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Monday, 19 February 2018

Surat Al-A’Raf/The Heights (The Wall With Elevations) 7 -Meccan –Ayats 207 - Section – One – Verses 1-25


  Alif, Lam, Mim, Sad. (1)

المص (1)

(This is a) Book revealed to [O’ Muhammad PPBUH], so let not your heart/breast be narrow or oppressed no more by any difficulty on that account,- that with it you might thereby warn (the erring) and (teach) reminder to the believers. (2)  

كِتَابٌ أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكَ فَلَا يَكُنْ فِي صَدْرِكَ حَرَجٌ مِنْهُ لِتُنْذِرَ بِهِ وَذِكْرَى لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ (2)

Follow (O’ men !) the revelation sent down to you from your Lord (the Qur’an), and follow not any of friends or protectors, other than Him. Little it is you remember of admonition. (3)

اتَّبِعُوا مَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكُمْ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا مِنْ دُونِهِ أَوْلِيَاءَ قَلِيلًا مَا تَذَكَّرُونَ (3)

And how many villages/towns We have destroyed (for their sins)? Our torment/punishment took them on a sudden by night or while they were taking their midday nap/afternoon rest. (4)

وَكَمْ مِنْ قَرْيَةٍ أَهْلَكْنَاهَا فَجَاءَهَا بَأْسُنَا بَيَاتًا أَوْ هُمْ قَائِلُونَ (4)

When (thus) Our punishment took them; no cry did they utter but this:”Indeed, we were iniquitous (polytheists/wrongdoers/transgressors). (5)

فَمَا كَانَ دَعْوَاهُمْ إِذْ جَاءَهُمْ بَأْسُنَا إِلَّا أَنْ قَالُوا إِنَّا كُنَّا ظَالِمِينَ (5)

Then surely, We shall question those (people) to whom it (the Book) was sent, and verily, We shall question the Messengers. (6)

فَلَنَسْأَلَنَّ الَّذِينَ أُرْسِلَ إِلَيْهِمْ وَلَنَسْأَلَنَّ الْمُرْسَلِينَ (6)

Then surely, We shall narrate to them their whole story with knowledge, and indeed We were never absent (at any time or place). (7)

فَلَنَقُصَّنَّ عَلَيْهِمْ بِعِلْمٍ وَمَا كُنَّا غَائِبِينَ (7)

And the weighing (balance) on that day (Day of Resurrection) will be true (to a nicety weighing). So for those whose scale (of good) will be heavy, they will be successful/prosper. (8)

وَالْوَزْنُ يَوْمَئِذٍ الْحَقُّ فَمَنْ ثَقُلَتْ مَوَازِينُهُ فَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ (8)

And as for those whose scale will be light, they will find their souls in perdition, because they wrongfully denied, and rejected Our Signs. (9)

وَمَنْ خَفَّتْ مَوَازِينُهُ فَأُولَئِكَ الَّذِينَ خَسِرُوا أَنْفُسَهُمْ بِمَا كَانُوا بِآَيَاتِنَا يَظْلِمُونَ (9)

And surely, it is We Who have strengthened you with authority on earth, and provided you therein with means for the fulfillment of your life; (alas !) little and small are the thanks that you do give.(10)

وَلَقَدْ مَكَّنَّاكُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَجَعَلْنَا لَكُمْ فِيهَا مَعَايِشَ قَلِيلًا مَا تَشْكُرُونَ (10)

And surely, it is We Who have created you, and gave you shape; and then We told/commanded / bade the angels to ‘prostrate yourselves to Adam’, and they prostrated themselves except Iblis/ Lucifer, he refused to be of those who prostrated themselves. (11)

وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَاكُمْ ثُمَّ صَوَّرْنَاكُمْ ثُمَّ قُلْنَا لِلْمَلَائِكَةِ اسْجُدُوا لِآَدَمَ فَسَجَدُوا إِلَّا إِبْلِيسَ لَمْ يَكُنْ مِنَ السَّاجِدِينَ (11)

He (God) said:”What prevented you that you did not prostrate yourself, when I commanded you?”; he (Iblis/Lucifer) said:”I am better than him (Adam) You created me from fire, and him You created from clay”. (12)

قَالَ مَا مَنَعَكَ أَلَّا تَسْجُدَ إِذْ أَمَرْتُكَ قَالَ أَنَا خَيْرٌ مِنْهُ خَلَقْتَنِي مِنْ نَارٍ وَخَلَقْتَهُ مِنْ طِينٍ (12)

(God) said:”get down from this (Paradise), it is not for you to be arrogant (meanest of creature). Get out, for you are of those humiliated and disgraced”. (13)

قَالَ فَاهْبِطْ مِنْهَا فَمَا يَكُونُ لَكَ أَنْ تَتَكَبَّرَ فِيهَا فَاخْرُجْ إِنَّكَ مِنَ الصَّاغِرِينَ (13)

(Iblis/Lucifer) said:”Allow me respite till the day they are raised up: (Day of Resurrection”. (14)

قَالَ أَنْظِرْنِي إِلَى يَوْمِ يُبْعَثُونَ (14)

(God) said:”you are of those who have respite” 15

قَالَ إِنَّكَ مِنَ الْمُنْظَرِينَ (15)

(Iblis/Lucifer) said:”Because You have sent/thrown me astray (out of the Way), lo! I will lie in wait for them on Your Straight Way/Path”. (16) 

قَالَ فَبِمَا أَغْوَيْتَنِي لَأَقْعُدَنَّ لَهُمْ صِرَاطَكَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ (16)

“Then I will assault them/come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and their left, and You will not find most of them as thankful or gratitude ones (for Your Mercies) 17 

ثُمَّ لَآَتِيَنَّهُمْ مِنْ بَيْنِ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِمْ وَعَنْ أَيْمَانِهِمْ وَعَنْ شَمَائِلِهِمْ وَلَا تَجِدُ أَكْثَرَهُمْ شَاكِرِينَ (17)

(God) said:”Get out from this (Paradise), disgraced and expelled. Whosoever of them (mankind) follow you, then surely, I Will Hell with you all”. 18

قَالَ اخْرُجْ مِنْهَا مَذْءُومًا مَدْحُورًا لَمَنْ تَبِعَكَ مِنْهُمْ لَأَمْلَأَنَّ جَهَنَّمَ مِنْكُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ (18)

“And O’ Adam! Dwell you and your wife in the Paradise, and enjoying eating thereof as you both wish, but do not approach this tree, (if you did) then you will run into harm and transgression”. 19

وَيَا آَدَمُ اسْكُنْ أَنْتَ وَزَوْجُكَ الْجَنَّةَ فَكُلَا مِنْ حَيْثُ شِئْتُمَا وَلَا تَقْرَبَا هَذِهِ الشَّجَرَةَ فَتَكُونَا مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ (19)

Then Satan began to whisper suggestions to them, bringing openly before their minds all their shame that which was hidden from them (before): he said:”Your Lord only forbade you this tree lest you should become angels or such immortal beings (live forever). (20)

فَوَسْوَسَ لَهُمَا الشَّيْطَانُ لِيُبْدِيَ لَهُمَا مَا وُورِيَ عَنْهُمَا مِنْ سَوْآَتِهِمَا وَقَالَ مَا نَهَاكُمَا رَبُّكُمَا عَنْ هَذِهِ الشَّجَرَةِ إِلَّا أَنْ تَكُونَا مَلَكَيْنِ أَوْ تَكُونَا مِنَ الْخَالِدِينَ (20)

And he swore to them both (saying):”I am one of the sincere well-wishers and good adviser for you both”. (21)

وَقَاسَمَهُمَا إِنِّي لَكُمَا لَمِنَ النَّاصِحِينَ (21)

So he deceived and derailed them with deception (brought them to their fall); s when they tasted the tree, their shame (their private parts) became manifest to them, and they began to sew together the leaves of the Garden over their bodies (in order to cover their shame). And their Lord called out to them (saying):”Did I not forbid you that tree, and tell you that: verily, Satan was avowed enemy to you”. (22)

فَدَلَّاهُمَا بِغُرُورٍ فَلَمَّا ذَاقَا الشَّجَرَةَ بَدَتْ لَهُمَا سَوْآَتُهُمَا وَطَفِقَا يَخْصِفَانِ عَلَيْهِمَا مِنْ وَرَقِ الْجَنَّةِ وَنَادَاهُمَا رَبُّهُمَا أَلَمْ أَنْهَكُمَا عَنْ تِلْكُمَا الشَّجَرَةِ وَأَقُلْ لَكُمَا إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ لَكُمَا عَدُوٌّ مُبِينٌ (22)

They said:”Our Lord! We have wronged our own souls; if you do not forgive us, and do not bestow upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be lost”(23)

قَالَا رَبَّنَا ظَلَمْنَا أَنْفُسَنَا وَإِنْ لَمْ تَغْفِرْ لَنَا وَتَرْحَمْنَا لَنَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ (23)

(God) said:”Descend/Get down, being to one another enemies (Adam/Eve and the Satan). On earth will be your dwelling place, and your mean of livelihood and enjoyment,- for a time”. (24) 

