Allah tells us of His justice towards His servants in this world, in that He does not task any person except according to his capacity, i.e., He does not burden any soul with more than it can bear. On the Day of Resurrection He will call them to account for their deeds, which He has recorded in a written Book from which nothing is omitted. He says:
(and with Us is a Record which speaks the truth,) meaning, the Book of deeds
(and they will not be wronged.) means, nothing will be omitted from their record of good deeds. As for evil deeds, He will forgive and overlook many of them in the case of His believing servants. Then Allah says, denouncing the disbelievers and idolators of the Quraysh:
(Nay, but their hearts are covered), meaning because of negligence and misguidance,
(from this.) means, the Qur'an which Allah revealed to His Messenger .
(and they have other deeds, besides which they are doing.) Al-Hakam bin Aban narrated from `Ikrimah, from Ibn `Abbas that
(and they have other deeds,) means, evil deeds apart from that, i.e., Shirk,
(which they are doing.) means, which they will inevitably do. This was also narrated from Mujahid, Al-Hasan and others. Others said that this phrase means:
(And they have other deeds, besides which they are doing.) It was decreed that they would do evil deeds, and they will inevitably do them before they die, so that the word of punishment may be justified against them. A similar view was narrated from Muqatil bin Hayyan, As-Suddi and `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam. This is a clear and appropriate meaning. We have already quoted from the Hadith of Ibn Mas`ud:
(By Him besides Whom there is no other God, a man may do the deeds of the people of Paradise until there is no more than a forearm's length between him and it, then the decree will overtake him and he will do the deeds of the people of Hell, then he will enter Hell...)
(Until when We seize those of them who lead a luxurious life with punishment; behold, they make humble invocation with a loud voice.) means, when the punishment and vengeance of Allah comes to those who are living a happy life of luxury in this world and overtakes them,
(behold, they make humble invocation with a loud voice.) means, they scream their calls for help. This is like the Ayat:
(And leave Me Alone (to deal) with the beliers, those who are in possession of good things of life. And give them respite for a little while. Verily, with Us are fetters, and a raging Fire.) (73:11-12)
(How many a generation have We destroyed before them! And they cried out when there was no longer time for escape.) (38:3)
(Invoke not loudly this day! Certainly you shall not be helped by Us. ) means, no one is going to save you from what has happened to you, whether you scream aloud or remain silent. There is no escape and no way out. It is inevitable: the punishment will surely come to you. Then Allah mentions the greatest of their sins:
(Indeed My Ayat used to be recited to you, but you used to turn back on your heels.) meaning, when you were called, you refused and resisted.
("This is because, when Allah Alone was invoked, you disbelieved, but when partners were joined to Him, you believed! So the judgment is only with Allah, the Most High, the Most Great!'') (40:12)
(In pride, talking evil about it by night.) refers to the arrogant pride which the Quraysh felt because they believed themselves to be the guardians of the Ka`bah, when in fact this was not the case. As An-Nasa'i said in his Tafsir of this Ayah in his Sunan: Ahmad bin Sulayman told us that `Ubaydullah told us from Isra`il, from `Abdul-A`la that he heard Sa`id bin Jubayr narrating that Ibn `Abbas said, "Talking by late night became disapproved of when this Ayah was revealed:
(In pride, talking evil about it by night.) He said, "They boasted about the Ka`bah and said, `We are its people who stay up talking at night.' They used to boast and stay up and talk at night around the Ka`bah. They did not use it for the proper purpose, and so in effect they had abandoned it.''
(68. Have they not pondered over the Word, or has there come to them what had not come to their fathers of old) (69. Or is it that they did not recognize their Messenger so they deny him) (70. Or they say: There is madness in him Nay, but he brought them the truth, but most of them are averse to the truth.) (71. And if Al-Haqq had followed their desires, verily, the heavens and the earth, and whosoever is therein would have been corrupted! Nay, We have brought them their reminder, but they turn away from their reminder.) (72. Or is it that you ask them for some Kharj But the recompense of your Lord is better, and He is the Best of those who give sustenance.) (73. And certainly, you call them to the straight path.) (74. And verily, those who believe not in the Hereafter are indeed deviating far astray from the path.) (75. And though We had mercy on them and removed the distress which is on them, still they would obstinately persist in their transgression, wandering blindly.)
Allah denounces the idolators for not understanding the Qur'an or contemplating its meaning, and for turning away from it, even though they had been addressed specifically in this Book which Allah did not reveal to any Messenger more perfect and noble, and especially since no Book or warner had come to their forefathers who had died during the Jahiliyyah. What these people, upon whom the blessing had been bestowed, should have done, was to accept it and give thanks for it, and try to understand it and act in accordance with it night and day, as was done by the wise ones among them who became Muslim and followed the Messenger , may Allah be pleased with them.
(Have they not pondered over the Word,) Qatadah said, "Because, by Allah, if the people had pondered the meaning and understood it properly, they would have found in the Qur'an a deterrent to disobeying Allah. But they only paid attention to the Ayat which are not entirely clear, and so they were destroyed because of that.'' Then Allah says, denouncing the disbelievers of the Quraysh:
(Or is it that they did not recognize their Messenger so they deny him) means, `do they not recognize Muhammad and the honesty, trustworthiness and good character with which he grew up among them Can they deny that or argue against it' Ja`far bin Abi Talib said to An-Najashi, the king of Ethiopia: "O King, Allah has sent to us a Messenger whose lineage, honesty and trustworthiness are known to us.'' Al-Mughirah bin Shu`bah said something similar to the deputy of Kisra when he wanted to challenge him. When the Byzantine ruler Heraclius asked Abu Sufyan Sakhr bin Harb and his companions -- who were still disbelievers and had not yet become Muslim -- about the characteristics, lineage, honesty and trustworthiness of the Prophet , they could only tell the truth and admit that he was indeed noble and truthful.
(Or they say: There is madness in him) This is a narration of what the Quraysh said about the Prophet . They said that he was making up the Qur'an by himself, or that he was crazy and did not know what he was saying. Allah tells us that their hearts did not believe that, they knew that what they were saying about the Qur'an was falsehood, for it had come to them from the Words of Allah and could not be resisted or rejected. So Allah challenged them and all the people of the world to produce something like it if they could -- but they could not and would never be able to do so. So Allah says:
(Nay, but he brought them Al-Haqq, but most of them are averse to the truth.)
(And if Al-Haqq had followed their desires, verily, the heavens and the earth, and whosoever is therein would have been corrupted!) Mujahid, Abu Salih and As-Suddi said, "Al-Haqq is Allah, may He be glorified.'' What is meant by the Ayah is that if Allah had responded to the desires in their hearts and prescribed things accordingly, the heavens and the earth and whosoever is therein, would have been corrupted, i.e., because of their corrupt and inconsistent desires. As Allah says of them elsewhere:
("Why is not this Qur'an sent down to some great man of the two towns'') (43:31) Then He says:
(Is it they who would portion out the mercy of your Lord) (43:32) And Allah says:
(Say: "If you possessed the treasure of the mercy of my Lord, then you would surely hold back for fear of spending it. '') (17:100),
(Or have they a share in the dominion Then in that case they would not give mankind even a Naqir.) (4:53) All of this goes to show how incapable mankind is and how divergent and inconsistent their ideas and desires are. Only Allah, may He be glorified, is Perfect in all His attributes, words, actions, laws, power and control of His creation, may He be exalted and sanctified. There is no God but He and no Lord besides Him. Then He says:
(Nay, We have brought them their reminder,) meaning the Qur'an,
(but they turn away from their reminder.)
(Or is it that you ask them for some Kharj) Al-Hasan said, "A reward.'' Qatadah said, "Some payment.''
(But the recompense of your Lord is better,) means, you are not asking for any wages or payment or anything for calling them to right guidance, rather you are hoping for a great reward from Allah, as He says:
(Say: "Whatever wage I might have asked of you is yours. My wage is from Allah only.'') (34:47)
(Say: "No wage do I ask of you for this, nor am I one of the pretenders.'') (38:86)
(Say: "No reward do I ask of you for this except to be kind to me for my kinship with you.'') (42:23)
(And there came a man running from the farthest part of the town. He said: "O my people! Obey the Messengers. Obey those who ask no wages of you, and who are rightly guided.'') (35:20-21)
(And certainly, you call them to the straight path. And verily, those who believe not in the Hereafter are indeed deviating far astray from the path.)
(And verily, those who believe not in the Hereafter are indeed deviating far astray from the path.) meaning, they have gone astray and deviated.
(And though We had mercy on them and removed the distress which is on them, still they would obstinately persist in their transgression, wandering blindly.) Here Allah tells of their stubbornness in their disbelief, in that even if He had removed the calamity from them and made them understand the Qur'an, they still would not follow it; they would still persist in their disbelief and stubborn transgression. This is like the Ayat:
(Had Allah known of any good in them, He would indeed have made them listen; and even if He had made them listen, they would but have turned away with aversion.) (8:23)
(And if (Lauw) you could but see when they will be held over the (Hell) Fire! They will say: "Would that we were but sent back (to the world)! Then we would not deny the Ayat of our Lord, and we would be of the believers!'' Nay, it has become manifest to them what they had been concealing before. But if they were returned (to the world), they would certainly revert to that which they were forbidden.) (6:27-29) Until His statement:
(be resurrected) This has to do with the knowledge of Allah. He knows about some- thing that will not happen, but if it were to happen, He knows how it would be. Ad-Dahhak reported from Ibn `Abbas: "Every- thing that is implied in the word:
(If (Lauw)) is something that will never happen.''
