Verses from Surah Maryam (75-98)

[75] Say, ‘Whoever is in error, let the Most Merciful extend (the rope) to him extensively,87 until when they see that which they were being promised – either the chastisement, or the Hour – it is then that they will realize as to who is worse placed and weaker in forces. 88


87. That is, Allah (swt) allows him to carry on with his evil ways until the crime is proven beyond any doubt. And, one opinion is that the words, ‘let the Most Merciful extend (the rope) to him extensively’ are the Prophet’s words of supplication. Another opinion is that it is a threat (Qurtubi).

88. Mawdudi comments: “This was a fallacious argument which the unbelievers often put forward, claiming that it was they rather than the believers upon whom God’s bounties were lavished. They audaciously asked: ‘Who has more stately houses to live in – the believers or we? Who enjoys higher standards of living – the believers or we? Whose assemblies are more splendid and grandiose – those of the believers or ours?’ How is it possible, they asked, that those who follow the truth suffer such a miserable lot whilst whose who follow falsehood – as you fancy – prosper?”

Yusuf Ali adds on: “Allah’s warning is that every evil deed must have its punishment, and that there will be a Hereafter, the Day of Judgment, or the Hour, as it is frequently called. The punishment of evil often begins in this very life. For instance, over-indulgence and excesses of all kinds bring on their Nemesis quite often soon in this very life. But some subtler forms of selfishness and sin will be punished – as every evil deed will be punished – in its own good time, as the Hour approaches. In either case, the arrogant boasting sinner will realize that their taunt – who is best in position and in force? – is turned against themselves.”

 [76] And Allah increases those who accept guidance with (further) guidance.89 And the abiding good things 90 are better with your Lord in reward and better in respect of returns.


89. The verse can be explained in Asad’s words: “God endows those who avail themselves of [His] guidance with an ever deeper consciousness of the righteous way.”

90. See Surah al-Kahf, note 69 for explanation of the terms “al-baqiyyat al-salihat.” In short, belief and righteous deeds are the baqiyyat al-salihat (Au.).

 [77] Have you considered him who rejected Our signs and said, ‘Assuredly, I shall be given wealth and children?91


91. A report (in Bukhari, Muslim: Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir) coming from Khabbab b. al-Art says,  “I was a blacksmith in Makkah. `Aas b. Wa’il owed me some money (for some work I had done for him: Qurtubi). [According to some reports, `A owed several Muslims money: Ibn Kathir]. I went up to him and asked for it. He said, ‘By God, I’ll never give you until you denounce Muhammad.’ I replied, ‘By Allah, I shall never denounce Muhammad until you are dead and then are resurrected.’ He said, ‘If I die, am resurrected and you come to me and if I happen to have wealth and children, I may pay back to you.’ In response Allah revealed this verse” (Ibn Jarir, Razi).

According to reports coming from Ibn `Abbas and others, `As said, “Surely, If ever I am resurrected, I shall be given wealth and children” (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).

 [78] Has he looked into the Unseen, or has he concluded a covenant with the Most Merciful?92


92. According to Ibn `Abbas and Muhammad b. Ka`b al-Qurazi, the allusion by the term “`ahd” is to the testimony “there is no god except Allah” (Ibn Kathir).

That is, everyone who said the testimony entered into a covenant with Allah with the promise from Him that He will bestow him with blessings in the Hereafter (Au.).

[79] No indeed! We shall record what he says, and shall extend for him the chastisement extensively.

[80] We shall inherit from him what he says,93 and he will come to Us, alone.


93. Ibn Mas`ud, Mujahid and Qatadah have said that the meaning is, “We shall inherit his wealth and children, and he shall come to Us alone, without them in his company” (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir).

[81] And they have taken deities other than Allah so that they might be (a source) of power for them.

[82] By no means! Soon they will disavow their worship and become adversaries against them.94


94. That is, those who were worshipped will deny that they were ever worshipped. In fact, they shall act as their adversaries (Au.). Allah said elsewhere (46: 5),  “And who can be more misguided than he who called upon someone besides Allah, who can never answer him until the Day of Judgment. In fact, they are unaware of their call. And when the people are gathered together (on the Judgment Day), they will be their enemies and will deny their worship” (Ibn Kathir).

[83] Have you not noticed that we have let loose Shayatin 95 upon the unbelievers to prick them incitingly?

[84] So hasten not against them. We are only counting out against them a (limited) number.


95. The meaning of the words, “We have let loose (lit.’ sent’) Shayatin” is, “We gave them the freedom (to incite the humans)” – Qurtubi.

[85] The Day when We will gather the God-conscious unto the Most Merciful as honored delegates.96


96. `Ali, Abu Hurayrah, Ibn `Abbas and Sufyan Thawri said that on Judgment Day the righteous will not be on their feet singly, but rather, in groups, on mounts (of Light) of such beauty as never seen before (Ibn Jarir). In fact, the term “wafd” is employed in Arabic for a delegation on mounts (Ibn Kathir). This does not contradict those reports in the Sahihayn that say that people will leave their graves barefoot, bareheaded, and naked. For, they might be clothed after leaving the graves (Qurtubi).

We also have `Amr b. Qays al-Mula’i on record as having said, “As a believer leaves his grave he will encounter someone with the most beautiful countenance and the best of fragrance. He will ask, ‘Do you know me?’ The believer will reply, ‘No. But your fragrance is so pleasant and the countenance so beautiful.’ He will say, ‘That is how you were in the world. I am your good deeds of the life of the world. There I rode upon you, today you ride upon me.’” Then he recited this verse (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).

Abu Bakr Ibn al-`Arabiyy has said however – in his Siraj al-Muridin – that the report does not have a trustworthy chain of narrators (Qurtubi).

The above hadith is in Ibn Abi Hatim (Ibn Kathir).

[86] And drive the criminals to Hell-fire in thirst.97


97. The translation of “wird” as “thirsty” follows the understanding of Ibn `Abbas, Abu Hurayrah, Hasan and others (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).

[87] None will have (the benefit) of intercession, save those who had concluded with the Most Merciful a covenant.98

[88] And they said, ‘The Most Merciful has taken (unto himself) a son.


98. What covenant is it? Ibn `Abbas thought that it is faith itself. But Qatadah and Ibn Jurayj added that it is faith followed by righteous deeds. Qatadah said that they had learnt from their elders that the Prophet said,  “There will be a man in my Ummah by whose intercession as many people will enter Islam as the tribe of Banu Tameem.” And, “we use to hear,” Qatadah continues, “that a martyr will intercede for seventy of his kinsfolk” (Tabari, Ibn Kathir).

 The report is, according to Dhahabi, trustworthy; and Hasan al-Busri is reported to have said that he believed the allusion was to Uways al-Qarni (Au.).

[89] Surely, you have advanced something most hideous.

[90] The heavens could well-nigh explode thereby, the earth split asunder, and the mountains collapse into ruins.100


100. So monstrous it is to attribute a son to the Lord Most High that the world could all but be destroyed. Hence the importance of belief in the Oneness of God. The Prophet said,  “Let your dying say the testimony ‘There is no god save Allah’ for whoever said that at the time of his death will enter Paradise.” He was asked, “If so, then what about someone who said it in ordinary times?” He replied, “That would make it more certain, more certain.” Then he added, “By Him in whose hands is my life, if all that is there in the heavens and the earth were to be placed into one pan and the testimony ‘There is no god save Allah’ in another, the one with the testimony will weigh down” (Ibn Jarir).

The above hadith draws strength from another which says that a slip of paper containing the testimony will weigh heavier in the Scale on the Day of Judgment than 99 books of evil deeds (Ibn Kathir).

And, Ibn al-Mubarak, Sa`id b. Mansur, Ibn Abi Shaybah, Ahmad (in his “Al-Zuhd”), Ibn Abi Hatim, Abu al-Sheikh, Tabrani and Bayhaqi (in his Shu`ab) have reported Ibn Mas`ud as saying, “A mountain calls out to another mountain by its name, ‘O so and so. Did anyone pass by you who remembered Allah?’ It replies, ‘Yes.

Be of good cheer’” (Shawkani).

Qurtubi adds: Muhammad b. Ka`b has said that the statement about Allah taking a son is so heinous, that those who uttered it almost broke the Last Hour on us human beings. And, Ibn al-Arabiyy has said, “If not for the fact that Allah is neither affected by the disbelief of the disbeliever, nor is He elevated by the belief of the believer; neither the former decreases in His kingdom by aught, nor the latter increases it by aught, (if not for these facts) such a blasphemy would not have been allowed to roll on the tongues. But the thing is, Allah Most High takes no notice of what the misguided ones have to utter about Him.”

Majid adds: “Compare a saying of Jesus himself, unrecorded in the ‘canonical’ gospels. ‘The crowd drew nigh, and when they knew him they began to cry out: Welcome to thee, O our God! And they began to do him reverence, as unto God. Whereupon Jesus gave a great groan, and said: Get ye from before me, O madmen, for I fear lest the earth should open and devour me with you for your abominable words.’ (GB. p. 213).”

[91] That they should attributed to the Most Merciful a son.

[92] It behooves not the Most Merciful that He should take a son.

[93] None there is in the heavens and the earth but must come to the Most Merciful as a servant.

[94] Assuredly, He has full account of them and has numbered them exactly.

[95] And every one of them is to come to Him on the Day of Judgment singly.

[96] Surely, those who attained to faith and did righteous deeds, the Most Merciful will surely assign them love.101


101. Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and others have said in explanation that the allusion is to the place of love for the believers among the believers (Ibn Jarir).

The above is confirmed by reports in the Sahihayn and other collections. The Prophet said, “When Allah loves a man He calls Jibril and tells him, ‘Jibril! I love so and so. So, you love him too.’ So, Jibril begins to love him. Thereafter it is announced among the inhabitants of the heavens: ‘Allah loves so and so. So, you too love him.’ So, the inhabitants of the heavens begin to love him. Then love is placed for him in the earth. In contrast, when Allah hates a man He calls Jibril and tells him, ‘Jibril! I hate so and so. So, you hate him too.’ So, Jibril begins to hate him. Thereafter it is announced among the inhabitants of the heavens, ‘Allah hates so and so. So, you too hate him.’ So, the inhabitants of the heavens begin to hate him. Then hatred is placed for him in the earth” (Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir and Razi in brief).

As for the popularity that we see some of the unbelievers gaining among themselves, or among misguided Muslims, most of the time, it is temporary (Au.).

[97] Indeed We have made it easy (to understand) in your own tongue so that you might thereby give glad tiding to the believers and warn thereby a people contentious.

[98] How many nations 102  have We destroyed before them? Do you perceive anyone of them, or hear from them a whisper?103


102. A literal translation of the word “qarn” is epoch. It can also be rendered as “civilization.”

103. Ibn Jarir presents examples from poetry to demonstrate that although the textual “rikz” lends different meanings, primarily it stands for a low voice, or whisper.

(To be continued)

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