Tafseer Taha : Ayat 105-111

 

Link to video on Muslimmatters

Recap:

  • previously we talked about transition from story of Musa a.s. to addressing Prophet saw
  • and how Surah Taha started with consoling Prophet saw and the believers and ending the same way
  • it is also Allah empowering the believers at that time
  • important to know the historical context so we can appreciate the tone of the Surah
  • the aggression is slowly increasing, violence starting to occur
  • when many of them pushed to the limit and this is when Allah comforts them in this manner
  • we can learn a lot from that
  • we have challenges living according to Quran and sunnah, but when we deal with that difficulty we have to keep this counsel in consideration
  • Allah talks about accountability and then about Day of Judgment

 

 

Ayat 105

20:105
Sahih International

And they ask you about the mountains, so say, “My Lord will blow them away with a blast.

  • وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ => this phrase repeats itself in the Quran many times in different forms
  • another word often-times used => وَيَستَفتُونَكَ = they seek verdict from you
  • also وَيَستَنبُِونَكَ =- they seek from you the news about something
  • whenever Allah uses وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ , it means that they don’t know anything about this at all, so give them basic knowledge about the matter
  • it can be used about a group of people pretending not to know about something and they’re asking to mock about subject matter
  • وَيَستَفتُونَكَ means that maybe there’s a couple of different opinions with regards to this and they’re seeking what’s the best way of taking care of this issue
  • e.g. in Surah An Nisaa :- وَيَسْتَفْتُونَكَ فِي النِّسَاءِ [they ask you with regards to women (how to go about in dealing with women, ‘because we see different practices’] [An Nisaa 4:127]
  • 4:127
    Sahih International

    And they request from you, [O Muhammad], a [legal] ruling concerning women. Say, ” Allah gives you a ruling about them and [about] what has been recited to you in the Book concerning the orphan girls to whom you do not give what is decreed for them – and [yet] you desire to marry them – and concerning the oppressed among children and that you maintain for orphans [their rights] in justice.” And whatever you do of good – indeed, Allah is ever Knowing of it.

  • e.g. Surah An Nisaa :- يَسْتَفْتُونَكَ قُلِ اللَّهُ يُفْتِيكُمْ فِي الْكَلَالَةِ = [they ask about how to deal someone who doesn’t have any heirs] [An Nisaa 4:176]
  • 4:176
    Sahih International

    They request from you a [legal] ruling. Say, ” Allah gives you a ruling concerning one having neither descendants nor ascendants [as heirs].” If a man dies, leaving no child but [only] a sister, she will have half of what he left. And he inherits from her if she [dies and] has no child. But if there are two sisters [or more], they will have two-thirds of what he left. If there are both brothers and sisters, the male will have the share of two females. Allah makes clear to you [His law], lest you go astray. And Allah is Knowing of all things.

  • وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ => we don’t know what to do with this at all, please enlighten us about it
  • وَيَستَنبُِونَكَ is when they’re actually seeking information [Give us more info on this topic and subject]
  • the subject matter is still the Day of Judgment, but now the tone is more of interaction
  • “You told them oh messenger about the basic ayaat We gave you informing of Day of  Judgment, but now they’re coming to you saying ‘We don’t know what you were talking about, so tell us what is this Hereafter, Day of Resurrection'”
  • it can be said to mock but it also shows some interaction
  • here they are asking => وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْجِبَالِ
  • that’s a very specific question
  • the Prophet saw is telling them there is Day of Judgment etc and all they’re asking is what about the mountains?
  • Prophet saw when telling them of the Day od Judgment, he was telling them that life as they know it will cease to exist, and in telling them that, they say “ok well humans die as it is…people live people die, plants, trees, they come and go to, so far you’re making sense, but one place we can’t agree with is the mountains. What about the mountains? Sorry, this is not something you can explain to us.”
  • Zuhayr (one of famous poets of the Jahiliyah era) said “الاَ ارَا عَلى الحَوَدِثِ بَاقِيَه وَلاَ خَلِدَا إلاَّ الجِبَالِ الرَوَاسِيَه ” [I can grasp things come and go (I can deal with that, I agree with that, nothing remains forever) except for the major mountains]
  • the mountains were a huge fascination of the Arabs
  • the Quran talks about them in a captivating manner
  • the mountains are the pegs that hold the earth in place so the earth wouldn’t sway [وَلجِبَالَ اوتَادَ….أن تَمِيدَبِكُم]
  • drawing a parallel => lesson for us
  • there’s always gonna be something somebody’s going to object to whether it’s about something about the world we live in or different elements of science or evolution or objections to what we believe and how we believe
  • we shouldn’t be frazzled and fazed by these questions [“Oh my god! they’re asking this question!] of course they are…all it tells you is that you have their attention
  • rather this is an opportunity to engage and dialogue
  • a question is part of an intelligent dialogue, it shouldn’t intimidate us
  • Allah use present future tense (فِعل مُضَارِع), and this indicates that they do/will continue to ask
  • the form of the verb alludes to and implies that an action continues to happen
  • they will continue to ask you about the mountains
  • so you answer them in response = فَقُلْ
  • whenever a question is asked in this manner, the Prophet saw is given the response to say this to them, it’s typically followed by the command قُل with the فَ added to it
  • here Allah adds the فَ though
  • scholars of classical Arabic say that it’s added here to add the element that this question is being posed that even if they’re not asking you(Prophet saw) now, they will ask you this question later on or very soon, so don’t be upset/caught off guard/frazzled when they do ask you this question, and when they do, you say….
  • يَنسِفُهَا رَبِّي نَسْفًا = he scatters them into the wind
  • نَسَف is when something is very light and picked up and thrown into the air all over the place
  • نَسْفًا= , a complete scattering, when there will be literally nothing left of them
  • this is a very powerful way Allah present the imagery to us
  • in other places in the Quran, Allah talks about :-
  •   the mountains on that day will be like carded wool/cotton ripped apart =وَتَكُونُ الجِبَالُ كَلعِهنِ المَنفُوش
  •  the mountains will literally move, rolling around (like tumbleweed) = وَتَسِيرُ الجِبَال سَيرَا
  • in some other places it will be tossed around scattered like dust
  • so which one is it?
  • this is Quran elaborating itself
  • Quran is showing you the different stages
  • the mountains will go from what you see them today (huge pegs that keep the earth in place, this immovable force) to being ripped apart like cotton, blown through the wind and then blown so far like ashes thrown and spread about
  • reflection => why is Quran spending so much time talking about mountains? Aren’t there more important things to talk about?
  • because sometimes analogies are very powerful means of education, getting message across
  • when you don’t speak to someone directly and give them analogy instead, you’re teaching them something by giving them an example, you’re giving them a visual they can ponder on, it’s less aggressive and not as offensive, so a person tends to not feel so defensive in this regard
  • see the methodology given to us in the Quran
  • the Prophet saw is being instructed on how to dialogue with these people

 

 

Ayat 106

20:106
Sahih International

And He will leave the earth a level plain;

  • the dhameer هَا comes back to talk about the earth
  • when you have a pronoun, you need to have the thing that it goes back to, a مَرجَع
  • but, the earth hasn’t been talked about here ?
  • this is from balaghah that when you talk about something obvious you can refer to it with a pronoun
  • this is a habit of the Arabs
  • it’s understood
  • if you’re talking about mountains, mountains sit on top of the earth, and that is the connection that Allah makes in the Quran, so it’s obvious what is being spoken about
  • to mention the earth explicitly would be to state something that has been stated, and that would be a deficiency in speech, and this is very eloquent speech
  • when you tell someone about something obvious, they might say “Yeah, yeah I get it, go ahead.”
  • some things don’t need to be prefaced and this is one of them
  • فَيَذَرُهَا = He will leave it (earth)
  • قَاعًا صَفْصَفًا
  • القِيعةُ = a plain, no elevation nor depression
  • it will be a vast stretch of land
  • it’s very powerful for the Arabs at that time where there are mountains all around
  • Allah already said previously in Ayat 102 “You’ll gather together in a central location al the criminals”
  • if there are mountains, valleys, someone may be able to hide, but no, this is a central location, a plain, nowhere to hide
  • صَفْصَفًا = > maybe the earth is flat, but maybe there are man-made structures?  but Allah says صَفْصَفًا => it will be completely clear and empty
  • you hear the repetition in this word صَفْصَفًا
  • this type of repetition is either because it occurs over and over again like يُوَسوِسُ، وَسوَسَ or for emphasis, “no  matter how far you walk, there will be nothing”
  • then Allah further elaborates

 

Ayat 107

20:107
Sahih International

You will not see therein a depression or an elevation.”

