SURAT YUNUS, or JONAH – 10 – MECCAN – AYATS 109 SECTION FIVE– AYATS FROM 47-70

Wahba Mahmoud Diyab

IN THE NAME OF GOD, the MOST GRACIOUS the MOST MERCIFUL بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيم
And for every people/nation/community there is a Messenger/Apostle (was sent);  when their Apostle/ Messenger comes (before them), the matter will be judged between them with justice, and they will not be wronged. (47) وَلِكُلِّ أُمَّةٍ رَسُولٌ فَإِذَا جَاءَ رَسُولُهُمْ قُضِيَ بَيْنَهُمْ بِالْقِسْطِ وَهُمْ لَا يُظْلَمُونَ (47)
And they say:”When will this promise (of the torment) come to pass; if you speak the truth? (48) وَيَقُولُونَ مَتَى هَذَا الْوَعْدُ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ صَادِقِينَ (48)
Say [O’ Muhammad PPBUH]:”I have no power over any harm or profit to myself except as God Wills. To every People/Nation there is an appointed term; when their term is reached, not an hour can they cause to delay, nor (an hour) can they advance it (in anticipation).  (49) قُلْ لَا أَمْلِكُ لِنَفْسِي ضَرًّا وَلَا نَفْعًا إِلَّا مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ لِكُلِّ أُمَّةٍ أَجَلٌ إِذَا جَاءَ أَجَلُهُمْ فَلَا يَسْتَأْخِرُونَ سَاعَةً وَلَا يَسْتَقْدِمُونَ (49)
Say:”Do you see! Tell me if His punishment should come to you by night or by day; what portion of it would the sinners would wish to hasten?”. (50) قُلْ أَرَأَيْتُمْ إِنْ أَتَاكُمْ عَذَابُهُ بَيَاتًا أَوْ نَهَارًا مَاذَا يَسْتَعْجِلُ مِنْهُ الْمُجْرِمُونَ (50)
“Would you then believe in it at last; when it actually comes to pass? (it will then be said) ‘Ah! Now? And you wanted (aforetime) to hasten it on!” (51) أَثُمَّ إِذَا مَا وَقَعَ آَمَنْتُمْ بِهِ آَلْآَنَ وَقَدْ كُنْتُمْ بِهِ تَسْتَعْجِلُونَ (51)
Then –at length- it will be said to the wrong-doers: “Taste the enduring punishment! Are you being recompensed except for what you used to earn?” (52) ثُمَّ قِيلَ لِلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا ذُوقُوا عَذَابَ الْخُلْدِ هَلْ تُجْزَوْنَ إِلَّا بِمَا كُنْتُمْ تَكْسِبُونَ (52)
And they seek to be informed by you [O’ Muhammad PPBUH saying]:”Is that true?”. Say:”Aye! By my Lord! It is the very Truth! And you cannot frustrate it!” (53) وَيَسْتَنْبِئُونَكَ أَحَقٌّ هُوَ قُلْ إِي وَرَبِّي إِنَّهُ لَحَقٌّ وَمَا أَنْتُمْ بِمُعْجِزِينَ (53)
And every soul that has sinned; it had possessed all that is on earth, would fain give it in ransom itself therewith; and they confide (their)regret/repentance when they see the Penalty/Punishment. But the judgment between them will be with justice, and no wrong will be done to them. (54) وَلَوْ أَنَّ لِكُلِّ نَفْسٍ ظَلَمَتْ مَا فِي الْأَرْضِ لَافْتَدَتْ بِهِ وَأَسَرُّوا النَّدَامَةَ لَمَّا رَأَوُا الْعَذَابَ وَقُضِيَ بَيْنَهُمْ بِالْقِسْطِ وَهُمْ لَا يُظْلَمُونَ (54)
No doubt, surely all that whatever is in the heavens and on earth belongs to God. No doubt, surely that God’s promise is assuredly true. Yet most of them do not know/understand. (55) أَلَا إِنَّ لِلَّهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ أَلَا إِنَّ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقٌّ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ (55)
It is He Who gives life and Who takes it; and to Him all you shall be brought back. (56) هُوَ يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ (56)
O’ mankind! There has come to you a good advise/ admonition (direction) from your Lord, and a healing for the (diseases) in your hearts,- and for those who believe(the Believers), a Guidance and a Mercy. (57) يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ قَدْ جَاءَتْكُمْ مَوْعِظَةٌ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ وَشِفَاءٌ لِمَا فِي الصُّدُورِ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةٌ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ (57)
Say:”In the Bounty of God. And in His Mercy, in all that let them rejoice”. That is better than the (wealth) they hoard. (58) قُلْ بِفَضْلِ اللَّهِ وَبِرَحْمَتِهِ فَبِذَلِكَ فَلْيَفْرَحُوا هُوَ خَيْرٌ مِمَّا يَجْمَعُونَ (58)
Say [O’ Muhammad PPBUH to the Polytheists]:” You see what things (provision) God has sent down to you for sustenance? Yet you hold forbidden some things thereof, and (some things) lawful.” Say:”Has God indeed permitted you, or do you invent (things) to attribute to God?”. (59) قُلْ أَرَأَيْتُمْ مَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ مِنْ رِزْقٍ فَجَعَلْتُمْ مِنْهُ حَرَامًا وَحَلَالًا قُلْ آَللَّهُ أَذِنَ لَكُمْ أَمْ عَلَى اللَّهِ تَفْتَرُونَ (59)
And what will be the supposition of those who invent falsehood about God on the Day of Resurrection? Verily, God is full of Bounty to mankind, but most of them are ungrateful/unthankfully. (60) وَمَا ظَنُّ الَّذِينَ يَفْتَرُونَ عَلَى اللَّهِ الْكَذِبَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَذُو فَضْلٍ عَلَى النَّاسِ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ لَا يَشْكُرُونَ (60)
In whatever business [O’ Muhammad PPBUH] that you may be, and whatever portion that you might be reciting from the Qur’an; and whatever deed you (mankind) may be doing; We are Witnesses thereof –when you are deeply engrossed therein. Nor there is nothing is hidden from your Lord (so much as) the weight of an atom on the earth, or in the heaven. And not the least, and not the greatest of these things but are recorded in a clear Record. (61) وَمَا تَكُونُ فِي شَأْنٍ وَمَا تَتْلُو مِنْهُ مِنْ قُرْآَنٍ وَلَا تَعْمَلُونَ مِنْ عَمَلٍ إِلَّا كُنَّا عَلَيْكُمْ شُهُودًا إِذْ تُفِيضُونَ فِيهِ وَمَا يَعْزُبُ عَنْ رَبِّكَ مِنْ مِثْقَالِ ذَرَّةٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فِي السَّمَاءِ وَلَا أَصْغَرَ مِنْ ذَلِكَ وَلَا أَكْبَرَ إِلَّا فِي كِتَابٍ مُبِينٍ (61)
Behold! Verily, unquestionably (for) the allies of God there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve. (62) أَلَا إِنَّ أَوْلِيَاءَ اللَّهِ لَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ (62)
Those who believe and (constantly) guard against evil, and were fearing God. (63) الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا وَكَانُوا يَتَّقُونَ (63)
For them are Glad Tidings, in the life of the Present, and in the Hereafter; no change can there be in the Words of God. This is indeed the supreme Felicity/ supreme success/great attainment. (64) لَهُمُ الْبُشْرَى فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَفِي الْآَخِرَةِ لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِكَلِمَاتِ اللَّهِ ذَلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ (64)
Do not let their speech grieve you [O’ Muhammad PPBUH]; for all power and honor belongs to God. He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower. (65) وَلَا يَحْزُنْكَ قَوْلُهُمْ إِنَّ الْعِزَّةَ لِلَّهِ جَمِيعًا هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ (65)
Behold! Verily to God belong all creatures –in the heavens and whosoever in the earth. And those who worship and invoke others besides God as His “partners” other than God? They follow nothing but fancy and conjecture, and they do nothing but inventing lies. (66) أَلَا إِنَّ لِلَّهِ مَنْ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَنْ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَمَا يَتَّبِعُ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ شُرَكَاءَ إِنْ يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ وَإِنْ هُمْ إِلَّا يَخْرُصُونَ (66)
He is Who has appointed for you the Night that you may rest therein, and the Day to make things visible (to you). Verily, in this are Signs for those who listen (to His Message). (67) هُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمُ اللَّيْلَ لِتَسْكُنُوا فِيهِ وَالنَّهَارَ مُبْصِرًا إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآَيَاتٍ لِقَوْمٍ يَسْمَعُونَ (67)
They (Jews, Christians, and Pagans) say:”God has begotten a son!”- Glory be to Him! He is the (Rich) Self-Sufficient! His are all things in the heavens and the earth! No warrant you have for this! Do you say about God what you know not? (68) قَالُوا اتَّخَذَ اللَّهُ وَلَدًا سُبْحَانَهُ هُوَ الْغَنِيُّ لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ إِنْ عِنْدَكُمْ مِنْ سُلْطَانٍ بِهَذَا أَتَقُولُونَ عَلَى اللَّهِ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ (68)
Say: “Verily, those who invent a lies against God will never prosper/never be successful”. (69) قُلْ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَفْتَرُونَ عَلَى اللَّهِ الْكَذِبَ لَا يُفْلِحُونَ (69)
A little enjoyment in this world! And then, to Us will be their return, then We shall make them taste the severest Penalty for their blasphemies/because they used to disbelieve. (70) مَتَاعٌ فِي الدُّنْيَا ثُمَّ إِلَيْنَا مَرْجِعُهُمْ ثُمَّ نُذِيقُهُمُ الْعَذَابَ الشَّدِيدَ بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْفُرُونَ (70)

