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Towards Understanding the Quran
With kind permission: Islamic Foundation UK
Introduction to Tafheem | Glossary | Verbs
Other resources: Maarif | Dawat 

 Surah Fatir 35:15-26 [3/5]
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Verse Summary -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
۞ يَـٰٓأَيُّهَاO
ٱلْفُقَرَآءُ(are) those in need
وَٱللَّهُwhile Allah,
ٱلْغَنِىُّ(is) Free of need
ٱلْحَمِيدُthe Praiseworthy.
يَشَأْHe wills,
يُذْهِبْكُمْHe (can) do away with you
وَيَأْتِand bring
بِخَلْقٍin a creation
وَمَاAnd not
عَلَى(is) on
وَلَاAnd not
تَزِرُwill bear
وَازِرَةٌbearer of burdens
أُخْرَىٰۚ(of) another.
وَإِنAnd if
مُثْقَلَةٌa heavily laden
حِمْلِهَا(carry) its load,
يُحْمَلْwill be carried
مِنْهُof it
وَلَوْeven if
كَانَhe be
ذَا قُرْبَىٰٓۗnear of kin.
تُنذِرُyou can warn
ٱلَّذِينَthose who
رَبَّهُمtheir Lord -
وَأَقَامُواْand establish
ٱلصَّلَوٲةَۚthe prayer.
وَمَنAnd whoever
تَزَكَّىٰpurifies himself,
فَإِنَّمَاthen only
يَتَزَكَّىٰhe purifies
لِنَفْسِهِۚۦfor his own self.
وَإِلَىAnd to
ٱلْمَصِيرُ(is) the destination.
وَمَاAnd not
ٱلْأَعْمَىٰ(are) the blind
وَٱلْبَصِيرُand the seeing,
وَلَاAnd not
ٱلظُّلُمَـٰتُthe darkness[es]
وَلَاand not
ٱلنُّورُ[the] light,
وَلَاAnd not
ٱلظِّلُّthe shade
وَلَاand not
ٱلْحَرُورُthe heat,
وَمَاAnd not
ٱلْأَحْيَآءُ(are) the living
وَلَاand not
ٱلْأَمْوَٲتُۚthe dead.
يُسْمِعُcauses to hear
يَشَآءُۖHe wills,
وَمَآand not
بِمُسْمِعٍcan make hear
مَّن(those) who
فِى(are) in
ٱلْقُبُورِthe graves.
أَنتَyou (are)
نَذِيرٌa warner.
إِنَّآIndeed, We
أَرْسَلْنَـٰكَ[We] have sent you
بِٱلْحَقِّwith the truth,
بَشِيرًا(as) a bearer of glad tidings
وَنَذِيرًاۚand (as) a warner.
وَإِنAnd not
مِّنْ(was) any
خَلَاhad passed
فِيهَاwithin it
نَذِيرٌa warner.
وَإِنAnd if
يُكَذِّبُوكَthey deny you,
فَقَدْthen certainly,
ٱلَّذِينَthose who
مِن قَبْلِهِمْ(were) before them.
جَآءَتْهُمْCame to them
رُسُلُهُمtheir Messengers
بِٱلْبَيِّنَـٰتِwith clear signs
وَبِٱلزُّبُرِand with Scriptures
وَبِٱلْكِتَـٰبِand with the Book
ٱلْمُنِيرِ[the] enlightening.
أَخَذْتُI seized
ٱلَّذِينَthose who
فَكَيْفَand how
نَكِيرِMy rejection!

يٰۤاَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اَنۡتُمُ الۡفُقَرَآءُ اِلَى اللّٰهِۚ وَاللّٰهُ هُوَ الۡغَنِىُّ الۡحَمِيۡدُ‏  اِنۡ يَّشَاۡ يُذۡهِبۡكُمۡ وَيَاۡتِ بِخَلۡقٍ جَدِيۡدٍۚ‏  وَمَا ذٰ لِكَ عَلَى اللّٰهِ بِعَزِيۡزٍ‏  وَ لَا تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِّزۡرَ اُخۡرَىٰ ؕ وَاِنۡ تَدۡعُ مُثۡقَلَةٌ اِلٰى حِمۡلِهَا لَا يُحۡمَلۡ مِنۡهُ شَىۡءٌ وَّلَوۡ كَانَ ذَا قُرۡبٰى ؕ اِنَّمَا تُنۡذِرُ الَّذِيۡنَ يَخۡشَوۡنَ رَبَّهُمۡ بِالۡغَيۡبِ وَاَقَامُوا الصَّلٰوةَ ؕ وَمَنۡ تَزَكّٰى فَاِنَّمَا يَتَزَكّٰى لِنَفۡسِهٖ ؕ وَاِلَى اللّٰهِ الۡمَصِيۡرُ‏  وَمَا يَسۡتَوِى الۡاَعۡمٰى وَالۡبَصِيۡرُ ۙ‏  وَلَا الظُّلُمٰتُ وَلَا النُّوۡرُۙ‏  وَلَا الظِّلُّ وَلَا الۡحَـرُوۡرُۚ‏  وَمَا يَسۡتَوِى الۡاَحۡيَآءُ وَلَا الۡاَمۡوَاتُ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ يُسۡمِعُ مَنۡ يَّشَآءُ ۚ وَمَاۤ اَنۡتَ بِمُسۡمِعٍ مَّنۡ فِى الۡقُبُوۡرِ‏  اِنۡ اَنۡتَ اِلَّا نَذِيۡرٌ‏  اِنَّاۤ اَرۡسَلۡنٰكَ بِالۡحَـقِّ بَشِيۡرًا وَّنَذِيۡرًاؕ وَاِنۡ مِّنۡ اُمَّةٍ اِلَّا خَلَا فِيۡهَا نَذِيۡرٌ‏  وَاِنۡ يُّكَذِّبُوۡكَ فَقَدۡ كَذَّبَ الَّذِيۡنَ مِنۡ قَبۡلِهِمۡ​ۚ جَآءَتۡهُمۡ رُسُلُهُمۡ بِالۡبَيِّنٰتِ وَبِالزُّبُرِ وَبِالۡكِتٰبِ الۡمُنِيۡرِ‏  ثُمَّ اَخَذۡتُ الَّذِيۡنَ كَفَرُوۡا فَكَيۡفَ كَانَ نَـكِيۡرِ‏ 
(35:15) O people, it is you who stand in need of Allah;36 as for Allah, He is Self-Sufficient, Immensely Praiseworthy.37 (35:16) If He wishes, He can remove you and put in your place a new creation. (35:17) That surely is not difficult for Allah.38 (35:18) No one can bear another's burden.39 If a heavily laden one should call another to carry his load, none of it shall be carried by the other, even though he be a near of kin.40 (O Prophet), you can warn only those who fear their Lord without seeing Him and establish Prayer.41 Whoever purifies himself does so to his own good. To Allah is the final return. (35:19) The blind and the seeing are not alike, (35:20) nor darkness and light; (35:21) nor cool shade and torrid heat; (35:22) nor are the living and the dead alike.42 Allah makes to hear whomsoever He wishes, but you, (O Prophet), cannot cause to hear those who are in their graves.43 (35:23) You are no more than a warner.44 (35:24) We have sent you with the Truth to proclaim good news and to warn. Never has there been a nation but a warner came to it.45 (35:25) If they give the lie to you now, those that went before them also gave the lie to their Messengers when they came to them with Clear Proofs,46 with Scriptures, and with the Illuminating Book.47 (35:26) Then I seized those who denied the Truth, and how terrible was My punishment!

36. That is, you should not remain under the delusion that Allah stands in need of your help. If you do not accept Him as God, His Godhead will fail, and if you do not serve and worship Him, He will incur some loss. Nay, but the fact is that you stand in need of Him. You cannot remain alive for a moment if He does not keep you alive, and does not provide you with the means by which you remain alive in the world and function. Therefore, when you are told to adopt His service and obedience, it is not because Allah stands in need of it, but because upon it depends your own success here as well as in the Hereafter. If you do not do so, you will be harming your own selves only, and not Allah in any way.

37. The word Ghani implies that He is the Owner of everything: He is Self-sufficient and Independent of all. He does not stand in need of anyone’s help. The word Hamid implies that He is Self-Praiseworthy: someone may praise Him, or may not, but He alone is worthy of hamd (praise and gratitude). These two attributes have been used together because one would be ghani even if one did not do any good to anyone by one’s wealth. In such a case one would be ghani but not hamid One will be hamid only in case one does not draw any benefit for oneself but benefits others in every way from the treasures of his wealth and resources. Since Allah is perfect in these two attributes, it has been said: “He is not just Ghani (self-sufficient) but such Ghani as is worthy of every kind of praise and gratitude, for He is fulfilling your needs as well as the needs of all other creatures.

38. That is, you are not enjoying life on Allah’s earth solely by dint of your own power and might. He has the power to remove you from here in no time and raise another people to take your place. Therefore, you should understand your true worth, and should desist from adopting the conduct which has been causing the downfall of the nations. When Allah wills to send someone to his doom, there is no one in the universe, who can stop Him and withhold His decree from being enforced.

