Allah says of Dhul-Qarnayn:
(Then he followed (another) way) meaning, he traveled from the east of the earth until he reached a place between the two mountains which were next to one another with a valley in between, from which Ya'juj and Ma'juj (God and Magog) will emerge into the land of the Turks and spread mischief there, destroying crops and people. Ya'juj and Ma'juj are among the progeny of Adam, peace be upon him, as was recorded in the Two Sahihs;
"Allah said: "O Adam.'' Adam said, "Here I am at Your service.'' Allah said, "Send forth the group of Hellfire.'' Adam said, "What is the group of Hellfire" Allah said: "Out of every thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine will go to Hell and one will go to Paradise.'' At that time young men will turn grey and every pregnant female will drop her load. Among you are two nations who never come to anything but they overwhelm it with their huge numbers. (They are) Ya'juj and Ma'juj.''
(he found before them a people who scarcely understood a word. ) he could not understand their speech, because they were so isolated from other people.
(They said: "O Dhul-Qarnayn! Verily, Ya'juj and Ma'juj are doing great mischief in the land. Shall we then pay you a tribute'') Ibn Jurayj reported from `Ata' from Ibn `Abbas that this meant a great reward, i.e., they wanted to collect money among themselves to give to him so that he would create a barrier between them and Ya'juj and Ma'juj. Dhul-Qarnayn said with kindness, righteousness and good intentions,
(That in which my Lord had established me is better (than your tribute).) meaning, the power and authority that Allah has given me is better for me than what you have collected. This is like when Sulayman (Solomon), peace be upon him, said:
(Will you help me in wealth What Allah has given me is better than that which He has given you!) )27:36( Similarly, Dhul-Qarnayn said: `What I have is better than what you want to give me, but help me with strength,' i.e., with your labor and construction equipment,
(I will erect between you and them a barrier. Give me Zubar of iron,) Zubar is the plural of Zubrah, which means pieces or chunks of something. This was the view of Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and Qatadah. These pieces were like bricks or blocks, and it was said that each block weighed one Damascene Qintar or more.
(then, when he had filled up the gap between the two mountain-cliffs,) means, he put the blocks on top of one another, starting at the bottom, until he reached the tops of the mountains, filling the width and height of the gap. The scholars differed about the precise width and height.
(he said: "Blow;'') means, he lit a fire until the whole thing was burning hot.
(he said: "Bring me Qitran to pour over them.'') Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah and As-Suddi said it was copper. Some of them added that it was molten. This is similar to the Ayah:
(And We caused a fount of Qitran to flow for him) (34:12). So it resembled a striped cloak. Then Allah said:
(97. So they could not scale it or dig through it.) (98. He said: "This is a mercy from my Lord, but when the promise of my Lord comes, He shall Dakka' it down to the ground. And the promise of my Lord is ever true.) (99. And on that Day, We shall leave some of them to surge like waves on one another; and the Trumpet will be blown, and We shall collect them (the creatures) all together.)
Allah tells us that Ya'juj and Ma'juj could not climb over the barrier or penetrate its lower portion. Varying forms of the verb are used here in the Arabic text to reflect the difficulty of the action referred to.
(So they (Ya'juj and Ma'juj) could not scale it or dig through it.) This indicates that they could not penetrate it or dig through it. Imam Ahmad recorded that Zaynab bint Jahsh, the wife of the Prophet said, "The Prophet woke from sleep, and he was red in the face. He said,
(La ilaha illallah! Woe to the Arabs from the evil that has approached (them). Today a hole has been opened in the barrier of Ya'juj and Ma'juj like this.) and he made a circle with his index finger and thumb. I )Zaynab) said, `O Messenger of Allah, will we be destroyed even though there will be righteous people among us' He said:
(Yes, if evil increases.)'' This is a Sahih Hadith, both Al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded it.
((Dhul-Qarnayn) said: "This is a mercy from my Lord...'') meaning, after it was built by Dhul-Qarnayn.
(He said: This is a mercy from my Lord) for the people, when he placed a barrier between them and Ya'juj and Ma'juj, to stop them from spreading evil and corruption on earth.
(but when the promise of my Lord comes) means, when the true promise comes
(He shall Dakka' it down to the ground.) means, will make it flat. The Arabs use Dakka' to describe a female camel whose back is flat and has no hump. And Allah says:
(So when his Lord appeared to the mountain, He made it Dakkan) (7:143) meaning, level to the ground.
(And the promise of my Lord is ever true.) means, it will come to pass without a doubt.
(We shall leave some of them) meaning mankind, on that day, the day when the barrier will be breached and these people (Ya'juj and Ma'juj) will come out surging over mankind to destroy their wealth and property.
