;
The Cause of Misfortune is Sin
﴿ وَمَآ أَصَـٰبَڪُم مِّن مُّصِيبَةٍ۬ فَبِمَا كَسَبَتۡ أَيۡدِيكُمۡ

(And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned.) means, `whatever disasters happen to you, O mankind, are because of sins that you have committed in the past.'

﴿ وَيَعۡفُواْ عَن كَثِيرٍ۬

(And He pardons much.) means, of sins; `He does not punish you for them, rather He forgives you.'

﴿ وَلَوۡ يُؤَاخِذُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلنَّاسَ بِمَا ڪَسَبُواْ مَا تَرَكَ عَلَىٰ ظَهۡرِهَا مِن دَآبَّةٍ۬

(And if Allah were to punish men for that which they earned, He would not leave a moving creature on the surface of the earth) (35:45). According to a Sahih Hadith:

« وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ مَا يُصِيبُ الْمُؤْمِنَ مِنْ نَصَبٍ وَلَا وَصَبٍ وَلَا هَمَ وَلَا حَزَنٍ إِلَّا كَفَّرَ اللهُ عَنْهُ بِهَا مِنْ خَطَايَاهُ، حَتْى الشَّوْكَةِ يُشَاكُهَا »

(By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, no believer is stricken with fatigue, exhaustion, worry or grief, but Allah will forgive him for some of his sins thereby -- even a thorn which pricks him.) Imam Ahmad recorded that Mu`awiyah bin Abi Sufyan (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah say:

« مَا مِنْ شَيْءٍ يُصِيبُ الْمُؤْمِنَ فِي جَسَدِهِ يُؤْذِيهِ إِلَّا كَفَّرَ اللهُ تَعَالَى عَنْهُ بِهِ مِنْ سَيِّئَاتِه »

(No physical harm befalls a believer, but Allah will expiate for some of his sins because of it.)'' Imam Ahmad also recorded that `A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said, "The Messenger of Allah said:

« إِذَا كَثُرَتْ ذُنُوبُ الْعَبْدِ وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ مَا يُكَفِّرُهَا، ابْتَلَاهُ اللهُ تَعَالَى بِالْحَزَنِ لِيُكَفِّرَهَا »

(If a person commits many sins and has nothing that will expiate for them, Allah will test him with some grief that will expiate for them.)''

﴿ وَمِنۡ ءَايَـٰتِهِ ٱلۡجَوَارِ فِى ٱلۡبَحۡرِ كَٱلۡأَعۡلَـٰمِ إِن يَشَأۡ يُسۡكِنِ ٱلرِّيحَ فَيَظۡلَلۡنَ رَوَاكِدَ عَلَىٰ ظَهۡرِهِۦۤ‌ۚ إِنَّ فِى ذَٲلِكَ لَأَيَـٰتٍ۬ لِّكُلِّ صَبَّارٍ۬ شَكُورٍ أَوۡ يُوبِقۡهُنَّ بِمَا كَسَبُواْ وَيَعۡفُ عَن كَثِيرٍ۬ وَيَعۡلَمَ ٱلَّذِينَ يُجَـٰدِلُونَ فِىٓ ءَايَـٰتِنَا مَا لَهُم مِّن مَّحِيصٍ۬

(32. And among His signs are the ships in the sea like mountains.) (33. If He wills, He causes the wind to cease, then they would become motionless on the surface (of the sea). Verily, in this are signs for everyone patient and grateful.) (34. Or He may destroy them because of that which their (people) have earned. And He pardons much.) (35. And those who dispute as regards Our Ayat may know that there is no place of refuge for them.)

Ships are also among the Signs of Allah

Allah tells us that another sign of His great power and dominion is the fact that He has subjugated the sea so that ships may sail in it by His command, so they sail in the sea like mountains. This was the view of Mujahid, Al-Hasan, As-Suddi and Ad-Dahhak. In other words, these ships on the sea are like mountains on land.

﴿ إِن يَشَأۡ يُسۡكِنِ ٱلرِّيحَ

(If He wills, He causes the wind to cease,) means, the winds that cause the ships to travel on the sea. If He willed, He could cause the winds to cease, then the ships would not move and would remain still, neither coming nor going, staying where they are on the surface of the water.

