and Bounties flow.
The best tidings for the people of Paradise are that they shall dwell therein forever.
"This is the great success"
reflects Divine Favors in store for the people of Paradise. Such happiness and merit shall be bestowed upon believers.
يَوْمَ يَقُولُ الْمُنَافِقُونَ وَالْمُنَافِقَاتُ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا انظُرُونَا نَقْتَبِسْ مِن نُّورِكُمْ قِيلَ ارْجِعُوا وَرَاءكُمْ فَالْتَمِسُوا نُورًا فَضُرِبَ بَيْنَهُم بِسُورٍ لَّهُ بَابٌ بَاطِنُهُ فِيهِ الرَّحْمَةُ وَظَاهِرُهُ مِن قِبَلِهِ الْعَذَابُ
13. On the Day when the hypocrites – men and women – will say to the believers: "Glance at us! Let us get something from your light!" It will be said: "Go back to your rear! Then seek light [from the world]!" Then, a wall will be put up between them, with a gate therein. Inside [namely Paradise] it will be mercy and outside it will be torment [Hell]."
Those who failed to be delivered from the shadows of ignorance, polytheism, and discord shall stay in darkness on the Day of Resurrection beseeching believers to allow them to avail themselves of their luminescence.
Thus, the blessed Verse in question is saying that on that Day, hypocrites – men and women – shall ask them to glance at them so that they may make use of their light. The Arabic word iqtibas derives from q-b-s denoting take or seek to take fire but it connotes taking other things.
"Glance at us"
(anduruna) is uttered by hypocrites plunged into shadows beseeching believers to take a glance at them such that they may make use of their light to find the path.
The clause may also connote waiting, namely
"wait for us until we may reach you and find the path through your light.”
However, it is said unto them:
"God to your rear and seek light. It is no place for gaining light since you should have gained it in the world which you left by doing righteous good deeds. However, it is too late. Then, all of a sudden, a wall will be erected between the two groups in which there is a gate. The twain sides of such colossal wall or gate will be quite different – there is mercy within and torment without.
The Arabic word sur denotes the wall formerly surrounding cities and towns for security on which there were watch towers. It is worthy of note that the blessed Verse is saying that there is mercy within and torment without, namely believers like inhabitants of cities are protected within the walls but hypocrites, like strangers, will stay without.
Believers and hypocrites used to live in the same society, but there was a colossal wall between their beliefs and deeds. It shall be the same on the Day of Resurrection. The gate may be there so that hypocrites may see through it heavenly blessings and yearn or it may be there such that those with less impurities be able to pass through it and join believers.
يُنَادُونَهُمْ أَلَمْ نَكُن مَّعَكُمْ قَالُوا بَلَی وَلَكِنَّكُمْ فَتَنتُمْ أَنفُسَكُمْ وَتَرَبَّصْتُمْ وَارْتَبْتُمْ وَغَرَّتْكُمُ الْأَمَانِيُّ حَتَّی جَاء أَمْرُ اللَّهِ وَغَرَّكُم بِاللَّهِ الْغَرُورُ
14. [The hypocrites] will call the believers: "Were we not with you?" The believers will reply: "Yes! But you led yourselves into sedition and looked forward for our destruction; you doubted [the true religion] and were deceived by false desires, till the command of Allah came to pass [to cause your perdition]. And the chief deceiver deceived you in respect of Allah."
The Arabic verbal form fa-tantum denotes "you led yourselves into the sedition of discord. Tarabbus denotes awaiting and amani is the plural form of umniya denoting desire. gharur ("deceiving, deceiver") is one of the appellations of Satan.
The blessed Verse is saying that hypocrites will call believers asking whether they had not been living with them in the same society and they were with them there. What did happen that they were severed of a sudden and believers were admitted to Divine Mercy and Spirit and they were abandoned in torment?
Believers reply to them saying that they used to be together everywhere and at all times. They used to be neighbors or even shared the same roof, but they had been quite different in terms of beliefs and deeds. They had kept aloof from them as strangers alien to the principles of truth.
The blessed Verse further adds that they were entangled by gross mistakes, including:
1. They deceived themselves through treading the path of disbelief and caused their own perdition.
2. They always looked forward for the Noble Prophet's (S) demise and the perdition of Muslims and effacement of the basis of the Islamic faith. Besides, they procrastinated all righteous deeds and moves.
3. They always doubted Resurrection and the veracity of the Prophetic call and the Holy Qur’an.
4. They were always preoccupied with endless desires until the time when they died owing to Divine Command. Such vain desires impeded them from true reflection since they had plunged into dreams and imaginations thus living in a world of illusions. Thus, they were overwhelmed by gratification of concupiscent desires and attainment to mundane goals.
5. Furthermore, the deceiving Satan had solidified its basis in their hearts and thereby deceived you by temptations. At times, Satan made you believe that the world was everlasting and the resurrection was not to be actualized. At times, Satan questioned the existence of God Almighty. These five factors caused the severance between hypocrites and believers.
فَالْيَوْمَ لاَ يُؤْخَذُ مِنكُمْ فِدْيَةٌ وَلاَ مِنَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مَأْوَاكُمُ النَّارُ هِيَ مَوْلاَكُمْ وَبِئْسَ الْمَصِيرُ
15. Therefore, this Day no ransom shall be taken from you [hypocrites], nor of those who disbelieved. Our abode is the Fire. That is your friend [you deserve such dire fate].
The blessed Verse draws a conclusion saying that neither hypocrites nor disbelievers may not be ransomed on the Day of Resurrection and thereby be safeguarded from Divine Chastisement. Thus, disbelievers and hypocrites share the same dire fate since they are entangled by their sins and vices and they may not find any deliverance.
The blessed Verse further adds that their abode shall be fire and their friend and guardian shall be Hell. What an unfortunate abode it is. In this world, people usually resort to paying ransoms or seeking assistance from their friends and mediators to deliver themselves from chastisement. However, there shall be neither friends nor mediators to assist hypocrites and disbelievers on the Day of Resurrection since all attachments and ties shall be severed then.
Thus, the Holy Qur’an elucidates that the only means to deliverance on that Day is to have faith and do righteous good deeds. Intermediation shall be limited to those who have faith and do righteous good deeds rather than those alien thereto who have severed all their ties from God Almighty and His friends.
- 1. Tafsir Nur al-Thiqalayn.
- 2. Majma‘ al-Bayan, the opening of the Chapter.
- 3. Majma‘ al-Bayan.
- 4. Usul al-Kafi, Nur al-Thiqalayn, vol. 5, p. 231.
- 5. Tafsir Qurtubi, vol. 9, p. 6406.
- 6. Nahj al-Balagha, Sermon 163.
- 7. Tafsir Nur al-Thiqalayn, vol. 5, p. 236.
- 8. Durr al-Manthur, vol. 6, p. 171.
- 9. Ruh al-Bayan, vol. 9, p. 351.
- 10. Tafsir Durr al-Manthur, vol. 6, p. 171; Tafsir Nimuna, under the blessed Verse in question.
- 11. 2:30
- 12. Tafsir al-Mizan.
- 13. Bukhari's Sahih; Tafsir Maraghi, Tafsir fi Thalal al-Qur’an; Tafsir Nimuna; and other exegetic works.
- 14. Tafsir Safi, p. 522, under the blessed Verse in question.