(Do they not see the birds above them, spreading out their wings and folding them in) meaning, sometimes they spread their wings out in the wind (gliding) and other times they gather and spread (flapping) the wings in flight
(None upholds them) meaning, in the air,
(except the Most Gracious.) meaning, Allah holds them up in the air by subjecting the air to them out of His mercy and His gentleness.
(Verily, He is the All-Seer of everything.) means, with what is beneficial and suitable for all of His creatures. This is similar to His statement,
(Do they not see the birds held in the midst of the sky? None upholds them but Allah. Verily, in this are clear Ayat for people who believe.)(24:79)
(20. Who is it besides the Most Gracious that can be an army to you to help you The disbelievers are in nothing but delusion.) (21. Who is it that can provide for you if He should withhold His provision Nay, but they continue to be in pride, and flee.) (22. Is he who walks prone on his face, more rightly guided, or he who walks upright on a straight path) (23. Say: "It is He Who has created you, and endowed you with hearing and seeing, and hearts. Little thanks you give.'') (24. Say: "It is He Who has created you on the earth, and to Him shall you be gathered.'') (25. They say: "When will this promise come to pass, if you are telling the truth'') (26. Say: "The knowledge is with Allah only, and I am only a plain warner.'') (27. But when they will see it approaching, the faces of those who disbelieve will be sad and grievous, and it will be said: "This is what you were calling for!'')
Allah addresses the idolators who worship others besides Him, seeking help and sustenance from them. Allah rebukes them for what they believe, and He informs them that they will not attain that which they hope for. Allah says,
(Who is it besides the Most Gracious that can be an army to you to help) meaning, there is no protector or helper for you besides Him. This is the reason that Allah says,
(The disbelievers are in nothing but delusion.) Then Allah says,
(Who is it that can provide for you if He should withhold His provision) meaning, who is it that can provide for you if Allah cuts off your sustenance? There is no one who gives, withholds, creates, provides and helps other than Allah alone, Who has no partner. This proves that they know this, yet they still worship others besides Him. Thus, Allah says,
(Nay, but they continue) meaning, they persist in their transgression, lying and misguidance.
(to be in pride, and flee.) meaning, they continue in obstinance, arrogance and fleeing away from the truth. They do not listen to it nor do they follow it.
Then Allah says,
(Is he who walks prone on his face, more rightly guided, or he who walks upright on a straight path) This is a parable which Allah made of the believer and the disbeliever. So the condition of the disbeliever is like one who walks prone on his face. This is like a person walking bent over on his face (with his head down) instead of walking upright. This person does not know where he is going or how. Rather, he is lost, astray and confused. Is this person more guided,
(or he who walks upright) meaning, he who stands erect.
(on a straight path) meaning, this person who walks upright is on a clear path, and he is straight within himself while his path is straight as well. This is their likeness in this world, and their likeness will be the same in the Hereafter. So the believer will be gathered (on the Day of Judgment) walking upright upon the straight path and the vast and spacious Paradise will be opened up for him. However, the disbeliever will be gathered walking down on his face to the Hellfire.
(Assemble those who did wrong, together with their companions and what they used to worship instead of Allah, and lead them on to the way of flaming Fire.) (37:22,23) "Companions'' here means those like them. Imam Ahmad recorded from Anas bin Malik that it was said, "O Messenger of Allah! How will the people be gathered on their faces'' So the Prophet replied,
(Is not He who made them to walk on their legs able to make them walk on their faces'') This Hadith is also recorded in the Two Sahihs.
(Say it is He Who has created you,) meaning, He initiated your creation after you were not even a thing worth mentioning (i.e., nothing). Then He says,
(and endowed you with hearing and seeing, and hearts.) meaning, intellects and powers of reasoning.
(Little thanks you give.) meaning, how little you use these abilities that Allah has blessed you with to obey Him, to act according to His commandments, and avoid His prohibitions.
(Say: "It is He Who has created you on the earth...'') meaning, He has spread and distributed you all throughout the various regions and areas of the earth with your differing languages, colors, shapes, appearances and forms.
(and to Him shall you be gathered.) meaning, you all will come together after this separation and division. He will gather you all just as He separated you and He will bring you back again just as He originated you. Then while informing of the disbelievers who reject the final return, and doubt concerning its real occurrence, Allah said;
(They say: "When will this promise come to pass if you are telling the truth'') meaning, `when will this gathering after separation that you are informing us of, occur'
(Say: "The knowledge is with Allah only...'') meaning, `no one knows the time of the Day of Judgment exactly except Allah, but He has commanded me to inform you that it is real and it will definitely occur, so beware of it.'
