Verses from Surah Al-Kahf (99-110)

[99] On that day We shall let some of them surge into others.121 And the Trumpet will be blown122 and We shall collect them all together.123


121. Suddi’s opinion is that the allusion is to the time when the barrier will be breached and Ya’juj and Ma’juj will be let loose surging into mankind, destroying life and property – a little before the Last Hour is struck. Another Qur’anic verse says (21: 96),  “Until, when Ya’juj and Ma’juj are let loose, they will sweep down from every high place, and the True Promise will draw nigh” (Ibn Kathir).

However, some others, including Ibn ‘Abbas have said that the allusion is to the Jinn and Mankind being let loose surging into each other before the Last Hour is struck (Qurtubi, Shawkani and others).

122. The Prophet has said in a hadith of Tirmidhi (Tuhfah), “How can I relax when the one with the Trumpet has placed it on his lips, has bent down his head and is all attentive to the word of command (to blow).”  They asked, “What shall we say O Messenger of Allah?” He answered, “Say: ‘Allah is sufficient for us, the best to rely on; in Him we place our trust.’” (Ibn Kathir).

123. That is, collect them together for Reckoning.

[100] We shall present Jahannum that Day to the unbelievers, on display.124


124. That is, Jahannum will be brought close to the unbelievers. A hadith of Muslim says, “On Judgment-day Jahannum will be brought nigh pulled by seventy thousand reins, each rein pulled by seventy thousand angels (Ibn Kathir).

[101] Those whose eyes had been under a veil from My admonishment, and (so) were not able to hear.125


125. To say that they were not able to hear, rather than saying that they were deaf, bears greater eloquence, since the unbelievers were not deaf. In fact, they had heard, and known the truth. But, in their pride and insolence, they could not bear to hear a thing about the truth (Razi, Qurtubi, Shawkani).

[102] Do the unbelievers imagine then, that they can take My slaves as protectors besides me? Verily, We have prepared for the unbelievers Jahannum for hospitality.

[103] Say, ‘Shall we tell you about those who lost most in respect to their efforts?

[104] Those whose efforts were misguided in the life of the world, while they thought they were doing well in performance.126


126. `Aliwas asked about exactly to whom was this verse applicable. He replied, “Those of the people of the Book whose earlier generations were on truth. But, their subsequent generations associated with Allah, imported innovations into their religion, worked in the service of Falsehood under the impression that they were serving Truth, who worked on error but thought they were rightly guided. Their efforts were lost in this world while they thought they were doing good.” According to other reports, he had their priestly and ascetic class in his mind, who strive hard but in vain (Tabari, Qurtubi, Shawkani).

When Sa`d b. Waqqas was asked if it was applicable to the Haruriyyah (Khawarij), he said in his opinion the Haruriyyah were Fasiqun while the verse was applicable to the unbelievers from among the Jews and Christians (Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir, Shawkani).

But of course, as several of the Salaf have said, the application is common to all kinds of deluded people who work with good intentions, employing right means, but for wrong causes, without first checking whether the causes they serve are legitimate. The textual words, “while they thought they were doing well in works” may not be missed for their accuracy. For, these people paid attention only to their “works” and thought they were serving humanity well. But they destroyed their relationship with their Creator, and cannot, therefore, receive any reward from Him (Au.).

 [105] They disbelieved in the revelations of their Lord and the encounter with Him.’ So their efforts have failed127 and We shall not assign any weight to them on the Day of Judgement.128


127. Mawdudi comments: “No matter how great the unbelievers’ worldly attainments might be they are bound to come to an end with the end of the world itself. All that man is immensely proud of – his grand palaces and splendid mansions, his universities and libraries, his grand highways and wondrous vehicles of transportation, his great inventions and staggering industries, his magnificent arts and sciences, his impressive museums and art galleries – will all be left behind at the time of man’s death and will have absolutely no weight in God’s scale.”

128. A hadith of the Prophet says, “A huge fat man will appear on the Day of Judgment. He will weigh no more than a fly’s wing. Read if you want: “We shall not assign any weight to them on the Day of Judgment” (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir). The report is in the Sahihayn (Qurtubi, Shawkani).

Qurtubi adds: When Ibn Mas`ud once climbed a tree and some people laughed at his extraordinary thin legs, the Prophet remarked, “You laugh at legs that will weigh out the deeds that will be heavier than Mount Uhud on the Day of Standing?” This shows that some people will be weighed.

Obesity in any case, is something disapproved of in Islam. That is, of the type caused by overeating. The Prophet has said, “A fat scholar is the most hated of mankind in the sight of Allah.” (The hadith is in Abu Nu`aym, of unknown strength: Au.). Nonetheless, ‘Imran b. Hussain’s reports the Prophet as having said (in a hadith of Bukhari), “The best of my followers are of my generation, then those that follow, then those that follow. Later, a people will come who will bear witness without being asked, who will be dishonest and never trusted, who will vow but never fulfill and in whom will appear obesity.”

Indeed Allah has condemned overeating in the Qur’an itself. He said (47: 12), “As for those who have disbelieved, they indulge and eat as the animals eat. Fire is their destination.” Whoever ate and drank a lot will end up a greedy man, and at night he will be most lazy (to get up for Prayers). Such a man’s days will be spent in worries and nights in sleep.

[106] That is their reward – Jahannum – for what they denied and held My revelations and My Messengers in mockery.

107] Surely, those who believed and did righteous deeds: for them will be Gardens of Firdaws,129 in hospitality.


129. ‘Ubadah b. Samit and others have reported the Prophet, “Paradise has a hundred levels that are prepared for the Mujahideen in His cause. Between each level the distance is like the distance between the heaven and earth. Therefore, when you supplicate Allah, supplicate for Firdaws. It is the highest and the best part of Paradise. As I see it, above it is the `Arsh of the Rahman. It is from here that the springs of Paradise sprout forth.” (The hadith is in the Sahih works: Ibn Kathir).

Another report says that Umm Haritha came to inquire about her son Haritha ibn Suraqah who was struck by an arrow at Badr. He was a mere boy then. She asked the Prophet where her son would be on the Day of Judgment. The Prophet replied, “O Umm Haritha. Paradise is several gardens. And your son has reached the highest level of Firdaws” (Tabari, Bukhari).

 [108] Abiding therein forever, not wishing to move out from  there.130


130. The companions of Anas were heard saying, “The first to enter Paradise will say, ‘Perhaps I have been let in first because there is no one better than me.’ And the one to enter last will say, ‘My Lord allowed me in last because He did not bestow on anyone what He bestowed on me’” (Tabari). That is Paradise is an abode of such great beauty and blessings that everyone will think he received what no one received (Au.).

 [109] Say, ‘If the sea was ink for the words of my Lord, surely, the sea will be exhausted before the Words of my Lord are exhausted,’ even if We brought the like of it, in supplement.’

[110] Say, ‘I am only a mortal, the like of you (except that) it has been revealed unto me that your God is One God. So, let him, who desires to meet with his Lord, work righteous deeds and associate not anyone in the worship of his Lord.’131


131. Mu`awiyyah b. Sufyan is reported (in Tabarani: Ibn Kathir) that this is the last of the verses to be revealed to the Prophet (Ibn Jarir). Probably he meant meaning-wise, and not chronologically, since this is a Makkan chapter (Ibn Kathir).

Ibn Jarir explains the verse with the following report. Somebody asked ‘Ubadah b. Samit, “I pray and fast a lot – for Allah. But I wish to be praised for it. What have you to say about it?” He answered, “They are all worthless. Allah has said, ‘I am the best of those associated with. If there be a deed in which another has a share, I give away my share also to the one associated.’”

According to a narration in Hakim and Bayhaqi (judged Sahih by Albani: S.Ibrahim), someone asked the Prophet, “What do you have to say about a man who takes part in a battle seeking the reward as well earning a name; what will he get!?” The Prophet answered, “He will get no rewards.” That sounded tough for the Companions. So the man asked the same question but got the same answer thrice, “He will get no rewards” (Alusi, Shwkani).

Ahmed, Nasa’I, Ibn Hibban, Tabarani and Hakim (who declared it trustworthy) have reported the Prophet (saws) as having said, “He who fought but did not intend except to get a piece of rope, then he will get what he intended” (Alusi).

Several ahadith of more or less this meaning are to be found in Ahmed, Ibn Majah, Tirmidhi and other works with varying degrees of reliability. In a hadith preserved by Hafiz Abu Ya`la, the Prophet said, “Whoever did the Prayers for a show off, committed Association (shirk).”

The above is a weak report (Au.).

In fact, there is a hadith (of unknown strength: Au.) reported by Ibn Qays Khuza`i which says, “Whoever stood up making a show of himself, will have Allah angry with him until he sat down” (Ibn Kathir).

Nevertheless, other ahadith make it clear that if one feels pleased at somebody praising him for a good act, then, that is of no harm. Muslim has a hadith which says that someone asked the Prophet, “What have you to say about a person who does good for the sake of Allah. But people come to know and praise him for that?” He replied, “That is the immediate glad tiding for a believer.” There is another report of this nature in Tirmidhi. So, there is a difference between doing something to please other than Allah, and feeling pleased when praised for a good deed (Ma`arif).

Qurtubi adds that Zirr b. Hubaysh said, “Whoever wishing to rise up for Qiyam al-Layl recited the last verse of this chapter will be helped in breaking his sleep.” ‘Abdah said, “We experimented and found that it works.” Qurtubi ends by quoting Ibn al-Arabiyy, who quoted his Master Turtushi who said, “Let not one of you spend all his time in the company of friends and relatives, while you know that Allah said, “So, let him, who desires to meet with his Lord, work righteous deeds and associate not anyone in the worship of his Lord.”

(End of the Surah)

About YMD

Past Issues