Note Number : 834Adala has various meanings: (1) to hold something as equal to something else, as here; to balance nicely; (2) to deal justly, as between one party and another, xiii.15; (3) to give compensation or reparation, or something as equivalent to something else, vi. 70; (4) to turn the balance the right way, to give a right disposition, to give a just bias or proportion, lxxxii. 7; (5) to turn the balance the wrong way, to swerve, to show bias. iv 135.
Note Number : 835The argument is threefold: (1) God created everything you see and know: how can you then set up any of His own creatures as equal to Him? (2) He is your own Guardian-Lord; He cherishes and loves you: how can you be so ungrateful as to run after something else? (3) Darkness and Light are to help you to distinguish between the true from the false: how then can you confound the true God with your false ideas and superstitions? There may also be a repudiation of the Duality of old Persian theology; Light and Darkness are not conflicting Powers; they are both creatures of the one true God.
Note Number : 836After the general argument, the argument comes to man personally. Can such a miserable creature, created from clay, put himself in opposition to his Creator? And can man forget or doubt that he is here only for a short term of probation? And then, after a period, comes the Day of Account before God.
Note Number : 837This life is a period of probation. The other term leads up to Judgement.
Note Number : 838It is folly to suppose that God only reigns in the heavens. He also reigns on earth. He knows all our secret thoughts and motives, and the real worth of all that is behind what we care to show. It is by our deeds that He judges us; for our deeds, whether good or evi, we shall get due recompense in due time.
Note Number : 839Now comes the argument from history, looking backwards and forwards. If we are so short-sighted or arrogant as to suppose that we are firmly established on this earth, secure in our privileges,we are reminded of much greater nations in the past, who failed in their duty and were wiped out. In their fate we must read our own fate, if we fail likewise! But those without faith, instead of facing facts squarely "turn away therefrom." A) Qirtas, in the Apostle's life, could only mean "parchment," which was commonly used as writing material in Western Asia from the 2nd century B.C. The word was derived from the Greek, Charles (Cf. Latin, "Charta"). Paper, as we know it, made from rags, was first used by the Arabs after the conquest of Samarqand in 751 A.D. The Chinese had used it by the 2nd century B.C. The Arabs introduced it into Europe; it was used in Greece in the 11th and 12th century, and in Spain through Sicily in the 12th century. The Papyrus, made from an Egyptian reed, was in Egypt as early as 2500 B.C. It gave place to paper in Egypt in the 10th century.
Note Number : 840The materialists want to see actual physical material things before them, but if such a thing came from an unusual source or expressed things they cannot understand, they give it some name like magic, or superstition, or whatever name is in fashion, and they are not helped at all in attaining faith, because their "hearts are diseased" (ii. 10)
Note Number : 841Cf. ii. 210. An angel is a heavenly being, a manifestation of God's glory, invisible to men who live gross material lives. Such men are given plenty of respite in which to turn in repentance to God and make theselves worthly of His light. But if their prayer to see an angel were grated, it would do them no good, for thy would be destroyed as darkness is destroyed by light.
Note Number : 842Supposing an angel should appear to their grosser senses, he could only do it in human form. In that case their present confused notions about spiritual life would be still more confounded. They would say: "We wanted to see an angel, and we have only seen a man!"
Note Number : 843"The scoffers were mocked by the thing that they mocked" would express epigrammatically part of the sense, but not the whole. "Hemmed in" implies that the logic of events turned the tables, and as a man might be besieged and surrounded by an enemy in war, and would be forced to surrender, so these mockers will find that events would justify Truth, not them. The mockers of Jesus, - where were they when Titus detroyed Jerusalem? The mockers who drove out Muhammad from Mecca, - what was their plight when Muhammad came back in triumph and they sued for mercy, - and he gave it to them! According to the Latin proverb, Great is Truth, and must prevail.
Note Number : 844History, travel, human eperience, all prove the Mercy of God and the law that without it those who reject Truth tend to lose their own souls and destroy themselves.
Note Number : 845Sakan=(1) to dwell; (2) to rest, to be still, to stop (moving), to lurk; (3) to be quiescent, as a letter which is not moved with a vowel. If we imagine Night and Day to be places, and each to have (dwelling in them) things that are open and things that are concealed, things that move and things that are still, things that are sounded and things that are quiescent, we get some ida of the imagery implied. The mystery of Time (which seems more abstract than Space) is thus explained and illustrated by the idea of Place or Space, which also is a notion and not a concrete thing. But He Who has control of all these things is the one true God.
Note Number : 846Throughout this section we have a sort of implied dialogue, of which one part is understood from the other part, which is expressed. In verse 11, we might have an imagery objector saying: "Why go back to the past?" The answer is: "Well, travel through the world, and see whether it is not true that virtue and godliness exalt a nation, and the opposite are causes of ruin. Both the past and the present prove this." In verse 12 the objector may say: "But you speak of God's power?" The man of God replies: "Yes, but Mercy is God's own attribute, and knowledge and wisdom beyond what man can conceive."
Note Number : 847Feedeth but is not fed: true both literally and figuratively. To God we owe the satisfaction of all needs, but He is independent of all needs.
Note Number : 848We continue the implied dialogue suggested in n. 846. In verse 14, the objector might say: "But we have other interests in life than religion and God." "No," says the man of God, "My Creator is the one and only Power whose protection I seek; and I strive to be first in the race." In verse 15, the objector suggests: "enjoy the good things of this life; it is short." The answer is: "The Hereafter is more real to me, and promises the true fulfilment of all desire; happiness or affliction comes not from the fleeting pettinesses or illusions of this life, but from the power and wisdom of God." In verse 19, the objector makes his final splash: "What evidence is there for all this?" The reply is: "I know it is true, for God's voice is within me, and my living Teacher awakens that voice; and there is the Book of Inspiration. God is one, and there is none other besides."
Note Number : 849The vulgar worship of false gods out of fear that they would harm them or hope that they would confer some benefit on them. These false gods can do neither. All power, all goodness is in the hands of the One True God. All else is pretence or illusion.
Note Number : 850Cf. ii. 146 and n. 151. In both passages the pronoun translated "this" may mean "him" and refer to Muhammad the Apostle of God, as some commentators think.
Note Number : 851Fitnat has various meanings, from the root idea of "to try , to test, to tempt;" e.g. (1) a trial or temptation, as in ii. 102; (2) trouble, tumult, oppression, persecution, as in ii. 191, 193, 217; (3) discord, as in iii. 7; (4) subterfuge, an answer that amounts to a sedition, and excuse founded on a falsehod, as here. Other shades of meaning wll be noticed as they occur. Those who blasphemed God in imagining false gods will now see the vanity of their imaginations for themselves. What answer can they give now? In their perverisity they will deny that they ever entertained the notion of false gods.
