Sura/Chapter:

Verse:    Count: 135
Tafseer/Commentary:
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Translations:
20: Ta-Ha - طه

20:1
[ Original ]
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ طه
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Ta-Ha.
[ Saheeh International ]
Ta, Ha.
Tafseer Commentary

2534 For an explanation see the Introduction to this Surah. If the meaning is "O man!", that is itself a mystic meaning, as explained, but the letters form a word and would not be classified strictly as Abbreviated Letters: see n. 25 to 2:1. This, however, is a question of classification and does not affect the meaning. This is conjectural, and no one can be dogmatic about it.


20:2
[ Original ]
مَا أَنْزَلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْقُرْآنَ لِتَشْقَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
We have not sent down the Qur'an to thee to be (an occasion) for thy distress,
[ Saheeh International ]
We have not sent down to you the Qur'an that you be distressed
Tafseer Commentary

2535 Allah's revelation may cause some human trouble for two reasons: (1) it checks man's selfishness and narrowness of view, and (2) it annoys the wicked and causes them to jeer and persecute. These are mere incidental things, due to man's own shortcomings. As far as the trouble is concerned, the revelation is meant to give a warning, so that persecutors may be reclaimed, (and of course for men of faith it is comfort and consolation, though that point does not arise in this context).


20:3
[ Original ]
إِلَّا تَذْكِرَةً لِمَنْ يَخْشَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
But only as an admonition to those who fear ((Allah)),-
[ Saheeh International ]
But only as a reminder for those who fear [Allah] -

20:4
[ Original ]
تَنْزِيلًا مِمَّنْ خَلَقَ الْأَرْضَ وَالسَّمَاوَاتِ الْعُلَى
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
A revelation from Him Who created the earth and the heavens on high.
[ Saheeh International ]
A revelation from He who created the earth and highest heavens,

20:5
[ Original ]
الرَّحْمَٰنُ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ اسْتَوَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
((Allah)) Most Gracious is firmly established on the throne (of authority).
[ Saheeh International ]
The Most Merciful [who is] above the Throne established.
Tafseer Commentary

2536 Cf. 10:3, n. 1386. If things seem to be wrong in our imperfect vision on this earth, we must remember that Allah, Who encompasses all Creation and sits on the throne of Grace and Mercy, is in command, and our Faith tells us that all must be right. Allah's authority is not like an authority on earth, which may be questioned, or which may not last. His authority is "firmly established".


20:6
[ Original ]
لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا وَمَا تَحْتَ الثَّرَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
To Him belongs what is in the heavens and on earth, and all between them, and all beneath the soil.
[ Saheeh International ]
To Him belongs what is in the heavens and what is on the earth and what is between them and what is under the soil.
Tafseer Commentary

2537 An exhaustive definition of everything we can conceive of-what is in the heavens, on the earth. or between, or within the bowls of the earth.


20:7
[ Original ]
وَإِنْ تَجْهَرْ بِالْقَوْلِ فَإِنَّهُ يَعْلَمُ السِّرَّ وَأَخْفَى
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
If thou pronounce the word aloud, (it is no matter): for verily He knoweth what is secret and what is yet more hidden.
[ Saheeh International ]
And if you speak aloud - then indeed, He knows the secret and what is [even] more hidden.
Tafseer Commentary

2538 There are two implications. (1) Whatever you profess, or say aloud, gives no information to Allah: He knows not only what is secret and perhaps unknown to others, but what people take special care to conceal. (2) It docs you no good to make insincere professions: your hidden motives are known to Him, Who alone matters. (3) If you read the Word of Allah, or if you pray to Allah, it is not necessary to raise your voice: in either case, Allah will judge you by your inner thoughts which are like an open book to Him.


20:8
[ Original ]
اللَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۖ لَهُ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Allah. there is no god but He! To Him belong the most Beautiful Names.
[ Saheeh International ]
Allah - there is no deity except Him. To Him belong the best names.
Tafseer Commentary

2539 Cf. 17:110 and n. 2322. Allah is all-in-all, and the most beautiful things we can think of arc referable to Him. His names refer to His attributes which arc like titles of Honour and Glory. (R).


20:9
[ Original ]
وَهَلْ أَتَاكَ حَدِيثُ مُوسَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Has the story of Moses reached thee?
[ Saheeh International ]
And has the story of Moses reached you? -
Tafseer Commentary

2540 The story of Moses in its different incidents is told in many places in the Qur'an, and in each case the phase most appropriate in the context is referred to or emphasised. In 2:49-61, it was a phase from the religious history of mankind; in 7:103-162, it was a phase from the story of the 'Ummah (or nation) of Israel, and the story was continued to the times after Moses; in 17:101-103, we have a picture of the decline of a soul in the arrogance of Pharaoh; here, in 20:9-24, we have a picture of the rise of a soul in the commission given to Moses from Allah; in 20:25-36, we have his spiritual relationship with his brother Aaron; in 20:37-40, we have his spiritual relation with his mother and sister, and his upbringing; in 20:41-76, we have his spiritual combat with Pharaoh; and in 20:77-98, we have his spiritual combat with his own people, the Israelites. For other incidents, consult the Index.


20:10
[ Original ]
إِذْ رَأَىٰ نَارًا فَقَالَ لِأَهْلِهِ امْكُثُوا إِنِّي آنَسْتُ نَارًا لَعَلِّي آتِيكُمْ مِنْهَا بِقَبَسٍ أَوْ أَجِدُ عَلَى النَّارِ هُدًى
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Behold, he saw a fire: So he said to his family, "Tarry ye; I perceive a fire; perhaps I can bring you some burning brand therefrom, or find some guidance at the fire."
[ Saheeh International ]
When he saw a fire and said to his family, "Stay here; indeed, I have perceived a fire; perhaps I can bring you a torch or find at the fire some guidance."
Tafseer Commentary

2541 A fire. It appeared like an ordinary fire, which always betokens the presence of men in a desert or a lonely place. Moses made for it alone, to fetch the wherewithal for making a fire for his family, and perhaps to find some direction as to the way, from the people he should meet there. But it was not an ordinary fire. It was a Burning Bush; a Sign of the Glory of Allah.

2542 The spiritual history of Moses begins here. It was his spiritual birth. His physical life, infancy, and upbringing are referred to later on, to illustrate another point. Moses, when he grew up, left the palace of Pharaoh and went to the Midianite people, in the Sinai peninsula . He married among them, and was now travelling with his family and his flocks, when he was called to his mission by Allah. He went to look for a fire for comfort and guidance. He found a higher and holier comfort and guidance. The whole passage is full of portent meaning, which is reflected in the short rhymed verses in the original. (R).


20:11
[ Original ]
فَلَمَّا أَتَاهَا نُودِيَ يَا مُوسَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
But when he came to the fire, a voice was heard: "O Moses!
[ Saheeh International ]
And when he came to it, he was called, "O Moses,

20:12
[ Original ]
إِنِّي أَنَا رَبُّكَ فَاخْلَعْ نَعْلَيْكَ ۖ إِنَّكَ بِالْوَادِ الْمُقَدَّسِ طُوًى
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"Verily I am thy Lord! therefore (in My presence) put off thy shoes: thou art in the sacred valley Tuwa.
[ Saheeh International ]
Indeed, I am your Lord, so remove your sandals. Indeed, you are in the sacred valley of Tuwa.
Tafseer Commentary

2543 The shoes are to be put off as a mark of respect. Moses was now to put away his mere worldly interests, and anything of mere worldly utility, he having been chosen by Allah, the Most High. (R).

2544 This was the valley just below Mount Sinai , where subsequently he was to receive the Law. In the parallel mystic meaning, we are selected by trials in this humble life, whose valley is just as sacred and receives Allah's glory just as much as the heights of the Mount Turif we but have the insights to perceive it.


20:13
[ Original ]
وَأَنَا اخْتَرْتُكَ فَاسْتَمِعْ لِمَا يُوحَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"I have chosen thee: listen, then, to the inspiration (sent to thee).
[ Saheeh International ]
And I have chosen you, so listen to what is revealed [to you].

20:14
[ Original ]
إِنَّنِي أَنَا اللَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا أَنَا فَاعْبُدْنِي وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ لِذِكْرِي
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"Verily, I am Allah. There is no god but I: So serve thou Me (only), and establish regular prayer for celebrating My praise.
[ Saheeh International ]
Indeed, I am Allah. There is no deity except Me, so worship Me and establish prayer for My remembrance.

20:15
[ Original ]
إِنَّ السَّاعَةَ آتِيَةٌ أَكَادُ أُخْفِيهَا لِتُجْزَىٰ كُلُّ نَفْسٍ بِمَا تَسْعَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"Verily the Hour is coming - My design is to keep it hidden - for every soul to receive its reward by the measure of its Endeavour.
[ Saheeh International ]
Indeed, the Hour is coming - I almost conceal it - so that every soul may be recompensed according to that for which it strives.
Tafseer Commentary

2545 The first need is to mend our lives and worship and serve Allah, as in the last verse. The next is to realise the meaning of the Hereafter, when every soul will get the meed of its conduct in this life.

2546 Ukhfi may mean either "keep it hidden", or "make it manifest", and the Commentators have taken, some one meaning and some the other. If the first is taken, it means that the exact hour or day when the Judgement comes is hidden from man; if the second, it means that the fact of the Judgement to come is made known, that man may remember and take warning. I think that both meanings are implied. (R).


20:16
[ Original ]
فَلَا يَصُدَّنَّكَ عَنْهَا مَنْ لَا يُؤْمِنُ بِهَا وَاتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ فَتَرْدَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"Therefore let not such as believe not therein but follow their own lusts, divert thee therefrom, lest thou perish!"..
[ Saheeh International ]
So do not let one avert you from it who does not believe in it and follows his desire, for you [then] would perish.
Tafseer Commentary

2547 Moses had yet to meet the formidable opposition of the arrogant Pharaoh and his proud Egyptians, and later, the rebellion of his own people. In receiving his commission, he is warned of both dangers. This relates to man's own soul: when once the light reaches him let him hold fast to it, lest he perish. He will be beset with dangers of all kinds around him: the worst will be the danger of unbelieving people who seem to thrive on their selfishness and in following their own vain desires! (R).


20:17
[ Original ]
وَمَا تِلْكَ بِيَمِينِكَ يَا مُوسَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"And what is that in the right hand, O Moses?"
[ Saheeh International ]
And what is that in your right hand, O Moses?"

20:18
[ Original ]
قَالَ هِيَ عَصَايَ أَتَوَكَّأُ عَلَيْهَا وَأَهُشُّ بِهَا عَلَىٰ غَنَمِي وَلِيَ فِيهَا مَآرِبُ أُخْرَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
He said, "It is my rod: on it I lean; with it I beat down fodder for my flocks; and in it I find other uses."
[ Saheeh International ]
He said, "It is my staff; I lean upon it, and I bring down leaves for my sheep and I have therein other uses."
Tafseer Commentary

2548 Now comes the miracle of the rod. First of all, the attention of Moses himself is drawn to it, and he thinks of the ordinary uses to which he puts it in his daily life. (R).


20:19
[ Original ]
قَالَ أَلْقِهَا يَا مُوسَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
((Allah)) said, "Throw it, O Moses!"
[ Saheeh International ]
[Allah] said, "Throw it down, O Moses."

20:20
[ Original ]
فَأَلْقَاهَا فَإِذَا هِيَ حَيَّةٌ تَسْعَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
He threw it, and behold! It was a snake, active in motion.
[ Saheeh International ]
So he threw it down, and thereupon it was a snake, moving swiftly.
Tafseer Commentary

2549 Cf. 7:107, where a different word (thu'ban is used for "snake", and the qualifying adjective is "plain (for all to see)". The scene there is before Pharaoh and his magicians and people: the object is to show the hollowness of their magic by a miracle: the rod appears before them as a long and creeping, writhing serpent. Here there is a symbol to present Allah's Mystery to Moses's mind and understanding: the rod becomes a Hayy (a live snake), and its active motion is what is most to be impressed on the mind of Moses, for there were no other spectators. So the highest spiritual mysteries can be grasped, with Allah's gift of insight, from the most ordinary things of daily use. Once they are grasped, there is no question of fear. They really are the virtues of this life lifted up to the glorious spiritual plane.


20:21
[ Original ]
قَالَ خُذْهَا وَلَا تَخَفْ ۖ سَنُعِيدُهَا سِيرَتَهَا الْأُولَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
((Allah)) said, "Seize it, and fear not: We shall return it at once to its former condition"..
[ Saheeh International ]
[Allah] said, "Seize it and fear not; We will return it to its former condition.

