Ha Mim. 4356
The revelation of this Book is from Allah Exalted in Power Full of Knowledge 4357
Who forgiveth Sin accepteth Repentance is strict in Punishment and hath a Long Reach (in all things). There is no god but He: to Him is the Final Goal. 4358
None can dispute about the Signs of Allah but the Unbelievers. Let not then their strutting about through the land deceive thee! 4359 4360
But (there were people) before them who denied (the Signs) the People of Noah and the confederates (of Evil) after them; and every People plotted against their prophet to seize him and disputed by means of vanities therewith to condemn the truth; but it was I that seized them! And how (terrible) was My Requital! 4361 4362 4363
Thus was the Decree of thy Lord proved true against the Unbelievers; that truly they are Companions of Fire! 4364
Those who sustain the Throne (of Allah) and those around it sing Glory and Praise to their Lord; believe in Him; and implore forgiveness for those who believe: "Our Lord! Thy reach is over all things in Mercy and Knowledge. Forgive then those who turn in repentance and follow Thy Path: and preserve them from the Penalty of the Blazing Fire! 4365 4366
"And grant our Lord! That they enter the Gardens of Eternity which Thou hast promised to them and to the righteous among their fathers their wives and their posterity! For Thou art (He) the Exalted in Might Full of Wisdom. 4367
"And preserve them from (all) ills; and any whom thou dost preserve from ills that Day on them wilt Thou have bestowed Mercy indeed: and that will be truly (for them) the highest Achievement. 4368 4369
The Unbelievers will be addressed: "Greater was the aversion of Allah to you than (is) your aversion to yourselves seeing that ye were called to the Faith and ye used to refuse." 4370
They will say:" Our Lord! twice hast Thou made us without life and twice hast Thou given us Life! Now have we recognized our sins: is there any way out (of this)?" 4371
(The answer will be:) "This is because when Allah was invoked as the only (object of worship) ye did reject Faith but when partners were joined to Him ye believed! The command is with Allah Most High Most Great!" 4372 4373
He it is Who showeth you His Signs and sendeth down sustenance for you from the sky: but only those receive admonition who turn (to Allah). 4374
Call ye then upon Allah with sincere devotion to Him even though the Unbelievers may detest it. 4375
Raised high above ranks (or degrees) (He is) the Lord of the Throne (of authority): by his command doth He send the spirit (of inspiration) to any of His servants He pleases that it may warn (men) of the Day of Mutual Meeting 4376 4377 4378
The Day whereon they will (all) come forth: Not a single thing concerning them is hidden from Allah. Whose will be the dominion that Day? That of Allah the One the Irresistible! 4379
That Day will every soul be requited for what it earned; no injustice will there be that Day for Allah is Swift in taking account. 4380
Warn them of the Day that is (ever) drawing near when the Hearts will (come) right up to the Throats to choke (them); no intimate friend nor intercessor will the wrongdoers have who could be listened to. 4381 4382
(Allah) knows of (the tricks) that deceive with the eyes and all that hearts (of men) conceal. 4383 4384
And Allah will judge with (Justice and) Truth: but those whom (men) invoke besides Him will not (be in a position) to judge at all. Verily it is Allah (alone) Who hears and sees (all things). 4385
Do they not travel through the earth and see what was the End of those before them? They were even superior to them in strength and in the traces (they have left) in the land: but Allah did call them to account for their sins and none had they to defend them against Allah. 4386 4387
That was because there came to them their apostles with Clear (Signs) but they rejected them: So Allah called them to account: for He is full of Strength Strict in Punishment. 4388
Of old We sent Moses with Our Signs and Authority manifest 4389
To Pharaoh Haman and Qarun; but they called (him) "a sorcerer telling lies!"... 4390
Now when he came to them in Truth from Us they said "Slay the sons of those who believe with him and keep alive their females" but the plots of Unbelievers (end) in nothing but errors (and delusions)!"... 4391 4392
Said Pharaoh: "Leave me to slay Moses; and let him Call on his Lord! What I fear is lest he should change your religion or lest he should cause mischief to appear in the land!" 4393 4394
Moses said: "I have indeed called upon my Lord and your Lord (for protection) from every arrogant one who believes not in the Day of Account!" 4395
A believer a man from among the people of Pharaoh who had concealed his faith said: "Will ye slay a man because he says `My Lord is Allah'? When he has indeed come to you with Clear (Signs) from your Lord? And if he be a liar on him is (the sin of) his lie: but if he is telling the Truth then will fall on you something of the (calamity) of which he warns you: truly Allah guides not one who transgresses and lies! 4396 4397 4398
"O my people! yours is the dominion this day: ye have the upper hand in the land: but who will help us from the Punishment of Allah should it befall us?" Pharaoh said: "I but point out to you that which I see (myself); nor do I guide you but to the Path of Right!" 4399 4400
Then said the man who believed: "O my People! truly I do fear for you something like the Day (of disaster) of the Confederates (in sin)! 4401 4402
"Something like the fate of the people of Noah the `Ad and the Thamud and those who came after them: but Allah never wishes injustice to His Servants. 4403
"And O my People! I fear for you a Day when there will be mutual calling (and wailing) 4404
A day when ye shall turn your backs and flee: no defender shall ye have from Allah: any whom Allah leaves to stray there is none to guide...
