57 This can have two meanings and both are correct:
(1) That which brings the people nearer to Allah is not wealth and children but faith and righteous deeds; and,
(2) wealth and children can become a means of nearness to Allah only for that believing, righteous person, who spends his wealth in the way of Allah and tries to make his children God-conscious and righteous by good education and training.
58. Here also is a subtle allusion that their blessing shall be imperishable, and their reward endless. For one cannot enjoy with full satisfaction of the heart a reward which is likely to perish or withdrawn suddenly at any time.
59. The repetition of this theme is meant to impress this: The abundance or restriction of the provisions is connected with Allah’s will, not with His pleasure and approval. Under the will of Allah every good or evil person is receiving his provision. Both, those who believe in Him and those who do not believe, are getting their provisions. Neither is abundance of the provisions a proof that one is Allah’s favorite servant nor is its restriction a sign that one is under His wrath. Under His will a wicked and dishonest person prospers, although wickedness and dishonesty are disliked by Allah. On the contrary, under the same divine will a truthful and honest man suffers losses and undergoes hardships although these qualities are liked by Allah. Hence, the person who regards the material gains and benefits as the criterion for the good and evil is grossly mistaken. The real criterion is Allah’s pleasure and approval which is attained through the moral qualities liked and approved by Him. With these qualities if a person gets the worldly blessings as well, it will certainly be Allah’s bounty for which he should be grateful to Him. But if from the moral point of view a person is Allah’s rebel and is disobedient to Him and in spite of that is being favored with worldly blessings, it would mean that he is preparing himself for a strict accountability and a most severe punishment.
60. Sustainer, Creator, Inventor, Donor and many other such attributes are in fact the attributes of Allah, but are metaphorically applied to men also. For example, about a person we may say, He provided a job for so-and-so, or he made or invented such and such a thing, or he made a gift to so-and-so. Accordingly, Allah has used the word Khair ar Raziqin (the Best of Providers) for Himself. It means to impress the fact that Allah is the best of providers among all those about whom you think that they are in any way connected with arranging the provisions.
61. Since the earliest times the polytheists in every age have been looking upon the angels as gods and goddesses and carving their idols and worshipping them. One has been regarded as the god of rain, another of lightning and another of wind; one is the goddess of wealth, another of knowledge and another of life and death. About this Allah says that on the Day of Resurrection the angels will be asked: Were you being worshipped as deities by these people? This question is not meant merely to find out the truth, but to ask: Did you approve of their worship? Did you tell the people that you were their deities, so they should worship you? Or, did you wish that the people should do obeisance to you? This question will not only be asked of the angels but of all those beings who have been worshipped as gods in the world. In Surah Al-Furqan it has been said: “On that Day (Allah) will gather all these people together as well as their deities, whom they worship beside Allah. Then he will ask them: Did you mislead these servants of Mine, or did they themselves go astray? (Ayat 17).
62. That is, they will answer: You are Pure and Exalted far above that another should be made a partner in Godhead with you. We have no connection with these people. We are not responsible for them nor for what they did. We are Your servants only.
63. In this sentence, jinn implies the satans among the jinns. The answer means: Apparently these people worshipped us, by mentioning our names and by making our images according to their imaginations. But, in fact, they did not worship us but worshipped the satans, for the satans only had shown them the way that they should regard others than Allah as fulfillers of their needs, and should make offerings before them.
This verse clearly brings out the error of the view of those people who take the word jinn to mean the dwellers of the mountains and deserts and rural areas. Can a sensible person imagine, on the basis of this verse, that the people used to worship the dwellers of the mountains and the deserts and the villages and believed in them? This verse also throws light on another meaning of ibadat. It shows that ibadat is not mere worship and service, but it also implies carrying out somebody’s orders and obeying him without question. Even if one curses another (as one curses Satan) but at the time follows his way, one would be performing his ibadat. For other examples, see (Surah An- Nisa, Ayats 117-119); (Surah Al-Maidah, Ayat 60); (Surah At- Taubah, Ayat 31); (Surah Maryam, Ayat 42); (Surah Al- Qasas, Ayat 63).
64. That is, neither a book from God has come to them before this nor a messenger, who might have taught them to worship and serve others than God. Therefore, they are denying the invitation to Tauhid given by the Quran and Muhammad (peace be upon him) due to sheer ignorance, and not on the basis of any knowledge. They have in fact no authority for this.
65. That is, the people of Makkah have not attained even one-tenth of the power and grandeur and prosperity that was possessed by those people. But just see how they went to their doom ultimately and their power and wealth could not avail them anything, when they refused to believe in the realities presented before them by the Prophets, and founded their system of life on falsehood.