Surat Hud (The Prophet Hud) 11 – Meccan- Ayats 123Section – Four – Verses 40-60

At length, behold! There came Our Command and the fountains of the earth gushed forth! We said:”Embark therein, of each kind two –male and female- and your family, except those against whom the Word has already gone forth,- and the Believers!”. But only a few believed with him. (40) حَتَّى إِذَا جَاءَ أَمْرُنَا وَفَارَ التَّنُّورُ قُلْنَا احْمِلْ فِيهَا مِنْ كُلٍّ زَوْجَيْنِ اثْنَيْنِ وَأَهْلَكَ إِلَّا مَنْ سَبَقَ عَلَيْهِ الْقَوْلُ وَمَنْ آَمَنَ وَمَا آَمَنَ مَعَهُ إِلَّا قَلِيلٌ (40)
And he (Noah PBUH) said:”Embark therein on the Ark: In the Name of God, whether it move or be at rest! For my Lord is, be sure is Oft-Forgiving, Most-Merciful!” (41) وَقَالَ ارْكَبُوا فِيهَا بِسْمِ اللَّهِ مَجْرَاهَا وَمُرْسَاهَا إِنَّ رَبِّي لَغَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ (41)
So the Ark floated with them on the waves (towering) like mountains, and Noah called out to his son, who had separated himself (from the rest):”O’ my son! Embark with us, and do not with the Unbelievers!” (42) وَهِيَ تَجْرِي بِهِمْ فِي مَوْجٍ كَالْجِبَالِ وَنَادَى نُوحٌ ابْنَهُ وَكَانَ فِي مَعْزِلٍ يَا بُنَيَّ ارْكَبْ مَعَنَا وَلَا تَكُنْ مَعَ الْكَافِرِينَ (42)
The son replied:”I will betake myself to some mountain, it will save me from the water!” Noah said:”This day nothing can save from the Command of God, except but those on whom He has bestowed Mercy!” and the waves came between them, and the son was among those overwhelmed (drowned) in the Flood. (43) قَالَ سَآَوِي إِلَى جَبَلٍ يَعْصِمُنِي مِنَ الْمَاءِ قَالَ لَا عَاصِمَ الْيَوْمَ مِنْ أَمْرِ اللَّهِ إِلَّا مَنْ رَحِمَ وَحَالَ بَيْنَهُمَا الْمَوْجُ فَكَانَ مِنَ الْمُغْرَقِينَ (43)
Then the word went forth:”O’ earth! Swallow up your water, and O’ sky! Withhold (your rain)!” and the water abated, and the matter was ended. The Ark rested on Mount Judi, and word went forth:”Away with those who do wrong/transgressors” (44) وَقِيلَ يَا أَرْضُ ابْلَعِي مَاءَكِ وَيَا سَمَاءُ أَقْلِعِي وَغِيضَ الْمَاءُ وَقُضِيَ الْأَمْرُ وَاسْتَوَتْ عَلَى الْجُودِيِّ وَقِيلَ بُعْدًا لِلْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِينَ (44)
And Noah [PBUH] called upon his Lord, and said:”O’ my Lord! Surely, my son is of my family! And Your Promise is true; and You are the Just of Judges!” (45) وَنَادَى نُوحٌ رَبَّهُ فَقَالَ رَبِّ إِنَّ ابْنِي مِنْ أَهْلِي وَإِنَّ وَعْدَكَ الْحَقُّ وَأَنْتَ أَحْكَمُ الْحَاكِمِينَ (45)
He said:” O’ Noah! He is not of your family! For his conduct is unrighteous, so do not ask of Me that of which you have no knowledge! I admonish you –give you counsel- lest you should act like the ignorant!” (46) قَالَ يَا نُوحُ إِنَّهُ لَيْسَ مِنْ أَهْلِكَ إِنَّهُ عَمَلٌ غَيْرُ صَالِحٍ فَلَا تَسْأَلْنِ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ إِنِّي أَعِظُكَ أَنْ تَكُونَ مِنَ الْجَاهِلِينَ (46)
Noah [PBUH] said:”O’ my Lord! I do seek refuge with You from asking You for that of which I have no knowledge. And unless you forgive me, and have Mercy on me, I should –indeed- be lost! (47) قَالَ رَبِّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ أَنْ أَسْأَلَكَ مَا لَيْسَ لِي بِهِ عِلْمٌ وَإِلَّا تَغْفِرْ لِي وَتَرْحَمْنِي أَكُنْ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ (47)
The Word came:”O’ Noah [PBUH]! Come down (from the Ark) with Peace from Us, and Blessings on you and on some of the Peoples (who will be their offspring) from those with you; but (there will be) other Peoples to whom We shall grant their pleasures (for a time), but in the end a grievous Penalty will reach them from Us!” (48) قِيلَ يَا نُوحُ اهْبِطْ بِسَلَامٍ مِنَّا وَبَرَكَاتٍ عَلَيْكَ وَعَلَى أُمَمٍ مِمَّنْ مَعَكَ وَأُمَمٌ سَنُمَتِّعُهُمْ ثُمَّ يَمَسُّهُمْ مِنَّا عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ (48)
Such are some of the news/stories of the Unseen, which We have revealed to you [O’ Muhammad PPBUH]; neither you nor your people knew it before this. So persevere patiently. Verily, the End is for those who are pious and righteous. (49) تِلْكَ مِنْ أَنْبَاءِ الْغَيْبِ نُوحِيهَا إِلَيْكَ مَا كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُهَا أَنْتَ وَلَا قَوْمُكَ مِنْ قَبْلِ هَذَا فَاصْبِرْ إِنَّ الْعَاقِبَةَ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ (49)
