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A Parable of the Removal of the Earnings of the Disbelievers Print E-mail
Written by Ibn Kathir   
Friday, 10 November 2006

A Parable of the Removal of the Earnings of the Disbelievers

This is a parable that Allah made of the behavior of the Quraysh disbelievers with the great mercy, and tremendous favors He granted them. The mercy and favor of sending of Muhammad to them. But they met him with denial, rejection and opposition. Therefore Allah says,

[إِنَّا بَلَوْنَـهُمْ]
(Verily, We have tried them) meaning, `We have tested them.'

[كَمَا بَلَوْنَآ أَصْحَـبَ الْجَنَّةِ]
(as We tried the People of the Garden,) This refers to a garden containing different types of fruits and vegetation.

[إِذْ أَقْسَمُواْ لَيَصْرِمُنَّهَا مُصْبِحِينَ]
(when they swore to pluck the fruits of the (garden) in the morning,) meaning, they vowed between themselves during the night that they would pluck the fruit of the garden in the morning so that poor and the beggars would not know what they were doing. In this way they would be able to keep its fruit for themselves and not give any of it in charity.

[وَلاَ يَسْتَثْنُونَ ]
(Without (saying: "If Allah wills.'')) meaning their vow that they made. Therefore, Allah broke their vow. He then said,

[فَطَافَ عَلَيْهَا طَآئِفٌ مِّن رَّبِّكَ وَهُمْ نَآئِمُونَ ]
(Then there passed over it a Ta'if from your Lord while they were asleep. ) meaning, it was afflicted with some heavenly destruction.

[فَأَصْبَحَتْ كَالصَّرِيمِ ]
(So by the morning it became like As-Sarim.) Ibn `Abbas said, "Like the dark night.'' Ath-Thawri and As-Suddi both said, "Like the crop when it is harvested withered and dry.''

[فَتَنَادَوْاْ مُصْبِحِينَ ]
(Then they called out (one to another as soon) as the morning broke.) meaning, when it was (early) morning time they called each other so that they could go together to pick the harvest or cut it (its fruits). Then Allah said,

[أَنِ اغْدُواْ عَلَى حَرْثِكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ صَـرِمِينَ ]
((Saying:) "Go to your tilth in the morning, if you would pluck (the fruits).'') meaning, `if you want to pluck your harvest fruit.'

[فَانطَلَقُواْ وَهُمْ يَتَخَـفَتُونَ ]
(So they departed, and they were whispering:) meaning, they spoke privately about what they were doing so that no one could hear what they were saying. Then Allah, the All-Knower of secrets and private discussions, explained what they were saying in private. He said,

[فَانطَلَقُواْ وَهُمْ يَتَخَـفَتُونَ - أَن لاَّ يَدْخُلَنَّهَا الْيَوْمَ عَلَيْكُمْ مِّسْكِينٌ ]
(So they departed, and they were whispering: "No poor person shall enter upon you into it today.'') meaning, some of them said to others, "Do not allow any poor person to enter upon you in it (the garden) today.'' Allah then said,

[وَغَدَوْاْ عَلَى حَرْدٍ]
(And they went in the morning with Hard) meaning, with strength and power.

[قَـدِرِينَ]
(Qadirin) meaning, they thought they had power to do what they claimed and what they were desiring.

[فَلَمَّا رَأَوْهَا قَالُواْ إِنَّا لَضَآلُّونَ ]
(But when they saw it, they said: "Verily, we have gone astray.'') meaning, when they arrived at it and came upon it, and it was in the condition which Allah changed from that luster, brilliance and abundance of fruit, to being black, gloomy and void of any benefit. They believed that they had been mistaken in the path they took in walking to it. This is why they said,

[إِنَّا لَضَآلُّونَ]
(Verily, we have gone astray.) meaning, `we have walked down a path other than the one we were seeking to reach it.' This was said by Ibn `Abbas and others. Then they changed their minds and realized with certainty that it was actually the correct path. Then they said,

[بَلْ نَحْنُ مَحْرُومُونَ ]
(Nay! Indeed we are deprived (of the fruits)!) meaning, `nay, this is it, but we have no portion and no share (of harvest).'

[قَالَ أَوْسَطُهُمْ]
(The Awsat among them said,) Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr, `Ikrimah, Muhammad bin Ka`b, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, Ad-Dahhak and Qatadah all said, "This means the most just of them and the best of them.''