(and I am only a plain warner.) meaning, `I am only obligated to convey, and verily I have performed my duty (of conveying) towards you.' Then Allah says,
(But when they will see it approaching, the faces of those who disbelieve will be sad and grievous.) means, when the Day of Judgment begins, and the disbelievers witness it, and they see that the matter has drawn close, because everything that is to occur will occur, even if it takes a long time. So, when what they denied occurs, it will grieve them because they will know what is awaiting them there (in Hell) of the worst evil. This means that it will surround them and Allah will command what they were not able to reckon or fully comprehend to come to them.
(and there will become apparent to them from Allah what they had not been reckoning. And the evils of that which they earned will become apparent to them, and that which they used to mock at will encircle them.) (39:47,48) This is why it will be said to them in order to scold and reprimand them,
(This is what you were calling for!) meaning, that you were seeking to hasten.
(28. Say: "Tell me! If Allah destroys me, and those with me, or He bestows His mercy on us - who can save the disbelievers from a painful torment'') (29. Say: "He is the Most Gracious, in Him we believe, and upon Him we rely. So, you will come to know who it is that is in manifest error.'') (30. Say: "Tell me! If (all) your water were to sink away, who then can supply you with flowing water'')
(say) `O Muhammad to these idolators who are associating partners with Allah and denying His favors,'
(Tell me! If Allah destroys me, and those with me, or He bestows His mercy on us - who can save the disbelievers from a painful torment) meaning, `save yourselves, for verily, there is nothing that can rescue you from Allah except repentance, turning to Him for forgiveness and returning to His religion. Your hopes that torment and exemplary punishment will strike us, will not benefit you. Whether Allah punishes us or has mercy on us, there is no escaping from Allah's punishment and painful torment that you will suffer.' Then Allah says,
(Say: "He is the Most Gracious, in Him we believe, and upon Him we rely.) meaning, `we believe in the Lord of all that exists, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, and upon Him we rely in all of our affairs.' This is as Allah says,
(So worship Him and rely upon Him.) (11:123) Thus, Allah continues saying,
(So, you will come to know who it is that is in manifest error.) meaning, `between Us and you, and to whom the final end (ultimate victory) will be for in this life and in the Hereafter.'
(Say: "Tell me! If your water were to sink away...'') meaning, if it were to go away, disappearing into the lowest depths of the earth, then it would not be reachable with iron axes nor strong arms. `Gha'ir' (sinking) as used here in the Ayah, is the opposite of springing forth. This is why Allah says,
(who then can supply you with flowing water) meaning, springing forth, flowing, running upon the face of the earth. This means that no one is able to do this except Allah. So, it is merely out of His favor and His grace that He causes water to spring forth for you, and He makes it run to the various regions of the earth in an amount that is suitable for the needs of servants, be it little or abundant. So Allah's is all the praise and thanks. This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Mulk and all praise and thanks are due to Allah.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
(1. Nun. By the pen and by what they Yastur.) (2. You, by the grace of your Lord, are not insane.) (3. And verily, for you will be reward that is not Mamnun.) (4. And verily, you are on an exalted character.) (5. You will see, and they will see,) (6. Which of you is afflicted with madness.) (7. Verily, your Lord is the best Knower of him who has gone astray from His path, and He is the best Knower of those who are guided.) We have already discussed the special letters of the Arabic alphabet at the beginning of Surat Al-Baqarah. Thus, Allah's saying,
(Nun), is like Allah's saying,
(Sad), and Allah's saying,
(Qaf), and similar to them from the individual letters that appear at the beginning of Qur'anic chapters. This has been discussed at length previously and there is no need to repeat it here.
(By the pen) The apparent meaning is that this refers to the actual pen that is used to write. This is like Allah's saying,
(Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous. Who has taught by the pen. He has taught man that which he knew not.) (96:3-5) Therefore, this statement is Allah's swearing and alerting His creatures to what He has favored them with by teaching them the skill of writing, through which knowledge is attained. Thus, Allah continues by saying,
(and by what they Yastur.) Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and Qatadah all said that this means, "what they write.'' As-Suddi said, "The angels and the deeds of the servants they record.'' Others said, "Rather, what is meant here is the pen which Allah caused to write the decree when He wrote the decrees of all creation, and this took place fifty-thousand years before He created the heavens and the earth.'' For this, they present Hadiths that have been reported about the Pen. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded from Al-Walid bin `Ubadah bin As-Samit that he said, "My father called for me when he was dying and he said to me: `Verily, I heard the Messenger of Allah say,
(Verily, the first of what Allah created was the Pen, and He said to it: "Write.'' The Pen said: "O my Lord, what shall I write'' He said: "Write the decree and whatever will throughout eternity.'')'' This Hadith has been recorded by Imam Ahmad through various routes of transmission. At-Tirmidhi also recorded it from a Hadith of Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi and he (At-Tirmidhi) said about it, "Hasan Sahih, Gharib.''
(You, by the grace of your Lord, are not insane.) meaning - and all praise is due to Allah -- `you are not crazy as the ignorant among your people claim. They are those who deny the guidance and the clear truth that you have come with. Therefore, they attribute madness to you because of it.'
(And verily, for you will be reward that is not Mamnun.) meaning, `for you is the great reward, and abundant blessings which will never be cut off or perish, because you conveyed the Message of your Lord to creation, and you were patient with their abuse.' The meaning of:
(not Mamnun) is that it will not be cut off. This is similar to Allah's statement,
(a gift without an end.) (11:108) and His statement,
(Then they shall have a reward without end.) (95:6) Mujahid said,
(Without Mamnun) means "Without reckoning.'' And this refers back to what we have said before.
Concerning Allah's statement,
(And verily, you are on an exalted (standard of) character.) Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas, "Verily, you are on a great religion, and it is Islam.'' Likewise said Mujahid, Abu Malik, As-Suddi and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas. Ad-Dahhak and Ibn Zayd also said this. Sa`id bin Abi `Arubah reported from Qatadah that he said concerning Allah's statement,
(And verily, you are on an exalted (standard of) character.) "It has been mentioned to us that Sa`d bin Hisham asked `A'ishah about the character of the Messenger of Allah, so she replied: `Have you not read the Qur'an' Sa`d said: `Of course.' Then she said: `Verily, the character of the Messenger of Allah was the Qur'an.''' `Abdur-Razzaq recorded similar to this and Imam Muslim recorded it in his Sahih on the authority of Qatadah in its full length. This means that he would act according to the commands and the prohibition in the Qur'an. His nature and character were patterned according to the Qur'an, and he abandoned his natural disposition (i.e., the carnal nature). So whatever the Qur'an commanded, he did it, and whatever it forbade, he avoided it. Along with this, Allah gave him the exalted character, which included the qualities of modesty, kindness, bravery, pardoning, gentleness and every other good characteristic. This is like that which has been confirmed in the Two Sahihs that Anas said, "I served the Messenger of Allah for ten years, and he never said a word of displeasure to me (Uff), nor did he ever say to me concerning something I had done: `Why did you do that?' And he never said to me concerning something I had not done: `Why didn't you do this?' He had the best character, and I never touched any silk or anything else that was softer than the palm of the Messenger of Allah. And I never smelled any musk or perfume that had a better fragrance than the sweat of the Messenger of Allah.'' Imam Al-Bukhari recorded that Al-Bara' said, "The Messenger of Allah had the most handsome face of all the people, and he had the best behavior of all of the people. And he was not tall, nor was he short.'' The Hadiths concerning this matter are numerous. Abu `Isa At-Tirmidhi has a complete book on this subject called Kitab Ash-Shama'il. Imam Ahmad recorded that `A'ishah said, "The Messenger of Allah never struck a servant of his with his hand, nor did he ever hit a woman. He never hit anything with his hand, except for when he was fighting Jihad in the cause of Allah. And he was never given the option between two things except that the most beloved of the two to him was the easiest of them, as long as it did not involve sin. If it did involve sin, then he stayed farther away from sin than any of the people. He would not avenge himself concerning anything that was done to him, except if the limits of Allah were transgressed. Then, in that case he would avenge for the sake of Allah.'' Imam Ahmad also recorded from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah said,
(I have only been sent to perfect righteous behavior.) Ahmad was alone in recording this Hadith. In reference to Allah's statement,
(You will see, and they will see, which of you is afflicted with madness.) then it means, `you will know, O Muhammad - and those who oppose you and reject you, will know - who is insane and misguided among you.' This is like Allah's statement,
(Tomorrow they will come to know who is the liar, the insolent one!) (54:26) Allah also says,
(And verily (either) we or you are rightly guided or in plain error.) (34:24) Ibn Jurayj reported from Ibn `Abbas, it means "You will know and they will know on the Day of Judgment.'' Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas;
(Which of you is Maftun (afflicted with madness) means which of you is crazy. This was also said by Mujahid and others as well. The literal meaning of Maftun is one who has been charmed or lured away from the truth and has strayed from it. Thus, the entire statement means, `so you will know and they will know,' or `you will be informed and they will be informed, as to which of you is afflicted with madness.' And Allah knows best. Then Allah says,
(Verily, your Lord is the best Knower of him who has gone astray from His path, and He is the best Knower of those who are guided.) meaning, `He knows which of the two groups are truly guided among you, and He knows the party that is astray from the truth.'
(8. So, do not obey the deniers.) (9. They wish that you should compromise with them, so they (too) would compromise with you.) (10. And do not obey every Hallaf Mahin.) (11. A Hammaz, going about with Namim,) (12. Hinderer of the good, transgressor, sinful,) (13. `Utul, and moreover Zanim.) (14. (He was so) because he had wealth and children.) (15. When Our Ayat are recited to him, he says: "Tales of the men of old!'') (16. We shall brand him on the snout (nose)!)