39. “Burden”: the burden of the responsibilities of actions. It means: In the sight of Allah every one is responsible for his own actions and for no one else’s. There is no possibility that Allah will place the burden of one man’s responsibility upon the other, nor is there the possibility that a person will take the burden of another’s responsibility upon himself and get himself seized for the crime committed by the other. This thing has been said here because the polytheist kinsmen and relatives of the people who were embracing Islam in Makkah, used to urge them, saying, Give up Islam and return to your ancestral faith. We take the responsibility of any punishment etc. on ourselves.

40. In the preceding sentence, Allah’s law of justice has been enunciated, according to which He will not seize any person for the sin committed by another, but will hold everyone responsible for his own sin. In this sentence the Muslims have been told: Those who urge you to give up faith and commit evil on the assurance that they will take on themselves the burden of your sins on the Day of Resurrection, are in fact giving you a false hope. When Resurrection comes and the people see what fate they are going to meet in consequence of their misdeed, everyone will be concerned only about himself. Brother will turn away from brother and father from son, and no one will be prepared to take even an atom’s weight of another’s burden on himself.

41. In other words, your warnings cannot have any effect on obstinate and stubborn people. Your admonitions can bring only such people to the right path who have fear of God in their hearts and who are inclined to bow before their real Master.

42. In these comparisons the present and the future of a believer and a disbeliever have been contrasted. There is a person who has closed his eyes to the realities and does not care to see as to what truth the whole system of the universe and his own existence itself are pointing. There is the other person, whose eyes are open and who clearly sees that everything outside and inside himself bears evidence to the Unity of God and to man’s answerability before him. There is a person, who is wandering blindly in the superstitions of ignorance and the darkness of presumptions and speculations, and is not inclined to benefit by the light of the candle lit by the Prophet. There is the other person, whose eyes are open and who, as soon as the light spread by the Prophet appears before him, comes to realize that all the ways being followed by the polytheists and the disbelievers and the atheists lead to destruction, and the way to success is only that which has been shown by the Messenger of God. Now how can it be possible that the attitude of the two persons be the same in the world and the two may follow one and the same path together? And how can this also be possible, either that the two should meet the same end and should both end up in the dust after death? Neither should one be punished for his wrongdoings, nor the other be rewarded for his righteous conduct. The sentence, “the cool shade and the heat of the sun are not alike” points to the same fate. The one will be provided shelter under the shade of Allah’s mercy and the other will burn in the fire of Hell. Thus, the notions that the two will ultimately meet the same end, is utterly false. In the end, the believer has been likened to the living and the stubborn disbeliever to the dead. That is, the believer is he whose feeling, understanding and perception are alive and whose conscience is making him aware of the distinction between the good and the evil every moment. Contrary to this, the person who has been, wholly lost in the prejudices of disbelief is even worse than the blind person who is wandering about in darkness. Nay, he is like a dead person who has no sense or feeling left in him.

43. That is, as for the powers of Allah, they are unlimited. He can even make the stones to hear. But it is not within the power of the Messenger to make those people to listen to him whose consciences have become dead and whose ears deaf to every call to the truth. He can only make those people to hear him, who are inclined to listen to every reasonable thing.

44. That is, your only duty is to warn the people and nothing else. If even after this a person does not come to his senses, and remains lost in his deviations, you are not to blame for that, for you have not been entrusted with the duty of making the blind to see and the deaf to hear.

45. That there has been no community in the world for whose guidance Allah did not appoint the Prophets. This has been stated at several places in the Quran. In (Surah Ar- Raad, Ayat 7), it was said: “Every people has its guide”. In (Surah Al-Hijr, Ayat 10): “O Prophet, We have already sent Messengers before you among many of the ancient peoples”. In (Surah An-Nahl, Ayat 36): “We sent to every community a Messenger” and in (Surah Ash-Shuara, Ayat: 208): “We have never destroyed a habitation unless it had its warners to administer admonition”. But, in this connection, one should note two things so that there remains no misunderstanding. First, one and the same Prophet is enough for the lands to which his message may reach. It is not necessary that Prophets be sent to every separate habitation and to every separate community. Second, no new Prophet needs to be sent as long as the message and teaching and guidance given by a previous Prophet remains safe and intact. It is not necessary that a separate Prophet be sent for every race and every generation.

46. “Clear proofs”: Proofs which clearly testified that they were Allah’s Messengers.

47. “Scriptures” probably consisted of good counsels and moral precepts and “the Book” comprised a complete code of the law.