Then Allah consoles His Prophet for the disbelief of his people, and commands him to bear it with patience.
(And how many a Prophet have We sent amongst the men of old.) meaning, among the sects (communities) of old.
(And never came there a Prophet to them but they used to mock at him.) means, they disbelieved him and mock at him.
(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:
(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.
(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:
(And We made them a precedent, and an example to later generations.) (43:56);
(this has been the way of Allah in dealing with His servants) (40:85).
(and you will not find any change in the way of Allah.) (33:62)
(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!'')
Allah says: `If you, O Muhammad, were to ask these idolaters who associate others with Allah and worship others besides Him,'
("Who has created the heavens and the earth'' They will surely say: "The All-Mighty, the All-Knower created them.'') In other words, they will admit that the Creator of all that is Allah Alone, with no partner or associate, yet they still worship others -- idols and false gods -- alongside Him.
(Who has made for you the earth like a bed,) means, smooth, stable and firm, so that you can travel about in it, and stand on it and sleep and walk about, even though it is created above water, but He has strengthened it with the mountains, lest it should shake.
(and has made for you roads therein,) means, paths between the mountains and the valleys.
(in order that you may find your way.) means, in your journeys from city to city, region to region, land to land.
(And Who sends down water from the sky in due measure,) means, according to what is sufficient for your crops, fruits and drinking water for yourselves and your cattle.
(then We revive a dead land therewith,) means, a barren land, for when the water comes to it, it is stirred (to life), and it swells and puts forth every lovely kind (of growth). By referring to the revival of the earth, Allah draws attention to how He will bring bodies back to life on the Day of Resurrection, after they have been dead.
(and even so you will be brought forth.) Then Allah says:
(And Who has created all the pairs) meaning, of everything that grows in the earth, all kinds of plants, crops, fruits, flowers, etc., and all different kinds of animals.
(and has appointed for you ships) or vessels,
(and cattle on which you ride.) means, He has subjugated them to you and made it easy for you to eat their meat, drink their milk and ride on their backs. Allah says:
(In order that you may mount on their backs,) meaning, sit comfortably and securely,
(on their backs) means, on the backs of these kinds of animals.
(and then may remember the favor of your Lord) means, whereby these animals are subjugated to you.
(when you mount thereon, and say: "Glory to Him Who has subjected this to us, and we could have never had it.'') means, if it were not for the fact that Allah has subjugated these things to us, we could never have done this by our own strength.' Ibn `Abbas, Qatadah, As-Suddi and Ibn Zayd said: "We could not have done this ourselves.''
(And verily, to Our Lord we indeed are to return.) means, `We will return to Him after our death, and our ultimate destination is with Him.' In this Ayah, mention of earthly journeys draws attention to the journey of the Hereafter, just as elsewhere, mention of earthly provision draws attention to the importance of ensuring provision for the Hereafter, as Allah says:
(And take a provision (with you) for the journey, but the best provision is the Taqwa) (2:197). And mention of earthly garments is also used to draw attention to the raiment of the Hereafter:
(and as an adornment; and the raiment of the Taqwa, that is better) (7:26).
