1. The Arabic word tabaraka is very comprehensive, and cannot be understood fully and completely by “blessed”, not even by a sentence. However, its meanings may be grasped by keeping in view the remaining portion of (verses 1-2). Here it has been used to convey the following meanings:
(1) He is the most Beneficent: that is why He has bestowed the great blessing of Al-Furqan by degrees on His servant so that he may admonish all mankind.
(2) He is the most Exalted and Great: for the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth belongs to Him.
(3) He is the most Holy, Pure and Perfect: He is free from every tinge of shirk and has neither a partner in His Godhead, nor needs a son to succeed Him; for He is Ever- Lasting.
(4) He is the Highest and the Most Supreme in rank: the Kingdom and the Dominion wholly and solely belong to Him, and there is none who has any share in His Authority and Powers.
2. Al-Furqan: The Criterion. The Quran has been called Al-Furqan because it is the Criterion for judging right and wrong virtue and vice, truth and falsehood.
3. The word nazzala implies revelation of the Quran piecemeal by degrees. The wisdom of this introductory remark will be explained in the study of verse 32, where the objection of the disbelievers of Makkah as to why the Quran has not been sent down all at once, has been dealt with.
4. “Warner to all mankind”: To warn all mankind of the evil consequences of their heedlessness and deviation. The warner may be Al-Furqan or the Prophet (peace be upon him) to whom it was revealed. In fact, both were the warners because they were both sent for one and the same purpose. The message of the Quran and Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) were not meant for any particular country but for the whole world; and not for their own time, but for all times to come. This has been stated at several places in the Quran. For instance: O Muhammad, say, O mankind, I am a Messenger to all of you from Allah (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayat 158). And this Quran has been revealed to me so that I should thereby warn you all and to whom it may reach. (Surah Al Anaam, Ayat 19). We have sent you only as a bearer of good news and as a warner to all mankind. (Surah Saba, Ayat 28). We have sent you as a mercy to all mankind. (Surah Al Anbiya, Ayat 107). The Prophet (peace be upon him) himself has stated this clearly in the Hadith. For instance, he said: I have been sent to all men, the red and the black. Before me a Prophet was sent only to his own people, but 1 have been sent to all mankind. (Bukhari, Muslim). I have been sent to all mankind, and I am the last of the Prophets. (Muslim).
5. “To Him belongs the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth.” That is, He alone has an exclusive right to it, and no one else has any right to it nor any share in it.
6. That is, He has neither any relation of direct parenthood to anyone, nor has He taken anyone as a son. Therefore, none else in the universe is entitled to worship. He is Unique and there can be no partner in His Godhead. Thus all those who associate with Him angels or jinns or saints as His offspring, are ignorant. Likewise, those who believe that someone is His son, are also ignorant. They have no true conception of the Greatness of Allah and consider Him to be weak and needy like human beings, who require someone to become their inheritor. It is sheer ignorance and folly. For further details, see (E.Ns 66 to 68 of Surah Younus).
7. The Arabic word mulk means Sovereignty, Supreme Authority, and Kingship. Thus the sentence will mean: Allah is the Absolute Ruler of the whole universe and there is none other who may have any right to authority; therefore He alone is God. For, whenever a man takes anything else as his lord, he does so under the presumption that his deity has the power to do good or bring harm and make or mar his fortune; nobody will like to worship a powerless deity. Now when it is recognized that none but Allah has the real power and authority in the universe, nobody will bow before anyone other than Him in worship, nor will sing anybody else’s hymns, nor commit the folly of bowing in worship before anything else except his real God, or recognize any other as his ruler, because “To Allah belongs the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth and to Him alone.”
8. There may be other translations of this also: He has ordained it in due proportion; or He has appointed an exact measure for everything. But no translation can convey its real meaning, which is: Allah has not only created everything in the universe but also determined its shape, size, potentialities, characteristics, term of existence, the limitations and extent of its development and all other things concerning it. Then, He has created the means and provisions to enable it to function properly in its own separate sphere.
This is one of the most comprehensive verses of the Quran with regard to the doctrine of Tauhid. According to traditions, the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself taught this verse to every child of his family as soon as it was able to speak and utter a few words. Thus, this verse is the best means of impressing the doctrine of Tauhid on our minds, and every Muslim should use it for educating his children as soon as they develop understanding.
9. The words are comprehensive and cover all the false gods whom the mushriks worship whether they are angels, jinns, Prophets, saints, the sun, the moon, the stars, trees, rivers, animals etc., which have been created by Allah, or those which have been created by man, as the idols of stone, wood, etc.
10. That is, Allah has sent down Al-Furqan on His servant so that he may invite the people to the truth, which they have forsaken due to heedlessness and waywardness, and warn them of the evil consequences of their folly. The Furqan is being revealed piecemeal so that he may distinguish right from wrong and the genuine from the counterfeit.
11. Another translation may be: a great injustice.
12. This is the same objection which the modern orientalists have raised against the Quran, but strange as it may seem, no contemporary of the Prophet (peace be upon him) ever raised such an objection against him. Nobody, for instance, ever said that Muhammad (peace be upon him) as a boy had met Buhairah, the monk, and had attained religious knowledge from him, nor did anybody claim that he had obtained all that information from the Christian monks and Jewish rabbis during the trade journeys in his youth. In fact, they knew that he had never traveled alone but in the caravans and if they said such a thing, it would be refuted by hundreds of their own people from the city.
Then, one could ask, if he had gained all that knowledge from Buhairah when he was about 12, and during trade journeys when he was 25, why did he keep it secret from the people till he became 40? Whereas he did not leave his country even for a single day, but lived for years among his own people in the same city. That is why the people of Makkah dared not bring such an impudent and baseless charge against him. Their objections related to the time when he claimed to be a Prophet (peace be upon him) of Allah and not to the time preceding that claim. Their argument was like this: This man is illiterate and cannot obtain any knowledge through books. He has lived among us for forty years, but we have never heard from him anything that might have shown that he had any acquaintance with what he is preaching; therefore he must have had the help of other people who copied these things from the writings of the ancients for him: he learns these things from them and recites them as divine revelations: this is a fraud. So much so that according to some traditions, they named some of his helpers, who were the people of the Book, were illiterate and lived in Makkah. They were: (1) Addas, a freed slave of Huvaitib bin Abdul Uzza. (2) Yasar, a freed slave of Ala bin Al Hadrami. (3) Jabr, a freed slave of Amir bin Rabbiah.
Apparently this is a weighty argument. For there can be no greater proof of the fraud of Prophethood than to specify its source. But it looks strange that no argument has been put forward to refute this charge except a mere denial, as if to say: Your charge is an impudent lie: you are cruel and unjust to bring such a false charge against Our Messenger; for the Quran is the Word of Allah Who knows all the secrets in the heavens and the earth. Had their charge been based on facts, it would not have been rejected with contempt, for in that case the disbelievers would have demanded a detailed and clear answer. But they realized the strength of the arguments and did not make such a demand. Moreover, the fact that the weighty argument failed to produce any doubt in the minds of the new Muslims, was a clear proof that it was a lie.
The enigma is clearly explained if we keep in view the prevalent circumstances.
(1) The disbelievers of Makkah did not take any decisive steps to prove their charge, although they could, had there been any truth in their charge. For instance, they could have made raids on the houses of the alleged helpers and on the house of the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself and taken hold of the whole material which was being used in this fraud, and made it public to expose his Prophethood. And this was not difficult for them because they never hesitated to resort to anything to defeat him, including persecution, as they were not bound by any moral code.
(2) The alleged helpers were not strangers. As they lived in Makkah, everyone knew it well how learned they were. The disbelievers themselves knew that they could never have helped to produce a unique and sublime Book like the Quran which had the highest literary excellence and merit. That is why none of them challenged the answer to the charge. That is why even those people, who did not know them, considered this frivolous. Then if the alleged helpers were such geniuses, why did they not claim to be prophets themselves?
(3) Then, all the alleged helpers were freed slaves who were attached to their former masters even after their freedom according to the customs of Arabia; therefore they could not have become willing accomplices of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in this fraud of false prophethood because their former masters could have coerced them to expose it. The only reason for them to help the Prophet (peace be upon him) in his claim could have been some greed or interest which, under the circumstances, could not even be imagined. Thus, apparently there was no reason why they should have offended those whose protection and patronage they needed and enjoyed, and become accomplices in the fraud.
(4) Above all, all these alleged helpers embraced Islam. Could it be possible that those very persons, who had helped the Prophet (peace be upon him) to make his fraud successful, could have possibly become his devoted followers? Moreover, if, for the sake of argument, it be admitted that they helped him, why was not any of them raised to a prominent rank as a reward of his help? Why were not Addas and Yasar and Jabr exalted to the same status as were Abu Bakr and Umar and Abu Ubaidah? Another odd thing is that if the fraud of prophethood was being carried on with the help of the alleged helpers, how could it remain hidden from Zaid bin Harithah, Ali bin Abi Talib, Abu Bakr and other people, who were the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) closest and most devoted companions? Thus the charge was not only frivolous and false, but it was also below the dignity of the Quran to give any answer to it. The charge has been cited merely to prove that those people had been so blinded by their opposition to the truth that they could say anything.
13. “He is All Forgiving and All Merciful” is very meaningful here. It means that Allah is giving full respite to the enemies of the truth, for He is Forgiving and Merciful; otherwise He would have sent down a scourge to annihilate them because of the false charges they were bringing against the Messenger. It also contains an admonition, as if to say: O unjust people, if even now you give up your enmity and obduracy and accept the truth, We shall forgive your previous misdeeds.
14. That is, he cannot be a Messenger of Allah because he is a human being like us. Had Allah willed to send a Messenger, He would have sent an angel, and if at all a human being was to be sent, he should have been a king or a millionaire, who would have resided in a castle and been guarded by attendants. A Messenger could not be an ordinary person who has to move about in the market places like the common people, for it is obvious that such a human Messenger cannot attract the attention of the people. In other words, they thought that a Messenger was not meant to guide the people to the right path but to coerce them to obedience by show of worldly power and grandeur. For details, see (E.N. 26 of Surah Al-Mominoon).
15. That is, if a human being was to be sent as a Messenger, an angel should have been appointed to accompany him to proclaim: If you do not believe in him, I will scourge you. But what kind of a Messenger is he, who has to suffer from abuse and persecution?
16. That is, if nothing else, Allah should at least have made extraordinary arrangements for his livelihood. But this man has no treasure and no gardens; yet he claims to be a Messenger of the Lord of the universe.
17. The disbelievers of Makkah made the false propaganda against the Prophet (peace be upon him) that he had been bewitched by some jinn or by the sorcery of an enemy or by the curse of some god or goddess for his insolence. But it is strange that they also admitted that he was a clever man who could make use of extracts from the ancient writings for the sake of his prophethood, could practice sorcery and was also a poet.
18. As these objections were frivolous and meaningless like others, the Quran has ignored them, saying: Your objections are irrelevant, unreasonable and void of sense. You bring no sound argument to prove your doctrine of shirk, or to refute the doctrine of Tauhid put forward by him, whereas the Messenger gives such proofs of the doctrine of Tauhid that you cannot refute them except by saying: He is bewitched. The same is true of the doctrine of the life-after-death and of the moral system of the Quran, which has produced men of high character. You cannot deny these things; you reject them, saying, He is a human being like us, etc.