Explanation of Surah al Buruj in Qur’an
وَالسَّمَاءِ ذَاتِ الْبُرُوجِ
was-smaa’ dhat il burooj.
I swear by the sky that possesses burooj.
dhaat – Possessor of something.
burooj – barj/baraja (verb) / burj (a tower or fort that is very high). Anything stellar and high that you have to look up to see it = burj.
large stars in the sky are Burj.
The ancient peoples had a field of knowledge called the ‘ulum an-nujoom – the knowledge of stars. This is similar to horoscopes today.
They would believe that the sky is divided into 12 areas. Each section of the sky was a burj.
– Burj are the large stars in the sky.
– Nujoom (twinkling shining stars) and;
– Kawakib (firmly placed stars and planets) were mentioned in previous surahs.
So why Is Burooj mentioned now in this surah?
Burooj – Forts.
We are being told the sky is full of forts. And who is in these forts? Soldiers. Who are the soldiers in the sky? Angels.
Allah says about the Warrior angels helping the Muslims;
بَلَىٰ ۚ إِن تَصْبِرُوا وَتَتَّقُوا وَيَأْتُوكُم مِّن فَوْرِهِمْ هَٰذَا يُمْدِدْكُمْ رَبُّكُم بِخَمْسَةِ آلَافٍ مِّنَ الْمَلَائِكَةِ مُسَوِّمِينَ
Yes, if you remain patient and conscious of Allah and the enemy come upon you [attacking] in rage, your Lord will reinforce you with five thousand angels having marks [of distinction]
[aal Imran 3:125]
The angels are within the forts of the sky and universe, and there will come a Day when they will be called for duty. So they will descend from these forts in rows upon rows. (see surah Fajr 89:22).
The importance of this will be explained further on in the surah insha’ Allah.
Some say Burj are forts and castles in the sky in which there are strong armies of angels.
The polytheists would say that the Jinn would spy in the sky and tell them knowledge of the future through hearing the knowledge of the unseen being discussed by the Angels. But the Jinn who did try to listen – they would be shot at by the guards of angels in the skies. shihab ath-thaqib (firing piercing stars) shot at them to burn them.
So the disbelieving Jinn did not know the future, and there were angel guards in Forts and Castles to shoot at those who tried to spy.
The essence of the meaning of Barj = Manifestation.
The most brilliant and stellar skies in the sky are the burooj.
Islaahi: In the previous surah, the sky was being completely being destroyed. But it isn’t destroyed now. So when someone goes deep into nature and looks at the sky filled with stars. Allah has mentioned the destruction of the sky repeatedly in the previous surahs’, so when this person sees the sky today packed with stars – he always remembers that a Day is coming when it will tear fully and permanently, and it will be pleased to do so.
These brilliant stars are like a reminder, so whenever we see the big stars, or when we see them twinkle, we remember the Day when the sky will fully tear.
wal yawmil maw’ood
and by the day which is promised.
That Day which He has continuously promised throughout the Qur’an repeatedly.
So Allah has sworn by the sky and its Fort stars (burooj), and the Promised Day (of Ressurection).
wa AL yawmil maw’ood.
and (I swear by)THE Daywhich is promised.
The AL – makes it singular. Because Judgment Day is 1 day.
wa shaahidiN wa mash-huudiN [with tanween- Noon/N letter at the end signifies plural/many.]
It allows ALOT of things to be witnesses and witnessed.
Throughout Juzz ‘Amma, we see the disbelievers are making fun of the Day of Ressurection.
The crimes against the Messenger of Allah. The crime against Allah’s revelation. The crime of killing the innocent girl. The crime of the Mutafiffeen who never gave full value/cost in business while expecting full value for their ownselves.
The crimes done by oppressors throughout history have affected all of society. In most cases, its Muslims have spoken against this oppression whereas the other people in society have been subdued to accept the oppression.
So hate campaigns form against the Muslims for their speaking against the oppression. Anyone who speaks the truth for justice is falsely accused of being mad or ‘extreme’ – this Character Assasination fools the majority of people into not accepting what this ‘dangerous’ person/group has to say.
If this campaign of Character Assasination’s isn’t working, and the truth of the oppression is still being spoken out against – the only solution left for the leaders is to oppress these individuals who are striving for justice. If you can’t silence them by making fun of them, or insulting them, or defaming them, then the only solution left is to imprison them, beat them and torture them to silence.
This is what Pharoah did, the Quraysh disbelievers did, and all oppressive rulers have resorted to this.
Low class slaves (i.e. Ammar bin Yasir), immigrants who didn’t have citizenship there (i.e. Bilal al Habashi, Suhayb ar-Rumi), disabled people (i.e. Abdullah ibn al Maktum), women and girls (i.e. Asma’ bint Abu Bakr), children (i.e. Ali bin Abu Talib).
All these types of people could easily be tortured, similar to all societies where Muslims are a minority or weak. So Allah promised to help them if they remained patient (and He did help them in Badr because all the oppressive leaders died within that battle or a similar time period.)
In the battles of Badr and Ahzab, the believers were patient, so Allah sent them warrior angels who supported the believers. Where did these angels descend from? The forts (burooj) in the skies. [see surah aal Imran 3:125]
So when the Muslim is being oppressed, he shouldn’t feel alone. No, rather – Allah will give His believers support.
Allah swore by the Burooj (forts in the stars), and Allah does an Oath for that thing to bear witness. The Burooj and the angels within them bear witness to our situation, and they are waiting for permission from Allah to support the believers.
Threats of Allah;
This is the first threat to the disbelievers. (mentioned in Ayah 1). That Allah’s armies will destroy you if you persist in oppression.
The second threat is the Promised Day (mentioned in Ayah 2). This is even more scarier.
wa shaahidin wa mash-huud.
And I swear by the witness, and what has been witnessed.
Shaahid = witness
mash-huud – what is witnessed.
These two words come from the words; shahida / yash-hadu / shahadah.
Shahida – to bear witness. Also to be present (haaddir) to bear witness.
The beauty and power and complexity of this ayah is amazing.
This is a summary of our entire religion.
How is this?
The Witness [shahid] and the Witnessed [mash-huud]
Allah swears by;
1 – The Day of Ressurection;
إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَةً لِّمَنْ خَافَ عَذَابَ الْآخِرَةِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ يَوْمٌ مَّجْمُوعٌ لَّهُ النَّاسُ وَذَٰلِكَ يَوْمٌ مَّشْهُودٌ
– Indeed in that is a sign for those who fear the punishment of the Hereafter. That is a Day for which the people will be collected, and that is a Day [which will be] witnessed. [Hud 11:103]
Who is the shahid? Us. What is witnessed? All the descriptions given of the Day of Judgment i.e. The sky being torn up, the stars falling, the hellfire and the paradise etc.
Everything mentioned in the Qur’an describing Judgment Day is mash-huud, and we are its witnesses (Shahid).
2 – All of the creation of Allah:
Every creation of Allah is showing the Oneness of Allah’s power and specificness in detail. Every creation of Allah is Shaahid (a witness). A witness to what?
A witness to Laa illaaha illAllah (there is no god but Allah). And this is what is being born witness to (mash-huud).
3 – Ruins of old Nations:
The Arabs would travel alot and they would see (as Shahid) the ruins of the destroyed nations before us. (the mash-huud).
The ruins themself are a Shahid (witnessing) and the mash-huud is the power and justice of Allah against oppression and rebellion.
4 – Allah is the Witness:
The salaf would say Allah is Shahid (the witness). Sa’eed ibn Jubayr would then recite;
وَكَفَىٰ بِاللَّهِ شَهِيدًا
– wakafa billahi shaheeda – and Allah is sufficient as a witness (surah al Fath 48:28).