And to the ‘Ad People, (We sent) HUD –one of their own brethren- he said:”O’ my people! Worship God! You have no other god but Him. Certainly, you do nothing but invent lies!” (50) وَإِلَى عَادٍ أَخَاهُمْ هُودًا قَالَ يَا قَوْمِ اعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ مَا لَكُمْ مِنْ إِلَهٍ غَيْرُهُ إِنْ أَنْتُمْ إِلَّا مُفْتَرُونَ (50)
“O’ my People! I ask of you no reward for this (Message). My reward is from none but Him who created me. Will you not –then- understand?” (51) يَا قَوْمِ لَا أَسْأَلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ أَجْرًا إِنْ أَجْرِيَ إِلَّا عَلَى الَّذِي فَطَرَنِي أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ (51)
“And O’ my People! Ask forgiveness of your Lord, and turn to Him (in repentance); He will send you the skies pouring abundant rain, and add strength to your strength; so do not turn away as criminals/do not turn your back in sin!” (52) وَيَا قَوْمِ اسْتَغْفِرُوا رَبَّكُمْ ثُمَّ تُوبُوا إِلَيْهِ يُرْسِلِ السَّمَاءَ عَلَيْكُمْ مِدْرَارًا وَيَزِدْكُمْ قُوَّةً إِلَى قُوَّتِكُمْ وَلَا تَتَوَلَّوْا مُجْرِمِينَ (52)
They said:”O’ HUD! No clear Sign or Evidence you have brought to us, and we are not the ones to desert our gods on your word! Nor shall we believe in you!” (53) قَالُوا يَا هُودُ مَا جِئْتَنَا بِبَيِّنَةٍ وَمَا نَحْنُ بِتَارِكِي آَلِهَتِنَا عَنْ قَوْلِكَ وَمَا نَحْنُ لَكَ بِمُؤْمِنِينَ (53)
“All that we can say but –perhaps- some of our gods may have seized/possessed you with evil (insanity)/imbecility”. He said: “I indeed, call God to witness, and you do bear witness that I am free from the sin of whatever you are ascribing to Him!” (54) إِنْ نَقُولُ إِلَّا اعْتَرَاكَ بَعْضُ آَلِهَتِنَا بِسُوءٍ قَالَ إِنِّي أُشْهِدُ اللَّهَ وَاشْهَدُوا أَنِّي بَرِيءٌ مِمَّا تُشْرِكُونَ (54)
“Other gods as partners! So all of you scheme –your worst- plots against me and give me no respite!” (55) مِنْ دُونِهِ فَكِيدُونِي جَمِيعًا ثُمَّ لَا تُنْظِرُونِ (55)
“I put my trust in God; my Lord and your Lord! There is not a moving (living) creature, but He has the grasp of its fore-lock, verily, it is my Lord that is on a Straight Path!” (56) إِنِّي تَوَكَّلْتُ عَلَى اللَّهِ رَبِّي وَرَبِّكُمْ مَا مِنْ دَابَّةٍ إِلَّا هُوَ آَخِذٌ بِنَاصِيَتِهَا إِنَّ رَبِّي عَلَى صِرَاطٍ مُسْتَقِيمٍ (56)
“So, if you turn away; I –at least- have conveyed the Message with which I was sent to you. My Lord will make another people to succeed you, and you will not harm Him in the least. For my Lord –surely- has care and watch over all things/Guardian over all things!” (57) فَإِنْ تَوَلَّوْا فَقَدْ أَبْلَغْتُكُمْ مَا أُرْسِلْتُ بِهِ إِلَيْكُمْ وَيَسْتَخْلِفُ رَبِّي قَوْمًا غَيْرَكُمْ وَلَا تَضُرُّونَهُ شَيْئًا إِنَّ رَبِّي عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ حَفِيظٌ (57)
And Our Commandment/Decree issued/came; We save Hud and those who believed with him, by –special- Grace and Mercy from Ourselves; and We saved them from a severe penalty/ torment. (58) وَلَمَّا جَاءَ أَمْرُنَا نَجَّيْنَا هُودًا وَالَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا مَعَهُ بِرَحْمَةٍ مِنَّا وَنَجَّيْنَاهُمْ مِنْ عَذَابٍ غَلِيظٍ (58)
And such were the ‘Ad People; they rejected the Signs of their Lord and Cherisher, and disobeyed His Apostles/Messengers, and followed the commandments of every powerful obstinate transgressor. (59) وَتِلْكَ عَادٌ جَحَدُوا بِآَيَاتِ رَبِّهِمْ وَعَصَوْا رُسُلَهُ وَاتَّبَعُوا أَمْرَ كُلِّ جَبَّارٍ عَنِيدٍ (59)
And they were pursued by a Curse in this Life, and also on the Day of Resurrection/Judgment. Ah! Behold! For the ‘Ad People, verily, for the ‘Ad rejected and disbelieved their Lord and Cherisher! Ah! Behold! So, away with ‘Ad, removed from sight; were ‘Ad the People of Hud! (60) وَأُتْبِعُوا فِي هَذِهِ الدُّنْيَا لَعْنَةً وَيَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ أَلَا إِنَّ عَادًا كَفَرُوا رَبَّهُمْ أَلَا بُعْدًا لِعَادٍ قَوْمِ هُودٍ (60)

