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The Intense Disbelief of Quraysh

Then Allah tells us how intense the disbelief of Quraysh was, and how stubbornly they resisted the Qur'an. If this Book with all its eloquence had been revealed to a non-Arab who did not know one word of Arabic, they still would not have believed in him. Allah says:

﴿ وَلَوۡ نَزَّلۡنَـٰهُ عَلَىٰ بَعۡضِ ٱلۡأَعۡجَمِينَ
﴿ فَقَرَأَهُ ۥ عَلَيۡهِم مَّا ڪَانُواْ بِهِۦ مُؤۡمِنِينَ

(And if We had revealed it unto any of the non-Arabs, And he had recited it unto them, they would not have believed in it.) And Allah says:

﴿ وَلَوۡ فَتَحۡنَا عَلَيۡہِم بَابً۬ا مِّنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ فَظَلُّواْ فِيهِ يَعۡرُجُونَ لَقَالُوٓاْ إِنَّمَا سُكِّرَتۡ أَبۡصَـٰرُنَا

(And even if We opened to them a gate from the heaven and they were to keep on ascending thereto. They would surely say: "Our eyes have been dazzled...'') (15:14-15)

﴿ وَلَوۡ أَنَّنَا نَزَّلۡنَآ إِلَيۡہِمُ ٱلۡمَلَـٰٓٮِٕڪَةَ وَكَلَّمَهُمُ ٱلۡمَوۡتَىٰ

(And even if We had sent down unto them angels, and the dead had spoken unto them...) (6:111)

﴿ 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)

﴿ كَذَٲلِكَ سَلَكۡنَـٰهُ فِى قُلُوبِ ٱلۡمُجۡرِمِينَ لَا يُؤۡمِنُونَ بِهِۦ حَتَّىٰ يَرَوُاْ ٱلۡعَذَابَ ٱلۡأَلِيمَ فَيَأۡتِيَهُم بَغۡتَةً۬ وَهُمۡ لَا يَشۡعُرُونَ فَيَقُولُواْ هَلۡ نَحۡنُ مُنظَرُونَ أَفَبِعَذَابِنَا يَسۡتَعۡجِلُونَ أَفَرَءَيۡتَ إِن مَّتَّعۡنَـٰهُمۡ سِنِينَ ثُمَّ جَآءَهُم مَّا كَانُواْ يُوعَدُونَ مَآ أَغۡنَىٰ عَنۡہُم مَّا كَانُواْ يُمَتَّعُونَ وَمَآ أَهۡلَكۡنَا مِن قَرۡيَةٍ إِلَّا لَهَا مُنذِرُونَ
﴿ ذِكۡرَىٰ وَمَا ڪُنَّا ظَـٰلِمِينَ

(200. Thus have We caused it to enter the hearts of the criminals.) (201. They will not believe in it until they see the painful torment.) (202. It shall come to them of a sudden, while they perceive it not.) (203. Then they will say: "Can we be respited'') (204. Would they then wish for Our torment to be hastened on) (205. Think, if We do let them enjoy for years,) (206. And afterwards comes to them that which they had been promised.) (207. All that with which they used to enjoy shall not avail them.) (208. And never did We destroy a township but it had its warners) (209. By way of reminder, and We have never been unjust.)

The Deniers will never believe until They see the Torment

Allah says: `thus We caused denial, disbelief, rejection and stubbornness to enter the hearts of the sinners.'

﴿ لَا يُؤۡمِنُونَ بِهِۦ

(They will not believe in it), i.e., the truth,

﴿ حَتَّىٰ يَرَوُاْ ٱلۡعَذَابَ ٱلۡأَلِيمَ

(until they see the painful torment.) means, when their excuses will be of no avail, and the curse will be upon them, and theirs will be an evil abode.

﴿ فَيَأۡتِيَهُم بَغۡتَةً۬

(It shall come to them of a sudden,) means, the punishment of Allah will come upon them suddenly,

﴿ وَهُمۡ لَا يَشۡعُرُونَ فَيَقُولُواْ هَلۡ نَحۡنُ مُنظَرُونَ

(while they perceive it not. Then they will say: "Can we be respited'') means, when they see the punishment, then they will wish they had a little more time so that they can obey Allah -- or so they claim. This is like the Ayah:

﴿ وَأَنذِرِ ٱلنَّاسَ يَوۡمَ يَأۡتِيہِمُ ٱلۡعَذَابُ

(And warn mankind of the Day when the torment will come unto them) until:

﴿ مَا لَڪُم مِّن زَوَالٍ۬

(that you would not leave) (14: 44). When every sinner and evildoer sees his punishment, he will feel intense regret. Such was the case of Fir`awn, when Musa prayed against him:

﴿ رَبَّنَآ إِنَّكَ ءَاتَيۡتَ فِرۡعَوۡنَ وَمَلَأَهُ ۥ زِينَةً۬ وَأَمۡوَٲلاً۬ فِى ٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا

(Our Lord! "You have indeed bestowed on Fir`awn and his chiefs splendor and wealth in the life of this world) until:

