1. Kitabim-mubin has three meanings: (1) This book presents its teachings and instructions and injunctions plainly; (2) It distinguishes between the truth and falsehood clearly; and (3) Its being a divine Book is obvious. Whoever studies it with open eyes will realize that it has not been composed and forged by the Prophet (peace be upon him).
2. That is, the verses themselves are a “guidance” and “good tidings”, because they give guidance and convey good news in a most excellent manner.
3. That is, these verses of the Quran give guidance and convey the good news of a good end only to those people who possess these two qualities: (1) They should affirm faith, that is, accept the invitation of the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), believe in One God as their only Deity and Lord, accept the Quran as the Book of Allah, acknowledge the Prophet (peace be upon him) as a true prophet and their leader, and also adopt the belief that after this life there is another life, in which man has to render his full account of deeds and be rewarded or punished accordingly. (2) They should not only profess faith verbally, but should also be inclined to follow and obey the divine commands practically, and the first indication of this inclination is that they should establish the Salat and pay the Zakat. The verses of the Quran will show the right way of life only to those people who fulfill these two conditions; they will explain to them the difference between the right and the wrong at every stage on the way, protect them against the wrong ways at every turn of the way, and bless them with the satisfaction that whatever be the consequences of following the right way in the world. In the Hereafter, they will certainly attain the eternal and everlasting success and the good will of Allah only through it. For, in order to derive full benefit from the teaching of a teacher, one has first to have faith in him, then accept to be his student, and then work according to his instructions. Similarly, a patient who wants to be benefited by a doctor has first to accept him as a physician, and then follow his instructions with regard to medical dosage, prevention, etc. Then only he can assure the patient of the desired results.
Some people have interpreted the words yutun-az-zakat in this verse to mean that they should adopt moral purity. But, wherever in the Quran the word ita-i-zakat has occurred along with the word iqamat-i-salat, it means payment of the Zakat, which is the second pillar of Islam after the Salat. Moreover, the Quran has used the word tazakka for adopting piety and purity and not ita which is specifically used for the payment of the Zakat. In fact, what is meant to be impressed here is this: In order to benefit fully by the guidance of the Quran, it is imperative that one should adopt the attitude of submission and obedience in practical life, as well after the affirmation of the faith, and the establishment of the Salat and the payment of the Zakat is the first indication that one has actually adopted such an attitude. If there is no such indication, it will become obvious that one is rebellious: he might have acknowledged a ruler as such, but he is not inclined to carry out his commands.
4. Although belief in the Hereafter is an article of the faith, and a believer will also believe in it along with believing in Tauhid and the prophethood, here it has been specially mentioned separately in order to bring out its unique importance. The object is to impress that for those people who do not believe in the Hereafter, it is impossible to follow, even tread, the way taught by the Quran. For the people of this way of thinking naturally determine their criterion of good and evil by the results that appear, in this world. For them it is not possible to accept any admonition or guidance which seeks to determine the good and evil by the criterion of the gain and loss in the Hereafter. Such people in the first instance do not at all heed the teachings of the prophets, but if for some reason, they also get included among the believers, they find it difficult to take even the initial steps on the way of the faith and Islam because of the lack of faith in the Hereafter. For, as soon as they will encounter the first situation where the demands of the worldly gains and the losses of the Hereafter will pull them in opposite directions, they will freely allow themselves to be pulled towards the worldly gains without caring in the least for the losses of the Hereafter, even though they may be making all sort of claims to be the believers.
5. That is, this is God’s law of nature and the natural logic of human psychology that when man thinks that the results of his life’s struggle are confined to this world only when he does not believe in the existence of any court where his life's work has to be scrutinized and judged finally for good and evil, and when he does not believe in any life in Hereafter when he will be requited strictly in accordance with the real worth of his life’s deeds, he will inevitably develop in himself a material outlook on life, and every kind of conflict between the truth and falsehood, good and evil, morality and immorality, will appear utterly meaningless to him. Then, whatever earns him pleasure and enjoyment, material progress and prosperity, power and authority, will be the good for him, no matter it be any philosophy of life, any way of life and any system of morality. He will have no concern for truth and reality. His real ambition will be to win successes and earn adornments only of this worldly life, and their pursuit will lead him astray into every valley. Then, whatever he does with this object in view will be a thing of beauty for him, and he will regard all those others as foolish, who are not absorbed like him in seeking the world, and doing anything and everything without any moral qualm and inhibition.
6. Nothing definite has been said about the form, time and place of this “worst of punishment.” For it is imposed in this world also on different persons and groups and nations in countless different ways; a part of it is also experienced by the wicked when they are about to leave the world; man experiences it also in the intermediary state between death and resurrection; and then after resurrection it will become endless and everlasting.
7. That is, the things being mentioned in the Quran are not imaginary, nor are they based on the presumptions and opinions of a man, but they are being revealed by the One Who is All-Wise and All-Knowing, Who is perfect in Wisdom and Knowledge, Who has full knowledge of the affairs of His creation and of its past and present and future, and Whose Wisdom devises the best schemes for the reform and guidance of His servants.
8. This happened at the foot of Mount Tur when the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) was traveling along with his family in search of a suitable place for settlement, after passing eight to ten years in Madyan (Midian). From Madyan, whose territory lay on both sides of the Gulf of Aqabah, on the sea-shores of Arabia and the Sinai Peninsula, he reached the place called Mt. Sinai and Jabal Musa in the southern part of the Peninsula, which at the time of the revelation of the Quran was well known as Tur. See (Ash-Shuara, E.N. 115). The details of this story have been given in (Surah Ta Ha: Ayats 9-24), and in (Surah Al- Qasas: Ayats 29-36).
