Surah Qaf, Verses 27 - 45
قَالَ قَرِينُهُ رَبَّنَا مَا أطْغَيْتُهُ وَلَكِن كَانَ فِي ضَلاَلٍ بَعِيدٍ
قَالَ لَآ تَخْتَصِمُوا لَدَيَّ وَقَدْ قَدَّمْتُ إِلَيْكُم بِالْوَعِيدِ
مَا يُبَدَّلُ الْقَوْلُ لَدَيَّ وَمَا أنَا بِظَلَآمٍ لِّلْعَبِيدِ
27. His companion [Satan] will say: “Our Lord! I did not push him to transgression, but he was himself in error far astray.”
28. [Allah] will say:”Dispute not in front of Me, I had already sent you the warning.
29. The Sentence [as to casting disbelievers into Hell] that comes from Me cannot be changed, and I am not unjust to [My] servants.”
Imam Sadiq (as) is quoted as saying:
in this Verse refers to Satan.”1
It is attested elsewhere that Satan becomes the companion of certain evil-doers.2 One of the factors leading man to Hell is bad company, as the Qur’anic Verses makes mention of Satan as a companion leading man to Hell. Complaints of the people of the Hell include their regret for bad company in this world, as it is attested in the Holy Qur’an3:
“Ah! Woe unto me! Would that I had never taken so-and-so as an intimate friend!”
There will be disputes on the Day of Resurrection amongst evil-doers with one another, between evil-doers and corrupt leaders, and between evil-doers and Satan each of whom make attempts at putting the blame of their own sins on the other. Like scenes are to be found in the Holy Qur’an.
At times they say unto one another:
“Had it not been for you, we should certainly have been believers!”4.
“They will reply: “Nay you yourselves were not believers”5.
In another scene, they will say unto corrupt leaders:
“Indeed, we were following you. Can you avail us anything against Allah’s torment?”6
They censure Satan in another scene and he says:
“Therefore, blame me not, but blame yourselves. I cannot help you, nor can you help me. I deny your former deed in associating me as a partner with Allah”7.
The blessed Verse 27 says:
“Our Lord! I did not push him to transgression, but he was himself in error far astray.”
The Hell repeatedly says: “Is there any more,” as the people of Hell used to repeat the same in worshipping mammon, i.e. mundane property and worldly offices and transgressing the rights of others.
At any rate, the stubborn disbelievers’ disputes with Satan on the Day of Resurrection removes the veil from their destiny.
They censure the tempting devils for all the sins committed by them, but their companion, Satan, says:
“O Lord! I did not push him to disobedience nor did I force him to go astray, but he chose this way out of his own will and he was in astray far away.”
It is worthy of note that Satan does not intend to deny his role as the tempter, but he intends to say that he did not force anyone, but man welcomed his temptations out of his own will and desire.
Thus, the blessed Verse in question is not inconsistent with another Qur’anic Verse8 saying:
“Then I will certainly mislead them all.”
The blessed Verse 27 apparently serves as a defense for Satan and no mention is made of disbelievers’ complaints against Satan, but taking into account their disputes on the Day of Resurrection in other Qur’anic Verses and the following One, their words become briefly apparent, since the blessed Verse 28 says:
“[Allah] will say:”Dispute not in front of Me, I had already sent you the warning”
and I have informed you in advance of this dire destiny.
The blessed Verse on the one side alludes to God’s words unto Satan;
“[Allah] said: ‘Go and whosoever of them follows you, surely Hell will be the recompense of you – an ample recompense,”9
and on the other, God Almighty had warned men thus:
“That I will fill Hell with you and those of them that follow you”10.
Such warnings are to be found in other Qur’anic Verses as well reflecting that God Almighty has given His Ultimatum to devils and men, warning them against tempting and being tempted.
The blessed Verse 39 says:
“The Sentence [as to casting disbelievers into Hell] that comes from Me cannot be changed, and I am not unjust to [My] servants.”
The word Sentence (qawl) ad hoc refers to the warnings mentioned in different Qur’anic Verses examples of which were mentioned above. The Arabic word dallam is the intensified present participial form designating absolute negation of wrong-doing by God Almighty. In other words, the Most Gracious and Just Allah is by no means unjust to His servants. The blessed Verse in question and the like Qur’anic Verses bear testimony to human choice.
يَوْمَ نَقُولُ لِجَهَنَّمَ هَلِ امْتَلَأتِ وَتَقُولُ هَلْ مِن مَّزِيدٍ
30. On the Day when We will say unto Hell: “Are you filled?” It will say: “Are there any more?”
Hell is intelligent in some way or another as it is addressed by God Almighty and thus replies His question:
“Are there any more?”
Likewise, people of Hell used to say the same when they were preoccupied in this world with worshipping worldly possessions and offices and transgressing people’s rights.
The imperative verbal form;
in the blessed Verse in question may refer to destiny, namely:
“O Muhammad [SAW]! Remember the Day when Hell will be filled with jinn and mankind and God Almighty asks Hell: “Are you filled?”
Hell will reply in verbal or non-verbal language:
“Are there any more?”
The blessed Verse bears testimony to the point that Allah’s promises and warnings are true and Hell shall be filled with disbelievers and the disobedient.
وَاُزْلِفَتِ الْجَنَّةُ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ غَيْرَ بَعِيدٍ
هَذَا مَا تُوعَدُونَ لِكُلِّ أوَّابٍ حَفِيظٍ
مَنْ خَشِيَ الرَّحْمَن بِالْغَيْبِ وَجَاء بِقَلْبٍ مُّنِيبٍ
31. And Paradise will be brought near to the God fearing, not far off.
32. [It will be said unto them:] “This is what you were promised – [it is] for the repentant and preservers [of Allah’s bounds],
33. “Who feared the Most Gracious [Allah] inwardly and brought a heart turned in repentance [to Him].
Piety and fear of God drive man closer to Paradise. Following a treatment of disbelievers’ state after death and blowing of the Trumpet and their arrival at Divine Tribunal and torment of Hell, the blessed Verses in question reflect the state of the God fearing.
The former shall be entangled with hardship and torment and Hell drives them toward itself and expects enthusiastically more of the people of the Hell; au contraire, the latter shall proceed toward Paradise.
“Not far off”
may reflect that Paradise shall not be far away from the God fearing, but it is in their inward natural disposition manifesting itself on the Day of Resurrection. The antecedent of the demonstrative pronoun ‘this’ in the blessed Verse 32 is Paradise promised to whoever turned from disbelief and polytheism to monotheism and abstained from committing what was forbidden.
Such people fear God in their hearts without perceiving the same with their outward senses and live in such state at all times;
(“Who feared the Most Gracious [Allah] inwardly and brought a heart turned in repentance [to Him]”).
Paradise shall become closer to those who enter Resurrection with pure hearts turned from people toward the Truth. The people of Paradise as mentioned in the blessed Verses in question possess four characteristics.
Firstly, they fear God Almighty and as mentioned elsewhere, fear of God Almighty is higher in degree than faith the relation between the twain is that of inclusion; in other words, the God fearing have faith, but some of the faithful may lack fear of God Almighty.
Thus, fear of God Almighty stands above faith in matters of degrees. Secondly, the people of Paradise are those who have returned from disobedience to Divine Command. They never commit sins willfully. Thus is the state of the God fearing.
“Who feared the Most Gracious [Allah] inwardly and brought a heart turned in repentance [to Him]”
refers to those who regard their Lord as the Most Gracious, but His Glory and Grandeur overwhelms them to such degree that they fear His Wrath at all times.
Fourthly, of the attributes of the people of Paradise is that they enter Resurrection with pure hearts purified from natural impurities. They turn away from people and turn to God Almighty. The Arabic word khashiyya is applied to the fear arising from Divine Omniscience and Grandeur.
Three kinds of hearts are mentioned in the Holy Qur’an:
A. The pure heart devoid of polytheism, hypocrisy, hatred, and other vices;
(“Except him who brings to Allah a pure heart,”)11.
B. The repentant heart repenting to God Almighty following committing sins;
(“And brought a heart turned in repentance [to Him],”)12.
C. The sick heart entertaining hypocrisy and disbelief in God Almighty.
The sickness worsens if it is left on its own;
(“In their heart is a sickness,”)13.
ادْخُلُوهَا بِسَلَآمٍ ذَلِكَ يَوْمُ الْخُلُودِ
لَهُم مَّا يَشَاؤُونَ فِيهَا وَلَدَيْنَا مَزِيدٌ
34. [It shall be said unto them:] “Enter you therein in peace and security – this is a Day of eternal life [for you]!”
35. There, they will have all that they desire – and [for them] We have more [than what they desire].
Four virtues were enumerated for the God fearing in the preceding blessed Verses: repentance, preservation of one’s self and Divine bounds, Fear of God Almighty, repentant heart. Four attributes are enumerated in these two blessed Verses: security, peace, eternal life, and enjoyment of Divine Bounties. Mundane Bounties involve blights whose likes are not to be found in Paradise:
1. They involve pain and hardship, but nothing like them exist in Paradise;
(“peace and security”).
2. They are transient whereas Paradise is eternal;
(“Day of eternal life”).
3. Worldly Bounties are limited in range, but whatever one desires is to be found in Paradise;
(“There, they will have all that they desire”).
4. Mundane Bounties come to an end, but those in Paradise are on the increase;
(“We have more [than what they desire]”).
It is worthy of note that the twain blessed Verses in question are addressed to those who possess the attributes enumerated in the preceding Verses. The God fearing will be admitted to Paradise as the abode of Divine Grace, peace, and security warding them from whatever sounds unpleasant to them. Paradise shall be everlasting abode of the God fearing therein they shall be safe from any peril.
“There, they will have all that they desire,”
since they represent Divine Attributes including Creativity, namely the people of Paradise represent Divine Creativity and they will have whatever they desire.
“And [for them] We have more [than what they desire]”
may reflect that there will be in store for those doing righteous good deeds what is neither seen, nor heard, nor occurred to anyone.
وَكَمْ أهْلَكْنَا قَبْلَهُم مِّن قَرْنٍ هُمْ أشَدُّ مِنْهُم بَطْشًا فَنَقَّبُوا فِي الْبِلَآدِ هَلْ مِن مَّحِيصٍ
إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَذِكْرَی لِمَن كَانَ لَهُ قَلْبٌ أوْ ألْقَی السَّمْعَ وَهُوَ شَهِيدٌ
36. And how many a generation We have destroyed before them who were stronger in power than them. And [when Our torment came] they found their ways into cities [with their might]! Could they find any means of escape [for themselves]?
37. Indeed, therein [historical developments and destruction of the disobedient] is truly a reminder for him who has an [awakened] heart or gives ear [to the words of Truth] while he is heedful.
The Arabic word qarn denotes approximation of two things. It is also applied to generation or people living in the same era. The word connotes a span of time (thirty or one hundred years). Batsh designates ‘seize by power’ and at times ‘fight, conflict.’
The verbal form naqqabu derives from n-q-b ‘make a hole or breach.’ The cognate word manqabat is applied to virtues and merits that affect people’s hearts. The contextual meaning of the blessed Verse 36 is that some of the former peoples penetrated into the realms of other people and conquered them. The Arabic word qalb does not designate the bodily organ, but human perception.
Imam Kadim (as) is quoted as saying:
(qalb) designates intellect (‘aql).”14
We find a like Verse in 67:10;
“And they will say: ‘Had we but listened or used our intellect, we would not have been among the dwellers of the blazing Fire!”
The blessed Verse juxtaposes intellection with hearing and the blessed Verse in question heart is juxtaposed with hearing. Thus, the word ‘heart’ connotes ‘intellect.’ The expression alqa al-sam‘ designates lending one’s ear so as to learn; in other words, it refers to the ear of the soul rather than the organ of hearing.
The Arabic word shahid is employed in the sense of witness and present, namely one who attends some session and listens attentively to words rather than one who is physically present somewhere but is mentally absent.
It is worthy of note that the blessed Verses in question treat of the states of disbelievers and the God fearing and their arrival on the Resurrection scene following the blowing of the Trumpet for warning those who denied the Divine Origin of existence and Resurrection and reminding them of those who suffered some many afflictions owing to denying the Prophets despite their physical strength and power wielding sway in the lands like the peoples of ‘Ad and Thamud who suffered torments and became desperate.
Such warnings may give a lesson to disbelievers. But if they do not fear the torments in the Hereafter springing from their vicious deeds, they may at least be afraid of the recompense of their vices in this world and thereby let go of their false pride and obstinacy.
The blessed Verse 37 is saying that such words are reminders to those whose hearts are pure or those who listen to the wondrous words of Truth.
وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأرْضَ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا فِي سِتَّةِ أيَّامٍ وَمَا مَسَّنَا مِن لُّغُوبٍ
38. And verily We created the heavens and the earth and all between them in six days and nothing of pain or fatigue touched Us.
There are secrets and acts of wisdom in the creation of creatures in time, but neither frailty nor fatigue may penetrate Divine Omnipotence. If God Almighty wills, He may create all things in one single moment.
Thus, the blessed Verse in question says:
“And verily We created the heavens and the earth and all between them in six days and nothing of pain or fatigue touched Us.”
The Arabic word lughub designates fatigue and weariness. It goes without saying that a being with limited power and strength will be encompassed with fatigue and weariness if it exerts itself beyond its limit, but such thing is not applicable to the Being whose Omnipotence is infinite.
Therefore, the Being Who is Able to create the enormous heavens and the earth with so many planets and galaxies is Able to give life anew to man following his death.
A number of Qur’anic exegets make mention of an occasion of Revelation for the blessed Verse in question saying that Jews imagined that God Almighty created the heavens and the earth in six days and rested on Saturday and put one leg on the other as a consequence of which they regard such posture solely belongs to God Almighty and human beings are not supposed to assume such posture. Thus, the blessed Verse in question was revealed and put an end to such hilarious superstitions.15
However, such occasion of Revelation is not inconsistent with the question of Resurrection treated herein.
It also serves as an argument substantiating Unity, Omniscience, and Omnipotence of God Almighty Who created the heavens and the earth with so many wonders and billions of living creatures and wondrous secrets and orders. Reflection upon one instance of creation may lead us toward the Omnipotent Creator Whose Omnipotence has set this enormous wheel to motion and has shed the light of life everywhere.
The motif of the creation of the heavens and the earth in ‘six days’ is repeatedly mentioned in Qur’anic Verses. The Arabic word yawm, as mentioned above, denotes ‘day’ but it connotes ‘era’ in many an instance rather than the twenty four hour span of time.
For instance, it is said:
“One day [once] people lived under the auspices of the Noble Prophet of Islam (S) and another day, the tyrannous Umayyads and ‘Abbasids wielded sway.”
It goes without saying that ‘day’ in such expressions connotes span of time be it one year, one hundred, thousands, or millions of years. For instance, it is said the globe was set ablaze one day and it became cold the other day, ready to accommodate life. All these expressions make a reference to spans of time.
Therefore, the blessed Verse in question reflects that God Almighty created the heavens, the earth, and all creatures in six spans of time. Thus, there remains no room for the question as per which there were no days and nights prior to the creation of the sun and the earth so that Creator of the world could be Able to create it in six days.
فَاصْبِرْ عَلَی مَا يَقُولُونَ وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ قَبْلَ طُلُوعِ الشَّمْسِ وَقَبْلَ الْغُرُوبِ
وَمِنَ اللَّيْلِ فَسَبِّحْهُ وَأدْبَارَ السُّجُودِ
39. Therefore, bear with patience [against] all that they say and glorify the praises of your Lord before the rising of the sun and before [its] setting.
40. And during a part of the night [also] glorify His praises and [do likewise] after the prostrations [of prayers].
The times of prayer in the Islamic doctrine are based on natural phenomena like the moon and the sun visible to all people;
(“before the rising of the sun and before [its] setting”).
In these blessed Verses, God Almighty addresses his Noble Messenger (S) and commands him to be patient against the unfounded words of disbelievers and occupy himself with praising and glorifying his Lord before sun rise whose perfect instance includes the morning prayer and its supererogatory prayers in which God Almighty is praised and glorified.
“before sun set”
may connote evening or noon and evening prayers or both of them.
The blessed Verse 40 opens thus:
“And during a part of the night” (wa min al-layl)
in which the disjunctive preposition min connotes
‘a part of the night’
spent in praising and glorification of God Almighty. The phrase ‘during a part of the night’ may indicate early and late evening prayers.