20:22
[ Original ]
وَاضْمُمْ يَدَكَ إِلَىٰ جَنَاحِكَ تَخْرُجْ بَيْضَاءَ مِنْ غَيْرِ سُوءٍ آيَةً أُخْرَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"Now draw thy hand close to thy side: It shall come forth white (and shining), without harm (or stain),- as another Sign,-
[ Saheeh International ]
And draw in your hand to your side; it will come out white without disease - another sign,
Tafseer Commentary

2550 The second of the greater Miracles shown to Moses was the "White (shining) Hand". Ordinarily, when the skin becomes white, it is a sign of disease, leprosy or something loathsome. Here there was no question of disease: on the contrary, the hand was glorified, and it shone as with a divine light. Such a miracle was beyond Egyptian or human magic (Cf. 27:12 and 28:32). (R).


20:23
[ Original ]
لِنُرِيَكَ مِنْ آيَاتِنَا الْكُبْرَى
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"In order that We may show thee (two) of our Greater Signs.
[ Saheeh International ]
That We may show you [some] of Our greater signs.

20:24
[ Original ]
اذْهَبْ إِلَىٰ فِرْعَوْنَ إِنَّهُ طَغَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"Go thou to Pharaoh, for he has indeed transgressed all bounds."
[ Saheeh International ]
Go to Pharaoh. Indeed, he has transgressed."
Tafseer Commentary

2551 Moses, having been spiritually prepared now gets his definite commission to go to Pharaoh and point out the error of his ways. So inordinate was Pharaoh's vanity that he had it in his mind to say: "I am your Lord Most High!" (79:24).


20:25
[ Original ]
قَالَ رَبِّ اشْرَحْ لِي صَدْرِي
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
(Moses) said: "O my Lord! expand me my breast;
[ Saheeh International ]
[Moses] said, "My Lord, expand for me my breast [with assurance]
Tafseer Commentary

2552 The breast is reputed to be the seat of knowledge and affections. The gift of the highest spiritual insight is what he prays for first. Cf. 94:1. This was the most urgent in point of time. There are three other things he also asks for: viz., (1) Allah's help in his task, which at first appears difficult to him; (2) the gift of eloquence, and the removal of the impediment from his speech; and (3) the counsel and constant attendance with him of his brother Aaron, whom he loved and trusted, for he would otherwise be alone among the Egyptians.


20:26
[ Original ]
وَيَسِّرْ لِي أَمْرِي
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"Ease my task for me;
[ Saheeh International ]
And ease for me my task

20:27
[ Original ]
وَاحْلُلْ عُقْدَةً مِنْ لِسَانِي
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"And remove the impediment from my speech,
[ Saheeh International ]
And untie the knot from my tongue
Tafseer Commentary

2553 Literally, "Loosen a knot from my tongue".


20:28
[ Original ]
يَفْقَهُوا قَوْلِي
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"So they may understand what I say:
[ Saheeh International ]
That they may understand my speech.

20:29
[ Original ]
وَاجْعَلْ لِي وَزِيرًا مِنْ أَهْلِي
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"And give me a Minister from my family,
[ Saheeh International ]
And appoint for me a minister from my family -

20:30
[ Original ]
هَارُونَ أَخِي
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"Aaron, my brother;
[ Saheeh International ]
Aaron, my brother.

20:31
[ Original ]
اشْدُدْ بِهِ أَزْرِي
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"Add to my strength through him,
[ Saheeh International ]
Increase through him my strength
Tafseer Commentary

2554 Literally, "Strengthen my back with him". A man's strength lies in his back and backbone so that he can stand erect and boldly face his tasks.


20:32
[ Original ]
وَأَشْرِكْهُ فِي أَمْرِي
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"And make him share my task:
[ Saheeh International ]
And let him share my task

20:33
[ Original ]
كَيْ نُسَبِّحَكَ كَثِيرًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"That we may celebrate Thy praise without stint,
[ Saheeh International ]
That we may exalt You much
Tafseer Commentary

2555 The requests that Moses makes are inspired, not by earthly but by spiritual motives. The motive, expressed in the most general terms, is to glorify Allah, not in an occasional way, but systematically and continuously, "without stint." The clauses in this verse and the next, taken together, govern all the requests he makes, from verse 25 to verse 32.


20:34
[ Original ]
وَنَذْكُرَكَ كَثِيرًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"And remember Thee without stint:
[ Saheeh International ]
And remember You much.

20:35
[ Original ]
إِنَّكَ كُنْتَ بِنَا بَصِيرًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"For Thou art He that (ever) regardeth us."
[ Saheeh International ]
Indeed, You are of us ever Seeing."
Tafseer Commentary

2556 The celebration of Allah's praise and remembrance is one form of showing gratitude on the part of Moses for the Grace which Allah had bestowed upon him.


20:36
[ Original ]
قَالَ قَدْ أُوتِيتَ سُؤْلَكَ يَا مُوسَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
((Allah)) said: "Granted is thy prayer, O Moses!"
[ Saheeh International ]
[Allah] said, "You have been granted your request, O Moses.

20:37
[ Original ]
وَلَقَدْ مَنَنَّا عَلَيْكَ مَرَّةً أُخْرَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"And indeed We conferred a favour on thee another time (before).
[ Saheeh International ]
And We had already conferred favor upon you another time,

20:38
[ Original ]
إِذْ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَىٰ أُمِّكَ مَا يُوحَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"Behold! We sent to thy mother, by inspiration, the message:
[ Saheeh International ]
When We inspired to your mother what We inspired,
Tafseer Commentary

2557 The story is not told, but only those salient points recapitulated which bear on the spiritual upbringing" and work of Moses. Long after the age of Joseph, who had been a Wazir to one of the kings, there came on the throne of Egypt a Pharaoh who hated the Israelites and wanted them annihilated. He ordered Israelite male children to be killed when they were born. Moses's mother hid him for a time, but when further concealment was impossible, a thought crossed her mind that she should put her child into a chest and send the chest floating down the Nile . This was not merely a foolish fancy of hers. It was Allah's Plan to bring up Moses in all the learning of the Egyptians, in order that that learning itself should be used to expose what was wrong in it and to advance the glory of Allah. The chest was floated into the river Nile . It flowed on into a stream that passed through Pharaoh's Garden, It was picked up by Pharaoh's people and the child was adopted by Pharaoh's wife. See 28:4-13.


20:39
[ Original ]
أَنِ اقْذِفِيهِ فِي التَّابُوتِ فَاقْذِفِيهِ فِي الْيَمِّ فَلْيُلْقِهِ الْيَمُّ بِالسَّاحِلِ يَأْخُذْهُ عَدُوٌّ لِي وَعَدُوٌّ لَهُ ۚ وَأَلْقَيْتُ عَلَيْكَ مَحَبَّةً مِنِّي وَلِتُصْنَعَ عَلَىٰ عَيْنِي
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
" 'Throw (the child) into the chest, and throw (the chest) into the river: the river will cast him up on the bank, and he will be taken up by one who is an enemy to Me and an enemy to him': But I cast (the garment of) love over thee from Me: and (this) in order that thou mayest be reared under Mine eye.
[ Saheeh International ]
[Saying], 'Cast him into the chest and cast it into the river, and the river will throw it onto the bank; there will take him an enemy to Me and an enemy to him.' And I bestowed upon you love from Me that you would be brought up under My eye.
Tafseer Commentary

2558 Pharaoh was an enemy to Allah, because he was puffed up and he blasphemed, claiming to be God himself. He was an enemy to the child Moses, because he hated the Israelites and wanted to have their male children killed; also because Moses stood for Allah's revelation to come.

2559 Allah made the child comely and lovable, and he attracted the love of the people who, on general grounds, would have killed him.

2560 See n. 2558 above. By making the child Moses so attractive as to be adopted into Pharaoh's household, not only was Moses brought up in the best way possible from an earthly point of view, but Allah's special Providence looked after him in bringing his mother to him, as stated in the next verse, and thus nourishing him on his mother's milk and keeping in touch, in his inner growth, with the feelings and sentiments of his people, the Israelites.


20:40
[ Original ]
إِذْ تَمْشِي أُخْتُكَ فَتَقُولُ هَلْ أَدُلُّكُمْ عَلَىٰ مَنْ يَكْفُلُهُ ۖ فَرَجَعْنَاكَ إِلَىٰ أُمِّكَ كَيْ تَقَرَّ عَيْنُهَا وَلَا تَحْزَنَ ۚ وَقَتَلْتَ نَفْسًا فَنَجَّيْنَاكَ مِنَ الْغَمِّ وَفَتَنَّاكَ فُتُونًا ۚ فَلَبِثْتَ سِنِينَ فِي أَهْلِ مَدْيَنَ ثُمَّ جِئْتَ عَلَىٰ قَدَرٍ يَا مُوسَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"Behold! thy sister goeth forth and saith, 'shall I show you one who will nurse and rear the (child)?' So We brought thee back to thy mother, that her eye might be cooled and she should not grieve. Then thou didst slay a man, but We saved thee from trouble, and We tried thee in various ways. Then didst thou tarry a number of years with the people of Midian. Then didst thou come hither as ordained, O Moses!
[ Saheeh International ]
[And We favored you] when your sister went and said, 'Shall I direct you to someone who will be responsible for him?' So We restored you to your mother that she might be content and not grieve. And you killed someone, but We saved you from retaliation and tried you with a [severe] trial. And you remained [some] years among the people of Madyan. Then you came [here] at the decreed time, O Moses.
Tafseer Commentary

2561 We may suppose that the anxious mother, after the child was floated on the water, sent the child's sister to follow the chest from the bank and see where and by whom it was picked up. When it was picked up by Pharaoh's own family and they seemed to love the child, she appeared like a stranger before them, and said, "Shall I search out a good wet nurse for the child, that she may rear the child you are going to adopt?" That was exactly what they wanted. She ran home and told her mother. The mother was delighted to come and fold the infant in her arms again and feed it at her own breast, and all openly and without any concealment.

2562 The mother's eyes had, we may imagine, been sore with scalding tears at the separation from her baby. Now they were cooled: a phrase meaning that her heart was comforted.

2563 Years passed. The child grew up. In outward learning he was of the house of Pharaoh. In his inner soul and sympathy he was of Israel . One day, he went to the Israelite colony and saw all the Egyptian oppression Under which Israel laboured. He saw an Egyptian smiting an Israelite, apparently with impunity. Moses felt brotherly sympathy ard smote the Egyptian. He did not intend to kill him, but in fact the Egyptian died of the blow. When this became known, his position in Pharaoh's household became impossible. So he fled out of Egypt , and was only saved by Allah's grace. He fled to the Sinai Peninsula , to the land of the Midianites, and had various adventures. He marries one of the daughters of the Midianite chief, and lived with the Midianites for many years, as an Egyptian stranger. He had many trials and temptations, but he retained his integrity of character.

2564 See last note. After many years spent in a quiet life, grazing his father-in-law's flocks, he came one day to the valley of Tuwa underneath the great mountain mass of Sinai, called Tur (in Arabic). The peak on the Arabian side (where Moses was) was called Horeb by the Hebrews. Then was fulfilled Allah's Plan: he saw the fire in the distance, and when he went up, he was addressed by Allah and chosen to be Allah's Messenger for that age.


20:41
[ Original ]
وَاصْطَنَعْتُكَ لِنَفْسِي
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"And I have prepared thee for Myself (for service)"..
[ Saheeh International ]
And I produced you for Myself.

20:42
[ Original ]
اذْهَبْ أَنْتَ وَأَخُوكَ بِآيَاتِي وَلَا تَنِيَا فِي ذِكْرِي
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"Go, thou and thy brother. With My Signs, and slacken not, either of you, in keeping Me in remembrance.
[ Saheeh International ]
Go, you and your brother, with My signs and do not slacken in My remembrance.
Tafseer Commentary

2565 We may suppose that Moses had fled alone to the land of Midian , and that he had now come alone (with his family but not with his brother) to Tuwa, as described in n. 2542 above. When he was honoured with his mission, and was granted his request that his brother Aaron should accompany him, we may suppose that he took steps to get Aaron to come to him, and their meeting was in Tuwa. Some time may be supposed to have elapsed before they were in Egypt , and then they prayed, and received these directions in their Egyptian home. Aaron was either an elder or a younger brother-we are not told which. In either case he was born when the ban on Israelite new-born babes was not in operation. Moses had been out of touch with him, and it speaks greatly for his family affection that he remembered him and prayed for his comradeship in the most serious spiritual work of his life.


20:43
[ Original ]
اذْهَبَا إِلَىٰ فِرْعَوْنَ إِنَّهُ طَغَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"Go, both of you, to Pharaoh, for he has indeed transgressed all bounds;
[ Saheeh International ]
Go, both of you, to Pharaoh. Indeed, he has transgressed.
Tafseer Commentary

2566 Their mission was in the first instance to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians, and then to lead Israel out of Egypt .

