The English translation of the introduction to chapters of the Holy Quran as given by Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IVrh is being presented for the benefit of our readers. Insha-Allah, in the coming issues, we will endeavour to publish the introduction to all chapters of the Holy Quran:
Chapter 35: Surah Fatir
This is a Meccan surah and including “Bismillah …”, it consists of 46 verses.
This surah as well, like the preceding one, starts with the words “Al-Hamd” [praise of Allah]. The preceding surah discusses Allah the Almighty’s sovereignty in the heavens and the earth and that the entire universe is self-evidently occupied in His praise. Here, it draws attention to the praise of Allah when Allah the Almighty originated the heavens and the earth because originating heaven and earth cannot be without purpose. And before being a reference to the existence of the heavens and earth, it is a reference to the benevolence of the Lord Who creates.
Verse 2 mentions the angels who possess two, three, or four wings. This does not mean that the angels possess any physical or apparent wings. In fact, it is a reference to the four basic valencies of matter, as a result of which all chemical miracles take place. Monotheist scientists especially draw attention to the fact that as a result of the chemical reaction of the four valencies of carbon with other matters, the life which came into being is called carbon based life by scientists. This verse of the Holy Quran mentions that there also exist the angels who possess more wings and hitherto man is unaware of them. And under the influence thereof, wonderful chemical reactions will take place which are beyond the ken of present-day man.
Once again in the current surah, two seas are mentioned, one of which has saline water whereas the other possesses sweet water. But the miracle of the creation of Allah is that the flesh of marine life in saline water does not get salty, and the flesh of the marine life in freshwater is also non-saline. How is it possible that the flesh of the fish that regularly drink seawater is not at all affected by the salinity of the water there?
Next follow verses (17 and 18) which warn mankind that if they fail to be grateful for the bounties of Allah the Almighty and persist in disbelief, then if Allah pleases, He shall wipe them out from the land and bring a new creation instead; and this is not at all difficult for Allah the Almighty.
Then, again, mankind has been admonished that all forms of life on earth benefit from the water that descends from the sky and different varieties of fruit, with varied colours, grow of this water. The difference in colours is a reference to the fact that as we see fruits of varied colours growing from the soil of the same colour, similarly mankind descends from one Adam but have different complexions. They speak different languages but all are derived from the same language. There does not seem to be any resemblance between them except to the enlightened ones who are guided by the divine light.
Those who associate partners with Allah cannot associate any partner with Him with regard to the things created in land; then how do they, in their imagination, associate partners with Allah in the heavens about which they have no knowledge at all?
Next, mankind has been admonished that the heavens and the earth are not upheld in their orbits on their own. If the hand of Allah the Almighty’s will did not hold them and as a result, they deviated from their orbits, then the heavens and the earth would be destroyed and never again would the heavenly bodies be established in any orbit.
Chapter 36: Surah Ya Sin
Surah Ya Sin is a Meccan surah and including “Bismillah …”, it consists of 84 verses.
The disbelievers’ swearing a strong oath is mentioned towards the end of the preceding surah that if a Warner had come to them, then they would have followed guidance better than any other past people. Addressing the Holy Prophetsa in the opening verses of Surah Ya Sin, Allah the Almighty says, “We have sent you to a people whose ancestors were not warned for a long time. Despite this, the word of Allah came true for them that they would not believe.” Thus, the claim of the disbelievers at the end of the preceding surah that if a Warner had come to them, they definitely would have believed in him, has been refuted in the current surah.
Next, a similitude of the opponents of Prophets has been presented that in fact, it is their arrogance that keeps them from accepting guidance. An arrogant person’s neck is erect like someone’s neck that has a collar around it. Thus, only those are blessed to believe, who are free of all arrogance.
Commentators have given different presumptions regarding the discussion that starts from verse 14. In this regard, Hazrat Hakim Maulvi Nuruddin, Khalifatul Masih Ira has given a commentary that touches the heart, and that is that the previous two prophets were Hazrat Mosesas and Hazrat Jesusas. The Holy Prophetsa upheld their honour by supporting them. But after incessant disbelief of the disbelievers, a fourth person stood up from a distant town to warn the disbelievers that they should believe in the great person who procures a number of means of their guidance without any reward from them.
