Chapter Scripts

Surah You’nas: 10:31-40

10:31 Say: “Who is it that provides you with sustenance out of heaven and earth, or who is it that has full power over [your] hearing and sight? And who is it that brings forth the living out of that which is dead, and brings forth the dead out of that which is alive? And who is it that governs all that exists?” And they will [surely] answer: “[It is] God. Say, then: “Will you not, then, become [fully] conscious of Him .


His answer relates not merely to the question as to why God has not bestowed on Muhammad a “miraculous sign” of his prophethood, but also to the “why” of his having been chosen for his prophetic mission. See in this connection 2:105 (“God singles out for His grace whom He wills”) and 3:73-74 (“God is infinite, all-knowing, singling out for His grace whom He wills”)

10:32 Seeing that He is God, your Sustainer, the Ultimate Truth?51 For, after the truth [has been forsaken], what is there [left] but error? How, then, can you lose sight of the truth?”


i.e., the two categories of people referred to in verses 7, 11, 12, 15.

10:33 Thus is thy Sustainer’s word proved true with regard to such as are bent on sinful doings: they will not believe.


Lit., “they have forthwith a scheme against Our messages”. (The particle idha preceding this clause is meant to bring out the element of immediacy, and is best rendered as “lo! they forthwith…”, etc.) Since God’s messages are purely conceptual, the “scheming against them” obviously connotes the devising of fallacious arguments meant to cast doubt on the divine origin of these messages or to “disprove” the statements made in them. The above discourse on the psychology of agnosticism and half-belief is continued in the parable of the seafarers set forth in the next two verses.

10:34 Say: “Can any of those beings to whom you ascribe a share in God’s divinity create [life] in the first instance, and then bring it forth anew?” Say: “It is God [alone] who creates [all life] in the first instance, and then brings it forth anew.  How perverted, then, are your minds!” 


Lit., “until, when you are in the ships…”, etc. As has been pointed out by Zamakhshari, the particle “until” (hatta) which precedes this clause refers to the sudden rise of the storm described in the sequence, and not to the “going to sea in ships”. It is to be noted that at this point the discourse changes abruptly from the direct address “you” to the third person plural (“they”): a construction which is evidently meant to bring out the allegorical character of the subsequent narrative and to turn it into a lesson of general validity.

10:35 Say: “Does any of those beings to whom you ascribe a share in God’s divinity guide unto the truth?” Say: “It is God [alone] who guides unto the truth. Which, then, is more worthy to be followed – He who guides unto the truth, or he who cannot find the right way unless he is guided? What, then, is amiss with you and your judgment?”


See verse 12 (of which the above passage is a parabolic illustration) and the corresponding notes.

10:36 For, most of them follow nothing but conjecture: [and,] behold, conjecture can never be a substitute for truth. Verily, God has full knowledge of all that they do.


Lit., “your outrageousness (baghy) is only against your own selves”. Cf. the oft-recurring Qur’anic expression, “they have sinned against themselves” (zalamu anfusahum, lit., “they have wronged themselves”), indicating the inevitability with which every evil deed damages its perpetrator spiritually

10:37 Now this Qur’an could not possibly have been devised by anyone save God: nay indeed it confirms the truth of whatever there still remains [of earlier revelations] and clearly spells out the revelation [which comes] – let there be no doubt about it – from the Sustainer of all the worlds.


Lit., “with which the plants of the earth mingle”.

10:38 And yet, they [who are bent on denying the truth] assert, “[Muhammad] has invented it!” Say [unto them]: “Produce, then, a surah of similar merit; and [to this end] call to your aid whomever you can, other than God, if what you say is true!


i.e., they come to believe that they have gained “mastery over nature”, with no conceivable limits to what they may yet achieve. It is to be borne in mind that the term zukhruf bears almost invariably a connotation of artificiality – a connotation which in this case is communicated to the subsequent verb izzayyanat. Thus, the whole of the above parabolic sentence may be understood as alluding to the artificial, illusory “adornment” brought about by man’s technological efforts, not in collaboration with nature but, rather, in hostile “confrontation” with it.

10:39 Nay, but they are bent on giving the lie to everything the wisdom whereof they do not comprehend, and ere its inner meaning has become clear to them Even thus did those who lived before their time give the lie to the truth: and behold what happened in the end to those evildoers!


Lit., “as if it had not been in existence yesterday”: a phrase used in classical Arabic to describe something that has entirely disappeared or perished (Taj al-‘Arus).

10:40 And there are among them such as will in time come to believe in this [divine writ], just as there are among them such as will never believe in it; and thy Sustainer is fully aware as to who are the spreaders of corruption.


Or: “guides whom He wills onto a straight way”. As regards the expression salam, rendered here and in many other places as “peace” and elsewhere as “salvation”, see surah 5, note 29. It is obvious that the term dar as-salam (“abode of peace”) denotes not only the condition of ultimate happiness in the hereafter – alluded to in the allegory of paradise – but also the spiritual condition of a true believer in this world: namely, a state of inner security, of peace with God, with one’s natural environment, and within oneself.


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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