Word by Word
Then is he who
or (he) who
Then is he who
or (he) who
Is then one who walks headlong, with his face grovelling, better guided,- or one who walks evenly on a Straight Way?
Is he who walks cast down, fallen, on his face more rightly guided, or he who walks upright on a straight path? (the predicate of the second man, 'who', has been omitted, but is indicated by the predicate of the first, namely, ahdaa, 'more rightly guided'; the similitude refers to the believer and the disbeliever and to which of the two is more rightly guided).
No One will help You and No One can grant Sustenance except for Allah
Allah addresses the idolators who worship others besides Him, seeking help and sustenance from them. Allah rebukes them for what they believe, and He informs them that they will not attain that which they hope for.
أَمَّنۡ هَذَا الَّذِي هُوَ جُندٌ لَّكُمۡ يَنصُرُكُم مِّن دُونِ الرَّحۡمَنِ
Who is it besides the Most Gracious that can be an army to you to help?
meaning, there is no protector or helper for you besides Him. This is the reason that Allah says,
إِنِ الۡكَافِرُونَ إِلاَّ فِي غُرُورٍ
The disbelievers are in nothing but delusion.
Then Allah says
أَمَّنۡ هَذَا الَّذِي يَرۡزُقُكُمۡ إِنۡ أَمۡسَكَ رِزۡقَهُ
Who is it that can provide for you if He should withhold His provision?
meaning, who is it that can provide for you if Allah cuts off your sustenance There is no one who gives, withholds, creates, provides and helps other than Allah alone, Who has no partner. This proves that they know this, yet they still worship others besides Him.
Thus, Allah says,
Nay, but they continue,
meaning, they persist in their transgression, lying and misguidance.
فِي عُتُوٍّ وَنُفُورٍ
to be in pride, and flee.
meaning, they continue in obstinance, arrogance and fleeing away from the truth. They do not listen to it nor do they follow it.
The Parable of the Disbeliever and the Believer
Then Allah says,
أَفَمَن يَمۡشِي مُكِبًّا عَلَى وَجۡهِهِ أَهۡدَى أَمَّن يَمۡشِي سَوِيًّا عَلَى صِرَاطٍ مُّسۡتَقِيمٍ
Is he who walks prone on his face, more rightly guided, or he who walks upright on a straight path?
This is a parable which Allah made of the believer and the disbeliever. So the condition of the disbeliever is like one who walks prone on his face. This is like a person walking bent over on his face (with his head down) instead of walking upright. This person does not know where he is going or how. Rather, he is lost, astray and confused. Is this person more guided, or he who walks upright (
أَمَّن يَمۡشِي سَوِيًّا
), meaning, he who stands erect on a straight path (
عَلَى صِرَاطٍ مُّسۡتَقِيمٍ
) meaning, this person who walks upright is on a clear path, and he is straight within himself while his path is straight as well.
This is their likeness in this world, and their likeness will be the same in the Hereafter. So the believer will be gathered (on the Day of Judgement) walking upright upon the straight path and the vast and spacious Paradise will be opened up for him. However, the disbeliever will be gathered walking down on his face to the Hellfire.
احۡشُرُواۡ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُواۡ وَأَزۡوَجَهُمۡ وَمَا كَانُواۡ يَعۡبُدُونَ
مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ فَاهۡدُوهُمۡ إِلَى صِرَطِ الۡجَحِيمِ
Assemble those who did wrong, together with their companions and what they used to worship instead of Allah, and lead them on to the way of flaming Fire. (37:22,23)
Companions here means those like them.
Imam Ahmad recorded from Anas bin Malik that it was said, O Messenger of Allah! How will the people be gathered on their faces So the Prophet replied,
أَلَيۡسَ الَّذِي أَمۡشَاهُمۡ عَلَى أَرۡجُلِهِمۡ قَادِرًا عَلَى أَنۡ يُمۡشِيَهُمۡ عَلَى وُجُوهِهِم
Is not He who made them to walk on their legs able to make them walk on their faces
This Hadith is also recorded in the Two Sahihs.
Allah's Power to create and It being an Evidence of the Final Abode
قُلۡ هُوَ الَّذِي أَنشَأَكُمۡ
Say it is He Who has created you,
meaning, He initiated your creation after you were not even a thing worth mentioning (i.e., nothing).
Then He says,
وَجَعَلَ لَكُمُ السَّمۡعَ وَالاَۡبۡصَارَ وَالاَۡفۡيِدَةَ
and endowed you with hearing and seeing, and hearts.
meaning, intellects and powers of reasoning.
قَلِيلً مَّا تَشۡكُرُونَ
Little thanks you give.
meaning, how little you use these abilities that Allah has blessed you with to obey Him, to act according to His commandments, and avoid His prohibitions
قُلۡ هُوَ الَّذِي ذَرَأَكُمۡ فِي الاَۡرۡضِ
It is He Who has created you on the earth...
meaning, He has spread and distributed you all throughout the various regions and areas of the earth with your differing languages, colors, shapes, appearances and forms.
and to Him shall you be gathered.
meaning, you all will come together after this separation and division. He will gather you all just as He separated you and He will bring you back again just as He originated you.
