Commentary of the Surah Anbiyya: The Prophets — They Make One Community

coexist

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Introduction

Once again the two fundamental teachings of the Quran that this surah emphasizes are Monotheism and our accountability in Afterlife, the two beliefs shared by the three Abrahamic faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.  We believe that the key or the fundamental verse in this surah is the verse 92.  After describing different prophets, by name or indirectly, starting with the prophet Muhammad and including, Moses, Aaron, Abraham, Lot, Isaac, Jacob, Noah, David, Solomon, Ishmael, Idris, Dhul Kifl, Zakariah and Jesus, the Quran states in this verse: “This is your Ummah or community, one Ummah and I am your Lord, so worship me alone.” A very categorical and unambiguous message for universal brotherhood and interfaith tolerance. This message of universal brotherhood is then reinforced by verse 107, which says about the prophet Muhammad, may peace be on him, “We did not send you but as mercy for all people.”

The verses emphasizing Deism and Monotheism in this surah have a unique style, probably not repeated in other surahs.  These verses are:

We created not the heaven and the earth and all that is between the two in sport. Had We wished to find a pastime, We would surely have found it in that which
is with Us, if at all We would have been inclined in that way? (17)

And:

Have they taken gods from the earth who give life to the dead? If there had been in the heavens and the earth other gods beside Allah, then surely both would have gone to ruin. Then glorified be Allah, the Lord of the Throne, above that which they ascribe to Him. (21-22)

And:

Do not the disbelievers realize that the heavens and the earth were a solid mass, then We split them asunder, and We made from water every living thing? Will they not then believe? We have placed in the earth firm mountains lest it roll beneath them; and We have made wide pathways therein that they may thereby journey from place to place. We have made the heaven a guarded and protecting roof; yet they turn away from its Signs. He it is Who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon each gliding freely in its orbit. (30-33)

 

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

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

21:1. The time of reckoning is drawing near for the people, yet they are heedless and turn away.

اقْتَرَبَ لِلنَّاسِ حِسَابُهُمْ وَهُمْ فِي غَفْلَةٍ مُّعْرِضُونَ

21:2. Whenever any fresh revelation comes to them from their Lord, they listen to it playfully

مَا يَأْتِيهِم مِّن ذِكْرٍ مِّن رَّبِّهِم مُّحْدَثٍ إِلَّا اسْتَمَعُوهُ وَهُمْ يَلْعَبُونَ

21:3. with frivolous hearts. The wrongdoers conferred in secret: ‘Is this man (Muhammad) anything but a mortal like yourselves? Are you going to fall under his spell with your eyes wide open?’

لَاهِيَةً قُلُوبُهُمْ

 ۗ وَأَسَرُّوا النَّجْوَى الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا هَلْ هَـٰذَا إِلَّا بَشَرٌ مِّثْلُكُمْ ۖأَفَتَأْتُونَ السِّحْرَ وَأَنتُمْ تُبْصِرُونَ

21:4. He (Muhammad) said,  ‘My Lord knows everything that is said in the heavens and the earth: He is the All Hearing, the All Knowing.’

قَالَ رَبِّي يَعْلَمُ الْقَوْلَ فِي السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۖ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ

21:5. They go on to say: ‘These are his confused dreams; nay, he has invented it all; he is but a poet with a fertile imagination. Let him bring us a Sign, as he alleges the former Prophets did.’

بَلْ قَالُوا أَضْغَاثُ أَحْلَامٍ بَلِ افْتَرَاهُ بَلْ هُوَ شَاعِرٌ فَلْيَأْتِنَا بِآيَةٍ كَمَا أُرْسِلَ الْأَوَّلُونَ

21:6. But of the communities We destroyed before them not a single one believed. Will these now believe?

مَا آمَنَتْ قَبْلَهُم مِّن قَرْيَةٍ أَهْلَكْنَاهَا ۖ أَفَهُمْ يُؤْمِنُونَ

21:7. And even before you (Muhammad), all the messengers We sent were only men We inspired, if you [disbelievers] do not know, ask people who know the Scripture.

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا قَبْلَكَ إِلَّا رِجَالًا نُّوحِي إِلَيْهِمْ ۖ فَاسْأَلُوا أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِن كُنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

21:8. We did not give them bodies that needed no food, nor were they to live for ever.

وَمَا جَعَلْنَاهُمْ جَسَدًا لَّا يَأْكُلُونَ الطَّعَامَ وَمَا كَانُوا

خَالِدِينَ

21:9. We did fulfill Our promise to them in the end: We saved them and those We wished to save, and We destroyed those who exceeded all bounds.

ثُمَّ صَدَقْنَاهُمُ الْوَعْدَ فَأَنجَيْنَاهُمْ وَمَن نَّشَاءُ وَأَهْلَكْنَا الْمُسْرِفِينَ

21:10. We have now sent down to you (people) a Book which makes provision for your uplift; will you not then understand?

 لَقَدْ أَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكُمْ كِتَابًا فِيهِ ذِكْرُكُمْ ۖ أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ

21:11. How many a township that acted wrongfully have We utterly destroyed, and raised up after it another people?

