Chapter Scripts

Surah Al-Qasas: 28:71-80

28:71 Say “Have you ever considered [this]: If God had willed that there should always be a night about you, without break, until the Day of Resurrection – is there any deity other than God that could bring you light? Will you not, then, listen [to the truth]?”

Explanation

Lit., “will on that Day have become obscured to them”. The operative noun anba; which literally denotes “tidings”, has here the compound meaning of “arguments and excuses” (Tabari).

28:72 Say “Have you ever considered [this], If God had willed that there should always be daylight about you, without break, until the Day of Resurrection – is there any deity other than God that could bring you [the darkness of] night, wherein you might rest? Will you not, then, see [the truth]?”

Explanation

i.e., they will all be equally confused. For the above rendering of la yatasa’alun (lit., “they will not [be able to] ask one another”), see the explanations of this phrase advanced by Baghawi, Zamakhshari and Baydawi.

28:73 For it is out of His grace that He has made for you the night and the day, so that you might rest therein as well as seek to obtain [what you need] of His bounty, and [He gave you all this] so that you might have cause to be grateful.

Explanation

i.e., during his life in this world. For an explanation of this stress on repentance – which flows from one’s realization of moral failure – see surah 24, note 41.

28:74 And on that Day, He will call unto those [that shall have been arraigned before His judgment seat], and will ask “Where, now, are those [beings or powers] whom you imagined to have a share in My Divinity?”

Explanation

Some of the classical commentators incline to interpret the ma in the phrase ma kana lahum alkhirah as a particle of negation and the noun khirah as “choice” or “freedom of choice”, thus giving to this phrase the meaning of “He chooses, [but] they [i.e., human beings] have no freedom of choice”. To my mind, however, this interpretation conflicts not only with the immediately preceding passages but with the tenor of the Qur’an as a whole, which insists throughout on man’s responsibility for (and, hence, on relative freedom in) choosing between right and wrong – and this side by side with its stress on God’s unlimited power to determine the factual course of events. Hence, I prefer to base my rendering on the interpretation advanced and convincingly argued by Tabari, who regards the crucial particle ma not as a negation but as a relative pronoun synonymous with alladhi (“that which” or “whatever”), and understands the noun khirah in its primary significance of “that which is chosen” or “preferred”, i.e., because it is considered to be the best: in another word, as a synonym of khayr. Zamakhshari refers to this interpretation with evident approval (without, however, mentioning Tabari specifically), and enlarges upon it thus: “God chooses for mankind whatever is best (ma huwa khayr) and most beneficial (aslah) for them, for He knows better than they themselves do what is good for them.”

28:75 And [they will remain silent, for by then] We will have called forth witnesses from within every community, and will have said [unto the sinners] “Produce evidence for what you have been claiming!” And so they will come to understand that all truth is God’s [alone], and all their false imagery will have forsaken them.

Explanation

Or: “in this first [i.e., present life] as well as in the life to come”.

28:76 [Now] Behold, Qarun was one of the people of Moses; but he arrogantly exalted himself above them – simply because We had granted him such riches that his treasure-chests alone would surely have been too heavy a burden for a troop of ten men or even more. When [they perceived his arrogance] his people said unto him “Exult not [in thy wealth], for, verily, God does not love those who exult [in things vain]!

Explanation

Lit., “who [i.e., “where”] is a deity…”, etc., obviously implying that no such “deity” exists.

28:77 Seek instead, by means of what God has granted thee, [the good of] the life to come, without forgetting, withal, thine own [rightful] share in this world, and do good [unto others] as God has done good unto thee, and seek not to spread corruption on earth, For, Verily, God does not love the spreaders of corruption!”

Explanation

i.e., “Will you not recognize the miracle of planned and purposeful creation?”

28:78 Answered he “This [wealth] has been given to me only by virtue of the knowledge that is in me!” Did he not know that God had destroyed [the arrogant of] many a generation that preceded him – people who were greater than he in power, and richer in what they had amassed? But such as are lost in sin may not be asked about their sins….

Explanation

i.e., the Day of Resurrection thus reverting to the theme enunciated in verses 62-66 above.

28:79 And so he went forth before his people in all his pomp; [and] those who cared only for the life of this world would say, “Oh, if we but had the like of what Qarun has been given! Verily, with tremendous good fortune is he endowed!”

Explanation

This repetition of God’s “question”, already mentioned in verse 62 above, is meant to stress the utter inability of the sinners concerned to justify their erstwhile attitude rationally; hence my interpolation at the beginning of the next verse.

28:80 But those who had been granted true knowledge said “Woe unto you! Merit in the sight of God is by far the best for any who attains to faith and does what is right, but none save the patient in adversity can ever achieve this [blessing].’

Explanation

i.e., the prophets who had appeared at various stages of man’s history, and who will now bear witness that they had duly conveyed God’s message to the people for whom it was meant.

President

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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