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The Story of Yunus

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:

« مَا يَنْبَغِي لِعَبْدٍ أَنْ يَقُولَ: أَنَا خَيْرٌ مِنْ يُونُسَ بْنِ مَتَّى »

(It is not right for any person to say I am better than Yunus bin Matta.)

﴿ إِذۡ أَبَقَ إِلَى ٱلۡفُلۡكِ ٱلۡمَشۡحُونِ

(When he ran to the laden ship.) Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "It was filled with cargo.

﴿ فَسَاهَمَ

(Then he (agreed to) cast lots,) means, to draw lots.''

﴿ فَكَانَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُدۡحَضِينَ

(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,

﴿ فَلَوۡلَآ أَنَّهُ ۥ كَانَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُسَبِّحِينَ لَلَبِثَ فِى بَطۡنِهِۦۤ إِلَىٰ يَوۡمِ يُبۡعَثُونَ

(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:

« تَعَرَّفْ إِلَى اللهِ فِي الرَّخَاءِ، يَعْرِفْكَ فِي الشِّدَّة »

(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:

﴿ فَلَوۡلَآ أَنَّهُ ۥ كَانَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُسَبِّحِينَ

(Had he not been of them who glorify Allah,) was the meaning of the following Ayat:

﴿ فَنَادَىٰ فِى ٱلظُّلُمَـٰتِ أَن لَّآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّآ أَنتَ سُبۡحَـٰنَكَ إِنِّى ڪُنتُ مِنَ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ
﴿ فَٱسۡتَجَبۡنَا لَهُ ۥ وَنَجَّيۡنَـٰهُ مِنَ ٱلۡغَمِّ‌ۚ وَكَذَٲلِكَ نُـۨجِى ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ

(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:

« إِنَّ يُونُسَ النَّبِيَّ عَلَيْهِ الصَّلَاةُ وَالسَّلَامُ حِينَ بَدَا لَهُ أَنْ يَدْعُوَ بِهَذِهِ الْكَلِمَاتِ وَهُوَ فِي بَطْنِ الْحُوتِ فَقَالَ: اللْهُمَّ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ سُبْحَانَكَ إِنِّي كُنْتُ مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ، فَأَقْبَلَتِ الدَّعْوَةُ تَحُفُّ بِالْعَرْشِ، قَالَتِ الْمَلَائِكَةُ: يَا رَبِّ هَذَا صَوْتٌ ضَعِيفٌ مَعْرُوفٌ مِنْ بِلَادٍ بَعِيدَةٍ غَرِيبَةٍ فَقَالَ اللهُ تَعَالَى: أَمَا تَعْرِفُونَ ذَلِكَ؟ قَالُوا: يَا رَبِّ وَمَنْ هُوَ؟ قَالَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ: عَبْدِي يُونُسُ، قَالُوا: عَبْدُكَ يُونُسُ الَّذِي لَمْ يَزَلْ يُرْفَعُ لَهُ عَمَلٌ مُتَقَبَّلٌ وَدَعْوَةٌ مُسْتَجَابَةٌ؟ قَالُوا: يَا رَبِّ أَوَلَا تَرْحَمُ مَا كَانَ يَصْنَعُ فِي الرَّخَاءِ فَتُنْجِيَهُ فِي الْبَلَاءِ، قَالَ: بَلَى، فَأَمَرَ الْحُوتَ فَطَرَحَهُ بِالْعَرَاء »

(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:

﴿ فَنَبَذۡنَـٰهُ

(But We cast him forth) meaning, `We threw him out,'

﴿ بِٱلۡعَرَآءِ

(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.

﴿ وَهُوَ سَقِيمٌ۬

(while he was sick,) means, when he was weak of body.

﴿ وَأَنۢبَتۡنَا عَلَيۡهِ شَجَرَةً۬ مِّن يَقۡطِينٍ۬

(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.

﴿ وَأَرۡسَلۡنَـٰهُ إِلَىٰ مِاْئَةِ أَلۡفٍ أَوۡ يَزِيدُونَ

(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.