وَكَمْ قَصَمْنَا مِن قَرْيَةٍ كَانَتْ ظَالِمَةً وَأَنشَأْنَا بَعْدَهَا قَوْمًا آخَرِينَ

21:12. When they perceived Our chastisement, they prepared to flee from it.

فَلَمَّا أَحَسُّوا بَأْسَنَا إِذَا هُم مِّنْهَا يَرْكُضُونَ

21:13.  Flee not, but return to the comforts and luxuries you reveled in.  You would indeed be questioned.

لَا تَرْكُضُوا وَارْجِعُوا إِلَىٰ مَا أُتْرِفْتُمْ فِيهِ وَمَسَاكِنِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُسْأَلُونَ

21.14. At this they exclaimed: Alas, we were indeed wrongdoers.

قَالُوا يَا وَيْلَنَا إِنَّا كُنَّا ظَالِمِينَ

21:15. They continued to bewail till We mowed them down into stubble.

فَمَا زَالَت تِّلْكَ دَعْوَاهُمْ حَتَّىٰ جَعَلْنَاهُمْ حَصِيدًا خَامِدِينَ

21:16. We created not the heaven and the earth and all that is between the two in sport.

وَمَا خَلَقْنَا السَّمَاءَ وَالْأَرْضَ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا لَاعِبِينَ

21:17. Had We wished to find a pastime, We would surely have found it in that which is with Us, if at all We would have been inclined in that way.

لَوْ أَرَدْنَا أَن نَّتَّخِذَ لَهْوًا لَّاتَّخَذْنَاهُ مِن لَّدُنَّا إِن كُنَّا فَاعِلِينَ

21:18. No! We hurl the truth against falsehood, and truth obliterates it– see how falsehood vanishes away! Woe to you for the way you describe God!

بَلْ نَقْذِفُ بِالْحَقِّ عَلَى الْبَاطِلِ فَيَدْمَغُهُ فَإِذَا هُوَ زَاهِقٌ ۚ وَلَكُمُ الْوَيْلُ مِمَّا تَصِفُونَ

21:19. To Him belongs whosoever is in the heavens and in the earth. Those who are in His presence do not disdain to worship Him, nor do they weary of it;

وَلَهُ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ

 ۚ وَمَنْ عِندَهُ لَا يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ عَنْ عِبَادَتِهِ وَلَا يَسْتَحْسِرُونَ

21:20. they glorify Him night and day, and cease not.

 يُسَبِّحُونَ اللَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ لَا يَفْتُرُونَ 

21:21. Have they taken gods from the earth who give life to the dead?

أَمِ اتَّخَذُوا آلِهَةً مِّنَ الْأَرْضِ هُمْ يُنشِرُونَ

21:22. If there had been in the heavens and the earth other gods beside Allah, then surely both would have gone to ruin. Then glorified be Allah, the Lord of the Throne, above that which they ascribe to Him.

لَوْ كَانَ فِيهِمَا آلِهَةٌ إِلَّا اللَّـهُ لَفَسَدَتَا ۚفَسُبْحَانَ اللَّـهِ رَبِّ الْعَرْشِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ

21:23. He cannot be called to account for anything He does, whereas they will be called to account.

 لَا يُسْأَلُ عَمَّا يَفْعَلُ وَهُمْ يُسْأَلُونَ

21:24. Have they taken gods beside Him? Say to them: Bring your proof.  This scripture is a source of honor for those who are with me and is also a source of honor for those who were before me. But most of them know not the truth, and so they turn away from it.

أَمِ اتَّخَذُوا مِن دُونِهِ آلِهَةً ۖ قُلْ هَاتُوا بُرْهَانَكُمْ ۖ هَـٰذَا ذِكْرُ مَن مَّعِيَ وَذِكْرُ مَن قَبْلِي ۗ بَلْ أَكْثَرُهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ الْحَقَّ ۖ فَهُم مُّعْرِضُونَ

21:25. We never sent any messenger before you (Muhammad) without revealing to him: ‘There is no god but Me, so serve Me.’

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا نُوحِي إِلَيْهِ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا أَنَا فَاعْبُدُونِ

21:26. But they say: The Gracious One has taken to Himself a son. Holy is He. Those whom they so designate are only His honored servants.

وَقَالُوا اتَّخَذَ الرَّحْمَـٰنُ وَلَدًا ۗ سُبْحَانَهُ ۚ بَلْ عِبَادٌ مُّكْرَمُونَ

21:27. They utter not a word more than He
directs, and they only carry out His commands.

لَا يَسْبِقُونَهُ بِالْقَوْلِ وَهُم بِأَمْرِهِ يَعْمَلُونَ

21:28. He knows what lies ahead of them and what is left behind them, and they intercede not except only he whose intercession He permits and they tremble with fear of Him.

يَعْلَمُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْ وَلَا يَشْفَعُونَ إِلَّا لِمَنِ ارْتَضَىٰ وَهُم مِّنْ خَشْيَتِهِ مُشْفِقُونَ

21:29. Whosoever of them should say: I am a god beside Him, We would reward them with Hell: this is how We reward the wrongdoers.