We are the mash-huud – the ones who are being watched by Allah.
5 – Our deeds
وَإِنَّ عَلَيْكُمْ لَحَافِظِينَ. كِرَامًا كَاتِبِينَ
– Surely there are upon you guardians. Writers (angel scribes) who know all that you do (Infitar 82:10-11)
The angels write down what we do (as shahid) and we and what we do is mash-huud (witnessed by the angels and written down).
6 – The Angels are Witnessed:
When the angels descend in rows on Judgment Day – we will be shahid (witnesses) of them, and they will be mash-huud (watched by us).
وَجَاءَ رَبُّكَ وَالْمَلَكُ صَفًّا صَفًّا
And your Lord has come and the angels [on Judgment Day], rank upon rank,[see Fajr 89:22]
7 – The Messenger of Allah:
Allah’s Messenger is shahid (witness) to Jibreel (mash-huud). Because he [Prophet Muhammad] saw him [Angel Jibreel/gabriel] on the clear horizon in the earlier stages of his message
وَلَقَدْ رَآهُ بِالْأُفُقِ الْمُبِينِ
– And indeed he (Muhammad (Peace be upon him)) saw him [Jibrael (Gabriel)] in the clear horizon (towards the east). [Takweer 81:23]
8 – Time is Witness.
Surah ‘Asr – time bears witness that humans are in loss. Loss is what is being witnessed (mash-huud). So imagine time being someone who watches the history of the people and has seen them be born and gradually die. Man is in loss. (mash-huud). Time bears witness to this (shahid).
9 – Our Bodies:
Our bodies will be a witness against ourselves on Judgment Day. So the body is a shahid to its own actions of this life, and then bears witness against itself too (mash-huud).
حَتَّىٰ إِذَا مَا جَاءُوهَا شَهِدَ عَلَيْهِمْ سَمْعُهُمْ وَأَبْصَارُهُمْ وَجُلُودُهُم بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
Till, when they reach it (Hell-fire), their hearing (ears) and their eyes, and their skins will testify against them as to what they used to do. [Fussilat 41:20]
10 – The Messenger of Allah is a witness against his Own Ummah/Nation.
Abdullah bin Mas`ud said, “The Messenger of Allah said to me, `Recite to me.’ I said, `O Messenger of Allah!
Should I recite (the Qur’an) to you, while it was revealed to you’ He said, `Yes, for I like to hear it from other people.’ I recited Surat An-Nisa’ until I reached this Ayah,
فَكَيْفَ إِذَا جِئْنَا مِن كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ بِشَهِيدٍ وَجِئْنَا بِكَ عَلَىٰ هَٰؤُلَاءِ شَهِيدًا
– So how [will it be] when We bring from every nation a witness and we bring you, [O Muhammad] against these [people] as a witness? [an-Nisa 4:41]
He then said, “hasbuk” `Stop now.’ I found that his eyes were filled with tears.
(he cared for his ummah and was so saddened that he had to bear witness against them – that he was crying alot, and saying to Abdullah ibn Mas’ud “hasbuk” – that is sufficient.).
Two types of witnessing;
1 – Shafa’ah [intercession] for this Ummah from the hellfire.
وَقَالَ الرَّسُولُ يَا رَبِّ إِنَّ قَوْمِي اتَّخَذُوا هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنَ مَهْجُورًا
– And the Messenger will say; my Lord, this nation of mine took hold of this Qur’an and then left it. (Furqan 25:30).
Allah’s Messenger has Two types of bearing witness (shahid) on this Day, and we – the ummah – are the mash-huud (being witnessed against.)
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ شَاهِدًا وَمُبَشِّرًا وَنَذِيرًا-
Surely We have sent you as a Messenger, a witness, a giver of good news and a warner. (surah Ahzab 33:45)
So the Messenger of Allah will be a witness on that Final Day.
11 – This Ummah is a Witness:
وَجَاهِدُوا فِي اللَّهِ حَقَّ جِهَادِهِ ۚ هُوَ اجْتَبَاكُمْ وَمَا جَعَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ مِنْ حَرَجٍ ۚ مِّلَّةَ أَبِيكُمْ إِبْرَاهِيمَ ۚ هُوَ سَمَّاكُمُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ مِن قَبْلُ وَفِي هَٰذَا لِيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ شَهِيدًا
عَلَيْكُم وَتَكُونُوا شُهَدَاءَ عَلَى النَّاسِ ۚ فَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِاللَّهِ هُوَ مَوْلَاكُمْ ۖ فَنِعْمَ الْمَوْلَىٰ وَنِعْمَ النَّصِيرُ
– ..so you be witnesses over mankind.. (Hajj 22:78)
We are witnesses to the truthfulness of the conveyance of the Message from the Messengers’.
12 – Jesus will be a witness:
The hawariyoon – true followers of Jesus were weak and oppressed. So when they followed Jesus, then they said to Jesus that bear witness that we were Muslims on Judgment Day.
وَاشْهَدْ بِأَنَّا مُسْلِمُونَ
– wash-had bi anna muslimoon. – bear witness that we are Muslims” (aal Imran 3:125).
The nation of Jesus went astray, because they started worshipping him instead of worshipping the One who created them.
So this Ummah now says to the people of the Book who went astray;هِ وَاشْهَدْ بِأَنَّا مُسْلِمُونَ you bear witness that we are Muslims (those who submit to the Lord of the Worlds).
A beautiful du’a;
رَبَّنَا آمَنَّا بِمَا أَنزَلْتَ وَاتَّبَعْنَا الرَّسُولَ فَاكْتُبْنَا مَعَ الشَّاهِدِينَ
– fa-ktubna ma’ash-shahideen
(oh our Master, we believe what you have sent down, and we follow the Messenger – so write us down with those who bear witness). (aal Imran 3:53).
We ask Allah to make us of those who bear witness by fulfilling our role properly as Muslims.
13 – The Disbelievers bear witness against their own Disbelief:
مَا كَانَ لِلْمُشْرِكِينَ أَن يَعْمُرُوا مَسَاجِدَ اللَّهِ شَاهِدِينَ عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِم بِالْكُفْرِ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ حَبِطَتْ أَعْمَالُهُمْ وَفِي النَّارِ هُمْ خَالِدُونَ
It is not for the polytheists to maintain the mosques of Allah [while] witnessing against themselves with disbelief. [For] those, their deeds have become worthless, and in the Fire they will abide eternally. [Tawba 9:17]
shahideena ‘ala anfusihim bil kufr. – they bear witness upon their disbelief.
14 – Allah is a witness to the completion of the Conveyance of the Message of His final Prophet:
The Messenger of Allah fears for his nation and prays they will not go astray, since no other Messenger of Allah will come after him. So he made sure that on his last farewell speech (in the final Hajj – Hajj at-tul Wadaa’ – the farewell Hajj) – he pointed to the sky and said – Allahuma ash-had (oh Allah bear witness), and he repeated this.
15 – the Day of Friday and ‘Arafah.
An opinion of the sahaba/companions of Prophet Muhammad;
ina sayidul ayaam yawmul jumu’ah, wa huwa shahid. Wa mash-huud yawma al ‘arafah. – the leader of days is Friday, and it is a witness. And the witnessed is the day of ‘Arafah. (a mursal hadeeth)
Shahid – the friday prayer will bear witness that the Muslims came to prayer = affirming their shahadah.
mash-huud – on the day of ‘arafah – you go to that mountain yourself to witness it, to repent during the hajj period.
This is unlike the day of friday which comes to you, but you have to go to and witness the day of ‘arafah yourself in the Hajj period (mash-huud).
Even the oaths mentioned in this surah are a shahid and mash-huud.
