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Allah tells us that He is the Creator, Sovereign and Controller of the heavens and the earth.

Whatever he wills happens, and whatever He does not will does not happen. He gives to whomsoever He wills and withholds from whomsoever he wills; none can withhold what He gives, and none can give what He withholds, and He creates whatever He wills.

﴿ يَہَبُ لِمَن يَشَآءُ إِنَـٰثً۬ا

(He bestows female upon whom He wills.) means, He gives them daughters only. Al-Baghawi said, "And among them (those who were given daughters only) was Lut, peace be upon him.''

﴿ وَيَهَبُ لِمَن يَشَآءُ ٱلذُّكُورَ

(and bestows male upon whom He wills.) means, He gives them sons only. Al-Baghawi said, "Like Ibrahim Al-Khalil (peace be upon him) who did not have any daughters.''

﴿ أَوۡ يُزَوِّجُهُمۡ ذُكۡرَانً۬ا وَإِنَـٰثً۬ا‌ۖ

(Or He bestows both males and females,) means, He gives to whomsoever He wills both males and females, sons and daughters. Al-Baghawi said, "Like Muhammad.''

﴿ وَيَجۡعَلُ مَن يَشَآءُ عَقِيمًا‌ۚ

(and He renders barren whom He wills.) means, so that he has no children at all. Al-Baghawi said, "Like Yahya and `Isa, peace be upon them.'' So people are divided into four categories: some are given daughters, some are given sons, some are given both sons and daughters, and some are not given either sons or daughters, but they are rendered barren, with no offspring.

﴿ إِنَّهُ ۥ عَلِيمٌ۬

(Verily, He is the All-Knower) means, He knows who deserves to be in which of these categories.

﴿ قَدِيرٌ۬

(and is Able (to do all things).) means, to do whatever He wills and to differentiate between people in this manner. This issue is similar to that referred to in the Ayah where Allah says of `Isa, peace be upon him:

﴿ وَلِنَجۡعَلَهُ ۥۤ ءَايَةً۬ لِّلنَّاسِ

(And (We wish) to appoint him as a sign to mankind) (19:21): i.e., proof for them of His power, for He created people in four different ways. Adam (peace be upon him) was created from clay, from neither a male nor a female. Hawwa', peace be upon her, was created from a male without a female. All other people, besides `Isa (peace be upon him) were created from male and female, and this sign of Allah was completed with the creation of `Isa bin Maryam, may peace be upon them both, who was created from a female without a male. Allah says:

﴿ وَلِنَجۡعَلَهُ ۥۤ ءَايَةً۬ لِّلنَّاسِ

(And (We wish) to appoint him as a sign to mankind) (19: 21). This issue has to do with parents, whilst the previous issue has to do with children, and in each case there are four categories. Glory be to the All-Knower Who is Able to do all things.

﴿ وَمَا كَانَ لِبَشَرٍ أَن يُكَلِّمَهُ ٱللَّهُ إِلَّا وَحۡيًا أَوۡ مِن وَرَآىِٕ حِجَابٍ أَوۡ يُرۡسِلَ رَسُولاً۬ فَيُوحِىَ بِإِذۡنِهِۦ مَا يَشَآءُ‌ۚ إِنَّهُ ۥ عَلِىٌّ حَڪِيمٌ۬ وَكَذَٲلِكَ أَوۡحَيۡنَآ إِلَيۡكَ رُوحً۬ا مِّنۡ أَمۡرِنَا‌ۚ مَا كُنتَ تَدۡرِى مَا ٱلۡكِتَـٰبُ وَلَا ٱلۡإِيمَـٰنُ وَلَـٰكِن جَعَلۡنَـٰهُ نُورً۬ا نَّہۡدِى بِهِۦ مَن نَّشَآءُ مِنۡ عِبَادِنَا‌ۚ وَإِنَّكَ لَتَہۡدِىٓ إِلَىٰ صِرَٲطٍ۬ مُّسۡتَقِيمٍ۬ صِرَٲطِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلَّذِى لَهُ ۥ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَمَا فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ‌ۗ أَلَآ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ تَصِيرُ ٱلۡأُمُورُ

