Chapter Scripts

Surah Al-An’am: 6:61-70

6:61 And He alone holds sway over His servants. And He sends forth heavenly forces to watch over you until, when death approaches any of you, Our messengers cause him to die: and they do not overlook [anyone].


Lit., “though he might [try to] ransom himself with all ransom” – i.e., though he might proffer, after the resurrection, any atonement whatever for his past sins.

6:62 And they [who have died] are thereupon brought before God, their true Lord Supreme. Oh, verily, His alone is all judgment: and He is the swiftest of all reckoners!


Among the various meanings attributable to the word hamim are the concepts of intense heat as well as of painful cold (Qamus, Taj al-‘Arus). In the eschatology of the Qur’an it invariably refers to the suffering of the sinners in the life to come; and since all Qur’anic references to life after death are, necessarily, allegorical, the term hamim may be rendered as “burning despair”.

6:63 Say: “Who is it that saves you from the dark dangers of land and sea [when] you call unto Him humbly, and in the secrecy of your hearts, ‘If He will but save us from this [distress], we shall most certainly be among the grateful’?”


Lit., “whom the satans have enticed with lusts on earth, [rendering him] bewildered, [while] he has companions who call him unto guidance”.

6:64 Say: “God [alone] can save you from this and from every distress – and still you ascribe divinity to other powers beside Him!”

6:65 Say: “It is He alone who has the power to let loose upon you suffering from above you or from beneath your feet, or to confound you with mutual discord and let you taste the fear of one another.” Behold how many facets We give to these messages, so that they might understand the truth;


The term ash-shahadah (lit., “that which is [or “can be”] witnessed”) is used in this and similar contexts as the exact antithesis of al-ghayb (“that which is beyond the reach of a  created being’s perception”). Thus, it circumscribes those aspects of reality which can be sensually or conceptually grasped by a created being

6:66 And yet, to all this thy peoples have given the lie, although it is the truth. Say [then]: “I am not responsible for your conduct.


The subsequent passage (verses 74 ff.) continues, by way of narrative, the exposition of God’s oneness and uniqueness. – In the Bible, the name of Abraham’s father is given not as Azar but as Terah (the Tarah or Tarakh of the early Muslim genealogists). However, he seems to have been known by other names (or designations) as well, all of them obscure as to origin and meaning. Thus, in various Talmudic stories, he is called Zarah, while Eusebius Pamphili (the ecclesiastical historian who lived towards the end of the third and the beginning of the fourth century of the Christian era) gives his name as Athar. Although neither the Talmud nor Eusebius can be regarded as authorities for the purposes of a Qur’an – commentary, it is not impossible that the designation Azar (which occurs in the Qur’an only once) is the pre-Islamic, Arabicized form of Athar or Zarah

6:67 Every tiding [from God] has a term set for its fulfillment: and in time you will come to know [the truth].”


Lit., “unless my Sustainer wills a thing”.

6:68 Now, whenever thou meet such as indulge in [blasphemous] talk about Our messages, turn thy back upon them until they begin to talk of other things; and if Satan should ever cause thee to forget [thyself], remain not, after recollection, in the company of such evildoing folk,


The description of Abraham’s reasoning as God’s own argument implies that it was divinely inspired, and is, therefore, valid for the followers of the Qur’an as well.

6:69 For whom those who are conscious of God are in no wise accountable. Theirs, however, is the duty to admonish [the sinners], so that they might become conscious of God.


This is evidently an allusion to Abraham’s gradual grasp of the truth, symbolized by his intuitive progress from adoration of celestial bodies – stars, moon, and sun – to a full realization of God’s transcendental, all-embracing existence. Alternatively, the expression “by degrees” may be taken to mean “by many degrees”, signifying the great spiritual dignity to which this forerunner of a long line of prophets was ultimately raised.

6:70 And leave to themselves all those who, beguiled by the life of this world, have made play and passing delights their religion; but remind [them] herewith that [in the life to come] every human being shall be held in pledge for whatever wrong he has done, and shall have none to protect him from God, and none to intercede for him; and though he offer any conceivable ransom, it shall not be accepted from him. It is [people such as] these that shall be held in pledge for the wrong they have done; for them, there is [in the life to come] a draught of burning despair, and grievous suffering awaits them because of their persistent refusal to acknowledge the truth.


Although Lot was not a “descendant” of Abraham since he was his brother’s son, his name is included here for two reasons: firstly, because he followed Abraham from his earliest youth as a son follows his father, and, secondly, because in ancient Arabian usage a paternal uncle is often described as “father” and, conversely, a nephew as “son”. – For the Hebrew prophets Elijah (Ilyas) and Elisha (Al-Yasa’),


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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