Tafsir Ibn Kathir- Surah 88. Al-Gashiya, Ayaat 17 To 26



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أَفَلَا يَنْظُرُونَ إِلَى الْإِبِلِ كَيْفَ خُلِقَتْ١٧وَإِلَى السَّمَاءِ كَيْفَ رُفِعَتْ١٨وَإِلَى الْجِبَالِ كَيْفَ نُصِبَتْ١٩وَإِلَى الْأَرْضِ كَيْفَ سُطِحَتْ٢٠فَذَكِّرْ إِنَّمَا أَنْتَ مُذَكِّرٌ٢١لَسْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ بِمُصَيْطِرٍ٢٢إِلَّا مَنْ تَوَلَّىٰ وَكَفَرَ٢٣فَيُعَذِّبُهُ اللَّهُ الْعَذَابَ الْأَكْبَرَ٢٤إِنَّ إِلَيْنَا إِيَابَهُمْ٢٥ثُمَّ إِنَّ عَلَيْنَا حِسَابَهُمْ٢٦


أَفَلاَ يَنظُرُونَ إِلَى الإِبِلِ كَيْفَ خُلِقَتْ - وَإِلَى السَّمَآءِ كَيْفَ رُفِعَتْ - وَإِلَى الْجِبَالِ كَيْفَ نُصِبَتْ - وَإِلَى الاٌّرْضِ كَيْفَ سُطِحَتْ - فَذَكِّرْ إِنَّمَآ أَنتَ مُذَكِّرٌ - لَّسْتَ عَلَيْهِم بِمُسَيْطِرٍ - إِلاَّ مَن تَوَلَّى وَكَفَرَ - فَيْعَذِّبُهُ اللَّهُ الْعَذَابَ الاٌّكْبَرَ - إِنَّ إِلَيْنَآ إِيَابَهُمْ - ثُمَّ إِنَّ عَلَيْنَا حِسَابَهُمْ

17. Do they not look at the camels, how they are created 18. And at the heaven, how it is raised 19. And at the mountains, how they are rooted 20. And at the earth, how it is outspread 21. So remind them -- you are only one who reminds. 22. You are not a Musaytir over them. 23. Save the one who turns away and disbelieves. 24. Then Allah will punish him with the greatest punishment. 25. Verily, to Us will be their return; 26. Then verily, for Us will be their reckoning.

The Exhortation to look at the Creation of the Camel, the Heaven, the Mountains and the Earth

Allah commands His servants to look at His creations that prove His power and greatness. He says,

﴿أَفَلاَ يَنظُرُونَ إِلَى الإِبِلِ كَيْفَ خُلِقَتْ ﴾

(Do they not look at the camels, how they are created) Indeed it is an amazing creation, and the way it has been fashioned is strange. For it is extremely powerful and strong, yet gentle, carrying heavy loads. It allows itself to be guided by a weak rider. It is eaten, benefit is derived from its hair, and its milk is drunk. They are reminded of this because the most common domestic animal of the Arabs was the camel. Shurayh Al-Qadi used to say, "Come out with us so that we may look at the camels and how they were created, and at the sky and how it has been raised.'' Meaning, how Allah raised it in such magnificence above the ground. This is as Allah says,

﴿أَفَلَمْ يَنظُرُواْ إِلَى السَّمَآءِ فَوْقَهُمْ كَيْفَ بَنَيْنَـهَا وَزَيَّنَّـهَا وَمَا لَهَا مِن فُرُوجٍ ﴾

(Have they not looked at the heaven above them, how we have made it and adorned it and there are no rifts on it) (50:6) Then Allah says,

﴿وَإِلَى الْجِبَالِ كَيْفَ نُصِبَتْ ﴾

(And at the mountains, how they are rooted) meaning, how they have been erected. For indeed they are firmly affixed so that the earth does not sway with its dwellers. And He made them with the benefits and minerals they contain.

﴿وَإِلَى الاٌّرْضِ كَيْفَ سُطِحَتْ ﴾

(And at the earth, how it is outspread) meaning, how it has been spread out, extended and made smooth. Thus, He directs the bedouin to consider what he himself witnesses. His camel that he rides upon, the sky that is above his head, the mountain that faces him, and the earth that is under him, all of this is proof of the power of the Creator and Maker of these things. These things should lead him to see that He is the Lord, the Most Great, the Creator, the Owner, and the Controller of everything. Therefore, He is the God other than Whom none deserves to be worshipped.