﴿ أَوۡ يَزِيدُونَ

(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:

﴿ ثُمَّ قَسَتۡ قُلُوبُكُم مِّنۢ بَعۡدِ ذَٲلِكَ فَهِىَ كَٱلۡحِجَارَةِ أَوۡ أَشَدُّ قَسۡوَةً۬‌ۚ

(Then, after that, your hearts were hardened and became as stones or even worse in hardness) (2:74).

﴿ إِذَا فَرِيقٌ۬ مِّنۡہُمۡ يَخۡشَوۡنَ ٱلنَّاسَ كَخَشۡيَةِ ٱللَّهِ أَوۡ أَشَدَّ خَشۡيَةً۬‌ۚ

(Behold! a section of them fear men as they fear Allah or even more) (4:77), and

﴿ فَكَانَ قَابَ قَوۡسَيۡنِ أَوۡ أَدۡنَىٰ

(And was at a distance of two bows' length or (even) nearer) (53:9). The meaning is, not less than that, but rather more.

﴿ فَـَٔامَنُواْ

(And they believed;) means, these people to whom Yunus, (peace be upon him) , had been sent all believed.

﴿ فَمَتَّعۡنَـٰهُمۡ إِلَىٰ حِينٍ۬

(so We gave them enjoyment for a while. ) means, until the time of their appointed end. This is like the Ayah,

﴿ فَلَوۡلَا كَانَتۡ قَرۡيَةٌ ءَامَنَتۡ فَنَفَعَهَآ إِيمَـٰنُہَآ إِلَّا قَوۡمَ يُونُسَ لَمَّآ ءَامَنُواْ كَشَفۡنَا عَنۡہُمۡ عَذَابَ ٱلۡخِزۡىِ فِى ٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا وَمَتَّعۡنَـٰهُمۡ إِلَىٰ حِينٍ۬

(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)

﴿ فَٱسۡتَفۡتِهِمۡ أَلِرَبِّكَ ٱلۡبَنَاتُ وَلَهُمُ ٱلۡبَنُونَ أَمۡ خَلَقۡنَا ٱلۡمَلَـٰٓٮِٕڪَةَ إِنَـٰثً۬ا وَهُمۡ شَـٰهِدُونَ أَلَآ إِنَّہُم مِّنۡ إِفۡكِهِمۡ لَيَقُولُونَ وَلَدَ ٱللَّهُ وَإِنَّہُمۡ لَكَـٰذِبُونَ أَصۡطَفَى ٱلۡبَنَاتِ عَلَى ٱلۡبَنِينَ مَا لَكُمۡ كَيۡفَ تَحۡكُمُونَ أَفَلَا تَذَكَّرُونَ أَمۡ لَكُمۡ سُلۡطَـٰنٌ۬ مُّبِينٌ۬ فَأۡتُواْ بِكِتَـٰبِكُمۡ إِن كُنتُمۡ صَـٰدِقِينَ وَجَعَلُواْ بَيۡنَهُ ۥ وَبَيۡنَ ٱلۡجِنَّةِ نَسَبً۬ا‌ۚ وَلَقَدۡ عَلِمَتِ ٱلۡجِنَّةُ إِنَّہُمۡ لَمُحۡضَرُونَ
﴿ سُبۡحَـٰنَ ٱللَّهِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ إِلَّا عِبَادَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلۡمُخۡلَصِينَ

(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.)

Refutation of Those Who attribute Children to Allah and say that the Angels are His Daughters

Allah denounces those idolaters who attribute daughters to Allah -- exalted be He above that -- and attributed to themselves what they desired, i.e., they wanted male offspring to themselves.

