*1 This shows that the jinn at that tithe were not visible to the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace), nor he knew that they were hearing the Qur'an being recited, but AIIah informed him of the incident afterwards by Revelation. Hadrat 'Abdullah bin 'Abbas also has, in connection with this incident, stated: "The Holy Messenger of AIIah had not recited the Qur'an before the jinn, nor did he see them." (Muslim, Tirmidhi, Musnad Ahmad, Ibn Jarir).(72:2) “We have indeed heard a wonderful Qur'an2 which guides to the Right Way; so we have come to believe in it, and we will not associate aught with Our Lord in His Divinity”;3
*2 The words in the original are: Qur an-an 'ajaba. Qur an means "something which is read again and again", and the jinn probably used this word in this very meaning, for they were introduced to this Divine Revelation for the first time, and they did not perhaps know then that what they were hearing, was the Qur'an itself. 'Ajab is a superlative, which is used in Arabic for a wonderful thing. So, what the jinn said means: "We have heard such a wonderful recital which is unique both in its language and in its subject-matter. " This also shows that the jinn not only hear what human beings say but also understand their language fully, although it is not necessary that alI the jinn might know all the human languages. It is possible that those of them who live in a particular region of the earth might know the language of the people of that region. But in any case this statement of the Qur'an clearly shows that the jinn who listened to the Qur'an at that time were so conversant with the Arabic language that they not only appreciated the matchless eloquence of the Divine Word but also understood its sublime subject-matter fully well.
*3 This throws light on several things: (1) That the jinn do not deny Allah's existence and His being Lord and Sustainer; (2) that among them also there are polytheists, who like polytheistic human beings ascribe divinity to others than AIlah: thus, the community of the jinn whose members heard the Qur'an was polytheistic; (3) that the Prophethood and revelation of Divine scriptures dces not exist among the jinn, but whoever of them believe, they believe in the Prophets raised among human beings and in the Books brought by them. This same thing is confirmed by Al-Ahqaf: 29-30, where it has been stated that the jinn who had then heard the Qur'an, were from among the followers of the Prophet Moses, and they after having heard the Qur'an, had invited their people to believe in the Revelation that had been sent down by God confirming the previous scriptures. Surah ArRahman also points to the same, for its whole subject-matter shows that the audience of the Holy Prophet's invitation are both the men and the jinn.(72:3) and that “He – exalted be His Majesty – has not taken to Himself either a wife or a son”;4
*4 From this we know two things; (1) That these jinn were either from among the Christian jinn, or they were followers of a different religion in which Allah was regarded as having children and families. (2) That at that time the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) was reciting some such part of the Qur'an hearing which they realized the error of their creed and knew that it was sheer ignorance and impudence to ascribe wife and children to the High and Exalted Being of Allah.(72:4) and that “the foolish among us5 have been wont to say outrageous things about Allah”;
*5 The word safihuna as used in the Text can be spoken for an individual as well as for a group. If it is taken for a foolish individual, it would imply Iblis and if for a group, it would imply a group of foolish jinn who said such things.(72:5) and that “we had thought that men and jinn would never speak a lie about Allah”,6
*6 That is, "We were misled by those falsehoods because we could never think that the men or the jinn could ever dare forge a lie about Allah, but having heard this Qur'an we now know that they were, in fact, liars."(72:6) and that “some from among the humans used to seek protection of some among the jinn, and thus they increased the arrogance7 of the jinn”;
*7 Ibn `Abbas says that in the pre-lslamic days of ignorance when the Arabs had to spend a night in some uninhabited, desolate valley, they would shout out: "We seek refuge of the jinn, who is owner of this valley." In other traditions of the pre-Islamic ignorance also the same thing has been reported frequently. For example, if in a place they ran short of water and fodder, the wandering Bedouins would send one of their men to some other place to see if water and fodder were available; and when they reached the new site under his direction, they would shout out before they halted to pitch the camp: "We seek refuge of the sustainer of this valley so that we may live here in peace from every calamity." They believed that every un-inhabited place was under the control of one or another jinn, and if someone stayed there without seeking his refuge, the jinn would either himself trouble the settlers, or would let others trouble them. These believing jinn are referring to this very thing. They meant that when man, the vicegerent of the earth, started fearing them without any reason, and started seeking their refuge instead of God's, it caused their people to become even more arrogant, haughty and wicked, and they became even more fearless and bold in adopting error and disbelief.(72:7) and that “they thought, even as you thought, that Allah would never raise anyone (as a Messenger)”;8
*8 Another meaning of this sentence can be: "Allah will not resurrect anyone after death." As the wards are comprehensive they can be taken to mean that, as among human beings, so among the jinn too there were the people who denied both the Prophethood and the Hereafter. However, in view of the theme that follows, the meaning that we have given in the text above is preferable, for according to it these believing jinn tell the people of their community: "Your view is proved wrong that AIlah will not appoint anyone as a Messenger. In fact, the gates of heavens have been closed on us only because AIIah has already appointed a Messenger. "(72:8) and that “we tried to pry (the secrets of) the heaven, but we found it full of terrible guards and shooting meteors”;