(We shall leave some of them to surge like waves on one another;) As-Suddi said: "That is when they emerge upon the people.'' All of this will happen before the Day of Resurrection and after the Dajjal, as we will explain when discussing the Ayat:
(Until, when Ya'juj and Ma'juj are let loose, and they swoop down from every Hadab. And the true promise shall draw near...) (21:96-97)
(and As-Sur will be blown.) As-Sur, as explained in the Hadith, is a horn that is blown into. The one who will blow into it is (the angel) Israfil, peace be upon him, as has been explained in the Hadith quoted at length above, and there are many Hadiths on this topic. According to a Hadith narrated from `Atiyah from Ibn `Abbas and Abu Sa`id, and attributed to the Prophet,
(How can I relax when the one with the Horn has put the Horn in his mouth and has knelt down, listening out for the command to be given to him) They said, "What should we say" He said:
(Say: "Allah is Sufficient for us and the best Disposer of affairs, in Allah have we put our trust.'')
(and We shall collect them (the creatures) all together.) means, `We shall bring them all together for Reckoning.'
(Say: "(Yes) verily, those of old, and those of later times. All will surely be gathered together
for appointed meeting of a known Day.) (56:49-50)
(and we shall gather them all together so as to leave not one of them behind.) (18:47)
(100. And on that Day We shall present Hell to the disbelievers, plain to view.) (101. (To) those whose eyes had been under a covering from My Reminder, and they could not bear to hear (it).) (102. Do then those who disbelieved think that they can take My servants as Awliya' )protectors) besides Me Verily, We have prepared Hell as an entertainment for the disbelievers.)
Allah tells us what He will do to the disbelievers on the Day of Resurrection. He will show Hell to them, meaning He will bring it forth for them to see its punishment and torment before they enter it. This will intensify their distress and grief. In Sahih Muslim it is recorded that Ibn Mas`ud said, "The Messenger of Allah said,
(Hell will be brought forth on the Day of Resurrection, pulled by means of seventy thousand reins, each of which will be held by seventy thousand angels.) Then Allah says of them:
((To) those whose eyes had been under a covering from My Reminder,) meaning, they neglected it, turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to it, refusing to accept guidance and follow the truth. As Allah says:
(And whosoever turns away blindly from the remembrance of the Most Gracious, We appoint for him a Shaytan to be a companion for him.) )43:36( And here Allah says:
(and they could not bear to hear (it). ) meaning, they did not understand the commands and prohibitions of Allah. Then He says:
(Do then those who disbelieved think that they can take My servants as Awliya' )protectors) besides Me) meaning, do they think that this is right for them and that it is going to benefit them
(Nay, but they will deny their worship of them, and become opponents to them) (19:82). Allah says that He has prepared Hell as their abode on the Day of Resurrection.
(103. Say: "Shall We tell you the greatest losers in respect of (their) deeds'') (104. "Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life while they thought that they were acquiring good by their deeds.'') (105. "They are those who deny the Ayat of their Lord and the meeting with Him. So their works are in vain, and on the Day of Resurrection, We shall assign no weight for them.'') (106. "That shall be their recompense, Hell; because they disbelieved and took My Ayat and My Messengers for jest.'')
Al-Bukhari recorded from `Amr that Mus`ab who said: "I asked my father -- meaning Sa`d bin Abi Waqqas -- about Allah's saying,
(Say: "Shall We tell you the greatest losers in respect of (their) deeds'') `Are they the Haruriyyah' He said, `No, they are the Jews and Christians. As for the Jews, they disbelieved in Muhammad, and as for the Christians, they disbelieved in Paradise and said that there is no food or drink there, and the Haruriyyah are those who break Allah's covenant after ratifying it.' Sa`d used to call them Al-Fasiqin (the corrupt). `Ali bin Abi Talib, Ad-Dahhak and others said: "They are the Haruriyyah,'' so this means, that according to `Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, this Ayah includes the Haruriyyah just as it includes the Jews, the Christians and others. This does not mean that the Ayah was revealed concerning any of these groups in particular; it is more general than that, because the Ayah was revealed in Makkah, before the Qur'an addressed the Jews and Christians, and before the Khawarij existed at all. So the Ayah is general and refers to everyone who worships Allah in a way that is not acceptable, thinking that he is right in doing that and that his deeds will be accepted, but he is mistaken and his deeds will be rejected, as Allah says:
(Some faces, that Day will be humiliated. Laboring, weary. They will enter in the hot blazing Fire.) (88:2-4)
(And We shall turn to whatever deeds they did, and We shall make such deeds as scattered floating particles of dust.) (25:23)
(As for those who disbelieved, their deeds are like a mirage in a desert. The thirsty one thinks it to be water, until he comes up to it, he finds it to be nothing) (24:39) And in this Ayah Allah says:
(Say: "Shall We tell you...'') meaning, `Shall We inform you;'
(the greatest losers in respect of (their) deeds) Then Allah explains who they are, and says:
(Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life) meaning, they did deeds that do not count, deeds that are not in accordance with the prescribed way that is acceptable to Allah.
(while they thought that they were acquiring good by their deeds.) means, they thought that there was some basis for their deeds and that they were accepted and loved.
(They are those who deny the Ayat of their Lord and the meeting with Him.) they denied the signs of Allah in this world, the proofs that He has established of His Oneness and of the truth of His Messengers, and they denied the Hereafter.
