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Monday, 05 March 2018

Surat Al-A’Raf/The Heights (The Wall With Elevations) 7 - Meccan –Ayats 206 - Section – Three – Verses 40-56


Verily, to those who reject and deny Our Signs, and treat them with arrogance, for them the gates of heaven will not be opened, nor they will enter Paradise, until the camel can pass through the eye of the needle. Such is Our reward for those in sin/ recompense to the criminals-polytheists. (40)  

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِآَيَاتِنَا وَاسْتَكْبَرُوا عَنْهَا لَا تُفَتَّحُ لَهُمْ أَبْوَابُ السَّمَاءِ وَلَا يَدْخُلُونَ الْجَنَّةَ حَتَّى يَلِجَ الْجَمَلُ فِي سَمِّ الْخِيَاطِ وَكَذَلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُجْرِمِينَ (40)

For them there will be as couch/bed of Hell (below) and over them folds and folds coverings (of fire); such is Our requital for those who do wrong/transgressors. (41) 

لَهُمْ مِنْ جَهَنَّمَ مِهَادٌ وَمِنْ فَوْقِهِمْ غَوَاشٍ وَكَذَلِكَ نَجْزِي الظَّالِمِينَ (41)

But those who believe and worked righteousness, We shall not over task any soul but that which it can bear. They will be Companions of Paradise, therein they will dwell (forever). (42)

وَالَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَا نُكَلِّفُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا أُولَئِكَ أَصْحَابُ الْجَنَّةِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ (42)

And We shall remove from their hearts any lurking sense of injury; beneath them will be rivers flowing and they shall say:”All praise and thank are to God, Who has guided us to this, and never could we have guidance, were it not that God had guided us to this felicity! Indeed, it was the truth that the Apostles/Messenger brought to us from our Lord”. And they shall hear the cry:”Behold! This is Paradise which you have been inheritors, for your deeds (of righteousness). (43)     

وَنَزَعْنَا مَا فِي صُدُورِهِمْ مِنْ غِلٍّ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهِمُ الْأَنْهَارُ وَقَالُوا الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي هَدَانَا لِهَذَا وَمَا كُنَّا لِنَهْتَدِيَ لَوْلَا أَنْ هَدَانَا اللَّهُ لَقَدْ جَاءَتْ رُسُلُ رَبِّنَا بِالْحَقِّ وَنُودُوا أَنْ تِلْكُمُ الْجَنَّةُ أُورِثْتُمُوهَا بِمَا كُنْتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ (43)

The Companions/Dwellers of Paradise will call out to the Companions/Dwellers of the fire/hell saying:”we have indeed found the Promises of our Lord to us true; have you also found your lord’s promises true?” They shall say:”Yes”; but a Crier shall proclaim between them:”The curse of God is on the wrong-doers/iniquitous/polytheists. (44)  

وَنَادَى أَصْحَابُ الْجَنَّةِ أَصْحَابَ النَّارِ أَنْ قَدْ وَجَدْنَا مَا وَعَدَنَا رَبُّنَا حَقًّا فَهَلْ وَجَدْتُمْ مَا وَعَدَ رَبُّكُمْ حَقًّا قَالُوا نَعَمْ فَأَذَّنَ مُؤَذِّنٌ بَيْنَهُمْ أَنْ لَعْنَةُ اللَّهِ عَلَى الظَّالِمِينَ (44)

“Those who would hinder (men) from the path of God, and would seek in it something crooked;- they were those who denied the Hereafter”. (45)

الَّذِينَ يَصُدُّونَ عَنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَيَبْغُونَهَا عِوَجًا وَهُمْ بِالْآَخِرَةِ كَافِرُونَ (45)

And between them shall be a veil/barrier/screen, and on the Heights (a wall with elevated places) will be men who would know/recognize everyone by his marks;- they will call out to the Companions of Paradise:”Peace on you”: They have not (yet) have entered it, but they long intensely to have an assurance (thereof). (46)   

وَبَيْنَهُمَا حِجَابٌ وَعَلَى الْأَعْرَافِ رِجَالٌ يَعْرِفُونَ كُلًّا بِسِيمَاهُمْ وَنَادَوْا أَصْحَابَ الْجَنَّةِ أَنْ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ لَمْ يَدْخُلُوهَا وَهُمْ يَطْمَعُونَ (46)