*9 This is the reason why these jinn were now out searching as to what particularly had happened, or was going to happen, on the earth, which had necessitated strict security measures against eavesdropping so that they were driven away from wherever they tried to eavesdrop in any way.(72:10) and that “we do not know whether evil is intended for those on the earth, or whether their Lord intends to direct them to the Right Way”;10
*10 This shows that such extraordinary measures were adopted in the heavens only on two kinds of occasions: first, when Allah might decide to inflict the dwellers of the earth with a torment, and the Divine will might be that before it was actually inflicted the jinn might not know and convey its news to warn their friendly human beings of the impending disaster. Second, that Allah might appoint a Messenger on the earth, and strict security measures might be adopted so that neither the messages being conveyed to him be interfered with by the satans nor should they be able to know beforehand what instructions were being given to the Messenger. Thus, the saying of the jinn means: "When we noticed that strict security measures had been adopted in the heavens for the safeguard of the news, and the meteorites were being showered profusely, we wanted to know which of the two things had happened: whether Allah had caused a torment to descend suddenly on some people of the earth, or a Messenger had been raised somewhere on the earth. We were on the lookout for the same when we heard the wonderful Revelation, which guides to the Right Path, and we came to know that Allah had not sent down a torment but had raised a Messenger to show the Right Way to the people." For further explanation, see E.N.'s 8 to 12 of Al-Hijr, E.N. 7 of ASSaaffat, E.N. I 1 of Al-Mulk).(72:11) and that “some of us are upright and some of us are otherwise for we follow widely divergent paths”;11
*11 That is, "Morally also there are good and bad jinn among us, and from the viewpoint of creed as well all do not follow one and the same religion, but we are divided into different groups." With these words the believing jinn want to convince the other jinn of their community that they certainly stood in need of finding out the right way and could not dispense with this need.(72:12) and that “we thought that we will neither be able to frustrate Allah on earth, nor frustrate Him by flight”;12
*12 That is, "We were led by this very idea to the way of success. As we were not fearless of AIlah and we believed that we would not be able to avoid His punishment if we disobeyed Him, so when we heard the Divine Revelation that had been sent to show the right way, we could not have the courage and boldness to persist in the beliefs that our foolish people had spread among us, afar we had known the truth. "(72:13) and that “when we heard the teaching of the Right Way we came to believe in it; he who believes in His Lord shall have no fear of suffering loss or being subjected to any injustice”;13
*13 "Fear of loss": fear of being given a lesser reward than what one actually deserves for one's good deeds, and "injustice" that one may be deprived of the reward for the good deeds done but duly punished for the errors committed or punished innocent; no believer has any fear of such an injustice from Allah.(72:14) and that “among us some are Muslims (Those who have submitted to Allah), and some of us are deviant. So those who became Muslims found the Right Course;
*14 Here, one may ask: when, according to the Qur'an, the jinn have been created from the fire, what harm can the fire of Hell do them? The answer is: Even according to the Qur'an, man has been created out of the earth; why does then man feel hurt when a clod of earth is thrown at him? The truth is that although the whole body of man has been made from the earthly substances, when a living man of flesh and blood is moulded from them he becomes an entirely different thing from those substances; then other things made from the same substances become a means of causing harm to him. Likewise, although the jinn also have been created from the fire, when a living and sentient creation has been made from it, the same fire becomes a means of causing harm and hurt for it. (For further explanation, see E.N. 15 of Surah Ar-Rahman).(72:16) If15 people were to keep firmly to the Right Way, We would have vouchsafed them abundant rain16
*15 The conversation of the jinn having come to an end, with this begins the speech of Allah.
*16 This is the same thing as has been said above in Surah Nuh: 10-11. "Seek forgiveness of Allah. .. He will send abundant rains for you from heaven. " (For explanation, see E.N. 12 of Surah Nuh). Abundance of water has been used for abundance of blessings metaphorically for human life and habitation depend on water. Without water there can be no human settlement, nor can man's basic needs be fulfilled, nor his industries work and prosper.(72:17) so that We might try them through this bounty.17 Whoso turns away from the remembrance of his Lord,18 He will cause him to suffer a grievous chastisement;
*17 "We might try them by that blessing": "We might see whether they remain grateful after having received the blessing or not, and whether they put Our blessing to right use or not. "
*18 "To turn away from Allah's remembrance" means that one may reject the advice and admonition sent down by Allah, or one may disdain giving ear to Allah's remembrance, or one may turn away from the worship of Allah.(72:18) and that “mosques belong to Allah, so do not invoke anyone with Him”;19
*19 The commentators generally have taken "mosques" to mean the places of worship. Accordingly, the verse means: "None should he associated in the worship of Allah in the places of worship. Hadrat Hasan Basri says: The entire earth is a place of worship, and the verse means to say: polytheism ought not to be committed anywhere on God's earth," He has reasoned out this meaning from the Holy Prophet's Hadith "For me the entire earth has been made a place of worship and a means of obtaining purity:" Hadrat Sa`id bin Jubair has interpreted masajid to imply the parts of the body on which one prostrates oneself, i.e. the hands, the knees, toes and forehead. According to this explanation, the verse means: These limbs have been made by Allah; no one should prostrate oneself on these before anyone other than Allah.(72:19) and when Allah's servant20 stood up to call on Him, they well-nigh swarmed him.
*20 "Servant of AIIah": the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace).