Surah al-Tur, Verses 29 - 49
فَذَكِّرْ فَمَا أنتَ بِنِعْمَتِ رَبِّكَ بِكَاهِنٍ وَلَآ مَجْنُونٍ
أمْ يَقُولُونَ شَاعِرٌ نَّتَرَبَّصُ بِهِ رَيْبَ الْمَنُونِ
29. Thus, remind [people] that by the Grace of Allah, you are neither a soothsayer, nor a madman.
30. Or do they say: He is a poet! We await his calamitous death!”
In the twain blessed Verses God Almighty thus addresses His Messenger bidding him to remind disbelievers of fulfilling their duty against Allah and says unto him to fulfill his obligations toward Allah. He is further told that God Almighty has bestowed upon him such exalted state. He is neither a soothsayer, nor a madman, nor a lunatic.
is applied to someone who may perform extraordinary things through the medium of jinn and devils. Such person claims to be aware of the unseen thus rendering falsehood as truth for people and most of his words are false and baseless and there may have been soothsayers who falsely claimed to be Prophets.
is likewise applied to someone who performs acts beyond common practice and his acts are carried out without discipline and thought. Poetry is applied to rhythmical words adorned with rhymes.
It is however a source of surprise that the three characteristics attributed to the most prominent person in the world of existence, namely the Noble Prophet of the Islamic faith (S) are contradictory and one single person may not possess all the three attributes, since soothsaying springs from self-mortification and despite the fact that it is satanic, it is done through reason polluted with imagination and estimative faculty and the soothsayer intends to draw conclusions out of his own acts.
How may such characteristic be found in someone together with madness which stems from unconsciousness and alienation. The people of Mecca were speakers of the Arabic tongue and could notice the eloquence of the Holy Qur’an and were aware that Qur’anic Verses was different from poetry and their own speech, but they pretended ignorance and termed the Noble Prophet (S) as poet.
In short, all these baseless accusations stemmed from jealousy, envy, arrogance, and obduracy rather than from ignorance. It was out of their vile disposition that they expected some ailment or another affliction fall upon the Noble Prophet (S) such that he may cease his Prophetic Call and receiving Divine Revelation of the inimitable Qur’anic Verses and thereby people may not follow him through converting to the Islamic faith.
قُلْ تَرَبَّصُوا فَإِنِّي مَعَكُم مِّنَ الْمُتَرَبِّصِينَ
أمْ تَأمُرُهُمْ أحْلَآمُهُم بِهَذَا أمْ هُمْ قَوْمٌ طَاغُونَ
31. Say [O Muhammad SAW unto them]: “Wait! I am with you among the waiters! [You await my death and I await triumph over you.]”
32. Do their minds command them this [to attribute such baseless accusations to the Noble Prophet (S)] or are they people transgressing bounds?
The twain blessed Verses are addressed to the Noble Prophet (S) saying unto him that reply to disbelievers by asking them to await some blight or affliction like death fall upon him and he will await that death or torment fall into their share thus they may know that who has lost his mind and commits vices.
The blessed Verse 32 addresses the chiefs of the Quraysh who imagined that they were people of reason and intelligence. It also addresses those who regard themselves as reasonable and knowledgeable inquiring whether their reason and intelligence bid them to deny the Truth, whereas such denial stands against reason. The point is that they are rebellious and disobedient and their reason follows their concupiscent desires.
أمْ يَقُولُونَ تَقَوَّلَهُ بَل لَآ يُؤْمِنُونَ
فَلْيَأتُوا بِحَدِيثٍ مِّثْلِهِ إِن كَانُوا صَادِقِينَ
33. Or do they say: “He has forged it [the Holy Qur’an and has attributed it to God Almighty]?” Nay! [There is no such thing but the fact is that it is through their disobedience and envy that] They believe not!
34. Then if you speak the truth, produce a word like unto it.
Like other blessed Verses, these two Verses also treat of the Truth and Inimitability of the Holy Qur’an by saying that if they imagine that he has forged Qur’anic Verses, they are Arabs like him and as the Holy Qur’an says Qur’anic Verses are revealed in eloquent Arabic, they may make attempts at producing the like. The point is that they fail to convert because of their vile disposition of mind.
أمْ خُلِقُوا مِنْ غَيْرِ شَيْءٍ أمْ هُمُ الْخَالِقُونَ
أمْ خَلَقُوا السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأرْضَ بَل لَآ يُوقِنُونَ
35. Were they created out of nothing? Or were they themselves the creators?
36. Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Nay, but they have no firm belief [so that they attain to certitude regarding the Existence of the Creator].