And when their eyes will be turned towards the Companions of the Fire, they will say:” Our Lord! Do not send/place with the company of the wrongdoers/transgressors/polytheists”. (47)

وَإِذَا صُرِفَتْ أَبْصَارُهُمْ تِلْقَاءَ أَصْحَابِ النَّارِ قَالُوا رَبَّنَا لَا تَجْعَلْنَا مَعَ الْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِينَ (47)

And the men on the Heights will call to certain men who they will know/recognize from their marks, saying:”of what profit/benefit to you were your (hoards of wealth); great number, and your arrogance (against Faith)?” (48)  

وَنَادَى أَصْحَابُ الْأَعْرَافِ رِجَالًا يَعْرِفُونَهُمْ بِسِيمَاهُمْ قَالُوا مَا أَغْنَى عَنْكُمْ جَمْعُكُمْ وَمَا كُنْتُمْ تَسْتَكْبِرُونَ (48)

Behold! Are they those of whom you swore that God would never show/bless them with His Mercy? Enter the Garden/Paradise no fear shall be on you, nor you shall grieve”. (49)

أَهَؤُلَاءِ الَّذِينَ أَقْسَمْتُمْ لَا يَنَالُهُمُ اللَّهُ بِرَحْمَةٍ ادْخُلُوا الْجَنَّةَ لَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْكُمْ وَلَا أَنْتُمْ تَحْزَنُونَ (49)

And the companions/dwellers of Hell will call the dwellers/companions of Paradise:”pour down to us some water or anything that God has provided for you for sustenance”. “Both these things (water and provision) God has forbidden to those who rejected Him/disbelievers”. (50)

وَنَادَى أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ أَصْحَابَ الْجَنَّةِ أَنْ أَفِيضُوا عَلَيْنَا مِنَ الْمَاءِ أَوْ مِمَّا رَزَقَكُمُ اللَّهُ قَالُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ حَرَّمَهُمَا عَلَى الْكَافِرِينَ (50)

Such as: “Those who took their religion as an amusement and play, and were deceived by the life of the world”. So this Day We shall forget them as they forgot the meeting of This Day of theirs; and as they used to reject/deny Our Signs. (51) 

الَّذِينَ اتَّخَذُوا دِينَهُمْ لَهْوًا وَلَعِبًا وَغَرَّتْهُمُ الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا فَالْيَوْمَ نَنْسَاهُمْ كَمَا نَسُوا لِقَاءَ يَوْمِهِمْ هَذَا وَمَا كَانُوا بِآَيَاتِنَا يَجْحَدُونَ (51)

Certainly, We had brought to them a Book (The Qur’an) based on knowledge, which We have explained in details;- a guidance and mercy to all the people who believe. (52)

وَلَقَدْ جِئْنَاهُمْ بِكِتَابٍ فَصَّلْنَاهُ عَلَى عِلْمٍ هُدًى وَرَحْمَةً لِقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ (52)

Do they just wait for the final (interpretations) fulfillment of the event? On the day the event (interpretation) is finally fulfilled, those who disregarded (forgot) it before will say:”Verily, the Messengers of our Lord did indeed bring true (tidings); now are there any intercessors for us, to intercede on our behalf? Or could we be sent back so we should behave differently from our behavior in the past”. Verily, in fact they have lost their souls, and the things they have invented will leave them in the lurch. (53)   

هَلْ يَنْظُرُونَ إِلَّا تَأْوِيلَهُ يَوْمَ يَأْتِي تَأْوِيلُهُ يَقُولُ الَّذِينَ نَسُوهُ مِنْ قَبْلُ قَدْ جَاءَتْ رُسُلُ رَبِّنَا بِالْحَقِّ فَهَلْ لَنَا مِنْ شُفَعَاءَ فَيَشْفَعُوا لَنَا أَوْ نُرَدُّ فَنَعْمَلَ غَيْرَ الَّذِي كُنَّا نَعْمَلُ قَدْ خَسِرُوا أَنْفُسَهُمْ وَضَلَّ عَنْهُمْ مَا كَانُوا يَفْتَرُونَ (53)

