Word by Word
Mocked were (many) messenger before thee; But their scoffers were hemmed in by the thing that they mocked.
And verily messengers before you were derided - herein is a statement to comfort the Prophet may peace and salutation be upon him - but those who mocked them were encircled by, it was sent down [against them], that which they used to deride, namely, chastisement - likewise it shall befall those who have derided you.
The Idolators seek to hasten on the Punishment
Allah also tells us how the idolators seek to hasten punishment upon themselves, out of denial, rejection, disbelief, stubbornness and a belief that it will never happen.
وَيَقُولُونَ مَتَى هَذَا الۡوَعۡدُ إِن كُنتُمۡ صَادِقِينَ
And they say:When will this promise (come to pass), if you are truthful.
And Allah says
لَوۡ يَعۡلَمُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا حِينَ لَا يَكُفُّونَ عَن وُجُوهِهِمُ النَّارَ وَلَا عَن ظُهُورِهِمۡ
If only those who disbelieved knew (the time) when they will not be able to ward off the Fire from their faces, nor from their backs,
meaning, if only they knew for certain that it will inevitably come to pass, they would not seek to hasten it. If only they knew how the torment will overwhelm them from above them and from beneath their feet.
لَهُمۡ مِّن فَوۡقِهِمۡ ظُلَلٌ مِّنَ النَّارِ وَمِن تَحۡتِهِمۡ ظُلَلٌ
They shall have coverings of Fire, above them and coverings (of Fire) beneath them. (39:16)
لَهُم مِّن جَهَنَّمَ مِهَادٌ وَمِن فَوۡقِهِمۡ غَوَاشٍ
Theirs will be a bed of Hell (Fire), and over them coverings (of Hellfire). (7:41)
And in this Ayah Allah says:
حِينَ لَا يَكُفُّونَ عَن وُجُوهِهِمُ النَّارَ وَلَا عَن ظُهُورِهِمۡ
when they will not be able to ward off the Fire from their faces, nor from their backs,
And Allah says:
سَرَابِيلُهُم مِّن قَطِرَانٍ وَتَغۡشَى وُجُوهَهُمۡ النَّارُ
Their garments will be of tar, and fire will cover their faces. (14:50)
The torment will surround them on all sides,
وَلَا هُمۡ يُنصَرُونَ
and they will not be helped.
means, and they will have no helper.
This is like the Ayah:
وَمَا لَهُم مِّنَ اللَّهِ مِن وَاقٍ
And they have no guardian against Allah. (13:34)
بَلۡ تَأۡتِيهِم بَغۡتَةً
Nay, it will come upon them all of a sudden,
means, the Fire will come upon them suddenly, i.e., it will take them by surprise.
and will perplex them,
means, it will scare them, and they will succumb to it in confusion, not knowing what they are doing.
فَلَ يَسۡتَطِيعُونَ رَدَّهَا
and they will have no power to avert it,
means, they will have no means of doing so.
وَلَا هُمۡ يُنظَرُونَ
nor will they get respite.
means, it will not be delayed for them even for an instant.
The Lessons to be learned from Those Who mocked the Messengers in the Past
Allah says consoling His Messenger for the pain and insult caused by the mockery and disbelief of the idolators,
وَلَقَدِ اسۡتُهۡزِيَ بِرُسُلٍ مِّن قَبۡلِكَ فَحَاقَ بِالَّذِينَ سَخِرُوا مِنۡهُم مَّا كَانُوا بِهِ يَسۡتَهۡزِوُون
Indeed (many) Messengers were mocked before you, but the scoffers were surrounded by what they used to mock.
meaning, the punishment which they thought would never come to pass.
