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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 15:26-43 [3/6]
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Verse Summary -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
وَلَقَدْAnd verily,
خَلَقْنَاWe created
مِن(out) of
صَلْصَـٰلٍsounding clay
حَمَإٍblack mud
وَٱلْجَآنَّAnd the jinn
خَلَقْنَـٰهُWe created it
مِن قَبْلُbefore
وَإِذْAnd when
قَالَ رَبُّكَyour Lord said
لِلْمَلَـٰٓئِكَةِto the Angels,
إِنِّى"Indeed, I
خَـٰلِقُۢ(will) create
بَشَرًاa human being
مِّن(out) of
حَمَإٍblack mud
فَإِذَاSo, when
سَوَّيْتُهُۥI have fashioned him
وَنَفَخْتُand [I] breathed
فِيهِinto him
رُّوحِىMy spirit,
فَقَعُواْthen fall down
لَهُۥto him
فَسَجَدَSo prostrated
ٱلْمَلَـٰٓئِكَةُthe Angels
كُلُّهُمْall of them
أَبَىٰٓHe refused
ٱلسَّـٰجِدِينَthose who prostrated.
قَالَHe said,
يَـٰٓإِبْلِيسُ"O Iblis!
لَكَ(is) for you
أَلَّاthat not
تَكُونَyou are
ٱلسَّـٰجِدِينَthose who prostrated?"
قَالَHe said,
لَمْ أَكُن"I am not
لِّأَسْجُدَ(one) to prostrate
لِبَشَرٍto a human
خَلَقْتَهُۥwhom You created,
مِن(out) of
حَمَإٍblack mud
قَالَHe said,
فَٱخْرُجْ"Then get out
مِنْهَاof it,
فَإِنَّكَfor indeed, you
رَجِيمٌ(are) expelled.
وَإِنَّAnd indeed,
عَلَيْكَupon you
ٱللَّعْنَةَ(will be) the curse
يَوْمِ(the) Day
ٱلدِّينِ(of) [the] Judgment."
قَالَHe said,
رَبِّ"O my Lord!
فَأَنظِرْنِىٓThen give me respite
يَوْمِ(the) Day
يُبْعَثُونَthey are raised."
قَالَHe said,
فَإِنَّكَ"Then indeed you,
مِنَ(are) of
ٱلْمُنظَرِينَthe ones given respite.
يَوْمِthe Day
ٱلْوَقْتِ(of) the time
قَالَHe said,
رَبِّ"My Lord!
أَغْوَيْتَنِىYou misled me,
لَأُزَيِّنَنَّsurely, I will make (evil) fair-seeming
لَهُمْto them
ٱلْأَرْضِthe earth
وَلَأُغْوِيَنَّهُمْand I will mislead them
عِبَادَكَYour slaves
مِنْهُمُamong them
ٱلْمُخْلَصِينَthe ones who are sincere."
قَالَHe said,
صِرَٲطٌ(is) the way
عَلَىَّto Me
عِبَادِىMy slaves,
لَكَyou have
عَلَيْهِمْover them
سُلْطَـٰنٌany authority,
مَنِthose who
ٱتَّبَعَكَfollow you,
ٱلْغَاوِينَthe ones who go astray."
وَإِنَّAnd indeed,
لَمَوْعِدُهُمْ(is) surely the promised place for them

