Surah Qaf: The First Creation as the Foremost Proof for Afterlife

Quran

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Source: The Quran.Love

Introduction

The first few verses of this Surah highlight the creativity of God Almighty as a proof for the Afterlife or the second creation:

Do they not see the sky above them, how We have built and adorned it, without any flaw, and how We spread out the earth and put firm mountains on it, and caused every kind of beautiful plants in pairs to grow in it, as a lesson and reminder for every servant who turns to God; and how We send blessed water down from the sky and grow with it gardens and the harvest grains, and the towering palm trees laden with clusters of dates, as a provision for everyone; how with water We give new life to a land that is dead? This is how the dead will emerge. (Verses 6-11)

The punch line is delivered a little bit later: “So were We incapable of the first creation? No indeed! Yet they doubt a second creation.” (Verse 15)

Such line of reasoning is pursued at least in a dozen other places in the holy Quran, therefore it is of fundamental importance for the believers to see the universe as a beautiful creation of God, rather than as an accident as the staunch atheists will have us believe. Here is an article to express gratitude to the Al Rahman God, the Lord of Mercy, for His creativity: Ten Raised to Five Hundred Reasons for Our Gracious God.

We believe the two fundamental beliefs in Islam, which it shares with Judaism and Christianity are belief in the Transcendent God and accountability in the life after death. (87:16-19) The former is discussed at some length in the commentary of Surah Al Fatihah and the latter in the commentary of Surah Al Waqi’ah.

In verse 38 of this surah, Allah stresses again: “We created the heavens, the earth, and everything in between, in six Days without tiring.” The surah closes with a verse, highlighting the role of the prophet Muhammad, may peace be on him, as a teacher of the Quran: “But, You, (Muhammad) have not been appointed as a guardian. So remind, with this Qur’an, those who fear My warning.”

According to Muhammad Abdel Haleem, as he writes a brief introduction to this surah:

A Meccan sura which deals predominantly with the Resurrection and the Day of Judgement. Reference is made to previous generations of disbelievers (verses 12-14), both to warn the disbelievers in Mecca and to reassure the Prophet. Creation is cited as an indication of God’s ability to bring the dead to life again (verses 3-11), and emphasis is placed on the powerlessness of man on the Day of Resurrection (verses 20-30). The sura both opens and closes with mention of the Qur’an.

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

50:1. Qaaf; We cite the testimony of the glorious Quran!

ق ۚ وَالْقُرْآنِ الْمَجِيدِ

50:2. But the disbelievers marvel that a warner has come from among them and they say, ‘How strange!’

بَلْ عَجِبُوا أَن جَاءَهُم مُّنذِرٌ مِّنْهُمْ فَقَالَ الْكَافِرُونَ هَـٰذَا شَيْءٌ عَجِيبٌ

50:3. ‘To come back to life after we have died and become dust? That is very far-fetched.’

أَإِذَا مِتْنَا وَكُنَّا تُرَابًا ۖ ذَٰلِكَ رَجْعٌ بَعِيدٌ

50:4 We know very well what the earth takes away from them; We keep a comprehensive record.

قَدْ عَلِمْنَا مَا تَنقُصُ الْأَرْضُ مِنْهُمْ ۖ وَعِندَنَا كِتَابٌ حَفِيظٌ

50:5. But the disbelievers deny the truth when it comes to them; so they end up in a confused state.

بَلْ كَذَّبُوا بِالْحَقِّ لَمَّا جَاءَهُمْ فَهُمْ فِي أَمْرٍ مَّرِيجٍ

50:6. Do they not see the sky above them, how We have built and adorned it, without any flaw.

