Allah tells us how He blessed Musa and Harun with prophethood and how He saved them, along with those who believed, from the oppression of Fir`awn and his people, who had persecuted them by killing their sons and sparing their women, and by forcing them to do the most menial tasks, then ultimately He caused them to prevail over them and to seize their lands and their wealth and all that they had spent their entire lives amassing. Then Allah revealed to Musa the Clear and Mighty Book, which is the Tawrah, as Allah says:
(And indeed We granted to Musa and Harun the criterion (of right and wrong), and a shining light) (21:48). And Allah says here:
(And We gave them the clear Scripture; and guided them to the right path.) meaning, with regard to words and deeds.
(And We left for them among the later generations.) means, that after they died they would be mentioned in good terms and spoken of highly. Then Allah explain this further:
(Salam (peace!) be upon Musa and Harun! Verily, thus do We reward the doers of good. Verily, they were two of Our believing servants.)
(123. And verily, Ilyas was one of the Messengers.) (124. When he said to his people: "Will you not have Taqwa'') (125. "Will you call upon `Ba`l and forsake the Best of creators,) (126. Allah, your Lord and the Lord of your forefathers'') (127. But they denied him, so they will certainly be brought forth,) (128. Save the chosen servants of Allah.) (129. And We left for him among the later generations.) (130. "Salam (peace!) be upon Ilyasin!'') (131. Verily, thus do We reward the doers of good.) (132. Verily, he was one of Our believing servants.) Ilyas Qatadah and Muhammad bin Ishaq said, "Ilyas is another name for Idris.'' Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "Ilyas is Idris.'' This was also the view of Ad-Dahhak. Wahb bin Munabbih said, "He is Ilyas bin Yasin bin Finhas bin Al-`Izar bin Harun bin `Imran. Allah sent him to the Children of Israel after Hizqil (Ezekiel), may peace be upon them both. They had started to worship an idol called Ba`l, and he called them to Allah, may He be exalted, and forbade them to worship anyone besides Him. Their king believed in him, then he apostatized, and they persisted in their misguided ways, and not one person among them believed in him. So he prayed to Allah against them, and Allah withheld the rain from them for three years. Then they asked him to relieve them from that, and promised that they would believe in him if rain came to them. So he prayed to Allah for them, and the rains came, but they persisted in their evil ways of disbelief. So he asked Allah to take him to Him. Al-Yasa` bin Akhtub had grown up under his care, may peace be upon them both. So Ilyas was commanded to go to such and such a place, and whatever mount came to him, he was to ride on it and not to give it away. A horse of fire was brought to him, so he rode it, and Allah clothed him with light and covered him with feathers, and he used to fly with the angels as a human angel, heavenly yet also earthly. This is what was narrated by Wahb bin Munabbih from the People of the Book; Allah knows best how true it is.
(When he said to his people: "Will you not have Taqwa'') means, `do you not fear Allah when you worship others instead of Him'
(Will you call upon Ba`l and forsake the Best of creators,) Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Qatadah and As-Suddi said that the word Ba`l means lord. `Ikrimah and Qatadah said, "This is the language of the people of Yemen.'' According to another report from Qatadah, it is the language of Azd Shanu'ah. `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam narrated from his father that it is the name of an idol which was worshipped by the people of a city called Ba`labak (Baalbek) which is to the west of Damascus. Ad-Dahhak said, "It is an idol which they used to worship.''
(Will you call upon Ba`l) means, `will you worship an idol,'
(and forsake the Best of creators, Allah, your Lord and the Lord of your forefathers) means, `He is the One Who is deserving of your worship alone, with no partners or associates.'
(But they denied him, so they will certainly be brought forth,) means, for the punishment on the Day of Reckoning.
(Save the chosen servants of Allah.) means, those who believe in Him alone.
(And We left for him among the later generations.) means, he is praised and spoken of highly.
(Salam (peace!) be upon Ilyasin!) Similarly, one might say for Isma`il, Isma`in. This is the language (dialect) of Bani Asad; they say Mikal, Mika'il, and Mika'in. They say Ibrahim and Ibraham; Isra'il, Isra'in; Tur Sina', Tur Sinin. All of that is fine.