"And to you there came Joseph in times gone by with Clear Signs but ye ceased not to doubt of the (mission) for which he had come: at length when he died ye said: `No apostle will Allah send after him.' Thus doth Allah leave to stray such as transgress and live in doubt 4405 4406
"(Such) as dispute about the Signs of Allah without any authority that hath reached them. Grievous and odious (is such conduct) in the sight of Allah and of the Believers. Thus doth Allah seal up every heart of arrogant and obstinate transgressors." 4407
Pharaoh said: "O Haman! Build me a lofty palace that I may attain the ways and means 4408
"The ways and means of (reaching) the heavens and that I may mount up to the Allah of Moses; but as far as I am concerned I think (Moses) is a liar!" Thus was made alluring in Pharaoh's eyes the evil of his deeds and he was hindered from the Path; and the plot of Pharaoh led to nothing but perdition (for him). 4409 4410
The man who believed said further: "O my People! follow me: I will lead you to the Path of Right. 4411
"O my people! This life of the present is nothing but (temporary) convenience: it is the Hereafter that is the Home that will last. 4412
"He that works evil will not be requited but by the like thereof: and he that works a righteous deed whether man or woman and is a believer such will enter the Garden (of Bliss): therein will they have abundance without measure. 4413
"And O my People! how (strange) it is for me to call you to Salvation while ye call me to the Fire! 4414
"Ye do call upon me to blaspheme against Allah and to join with Him Partners of whom I have no knowledge; and I call you to the Exalted in Power Who forgives again and again!" 4415
"Without doubt ye do call me to one who is not fit to be called to whether in this world or in the Hereafter; our Return will be to Allah; and the Transgressors will be Companions of the Fire! 4416
"Soon will ye remember what I say to you (now) my (own) affair I commit to Allah: for Allah (ever) watches over His Servants." 4417
Then Allah saved him from (every) ill that they plotted (against him) but the brunt of the Penalty encompassed on all sides the People of Pharaoh. 4418
In front of the Fire will they be brought morning and evening: and (the Sentence will be) on the Day that Judgment will be established: "Cast ye the People of Pharaoh into the severest Penalty!" 4419
Behold they will dispute with each other in the Fire! The weak ones (who followed) will say to those who had been arrogant "We but followed you: can ye then take (on yourselves) from us some share of the Fire?" 4420
Those who had been arrogant will say: "We are all in this (Fire)! Truly Allah has judged between (His) Servants!" 4421
Those in the Fire will say to the Keepers of Hell: "Pray to your Lord to lighten us the Penalty for a Day (at least)!" 4422
They will say: "Did there not come to you your apostles with Clear Signs?" They will say "Yes." They will reply "Then pray (as ye like) but the Prayer of those without Faith is nothing but (futile wandering) in (mazes of) error!" 4423
We will without doubt help Our apostles and those who believe (both) in this world's life and on the Day when the Witnesses will stand forth 4424
The Day when no profit will it be to Wrongdoers to present their excuses but they will (only) have the Curse and the Home of Misery. 4425
We did aforetime give Moses the (Book of) Guidance and We gave the Book in inheritance to the Children of Israel 4426
A Guide and a Message to men of understanding.
Patiently then persevere: for the Promise of Allah is true: and ask forgiveness for thy fault and celebrate the Praises of thy Lord in the evening and in the morning. 4427 4428 4429
Those who dispute about the Signs of Allah without any authority bestowed on them there is nothing in their breasts but (the quest of) greatness which they shall never attain to: seek refuge then in Allah: it is He Who hears and sees (all things). 4430
Assuredly the creation of the heavens and the earth is a greater (matter) than the creation of men: Yet most men understand not. 4431
Not equal are the blind and those who (clearly) see: nor are (equal) those who believe and work deeds of righteousness and those who do evil. Little do ye learn by admonition! 4432
The Hour will certainly come: therein is no doubt: yet most men believe not. 4433
And your Lord says: "Call on Me; I will answer your (Prayer): But those who are too arrogant to serve Me will surely find themselves in Hell in humiliation!" 4434
It is Allah Who has made the Night for you that ye may rest therein and the Day as that which helps (you) to see. Verily Allah is Full of Grace and Bounty to men: yet most men give no thanks. 4435
Such is Allah your Lord the Creator of all things there is no god but He: then how ye are deluded away from the Truth! 4436
Thus are deluded those who are wont to reject the Signs of Allah. 4437
It is Allah Who has made for you the earth as a resting place and the sky as a canopy and has given you shapes and made your shapes beautiful and has provided for you Sustenance of things pure and good such is Allah your Lord. So Glory to Allah the Lord of the Worlds! 4438 4439 4440 4441
He is the living (One): There is no god but He: Call upon Him giving Him sincere devotion. Praise be to Allah Lord of the Worlds! 4442
Say: "I have been forbidden to invoke those whom ye invoke besides Allah seeing that the Clear Signs have come to me from my Lord: and I have been commanded to bow (in Islam) to the Lord of the Worlds." 4443