﴿ قَالَ قَدۡ أُجِيبَت دَّعۡوَتُڪُمَا

((Allah) said: "Verily, the invocation of you both is accepted.'') (10:88-89). This supplication had an effect on Fir`awn: he did not believe until he saw the painful torment:

﴿ حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَآ أَدۡرَڪَهُ ٱلۡغَرَقُ قَالَ ءَامَنتُ أَنَّهُ ۥ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا ٱلَّذِىٓ ءَامَنَتۡ بِهِۦ بَنُوٓاْ إِسۡرَٲٓءِيلَ

(till when drowning overtook him, he said: "I believe that none has the right to be worshipped but He in Whom the Children of Israel believe.'') until:

﴿ وَكُنتَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُفۡسِدِينَ

(and you were one of the mischief-makers) (10:90-91). And Allah says:

﴿ فَلَمَّا رَأَوۡاْ بَأۡسَنَا قَالُوٓاْ ءَامَنَّا بِٱللَّهِ وَحۡدَهُ ۥ

(so when they saw Our punishment, they said: "We believe in Allah Alone...'') (40:84-85).

﴿ أَفَبِعَذَابِنَا يَسۡتَعۡجِلُونَ

(Would they then wish for Our torment to be hastened on) This is a denunciation and a threat, because they used to say to the Messenger, by way of denial, thinking it unlikely ever to happen:

﴿ ٱئۡتِنَا بِعَذَابِ ٱللَّهِ

(Bring Allah's torment upon us) (29:29). This is as Allah said:

﴿ وَيَسۡتَعۡجِلُونَكَ بِٱلۡعَذَابِ‌ۚ

(And they ask you to hasten on the torment...) (29:53-55). Then Allah says:

﴿ أَفَرَءَيۡتَ إِن مَّتَّعۡنَـٰهُمۡ سِنِينَ ثُمَّ جَآءَهُم مَّا كَانُواْ يُوعَدُونَ مَآ أَغۡنَىٰ عَنۡہُم مَّا كَانُواْ يُمَتَّعُونَ

(Think, if We do let them enjoy for years, and afterwards comes to them that which they had been promised, all that with which they used to enjoy shall not avail them.) meaning, `even if We delay the matter and give them respite for a short while or for a long time, then the punishment of Allah comes upon them, what good will their life of luxury do them then'

﴿ كَأَنَّہُمۡ يَوۡمَ يَرَوۡنَہَا لَمۡ يَلۡبَثُوٓاْ إِلَّا عَشِيَّةً أَوۡ ضُحَٮٰهَا

(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). And Allah says:

﴿ يَوَدُّ أَحَدُهُمۡ لَوۡ يُعَمَّرُ أَلۡفَ سَنَةٍ۬ وَمَا هُوَ بِمُزَحۡزِحِهِۦ مِنَ ٱلۡعَذَابِ أَن يُعَمَّرَ‌ۗ

(Everyone of them wishes that he could be given a life of a thousand years. But the grant of such life will not save him even a little from punishment) (2:96).

﴿ وَمَا يُغۡنِى عَنۡهُ مَالُهُ ۥۤ إِذَا تَرَدَّىٰٓ

(And what will his wealth avail him when he goes down) (92:11) Allah says here:

﴿ مَآ أَغۡنَىٰ عَنۡہُم مَّا كَانُواْ يُمَتَّعُونَ

(All that with which they used to enjoy shall not avail them.) According to an authentic Hadith:

« يُؤْتَى بِالْكَافِرِ فَيُغْمَسُ فِي النَّارِ غَمْسَةً ثُمَّ يُقَالُ لَهُ: هَلْ رَأَيْتَ خَيْرًا قَطُّ؟ هَلْ رَأَيْتَ نَعِيمًا قَطُّ؟ فَيَقُولُ: لَا وَاللهِ يَا رَبِّ، وَيُؤتَى بِأَشَدِّ النَّاسِ بُؤْسًا كَانَ فِي الدُّنْيَا، فَيُصْبَغُ فِي الْجَنَّةِ صَبْغَةً، ثُمَّ يُقَالُ لَهُ: َهلْ رَأَيْتَ بُؤْسًا قَطُّ؟ فَيَقُولُ: لَا وَاللهِ يَا رَب »

(The disbelievers will be brought and once dipped into the Fire, then it will be said to him: "Did you ever see anything good Did you ever see anything good'' He will say, "No, O Lord!'' Then the most miserable person who ever lived on earth will be brought, and he will be put in Paradise for a brief spell, then it will be said to him, "Did you ever see anything bad" He will say, "No, O Lord.'') meaning: as if nothing ever happened. Then Allah tells us of His justice towards His creation, in that He does not destroy any nation until after He has left them with no excuse, by warning them, sending Messengers to them and establishing proof against them. He says:

﴿ وَمَآ أَهۡلَكۡنَا مِن قَرۡيَةٍ إِلَّا لَهَا مُنذِرُونَ
﴿ ذِكۡرَىٰ وَمَا ڪُنَّا ظَـٰلِمِينَ

(And never did We destroy a township but it had its warners by way of reminder, and We have never been unjust.) This is like the Ayat:

﴿ وَمَا كُنَّا مُعَذِّبِينَ حَتَّىٰ نَبۡعَثَ رَسُولاً۬

(And We never punish until We have sent a Messenger) (17:15).

