In The Name of God, The Most Gracious, The Dispenser of Grace.
10:1 Alif Lam Ra. These are messages of the divine writ, full of wisdom.
10:2 Do people deem it strange that We should have inspired a man from their own midst [with this Our message]: “Warn all mankind, and give unto those who have attained to faith the glad tiding that in their Sustainer’s sight they surpass all others in that they are completely sincere – [Only] they who deny the truth say, “Behold, he is clearly but a spellbinder!”
The term hakim – which, when qualifying an animated being, may be translated as “wise” has here the connotation of a means of imparting wisdom. Some of the classical commentators (e.g., Tabari) are of the opinion that the “divine writ” (kitab) mentioned here is the Qur’an as a whole, while others (e.g., Zamakhshari) see in it a reference to this particular surah. In view of the sequence, it seems to me that the former interpretation is preferable.
10:3 Verily, your Sustainer is God, who has created the heavens and the earth in six aeons, and is established on the throne of His Almightiness, governing all that exists. There is none that could intercede with Him unless He grants leave therefor. Thus is God, your Sustainer: worship, therefore, Him [alone]: will you not, then, keep this in mind?
This connects with the end of the preceding Sarah, and particularly with the sentence, “There has come unto you [O mankind] an Apostle from among yourselves”
10:4 Unto Him you all must return: this is, in truth, God’s promise – for, behold, He creates [man] in the first instance, and then brings him forth anew to the end that He may reward with equity all who attain to faith and do righteous deeds; whereas for those who are bent on denying the truth there is in store a draught of burning despair and grievous suffering because of their persistent refusal to acknowledge the truth.
Lit., “they have precedence (qadam) of truthfulness (sidq)”: the latter term denoting a concord between what a person actually conceives in his mind or feels and what he expresses by word, deed or attitude – in other words, complete sincerity.
10:5 He it is who has made the sun a [source of] radiant light and the moon a light [reflected], and has determined for it phases so that you might know how to compute the years and to measure [time]. None of this has God created without [an inner] truth. Clearly, does He spell out these messages unto people of [innate] knowledge:
Lit., “He is indeed an obvious enchanter (sahir)” – thus implying that the “man from among yourselves” (i.e., Muhammad) did not really receive any revelation from God, but merely deluded his followers by means of his spellbinding eloquence (which is the meaning of sihr in this context): an accusation leveled by unbelievers of all times not merely against Muhammad but – as the Qur’an frequently states – against most of the earlier prophets as well. The term “those who deny the truth” refers, thus, to prophethood.
10:6 For, verily, in the alternating of night and day, and in all that God has created in the heavens and on earth there are messages indeed for people who are conscious of Him!
Since belief in divine revelation naturally presupposes a belief in the existence of God as the self-subsistent fount of all being, the reference to the revelation of the Qur’an with which this surah opens is followed by a consideration of God’s creative Almightiness.
10:7 Verily, as for those who do not believe that they are destined to meet Us, but content themselves with the life of this world and do not look beyond it, and are heedless of Our messages –
Lit., “there is no intercessor whatever, save after His leave [has been granted]”. Cf. 2:255 – “Who is there that could intercede with Him, unless it be by His leave?” Thus, the Qur’an rejects the popular belief in unqualified “intercession” by living or dead saints or prophets. As is shown elsewhere in the Qur’an (e.g., in 20:109, 21:28 or 34:23), God will grant to His prophets on Judgment Day the permission to “intercede”, symbolically, for such of the sinners as will have already achieved His redemptive acceptance (rida’) by virtue of their repentance or basic goodness (see 19:87 and the corresponding note 74): in other words, the right of “intercession” thus granted to the prophets will be but an expression of God’s approval of the latter. Furthermore, the above denial of the possibility of unqualified intercession stresses, indirectly, not only God’s omniscience – which requires no “mediator” – but also the immutability of His will: and thus it connects with the preceding mention of His Almightiness.
10:8 Their goal is the fire in return for all [the evil] that they were wont to do.
i.e., He will resurrect him by a new act of creation. That the verb yu’iduhu (“He brings him forth anew”) refers here to the individual resurrection of human beings becomes obvious from the sequence. The noun Khalq primarily denotes “creation” (i.e., the bringing into being of something that did not exist before); subsequently, it denotes the result or object of creation, i.e., a “created being” (or “beings”); finally, it is used in the sense of “man” in the generic connotation of this word, i.e., “mankind”.
10:9 [But] verily, as for those who have attained to faith and do righteous deeds – their Sustainer guides them aright by means of their faith. [In the life to come,] running waters will flow at their feet in gardens of bliss.
See surah 6, note 62 (for my rendering of hamim as “burning despair”).
10:10 [And] in that [state of happiness] they will call out, “Limitless art Thou in Thy glory, O God!” – and will be answered with the greeting, “Peace !” And their call will close with [the words], “All praise is due to God, the Sustainer of all the worlds!
The nouns diya’ and nur are often interchangeable, inasmuch as both denote “light”; but many philologists are of the opinion that the term diya’ (or daw’) has a more intensive connotation, and is used to describe “a light which subsists by itself, like that of the sun and fire” – that is, a source of light – while nur signifies “a light that subsists by some other thing” (Lane V, 1809, on the authority of Taj al-‘Arus ): in other words, light due to an extraneous source or – as in the case of the moon – reflected light.