Tafseer Taha : Ayat 97-104

Link to video on Muslimmatters

Recap:

  • previously we talked about Musa a.s. returning to his people and discovering they were worshipping a calf and how enraged he was
  • he dealt with each party one at a time
  • first, he dealt with Ban Israel
  • then he addressed his brother
  • then he addressed Samiri
  • we see the care, diligence and attention to detail with which a prophet and messenger deals with in such a situation
  • how he evaluates one thing at a time and deals with one thing at a time
  • this shows you the حِلم(forbearance, calmness) and intelligence with which a prophet deals with an issue
  • so when Musa a.s. asked Samiri what happened, Samiri said that he took a handful of dirt from the footsteps of Jibril and threw it on the carved calf
  • when the heavenly and earthly combine, it produced a glittering, rumbling etc – Allah knows best what truly happened
  • in Ayat 97 Musa a.s. gives his verdict

 

Ayat 97

20:97
Sahih International

[Moses] said, “Then go. And indeed, it is [decreed] for you in [this] life to say, ‘No contact.’ And indeed, you have an appointment [in the Hereafter] you will not fail to keep. And look at your ‘god’ to which you remained devoted. We will surely burn it and blow it into the sea with a blast.

  • فَاذْهَبْ = Leave!
  • فَإِنَّ لَكَ فِي الْحَيَاةِ أَن تَقُولَ لَا مِسَاسَ= this is almost like an expression in Arabic “the only thing you have to look forward to in life right now is لاَ مِسَاس لاَ مِسَاس (don’t touch me don’t touch me)”
  • this is what Quran tells us
  • the hadeeth doesn’t explain in detail
  • but mufasiroon, maybe based on Israiliyaat, they mentioned some variations and possibilities

Possibilities:

  1. Samiri was struck with some kind of skin condition that was very disgusting and disturbing where no one would want to make contact or even come near to him
  2. when someone would come in contact with Samiri, he would become ill (kind of like allergic to human contact), so he himself was averse to having contact with another human ad would tell them to go away
  3. [strong possibility] he was being given the punishment of what we would call solitary confinement
  • Samiri told “Go, you are now supposed to live your life on your own because you have shown you cannot control yourself around others because look what you’ve done, you took thousands of people and led them astray, you can’t be trusted around people anymore.”
  • which one is true? Allah knows best
  • وَإِنَّ لَكَ مَوْعِدًا لَّن تُخْلَفَهُ = this is your punishment and you will not break this punishment. Allah will not allow you. You will be stricken down by Allah if you do
  • some tafaaseer mentions that based on some narration that Musa’s a.s. initial intent was to execute Samiri
  • Samiri corrupted the iman of these tens and thousands of people
  • but he himself was a very generous person who used to help the poor etc
  • based on this generosity, Allah told Musa a.s. to give him a bit of concession – Allah knows best
  • some say he was given 2 punishments :1. the “don’t touch” 2. in the hereafter
  • وَإِنَّ لَكَ مَوْعِدًا لَّن تُخْلَفَهُ => in the hereafter there will be punishment and will answer to Allah again for this act
  • Musa a.s. says to Samiri “وَانظُرْ إِلَىٰ إِلَٰهِكَ الَّذِي ظَلْتَ عَلَيْهِ عَاكِفًا” [look at your god that you stood there all day long, devoting yourself to]
  • ظَلْتَ is a type of verb meaning to spend the whole day doing something
  • عَاكِفًا – standing, spending time in worship
  • لَّنُحَرِّقَنَّهُ = look what we’ll do it to it now, we’ll burn it till there’s nothing left but ashes
  • ثُمَّ = after that
  • some scholars say, if this calf was made of precious metal, how do you burn it? Leave it in fire until nothing of value is left
  • some narration talks about how they took rocks and dirt and threw it on top of the fire so that the gold and silver would become diluted and so it would be dispersed among the rocks, then they can smash it into pieces
  • after this, لَنَنسِفَنَّهُ
  • نَسَفَ means to scatter, like if something is very light like duct particles, you toss them in the air and the wind disperses it everywhere
  • this word will come up again in ayat 105 in a powerful method
  • فِي الْيَمِّ =  into the ocean
  • نَسْفًا is مَفعُول مُطلَق for emphasis => we will completely scatter it bit by bit one handful at a time, in all four directions in the ocean so all the waves take all particles away so nothing was left of it in no shape or form
  • this is a lesson for Bani Israel, that this ocean they were saved from, and now they’re seeing the same ocean consuming what they had succumbed to worshiping that has been destroyed into little tiny pieces
  • this is a great lesson for them
  • now Musa a.s. starts rebuilding

 

Ayat 98

20:98
 Sahih International

Your god is only Allah , except for whom there is no deity. He has encompassed all things in knowledge.”