﴿ وَمَا كَانَ رَبُّكَ مُهۡلِكَ ٱلۡقُرَىٰ حَتَّىٰ يَبۡعَثَ فِىٓ أُمِّهَا رَسُولاً۬ يَتۡلُواْ عَلَيۡهِمۡ ءَايَـٰتِنَا‌ۚ

(And never will your Lord destroy the towns until He sends to their mother town a Messenger reciting to them Our Ayat.) until;

﴿ وَأَهۡلُهَا ظَـٰلِمُونَ

(the people thereof are wrongdoers) (28:59).

﴿ وَمَا تَنَزَّلَتۡ بِهِ ٱلشَّيَـٰطِينُ وَمَا يَنۢبَغِى لَهُمۡ وَمَا يَسۡتَطِيعُونَ إِنَّهُمۡ عَنِ ٱلسَّمۡعِ لَمَعۡزُولُونَ

(210. And it is not the Shayatin (devils) who have brought it down.) (211. Neither would it suit them nor are they able.) (212. Verily, they have been removed far from hearing it.)

The Qur'an was brought down by Jibril, not Shaytan

Allah tells us about His Book, which falsehood cannot approach from before or behind it, sent down by the All-Wise, Worthy of all praise. He states that it has been brought down by the trustworthy Ruh (i.e., Jibril) who is helped by Allah,

﴿ وَمَا تَنَزَّلَتۡ بِهِ ٱلشَّيَـٰطِينُ

(And it is not the Shayatin who have brought it down.) Then He tells us that it could not be the case for three reasons that the Shayatin brought it down. One is that it would not suit them, i.e., they have no desire to do so and they do not want to, because their nature is to corrupt and misguide people, but this contains words enjoining what is right and forbidding what is evil, and light, guidance and mighty proofs. There is a big difference between this and the Shayatin, Allah says:

﴿ وَمَا يَنۢبَغِى لَهُمۡ

(Neither would it suit them)

﴿ وَمَا يَسۡتَطِيعُونَ

(nor are they able.) meaning, even if they wanted to, they could not do it. Allah says:

﴿ لَوۡ أَنزَلۡنَا هَـٰذَا ٱلۡقُرۡءَانَ عَلَىٰ جَبَلٍ۬ لَّرَأَيۡتَهُ ۥ خَـٰشِعً۬ا مُّتَصَدِّعً۬ا مِّنۡ خَشۡيَةِ ٱللَّهِ‌ۚ

(Had We sent down this Qur'an on a mountain, you would surely have seen it humbling itself and rent asunder by the fear of Allah) (59:21). Then Allah explains that even if they wanted to and were able to bear it and convey it, they still would not be able to achieve that, because they were prevented from hearing the Qur'an when it was brought down, for the heavens were filled with guardians and shooting stars at the time when the Qur'an was being revealed to the Messenger of Allah, so none of the Shayatin could hear even one letter of it, lest there be any confusion in the matter. This is a part of Allah's mercy towards His servants, protection of His Laws, and support for His Book and His Messenger. Allah says:

﴿ إِنَّهُمۡ عَنِ ٱلسَّمۡعِ لَمَعۡزُولُونَ

(Verily, they have been removed far from hearing it.) This is like what Allah tells us about the Jinn:

﴿ وَأَنَّا لَمَسۡنَا ٱلسَّمَآءَ فَوَجَدۡنَـٰهَا مُلِئَتۡ حَرَسً۬ا شَدِيدً۬ا وَشُہُبً۬ا وَأَنَّا كُنَّا نَقۡعُدُ مِنۡہَا مَقَـٰعِدَ لِلسَّمۡعِ‌ۖ فَمَن يَسۡتَمِعِ ٱلۡأَنَ يَجِدۡ لَهُ ۥ شِہَابً۬ا رَّصَدً۬ا

(And we have sought to reach the heaven; but found it filled with stern guards and flaming fires. And verily, we used to sit there in stations, to (steal) a hearing, but any who listens now will find a flaming fire watching him in ambush.) until;

﴿ أَمۡ أَرَادَ بِہِمۡ رَبُّہُمۡ رَشَدً۬ا

(or whether their Lord intends for them a right path) (72:8-10).

﴿ فَلَا تَدۡعُ مَعَ ٱللَّهِ إِلَـٰهًا ءَاخَرَ فَتَكُونَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُعَذَّبِينَ وَأَنذِرۡ عَشِيرَتَكَ ٱلۡأَقۡرَبِينَ وَٱخۡفِضۡ جَنَاحَكَ لِمَنِ ٱتَّبَعَكَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ فَإِنۡ عَصَوۡكَ فَقُلۡ إِنِّى بَرِىٓءٌ۬ مِّمَّا تَعۡمَلُونَ وَتَوَكَّلۡ عَلَى ٱلۡعَزِيزِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ٱلَّذِى يَرَٮٰكَ حِينَ تَقُومُ
﴿ وَتَقَلُّبَكَ فِى ٱلسَّـٰجِدِينَ إِنَّهُ ۥ هُوَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ ٱلۡعَلِيمُ

(213. So, invoke not with Allah another god lest you should be among those who receive punishment.) (214. And warn your tribe of near kindred.) (215. And be kind and humble to the believers who follow you.) (216. Then if they disobey you, say: "I am innocent of what you do.'') (217. And put your trust in the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful,) (218. Who sees you when you stand up.) (219. And your movements among those who fall prostrate.) (220. Verily, He, only He, is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.)

