Complete Tafseer from Agha Mahdi Pooya regarding Surah Al-Ma’aarij – Ayat 1 (70:1)
Abu Ishaq Tha’labi, in Tafseer al Kabir, while commenting on al Ma’aarij has recorded from two authentic sources the tradition that on the day of Ghadir Khumm the Holy Prophet summoned the people and said: "Ali is the mawla of whom I am mawla" (see commentary of Ma’idah, 5:67). The news quickly spread over all urban and rural areas. When Harith ibn Numan al-Fahri came to know of it he rode his she-camel and came to Madina to see the Holy Prophet. When he reached his destination he made the she-camel sit, alighted from it, approached the Holy Prophet and said:
"You commanded us to testify that there is no god but Allah and that you are the messenger of Allah. We obeyed you. You ordered us to say prayers five times a day and we obeyed. You directed us to pay zakat and we obeyed. You ordered us to observe fasts during Ramadan and we obeyed. Then you commanded us to perform pilgrimage to Kaaba and we obeyed. But you are not satisfied with all this and you raised your cousin by the hand and imposed him upon us as our master by saying: 'Ali is the mawla of whom I am mawla' Is this imposition from you or from Allah?"
The Holy Prophet said:
"By Allah who is the only God, this is from Allah, the mighty, the glorious."
On hearing this Harith turned back and proceeded towards his she-camel saying:
"O Allah, if what Muhammad says is true then fling on us a stone from the sky and make us suffer severe pain and torture."
He had not yet reached his she-camel when a stone came at him and struck him on his head, penetrated into his body and passed out through his anus leaving him dead. It was on this occasion that Allah revealed these verses of al Ma-arij.
This is a literal translation of the tradition recorded by Tha’labi. Many eminent Muslim traditionists have copied this tradition from Tha’labi, e.g., Shablanji in his book Nur al Absar on page 11; it is also mentioned in Sirat al Halabiyah, vol. 2, page 214; and Mustadrak, vol. 2, page 502.
Verse 32 of Anfal refers to the disbelievers who denied the Qur’an, and these verses refer to the hypocrite who refused to accept Ali as his mawla. On both occasions immediate punishment was brought upon them.
Dhil ma-arij means the lord of the ways (or means) of ascent. Allah has given the privilege to angels and men, as man is gifted with the ruh from Allah according to Hijr 15:29, to reach "the nearness" of Allah by developing divine attributes.