قَالَ اهْبِطُوا بَعْضُكُمْ لِبَعْضٍ عَدُوٌّ وَلَكُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ مُسْتَقَرٌّ وَمَتَاعٌ إِلَى حِينٍ (24)

He Said:”Therein you shall live, and therein you shall die; and from it you shall be taken and brought out (at last in resurrection). (25)

قَالَ فِيهَا تَحْيَوْنَ وَفِيهَا تَمُوتُونَ وَمِنْهَا تُخْرَجُونَ (25)

This Sura is closely connected –both chronologically and in respect of the argument- with the previous Sura. But it expounds the doctrine of the revelation and man’s spiritual history by illustrations from Adam onwards, through various Prophets, and the details of Moses’ struggles, to the time of the Apostle Muhammad Al-Mustapha [PPBUH], and in whom God’s revelation is completed.
Summary: The note: “Learn from the past”, is struck from the very beginning. The opposition of Evil to Good is illustrated by the story of Adam and Iblis/Lucifer. Arrogance leads to rebellion; the rebel is jealous and tempts the natural man, who is warned against deceit and all excess (verses 1-31).
If the warning is not heeded, the future penalties are indicated, while the privileges and the bliss and peace of the righteous are shown in a picture of the Hereafter, as well as in the power and goodness of God in the world that we see around us. (verses 32-58).
The story of Noah and the Flood, and the stories of Hud, Salih, Lot, and Shu’aib, all point to the lesson  that the Prophets were resisted and rejected, but truth triumph in the end, and evil was humbled, for God’s Plan never fails. (verses 59-99).
The story of Moses is told in greater detail –not only in his struggles with Pharaoh- but in his preparation for his mission, and his struggles with his own rebellious people. Even from the time of Moses the coming of the unlettered Apostle [PPBUH] was foreshadowed. (verses 100-157).
But the people of Moses frequently lapsed from God’s Law as promulgated to them, and transgressed God’s Covenant, and they were scattered through the earth in sections. (verses 158-171).
The children of Adam have multiplied, but many of them have rejected truth and go by degrees to destruction in ways that they do not realize. The righteous listen to the Message of God, and serve Him in humility. (verse 171-206).
Revelation should ease the difficulties of heart and mind, for it tells the story of man’s spiritual past, and teaches the end of good and evil. Iblis/Lucifer fell from jealousy and arrogance, and Adams fell because he listened to his deceit. But God did grant –in His Mercy gift and guidance to men- warned them against excess, and taught them moderation of justice.
(Verse 1)- The combination of four Abbreviated Letters. For the Abbreviated Letters generally a separate study was published before. The combination here includes the three letters ALIF. LAM. MIM. Which occurred at, and discussed in Surat Al-Bagara and Al-Imran. 
The additional letter Sad occurs in combination here and in Surat Maryam/Marry 19, and by itself at the beginning of Surat Sad 38, and nowhere else. The factor common to Surat Al-A’raf 7, and Surat Maryam 19, and Surat Sad 38, is that in each case the core of the Sura consists in stories (Qisas) of the Prophets. In this Sura we have the stories of David, Solomon, and Job similarly lead to up to Muhammad [PPBUH], occupying three out of the five sections. Surat Maryam 19 consists almost entirely of such stories. Can we understand Sad to stand for Qisas, of which it is the most characteristic lette? In this Sura 7, we have also the spiritual history of mankind traced;- the Beginning, the Middle, and the end, which –as explained before- might be represented symbolically by Alif. Lam. Mim. If so, this Sura –dealing with the Beginning, Middle, and End of man’s spiritual story, and illustrating it by the stories of the Prophets- might well be represented symbolically by the letters Alif, Lam, Mim, Sad. But no one can be dogmatic about these symbols. We must accept them as symbols with mystic meaning.
(Verse 2)- Heart: in the original Breast. We have used the word most appropriate to the English idiom. The meaning is that Al-Mustapha [PPBUH] is consoled for all the difficulties which he encountered in his mission, with the fact that he had clear guidance in the Book for his preaching.
(Verses 3-4)- This is added in order that men might not be puffed up with little knowledge as they possessed, for there are great heights to be scaled in the spiritual kingdom.
(Verse 5)- the spiritual story of man begins with a prelude. Think of the towns and nations ruined by their iniquity. God gave them many opportunities, and sent them Warner and teachers. But they arrogantly went on in their evil ways, till some dreadful calamity came like a thief in the night and wiped out their traces. In a warm climate the disturbance in the heat of the midday rest is even more than the disturbance at night. It was when the catastrophe came that the people realized their sins, but it was too late.
(Verse 6)- In the final reckoning, the Warner and teachers will give  evidence of their preaching the truth, and the wicked will themselves have to acknowledge the truth. We picture it like a court scene, when the story is related, but the Judge knows all, even more than the parties tell.
(Verses 7-8-9)- God is never absent from any place  or at any time, for Time and Place are relative conceptions for our limited nature, while He is the Absolute, Independent of such relative conceptions.
(Verse 10)- That is, all the material things which are necessary to sustain, beautify, and refine life, as well as all those powers, faculties, and opportunities which are instrumental in bringing up life to a higher plane and preparing man for his high spiritual destiny.
(Verse 11)- A/ Shape or form must be interpreted not only to refer to the physical form, which changes day by day, but also the various forms or shapes which our ideal and spiritual existence may take from time to time according to our inner experiences (see Surat Al-Infitar 82 verse 8). The original Form or Idea, or Pattern, according to Plato’s mystic doctrine as developed in his ‘Republic’ may also be compared with the ‘names’ or nature and quality of things, which God taught Adam;- as in Al-Bagara 2 verse 31, Surat Al-An’am 6 verse 94. It was after Adam (as standing for all mankind) has been o taught that the angels were asked to bow down and prostrate to him, for –by God’s Grace- his status had actually been raised higher. Note the transition from “you”  (Plural) to “Adam” in the second clause: Adam and mankind are synonymous: the plural is reverted to it in verses 14,16,18. B/ Iblis/Lucifer not only refused to bow down/prostrate; he refused to be of those who bowed down/prostrated. In other words he arrogantly despised the angels who bowed down, as well as to man to whom they bowed down; and he was in rebellion against God for not obeying His Order. Arrogance, jealousy, and rebellion were his triple crime.
(Verse 12)- Notice the subtle wiles of Iblis/Lucifer: his egotism in putting himself above man, and his falsehood in ignoring the fact that God had not merely made man’s body from clay, but had given him spiritual form, in other words, had taught him the nature of things and raised him above the angels.
(Verses 13-14)- “This”;- the situation as it was then,- a rebellious creature impertinent to His Creator. At every step Iblis/Lucifer  falls lower; arrogance, jealousy, disobedience, egotism and untruth.
(Verse 15)- Are there others under respite? Yes, Iblis/Lucifer has a large army of wicked seducers, and those men who are their cheated dupes. For though degradation takes effect at once, its appearance may be long delayed.
(Verse 16)- Another instance of Iblis/Lucifer’s subtlety and falsehood. He waits till he gets the respite. Then he breaks out into a lie and impertinent defiance. The lie is suggesting that God had thrown him out of the Way, in other words misled him; whereas his own conduct was responsible for his degradation. The defiance is in his setting snares on the Straight Way to which God directs men. Iblis now falls a step lower than the five steps mentioned above in v 13-14. His sixth step is defiance.
(Verses 17-18)- The assault of evil is from all sides. It takes advantage of every weak point, and some-times even our good and generous sympathies are used to decoy us into the snares of evil. Man has every reason to be grateful to God for all His loving care, and yet man in his folly forgets his gratitude and does the very opposite of what he should do.
(Verse 19)- A/ Now the story turns to man. He was places in a spiritual Garden of innocence and bliss, but it was God’s Plan to give him a limited faculty of choice. All that he was forbidden to do was to approach the Tree of Evil, but he succumbed to Satan’s suggestions. B/ Enjoy: literally “Eat”. The meaning of Ta’ama in Surat Al-Ma’da 6 verse 14 and Akala: Surat Al-Nisa’a 5 verse 69.
(Verses 20-21-22-23-24)- A/ The transition from the name “Iblis” to the name “Satan” is similar to that in Surat Al-Bagara 2 verse 36, where it is explained in the commentary. B/ Our first parents as created by God (and this applies to all of us) were innocent in the matters material as well as spiritual . they knew no evil. But the faculty of choice, which was given to them and which raised them above the angels, also implied that they had the capacity of evil, which by the training of their own will, they were to reject. They were warned of the danger. When they fell, they realized the evil. They were (and we are) still given the chance, in this life on the lower plane, to make good and recover the lost status of innocence and bliss.
(Verse 25)- This whole passage about Adam with the passage in Surat Al-Bagara 2 verses 30-39, and with other passages in subsequent Surats. In places the words are precisely the same, and yet the whole argument is different. In each case it exactly fits the context. In Surat Al-Bagara 2, the argument was about the origins of man. Here the argument is a prelude to his history on earth, and so it continues logically in the next section to address the Children of Adam, and goes on afterwards with the story of the various apostles that came to guide mankind. Truth is one, but its apt presentment in human words shows a different facet in different contexts.