The Command to warn His Tribe of near Kindred

Here Allah commands (His Prophet) to worship Him alone, with no partner or associate, and tells him that whoever associates others in worship with Him, He will punish them. Then Allah commands His Messenger to warn his tribe of near kindred, i.e., those who were most closely related to him, and to tell them that nothing could save any of them except for faith in Allah. Allah also commanded him to be kind and gentle with the believing servants of Allah who followed him, and to disown those who disobeyed him, no matter who they were. Allah said:

﴿ فَإِنۡ عَصَوۡكَ فَقُلۡ إِنِّى بَرِىٓءٌ۬ مِّمَّا تَعۡمَلُونَ

(Then if they disobey you, say: "I am innocent of what you do.'') This specific warning does not contradict the general warning; indeed it is a part of it, as Allah says elsewhere:

﴿ لِتُنذِرَ قَوۡمً۬ا مَّآ أُنذِرَ ءَابَآؤُهُمۡ فَهُمۡ غَـٰفِلُونَ

(In order that you may warn a people whose forefathers were not warned, so they are heedless.) (36:6),

﴿ لِّتُنذِرَ أُمَّ ٱلۡقُرَىٰ وَمَنۡ حَوۡلَهَا

(that you may warn the Mother of the Towns and all around it) (42:7),

﴿ وَأَنذِرۡ بِهِ ٱلَّذِينَ يَخَافُونَ أَن يُحۡشَرُوٓاْ إِلَىٰ رَبِّهِمۡ‌ۙ

(And warn therewith those who fear that they will be gathered before their Lord) (6:51),

﴿ لِتُبَشِّرَ بِهِ ٱلۡمُتَّقِينَ وَتُنذِرَ بِهِۦ قَوۡمً۬ا لُّدًّ۬ا

(that you may give glad tidings to those who have Taqwa, and warn with it the most quarrelsome people.) (19:97),

﴿ لِأُنذِرَكُم بِهِۦ وَمَنۢ بَلَغَ‌ۚ

(that I may therewith warn you and whomsoever it may reach) (6:19), and

﴿ وَمَن يَكۡفُرۡ بِهِۦ مِنَ ٱلۡأَحۡزَابِ فَٱلنَّارُ مَوۡعِدُهُ ۥ‌ۚ

(but those of the sects that reject it, the Fire will be their promised meeting place) (11:17). According to Sahih Muslim, (the Prophet said:)

« وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ، لَا يَسْمَعُ بِي أَحَدٌ مِنْ هَذِهِ الْأُمَّةِ يَهُودِيٌّ وَلَا نَصْرَانِيٌّ، ثُمَّ لَا يُؤْمِنُ بِي إِلَّا دَخَلَ النَّار »

(By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, no one from these nations -- Jewish or Christian -- hears of me then does not believe in me, but he will enter Hell.) Many Hadiths have been narrated concerning the revelation of this Ayah, some of which we will quote below: Imam Ahmad, may Allah have mercy on him, recorded that Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: "When Allah revealed the Ayah,

﴿ وَأَنذِرۡ عَشِيرَتَكَ ٱلۡأَقۡرَبِينَ

(And warn your tribe of near kindred.), the Prophet went to As-Safa', climbed up and called out,

« يَا صَبَاحَاه »

(O people!) The people gathered around him, some coming of their own accord and others sending people on their behalf to find out what was happening. The Messenger of Allah said:

« يَا بَنِي عَبْدِ الْمُطَّلِبِ، يَا بَنِي فِهْرٍ، يَا بَنِي لُؤَيَ، أَرَأَيْتُمْ لَوْ أَخْبَرْتُكُمْ أَنَّ خَيْلًا بِسَفْحِ هَذَا الْجَبَلِ تُريدُ أَنْ تُغِيرَ عَلَيْكُمْ صَدَّقْتُمُونِي؟ »

(O Bani `Abd Al-Muttalib, O Bani Fihr, O Bani Lu'ayy! What do you think, if I told you that there was a cavalry at the foot of this mountain coming to attack you -- would you believe me) They said, "Yes.'' He said:

« فَإِنِّي نَذِيرٌ لَكُمْ بَيْنَ يَدَي عَذَابٍ شَدِيد »

(Then I warn you of a great punishment that is close at hand.) Abu Lahab said, "May you perish for the rest of the day! You only called us to tell us this'' Then Allah revealed:

﴿ تَبَّتۡ يَدَآ أَبِى لَهَبٍ۬ وَتَبَّ

(Perish the two hands of Abu Lahab and perish he!) (111:1) This was also recorded by Al-Bukhari, Muslim, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa'i. Imam Ahmad recorded that `A'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her said: "When the Ayah:

﴿ وَأَنذِرۡ عَشِيرَتَكَ ٱلۡأَقۡرَبِينَ

(And warn your tribe of near kindred) was revealed, the Messenger of Allah stood up and said:

« يَا فَاطِمَةُ ابْنَةُ مُحَمَّدٍ، يَا صَفِيَّةُ ابْنَةُ عَبْدِ الْمُطَّلِبِ، يَا بَنِي عَبْدِ الْمُطَّلِبِ، لَا أَمْلِكُ لَكُمْ مِنَ اللهِ شَيْئًا سَلُونِي مِنْ مَالِي مَا شِئْتُم »

(O Fatimah daughter of Muhammad, O Safiyyah daughter of `Abd Al-Muttalib, O Bani `Abd Al-Muttalib, I cannot help you before Allah. Ask me for whatever you want of my wealth.) This was recorded by Muslim. Imam Ahmad recorded that Qabisah bin Mukhariq and Zuhayr bin `Amr said: "When the Ayah:

﴿ وَأَنذِرۡ عَشِيرَتَكَ ٱلۡأَقۡرَبِينَ

(And warn your tribe of near kindred.) was revealed, the Messenger of Allah climbed on top of a rock on the side of a mountain and started to call out:

« يَا بَنِي عَبْدِ مَنَافٍ، إِنَّمَا أَنَا نَذِيرٌ، وَإِنَّمَا مَثَلِي وَمَثَلُكُمْ كَرَجُلٍ رَأَى الْعَدُوَّ فَذَهَبَ يَرْبَأُ أَهْلَهُ يَخْشَى أَنْ يَسْبِقُوهُ، فَجَعَلَ يُنَادِي وَيَهْتِفُ: يَا صَبَاحَاه »

(O Bani `Abd Manaf, I am indeed a warner, and the parable of me and you is that of a man who sees the enemy so he goes to save his family, fearing that the enemy may reach them before he does.) And he started to call out, (O people!) It was also recorded by Muslim and An-Nasa'i. Allah's saying:

﴿ وَتَوَكَّلۡ عَلَى ٱلۡعَزِيزِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

(And put your trust in the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful,) means, `in all your affairs, for He is your Helper, Protector and Supporter, and He is the One Who will cause you to prevail and will make your word supreme.'

﴿ ٱلَّذِى يَرَٮٰكَ حِينَ تَقُومُ

(Who sees you when you stand up.) means, He is taking care of you. This is like the Ayah,

﴿ وَٱصۡبِرۡ لِحُكۡمِ رَبِّكَ فَإِنَّكَ بِأَعۡيُنِنَا‌ۖ

(So wait patiently for the decision of your Lord, for verily, you are under Our Eyes) (52:48) Ibn `Abbas said that the Ayah,

﴿ ٱلَّذِى يَرَٮٰكَ حِينَ تَقُومُ

(Who sees you when you stand up.) means, "To pray.'' `Ikrimah said: "He sees him when he stands and bows and prostrates.'' Al-Hasan said:

﴿ ٱلَّذِى يَرَٮٰكَ حِينَ تَقُومُ

(Who sees you when you stand up.) "When you pray alone.'' Ad-Dahhak said:

﴿ ٱلَّذِى يَرَٮٰكَ حِينَ تَقُومُ

(Who sees you when you stand up.) "When you are lying in bed and when you are sitting.'' Qatadah said:

﴿ ٱلَّذِى يَرَٮٰكَ

(Who sees you) "When you are standing, when you are sitting, and in all other situations.''

﴿ وَتَقَلُّبَكَ فِى ٱلسَّـٰجِدِينَ

(And your movements among those who fall prostrate.) Qatadah said:

﴿ ٱلَّذِى يَرَٮٰكَ حِينَ تَقُومُ
﴿ وَتَقَلُّبَكَ فِى ٱلسَّـٰجِدِينَ

(Who sees you when you stand up. And your movements among those who fall prostrate.) "When you pray, He sees you when you pray alone and when you pray in congregation.'' This was also the view of `Ikrimah, `Ata' Al-Khurasani and Al-Hasan Al-Basri.

﴿ إِنَّهُ ۥ هُوَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ ٱلۡعَلِيمُ

(Verily, He, only He, is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.) He hears all that His servants say and He knows all their movements, as He says:

﴿ وَمَا تَكُونُ فِى شَأۡنٍ۬ وَمَا تَتۡلُواْ مِنۡهُ مِن قُرۡءَانٍ۬ وَلَا تَعۡمَلُونَ مِنۡ عَمَلٍ إِلَّا ڪُنَّا عَلَيۡكُمۡ شُہُودًا إِذۡ تُفِيضُونَ فِيهِ‌ۚ

(Neither you do any deed nor recite any portion of the Qur'an, nor you do any deed, but We are Witness thereof, when you are doing it) (10:61).