﴿ إِنَّ فِى ذَٲلِكَ لَأَيَـٰتٍ۬ لِّكُلِّ صَبَّارٍ۬

(Verily, in this are signs for everyone patient) means, who is patient in the face of adversity

﴿ شَكُورٍ

(and grateful.) means, in the fact that Allah has subjugated the sea and He sends as much wind as they need in order to travel, there are signs of His blessings to His creation for everyone who is patient, i.e., at times of difficulty, and grateful, i.e., at times of ease.

﴿ أَوۡ يُوبِقۡهُنَّ بِمَا كَسَبُواْ

(Or He may destroy them because of that which their (people) have earned.) means, if He wills, He may destroy the ships and drown them, because of the sins of the people on board.

﴿ وَيَعۡفُ عَن كَثِيرٍ۬

(And He pardons much.) means, of their sins; if He were to punish them for all of their sins, He would destroy everyone who sails on the sea. Some of the scholars interpreted the Ayah

﴿ أَوۡ يُوبِقۡهُنَّ بِمَا كَسَبُواْ

(Or He may destroy them because of that which their (people) have earned.) as meaning, if He willed, He could send the wind to blow fiercely so that it would take the ships and divert them from their courses, driving them to the right or the left, so that they would be lost and would not be able to follow their intended path. This interpretation also includes the idea of their being destroyed. This also fits the first meaning, which is that if Allah willed, He could cause the wind to cease, in which case the ships would stop moving, or He could make the wind fierce, in which case the ships would be lost and destroyed. But by His grace and mercy, He sends the wind according to their needs, just as He sends rain that is sufficient. If He sent too much rain, it would destroy their houses, and if He sent too little, their crops and fruits would not grow. In the case of lands such as Egypt, He sends water from another land, because they do not need rain; if rain were to fall upon them, it would destroy their houses and cause walls to collapse.

﴿ وَيَعۡلَمَ ٱلَّذِينَ يُجَـٰدِلُونَ فِىٓ ءَايَـٰتِنَا مَا لَهُم مِّن مَّحِيصٍ۬

(And those who dispute as regards Our Ayat may know that there is no place of refuge for them.) means, they have no means of escape from Our torment and vengeance, for they are subdued by Our power.

﴿ فَمَآ أُوتِيتُم مِّن شَىۡءٍ۬ فَمَتَـٰعُ ٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا‌ۖ وَمَا عِندَ ٱللَّهِ خَيۡرٌ۬ وَأَبۡقَىٰ لِلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَلَىٰ رَبِّہِمۡ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ وَٱلَّذِينَ يَجۡتَنِبُونَ كَبَـٰٓٮِٕرَ ٱلۡإِثۡمِ وَٱلۡفَوَٲحِشَ وَإِذَا مَا غَضِبُواْ هُمۡ يَغۡفِرُونَ وَٱلَّذِينَ ٱسۡتَجَابُواْ لِرَبِّہِمۡ وَأَقَامُواْ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَأَمۡرُهُمۡ شُورَىٰ بَيۡنَہُمۡ وَمِمَّا رَزَقۡنَـٰهُمۡ يُنفِقُونَ وَٱلَّذِينَ إِذَآ أَصَابَہُمُ ٱلۡبَغۡىُ هُمۡ يَنتَصِرُونَ

(36. So whatever you have been given is but (a passing) enjoyment for this worldly life, but that which is with Allah is better and more lasting for those who believe and put their trust in their Lord.) (37. And those who shun the greater sins, and Al-Fawahish, and when they are angry, they forgive.) (38. And those who answer the Call of their Lord, and perform the Salah, and who (conduct) their affairs by mutual consultation, and who spend of what We have bestowed on them.) (39. And those who, when an oppressive wrong is done to them, take revenge.)

The Attributes of Those Who deserve that which is with Allah

Here Allah points out the insignificance of this worldly life and its transient adornments and luxuries.

﴿ فَمَآ أُوتِيتُم مِّن شَىۡءٍ۬ فَمَتَـٰعُ ٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا‌ۖ

(So whatever you have been given is but (a passing) enjoyment for this worldly life.) means, no matter what you achieve and amass, do not be deceived by it, for it is only the enjoyment of this life, which is the lower, transient realm that will undoubtedly come to an end.