  • Allah gives a different perspective though
  • لَّا تَرَىٰ فِيهَا = you will not be able to see in it (that land)
  • عِوَجًا = no type of crookedness (an Arabic expression for valleys because often times they twist and wind
  • امَت in Arabic language refers to an elevation, protrusion, something that protrudes from the plain
  • further Allah elaborates
  • it’s not redundant
  • now He’s telling you that you can imagine yourself standing out there looking and you can see nothing
  • this is very shocking to the Arabs at that time
  • if these natural structures on the earth will be gone, then what about you human being? you think you can stand up against this power that can cause mountains to scatter in the dust?

 

Ayat 108

20:108
Sahih International

That Day, everyone will follow [the call of] the Caller [with] no deviation therefrom, and [all] voices will be stilled before the Most Merciful, so you will not hear except a whisper [of footsteps].

  • يَوْمَئِذٍ يَتَّبِعُونَ = on that day they will be following
  • إتِّبَاع means to follow very closely, to tailgate someone
  • on that day they will very closely following
  • this is an expression of how obediently, quietly, properly, appropriately they will follow
  • Who will they follow? الدَّاعِيَ =  the caller, summoner
  • head down, one foot in front of the other, they will be following very quietly obediently very close
  • this is an image that is provided in other places in the Quran :-
  • وَسِيقَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُو = the people who disbelieved will be led like animals
  • إلَى جَهَنَّمَ زُمَرََا = to the fire of hell in groups
  • [line A, line B, line C, line D, etc..line up properly and then they will be led]
  • لَا عِوَجَ لَهُ = there will be no deviation from this following (they won’t look right, left, stop over for a drink of water, no distraction but total focus. All focus they should have in dunya but refuse to have, they will have it on that day)
  • the same people who refuse to follow and thought it was beneath them to follow, on that day they will be lining up and following very properly obediently
  • they will be carrying this burden on their backs (as mentioned before) Allah had just spoken about it
  • too little too late
  • there is an ayat in Quran that talks about this in surah Fussilat
  • they will try to gain some favor from Allah on that day and present themselves to be very obedient on that day => too late
  • 41:24
    Sahih International

    So [even] if they are patient, the Fire is a residence for them; and if they ask to appease [ Allah ], they will not be of those who are allowed to appease.[Fussilat 41:24]

  • وَخَشَعَتِ الْأَصْوَاتُ لِلرَّحْمَٰنِ = on that day the voice will shake and tremble for the sake of Ar Rahmaan
  • فَلَا تَسْمَعُ إِلَّا هَمْسًا = you will hear nothing except like murmuring
  • the voice is
  • this is one of the ayaat that helps us understand the meaning of khushu in salah => for something to shake and tremble
  • they won’t be able to steady their voice, this will be because of in front of Ar Rahmaan
  • this is a scary scene, so why does it describe Allah here with quality of AR Rahmaan?
  • they will be reminded that He is Ar Rahmaan and His Rahmaah was very manifest in your life and experience of the world but you chose to ignore disregard and discard everything and now you’re in this condition where you are being humbled
  • you had a chance
  • you still are dealing with Ar Rahmaan but you chose to take advantage of this
  • Allah didn’t just want to punish you, Allah gave you every opportunity, Allah blessed and had mercy on you, you put yourself in this situation
  • this is the same people who used to come to Prophet saw and say “When is this big promise coming if you’re truthful! Oohh…”
  • they used to be arrogant, they would mock Allah, Messengers of Allah, life of the hereafter
  • now they’ll barely be able to talk
  • Quran talks about قُلُوب الحَنَاجِر (hearts will be stuck in their throats)
  • هَمْسًا => even the enunciation tells you a lot about the meaning
  • it begins with a throat letter ه, the deepest of the throat letter, comes from the lowest part of the throat [ادنَى الحَلَق], for us it’s almost like coming from the chest
  • the voice won’t be able to leave their throats, it’s just like murmuring

 

 

Ayat 109

20:109
Sahih International

That Day, no intercession will benefit except [that of] one to whom the Most Merciful has given permission and has accepted his word.

  • if these people themselves are stuck, no one else to turn to, no way of getting out of this situation, the fall back situation might be …
  • maybe there is someone else who can help me in this situation, who can get me out
  • you start looking for the hook-up then
  • well, it won’t be family => Abasa 80:34-37
  • 80:34
    Sahih International

    On the Day a man will flee from his brother

  • 80:35
    Sahih International

    And his mother and his father

  • 80:36
    Sahih International

    And his wife and his children,

  • 80:37
    Sahih International

    For every man, that Day, will be a matter adequate for him.

