Chapter Scripts

Surah Al-Furqan: 25:1-10

In The Name of God, The Most Gracious, The Dispenser of Grace.

25:1 Hallowed is He who from on high, step by step, has bestowed upon His servant the standard by which to discern the true from the false so that to all the world it might be a warning. 


Almost all the commentators give this meaning to the term al-furqan. In the above context, it denotes the Qur’an as well as the phenomenon of divine revelation as such. (For an amplified interpretation of this term by Muhammad ‘Abduh, see note 38 on 2:53.) The verbal form nazzala implies gradualness both in time (“successively”) and in method (“step by step”).

25:2 He to whom the dominion over the heavens and the earth belongs, and who begets no offspring, and has no partner in His dominion: for it is He who creates everything and determines its nature in accordance with [His own] design.


See note 133 on 17:111.

25:3 And yet, some choose to worship, instead of Him, [imaginary] deities that cannot create anything but are themselves created, and have it not within their power to avert harm from, or bring benefit to, themselves, and have no power over death, nor over life, nor over resurrection!


i.e., in accordance with the function assigned by Him to each individual thing or phenomenon: cf. the oldest formulation of this idea in 87:2-3.

25:4 Moreover, those who are bent on denying the truth are wont to say, “This [Qur’an] is nothing but a lie which he (himself) has devised with the help of other people: who thereupon have perverted the truth and brought a falsehood into being.”


i.e., whether they be inanimate “representations” of imaginary deities, or personified forces of nature, or deified human beings, or simply figments of the imagination.

25:5 And they say, “Fables of ancient times which he has caused to be written down so that they might be read out to him at morn and evening!”


Implying that the Qur’an, or most of it, is based on Judaeo-Christian teachings allegedly communicated to Muhammad by some unnamed foreigners (cf. 16:103 and the corresponding notes, especially note 130) or, alternatively, by various Arab converts to Judaism or Christianity; furthermore, that Muhammad had either deceived himself into believing that the Qur’an was a divine revelation, or had deliberately – knowing that it was not so – attributed it to God.

25:6 Say [O Muhammad] “He who knows all the mysteries of the heavens and the earth has bestowed from on high this (Qur’an upon me)! Verily, He is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace!”


Lit., “and thus, indeed, have they come with [or “brought”] a perversion of the truth” [which obviously is the meaning of zuim in this context “and a falsehood”. Whereas it is generally assumed that this clause constitutes a Qur’anic rebuttal of the malicious allegation expressed in the preceding clause, I am of the opinion that it forms part of that allegation, making the mythical “helpers” of Muhammad co-responsible, as it were, for the “invention” of the Qur’an.

25:7 Yet they say “What sort of apostle is this [man] who eats food (like all other mortals] and goes about in the market-places? Why has not an angel [visibly] been sent down unto him, to act as a warner together with him?”


Because it was known to his contemporaries that he was unlettered (ummi) and could not read and write.

25:8 Or: [Why has not] a treasure been granted to him (by God)?” Or: “He should [at least] have a [bountiful] garden, so that he could eat thereof [without effort]!”And so these evildoers say [unto one another], “If you were to follow (Muhammad, you would follow) but a man bewitched!”


A sarcastic allusion to the “gardens of paradise” of which the Qur’an so often speaks. (Cf.13:38 and the corresponding notes 74 and 75; also 5:75 and 21:7-8).

25:9 See to what they liken thee, [O Prophet, simply] because they have gone astray and are now unable to find a way (to the truth)!


Lit., “When it shall see them from a far-off place”: a metaphorical allusion, it would seem, to the moment of their death on earth. As in many other instances, we are given here a subtle verbal hint of the allegorical nature of the Qur’anic descriptions of conditions in the life to come by a rhetorical “transfer” of man’s faculty of seeing to the object of his seeing: a usage which Zamakhshari explicitly characterizes as metaphorical (‘ala’ sabil al-majaz).

25:10 Hallowed is He who, if it be His will, shall give thee something better than that (whereof they speak] – gardens through which running waters flow – and shall assign to thee mansions (of bliss in the life to come].


For a tentative explanation of the allegory of the sinners’ being “linked together” in hell, see my note 64 on 14:49. As regards the “tight space” into which they will be flung, Zamakhshari remarks: “Distress is accompanied by [a feeling of] constriction, just as happiness is accompanied by [a feeling of] spaciousness; and because of this, God has described paradise as being ‘as vast as the heavens and the earth'[3:133].”


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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