Surah An-Najm: Reading and Tafsir and Download

This page contains all verses of surah An-Najm in addition to Interpretation of all verses by Maarif-ul-Quran (Mufti Muhammad Shafi). In the first part you can read surah النجم ordered in pages exactly as it is present in the Quran. To read an interpretation of a verse click on its number.

Information About Surah An-Najm

Surah An-Najm
سُورَةُ النَّجۡمِ
Page 526 (Verses from 1 to 26)

وَٱلنَّجْمِ إِذَا هَوَىٰ مَا ضَلَّ صَاحِبُكُمْ وَمَا غَوَىٰ وَمَا يَنطِقُ عَنِ ٱلْهَوَىٰٓ إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا وَحْىٌ يُوحَىٰ عَلَّمَهُۥ شَدِيدُ ٱلْقُوَىٰ ذُو مِرَّةٍ فَٱسْتَوَىٰ وَهُوَ بِٱلْأُفُقِ ٱلْأَعْلَىٰ ثُمَّ دَنَا فَتَدَلَّىٰ فَكَانَ قَابَ قَوْسَيْنِ أَوْ أَدْنَىٰ فَأَوْحَىٰٓ إِلَىٰ عَبْدِهِۦ مَآ أَوْحَىٰ مَا كَذَبَ ٱلْفُؤَادُ مَا رَأَىٰٓ أَفَتُمَٰرُونَهُۥ عَلَىٰ مَا يَرَىٰ وَلَقَدْ رَءَاهُ نَزْلَةً أُخْرَىٰ عِندَ سِدْرَةِ ٱلْمُنتَهَىٰ عِندَهَا جَنَّةُ ٱلْمَأْوَىٰٓ إِذْ يَغْشَى ٱلسِّدْرَةَ مَا يَغْشَىٰ مَا زَاغَ ٱلْبَصَرُ وَمَا طَغَىٰ لَقَدْ رَأَىٰ مِنْ ءَايَٰتِ رَبِّهِ ٱلْكُبْرَىٰٓ أَفَرَءَيْتُمُ ٱللَّٰتَ وَٱلْعُزَّىٰ وَمَنَوٰةَ ٱلثَّالِثَةَ ٱلْأُخْرَىٰٓ أَلَكُمُ ٱلذَّكَرُ وَلَهُ ٱلْأُنثَىٰ تِلْكَ إِذًا قِسْمَةٌ ضِيزَىٰٓ إِنْ هِىَ إِلَّآ أَسْمَآءٌ سَمَّيْتُمُوهَآ أَنتُمْ وَءَابَآؤُكُم مَّآ أَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُ بِهَا مِن سُلْطَٰنٍ ۚ إِن يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا ٱلظَّنَّ وَمَا تَهْوَى ٱلْأَنفُسُ ۖ وَلَقَدْ جَآءَهُم مِّن رَّبِّهِمُ ٱلْهُدَىٰٓ أَمْ لِلْإِنسَٰنِ مَا تَمَنَّىٰ فَلِلَّهِ ٱلْءَاخِرَةُ وَٱلْأُولَىٰ ۞ وَكَم مِّن مَّلَكٍ فِى ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ لَا تُغْنِى شَفَٰعَتُهُمْ شَيْـًٔا إِلَّا مِنۢ بَعْدِ أَن يَأْذَنَ ٱللَّهُ لِمَن يَشَآءُ وَيَرْضَىٰٓ
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Listen to Surah An-Najm (Arabic and English translation)

Tafsir of Surah An-Najm (Maarif-ul-Quran: Mufti Muhammad Shafi)

English Translation

By the star when it descends,

English Transliteration

Waalnnajmi itha hawa

Characteristics of Surah An-Najm

Surah An-Najm is the first chapter that the Holy Prophet ﷺ proclaimed in Makkah (` Abdullah Ibn Masud ؓ has transmitted it - as in Qurtubi) and this is the first Surah in which a verse of sajdah (prostration) is revealed. The Holy Prophet recited it and prostrated. A strange thing happened on this occasion: When the Holy Prophet finished reciting the Surah before a mixed gathering of Muslims and disbelievers, and, along with his followers, he prostrated himself on the ground. The disbelievers too prostrated, except one proud and arrogant man (regarding whose name there is a difference of opinion (Tr.) ) who took a handful of soil and, having applied it on his forehead, said, 'this is enough'. ` Abdullah Ibn Masud ؓ ، [ the transmitter of the Tradition ] said that he saw this man lying dead in the state of disbelief [ kufr ]. (Bukhari, Muslim and other compilers of Sunan - Ibn-Kathir [ condensed ])

At the outset of this Surah, the truth of the Qur'anic revelation and of the Divine claim is sought to be established. In a very exquisite and forceful style, it is stated that the Holy Prophet is a true Messenger of Allah, and there is no room for any doubt about this.

Allah Swears that the Messenger is True

وَالنَّجْمِ إِذَا هَوَىٰ (By the star when it goes down to set,.... 53:1) The word najm means a star, and as a common noun every star is referred to as najm, and in that case the plural is nujum. There are however occasions when najm specifically refers to thurayya. In this case it is used as a proper noun and it signifies "the Pleiades" which is a loose cluster of many (hundred) stars, (six of which are visible to ordinary sight). In this context, some scholars, taking the word as a proper noun, interpret najm as thurayya. Farra' and Hasan Basri prefer the first interpretation, and take the word as a common noun (Qurtubi). This is the interpretation that is adopted in the translation.

The verb hawa means to fall or plunge. When stars fall, they set. In this verse Allah swears an oath to show that the Messenger ﷺ is true, and his words are a revelation from Allah, in which there is no room for any doubt. In Surah As-Saffat it has been explained in detail that the Creator, for various wise reasons, swears by whatever He wills among His creation, but His created beings only swear by the Creator. They are not allowed to swear by anything else. Here Allah has sworn an oath by the stars. Probably, the underlying wisdom in this is that as the Arabs are used to determine the course and direction of, and are guided in their travels by the movements of the stars in the sandy waste of Arabia, so they would now be led to the goal and end of their spiritual journey by the star par excellence, that is, by the Holy Prophet ﷺ .

English Translation

Your companion [Muhammad] has not strayed, nor has he erred,

English Transliteration

Ma dalla sahibukum wama ghawa

مَا ضَلَّ صَاحِبُكُمْ وَمَا غَوَىٰ (your companion [ the Holy Prophet ﷺ ] has neither missed the way, nor did he deviate. [ 53:2] Verse [ 1] was قَسَم qasam or oath and verse [ 2] is jawab-ul-qasam or the subject for which oath is sworn. The verse means that the path towards which the Holy Prophet ﷺ is calling the people is the perfectly straight path leading to the desired goal of Allah's good pleasure. He is following the right guidance and has not deviated from the path of righteousness.

The Reason for Describing the Holy Prophet ﷺ as 'your companion'

The Qur'an on this occasion, when referring to the Holy Prophet ﷺ ، does not refer to him by his blessed name or refer to him as a Messenger or a Holy Prophet ﷺ . In fact, it refers to him as Sahibukum or "your companion". In this there seems to be a subtle rebuke to the pagans of Makkah, telling them in effect that the Holy Prophet ﷺ is not an outsider, nor a stranger to them. He was their constant companion. He was born amongst them, he spent his childhood amongst them, and he grew up as a youth amongst them. He has lived among them a whole life-time, and they had always looked upon him as a paragon of honesty, integrity and truthfulness calling him اَمِین (The Honest One). But now - after his claim of Prophethood - they dare impute to him such a heinous sin as forging lies against Allah. A man who withheld himself from telling lies about men, how could he possibly forge lies against Allah? How inconsistent is their attitude?

English Translation

Nor does he speak from [his own] inclination.

English Transliteration

Wama yantiqu AAani alhawa

The Holy Prophet's Words are a Revelation from Allah

وَمَا يَنطِقُ عَنِ الْهَوَىٰ إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا وَحْيٌ يُوحَىٰ (And he does not speak out of (his own) desire. It is not but revelation revealed [ to him ]....53:3-4]. The verses tell us that it is absolutely impossible for the Messenger ﷺ to forge lies and impute them to Allah. Nothing he utters is of his own wish or desire. He only conveys to the people what he was commanded to convey, in its entirety, without additions or deletions. An analysis of the various Traditions in Bukhari indicates that there are many categories or types of wahy [ inspiration or revelation ]. Type one is that in which the wordings and the meaning are both directly from Allah. This is called Qur'an. Type two is the one in which only the meaning comes from Allah, and the Messenger ﷺ expresses the meaning in his own words. This is called Hadith or Sunnah [ Tradition ]. The subject of Hadith, which comes from Allah, sometimes lays down injunctions or rules of conduct in clear and express terms, and at other times it establishes a general principle from which the Messenger ﷺ derives laws on the basis of ijtihad or analogy, and promulgates them. In this there does exist the possibility of mistake of judgment. But it is the characteristic of the Messenger ﷺ and other Prophets (علیہم السلام) that if they commit any error of judgment, Allah sends down a revelation to amend it, so that they do not unwittingly persist in their mistaken ijtihad. Unlike other scholars of ijtihad, who can persist in their erroneous conclusions. However, their error is not only forgiven, but they also receive one reward for exerting their utmost effort in comprehending the rule of religion to the fullest extent, as authentic and well-known Traditions bear testimony to this fact.

The foregoing discussion also allays the following doubt: It seems, according to the above verses, that the Messenger ﷺ does not speak of his own desire, but whatever he conveys to the people is a revelation from Allah. It follows from this that he does not exercise independent reasoning in any matter whatsoever, whereas authentic Traditions show otherwise. There are incidents recorded .that at the beginning, he promulgated one law, but, later on, revelation descended and the law was changed. This is an indication that the earlier law was not the law of Allah, but it was based on his ijtihad. The foregoing paragraph already responded to this objection: The second type of revelation establishes a general principle of law from which the Messenger ﷺ derives laws on the basis of ijtihad, and promulgates them. Because the general principle has descended from Allah, all the laws are said to be the revelation from Allah. Allah knows best!

English Translation

It is not but a revelation revealed,

English Transliteration

In huwa illa wahyun yooha

English Translation

Taught to him by one intense in strength -

English Transliteration

AAallamahu shadeedu alquwa

عَلَّمَهُ شَدِيدُ الْقُوَىٰ (It is taught to him by one [ angel ] of strong faculties,...53:5) From here upto the eighteenth verse, لَقَدْ رَ‌أَىٰ مِنْ آيَاتِ رَ‌بِّهِ الْكُبْرَ‌ىٰ the subject-matter is the revelation from Allah. It has been established that the Qur'an is a record of verbal revelation vouchsafed to the Holy Prophet Muhammad ﷺ . There is no room for doubt about the fact that it is the very Words of Allah. It was sent down in such a way that no possibility of confusion or error ever existed.

Divergent Interpretation of the Verses of Najm

Regarding these verses of Surah Najm, two divergent interpretations of the leading commentators are reported. The summary of one interpretation is that all these verses relate to the incident of Mi` raj (Ascension of the Holy Prophet ﷺ to the heavens). As a result, words and phrases like شَدِيدُ الْقُوَىٰ shadid-ul-quwa (One of strong faculties), dhu mirrah (one of vigour) فَاسْتَوَىٰ fastawa (he stood poised), and ) دَنَا فَتَدَلَّىٰ dana fatadalla (then he drew near, and came down,) are all qualities and actions of Allah. (It means that Allah Ta’ ala has taught the Holy Prophet ﷺ directly without any media, and that he came close to Him. The Qur'an further speaks of Vision [ ru'yah ] and Witnessing [ mushahadah ]. They too have been taken to mean the Vision and Witnessing of Allah. Among the noble Companions, Sayyidna Anas and Ibn ` Abbas ؓ have adopted this interpretation. In Tafsir Mazhari too this interpretation has been given preference. Many noble Companions, tabi` n [ Companions' pupils ] and other leading commentators, however, take these verses to refer to the event when the Holy Prophet ﷺ saw the noble angel Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) in his original shape. According to them, shadid-ul-quwa (one of strong faculties), and other qualities and acts mentioned in these verses are the qualities of Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) . There are many factors in support of this interpretation. Historically, Surah An-Najm is one of the very early Surahs and, according to Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn Masud ؓ ، this is the first Surah the Holy Prophet ﷺ recited in public in the Sacred city of Makkah. Obviously, the incident of Mi` raj took place much later. This argument, however, may be debatable. But the stronger proof in favor of the second interpretation is that in a tradition recorded in the Musnad of Ahmad, the Holy Prophet ﷺ himself interprets these verses that they relate to seeing the noble Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) .

