36. That is, they have no share in My mercy, and they should entertain no hope whatsoever of getting any share of My mercy. When they denied the revelations of Allah, they themselves gave up their right to benefit by the promises Allah has made to the believers. Then, when they have denied the Hereafter and do not at all believe that one day they will have to stand before their God, it only means that they cherish no hope at all of Allah’s pardon and forgiveness. After this when they will open their eyes in the- Hereafter, against their expectations, and will also see the truth of those signs of Allah, which they had denied, there is no reason why they should expect to receive any share from Allah’s mercy.
37. From here the discourse again turns to the story of the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him).
38. That is, they had no answer to the Prophet Abraham’s (peace be upon him) rational arguments. The only answer they gave was: “Cut off the tongue that talks the truth and let not the person live who points out our error and tells us to give it up.” The words, “Kill him or burn him”, indicate that the whole crowd was unanimous that the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) should be put to death. However, they differed about the method. Some said that he should be killed, and others said that he should be burnt alive, so that no one in future should dare say the sort of the thing he said.
39. This sentence by itself shows that they had at last decided to burn the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) and he was cast into the fire. Here it has only been said that Allah saved him from the fire; but in Surah Al-Anbiyaa it has been elucidated that Allah commanded: “O fire! Be cool and become safe for Abraham!” (Ayat 69). Evidently, if he was not at all cast into the fire, the command to the fire to become cool and safe would be meaningless. This proves that properties of all things are dependent on Allah’s command and whenever He pleases He can change the property of anything He likes. Normally fire burns and every combustible thing catches fire. But this property of the fire is not of its own acquisition but given by God. And this property has in no way tied up God that He may give no command against it. He is the Master of this fire. He can command it at any time to give up the property of burning. At any time, He can turn a furnace into a bed of roses. But events contrary to the course of nature occur only rarely to serve some great purpose or cause. However, the usual phenomena to which we are accustomed in our daily lives cannot be made an argument to say that Allah’s power has been tied up with these, and nothing unusual can take place even by Allah’s command.
40. “Indeed, in that are sure signs for a people who believe”. Signs for the believers in this that the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) did not follow the religion of his family, community and country but followed the true knowledge through which he came to know that shirk is falsehood and Tauhid is the reality. And that he went on exhorting his people to accept the truth and to desist from falsehood in spite of their stubbornness and prejudices. And that he was even prepared to suffer the horrible punishment by the fire, but was not prepared to give up the truth. And that Allah did not even spare the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him), His friend, from the trials and tests. And that when the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) got successfully through the tests set by Allah, then did come Allah’s succor, and in such a miraculous way that the bonfire was turned cool for him.
41. The Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) must have said this after his safe deliverance from the fire.
42. That is, you have built up your collective life on the foundation of idol worship instead of God worship. This can keep you bound together as a nation only to the extent of mundane life. For here in this world people can get together around any creed, true or false. Any kind of agreement and concord on any belief, however wrong and ill conceived, can become a means of the establishment of mutual friendships, kinships, brotherhoods, and all other religious, social, cultural, economic and political relationships.
43. That is, the collective life that you have built on the false creed in the world cannot endure in the Hereafter. Only those relationships of love and friendship and cooperation and kinship and mutual regard and esteem will endure there, which have been based on the worship of One God and virtue and piety in the world. All relationships founded on disbelief and shirk and deviation will be severed, and all kinds of love will change into enmity and hatred. The son and the father, the husband and the wife, the saint and the disciple, all will curse each other, and each will blame his deviation on the other, and will say, “This wicked person led me astray: he should be given a double punishment.” This thing has been stated at several places in the Quran. For example, in Surah Az-Zukhruf, it has been said: “Friends on that Day shall become enemies of one another, except the righteous,” (Ayat 67). In Surah Al- Aaraf: “As each generation will be entering Hell, it will curse its preceding generation till all generations shall be gathered together there: then each succeeding generation will say regarding the preceding one; O Lord, these were the people who led us astray; therefore, give them a double chastisement of the Fire,” (Ayat 38). And in Surah Al- Ahzab: “And they will say; Our Lord, we obeyed our chiefs and our great men, and they led us astray from the right path. Lord, give them a doable chastisement and curse them severely,” (Ayats. 67-68).
