Word by Word
And they say
are sent down
And they say
are sent down
Ye they say: "Why are not Signs sent down to him from his Lord?" Say: "The signs are indeed with Allah: and I am indeed a clear Warner."
And they, namely, the disbelievers of Mecca, say, 'Why has not some sign been sent down to him, [to] Muhammad may peace and salutation be upon him, from his Lord?' (aayatun, 'sign': a variant reading has aayaatun, 'signs') such as the she-camel of Saalih, or the staff of Moses, or the Table of Jesus. Say, to them: 'Signs are only with God, and He sends them down as He will, and I am only a plain warner', making manifest my warning of [the punishment of] the Hellfire for disobedient people.
Arguing with the People of the Book
وَلَا تُجَادِلُوا أَهۡلَ الۡكِتَابِ إِلاَّ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحۡسَنُ
And argue not with the People of the Scripture, except with that which is better --
What is meant here is that anyone who wants to find out about religion from them should argue with them in a manner that is better, as this will be more effective.
ادۡعُ إِلِى سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالۡحِكۡمَةِ وَالۡمَوۡعِظَةِ الۡحَسَنَةِ
Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair preaching... (16:125)
And Allah said to Musa and Harun when he sent them to Fir`awn:
فَقُولَا لَهُ قَوۡلاً لَّيِّناً لَّعَلَّهُ يَتَذَكَّرُ أَوۡ يَخۡشَى
And speak to him mildly, perhaps he may accept admonition or fear. (20:44)
Allah says here:
إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مِنۡهُمۡ
except with such of them as do wrong;
meaning, those who turn away from the truth, turning a blind eye to clear evidence, being stubborn and arrogant. In this case you should progress from debate to combat, fighting them in such a way as to deter them from committing aggression against you.
لَقَدۡ أَرۡسَلۡنَا رُسُلَنَا بِالۡبَيِّنَـتِ وَأَنزَلۡنَا مَعَهُمُ الۡكِتَـبَ وَالۡمِيزَانَ لِيَقُومَ النَّاسُ بِالۡقِسۡطِ وَأَنزۡلۡنَا الۡحَدِيدَ فِيهِ بَأۡسٌ شَدِيدٌ
Indeed We have sent Our Messengers with clear proofs, and revealed with them the Scripture and the Balance that mankind may keep up justice. And We brought forth iron wherein is mighty power... until:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَوِىٌّ عَزِيزٌ
Verily, Allah is All-Strong, All-Mighty. (57:25)
We were commanded to strike with the sword whoever opposes the Book of Allah.
And His saying:
وَقُولُوا امَنَّا بِالَّذِي أُنزِلَ إِلَيۡنَا وَأُنزِلَ إِلَيۡكُمۡ
and say (to them):We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you;
means, `if they tell you something which you do not know to be true or false, say to them:We do not hasten to say it is a lie, because it may be true, and we do not hasten to say it is true because it may be false. We believe in it in general, under the condition that it has been revealed and has not been altered or deliberately misinterpreted.'
وَإِلَهُنَا وَإِلَهُكُمۡ وَاحِدٌ وَنَحۡنُ لَهُ مُسۡلِمُونَ
our God and your God is One, and to Him we have submitted.
Imam Al-Bukhari, may Allah have mercy on him, recorded that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said,
The People of the Book used to read the Tawrah in Hebrew and explain it in Arabic to the Muslims. The Messenger of Allah said:
لَاا تُصَدِّقُوا أَهۡلَ الۡكِتَابِ وَلَاا تُكَذِّبُوهُمۡ وَقُولُوا
امَنَّا بِاللهِ وَمَا أُنۡزِلَ إِلَيۡنَا وَمَا أُنۡزِلَ إِلَيۡكُمۡ وَإِلَهُنَا وَإِلَهُكُمۡ وَاحِدٌ وَنَحۡنُ لَهُ مُسۡلِمُون
Do not believe the People of the Book and do not deny them. Say:
We believe in Allah and what has been revealed to us and what has been revealed to you. Our God and your God is One, and to Him we have submitted.
This Hadith was narrated only by Al-Bukhari.
Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn Abbas said:
How can you ask the People of the Book about anything, when your Book that was revealed to the Messenger of Allah is more recent, you read it pure and uncontaminated, it tells you that the People of the Book altered and changed the Book, that they write the Book with their own hands and then say, `This is from Allah,' to purchase with it a small price.
Should not the knowledge that you have, prevent you from asking them?
No, by Allah, we have never seen any of them asking you about what was sent down to you.