﴿ وَإِذَا بُشِّرَ أَحَدُهُم بِٱلۡأُنثَىٰ ظَلَّ وَجۡهُهُ ۥ مُسۡوَدًّ۬ا وَهُوَ كَظِيمٌ۬

(And when the news of (the birth of) a female (child) is brought to any of them, his face becomes dark, and he is filled with inward grief!) (16:58), i.e., that upsets him, and he would only choose sons for himself. Allah says: `Then how can they attribute to Allah the share that they would not choose for themselves' Allah says:

﴿ فَٱسۡتَفۡتِهِمۡ

(Now ask them) means, quiz them by way of denunciation,

﴿ أَلِرَبِّكَ ٱلۡبَنَاتُ وَلَهُمُ ٱلۡبَنُونَ

(Are there (only) daughters for your Lord and sons for them) This is like the Ayah:

﴿ أَلَكُمُ ٱلذَّكَرُ وَلَهُ ٱلۡأُنثَىٰ تِلۡكَ إِذً۬ا قِسۡمَةٌ۬ ضِيزَىٰٓ

(Is it for you the males and for Him the females That indeed is a division most unfair!) (53:21-22).

﴿ أَمۡ خَلَقۡنَا ٱلۡمَلَـٰٓٮِٕڪَةَ إِنَـٰثً۬ا وَهُمۡ شَـٰهِدُونَ

(Or did We create the angels female while they were witnesses) means, how did they decide that the angels are female when they did not witness their creation This is like the Ayah:

﴿ وَجَعَلُواْ ٱلۡمَلَـٰٓٮِٕكَةَ ٱلَّذِينَ هُمۡ عِبَـٰدُ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ إِنَـٰثًا‌ۚ أَشَهِدُواْ خَلۡقَهُمۡ‌ۚ سَتُكۡتَبُ شَهَـٰدَتُہُمۡ وَيُسۡـَٔلُونَ

(And they make the angels females who themselves are servants of the Most Gracious. Did they witness their creation? Their testimony will be recorded, and they will be questioned!) (43:19), which means, they will be questioned about that on the Day of Resurrection.

﴿ أَلَآ إِنَّہُم مِّنۡ إِفۡكِهِمۡ

(Verily, it is of their falsehood) means, it is a part of the lies they tell.

﴿ لَيَقُولُونَ وَلَدَ ٱللَّهُ

(that they say: "Allah has begotten.'') meaning, that offspring have been born to Him.

﴿ وَإِنَّهُمۡ لَكَـٰذِبُونَ

(And verily, they are liars!) Allah mentions three of the things they said about the angels, which formed the utmost disbelief and falsehood. They said that they were the daughters of Allah and that Allah had offspring -- exalted and sanctified be He above that. Then they made these offspring female, then they worshipped them instead of Allah, exalted and sanctified be He -- any of which on its own would be sufficient to condemn them to spend eternity in Hell. Then Allah says, denouncing them:

﴿ أَصۡطَفَى ٱلۡبَنَاتِ عَلَى ٱلۡبَنِينَ

(Has He (then) chosen daughters rather than sons) meaning, what would make Him choose daughters rather than sons. This is like the Ayah,

﴿ أَفَأَصۡفَٮٰكُمۡ رَبُّڪُم بِٱلۡبَنِينَ وَٱتَّخَذَ مِنَ ٱلۡمَلَـٰٓٮِٕكَةِ إِنَـٰثًا‌ۚ إِنَّكُمۡ لَتَقُولُونَ قَوۡلاً عَظِيمً۬ا

(Has then your Lord preferred for you sons, and taken for Himself from among the angels daughters Verily, you indeed utter an awful saying.) (17:40) Allah says:

﴿ مَا لَكُمۡ كَيۡفَ تَحۡكُمُونَ

(What is the matter with you How do you decide) meaning, `what kind of reasoning makes you say that'

﴿ أَفَلَا تَذَكَّرُونَ أَمۡ لَكُمۡ سُلۡطَـٰنٌ۬ مُّبِينٌ۬

(Will you not then remember Or is there for you a plain authority) means, `evidence to prove what you say.'

﴿ فَأۡتُواْ بِكِتَـٰبِكُمۡ إِن كُنتُمۡ صَـٰدِقِينَ

(Then bring your Book if you are truthful!) means, `produce evidence for that derived from a Book revealed from heaven by Allah, to prove that He has taken what you say (i.e., offspring). What you say is totally irrational.'