COMENTARY:-

(Verses 47-48)- Every people or generation or nation had its Message, or Messenger. God revealed Himself to it in some way or another. If that Messenger was ignored or rejected, or his Message was twisted, or misused, the Day of Reckoning will come; when perfect justice will be done and the whole Truth revealed. The Unbelievers mockingly say:”If that is true, pray tell us when that Day will come!” The answer of the Messenger is: “It will come in good time: no one can either hasten or retard it. If you want me then to save you, or if you fear that I shall harm you for your treatment of me, know that this matter is in the hands of God alone, Who will do perfect justice. Even in regard to myself, any harm or good that befalls me is by the command and in the power of God”.

(Verse 49)- A/ See Surat Al-A’raf 7 verse 188. B/This also repeats verse 34 from Surat Al-A’raf 7, but the significance is different in the two contexts. Here the reply is to the Unbelievers’ mocking incredulity (see commentary above), as to whether there is such a thing as Hereafter: they suggest to the man of God that if his claim of inspiration from God is true, he should get them punished at once for rejecting him. In verse 34 of Surat Al-A’raf 7 the reference is to the punishment of iniquity as described in verse 33 of Surat Al-A’raf 7: {Say [O’ Muhammad PPBUH]:”The things that my Lord had indeed forbidden are: obscenities (great evil and shameful deeds), whether open or secret; sins and trespasses/oppression against truth or reason; assigning/joining of partners to God, for which He has given no authority, and saying things about God of which you have no knowledge” (33).}: sin is not necessarily punished at once; every People or generation gets a chance; when their term is fulfilled, the final adjustment is made.

(Verses 50-51)- The mockery of Unbelievers will be turned into panic when the wrath of God descends on them. It may do so suddenly –by night or by day- when they least expect it. Will they then say of any bit of it: “Lt it be hastened”?.

(Verses 52-53)- This will be the final doom, and they will themselves have brought it on themselves! The psychology of the Unbelievers is here analyzed and exposed. This particular argument begins verse 47, and ends at verse 53. It begins with the general statement that every People has had due warning and explanation by means of an Apostle specially sent to them: that Apostle will be a relevant witness at the final Judgment, when the matter will be judged in perfect equity. Then follows a dialogue. The Unbelievers mock and say:”Why not bring on the Punishment now?”. The reply to the Unbelievers is: “It will come in God’s good time”. The Believers are told to watch and see how the sinners would take it if the Punishment were to come at once. Would they not think it too sudden? When it actually comes their panic will be indescribable. “Is that true?” say the Unbelievers. “It is the very truth”, is the answer, “and nothing can ward it off”.

