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The Meaning of the "Great Batshah''
﴿ يَوۡمَ نَبۡطِشُ ٱلۡبَطۡشَةَ ٱلۡكُبۡرَىٰٓ إِنَّا مُنتَقِمُونَ

(On the Day when We shall strike you with the great Batshah. Verily, We will exact retribution.) Ibn Mas`ud interpreted this to mean the day of Badr. This is also the view of a group who agreed with Ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) about the meaning of the smoke, as discussed above. It was also narrated from Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) in a report related to him from Al-`Awfi and from Ubayy bin Ka`b, may Allah be pleased with him. This is possible, but the apparent meaning is that it refers to the Day of Resurrection, although the day of Badr was also a day of vengeance. Ibn Jarir said, "Ya`qub narrated to me; Ibn `Ulayyah narrated to me, Khalid Al-Hadhdha' narrated to us, from `Ikrimah who said, `Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "Ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) said that "the great Batshah'' is the day of Badr, and I say that it is the Day of Resurrection.'' This chain of narration is Sahih to him. This is also the view of Al-Hasan Al-Basri and of `Ikrimah according to the more authentic of the two reports narrated from him. And Allah knows best.

﴿ وَلَقَدۡ فَتَنَّا قَبۡلَهُمۡ قَوۡمَ فِرۡعَوۡنَ وَجَآءَهُمۡ رَسُولٌ۬ ڪَرِيمٌ أَنۡ أَدُّوٓاْ إِلَىَّ عِبَادَ ٱللَّهِ‌ۖ إِنِّى لَكُمۡ رَسُولٌ أَمِينٌ۬ وَأَن لَّا تَعۡلُواْ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ‌ۖ إِنِّىٓ ءَاتِيكُم بِسُلۡطَـٰنٍ۬ مُّبِينٍ۬ وَإِنِّى عُذۡتُ بِرَبِّى وَرَبِّكُمۡ أَن تَرۡجُمُونِ وَإِن لَّمۡ تُؤۡمِنُواْ لِى فَٱعۡتَزِلُونِ فَدَعَا رَبَّهُ ۥۤ أَنَّ هَـٰٓؤُلَآءِ قَوۡمٌ۬ مُّجۡرِمُونَ فَأَسۡرِ بِعِبَادِى لَيۡلاً إِنَّڪُم مُّتَّبَعُونَ وَٱتۡرُكِ ٱلۡبَحۡرَ رَهۡوًا‌ۖ إِنَّہُمۡ جُندٌ۬ مُّغۡرَقُونَ كَمۡ تَرَكُواْ مِن جَنَّـٰتٍ۬ وَعُيُونٍ۬ وَزُرُوعٍ۬ وَمَقَامٍ۬ كَرِيمٍ۬ وَنَعۡمَةٍ۬ كَانُواْ فِيہَا فَـٰكِهِينَ كَذَٲلِكَ‌ۖ وَأَوۡرَثۡنَـٰهَا قَوۡمًا ءَاخَرِينَ فَمَا بَكَتۡ عَلَيۡہِمُ ٱلسَّمَآءُ وَٱلۡأَرۡضُ وَمَا كَانُواْ مُنظَرِينَ وَلَقَدۡ نَجَّيۡنَا بَنِىٓ إِسۡرَٲٓءِيلَ مِنَ ٱلۡعَذَابِ ٱلۡمُهِينِ مِن فِرۡعَوۡنَ‌ۚ إِنَّهُ ۥ كَانَ عَالِيً۬ا مِّنَ ٱلۡمُسۡرِفِينَ وَلَقَدِ ٱخۡتَرۡنَـٰهُمۡ عَلَىٰ عِلۡمٍ عَلَى ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ وَءَاتَيۡنَـٰهُم مِّنَ ٱلۡأَيَـٰتِ مَا فِيهِ بَلَـٰٓؤٌ۬اْ مُّبِينٌ

(17. And indeed We tried before them Fir`awn's people, when there came to them a noble Messenger.) (18. Saying: "Deliver to me the servants of Allah. Verily, I am to you a Messenger worthy of all trust.'') (19. "And exalt not yourselves against Allah. Truly, I have come to you with a manifest authority.'') (20. "And truly, I seek refuge with my Lord and your Lord, lest you should stone me.'') (21. "But if you believe me not, then keep away from me and leave me alone.'') (22. So he (Musa) called upon his Lord (saying): "These are indeed the people who are criminals.'') (23. (Allah said): "Depart you with My servants by night. Surely, you will be pursued.'') (24. "And leave the sea as it is (quiet and divided). Verily, they are a host to be drowned.'') (25. How many of gardens and springs that they (Fir`awn's people) left behind, (26. And green crops (fields) and goodly places,) (27. And comforts of life wherein they used to take delight!) (28. Thus (it was)! And We made other people inherit them.) (29. And the heavens and the earth wept not for them, nor were they given respite.) (30. And indeed We saved the Children of Israel from the humiliating torment,) (31. From Fir`awn; verily, he was arrogant and was of the excessive.) (32. And We chose them above the nations (Al-`Alamin) with knowledge,) (33. And granted them signs in which there was a plain trial.)

