Allah tells His Prophet about what the leaders of Quraysh discussed when they came and listened to him reciting Qur'an in secret, without their people knowing about it. They said that he was Mashur which according to the better-known view means someone affected by magic (Sihr); it may also mean a man who has a lung, i.e., a mere human being, as if they were saying that if you follow Muhammad, you will only be following a human being. This second suggestion does not sound correct, because what they meant here was that he was under the influence of Sihr (magic) which made him see dreams in which he learned these words that he recited. Some of them said he was a poet, or a soothsayer, or crazy, or a sorcerer. Allah says:
(See what examples they have put forward for you. So they have gone astray, and never can they find a way.) meaning, they will never be guided to the truth and will never find a way to reach it. Muhammad bin Ishaq said in As-Sirah: "Muhammad bin Muslim bin Shihab Az-Zuhri told me that it happened that Abu Sufyan bin Harb, Abu Jahl bin Hisham and Al-Akhnas bin Shurayq bin `Amr bin Wahb Ath-Thaqafi, the ally of Bani Zahrah, went out one night to listen to the Messenger of Allah when he was praying at night in his house. Each one of them took up a position for listening, and none of them knew that the others were also there. They stayed listening to him all night until dawn came. When they left, they met up on the road, each of them blaming the others, saying to one another; `Do not come back again, lest you give the wrong impression (i.e., that you like what you hear).' Then they went away until the second night came, when each of them came back to his place and spent the night listening. When dawn came they left, then when they met up on the road, each of them blamed the others, saying the same as they had said the previous night. Then they went away until the third night came, when each of them came back to his place and spent the night listening. When dawn came they left, then when they met up on the road, they said to one another, `Let us not leave until we promise not to come back,' so they made a promise to that effect, and went their separate ways. In the morning, Al-Akhnas bin Shurayq took his stick and went to the house of Abu Sufyan bin Harb, where he said, `Tell me, O Abu Hanzalah (i.e., Abu Sufyan), what do you think of what you have heard from Muhammad' Abu Sufyan said, `O Abu Tha`labah (i.e., Al-Akhnas), by Allah, I have heard something I understand and I know what is meant by it, and I have heard things I do not understand and do not know what is meant by it.' Al-Akhnas said: `Me too, by the One by Whom you swore.' Then he left and went to Abu Jahl, and entered his house. He said, `O Abu Al-Hakam (i.e., Abu Jahl), what do you think of what you have heard from Muhammad' He said, `What did you hear' He said, `We and Banu `Abd Manaf competed for honor and position: they fed people so we fed people, they engaged in battle so we engaged in battle, they gave so we gave, until we were neck and neck, like race horses. Then they said, we have a Prophet among us who receives revelation from heaven. How could we compete with that By Allah we will never believe in him.' Then Al-Akhnas got up and left him.''
(49. And they say: "When we are bones and fragments (destroyed), should we really be resurrected (to be) a new creation'') (50. Say: "Be you stones or iron,'') (51. "Or some created thing that is yet greater (or harder) in your breasts.'' Then, they will say: "Who shall bring us back (to life)'' Say: "He Who created you first!'' Then, they will shake their heads at you and say: "When will that be'' Say: "Perhaps it is near!'') (52. On the Day when He will call you, and you will answer with (words of) His praise and obedience, and you will think that you have stayed (in this world) but a little while!)
Allah tells us about the disbelievers who think it very unlikely that the Resurrection will happen and who say, in a tone of denial,
(When we are bones and fragments.) meaning earth. This was the view of Mujahid. `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas that it means dust.
(should we really be resurrected (to be) a new creation) meaning, on the Day of Resurrection after we have disintegrated and become nothing, and have been forgotten. Allah tells us about them elsewhere:
(They say: "Shall we indeed be returned to (our) former state of life Even after we are crumbled bones'' They say: "It would in that case, be a return with loss!'') (79:10-12). And,
(And he puts forth for Us a parable, and forgets his own creation.) until the end of two Ayat. (36:78-79) Allah commands His Messenger to respond to them, so He says:
(Say (O Muhammad): "Be you stones or iron,'') - which are more difficult to restore than bones and fragments,
(Or some created thing that is yet greater (or harder) in your breasts.) Ibn Ishaq narrated from Ibn Abi Najih from Mujahid: "I asked Ibn `Abbas about that, and he said: `This is death.''' `Atiyah reported that Ibn `Umar explained of this Ayah: "If you were dead I would still resurrect you.'' This was also the view of Sa`id bin Jubayr, Abu Salih, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak and others. This means that if you were to assume that you would become dead, which is the opposite of living, Allah will resurrect you when He wills, for nothing can stop Him when He wills a thing.
(Or some created thing that is yet greater (or harder) in your breasts.) Mujahid said: "This means the heavens, earth and mountains.'' According to another report, "Whatever you want to be, go ahead, Allah will still resurrect you after you die.''
(Then, they will say: "Who shall bring us back (to life)'') meaning, who will resurrect us if we are stones or iron or some other strong created thing
(Say: "He Who created you first!'') meaning, He Who created you when you were nothing, then you became human beings, walking about. He is able to create you anew, no matter what you have become.
(And He it is Who originates the creation, then He will repeat it; and this is easier for Him.) (30:27)
(Then, they will shake their heads at you) Ibn `Abbas and Qatadah said, "They will move their heads in a gesture of mockery.'' This view expressed by Ibn `Abbas and Qatadah is what the Arabs understand from the language, because the word used Fasayunghidun indicates an up-and-down movement Nughad. A word derived from the same root, Naghd, is used to refer to the young of the ostrich, because when it walks, it walks quickly and moves its head. The same word is used to describe a tooth when it becomes loose and is detached from its place.
(and say: "When will that be'') This shows that they thought it very unlikely that it would happen, as Allah says:
(And they say: "When will this promise (i.e. Resurrection) be fulfilled, if you are truthful'') (36:48)
(Those who believe not therein seek to hasten it (the Hour)) (42:18)
(Say: "Perhaps it is near!'') meaning, beware of it, for it is at hand and will no doubt come to you, and what will be will be.
(On the Day when He will call you,) meaning the Lord, may He be blessed and exalted:
(When He will call you by a single call, behold, you will come out from the earth) (30:25) meaning, when He commands you to come out from the earth, for nothing can oppose Him or prevent His command from being fulfilled. Rather, it is as He says:
(And Our commandment is but one as the twinkling of an eye) (54:50)
(Verily, Our Word unto a thing when We intend it, is only that We say unto it: "Be!'' - and it is) (16:40)
(But it will be only a single Zajrah. When behold, they find themselves (on the surface of the earth) alive (after their death).) (79:13-14), meaning, it will be just one definitive command, then the people will have come out from the inside of the earth to its surface, as Allah says:
(On the Day when He will call you, and you will answer with (words of) His praise) meaning, you will all rise up in response to His command and in obedience to His will.
(and you will think) means, on the Day when you rise up from your graves,
(that you have stayed) in this earthly abode,
(but a little while.) This is like the Ayah:
(The Day they see it, (it will be) as if they had not tarried (in this world) except an afternoon or a morning.) (79:46). Allah says:
(The Day when the Trumpet will be blown: that Day, We shall gather the blue or blind-eyed with thirst. They will speak in a very low voice to each other (saying): "You stayed not longer than ten (days).'' We know very well what they will say, when the best among them in knowledge and wisdom will say: "You stayed no longer than a day!'') (20:102-104).
(And on the Day that the Hour will be established, they will swear that they stayed not but an hour - thus were they ever deluded.) (30:55)
(He will say: "What number of years did you stay on earth'' They will say: "We stayed a day or part of a day. Ask of those who keep account.'' He will say: "You stayed not but a little, if you had only known!'') (23:112-114).
(53. And say to My servants that they should say those words that are best. (Because) Shaytan verily, sows a state of conflict and disagreement among them. Surely, Shaytan is to man a plain enemy.)
Allah commands His servant Muhammad to tell the believing servants of Allah that they should address one another in their conversations and discussions with the best and politest of words, for if they do not do that, Shaytan will sow discord among them, and words will lead to actions, so that evil and conflicts and fights will arise among them. For Shaytan is the enemy of Adam and his descendants, and has been since he refused to prostrate to Adam. His enmity is obvious and manifest. For this reason it is forbidden for a man to point at his Muslim brother with an iron instrument, for Shaytan may cause him to strike him with it. (Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah said: "The Messenger of Allah said:
(No one of you should point at his brother with a weapon, for he does not know whether Shaytan will cause him to strike him with it and thus be thrown into a pit of Fire.) Al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded this Hadith with the chain of narration from `Abdur-Razzaq.