(15. Yet, they assign to some of His servants a share with Him. Verily, man is indeed a manifest ingrate!) (16. Or has He taken daughters out of what He has created, and He has selected for you sons) (17. And if one of them is informed of the news of that which he sets forth as a parable to the Most Gracious, his face becomes dark, and he is filled with grief!) (18. A creature who is brought up in adornments, and who in dispute cannot make itself clear) (19. And they make females the angels who themselves are servants of the Most Gracious. Did they witness their creation Their testimony will be recorded, and they will be questioned!) (20. And they said: "If it had been the will of the Most Gracious,
Here Allah speaks of the lies and fabrications of the idolaters, when they devoted some of their cattle to their false gods and some to Allah, as He described in Surat Al-An`am where He said:
(And they assign to Allah share of the tilth and cattle which He has created, and they say: "This is for Allah'' according to their claim, "and this is for our partners.'' But the share of their partners reaches not Allah, while the share of Allah reaches their partners! Evil is the way they judge!) (6:136). Similarly, out of the two kinds of offspring, sons and daughters, they assigned to Him the worst and least valuable (in their eyes), i.e., daughters, as Allah says:
(Is it for you the males and for Him the females That indeed is a division most unfair!) (53:21-22) And Allah says here:
(Yet, they assign to some of His servants a share with Him. Verily, man is indeed a manifest ingrate!) Then He says:
(Or has He taken daughters out of what He has created, and He has selected for you sons) This is a denunciation of them in the strongest terms, as He goes on to say:
(And if one of them is informed of the news of that which he sets forth as a parable to the Most Gracious, his face becomes dark, and he is filled with grief!) means, if one of these people is given the news that there has been born to him one of those which he attributes to Allah, i.e., a daughter, he hates this news and it depresses and overwhelms him so much that he keeps away from people because he feels so ashamed. Allah says, so how can they dislike that so much and yet they attribute it to Allah
(A creature who is brought up in adornments, and who in dispute cannot make itself clear) means, women are regarded as lacking something, which they make up for with jewelry and adornments from the time of childhood onwards, and when there is a dispute, they cannot speak up and defend themselves clearly, so how can this be attributed to Allah
(And they make females the angels who themselves are servants of the Most Gracious.) means, that is what they believe about them, but Allah denounces them for that and says:
(Did they witness their creation) meaning, did they see Allah creating them as females
(Their testimony will be recorded,) means, concerning that,
(and they will be questioned!) means, about that, on the Day of Resurrection. This is a stern warning and a serious threat.
(And they said: "If it had been the will of the Most Gracious, we should not have worshipped them.'') means, (they said:) `if Allah had willed, He would have prevented us from worshipping these idols which are images of the angels who are the daughters of Allah; He knows about this and He approves of it.' By saying this, they combined several types of error: First: They attributed offspring to Allah -- exalted and sanctified be He far above that. Second: They claimed that He chose daughters rather than sons, and they made the angels, who are the servants of the Most Gracious, female. Third: They worshipped them with no proof, evidence or permission from Allah. This was based on mere opinion, whims and desires, imitation of their elders and forefathers, and pure ignorance. They used Allah's decree as an excuse, and this reasoning betrayed their ignorance. Fourth: Allah denounced them for this in the strongest terms, for from the time He first sent Messengers and revealed Books, the command was to worship Him Alone with no partner or associate, and it was forbidden to worship anything other than Him. Allah says:
(And verily, We have sent among every Ummah a Messenger (proclaiming): "Worship Allah, and avoid all false deities.'' Then of them were some whom Allah guided and of them were some upon whom the straying was justified. So travel through the land and see what was the end of those who denied.) (16:36)
(And ask those of Our Messengers whom We sent before you: "Did We ever appoint gods to be worshipped besides the Most Gracious'') (43:45) And Allah says in this Ayah, after mentioning this argument of theirs:
(They have no knowledge whatsoever of that.) meaning, of the truth of what they say and the arguments they put forward.
(They do nothing but lie!) means, they tell lies and fabricate untruths.
(They have no knowledge whatsoever of that. They do nothing but lie!) Mujahid said, "They do not appreciate the power of Allah.''
(21. Or have We given them any Book before this (the Qur'an) to which they are holding fast) (22. Nay! They say: "We found our fathers following a certain way and religion, and we guide ourselves by their footsteps.'') (23. And similarly, We sent not a warner before you to any town (people) but the luxurious ones among them said: "We found our fathers following a certain way and religion, and we will indeed follow their footsteps.'') (24. He said: "Even if I bring you better guidance than that which you found your fathers following'' They said: "Verily, we disbelieve in that with which you have been sent.'') (25. So We took revenge on them, then see what was the end of those who denied.)