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The Command to reflect upon the Creation of the Heavens and the Earth

Allah, the Exalted, guides His servants to reflect upon His blessings. What Allah has created in the heavens and the earth is part of the clear signs for those who possess correct understanding. From that which is in the heavens are the luminous stars, the firmaments, the moving planetary bodies, the sun and the moon. This also includes the night and day, their alternating, and their merging so that one is long and the other is short. Then they alternate (through the year) so that the long one becomes short and the short one becomes long. Likewise, from the signs in the heavens is the rising of the sun, its vastness, its beauty and its adornment. Also, whatever rain that Allah sends down from the heavens, thereby bringing the earth to life after its death, and causing various types of fruits, crops, flowers and plants to grow, is from its signs. Whatever Allah creates in the earth from the various species of beasts, with their differing colors and benefits (for man), are signs. The mountains, plains, deserts, civilizations, structures and barren lands of the earth are signs. Then there are the wonders of the sea and its waves. Yet, it still has been made subservient and submissive to those who travel upon its surface. It carries their ships, allowing them to traverse upon it with ease. This is all under the control of the Most Able; there is no God worthy of worship except Him and there is no true Lord other than Him. Concerning Allah's statement,

﴿ وَمَا تُغۡنِى ٱلۡأَيَـٰتُ وَٱلنُّذُرُ عَن قَوۡمٍ۬ لَّا يُؤۡمِنُونَ

(But neither Ayat nor warners benefit those who do not believe.) This means, `What thing will benefit such disbelieving people besides the heavenly and earthly signs, and the Messengers with their miracles, proofs and evidences that clearly prove the truthfulness of their message' This is similar to Allah's statement,

﴿ إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ حَقَّتۡ عَلَيۡہِمۡ ڪَلِمَتُ رَبِّكَ لَا يُؤۡمِنُونَ

(Truly! Those against whom the Word of your Lord has been justified, will not believe.) (10:96) Concerning Allah's statement,

﴿ فَهَلۡ يَنتَظِرُونَ إِلَّا مِثۡلَ أَيَّامِ ٱلَّذِينَ خَلَوۡاْ مِن قَبۡلِهِمۡ‌ۚ

(Then do they wait save for the likes of the days of men who passed away before them) This means, `Are these who reject you Muhammad, waiting for the vengeance and torment like the Days of Allah, when He punished those who came before them of the previous nations that rejected their Messengers'

﴿ قُلۡ فَٱنتَظِرُوٓاْ إِنِّى مَعَكُم مِّنَ ٱلۡمُنتَظِرِينَ ثُمَّ نُنَجِّى رُسُلَنَا وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ‌ۚ

(Say: "Wait then, I am waiting with you among those who wait.'' Then We save Our Messengers and those who believe!) This means, `Verily, We destroy those who reject the Messengers.'

﴿ كَذَٲلِكَ حَقًّا عَلَيۡنَا نُنجِ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ

(Thus it is incumbent upon Us to save the believers.) This means that this is a right that Allah, the Exalted, has obligated upon His Noble Self. This is similar to His statement,

﴿ كَتَبَ رَبُّكُمۡ عَلَىٰ نَفۡسِهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَةَ‌ۖ

(Your Lord has written (prescribed) mercy for Himself) (6:54)