(76. And indeed We seized them with punishment, but they humbled not themselves to their Lord, nor did they invoke with submission to Him.) (77. Until, when We open for them the gate of severe punishment, then lo! they will be plunged in despair.) (78. It is He Who has created for you hearing, eyes, and hearts. Little thanks you give.) (79. And it is He Who has created you on the earth, and to Him you shall be gathered back.) (80. And it is He Who gives life and causes death, and His is the alternation of night and day. Will you not then understand) (81. Nay, but they say the like of what the men of old said.) (82. They said: "When we are dead and have become dust and bones, shall we be resurrected indeed'') (83. "Verily, this we have been promised -- we and our fathers before! This is only (from) tales of the ancients!'') Allah's saying:
(And indeed We seized them with punishment,) means, `We tried and tested them with difficulties and calamities.' His saying:
(but they humbled not themselves to their Lord, nor did they invoke with submission to Him.) means, that did not deter them from their disbelief and resistance, rather they persisted in their sin and misguidance,
(but they humbled not themselves)
(nor did they invoke (Allah) with submission to Him. ) they did not call on Him. This is like the Ayah:
(When Our torment reached them, why then did they not humble themselves But their hearts became hardened,) (6:43) Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, "Abu Sufyan came to the Messenger of Allah and said, `O Muhammad, I ask you by Allah and by the ties of kinship between us, we have been reduced to eating camel hair and blood.' Then Allah revealed,
(And indeed We seized them with punishment, but they humbled not themselves.) This was also recorded by An-Nasa'i. The basis of this Hadith is in the Two Sahihs, where it says that the Messenger of Allah prayed against the Quraysh when he could not make any headway with them, and he said,
(O Allah, help me against them sending on them seven years (of famine) like the seven (years of drought) of Yusuf.)
(Until, when We open for them the gate of severe punishment, then lo! they will be plunged in despair.) When the command of Allah reaches them and the Hour comes to them suddenly, and they are overtaken by the punishment of Allah which they were not expecting, then they will despair of any ease and goodness, and all their hopes will disappear.
Then Allah mentions His blessings to His servants, in that He has given them hearing, sight and understanding through which they come to know things and draw lessons from them, the signs which attest to the Oneness of Allah and indicate that He is the One Who does what He wills and chooses what He wants.
(Little thanks you give.) means, how little you thank Allah for the blessings He has given you. This is like the Ayah:
(And most of mankind will not believe even if you desire it eagerly.) (12:103) Then Allah tells us about His great power and overwhelming authority, for He is the One Who originated creation and put people in all parts of the earth, with their different nations, languages and characteristics, then on the Day of Resurrection He will gather them all together, the first of them and the last, at a fixed time on a day appointed, and none will be left out, young or old, male or female, noble or insignificant, but all will be brought back as they were originally created. Allah said:
(And it is He Who gives life and causes death,) meaning, He will bring the scattered bones back to life and cause the death of the nations,
(and His is the alternation of night and day. ) meaning, by His command night and day are subjugated, each of them following the other and never departing from that pattern, as Allah says:
(It is not for the sun to overtake the moon, nor does the night outstrip the day) (36:40).
(Will you not then understand) means, do you not have minds that tell you of the Almighty, All-Knowing to Whom all things are subjugated, Who has power over all things and to Whom all things submit
Then Allah tells us about those who denied the resurrection, who were like the disbelievers who came before them:
(Nay, but they say the like of what the men of old said. They said: "When we are dead and have become dust and bones, shall we be resurrected indeed'') They thought it very unlikely that this would happen after they had disintegrated into nothing.
("Verily, this we have been promised -- we and our fathers before (us)! This is only the tales of the ancients!'') This means, "It is impossible that we could be brought back. This was said by those who learned it from the books and disputes of the ancients.'' This denial and rejection on their part is like the Ayah where Allah tells us about them:
("Even after we are crumbled bones'' They say: "It would in that case, be a return with loss!'' But it will be only a single Zajrah, When behold, they find themselves on the surface of the earth alive after their death.) (79:11-14)
(Does not man see that We have created him from Nutfah. Yet behold he (stands forth) as an open opponent. And he puts forth for Us a parable, and forgets his own creation. He says: "Who will give life to these bones after they are rotten and have become dust'' Say: "He will give life to them Who created them for the first time! And He is the All-Knower of every creation!'') (36:77-79)
(84. Say: "Whose is the earth and whosoever is therein If you know!'') (85. They will say: "It is Allah's!'' Say: "Will you not then remember'') (86. Say: "Who is (the) Lord of the seven heavens, and (the) Lord of the Great Throne'') (87. They will say: "Allah.'' Say: "Will you not then have Taqwa'') (88. Say: "In Whose Hand is the sovereignty of everything And He protects, while against Whom there is no protector, if you know'') (89. They will say: "(All that belongs) to Allah.'' Say: "How then are you deceived and turn away from the truth'') (90. Nay, but We have brought them the truth, and verily, they are liars.)