10:51 Will you, then, believe in it [only] after it has come to pass – [on the Day when you will be asked, ‘Do you believe in it] now, after having [contemptuously] called for its speedy advent?’
Lit., “this [or “such”], then, being God, your Sustainer, the Ultimate Truth” – i.e., “seeing that, on your own admission, He is the One who creates and governs all things and is the Ultimate Reality behind all that exists” (see surah 20, note 99): which implies a categorical denial of the possibility that any other being could have a share, however small, in His divinity.
10:52 Whereupon those who [in their lifetime] were bent on evildoing will be told, ‘Taste suffering abiding! Is this requital anything but the just due for what you were wont to do?”
Lit., “How, then, are you turned away?”-i.e., from the truth.
10:53 And some people ask thee, “Is all this true?” Say: “Yea, by my Sustainer! It is most certainly true, and you cannot elude [the final reckoning]!”
See surah 2, note 7, as well as 8:55 and the corresponding note 58. In this particular context, “the Sustainer’s word” seems to be synonymous with “the way of God” (sunnat Allah) concerning deliberate sinners and deniers of the truth (Manor XI, 359). The particle anna in annahum (lit., “that they”) is, thus, indicative of the purport of the divine “word” referred to, and is best expressed by a colon.
10:54 And all human beings that have been doing evil would surely, if they possessed all that is on earth, offer it as ransom [on Judgment Day]; and when they see the suffering [that awaits them], they will be unable to express their remorse. But judgment will be passed on them in all equity; and they will not be wronged.
This rhetorical question is connected with the false belief that those idolatrously worshipped beings are no more than “intercessors” between their followers and God (see verse 18 above): and so, even their misguided votaries cannot possibly attribute to them the power to create and to resurrect. See also note 8 on verse 4 of this surah. In its wider sense, this question (and the subsequent answer) relates to the God-willed, cyclic process of birth, death, and regeneration evident in all organic nature.
10:55 Oh, verily, unto God belongs all that is in the heavens and on earth! Oh, verily, God’s promise always comes true – but most of them know it not!
10:56 He alone grants life and deals death; and unto Him you all must return.
Since the concept of “finding the right way” cannot apply to lifeless idols and idolatrous images, the above passage obviously relates to animate beings – whether dead or alive – to whom “a share in God’s divinity” is falsely attributed: that is, to saintly personalities, prophets or angels whom popular fancy blasphemously endows with some or all of God’s qualities, sometimes even to the extent that they are regarded as a manifestation or incarnation of God on earth. As for the act of God’s guidance, it is displayed, primarily, in the power of conscious reasoning as well as of instinctive insight with which He has graced man, thus enabling him to follow the divine laws of right conduct (Zamakhshari)
10:57 O Mankind! There has now come unto you an admonition from your Sustainer, and a cure for all [the ill] that may be in men’s hearts, and guidance and grace unto all who believe [in Him].
Lit., “[and] how do you judge?”
10:58 Say: “In [this] bounty of God and in His grace – in this, then, let them rejoice: it is better than all [the worldly wealth] that they may amass!”
Lit., “conjecture can in no wise make [anyone] independent (la yughni) of the truth”, i.e., of positive insight obtained through authentic revelation (to which the sequence relates). The people referred to here (and apparently also in the first sentence of verse 53 of this surah) are the agnostics who waver between truth and falsehood. – Some of the great exponents of Islamic Law – foremost among them Ibn Hazm – base on this verse their rejection of qiyas (“deduction by analogy”) as a means of eliciting religious laws which are supposedly “implied” in the wording of the Qur’an or of the Prophet’s teachings, but not clearly laid down in terms of law. In his commentary on this verse. Razi thus sums up the above view: “They say that every deduction by analogy is a conjectural process and is, therefore, of necessity, inadmissible [in matters pertaining to religion] – for ‘conjecture can never be a substitute for truth’.” (See also 5:101-102, and the corresponding notes 120-123.)
10:59 Say: “Have you ever considered all the means of sustenance which God has bestowed upon you from on high – and which you thereupon divide into ‘things forbidden’ and ‘things lawful?” Say: “Has God given you leave [to do this] – or do you, perchance, attribute your own guesswork to God?”
Lit., “but” (wa-lakin)- a stress on the impossibility of any assertion to the contrary.
10:60 But what do they think – they who attribute their own lying inventions to God – [what do they think will happen to them] on the Day of Resurrection? Behold, God is indeed limitless in His bounty unto men – but most of them are ungrateful.
The above passage has a twofold significance: firstly, the wisdom inherent in the Qur’an precludes any possibility of its having been composed by a human being; and, secondly, the Qur’anic message is meant to confirm, and give a final formulation to, the eternal truths which have been conveyed to man through a long succession of prophets: truths which have subsequently been obscured through wrong interpretation, deliberate omissions or interpolations, or a partial or even total loss of the original texts. For an explanation of the phrase ma bayna yadayhi, rendered by me in this context as “whatever there still remains [of earlier revelations]”.