(And We have set none as (Ashab) guardians of the Fire) meaning, its guardians.
(but angels.) Guardian angels, stern and severe. This is a refutation of the idolators of the Quraysh when they mentioned the number of guardian angels. Abu Jahl said, "O people of Quraysh! Are not every ten among you able to defeat one of them'' So Allah said,
(And We have set none but angels as guardians of the Fire.) meaning, extremely strong in their creation. They cannot be stood against nor defeated. It has been said that Abu Al-Ashaddayn, and his name was Kaladah bin Usayd bin Khalaf, said, "O people of Quraysh! You defend me against two of them and I will defend you against seventeen of them.'' He said this thinking himself to be very great. For they claimed that he achieved such strength that he would stand on a skin of cow hide and ten people would try to pull it out from under his feet, but the skin would be torn to pieces and still not be removed from under him. Concerning Allah's statement,
(And We have fixed their number only as a trial for the disbelievers,) meaning, `We only have mentioned their number as being nineteen as a test from Us for mankind.'
(In order that the People of the Scripture may arrive at a certainty) meaning, so that they may know that this Messenger is true. For he speaks according to the same thing that they have with them of heavenly revealed Scriptures that came to the Prophets before him. Concerning Allah's statement,
(and that the believers may increase in faith.) meaning, to their faith. This is due to what they witness from the truthfulness of the information of their Prophet, Muhammad .
(and that no doubt may be left for the People of the Scripture and the believers, and that those in whose hearts is a disease) meaning, among the hypocrites.
(and the disbelievers may say: "What does Allah intend by this example'') meaning, they say, "What is the wisdom in mentioning this here'' Allah says,
(Thus Allah leads astray whom He wills and guides whom He wills.) meaning, by way of examples like this, faith becomes firm in the hearts of some people and it is shaken with others. This has a profound wisdom and it is an irrefutable proof. None knows the Soldiers of Allah except Him Allah says,
(And none can know the hosts of your Lord but He.) meaning, none knows their number and their count except Allah. This is so that one does not make the mistake of thinking that they are only nineteen in all. It has been confirmed in the Hadith concerning Al-Isra' that is reported in the Two Sahihs and other collections, that the Messenger of Allah said in describing the Frequented House (Al-Bayt Al-Ma`mur), which is in the seventh heaven,
(Seventy thousand angels enter into it every day and they do not return to it as it is all that is due upon them (one visit in their lifetime).) Concerning Allah's statement,
(And this is nothing but a reminder to mankind.) Mujahid and others said,
(And this is not.) "This means the Hellfire which has been described.''
(but a reminder to mankind. ) Then Allah says,
(Nay! And by the moon. And by the night when it withdraws.) meaning, when it withdraws.
(And by the dawn when it brightens.) meaning, when it shines.
(Verily, it is but one of the greatest (signs).) meaning, the great things. This refers to the Hellfire. Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak and others of the Salaf, all said this.
(A warning to mankind -- to any of you that chooses to go forward, or to remain behind.) meaning, for whoever wishes to accept the warning and be guided to the truth, or hold back from accepting it, turn away from it and reject it.
(38. Every person is a pledge for what he has earned,) (39. Except those on the Right.) (40. In Gardens they will ask one another,) (41. About criminals (and they will say to them):) (42. "What has caused you to enter Hell'') (43. They will say: "We were not of those who used to offer the Salah,'') (44. "Nor did we feed the poor;'') (45. "And we used to speak falsehood with vain speakers.'') (46. "And we used to deny the Day of Recompense,'') (47. "Until Al-Yaqin came to us.'') (48. So no intercession of intercessors will be of any use to them.) (49. Then what is wrong with them that they turn away from admonition) (50. As if they were wild donkeys.) (51. Fleeing from a Qaswarah.) (52. Nay, everyone of them desires that he should be given pages spread out.) (53. Nay! But they fear not the Hereafter.) (54. Nay, verily, this is an admonition.) (55. So, whosoever wills receives admonition from it!) (56. And they will not receive admonition unless Allah wills; He is the One, deserving of the Taqwa and He is the One Who forgives.)
Allah informs that,
(Every person is a pledge for what he has earned,) meaning, bound to his deed on the Day of Judgement. Ibn `Abbas and others have said this.
(Except those on the Right.) For verily, they will be
(In Gardens they will ask one another, about criminals (and they will say to them)) meaning, while they are in lofty rooms they will ask the criminals, who will be in the lowest levels (of Hell), saying to them,
("What has caused you to enter Hell'' They will say: "We were not of those who used to offer the Salah, nor did we feed the poor.'') meaning, `we did not worship Allah, nor did we do good to His creatures of our own species (i.e., other people).'
(And we used to speak falsehood with vain speakers.) meaning, `we used to speak about what we had no knowledge of.' Qatadah said, "It means that every time someone went astray we would go astray with them.''
(And we used to deny the Day of Recompense, until the certainty (Al-Yaqin) came to us.) meaning, death. This is as Allah says,
(And worship your Lord until there comes unto you the certainty.) (15:99) The Messenger of Allah said,
(Concerning him verily, Al-Yaqin (death) came to him from his Lord.)'' Allah then says,
(So no intercession of intercessors will be of any use to them.) meaning, whoever has these characteristics, then the intercession of whoever tries to intercede for him will be of no benefit on the Day of Judgement. This is because intercession is only useful if the conditions for it are met. However, whoever comes before Allah as a disbeliever on the Day of Judgement, then he will get the Hellfire and there is no way of avoiding it. He will abide in it (Hell) forever.
Then Allah says,
(Then what is wrong with them that they turn away from admonition) meaning, `what is wrong with these disbelievers who are turning away from what you are calling them to and reminding them of'
(As if they were wild donkeys. Fleeing from a Qaswarah.) meaning, as if they were fleeing from the truth and turning away from it, like a wild donkey when it flees from something that is trying to catch it, like a lion. This was said by Abu Hurayrah. Hammad bin Salamah reported from `Ali bin Zayd who reported from Yusuf bin Mihran who narrated that Ibn `Abbas said, "It (Qaswarah) is the lion in the Arabic language. It is called Qaswarah in the Abyssinian language, Sher in the Persian language and Awba in the Nabtiyyah (Nabatean) language.'' Concerning Allah's statement,
(Nay, everyone of them desires that he should be given pages spread out.) meaning, each one of these idolators wants to have a book revealed to him as Allah revealed to the Prophet . Mujahid and others have said this. This is similar to Allah's statement,
(And when there comes to them a sign they say: "We shall not believe until we receive the like of that which the Messengers of Allah had received.'' Allah knows best with whom to place His Message.) (6:124) It is reported in a narration from Qatadah that he said, "They want to be declared innocent (on the Day of Judgement) without having to do any deeds.'' Then Allah says,
(Nay! But they fear not the Hereafter.) meaning, they were only corrupted by their lack of faith in it and their rejection of its occurrence.
Then Allah says,
(Nay, verily, this is an admonition.) meaning, truly the Qur'an is a reminder.
(So, whosoever wills receives admonition (from it)! And they will not receive admonition unless Allah wills;) This is similar to Allah's statement,
(And you cannot will unless Allah wills.) (81:29) Concerning Allah's statement,
(He is the One, deserving the Taqwa and He is the One Who forgives.) This means that He deserves to be feared and He is eligible to forgive the sin of whoever turns to Him and repents. This was said by Qatadah. This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Muddaththir, all praise and thanks are due to Allah.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
(1. Nay! I swear by the Day of Resurrection.) (2. And nay! I swear by An-Nafs Al-Lawwamah.) (3. Does man think that We shall not assemble his bones) (4. Yes, We are able to put together in perfect order the tips of his fingers.) (5. Nay! Man desires to break out ahead of himself.) (6. He asks: "When will be this Day of Resurrection'') (7. So, when Bariqa the sight.) (8. And the moon will be eclipsed.) (9. And the sun and moon will be joined together.) (10. On that Day man will say: "Where (is the refuge) to flee'') (11. No! There is no refuge!) (12. Unto your Lord will be the place of rest that Day.) (13. On that Day man will be informed of what he sent forward, and what he left behind.) (14. Nay! Man will be well informed about himself,) (15. Though he may put forth his excuses.)
It has been mentioned previously on more than one occasion that if the thing that is being sworn about is something that is being negated, then it is permissible to use the word "La'' (Nay) before the oath to emphasize the negation. Here, what is being sworn about is the affirmation of the final abode and the refutation against the claim of the ignorant that the resurrection of bodies will not occur. This is why Allah says,
(Nay! I swear by the Day of Resurrection. And nay! I swear by An-Nafs Al-Lawwamah.) Qatadah said, "This means, I swear by both of these things.'' This has also been reported from Ibn `Abbas and Sa`id bin Jubayr. Concerning the Day of Judgement, it is well known what it is. In reference to An-Nafs Al-Lawwamah, Qurrah bin Khalid reported from Al-Hasan Al-Basri that he said about this Ayah, "Verily, by Allah, we think that every believer blames himself. He says (questioning himself), `What did I intend by my statement What did I intend by my eating What did I intend in what I said to myself' However, the sinner proceeds ahead and he does not blame himself.'' Ibn Jarir recorded from Sa`id bin Jubayr that he said concerning Allah's statement,
(And nay! I swear by An-Nafs Al-Lawwamah) "He criticizes himself in good and bad.'' Similar has been reported from `Ikrimah. Ibn Abi Najih reported from Mujahid: "He is sorry for what he missed (of good deeds) and he blames himself for it.'' Allah said;
(Does man think that We shall not assemble his bones) meaning, `on the Day of Judgement does he think that We are not able to return his bones and gather them from their various places'
(Yes, We are able to put together in perfect order the tips of his fingers.) meaning, `does man think that We will not gather his bones Surely, We will gather them and We are quite able to put together his fingertips. This means Our power is suitable to gather (and recreate) them, and if We wished We could surely resurrect him with more than what he originally had. We could make his Banan, which are the tips of his fingers, all equal (in length).' Concerning Allah's statement,
(Nay! Man desires to break out ahead of himself.) Sa`id reported from Ibn `Abbas that he said, "This means to proceed forward.'' Mujahid said about,
(to break out ahead of himself.) "This means that he wants to proceed ahead following his own whims.'' `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas that he said, "This refers to the disbeliever who denies the Day of Reckoning.'' Ibn Zayd said the same thing. Thus, Allah says after this,
(He asks: "When will be this Day of Resurrection'') meaning, he says when will the Day of Judgement be His question is only a question of denying its occurrence, and rejecting its existence. This is as Allah says,
(And they say: "When is this promise if you are truthful'' Say: "The appointment to you is for a Day, which you cannot put back for an hour nor put forward.'') (34:29-30) Here Allah says,
(So, when Bariqa the sight.) Abu `Amr bin Al-`Ala' recited this Ayah as Bariqa with a Kasrah under the letter Ra, which means to be diminished. That which he (Abu `Amr) has said resembles the statement of Allah,
(Their gaze returning not towards them.) (14:43) meaning, they will be looking this way and that way in horror. Their gaze will not be able to rest upon anything due to the severity of the terror on that Day. Others recited it as Baraqa with a Fathah over the letter Ra, and its meaning is close to the first recitation (Bariqa). The intent here is that the eyes will be dazzled, humbled, diminished, and humiliated on the Day of Judgement due to the severity of the horrors and the greatness of the matters that they will witness on that Day. Concerning Allah's statement,
(And the moon will be eclipsed.) meaning, its light will go away.
(And the sun and moon will be joined together.) Mujahid said, "They will be rolled up.'' In explaining this Ayah, Ibn Zayd recited the following Ayat,
(When the sun is wound round and its light is lost and is overthrown, and when the stars fall.) (81:1,2) It has been reported from Ibn Mas`ud that he recited the Ayah as, (وَجُمِعَ بَيْنَ الشَّمْسِ وَالْقَمَرِ) (and the sun and the moon will be joined between each other.) Allah said,
(On that Day man will say: “Where (is the refuge) to flee'') meaning, the human will see these horrors on the Day of Judgement and he will want to flee. He will say, "Where (is the place) to flee to'' This means, where is the escape or refuge Allah then says,
(No! There is no refuge! Unto your Lord will be the place of rest that Day.) Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Abbas, Sa`id bin Jubayr and several others of the Salaf said, "There will be no salvation.'' This Ayah is similar to Allah's statement,
(You will have no refuge on that Day nor there will be for you any denying.) (42:47) meaning, `there will be no place for you to hide.' This is like what Allah says here,
(There is no refuge.) meaning, `there will be no place for you to seek shelter.' Thus, Allah says,
(Unto your Lord will be the place of rest that Day.) meaning, the place of return and the final destination. The Deeds of Man will be placed before Him on the Day of Judgement Then Allah says,
(On that Day man will be informed of what he sent forward, and what he left behind.) meaning, he will be informed of all of his deeds, the old of them and the recent of them, the first of them and the last of them, the small of them and the large of them. This is as Allah says,
(And they will find all that they did, placed before them, and your Lord treats no one with injustice.) (18:49) Likewise, Allah says here,
(Nay! Man will be well informed about himself, though he may put forth his excuses.) meaning, he will be a witness against himself, knowing full well what he did, even though he will try to make excuses and deny it. This is as Allah says,
(It will be said to him): "Read your book. You are sufficient as a reckoner against yourself this Day.'') `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said,
(Nay! Man will be well informed about himself.) "His hearing, his sight, his two hands, his two legs and his limbs.'' Qatadah said, "This means he is a witness against himself.'' In another narration from Qatadah he said, "By Allah! If you wish to see him, you would see him as someone who sees the shortcomings of the people and their sins, yet he is heedless of his own sins.'' It used to be said, "Verily, it is written in the Injil: `O Son of Adam, do you see the small splinters in the eye of your brother and disregard the tree stump that is in your eye, so you do not see it''' Mujahid said,
(Though he may put forth his excuses.) "This means, even though he argues in defense of it, he is a witness against it.'' Qatadah said,
(Though he may put forth his excuses.) "Even though he will try to make false excuses on that Day, they will not be accepted from him.'' As-Suddi said,
(Though he may put forth his excuses.) "This means his argument.'' This is as Allah says,
(There will then be no Fitnah for them but to say: "By Allah, our Lord, we were not those who joined others in worship with Allah.'') (6:23) Allah also says,
(On the Day when Allah will resurrect them all together; then they will swear to Him as they swear to you (O Muslims). And they think that they have something. Verily, they are liars!) (58:18) Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas:
(Though he may put forth his excuses.) "This is apologizing. Haven't you heard that Allah said,
(The Day when their excuses will be of no profit to wrongdoers.) (40:52) and He says,
(And they will offer submision to Allah on that Day.) (16:87) and He says,
(Then they will (falsely) submit: "We used not to do any evil.'') (16:28) and their statement,
(By Allah, our Lord, we were not those who joined others in worship with Allah.) (6:23)''
(16. Move not your tongue concerning to make haste therewith.) (17. It is for Us to collect it and that it be recited.) (18. And when We have recited it to you, then follow its recitation.) (19. Then it is for Us to make it clear.) (20. But no! Rather you love the present life of this world,) (21. And neglect the Hereafter.) (22. Some faces that Day shall be Nadirah.) (23. Looking at their Lord.) (24. And some faces that Day will be Basirah,) (25. Thinking that some calamity is about to fall on them.)