(and on the Day of Resurrection, We shall assign no weight for them.) means, `We will not make their Balance heavy because it is empty of any goodness.' Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said:
(A huge fat man will come forward on the Day of Resurrection and he will weigh no more than the wing of a gnat to Allah. Recite, if you wish:) (and on the Day of Resurrection, We shall assign no weight for them) It was also recorded by Muslim.
(That shall be their recompense, Hell; because they disbelieved) means, `We will punish them with that because of their disbelief and because they took the signs and Messengers of Allah as a joke, mocking them and disbelieving them in the worst way.'
(107. "Verily, those who believe and do righteous deeds, shall have the Gardens of Al-Firdaws for their entertainment.'') (108. "Wherein they shall dwell (forever). No desire will they have for removal therefrom.'')
Allah tells us about His blessed servants, those who believed in Allah and His Messengers and accepted as truth what the Messengers brought. He tells us that they will have the Gardens of Al-Firdaws (Paradise). Abu Umamah said, "Al-Firdaws is the center of Paradise.'' Qatadah said, "Al-Firdaws is a hill in Paradise, at its center, the best of it.'' This was also narrated from Samurah and attributed to the Prophet,
(Al-Firdaws is a hill in Paradise, at its center, the best of it.) A similar report was narrated from Qatadah from Anas bin Malik, and attributed to the Prophet. All of the preceding reports were narrated by Ibn Jarir, may Allah have mercy on him. The following is in the Sahih,
(If you ask Allah for Paradise, then ask Him for Al-Firdaws, for it is the highest part of Paradise, in the middle of Paradise, and from it spring the rivers of Paradise.)
(entertainment) means offered to them as hospitality.
(Wherein they shall dwell (forever).) means, they will stay there and never leave.
(No desire will they have for removal therefrom. ) means, they will never choose or want anything else. This Ayah tells us how much they love and desire it, even though one might imagine that a person who is to stay in one place forever would get tired and bored of it. But Allah tells us that despite this eternal stay, they will never choose to change or move from where they are.
(109. Say: "If the sea were ink for the Words of my Lord, surely, the sea would be exhausted before the Words of my Lord would be finished, even if We brought like it for its aid.'')
Allah says: `Say, O Muhammad, if the water of the sea were ink for a pen to write down the words, wisdom and signs of Allah, the sea would run dry before it all could be written down.
(even if We brought like it) means, another sea, then another, and so on, additional seas to be used for writing. The Words of Allah would still never run out. As Allah says:
(And if all the trees on the earth were pens and the sea (were ink), with seven seas behind it to increase it, yet the Words of Allah would not be exhausted. Verily, Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.) (31:27) Ar-Rabi` bin Anas said, "The parable of the knowledge of all of mankind, in comparison to the knowledge of Allah, is that of a drop of water in comparison to all of the oceans.'' Allah revealed that:
(Say: "If the sea were ink for the Words of my Lord, surely, the sea would be exhausted before the Words of my Lord would be finished,) Allah says that even if those oceans were ink for the Words of Allah, and all the trees were pens, the pens would be broken and the water of the sea would run dry, and the Words of Allah would remain, for nothing can outlast them. For no one can comprehend the greatness of Allah or praise Him as He deserves to be praised, except the One Who praises Himself. Our Lord is as He says He is and He is beyond what we can say. The blessings of this world, the beginning and end of it, in comparison to the blessings of the Hereafter, are like a mustard seed compared to the entire world.
(110. Say: "I am only a man like you. It has been revealed to me that your God is One God. So whoever hopes for the meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord.'')
Allah says to His Messenger Muhammad,
(Say) to these idolaters who reject your message to them,
(`I am only a man like you.) Whoever claims that I am lying, let him bring something like this that I have brought. For I did not know the Unseen, the matters of the past which you asked me about and I told you about, the story of the people of the Cave and of Dhul-Qarnayn, stories which are true -- I did not know any of this except for what Allah made known to me. And I tell you,
(that your God), Who calls you to worship Him,
(is One God), with no partner or associate.'
(So whoever hopes for the meeting with his Lord,) i.e., hopes for a good reward and recompense,
(let him work righteousness) meaning, in accordance with the prescribed laws of Allah,
(and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord.) This is what is meant by seeking the pleasure of Allah alone with no associate or partner. These are the two basic features of acceptable deeds: their intent is for the sake of Allah alone, and are done in accordance with the way of the Messenger of Allah. Imam Ahmad recorded that Mahmud bin Labid said that the Messenger of Allah said:
(What I fear the most for you is the small Shirk.) "They said: What is the small Shirk, O Messenger of Allah'' He said,
(Showing off (Ar-Riya'). Allah will say on the Day of Resurrection, when the people are rewarded or punished for their deeds, "Go to the one for whom you were showing off in the world and see if you will find any reward with him.'') Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Sa`id bin Abi Fadalah Al-Ansari, who was one of the Companions, said: "I heard the Messenger of Allah say,
(Allah will gather the first and the last on the Day of Resurrection, the Day concerning which there is no doubt. A voice will call out, "Whoever used to associate anyone with Allah in the deeds which he did, let him seek his reward from someone other than Allah, for Allah is the least in need of any partner or associate.) It was also recorded by At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah. This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Kahf. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all that exists.