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The Virtues of Surat As-Saffat

An-Nasa'i recorded that `Abdullah bin `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "The Messenger of Allah used to command us to make our prayers short and he used to recite As-Saffat when he lead us in prayer.'' This was recorded by An-Nasa'i only.

﴿ بِسۡمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

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

﴿ وَٱلصَّـٰٓفَّـٰتِ صَفًّ۬ا فَٱلزَّٲجِرَٲتِ زَجۡرً۬ا فَٱلتَّـٰلِيَـٰتِ ذِكۡرًا إِنَّ إِلَـٰهَكُمۡ لَوَٲحِدٌ۬ رَّبُّ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَمَا بَيۡنَہُمَا وَرَبُّ ٱلۡمَشَـٰرِقِ

(1. By those ranged in ranks.) (2. By those who drive the clouds in a good way.) (3. By those who bring the Dhikr.) (4. Verily, your God is indeed One;) (5. Lord of the heavens and of the earth, and all that is between them, and Lord of every point of the sun's risings.)

The angels witness to the Oneness of Allah

It was reported that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

﴿ وَٱلصَّـٰٓفَّـٰتِ صَفًّ۬ا

"(By those ranged in ranks.) -- they are the angels;

﴿ فَٱلزَّٲجِرَٲتِ زَجۡرً۬ا

(By those who drive the clouds in a good way.) they are the angels;

﴿ فَٱلتَّـٰلِيَـٰتِ ذِكۡرًا

(By those who bring the Dhikr.) they are the angels.'' This was also the view of Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) Masruq, Sa`id bin Jubayr, `Ikrimah, Mujahid, As-Suddi, Qatadah and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas. Qatadah said, "The angels form ranks in the heavens.'' Muslim recorded that Hudhayfah (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "The Messenger of Allah said:

« فُضِّلْنَا عَلَى النَّاسِ بِثَلَاثٍ: جُعِلَتْ صُفُوفُنَا كَصُفُوفِ الْمَلَائِكَةِ، وَجُعِلَتْ لَنَا الْأَرْضُ كُلُّهَا مَسْجِدًا، وَجُعِلَ لَنَا تُرَابُهَا طَهُورًا، إِذَا لَمْ نَجِدِ الْمَاء »

(We have been favored over the rest of mankind in three ways: our ranks have been made like the ranks of the angels; the entire earth has been made a Masjid for us; and its soil has been made a means of purification for us if we cannot find water.)'' Muslim, Abu Dawud, An-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah recorded that Jabir bin Samurah (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "The Messenger of Allah said:

« أَلَا تَصُفُّونَ كَمَا تَصُفُّ الْمَلَائِكَةُ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ؟ »

(Will you not form ranks as the angels form ranks in the presence of their Lord) We said, `How do the angels form ranks in the presence of their Lord' He said:

« يُتِمُّونَ الصُّفُوفَ الْمُتَقَدِّمَةَ، وَيَتَرَاصُّونَ فِي الصَّف »

(They complete the rows nearer the front and they consolidate the rows.)'' As-Suddi and others said that the Ayah

﴿ فَٱلزَّٲجِرَٲتِ زَجۡرً۬ا

(By those who drive the clouds in a good way.) means that they drive the clouds.

﴿ فَٱلتَّـٰلِيَـٰتِ ذِكۡرًا

(By those who bring the Dhikr.) As-Suddi said, "The angels bring the Scriptures and the Qur'an from Allah to mankind.''

The One True God is Allah
﴿ إِنَّ إِلَـٰهَكُمۡ لَوَٲحِدٌ۬ رَّبُّ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ

(Verily, your God is indeed One, Lord of the heavens and the earth,) This is the One by Whom the oath is sworn, stating that there is no God worthy of worship but He, Lord of the heavens and the earth,

﴿ وَرَبُّ ٱلۡمَشَـٰرِقِ

(and all that is between them,) means, of created beings.

﴿ وَرَبُّ ٱلۡمَشَـٰرِقِ

(and Lord of every point of the sun's risings.) means, He is the Sovereign Who is controlling His creation by subjugating it and all that is in it of stars, planets and heavenly bodies which appear from the east and set in the west. Mentioning the east is sufficient and there is no need for the west to be mentioned too, because it is implied in what is said. This has also been stated clearly elsewhere, in the Ayat:

﴿ فَلَآ أُقۡسِمُ بِرَبِّ ٱلۡمَشَـٰرِقِ وَٱلۡمَغَـٰرِبِ إِنَّا لَقَـٰدِرُونَ

(So I swear by the Lord of all the points of sunrise and sunset in the east and the west that surely We are able.) (70:40)

﴿ رَبُّ ٱلۡمَشۡرِقَيۡنِ وَرَبُّ ٱلۡمَغۡرِبَيۡنِ

((He is) the Lord of the two easts and the Lord of the two wests. ) (55:17) which refers to the rising and setting points of the sun and the moon in both winter and summer.

﴿ إِنَّا زَيَّنَّا ٱلسَّمَآءَ ٱلدُّنۡيَا بِزِينَةٍ ٱلۡكَوَاكِبِ وَحِفۡظً۬ا مِّن كُلِّ شَيۡطَـٰنٍ۬ مَّارِدٍ۬ لَّا يَسَّمَّعُونَ إِلَى ٱلۡمَلَإِ ٱلۡأَعۡلَىٰ وَيُقۡذَفُونَ مِن كُلِّ جَانِبٍ۬ دُحُورً۬ا‌ۖ وَلَهُمۡ عَذَابٌ۬ وَاصِبٌ إِلَّا مَنۡ خَطِفَ ٱلۡخَطۡفَةَ فَأَتۡبَعَهُ ۥ شِہَابٌ۬ ثَاقِبٌ۬

(6. Verily, We have adorned the near heaven with the stars.) (7. And to guard against every rebellious Shaytan.) (8. They cannot listen to the higher group for they are pelted from every side.) (9. Outcast, and theirs is a constant torment.) (10. Except such as snatch away something by stealing, and they are pursued by a flaming fire of piercing brightness.)

The Adornment and Protection of the Heaven comes from Allah

Allah tells us that He has adorned the lowest heaven with the heavenly bodies for those among the people of the earth who look at it. The stars and planets in the sky give light to the people of earth, as Allah says:

﴿ وَلَقَدۡ زَيَّنَّا ٱلسَّمَآءَ ٱلدُّنۡيَا بِمَصَـٰبِيحَ وَجَعَلۡنَـٰهَا رُجُومً۬ا لِّلشَّيَـٰطِينِ‌ۖ وَأَعۡتَدۡنَا لَهُمۡ عَذَابَ ٱلسَّعِيرِ

(And indeed We have adorned the nearest heaven with lamps, and We have made such lamps (as) missiles to drive away the Shayatin, and have prepared for them the torment of the blazing Fire.) (67:5),

﴿ وَلَقَدۡ جَعَلۡنَا فِى ٱلسَّمَآءِ بُرُوجً۬ا وَزَيَّنَّـٰهَا لِلنَّـٰظِرِينَ وَحَفِظۡنَـٰهَا مِن كُلِّ شَيۡطَـٰنٍ۬ رَّجِيمٍ إِلَّا مَنِ ٱسۡتَرَقَ ٱلسَّمۡعَ فَأَتۡبَعَهُ ۥ شِہَابٌ۬ مُّبِينٌ۬

(And indeed, We have put the big stars in the heaven and We beautified it for the beholders. And We have guarded it from every outcast Shaytan. Except him who steals the hearing then he is pursued by a clear flaming fire.) (15:16-18). And Allah says here:

﴿ وَحِفۡظً۬ا

(And to guard) meaning, to protect as it should be protected,

﴿ مِّن كُلِّ شَيۡطَـٰنٍ۬ مَّارِدٍ۬

(against every rebellious Shaytan.) means, every insolent and impudent devil, when he wants to eavesdrop (on news in the heavens), a piercing fire comes and burns him. Allah, may He be glorified, says:

﴿ لَّا يَسَّمَّعُونَ إِلَى ٱلۡمَلَإِ ٱلۡأَعۡلَىٰ

(They cannot listen to the higher group) meaning, they cannot reach the higher group -- which refers to the heavens and the angels in them -- when they speak of what has been revealed by Allah of His Laws and decrees. We have already mentioned this when explaining the Hadiths quoted when we discussed the Ayah,

﴿ حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا فُزِّعَ عَن قُلُوبِهِمۡ قَالُواْ مَاذَا قَالَ رَبُّكُمۡۖ قَالُواْ ٱلۡحَقَّۖ وَهُوَ ٱلۡعَلِىُّ ٱلۡكَبِيرُ

(when fear is banished from their hearts, they say: "What is it that your Lord has said'' They say: "The truth. And He is the Most High, the Most Great.) (34:23). Allah says:

﴿ وَيَقۡذِفُونَ

(for they are pelted) meaning, they are hit,

﴿ مِن كُلِّ جَانِبٍ۬

(from every side.) means, from all directions from which they try to reach the heaven.

