Note Number : 4356See the Introduction to this Sura.
Note Number : 4357This 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).
Note Number : 4358Allah'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.
Note Number : 4359Allah'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.
Note Number : 4360Cf. iii. 196. Their strutting about shows how little they can read the Signs.
Note Number : 4361Cf. 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.
Note Number : 4362Whenever 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!
Note Number : 4363Cf. xiii. 32.
Note Number : 4364Cf. 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.
Note Number : 4365Cf. xxxix. 75.
Note Number : 4366Cf. vi. 80; vii. 89 and 98.
Note Number : 4367There 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.
Note Number : 4368That 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.
Note Number : 4369Muslim 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.
Note Number : 4370The 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!
Note Number : 4371Cf. 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.
Note Number : 4372Cf. 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?
Note Number : 4373At 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.
Note Number : 4374Lest 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.
Note Number : 4375Cf. ix. 33.
Note Number : 4376He 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.
Note Number : 4377The 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.
Note Number : 4378All 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.
Note Number : 4379The 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.
Note Number : 4380Swift 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.
Note Number : 4381Hearts 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.
Note Number : 4382In that enforcement of personal responsibility, what sympathy or intercession can the wrong-doers get?
Note Number : 4383Men 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.
Note Number : 4384Here 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.
Note Number : 4385If 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.
Note Number : 4386Cf. xxx. 9. and several other similar passages.
Note Number : 4387See 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.
Note Number : 4388But 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.
Note Number : 4389This 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.
Note Number : 4390Here 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.
Note Number : 4391Verse 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.
Note Number : 4392That 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.
Note Number : 4393This 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.
Note Number : 4394Some 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.
Note Number : 4395The 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.
Note Number : 4396There 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.
Note Number : 4397A 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."
Note Number : 4398This 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!'
Note Number : 4399'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?'
Note Number : 4400Pharaoh'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.'
Note Number : 4401He 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?"
Note Number : 4402Cf. xxxviii. 11-13, and n. 4158, also xi. 5, and n. 4361.
Note Number : 4403'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.'
Note Number : 4404This 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.
Note Number : 4405So 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.
Note Number : 4406The 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.
Note Number : 4407See 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.
Note Number : 4408Cf. 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.
Note Number : 4409Pharaoh'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).
Note Number : 4410Pharaoh 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 Number : 4411Note 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.
Note Number : 4412Faith makes him see the contrast between vanities, even though they may glitter temporarily, and the eternal Good that is destined for man.
Note Number : 4413Cf. ii. 212. This sustenance will not only last. It will be a most liberal reward, far above any merits of the recipient.
Note Number : 4414It 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!
Note Number : 4415The 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.
Note Number : 4416Faith 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.
Note Number : 4417The 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.'
Note Number : 4418The 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.
Note Number : 4419When 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.
Note Number : 4420Just as Unity, Harmony, and Peace are indications of Truth, Bliss, and Salvation, so Reproaches, Disputes, and Disorders are indications of Hell.
Note Number : 4421Note 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.
Note Number : 4422Cf. 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?'
Note Number : 4423The 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.
Note Number : 4424The 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).
Note Number : 4425After 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.
Note Number : 4426Moses 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.
Note Number : 4427The 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.
Note Number : 4428Every 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.
Note Number : 4429Cf. iii. 41. Evening and morning are the best times for contemplation and prayer. But the phrase "evening and morning" may mean "at all times".
Note Number : 4430The 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.
Note Number : 4431The 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.
Note Number : 4432The 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.
Note Number : 4433"The Hour" is the crown and consummation of man's life on this earth,-the gateway to the Hereafter.
Note Number : 4434As 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.
Note Number : 4435The 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.
Note Number : 4436If 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?
Note Number : 4437See 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.
Note Number : 4438The 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?'
Note Number : 4439A 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.
Note Number : 4440Cf. 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.
Note Number : 4441"Sustenance": all that is necessary for growth and development, physical, moral, and spiritual. Cf. n. 2105 to xvi. 73.
Note Number : 4442The real, self-subsisting Life is only in Him: Cf. ii. 255, and n. 296.
Note Number : 4443All 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.
Note Number : 4444Cf. 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."
Note Number : 4445The 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.
Note Number : 4446Those 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.
Note Number : 4447"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.
Note Number : 4448The 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.
Note Number : 4449The sinner gets dragged further and further in the disgusting consequences of his evil actions, until the fire of destruction closes in upon him.
Note Number : 4450All 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.
Note Number : 4451Allah 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.
Note Number : 4452Cf. xxxix. 72.
Note Number : 4453Cf. 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.
Note Number : 4454Cf. 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.
Note Number : 4455The 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.
Note Number : 4456Cf. 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.
Note Number : 4457The 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.).
Note Number : 4458Cf. 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.
Note Number : 4459Arrogance and an exaggerated idea of Self were at the bottom of the Evil to which they succumbed.
Note Number : 4460Cf. 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!
Note Number : 4461Again 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.