  • there is a hadeeth where Prophet saw talks about that even messengers and prophets will say نَفسِي نَفسِي (myself myself)
  • the narration actually says, “Allah is angrier today than we’ve ever seen Him before.”
  • نَفسِي نَفسِي = > “I’ve got me to worry about. You’re on your own, pal.”
  • a person’s first reaction when Allah will hold him accountable..:-
  • he will look to his right, he will see nothing but his own actions blocking him off
  • then he will look to his left, he will see his action
  • then he looks back in front of him and he will see the fire of hell literally touching his face
  • this is the reality of that situation
  • so a person’s natural reaction will be “who can get me out of this situation?”
  • so on that day …يَوْمَئِذٍ لَّا تَنفَعُ الشَّفَاعَةُ =  intercession will not help, no hook up on that day, no free passes on that day
  •  إِلَّا = except for
  • first of all we’re all accountable for ourselves
  • the general rule is that there is no intercession unless 3 conditions
  • there is only 1 exception to intercession with 3 conditions, so it’ a very rare thing
  • Allah is uprooting a preconceived incorrect notion the Arabs had
  • the things that they associate to Allah and saw them as godlings who worked under the Supreme Allah , or at the very least they saw them as intermediaries
  • مَا نَعبُدُهُم إلاَّ لِيُقَرِّبُونَ إلى الّلَهِ زُلفَى = “We don’t worship them except that they bring us closer to Allah as intermediaries”
  • so Allah is completely destroying this notion/idea
  • Allah is saying intercession is not helpful except in 1 case that has 3 conditions
  • lesson for us:- whatever little narrations we have about intercession, we take that and go way to far with it, whether with regards to Prophet saw
  • none of this conversation is disrespectful to Prophet saw
  • there is too much emotional rhetoric in this conversation
  • this is a technical issue about aqeedah, there should be no emotional rhetoric
  • “Oh You’re saying Rasulullah saw isn’t beloved to Allah??!!” No
  • when Rasulullah saw talks about huffadh of the Quran interceding on some people’s behalf, that’s taken way out of context and taken too far, like it’s a free pass, make a son a haafidh “I’ve got one back up plan”
  • that’s the attitude
  • Quranic context and even from Prophet saw :=>
  • the only place/situation/person who will be allowed to intercede on someone else’s behalf will be only if 3 conditions are met
  • mentioned in surah Anbiyaa
  • then it’s repeated in other places in the Quran and in the sunnah

3 conditions:

  1. Intercessor[شَفِيع] pre-approved :- whoever is interceding has to be given permission by Allah
  2. What is interceded for [شَفَعَه] pre-approved :- Allah is pleased/approved for him the word (what/how he will say, what he’s interceding for)
  3. One for whom intercession is done[مُشَفَّع] pre-approved :- mentioned in Anbiyaa [21:28]
    21:28
    Sahih International

    He knows what is [presently] before them and what will be after them, and they cannot intercede except on behalf of one whom He approves. And they, from fear of Him, are apprehensive.

    • who is then actually granting blessing to this person? ALLAH
    • people fail to understand the significance of intercession
    • this is what connects the dots right here
    • this is what solves that emotional response as well
    • reality of intercession :- aside from the benefit that person is getting (one for whom it’s done), the purpose of intercession is to honor that person who is allowed to intercede
    • e.g. if the hafidh of the Quran is interceding [hadith in Tirmidhi] on behalf of someone from his family, the family member who is being taken out of hellfire and being put in jannah, Allah had already decreed this for that person, probably due to that person’s involvement in this hafidh’s memorization
    • it’s to give a ‘shout out’ to that hafidh of the Quran
    • it’s how you show respect to someone, to show him some love
    • it’s more to honor the intercessor, not the intercessee
    • that’s how intercessor works
    • Allah had intended to forgive that person
    • this is just prestige and respect being shown to the person who steps up and asks for intercession
    • this is also established through that hadith of intercession of the Prophet saw, that the greatest intercession of Prophet saw is to commence the proceedings on the Day of Judgment
    • when people are gathered on that field, drowning in their own sweat, wishing they die than stand that wait
    • that’s how terrible it will be
    • they will go from prophet to prophet asking for them to ask Allah to start the reckoning
    • finally they go to Muhammad saw and he (saw) will go to Allah and he (saw) will praise Allah with praises never imagined (divinely inspired by Allah), he (saw) will beg and plead and fall in sajdah before Allah and he will say “Oh Allah please have mercy, امَّتِي امَّتِي يَا رَبّ امَّتِي” At that time the Prophet saw will display the love that Allah has for him(saw). Allah will say ”  يَا هَبِيب إرفَع رَأسِك (Oh my beloved raise up your head.) You ask and it’ll be given.  وَاشفَع تُشَفَّع(You intercede however you want and your intercession will be accepted.)”
    • then the Prophet saw will ask to commence the proceedings. He (saw) didn’t forget us on that day. He said, “Look for me in 3 places, I’ll be there to help you out”
    • this is honor granted to prophet saw. that in itself says a lot