وَمَن يَقُلْ مِنْهُمْ إِنِّي إِلَـٰهٌ مِّن دُونِهِ فَذَٰلِكَ نَجْزِيهِ جَهَنَّمَ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ نَجْزِي الظَّالِمِينَ

21:30. Do not the disbelievers realize that the heavens and the earth were a solid mass, then We split them asunder, and We made from water every living thing? Will they not then believe?

أَوَلَمْ يَرَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَنَّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ كَانَتَا رَتْقًا فَفَتَقْنَاهُمَا ۖ وَجَعَلْنَا مِنَ الْمَاءِ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ حَيٍّ ۖ أَفَلَا يُؤْمِنُونَ

21:31. We have placed in the earth firm mountains lest it roll beneath them; and We have made wide pathways therein that they may thereby journey from place to place.

وَجَعَلْنَا فِي الْأَرْضِ رَوَاسِيَ أَن تَمِيدَ بِهِمْ وَجَعَلْنَا فِيهَا فِجَاجًا سُبُلًا لَّعَلَّهُمْ يَهْتَدُونَ

21:32. We have made the heaven a guarded and protecting roof; yet they turn away from its Signs.

وَجَعَلْنَا السَّمَاءَ سَقْفًا مَّحْفُوظًا ۖ وَهُمْ عَنْ آيَاتِهَا مُعْرِضُونَ

21:33. He it is Who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon each gliding freely in its orbit.

وَهُوَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ اللَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ وَالشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ ۖ كُلٌّ فِي فَلَكٍ يَسْبَحُونَ

21:34. We have not granted everlasting life to any other human being before you Muhammad – if you die, will the others live for ever?

وَمَا جَعَلْنَا لِبَشَرٍ مِّن قَبْلِكَ الْخُلْدَ ۖ أَفَإِن مِّتَّ فَهُمُ الْخَالِدُونَ

21:35. Every soul is certain to taste death: We test you all through the bad and the good, and to Us you will all return.

كُلُّ نَفْسٍ ذَائِقَةُ الْمَوْتِ ۗ وَنَبْلُوكُم بِالشَّرِّ وَالْخَي فِتْنَةً ۖ وَإِلَيْنَا تُرْجَعُونَ

21:36. When the disbelievers see you they
make fun of you: ‘Is this the one who decries your gods?’ They reject with disdain any mention of the Gracious One.

وَإِذَا رَآكَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِن يَتَّخِذُونَكَ إِلَّا هُزُوًا أَهَـٰذَا الَّذِي يَذْكُرُ آلِهَتَكُمْ وَهُم بِذِكْرِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ هُمْ كَافِرُونَ

21:37. Man is hasty by nature. I will show you My signs soon, so do not ask Me to hasten them.

خُلِقَ الْإِنسَانُ مِنْ عَجَلٍ ۚ سَأُرِيكُمْ آيَاتِي فَلَا تَسْتَعْجِلُونِ

21:38. They say, ‘When will this promise be
fulfilled, if what you say is true?’

وَيَقُولُونَ مَتَىٰ هَـٰذَا الْوَعْدُ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ

21:39. If the disbelievers only knew, the
time will arrive when they will not be able to ward off the Fire from their faces or their backs, and they will get no help.

لَوْ يَعْلَمُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا حِينَ لَا يَكُفُّونَ عَن وُجُوهِهِمُ النَّارَ وَلَا عَن ظُهُورِهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يُنصَرُونَ

21:40. It will come upon them suddenly and stupefy them; they will be powerless to push it away; they will not be reprieved.

بَلْ تَأْتِيهِم بَغْتَةً فَتَبْهَتُهُمْ فَلَا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ رَدَّهَا وَلَا هُمْ يُنظَرُونَ

21:41. Messengers before you Muhammad were also ridiculed, but those who mocked them were overwhelmed in the end by the very thing they had mocked.

وَلَقَدِ اسْتُهْزِئَ بِرُسُلٍ مِّن قَبْلِكَ فَحَاقَ بِالَّذِينَ سَخِرُوا مِنْهُم مَّا كَانُوا بِهِ يَسْتَهْزِئُونَ

21:42. Ask them: Who can save you from the chastisement of the Gracious One by night and by day? In truth they turn away from being reminded of their Lord.

قُلْ مَن يَكْلَؤُكُم بِاللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ مِنَ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ ۗ بَلْ هُمْ عَن ذِكْرِ رَبِّهِم مُّعْرِضُونَ

21:43. Have they any gods who can save them from Our chastisement? They cannot even help themselves, nor can their devotees be befriended by any one against Us.

أَمْ لَهُمْ آلِهَةٌ تَمْنَعُهُم مِّن دُونِنَا

 ۚ لَا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ نَصْرَ أَنفُسِهِمْ وَلَا هُم مِّنَّا يُصْحَبُونَ

21:44. We have allowed these sinners and their forefathers to enjoy life for a long time. But do they not see how We are shrinking their borders? Is it they who will prevail?

بَلْ مَتَّعْنَا هَـٰؤُلَاءِ وَآبَاءَهُمْ حَتَّىٰ طَالَ عَلَيْهِمُ الْعُمُرُ ۗ أَفَلَا يَرَوْنَ أَنَّا نَأْتِي الْأَرْضَ نَنقُصُهَا مِنْ أَطْرَافِهَا ۚ أَفَهُمُ الْغَالِبُونَ

21:45. Tell them: ‘I warn you only according to divine revelation.’ The deaf will not hear the warning call.

قُلْ إِنَّمَا

أُنذِرُكُم بِالْوَحْيِ

 ۚ وَلَا يَسْمَعُ الصُّمُّ الدُّعَاءَ إِذَا مَا يُنذَرُونَ

21:46. But if even a breath of the chastisement of thy Lord were to touch them, they will surely cry out: Woe to us! We were indeed wrong-doers.

وَلَئِن مَّسَّتْهُمْ نَفْحَةٌ مِّنْ عَذَابِ رَبِّكَ لَيَقُولُنَّ يَا وَيْلَنَا إِنَّا كُنَّا ظَالِمِينَ

21:47. We will set up scales of justice for the Day of Resurrection so that no one can be wronged in the least, and if there should be even the weight of a mustard seed, We shall bring it out – We take excellent account.

وَنَضَعُ الْمَوَازِينَ الْقِسْطَ لِيَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ فَلَا تُظْلَمُ نَفْسٌ شَيْئًا ۖ وَإِن كَانَ مِثْقَالَ حَبَّةٍ مِّنْ خَرْدَلٍ أَتَيْنَا بِهَا ۗ وَكَفَىٰ بِنَا حَاسِبِينَ

21:48. We gave Moses and Aaron the Discrimination and a Light and a Reminder for the righteous,

وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا مُوسَىٰ وَهَارُونَ الْفُرْقَانَ وَضِيَاءً وَذِكْرًا لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ

21:49. who fear their Lord in secret, and who dread the Hour of Judgment.

الَّذِينَ يَخْشَوْنَ رَبَّهُم بِالْغَيْبِ وَهُم مِّنَ السَّاعَةِ

مُشْفِقُونَ

21:50. This Quran too is a blessed message We have sent down – are you people going to deny it?

وَهَـٰذَا ذِكْرٌ مُّبَارَكٌ أَنزَلْنَاهُ ۚ أَفَأَنتُمْ لَهُ مُنكِرُونَ

21:51. We had bestowed upon Abraham his wisdom before this and We knew him well.

وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا إِبْرَاهِيمَ رُشْدَهُ مِن قَبْلُ وَكُنَّا بِهِ عَالِمِينَ

21:52. He said to his father and his people: What are these images to which you are
so devoted?

إِذْ قَالَ لِأَبِيهِ وَقَوْمِهِ مَا هَـٰذِهِ التَّمَاثِيلُ الَّتِي أَنتُمْ لَهَا عَاكِفُونَ

21:53. They said: We saw our fathers worshiping them.

قَالُوا وَجَدْنَا آبَاءَنَا لَهَا عَابِدِينَ

21:54. He observed: Then you and your fathers have been in manifest error.

قَالَ لَقَدْ كُنتُمْ أَنتُمْ وَآبَاؤُكُمْ فِي ضَلَالٍ مُّبِينٍ

21:55. They asked, ‘Have you brought us the truth or are you just joking with us?’

قَالُوا أَجِئْتَنَا بِالْحَقِّ أَمْ أَنتَ مِنَ اللَّاعِبِينَ

21:56. He replied: The truth is that your Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, Who created them, and I bear witness to that before you.

قَالَ بَل رَّبُّكُمْ رَبُّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ الَّذِي فَطَرَهُنَّ وَأَنَا عَلَىٰ ذَٰلِكُم مِّنَ الشَّاهِدِينَ

21:57. He thought to himself: By Allah, after you have gone away and turned your backs I will certainly devise a plan against your idols.

وَتَاللَّـهِ لَأَكِيدَنَّ أَصْنَامَكُم بَعْدَ أَن تُوَلُّوا مُدْبِرِينَ

21:58. He broke them all into pieces, but left the biggest one for them to return to.

فَجَعَلَهُمْ جُذَاذًا إِلَّا كَبِيرًا لَّهُمْ لَعَلَّهُمْ إِلَيْهِ يَرْجِعُونَ

21:59. They said, ‘Who has done this to our gods? How wicked he must be!’

قَالُوا مَن فَعَلَ هَـٰذَا بِآلِهَتِنَا إِنَّهُ لَمِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ

21:60. Some said, ‘We heard a youth named Abraham talking ill about them.’

قَالُوا سَمِعْنَا فَتًى يَذْكُرُهُمْ يُقَالُ لَهُ إِبْرَاهِيمُ

21:61. They said: Then bring him before the people that they may judge him.

قَالُوا فَأْتُوا بِهِ عَلَىٰ أَعْيُنِ النَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَشْهَدُونَ

21:62. They asked, ‘Was it you, Abraham, who did this to our gods?’

قَالُوا أَأَنتَ فَعَلْتَ هَـٰذَا بِآلِهَتِنَا يَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ

21:63. He said, ‘No, it was done by the biggest of them – this one. Ask them, if they can talk.’