Wahba Mahmoud Diyab

(Verses 40-41)- A/Far-al-tannuru-قار التنور: = Two interpretations have been given: (1) the fountains of the springs on the surface of the earth bubbled over or gushed; or (2) the oven (Of God’s Wrath) boiled over. The former has the weight of the best authority behind it, and I prefer it. Moreover, the same phrase occurs in Surat Al-Mu’-minun 23 verse 27, where it is a clause coordinated (as here) with the coming of God’s Command. These two passages may be compared with Surat Al-Qamar 54 verse 11-12, where it is said that water poured forth from the skies and gushed forth from springs. This double action is familiar to anyone who has seen floods on large scale. The rain from above would saturate the great Ararat Plateau, and give great force to the springs and fountains in the valley of the Tigris below. B/Zau-jain= the dual number refers to the two individuals in each pair of opposite sexes. Some of the most authoritative Commentators (e.g. Imam Al-Razi) construe in this sense, though others construe it to mean two pairs of each species. C/A disobedient and recalcitration son (or step or grandson) of Noah is mentioned below (verses 42-43, 45-46). A member of the family, who breaks away from the traditions of the family in things that matter, ceases to share the privilege of the family.

(Verse 42)- The simile of mountains applies to the waves, which were mountains high; literally, for the peaks were being submerged.

