Note Number : 5127See para 2 of the Introduction to S. liii. The idea of the Judgment being nigh at the beginning of this Sura connects it with the same idea at the end of the last Sara (verse 57), though the actual words used in the two cases are different.
Note Number : 5128Three explanations are given in the Mufradat, and perhaps all three apply here: (1) that the moon once appeared cleft asunder in the valley of Makkah within sight of the Prophet, his Companions, and some Unbelievers; (2) that the prophetic past tense indicates the future, the cleaving asunder of the moon being a Sign of the Judgment approaching; and (3) that the phrase is metaphorical, meaning that the matter has become clear as the moon. That the first was noticed by contemporaries, including Unbelievers, is clear from verse 2. The second is an incident of the disruption of the solar system at the New Creation: Cf. lxxv. 8-9.
Note Number : 5129Mustamirr: continuous, or powerful; either meaning will apply. The Unbelievers acknowledge the unusual appearance, but call it magic. They do not therefore profit by the spiritual lesson.
Note Number : 5130The prevalence of sin and the persecution of truth may have its day, but it must end at last.
Note Number : 5131The stories of the sins of past generations having been visited with exemplary punishments were already in their possession, and should, if they had been wise, have opened their eyes and checked them in their mad career of sin. Five of these stories are again referred to later in this Sura by way of illustration.
Note Number : 5132For a time godlessness seems to triumph, but the triumph is short-lived, And in any case there is the great Reckoning of the Day of Judgment.
Note Number : 5133The angel whose voice will call at the Resurrection and direct all souls. Cf. xx. 108-111.
Note Number : 5134At one stage in the invasion of locust swarms, the locusts are torpid and are scattered abroad all over the ground. I have seen them on railway tracks in 'Iraq, crushed to death in hundreds by passing trains. The simile is apt for the stunned beings who will rise up in swarms from their graves and say, "Ah! woe unto us! who has raised us up?" (xxxvi. 52).
Note Number : 5135The story of Noah and the Flood is frequently referred to in the Qur-an. The passage which best illustrates this passage will be found in xi. 25-48. Note in that passage how they first insult and abuse him arrogantly; how he humbly argues with them; how they laugh him to scorn, as much as to say that he was a madman possessed of some evil spirit; and how the Flood comes and he is saved in the Ark, and the wicked are doomed to destruction.
Note Number : 5136He asked for help in his mission, as he felt himself overpowered by brute force and cast out, which prevented the fulfilment of his mission. But the wicked generation were past all repentance, and they were wiped out.
Note Number : 5137The torrents of rain from above combined with the gush of waters from underground springs, and caused a huge Flood which inundated the country.
Note Number : 5138Dusur, plural of disar, which means the palm-fibre with which boats are caulked: from dasara, to ram in, to spear. A derived meaning is "nails", (which are driven into planks): this latter meaning also applies, and is preferred by translators not familiar with the construction of simple boats.
Note Number : 5139As usual, Allah's Mercy in saving His faithful servants takes precedence of His Wrath and Penality. And He helps and rewards those whom the world rejects and despises!
Note Number : 5140Cf. xxix. 15, where the Ark (with the salvation it brought to the righteous) is mentioned as a Sign for all Peoples. So also in xxv, 37 and xxvi. 121, it is a Sign for men. Similarly the saving of Lot, with the destruction of the wicked Cities of the Plain, is mentioned as a Sign left for those who would understand: xxix. 35, and li. 37.
Note Number : 5141A refrain that occurs six times in this Sura: see Introduction.
Note Number : 5142While the Mercy of Allah is always prominently mentioned, we must not forget or minimise the existence of Evil, and the terrible Penalty it incurs if the Grace of Allah and His Warning are deliberately rejected.
Note Number : 5143While the Qur-an sums up the highest philosophy of the inner life, its simple directions for conduct are plain and easy to understand and act upon. Is this not in itself a part of the Grace of Allah? And what excuse is there for any one to fail in receiving admonition?
Note Number : 5144Cf. xli. 16. How graphic is the description of the tornado that uprooted them! It must indeed be a dreadful tornado that plucks up the palm-trees by their deep tap-roots. The "Day" is an indefinite period of time. The wind that destroyed the 'Ad people lasted seven nights and eight days: lxix. 7.
Note Number : 5145Repeated from verse 18 to heighten the description of the sin, the penalty, and the criminal negligence of the sinners in refusing the warnings on account of their self- complacent confidence in their own strength and stability! It is repeated again as a secondary refrain in liv. 30 and (with slight modification) in liv. 32 and 39.
Note Number : 5146The psychology of the Thamud is more searchingly analysed here than in xli. 17, to show up the contrast between shallow men's ideas about Revelation, and the real sanity, humanism, social value, and truth of Revelation. To them the Revelation was brought by Salih.
Note Number : 5147Because the Prophet is one among so many, and different from them, although brought up among themselves, it is made a cause of reproach against him, when it should have been an index leading to a searching of their hearts and an examination of their ways.
Note Number : 5148Pure abuse, as a contrast to Salih's expostulation! See xxvi. 141-158, and notes.
Note Number : 5149See n. 1044 to vii. 73, for the she-camel as a trial or test case among selfish people who tried to monopolise water and pasture as against the poor.
Note Number : 5150See xxvi. 155-156. All were to have water in due turn. It was to be no one's monopoly. And certainly the gates were not to be shut against the poor or their cattle.
Note Number : 5151See n. 1047 to vii. 78, and Cf. the same phrase "single Blast" used for the signal for the Resurrection in xxxvi. 53. In the case of the Thamud, the destruction seems to have been by a severe earthquake accompanied with a terrible rumbling noise.
Note Number : 5152They became like dry sticks such as are used by herdsmen in making pens or enclosures for their cattle.
Note Number : 5153The story of Lot (Lut) and the Cities of the Plain has been frequently referred to. See xi. 74-83.
Note Number : 5154Hasib: a violent tornado bringing a shower of stones. The word occurs here; in xvii. 68 (without reference to any particular place); in xxix. 40 (where it seems to refer to Lot's Cities, see n. 3462); and in lxvii. 17 (where again there is no reference to a particular place). In Lot's Cities the shower was of brimstone: see xi. 82.
Note Number : 5155"Giving thanks" to Allah in Quranic phrase is to obey Allah's Law, to do His Will, to practise righteousness, to use all gifts in His service.
Note Number : 5156Cf. xi. 78-79.
Note Number : 5157Lot had been preaching to them some time against their iniquities. The crisis of their fate came when the two angels came to Lot in the guise of handsome young men. The men of the whole City came in an uproar, assaulted his house, and tried to snatch away the two handsome men. Lot tried to prevent them, but was powerless. Darkness fell on their eyes, as the first stage in their punishment, and before next morning the wicked cities were buried under a shower of brimstone. Lot and his believing household were saved.
Note Number : 5158The Egyptian people of old are the last people mentioned in this Sura as an example of iniquity meeting with punishment. And the moral is driven home to the Pagan Quraish, to warn them of their fate if they persisted in their evil lives. The Egyptians had many Signs given them. They were a gifted people and had made much progress in the sciences and the arts. They could have learnt from history that when the highest virtues disappear, the nation must fall. Moses was brought up among them and commissioned to give Allah's Message to them. But they were arrogant; they were unjust to Allah's creatures; they followed debasing forms of worship; they mocked at Truth; and were at last punished with destruction in the Red Sea for their arrogant leaders and army. See x. 75-90 for a narrative.
Note Number : 5159If the Egyptians with all their power and science were unable to resist the punishment of their sins, the Pagan Quraish are asked: how will you fare when you come to a trial of strength against Allah's Truth? You are not specially favoured so as to be immune from Allah's Law. And if you rely on your numbers, they will be a broken reed when the trial comes, as indeed happened at the Battle of Badr.
Note Number : 5160The calculations of unjust men-on their science, their resources, their numbers, etc.-will in many cases be falsified even in this world, as stated in the last two verses, but their real Punishment will come with Judgment, i.e., when they find their real place in the next world at the restoration of true values. It will then be a most grievous and bitter experience for them, throwing into the shade any calamities they may suffer in this life.
Note Number : 5161Cf. liv. 24 above. Note how the tables are turned in the argument by the repetition. The unjust think that the godly are wandering in mind and mad. They will find that it is really they who were wandering in mind, and mad, even when they were in the plenitude of their power and in the enjoyment of all the good things of this life. These minor echoes heighten the effect of the major refrain mentioned in the Introduction.
Note Number : 5162"On their faces": the Face is the symbol of Personality. Their whole Personality will be subverted and degraded-in the midst of the Fire.
Note Number : 5163Allah's Creation is not haphazard. Everything goes by law, proportion, and measure. Everything has its appointed time, place, and occasion, as also its definite limitation. Nothing happens but according to His Plan, and every deed, word, and thought of man has its fullest consequences, except in so far as the Grace or Mercy of Allah intervenes, and that is according to law and plan.
Note Number : 5164While in the life of created things there is "proportion and measure", and a lag of time or distance or circumstance, in Allah's Command, the Design, the Word, the Execution, and the Consequences are but a single Act. The simile given is that of the twinkling of an eye, which is the shortest time that a simple man can think of: the cause which occasions the twinkling, the movement of the muscles connected with it, the closing of the eyelids, and their reopening, are all almost like a simultaneous act. By way of contrast take an illustration like that of a man writing a book. He must form the design in his mind; he must prepare himself by research, collection of knowledge, or of personal experience; he must use or acquire the art of writing; he must collect the materials for writing, viz., paper, ink, pen, etc., and this will connect with a chain of manufacturing processes in which he is dependent upon other people's work and experience; then his book may have to be printed or lightographed or bound, and sold, or taken to a library, or presented to a friend, which will bring into play numerous other chains of processes, and dependence upon other people's work or skill; and the lag of Time, Space, and Circumstance will occur at numerous stages. In Allah's Command, the word "Be" (kun) includes everything, without the intervention, of or dependence upon any other being or thing whatever. And this is also another phase of the philosophy of Unity.
Note Number : 5165Ashyaakum: 'gangs or parties or collection of men like you.'-addressed to wicked men who arrogantly rely upon their own strength or combination, neither of which can stand for a moment against the Will of Allah.
Note Number : 5166The cases of Pharaoh's men of old and the Pagan Quraish are considered as parallel, and an appeal is addressed to the latter from the experience of the former: 'will ye not learn and repent?'
Note Number : 5167The point is that nothing which men do is lost-good or evil. Everything gives rise to an inevitable chain of consequences, from which a release is only obtained by the intervention of Allah's Grace acting on an act, a striving of the human will to repent and turn to Allah.
Note Number : 5168The record, in the case of those who dishonoured and violated Truth, will lead to their undoing; but in the case of those who honoured the Truth and adopted it so as to shine in their righteous lives, the result is expressed by four metaphors, in an ascending degree of sublimity: (1) they will be in the midst of Gardens where rivers flow; (2) they will be in sure abode; (3) with Allah; (4) Whose sovereignty is omnipotent. "Gardens" with Rivers (flowing beneath): this has been explained more than once already: Cf. n. 4668 to xliii. 70. The Garden suggests all the Bliss we can imagine through our senses.
Note Number : 5169While we possess our bodily senses, the best conceptions we can form are through our sense-perceptions.
Note Number : 5170But there is a higher conception still, something that it can only be expressed by reference to the Presence of Allah,
Note Number : 5171Muqtadir, which is translated Omnipotent, implies something more: the eighth- declension form denotes not only complete mastery, but the further idea that the mastery arises from Allah's own nature, and depends on nothing else whatever.