﴿ قُلۡ يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلنَّاسُ إِن كُنتُمۡ فِى شَكٍّ۬ مِّن دِينِى فَلَآ أَعۡبُدُ ٱلَّذِينَ تَعۡبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ وَلَـٰكِنۡ أَعۡبُدُ ٱللَّهَ ٱلَّذِى يَتَوَفَّٮٰكُمۡ‌ۖ وَأُمِرۡتُ أَنۡ أَكُونَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ وَأَنۡ أَقِمۡ وَجۡهَكَ لِلدِّينِ حَنِيفً۬ا وَلَا تَكُونَنَّ مِنَ ٱلۡمُشۡرِكِينَ وَلَا تَدۡعُ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ مَا لَا يَنفَعُكَ وَلَا يَضُرُّكَ‌ۖ فَإِن فَعَلۡتَ فَإِنَّكَ إِذً۬ا مِّنَ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ وَإِن يَمۡسَسۡكَ ٱللَّهُ بِضُرٍّ۬ فَلَا ڪَاشِفَ لَهُ ۥۤ إِلَّا هُوَ‌ۖ وَإِن يُرِدۡكَ بِخَيۡرٍ۬ فَلَا رَآدَّ لِفَضۡلِهِۦ‌ۚ يُصِيبُ بِهِۦ مَن يَشَآءُ مِنۡ عِبَادِهِۦ‌ۚ وَهُوَ ٱلۡغَفُورُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ

(104. Say: "O people! If you are in doubt about my religion - I will never worship those whom you worship besides Allah, rather, I will worship Allah, the One Who cause you to die. And I was commanded to be one of the believers.) (105. And (I was commanded), "Direct your face toward the Hanif (monotheism) religion, and not be one of the idolaters.'') (106. "And do not invoke besides Allah what will not benefit you nor harm you. For if you did, you would certainly be one of the wrongdoers.'') (107. And if Allah touches you with harm, there is none who can lift it but He. And if He intends good for you, then none can repel His favor which He causes to reach whom He wills among His servants. And He is the Pardoning, the Merciful.)

The Command to worship Allah Alone and rely upon Him

Allah, the Exalted, says to His Messenger, Muhammad, `Say: O mankind! If you are in doubt about the correctness of that which I have been sent with the Hanif (monotheism) religion - the religion which Allah has revealed to me -- then know that I do not worship those whom you worship besides Allah. Rather, I worship Allah alone, ascribing no partners to Him. He is the One Who causes you to die just as He gives you life. Then, unto Him is your final return. If the gods that you call upon are real, I still refuse to worship them. So call upon them and ask them to harm me, and you will see that they can bring no harm or benefit. The only One Who holds the power of harm and benefit in His Hand is Allah alone, Who has no partners.'

﴿ وَأُمِرۡتُ أَنۡ أَكُونَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ

(And I was commanded to be one of the believers.) (10:104) Concerning Allah's statement,

﴿ وَأَنۡ أَقِمۡ وَجۡهَكَ لِلدِّينِ حَنِيفً۬ا

(And that you direct your face towards the Hanif religion) This means to make one's intention in worship solely for Allah alone, being a Hanif. Hanif means one who turns away from associating partners with Allah. For this reason Allah says,

﴿ وَلَا تَكُونَنَّ مِنَ ٱلۡمُشۡرِكِينَ

(and not be one of the idolaters.) This statement is directly connected with the previous statement,

﴿ وَأُمِرۡتُ أَنۡ أَكُونَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ

(And I was commanded to be one of the believers.) Concerning His statement,

﴿ وَإِن يَمۡسَسۡكَ ٱللَّهُ بِضُرٍّ۬

(And if Allah touches you with harm,) This verse contains the explanation that good, evil, benefit and harm only come from Allah alone and no one shares with His power over these things. Therefore, He is the One Who deserves to be worshipped alone, without ascription of partners. Concerning His statement,

﴿ وَهُوَ ٱلۡغَفُورُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ

(And He is the Pardoning, the Merciful.) This means that He is forgiving and merciful towards those who turn to Him in repentance, regardless of what sin the person has committed. Even if the person associated a partner with Allah, verily Allah would forgive him if he repented from it.

