Verses from Surah Al-Nahl (10-23)

[10] It is He who sends down to you out of heaven water: for you a drink thereof, by which the trees (grow) and wherewith you pasture (the flock).17

Commentary

17. The translation reflects the understanding of Ibn ‘Abbas, ‘Ikrimah, Dahhak, Qatadah and others as in Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir, Shawkani and others.

[11] He causes to grow for you thereby: crops, olives, date-palm, grapes and all manner of fruit. Surely, in that is a sign for those who reflect.

[12] And He subjected to you the night and the day, the sun and the moon. And the stars are subjected to His command. Surely, in that are signs for a people who reason.

[13] And in what He spread out in the earth, in various hues.18 Surely, in that is a sign for a people who remember.19

Commentary

18. Everything that Allah (swt) has provided of His bounty such as, animals, plants and minerals, with all their varieties, is included in the verse (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).

19. Note the sequence. Allah first spoke of the creation of the heavens and the earth (verse 3), man (verse 4), animals (verse 5-8), plants (verse 11), laws of nature (verse 12), and, finally, just about everything else that He created (verse 13) – Au.

[14] And it is He who subjected the seas to you20 so that you may eat out of it tender meat and seek from it ornaments that you wear.21 And you see the ships ploughing through it,22 so that you may seek His bounty and haply you will give thanks.

Commentary

20. For man to be able to ride over the seas and make uses of them in a variety of ways is his subjection of them (Qurtubi).

21. That is, ‘your womenfolk.’

Shanqiti writes: As Ibn Hajr has written in Fath, it is not allowed for men to wear clothes adorned with pearls and rich stones in view of the hadith which prohibits that men and women adopt dresses that are specific to the other gender, to look alike.

However, a piece or two, of pearls or rich stones, should not matter, since (a) it cannot be termed imitation of women, which stands disapproved, (b), the above Qur’anic verse is unconditional, that is, it does not exclude men, (c) there is no hadith prohibiting it, as there are ahadith prohibiting gold for men and (d) there is no consensus among the fuqaha’ over the prohibition (Au.).

22.Mawakhir” has its root in “makhr” which is for cleaving through, or splitting something, as the boat splits water as it moves forward (Au.).

[15] And He cast in the earth mountains, lest it shakes with you,23 as (He also placed) rivers, and paths, so that you might be guided.

Commentary

23. Qays b. ‘Ibad and Hasan said that when the earth was created, it was very unstable. Angels remarked that then life was not possible on it. Therefore, Allah pitched the mountains as pegs and it became stable (Ibn Jarir). ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib however added, “Now it is stable, (but only) as stable as a piece of trembling flesh” (Ibn Kathir). It might be noted how close the description comes to what modern geologists say in connection with the theory of Plate Tectonic, viz., that the upper crust consisting of some seven plates is in slow motion, whose friction against each other causes earthquakes as well as creates mountains (Au.).

[16] And waymarks. And by the stars they are guided.24

Commentary

24. In the countryside, waymarks help in locomotion. What about deserts and the seas? The answer is, stars serve the same function.

[17] Is He then who creates, like him who does not create? Will you not receive admonition?

[18] And, if you were to count His blessings, you will not number them. Verily, Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Kind.25

Commentary

25. That is, since you will not be able to number Allah’s blessings, you will not be able to thank for them, but Allah is Most Forgiving, if you fail to do that, Most Kind (Ibn Jarir, Zamakhshari).

In general terms, man owes to Allah (swt) profound thanks for the countless favors He bestows on him at every moment of his existence. But, instead, he shows stubborn ingratitude and crosses all limits by attributing His favors to other than Him. In consequence, he deserves to be destroyed. But if he is alive, and thriving, it is because Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Kind (Au.).

[19] And Allah knows what you conceal and what you reveal.26

Commentary

26. That is, if punishment does not follow the rebellion, it is not because Allah (swt) is unaware of what’s happening on the earth. Equal unto him are the concealed thoughts and the revealed acts. But He grants respite.

[20] As for those they invoke besides Allah, they do not create anything. In fact, they themselves are created.

[21] Dead. Not alive;27 and know not when they will be resurrected.

Commentary

27. Those to whom the people devote themselves are either lifeless idols carved from wood, mud or stone, in short, inanimate objects, or saints and religious figures who are also dead, long reduced to dust. What’s the point in worshiping either? (Shabbir, Mawdudi).

[22] Your God is one God. As for those who do not believe in the Hereafter, their hearts are in refusal,28 and they wax proud.29

Commentary

28. That is, their hearts are in refusal of Allah, His Oneness, His bounties, life after death, and of the fact that worship is due to Him alone (Ibn Jarir).

29. Alusi writes that every failure of the people can be concealed, but not arrogance. An arrogant can be exposed, to which Thanwi adds that, arrogance is the root cause of disbelief. It is interesting to note that Prince Charles, the British queen’s son, has said in a recent statement that “arrogance is the root cause of the insurmountable moral, social and ecological problems that the Western peoples face.”

But, is there anyone ready to listen any more than the Quraysh did? Majid quotes: “‘The monotheistic idea,’ says Palmer, ‘was not new to the Arabs but it was distasteful, and particularly so to the Quraish, whose supremacy over the other tribes, and whose worldly prosperity arose from the fact that they were the hereditary guardians of the national collection of idols kept in the sanctuary at Mecca.’ And the cry of Islam, therefore, naturally ‘sounded like a revolutionary watch word, a radical-party cry, which the conservative Meccans could not afford to despise and which they combated very energetically’ (Palmer, The Qur’an, Intro. p. xIix).”

[23] There is no doubt about it that Allah knows what they conceal and what they reveal.30 Surely, He does not approve of those who wax proud.31

Commentary

30. That is, you might cleverly conceal your pride and arrogance with the help of outward humility. But Allah (swt) sees beyond the smoke screen (Au.).

31. It is reported of Hasan b. ‘Ali that he would sit in the company of the poor and the humble and say, “Allah does not approve of those who wax proud” (Ibn Jarir).