44. The context shows that when the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) came out of the fire and spoke the preceding sentences, only Prophet Lot (peace be upon him) from the entire crowd came forward to proclaim his belief and adopt his obedience. It is just possible that many other people also on this occasion might have been convinced of the Prophet Abraham’s (peace be upon him) being a true prophet, but in view of the violent reaction that had been shown openly by the entire community and the government against Abraham’s faith, no one else could muster up courage to affirm faith in such a dangerous truth and follow it. This good fortune fell to the lot of only one man, the Prophet Lot (peace be upon him), the nephew of the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him), who at last accompanied his uncle and aunt Sarah in their migration also.
Here, the question may arise: Was the Prophet Lot (peace be upon him) a disbeliever and a mushrik before this, and did he believe only after witnessing the miracle of the Prophet Abraham's (peace be upon him) emerging safe and sound from the fire? If it is so, can a person who has been a mushrik be appointed to prophethood? The answer is this: Here the Quran has used the words fa-amana la-hu Lut, which do not necessarily imply that the Prophet Lot (peace be upon him) disbelieved in God before this, or associated other deities with Him. They only show that after this he confirmed the Prophethood of the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him), and adopted his obedience. Possibly the Prophet Lot (peace be upon him) was a young boy then and this might be the first very occasion when he became acquainted with the teachings of his uncle and his prophethood.
45. That is, “I shall leave my country for the sake of my Lord and go wherever my Lord may take me.”
46. That is, “He possesses the power to help and protect me, and whatever He decides for me will be based on wisdom.”
47. The Prophet Isaac (peace be upon him) was his son and the Prophet Jacob (peace be upon him) was the grandson. The other sons of the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) have not been mentioned here, because from his Midianite descendants only the Prophet Shuaib (peace be upon him) was appointed a Prophet, and no Prophet was born among his Ishmaelite descendants for 2500 years or so till our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Contrary to this, the descendants of the Prophet Isaac (peace be upon him) continued to be blessed with the prophethood and the Book till the Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him).
48. This covers all the Prophets who were raised from all the branches of the Prophet Abraham’s (peace be upon him) progeny.
49. What is meant to be said is this: The rulers and the learned men and the priests of Babylon who tried to defeat the mission of the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) and the polytheistic people who had followed their wicked chiefs blindly, have since been blotted out and no trace of them is to be found anywhere in the world, but the person whom they had wanted to annihilate by burning in the fire only because he had proclaimed the word of Allah, and who eventually had to leave his country empty handed, was so blessed by Allah that his name has been well known in the world since the past 4,000 years and will remain so till the Last Day. All the Muslims and the Christians and the Jews unanimously recognize that friend of the Lord of the worlds as their spiritual leader. Whatever guidance mankind has received during the past 40 centuries has been received through this one man and his righteous descendants. The unique reward that he will get in the Hereafter is assured, but the place of honor that he has gained even in this world has not been gained so far by any of those who have exerted themselves in pursuit of the worldly benefits and advantages.
50. For comparison, see (Surah Al-Aaraf: Ayats 80-84); (Surah Hud: Ayats 69-83); (Surah Al-Hijr: Ayats 57-79); (Surah Al-Anbiyaa: Ayats 71-75); (Surah Ash-Shuaraa: Ayats 160-175); (Surah An-Naml: Ayats 54 59); (Surah As-Saffat: Ayats 133-138); (Surah Al-Qamar: Ayats 33-40).
51. That is, “You satisfy your sex desire with the males.” As stated in (Surah Al-Aaraf: Ayat 81), “you gratify your lust with men instead of women.”
52. That is, “You do not even hide yourself when you commit this filthy act, but commit it openly in your assemblies, in front of others.” The same has been stated in (Surah An-Naml: Ayat 54), thus: “Do you commit the indecency while you see it?”