It is He Who has created you from dust then from a sperm-drop then from a leech-like clot; then does He get you out (into the light) as a child: then lets you (grow and) reach your age of full strength; then lets you become old though of you there are some who die before; and lets you reach a Term appointed: in order that ye may learn wisdom. 4444
It is He Who gives Life and Death; and when He decides upon an affair He says to it "Be" and it is. 4445
Seest thou not those that dispute concerning the signs of Allah? How are they turned away (from Reality)? 4446
Those who reject the Book and the (revelations) with which We sent Our apostles: But soon shall they know 4447
When the yokes (shall be) round their necks and the chains; they shall be dragged along 4448
In the boiling fetid fluid then in the Fire shall they be burned; 4449
Then shall it be said to them: "Where are the (deities) to which ye gave part-worship
"In derogation of Allah?" They will reply: "They have left us in the lurch: nay we invoked not of old anything (that had real existence)." Thus does Allah leave the Unbelievers to stray. 4450
"That was because ye were wont to rejoice on the earth in things other than the Truth and that ye were wont to be insolent. 4451
"Enter ye the gates of Hell to dwell therein: and evil is (this) abode of the arrogant!" 4452
So persevere in patience! For the Promise of Allah is true: and whether We show thee (in this life) some part of what We promise them or We take thy soul (to Our Mercy) (Before that) (in any case) it is to Us that they shall (all) return. 4453
We did aforetime send apostles before thee: of them there are some whose story We have related to thee and some whose story We have not related to thee. It was not (possible) for any apostle to bring a Sign except by the leave of Allah: but when the Command of Allah issued the matter was decided in truth and justice and there perished there and then those who stood on Falsehoods. 4454 4455
It is Allah Who made cattle for you that ye may use some for riding and some for food; 4456
And there are (other) advantages in them for you (besides); that ye may through them attain to any need (there may be) in your hearts; and on them and on ships ye are carried.
And He shows you always His Signs; then which of the Signs of Allah will ye deny? 4457
Do they not travel through the earth and see what was the end of those before them? They were more numerous than these and superior in strength and in the traces (they have left) in the land: yet all that they accomplished was of no profit to them. 4458
For when their apostles came to them with Clear Signs they exulted in such knowledge (and skill) as they had; but that very (Wrath) at which they were wont to scoff hemmed them in. 4459 4460
But when they saw Our punishment they said: "We believe in Allah the One Allah and we reject the partners we used to join with Him."
But their professing the Faith when they (actually) saw Our Punishment was not going to profit them. (Such has been) Allah's way of dealing with His servants (from the most ancient times). And even thus did the rejecters of Allah perish (utterly)! 4461
See the Introduction to this Sura.
This verse is the same as xxxix: 1, except for the last words describing the attribute of Allah. In S. xxxix. 1, it was "Full of Wisdom", because stress was laid on the wisdom of Allah's Plan in ordering His World. In this Sura the stress is laid on Allah's Knowledge, before which the shallow knowledge of men is vain (xi. 83).
Allah's knowledge is supreme and all-reaching. But there are other attributes of His, which concern us even more intimately; e.g., He forgives sin and accepts our repentance when it is sincere and results in our change of heart and life: but He is also just, and strict in punishment; and so no loophole will be left for Evil except in repentance. And further, all His attributes reach forward to everything: His Mercy, as well as His Knowledge and Justice; His Bounties as well as His Punishments.
Allah's knowledge and attributes are perfect, and everything around us proclaims this. We are surrounded by His Signs. It is only want of Faith that will make people dispute about them.
Cf. iii. 196. Their strutting about shows how little they can read the Signs.
Cf. xxxviii. 11-13, and n. 4158. All the hosts of wickedness collected together from history will have no power against Allah's Truth, or the Messenger of that Truth, or Allah's holy Plan for all His Creation.
Whenever a great or vital Truth is proclaimed and renewed, there are always shallow minds that are ready to dispute about it! And what petty and vain arguments they advance! They think they can discredit or condemn the Truth in this way, or render "of none effect" Allah's Plan. But they are mistaken. If they seem to succeed for a time, that is merely their trial. They may try to plan and plot against Allah's men. But their plots will fail in the long run. They will themselves be caught in their own snares. And then, how terrible will be their Punishment!
Cf. xiii. 32.
Cf. xxxix. 71. The Decree, or Word of Allah, by which Evil was to be judged and condemned, was proved true against these men. They are "Companions of the Fire": in other words, they are fit to live only in Hell.
Cf. xxxix. 75.
Cf. vi. 80; vii. 89 and 98.
There is nothing selfish in prayer. We pray for all who are true and sincere. But just as Evil is catching, so Goodness is catching in another sense. The associates of the Good and those near and dear to them also share in their goodness and happiness, if only they try to walk in the same Way. And the Grace of Allah is working for all, all the time.