  • إِنَّمَا إِلَٰهُكُمُ اللَّهُ = your object of worship is ONLY and ONLY Allah
  •  الَّذِي لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ = the One Who there is absolutely nothing worthy of worship ever except for Him
  • there are a couple of things (rhetorically speaking) incorporated in this type of statement ;- نَفِي وَ إثبَات  to deconstruct and reconstruct
  1. Your God is ONLY Allah
  2. there is absolutely positively nothing worthy of worship except Him
  • what you need to wrap your mind around is Who is Allah? Allah is the only thing you need to worry about; how to dedicate worship Allah, nothing else matters to you right now
  • a glimpse of this Allah is :- وَسِعَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ = he has surrounded everything
  • عِلْمًا = through His knowledge
  • by means of Knowledge He has encompassed every single thing. nothing escaped command, grasp, power of Allah
  • this is end of the 2nd major portion of Surah Taha
  • this concludes the story of Musa a.s. in this surah
  • there are a few incidents that happened after this that are mentioned in other places in the Quran, but the ones mentioned here serves as lesson

 

 

Ayat 99

20:99
Sahih International

Thus, [O Muhammad], We relate to you from the news of what has preceded. And We have certainly given you from Us the Qur’an.

  • the last and 3rd portion of surah Taha begins
  • Allah smoothly transitions back to addressing Prophet saw
  • Surah Taha ends the way it began
  • the first 8 ayah was a consolation to prophet saw and to empower the believers of Muhammad saw. It ends in the same way
  • كَذَٰلِكَ نَقُصُّ = just like that/just like the aforementioned
  • when that is alluded to, it’s a way in classical Arabic to say ‘all of the above’ or ‘the aforementioned’
  • نَقُصُّ = we told in detail, not just to tell a story but to detail
  • at the same time, Allah addresses the fact that this is not told in story or novel but it is recounted to you, those steps  that was were taken millenia before you are retraced
  •   مِنْ أَنبَاءِ مَا قَدْ سَبَقَ = from the news of that which have passed
  • majority of surah Taha , We are recounting to you the news that has happened previously
  • Allah uses أَنبَاءِ for ‘news/story’
  • it is the plural of نَبَاء, which literally means news that is very important and relevant
  • that in itself answers this philosophical question about the Quran telling stories
  • the Quran tells stories in a relevant fashion and talks about the details of a story that are relevant to the situation/conversation at hand and never diverts away from this principle
  • it never tells a story for entertainment values
  • it tells it in a gripping, powerful way but entertainment is not the motivation
  •  وَقَدْ آتَيْنَاكَ =  most definitely We have granted
  • the word for ‘being given’ used here is إِتَا, not  إعطَا
  • إِتَا means very generous, benevolent, light granting
  • مِن لَّدُنَّا is a construction from classical Arabic meaning ‘especially  as a favor from Us’
  • ذِكْرًا = a reminder
  • the scholars are unanimously agreed that this word refers to the Quran

But there is a linguistic nuance here:-

  • it is in common form (نَكِرَة)
  • if it’s talking about the Quran, it’d be more befitting to say it as الذِّكرَى ‘the reminder’
  • why leave it common?
  • there are subtle benefits to leaving something ‘common’
  • to create more variety, versatility in something => it will serve as a reminder in different ways for different people, it will affect different people in different ways
  • every person will have a very unique relationship with Allah and book of Allah
  • we are the sum of our experiences
  • when we hear an ayaat of the Quran, it can affect us in unique ways
  • even though the word Quran is mentioned in this surah, multiple times even, so why is ذِكرَى used here?
  • because it is one of the main roles of the Quran in our lives, it will remind us and snap us back to reality
  • the Quran is also one of the greatest means and forms of remembrance of Allah
  • we should learn to use the Quran as a ,means of remembering Allah
  • this setting(Quran Summer Intensive course) is a very specific forum that is put together to discuss the meaning of the ayaat in-depth
  • but sometimes we are so affected by the circumstances we are in that sometimes it can skew our perception and understanding of something
  • when you are completely pulled in/engrossed to an environment that is built upon and thriving based on comprehension of the Quran, it can unfortunately lead someone to underestimate the importance of the other aspects of interacting with the Quran
  • people who engaged in the endeavor of understanding book of Allah can underestimate the importance of reciting, memorizing the book of Allah
  • we shouldn’t undermine any aspect of interaction with the Quran because it’s all a blessing
  • it should be a balanced approach
  • ritual routine of just reciting only is a problem but it is also a problem when people sit and philosophise about the Quran but won’t take time to recite the book of Allah
  • or if some people would sit and have intellectual conversations all day long but won’t bother to correct their recitation of surah fatihah
  • this shows the lack in our relationship with the Quran
  • we need a well-rounded relationship with the Quran
  • that’s why Allah refers to the Quran here as ذِكرَى
  • the segue from story of Musa a.s. to addressing the Prophet saw is that all these story that were being told to you is because history repeats itself and what you (saw) are dealing with is very similar to what Musa a.s. dealt with. And realize that just like how We took care of Musa a.s, We will take care of you and just like how Musa a.s had to manage his situation, you (saw) also will have to manage your situation
  • you can learn a lot, the opposition can learn a lot from reading and listening to the story