Al-Bukhari recorded that Humayd bin Abdur-Rahman heard Mu`awiyah talking to a group of Quraysh in Al-Madinah. He mentioned Ka`b Al-Ahbar, and said:
He was one of the most truthful of those who narrated from the People of the Book, even though we found that some of what he said might be lies.
I say, this means that some of what he said could be classified linguistically as lies, but he did not intend to lie, because he was narrating from manuscripts which he thought were good, but they contained fabricated material, because they did not have people who were so conscientious in memorizing the Scriptures by heart as the people of this great Ummah
Evidence for the Fact that the Qur'an was revealed from Allah
وَكَذَلِكَ أَنزَلۡنَا إِلَيۡكَ الۡكِتَابَ
And thus We have sent down the Book to you,
Ibn Jarir said:
Allah says, `just as We revealed the Books to the Messengers who came before you, O Muhammad, so We have also revealed this Book to you.'
What he said is good and fits the context.
فَالَّذِينَ اتَيۡنَاهُمُ الۡكِتَابَ
and those whom We gave the Scripture believe therein,
means, those knowledgeable rabbis and scholars among them who learned it and recited it properly, such as Abdullah bin Salam, Salman Al-Farisi and others like them.
وَمِنۡ هَوُلَاء مَن يُوۡمِنُ بِهِ
as also believe therein some of these,
meaning, the Quraysh Arabs and others.
وَمَا يَجۡحَدُ بِأيَاتِنَا إِلاَّ الۡكَافِرُونَ
and none but the disbelievers reject Our Ayat.
No one disbelieves and rejects them except those who conceal the truth with falsehood, and those who try to hide the rays and light of the sun by their covering an eye.
Then Allah says
وَمَا كُنتَ تَتۡلُو مِن قَبۡلِهِ مِن كِتَابٍ وَلَا تَخُطُّهُ بِيَمِينِكَ
Neither did you read any book before it (this Qur'an) nor did you write any book with your right hand.
meaning, `you lived among your people for a long time before you brought this Qur'an. During this time you never read any book or wrote anything. Your people, as well as others all know that you are an unlettered man who does not read or write.'
This is how he was also described in the previous Scriptures, as Allah says:
الَّذِينَ يَتَّبِعُونَ الرَّسُولَ النَّبِىَّ الاُمِّىَّ الَّذِى يَجِدُونَهُ مَكۡتُوبًا عِندَهُمۡ فِى التَّوۡرَاةِ وَالاِنجِيلِ يَأۡمُرُهُم بِالۡمَعۡرُوفِ وَيَنۡهَـهُمۡ عَنِ الۡمُنۡكَرِ
Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet, the unlettered about whom they find written with them in the Tawrah and the Injil, -- he commands them with good; and forbids them from evil. (7:157)
This is how the Messenger of Allah will remain until the Day of Resurrection, unable to write even one line or one letter. He used to have scribes who would write down the revelation for him, or would write letters from him to be sent to different places.
إِذًا لاَّرۡتَابَ الۡمُبۡطِلُونَ
In that case, indeed, the followers of falsehood might have doubted.
means, `if you had been literate, some ignorant people would have doubted you. They would have said that you learned this from Books inherited from the Prophets which came before.'
Indeed, they did say that, even though they knew that he was unlettered and could not read or write.
وَقَالُواۡ أَسَـطِيرُ الاٌّوَّلِينَ اكۡتَتَبَهَا فَهِىَ تُمۡلَى عَلَيۡهِ بُكۡرَةً وَأَصِيلً
And they say:Tales of the ancients, which he has written down, and they are dictated to him morning and afternoon. (25:5)
قُلۡ أَنزَلَهُ الَّذِى يَعۡلَمُ السِّرَّ فِى السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرۡضِ
Say:It has been sent down by Him Who knows the secret of the heavens and the earth. (25:6)
And Allah says here
بَلۡ هُوَ ايَاتٌ بَيِّنَاتٌ فِي صُدُورِ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الۡعِلۡمَ
Nay, but it is (Al-Qur'an), the clear Ayat, (preserved) in the breasts of those who have been given knowledge.
meaning, this Qur'an is clear Ayat which indicate the truth, commands, prohibitions and stories. It is memorized by the scholars for whom Allah makes it easy to memorize, recite and interpret.
This is like the Ayah,
وَلَقَدۡ يَسَّرۡنَا الۡقُرۡءَانَ لِلذِّكۡرِ فَهَلۡ مِن مُّدَّكِرٍ
And We have indeed made the Qur'an easy to understand and remember; then is there any one who will remember! (54:17)
The Messenger of Allah said:
مَا مِنۡ نَبِيَ إِلاَّ وَقَدۡ أُعۡطِيَ مَا امَنَ عَلَى مِثۡلِهِ الۡبَشَرُ وَإِنَّمَا كَانَ الَّذِي أُوتِيتُهُ وَحۡيًا أَوۡحَاهُ اللهُ إِلَيَّ فَأَرۡجُو أَنۡ أَكُونَ أَكۡثَرَهُمۡ تَابِعًا
There has never been any Prophet who was not given that which would make people believe in him. What I have been given is revelation which Allah reveals to me, and I hope that I will have the most followers among them.
According to the Hadith of `Iyad bin Himar, recorded in Sahih Muslim, Allah says:
إِنِّي مُبۡتَلِيكَ وَمُبۡتَلٍ بِكَ وَمُنۡزِلٌ عَلَيۡكَ كِتَابًا لَا يَغۡسِلُهُ الۡمَاءُ تَقۡرَوُهُ نَايِمًا وَيَقۡظَانًا
I am testing you and testing others through you, revealing to you a Book which cannot be washed away by water, which you recite while you are asleep and while you are awake.
This means, if the manuscript where it is written were to be washed with water, there is no need for that manuscript. This is because it is preserved in the hearts and is easy on the tongue (i.e., is easy to recite), and is controlling people's hearts and minds. It is miraculous in its wording and in its meanings.
In the previous Scriptures this Ummah was described as carrying their holy Books in their hearts.
وَمَا يَجۡحَدُ بِأيَاتِنَا إِلاَّ الظَّالِمُونَ
And none but the wrongdoers deny Our Ayat.
Nobody denies it or tries to undermine its status or rejects it except the wrongdoers, i.e., the arrogant transgressors who know the truth but turn away from it, as Allah says:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ حَقَّتۡ عَلَيۡهِمۡ كَلِمَةُ رَبِّكَ لَا يُوۡمِنُونَ
وَلَوۡ جَأءَتۡهُمۡ كُلُّ ءايَةٍ حَتَّى يَرَوُاۡ الۡعَذَابَ الاٌّلِيمَ
Truly, those, against whom the Word (wrath) of your Lord has been justified, will not believe. Even if every sign should come to them, until they see the painful torment. (10:96-97
The Idolators' demand for Signs, and the Response
وَقَالُوا لَوۡلَا أُنزِلَ عَلَيۡهِ ايَاتٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِ
And they say:Why are not signs sent down to him from his Lord!
Allah tells us how the idolators stubbornly demanded signs, meaning that they wanted signs to show them that Muhammad was indeed the Messenger of Allah, just as Salih was given the sign of the she-camel.
Say -- `O Muhammad' --
إِنَّمَا الاۡيَاتُ عِندَ اللَّهِ
The signs are only with Allah,
meaning, `the matter rests with Allah, and if He knew that you would be guided, He would respond to your request, because it is very easy for Him to do that. Yet He knows that you are merely being stubborn and putting me to the test, so He will not respond to you.'
This is like the Ayah,
وَمَا مَنَعَنَأ أَن نُّرۡسِلَ بِالاٌّيَـتِ إِلاَّ أَن كَذَّبَ بِهَا الاٌّوَّلُونَ وَءَاتَيۡنَا ثَمُودَ النَّاقَةَ مُبۡصِرَةً فَظَلَمُواۡ بِهَا
And nothing stops Us from sending the Ayat but that the people of old denied them. And We sent the she-camel to Thamud as a clear sign, but they did her wrong. (17:59)
وَإِنَّمَا أَنَا نَذِيرٌ مُّبِينٌ
and I am only a plain warner.
means, `I have been sent to you only as a warner to bring a clear warning; all I have to do is convey the Message of Allah to you.'
مَن يَهۡدِ اللَّهُ فَهُوَ الۡمُهۡتَدِ وَمَن يُضۡلِلۡ فَلَن تَجِدَ لَهُ وَلِيًّا مُّرۡشِدًا
He whom Allah guides, he is the rightly-guided; but he whom He sends astray, for him you will find no guide to lead him. (18:17)
لَّيۡسَ عَلَيۡكَ هُدَاهُمۡ وَلَـكِنَّ اللَّهَ يَهۡدِى مَن يَشَأءُ
Not upon you is their guidance, but Allah guides whom He wills. (2:272)
Then Allah shows us how ignorant and foolish they were when they demanded a sign to prove to them that what Muhammad had brought to them was true. He brought them a great Book which falsehood cannot reach, neither from before it or behind it, it was greater than all other miracles, for the most eloquent of men could not match it or produce ten Surahs, or even one Surah like it
أَوَلَمۡ يَكۡفِهِمۡ أَنَّا أَنزَلۡنَا عَلَيۡكَ الۡكِتَابَ يُتۡلَى عَلَيۡهِمۡ
Is it not sufficient for them that We have sent down to you the Book which is recited to them!