(Verily, thus do We reward the doers of good. Verily, he was one of Our believing servants.) We have already discussed the meaning of this above. And Allah knows best.
(133. And verily, Lut was one of the Messengers.) (134. When We saved him and his family, all,) (135. Except an old woman (his wife) who was among those who remained behind.) (136. Then We destroyed the rest.) (137. Verily, you pass by them in the morning.) (138. And at night; will you not then reflect)
Allah tells us that He sent His servant and Messenger Lut, (peace be upon him) , to his people, and they denied him, so Allah saved him from among them, him and his family with the exception of his wife, who was destroyed along with her people. Allah destroyed them with different kinds of punishments, and made their vicinity a foul, stinking lake which is on a well-travelled route where people pass by night and day (i.e., the Dead Sea, which lays close to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah on the highway between Arabia and Syria). Allah says:
(Verily, you pass by them in the morning. And at night; will you not then reflect) meaning, `will you not learn a lesson from them and how Allah destroyed them, and realize that a similar end awaits the disbelievers.'
(139. And verily, Yunus was one of the Messengers.) (140. When he ran to the laden ship:) (141. Then he (agreed to) cast lots, and he was among the losers. ) (142. Then a (big) fish swallowed him as he had done an act worthy of blame.) (143. Had he not been of them who glorify Allah,) (144. He would have indeed remained inside its belly (the fish) till the Day of Resurrection.) (145. But We cast him forth on the naked shore while he was sick,) (146. And We caused a plant of gourd to grow over him.) (147. And We sent him to a hundred thousand (people) or even more.) (148. And they believed; so We gave them enjoyment for a while.)
We have already discussed the story of Yunus, (peace be upon him) , in Surat Al-Anbiya' (21:87-88). In the Two Sahihs it is reported that the Messenger of Allah said:
(It is not right for any person to say I am better than Yunus bin Matta.)
(When he ran to the laden ship.) Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "It was filled with cargo.
(Then he (agreed to) cast lots,) means, to draw lots.''
(and he was among the losers.) means among those who have been overcome. This was because the ship was being pounded by the waves on all sides, and they were at risk of drowning, so they drew lots, and whoever lost would be thrown overboard so as to lighten the load. The Prophet of Allah Yunus, (peace be upon him) , lost the draw three times, but they did not want to throw him overboard. He took off his garment so that he could throw himself into the sea, and they tried to stop him. Then Allah commanded a large fish from the Green Sea (i.e., Mediterranean Sea) to cleave the oceans and come and swallow Yunus, (peace be upon him) , without cutting his flesh or breaking his bones. The fish came and Yunus, (peace be upon him) , threw himself overboard, and the fish swallowed him and took him away, traveling through all the seas with him. When Yunus had stayed for some time in the fish's belly, he thought that he had died; then he moved his head and legs and arms, and saw that he was alive. He prayed in the belly of the fish, and one of the things he said in his main prayer was: "O Lord, I have taken as a place of worship to You a place which no other person has reached.'' They differed as to how long he spent in the belly of the fish. Some said three days; this was the view of Qatadah. Some said seven days; this was the view of Ja`far As-Sadiq, may Allah be pleased with him. Some said forty days; this was the view of Abu Malik. Mujahid said, narrating from Ash-Sha`bi, "It swallowed him in the morning and cast him forth in the evening.'' And Allah knows best how long exactly was. Allah says,
(Had he not been of them who glorify Allah, He would have indeed remained inside its belly (the fish) till the Day of Resurrection.) It was said that, if he had not already done righteous deeds during his time of ease. This was the view of Ad-Dahhak bin Qays, Abu Al-`Aliyah, Wahb bin Munabbih, Qatadah and others, and it was the view favored by Ibn Jarir. This is what is indicated in the authentic Hadith which we quote below, if Allah wills. In a Hadith narrated from Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) he said:
(Remember Allah during times of ease and He will remember you during times of difficulty.) And it was said that what was meant by the Ayah:
(Had he not been of them who glorify Allah,) was the meaning of the following Ayat:
(But he cried through the darkness (saying): "La ilaha illa Anta, You are glorified! Truly, I have been of the wrongdoers.'' So We answered his call, and delivered him from the distress. And thus We do deliver the believers.) (21:87-88). This was the view of Sa`id bin Jubayr and others. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Anas bin Malik, may Allah be pleased with him -- and I do not know of anything narrated from Anas that he did not attribute to the Messenger of Allah:
(When it occurred to the Prophet Yunus, upon him be peace, to call upon Allah in these words when he was in the belly of the great fish, he said, "La ilaha illa Anta, Yo are glorified! Truly, I have been of the wrongdoers.'' This call went and hovered around the (mighty) Throne, and the angels said, "O Lord, this is the voice of one who is weak but known, in a faraway strange land. Allah, may He be exalted, said, "How do you know this'' They said, "O Lord, who is he'' Allah, may He be exalted, said, "My servant Yunus.'' They said, "Your servant Yunus, from whom there kept coming acceptable deeds and supplications which were answered!'' They said, "O Lord, will You not have mercy on him for what he did during his time of ease, and save him from this trial and tribulation'' He said, "Of course.'' So, He commanded the great fish, and it cast him forth on the naked shore.) Allah says:
(But We cast him forth) meaning, `We threw him out,'
(on the naked shore) Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) and others said that this refers to land in which there is no vegetation and no buildings.
(while he was sick,) means, when he was weak of body.
(And We caused a plant of gourd to grow over him.) Ibn Mas`ud and Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them both, Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Wahb bin Munabbih, Hilal bin Yasaf, `Abdullah bin Tawus, As-Suddi, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak, `Ata' Al-Khurasani and several others, all said that gourd means squash. Some of them mentioned that the squash has a number of benefits: it grows quickly, its leaves offer shade because of their large size and smooth texture, flies do not come near it, and its fruits provide good nourishment; they may be eaten raw or cooked, and both the pulp and the peel may be eaten. It was reported that the Messenger of Allah used to like squash and would look for it wherever it was on the serving dish.
(And We sent him to a hundred thousand (people) or even more.) It is as if he was commanded, after he came forth from the fish, to go back to those to whom he had been sent in the first place, and they all believed in him.
(or even more.) Makhul said, "They numbered one hundred and ten thousand. This was reported by Ibn Abi Hatim. Ibn Jarir said, "Some of the scholars of Arabic, the people of Basrah, said that this means up to one hundred thousand or more.'' Ibn Jarir interpreted this Ayah as he interpreted the Ayat:
(Then, after that, your hearts were hardened and became as stones or even worse in hardness) (2:74).
(Behold! a section of them fear men as they fear Allah or even more) (4:77), and
(And was at a distance of two bows' length or (even) nearer) (53:9). The meaning is, not less than that, but rather more.
(And they believed;) means, these people to whom Yunus, (peace be upon him) , had been sent all believed.
(so We gave them enjoyment for a while. ) means, until the time of their appointed end. This is like the Ayah,
(Was there any town (community) that believed, and its faith (at that moment) saved it -- except the people of Yunus; when they believed, We removed from them the torment of disgrace in the life of the (present) world, and permitted them to enjoy for a while.) (10:98)
(149. Now ask them: "Are there (only) daughters for your Lord and sons for them'') (150. Or did We create the angels female while they were witnesses) (151. Verily, it is of their falsehood that they say:) (152. "Allah has begotten.'' And, verily, they are liars!) (153. Has He (then) chosen daughters rather than sons) (154. What is the matter with you How do you decide) (155. Will you not then remember) (156. Or is there for you a plain authority) (157. Then bring your Book if you are truthful!) (158. And they have invented a kinship between Him and the Jinn, but the Jinn know well that they have indeed to appear (before Him).) (159. Glorified be Allah! (He is free) from what they attribute unto Him!) (160. Except the servants of Allah, whom He chooses.)