;
Encouragement to adhere to the Qur'an

Allah then says;

﴿ فَٱسۡتَمۡسِكۡ بِٱلَّذِىٓ أُوحِىَ إِلَيۡكَ‌ۖ إِنَّكَ عَلَىٰ صِرَٲطٍ۬ مُّسۡتَقِيمٍ۬

(So hold you fast to that which is revealed to you. Verily, you are on the straight path.) means, hold fast to the Qur'an which has been sent down to your heart, for it is truth and what it leads to is truth that shows the way to the straight path that leads to Gardens of Delight and eternal, everlasting goodness.

﴿ وَإِنَّهُ ۥ لَذِكۡرٌ۬ لَّكَ وَلِقَوۡمِكَ‌ۖ

(And verily, this is a Dhikr for you and your people,) It was said that this means, `it is an honor for you and your people;' this was the view of Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) Mujahid, Qatadah, As-Suddi and Ibn Zayd. This means that it is an honor for them in that it was revealed in their language, so they are the people who have the best understanding of it among mankind and hence are obliged to be the most steadfast in adhering to its commandments. This is how the best of them were, the first immigrants and those who emulated them and followed them. It was also said that the meaning of the phrase;

﴿ وَإِنَّهُ ۥ لَذِكۡرٌ۬ لَّكَ وَلِقَوۡمِكَ‌ۖ

(And verily, this is indeed a Dhikr for you and your people,) was that `it was sent to remind you and your people.' The fact that they are singled out does not exclude others. This is like the Ayat:

﴿ لَقَدۡ أَنزَلۡنَآ إِلَيۡكُمۡ ڪِتَـٰبً۬ا فِيهِ ذِكۡرُكُمۡ‌ۖ أَفَلَا تَعۡقِلُونَ

(Indeed, We have sent down for you (O mankind) a Book in which there is Dhikrukum (your Reminder). Will you not then understand) (21:10)

﴿ وَأَنذِرۡ عَشِيرَتَكَ ٱلۡأَقۡرَبِينَ

(And warn your tribe of near kindred) (26:214)

﴿ وَسَوۡفَ تُسۡـَٔلُونَ

(and you will be questioned.) means, `about this Qur'an, and how you acted upon it and what your response to it was.'

﴿ وَسۡـَٔلۡ مَنۡ أَرۡسَلۡنَا مِن قَبۡلِكَ مِن رُّسُلِنَآ أَجَعَلۡنَا مِن دُونِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ءَالِهَةً۬ يُعۡبَدُونَ

(And ask whom We sent before you of Our Messengers: "Did We ever appoint gods to be worshipped besides the Most Gracious'') means, `all the Messengers called their people to the same as that to which you are calling mankind, namely the worship of Allah Alone with no partner or associate, and they forbade the worship of idols and false gods.' This is like the Ayah:

﴿ وَلَقَدۡ بَعَثۡنَا فِى ڪُلِّ أُمَّةٍ۬ رَّسُولاً أَنِ ٱعۡبُدُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَٱجۡتَنِبُواْ ٱلطَّـٰغُوتَ‌ۖ

(And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): "Worship Allah, and avoid all false deities.'') (16:36) Mujahid said that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud recited it: (وَاسْأَلِ الَّذِينَ أَرْسَلْنَا إِلَيْهِمْ قَبْلَكَ (مِنْ) رُسُلِنَا) (And ask those whom We sent before you of Our Messengers.) This was narrated by Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak and As-Suddi from Ibn Mas`ud, may Allah be pleased with him. Yet this appears to be an explanation rather than an alternate version of recitation. And Allah knows best.

