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Towards Understanding the Quran
With kind permission: Islamic Foundation UK
Introduction to Tafheem | Glossary | Verbs
Resources: Ibn Kathir | Maarif | Dawat 

 Surah Al-Ankabut 29:41-44
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Verse Summary -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
مَثَلُ(The) example
ٱلَّذِينَ(of) those who
مِن دُونِbesides
كَمَثَلِ(is) like
ٱلْعَنكَبُوتِthe spider
ٱتَّخَذَتْwho takes
بَيْتًا‌ۖa house.
وَإِنَّAnd indeed,
أَوْهَنَthe weakest
ٱلْبُيُوتِ(of) houses
لَبَيْتُ(is) surely (the) house
ٱلْعَنكَبُوتِ‌ۖ(of) the spider,
لَوْif (only)
يَدْعُونَthey invoke
مِن دُونِهِۦbesides Him
وَهُوَAnd He
ٱلْعَزِيزُ(is) the All-Mighty,
ٱلْحَكِيمُthe All-Wise.
وَتِلْكَAnd these
نَضْرِبُهَاWe set forth
لِلنَّاسِ‌ۖto mankind,
وَمَاbut not
يَعْقِلُهَآwill understand them
ٱلْعَـٰلِمُونَthose of knowledge.
خَلَقَ ٱللَّهُAllah created
ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِthe heavens
وَٱلْأَرْضَand the earth
بِٱلْحَقِّ‌ۚin truth.
لَأَيَةً(is) surely a Sign
لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَfor the believers.

مَثَلُ الَّذِيۡنَ اتَّخَذُوۡا مِنۡ دُوۡنِ اللّٰهِ اَوۡلِيَآءَ كَمَثَلِ الۡعَنۡكَبُوۡتِ ​ۖۚ اِتَّخَذَتۡ بَيۡتًا ​ؕ وَ اِنَّ اَوۡهَنَ الۡبُيُوۡتِ لَبَيۡتُ الۡعَنۡكَبُوۡتِ​ۘ لَوۡ كَانُوۡا يَعۡلَمُوۡنَ‏  اِنَّ اللّٰهَ يَعۡلَمُ مَا يَدۡعُوۡنَ مِنۡ دُوۡنِهٖ مِنۡ شَىۡءٍ​ؕ وَهُوَ الۡعَزِيۡزُ الۡحَكِيۡمُ‏  وَتِلۡكَ الۡاَمۡثَالُ نَضۡرِبُهَا لِلنَّاسِ​ۚ وَمَا يَعۡقِلُهَاۤ اِلَّا الۡعٰلِمُوۡنَ‏   خَلَقَ اللّٰهُ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضَ بِالۡحَـقِّ​ ؕ اِنَّ فِىۡ ذٰ لِكَ لَاٰيَةً لِّـلۡمُؤۡمِنِيۡنَ‏ 
(29:41) The case of those who took others than Allah as their protectors is that of a spider who builds a house; but the frailest of all houses is the spider's house; if they only knew.73 (29:42) Surely Allah knows fully what they call upon apart from Him. He is the Most Powerful, the Most Wise.74 (29:43) These are the parables that We set forth to make people understand. But only those endowed with knowledge will comprehend them. (29:44) Allah has created the heavens and the earth in Truth.75 Certainly there is a Sign in this for those who believe.76

73. All the above mentioned nations were involved in shirk, and their belief about their deities was that they were their supporters and helpers and guardians, and had the power to make or mar their destinies. So when they will have won their goodwill by worship and presentation of offerings, they will succor them in need and protect them against calamities and afflictions. But, as shown by the historical events cited above, all their beliefs and superstitions proved to be baseless when their destruction was decreed by Allah. Then no god, and no god incarnate, and no saint or spirit, and no jinn or angel, whom they worshiped came to their rescue, and they met their destruction with the realization that their expectations and beliefs had been false and futile. After relating these events, Allah is now warning the mushriks to the effect: The reality of the toy-house of expectations that you have built on your faith in the powerless servants and imaginary deities, apart from the real Master and Ruler of the universe, is no more than the cobweb of a spider. Just as a cobweb cannot stand the slightest interference by a finger, so will the toy-house of your expectations collapse in its first clash with the scheme of Allah. It is nothing but ignorance that you are involved in the web of superstition. If you had any knowledge of the reality, you would not have built your system of life on baseless props. The fact is that none other than the One Lord of the worlds in this universe is the Owner of power and authority, and His support is the only support which is reliable. “Now whoever rejects taghut and believes in Allah has taken a firm support that never gives way. And Allah hears everything and knows everything,” (Surah Al- Baqarah: Ayat 256).

74. That is, Allah knows fully the reality of those beings and things which they have taken as their deities and which they invoke for help. They are absolutely powerless. The Owner of power is only Allah, Who is controlling the system of this universe according to His own wisdom and design. Another translation of this verse can be: "Allah knows well that of those whom they invoke, apart from Him, are nonentities, and He alone is the All Mighty, the All-Wise.”

75. That is, the system of the universe is based on the truth and not on falsehood. Whoever ponders over this system with an unbiased mind will realize that the earth and the heavens owe their existence to reality and fact and not to superstition and fancy. Here there is no possibility that whatever a person may conceive in his mind and whatever philosophy he may invent out of his personal whim and conjecture should fit in with the system. Here only such a thing can succeed and endure, which is in harmony with the reality and actual fact. A structure that is raised on unreal presumptions and hypotheses will ultimately collapse when it clashes with the reality. The system of the universe clearly testifies that its Creator is One God, and One God alone is its Master and Disposer. If a person works against this basic reality on the presumption that this world has no God, or that it has many gods, who devour the offerings of their devotees and in return give them a license to do whatever they please and a guarantee to live in peace and happiness, the reality will not change due to his presumptions, but, on the contrary, he himself will some time meet with a grave disaster.

76. That is, a clear evidence exists in the creation of the earth and the heavens about the truth of Tauhid and the refutation of polytheism and atheism, but this evidence is found only by those who accept the teachings of the Prophets of Allah. Those who deny them do not find it even though they see everything.