That is the final Judgment, and any who is saved from the evil consequences of their deeds in this life will truly have been saved by Allah's Mercy, and for them it is the highest achievement they could have, the attainment of all their wishes, the fulfilment of their destiny and the noblest purpose of their Life, the supreme Salvation and Felicity.
Muslim Salvation, then, is more positive than mere safety from dangers or evils: it is the complete fulfilment of the noble destiny of man in the attainment of the fullest Grace.
The Unbelievers having rejected Allah's Signs, they now see how they are shut out from Grace, and they feel disgusted with themselves. How much greater was Allah's displeasure with them, when He showered mercy upon mercy on them and they yet rebelled! How could they now hope for Grace!
Cf. ii. 28: "How can ye reject the faith in Allah?-seeing that ye were without life, and He gave you life; then will He cause you to die, and will again bring you to life; and again to Him will ye return." Non-existence, or existence as clay without life was equivalent to death. Then came true Life on this earth; then came physical death or the cessation of our physical life; and now at the Resurrection, is the second life.
Cf. xxxix. 45, and n. 4313. When exclusive devotion is not rendered to Allah, there is no true understanding, in the mind of a creature, of his own true position, or of the working of the Divine Will and Purpose. How can he then hope to achieve the purpose of his life, or obtain Allah's Mercy, which is the only way to obtain release from the consequences of Sin?
At the Judgment, the matter will have passed out of the stage at which further chances could have been hoped for. But in any case Allah is High above all things, Great above all that we can conceive of, both in Mercy and in Justice. The Decision will be with Him, and Him alone.
Lest it should be thought that Allah's Grace did not meet the Sinner again and again and offer Allah's Mercy again and again, it is pointed out that Allah's Signs were freely vouchsafed everywhere and continuously, and that every kind of means was provided for man's "Sustenance" or growth and development, physical, mental, and spiritual. But only those could take advantage of it who turned their attention to Allah, who submitted their will to Him.
Cf. ix. 33.
He is raised far above any rank or degree which we can imagine. It is possible also to treat Rafi as equivalent to Rafi', meaning that He can raise His creatures to the highest ranks and degrees for He is the fountain of all honour.
The choosing of a man to be the recipient of inspiration-to be the standard bearer of Allah's Truth-is the highest honour possible in the Kingdom of Allah. And Allah bestows that honour according to His own most perfect Will and Plan, which no one can question, for He is the fountain of all honour, dignity, and authority.
All men will meet together and meet their Lord at the Resurrection, no matter how far scattered they may have been in life or in death.
The Kingdom of Allah-of Justice, Truth, and Righteousness-will then be fully established. Evil can then no more come into competition with Good, even in the subjective consciousness of man.
Swift in several senses; (1) the time of the present life or of the interval before Judgment. i.e., before the restoration of true values, is so short as compared to Eternity, that it may be counted as negligible: in the next verse the Day is characterised as "(ever) drawing near"; (2) in spite of the great concourse of souls to be judged, the process of Judgment will be almost instantaneous, "in the twinkling of an eye" (xvi. 77), because everything is already known to Allah; and yet not the least injustice will be done.
Hearts will come right up to the Throats to choke them: an idiom implying that the whole of their life-functions will be choked up with terror. But a more subtle meaning emerges from further analysis. The heart (or the breast) is the seat of affection, emotion, and every kind of feeling, such as terror, pain, despair, etc. These things will as it were overflow right up to the throat and choke it. The throat is the vehicle for the voice; their voice will be choked, and they will be able to say nothing. The throat is the channel for food, which goes to the stomach and maintains a healthy functioning of life; the choking means that the healthy functioning will stop, and there will be nothing but woe.
In that enforcement of personal responsibility, what sympathy or intercession can the wrong-doers get?
Men may be taken in by tricks that deceive with the eyes, but Allah's perfect knowledge penetrates through all mysteries. "Treachery of the eyes" may mean several things; (1) a sleight of hand (literally or figuratively) may deceive in respect of the eyes of beholders, for the things that they see do not actually happen; (2) it may be the deceiver's own eyes that play false, because, for example, they show love when hatred is meant; or (3) it may be that the eyes of the beholder play him false, in that he sees things that he should not see, and thus sins with his eyes.
Here we come into the region of evil motives and thoughts which may be concealed in the hearts, breast, or mind, but which are all perfectly known to Allah.
If men build their hopes or their faith in anything except the Divine Grace, they will find themselves deserted. Any pretences that they make will be known to Allah. On the other hand every single good act, or word, or motive, or aspiration of their win, will reach Allah's Throne of Mercy.
Cf. xxx. 9. and several other similar passages.
See n. 3515 to xxx. 9. We can learn from the history of previous nations. Many of them were more powerful, or have left finer and more imposing monuments and made a deeper impression on the world around them than any particular generation addressed. "Traces" in the text may be taken in that extended sense. And yet all this did not save them from the consequences of their sins. They were called to account and punished. None of the power or pomp or skill of which they boasted could for a moment ward off the punishment when it came in God's good time.
