40:51 Behold, We shall indeed succor Our apostles and those who have attained to faith, [both] in this world’s life and on the Day when all the witnesses shall stand up.
Since, as the Qur’an so often points out, the fundamental truths set forth in all divine revelations are the same, a rejection of the last of them amounts to a rejection of all the preceding ones.
40:52 The Day when their excuses will be of no avail to the evildoers, seeing that their lot will be rejection from all that is good and a woeful hereafter.
For an explanation of the allegory of “shackles” and “chains”, see note 13 on 13:5, note 44 on the last but one sentence of 34:33, and notes 6 and 7 on 36:8.
40:53 And, Indeed, We bestowed aforetime [Our] guidance on Moses, and [thus] made the children of Israel heirs to the divine writ [revealed to him].
Thus Mujahid (as quoted by Tabari) explains the verb yusjarun. As regards my rendering of hamim as “burning despair”, see surah 6, note 62.
40:54 As a [means of] guidance and a reminder for those who were endowed with insight.
Lit., “we have not been invoking aforetime any [real] thing”: thus realizing, belatedly, the intrinsic nothingness of all those imaginary powers and values – including the belief in man’s alleged self-sufficiency and greatness – to which they paid homage in life.
40:55 Hence, remain thou patient in adversity – For, Verily, God’s promise always comes true – and ask forgiveness for thy sins, and extol thy Sustainer’s glory and praise by night and by day.
i.e., by allowing them to pursue illusions and foolish fancies in consequence of their unwillingness to acknowledge the self-evident truth of God’s existence and uniqueness and of man’s utter dependence on Him. For a discussion of the problem of God’s “letting” a sinner go astray, see note 4 on 14:4.
40:56 Behold, as for those who call God’s messages in question without having any evidence therefor – in their hearts is nothing but overweening self-conceit, which they will never be able to satisfy, seek thou, then, a refuge with God – For, Verily, He alone is All-Hearing, All-Seeing!
See the almost identical passage in 10:46, as well as the corresponding notes 66 and 67.
40:57 Greater indeed than the creation of man is the creation of the heavens and the earth, yet most men do not understand [what this implies].
i.e., in the Qur’an.
40:58 But [then] the blind and the seeing are not equal, and neither [can] they who have attained to faith and do good works and the doers of evil [be deemed equal]. How seldom do you keep this in mind!
See 6:109 – “Miracles are in the power of God alone” – and the corresponding note 94. Both passages (6:109 and the present one) relate to the futile demand of Muhammad’s opponents to be shown a miracle in proof of the divine origin of the Qur’an – the implication being that it is not God’s will to convince the deniers of the truth by means of what is commonly regarded as “miracles”.
40:59 Verily, the Last Hour is sure to come, of this, there is no doubt, yet most men will not believe it.
Lit., “when God’s command comes”, i.e., whether it be in this world or on the Day of Judgment: a reference to the retribution spoken of in verse 77 above.
40:60 But your Sustainer says, “Call unto Me, [and] I shall respond to you! Verily, they who are too proud to worship Me will enter hell, abased!”
i.e., in this case, divine revelation as such. For the above rendering of al-mubtilun, see note 47 on the last sentence of 29:48.