[أَلَمْ أَقُلْ لَّكُمْ لَوْلاَ تُسَبِّحُونَ]
(Did I not tell you, `Why do you not Tusabbihun') Mujahid, As-Suddi and Ibn Jurayj all said that,

[لَوْلاَ تُسَبِّحُونَ]
(Why do you not Tusabbihun) this means "why do you not say, `If Allah wills''' As-Suddi said, "Their making exception due to the will of Allah in that time was by glorifying Allah (Tasbih).'' Ibn Jarir said, "It is a person's saying, `If Allah wills.''' It has also been said that it means that the best of them said to them, "Did I not tell you, why don't you glorify Allah and thank Him for what He has given you and favored you with''

[قَالُواْ سُبْحَـنَ رَبِّنَآ إِنَّا كُنَّا ظَـلِمِينَ ]
(They said: "Glory to Our Lord! Verily, we have been wrongdoers.'') They became obedient when it was of no benefit to them, and they were remorseful and confessed when it was not of any use. Then they said,

[إِنَّا كُنَّا ظَـلِمِينَفَأَقْبَلَ بَعْضُهُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ يَتَلَـوَمُونَ ]
("...Verily, we have been wrongdoers.'' Then they turned one against another, blaming.) meaning, they started blaming each other for what they had resolved to do, preventing the poor people from receiving their right of the harvested fruit. Thus, their response to each other was only to confess their error and sin.

[قَالُواْ يوَيْلَنَآ إِنَّا كُنَّا طَـغِينَ ]
(They said: "Woe to us! Verily, we were Taghin.'') meaning, `we have transgressed, trespassed, violated and exceeded the bounds until what this happened to us.'

[عَسَى رَبُّنَآ أَن يُبْدِلَنَا خَيْراً مِّنْهَآ إِنَّآ إِلَى رَبِّنَا رَغِبُونَ ]
(We hope that our Lord will give us in exchange better than it. Truly, we hope in our Lord.) It has been said, "They were hoping for something better in exchange in this life.'' It has also been said, "They were hoping for its reward in the abode of the Hereafter.'' And Allah knows best. Some of the Salaf mentioned that these people were from Yemen. Sa`id bin Jubayr said, "They were from a village that was called Darawan which was six miles from San`a' (in Yemen). '' It has also been said, "They were from the people of Ethiopia whose father had left them this garden, and they were from the People of the Book. Their father used to handle the garden in a good way. Whatever he reaped from it he would put it back into the garden as it needed, and he would save some of it as food for his dependants for the year, and he would give away the excess in charity. Then, when he died, and his children inherited the garden they said, `Verily, our father was foolish for giving some of this garden's harvest to the poor. If we prevent them from it, then we will have more.' So when they made up their minds to do this they were punished with what was contrary to their plan. Allah took away all of what they possessed of wealth, gain and charity. Nothing remained for them.'' Allah then says,

[كَذَلِكَ الْعَذَابُ]
(Such is the punishment,) meaning, such is the punishment of whoever opposes the command of Allah, is stingy with what Allah has given him and favored him with, withholds the right of the poor and needy, and responds to Allah's blessings upon him with ungratefulness (or disbelief).

[وَلَعَذَابُ الاٌّخِرَةِ أَكْبَرُ لَوْ كَانُواْ يَعْلَمُونَ]
(but truly, the punishment of the Hereafter is greater if they but knew.) meaning, this is the punishment in this life, as you have heard, and the punishment of the Hereafter is even harder.