The Story of Musa and Fir`awn, and how the Children of Israel were saved

Allah tells us, `before these idolaters, We tested the people of Fir`awn, the copts of Egypt.'

﴿ وَجَآءَهُمۡ رَسُولٌ۬ ڪَرِيمٌ

(when there came to them a noble Messenger.) means, Musa (peace be upon him) the one to whom Allah spoke.

﴿ أَنۡ أَدُّوٓاْ إِلَىَّ عِبَادَ ٱللَّهِ‌ۖ

(Deliver to me the servants of Allah.) This is like the Ayah:

﴿ فَأَرۡسِلۡ مَعَنَا بَنِىٓ إِسۡرَٲٓءِيلَ وَلَا تُعَذِّبۡہُمۡ‌ۖ قَدۡ جِئۡنَـٰكَ بِـَٔايَةٍ۬ مِّن رَّبِّكَ‌ۖ وَٱلسَّلَـٰمُ عَلَىٰ مَنِ ٱتَّبَعَ ٱلۡهُدَىٰٓ

(So let the Children of Israel go with us, and torment them not; indeed, we have come with a sign from your Lord! And peace will be upon him who follows the guidance!'') (20:47)

﴿ إِنِّى لَكُمۡ رَسُولٌ أَمِينٌ۬

(Verily, I am to you a Messenger worthy of all trust.) means, `what I convey to you is trustworthy.'

﴿ وَأَن لَّا تَعۡلُواْ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ‌ۖ

(And exalt not yourselves against Allah.) means, `and do not be too arrogant to follow His signs. Accept His proof and believe in His evidence.' This is like the Ayah:

﴿ إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يَسۡتَكۡبِرُونَ عَنۡ عِبَادَتِى سَيَدۡخُلُونَ جَهَنَّمَ دَاخِرِينَ

(Verily, those who scorn My worship they will surely enter Hell in humiliation!) (40:60)

﴿ إِنِّىٓ ءَاتِيكُم بِسُلۡطَـٰنٍ۬ مُّبِينٍ۬

(Truly, I have come to you with a manifest authority.) means, with clear and obvious proof. This refers to the clear signs and definitive evidence with which Allah sent him.

﴿ وَإِنِّى عُذۡتُ بِرَبِّى وَرَبِّكُمۡ أَن تَرۡجُمُونِ

(And truly, I seek refuge with my Lord and your Lord, lest you should stone me.) Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) and Abu Salih said, "This refers to a verbal assault, which means insults.'' Qatadah said, "Meaning `stoning' in the literal sense, so that the meaning is: `I seek refuge with Allah, Who created me and you, from your making any harmful words or actions reach me.'''

﴿ وَإِن لَّمۡ تُؤۡمِنُواْ لِى فَٱعۡتَزِلُونِ

(But if you believe me not, then keep away from me and leave me alone.) means, `then let us leave one another alone and live in peace until Allah judges between us.' After Musa (may Allah be pleased with him) had stayed among them for a long time, and the proof of Allah had been established against them, and that only increased them in disbelief and stubbornness, he prayed to his Lord against them, a prayer which was answered. Allah says:

﴿ وَقَالَ مُوسَىٰ رَبَّنَآ إِنَّكَ ءَاتَيۡتَ فِرۡعَوۡنَ وَمَلَأَهُ ۥ زِينَةً۬ وَأَمۡوَٲلاً۬ فِى ٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا رَبَّنَا لِيُضِلُّواْ عَن سَبِيلِكَ‌ۖ رَبَّنَا ٱطۡمِسۡ عَلَىٰٓ أَمۡوَٲلِهِمۡ وَٱشۡدُدۡ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمۡ فَلَا يُؤۡمِنُواْ حَتَّىٰ يَرَوُاْ ٱلۡعَذَابَ ٱلۡأَلِيمَ قَالَ قَدۡ أُجِيبَت دَّعۡوَتُڪُمَا فَٱسۡتَقِيمَا