The sky filled with stars/forts/burooj are a shahid to mankind. And they bear witness to the Promised Day – when the sky will be torn (the mash-huud).
The Oaths should have a response.
I swear… (something will happen).
But sometimes – the response is known without you having to mention the response to the oath.
Some say the response to the first oath (In ayah 1) is through the 2nd oath – i.e. the Response to the Oath is; the Promised Day [Judgment Day] will happen. Since we already know that Allah is promising such a Day throughout, continuously in the Qur’an.
Some said the response is ayah 4 – qutil as-hab al ukhdood – may the companions of the ditch be destroyed. However this isn’t linguistically suitable. Since “La” [meaning ‘Surely’ in such a context] is mentioned at the beginning of an ayah when responding to an oath. But there is no “La” said in the beginning of ayah 4. So it seems that ayah 4 is not a response to the oath.
قُتِلَ أَصْحَابُ الْأُخْدُودِ
Perish, accursed be, the companions of the ditch!
Qutila as-habu alukhdood
The muslims are not the first to be oppressed, ridiculed or killed.
qutila – past tense – passive. Literally means ‘he was killed’.
It also is a curse i.e. ‘qutila fulan’ – i hope so and so person is killed.
The people of Ukhdood. Akhadeed (plural). A rectangular ditched shape dug in the ground, and it is very large. These are the properties of the Ukhdood.
As-haab – sahib (companion).
Closeness and affiliation. Someone who is with you all the time. Someone who is always with something/someone and always by their side.
So when they committed this crime of mass genocide, what were they known for? For their digging the big ditch which burnt the believers in the masses to death.
But this isn’t it. A companion of the ditch is someone who is always with the ditch of fire. And what is the ditch of fire that they will always be a companion with? The fire of hell.
Allah captures the reality of this world and parallels it with their reality in the next life. Through just 2 words – as-haab al Ukhdood [Companions of the Fire]. How amazing.
النَّارِ ذَاتِ الْوَقُودِ
an-naari dhaatil waqood
[Containing] the fire full of fuel,
naar – fire, possessed [Dhaat] which was kindled (waqood) with fuel; i.e. Coal, wood etc. To keep the flames alight.
Why should they be killed for making a ditch containing a fire?
I will quote Tafseer ibn Katheer on the hadeeth on Surah Burooj for the full narration;
Imam Ahmad recorded from Suhayb that the Messenger of Allah said,
كَانَ فِيمَنْ كَانَ قَبْلَكُمْ مَلِكٌ وَكَانَ لَهُ سَاحِرٌ، فَلَمَّا كَبِرَ السَّاحِرُ قَالَ لِلْمَلِكِ: إِنِّي قَدْ كَبُرَ سِنِّي وَحَضَرَ أَجَلِي، فَادْفَعْ إِلَيَّ غُلَامًا لِأُعَلِّمَهُ السِّحْرَ، فَدَفَعَ إِلَيْهِ غُلَامًا فَكَانَ يُعَلِّمُهُ السِّحْرَ، وَكَانَ الْغُلَامُ عَلَى الرَّاهِبِ فَسَمِعَ مِنْ كَلَامِهِ فَأَعْجَبَهُ نَحْوُهُ وَكَلَامُهُ، وَكَانَ إِذَا أَتَى السَّاحِرَ ضَرَبَهُ وَقَالَ: مَا حَبَسَكَ؟ وَإِذَا أَتَى أَهْلَهُ ضَرَبُوهُ وَقَالُوا: مَا حَبَسَكَ؟ فَشَكَا ذلِكَ إِلَى الرَّاهِبِ فَـقَالَ: إِذَا أَرَادَ السَّاحِرُ أَنْ يَضْرِبَكَ فَقُلْ: حَبَسَنِي أَهْلِي، وَإِذَا أَرَادَ أَهْلُكَ أَنْ يَضْرِبُوكَ فَقُلْ: حَبَسَنِي السَّاحِرُ، قَالَ: فَبَيْنَمَا هُوَ ذَاتَ يَوْمٍ إِذْ أَتَى عَلَى دَابَّةٍ فَظِيعَةٍ عَظِيمَةٍ قَدْ حَبَسَتِ النَّاسَ فَلَا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ أَنْ يَجُوزُوا. فَقَالَ: الْيَوْمَ أَعْلَمُ أَمْرُ الرَّاهِبِ أَحَبُّ إِلَى اللهِ أَمْ أَمْرُ السَّاحِرِ؟ قَالَ فَأَخَذَ حَجَرًا فَـقَالَ: اللْهُمَّ إِنْ كَانَ أَمْرُ الرَّاهِبِ أَحَبَّ إِلَيْكَ وَأَرْضَى مِنْ أَمْرِ السَّاحِرِ فَاقْتُلْ هذِهِ الدَّابَّةَ حَتْى يَجُوزَ النَّاسُ، ورَمَاهَا فَقَتَلَهَا وَمَضَى النَّاسُ.
(Among the people who came before you, there was a king who had a sorcerer, and when that sorcerer became old, he said to the king, “I have become old and my time is nearly over, so please send me a boy whom I can teach magic.” So, he sent him a boy and the sorcerer taught him magic. Whenever the boy went to the sorcerer, he sat with a monk who was on the way and listened to his speech and admired them. So, when he went to the sorcerer, he passed by the monk and sat there with him; and on visiting the sorcerer the latter would thrash him. So, the boy complained about this to the monk. The monk said to him, “Whenever you are afraid of the sorcerer, say to him: `My people kept me busy.’ And whenever you are afraid of your people, say to them: `The sorcerer kept me busy.”’ So the boy carried on like that (for some time). Then a huge terrible creature appeared on the road and the people were unable to pass by. The boy said, “Today I shall know whether the sorcerer is better or the monk is better.” So, he took a stone and said, “O Allah! If the deeds and actions of the monk are liked by You better than those of the sorcerer, then kill this creature so that the people can cross (the road).” Then he struck it with a stone killing it and the people passed by on the road.
فَأَخْبَرَ الرَّاهِبَ بِذلِكَ فَـقَالَ: أَيْ بُنَيَّ، أَنْتَ أَفْضَلُ مِنِّي وَإِنَّكَ سَتُبْتَلَى، فَإِنِ ابْتُلِيتَ فَلَا تَدُلَّ عَلَيَّ، فَكَانَ الْغُلَامُ يُبْرِىءُ الْأَكْمَهَ وَالْأَبْرَصَ وَسَائِرَ الْأَدْوَاءِ وَيَشْفِيهِمْ، وَكَانَ لِلْمَلِكِ جَلِيسٌ فَعَمِيَ فَسَمِعَ بِهِ فَأَتَاهُ بِهَدَايَا كَثِيرَةٍ فَقَالَ: اشْفِنِي وَلَكَ مَا ههُنَا أَجْمَعُ، فَـقَالَ: مَا أَنَا أَشْفِي أَحَدًا، إِنَّمَا يَشْفِي اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ، فَإِنْ آمَنْتَ بِهِ دَعَوْتُ اللهَ فَشَفَاكَ، فَآمَنَ فَدَعَا اللهَ فَشَفَاهُ.
The boy came to the monk and informed him about it. The monk said to him, “O my son! Today you are better than I, and you have achieved what I see! You will be put to trial. And in case you are put to trial, do not inform (them) about me.” The boy used to treat the people suffering from congenital blindness, leprosy, and other diseases. There was a courtier of the king who had become blind and he heard about the boy. He came and brought a number of gifts for the boy and said, “All these gifts are for you on the condition that you cure me.” The boy said, “I do not cure anybody; it is only Allah who cures people. So, if you believe in Allah and supplicate to Him, He will cure you.” So, he believed in and supplicated to Allah, and Allah cured him.