This is like the Ayah:
وَلَقَدۡ كُذِّبَتۡ رُسُلٌ مِّن قَبۡلِكَ فَصَبَرُواۡ عَلَى مَا كُذِّبُواۡ وَأُوذُواۡ حَتَّى أَتَـهُمۡ نَصۡرُنَا وَلَا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَـتِ اللَّهِ وَلَقدۡ جَأءَكَ مِن نَّبَإِ الۡمُرۡسَلِينَ
Verily, Messengers were denied before you, but with patience they bore the denial, and they were hurt; till Our help reached them, and none can alter the Words of Allah. Surely, there has reached you the information (news) about the Messengers (before you). (6:34)
Then Allah mentions His favor for His creatures; He protects them by night and by day, taking care of them and watching over them with His Eye that never sleeps.
قُلۡ مَن يَكۡلَوُكُم بِاللَّيۡلِ وَالنَّهَارِ مِنَ الرَّحۡمَنِ
Say:Who can guard and protect you in the night or in the day from the Most Gracious!
means, other than the Most Gracious Himself.
بَلۡ هُمۡ عَن ذِكۡرِ رَبِّهِم مُّعۡرِضُونَ
Nay, but they turn away from the remembrance of their Lord.
means, they do not recognize the blessings and favor of Allah towards them; they turn away from His signs and blessings.
أَمۡ لَهُمۡ الِهَةٌ تَمۡنَعُهُم مِّن دُونِنَا
Or have they gods who can guard them from Us!
This is a rhetorical question aimed at denouncing and rebuking.
The meaning is, do they have any gods who can protect them and take care of them other than Us. It is not as they imagine or as they claim.
لَاا يَسۡتَطِيعُونَ نَصۡرَ أَنفُسِهِمۡ
They have no power to help themselves,
these gods on whom they rely instead of Allah cannot even help themselves.
وَلَا هُم مِّنَّا يُصۡحَبُونَ
nor can they be protected from Us.
Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn Abbas,
Nor can they be guarded from Us.
How the Idolators are deceived by their long and luxurious Lives in this World, and the Explanation of the Truth
بَلۡ مَتَّعۡنَا هَوُلَاء وَابَاءهُمۡ حَتَّى طَالَ عَلَيۡهِمُ الۡعُمُرُ
Nay, We gave the luxuries of this life to these men and their fathers until the period grew long for them.
Allah explains that they have been deceived and misled by the luxuries that they enjoy in this world and the long life that they have been given, so they believe that they are following something good.
Then Allah warns them:
أَفَلَ يَرَوۡنَ أَنَّا نَأۡتِي الاَۡرۡضَ نَنقُصُهَا مِنۡ أَطۡرَافِهَا
See they not that We gradually reduce the land (in their control) from its outlying borders!
This is like the Ayah:
وَلَقَدۡ أَهۡلَكۡنَا مَا حَوۡلَكُمۡ مِّنَ الۡقُرَى وَصَرَّفۡنَا الاٌّيَـتِ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَرۡجِعُونَ
And indeed We have destroyed towns round about you, and We have shown the Ayat in various ways that they might return. (46:27)
Al-Hasan Al-Basri said:
This means the victory of Islam over disbelief.
The meaning is:Do they not learn a lesson from the fact that Allah supported those (believers) against their enemies, He destroyed the disbelieving nations and the evil-doing townships, and He saved His believing servants.
So Allah says:
Is it then they who will overcome!
meaning, on the contrary, they are the ones who will be overcome, who will be defeated, humiliated and brought low.
قُلۡ إِنَّمَا أُنذِرُكُم بِالۡوَحۡيِ
Say:I warn you only by the revelation.
meaning, `I only convey to you the warning of Allah's punishment and vengeance, and this is no more than that which Allah reveals to me.' But this is of no benefit to the one whom Allah has made blind and has put a seal over his hearing and his heart.
وَلَا يَسۡمَعُ الصُّمُّ الدُّعَاء إِذَا مَا يُنذَرُونَ
But the deaf will not hear the call, (even) when they are warned.