But Allah in His Mercy always sends a Message of warning and good news through his messengers, and He gives His messengers Clear Signs and an authority that can be recognised. Among the Clear Signs are: (1) the pure and unselfish lives of the messengers; (2) the revelation of truth which they bring; (3) their influence on the course of events in their own and succeeding generations; etc. Some of these may be so remarkable that they merit the name of Miracles.
This is not the story of Moses himself, so much as an introduction to the story of the one just man who believed, in the court of Pharaoh: see verse 28 below. This Sura ("The Believer") is called after him.
Here are three types of Unfaith, each showing a different phase, and yet all united in opposition to the Truth and Mission of Moses. (1) Pharaoh is the type of arrogance, cruelty, and reliance on brute force; cf. xxviii. 38-39. (2) Haman was Pharaoh's minister (n. 3331 to xxviii. 6; also xxviii. 38): he was the type of a sycophant who would pander to the vanity of any man in power. (3) Qarun excelled in his wealth, was selfish in its use, and overbearing to the poor (xxviii. 76-81, and n. 3404). They all came to an evil end eventually.
Verse 24 described the opposition of three types of Unfaith, which opposed Faith, in different ways, as described in the last note. Qarun, in his overweening insolence, may well have called Moses and Aaron "sorcerers telling lies" in the Sinai desert, as he despised priests and men of God, and might cast the Egyptian reproach in their teeth as a reminiscence. Here, in verse 25, we have an episode about the time of the birth of Moses: "them" and "they" refer to Pharaoh and his Court; the "coming" of Moses here refers to the time of his birth. On that construction, "with him", lower down in their speech would be elliptical, referring to "slay the sons", as if they had said, "Kill all Israelite male children: the unknown Prophet to be born would be amongst them: so kill them all with him." In verse 26 we again skip some years and recall an episode when Moses, having got his mission, stood in Pharaoh's Court, and some of the Egyptian Commonalty were almost ready to believe in him.
That is, the Israelites, for they were the custodians of Allah's Faith then. For the slaughter of Israelite children by Pharaoh, see xxviii. 4-6, and notes.
This is an episode that occurs when Moses, invested with his mission, confronts Pharaoh in his Court and preaches to him: see xx. 49 and following verses; also xx. 57, 63.
Some of Pharaoh's people did afterwards give up the worship of Pharaoh and of the Egyptian gods and believed "in the Lord of Aaron and Moses" and in fact suffered martyrdom for the Faith of Unity: xx. 70-73.
The whole point of the Gospel of Unity which Moses preached was that the God of Moses and the God of Pharaoh, of Israel and Egypt, the Lord of all the Worlds, was One,-Allah, the only True God. See xx. 49-50 and notes 2572 and 2573.
There is nothing to justify the identification of this man with the man mentioned in xxviii. 20, who warned Moses long before Moses had received his mission. On the contrary, in this passage, the man is evidently speaking after Moses had received his mission, preached to Pharaoh, and got a certain amount of success, for which Pharaoh and his people were trying, to seek his life. Moses had evidently already brought his Clear Signs.
A commonsense view is put before them by an Egyptian who loves his own people and does not wish them to perish in sin. "Will you kill this man for calling on Allah? Have you not seen his character and behaviour? Do you not see the 'Clear Signs' about him that bespeak his credentials? Suppose for a moment that he is a liar and pretender: he will suffer for his falsehood, but why should you turn against Allah? But suppose that he is really inspired by Allah to tell you the truth and warn you against evil, what will be your fate when Allah's Wrath descends? For it must descend if he is a true Messenger sent by Allah."
This is with reference to the "Clear signs". 'They are Signs of Allah's guidance, for Allah would never guide a man who exceeds the bounds of truth and tells you lies! Such a man is bound to be found out!'
'Do not be puffed up with arrogance because the power is in your hands at present! Do you deserve it? Will it last? If you are sinning and drawing upon yourselves Allah's Punishment, is there anything that can shield you from it?'
Pharaoh's egotism and arrogance come out. 'I can see and understand everything. As I see things, so do I direct you. The Path which I see must be right, and you must follow it.'
He appeals to past history. "Have you not heard of people who lived before you?-like the generations of Noah, the 'Ad, the Thamud, and many more-who held together in sin against Allah's Preachers, but were wiped out for their sins?"
Cf. xxxviii. 11-13, and n. 4158, also xi. 5, and n. 4361.
'All these disasters happened in history, and they will happen again to you if you do not give up evil. Do not for a moment think that Allah is unjust. It is you who are deliberately preparing the disasters by your conduct.'
This Day may refer to the Day of Judgment, of which three features are here referred to. (1) People may wail and call to each other, but no one can help another: each one will have his own judgment to face; (2) the wicked will then be driven to Hell from the Judgment-Seat; and (3) there will be no one to help, guide, or intercede, because the grace and guidance of Allah had already been rejected. But the words are perfectly general, and are applicable to all stages at which the Wrath of Allah is manifest.
So far he has been speaking of general religious tradition. Now, as an Egyptian, addressing Egyptians, he refers to the mission of Joseph in Egypt, for which see the whole of Sura xii. Joseph was not born in Egypt, nor was he an Egyptian. With what wonderful incidents he came into Egypt! What difficulties did he not surmount among his own brothers first, and in the Egyptian family which afterwards adopted him! How injustice, spite, and forgetfullness on the part of others, yet wove a spell round him and made him a ruler and saviour of Egypt in times of famine! How he preached to prisoners in prison, the wife of 'Aziz in her household, to the Egyptian ladies in their banquet, and to the Court of Pharaoh generally. The Egyptians profited by the material gains which came to them through him, but as a nation remained sceptical of his spiritual truths for many generations after him.
The interval between Joseph and Moses was about one to three centuries, a very short period for the memory of a learned nation like the Egyptians. And yet they as a nation ignored his spiritual work, and afterwards even persecuted Israel in Egypt until Moses delivered them. They actually saw the benefits conferred by Joseph, but did not realise that Allah's Kingdom works continuously even though men ignore it.
See the last note. The arrogant transgressors having closed their hearts to the Message of Allah and to every appeal made to them, it followed by Allah's Law that their hearts were sealed up to any fresh influences for good. Cf. vii. 100; also ii. 7, and n. 31.
Cf. xxviii. 38, and n. 3371. There are two points to be noted here. (1) Pharaoh, in the arrogance of his materialism, thinks of the Kingdom of Heaven like a kingdom on earth; he thinks of spiritual things in terms of palaces and ladders: notice that the word asbab (ways and means) is emphasised by repetition (2) His sarcasm turns Moses and Allah to ridicule, and he frankly states that 'for his part he thinks Moses is a liar', though other men less lofty than he (Pharaoh) may he deceived by the Clear Signs of Moses.
Pharaoh's speech shows how his own egotism and haughty arrogance brought him to this pass, that even the evil which he did seemed alluring in his own eyes! His heart was indeed sealed, and his arrogance prevented him from seeing the right path. (With the Kufi Qiraat I read sudda in the passive voice).
Pharaoh had plotted to slay Moses (xi. 26) and to kill the Children of Israel (xl. 25). The plot recoiled on his own head and on the head of his people who joined in the plot; for they were all drowned in the Red Sea.
Note the contrast between the earnest beseeching tone of the Believer here and the hectoring tone of Pharaoh in using similar words in xi. 29 above.
Faith makes him see the contrast between vanities, even though they may glitter temporarily, and the eternal Good that is destined for man.
Cf. ii. 212. This sustenance will not only last. It will be a most liberal reward, far above any merits of the recipient.
It may seem strange according to the laws of this world that he should be seeking their Good while they are seeking his damnation! But that is the merit of Faith. Its mission is to rescue its enemies and Allah's enemies, as far as their will will consent!
The worship of Pharaoh was blasphemy, but it had many sides, including the worship of heroes, animals, powers of good and evil in nature, and idols of all kinds. It is this comprehensive cult which required warnings again and again, but Allah is Exalted in Power, and gives such forgiveness on repentance.
Faith is not content with its own inner vision and conviction. It can give ample arguments. Three are mentioned here: (1) nothing but Allah is worthy of worship, either in this world of sense or in the next world; (2) our Return will be to Allah, the Eternal Reality; and (3) the worship of Falsehood must necessarily lead to the Penalty of Falsehood, unless Allah's Mercy intervenes and forgives on our sincere repentance.
The next verse shows his thought to the last is with his People. 'No matter what you do to me: you will have cause to remember my admonition, when perhaps it is too late for you to repent. For my part I commit myself to the care of Allah, and my Faith tells me that all will be right.'
The Pharaoh of the time of Moses, and his people, suffered many calamities in this world: vii. 130-136. But those were nothing to the Penalties mentioned in the next verse.
When the Judgment really comes, it is not like an ordinary physical disaster. The Fire of Punishment is ever present-morning and evening-i.e., at all times. The sentence becomes final and there is no mitigation.
Just as Unity, Harmony, and Peace are indications of Truth, Bliss, and Salvation, so Reproaches, Disputes, and Disorders are indications of Hell.
Note the evasion and cynicism of the answer, befitting the character of spiritual misleaders! 'What! are we not suffering with you in the same Fire! Pray to Allah if you like! He has pronounced His Judgment!' Cf. xiv. 21-22.
Cf. xxxix. 71. The poor misguided ones will turn to the angels who are their Keepers, asking them to pray and intercede for them. But the angels are set there to watch over them, not to intercede for them. In their innocence they ask, 'Did you have no warnings from messengers, men like yourselves, in your past life?'
The answer being in the affirmative, they will have to tell the dreadful truth: 'This is neither the time nor the place for prayer, for mercy! And in any case, Prayer without Faith is Delusion, and must miss its mark.' Cf. xiii. 14.