Note Number : 852The lies whch they used to tell have now "wandered" from the channels which they use to occupy, and left the liars in the lurch. In denying the indubitable fact that they took false gods, they admit the falsity of their notions and thus are practically convicted out of their own mouths. A) It=The Qur-an.
Note Number : 853Their falsity was not due to want of knowledge, but to perversity and selfishness. In their heart was a disease (ii. 10): therefore neither their understanding, nor their ears, nor their eyes do their proper work. They twist what they see, hear, or are taught, and go deeper and deeper into the mire. The deceptions which they used to practise on other people will, before the Seat of Judgement, become clear in their own eyes.
Note Number : 854Grievous is the burden of sins which the wicked will bear on their backs when they become conscious of them. Some commentators personify Sins as ugly Demons riding on the backs of men, while the men's Good Deeds become the strong and patient mounts which will carry the men on their backs. If the Good Deeds are few and the Sins many, the man and his Good Deeds will be crushed under the load of the Evil which they carry.
Note Number : 855Play and amusement are for preparing our minds for the serious things of life: in themselves they are not serious. So this life is a preparation for the Eternal Home to which we are going, which is far more important than the ephemeral pleasures which may possibly seduce us in this life.
Note Number : 856There were many signs of a divine Mission in the Apostle's life and in the Message which he delivered. If these did not convince the Unbelievers, was it not vain to seek a miraculous Sign from the bowels ofthe earth or by a visible ascent to the skies? If in the Apostle's eagerness to get all to accept his Mesage he was hurt at their callousness, active opposition, and persecution of him, he is told that a full knowledge of the working of God`s Plan would convince him that impatience was misplaced. This was in the days of persecution before the Hijrat. The history in Medina and shows how Allah's truth was ultimately and triumphantly vindicated. Who among the sincere devotees of Muhammad can fail to read vi. 33-35 without tears in his eyes?
Note Number : 857There is a double meaning here. (1) If people listen to truth sincerely and earnestly, they must believe; even if the spiritual faculty is dead, God will by His grace revive it and they will come to Him, if they really try earnestly to understand. (2) The sincere will believe; but those whose hearts are dead will not listen, yet they cannot escape being brought to the Judgement Seat before him.
Note Number : 858Sins are all around them, but they do not understand. If they want a particular Sign to suit their gross ignorance, they will not be humoured, for they can always pick holes in anything that descends to their level.
Note Number : 859"Animals living on the earth" include those living in the water, - fishes, reptiles, crustaceans, insects, as well as four-footed beasts. Life on the wing is separately mentioned. "Tair," which is ordinarily translated as "bird," is anything that flies, including mammals like bats. In our pride we may exclude animals from our purview, but they all live a life, social and individual, like ourselves, and all life is subject to the Plan and the Will of God. In vi. 59 we are told that not a leaf falls but by His Will, and things dry and green are recorded in His Book. In other words they all obey His archetypal Plan, the Book which is also mentioned here. They are all answerable in their several degrees to His Plan ("shall be gathered to their Lord in the end"). This is not Pantheism: it is ascribing all life, activity, and existence to the Will and Plan of God.
Note Number : 860The limited free will of man makes a little difference. If he sees the Signs but shuts his ears to the true Message, and refuses (like a dumb thing) to speak out the Message which all Nature proclaims, then according to the Plan ( of his limited free-will) he must suffer and wander, just as, in the opposite case, he will receive grace and salvation.
Note Number : 861Sorrow and suffering may (if we take them rightly) turn out to be the best gifts of God to us. According to the Psalms (xciv. 12), "Blessed is the man whom Thou chastenest, O Lord!" Through suffering we learn humility, the antidote to many vices and the fountain of many virtues. But if we take them the wrong way, we grumble and complain: we become faint-hearted; and Satan gets his oppurtunity to exploit us by putting forward the alluring pleasures of his Vanity Fair.
Note Number : 862Learning the inner truth of ourselves and the world presupposes a certain advanced stage of sensitiveness and spiritual development. There is a shallower stage, at which prosperity and the good things of life may teach us sympathy and goodness and cheerfulness like that of Mr. Cheeribyles in Dickens. In such cases the Message takes root. But there is another type of character which is puffed up in prosperity. For them prosperity is a trial or even a punishment from the higher point of view. They go deeper and deeper into sin, until they are pulled up of a sudden, and then instead of being contrite they merely become desperate.
Note Number : 863God's punishment of wrong-doers is a measure of justice, to protect the true and righteous from their depredations and maintain His righteous decrees. It is an aspect of His character which is emphasised by the epithet "Cherisher of the Worlds."
Note Number : 864Cf ii. 7 and n.
Note Number : 865Suddenly=without warning. Openly=with many warnings, even to the sinners, though they heed them not. As to those who understand and read the signs of God, they could always tell that all wrong-doing must eventually have its punishment. But it will affect the wrong-doers, not the righteous. It is justice, not revenge.
Note Number : 866The Apostles are not sent to cancel man's limited free-will. They are sent to preach and teach, - to preach hope to the repentant ("good news"), and to warn the rebellious of the Wrath to come.
Note Number : 867Literally it might mean that the men of God are not like vulgar soothsayers, who pretend to reveal hidden treasures, or peer into future, or claim to be something of a different nature from men. But the meaning is wider: They deal out God's great treasures of truth, but the treasures are not theirs, but God's; they have greater insight into the higher things, but that insight is not due to their own wisdom, but to God's inspiration; they are of the same flesh and blood with us, and the sublimity of their words and teaching arises through God's grace- to them and to those who hear them.
Note Number : 868Therefore compare not the men of God ("the seeing") with ordinary men ("the blind"). The men of God, although they be but men, have the higher light with them; therefore do not exact of them petty ephemeral services. Though they are men, they are not as other men, and are entitled to reverence.
Note Number : 869There are some men - sinners - who yet believe in Judgement; let them be warned of their personal responsibility to guard against evil; let them not rely upon protectors or intercessors before God; their sins can only be forgiven by God's own Mercy.
Note Number : 870Face: wajh: see ii. 112 and n. 114. "Face" is used for God's Grace or presence, the highest aim of spiritual aspiration.
Note Number : 871Some of the rich and influential Quraish thought it beneath their dignity to listen to Muhammad's teaching in company with the lowly disciples, who were gathered round him. But he refused to send away these lowly disciples, who were sincere seekers after God. From a worldly point of view they had nothing to gain from Muhammad as he was himself poor and he had nothing to gain from them as they had no influence. But that was no reason for turning them away; indeed their true sincerity entitled them to precedence over wordly men in the kingdom of God, whose justice was vindicated in Muhammad's daily life in this as in other things. If their sincerity was in any way doubtful, it involved no reponsibility for the Preacher.
Note Number : 872Pursue the argument of the last note. The influential people who were not given precedence over the poor and humble but sincere disciples, were on their trial as to their spiritual insight. Their temptation was to say (and they said it in scorn): "We are much greater than they: has God then selected these lowly people for His teaching?" But that was so. And God knew best those who were grateful to Him for His guidance.
Note Number : 873The humble who had sincere faith, were not only not sent away to humour the wealthy: they were honoured and were given a special salutation, which has become the characteristic salutation in Islam: "Peace be on you,"-the word peace, "salam" having special affinity with the word "Islam." In words they are given the salutation; in life they are promised Mercy by the special grace of God.
Note Number : 874Cf. vi 12.
Note Number : 875If the way of the sinners (in jealousy and worldly pride) is shown up, and details are given how to honour the truly sincere, it forms the best illustration of the teaching of God.
Note Number : 876There are a number of arguments now put forward against the Meccans who refused to believe in God's Message. Each argument is introduced with the word "Say." Here are the first four: (1) I have received Light and will follow it; (2) I prefer my Light to your vain desires; (3) Your challenge-" if there is a God, why does He not finish the blasphemers at once?" -it is not for me to take up; punishment rests with God; (4) If it rested with me, it would be for me to take up your challenge; all I know is that God is not unaquainted with the existance of folly and wickedness, and many other things besides, that no mortal can know; you can see little glimpses of His Plan, and you can be sure that He will not be tardy in calling you to account.
Note Number : 877What ye would see hastened: what ye, deniers of God, are so impatient about: the punishment which ye mockingly say does not come to you. Cf. xiii. 6.
Note Number : 878The Messenger of God is not here to settle scores with the wicked. It is not a matter between them and him. It is a matter between them and God; he is only a warner against sin, and a declarer of the gospel of salvation.
Note Number : 879Mafatih: Plural of either miftah= a key, or maftah= a treasure. Both meanings are implied, and I have accordingly put both in my translation.
Note Number : 880This is the mystic Record, the archetypal Plan, the Eternal Law, according to which everything seen and unseen is ordered and regulated. There is much mystic doctrine here, explained by beautiful metaphors and illustrations. The simplest things in Nature are subject to His Law. The fresh and the withered, the living and the lifeless-nothing is outside the Plan of His Creation.
Note Number : 881As the rest of His Creation is subject to His Law and Plan, so is man's life in every particular and at every moment, awake or asleep. The mystery of Sleep-" the twin brother of death" - is called the taking of our soul by Him, with the record of all we have done in our waking moments, and this record sometimes appears to us in confused glimpses in dreams. By day we awaken again to our activities, and so it goes on until we fufil the term of our life appointed for this earth. Then comes the other Sleep (death), with the longer record of our Day (Life); and then, in the end comes the Resurrection and Judgment, at which we see everything clearly and not as in dreams, for that is the final Reality.
Note Number : 882Guarians: most commentators understand this to mean guardian angels. The idea of guardianship is expressed in a general term. God watches over us and guards us, and provides all kinds of agencies, material, moral, and spiritual, to help our growth and development, keep us from harm, and bring us nearer to our Destiny.
Note Number : 883Angel: the word used is rusul, the Sent Ones, -the same word as for human Apostles and Messengers sent by God to teach mankind. The agents who come to take our souls at death are accurate in the performance of their duty. They come neither before nor after their appointed time, nor do they do it in any manner other than that fixed by the Command of God.
Note Number : 884The only Reality: al-haqq, the Truth, the only True One. The point is that our illusions of the life of this lower world now vanish, when we are rendered back to God, from Whom we came. And now we find that so far from the results of our actions being delayed, they follow more swiftly than we can express in terms of Time. Here is the answer to the taunt of those who were impatient of the working of God's Plans (vi. 57-58).
Note Number : 885In continuation of the four heads of argument refered to in n. 876, we have three more heads here in vi. 63-65: (5) your calling upon Him in times of danger shows that in the depths of your hearts you feel His need; (6) God's Providence saves you, and yet you ungratefully run after false gods; (7) it is not only physical calamitites that you have to fear; your mutual discords and vengeances are even more destructive, and only faith in God can save you from them.
Note Number : 886Zulumat: dark recesses, terrrible lurking dangers, as in deserts or mountains, or forests, or seas.
Note Number : 887There are two readings, but they both ultimately yield the same meaning. (1) Khufyatan= silently, secretly, from the depth of your inner heart, suggesting unspeakable terror. (2) Khifatan= out of terror or fear or reverence, as in vii. 205.
Note Number : 888Calamities from above and below: such as storms and blizzards, torrential rain, ect., or earthquakes, floods, landslides, etc.
Note Number : 889Cf. vi. 46, where this refrain commences the argument now drawing to a close.
Note Number : 890At the date of this revelation, the Apostle's people had as a body not only rejected God's truth, but were persecuting it. The Apostle's duty was to deliver his Message, which he did. He was not reponsible for their conduct. But he told them plainly that all warnings from God had their time limit, as they would soon find out, within a very few years. For the leaders of the resisitance came to an evil end, and their whole system of fraud and selfishness was destroyed, to make room for the purer Faith of Islam. Apart from that particular application, there is the more general application, for the present time and for all time.
Note Number : 891Cf. iv. 140. If in any gathering truth is ridiculed, we must not sit in such company. If we find ourselves in it, as soon as we realize it, we must show our disapproval by leaving.
Note Number : 892"Evil to him who evil thinks," or evil does. Every man is responsible for his own conduct. But the righteous have two duties: (1) to protect themselves from infection, and (2) to proclaim God's truth, for even in the most unlikely circumstances, it is possible that it may have some effect.
Note Number : 893Cf. vi 32. where we are told that the life of this world is mere play and amusement, and Religion and the Hereafter are the serious things that require our attention. Worldly people reverse this because they are deceived by the allurements of this life. But their own acts will find them out.
Note Number : 894We must never forget our own personal responsibility for all we do, or deceive ourselves by the illusion of vicarious atonement.
Note Number : 895In continuation of the seven heads of argument refered to in nn. 876 and 885, we have here the final two heads: (8) Who would, after receiving guidance from the living, eternal God, turn to lifeless idols? To do so would indeed show that we were made into fools, wandering to a precipice; (9) therefore accept the only true guidance, the guidance of God, and obey his Law, for we shall have to answer before His judgment-seat.
Note Number : 896The argument mounts up here, leading to the great insight of Abraham the true in faith, who did not stop short at the wonders of nature, but penetrated "from nature up to nature's God." God not only created the heavens and the earth: with every increase of knowledge we see in what true and perfect proportions all Creation is held together. Creatures are subject to Time, but the Creator is not; His word is the key that opens the door of existence. It is not only the starting point of existence, but the whole measure and standard of Truth and Right. There may possibly be, to our sight in this great world, aberrations of human or other wills, but the moment the trumpet sounds for the last day, His judgement seat will, with perfect justice, restore the dominion of Right and Reality. For His knowledge and wisdom cover all reality.
Note Number : 897Now comes the story of Abraham. He lived among the Chaldeans, who had great knowledge of the stars and heavenly bodies. But he got beyond that physical world, and saw the spiritual world behind. His ancestral idols meant nothing to him. That was the first step. But God took him many degrees higher. God showed him with certitude the spiritual glories behind the magnificent powers and laws of the physical universe.
Note Number : 898This allegory shows stages of Abraham'spiritual enlightenment. It should not be supposed that he literally worshipped stars or heavenly bodies. Having seen through the folly of ancestral idol worship, he began to see the futility of worshipping distant beautiful things that shine, which the vulgar endue with a power which does not reside in them. A type of such is a star shining in the darkness of thenight. Superstition might read fortunes in it, but truer knowledge shows that it rises and sets according to laws whose author is God. And its light is extinguished in the broader light of day. Its worship is therefore futile. It is not a Power, much less the Supreme Power.
Note Number : 899Continuing the allegory, the moon, though she looks bigger and brighter than the star, turns out on closer knowledge, not only to set like the star, but to change her shape from hour to hour, and even to depend for her light on some other body! How deceptive are appearances! That is not God! At that stage you begin to search for something more reliable than appearances to the eye in the darkness of the night. You ask for guidance from God.
Note Number : 900The next stage in the allegory is the sun. You are in the open light of Day. Now you have the right clue. You see the biggest object in the heavens. But is it the biggest? There are thousands of stars in the universe bigger than the sun. And every day the sun appears and disappears from your sight. Such is not the god who created you and all these wonderful works of His. What folly to worship creatures, when we might turn to the true God? Let us abjure all these follies and proclaim the one true God.
Note Number : 901To continue Abraham's allegory: if spiritual enlightenment go so far as to take a man beyond his ancestral worship, people will continue to dispute with him. They will frighten him with the dire consequences of his dissent. What does he care? He has found the truth. He is free from superstitious fears, for has he not found the true God, without Whose Will nothing can happen? On the contrary he knows that it is the godless who have just grounds for fear. And he offers admonition to them, and the arguments that should bring them the clearness of truth instead of the vagueness and mystery of superstition, -the security of Faith instead of the haunting fear of those who have no clear guidance.
Note Number : 902The spiritual education of Abraham raised him many degrees above his contemporaries, and he was expected to use that knowledge and dignity for preaching the truth among his own people.
Note Number : 903We have now a list of eighteen Apostles in four groups, covering the great Teachers accepted among the three great religions based on Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad. The first group to be mentioned is that of Abraham, his son Issac, and Isaac's son Jacob. Abraham was the first to have a Book. His Book is mentioned in Q. lxxxvii. 19, though it is now lost. They were therefore the first to receive Guidance in the sense of a Book.
Note Number : 904In the second group, we have the great founders of families, apart from Abraham, viz., Noah of the time of the Flood; David and Solomon, the real establishers of the Jewish monarchy; Job, who lived 140 years, saw four generations of descendants, and was blessed at the end of his life with large pastoral wealth (Job xlii. 16,12); Joseph, who as Minister of State did great things in Egypt and ws the progenitor of two Tribes; and Moses and Aaron, the leaders of the Exodus from Egypt. They led active lives and called "doers of good."
Note Number : 905The third group consists not of men of action, but Preachers of Truth, who led solitary lives. Their epithet is: "the Righteous." They form a connected group round Jesus. Zakariya was the father of John the Baptist, the precursor of Jesus (iii. 37-41); and Jesus referred to John the Baptist as Elias, "this is Elias, which was to come" (Matt xi. 14); and Elias is said to have been present and talked to Jesus at the Transfiguration on the Mount (Matt. xvii. 3). Elias is the same as Elijah.
Note Number : 906This is the last group, described as those "favoured above the nations." It consists of four men who had all great misfortunes to contend with, and were concerned in the clash of nations, but they kept in the path of God, and came through above the clash of nations. Ismail was the eldest son of Abraham; when he was a baby, he and his mother had nearly died of thirst in the desert round Mecca; but they were saved by the well of Zamzam, and became the founder of the new Arab nation. Elisha (Al-Yasa) succeeded to the mantle of the Prophet Elijah (same as Elias,see last note); he lived in troublous times for both the Jewish kingdoms (of Judah and Isreal); there were wicked kings, and other nations were pressing in on them; but he performed many miracles, and some check was given to the enemies under his advice. The story of Jonas (Yunus) is well-known: he was swallowed by a fish or whale, but was saved by God's mercy: through his preaching, his city (Ninevah) was saved (x. 98). Lot was a contemporary and nephew of Abraham: when the city of Sodom was destroyed for its wickedness, he was saved as a just man (vii. 80-84).
Note Number : 907I take verse 87 to refer back to all the four groups just mentioned.
Note Number : 908Them, i.e., the Book, and authority and Prophethood. They were taken away from the other People of the Book and entrusted to the holy Apostle Muhammad and his People.
Note Number : 909Qadara: to weight, judge, or estimate the value or capacity of anything; to have power so to do. Cf. Qadir in iv. 149 and n. 655. The Jews who denied the inspiration of Muhammad had a good answer in their own books about the inspiration of Moses. To those who do not believe in Moses, the answer is more general: is it a just estimate of God to think either that He has not the power or the will to guide mankind, seeing that He is Omnipotent and the Source of all good? If you say that guidance comes, not through an inspired book or man, but through our general intelligence, we point to the spiritual ignorance of "you and your ancestors" the sad spiritual darkness of men and nations high in the intellectual scale.
Note Number : 910Cf. v. 47 and n. 750, and v. 49. In those passages Guidance (in practical conduct) is put before Light (or spiritual insight), as they refer to ordinary or average men. Here Light (or spiritual insight) is put first as the question is: does God send inspiration?
Note Number : 911The Message to Moses had unity: it was one Book. The present Old Testament is a collection of odd books ("sheets") of various kinds: see Appendix II. end of S. v. In this way you can make a show, but there is no unity, and much of the spirit is lost or concealed or overlaid. The same applies to the New Testament: see Appendix III, after Appendix II.
Note Number : 912Mubarak: blessed, as having received God's blessing; bringer of blessings to others, as having been blessed by God. God's highest blessing is the Guidance and Light which the Book brings to us, and which brings us nearer to Him.
Note Number : 913Mother of Cities: Mecca, now the Qibla and Centre of Islam. If this verse was (like the greater part of the Chapter) revealed in Mecca before the Hijrat, and before Mecca was made the Qibla of Islam, Mecca was nonetheless the Mother of Cities, being traditionally associated with Abraham and with Adam and Eve (see ii. 125, and n. 217 to ii. 197). All round Mecca: would mean, the whole world if we look upon Mecca as the centre.
Note Number : 914An earnest study of the Qur-an is true worship; so is Prayer, and so are all deeds of goodness and charity.
Note Number : 915Yield up your souls: or "get your souls to come out of your bodies." The wicked, we may suppose, are not anxious to part with the material existence in their bodies for the "reward" which in irony is stated to be there to welcome them.
Note Number : 916Some of the various ideas connected with "creation" are noted in n. 120 to ii. 117. In the matter of creation of man there are various processes. If his body was created out of clay, i.e. earthy matter, there was an earlier preocess of the creation of such earthy matter. Here the body is left behind, and the soul is being addressed. The soul underwent various processes of fashioning and adapting to its various functions in its various surroundings (xxxii. 7-9). But each individual soul, afer release from the body, comes back as it was created, with nothing more than it history, "the deeds which it has earned," which are really a part of it. Any exterior things given to help in its development, "the favours which We bestowed on you," it must necessarily leave behind, however it may have been proud of them. These exterior things may be material things, e.g. wealth, property, signs of power, influence and pride such as sons, relatives, and friends, etc., or they may be intangible things, like talents, intellect, social gifts, etc.
Note Number : 917The false ideas of intercessors, demi-gods, gods, saviours, etc., now vanish like unsubstantial visions, "leaving not a wrack behind." Now the soul is face to face with reality. Its personal responsibility is brought home to it.
Note Number : 918Another beautiful nature passage, referring to God's wonderful artistry in His Creation. In how few and how simple words, the whole pageant of Creation is placed before us. Beginning from our humble animal needs and dependence on the vegetable world, we are asked to contemplate the interaction of the living and the dead. Here is mystic teaching, referring not only to physical life but to the higher life above the physical plane, -not only to individual life but to the collective life of nations. Then we take a peep into the daily miracle of morning, noon, and night, and pass on to the stars that guide the distant mariner. We rise still higher to the mystery of the countless individuals from the one human soul, -their sojourn and their destiny. So we get back to the heavens: the description of th luscious fruits which the "gentle rain from heaven" produces, leaves us to contemplate the spiritual fruits which faith will provide for us,with the aid of the showers of God's mercy.
Note Number : 919The seed-grain and the date-stone are selected as types in the vegetable kingdom, showing how our physical life depends on it. The fruits mentioned later (in vi 99) start another allegory which we shall notice later. Botanists will notice that the seed-grain includes the cereals (such as wheat, barley, rice, millet, etc.) which are monocotyledons, as well as the pulses (such as beans, peas, gram, etc.) and other seeds which are dicotyledons. These two represent the most important classes of food-grains, while the date-palm, a monocotyledon, represents for Arabia both food, fruit, confectionery , thatch and pillars for houses, shady groves in oases, and a standard measure of wealth and well being. "Split and sprout": both ideas are included in the root falaqa, and a third is expressed by the word "cleave" in the next verse, for the action of evolving day-break from the dark. I might almost have used the word "churn," familiar to students of Hindu lore in the Hindu allegory of the "churning of the ocean." For vegetables, "split and sprout" represents a double process: (1) the seed divides, and (2) one part shoots up, seeking the light, and forming leaves and the visible parts of the future tree, and the other part digs down into the dark, forming the roots and seeking just that sustenance from the soil, which is adapted for the particular plant. This is just one small instance of the "judgement and ordering" of God, referred to in the next verse.
Note Number : 920This does not mean that in physical nature there are no limits between life and non-life, between the organic and the non-organic. In fact physicists are baffled at the barrier between them and frankly confess that they cannot solve the mystery of Life. If there is such a barrier in physical nature, is it not all the more wonderful that God can create Life out of nothing? He has but to say, "Be," and it is. He can bring Life from non-Life and annihilate Life. But there are two other senses in which we can contemplate the contrast between the living and the dead. (1) We have just been speaking of the botanical world. Take it as a whole, and see the contrast between the winter of death, the spring of revivification, the summer of growth, and the autumn of decay, leading back to the death of winter. Here is a cycle of living from dead, and dead from living. (2) Take our spiritual life, individual or collective. We rise from the darkness of spiritual nothingness to the light of spiritual life. And if we do not follow the spiritual laws, God will take away that life and we shall be again as dead. We may die many deaths. The keys of life and death are in God's hands. Neither Life nor Death are fortuitous things. Behind them both is the Cause of Causes, -and only He.
Note Number : 921The night, the day, the sun, the moon, -the great astronomical universe of God. How far, and yet how near to us! God's universe is boundless, and we can barely comprehend even its relations to us. But this last we must try to do if we want to be numbered with "the people who know". Taqdir: Cf. vi. 91 and n. 909, and iv. 149 and n. 655.
Note Number : 922See the last note. At sea, or in the deserts or forests, or "in fairy scenes forlorn," -whenever we sweep over wide spaces, it is the stars that act as our guides, just as the sun and moon have already been mentioned as our measures of time.
Note Number : 923Produced: ansha-a= made you grow, increase, develop, reach maturity: another of the processes of creation. This supplements n. 120 to ii. 916 and n. 916 to vi. 94. It is one of the wonders of God's Creation, that from one person we have grown to be so many, and each individual has so many faculties and capacities, and yet we are all one. In the next verse we have the allegory of grapes and other fruits: all grapes may be similar to look at, yet each variety has a distinctive flavour and other distinctive qualities, and each individual grape may have its own special qualities. So for man.
Note Number : 924In the sojourn of this life we must respond to God's hand in fashioning us, by making full use of all our faculties, and we must get ready for our departure into the Life that will be eternal.
Note Number : 925Our allegory now brings us to maturity, the fruit, the harvest, the vintage. Through the seed we came up from nothingness to life; we lived our daily life of rest and work and passed the mile-stones of time; we had the spiritual experience of traversing through vast spaces in the spiritual world, guiding our course through the star of Faith; we grew; and now for the harvest or the vintage! How satisfied the grower must be when the golden grain is harvested in heaps or in vintage gathered! So will man if he has produced the fruits of Faith!
Note Number : 926Each fruit- whether it is grapes, or olives, or pomegranates, -looks alike in its species, and yet each variety may be different in flavour, consistency, shape, size, colour, juice or oil contents, proportion of seed to fruit, etc. In each variety, individuals may be different and yet equally valuable!
Note Number : 927And so we finish this wonderful allegory. Search through the world's literature, and see if you can find another such song or hymn, -so fruity in its literary flavour, so profound in its spiritual meaning!
Note Number : 928There is a refrain in this song, which is subtly varied. In verse 97 it is: " We detail our Signs for people who know." Se far we were speaking of the things we see around us every day Knowledge is the appropriate instrument for these things. In verse 98 we read: "We detail Our Signs for people who understand." Understanding is a highter faculty than knowledge, and is necessary for seeing the mystery and meaning of this life. At the end of verse 99 we have: "In these things there are Signs for people who believe." Here we are speaking of the real fruits of spiritual Life. For them Faith is necessary, as bringing us nearer to God.
Note Number : 929Jinns: who are they? In xviii. 50 we are told that Iblis was one of the Jinns, and it is suggested that that was why he disobeyed the Command of God. But in that passage and other similar passages, we are told that God commanded the angels to bow down to Adam, and they obeyed except Iblis. That implies that Iblis had been of the company of angels. In many passages Jinns and men are spoken of together. In lv. 14-15, man is stated to have been created from clay, while Jinns from a flame of fire. The root meaning of junna, yujannu, is "to be covered or hidden," and janna yajunnu, in the active voice, "to cover or hide," as in vi. 76. Some people say that jinn therefore means the hidden qualities or capacities in man; others that it means wild or jungle folk hidden in the hills or forests. I do not wish to be dogmatic, but I think, from a collation and study of the Quranic passages, that the meaning is simply "a spirit," or an invisible or hidden force. In folklore stories and romances like the Arabian Nights they become personified into fantastic forms, but with them we are not concerned here.
Note Number : 930Cf. ii. 117, and n. 120.
Note Number : 931Latif: fine, subtle, so fine and subtle as to be invisible to the physical eye; so fine as to be imperceptiable to the senses; figuratively, so pure as to be above the mental or spiritual vision of ordinary men. The active meaning should also be understood: 'One who understands the finest mysteries': Cf. xxii. 63, and n. 2844.
Note Number : 932I understand "Say" to be understood in the beginning of this verse. The words would then be the words of the Apostle, as in fact is suggested in verse 107 below. That is why I have enclosed them in inverted commas.
Note Number : 933Cf. vi. 63, and n. 889.
Note Number : 934The teaching in the Qur-an explains things by various symbols, parables, narratives, and appeals to nature. Each time, a new phase of the question is presented to our minds. This is what a diligent and earnest teacher would do, such as was Muhammad Mustafa. Those who were in searh of knowledge and had thus acquired some knowledge of spiritual things were greatly helped to understand more clearly the things of which, before the varied explanations, they had only one-sided knowledge.
Note Number : 935God's Plan is to use the human will to co-operate in understanding Him and His relations to us. This is the answer to an objector who might say: "If He is All-powered, why does sin or evil exist in the world? Can He not destroy it?" He can, but His Plan is different, and in any case it is not for a Teacher to force any one to accept the truths which he is inspired to preach and proclaim.
Note Number : 936A man's actual personal religion depends upon many things, -his personal psychology, the background of his life, his hidden or repressed feelings, tendencies, or history (which psychoanalysis tries to unravel), his hereditary dispositions or antipathies, and all the subtle influences of his education and his environment. The task before the man of God is: (1) to use any of these which can subserve the higher ends, (2) to purify such as have been misused, (3) to introduce new ideas and modes of looking at things, and (4) to combat what is wrong and cannot be mended: all for the purpose of leading to the truth and gradually letting in spiritual light where there was darkness before. If that is not done with discretion and the skill of a spiritual Teacher, there may be not only a reaction of obstinacy, but an unseemly show of dishonour to the true God and His Truth, and doubts would spread among the weaker brethren whose faith is shallow and infirm. What happens to individuals is true collectively of nations or groups of people. They think in their self-obsession that their own ideas are right. God in His infinite compassion bears with them, and asks those who have purer ideas of faith not to vilify the weaknesses of their neighbours, lest the neighbours in their turn vilify the real truth and make matters even worse than before. In so far as there is active evil, He will deal with it in His own way. Of course the righteous man must not hide his light under a bushel, or compromise with evil, or refuse to establish right living where he has the power to do so.
Note Number : 937If the Unbelievers are merely obstinate, nothing will convince them. There is no story more full of miracles than the story of Jesus. Yet in that same story we are told that Jesus said: "A wicked adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the Prophet Jonas": Matt. xvi. 4. There are Signs given by God every day -understood by those who believe. A mere insistence upon some particular or special Sign meant mere contumacy and misunderstanding of the spiritual world.
Note Number : 938Where there is sheer obstinacy and ridicule of faith, the result will be that such a sinner's heart will be hardened and his eyes will be sealed, so that he cannot even see the things visible to ordinary mortals. The sinner gathers impetus in his descent towards wrong.
Note Number : 939Cf. ii. 15. God's grace is always ready to help human weakness or ignorance and to accept repentance and give forgiveness. But where the sinner is in actual rebellion, he will be given none, and it will be his own fault if he wanders about distractedly, without any certain hope or refuge.
Note Number : 940The most stupendous miracles even according to their ideas would not have convinced them. If the whole pageant of the spiritual world were brought before them, they would not have believed, because they -of their own choice and will -refuse knowledge and faith.
Note Number : 941What happened in the history of the Holy Prophet happens in the history of all righteous men who have a Message from God. The spirit of evil is ever active and uses men to practice deception by means of highly embellished words and plausible excuses and objections. God permits these things in His Plans. It is not for us to complain. Our faith is tested, and we must stand the test steadfastly.
Note Number : 942People who have no faith in the future destiny of man may listen to and be taken in by the deceit of evil. If they take a delight in it, let them. See what they gain by it. Their gains will be as deceitful as their delight. For the end of evil must be evil.
Note Number : 943The righteous man seeks no other standard of judgement but God's Will. How can he, when god in His grace has explained His Will in the Qur-an, with details which men of every capacity can understand? The humblest can learn lessons of right conduct in daily life, and the most advanced can find the highest wisdom in its spiritual teaching, enriched as it is with all kinds of beautiful illustrations from nature and the story of man.
Note Number : 944Cf. v. 4. When a clear law has explained what is lawful and unlawful in food, it is wrong to raise fresh scruples and mislead the ignorant.
