Surat Hud (The Prophet Hud) 11 Meccan – Ayats 123 Section – One

A.-Alif. L- Lam. R- Ra. (This is) a Book, whose verses ( basic or fundamental of established meaning) are perfected (in every sphere of knowledge) and then presented in detail from One Who is Wise and Well-Acquainted (with all things). (1) الر كِتَابٌ أُحْكِمَتْ آَيَاتُهُ ثُمَّ فُصِّلَتْ مِنْ لَدُنْ حَكِيمٍ خَبِيرٍ (1)
(It teaches) That you should worship none but God. (Say O’ Muhammad PPBUH) Verily, I am (sent) to you from Him to warn you, and to bring Glad Tidings. (2) أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوا إِلَّا اللَّهَ إِنَّنِي لَكُمْ مِنْهُ نَذِيرٌ وَبَشِيرٌ (2)
(And to reach this, thus commanding you): “Seek the forgiveness of your Lord, and turn to Him in repentance, that He may grant you enjoyment – good and true- for an appointed term; and bestow His a bounding Grace on all who abound in merit, and owner of grace (i.e. the one who helps and serves the needy and deserving, physically and with his wealth, and even with good words). But if you turn away, then I fear for you the Penalty/torment of a Great Day. (3) وَأَنِ اسْتَغْفِرُوا رَبَّكُمْ ثُمَّ تُوبُوا إِلَيْهِ يُمَتِّعْكُمْ مَتَاعًا حَسَنًا إِلَى أَجَلٍ مُسَمًّى وَيُؤْتِ كُلَّ ذِي فَضْلٍ فَضْلَهُ وَإِنْ تَوَلَّوْا فَإِنِّي أَخَافُ عَلَيْكُمْ عَذَابَ يَوْمٍ كَبِيرٍ (3)
“To God is your return, and He has power over all things” (4) إِلَى اللَّهِ مَرْجِعُكُمْ وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ (4)
Behold unquestionably! They (the disbelievers) fold up their hearts/turn away their breasts, that they may hide –their lie- from Him! Ah! Unquestionably even when they cover themselves with their garments, He knows what they conceal, and what they reveal. Verily, He is the All-Knower (of inmost secrets) of their hearts. (5) أَلَا إِنَّهُمْ يَثْنُونَ صُدُورَهُمْ لِيَسْتَخْفُوا مِنْهُ أَلَا حِينَ يَسْتَغْشُونَ ثِيَابَهُمْ يَعْلَمُ مَا يُسِرُّونَ وَمَا يُعْلِنُونَ إِنَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ (5)
And there is no moving (living) creature on earth but its provision and sustenance depends on/due from God. And He Knows its dwelling place and its deposit (in the uterus or grave) /the time and place of its definite abode and its temporary deposit. All is in a Clear Book/Record/Register. (6) وَمَا مِنْ دَابَّةٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ إِلَّا عَلَى اللَّهِ رِزْقُهَا وَيَعْلَمُ مُسْتَقَرَّهَا وَمُسْتَوْدَعَهَا كُلٌّ فِي كِتَابٍ مُبِينٍ (6)
And He it is Who has created the heavens and the earth in six Days, and His Throne was over the Water, that He might try you, which of you is best in conduct/in good deeds. But if you were to say to them: “you shall indeed be raised up/ resurrected after death”,- the Unbelievers would be sure to say: “This is nothing but obvious sorcery/magic!”. (7) وَهُوَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ فِي سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍ وَكَانَ عَرْشُهُ عَلَى الْمَاءِ لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ أَيُّكُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلًا وَلَئِنْ قُلْتَ إِنَّكُمْ مَبْعُوثُونَ مِنْ بَعْدِ الْمَوْتِ لَيَقُولَنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِنْ هَذَا إِلَّا سِحْرٌ مُبِينٌ (7)
And if We delay the torment/penalty for them for a definite/ determined term, they are sure to say: “What keeps it back?” Verily –unquestionably- on the day it (actually) reaches them, nothing will turn it away from them, and they will be completely encircled by that which they used to mock at! (8) وَلَئِنْ أَخَّرْنَا عَنْهُمُ الْعَذَابَ إِلَى أُمَّةٍ مَعْدُودَةٍ لَيَقُولُنَّ مَا يَحْبِسُهُ أَلَا يَوْمَ يَأْتِيهِمْ لَيْسَ مَصْرُوفًا عَنْهُمْ وَحَاقَ بِهِمْ مَا كَانُوا بِهِ يَسْتَهْزِئُونَ (8)