قَالَ بَلْ فَعَلَهُ كَبِيرُهُمْ هَـٰذَا فَاسْأَلُوهُمْ إِن كَانُوا يَنطِقُونَ

21:64. For a short while they turned on each other and confessed: ‘Indeed you yourselves are in the wrong.’

فَرَجَعُوا إِلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِمْ فَقَالُوا إِنَّكُمْ أَنتُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ

21:65. But then they lapsed again and said,
‘You know very well these gods cannot speak.’

ثُمَّ نُكِسُوا عَلَىٰ رُءُوسِهِمْ لَقَدْ عَلِمْتَ مَا هَـٰؤُلَا يَنطِقُونَ

21:66. Abraham said, ‘How can you worship what can neither benefit nor harm you, instead of God?

قَالَ أَفَتَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّـهِ مَا لَا يَنفَعُكُمْ شَيْئًا وَلَا يَضُرُّكُمْ

21:67. Shame on you and on the things you worship instead of God. Can you not understand?’

أُفٍّ لَّكُمْ وَلِمَا تَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّـهِ ۖ أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ

21:68. They said, ‘Burn him and avenge your gods, if you are going to do the right thing.’

قَالُوا حَرِّقُوهُ وَانصُرُوا آلِهَتَكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ فَاعِلِينَ

21:69. When they cast him into the fire, We commanded it: Be cool and a means of safety for Abraham.

قُلْنَا يَا نَارُ كُونِي بَرْدًا وَسَلَامًا عَلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ

21:70. They planned to harm him, but We made them suffer the greatest loss.

وَأَرَادُوا بِهِ كَيْدًا فَجَعَلْنَاهُمُ الْأَخْسَرِينَ

21:71. We saved him and brought him and Lot in safety to the land which We blessed for all people.

وَنَجَّيْنَاهُ وَلُوطًا إِلَى الْأَرْضِ الَّتِي بَارَكْنَا فِيهَا لِلْعَالَمِينَ

21:72. We bestowed upon him Isaac, and a grandson Jacob, and We made all of them righteous.

 وَوَهَبْنَا لَهُ إِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ نَافِلَةً ۖ وَكُلًّا جَعَلْنَا صَالِحِينَ

21:73. We made all of them leaders, guiding others by Our command, and We inspired them to do good works, to keep up the prayer, and to give alms: they were Our true worshipers.

وَجَعَلْنَاهُمْ أَئِمَّةً يَهْدُونَ بِأَمْرِنَا وَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْهِمْ فِعْلَ الْخَيْرَاتِ وَإِقَامَ الصَّلَاةِ وَإِيتَاءَ الزَّكَاةِ ۖ وَكَانُوا لَنَا عَابِدِينَ

21:74. We gave Lot sound judgement and
knowledge and saved him from the community who practiced obscenities. They were indeed a wicked and rebellious people.

وَلُوطًا آتَيْنَاهُ حُكْمًا وَعِلْمًا وَنَجَّيْنَاهُ مِنَ الْقَرْيَةِ الَّتِي كَانَت تَّعْمَلُ الْخَبَائِثَ ۗ إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا قَوْمَ سَوْءٍ فَاسِقِينَ

21:75. We admitted him to Our mercy; he was a righteous man.

وَأَدْخَلْنَاهُ فِي رَحْمَتِنَا ۖ إِنَّهُ مِنَ الصَّالِحِينَ

21:76. Call to mind, when before this Noah called on Us and We heard his prayer and delivered him and his family from a great distress,

وَنُوحًا إِذْ نَادَىٰ مِن قَبْلُ فَاسْتَجَبْنَا لَهُ فَنَجَّيْنَاهُ وَأَهْلَهُ مِنَ الْكَرْبِ الْعَظِيمِ

21:77. and We helped him against the people who rejected Our signs – they were
evil people, so We drowned them all.

وَنَصَرْنَاهُ مِنَ الْقَوْمِ الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا ۚإِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا قَوْمَ سَوْءٍ فَأَغْرَقْنَاهُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ

21:78. And remember David and Solomon, when they gave judgement regarding the field into which sheep strayed by night and grazed. We witnessed their judgement.

وَدَاوُودَ وَسُلَيْمَانَ إِذْ يَحْكُمَانِ فِي الْحَرْثِ إِذْ نَفَشَتْ فِيهِ غَنَمُ الْقَوْمِ وَكُنَّا لِحُكْمِهِمْ شَاهِدِينَ

21:79. We gave Solomon the right understanding of the matter, and upon each We bestowed wisdom and knowledge.  We constrained to David’s service the people of the mountains who celebrated the praises of Allah, and also the birds. We had power to do all this.

فَفَهَّمْنَاهَا سُلَيْمَانَ ۚ وَكُلًّا آتَيْنَا حُكْمًا وَعِلْمًا ۚوَسَخَّرْنَا مَعَ دَاوُودَ الْجِبَالَ يُسَبِّحْنَ وَالطَّيْرَ ۚ وَكُنَّا فَاعِلِينَ

21:80. We taught him the fashioning of coats of mail for you, to protect you in battle. Will you then be grateful?

