Chapter Scripts

Surah Hajj: 22:21-30

22:21 And they shall be held [in this state as if] by iron grips.


For the meaning of this “prostration”, see 13:15 and 16:48~9, and the corresponding notes. My rendering of the relative pronoun man, in this context, as “all [things and beings] that…” is explained in note 33 on 13:15.

22:22 And every time they try in their anguish to come out of it, they shall be returned thereto and [be told], “Taste suffering through fire [to the full]!”


According to Zamakhshari and Razi, this interpolated phrase – with its stress on “consciously” – is an elliptically implied predicate (khabar) linked with the preceding nominal subject (mubtada’): the purport being that although everything in creation “prostrates itself” before God, willingly or unwillingly (cf. 13:15), not all human beings do so consciously.

22:23 [As against this] behold, God will admit those who attain to faith and do righteous deeds into gardens through which running waters flow, wherein they will be adorned with bracelets of gold and pearls, and where silk will be their raiment.


Lit., “whereas upon many a one the suffering [in the life to come] has become unavoidably incumbent (haqqa ‘alayhi)”, i.e., as a necessary consequence and corollary of his attitude in this world, and not as an arbitrary “punishment” in the conventional sense of this term.

22:24 For they were [willing to be] guided towards the best of all tenets, and so they were guided onto the way that leads to the One unto whom all praise is due.


Lit., “these two adversaries” or “antagonists”, i.e., those who believe in God’s oneness and uniqueness, and those who ascribe divine qualities to beings other than Him, or even deny His existence altogether.

22:25 Behold, as for those who are bent on denying the truth and bar [others] from the path of God and from the Inviolable House of Worship which We have set up for all people alike – [both] those who dwell there and those who come from abroad – and all who seek to profane it by [deliberate] evildoing: [all] such shall We cause to taste grievous suffering [in the life to come].


i.e., in distinction from those who err out of ignorance.

22:26 For, when we assigned unto Abraham the site of this Temple, [We said unto him:] “Do not ascribe divinity to aught beside Me!” – and: “Purify My Temple for those who will walk around it, and those who will stand before it [in meditation], and those who will bow down and prostrate themselves [in prayer].”


For this rendering of hamim, see note 62 on the concluding sentence of 6:70, as well as note 65 on 14:50 and note 7 on 73:12-13, which mention Razi’s interpretations of similar allegorical descriptions of the suffering that will befall the sinners in the hereafter.

22:27 Hence, [O Muhammad], I proclaim thou unto all people the [duty of] pilgrimage: they will come unto thee on foot and on every [kind of] fast mount, coming from every far-away point [on earth]. 


i.e., causing their inner and outer personality utterly to disintegrate.

22:28 That they might experience much that shall be of benefit to them, and that they might extol the name of God on the days appointed (for sacrifice], over whatever heads of cattle He may have provided for them [to this end]: eat, then, thereof, and feed the unfortunate poor.


Lit., “for them will be grips (maqami’) of iron”. The noun miqma’ah – of which maqami’is the plural – is derived from the verb qama’a, signifying “he curbed” or “restrained” or “held in subjection” (Lisan al-‘Arab). Hence, the “iron grips” mentioned in the above verse denote the inescapability of the suffering in the hereafter to which “they who are bent on denying the truth” condemn themselves.

22:29 Thereafter let them bring to an end their state of self-denial,42 and let them fulfill the vows which they [may] have made, and let them walk [once again] around the Most Ancient Temple.


See 18: 31 and the corresponding note 41.

22:30 All this [is ordained by God]; and if one honors God’s sacred commandments, it will redound to his own good in his Sustainer’s sight. And all [kinds of] cattle have been made lawful to you [for sacrifice and food], save what is mentioned to you [as forbidden]. Shun, then, [all that God has forbidden and, most of all,] the loathsome evil of idolatrous beliefs and practices; and shun every word that is untrue.


i.e., that there is no deity save God. (One must bear in mind that the term qawl denotes not merely a “saying” but also an intellectually formulated “opinion” or “tenet”).


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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