(Verses 54-55-56)- A/See Surat Al-Imran 3 verse 91. B/ ‘Declare their repentance’: the verb in the original is :assaru=أسرّوا : which may mean either “declare” or “reveal” or else “conceal” or “hide”. The classical Commentators are divided as to the meaning to be adopted here. If the first  -which I prefer- the sense would be: “When the penalty stares the sinners in the face, they would give anything to escape it, and they would even openly declare their repentance, which would be a source of shame and ignominy to them”. If the latter meaning be taken, the sense would be: “They would give anything to escape the Penalty; but the hardest thing of all for them is frankly to confess and repent, and so they conceal their sense of shame and ignominy”.

(Verses 57-58)- Those who do wrong have a disease in their hearts, which will cause their spiritual death. God in His Mercy declares His Will to them, which should direct their lives and provide a healing for their spiritual disease. If they accept Faith, the remedy acts; they find themselves in right guidance and receive God’s forgiveness and mercy. Surely those are far better gifts than material advantages, wealth, or possessions.

(Verse 59)- “Sustenance” is to be taken in both the literal and the metaphorical sense. In the literal sense, what fine and varied things God has provided for us on land and in sea and air, in the vegetable, animal, and mineral kingdoms? Yet narrow minds put artificial barriers against their use. In the metaphorical sense, what enchanting fields of knowledge and spiritual Endeavour are provided in our individual and social lives? And who is to say that some are lawful and others forbidden? Supposing they were so in special circumstances, it is not right to attribute artificial restrictions of that kind to God and falsely erect religious sanctions against them.

(Verse 60)- A/People who lie in Religion or invent false gods, or false worship; have they any idea of the Day of Judgment, when they will be called to account, and will have to answer for their deeds? B/God is most kind, and gracious, and generous with His gifts of all kinds, material and spiritual. But men do not understand, and are ungrateful in forgetting the Giver of all and setting-up false objects of worship and false standards of pride.

(Verse 61)- There is nothing that men can do but God is a witness to it. We may be deeply engrossed in some particular thing and for the time being be quite unconscious of other things. But God’s knowledge not only comprehends all things, but has all things actively before it. Nothing is hidden from Him. And His Knowledge has another quality which human knowledge has not. Human knowledge is subject to time, and is obliterated by time. God’s Knowledge is like a Record and endures forever. And His Record has a further quality which human records have not. The most permanent human record may be quite intelligible to those who make it, but may be ambiguous to others and may become unintelligible with the progress of time, as happens almost invariably to the most enduring inscriptions from very ancient times: but in God’s ‘Record’ or knowledge there is no ambiguity, for it independent of time, or place, or circumstance. This is the force of ‘Mubin=مبين’ (“clear”) here.

(Verses 62-63-64)- God’s all-embracing knowledge and constant watchful care over all His creatures, may be a source of fear to sinners, but there is no fear for those whom He honors with His love and friendship;- neither in this world nor in the world to come.

(Verse 65)- Sometimes the words of the unrighteous or their reviling hurt or grieve the righteous man, but there is no occasion for either anger or sorrow; they have no power, and they can do no real dishonor, for all power and honor are from God.

(Verse 66)- All creatures are subject to God. If –therefore- any false worship is set up, the false gods –so called ‘partners’- are merely creatures of imagination or false inventions.

(Verses 67-68)- Our physical life -and our higher life in so far as it is linked with the physical- is sustained by the alternation of rest and activity, and the fit environment for this alteration is the succession of Nights and Days in our physical world. The Day makes things ‘visible to us’—a beautiful symbol –not only of the physical work for which we go about by day- but for the higher activities which are fitly associated with seeing, perception, and enquiry. Intuition (insight) is a little out of that circle because that may come by night, when our other faculties are resting.

(Verses 69-70)- In Quranic language ‘prosperity’ refers to both to our every-day life and to the higher life within us, -to the Present and the Future,- health and strength, opportunities and resources, a spirit of contentment, and the power of influencing others. Here there seems to be an extra touch of meaning. A liar –not only deprives himself of prosperity in all senses- but his “lie” itself against God will not succeed: it will and must be found out.

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