﴿ وَمَا عِندَ ٱللَّهِ خَيۡرٌ۬ وَأَبۡقَىٰ

(but that which is with Allah is better and more lasting) means, the reward of Allah is better than this world, and it will last forever, so do not give preference to that which is transient over that which is lasting. Allah says:

﴿ لِلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ

(for those who believe) means, for those who are patient in forgoing the pleasures of this world,

﴿ وَعَلَىٰ رَبِّهِمۡ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ

(and put their trust in their Lord.) means, so that He will help them to be patient in doing what is obligatory and avoiding what is forbidden. Then Allah says:

﴿ وَٱلَّذِينَ يَجۡتَنِبُونَ كَبَـٰٓٮِٕرَ ٱلۡإِثۡمِ وَٱلۡفَوَٲحِشَ

(And those who shun the greater sins, and Al-Fawahish,) We have already discussed sin and Al-Fawahish in Surat Al-A`raf.

﴿ وَإِذَا مَا غَضِبُواْ هُمۡ يَغۡفِرُونَ

(and when they are angry, they forgive.) means, their nature dictates that they should forgive people and be tolerant. Vengeance is not in their nature. It was reported in the Sahih that the Messenger of Allah never took revenge for his own sake, only when the sacred Laws of Allah were violated.

﴿ وَٱلَّذِينَ ٱسۡتَجَابُواْ لِرَبِّہِمۡ

(And those who answer the Call of their Lord,) means, they follow His Messenger and obey His commands and avoid that which He has prohibited.

﴿ وَأَقَامُواْ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ

(and perform As-Salah) -- which is the greatest act of worship of Allah, may He be glorified.

﴿ وَأَمۡرُهُمۡ شُورَىٰ بَيۡنَہُمۡ

(and who (conduct) their affairs by mutual consultation,) means, they do not make a decision without consulting one another on the matter so that they can help one another by sharing their ideas concerning issues such as wars and other matters. This is like the Ayah:

﴿ وَشَاوِرۡهُمۡ فِى ٱلۡأَمۡرِ‌ۖ

(and consult them in the affairs) (3:159). The Prophet used to consult with them concerning wars and other matters, so that they would feel confidant. When `Umar bin Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) was dying, after he had been stabbed, he entrusted the choice of the next Khalifah to six people who were to be consulted. They were `Uthman, `Ali, Talhah, Az-Zubayr, Sa`id and `Abdur-Rahman bin `Awf, may Allah be pleased with them all. Then all of the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, agreed to appoint `Uthman as their leader.

﴿ وَمِمَّا رَزَقۡنَـٰهُمۡ يُنفِقُونَ

(and who spend of what We have bestowed on them.) this means kindly treating the creation of Allah, starting with those who are closest, then the next closest, and so on.

﴿ وَٱلَّذِينَ إِذَآ أَصَابَہُمُ ٱلۡبَغۡىُ هُمۡ يَنتَصِرُونَ

(And those who, when an oppressive wrong is done to them, take revenge.) means, they have the strength to take revenge on those who commit aggressive wrong and hostile acts against them. They are not incapable of doing so and they are not helpless; they are able to take revenge against those who transgress against them, even though when they have the power to take revenge, they prefer to forgive, as when Yusuf (peace be upon him) said to his brothers:

﴿ لَا تَثۡرِيبَ عَلَيۡكُمُ ٱلۡيَوۡمَ‌ۖ يَغۡفِرُ ٱللَّهُ لَكُمۡ‌ۖ

(No reproach on you this day; may Allah forgive you) (12: 92). even though he was in a position to take revenge on them for what they had done to him. The Messenger of Allah forgave the eighty people who intended to do him harm during the year of Al-Hudaybiyah, camping by the mountain of At-Tan`im. When he overpowered them, he set them free, even though he was in a position to take revenge on them. He also forgave Ghawrath bin Al-Harith who wanted to kill him and unsheathed his sword while he was sleeping. The Prophet woke up to find him pointing the sword at him. He reproached him angrily and the sword dropped. Then the Messenger of Allah picked up the sword and called his Companions He told them what had happened, and he forgave the man. There are many similar Hadiths and reports. And Allah knows best.

