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Surah al-Naml
Qur'anic Exegesis
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi
(Tr. by:Dr. Shehzad Saleem)

بِسْمِ اللّهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْمِ

In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful.

طس تِلْكَ آيَاتُ الْقُرْآنِ وَكِتَابٍ مُّبِيْنٍ. هُدًى وَّبُشْرَى لِلْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ. الَّذِيْنَ يُقِيْمُوْنَ الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُوْنَ الزَّكَاةَ وَهُمْ بِالْآخِرَةِ هُمْ يُوقِنُوْنَ.

This is Surah Ta Sin. These are the verses of the Qur’an and a clear Book,1 guidance for the believers and glad tidings,2 who are diligent in the prayer and pay zakah,3 it is they who in fact have conviction in the Hereafter.4 (1-3)


إِنَّ الَّذِيْنَ لَا يُؤْمِنُوْنَ بِالْآخِرَةِ زَيَّنَّا لَهُمْ أَعْمَالَهُمْ فَهُمْ يَعْمَهُوْنَ. أُوْلَئِكَ الَّذِيْنَ لَهُمْ سُوْءُ الْعَذَابِ وَهُمْ فِی الْآخِرَةِ هُمُ الْأَخْسَرُوْنَ. وَإِنَّكَ لَتُلَقَّى الْقُرْآنَ مِنْ لَّدُنْ حَكِيْمٍ عَلِيْمٍ.

Contrary to this, those who do not believe in the Hereafter, We have made their deeds look fair to them; thus they are wandering about.5 These are the people for whom there is an evil punishment in this world6 and in the Hereafter too it is they who will be in a severe loss. [Do not care about them, O Prophet!] There is no doubt that this Qur’an is being given to you from a wise and knowledgeable being.7 (4-6)


إِذْ قَالَ مُوسَى لِأَهْلِهِ إِنِّیْ آنَسْتُ نَارًا سَآتِيْكُمْ مِّنْهَا بِخَبَرٍ أَوْ آتِيكُم بِشِهَابٍ قَبَسٍ لَّعَلَّكُمْ تَصْطَلُوْنَ. فَلَمَّا جَآءَهَا نُوْدِیَ أَنْ بُورِكَ مَنْ فِی النَّارِ وَمَنْ حَوْلَهَا وَسُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْنَ.

[And in order to understand this favour of God on yourself] remember the incident8 when Moses said to his family: “I have seen something like fire. 9 [Stay here, you people while] I bring now some news for you from there or an ember of fire so that you can warm yourselves.”10 So, when he reached it, a voice came:11 “Blessed be He Who is in this Fire and those also who are around it. 1212 And exalted is God, Lord of the Worlds. 1313 (7-8)


يَا مُوْسَى إِنَّهُ أَنَا اللَّهُ الْعَزِيْزُ الْحَكِيْمُ. وَأَلْقِ عَصَاكَ فَلَمَّا رَآهَا تَهْتَزُّ كَأَنَّهَا جَآنٌّ وَّلَّى مُدْبِرًا وَّلَمْ يُعَقِّبْ يَا مُوْسَى لَا تَخَفْ إِنِّیْ لَا يَخَافُ لَدَیَّ الْمُرْسَلُوْنَ. إِلَّا مَنْ ظَلَمَ ثُمَّ بَدَّلَ حُسْنًا بَعْدَ سُوْءٍ فَإِنِّیْ غَفُوْرٌ رَّحِيْمٌ.

Moses! This is I, God, the Powerful, the Wise. [Rest assured14] and place your staff [on the ground]. Then when Moses saw it that it was swiveling as if it were a snake, he turned and fled and did not even look back. God said: Moses! Fear not! Messengers have nothing to fear in My presence.15 Except those who are guilty of vice, then after vice they change it into virtue, so [for them] I am very forgiving and very merciful.16 (9-11)


وَأَدْخِلْ يَدَكَ فِیْ جَيْبِكَ تَخْرُجْ بَيْضَآءَ مِنْ غَيْرِ سُوْءٍ فِیْ تِسْعِ آيَاتٍ إِلَى فِرْعَوْنَ وَقَوْمِهِ إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوْا قَوْمًا فَاسِقِيْنَ. فَلَمَّا جَآءَتْهُمْ آيَاتُنَا مُبْصِرَةً قَالُوْا هَذَا سِحْرٌ مُّبِيْنٌ. وَجَحَدُوْا بِهَا وَاسْتَيْقَنَتْهَا أَنفُسُهُمْ ظُلْمًا وَّعُلُوًّا فَانْظُرْ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الْمُفْسِدِيْنَ.

And insert your hand in opening of your garment [at the chest]; it will come out white without any ailment.17 [Together with these two there are nine signs which We are giving you. In] the company of these nine signs18 go to the Pharaoh and to his nation; they are a very disobedient people. Then when these eye-opening signs of Ours came before them, they said: “This is plain magic.” They rejected them because of injustice and arrogance, even though their hearts had accepted these signs. So, see what fate these miscreants met!19 (12-14)


وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا دَاوُودَ وَسُلَيْمَانَ عِلْمًا وَقَالَا الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِیْ فَضَّلَنَا عَلَى كَثِيْرٍ مِّنْ عِبَادِهِ الْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ.

On the other hand, We bestowed great knowledge20 on David and Solomon, [but they continued to become even more submissive to Us] and they said: “Gratitude be to God Who has granted us superiority to many of His believing servants.” 21 (15)


وَوَرِثَ سُلَيْمَانُ دَاوُودَ وَقَالَ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ عُلِّمْنَا مَنْطِقَ الطَّيْرِ وَأُوْتِينَا مِنْ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ إِنَّ هَذَا لَهُوَ الْفَضْلُ الْمُبِيْنُ.

And Solomon became the heir to David22 and he too said: “People! We have been taught the language of the birds23 and also given other things of all kinds. Indeed, this is a manifest favour of God.” (16)


وَحُشِرَ لِسُلَيْمَانَ جُنُوْدُهُ مِنَ الْجِنِّ وَالْإِنسِ وَالطَّيْرِ فَهُمْ يُوزَعُوْنَ. حَتَّى إِذَا أَتَوْا عَلَى وَادِ النَّمْلِ قَالَتْ نَمْلَةٌ يَّا أَيُّهَا النَّمْلُ ادْخُلُوْا مَسَاكِنَكُمْ لَا يَحْطِمَنَّكُمْ سُلَيْمَانُ وَجُنُوْدُهُ وَهُمْ لَا يَشْعُرُوْنَ. فَتَبَسَّمَ ضَاحِكًا مِّنْ قَوْلِهَا وَقَالَ رَبِّ أَوْزِعْنِیْ أَنْ أَشْكُرَ نِعْمَتَكَ الَّتِیْ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَیَّ وَعَلَى وَالِدَیَّ وَأَنْ أَعْمَلَ صَالِحًا تَرْضَاهُ وَأَدْخِلْنِی بِرَحْمَتِكَ فِیْ عِبَادِكَ الصَّالِحِيْنَ.

[Thus it happened one day that] all the forces of Solomon from among the jinn, humans and birds were assembled for his inspection24 because they were being categorized. Until [while marching] when they reached the valley of the ants,25 an ant said: “Ants! Enter your dwellings lest Solomon and his armies may trample you and they are not even aware of it.”26 [When Solomon heard this], he smiled at her conversation27 and said: “Lord! Bless me with the urge to be grateful to You for Your favour which You have done to me and my parents and I do such good deeds with which you are pleased and with your mercy [O Lord!] admit me among the righteous.”28 (17-19)


وَتَفَقَّدَ الطَّيْرَ فَقَالَ مَا لِيَ لَا أَرَى الْهُدْهُدَ أَمْ كَانَ مِنَ الْغَائِبِيْنَ. لَأُعَذِّبَنَّهُ عَذَابًا شَدِيْدًا أَوْ لَأَذْبَحَنَّهُ أَوْ لَيَأْتِيَنِّیْ بِسُلْطَانٍ مُّبِيْنٍ. فَمَكَثَ غَيْرَ بَعِيْدٍ فَقَالَ أَحَطتُ بِمَا لَمْ تُحِطْ بِهِ وَجِئْتُكَ مِنْ سَبَإٍ بِنَبَإٍ يَقِيْنٍ. إِنِّیْ وَجَدتُّ امْرَأَةً تَمْلِكُهُمْ وَأُوْتِيَتْ مِنْ كُلِّ شَیْءٍ وَّلَهَا عَرْشٌ عَظِيْمٌ. وَجَدْتُّهَا وَقَوْمَهَا يَسْجُدُوْنَ لِلشَّمْسِ مِنْ دُوْنِ اللَّهِ وَزَيَّنَ لَهُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ أَعْمَالَهُمْ فَصَدَّهُمْ عَنِ السَّبِيْلِ فَهُمْ لَا يَهْتَدُوْنَ.

[On this occasion,] when Solomon inspected his army, he said: “What is it that I do not see the lapwing? Is he present29 or has he disappeared somewhere? I will severely punish him or even slaughter him unless he presents a convincing excuse before me [for his absence].”30 Then not much time elapsed when the lapwing came and said: “I have become aware of something you do not know.31 I have brought definite news for you from the [country of] Saba.32 I saw a woman ruling them; all types of means and resources are available to her and she also has a very large throne. 33 I have seen her and her nation prostrating before the sun. Satan has made their deeds look fair to them and has stopped them from the right path; so, they are not finding the way.” (20-24)


أَلَّا يَسْجُدُوْا لِلَّهِ الَّذِیْ يُخْرِجُ الْخَبْءَ فِی السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا تُخْفُوْنَ وَمَا تُعْلِنُوْنَ. اللَّهُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ رَبُّ الْعَرْشِ الْعَظِيْمِ.

[Certainly, it is Satan who has stopped them34] that they should not prostrate before God Who takes out the hidden things of the heavens and the earth35 and knows what you conceal and what you reveal. God that there is no deity except Him; He only is the master of the great throne. (25-26)


قَالَ سَنَنظُرُ أَصَدَقْتَ أَمْ كُنْتَ مِنَ الْكَاذِبِيْنَ. اِذْهَب بِّكِتَابِیْ هَذَا فَأَلْقِهْ إِلَيْهِمْ ثُمَّ تَوَلَّ عَنْهُمْ فَانْظُرْ مَاذَا يَرْجِعُوْنَ.

Solomon said: “We will presently see whether you are telling the truth or lying. Take this letter of mine and deliver it before them and after that withdraw from them. Then note the reaction they show?” 36 (27-28)


قَالَتْ يَا أَيُّهَا المَلَأُ إِنِّیْ أُلْقِیَ إِلَیَّ كِتَابٌ كَرِيْمٌ. إِنَّهُ مِنْ سُلَيْمَانَ وَإِنَّهُ بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيْمِ. أَلَّا تَعْلُوْا عَلَیَّ وَأْتُونِیْ مُسْلِمِيْنَ. قَالَتْ يَا أَيُّهَا الْمَلَؤُا أَفْتُونِیْ فِیْ أَمْرِیْ مَا كُنْتُ قَاطِعَةً أَمْرًا حَتَّى تَشْهَدُوْنِ.

[When the queen received the letter,] she said to her courtiers: “Courtiers! I have been delivered a gracious letter.37 It is from Solomon38 and it begins with bismillah al-rahman al-rahim.39 It is written in it: ‘Do not show rebelliousness against me and come to me in obedience.’”40 The queen said: “Courtiers! Give your opinion in this matter of mine. [You know that] I do not decide any matter unless you people are present before me.” 41 (29-32)


قَالُوْا نَحْنُ أُوْلُوْا قُوَّةٍ وَّأُولُوْا بَأْسٍ شَدِيْدٍ وَّالْأَمْرُ إِلَيْكِ فَانظُرِیْ مَاذَا تَأْمُرِيْنَ.

They replied: “We are powerful and also have great military might. So, the decision is now in your hands. Thus see what directive you may give.”42 (33)


قَالَتْ إِنَّ الْمُلُوكَ إِذَا دَخَلُوْا قَرْيَةً أَفْسَدُوْهَا وَجَعَلُوْا أَعِزَّةَ أَهْلِهَآ أَذِلَّةً وَكَذَلِكَ يَفْعَلُوْنَ. وَإِنِّیْ مُرْسِلَةٌ إِلَيْهِمْ بِهَدِيَّةٍ فَنَاظِرَةٌ بِمَ يَرْجِعُ الْمُرْسَلُوْنَ.

The queen said: “When kings enter a city [after conquering it] they ravage it and humiliate the honorable in it and these people will also do the same. [My opinion is that] I send a delegation to him with gifts; then see what reply my envoys bring back.”43 (34-35)


فَلَمَّا جَآءَ سُلَيْمَانَ قَالَ أَتُمِدُّونَنِ بِمَالٍ فَمَآ آتَانِيَ اللَّهُ خَيْرٌ مِّمَّا آتَاكُمْ بَلْ أَنْتُمْ بِهَدِيَّتِكُمْ تَفْرَحُوْنَ. اِرْجِعْ إِلَيْهِمْ فَلَنَأْتِيَنَّهُمْ بِجُنُوْدٍ لَّا قِبَلَ لَهُمْ بِهَا وَلَنُخْرِجَنَّهُم مِّنْهَا أَذِلَّةً وَهُمْ صَاغِرُوْنَ.

Then when the delegation of the queen reached Solomon, he said [after seeing their gifts]: “Do you want to present these goods to me? So, whatever God has given me is far better than what He has given you. No! In fact, it is you people who become happy with your gifts. Go back to those who have sent you. Now we will definitely bring upon them armies they will not be able to face and We will disgracefully expel them from there such that they will become humiliated.”44 (36-37)


قَالَ يَا أَيُّهَا الْمَلَؤُا أَيُّكُمْ يَأْتِينِیْ بِعَرْشِهَا قَبْلَ أَن يَأْتُونِیْ مُسْلِمِيْنَ. قَالَ عِفْرِيْتٌ مِّنَ الْجِنِّ أَنَا آتِيْكَ بِهِ قَبْلَ أَنْ تَقُوْمَ مِنْ مَّقَامِكَ وَإِنِّیْ عَلَيْهِ لَقَوِیٌّ أَمِيْنٌ. قَالَ الَّذِیْ عِنْدَهُ عِلْمٌ مِّنَ الْكِتَابِ أَنَا آتِيْكَ بِهِ قَبْلَ أَن يَّرْتَدَّ إِلَيْكَ طَرْفُكَ فَلَمَّا رَآهُ مُسْتَقِرًّا عِنْدَهُ قَالَ هَذَا مِنْ فَضْلِ رَبِّیْ لِيَبْلُوَنِیْ أَأَشْكُرُ أَمْ أَكْفُرُ وَمَنْ شَكَرَ فَإِنَّمَا يَشْكُرُ لِنَفْسِهِ وَمَنْ كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ رَبِّیْ غَنِیٌّ كَرِيْمٌ.


[Solomon knew that now they would definitely come to him. Thus] he said: “Courtiers! Which of you can bring her throne to me before they come to me in obedience?” 45 A fierce individual from among the jinn said: “I can bring it before you before you leave this gathering of yours. I have this power and I am also trustworthy.”46 [This incited] a person who had knowledge of God’s law47 [and] He said: “I will bring it to you before you blink your eye.” Then when Solomon saw it placed in front of him, he cried out: “This is my Lord’s blessing so that He may test me whether I am grateful to him or ungrateful.48 In reality, he who expresses gratitude, he does it for his own benefit and he who shows ingratitude, then this too is his own loss because my Lord is self-sufficient and He is very gracious.”49 (38-40) 


قَالَ نَكِّرُوْا لَهَا عَرْشَهَا نَنْظُرْ أَتَهْتَدِیْ أَمْ تَكُوْنُ مِنَ الَّذِيْنَ لَا يَهْتَدُوْنَ. فَلَمَّا جَآءَتْ قِيْلَ أَهَكَذَا عَرْشُكِ قَالَتْ كَأَنَّهُ هُوَ وَأُوتِيْنَا الْعِلْمَ مِنْ قَبْلِهَا وَكُنَّا مُسْلِمِيْنَ. وَصَدَّهَا مَا كَانَت تَّعْبُدُ مِن دُوْنِ اللَّهِ إِنَّهَا كَانَتْ مِنْ قَوْمٍ كَافِرِيْنَ.

Solomon ordered: “To test her, change the shape of her throne; let us see whether she recognizes it or becomes among those who are not able to recognize [it after this change.]”50 So, when she arrived, she was asked: “Is your throne similar to this?” She said: “It is indeed that. We had already come to know these marvels of yours and we had submitted.” 51 In reality [she would have believed earlier but] those things stopped her which she worshipped besides God because she was from a disbelieving nation.52 (41-43)


قِيْلَ لَهَا ادْخُلِي الصَّرْحَ فَلَمَّا رَأَتْهُ حَسِبَتْهُ لُجَّةً وَّكَشَفَتْ عَنْ سَاقَيْهَا قَالَ إِنَّهُ صَرْحٌ مُّمَرَّدٌ مِّنْ قَوَارِيْرَ قَالَتْ رَبِّ إِنِّیْ ظَلَمْتُ نَفْسِیْ وَأَسْلَمْتُ مَعَ سُلَيْمَانَ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْنَ.

She was told: “Now enter the palace.” Then when she saw the floor [of the palace] she thought it was deep water and she lifted her dress from her shanks. Solomon said: “This palace is made of crystal.”53 [At this,] she cried out: “Lord! I have remained unjust to my self. [So, I return] and with Solomon I have consigned myself to God, Lord of the Worlds.”54 (44)


وَلَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَآ إِلَى ثَمُوْدَ أَخَاهُمْ صَالِحًا أَنِ اعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ فَإِذَا هُمْ فَرِيقَانِ يَخْتَصِمُوْنَ. قَالَ يَا قَوْمِ لِمَ تَسْتَعْجِلُوْنَ بِالسَّيِّئَةِ قَبْلَ الْحَسَنَةِ لَوْلَا تَسْتَغْفِرُوْنَ اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُوْنَ.

[However, not everyone is guided like this.55] To the Thamud,56 We had sent their brother Salih also with the message: “Worship God.” So, it happened that by becoming two factions57 they began arguing with one another. Salih said: “O People of My Nation! Why do you show haste for evil before good? Why do not you ask for God’s forgiveness that mercy be shown to you?”58 (45-46)


قَالُوا اطَّيَّرْنَا بِكَ وَبِمَنْ مَّعَكَ قَالَ طَائِرُكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ بَلْ أَنْتُمْ قَوْمٌ تُفْتَنُوْنَ.

They replied: “We have received bad luck from you and your companions.” 59 Ṣalih said: “[What is our link to it?] All your bad luck is with God. In fact, the truth is that you people are being tested.”60 (47)


وَكَانَ فِیْ الْمَدِيْنَةِ تِسْعَةُ رَهْطٍ يُّفْسِدُوْنَ فِیْ الْأَرْضِ وَلَا يُصْلِحُوْنَ. قَالُوْا تَقَاسَمُوا بِاللَّهِ لَنُبَيِّتَنَّهُ وَأَهْلَهُ ثُمَّ لَنَقُولَنَّ لِوَلِيِّهِ مَا شَهِدْنَا مَهْلِكَ أَهْلِهِ وَإِنَّا لَصَادِقُوْنَ. وَمَكَرُوا مَكْرًا وَّمَكَرْنَا مَكْرًا وَّهُمْ لَا يَشْعُرُوْنَ. فَانْظُرْ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ مَكْرِهِمْ أَنَّا دَمَّرْنَاهُمْ وَقَوْمَهُمْ أَجْمَعِيْنَ. فَتِلْكَ بُيُوْتُهُمْ خَاوِيَةً بِمَا ظَلَمُوا إِنَّ فِیْ ذَلِكَ لَآيَةً لِّقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُوْنَ. وَأَنْجَيْنَا الَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوا وَكَانُوْا يَتَّقُوْنَ

There were nine families in his city that would spread disorder in the land and were not ready to any sort of reform.61 They made a mutual promise by swearing upon God:62 “We will kill Ṣalih and his people at night and then tell his heir: ‘We were not present at the time of his person’s death and we are absolutely truthful.’”63 They schemed and We also chalked out a scheme and they did not even know. Then see the fate of their scheme that We destroyed them and their whole nation. So, these are their houses, ruined64 because they were unjust to themselves. Indeed, there is a lesson in it for those who want to know.65 And We saved all those people who had accepted faith [from among them] and feared God. (48-53)


وَلُوْطًا إِذْ قَالَ لِقَوْمِهِ أَتَأْتُوْنَ الْفَاحِشَةَ وَأَنْتُمْ تُبْصِرُوْنَ. أَئِنَّكُمْ لَتَأْتُوْنَ الرِّجَالَ شَهْوَةً مِّنْ دُونِ النِّسَآءِ بَلْ أَنْتُمْ قَوْمٌ تَجْهَلُوْنَ. فَمَا كَانَ جَوَابَ قَوْمِهِ إِلَّا أَنْ قَالُوْا أَخْرِجُوْا آلَ لُوطٍ مِّنْ قَرْيَتِكُمْ إِنَّهُمْ أُنَاسٌ يَتَطَهَّرُوْنَ. فَأَنْجَيْنَاهُ وَأَهْلَهُ إِلَّا امْرَأَتَهُ قَدَّرْنَاهَا مِنَ الْغَابِرِيْنَ. وَأَمْطَرْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ مَّطَرًا فَسَآءَ مَطَرُ الْمُنذَرِيْنَ.

And had sent Lot66 also with this message when he said to his nation: “Do you engage in this shameful act with open eyes? [Alas!] Do you fulfill your desire from men leaving aside women?67 [In reality, you are totally foolish;] in fact, overwhelmed with frenzy.”68 But the only answer his nation gave was: “Turn out Lot and his people from the settlement; these people think that they are very noble.”69 So, We saved him and his family except his wife. We had counted her among those left behind.70 And We unleashed on his nation a horrible shower [of stones]. Then how horrible was the rain for those who had been informed.71 (54-58)


قُلِ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ وَسَلَامٌ عَلَى عِبَادِهِ الَّذِيْنَ اصْطَفَى آللَّهُ خَيْرٌ أَمَّا يُشْرِكُوْنَ.

Tell them [O Prophet!]: “Gratitude is for God alone [Who has shown His splendour in this way] and peace be on His servants who He selected [for the manifestation of His justice]. Is that God better, or these deities of theirs which they associate with Him?”72 (59)


أَمَّنْ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ وَأَنْزَلَ لَكُم مِّنَ السَّمَآءِ مَآءً فَأَنْبَتْنَا بِهِ حَدَآئِقَ ذَاتَ بَهْجَةٍ مَّا كَانَ لَكُمْ أَنْ تُنْبِتُوْا شَجَرَهَا أَإِلَهٌ مَّعَ اللَّهِ بَلْ هُمْ قَوْمٌ يَعْدِلُوْنَ.

Are73 they better or [the Lord!] Who created the heavens and the earth and sent down water for you from the sky; then from it We sprouted beautiful orchards. It was not possible for you to make their trees sprout? 74 Is there any other deity also with God [who has a share in all these tasks]? Certainly not! In fact, it is these people who  have deviated from the path of truth. 75 (60)


أَمَّنْ جَعَلَ الْأَرْضَ قَرَارًا وَّجَعَلَ خِلَالَهَا أَنْهَارًا وَّجَعَلَ لَهَا رَوَاسِیَ وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَ الْبَحْرَيْنِ حَاجِزًا أَإِلَهٌ مَّعَ اللَّهِ بَلْ أَكْثَرُهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُوْنَ.

Are they better or that [Lord] Who made the earth a place of stay76 and made streams to flow between it and created mountains [to keep it in its orbit] and He placed a barrier between two seas?77 Is there any other deity with God [who has a share in all these tasks]? Certainly not! In fact, most of their people do not know.78 (61)


أَمَّنْ يُّجِيْبُ الْمُضْطَرَّ إِذَا دَعَاهُ وَيَكْشِفُ السُّوْءَ وَيَجْعَلُكُمْ خُلَفَآءَ الْأَرْضِ أَإِلَهٌ مَّعَ اللَّهِ قَلِيْلًا مَّا تَذَكَّرُوْنَ

Are they better or that [Lord] Who listens to the oppressed when he calls Him and relieves him from his grief79 and [takes away the earlier ones from you and] makes you the heir of the earth?80 Is there another deity also with God [who has a share in all these tasks]? Seldom do you people receive a reminder. 81 (62)


أَمَّنْ يَّهْدِيْكُمْ فِیْ ظُلُمَاتِ الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ وَمَنْ يُّرْسِلُ الرِّيَاحَ بُشْرًا بَيْنَ يَدَیْ رَحْمَتِهِ أَإِلَهٌ مَّعَ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى اللَّهُ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُوْنَ.

Are they better or that [Lord] Who guides you in the darkness of the land and sea?82 And Who sends winds as glad tidings before His rain of mercy? Is there another deity with God also [who has a share in all these tasks]? In reality, God is exalted from all the things which they associate with Him. (63)


أَمَّنْ يَّبْدَؤُا الْخَلْقَ ثُمَّ يُعِيدُهُ وَمَنْ يَّرْزُقُكُمْ مِّنَ السَّمَآءِ وَالْأَرْضِ ءَإِلَهٌ مَّعَ اللَّهِ قُلْ هَاتُوْا بُرْهَانَكُمْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ صَادِقِيْنَ.

Are they better or that [Lord] Who initiates creation; then will do it again83 and Who provides sustenance to you from the heavens and the earth?84 Is there another deity also with God [who has a share in all these tasks]? As them: “Bring your argument if you are truthful.”85 (64)


قُل لَّا يَعْلَمُ مَنْ فِیْ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ الْغَيْبَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَمَا يَشْعُرُوْنَ أَيَّانَ يُبْعَثُوْنَ.

[They ask the punishment to be hastened.] Tell them: “[These are matters of the unknown and] whoever are in the heavens and earth besides God, they do not know these matters and neither do they know when they will raised to life [after they die].”86 (65)


بَلِ ادَّارَكَ عِلْمُهُمْ فِی الْآخِرَةِ بَلْ هُمْ فِیْ شَكٍّ مِّنْهَا بَلْ هُمْ مِّنْهَا عَمِوْنَ. وَقَالَ الَّذِيْنَ كَفَرُوْا ءَاِذَا كُنَّا تُرَابًا وَآبَاؤُنَآ أَئِنَّا لَمُخْرَجُوْنَ. لَقَدْ وُعِدْنَا هَذَا نَحْنُ وَآبَاؤُنَا مِنْ قَبْلُ إِنْ هَذَا إِلَّا أَسَاطِيْرُ الْأَوَّلِيْنَ.

 [You think that these people do not understand this]? Certainly not! In fact, their knowledge of the Hereafter is inflicted with confusion;87 in fact, they are in a doubt from it; in fact, they have become blind from it.88 These disbelievers say: “When we and our forefathers become dust, will we be taken out of the graves? We have been threatened by these words and before us our forefathers too were similarly threatened. Nothing! These are only tales of the ancients.” (66-68)


قُلْ سِيْرُوْا فِی الْأَرْضِ فَانْظُرُوا كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الْمُجْرِمِيْنَ.

Tell them: “[If you do not believe,] just roam about in this land; then see the fate of [those] wrongdoers [who before you would say similar things.”89] (69)


وَلَا تَحْزَنْ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا تَكُن فِیْ ضَيْقٍ مِّمَّا يَمْكُرُوْنَ. وَيَقُوْلُوْنَ مَتَى هَذَا الْوَعْدُ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ صَادِقِيْنَ. قُلْ عَسَى أَن يَّكُوْنَ رَدِفَ لَكُمْ بَعْضُ الَّذِیْ تَسْتَعْجِلُوْنَ. وَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَذُوْ فَضْلٍ عَلَى النَّاسِ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ لَا يَشْكُرُوْنَ. وَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَيَعْلَمُ مَا تُكِنُّ صُدُورُهُمْ وَمَا يُعْلِنُونَ. وَمَا مِنْ غَآئِبَةٍ فِی السَّمَآءِ وَالْأَرْضِ إِلَّا فِیْ كِتَابٍ مُّبِيْنٍ.

Do not grieve for them [O Prophet!] nor fret over the schemes they are plotting.90 They ask: “If you are truthful, when will this promise be fulfilled?” Tell them: “The [Hereafter] you want to hasten, it is very much possible that some of it is right behind you.”91 [The respite you are enjoying at the moment is for your own benefit.] In reality, your Lord is prone to show mercy to people but most of them are ungrateful. Your Lord definitely knows what their chests hide in themselves and what they reveal. There is no hidden thing in the heavens and the earth which is not written in an open book.92 (70-75)


إِنَّ هَذَا الْقُرْآنَ يَقُصُّ عَلَى بَنِیْ إِسْرَآئِيْلَ أَكْثَرَ الَّذِیْ هُمْ فِيْهِ يَخْتَلِفُوْنَ. وَإِنَّهُ لَهُدًى وَّرَحْمَةٌ لِّلْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ. إِنَّ رَبَّكَ يَقْضِیْ بَيْنَهُمْ بِحُكْمِهِ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيْزُ الْعَلِيْمُ. فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ إِنَّكَ عَلَى الْحَقِّ الْمُبِيْنِ.

[They should not be led astray by what these people say because] definitely this Qur’an is also explaining many things to the Israelites in which they are differing93 and there is no doubt that it is guidance in entirety and mercy for those who believe.94 [On the Day of Judgement,] your Lord through His decisive directive will definitely decide between them.95 He is powerful, very knowledgeable. So, trust God; indeed, you are on absolute truth. (76-79)


إِنَّكَ لَا تُسْمِعُ الْمَوْتَى وَلَا تُسْمِعُ الصُّمَّ الدُّعَآءَ إِذَا وَلَّوْا مُدْبِرِيْنَ. وَمَآ أَنْتَ بِهَادِی الْعُمْی عَنْ ضَلَالَتِهِمْ إِنْ تُسْمِعُ إِلَّا مَنْ يُّؤْمِنُ بِآيَاتِنَا فَهُم مُّسْلِمُوْنَ.

In reality, you cannot make the dead hear nor make your call reach the deaf when while turning their backs they are running away nor can you guide the blind out of their error.96 You can only make those listen who want to profess belief in Our revelations. Then only they will be obedient too.97 (80-81)


وَإِذَا وَقَعَ الْقَوْلُ عَلَيْهِمْ أَخْرَجْنَا لَهُمْ دَابَّةً مِّنَ الْأَرْضِ تُكَلِّمُهُمْ أَنَّ النَّاسَ كَانُوْا بِآيَاتِنَا لَا يُوقِنُوْنَ. وَيَوْمَ نَحْشُرُ مِنْ كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ فَوْجًا مِّمَّن يُكَذِّبُ بِآيَاتِنَا فَهُمْ يُوزَعُونَ. حَتَّى إِذَا جَآءُوْ قَالَ أَكَذَّبْتُم بِآيَاتِي وَلَمْ تُحِيْطُوْا بِهَا عِلْمًا أَمَّاذَا كُنْتُمْ تَعْمَلُوْنَ. وَوَقَعَ الْقَوْلُ عَلَيْهِمْ بِمَا ظَلَمُوْا فَهُمْ لَا يَنْطِقُوْنَ.

 [At this time O Prophet! you are trying to make them understand, but] when Our word becomes conclusive on them98 We will bring out for them an animal from the earth who will tell them that people did not believe in Our revelations; [so, now they have come before them in the form of God’s wrath.]99 They should remember the day when from each ummah We will gather a whole army of people who had denied Our revelations. Then they will be categorized.100 Finally, when they come together, God will ask them: “Did you deny My revelations even though your knowledge could not embrace them or speak up: ‘what had you been doing?’”101 So, the word will be fulfilled on them102 because they had been unjust to their souls; then they will not be able to say anything. (82-85)


أَلَمْ يَرَوْا أَنَّا جَعَلْنَا الَّيْلَ لِيَسْكُنُوْا فِيْهِ وَالنَّهَارَ مُبْصِرًا إِنَّ فِیْ ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُوْنَ.

 [They ask for signs?] Have they not seen that We have made the night dark so that they can rest in it and made the day radiant so that they may do work in it?103 In reality, there are a lot of signs in this for those who want to believe.104 (86)


وَيَوْمَ يُنفَخُ فِیْ الصُّورِ فَفَزِعَ مَنْ فِیْ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَنْ فِیْ الْأَرْضِ إِلَّا مَنْ شَآءَ اللَّهُ وَكُلٌّ أَتَوْهُ دَاخِرِينَ. وَتَرَى الْجِبَالَ تَحْسَبُهَا جَامِدَةً وَّهِیَ تَمُرُّ مَرَّ السَّحَابِ صُنْعَ اللَّهِ الَّذِیْ أَتْقَنَ كُلَّ شَیْءٍ إِنَّهُ خَبِيْرٌ بِمَا تَفْعَلُوْنَ. مَنْ جَآءَ بِالْحَسَنَةِ فَلَهُ خَيْرٌ مِّنْهَا وَهُمْ مِّنْ فَزَعٍ يَّوْمَئِذٍ آمِنُوْنَ. وَمَنْ جَآءَ بِالسَّيِّئَةِ فَكُبَّتْ وُجُوْهُهُمْ فِی النَّارِ هَلْ تُجْزَوْنَ إِلَّا مَا كُنْتُمْ تَعْمَلُوْنَ.

 [People!] Remember the day on which the trumpet is blown so whatever is in the heavens and in the earth all will be gripped by fear except those about whom God wills and all will come before him with heads lowered. You will think that the mountains are firmly fixed whereas they will be flying about like clouds. This will be a marvel of God’s creativity105 Who has made every thing sturdy. Indeed, He knows what you do.106 They who bring virtue on that day, for them is a better reward than it and on that day they will remain secure from every worry. And they who bring vice will be cast into Hell headlong – you are getting the same return what you have been doing. (87-90)


إِنَّمَآ أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أَعْبُدَ رَبَّ هَذِهِ الْبَلْدَةِ الَّذِیْ حَرَّمَهَا وَلَهُ كُلُّ شَیْءٍ وَّأُمِرْتُ أَنْ أَكُوْنَ مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِيْنَ. وَأَنْ أَتْلُوَ الْقُرْآنَ فَمَنِ اهْتَدَى فَإِنَّمَا يَهْتَدِیْ لِنَفْسِهِ وَمَنْ ضَلَّ فَقُلْ إِنَّمَا أَنَا مِنَ الْمُنْذِرِيْنَ. وَقُلِ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ سَيُرِيْكُمْ آيَاتِهِ فَتَعْرِفُوْنَهَا وَمَا رَبُّكَ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُوْنَ.

[Tell them O Prophet!:] “I have only been directed to worship the Lord of this city Who has made it sacred107 and whose authority alone is everything. And I have been directed to remain among His obedient and have been directed to read out this Qur’an to you.108 Then he who is guided is guided for his own self and he who chooses to go astray will also do it for his own self.” So, say: “I am only a warner,”109 and say: “Gratitude is for God alone. Soon He will show His signs to you and you will recognize110 them and your Lord is not unaware of whatever you are doing.111 (91-93)


(Translated by Dr Shehzad Saleem)



1. Ie., verses of a Book which elucidates facts in such a way that it becomes a conclusive argument in itself. It does not need any external evidence or any miracle or sign to judge its veracity. The demonstrative pronoun تِلْكَ in the verse points to طٰس. We have already explained our view about it under verse 1 of Surah al-Baqarah.

2. Glad tidings are specially mentioned with guidance as the topics discussed ahead in the surah bear evidence to them.

3. Both these worship rituals are essential manifestations of faith and religion. They were not unknown to the Arabs. As a tradition of the religion of Abraham (sws), they were not only aware of them, their righteous even diligently adhered to them. It is for this reason that the Qur’an has not mentioned any details of these rituals.

4. Thus this has actually become a reason of their accepting faith and showing diligence in the prayer and in zakah.

5. Ie., they are content on doing whatever they are after making this world their real purpose and objective in life. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: 

... This is a reference to precisely the same established practice that has been explained ... at various instances: people who expend all their intelligence and abilities to go after this world by making it their objective in life, are made to become so engrossed in their involvements and deeds by the Almighty that they are neither willing to give them up nor can they do so even if they try. They continue to wander about in them until the angel of death snatches away their souls. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 5, 577

6. This is stated because after conclusive communication of the truth from the messengers, those who deny them are necessarily punished here and it is they who are mentioned here.

7. Ie., it is being given to him by the being every act of Whom has some wisdom in it and He is also aware of everything. Hence, the Prophet (sws) should rest assured that God will never leave him alone; in fact, He will guide him at every step and lead him to his destination.

8. Muhammad (sws) resembles Moses (sws) the most as far as their preaching is concerned. Thus for this reason Moses’ account is narrated for his assurance and for the warning of his addressees so that it becomes evident what prophethood is, how it is obtained and the favours of God that are associated with it.

9. This incident took place when after spending eight years in Madyan, Moses (sws) was travelling back to Egypt with his wife. During this journey when he reached the Sinai peninsula which is now called Mount Sinai and the Mountain of Moses, this incident took place at the foot of the mountain. At the time of the Qur’an’s revelation, this mountain was famous by the name Ṭur.

10. It is evident from this that it was winter time and when Moses (sws) reached the valley of Ṭur with his family it was night time and he was not able to find the way. Thus when he saw some light, he reckoned that there must be some people there who could guide him; otherwise, he could bring some ember that could warm them.

11. A passive verb is used here in the text. It denotes vagueness and magnification. In other words, he did hear a voice but could not determine its direction and source.

12. Ie., the angels of God. The word “blessed” used here not only denotes a fact but it is also a means of assurance for Moses (sws): he should not feel scared after hearing the voice. It is the voice of the blessed being of God that has manifested itself with His blessed angels in the veil of fire.

13. Since a voice coming from fire could give the impression of confinement and pantheism, it was stated to dispel this impression that Moses (sws) should be informed that, while being above all confinements and defects, it was the manifestation of the being who is the Lord of the worlds that he has seen in the Fire. Thus, He can address His servants whenever He wants to and in whichever way He wants to.

14. The attributes of Mighty and Wise are mentioned in the verse to assure the Prophet (sws). Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: 

... Here the attribute حَكِيْمٌ (wise) is mentioned with عَزِيْزٌ (powerful). The purpose is to point to the fact that the being who has now blessed him with the opportunity of conversation is dominant on everything. None can stop His intentions to prevail. At the same time He is wise. All his intentions are based on wisdom and expediency. Also since the style of the verse encompasses repeated stress and specification, it is also evident that there is no possibility of any power and authority that can challenge God’s power and authority and there is no possibility that any wisdom or expediency can challenge God’s wisdom or expediency. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 5, 577

15. This is a very affectionate way of assurance. The implication is that Moses (sws) is being given prophethood and those who are given this status are under God’s protection. Such things cannot harm them; hence, he should rest assured.

16. This exception shows that perhaps at that time Moses (sws) might have thought of his killing of the Copt. He may have thought that he was being punished for that deed. Thus while sounding further assurance, it is said that he had compensated for that act through repentance and reformation and that God was very forgiving and ever-merciful. So, Moses (sws) must dispel all his fears. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: 

... By stating what is mentioned here in a general way, its benefit has been made universal: this principle is not merely specific to Moses (sws). In fact, God deals in this manner with every person. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 5, 583

17. This addition is clearly meant to negate the Bible which says that this whiteness was because of the ailment of leprosy.

