This page contains all verses of surah An-Naml in addition to Interpretation of all verses by Maarif-ul-Quran (Mufti Muhammad Shafi). In the first part you can read surah النمل ordered in pages exactly as it is present in the Quran. To read an interpretation of a verse click on its number.
زَيَّنَّا لَهُمْ أَعْمَالَهُمْ (We have made their deeds adorned in their sight - 27:4)It means that those who do not believe in the Hereafter We have made their bad actions look adorned in their sight. Therefore they feel good about them and remain enthralled in depravity. Some commentators have interpreted that "their deeds" is used in this verse for good deeds. Hence meaning of the verse is that Allah had placed the good deeds before them with all their attractions. But those unjust people did not pay any attention to them, rather they remained engrossed in infidelity; hence lost their way in wilderness.
However, the first interpretation looks more appropriate and straightforward. In the first place, in the Qur'an, the word (Zinah) 'adornment' has been generally used for bad actions, for instance: زُيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ حُبُّ الشَّهَوَاتِ (It has been made attractive for people to love the desires - 3:14) زُيِّنَ لِلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا (Adorned is the present life for those who disbelieve - 2:212) زَيَّنَ لِكَثِيرٍ مِّنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ (6:137). Its use for good actions is very rare , such as: وَلَـٰكِنَّ اللَّـهَ حَبَّبَ إِلَيْكُمُ الْإِيمَانَ وَزَيَّنَهُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ (But Allah has endeared to you belief, decking it fair in your hearts - 49:7). Secondly, the word اَعمَالَھُم (their deeds) used in the verse is also pointing out that bad actions are meant here and not the righteous actions.
Adoption of natural means for one's need is not against trust in Allah
إِذْ قَالَ مُوسَىٰ لِأَهْلِهِ إِنِّي آنَسْتُ نَارًا سَآتِيكُم مِّنْهَا بِخَبَرٍ أَوْ آتِيكُم بِشِهَابٍ قَبَسٍ لَّعَلَّكُمْ تَصْطَلُونَ ﴿7﴾
(Remember) when Musa said to his family, "I have noticed a fire. I shall bring to you some news or bring to you an inflamed ember, so that you may warm yourselves" (27:7).
Here Sayyidna Musa (علیہ السلام) faced two necessities. One, to find out the way which he had forgotten, and second, to warm up with the fire, because it was a cold night. For achieving this purpose he tried to go to mount Tur. But he did not make a claim of success in his endeavour, rather he uttered such words that conveyed his servitude and hope from Allah Ta’ ala. Thus, it is apparent that in order to meet one's requirements and needs in life it is not against the trust in Allah to strive and make endeavour. But the conviction should be in Allah Ta’ ala and not in one's own efforts. Perhaps, the wisdom in showing him the fire was that it had fulfilled his two needs - finding the way and to get warm with its heat. (Ruh)
Sayyidna Musa (علیہ السلام) has said اُمکُثُوا and تَصْطَلُونَ which are both in plural form, and are used where the addressees are more than one, although there was only his wife (Sayyidna Shuaib's (علیہ السلام) daughter) with him. Use of plural form for her only was to show respect to her. It was in the same manner as some times the noble people use plural form in addressing even a single person. It is reported from the Holy Prophet ﷺ also in ahadith that he used to address his wives in plural form.
It is prudent not to refer one's wife by her name in general gatherings, rather an allusion for the purpose is better
قَالَ مُوسَىٰ لِأَهْلِهِ (Musa said to his family) The word "Ahl" is used in this verse for the wife of Sayyidna Musa (علیہ السلام) while this word means "family" and includes all the members of one's household alongwith his wife, although the wife of Sayyidna Musa (علیہ السلام) was the only one present at the time of this incident, but by the use of this word in his discourse there is a hint that while referring to one's wife in a group of people it is better to use common words. For example, ` my family members are of the opinion'.
فَلَمَّا جَاءَهَا نُودِيَ أَن بُورِكَ مَن فِي النَّارِ وَمَنْ حَوْلَهَا وَسُبْحَانَ اللَّـهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ ﴿8﴾ يَا مُوسَىٰ إِنَّهُ أَنَا اللَّـهُ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ ﴿9﴾
So when he came to it, he was called: "Blessed is the one who is in the fire and the one who is around it And pure is Allah, the Lord of the worlds. 0 Musa, the fact is that I AM Allah, the Mighty, the Wise. (27:8 - 9)
The real nature of seeing the fire and hearing the voice from it
This incident of Sayyidna Musa (علیہ السلام) has appeared in the Qur'an at many places under different chapters. Two sentences in the above verses of Surah An-Naml call for special attention. One بُورِكَ مَن فِي النَّارِ (Blessed is the one who is in the fire) and two, إِنَّهُ أَنَا اللَّـهُ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ.(The fact is that I AM Allah, the Mighty, the Wise) In Surah Ta-Ha, the commentary on which appears in this volume earlier, this incident is mentioned in these words:
إِذْ رَأَىٰ نَارًا فَقَالَ لِأَهْلِهِ امْكُثُوا إِنِّي آنَسْتُ نَارًا لَّعَلِّي آتِيكُم مِّنْهَا بِقَبَسٍ أَوْ أَجِدُ عَلَى النَّارِ هُدًى ﴿10﴾ فَلَمَّا أَتَاهَا نُودِيَ يَا مُوسَىٰ ﴿11﴾ إِنِّي أَنَا رَبُّكَ فَاخْلَعْ نَعْلَيْكَ ۖ إِنَّكَ بِالْوَادِ الْمُقَدَّسِ طُوًى ﴿12﴾ وَأَنَا اخْتَرْتُكَ فَاسْتَمِعْ لِمَا يُوحَىٰ ﴿13﴾ إِنَّنِي أَنَا اللَّـهُ لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا أَنَا فَاعْبُدْنِي وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ لِذِكْرِي ﴿14﴾
When he saw a fire and said to his family, wait. I have noticed a fire. Perhaps I bring you an ember from it, or find some guidance by the fire."
So when he came to it, he was called, "0 Musa, it is Me, your Lord, remove your shoes, you are in the sacred valley of Tuwa. And I have chosen you, so listen to what is revealed: Surely, I AM ALLAH. There is no god but I, so worship Me and establish Salah for My remembrance. (20:10-14)
In these verses also two sentences need special attention: إِنَّنِي أَنَا اللَّـهُ (it is Me, your Lord) and إِنَّنِي أَنَا رَبُّکَ (I AM ALLAH). And in Surah Al-Qasas the incident is related in these words:
نُودِيَ مِن شَاطِئِ الْوَادِ الْأَيْمَنِ فِي الْبُقْعَةِ الْمُبَارَكَةِ مِنَ الشَّجَرَةِ أَن يَا مُوسَىٰ إِنِّي أَنَا اللَّـهُ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ
He was called by a voice coming from a side of the right valley in the blessed ground, from the tree, saying" 0 Musa, I am Allah, the Lord of the worlds" (28:30)
In all the three Surahs although the incident is described under different titles, yet the subject matter is the same, which is that Sayyidna Musa ill needed fire that night for quite a few reasons. Allah Ta’ ala evinced that to him on a tree of mount r, and he heard these words from that fire or the tree:
إِنِّي أَنَا رَبُّكَ
It is Me your Lord. (20:12)
إِنَّهُ أَنَا اللَّـهُ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ
The fact is that I am ALLAH, the Mighty, the Wise. (27:9)
إِنَّنِي أَنَا اللَّـهُ لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا أَنَا
I am ALLAH. There is no god but I. (20:14)
إِنِّي أَنَا اللَّـهُ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ
I am ALLAH, the Lord of the worlds. (28:30)
It is possible that this vocative might have been repeated again and again, sometime by one word and then by another. The condition of hearing this vocative as described by Abu Hayyan in Tafsir Al-Bahr ul-Muhit and by ` Alusi in Ruh ul-Ma’ ani is that it was heard in a manner as if it was emanating from all sides, and not from any particular direction. The hearing of this was also very peculiar in that it was not heard by the ears only but by all the parts of the body, which was nothing less than a miracle.
It was the sound of an invisible speaker which was being heard without a particular quality (kayf) and without determining the direction. But its source was the fire or the tree on which the fire was glowing. Under such situations normally people get led into fallacy and involve themselves in idol worshipping. Therefore, under each title, the Oneness of Allah has been reminded and emphasized alongside. In the verse under reference سُبحَانَ اللہ (Pure is Allah) is added for this very warning. In Surah Ta-Ha the expression لَا الٰہ اِلَّا اَنَا (20:14) and in Surah Al-Qasas أَنَا اللَّـهُ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ (28:30) is used for the emphasis of this point. The outcome of this discussion is that the fire was shown to Sayyidna Musa (علیہ السلام) because he was in need of fire and light at that time, otherwise there was no connection between the Word of Allah or with the entity of Allah with the fire or the tree of Tur. Fire was nothing but a creature of Allah Ta’ ala like so many other creatures. This is why the commentators have different views in the interpretation of the verses under reference: أَن بُورِكَ مَن فِي النَّارِ وَمَنْ حَوْلَهَا (27:8) that is Blessed is the one who is in the fire and the one who is around it. Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas, Mujahid and ` Ikrimah ؓ have expressed the view that the words مَن فِی النَّارِ the one who is in the fire) stand for Sayyidna Musa' (علیہ السلام) because the fire he had seen was not the real fire, but the auspicious spot he had reached was so luminous that it looked like fire from a distance. Therefore, Musa (علیہ السلام) was inside that fire, and مَن حَولَھَا (the one who is around it) is purported for the angels, who were present there nearby. Other commentators have put forward a totally opposite explanation, that the words "who is in the fire" refer to the angels, while the words "who is around it" stand for Sayyidna Musa (علیہ السلام) . Tafsir Bayan ul Qur'an has adopted the latter explanation. It is sufficient to know this much for the understanding of the meaning of these verses.
A narration of Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas ؓ and Hasan Al-Basri (رح) and its explanation
Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Hatim, Ibn Marduwaih etc., have also quoted another explanation put forward by Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas, Sayyidna Hasan Al- Basri and Said Ibn Jubair ؓ about the phrase مَن فِی النَّارِ (who is in the fire) that it is meant for Allah Ta’ ala Himself. It is but obvious that fire is created by Allah, and incarnation of the Creator into anything created by Him is impossible. Therefore, this narration cannot be taken to mean that Allah Ta’ ala had transfigured into the fire, as many idol-worshippers believe in transfiguration of God in their idols. This is absolutely against the concept of Tauhid (Oneness of Allah). All it means is manifestation, like the reflection in the mirror. The image is manifested in the mirror but it is not transfigured in it. What is seen in the mirror is outside it, having its own entity. It is also quite evident that this manifestation, which is also called refulgence, was not the refulgence of Allah Ta’ ala. It is for the simple reason that if Sayyidna Musa (علیہ السلام) had already witnessed the Divinity, he would not have requested at the mount of Tur رَبِّ أَرِنِي أَنظُرْ إِلَيْكَ that is, ` O my Lord, show Your Self to me (7:143), so that I may look at you'. In that case the reply لَن تَرَانِي (You will never see me - 7:143) would also have been meaningless. It is now clear that Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas ؓ in his explanation had meant the manifestation of Allah Ta’ ala, that is refulgence, which appeared in the form of fire. As it was not the transmigration, it was also not the refulgence of His real Self. The phrase لَن تَرَانِي (You will never see me) has also clarified that in this world no one can witness the refulgence of His real Self. Then what do manifestation and refulgence really mean? The answer to this is that this refulgence was figurative, which is commonly known among the mystics. It is rather difficult to comprehend it fully, but in order to make it simple according to common understanding, I have tried to explain it in my book Ahkam ul-Qur'an, in Arabic language, in the explanation of Surah Al-Qasas. Those who are interested can see it there.
إِلَّا مَن ظَلَمَ ثُمَّ بَدَّلَ حُسْنًا بَعْدَ سُوءٍ فَإِنِّي غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ ﴿11﴾
Except him who did wrong, then after (doing) evil replaced (it) with good, then I am Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful. 27:11
The miracle of the staff of Sayyidna Musa (علیہ السلام) was mentioned in the verse prior to this, where it was also stated that when the staff turned into serpent, Sayyidna Musa (علیہ السلام) himself started running out of fear. The other miracle of illuminative hand of Sayyidna Musa (علیہ السلام) is related in the verse next to above referred verse. Then why this exception is mentioned in between two verses relating to miracles, and whether this exception is snapped from the subject (munqati`) or is it adjoining (muttasil)? The commentators have different view points on this subject. Some have declared it as snapped from the subject. In that case the verse will read as that in the previous verse it was stated that messengers do not get frightened, then it was also mentioned, by the way, as to who are the ones who should get frightened. They are those who have committed any sin, but later repented and sought Allah's pardon and performed good deeds. Although Allah Ta’ ala would pardon their sins, but even then there would be possibility of traces of sins being left over. It is for this reason that they always remain fearful of Allah. But If the exception is regarded adjoining with the subject, then the meaning of the verse would be that Allah's messengers do not get frightened except those who have committed some trifle or minor mistake and have repented on that. In that situation such trifle sins are forgiven. But the actual position is that even if there were some minor slips by the messengers, they were not regarded as sins - neither small nor big. Although they looked like sins but factually they were errors of ijtihad. According to this interpretation, this exception is an allusion toward the incident of the Egyptian who was killed by Sayyidna Musa (علیہ السلام) by error of judgment. Although this error was pardoned by Allah Ta’ ala, yet its effect remained with Musa I leaving some fear of the incident. Had this incident not have occurred, there would not have been any fear of the sort.