‘after the prostrations’ (adbar al-sujud)
designates praising and glorifying God Almighty following prostrations.
It is narrated from Imam ‘Ali (as) that:
‘after the prostrations’
refers to the two units of prayer established after sun set as adbar al-nujum designates two units of supererogatory prayers.16 The preceding blessed Verses seemingly make a reference to the five daily prayers; since the main intention behind establishing prayers is to praise and glorify God Almighty, all prayers are referred to as glorification.
وَاسْتَمِعْ يَوْمَ يُنَادِ الْمُنَادِ مِن مَّكَانٍ قَرِيبٍ
يَوْمَ يَسْمَعُونَ الصَّيْحَةَ بِالْحَقِّ ذَلِكَ يَوْمُ الْخُرُوجِ
41. And listen on the Day when the Caller will call from a near place.
42. The Day when they will hear the shout in truth [from the Trumpet to be blown by Israfil]: that will be the Day of coming out [of people from the graves].
The blessed Verse 11 treated of the principle of the dead coming out of the graves and the blessed Verses in question deal with the time of coming out.
‘a near place’
makes a reference to the point that the vibrations of the sound of the Call shall travel through the air in such manner that it will be as if everyone may hear it likewise from a near place and it shall be on that Day that all the resurrected people shall hear the voice of the Caller from a near place.
does not designate the first shout marking the end of this world, but it denotes the second shout through which the dead shall raise from the graves.
The blessed Verse 41 is saying:
“O Muhammad (S)! Be patient and persevere in obedience to the Commands of God Almighty until the time when you hear the Caller from a near place; in other words the Call shall be heard before long from a place near unto you."
The Caller shall be Israfil calling from a rock in Jerusalem saying: ‘O decayed bones, disintegrated joints, decomposed flesh, and scattered hairs! God Almighty commands you to integrate for the Day of Recompense.’”
The blessed Verse 42 is saying that on that Day when the shout shall be heard in truth, it shall be the Day of coming out from the graves and from the dust of the earth. The latter Verse provides further exposition for the former.
إِنَّا نَحْنُ نُحْيِي وَنُمِيتُ وَإِلَيْنَا الْمَصِيرُ
يَوْمَ تَشَقَّقُ الْأرْضُ عَنْهُمْ سِرَاعًا ذَلِكَ حَشْرٌ عَلَيْنَا يَسِيرٌ
43. Indeed, We it is Who give life and cause death; and to Us is the final return [of all].
44. On the Day when the earth shall be cleft asunder from them [they will come out] hastening forth. That will be a gathering [of all mankind], facile for Us.
God Almighty is the only being Able to give life and cause death. He shall cleave the earth asunder for mankind to come out of the graves. He shall put together the scattered bodies.
The blessed Verse 43 is saying that God Almighty gives life to the dead sperm inside the womb and causes it to grow and leaves it live for a certain span of time, but when it reaches its end, there shall be no delay in causing it to die.
In the same manner that life was given to man, He will cause him to die and He is Omnipotent to make his final return unto Him; in other words, He is Able to give a new life to man on the Day of Resurrection.
The blessed Verse 44 provides further details by saying that their return unto God Almighty shall occur on the Day when the earth shall cleave asunder from them and they shall be given a new life and shall hasten to leave their graves;
(“On the Day when the earth shall be cleft asunder from them [they will come out] hastening forth”).
Thus the blessed Verse closes:
“That will be a gathering [of all mankind], facile for Us.”
The Arabic word hashr designates ‘gathering from all sides.’ It goes without saying that it shall be facile for the Creator of the heavens, the earth, and what exists between the twain to resurrect the dead. Difficulty and facility are basically applicable to beings with limited power, but the Being Whose Power is infinite may easily do anything.
It is worthy of note that according to a number of traditions:
“The first men who leave the graves and enter the scene of Resurrection are the Noble Prophet of Islam (S) accompanied by Imam ‘Ali (as).”17
نَحْنُ أعْلَمُ بِمَا يَقُولُونَ وَمَا أنتَ عَلَيْهِم بِجَبَّارٍ فَذَكِّرْ بِالْقُرْآنِ مَن يَخَافُ وَعِيدِ
45. We know best what they [disbelievers] say. And you are not the one to force them [to believe]. But warn by the Qur’an him who fears My Warning.
The Arabic word jabbar designates both “All-Powerful” as one of the Most Beauteous Names of God Almighty and “tyrannous” which is a vicious quality. It is worthy of note that the Chapter opens with taking an oath to the Holy Qur’an and closes with reminding people to attend to reading the Holy Qur’an and act upon the Injunctions mentioned therein.
The blessed Verse in question, addressed to the Noble Prophet of Islam (S), is saying that God Almighty is All-Aware of disbelievers’ false accusations as to the Noble Prophet’s (S) sorcery and madness and their denial of Resurrection and false attributes to Godhead.
Nonetheless, the Noble Prophet (S) is enjoined to fulfill his duties of Prophethood as to preach the Qur’anic Verses, warn disbelievers against torments in this world and the Hereafter, and guide people to the Straight Path. It is said unto the Noble Prophet of Islam (S) that he is unable to force them to believe and acknowledge Divine Unity.
It is mentioned elsewhere in the Holy Qur’an18:
“You are only a warner for those who fear it [Resurrection and Divine Wrath].”
Finally, a number of traditions will be quoted on the Gloriousness of the Holy Qur’an.
It is narrated from Imam Baqir (as):
“Verily, God Almighty has included in His Book what is required by the Muslim community and has made expositions regarding the same for His Messenger (S); He has apportioned measures for everything and has set the Holy Qur’an as the Guide for the same.”19
Imam Hasan ibn ‘Ali (as) is quoted as saying:
“Illuminating lights [of Guidance] and the curing physics of hearts are to be found in the Holy Qur’an.”20
It is narrated from the Noble Prophet (S):
“I leave two things with you: the Qur’an and my family, so long as you grasp them, you shall not go astray.”21
According to a Prophetic tradition:
“The superiority of the Qur’an over all words is like that of God over creatures.”22
The Noble Prophet of Islam (S) is quoted as saying:
“It is incumbent upon you to remember the Qur’an, since the Qur’an is a cure, a useful physic, the guard of one who grasps it, and the deliverer of one who follows it.”23
It is narrated from Imam Sadiq (as):
“Verily, the Holy Qur’an is a hinderer and a commander, it commands man to [find one’s path toward] Paradise and hinders man from [entering] Hell.”24
It is narrated from the Noble Prophet (S):
“Indeed, I leave amongst you the Book of Allah and it is the fast grip of Allah; whoever follows it will be guided and whoever turns away from it will go astray.”25
Imam Sadiq (S) said:
“Verily, Allah taught His Messenger (S) the meaning and interpretation of the Glorious Qur’an and the Noble Prophet (S) taught the same to the Commander of the Faithful, Imam ‘Ali (as).
O Lord! Rank us amongst the followers of the Holy Qur’an, the Noble Prophet (S) and the Infallible Imams (as). Amen, O Lord of the worlds!
- 1. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 5, p. 323.
- 2. Tafsir al-Mizan.
- 3. 25:28
- 4. 34:31
- 5. 37:29
- 6. 14:21
- 7. 14:21
- 8. 38:82
- 9. 17:63
- 10. 38:85
- 11. 26:89
- 12. 50:33
- 13. 2:10
- 14. Tafsir Nur al-Thiqalayn; Usul Kafi, vol. 1, p. 16.
- 15. Tafsir Durr al-Manthur, vol. 6, p. 110.
- 16. Manhaj; Tafsir Maraghi; Masa’il, vol. 4, p. 73.
- 17. Kitab al-Khisal; Nur al-Thiqalayn, vol. 5, p. 119.
- 18. 79:45
- 19. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 92, p. 84.
- 20. Jami‘ al-Akhbar wa al-Àthar, vol. 1, p. 164.
- 21. Ibid, Kitab al-Qur’an, vol.1, p. 94.
- 22. Ibid, p. 182.
- 23. Ibid, p. 432.
- 24. Mir’at al-‘Uqul, vol. 12, p. 481; Jami‘ al-Ahadith, vol. 1, p. 107.
- 25. Kanz al-‘Ummal, vol. 1, p. 185.