Then while informing of the disbelievers who reject the final return, and doubt concerning its real occurrence, Allah said;
وَيَقُولُونَ مَتَى هَذَا الۡوَعۡدُ إِن كُنتُمۡ صَادِقِينَ
When will this promise come to pass if you are telling the truth
meaning, `when will this gathering after separation that you are informing us of, occur
قُلۡ إِنَّمَا الۡعِلۡمُ عِندَ اللَّهِ
The knowledge is with Allah only...
meaning, `no one knows the time of the Day of Judgement exactly except Allah, but He has commanded me to inform you that it is real and it will definitely occur, so beware of it.'
وَإِنَّمَا أَنَا نَذِيرٌ مُّبِينٌ
and I am only a plain Warner.
meaning, `I am only obligated to convey, and verily I have performed my duty (of conveying) towards you.'
Then Allah says
فَلَمَّا رَأَوۡهُ زُلۡفَةً سِييَتۡ وُجُوهُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا
But when they will see it approaching, the faces of those who disbelieve will be sad and grievous.
means, when the Day of Judgement begins, and the disbelievers witness it, and they see that the matter has drawn close, because everything that is to occur will occur, even if it takes a long time. So, when what they denied occurs, it will grieve them because they will know what is awaiting them there (in Hell) of the worst evil.
This means that it will surround them and Allah will command what they were not able to reckon or fully comprehend to come to them.
وَلَوۡ أَنَّ لِلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُواۡ مَا فِى الاٌّرۡضِ جَمِيعاً وَمِثۡلَهُ مَعَهُ لَافۡتَدَوۡاۡ بِهِ مِن سُوءِ الۡعَذَابِ يَوۡمَ الۡقِيَـمَةِ وَبَدَا لَهُمۡ مِّنَ اللَّهِ مَا لَمۡ يَكُونُواۡ يَحۡتَسِبُونَ
وَبَدَا لَهُمۡ سَيِّيَاتُ مَا كَـسَبُواۡ وَحَاقَ بِهِم مَّا كَانُواۡ بِهِ يَسۡتَهۡزِءُونَ
and there will become apparent to them from Allah what they had not been reckoning. And the evils of that which they earned will become apparent to them, and that which they used to mock at will encircle them. (39:47,48)
This is why it will be said to them in order to scold and reprimand them,
وَقِيلَ هَذَا الَّذِي كُنتُم بِهِ تَدَّعُونَ
This is what you were calling for! Meaning, that you were seeking to hasten.
The Death of the Believer will not save the Disbeliever, so let Him reflect upon His Deliverance
`O Muhammad to these idolators who are associating partners with Allah and denying His favors,'
أَرَأَيۡتُمۡ إِنۡ أَهۡلَكَنِيَ اللَّهُ وَمَن مَّعِيَ أَوۡ رَحِمَنَا
فَمَن يُجِيرُ الۡكَافِرِينَ مِنۡ عَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ
Tell me! If Allah destroys me, and those with me, or He bestows His mercy on us - who can save the disbelievers from a painful torment?
meaning, `save yourselves, for verily, there is nothing that can rescue you from Allah except repentance, turning to Him for forgiveness and returning to His religion. Your hopes that torment and exemplary punishment will strike us, will not benefit you. Whether Allah punishes us or has mercy on us, there is no escaping from Allah's punishment and painful torment that you will suffer.'
Then Allah says
قُلۡ هُوَ الرَّحۡمَنُ امَنَّا بِهِ وَعَلَيۡهِ تَوَكَّلۡنَا
He is the Most Gracious, in Him we believe, and upon Him we rely.
meaning, `we believe in the Lord of all that exists, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, and upon Him we rely in all of our affairs.'
This is as Allah says,
فَاعۡبُدۡهُ وَتَوَكَّلۡ عَلَيۡهِ
So worship Him and rely upon Him. (11:123)
Thus, Allah continues saying,
فَسَتَعۡلَمُونَ مَنۡ هُوَ فِي ضَلَلٍ مُّبِينٍ
So, you will come to know who it is that is in manifest error.
meaning, `between Us and you, and to whom the final end (ultimate victory) will be for in this life and in the Hereafter.'
Reminding of Allah's Blessing by the springing of Water and the Threat of It being taken away Demonstrating how merciful He is to His creatures,
قُلۡ أَرَأَيۡتُمۡ إِنۡ أَصۡبَحَ مَاوُكُمۡ غَوۡرًا
Tell me! If your water were to sink away...
meaning, if it were to go away, disappearing into the lowest depths of the earth, then it would not be reachable with iron axes nor strong arms.
Gha'ir' (sinking) as used here in the Ayah, is the opposite of springing forth. This is why Allah says,
فَمَن يَأۡتِيكُم بِمَاء مَّعِينٍ
who then can supply you with flowing water?
meaning, springing forth, flowing, running upon the face of the earth.
This means that no one is able to do this except Allah. So, it is merely out of His favor and His grace that He causes water to spring forth for you, and He makes it run to the various regions of the earth in an amount that is suitable for the needs of servants, be it little or abundant. So Allah's is all the praise and thanks.
This is the end of the Tafsir of Surah Al-Mulk and all praise and thanks are due to Allah.
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