وَعَلَّمْنَاهُ صَنْعَةَ لَبُوسٍ لَّكُمْ لِتُحْصِنَكُم مِّن بَأْسِكُمْ ۖ فَهَلْ أَنتُمْ شَاكِرُونَ

21:81. We constrained to Solomon’s service the fierce wind, which blew at his bidding towards the land which We had blessed. We are fully conversant with all things.

وَلِسُلَيْمَانَ الرِّيحَ عَاصِفَةً تَجْرِي بِأَمْرِهِ إِلَى الْأَرْضِ الَّتِي بَارَكْنَا فِيهَا ۚ وَكُنَّا بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَالِمِينَ

21:82. We also subjected to him expert divers who dived for him and performed other tasks; and it was We who watched over them.

وَمِنَ الشَّيَاطِينِ مَن يَغُوصُونَ لَهُ وَيَعْمَلُونَ عَمَلًا دُونَ ذَٰلِكَ ۖ وَكُنَّا لَهُمْ حَافِظِينَ

21:83. Remember Job, when he cried to his Lord, ‘Suffering has truly afflicted me, but you are the Most Merciful of the merciful.’

 وَأَيُّوبَ إِذْ نَادَىٰ رَبَّهُ أَنِّي مَسَّنِيَ الضُّرُّ وَأَنتَ أَرْحَمُ الرَّاحِمِينَ

21:84. So We heard his prayer and removed the distress from which he suffered and bestowed upon him his family, and along with more like them, as a mercy from Us, and as a reminder for all who serve Us.

فَاسْتَجَبْنَا لَهُ فَكَشَفْنَا مَا بِهِ مِن ضُرٍّ

 ۖ وَآتَيْنَاهُ أَهْلَهُ وَمِثْلَهُم مَّعَهُمْ رَحْمَةً مِّنْ عِندِنَا وَذِكْرَىٰ لِلْعَابِدِينَ

21:85. And remember Ishmael, Idris and Dhu’lKifl. All of them were steadfast.

وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِدْرِيسَ وَذَا الْكِفْلِ ۖ كُلٌّ مِّنَ الصَّابِرِينَ

21:86. And We admitted them to Our mercy. Surely, they were of the righteous.

وَأَدْخَلْنَاهُمْ فِي رَحْمَتِنَا ۖ إِنَّهُم مِّنَ الصَّالِحِينَ

21:87. And remember the man with the whale, when he went off angrily, thinking We could not restrict him, but then he cried out in the deep darkness, ‘There is no God but You, glory be to You, I was wrong.’

وَذَا النُّونِ إِذ ذَّهَبَ مُغَاضِبًا فَظَنَّ أَن لَّن نَّقْدِرَ عَلَيْهِ فَنَادَىٰ فِي الظُّلُمَاتِ أَن لَّا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا أَنتَ سُبْحَانَكَ إِنِّي كُنتُ مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ

21:88. So We heard his prayer and saved him from distress: this is how We save those who believe.

 فَاسْتَجَبْنَا لَهُ وَنَجَّيْنَاهُ مِنَ الْغَمِّ ۚ وَكَذَٰلِكَ نُنجِي الْمُؤْمِنِينَ

21:89.  Call to mind Zachariah also when he called on his Lord: Leave me not alone, Lord, You are the Best of heirs.

 وَزَكَرِيَّا إِذْ نَادَىٰ رَبَّهُ رَبِّ لَا تَذَرْنِي فَرْدًا وَأَنتَ خَيْرُ الْوَارِثِي

21:90. So We heard his prayer and bestowed upon him Yahya and cured his wife of barrenness. They used to hasten to do good and they called on Us in hope and in fear, and they humbled themselves before Us.

فَاسْتَجَبْنَا لَهُ وَوَهَبْنَا لَهُ يَحْيَىٰ وَأَصْلَحْنَا لَهُ زَوْجَهُ ۚ إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا يُسَارِعُونَ فِي الْخَيْرَاتِ وَيَدْعُونَنَا رَغَبًا وَرَهَبًا ۖ وَكَانُوا لَنَا خَاشِعِينَ

21:91. Remember the one who safeguarded her chastity; so We blessed her with Our revelation and We made her and her son a sign for all people.

وَالَّتِي أَحْصَنَتْ فَرْجَهَا فَنَفَخْنَا فِيهَا مِن رُّوحِنَا وَجَعَلْنَاهَا وَابْنَهَا آيَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ

21:92 This is your Ummah or community, one Ummah and I am your Lord, so worship me alone.

إِنَّ هَـٰذِهِ أُمَّتُكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَأَنَا رَبُّكُمْ فَاعْبُدُونِ

21:93. They have torn their unity apart, but they will all return to Us.

وَتَقَطَّعُوا أَمْرَهُم بَيْنَهُمْ ۖ كُلٌّ إِلَيْنَا رَاجِعُونَ

21:94. If anyone does good deeds and is a believer, his efforts will not be ignored: We record them for him.

فَمَن يَعْمَلْ مِنَ الصَّالِحَاتِ وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَلَا كُفْرَانَ لِسَعْيِهِ وَإِنَّا لَهُ كَاتِبُونَ

21:95. It is ordained for every township We have destroyed that its dwellers shall not return to this life.