﴿ وَلَقَدۡ أَرۡسَلۡنَا مُوسَىٰ بِـَٔايَـٰتِنَآ إِلَىٰ فِرۡعَوۡنَ وَمَلَإِيْهِۦ فَقَالَ إِنِّى رَسُولُ رَبِّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ فَلَمَّا جَآءَهُم بِـَٔايَـٰتِنَآ إِذَا هُم مِّنۡہَا يَضۡحَكُونَ وَمَا نُرِيهِم مِّنۡ ءَايَةٍ إِلَّا هِىَ أَڪۡبَرُ مِنۡ أُخۡتِهَا‌ۖ وَأَخَذۡنَـٰهُم بِٱلۡعَذَابِ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَرۡجِعُونَ وَقَالُواْ يَـٰٓأَيُّهَ ٱلسَّاحِرُ ٱدۡعُ لَنَا رَبَّكَ بِمَا عَهِدَ عِندَكَ إِنَّنَا لَمُهۡتَدُونَ فَلَمَّا كَشَفۡنَا عَنۡہُمُ ٱلۡعَذَابَ إِذَا هُمۡ يَنكُثُونَ

(46. And indeed We did send Musa with Our Ayat to Fir`awn and his chiefs. He said: "Verily, I am a Messenger of the Lord of all that exists.'') (47. But when he came to them with Our Ayat, behold, they laughed at them). (48. And not an Ayah We showed them but it was greater than its fellow preceding it, and We seized them with torment, in order that they might turn.) (49. And they said (to Musa): "O you sorcerer! Invoke your Lord for us according to what He has made a pact with you. Verily, We shall guide ourselves.'') (50. But when We removed the torment from them, behold, they broke their covenant.)

Musa was sent with the Message of Tawhid to Fir`awn and His Chiefs

Here Allah tells us about His servant and Messenger Musa (peace be upon him) and how He sent him to Fir`awn and his chiefs. That is, his governors, ministers, leaders and followers among the Egyptians and the Children of Israel. Allah sent him to call them to worship Allah alone, with no partner or associate, and to forbid them from worshipping anything other than Him. He sent him with mighty signs, such as his hand and his staff, other signs such as the flood, locusts, Qummal, frogs and blood, and the loss of their crops and lives. Yet despite all that they remained arrogant and stubbornly refused to follow him; they rejected his message and made fun of it, and laughed at the one who had brought it.

﴿ وَمَا نُرِيهِم مِّنۡ ءَايَةٍ إِلَّا هِىَ أَڪۡبَرُ مِنۡ أُخۡتِهَا‌ۖ

(And not an Ayah We showed them but it was greater than its fellow preceding it,) but despite that they would not give up their sin, misguidance, ignorance and confusion. Every time one of these signs came to them, they would go and implore Musa, saying,

﴿ يَـٰٓأَيُّهَ ٱلسَّاحِرُ

("O you sorcerer!...'') meaning, expert or knowledgeable one -- this was the view of Ibn Jarir. The scholars of that time were the sorcerers or magicians, and magic was not regarded as something reprehensible by them at that time, so this was not a slight on their part. They were in a state of need, so it would not have been appropriate for them to insult him. This was a way of honoring him, as they thought. On each occasion, they promised Musa that if the torment was lifted from them, they would believe in him and let the Children of Israel go with him, but on each occasion they went back on their word. This is like the Ayat:

﴿ فَأَرۡسَلۡنَا عَلَيۡہِمُ ٱلطُّوفَانَ وَٱلۡجَرَادَ وَٱلۡقُمَّلَ وَٱلضَّفَادِعَ وَٱلدَّمَ ءَايَـٰتٍ۬ مُّفَصَّلَـٰتٍ۬ فَٱسۡتَڪۡبَرُواْ وَكَانُواْ قَوۡمً۬ا مُّجۡرِمِينَ وَلَمَّا وَقَعَ عَلَيۡهِمُ ٱلرِّجۡزُ قَالُواْ يَـٰمُوسَى ٱدۡعُ لَنَا رَبَّكَ بِمَا عَهِدَ عِندَكَ‌ۖ لَٮِٕن كَشَفۡتَ عَنَّا ٱلرِّجۡزَ لَنُؤۡمِنَنَّ لَكَ وَلَنُرۡسِلَنَّ مَعَكَ بَنِىٓ إِسۡرَٲٓءِيلَ فَلَمَّا ڪَشَفۡنَا عَنۡہُمُ ٱلرِّجۡزَ إِلَىٰٓ أَجَلٍ هُم بَـٰلِغُوهُ إِذَا هُمۡ يَنكُثُونَ