The Day of Judgment is described as "the Day when Witnesses will stand forth". This description implies two things: (1) that there man will be judged justly; his past actions and his faculties and opportunities will be witnesses as to the use he made of them (xxiv. 24); in fact he will himself be a witness against himself (vi. 130); and the prophets and just men will bear witness to the fact that they preached and warned men (xxxix. 69; ii. 133).
After the testimony mentioned in the last note, there will be no room for excuses, and if any were made, they could serve no purpose, unlike the state of matters in this world, where there is much make-believe, and Falsehood often masquerades as Truth and is accepted as such even by those who should know better.
Moses was given a Revelation, and it was given in heritage to the Children of Israel, to preserve it, guide their conduct by it, and hold aloft its Message: but they failed in all these particulars.
The Israelites corrupted or lost their Book; they disobeyed Allah's Law; and failed to proclaim and exemplify Allah's Message. That is why the new Revelation came to the holy Prophet. If, in the beginning, it was rejected and persecuted, there was no cause for discouragement; on the contrary, there was all the greater need for patience and perseverance.
Every mortal according to his nature and degree of spiritual enlightenment falls short of the perfect standard of Allah (xvi. 61), and should therefore ask Allah for forgiveness. What is merit in an ordinary man may be a human shortcoming in one nearest to Allah: see xxxviii. 24-25, and notes 4175-76. Prophets have a further responsibility for their People or their Ummat, and they ask in a representative capacity.
Cf. iii. 41. Evening and morning are the best times for contemplation and prayer. But the phrase "evening and morning" may mean "at all times".
The Disputes are actuated by nothing but the desire for self-glory and self- aggrandizement. Their desire is not likely to receive fruition, but others should take warning from it.
The heavens and the earth include mankind and all other creatures and millions of stars. Man is himself but a tiny part of creation. Why should he be so ego-centric? The whole is greater than a tiny part of it. And Allah Who created the whole of the Worlds is able to do much more wonderful things than can enter the imagination of man. Why should man be arrogant and doubt the Resurrection, and take upon himself to doubt the possibility of Allah's Revelation? It is only because he has made himself blind. See next verse.
The man of Faith who backs his faith by righteous conduct is like the man of clear vision, who sees things in their true perspective and walks with firm steps in the Way of Allah. The man who does evil is like a blind man: the Light of Allah is all around him, but he is blind, and he can see nothing. He has rejected Faith and cannot even learn by other people's admonition.
"The Hour" is the crown and consummation of man's life on this earth,-the gateway to the Hereafter.
As this life is not the end of all things, and we are to have its fulfilment in the Hereafter: we have only to pray to the Lord of the Present and the Hereafter, and He will hear us, forgive us, guide us, and make our Path smooth. But Pride will have its fall,-and its humiliating Punishment: Cf. xxxvii. 18.
The succession of Day and Night in our physical life is frequently appealed to, as a symbol to draw our attention to the Mercy and Bounty of Allah. If we viewed these things aright, we should serve Allah and seek Light from Him and Rest from Him, and celebrate His praises with gratitude.
If we worship false gods, i.e., go after vanities, what is it that deludes us and leads us astray? What could it be but our rank ingratitude and failure to use the understanding which Allah has given us?
See the last two notes. If men are deluded by Falsehoods, it is because they reject Revelation and refuse to learn from the Signs of Allah all around them.
The argument in the last two verses was from man's personal experiences of his physical life. In this and the next verse a parallel argument is addressed to man on a much higher plane: 'look at the spacious earth and the canopy of the sky; look at the special position you occupy above other animals that you know, in shape and form, and moral and spiritual capacities; consider your refinements in food and fruits and the higher spiritual Sustenance of which your physical food is a type; would you not indeed say that the Lord is good, and would you not glorify His holy name?'
A resting place: I understand this to imply a temporary place of rest or sojourn, a period of probation, to be followed by the eternal Home.
Cf. vii. 1 1 and n. 996. The shape and form refer to the physical form as well as to the inborn moral and spiritual capacities of man. As regards physical form, Cf. Milton's description of Adam and Eve, "Two of far noble shape, erect and tall" (Paradise Lost, iv. 288). As regards moral and spiritual capacities, they are typified by the breathing of Allah's spirit into man: xv. 29.
"Sustenance": all that is necessary for growth and development, physical, moral, and spiritual. Cf. n. 2105 to xvi. 73.
The real, self-subsisting Life is only in Him: Cf. ii. 255, and n. 296.
All objects of worship besides Allah are mere delusions. To any one who sees this clearly, through Allah's Self-revelations, the only possible course is to give up everything else, which his own inner experience as well as outer Revelation tell him is false or of a temporary nature, and to bring his own will and actions into complete unison with Allah's Will: for that is the meaning of Islam, bowing to the Will of Allah. When we bow to the Real and Everlasting, we are automatically saved from falling victims to the False and Evanescent.