﴿ وَجَعَلُواْ بَيۡنَهُ ۥ وَبَيۡنَ ٱلۡجِنَّةِ نَسَبً۬ا‌ۚ

(And they have invented a kinship between Him and the Jinn,) Mujahid said, "The idolaters said that the angels were the daughters of Allah. Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) said, `Then who are their mothers' They said, `The daughters of the leaders of the Jinn.''' Qatadah and Ibn Zayd also said this. Allah -- may He be blessed and exalted -- says:

﴿ وَلَقَدۡ عَلِمَتِ ٱلۡجِنَّةُ

(but the jinn know) meaning, those to whom this is attributed

﴿ إِنَّہُمۡ لَمُحۡضَرُونَ

(know well that they have indeed to appear (before Him).) means, that those who say that will be brought forth for punishment on the Day of Reckoning, because of the lies and falsehood that they uttered without knowledge.

﴿ سُبۡحَـٰنَ ٱللَّهِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ

(Glorified be Allah! (He is free) from what they attribute unto Him!) means, exalted, sanctified and glorified be He far above having any offspring and far above what the wrongdoers and heretics attribute to Him.

﴿ إِلَّا عِبَادَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلۡمُخۡلَصِينَ

(Except the servants of Allah, whom He chooses.) The pronoun in the verb translated as "they attribute'' refers to all of mankind, then He excludes those whom He chooses, who are the ones who follow the truth revealed to every Prophet who was sent.

﴿ فَإِنَّكُمۡ وَمَا تَعۡبُدُونَ مَآ أَنتُمۡ عَلَيۡهِ بِفَـٰتِنِينَ إِلَّا مَنۡ هُوَ صَالِ ٱلۡجَحِيمِ وَمَا مِنَّآ إِلَّا لَهُ ۥ مَقَامٌ۬ مَّعۡلُومٌ۬ وَإِنَّا لَنَحۡنُ ٱلصَّآفُّونَ وَإِنَّا لَنَحۡنُ ٱلۡمُسَبِّحُونَ وَإِن كَانُواْ لَيَقُولُونَ لَوۡ أَنَّ عِندَنَا ذِكۡرً۬ا مِّنَ ٱلۡأَوَّلِينَ
﴿ لَكُنَّا عِبَادَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلۡمُخۡلَصِينَ فَكَفَرُواْ بِهِۦ‌ۖ فَسَوۡفَ يَعۡلَمُونَ

(161. So, verily you and those whom you worship) (162. Cannot lead astray,) (163. Except those who are predestined to burn in Hell!) (164. And there is not one of us (angels) but has his known place;) (165. And verily, we (angels), we stand in rows;) (166. And verily, we (angels) indeed are those who glorify.) (167. And indeed they used to say:) (168. "If we had a reminder as had the men of old,'') (169. "We would have indeed been the chosen servants of Allah!'') (170. But (now) they disbelieve therein, so they will come to know!)

No One believes what the Idolators say except Those Who are even more misguided than They

Allah says, addressing the idolaters:

﴿ فَإِنَّكُمۡ وَمَا تَعۡبُدُونَ مَآ أَنتُمۡ عَلَيۡهِ بِفَـٰتِنِينَ إِلَّا مَنۡ هُوَ صَالِ ٱلۡجَحِيمِ

(So, verily you and those whom you worship cannot lead astray, except those who are predestined to burn in Hell!) meaning, `the only ones who will believe what you say and follow your misguided ways of false worship are those who are more misguided than you and are created for Hell.'

