Note Number : 5172The Revelation comes from Allah Most Gracious, and it is one of the greatest Signs of His grace and favour. He is the source of all Light, and His light is diffused throughout the universe.
Note Number : 5173Bayan: intelligent speech: power of expression: capacity to understand clearly the relations of things and to explain them. Allah has given this to man, and besides this revelation in man's own heart, has aided him with revelation in nature and revelation through prophets and messengers.
Note Number : 5174In the great astronomical universe there are exact mathematical laws, which bear witness to Allah's Wisdom and also to His favours to His creatures; for we all profit by the heat and light, the seasons, and the numerous changes in the tides and the atmosphere, on which the constitution of our globe and the maintenance of life depend.
Note Number : 5175Najm: may mean stars collectively, or herbs collectively: perhaps both meanings are implied.
Note Number : 5176All nature adores Allah. Cf. xxii. 18, and n. 2790; xiii. 15; and xvi. 48-49.
Note Number : 5177The "balance of justice" in this verse is connected with "the Balance" in the next two verses, that men may act justly to each other and observe due balance in all their actions, following the golden mean and not transgressing due bounds in anything. But the Balance is also connected figuratively with the heavens above in three symbols: (1) Justice is a heavenly virtue: (2) the heavens themselves are sustained by mathematical balance; and (3) the constellation Libra (the Balance) is entered by the sun at the middle of the zodiacal year.
Note Number : 5178To be taken both literally and figuratively. A man should be honest and straight in every daily matter, such as weighing out things which he is selling: and he should be straight, just and honest, in all the highest dealings, not only with other people, but with himself and in his obedience to Allah's Law. Not many do either the one or the other when they have an opportunity of deceit. Justice is the central virtue, and the avoidance of both excess and defect in conduct keeps the human world balanced just as the heavenly world is kept balanced by mathematical order.
Note Number : 5179How can Allah's favours be counted? Look at the earth alone. Life and the conditions here are mutually balanced for Allah's creatures. The vegetable world produces fruit of various kinds and corn or grain of various kinds for human food. The grain harvest yields with it fodder for animals in the shape of leaves and straw, as well as food for men in the shape of grain. The plants not only supply food but sweet-smelling herbs and flowers. Raihan is the sweet basil, but is here used in the generic sense, for agreeable produce in the vegetable world, to match the useful produce already mentioned.
Note Number : 5180Both the pronoun "your" and the verb "will ye deny" are in the Arabic in the Dual Number. The whole Sura is a symphony of Duality, which leads up to Unity, as explained in the Introduction. All creation is in pairs: li. 49, and notes 5025-26; xxxvi. 36, n. 3981. Justice is the conciliation of two opposites to unity, the settlement of the unending feud between Right and Wrong. The things and concepts mentioned in this Sura are in pairs: man and outer nature; sun and moon; herbs and trees; heaven and earth; fruit and corn; human food and fodder for cattle; things nourishing and things sweet-smelling; and so on throughout the Sura. Then there is man and Jinn, for which see n. 5182 below. "Will ye deny?" that is, fail to acknowledge either in word or thought or in your conduct. If you misuse Allah's gifts or ignore them, that is equivalent to ingratitude or denial or refusal to profit by Allah's infinite Grace.
Note Number : 5181See n. 1966 to xv. 26. The creation of men and Jinns is contrasted. Man was made of sounding clay, dry and brittle like pottery. The Jinn (see next note) was made from a clear flame of fire. Yet each has capacities and possibilities which only Allah's Grace bestows on them. How can they deny Allah's favours?
Note Number : 5182For the meaning of Jinn, see n. 929 to vi. 100. They are spirits, and therefore subtle like a flame of fire. Their being free from smoke implies that they are free from grossness, for smoke is the grosser accompaniment of fire.
Note Number : 5183Part of the idea of this refrain will be found in xvi. 71, 72; xl. 81; and liii. 55 (where see n. 5122).
Note Number : 5184The two Easts are the two extreme points where the sun rises during the year, and includes all the points between. Similarly the two Wests include the two extreme points of the sun's setting and all the points between. The Dual Number fits with the general atmosphere of Duality in this Sura. Allah is Lord of every region of the earth and sky, and He scatters His bounties everywhere. See also n. 4641 to xliii. 38, and n. 4034 to xxxvii. 5.
Note Number : 5185See xxv. 53, and n. 3111, where it is explained how the two bodies of water, salt and sweet, meet together, yet keep separate, as if there was a barrier or partition between them. This is also one of the favours of Allah. Sea-water is a sanitating agent, while fresh water is sweet and palatable to drink.
Note Number : 5186Pearls are produced by the oyster and coral by the polyp, a minute marine creature, which, working in millions, has by its secretions produced the reefs, islands, and banks in and on both sides of the Red Sea and in other parts of the world. The pearl has a translucent lustre, usually white, but sometimes pink or black. Coral is usually opaque, red or pink, but often white, and is seen in beautiful branching or cup-like shapes as visitors to Port Sudan will recall. Both are used as gems and stand here for gems generally. Mineral gems, such as agate and cornelian, are found in river-beds. Pearl oysters are also found in some rivers.
Note Number : 5187The ships-sailing ships and steamers, and by extension of analogy, aeroplanes and airships majestically navigating the air-are made by man, but the intelligence and science which made them possible are given by man's Creator; and therefore the Ships also are the gifts of Allah.
Note Number : 5188Lofty as mountains: both in respect of the high sails, or masts, and in respect of the height to which the top of the ship towers above the surface of the sea. The 'Queen Mary'-the biggest ship afloat in 1936-has a height, from the keel to the top of the superstructure, of 135 ft. and from keel to the mast-head, of 234 ft.
Note Number : 5189The most magnificent works of man-such as they are-are but fleeting. Ships, Empires, the Wonders of Science and Art, the splendours of human glory or intellect, will all pass away. The most magnificent objects in outer Nature-the mountains and valleys, the sun and moon, the Constellation Orion and the star Sirius-will also pass away in their appointed time. But the only One that will endure for ever is the "Face" of Allah.
Note Number : 5190Ikram; two ideas are prominent in the word, (1) the idea of generosity, as proceeding from the person whose attribute it is, and (2) the idea of honour, as given by others to the person whose attribute it is. Both these ideas are summed up in "nobility". To make the meaning quite clear, I have employed in the translation the two words "Bounty and Honour" for the single word Ikram. The same attributes recur in the last verse of this Sura. In the Fact of Allah's Eternity is the Hope of our Future.
Note Number : 5191Every single creature depends on Allah for its needs: of all of them the Cherisher and Sustainer is Allah. Seek (its needs): does not necessarily mean 'seek them in words': what is meant is the dependence: the allusion is to the Source of supply.
Note Number : 5192Shan: state, splendour; aim, work, business, momentous affair. Allah's is still the directing hand in all affairs. He does not sit apart, careless of mankind or of any of His creatures. But His working shows new Splendour every day, every hour, every moment.
Note Number : 5193Thaqal: weight, something weighty, something weighed with something else. The two thaqals are Jinns and men who are burdened with responsibility or, as some commentators hold, with sin. They are both before Allah, and the affairs of both are conducted under His Command. If there are inequalities or apparent disturbances of balance, that is only for a season. Allah gives to both good and evil men a chance in this period of probation; but this period will soon be over, and Judgment will be established. To give you this chance, this probation, this warning, is itself a favour, by which you should profit, and for which you should be grateful.
Note Number : 5194Cf. vi. 130, where the Jinns and men are addressed collectively. That whole passage, vi. 130-134, should be read as a commentary on this verse. 'If you think that because you do things in secret, or because some of your sins do not seem to meet their inevitable punishment or some of your good deeds seem to go unnoticed, do not be deceived. Judgment will soon come. You cannot possibly escape out of the zones in which your lives have been cast, without authority from Allah. Be grateful to Allah for the chances He has given you'. "All that hath been promised unto you will come to pass: nor can ye frustrate it in the least bit" (vi. 134).
Note Number : 5195Note how gradually we have been led up in the Argument. 'The Signs of Allah are all about you, in revelation, in your intelligence, and in nature around you. Your creation; the light and heat typified by the sun in all directions; the cycle of waters in the physical earth and of Knowledge in the world of Intelligence; the help and cherishing care of Allah Himself;-all these things should teach you the Truth and warn you about the Future, which is more particularly referred to in the remainder of the Sura.
Note Number : 5196The Dual is with reference to the two worlds explained above in n. 5193.
Note Number : 5197We now come to the terrors of the Judgment on the evil ones.
Note Number : 5198Here and in some of the verses that follow, (verses 40, 42, and 45 below), the refrain applies with an ironical meaning. It is as if it was said: 'You used to laugh at Revelation, and at the warnings which were given for your own benefit in order to draw you to repentance and Allah's Mercy; what do you find now? Is not all that was said to you true?' To reject Allah's Law is in itself to deny Allah's Mercies.
Note Number : 5199Melting away like grease or ointment. The red colour will be due to the flames and the heat. The whole of the world as we know it now will dissolve.
Note Number : 5200This does not of course mean that they will not be called to account for their sin. They will certainly be called to account for all their deeds: xv. 92. The meaning of this whole passage is that their personal responsibility will be enforced. But their own tongues and hands and feet will bear witness against them as to their actions: xxiv. 24. Every man will bear marks on his person, showing his classification in the Final Account: vii 48. After these Marks are affixed, everyone's position and status in the Final Account will be known to everyone. As to the Judge on the Throne of Judgment, He will of course know all before Judgment is set up. But to give every chance to the accused, his record will be produced and shown to him (lxix. 19, 25, xviii. 49), and he will be given a chance to plead (vii. 53), but if a sinner, he will be in confusion (xxviii. 66).
Note Number : 5201By their Marks: see last note.
Note Number : 5202It will then become too real to them. "Oh! that this too, too solid flesh would melt", as Hamlet said to his Queen-Mother (Hamlet, i. 2. 129).
Note Number : 5203They will apparently have no rest. The fire will burn but not consume them, and their drink will be only boiling water.
Note Number : 5204The reference to the Punishment of Sin having been dismissed in a few short lines, we now come to a description of the state of the Blessed.
Note Number : 5205Here two Gardens are mentioned, and indeed four, counting the other two mentioned in lv. 62-76. Opinions are divided about this, but the best opinion is that the two mentioned in verses 46-61 are for the degree of those Nearest to Allah (Muqarrabun), and those in verses 62-76 for the Companions of the Right Hand: Why two for each? The Duality is to express variety, and the whole scheme of the Sura runs in twos. There will be no dulness of uniformity: as our minds can conceive it now, there will be freshness in change, but it will be from Bliss to Bliss, and there will be Unity.
Note Number : 5206Two Springs, for the same reasons as there will be two Gardens. See last note.
Note Number : 5207The Duality of Fruits is for the same reason as the Duality of the Gardens. See n. 5205.
Note Number : 5208The toil and fatigue of this life will be over: Cf. xxxv. 35.
Note Number : 5209See notes 4728-29 to xliv. 54.
Note Number : 5210Cf. xxxvii. 48 and n. 4064. Their purity is the feature hereby chiefly emphasised.
Note Number : 5211Delicate pink, with reference to their complexions and their beauty of form. The gems also indicate their worth and dignity.
Note Number : 5212This is the summing up of all the description used to express the Fruit of Goodness or Good. But the fullest expression can only be given in abstract terms: "Is there any reward for Good-other than Good?" Can anything express it better?
Note Number : 5213See n. 5205 above.
Note Number : 5214"Dark-green in colour": these Gardens will also be fruitful and flourishing, and watered plentifully; but their aspect and characteristics will be different, corresponding to the subjective differences in the ideas of Bliss among those who would respectively enjoy, the two sets of Gardens.
Note Number : 5215In comparison with the Springs in the other two Gardens, described in lv. 50 above, these Springs would seem to irrigate crops of vegetables and fruits requiring a constant supply of abundant water.
Note Number : 5216See last note. Cf. also with Iv. 52 above, where "fruits of every kind" are mentioned.
Note Number : 5217See n. 5209 above. Goodness and Beauty are specially feminine attributes.
Note Number : 5218Maqsurat here is the passive participle of the same verb as the active participle Qasirat in Iv. 56, xxxvii. 48 and xxxviii. 52. As I have translated Qasirat by the phrase "restraining (their glances)", I think I am right in translating the passive Maqsurat by "restrained (as to their glances)". This is the only place in the Qur-an where the passive form occurs.
Note Number : 5219The Pavilions seem to add dignity to their status. In the other Gardens (Iv. 58), the description "like rubies and corals" is perhaps an indication of higher dignity.
Note Number : 5220Cf. the parallel words for the other two Gardens, in lv. 54 above, which suggest perhaps a higher dignity. Rafraf is usually translated by Cushions or Pillows, and I have followed this meaning in view of the word "reclining". But another interpretation is "Meadows", in view of the adjective "green"-'abqari: carpets richly figured and dyed, and skillfully worked.
Note Number : 5221Cf. lv. 27 and n. 5190. This minor echo completes the symmetry of the two leading Ideas of this Sura,-the Bounty and Majesty of Allah, and the Duty of man to make himself worthy of nearness to Allah.