(And Musa said: "Our Lord! You have indeed bestowed on Fir`awn and his chiefs splendor and wealth in the life of this world, our Lord! That they may lead men astray from Your path. Our Lord! Destroy their wealth, and harden their hearts, so that they will not believe until they see the painful torment.'' Allah said: "Verily, the invocation of you both is accepted. So you both keep to the straight way.'') (10:88-89) And Allah says here:

﴿ فَدَعَا رَبَّهُ ۥۤ أَنَّ هَـٰٓؤُلَآءِ قَوۡمٌ۬ مُّجۡرِمُونَ

(So he (Musa) called upon his Lord (saying): "These are indeed the people who are criminals.'') Whereupon Allah commanded him to bring the Children of Israel out from among them, without the command, consent or permission of Fir`awn. Allah said:

﴿ فَأَسۡرِ بِعِبَادِى لَيۡلاً إِنَّڪُم مُّتَّبَعُونَ

(Depart you with My servants by night. Surely, you will be pursued.) This is like the Ayah:

﴿ وَلَقَدۡ أَوۡحَيۡنَآ إِلَىٰ مُوسَىٰٓ أَنۡ أَسۡرِ بِعِبَادِى فَٱضۡرِبۡ لَهُمۡ طَرِيقً۬ا فِى ٱلۡبَحۡرِ يَبَسً۬ا لَّا تَخَـٰفُ دَرَكً۬ا وَلَا تَخۡشَىٰ

And indeed We revealed to Musa (saying): Travel by night with My servants and strike a dry path for them in the sea, fearing neither to be overtaken nor being afraid (of drowning in the sea). (20:77)

﴿ وَٱتۡرُكِ ٱلۡبَحۡرَ رَهۡوًا‌ۖ إِنَّہُمۡ جُندٌ۬ مُّغۡرَقُونَ

(And leave the sea as it is (quiet and divided). Verily, they are a host to be drowned.) When Musa and the Children of Israel has crossed the sea, Musa wanted to strike it with his staff so that it would go back as it had been, and it would form a barrier between then and Fir`awn and prevent him from reaching them. But Allah commanded him to leave it as it was, quiet and divided, and gave him the glad tidings that they were a host to be drowned, and that he should not fear either being overtaken by Fir`awn or drowning in the sea. Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

﴿ وَٱتۡرُكِ ٱلۡبَحۡرَ رَهۡوًا‌ۖ

(And leave the sea as it is (quiet and divided).) means, leave it as it is and keep moving. Mujahid said:

﴿ رَهۡوًا‌ۖ

(as it is) means, a dry path, as it is. `Do not command it to go back; leave it until the last of them have entered it.' This was also the view of `Ikrimah, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah, Ibn Zayd, Ka`b Al-Ahbar, Simak bin Harb and others.

﴿ كَمۡ تَرَكُواْ مِن جَنَّـٰتٍ۬ وَعُيُونٍ۬ وَزُرُوعٍ۬

(How many of gardens and springs that they left behind. And green crops) this refers to rivers and wells.

﴿ وَمَقَامٍ۬ كَرِيمٍ۬

and goodly places, means, fine dwellings and beautiful places. Mujahid and Sa’id bin Jubayr said:

﴿ وَمَقَامٍ۬ كَرِيمٍ۬

(and goodly places,) means elevated places.

﴿ وَنَعۡمَةٍ۬ كَانُواْ فِيہَا فَـٰكِهِينَ

(And comforts of life wherein they used to take delight!) means, a life which they were enjoying, where they could eat whatever they wanted and wear what they liked, with wealth and glory and power in the land. Then all of that was taken away in a single morning, they departed from this world and went to Hell, what a terrible abode!

﴿ كَذَٲلِكَ‌ۖ وَأَوۡرَثۡنَـٰهَا قَوۡمًا ءَاخَرِينَ

(Thus (it was)! And We made other people inherit them.) namely the Children of Israel.