It is incumbent upon man to not cease his reasoning and guiding others against different kinds of accusations. Despite the fact that the preceding Verses treated of different baseless accusations against the Noble Prophet of Islam (S), God Almighty raises a number of questions in order to awaken their dormant conscience.
The Holy Qur’an presents the most significant philosophical discussions in the simplest form of expression. The two blessed Verses present two assumptions, firstly is man created for a cause or without the same and secondly, is it possible that man is able to create himself? Both assumptions fail to stand against reason, since man is a phenomenon and every phenomenon is in need of a cause. Furthermore, man who did not exist before may not cause his own existence.
It is reflected in the blessed Verse 36 that polytheists were aware that God is the Creator of them, the heavens, and the earth. It is reiterated in the Holy Qur’an that if polytheists are asked concerning the creator of the heavens and the earth, they would reply that God is the Creator.
Thus the main question presented in theses blessed Verses is:
"Why do you not believe in Divine Guidance but you disobey Divine Command. It is worthy of note that such people do not respond to the bidding of their reason out of their vile disposition of mind and thereby fail to attain to certitude regarding the Existence of the Omniscient and Omnipotence Creator and thereby fail to obey His Command.”
أمْ عِندَهُمْ خَزَائِنُ رَبِّكَ أمْ هُمُ الْمُصَيْطِرُونَ
37. Or are with them the treasures of your Lord? Or are they wield sway in this world?
The blessed Verse in question is asking if the treasures of the world are with them thereby they are needless and they may wield sway and authority as they intend to do so or they are in need of everything. It is worthy of note that polytheists believed in divine creatorship but they fail to acknowledge him as the creator of their existence and failed to acknowledge the Prophetic Call.
The blessed Verses present questions in order to censure them for failing to acknowledge the Call of the Noble Prophet of Islam (S).
They are thus rebuked:
"Why do you not accept the Noble Prophet's (S) words? Do you possess Divine Omnipotence and Possessions? Have you found a way leading to the heavens on your own and may directly receive Divine Revelation?"
أمْ لَهُمْ سُلَّمٌ يَسْتَمِعُونَ فِيهِ فَلْيَأتِ مُسْتَمِعُهُم بِسُلْطَانٍ مُّبِينٍ
38. Or have they a stairway [leading to heaven] by means of which they listen [to secrets of the heavens]? If it is true, then their listeners should produce evident arguments.
The blessed Verse in question is asking if they have access to some stairway through which they may ascend to heaven and thereby attain to knowledge concerning the higher world and its angels and sacred intellects. If it is true, it is incumbent upon them to produce evident arguments as to what they have heard and learned.
It may intend to say that such people who have not transcended beyond the world of nature and are unaware of the metaphysical world but are immersed in the mire of nature may not claim to have availed themselves of intellect and perfection and attribute baseless accusations as to madness and sorcery to the Noble Prophet of Islam (S) whose Noble Spirit is conjoined with the metaphysical world since he possesses the supreme intellect and is the first being to be created by God Almighty.
If these disbelievers are aware of the higher world, they are supposed to produce arguments and substantiate their claims in the same manner that Prophets produced arguments in order to substantiate their statements.
أمْ لَهُ الْبَنَاتُ وَلَكُمُ الْبَنُونَ
39. Or has He only daughters and you have sons?
The blessed Verse in question is saying that these disbelievers who are ignorant of the higher world and God Almighty may not attribute offspring to the Creator of the world regarding angels as daughters of God Almighty and select sons for themselves since they imagine that they are stronger and nobler.
It goes without saying that in terms of human values, sons and daughters are not different and the blessed Verse in question produces an argument to expose the falsity of the belief of opponents through producing the same argument against the opponent party. There are numerous references in the Holy Qur’an as to negating such superstitious belief through exposing the falsity of such baseless argument.
أمْ تَسْألُهُمْ أجْرًا فَهُم مِّن مَّغْرَمٍ مُّثْقَلُونَ
40. Or is it that you ask a wage from them [for your Prophetic Call] so that they are burdened with a load of debt?
The blessed Verse in question makes a reference to something which may be made use of by them as a pretext thereby the Noble Prophet (S) is addressed by a rhetorical question:
"Do you ask some remuneration from them for your Prophetic Call such that it bears heavily on their shoulders?"