﴿ دُحُورً۬ا‌ۖ

(Outcast,) means, they are rejected, and are repelled and prevented from reaching it, and they are pelted.

﴿ وَلَهُمۡ عَذَابٌ۬ وَاصِبٌ

(and theirs is a constant torment.) means, in the Hereafter, they will have an ongoing, everlasting and painful torment, as Allah says:

﴿ وَأَعۡتَدۡنَا لَهُمۡ عَذَابَ ٱلسَّعِيرِ

(and (We) have prepared for them the torment of the blazing Fire) (67:5).

﴿ إِلَّا مَنۡ خَطِفَ ٱلۡخَطۡفَةَ

(Except such as snatch away something by stealing,) means, except for the one among the Shayatin who manages to get something, which is a word he has heard from the heaven. Then he throws it down to the one who is beneath him, who in turn throws it down to the one who is beneath him. Perhaps the flaming fire will strike him before he is able to throw it down, or perhaps he will throw it -- by the decree of Allah -- before the flaming fire strikes him and burns him. So the other devil takes it to the soothsayer, as we have seen previously in the Hadith. Allah says:

﴿ إِلَّا مَنۡ خَطِفَ ٱلۡخَطۡفَةَ فَأَتۡبَعَهُ ۥ شِہَابٌ۬ ثَاقِبٌ۬

(Except such as snatch away something by stealing, and they are pursued by a flaming fire of piercing brightness.) meaning, shining brightly. Ibn Jarir recorded that Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "The Shayatin had places where they sat in the heavens listening to what was being revealed by Allah. The stars did not move and the Shayatin were not struck. When they heard the revelation, they would come down to earth and to every word they would add nine of their own. When the Messenger of Allah was sent, if a Shaytan wanted to take his seat in the heavens, the flaming fire would come and would not miss him; it would burn him every time. They complained about this to Iblis, may Allah curse him, and he said, `Something must have happened.' He sent his troops out and they found the Messenger of Allah standing in prayer between the two mountains of Nakhlah.'' -- Waki` said, "This means in the valley of Nakhlah.'' -- "They went back to Iblis and told him about that, and he said, `This is what has happened.'''

﴿ فَٱسۡتَفۡتِہِمۡ أَهُمۡ أَشَدُّ خَلۡقًا أَم مَّنۡ خَلَقۡنَآ‌ۚ إِنَّا خَلَقۡنَـٰهُم مِّن طِينٍ۬ لَّازِبِۭ بَلۡ عَجِبۡتَ وَيَسۡخَرُونَ وَإِذَا ذُكِّرُواْ لَا يَذۡكُرُونَ وَإِذَا رَأَوۡاْ ءَايَةً۬ يَسۡتَسۡخِرُونَ وَقَالُوٓاْ إِنۡ هَـٰذَآ إِلَّا سِحۡرٌ۬ مُّبِينٌ أَءِذَا مِتۡنَا وَكُنَّا تُرَابً۬ا وَعِظَـٰمًا أَءِنَّا لَمَبۡعُوثُونَ أَوَءَابَآؤُنَا ٱلۡأَوَّلُونَ قُلۡ نَعَمۡ وَأَنتُمۡ دَٲخِرُونَ فَإِنَّمَا هِىَ زَجۡرَةٌ۬ وَٲحِدَةٌ۬ فَإِذَا هُمۡ يَنظُرُونَ

(11. Then ask them: "Are they harder to create, or those whom We have created'' Verily, We created them of a sticky clay.) (12. Nay, you wondered while they mock.) (13. And when they are reminded, they pay no attention.) (14. And when they see an Ayah (a sign) from Allah, they mock at it.) (15. And they say: "This is nothing but evident magic!'') (16. "When we are dead and have become dust and bones, shall we verily be resurrected'') (17. "And also our fathers of old'') (18. Say : "Yes, and you shall then be humiliated.'') (19. It will be a single Zajrah, and behold, they will be staring!)