أَفَلَمْ يَنظُرُوا إِلَى السَّمَاءِ فَوْقَهُمْ كَيْفَ بَنَيْنَاهَا وَزَيَّنَّاهَا وَمَا لَهَا مِن فُرُوجٍ

50:7. And how We spread out the earth and put firm mountains on it, and caused every kind of beautiful plants in pairs to grow in it,

وَالْأَرْضَ مَدَدْنَاهَا وَأَلْقَيْنَا فِيهَا رَوَاسِيَ وَأَنبَتْنَا فِيهَا مِن كُلِّ زَوْجٍ بَهِيجٍ

50:8. As a lesson and reminder for every servant who turns to God;

تَبْصِرَةً وَذِكْرَىٰ لِكُلِّ عَبْدٍ مُّنِيبٍ

50:9. And how We send blessed water down from the sky and grow with it gardens and harvest grains.

وَنَزَّلْنَا مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً مُّبَارَكًا فَأَنبَتْنَا بِهِ جَنَّاتٍ وَحَبَّ الْحَصِيدِ

50:10. And the towering palm trees laden with clusters of dates,

وَالنَّخْلَ بَاسِقَاتٍ لَّهَا طَلْعٌ نَّضِيدٌ

50:11. As a provision for everyone; how with water We give new life to a land that is dead? This is how the dead will emerge.

رِّزْقًا لِّلْعِبَادِ ۖ وَأَحْيَيْنَا بِهِ بَلْدَةً مَّيْتًا ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ الْخُرُوجُ

50:12. The people of Noah disbelieved long before these disbelievers, as did the people of Rass, Thamud,

كَذَّبَتْ قَبْلَهُمْ قَوْمُ نُوحٍ وَأَصْحَابُ الرَّسِّ وَثَمُودُ

50:13. ‘Ad, Pharaoh and the people of Lot,

وَعَادٌ وَفِرْعَوْنُ وَإِخْوَانُ لُوطٍ

50:14. The Forest-Dwellers, Tubba’: all of these people disbelieved their messengers, and so My warning was realized.

وَأَصْحَابُ الْأَيْكَةِ وَقَوْمُ تُبَّعٍ ۚ كُلٌّ كَذَّبَ الرُّسُلَ فَحَقَّ وَعِيدِ

50:15. So were We incapable of the first creation? No indeed! Yet they doubt a second creation.

أَفَعَيِينَا بِالْخَلْقِ الْأَوَّلِ ۚ

بَلْ هُمْ فِي لَبْسٍ مِّنْ خَلْقٍ جَدِيدٍ

50:16. We did indeed create man, We know what his soul whispers to him: We are closer to him than his jugular vein

وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ وَنَعْلَمُ مَا تُوَسْوِسُ بِهِ نَفْسُهُ ۖ وَنَحْنُ أَقْرَبُ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ حَبْلِ الْوَرِيدِ

50:17. With two monitors set to record, one on his right side and one on his left.

إِذْ يَتَلَقَّى الْمُتَلَقِّيَانِ عَنِ الْيَمِينِ وَعَنِ الشِّمَالِ قَعِيدٌ

50:18. He does not utter anything without a ready watcher beside him.

مَّا يَلْفِظُ مِن قَوْلٍ إِلَّا لَدَيْهِ رَقِيبٌ عَتِيدٌ

50:19. The stupor of imminent death will bring the Truth with it: ‘This is what you tried to escape.’

وَجَاءَتْ سَكْرَةُ الْمَوْتِ بِالْحَقِّ ۖ ذَٰلِكَ مَا كُنتَ مِنْهُ تَحِيدُ

50:20. The Trumpet will be sounded: ‘This is the Day you were warned of.’

وَنُفِخَ فِي ال ذَٰلِكَ يَوْمُ الْوَعِيدِصُّورِ ۚ

50:21. Each person will arrive attended by an angel to drive him on and another to bear witness:

وَجَاءَتْ كُلُّ نَفْسٍ مَّعَهَا سَائِقٌ وَشَهِيدٌ

50:22. You paid no attention to this Day; but today We have removed your veil of denial and your sight is sharp.

لَّقَدْ كُنتَ فِي غَفْلَةٍ مِّنْ هَـٰذَا فَكَشَفْنَا عَنكَ غِطَاءَكَ فَبَصَرُكَ الْيَوْمَ حَدِيدٌ

50:23. The person’s attendant will say, ‘Here is what I have prepared.’