(Verse 43)- The Unbelievers refuse to believe in God, but have faith in material things! This young man was going to save himself on mountain peaks, not knowing that the peaks themselves being submerged. (Hadith Sharif: Narrated Abu-Sa’id Al-Khudri that the Prophet [PPBUH] said:”No Caliph is appointed but has two group of adviser: one group advises him to do well and urges hip to adopt it. And the other group advises him to do badly and urges him to adopt it. And ا= Al-Ma’sum (the sinless or the saved or the protected) is the one whom God protects. (Sahih Al-Bukhari).

(Verses 44-45)- A/A wonderful passage. The whole picture is painted in just a few words. The chain of material facts are linked together –not only in their relations to each other- but also in their relation to the spiritual forces that control them, and the spiritual consequences of Sin and wrong-doing. The drowning in the material sense was the least part of the Penalty. A whole new world came into existence after the Deluge,- as always happens after any great catastrophe, like the World War of 1914-18. B/Let us get a little idea of the geography of the place. The letters J.B. and K are philologically interchangeable, and Judi, Gudi, Kudi are sounds that can pass into each other. There is no doubt that the name is connected with the name “Kurd”, in which the letter (r) is a later interpolation, for the oldest Sumerian records name a people called Kuti or Gutu as holding the middle Tigris region not later than 2000 B.C. (see E.B. Kurdistan) That region comprises the modern Turkish district of Bohtan, in which Jabal Judi is situated (near the frontiers of modern Turkey, Modern Iraq, and modern Syria), and the town of Jazirat ibn Umar, (on the present Turco-Syrian frontier), and it extends into Iraq and Persia. The great mountain mass of the Ararat plateau dominates this district. This mountain system “is unique in the Old World in containing great sheets of water that are bitter lakes without outlets, lake van and lake Urumiya being the chief” (see E.B. Asia). Such would be the very region for a stupendous Deluge if the usual scanty rainfall were to be changed into a very heavy downpour. A glacier damming of Lake Van in the Ice Age would have produced the same result. The region has many local traditions connected with Noah and the Flood. The Biblical legend of Mount Ararat being the resting place of Noah’s Ark is hardly plausible, seeing that the highest peak of Ararat is over 16,000 feet high. If it means one of the lower peaks of the Ararat system, it agrees with the Muslim tradition about Mount Judi (or Gudi), and this is in accordance with the oldest and best local traditions. These traditions are accepted by Josephus, by the Nestorian Christians, and indeed by all the Eastern Christians and Jews, and they are the best in touch with local tradition.

(Verse 46)- see commentary of verse 40-41 above. Like all men of God, Noah [PBUH] was kind-hearted, but he is told that there can be no compromise with evil. And Noah acknowledges the reproof. There was a wife of Noah, who was also an unbelieving woman (see Surat Al-Tahreem 66 verse 10), and she suffered the fate of the Unbelievers.

(Verse 47)- Noah [PBUH], in his natural affection and respect for ties of relationship, was overcome with human weakness in wishing to reverse the law of spiritual Justice. It was not sin but ignorance. His ignorance was corrected by divine inspiration, and he immediately saw the full Truth, acknowledged his error, and asked for God’s forgiveness and mercy. This is the standard set for us all.

(Verse 48)- A/ See Surat Al-Bagara 2 verse 126. B/ Those who truly seek God’s light and guidance and sincerely bend their will to His Will are freely admitted to God’s Grace. Notwithstanding any human weaknesses in them, they are advanced higher in the spiritual stage on account of their Faith, Trust, and Striving after Right. They are given God’s Peace, which gives the soul true calmness and strength, and all the blessings that flow from spiritual life. This was given –not only to Noah and his family- but to all the righteous people who were saved with him. And their descendants were also promised those blessings on condition of righteousness. But some of them fell from grace, as we know in history. God’s Grace is not a social or family privilege. Each people and each individual must earnestly strive for it and earn it.

(Verse 49)- See verse 35 and the commentary. The sum of the whole matter is that the righteous, who work for God and their fellow men, may be traduced, insulted, and persecuted. But they will be sustained by God’s Mercy. They must go on working patiently, for the End will all be for them and their Cause.