﴿ قُلۡ يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلنَّاسُ قَدۡ جَآءَڪُمُ ٱلۡحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّكُمۡ‌ۖ فَمَنِ ٱهۡتَدَىٰ فَإِنَّمَا يَہۡتَدِى لِنَفۡسِهِۦ‌ۖ وَمَن ضَلَّ فَإِنَّمَا يَضِلُّ عَلَيۡہَا‌ۖ وَمَآ أَنَا۟ عَلَيۡكُم بِوَڪِيلٍ۬ وَٱتَّبِعۡ مَا يُوحَىٰٓ إِلَيۡكَ وَٱصۡبِرۡ حَتَّىٰ يَحۡكُمَ ٱللَّهُ‌ۚ وَهُوَ خَيۡرُ ٱلۡحَـٰكِمِينَ

(108. Say: "O people! Now the truth has come to you from your Lord. So whoever receives guidance, he does so for the good of himself. And whoever goes astray, he does so at his own loss. And I am not set over you as a guardian.) (109. And follow what is revealed to you, and be patient until Allah gives judgment. And He is the best of the judges.) Allah, the Exalted, commands His Messenger to inform the people that that which he has brought them from Allah is the truth. It is a message concerning which there is no doubt or suspicion. Therefore, whoever is guided by it and follows it, then he only benefits himself by doing so. Likewise, whoever is misguided away from this message, then he will suffer the consequences against his own self.

﴿ وَمَآ أَنَا۟ عَلَيۡكُم بِوَڪِيلٍ۬

(And I am not set over you as a guardian) This means, `I am not a guardian over you in order for you to become believers. I am only a warner to you and guidance belongs to Allah, the Exalted.' Concerning Allah's statement,

﴿ وَٱتَّبِعۡ مَا يُوحَىٰٓ إِلَيۡكَ وَٱصۡبِرۡ

(And follow what has been revealed to you, and be patient) This means, `Adhere to that which Allah has revealed to you, and inspired you with, and be patient with the opposition that you meet from the people.'

﴿ حَتَّىٰ يَحۡكُمَ ٱللَّهُ‌ۚ

(until Allah gives judgment) This means, `Until Allah judges between you and them.'

﴿ وَهُوَ خَيۡرُ ٱلۡحَـٰكِمِينَ

(And He is the best of judges.) This means that He is the best of those who pass judgment, due to His Justice and His wisdom.

Surah Hud made the Prophet's Hair turn Gray

Abu `Isa At-Tirmidhi recorded from Ibn `Abbas that Abu Bakr said, "O Messenger of Allah, verily your hair has turned gray.'' The Prophet replied,

« شَيَّبَتْنِي هُودٌ وَالْوَاقِعَةُ وَالْمُرْسَلَاتُ وَعَمَّ يَتَسَاءَلُونَ وَإِذَا الشَّمْسُ كُوِّرَت »

(Surahs Hud, Al-Waqi`ah, Al-Mursalat, `Amma Yatasa'lun (An-Naba') and Idhash-Shamsu Kuwwirat (At-Takwir) have turned my hair gray.) In another narration he said,

« هُودٌ وَأَخَوَاتُهَا »

(Surah Hud and its sisters...)

﴿ بِسۡمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

﴿ الٓر‌ۚ كِتَـٰبٌ أُحۡكِمَتۡ ءَايَـٰتُهُ ۥ ثُمَّ فُصِّلَتۡ مِن لَّدُنۡ حَكِيمٍ خَبِيرٍ أَلَّا تَعۡبُدُوٓاْ إِلَّا ٱللَّهَ‌ۚ إِنَّنِى لَكُم مِّنۡهُ نَذِيرٌ۬ وَبَشِيرٌ۬ وَأَنِ ٱسۡتَغۡفِرُواْ رَبَّكُمۡ ثُمَّ تُوبُوٓاْ إِلَيۡهِ يُمَتِّعۡكُم مَّتَـٰعًا حَسَنًا إِلَىٰٓ أَجَلٍ۬ مُّسَمًّ۬ى وَيُؤۡتِ كُلَّ ذِى فَضۡلٍ۬ فَضۡلَهُ ۥ‌ۖ وَإِن تَوَلَّوۡاْ فَإِنِّىٓ أَخَافُ عَلَيۡكُمۡ عَذَابَ يَوۡمٍ۬ كَبِيرٍ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ مَرۡجِعُكُمۡ‌ۖ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَىۡءٍ۬ قَدِيرٌ