ثُمَّ أَتَى الْمَلِكَ فَجَلَسَ مِنْهُ نَحْوَ مَا كَانَ يَجْلِسُ فَقَالَ لَهُ الْمَلِكُ: يَا فُلَانُ، مَنْ رَدَّ عَلَيْكَ بَصَرَكَ؟ فَـقَالَ: رَبِّي. فَـقَالَ: أَنَا؟ قَالَ: لَا، رَبِّي وَرَبُّكَ اللهُ، قَالَ: وَلَكَ رَبٌّ غَيْرِي؟ قَالَ: نَعَمْ رَبِّي وَرَبُّكَ اللهُ، فَلَمْ يَزَلْ يُعَذِّبُهُ حَتْى دَلَّ عَلَى الْغُلَامِ، فَبَعَثَ إِلَيْهِ فَـقَالَ: أَيْ بُنَيَّ بَلَغَ مِنْ سِحْرِكَ أَنْ تُبْرِىءَ الْأَكْمَهَ وَالْأَبْرَصَ وَهذِهِ الْأَدْوَاءَ قَالَ: مَا أَشْفِي أَحَدًا إِنَّمَا يَشْفِي اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ، قَالَ: أَنَا؟ قَالَ: لَا. قَالَ: أَوَلَكَ رَبٌّ غَيْرِي؟ قَالَ: رَبِّي وَرَبُّكَ اللهُ، فَأَخَذَهُ أَيْضًا بِالْعَذَابِ فَلَمْ يَزَلْ بِهِ حَتْى دَلَّ عَلَى الرَّاهِبِ فَأُتِيَ بِالرَّاهِبِ فَقَالَ: ارْجِعْ عَنْ دِينِكَ فَأَبَى، فَوَضَعَ الْمِنْشَارَ فِي مَفْرِقِ رَأْسِهِ حَتْى وَقَعَ شِقَّاهُ، وَقَالَ لِلْأَعْمَى: ارْجِعْ عَنْ دِينِكَ، فَأَبَى، فَوَضَعَ الْمِنْشَارَ فِي مَفْرِقِ رَأْسِهِ حَتْى وَقَعَ شِقَّاهُ إِلَى الْأَرْضِ. وَقَالَ لِلْغُلَام: ارْجِعْ عَنْ دِينِكَ، فَأَبَى، فَبَعَثَ بِهِ مَعَ نَفَرٍ إِلى جَبَلِ كَذَا وَكَذَا وَقَالَ: إِذَا بَلَغْتُمْ ذُرْوَتَهُ فَإِنْ رَجَعَ عَنْ دِينِهِ وَإِلَّا فَدَهْدِهُوهُ، فَذَهَبُوا بِهِ فَلَمَّا عَلَوْا بِهِ الْجَبَلَ قَالَ: اللْهُمَّ اكْفِنِيهِمْ بِمَا شِئْتَ، فَرَجَفَ بِهِمُ الْجَبَلُ فَدُهْدِهُوا أَجْمَعُونَ، وَجَاءَ الْغُلَامُ يَتَلَمَّسُ حَتَّى دَخَلَ عَلَى الْمَلِكِ فَقَالَ: مَا فَعَلَ أَصْحَابُكَ؟ فَقَالَ: كَفَانِيهِمُ اللهُ تَعَالَى، فَبَعَثَ بِهِ مَعَ نَفَرٍ فِي قُرْقُورٍ فَقَالَ: إِذَا لَجَجْتُمْ بِهِ الْبَحْرَ فَإِنْ رَجَعَ عَنْ دِينِهِ، وَإِلَّا فَغَرِّقُوهُ فِي الْبَحْرِ، فَلَجَّجُوا بِهِ الْبَحْرَ فَـقَالَ الْغُلَامُ: اللْهُمَّ اكْفِنِيهِمْ بِمَا شِئْتَ، فَغَرِقُوا أَجْمَعُونَ.
Later, the courtier came to the king and sat at the place where he used to sit before. The king said, “Who gave you back your sight” The courtier replied, “My Lord.” The king then said, “I did” The courtier said, “No, my Lord and your Lord – Allah” The king said, “Do you have another Lord beside me” The courtier said, “Yes, your Lord and my Lord is Allah.” The king tortured him and did not stop until he told him about the boy. So, the boy was brought to the king and he said to him, “O boy! Has your magic reached to the extent that you cure congenital blindness, leprosy and other diseases” He said, “I do not cure anyone. Only Allah can cure.” The king said, “Me” The boy replied, “No.” The king asked, “Do you have another Lord besides me” The boy answered, “My Lord and your Lord is Allah.” So, he tortured him also until he told about the monk. Then the monk was brought to him and the king said to him, “Abandon your religion.” The monk refused and so the king ordered a saw to be brought which was placed in the middle of his head and he fell, sawn in two. Then it was said to the man who used to be blind, “Abandon your religion.” He refused to do so, and so a saw was brought and placed in the middle of his head and he fell, sawn in two. Then the boy was brought and it was said to him, “Abandon your religion.” He refused and so the king sent him to the top of such and such mountain with some people. He told the people, “Ascend up the mountain with him till you reach its peak, then see if he abandons his religion; otherwise throw him from the top.” They took him and when they ascended to the top, he said, “O Allah! Save me from them by any means that You wish.” So, the mountain shook and they all fell down and the boy came back walking to the king. The king said, “What did your companions (the people I sent with you) do” The boy said, “Allah saved me from them.” So, the king ordered some people to take the boy on a boat to the middle of the sea, saying, “If he renounces his religion (well and good), but if he refuses, drown him.” So, they took him out to sea and he said, “O Allah! Save me from them by any means that you wish.” So they were all drowned in the sea.