وَقَالَ قَرِينُهُ هَـٰذَا مَا لَدَيَّ عَتِيدٌ

50:24. Cast every obstinate disbeliever into Hell.

أَلْقِيَا فِي جَهَنَّمَ كُلَّ كَفَّارٍ عَنِيدٍ

50:25. Everyone who hindered good, was aggressive, caused others to doubt,

مَّنَّاعٍ لِّلْخَيْرِ مُعْتَدٍ مُّرِيبٍ

50:26. And set up other gods beside God. Cast him into severe punishment!

الَّذِي جَعَلَ مَعَ اللَّـهِ إِلَـٰهًا آخَرَ فَأَلْقِيَاهُ فِي الْعَذَابِ الشَّدِيدِ

50:27. And his evil companion will say, ‘Lord, I did not make him transgress; he had already gone far astray on his own.’

قَالَ قَرِينُهُ رَبَّنَا مَا أَطْغَيْتُهُ وَلَـٰكِن كَانَ فِي ضَلَالٍ بَعِيدٍ

50:28. God will say, ‘Do not argue in My presence. I sent you a warning.’

قَالَ لَا تَخْتَصِمُوا لَدَيَّ وَقَدْ قَدَّمْتُ إِلَيْكُم بِالْوَعِيدِ

50:29. And My word cannot be changed: I am not unjust to the slightest to any of my servants.

مَا يُبَدَّلُ الْقَوْلُ لَدَيَّ وَمَا أَنَا بِظَلَّامٍ لِّلْعَبِي

50:30. We shall ask Hell on that day, ‘Are you full?’And it will reply, ‘Are there no more?’

يَوْمَ نَقُولُ لِجَهَنَّمَ هَلِ امْتَلَأْتِ وَتَقُولُ هَلْ مِن مَّزِيدٍ

50:31. But Paradise will be brought close to the reverent and will no longer be distant.

وَأُزْلِفَتِ الْجَنَّةُ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ غَيْرَ بَعِيدٍ

50:32. This is what you were promised —this is for everyone who turned often to God and kept Him in mind.

هَـٰذَا مَا تُوعَدُونَ لِكُلِّ أَوَّابٍ حَفِيظٍ

50:33. Who held the Most Gracious in awe, though He is unseen, who comes before Him with a heart turned to Him in devotion.

مَّنْ خَشِيَ الرَّحْمَـٰنَ بِالْغَيْبِ وَجَاءَ بِقَلْبٍ مُّنِيبٍ

50:34. So enter it in peace. This is the Day of everlasting Life.

ادْخُلُوهَا بِسَلَامٍ ۖ ذَٰلِكَ يَوْمُ الْخُلُودِ

50:35. They will have all that they wish for there, and We have more for them that they cannot conceive.

لَهُم مَّا يَشَاءُونَ فِيهَا وَلَدَيْنَا مَزِيدٌ

50:36. We have destroyed even mightier generations before these disbelievers. Then they searched around in the lands, but there was no refuge.

وَكَمْ أَهْلَكْنَا قَبْلَهُم مِّن قَرْنٍ هُمْ أَشَدُّ مِنْهُم بَطْشًا فَنَقَّبُوا فِي الْبِلَادِ هَلْ مِن مَّحِيصٍ

50:37. There truly is a reminder in this for whoever has a heart, whoever listens attentively.

إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَذِكْرَىٰ لِمَن كَانَ لَهُ قَلْبٌ أَوْ أَلْقَى السَّمْعَ وَهُوَ شَهِيدٌ

50:38. We created the heavens, the earth, and everything in between, in six Days without tiring.

وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا فِي سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍ وَمَا مَسَّنَا مِن لُّغُوبٍ

50:39. Oh Prophet, bear everything they say with patience; celebrate the praise of your Lord before the rising and setting of the sun;

فَاصْبِرْ عَلَىٰ مَا يَقُولُونَ وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ قَبْلَ طُلُوعِ الشَّمْسِ وَقَبْلَ الْغُرُوبِ

50:40. Proclaim His praise in the night and at the end of every formal prayer.

وَمِنَ اللَّيْلِ فَسَبِّحْهُ وَأَدْبَارَ السُّجُودِ

50:41. Listen out for the Day when the caller will call from a nearby place.

وَاسْتَمِعْ يَوْمَ يُنَادِ الْمُنَادِ مِن مَّكَانٍ قَرِيبٍ

50:42. The Day they will hear the mighty inevitable blast, that is the Day when they will come forth.

يَوْمَ يَسْمَعُونَ الصَّيْحَةَ بِالْحَقِّ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ يَوْمُ الْخُرُوجِ

50:43. It is We who give life and cause death; and to Us is the final return.

إِنَّا نَحْنُ نُحْيِي وَنُمِيتُ وَإِلَيْنَا الْمَصِيرُ

50:44. On the Day when the earth will be split asunder, letting them rush out and that gathering will be easy for Us.

يَوْمَ تَشَقَّقُ الْأَرْضُ عَنْهُمْ سِرَاعًا ۚ ذَٰلِكَ حَشْرٌ عَلَيْنَا يَسِيرٌ

50:45. We know best what the disbelievers say. But, You, (Muhammad) have not been appointed as a guardian. So remind, with this Quran, those who fear My warning.

نَّحْنُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا يَقُولُونَ ۖ وَمَا أَنتَ عَلَيْهِم بِجَبَّارٍ ۖ فَذَكِّرْ بِالْقُرْآنِ مَن يَخَافُ وَعِيدِ

Commentary

50:6-11

The first few verses of this Surah highlight the creativity of God Almighty as a proof for the Afterlife or the second creation:

Do they not see the sky above them, how We have built and adorned it, without any flaw, and how We spread out the earth and put firm mountains on it, and caused every kind of beautiful plants in pairs to grow in it, as a lesson and reminder for every servant who turns to God; and how We send blessed water down from the sky and grow with it gardens and the harvest grains,and the towering palm trees laden with clusters of dates, as a provision for everyone; how with water We give new life to a land that is dead? This is how the dead will emerge. (Verses 6-11)

The punch line is delivered a little bit later: “So were We incapable of the first creation? No indeed! Yet they doubt a second creation.” (Verse 15)

Such line of reasoning is pursued at least in a dozen other places in the holy Quran, therefore it is of fundamental importance for the believers to see the universe as a beautiful creation of God, rather than as an accident as the staunch atheists will have us believe. Here is an article to express gratitude to the Al Rahman God, the Lord of Mercy, for His creativity: Ten Raised to Five Hundred Reasons for Our Gracious God.

According to Seyyed Hossein Nasr and colleagues in their recent commentary:

This is one of several passages to call human beings to reflect upon the beauty, proportionality, and bounty of the natural world as evidence of God’s Mercy and wisdom and of the Resurrection; see 16:79-81; 24:43-50; 26:7-8; 33:27; 35:27-28; 36:71-73; 45:1-5.

We believe the two fundamental beliefs in Islam, which it shares with Judaism and Christianity are belief in the Transcendent God and accountability in the life after death. (87:16-19) The former is discussed at some length in the commentary of Surah Al Fatihah and the latter in the commentary of Surah Al Waqi’ah.

50:12-14

“The people of Noah disbelieved long before these disbelievers, as did the people of Rass, Thamud, ‘Ad, Pharaoh and the people of Lot, the Forest-Dwellers, Tubba’: all of these people disbelieved their messengers, and so My warning was realized.”

