Sura/Chapter:

Verse:    Count: 88
Tafseer/Commentary:
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Translations:
38: Sad - ص

38:1
[ Original ]
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ ص ۚ وَالْقُرْآنِ ذِي الذِّكْرِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Sad: By the Qur'an, Full of Admonition: (This is the Truth).
[ Saheeh International ]
Sad. By the Qur'an containing reminder...
Tafseer Commentary

4146 Sad is a letter of the Arabic alphabet. It is used here as an Abbreviated Letter, for which see Appendix I (at the end of Surah 2:). See also the second para, of n. 989 to 7:1 for this particular letter. No dogmatism is permissible in trying to interpret Abbreviated Letters. But it is suggested that it may stand for Qisas ("Stories"), in which the dominant consonant is s. For this Surah is concerned mainly with the stones of David and Solomon as illustrative of the relative positions of spiritual and worldly power. Sale 's note: "It may stand for Solomon": is a real howler: for in Arabic the letter Sad does not occur at all in the name of Solomon.

4147 Full of admonition: the word dhikr is far more comprehensive than any single word or phrase that lean think of in English: it implies (1) remembrance in a spirit of reverence; (2) recital, celebrating the praises of Allah; (3) teaching, admonition, warning; (4) Message, Revelation, as in Ahl at dhikr, "those who possess the Message" 16:43, and n. 2069). In Sufi phraseology it implies mystical enlightenment, both the aspiration and the attainment, for in the highest spiritual atmosphere, the two are one. Devotional exercises are also called dhikr, with reference to meaning (2) above.


38:2
[ Original ]
بَلِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فِي عِزَّةٍ وَشِقَاقٍ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
But the Unbelievers (are steeped) in Self-glory and Separatism.
[ Saheeh International ]
But those who disbelieve are in pride and dissension.
Tafseer Commentary

4148 The great root of Evil and Unbelief is Self-glory or Arrogance, as is pointed out in several places with regard to Satan: cf, below, 38:74-76. This leads to Envy and Separatism, or a desire to start a peculiar doctrine or sect of one's own, instead of a desire to find common grounds of belief and life, which lead to the Religion of Unity in Allah. This teaching of Unity was what the Pagans objected to in the Prophet (verse 5 below)!


38:3
[ Original ]
كَمْ أَهْلَكْنَا مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ مِنْ قَرْنٍ فَنَادَوْا وَلَاتَ حِينَ مَنَاصٍ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
How many generations before them did We destroy? In the end they cried (for mercy)- when there was no longer time for being saved!
[ Saheeh International ]
How many a generation have We destroyed before them, and they [then] called out; but it was not a time for escape.
Tafseer Commentary

4149 Teaching, Warning, Signs have been given by Allah to all nations and at all times, and yet nations have rebelled and gone wrong and suffered destruction. If only later generations could learn that wrongdoing results in self-destruction! For the justice of Allah merely carries out the result of their own choice and actions. At any time during their probation they could repent and obtain mercy, but their "Self-glory and Separatism" stand in the way. Ultimately they do cry for a way of escape, but it is then too late.


38:4
[ Original ]
وَعَجِبُوا أَنْ جَاءَهُمْ مُنْذِرٌ مِنْهُمْ ۖ وَقَالَ الْكَافِرُونَ هَٰذَا سَاحِرٌ كَذَّابٌ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
So they wonder that a Warner has come to them from among Themselves! and the Unbelievers say, "This is a sorcerer telling lies!
[ Saheeh International ]
And they wonder that there has come to them a warner from among themselves. And the disbelievers say, "This is a magician and a liar.
Tafseer Commentary

4150 Their wonder is only stimulated. They are full of envy and spite against one of themselves who has been chosen by Allah to be His Messenger, and they vent their spite by making all sorts of false accusations. The man who was pre-eminent for truth and conscientious consideration, they call "a sorcerer and a liar"! (Cf. 51:52).


38:5
[ Original ]
أَجَعَلَ الْآلِهَةَ إِلَٰهًا وَاحِدًا ۖ إِنَّ هَٰذَا لَشَيْءٌ عُجَابٌ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"Has he made the gods (all) into one Allah. Truly this is a wonderful thing!"
[ Saheeh International ]
Has he made the gods [only] one God? Indeed, this is a curious thing."
Tafseer Commentary

4151 And what is the offence of the Messenger of Unity? That he has made all their fantastic gods disappear: that in place of chaos he has brought harmony; that in place of conflict he brings peace! It is a wonderful thing, but not in the sarcastic sense in which the Unbelievers scoff at it!


38:6
[ Original ]
وَانْطَلَقَ الْمَلَأُ مِنْهُمْ أَنِ امْشُوا وَاصْبِرُوا عَلَىٰ آلِهَتِكُمْ ۖ إِنَّ هَٰذَا لَشَيْءٌ يُرَادُ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And the leader among them go away (impatiently), (saying), "Walk ye away, and remain constant to your gods! For this is truly a thing designed (against you)!
[ Saheeh International ]
And the eminent among them went forth, [saying], "Continue, and be patient over [the defense of] your gods. Indeed, this is a thing intended.
Tafseer Commentary

4152 When the message of Islam was being preached in its infancy, and the Preacher and his followers were being persecuted by the Pagans, one of the devices adopted by the Pagan leaders was to get the Prophet's uncle Abu Talib to denounce or renounce his beloved nephew. A conference was held with Abu Talib for this purpose. On its failure the leaders walked away, and began to discredit the great movement by falsely giving out that it was designed against their personal influence, and to throw power into the hands of the Prophet. 'Umar's conversion occurred in the sixth year of the Mission (seventh year before the Hijrah). The circumstances connected with it (see Introduction to S. 20) greatly alarmed the Quraysh. chiefs, who, greedy of autocracy themselves, confused the issue by accusing the righteous Preacher of plotting against their power.


38:7
[ Original ]
مَا سَمِعْنَا بِهَٰذَا فِي الْمِلَّةِ الْآخِرَةِ إِنْ هَٰذَا إِلَّا اخْتِلَاقٌ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"We never heard (the like) of this among the people of these latter days: this is nothing but a madeup tale!"
[ Saheeh International ]
We have not heard of this in the latest religion. This is not but a fabrication.
Tafseer Commentary

4153 'Whatever may have been the case in the past', they said, 'our own immediate ancestors worshipped these idols in Makkah, and why should we give them up? Self-complacency was stronger with them than Truth; and so they call Truth "a made-up tale"! Some Commentators interpret al Millat al Akhirah to refer to the last religion preached before Islam, viz. Christianity, which had itself departed from Monotheism to Trinity. (R).


38:8
[ Original ]
أَأُنْزِلَ عَلَيْهِ الذِّكْرُ مِنْ بَيْنِنَا ۚ بَلْ هُمْ فِي شَكٍّ مِنْ ذِكْرِي ۖ بَلْ لَمَّا يَذُوقُوا عَذَابِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"What! has the Message been sent to him - (Of all persons) among us?"...but they are in doubt concerning My (Own) Message! Nay, they have not yet tasted My Punishment!
[ Saheeh International ]
Has the message been revealed to him out of [all of] us?" Rather, they are in doubt about My message. Rather, they have not yet tasted My punishment.
Tafseer Commentary

4154 Here comes in envy. 'If a Message had to come, why should it come to him, the orphan son of 'Abd Allah, and not to one of our own great men?'

4155 They have no clear idea of how Allah's Message comes! It is not a worldly thing to be given to anyone. It is a divine thing requiring spiritual preparation. If they close their eyes to it now, it will be brought home to them when they taste the consequences of their folly!


38:9
[ Original ]
أَمْ عِنْدَهُمْ خَزَائِنُ رَحْمَةِ رَبِّكَ الْعَزِيزِ الْوَهَّابِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Or have they the treasures of the mercy of thy Lord,- the Exalted in Power, the Grantor of Bounties without measure?
[ Saheeh International ]
Or do they have the depositories of the mercy of your Lord, the Exalted in Might, the Bestower?
Tafseer Commentary

4156 If they set themselves to judge Allah, have they anything to show comparable to Allah's Mercy and Power! He has both in infinite measure. Who are they to question the grant of His Mercy and Revelation to His own Chosen One?


38:10
[ Original ]
أَمْ لَهُمْ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا ۖ فَلْيَرْتَقُوا فِي الْأَسْبَابِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Or have they the dominion of the heavens and the earth and all between? If so, let them mount up with the ropes and means (to reach that end)!
[ Saheeh International ]
Or is theirs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and what is between them? Then let them ascend through [any] ways of access.
Tafseer Commentary

4157 Weak and puny creatures though they are, they dare to raise their heads against the Omnipotent, as if they had dominion over Creation and not He! If they had any power, let them mount up to heaven and use all the means they have to that end, and see how they can frustrate Allah's Purpose!


38:11
[ Original ]
جُنْدٌ مَا هُنَالِكَ مَهْزُومٌ مِنَ الْأَحْزَابِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
But there - will be put to flight even a host of confederates.
[ Saheeh International ]
[They are but] soldiers [who will be] defeated there among the companies [of disbelievers].
Tafseer Commentary

4158 Of course they cannot frustrate Allah's Purpose. In that world-the spiritual world-they will be ignominiously routed, even if they form the strongest confederacy of the Powers of Evil that ever could combine. Cf. the last clause of verse 13 below.


38:12
[ Original ]
كَذَّبَتْ قَبْلَهُمْ قَوْمُ نُوحٍ وَعَادٌ وَفِرْعَوْنُ ذُو الْأَوْتَادِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Before them (were many who) rejected messengers,- the people of Noah, and 'Ad, and Pharaoh, the Lord of Stakes,
[ Saheeh International ]
The people of Noah denied before them, and [the tribe of] 'Aad and Pharaoh, the owner of stakes,
Tafseer Commentary

4159 In their day, Noah's contemporaries, or 'Ad and Thamud, so frequently mentioned, or Pharaoh the mighty king of Egypt, or the people to whom Lot was sent (Cf. 37:75-82; 7:65-79, 7:103-137, 7:80-84) were examples of arrogance and rebellion against Allah: they rejected the divine Message brought by their messengers, and they all came to an evil end. Will not their posterity learn their lesson?

4160 The title of Pharaoh, "Lord of the Stakes", denotes power and arrogance, in all or any of the following ways: (1) the stake makes a tent firm and stable, and is a symbol of firmness and stability; (2) many stakes mean a large camp and a numerous army to fight; (3) impaling with stakes was a cruel punishment resorted to by the Pharaohs in arrogant pride of power.


38:13
[ Original ]
وَثَمُودُ وَقَوْمُ لُوطٍ وَأَصْحَابُ الْأَيْكَةِ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ الْأَحْزَابُ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And Thamud, and the people of Lut, and the Companions of the Wood; - such were the Confederates.
[ Saheeh International ]
And [the tribe of] Thamud and the people of Lot and the companions of the thicket. Those are the companies.
Tafseer Commentary

4161 Companions of the Wood: see 15:78, and n. 2000.

4162 Cf. above , verse 11, and n. 4158.


38:14
[ Original ]
إِنْ كُلٌّ إِلَّا كَذَّبَ الرُّسُلَ فَحَقَّ عِقَابِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Not one (of them) but rejected the messengers, but My punishment came justly and inevitably (on them).
[ Saheeh International ]
Each of them denied the messengers, so My penalty was justified.
Tafseer Commentary

4163 Cf. 15:64, n. 1990; and 22:18 .


38:15
[ Original ]
وَمَا يَنْظُرُ هَٰؤُلَاءِ إِلَّا صَيْحَةً وَاحِدَةً مَا لَهَا مِنْ فَوَاقٍ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
These (today) only wait for a single mighty Blast, which (when it comes) will brook no delay.
[ Saheeh International ]
And these [disbelievers] await not but one blast [of the Horn]; for it there will be no delay.
Tafseer Commentary

4164 Cf. 36:29, n. 3973.

4165 Fawaq. delay, the interval between one milking of a she-camel, and another, either to give her a breathing space or to give her young time to suck-or perhaps the milker to adjust his fingers. Such an interval will be quite short. The derived meaning is that when the inevitable punishment for sin arrives, it will not tarry, but do its work without delay.


38:16
[ Original ]
وَقَالُوا رَبَّنَا عَجِّلْ لَنَا قِطَّنَا قَبْلَ يَوْمِ الْحِسَابِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
They say: "Our Lord! hasten to us our sentence (even) before the Day of Account!"
[ Saheeh International ]
And they say, "Our Lord, hasten for us our share [of the punishment] before the Day of Account"
Tafseer Commentary

4166 Cf. 26:204 and n. 3230. Those who do not believe in the Hereafter say ironically: "Let us have our punishment and sentence now: why delay it?" The last verse and the next verse supply the commentary. As to those who mock, they will find out the truth soon enough, when it is too late for repentance or mercy. As to the prophets of Allah, who are mocked, they must wait patiently for Allah to fulfil His Plan: even men who had worldly strength and power, like David, had to exercise infinite patience when mocked by their contemporaries.


38:17
[ Original ]
اصْبِرْ عَلَىٰ مَا يَقُولُونَ وَاذْكُرْ عَبْدَنَا دَاوُودَ ذَا الْأَيْدِ ۖ إِنَّهُ أَوَّابٌ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Have patience at what they say, and remember our servant David, the man of strength: for he ever turned (to Allah..
[ Saheeh International ]
Be patient over what they say and remember Our servant, David, the possessor of strength; indeed, he was one who repeatedly turned back [to Allah].
Tafseer Commentary

4167 David was a man of exceptional strength, for even as a raw youth, he slew the Philistine giant Goliath. See 2:249-252, and notes 286-287. Before that fight, he was mocked by his enemies and chidden even by his own elder brother. But he relied upon Allah, and won through, and afterwards became king.


38:18
[ Original ]
إِنَّا سَخَّرْنَا الْجِبَالَ مَعَهُ يُسَبِّحْنَ بِالْعَشِيِّ وَالْإِشْرَاقِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
It was We that made the hills declare, in unison with him, Our Praises, at eventide and at break of day,
[ Saheeh International ]
Indeed, We subjected the mountains [to praise] with him, exalting [Allah] in the [late] afternoon and [after] sunrise.
Tafseer Commentary

4168 See n. 2733 to 21:79. All nature sings in unison and celebrates the praises of Allah. David was given the gift of music and psalmody, and therefore the hills and birds are expressed as singing Allah's praises in unison with him. The special hours when the hills and groves echo the songs of birds are in the evening and at dawn, when also the birds gather together, for those are respectively their roosting hours and the hours of their concerted flight for the day.


38:19
[ Original ]
وَالطَّيْرَ مَحْشُورَةً ۖ كُلٌّ لَهُ أَوَّابٌ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And the birds gathered (in assemblies): all with him did turn (to Allah).
[ Saheeh International ]
And the birds were assembled, all with him repeating [praises].
Tafseer Commentary

4169 Note the mutual echo between this verse and verse 17 above. The Arabic awwab is common to both, and it furnishes the rhyme or rhythm of the greater part of this Surah, thus echoing the main theme: 'Turn to Allah in Prayer and Praise, for that is more than any worldly power or wisdom.'


38:20
[ Original ]
وَشَدَدْنَا مُلْكَهُ وَآتَيْنَاهُ الْحِكْمَةَ وَفَصْلَ الْخِطَابِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
We strengthened his kingdom, and gave him wisdom and sound judgment in speech and decision.
[ Saheeh International ]
And We strengthened his kingdom and gave him wisdom and discernment in speech.
Tafseer Commentary

4170 Cf. n. 2732 to 21:79 for David's sound judgement in decisions; he could also express himself aptly, as his Psalms bear witness.


38:21
[ Original ]
وَهَلْ أَتَاكَ نَبَأُ الْخَصْمِ إِذْ تَسَوَّرُوا الْمِحْرَابَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Has the Story of the Disputants reached thee? Behold, they climbed over the wall of the private chamber;
[ Saheeh International ]
And has there come to you the news of the adversaries, when they climbed over the wall of [his] prayer chamber -
Tafseer Commentary

4171 This story or Parable is not found in the Bible, unless the vision here described be considered as equivalent to Nathan's parable in II Samuel, 11 and 12. Baydawi would seem to favour that view, but other Commentators reject it. David was a pious man, and he had a well-guarded private chamber (mihrab) for Prayer and Praise.


38:22
[ Original ]
إِذْ دَخَلُوا عَلَىٰ دَاوُودَ فَفَزِعَ مِنْهُمْ ۖ قَالُوا لَا تَخَفْ ۖ خَصْمَانِ بَغَىٰ بَعْضُنَا عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ فَاحْكُمْ بَيْنَنَا بِالْحَقِّ وَلَا تُشْطِطْ وَاهْدِنَا إِلَىٰ سَوَاءِ الصِّرَاطِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
When they entered the presence of David, and he was terrified of them, they said: "Fear not: we are two disputants, one of whom has wronged the other: Decide now between us with truth, and treat us not with injustice, but guide us to the even Path..
[ Saheeh International ]
When they entered upon David and he was alarmed by them? They said, "Fear not. [We are] two adversaries, one of whom has wronged the other, so judge between us with truth and do not exceed [it] and guide us to the sound path.
Tafseer Commentary

4172 David was used to retiring to his private chamber at stated times for his devotions. One day, suddenly, his privacy was invaded by two men, who had obtained access by climbing over a wall. David was frightened at the apparition. But they said: "We have come to seek thy justice as king: we are brothers, and we have a quarrel, which we wish thee to decide."


38:23
[ Original ]
إِنَّ هَٰذَا أَخِي لَهُ تِسْعٌ وَتِسْعُونَ نَعْجَةً وَلِيَ نَعْجَةٌ وَاحِدَةٌ فَقَالَ أَكْفِلْنِيهَا وَعَزَّنِي فِي الْخِطَابِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"This man is my brother: He has nine and ninety ewes, and I have (but) one: Yet he says, 'commit her to my care,' and is (moreover) harsh to me in speech."
[ Saheeh International ]
Indeed this, my brother, has ninety-nine ewes, and I have one ewe; so he said, 'Entrust her to me,' and he overpowered me in speech."
Tafseer Commentary

4173 The brother who was most aggrieved said: "This my brother has a flock of ninety-nine sheep, and I have but one; yet he wants me to give up my one sheep to his keeping; and moreover he is not even fair-spoken. He talks like one meditating mischief, and he has not even the grace to ask as an equal, of one sharing in a business or inheritance. What shall I do?"


38:24
[ Original ]
قَالَ لَقَدْ ظَلَمَكَ بِسُؤَالِ نَعْجَتِكَ إِلَىٰ نِعَاجِهِ ۖ وَإِنَّ كَثِيرًا مِنَ الْخُلَطَاءِ لَيَبْغِي بَعْضُهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَقَلِيلٌ مَا هُمْ ۗ وَظَنَّ دَاوُودُ أَنَّمَا فَتَنَّاهُ فَاسْتَغْفَرَ رَبَّهُ وَخَرَّ رَاكِعًا وَأَنَابَ ۩
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
(David) said: "He has undoubtedly wronged thee in demanding thy (single) ewe to be added to his (flock of) ewes: truly many are the partners (in business) who wrong each other: Not so do those who believe and work deeds of righteousness, and how few are they?"...and David gathered that We had tried him: he asked forgiveness of his Lord, fell down, bowing (in prostration), and turned (to Allah in repentance).(4176-A)
[ Saheeh International ]
[David] said, "He has certainly wronged you in demanding your ewe [in addition] to his ewes. And indeed, many associates oppress one another, except for those who believe and do righteous deeds - and few are they." And David became certain that We had tried him, and he asked forgiveness of his Lord and fell down bowing [in prostration] and turned in repentance [to Allah].
Tafseer Commentary

4174 The circumstances were mysterious, the accusation was novel; it was not clear why the unjust brother should also have come with the complainant, risking his life in climbing the wall to evade the guard, and he certainly said nothing. David took them literally, and began to preach about the falsehood and the fraud of men, who should be content with what they have, but who always covet more. (R).

4175 Especially, said David, is it wrong for brothers or men in partnership to take advantage of each other; but how few are the men who are righteous? He had in mind his own devotions and justice. But lo and behold! the men disappeared as mysteriously as they had come. It was then that David realised that his visions had been a trial or temptation-a test of his moral or spiritual fibre! Great though he was as a king, and just though he was as a judge, the moment that he thought of these things in self-pride, his merit vanished. In himself he was as other men; it was Allah's grace that gave him wisdom and justice, and he should have been humble in the sight of Allah.

4176 Judged by ordinary standards, David had done no wrong; he was a good and just king. Judged by the highest standard of those nearest to Allah (Muqarrabun, 56:11), the thought of self-pride and self-righteousness had to be washed off from him by his own act of self-realisation and repentance. This was freely accepted by Allah, as the next verse shows. 4176-A Some commentators say that David's fault here was his hastiness in judging before hearing the case of the other party. When he realised his lapse, he fell down in repentance. [Eds.].


38:25
[ Original ]
فَغَفَرْنَا لَهُ ذَٰلِكَ ۖ وَإِنَّ لَهُ عِنْدَنَا لَزُلْفَىٰ وَحُسْنَ مَآبٍ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
So We forgave him this (lapse): he enjoyed, indeed, a Near Approach to Us, and a beautiful place of (Final) Return.
[ Saheeh International ]
So We forgave him that; and indeed, for him is nearness to Us and a good place of return.

38:26
[ Original ]
يَا دَاوُودُ إِنَّا جَعَلْنَاكَ خَلِيفَةً فِي الْأَرْضِ فَاحْكُمْ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ بِالْحَقِّ وَلَا تَتَّبِعِ الْهَوَىٰ فَيُضِلَّكَ عَنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَضِلُّونَ عَنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ شَدِيدٌ بِمَا نَسُوا يَوْمَ الْحِسَابِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
O David! We did indeed make thee a vicegerent on earth: so judge thou between men in truth (and justice): Nor follow thou the lusts (of thy heart), for they will mislead thee from the Path of Allah. for those who wander astray from the Path of Allah, is a Penalty Grievous, for that they forget the Day of Account.
[ Saheeh International ]
[We said], "O David, indeed We have made you a successor upon the earth, so judge between the people in truth and do not follow [your own] desire, as it will lead you astray from the way of Allah." Indeed, those who go astray from the way of Allah will have a severe punishment for having forgotten the Day of Account.
Tafseer Commentary

4177 Cf. 2:30, and n. 47. David's kingly power, and the gifts of wisdom, justice, psalmody, and prophethood were bestowed on him as a trust. These great gifts were not to be a matter of self-glory.

4178 As stated in n. 4171 above, this vision and its moral are nowhere to be found in the Bible. Those who think they see a resemblance to the Parable of the prophet Nathan (2 Samuel, 12:1-17) have nothing to go upon but the mention of the "one ewe" here and the "one little ewe-lamb" in Nathan's Parable. The whole story is here different, and the whole atmosphere is different. The Biblical tide given to David, "a man after God's own heart" is refuted by the Bible itself in the scandalous tale of heinous crimes attributed to David in chapters 11 and 12 of 2 Samuel, viz., adultery, fraudulent dealing with one of his own servants, and the contriving of his murder. Further, in chapter 13, we have the story of rapes, incest, and fratricide in David's own household! The fact is that passages like these are mere chroniques scandakuses, i.e., narratives of scandalous crimes of the grossest character. The Muslim idea of David is that of a man just and upright, endowed with all the virtues, in whom even the least thought of self-elation has to be washed off by repentance and forgiveness.(R).


38:27
[ Original ]
وَمَا خَلَقْنَا السَّمَاءَ وَالْأَرْضَ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا بَاطِلًا ۚ ذَٰلِكَ ظَنُّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا ۚ فَوَيْلٌ لِلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنَ النَّارِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Not without purpose did We create heaven and earth and all between! that were the thought of Unbelievers! but woe to the Unbelievers because of the Fire (of Hell)!
[ Saheeh International ]
And We did not create the heaven and the earth and that between them aimlessly. That is the assumption of those who disbelieve, so woe to those who disbelieve from the Fire.
Tafseer Commentary

4179 Cf. 3:191. Unbelief is the subjective negation of a belief in Order, Beauty, Purpose, and Eternal Life. Unbelief is to Faith as Chaos is to Cosmos, as the Fire of Misery is to the Garden of Bliss .


38:28
[ Original ]
أَمْ نَجْعَلُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ كَالْمُفْسِدِينَ فِي الْأَرْضِ أَمْ نَجْعَلُ الْمُتَّقِينَ كَالْفُجَّارِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Shall We treat those who believe and work deeds of righteousness, the same as those who do mischief on earth? Shall We treat those who guard against evil, the same as those who turn aside from the right?
[ Saheeh International ]
Or should we treat those who believe and do righteous deeds like corrupters in the land? Or should We treat those who fear Allah like the wicked?
Tafseer Commentary

4180 The reference to the Hereafter at the end of verse 26 above is of a piece with the whole tenor of this Surah, which deals with the superiority of the spiritual kingdom and the Hereafter. If there were no Hereafter, how could you reconcile the inequalities of this world? Would not the Unbelievers be right in acting as if all Creation and all life were futile? But there is a Hereafter and Allah will not treat the Good and Evil alike. He is just and will fully restore the balance disturbed in this life.


38:29
[ Original ]
كِتَابٌ أَنْزَلْنَاهُ إِلَيْكَ مُبَارَكٌ لِيَدَّبَّرُوا آيَاتِهِ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
(Here is) a Book which We have sent down unto thee, full of blessings, that they may mediate on its Signs, and that men of understanding may receive admonition.
[ Saheeh International ]
[This is] a blessed Book which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded.
Tafseer Commentary

4181 Revelation is not a mere chance or haphazard thing. It is a real blessingamong the greatest that Allah has bestowed on man. By meditation on it in an earnest spirit man may learn of himself, and his relation to nature around him and to Allah the Author of all. Men of understanding may, by its help, resolve all genuine doubts that there may be in their minds, and learn the true lessons of spiritual life.


38:30
[ Original ]
وَوَهَبْنَا لِدَاوُودَ سُلَيْمَانَ ۚ نِعْمَ الْعَبْدُ ۖ إِنَّهُ أَوَّابٌ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
To David We gave Solomon (for a son),- How excellent in Our service! Ever did he turn (to Us)!
[ Saheeh International ]
And to David We gave Solomon. An excellent servant, indeed he was one repeatedly turning back [to Allah].
Tafseer Commentary

4182 The greatest in this life have yet need of this spiritual blessing: without it all worldly good is futile. Referring back to the story of David, we are now introduced to Solomon, who was a great king but greater still because he served Allah and turned to Him. The Qur'an, unlike the Old Testament, represents Solomon as a righteous king, not as an idolater, doing "evil in the sight of the Lord" (1 Kings,11:6).


38:31
[ Original ]
إِذْ عُرِضَ عَلَيْهِ بِالْعَشِيِّ الصَّافِنَاتُ الْجِيَادُ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Behold, there were brought before him, at eventide coursers of the highest breeding, and swift of foot;
[ Saheeh International ]
[Mention] when there were exhibited before him in the afternoon the poised [standing] racehorses.
Tafseer Commentary

4183 The passages about David and Solomon have been variously interpreted by the Commentators. The versions which I have suggested have good authority behind them, though I have followed my own judgement in filling in the details.

4184 Safinat literally, horses that stand, when at ease, on three legs, firmly planted, with the hoof of the fourth leg resting lightly on the ground. This would imply breeding and a steady temper, to match with the quality of swiftness mentioned in the next clause.


38:32
[ Original ]
فَقَالَ إِنِّي أَحْبَبْتُ حُبَّ الْخَيْرِ عَنْ ذِكْرِ رَبِّي حَتَّىٰ تَوَارَتْ بِالْحِجَابِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And he said, "Truly do I love the love of Good, with a view to the glory of my Lord,"- until (the sun) was hidden in the veil (of Night):
[ Saheeh International ]
And he said, "Indeed, I gave preference to the love of good [things] over the remembrance of my Lord until the sun disappeared into the curtain [of darkness]."
Tafseer Commentary

4185 The story is not found in the Old Testament. I interpret it to mean that, like his father David, Solomon was also most meticulous in not allowing the least motive of self to be mixed up with his spiritual virtues. He was fond of horses: he had great armies and wealth; but he used them all in Allah's service. Cf. 27:19, n. 3259; 27:40, n. 3276, etc. His battles were not fought for lust of blood, but as Jihad in the cause of righteousness. His love of horses was not like that of a mere race-goer or of a warrior: there was a spiritual element in it. He loved by a kind of love which was spiritual-the love of the highest Good. Some commentators interpret this verse saying that Solomon, peace be upon him, was so engrossed in the inspection of his fine horses that he completely forgot to say his 'Asr prayer before the sunset. In the light of this interpretation the verse may be translated: "And he said, Truly did I prefer the good things (of this world) to the remembrance of my Lord". (R).

4186 His review of his fine horses was interrupted by his evening devotion, but he resumed it after his devotions.


38:33
[ Original ]
رُدُّوهَا عَلَيَّ ۖ فَطَفِقَ مَسْحًا بِالسُّوقِ وَالْأَعْنَاقِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"Bring them back to me." then began he to pass his hand over (their) legs and their necks.
[ Saheeh International ]
[He said], "Return them to me," and set about striking [their] legs and necks.
Tafseer Commentary

4187 Like all lovers of horses, he patted them on their necks and passed his hand over their forelegs and was proud of having them-not as vanities but as a "lover of Good".


38:34
[ Original ]
وَلَقَدْ فَتَنَّا سُلَيْمَانَ وَأَلْقَيْنَا عَلَىٰ كُرْسِيِّهِ جَسَدًا ثُمَّ أَنَابَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And We did try Solomon: We placed on his throne a body (without life); but he did turn (to Us in true devotion):
[ Saheeh International ]
And We certainly tried Solomon and placed on his throne a body; then he returned.
Tafseer Commentary

4188 What was the trial of Solomon? All the power, wealth, and glory, which were given to him were a spiritual trial to him. They might have turned another man's head, but he was staunch and true, and while he enjoyed and used all the power he had-over spirits, men, and the forces of nature, (see below), he kept his mind steady to the service of Allah Cf. 8:28, where "your possessions and your progeny" are declared to be "but a trial".

4189 The body (without life) on his throne has been variously interpreted. The interpretation that appeals to me most is that his earthly power, great as it was, was like a body without a soul, unless it was vivified by Allah's spirit. But Solomon did turn to Allah in true devotion, and his real power lay there. He did his best to root out idolatry, and he completed the Temple in Jerusalem for the worship of the One True God. Cf. his conversion of Bilqis the Queen of Sheba, 27:40, n. 3276. See also 7:148, where the same word jasad is used in connection with the image of a calf which the Israelites had set up for worship in the absence of Moses. Men may worship worldly Power as they may worship an idol, and there is great temptation in such Power, though Solomon withstood such temptation. I do not think that a reference to 34:14 (n. 3808) will fit the context here.


38:35
[ Original ]
قَالَ رَبِّ اغْفِرْ لِي وَهَبْ لِي مُلْكًا لَا يَنْبَغِي لِأَحَدٍ مِنْ بَعْدِي ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ الْوَهَّابُ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
He said, "O my Lord! Forgive me, and grant me a kingdom which, (it may be), suits not another after me: for Thou art the Grantor of Bounties (without measure).
[ Saheeh International ]
He said, "My Lord, forgive me and grant me a kingdom such as will not belong to anyone after me. Indeed, You are the Bestower."
Tafseer Commentary

4190 The seeking of worldly Power, even if intended to be used for Allah's service, has a little of Self in it. It may be quite legitimate and even meritorious in ordinary men, but even the thought of it in a Prophet is to be apologised for. See a similar idea in the case of David explained in n. 4176 to 38:24 above.

4191 He asked for a Power that he would not misuse, though others might not be able to refrain from misusing it-such as power over forces of nature or forces of violence (see the next three verses).

4192 Cf. 38:9, above


38:36
[ Original ]
فَسَخَّرْنَا لَهُ الرِّيحَ تَجْرِي بِأَمْرِهِ رُخَاءً حَيْثُ أَصَابَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Then We subjected the Wind to his power, to flow gently to his order, Whithersoever he willed,-
[ Saheeh International ]
So We subjected to him the wind blowing by his command, gently, wherever he directed,
Tafseer Commentary

4193 Cf. 21:81. and n. 2736.


38:37
[ Original ]
وَالشَّيَاطِينَ كُلَّ بَنَّاءٍ وَغَوَّاصٍ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
As also the evil ones, (including) every kind of builder and diver,-
[ Saheeh International ]
And [also] the devils [of jinn] - every builder and diver
Tafseer Commentary

4194 Cf. 21:82. and n. 2738. Cf. also 34:12-13 and notes there: in the latter passage the spirits mentioned are called Jinns. The divers were probably those employed in pearl fisheries.


38:38
[ Original ]
وَآخَرِينَ مُقَرَّنِينَ فِي الْأَصْفَادِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
As also others bound together in fetters.
[ Saheeh International ]
And others bound together in shackles.
Tafseer Commentary

4195 Cf. 14:49 . where the same expression "bound together in fetters" is applied to Sinners on the Day of judgement.


38:39
[ Original ]
هَٰذَا عَطَاؤُنَا فَامْنُنْ أَوْ أَمْسِكْ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"Such are Our Bounties: whether thou bestow them (on others) or withhold them, no account will be asked."
[ Saheeh International ]
[We said], "This is Our gift, so grant or withhold without account."
Tafseer Commentary

4196 Allah bestowed such abundant powers and bounties on Solomon that they could not be counted or measured: and he was free to give away anything he liked or keep anything he liked. In this was great temptation for an ordinary man. Solomon as a prophet withstood it and asked to be forgiven for power and such a kingdom as others might not be able to use lawfully. His earthly kingdom went to pieces after his death. But his name and fame endure. And what is more, he obtained a place among the Nearest Ones to Allah. See next verse.


38:40
[ Original ]
وَإِنَّ لَهُ عِنْدَنَا لَزُلْفَىٰ وَحُسْنَ مَآبٍ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And he enjoyed, indeed, a Near Approach to Us, and a beautiful Place of (Final) Return.
[ Saheeh International ]
And indeed, for him is nearness to Us and a good place of return.
Tafseer Commentary

4197 The same words are used of David in 38:25 above, thus symmetrically closing the argument about the two greatest kings in Israel .


38:41
[ Original ]
وَاذْكُرْ عَبْدَنَا أَيُّوبَ إِذْ نَادَىٰ رَبَّهُ أَنِّي مَسَّنِيَ الشَّيْطَانُ بِنُصْبٍ وَعَذَابٍ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Commemorate Our Servant Job. Behold he cried to his Lord: "The Evil One has afflicted me with distress and suffering!"
[ Saheeh International ]
And remember Our servant Job, when he called to his Lord, "Indeed, Satan has touched me with hardship and torment."
Tafseer Commentary

4198 For this passage, verses 41-44, Cf. 21:83-84.

4199 The distress was of many kinds, physical, mental, and spiritual. See n. 2739 to 21:83. He suffered from loathsome sores he lost his home, his possessions, and his family; and almost his balance of mind. But he did not lose Faith but turned to Allah (see verse 44 below), and the recuperative process began.


38:42
[ Original ]
ارْكُضْ بِرِجْلِكَ ۖ هَٰذَا مُغْتَسَلٌ بَارِدٌ وَشَرَابٌ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
(The command was given:) "Strike with thy foot: here is (water) wherein to wash, cool and refreshing, and (water) to drink."
[ Saheeh International ]
[So he was told], "Strike [the ground] with your foot; this is a [spring for] a cool bath and drink."
Tafseer Commentary

4200 The recuperative process having begun, he was commanded to strike the earth or a rock with his foot, and a fountain or fountains gushed forth-to give him a bath and clean his body, to refresh his spirits, and to give him drink and rest. This is a fresh touch, not mentioned in S. 21 or in the Book of Job, but adding beautifully to our realisation of the picture.


38:43
[ Original ]
وَوَهَبْنَا لَهُ أَهْلَهُ وَمِثْلَهُمْ مَعَهُمْ رَحْمَةً مِنَّا وَذِكْرَىٰ لِأُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And We gave him (back) his people, and doubled their number,- as a Grace from Ourselves, and a thing for commemoration, for all who have Understanding.
[ Saheeh International ]
And We granted him his family and a like [number] with them as mercy from Us and a reminder for those of understanding.
Tafseer Commentary

4201 Cf. 21:84, and notes n. 2739-2740.


38:44
[ Original ]
وَخُذْ بِيَدِكَ ضِغْثًا فَاضْرِبْ بِهِ وَلَا تَحْنَثْ ۗ إِنَّا وَجَدْنَاهُ صَابِرًا ۚ نِعْمَ الْعَبْدُ ۖ إِنَّهُ أَوَّابٌ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"And take in thy hand a little grass, and strike therewith: and break not (thy oath)." Truly We found him full of patience and constancy. How excellent in Our service! ever did he turn (to Us)!
[ Saheeh International ]
[We said], "And take in your hand a bunch [of grass] and strike with it and do not break your oath." Indeed, We found him patient, an excellent servant. Indeed, he was one repeatedly turning back [to Allah].
Tafseer Commentary

4202 In his worst distress Job was patient and constant in faith, but apparently his wife was not. According to the book of Job (2:9-10), "Then said his wife unto him, dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die. But he said unto her, thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips." He must have said in his haste to the woman that he would beat her: he is asked now to correct her with only a wisp of grass, to show that he was gentle and humble as well as patient and constant.

4203 Cf. 38:30 above, where similar words are spoken of Solomon. Patience and constancy are also a form of service, if our attitude is due to an active faidth in Allah, and not mere passivity. So Milton in his Sonnet: "They also serve who only stand and wait."


38:45
[ Original ]
وَاذْكُرْ عِبَادَنَا إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ أُولِي الْأَيْدِي وَالْأَبْصَارِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And commemorate Our Servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, possessors of Power and Vision.
[ Saheeh International ]
And remember Our servants, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - those of strength and [religious] vision.
Tafseer Commentary

4204 In the last Surah (37:83-113), Abraham and Isaac (and by implication Jacob) were mentioned as resisting Evil and winning through. Here they are mentioned as men with spiritual power and vision, Israelite patriarchs, who bore witness to the Gospel of the Hereafter, and were therefore a blessing to their people, for they taught the Truth.


38:46
[ Original ]
إِنَّا أَخْلَصْنَاهُمْ بِخَالِصَةٍ ذِكْرَى الدَّارِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Verily We did choose them for a special (purpose)- proclaiming the Message of the Hereafter.
[ Saheeh International ]
Indeed, We chose them for an exclusive quality: remembrance of the home [of the Hereafter].

38:47
[ Original ]
وَإِنَّهُمْ عِنْدَنَا لَمِنَ الْمُصْطَفَيْنَ الْأَخْيَارِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
They were, in Our sight, truly, of the company of the Elect and the Good.
[ Saheeh International ]
And indeed they are, to Us, among the chosen and outstanding.

38:48
[ Original ]
وَاذْكُرْ إِسْمَاعِيلَ وَالْيَسَعَ وَذَا الْكِفْلِ ۖ وَكُلٌّ مِنَ الْأَخْيَارِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And commemorate Isma'il, Elisha, and Zul- Kifl: Each of them was of the Company of the Good.
[ Saheeh International ]
And remember Ishmael, Elisha and Dhul-Kifl, and all are among the outstanding.
Tafseer Commentary

4205 Isma'il, the Patriarch of the Arab race, was also mentioned (37:101-107) as a pattern of self-sacrifice, now he is mentioned in the company of the Good, i.e., of those who were a blessing to their people. Here he is bracketed with Elisha (for whom see n. 906 to 6:86), and Dhu al Kifl (for whom see n. 2743 to 21:85). All these three were examples of constancy and patience under suffering.


38:49
[ Original ]
هَٰذَا ذِكْرٌ ۚ وَإِنَّ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ لَحُسْنَ مَآبٍ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
This is a Message (of admonition): and verily, for the Righteous, is a beautiful Place of (Final) Return,-
[ Saheeh International ]
This is a reminder. And indeed, for the righteous is a good place of return
Tafseer Commentary

4206 Some of the pre-eminent examples of the Elect and the Good having been mentioned, we have now a reference to the Righteous as a body (rank and file as well as leaders) and their future in the Hereafter as won by victory over Evil.


38:50
[ Original ]
جَنَّاتِ عَدْنٍ مُفَتَّحَةً لَهُمُ الْأَبْوَابُ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Gardens of Eternity, whose doors will (ever) be open to them;
[ Saheeh International ]
Gardens of perpetual residence, whose doors will be opened to them.
Tafseer Commentary

4207 The Final bliss will not be a hole-and-corner thing, a pale reflection of some Palace or Retreat, where mystery reigns behind closed doors. Its doors will be open, and its inmates will be free to go in and out as they will, because their wills will be purified and brought into accord with the Universal Law.


38:51
[ Original ]
مُتَّكِئِينَ فِيهَا يَدْعُونَ فِيهَا بِفَاكِهَةٍ كَثِيرَةٍ وَشَرَابٍ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Therein will they recline (at ease): Therein can they call (at pleasure) for fruit in abundance, and (delicious) drink;
[ Saheeh International ]
Reclining within them, they will call therein for abundant fruit and drink.
Tafseer Commentary

4208 See n. 4003 to 36:57. The free Gardens are types of satisfaction in external surroundings: the comfortable reclining thrones, the fruit and the drink are types of the soul's individual satisfaction; and the society of pure-minded companions, of equal ages, in the type of a soul's social satisfaction,


38:52
[ Original ]
وَعِنْدَهُمْ قَاصِرَاتُ الطَّرْفِ أَتْرَابٌ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And beside them will be chaste women restraining their glances, (companions) of equal age.
[ Saheeh International ]
And with them will be women limiting [their] glances and of equal age.
Tafseer Commentary

4209 Cf. 37:48 and n. 4064, and 36:56, n. 4002. As we conceive happiness in this life, it is not complete if it is only solitary. How we hanker after some one who can share in our highest joy! That feeling is also figured here.

4210 To make the metaphor of social happiness complete, we want companionship of equal age. Age and youth cannot be happy together. It is not suggested that in the Timeless state figured here, there will be old age; but if it is possible to conceive of temperamental differences men, the company will be so arranged that it will be congenial. Or we can accept the type of youth and freshness as common to all in that happy state.


38:53
[ Original ]
هَٰذَا مَا تُوعَدُونَ لِيَوْمِ الْحِسَابِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Such is the Promise made, to you for the Day of Account!
[ Saheeh International ]
This is what you, [the righteous], are promised for the Day of Account.

38:54
[ Original ]
إِنَّ هَٰذَا لَرِزْقُنَا مَا لَهُ مِنْ نَفَادٍ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Truly such will be Our Bounty (to you); it will never fail;-
[ Saheeh International ]
Indeed, this is Our provision; for it there is no depletion.

38:55
[ Original ]
هَٰذَا ۚ وَإِنَّ لِلطَّاغِينَ لَشَرَّ مَآبٍ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Yea, such! but - for the wrong-doers will be an evil place of (Final) Return!-
[ Saheeh International ]
This [is so]. But indeed, for the transgressors is an evil place of return -
Tafseer Commentary

4211 This is in parallel contrast to the state of the Blessed in 38:49 above.


38:56
[ Original ]
جَهَنَّمَ يَصْلَوْنَهَا فَبِئْسَ الْمِهَادُ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Hell!- they will burn therein, - an evil bed (indeed, to lie on)!-
[ Saheeh International ]
Hell, which they will [enter to] burn, and wretched is the resting place.
Tafseer Commentary

4212 Cf. 14:29 . This continues the parallel contrast to the state of the Blessed already described.


38:57
[ Original ]
هَٰذَا فَلْيَذُوقُوهُ حَمِيمٌ وَغَسَّاقٌ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Yea, such! - then shall they taste it,- a boiling fluid, and a fluid dark, murky, intensely cold!-
[ Saheeh International ]
This - so let them taste it - is scalding water and [foul] purulence.
Tafseer Commentary

4213 Cf. 10:4, and n. 1390. The conjunction of the boiling fluid with the dark, murky, intensely cold fluid heightens the effect of the Penalty. In place of harmony, there is the discord of extreme opposites. And the discord is not confined to this. It runs through the whole idea of Hell. See the next verse.


38:58
[ Original ]
وَآخَرُ مِنْ شَكْلِهِ أَزْوَاجٌ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And other Penalties of a similar kind, to match them!
[ Saheeh International ]
And other [punishments] of its type [in various] kinds.

38:59
[ Original ]
هَٰذَا فَوْجٌ مُقْتَحِمٌ مَعَكُمْ ۖ لَا مَرْحَبًا بِهِمْ ۚ إِنَّهُمْ صَالُو النَّارِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Here is a troop rushing headlong with you! No welcome for them! truly, they shall burn in the Fire!
[ Saheeh International ]
[Its inhabitants will say], "This is a company bursting in with you. No welcome for them. Indeed, they will burn in the Fire."
Tafseer Commentary

4214 The wonder is that so many people should embrace Evil, and in so much hurry and eagerness! Here they may be welcomed by the leaders of Evil, but in the final state it will be the opposite of welcome. They will be followed with reproaches and curses.


38:60
[ Original ]
قَالُوا بَلْ أَنْتُمْ لَا مَرْحَبًا بِكُمْ ۖ أَنْتُمْ قَدَّمْتُمُوهُ لَنَا ۖ فَبِئْسَ الْقَرَارُ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
(The followers shall cry to the misleaders:) "Nay, ye (too)! No welcome for you! It is ye who have brought this upon us! Now evil is (this) place to stay in!"
[ Saheeh International ]
They will say, "Nor you! No welcome for you. You, [our leaders], brought this upon us, and wretched is the settlement."
Tafseer Commentary

4215 It is the nature of Evil to shift the blame to others. The followers will reproach the leaders, but none can escape personal responsibility for his own acts and deeds!


38:61
[ Original ]
قَالُوا رَبَّنَا مَنْ قَدَّمَ لَنَا هَٰذَا فَزِدْهُ عَذَابًا ضِعْفًا فِي النَّارِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
They will say: "Our Lord! whoever brought this upon us,- Add to him a double Penalty in the Fire!"
[ Saheeh International ]
They will say, "Our Lord, whoever brought this upon us - increase for him double punishment in the Fire."
Tafseer Commentary

4216 Cf. 7:38 , and n. 1019. See also 11:20 . The evil ones now vent their spite on others. Here they ask for a double penalty for their misleaders, but they forget their own personal responsibility. In the next verse, they express their surprise that others have escaped the torments, which they themselves have earned.


38:62
[ Original ]
وَقَالُوا مَا لَنَا لَا نَرَىٰ رِجَالًا كُنَّا نَعُدُّهُمْ مِنَ الْأَشْرَارِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And they will say: "What has happened to us that we see not men whom we used to number among the bad ones?
[ Saheeh International ]
And they will say, "Why do we not see men whom we used to count among the worst?
Tafseer Commentary

4217 The bad ones: i.e., the ones whom they (evil ones) ridiculed as fools sure to come to an evil end, because they refused to join in with the evil ones in their plots. The values are now reversed. The good ones are among the Blessed, and are to be seen in the 'Bed of Misery'. The ridicule is now against the evil ones.


38:63
[ Original ]
أَتَّخَذْنَاهُمْ سِخْرِيًّا أَمْ زَاغَتْ عَنْهُمُ الْأَبْصَارُ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"Did we treat them (as such) in ridicule, or have (our) eyes failed to perceive them?"
[ Saheeh International ]
Is it [because] we took them in ridicule, or has [our] vision turned away from them?"

38:64
[ Original ]
إِنَّ ذَٰلِكَ لَحَقٌّ تَخَاصُمُ أَهْلِ النَّارِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Truly that is just and fitting,- the mutual recriminations of the People of the Fire!
[ Saheeh International ]
Indeed, that is truth - the quarreling of the people of the Fire.
Tafseer Commentary

4218 The mutual recriminations and spite are themselves a part of the Penalty, for such feelings increase their unhappiness.


38:65
[ Original ]
قُلْ إِنَّمَا أَنَا مُنْذِرٌ ۖ وَمَا مِنْ إِلَٰهٍ إِلَّا اللَّهُ الْوَاحِدُ الْقَهَّارُ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Say: "Truly am I a Warner: no god is there but the one Allah, Supreme and Irresistible,-
[ Saheeh International ]
Say, [O Muhammad], "I am only a warner, and there is not any deity except Allah, the One, the Prevailing.
Tafseer Commentary

4219 Cf. 12:39 , where Joseph preaches to the men in prison. The one supreme Message of importance to mankind was (and is) the Unity of Allah: that He is the Creator and Sustainer of all: that His Will is supreme: that He can carry out His Will without question, and no powers of Evil can defeat it; and that He forgives by His grace again and again. This Message the Prophet came to deliver, and he delivered it.


38:66
[ Original ]
رَبُّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا الْعَزِيزُ الْغَفَّارُ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"The Lord of the heavens and the earth, and all between,- Exalted in Might, able to enforce His Will, forgiving again and again."
[ Saheeh International ]
Lord of the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them, the Exalted in Might, the Perpetual Forgiver."
Tafseer Commentary

4220 In n. 2818 to 22:40, I have explained the full import of "Aziz as a title applied to Allah, and I have expressed two of the leading ideas involved, in the two lines here. The argument in this Surah turns upon the contrast between earthly Power and the Divine Power: the one is impotent and the other is supreme.

4221 Ghaffar is the emphatic intensive form, and I have accordingly translated it as "Forgiving again and again". Cf. 20:82.


38:67
[ Original ]
قُلْ هُوَ نَبَأٌ عَظِيمٌ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Say: "That is a Message Supreme (above all),-
[ Saheeh International ]
Say, "It is great news

38:68
[ Original ]
أَنْتُمْ عَنْهُ مُعْرِضُونَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"From which ye do turn away!
[ Saheeh International ]
From which you turn away.
Tafseer Commentary

4222 The Message which is of supreme import to mankind-from that they turn away. Instead of profiting by it, they turn away to side issues, or unprofitable speculation: such as: what is the origin of Evil; when will Judgement come? etc.


38:69
[ Original ]
مَا كَانَ لِيَ مِنْ عِلْمٍ بِالْمَلَإِ الْأَعْلَىٰ إِذْ يَخْتَصِمُونَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"No knowledge have I of the Chiefs on high, when they discuss (matters) among themselves.
[ Saheeh International ]
I had no knowledge of the exalted assembly [of angels] when they were disputing [the creation of Adam].
Tafseer Commentary

4223 The hierarchy in Heaven, under Allah's command, discuss questions of high import in the Universe. Those are not necessarily revealed to men, except insofar as it is good for men to know, as in verses 71-85 below. But the chief thing for man is to know that Allah is Most Merciful, that He forgives again and again, and that Evil has no power over those who trust in Allah.


38:70
[ Original ]
إِنْ يُوحَىٰ إِلَيَّ إِلَّا أَنَّمَا أَنَا نَذِيرٌ مُبِينٌ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
'Only this has been revealed to me: that I am to give warning plainly and publicly."
[ Saheeh International ]
It has not been revealed to me except that I am a clear warner."
Tafseer Commentary

4224 Two things are implied in Muffin: (1) that the warning should be clear and perspicuous; there should be no mincing of matters, no ambiguity, no compromise with evil, 7:184; (2) that the warning should be delivered publicly, before all people, in spite of opposition and persecution, 26:115. Both these ideas I have tried to express in this passage.


38:71
[ Original ]
إِذْ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلَائِكَةِ إِنِّي خَالِقٌ بَشَرًا مِنْ طِينٍ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: "I am about to create man from clay:
[ Saheeh International ]
[So mention] when your Lord said to the angels, "Indeed, I am going to create a human being from clay.
Tafseer Commentary

4225 Two passages may be compared with this: viz. : (1) 2:30-39, where merely the first stages of the Rebellion against Allah and its consequences to mankind are mentioned, and (2) 15:29-40, where the further intrusion of evil in man's life here below is referred to, and an assurance is given that Evil will have no power except over those who yield to it. The latter is the passage most relevant here, as we are now dealing with the power of Revelation to defeat the machinations of Evil.

4226 This shows that the material world round us was created by Allah before Allah fashioned man and breathed of His soul into him. Geology also shows that man came on the scene at a very late stage in the history of this planet.


38:72
[ Original ]
فَإِذَا سَوَّيْتُهُ وَنَفَخْتُ فِيهِ مِنْ رُوحِي فَقَعُوا لَهُ سَاجِدِينَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"When I have fashioned him (in due proportion) and breathed into him of My spirit, fall ye down in obeisance unto him."
[ Saheeh International ]
So when I have proportioned him and breathed into him of My [created] soul, then fall down to him in prostration."
Tafseer Commentary

4227 See n. 1968 to 15:29, where the spiritual significance of this is explained.


38:73
[ Original ]
فَسَجَدَ الْمَلَائِكَةُ كُلُّهُمْ أَجْمَعُونَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
So the angels prostrated themselves, all of them together:
[ Saheeh International ]
So the angels prostrated - all of them entirely.

38:74
[ Original ]
إِلَّا إِبْلِيسَ اسْتَكْبَرَ وَكَانَ مِنَ الْكَافِرِينَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Not so Iblis: he was haughty, and became one of those who reject Faith.
[ Saheeh International ]
Except Iblees; he was arrogant and became among the disbelievers.
Tafseer Commentary

4228 Arrogance (self-love) is thus the root of Evil and of Unfaith.


38:75
[ Original ]
قَالَ يَا إِبْلِيسُ مَا مَنَعَكَ أَنْ تَسْجُدَ لِمَا خَلَقْتُ بِيَدَيَّ ۖ أَسْتَكْبَرْتَ أَمْ كُنْتَ مِنَ الْعَالِينَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
((Allah)) said: "O Iblis! What prevents thee from prostrating thyself to one whom I have created with My hands? Art thou haughty? Or art thou one of the high (and mighty) ones?"
[ Saheeh International ]
[Allah] said, "O Iblees, what prevented you from prostrating to that which I created with My hands? Were you arrogant [then], or were you [already] among the haughty?"
Tafseer Commentary

4229 Man, as typified by Adam, is in himself nothing but frail clay. But as fashioned by Allah's creative power into something with Allah's spirit breathed into him, his dignity is raised above that of the highest creatures.

4230 If, then, Satan refuses, it is a rebellion against Allah. It arises from arrogance or haughtiness, an exaggerated idea of Self. Or, it is asked, are you really sufficiently high in rank to dispute with the Almighty? Of course he was not.


38:76
[ Original ]
قَالَ أَنَا خَيْرٌ مِنْهُ ۖ خَلَقْتَنِي مِنْ نَارٍ وَخَلَقْتَهُ مِنْ طِينٍ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
(Iblis) said: "I am better than he: thou createdst me from fire, and him thou createdst from clay."
[ Saheeh International ]
He said, "I am better than him. You created me from fire and created him from clay."

38:77
[ Original ]
قَالَ فَاخْرُجْ مِنْهَا فَإِنَّكَ رَجِيمٌ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
((Allah)) said: "Then get thee out from here: for thou art rejected, accursed.
[ Saheeh International ]
[Allah] said, "Then get out of Paradise, for indeed, you are expelled.

38:78
[ Original ]
وَإِنَّ عَلَيْكَ لَعْنَتِي إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"And My curse shall be on thee till the Day of Judgment."
[ Saheeh International ]
And indeed, upon you is My curse until the Day of Recompense."
Tafseer Commentary

4231 See n. 1972 to 15:35, where it is explained why the respite is to the Day of Judgement. The whole of that passage in S. 15 forms a good commentary on this.


38:79
[ Original ]
قَالَ رَبِّ فَأَنْظِرْنِي إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ يُبْعَثُونَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
(Iblis) said: "O my Lord! Give me then respite till the Day the (dead) are raised."
[ Saheeh International ]
He said, "My Lord, then reprieve me until the Day they are resurrected."
Tafseer Commentary

4232 For the significance of the respite see n. 1973 to 15:36.


38:80
[ Original ]
قَالَ فَإِنَّكَ مِنَ الْمُنْظَرِينَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
(Allah) said: "Respite then is granted thee-
[ Saheeh International ]
[Allah] said, "So indeed, you are of those reprieved

38:81
[ Original ]
إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْوَقْتِ الْمَعْلُومِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"Till the Day of the Time Appointed."
[ Saheeh International ]
Until the Day of the time well-known."
Tafseer Commentary

4233 It is not an indefinite respite. It is for a period definitely limited, while this our Probation lasts in this world. It is part of the test as to how we use our limited free will. After that, our whole existence will be on a different plane. The good will have been sorted out, the chain of consequences of the present world will be broken, and "a new Creation" will have taken the place of the present World.


38:82
[ Original ]
قَالَ فَبِعِزَّتِكَ لَأُغْوِيَنَّهُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
(Iblis) said: "Then, by Thy Power, I will put them all in the wrong,-
[ Saheeh International ]
[Iblees] said, "By your might, I will surely mislead them all
Tafseer Commentary

4234 This phrase, this oath of Satan, is a fresh point introduced in this passage, because here we are dealing with Power-the Power of Good contrasted with Evil-the spiritual Power of Allah as contrasted with the power that we see in our earthly affairs. Satan acknowledges that even his power, such as it is, has no reality except insofar as it is permitted to operate by Allah in Allah's wise and universal Plan, and that it cannot harm the true and sincere worshippers of Allah.

4235 See n. 1974 to 15:39.


38:83
[ Original ]
إِلَّا عِبَادَكَ مِنْهُمُ الْمُخْلَصِينَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"Except Thy Servants amongst them, sincere and purified (by Thy Grace)."
[ Saheeh International ]
Except, among them, Your chosen servants."

38:84
[ Original ]
قَالَ فَالْحَقُّ وَالْحَقَّ أَقُولُ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
(Allah) said: "Then it is just and fitting- and I say what is just and fitting-
[ Saheeh International ]
[Allah] said, "The truth [is My oath], and the truth I say -
Tafseer Commentary

4236 Cf. n. 1990 to 15:64.


38:85
[ Original ]
لَأَمْلَأَنَّ جَهَنَّمَ مِنْكَ وَمِمَّنْ تَبِعَكَ مِنْهُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"That I will certainly fill Hell with thee and those that follow thee,- every one."
[ Saheeh International ]
[That] I will surely fill Hell with you and those of them that follow you all together."
Tafseer Commentary

4237 Cf. 7:18 ; 7:179, and 11:119. n. 1623. The punishment of defiance, and rebellion is inevitable and just, and the followers who chose to identify themselves with the disobedience must suffer as well as the leaders. Cf. 10:33


38:86
[ Original ]
قُلْ مَا أَسْأَلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ مِنْ أَجْرٍ وَمَا أَنَا مِنَ الْمُتَكَلِّفِينَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Say: "No reward do I ask of you for this (Qur'an), nor am I a pretender.
[ Saheeh International ]
Say, [O Muhammad], "I do not ask you for the Qur'an any payment, and I am not of the pretentious
Tafseer Commentary

4238 Cf. 25:57; 26:109; and many other passages. The prophet of Allah neither seeks nor expects any reward from men. On the contrary he suffers much at their hands. He is unselfish and offers his services under Allah's inspiration. He is satisfied with the hope "that each one who will may take a straight Path to his Lord." That is his reward. And the reward he hopes for from Allah is similarly unselfish. He earnestly hopes to win His Good Pleasure-or, to use another metaphor, "to see His Face."

4239 Mutakallif: a man who pretends to things that are not true, or declares as facts things that do not exist, one who takes upon himself tasks to which he is not equal. True prophets are not people of that kind.


38:87
[ Original ]
إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا ذِكْرٌ لِلْعَالَمِينَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"This is no less than a Message to (all) the Worlds.
[ Saheeh International ]
It is but a reminder to the worlds.
Tafseer Commentary

4240 So far from there being any false or selfish motive in the Message proclaimed in Revelation, it is a healing mercy to all mankind. More, it is in accord with all parts of Allah's Creation, and makes us kin with all Creation, the handiwork of the One True God.


38:88
[ Original ]
وَلَتَعْلَمُنَّ نَبَأَهُ بَعْدَ حِينٍ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"And ye shall certainly know the truth of it (all) after a while."
[ Saheeh International ]
And you will surely know [the truth of] its information after a time."
Tafseer Commentary

4241 There may be many things which we in our "muddy vesture of decay" may not fully understand or take in. If we only follow the right Path, we shall arrive at the Goal in the Hereafter, and then everything will be clear to us.


Quran Sura/Chapters: