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Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 61 (Al-Saff- The Ranks) > Section 1 (Verses 1 to 9)


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Section/Ruku 1 [Verses 1 to 9]: Triumph of Islam:
Chapter 61: (Al-Saff: The Ranks)
(Revealed at Madinah: 2 sections; 14 verses)

1. Introduction:

The title of this chapter is taken from the injunction to the Muslims to fight in defence of the faith in Ranks, for fighting was now essential for the preservation of the very life of the Muslim community. After giving that injunction, the first section speaks of Moses and Jesus and of the latter’s prophecy with regard to the advent of the Holy Prophet, and this is followed by a prophecy of the triumph of Islam over all other religions. The second section exhorts the Muslims to exert themselves in the cause of truth, if they would see that prophecy fulfilled, citing the example of Jesus. The date of revelation is very probably the first or the second year of the Hijrah.

2. Translation:

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

1 Whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth glorifies Allah; and He is the Mighty, the Wise.

2 O you who believe, why say you that which you do not?

3 It is most hateful in the sight of Allah that you say that which you do not.a

4 Surely Allah loves those who fight in His way in ranks, as if they were a solid wall.a

5 And when Moses said to his people: O my people, why do you malign me, when you know that I am Allah’s messenger to you?a But when they deviated, Allah made their hearts deviate. And Allah guides not the transgressing people.

6 And when Jesus, son of Mary, said: O Children of Israel, surely I am the messenger of Allah to you, verifying that which is before me of the Torah and giving the good news of a Messenger who will come after me, his name being Ahmad.a But when he came to them with clear arguments, they said: This is clear enchantment.b

7 And who is more unjust than he who forges a lie against Allah and he is invited to Islam. And Allah guides not the unjust people.a

8 They desire to put out the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will perfect His light, though the disbelievers may be averse.

9 He it is Who has sent His Messenger with the guidance and the Religion of Truth that He may make it prevail over all religions, though the polytheists are averse.a

3. Commentary:

3a. It is an exhortation to those who professed belief in the Truth to make their actions correspond with their assertions. The triumph of Truth, which is so definitely foretold in this chapter, could not be brought about by boastful talk but by great deeds of sacrifice, and hence this prelude. Mere words, if not carried into action, are hateful to God. It is deeds that open the way to success. [Back to verse 3]

4a. They had to fight in self-defence; see 2:190, 190a, etc. [Back to verse 4]

5a. That Moses was falsely accused by his own followers is stated in 33:69; see 33:69a. Such false imputations by the Israelites against their own prophet are referred to here as an example of the Jewish deviation from truth. An example of Christian deviation is given in the next verse. No wonder that they were inimical to the Prophet, when they did not care even for Moses and Jesus. [Back to verse 5]

6a. We are here told that Jesus had given the good news of the advent of a Prophet whose name was Ahmad coming after him. That our Prophet was known by two names Muhammad and Ahmad is a well-known fact of history. The famous poet Hassan mentions the Prophet, in one of his verses, by the name Ahmad: Sall Allahu wa man yahuffu bi-‘arsh-hu wa-l-tayyibuna ‘ala-mubaraki Ahmad, i.e., Allah blesses the blessed Ahmad and so do those who go round about His Throne of Majesty and all pure ones.

The next question is, Does Jesus really speak of the coming of Ahmad? As regards his sayings, we have to depend on a Greek translation, in which we find the word Paraclete, which is translated in English as Comforter. We are well aware how translations are sometimes misleading, and therefore the use of the word Paraclete in the Greek version, or that of Comforter in the English version, does not show what the actual word in the language spoken by Jesus was. But all those qualifications which are given in John 14:16 and 16:7 are met with in the person of the Holy Prophet. He is stated to be one who shall abide forever, and so is the Prophet’s law; for after him comes no prophet to promulgate a new law. He is spoken of as teaching all things, and it was with a perfect law that the Holy Prophet came. And clearest of all are the words of John 16:12 – 14: "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me". Now, this prophecy about the Spirit of Truth, which is the same as the Comforter, clearly stated in John 14:17, establishes the following points: (1) Jesus could not guide into all truth because his teaching was really directed only to the reform of the Israelites, and he denounced only their crying evils; but the teaching of the Comforter would be a perfect one, guiding men into all truth, and the Holy Qur’an is the only book which claims to be a perfect law. (2) That the Comforter would not speak of himself, but that which he shall hear he shall speak; the words conveying exactly the same idea as those of Deut. 18:18: "And I will put My words in his mouth", a qualification which is met with only in the person of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. (3) That he will glorify Jesus, and the Holy Prophet did glorify Jesus by denouncing as utterly false all those calumnies which were heaped upon Jesus and his mother.

It is argued, however, that the Comforter is here called the Spirit of Truth, and hence the words cannot be applicable to a man. But it is equally difficult to see why Jesus should call him another Comforter; evidently he was referring to a human being as he himself was. Moreover, we cannot imagine a spirit not speaking of himself but speaking only that which he shall hear, which a comparison with Deut. 18:18 clearly shows to be a prophet like Moses. And it should be noted that the Holy Prophet is frequently called The Truth in the Holy Qur’an, as in 17:81.

Another point worth mentioning is that the different prophecies about the Holy Prophet really refer to the different phases of his life. The two aspects of the life of the Holy Prophet are jalal and jamal, i.e., an aspect of glory and an aspect of beauty, the first finding its manifestation in the name Muhammad and the second in Ahmad. Each of the two great prophets, Moses and Jesus, prophesied about the Holy Prophet in words expressing that aspect of his life which was in consonance with his own nature — glory finding greater expression in Moses, who was prophet, lawgiver and king at the same time, and beauty in Jesus, on account of the beauty of his moral teachings, while both these elements were combined in the person of the Holy Prophet. [Back to verse 6]

6b. The Holy Prophet is referred to here, as the next verse clearly shows. [Back to verse 6]

7a. By the words, "who forges a lie against Allah and he is invited to Islam," are meant the rejecters who called the truth an enchantment, as stated at the end of the last verse, and as shown by the words that follow here: And Allah guides not the unjust people. It was these people that were invited to Islam, while the Prophet was an inviter, as he is elsewhere called; see, for instance, 3:193; 20:108. Their polytheistic beliefs are repeatedly called a forgery in the Holy Qur’an, as, for instance, in 6:137, and again in 6:138. Or, the Christians are meant who were invited to the Truth, but they forged a lie that Jesus was the son of God and that he took away their sins. [Back to verse 7]

9a. Verses 8 and 9 contain two different prophecies. In the first of these we are told that all attempts to annihilate Islam will fail, and they did fail. In the second it is affirmed that Islam will be made the predominant religion, the truth of which was witnessed by Arabia in the lifetime of the Holy Prophet. But both prophecies have a wider significance. Attempts are still being made to annihilate Islam, and the Divine promise is that all these attempts shall be brought to naught; while the predominance of Islam over all the religions of the world would in time be established, as clearly as it was in Arabia. The commentators say that this predominance will be brought about through the Promised Messiah (Rz). Polytheists, it should be noted, include the Christians, for they adopted the polytheistic doctrine of Trinity. [Back to verse 9]

 

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Chapter 60: Al-Mumtahanah (The Woman Who is Examined)

Chapter 62: Al-Jumu‘ah (The Congregation)

Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 61 (Al-Saff- The Ranks) > Section 1 (Verses 1 to 9)


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