2567 Compare the same phrase in 20:24. Having glanced at the early life of Moses we come back now to the time when Moses's actual ministry begins. The earlier personal story of Moses is rounded off.


20:44
[ Original ]
فَقُولَا لَهُ قَوْلًا لَيِّنًا لَعَلَّهُ يَتَذَكَّرُ أَوْ يَخْشَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"But speak to him mildly; perchance he may take warning or fear (Allah)."
[ Saheeh International ]
And speak to him with gentle speech that perhaps he may be reminded or fear [Allah]."
Tafseer Commentary

2568 So far Pharaoh, in his inordinate vanity, had forgotten himself and forgotten how small a creature he was before Allah. This was to be brought to his recollection, so that he might perhaps repent and believe, or at least be deterred by fear from "transgressing all bounds". Some men eschew wrong from sincere love of Allah and understanding of their fellow-men, and some (of coarser minds) from the fear of consequences. Even the latter conduct may be a step to the former.


20:45
[ Original ]
قَالَا رَبَّنَا إِنَّنَا نَخَافُ أَنْ يَفْرُطَ عَلَيْنَا أَوْ أَنْ يَطْغَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
They (Moses and Aaron) said: "Our Lord! We fear lest he hasten with insolence against us, or lest he transgress all bounds."
[ Saheeh International ]
They said, "Our Lord, indeed we are afraid that he will hasten [punishment] against us or that he will transgress."
Tafseer Commentary

2569 They were now in Egypt (see n. 2565 above) and therefore in the power of the Pharaoh. The local atmosphere called for the greatest courage and firmness on their part to carry out the dangerous mission which had been entrusted to them.


20:46
[ Original ]
قَالَ لَا تَخَافَا ۖ إِنَّنِي مَعَكُمَا أَسْمَعُ وَأَرَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
He said: "Fear not: for I am with you: I hear and see (everything).
[ Saheeh International ]
[Allah] said, "Fear not. Indeed, I am with you both; I hear and I see.

20:47
[ Original ]
فَأْتِيَاهُ فَقُولَا إِنَّا رَسُولَا رَبِّكَ فَأَرْسِلْ مَعَنَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ وَلَا تُعَذِّبْهُمْ ۖ قَدْ جِئْنَاكَ بِآيَةٍ مِنْ رَبِّكَ ۖ وَالسَّلَامُ عَلَىٰ مَنِ اتَّبَعَ الْهُدَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"So go ye both to him, and say, 'Verily we are messengers sent by thy Lord: Send forth, therefore, the Children of Israel with us, and afflict them not: with a Sign, indeed, have we come from thy Lord! and peace to all who follow guidance!
[ Saheeh International ]
So go to him and say, 'Indeed, we are messengers of your Lord, so send with us the Children of Israel and do not torment them. We have come to you with a sign from your Lord. And peace will be upon he who follows the guidance.
Tafseer Commentary

2570 The Children of Israel were subjected to all sorts of oppression and indignities. They were given hard tasks; their leaders were unjustly beaten; they were forced to make bricks without straw; and they "groaned in bondage" (Exod. 5:6-19,6:5).

2571 Allah, in His infinite Mercy, always offers Peace to the most hardened sinners, even those who are warring against Him. But, as stated in the next verse, their defiance cannot go on with impunity indefinitely. The punishment must inevitably come for sin, whether the sinner is great or small.


20:48
[ Original ]
إِنَّا قَدْ أُوحِيَ إِلَيْنَا أَنَّ الْعَذَابَ عَلَىٰ مَنْ كَذَّبَ وَتَوَلَّىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"'Verily it has been revealed to us that the Penalty (awaits) those who reject and turn away.'"
[ Saheeh International ]
Indeed, it has been revealed to us that the punishment will be upon whoever denies and turns away.' "

20:49
[ Original ]
قَالَ فَمَنْ رَبُّكُمَا يَا مُوسَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
(When this message was delivered), (Pharaoh) said: "Who, then, O Moses, is the Lord of you two?"
[ Saheeh International ]
[Pharaoh] said, "So who is the Lord of you two, O Moses?"
Tafseer Commentary

2572 Notice how subtly Pharaoh rejects the implication in Moses's speech, in which Moses had referred to "thy Lord" (verse 47). Pharaoh implicitly repudiates the suggestion that the Allah who had sent Moses and Aaron could possibly be Pharaoh's Lord. He asks insolently, "Who is this Lord of yours, of Whom ye speak as having sent you?"


20:50
[ Original ]
قَالَ رَبُّنَا الَّذِي أَعْطَىٰ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ خَلْقَهُ ثُمَّ هَدَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
He said: "Our Lord is He Who gave to each (created) thing its form and nature, and further, gave (it) guidance."
[ Saheeh International ]
He said, "Our Lord is He who gave each thing its form and then guided [it]."
Tafseer Commentary

2573 The answer of Moses is straightforward, dignified, and illuminating. He will not dispute about "my Lord" or "your Lord", the God of Israel, or the God of Egypt. He and his brother were proud to serve "our Lord," but He was the universal Lord and Cherisher, the One and Only God, Who had created all beings and all things. It was from Him that each created thing derived its form and nature, including such free will and power as man had got. He, Pharaoh, was subject to the same condition. In order that the free will should be rightly exercised, Allah had given guidance through His Messengers, and His Signs. Moses and Aaron stood as such Messengers, with such Signs. Will Pharaoh now understand and do right?


20:51
[ Original ]
قَالَ فَمَا بَالُ الْقُرُونِ الْأُولَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
(Pharaoh) said: "What then is the condition of previous generations?"
[ Saheeh International ]
[Pharaoh] said, "Then what is the case of the former generations?"
Tafseer Commentary

2574 But Pharaoh was not the man to accept teaching from the despised Israeliteone; two, who in his eyes was a renegade from the higher Egyptian civilisation. "If, he says in effect, "there is only one God, to Whom all things are referred, this is a new religion. What of the religion of our ancestors? Were they wrong in worshipping the Egyptian gods? And if they were wrong, are they in misery now? He wanted to trap Moses into scathing denunciations of his ancestors, which would at once have deprived him of the sympathy or the hearing of the Egyptian crowd.


20:52
[ Original ]
قَالَ عِلْمُهَا عِنْدَ رَبِّي فِي كِتَابٍ ۖ لَا يَضِلُّ رَبِّي وَلَا يَنْسَى
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
He replied: "The knowledge of that is with my Lord, duly recorded: my Lord never errs, nor forgets,-
[ Saheeh International ]
[Moses] said, "The knowledge thereof is with my Lord in a record. My Lord neither errs nor forgets."
Tafseer Commentary

2575 Moses did not fall into the trap. He remembered the injunction given to him to speak mildly (20:44). He speaks mildly, but does not in any way whittle down the truth. He said in effect: 'Allah's knowledge is perfect, as if, with men, it were a record. For men may make mistakes or may not remember, but Allah never makes mistakes and never forgets. But Allah is not only All-Knowing: He is also All-Good. Look around you: the whole earth is spread out like a carpet. Men go to and fro in it freely. He sends abundance of water from the skies, which comes down in Nile floods and fertilises the whole soil of Egypt , and feeds men and animals (Cf. n. 1029 and n. 3646).


20:53
[ Original ]
الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمُ الْأَرْضَ مَهْدًا وَسَلَكَ لَكُمْ فِيهَا سُبُلًا وَأَنْزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَأَخْرَجْنَا بِهِ أَزْوَاجًا مِنْ نَبَاتٍ شَتَّىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"He Who has, made for you the earth like a carpet spread out; has enabled you to go about therein by roads (and channels); and has sent down water from the sky." With it have We produced diverse pairs of plants each separate from the others.
[ Saheeh International ]
[It is He] who has made for you the earth as a bed [spread out] and inserted therein for you roadways and sent down from the sky, rain and produced thereby categories of various plants.
Tafseer Commentary

2576 Sabil means not only a road, but would include water-roads or channels, and in modern conditions airways-in fact all means of communication (Cf. 43:10).

2577 This seems to be outside the speech of Moses, and connects itself with the following verses 54-56, as part of the Word of Allah, expanding the speech of Moses and explaining the working of Allah's Providence in nature.

2578 Azwaj: we might translate here (as in 15:88) by "classes" instead of "pairs"; but as sex in plants seems to be referred to elsewhere


20:54
[ Original ]
كُلُوا وَارْعَوْا أَنْعَامَكُمْ ۗ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِأُولِي النُّهَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Eat (for yourselves) and pasture your cattle: verily, in this are Signs for men endued with understanding.
[ Saheeh International ]
Eat [therefrom] and pasture your livestock. Indeed, in that are signs for those of intelligence.

20:55
[ Original ]
مِنْهَا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ وَفِيهَا نُعِيدُكُمْ وَمِنْهَا نُخْرِجُكُمْ تَارَةً أُخْرَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
From the (earth) did We create you, and into it shall We return you, and from it shall We bring you out once again.
[ Saheeh International ]
From the earth We created you, and into it We will return you, and from it We will extract you another time.
Tafseer Commentary

2579 This verse ought really to go into the last Section.


20:56
[ Original ]
وَلَقَدْ أَرَيْنَاهُ آيَاتِنَا كُلَّهَا فَكَذَّبَ وَأَبَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And We showed Pharaoh all Our Signs, but he did reject and refuse.
[ Saheeh International ]
And We certainly showed Pharaoh Our signs - all of them - but he denied and refused.
Tafseer Commentary

2580 This is a sort of general introduction to the confrontation between Moses and Pharaoh. The Signs are not only the countering of the fraudulent magic of Egypt with real miracles, but the subsequent Plagues (not mentioned here) and the Crossing of the Red Sea by Israel . (R).


20:57
[ Original ]
قَالَ أَجِئْتَنَا لِتُخْرِجَنَا مِنْ أَرْضِنَا بِسِحْرِكَ يَا مُوسَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
He said: "Hast thou come to drive us out of our land with thy magic O Moses?
[ Saheeh International ]
He said, "Have you come to us to drive us out of our land with your magic, O Moses?
Tafseer Commentary

2581 The Egyptians accused Moses of a design to deprive them of their land, and of exercising black magic. Both charges were palpably false. What Moses wanted to do was to free his people from bondage. The Egyptians had all the power in their possession; they wished to use the Israelites as untouchable helots: and anyone who wanted to mitigate this injustice was branded as a dreadful person who wished to deprive em of their lawful rights. As to magic, the Egyptians judged Moses by themselves. They practised sorcery to deceive the people. They accused the Prophet of Allah of doing the same, though both his outlook and source of his strength were altogether different.


20:58
[ Original ]
فَلَنَأْتِيَنَّكَ بِسِحْرٍ مِثْلِهِ فَاجْعَلْ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكَ مَوْعِدًا لَا نُخْلِفُهُ نَحْنُ وَلَا أَنْتَ مَكَانًا سُوًى
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"But we can surely produce magic to match thine! So make a tryst between us and thee, which we shall not fail to keep - neither we nor thou - in a place where both shall have even chances."
[ Saheeh International ]
Then we will surely bring you magic like it, so make between us and you an appointment, which we will not fail to keep and neither will you, in a place assigned."
Tafseer Commentary

2582 Suwan: literally, 'equal, even.' It has been construed to mean: (1) a place equally distant for both sides, a central place, or (2) equally convenient to both sides, or (3) an open level plain, where the people can collect with ease. All these are possible meanings, but the one I have adopted is more comprehensive, and includes the others, viz.: (4) a place where both sides shall have even chances, "a fair place", as Palmer laconically translates it.


20:59
[ Original ]
قَالَ مَوْعِدُكُمْ يَوْمُ الزِّينَةِ وَأَنْ يُحْشَرَ النَّاسُ ضُحًى
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Moses said: "Your tryst is the Day of the Festival, and let the people be assembled when the sun is well up."
[ Saheeh International ]
[Moses] said, "Your appointment is on the day of the festival when the people assemble at mid-morning."
Tafseer Commentary

2583 A great day of a Temple Festival , when the temples and streets were decorated, and people were on holiday, free from work (Cf. 26:38). Moses makes this appointment in order to collect as large a number Possible, for his first duty is to preach the Truth. And he apparently did it with some effect with some Egyptians (20:70, 72-76), though the Pharaoh and his high and mighty officers rejected the Truth and afterwards Paid the Penalty.