(51. It is not given to any human being that Allah should speak to him unless (it be) by revelation, or from behind a veil, or (that) He sends a Messenger to reveal what He wills by His leave. Verily, He is Most High, Most Wise.) (52. And thus We have sent to you Ruh of Our command. You knew not what is the Book, nor what is Faith. But We have made it a light wherewith We guide whosoever of Our servants We will. And verily, you are indeed guiding to a straight path.) (53. The path of Allah to Whom belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth. Verily, all matters at the end go to Allah.)

How the Revelation comes down

This refers to how Allah sends revelation. Sometimes He casts something into the heart of the Prophet, and he has no doubt that it is from Allah, as it was reported in Sahih Ibn Hibban that the Messenger of Allah said:

« إِنَّ رُوْحَ الْقُدُسِ نَفَثَ فِي رُوعِي أَنَّ نَفْسًا لَنْ تَمُوتَ حَتْى تَسْتَكْمِلَ رِزْقَهَا وَأَجَلَهَا، فَاتَّقُوا اللهَ وَأَجْمِلُوا فِي الطَّلَب »

(Ar-Ruh Al-Qudus (i.e., Jibril) breathed into my heart that no soul will die until its allotted provision and time have expired, so have Taqwa of Allah and keep seeking in a good (and lawful) way.)

﴿ أَوۡ مِن وَرَآىِٕ حِجَابٍ

(or from behind a veil) -- as He spoke to Musa, peace be upon him. He asked to see Him after He had spoken to him, but this was not granted to him. In the Sahih, it recorded that the Messenger of Allah said to Jabir bin `Abdullah, may Allah be pleased with him:

« مَا كَلَّمَ اللهُ أَحَدًا إِلَّا مِنْ وَرَاءِ حِجَابٍ، وَإِنَّهُ كَلَّمَ أَبَاكَ كِفَاحًا »

(Allah never speaks to anyone except from behind a veil, but He spoke to your father directly.) This is how it was stated in the Hadith. He (Jabir's father) was killed on the day of Uhud, but this refers to the realm of Al-Barzakh, whereas the Ayah speaks of this earthly realm.

﴿ أَوۡ يُرۡسِلَ رَسُولاً۬ فَيُوحِىَ بِإِذۡنِهِۦ مَا يَشَآءُ‌ۚ

(or (that) He sends a Messenger to reveal what He wills by His leave.) as Jibril (peace be upon him) and other angels came down to the Prophets, peace be upon them.

﴿ إِنَّهُ ۥ عَلِىٌّ حَڪِيمٌ۬

(Verily, He is Most High, Most Wise.) He is Most High, All-Knowing, Most Wise.

﴿ وَكَذَٲلِكَ أَوۡحَيۡنَآ إِلَيۡكَ رُوحً۬ا مِّنۡ أَمۡرِنَا‌ۚ

(And thus We have sent to you Ruh of Our command.) means, the Qur'an.

﴿ مَا كُنتَ تَدۡرِى مَا ٱلۡكِتَـٰبُ وَلَا ٱلۡإِيمَـٰنُ

(You knew not what is the Book, nor what is Faith.) means, `in the details which were given to you in the Qur'an.'

﴿ وَلَـٰكِن جَعَلۡنَـٰهُ

(But We have made it) means, the Qur'an,

﴿ نُورً۬ا نَّہۡدِى بِهِۦ مَن نَّشَآءُ مِنۡ عِبَادِنَا‌ۚ

(a light wherewith We guide whosoever of Our servants We will.) This is like the Ayah:

﴿ قُلۡ هُوَ لِلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ هُدً۬ى وَشِفَآءٌ۬‌ۖ وَٱلَّذِينَ لَا يُؤۡمِنُونَ فِىٓ ءَاذَانِهِمۡ وَقۡرٌ۬ وَهُوَ عَلَيۡهِمۡ عَمًى‌ۚ

(Say: "It is for those who believe, a guide and a healing. And as for those who disbelieve, there is heaviness (deafness) in their ears, and it (the Qur'an) is blindness for them.'') (41:44).

﴿ وَأَنَّكَ

(And verily, you) means, `O Muhammad,'

﴿ لَتَہۡدِىٓ إِلَىٰ صِرَٲطٍ۬ مُّسۡتَقِيمٍ۬

(are indeed guiding to a straight path.) means, the correct behavior. Then Allah explains this further by saying:

﴿ صِرَٲطِ ٱللَّهِ

(The path of Allah) meaning, His Laws which He enjoins.

﴿ ٱلَّذِى لَهُ ۥ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَمَا فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ‌ۗ

(to Whom belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth.) means, their Lord and Sovereign, the One Who is controlling and ruling them, Whose decree cannot be overturned.

﴿ أَلَآ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ تَصِيرُ ٱلۡأُمُورُ

(Verily, all matters at the end go to Allah.) means, all matters come back to Him and He issues judgment concerning them. Glorified and exalted be He far above all that the evildoers and deniers say. (This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Ash-Shura)

Which was revealed in Makkah
﴿ بِسۡمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
(In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
﴿ حمٓ وَٱلۡكِتَـٰبِ ٱلۡمُبِينِ إِنَّا جَعَلۡنَـٰهُ قُرۡءَٲنًا عَرَبِيًّ۬ا لَّعَلَّڪُمۡ تَعۡقِلُونَ وَإِنَّهُ ۥ فِىٓ أُمِّ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبِ لَدَيۡنَا لَعَلِىٌّ حَكِيمٌ أَفَنَضۡرِبُ عَنكُمُ ٱلذِّڪۡرَ صَفۡحًا أَن ڪُنتُمۡ قَوۡمً۬ا مُّسۡرِفِينَ وَكَمۡ أَرۡسَلۡنَا مِن نَّبِىٍّ۬ فِى ٱلۡأَوَّلِينَ وَمَا يَأۡتِيهِم مِّن نَّبِىٍّ إِلَّا كَانُواْ بِهِۦ يَسۡتَہۡزِءُونَ فَأَهۡلَكۡنَآ أَشَدَّ مِنۡہُم بَطۡشً۬ا وَمَضَىٰ مَثَلُ ٱلۡأَوَّلِينَ

(1. Ha Mim.) (2. By the manifest Book.) (3. Verily, We have made it a Qur'an in Arabic that you may be able to understand.) (4. And verily, it is in the Mother of the Book with Us, indeed exalted, full of wisdom.) (5. Shall We then take away the Reminder from you, because you are a people excessive.) (6. And how many a Prophet have We sent amongst the men of old.) (7. And never came there a Prophet to them but they used to mock at him.) (8. Then We destroyed men stronger (in power) than these and the example of the ancients has passed away.)

﴿ حمٓ وَٱلۡكِتَـٰبِ ٱلۡمُبِينِ

(Ha-Mim. By the manifest Book.) means, plain and clear in both wording and meaning, because it was revealed in the language of the Arabs, which is the most eloquent language for communication among people. Allah says:

﴿ إِنَّا جَعَلۡنَـٰهُ

(Verily, We have made it) meaning, revealed it,

﴿ قُرۡءَٲنًا عَرَبِيًّ۬ا

(a Qur'an in Arabic) meaning, in the language of the Arabs, eloquent and clear;

﴿ لَّعَلَّڪُمۡ تَعۡقِلُونَ

(that you may be able to understand.) means, that you may understand it and ponder its meanings. This is like the Ayah:

﴿ بِلِسَانٍ عَرَبِىٍّ۬ مُّبِينٍ۬

(In the plain Arabic language.) (26:195)

﴿ وَإِنَّهُ ۥ فِىٓ أُمِّ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبِ لَدَيۡنَا لَعَلِىٌّ حَكِيمٌ

(And verily, it is in the Mother of the Book with Us, indeed exalted, full of wisdom.) This explains the high status of the Qur'an among the hosts on high (the angels), so that the people of earth will respect it, venerate it and obey it.

﴿ وَإِنَّهُ ۥ

(And verily, it) means, the Qur'an,

﴿ فِىٓ أُمِّ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبِ

(is in the Mother of the Book) meaning, Al-Lawh Al-Mahfuz (the Preserved Tablet). This was the view of Ibn `Abbas and Mujahid.

﴿ لَدَيۡنَا

(with Us,) means, in Our presence. This was the view of Qatadah and others.

﴿ لَعَلِىٌّ

(indeed exalted) means, occupying a position of honor and virtue. This was the view of Qatadah.

﴿ حَكِيمٌ

(full of wisdom.) means, clear, with no confusion or deviation. All of this indicates its noble status and virtue, as Allah says elsewhere:

﴿ إِنَّهُ ۥ لَقُرۡءَانٌ۬ كَرِيمٌ۬ فِى كِتَـٰبٍ۬ مَّكۡنُونٍ۬ لَّا يَمَسُّهُ ۥۤ إِلَّا ٱلۡمُطَهَّرُونَ تَنزِيلٌ۬ مِّن رَّبِّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ

(That (this) is indeed an honorable recitation. In a Book well-guarded. Which none can touch but the pure. A revelation from the Lord of the all that exists.) (56:77-80)

﴿ كَلَّآ إِنَّہَا تَذۡكِرَةٌ۬ فَمَن شَآءَ ذَكَرَهُ ۥ فِى صُحُفٍ۬ مُّكَرَّمَةٍ۬ مَّرۡفُوعَةٍ۬ مُّطَهَّرَةِۭ بِأَيۡدِى سَفَرَةٍ۬ كِرَامِۭ بَرَرَةٍ۬

(Nay, indeed it is an admonition. So whoever wills, let him pay attention to it. (It is) in Records held (greatly) in honor, exalted, purified, in the hands of scribes (angels), honorable and obedient.) (80:11-16)

﴿ أَفَنَضۡرِبُ عَنكُمُ ٱلذِّڪۡرَ صَفۡحًا أَن ڪُنتُمۡ قَوۡمً۬ا مُّسۡرِفِينَ

(Shall We then take away the Reminder (this Qur'an) from you, because you are a people excessive.) means, `do you think that We will forgive you and not punish you, when you do not do as you have been commanded' This was the view of Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) Abu Salih, Mujahid and As-Suddi, and was the view favored by Ibn Jarir.

﴿ أَفَنَضۡرِبُ عَنكُمُ ٱلذِّڪۡرَ صَفۡحًا

(Shall We then take away the Reminder (this Qur'an) from you,) Qatadah said, "By Allah, if this Qur'an had been taken away when the first generations of this Ummah rejected it, they would have been doomed, but Allah by His mercy persisted in sending it and calling them to it for twenty years, or for as long as He willed.'' What Qatadah said is very good, and his point is that Allah, by His grace and mercy towards His creation, did not stop calling them to the truth and to the wise Reminder, i.e., the Qur'an, even though they were heedless and turned away from it. Indeed, He sent it so that those who were decreed to be guided might be guided by it, and so that proof might be established against those who were decreed to be.

Consolation to the Prophet for the Disbelief of Quraysh

Then Allah consoles His Prophet for the disbelief of his people, and commands him to bear it with patience.

﴿ وَكَمۡ أَرۡسَلۡنَا مِن نَّبِىٍّ۬ فِى ٱلۡأَوَّلِينَ

(And how many a Prophet have We sent amongst the men of old.) meaning, among the sects (communities) of old.

﴿ وَمَا يَأۡتِيهِم مِّن نَّبِىٍّ إِلَّا كَانُواْ بِهِۦ يَسۡتَہۡزِءُونَ

(And never came there a Prophet to them but they used to mock at him.) means, they disbelieved him and mock at him.

