Sura/Chapter:

Verse:    Count: 19
Tafseer/Commentary:
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Translations:
87: Al-Ala - الاعلى

87:1
[ Original ]
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ سَبِّحِ اسْمَ رَبِّكَ الْأَعْلَى
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Glorify the name of thy Guardian-Lord Most High,
[ Saheeh International ]
Exalt the name of your Lord, the Most High,
Tafseer Commentary

6080 The word "Lord" by itself is an inadequate rendering here for Rabb. For it implies cherishing, guarding from harm, sustaining, granting all the means and opportunities of development. See n. 20 to 1:2. For shortness, perhaps "Guardian- Lord" will be sufficient in the Text.


87:2
[ Original ]
الَّذِي خَلَقَ فَسَوَّىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Who hath created, and further, given order and proportion;
[ Saheeh International ]
Who created and proportioned
Tafseer Commentary

6081 The story of Creation is wonderful and continuous. There are several processes which we contemplate in glorifying Allah's name. First, He brings us into being. Secondly, He endows us with forms and faculties exactly suited to what is expected of us, and to the environments in which our life will be cast, giving to everything due order and proportion.


87:3
[ Original ]
وَالَّذِي قَدَّرَ فَهَدَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Who hath ordained laws. And granted guidance;
[ Saheeh International ]
And who destined and [then] guided
Tafseer Commentary

6082 Thirdly, He has ordained laws and decrees, by which we can develop ourselves and fit ourselves into His whole scheme of evolution for all His Creation. He has measured exactly the needs of all, and given us instincts and physical and psychic predispositions which fit into His decrees. Fourthly, He gives us guidance, so that we are not the sport of mechanical laws. Our reason and our will are exercised, that we may reach the higher destiny of man.


87:4
[ Original ]
وَالَّذِي أَخْرَجَ الْمَرْعَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And Who bringeth out the (green and luscious) pasture,
[ Saheeh International ]
And who brings out the pasture
Tafseer Commentary

6083 Fifthly, after maturity comes decay. But even in that decay, as when green pasture turns to stubble, we subserve other ends. Insofar as we are animals, we share these processes with other forms of material. Creation, animal, vegetable, and even mineral, which all have their appointed laws of growth and decay. But man's higher destiny is referred to in subsequent verses.


87:5
[ Original ]
فَجَعَلَهُ غُثَاءً أَحْوَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And then doth make it (but) swarthy stubble.
[ Saheeh International ]
And [then] makes it black stubble.

87:6
[ Original ]
سَنُقْرِئُكَ فَلَا تَنْسَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
By degrees shall We teach thee to declare (the Message), so thou shalt not forget,
[ Saheeh International ]
We will make you recite, [O Muhammad], and you will not forget,
Tafseer Commentary

6084 The soul, as it reaches the Light of Allah, makes gradual progress, like a man going from darkness into light. So the Qur'an was revealed by stages. So all revelation from Allah comes by stages. As usual, there are two parallel meanings: (1) that connected with the occasion of direct inspiration to the Prophet; and (2) the more general Message to mankind for all time. Everyone who understands the Message must declare it, in words, and still more, in his conduct.

6085 The particular occasion was an assurance to the Prophet, that though he was unlettered, the Message given to him would be preserved in his heart and in the hearts of men. The more general sense is that mankind, having once seized great spiritual truths, will hold fast to them, except as qualified in the following verse.


87:7
[ Original ]
إِلَّا مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ ۚ إِنَّهُ يَعْلَمُ الْجَهْرَ وَمَا يَخْفَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Except as Allah wills: For He knoweth what is manifest and what is hidden.
[ Saheeh International ]
Except what Allah should will. Indeed, He knows what is declared and what is hidden.
Tafseer Commentary

6086 There can be no question of this having any reference to the abrogation of any verses of the Qur'an, for this Surah is one of the earliest revealed, being placed about eighth according to the most accepted chronological order. While the basic principles of Allah's Law remain the same, its form, expression, and application have varied from time to time, e.g., from Moses to Jesus, and from Jesus to Muhammad. It is one of the beneficent mercies of Allah that we should forget some things of the past, lest our minds become confused and our development is retarded. Besides, Allah knows what is manifest and what is hidden, and His Will and Plan work with supreme wisdom and goodness.


87:8
[ Original ]
وَنُيَسِّرُكَ لِلْيُسْرَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And We will make it easy for thee (to follow) the simple (Path).
[ Saheeh International ]
And We will ease you toward ease.
Tafseer Commentary

6087 The path of Islam is simple and easy. It depends on no abstruse mysteries or self-mortifications, but on straight and manly conduct in accordance with the laws of man's nature as implanted in him by Allah (30:30). On the other hand, spiritual perfection may be most difficult, for it involves complete surrender on our part to Allah in all our affairs, thoughts, and desires: but after that surrender Allah's Grace will make our path easy.


87:9
[ Original ]
فَذَكِّرْ إِنْ نَفَعَتِ الذِّكْرَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Therefore give admonition in case the admonition profits (the hearer).
[ Saheeh International ]
So remind, if the reminder should benefit;
Tafseer Commentary

6088 This is not so strong as the Biblical phrase, "Cast not pearls before swine" (Matt. 7:6) The cases where admonition does produce spiritual profit and where it does not, are mentioned below in verses 10 and 11-13 respectively. Allah's Message should be proclaimed to all; but particular and personal admonitions are also due to those who attend and in whose hearts is the fear of Allah; in the case of those who run away from it and dishonour it, such particular and personal admonition is useless. They are the unfortunate ones who prepare their own ruin.


87:10
[ Original ]
سَيَذَّكَّرُ مَنْ يَخْشَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
The admonition will be received by those who fear ((Allah)):
[ Saheeh International ]
He who fears [Allah] will be reminded.

87:11
[ Original ]
وَيَتَجَنَّبُهَا الْأَشْقَى
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
But it will be avoided by those most unfortunate ones,
[ Saheeh International ]
But the wretched one will avoid it -

87:12
[ Original ]
الَّذِي يَصْلَى النَّارَ الْكُبْرَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Who will enter the Great Fire,
[ Saheeh International ]
[He] who will [enter and] burn in the greatest Fire,
Tafseer Commentary

6089 The Great Fire is the final Penalty or Disaster in the Hereafter, as contrasted with the minor Penalties or Disasters from which all evil suffers from within in this very life.


87:13
[ Original ]
ثُمَّ لَا يَمُوتُ فِيهَا وَلَا يَحْيَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
In which they will then neither die nor live.
[ Saheeh International ]
Neither dying therein nor living.
Tafseer Commentary

6090 A terrible picture of those who ruin their whole future by evil lives here below. They introduce a discord into Creation, while life should be one great universal concord. And their past clings to them as part of their own will. They are not even like the dry swarthy stubble mentioned in verse 5 above, which grew naturally out of the luscious pasture, for they have grown harmful, in defiance of their own nature. "Neither die nor live"; Cf. 20:74.


87:14
[ Original ]
قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَنْ تَزَكَّىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
But those will prosper who purify themselves,
[ Saheeh International ]
He has certainly succeeded who purifies himself
Tafseer Commentary

6091 Prosper; in the highest and spiritual sense; attain to Bliss or Salvation: as opposed to "enter the Fire".

6092 The first process in godliness is to cleanse ourselves in body, mind, and soul. Then we shall be in a fit state to see and proclaim the Glory of Allah. That leads us to our actual absorption in Praise and Prayer.


87:15
[ Original ]
وَذَكَرَ اسْمَ رَبِّهِ فَصَلَّىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And glorify the name of their Guardian-Lord, and (lift their hearts) in prayer.
[ Saheeh International ]
And mentions the name of his Lord and prays.

87:16
[ Original ]
بَلْ تُؤْثِرُونَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Day (behold), ye prefer the life of this world;
[ Saheeh International ]
But you prefer the worldly life,

87:17
[ Original ]
وَالْآخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ وَأَبْقَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
But the Hereafter is better and more enduring.
[ Saheeh International ]
While the Hereafter is better and more enduring.

87:18
[ Original ]
إِنَّ هَٰذَا لَفِي الصُّحُفِ الْأُولَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And this is in the Books of the earliest (Revelation),-
[ Saheeh International ]
Indeed, this is in the former scriptures,
Tafseer Commentary

6093 The law of righteousness and godliness is not a new law, nor are the vanity and short duration of this world preached here for the first time. But spiritual truths have to be renewed and reiterated again and again.


87:19
[ Original ]
صُحُفِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمُوسَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
The Books of Abraham and Moses.
[ Saheeh International ]
The scriptures of Abraham and Moses.
Tafseer Commentary

6094 No Book of Abraham has come down to us. But the Old Testament recognises that Abraham was a prophet (Gen. 20:7,18:17-19). There is a book in Greek, which has been translated by Mr. G.H. Box, called the Testament of Abraham (published by the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, London , 1927). It seems to be a Greek translation of a Hebrew original. The Greek Text was probably written in the second Christian century, in Egypt, but in its present form it probably goes back only to the 9th or 10th Century. It was popular among the Christians. Perhaps the Jewish Midrash also refers to a Testament of Abraham.

6095 The original Revelation of Moses, of which the Present Pentateuch is a surviving recension. See Appendix II., p. 288-290. The present Gospels do not come under the definition of the "earliest" Books. Nor could they be called "Books of Jesus"; they were written not by him, but about him, and long after his death.


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