Chapter Scripts

Surah Ash-Shura 42:41-53

42:41 Yet indeed, as for any who defend themselves after having been wronged – no blame whatever attaches to them. 

Explanation

i.e., in this context, such as succumbing to the temptation of indulging in undue acts of revenge against their former oppressors.

42:42 Blame attaches but to those who oppress [other] people and behave outrageously on earth, offending against all right, for them, there is grievous suffering in store!

Explanation

Cf. 41:34-35, as well as note 44 on 13:22.

42:43 But withal, if one is patient in adversity and forgives – this, behold, is indeed something to set one’s heart upon!

Explanation

See note 4 on 14:4.

42:44 And [thus it is] he whom God lets go astray has henceforth no protector whatever, and so thou wilt see such evildoers [on Judgment Day, and wilt hears how] they exclaim as soon as they behold the suffering [that awaits them], “Is there any way of return?”

Explanation

Although this is primarily a reference to “those who oppress [other] people and behave outrageously on earth, offending against all right” (verse 42 above), the meaning of the term is general, applying to all kinds of deliberate evildoers.

42:45 And thou wilt see them exposed to that [doom], humbling themselves in abasement, looking [around] with a furtive glance – the while those who had attained to faith will say, “Verily, lost on [this] Day of Resurrection are they who have squandered their own and their followers’ selves!” Oh, Verily, the evildoers will fall into long-lasting suffering. 

Explanation

i.e., a “second chance” on earth: cf. 6:27-28.

42:46 And will have no protector whatever to succor them against God, for he whom God lets go astray shall find no way [of escape].

Explanation

The term ahl denotes primarily the “people” of one town, country, or family, as well as the “fellow-members” of one race, religion, profession, etc. In its wider, ideological sense it is applied to people who have certain characteristics in common, e.g., ahl al-‘ilm (“people of knowledge”, i.e., scholars), or who follow one and the same persuasion or belief, e.g., ahl al-kitab (“the followers of [earlier] revelation”), ahl al-Qur’an (“the followers of the Qur’an”), and so forth. Since, as has been pointed out in note 44, the above passage refers primarily – though not exclusively – to the tyrants and oppressors spoken of in verse 42, the term ahluhum evidently connotes “their followers”. Thus, the above sentence implies that every kind of evildoing (zulm), and particularly the oppression of others, inevitably results in a spiritual injury to, and ultimately the self-destruction of, its perpetrators and/or their followers.

42:47 [Hence, O men] respond to your Sustainer before there comes, at God’s behest, a Day on which there will be no turning back, [for] on that Day you will have no place of refuge, and neither will you be able to deny aught [of the wrong that you have done].

Explanation

Lit., “from God”.

42:48 But if they turn away [from thee, O Prophet, know that] We have not sent thee to be their keeper, thou art not bound to do more than deliver the message [entrusted to thee]. And, behold, [such as turn away from Our messages are but impelled by the weakness and inconstancy of human nature: thus] when We give a man a taste of Our grace, he is prone to exult in it; but if misfortune befalls [any of] them in a result of what their own hands have sent forth, then, behold, a man shows how bereft he is of all gratitude!

Explanation

This interpolation – necessary for a proper understanding of the context – is based on Razi’s convincing explanation of how this passage connects with the preceding one. Man is, as a rule, absorbed in the pursuit of material goods and comforts, the achievement of which he identifies with “happiness”; hence, he pays but scant attention to spiritual aims and values, and the more so if he is called upon to abandon his selfish pursuits in favor of the – to him as yet hypothetical – life in the hereafter.

42:49 God’s alone is the dominion over the heavens and the earth. He creates whatever He wills, He bestows the gift of female offspring on whomever He wills, and the gift of male offspring on whomever He wills. 

Explanation

i.e., when God bestows on him a measure of material benefits, man tends to exult in this “success” as such, attributing it exclusively to his own ability and cleverness (cf. the first sentence of 41:50).

42:50 Or He gives both male and female [to whomever He wills], and causes to be barren whomever He wills: for, verily, He is all-knowing, infinite in His power.

Explanation

i.e., instead of remembering his past happiness with gratitude, he calls the very existence of God in question, arguing that if God did really exist, He “could not possibly have permitted” so much misfortune and unhappiness to prevail in the world: a fallacious argument inasmuch as it does not take the reality of the hereafter into account and is, moreover, based on a concept of God in terms of purely human feelings and expectations.

42:51 And it is not given to mortal man that God should speak unto him otherwise than through sudden inspiration, or [by a voice, as it were] from behind a veil, or by sending an apostle to reveal, by His leave, whatever He wills [to reveal], For, Verily, He is Exalted, Wise.

Explanation

The purport of this passage is a re-affirmation of the fact that whatever happens to a man is an outcome of God’s unfathomable will: a fact which is illustrated in the sequence by the most common, recurrent phenomenon in man’s life – the unpredictability of male or female births, as well as of barrenness: and so, too, God’s bestowal of worldly happiness and unhappiness cannot be measured or predicted in terms of what man may regard as his “due”.

42:52 And thus, too, [O Muhammad] have We revealed unto thee a life-giving message, [coming] at Our behest. [Ere this message came unto thee] thou didst not know what revelation is, nor what faith [implies], but [now] We have caused this [message] to be a light, whereby We guide whom We will of Our servants, And, Verily, [on the strength thereof] thou, too, shalt guide [men] onto the straightway. 

Explanation

This is the primary meaning of wahy, a term which combines the concepts of suddenness and inner illumination (Raghib); in the usage of the Qur’an, it is often, though by no means always, synonymous with “revelation”. – The above passage connects with the first paragraph of verse 48, which speaks of the divine message entrusted to the Prophet.

42:53 The way that leads to God, to whom all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth belongs. Oh, Verily, with God is the beginning and the end of all things!

Explanation

Cf. 53:10.

Back to top button