Abu Ja`far bin Jarir recorded that Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "When Abu Talib fell sick, some of the people of the Quraysh, including Abu Jahl, entered upon him and said, `Your brother's son is insulting our gods; he does such and such and says such and such. Why don't you send for him and tell him not to do that' So he sent for the Prophet and he entered the house. There was space enough for one man to sit between them and Abu Talib, and Abu Jahl, may Allah curse him, was afraid that if (the Prophet) were to sit beside Abu Talib he would be more lenient with him, so he jumped up and sat in that spot, and the Messenger of Allah could find nowhere to sit near his uncle, so he sat by the door. Abu Talib said to him, `O son of my brother, why are your people complaining about you and claiming that you insult their gods and say such and such' They made so many complaints against him. Thereupon, he said,
(O uncle, all I want from them is one word which, if they say it, the Arabs will become their followers and the non-Arabs will pay Jizyah to them.) They were worried about what he said, so they said, `One word Yes, by your father, (we will say) ten words! What is it' Abu Talib said, `What word is it, O son of my brother' He said,
(La ilaha illallah.) They stood up in agitation, brushing down their clothes, saying,
(Has he made the gods into One God. Verily, this is a curious thing!) Then this passage was revealed, from this Ayah to the Ayah:
(Nay, but they have not tasted (My) torment!)'' This is the wording of Abu Kurayb. Something similar was also recorded by Imam Ahmad and An-Nasa'i, and At-Tirmidhi said, "Hasan.''
(We have not heard (the like) of this in the religion of these later days.) means, `we have not heard anything like this Tawhid to which Muhammad calls us in the religion of these later days.' Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "`We have not heard of this from the religion of these later days (meaning Christianity); if this Qur'an were true, the Christians would have told us about it.''
(This is nothing but an invention!) Mujahid and Qatadah said, "A lie.'' Ibn `Abbas said, "A fabrication.''
(Has the Reminder been sent down to him (alone) from among us) They thought it unlikely that he would be singled out from among them to receive the Qur'an. This is like the Ayat:
(And they say: "Why is not this Qur'an sent down to some great man of the two towns'') (43:31). Allah said:
(Is it they who would portion out the mercy of your Lord It is We Who portion out between them their livelihood in this world, and We raised some of them above others in ranks) (43:32). When they said this, it indicated their ignorance and lack of understanding since they thought it was unlikely that the Qur'an would be revealed to the Messenger and not to somebody else.
(Nay, but they have not tasted (My) torment!) means, they say this because they have not yet tasted the punishment and vengeance of Allah. But they will come to know the consequences of what they say and what they rejected on the Day when they are herded into the fire of Hell. Then Allah points out that He is the One Who is in control of His Creation and Who does whatever He wills, Who gives whatever He wants to whomever He wants, and honors whomever He wants and humiliates whomever He wants, and guides whomever He wants and misguides whomever He wants, and sends the Ruh (Jibril) by His command upon whomsoever He wants among His servants, and seals the hearts of whomever He wants, so no one can guide him apart from Allah. His servants do not possess any power and have no control over His dominion, not even a speck of dust's weight; they do not possess even a thin membrane over a date stone. Allah says, denouncing them:
(Or have they the treasures of the mercy of your Lord, the Almighty, the Real Bestower) meaning, the Almighty Whose might cannot be overcome, the Bestower Who gives whatever He wills to whomsoever He wills. This Ayah is like the Ayah:
(Or have they a share in the dominion Then in that case they would not give mankind even a speck on the back of a date stone. Or do they envy men for what Allah has given them of His bounty Then, We had already given the family of Ibrahim the Book and Al-Hikmah, and conferred upon them a great kingdom. Of them were (some) who believed in him, and of them were (some) who averted their faces from him; and enough is Hell for burning (them).) (4:53-55).
