Qur'an / Tafsir

Tafsir Surah al-Rahman part 2

Surat al-Rahman pt 2– Tafsir

Basic notes and commentary:

 V31. {sa-nafrughu}: sa- = the near future particle prefix; {nafrughu} means ‘we will account you both’.

 {al-thaqalan}: literally ‘the two weighty ones’/‘the two burdened ones’, i.e. human beings and Jinn.

V33. {tanfudhu}: pass beyond something, exceed something, coming out of something (like an arrow from the bow).

The entire verse has 3 meanings and more:

[1] If you are able to explore and know more about the heavens and the earth then try and proceed.

[2] If you think you are able to escape death by escaping passed the areas and zones of the heavens and the earth then try and do so.

[3] If you think you will be able to escape the last day by passing beyond the zones of the heavens and the earth then try.

{sultan}: power, dominion, permission, authority.

Note: Section on Hereafter depiction/eschatological matters here related:

V35. {shawadh}: 1. the flames of fire (lahb al-nar); 2. Smoke (al-dukhan), 3. Smokeless fire.

{nuhas}: 1. The smoke of intense billowing fire or 2. Molten brass/melted brass (poured over their heads). > this is for the disbelieving men and jinn in the hereafter.

V37. {wardatan}: red in colour (i.e. chestnut or reddish brown?); {ka ’l-dihan}: like the hide of a horse or like red oil.

V39. This verse has at least 3 meanings: “The first meaning is that: they will not be asked in order to know about their condition because Allah Most High alone knows it better than anyone. The second is that: no-one will ask anyone else about their condition because each will be preoccupied regards to himself and both interpretations are narrated from Ibn `Abbas. The third is that: they will not be asked about their sin because it will be apparent from their faces and signs. The disbeliever will have black faces whereas the believer from the effects of his wudu’. This is what al-Farra’ held. al-Zajjaj commented: they will not be questioned about their sins in order to recognise them but questioned out of rebuke and scorn and ridicule (al-tawbikh)…” (Ibn al-Jawzi, Zad al-Masir, 8:117-118):

أحدها: لا يسألون ليُعلم حالهم، لأن الله تعالى أعلم منهم بذلك.والثاني: لا يسأل بعضهم بعضاً عن حاله لاشتغال كل واحد منهم بنفسه، روي القولان عن ابن عباس.والثالث: لا يُسألون عن ذنوبهم لأنهم يُعرفون بسيماهم، فالكافر أسود الوجه، والمؤمن أغر محجَّل من أثر وضوئه، قاله الفراء. قال الزجاج: لا يُسأل أحد عن ذنْبه ليُستفهم، ولكنه يُسأل سؤال توبيخ.

V41. {mujrimun}: literally, ‘criminals’ but here refers to anyone who has denied the Truth of revelation (deniers of truth, disbelievers, polytheists, atheists, etc.).

{simahum}: ‘their signs’ which is said to be: ‘black faces’ (suwad al-wujuh).

{nawasi}: forelocks {aqdam}: feet; suggesting imagery of humiliation as well as terror.

V43. ‘This is the Hell they will be told of or shown’.

V44. {yatufuna}: made to encircle, made to go between.

{hamim}: boiling water.

{al-aani}: ‘something that is more severe than hot’ (alladhi qad intahat shiddatu harrihi); extremely hot, fiercely hot.

V46. {maqam rabbihi}: the standing before his Lord on the day of recompense.

V48. {dhawat afnaan}: it can mean: [1] the long and outreaching branches of a tree (al-ghusn al-mustaqim tulan); [2] the colours of all types and hues from the fruits (hanging on the branches) or [3] both long and reaching branches with a multi-coloured bloomage of fruits.

V50. In both these two gardens will be two springs flowing with [1] specifically paradisal water (al-zilal, al-salsabil, al-tasnim…) or [2] with absolutely pure water or with [3] wine (khamar). An interesting interpretation is given by one early ascetic Abu Bakr al-Warraq (d. 903): “And Abu Bakr al-Warraq said: in [these two gardens] are two flowing springs for he who had two eyes flowing with tears out of weeping…” (Ibn al-Jawzi, Zad al-Masir, 8:120):

وقال أبو بكر الورّاق: فيهما عينان تجريان لِمَن كانت له في الدنيا عينان تَجْرِيان من البكاء  

Note: Thus, the suggestion being that paradise and its delight await one who weeps out of love for Allah, His Prophet, the Qur’an, humility, others and their concerns, one’s own sins, etc. The flowing tears of each eye caused by the recognition of one’s own weaknesses and failings and turning to Allah out of acknowledgement of wrongdoing will be rewarded with a spring of flowing paradisal water.

V54. {mutakki’in}: reclining, leaning back, relaxed, in soft and safe posture; dignified and elegant.

{furush}: sing. firash = couches.

{bata’inuha}: its exterior, outer lining.

{istabraq}:  a thick silk brocade.

Thus we have the suggestion that Paradise is:

  1. Luxurious.
  2. Opulent.
  3. Elegant.
  4. Beautiful.
  5. Indulgent.
  6. Exquisite.

V56. {fi-hinna}: in them/it. The pronoun can refer to either [1] the gardens from v.46 or [2] it refers to the couches in v.54 (i.e. chaste females with restrained glances reclining on couches).

{qasirat al-tarfi}: This has a number of meanings and can refer to: “[…] women who have eyes only for their husbands, i.e. they do not cast glances at anyone else. The original meaning of ‘qasr’ (restrained, restricted) is ‘habs’ (imprisonment, seclusion, solitariness, confinement…). Ibn Zayd said: ‘there will be women who will say to their husbands, ‘by the Might and Dignity of my Lord! I have not seen anyone in paradise for handsome than you! So praise belongs to Allah who has made me your wife and made you my husband!’ The second meaning is that these women have curtailed their husbands’ glances from other than themselves because of their perfect beauty. This I heard from my teacher Abu Muhammad ibn al-Khashshab al-Nahwi…” (Ibn al-Jawzi, Zad al-Masir, 8:121-122).

أحدهما: أنهنَّ النِّساءُ قد قصرن طَرْفهنَّ على أزواجهنَّ فلا يَنْظُرْنَ إلى غيرهم، وأصل القَصْر: الحبس، قال ابن زيد: إنَّ المرأة منهنَّ لَتقولُ لزوجها: وعِزَّةِ ربِّي ما أرى في الجنَّة شيئاً أحسنَ منكَ، فالحمد لله الذي جعلني زوجكَ وجعلكَ زوجي.والثاني: أنهنَّ قد قَصَرن طَرْف الأزواج عن غيرهنَّ، لكمال حُسنهنّ، سمعتُه من الشيخ أبي محمد ابن الخشّاب النحوي.

{lam yatmithhunna}: can mean 1. Not married by any human or jinn before or 2. Not touched by any human or jinn (untouched, unblemished) because they are created in Paradise.

V60. {Is the reward for ihsan…}: this means: “[…] al-Zajjaj said: what is the reward for one who has done good in this world except good in the hereafter? Ibn `Abbas said: is the reward for the one who says, ‘la ilaha illa Allah’ and acts on everything that the Prophet has brought (Allah bless him and grant him peace) nothing less than Paradise? […]” (Ibn al-Jawzi, Zad al-Masir, 8:122):

قوله تعالى: { هَلْ جزآءُ الإحسانِ إلاّ الإحسانُ } قال الزجاج، أي: ما جزاءُ مَنْ أحسنَ في الدُّنيا إلاّ أن يُحسَنَ إِليه في الآخرة. وقال ابن عباس: هل جزاءُ من قال: «لا إِله إِلاّ اللهُ» وعَمِل بما جاء به محمدٌ صلى الله عليه وسلم إلاّ الجنة. وروى أنس بن مالك قال:” قرأ رسولُ الله صلى الله عليه وسلم هذه الآية، وقال: «هل تدرون ما قال ربُّكم»؟ قالوا: اللهُ ورسُوله أعلمُ، قال: «فإن ربَّكم يقول: هل جزاءُ مَنْ أنْعَمْنا عليه بالتوحيد إلاّ الجنّة»

V62. {wa min dunihima jannatan}: other than the two gardens of paradise for those who fear the standing before their Lord (v.46) there are another two. These gardens are entirely different and perhaps lesser in both rank (daraja) and bounty (fadl) according to some interpreters.

V64. {mudahaammataani}: dark green and luscious.

V66. {naddakhataan}: gushing forth in: 1. In misk and kaafur (i.e. fragrance); 2. Water; 3. Blessing (baraka) and 4. Fruits.

V70. {fihinna}: in all four of the gardens are {khayratun hisan}: beautiful women in their faces, their looks, beautiful and striking. Some say it refers to a multiplicity of beautiful and delightful things.

V72. {hur}: ‘feminine being’, ‘heavenly wives’, ‘paradisal maidens’ or ‘paradisal virgins’.

{maqsurat}: guarded, hidden, secluded, restrained.

{al-khiyam}: pavilions of castles or houses (buyut).

V74. Refer to commentary on v.56.

V76. {rafraf}: [1] any tousle of hanging over cushions; [2] cushions and [3] small gardens of paradise.

{`abqari}: rich carpets, mattresses.

V77. Conclusion with praise to Allah for all the bounties He has just mentioned.

And Allah knows best.

Peace and blessings upon our beloved Master

The Messenger of Allah,

Upon his pure family,

Upon his noble companions

And those who follow them until

The Last Day.


S. Z. Chowdhury


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