وَجَاءَ الْغُلَامُ حَتْى دَخَلَ عَلَى الْمَلِكِ فَـقَالَ: مَا فَعَلَ أَصْحَابُكَ؟ فَقَالَ: كَفَانِيهِمُ اللهُ تَعَالَى ثُمَّ قَالَ لِلْمَلِكِ: إِنَّكَ لَسْتَ بِقَاتِلي حَتْى تَفْعَلَ مَا آمُرُكَ بِهِ، فَإِنْ أَنْتَ فَعَلْتَ مَا آمُرُكَ بِهِ قَتَلْتَنِي، وَإِلَّا فَإِنَّكَ لَا تَسْتَطِيعُ قَتْلِي، قَالَ: وَمَا هُوَ؟ قَالَ: تَجْمَعُ النَّاسَ فِي صَعِيدٍ وَاحِدٍ ثُمَّ تَصْلُبُنِي عَلَى جِذْع وَتَأْخُذُ سَهْمًا مِنْ كِنَانَتِي، ثُمَّ قُلْ: بِاسْمِ اللهِ رَبِّ الْغُلَامِ. فَإِنَّكَ إِذَا فَعَلْتَ ذلِكَ قَـتَلْتَنِـي. فَفَعَلَ وَوَضَعَ السَّهْمَ فِي كَبِدِ قَوْسِهِ ثُمَّ رَمَاهُ وَقَالَ: بِاسْمِ اللهِ رَبِّ الْغُلَامِ، فَوَقَعَ السَّهْمُ فِي صُدْغِهِ، فَوَضَعَ الْغُلَامُ يَدَهُ عَلَى مَوْضِع السَّهْم وَمَاتَ، فَـقَالَ النَّاسُ: آمَنَّا بِرَبِّ الْغُلَام. فَقِيلَ لِلْمَلِكِ: أَرَأَيْتَ مَا كُنْتَ تَحْذَرُ؟ فَقَدْ وَاللهِ نَزَلَ بِكَ، قَدْ آمَنَ النَّاسُ كُلُّهُمْ، فَأَمَرَ بِأَفْوَاهِ السِّكَكِ، فَخُدَّتْ فِيهَا الْأَخَادِيدُ وَأُضْرِمَتْ فِيهَا النِّيرَانُ، وَقَالَ: مَنْ رَجَعَ عَنْ دِينِهِ فَدَعُوهُ، وَإِلَّا فَأَقْحِمُوهُ فِيهَا، قَالَ: فَكَانُوا يَتَعَادُّونَ فِيهَا وَيَتَدَافَعُونَ، فَجَاءَتِ امْرأَةٌ بابْنٍ لَهَا تُرْضِعُهُ، فَكَأَنَّهَا تَقَاعَسَتْ أَنْ تَقَعَ فِي النَّارِ فَـقَالَ الصَّبِيُّ: اصْبِرِي يَا أُمَّاهْ فَإِنَّكِ عَلَى الْحَق»
Then the boy returned to the king and the king said, “What did your companions do” The boy replied, “Allah, saved me from them.” Then he said to the king, “You will not be able to kill me until you do as I order you. And if you do as I order you, you will be able to kill me.” The king asked, “And what is that” The boy said, “Gather the people in one elevated place and tie me to the trunk of a tree; then take an arrow from my quiver and say: `In the Name of Allah, the Lord of the boy.’ If you do this, you will be able to kill me.” So he did this, and placing an arrow in the bow, he shot it, saying, “In the Name of Allah, the Lord of the boy.” The arrow hit the boy in the temple, and the boy placed his hand over the arrow wound and died. The people proclaimed, “We believe in the Lord of the boy!” Then it was said to the king, “Do you see what has happened That which you feared has taken place. By Allah, all the people have believed (in the Lord of the boy).” So he ordered that ditches be dug at the entrances to the roads and it was done, and fires were kindled in them. Then the king said, “Whoever abandons his religion, let him go, and whoever does not, throw him into the fire.” They were struggling and scuffling in the fire, until a woman and her baby whom she was breast feeding came and it was as if she was being somewhat hesitant of falling into the fire, so her baby said to her, “Be patient mother! For verily, you are following the truth!”) Muslim also recorded this Hadith at the end of the Sahih. Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar related this story in his book of Sirah in another way that has some differences from that which has just been related. Then, after Ibn Ishaq explained that the people of Najran began following the religion of the boy after his murder, which was the religion of Christianity, he said, “Then (the king) Dhu Nuwas came to them with his army and called them to Judaism. He gave them a choice to either accept Judaism or be killed, so they chose death. Thus, he had a ditch dug and burned (some of them) in the fire (in the ditch), while others he killed with the sword. He made an example of them (by slaughtering them) until he had killed almost twenty thousand of them. It was about Dhu Nuwas and his army that Allah revealed to His Messenger :
قُتِلَ أَصْحَـبُ الاٍّخْدُودِ – النَّارِ ذَاتِ الْوَقُودِ – إِذْ هُمْ عَلَيْهَا قُعُودٌ – وَهُمْ عَلَى مَا يَفْعَلُونَ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ شُهُودٌ – وَمَا نَقَمُواْ مِنْهُمْ إِلاَّ أَن يُؤْمِنُواْ بِاللَّهِ الْعَزِيزِ الْحَمِيدِ –
الَّذِى لَهُ مُلْكُ السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضِ وَاللَّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَىْءٍ شَهِيدٌ
(Cursed were the People of the Ditch. Of fire fed with fuel. When they sat by it. And they witnessed what they were doing against the believers. And they had no fault except that they believed in Allah, the Almighty, Worthy of all praise! To Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth! And Allah is Witness over everything.) (85:4-9)”
Tafseer Ibn Katheer – Surah al Burooj:
The hadith speaks of a young boy (ghulam = a boy who has newly started to grow a slight moustache) who was influenced by another Muslim. This boy then defied the ruler and magician, who he had been taught magic from – and the boy began to preach justice. So Allah gave this boy many miracles (karamat) to prove his truthfulness. One miracle that he had was that he couldn’t be killed by anyone, unless “you kill me by saying – In the Name of the Lord of the boy” the boy said. So the king gathered the people and public together to see this boys ending. The king said; “in the Name of the Lord of the boy” – he then shot an arrow at him, and the boy passed away. All the public who saw this were amazed at the sacrifice of this boy, and the fact that the king who claimed to be a god, had to actually mention the ‘the Lord of the boy’ to kill him. (Everyone knew that the boy had always called to the worship of the One God who created all things.)
This was a miracle that all the public were amazed at. They all realised that this fake god king had proven his own self to be a false god – because he had no power to give death, except with the permission of the ‘Lord of the boy’.
So all the people believed in the Lord of the Boy, and went against the way the king had intended (he thought everyone would go back to their old ways of being subservient to the king, but instead – they all followed the way of the boy and became Muslims!)
The king became angry, so he and his men dug the Ukhdood, and threw all the believing men and women of the town – who believed in the Lord of the Boy – into the trench of fire alive.
as-Sabooni and ash-Shawkani commented; It’s not just talking about them. This crime of genocide and mass human killing, and mass graves is even happening today and throughout history.
i.e. The mass genocide in Bosnia/Kosovo in 1995 was over 100,000 Muslims killed and raped. The same is happening all over the world, especially against Muslims throughout history.
So the hadeeth quoted is collected in relation to this surah because after Allah’s Messenger had narrated the full story of the Boy and the king, he recited these aayaat from surah al Burooj.
Its also connected by the wordings; fa khada ukhdoodan (he had trenches dug), fa ja’ala yulqeehim fee tilqil ukhdood (then he started placing them in those ditches). So the wordings from the hadith and ayah are similar, and this is why many scholars believe the hadeeth mentioned is of the same events being described in surah al Burooj.
These criminals throw the Followers of Allah into ditches filled with fire. Is there another ditch waiting for them?
What else is mentioned in the Qur’an with a similar description? Answer: The hellfire of Allah.
Here you have the criminal oppressors killing believers in the most horrible of ways. And Allah is saying; qutila as-hab al ukhdood – may the people of the ditch be destroyed.
The same people who are destroying the believers in a ditch of fire, Allah is saying that they be destroyed, in the fire of Allah – hell.
These people who are oppressing the believers – by burning them in fire, they are infact causing their own destruction in the next life.
These oppressors crime is their own punishment in the next life. The same fuel they use for their own fire (flammable stones, humans etc.) is their own role in the next life in the hellfire.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَأَهْلِيكُمْ نَارًا وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ وَالْحِجَارَةُ عَلَيْهَا مَلَائِكَةٌ غِلَاظٌ شِدَادٌ لَّا يَعْصُونَ اللَّهَ مَا أَمَرَهُمْ وَيَفْعَلُونَ مَا يُؤْمَرُونَ
..save yourselves from the hellfire whose fuel is men and stones..
إِذْ هُمْ عَلَيْهَا قُعُودٌ
idh hum alayha qu’ood.
When they sat by it (the ditch).
Allah talks about these horrible criminals who are throwing innocent Muslim people into a fire. People who include; men, old people, women and children.
Now when these mass murders happen, there are 2 types of soldiers;
1 – Obeying the Commander reluctantly out of fear.
2 – Enjoying seeing Death and Destruction.
We see from this ayah that they were from the 2nd category.
Juloos – to sit for a little while.
Qu’ood – to sit for a long time.
These soldiers were Qu’ood, sitting down for a long time – watching these people being forced into the fire and being burnt alive till death.
These people on Judgment Day will not even be able to sit on the Day of Ressurection when they see the fire. Then they won’t even die once they see enter it.