At the time of the revelation of the Quran, the knowledge of Arabs with regard to male and female in plants was limited to the date-palm only. And none could have even imagined that Allah the Almighty had created pairs not only in all fruit trees, but verse 37 claims that everything in the universe exists in pairs. Modern science today has uncovered this reality; so much so that matter, atoms and even sub-atomic particles have pairs.
In short, the subject of pairs is an unending subject. And in order to understand the subject of the unity of God, it is essential to understand this topic. It is only the Creator of the universe Who does not stand in need of a pair; the rest of all creation needs to be in pairs.
Addressing the subject of resurrection once again in the following verse, the dead bodies who are to be resurrected in the Hereafter have been shown expressing their wonder as to Who He is Who resurrected them. In reply to this, it is stated that what all the Messengers of Allah said was true.
Some people believe that the topic of producing fire from green trees in verse 81 relates to the trees when they get dry and produce fire. This is true in its own right. But in reality, the green trees can produce fire while they are still green, and it happens as such. Thus, botanists assert that when the leaves of pine trees touch each other as a result of wind, they catch fire due to this continuous action and vast woodlands are destroyed because of this fire.
The last verse of the current surah as well concludes the chapter by discussing the resurrection in the Hereafter; it states that Allah is the only Master of everything in the universe and “O mankind! You all will be brought back to him.”
Chapter 37: Surah al-Saffat
Surah al-Saffat is a Meccan surah and including “Bismillah …”, it consists of 183 verses.
Before elaborating the initial verses of Surah al-Saffat, it is important to mention that these verses state that by the time the mentioned prophecies are fulfilled, this will also be proven to be true that the resurrection which was claimed very forcefully will definitely come to pass. In verse 12, Allah the Almighty says [to the Prophetsa] to ask them whether their creation was harder to create, or others whom Allah the Almighty had created?
After this question, a declaration has been made for the disbelievers that being the Creator, Allah the Almighty is far beyond their abilities to create, and He possesses the power to revive them again once they become dust after their death. It contains a warning as well that once they are resurrected, they will be abased too. That is to say, it will be proven to those who used to make tall claims with regard to their creation that their creation stands nowhere and that “ashaddu khalqan” [harder to create] is none else except Allah the Almighty.
Now, we revert to the initial verses. The words, “Was-saffat-i- saffan” [by those who range themselves in close ranks] in fact contain a prophecy of warplanes which will be made by man, and they will attack the enemies ranged in close ranks, warning them time and again and dropping on them large number of pamphlets containing the message to bow their necks before them or else they would be destroyed. Then, Allah the Almighty says, “How dare they claim divinity as a result of their superficial power! Allah is the One and Only.”
Next, Allah says that He is the Lord of easts. This verse also implies a kind of prophecy. Otherwise, at that time, there was no concept of more than one east as has been generated in this age of ours. This age would be one in which, through various modern inventions capable of very high flight like rockets etc., man would endeavour to find out the secrets of higher skies. Such endeavours are being made in this age. But they would be pelted with stones from every side. That is to say, they would be pelted with very dangerous stones from terrestrial bodies. Save a few secrets from the closer sky, they would fail to achieve any major success. These are the things about which the current age and its modern inventions testify that it is coming to pass in exactly the same way.
The wars that are going to be fought between nations for material victories are mentioned in the beginning of the surah; therefore, the battles of the Holy Prophetsa and his Companionsra, which were waged purely for the cause of Allah, have also been mentioned in the current surah. In these battles, the sword was not raised to shed others’ blood, but a group of companions was to be slaughtered like sacrificial cattle. This was in relation to that sacrifice of Hazrat Abrahamas which he had made by agreeing to slaughter his own son. The belief of the commentators that a ram was stuck in a bush and Hazrat Ishmaelas was released in lieu of that great sacrifice is a very absurd belief, which is neither found in the Quran, nor in hadith. How can a ram be greater in comparison to Hazrat Ishmaelas? Hazrat Ishmaelas was kept alive so that the world could witness that great sacrifice which was to take place in the time of the Holy Prophetsa.
In relation to Surah al-Saffat, where a number of assaulters ranged in ranks are mentioned earlier, at the end of this surah the Holy Quran states that real armies ranged in ranks “belong to Us only”. Here, the ranged armies of the Holy Prophetsa as well as the ranged angels who descended from the heaven in ranks have been mentioned, whose end result was none else that apparently these weak ranged in ranks battlers, whose enemy was much mightier than those, would be vanquished, but Allah’s will overpowered and Allah and His men triumphed.
