In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate
بِسۡمِ اللهِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِيۡمِ
(16:1) Allah's judgement has (all but) come;1 do not, then, call
for its speedy advent. Holy is He, and far above their associating others with
Him in His Divinity.2 اَتٰۤى اَمۡرُ اللّٰهِ فَلَا تَسۡتَعۡجِلُوۡهُ ؕ سُبۡحٰنَهٗ وَتَعٰلٰى عَمَّا
(16:2) He sends down this spirit(of prophecy) by His command through His
angels3 on any of His servants whom He wills,4 (directing
them): "Warn people that there is no deity but Me; so hold Me alone in fear."5 يُنَزِّلُ الۡمَلٰۤٮِٕكَةَ بِالرُّوۡحِ مِنۡ اَمۡرِهٖ عَلٰى مَنۡ يَّشَآءُ مِنۡ
عِبَادِهٖۤ اَنۡ اَنۡذِرُوۡۤا اَنَّهٗ لَاۤ اِلٰهَ اِلَّاۤ اَنَا فَاتَّقُوۡنِ
(16:3) He created the heavens and the earth with Truth. Exalted is He above
whatever they associate with Allah in His Divinity.6 خَلَقَ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالۡاَرۡضَ بِالۡحَـقِّؕ تَعٰلٰى عَمَّا يُشۡرِكُوۡنَ
(16:4) He created man out of a mere drop of fluid, and lo! he turned into
an open wrangler.7 خَلَقَ الۡاِنۡسَانَ مِنۡ نُّـطۡفَةٍ فَاِذَا هُوَ خَصِيۡمٌ مُّبِيۡنٌ
(16:5) He created the cattle. They are a source of clothing and food and
also a variety of other benefits for you.
وَالۡاَنۡعَامَ خَلَقَهَا ۚ لَـكُمۡ فِيۡهَا دِفۡ ٴٌ وَّمَنَافِعُ وَمِنۡهَا
(16:6) And you find beauty in them as you drive them to pasture in the morning
and as you drive them back home in the evening;
وَلَكُمۡ فِيۡهَا جَمَالٌ حِيۡنَ تُرِيۡحُوۡنَ وَحِيۡنَ تَسۡرَحُوۡنَ
(16:7) and they carry your loads to many a place which you would be unable
to reach without much hardship. Surely your Lord is Intensely Loving, Most Merciful.
وَتَحۡمِلُ اَثۡقَالَـكُمۡ اِلٰى بَلَدٍ لَّمۡ تَكُوۡنُوۡا بٰلِغِيۡهِ اِلَّا
بِشِقِّ الۡاَنۡفُسِؕ اِنَّ رَبَّكُمۡ لَرَءُوۡفٌ رَّحِيۡمٌۙ
(16:8) And He created horses and mules and asses for you to ride, and also
for your adornment. And He creates many things (for you) that you do not even
know about.8 وَّالۡخَـيۡلَ وَالۡبِغَالَ وَالۡحَمِيۡرَ لِتَرۡكَبُوۡهَا وَزِيۡنَةً ؕ وَيَخۡلُقُ
مَا لَا تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ
(16:9) It rests with Allah alone to show you the Right Way, even when there
are many crooked ways.9 Had He so willed, He would have (perforce)
guided you all aright.10 وَعَلَى اللّٰهِ قَصۡدُ السَّبِيۡلِ وَمِنۡهَا جَآٮِٕرٌؕ وَلَوۡ شَآءَ لَهَدٰٮكُمۡ
1. That is, the time for final judgment has come near. As regards to the
use of the past tense in the original, this may be to show certainty of its
occurrence in the near future or to emphasize the fact that the rebellion and
the wrong deeds of the Quraish had become so unbearable that they warranted
that the time for decisive action had come.
Here question arises as to what that judgment was and how it came. We are
of the opinion (and true knowledge is with Allah alone) that that judgment was
hijra (the migration) of the Prophet (peace be upon him) from Makkah. For a
short time after this revelation, he was bidden to emigrate from there. And
according to the Quran, a Prophet (peace be upon him) is bidden to leave his
place only at that time when the rebellion and antagonism of his people reaches
the extreme limit. Then their doom is sealed, for after this Allah’s punishment
comes on them either as a direct scourge from Him, or they are destroyed by
the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his followers. And this did actually take
place. At the occasion of the migration, the people of Makkah regarded it as
a victory for themselves, but in fact it turned out to be a defeat for shirk
and disbelief which were totally uprooted within a decade or so after the migration,
not only from Makkah but from the rest of Arabia as well.
2. In order to understand the interconnection between the first and the second
sentences, one should keep in view the background. The challenge of the disbelievers
to the Prophet (peace be upon him), to hasten divine judgment, was really based
on their assumption that their own religion of shirk was true and the religion
of Tauhid presented by Muhammad (peace be upon him) was false. Otherwise, they
argued, the divine scourge with which he threatened them would have come upon
them long before because of their disbelief and rebellion, if there had been
the authority of Allah behind it. That is why after the declaration of the judgment,
their misunderstanding about the cause of delay in the punishment was removed,
as if to say: You are absolutely wrong to assume that punishment has not been
inflicted on you because your creed of shirk is true, for Allah is free from
and far above shirk and has no partner.
3. This means the Spirit of Prophethood with which a Prophet is imbued in
order to fulfill his mission by word and deed. The Quran has called this the
Spirit in several places, for this has the same relation to the mission of a
Prophet and his moral life, which the soul has to the physical human life.
4. As one of the things, which prompted the disbelievers to challenge the
Prophet (peace be upon him) for scourge, was their presumption that he was not
a true Prophet. Allah told them categorically that he was a true Prophet who
had been imbued with the Spirit which We had sent down on him.
“Spirit of His command, upon whom He wills.” This is the answer to the objections
which the chiefs of the Quraish used to raise against the Prophet (peace be
upon him): Had Allah wanted to send a Messenger to them, was there no one better
than Muhammad (peace be upon him), son of Abdullah, for this mission. Why did
He not choose one of the big chiefs of Makkah or Taif for the purpose? Such
absurd objections needed no other answer than this that is why such an answer
has been given in several places of the Quran as if to say: Allah knows best
how to do His work, and does not stand in need of any advice from you. He chooses
for His mission anyone whom He considers fit for it.
5. This verse declares the essence of the Spirit of Prophethood, which is
this: Godhead belongs to one Allah alone, so only He is worthy of fear. Therefore,
there is no other anchor that might make fast and hold together human moral
system than His fear. For it is the fear of His displeasure and His punishment,
and the fear of the consequences of His disobedience which alone can act as
a strong deterrent to restrain one from deviation. That is why mankind has been
admonished: Fear Me.
6. That is to say, the entire system of the earth and the heavens is a witness
to the truth of the doctrine of Tauhid and to the negation of shirk. You may
look at anything in the universe and consider the system from any point of view
you like, you will find proof of this fact that it is being run by one God and
not by many gods. Then how is it that you believe in shirk when there is no
proof whatsoever of this in the universe As a fitting sequence of this, proofs
of Tauhid and refutation of shirk have been given from man himself and from
other signs in the universe, and it has also been shown that Prophethood is
based on truth.
7. This has two meanings and both are meant here.
(1) Though Allah created man from an insignificant spermdrop, he is capable
of arguing and giving reasons in support of his claim.
(2) Man who has such an insignificant origin, has become so vain that he
does not hesitate to dispute even with his Creator.
If considered in its first sense, it is a chain in the series of arguments
given in many succeeding verses to prove the truth of the message of the Prophet
(peace be upon him). Please refer to (E.N. 15). If taken in the second sense,
it is meant to warn man that he should not forget the insignificant origin of
his existence while engaged in his rebellious arguments against his Creator.
If he remembered the different stages of his humiliating birth and growth, he
would consider many times before he assumed a haughty and rebellious attitude
towards his Creator.
8. That is, there are many agencies which are working for the good of man
but he is quite unaware of such servants and the services rendered by them.
9. This contains an argument for Prophethood along with a proof of Tauhid
and of Allah’s compassion and providence. The argument is this:
There are many divergent ways of thought and action open for man to choose
from. Obviously all these divergent ways cannot be straight ways, because there
can be only one straight way; therefore, there can be only one right theory
of life which is based on that way, and only one right way of life which is
based on that right theory. Thus it is clear that the choice of the right way
of life is man’s most important and basic need, for its wrong choice would inevitably
lead to his ruin. This is because all other things fulfill his animal needs
only, but this is the greatest necessity of his life as a human being and without
its fulfillment his life would be an utter failure.
Now, it cannot be expected that Allah Who made so many provisions, and on
such a large scale, for the fulfillment of the animal life of man, did not make
any arrangement for the fulfillment of this real and greatest necessity of man.
Just as He has provided for all the necessities of his life, so He has also
provided for this greatest need of his through Prophethood. If Prophethood is
denied then it should be pointed out in what way Allah has fulfilled this basic
need of man. Experience of centuries has shown that mankind has always blundered
whenever it has chosen a way of life by itself. This is because man’s wisdom
and intelligence are limited, and he cannot depend on these for the choice of
the right way of life. Above all, one cannot say that Allah has made no arrangement
for this basic need of man, for this will be the greatest misconception of Allah
that He may make most elaborate arrangements for man’s animal life but should
leave him in the lurch to search out a way for himself for the fulfillment of
this most important and basic need.
10. Here a question arises: Why didn’t Allah will to guide all the people
aright inherently when He had taken upon Himself to show the right way? It is
true that Allah could have imbued man, like other creatures, with the inborn
instinct and enabled him to choose the right way without conscious thought,
experience or teaching. But this would have been against His will which was
to create a being, having will and power and freedom to follow the right way
or the wrong way, whichever he chose for himself. This is why he has been endowed
with different means of knowledge and power of conscious thought, deliberation
and will, and has been empowered with the authority to make use of all powers
in him and all things around him. Moreover, He has placed in him and all around
him such factors as might lead him to guidance or deviation. All these things
would have become meaningless, had he been created righteous by birth, and he
could never have attained the heights of progress, which can be achieved only
by the right use of freedom. That is why Allah has chosen Prophethood for man’s
guidance, and left him free to follow or reject a Prophet. This is a test by
means of which Allah judges whether man accepts the guidance that is presented
to him in a rational way.