means, `is it not sufficient as a sign for them that We have sent down to you this great Book which tells them about what happened before their time, what will happen after they are gone, and passes judgement between them. Even though you are an unlettered man who can neither read nor write, and you have not mixed with any of the People of the Book. Yet you brought them news of what was said in the first Scriptures showing what is right in the matters that they dispute over, and bringing clear and obvious truth.'
As Allah says:
أَوَلَمۡيَكُن لَّهُمۡ ءَايَةً أَن يَعۡلَمَهُ عُلَمَاءُ بَنِى إِسۡرَءِيلَ
Is it not a sign to them that the learned scholars of the Children of Israel knew it (to be true). (26:197)
وَقَالُواۡ لَوۡلَا يَأۡتِينَا بِـَايَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّهِ أَوَلَمۡ تَأۡتِهِمۡ بَيِّنَةُ مَا فِى الصُّحُفِ الاٍّولَى
They say:Why does he not bring us a sign from his Lord!
Has there not come to them the proof of that which is in the former Scriptures. (20:133)
Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said,
The Messenger of Allah said:
مَا مِنَ الاۡاَنۡبِيَاءِ مِنۡ نَبِيَ إِلاَّ قَدۡ أُعۡطِيَ مِنَ الاۡايَاتِ مَا مِثۡلُهُ امَنَ عَلَيۡهِ الۡبَشَرُ وَإِنَّمَا كَانَ الَّذِي أُوتِيتُهُ وَحۡيًا أَوۡحَاهُ اللهُ إِلَيَّ فَأَرۡجُو أَنۡ أَكُونَ أَكۡثَرَهُمۡ تَابِعًا يَوۡمَ الۡقِيَامَة
There is no Prophet who was not given some miracles that would make the people believe in him. What I have been given is revelation which Allah reveals to me, and I hope that I will have the greatest number of followers on the Day of Resurrection.
It was also recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.
Indeed Allah has said:
إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَرَحۡمَةً وَذِكۡرَى لِقَوۡمٍ يُوۡمِنُونَ
Verily, herein is mercy and a reminder for a people who believe.
In this Qur'an there is mercy, that is, explanation of the truth and removal of falsehood, and a reminder to the believers of the punishment that is to come to the disbelievers and sinners.
Then Allah says
قُلۡ كَفَى بِاللَّهِ بَيۡنِي وَبَيۡنَكُمۡ شَهِيدًا
Say:Sufficient is Allah for a witness between me and you...
`He knows best the words of denial that you utter, and he knows what I am telling you about Him and that He has sent me. If I were telling lies about Him, He would have executed His vengeance upon me,'
as Allah says elsewhere:
وَلَوۡ تَقَوَّلَ عَلَيۡنَا بَعۡضَ الاٌّقَاوِيلِ
لاأَخَذۡنَا مِنۡهُ بِالۡيَمِينِ
ثُمَّ لَقَطَعۡنَا مِنۡهُ الۡوَتِينَ
فَمَا مِنكُم مِّنۡ أَحَدٍ عَنۡهُ حَـجِزِينَ
And if he had forged a false saying concerning Us, We surely would have seized him by his right hand, and then We certainly would have cut off his aorta, and none of you could have withheld Us from (punishing) him. (69:44-47)
`But I am telling the truth in what I say to you about Him, so He has supported me with clear miracles and definitive evidence.'
يَعۡلَمُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالاَۡرۡضِ
He knows what is in the heavens and the earth.
means, nothing is hidden from Him at all.
وَالَّذِينَ امَنُوا بِالۡبَاطِلِ وَكَفَرُوا بِاللَّهِ أُوۡلَيِكَ هُمُ الۡخَاسِرُونَ
And those who believe in falsehood, and disbelieve in Allah, it is they who are the losers.
means, on the Day of Resurrection, they will be punished for what they did, and will get what they justly deserve for rejecting the truth and following falsehood, for disbelieving in the Messengers of Allah even when there was proof that they were telling the truth, and for worshipping false gods with no evidence.
Allah will punish them for all that, for He is All-Wise and All-Knowing.
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