[إِنَّ لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ جَنَّـتِ النَّعِيمِ - أَفَنَجْعَلُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ كَالْمُجْرِمِينَ - مَا لَكُمْ كَيْفَ تَحْكُمُونَ - أَمْ لَكُمْ كِتَـبٌ فِيهِ تَدْرُسُونَ - إِنَّ لَكُمْ فِيهِ لَمَا تَخَيَّرُونَ - أَمْ لَكُمْ أَيْمَـنٌ عَلَيْنَا بَـلِغَةٌ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَـمَةِ إِنَّ لَكُمْ لَمَا تَحْكُمُونَ - سَلْهُمْ أَيُّهُم بِذَلِكَ زَعِيمٌ - أَمْ لَهُمْ شُرَكَآءُ فَلْيَأتُواْ بِشُرَكَآئِهِمْ إِن كَانُواْ صَـدِقِينَ ]
(34. Verily, for those who have Taqwa are Gardens of Delight with their Lord.) (35. Shall We then treat the Muslims like the criminals) (36. What is the matter with you How judge you) (37. Or have you a Book wherein you learn,) (38. That you shall therein have all that you choose) (39. Or have you oaths from Us, lasting until the Day of Judgement, that yours will be what you judge) (40. Ask them, which of them will stand as surety for that!) (41. Or have they "partners'' Then let them bring their "partners'' if they are truthful!)

[يَوْمَ يُكْشَفُ عَن سَاقٍ وَيُدْعَوْنَ إِلَى السُّجُودِ فَلاَ يَسْتَطِيعُونَ - خَـشِعَةً أَبْصَـرُهُمْ تَرْهَقُهُمْ ذِلَّةٌ وَقَدْ كَانُواْ يُدْعَوْنَ إِلَى السُّجُودِ وَهُمْ سَـلِمُونَ - فَذَرْنِى وَمَن يُكَذِّبُ بِهَـذَا الْحَدِيثِ سَنَسْتَدْرِجُهُمْ مِّنْ حَيْثُ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ وَأُمْلِى لَهُمْ إِنَّ كَيْدِى مَتِينٌ أَمْ تَسْـَلُهُمْ أَجْراً فَهُم مِّن مَّغْرَمٍ مُّثْقَلُونَ أَمْ عِندَهُمُ الْغَيْبُ فَهُمْ يَكْتُبُونَ ]
(42. The Day when the Shin shall be laid bare and they shall be called to prostrate themselves, but they shall not be able to do so.) (43. Their eyes will be cast down and ignominy will cover them; they used to be called to prostrate themselves, while they were.) (44. Then leave Me alone with whoever denies this narration. We shall punish them gradually from directions they perceive not.) (45. And I will grant them a respite. Verily, My plan is strong.) (46. Or is it that you ask them a wage, so that they are heavily burdened with debt) (47. Or that the Unseen is in their hands, so that they can write it down)

A Parable of the Removal of the Earnings of the Disbelievers

This is a parable that Allah made of the behavior of the Quraysh disbelievers with the great mercy, and tremendous favors He granted them. The mercy and favor of sending of Muhammad to them. But they met him with denial, rejection and opposition. Therefore Allah says,

[إِنَّا بَلَوْنَـهُمْ]
(Verily, We have tried them) meaning, `We have tested them.'

[كَمَا بَلَوْنَآ أَصْحَـبَ الْجَنَّةِ]
(as We tried the People of the Garden,) This refers to a garden containing different types of fruits and vegetation.

[إِذْ أَقْسَمُواْ لَيَصْرِمُنَّهَا مُصْبِحِينَ]
(when they swore to pluck the fruits of the (garden) in the morning,) meaning, they vowed between themselves during the night that they would pluck the fruit of the garden in the morning so that poor and the beggars would not know what they were doing. In this way they would be able to keep its fruit for themselves and not give any of it in charity.

[وَلاَ يَسْتَثْنُونَ ]
(Without (saying: "If Allah wills.'')) meaning their vow that they made. Therefore, Allah broke their vow. He then said,

[فَطَافَ عَلَيْهَا طَآئِفٌ مِّن رَّبِّكَ وَهُمْ نَآئِمُونَ ]
(Then there passed over it a Ta'if from your Lord while they were asleep. ) meaning, it was afflicted with some heavenly destruction.

[فَأَصْبَحَتْ كَالصَّرِيمِ ]
(So by the morning it became like As-Sarim.) Ibn `Abbas said, "Like the dark night.'' Ath-Thawri and As-Suddi both said, "Like the crop when it is harvested withered and dry.''

[فَتَنَادَوْاْ مُصْبِحِينَ ]
(Then they called out (one to another as soon) as the morning broke.) meaning, when it was (early) morning time they called each other so that they could go together to pick the harvest or cut it (its fruits). Then Allah said,

[أَنِ اغْدُواْ عَلَى حَرْثِكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ صَـرِمِينَ ]
((Saying:) "Go to your tilth in the morning, if you would pluck (the fruits).'') meaning, `if you want to pluck your harvest fruit.'