Indeed, your Guardian-Lord is God, Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days, and He  firmly established Himself on the Throne (of Authority): He draws the night – as a veil- over the day; each seeking the other in rapid succession: He created the sun, the moon, and the stars, (all) governed by laws under His Command. Surely, His is the creation and commandment. Blessed be God, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds. 54  

إِنَّ رَبَّكُمُ اللَّهُ الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ فِي سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍ ثُمَّ اسْتَوَى عَلَى الْعَرْشِ يُغْشِي اللَّيْلَ النَّهَارَ يَطْلُبُهُ حَثِيثًا وَالشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ وَالنُّجُومَ مُسَخَّرَاتٍ بِأَمْرِهِ أَلَا لَهُ الْخَلْقُ وَالْأَمْرُ تَبَارَكَ اللَّهُ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ (54)

Invoke your Lord with humility and in private and secret; for God does not love those who trespass beyond bounds. (55)

ادْعُوا رَبَّكُمْ تَضَرُّعًا وَخُفْيَةً إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ (55)

And do not mischief on the earth –after it had been set in order- but call-invoke Him with fear and in longing and hope (in your hearts). Surely, the Mercy of God is -ever and always- near to those who are good-doers. (56)    

وَلَا تُفْسِدُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ بَعْدَ إِصْلَاحِهَا وَادْعُوهُ خَوْفًا وَطَمَعًا إِنَّ رَحْمَةَ اللَّهِ قَرِيبٌ مِنَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ (56)