Note Number : 945Here is an allegory of the good man with his divine mission and the evil man with his mission of evil. The former, before he got his spiritual life, was like one dead. It was God's grace that gave him spiritual life, with a Light by which he could walk and guide his own footsteps as well as the footsteps of those who are willing to follow God's light. The opposite type is that which hates God's light, which lives in the depths of darkness, and which plots and burrows against all that is good. But the plots of evil recoil on itself, although it thinks that they will hurt the good. Can these two types be for a moment compared with each other? Perhaps the lead in every centre of population is taken by the men of evil. But the good men should not be discouraged. They should work in righteousness and fulfil their mission.
Note Number : 946Besides the teaching in God's Word, and the teaching in God's world, of nature and history and human contacts, many Signs also come to the ungodly, in the shape of warnings or otherwise, which the ungodly either do not heed, or deliberately reject. The Signs in the two cases are not the same, and that becomes one of their perverse arguments against Faith. But God's working will be according to His own Will and Plan, and not according to the wishes whims of the ungodly.
Note Number : 947God's Universal Plan is the Qadha wa Qadr, which is so much misunderstood. That Plan is unalterable, and that is His Will. It means that in the spiritual world, there are laws of justice, mercy, grace, penalty, etc., which work as surely as anything we know. If, then, a man refuses Faith, becomes a rebel, with each step he goes further and further down, and his pace will be accelerated; he will scarcely be able to take spiritual breath, and his recovery, -in spite of God's mercy which he has rejected,-will be as difficult as if he had to climb up to the skies. On the other hand, the godly will find, with each step, the next step easier. Jesus expressed this truth paradoxically: "He that hath, to him shall be given; but he that hath not, from him shall be taken away even that which he hath": Mark, iv. 25. John (vi 65) make Jesus say: "No man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father."
Note Number : 948Cf. vi. 100, n. 929.
Note Number : 949I.e., you have misled a great number of human beings.
Note Number : 950It is common experience that the forces of evil make an alliance with each other, and seem thus to make a profit by their mutual log-rolling. But this is only in this material world. When the limited term expires, their unholy bargains will be exposed, and there will be nothing but regrets.
Note Number : 951Eternity and infinity are abstract terms. They have no precise meaning in our human experience. The qualification, "except as God willeth," makes it more intelligible, as we can form some idea -however inadequate- of a Will and Plan, and we know God by His attribute of Mercy as well as of Justice.
Note Number : 952See n. 950 above. Evil consorts with evil because of their mutual bargains. But in doing so they save the righteous from further temptation.
Note Number : 953"Apostles from amongst you." This is addressed to the whole gathering of men and Jinns. Are the Jinns but disembodied spirits of evil men?
Note Number : 954On good and evil there are infinite degrees, in our deeds and motives: so will there be degrees in our spiritual position. For everything is known to God, better than it is to ourselves.
Note Number : 955God is not dependent on our prayer or service. It is out of His Mercy that He desires our own good. Any race or people to whom He gives chances should understand that its failure does not affect God. He could create others in their place, as He did in times past, and is doing in our own day, if only we had the wit to see it.
Note Number : 956Both the good news and the warning which God's apostles came to give will be fulfilled. Nothing can stop God's Universal Plan. See n. 947 to vi. 125.
Note Number : 957In so far as this is addressed to the Unbelievers it is a challenge: "Do your utmost; nothing will deter me from my duty: we shall see who wins in the end." Passing from the particular occasion, we can understand it in a more general sense, which is true for all time. Let the evil ones do their worst. Let those who believe do all they can, according to their opportunities and abilities. The individual must do the straight duty that lies before him. In the end God will judge, and His judgement is always true and just.
Note Number : 958There is scathing sarcasm here, which some of the Commentators have missed. The Pagans have generally a big Pantheon, though above it they have a vague idea of a Supreme God. But the material benefits go to the godlings, the fancied "partners" of God; for they have temples, priests, dedications, etc., while the true and supreme God has only lip-worship, or at best a share with numerous "partners". This was so in Arabia also. The shares assigned to the "partners", went to the priests and hangers-on of the "partners", who were many and clamorous for their rights. The share assigned to God went to the poor, but more probably went to the priests who had the cult of the "partners", for the Supreme God had no separate priests of His own. It is also said that when heaps were thus laid out, if any portion of God's heap fell into the heaps of the "partners", the priests greedily and promptly appropriated it, while in the contrary case, the "partners" priests were careful to reclaim any portion from what they called "God's heap". The absurdity of the whole thing is ridiculed . God created everything: how can He have a share?
Note Number : 959The false gods and idols -among many nations, including the Arabs -were supposed to require human sacrifices. Ordinarily such sacrifices are revolting to man, but they are made "alluring" -a sacred rite- by Pagan custom, which falsely arrogates to itself the name of religion. Such customs, if allowed, would do nothing but destroy the people who practise them, and make thier religion but a confused bundle of revolting superstitions.
Note Number : 960A taboo of certain foods is sometimes a device of the priesthood to get special things for itself. It has to be enforced by pretending that the prohibition for others is by the Will of God. It is a lie or invention against God. Most superstitions are.
Note Number : 961Cattle dedicated to heathen gods may be reserved from all useful work; in that case they are a dead loss to the community, and they may, besides, do a great deal of damage to fields and crops.
Note Number : 962If meat is killed in the name of heathen gods, it would naturally not be killed by the solemn rite in God's name, by which alone the killing can be justified for food. See n. 698 to v. 5.
Note Number : 963These are further Pagan superstitions about cattle. Some have already been noted in v. 106, which may be consulted with the notes.
Note Number : 964Ansha-a: see vi. 98, n. 923.
Note Number : 965A beautiful passage, with music to match the meaning. Cf. vi. 99 and notes.
Note Number : 966"Waste not, want not," says the English proverb. Here the same wisdom is preached from a higher motive. See what magnificent means God provides in nature for the sustenance of all His creatures, because He loves them all. Enjoy them in moderation and be grateful. But commit no excess, and commit no waste: the two things are the same from different angles of vision. If you do, you take away something from other creatures and God would not like your selfishness.
Note Number : 967Superstition kills true religion. We come back to the Arab Pagan superstitions about cattle for food. The horse is not mentioned, because horse flesh was not an article of diet and there were no superstitions about it. Sheep and goats, camels and oxen were the usual sources of meat. Sheep and goats were not used as beasts of burden, but camels (of both sexes) were used for carrying burdens, and oxen for the plough, though cows were mainly used for milk and meat. The words "some for burden and some for meat" do not differentiate whole species, except that they give you the first two and the last two categories.
