44:1 Ha. Mim.
See Appendix II.
44:2 Consider this divine writ, clear in itself and clearly showing the truth!
See note 2 on 12:1.
44:3 Behold, from on high have We bestowed it on a blessed night, for, Verily, We have always been warning [man].
i.e., the night on which the revelation of the Qur’an began: see surah 97.
44:4 On that [night] was made clear, in wisdom, the distinction between all things [good and evil].
The revelation of the Qur’an is but a continuation and, indeed, the climax of all divine revelation that has been going on since the very dawn of human consciousness. Its innermost purpose has always been the warning extended by God to man not to abandon himself to mere material ambitions and pursuits and, thus, to lose sight of spiritual values.
44:5 At a behest from Ourselves, For, Verily, We have always been sending [Our messages of guidance].
Lit., “was made distinct everything wise”, i.e., “wisely” or “in wisdom”: a metonymical attribution of the adjective “wise” – which in reality relates to God, the maker of that distinction – to what has thus been made distinct (Zamakhshari and Razi). The meaning is that the revelation of the Qur’an, symbolized by that “blessed night” of its beginning, provides man with a standard whereby to discern between good and evil, or between all that leads to spiritual growth through an ever-deepening realization (ma’rifah) of God’s existence, on the one hand, and all that results in spiritual blindness and self-destruction, on the other.
44:6 In pursuance of thy Sustainer’s grace [unto man]. Verily, He alone is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.
Lit.,”if you had but inner certainty”. According to Abn Muslim al-Isfahani (as quoted by Razi), this means, “you would know it if you would but truly desire inner certainty and would pray for it”.
44:7 The Sustainer of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them – if you could but grasp it with inner certainty!
Lit., “are toying in doubt”: i.e., their half-hearted admission of the possibility that God exists is compounded of doubt and irony (Zamakhshari) – doubt as to the proposition of God’s existence, and an ironical amusement at the idea of divine revelation.
44:8 There is no deity save Him, He grants life and deals death, He is your Sustainer as well as the Sustainer of your forebears of old.
A reference to the allegation of the Prophet’s opponents that someone else had “imparted” to him the ideas expressed in the Qur’an (see 16:103 and the corresponding notes 129 and 130), or at least had “helped” him to compose it (cf. 25:4 and notes 5 and 6).
44:9 Nay, but they [who lack inner certainty] are but toying with their doubts.
Lit., “remove”. This is apparently said on the time-level of the present – i.e., before the coming of the Last Hour – so as to give the sinners an opportunity to repent.
44:10 Wait, Then, for the Day when the skies shall bring forth a pall of smoke which will make obvious [the approach of the Last Hour].
Most of the classical commentators (e.g., Tabari, Zaniakhshari, Razi, Baydawi) point out that this phrase can be understood in either of two senses, namely: “Give in unto me, O God’s bondmen (‘ibad)”, implying a call to the Egyptians (since all human beings are “God’s bondmen”) to accept the divine message which Moses was about to convey to them; or, alternatively, “Give up to me God’s servants”, i.e., the children of Israel, who were kept in bondage in Egypt, inasmuch as the vocalization ‘ibada is applicable to the vocative as well as the accusative case, either of these two interpretations is legitimate.