(1. Alif Lam Ra. (This is) a Book, the Ayat whereof are perfect (in every sphere of knowledge), and then explained in detail from One (Allah), Who is All-Wise Well-Acquainted (with all things).) (2. (Saying) worship none but Allah. Verily, I (Muhammad) am unto you from Him a warner and a bringer of glad tidings.) (3. And (commanding you): "Seek the forgiveness of your Lord, and turn to Him in repentance, that He may grant you good enjoyment, for a term appointed, and bestow His abounding grace to every owner of grace. But if you turn away, then I fear for you the torment of a Great Day.) (4. To Allah is your return, and He is able to do all things.'')

The Qur'an and its Call to (worship) Allah Alone

A discussion concerning the letters of the alphabet (which appear at the beginning of some chapters of the Qur'an) has already preceded at the beginning of Surat Al-Baqarah. That discussion is sufficient without any need for repetition here. Concerning Allah's statement,

﴿ أُحۡكِمَتۡ ءَايَـٰتُهُ ۥ ثُمَّ فُصِّلَتۡ

(The Ayat whereof are perfect and then explained in detail) This means perfect in its wording, detailed in its meaning. Thus, it is complete in its form and its meaning. This interpretation was reported from Mujahid and Qatadah, and Ibn Jarir (At-Tabari) preferred it. Concerning the meaning of Allah's statement,

﴿ مِن لَّدُنۡ حَكِيمٍ خَبِيرٍ

(from One (Allah), Who is All-Wise, Well-Acquainted.) This means that it (the Qur'an) is from Allah, Who is Most Wise in His statements and His Laws, and Most Aware of the final outcome of matters.

﴿ أَلَّا تَعۡبُدُوٓاْ إِلَّا ٱللَّهَ‌ۚ

((Saying) worship none but Allah.) This means that this Qur'an descended, perfect and detailed, with the purpose of Allah's worship alone, without any partners. This is similar to the statement of Allah, the Exalted,

﴿ وَمَآ أَرۡسَلۡنَا مِن قَبۡلِكَ مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا نُوحِىٓ إِلَيۡهِ أَنَّهُ ۥ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّآ أَنَا۟ فَٱعۡبُدُونِ

(And We did not send any Messenger before you but We revealed to him (saying): There is no God but I, so worship Me.) (21:25) It is similar to Allah's statement,

﴿ وَلَقَدۡ بَعَثۡنَا فِى ڪُلِّ أُمَّةٍ۬ رَّسُولاً أَنِ ٱعۡبُدُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَٱجۡتَنِبُواْ ٱلطَّـٰغُوتَ‌ۖ

(And verily, We have sent among every Ummah a Messenger (proclaiming): `Worship Allah (Alone), and avoid Taghut (calling false deities.)')(16:36) In reference to Allah's statement,

﴿ إِنَّنِى لَكُم مِّنۡهُ نَذِيرٌ۬ وَبَشِيرٌ۬

(Verily, I am unto you from Him a warner and a bringer of glad tidings.) This means, "Verily, I am unto you a warner of the punishment if you oppose Him (Allah), and a bringer of the good news of reward if you obey Him.'' This meaning has been recorded in the authentic Hadith which states that the Messenger of Allah ascended mount As-Safa and called out to his near relatives of the Quraysh tribe. When they gathered around him, he said,

« يَا مَعْشَرَ قُرَيْشٍ أَرَأَيْتُمْ لَوْ أَخْبَرْتُكُمْ أَنَّ خَيْلًا تُصَبِّحُكُمْ أَلَسْتُمْ مُصَدِّقِيَّ؟ »