Note Number : 968The superstitions referred to in vi. 139 and v. 106 are further ridiculed in this verse, and the next.
Note Number : 969Blood poured forth: as distinguished from blood adhering to flesh, or the liver, or such other internal organs purifying the blood.
Note Number : 970Zufur may mean claw or hoof; it is in the singular number; but as no animal has a single claw, and there is no point in a division of claws, we must look to a hoof for the correct interpretation. In the Jewish Law (Leviticus, xi. 3-6), "Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is cloven-footed, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts" was lawful as food, but the camel, the coney (rabbit), and the hare were not lawful, because they do not "divide the hoof". "Undivided hoof" therefore is the correct interpretation. These three animals, unlawful to the Jews, are lawful in Islam. Cf. iv. 160.
Note Number : 971In Leviticus (vii. 23) it is laid down that "ye shall eat no manner of fat, of ox, or of sheep or of goat." As regards the exceptions, it is to be noticed that priests were enjoined (Leviticus, vii. 6) to eat of the fat in the trespass of offering, which was considered holy, viz., "the rump" (back and bone) "and the fat that covereth the inwards" (entrails), (Leviticus, vii.3).
Note Number : 972As used by the Pagans, the argument is false, for it implies (a) that men have no personal responsibility, (b) that they are the victims of a Determinism against which they are helpless, and (c) that they might therefore go on doing just what they liked. It is also inconsistent, for if (b) is true, (c) cannot be true. Nor is it meant to be taken seriously.
Note Number : 973On the other hand, the argument cuts true and deep, as from God to His creatures. God is Omnipotent, and can do all that we can conceive. But He, in His Plan, has given man some responsibility, and some choice in order to train man's will. If man fails, he is helped in various ways by God's mercy and grace. But man cannot go on sinning, and in a state of sin, expect God to be pleased with him (vi. 147).
Note Number : 974The Pagan superstitions were of course baseless, and in many cases harmful and debasing. If God's name was taken as supporting them, no true man of God could be taken in, or join in support simply because God's name was taken in vain.
Note Number : 975Cf. vi. 1. God, who created and who cherishes and cares for all, should have the first claim on our attention. Those who set up false gods fail to understand God's true governance of their own true destiny.
Note Number : 976Instead of following Pagan superstitions, and being in constant terror of imaginary taboos and prohibitions, we should study the true moral law, whose sanction is God's Law. The first step is that we should recognise that He is the One and Only Lord and Cherisher. The mention of goodness to parents immediately afterwards suggests: (1) that God's love of us and care for us may -on an infinitely higher plane- be understood by our ideal of parental love, which is purely unselfish; (2) that our first duty among our fellow creatures is to our father and mother, whose love leads us to the conception of divine love. Arising from that is the conception of our converse duties to our children. God provides sustenance (material and spiritual) not only for us, but for them; hence any custom like the Pagan custom of sacrificing children of Moloch stands condemned. Then come the moral prohibitions against lewdness and all unseemly acts, relating to sex or otherwise, open or secret. This is followed by the prohibition of killing or fighting. All these things are conformable to our own interests, and therefore true wisdom from our own point of view.
Note Number : 977For the comprhensive word haqq I have used the two words "justice and law"; other significations implied are: right, truth, what is becoming, etc. It is not only that human life is sacred, but all life is sacred. Even in killing animals for food, a dedicatory formula "in the name of God" has to be employed, to make it lawful: see n. 698 to v. 5, and n. 962 to vi. 138.
Note Number : 978Cf. v. 1, and n. 682.
Note Number : 979Note againe the triple refrain with variations, in vi. 151, 152, and 153. In verse 151, we have the moral law, which it is for our own good to follow: "Thus doth He command you, that ye may learn wisdom." In verse 152, we have to deal justly and rightly with others; we are apt to think too much of ourselves and forget others: "Thus doth He command you, that ye may remember." In verse 153 our attention is called to the Straight Way, the Way of God, the only Way that leads to righteousness: "Thus doth He command you, that ye may be righteous."
Note Number : 980The revelation to Moses went into the details of people's lives, and thus served as a practical guide to the Jews and after them to the Christians. Admittedly the Message delivered by Christ dealt with general principles only and in no way with details. The message of Islam as in the Qur-an is the next complete guide in point of time after that of Moses.
Note Number : 981Because the diligent studies of the earlier People of the Book were in languages foreign to the new People of Islam, or because they were meant for circumstances different from those of the new world after Islam.
Note Number : 982The Qur-an and the life and the teaching of Muhammad the Apostle of God.
Note Number : 983There is no merit in faith in things that you are compelled to acknowledge when they actually happen. Faith is belief in things which you do not see with your own eyes but you understand with your spiritual sense: if your whole will consents to it, it results in deeds of righteousness, which are the evidence of your faith.
Note Number : 984The waiting in the two cases is in quite different senses: the foolish man without faith is waiting for things which will not happen, and is surprised by the real things which do happen; the righteous man of faith is waiting for the fruits of righteousness, of which he has an assured hope; in a higher state of spiritual elevation, even the fruits have no personal meaning to him, for God is to him in all: vi. 162.
Note Number : 985Divide their religion: farraqu: i.e., (1) make a distinction between one part of it and another, take the part which suits them and reject the rest; or (2) have religion one day of the week and the world the rest of the six days; or (3) keep "religion in its right place," as if it did not claim to govern the whole life; make a sharp distinction between the secular and the religious; or (4) show a sectarian bias, seek differences in views, so as to break up the unity of Islam.
Note Number : 986God is just as well as generous. To the good the reward is multiplied ten times (i.e., far above the merits) on account of His generosity. To the evil, the punishment is no more than commensurate with their sin, and even so the door of mercy is always open to those who sincerely repent and show it by their conduct.
Note Number : 987The doctrine of personal responsiblility again. We are fully responsible for our acts ourselves: we cannot transfer the consequences to someone else. Nor can anyone vicariously atone for our sins. If people have honest doubts or differences about important questions of religion, they should not start futile disputes. All will be clear in the end. Our duty here is to maintain unity and discipline, and do the duty that comes to us.
Note Number : 988Cf. ii. 30 and n. where I have translated "Khalifa" as "Vicegerent", it being god's Plan to make Adam (as representing mankind) His vicegerent on earth. Another idea implied in "Khalifa" is that of "successor, heir, or inheritor," i.e., one who has the ultimate ownership after the present possessors, to whom a life-tenancy has been given by the owner, have passed away. In xv. 23 occurs the striking word "heirs" (warithun) as applied to God: "We give life and death, and We are the Heirs (of Inheritors)." The same idea occurs in iii. 180, where see n. 485.