﴿ هَلۡ أُنَبِّئُكُمۡ عَلَىٰ مَن تَنَزَّلُ ٱلشَّيَـٰطِينُ تَنَزَّلُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ أَفَّاكٍ أَثِيمٍ۬ يُلۡقُونَ ٱلسَّمۡعَ وَأَڪۡثَرُهُمۡ كَـٰذِبُونَ وَٱلشُّعَرَآءُ يَتَّبِعُهُمُ ٱلۡغَاوُ ۥنَ أَلَمۡ تَرَ أَنَّهُمۡ فِى ڪُلِّ وَادٍ۬ يَهِيمُونَ وَأَنَّہُمۡ يَقُولُونَ مَا لَا يَفۡعَلُونَ إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ وَذَكَرُواْ ٱللَّهَ كَثِيرً۬ا وَٱنتَصَرُواْ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ مَا ظُلِمُواْ‌ۗ وَسَيَعۡلَمُ ٱلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوٓاْ أَىَّ مُنقَلَبٍ۬ يَنقَلِبُونَ

(221. Shall I inform you upon whom the Shayatin descend) (222. They descend on every lying, sinful person (Athim).) (223. Who gives ear, and most of them are liars.) (224. As for the poets, the astray follow them,) (225. See you not that they speak about every subject in their poetry) (226. And that they say what they do not do.) (227. Except those who believe and do righteous deeds, and remember Allah much and vindicate themselves after they have been wronged. And those who do wrong will come to know by what overturning they will be overturned.)

Refutation of the Fabrications of the Idolators

Here Allah addresses those idolaters who claimed that what was brought by the Messenger was not the truth but was merely something that he had made up by himself, or that it came to him in visions from the Jinn. Allah stated that His Messenger was above their claims and fabrications, and that what he had brought did indeed come from Allah, and that it was a revelation and inspiration, brought down by a noble, trustworthy and mighty angel. It did not come from the Shayatin, because they have no desire for anything like this Noble Qur'an -- they descend upon those who are like them, the lying fortune-tellers. Allah says:

﴿ هَلۡ أُنَبِّئُكُمۡ

(Shall I inform you) meaning, shall I tell you,

﴿ هَلۡ أُنَبِّئُكُمۡ عَلَىٰ مَن تَنَزَّلُ ٱلشَّيَـٰطِينُ تَنَزَّلُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ أَفَّاكٍ أَثِيمٍ۬

(upon whom the Shayatin descend They descend on every lying, sinful person (Athim)) meaning, one whose speech is lies and fabrication.

﴿ أَثِيمٍ۬

(Athim) means, whose deeds are immoral. This is the person upon whom the Shayatin descend, fortune-tellers and other sinful liars. The Shayatin are also sinful liars.

﴿ يُلۡقُونَ ٱلسَّمۡعَ

(Who gives ear,) means, they try to overhear what is said in the heavens, and they try to hear something of the Unseen, then they add to it a hundred lies and tell it to their human comrades, who then tell it to others. Then the people believe everything they say because they were right about the one thing which was heard from the heavens. This was stated in an authentic Hadith recorded by Al-Bukhari from `A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) who said, "The people asked the Prophet about fortune-tellers, and he said:

« إِنَّهُمْ لَيْسُوا بِشَيْء »

(They are nothing.) They said: "O Messenger of Allah, they say things that come true.'' The Prophet said:

« تِلْكَ الْكَلِمَةُ مِنَ الْحَقِّ يَخْطَفُهَا الْجِنِّيُّ فَيُقَرْقِرُهَا فِي أُذُنِ وَلِيِّهِ كَقَرْقَرَةِ الدَّجَاجِ، فَيَخْلِطُونَ مَعَهَا أَكْثَرَ مِنْ مِائَةِ كَذْبَة »

(That is a word of truth which the Jinn snatches, then he gabbles it like the clucking of a chicken into the ear of his friend, but he mixes it with more than one hundred lies.) Al-Bukhari also recorded that Abu Hurayrah said, "The Prophet said:

« إِذَا قَضَى اللهُ الْأَمْرَ فِي السَّمَاءِ ضَرَبَتِ الْمَلَائِكَةُ بِأَجْنِحَتِهَا خُضْعَانًا لِقَوْلِهِ، كَأَنَّهَا سِلْسِلَةٌ عَلَى صَفْوَانٍ، فَإِذَا فُزِّعَ عَنْ قُلُوبِهِمْ قَالُوا: مَاذَا قَالَ رَبُّكُمْ؟ قَالُوا (لِلَّذِي قَالَ): الْحَقَّ، وَهُوَ الْعَلِيُّ الْكَبِيرُ، فَيَسْمَعُهَا مُسْتَرِقُو السَّمْعِ، وَمُسْتَرِقُو السَّمْعِ هَكَذَا بَعْضُهُمْ فَوْقَ بَعْضٍ وَصَفَ سُفْيَانُ بِيَدِهِ، فَحَرَّفَهَا وَبَدَّدَ بَيْنَ أَصَابِعِهِ فَيَسْمَعُ الْكَلِمَةَ فَيُلْقِيهَا إِلَى مَنْ تَحْتَهُ، ثُمَّ يُلْقِيهَا الْآخَرُ إِلَى مَنْ تَحْتَهُ، حَتَّى يُلْقِيَهَا عَلَى لِسَانِ السَّاحِرِ أَوِ الْكَاهِنِ، فَرُبَّمَا أَدْرَكَهُ الشِّهَابُ قَبْلَ أَنْ يُلْقِيَهَا، وَرُبَّمَا أَلْقَاهَا قَبْلَ أَنْ يُدْرِكَهُ، فَيَكْذِبُ مَعَهَا مِائَةَ كَذْبَةٍ، فَيُقَالُ: أَلَيْسَ قَدْ قَالَ لَنَا يَوْمَ كَذَا وَكَذَا: كَذَا وَكَذَا؟ فَيُصَدَّقُ بِتِلْكَ الْكَلِمَةِ الَّتِي سُمِعَتْ مِنَ السَّمَاء »