The Certainty of Life after Death

Allah says: `Ask these people, those who deny the resurrection, which is harder to create Are they more difficult to create or the heavens, the earth, the angels, devils, the mighty creatures -- everything in between them' Ibn Mas`ud said that they admitted that these things were harder to create than they were. If this is the case, then why do they deny the resurrection, when they see things that are greater than that which they deny As Allah says:

﴿ لَخَلۡقُ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ أَڪۡبَرُ مِنۡ خَلۡقِ ٱلنَّاسِ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَڪۡثَرَ ٱلنَّاسِ لَا يَعۡلَمُونَ

(The creation of the heavens and the earth is indeed greater than the creation of mankind; yet, most of mankind know not) (40:57) Then Allah explains that they were created from something weak, as He says:

﴿ إِنَّا خَلَقۡنَـٰهُم مِّن طِينٍ۬ لَّازِبِۭ

(Verily, We created them of a sticky clay.) Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr and Ad-Dahhak said, "This is the useful kind of mud which sticks to itself.'' Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) and `Ikrimah said, "It is sticky and useful.'' Qatadah said, "It is that which sticks to the hand.''

﴿ بَلۡ عَجِبۡتَ وَيَسۡخَرُونَ

(Nay, you wondered while they mock.) means, `you were astounded, O Muhammad, at these people who denied the resurrection whilst you were certain that it is true, when they disbelieved in what Allah told you of this wondrous matter, which is the re-creation of their bodies after they have disintegrated. They oppose what you say because of their intense disbelief and they make fun of what you tell them about that.' Qatadah said, "Muhammad was astounded by the mockery of the misguided ones among the sons of Adam.''

﴿ وَإِذَا رَأَوۡاْ ءَايَةً۬

(And when they see an Ayah) means, clear evidence and proof,

﴿ يَسۡتَسۡخِرُونَ

(they mock at it.) Mujahid and Qatadah said, "They make fun of it.''

﴿ وَقَالُوٓاْ إِنۡ هَـٰذَآ إِلَّا سِحۡرٌ۬ مُّبِينٌ

(And they say: "This is nothing but evident magic!'') means, `this that you have brought is nothing but plain magic.'

﴿ أَءِذَا مِتۡنَا وَكُنَّا تُرَابً۬ا وَعِظَـٰمًا أَءِنَّا لَمَبۡعُوثُونَ أَوَءَابَآؤُنَا ٱلۡأَوَّلُونَ

(When we are dead and have become dust and bones, shall we (then) verily be resurrected And also our fathers of old) They thought that this was unlikely to happen, and they did not believe it.

﴿ قُلۡ نَعَمۡ وَأَنتُمۡ دَٲخِرُونَ

(Say: "Yes, and you shall then be humiliated''.) means, `tell them, O Muhammad: Yes, you will be raised up on the Day of Resurrection, after you have become dust and bones, and you will be humiliated,' i.e., put to shame before His great might. This is like the Ayat:

﴿ وَكُلٌّ أَتَوۡهُ دَٲخِرِينَ

(And all shall come to Him, humbled) (27:87), and

﴿ إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يَسۡتَكۡبِرُونَ عَنۡ عِبَادَتِى سَيَدۡخُلُونَ جَهَنَّمَ دَاخِرِينَ

(Verily, those who scorn My worship, they will surely enter Hell in humiliation!) (40:60) Then Allah says:

﴿ فَإِنَّمَا هِىَ زَجۡرَةٌ۬ وَٲحِدَةٌ۬ فَإِذَا هُمۡ يَنظُرُونَ

(It will be a single Zajrah, and behold, they will be staring!) means, it will be a single command from Allah, He will call them once to come forth from the earth, then they will be standing before Him, staring at the horrors of the Day of Resurrection. And Allah knows best.

﴿ وَقَالُواْ يَـٰوَيۡلَنَا هَـٰذَا يَوۡمُ ٱلدِّينِ هَـٰذَا يَوۡمُ ٱلۡفَصۡلِ ٱلَّذِى كُنتُم بِهِۦ تُكَذِّبُونَ ٱحۡشُرُواْ ٱلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُواْ وَأَزۡوَٲجَهُمۡ وَمَا كَانُواْ يَعۡبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ فَٱهۡدُوهُمۡ إِلَىٰ صِرَٲطِ ٱلۡجَحِيمِ وَقِفُوهُمۡ‌ۖ إِنَّہُم مَّسۡـُٔولُونَ مَا لَكُمۡ لَا تَنَاصَرُونَ بَلۡ هُمُ ٱلۡيَوۡمَ مُسۡتَسۡلِمُونَ

(20. They will say: "Woe to us! This is the Day of Recompense!'') (21. (It will be said:) "This is the Day of Judgement which you used to deny.'') (22. (It will be said to the angels:) Assemble those who did wrong, together with their companions and what they used to worship,) (23. Instead of Allah, and lead them on to the way of flaming Fire (Hell);) (24. But stop them, verily, they are to be questioned.) (25. "What is the matter with you Why do you not help one another'') (26. Nay, but that Day they shall surrender.)