وَالتِّينِ وَالزَّيْتُونِ ﴿1﴾ وَطُورِ سِينِينَ ﴿2﴾ وَهَٰذَا الْبَلَدِ الْأَمِينِ ﴿3﴾ لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنْسَانَ فِي أَحْسَنِ تَقْوِيمٍ ﴿4﴾ ثُمَّ رَدَدْنَاهُ أَسْفَلَ سَافِلِينَ ﴿5﴾ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ فَلَهُمْ أَجْرٌ غَيْرُ مَمْنُونٍ ﴿6﴾ فَمَا يُكَذِّبُكَ بَعْدُ بِالدِّينِ ﴿7﴾ أَلَيْسَ اللَّهُ بِأَحْكَمِ الْحَاكِمِينَ ﴿8﴾
Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem
- Wat teeni waz zaitoon
- Wa toori sineen
- Wa haazal balad-il ameen
- Laqad khalaqnal insaana fee ahsani taqweem
- Thumma ra dad naahu asfala saafileen
- Ill-lal lazeena aamanoo wa ‘amilus saalihaati; falahum ajrun ghairu mamnoon
- Fama yu kaz zibuka b’adu bid deen
- Alai sal laahu bi-ahkamil haakimeen
With the name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the Very-Merciful.
- I swear by the Fig and the Olive,
- and by Tur, the mount of Sinai,
- and by this peaceful city,
- We have created man in the best composition,
- then We turned him into the lowest of the low,
- except those who believed and did righteous deeds, because for them there is a reward never ending.
- So, what can make you, after all this, to deny the Requital?
- Is Allah not the Greatest Ruler of all the rulers?
وَالتِّينِ وَالزَّيْتُونِ This verse takes an oath by four objects. Two of them are trees, the fig tree and the olive tree. [ The third object ] is Tur, the mount of Sinai, and the fourth object is the City of Makkah. The two trees have been specified because they possess abundant blessings and advantages in the same way as Tur and the City of Makkah possess abundant blessings. Some authorities say that the ‘fig’ and the ‘olive’ symbolise, in this context, the lands in which these trees predominate: that is, the countries bordering on the eastern part of the Mediterranean, especially Palestine and Syria.
Most of the Prophets (عليهم السلام) lived and preached in these lands, including Holy Prophet Ibrahim (عليه السلام) . The latter Prophet was made to migrate from here to Makkah. The oaths, in this way, comprehend all the holy places where Allah-inspired men were born and raised as Prophets t. Syria was the land and home of all the Prophets (عليهم السلام) . Mount Sinai stresses specifically the messenger-ship of Musa (عليه السلام) where Allah spoke to him. ‘Peaceful City’ refers to Makkah, the birthplace and residence of the Final Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) .
The subject of the four oaths is: لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ فِي أَحْسَنِ تَقْوِيمٍ (We have created man in the best composition…95:4). The word taqwim literally denotes ‘to set a thing aright or lay the foundation straight or even; or to form something into an appropriate shape in a moderate regulation’. The verse signifies that man has been endowed with the best natural powers and qualities which other creatures have not been endowed with. Physically too he is cast in the best composition – having no parallel in other creatures.
Man is the Most Beautiful of Allah’s Creation
Allah has created man the most beautiful of all His creation. Ibn ` Arabi asserts that there is no creature of Allah more beautiful than man, because Allah, besides granting him life, he gave him knowledge, power, speech, hearing, sight, planning and wisdom. All these, in fact, are the qualities of Allah. It is mentioned in a hadith of Bukhari and Muslim:
اِنَّ اللہَ خَلَقَ اٰدَمَ عَلٰی صُورتِهِ.
‘Allah has created Adam in His image’
It could only mean that man has been characterised by some of the qualities of Allah, because Allah is beyond any [ physical ] shape or image. [Qurtubi].
A Wonderful Story of Human Beauty
Qurtubi, on this occasion, cites a story of ` Isa Ibn Musa Hashimi. He was a high ranking officer in the royal court of Caliph Abu Ja’far Mansur. The officer loved his wife very much. Once he was sitting with his wife in a moonlit night and suddenly cried out:
أَنْتِ طَالِقٌ ثَلَاثاً إِنْ لَمْ تَکُونِی أَحْسَنَ مِنَ الْقَمَرِ.
‘You are divorced thrice if you are not more beautiful than the moon.’
As soon as the wife heard this, she went into seclusion and veiled herself, on the grounds that the husband has pronounced three express divorce on her. It was said in joke. However, the law of express divorce is that it becomes effective whether uttered jokingly or seriously. ` Isa Ibn Musa spent the night restlessly and in grief. The next morning, he paid a visit to Caliph Abu Ja’far Mansur and recounted to him the whole story.
Caliph Abu Ja’far Mansur invited all the jurists of the city and put the case before them. All the jurists unanimously agreed that the divorce has become effective, because no human being can possibly be more beautiful than the moon. There was, however, one scholar, a student of Imam Abu Hanifah (رح) ، who remained silent. Mansur asked him: “Why are you so quiet?” He recited ‘Bismillah to the end’ and then recited Surah Tin and explained: “Ruler of the Faithful, Allah says that He has created man in the best composition or in the finest mould.
Nothing can be more beautiful than man.” Having heard this, all the scholars and jurists were perplexed. None of them opposed him. Mansur ordered that the divorce is not effective.