﴿ لَهُمۡ قُلُوبٌ۬ لَّا يَفۡقَهُونَ بِہَا وَلَهُمۡ أَعۡيُنٌ۬ لَّا يُبۡصِرُونَ بِہَا وَلَهُمۡ ءَاذَانٌ۬ لَّا يَسۡمَعُونَ بِہَآ‌ۚ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ كَٱلۡأَنۡعَـٰمِ بَلۡ هُمۡ أَضَلُّ‌ۚ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ هُمُ ٱلۡغَـٰفِلُونَ

(They have hearts wherewith they understand not, and they have eyes wherewith they see not, and they have ears wherewith they hear not (the truth). They are like cattle, nay even more astray; those! They are the heedless ones.) (7:179). This is the parable of the people who follow the belief and ideas of Shirk, disbelief and misguidance, as Allah says:

﴿ إِنَّكُمۡ لَفِى قَوۡلٍ۬ مُّخۡتَلِفٍ۬ يُؤۡفَكُ عَنۡهُ مَنۡ أُفِكَ

(Certainly, you have different ideas. Turned aside therefrom is he who is turned aside (by the decree of Allah).) (51:8-9) meaning, the one who is misled by it is the one who is turned aside.

The Place of the Angels and Their Ranks glorify Allah

Then Allah says, declaring the angels to be above the position attributed to them by those who disbelieved in them and told lies about them -- that they are the daughters of Allah --

﴿ وَمَا مِنَّآ إِلَّا لَهُ ۥ مَقَامٌ۬ مَّعۡلُومٌ۬

(And there is not one of us (angels) but has his known place;) meaning, each one has his own place in the heavens and in the places of worship, which he does not overstep. Ad-Dahhak said in his Tafsir:

﴿ وَمَا مِنَّآ إِلَّا لَهُ ۥ مَقَامٌ۬ مَّعۡلُومٌ۬

"(And there is not one of us (angels) but has his known place;) Masruq used to narrate that `A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said, `The Messenger of Allah said:

« مَا مِنَ السَّمَاءِ الدُّنْيَا مَوْضِعٌ إِلَّا عَلَيْهِ مَلَكٌ سَاجِدٌ أَوْ قَائِم »

(There is no place in the lower heaven without an angel standing or prostrating in it.) This is what Allah says:

﴿ وَمَا مِنَّآ إِلَّا لَهُ ۥ مَقَامٌ۬ مَّعۡلُومٌ۬

(And there is not one of us (angels) but has his known place (or position)).'' It was reported that Ibn Mas`ud said, "In the heavens there is one heaven in which there is no space a hand span wide but there is the forehead or the foot of an angel on it. '' Then he recited:

﴿ وَمَا مِنَّآ إِلَّا لَهُ ۥ مَقَامٌ۬ مَّعۡلُومٌ۬

(And there is not one of us (angels) but has his known place;) Sa`id bin Jubayr similarly said:

﴿ وَإِنَّا لَنَحۡنُ ٱلصَّآفُّونَ

(And we (angels), we stand in rows.) means, we stand in rows to worship, as we have already seen in the Ayah

﴿ وَٱلصَّـٰٓفَّـٰتِ صَفًّ۬ا

(By those ranged in ranks (or rows)) Abu Nadrah said, "When the Iqamah had been given, `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) would turn to face the people and say: `Make your rows straight, for Allah wants you to follow the ways of the angels.' Then he would say,

﴿ وَإِنَّا لَنَحۡنُ ٱلصَّآفُّونَ

(And verily, we stand in rows;) `Move back, O so-and-so, move forward, O so-and-so.' Then he would go forward and say `Allahu Akbar''' This was recorded by Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Jarir. In Sahih Muslim it is narrated 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 مَسْجِدًا، وَتُرْبَتُهَا طَهُورًا »

(We have been favored above mankind in three things: our rows have been made like the rows of the angels; the whole earth has been made a place of prayer for us; and its soil is a means of purification for us.)''

﴿ وَإِنَّا لَنَحۡنُ ٱلۡمُسَبِّحُونَ

(And verily, we indeed are those who glorify.) means, `we stand in rows and glorify the Lord, praising Him, sanctifying Him and declaring Him to be above any faults or shortcomings. We are servants of Him and in need of Him, humbling ourselves before Him.'

