Chapter Scripts

Surah Saba: 34:31-40

34:31 And [yet] those who are bent on denying the truth do say “We shall never believe in this Qur’an, and neither in whatever there still remains of earlier revelations!” But if thou couldst only see [how it will be on Judgment Day] when these evildoers shall be made to stand before their Sustainer, hurling reproaches back and forth at one another! Those [of them] who had been weak [on earth] will say unto those who had gloried in their arrogance, “Had it not been for you, we would certainly have been believers!”

Explanation

See 15:41 and the corresponding note 31.

34:32 [And] those who were wont to glory in their arrogance will say unto those who had been weak. “Why – did we keep you [forcibly] from following the right path after it had become obvious to you?” Nay, it was but you [yourselves] who were guilty!”

Explanation

i.e., anybody who would “mediate” between Him and any of His creatures. As is evident from the sequence (as well as from 17:56-57), this passage relates, in particular, to the attribution of divine or semi-divine qualities to saints and angels and to the problem of their “intercession” with God.

34:33 But those who had been weak will say unto those who had gloried in their arrogance “Nay, [what kept us away was your] devising of false arguments, night and day, [against God’s messages as you did] when you persuaded us to blaspheme against God and to claim that there are powers that could rival Him” And when they see the suffering [that awaits them], they will [all] be unable to express [the full depth of] their remorse, for We shall have put shackles around the necks of those who had been bent on denying the truth, [and] will this be aught but a [just] requital for what they were doing?

Explanation

Regarding the Qur’anic concept of “intercession”, see note 7 on 10:3. Cf. also 19:87 and 20:109.

34:34 For [thus it is] whenever We sent a warner to any community, those of its people who had lost themselves entirely in the pursuit of pleasures would declare “Behold, we deny that there is any truth in [what you claim to be] your message!” –

Explanation

Lit., “the truth” – i.e., whatever God decides regarding His grant or refusal of leave for intercession (which is synonymous with His redemptive acceptance or His rejection of the human being concerned) will conform with the requirements of absolute truth and justice (see note 74 on 19:87).

34:35 And they would add, “Richer [than you] are we in wealth and in children, and [so] we are not going to be made to suffer!”

Explanation

See note 49 on the first sentence of 10:31.

34:36 Say “Behold, my Sustainer grants abundant sustenance, or gives it in scant measure, unto whomever He wills, but most men do not understand [God’s ways].

Explanation

The Qur’anic answer to this ironic question is found in 7:187.

34:37 For, it is neither your riches nor your children that can bring you nearer to Us, Only he who attains to faith and does what is right and just [comes near unto Us], and it is [such as] these whom multiple recompenses awaits for all that they have done, and it is they who shall dwell securely in the mansions [of paradise]. 

Explanation

For my rendering of sa’ah (lit., “hour”) as “a single moment”, see surah 7, note 26.

34:38 Whereas all who strive against Our messages, seeking to defeat their purpose, shall be given over to suffering.

Explanation

For the rendering of ma bayna yadayhi, in relation to the Qur’an, as “whatever there still remains of earlier revelations”, see surah 3, note 3. As is evident from the preceding and subsequent verses, the rejection by “those who are bent on denying the truth” of all revelation is motivated by their refusal to believe in the resurrection and God’s judgment, and, hence, to admit the validity of absolute moral standards as postulated by every higher religion.

34:39 Say “Behold, my Sustainer grants abundant sustenance, or gives it in scant measure, unto whomever He wills of His servants, and whatever it be that you spend on others, He [always] replaces it, for He is the best of providers.”

Explanation

i.e., as the “intellectual leaders” of their community.

34:40 And [as for those who now deny the truth] one Day He will gather them all together, and will ask the angels “Was it you that they were wont to worship?”

Explanation

Lit., “did we keep you away from guidance after it had come to you?”

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