Translation & Commentary of Verses from Surah 26: Al Shu’ara’ (The Poets) [ 90 – 122 ]



[90] And Paradise shall be brought near to the righteous.90


90. Since Paradise is already created, and cannot be moved from its place, it has been conjectured that perhaps the allusion is to the dwellers of Paradise being taken near to it, as the pilgrims say, e.g., “Makkah has neared,” (although it is they who have neared), or, alternatively, it could mean that the veils covering it would be removed and Paradise will appear close, just as stars appear close, although they are at great distances from us (Alusi).

[91] And Hellfire advanced for the deviants.91


91. Qatadah expressed the opinion that by the textual term ghaawoon the allusion is to the Shayateen (Ibn Jarir).

It is a difficult term to explain, for it is loaded with several connotations. Primarily, as Raghib explains, ghawa is for “ignorance (jahl) springing from erroneous beliefs.” Another is, “corruption of one’s mode of life.” “Deviation from that which is right,” “to err,” “failure to achieve one’s desires,” “to labor in vain,” “ignorant conduct,” etc., are several other connotations offered by Lane.

[92] And it shall be said to them, ‘Where are those you were worshiping?92

[93] Other than Allah? Can they help you or help themselves?’


92. Asad comments: “Whenever the relative pronoun ma (‘that which’ or ‘all that which’) is used in the Qur’an with reference to false objects of worship, it indicates not merely inanimate things (like idols, fetishes, supposedly ‘holy’ relics, etc.) or false deified saints, dead or alive, but also forces of nature, real or imaginary, as well as man’s ‘worship’ of wealth, power, social position, etc.”

[94] Then they will be flung headlong therein93 – they and the deviant ones,


93. The word in the text is kubkibu. Its origin is kubb and the present pattern (in which an additional kaaf has been inserted) suggests repetitive kubb, i.e., repetitive dipping or flinging into the Fire (Zamakhshari, Razi and others).

[95] And the forces of Iblis,94 all together.95

[96] They will say, as they dispute therein,

[97] ‘By Allah! We were definitely in manifest error –

[98] When we held you as equal to the Lord of the worlds.


94. Everyone who follows Iblis, whether of his progeny, or of Adam, belongs to “the forces of Iblis” (Zamakhshari, Ibn Jarir and others).

95. “The false gods, being devils or personified false fancies, will be all involved in the punishment of Hell, together with their worshippers, and the ultimate sources of evil, the hosts of Iblis or Satan” (Yusuf Ali).

[99] And, none led us astray but the criminals.96


96. Those, that laid the foundations of disbelief and played major role in misleading the common people (Thanwi, in effect).

“They now see that the people who seduced them were themselves evil and subject to the penalties of evil, and their seductions were frauds. They feel that they ought to have seen it before. For who would deliberately follow the paths of those condemned to misery and punishment? How simple they were not to see the true character of their seducers, though they had been warned again and again against them! It was their own folly that made them accept such obviously false guidance!” (Yusuf Ali).

[100] So now we have no intercessors,97


97. This the unbelievers will say in all regret when they see believers being pulled out of Hellfire into Paradise through the intercession of the intercessors (Zamakhshari, Razi).

[101] Nor a loyal friend.98


98. Friends have been specifically mentioned, explain Zamakhshari, Razi and Qurtubi, because the unbelievers will see friends of the believers helping out each other, whereas they themselves will be friendless; as Allah said (43: 67), “Some of the close friends that day, will be enemies unto others, except the pious.”

As to who is a loyal friend, it is answered that he is one whose concerns are the concerns of his friend.

[102] So, would that there was for us a second (chance into the world), we shall be of the believers.

[103]Surely, in that is a sign. But most of them were not to be believers.

[104] Surely your Lord – He, indeed, is the All-mighty, the All-compassionate.

[105] Nuh’s people rejected the Messengers.99


99. Mawdudi explains, “True, they had rejected only one Messenger. But such rejection, in the sight of God, amounts to the rejection of all Messengers, for all of them brought the same message from God. This is a very important message that is stated at various parts of the Qur’an in a variety of ways: that those who do not believe in one Messenger of God, even though they might believe in other Messengers, are unbelievers. (See Al-Baqarah 2: 285). This is so because anyone who believes in the Message of the Messengers is also bound to believe in all those who brought that message. Now if someone does not believe in one Messenger but believes in all others, he possibly does so either because of chauvinistic affiliations with the collective entity to which those Messengers belong, or else does so for no other reason than the blind imitation of the customs and traditions of his people.”

[106] When their brother Nuh said to them, ‘Will you not fear?

[107] Verily, I am to you a trustworthy Messenger.100


100.Amin is one to whom a trust has been given, with several shades of meaning implied: e.g., (1) worthy of trust, (2) bound to deliver his trust, as a prophet is bound to deliver his Message, (3) bound to act entirely as directed by the trust, as a prophet is bound to give only the Message of Allah, and not add anything of his own, and (4) not seeking any interest of his own” (Yusuf Ali).

[108] Therefore, fear Allah and follow me.

[109] I do not ask you any wage for it. My wage falls only upon the Lord of the worlds.

[110] Fear Allah then, and follow me.’

[111] They said, ‘Should we believe you even though the lowest (of us) have followed you?’101


101. “One of the arguments they advanced against Noah was that had there been any truth in Noah’s claim, the chiefs, the notables, the religious leaders, the scholars and the wise men of the nation would have followed him. But none of them had accepted Noah’s claim. Only a few people from the lower classes had become his followers. How, then, could people belonging to the upper strata of the society join the company of those lowly people?” (Mawdudi)

[112] He said, ‘What knowledge have I of what they do?’

[113] Their account is upon my Lord alone, if you realize.102


102. That is, I take them on face value. If someone is good in his appearances, I accept him as good; if evil, then evil. As for the realities behind their appearances, it is for Allah to judge. Can you not see the reasonableness of this kind of attitude? (Tabari).

In Yusuf Ali’s words, “The leaders of the people are speaking, as the Quraish leaders spoke in the time of the holy Prophet. ‘We know that thou hast been trustworthy in thy life. But look at the ‘tag rag and bob tail’ that follow thee! Dost thou expect us to be Eke them or to be classed with them?” His answer was: “I know nothing against them; if they have done any wrong, or are only hypocrites, they are answerable to Allah; how can I drive them away from me, seeing that I am expressly sent to admonish all people?’”

[114] And I am not going to drive away the believers.103

[115] I am naught, but a plain warner.’


103. Yusuf Ali: “All people who have faith have the right to come and listen to Allah’s Word and receive Allah’s Mercy, whether they are publicans and sinners, ‘Harijans’ and low-caste men, men of ‘superior’ or ‘inferior’ races. The Prophet of Allah welcomes them all, as His Message has to shine before the whole world.”

In addition to the generally accepted meaning that the so-called elites suffered superiority complex, and could not come round to accepting people of lower status equalized with them in faith, Asad has another pointer: “This is obviously a retort to the unbelievers’ suggestion (elliptically implied here) that those ‘abject’ followers of Noah had declared faith in him, not out of conviction, but only in order to gain some material advantages. Noah’s answer embodies a cardinal principle of Qur’anic ethics and, hence, of Islamic Law: No human has the right to sit in judgment on another person’s faith or hidden motives; whereas God knows what is in the hearts of men, society may judge only by external evidences (az-Zahir), which comprises a person’s words as well as deeds. Thus, if anyone says, ‘I am a believer,’ and does not act or speak in a manner contradicting his professed faith, the community must consider him a believer.”

[116] They said, ‘If you do not desist O Nuh, you shall surely be of those stoned (to death).’104

[117] He said, ‘My Lord! Surely, my people have cried me lies.


104. The translation represents the primary meaning. But rajm has other derived connotations such as, “to curse, revile, address with evil speech, the act of driving away, expelling, cutting off from friendly communion,” etc. (Lane). Ibn Jarir says it means here, “we will address you in a coarse manner.”

[118] Therefore judge between me and them, a decisive judgment;105 and deliver me and the believers that are with me.’

[119] So We delivered him, and those with him, in the laden ship.

[120] Then We drowned thereafter the rest.

[121] Surely, in that is a sign. But most of them were not to be believers.

[122] Surely, your Lord – He, indeed, is the All-mighty, the All-compassionate.


105. For this rendering we have the support of Qatadah, Ibn Zayd and others, as in Ibn Jarir.

Thanwi points out that to supplicate against a people who cause harm to Allah’s religion, is not against sabr and hilm (patience and forbearance).

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