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Towards Understanding the Quran
With kind permission: Islamic Foundation UK
Introduction to Tafheem | Glossary | Verbs
Other resources: Maarif | Dawat 

 Surah Al-Hijr 15:16-25 [2/6]
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Verse Summary -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
وَلَقَدْAnd verily
جَعَلْنَاWe have placed
ٱلسَّمَآءِthe heavens
وَزَيَّنَّـٰهَاand We have beautified it
لِلنَّـٰظِرِينَfor the observers.
وَحَفِظْنَـٰهَاAnd We have protected it
مَنِ(one) who
ٱلسَّمْعَthe hearing,
فَأَتْبَعَهُۥthen follows him
شِهَابٌa burning flame
وَٱلْأَرْضَAnd the earth,
مَدَدْنَـٰهَاWe have spread it
وَأَلْقَيْنَاand [We] cast
رَوَٲسِىَfirm mountains
وَأَنۢبَتْنَاand [We] caused to grow
وَجَعَلْنَاAnd We have made
لَكُمْfor you
مَعَـٰيِشَmeans of living
وَمَنand whom
لَّسْتُمْyou are not
لَهُۥfor him
وَإِنAnd not
مِّن(is) any
عِندَنَاwith Us
خَزَآئِنُهُۥ(are) its treasures,
وَمَاand not
نُنَزِّلُهُۥٓWe send it down
بِقَدَرٍin a measure
وَأَرْسَلْنَاAnd We have sent
ٱلرِّيَـٰحَthe winds
فَأَنزَلْنَاand We sent down
ٱلسَّمَآءِthe sky
فَأَسْقَيْنَـٰكُمُوهُand We gave it to you to drink.
وَمَآAnd not
لَهُۥof it
بِخَـٰزِنِينَ(are) retainers.
وَإِنَّاAnd indeed, We,
لَنَحْنُsurely [We]
نُحْىِۦWe give life
وَنُمِيتُand We cause death,
وَنَحْنُand We
ٱلْوَٲرِثُونَ(are) the Inheritors.
وَلَقَدْAnd verily
عَلِمْنَاWe know
ٱلْمُسْتَقْدِمِينَthe preceding ones
مِنكُمْamong you
وَلَقَدْand verily,
عَلِمْنَاWe know
ٱلْمُسْتَــْٔخِرِينَthe later ones.
وَإِنَّAnd indeed,
رَبَّكَyour Lord,
يَحْشُرُهُمْ‌ۚwill gather them.
إِنَّهُۥIndeed, He
حَكِيمٌ(is) All-Wise,

وَلَـقَدۡ جَعَلۡنَا فِى السَّمَآءِ بُرُوۡجًا وَّزَيَّـنّٰهَا لِلنّٰظِرِيۡنَۙ‏   وَحَفِظۡنٰهَا مِنۡ كُلِّ شَيۡطٰنٍ رَّجِيۡمٍۙ‏  اِلَّا مَنِ اسۡتَرَقَ السَّمۡعَ فَاَ تۡبَعَهٗ شِهَابٌ مُّبِيۡنٌ‏  وَالۡاَرۡضَ مَدَدۡنٰهَا وَاَلۡقَيۡنَا فِيۡهَا رَوَاسِىَ وَاَنۡۢبَتۡنَا فِيۡهَا مِنۡ كُلِّ شَىۡءٍ مَّوۡزُوۡنٍ‏  وَجَعَلۡنَا لَـكُمۡ فِيۡهَا مَعَايِشَ وَمَنۡ لَّسۡتُمۡ لَهٗ بِرٰزِقِيۡنَ‏   وَاِنۡ مِّنۡ شَىۡءٍ اِلَّا عِنۡدَنَا خَزَآئِنُهٗ وَمَا نُنَزِّلُهٗۤ اِلَّا بِقَدَرٍ مَّعۡلُوۡمٍ‏  ​وَاَرۡسَلۡنَا الرِّيٰحَ لَوَاقِحَ فَاَنۡزَلۡنَا مِنَ السَّمَآءِ مَآءً فَاَسۡقَيۡنٰكُمُوۡهُ​ۚ وَمَاۤ اَنۡتُمۡ لَهٗ بِخٰزِنِيۡنَ‏  وَ اِنَّا لَـنَحۡنُ نُحۡىٖ وَنُمِيۡتُ وَنَحۡنُ الۡوٰرِثُوۡنَ‏  وَلَـقَدۡ عَلِمۡنَا الۡمُسۡتَقۡدِمِيۡنَ مِنۡكُمۡ وَلَـقَدۡ عَلِمۡنَا الۡمُسۡتَـاْخِرِيۡنَ‏   وَاِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ يَحۡشُرُهُمۡ​ؕ اِنَّهٗ حَكِيۡمٌ عَلِيۡمٌ‏ 
(15:16) We have indeed set constellations in the heavens8 and have beautified them for the beholders,9 (15:17) and have protected them against every accursed satan10 (15:18) save him who may eavesdrop,11 and then a bright flame pursues him.12 (15:19) As for the earth, We have stretched it out and have cast on it firm mountains, and have caused to grow in it everything well-measured.13 (15:20) And We have provided sustenance for you on it and also for those of whom you are not the providers. (15:21) There is nothing except that its treasuries are with Us and We do not send it down except in a known measure.14 (15:22) We send fertilizing winds, and then cause rain to descend from the sky, providing you abundant water to drink even though you could not have stored it up for yourselves. (15:23) It is indeed We Who grant life and cause death and it is We who shall be the sole Inheritors of all.15 (15:24) Surely We know those of you who have passed before and those who will come later. (15:25) Indeed your Lord will gather them all together. Surely He is All-Wise, All-Knowing.16

8. In the preceding( Ayats 14-15) it was stated that the disbelievers had become so hardened against the Quran that they would not have believed in it even if they had ascended the Heaven and seen with their own eyes the signs mentioned in it. Now in (Ayats 16-22), some of the signs are being cited in order to convince there of its truth.

Buruj (mansions of stars) are signs of Allah. For it is not possible to pass through one sphere of the Heaven into another, as each sphere of the space has been fortified by invisible boundaries. In this connection, it may be noted that literally the Arabic word burj means a fortified place, but as a technical term of ancient astronomy this stood for each of the twelve signs of the Zodiac, which marked the sun’s path through the heavens. This has led some of the commentators to form the opinion that in this verse the word buruj refers to the same. But there are some others who think that it means stars or planets. However, if we consider this word in the context of (Ayat 19), we are led to the conclusion that probably it stands for spheres.

9. “We have beautified it”: We have placed a shining star or planet in each of these spheres and made them look beautiful. In other words, it means; We have not made the boundless universe dismal, desolate and frightful, but so beautiful that one finds marvelous order and harmony in it everywhere, and sights therein are so attractive that each one of these charms hearts and minds. This wonderful structure of the universe is a clear proof of the fact that its Creator is not only Great and All-Wise but is also a perfect Artist. The Quran has also stated this aspect of the Creator in (Surah As-Sajadah, Ayat 7): (Allah is) that God Who has created in perfect beauty everything He has created.

10. That is, these spheres are so fortified that they are beyond the reach of every Satan, for all Satans including those of jinns, have been confined to that sphere in which the Earth has been placed and they enjoy no more access to visit other spheres than the other dwellers of this sphere. This has been mentioned in order to remove a common misunderstanding. The common people believed, and still believe, that Satan and his descendants have a free access to every place in the universe. On the contrary, the Quran says that Satans cannot go beyond a certain limit and they have no unlimited power of ascension.

11. This is the answer to the false claim of the soothsayers, diviners, hermits, conjurers and the like who pretended to receive communications from the Heaven. The Quran says that in fact they do not possess any means of obtaining information about unseen things. Satans, however, try to eaves-drop because they are by nature more like angels than human beings, but in reality, they succeed in obtaining very little information about it.

12. In Arabic the word shihab-i-mubin literally means a fiery flame. In Surah (As-Saffaat, Ayat 10), the same thing has been called shihab-i-thaqib (flame that pierces through darkness). This may or may not necessarily be a meteor for it is just possible that it may be some type of rays such as cosmic rays or even a stronger type which we have not been able to discover as yet. Anyhow, if the fiery flame that pursues Satans may be taken to be a meteor, a countless number of these can form a fortification around our sphere of the universe. Scientific observations made with the help of the telescope have shown that billions of these meteors are rushing from space in a mass of rainfall. towards the earth's atmosphere. Such a scene was witnessed in an eastern pan of North America on November 13, 1833.

This is so strong a fortification that it can prevent Satans from passing through any fortified sphere. With the help of the above, one can form a mental picture of the "fortified spheres" . Though there is no visible "wall" to keep distinct and separate one sphere from the others, Allah has securely guarded each of these spheres by invisible "walls" against each other. That is why our "planet" has remained safe in spite of the occasional "rainfall" of countless meteors. For as soon as they cross the protective wall of our sphere, they are burnt to ashes. But sometimes a meteorite reaches the earth from outer space as if to warn the dwellers of this planet of the existence of the "power" of the Creator. For instance, the biggest of these weighs 645 pounds and it is obvious from this that if the earth had not been made safe and secure by means of "fortified spheres" the rain of the shooting stars would have utterly annihilated it long long ago. It is these "fortified spheres" which the Qur'an calls "buruj."

13. The growth of every kind of plant in a limited extent is another sign of the wisdom and power of Allah. For the generative power of every vegetable plant is so great that if free growth had been allowed to even one kind of plant, it would have covered the whole surface of the earth. But it is by the design of the All-Wise and All-Powerful Creator that every kind of vegetable is produced in a balanced measure. There is another aspect of the vegetable life. Each and every kind of it is allowed to grow only to a fixed size, height, and thickness, which is a proof of the fact that the Creator himself prescribed the structure, the shape, the size, the height, the leaves and branches, and the number of each and every plant, and no plant is allowed to go beyond any of these fixed limits.

14. This is to bring home the fact that it is not vegetable life alone that has a fixed limit to its growth, etc. The same is true of everything that exists, whether it be air, water, light, heat, cold, mineral, vegetable, animal or power or energy, in short, each and every thing exists in the prescribed quantity, number, etc. which neither decreases nor increases. It is this determined course in each and every thing which has produced appropriate balance and proportion in the entire system of the universe to such a perfection that one is led to the inevitable conclusion that the whole thing has been designed by its All-Wise Creator. For, had the universe come into existence by mere accident or had it been created by many gods, it was impossible to have such a perfect balance and appropriate proportion with perpetual consistence in so many different things and powers.

15. It is to impress this: Your worldly life and all you possess are transitory and temporary, and Allah alone is Eternal. Your end shall come sooner or later, and you shall leave everything behind in this world, which will again become a part of Our treasure.

16. “He is All-Wise”, therefore His Wisdom demands that He should gather the entire mankind and reward or punish each individual in accordance with his deeds. And “He is All-Knowing”, therefore no individual, whosoever he may be, can escape from Him. As each and every particle of each and every individual is in His knowledge, He is able to bring entire mankind to life in the Hereafter. Thus anyone who denies life in the Hereafter is really ignorant of the Wisdom of Allah; and anyone who considers it impossible that those particles of the human body, which were all scattered about, could again be brought together in the form of the body that was alive, is ignorant of the All Comprehensive knowledge and power of Allah.