وَحَرَامٌ عَلَىٰ قَرْيَةٍ أَهْلَكْنَاهَا أَنَّهُمْ لَا يَرْجِعُونَ

21:96. When the peoples of Gog and Magog are let loose and swarm swiftly from every highland.

حَتَّىٰ إِذَا فُتِحَتْ يَأْجُوجُ وَمَأْجُوجُ وَهُم مِّن كُلِّ حَدَبٍ يَنسِلُونَ

21:97. When the True Promise draws near, the disbelievers’ eyes will stare in terror, and they will say, ‘Woe to us! We were not aware of this at all. We were wrong.’

وَاقْتَرَبَ الْوَعْدُ الْحَقُّ فَإِذَا هِيَ شَاخِصَةٌ أَبْصَارُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا يَا وَيْلَنَا قَدْ كُنَّا فِي غَفْلَةٍ مِّنْ هَـٰذَا بَلْ كُنَّا ظَالِمِينَ

21:98. They will be told: Surely, you and that which you worship beside Allah, are destined to be the fuel of hell. You will also enter therein.

إِنَّكُمْ وَمَا تَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّـهِ حَصَبُ جَهَنَّمَ أَنتُمْ لَهَا وَارِدُونَ

21:99. If these had been gods, as you allege, they would not have come to it; but long will they abide therein.

لَوْ كَانَ هَـٰؤُلَاءِ آلِهَةً مَّا وَرَدُوهَا ۖ وَكُلٌّ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ

21:100. The disbelievers will be groaning piteously, but the idols will hear nothing.

لَهُمْ فِيهَا زَفِيرٌ وَهُمْ فِيهَا لَا يَسْمَعُونَ

21:101. But those for whom We have decreed Paradise will be kept far from Hell.

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ سَبَقَتْ لَهُم مِّنَّا الْحُسْنَىٰ أُولَـٰئِكَ عَنْهَا مُبْعَدُونَ

21:102. They will not hear a murmur from it – and endlessly they will enjoy everything their souls desire.

لَا يَسْمَعُونَ حَسِيسَهَا

 ۖ وَهُمْ فِي مَا اشْتَهَتْ أَنفُسُهُمْ خَالِدُونَ

21:103. The Great Terror will not grieve them, and the angels will greet them with: This is your day that you were promised.

لَا يَحْزُنُهُمُ الْفَزَعُ الْأَكْبَرُ وَتَتَلَقَّاهُمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ هَـٰذَا يَوْمُكُمُ الَّذِي كُنتُمْ تُوعَدُونَ

21:104.  Be mindful of the day when We shall roll up the heavens like the rolling up of the scrolls by a scribe. As We began the first creation, so shall We repeat it. We have charged Ourself with it, and so shall We do.

يَوْمَ نَطْوِي السَّمَاءَ كَطَيِّ السِّجِلِّ لِلْكُتُبِ ۚ كَمَا بَدَأْنَا أَوَّلَ خَلْقٍ نُّعِيدُهُ ۚ وَعْدًا عَلَيْنَا ۚ إِنَّا كُنَّا فَاعِلِينَ

21:105. We wrote in the Psalms, as We did in earlier Scripture: ‘My righteous servants will inherit the earth.’

وَلَقَدْ كَتَبْنَا فِي الزَّبُورِ مِن بَعْدِ الذِّكْرِ أَنَّ الْأَرْضَ يَرِثُهَا عِبَادِيَ الصَّالِحُونَ

21:106. There truly is a message in this for the servants of God!

إِنَّ فِي هَـٰذَا لَبَلَاغًا لِّقَوْمٍ عَابِدِينَ

21:107. We have sent you Muhammad only as a mercy for all people.

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ

21:108. Say, ‘What is revealed to me is that your God is one God – will you submit to Him?’

قُلْ إِنَّمَا يُوحَىٰ إِلَيَّ أَنَّمَا إِلَـٰهُكُمْ إِلَـٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ ۖ فَهَلْ أَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ

21:109. I have warned you all alike and I know not whether that which you are promised is near or distant.

فَإِن تَوَلَّوْا فَقُلْ آذَنتُكُمْ عَلَىٰ سَوَاءٍ ۖ وَإِنْ أَدْرِي أَقَرِيبٌ أَم بَعِيدٌ مَّا تُوعَدُونَ

21:110. Allah surely knows that which you say openly and also knows that which you conceal.

إِنَّهُ يَعْلَمُ الْجَهْرَ مِنَ الْقَوْلِ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا تَكْتُمُونَ

21:111. Nor do I know whether that which you are promised is a trial for you, or is an enjoyment for a while.

وَإِنْ أَدْرِي لَعَلَّهُ فِتْنَةٌ لَّكُمْ وَمَتَاعٌ إِلَىٰ حِينٍ

21:112. Muhammad said, ‘My Lord, judge among us with the best justice.’ And, ‘Our Lord is the Lord of Mercy. We seek His assistance against what the disbelievers say.’