عَنِ الشَّعبِی عَن مَسرُوق قَالَ کُنتُ عِندَ عَایٔشَۃَ ؓ فَقُلتُ اَلَیسَ اللہُ یَقُولُ ( وَلَقَدْ رَ‌آهُ بِالْأُفُقِ الْمُبِينِ وَلَقَدْ رَ‌آهُ نَزْلَةً أُخْرَ‌ىٰ ) فَقَالَتُ اَنَااَوَّلُ ھٰذِہِ الُامَّٰۃ سَاَلتُ رَسُولَ اللہِ ﷺ عَنھَا فَقَالَ اِنَّمَا ذَاکَ جِبرَیٔلُ لَم یَرَہ ، فِی صُورَتِہِ الَّتِی خُلِقَ عَلَیھَا اِلَّا مَرَّتَینِ رَاٰہُ مُنھَبِطاً مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ اِلَی الاَعرضِ سَادَّا عِظَم خَلقِہٖ مَا بَینَ السَّمَآءِ وَ اَلاَرضِ ، اَخرجاہ فی الصَّحیحین من حدیث الشعبی ۔ (ابن کثیر)

Masruq reports from Sha` bi (رح) : Masruq ؓ said: "One day I was sitting with Sayyidah ` A'ishah ؓ and I asked her, 'Did not Allah say وَلَقَدْ رَ‌آهُ بِالْأُفُقِ الْمُبِينِ وَلَقَدْ رَ‌آهُ نَزْلَةً أُخْرَ‌ىٰ ‘And indeed he saw him in the clear horizon' and 'Indeed he saw him another time' she replied: 'I was the first among the Ummah to ask the Holy Prophet ﷺ about it.' He said: 'That was Jibra'il. He only saw him twice in his actual and real figure. He saw Jibra'il descend from heaven to earth, and he was so huge that he covered the entire horizon between the sky and the earth." (Ibn-Kathir)

The wordings of this narration in Sahih of Muslim are almost the same as recorded above. Hafiz Ibn Hajar, in the chapter of Tafsir of Fath-ul-Bari, has narrated this tradition on the authority of Ibn Marduwaih in the following words:

اَنَا اَوَّلُ مَن سَاَلَ رَسُول اللہِ ﷺ عَن ھٰذَا، فَقُلتُ : یا رَسُول اللہِ ھل رَاَیتَ رَبَّکَ ؟ فَقَالَ : اِنَّمَا رَاَیتُ جِبرَیِٔلَ مُنھَبِطاً ۔ “ (فتح الباری، ص 393 ج 7)

Siddiqah ` A'ishah ؓ says: "I asked the Holy Prophet ﷺ about It, and I said, 'Did you see your Lord?' He replied, 'No: I saw Jibra'il descending." (Fath-ul-Bari vol, 8/p, 493)

Sahih of Bukhari records that Shaibani asked Sayyidna Zirr about the meaning of the verses فَكَانَ قَابَ قَوْسَيْنِ أَوْ أَدْنَىٰ فَأَوْحَىٰ إِلَىٰ عَبْدِهِ مَا أَوْحَىٰ (so as he was at a distance between two bows (joined together), rather even nearer. Thus He [ Allah ] revealed to His slave what He revealed - 53:9-10 He replied that ` Abdullah Ibn Masud ؓ narrated to us that Muhammad ﷺ saw Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) having six hundred wings. Ibn Jarir, with his own chain of transmitters, reports that Sayyidna ` Abdullh Ibn Masud ؓ interpreting the verse 11: مَا كَذَبَ الْفُؤَادُ مَا رَ‌أَىٰ ("The heart did not err in what he saw" ) says that the Holy Prophet Muhammad ﷺ saw Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) clad in rafraf [ green ] garment filling the entire space between heaven and earth.

Ibn Kathir's Findings

Ibn Kathir has quoted all these narrations in his Tafsir and said that in all the above-quoted verses perception and proximity refer to seeing and being close to Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) . From among the noble Companions ؓ ، this is the view of the Mother of the Faithful Sayyidah ` A'ishah ؓ and of Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn Masud, Abu Dharr Ghifari, Abu Hurairah ؓ and others. This is why Ibn Kathir says:

Vision and proximity in these verses refer to seeing and being close to Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) when the Holy Prophet ﷺ had seen him for the first time in his original shape. Then he saw him for the second time on the night of Mi` raj near Sidrat-ul-Muntaha (Lote-tree of the Uppermost Boundary). He saw him the first time at the very beginning of his Prophethood when Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) descended with the very first installment of revelation, and delivered to him Surah Iqra'. After that, there was an interval which caused terrible grief and [ spiritual ] depression. As a result, time and again, the thought crossed his mind that he should go to the top of the mountain and fall from there and give his life away. Whenever such a situation arose, Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) called out to him invisibly from the air: '0 Muhammad! You are Allah's Messenger; you are true; and I am Jibra'il.' The voice would calm his heart, and recompose it. Whenever such a thought crossed his mind, Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) would comfort him by his voice. But the comforting and consoling were always invisible.

One day Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) was in an open field at Batha' in his original shape with six hundred wings which had covered the entire horizon. Then Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) came close to Allah's Messenger ﷺ ، and delivered the Divine revelation to him. On that occasion, the reality of the greatness of Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) and his majestic value in the sight of Allah became manifest to Allah's Messenger".

In short, Imam Ibn Kathir himself, on the basis of the statement of the Holy Prophet ﷺ himself and the views of the blessed Companions ؓ ، preferred this interpretation of the above verses of Surah An-Najm, that is, it refers to seeing Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) and being close to him. This was the Holy Prophet's ﷺ first experience of seeing Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) in this world on the horizon of Makkah. Some of the versions narrate that when the Messenger of Allah ﷺ saw him in his actual and real shape for the first time, he became unconscious. Then Jibra'il علیہ السلام came very close to him in the shape of a human being [ and he regained consciousness ].

The second incident of Holy Prophet's ﷺ seeing Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) is mentioned in Verse 13 and 14 of this Surah in the following words: وَلَقَدْ رَ‌آهُ نَزْلَةً أُخْرَ‌ىٰ ﴿13﴾ عِندَ سِدْرَ‌ةِ الْمُنتَهَىٰ (And indeed he saw him another time [ 13] by sidrat-ul-muntaha (the lote-tree in the upper realm), [ 14] ". This verse mentions that the Holy Prophet ﷺ saw Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) for the second time, and this happened on the Night of Ascension (Mi` raj). On the basis of reasons stated above, the commentators generally adopt this interpretation. Ibn Kathir's arguments have just been put forward. Qurtubi, Abu Hayyan, Imam Razi and others normally prefer this interpretation. My mentor Maulana Ashraf Ali (رح) has also preferred this interpretation, the summary of which is that the earlier verses of Surah An-Najm which makes mention of ru'yah (seeing) does not refer to having a Vision of Allah, but of Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) . Nawawi, in his commentary on Muslim, and Hafiz in Fath-ul-Bari also have preferred this interpretation.

English Translation

One of soundness. And he rose to [his] true form

English Transliteration

Thoo mirratin faistawa

ذُو مِرَّ‌ةٍ فَاسْتَوَىٰ وَهُوَ بِالْأُفُقِ الْأَعْلَىٰ (one of vigour. So he stood poised, while he was on the upper horizon...53:6-7] The word mirrah means 'strength' or 'vigour'. This is another quality of Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) in that he is no weakling, but strong, mighty in power and firm, so that it may not be suspected that the devil may intercept the angel carrying the Divine revelation and snatch it away from him. Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) is so mighty in power and strength that the devil dare not come anywhere near him. The word اِسْتَوَىٰ istawa means to be or become straight or to level. The verse means that when he saw Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) the first time, the latter was descending from the heaven. Having descended, he sat or settled straight on the highest part of the horizon. Ufuq [ horizon ] is qualified by a'la [ the highest part or uppermost ] and it signifies that Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) was shown on the uppermost horizon, [ so that he could be seen clearly ] because the lower part of the horizon which seems to be adjacent to the earth is normally hidden from the sight [ as a result he would not have been visible to the Holy Prophet ﷺ .

English Translation

While he was in the higher [part of the] horizon.

English Transliteration

Wahuwa bialofuqi alaAAla

English Translation

Then he approached and descended

English Transliteration

Thumma dana fatadalla

ثُمَّ دَنَا فَتَدَلَّىٰ (Then he drew near, and came down,... 53:8). The word dana means to draw near and tadalla means to hang or to come down. The verse means that Jibra'il علیہ السلام drew nearby coming down.

English Translation

And was at a distance of two bow lengths or nearer.

English Transliteration

Fakana qaba qawsayni aw adna

فَكَانَ قَابَ قَوْسَيْنِ أَوْ أَدْنَىٰ (so as he was at a distance between two bows (joined together), rather even nearer....53:9). The noun qab refers to the distance between the curved handle of a bow and the tight chord that releases arrows. This distance is estimated about the length of one hand. The expression qaba qawsain is based on an ancient Arab custom, according to which when two persons pledged themselves to firm friendship, each one of them would turn the wooden part of their bows towards themselves, but they would turn the chord part towards the other. In this way when the chords of their bows were joined together, this used to be regarded as the proclamation of proximity, love and affection at the time of which the distance between the two persons would be two bows' length - approximately the length of two arms or one cubit. The expression aw adna ('rather even nearer' ) signifies that the relationship of closeness was no ordinary one, it in fact was more intimate than could be conceived. The reason for the mention of such intimacy with Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) in the above verses is to confirm that the revelation which he delivered is indubitably and truly from Allah, and he heard it with absolute accuracy in every detail: There is no room for any doubt in this. This closeness and intimacy further allays the suspicion that the Holy Prophet ﷺ might have not recognized Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) and that the devil might interfere.

English Translation

And he revealed to His Servant what he revealed.

English Transliteration

Faawha ila AAabdihi ma awha

فَأَوْحَىٰ إِلَىٰ عَبْدِهِ مَا أَوْحَىٰ (Thus He [ Allah ] revealed to His slave what He revealed... 53:10) The subject pronoun understood in the past perfect verb awha (He revealed) refers to Allah, and so does the pronoun in ` abdihi (His slave), and the verse means: Allah revealed to His servant Muhammad ﷺ whatever He revealed through the medium of Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) by attaching him so intimately to the Holy Prophet ﷺ .

An Academic Problem and its Solution

Here an apparent problem arises which at best can be described as academic, because it does not relate to a real situation. According to an overwhelming consensus of the Mufassirin and Muhaddithin, all the pronouns in the above verses refer to Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) . Likewise, all the pronouns in the sentences from fastawa to فَكَانَ قَابَ قَوْسَيْنِ أَوْ أَدْنَىٰ fa kana qaba qawsaini aw adna refer to him. The forthcoming verses, according to consensus of the commentators, also speak of Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) . Therefore, referring the intervening pronouns of awha and ` abdihi is contrary to the context and causes intishar-ud-dama'ir (inconsistency of the pronouns).

Our honourable mentor Maulana Sayyid Muhammad Anwar Shah Kashmiri (رح) has responded to this problem thus: There is neither any contextual confusion here, nor any pronominal ambiguity. In point of fact, early part of Surah An-Najm in verse [ 4] it was mentioned إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا وَحْيٌ يُوحَىٰ (It is not but revelation revealed [ to him ]...4) '. Now in verse [ 10] أَوْحَىٰ إِلَىٰ عَبْدِهِ مَا أَوْحَىٰ (So He [ Allah ] revealed to His servant whatever He revealed.) the same theme is continued, reinforced and consolidated in this way: Obviously, the One who sends down revelation is Allah Ta’ ala and none else. However, there is a medium through whom the revelation is delivered to the Holy Prophet Muhammad ﷺ . Verse [ 4] may be treated as a preamble to the theme of revelation. Verses [ 5-9] describe the strong qualities and other characteristics of the medium of revelation Jibra'il Ali. Verse [ 10] is thus the complement or epilogue to the preamble. In this verse there cannot be intishar-ud-dama'ir because the antecedents of the pronouns in verse 10 cannot possibly be anyone but Allah. Thus the antecedent of these pronouns was determined from the very outset. In the phrase maawha 'whatever He revealed' is obscure or vague. Ma [ whatever ] is sometimes used to denote honour, surprise, magnificence, grandeur, splendor, opulence or for emphasis. Here it is employed to indicate 'the majestic or glorious status of revelation'.

It is learnt from a Hadith recorded in chapter [ 1] of the Sahih of Bukhari, that the revelation which was sent down at this time was the initial verses of Surah Al-Muddaththir [ Chapter 74]. Allah knows best!

Thus marked by thematic and structural coherence, the Qur'an confirms that it is an absolutely true and veritable words of Allah. This may be compared to the Muhaddithins' study of Hadith. In order to verify the authenticity of the Traditions of the Holy Prophet ﷺ they trace in full the chains of authorities from themselves [ that is, the last of the authorities ] to the Holy Prophet ﷺ . In these verses Allah sets up the chain of authorities: [ 1] Allah is the Muhi, that is, He is the Ultimate Source from where the revelation originates; and [ 2] Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) is the transmitting authority between Allah and the Messenger of Allah ﷺ . The above verses describe Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) as magnificent in status and mighty in power: This confirms his honesty and integrity as the transmitting authority.

English Translation

The heart did not lie [about] what it saw.

