41:21 And they will ask their skins, “Why did you bear witness against us?” [and] these will reply, “God, who gives a speech to all things, has given a speech to us [as well], For He [it is who] has created you in the first instance – and unto Him you are [now] brought back.
41:22 And you did not try to hide [your sins] lest your hearing or your sight or your skins bear witness against you, nay, but you thought that God did not know much of what you were doing.
Sc., “unless God wills to reprieve them”: see the last paragraph of 6:128 and the corresponding note 114; also the hadith quoted in note 10 on 40:12.
41:23 And that very thought which you thought about your Sustainer has brought you to perdition, and so now you find yourselves among the lost!”
Lit., “they will not be of those who are allowed to make amends”: an allusion to the request of the doomed, on the Day of Judgment, to be granted a “second chance” on earth, and to God’s refusal of this request (cf. 6:27-28 and 32:12).
41:24 And then, [even] if they endure [their lot] in patience, the fire will still be their abode; and if they pray to be allowed to make amends, they will not be allowed to do so.
Or: “soul-mates” (cf. 4:38). The verb qarana, from which the noun qarm is derived, signifies “he linked” or “intimately associated” or “yoked together [one thing with another]”. Cf. 43:36 – “as for anyone who chooses to remain blind to the remembrance of the Most Gracious, to him We assign an [enduring] evil impulse [lit., “a satan”], to become his other self”.
41:25 For [when they became oblivious of Us] We assigned to them [their own evil impulses as their] other selves, and these made appear goodly to them whatever lay open before them and whatever was beyond their ken. And so, the sentence [of doom] will have fallen due upon them together with the [other sinful] communities of invisible beings and humans that passed away before their time, Verily, they [all] will indeed be lost!
Lit,, “that which was between their hands and that which was behind them”: i.e., their own.
41:26 Now Those who are bent on denying the truth say [unto one another], “Do not listen to this Qur’an, but rather talk frivolously about it, so that you might gain the upper hand!”
For this rendering – and the meaning – of the term jinn, see Appendix III evil impulses (which had become their “other selves”, as it were) made alluring to them the unrestrained enjoyment, without any moral discrimination, of all the worldly attractions which lay open before them, causing them, at the same time, to dismiss as an illusion the idea of resurrection and of God’s judgment – thus giving them a false sense of security with regard to something that was beyond their ken.
41:27 But We shall most certainly give those who are [thus] bent on denying the truth a taste of suffering severe, and We shall most certainly requite them according to the worst of their deeds!
This is an allusion to efforts aimed at discrediting the Qur’an by describing it as “invented” by Muhammad for his own – personal and political – ends, as a series of “misunderstood quotations” from earlier scriptures, as the result of “hallucinations”, and so forth: all of which implies that the opponents of the Qur’anic message instinctively feel its force, realizing at the same time that it endangers their self-complacent, materialistic outlook on life and ought, therefore, to be combatted. This explains the statement, at the end of verse 28, that they “knowingly reject” God’s messages.
41:28 That requital of God’s enemies will be the fire [of the hereafter], in it will they have an abode of un–measurable duration as an outcome of their having knowingly rejected Our messages.
For the above rendering of the verb jahada, see surah 29, note 45.
41:29 And they who [in their life on earth] were bent on denying the truth will [thereupon] exclaim, “O our Sustainer! Show us those of the invisible beings and humans that have led us astray: we shall trample them underfoot, so that they shall be the lowest of all!”
See 6:112- “against every prophet We have set up as enemies the evil forces (shayatin) from among humans as well as from among invisible beings” – and the corresponding note 98.
41:30 [But] behold, as for those who say, “Our Sustainer is God,” and then steadfastly pursue the right way – upon them do angels often descend, [saying] “Fear not and grieve not, but receive the glad tiding of that paradise which has been promised to you!