قَالَ رَبِّ احْكُم

بِالْحَقِّ

 ۗوَرَبُّنَا الرَّحْمَـٰنُ الْمُسْتَعَانُ عَلَىٰ مَا تَصِفُونَ

Commentary

Only a very limited commentary is offered here for now the rest to follow over time. We felt that a short introduction to this surah was very important to put prophethood in the perspective of interfaith tolerance, so we have done that as the first step.

21:1

The time of reckoning is drawing near for the people, yet they are heedless and turn away. (1)

The two most important teachings of the holy Quran that are paradigm setting for human life are Monotheism and accountability in the Afterlife. The surah starts with an allusion to the Afterlife.

21:30-33

Do not the disbelievers realize that the heavens and the earth were a solid mass, then We split them asunder, and We made from water every living thing? Will they not then believe? We have placed in the earth firm mountains lest it roll beneath them; and We have made wide pathways therein that they may thereby journey from place to place. We have made the heaven a guarded and protecting roof; yet they turn away from its Signs. He it is Who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon each gliding freely in its orbit. (30-33)

These verses are perhaps one of the best examples of making a case for Deism and religion and science correlation from the holy Quran. Suggested reading:

Deism: Common between Islam, Christianity and Judaism

Cataloging 750 verses of the Holy Quran inspiring believers to study nature

21:92-94

This is your Ummah or community, one Ummah and I am your Lord, so worship me alone. They have torn their unity apart, but they will all return to Us. If anyone does good deeds and is a believer, his efforts will not be ignored: We record them for him. (92-94)

We believe that the key or the fundamental verse in this surah is the verse 92.  After describing different prophets, by name or indirectly, starting with the prophet Muhammad and including, Moses, Aaron, Abraham, Lot, Isaac, Jacob, Noah, David, Solomon, Ishmael, Idris, Dhul Kifl, Zakariah and Jesus, the Quran states in this verse: “This is your Ummah or community, one Ummah and I am your Lord, so worship me alone.” A very categorical and unambiguous message for universal brotherhood and interfaith tolerance. This message of universal brotherhood is then reinforced by verse 107, which says about the prophet Muhammad, may peace be on him, “We did not send you but as mercy for all people.”

The verse 93 highlights that the believers of different prophets unnecessarily emphasize their differences and fail to see the common teachings between them.  This is especially true for the followers of the Abrahamic faiths that have been advised by the holy Quran to come together on the teaching of Monotheism:

Say, ‘O People of the Book! come to a word common between us and you — that we worship none but Allah, and that we associate no partner with Him, and that some of us take not others for Lords beside Allah.’ But if they turn away, then say, ‘Bear witness that we have submitted to God.’ (3:64)

The verse 94 emphasizes the teaching about the yardstick that God will use to judge us on the day of Judgment, “If anyone does good deeds and is a believer, his efforts will not be ignored: We record them for him,” also mentioned in  several other verses. Salvation cannot be monopolized as the Quran states:

Surely, the Believers, and the Jews, and the Christians and the Sabians — whichever party from among these truly believes in Allah and the Last Day and does good deeds — shall have their reward with their Lord, and no fear shall come upon them, nor shall they grieve. (Al Quran 2:62)

And:

Surely, those who have believed, and the Jews, and the Sabians, and the Christians — whoso believes in Allah and the Last Day and does good deeds, on them shall come no fear, nor shall they grieve. (Al Quran 5:69)

And:

As to those who believe, and the Jews, and the Sabians, and the Christians, and the Magians and the idolaters, verily, Allah will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection; surely Allah is Witness over all things. (Al Quran 22:17)

If we allow religious leaders or writers to act as argumentative lawyers, then any good lawyer, using legalistic jargon, can construct a myopic and narrow exclusive reality, to the exclusion of other sects or religions. We should be wise enough to look through such intolerant and myopic commentators of the holy Quran.

21:105-107

We wrote in the Psalms, as We did in earlier Scripture: ‘My righteous servants will inherit the earth.’ There truly is a message in this for the servants of God! We have sent you Muhammad only as a mercy for all people. (105-107)

These verses highlight again, the common theme in the teachings of all the prophets, universal nature of the prophethood of the holy prophet Muhammad, may peace be on him, and universal brotherhood and sisterhood.

21:108

 Say, ‘What is revealed to me is that your God is one God – will you submit to Him?’ (108)

Almost every surah begins and ends with Monotheism.  Towards the end once again the central message of all the prophets in reemphasized in the following words: Say, ‘What is revealed to me is that your God is one God – will you submit to Him?’

21:109-112

I have warned you all alike and I know not whether that which you are promised is near or distant. Allah surely knows that which you say openly and also knows that which you conceal.  Nor do I know whether that which you are promised is a trial for you, or is an enjoyment for a while. Muhammad said, ‘My Lord, judge among us with the best justice.’ And, ‘Our Lord is the Lord of Mercy. We seek His assistance against what the disbelievers say.’ (109-112)

As the surah began with the mention of Afterlife, so it is concluding with that: “I have warned you all alike and I know not whether that which you are promised is near or distant.” (109)  In the very last verse of the surah the prophet emphasizes the attribute of divine mercy in the final judgment in the hereafter.

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