Word by Word
Except for Mercy from thy Lord: for his bounty is to thee (indeed) great.
[it is] only - but We have let it remain - as a mercy from your Lord. Truly His favour to you is ever great, tremendous, for He has revealed to you and granted you the praiseworthy station as well as other [kinds of] merit.
"The Ruh (spirit)
Al-Bukhari recorded in his Tafsir of this Ayah that Abdullah bin Mas`ud said,
""While I was walking with the Prophet on a farm, and he was resting on a palm-leaf stalk, some Jews passed by. Some of them said to the others, `Ask him about the Ruh.'
Some of them said, `What urges you to ask him about that?'
Others said, `Do not ask him, lest he gives you a reply which you do not like.'
But they said, `Ask him.' So they asked him about the Ruh.
The Prophet kept quiet and did not give them an answer, and I knew that he was receiving revelation, so I stayed where I was. When the revelation was complete, the Prophet said:
وَيَسۡأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الرُّوحِ قُلِ الرُّوحُ مِنۡ أَمۡرِ رَبِّي
And they ask you concerning the Ruh (the spirit).
Say:""The Ruh (the spirit) is one of the things, the knowledge of which is only with my Lord...""
This context would seem to imply that this Ayah was revealed in Al-Madinah, and that it was revealed when the Jews asked him this question in Al-Madinah, although the entire Surah was revealed in Makkah.
This may be answered with the suggestion that this Ayah may have been revealed to him in Al-Madinah a second time, after having previously been revealed in Makkah, or that he was divinely inspired to respond to their question with a previously-revealed Ayah, namely the Ayah in question.
Ibn Jarir recorded that Ikrimah said,
""The People of the Book asked the Messenger of Allah about the Ruh, and Allah revealed:
وَيَسۡأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الرُّوحِ
And they ask you concerning the Ruh...
They said, `You claim that we have only a little knowledge, but we have been given the Tawrah, which is the Hikmah,
وَمَن يُوۡتَ الۡحِكۡمَةَ فَقَدۡ أُوتِىَ خَيۡرًا كَثِيرًا
and he, to whom Hikmah is granted, is indeed granted abundant good.' (2:269)
Then the Ayah:
وَلَوۡ أَنَّمَا فِى الاٌّرۡضِ مِن شَجَرَةٍ أَقۡلَمٌ وَالۡبَحۡرُ يَمُدُّهُ مِن بَعۡدِهِ سَبۡعَةُ أَبۡحُرٍ
And if all the trees on the earth were pens and the sea (were ink wherewith to write), with seven seas behind it to add to its (supply), (31:27) was revealed.
He said, ""Whatever knowledge you have been given, if Allah saves you from the Fire thereby, then it is great and good, but in comparison to the knowledge of Allah, it is very little.""
وَيَسۡأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الرُّوحِ
And they ask you concerning the Ruh.
Al-Awfi reported that Ibn Abbas said,
""This was when the Jews said to the Prophet, `Tell us about the Ruh and how the Ruh will be punished that is in the body - for the Ruh is something about which only Allah knows, and there was no revelation concerning it.'
He did not answer them at all, then Jibril came to him and said:
قُلِ الرُّوحُ مِنۡ أَمۡرِ رَبِّي وَمَا أُوتِيتُم مِّن الۡعِلۡمِ إِلاَّ قَلِيلً
Say:""The Ruh (the spirit) is one of the things, the knowledge of which is only with my Lord. And of knowledge, you (mankind) have been given only a little.""
So the Prophet told them about that, and they said, `Who told you this'
جَاءَنِي بِهِ جِبۡرِيلُ مِنۡ عِنۡدِ الله
Jibril brought it to me from Allah.
They said, `By Allah, no one has told you that except our enemy (i.e., Jibril).'
Then Allah revealed:
قُلۡ مَن كَانَ عَدُوًّا لِّجِبۡرِيلَ فَإِنَّهُ نَزَّلَهُ عَلَى قَلۡبِكَ بِإِذۡنِ اللَّهِ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيۡنَ يَدَيۡهِ
Say:""Whoever is an enemy to Jibril (let him die in his fury), for indeed he has brought it (this Qur'an) down to your heart by Allah's permission, confirming what came before it."" (2:97)
The Ruh and the Nafs
As-Suhayili mentioned the dispute among the scholars over whether the Ruh is the same as the Nafs, or something different. He stated that;
it is light and soft, like air, flowing through the body like water through the veins of a tree.
He states that the Ruh which the angel breathes into the fetus is the Nafs, provided that it joins the body and acquires certain qualities because of it, whether good or bad.
So then it is either a soul in (complete) rest and satisfaction (89:27) or inclined to evil (12:53), just as water is the life of the tree, then by mixing with it, it produces something else, so that if it mixes with grapes and the grapes are then squeezed, it becomes juice or wine. Then it is no longer called water, except in a metaphorical sense.
Thus we should understand the connection between Nafs and Ruh;
the Ruh is not called Nafs except when it joins the body and is affected by it.
So in conclusion we may say:the Ruh is the origin and essence, and the Nafs consists of the Ruh and its connection to the body. So they are the same in one sense but not in another.
This is a good explanation, and Allah knows best.
I say:people speak about the essence of the Ruh and its rulings, and many books have been written on this topic. One of the best of those who spoke of this was Al-Hafiz Ibn Mandah in a book which we have heard about the Ruh
If Allah willed, He could take away the Qur'an
وَلَيِن شِيۡنَا لَنَذۡهَبَنَّ بِالَّذِي أَوۡحَيۡنَا إِلَيۡكَ ثُمَّ لَا تَجِدُ لَكَ بِهِ عَلَيۡنَا وَكِيلً
إِلاَّ رَحۡمَةً مِّن رَّبِّكَ إِنَّ فَضۡلَهُ كَانَ عَلَيۡكَ كَبِيرًا
And if We willed, We could surely take away that which We have revealed to you. Then you would find no protector for you against Us in that respect.
Except as a mercy from your Lord. Verily, His grace unto you is ever great.
Allah mentions the blessing and great bounty that He has bestowed upon His servant and Messenger Muhammad by revealing to Him the Noble Qur'an to which falsehood cannot come, from before it or behind it, (it is) sent down by the All-Wise, Worthy of all praise.
Ibn Mas`ud said,
""A red wind will come to the people, meaning at the end of time, from the direction of Syria, and there will be nothing left in a man's Mushaf (copy of the Qur'an) or in his heart, not even one Ayah.""
Then Ibn Mas`ud recited:
وَلَيِن شِيۡنَا لَنَذۡهَبَنَّ بِالَّذِي أَوۡحَيۡنَا إِلَيۡكَ
And if We willed, We could surely take away that which We have revealed to you.
Challenging by the Qur'an
قُل لَّيِنِ اجۡتَمَعَتِ الاِنسُ وَالۡجِنُّ عَلَى أَن يَأۡتُواۡ بِمِثۡلِ هَـذَا الۡقُرۡانِ لَا يَأۡتُونَ بِمِثۡلِهِ وَلَوۡ كَانَ بَعۡضُهُمۡ لِبَعۡضٍ ظَهِيرًا
وَلَقَدۡ صَرَّفۡنَا لِلنَّاسِ فِي هَـذَا الۡقُرۡانِ مِن كُلِّ مَثَلٍ فَأَبَى أَكۡثَرُ النَّاسِ إِلاَّ كُفُورًا
Say:""If mankind and the Jinn were together to produce the like of this Qur'an, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they helped one another.""
And indeed We have fully explained to mankind, in this Qur'an, every kind of similitude, but most of mankind refuse (the truth and accept nothing) but disbelief.
Then Allah points out the great virtue of the Qur'an, and says that even if mankind and the Jinn were all to come together and agree to produce something like that which was revealed to His Messenger, they would never be able to do it, even if they were to cooperate and support and help one another. This is something which is impossible. How could the words of created beings be like the Words of the Creator Who has no equal and peer, for there is none like unto Him
وَلَقَدۡ صَرَّفۡنَا لِلنَّاسِ
And indeed We have fully explained to mankind,
meaning, `We have furnished them with evidence and definitive proof, and We have shown them the truth and explained it in detail, yet despite that most of mankind insist on disbelief, i.e., denying and rejecting the truth."
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