(So We sent on them: the flood, the locusts, the Qummal, the frogs, and the blood; manifest signs, yet they remained arrogant, and they were of those people who were criminals. And when the punishment struck them, they said: "O Musa! Invoke your Lord for us because of His promise to you. If you remove the punishment from us, we indeed shall believe in you, and we shall let the Children of Israel go with you.'' But when We removed the punishment from them to a fixed term, which they had to reach, behold! they broke their word!) (7:133-135)

﴿ وَنَادَىٰ فِرۡعَوۡنُ فِى قَوۡمِهِۦ قَالَ يَـٰقَوۡمِ أَلَيۡسَ لِى مُلۡكُ مِصۡرَ وَهَـٰذِهِ ٱلۡأَنۡهَـٰرُ تَجۡرِى مِن تَحۡتِىٓ‌ۖ أَفَلَا تُبۡصِرُونَ أَمۡ أَنَا۟ خَيۡرٌ۬ مِّنۡ هَـٰذَا ٱلَّذِى هُوَ مَهِينٌ۬ وَلَا يَكَادُ يُبِينُ فَلَوۡلَآ أُلۡقِىَ عَلَيۡهِ أَسۡوِرَةٌ۬ مِّن ذَهَبٍ أَوۡ جَآءَ مَعَهُ ٱلۡمَلَـٰٓٮِٕڪَةُ مُقۡتَرِنِينَ فَٱسۡتَخَفَّ قَوۡمَهُ ۥ فَأَطَاعُوهُ‌ۚ إِنَّهُمۡ كَانُواْ قَوۡمً۬ا فَـٰسِقِينَ فَلَمَّآ ءَاسَفُونَا ٱنتَقَمۡنَا مِنۡهُمۡ فَأَغۡرَقۡنَـٰهُمۡ أَجۡمَعِينَ فَجَعَلۡنَـٰهُمۡ سَلَفً۬ا وَمَثَلاً۬ لِّلۡأَخِرِينَ

(51. And Fir`awn proclaimed among his people (saying): "O my people! Is not mine the dominion of Egypt, and these rivers flowing underneath me. See you not then'') (52. "Am I not better than this one (Musa) who is despicable and can scarcely express himself clearly'') (53. Why then are not golden bracelets bestowed on him, or angels sent along with him'') (54. Thus he fooled his people, and they obeyed him. Verily, they were ever a people who were rebellious.) (55. So when they angered Us, We punished them, and drowned them all.) (56. And We made them a precedent, and an example to later generations.)

Fir`awn's Address to His People and how Allah punished Him

Allah tells us how Fir`awn stubbornly persisted in his rebellion and disbelief. He assembled his people and addressed them in a vainglorious fashion, boasting of his dominion over Egypt.

﴿ أَلَيۡسَ لِى مُلۡكُ مِصۡرَ وَهَـٰذِهِ ٱلۡأَنۡهَـٰرُ تَجۡرِى مِن تَحۡتِىٓ‌ۖ

(Is not mine the dominion of Egypt, and these rivers flowing underneath me) Qatadah said, "They had gardens and rivers of flowing water.''

﴿ أَفَلَا تُبۡصِرُونَ

(See you not then) means, `do you not see my position of might and power' -- implying that Musa and his followers were poor and weak. This is like the Ayah:

﴿ فَحَشَرَ فَنَادَىٰ فَقَالَ أَنَا۟ رَبُّكُمُ ٱلۡأَعۡلَىٰ فَأَخَذَهُ ٱللَّهُ نَكَالَ ٱلۡأَخِرَةِ وَٱلۡأُولَىٰٓ

(Then he gathered (his people) and cried aloud, saying: "I am your lord, most high.'' So Allah seized him with punishment for his last and first transgression.) (79:23-25)

﴿ أَمۡ أَنَا۟ خَيۡرٌ۬ مِّنۡ هَـٰذَا ٱلَّذِى هُوَ مَهِينٌ۬

(Am I not better than this one who is despicable) As-Suddi said, "He was saying, `indeed I am better than this one, who is despicable'.'' Some of the grammarians of Basrah said that Fir`awn -- may the curse of Allah be upon him -- was saying that he was better than Musa, peace be upon him. But this is an obvious lie, may continued curses be upon him until the Day of Resurrection. By describing Musa as despicable he meant -- as Sufyan said -- insignificant. Qatadah and As-Suddi said, "He meant, weak.'' Ibn Jarir said, "He meant, he had no power, authority or wealth.''