According to Seyyed Hossein Nasr and colleagues in their recent commentary:

Before them means before the idolaters who oppose the Prophet (T). For the Quranic account of Noah and the flood, see 11:25-48; 23:23-30; 26:105-21; Surah 71. The inhabitants of al-Rass (cf. 25:38) is an enigmatic reference that some understand to mean one of the towns of the tribe of Thamud (T). Others understand al-Rass to mean “the well’’ and interpret it as a reference to the well in which the people spoken of in 36:13-27 threw the prophet whom God had sent to them (I). The ‘Ad and the Thamud were pre-Islamic Arabian tribes who rejected the prophets sent to them. For the account of the ‘Ad see 7:65-72; 11:50-60; 41:15-16; 54:18-21. For that of the Thamud, see 7:73-79; 11:61-68; 26:141-58; 54:24-31. The story of Lot and his people is discussed most extensively in 11:77-83; see also 7:80-84; 15:57-77; 21:74-75; 26:160-73; 27:54-58; 29:28-35; 37:133-38. The thicket translates al- aykah, which according to some is a proper name. The inhabitants of the thicket are either the people of Midian, who are said to have rejected the prophet Shu‘ayb (see 7:85-93; 11:84-95; 26:176-89; 29:36-37), or a second community to which Shu‘ayb was sent (Mw). For Tubba‘ , most likely a reference to a line of kings in southern Arabia, see 44:37c.

How does the history of prophets of the past plays out in the contemporary life? For this we link a recent article from the Muslim Sunrise, the oldest Muslim publication of North America, written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times: God’s Existence and Natural Disasters.

50:15

“So were We incapable of the first creation? No indeed! Yet they doubt a second creation.”

According to Seyyed Hossein Nasr and colleagues in their recent commentary:

This verse is a rebuke to what the idolaters say in v. 3. They are questioned as to how it is that they could doubt God’s ability to resurrect when they have the evidence of God’s ability to create everything that is around them (T). The rhetorical question is answered in 46:33: Have they not considered that God, Who created the heavens and the earth and did not weary in their creation, is able to give life to the dead? Yea! He is Powerful over all things. In the present verse, the first creation means the creation of this world. When confronted with the Quranic teaching regarding bodily resurrection, the reaction of the disbelievers is that they say, What! When we are bones and dust, shall we indeed be resurrected as a new creation? (17:49, 98). In this interpretation new creation refers to the Resurrection; see also 13:5; 14:19; 34:7; 35:16-17c. New creation can also be understood as a reference to the perpetual creation of the world, in which God’s creative act is renewed at every instant (K). That most human beings are in doubt regarding a new creation indicates that they are unable to see because their sight is not yet piercing (see v. 22).

50:34

According to Seyyed Hossein Nasr and colleagues in their recent commentary:

Enter it in peace. This is the day of abiding.” 34 Peace translates saldm, which also denotes “greeting” and “safety.” Enter it in peace is thus interpreted to mean, “Enter secure from every fear,” or “Enter with the greeting of peace” (JJ), as in 56:25-26: They hear no idle talk therein, nor incitement to sin, save that “Peace! Peace!” is uttered (cf. 7:46; 10:10; 13:23-24; 14:23; 16:32; 19:62; 25:75; 33:44; 36:58). Thus the Garden is also known as the Abode of Peace (61127; 10:25). That this is the day of abiding indicates that it is the day on which everlasting life in the Garden will begin (JJ, T).

50:45

According to Seyyed Hossein Nasr and colleagues in their recent commentary:

Given the general principle in Islam that there is no coercion in religion (2:256), the Prophet is not to compel disbelievers. His function is only to remind human beings through revelation (see 88:21-22), as prophets are only responsible for proclaiming the message (see, e.g. 3:20; 5:92, 99; 13:40; 16:35. 82; 24:54; 29:18; 36:17; 42:48). Those who fear My Threat (see also 8719-10) is understood by some to mean the believers (JJ), but can be taken more generally to mean all but the most obstinate disbelievers, since every human being is believed to bear the primordial covenant, and thus the remembrance of God, within the depths of his or her soul (see 7:172c; 30:30c).

Categories: Qur'an, Quran, The Muslim Times

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