18. At other instances in the Qur’an, details have been furnished regarding these nine signs. It was like a complete magazine with which Moses (sws) was equipped at the outset to go to the Pharaoh. That was because he was being sent as a messenger to a tyrannical and cruel king who would not have been easily prepared to even listen to him.

19. This is the real objective for which the account is narrated: the Prophet Muhammad (sws) should also understand the reason for denial by his addressees and not lose heart because of their attitude.

20. This refers to the wisdom and sagacity which were bestowed upon them directly by God and also the knowledge of controlling matter which in those times had been given to certain Israelites as mentioned ahead. It was because of the latter knowledge that David (sws) managed to create the greatest and the most powerful empire of those times.

21. Ie., they neither showed arrogance on their superiority like the Pharaoh and his nobles nor became unjust and haughty. In fact, they became an embodiment of gratitude on the respect and honour they had among the believing servants of God.

The verse specially mentions their superiority over the believing servants of God because real respect and honour is the respect and honour of faith.

22. David (sws) was a prophet and king of the Israelites. It was in this capacity that his son Solomon (sws) became his heir. His empire extended from Palestine and Transjordan to Syria. His period is from 965 BC to 926 BC.

23. This has also been mentioned in the traditions of the Israelites: among various abilities which God bestowed on Solomon (sws) was the knowledge of the language of the birds. On the basis of this knowledge, he had trained them to deliver his posts and messages and to spy on the enemy. It is clearly evident from this that the birds also have the ability to speak and think to some extent. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

... If we are not able to understand their conversation, this is not a reason to negate it. It is clearly mentioned in the Qur’an that every object of the universe glorifies the Almighty but human beings do not understand it. Similarly, it has also been mentioned in the Qur’an that all the beasts and birds are separate generations of species ... Solomon (sws) was specially given the knowledge to understand the language of the birds; however, even those who do not have this knowledge know that all animals adopt different expressions in their lingos for hate, love, reprimand, affection, joy, worry, comfort, assurance and playfulness. Similarly, their body language for the expression of these sentiments is different. People who train animals for a special purpose understand their voices and gestures the way they understand the language of their own species. Even more knowledge of this lies with those who have scientifically observed these animal forms. If one reads the information they have gathered through their experience and knowledge, one is left to wonder in amazement that besides large animals, the wisdom and sharpness ants possess is so much that even human beings can learn a lot from them. No less amazing are the tasks of spying and searching which dogs are accomplished at. When human beings can discover such secrets of animals through their experiences and experimental science and can harness their abilities for these purposes it is small wonder that God blessed Solomon (sws) with the special knowledge of bird-language. It may be kept in mind that a language comes into being through cadences and variations of sounds. Beings who possess cognizance, comprehension and sentiments express these through various sounds and it is through the variation of sounds that a langauge comes into being. Gestures are also included in this and can be dubbed as silent language. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 5, 592

24. A governing noun is suppressed in this sentence in accordance with linguistic principles of Arabic. It has been expressed in the translation.

25. Ie., where ants were in abundance. It may well be that because of the abundance of ants, it was called the Valley of Ants. This incident of the valley is also found in the traditions of the Israelites.

26. Some ants make sounds. It is evident from the verse, that most probably it is those ants that are mentioned. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: 

Science has revealed amazing facts about ants. Notwithstanding these, even if a common person observes how one army of ants commutes from place to place, he is astounded to see their organization and military discipline. It is clearly evident that the whole army marches under the leadership of a chief. A line of scouts and volunteers flanks both sides of the army. It diligently marches within stipulated limits. It is clearly evident that they have been deputed the task of guarding the army. As soon as they smell danger, they, in their own limits, inform the army about it. At this, the army makes a strategy to protect itself. A very gripping scene can be observed when their whole colony decides to permanently relocate to a new destination. With it travels all supplies of their food as well as the young ones. Personally, I have intently observed this migration at times, and it may well become a whole account if I pen my observations. 

These feats of the ants can be observed by all and sundry. However, we are left with no semblance of doubt after reading about their marvels unveiled by scientists that they too are an independent species and class of living organisms, as indicated by the Qur’an. Some of their types resemble human beings: they raise certain animals for their own needs; they sow seeds in lands they demarcate and when the crop is ready, they preserve it underground. There is a whole system of training and instruction among them. In short, they have all the traits which human beings have. The only difference is physical structure, status and form. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 5, 594

27. The actual words are: فَتَبَسَّمَ ضَاحِکًا. The word ضِحْك refers to happiness and joy and in Arabic is used in this meaning.

28. It is to highlight this attitude of showing gratitude to the great and unparalleled favours of God that these incidents from Solomon’s (sws) life are narrated to the Quraysh of Makkah.

29. This sentence is actually suppressed in accordance with linguistic principles because of concomitant indications.

30. This anger of Solomon (sws) on the absence of the lapwing shows that birds of his army too were fully bound in a discipline and any breach on their part would lead them to punishent according to rules and regulations of his army.

31. Ie., though there has been a delay in his arrival, it was due to an official assignment. Thus, as a result, he has come to know more about Saba than Solomon (sws) does and has some fresh news about it.

32. Saba was a rich nation of ancient times. The southwest part of Yemen was named after it in those times. Its capital was Ma’arib, of which ruins are present even today in that area. This nation existed from 1100 BC to 115 BC. After that, another famous nation of southern Arabs called Ḥimyar replaced them.

33. In ancient times also, it was men who ruled empires because the style of the lapwing shows that he was amazed at what he saw. The greatness of the throne has also been mentioned in this regard. The reason is that the majesty of a king is judged from the gold and silver and jewels found in his throne or crown.

34. From here onwards is an insertion. The Almighty has added his own words to those of the lapwing to bring them in accordance to the situation. Several examples of such insertions have gone by. In the words of Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi, the address of the lapwing by the words مَا تُخفُوْنَ وَ مَا تُعْلِنُوْنَ (what you hide and what you reveal)  are totally inappropriate. They can only be uttered by God.

35. Ie., the sun, the moon and the stars found in the heavens and the trees, the plants, the seas and fountains found in the earth which were hidden somewhere before they came into existence.

36. The implication is that he should not come back right after he delivers the letter and should try to see their reaction on it.

37. The actual words are: كِتَابٌ كَرِيْمٌ. This clearly means that those people were fully aware of the majesty and splendour of Solomon (sws). Moreover, this too is evident that the queen and her courtiers were not amazed at being delivered a letter by a bird. It is because in those times this way of delivery was common and well-known.

38. This is in fact the first sentence of Solomon’s (sws) letter. In ancient times, the letters and decrees of kings and nobles began in this way with the name of the sender and the addresee.

39. It is evident from this that the Israelites also began their letters with words which had the same meaning as: bismillah al-rahman al-rahim. Probably the reason that the queen cited this initial part of the letter was that her courtiers were informed while forming an opinion that it was from a person who was not an ordinary king.

40. In the explanation of verse 21 of Surah al-Ma’idah, it has been mentioned that with the advent of Moses (sws), the Almighty made Palestine specific for the communication of His message the way He did the Arabian peninsula. Thus the Israelites were directed to vacate that area of its inhabitants, make it a centre of monotheism and not let any polytheist or disbeliever live there except if they paid the tribute. In chapter 20 of the Book of Deuteronomy, this directive is mentioned in full detail. It was following this directive that Solomon (sws) gave an ultimatum to the queen of Saba. This was a divine directive that was implemented in a specific area through the agency of messengers whose rule is considered the rule of God. It does not relate to common Muslims or any of their countries or governments. Thus, the opinion of  the scholars who have inferred from this that every Muslim government has the right to dislodge a non-Muslim government anywhere in the world is not correct. For details see my article “The Divine Verdicts” in my book Maqamat (Eng: Selected Essays of Javed Ahmad Ghamidi)

41. This sentence is meant to lift and encourage the courtiers. It means that if the queen even differs with them, they should not think this to be something dictatorial and in fact reflect on it with sentiments of well-being for their country and nation. This should not lead us to infer that her government was democratic in nature. In reality, even monarchies take decisions after consultation with the nobles unless the ruler is a megalomaniac.

42. It is evident from this that the courtiers were inclined to wage war. They expressed their opinion very politely.

43. Ie., it will become evident if the matter is resolved with something less than the demand of Solomon (sws) that she come to him in obedience (وَ آتُوْنِي مُسْلِمِيْنَ) or will she have to ultimately yield to his demand.

44. The implication is that such gifts can make them happy, but he is not desirous of them; behind his ultimatum is a principled decision and that he will implement it in all circumstances.

45. Solomon (sws) knew that once he sent back the envoys, they would submit to him. Thus he resolved to display his extraordinary might and the splendour of true knowledge that God had bestowed upon him and make them observe before him the power of God. The reason for this was that he was not merely desirous of their obedience; he wanted them to accept faith.

46. The implication is that Solomon (sws) should rest assured that he will not make any sort of change in it.

47. Ie., the knowledge of God’s law that was in practice in the universe. This knowledge was probably something similar to what was given through the angels Harut and Marut. We have explained it while elucidating verse 102 of Surah al-Baqarah. The way scientists of current times are discovering laws of matter and showing its marvels, in a similar way experts of spiritual knowledge showed marvels employing laws found in the spiritual realm. One can see its expression in various incidents found in the biographies of sufists from among the Hindus, Budhists and Muslims. This should not be any cause of wonder for at least the people of current times whose scientists transport the voices and images of living human beings from one place to another in the blink of an eye the way a courtier of Solomon’s royal court brought the throne.

48. This is the real purpose for which the Qur’an has narrated this incident: in spite of this extra-ordinary power, Solomon (sws) was not inflicted with any feeling of conceit. In fact, it made him even more humble.

49. Thus that ever-forgiving and benevolent being does not even deprive those who always show rebelliousness against Him.

50. Why was this change made? Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: 

... This was a type of jest for which he ordered his staff to make a general change in the form of the throne so that it became an enigma for the queen and Solomon (sws) wanted to see whether she was able to resolve that enigma or not. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 5, 605

51. It is evident from this that not only the queen but her nobles and ministers too were influenced by the extent of Solomon’s knowledge and wisdom and already acknowledged his greatness. Consequently, when Solomon (sws) asked her to submit, the queen became desirous of meeting him in person and observing his marvels so that she was able to find a way out of the situation that had been created. It is for this reason that she made this journey of around 1500 miles from Ma’arib to Jerusalem.

52. This is the greatest hindrance for a person to accept the truth which the Qur’an has stated with reference to the queen of Saba. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: 

... The implication is that not every person can break the shackles of traditions and national links. There are many people to whom the truth is apparent but they are so caught up in the clutches of their environment that they do not have the courage to liberate themselves from it. Only people who are blessed with a special urge from the Almighty are able to lift these heavy stones found in their way. Though everyone faces this difficulty but for those who are entrusted with leadership this difficulty is double – in fact, ten times. They become absolute slaves of their times. Though they claim to be leaders but when they walk, they walk behind others. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 5, 606

53. This is a portrayal of the situation which the queen faced as soon as she stepped into the palace. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: 

It seems as if the floor of the palace was made of thick slabs of glass and water was flowing below it. For this reason, when a stranger stepped on its floor, he thought that he was landing into a fountain. When a villager enters the buildings and palaces of a developed society, he faces similar amazement. Such was the splendour of Solomon’s palace that even the queen of Saba became a villager, let alone common villagers. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 5, 606

54. The implication is that with the amazing wonders of knowledge and comprehension and inner purity, the splendour and majesty made the queen totally submit to God: she repented idol-worship and polytheism and became a declared Muslim. According to the Bible, Solomon (sws) did not depose her after this and gave her permission to return with her attendants. (Kings I, 10:13)

In the traditions of Jewish Rabbis, this incident of Solomon (sws) and queen Saba has been narrated with almost the same details. The incident of bringing over her throne is only mentioned in the Qur’an. Yet the real purport is that it becomes evident from all these details that, contrary to the Pharaohs, in spite of his knowledge and wisdom, his royal magnificence and the unaparalleled feats of construction,  he had the perfection and grandeur of being a servant of God. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: 

... It is evident from this that the crystal palace was also a sign of God. With it was the brilliance of being a penitent, grateful and faithful servant of God that Solomon (sws) was. People are guided by this and instead of overwhelming eyes it blesses them with insight. If this is not present, then it is a sign of conceit and arrogance and an abode of darkness even if someone calls it a “White House.” (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 5, 607

55. Ie., what the queen of Saba was guided to and leaving aside all prejudices, she submitted to God.

56. Among the ancient nations of Arabia, this is the second nation which achieved extraordinary fame after the ‘Ād. They inhabited the land of al-Ḥijr which was in the north west of Arabia.

57. Ie., the believers and the disbelievers who rose to oppose this message.

58. The implication is that instead of asking for good from God, why are they asking for torment and punishment? The actual words used for these are حَسَنَة and سَيِّئَة. In Arabic, they occur in these meanings as well.

59. This is a reference to the trials which in accordance with the established practice of God appear specially in the times of God’s messengers so that their nations have fear in God and repent and turn to the calls of their respective messengers. However, instead of benefitting from them, people regarded them to be bad luck brought by the messenger and his followers which visited  the whole nation from them as a result of their opposition to their deities.

60. Ie., whatever is happening is based on God’s planning, wisdom and intention. It is He Who decides the trials each has to pass through and what the consequence will be. Thus through them, God also sees whether these people have any strength left in them or if they are totally dead. They are not because of any bad luck brought by the messenger and his companions.

61. The implication is that on the one hand is Salih and a few of his companions and on the other nine factions of miscreants.

62. The actual words are قَالُوْ تَقَاسَمُوْا بِاللهِ. In my opinion, تَقَاسَمُوْا بِاللهِ are in the capacity of badal (permututative) and have been translated thus.

63. This scheme was contrived because in tribal life, such killings could start endless wars. It is evident from various narratives that in the case of the Prophet (sws) also, the chiefs of the Quraysh had plotted such a scheme so that his family was not able to point to a single tribe as the perpetrator and it would become impossible for them to demand life for life.

64. Ie., they are present before them to narrate their exemplary account from which a lesson can be learnt. This has been stated because the caravans of the Quraysh would often pass through these wrecked and ruined areas.

65. The actual words are: لِقومٍ يَعْلَمُونَ. In them, the verb expresses intention and has been translated keeping in view this aspect.

66. He was a nephew of Abraham (sws). His nation lived in the area to the south of Syria in between Iraq and Palestine and which today is called Transjordan.

67. This interrogative style is meant to express amazement, hate and wonder: why are they committing such a heinous act when they are allowed a very natural act?

68. Ie., being overwhelmed by emotions, they have turned senseless and silly.

69. This is the last stage in the decadence of a nation. Once it is reached, evil becomes a requisite of fashion and culture and good becomes something blameworthy. In spite of knowing what purity is, people do not tolerate it among themselves and want to cast out its advocates from their settements so that just as they have become shameless, others too become shameless and there is none to remind them that clothing is something which human beings used to wear.

70. Ie., has specially demarcated her as one who will meet an evil fate because in spite of being in the house of a messenger she had chosen to be among this lewd nation. This is an expression of the unbiased justice of God. Lot’s (sws) wife could not gain anything because of being a prophet’s wife. Like Noah’s (sws) son and Abraham’s (sws) father she met the same fate that was destined for her nation.

71. Ie., to whom the truth was delivered in a conclusive manner by a messenger of God and now they had no excuse to present.

72. This verse is a comment on the preceding topic and also a very beautiful digression, which has become an appropriate prelude for the topic ahead.

