This page contains all verses of surah As-Saff in addition to Interpretation of all verses by Maarif-ul-Quran (Mufti Muhammad Shafi). In the first part you can read surah الصف ordered in pages exactly as it is present in the Quran. To read an interpretation of a verse click on its number.
Background of the revelation
Tirmidhi has recorded, on the authority of Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn Salam ؓ ، that a group of Companions discussed among themselves that if we come to know which is the dearest of actions in the sight of Allah, we shall act upon it. Hakim reported this Tradition and graded its chain as sahib'. Baghawi in his citation added the following words: "If we come to know which is the dearest of actions in the sight of Allah, we shall dedicate our lives and wealth to it." [ Mazhari ].
Ibn Kathir, with reference to Musnad of Ahmad, reports that some of the Companions gathered and wanted someone to go to Allah's Messenger ﷺ and ask him about the action that is dearest to Allah, but no one dared to do so. Whilst this discussion was going on, the Holy Messenger ﷺ sent a man to call each one of them by name. When they all arrived, the Holy Prophet ﷺ recited the entire Surah As-Saff which had been revealed just then. This Surah shows that the 'dearest action' they were looking for was jihad in the cause of Allah' and their statement that 'if we come to know about it, we shall dedicate our lives in acting upon it' was a sort of claim of having ability to do it. At this, they are admonished that it is not proper for any believer to make such a claim, because no one can for sure know whether he will be able to implement his intentions when the time arrives. It is not in his power that all the causes of action are made effective and all impediments are removed. Nor are the abilities and strengths of his hands or arms or limbs or organs altogether in his power. Nor is his determination or intention completely in his control. Therefore, even the Holy Prophet ﷺ has been instructed in the Qur'an, thus:
وَلَا تَقُولَنَّ لِشَيْءٍ إِنِّي فَاعِلٌ ذَٰلِكَ غَدًا إِلَّا أَن يَشَاءَ اللَّـهُ
"And never say about anything, 'I am going to do this tomorrow, unless [ you say - 'if ] Allah wills.) [ 18: 23-24]
Although the intention of the blessed Companions was not to make a boastful claim, it did seem apparently as a claim, which Allah dislikes. If a person makes a commitment to do something in the future, he needs to surrender it to the Divine will and affirm it by saying 'If Allah wills'. The following verses are revealed to admonish the believers.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لِمَ تَقُولُونَ مَا لَا تَفْعَلُونَ ﴿2﴾ كَبُرَ مَقْتًا عِندَ اللَّـهِ أَن تَقُولُوا مَا لَا تَفْعَلُونَ ﴿3﴾
(0 those who believe, why do you say what you do not do? It is severely hateful in Allah's sight that you say what you do not do...61:2-3)
Apparently, the phrase 'what you do not do' implies that one should not claim to do something he does not intend to do. From this it may be deduced that it is prohibited to make a commitment to do a work while a person does not have the genuine intention to really do it, because this would be ostentation and a false commitment. Obviously, the blessed Companions, in the story of the background of revelation, were not making such promises without having intention to fulfill them. Instead, their intention was genuine. From this we learn that the verse includes a situation where a person commits to do something with true intention to do it, but relies solely on his own strength, it is not in keeping with his station of ` abdiyyah or 'servitude'. First of all, there is no need to make such a claim. If the occasion does arise to do something, he may go ahead and do it. If, for some reason or the other, a person has to make a promise or claim, he may affirm it by saying 'If Allah wills'. In this way, it would not be a boastful claim.
It follows from the above discussion that if a person claims that he will do something in future but has no intention to do it, it is a major sin (kabirah) and a cause of incurring Allah's wrath. The sentence: كَبُرَ مَقْتًا عِندَ اللَّـهِ "It is severely hateful in Allah's sight that you say what you do not do....[ 61:3] " applies to this situation. However, in a situation where one makes a claim to do something in future with real intention to do it, it is makruh [ reprehensible ] and forbidden only if he makes the claim relying on his own strength and ability.
Difference between a Claim (Da` wa) and Preaching (Da'wah)
It is learnt from the foregoing discussion that these verses are related to false claims (Da` wa) to do something in future without intention to do it, which incurs Divine displeasure and indignation. This verse is not related to a situation where a preacher invites others to do something, while he himself does not do it. The rules of this situation are mentioned in other verses and Ahadith. For example: أَتَأْمُرُونَ النَّاسَ بِالْبِرِّ وَتَنسَوْنَ أَنفُسَكُمْ , (Do you bid others to righteousness while you ignore your own selves) [ 2:44] This verse puts to shame such preachers who do not practice what they preach. The import of this verse is that when they are preaching to others, they should preach to themselves with greater force, and if they are calling other people to do good deeds, they too should practice them.