9. The context shows that it was a cold wintry night and the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) was passing through unfamiliar land. Therefore, he said to his family, “Let me go and find out what habitation it is where a fire is alight, and get some information about the traveling routes and the nearby habitations. I shall at least bring a few embers for you to light a fire and warm yourselves.”
The place where the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) had seen a burning bush is situated at about 5,000 ft. above sea level at the foot of Mt. Tur. Constantine, the first Christian Emperor of the Roman Empire, had a church built in about 365 A.D. right at the spot where this event had occurred. Two hundred years later Emperor Justinian had a monastery built which included the church built by Constantine as well. Both the monastery and the church stand even today and are under the control of the monks of the Greek Orthodox Church.
10. According to (Al-Qasas: Ayat 30), the voice was calling out from a tree. What one understands from this is this: A sort of a fire was alight on the ground on the edge of the valley, but neither was anything burning nor any smoke arising. In the midst of the fire there stood a lush green tree from which a voice started calling out this all of a sudden.
This is a strange thing which the prophets of Allah have been experiencing. When the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was first blessed with prophethood, an angel appeared before him in the solitude of the cave of Hira and started delivering Allah’s message. A similar thing happened with the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) also. A journeying person has halted at a place, sees a fire at a distance, approaches it in order to get some information abort the route, or to pick a burning ember, and suddenly Allah, Lord of the Worlds, the Infinite, the Inconceivable Being, starts speaking to him. On such occasions, there exists externally as well as within the Prophets’ own selves an extraordinary state which fills them with the assurance that it is not a jinn or a satan or an illusion of their own mind, nor are their senses being deceived, but it is the Lord of the universe, or His Angel, who is speaking to them. (See (E.N. 10 of Surah An-Najm).
11. Here the use of the words Subhan-Allah (glorified is Allah) is meant to warn the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) to this effect: “You should never think that Allah, Lord of the universe, is sitting in the tree, or has entered into it, or that His absolute Light has concentrated itself into the limited sphere of your sight, or some tongue is functioning in some mouth to produce speech, but it is Allah, Who is Pure and Free from all such limitations, Who is Himself speaking to you.”
12. In Surahs Al-Aaraf and Ash-Shuara, the snake has been called thuban (a large serpent) but here jaann, a small snake. The reason is that in physical size it was a serpent but in movement it was swift like a small snake. The same thing has been expressed by hayyatun tasaa (a running snake) in (Surah Ta Ha: Ayat 20).
13. That is, “In My presence there is no danger of any harm to the messenger. When I call someone into My presence to appoint him to the high office of prophethood, I Myself become responsible for his safety. Therefore, the messenger should remain fearless and confident in every kind of unusual situation: it will never harm or hurt him in any way.”
14. This exception can be contiguous as well as remote. In the first case it will imply that there can be a genuine cause of fear if the messenger has committed an offense; in the second case it will mean: “None should have any cause of fear in My presence, unless, of course, someone has committed an offense.”
15. That is, “If even an offender repents and reforms himself and does good instead of evil, I will pardon him.” This implied both a warning and a good news. The Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) had killed a Copt inadvertently and fled from Egypt. This was an offense to which a subtle reference was made. When this offense was committed unintentionally by the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him), he had immediately offered repentance to Allah, saying, “O my Lord! I have sinned against myself, so forgive me.” So, “Allah forgave him” there and then. (Surah Al-Qasas: Ayat 16). Here the good news of the same forgiveness has been given to him, as if to say, “O Moses, there could be a genuine cause for you to feel afraid in My presence, because you had committed an offense, but when you have changed the evil into good, I have nothing but forgiveness and mercy for you. I have not called you here at this time to punish you, but I am going to send you on a great mission with wonderful miracles.”
16. According to (Surah Bani-Israil: Ayat 101), the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) had been granted nine clearly visible signs, which according to the details given in Surah Al-Aaraf were the following: (1) The staff’s turning into a serpent, (2) the shining hand when it was drawn out of the armpit, (3) public triumph over the magicians, (4) occurrence of a widespread famine in the land as foretold by the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him), (5) the storm, (6) the locusts, (7) the incidence of weevils in the grain stores and of lice among human beings and animals, (8) the frogs, and (9) the rain of blood. (See (E.N. 43 of Surah Az- Zukhruf).
17. As mentioned at other places in the Quran, whenever a plague befell Egypt as foretold by the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him), Pharaoh would say, “O Moses, pray to your Lord to remove this plague; then we shall submit to what you say.” But as soon as the plague was removed, Pharaoh would break his promise. (Surah Al-Aaraf: Ayat 134), ( Az- Zukhruf: Ayats 49-50). The Bible also has mentioned it (Exodus. 8 to 10). It could not be imagined that the occurrence of a famine throughout the country, and the coming of a violent storm, and the incidence of the locusts and the frogs and the weevils in such abundance could be due to any trick of magic. The miracles were so manifest that even a simple minded person could not help but realize that the occurrence of the plagues on such a large scale and their removal at the Prophet’s prayer could be only due to Allah, Lord of all Creation’s Power and Authority. That is why the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) had told Pharaoh plainly: “You know it full well that none but the Lord of the heavens and the earth has sent down these signs.” (Surah Bani-lsrail: Ayat 102). But the reason why Pharaoh and his chiefs rejected Moses (peace be upon him) knowingly was: “What! should we believe in these two men who are human beings like ourselves and whose people are our bondsmen?” (Surah Al-Muminun: Ayat 47).