﴿ وَجَزَٲٓؤُاْ سَيِّئَةٍ۬ سَيِّئَةٌ۬ مِّثۡلُهَا‌ۖ فَمَنۡ عَفَا وَأَصۡلَحَ فَأَجۡرُهُ ۥ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ‌ۚ إِنَّهُ ۥ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ وَلَمَنِ ٱنتَصَرَ بَعۡدَ ظُلۡمِهِۦ فَأُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ مَا عَلَيۡہِم مِّن سَبِيلٍ إِنَّمَا ٱلسَّبِيلُ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ يَظۡلِمُونَ ٱلنَّاسَ وَيَبۡغُونَ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ بِغَيۡرِ ٱلۡحَقِّ‌ۚ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ لَهُمۡ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ۬ وَلَمَن صَبَرَ وَغَفَرَ إِنَّ ذَٲلِكَ لَمِنۡ عَزۡمِ ٱلۡأُمُورِ

(40. The recompense for an evil is an evil like thereof; but whoever forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is with Allah. Verily, He likes not the wrongdoers.) (41. And indeed whosoever takes revenge after he has suffered wrong, for such there is no way (of blame) against them.) (42. The way is only against those who oppress men and rebel in the earth without justification; for such there will be a painful torment.) (43. And verily, whosoever shows patience and forgives, that would truly be from the things recommended by Allah.)

Forgiving or exacting Revenge on Wrongdoers
﴿ وَجَزَٲٓؤُاْ سَيِّئَةٍ۬ سَيِّئَةٌ۬ مِّثۡلُهَا‌ۖ

(The recompense for an evil is an evil like thereof). This is like the Ayat:

﴿ فَمَنِ ٱعۡتَدَىٰ عَلَيۡكُمۡ فَٱعۡتَدُواْ عَلَيۡهِ بِمِثۡلِ مَا ٱعۡتَدَىٰ عَلَيۡكُمۡ‌ۚ

(Then whoever transgresses the prohibition against you, you transgress likewise against him) (2:194), and

﴿ وَإِنۡ عَاقَبۡتُمۡ فَعَاقِبُواْ بِمِثۡلِ مَا عُوقِبۡتُم بِهِۦ‌ۖ

(And if you punish, then punish them with the like of that with which you were afflicted) (16:126). Justice, has been prescribed, in the form of the prescribed laws of equality in punishment (Al-Qisas), but the better way, which means forgiving, is recommended, as Allah says:

﴿ وَٱلۡجُرُوحَ قِصَاصٌ۬‌ۚ فَمَن تَصَدَّقَ بِهِۦ فَهُوَ ڪَفَّارَةٌ۬ لَّهُ ۥ‌ۚ

(and wounds equal for equal. But if anyone remits the retaliation by way of charity, it shall be for him an expiation) (5:45). Allah says here:

﴿ فَمَنۡ عَفَا وَأَصۡلَحَ فَأَجۡرُهُ ۥ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ‌ۚ

(but whoever forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is with Allah.) means, that will not be wasted with Allah. As it says in a Sahih Hadith:

« وَمَا زَادَ اللهُ تَعَالَى عَبْدًا بِعَفْوٍ إِلَّا عِزًّا »

(Allah does not increase the person who forgives except in honor.)''

﴿ إِنَّهُ ۥ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ

(Verily, He likes not the wrongdoers.) means, the aggressors, i.e., those who initiate the evil actions.

﴿ وَلَمَنِ ٱنتَصَرَ بَعۡدَ ظُلۡمِهِۦ فَأُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ مَا عَلَيۡہِم مِّن سَبِيلٍ

(And indeed whosoever takes revenge after he has suffered wrong, for such there is no way (of blame) against them.) means, there is no sin on him for taking revenge against the one who wronged him.

﴿ إِنَّمَا ٱلسَّبِيلُ

(The way) means, the burden of sin,

﴿ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ يَظۡلِمُونَ ٱلنَّاسَ وَيَبۡغُونَ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ بِغَيۡرِ ٱلۡحَقِّ‌ۚ

(is only against those who oppress men and rebel in the earth without justification;) means, those who initiate wrongful actions against others, as it says in the Sahih Hadith:

« الْمُسْتَبَّانِ مَا قَالَا فَعَلَى الْبَادِىءِ، مَا لَمْ يَعْتَدِ الْمَظْلُوم »

(When two persons indulge in abusing each other, the one who initiated the wrongful action is to blame, unless the one who was wronged oversteps the mark in retaliation.)