In the previous surah, Allah says about these types of people; But as for he who is given his record behind his back,He will cry out for destruction. (Inshiqaq 84:10-15)
There torture is nothing in comparison to Allah’s punishment.
وَهُمْ عَلَىٰ مَا يَفْعَلُونَ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ شُهُودٌ
Wahum AAala ma yafAAaloona bilmu’mineena shuhood
And they, to what they were doing against the believers, were witnesses.
Shuhood (plural of shahid – mentioned in Ayah 3) – they were witnesses over what they did over the believers.
fi’l is to do something without thinking.
‘aml – to do an action with intent/thinking about it.
By Allah saying yaf’aloon – it implies that these people didn’t think twice about what they did with the believers.
Nobody would stop them and make them think about the evil they’re doing. Nobody made them think that they are killing innocent people including women and children. They just did it without regretting what they’re doing.
fi’l – action without thought.
wa hum ‘ala maa yaf’aloon bil mu’minoona shuhood. – and they upon what they did with the believers, (were) witnesses.
‘ala maa yaf’aloon- over what they did [taqdeem- placed earlier in the sentence structure] – this emphasises that they were; Especially aware of what they had done with the believers. Because they had sat there the whole time.
Since in a normal arabic sentence structure, it would be;
wa hum shuhoodun ‘ala ma yaf’aloona bil mu’mineen – and they were witnesses over what they did with the believers.
If someone has an accident and you just saw it as you passed by – you’re a witness, but you only see a part of the accident.
These people sat there the whole time the fire started, till when the believers were burnt till death, so Allah made them the best witnesses (shahid/shuhood) to what they did against those killed (mash-huud – those witnessed being killed).
On Judgment Day – the criminals bodies will bear witness against themselves. Their eyes will tell Allah what they had seen. The witnesse’s own eyes and bodies will bear witness (as Shaahid/shuhood) against themselves and their crimes (the Mash-huud).
وَمَا نَقَمُوا مِنْهُمْ إِلَّا أَن يُؤْمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ الْعَزِيزِ الْحَمِيدِ
Wamanaqamoo minhum illa anyu/minoo billahi alAAazeezi alhameed
And they resented them not except because they believed in Allah , the Exalted in Might, the Praiseworthy,
naqama / naqima / niqma – to look at something, and you can’t stand it, you don’t want to look at it. And it doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad – you just don’t like it. A personal grudge.
wa Maa naqamoo min hum – what couldn’t they stand about them? What was so detestable about the believers? What made them so disgusted about the believers?
What filled them with so much intolerance against the believers?
Naqam also means to Have the Urge to hurt someone for an offence they’ve caused you, even though the offence taken, might not really be intended offensively.
These disbelievers before committing genocide had really bad anger and discomfort against the believers.
wa maa naqamuhum il-laa an yu’minoo billahil azeezil hameed
naqamu – past tense
yu’minoo – present tense
When they detested, hated and revenged [past tense] (naqamu), it was because they believe [present tense].
When you say believe [present tense] – you are implying Continuity – that they held onto their Beliefs despite facing alot of hardship for that. They didn’t compromise their beliefs.
A contrast to this is mentioned in the Qur’an is;
Hal tanqimoona minnaa il-laa an aaman billah. Are you avenging against us because we have believed in Allah?
Believed – past tense = they had done it.
Avenging – present tense = persistence. Ie. The oppressors persisted in their oppression continuously due to their belief.
This group of oppressors who – when they know you’ve believed – they continuously oppress you.
..il-laa an yu’minoo billahi al azeez ul hameed;
Except because they believed in Allah, the Mighty, Full of Praise.
Azeez – ‘Izzah – Authority.
So they never just believed in ‘a God’.They believed Allah alone is the Authority and they acknowledged that Allah should be the One who legislates all the commands for His slaves.
This made the king and oppressors angry, because he wanted to establish his own authority over everyone. This is similar to Pharoah (ana rabukum ul a’la – i am your Lord most high – surah nazi’at).
al Hameed-this praise is in the inner conscience of the believer.
Hamd consists of gratitude (shukr) and praise (thanaa). So the believers recognised that Allah is their Master, who has done me alot of good and i havn’t done anything good in return. The least i should do is believe in Him, and thank Him and recognise His favours. I appreciate all that He has done to me. The least I should acknowledge is His authority. I should thank Him that He has given me the privilege to believe in Laa illaaha illAllah (there is no god but Allah). What other choice do I have except to accept His authority?
The Hameed is the source of appreciating and accepting His Authority. You recognise the Master who gave you everything without asking you to pay for them. Who gave me my hands? Who gave me my eyes? If Allah didn’t give you something, then what did you give Allah so that He would guarantee you it in the first place? It wasn’t yours to begin with.
Us Muslims do not say that our hand is ours, we might say it is temporarily – but we say “innaa lillah” (we are Allah’s [property], wa inna alayhi raji’un – and surely to Him we will return. – surah al Baqarah).
So we as Muslims say alHamdulillah – because we appreciate His Authority.
Where do you see Allah’s authority being manifested?
الَّذِي لَهُ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۚ وَاللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدٌ
Alladhee lahu mulku assamawatiwal-ardi wallahu AAala kullishay-in shaheed
To whom belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. And Allah , over all things, is Witness.
Lahu (being placed earlier – muqaddam for ikhtisaas/exclusivity) in the ayah implies that the skies and the earth – Exclusively – belong to Him.
If it was placed at the end of the ayah and not at the beginning – it would imply that it belongs to Him (but might belong to others too.)
Mulk – sovereignty / independence of power.
Milk – Ownership.
The surah started with the mention of the sky and the Burooj (star forts where the angels of Allah are located).
Now Allah is telling us that He is the ultimate owner of the skies, with no partners in this authority.
He also says that He is the ultimate owner of the Earth too.
But people are kings on Earth..
So Allah says that the ultimate authority of the Earth belongs to Him [Lahu] alone, with no partners. So the human and created kings of this world really have no authority. And these people who are oppressing the innocent are not hidden from Allah’s sight. He will soon punish them for their evil.
أَمْ حَسِبَ الَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السَّيِّئَاتِ أَن يَسْبِقُونَا ۚ سَاءَ مَا يَحْكُمُونَ
Or do those who do evil deeds think they can outrun Us? Evil is what they judge.
To whom the Mulk (sovereignty – Absolute Authority) belongs. Sovereign kings are those who make a rule, and no-one can question their command. The people have no choice but to follow it.
The real problem in Imaan for the people is when God is given sovereignty – Absolute Authority, that He makes the rules, and you have to follow them without question (although we know that Allah always gives commands based on His perfect knowledge and wisdom).
So His authority is due to His Absolute Power. The root of this Absolute Power is due to His Milkiyyah (Ownership) of the skies and the Earth.
wallahu ‘ala kuli shay’in shaheed
in regards to every single thing in our imagination – Allah has been the witness to it all along.
In a normal arabic sentence, it would be said;
wallahu shaheedun ‘ala kuli shay’
and Allah is witness over everything.
‘ala kuli shay’in shaheed (over EVERYTHING! He is a witness.) [the kuli shay’ (Everything) being placed earlier in the sentence emphasises the fact that He really is a witness over EVERYTHING.
The sky was a witness.
Then the angels were witness in their forts/burooj.
Then the oppressors were witnesses.
Then Allah is the Perfect witness (ShahEEd) over everything.
Everything being watched was Mash-huud (what is witnessed.)
This theme of witnessing and being witnessed always reminds us of our actions, and their consequences on Judgment Day.