The Arabic word maghram designates the loss incurred without any cause. The word muthqal which is cognate with ithqal denotes imposing heavy burden and hardship on someone.
Thus the contextual meaning of the blessed Verse is:
"Do you ask for indemnity against propagation of your Prophetic Call such that they are unable to settle their debt and thereby fail to convert to the Islamic faith?"
The same motif is recurrently used in the Holy Qur’an not only regarding the Noble Prophet of Islam (S) but also for many other Prophets (as), since the latter opened their Prophetic Call by saying that they did not expect any remuneration against propagation of Divine Call, such that their impartiality be substantiated and there remains no room for making excuses by those who find faults with everything.
أمْ عِندَهُمُ الْغَيْبُ فَهُمْ يَكْتُبُونَ
41. Or that the Unseen is with them and they write it down [on the Preserved Tablet]?
The blessed Verse in question once more addresses them by asking whether they are aware of the secrets of the Unseen and they write down by using them. They falsely claim that the Noble Prophet (S) is a poet and they are awaiting his death and everything will come to an end through his death and his Prophetic Call will be consigned to oblivion.
How do they know that they will be alive after his death? Who has told them such thing? The Qur’anic Verse may also say that if they claim to be aware of the secrets of the Unseen and Divine Injunctions and are needless of the Holy Qur’an and the Islamic faith, they are supposed to produce their arguments. Since they may not produce any arguments, their claim is a gross lie.
أمْ يُرِيدُونَ كَيْدًا فَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا هُمُ الْمَكِيدُونَ
42. Or do they intend employ some stratagem to efface the truth? But those who disbelieve are themselves plotted against!
The blessed Verse in question is asking if their denial stems from plotting, stratagem, and vanity that they intend to plot against the Noble Prophet (S)? But they are unaware that their stratagems will be used against themselves, since Divine Stratagems are far superior to theirs and they shall pay dearly for their plots.
If they imagine that they may be triumphant over the Noble Prophet (S) by getting together at Dar al-Nadwa, a town hall in Mecca at the time of the Noble Prophet (S), and plotting against him and falsely accusing him of soothsaying, madness, poetry, and the like, they are mistaken since His Omnipotence is superior to all powers and He guaranteed the safety, salvation, and triumph of His Messenger (S) in propagating his universal Call.
أمْ لَهُمْ إِلَهٌ غَيْرُ اللَّهِ سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ
43. Or have they a god other than Allah? Glorified is Allah from all that they ascribe as partners [to Him].
In this blessed Verse, the last question is asked from disbelievers:
"Do they imagine that they have a patron? Is there any object of worship for them besides Allah? The blessed Verse proceeds by saying that God Almighty is glorified from all the partners associated with him by them. Thus, no one may provide them with patronage and support. It is in this vein that they are faced with a series of eleven extraordinary questions. How pleasing and convincing are Qur’anic questions, investigations, and arguments against which anyone seeking truth submits and is convinced.”
وَإِن يَرَوْا كِسْفًا مِّنَ السَّمَاء سَاقِطًا يَقُولُوا سَحَابٌ مَّرْكُومٌ
44. They are so obdurate that even if they see a piece of the heaven falling down, they would say: “Clouds gathered in heaps [but it is not Divine Wrath]!”
Resuming the discussion with obdurate polytheists and disbelievers enlightening any truth seeking man, the blessed Verses expose their prejudice and obduracy saying that they are so obdurate that even if they see rocks fall down from the heaven as a result of Divine torment, they will say:
"You are mistaken. This is not a rock but a condensed cloud falling onto the earth."
Such obdurate people who deny sense perceptions and interpret rocks falling down from the heaven as condensed clouds while it is common knowledge that clouds which descend upon the earth are nothing but fog and such delicate fog may not be condensed to change into rocks, such attitude toward spiritual truths is crystal clear.
Shadows of sin, lustfulness, obduracy, and animosity may darken human vision to the extent that he denies sense perceptions. There is no hope for the guidance of such people. It may be noted in passing that the Arabic word kisf denotes "piece" which ad hoc connotes "falling down a piece of stone from the heaven as a token of Divine torment. The word markum designates "condensed," connoting something placed above something else.
