Verses from Surah Al-Hajj (53 – 64)

 [53] In order that He may make what Shaytan casts a test for those in whose hearts is a disease, and those (who have) hardened their hearts. And, surely, the wrongdoers are in a far-fetched contention.

[54] And in order that those who were given knowledge know that the truth is from your Lord, and believe therein; so that their hearts may submit thereto;99 and surely, Allah is the Guide of those who believe unto a Straight Path.100


99. That is, for the Qur’an (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).

100. Mawdudi comments: “That is, God made Satan’s evil designs a means of testing people so that those who are righteous may be distinguished from those who are evil. It is in the nature of things that those whose minds have been corrupted derive wrong conclusions. As for those whose minds are straight, those very things lead them to confirm the truthfulness of God’s Prophets and His Books. The result is that these people are led to believe that all these are no more than Satan’s mischief.”

Yusuf Ali has another aspect in mind. He writes: “If any suggestion comes to the human mind that is not in accordance with Allah’s Will and Plan, it has two opposite effects: to evil minds it is a trial and temptation from the Satan, but to the mind well-instructed in Faith, it stands self-condemned at once, and becomes a means of strengthening the Faith and stimulating redoubled efforts to conform to the Will of Allah.”

[55] But the unbelievers will never cease to be in doubt thereof101 until the Hour comes upon them on a sudden, or there comes upon them the torment of a barren Day.102


101. The allusion is to the Qur’an. That is, they will always remain in doubt about the Qur’an (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).

102. To what day is the allusion? Mujahid, Sa`id b. Jubayr and Qatadah thought it was the day of Badr that left the Quraysh barren, (unable to produce any more unbelieving offspring). But `Ikrimah thought the allusion is to the Day of Judgment which will not give birth to a night, hence barren (Ibn Jarir). This is the prevalent opinion (Ibn Kathir).

[56] The sovereignty that Day shall be for Allah (alone),103 and He shall judge between them. Then those who believed and worked righteous deeds will be in Gardens of Delight. 


103. That is, all the Allah-granted sovereignty of this earth will come to an end and the only power left will be that of the true Sovereign (Uthmani).

[57] As for those who disbelieved and cried lies to Our revelations, they, for them will be a humiliating chastisement.

[58] As for those who emigrated in Allah’s way, and got killed, or died (a natural death), Allah will provide for them a goodly provision.104 And surely, Allah is the best of the providers. 


104. Some scholars of the past have treated the one killed in the way of Allah, and another who died a natural death as of the same status. For instance, when two such dead were brought for burial (during a campaign), and Fudala b. `Ubayd noticed that greater number of people were with the man killed in the battle-field he remarked, “Personally, I don’t care from which grave I am resurrected” (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi). The report is in Ibn Abi Hatim also (Ibn Kathir). What Fudalah meant perhaps is that once a man is in the way of Allah, then, whether he gets killed or dies a natural death, it is all the same: after all, in either case he dies in Allah’s cause (Razi, Alusi).

[59] He shall surely admit them into a place105 with which they will be pleased. Verily, Allah is All-knowing, All-clement. 


105. Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir and many others understood the term “mudkhal” as Paradise, since “mudkhal” is the ‘noun of place’ (Shawkani).

[60] That, and he who retaliated in a measure he was injured, yet again is oppressed, surely Allah will help him,106 Surely, Allah is the Pardoner, the Forgiving. 


106. It is reported that the Muslims encountered a Makkan sortie in the month of Muharram. They urged the pagans not to fight in the Sacred month. But they would not desist. So a fight ensued in which they suffered defeat, and Allah revealed this verse (Ibn Jarir, Razi, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir).

Another possible meaning is that after a believer has been wronged and he has avenged himself, he is attacked once again, then, it can be because his enemy sees him vulnerable. If that happens to be the situation, Allah’s intervention would be necessary to break the cycle of violence (Au.).

[61] That, because Allah makes the night enter into the day, and makes the day enter into the night,107 and that Allah is All-hearing, All-seeing.

[62] That because Allah – He is the Truth, and that what they invoke besides Him, that is the falsehood, and that Allah is Most High, Most Great.


107. What this verse has to do with the previous one? The answer is, says Razi, when Allah said in the previous verse that He has the power to help the oppressed, to substantiation this He said that He has power over more difficult things, such as, making the night enter into the day and the day into the night.

Shabbir adds, “That is how Allah will make the day of Islam enter into the night of pagandom.”

[63] Do you not see that Allah sends down from the heaven water, and forthwith the earth becomes clothed with green.108 Surely, Allah is All-subtle,109 All-aware. 


108. The verse is not contrasting the situation of drought when the trees are barren, the plants dead and then, with the rain, the earth becomes green. That does not happen. It takes a couple of days for the earth to become green. But rather, the allusion is to the beauty that engulfs the world of plants after a goodly rain comes down after a spell of dry weather. Within hours the earth turns lush green offering a most refreshing sight (Au.).

Shabbir again, “That is how Allah will soon render the barren lands of pagandom into green lands of Islam,.”

109. “Lateef is both ‘gentle and benignant’ and ‘knower of subtleties and niceties’, and is used here in both senses” (Majid).

Yusuf Ali further explains the term, “Latif, as a name of Allah, is as difficult to define in words as the idea it seeks to represent is difficult to grasp in our minds. It implies (1) fine, subtle (the basic meaning); (2) so fine and subtle as to be imperceptible to human sight; (3) so pure as to be incomprehensible; (4) with sight so perfect as to see and understand the finest subtleties and mysteries; (5) so kind and gracious as to bestow gifts to the most refined kind; extraordinarily gracious and understanding. No. 4 is the predominant meaning here and in xii. 100; Nos. 2 and 3 in vi. 103; and No. 5 in xiii. 19; but every shade of meaning must be borne in mind in each case, as a subsidiary factor in the spiritual melody.”

[64] To Him belongs all that is in the heaven and in the earth. And surely, Allah – He is the Self-sufficient, the Praiseworthy.110


110. Yusuf Ali once again presents to us a deeper meaning. He writes: Each of the verses xxii. 61-63 mentioned two attributes of Allah with reference to the contents of that verse. This verse now sums up the whole argument, and the two attributes with which it closes sum up the idea by which we can understand Allah’s goodness. Allah’s loving kindness and mercies are not like those of human creatures who all depend upon one another, and often expect some kindness or recognition in return. Allah is above all wants and depends in no way whatever on His creatures. His mercies have therefore a special quality, which we cannot describe except by gratefully singing the praises of Allah.”

(To be Continued)

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