Chapter Scripts

Surah Adh-Dhariyat 51:31-40

51:31 Said (Abraham) “And what [else] may you have in view, O you [heavenly] messengers?”


See note 38 on the first part of 21:30. The phrase inna la-musi’un clearly foreshadows the modern notion of the “expanding universe” – that is, the fact that the cosmos, though finite in extent, is continuously expanding in space.

51:32 They answered “Behold, we have been sent unto a people lost in sin.


i.e., in accordance with the requirements of the living organisms that were to – and did develop on it.

51:33 To let loose upon them stone-hard blows of chastisement.


Lit., “of everything have We created pairs” – a phrase which is explained in note 18 on 36: 36.

51:34 marked out in thy Sustainer’s sight for [the punishment of] such as have wasted their own selves.”


Cf. 89:3 and the corresponding note 2.

51:35 And in the course of time We brought out [of Lot’s city] such [few] believers as were there.


Lit., “do not set up any other deity”.

51:36 For apart from one [single] house We did not find there any who had surrendered themselves to Us.


Lit., “sorcerer”.

51:37 And so We left therein a message for those who fear the grievous suffering [which awaits all evildoers].


For a full discussion of the term jinn (“invisible beings”), see Appendix III. As pointed out by most of the philologists – and stressed by Razi in his comments on the above verse – this term includes also the angels, since they, too, are beings or forces “concealed from man’s senses”.

51:38 And in [the story of Pharaoh and] Moses, too, [We left the same message, for] when We sent him unto Pharaoh with [Our] manifest authority.


Thus, the innermost purpose of the creation of all rational beings is their cognition (ma’rifah) of the existence of God and, hence, their conscious willingness to confirm their own existence to whatever they may perceive of His will and plan: and it is this twofold concept of cognition and willingness that gives the deepest meaning to what the Qur’an describes as “worship” (‘ibadah). As the next verse shows, this spiritual call does not arise from any supposed “need’ – on the part of the Creator, who is self-sufficient and infinite in His power, but is designed as an instrument for the inner development of the worshipper, who, by the act of his conscious self-surrender to the all-pervading Creative Will, may hope to come closer to an understanding of that Will and, thus, closer to God Himself.

51:39 And he turned away in [the pride of] his power and said, “A sorcerer [is this Moses], or a madman!”  


Implying that every act of evildoing bears the seed of its own retribution either in this world or in the hereafter.

51:40 We seized him and his hosts, and cast them all into the sea, and [none but Pharaoh] himself was to blame [for what happened].


The divine scriptures are God’s beacons to the world. Surely God offered His trust to the heavens and the earth, and the hills, but they shrank from bearing it and were afraid of it. And man undertook it.
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