فَذَرْهُمْ حَتَّی يُلَآقُوا يَوْمَهُمُ الَّذِي فِيهِ يُصْعَقُونَ
يَوْمَ لَآ يُغْنِي عَنْهُمْ كَيْدُهُمْ شَيْئًا وَلَآ هُمْ يُنصَرُونَ
45. Therefore leave them alone till they meet their Day in which they will be afflicted with Divine Wrath and lightning.
46. The Day when their plotting and stratagems shall not avail them at all nor shall they be helped from any side.
The twain blessed Verses address the Noble Prophet of Islam (S) bidding him to leave them alone until they taste the hardship of a Day on which they shall have neither refuge nor deliverance. On that Day their plots and stratagems may not save them but they shall be recompensed for their vicious deeds and vile words.
The blessed Verses bid the Noble Prophet (S) to not entertain any grief or sorrow for their words and deeds, since it is his obligation to propagate his Divine Call upon whose fulfillment he is supposed to leave them alone until the Day arrives on which they shall taste the recompense of their deeds and perceive that what they imagined to be their means of deliverance from torment shall be of no avail to them, but it has led to their loss.
It shall be on that Day that they may find neither support nor assistance. It may be noted in passing that the passive verbal form yus‘aqun denotes unconsciousness and perdition as a result of lighting of torment.
وَإِنَّ لِلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا عَذَابًا دُونَ ذَلِكَ وَلَكِنَّ أكْثَرَهُمْ لَآ يَعْلَمُونَ
47. And indeed, for those who do wrong, there is another chastisement besides this in this world or in purgatory; but most of them know not.
At that time, disbelievers shall deserve torment for two reasons.
Firstly, they deserve torment for their disbelief thereby they associated other objects of worship besides Allah, since disbelief leads to torment.
Secondly, they not only have wronged themselves through depriving themselves of virtues and felicity but also have they left no stone unturned to wrong the Noble Prophet (S) and believers. Thus, their torment shall be different from that assigned for all disbelievers.
"Another chastisement besides this"
may indicate this worldly torment including being killed or captivated or it may designate torments descended from the heaven, like those sent down upon the peoples denying their Prophets (as) aforetime, including famine, awe-inspiring cries heard from the heaven as the consequences of their disbelief and harming Messengers of Allah. Such torments are besides those in store for them in the Hereafter. Such disobedient peoples tasted Divine Wrath in this world and it led to their perdition.
It may be noted in passing that according to Tafsir Qumi,
"another chastisement besides this"
makes a reference to the torment to befall those who wronged the family of the Noble Prophet (S) upon return.
وَاصْبِرْ لِحُكْمِ رَبِّكَ فَإِنَّكَ بِأعْيُنِنَا وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ حِينَ تَقُومُ
وَمِنَ اللَّيْلِ فَسَبِّحْهُ وَإِدْبَارَ النُّجُومِ
48. Therefore, wait patiently for the Decision of your Lord for indeed you are under Our Eyes and Protection. Glorify the Praises of your Lord when you get up from sleep.
49. And in the nighttime also glorify His Praises and at the setting of the stars.
In the twain blessed Verses, God Almighty addresses His Noble Prophet (S) and bids him to be patient against disbelievers who wrong him and persevere in the propagation of Divine Call despite the harms done to him by disbelievers, since he is protected by God Almighty. He is also bidden to wake up at daybreak when stars set and glorify the praises of the Lord.
Although the Noble Prophet (S) is bidden to remember God Almighty at all times and glorify his Lord in the day and at night, but it is said that all Divine Injunctions addressed to the Noble Prophet (S) are applicable to the Muslim community, unless it is proven that they are particularly addressed to the Noble Prophet (S).
Thus, it is incumbent upon believers to not forget God Almighty at any time owing to their worldly preoccupations but to obey Divine Injunctions and abstain from committing any wrong.
Many an exegete have interpreted:
"and in the nighttime also glorify His Praises"
as "night prayer" and maintain that:
"and at the setting of the stars"
refers to the two unite recommended prayer established at daybreak when stars disappear in daylight. It is narrated from Imam ‘Ali (as) that "at the setting of the stars" refers to the twain units of recommended daybreak prayer established before morning prayer when stars set.1
It is also narrated from the Noble Prophet (S):
"The two unit recommended prayers established in the morning and at night are far better for you than the world and worldly possessions."2
It is worthy of note that worshipping and glorifying God Almighty in the heart of the night is quite different in terms of serenity and delight. May God Almighty bestow upon us the blessing of waking up early in the morning, praying silently to our Maker, and a prolonged life.