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

 Surah Qaf 50:1-15 [1/3]
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وَٱلْقُرْءَانِBy the Quran,
ٱلْمَجِيدِthe Glorious.
عَجِبُوٓاْthey wonder
جَآءَهُمhas come to them
مُّنذِرٌa warner
مِّنْهُمْfrom them.
فَقَالَSo say
ٱلْكَـٰفِرُونَthe disbelievers,
شَىْءٌ(is) a thing
أَءِذَاWhat! When
مِتْنَاwe die
وَكُنَّاand have become
رَجْعُۢ(is) a return
عَلِمْنَاWe know
ٱلْأَرْضُthe earth
مِنْهُمْ‌ۖof them,
وَعِندَنَاand with Us
كِتَـٰبٌ(is) a Book
كَذَّبُواْthey denied
بِٱلْحَقِّthe truth
جَآءَهُمْit came (to) them,
فَهُمْso they
فِىٓ(are) in
أَمْرٍa state
أَفَلَمْThen do not
يَنظُرُوٓاْthey look
ٱلسَّمَآءِthe sky
فَوْقَهُمْabove them -
بَنَيْنَـٰهَاWe structured it
وَزَيَّنَّـٰهَاand adorned it
وَمَاand not
لَهَاfor it
وَٱلْأَرْضَAnd the earth,
مَدَدْنَـٰهَاWe have spread it out
وَأَلْقَيْنَاand cast
رَوَٲسِىَfirmly set mountains
وَأَنۢبَتْنَاand We made to grow
تَبْصِرَةًGiving insight
وَذِكْرَىٰand a reminder
لِكُلِّfor every
مُّنِيبٍwho turns.
وَنَزَّلْنَاAnd We have sent down
ٱلسَّمَآءِthe sky
فَأَنۢبَتْنَاthen We made to grow
وَحَبَّand grain
ٱلْحَصِيدِ(for) the harvest,
وَٱلنَّخْلَAnd the palms trees
بَاسِقَـٰتٍtall -
لَّهَاfor it
طَلْعٌ(are) layers
رِّزْقًاA provision
لِّلْعِبَادِ‌ۖfor the slaves,
وَأَحْيَيْنَاand We give life
بَلْدَةً(to) a land
ٱلْخُرُوجُ(will be) the coming forth.
قَبْلَهُمْbefore them
قَوْمُ(the) people
نُوحٍ(of) Nuh
وَأَصْحَـٰبُand (the) companions
ٱلرَّسِّ(of) Ar-Raas
وَثَمُودُand Thamud,
وَعَادٌAnd Aad
وَفِرْعَوْنُand Firaun
وَإِخْوَٲنُand (the) brothers
لُوطٍ(of) Lut,
وَأَصْحَـٰبُAnd (the) companions
ٱلْأَيْكَةِ(of) the wood
وَقَوْمُand (the) people
تُبَّعٍ‌ۚ(of) Tubba.
ٱلرُّسُلَthe Messengers,
فَحَقَّso was fulfilled
وَعِيدِMy Threat.
أَفَعَيِينَاWere We then tired
بِٱلْخَلْقِwith the creation
ٱلْأَوَّلِ‌ۚthe first?
فِى(are) in
خَلْقٍa creation

