Surat Yunus, or Jonah – 10- Meccan – Ayats 109: Section Two – Verses from 4-17


Wahba Mahmoud Diyab

To Him will be your return; of all of you. The Promise of God is true and sure. It is He Who begins the process of creation, and then will repeat it, that He may reward -with justice- those who believe and did deeds of righteousness. But those who reject and disbelieved Him will have draughts of boiling fluids, and a grievous penalty and torment, because they did reject and disbelieved in Him. (4) إِلَيْهِ مَرْجِعُكُمْ جَمِيعًا وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقًّا إِنَّهُ يَبْدَأُ الْخَلْقَ ثُمَّ يُعِيدُهُ لِيَجْزِيَ الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ بِالْقِسْطِ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لَهُمْ شَرَابٌ مِنْ حَمِيمٍ وَعَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْفُرُونَ (4)
It is He Who made the sun to be a shining glory, and the moon to be a light (of beauty), and measured out stages for her; that you might know the number of years, and the count (reckoning of time). In no way has God created that except in truth and righteousness. (Thus) does He explains His Signs in detail for people who have knowledge, and who understand. (5) هُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَ الشَّمْسَ ضِيَاءً وَالْقَمَرَ نُورًا وَقَدَّرَهُ مَنَازِلَ لِتَعْلَمُوا عَدَدَ السِّنِينَ وَالْحِسَابَ مَا خَلَقَ اللَّهُ ذَلِكَ إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ يُفَصِّلُ الْآَيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ (5)
Verily, in the alteration of the Night and the Day, and in all that God has created –in the heavens and the earth- are Signs for those who are pious and fear Him much. (6) إِنَّ فِي اخْتِلَافِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ وَمَا خَلَقَ اللَّهُ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ لَآَيَاتٍ لِقَوْمٍ يَتَّقُونَ (6)
Verily, those who do not rest their hope on their Meeting with Us, but are only pleased and satisfied with the life of the Present World, and those who are heedless of Our Signs. (7) إِنَّ الَّذِينَ لَا يَرْجُونَ لِقَاءَنَا وَرَضُوا بِالْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَاطْمَأَنُّوا بِهَا وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَنْ آَيَاتِنَا غَافِلُونَ (7)
Those, their abode is the Fire, because of the (evil) they used to earn. (8) أُولَئِكَ مَأْوَاهُمُ النَّارُ بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ (8)
Verily, those who believe and do deeds of righteousness, their Lord will guide them because of their Faith; beneath them will flow rivers in the Gardens of Bliss (amenity/felicity/tranquility). (9) إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ يَهْدِيهِمْ رَبُّهُمْ بِإِيمَانِهِمْ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهِمُ الْأَنْهَارُ فِي جَنَّاتِ النَّعِيمِ (9)
Their plea of request therein –is- all extolment to You “Glory to You O’ God!” And ‘Peace’ will be their greeting therein! And the end of their request/close of their cry will be: “All Praise and thanks to God the Cherisher and Sustainer; the Lord of the worlds”. (10) دَعْوَاهُمْ فِيهَا سُبْحَانَكَ اللَّهُمَّ وَتَحِيَّتُهُمْ فِيهَا سَلَامٌ وَآَخِرُ دَعْوَاهُمْ أَنِ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ (10)
And if God were to hasten for mankind the illness/evil (they have earned), as they would invoke to hasten fain on the good; then their respite would be settled- ruined at once. But We leave those who does not rest their hope on their meeting with Us in their trespassing, wandering blindly in distraction to and fro. (11) وَلَوْ يُعَجِّلُ اللَّهُ لِلنَّاسِ الشَّرَّ اسْتِعْجَالَهُمْ بِالْخَيْرِ لَقُضِيَ إِلَيْهِمْ أَجَلُهُمْ فَنَذَرُ الَّذِينَ لَا يَرْجُونَ لِقَاءَنَا فِي طُغْيَانِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ (11)
And when harm and trouble touches a man, he cries and invokes Us; (in all postures) lying down on his side, or sitting, or standing. But when We have removed his harm/solved his trouble; he passes on his way as if he had never cried and invoked to Us for a trouble that touched him! Thus do the deeds of the transgressors; seem fair in their eyes! (12) وَإِذَا مَسَّ الْإِنْسَانَ الضُّرُّ دَعَانَا لِجَنْبِهِ أَوْ قَاعِدًا أَوْ قَائِمًا فَلَمَّا كَشَفْنَا عَنْهُ ضُرَّهُ مَرَّ كَأَنْ لَمْ يَدْعُنَا إِلَى ضُرٍّ مَسَّهُ كَذَلِكَ زُيِّنَ لِلْمُسْرِفِينَ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ (12)
And indeed, We have destroyed generations before you when they transgressed/did wrong; while their Messengers came to them with Clear Signs, but they would not believe! Thus We do requite those people who are sinners/evildoers. (13) وَلَقَدْ أَهْلَكْنَا الْقُرُونَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ لَمَّا ظَلَمُوا وَجَاءَتْهُمْ رُسُلُهُمْ بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ وَمَا كَانُوا لِيُؤْمِنُوا كَذَلِكَ نَجْزِي الْقَوْمَ الْمُجْرِمِينَ (13)
Then We made you successors (heirs) in the land –generations following generations – after them; so that We see how you would behave (work/do). (14) ثُمَّ جَعَلْنَاكُمْ خَلَائِفَ فِي الْأَرْضِ مِنْ بَعْدِهِمْ لِنَنْظُرَ كَيْفَ تَعْمَلُونَ (14)
But when Our Clear-Signs are rehearsed/recited to them –those who do not rest their hope on their meeting with Us- Say:”Bring us a Qur’an other than this, or change it”. Say [O’ Muhammad PPBUH]:”it is not for me –of my own accord- to change it; I follow naught what is revealed to me; and if I were to disobey my Lord, I should myself fear the Penalty of a Great Day (Day of Resurrection) to come. (15) وَإِذَا تُتْلَى عَلَيْهِمْ آَيَاتُنَا بَيِّنَاتٍ قَالَ الَّذِينَ لَا يَرْجُونَ لِقَاءَنَا ائْتِ بِقُرْآَنٍ غَيْرِ هَذَا أَوْ بَدِّلْهُ قُلْ مَا يَكُونُ لِي أَنْ أُبَدِّلَهُ مِنْ تِلْقَاءِ نَفْسِي إِنْ أَتَّبِعُ إِلَّا مَا يُوحَى إِلَيَّ إِنِّي أَخَافُ إِنْ عَصَيْتُ رَبِّي عَذَابَ يَوْمٍ عَظِيمٍ (15)
Say [O’ Muhammad PPBUH]:”If God had so willed, I should have not recited/rehearsed it to you, nor would He have made it known to you. Verily, I have stayed amongst you a whole life-time before this (have I tarried amongst you) will you not then understand/have no sense?” . (16) قُلْ لَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ مَا تَلَوْتُهُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَلَا أَدْرَاكُمْ بِهِ فَقَدْ لَبِثْتُ فِيكُمْ عُمُرًا مِنْ قَبْلِهِ أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ (16)
So who does more wrong than who forge a lie against God, or deny His Signs? But surely the sinners/ evildoers will never prosper/be successful. (17) فَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنِ افْتَرَى عَلَى اللَّهِ كَذِبًا أَوْ كَذَّبَ بِآَيَاتِهِ إِنَّهُ لَا يُفْلِحُ الْمُجْرِمُونَ (17)

COMMENTARY:
(Verse 4)- A/ Haqq= true, right, for just ends, in right proportions, sure and certain; all these ideas are implied. B/ see comments on Surat Al-Bagara 2 verse 117 ( The previous verse told us that everything in heavens and earth celebrates the glory of God. Lest anyone should think that the heavens and the earth were they in themselves are primeval and eternal, we are now told that they themselves are creatures of God’s will and design. The word Badea’a is used here for the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the word Khaligo/Khalaga [see Surat Al-Ana’am 6 – verse 102) where the word is used for the creation of all things. The word Bada’a is used here as for the creation of the heavens and earth, and the word Khalaga is used for the creation of all things. Bada’a goes back to the very primal beginning, as far as we can conceive it. The materialists might say that primeval matters were eternal; so what about the other things i.e. the forms and shapes as we see them now, which were called into being at some time or other, and will perish. When will they perish, when they dissolve into primeval matter again, which one who stands as the base of all existence? We go further back and say; if we postulate