وَلَـقَدۡ خَلَقۡنَا الۡاِنۡسَانَ مِنۡ صَلۡصَالٍ مِّنۡ حَمَاٍ مَّسۡنُوۡنٍ​ۚ‏   وَالۡجَـآنَّ خَلَقۡنٰهُ مِنۡ قَبۡلُ مِنۡ نَّارِ السَّمُوۡمِ‏  وَاِذۡ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلۡمَلٰۤـئِكَةِ اِنِّىۡ خَالـِقٌۢ بَشَرًا مِّنۡ صَلۡصَالٍ مِّنۡ حَمَاٍ مَّسۡنُوۡنٍ‏  فَاِذَا سَوَّيۡتُهٗ وَنَفَخۡتُ فِيۡهِ مِنۡ رُّوۡحِىۡ فَقَعُوۡا لَهٗ سٰجِدِيۡنَ‏   فَسَجَدَ الۡمَلٰۤـئِكَةُ كُلُّهُمۡ اَجۡمَعُوۡنَۙ‏  اِلَّاۤ اِبۡلِيۡسَؕ اَبٰٓى اَنۡ يَّكُوۡنَ مَعَ السّٰجِدِيۡنَ‏  قَالَ يٰۤاِبۡلِيۡسُ مَا لَـكَ اَلَّا تَكُوۡنَ مَعَ السّٰجِدِيۡنَ‏  قَالَ لَمۡ اَكُنۡ لِّاَسۡجُدَ لِبَشَرٍ خَلَقۡتَهٗ مِنۡ صَلۡصَالٍ مِّنۡ حَمَاٍ مَّسۡنُوۡنٍ‏  قَالَ فَاخۡرُجۡ مِنۡهَا فَاِنَّكَ رَجِيۡمٌۙ‏  وَّاِنَّ عَلَيۡكَ اللَّعۡنَةَ اِلٰى يَوۡمِ الدِّيۡنِ‏  قَالَ رَبِّ فَاَنۡظِرۡنِىۡۤ اِلٰى يَوۡمِ يُبۡعَثُوۡنَ‏  قَالَ فَاِنَّكَ مِنَ الۡمُنۡظَرِيۡنَۙ‏  اِلٰى يَوۡمِ الۡوَقۡتِ الۡمَعۡلُوۡمِ‏  قَالَ رَبِّ بِمَاۤ اَغۡوَيۡتَنِىۡ لَاُزَيِّنَنَّ لَهُمۡ فِى الۡاَرۡضِ وَلَاُغۡوِيَـنَّهُمۡ اَجۡمَعِيۡنَۙ‏  اِلَّا عِبَادَكَ مِنۡهُمُ الۡمُخۡلَصِيۡنَ‏  قَالَ هٰذَا صِرَاطٌ عَلَىَّ مُسۡتَقِيۡمٌ‏  اِنَّ عِبَادِىۡ لَـيۡسَ لَكَ عَلَيۡهِمۡ سُلۡطٰنٌ اِلَّا مَنِ اتَّبَـعَكَ مِنَ الۡغٰوِيۡنَ‏  وَاِنَّ جَهَـنَّمَ لَمَوۡعِدُهُمۡ اَجۡمَعِيۡنَۙ‏ 
(15:26) Surely We brought man into being out of dry ringing clay which was wrought from black mud,17 (15:27) while We had brought the jinn into being before out of blazing fire.18 (15:28) Recall when your Lord said to the angels: "I will indeed bring into being a human being out of dry ringing clay wrought from black mud. (15:29) When I have completed shaping him and have breathed into him of My Spirit,19 then fall you down before him in prostration." (15:30) So, the angels - all of them - fell down in prostration,20 (15:31) except Iblis; he refused to join those who prostrated. (15:32) The Lord inquired: "Iblis! What is the matter with you that you did not join those who prostrated?" (15:33) He said: "It does not behove of me to prostrate myself before a human being whom You have created out of dry ringing clay wrought from black mud." (15:34) The Lord said: "Then get out of here; you are rejected, (15:35) and there shall be a curse upon you till the Day of Recompense."21 (15:36) Iblis said: "My Lord! Grant me respite till the Day when they will be resurrected." (15:37) Allah said: "For sure you are granted respite (15:38) until the day of a known time." (15:39) Iblis said: "My Lord! In the manner You led me to error, I will make things on earth seem attractive to them22 and lead all of them to error, (15:40) except those of Your servants whom You have singled out for Yourself." (15:41) Allah said: "Here is the path that leads straight to Me.23 (15:42) Over My true servants you will be able to exercise no power, your power will be confined to the erring ones, those who choose to follow you.24 (15:43) Surely Hell is the promised place for all of them."25

17. The Arabic word salsal means the dried clay which produces a sound like pottery.

Hams is the black mud which has become so rotten as to be in a fermented state.

Masnun has a double meaning: (a) rotten clay which has become greasy, (b) clay which has been molded into a shape. It is clear from the wording of the text that at first the image of man was made of clay from rotten earth and when it dried up, soul was breathed into it. Thus the Quran positively refutes the Darwinian theory of evolution that man came into existence after passing through continuous genetic adaptations. It will, therefore, be a futile attempt, as some modernized commentators have done, to prove that theory from the Quran.

18. As samum is not wind, nar-i-samum will mean flame of intense heat and not of fire. This is the explanation of those passages in which it has been stated that jinns have been created from fire.