بِسۡمِ اللهِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِيۡمِ قٓ ۚ وَالۡقُرۡاٰنِ الۡمَجِيۡدِۚ‏  بَلۡ عَجِبُوۡۤا اَنۡ جَآءَهُمۡ مُّنۡذِرٌ مِّنۡهُمۡ فَقَالَ الۡكٰفِرُوۡنَ هٰذَا شَىۡءٌ عَجِيۡبٌ​ۚ‏  ءَاِذَا مِتۡنَا وَكُنَّا تُرَابًا ​ۚ ذٰ لِكَ رَجۡعٌ ۢ بَعِيۡدٌ‏  قَدۡ عَلِمۡنَا مَا تَنۡقُصُ الۡاَرۡضُ مِنۡهُمۡ​ۚ وَعِنۡدَنَا كِتٰبٌ حَفِيۡظٌ‏   بَلۡ كَذَّبُوۡا بِالۡحَقِّ لَمَّا جَآءَهُمۡ فَهُمۡ فِىۡۤ اَمۡرٍ مَّرِيۡجٍ‏   اَ فَلَمۡ يَنۡظُرُوۡۤا اِلَى السَّمَآءِ فَوۡقَهُمۡ كَيۡفَ بَنَيۡنٰهَا وَزَ يَّـنّٰهَا وَمَا لَهَا مِنۡ فُرُوۡجٍ‏  وَالۡاَرۡضَ مَدَدۡنٰهَا وَاَ لۡقَيۡنَا فِيۡهَا رَوَاسِىَ وَاَنۡۢبَتۡنَا فِيۡهَا مِنۡ كُلِّ زَوۡجٍۢ بَهِيۡجٍ ۙ‏  تَبۡصِرَةً وَّذِكۡرٰى لِكُلِّ عَبۡدٍ مُّنِيۡبٍ‏  وَنَزَّلۡنَا مِنَ السَّمَآءِ مَآءً مُّبٰـرَكًا فَاَنۡۢبَـتۡـنَا بِهٖ جَنّٰتٍ وَّحَبَّ الۡحَصِيۡدِ ۙ‏  وَالنَّخۡلَ بٰسِقٰتٍ لَّهَا طَلۡـعٌ نَّضِيۡدٌ ۙ‏  رِّزۡقًا لِّلۡعِبَادِ​ ۙ وَاَحۡيَيۡنَا بِهٖ بَلۡدَةً مَّيۡـتًا​ ؕ كَذٰلِكَ الۡخُـرُوۡجُ‏  كَذَّبَتۡ قَبۡلَهُمۡ قَوۡمُ نُوۡحٍ وَّاَصۡحٰبُ الرَّسِّ وَثَمُوۡدُۙ‏  وَعَادٌ وَّفِرۡعَوۡنُ وَاِخۡوَانُ لُوۡطٍۙ‏  وَّاَصۡحٰبُ الۡاَيۡكَةِ وَقَوۡمُ تُبَّعٍ​ؕ كُلٌّ كَذَّبَ الرُّسُلَ فَحَقَّ وَعِيۡدِ‏  اَفَعَيِيۡنَا بِالۡخَـلۡقِ الۡاَوَّلِ​ؕ بَلۡ هُمۡ فِىۡ لَبۡسٍ مِّنۡ خَلۡقٍ جَدِيۡدٍ‏ 
(50:1) Qaf. By the glorious Qur'an.1 (50:2) Nay; they wondered that a warner should have come to them from among themselves.2 The unbelievers said: “This indeed is a strange thing. (50:3) What! When we are dead and reduced to mere dust, (shall we be raised to life)? Such a return is far-fetched.”3 (50:4) (Thus do they imagine, although) We know well what the earth takes away from them. With Us is a Record that preserves everything.4 (50:5) They gave the lie to the Truth when it came to them. So they are now in a state of great perplexity.5 (50:6) Did they6 never observe the sky above them: how We built it and beautified it;7 and it has no cracks;8 (50:7) and We have spread out the earth, and have set upon it firm mountains, and have caused it to bring out plants of all beauteous kinds?9 (50:8) All these are to serve as eye openers and as a lesson to every being who is prone to turn (to the Truth). (50:9) We also sent down blessed water from the heaven, wherewith We caused gardens and harvest-grain to grow, (50:10) and tall palm-trees with their thickly-clustered spathes; (50:11) all this as sustenance for Our servants. And thus We do bring the dead land back to life with water.10 Such shall be the coming forth (of human beings from the earth).11 (50:12) In the past Noah's people, and the people of Rass12 and Thamud gave the lie (to Messengers), (50:13) and so did 'Ad, and Pharaoh13 and Lot's brethren, (50:14) and the people of Aykah, and the people of Tubba'.1415 They all gave the lie to the Messengers.16 Thereafter My threat of chastisement against them was fulfilled.17 (50:15) Did We, then, become worn out by the first creation? Not at all; but they are in doubt about a fresh creation.18

1. The word majeed is used for expressing two meanings in Arabic: for expressing the high rank, status, honor and dignity of a person, and for saying that somebody is highly generous, charitable and beneficent. This word has been used for the Quran in both these meanings. The Quran is great and glorious in the sense that no book of the world can be brought up against it. It is a miracle both in its language and literary excellence and in its teaching and wisdom. Humans were helpless to produce the like of it at the time when it was sent down and are likewise helpless even today. Nothing of it could ever be proved wrong in any age, nor can anything of it be proved wrong in the present age. Falsehood can neither attack it from the front nor from the rear nor can defeat it. And it is generous and beneficent in the sense that the more a man goes on trying to gain guidance from it, the more of guidance it goes on giving him. And the more he follows and obeys its commands and instructions, the more he continues to be blessed with good things of the world and the Hereafter. There is no limit to its benefits and advantages where a man may become independent of it, and where it may cease to be beneficial and useful for him.

2. This sentence is a unique example of eloquence. In it a vast subject has been compressed into a few brief words. The object for which an oath has been sworn by the Quran has not been mentioned. Instead, a subtle gap has been left and the sentence is resumed with “but”. If one thinks a little and also keeps in view the background in which this has been said, one comes to know what is the subject of the gap that has been left between the oath and “but”. In fact, what has been sworn of is this: The people of Makkah have not refused to acknowledge the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) for any sound reason but for the highly unsound reason that a member of their own kind and an individual of their own nation has come to them as a Warner from God and this is something highly surprising for them. Whereas what would actually be surprising was if God had remained unconcerned about the well being and adversity of His servants and made no arrangement whatsoever to warn them; or had sent a nonhuman to warn the human beings; or a non Arab to warn the Arabs. Therefore, this basis of the denial is absolutely unsound, and a reasonable person cannot but admit that there must exist some arrangement from God to warn the servants, and in the form that the Warner himself should be a person from among the people to whom he is sent. As for the question whether Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the person whom God has sent on this mission, no other evidence is needed to settle it but this glorious and beneficent Quran, which he is presenting; this is by itself enough to provide a proof of it. This explanation shows that in this verse an oath has been sworn by the Quran to impress the point that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is really the Messenger of Allah and the disbelievers’ surprise and wonder about his apostleship is misplaced, and the fact of the Quran’s being majeed is a proof of this claim

3. This was the second cause of their surprise, the first being that a member of their own kind and clan had arisen with the claim that he had come as a warner to them from God. They were further surprised that the person was warning them to the effect that all men will be raised back to life after death and they will be produced all together in the court of Allah where their deeds will be subjected to accountability and they will be rewarded and punished accordingly.

4. That is, if it cannot be comprehended by intellect, it is their own narrow mind to blame. It does not mean that Allah’s knowledge and power also should be narrow. They think that it is in no way possible to collect the scattered particles of the bodies of the countless human beings who have died since the beginning of creation and will die till Resurrection. But the fact is that Allah directly knows each of those particles in whatever form and in whichever place they are. Furthermore, a full record of this is being maintained in the Register of Allah, which has not left out any particle un-recorded.

This verse also is one of those verses which point out that the life Hereafter will not only be a physical lift as it is in this world, but the body of every person also will be the same which he had in this world. If it were not so, it would be meaningless to tell the disbelievers: We know very well whatever the earth consumes of their bodies and We have a Book which preserves everything. (For further explanation, see(E.N. 25 of Surah Ha Mim As-Sajdah).

5. In this brief sentence a vast subject has been compressed. It means: These people did not rest content only with expressing wonder and declaring the thing to be far removed from reason, but when the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) presented his message of the truth, they denied it as falsehood without any hesitation. Its inevitable result was, and the same only could follow from it, that they do not agree on any one position with regard to the invitation and the Messenger who has presented it. Sometimes they brand him a poet, sometimes a sorcerer, and sometimes a madman. Sometimes they say that he is a magician and sometimes that he is bewitched. Sometimes they say that he has fabricated this thing by himself in order to establish his superiority. Therefore, leaving it aside, detailed reasoning is now being presented about the authenticity of the second thing which those people regarded as strange and far removed from reason and intellect.

6. Here, by the sky is implied the whole firmament that man finds spread over him, day and night, in which the sun shines in the day and the moon and countless stars glitter at night, which amazes him even when he sees it with the bare eye, but which appears as a vast, limitless universe when he looks at it through the telescope.

7. This universe seems to be starting from nowhere and ending nowhere. Millions of times larger planets than our earth are moving in it like tiny balls; thousands of times brighter stars than our sun are shining in it our this entire solar system is located in a corner of its only one galaxy; only in this one galaxy there exist at least three thousand million other stars like our own sun, and man’s observation has so far discovered one million such galaxies. Out of the millions of galaxies our nearest, neighboring galaxy is so distant from us that its light reaches the earth in ten million years traveling at the speed of 186,000 miles per second. This shows the vastness of that part of the universe which has so far been observed and explored by man. As to how vast is the entire universe of God we have no means to estimate and judge. May be that the known universe of man does not bear with the entire universe even that ratio which a drop of water bears with the ocean. If about the God Who has brought this huge and wonderful universe into being, this tiny talking animal, called man, who creeps on the earth, asserts that He cannot recreate him once again after death, it would be due to narrowness of his own mind. The power of the Creator of the universe would not at all be affected by it.

8. That is, in spite of its amazing vastness the wonderful order of the universe is so coherent and firm and its composition so perfect that there is no crack or cleft in it, and its continuity breaks nowhere. This can be understood by an example. Radio astronomers of the present age have observed a galactic system which they have named Source 3C 295. They think that its rays which are now reaching us might have left it more than four thousand million years ago. The question is: How could it be possible for the rays to reach the earth from such a distant source had the continuity and coherence of the universe between the earth and the galaxy been broken somewhere and its composition been split at some point. Allah, in fact, alludes to this reality and puts this question before man: When you cannot point out even a small breach in this system of My universe, how did the concept of any weakness in My power enter your mind, that after the respite of your test is over, if I like to bring you back to life to subject you to accountability before Me, would I not be able to do so?

This is not only a proof of the possibility of the Hereafter but also a proof of Tauhid. These rays’ reaching the earth from a distance of four thousand million light years and being detected by the man made instruments expressly point to the fact that from the galaxy to the earth the entire world has been made up of one and the same substance continuously, one and the same kind of the forces are working in it, and they are functioning according to the same laws without any difference and disparity. Were it not so, the rays could neither have reached here, nor detected by the instruments which man had made after understanding the laws working on the earth and its surroundings. This proves that One God alone is the Creator of this whole universe and its Master and Ruler and Controller.

11. The reasoning is this: Your conjecture about God Who made this sphere of the earth a suitable home for living creatures and Who by combining the lifeless clay of the earth with the lifeless water from the sky produced such a fine vegetable life that you witness flourishing in the form of your gardens and crops, and Who made the vegetation a means of sustenance for both man and beast, that He has no power to resurrect you after death, is a foolish and absurd conjecture. You witness almost daily the phenomenon that a land is lying barren and lifeless; then as soon as it receives a shower of rain, it gives birth to an endless chain of life all of a sudden, the roots lying dead for ages sprout up and a variety of insects emerge playfully from the layers of the earth. This is a manifest proof that life after death is not impossible. When you cannot deny this express observation of yours, how can you deny that when Allah wills, you too will sprout up from the earth as the vegetation sprouts up. In this connection, one may note that in many parts of Arabia it does not sometimes rain for as long as five years at a stretch and sometimes even for longer periods the land does not receive even a drop of rain. For such long intervals in the burning deserts it is not conceivable that the roots of grass and the insects of the earth would survive. In spite of this when a little of the rain falls at some place, grass sprouts up and the insects of the earth return to life. Therefore, the inhabitants of Arabia can understand this reasoning much better than those people who do not have to experience such long periods of drought.

12. Before this the people of Rass (Ashab ar-Rass) have been mentioned in (Surah Al-Furqan, Ayat 38), and now here, but at both places they have been only referred to as of those nations who rejected the Prophets. No other detail about them has been given. In the traditions of Arabia two places are well known by the name of ar-Rass, one in the Najd and the other in northern Hejaz. Of these ar-Rass of the Najd is better known and has been referred to more often in the pre-Islamic poetry of Arabia. Now it is difficult to determine which of these was the home of the Ashab ar- Rass. No reliable detail of their story is found in any tradition either. The most that one can say with certainty is that it was a nation which had thrown its Prophet into a well. But from the mere allusion that has been made to them in the Quran, one is led to think that in the time of the revelation of the Quran the Arabs were generally aware of this nation and its history, but the traditions about them could not be preserved in historic records.

13. Only the Pharaoh has been mentioned instead of the people of Pharaoh, for he had so dominated his people that they had been left with no independent opinion and will of their own, apart from him. They followed him wherever he led them. That is why he alone was held responsible for the deviation and degeneration of his people. Wherever there exists the freedom of will and action for a nation, it by itself bears the burden of its deeds, and wherever one man’s dictatorship may have rendered a nation powerless the one man alone takes on his shoulders the burden of the sins of entire nation. This doesn’t mean that the nation becomes absolved from its duty and responsibility when the one man alone has burdened himself with the responsibility. This is not so. The nation in such a case becomes responsible for the moral weakness shown by it in that why it allowed a man to overpower and dominate it so completely. The same thing has been alluded to in (Surah Az-Zukhruf, Ayat 54), thus: Pharaoh took his people to be light, and they obeyed him, for they were indeed a sinful people. (For explanation, see( E.N. 50 of Surah Az-Zukhruf).

18. This is a rational argument for the Hereafter. The person who is not a denier of God and is also not so foolish as to regard this excellently ordered universe and the creation of man in it as a mere accident, cannot help but admit that God alone has created man and this whole universe. Now this fact that we exist alive in this world and this great workhouse of the earth and heavens is functioning before us, by itself is an obvious proof that God is in no way powerless in creating us and this universe. Yet if a man says that after bringing about Resurrection the same God will not be able to bring about a new world order and will not be able to create us once again, he says an irrational thing. Had God been powerless, He would not have been able to create all this in the first instance. When He has created the universe in the first instance and we ourselves came into existence by virtue of that act of creation, what can then be the rational ground for assuming that He will become powerless to re-make the dismantled thing originally made by Himself?