(Verses 50-68: Awful were the fates of the ‘Ad and the Thamud, two mighty peoples of ancient Arabia. They rejected God and His Messages and went on in their evil ways; the ‘Ad in their superstitions and arrogance, and the Thamud in their entrenched selfishness, denying to others the gifts of God’s spacious earth! How swiftly were they wiped out, as if they had never been? But wrong can never stand!).

(Verses 50-51)- The story of HUD the apostle of ‘Ad People as revealed in Surat Al-A’raf 7- verses 66-72. There the argument was how other Peoples treated their apostles as the Mecca’s people were treating Muhammad Al-Mustapha [PPBUH]. Here we see another point emphasized: the insolence of the ‘Ad in obstinately adhering to false gods after the true God had been preached to them, God’s long-suffering grace to them, and finally God’s justice in bringing them to book while the righteous were saved. The locality in which the ‘Ad flourished in indicated in the commentary note to verse 65 Surat Al-A’raf 7.

(Verse 52)- A/The beautiful metaphor about the skies coming down with rain has been obscured unnecessarily in most translations. The country of the ‘Ad was an arid country, and rain was the greatest blessing they could receive. We can imagine this being said in a time of famine, when the people performed all sorts of superstitious rites and invocations instead of turning to the true God in faith and repentance. Further, when we remember that there were –in this tract in ancient times- dams like that at Maarib, for the storage of rain water, the effect is still further heightened in pointing to God’s care and mercy in His dealings with men. B/Adding strength to strength may refer to increase of population, as some Commentators think. While other parts of Arabia were sparsely populated, the irrigated land of the ‘Ad supported a comparatively dense population and added to their natural strength in the arts of peace and war. But the term used is perfectly general. They were a powerful people in their time. If they obeyed God and followed the law of righteousness, they would be still more powerful, for ‘Righteousness Exalts a Nation’.

(Verse 53)- The argument of the Unbelievers is practically this: “We are not convinced by you; we don’t want to be convinced: we think you are a liar; – or perhaps a fool!”

(Verse 54)- in continuation to the commentary above: Continuing their argument, the Unbelievers make a show of making all charitable allowances for HUD, but in reality cut him the quick by bringing in their fake gods. “To be quite polite” said they, “we will not say that you are exactly a liar! Perhaps you have been touched with imbecility! Ah yes! You rail against what you call our false gods! Some of them have paid you out, and made you a fool! Ha! Ha!” This mockery is even worse than their other false accusations, for it sets up false gods against the One True God, even in dealing with HUD. So HUD replies, with spirit and indignation: “At least keep God’s name out of your futile talk! You know -as well as I do- that I worship the One True God! You pretend that your false gods can smite a true man of God! I accept the challenge. Scheme and plot against me as you may -all of you- you and your gods! See if you have any power! I ask for no quarter from you! My trust is in God!”

(Verse 55)- See commentary on verse 195 Surat Al-A’raf 7.

(Verse 56)- A/Grasp of the fore-lock: an Arabic idiom, referring to a horse’s fore-lock. The man who grasps it has complete power over the horse, and for the horse the fore-lock is as it were the crown of his beauty, the sum of his power of self-assertion. So God’s power over all creatures is unlimited and no one can withstand His decree. See Surat Al-‘Alaq 96 verses 15-16. B/ That is, the standard of all virtues and righteousness are in the Will of God, the Universal Will that controls all things in goodness and justice. You are on a crooked path. God’s Path is a Straight Path.

(Verse 57)- HUD was dealing with a people of pride and obstinate rebellion. He tells them that their conduct will only recoil on themselves. It can do no harm to God, or in any was frustrate the beneficent Plan of God. He will only put some other people in their place to carry out His Plan. That Plan is referred to in the next sentence as: “care and watch over all his Creation”.

(Verse 58)- A few just men might suffer for the iniquities of the many. But God’s Plan is perfect and eventually saves His own people by special Grace, if they have Faith and Trust in Him.

(Verses 59-60)- Instead of following the beneficent Lord who cherished them, they followed every rebel against God’s Law; if he only obtained a little power to dazzle them.

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