Translation & Commentary of Verses from Surah al-Rum (No. 30) [40 – 51]

[40] It is Allah who created you and nourishes you.53 Then He will deal you death, and thereafter quicken you. Is there any of your associates (in Divinity) who does aught of that? Glory to Him, high above that they associate (with Him).


53. That is, He brings out a new soul from the mother’s womb bereft of the senses of sound and sight, weak of body and mind, and then He nourishes it. It is reported that once Khalid’s two sons went to see the Prophet (saws). They found him attending to some work and extended a helping hand. He told them: “Never despair of Allah’s provision so long as your heads shake, for a man emerges from his mother’s womb red, without a skin. Then on, Allah, the Exalted, nourishes him.” (IbnKathir)

[41] Corruption54 has appeared in the land and sea55 owing to what people’s hands have earned, that He may give them a taste of some of what they have done, haply so they may return.56


54. What is the allusion to? Imam Razi says it is to Shirk. Allah (swt) said elsewhere (21:22): “Had there been a deity other than Allah, surely the two (the heaven and earth) would have been corrupted.”

Qatadah and Suddi held the same opinion, although several other opinions have also been offered (Qurtubi), e.g., loss of ‘barakah,’ droughts, murder, crop failure, etc. (Alusi and others); other corruptions being the direct effect of Shirk. (Au.)

Qatadah’s opinion that the allusion is to the epoch just before the appearance of the Prophet, seems to carry much weight in view of the fact that the whole world was at that time sunk in disbelief. The portrayal of the situation by the historians – vis a vis disbelief – tells us in no indefinite terms that the whole world was sunk in debauchery of disbelief. (Shabbir)

55. Although most early commentators, including Mujahid, have understood the term ‘barr’ and ‘bahr’ as meaning land and sea, Mujahid remarked that the Arabs also refer to every town or village situated by the shore of a river or lake as ‘bahr’. (IbnJarir, Razi, Qurtubi)

The Prophet also used the word ‘bahr’ in this sense in a letter he wrote to the ruler of Aylah. (IbnKathir)

The meaning, however, is that when Allah (swt) is obeyed, the earth throws out its produce in abundance; but when He is disobeyed, it withholds.

Hence, we have a hadith in Abu Da’ud which says, “The execution on the earth of a capital punishment is better for its inhabitants than that they should be sent rains for forty mornings.” The reason is that the execution of capital punishment deters people from breaking Allah’s laws. And the observation of His laws opens the heavenly and earthly gates of good and plenty.

Accordingly, when Isa (asws) will come, he will rule by the Islamic law, killing swine, breaking the cross and annulling Jizyah. He will accept nothing but Islam or will put (the people) to the sword. In consequence, when Allah (swt) would have destroyed Dajjal, along with his followers, as well as Ya’juj and Ma’juj, the earth will be ordered to throw out its blessings.

At that time, a group of people will eat out of a single pomegranate and rest in the shade of its skin. That for no other reason except that Allah’s laws would be executed in the earth, and there will be no one disobeying Him. In this connection, we might also remember the hadith in the Sahihayn which says that when a corrupt sinner dies, people, places, trees and animals, all feel relieved about it. (The hadith is in Tirmidhi also, of Hasan status). And Imam Ahmed has a report which says that during the time of Ziyad or Ibn Ziyad, a clay pot was found full of grains. They were the size of date stones. A writing found in it said, “This is of the times when justice used to be administered.” (IbnKathir)

56. Asad places a note that is all the more relevant today in view of further deterioration of the corruption that he pointed out several decades ago. He wrote:

“Thus the growing corruption and destruction of our natural environment, so awesomely – if as yet only partially – demonstrated in our time, is here predicted as an outcome of ‘what men’s hands have wrought,’ i.e., of that self-destructive – because utterly materialistic – inventiveness and frenzied activity which now threatens mankind with previously unimaginable ecological disasters: an unbridled pollution of land, air and water through industrial and urban waste, a progressive poisoning of plant and marine life, all manner of genetic malformation in men’s own bodies through an ever-widening use of drugs and seemingly ‘beneficial’ chemicals and the gradual extinction of animal species essential to human well-being.

“To all this may be added the rapid deterioration and decomposition of man’s social life, the all-round increase in sexual perversion, crime and violence, with, perhaps, nuclear annihilation as the ultimate stage: all of which is, in the last resort, an outcome of man’s oblivion of God and, hence, of all absolute moral values, and their supersession by the belief that material ‘progress’ is the only thing that matters.”

[42] Say, ‘Go about in the land and see how was the end of those that were there before.’ Most of them were idolaters.

[43] So set your face steadfastly to the right religion before there comes a day from Allah that has no repellant; that day they shall be split up.

[44] Whosoever disbelieved – upon him is his disbelief, and whosoever worked righteousness, then, for themselves they are preparing.57


57. Mujahid’s opinion was that the unbelievers are preparing their bed in the grave (Ibn Jarir), perhaps in the sense that it will be the point of start for the journey to the Hereafter, and a tortuous one at that. (Au.)

[45] That He may recompense those who believed and worked righteousness out of His bounty. Surely, He does not approve of the unbelievers.

[46] And among His signs is that He sends the winds as heralds of glad tidings, so as to let you taste of His mercy,58 so that the ship may sail as His command, that you may seek of His bounty,59 and haply so you may give thanks.


58. That is, the rains.

59. Through trade, commerce, and travel to distant parts of the world via the seas.

[47] Indeed, We sent before you Messengers to their people. They brought them clear signs; then We took revenge upon those who committed crimes: helping the believers was incumbent upon Us.60


60. In further exposition of the ending part of this verse, Ibn Abi Hatim has a report on the authority of Abu Darda. He says he heard the Prophet say: “No Muslim defends attack on the honor of his brother but it is incumbent upon Allah (swt) that He should shield him from the Fire of Hell on the Judgement Day.” Then, the Prophet recited this verse. (IbnKathir)

Iraqi has, however, declared this report as not trustworthy.  (S. Ibrahim)

[48] Allah it is who sends the winds that stir up the clouds,61 then He spreads them in the sky as He will.62 Then He breaks them into fragments.63 Then you see raindrops64 issuing forth from its midst. Then, when He strikes thereof those of His slaves He will, behold, they are rejoicing.


61. The words, “winds that stir up the clouds” could also suggest, “the winds stir up (water to create) the clouds.” (Au.)

62.Qatadah understood ‘yabsatuhu’ as meaning, “He gathers them together” (Ibn Jarir), but many others have understood as “He spreads them, causes them to increase and grow.” (IbnKathir)

63.Dahhak and others have pointed out that ‘kisafan’ could also be understood as meaning layers upon layers (of clouds). – IbnKathir

64. The rendering of ‘wadq’ as raindrops is following Mujahid’s understanding as in IbnJarir.

[49] Although before it was sent down upon them they were indeed – before it – in despair.65

[50] See then the marks of Allah’s mercy: how He quickens the earth after its death. Surely that is the Quickener of the dead, and He has power over everything.


65. What the repetition of the words “before it” means is that it had happened several times “before it” – i.e., before the rains finally came – that the rains did not fall despite expectations, until they lost all hope and sunk into despair. (IbnKathir)

[51] But if We should send a wind66 and they saw it (their crops) turn yellow, they would remain after that disbelieving.67


66. It might be noticed that earlier the word used for “wind” was “riyah” (pl. of rih), while at this point, it is ‘rih’. The reason is, remarks Imam Razi, mankind experiences the life-giving winds (riyah) more than destructive ‘rih’ which is not so common. Hence, plural for those that bring glad tidings and singular for the one that brings destruction.

Hence the Prophet’s prayer-words, whenever winds began to blow: “O Allah! Make it ‘riyah’ (winds) and not ‘rih’ (wind); and the report is trustworthy.

67. The allusion is to another class of winds which carry no moisture at all, but rather are dry and dry up the crops and plants, leaving them, in their wake, yellow; although it was a point in time when the farmers were expecting a refreshing shower that would turn the crops greener and cause to yield richer harvest. (Au.)

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