وَلَيِن مَّسَّتۡهُمۡ نَفۡحَةٌ مِّنۡ عَذَابِ رَبِّكَ لَيَقُولُنَّ يَا وَيۡلَنَا إِنَّا كُنَّا ظَالِمِينَ
And if a breath of the torment of your Lord touches them, they will surely, cry:Woe unto us! Indeed we have been wrongdoers!
If these disbelievers were affected by the slightest touch of Allah's punishment, they would confess their sins and admit that they had wronged themselves in this world
وَنَضَعُ الۡمَوَازِينَ الۡقِسۡطَ لِيَوۡمِ الۡقِيَامَةِ فَلَ تُظۡلَمُ نَفۡسٌ شَيۡيًا
And We shall set up Balances of justice on the Day of Resurrection, then none will be dealt with unjustly in anything.
meaning, We shall set up the Balances of justice on the Day of Resurrection.
The majority of scholars state that it is one Balance, and the plural form is used here to reflect the large number of deeds which will be weighed therein.
فَلَ تُظۡلَمُ نَفۡسٌ شَيۡيًا
وَإِن كَانَ مِثۡقَالَ حَبَّةٍ مِّنۡ خَرۡدَلٍ أَتَيۡنَا بِهَا وَكَفَى بِنَا حَاسِبِينَ
then none will be dealt with unjustly in anything. And if there be the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it. And sufficient are We to take account.
This is like the Ayat:
وَلَا يَظۡلِمُ رَبُّكَ أَحَدًا
and your Lord treats no one with injustice. (18:49)
إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَظۡلِمُ مِثۡقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ وَإِن تَكُ حَسَنَةً يُضَـعِفۡهَا وَيُوۡتِ مِن لَّدُنۡهُ أَجۡراً عَظِيماً
Surely, Allah wrongs not even of the weight of speck of dust, but if there is any good, He doubles it, and gives from Him a great reward. (4:40)
يبُنَىَّ إِنَّهَأ إِن تَكُ مِثۡقَالَ حَبَّةٍ مِّنۡ خَرۡدَلٍ فَتَكُنۡ فِى صَخۡرَةٍ أَوۡ فِى السَّمَـوَتِ أَوۡ فِى الاٌّرۡضِ يَأۡتِ بِهَا اللَّهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَطِيفٌ خَبِيرٌ
O my son! If it be equal to the weight of a grain of mustard seed, and though it be in a rock, or in the heavens or in the earth, Allah will bring it forth. Verily, Allah is Subtle, Well-Aware. (31:16)
In the Two Sahihs it was recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said:
كَلِمَتَانِ خَفِيفَتَانِ عَلَى اللِّسَانِ ثَقِيلَتَانِ فِي الۡمِيزَانِ حَبِيبَتَانِ إِلَى الرَّحۡمَنِ
سُبۡحَانَ اللهِ وَبِحَمۡدِهِ سُبۡحَانَ اللهِ الۡعَظِيم
Two words which are light on the tongue, heavy in the Balance and beloved to Ar-Rahman:
Subhan Allahi wa bi hamdihi, Subhan Allahil `Azim (Glory and praise be to Allah, Glory be to Allah the Almighty).
Imam Ahmad also recorded that A'ishah said that;
one of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah sat down before him and said, O Messenger of Allah, I have two slaves who lie to me, betray me and disobey me, and I hit them and insult them. How do I stand with regard to them?
The Messenger of Allah said:
يُحۡسَبُ مَا خَانُوكَ وَعَصَوۡكَ وَكَذَّبُوكَ وَعِقَابُكَ إِيَّاهُمۡ فَإِنۡ كَانَ عِقَابُكَ إِيَّاهُمۡ بِقَدۡرِ ذُنُوبِهِمۡ كَانَ كَفَافًا لَا لَكَ وَلَا عَلَيۡكَ وَإِنۡ كَانَ عِقَابُكَ إِيَّاهُمۡ دُونَ ذُنُوبِهِمۡ كَانَ فَضۡلً لَكَ وَإِنۡ كَانَ عِقَابُكَ إِيَّاهُمۡ فَوۡقَ ذُنُوبِهِمۡ اقۡتُصَّ لَهُمۡ مِنۡكَ الۡفَضۡلُ الَّذِي بَقِيَ قَبۡلَك
The extent to which they betrayed you, disobeyed you and lied to you will be measured against the punishment you meted out to them. If your punishment was commensurate with their misconduct, then you will be equal and you will not have anything counted for you or against you.
