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Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 42 (Al-Shura- The Counsel) > Section 1 (Verses 1 to 9)



Section/Ruku 1 [Verses 1 to 9]: Divine mercy in giving warning:
Chapter 42: (Al-Shura: The Counsel)
(Revealed at Makkah: 5 sections; 53 verses)

1. Introduction:

This is the third chapter of the Ha Mim group, and is known as The Counsel. The title is taken from v. 38, which enjoins the Muslims to make it a rule to take counsel in all affairs of importance. The injunction lays down the basis of government by council or parliamentary government.

As regards the date of revelation and the context, see the introductory note to chapter 40. Having spoken of the consequences of the rejection of Truth in the last chapter, we are here told that Divine mercy is predominant over all other Divine attributes, and accordingly the first section tells us that even the act of warning is a merciful act on the part of the Divine Being, for He reveals His will through His prophets, while His angels solicit forgiveness for men. The second section states that Divine judgment is given to settle differences. The third shows that Allah’s dealing with men is just and no nation is destroyed unjustly. The fourth section calls attention to the fact that even the unjust are given respite, therefore, the believers must wait patiently. The last section states that the Qur’an, being a revelation from the Divine Being, guides aright, hence those who do not follow its directions will find themselves in an evil plight.

2. Translation:

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

1 Beneficent God!

2 Knowing, Hearing, Powerful God!a

3 Thus does Allah, the Mighty, the Wise, reveal to thee, and (He revealed) to those before thee.

4 To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth; and He is the High, the Great.

5 The heavens may almost be rent asunder above them, while the angels celebrate the praise of their Lord and ask forgiveness for those on earth.a Now surely Allah is the Forgiving, the Merciful.

6 And those who take protectors besides Him — Allah watches over them; and thou hast not charge over them.

7 And thus have We revealed to thee an Arabic Qur’an, that thou mayest warn the mother-town and those around it,a and give warning of the day of Gathering, wherein is no doubt. A party will be in the Garden and (another) party in the burning Fire.

8 And if Allah had pleased, He would surely have made them a single nation, but He admits whom He pleases to His mercy. And the wrongdoers have no protector nor helper.

9 Or have they taken protectors besides Him? But Allah is the Protector, and He gives life to the dead, and He is Possessor of power over all things.

3. Commentary:

2a. The first two letters (v. 1) are the same as at the commencement of chapter 40; in the latter three (v. 2), ‘Ain stands for ‘Alim or Knowing, Sin for Sami‘ or Hearing, Qaf for Qadir or Powerful. [Back to verse 2]

5a. The significance is that the wickedness of man calls for immediate punishment, but the mercy of Allah withholds it. The rending asunder of the heaven is elsewhere used to signify Divine displeasure at the Christian doctrine of the divinity of Jesus (19:90, 91). The Divine displeasure at the wickedness of man is very great, but His mercy supersedes all. The angels’ prayer for forgiveness for man shows that Allah Himself desires to forgive man. The deeds of men do not merit forgiveness, but forgiveness is the attribute of the Divine Being, and that Divine attribute is exercised through the solicitude of the angels. [Back to verse 5]

7a. Umm al-qura is Makkah, which is called the mother of the towns because it was destined to be the spiritual centre of the whole world; see 6:92a. [Back to verse 7]



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Section 2: Judgment is given

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Chapter 41: Ha Mim

Chapter 43: Zukhruf (Gold)

Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 42 (Al-Shura- The Counsel) > Section 1 (Verses 1 to 9)

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