Chapter Scripts

Surah Ash-Shu’ara’: 26:51-60

26:51 Behold, we [but] ardently desire that our Sustainer forgive us our faults in return for our having been foremost among the believers!”


Lit., “thou wilt surely be among those who are stoned [to death)”.

26:52 And [there came a time when] We inspired Moses thus, “Go forth with My servants by night: for, behold, you will be pursued!”


Or: “decide Thou with a [clear] decision between me and them”. My choice of the primary significance of iftah (“lay open”, i.e., the truth) has been explained in note 72 on the last sentence of 7:89.

26:53 And Pharaoh sent heralds unto all cities.


The story of Noah and his people, as well as of the Deluge, is given in greater detail in 11:25-48.

26:54 [Bidding them to call out his troops and to proclaim:] “Behold, these [children of Israel] are but a contemptible band.


For the message specifically alluded to here, see verses 111-115, as well as note 50 above.

26:55 But they are indeed filled with hatred of us. 


See 7:65 and the corresponding note 48.

26:56 Seeing that we are, verily, a nation united, fully prepared against danger.


The noun ayah, which primarily denotes “a sign” or “a token”, evidently refers here to the ancient Semitic custom of worshipping the tribal gods on hilltops, which were crowned to this end by sacrificial altars or monuments, each of them devoted to a particular deity: hence my rendering of ayah, in this particular context, as “altars” (in the plural).

26:57 And so we have [rightly] driven them out of [their] gardens and springs.


The meaning could be either “hoping that you might live in them forever”, or “that you might gain immortal renown for having built them”.

26:58 And [deprived them of their erstwhile] station of honor!” 


The term jabbar, when applied to man, as a rule, denotes one who is haughty, overbearing, exorbitant and cruel, and does not submit to any moral restraints in his dealings with those who are weaker than himself. Sometimes (as, e.g., in 11:59 or 14:15) this term is used to describe a person’s negative ethical attitude, and in that case, it may be rendered as “enemy of the truth”. In the present instance, however, stress is laid on the tyrannical behavior of the tribe of ‘Ad, evidently relating to their warlike conflicts with other people: and in this sense, it expresses a Qur’anic prohibition, valid for all times, of all unnecessary cruelty in warfare, coupled with the positive, clearly-implied injunction to subordinate every act of war – as well as the decision to wage war as such – to moral considerations and restraints.

26:59 Thus it was, but [in the course of time] We were to bestow all these [things] as a heritage on the children of Israel.


Lit., “with all that you know” or “that you are [or “might be”] aware of”.

26:60 And so [the Egyptians] caught up with them at sunrise. 


Lit., “the innate habit of the earlier people (al-awwalin)”. The noun khuluq denotes one’s “nature” in the sense of “innate disposition” (tabi’ah) or “moral character” (Taj al-‘Arus); hence the use of this term to describe “that to which one clings”, i.e., one’s “innate habit” or “custom”, and, in a specific sense, one’s religion (ibid).


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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