This indicates that man is the most beautiful creation of Allah outwardly and inwardly, in terms of elegance and attractiveness and in terms of bodily structure. Every limb of the human body is able to move in many different ways. He is able to hold, move and lift various things by moving his hands and arms. The thumb alone is a masterpiece of creation without which man will not be able to hold things.
The functioning of the ears, the eyes, the mouth, the teeth, the nose, the chest and the stomach are all wonders in their own right. Gathered together on his head, they form a beautiful and coherent assortment, each one complementing the other.
The flexibility of the tongue, the arrangement of the teeth and the mastery of the vocal cords allow him to roar like a lion and sing as beautifully as a nightingale. All this makes human body look like a sophisticated factory where automatic machines are able to accomplish the delicate work. This is the reason why philosophers call man ‘microcosm’ [ a miniature universe as opposed to ‘macrocosm’ )a large universe)]. The microcosm epitomises the macrocosm. [ Qurtubi ]
The Sufis have supported this concept. Some scholars have analysed in detail – from head to toe – to show how man is the epitome of the large universe.
ثُمَّ رَدَدْنَاهُ أَسْفَلَ سَافِلِينَ. In the preceding sentence, it was stated that man is created in the best composition and is the most beautiful being. In the prime of his life, man is brimming with strength and vigour and all his faculties are functioning at their best. As opposed to that, this sentence states that when man ages, he physically grows weaker and his health deteriorates all the time.
He even begins to lose his physical beauty. He no longer has a good-looking and attractive face. He begins to look uglier. He becomes useless and a burden to others. Other animals, on the contrary, are useful to the end of their lives. Man utilises them for milk, for mounting, for luggage-loading and for myriad of other things.
When they are slaughtered or dead, man still utilises their hide, hair, bones and every other part or fibre of theirs usefully. Man, on the other hand, becomes useless when he falls ill or grows old. From the worldly point of view he is unable to do anything. Even when he dies, no part of his body is of any benefit to any man or animal.
In short, the phrase ‘the lowest of the low’ refers to bodily condition. His body bends over and legs can barely carry him. The man who was once supporting others now needs others to support him. [ Dahhak and others vide Qurtubi ].
إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ فَلَهُمْ أَجْرٌ غَيْرُ مَمْنُونٍ (except those who believed and did righteous deeds, because for them there is a reward never ending….95:6). The foregoing interpretation of the preceding verse should not be misunderstood. The exceptive sentence does not mean that the believers will not attain to decrepit old age. It would not be correct to exclude the believers from this, because some of them are also overcome by the senility of old age. The sense, however, is that they do not suffer a big harm due to their physical or mental deterioration in old age. Only those will suffer from it who spent their entire energy on improving their physical condition that has now ended. They shall have no portion of it in the Hereafter. The righteous believers will have an unfailing reward.
This verse makes it clear that even after reaching old age, a believer never becomes useless. Even in decrepitude he can accumulate rewards – comfort and high positions – for the Hereafter that are eternal. During the period of senility when he is unable to do righteous deeds, the good deeds will be recorded in his Record Book which he used to do in good health. Sayyidna Anas (رض) narrates that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said that when a Muslim falls ill Allah instructs the recording angels to record the good deeds he used to perform in good health. [ Al-Baghawi transmitted it in Sharh-us-Sunnah from Abu Musa, and Bukhari has reported the same rewards for a traveller and a person suffering from a disease.)
Here instead of mentioning the rewards and blessings of Paradise for the righteous believers, the verse reads: لَهُمْ أَجْرٌ غَيْرُ مَمْنُونٍ (for them there is a reward never ending.) This could signify that their reward starts in this mortal world [ and continues in the Hereafter eternally ]. Allah gathers around them in their decrepit old age such sincere companions who benefit from them spiritually until the last moment of their life.
They serve them in every possible way. The righteous servants of Allah in decrepitude are productive while generally the senile and people in bad health are thought to be unproductive.
Some commentators say that the statement – رَدَدْنَاهُ أَسْفَلَ سَافِلِينَ (We turned him into the lowest of the low) does not refer to human beings in general. It refers specifically to unbelievers who destroyed the God-given best composition, human perfection, honour and intellect by pursuing physical pleasures. As a result of their ingratitude, they will be turned into the lowest of the low. In this interpretation, the exception – إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا (except those who believed and did righteous deeds, because for them there is a reward never ending) will carry its basic interpretation, in that they will not be turned into the lowest of the low. For those who believed and did righteous deeds, there is a reward that is unending. [ Thus in al-Mazhari ].
فَمَا يُكَذِّبُكَ بَعْدُ بِالدِّينِ In the preceding verses man is made to realise that Allah created him, He bestowed on him special favours and the revolution that He brought about in his old age. Man will move from stage to stage, finally reaching the grave and the Hereafter. But he rejects the Hereafter, as a result he is warned. He has seen the scenes of Divine omnipotence and revolutions – how dare he denies and rejects the Hereafter! Is Allah not the Greatest Ruler of all the rulers? [ 8]
Sayyidna Abu Hurairah (رض) narrates that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said that while reciting Surah At-Tin, when one reaches the end of it:
﴿أَلَيْسَ اللَّـهُ بِأَحْكَمِ الْحَاكِمِينَ﴾
‘Is Allah not the Greatest Ruler of all the rulers? [ 8] ‘
one should recite:
بلٰی وَاَنَا عَلٰی ذٰلِکَ مِنَ الشّاھِدِینَ.
‘Yes, indeed, Allah is the Ruler of the rulers, and I bear witness to it.’
The jurists have ruled that it is mustahab (preferable/desirable) to recite the words.
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