All this does not imply that if a person has been lax in the performance of good deeds, he should abandon preaching to others. Or if he has been indulging in any kind of sin, he should not forbid others from indulging in such sins. It needs to be borne in mind that the performance of a righteous deed is one form of virtue, and urging others to perform this righteous deed is another form of virtue in its own right. Obviously, if one has abandoned one form of virtue, it does not necessarily follow that he should abandon the other form as well. It is possible that through the blessing of the preachment, the preacher might develop the ability to perform the righteous deed. This has been experienced widely and on a large scale. However, if the deed belongs to the category of wajib or sunnah mu'akkadah, it is obligatory, in the light of the verses, to continuously show remorse and regret on one's not practicing it. And if the action belongs to the category of mustahabbat, it is mustahab [ rewardable ] to show remorse and regret.
إِنَّ اللَّـهَ يُحِبُّ الَّذِينَ يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِهِ صَفًّا كَأَنَّهُم بُنْيَانٌ مَّرْصُوصٌ (Surely Allah loves those who fight in His way in firm rows, as if they were a solid edifice...61:4) The main subject of this Surah for which it was revealed is to mention the dearest action in the sight of Allah. This verse states that it is jihad in Allah's way, and that the best row of battle in the sight of Allah is the one firmly established against Allah's enemies to make Allah's word prevail, and which, on account of the valor and unshaken determination of Mujahidin, looks like a strong structure cemented with molten lead.
This is followed by a description of the Jihads which Prophets Musa and ` Isa (علیہما السلام) fought in Allah's Cause, and how they suffered at the hands of the enemies. After this description, the Muslims are directed to undertake jihad. The stories of Prophets Musa and ` Isa (علیہما السلام) have many academic and practical lessons and guidance to offer. For instance, it is described in the story of ` Isa (علیہ السلام) that when he invited the Children of Israel to accept his prophethood and obey him, he mentioned two things in particular. First, he said that he was not a unique Prophet who came with unique teachings. In fact, his teachings were the same as those of the previous prophets. They are mentioned in the earlier celestial scriptures, and the same teachings will be imparted later by the Final Messenger of Allah ﷺ . From among the earlier Scriptures, Torah is specially mentioned in this context, probably because that was the latest Scripture that was revealed to the Children of Israel. Otherwise belief in the Prophets embraces all the previous Scriptures of Allah. This also points out that the Shari’ ah of ` Isa (علیہ السلام) was, though an independent Shari’ ah, its most rules conformed to the sacred laws of Musa (علیہ السلام) and the Torah. Only a few laws had been changed. This theme covered the subject of belief in the previous Prophets and their Books.
The second thing ` Isa (علیہ السلام) mentioned in particular was the good news of the advent of the Final Messenger ﷺ . This too points out that his teachings will also be the same as those of the previous Prophets (علیہم السلام) ، and therefore it is the demand of reason and honesty to believe in him.
Prophet ` Isa (علیہ السلام) foretold the Children of Israel that a Final Messenger ﷺ will come after him by the name of Ahmad. When he appears, it would be obligatory for them to embrace faith in him and obey him مُبَشِّرًا بِرَسُولٍ يَأْتِي مِن بَعْدِي اسْمُهُ أَحْمَدُ (…and giving you the good news of a messenger who will come after me, whose name is Ahmad."...6) The name of the Final Messenger ﷺ is given here as Ahmad. The name of the Final Messenger ﷺ was Muhammad and Ahmad. He had some other names as well. However, the name given in Injil is Ahmad rather than Muhammad, perhaps because Muhammad was a common name in Arabia since time immemorial. There was a possibility that the people might take the reference to some other person, rather than the Final Messenger of Allah ﷺ . The name Ahmad, on the other hand, was an uncommon name in Arabia, and was exclusive to the Final Messenger of Allah ﷺ .
Prophecy of The Final Messenger of Allah ﷺ in Injil
It is a known fact that the previously revealed Divine scriptures have been changed and distorted. The Jews and the Christians themselves had to admit that Torah and Injil have been subjected to changes and distortion. As a matter of fact, the distortions made in these scriptures are so drastic that it is hardly possible to make out the original texts of the scriptures. Based on the distorted version of Injil, the Christians today challenge the correctness of the Qur'anic version of the prophecy, asserting that no prophecy in the name of Ahmad is found in the Injil. An elaborate response to Christian challenge has been prepared by Maulana Rahmatullah Kairanwi (رح) . The name of his book is Izhar-ul -Haqq. He has thoroughly analyzed Christianity and changes made in the Bible. He concludes that despite drastic changes in the present Biblical version the prophecy about the Prophet Ahmad ﷺ is still available.
This book was originally written in Arabic, later its translations appeared in Turkish and English. Christian missionaries attempted their utmost to destroy it. Its Urdu translation was not available until recently. A little while back, Maulana Akbar ` Ali, a lecturer at Darul Uloom Karachi, translated it into Urdu, with in-depth research into current versions of the Bible by Maulana Muhammad Taqi, lecturer at Darul Uloom, and published in three volumes. Volume [ 3] from pages 182 to 362 elaborates on the prophecies pertaining to the Holy Prophet ﷺ with reference to the currently published Bibles, and rebuts their doubts and allays their suspicions.