(Verses 40-41-42-43)- A/ A man who may have suffered or been disappointed may have lurking sense of injury at the back of his mind, which may spoil his enjoyment on account of past memory intruding in the midst of felicity. In such cases memory itself is pain. Even sorrow is intensified by memory; as Tennyson says:- “A sorrow’s crown of sorrows is remembering happier things”. But that is in this our imperfect life. In the perfect felicity of the righteous, all such feelings will be blotted out. No “heartaches” then and no memories of them. The clouds of the past will have dissolved in glorious light, and no past happiness will be comparable with the perfect happiness which will have then been attained. Nor will any sense of envy or shortcoming be possible in that perfect bliss. B/Jesus said: ”Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth- Matt.v.5”. here we are told: ‘blessed are the righteous, for they shall inherit the kingdom of heaven’. The stress here is on actual practical deeds of righteousness; whether they find their rewards on earth or not, is immaterial: their attention is directed to an infinitely greater reward, the kingdom of heaven. In the Sermon on the Mount this is promised to the: “Poor in spirit- Matt. V.3.”
(Verse 44)- The Companions of the Fire can only answer a single word, ‘yes’ such is their state of misery. Even so, their voice is drowned in the voice of the Crier, who explains their state: they are in a state of a curse, that is, deprivation of the grace and mercy of God. Such deprivation is the highest misery that souls can suffer.
(Verse 45)- The unrighteous reflect their own crooked minds when the path of God is before them. Instead of going straight, they try to find something in it that suits their own crooked ideas. Frankly they have no faith in the final Goal, the Hereafter.
(Verse 46)- This is a difficult passage, and the Commentators have interpreted it in different ways. Three distinct of schools of thought may be discerned in the interpretation: (1) One school thinks that the men on the Heights are angels, or such men of exalted spiritual dignity (e.g. the great apostles), as will be able to know the souls at sight as regards their spiritual worth; the Heights will be their exalted stations, from which they will welcome the righteous with a salutation of peace even before the righteous have entered heaven; the salutation of peace being itself an assurance of salvation to those whom they salute. (2) Another school of thought thinks that the men on the Heights are such souls as are not decidedly on the side of merit or decidedly on the side of sin, but evenly balanced on a partition between heaven and hell. Their case is yet to be decided, but their salutation to the righteous is a wistful salutation, because they hope for God’s Mercy. (3) The third line of interpretation –with which I agree- is close to the first, with the exception that the partition and the Heights are figurative. The higher souls will rejoice at the approaching salvation of the righteous.
(Verse 47)- Their Eyes: according to interpretation (2) of the last note ‘their’ would refer to the people whose fate has not yet been decided, and the speech would be theirs; according to interpretations (1) and (3) in that note ‘their’ would refer to the companions of the Garden-Paradise, who would realize that terrible nature of hell, and express their horror of it. I prefer the latter. Then the mention of the “Men on the Heights” and their speech in verse 48 comes in naturally as a different kind of speech from a different kind of men.
(Verses 48-49)- This speech is in three parts: (1) the last lines of this verse are addressed to the Companions of the Fire, reminding them (as a bench of judges speak to a prisoner of the futility of their wealth and riches and arrogance in their earthly life: (2) the second part –in the first part of verse 49- recalls to their minds how false was their contempt of the good, but lowly men who are now to be the inheritors of heaven; and (3) the latter part of verse 49, “Enter the Garden/Paradise” is addressed to the Blessed, to give them welcome to their state of felicity.
(Verse 50)- The companions of Fire will thirst for water and not get it, and for sustenance which will not be theirs, while the Companions of the Garden-Paradise will have the refreshing rain of God’s Mercy and the crystal waters of the springs and rivers of God’s pleasure, and they will enjoy the bliss of God’s Countenance, which will be their supreme nourishment and the fruit of their life or probation and seeking. These things will not be transferable. See Surat Al-Saffat 37 verses 41-47+ 62-67.
(Verses 51-52)- “Forgetfulness” may be involuntary, from a defect of memory, or figuratively, a deliberate turning away from, or ignoring of, something we do not want, as when we say in an argument “you conveniently forget that so-and-so”. Here the latter kind is meant. If men deliberately ignored the Hereafter -in spite of the warnings- can they expect to be received by God. When they themselves rejected?!
(Verse 53)- If those without Faith want to wait and see what happens in the Hereafter, they will indeed learn the truth, but it will be too late for them to profit by it then. All the false ideals and false gods which they put their trust upon will leave them in the lurch. If they thought that the goodness or greatness of others would help them, they will be undeceived on the day when their personal responsibility will be enforced. There will be no salvation except on their own record. How they will then wish that they had another chance! But their chance will be gone.
(Verse 54)- A/ A sublime verse, comparable to the Throne Verse 255 Surat Al-Bagara 2. The Creation in six Days is of course metaphorical. In Surat Al-Jathia 45 verse 14, the “Days of God” refer not so much to time as to the growth in us of spiritual sense, a sense of God’s Mercy. In Surat Al-Hajj verse 47, we are told that a Day in the sight of God is like a thousand years of our reckoning, and in Surat Al-Ma’arij 70 verse 4, the comparison is with 50,000 of our years. In the history of our material earth, we may reckon six great epochs of evolution. The significance of the figure six will be discussed in connection with Surat Fussilat 41 verses 9-12, where the matter is referred to in more detail. B/Throne=Arsh, is of course metaphorical, a symbol of authority, power, and vigilance, as Kursi =(chair) seat/throne) in Surat Al-Bagara 2 verse 255. Kursi perhaps refers to majesty, while ‘Arsh’ to power; and the slightly different shades of meaning throw light on the two passages. Here, we are told of the creation of the heavens and the earth in six days. But lest we should be obsessed with the Jewish idea that God rested on the seventh day, we are told that the Creation was but a prelude of God’s work; for His authority is exercised constantly by the laws which He establishes and enforces in all parts of His Creation. The beautiful imagery of night and day seeking out each other in rapid succession is still further enforced in the Arabic by the double accusative of the verb Yughshi, showing the mutual interactions of the day and the night, each covering the other in turn. The heavenly bodies show an order  which is evidence of His constant care and  government. Not only that, but it is only He Who creates, maintains, and governs, and no one else.
(Verse 55)- in prayer, we must avoid any arrogance or show of loudness, or vanity of requests or words. If excess is condemned in all things, it is specially worthy of condemnation when we go humbly before our Lord;- we poor creatures before the Omnipotent Who Knows-All.
(Verse 56)- A/ The man who pray with humility and earnestness finds the ground prepared by God for his spiritual advancement. It is all set in order, and cleared of weeds. He does not –like the wicked- upset that order, to introduce evil or mischief into it. B/ Fear and Longing: the fear of God is really a fear lest we should diverge from His Will, or do anything which would not be pleasing to Him; unlike ordinary fear, it therefore brings us nearer to God, and in fact nourishes our longing and desire for Him.