Cf. this passage with xxii. 5 and notes 2773 and 2774. The various stages of man's physical life are: (1) first, simple matter (dust); (2) the sperm-drop in the father; (3) the fertilised ovum in the mother's womb; (4) out into the light, as a human child; (5) youth and full maturity; (6) decay; and (7) death. In some cases the later stages are curtailed or cut off; but in any case, a Term appointed is reached, so that the higher purpose of Allah's Will and Plan may be fulfilled in each given case, that man "may understand."
The keys of life and death are in Allah's hands. But He is not dependent on time or place or instruments or materials. All that He has to do is to say "Be", and it comes into existence. Cf. xvi. 40, and n. 2066; xxxvi. 82, and n. 4029. Conversely, His Will or Command is sufficient to annihilate Existence into Non-Existence (Life into Death) or determine the limits or conditions of Existence or Non-Existence.
Those who dispute about the Signs of Allah which are clear to all who care to see, are merely in the mists of Unreality: Cf. x. 32.
"The Book" may refer to the Holy Qur-an or to the fundamental, Revelation the "Mother of the Book" (xiii. 39), while the Books revealed to the messengers are the definite Revelations that came down to men from time to time.
The rejection of Allah's Message, however brought, carries its own penalty. The yoke of slavery to Sin and Evil is fastened more and more firmly round the rejecter's neck, because there is no one to safeguard his freedom, and the chains of superstitions and the ugly consequences of evil restrict his freedom and the limited faculty of choice which was given by Allah to man. This process receives its climax at the Hour of Judgment.
The sinner gets dragged further and further in the disgusting consequences of his evil actions, until the fire of destruction closes in upon him.
All falsehoods will vanish: Cf. vii. 36. The only Reality will be fully manifest even to those to whom Evil was made to seem alluring in the lower life. They will feel in their inmost souls that they had been pursuing mere shadows, things of no real existence. This was the result of their rejecting the Light and the Grace of Allah: they got entangled in the mazes of error.
Allah does not withdraw His grace from any unless (1) they actively and deliberately take a delight in things that are vain or false, and (2) they insolently reject the things that are truer-in other words, unless men are deliberately false to their own lights, as illuminated by the Light of Allah.
Cf. xxxix. 72.
Cf. x. 46, and n. 1438. As the eventual justice and readjustment of values must take place, when every soul retums to the Judgment-Seat of Allah, it makes no difference if good and evil meet their deserts in this very life or not. Cf. also xiii. 40.
Cf. iv. 164. Allah sent Messengers of His Truth to every people. There are some whose names are known to us through the holy Qur-an, but there are a large number whose names are not made known to us through that medium. We must recognise the Truth wherever we find it.
The Signs of Allah are everywhere, and can be seen by the discerning eye at all times. But if any extraordinary Signs are demanded by cynics or Unbelievers, they will not be granted merely because they are demanded. It is Allah's Will that issues them, not merely the desire of human beings, even if he be a Messenger of Allah. But when an extraordinary Sign does issue by the Command of Allah, it means that the cup of the iniquitous is full; that their case is decided, and their time of respite is past; and that Justice takes the place of Mercy, and evil is blotted out.
Cf. xvi. 5-8. The fact that beasts, which in their wild state are so noxious, are, when domesticated, so useful to man, is itself one of the great and standing Signs of Allah's care for man. The great usefulness of cattle is very instructive. They serve for riding, and many of them for food; further, they are used for the plough, and they produce milk, or wool, or hair; and from their carcases man derives bones and horns for many industrial uses; but passing on to higher aspects of life, they further social, moral, and spiritual uses as draught-animals, in that transport serves one of the fundamental purposes of civilisation, being in this respect like ships for international commerce: xxx. 46, and n. 3565. It is by means of human intercourse through transport that we can carry out the highest needs of our culture, "any need there may be in our hearts", i.e., in our inner being.
The Signs of Allah's goodness and mercy are so numerous that it is impossible to enumerate them. Which of them can any mortal deny? This is the theme of that highly poetical Sura, Rahman (S.lv.).
Cf. ix. 69. For any generation to take inordinate pride in its own single achievements in science or skill becomes ridiculous if we consider the broad stream of history. In the first place, men will find that a great deal of what they attribute to their own merits only became possible owing to the earlier work of their predecessors. Secondly, many of their predecessors were more numerous and mightier in power than they, although the perspective of time may have reduced the apparent depth of their influence, and the monuments which they have left behind may have suffered from the destroying hand of Time. Thirdly, and most important of all, when they forgot Allah and His inexorable Law, nothing of their own handiwork profited them: they perished in the common ruin as all vanities must perish. Cf. also xl. 21 above, and n. 4387. See how the recapitulation rounds off the argument.
Arrogance and an exaggerated idea of Self were at the bottom of the Evil to which they succumbed.
Cf. xvi. 34. Nothing could stop Justice of Allah punishing Evil. What they had ridiculed came as an inexorable fact. None of their grandeur or art or science or skill was of any use when they lost their souls!
Again and again were they given chances, and again and again did they reject them. When it was too late, and in fact when it had no meaning, they offered to profess Faith. That was of no use. Allah does not accept unmeaning things of that kind. He wants to train and purify our will. For their disobedience and rebellion they perished utterly.