The Quraysh wished that They could have a Reminder as had the Men of old
﴿ وَإِن كَانُواْ لَيَقُولُونَ لَوۡ أَنَّ عِندَنَا ذِكۡرً۬ا مِّنَ ٱلۡأَوَّلِينَ
﴿ لَكُنَّا عِبَادَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلۡمُخۡلَصِينَ

(And indeed they used to say: "If we had a reminder as had the men of old, we would have indeed been the chosen servants of Allah!'') means, `they used to wish -- before you, O Muhammad, came to them -- that they would have someone to remind them about Allah and what happened in earlier times, and to bring them the Book of Allah.' This is like the Ayat:

﴿ وَأَقۡسَمُواْ بِٱللَّهِ جَهۡدَ أَيۡمَـٰنِہِمۡ لَٮِٕن جَآءَهُمۡ نَذِيرٌ۬ لَّيَكُونُنَّ أَهۡدَىٰ مِنۡ إِحۡدَى ٱلۡأُمَمِۖ فَلَمَّا جَآءَهُمۡ نَذِيرٌ۬ مَّا زَادَهُمۡ إِلَّا نُفُورًا

(And they swore by Allah their most binding oath that if a warner came to them, they would be more guided than any of the nations (before them); yet when a warner came to them, it increased in them naught but flight (from the truth).) (35:42), and

﴿ أَن تَقُولُوٓاْ إِنَّمَآ أُنزِلَ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبُ عَلَىٰ طَآٮِٕفَتَيۡنِ مِن قَبۡلِنَا وَإِن كُنَّا عَن دِرَاسَتِہِمۡ لَغَـٰفِلِينَ أَوۡ تَقُولُواْ لَوۡ أَنَّآ أُنزِلَ عَلَيۡنَا ٱلۡكِتَـٰبُ لَكُنَّآ أَهۡدَىٰ مِنۡہُمۡ‌ۚ فَقَدۡ جَآءَڪُم بَيِّنَةٌ۬ مِّن رَّبِّڪُمۡ وَهُدً۬ى وَرَحۡمَةٌ۬‌ۚ فَمَنۡ أَظۡلَمُ مِمَّن كَذَّبَ بِـَٔايَـٰتِ ٱللَّهِ وَصَدَفَ عَنۡہَا‌ۗ سَنَجۡزِى ٱلَّذِينَ يَصۡدِفُونَ عَنۡ ءَايَـٰتِنَا سُوٓءَ ٱلۡعَذَابِ بِمَا كَانُواْ يَصۡدِفُونَ

(Lest you should say: "The Book was sent down only to two sects before us, and for our part, we were in fact unaware of what they studied.'' Or lest you should say: "If only the Book had been sent down to us, we would surely have been better guided than they.'' So now has come unto you a clear proof from your Lord, and a form of guidance and a mercy. Who then does more wrong than one who rejects the Ayat of Allah and turns away therefrom We shall requite those who turn away from Our Ayat with an evil torment, because of their turning away.) (6:156-157) Allah says here:

﴿ فَكَفَرُواْ بِهِۦ‌ۖ فَسَوۡفَ يَعۡلَمُونَ

(But they disbelieve therein, so they will come to know!) This is a definite and stern threat because of their disbelief in their Lord and their rejection of His Messenger .

﴿ وَلَقَدۡ سَبَقَتۡ كَلِمَتُنَا لِعِبَادِنَا ٱلۡمُرۡسَلِينَ إِنَّہُمۡ لَهُمُ ٱلۡمَنصُورُونَ وَإِنَّ جُندَنَا لَهُمُ ٱلۡغَـٰلِبُونَ فَتَوَلَّ عَنۡہُمۡ حَتَّىٰ حِينٍ۬ وَأَبۡصِرۡهُمۡ فَسَوۡفَ يُبۡصِرُونَ أَفَبِعَذَابِنَا يَسۡتَعۡجِلُونَ فَإِذَا نَزَلَ بِسَاحَتِہِمۡ فَسَآءَ صَبَاحُ ٱلۡمُنذَرِينَ وَتَوَلَّ عَنۡهُمۡ حَتَّىٰ حِينٍ۬
﴿ وَأَبۡصِرۡ فَسَوۡفَ يُبۡصِرُونَ

(171. And, verily, Our Word has gone forth of old for Our servants, the Messengers,) (172. That they verily would be made triumphant,) (173. And that Our hosts! they verily would be the victors.) (174. So, turn away from them for a while,) (175. And watch them and they shall see!) (176. Do they seek to hasten on Our torment) (177. Then, when it descends in their courtyard, evil will be the morning for those who had warned!) (178. So, turn away from them for a while,) (179. And watch and they shall see!)