The Story of Dimam bin Tha`labah

These are the things Dimam swore by after questioning the Messenger of Allah . This can be seen in what Imam Ahmad recorded from Thabit, who reported that Anas said, "We were prohibited from asking the Messenger of Allah anything. Thus, it used to amaze us when an intelligent man from the people of the desert (bedouin Arabs) would come and ask him about something while we were listening. So a man from the people of the desert came and said, `O Muhammad! Verily, your messenger has come to us and he claims that you claim that Allah sent you.' He (the Prophet) said,

«صَدَق»

(He told the truth.) The man said, Who created the heaven؟ He (the Prophet ) replied,

«الله»

,(Alla0h.) The man said, Who created the earth؟ He (the Prophet ) replied,

«الله»

,(Alla0h). The man said, `Who erected these mountains and placed in them whatever is in them' He (the Prophet ) replied, ا,(Allah). Then the man said, `By the One Who created the heaven, the earth, and erected these mountains, did Allah send you' He (the Prophet ) said,

«نَعَم»

(Yes.) The man then said, `Your messenger claims that we are obligated to pray five prayers during our day and night.' He (the Prophet ) said,

«صَدَق»

(He told the truth.) The man then said, `By He Who has sent you, did Allah command you with this' He (the Prophet ) replied,

«نَعَم»

(Yes.) The man then said, `Your messenger also claims that we are obligated to give charity from our wealth.' He (the Prophet ) said,

«صَدَق»

(He told the truth.) Then the man said, `By He Who has sent you, did Allah command you with this' He (the Prophet ) replied,

«نَعَم»

(Yes.) The man then said, `Your messenger claims that we are obligated to perform pilgrimage (Hajj) to the House (the Ka`bah), for whoever is able to find a way there.' He (the Prophet ) said,

«صَدَق»

(He told the truth.) Then the man turned away to leave while saying, `By He Who has sent you with the truth, I will not add anything to these things and I will not decrease anything from them.' The Prophet then said,

«إِنْ صَدَقَ لَيَدْخُلَنَّ الْجَنَّة»

(If he has spoken truthfully, he will certainly enter Paradise.) This Hadith was recorded by Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah.

 

The Messenger is only charged with delivering the Message

Allah says,

﴿فَذَكِّرْ إِنَّمَآ أَنتَ مُذَكِّرٌ - لَّسْتَ عَلَيْهِم بِمُسَيْطِرٍ ﴾

(So remind them -- you are only one who reminds. You are not a Musaytir over them) meaning, "O Muhammad! Remind the people with what you have been sent with to them.''

﴿فَإِنَّمَا عَلَيْكَ الْبَلَـغُ وَعَلَيْنَا الْحِسَابُ﴾

(your duty is only to convey (the Message) and on Us is the reckoning.) (13:40) Then Allah says,

﴿لَّسْتَ عَلَيْهِم بِمُسَيْطِرٍ ﴾

(You are not a Musaytir over them.) Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and others said, "You are not a dictator over them.'' This means that you cannot create faith in their hearts. Ibn Zayd said, "You are not the one who can force them to have faith.'' Imam Ahmad recorded from Jabir that the Messenger of Allah said,

«أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أُقَاتِلَ النَّاسَ حَتْى يَقُولُوا: لَا إِلهَ إِلَّا اللهُ، فَإِذَا قَالُوهَا عَصَمُوا مِنِّي دِمَاءَهُمْ وَأَمْوَالَهُمْ إِلَّا بِحَقِّهَا، وَحِسَابُهُمْ عَلَى اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَل»

(I have been commanded to fight the people until they say La ilaha illallah (none has the right to be worshipped except Allah). So if they say that, they have safeguarded their blood and wealth from me - except for what is rightfully due from it - and their reckoning is with Allah, the Mighty and Majestic.)'' Then he recited,

﴿فَذَكِّرْ إِنَّمَآ أَنتَ مُذَكِّرٌ - لَّسْتَ عَلَيْهِم بِمُسَيْطِرٍ ﴾

(So remind them - you are only one who reminds. You are not a dictator over them -) This is how Muslim recorded this Hadith in his Book of Faith, and At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa'i also recorded it in their Sunans in the Books of Tafsir. This Hadith can be found in both of the Two Sahihs.

The Threat for Whoever turns away from the Truth

Concerning Allah's statement,

﴿إِلاَّ مَن تَوَلَّى وَكَفَرَ ﴾

(Save the one who turns away and disbelieves.) meaning, he turns away from acting upon its pillars, and he disbelieves in the truth with his heart and his tongue. This is similar to Allah's statement,

﴿فَلاَ صَدَّقَ وَلاَ صَلَّى - وَلَـكِن كَذَّبَ وَتَوَلَّى ﴾

(So he neither believed nor prayed! But on the contrary, he belied and turn away!) (75:31-32) Thus, Allah says,

﴿فَيْعَذِّبُهُ اللَّهُ الْعَذَابَ الاٌّكْبَرَ ﴾

(Then Allah will punish him with the greatest punishment.) Allah then says,

﴿إِنَّ إِلَيْنَآ إِيَابَهُمْ ﴾

(Verily, to Us will be their return;) meaning, their place of return and their resort.

﴿ثُمَّ إِنَّ عَلَيْنَا حِسَابَهُمْ ﴾

(Then verily, for Us will be their reckoning.) meaning, `We will reckon their deeds for them and requite them for those deeds.' If they did good, they will receive good, and if they did evil, they will receive evil. This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Ghashiyah.

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