such primeval matter, definitely it owes its origin itself to God. Who is and what is the final basis of existence, the cause of all causes. If this is conceded, we proceed to argue that the process of Creation then is not completed. “All things in the heaven and on the earth” are created by gradual process. In “things” we include abstract as well as material things. We see the abstract things and ideas actually growing before us. But that also is God’s creation, to which we can apply the word Khalaga, because in it is involved the idea of measuring, fitting it into scheme of other things. (See Surat Al-Gamar 54 verses 49 and Surat Al-Furqan 25 verse 59-61-62). Here comes in what we know as the process of evolution. On the other hand, the Amr = (command- direction-design) is a single thing, unrelated to Time. Like the verse ”Like twinkling of an eye” (S.54 v 50). Another word to be noted in this connection is the word Ja’ala “making” which means to imply new shapes and forms, new dispositions, as the making of the Signs of the Zodiac in the heavens, or the setting out of the sun and the moon for light, or the establishment of the succession of day and night (see S. 25- v 61-62). A further process with regard to the soul is described in the word Sawwa “bringing it perfection” (Surat Al-Shams 91 verse 7) but this shall be discussed in its place. Fatara/Fatiru (فطر/فاطر) Surat Al-Shura 42 verse 11- it implies –like Bada’a -بدع the creating of a thing out of nothing and after no pre-existing similitude, but perhaps Fatara implies the creation of primeval matter to which further processes have to be applied later, as when one prepares dough but leaves the leavening to be done after. بدأ (Bada-aa) Surat Al-Rum 30 verse 27- implies beginning the process of creation: this is made further clear in Surat Al-Sajda 32 verse 7 where the beginning of the creation of pristine man from clay refers to this physical body, leaving the further processes of reproduction and the breathing in of the soul to be described in subsequent verses. Lastly – برع – (Bara’a) is creation implying liberation from pre-existing matter or circumstance e.g. man’s body from clay (Surat Al-Hashr 59 verse 24) or a calamity from previously existing circumstances (Surat Al-Hadeed 57 verse 22) – see also Surat Al-Ana’am 6 verses 94/98 and Surat Al-Gamar 54 verse 24)). God’s creation is not simple act, once done and finished with. It is continuous, and there are many stages, not the least important of which is the Hereafter, when the fruits of our life will be achieved. C/ Hamim=boiling fluid; it is associated –as in Surat Sad 38- verse57- and with qassaq=a dark murky, or intensely cold fluid the conjunction of the boiling fluid with the dark, murky, intensely cold fluid heightens the effect of the Penalty), both symbols of the grievous penalty that results from rebellion against God.
(Verse 5)- A/ The fitting epithet for the sun is dhiaa=ضياء (splendor and glory of brightness), and for the moon is “a light” (for beauty), the cool light that illuminates and helps in the darkness of the night. But the sun and the moon also measure time. The simplest observation can keep pace with the true lunar months and lunar years, which are all that is required by pastoral people. For agriculture solar years are required, as they are indicate the changes of the seasons, but ordinary solar years are never exact, even the solar year of 365 days requires correction by advanced astronomical calculation. B/ everything in God’s creation has use and purpose, and fits into a Design. It is true in every sense of the word and it is good and just. It is not merely a matter of sport or freak (see Surat Al-Anbiya’ 21 verse 16). Though so varied, it proclaims God’s Unity; though a limited free will is granted to creatures, the results of evil (which is rebellious) are neutralized and harmony is restored. (see Surat Al-Imran 3 verse 191). C/ See Surat Al-Tawba 9 verse 11.