 

Ayat 100

20:100
Sahih International

Whoever turns away from it – then indeed, he will bear on the Day of Resurrection a burden,

  • but if someone doesn’t want to listen, don’t worry, they will only harm themselves by not doing so
  • مَّنْ أَعْرَضَ عَنْهُ = whosoever will intentionally will turn away from it (the reminder)
  • إعرَاض عَنِ شَيء = to intentionally ignore, neglect something
  • فَإِنَّهُ  = then most definitely that person
  • يَحْمِلُ = he will be carrying
  • يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ = on the day of resurrection
  • وِزْرًا refers to a very extremely heavy burden
  • the Quranic presentation of this word is that it presents this term always as a consequences of a person’s choice (bad decisions and choices)
  • the person who deliberately turns away from this reminder, that person will on the Day of Resurrection be carrying a very extremely heavy burden that will be the direct consequences of his own decisions and actions
  • Allah is telling the Prophet saw “you do what you got to and if someone chooses to ignore it, he will bear the burden of his own negligence, he’s on his own now”

Ayat 101

20:101
Sahih International

[Abiding] eternally therein, and evil it is for them on the Day of Resurrection as a load

  • خَالِدِينَ فِيهِ = for all eternity, this person will be in it
  • usually خَالِدِين is followed by فِيهَا because it’s usually referring to جَنَّة جَهَنَّم which are both feminine
  • but here is خَالِدِينَ فِيهِ
  • the pronoun هِ is referring to the weight that the person will be carrying
  • they will spend all of eternity shouldering and carrying this burden and this weight
  • it’s a burden and weight figuratively but Allah is saying it’s literally as well
  • they will carry a mountain on their shoulders forever
  • سَاءَ is a verb used to talk about how terrible something is
  • وَسَاءَ لَهُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ حِمْلًا = how terrible it is for these people to carrying this burden on that day
  • حَمَل means ‘to carry’
  • حِملُُ means the burden that you actually carry
  • that’s why it also means they will literally carry a burden
  • that’s why Allah uses the word حِمْلًا
  • which literally means يَحمِلُونَ اوزَارَهُم عَلى ظُهُورِهِم {they will be carrying something on their bodies/backs}
  • get the image of a prisoner that is shackled to a huge log and their arms are inside of it and around their neck and they will be made to walk with that, to keep them subdued, under control and as a form of torture
  • that will be the condition of those people

Ayat 102

20:102
Sahih International

The Day the Horn will be blown. And We will gather the criminals, that Day, blue-eyed.