If your punishment of them was less than that what they deserved for their misconduct, then this will count in your favor. If your punishment of them was more than what they deserved for their misconduct, then Allah will take what is due to them from you.
Then the man started to weep before the Messenger of Allah, and the Messenger of Allah asked,
مَالَهُ لَاا يَقۡرَأُ كِتَابَ الله
وَنَضَعُ الۡمَوَازِينَ الۡقِسۡطَ لِيَوۡمِ الۡقِيَامَةِ فَلَ تُظۡلَمُ نَفۡسٌ شَيۡيًا وَإِن كَانَ مِثۡقَالَ حَبَّةٍ مِّنۡ خَرۡدَلٍ أَتَيۡنَا بِهَا وَكَفَى بِنَا حَاسِبِينَ
What is the matter with him Has he not read the words of Allah,
And We shall set up Balances of justice on the Day of Resurrection, then none will be dealt with unjustly in anything. And if there be the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it. And sufficient are We to take account.
The man said, O Messenger of Allah, I think there is nothing better than keeping away from these people -- meaning his slaves -- I call upon you to bear witness that they are all free.
The Revelation of the Tawrah and the Qur'an
We have already noted that Allah often mentions Musa and Muhammad together -- may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon them both -- and He often mentions their Books together as well.
وَلَقَدۡ اتَيۡنَا مُوسَى وَهَارُونَ الۡفُرۡقَانَ
And indeed We granted to Musa and Harun the criterion.
This means the Scripture.
Abu Salih said:
The Tawrah, what it permits and it forbids, and how Allah differentiated between truth and falsehood.
In conclusion, we may say that the heavenly Books included the distinction between truth and falsehood, guidance and misguidance, transgression and the right way, lawful and unlawful, and that which will fill the heart with light, guidance, fear of Allah and repentance.
So Allah says:
وَضِيَاء وَذِكۡرًا لِّلۡمُتَّقِينَ
the criterion, and a shining light and a Reminder for those who have Taqwa.
meaning, a reminder and exhortation for them.
Then He describes them as
الَّذِينَ يَخۡشَوۡنَ رَبَّهُم بِالۡغَيۡبِ
Those who fear their Lord in the unseen.
This is like the Ayah:
مَّنۡ خَشِىَ الرَّحۡمَـنَ بِالۡغَيۡبِ وَجَأءَ بِقَلۡبٍ مُّنِيبٍ
Who feared the Most Gracious in the unseen and came with a repenting heart. (50:33)
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَخۡشَوۡنَ رَبَّهُم بِالۡغَيۡبِ لَهُم مَّغۡفِرَةٌ وَأَجۡرٌ كَبِيرٌ
Verily, those who fear their Lord unseen, theirs will be forgiveness and a great reward. (67:12)
وَهُم مِّنَ السَّاعَةِ مُشۡفِقُونَ
and they are afraid of the Hour.
means, they fear it.
Then Allah says
وَهَذَا ذِكۡرٌ مُّبَارَكٌ أَنزَلۡنَاهُ
And this is a blessed Reminder which We have sent down;
means, the Magnificent Qur'an, which falsehood cannot approach, from before it or behind it, revealed by the All-Wise, Worthy of all praise.
أَفَأَنتُمۡ لَهُ مُنكِرُونَ
will you then deny it!
means, will you deny it when it is the utmost in clarity and truth.
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