    3 places:

    • when you cross the sirat and you have trouble, I’ll be there to help you
    • when the deeds are being weighed, look for me
    • look for me at the fountain of Al Kauthar, I’ll be waiting there for you, to serve you water with my own hands

     

 

Ayat 110
20:110
Sahih International

Allah knows what is [presently] before them and what will be after them, but they do not encompass it in knowledge.

  • Allah now explains why the concept of intercession that the mushrikoon (and even people today still have) have, is wrong
  • يَعْلَمُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْ = He completely knows that which lie ahead of them and what they have done in their past (left behind them) => Allah knows everything a person will do and has done
  •  وَلَا يُحِيطُونَ بِهِ عِلْمًا = they cannot surround Allah in terms of knowledge (an expression that means they don’t have the knowledge of Allah and don’t know more than Allah)
  • if you try to attribute the power of intercession beyond what we talked about, then someone bad, the intercessor will “No, No, let this person go ..I’ll tell you why!”
  • do they think they know something awesome about this person that Allah doesn’t already know about?!
  • so what are they really talking about? do they realize how foolish what they claim is?

 

Ayat 111
20:111
Sahih International

And [all] faces will be humbled before the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of existence. And he will have failed who carries injustice.

  • وَعَنَتِ الْوُجُوهُ لِلْحَيِّ الْقَيُّومِ ۖ = the faces have been completely humiliated and debased for Allah al hayy al qayyoom
  • عَنَت is the feminine form of the past tense verb but root letters are ع ن و
  •    عَنَى يَعنُو means for something to be completely humiliated and debased
  • these people have been debased, humbled to this extent but why does Allah specifically talk about the faces?
  • because the honor and dignity of a human is in the face of that person
  • this is his identity, how he presents himself, the beauty and respect of the human, from what people can see from the outside
  • even spiritually it’s the honor of the human, that’s why we put this face in sujud to Allah
  • لِلْحَيِّ= the ever-living
  • الْقَيُّومِ = comes from قِيَام
  • قَيِّم is one who maintains, keeps something standing
  • الْقَيُّومِ is one who keeps everything constantly standing all the time
  • there are some attributes of Allah that have pairs : المُعز المُذِل المُؤَخِّر المُقَدِّم…
  • there are some that don’t have pairs and that’s very interesting because that tells you a lot about Allah
  • there is no opposite for لِلْحَيِّ
  • scholars mention why these 2 attributes mentioned here :- the wrong understanding of the mushrikoon was that, fine, Allah is there but all these other gods are also there that have been given responsibility by Allah
  • but no, لِلْحَيِّ , Allah is ever living and الْقَيُّومِ, Allah doesn’t need any help maintaining anything and He will maintain everything forever
  • خَابَ comes from a root word that means to fail
  • it’s a word that means for something to be completely empty, devoid of anything good
  • in classical Arabic, الخَوبَة  used to be a stretch of land where it never rains, so nothing grows and no one lives, a completely deserted patch of land where nothing lives
  • that person will be completely devoid of any khayr
  • who is this person? whoever carried wrong
  • ظُلم in its root means ‘to misappropriate something, put something where it doesn’t belong”
  • that’s why sinning is called ظُلم
  • because you misappropriate blessings to disobey Allah
  • darkness is called ظُلم because you feel out of place, you don’t know where things are and don’t know where they go
  • shirk is called  ظُلم because you misappropriate Allah’s rights
  • oppression is called ظُلم because you misappropriate people’s rights

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