(O people of Quraysh, if I informed you that a cavalry was going to attack you in the morning, would you not believe me) They replied, "We have not found you to be a liar.'' He said,

« فَإِنِّي نَذِيرٌ لَكُمْ بَيْنَ يَدَي عَذَابٍ شَدِيد »

(Verily I am a warner unto you before a severe punishment.) Concerning His statement,

﴿ وَأَنِ ٱسۡتَغۡفِرُواْ رَبَّكُمۡ ثُمَّ تُوبُوٓاْ إِلَيۡهِ يُمَتِّعۡكُم مَّتَـٰعًا حَسَنًا إِلَىٰٓ أَجَلٍ۬ مُّسَمًّ۬ى وَيُؤۡتِ كُلَّ ذِى فَضۡلٍ۬ فَضۡلَهُ ۥ‌ۖ

(And (commanding you): `Seek the forgiveness of your Lord, and turn to Him in repentance, that He may grant you good enjoyment, for a term appointed, and bestow His abounding grace to every owner of grace.) This means, "I am commanding you to seek forgiveness from previous sins and to turn to Allah from future sins, and thereafter you abide by that.''

﴿ يُمَتِّعۡكُم مَّتَـٰعًا حَسَنًا

(that He may grant you good enjoyment,) This is in reference to this worldly life.

﴿ إِلَىٰٓ أَجَلٍ۬ مُّسَمًّ۬ى وَيُؤۡتِ كُلَّ ذِى فَضۡلٍ۬ فَضۡلَهُ ۥ‌ۖ

(for a term appointed, and bestow His abounding grace to every owner of grace.) This refers to the Hereafter, according to Qatadah. "This is like the statement of Allah,

﴿ مَنۡ عَمِلَ صَـٰلِحً۬ا مِّن ذَڪَرٍ أَوۡ أُنثَىٰ وَهُوَ مُؤۡمِنٌ۬ فَلَنُحۡيِيَنَّهُ ۥ حَيَوٰةً۬ طَيِّبَةً۬‌ۖ

(Whoever works righteousness -- whether male or female -- while a true believer, verily to him We will give a good life.) (16:97) Concerning Allah's statement,

﴿ وَإِن تَوَلَّوۡاْ فَإِنِّىٓ أَخَافُ عَلَيۡكُمۡ عَذَابَ يَوۡمٍ۬ كَبِيرٍ

(But if you turn away, then I fear for you the torment of a Great Day.) This is a severe threat for whoever turns away from the commandments of Allah, the Exalted, and rejects His Messengers. Verily, the punishment will afflict such a person on the Day of Resurrection and there will be no escape from it.

﴿ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ مَرۡجِعُكُمۡ‌ۖ

(To Allah is your return,) This is means your return on the Day of Judgment.

﴿ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَىۡءٍ۬ قَدِيرٌ

(and He is able to do all things.) This means that He is capable of doing whatever He wishes, whether it be goodness towards His Awliya' (friends and allies), or vengeance upon His enemies. This also includes His ability to repeat the creation of His creatures on the Day of Resurrection. This section encourages fear, just as the previous section encourages hope.

﴿ أَلَآ إِنَّہُمۡ يَثۡنُونَ صُدُورَهُمۡ لِيَسۡتَخۡفُواْ مِنۡهُ‌ۚ أَلَا حِينَ يَسۡتَغۡشُونَ ثِيَابَهُمۡ يَعۡلَمُ مَا يُسِرُّونَ وَمَا يُعۡلِنُونَ‌ۚ إِنَّهُ ۥ عَلِيمُۢ بِذَاتِ ٱلصُّدُورِ

(5. No doubt! They did fold up their breasts, that they may hide from Him. Surely, even when they cover themselves with their garments, He knows what they conceal and what they reveal. Verily, He is the All-Knower of the (innermost secrets) of the breasts.)