The Promise of Victory and the Command to turn away from Idolators

Allah says,

﴿ وَلَقَدۡ سَبَقَتۡ كَلِمَتُنَا لِعِبَادِنَا ٱلۡمُرۡسَلِينَ

(And, verily, Our Word has gone forth of old for Our servants, the Messengers,) meaning, it has already been stated in the first decree that the Messengers and their followers will ultimately prevail in this world and the Hereafter. This is like the Ayah:

﴿ ڪَتَبَ ٱللَّهُ لَأَغۡلِبَنَّ أَنَا۟ وَرُسُلِىٓ‌ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ قَوِىٌّ عَزِيزٌ۬

(Allah has decreed: "Verily, it is I and My Messengers who shall be the victorious.'' Verily, Allah is All-Powerful, Almighty.) (58:21), and

﴿ إِنَّا لَنَنصُرُ رُسُلَنَا وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ فِى ٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا وَيَوۡمَ يَقُومُ ٱلۡأَشۡهَـٰدُ

(Verily, We will indeed make victorious Our Messengers and those who believe in this world's life and on the Day when the witnesses will stand forth.) (40:51).

﴿ وَلَقَدۡ سَبَقَتۡ كَلِمَتُنَا لِعِبَادِنَا ٱلۡمُرۡسَلِينَ إِنَّہُمۡ لَهُمُ ٱلۡمَنصُورُونَ

(And, verily, Our Word has gone forth of old for Our servants, the Messengers, that they verily would be made triumphant,) meaning, `in this world and in the Hereafter, as We have already stated that they would prevail over their people who disbelieved in them and went against them, and how Allah destroyed the disbelievers and saved His believing servants. '

﴿ وَإِنَّ جُندَنَا لَهُمُ ٱلۡغَـٰلِبُونَ

(And that Our hosts they verily would be the victors.) means, that they would ultimately prevail.

﴿ فَتَوَلَّ عَنۡہُمۡ حَتَّىٰ حِينٍ۬

(So turn away from them for a while,) means, `bear their annoyance with patience and wait until an appointed time, when We shall cause you to prevail and will grant you victory.'

﴿ وَأَبۡصِرۡهُمۡ فَسَوۡفَ يُبۡصِرُونَ

(And watch them and they shall see!) means, `watch them and see what will happen to them by way of punishment for their opposition towards you and their disbelief in you.' Allah said, as a threat and a warning,

﴿ فَسَوۡفَ يُبۡصِرُونَ

(and they shall see!). Then Allah says:

﴿ أَفَبِعَذَابِنَا يَسۡتَعۡجِلُونَ

(Do they seek to hasten on Our torment) meaning, `they seek to hasten on the punishment because they disbelieve in you, and Allah is angry with them because of that and will make them suffer the consequences, and because of their disbelief and stubbornness, He will hasten on the punishment.'

﴿ فَإِذَا نَزَلَ بِسَاحَتِہِمۡ فَسَآءَ صَبَاحُ ٱلۡمُنذَرِينَ

(Then, when it descends in their courtyard, evil will be the morning for those who had been warned!) means, when the punishment comes down to the place where they are, terrible will be the day of their punishment and destruction. As-Suddi said:

﴿ فَإِذَا نَزَلَ بِسَاحَتِہِمۡ

(Then, when it descends in their courtyard,) means, in their homes;

﴿ فَسَآءَ صَبَاحُ ٱلۡمُنذَرِينَ

(evil will be the morning for those who had been warned!) means, how terrible that morning will be for them. It was reported in the Two Sahihs that Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "On the morning of Khaybar, when the people came out with their tools (to go about their daily work) and saw the (Muslim) army, they went back and said, `Muhammad by Allah! Muhammad and the army!' The Prophet said:

« اللهُ أَكْبَرُ، خَرِبَتْ خَيْبَرُ، إِنَّا إِذَا نَزَلْنَا بِسَاحَةِ قَوْمٍ فَسَاءَ صَبَاحُ الْمُنْذَرِين »

(Allahu Akbar! Khaybar has been destroyed. Then, when it descends in the courtyard of any people, evil will be the morning for those who had been warned!)''

﴿ وَتَوَلَّ عَنۡهُمۡ حَتَّىٰ حِينٍ۬ وَأَبۡصِرۡ فَسَوۡفَ يُبۡصِرُونَ

(So turn away from them for a while, and watch and they shall see!) This is a reiteration of the command stated above. And Allah knows best.

﴿ سُبۡحَـٰنَ رَبِّكَ رَبِّ ٱلۡعِزَّةِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ وَسَلَـٰمٌ عَلَى ٱلۡمُرۡسَلِينَ وَٱلۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ

(180. Glorified be your Lord, the Lord of Al-`Izzah! (He is free) from what they attribute unto Him!) (181. And Salam (peace!) be on the Messengers!) (182. And all the praises and thanks be to Allah, Lord of all that exists.)

Allah glorified Himself and states that He is far above what the lying wrongdoers say about Him; glorified and sanctified and exalted be He far above what they say.

Allah says:

﴿ سُبۡحَـٰنَ رَبِّكَ رَبِّ ٱلۡعِزَّةِ

(Glorified be your Lord, the Lord of Al-`Izzah!) meaning, the Owner of might and power Whom none can resist.

﴿ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ

((He is free) from what they attribute unto Him!) means, from what these lying fabricators say.

﴿ وَسَلَـٰمٌ عَلَى ٱلۡمُرۡسَلِينَ

(And Salam be on the Messengers!) means, may the peace of Allah be upon them in this world and in the Hereafter, because what they say about their Lord is sound, correct and true.

﴿ وَٱلۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ

(And all the praises and thanks be to Allah, Lord of all that exists.) means, praise be to Him at the beginning and end of all things. Because Tasbih (glorification) implies a declaration of being free from all shortcomings, the two ideas appear together here and in many places in the Qur'an. Allah says:

﴿ سُبۡحَـٰنَ رَبِّكَ رَبِّ ٱلۡعِزَّةِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ وَسَلَـٰمٌ عَلَى ٱلۡمُرۡسَلِينَ وَٱلۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ

(Glorified be your Lord, the Lord of Al-`Izzah! (He is free) from what they attribute unto Him! And Salam (peace!) be on the Messengers! And all the praises and thanks be to Allah, Lord of all that exists.) Sa`id bin Abi `Arubah narrated that Qatadah said, "The Messenger of Allah said:

« إِذَا سَلَّمْتُمْ عَلَيَّ، فَسَلِّمُوا عَلَى الْمُرْسَلِينَ، فَأَنَا رَسُولٌ مِنَ الْمُرْسَلِين »

(When you send Salam on me, send Salam on all the Messengers, for I am one of the Messengers.)'' This was recorded by Ibn Jarir and Ibn Abi Hatim. Abu Muhammad Al-Baghawi recorded in his Tafsir that `Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) said: "Whoever wants a greater measure of reward on the Day of Resurrection, let him say at the end of any gathering,

﴿ سُبۡحَـٰنَ رَبِّكَ رَبِّ ٱلۡعِزَّةِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ وَسَلَـٰمٌ عَلَى ٱلۡمُرۡسَلِينَ وَٱلۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ

(Glorified be your Lord, the Lord of honor, glory and power! (He is free) from what they attribute unto Him! And Salam (peace!) be on the Messengers! And all the praises and thanks be to Allah, Lord of all that exists).'' Other Hadiths concerning the expiation for any wrongs that may have occurred during a gathering prescribe saying the words: "Glory be to You, O Allah, and praise. There is no God except You; I seek your forgiveness and I repent to you. '' I have written a chapter dealing exclusively with this topic. This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat As-Saffat. And Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, knows best.