Wahba Mahmoud Diyab

INTRODUCTION TO SURAT HUD 11:

For the chronological place of this Sura; and the general argument of these Suras from Jonas 10 to Suart Al-Hijr 15 See introductions to Surat Jonas 10. (Surats 10-15).
In subject-matter this Surat supplements the preceding one. In the last Surat the stress was laid on that side of God’s dealings with man which leans to Mercy: here stress is laid on the side which deals with justice and the punishment of Sin when all Grace is resisted.
Summary,- God’s revelation of mercy, His dealings with man, and His long-suffering patience are contrasted with man’s ingratitude, his love of falsehood and vanity, and his crookedness (verses 1-24).
Noah’s unselfishness and humility in teaching his people the Truth of God were traduced by the ungodly, and his Message ridiculed and rejected. But he built his Ark under directions from God, and was saved –with peace and blessings- while his rejecters perished. (Verses 25-49).
The prophet Hud preached to his people of ‘Ad against false gods, and the prophet Salih to his people of Thamud against dishonoring the symbol of God’s bounty. In both cases God’s Signs were rejected, and the rejecters were blotted out. (Verses 50-68).
Lot’s people were given to abomination: Abraham pleaded for them, and Lot was sent out to them, but they went deeper and deeper into sin and suffered the Penalty. Shu’aib’s people –the Midianites- were warned against fraud and mischief, but they reproached him with helplessness and were themselves destroyed. ( Verses  69-95).
It is arrogant leaders like Pharaoh who mislead men, and men bring ruin on themselves. But God is Just. The penalty for sin is real and abiding; therefore shun all wrong-doings, and serve God whole-heartedly.  (Verses 96-123).
(Verses 1-24)-God’s Revelation teaches the Truth: it warns against wrong, and gives glad tidings to the righteous: ungrateful man folds up his heart and fails to see how all Nature points to God and to the Hereafter; he but seeks petty issues, forgetting the Cause of Causes. Not all the wisdom of man can produce aught like the Message which comes from God, as the Light that leads and the Mercy that forgives. Who then but will humble himself before God, seeking His Light and His Voice?
(Verse 1)- A/ for the meaning of these mystic letters see introduction of the previous Surat Jonas 10. B/ as in Suart Al-Imran 3 verse 7 commentary: () this passage gives us an important clue to the interpretation of the Holy Qur’an. Broadly speaking it may be divided into two portions, not given separately, but intermingled: viz. (1) the nucleus or the foundation of the Book, literally [the mother of the book] , and (2) the part which is figurative, metaphorical, or allegorical. It is very fascinating to take up the latter, and exercise our ingenuity about its inner meaning, but it refers to such profound spiritual matters that human language is inadequate to it, and though people of wisdom may get some light from it, no one should be dogmatic, as the final meaning is known to God alone. The commentators usually understand the verses of “established meaning” {Muhkam} to refer to the categorical orders of the Shari’at- Jurisprudence (or the Law), which are plain to everyone’s understanding. But perhaps the meaning is wider: the “mother of the book” must include the very foundation on which all the Law rests, the essence of God’s Message, as distinguished from the various illustrative parables, allegories, and ordinances.
If we refer to Surat Hud 11 verse 1 and Al-Zumar 39 verse 23, we shall find that in a sense of the whole Qur’an has both “established meaning” and allegorical meaning. The division is not between the verses, but between the meanings attached to them. Each verse is but a Sign or Symbol: what it represents is something immediately applicable, and something eternal and independent of time and space, – “The Forms of Ideas” in Plato’s philosophy. The wise man will understand that there is an “essence” and illustrative clothing given to the essence, throughout the Book. We must try to understand it as best as we can, but not waste our energies in disputing about matters beyond our depth.
One reading –rejected by the majority of commentators- but accepted by Mujahid and others, would not make a break at the point here marked [Waqf Lazim), but would run the two sentences together. In that case the construction would run: “No one knows its hidden meanings except God and those who are firm in knowledge- They say  …” etc.). Every basic principle is included in God’s Revelation, and it is further illustrated and explained in detail.
(Verse 2)- Muhammad Al-Mustapha’s [PPBUH] Message –as was the Message of all apostles- was to warn against evil, and to bring the Glad Tidings of God’s Mercy and Grace to all who would receive it in Faith and trust in God. This double Message is preached illustratively in this Sura.
(Verses 3-4)- The enjoyment of all good and true things in line refers –I believe- to the present life with its limited term, and the abounding Grace refers to the higher spiritual reward, which begins here but is completed in the life to come.