(When Allah decrees a matter in heaven, the angels beat their wings in submission to His decree, a chain beating on a rock. And when the fear in their hearts subsides, they say: "What is it that your Lord has said'' They say: "The truth. And He is the Most High, the Most Great.'' Then when the Jinn who are listening out, one above the other) -- and Sufyan illustrated this with a gesture, holding his hand vertically with his fingers outspread -- (when they hear this, they throw it down from one to another, until it is passed to the fortune-teller or soothsayer. The shooting star may strike the Jinn before he passes it on, or he may pass it on before he is struck, and he adds to it one hundred lies, thus it is said: "Did he not tell us that on such and such a day, such and such would happen'' So they believe him because of that one thing which was heard from the heavens.) This was recorded by Al-Bukhari. Al-Bukhari recorded from `A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that the Prophet said:

« إِنَّ الْمَلَائِكَةَ تَحَدَّثُ فِي الْعَنَانِ وَالْعَنَانُ: الْغَمَامُ بِالْأَمْرِ (يَكُونُ) فِي الْأَرْضِ، فَتَسْمَعُ الشَّيَاطِينُ الْكَلِمَةَ، فَتَقُرُّهَا فِي أُذُنِ الْكَاهِنِ كَمَا تُقَرُّ الْقَارُورَةُ، فَيَزِيدُونَ مَعَهَا مِائَةَ كَذْبَة »

(The angels speak in the clouds about some matter on earth, and the Shayatin overhear what they say, so they tell it to the fortune-teller, gurgling into his ear like (a liquid poured) from a glass bottle, and he adds to it one hundred lies.)

Refutation of the Claim that the Prophet was a Poet
﴿ وَٱلشُّعَرَآءُ يَتَّبِعُهُمُ ٱلۡغَاوُ ۥنَ

(As for the poets, the astray ones follow them.) `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas that this means: "The disbelievers follow the misguided among mankind and the Jinn.'' This was also the view of Mujahid, `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam, and others. `Ikrimah said, "Two poets would ridicule one another in verse, with one group of people supporting one and another group supporting the other. Hence Allah revealed the Ayah,

﴿ وَٱلشُّعَرَآءُ يَتَّبِعُهُمُ ٱلۡغَاوُ ۥنَ

(As for the poets, the erring ones follow them.)

﴿ أَلَمۡ تَرَ أَنَّهُمۡ فِى ڪُلِّ وَادٍ۬ يَهِيمُونَ

(See you not that they speak about every subject in their poetry) `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas that this means: "They indulge in every kind of nonsense.'' Ad-Dahhak reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "They engage in every kind of verbal art.'' This was also the view of Mujahid and others.

﴿ وَأَنَّہُمۡ يَقُولُونَ مَا لَا يَفۡعَلُونَ

(And that they say what they do not do.) Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn `Abbas said that at the time of the Messenger of Allah , two men, one from among the Ansar and one from another tribe, were ridiculing one another in verse, and each one of them was supported by a group of his own people, who were the foolish ones, and Allah said:

﴿ وَٱلشُّعَرَآءُ يَتَّبِعُهُمُ ٱلۡغَاوُ ۥنَ أَلَمۡ تَرَ أَنَّهُمۡ فِى ڪُلِّ وَادٍ۬ يَهِيمُونَ وَأَنَّہُمۡ يَقُولُونَ مَا لَا يَفۡعَلُونَ

(As for the poets, the erring ones follow them. See you not that they speak about every subject in their poetry And that they say what they do not do.) What is meant here is that the Messenger, to whom this Qur'an was revealed, was not a soothsayer or a poet, because his situation was quite obviously different to theirs, as Allah says:

﴿ وَمَا عَلَّمۡنَـٰهُ ٱلشِّعۡرَ وَمَا يَنۢبَغِى لَهُ ۥۤ‌ۚ إِنۡ هُوَ إِلَّا ذِكۡرٌ۬ وَقُرۡءَانٌ۬ مُّبِينٌ۬

(And We have not taught him poetry, nor is it suitable for him. This is only a Reminder and a plain Qur'an.) (36:69),

﴿ إِنَّهُ ۥ لَقَوۡلُ رَسُولٍ۬ كَرِيمٍ۬ وَمَا هُوَ بِقَوۡلِ شَاعِرٍ۬‌ۚ قَلِيلاً۬ مَّا تُؤۡمِنُونَ وَلَا بِقَوۡلِ كَاهِنٍ۬‌ۚ قَلِيلاً۬ مَّا تَذَكَّرُونَ تَنزِيلٌ۬ مِّن رَّبِّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ

(That this is verily, the word of an honored Messenger. It is not the word of a poet, little is that you believe! Nor is it the word of a soothsayer, little is that you remember! This is the Revelation sent down from the Lord of all that exists.) (69:40-43)

The Exception of the Poets of Islam
﴿ إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ

(Except those who believe and do righteous deeds,) Muhammad bin Ishaq narrated from Yazid bin `Abdullah bin Qusayt, that Abu Al-Hasan Salim Al-Barrad, the freed servant of Tamim Ad-Dari said: "When the Ayah --

﴿ وَٱلشُّعَرَآءُ يَتَّبِعُهُمُ ٱلۡغَاوُ ۥنَ

(As for the poets, the erring ones follow them.) was revealed, Hassan bin Thabit, `Abdullah bin Rawahah and Ka`b bin Malik came to the Messenger of Allah , weeping, and said: "Allah knew when He revealed this Ayah that we are poets. The Prophet recited to them the Ayah,

﴿ إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ

(Except those who believe and do righteous deeds,) and said:

« أَنْتُم »

((This means) you.)

﴿ وَذَكَرُواْ ٱللَّهَ كَثِيرً۬ا

(and remember Allah much). He said:

« أَنْتُم »

((This means) you.)

﴿ وَٱنتَصَرُواْ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ مَا ظُلِمُواْ‌ۗ

(and vindicate themselves after they have been wronged. ) He said:

« أَنْتُم »

((This means) you.) This was recorded by Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Jarir from the narration of Ibn Ishaq. But this Surah was revealed in Makkah, so how could the reason for its revelation be the poets of the Ansar This is something worth thinking about. The reports that have been narrated about this are all Mursal and cannot be relied on. And Allah knows best. But this exception could include the poets of the Ansar and others. It even includes those poets of the Jahiliyyah who indulged in condemning Islam and its followers, then repented and turned to Allah, and gave up what they used to do and started to do righteous deeds and remember Allah much, to make up for the bad things that they had previously said, for good deeds wipe out bad deeds. So they praised Islam and its followers in order to make up for their insults, as (the poet) `Abdullah bin Az-Zab`ari said when he became Muslim: "O Messenger of Allah, indeed my tongue will try to make up for things it said when I was bad -- When I went along with the Shaytan during the years of misguidance, and whoever inclines towards his way is in a state of loss.'' Similarly, Abu Sufyan bin Al-Harith bin `Abd Al-Muttalib was one of the most hostile people towards the Prophet, even though he was his cousin, and he was the one who used to mock him the most. But when he became Muslim, there was no one more beloved to him than the Messenger of Allah . He began to praise the Messenger of Allah where he had mocked him, and take him as a close friend where he had regarded him as an enemy.

﴿ وَٱنتَصَرُواْ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ مَا ظُلِمُواْ‌ۗ

(and vindicate themselves after they have been wronged.) Ibn `Abbas said, "They responded in kind to the disbelievers who used to ridicule the believers in verse.'' This was also the view of Mujahid, Qatadah and several others. It was also recorded in the Sahih that the Messenger of Allah said to Hassan:

« اهْجُهُم »

(Ridicule them in verse.) Or he said:

« َهاجِهِمْ وَجِبْرِيلُ مَعَك »

(Ridicule them in verse, and Jibril is with you.) Imam Ahmad recorded that Ka`b bin Malik said to the Prophet, "Allah has revealed what He revealed about the poets. The Messenger of Allah said:

« إِنَّ الْمُؤْمِنَ يُجَاهِدُ بِسَيْفِهِ وَلِسَانِهِ، وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ لَكَأَنَّ مَا تَرْمُونَهُمْ بِهِ نَضْحُ النَّـبْل »

(The believer wages Jihad with his sword and with his tongue, By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, it is as if you are attacking them with arrows.)

﴿ وَسَيَعۡلَمُ ٱلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوٓاْ أَىَّ مُنقَلَبٍ۬ يَنقَلِبُونَ

(And those who do wrong will come to know by what overturning they will be overturned.) This is like the Ayah,

﴿ يَوۡمَ لَا يَنفَعُ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ مَعۡذِرَتُہُمۡۖ

(The Day when their excuses will be of no profit to wrongdoers) (40: 52). According to the Sahih, the Messenger of Allah said:

« إِيَّاكُمْ وَالظُّلْمَ، فَإِنَّ الظُّلْمَ ظُلُمَاتٌ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَة »

(Beware of wrongdoing, for wrongdoing will be darkness on the Day of Resurrection.) Qatadah bin Di`amah said concerning the Ayah --

﴿ وَسَيَعۡلَمُ ٱلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوٓاْ أَىَّ مُنقَلَبٍ۬ يَنقَلِبُونَ

(And those who do wrong will come to know by what overturning they will be overturned.) this refers to the poets and others. This is the end of the Tafsir Surat Ash-Shu`ara'. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds.