Surah Luqman In Arabic
الم ﴿1﴾ تِلْكَ آيَاتُ الْكِتَابِ الْحَكِيمِ ﴿2﴾ هُدًى وَرَحْمَةً لِلْمُحْسِنِينَ ﴿3﴾ الَّذِينَ يُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَهُمْ بِالْآخِرَةِ هُمْ يُوقِنُونَ ﴿4﴾ أُولَٰئِكَ عَلَىٰ هُدًى مِنْ رَبِّهِمْ ۖ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ ﴿5﴾ وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَنْ يَشْتَرِي لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ لِيُضِلَّ عَنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَيَتَّخِذَهَا هُزُوًا ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُهِينٌ ﴿6﴾ وَإِذَا تُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِ آيَاتُنَا وَلَّىٰ مُسْتَكْبِرًا كَأَنْ لَمْ يَسْمَعْهَا كَأَنَّ فِي أُذُنَيْهِ وَقْرًا ۖ فَبَشِّرْهُ بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ ﴿7﴾ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتُ النَّعِيمِ ﴿8﴾ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا ۖ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقًّا ۚ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ ﴿9﴾ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ بِغَيْرِ عَمَدٍ تَرَوْنَهَا ۖ وَأَلْقَىٰ فِي الْأَرْضِ رَوَاسِيَ أَنْ تَمِيدَ بِكُمْ وَبَثَّ فِيهَا مِنْ كُلِّ دَابَّةٍ ۚ وَأَنْزَلْنَا مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَأَنْبَتْنَا فِيهَا مِنْ كُلِّ زَوْجٍ كَرِيمٍ ﴿10﴾ هَٰذَا خَلْقُ اللَّهِ فَأَرُونِي مَاذَا خَلَقَ الَّذِينَ مِنْ دُونِهِ ۚ بَلِ الظَّالِمُونَ فِي ضَلَالٍ مُبِينٍ ﴿11﴾ وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا لُقْمَانَ الْحِكْمَةَ أَنِ اشْكُرْ لِلَّهِ ۚ وَمَنْ يَشْكُرْ فَإِنَّمَا يَشْكُرُ لِنَفْسِهِ ۖ وَمَنْ كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَنِيٌّ حَمِيدٌ ﴿12﴾ وَإِذْ قَالَ لُقْمَانُ لِابْنِهِ وَهُوَ يَعِظُهُ يَا بُنَيَّ لَا تُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ ۖ إِنَّ الشِّرْكَ لَظُلْمٌ عَظِيمٌ ﴿13﴾ وَوَصَّيْنَا الْإِنْسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُ وَهْنًا عَلَىٰ وَهْنٍ وَفِصَالُهُ فِي عَامَيْنِ أَنِ اشْكُرْ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيْكَ إِلَيَّ الْمَصِيرُ ﴿14﴾ وَإِنْ جَاهَدَاكَ عَلَىٰ أَنْ تُشْرِكَ بِي مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ فَلَا تُطِعْهُمَا ۖ وَصَاحِبْهُمَا فِي الدُّنْيَا مَعْرُوفًا ۖ وَاتَّبِعْ سَبِيلَ مَنْ أَنَابَ إِلَيَّ ۚ ثُمَّ إِلَيَّ مَرْجِعُكُمْ فَأُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ ﴿15﴾ يَا بُنَيَّ إِنَّهَا إِنْ تَكُ مِثْقَالَ حَبَّةٍ مِنْ خَرْدَلٍ فَتَكُنْ فِي صَخْرَةٍ أَوْ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ أَوْ فِي الْأَرْضِ يَأْتِ بِهَا اللَّهُ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَطِيفٌ خَبِيرٌ ﴿16﴾ يَا بُنَيَّ أَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ وَأْمُرْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَانْهَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَاصْبِرْ عَلَىٰ مَا أَصَابَكَ ۖ إِنَّ ذَٰلِكَ مِنْ عَزْمِ الْأُمُورِ ﴿17﴾ وَلَا تُصَعِّرْ خَدَّكَ لِلنَّاسِ وَلَا تَمْشِ فِي الْأَرْضِ مَرَحًا ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ مُخْتَالٍ فَخُورٍ ﴿18﴾ وَاقْصِدْ فِي مَشْيِكَ وَاغْضُضْ مِنْ صَوْتِكَ ۚ إِنَّ أَنْكَرَ الْأَصْوَاتِ لَصَوْتُ الْحَمِيرِ ﴿19﴾ أَلَمْ تَرَوْا أَنَّ اللَّهَ سَخَّرَ لَكُمْ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَأَسْبَغَ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعَمَهُ ظَاهِرَةً وَبَاطِنَةً ۗ وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَنْ يُجَادِلُ فِي اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَلَا هُدًى وَلَا كِتَابٍ مُنِيرٍ ﴿20﴾ وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمُ اتَّبِعُوا مَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ قَالُوا بَلْ نَتَّبِعُ مَا وَجَدْنَا عَلَيْهِ آبَاءَنَا ۚ أَوَلَوْ كَانَ الشَّيْطَانُ يَدْعُوهُمْ إِلَىٰ عَذَابِ السَّعِيرِ ﴿21﴾ وَمَنْ يُسْلِمْ وَجْهَهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَهُوَ مُحْسِنٌ فَقَدِ اسْتَمْسَكَ بِالْعُرْوَةِ الْوُثْقَىٰ ۗ وَإِلَى اللَّهِ عَاقِبَةُ الْأُمُورِ ﴿22﴾ وَمَنْ كَفَرَ فَلَا يَحْزُنْكَ كُفْرُهُ ۚ إِلَيْنَا مَرْجِعُهُمْ فَنُنَبِّئُهُمْ بِمَا عَمِلُوا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ ﴿23﴾ نُمَتِّعُهُمْ قَلِيلًا ثُمَّ نَضْطَرُّهُمْ إِلَىٰ عَذَابٍ غَلِيظٍ ﴿24﴾ وَلَئِنْ سَأَلْتَهُمْ مَنْ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ لَيَقُولُنَّ اللَّهُ ۚ قُلِ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ ۚ بَلْ أَكْثَرُهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ ﴿25﴾ لِلَّهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الْغَنِيُّ الْحَمِيدُ ﴿26﴾ وَلَوْ أَنَّمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ مِنْ شَجَرَةٍ أَقْلَامٌ وَالْبَحْرُ يَمُدُّهُ مِنْ بَعْدِهِ سَبْعَةُ أَبْحُرٍ مَا نَفِدَتْ كَلِمَاتُ اللَّهِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ ﴿27﴾ مَا خَلْقُكُمْ وَلَا بَعْثُكُمْ إِلَّا كَنَفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ سَمِيعٌ بَصِيرٌ ﴿28﴾ أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ يُولِجُ اللَّيْلَ فِي النَّهَارِ وَيُولِجُ النَّهَارَ فِي اللَّيْلِ وَسَخَّرَ الشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ كُلٌّ يَجْرِي إِلَىٰ أَجَلٍ مُسَمًّى وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ ﴿29﴾ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الْحَقُّ وَأَنَّ مَا يَدْعُونَ مِنْ دُونِهِ الْبَاطِلُ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الْعَلِيُّ الْكَبِيرُ ﴿30﴾ أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ الْفُلْكَ تَجْرِي فِي الْبَحْرِ بِنِعْمَتِ اللَّهِ لِيُرِيَكُمْ مِنْ آيَاتِهِ ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِكُلِّ صَبَّارٍ شَكُورٍ ﴿31﴾ وَإِذَا غَشِيَهُمْ مَوْجٌ كَالظُّلَلِ دَعَوُا اللَّهَ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ فَلَمَّا نَجَّاهُمْ إِلَى الْبَرِّ فَمِنْهُمْ مُقْتَصِدٌ ۚ وَمَا يَجْحَدُ بِآيَاتِنَا إِلَّا كُلُّ خَتَّارٍ كَفُورٍ ﴿32﴾ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمْ وَاخْشَوْا يَوْمًا لَا يَجْزِي وَالِدٌ عَنْ وَلَدِهِ وَلَا مَوْلُودٌ هُوَ جَازٍ عَنْ وَالِدِهِ شَيْئًا ۚ إِنَّ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقٌّ ۖ فَلَا تَغُرَّنَّكُمُ الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا وَلَا يَغُرَّنَّكُمْ بِاللَّهِ الْغَرُورُ ﴿33﴾ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عِنْدَهُ عِلْمُ السَّاعَةِ وَيُنَزِّلُ الْغَيْثَ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا فِي الْأَرْحَامِ ۖ وَمَا تَدْرِي نَفْسٌ مَاذَا تَكْسِبُ غَدًا ۖ وَمَا تَدْرِي نَفْسٌ بِأَيِّ أَرْضٍ تَمُوتُ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ ﴿34﴾
Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem
- Tilka Aayaatul Kitaabil Hakeem
- Hudanw wa rahmatal lilmuhsineen
- Allazeena yuqeemoonas Salaata wa yu’toonaz Zakaata wa hum bil Aakhirati hum yooqinoon
- Ulaaa’ika ‘alaa hudam mir Rabbihim wa ulaaa’ika humul muflihoon
- Wa minan naasi mai-yashtaree lahwal haddesi li yudilla ‘an sabeelil laahi bighairi ‘ilminw wa yattakhizahaa huzuwaa; ulaaa’ika lahum ‘azaabum muheen
- Wa izaa tutlaa ‘alayhi Aayaatunaa wallaa mustakbiran ka al lam yasma’haa ka anna feee uzunaihi waqran fabash shiru bi’azaabin aleem
- Innal lazeena aamanoo wa ‘amilus saalihaati lahum Janaatun Na’eem
- Khaalideena feeha wa’dal laahi haqqaa; wa Huwal ‘Azeezul Hakeem
- Khalaqas samaawaati bi ghairi ‘amadin tarawnahaa wa alqaa fil ardi rawaasiya an tameeda bikum wa bassa feehaa min kulli daaabbah; wa anzalnaa minas samaaa’i maaa’an fa ambatnaa feeha min kulli zawjin kareem
- Haazaa khalqul laahi fa aroonee maazaa khalaqal lazeena min doonih; baliz zaalimoona fee dalalim Mubeen (section 1)
- Wa laqad aatainaa Luqmaanal hikmata anishkur lillaah; wa many yashkur fa innamaa yashkuru linafsihee wa man kafara fa innal laaha Ghaniyyun Hameed
- Wa iz qaala luqmaanu libnihee wa huwa ya’izuhoo ya bunaiya laa tushrik billaah; innash shirka lazulmun ‘azeem
- Wa wassainal insaana bi waalidaihi hamalat hu ummuhoo wahnan ‘alaa wahninw wa fisaaluhoo fee ‘aamaini anishkur lee wa liwaalidaika ilaiyal maseer
- Wa in jaahadaaka ‘alaaa an tushrika bee maa laisa laka bihee ‘ilmun falaa tuti’humaa wa saahib humaa fid dunyaa ma’roofanw wattabi’ sabeela man anaaba ilayy; summa ilaiya marji’ukum fa unabbi’ukum bimaa kuntum ta’maloon
- Ya bunaiya innahaaa in taku misqaala habbatim min khardalin fatakun fee sakhratin aw fis samaawaati aw fil ardi yaati bi Allah; innal laaha lateefun Khabeer
- Yaa bunaiya aqimis-Salaata waamur bilma’roofi wanha ‘anil munkari wasbir ‘alaa maaa asaabaka inna zaalika min ‘azmil umoor
- Wa laa tusa’-‘ir khaddaka linnaasi wa laa tamshi fil ardi maarahan innal laaha laa yuhibbu kulla mukhtaalin fakhoor
- Waqsid fee mashyika waghdud min sawtik; inna ankaral aswaati lasawtul hameer (section 2)
- Alam taraw annal laaha sakhkhara lakum maa fis sa maawaati wa maa fil ardi wa asbagha ‘alaikum ni’amahoo zaahiratanw wa baatinah; wa minan naasi many yujaadilu fil laahi bighayri ‘ilminw wa laa hudanw wa laa Kitaabim muneer
- Wa izaa qeela lahumut-tabi’oo maaa anzalal laahu qaaloo bal nattabi’u maa wajadnaa ‘alaihi aabaaa’anaa; awalaw kaanash Shaitaanu yad’oohum ilaa ‘azaabis sa’eer
- Wa many yuslim wajha hooo ilal laahi wa huwa muhsinun faqadistamsaka bil’ur watil wusqaa; wa ilal laahi ‘aaqibatul umoor
- Wa man kafara falaa yahzunka kufruh; ilainaa marji’uhum fanunabbi’uhum bimaa ‘amiloo; innal laaha ‘aleemum bizaatis sudoor
- Numatti’uhum qaleelan summa nadtarruhum ilaa ‘azaabin ghaleez
- Wa la’in sa altahum man khalaqas samaawaati wal arda la yaqoolunnal laah; qulil hamdu lillaah; bal aksaruhum laa ya’lamoon
- Lillahi ma fis samaa waati wal ard; innal laaha Huwal Ghaniyyul Hameed
- Wa law annamaa fil ardi min shajaratin aqlaamunw wal bahru yamudduhoo mim ba’dihee sab’atu abhurim maa nafidat Kalimaatul laah; innal laaha ‘azeezun Hakeem
- Maa khalqukum wa laa ba’sukum illaa kanafsinw-waa hidah; innal laaha Samee’um Baseer
- Alam tara annal laaha yoolijul laila fin nahaari wa yoolijun nahaara fil laili wa sakhkharash shamsa wal qamara kulluny yajreee ilaaa ajalim musammanw wa annal laaha bimaa ta’maloona Khabeer
- Zaalika bi annal laaha Huwal Haqqu wa anna maa yad’oona min doonihil baatilu wa annal laaha Huwal ‘Aliyyul Kabeer(section 3)
- Alam tara annal fulka tajree fil bahri bini’matil laahi li yuriyakum min Aayaatih; inna fee zaalika la Aayaatil likulli sabbaarin shakoor
- Wa izaa ghashiyahum mawjun kazzulali da’a-wul laaha mukhliseena lahud deena fa lammaa najjaahum ilal barri faminhum muqtasid; wa maa yajhadu bi Aayaatinaa illaa kullu khattaarin kafoor
- Yaaa ayyuhan naasuttaqoo Rabbakum wakhshaw Yawmal laa yajzee waalidun ‘anw waladihee wa laa mawloodun huwa jaazin ‘anw waalidihee shai’aa; innaa wa’dal laahi haqqun falaa taghurran nakumul hayaatud dunyaa wa laa yaghur rannakum billaahil gharoor
- Innal laaha ‘indahoo ‘ilmus saa’ati wa yunazzilul ghaisa wa ya’lamu maa fil arhaami wa maa tadree nafsum maazaa taksibu ghadaa; wa maa tadree nafsum bi ayyi ardin tamoot; innal laaha ‘Aleemun Khabeer (section 4)
In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
- Lam. Mim.