(54. Lord knows you best; if He wills, He will have mercy on you, or if He wills, He will punish you. And We have not sent you as a guardian over them.) (55. And your Lord knows best all who are in the heavens and the earth. And indeed, We have preferred some of the Prophets above others, and to Dawud We gave the Zabur.) Allah says:
(Your Lord knows you best;) O mankind, meaning, He knows best who among you deserves to be guided and who does not deserve to be guided.
(if He wills, He will have mercy on you,) by helping you to obey Him and turn to Him.
(or if He wills, He will punish you. And We have not sent you) - O Muhammad -
(as a guardian over them.) meaning, `We have sent you as a warner, so whoever obeys you, will enter Paradise and whoever disobeys you, will enter Hell.'
(And your Lord knows best all who are in the heavens and the earth.) meaning, their status or level of obedience or disobedience.
(And indeed, We have preferred some of the Prophets above others.) As Allah says:
(Those Messengers! We preferred some of them to others; to some of them Allah spoke (directly); others He raised to degrees (of honor.)) (2:253) This does not contradict the report in the Two Sahihs which says that the Messenger of Allah said:
(Don't give superiority to any Prophet among (Allah's) Prophets.) What is meant in this Hadith is giving a superiority based on whims and fanaticism or sectarian feelings, not on the basis of evidence. If there is solid evidence, we have to follow it. There is no dispute that the Messengers are better than the rest of the Prophets, and that the mighty Messengers of Great Resolve are the best of all. They are the five mentioned in two Ayat of the Qur'an, in Surat Al-Ahzab:
(And (remember) when We took from the Prophets their covenant, and from you and from Nuh, Ibrahim, Musa and `Isa son of Maryam.) (33:7) and in Surat Ash-Shura:
(He has ordained for you the same religion which He ordained for Nuh, and that which We have revealed to you, and that which We ordained for Ibrahim, Musa and `Isa saying you should establish religion and make no divisions in it.) (42:13) There is no dispute that Muhammad is the best of them, then Ibrahim, then Musa, then `Isa (peace be upon them all), according to the best-known view. We have discussed the evidence for this in detail elsewhere, and Allah is the source of help. Allah's saying,
(and to Dawud We gave the Zabur.) is an indication of his virtue and honor. Al-Bukhari recorded from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet said:
(The Qur'an (i.e. revealed Scripture of Zabur) was made easy for Dawud, so he would call for his mounts to be saddled, and he would finish reciting it (i.e., the Zabur) be- fore the job was done.)
(56. Say: "Call upon those - besides Him whom you pretend. They have neither the power to remove the adversity from you nor even to shift (it from you to another person).'') (57. Those whom they call upon, desire a means of access to their Lord, as to which of them should be the nearest; and they hope for His mercy and fear His torment. Verily, the torment of your Lord is (something) to be afraid of!)
(Say) O Muhammad to these idolaters who worship things other than Allah,
(Call upon those - besides Him whom you pretend.) such as idols and rivals of Allah. Even if you turn to them,
(They have neither the power to remove the adversity from you) they have no such power at all,
(nor even to shift (it from you to another person.)) to lift the distress from you and give it to someone else. The meaning is that the only one Who is able to do that is Allah Alone, with no partner or associate, Who is the One Who creates and issues commands.
(Say: "Call upon those whom you pretend) Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas, "The people of Shirk used to say, `we worship the angels and the Messiah and `Uzayr,' while these (the angels and the Messiah and `Uzayr) themselves call upon Allah.''
(Those whom they call upon, desire) Al-Bukhari recorded from Sulayman bin Mahran Al-A`mash, from Ibrahim, from Abu Ma`mar, from `Abdullah:
(Those whom they call upon, desire a means of access to their Lord,) "Some of the Jinn used to be worshipped, then they became Muslims.'' According to another report: "Some humans used to worship some of the Jinn, then those Jinn became Muslim, but those humans adhered to their religion (of worshipping the Jinn).''
(they hope for His mercy and fear His torment.) Worship cannot be complete or perfect unless it is accompanied by both fear and hope. Fear stops one from doing things that are forbidden, and hope makes one do more good deeds.
(Verily, the torment of your Lord is (something) to be afraid of!) meaning, one should beware of it and be afraid lest it happen. We seek refuge with Allah from that.
(58. And there is not a town (population) but We shall destroy it before the Day of Resurrection, or punish it with a severe torment. That is written in the Book (of Our decrees))