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Wednesday, 14 November 2018
 

Surat Al-A’raf/The Heights (The Wall with Elevations) 7- Meccan – Ayats 206-Section Twelve – Verses from 163-181

 

And ask them [O’ Muhammad] about/concerning the town standing close by the Sea. Behold! They transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath (Saturday). For the day of their Sabbath, their fish did come to them, openly holding up their heads, but on the day they had no Sabbath, they came not; thus We did make a trial of them, for they were given to transgression. (163)

وَاسْأَلْهُمْ عَنِ الْقَرْيَةِ الَّتِي كَانَتْ حَاضِرَةَ الْبَحْرِ إِذْ يَعْدُونَ فِي السَّبْتِ إِذْ تَأْتِيهِمْ حِيتَانُهُمْ يَوْمَ سَبْتِهِمْ شُرَّعًا وَيَوْمَ لَا يَسْبِتُونَ لَا تَأْتِيهِمْ كَذَلِكَ نَبْلُوهُمْ بِمَا كَانُوا يَفْسُقُونَ (163)

And when a community among them said:”Why do you preach to people whom God Will destroy, or will be punished with severe tournament?”, (the preachers) said:”To discharge our duty to your Lord, and perchance they may fear Him”. (164)

وَإِذْ قَالَتْ أُمَّةٌ مِنْهُمْ لِمَ تَعِظُونَ قَوْمًا اللَّهُ مُهْلِكُهُمْ أَوْ مُعَذِّبُهُمْ عَذَابًا شَدِيدًا قَالُوا مَعْذِرَةً إِلَى رَبِّكُمْ وَلَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَّقُونَ (164)

So when they forgot/disregarded the warnings that had been given to them, We rescued those who forbade evil; but We took/visited the wrong-doers with a grievous punishment, because they were given to transgression/rebel against God’s commands. (165)

فَلَمَّا نَسُوا مَا ذُكِّرُوا بِهِ أَنْجَيْنَا الَّذِينَ يَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ السُّوءِ وَأَخَذْنَا الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا بِعَذَابٍ بَئِيسٍ بِمَا كَانُوا يَفْسُقُونَ (165)

So when in their insolence they transgressed (all) prohibitions/exceeded the limits of what they were prohibited, We said to them:”Be you Apes/Monkeys, despised and rejected”. (166)

فَلَمَّا عَتَوْا عَنْ مَا نُهُوا عَنْهُ قُلْنَا لَهُمْ كُونُوا قِرَدَةً خَاسِئِينَ (166)

Behold! Your Lord declared that He would certainly keep on sending against them –till the Day of Judgment- those who would afflict them with grievous penalty/humiliating torment. Verily, your Lord is quick in retribution (for the disobedient wicked), and certainly He is Oft-Forgiving, Most-Merciful. (167)   

وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكَ لَيَبْعَثَنَّ عَلَيْهِمْ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ مَنْ يَسُومُهُمْ سُوءَ الْعَذَابِ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَسَرِيعُ الْعِقَابِ وَإِنَّهُ لَغَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ (167)

And We have broken them up into sections/various separate groups on this earth: there are among them some that are righteous, and some that are opposite/ away from that. And We have tried them with both prosperity and adversity; in order that they might turn to Us (to God’s Obedience). (168)

وَقَطَّعْنَاهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ أُمَمًا مِنْهُمُ الصَّالِحُونَ وَمِنْهُمْ دُونَ ذَلِكَ وَبَلَوْنَاهُمْ بِالْحَسَنَاتِ وَالسَّيِّئَاتِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ (168)

Then after them succeeded an (evil) generation, they have inherited the Book/Scriptures; but they chose –for themselves- the vanities of this world, saying (for excuse):”{Everything} will be forgiven for us”, (even so) if a similar vanities came their way, they would –again- seize them. Was not the Covenant of the Book/ Scriptures taken from them; that they would not ascribe anything to God but the truth? And they have studied what is in the Book/Scriptures. Verily, best for the righteous/pious is the Home in the Hereafter. Will you not understand? (169)  

فَخَلَفَ مِنْ بَعْدِهِمْ خَلْفٌ وَرِثُوا الْكِتَابَ يَأْخُذُونَ عَرَضَ هَذَا الْأَدْنَى وَيَقُولُونَ سَيُغْفَرُ لَنَا وَإِنْ يَأْتِهِمْ عَرَضٌ مِثْلُهُ يَأْخُذُوهُ أَلَمْ يُؤْخَذْ عَلَيْهِمْ مِيثَاقُ الْكِتَابِ أَنْ لَا يَقُولُوا عَلَى اللَّهِ إِلَّا الْحَقَّ وَدَرَسُوا مَا فِيهِ وَالدَّارُ الْآَخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ لِلَّذِينَ يَتَّقُونَ أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ (169)

And as to those who hold fast to the Book (i.e. the Qur’an), and establish regular Prayer; certainly We shall never waste the reward of those who do righteous deeds/never suffer the reward of the righteous to perish. (170)

وَالَّذِينَ يُمَسِّكُونَ بِالْكِتَابِ وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ إِنَّا لَا نُضِيعُ أَجْرَ الْمُصْلِحِينَ (170)

And (remember) when We raised (shook) the mountain over them, as if it had been a canopy, and they thought it was going to fall on them; (We said): “Hold firmly to what We have given you (the Taurat), and remember/bring to remembrance that which is therein (act on its commandments), perchance  you may fear God and obey Him”. (171)  

وَإِذْ نَتَقْنَا الْجَبَلَ فَوْقَهُمْ كَأَنَّهُ ظُلَّةٌ وَظَنُّوا أَنَّهُ وَاقِعٌ بِهِمْ خُذُوا مَا آَتَيْنَاكُمْ بِقُوَّةٍ وَاذْكُرُوا مَا فِيهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ (171)

And (remember) when your Lord drew forth from the Children of Adam –from their loins- their descendants, and made them testify concerning themselves [saying]:”Am I not your Lord (who cherishes and sustains you)?”, they said:”Yea/Yes! We do testify!” (This), lest you should say on the Day of Judgment: “Verily, we were never mindful, and have been unaware of this” . (172)

وَإِذْ أَخَذَ رَبُّكَ مِنْ بَنِي آَدَمَ مِنْ ظُهُورِهِمْ ذُرِّيَّتَهُمْ وَأَشْهَدَهُمْ عَلَى أَنْفُسِهِمْ أَلَسْتُ بِرَبِّكُمْ قَالُوا بَلَى شَهِدْنَا أَنْ تَقُولُوا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ إِنَّا كُنَّا عَنْ هَذَا غَافِلِينَ (172)

Or lest you should say:”our fathers before us may have taken false gods, but we are (merely their) descendants after them; will you then destroy us because of the deeds of men who were nugatory and futile?”. (173)

أَوْ تَقُولُوا إِنَّمَا أَشْرَكَ آَبَاؤُنَا مِنْ قَبْلُ وَكُنَّا ذُرِّيَّةً مِنْ بَعْدِهِمْ أَفَتُهْلِكُنَا بِمَا فَعَلَ الْمُبْطِلُونَ (173)

Thus We do explain the Signs in details; perchance they may return (to Us/the Truth). (174)

وَكَذَلِكَ نُفَصِّلُ الْآَيَاتِ وَلَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ (174)

And recite [O’ Muhammad PPBUH] to them the story of the man to whom We sent Our Signs, but he threw away/passed them by: so the Satan followed him up, and he went astray. (175)

وَاتْلُ عَلَيْهِمْ نَبَأَ الَّذِي آَتَيْنَاهُ آَيَاتِنَا فَانْسَلَخَ مِنْهَا فَأَتْبَعَهُ الشَّيْطَانُ فَكَانَ مِنَ الْغَاوِينَ (175)

And if had We willed; We would surely have elevated him with Our Signs, but he inclined/clung to the earth, and followed his own vain desires. His similitude is that the parable of the dog; if attack him, he lolls out his tongue, or if you leave him alone, he (still) lolls out his tongue. That is the similitude of those who reject Our Signs; so relate the story, perchance they may reflect/ give thought. (176)  

وَلَوْ شِئْنَا لَرَفَعْنَاهُ بِهَا وَلَكِنَّهُ أَخْلَدَ إِلَى الْأَرْضِ وَاتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ فَمَثَلُهُ كَمَثَلِ الْكَلْبِ إِنْ تَحْمِلْ عَلَيْهِ يَلْهَثْ أَوْ تَتْرُكْهُ يَلْهَثْ ذَلِكَ مَثَلُ الْقَوْمِ الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِآَيَاتِنَا فَاقْصُصِ الْقَصَصَ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ (176)

Evil –as an example- are the people who rejected Our Signs, and used to wrong their own souls/selves. (177)

سَاءَ مَثَلًا الْقَوْمُ الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِآَيَاتِنَا وَأَنْفُسَهُمْ كَانُوا يَظْلِمُونَ (177)

Whomsoever God guides, he is on the right path (the guided one), and whomsoever He rejects from His guidance, then those are the persons who perish/ the losers. (178)

مَنْ يَهْدِ اللَّهُ فَهُوَ الْمُهْتَدِي وَمَنْ يُضْلِلْ فَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْخَاسِرُونَ (178)

And surely, We have created many of the Jinn and mankind for Hell; they have hearts wherewith they do not understand, and they have eyes wherewith they do not see, and they have ears wherewith they do not hear (the truth). They are like cattle –nay even more astray/misguided; for they are the  heedless ones.(179

وَلَقَدْ ذَرَأْنَا لِجَهَنَّمَ كَثِيرًا مِنَ الْجِنِّ وَالْإِنْسِ لَهُمْ قُلُوبٌ لَا يَفْقَهُونَ بِهَا وَلَهُمْ أَعْيُنٌ لَا يُبْصِرُونَ بِهَا وَلَهُمْ آَذَانٌ لَا يَسْمَعُونَ بِهَا أُولَئِكَ كَالْأَنْعَامِ بَلْ هُمْ أَضَلُّ أُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْغَافِلُونَ (179)

And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to God: so call Him by them, and shun the company of such men who use profanity in His names (utter impious speech against His names). Soon they will be requited for what they used to do. (180)  

وَلِلَّهِ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَى فَادْعُوهُ بِهَا وَذَرُوا الَّذِينَ يُلْحِدُونَ فِي أَسْمَائِهِ سَيُجْزَوْنَ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ (180)

And surely, of those whom We have created are people (communities/nations) who direct/guides others with truth, and dispense justice/establishes therewith. (181)

وَمِمَّنْ خَلَقْنَا أُمَّةٌ يَهْدُونَ بِالْحَقِّ وَبِهِ يَعْدِلُونَ (181)

COMMENTARY:
Mankind has the nature of good created within him; yet God –by His Signs- do keep up constant reminder to men of His holy Names. Those who err scarce realize how gradually they fall into sin. Their respite has a term; the doom must come, and it may be in a sudden. So humbly draw nigh to the Lord, declare His Glory, and rejoice in His service.
(Verse 163)- See Surat Al-Bagara 2 – verse 65. Fishing –like every other activity- was prohibited to Israel on the Sabbath day. As this practice was usually observed, the fish used to come up with a sense of security to their water channels or pools openly on the Sabbath day, but not on their days when fishing was open. This was a great temptation to the law-breakers, which they could not resist. Some of their men of piety protested, but it had not effect. When their transgression –which we may suppose- extended to other commandments, passed beyond bounds, the punishment came. They were despised among their own people, and became like apes, without law and without order or decency.
(Verses 164/165)- There are always people who wonder –no doubt sincerely- what good it is to preach to the wicked. The answer is given to them here: (1) every man who sees evil must speak out against it, it is his duty and responsibility to God: (2) there is always a chance that the warning may have effect and save a precious soul. This passage has a special meaning for the times when our Holy Prophet [PPBUH] was preaching in Mecca, apparently without results. But it applies to all times.
(Verse 166)-  See Surat Al-Bagara 2 – verse 65 and Surat Al-Tauba 9 verse 119 – It is a severe warning to the mankind that they should not disobey what God commands them to do, and keep far away from what He prohibits them.
(Verse 167)-  See Deut. Xi. 28 ‘A curse if you will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day’, also Deut. Xxviii, 49 ‘ The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far away, you will not understand their language. They will come quickly, like an eagle coming down from the sky.’ And many other passages.
(Verse 168)- The dispersal of the Jews is a great fact in the world’s history. Nor has their persecution ended yet, nor is it likely to end as far as we can foresee.
   
(Verses 169-170)- A/ Merely inheriting the Book, or doing lip service to it, does not make a nation righteous. If they succumb the temptations of the world, their hypocrisy  becomes all the more glaring. “High Finance” is one of these temptations. See also verse 80 in S. Al-Bagara 2: ((And they (the Jews) say: “Fire (Hell) shall not touch us except for a few numbered days”, say (O’ Muhammad  PPBUH) “have you taken a promise from God, for God never break His promise? Or is it that you say of God what you don’t know?)). And also verse 88: ((And they said “our hearts are wrapped in covers” (don’t hear or understand). God has cursed them for their blasphemy; little is that which they believe)) – about their blasphemous self-sufficiency. A/ See Exodus xix. 5 {There was a total of 70 people who were direct descendants of Jacob ‘Joseph was one of the twelve sons, but he was already in Egypt’} 6 {Later, Joseph, his brothers, and all the people of that generation died} 7- {But the people of Israel had many children, and their number grew and grew. The people of Israel became strong, and the country of Egypt was filled with Israelites} 8-{Then a new king began to rule Egypt. This kin did not know Joseph}. And in Exod. xxiv. 3-{Moses told the people all the rules and commands from the Lord. Then all the people said:” we will obey all the commands from that the Lord has spoken”}. and Exod. xxxiv. 27-{ Then the Lord said to Moses:”Write all the things that I have told you. Those things are the Agreement that I made with you and the people of Israel”}. And many other passages.
(Verse 171)- A/ See Surat Al-Bagara 2 verse 63 ((And remember, (children of Israel) when We took your covenant and raised above you the Mount (Sinai) saying [hold fast to that which We have given you, and bring (ever) to remembrance what is therein; perchance you may be pious)). B/ Therein- in the Book of Revelation, in “what We have given you”.
(Verse 172)- A/This passage has led to differences of opinion in interpretation. Does it mean that each individual in the posterity of Adam had a separate existence from the time of Adam, and that a Covenant was taken from all of them, which is binding accordingly on each individual? That question really does not arise. The words in the text refer to the descendants of the Children of Adam i.e.. to all humanity, born or unborn, without any limit of time. Adam’s seed carries on the existence of Adam, and succeeds to his spiritual heritage. Humanity as such has a corporate aspect. Humanity has been given by God certain powers and faculties, whose possession creates on our side special spiritual obligations, which we must faithfully discharge; see Surat Al-Maida 5 verse 1. These obligations may –from a legal point of view- be considered as arising from implied Covenants. In the preceding verse 171, a reference was made to the implied Covenant of the Jewish nation. Now we consider the implied Covenant of the whole humanity, for the Holy Apostle’s [PPBUH] mission was world-wide. B/The Covenant is completed in this way. We acknowledge that God is our Creator, Cherisher, and Sustainer; therefore we acknowledge our duty to Him: when we testify concerning ourselves, the obligation is as it were assumed by us; for it follows from our very nature when it is pure and uncorrupted.
(Verses 173-174)- The latent faculties in man are enough to teach him the distinction between good and evil, to warn him of the dangers that beset his life. But to awaken and stimulate them, a personal appeal is made to each individual through the “still small voice” within him. This in its uncorrupted state acknowledges the truth and metaphorically swears its Covenant with God. There is – therefore- no excuse for any individual to say; either: (1) that he was unmindful, or (2) that he should not be punished for the sins of his fathers, because his punishment (if any) comes from his personal responsibility and is for his own rejection of faith and higher spiritual influences.
(Verse 175)- Commentators differ whether this story or parable refers to a particular individual, and if so, to whom? The story of Balaam the seer, who was called out by Israel’s enemies to curse Israel, but he blessed Israel instead: (Num. xxii, xxiii, and xxiv) is quite different. It is better to take the parable in a general sense. There are men –of talents and positions- to whom great opportunities of spiritual insight come, but they perversely pass them by, Satan sees his opportunity and catches them up. Instead of rising higher in the spiritual world, their selfish and worldly desires and ambitions pull them down, and they are lost.
(Verses 176-177)- A/ Notice the contrast between the exalted spiritual honors which they would have received from God if they had followed His Will, and the earthly desires which eventually bring them to the position of beasts and worse. B/ The dog –especially in the hot weather- lolls out his tongue, whether he is attacked and pursued and is tired, or he is left alone. It is part of his nature to slobber. So with the man who rejects God. Whether he is warned or left alone, he continues to throw out his dirty saliva. The injury he will do will be to his own soul. But there may be infection in his evil example. So we must protect others. And we must never give up hope of his own amendment. So we must continue to warn him and make him think.
(Verse 178)- Those who reject God will be deprived of God’s grace and guidance. His Mercy is always open for sincere repentance. But with each step downwards, they go lower and lower, until they perish.
(Verse 179)- See Surat Al-Bagara 2 verse 18((Deaf, dumb and blind, they will not return (to the right path)) – Though they have apparently all the faculties of reason and perception, they have so deadened them that those faculties do not work, and they go headlong into Hell. They are – as it were- made for Hell.
(Verse 180-181)- As we contemplate God’s nature, we can use the most beautiful names we can think of, to express His attributes. There are hundreds of such attributes. In the opening Sura, we have these indicated in a few comprehensive words, such as Rahman=Most Gracious; Raheem=Most Merciful; Rabb-ul-‘lamin=Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds. Our bringing such names to remembrance is part of our Prayer and Praise. But we must not associate with people who use God’s names profanely, or so as to suggest anything derogatory to His dignity or His unity. See Surat Al-Israa 17 verse 110.
(God has one hundred minus one Names [i.e. 99]. Narrated Abu Hurairah: God has ninety-nine Names, i.e. one hundred minus one; and whoever believes in their meanings and acts accordingly, will enter Paradise. And God One (witr=??? ) and love the witr=??? ( Saheeh Al-Bukhari.