﴿ وَلَا يَكَادُ يُبِينُ

(and can scarcely express himself clearly) means, he cannot speak clearly, he stammers and cannot speak well. Fir`awn's description of Musa as "despicable'' is a lie; rather it is he who was despicable and insignificant, lacking in physical, moral and religious terms, and it is Musa who was noble, truthful, righteous and upright.

﴿ وَلَا يَكَادُ يُبِينُ

(and can scarcely express himself clearly). This was also a lie. Although something happened to Musa's tongue when he was a child, when it was burnt by a coal. He asked Allah to loosen the knot from his tongue (i.e., to correct his speech defect) so that they could understand what he said, and Allah had answered his prayer and said:

﴿ قَدۡ أُوتِيتَ سُؤۡلَكَ يَـٰمُوسَىٰ

(You are granted your request, O Musa) (20:36). It may be the case that some problem remained which he had not asked to be relieved of, as Al-Hasan Al-Basri suggested, and that he had asked only to be relieved of that which stood in the way of his conveying the Message. A person cannot be blamed for physical matters over which he has no control. Even though Fir`awn had the intelligence to understand that, he wanted to confuse and mislead his people, who were ignorant and stupid. So he said:

﴿ فَلَوۡلَآ أُلۡقِىَ عَلَيۡهِ أَسۡوِرَةٌ۬ مِّن ذَهَبٍ

(Why then are not golden bracelets bestowed on him...) meaning, adornments which are placed on the arms. This was the view of Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) Qatadah and others.

﴿ أَوۡ جَآءَ مَعَهُ ٱلۡمَلَـٰٓٮِٕڪَةُ مُقۡتَرِنِينَ

(or angels sent along with him) meaning, to serve him and to testify that he is telling the truth. He looked only at outward appearances and did not understand the true inner matters that are clearer than what he focused on, if only he had understood that. Allah says:

﴿ فَٱسۡتَخَفَّ قَوۡمَهُ ۥ فَأَطَاعُوهُ‌ۚ

(Thus he fooled his people, and they obeyed him.) meaning, he confused them and invited them to misguidance, and they responded to him.

﴿ إِنَّهُمۡ كَانُواْ قَوۡمً۬ا فَـٰسِقِينَ

(Verily, they were ever a people who were rebellious.) Then Allah says:

﴿ فَلَمَّآ ءَاسَفُونَا ٱنتَقَمۡنَا مِنۡهُمۡ فَأَغۡرَقۡنَـٰهُمۡ أَجۡمَعِينَ

(So when they angered Us, We punished them, and drowned them all.) `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said it means: "When they angered Us means, they provoked Our wrath.'' Ad-Dahhak said, it means "They made Us angry.'' This was also the view of Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Muhammad bin Ka`b Al-Qurazi, Qatadah, As-Suddi and other scholars of Tafsir. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that `Uqbah bin `Amir (may Allah be pleased with him) said that the Messenger of Allah said:

« إِذَا رَأَيْتَ اللهَ تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى يُعْطِي الْعَبْدَ مَا يَشَاءُ، وَهُوَ مُقِيمٌ عَلى مَعَاصِيهِ، فَإِنَّمَا ذَلِكَ اسْتِدْرَاجٌ مِنْهُ لَه »

(When you see that Allah gives a person what he wants even though he is persisting in sin, that means that Allah is enticing him into destruction.) Then he recited:

﴿ فَلَمَّآ ءَاسَفُونَا ٱنتَقَمۡنَا مِنۡهُمۡ فَأَغۡرَقۡنَـٰهُمۡ أَجۡمَعِينَ

(So when they angered Us, We punished them, and drowned them all.) It was reported that Tariq bin Shihab said, "I was with `Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) and the issue of sudden death was mentioned. He said, `It is a relief for the believer and a source of regret for the disbeliever.' Then he recited the Ayah:

﴿ فَلَمَّآ ءَاسَفُونَا ٱنتَقَمۡنَا مِنۡهُمۡ فَأَغۡرَقۡنَـٰهُمۡ أَجۡمَعِينَ

(So when they angered Us, We punished them, and drowned them all). '' `Umar bin `Abdul-`Aziz (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "I found that punishment comes with negligence, meaning the Ayah:

﴿ فَلَمَّآ ءَاسَفُونَا ٱنتَقَمۡنَا مِنۡهُمۡ فَأَغۡرَقۡنَـٰهُمۡ أَجۡمَعِينَ

(So when they angered Us, We punished them, and drowned them all).''

﴿ فَجَعَلۡنَـٰهُمۡ سَلَفً۬ا وَمَثَلاً۬ لِّلۡأَخِرِينَ

(And We made them a precedent, and an example to later generations.) Abu Mijlaz said, "Precedent for others who do the same as they did.'' He and Mujahid said, "An example, i.e., a lesson to those who come after them.'' Allah is the One Who guides to the straight path, and unto Him is the final return.

﴿ وَلَمَّا ضُرِبَ ٱبۡنُ مَرۡيَمَ مَثَلاً إِذَا قَوۡمُكَ مِنۡهُ يَصِدُّونَ وَقَالُوٓاْ ءَأَٲلِهَتُنَا خَيۡرٌ أَمۡ هُوَ‌ۚ مَا ضَرَبُوهُ لَكَ إِلَّا جَدَلاَۢ‌ۚ بَلۡ هُمۡ قَوۡمٌ خَصِمُونَ إِنۡ هُوَ إِلَّا عَبۡدٌ أَنۡعَمۡنَا عَلَيۡهِ وَجَعَلۡنَـٰهُ مَثَلاً۬ لِّبَنِىٓ إِسۡرَٲٓءِيلَ وَلَوۡ نَشَآءُ لَجَعَلۡنَا مِنكُم مَّلَـٰٓٮِٕكَةً۬ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ يَخۡلُفُونَ وَإِنَّهُ ۥ لَعِلۡمٌ۬ لِّلسَّاعَةِ فَلَا تَمۡتَرُنَّ بِہَا وَٱتَّبِعُونِ‌ۚ هَـٰذَا صِرَٲطٌ۬ مُّسۡتَقِيمٌ۬ وَلَا يَصُدَّنَّكُمُ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنُ‌ۖ إِنَّهُ ۥ لَكُمۡ عَدُوٌّ۬ مُّبِينٌ۬ وَلَمَّا جَآءَ عِيسَىٰ بِٱلۡبَيِّنَـٰتِ قَالَ قَدۡ جِئۡتُكُم بِٱلۡحِكۡمَةِ وَلِأُبَيِّنَ لَكُم بَعۡضَ ٱلَّذِى تَخۡتَلِفُونَ فِيهِ‌ۖ فَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُونِ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ هُوَ رَبِّى وَرَبُّكُمۡ فَٱعۡبُدُوهُ‌ۚ هَـٰذَا صِرَٲطٌ۬ مُّسۡتَقِيمٌ۬ فَٱخۡتَلَفَ ٱلۡأَحۡزَابُ مِنۢ بَيۡنِہِمۡ‌ۖ فَوَيۡلٌ۬ لِّلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُواْ مِنۡ عَذَابِ يَوۡمٍ أَلِيمٍ

(57. And when the son of Maryam is quoted as an example, behold, your people cry aloud thereat.) (58. And say: "Are our gods better or is he'' They quoted not the above example except for argument. Nay! But they are a quarrelsome people.) (59. He was not more than a servant. We granted Our favor to him, and We made him an example for the Children of Israel.) (60. And if it were Our will, We would have made angels to replace you on the earth.) (61. And he shall be a known sign for (the coming of) the Hour. Therefore have no doubt concerning it. And follow Me! This is the straight path.) (62. And let not Shaytan hinder you. Verily, he (Shaytan) to you is a plain enemy.) (63. And when `Isa came with clear proofs, he said: "I have come to you with Al-Hikmah, and in order to make clear to you some of that in which you differ. Therefore have Taqwa of Allah and obey me.'') (64. "Verily, Allah! He is my Lord and your Lord. So worship Him. This is the straight path.'') (65. But the sects from among themselves differed. So woe to those who do wrong from the torment of a painful Day!)