English Transliteration

Ma kathaba alfuadu ma raa

مَا كَذَبَ الْفُؤَادُ مَا رَ‌أَىٰ (The heart did not err in what he saw....53:11) Fu'ad means heart, and the verse means whatever the eyes saw, the heart did not err in its grasping. This erring in the verse is described as kidhb [ lying ]. In other words, the heart did not lie in connection with the perceived objects. It did not err or slip up. In the phrase mara'a 'what he saw', the Qur'an does not specify what it saw. The blessed Companions ؓ and their followers, and the leading authorities on Tafsir hold two divergent views as was discussed in detail earlier: [ 1] The phrase means it [ the Holy Prophet's ﷺ heart ] saw Allah (and this is the view of Ibn ` Abbas ؓ ; and [ 2] others (like Sayyidah ` A'ishah, Ibn Masud, Abu Hurairah and Abu Dharr Ghifari ؓ express the view that the Holy Prophet ﷺ saw Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) in his original shape. The Arabic verb ra'a originally means to see with physical eyes, and after having seen with physical eyes the heart grasps and comprehends. Thus the Holy Prophet ﷺ first saw Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) with his physical eyes, and then grasped and comprehended him with his heart. Therefore, there is no need to take the word ru'yah in the figurative or metaphorical sense of ru'yah qalbiyah [ to see with the heart ] as did Al-Qurtubi.

One more question remains: In this verse idrak [ grasping, comprehending, discerning, cognizing and perceiving ] has been attributed to the heart, whereas according to most famous philosophers, it is related to ` aql [ the intellect ] or the soul endowed with the faculty of speech. Answer to this question is that many verses of the Qur'an show that the real centre of idrak is the heart. Therefore, sometimes the word 'qalb (heart) is used for ` aql (intellect), as for example the word qalb (plural: qulub) in the following verses bear ample testimony to this fact: لِمَن كَانَ لَهُ قَلْبٌ (for him who has a heart - 50:37) and لَهُمْ قُلُوبٌ لَّا يَفْقَهُونَ بِهَا 'they have hearts with which they do not comprehend' - (7:179). Qalb (heart) here refers to ` aql (intellect) because heart is the centre of intellectual activities.

English Translation

So will you dispute with him over what he saw?

English Transliteration

Afatumaroonahu AAala ma yara

English Translation

And he certainly saw him in another descent

English Transliteration

Walaqad raahu nazlatan okhra

ولَقَدْ رَ‌آهُ نَزْلَةً أُخْرَ‌ىٰ عِندَ سِدْرَ‌ةِ الْمُنتَهَىٰ (And indeed he saw him another time by sidrat-ul-muntaha [ the lote-tree in the upper realm ]...53:13-14). Here too there are two views regarding the antecedent of the pronoun hu (him): [ 1] that it refers to seeing Allah; or [ 2] that it refers to seeing Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) . The adverb نَزْلَةً أُخْرَ‌ىٰ nazlatan ` ukhra [ another time or at another descent ], according to overwhelming majority, this nuzul refers to the second descent of Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) . The first vision was experienced in this world on the uppermost horizon of Makkah. The second vision was experienced on the seventh heaven near the Lote-Tree of the Uppermost Realm. Obviously, the Holy Prophet ﷺ went up to the seventh heaven on the Night of Mi` raj. Thus it is possible to determine the approximate time of the second experience, which took place on that occasion. The word sidrah literally denotes lote-tree and muntaha means the place of intiha' [ end ]. Thus sidrat-ul-muntaha is the Lote-Tree on the seventh heaven under the Throne of the Gracious Allah. According to a narration in Muslim, the Tree is on the sixth heaven. Reconciliation is possible between the two apparently conflicting versions in that its root is on the sixth heaven and its branches are spread on the seventh heaven (Qurtubi). Generally the access of angels ends at this point, and therefore, it is called muntaha (the end). Some Traditions inform us that the Divine injunctions first descend from the Divine Throne to the sidrat-ul-muntaha which are handed over to the relevant angels. Similarly, angels going up from the earth to the heaven with Books of Deeds etc. convey them to this point. Then there may be some other way for their presentation to Allah Almighty. This subject is reported from ` Abdullah Ibn Masud ؓ as recorded by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad.

English Translation

At the Lote Tree of the Utmost Boundary -

English Transliteration

AAinda sidrati almuntaha

English Translation

Near it is the Garden of Refuge -

English Transliteration

AAindaha jannatu almawa

عِندَهَا جَنَّةُ الْمَأْوَىٰ (near which there is Jannat-ul-ma'wa [ the Paradize of Abode ],... 53:15) The word ma'wa means 'abode' and a place where one resides or reposes comfortably. The Jannah (Paradize) is called ma'wa because this is man's original abode. This is where 'Adam and Hawwa' (علیہما السلام) were created; from here they were sent down to the earth; and this is where the people of Paradise will be sent back to reside permanently.

The Present Locale of Paradise and Hell

This verse verifies that Paradise exists at the present moment, as is the belief of the overwhelming majority of the Ummah. They believe that Paradise and Hell have been created and are already in existence. This verse pointed out that the location of Paradise is on the seventh heaven under the Divine Throne. In other words, the seventh heaven is, as though, the floor of Paradise and its roof is the Divine Throne. The location of Hell is not explicitly stated anywhere in the Qur'an or Prophetic Traditions. Some scholars of the Qur'an deduce from the verse [ 6] of Surah At-Tur وَالْبَحْرِ‌ الْمَسْجُورِ‌ (and by the sea, filled up with fire,) that Hell is situated beneath the sea in the deep recesses of the earth which are presently hidden under some heavy covering. On the Day of Resurrection, it will be split asunder, and the sea will be kindled, thus turning the entire ocean into a raging and blazing fire.

Many European excavators and explorers of the current age made attempts to dig into the ground in order to build roads so as to travel around from place to place for many long years. For this task, they invented the largest and most sophisticated machinery. Various groups of scientists and experts exerted efforts in this direction. The most successful group was the one who by means of various types of machinery was able to dig six miles deep into the recesses of the earth, but beyond that they came across immovable rocks which frustrated them. They attempted to excavate in another place and dug for six miles and again came across unshakeable rocks beyond which they could not dig. In this way they experimented in many places and came to the conclusion that beyond the depth of six miles into the recesses of the earth there is a rocky covering on the entire earth at that level where no machinery can penetrate. The earth covers thousands of miles in diameter but despite advances and strides made in sciences they could have access only to the depth of six miles. Beyond that point they acknowledged the existence of impenetrable rocky covering and abandoned their attempts. This scientific experiment to excavate and explore supports the notion that the entire earth is covered with adamantine rocks, and access beyond them is not possible. If any authentic narration proves the location of Hell in this rocky covering, it should not come as a surprise. Allah knows best!

English Translation

When there covered the Lote Tree that which covered [it].

English Transliteration

Ith yaghsha alssidrata ma yaghsha

إِذْ يَغْشَى السِّدْرَ‌ةَ مَا يَغْشَىٰ (when the lote-tree was covered by that which covered it...53:16) Sahih of Muslim records a Tradition on the authority of Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn Masud ؓ who said: "Golden butterflies were at that time falling on sidrat-ul-muntaha from all sides, and it seemed as if it was specially decorated for that occasion in honour of the most revered guest, the Holy Prophet Muhammad ﷺ "

English Translation

The sight [of the Prophet] did not swerve, nor did it transgress [its limit].

English Transliteration

Ma zagha albasaru wama tagha

مَا زَاغَ الْبَصَرُ‌ وَمَا طَغَىٰ (The eye neither went wrong, nor did exceed the limit...53:17) The verb zagha is derived from the infinitive zaigh which denotes to become crooked or go astray. Tagha is derived from tughyan which means to transgress or exceed the limit. The two expressions purport to say that in whatever the Holy Prophet ﷺ saw, his eyes did not err or slip up. This verse allays the suspicion that sometimes human sight errs or slips up, especially when some wonderful or unusually marvelous thing is seen. In response to this suspicion the Qur'an uses two expressions because there are two ways in which human sight can go awry: [ 1] not looking at the object directly that one was supposed to see, and turning the eye to some other side. Ma zagha (neither went wrong) negates this situation. The Holy Prophet's ﷺ sight did not swerve or turn right or left, and thus did not miss the intended object. He saw exactly what was meant for him to see. [ 2] looking at the desired object, but at the same time looking at other objects also. In this situation too there is sometimes the fear of losing sight of the main object and causing confusion. Ma tagha (nor did it exceed the limit) in the verse is used to remove this doubt that the Holy Prophet ﷺ might have looked at other things in addition to what he was ordained to see.

Scholars who interpret the preceding verses as referring to the vision of Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) explain this verse to mean that the eye of the Holy Prophet ﷺ did not err in seeing him. This had to be clarified because Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) is the transmitting medium. If the Holy Prophet ﷺ did not see him clearly and recognize him, the revelation would not be beyond doubt.

Scholars who interpreted the preceding verses as speaking of Allah's Vision interpret this verse too in the same vein that the eyes of the Holy Prophet ﷺ did not err or slip up in the Vision of Allah. This verse further clarifies that the Vision was with the physical eyes, not only with the eyes of the heart.

Another Approach to Interpreting the Preceding Verses: A Useful Analysis

Our venerable mentor Maulana Sayyid Muhammad Anwar Shah Kashmiri (رح) was a typical example of the Traditionalists who preceded him. He no doubt was a symbol of Allah and His proof on earth. His grasp of knowledge and Islamic sciences was without a doubt an exact replica of the leading authorities on the sciences of Prophetic Tradition like Hafiz Ibn Hajar and Dhahabi. His Mushkilat-ul-Qur'an is an invaluable treasure trove of the profoundest study of Islamic knowledge and sciences. The noble Companions ؓ and their followers, and subsequently the scholars of Tafsir and Hadith have interpreted the verses of Surah An-Najm differently which gave rise to some scholarly questions. Mushkilat-ul-Qur'an interprets the verses in such a way that most of the different views have been reconciled.

Then when my another mentor Shaikh-ul-Islam Maulana Shabbir Ahmad ` Uthmani (رح) wrote his Fath-ul-Mulhim, the commentary of Sahih Muslim, he came across the description of the Holy Prophet's ﷺ nocturnal journey of Isra' and Mi` raj with reference to the verses of Surah An-Najm. In view of the complexity of the problem, he requested the venerable Allamah Anwar Shah (رح) ، to write the interpretation and made it a part of his Fath-ul-Mulhim, and adopted it in his fawa'id-ul-Qur'an. In this way this research is the unanimous outcome of the two of my most distinguished teachers and mentors. Before reading on, it is necessary to keep in mind a few principal points which are recognized by almost all the scholars and leading authorities: [ 1] the Holy Prophet ﷺ saw Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) twice in his original shape. The vision on both the occasions is mentioned in this chapter. We were able to determine that the second vision took place on the seventh heaven near sidrat-ul-muntaha. Obviously, this happened on the Night of Mi` raj. In this way, we know the time and locale of the vision. The locale and time of the first vision cannot be determined by these verses, but they can be determined by the following narration of Jabir Ibn ` Abdullah as recorded in Sahih of Bukhari, chapter entitled: 'How the revelation started':

قَال و ھو یحدث عن فترۃ الوحی فقال فی حدیثہ بینا انا امشی اذ سمعت صوتاً من السمآء فرفعت بصری فاذا الملک الذی جاءنی بحراء جالس علی کرسی بین السماء والارض فرعبت منہ فرجعت فقلت زملونی فانزل اللہ تعالیٰ يَا أَيُّهَا الْمُدَّثِّرُ‌ ﴿1﴾ قُمْ فَأَنذِرْ‌ ﴿2﴾ وَرَ‌بَّكَ فَكَبِّرْ‌ ﴿3﴾ وَثِيَابَكَ فَطَهِّرْ‌ ﴿4﴾ وَالرُّ‌جْزَ فَاهْجُرْ‌ ﴿5﴾ فحمی الوحی وتتابع۔

Jabir Ibn ` Abdullah ؓ said, speaking of the temporary break in revelation, [ the Holy Prophet ﷺ ] said in his narrative: "Whilst I was walking along, I heard a voice from heaven and I raised up my eyes, and lo! The Angel that had appeared to me in [ the cave on Hira' was sitting on a chair [ suspended ] between heaven and earth, and I was struck with awe on account of him and I returned and said, 'Wrap me up, Wrap me up,' then Allah sent down [ 74: 1-5 يَا أَيُّهَا الْمُدَّثِّرُ‌ قُمْ فَأَنذِرْ‌ وَرَ‌بَّكَ فَكَبِّرْ‌ وَثِيَابَكَ فَطَهِّرْ‌ وَالرُّ‌جْزَ فَاهْجُرْ‌] '0 you, enveloped in a mantle, stand up and warn, and pronounce the greatness of your Lord, and purify your clothes, and keep away from filth, "Then revelation became copious and came in succession."

This narration indicates that the first occasion on which the Holy Prophet ﷺ saw Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) in his original shape was in the course of temporary break in revelation in Makkah when he was walking along in the city of Makkah. This confirms that the first incident took place before Mi` raj on this earth in Makkah, and the second incident took place on the seventh heaven on the Night of Mi` raj.

Another point on which all concur is that the initial verses of Surah An-Najm, at least from verse [ 13] to verse [ 18], all relate to the incident of Mi` raj.

In view of the foregoing points, the venerable mentor, Maulana Sayyid Muhammad Anwar Shah Kashmiri (رح) has interpreted the initial verses of Surah An-Najm in the following way:

The Qur'an, according to its normal style, has mentioned two incidents in the initial verses of Surah An-Najm. One incident relates to seeing Jibra'il علیہ السلام in his original shape in Makkah when the Holy Prophet ﷺ was going somewhere when there was a temporary break in revelation. This incident took place before the incident of Isra' and Mi` raj. The second incident relates to the night of Mi` raj. Here it is mentioned that he saw Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) in his original shape together with some of the other greatest, wonderful, marvelous and glorious signs of Allah, and the possibility cannot be ruled out that these signs included the Vision of Allah Ta'ala Himself.

The main theme of the initial verses of Surah An-Najm is to confirm the prophethood of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ ، and to remove doubts about the authenticity of his revelation. Thus swearing an oath by the stars, Allah says that there are neither any voluntary nor involuntary errors in his instructions to the Ummah, nor does he say anything out of his own selfish desires. He only transmits to the people what he was commanded to convey, in its totality without additions or omissions. Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) was the transmitting agent, therefore his special characteristics and high position have been described in several verses. Another reason for giving a greater account of this Angel is probably because the pagans of Makkah were not aware of this Angel, though they were aware of the Angels Israfil and Mika'il (علیہما السلام) . At any event, having described the imposing and majestic qualities of Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) in full, attention is drawn to the main theme of revelation. فَأَوْحَىٰ إِلَىٰ عَبْدِهِ مَا أَوْحَىٰ 'So He [ Allah ] revealed to His servant whatever He revealed.' (Verse 10). Up to this point there are ten verses, in the course of verifying the authenticity of revelation and messenger-ship, Jibra'il's (علیہ السلام) qualities have been portrayed. If we analyze Jibra'il's (علیہ السلام) qualities, it will be seen that they apply to the Angel directly and candidly. If we say that the qualities apply to Allah - as did some of the commentators - they can hardly apply to Him without a labored interpretation. For example, phrases like شَدِيدُ الْقُوَىٰ 'one of strong faculties', ذُو مِرَّ‌ةٍ 'one of vigour' ثُمَّ دَنَا 'Then he drew near, and came down, فَكَانَ قَابَ قَوْسَيْنِ أَوْ أَدْنَىٰ so as he was at a distance between two bows, rather even nearer.' can, though, be applied to Allah, but not without labored interpretation. However, they do apply appropriately to Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) without any far-fetched interpretation. Therefore, with regard to the initial verses - in which there is reference to 'vision', 'closeness' and 'proximity'- it seems more appropriate to refer them to the 'vision' of Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) .

However, from verse [ 11] مَا كَذَبَ الْفُؤَادُ مَا رَ‌أَىٰ 'The heart did not err in what he saw' to verse [ 18] لَقَدْ رَ‌أَىٰ مِنْ آيَاتِ رَ‌بِّهِ الْكُبْرَ‌ىٰ 'He has indeed seen a part of the biggest signs of your Lord.' describes the incidents of Isra' and Mi` raj. Though in this passage to the vision of Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) is mentioned, yet it is a part of many great signs' The possibility cannot be ruled out that the phrase ‘greatest Signs' includes the 'ru'yat' (vision) of Allah' which is supported by authentic Traditions and the views of noble Companions and their followers, which cannot be overlooked or ignored. Verse [ 11] مَا كَذَبَ الْفُؤَادُ مَا رَ‌أَىٰ "The heart did not err in what he saw", means that what the Holy Prophet ﷺ saw with his eyes his blessed heart confirmed that he saw correctly, with no mistakes. 'Ma kadhaba' describes this situation and the particle 'Ma' [ whatever ] is general, referring to the vision of Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) and whatever else he saw on the Night of Mi` raj and above all the Vision of Allah Himself. This is supported by verse [ 12] أَفَتُمَارُ‌ونَهُ عَلَىٰ مَا يَرَ‌ىٰ 'Do you quarrel with him in what he sees?' This verse addresses pagans of Makkah that they should not dispute or be sceptical about what he saw [ in the past ] or will see in the future. Everything he saw was the veritable truth and whatever he will see in the future will be a veritable reality. This verse did not say قَد راٰیٰ [...qad ra'a ] '...he saw' [ using the past perfect tense ] but rather عَلَىٰ مَا يَرَ‌ىٰ ['ala ma yara ] which may be translated as '...will see' [ using the future tense ] which indicates that he will see him on the Night of Mi` raj. Thus verse [ 13]

English Translation

He certainly saw of the greatest signs of his Lord.

English Transliteration

Laqad raa min ayati rabbihi alkubra

وَلَقَدْ رَ‌آهُ نَزْلَةً أُخْرَ‌ىٰ 'And indeed he saw him another time' is explicit on the point. This verse too has two possible interpretations: [ 1] he saw Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) ; and [ 2] he saw Allah. That he saw Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) is perfectly obvious to any scholar. But there may be a hint to the fact that he saw Allah also, because seeing requires proximity and closeness to Allah, and the verse 14 عِندَ سِدْرَ‌ةِ الْمُنتَهَىٰ 'by sidrat-ul-muntaha (the lote-tree in the upper realm) indicates this closeness, meaning when the Holy Prophet ﷺ was near sidrat-ul-muntaha and had reached a high stage of nearness to Allah, he saw Him. The Tradition cited below supports the notion of the Vision of Allah:

وَاَتَیتُ سِدرَۃَ المُنتَھٰی فَغَشِیَتنِی ضَبابَۃ خَرَتُ لَھَا سَاجِداً وَھٰذِہِ الضّبابۃُ ھِیَ الظُّلَلُ مِنَ الغَمَامِ الَّتِی یَاتِی فِیھَا اللہُ وَیَتَجَلّٰی۔

'When I reached sidrat-ul-muntaha, I was overshadowed by something like the cloud and I fell prostrate for it. On the Day of Resurrection, there will be something like clouds overshadowing in which His Majestic Descent will manifest.'

Likewise, verse [ 53:17] مَا زَاغَ الْبَصَرُ‌ وَمَا طَغَىٰ (The eye neither went wrong, nor did exceed the limit.) includes both possibilities - vision of Jibra'il I and Vision of Allah - and it further proves that the this vision took place in the state of wakefulness with his physical eyes [ that is, it was not a dream experience ].

In sum, verses that relate to the Night of Mi` raj and contain words pertaining to 'seeing' carry the equal possibility of seeing Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) and seeing Allah Ta’ ala Himself. Other scholars too have interpreted them as the Vision of Allah. The Qur'anic words have possibility to be interpreted in that way.

