31:21 And when such [people] are told to follow that which God has bestowed from on high, they answer, “Nay, we shall follow that which we found our forefathers believing in and doing!” Why – [would you follow your forefathers] even if Satan had invited them unto the suffering of the blazing flame?
See note 91 on 2:112.
31:22 Now whoever surrenders his whole being unto God, and is a doer of good withal, has indeed taken hold of a support most unfailing,” For with God rests the final outcome of all events.
For the above rendering of la’in, see surah 30, note 45.
31:23 But as for him who is bent on denying the truth – let not his denial grieve thee, unto Us they must return, and then We shall make them [truly] understand all that they were doing [in life], For, Verily, God has full knowledge of what is in the hearts [of men].
i.e., they give the above answer unthinkingly, following a vague habit of thought, without realizing that cognition of God as the Ultimate Cause of all existence logically postulates one’s full surrender to Him, and to Him alone.
31:24 We will let them enjoy themselves for a short while – but in the end, We shall drive them into suffering severely.
31:25 And Thus, it is [with most people], if thou ask them, “Who is it that has created the heavens and the earth?” – they will surely answer, “God.” Say, “[Then you ought to know that] all praise is due to God!” – for most of them do not know [what this implies].
Cf. a similar passage in 18:109.
31:26 Unto God belongs all that is in the heavens and on earth. Verily, God Alone is Self-sufficient, the One to whom all praise is due!
i.e., in view of His almightiness, there is no difference between the creation and resurrection of many and of one, just as every single soul is as much within His ken as is all mankind.
31:27 And if all the trees on earth were pens, and the sea [were] ink, with seven [more] seas yet added to it, the words of God would not be exhausted, for, Verily, God is Almighty, Wise.
See note 5 on 13:2.
31:28 [For Him], the creation of you all and the resurrection of you all is but like [the creation and resurrection of] a single soul, for, Verily, God is All-Hearing, All-Seeing.
See su~rah 20, note 99.
31:29 Art thou not aware that it is God who makes the night grow longer by shortening the day, and makes the day grow longer by shortening the night, and that He has made the sun and the moon subservient [to His laws], each running its course for a term set [by Him] – and that God is fully aware of all that you do?
Cf. 17:67, as well as 29:65, which says – in a similar context – that “they [begin to) ascribe to imaginary powers a share in His divinity” (yushrikun). The parable of a storm at sea is, of course, a metonym applying to every kind of danger that may beset man in life.
31:30 Thus it is, because God alone is the Ultimate Truth so that all that men invoke instead of Him is sheer falsehood; and because God alone is exalted, Truly Great!
For instance, the self-deluding expectation, while deliberately committing a sin, that God will forgive it (Sa’id ibn Jubayr, as quoted by Tabari, Baghawi, Zamakhshari). According to Tabari, the term gharur denotes “anything that deludes” (ma gharra) a person in the moral sense, whether it be Satan, or another human being, or an abstract concept, or (as in 57:14) “wishful thinking”.
31:31 Art thou not aware how the ships speed through the sea by God’s favor, so that He might show you some of His wonders? Herein, behold, there are messages indeed for all who are wholly patient in adversity and deeply grateful [to God].
This relates not merely to the problem of the sex of the as yet unborn embryo, but also to the
question of whether it will be born at all, and if so, what its natural endowments and its character will be, as well as what role it will be able to play in life; and life itself is symbolized by the preceding mention of rain, and the end of all life in this world, by the mention of the Last Hour.
31:32 For [thus it is with most men] when the waves engulf them like shadows [of death], they call unto God, sincere [at that moment] in their faith in Him alone, but as soon as He has brought them safely ashore, some of them stop half-way [between belief and unbelief]. Yet none could knowingly reject Our messages unless he be utterly perfidious.
31:33 O Men! Be conscious of your Sustainer, and stand in awe of the Day on which no parent will be of any avail to his child, nor a child will in the least avail his parent! Verily, God’s promise [of resurrection] is true indeed, let not, then, the life of this world delude you, and let not [your own] deceptive thoughts about God delude you!
Lit., “after that”.
31:34 Verily, with God Alone, rests the knowledge of when the Last Hour will come, and He [it is who] sends down rain, and He [alone] knows what is in the wombs, whereas no one knows what he will reap tomorrow, and no one knows in what land he will die. Verily, God [Alone] is All-Knowing, All-Aware.