Chapter Scripts

Surah You’nas: 10:71-80

10:71 And Convey unto them the story of Noah – when he said unto his people: “O my people! If my presence [among you] and my announcement of God’s messages are repugnant to you – well, in God have I placed my trust. Decide, then, upon what you are going to do [against me], and [call to your aid] those beings to whom you ascribe a share in God’s divinity, and once you have chosen your course of action, let no hesitation deflect you from it; and then carry out against me [whatever you may have decided], and give me no respite!


Lit., “What [part] thereof might the people lost in sin (al-mujrimun) wish to hasten” – meaning, according to Zamakhshari, that “all of [God’s] chastisement is awful and bitter, and should inspire one with the desire to flee therefrom;… and there is nothing in it that ought to make one wish to hasten it”. This is an allusion to the incredulous inquiry of the deniers of the truth about the coming of the Last Hour (verse 48 above), as well as to their sarcastic demand that they should be immediately chastised by God in proof of Muhammad’s prophetic mission (cf. 6:57-58 and 8:32, as well as the corresponding notes).- The expression “by night or by day” occurring in the preceding sentence denotes the suddenness and unexpectedness with which doom is bound to encompass the evildoers on the Day of Judgment.

10:72 But if you turn away [from the message which I bear, remember that] I have asked no reward whatever of you: my reward rests with none but God, for I have been bidden to be among those who have surrendered themselves unto Him.”


I.e., “when it is too late” (Tabari, Zamakhshari, Razi; my interpolation at the beginning of this sentence is based on these authorities).

10:73 And yet they gave him the lie! And so We saved him and all who stood by him, in the ark, and made them inherit [the earth], the while We caused those who gave the lie to Our messages to drown: behold, then, what happened in the end to those people who had been warned [in vain]!


Lit., “Are you being requited for anything but for what you were wont to earn?

10:74 And Then, after him, We sent forth [other] apostles – each one unto his own people – and they brought them all evidence of the truth; but they would not believe in anything to which they had once given the lie: thus it is that We seal the hearts of such as [are wont to] transgress the bounds of what is right.


Lit., “they” – i.e., those of the unbelievers who are wavering in their agnosticism and – as mentioned in verse 36 above – “follow nothing but conjecture”.

10:75 And after those [earlier prophets] We sent Moses and Aaron with Our messages unto Pharaoh and his great ones: but they gloried in their arrogance, for they were people lost in sin.


In this instance, by deliberately giving the lie to the Prophet and rejecting the message of the Qur’an.

10:76 And so, when the truth came to them from Us, they said, “Behold, this is clearly nothing but sorcery!”


Cf. 3 : 91 and the corresponding note 71.

10:77 Said Moses: “Do you speak thus of the truth after it has been brought to you? Can this be sorcery? But sorcerers can never come to a happy end!”


The primary meaning of the verb asarrahu is “he concealed it” or “he kept it secret”; thus, the phrase asarru ‘n-nadamah (expressed in the past tense but in the above context obviously denoting a future event) could be rendered as “they will conceal their remorse”. In view, however, of the many statements in the Qur’an that on the Day of Judgment the sinners will not only not conceal but will, rather, stress their remorse, some of the commentators (e.g., Baghawi, on the authority of Abu ‘Ubaydah) are of the opinion that in this particular verse the verb asarra denotes the opposite of its primary meaning and, accordingly, interpret the phrase as “they will manifest their remorse”. But the linguistic validity of this rather forced interpretation has been emphatically contested by many philologists, and particularly by Abu Mansur al-Azhari (cf. Lane IV, 1337); and since there is no convincing reason to disregard the original significance of the verb asarra with its implication of “concealment”, the above Qur’anic phrase must be understood (as Zamakhshari understands it), in the metonymical sense of an involuntary “concealment”, that is, the sinners’ inability to express the full depth of their remorse.

10:78 [The great ones] replied: “Hast thou come to turn us away from what we found our forefathers believing in and doing, so that the two of you might become supreme in this land? However, we do not believe in you two!” 

Lit., “you shall be brought back” – for, “all that exists goes back to Him [as its source]”

10:79 And Pharaoh commanded: “Bring before me every sorcerer of great knowledge!”

i.e., a remedy for all that is contrary to truth and moral good.

10:80 And when the sorcerers came, Moses said unto them: “Throw whatever you may [wish to] throw!”

This connects with the statement, in verse 57, that the Qur’an offers to man complete guidance towards the good life and spiritual fulfilment in this world, and happiness in the life to come. As already mentioned in surah 2, note 4, the term rizq connotes all that may be good and useful to man, be it of a physical nature (in the conventional sense of “means of sustenance”) or belonging to the realm of the mind (like reason, knowledge, etc.) or of the spirit (like faith, kindness, patience, etc.). Thus, it applies exclusively to positive, beneficial means of sustenance, and never to things or phenomena which are morally reprehensible and/or physically or socially injurious.


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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