The Question of the Beatific Vision of the Creator

All Companions, their immediate followers and overwhelming majority of the Ummah concur that the inmates of Paradise and the believers in general will see Allah. Authentic Traditions bear ample testimony to this fact and verity. They indicate that the Vision and Witnessing of Allah is not impossible. However, human sight cannot bear to see Him in this mundane world, because the capacity of the eyes is not powerful enough. Thus nobody can see Allah in this world. Regarding the Hereafter, the Qur'an says:

فَكَشَفْنَا عَنكَ غِطَاءَكَ فَبَصَرُ‌كَ الْيَوْمَ حَدِيدٌ

"You were heedless of this. Now We have removed your veil from you; so your sight today is sharp." [ 50:22]

Venerable Imam Malik (رح) says that it is not possible for any human being to see Allah in this world, because his sight is perishable, and Allah is Eternal. In the Hereafter, man will be given non-perishable sight, as a result nothing will prevent it from the seeing Allah. Venerable Qadi ` Iyad says something similarly. A narration recorded in Muslim in the following words makes the point explicit:

وَاعلَمُوا اَنَّکُم لَن تَرَوا رَبَّکُم حَتّٰی تَمُوتُوا

"And know that you shall never see your Lord, until you die" (Fath-ul-Bari: vol 8/p. 493)

This indicates the possibility that if the Holy Prophet ﷺ is equipped with extraordinarily powerful faculty of sight, he should be able to see Allah in this world too on a special occasion. But on the Night of Ascension he was called in the most distinguishable manner from this world to see and witness the heavens, Paradise and Hell, and other great Signs of Allah and manifestation of His power. On this occasion, the Vision of Allah is an exception to the general rule, because he is out of the mundane world. The possibility of the Vision of Allah has thus been confirmed and verified.

So far we have proved that the possibility does exist, but the question is whether it really occurred. In this matter, the Traditions vary, and the Qur'anic verses are interpretable in two possible ways. Therefore, this question was always debatable among the Companions, their followers and leading authorities on religion. Ibn-Kathir says that under the interpretation of these verses Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn ` Abbas ؓ verifies that the Holy Prophet ﷺ saw Allah and a group of righteous predecessors have followed him. Other groups of Companions ؓ and their followers have differed from this viewpoint. He further adduced the evidences of both the groups.

Likewise, Hafiz (رح) in Fath-ul-Bari [ vol 8/p.494] under the Tafsir of Surah An-Najm has cited the differences of the Companions and their followers and then quoted some such statements which reconcile the divergent views. He further says that Qurtubi in his work mufhim prefers to observe silence in the matter and not to decide either way, because this question does not concern our practical life so that we have to choose a particular direction. The question concerns our belief system, in which case incontestable evidence is required. In any matter which cannot be proved incontestably, the rule is to observe silence. This author believes that this is the most sound and circumspect approach to the issue. Therefore, the arguments of the two groups have not been cited. Allah, the Pure and the Exalted, knows best!

English Translation

So have you considered al-Lat and al-\'Uzza?

English Transliteration

Afaraaytumu allata waalAAuzza

Refuting Idolatry

The preceding verses declared the Glory of Allah, His Majesty and Dignity. They further confirmed and verified in the fullest details the Prophet-hood and messenger-ship of Muhammad ﷺ ، and the preservation of his revelation. The present two verses imply a subtle rebuke to the Makkah pagans. The purport of the verses is to say to them that without any proof, instead of adoring such a Mighty and Powerful Creator and Lord, they stoop so low as to worship gods made of wood and stone. They allege that the angels are the daughters of God. According to other narratives, they also alleged that these idols are the daughters of God.

Pagans of Arabia had countless idols that they worshipped. However, there were three of them that were most popular, and they were worshipped by strong and powerful tribes of Arabia. The three idols were Lat, ` Uzza and Manat. Lat was the idol of the tribe of Thaqif or of the residents of Ta'if , ` Uzza was the idol of Quraish, and Manat was the idol of Banu Hilal. They built houses for their idols to resemble the Ka'bah. After the conquest of Makkah, the Holy Prophet ﷺ demolished them. (Qurtubi)

English Translation

And Manat, the third - the other one?

English Transliteration

Wamanata alththalithata alokhra

English Translation

Is the male for you and for Him the female?

English Transliteration

Alakumu alththakaru walahu alontha

English Translation

That, then, is an unjust division.

English Transliteration

Tilka ithan qismatun deeza

قِسْمَةٌ ضِيزَىٰ (If so, it is a totally unjust division.... 53:22) " Diza means to act or behave unjustly or to defraud one of one's right or due. Therefore, Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas ؓ interprets the phrase as unjust or unfair division.

English Translation

They are not but [mere] names you have named them - you and your forefathers - for which Allah has sent down no authority. They follow not except assumption and what [their] souls desire, and there has already come to them from their Lord guidance.

English Transliteration

In hiya illa asmaon sammaytumooha antum waabaokum ma anzala Allahu biha min sultanin in yattabiAAoona illa alththanna wama tahwa alanfusu walaqad jaahum min rabbihimu alhuda

Various Types of Zann

إِن يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ وَإِنَّ الظَّنَّ لَا يُغْنِي مِنَ الْحَقِّ شَيْئًا (and conjecture is of no use in [ the matter on Truth.... 53:28) The Arabic word ظَن Zann is used in several different senses, and one of them is baseless thoughts. This is the sense in which it is employed in the verse, because baseless thoughts were the cause of idolatry. And the verse purports to remove the cause. Zann is also used as the antonym of yaqin. Yaqin refers to assured or definitive knowledge about something that really exists, not the figment of someone's imagination. In this case, there is no room for any doubt or suspicion, as for instance knowledge gained from the Qur'an and Prophetic Traditions uninterruptedly reported by an indefinite number of people or by such a large number that it is impossible that they should agree upon falsehood. As opposed to this certain knowledge, zann is sometime used for the knowledge that is based on a proof, and not on baseless thoughts, but the proof is not so certain as may rule out other possibilities, as for example, injunctions based on general narratives of the Holy Prophet ﷺ . The first type of injunctions is referred to as qat'iyyat or yaqiniyyat and the second type is referred to as zanniyyat. This type of Zann is recognized by Shari` ah. There is ample evidence in Qur'an and Sunnah of its recognition. The entire Ummah concurs that it is obligatory to act upon it. The above verse when denouncing zann, refers to the first type of zann which connotes baseless thoughts. Thus there is no contradiction.

English Translation

Or is there for man whatever he wishes?

English Transliteration

Am lilinsani ma tamanna

English Translation

Rather, to Allah belongs the Hereafter and the first [life].

English Transliteration

Falillahi alakhiratu waaloola

English Translation

And how many angels there are in the heavens whose intercession will not avail at all except [only] after Allah has permitted [it] to whom He wills and approves.

English Transliteration

Wakam min malakin fee alssamawati la tughnee shafaAAatuhum shayan illa min baAAdi an yathana Allahu liman yashao wayarda
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