73. From here onwards, a sermon on monotheism is delivered. In order to understand its true emphasis, the repetitive style of interrogation adopted in it must be comprehended. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: 

... In such interrogative sentences, the purpose is not to actually pose questions; on the contrary, it is to silence the addressee, to conclusively communicate the truth to him, to reprimand and admonish. The speaker goes on to raise questions to present facts with full force and without waiting for any response from the addressee moves forward. It is as if the addressee at the very outset does not even have anything to say in response. In deference to this forceful presentation, some parts of his discourse are suppressed which the addressee is able to understand himself or should understand. This gap in the discourse is filled by the stress in his words. There are many examples of such suppression in the orations found in classical Arabic. To present them before the Qur’an would be like holding a candle to the sun. Since these styles are not found in Urdu, I have attempted to unfold these suppressions. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 5, 623

74. The address in this sentence is direct instead of being indirect. The purpose is to express favour, affection and providence.

75. Here again the style has become indirect. It is meant to express hate, aversion and sorrow. In the words of Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi, it is as if words are said while turning away the face.

76. Ie., made it conducive for life in a highly elaborate way and with extra-ordinary correlations based on wisdom so that it can become a place of living for human beings.

77. This refers to the invisible wall which at the some places has been erected by the Almighty between sweet and sour water.

78. Here again the style has become indirect to express sorrow.

79. Ie., has such power that when He decides to help someone all sources found in the universe needed for it are gathered by Him in the blink of an eye and He delivers that person from his grief and difficulty.

80. This is a reference to the established practice of God in accordance with which a nation becomes prominent, plays its role and then permanently leaves the stage of this world to vacate its place for the next. It is as if nations also follow the law of life and death which we observe among human beings. This obviously is a task in the plane of God which can only be carried out by the creator of the heavens and the earth.

81. Ie., they neither learn from the signs of God within themselves nor from the history of nations. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: 

There is a very deep coherence between أَمَّن يُجِيبُ الْمُضْطَرَّ إِذَا دَعَاهُ    and وَيَجْعَلُكُمْ خُلَفَاءَ الْأَرْضِ, the two parts of the verse. The implication is that they do not learn a lesson from these difficulties which they face in their lives nor from the rise and fall of nations. So, who can teach those who have such a weak memory? (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 5, 623

82. This is a reference to the guidance which human beings acquire from the various signposts found in the earth and from the rising, setting and orbiting of the sun, the moon and the stars.

83. Ie., will do it again in the way He initiated it. This is a declaration of the obvious consequence of an obvious fact: when no one refutes the creation of this universe, how can there be any doubt in its recreation.

84. Ie., makes available all those means and resources from which the whole of mankind arranges sustenance for itself. It is not an ordinary arrangement that people should attribute to some demi god or to some blind physical law and become satisfied.

85. Ie., if they are truthful in the claim that there are some other deities as well who share the divinity of God. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

All this discussion can be briefly summarized: he who does not believe in God should answer the questions cited earlier. And if he believes in God but associates others with Him should present an argument in their favour. The onus of proof nevertheless rests with disbelievers and polytheists. Those who believe in God do not have any responsibility to prove anything. They believe in an obvious reality. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 5, 623

86. Ie., neither is the time of the Hereafter known to anyone nor of the punishment which visits a nation after the truth is conclusively delivered to it. The Prophet (sws) is also among these people and hence can only say that if they do not believe they will be visited by a torment; he knows nothing beyond this.

87. Ie., neither can they blatantly deny nor do they want to believe. Hence, they have been inflicted by a kind of mental confusion.

88. Here the Qur’an has mentioned the gradual evolution of the ailment that afflicts them. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

It is a fact that the real reason of aversion and indifference to facts is aversion to the Hereafter. Since believing in it entails great responsibilities, human beings run away from it. And since there is no escape route, a person tries to find back-doors. This creates great mental confusion for him. He tries to doubt facts in order to evade them. This unnatural quest afflicts him the with the syndrome of doubt the result of which is that he has to close his eyes to blatant facts and live as a blind person. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 5, 629

89. Ie., the ‘Ād and the Thamud etc whose accounts were mentioned in the Qur’an at various instances and of which the devastated ruins were present right in the land of Arabia.

90. An assurance is sounded to the Prophet (sws) here: he should not feel sorrow at their obstinacy and stubbornness nor should he be grieved by their pranks. He should discharge his duty; these people are being seized by God and they have no place to run away from Him.

91. Ie., the lesser day of judgement which is ever in pursuit of the disbelievers after conclusive communication to them by messengers of God.

92. The threat and admonition found in these words are not hidden from a student of the Qur’an. The purport is: the Almighty has written all their misdeeds; nothing will remain hidden from Him. What they are asking to be hastened is going to come precisely to reveal their accounts to them; hence they should think about what they are asking to hasten.

93. This is a reference to the differences the Israelites had regarding certain facts about the messengerhood of Muhammad (sws).

94. This is because as soon as they will believe in it, it will lead them away from the labyrinth of differences to the straight path and make them worthy of God’s mercy both in this world and in the next.

95. Ie., if they do not accept God’s verdict here, they will have to listen to the same verdict in the Hereafter and at that time none will have a chance to speak.

96. The preposition عَنْ occurs with هَادِي. This shows there exists here another verb that collocates with this preposition. The translation has been done keeping in view this aspect.

97. This is a reference to the established practice of God regarding providing guidance to people: only those  receive guidance who are ready to welcome it while disregarding all biases; those who run away from it becoming blind and deaf to it are deprived of this favour.

98. Ie., when the truth will have been communicated and the time of the verdict arrives.

99. Ie., it will make evident these facts by its existence. The word تُكَلِّمُهُمْ  occurs to convey this meaning. It occurs here in the same meaning as in verse 35 of Surah al-Rum. This will happen because those who are not prepared to listen to the last messenger of God should then only be borne witness to by animals. However, this never happened because most of the Quraysh professed faith in Muhammad (sws). It is evident  from various narratives that a similar situation will be created for people near the end of time, and an animal will be taken out from the earth (دَآبَةُ الاَرْضِ)  to stand before them.

100. Ie., each group will be categorized with respect to its crimes and their extent.

101. The implication is that there would have been some logic in their attitude if all the secrets of the universe had been unveiled and then they had denied them. On the contrary, they have tried to raze down an edifice by throwing pebbles at it. There is also a great admonition in this for the scientists of current times. They are showing a similar audacity after they have discovered some laws of matter. Whereas a great universe that extends over distances of many light years still offers a huge world for their study.

102. Ie., the verdict of God will be delivered to cast them into Hell.

103. In the first part of the sentence مُظْلِمًا and in the second part لِتًعْلَمُوْا or words to this effect are suppressed in accordance with linguistic principles. They have been expressed in the translation. The implication is that if not anything else people should only reflect on the alternation of day and night: very apparent in it is such wisdom, meaningfulness and planning. At the same time, both these are parables of life and death as well. People should see how punctually they are reminding them of the Day of Judgement. Does any doubt remain even after this about resurrection and the hereafter?

104. It is evident from the style of the verse that the verb here expresses intention.

105. The actual words are:  صُنۡعَ اللّهِ الَّذِیۡۤ اَتۡقَنَ کُلَّ شَیۡءٍ ۚ. This expression is similar to وَعْدَ اللّٰهِ and صِبْغَةِ اللّٰهِ. This style is adopted in Arabic when the purpose is to direct attention towards something specially.

106. Thus will definitely give its reward and punishment. The succeeding verses provide details.

107. At the end of the surah, the Quraysh are reminded in a very decisive way that the Prophet (sws) has been sent for the same purpose for which God had directed their forefather Abraham (sws) to make this city a global centre of monotheism. Thus they must uphold this belief in both worship and obedience and the master of this city has directed the Prophet (sws) precisely towards this.

108. Ie., through the Qur’an the Prophet (sws) should call them to the belief of monotheism which he has adopted and explained its requisites to them.

109. Ie., the only responsibility of the Prophet (sws) is to remind people and he is discharging this responsibility and is not concerned with any of what these people are demanding.

110. Ie., they will get to know that these are the same signs about which the Prophet (sws) had warned them. Thus it is known that all these signs manifested themselves after migration and the people saw with their very eyes how true his claims were.

111. Ie., when He is not unaware, then they should be warned that He will definitely call them to account.


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