[فَانطَلَقُواْ وَهُمْ يَتَخَـفَتُونَ ]
(So they departed, and they were whispering:) meaning, they spoke privately about what they were doing so that no one could hear what they were saying. Then Allah, the All-Knower of secrets and private discussions, explained what they were saying in private. He said,

[فَانطَلَقُواْ وَهُمْ يَتَخَـفَتُونَ - أَن لاَّ يَدْخُلَنَّهَا الْيَوْمَ عَلَيْكُمْ مِّسْكِينٌ ]
(So they departed, and they were whispering: "No poor person shall enter upon you into it today.'') meaning, some of them said to others, "Do not allow any poor person to enter upon you in it (the garden) today.'' Allah then said,

[وَغَدَوْاْ عَلَى حَرْدٍ]
(And they went in the morning with Hard) meaning, with strength and power.

[قَـدِرِينَ]
(Qadirin) meaning, they thought they had power to do what they claimed and what they were desiring.

[فَلَمَّا رَأَوْهَا قَالُواْ إِنَّا لَضَآلُّونَ ]
(But when they saw it, they said: "Verily, we have gone astray.'') meaning, when they arrived at it and came upon it, and it was in the condition which Allah changed from that luster, brilliance and abundance of fruit, to being black, gloomy and void of any benefit. They believed that they had been mistaken in the path they took in walking to it. This is why they said,

[إِنَّا لَضَآلُّونَ]
(Verily, we have gone astray.) meaning, `we have walked down a path other than the one we were seeking to reach it.' This was said by Ibn `Abbas and others. Then they changed their minds and realized with certainty that it was actually the correct path. Then they said,

[بَلْ نَحْنُ مَحْرُومُونَ ]
(Nay! Indeed we are deprived (of the fruits)!) meaning, `nay, this is it, but we have no portion and no share (of harvest).'

[قَالَ أَوْسَطُهُمْ]
(The Awsat among them said,) Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr, `Ikrimah, Muhammad bin Ka`b, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, Ad-Dahhak and Qatadah all said, "This means the most just of them and the best of them.''

[أَلَمْ أَقُلْ لَّكُمْ لَوْلاَ تُسَبِّحُونَ]
(Did I not tell you, `Why do you not Tusabbihun') Mujahid, As-Suddi and Ibn Jurayj all said that,

[لَوْلاَ تُسَبِّحُونَ]
(Why do you not Tusabbihun) this means "why do you not say, `If Allah wills''' As-Suddi said, "Their making exception due to the will of Allah in that time was by glorifying Allah (Tasbih).'' Ibn Jarir said, "It is a person's saying, `If Allah wills.''' It has also been said that it means that the best of them said to them, "Did I not tell you, why don't you glorify Allah and thank Him for what He has given you and favored you with''

[قَالُواْ سُبْحَـنَ رَبِّنَآ إِنَّا كُنَّا ظَـلِمِينَ ]
(They said: "Glory to Our Lord! Verily, we have been wrongdoers.'') They became obedient when it was of no benefit to them, and they were remorseful and confessed when it was not of any use. Then they said,

[إِنَّا كُنَّا ظَـلِمِينَفَأَقْبَلَ بَعْضُهُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ يَتَلَـوَمُونَ ]
("...Verily, we have been wrongdoers.'' Then they turned one against another, blaming.) meaning, they started blaming each other for what they had resolved to do, preventing the poor people from receiving their right of the harvested fruit. Thus, their response to each other was only to confess their error and sin.

[قَالُواْ يوَيْلَنَآ إِنَّا كُنَّا طَـغِينَ ]
(They said: "Woe to us! Verily, we were Taghin.'') meaning, `we have transgressed, trespassed, violated and exceeded the bounds until what this happened to us.'