(Verse 6)- See Surat Al-Bagara 2 verse 164.
(Verses 7-8) – Those who fall from Grace are described by three epithets: (1) the meeting with God is not the object of their hope and earnest desire, but something else, i.e. (2) the material good of this world, which is not only attracts them, but apparently gives them complete satisfaction, so that there is no glow of the Future in their horizon, and (3) they are deaf and dead to the resounding and living Message of God. (1) and (2) refer to the extinction of Faith in them, and (3) to their falling a prey to the evils of this world in their conduct. They are contrasted in the coming verse 9 with the Faith and the Righteousness of those who accept Grace.
(Verse 9)- Their Faith is the cause, as well as the instrument of their Guidance,- the Kindly Light which leads them, as well as the Joy which fills their souls. The symbols of Gardens and Fire are again contrasted, in each case the result of Good or Evil in Life.
(Verse 10)- A beautiful piece of spiritual melody! They sing and shout with joy, but their joy is in the Glory of God! The greetings they receive and the greetings they give are of Peace and Harmony! From first to last they realize that it is God Who cherished them and made them grow, and His rays are their Light.
(Verse 11)- Those who have no spiritual hope for the Future grasp at any temporary advantage, and in their blindness even mockingly ask for immediate punishment for their sins (see Surat Al-Anfal 8 verse 32), thus vainly challenging God, in Whom they do not believe. If the Beneficent God were to take them at their word, they would have no chance at all. Their doom would be sealed. But even the respite they get they use badly. They merely wander about distractedly like blind men, to and fro. (see Surat Al-Bagara 2 verse 15).
(Verses 12-13)- A/ Not only do men fail to use their respite; even those who have a superficial belief in God call on him in their trouble, but forget Him when He has relieved their trouble. Their Faith is not strong enough to make them realize that all good proceeds from God. But in moments of trouble they uses every position –literally and figuratively- to appeal to Him. B/ Those who are without Faith are selfish, and are so wrapped up in themselves that they think every good that comes to them is due to their own merits or cleverness. That is in itself a cause of their undoing. They do not see their own faults.
(Verse 14)- This is addressed to the Quraish in the first instance, for they had succeeded to the ‘Ad and the Thamud heritage. But the application is universal, and was true of the ‘Abbasi Empire in the time of Harun-ar-Rashid, or the Muslim Empire in Spain or the Turkish Empire in its palmist days, and indeed, apart from political power, to the Muslims and non-Muslims of our own days.
(Verse 15)- Reading: in the Arabic, the word is ‘Qur’an’, which may mean Reading or in the special sense: the Qur’an. The duty of God’s Messenger is to deliver God’s Message as it is revealed to him, whether it please or displease who hear it. Selfish men want to read their own desires or fancies into religious precepts, and thus they are often willing to use Religion for their own ends. Most of the corruptions of Religion are due to this cause. But Religion is not to be used so transgressively.
(Verse 16-17)- A/ It is God’s Plan that He should reveal Himself in certain ways to His creatures, and His Messengers are the instruments that carry out His Will. It is in itself His gracious Mercy that He should thus make His Will known. We should be grateful for His guidance instead of carping at it. B/ Muhammad Al-Mustapha [PPBUH] had lived his whole life of purity and virtue amongst his people, and they knew and acknowledged it before he received his mission. They knew he loved his nation and was loyal to it. Why should they turn against him when he had to point out –under inspiration- all their sins and wrong-doings? It was for their own good. And he had to plead again and again with them: “will you not understand, and see what a glorious privilege it is for you to receive true guidance from God?”.

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