19. “And have breathed into him of My Spirit” means when I have cast a reflection of My divine characteristics on him. This shows that the soul of man implies life, knowledge, power, will, discretion and other human characteristics in the aggregate. These are in reality a slight reflection of divine characteristics that has been cast on the human body, which was originally created from dried clay. And it is this divine reflection on the human body which has raised him to the position of the vicegerent of Allah and made him that worthy being before whom angels and every earthly thing should bow down.

As a matter of fact, the source of each characteristic of everything is one divine characteristic or the other, as is borne by a tradition: Allah divided mercy into one hundred parts: then He reserved ninety-nine parts for Himself and sent down the remaining one part to the earth. It is because of that one part that the creatures show mercy to one another. So much so that it is due to this that an animal refrains from placing the hoof on its young ones.

In this connection one has to be on strict guard against the notion that the possession of a part of any divine characteristic amounts to the possession of a part of Godhead. This is because Godhead is absolutely beyond the reach of each and every creation.

20. Please compare this passage (Ayats 30-43) with (Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayats 30-39); (Surah An-Nisa, Ayats 117-120); and (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayats 11-25) and also refer to E.Ns appended to these Ayats.

21. That is, you shall remain accursed up to the Resurrection. Then you shall be punished for your disobedience on the Day of Judgment.

22. That is, thou hast beguiled me by commanding me to bow down before a creature who is inferior to me: for it is obvious that I could not obey such an order. Therefore, I will now beguile them and disobey Thee. In other words, Iblis meant to say: I will make the worldly life, its enjoyments and its transitory benefits so alluring for man that he will forget the responsibilities of the vicegerent of Allah, and that he shall have to render his account in the Hereafter. They will also forget Thee and will disobey Thee, even though they would profess to remember Thee.

23. This (verse 41) may have another meaning: This is the right thing: I also will stick to this.

24. This (verse 42) also may have another meaning: You will have no power over My servants (common people) to force them to disobey Me. However, We will give freedom of action to those who will willingly or deliberately follow you, and we will not forcibly prevent them from your way, if they intended to follow you.

According to the first rendering, these verses will mean this: The way followed by My sincere servants is the only straight way to reach Me. Satan will have no power over those people who follow it, for I will choose them to be My own servants. Satan himself admitted that he will not be able to entice them. On the contrary, he will succeed in beguiling those people who themselves will deviate from the way of obedience. They will then wander farther and farther away following his temptations and allurements.

According to the second meaning, the passage will mean this: When Satan challenged that he would beguile people from the way of Allah by making this worldly life very tempting to them, Allah accepted his challenge but made it clear to him that he was being allowed only to beguile people with temptation, but was not being given any power to force them to deviate from the right way. At this, Satan clarified that his challenge did not apply to those people whom Allah will choose for Himself. As this exception might have led to a misunderstanding that Allah may choose any people for Himself to keep them safe and secure from the reach of Satan, Allah clarified it, saying: Only that person will follow you, who himself will deviate from the right way. As a corollary to this, that person, who will not deviate from the right way will not follow you, and will, thus become Our servant, whom We will choose for Ourself.

25. In order to comprehend the purpose for which the story of Prophet Adam and Satan has been related here, we should keep in mind the context in which this has occurred. In the preceding (verses 1-25), it has been stated that the disbelievers were following the ways of deviation that would lead them to perdition. This story has been related to warn them that the ways they were following were the ways of Satan, their eternal enemy, so as to say: You should realize the consequences of following Satan, who has enticed you in this snare, and is leading you to the lowest depths of degradation because of this enmity and envy. In contrast to this, Our Prophet is doing his utmost to free you from his snare and lead you to the height of success, which as a man you should desire to achieve. But it is a pity that you are regarding your enemy (Satan) as your friend, and your friend (Our Prophet) as your enemy.

Secondly, the story also makes quite clear to them this thing:

There is only one way of salvation and that is the way of obedience to Allah. If you discard this way, every other way will be a way of Satan which will take you directly to Hell. Then this story is meant to bring home to them this fact: You yourselves are responsible for your wrong deeds and not Satan; for, the most he can do is to beguile you from the obedience of Allah and hold temptations before you. It is, therefore, your own concern and responsibility to be beguiled or not to be beguiled by Satan.