[عَسَى رَبُّنَآ أَن يُبْدِلَنَا خَيْراً مِّنْهَآ إِنَّآ إِلَى رَبِّنَا رَغِبُونَ ]
(We hope that our Lord will give us in exchange better than it. Truly, we hope in our Lord.) It has been said, "They were hoping for something better in exchange in this life.'' It has also been said, "They were hoping for its reward in the abode of the Hereafter.'' And Allah knows best. Some of the Salaf mentioned that these people were from Yemen. Sa`id bin Jubayr said, "They were from a village that was called Darawan which was six miles from San`a' (in Yemen). '' It has also been said, "They were from the people of Ethiopia whose father had left them this garden, and they were from the People of the Book. Their father used to handle the garden in a good way. Whatever he reaped from it he would put it back into the garden as it needed, and he would save some of it as food for his dependants for the year, and he would give away the excess in charity. Then, when he died, and his children inherited the garden they said, `Verily, our father was foolish for giving some of this garden's harvest to the poor. If we prevent them from it, then we will have more.' So when they made up their minds to do this they were punished with what was contrary to their plan. Allah took away all of what they possessed of wealth, gain and charity. Nothing remained for them.'' Allah then says,

[كَذَلِكَ الْعَذَابُ]
(Such is the punishment,) meaning, such is the punishment of whoever opposes the command of Allah, is stingy with what Allah has given him and favored him with, withholds the right of the poor and needy, and responds to Allah's blessings upon him with ungratefulness (or disbelief).

[وَلَعَذَابُ الاٌّخِرَةِ أَكْبَرُ لَوْ كَانُواْ يَعْلَمُونَ]
(but truly, the punishment of the Hereafter is greater if they but knew.) meaning, this is the punishment in this life, as you have heard, and the punishment of the Hereafter is even harder.

[إِنَّ لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ جَنَّـتِ النَّعِيمِ - أَفَنَجْعَلُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ كَالْمُجْرِمِينَ - مَا لَكُمْ كَيْفَ تَحْكُمُونَ - أَمْ لَكُمْ كِتَـبٌ فِيهِ تَدْرُسُونَ - إِنَّ لَكُمْ فِيهِ لَمَا تَخَيَّرُونَ - أَمْ لَكُمْ أَيْمَـنٌ عَلَيْنَا بَـلِغَةٌ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَـمَةِ إِنَّ لَكُمْ لَمَا تَحْكُمُونَ - سَلْهُمْ أَيُّهُم بِذَلِكَ زَعِيمٌ - أَمْ لَهُمْ شُرَكَآءُ فَلْيَأتُواْ بِشُرَكَآئِهِمْ إِن كَانُواْ صَـدِقِينَ ]
(34. Verily, for those who have Taqwa are Gardens of Delight with their Lord.) (35. Shall We then treat the Muslims like the criminals) (36. What is the matter with you How judge you) (37. Or have you a Book wherein you learn,) (38. That you shall therein have all that you choose) (39. Or have you oaths from Us, lasting until the Day of Judgement, that yours will be what you judge) (40. Ask them, which of them will stand as surety for that!) (41. Or have they "partners'' Then let them bring their "partners'' if they are truthful!)

[يَوْمَ يُكْشَفُ عَن سَاقٍ وَيُدْعَوْنَ إِلَى السُّجُودِ فَلاَ يَسْتَطِيعُونَ - خَـشِعَةً أَبْصَـرُهُمْ تَرْهَقُهُمْ ذِلَّةٌ وَقَدْ كَانُواْ يُدْعَوْنَ إِلَى السُّجُودِ وَهُمْ سَـلِمُونَ - فَذَرْنِى وَمَن يُكَذِّبُ بِهَـذَا الْحَدِيثِ سَنَسْتَدْرِجُهُمْ مِّنْ حَيْثُ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ وَأُمْلِى لَهُمْ إِنَّ كَيْدِى مَتِينٌ أَمْ تَسْـَلُهُمْ أَجْراً فَهُم مِّن مَّغْرَمٍ مُّثْقَلُونَ أَمْ عِندَهُمُ الْغَيْبُ فَهُمْ يَكْتُبُونَ ]
(42. The Day when the Shin shall be laid bare and they shall be called to prostrate themselves, but they shall not be able to do so.) (43. Their eyes will be cast down and ignominy will cover them; they used to be called to prostrate themselves, while they were.) (44. Then leave Me alone with whoever denies this narration. We shall punish them gradually from directions they perceive not.) (45. And I will grant them a respite. Verily, My plan is strong.) (46. Or is it that you ask them a wage, so that they are heavily burdened with debt) (47. Or that the Unseen is in their hands, so that they can write it down)

 
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