﴿ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ لَهُمۡ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ۬

(for such there will be a painful torment.) means, intense and agonizing. It was reported that Muhammad bin Wasi` said, "I came to Makkah and there was a security out post over the trench whose guards took me to Marwan bin Al-Muhallab, who was the governor of Basrah. He said, `What do you need, O Abu `Abdullah' I said, `If you can do it, I need you to be like the brother of Banu `Adiy.' He said, `Who is the brother of Banu `Adiy' He said, `Al-`Ala' bin Ziyad; he once appointed a friend of his to a position of authority, and he wrote to him: If you can, only go to sleep after you make sure that there is nothing on your back ﴿i.e., you do not owe anything to anyone, your stomach is empty and your hands are untainted by the blood or wealth of the Muslims. If you do that, then there will be no way (of blame) against you --

﴿ إِنَّمَا ٱلسَّبِيلُ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ يَظۡلِمُونَ ٱلنَّاسَ وَيَبۡغُونَ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ بِغَيۡرِ ٱلۡحَقِّ‌ۚ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ لَهُمۡ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ۬

(The way is only against those who oppress men and rebel in the earth without justification; for such there will be a painful torment.)' Marwan said, `He spoke the truth, by Allah, and gave sincere advice. ' Then he said, `What do you need, O Abu `Abdullah' I said, `I need you to let me join my family.' He said, `Yes ﴿I will do that.''' This was recorded by Ibn Abi Hatim. When Allah condemned wrongdoing and the people who do it, and prescribed Al-Qisas, He encouraged forgiveness:

﴿ وَلَمَن صَبَرَ وَغَفَرَ

(And verily, whosoever shows patience and forgives,) meaning, whoever bears the insult with patience and conceals the evil action,

﴿ إِنَّ ذَٲلِكَ لَمِنۡ عَزۡمِ ٱلۡأُمُورِ

(that would truly be from the things recommended by Allah.) Sa`id bin Jubayr said, "This means, one of the things enjoined by Allah,'' i.e., good actions for which there will be a great reward and much praise.

﴿ وَمَن يُضۡلِلِ ٱللَّهُ فَمَا لَهُ ۥ مِن وَلِىٍّ۬ مِّنۢ بَعۡدِهِۦ‌ۗ وَتَرَى ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ لَمَّا رَأَوُاْ ٱلۡعَذَابَ يَقُولُونَ هَلۡ إِلَىٰ مَرَدٍّ۬ مِّن سَبِيلٍ۬ وَتَرَٮٰهُمۡ يُعۡرَضُونَ عَلَيۡهَا خَـٰشِعِينَ مِنَ ٱلذُّلِّ يَنظُرُونَ مِن طَرۡفٍ خَفِىٍّ۬‌ۗ وَقَالَ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ إِنَّ ٱلۡخَـٰسِرِينَ ٱلَّذِينَ خَسِرُوٓاْ أَنفُسَہُمۡ وَأَهۡلِيهِمۡ يَوۡمَ ٱلۡقِيَـٰمَةِ‌ۗ أَلَآ إِنَّ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ فِى عَذَابٍ۬ مُّقِيمٍ۬ وَمَا كَانَ لَهُم مِّنۡ أَوۡلِيَآءَ يَنصُرُونَهُم مِّن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ‌ۗ وَمَن يُضۡلِلِ ٱللَّهُ فَمَا لَهُ ۥ مِن سَبِيلٍ

(44. And whomsoever Allah sends astray, for him there is no protector after Him. And you will see the wrongdoers, when they behold the torment, they will say: "Is there any way of return'') (45. And you will see them brought forward to it (Hell) made humble by disgrace, (and) looking with stealthy glance. And those who believe will say: "Verily, the losers are they who lose themselves and their families on the Day of Resurrection.'' Verily, the wrongdoers will be in a lasting torment.) (46. And they will have no protectors to help them other than Allah. And he whom Allah sends astray, for him there is no way.)