﴿ فَمَا بَكَتۡ عَلَيۡہِمُ ٱلسَّمَآءُ وَٱلۡأَرۡضُ

(And the heavens and the earth wept not for them, ) means, they had no righteous deeds which used to ascend through the gates of the heavens, which would weep for them when they died, and they had no places on earth where they used to worship Allah which would notice their loss. So they did not deserve to be given a respite, because of their disbelief, sin, transgression and stubbornness. Ibn Jarir recorded that Sa`id bin Jubayr said, "A man came to Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) and said to him: `O Abu Al-`Abbas, Allah says,

﴿ فَمَا بَكَتۡ عَلَيۡہِمُ ٱلسَّمَآءُ وَٱلۡأَرۡضُ وَمَا كَانُواْ مُنظَرِينَ

(And the heavens and the earth wept not for them, nor were they given respite) -- do the heavens and the earth weep for anybody' He (may Allah be pleased with him) said, `Yes, there is no one who does not have a gate in the heavens through which his provision comes down and his good deeds ascend. When the believer dies, that gate is closed; it misses him and weeps for him, and the place of prayer on earth where he used to pray and remember Allah also weeps for him. But the people of Fir`awn left no trace of righteousness on the earth and they had no good deeds that ascended to Allah, so the heavens and the earth did not weep for them.''' Al-`Awfi reported something similar from Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him.

﴿ وَلَقَدۡ نَجَّيۡنَا بَنِىٓ إِسۡرَٲٓءِيلَ مِنَ ٱلۡعَذَابِ ٱلۡمُهِينِ مِن فِرۡعَوۡنَ‌ۚ إِنَّهُ ۥ كَانَ عَالِيً۬ا مِّنَ ٱلۡمُسۡرِفِينَ

(And indeed We saved the Children of Israel from the humiliating torment from Fir`awn; verily, he was arrogant and was of the excessive. ) Here Allah reminds them of how He saved them from their humiliation and subjugation at the hands of Fir`awn, when they were forced to do menial tasks.

﴿ مِن فِرۡعَوۡنَ‌ۚ إِنَّهُ ۥ كَانَ عَالِيً۬ا

(From Fir`awn; verily, he was arrogant) means, he was proud and stubborn. This is like the Ayah:

﴿ إِنَّ فِرۡعَوۡنَ عَلَا فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ

(Verily, Fir`awn exalted himself in the land) (28:4).

﴿ فَٱسۡتَكۡبَرُواْ وَكَانُواْ قَوۡمًا عَالِينَ

(but they behaved insolently and they were people self-exalting) (23:46). He was one of the excessive and held a foolish opinion of himself.

﴿ وَلَقَدِ ٱخۡتَرۡنَـٰهُمۡ عَلَىٰ عِلۡمٍ عَلَى ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ

(And We chose them above the nations (Al-`Alamin) with knowledge,) Mujahid said, "This means that they were chosen above those among whom they lived.'' Qatadah said, "They were chosen above the other people of their own time, and it was said that in every period there are people who are chosen above others.'' This is like the Ayah:

﴿ قَالَ يَـٰمُوسَىٰٓ إِنِّى ٱصۡطَفَيۡتُكَ عَلَى ٱلنَّاسِ

((Allah) said: "O Musa I have chosen you above men.'') (7:144), which means, above the people of his time. This is also like the Ayah:

﴿ وَٱصۡطَفَٮٰكِ عَلَىٰ نِسَآءِ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ

(and (Allah has) chosen you (Maryam) above the women of the nations (Al-`Alamin).) (3:42), i.e., Maryam was chosen above the women of her time. For Khadijah, may Allah be pleased with her, is higher than her in status or is equal to her, as was Asiyah bint Muzahim, the wife of Fir`awn. And the superiority of `A'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, over all other women is like the superiority of Tharid over all other dishes.

﴿ وَءَاتَيۡنَـٰهُم مِّنَ ٱلۡأَيَـٰتِ

(And granted them signs) means clear proofs and extraordinary evidence.

﴿ مَا فِيهِ بَلَـٰٓؤٌ۬اْ مُّبِينٌ

(in which there was a plain trial.) means, an obvious test to show who would be guided by it.

﴿ إِنَّ هَـٰٓؤُلَآءِ لَيَقُولُونَ إِنۡ هِىَ إِلَّا مَوۡتَتُنَا ٱلۡأُولَىٰ وَمَا نَحۡنُ بِمُنشَرِينَ فَأۡتُواْ بِـَٔابَآٮِٕنَآ إِن كُنتُمۡ صَـٰدِقِينَ أَهُمۡ خَيۡرٌ أَمۡ قَوۡمُ تُبَّعٍ۬ وَٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلِهِمۡ‌ۚ أَهۡلَكۡنَـٰهُمۡ‌ۖ إِنَّہُمۡ كَانُواْ مُجۡرِمِينَ

(34. Verily, these people are saying:) (35. "There is nothing but our first death, and we shall not be resurrected.'') (36. "Then bring back our forefathers, if you speak the truth!'') (37. Are they better or the people of Tubba` and those before them We destroyed them because they were indeed criminals.)

Refutation of Those Who deny the Resurrection

Here Allah denounces the idolaters for their denial of the Resurrection and their belief that there is nothing after this life and no life or resurrection after death, which they based on the fact that their forefathers had died and had not returned. They said, If the resurrection is true,

﴿ فَأۡتُواْ بِـَٔابَآٮِٕنَآ إِن كُنتُمۡ صَـٰدِقِينَ

(Then bring back our forefathers, if you speak the truth!) This is false evidence and a specious argument, for the resurrection will happen on the Day of Judgment, not in this world; it will happen when this world has ended and ceased to be. Allah will bring all creatures back, created anew. He will make the evildoers fuel for the fire of Hell, and on that Day you will be witnesses over mankind and the Messenger will be a witness over you. Then Allah threatens them and warns them of the irresistible torment other idolaters like who denied the resurrection, suffered. Such as the people of Tubba`, i.e., Saba'. Allah destroyed them, wreaked havoc upon their land and scattered them here and there throughout the land, as we have already seen in Surah Saba'. This was brought about because the idolaters denied the Resurrection. Here too, the idolaters are compared to them. They Tubba` were Arab descendants of Qahtan, just as these people (Quraysh) were Arab descendants of `Adnan. Among the people of Himyar -- who are also known as Saba' -- when a man became their king, they called him Tubba`, just as the title Chosroes was given to the king of Persia, Caesar to the king of the Romans, Fir`awn to the disbelieving ruler of Egypt, Negus to the king of Ethiopia, and so on among other nations. But it so happened that one of the Tubba` left Yemen and went on a journey of conquest until he reached Samarqand, expanding his kingdom and domain. He is the one who founded Al-Hirah. It is agreed that he passed through Al-Madinah during the days of Jahiliyyah. He fought its inhabitants but they resisted him; they fought him by day and supplied him with food by night, so he felt ashamed before them and refrained from harming them. He was accompanied by two Jewish rabbis who advised him and told him that he would never prevail over this city, for it would be the place to which a Prophet would migrate towards the end of time. So he retreated and took them (the two rabbis) with him to Yemen. When he passed by Makkah, he wanted to destroy the Ka`bah, but they told him not to do that either. They told him about the significance of this House, that it had been built by Ibrahim Al-Khalil (peace be upon him) and that it would become of great importance through that Prophet who would be sent towards the end of time. So he respected it, performed Tawaf around it, and covered it with a fine cloth. Then he returned to Yemen and invited its people to follow the religion of guidance along with him. At that time, the religion of Musa (peace be upon him) was the religion followed by those who were guided, before the coming of the Messiah, peace be upon him. So the people of Yemen accepted the religion of guidance along with him. `Abdur-Razzaq recorded that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "The Messenger of Allah said:

« مَا أَدْرِي تُبَّعٌ نَبِيًّا كَانَ، أَمْ غَيْرَ نَبِي »

(I do not know whether Tubba` was a Prophet or not.) It was narrated that Tamim bin `Abdur-Rahman said: " `Ata' bin Abi Rabah said, `Do not revile Tubba`, for the Messenger of Allah forbade reviling him.''' And Allah knows best.

﴿ وَمَا خَلَقۡنَا ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضَ وَمَا بَيۡنَہُمَا لَـٰعِبِينَ مَا خَلَقۡنَـٰهُمَآ إِلَّا بِٱلۡحَقِّ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَڪۡثَرَهُمۡ لَا يَعۡلَمُونَ إِنَّ يَوۡمَ ٱلۡفَصۡلِ مِيقَـٰتُهُمۡ أَجۡمَعِينَ يَوۡمَ لَا يُغۡنِى مَوۡلًى عَن مَّوۡلً۬ى شَيۡـًٔ۬ا وَلَا هُمۡ يُنصَرُونَ إِلَّا مَن رَّحِمَ ٱللَّهُ‌ۚ إِنَّهُ ۥ هُوَ ٱلۡعَزِيزُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ

(38. And We created not the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, for mere play.) (39. We created them not except with truth, but most of them know not.) (40. Verily, the Day of Judgment is the time appointed for all of them --) (41. The Day when a near relative cannot avail a near relative in aught, and no help can they receive,) (42. Except him on whom Allah has mercy. Verily, He is the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful.)