Chapter 38: Surah Sad
This is a Meccan surah and including “Bismillah …”, it consists of 79 verses.
This noble surah as well starts with one of the abbreviated letters, ص [Sad]. One of the explanations of it presented by the commentators is that ص signifies صَادِقُ الْقَوْل, i.e. “That Allah Whose statements will definitely be fulfilled”. And the Quran, which consists of great exhortations, stands to witness that this Quran is being rejected just because of opposition caused by a false sense of honour.
This very surah presents the vision of Hazrat Davidas which exhibits the greed of human nature that if man is granted sovereignty over 99 per cent, his next goal is 100 per cent and he does not spare even one per cent for the weak and poor. The wars waged by major powers mentioned in the previous surah were waged with the intention to usurp all rights of sovereignty from the poor countries; and they wished to rule the entire world without anybody’s share in it. In other words, it is a claim to divinity. Then, with reference to Hazrat Davidas, mankind has been admonished that mutual disagreements should be settled with justice and not with aggression and coercion.
The very surah states with regard to Hazrat Solomonas that he loved horses greatly. Misinterpreting this incident, some commentators state that once, he was patting his horses and stroking their legs, while in the meantime he missed prayer time. At this, he avenged the horses for this negligence of his and ordered for all of them to be killed. But this very ridiculous commentary is absolutely refuted by the verse in which Hazrat Solomonas says to bring them back to him. This shows that Prophets greatly love the mounts granted to them for striving in the cause of Allah the Almighty, and desire to see them time and again.
With regard to the horses prepared for jihad for his people, the Holy Prophetsa also said that their foreheads have been blessed until the Day of Resurrection. In this very surah, Hazrat Jobas has been presented as a great, exemplary, forbearing Prophet; and those facts have been furnished here which are found in the form of strange stories in the Bible.
Chapter 39: Surah al-Zumar
This is a Meccan surah and including “Bismillah …”, it consists of 76 verses.
The chosen servants of Allah who refused to worship Satan and bowed down in worship before Allah the Almighty alone are mentioned towards the end of the preceding surah. And from the very beginning, this surah states, “O Messenger! You should worship none else save Allah, being sincere to Him in obedience. Surely, Allah the Almighty accepts only sincere obedience.”
Next, an argument of the polytheists has been refuted. The explanation furnished by them in support of idol worship is that these artificial gods are a means to bring them closer to Allah. Allah says, “Not at all; but only he will serve as a means whose obedience is as sincere as that of the Holy Prophetsa, and which is free of even an iota of polytheism.”
Next, the reality that human life was started from a single being has been presented again. At the time, when man started developing as a foetus into the womb of the mother, it was concealed in three stages of darkness. The first stage of darkness is the darkness of the belly of the mother, which envelops the womb. The second stage of darkness is that of the womb, wherein the foetus is nourished. And the third stage of darkness is that of the placenta, which envelops the foetus in the mother’s womb.
Next, the Holy Prophetsa was allowed to proclaim that he was commanded to devote his worship sincerely for Allah. Then, Allah directs him to say that it is Allah alone he will continue to worship in sincerest obedience. They may worship whomsoever they please. “And tell them that it will be a bargain of a huge loss if they do so; because they will be a means of misguiding themselves as well as their future generations as a result of this crookedness.”
Thereafter, a question is raised: can anybody be better than the one whose chest Allah has opened for His remembrance; in other words he who has been granted openness of the heart. The answer to this question is not mentioned apparently, but is implied in the question. That is, none can be better than him. Thus, very unfortunate are those who are negligent of the remembrance of their Lord.
It is announced in verse 24 that “Allah informs you of the best discourse, that is Allah has revealed to you an oft-recited book, some of whose verses are mutashabihat [open to more than one interpretation] and they come in pairs.” But there are some other very similar verses which explain them and guide the truth seeker to understand the mutashabihat verses. This is the same subject which has been related in يُفَسِّرُ بَعْضُهُ بَعْضًا [some of its verses explain the others]. At another place, Allah says, that none of the verses remain mutashabih for رَاسِخُوْنَ فِي الْعِلْمِ [those who are firmly grounded in knowledge].
This surah contains the noble verse which was revealed to the Promised Messiahas as well and he had it engraved on a stone and fixed in a ring. That is, اَلَيْسَ اللّٰهُ بِكَافٍ عَبْدَهُ (Is not Allah sufficient for His servant?). In this very connection, Ahmadis wear such rings on their fingers for blessings and a good omen.