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ فَتَنُوا الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَتُوبُوا فَلَهُمْ عَذَابُ جَهَنَّمَ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابُ الْحَرِيقِ
Indeed, those who have tortured the believing men and believing women and then have not repented will have the punishment of Hell, and they will have the punishment of the Burning Fire.
Inna alladheena fatanoo almu’mineena walmu’minati thumma lam yatooboo falahum AAazabu jahannama walahum AAazabu alhareeq
ina – certainly/surely. One of its main functions is to remove doubt.
So Allah is talking to a people who don’t believe, who are skeptical. So Allah emphasises that Surely..
It also talks to the believers who are being oppressed. And when people are being oppressed, they might start to get doubts about the promise of Allah. So Allah says “Inna” surely..
There is no doubt those who Fatan (put into test)..
Fatan – the process of putting metal into fire, and extracting the pure metals (i.e. Gold, silver etc) from the waste metals.
A painful process of purification.
fitnah – you are put to the test, with your feet under the fire, seeing if you are patient and become purified from evil, and come out as pure gold.
This word is consistently used in the Qur’an when there is something which is trying to distance you from Islam. (i.e. Oppressors, temptation, greed, fear etc. is Fitnah.)
No doubt those who put to test believing men (mu’mineen) and believing women (mu’minaat).
The Muslims that go through trials of oppression and remain believers, they are titled as Mu’min (believer).
This is a level higher than just Muslims who say they believe (aladheena aamanoo) – since the Muslims might not have proven their firmness in Emaan through facing such trials.
al Mu’minoon are the noun form because they are firm and committed in their belief even after trials.
Muslims are called ‘aladheena aamanoo’ – those who say they believe. So they are described in verb form, because sometimes they are committed, but sometimes they’re not fully committed. Or they havn’t shown their commitment to belief except if they themselves remain firm in it after hardships/trials – through which they become Mu’min.
Allah says about these people who are firm in emaan (belief) after fitnah, that they are Mu’minoon.
He says in surah Mu’minoon [23:1]; قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ – successful are the believers.
People feel sorry for these people, seeing the believers being tortured to death. These people get the status of the high status of Mu’min, and what do they see there instead of a fire? They remember the gardens of Paradise waiting for them.
Why are believing women also mentioned along believing men?
Because when people are oppressed and tortured, the women are also exclusively oppressed (i.e. through rape etc.) So Allah has emphasised both males and females in this ayah.
thumma lam ya tooboo
thumma – thereafter (after a longer time period).
So these people tortured the believers, but maybe they lived many years longer in life [thumma means ‘thereafter’ but emphasises a long time period] and they might have started to regret what they had done. So they’re repentance would be accepted.
thumma LAM ya tooboo – thereafter they DID NOT repent/change their ways for the better..
Tooboo – Tawba – to return (i.e. to the straight path).
..Fa lahum adhaabu jahannam..
‘Then’ only for them is the torture of Jahannam.
‘Fa’ is not mentioned in ayah 11 when the believers are described. Why is ‘Fa’ in this ayah when describing the disbelievers?
Why was Fa mentioned?
Fa = Therefore, as a result.
Their payment for doing this is Therefore/as a result;
Jahannam is not originally an arabic word, it comes from the Faarsi (the Persian/Iranian language) word Jahnaam = Torture chamber.
Jahannam is the general word used for ALL the tortures/punishments in the hellfire.
walahum adhaab ul hareeq.
And it is only they who will have the punishment of the hareeq.
haraqa = to set something on fire.
There is a difference between burning and set on fire.
A bread toast might get burnt, but a cloth being put on flames = set on fire.
So what’s worse? Answer: Being put on flames.
al hareeq – that which sets on fire. Flames are coming off their skin. Why? Because they set the believers on fire. They have been turned into the fuel which burns, just like they made the believers fuel for their fire.
يَوْمَ هُمْ عَلَى النَّارِ يُفْتَنُونَ
The day on which they will be tested on the fire. [Dhariyat 51:13]
You (O oppressors) had alot of joy and patience in watching the believers burn. How long can you then stand and be patient with the fire on this Day?
أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ اشْتَرَوُا الضَّلَالَةَ بِالْهُدَىٰ وَالْعَذَابَ بِالْمَغْفِرَةِ ۚ فَمَا أَصْبَرَهُمْ عَلَى النَّارِ
Those are they who purchase error at the price of guidance, and torment at the price of pardon. How constant are they in their strife to reach the Fire! [Baqarah 2:175]
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٌ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْكَبِيرُ
Indeed, those who have believed and done righteous deeds will have gardens beneath which rivers flow. That is the great attainment.
Inna alladheena amanoowaAAamiloo assalihati lahum jannatuntajree min tahtiha al-anharu dhalikaalfawzu alkabeer
Why isn’t ‘Fa’ mentioned next to the believers when it comes for the reward of Paradise? Because no matter how much righteous deeds we do, we cannot enter Jannah/Paradise by our good deeds. We only get to Jannah through the Mercy of Allah. That’s why we try to do good deeds – so we can please Allah, through which He might enter us into His Mercy and Paradise.
So Allah didn’t put the Fa there because Paradise is given through the Mercy of Allah, because He is pleased with those slaves of His.
Jannaatun tajree min tahtiha al anhaar:
Commonly translated as; Gardens underneath which rivers flow.
JannaatuN = plural of Jannah.
Jannah = a lush garden which has so much plants and greenery, that the soil cannot be seen.
jannah comes from Jinn – to be covered away from the sight. The soil is covered in lush greenery and beautiful plants – so the soil isn’t seen.
Jannaat is not just one garden, but multiple gardens and properties.
People by nature – work hard all their lives for; a home, with a beautiful front and back yard. With beautiful trees which provide shade. With a spring or waterfall flowing in view (nowadays people get jacuzzis or swimming pools because they are inclined to water flowing.)
So when you drive by – you say “wow!”, and you wish it was yours.
This is the type of dream every person has. So Allah gives the people what they really, really, really desire – if they sincerely strive for it.
jannaatun tajree min tahtiha al anhaar
Gardens, with rivers flowing from under them.
So this means that these rivers (many rivers – anhaar) start flowing from your own gardens.
Water gushing from different sides. Beautiful.
dhalikul fawz ul kabeer – that is: the great success.
3 types of Fawz (success) are described in the Qur’an;
– Fawz ul mubeen (clear success). [see al An’am 6:16]
– Fawz ul kabeer. (big success). [see Burooj 85:11]
– Fawz ul Azeem. (great success). [see al Ma’ida 5:119]
When Fawz ul Azeem is mentioned, the most description of Jannah/paradise is mentioned.
When Fawz ul Kabeer is mentioned, a medium description of Jannah is mentioned.
And when Fawz ul Mubeen is mentioned, Allah having mercy on a sinner and admitting him into Paradise is mentioned.
This shows us that there are many degrees of Success (Fawz).
إِنَّ بَطْشَ رَبِّكَ لَشَدِيدٌ
inna battsha rabikka lashadeed
Surely the grip of your Master (O Muhammad) is severe.
Allah is talking to His Messenger to strengthen him and the believers’ trust in Allah.
He is also scaring those who oppress the believers, showing them that the Master of Allah’s Messenger and his followers has a Lord who is severe in Grip.
battsha – to Seize/grip someone who is weaker than you, and to continuously grip them tighter and tighter. And the weaker one cannot escape from the grip.
shadeed – shidda – (shaddul wathaaq – to knot something over and over again and then pull forcefully to tighten it severely).
The seizing of your Lord is extremely tight and intense. Your Lord is extremely severe and intense when it comes to punishing the oppressors.
The disbelievers would grab the believers and physically harm them (they even did this to Allah’s Messenger and they were about to choke him to death until Abu Bakr stopped them.). So Allah is telling His Messenger that the gripping of your Master is extremely intense. There seizing of you is nothing compared to the severe grip of Allah.