(Verse 5)- A/ The heart (literally breast in Arabic) is already well-guarded in the body; and the secrets are supposed to be hidden in the heart or breast. Foolish persons might further cover up their hearts with cloaks –but even so- nothing can be hidden from God. B/ See Suart Al-Imran 3 verse 119.
(Verse 6)- A/ See Surat Al-An’am 6 verse 59. Nothing happens in Creation except by the Word of God, and with the Knowledge of God. Not a leaf stirs but by His Will. Its maintenance in every sense is dependent on His Will. B/ (1) Mustagarr= definite abode: where a thing stops or stays for some time, where it is established. (2) Mustawd’a= where a thing is laid up or deposited for a little while. Referring to animals, the former denotes its life on this earth; the latter is temporary pre-natal existence in the egg or the womb, and its after-death existence in the tomb or whatever state it is until its resurrection. C/ Surat Al-An’am 6 verse 59, the commentary: ((a) Mafatih: Plural of either: Miftah= Key, or Maftah= treasure. Both meanings are implied, and I have accordingly put both in my translation. (b) This is the mystic Record, the archetypal Plan, the Eternal Law, according to which everything seen and unseen is ordered and regulated. There is much mystic doctrine here, explained by beautiful metaphors and illustrations. The simplest thins in Nature are subject to His Law. The fresh and withered, the living and the lifeless= nothing is outside the Plan of His Creation). And Surat Jonas 10 verse 60, the commentary: (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).
(Verse 7)- Hadeeth Sharif {Narrated Abu Hurairah: The Prophet [PPBUH] said: “the Right (Hand) of Allah is full, and (its fullness) is not affected by the continuous spending night and day. Do you see what He has spent since He created the heavens and the Earth? Yet all that has not decreased what is in His Right Hand. His Throne is over the water and in His other Hand is the bounty or the power to bring about death, and He raises some people and brings others down- Sahih Al-Bukhari.
A/ Surat Al-A’raf 7 verse 54, commentary 🙁 A. A sublime verse, comparable to the Throne Verse 255 Surat Al-Bagara 2. The Creation in six Days is of course metaphorical. In Surat Al-Jathia 45 verse 14, the “Days of God” refer not so much to time as to the growth in us of spiritual sense, a sense of God’s Mercy. In Surat Al-Hajj verse 47, we are told that a Day in the sight of God is like a thousand years of our reckoning, and in Surat Al-Ma’arij 70 verse 4, the comparison is with 50,000 of our years. In the history of our material earth, we may reckon six great epochs of evolution. The significance of the figure six will be discussed in connection with Surat Fussilat 41 verses 9-12, where the matter is referred to in more detail. B/Throne=Arsh, is of course metaphorical, a symbol of authority, power, and vigilance, as Kursi = (chair) seat/throne) in Surat Al-Bagara 2 verse 255. Kursi perhaps refers to majesty, while ‘Arsh’ to power; and the slightly different shades of meaning throw light on the two passages. Here, we are told of the creation of the heavens and the earth in six days. But lest we should be obsessed with the Jewish idea that God rested on the seventh day, we are told that the Creation was but a prelude of God’s work; for His authority is exercised constantly by the laws which He establishes and enforces in all parts of His Creation. The beautiful imagery of night and day seeking out each other in rapid succession is still further enforced in the Arabic by the double accusative of the verb Yughshi, showing the mutual interactions of the day and the night, each covering the other in turn. The heavenly bodies show an order which is evidence of His constant care and government. Not only that, but it is only He Who creates, maintains, and governs, and no one else). B/It is scientifically correct to say that all life was evolved out of the waters, and this statement also occurs in the Qur’an in Surat Al-Anbiya’ 21 verse 30. The Throne of God’s authority is metaphorically expressed as over the waters, i.e. as regulating all life. Some such mystic meaning –I think- also attaches to the (Genesis I, 2: God made the sky and earth. At first the earth was completely empty; nothing was on the earth. Darkness covered the ocean, and God’s Spirit moved over the water). The past sense “was” refeers to the time before life developed in the solid forms, on land and in air. C/ The Creation we see around us is not idle sport or play, or whim on the part of God. It is the medium through which our spiritual life is to develop, with such free-will as we have. This life is our testing time. D/ The Unbelievers –who do not believe in Future Life- think all talk of it is like a sorcerer’s talk, empty of reality. But in this they show their ignorance, and they are begging the question.
(Verse 8)- As much as to say: “Oh! All this talk of punishment is nonsense. There is no such a thing!”.

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