  • in Ayat 101 and Ayat 100, Allah says يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ
  • now Allah is explaining what that is
  • يَوْمَ يُنفَخُ فِي الصُّورِ = it’s the day when the Horn will be sounded
  • there are narrations from Prophet saw that tells us who will be blowing the horn – Israfeel
  • there is a subtlety and deep profound wisdom in the Quran not talking about that
  • whenever the Quran talks about the horn being blown, it’s usually a direct address and a message delivered to the disbelievers especially those who don’t believe in the hereafter
  • they’re being told “you guys are nitpicking about small details, you know what, forget about that, just come to terms with the reality that on that day the horn will be sounded and everyone will be resurrected and will have to answer for what they brought forth in this life”
  • some mufasiroon also mentioned that sometimes when you hear a sound and you don’t know who is making it or where it’s coming from, it’s very frightening and nerve wrecking
  • Allah is saying that it’ll be terrifying and rip apart he hearts of the disbelievers, it’ll cause a panic and anxiety for them
  • حَشر is to gather something from different places and slowly bring it together in one central location
  • الْمُجْرِمِينَ = the criminals
  • زُرْقًا = comes from ازرَق which means ‘blue’ (the color)
  • “We will collect from all different places all the criminals in the condition that they will be blue”
  • in our social context, if we were to try to understand this, when someone is not feeling well or on brink of death, they often say “you look blue”, it’s a sign of illness, sickness
  • either it can be that when the horn will be blown and the people will be gathered, they will be frightened that they will turn blue literally
  • if we take it to the language itself, in classical Arabic, saying that someone is blue is an expression of speech alluded to their eyes being blue, meaning tat the pupil had disappeared and the eyes have rolled up into the back of the head and eyes turn white
  • it’s a sign of someone turning blind or severe panic
  • that’s the folklore among the Arabs that if someone had some type of condition of the eye where they didn’t have the pupil or it was faded and because of that they were blind, they say that something so traumatic happened that their eyes literally glazed over
  • this is expressed even in classical Arabic poetry as well :-
  • وَلِلبَخِيلِ عَلَى اموَالِهِ عِلَلُ زرُقُ العيُونِ عَلَيهَا اوجَهُ سُوَدُ = when somebody is stingy, when it comes to money, it makes him sick to his stomach (because he’s paranoid about it all the time ) his eyes will become blue, and his face will become downcast (lose the perk, happiness that a healthy person’s face has)

 

 

Ayat 103

20:103
Sahih International

They will murmur among themselves, “You remained not but ten [days in the world].”

  • اتَخَافُت = to speak very very quietly, to whisper to one another so you can’t be heard
  • they will be quietly whispering amongst each other
  • what are they whispering?
  • these people are gathered together, they’re shaking, frightened, lined up, then start to turn and whisper to each other “hey, do you know what’s going on?”
  • they say, “hey how long were we gone?” (since they left the world)
  • عَشْرًا = ‘maybe 10 days’ (at the most 10 days)
  • Surah muminoon tells us
  • 23:112
    Sahih International

    [ Allah ] will say, “How long did you remain on earth in number of years?”[Muminoon 23:112]

  • 23:113
    Sahih International

    They will say, “We remained a day or part of a day; ask those who enumerate.” [23:113]

  • “Go ask someone who’s counting, I don’t know..”
  • that time in grave will go by so quickly that it feels like that..
  • mufasiroon give another explanation (eye-opening about kufr and what it can do to the person):- the reason they will rationalize and negotiate “Maybe at the most it’s been 10 days’ because they are still not wiling while standing there, that there is a Day or Resurrection
  • “We’re maybe knocked out in a coma for 10 days, Look I’m still here, standing..”
  • in Surah Yasin,they say, “Who can bring back bones when it has become dust?”
  • Look at the kufr

 

Ayat 104

20:104
Sahih International

We are most knowing of what they say when the best of them in manner will say, “You remained not but one day.”

  • Someone sitting here might say”Come on, no one can be that stupid,” but Allah is saying “No, no, we know best what they will say. We’re telling you just how dark the heart of this person is.”
  • One person will say. Who is this person?
  • أَمْثَلُهُمْ  – the most exemplary,
  • طَرِيقَةً = most sophisticated
  • The most cultured amongst them will say “إِن لَّبِثْتُمْ إِلَّا يَوْمًا ” = You people were dumb, peasant, uneducated, simple-minded in the dunya and you still are like that today! You didn’t spend more than 1 day. We were gone for a day, folks!”
  • this is the most sophisticated amongst them talking
  • Allah is telling us that often times, the one who presents himself as the most sophisticated, as the standard in enlightenment and education tends to the densest of people and be those who are deepest in their kufr
  • look at the time of the Prophet saw, there were elite who were disbelievers but there were also the elites who were the strongest and darkest in their kufr (Abu Jahl, Abu Lahab)
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One thought on “Tafseer Taha : Ayat 97-104

  1. Thank you for writing such detailed notes. I was looking for the Detailed Tafseer for Ayaat 99-101. They are a reminder for everyone (especially for Muslims) to not neglect the Quran. And a warning that if we do so it will come as a big punishment/burden during the day of resurrection (our negligence of not reading and working on understanding the message of Quran). May Allah guide us all.

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