Rabbi-ka – your Rabb – the One who gives you favours (mun’im), who takes care of you, who lookafters you. His grip is extremely severe against those who oppose you.
So Allah is telling His Messenger that Allah is watching and He has the power to do something now if He wants.
إِنَّهُ هُوَ يُبْدِئُ وَيُعِيدُ
inaHu Huwa Yubdi’u wa yu’eed
Surely He, He is, He is the originator and repeats it (the creation).
So these disbelievers who think that these believers will just die, and that is it – They are wrong. The One who originated everyone will for sure repeat the creation, and bring them to life (for judgment Day.)
وَهُوَ الْغَفُورُ الْوَدُودُ
wahuwal ghafoor ul wudood
That same Master who has a severe grip, and originates the creation repeatedly – He is Ghafoor ul Wadood.
This surah is about recognising the next life through Allah’s names and power.
So those who wonder if God allows oppression, we learn;
– That the oppressed will gain help and forgiveness for the hardship they face.
– The oppressors will be severely gripped by Allah for their oppression.
– The oppressors who havn’t died and regret – Allah is still willing to forgive them.
al Ghafoor – Forgiving.
al Wadood – one who loves intensely and passionately, an enflaming love.
al muhib – one who loves.
This Name is mentioned in a surah where there is extreme oppression and hardship being faced by the believers. When you’re going through a hard time, you get doubts. You might think ‘God doesn’t love me, He loves others more than me.’
So Allah reminds the oppressed that He is al Wadood – full of extreme love for His believing slaves.
ذُو الْعَرْشِ الْمَجِيدُ
dhul ‘arshil majeed
The possessor of the noble glorified throne/’arsh(‘arsh also means roof [i.e. roof of all creation = Allah’s throne]).
When you know that the One you love also loves you back, and that he is of a higher rank than you – then that makes you even more pleased.
Allah is the One who loves you with an intense love, the same Lord who has the glorified and noble throne which is the roof of all creation.
A Theme of Possession in this Surah;
The sky – possessing – the burooj.
The fire – possessing – the fuel.
The Rabb/Lord – possessing the ‘arsh – Mighty throne.
Majeed – majada yamjudu majdun wa majad-da.
= To be great in nobility and class and honour.
In arabic language: majadatil ‘ibl = when the camel reaches a high pasture.
majeed = someone who is always at a high rank/calibre/nobility.
فَعَّالٌ لِّمَا يُرِيدُ
Doer of what He wills.
fa’aalun li ma yureed.
You don’t put conditions on Allah. So you don’t decide what Allah should do or how He should do it. He will give support/victory and help when He wants.
fa’aal = doer. Repetition, He does over and over again what He wants.
As much as He loves you, know that you cannot put conditions on Allah. you can beg Him, but He does what He wills without anyone controlling Him.
هَلْ أَتَاكَ حَدِيثُ الْجُنُودِ
Did the news of the armies come to (ataaKa) you.
Allah’s Messenger is being spoken to. And the disbelievers who hear the Qur’an think that it is referring to them individually.
It causes an alert. “Which army? Are we going to be attacked??” These are the thoughts which come to the mind of the polytheist who is hearing this for the first time.
It catches attention. This is why there is a stop in the ayah.
hadeeth = new news.
It can also refer to news you have forgotten, so when you hear it – it’s like you’re hearing it for the first time.
Different words for Army:
junood – armies.
Jaysh – army full of civilians who want to fight too – Malicia.
Askar – similar to Jaysh.
jund/junood – armies which are professional and well payed. Armed fully.
junood – Powerful armies.
fir’awna wa thamood
(of) Pharoah and Thamood.
In this surah, there has been a mention of 3 types of powerful armies;
1 – Ayah 1 – the (angel) armies who have their forts in the Burooj/stars/forts. Ready to support the believers.
2 – Ayah 4 – As-haab al ukhdood. (the companions of the ditch).
3 – Ayah 18 – Pharoah and Thamood.
The armies of Pharoah and Thamood.
Pharoah would have massive armies with ALOT of tents (called pegs) where his armies would settle while travelling in warfare. (see Fajr 89:10)
Thamood were powerful in their armies and construction.
Allah destroyed the armies of Thamood with; Sayha [powerful sound], sa’iqa (a powerful wind), zalzala (earthquake), rajfa etc.
These 2 nations are important because they knew about these 2 types of nations. Pharoah was known by the People of the Book (christians and jews), and Thamood was a tribe who had ruins still existant within the lifetime of the Arabs. So they would travel past (Syria) and see the massive ruins left of Thamood and know how powerful they really were.
Allah puts the disbelievers in their place. You are nothing compared to their power. Allah destroyed Pharoah with water, and Thamood with a powerful sound/wind/earthquake. Allah destroyed these powerful nations, yet what are you? You’re just some bedouin Arabs in the middle of the desert. You don’t have massive professional armies, you don’t have strong homes and monuments. Hasn’t the news of their destruction come to you already? Why don’t you take benefit from it?
Allah is amazed at their arrogance. So He turns back to His Messenger;
بَلِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فِي تَكْذِيبٍ
Bali alladheena kafaroo fee takzeeb
But they who disbelieve are in [persistent] denial,
bal – rather – those who disbelieved are immersed in attempts to lie against you.
takzeeb – lie against.
fee takzeeb – immersed/stuck in lying against the Messenger.
وَاللَّهُ مِن وَرَائِهِم مُّحِيطٌ
Wallahu min wara-ihimmuheett
While Allah encompasses them from behind.
waraa’ (a word which has opposite meanings at the same time) – from front and behind.
muheett – encompass entirely.
They have engulfed themselves in lying against the truth, and Allah has encompassed them from all sides.
بَلْ هُوَ قُرْآنٌ مَّجِيدٌ
Bal huwa qur-anun majeed
Nay, but it is a glorious, a magnificent, Qur’ān [recital],
They are immersed in lying against the Qur’an , so don’t think it is a low speech. Rather, it is a glorified (majeed) Qur’an, sent down from the glorified throne of Allah.
We should never think the Qur’an is not enough for da’wah.
فِي لَوْحٍ مَّحْفُوظٍ
fee lawhin mahfooz
in the tablet that is protected.
The believers were given the council that Allah has strength, but the protection wasn’t given to them. But the protection was given to the Qur’an. They can harm you, but they cannot harm the Qur’an. So Allah has protected the Qur’an, which is a good news for the believers – since this is what they have tried to defend for which they are facing this torture.
We are being taught by Allah that The Qur’an is a means of protection for the Ummah when they are being oppressed. If they follow this Qur’an – they will be protected.
The Recital style of this Surah – Qalqalah – until the Last Ayah;
In Tajweed (the Divinely inspired recital) you have the recital style of the Qur’an and its content being preserved together. This is unique to the Qur’an and no other religious book.
Qalqalah effects the last letters of a word and includes letters like; ba, dal, qaf, ttaa. When they are recited, they have an Echo at the end of the word (its almost as if an ‘a’ sound is emitted/bounced off the tongue at the end of the word).
The qalqala theme continues throughout the surah, until it finally comes to an end on the last word of the surah (mahfoodh). So the style of pronunciation has come to an end.
[If you don’t know what Qalqala is, hear a recitation of the surah and you will be able to hear it insha’ Allah.]
The beginning of the surah related to its end:
Ayah 4: qutila as-hab al ukhdood – destruction to the companions of the ditch… All these aayaat discuss the oppression faced by the believers.
Ayah 21: – bal huwa qur’anun majeed – the strength against that oppression is the Qur’an.
Source : NoumanAliKhan