﴿ فَأَهۡلَكۡنَآ أَشَدَّ مِنۡہُم بَطۡشً۬ا

(Then We destroyed men stronger than these) means, `We destroyed those who disbelieved in the Messengers, and they were stronger in power than these who disbelieve in you, O Muhammad.' This is like the Ayah:

﴿ أَفَلَمۡ يَسِيرُواْ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ فَيَنظُرُواْ كَيۡفَ كَانَ عَـٰقِبَةُ ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلِهِمۡۚ كَانُوٓاْ أَڪۡثَرَ مِنۡہُمۡ وَأَشَدَّ قُوَّةً۬

(Have they not traveled through the earth and seen what was the end of those before them They were more in number than them and mightier in strength) (40:82). And there are many similar Ayat.

﴿ وَمَضَىٰ مَثَلُ ٱلۡأَوَّلِينَ

(and the example of the ancients has passed away.) Mujahid said, "The way of their life.'' Qatadah said, "Their punishment.'' Others said, "Their lesson,'' i.e., `We made them a lesson for those disbelievers who came after them, that they would suffer the same end as them,' as in the Ayah at the end of this Surah:

﴿ فَجَعَلۡنَـٰهُمۡ سَلَفً۬ا وَمَثَلاً۬ لِّلۡأَخِرِينَ

(And We made them a precedent, and an example to later generations.) (43:56);

﴿ سُنَّتَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلَّتِى قَدۡ خَلَتۡ فِى عِبَادِهِۖۦ

(this has been the way of Allah in dealing with His servants) (40:85).

﴿ وَلَن تَجِدَ لِسُنَّةِ ٱللَّهِ تَبۡدِيلاً۬

(and you will not find any change in the way of Allah.) (33:62)

﴿ وَلَٮِٕن سَأَلۡتَهُم مَّنۡ خَلَقَ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضَ لَيَقُولُنَّ خَلَقَهُنَّ ٱلۡعَزِيزُ ٱلۡعَلِيمُ ٱلَّذِى جَعَلَ لَڪُمُ ٱلۡأَرۡضَ مَهۡدً۬ا وَجَعَلَ لَكُمۡ فِيہَا سُبُلاً۬ لَّعَلَّكُمۡ تَهۡتَدُونَ وَٱلَّذِى نَزَّلَ مِنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ مَآءَۢ بِقَدَرٍ۬ فَأَنشَرۡنَا بِهِۦ بَلۡدَةً۬ مَّيۡتً۬ا‌ۚ كَذَٲلِكَ تُخۡرَجُونَ وَٱلَّذِى خَلَقَ ٱلۡأَزۡوَٲجَ كُلَّهَا وَجَعَلَ لَكُم مِّنَ ٱلۡفُلۡكِ وَٱلۡأَنۡعَـٰمِ مَا تَرۡكَبُونَ لِتَسۡتَوُ ۥاْ عَلَىٰ ظُهُورِهِۦ ثُمَّ تَذۡكُرُواْ نِعۡمَةَ رَبِّكُمۡ إِذَا ٱسۡتَوَيۡتُمۡ عَلَيۡهِ وَتَقُولُواْ سُبۡحَـٰنَ ٱلَّذِى سَخَّرَ لَنَا هَـٰذَا وَمَا ڪُنَّا لَهُ ۥ مُقۡرِنِينَ وَإِنَّآ إِلَىٰ رَبِّنَا لَمُنقَلِبُونَ

(9. And indeed if you ask them: "Who has created the heavens and the earth'' They will surely say: "The All-Mighty, the All-Knower created them.'') (10. Who has made for you the earth like a bed, and has made for you roads therein, in order that you may find your way.) (11. And Who sends down water from the sky in due measure, then We revive a dead land therewith, and even so you will be brought forth.) (12. And Who has created all the pairs and has appointed for you ships and cattle on which you ride,) (13. In order that you may mount on their backs, and then may remember the favor of your Lord when you mount thereon, and say: "Glory to Him Who has subjected this to us, and we could have never had it.'') (14. And verily, to Our Lord we indeed are to return!'')