(Say: "If you possessed the treasure of the mercy of my Lord (wealth), then you would surely hold back for fear of (being exhausted), and man is ever miserly!'') (17:100). This is after Allah tells us the story of how the disbeliever denied the sending of a human Messenger, as He tells us that the people of Salih (peace be upon him) said:
("Is it that the Reminder is sent to him alone from among us Nay, he is an insolent liar!'' Tomorrow they will come to know who is the liar, the insolent one!) (54:25, 26)
(Or is it that the dominion of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them is theirs If so, let them ascend up with means.) means, if they have that, then let them ascend up with means. Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Qatadah and others said, "The ways to the heaven.'' Ad-Dahhak, said, "Then let them ascend into the seventh heaven.'' Then Allah says,
(they will be a defeated host like the Confederates of the old times.) meaning, these hosts of disbelievers who are in false pride and opposition will be defeated and overwhelmed and disgraced, just as the Confederates of the old times were disgraced before them. This Ayah is like the Ayah:
(Or say they: "We are a great multitude, victorious'' Their multitude will be put to flight, and they will show their backs.) (54:44-45) -- which is what happened on the day of Badr --
(Nay, but the Hour is their appointed time, and the Hour will be more grievous and more bitter.) (54:46)
(12. Before them denied -- the people of Nuh; and `Ad; and Fir`awn the man of stakes,) (13. And Thamud, and the people of Lut, and the Dwellers of Al-Aykah; such were the Confederates.) (14. Not one of them but denied the Messengers; therefore My torment was justified.) (15. And these only wait for a single Sayhah there will be no pause or ending thereto.) (16. They say: "Our Lord! Hasten to us Qittana before the Day of Reckoning!'') (17. Be patient of what they say...)
Allah tells us about those past nations and the punishment and vengeance that struck them for their going against the Messengers and disbelieving in the Prophets, peace be upon them. We have already seen their stories in detail in numerous places (in the Qur'an). Allah says:
(such were the Confederates.) meaning, `they were greater and stronger than you, they had more wealth and children, but that did not protect them from the punishment of Allah at all when the command of your Lord came to pass.' Allah says:
(Not one of them but denied the Messengers; therefore My torment was justified.) `The reason for their destruction was their disbelief in the Messengers, so let those who are addressed here beware and be afraid.'
(And these only wait for a single Sayhah there will be no pause or ending thereto.) Malik narrated from Zayd bin Aslam; "There will none who can avert it,'' i.e., they will only wait for the Hour that it shall come upon them suddenly while they perceive not. But some of its portents have already come, i.e., it has drawn nigh. This Sayhah is the blast on the Trumpet when Allah will command Israfil to sound a long note, and there will be no one in the heaven or on earth but will be terrified, except those whom Allah spares.
(They say: "Our Lord! Hasten to us Qittana before the Day of Reckoning!'') Here Allah denounces the idolaters for calling for the punishment to be hastened upon themselves. Qitt refers to a book or record, or it was said that it means one's allotted share or fortune. Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak, Al-Hasan and others said, "They asked for the punishment to be hastened.'' Qatadah added, this is like when they said:
("O Allah! If this (the Qur'an) is indeed the truth from You, then rain down stones on us from the sky or bring on us a painful torment.'') (8:32). It was also said that they asked for their share of Paradise to be hastened, if it really existed, so that they might have their share in this world; they said this because they thought it unlikely to exist and they disbelieved in it. Ibn Jarir said, "They asked for whatever they deserved, good or bad, to be hastened for them in this world.'' What he said is good, and A-Dahhak and Isma`il bin Abi Khalid based their views on it. And Allah knows best. They said this by way of mockery and disbelief, so Allah commanded His Messenger to be patient in the face of their insults, and He gave him the glad tidings that his patience would be rewarded with victory and success.
(17. And remember Our slave Dawud, endued with Al-Ayd. Verily, he was ever oft-returning in all matters and in repentance.) (18. Verily, We made the mountains to glorify Our praises with him in the `Ashi and Ishraq.) (19. And (so did) the birds assembled, all obedient to him.) (20. We made his kingdom strong and gave him Al-Hikmah and sound judgment in speech and decision
Al-Ayd means strength in knowledge and action. Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) As-Suddi and Ibn Zayd said, "Al-Ayd means strength.'' Mujahid said, "Al-Ayd means strength in obedience to Allah.'' Qatadah said, "Dawud (peace be upon him) was given strength in worship and the proper understanding of Islam.'' He told us that he (peace be upon him) used to spend a third of the night in prayer, and he fasted for half a lifetime. This was reported in the Two Sahihs, where it is recorded that the Messenger of Allah said:
(The most beloved of prayer to Allah is the prayer of Dawud, and the most beloved of fasting to Allah is the fasting of Dawud. He used to sleep for half of the night, stand in prayer for a third of the night, then sleep for a sixth of the night, and he used to fast alternate days. He never fled from the battlefield, and he always turned to Allah.) which means that he turned to Allah with regard to all of his affairs.
(Verily, We made the mountains to glorify Our praises with him in the `Ashi and Ishraq. ) means, Allah caused the mountains to glorify His praises with him at sunrise and at the end of the day. This is like the Ayah:
(O you mountains. Glorify (Allah) with him! And you birds (also)!) (34:10). The birds also used to glorify Allah's praises with him. If a bird flew by him and heard him chanting the Zabur, it would not go away; instead it would stay hovering in the air, glorifying Allah along with him. And the lofty mountains would respond to him and echo his glorification of Allah. Ibn Jarir recorded from `Abdullah bin Al-Harith bin Nawfal that Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) did not pray Ad-Duha. (`Abdullah said:) "So I took him to Umm Hani (may Allah be pleased with her) and said to her, `Tell him what you told me.' She said, `The Messenger of Allah entered my house on the day of the conquest of Makkah. He called for water to be poured into a large bowl, then he called for a garment which he used as a screen between me and him, and he washed himself. Then he sprinkled water around the house and prayed eight Rak`ahs. This was Ad-Duha, and its standing, bowing, prostration and sitting were all equal in brevity.' Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) left, saying, `I have read the Qur'an from cover to cover, and I never knew about Salat Ad-Duha until now!' Then he recited:
(glorify Our praises with him in the `Ashi and Ishraq.) I used to say, "What is Salat Al-Ishraq, but now I know what it is.''
(And (so did) the birds assembled,) meaning, hovering in the air.
(all obedient to him.) means, they obeyed him and followed him in glorifying Allah. Sa`id bin Jubayr, Qatadah and Malik said, narrating from Zayd bin Aslam and Ibn Zayd:
(all obedient to him.) means, "Following his commands.''
(We made his kingdom strong) means, `We gave him complete dominion with all that kings need.' Ibn Abi Najih reported that Mujahid said, "He was the strongest and most powerful of the people of this world.''
(and gave him Al-Hikmah) Mujahid said, "This means understanding, reason and intelligence.'' Qatadah said, "The Book of Allah and following what is in it.'' As-Suddi said:
(and sound judgment) Shurayh Al-Qadi and Ash-Sha`bi said, "Sound judgment is testimony and oaths.'' Qatadah said, "Two witnesses for the plaintiff or an oath on the part of the defendant is meaning of sound judgment.'' This is the sound judgment which the Prophets and Messengers judged and the believers and righteous accepted. This is the basis of this Ummah's judicial system until the Day of Resurrection. This was the view of Abu `Abdur-Rahman As-Sulami. Mujahid and As-Suddi said, "It means passing the right judgment and understanding the case.'' Mujahid also said, "It is soundness in speech and in judgment, and this includes all of the above.'' This is what is meant, and this is the view favored by Ibn Jarir.
(21. And has the news of the litigants reached you When they climbed over the wall into (his) Mihrab (private chamber of worship);) (22. When they entered in upon Dawud, he was terrified of them. They said: "Fear not! (We are) two litigants, one of us has wronged the other, therefore judge between us with truth, and treat us not with injustice, and guide us to the right way.) (23. Verily, this my brother (in religion) has ninety-nine ewes, while I have (only) one ewe, and he says: "Hand it over to me, and he overpowered me in speech.'') (24. (Dawud) said: "He has wronged you in demanding your ewe in addition to his ewes. And, verily, many partners oppress one another, except those who believe and do righteous good deeds, and they are few.'' And Dawud guessed that We have tried him and he sought forgiveness of his Lord, and he fell down prostrate and turned (to Allah) in repentance.) (25. So, We forgave him that, and verily, for him is a near access to Us, and a good place of return.)
In discussing this passage, the scholars of Tafsir mention a story which is mostly based upon Isra'iliyat narrations. Nothing has been reported about this from the Infallible Prophet that we could accept as true. But Ibn Abi Hatim narrated a Hadith whose chain of narration cannot be regarded as Sahih because it is reported by Yazid Ar-Raqashi from Anas, may Allah be pleased with him. Although Yazid was one of the righteous, his Hadiths are regarded as weak by the Imams. So, it is better to speak briefly of this story and refer knowledge of it to Allah, may He be exalted. For the Qur'an is true and what it contains is also true.
(he was terrified of them.) This was because he was in his Mihrab (private chamber). That was the noblest part of his house, where he commanded that no one should enter upon him that day. So, he did not realize that these two people had climbed the fence surrounding his Mihrab (private chamber) to ask him about their case.
(and he overpowered me in speech.) means, `he defeated me.'
(And Dawud guessed that We have tried him) `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said that this means, "We tested him.''
(and he fell down prostrate and turned (to Allah) in repentance.)
(So, We forgave him that,)
The performance of Sajdah in Surah Sad is not one of the obligatory locations; it is a prostration of thanks (Sajdat Shukr). The evidence for it is the report recorded by Imam Ahmad from Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) who said; "The prostration in Surah Sad is not one of the obligatory prostrations; I saw the Messenger of Allah prostrating in this Surah.'' This was also recorded by Al-Bukhari, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, and An-Nasa'i in his Tafsir. At-Tirmidhi said, "Hasan Sahih.'' In his Tafsir of this Ayah, An-Nasa'i also recorded that Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "The Prophet prostrated in Sad, and he said:
(Dawud prostrated as an act of repentance and we prostrate as an act of thanks.)'' This was recorded only by An-Nasa'i. The men of its chain of narration are all reliable. In his Tafsir of this Ayah, Al-Bukhari recorded that Al-`Awwam said that he asked Mujahid about the prostration in Surah Sad. He said, `I asked Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) `Why do you prostrate' He said, `Have you not read:
(and among his (Nuh's) progeny Dawud, Sulayman) (6:84)
(They are those whom Allah had guided. So follow their guidance) (6:90). Dawud (peace be upon him) was one of those whom your Prophet was commanded to follow. Dawud prostrated here so the Messenger of Allah also prostrated here.''' Abu Dawud recorded that Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "The Messenger of Allah recited Sad while he was on the Minbar. When he reached the prostration, he came down from the Minbar and prostrated, and the people prostrated with him. On another occasion when he recited it, he reached the prostration and the people prepared to prostrate. He said:
(This is repentance for a Prophet, but I see that you are preparing to prostrate.) Then he came down (from the Minbar) and prostrated.'' This was recorded only by Abu Dawud and its chain of narration meets the conditions of the Two Sahihs.
(and verily, for him is a near access to Us, and a good place of (final) return.) means, on the Day of Resurrection, he will have good deeds by virtue of which he will be brought close to Allah, and he will have a good place of (final) return, which means the lofty levels of Paradise, because of his repentance and his perfect justice in his kingdom. As it says in the Sahih:
(Those who are fair and just with their families and those who are under their authority will be on Minbars of light on the right hand of Ar-Rahman, and both His Hands are right Hands.)''
(26. O Dawud! Verily, We have placed you as a successor on the earth; so judge you between men in truth (and justice) and follow not your desire -- for it will mislead you from the path of Allah. Verily, those who wander astray from the path of Allah (shall) have a severe torment, because they forgot the Day of Reckoning.)