Verse 43 of this surah reveals a great secret that sleep is also a kind of death wherein the soul or conscience goes deep downtime and again. Allah the Almighty has constituted a system that exactly on time, it bounces against the layer of the brain and is aroused once again. Scientists have made some research on it and revealed that such a thing happens again and again with a sleeping person; and that exact time can be measured with an atomic watch; and no discrepancy whatsoever will be found in that period of time. When Allah the Almighty does not send the soul back after its going deep down, this is termed as death or demise.
Since returning to Allah the Almighty and separating for good from this world is mentioned at this point, those who are afraid of accountability have been given the glad tidings that Allah the Almighty has the power to forgive all kinds of sins because He is the Gracious, the Merciful. “Therefore, bow before Allah and submit yourself before Him alone before you are afflicted with the punishment and you die prior to your repentance; and in regret man may say, ‘If only he had not dared to commit sins in respect of Allah the Almighty before His eyes.’”
This surah is named Al-Zumar, and towards the end, in two verses, zumar (group) has been divided into two. One group consists of those who will be driven in troops to Hell, whereas the other is of those who will be taken to Paradise in groups.
Chapter 40: Surah al-Mumin
This is a Meccan surah and including “Bismillah …”, it consists of 86 verses.
This surah starts with the abbreviated letters of حم[Ha meem], and the following six surahs as well start with these very abbreviated letters. It means, including this surah, there are in total, seven surahs that start with حم. Allah knows best what the connection is, if any, between these surahs and the seven verses of Surah al-Fatihah.
The children of Adam were exhorted in the preceding surah that one should not despair of the mercy of Allah. In fact, hopelessness is a characteristic of Iblis. And whosoever will trust the mercy of Allah with all sincerity and repent truly for his sins, Allah Almighty has the power to forgive all sins.
Similarly, the preceding surah talks about angels being حَافِّيْن, i.e. they are surrounding the environment of the Throne. But in addition to that, the current surah says that “your forgiveness is dependent on the supplications of the angels as well, who are holding up the Throne of Allah. Allah the Almighty is not something material who is seated on a throne which is held up by the angels. Allah exists everywhere and He is holding up everything in the universe.”
Thus, Allah’s transcendent attributes are mentioned at this point. And عرش [Throne] signifies the pure heart of the Holy Prophetsa where Allah’s throne rests. And in order to strengthen his heart, the angels surround him all around and also supplicate for the sinful men of God as well, and also pray for their generations. Thus, the writer is sure that it stands for the supplications that arise from the throne of the heart of the Holy Prophetsa which he made for the righteous men and their generations to come until the Day of Judgment.
In this very surah, in relation to Pharaoh when he intended to kill Hazrat Mosesas, the mention of a prince is found who had believed in him but hid his faith. But when a plan to kill Mosesas was hatched before him, he could not help but give expression to his faith. He warned his people in majestic terms that they should spare Mosesas if he was a liar, as liars perish on their own. But if he was truthful, then some of that which he threatened them with would surely befall them.
At this point, there is an everlasting exhortation for the people that they should leave the matter of those who claim to be Prophets to Allah the Almighty. If they are liars, then Allah himself will destroy them. But if they are truthful and you refused to believe in them, then some of that which they threatened you with will surely befall you. As these verses also have a connection to the claimants of Prophethood after the Holy Prophetsa, that is why their history shows that exactly the same occurred to them. All the imposters were destroyed and no trace of theirs is found in history.
In this very connection is mentioned the claim of people with regard to Hazrat Josephas that no Prophet would come after him. If it was true, then how would the Holy Prophetsa be raised after Hazrat Josephas? Thus, these are the claims of only those people who have no knowledge of the decree of Allah. Every other thing can cease, but the way to the munificence of Allah can never cease. In relation to the fact that Allah the Almighty destroys the liars, it has also been warned that He definitely helps the truthful. Therefore, you may exert all your force, but you can never frustrate and destroy the truthful Prophets of Allah the Almighty.
Verse 66 exhorts once again to be sincere to Allah, as there does not exist any other god but the living God worthy of worship. Thus, call unto Allah alone being sincere to Him in obedience.
(Translated from the original introduction of chapters as presented in the Urdu translation of the Holy Quran by Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masihrh. Translated by Shahid Mahmood Ahmad, missionary in Ghana)