- These are revelations of the wise Scripture,
- A guidance and a mercy for the good,
- Those who establish worship and pay the poor-due and have sure faith in the Hereafter.
- Such have guidance from their Lord. Such are the successful.
- And of mankind is he who payeth for mere pastime of discourse, that he may mislead from Allah’s way without knowledge, and maketh it the butt of mockery. For such there is a shameful doom.
- And when Our revelations are recited unto him he turneth away in pride as if he heard them not, as if there were a deafness in his ears. So give him tidings of a painful doom.
- Lo! those who believe and do good works, for them are the gardens of delight,
- Wherein they will abide. It is a promise of Allah in truth. He is the Mighty, the Wise.
- He hath created the heavens without supports that ye can see, and hath cast into the earth firm hills, so that it quake not with you; and He hath dispersed therein all kinds of beasts. And We send down water from the sky and We cause (plants) of every goodly kind to grow therein.
- This is the Creation of Allah. Now show me that which those (ye worship) beside Him have created. Nay, but the wrong-doers are in error manifest!
- And verily We gave Luqman wisdom, saying: Give thanks unto Allah; and whosoever giveth thanks, he giveth thanks for (the good of) his soul. And whosoever refuseth – Lo! Allah is Absolute, Owner of Praise.
- And (remember) when Luqman said unto his son, when he was exhorting him: O my dear son! Ascribe no partners unto Allah. Lo! to ascribe partners (unto Him) is a tremendous wrong –
- And We have enjoined upon man concerning his partners – His mother beareth him in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years – Give thanks unto Me and unto thy parents. Unto Me is the journeying.
- But if they strive with thee to make thee ascribe unto Me as partner that of which thou hast no knowledge, then obey them not. Consort with them in the world kindly, and follow the path of him who repenteth unto Me. Then unto Me will be your return, and I shall tell you what ye used to do –
- O my dear son! Lo! though it be but the weight of a grain of mustard-seed, and though it be in a rock, or in the heavens, or in the earth, Allah will bring it forth. Lo! Allah is Subtile, Aware.
- O my dear son! Establish worship and enjoin kindness and forbid iniquity, and persevere whatever may befall thee. Lo! that is of the steadfast heart of things.
- Turn not thy cheek in scorn toward folk, nor walk with pertness in the land. Lo! Allah loveth not each braggart boaster.
- Be modest in thy bearing and subdue thy voice. Lo! the harshest of all voices is the voice of the ass.
- See ye not how Allah hath made serviceable unto you whatsoever is in the skies and whatsoever is in the earth and hath loaded you with His favours both without and within? Yet of mankind is he who disputeth concerning Allah, without knowledge or guidance or a scripture giving light.
- And if it be said unto them: Follow that which Allah hath revealed, they say: Nay, but we follow that wherein we found our fathers. What! Even though the devil were inviting them unto the doom of flame?
- Whosoever surrendereth his purpose to Allah while doing good, he verily hath grasped the firm hand-hold. Unto Allah belongeth the sequel of all things.
- And whosoever disbelieveth, let not his disbelief afflict thee ( O Muhammad). Unto Us is their return, and We shall tell them what they did. Lo! Allah is Aware of what is in the breasts (of men).
- We give them comfort for a little, and then We drive them to a heavy doom.
- If thou shouldst ask them: Who created the heavens and the earth? they would answer: Allah. Say: Praise be to Allah! But most of them know not.
- Unto Allah belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and the earth. Lo! Allah, He is the Absolute, the Owner of Praise.
- And if all the trees in the earth were pens, and the sea, with seven more seas to help it, (were ink), the words of Allah could not be exhausted. Lo! Allah is Mighty, Wise.
- Your creation and your raising (from the dead) are only as (the creation and the raising of) a single soul. Lo! Allah is Hearer, Knower.
- Hast thou not seen how Allah causeth the night to pass into the day and causeth the day to pass into the night, and hath subdued the sun and the moon (to do their work), each running unto an appointed term; and that Allah is Informed of what ye do?
- That (is so) because Allah, He is the True, and that which they invoke beside Him is the False, and because Allah, He is the Sublime, the Great.
- Hast thou not seen how the ships glide on the sea by Allah’s grace, that He may show you of His wonders? Lo! therein indeed are portents for every steadfast, grateful (heart).
- And if a wave enshroudeth them like awnings, they cry unto Allah, making their faith pure for Him only. But when He bringeth them safe to land, some of them compromise. None denieth Our signs save every traitor ingrate.
- O mankind! Keep your duty to your Lord and fear a Day when the parent will not be able to avail the child in aught, nor the child to avail the parent. Lo! Allah’s promise is the very truth. Let not the life of the world beguile you, nor let the deceiver beguile you, in regard to Allah.
- Lo! Allah! With Him is knowledge of the Hour. He sendeth down the rain, and knoweth that which is in the wombs. No soul knoweth what it will earn to-morrow, and no soul knoweth in what land it will die. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware.
[From Holy Quran Translation by Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall]
الَّذِيْنَ يُقِيْمُوْنَ الصَّلٰوةَ وَيُؤْتُوْنَ الزَّكٰوةَ وَهُمْ بِالْاٰخِرَةِ هُمْ يُوْقِنُوْنَ
The words: يُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ (pay Zakah) in Verse 4 carry the injunction of Zakah, although the verse is Makki. This tells us that the original injunction of Zakah had already been revealed before Hijrah, right there in Makkah al-Mu` azzamah. As for the popular assumption that the injunction of Zakah was enforced in the second year of Hijrah, it refers to the arrangement of fixing its nisab (threshold), providing details of obligatory amount to be paid, collecting and disbursing it on authorized heads by the Islamic government. This was done in the second year of Hijrah.
Ibn Kathir while commenting on verse 20 of Surah Al-Muzzammil: وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ (Establish Salah and pay Zakah – 73:20) has arrived at the same conclusion, because Surah Al-Muzzammil as one of the Makki surahs was revealed during the very initial period of the revelation of the Qur’an. This tells us that the way Salah and Zakah have been described mostly side by side in the verses of the Qur’an, its obligation had also taken effect side by side. Allah knows best.
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَنْ يَّشْتَرِيْ لَهْوَ الْحَدِيْثِ لِيُضِلَّ عَنْ سَبِيْلِ اللّٰهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ ڰ وَّيَتَّخِذَهَا هُزُوًا ۭ اُولٰۗىِٕكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُّهِيْنٌ
The word: اشتراء (ishtira) in: وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَشْتَرِي لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ (And from among the people who buys the distracting amusement of things – 31:6) literally means ‘to buy.’ And on occasions, the same word is used in the sense of ‘doing an act instead of another’ – as in: أُولَـٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ اشْتَرَوُا الضَّلَالَةَ بِالْهُدَىٰ are the people who have bought error at the rice of guidance – 2:16, 2:175 and in some other verses.
The Cause of Revelation
This verse was revealed because of a particular event relating to Nadr Ibn Harith. He was one of the top businessmen from among the Mushriks of Makkah who used to travel to different countries in connection with his business. Once he bought and brought back a collection of historical stories featuring Cyrus and other Persian kings from Iran. Thus armed, he said to the Quraish of Makkah: “Muhammad tells you the stories of the people of ` Ad and Thamud and others. I shall tell you better stories, those of Rustam, Isfandyar and other kings of Persia. They started listening to his stories eagerly simply because they contained no lessons to learn and no work to do. It was nothing but some delicious stories. Because of these, many Mushriks who had some measure of interest in the Divine Word because of its miraculous nature, rather listened to it stealthily, found an excuse to draw away from the Qur’an. (ذکرہ في الروح عن أسباب النزول للواحدي، و مقاتل و ذکرنحوہ في الدر المنثور برواية البيهقي)
And according to a narration of Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas (رض) in Ad-Durr al-Manthur, the businessman mentioned above had brought in a singing bondwoman he bought in a foreign country. It was through her that he devised a plan to stop people from listening to the Qur’an. When he found anyone intending to go and listen to the Qur’ an, he would have him hear his bondwoman sing before him. He used to say: ‘Muhammad ‘ makes you listen to the Qur’an, then goes on to ask you to pray and fast which make life difficult for you. Come, you listen to this music and enjoy the fun.’
The verse of the Qur’an being referred to here was revealed in relation to this very event. Here, the ishtira’ (buying) of lahw al-hadith (the distracting amusement of things) means either those tales of the Persian kings, or this singing bondwoman. In terms of the event in the background of the revelation, the word: (ishtira) has been used in the real sense for buying.
And in terms of the general sense of لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ (lahw al-Oath: the distracting amusement of things) being enunciated later, the word: اِشتَرَا (ishtira’ ) is also in its general sense at this place, that is, to opt for something instead of something else. This includes the buying of things of ‘lahw’ (amusement) as well.
As for the word: حَدِيثِ (hadith) in لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ (lahw al-hadith), it is there in the sense of tales told and things said and done. Then the word لَهْوَ ‘lahw’ itself literally means to become heedless. In other words, things that make one become negligent of what must be done are also called ‘lahw.’ Then there are occasions when things that bring no worthwhile benefit, rather serve as pastime or entertainment only, are also referred to as لَهْوَ ‘ lahw.’
As regards the meaning and exegetical explanation of the expression: لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ (lahw al-hadith: distracting amusement of things – 4) in the cited verse, sayings of commentators differ. In a narration of Sayyidna Ibn Masud, Ibn ` Abbas and Jabir (رض) it has been explained as music, vocal or instrumental (reported and verified by al-Hakim, and al-Baihaqi in ash-Shu` ab)
And in the view of the majority of Sahabah, Tabi` in and commentators at large, the expression: لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ (lahw al-hadith: the distracting amusement of things) applies generally to everything which makes one fall into a state of heedlessness as to the remembrance and worship of Allah. Included therein is music accompanied by instruments, and obscene or absurd fictional narratives as well. Imam al-Bukhari in his book, al-‘Adab al-Mufrad, and al-Baihaqi in his Sunan have both elected to go by this Tafsfr. Al-Bukhari has said:
لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ ھوَ الغنآُء و أَشباھُه
‘Lahw al-hadith’ means playing music and things similar to it make one heedless to the worship of Allah).
And it appears in Sunan al-Baihaqii that opting for or buying the distracting amusement of things (اِشتَرَاء لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ : ishtira’ lahw al-hadith) means buying a bondman or bondwoman who sings and plays instruments, or buying similar other immodest things which make one heedless to the remembrance of Allah. Ibn Jarir has also taken to this general sense. The same generality is proved by a narration of Tirmidhi where the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) has been reported to have said, ‘Do not buy or sell singing bondwomen,’ after which he said, مِثل ھٰذا انزلت ھٰذہ الآیۃ و مِنَ النَّاس مَن یَّشتَرِی (About such things this verse [ i.e. verse 6 which is under discussion ] was revealed)
Islamic Legal Injunctions of لَھو وَ لَعِب ‘Lahw wa La` ib’ (play and game) and its Equipment
Full details of these injunctions supported by and Sunnah have been provided in a treatise contained in اَحکام القرآن (Ahkam ul-Qur’an) written by this humble writer. It also carries an equally detailed discussion on music and musical instruments in the light of the Qur’an and Hadith along with the sayings of Muslim jurists and mystics. This treatise in Arabic* has been published in volume V of Ahkam ul-Qur’an. Learned readers may consult it at their discretion. A gist is being given here for others interested in the subject.
First of all, it should be borne in mind wherever the Qur’an has mentioned Lahw and La’ib, it is in the context of its disparagement and degradation, the lowest degree of which is karahah (repugnance or reprehensibility) (Ruh ul-Ma’ ani and al-Kashshaf) and the cited verse is open and clear in declaring it as vice.
And in Kitabul-Jihad of al-Hakim’s Mustadrak, it has been reported by Sayyidna Abu Hurairah (رض) that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said:
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، قَالَ: «كُلُّ شَيْءٍ مِنْ لَهُوِ الدُّنْيَا بَاطِلٌ إِلَّا ثَلَاثَةٌ، انْتِضَالُكَ بِقَوْسِكَ، وَتَأْدِيبُكَ فَرَسَكَ، وَمُلَاعَبَتُكَ أَهْلَكَ، فَإِنَّهَا مِنَ الْحَقِّ». (المستدرك على الصحيحين للحاكم: 2/ 104)
Every Lahw (play) of the world is false except three things: (1) that you play with your bow and arrow (2) and that you play while training your horse and (3) that you play with your wife – because these are among acceptable rights.
(Hakim has said that this Hadith is Sahih on the condition set forth by Muslim. But, adh-Dhahabi and others have not accepted it as muttasil, (of an uninterrupted chain) Instead, he calls it a mursal (of an interrupted chain). But, in the sight of the majority of Hadith experts, a mursal hadith is also authentic).
In this Hadith, every ‘lahw’ or play has been declared as false with the exception of three. These, in reality, are just not included under the definition of ‘lahw’ because ‘lahw’ is supposed to be something in which there is no worthwhile religious or worldly benefit. And these three things are worthwhile. Many religious and worldly advantages are attached with them. As for archery and training of horses, they are part of the preparation for Jihad. Then, playfulness with one’s wife serves the purpose of procreation. That they have been named as ‘lahw’ is simply because of outward similarity. In terms of reality, they are just not included under ‘lahw.’ Similarly, other than these three, there are many things that yield religious or worldly benefit while, seen outwardly, they are supposed to be ‘lahw’ or play. These too have been rated as permissible in other narrations of Hadith; in fact, some of these have been declared to be commendable. Relevant detail will follow.
In gist, the doing of things which are ‘lahw,’ in real terms, that is, in which there is no benefit, neither religious nor worldly, are all necessarily blameworthy and makruh (repugnant, reprehensible) after all. Then, there are details about them. Some reach the extent of kufr (infidelity). Others are explicitly حَرَام Haram (forbidden) the lowest degree of which is their being makruh tanzihi, that is, counter to the preferred choice (khilaf al-awl. No ‘lahw,’ which really qualifies as ‘lahw,’ is exempt from it. As for the plays exempted in Hadith, they definition of ‘lahw’ as it has been already clarified in Hadith itself. In Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, An-Nasai and Ibn Majah, there is a narration from Sayyidna ‘Uqbah Ibn ` Amir (رض) ، It appears in Kitab ul-Jihad in the words: لَيسَ مِنَ اللَّھوِ ثَلَاثُ تادِيبُ الرَّجلِ فَرَسَہ، وَملَا عَبَتُہ، اَھلَہ، وَرَمیُہ، بِقَوسِہٖ وَنَبلِہٖ (Three things do not fall under ‘lahw:’ (1) Man training his horse and (2) playing with his wife and (3) shooting with his bow and arrows (Nasbur-Rayah, p. 273, v. 4). This Hadith has itself made it clear that these three things that have been exempted are simply not included in ‘lahw.’ and that which is really ‘lahw’ is false and blameworthy. The different degrees of its blameworthiness follow next:
- Playing that becomes a conduit of going astray from one’s Religion, or making others turn away from it, is kufr (infidelity) – as stated in the cited verse: وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَشْتَرِي لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ – 6. There it has been declared to be an act of grave error and infidelity, the punishment of which is painful, a punishment particular to those who have disbelieved (kuffar). The reason is that this verse was revealed following an event relating to Nadr Ibn Harith in which he had used this ‘lahw’ to divert people from Islam. Therefore, this ‘lahw’ (distracting amusement) did not remain simply Haram (forbidden), in fact, it went to the extent of becoming kufr (infidelity).
- The second form is that which does not make people go astray from Islamic Beliefs, but does make them get involved with something forbidden and sinful. This, then, would not be kufr as such. But, patently unlawful and gravely sinful it shall remain – as do all those games played with bets. In other words, these may be games where the element of gambling (qimar) is present with giving or taking of money on winning or losing, or recreational activities that impede the performance of religious duties such as prayers and fasting etc.
The reading of Shameless Fiction or Poetry or Writings of the Proponents of the False is also Not Permissible.
In our time, an alarming number of young people get introduced to shameless fiction, stories and novels based on plots featuring people who fancy and flirt with crimes, and poetry composed of indecent and shameless couplets. All these things are included under this kind of distracting amusement which is forbidden ‘lahw.’ Similarly, the study of ideas dished out by the wayward proponents of the false is also not permissible for common people, because this could become an active agent in misleading them from the straight path. Should the ` U1ama’ who are well grounded in religious knowledge study them for rebuttal, it does not matter.
- As for playing games that have neither an element of kufr (infidelity) nor of open sinfulness, they are makruh (repugnant) in that one would be wasting his energy and time in an activity that yields no benefit.
Buying and Selling of the Equipment used in Games
From the details given above, we have also come to know the rule operating in the buying and selling of equipment used in games. The rule is that the trading, buying and selling of equipment used in games characterized by infidelity, error, unlawfulness and sin is also haram (forbidden). And that which is used in makruh lahw, its trading is also makruh; and the equipment that is used in permissible and exempted games, its trading is also permissible; and the equipment that is used in permissible and impermissible activities both, its trading is permissible.
Allowed and Permissible Games
As already explained in detail, what is blameworthy and prohibited is that particular ‘lahw’ or amusement or play or game which has no religious or worldly benefit in it. Games played to maintain physical health and mobility, or for some other religious or worldly need, or at the least, are for relief from fatigue without any excessive indulgence to the extent of causing disruption in necessary duties, then, such games are allowed by the Shari` ah. And should the participation in them be with the intention of fulfilling a religious need, then, they are thawab-worthy as well.
Also mentioned in the Hadith appearing above was the exemption of three game forms from the prohibition: Shooting of arrows, riding horses and playing with ‘ahl’ (wife). And in a marfu` hadith (attributed to the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم)) from Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas (رض) ، it appears: خَير لھو المؤمن السباحہ و خير لھو المرأۃ المغزل (The best game for a believer is swimming and the best game for a woman is the spinning wheel) (al-Jami` as-Saghir, from Ibn Adiyy, with weak chain of narrators).
According to a narration, Sayyidna Salamah Ibn Akwa’ (رض) ، says, “Someone from among the Ansar of Madinah was a great sprinter. No one could win a race against him. Once he publicly threw a challenge if there was anyone who would run a race against him. I sought the permission of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) if I could compete against him. When he gave me the permission, I was the one who went ahead in the race.’ This tells us that it is also permissible to practice foot racing.
Once, when a well-known wrestler called Rukanah challenged the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) to wrestle against him, he accepted the challenge and won the bout (Abu Dawud in al-marasil).
Some Ethiopian young men used to play with spears as a rehearsal. The Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) let Sayyidah ` A’ishah (رض) see their game of martial skill while she stood behind his back and he said to the performers, ” اِلھُوا وَالعبُوا ” (ilhu wal abu: have fun, keep playing) )Reported by al-Baihaqi in Ash-Shu’ab, as in al-Kanz, Bab ul-Lahw). In some narrations, the following words also appear along with it: فَاِنِّئ اَکرَہُ اَن يُّرٰی فِی دِينِکُم غِلظَۃُ (I do not like that people see harshness in your religion).
Similarly, it has been reported from some Sahabah that they, when tired after their duties relating to the Qur’an and Hadith, would once in a while relax with Arab poetry or historical events (from Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas (رض) in Kaff ar-Ra` a’ ).
In a Hadith, it was said: “ رُوِّحُوا القُلُبَ سَاعَۃً فَسَاعَۃً ”(Let your hearts rest now and then). [ Reported by Abiu Dawud in his Marasil from Ibn Shihab ‘mursalan’, that is, attributed to the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) by the student of one of the Sahabah with the name of the narrating Sahabi not mentioned ] This hadith proves the permissibility of recreation meant to relax one’s mind and heart and the need to spare some time for it.
However, when doing all these things, the aim should be to achieve the correct and sound objective of those games. Playing for the sake of playing should never be the objective. Even that too is restricted to the measure of need. Any indulgence that stretches to unreasonable proportions or touches the limits of excess would not be in order. Thus, the reason behind the justification of all these games is no other but that they have to be within their limits. If so, they would just not be counted as ‘lahw.’
Games Prohibited Explicitly
Along with the games mentioned above, there are others the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) has prohibited particularly – even though, some benefits may be seen therein – such as, chess, backgammon and others played with counters and pieces. If accompanied by giving and taking of money on winning and losing, then, this is gambling, and is absolutely haram (forbidden). And should this not be the case and they may be played just for enjoyment, even then, they have been prohibited in Hadith. According to a narration of Sayyidna Buraidah in the Sahih of Muslim, the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “A person who plays backgammon is like the one who has smeared his hands with the blood of pig.” Similar to this, there is another narration where words of curse appear against the player of chess. (Uqaili in ad-Du’afa’ from Sayyidna Ab` u Hurairah (رض) as in Nasbur-Rayah).
Similarly, the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) has declared playing with pigeons as impermissible. [ Abu Dawud in al-Marasil from Shuraih as in al-Kanz ] The apparent reason for the prohibition of this type of pastimes is that the player of these games becomes so preoccupied with them that he would turn heedless towards other things he must do, even to Salah, and other religious obligations.
The Injunctions of Music and Musical Instruments
Some Sahabah have explained the expression: لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ (lahw al-hadith: the distracting amusement of things) in the cited verse as singing and playing of musical instruments. Then, there are others who have explained it in the general sense and consider every such playful activity that makes one heedless towards Allah to be the meaning of: لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ (lahw al-hadith). But, even in their view, singing and playing of instrumental music are included therein.
And in another verse of the Qur’an: لَا يَشْهَدُونَ الزُّورَ (those who do not witness falsehood – Al-Furqan, 25:72), the word:… (az-zur: falsehood, the false) has been explained by Imam Abu Hanifah, Mujahid, Muhammad Ibn al-Hanafiyyah and others as ` ghina (singing and playing of instrumental music).
And Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah in Sunan and Ibn Hibban in his Sahih have reported from Sayyidna Abu Malik al-Ash’arl (رض) that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said:
عَنْ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنِ غَنْمٍ الْأَشْعَرِيِّ، عَنْ أَبِي مَالِكٍ الْأَشْعَرِيِّ، قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «لَيَشْرَبَنَّ نَاسٌ مِنْ أُمَّتِي الْخَمْرَ، يُسَمُّونَهَا بِغَيْرِ اسْمِهَا، يُعْزَفُ عَلَى رُءُوسِهِمْ بِالْمَعَازِفِ، وَالْمُغَنِّيَاتِ، يَخْسِفُ اللَّهُ بِهِمُ الْأَرْضَ، وَيَجْعَلُ مِنْهُمُ الْقِرَدَةَ وَالْخَنَازِيرَ». (سنن أبي داود: 3689، سنن ابن ماجه: 4020)
Indeed some people from my community will drink wine giving it a name other than the name it already has. Music will be played right on their faces with instruments and singing women in attendance. Allah Ta’ala will make the earth sink with them, while He will make some of them monkeys and pigs.
And according to a narration from Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn ` Abbas (رض) ، the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “Allah Ta’ ala has forbidden wine, gambling, drum and sarangi (string instrument like violin) and he said, “Everything that intoxicates is haram (forbidden, unlawful) [ Reported by Imam Ahmad, Abu Dawud and Ibn Hibban ]
It has been reported from Sayyidna Abu Hurairah (رض) that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said:
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «إِذَا اتُّخِذَ الفَيْءُ دُوَلًا، وَالأَمَانَةُ مَغْنَمًا، وَالزَّكَاةُ مَغْرَمًا، وَتُعُلِّمَ لِغَيْرِ الدِّينِ، وَأَطَاعَ الرَّجُلُ امْرَأَتَهُ، وَعَقَّ أُمَّهُ، وَأَدْنَى صَدِيقَهُ، وَأَقْصَى أَبَاهُ، وَظَهَرَتِ الأَصْوَاتُ فِي المَسَاجِدِ، وَسَادَ القَبِيلَةَ فَاسِقُهُمْ، وَكَانَ زَعِيمُ القَوْمِ أَرْذَلَهُمْ، وَأُكْرِمَ الرَّجُلُ مَخَافَةَ شَرِّهِ، وَظَهَرَتِ القَيْنَاتُ وَالمَعَازِفُ، وَشُرِبَتِ الخُمُورُ، وَلَعَنَ آخِرُ هَذِهِ الأُمَّةِ أَوَّلَهَا، فَلْيَرْتَقِبُوا عِنْدَ ذَلِكَ رِيحًا حَمْرَاءَ، وَزَلْزَلَةً وَخَسْفًا وَمَسْخًا وَقَذْفًا وَآيَاتٍ تَتَابَعُ كَنِظَامٍ بَالٍ قُطِعَ سِلْكُهُ فَتَتَابَعَ». (سنن الترمذي: 2211)
When spoils are taken as personal property and trust property as spoils and Zakah as penalty, and religious learning is acquired for worldly objectives, and when man starts obeying his wife and disobeying his mother, and keeps his friend near and his father far, and when voices rise in mosques and the chief of a tribe becomes its worst sinner and when the chief of a people becomes their lowest of the low and when wicked people are respected out of fear for them, and when singing girls and musical instruments appear all over and when wines of all sorts are consumed and when the later of this Ummah start cursing the former – then, at that time, you wait for a red storm, and earthquake, and the sinking of the earth, and the metamorphosis of figures and faces, and missiles, and the signs of Doomsday following each other, one after the other, like a broken necklace with its beads scattered simultaneously. (Reported by Tirmidhi calling it a Hasan-Gharib Hadith)
A Warning Not to Be Ignored!
Read the words of this Hadith again and again, and you will start seeing a blueprint of the world of our time spread out before you. Here is an advance warning given by the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) almost fourteen hundred years ago, against sins prevailing among Muslims, and which are increasing day by day. He has reminded Muslims that they have to remain vigilant against such conditions and take full precautions to avoid such sins both personally and socially. Otherwise, once these sins become accepted common practice, such sinners will be visited by Divine punishments. Then, the very last signs of Qiyamah will appear squarely before them. Since, the singing of women and the playing of musical instruments are included under those sins, this narration has been cited in the present context.
For that matter, there are many more authentic Ahadith where singing and playing of musical instruments have been declared unlawful and impermissible. Severe warnings have been given against indulging in these. This humble writer has cited all these narrations in his treatise entitled: کشف الغناء عن وصف الغِنَا which is in Arabic and has been published as Part V of Ahkam ul-Qur’an. Only some of those have been given here.
Reciting morally beneficial poetry in a good voice without musical instruments is not prohibited
In contrast to what has been stated above, there are narrations that seem to hint towards permissibility of ‘ghina” (singing). Such narrations have also been collected and included in the treatise referred to here. To bring the two kinds of narration in harmony, it can be said that the singing of a non-mahram woman, or a song accompanied by musical instruments are forbidden. This is in accordance with what has been proved on the authority of the cited verses of the Qur’an and from the Ahadith of the Holy Prophet.. However, if some poetic compositions are recited in a pleasing voice, and the reciting person is not a woman or a beardless young man, and the subject of the poetry recited is also not vulgar or indecent and is not inclusive of any other sin, then, it is permissible.
As for the reports attributed to some revered Sufis, that they listened to ‘ghina” (sama’ ), it is based on this kind of permissible ‘ghina”- because, it is certain that they followed the Shari` ah and Sunnah faithfully. That they would ever commit some such sin, simply cannot be imagined. Those learned among the Sufis have themselves explained it explicitly. The treatise mentioned earlier carries the sayings of the jurists of the four schools of jurisprudence as well as those of the Sufi authorities. At this place, the summary as given has been considered sufficient in the present context.*(* The original work in Arabic and its Urdu translation with exhaustive notes under the title, “Islam our Mausiqi” (Islam and Music) has been published by Maktaba-e-Darul-Uloom, Jamia Darul-Uloom, Korangi, Karachi-75180, Pakistan. Those interested in a detailed discussion of the subject would find both versions useful.)
خَلَقَ السَّمٰوٰتِ بِغَيْرِ عَمَدٍ تَرَوْنَهَا وَاَلْقٰى فِي الْاَرْضِ رَوَاسِيَ اَنْ تَمِيْدَ بِكُمْ وَبَثَّ فِيْهَا مِنْ كُلِّ دَاۗبَّةٍ ۭ وَاَنْزَلْنَا مِنَ السَّمَاۗءِ مَاۗءً فَاَنْۢبَتْنَا فِيْهَا مِنْ كُلِّ زَوْجٍ كَرِيْمٍ
Verse 10 opens with the words: خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ بِغَيْرِ عَمَدٍ تَرَوْنَهَا (He has created the skies without the pillars that you may see). Another verse on the same subject: الَّذِي رَفَعَ السَّمَاوَاتِ بِغَيْرِ عَمَدٍ تَرَوْنَهَا (Allah is the One who raised the heavens without pillars. You see them. 13:2) has appeared earlier in Surah Ar-Ra` d ( with a different translation). Analyzed grammatically, the text admits two alternative meanings.
- If we were to take تَرَوْنَهَا (tarawnah to be the attribute of عَمَدٍ ( ‘am-ad) and revert its pronoun to ‘amad, it would mean that Allah Ta` a1a created the skies without pillars that you may see, that is, had the pillars been there, you would have seen them. When pillars are not seen, it is clear that this great roof of the sky has been erected without pillars. This explanation has been reported from Sayyidna Hasan and Qatadah. (Ibn Kathir)
- And if we were to take the pronoun of: تَرَوْنَهَا (tarawnaha) as reverting to: السَّمَاوَاتِ (as-samawat: the skies) and this sentence as standing independently, then, it would mean that ‘Allah Ta’ ala created the skies without pillars as you see.’ Then, there is yet another option in the case of the first grammatical analysis whereby it could also be taken to mean that ‘The skies stand on pillars that you cannot see – they are invisible.’ This last explanation has been reported from Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas, ` Ikrimah and Mujahid (رض) (IbnKathir).
No matter what the option, the verse does point out to the particular sign of the perfect power of Allah Ta’ ala that He has made this extensive, high and magnificent roof in a way that no column and pillar is seen there-under.
وَلَقَدْ اٰتَيْنَا لُقْمٰنَ الْحِكْمَةَ اَنِ اشْكُرْ لِلّٰهِ ۭ وَمَنْ يَّشْكُرْ فَاِنَّمَا يَشْكُرُ لِنَفْسِهٖ ۚ وَمَنْ كَفَرَ فَاِنَّ اللّٰهَ غَنِيٌّ حَمِيْدٌ
Who was Luqman (عليه السلام) mentioned in verse 12: وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا لُقْمَانَ الْحِكْمَةَ (And We gave wisdom to Luqman)? According to a report of Wahb Ibn Munnabih, Luqman, (عليه السلام) was a nephew of Sayyidna Ayyub (Job) (عليه السلام) while Muqatil identifies him as his brother from his maternal aunt. It appears in Tafsir ul-Baidawi and elsewhere that he lived long, as long as the time of Sayyidna Dawud (عليه السلام) . It is proved by other reports too that Luqman (عليه السلام) appeared during the time of Sayyidna Dawud عليه السلام .
And the report of Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas (رض) appearing in ad-Durr al-Manthur says that he was an Ethiopian slave who worked as a carpenter (narrated by Ibn Abi Shaibah and Ahmad in az-Zuhd, and Ibn Jarir and Ibn al-Mundhir and others). When the Sahabi, Sayyidna Jabir Ibn ` Abdullah (رض) was asked about his background, he said that he was an Ethiopian of low height and flat nose. And Mujahid said that he was a thick-lipped, cracked-footed Ethiopian slave (al-Zajjaj). (Ibn Kathir)
An Ethiopian came to Said Ibn al-Musayyab looking for an answer to some religious problem. The famous Tabi` i consoled him by telling him that he should not worry about the dark color of his skin, because there were three highly revered persons from among the black people who were regarded as the best of any people anywhere. Then he cited the names of Sayyidna Bilal al-Habashi, Sayyidna Mahja’, the freed slave of Sayyidna ` Umar Ibn ul-Khattab (رض) and Luqman (عليه السلام) .
The Identity of Luqman (عليه السلام)
According to Ibn Kathir, the majority of the elders concur that he was not a prophet. That he was a prophet has been reported only from ` Ikrimah, but the authority of this report is weak. Then, Imam al-Baghawi reports a consensus on the fact that he was a man of wisdom and knowledgeable in religious law, but not a prophet. (Mazhari)
Ibn Kathir has also pointed out to an unusual report from Sayyidna Qatadah (رح) about him saying that Allah Ta’ ala had given Luqman (عليه السلام) choice between prophethood (nubuwwah) and wisdom (hikmah). He opted for wisdom. And in some reports, it appears that he was given the option to be a prophet. But he had submitted that he would be honored to accept it if that was a command, otherwise he should be excused.
Again, it has also been reported from Sayyidna Qatadah (رح) that someone asked Luqman: ‘Why did you prefer wisdom over prophethood while you were given a choice between the two?’ He said, ‘The office of a prophet carries great responsibilities. Had that been given to me without my choice, Allah Ta’ ala would have been sufficient to see that I am enabled to discharge its responsibilities as due. And if I had asked for it with my choice and volition, the responsibility would have been mine.’ (Ibn Kathir)
Now, it already stands established that Luqman (عليه السلام) was not a Nabiyy or prophet. This is as held by the majority of the scholars. So, we can say that the command mentioned in the present verse (i.e. Be grateful to Allah) could have been given to him through Ilham (inspiration) attributed to men of Allah (awliya’ Allah).
Before the time of Sayyidna Dawud (عليه السلام) Luqman (عليه السلام) used to give Fatwa (religious rulings on questions asked by people). When Sayyidna Dawud (عليه السلام) was invested with prophethood, he stopped this practice believing that he was not needed anymore. According to some reports, he was a judge among the Bani Isra’il. Many words of wisdom have been reported from him. Wahb Ibn Munnabih says that he has read more than ten thousand of these. (Qurtubi)
On a certain day, while sage Luqman was addressing a big gathering of people sharing his wisdom with them, there came a person and asked him point blank: ‘Are you not the same person who used to graze goats with me in such and such forest?’ Luqman (عليه السلام) said: ‘Yes, I am the same person.” The man asked, ‘How then, could you achieve this status that such multitudes of people hold you in reverence and come to hear your words from far and wide?’ Luqman (عليه السلام) said: ‘The reason lies in two .things I do: (1) Always telling the truth and (2) avoiding the useless things. It appears in another report that he said: ‘I tell you about a few things that have given me this station in life. If you were to take to these, you too will have the same rank and status. These are as follow: (1) Lower your gaze and hold your tongue. (2) Stay content with lawful sustenance. (3) Guard your private parts. (4) Tell the truth and uphold it. (5) Fulfill the pledge. (6) Honor the guest. (7) Protect the neighbor. (8) Observe silence against wasteful speech and leave off all useless indulgences.’ (Ibn Kathir)
What does the ‘hikmah’ given to Luqman actually mean?
The word: حِکمَۃ (hikmah) has been used in the Qur’an (20 times) conveying several meanings such as wisdom, knowledge, reason, forbearance, patience, prophethood, and correctness of opinion.
Commentator Abu Hayyan has said: ‘Hikmah means a statement in words, a statement that teaches people a lesson, a lesson that goes down their hearts and which they conserve and communicate to others.’
And the famous Sahabi, Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn ` Abbas (رض) said: ‘Hikmah means intellect, understanding and intelligence’ while some others have said that acting in accordance with knowledge is what Hikmah is. In reality, there is no contradiction here. All these ingredients are included under the purview of Hikmah. Those who have seen the abridged Tafsir of moulana Ashraf All Thanavi (رح) in the original Urdu version of the present Tafsir will notice that he has translated Hikmah in the sense of prudence and wisdom and explained it as being knowledge that has been put into practice. This is very comprehensive and very clear.
After having mentioned the giving of Hikmah to Luqman (عليه السلام) ، on whom be peace, in this verse (12), it was said: “Be grateful to Allah.” Here, the first probability is to take the word: قُلنَا (qulna: We said) as understood. The sense would be that ‘We gave Hikmah to Luqman and commanded him to be grateful to Allah.’ Then, there are others who have also said that the statement: أَنِ اشْكُرْ لِلَّـهِ (anishkur lillah: Be grateful to Allah) is in itself an explanation of Hikmah. In other words, the Hikmah given to Luqman (عليه السلام) was that ‘We gave him the command to be grateful which he carried out.’ In that case, it would mean that being grateful to the blessings of Allah Ta’ ala is the greatest wisdom (hikmah). Soon after, it was explicitly clarified that this command to be grateful was not given by Allah Ta’ ala to earn some benefit for Himself. He needs no gratefulness from anyone. In fact, it has been done in the interest of human beings and for their benefit – because, according to the law of Allah, whoever is grateful to Him, He causes an increase in the blessings given to a person.
Mentioned after that there are some words of wise counsel spoken by Luqman (عليه السلام) to his son. These have been reported by the Qur’an so that others may also benefit from these.
وَاِذْ قَالَ لُقْمٰنُ لِابْنِهٖ وَهُوَ يَعِظُهٗ يٰبُنَيَّ لَا تُشْرِكْ بِاللّٰهِ ڼ اِنَّ الشِّرْكَ لَظُلْمٌ عَظِيْمٌ
Out of these wise advices, first comes the soundness of beliefs, the primary article of which is that one believes in Allah Ta’ ala to be the Creator and master of the entire universe without any association or partnership of anyone or anything. In consequence, one should not take anyone other than Allah as an object of worship, for no injustice can be as grave in this world as the act of one who stoops to equate some creation of Allah Ta’ ala with the Creator. Therefore, it was said: يَا بُنَيَّ لَا تُشْرِكْ بِاللَّـهِ ۖ إِنَّ الشِّرْكَ لَظُلْمٌ عَظِيمٌ (My dear son, do not ascribe partners to Allah. Indeed, ascribing partners to Allah is (shirk) grave transgression – 13). Later, follow other words of good counsel and wisdom spoken by Luqman (عليه السلام) to his son. In between, there appears another command to highlight the gravity of Shirk and that it has to be avoided under all circumstances. This command is as follows:
وَوَصَّيْنَا الْاِنْسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ ۚ حَمَلَتْهُ اُمُّهٗ وَهْنًا عَلٰي وَهْنٍ وَّفِصٰلُهٗ فِيْ عَامَيْنِ اَنِ اشْكُرْ لِيْ وَلِوَالِدَيْكَ ۭ اِلَيَّ الْمَصِيْرُ
And We commanded man (to be good) about his parents. His mother carried him facing weakness after weakness, and his weaning is in two years: “Be grateful to Me and to your parents. To Me is the ultimate return. [ 14] And if they force you to ascribe to Him partners about whom you have no knowledge, do not obey them. And be with them, in this world, with due fairness, and follow the way of the one who has turned himself towards Me. Then, towards Me is your return, so I shall tell you about what you had been doing.” [ 15]
Gratitude and Obedience to Parents is Obligatory – but, Obedience to anyone Counter to Divine Command is not Permissible
In effect, the command quoted above means: ‘No doubt, We have asked children to be grateful and obedient to their parents. We have even commanded them to be grateful to Us, and along with it, to be grateful and obedient to their parents. But, Shirk (the ascribing of partners in the pristine divinity of Allah Ta’ ala) is so grave a transgression and so serious a sin that it does not become permissible for anyone, not even if one’s parents command or force someone to commit it. If the parents of a person start forcing him or her to take someone as a partner of Allah Ta’ ala, even in that case, it is not permissible to obey their command.’
Now, at this place, where command has been given to be grateful to parents and fulfill their rights, also pointed out is its efficient cause. Is it not that one’s mother has undergone great trial in the phenomena of his or her life and survival? She has kept the child in her body for nine months remaining vigilant and protective all the time. Because of this, day by day, her weakness and discomfort kept increasing.
This she braved through. Then, even after the birth of the child, she handled the task of feeding the child, a task that demanded painstaking attention day and night and which also added to the already receding graph of her weakness. Since, it is the mother who faces most of the hardship in bringing up the child, therefore, the right of mother has been made to precede even the right of father in the Shari’ah of Islam. What has been said in: وَوَصَّيْنَا الْإِنسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُ وَهْنًا عَلَىٰ وَهْنٍ وَفِصَالُهُ فِي عَامَيْنِ (And We commanded man [ to be good ] about his parents. His mother carried him facing weakness after weakness, and his weaning is in two years – 14) comes to mean exactly this. After that, in: وَإِن جَاهَدَاكَ (And if they force you – 15), it was pointed out that the matter of ascribing anyone other than Allah with Him is serious. In it, even the (otherwise essential) obedience to parents is haram (unlawful).
Islam’s Peerless Law of Justice
Now in a situation under which the parents force a son or daughter to take to Shirk and Kufr while the command of Allah Ta’ ala tells them not to do what they say, things become difficult. One naturally fails to stay within limits. In this case, while implementing the Divine injunction, the probability did exist that the son or daughter would have used improper language or manners in their response to parents and thus insulted them. Islam is a law, just and equitable. Here, everything has a limit. Therefore, right along with the command of not obeying parents in matters of Shirk, also given there was the command:
وَاِنْ جَاهَدٰكَ عَلٰٓي اَنْ تُشْرِكَ بِيْ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهٖ عِلْمٌ ۙفَلَا تُطِعْهُمَا وَصَاحِبْهُمَا فِي الدُّنْيَا مَعْرُوْفًا ۡ وَّاتَّبِعْ سَبِيْلَ مَنْ اَنَابَ اِلَيَّ ۚ ثُمَّ اِلَيَّ مَرْجِعُكُمْ فَاُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ تَعْمَلُوْنَ
صَاحِبْهُمَا فِي الدُّنْيَا مَعْرُوفًا (And be with them, in this world, with due fairness – 15).
It means: ‘In the matter of the contravention of your faith and religion, do not obey parents. But, when it comes to worldly matters, such as serving parents physically or financially or in any other way necessary, do not fall short about it. Instead, deal with them in mundane matters according to recognized custom. Show no disrespect to them. Do not respond to what they say in a manner that hurts them unnecessarily. In other words, the pain you cause them by not accepting their insistence on Shirk and Kufr is something you will have to bear by, since you have no choice there. But, let this necessity stay within its functional limits and keep abstaining from causing any pain to them in other matters.’
As for the weaning period of two years for a child mentioned in the verse, it is in accordance with customary practice. It carries no clarification concerning the injunction relevant to any additional period of suckling the child. A detailed explanation of this issue will, insha’Allah, appear under the commentary on the verse: وَحَمْلُهُ وَفِصَالُهُ ثَلَاثُونَ شَهْرًا (And his carrying and weaning is (in) thirty months – A1-Ahgaf, 46:15).
يٰبُنَيَّ اِنَّهَآ اِنْ تَكُ مِثْقَالَ حَبَّةٍ مِّنْ خَرْدَلٍ فَتَكُنْ فِيْ صَخْـرَةٍ اَوْ فِي السَّمٰوٰتِ اَوْ فِي الْاَرْضِ يَاْتِ بِهَا اللّٰهُ ۭ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ لَطِيْفٌ خَبِيْرٌ
The Second Bequest of Luqman about Articles of Belief
One should irrevocably hold the belief that the knowledge of Allah Ta` a1a surrounds every single particle of whatever there is in and around the expanses of the heavens and the earth with His most perfect power. Nothing can – be it the smallest of the small not commonly visible, or be it the farthest of the far, or be it behind layers upon layers of darkness and curtains – simply nothing can hide from the knowledge and view of Allah Ta’ ala. And He can, when He wills, cause it to be present, where He wills. This is what is meant by verse يَا بُنَيَّ إِنَّهَا إِن تَكُ مِثْقَالَ حَبَّةٍ مِّنْ خَرْدَلٍ (My dear son, in fact, if there be anything to the measure of a grain of rye, and it be [ hidden ] in a rock or in the heavens and the earth, Allah will bring it forth. Surely, Allah is All-Fine, All Aware). Then, the all-covering knowledge and power of Allah Ta’ ala is, in its own place, a basic belief of Islam – and certainly, a great proof of Tauhid, the belief in the Oneness of Allah.
يٰبُنَيَّ اَقِمِ الصَّلٰوةَ وَاْمُرْ بِالْمَعْرُوْفِ وَانْهَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَاصْبِرْ عَلٰي مَآ اَصَابَكَ ۭ اِنَّ ذٰلِكَ مِنْ عَزْمِ الْاُمُوْرِ
The Third Bequest of Luqman (عليه السلام) about the Correction of Deed
There are many obligatory deeds, but the greatest and the most important of these is Salah – and not simply that it is important by itself, it also happens to be the master deed that becomes the catalyst changing other deeds towards the better as was pointed out in the Holy Qur’an about it: إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ تَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ (Surely Salah restrains from shamelessness and evil A1-` Ankabut, 29:45). Therefore, out of the obligatory good deeds, the mention of Salah was considered sufficient when it was. said: يَا بُنَيَّ أَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ (My dear son, establish Salah – 17). And as it has been explained earlier, the expression denoting the ‘iqamah’ of salah does not simply suggest the ‘making’ or ‘saying’ or ‘doing’ it. Instead of that, this term translated as ‘establish’ (in the absence of an exact equivalent) includes all attending considerations, such as performing it with due respect to its essentials and manners fully and faithfully, observing punctuality in its timings and being consistent in fulfilling its requisites.
The Fourth Bequest of Luqman about the Betterment of People
Islam is a collective religion. Betterment of the community, along with the betterment of the individual, is an important part of its social system. Therefore, the duty of Bidding the Fair and Forbidding the Unfair (amr bi ‘l-ma` ruf and nahy ‘ani ‘l-munkar) was mentioned along with as important a duty as the Salah. It was said: وَأْمُرْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَانْهَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ (and bid the Fair and forbid the Unfair -17). Here are two duties: (1) Make yourself better and (2) make others better. Both need a lot of restraint and hard work. Facing these difficulties and remaining firm is no easy task. Particularly so, when those who stand to serve people by telling them what is good for them receive nothing but opposition and hostility in return. Therefore, while making this recommendation, it was also recommended: وَاصْبِرْ عَلَىٰ مَا أَصَابَكَ ۖ إِنَّ ذَٰلِكَ مِنْ عَزْمِ الْأُمُورِ (and observe patience on what befalls you. Surely, this is among the matters of determination – 17).
وَلَا تُصَعِّرْ خَدَّكَ لِلنَّاسِ وَلَا تَمْشِ فِي الْاَرْضِ مَرَحًا ۭ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ لَا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ مُخْـتَالٍ فَخُــوْرٍ
The Fifth Bequest of Luqman about Social Manners
In verse 18, it was said: وَلَا تُصَعِّرْ خَدَّكَ لِلنَّاسِ (And do not turn your cheek away from people). The expression: لَا تُصَعِّرْ (la tusa”ir) is a derivation from: صَعَرَ (sa’ ara) which is a disease among camels that causes a tilt in the neck similar to the stroke among human beings that makes the face become crooked. It carries the sense of turning one’s face away (in disdain). Thus, the verse means: ‘do not turn your face away from people when you meet them and talk to them for it is a sign of avoidance and arrogance and very much against the norms of gentle manners.’
In the next sentence of the verse, it was said: وَلَا تَمْشِ فِي الْأَرْضِ مَرَحًا (and do not walk on the earth haughtily – 18). The last word: مَرَحًا (maraha) denotes walking proudly with assumed airs. The sense of the statement is that Allah Ta’ ala has given this earth the lowest profile from among the entire range of elements He created. Is it not that you were born from it and on it you walk around? Know your reality and do not walk haughtily. This is the way of the arrogant. Therefore, after that, it was said: إِنَّ اللَّـهَ لَا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ مُخْتَالٍ فَخُورٍ (Surely, Allah does not like anyone arrogant, proud – 18).
وَاقْصِدْ فِيْ مَشْيِكَ وَاغْضُضْ مِنْ صَوْتِكَ ۭ اِنَّ اَنْكَرَ الْاَصْوَاتِ لَصَوْتُ الْحَمِيْرِ
Verse 19 begins with the statement: وَاقْصِدْ فِي مَشْيِكَ (And be moderate in your walk). When done otherwise, in haste or helter-skelter, it goes against decorum and dignity. Says the Hadith: “Making too much haste in walking ruins the radiance of the believer (al-Jami’ as-Saghir from Sayyidna Abu Hurairah (رض) . Then, in a manner of walking such as this, there remains the likelihood of hurting one’s own self or someone else as well. And being moderate in walking also tells us that one should not walk very slowly either. This is the habit of the arrogant and the ostentatious who like to impress people with their distinct class. Or, it is the habit of women who do not walk fast due to their natural modesty. Or, it is the habit of the sick in need of urgent medical attention who would do so out of compulsion. The first mode is haram, and the second too, for it is not permissible if the intention is to strike a semblance with women. And when no such intention is there, the thing remains, after all, a defect for men. Finally, in the third mode, it is ungratefulness to Allah in that one stoops to feign the looks of the sick despite being all too healthy.
Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn Masud (رض) ‘ said: ‘The noble Sahabah were prohibited from walking hurriedly (as if running) like the Jews and also from walking very slowly (as if crawling) like the Christians. The order given to them was that they should take to a moderate gait in between the two.’
When Sayyidah ` A’ishah (رض) saw a person walking very slowly as if he was going to fall dead, she asked the people around, ‘Why does he have to walk like that?’ They told her, ‘He is one of the Qurra’.’ The word: قُرَّاء (qurra’ ) is the plural of: القاری (al-qari : one trained to recite the Qur’an in accordance with its Phonetics). In those days, someone who combined the twin mastery of reciting the Qur’an with authenticity and observance of due etiquette as well as being a perfect scholar of the Qur’an was also called a Qari’. So, by saying what they did, they meant that he was some big Qari’ and ` Alim, therefore, he walked like that. Thereupon, Sayyidah ` A’ishah (رض) said, “Umar Ibn ul-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, was a lot more Qari’ than he is. But, his habit was to walk swiftly when he walked (not in the sense of post-haste walking which is prohibited, rather meaning a functional swiftness in it). And when he talked, he talked in a manner that people would hear him well (not speaking at a pitch so low as would compel his audience to ask: Beg your pardon, what did you say)?
At the end of the fifth recommendation it was said: وَاغْضُضْ مِن صَوْتِكَ (and lower your voice – 19). ‘Lowering’ means: Do not wise your voice any more than necessary. And do not shout – as it appeared in the case of Sayyidna ` Umar (رض) immediately earlier. He talked in a manner that his audience would hear him without having to put any strain on their ears. Thereafter, it was said: إِنَّ أَنكَرَ الْأَصْوَاتِ لَصَوْتُ الْحَمِيرِ (Surely, the ugliest of voices is the voice of the donkeys – 19).
Regarding social manners, four prohibitions were mentioned here: (1) The prohibition of talking to and meeting with people face turned arrogantly; (2) the prohibition of walking haughtily on God’s earth; (3) the instruction to be moderate in one’s walking; and (4) the prohibition of talking very loudly.
All these virtues were already part of the habits and traits of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) . As in the Shama’il of Tirmidhi, Sayyidna Husain (رض) says that he asked his father, Sayyidna Ali al-Murtada (رض) about the manner in which he interacted with people he sat with. He said:
قَالَ الْحُسَيْنُ: سَأَلْتُ أَبِي، عَنْ سِيرَةِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فِي جُلَسَائِهِ، فَقَالَ: ” كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ دَائِمَ الْبِشْرِ، سَهْلَ الْخُلُقِ، لَيِّنَ الْجَانِبِ، لَيْسَ بِفَظٍّ وَلَا غَلِيظٍ، وَلَا صَخَّابٍ وَلَا فَحَّاشٍ، وَلَا عَيَّابٍ وَلَا مُشَاحٍ، يَتَغَافَلُ عَمَّا لَا يَشْتَهِي، وَلَا يُؤْيِسُ مِنْهُ رَاجِيهِ وَلَا يُخَيَّبُ فِيهِ، قَدْ تَرَكَ نَفْسَهُ مِنْ ثَلَاثٍ: الْمِرَاءِ وَالْإِكْثَارِ وَمَا لَا يَعْنِيهِ. (الشمائل المحمدية للترمذي: 352)
“He was always cheerful, naturally obliging, gentle. Neither impolite, nor rude, he was not clamorous or immodest and no faultfinder and no miser. He would remain indifferent to what he did not like, yet would not make others become distracted from it (if halal and desirable to have) and would not say anything that would stop others from having what he did not want (instead, would observe silence). There were three things he had left out for good: (1) Disputation, (2) Arrogance and (3) Indulgence with what was unnecessary, not worth doing.
اَلَمْ تَرَوْا اَنَّ اللّٰهَ سَخَّرَ لَكُمْ مَّا فِي السَّمٰوٰتِ وَمَا فِي الْاَرْضِ وَاَسْبَغَ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعَمَهٗ ظَاهِرَةً وَّبَاطِنَةً ۭ وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَنْ يُّجَادِلُ فِي اللّٰهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَّلَا هُدًى وَّلَا كِتٰبٍ مُّنِيْرٍ
At the beginning of the Surah, the Kafirs and the Mushriks were admonished for still persisting with their Kufr and Shirk despite that they had seen the manifestations of the all-encompassing knowledge and the most perfect power of Allah Ta’ ala. And in contrast to their condition, obedient believers were praised and mention was made of their good end. In between, the description of the bequests (wasaya of Luqman, peace on him, was in a way a complement of the same subject. In the verses cited above, the text reverts to the subjects of Allah Ta’ ala’s all-encompassing knowledge and power, His bounties and favors showered on the creations with an exhortation to believe in the principle of His Oneness.
The expression: سَخَّرَ لَكُم (sakhkhara lakum: translated as ‘subjugated for you’ ) in verse 20: سَخَّرَ لَكُم مَّا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ (Allah has subjugated for you what is in the heavens and what is on the earth) is well known and means to make something subservient to someone. This raises a question at this place. Is it not that, first of all, not even everything on the earth is subservient to human will and command? In fact, there are many things that act counter to human choice. As for things of the heavens particularly, there exists just about no probability of their being subservient to human beings. The answer is that ‘subjugation’ really means to force something into doing a particular job in a state of virtual compulsion. So, subjugating the entire creation of the heavens and the earth for human beings means that the whole range of such creations was yoked in their service to bring all sorts of benefits to them. Out of these things, many were put in their service by subjecting them to their command as well, in that they could use them as and when they wished.
But, there are other things that have been, of course, commissioned to serve them – which they are doing all right – but, such was the dictate of Divine wisdom, that they were not made subject to the command of human beings, for example, the heavenly creations, planets, stars, lighting, rains and similar others. Had they been subjugated to follow human orders, these elements of creation would have been affected by human temperaments, tastes and varying conditions. One human being would have wanted the sun to rise early while the need of the other would have it rise later. Someone would have asked for rains while the other, being in travel through an open field, would have opted for no rains. So, these divergent demands would have triggered operational malfunction in the workings of the universal heavenly system. Therefore, Allah Ta` a1a did put all these things into the service of human beings but did not make them subject to their will and command. This too is, in a way, subjugation. Allah knows best.
The word: اسباغ (isbagh) in the next sentence of verse 20: وَأَسْبَغَ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعَمَهُ ظَاهِرَةً وَبَاطِنَةً (and has perfected His blessings on you, both outward and inward) means to perfect, make complete, provide in great abundance to the last fill. The Arabic word: نِعَم (ni’am) means ‘blessings’ which human beings recognize through their senses, for instance, the beauty of shape and the symmetry of human limbs made into such proportion as would allow maximum functional movement causing no disfigurement of one’s shape and looks. Similarly, provisions, property; wealth, avenues of economic opportunity, health and well being arh also outward and perceived blessings. In the same way, making the religion of Islam easy to follow, being enabled to obey Allah and His Rasul (صلى الله عليه وسلم) ، the ascendancy of Islam over other faiths and the support given to Muslims encountering enemies also come under the same outward blessings. As for inward blessings, they relate to the human heart, such as, ‘Iman (faith), knowing Allah (ma’rifah), intellect, reason, good morals, the good fortune of having one’s sins left unexposed and of one’s crimes not punished instantly and many others.
The manifestations of Allah’s knowledge, power and blessings are endless. These cannot by encompassed by anyone through speech, nor can any pen write them comprehensively.
وَلَوْ اَنَّ مَا فِي الْاَرْضِ مِنْ شَجَـرَةٍ اَقْلَامٌ وَّالْبَحْرُ يَمُدُّهٗ مِنْۢ بَعْدِهٖ سَبْعَةُ اَبْحُرٍ مَّا نَفِدَتْ كَلِمٰتُ اللّٰهِ ۭ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ عَزِيْزٌ حَكِيْمٌ
This has been stated in the verse: وَلَوْ أَنَّمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ مِن شَجَرَةٍ أَقْلَامٌ (27) through a similitude. Says the similitude: ‘If all trees that are on the earth were to be pens (or pens were to be made of all branches on them) and the ocean (converted into ink) is supported by seven seas following it, the words of Allah would (still) not come to an end.’ The expression: کلمات اللہ (kalimatul-lah, i.e. the words of Allah) means His knowledge and wisdom (Ruh ul-Maani and Mazhari) which includes the manifestations of Divine power and Divine blessings. Then, the ‘seven seas’, referred to here, do not mean that there are seven seas present elsewhere. Instead of that, this is a manner of saying: Suppose if this ocean were to be replenished with seven more oceans, still then, all these words of Allah could not be committed to writing. Even the number of ‘seven’ appears here as a part of the example. No restriction is intended. Another verse of the Qur’an proves it. There it was said:
قُل لَّوْ كَانَ الْبَحْرُ مِدَادًا لِّكَلِمَاتِ رَبِّي لَنَفِدَ الْبَحْرُ قَبْلَ أَن تَنفَدَ كَلِمَاتُ رَبِّي وَلَوْ جِئْنَا بِمِثْلِهِ مَدَدًا
Say, ‘If the ocean were to be ink for the Words of my Lord, the ocean would have been consumed before the Words of my Lord are exhausted, even though we were to bring another one, like it, in addition’ – Al-Kahf, 18:109.
In this verse, by saying: بِمِثْلِهِ (bimithlihi: like it), a clear hint has been given that, no matter how many oceans are supposed, their collective writing fluid cannot circumscribe the Words of Allah. Rationally, the reason is obvious. The oceans may be added one after the other and be they seven or seven thousand, they shall still remain limited while the Words of Allah (knowledge) are unlimited. How, then, can something limited make an all-encompassing coverage of what is unlimited?
As it appears in some narratives, this verse was revealed in response to a question posed by Jewish priests. The reason which prompted them to ask this question was the verse of the Qur’an where it has been said: وَمَا أُوتِيتُم مِّنَ الْعِلْمِ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا (and you are not given but a little from the knowledge – A1-‘Isra’, 17:85). When the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) came to the blessed city of Madinah, some Jewish priests visited him and it was about this verse that they confronted him by saying, “You say that you have been given a little from the knowledge.
Is this what you are saying about your people, or have you included us too therein?” The Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “I mean all,” that is, ‘our people and the Jews and Christians as well.’ Thereupon, increasing the tempo of their opposition, they said, “To us, Allah Ta’ ala has given the Torah which stands out as: تِبْيَانًا لِّكُلِّ شَيْءٍ (an explanation of everything).” He said, “That too is but a little as compared to Divine Knowledge. Then, even the total knowledge contained in the Torah is not known to you either – what you go by is no more than a certain measure of what you need. Therefore, as compared to the Divine Knowledge, the collective knowledge of all Scriptures and Prophets is also nothing but a little.” It was to support this statement that the verse: وَلَوْ أَنَّمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ مِن شَجَرَةٍ أَقْلَامٌ (And if all trees that are on the earth were to be pens… – 27) was revealed. (Ibn Kathir)
يٰٓاَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوْا رَبَّكُمْ وَاخْشَوْا يَوْمًا لَّا يَجْزِيْ وَالِدٌ عَنْ وَّلَدِهٖ ۡ وَلَا مَوْلُوْدٌ هُوَ جَازٍ عَنْ وَّالِدِهٖ شَـيْـــــًٔا ۭ اِنَّ وَعْدَ اللّٰهِ حَقٌّ فَلَا تَغُرَّنَّكُمُ الْحَيٰوةُ الدُّنْيَا ۪ وَلَا يَغُرَّنَّكُمْ بِاللّٰهِ الْغَرُوْرُ
In the first of the two verses cited above, the address is to common people, believing and disbelieving both. They have been served with a notice that they will face Allah and be accountable before Him for their deeds on the day of Judgment and that they should be prepared for it. It was said: يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمْ ( O people, fear your Lord – 33). At this place, the text has not gone by the name of Allah Ta’ala or His some other attribute. Instead of that, it has elected to mention the attribute of Rabb (master, sustainer of all, usually translated as Lord with this sense included therein). This serves as an indicator towards the nature of fearing Allah Ta’ ala. Hence, the command to fear given here is not the kind of fear one habitually has from some beast or enemy.
The reason is that ‘Allah Ta’ala is your Rabb. He nourishes, sustains and cherishes you. He is the compassionate master. Why would someone apprehend this kind of danger from Him?’ Instead of that, the fear mentioned at this place is the particular ‘fear’ that is necessarily generated because of the sublimity and awe of one’s elders. It is in that sense that a son ‘fears’ his father and a student, his teacher. They are no enemies. They are not going to hurt them. But, their affectionate sublimity and awe reside in hearts and it is from there that these two make one obey a father and a teacher. This is what is meant at this place and it is being said that ‘the sublimity and awe of Allah Ta’ala should reign supreme over your hearts so that you can obey Him, perfectly and easily.’
The next sentence reads: call وَاخْشَوْا يَوْمًا لَّا يَجْزِي وَالِدٌ عَن وَلَدِهِ وَلَا مَوْلُودٌ هُوَ جَازٍ عَن وَالِدِهِ شَيْئًا (and fear a day when no father will suffice his son, nor will a son be sufficing his father in the least – 33). It means the father and son out of whom one is a believer and the other, a disbeliever. The sense is that a believing father would neither be able to remit or reduce the punishment of his disbelieving son nor would he be able to bring any benefit to him. Similarly, a believing son will be of no avail to his disbelieving father.
The reason for this particularization lies in other verses of the noble Qur’an, and the narratives of Hadith. There it has been clarified that, on the day of Judgment, parents will intercede on behalf of their children and the children on behalf of their parents. Then, this intercession will turn out to be successful as well. Says the Qur’an: وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَاتَّبَعَتْهُمْ ذُرِّيَّتُهُم بِإِيمَانٍ أَلْحَقْنَا بِهِمْ ذُرِّيَّتَهُمْ (And those who believed and their children followed them in belief, We will join their children with them – 52:21) even though their deeds may not match the ranking of the deeds of their parents, but such would be the barakah of righteous parents that they too would be made to reach where their parents are. But, this is subject to the condition that the children should be believers – even though, their deeds may have suffered from some shortcomings.
Similarly, in another verse, it was said: جَنَّاتُ عَدْنٍ يَدْخُلُونَهَا وَمَن صَلَحَ مِنْ آبَائِهِمْ وَأَزْوَاجِهِمْ وَذُرِّيَّاتِهِمْ (the eternal gardens they enter, and the righteous of their fathers, spouses, and progeny as well – 13:23). Qualification refers here to their being believers.
Both these verses prove that, should parents and children and, in the same way, a husband and wife, share the common denominator of being believers, then, they will receive benefit from each other even on the day of Judgment. Similar to this, there are several narratives of Hadith which report children interceding on behalf of their parents. Therefore, this rule set forth in the present verse (33) – that no father can bring any benefit to his son and no son to his father on the day of Judgment – can become operative only in a situation when one of them is a believer while the other, a disbeliever. (Mazhari)
Here, it should be noted that the statement declaring the inability of a father to bring benefit to his son (لَّا يَجْزِي وَالِدٌ عَن وَلَدِهِ – 3) has been made through a verbal sentence, but two changes were made while mentioning the other side of it. Firstly, it was described in the form of a nominal sentence. Secondly, the word: مَولُود (maulud) meaning the born one, that is, a son, was employed instead of ) وَلَد walad) which is more common for ‘son.’ There is a wise consideration at work here. A nominal sentence is more emphatic as compared to a verbal sentence. By this change in the sentence, a hint was released towards the difference between a father and his children. The love of a father with his children is more intense.
Contrary to this, the love of children does not reach this level of intensity even in the mortal world. However, the likelihood of either of the two bringing any benefit for each other on the day of Judgment has been negated in the case of both, but the children’s lack of ability to bring benefit has been described with added emphasis. Then, there is a particular wise consideration in electing the word: مَولُود (maulud) instead of وَلَد) (walad). The word, ‘maulud’ denotes one’s own son or children only. As for the word, وَلَد ‘walad,’ it is general and includes the children of one’s children as well. Thus, it is from another angle that the same subject has been strengthened. It is being virtually said, ‘when even the son from the very loins of the father would be of no avail to the father, any expectations from the grandson and the great grandson are futile.’
In the next verse, the knowledge of five things has been declared as exclusive to Allah Ta’ ala and that no created being has that knowledge except Him and at this ends the Surah Luqman:
اِنَّ اللّٰهَ عِنْدَهٗ عِلْمُ السَّاعَةِ ۚ وَيُنَزِّلُ الْغَيْثَ ۚ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا فِي الْاَرْحَامِ ۭ وَمَا تَدْرِيْ نَفْسٌ مَّاذَا تَكْسِبُ غَدًا ۭ وَمَا تَدْرِيْ نَفْسٌۢ بِاَيِّ اَرْضٍ تَمُوْتُ ۭ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ عَلِيْمٌ خَبِيْرٌ
Surely, it is Allah with whom rests the knowledge of the Hour, and He sends down the rain, and He knows what is in the wombs. And no one knows what he will earn tomorrow and no one knows in which land he will die. Surely, Allah is All Knowing, All Aware – 31:34.
Though, it has not been made explicit in the first three things that no one has their knowledge other than Allah, but the style of the statement is such that it seems to give the impression that the knowledge of these things rests limited to Divine Knowledge. As for the other two things mentioned later, there it has been explicitly said that no one has their knowledge other than Allah. These very five things have been called “keys to the Unseen” (مَفَاتح الغيب :mafatih al-ghayb) in a verse of Surah Al An` am: وَعِندَهُ مَفَاتِحُ الْغَيْبِ لَا يَعْلَمُهَا إِلَّا هُوَ (And with Him are the keys of the Unseen. No one knows them but He – 6:59). In Hadith, it has been referred as مَفَاتيح الغیب (mafatih al-ghayb). Both مَفَاتح (mafatih) and مَفَاتيح (mafatih) are the plural forms of مِفتَاح (miftah) meaning key which opens locks. It signifies sources of the Unseen that unravel its information.
The Issue of the ` Ilm ul-Ghayb عِلمُ الغَیب (Knowledge of the Unseen)
Necessary details about this issue have been given under the commentary on verse 65: قُل لَّا يَعْلَمُ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ الْغَيْبَ إِلَّا اللَّـهُ (Say, ‘No one in the heavens and the earth has the knowledge of the Unseen except Allah.’ – 27:65) of Surah An-Naml That the knowledge of the unseen is particular to Allah Ta’ ala in the absolute sense has been explicitly mentioned in this verse – and this has been the belief of the entire Muslim community from the earliest to the succeeding generations. As for the description of only five things particularly – that no created being has their knowledge and that it is Allah alone who knows these – it is not meant for particularization. Otherwise, it would pose a contradiction with the verse of Surah An-Naml quoted above. The fact is that these five things have been mentioned here to highlight their special significance.
There is a reason for this specific treatment and marked attention. Things of the Unseen that one is generally keen to find out are just these five. Then, there are astrologers and their kind who lay a claim to the knowledge of the unseen. Things they usually pick up to inform people about, and thereby prove that they are possessors of the knowledge of the unseen, are again these very five things. And in some narratives of Hadith it has been reported that someone had asked the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) about these five things whereupon this verse was revealed and wherein it has been stated that the knowledge of these five is particular with Allah Ta’ ala. (Ruh u1-Ma’ ani)
As for the statement of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) reported on the authority of Sayyidna Ibn ` Umar and Ibn Mas` (رض) in Hadith: اُوتِیتُ مَفَاتِح کُلِّ شَیءِ اِلَّاالخَمس (I have been given the keys to everything except the five) (reported by Imam Ahmad – Ibn Kathir), the word: اُوتِيتُ (I have been given) itself makes it all clear. It shows that the knowledge of unseen things other than these five which came to the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) came in the form of revelation (wahy) from Allah Ta’ ala.
Therefore, it is not included under the definition of the knowledge of the unseen (‘Ilm ul-ghayb) because the news about things unseen given to the blessed prophets through wahy (revelation) and to the men of Allah (auliya’ ) through ilham (inspiration) come from Allah Ta’ ala. In terms of their reality, they are not the knowledge of the unseen based on which they could be called the possessors of ‘the knowledge of the unseen’ (` alim ul-ghayb). They are, rather, اَنباُء الغَيب (news of the unseen). This is an area of Divine prerogative. Whenever Allah Ta’ ala so wills, and in whatever measure He wills, He would bestow such information on His angels, messengers and favored servants. These are called (anba ‘ul-ghayb) in the noble Qur’an, for instance: تِلْكَ مِنْ أَنبَاءِ الْغَيْبِ نُوحِيهَا إِلَيْكَ (These are some reports from the Unseen (events) which We reveal to you – 11:49).
Therefore, the Hadith quoted above means that, no doubt, Allah Ta’ ala has made these five things so exclusive to Himself that no angel or messenger has been given their knowledge even as ‘news’ of the unseen. However, besides these, a fair amount of the knowledge relating to other unseen things is given out to the blessed prophets (عليهم السلام) through the medium of wahy (revelation).
Thus, from what has been discussed above, we now know one more reason why these five things have been mentioned specially.
A doubt and its answer
The cited verse proves that even in the absolute knowledge of the unseen which is an integral attribute of Allah Ta’ ala there are five particular things the knowledge of which is not given to any prophet even through wahy (revelation). This demands that these things should never become known to anyone. However, countless events relating to men of Allah (auliya’ ) in the Muslim community have been reported to the effect that somewhere they gave the news of rain, or pregnancy, or someone doing or not doing a deed in the future, or someone’s exact place of death. And this foreboding turned out to be true as well when observed.
Similarly, there are some astrologers or people well versed in the art of divination through what is known as Jafar and Ramal who would come up with some bits of information about these things and these, at some times, would turn out to be true as well. This raises the question: How, then, could these five things remain exclusive to Divine Knowledge?
One answer to this question is the same as has appeared in details under our Commentary on Surah An-Naml (27:65, Ma’ ariful-Qur an, Volume VI). A brief one has been given above to the effect that the Knowledge of the Unseen, in its real sense, is knowledge without the mediation of a physical cause – that is, sans medium, by itself. If these things are received by the blessed prophets through wahy (revelation), by men of Allah (auliya’ ) through ilham (inspiration) and by astrologers and other claimants to divination or prediction through their calculations and physical causes, then, that is no knowledge of the unseen as such.Instead, these are ‘news’ of the unseen. If someone from among the creation of Allah were to receive such news relating to some partial or personal matter, it would not be contradictory of the cited verse. The reason is simple. According to the substance of the verse, the total knowledge of these five things, a knowledge which comprehends everything created as well as every relative condition, is something not given by Allah Ta’ala to anyone, neither through wahy (revelation) nor through ilham (inspiration). That someone gets to receive some partial knowledge through ilham (inspiration) in a stray case is not contradictory to it.
In addition to that, when we say ‘ilm (knowledge), it means absolute knowledge. That no one has except Allah Ta’ ala. The knowledge a man of Allah (waliyy) receives through ilham (inspiration) is not absolute. Many probabilities of error or false perception exist in it. As for the information given out by astrologers and their ilk, it is a common observation that they hardly come up to the level of a single truth out of ten lies. How can that be called ‘absolute knowledge’?
The issue of the Knowledge of the Unseen: An important note
My respected teacher, Shaykh ul-Islam Shabbir Ahmad ‘Usmani has made a brief but comprehensive comment in his explanatory notes on the Holy Qur’an which helps remove all doubts and difficulties of the nature mentioned above. He has said that there are two kinds of al-Ghayb (the unseen):
(1) Injunctions of the unseen (al- ahkam ul-ghaybiyyah), such as, the injunctions originating from revealed laws that include the knowledge of the Being and attributes of Allah Ta’ala as well and are called the knowledge of beliefs (al-` aqa’id). Also included therein are all injunctions of the Shari’ah or revealed law which tell us as to what sort of conduct meets the approval or disapproval of Allah Ta’ ala. It goes without saying that all these things belong to nowhere but the unseen.
(2) Cosmology of the unseen (al-akwan ul-ghaybiyyah), that is, the knowledge of the events occurring in the world. The knowledge of the unseen things of the first kind has been given by Allah Ta’ala to His prophets and messengers. This is mentioned in the Qur’an in the following words: فَلَا يُظْهِرُ عَلٰي غَيْبِهٖٓ اَحَدًا اِلَّا مَنِ ارْتَضٰى مِنْ رَّسُوْلٍ (He is the) Knower of the Unseen. So He does not let anyone know His Unseen, except a messenger whom He chooses (to inform through revelation) – 72:26-27.
As for the unseen events and occurrences of the other kind, their knowledge – the whole of it – is just not given by Allah Ta’ ala to anyone. That remains categorically exclusive to Him as His intrinsic attribute. But, He gives partial knowledge of particular events when He wills and as much He wills. As such, the real knowledge of the unseen – all of it – remains exclusive to Allah Ta’ ala. Then, as is His customary practice, He reveals to the blessed prophets the knowledge of the injunctions of the unseen from out of His knowledge of the unseen – and this very knowledge is the purpose of their mission.
Then, there is the partial knowledge of the events and occurrences of the world. That too is given by Allah Ta’ ala to prophets through revelation (wahy) and men of Allah (auliya’ ) through inspiration (ilham) at His discretion and to the measure of His choice. Thus, the part of knowledge so given is knowledge that has been bestowed on them by Allah Ta’ ala. In the real sense, this cannot be called: علم الغيب (` ilm ul-ghayb: the knowledge of the unseen). Instead, it is called: اَنباء الغيب “an[ m ] ba’ il-ghayb: the news of the unseen.”
Special note concerning the words of the verse
In this verse, the objective is to describe the exclusiveness of the knowledge of these five things with Allah Ta’ ala in a manner that shows marked care and attention. This objective obviously required that five things should have been enumerated under a single head saying that their knowledge is exclusive to Allah Ta’ ala and that no created entity has been given their knowledge. But, in the cited verse, this was not done. Instead, as for the knowledge of the initial three things, it was mentioned positively as being exclusive to Allah – while, in the later two things, the statement was negative declaring that no one other than Allah has their knowledge. Let us go back to the initial three things. Here, a variation in style becomes fairly visible even in these three.
We see that the knowledge of the Hour has been mentioned in the following manner: إِنَّ اللَّـهَ عِندَهُ عِلْمُ السَّاعَةِ (Surely, it is Allah with whom rests the knowledge of the Hour). Then the mode changes. The second thing has been taken up in the form of a verbal sentence by saying: يُنَزِّلُ الْغَيْثَ (and He sends down the rain). It simply has no mention of the knowledge of rain. Instead, it mentions the sending down of rain. The third thing was mentioned with a changed mode once again and it was said: وَيَعْلَمُ مَا فِي الْأَرْ حَامِ (and He knows what is in the wombs). This change of modality can only be taken as a sampling of versatility in eloquence of speech. If one were to ponder, there are other elements of wisdom embedded here. The respected author of Bayan ul-Qur’an has described these in his Tafsir.
In brief, the last two things – what will one earn tomorrow and in which land will one die – are states connected with the human person. It was probable that one would try to seek the relevant knowledge about these. Therefore, in both these cases, the acquiring of such knowledge on the part of anyone other than Allah was negated. Also proved effectively through this statement was the absence of the knowledge of the first three things for anyone other than Allah. The argument was simple. Here is someone who does not know about his doings and earnings tomorrow. Then, he does not know the end of it all, the point when and where he will die. How could he, then, be expected to know the heavens and the coming of rains and the thing hidden in the dark layers of a mother’s womb? Finally, when mentioning the last thing, it was said that one does not know the place of one’s death.
Yes, the text mentions ‘place’ only – although, one does not know one’s time of death too just like the place of death. The reason is that the place of death, even if not known definitely, is something one can guess in terms of one’s outward living conditions. One can naturally assume that the place where one is settled would be the place where one would die, and at the least, the place where one is to die is, after all, present somewhere in the world. This is contrary to the time of death. This time is in the future and the future is not here yet. So, a person who cannot know about his place of death, despite that it is present actually, how can it be imagined about him that he would come to know his time of death which simply does not exist then?
So, the negation of one thing here makes the negation of others obvious in the first degree. Therefore, the text takes up both these things in the negative mode. As for the first three things, they are by themselves outside the scope of human access under perceptible conditions. That human knowledge has nothing to do with it is all too clear. Therefore, a positive mode was chosen to describe their exclusiveness to Allah Ta’ ala.
Before parting with the subject, a few words about the use of nominal form in the first sentence and the verbal one in the later two sentences may be useful. Perhaps, the wisdom therein is to suggest that the Qiyamah or the Last Day is a definite imperative with no change in it. This is contrary to the coming of rain and the period of pregnancy. Their conditions keep changing – and the verbal sentence is suggestive of change.
Therefore, that is what was used in both these cases. Then, we notice a delicacy of treatment within these two as well. When dealing with the conditions of pregnancy, what was mentioned was Divine knowledge: وَيَعْلَمُ مَا فِي الْأَرْحَامِ (and He knows what is in the wombs – 34) while in taking up the subject of the coming of rain, there is just no mention of knowledge. There is a reason for it. Here, by mentioning the sending down of rain, it was tacitly suggested that the rain to which are tied thousands of human benefits is something that comes at the bidding of Allah alone and that no one else exercises the ultimate control over it. As for the essential exclusiveness of its knowledge being with Allah, it already stands proved from the very context of the statement….
[From Ma’ariful Quran English by Mufti Taqi Uthmani]
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