20:60
[ Original ]
فَتَوَلَّىٰ فِرْعَوْنُ فَجَمَعَ كَيْدَهُ ثُمَّ أَتَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
So Pharaoh withdrew: He concerted his plan, and then came (back).
[ Saheeh International ]
So Pharaoh went away, put together his plan, and then came [to Moses].
Tafseer Commentary

2584 Pharaoh was apparently taken aback at Moses appointing a solemn day of public Festival, when there would be a large concourse and there would sure to be some people not in the Court clique, who might be critical of Pharaoh's own sorcerers. But probably there was something more in their dark counsels, something unfair and wicked, to which Moses refers in his speech in the next verse.


20:61
[ Original ]
قَالَ لَهُمْ مُوسَىٰ وَيْلَكُمْ لَا تَفْتَرُوا عَلَى اللَّهِ كَذِبًا فَيُسْحِتَكُمْ بِعَذَابٍ ۖ وَقَدْ خَابَ مَنِ افْتَرَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Moses said to him: Woe to you! Forge not ye a lie against Allah, lest He destroy you (at once) utterly by chastisement: the forger must suffer frustration!"
[ Saheeh International ]
Moses said to the magicians summoned by Pharaoh, "Woe to you! Do not invent a lie against Allah or He will exterminate you with a punishment; and he has failed who invents [such falsehood]."
Tafseer Commentary

2585 Moses had some idea of their trickery and deceit. They would palm off their fraudulent magic as coming from Allah or from their gods! He warns them that their tricks will stand exposed, and their hopes will be defeated.


20:62
[ Original ]
فَتَنَازَعُوا أَمْرَهُمْ بَيْنَهُمْ وَأَسَرُّوا النَّجْوَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
So they disputed, one with another, over their affair, but they kept their talk secret.
[ Saheeh International ]
So they disputed over their affair among themselves and concealed their private conversation.
Tafseer Commentary

2586 They knew that they had here to deal with no ordinary man, but a man with powers above what they could conceive of. But evil always thinks evil. Judging Moses and Aaron by their own standards, they thought that these two were also tricksters, with some tricks superior to their own. All they had to do was to stand together, and they must win. I construe 20:63-64 to be their private talk among themselves, followed by their open challenge to Moses in 20:65.


20:63
[ Original ]
قَالُوا إِنْ هَٰذَانِ لَسَاحِرَانِ يُرِيدَانِ أَنْ يُخْرِجَاكُمْ مِنْ أَرْضِكُمْ بِسِحْرِهِمَا وَيَذْهَبَا بِطَرِيقَتِكُمُ الْمُثْلَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
They said: "These two are certainly (expert) magicians: their object is to drive you out from your land with their magic, and to do away with your most cherished institutions.
[ Saheeh International ]
They said, "Indeed, these are two magicians who want to drive you out of your land with their magic and do away with your most exemplary way.
Tafseer Commentary

2587 Cf. 20:104. 'Your most cherished institutions,' i.e., 'your ancestral and timehonoured religion and magic'. Muthla, feminine of Amthal, most distinguished, honoured, cherished. Tariqah = way of life, institutions, conduct.


20:64
[ Original ]
فَأَجْمِعُوا كَيْدَكُمْ ثُمَّ ائْتُوا صَفًّا ۚ وَقَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْيَوْمَ مَنِ اسْتَعْلَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"Therefore concert your plan, and then assemble in (serried) ranks: He wins (all along) today who gains the upper hand."
[ Saheeh International ]
So resolve upon your plan and then come [forward] in line. And he has succeeded today who overcomes."
Tafseer Commentary

2588 Presumably Pharaoh was in this secret conference, and he promises the most lavish rewards to the magicians if they overcome Moses. See 7:114. That-but I think more than that-is implied. That day was to be the crisis: if they won then, they would win all along, and Moses and his people would be crushed


20:65
[ Original ]
قَالُوا يَا مُوسَىٰ إِمَّا أَنْ تُلْقِيَ وَإِمَّا أَنْ نَكُونَ أَوَّلَ مَنْ أَلْقَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
They said: "O Moses! whether wilt thou that thou throw (first) or that we be the first to throw?"
[ Saheeh International ]
They said, "O Moses, either you throw or we will be the first to throw."

20:66
[ Original ]
قَالَ بَلْ أَلْقُوا ۖ فَإِذَا حِبَالُهُمْ وَعِصِيُّهُمْ يُخَيَّلُ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ سِحْرِهِمْ أَنَّهَا تَسْعَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
He said, "Nay, throw ye first!" Then behold their ropes and their rods-so it seemed to him on account of their magic - began to be in lively motion!
[ Saheeh International ]
He said, "Rather, you throw." And suddenly their ropes and staffs seemed to him from their magic that they were moving [like snakes].
Tafseer Commentary

2589 Their bag of tricks was so clever that it imposed upon all beholders. Their ropes and their rods were thrown, and seemed to move about like snakes. So realistic was the effect that even Moses felt the least bit of doubt in his own mind. He of course had no tricks, and he relied entirely on Allah.


20:67
[ Original ]
فَأَوْجَسَ فِي نَفْسِهِ خِيفَةً مُوسَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
So Moses conceived in his mind a (sort of) fear.
[ Saheeh International ]
And he sensed within himself apprehension, did Moses.
Tafseer Commentary

2590 The concerted attack of evil is sometimes so well-contrived from all points that falsehood appears and is acclaimed as the truth. The believer of truth is isolated, and a sort of moral dizziness creeps over his mind. But by Allah's grace Faith asserts itself, gives him confidence, and points out the specific truths which will dissipate and destroy the teeming brood of falsehood.


20:68
[ Original ]
قُلْنَا لَا تَخَفْ إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ الْأَعْلَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
We said: "Fear not! for thou hast indeed the upper hand:
[ Saheeh International ]
Allah said, "Fear not. Indeed, it is you who are superior.

20:69
[ Original ]
وَأَلْقِ مَا فِي يَمِينِكَ تَلْقَفْ مَا صَنَعُوا ۖ إِنَّمَا صَنَعُوا كَيْدُ سَاحِرٍ ۖ وَلَا يُفْلِحُ السَّاحِرُ حَيْثُ أَتَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"Throw that which is in thy right hand: Quickly will it swallow up that which they have faked what they have faked is but a magician's trick: and the magician thrives not, (no matter) where he goes."
[ Saheeh International ]
And throw what is in your right hand; it will swallow up what they have crafted. What they have crafted is but the trick of a magician, and the magician will not succeed wherever he is."
Tafseer Commentary

2591 The meaning may be either (1) that falsehood and trickery may have their day, but they cannot win everywhere , especially in the presence of Truth, or (2) that trickery and magic must come to an evil end.


20:70
[ Original ]
فَأُلْقِيَ السَّحَرَةُ سُجَّدًا قَالُوا آمَنَّا بِرَبِّ هَارُونَ وَمُوسَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
So the magicians were thrown down to prostration: they said, "We believe in the Lord of Aaron and Moses".
[ Saheeh International ]
So the magicians fell down in prostration. They said, "We have believed in the Lord of Aaron and Moses."
Tafseer Commentary

2592 Cf. this passage with 7:120-126 and 20:65-70 and the notes thereon.


20:71
[ Original ]
قَالَ آمَنْتُمْ لَهُ قَبْلَ أَنْ آذَنَ لَكُمْ ۖ إِنَّهُ لَكَبِيرُكُمُ الَّذِي عَلَّمَكُمُ السِّحْرَ ۖ فَلَأُقَطِّعَنَّ أَيْدِيَكُمْ وَأَرْجُلَكُمْ مِنْ خِلَافٍ وَلَأُصَلِّبَنَّكُمْ فِي جُذُوعِ النَّخْلِ وَلَتَعْلَمُنَّ أَيُّنَا أَشَدُّ عَذَابًا وَأَبْقَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
(Pharaoh) said: "Believe ye in Him before I give you permission? Surely this must be your leader, who has taught you magic! be sure I will cut off your hands and feet on opposite sides, and I will have you crucified on trunks of palm-trees: so shall ye know for certain, which of us can give the more severe and the more lasting punishment!"
[ Saheeh International ]
[Pharaoh] said, "You believed him before I gave you permission. Indeed, he is your leader who has taught you magic. So I will surely cut off your hands and your feet on opposite sides, and I will crucify you on the trunks of palm trees, and you will surely know which of us is more severe in [giving] punishment and more enduring."
Tafseer Commentary

2593 Pharaoh accuses his sorcerers who have been converted, of having been in league with Moses all the time, and in fact of having been led and taught by him! So arrogance and evil cannot conceive of Allah s worlds and worlds of beauty and truth beyond its own narrow vision! It is truly blind, and its very cleverness deludes is to wander far from the truth.


20:72
[ Original ]
قَالُوا لَنْ نُؤْثِرَكَ عَلَىٰ مَا جَاءَنَا مِنَ الْبَيِّنَاتِ وَالَّذِي فَطَرَنَا ۖ فَاقْضِ مَا أَنْتَ قَاضٍ ۖ إِنَّمَا تَقْضِي هَٰذِهِ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
They said: "Never shall we regard thee as more than the Clear Sings that have come to us, or than Him Who created us! so decree whatever thou desirest to decree: for thou canst only decree (touching) the life of this world.
[ Saheeh International ]
They said, "Never will we prefer you over what has come to us of clear proofs and [over] He who created us. So decree whatever you are to decree. You can only decree for this worldly life.
Tafseer Commentary

2594 Clear Signs: the miracles, the personality of the Messengers of Allah, the logic of events as they unfolded themselves, and the light of inner conviction in their own conscience. There are, in addition, the Signs and Proofs of Allah in nature, which are referred to in many places, e.g., 20:53-54.

2595 Thus was the first part of the mission of Moses-that to the Egyptians- fulfilled. See n. 1083 to 7:126; also Appendix V.


20:73
[ Original ]
إِنَّا آمَنَّا بِرَبِّنَا لِيَغْفِرَ لَنَا خَطَايَانَا وَمَا أَكْرَهْتَنَا عَلَيْهِ مِنَ السِّحْرِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ خَيْرٌ وَأَبْقَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"For us, we have believed in our Lord: may He forgive us our faults, and the magic to which thou didst compel us: for Allah is Best and Most Abiding."
[ Saheeh International ]
Indeed, we have believed in our Lord that He may forgive us our sins and what you compelled us [to do] of magic. And Allah is better and more enduring."
Tafseer Commentary

2596 The magic, mummery, and deceptions which pertained to Egyptian Pagan religion became a creed, a State article of faith, to which all citizens were compelled to bow, and to which its priests were compelled actively to practise. And Pharaoh was at the head of the whole system-the high priest or the supreme god. With justice, therefore, do the converted magicians lay the blame on Pharaoh, effectively negativing Pharaoh's disingenuous charge that they had been in league with Moses. These falsehoods and deceptions-combined in many cases with horrid cruelties, open and secret- we common to many Pagan systems. Some of them have been investigated in detail in Sir John G. Frazer's Golden Bough.


20:74
[ Original ]
إِنَّهُ مَنْ يَأْتِ رَبَّهُ مُجْرِمًا فَإِنَّ لَهُ جَهَنَّمَ لَا يَمُوتُ فِيهَا وَلَا يَحْيَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Verily he who comes to his Lord as a sinner (at Judgment),- for him is Hell: therein shall he neither die nor live.
[ Saheeh International ]
Indeed, whoever comes to his Lord as a criminal - indeed, for him is Hell; he will neither die therein nor live.
Tafseer Commentary

2597 The verses 20:74-76 are best construed as comments on the story of the converted Egyptians who had "purified themselves (from evil)". But some construe them as a continuation of their speech.


20:75
[ Original ]
وَمَنْ يَأْتِهِ مُؤْمِنًا قَدْ عَمِلَ الصَّالِحَاتِ فَأُولَٰئِكَ لَهُمُ الدَّرَجَاتُ الْعُلَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
But such as come to Him as Believers who have worked righteous deeds,- for them are ranks exalted,-
[ Saheeh International ]
But whoever comes to Him as a believer having done righteous deeds - for those will be the highest degrees [in position]:

20:76
[ Original ]
جَنَّاتُ عَدْنٍ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا ۚ وَذَٰلِكَ جَزَاءُ مَنْ تَزَكَّىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Gardens of Eternity, beneath which flow rivers: they will dwell therein for aye: such is the reward of those who purify themselves (from evil).
[ Saheeh International ]
Gardens of perpetual residence beneath which rivers flow, wherein they abide eternally. And that is the reward of one who purifies himself.
Tafseer Commentary

2598 As the Egyptian magicians had done when they confessed the One True God.


20:77
[ Original ]
وَلَقَدْ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَىٰ مُوسَىٰ أَنْ أَسْرِ بِعِبَادِي فَاضْرِبْ لَهُمْ طَرِيقًا فِي الْبَحْرِ يَبَسًا لَا تَخَافُ دَرَكًا وَلَا تَخْشَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
We sent an inspiration to Moses: "Travel by night with My servants, and strike a dry path for them through the sea, without fear of being overtaken (by Pharaoh) and without (any other) fear."
[ Saheeh International ]
And We had inspired to Moses, "Travel by night with My servants and strike for them a dry path through the sea; you will not fear being overtaken [by Pharaoh] nor be afraid [of drowning]."
Tafseer Commentary

2599 Time passes and at last Moses is commanded to leave Egypt with his people by night. They were cross the Red Sea into the Sinai Peninsula . They were told to have no fear of Pharaoh or of the sea or of t he unknown desert country of Sinai into which they were going. They crossed dry-shod, while Pharaoh, who came in pursuit with his troops, was overwhelmed by the sea. He and his men all perished. There is no emphasis on this episode here. But the emphasis is laid on the hard task which Moses had with his own people after he had delivered them from the Egyptian bondage.


20:78
[ Original ]
فَأَتْبَعَهُمْ فِرْعَوْنُ بِجُنُودِهِ فَغَشِيَهُمْ مِنَ الْيَمِّ مَا غَشِيَهُمْ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Then Pharaoh pursued them with his forces, but the waters completely overwhelmed them and covered them up.
[ Saheeh International ]
So Pharaoh pursued them with his soldiers, and there covered them from the sea that which covered them,

20:79
[ Original ]
وَأَضَلَّ فِرْعَوْنُ قَوْمَهُ وَمَا هَدَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Pharaoh led his people astray instead of leading them aright.
[ Saheeh International ]
And Pharaoh led his people astray and did not guide [them].
Tafseer Commentary

2600 It is the duty of kings and leaders to give the right lead to their people. Instead of that, the evil ones among them lead them astray, and are the cause of the whole of a people perishing (Cf. 6:123 and 37:24-33).


20:80
[ Original ]
يَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ قَدْ أَنْجَيْنَاكُمْ مِنْ عَدُوِّكُمْ وَوَاعَدْنَاكُمْ جَانِبَ الطُّورِ الْأَيْمَنَ وَنَزَّلْنَا عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَنَّ وَالسَّلْوَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
O ye Children of Israel! We delivered you from your enemy, and We made a Covenant with you on the right side of Mount (Sinai), and We sent down to you Manna and quails:
[ Saheeh International ]
O Children of Israel, We delivered you from your enemy, and We made an appointment with you at the right side of the mount, and We sent down to you manna and quails,
Tafseer Commentary

2601 Right side: Cf. 19:52, and n. 2504, towards the end. The Arabian side of Sinai (Jabal Musa) was the place where Moses first received his commission before going to Egypt , and also where he received the Law after the Exodus from Egypt .


20:81
[ Original ]
كُلُوا مِنْ طَيِّبَاتِ مَا رَزَقْنَاكُمْ وَلَا تَطْغَوْا فِيهِ فَيَحِلَّ عَلَيْكُمْ غَضَبِي ۖ وَمَنْ يَحْلِلْ عَلَيْهِ غَضَبِي فَقَدْ هَوَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
(Saying): "Eat of the good things We have provided for your sustenance, but commit no excess therein, lest My Wrath should justly descend on you: and those on whom descends My Wrath do perish indeed!
[ Saheeh International ]
[Saying], "Eat from the good things with which We have provided you and do not transgress [or oppress others] therein, lest My anger should descend upon you. And he upon whom My anger descends has certainly fallen."
Tafseer Commentary

2602 Cf. 2:57 and n. 71; and 7:160-61 should like to construe this not only literally but also metaphorically-'Allah has looked after you and saved you. He has given you ethical and spiritual guidance. Enjoy the fruits of all this, but do not become puffed up and rebellious (another meaning in the root Tagha): otherwise the Wrath of Allah is sure to descend on you.'

2603 This gives the keynote to Moser's constant tussle with his own people, and introduces immediate y afterwards the incident of the golden calf.


20:82
[ Original ]
وَإِنِّي لَغَفَّارٌ لِمَنْ تَابَ وَآمَنَ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا ثُمَّ اهْتَدَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"But, without doubt, I am (also) He that forgives again and again, to those who repent, believe, and do right, who,- in fine, are ready to receive true guidance."
[ Saheeh International ]
But indeed, I am the Perpetual Forgiver of whoever repents and believes and does righteousness and then continues in guidance.

20:83
[ Original ]
وَمَا أَعْجَلَكَ عَنْ قَوْمِكَ يَا مُوسَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
(When Moses was up on the Mount, Allah said:) "What made thee hasten in advance of thy people, O Moses?"
[ Saheeh International ]
[Allah] said, "And what made you hasten from your people, O Moses?"
Tafseer Commentary

2604 This was when Moses was up on the Mount for forty days and forty nights: 2:51 and n. 66. Moses had left the elders of Israel with Aaron behind him: Exod. 24:14. While he was in a state of ecstatic honour on the Mount, his people were enacting strange scenes down below. They were tested and tried, and they failed in the trial. They made a golden image of a calf for worship, as described below. See also 7:148-150 and notes-


20:84
[ Original ]
قَالَ هُمْ أُولَاءِ عَلَىٰ أَثَرِي وَعَجِلْتُ إِلَيْكَ رَبِّ لِتَرْضَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
He replied: "Behold, they are close on my footsteps: I hastened to thee, O my Lord, to please thee."
[ Saheeh International ]
He said, "They are close upon my tracks, and I hastened to You, my Lord, that You be pleased."

20:85
[ Original ]
قَالَ فَإِنَّا قَدْ فَتَنَّا قَوْمَكَ مِنْ بَعْدِكَ وَأَضَلَّهُمُ السَّامِرِيُّ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
(Allah) said: "We have tested thy people in thy absence: the Samiri has led them astray."
[ Saheeh International ]
[Allah] said, "But indeed, We have tried your people after you [departed], and the Samiri has led them astray."
Tafseer Commentary

2605 Who was this Samin ? If it was his personal name, it was sufficiently near the meaning of the original root word to have the definite article attached to it: Cf. the name of the caliph Mu'tasim (Al-Mu'tasim). What was the root for "Samiri"? If we look to old Egyptian, we have Shemer = A stranger, foreigner (Sir E. A. Wallis Budge's Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary. 1920, p. 815 b). As the Israelites had just left Egypt , they might quite well have among them an Egyptianised Hebrew bearing that nickname. That the name Shemer was subsequently not unknown among the Hebrews is clear from the Old Testament. In I Kings, 16:24 we read that Omri, king of Israel, the northern portion of the divided kingdom, who reigned about 903-896 B.C., built a new city, Samaria, on a hill which he bought from Shemer, the owner of the hill, for two talents of silver. See also Renan: History of Israel , 2:210. For a further discussion of the word, see n. 2608 below.


20:86
[ Original ]
فَرَجَعَ مُوسَىٰ إِلَىٰ قَوْمِهِ غَضْبَانَ أَسِفًا ۚ قَالَ يَا قَوْمِ أَلَمْ يَعِدْكُمْ رَبُّكُمْ وَعْدًا حَسَنًا ۚ أَفَطَالَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْعَهْدُ أَمْ أَرَدْتُمْ أَنْ يَحِلَّ عَلَيْكُمْ غَضَبٌ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ فَأَخْلَفْتُمْ مَوْعِدِي
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
So Moses returned to his people in a state of indignation and sorrow. He said: "O my people! did not your Lord make a handsome promise to you? Did then the promise seem to you long (in coming)? Or did ye desire that Wrath should descend from your Lord on you, and so ye broke your promise to me?"
[ Saheeh International ]
So Moses returned to his people, angry and grieved. He said, "O my people, did your Lord not make you a good promise? Then, was the time [of its fulfillment] too long for you, or did you wish that wrath from your Lord descend upon you, so you broke your promise [of obedience] to me?"
Tafseer Commentary

2606 There are two promises referred to in this verse, the promise of Allah and the promise of the people of Israel . They form one Covenant, which was entered into through their leader Moses. See 20:80, and 2:63, n. 78. Allah's promise was to protect them and lead them to the Promised Land, and their promise was to obey Allah's Law and His commandments.


20:87
[ Original ]
قَالُوا مَا أَخْلَفْنَا مَوْعِدَكَ بِمَلْكِنَا وَلَٰكِنَّا حُمِّلْنَا أَوْزَارًا مِنْ زِينَةِ الْقَوْمِ فَقَذَفْنَاهَا فَكَذَٰلِكَ أَلْقَى السَّامِرِيُّ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
They said: "We broke not the promise to thee, as far as lay in our power: but we were made to carry the weight of the ornaments of the (whole) people, and we threw them (into the fire), and that was what the Samiri suggested.
[ Saheeh International ]
They said, "We did not break our promise to you by our will, but we were made to carry burdens from the ornaments of the people [of Pharaoh], so we threw them [into the fire], and thus did the Samiri throw."
Tafseer Commentary

2607 Cf. Exod. 12:35-36: the Israelites, before they left Egypt , borrowed from the Egyptians 'jewels of silver and jewels of gold, and raiment"; and "they spoiled the Egyptians" i.e., stripped them of all their valuable jewelry. Note that the answer of the backsliders is disingenuous in various ways. (1) The Samiri was no doubt responsible for suggesting the making of the golden calf, but they could not on that account disclaim responsibility for themselves ; the burden of the sin is on him who commits it, and he cannot pretend that he was powerless to avoid it. (2) At most the weight of the gold they carried could not have been heavy even if one or two men carried it, but would have been neglible if distributed. (3) Gold is valuable, and it is not likely that if they wanted to disburden themselves of it, they had any need to light a furnace, melt it, and cast it into the shape of a calf.

2608 See n. 2605 about the Samiri. If the Egyptian origin of the root is not accepted, we have a Hebrew origin in "Shomer" a guard, watchman, sentinel; allied to the Arabic Samara, yasmuru, to keep awake by night, to converse by night: samir, one who keeps awake by night. The Samiri may have been a watchman, in fact or by nickname (Cf. n. 2917).


20:88
[ Original ]
فَأَخْرَجَ لَهُمْ عِجْلًا جَسَدًا لَهُ خُوَارٌ فَقَالُوا هَٰذَا إِلَٰهُكُمْ وَإِلَٰهُ مُوسَىٰ فَنَسِيَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"Then he brought out (of the fire) before the (people) the image of a calf: It seemed to low: so they said: This is your god, and the god of Moses, but (Moses) has forgotten!"
[ Saheeh International ]
And he extracted for them [the statue of] a calf which had a lowing sound, and they said, "This is your god and the god of Moses, but he forgot."
Tafseer Commentary

2609 See n. 1113 to 7:148, where the same words are used and explained.

2610 Seen. 1114 to 7:148.

2611 Moses has forgotten: i.e., 'forgotten both us and his god. He has been gone for so many days. He is searching for a god on the Mount when his god is really here!' This is spoken by the Samiri and his partisans, but the people as a whole accepted it, and it therefore becomes their speech.


20:89
[ Original ]
أَفَلَا يَرَوْنَ أَلَّا يَرْجِعُ إِلَيْهِمْ قَوْلًا وَلَا يَمْلِكُ لَهُمْ ضَرًّا وَلَا نَفْعًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Could they not see that it could not return them a word (for answer), and that it had no power either to harm them or to do them good?
[ Saheeh International ]
Did they not see that it could not return to them any speech and that it did not possess for them any harm or benefit?
Tafseer Commentary

2612 This is a parenthetical comment. How blind the people were! They had seen Signs of the True Living God, and yet they were willing to worship a dead image! The True Living God had spoken in definite words of command, while this calf could only emit some sounds of lowing, which were themselves contrived by the fraud of the priests. This image could do neither good nor harm, while Allah was the Cherisher and Sustainer of the Universe, Whose Mercy was unbounded and Whose Wrath was terrible.


20:90
[ Original ]
وَلَقَدْ قَالَ لَهُمْ هَارُونُ مِنْ قَبْلُ يَا قَوْمِ إِنَّمَا فُتِنْتُمْ بِهِ ۖ وَإِنَّ رَبَّكُمُ الرَّحْمَٰنُ فَاتَّبِعُونِي وَأَطِيعُوا أَمْرِي
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Aaron had already, before this said to them: "O my people! ye are being tested in this: for verily your Lord is ((Allah)) Most Gracious; so follow me and obey my command."
[ Saheeh International ]
And Aaron had already told them before [the return of Moses], "O my people, you are only being tested by it, and indeed, your Lord is the Most Merciful, so follow me and obey my order."
Tafseer Commentary

2613 "Resist this temptation: you are being tested in this. Do not follow after the semi-Egyptian Samiri, but obey me."

2614 The Bible story makes Aaron the culprit, which is inconsistent with his office as the high priest of Allah and the right hand of Moses. See n. 1116 to 7:150. Our version is more consistent, and explains, through the example of the Samiri, the lingering influences of the Egyptian cult of Osiris the bull-god.


20:91
[ Original ]
قَالُوا لَنْ نَبْرَحَ عَلَيْهِ عَاكِفِينَ حَتَّىٰ يَرْجِعَ إِلَيْنَا مُوسَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
They had said: "We will not abandon this cult, but we will devote ourselves to it until Moses returns to us."
[ Saheeh International ]
They said, "We will never cease being devoted to the calf until Moses returns to us."
Tafseer Commentary

2615 Obviously Aaron's speech in the last verse, and the rebels' defiance in this verse, were spoken before the return of Moses from the Mount.

2616 The rebels had so little faith that they had given Moses up for lost, and never expected to see him again.


20:92
[ Original ]
قَالَ يَا هَارُونُ مَا مَنَعَكَ إِذْ رَأَيْتَهُمْ ضَلُّوا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
(Moses) said: "O Aaron! what kept thee back, when thou sawest them going wrong,
[ Saheeh International ]
[Moses] said, "O Aaron, what prevented you, when you saw them going astray,

20:93
[ Original ]
أَلَّا تَتَّبِعَنِ ۖ أَفَعَصَيْتَ أَمْرِي
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"From following me? Didst thou then disobey my order?"
[ Saheeh International ]
From following me? Then have you disobeyed my order?"
Tafseer Commentary

2617 Moses, when he came back, was full of anger and grief. His speech to Aaron is one of rebuke, and he was also inclined to handle him roughly: see next verse. The order he refers to is that stated in 7:142. "Act for me amongst my people: do right, and follow not the way of those who do mischief."


20:94
[ Original ]
قَالَ يَا ابْنَ أُمَّ لَا تَأْخُذْ بِلِحْيَتِي وَلَا بِرَأْسِي ۖ إِنِّي خَشِيتُ أَنْ تَقُولَ فَرَّقْتَ بَيْنَ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ وَلَمْ تَرْقُبْ قَوْلِي
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
(Aaron) replied: "O son of my mother! Seize (me) not by my beard nor by (the hair of) my head! Truly I feared lest thou shouldst say, 'Thou has caused a division among the children of Israel, and thou didst not respect my word!'"
[ Saheeh International ]
[Aaron] said, "O son of my mother, do not seize [me] by my beard or by my head. Indeed, I feared that you would say, 'You caused division among the Children of Israel, and you did not observe [or await] my word.' "
Tafseer Commentary

2618 Cf. 7:150.

2619 This reply of Aaron's is in no way inconsistent with the reply as noted in 7:150. On the contrary, there is a dramatic aptness in the different points emphasised on each occasion. In S. 7 we were discussing the Ummah of Israel, and Aaron rightly says: "The people did indeed reckon me as naught, and went near to slay me!" In adding, "Let not the enemies rejoice over my misfortune" he is referring by implication to his brother's wish to maintain unity among the people. Here the unity is the chief point to emphasise: we are dealing with the SamirT as mischief-monger, and he could best be dealt with by Moses, who proceeds to do so.


20:95
[ Original ]
قَالَ فَمَا خَطْبُكَ يَا سَامِرِيُّ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
(Moses) said: "What then is thy case, O Samiri?"
[ Saheeh International ]
[Moses] said, "And what is your case, O Samiri?"
Tafseer Commentary

2620 Moses now turns to the Samiri, and the Samiri's reply in the next verse sums up his character in a few wonderful strokes of character-painting. The lesson of the whole of this episode is the fall of a human soul that nominally comes to Allah's Truth in a humble position but makes mischief when and as it finds occasion. It is no less dangerous and culpable than the arrogant soul, typified by pharaoh, which gets into high places and makes its leadership the cause of ruin of a whole nation.


20:96
[ Original ]
قَالَ بَصُرْتُ بِمَا لَمْ يَبْصُرُوا بِهِ فَقَبَضْتُ قَبْضَةً مِنْ أَثَرِ الرَّسُولِ فَنَبَذْتُهَا وَكَذَٰلِكَ سَوَّلَتْ لِي نَفْسِي
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
He replied: "I saw what they saw not: so I took a handful (of dust) from the footprint of the Messenger, and threw it (into the calf): thus did my soul suggest to me."
[ Saheeh International ]
He said, "I saw what they did not see, so I took a handful [of dust] from the track of the messenger and threw it, and thus did my soul entice me."
Tafseer Commentary

2621 This answer of the Samiri is a fine example of unblushing effrontery, careful evasion of issues, and invented falsehoods. He takes upon himself to pretend that he had far more insight than anybody else: he saw what the vulgar crowd did not see. He saw something supernatural. "The Messenger" is construed by many Commentators to mean the angel Gabriel. Rasul (plural, rusul) is used in several places for "angels" e.g., in 11:69, 11:77; 19:19; and 35:1. But if we take it to mean the Messenger Moses, it means that the Samiri saw something sacred or supernatural in his footprints: perhaps he thinks a little flattery would make Moses forgive him. The dust became sacred, and his throwing it into the calf s image made the calf utter a lowing sound! As if that was the point at issue! He does not answer the charge of making an image for worship. But finally, with arrogant effrontery, he says, "Well, that is what my soul suggested to me, and that should be enough!"


20:97
[ Original ]
قَالَ فَاذْهَبْ فَإِنَّ لَكَ فِي الْحَيَاةِ أَنْ تَقُولَ لَا مِسَاسَ ۖ وَإِنَّ لَكَ مَوْعِدًا لَنْ تُخْلَفَهُ ۖ وَانْظُرْ إِلَىٰ إِلَٰهِكَ الَّذِي ظَلْتَ عَلَيْهِ عَاكِفًا ۖ لَنُحَرِّقَنَّهُ ثُمَّ لَنَنْسِفَنَّهُ فِي الْيَمِّ نَسْفًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
(Moses) said: "Get thee gone! but thy (punishment) in this life will be that thou wilt say, 'touch me not'; and moreover (for a future penalty) thou hast a promise that will not fail: Now look at thy god, of whom thou hast become a devoted worshipper: We will certainly (melt) it in a blazing fire and scatter it broadcast in the sea!"
[ Saheeh International ]
[Moses] said, "Then go. And indeed, it is [decreed] for you in [this] life to say, 'No contact.' And indeed, you have an appointment [in the Hereafter] you will not fail to keep. And look at your 'god' to which you remained devoted. We will surely burn it and blow it into the sea with a blast.
Tafseer Commentary

2622 He and his kind were to become social lepers, untouchables; perhaps also sufficiently arrogant to hold others at arm's length, and say "Noli me tangere" (touch me not).

2623 Namely, the promised Wrath of Allah: see 20:81; 89:25.

2624 The cast effigy was re-melted and destroyed. Thus ends the Samiri's story, of which the lessons are indicated n. 2620 above. It may be interesting to pursue the transformations of the word Samiri in later times. For its origin see notes 2605 and 2608 above. Whether the root of Samiri was originally Egyptian or Hebrew does not affect the later history. Four facts may be noted. (1) There was a man bearing a name of that kind at the time of Moses, and he led a revolt against Moses and was cursed by Moses. (2) In the time of King Omri (903-896 B.C.) of the northern kingdom of Israel , there was a man called Shemer, from whom, according to the Bible, was bought a hill on which was built the new capital of the kingdom, the town of Samaria . (3) The name of the hill was Shomer ( = watchman, vigilant guardian), and that form of the name also appears as the name of a man (see 2 Kings 22:21); some authorities think the town was called after the hill and not after the man ( Hastings 's Encyclopedia of Religions and Ethics}, but this is, for our present purposes, immaterial. (4) There was and is a dissenting community of Israelites called Samaritans, who have their own separate Pentateuch and Targum, who claim to be the true Children of Israel, and who hold the Orthodox Jews in contempt as the latter hold them in contempt: they claim to be the true guardians (Shomerim) of the Law, and that is probably the true origin of the name Samaritan, which may go further back in time than the foundation of the town of Samaria. I think it is probable that the schism originated from the time of Moses, and that the curse of Moses on the Samiri explains the position.


20:98
[ Original ]
إِنَّمَا إِلَٰهُكُمُ اللَّهُ الَّذِي لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۚ وَسِعَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ عِلْمًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
But the god of you all is the One Allah. there is no god but He: all things He comprehends in His knowledge.
[ Saheeh International ]
Your god is only Allah, except for whom there is no deity. He has encompassed all things in knowledge."

20:99
[ Original ]
كَذَٰلِكَ نَقُصُّ عَلَيْكَ مِنْ أَنْبَاءِ مَا قَدْ سَبَقَ ۚ وَقَدْ آتَيْنَاكَ مِنْ لَدُنَّا ذِكْرًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Thus do We relate to thee some stories of what happened before: for We have sent thee a Message from Our own Presence.
[ Saheeh International ]
Thus, [O Muhammad], We relate to you from the news of what has preceded. And We have certainly given you from Us the Qur'an.
Tafseer Commentary

2625 Thus superseding previous revelations; for this (the Qur'an) is direct from Allah, and is not a secondhand exposition on other men's authority.


20:100
[ Original ]
مَنْ أَعْرَضَ عَنْهُ فَإِنَّهُ يَحْمِلُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وِزْرًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
If any do turn away therefrom, verily they will bear a burden on the Day of judgment;
[ Saheeh International ]
Whoever turns away from it - then indeed, he will bear on the Day of Resurrection a burden,

20:101
[ Original ]
خَالِدِينَ فِيهِ ۖ وَسَاءَ لَهُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ حِمْلًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
They will abide in this (state): and grievous will the burden be to them on that Day,-
[ Saheeh International ]
[Abiding] eternally therein, and evil it is for them on the Day of Resurrection as a load -
Tafseer Commentary

2626 Cf. 6:31. If people are so immersed in the evanescent falsehoods of this life to turn away from the True and the Eternal, they will have a rude awakening when the Judgement comes. These very things that they thought so enjoyable here- taking advantage of others, material self-indulgence, nursing grievances instead of doing good, etc.-will he a grievous burden to them that day, which they will not be able to escape or lighten.


20:102
[ Original ]
يَوْمَ يُنْفَخُ فِي الصُّورِ ۚ وَنَحْشُرُ الْمُجْرِمِينَ يَوْمَئِذٍ زُرْقًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
The Day when the Trumpet will be sounded: that Day, We shall gather the sinful, blear-eyed (with terror).
[ Saheeh International ]
The Day the Horn will be blown. And We will gather the criminals, that Day, blue-eyed.
Tafseer Commentary

2627 Zurqa = having eyes different from normal colour, which in the East is black and white: having blue eyes, or eyes afflicted with dimness or blindness, or squint; hence metaphorically, blear-eyed (with terror).


20:103
[ Original ]
يَتَخَافَتُونَ بَيْنَهُمْ إِنْ لَبِثْتُمْ إِلَّا عَشْرًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
In whispers will they consult each other: "Yet tarried not longer than ten (Days);
[ Saheeh International ]
They will murmur among themselves, "You remained not but ten [days in the world]."
Tafseer Commentary

2628 Faced with eternity, they will realise that their life on this earth, or the interval between their sin and their punishment, had a duration which practically amounted to nothing. They express this by the phrase "ten days", but their wiser heads think that even this is an over-estimate. It was but a brief day!


20:104
[ Original ]
نَحْنُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا يَقُولُونَ إِذْ يَقُولُ أَمْثَلُهُمْ طَرِيقَةً إِنْ لَبِثْتُمْ إِلَّا يَوْمًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
We know best what they will say, when their leader most eminent in conduct will say: "Ye tarried not longer than a day!"
[ Saheeh International ]
We are most knowing of what they say when the best of them in manner will say, "You remained not but one day."
Tafseer Commentary

2629 Cf. 20:63 and n. 2587. Note that it is the shrewdest and most versed in Life who will say this, because they will be the first to see the true situation.


20:105
[ Original ]
وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْجِبَالِ فَقُلْ يَنْسِفُهَا رَبِّي نَسْفًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
They ask thee concerning the Mountains: say, "My Lord will uproot them and scatter them as dust;
[ Saheeh International ]
And they ask you about the mountains, so say, "My Lord will blow them away with a blast.
Tafseer Commentary

2630 In the last verse, it was the deceptiveness and relativity of Time that was dealt with. Here we come to the question of space, solidity, bulk. The question was actually put to the Holy Prophet: what will become of the solid Mountains, or in the English phrase, "the eternal hills'? They are no more substantial than anything else in this temporal world. When the "new world", (13:5) of which Unbelievers doubted, is actually in being, the mountains will cease to exist. We can imagine the scene of judgement as a level plain, in which there are no ups and downs and no places of concealment. All is straight and level, without corners, mysteries, or lurking doubts.

2631 The one word nasafa carries the ideas of (1) tearing up by the roots, (2) scattering like chaff or dust, and (3) winnowing. Its twofold repetition here intensifies the meaning.


20:106
[ Original ]
فَيَذَرُهَا قَاعًا صَفْصَفًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"He will leave them as plains smooth and level;
[ Saheeh International ]
And He will leave the earth a level plain;

20:107
[ Original ]
لَا تَرَىٰ فِيهَا عِوَجًا وَلَا أَمْتًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"Nothing crooked or curved wilt thou see in their place."
[ Saheeh International ]
You will not see therein a depression or an elevation."

20:108
[ Original ]
يَوْمَئِذٍ يَتَّبِعُونَ الدَّاعِيَ لَا عِوَجَ لَهُ ۖ وَخَشَعَتِ الْأَصْوَاتُ لِلرَّحْمَٰنِ فَلَا تَسْمَعُ إِلَّا هَمْسًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
On that Day will they follow the Caller (straight): no crookedness (can they show) him: all sounds shall humble themselves in the Presence of (Allah) Most Gracious: nothing shalt thou hear but the tramp of their feet (as they march).
[ Saheeh International ]
That Day, everyone will follow [the call of] the Caller [with] no deviation therefrom, and [all] voices will be stilled before the Most Merciful, so you will not hear except a whisper [of footsteps].
Tafseer Commentary

2632 The. Caller, the angel whose voice will call and direct all souls. (R).

2633 A beautiful personification of hushed Sound. First there is the loud blast of the Trumpet. Then mere is the stillness and hush of awe and reverence: only the tramp of the ranks marching along will be heard. (R).


20:109
[ Original ]
يَوْمَئِذٍ لَا تَنْفَعُ الشَّفَاعَةُ إِلَّا مَنْ أَذِنَ لَهُ الرَّحْمَٰنُ وَرَضِيَ لَهُ قَوْلًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
On that Day shall no intercession avail except for those for whom permission has been granted by ((Allah)) Most Gracious and whose word is acceptable to Him.
[ Saheeh International ]
That Day, no intercession will benefit except [that of] one to whom the Most Merciful has given permission and has accepted his word.
Tafseer Commentary

2634 Cf. 2:255 in the Verse of the Throne. Here man is in the accusative case governed by tanfa'u, and it is better to construe as I have done. That is, intercession will benefit no one except those for whom Allah has granted permission, and whose word (of repentance) is true and sincere, and therefore acceptable to Allah. Others construe; no intercession will avail, except by those to whom Allah has granted permission, and whose word (of intercession) is acceptable to Allah (Cf. 21:28 and 34:23). In that case the two different clauses have no distinct meanings.


20:110
[ Original ]
يَعْلَمُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْ وَلَا يُحِيطُونَ بِهِ عِلْمًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
He knows what (appears to His creatures as) before or after or behind them: but they shall not compass it with their knowledge.
[ Saheeh International ]
Allah knows what is [presently] before them and what will be after them, but they do not encompass it in knowledge.
Tafseer Commentary

2635 Cf. 2:255 and n. 297. The slight difference in phraseology (which I have tried to preserve in the Translation) will be understood as beauty when we reflect that here our attention is directed to the Day of Judgement, and in 2:255 the wording is general, and applies to our present state also.


20:111
[ Original ]
وَعَنَتِ الْوُجُوهُ لِلْحَيِّ الْقَيُّومِ ۖ وَقَدْ خَابَ مَنْ حَمَلَ ظُلْمًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
(All) faces shall be humbled before (Him) - the Living, the Self-Subsisting, Eternal: hopeless indeed will be the man that carries iniquity (on his back).
[ Saheeh International ]
And [all] faces will be humbled before the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of existence. And he will have failed who carries injustice.
Tafseer Commentary

2636 The metaphor of the burden of sin which the unjust carry on their backs is referred to in 20:100-101 (see n. 2626), in 6:31, and in other passages. Note that all faces, those of the just as well as of the unjust, will be humbled before Allah: the best of us can claim no merit equal to Allah's Grace. But the just will have Hope: while the unjust, now that the curtain of Reality has risen, will be in absolute Despair!


20:112
[ Original ]
وَمَنْ يَعْمَلْ مِنَ الصَّالِحَاتِ وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَلَا يَخَافُ ظُلْمًا وَلَا هَضْمًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
But he who works deeds of righteousness, and has faith, will have no fear of harm nor of any curtailment (of what is his due).
[ Saheeh International ]
But he who does of righteous deeds while he is a believer - he will neither fear injustice nor deprivation.
Tafseer Commentary

2637 See the last note. Unlike the unjust, the righteous, who have come with Faith, will now find their Faith justified: not only will they be free from any fear of harm, but they will be rewarded to the full, or, as has been said in other passages, where His bounty rather than His justice is emphasised, they will get more than their due reward (3:27; 39:10).


20:113
[ Original ]
وَكَذَٰلِكَ أَنْزَلْنَاهُ قُرْآنًا عَرَبِيًّا وَصَرَّفْنَا فِيهِ مِنَ الْوَعِيدِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَّقُونَ أَوْ يُحْدِثُ لَهُمْ ذِكْرًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Thus have We sent this down - an arabic Qur'an - and explained therein in detail some of the warnings, in order that they may fear Allah, or that it may cause their remembrance (of Him).
[ Saheeh International ]
And thus We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur'an and have diversified therein the warnings that perhaps they will avoid [sin] or it would cause them remembrance.
Tafseer Commentary

2638 The Qur'an is in clear Arabic, so that even an unlearned people like the Arabs might understand and profit by its warnings, and the rest of the world may learn through them, as they did in the first few centuries of Islam and may do again when we Muslims show ourselves worthy to explain and exemplify its meaning. The evil are warned that they may repent: the good are confirmed in their Faith and strengthened by their remembrance of Him.


20:114
[ Original ]
فَتَعَالَى اللَّهُ الْمَلِكُ الْحَقُّ ۗ وَلَا تَعْجَلْ بِالْقُرْآنِ مِنْ قَبْلِ أَنْ يُقْضَىٰ إِلَيْكَ وَحْيُهُ ۖ وَقُلْ رَبِّ زِدْنِي عِلْمًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
High above all is Allah, the King, the Truth! Be not in haste with the Qur'an before its revelation to thee is completed, but say, "O my Lord! advance me in knowledge."
[ Saheeh International ]
So high [above all] is Allah, the Sovereign, the Truth. And, [O Muhammad], do not hasten with [recitation of] the Qur'an before its revelation is completed to you, and say, "My Lord, increase me in knowledge."
Tafseer Commentary

2639 Allah is above every human event or desire. His purpose is universal. But He is the Truth, the absolute Truth: and His kingdom is the true kingdom, that can carry out His will. That Truth unfolds itself gradually, as it did in the gradual revelation of the Qur'an to the Prophet. But even after it was completed in a volume, its true meaning and purpose only gradually unfold themselves to any given individual or nation. No one should be impatient about it On the contrary, we should always pray for increase in our own knowledge, which can never at any given moment be complete (Cf. 75:16).


20:115
[ Original ]
وَلَقَدْ عَهِدْنَا إِلَىٰ آدَمَ مِنْ قَبْلُ فَنَسِيَ وَلَمْ نَجِدْ لَهُ عَزْمًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
We had already, beforehand, taken the covenant of Adam, but he forgot: and We found on his part no firm resolve.
[ Saheeh International ]
And We had already taken a promise from Adam before, but he forgot; and We found not in him determination.
Tafseer Commentary

2640 The spiritual fall of two individual souls, Pharaoh and the Samiri, having been referred to, the one through overweening arrogance, and the other through a spirit of mischief and false harking back to the past, our attention is now called to the prototype of Evil who tempted Adam, the original Man, and to the fact that though man was clearly warned that Evil is his enemy and will effect his ruin, he showed so little firmness that he succumbed to it at once at the first opportunity.


20:116
[ Original ]
وَإِذْ قُلْنَا لِلْمَلَائِكَةِ اسْجُدُوا لِآدَمَ فَسَجَدُوا إِلَّا إِبْلِيسَ أَبَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
When We said to the angels, "Prostrate yourselves to Adam", they prostrated themselves, but not Iblis: he refused.
[ Saheeh International ]
And [mention] when We said to the angels, "Prostrate to Adam," and they prostrated, except Iblees; he refused.

20:117
[ Original ]
فَقُلْنَا يَا آدَمُ إِنَّ هَٰذَا عَدُوٌّ لَكَ وَلِزَوْجِكَ فَلَا يُخْرِجَنَّكُمَا مِنَ الْجَنَّةِ فَتَشْقَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Then We said: "O Adam! verily, this is an enemy to thee and thy wife: so let him not get you both out of the Garden, so that thou art landed in misery.
[ Saheeh International ]
So We said, "O Adam, indeed this is an enemy to you and to your wife. Then let him not remove you from Paradise so you would suffer.
Tafseer Commentary

2641 See last note. The story is referred to, in order to draw attention to man's folly in rushing into the arms of Evil, through he had been clearly forewarned.


20:118
[ Original ]
إِنَّ لَكَ أَلَّا تَجُوعَ فِيهَا وَلَا تَعْرَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"There is therein (enough provision) for thee not to go hungry nor to go naked,
[ Saheeh International ]
Indeed, it is [promised] for you not to be hungry therein or be unclothed.
Tafseer Commentary

2642 Not only had the warning been given that Evil is an enemy to man and will effect his destruction, but it was clearly pointed out that all his needs were being met in the Garden of Happiness . Food and clothing, drink and shelter, were amply provided for.


20:119
[ Original ]
وَأَنَّكَ لَا تَظْمَأُ فِيهَا وَلَا تَضْحَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"Nor to suffer from thirst, nor from the sun's heat."
[ Saheeh International ]
And indeed, you will not be thirsty therein or be hot from the sun."

20:120
[ Original ]
فَوَسْوَسَ إِلَيْهِ الشَّيْطَانُ قَالَ يَا آدَمُ هَلْ أَدُلُّكَ عَلَىٰ شَجَرَةِ الْخُلْدِ وَمُلْكٍ لَا يَبْلَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
But Satan whispered evil to him: he said, "O Adam! shall I lead thee to the Tree of Eternity and to a kingdom that never decays?"
[ Saheeh International ]
Then Satan whispered to him; he said, "O Adam, shall I direct you to the tree of eternity and possession that will not deteriorate?"
Tafseer Commentary

2643 The suggestion of the Evil One is clever, as it always is: it is false, and at the same time plausible. It is false, because (1) that felicity was not temporary, like the life of this world, and (2) they were supreme in the Garden, and a "kingdom" such as was dangled before them would only add to their sorrows. It was plausible, because (1) nothing had been said to them about Eternity, as the opposite of Eternity was not yet known, and (2) the sweets of Power arise from the savour of Self, and Self is an alluring (if false) attraction that misleads the Will.


20:121
[ Original ]
فَأَكَلَا مِنْهَا فَبَدَتْ لَهُمَا سَوْآتُهُمَا وَطَفِقَا يَخْصِفَانِ عَلَيْهِمَا مِنْ وَرَقِ الْجَنَّةِ ۚ وَعَصَىٰ آدَمُ رَبَّهُ فَغَوَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
In the result, they both ate of the tree, and so their nakedness appeared to them: they began to sew together, for their covering, leaves from the Garden: thus did Adam disobey his Lord, and allow himself to be seduced.
[ Saheeh International ]
And Adam and his wife ate of it, and their private parts became apparent to them, and they began to fasten over themselves from the leaves of Paradise. And Adam disobeyed his Lord and erred.
Tafseer Commentary

2644 Hitherto they were clothed in the garb of Innocence and knew no evil. Now, when disobedience to Allah had sullied their soul and torn off the garment of their Innocence, their sullied Self appeared to themselves in all its nakedness and ugliness, and they had to resort to external things (leaves of the Garden) to cover the shame of their self-consciousness.

2645 Adam had been given the will to choose, and he chose wrongly, and was about to be lost in the throng of the evil ones, when Allah's Grace came to his aid. His repentance was accepted, and Allah chose him for His Mercy, as stated in the next verse.


20:122
[ Original ]
ثُمَّ اجْتَبَاهُ رَبُّهُ فَتَابَ عَلَيْهِ وَهَدَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
But his Lord chose him (for His Grace): He turned to him, and gave him Guidance.
[ Saheeh International ]
Then his Lord chose him and turned to him in forgiveness and guided [him].

20:123
[ Original ]
قَالَ اهْبِطَا مِنْهَا جَمِيعًا ۖ بَعْضُكُمْ لِبَعْضٍ عَدُوٌّ ۖ فَإِمَّا يَأْتِيَنَّكُمْ مِنِّي هُدًى فَمَنِ اتَّبَعَ هُدَايَ فَلَا يَضِلُّ وَلَا يَشْقَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
He said: "Get ye down, both of you,- all together, from the Garden, with enmity one to another: but if, as is sure, there comes to you Guidance from Me, whosoever follows My Guidance, will not lose his way, nor fall into misery.
[ Saheeh International ]
[Allah] said, "Descend from Paradise - all, [your descendants] being enemies to one another. And if there should come to you guidance from Me - then whoever follows My guidance will neither go astray [in the world] nor suffer [in the Hereafter].
Tafseer Commentary

2646 The little variations between this passage and 2:38 are instructive, as showing how clearly the particular argument is followed in each case. Here ihbita ('get ye down') is in the dual number, and refers to the two individual souls, our common ancestors: in 2:38 ihbitu is in the plural number, to include all mankind and Satan, for the argument is about the collective life of man. On the other hand, "all together" includes Satan, the spirit of evil, and the enmity "one to another" refers to the eternal feud between Man and Satan, between our better nature and Evil.

2647 For the same reason as in the last note, we have the consequences of Guidance to the individual, viz.: being saved from going astray or from falling into misery and despair. In 2:38, the consequences expressed, though they apply to the individual, are also appropriate taken collectively: "on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve."


20:124
[ Original ]
وَمَنْ أَعْرَضَ عَنْ ذِكْرِي فَإِنَّ لَهُ مَعِيشَةً ضَنْكًا وَنَحْشُرُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ أَعْمَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"But whosoever turns away from My Message, verily for him is a life narrowed down, and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Judgment."
[ Saheeh International ]
And whoever turns away from My remembrance - indeed, he will have a depressed life, and We will gather him on the Day of Resurrection blind."
Tafseer Commentary

2648 Again, as in the last two verses, there is a variation from the previous passage (2:39). The consequences of the rejection of Allah's guidance are here expressed more individually: a life narrowed down, and a blindness that will persist beyond this life. "A life narrowed down" has many implications: (1) it is a life from which all the beneficent influences of Allah's wide world are excluded; (2) it is a life for Self, not for all; (3) in looking exclusively to the "good things" of this life, it misses the true Reality.


20:125
[ Original ]
قَالَ رَبِّ لِمَ حَشَرْتَنِي أَعْمَىٰ وَقَدْ كُنْتُ بَصِيرًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
He will say: "O my Lord! why hast Thou raised me up blind, while I had sight (before)?"
[ Saheeh International ]
He will say, "My Lord, why have you raised me blind while I was [once] seeing?"
Tafseer Commentary

2649 Because Allah gave him physical sight in this life for trial, he thinks he should be favoured in the real world, the world that matters! He misused the physical sight and made himself blind for the other world,


20:126
[ Original ]
قَالَ كَذَٰلِكَ أَتَتْكَ آيَاتُنَا فَنَسِيتَهَا ۖ وَكَذَٰلِكَ الْيَوْمَ تُنْسَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
(Allah) will say: "Thus didst Thou, when Our Signs came unto thee, disregard them: so wilt thou, this day, be disregarded."
[ Saheeh International ]
[Allah] will say, "Thus did Our signs come to you, and you forgot them; and thus will you this Day be forgotten."
Tafseer Commentary

2650 You were deliberately blind to Allah's Signs: now you will not see Allah's favours, and will be excluded from his Grace.'


20:127
[ Original ]
وَكَذَٰلِكَ نَجْزِي مَنْ أَسْرَفَ وَلَمْ يُؤْمِنْ بِآيَاتِ رَبِّهِ ۚ وَلَعَذَابُ الْآخِرَةِ أَشَدُّ وَأَبْقَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And thus do We recompense him who transgresses beyond bounds and believes not in the Sings of his Lord: and the Penalty of the Hereafter is far more grievous and more enduring.
[ Saheeh International ]
And thus do We recompense he who transgressed and did not believe in the signs of his Lord. And the punishment of the Hereafter is more severe and more enduring.
Tafseer Commentary

2651 Blindness in the world of enduring Reality is far worse than physical blindness in the world of probation.


20:128
[ Original ]
أَفَلَمْ يَهْدِ لَهُمْ كَمْ أَهْلَكْنَا قَبْلَهُمْ مِنَ الْقُرُونِ يَمْشُونَ فِي مَسَاكِنِهِمْ ۗ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِأُولِي النُّهَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Is it not a warning to such men (to call to mind) how many generations before them We destroyed, in whose haunts they (now) move? Verily, in this are Signs for men endued with understanding.
[ Saheeh International ]
Then, has it not become clear to them how many generations We destroyed before them as they walk among their dwellings? Indeed in that are signs for those of intelligence.
Tafseer Commentary

2652 Cf. 20:54. This phrase concluded the argument of Moses with Pharaoh about Pharaoh's blindness to Allah and the Signs of Allah. Now it concludes the more general argument about men, concerning whom the saying arose: 'none are so blind as those who will not see.'


20:129
[ Original ]
وَلَوْلَا كَلِمَةٌ سَبَقَتْ مِنْ رَبِّكَ لَكَانَ لِزَامًا وَأَجَلٌ مُسَمًّى
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Had it not been for a Word that went forth before from thy Lord, (their punishment) must necessarily have come; but there is a Term appointed (for respite).
[ Saheeh International ]
And if not for a word that preceded from your Lord, punishment would have been an obligation [due immediately], and [if not for] a specified term [decreed].
Tafseer Commentary

2653 Cf. 10:19 and n. 1407: also 11:110. In Allah's Holy Plan and Purpose, there is a wise adjustment of all interests, and a merciful chance and respite given to all, the unjust as well as the just, and His decree or word abides. The most wicked have a term appointed for them for respite. Had it not been so, the punishment must necessarily have descended on them immediately for their evil deeds.


20:130
[ Original ]
فَاصْبِرْ عَلَىٰ مَا يَقُولُونَ وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ قَبْلَ طُلُوعِ الشَّمْسِ وَقَبْلَ غُرُوبِهَا ۖ وَمِنْ آنَاءِ اللَّيْلِ فَسَبِّحْ وَأَطْرَافَ النَّهَارِ لَعَلَّكَ تَرْضَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Therefore be patient with what they say, and celebrate (constantly) the praises of thy Lord, before the rising of the sun, and before its setting; yea, celebrate them for part of the hours of the night, and at the sides of the day: that thou mayest have (spiritual) joy.
[ Saheeh International ]
So be patient over what they say and exalt [Allah] with praise of your Lord before the rising of the sun and before its setting; and during periods of the night [exalt Him] and at the ends of the day, that you may be satisfied.
Tafseer Commentary

2654 All good men must be patient with what seems to them evil around them. That does not mean that they should sit still and do nothing to destroy evil; for the fight against evil is one of the cardinal points of Islam. What they are told is that they must not be impatient: they must pray to Allah and commune with Him, so that their patience and faith may be strengthened, and they may be able the better to grapple with evil. For they thus not only get strength but inward spiritual joy.

2655 Taraf, plural atraf, may mean sides, ends, extremities. If the day be compared to a tubular figure standing erect, the top and bottom are clearly marked, but the sides are not so clearly marked: they would be atraf (plural), not tarafayn (dual). Now the prayer before sunrise is clearly Fajr t that before sunset is 'Asr: "part of the hours of the night" would indicate Maghrib (early night, just after sunset), and 'Isha, before going to bed. There is left Zuhr, which is the indefinite side or middle of the day; it may be soon after the sun's decline from noon, but there is considerable latitude about the precise hour. The majority of Commentators interpret in favour of the five Canonical prayers, and some include optional prayers. But I think the words are even more comprehensive. A good man's life is all one sweet Song of Praise to Allah (Cf. 35:21)-


20:131
[ Original ]
وَلَا تَمُدَّنَّ عَيْنَيْكَ إِلَىٰ مَا مَتَّعْنَا بِهِ أَزْوَاجًا مِنْهُمْ زَهْرَةَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا لِنَفْتِنَهُمْ فِيهِ ۚ وَرِزْقُ رَبِّكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَبْقَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Nor strain thine eyes in longing for the things We have given for enjoyment to parties of them, the splendour of the life of this world, through which We test them: but the provision of thy Lord is better and more enduring.
[ Saheeh International ]
And do not extend your eyes toward that by which We have given enjoyment to [some] categories of them, [its being but] the splendor of worldly life by which We test them. And the provision of your Lord is better and more enduring.
Tafseer Commentary

2656 The good things of this life make a brave show, but they are as nothing compared with the good of the Hereafter. Both are provided by Allah, but the former are given to the just and the unjust as a test and trial, and in any case will pass away: while the latter come especially from Allah for his devoted servants, and are incomparably of more value and will last through eternity.


20:132
[ Original ]
وَأْمُرْ أَهْلَكَ بِالصَّلَاةِ وَاصْطَبِرْ عَلَيْهَا ۖ لَا نَسْأَلُكَ رِزْقًا ۖ نَحْنُ نَرْزُقُكَ ۗ وَالْعَاقِبَةُ لِلتَّقْوَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Enjoin prayer on thy people, and be constant therein. We ask thee not to provide sustenance: We provide it for thee. But the (fruit of) the Hereafter is for righteousness.
[ Saheeh International ]
And enjoin prayer upon your family [and people] and be steadfast therein. We ask you not for provision; We provide for you, and the [best] outcome is for [those of] righteousness.
Tafseer Commentary

2657 Sustenance, in the sense of the ordinary needs of life, the man of Allah does not worry about. That is provided by Allah for all, the just and the unjust. But the special provision, the real Sustenance, the spiritual fruit, is for a righteous life in the service of Allah.


20:133
[ Original ]
وَقَالُوا لَوْلَا يَأْتِينَا بِآيَةٍ مِنْ رَبِّهِ ۚ أَوَلَمْ تَأْتِهِمْ بَيِّنَةُ مَا فِي الصُّحُفِ الْأُولَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
They say: "Why does he not bring us a sign from his Lord?" Has not a Clear Sign come to them of all that was in the former Books of revelation?
[ Saheeh International ]
And they say, "Why does he not bring us a sign from his Lord?" Has there not come to them evidence of what was in the former scriptures?
Tafseer Commentary

2658 The question or plea of the Unbelievers is disingenuous. Many Signs have come with this Revelation. But the one that should have appealed to those who believed in former revelations and should have convinced them was what was in their own books.


20:134
[ Original ]
وَلَوْ أَنَّا أَهْلَكْنَاهُمْ بِعَذَابٍ مِنْ قَبْلِهِ لَقَالُوا رَبَّنَا لَوْلَا أَرْسَلْتَ إِلَيْنَا رَسُولًا فَنَتَّبِعَ آيَاتِكَ مِنْ قَبْلِ أَنْ نَذِلَّ وَنَخْزَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And if We had inflicted on them a penalty before this, they would have said: "Our Lord! If only Thou hadst sent us a messenger, we should certainly have followed Thy Signs before we were humbled and put to shame."
[ Saheeh International ]
And if We had destroyed them with a punishment before him, they would have said, "Our Lord, why did You not send to us a messenger so we could have followed Your verses before we were humiliated and disgraced?"
Tafseer Commentary

2659 If the Signs mentioned in the last note did not convince them, it would mean that they were not true to their own faith. They were not straight with themselves. Injustice they should have been punished for their falsehood. But they were given further respite. Or they would again have argued in a circle, and said: "If only Allah had sent us a living messenger we should have believed!" The living messenger they flout because they want a Sign. The Sign they wish to ignore, because they want a living messenger!


20:135
[ Original ]
قُلْ كُلٌّ مُتَرَبِّصٌ فَتَرَبَّصُوا ۖ فَسَتَعْلَمُونَ مَنْ أَصْحَابُ الصِّرَاطِ السَّوِيِّ وَمَنِ اهْتَدَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Say: "Each one (of us) is waiting: wait ye, therefore, and soon shall ye know who it is that is on the straight and even way, and who it is that has received Guidance."
[ Saheeh International ]
Say, "Each [of us] is waiting; so wait. For you will know who are the companions of the sound path and who is guided."
Tafseer Commentary

2660 If people will not be true to their own lights, what further argument is left? The Prophet of Allah can only say: "Let us wait the isuse; my faith tells me that Allah's Truth must prevail." Cf. 9:52. (R).

2661 Cf. 19:43. The straight and even Way must endure, and show that the man who follows it has received true guidance. All falsehood and crookedness must ultimately disappear


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