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Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 71 (Nuh- Noah) > Section 1 (Verses 1 to 20)


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Section/Ruku 1 [Verses 1 to 20]: Noah preaches:
Chapter 71: (Nuh: Noah)
(Revealed at Makkah: 2 sections; 28 verses)

1. Introduction:

The threat of certain punishment contained in the last chapter is herein followed by an example. The entire chapter is devoted to the preaching of Noah, after whom it is named, and his prayer that the transgressors may be destroyed, so that evil may not prosper on earth, the two subjects being dealt with respectively in the two sections. As regards the date of revelation, the chapter may be placed in the first Makkan period.

2. Translation:

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

1 Surely We sent Noah to his people, saying: Warn thy people before there come to them a painful chastisement.

2 He said: O my people, surely I am a plain warner to you:

3 That you should serve Allah and keep your duty to Him and obey me —

4 He will forgive you some of your sins and grant you respite to an appointed term. Surely the term of Allah, when it comes, is not postponed. Did you but know!

5 He said: My Lord, I have called my people night and day:

6 But my call has only made them flee the more.a

7 And whenever I call to them that Thou mayest forgive them, they thrust their fingers in their ears and cover themselves with their garments,a and persist and are big with pride.

8 Then surely I have called to them aloud,

9 Then spoken to them in public and spoken to them in private,

10 So I have said: Ask forgiveness of your Lord; surely He is ever Forgiving:

11 He will send down upon you rain, pouring in abundance,

12 And help you with wealth and sons, and make for you gardens, and make for you rivers.a

13 What is the matter with you that you hope not for greatness from Allah?a

14 And indeed He has created you by various stages.a

15 See you not how Allah has created the seven heavens alike,

16 And made the moon therein a light, and made the sun a lamp?

17 And Allah has caused you to grow out of the earth as a growth,a

18 Then He returns you to it, then will He bring you forth a (new) bringing forth.a

19 And Allah has made the earth a wide expanse for you,

20 That you may go along therein in spacious paths.a

3. Commentary:

6a. The meaning is, the more I call them, the more they flee. The call is not the immediate and effective cause of their flight, which is really due to the stubbornness of their hearts. This is made clear in what follows. Exactly in the same sense a chapter of the Qur’an is spoken of as "adding uncleanness" to the uncleanness of those in whose hearts is a disease (9:125); and on another occasion, exactly in the same sense, Allah is spoken of as increasing the disease of those in whose hearts in a disease (2:10). [Back to verse 6]

7a. Covering themselves with garments is explained variously: They put them (i.e., their garments) as a covering over their ears, and this denotes their holding back from giving ear; another explanation is that it is an allusion to running away (R). Some take thiyab as meaning the heart, as in 74:4, the meaning being that they cover their hearts, refusing to ponder over what is said. [Back to verse 7]

12a. They are promised various blessings, if they turn to Allah, which really means that their doom shall be averted, for nations are no doubt destroyed when they indulge in evil inordinately, and they prosper so long as their good qualities preponderate. [Back to verse 12]

13a. This is the Prophet’s address to an evil generation. They are told that they can rise to greatness by giving up their evil ways. [Back to verse 13]

14a. The words undoubtedly speak of the evolution of man. The commentators generally take them to refer to the various conditions through which the foetus passes. But that they imply that man has been brought to the present state of physical perfection after passing through various conditions, is made clear by v. 17 where the first stage is spoken of as a growth from the earth. [Back to verse 14]

17a. Note here again that man is described as having grown out of the earth as a growth, i.e., by a process of development. This is no doubt true, even in the process of creation, which we daily observe working before our eyes. Vegetables grow out of the earth: from these man obtains food, and from the food which he eats is produced the life-germ, which itself goes through a further process of development. But the reference in this growth, and in the stages spoken of in v. 14, is to that great process of development through which man has attained to the present stage of physical perfection. [Back to verse 17]

18a. The new bringing forth is in reference to the Resurrection. It is called a new growth to show that it is not the same as man’s life on this earth but a new life, the life Spiritual. This growth begins in this life, but a complete manifestation of it takes place in the Resurrection. [Back to verse 18]

20a. The spacious paths made for man’s earthly existence are an indication of the spiritual paths wherein a God-fearing man attains to spiritual perfection. But the mention of spacious paths is also to show that the making of spacious roads is necessary for human civilisation. [Back to verse 20]

 

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Section 2: Destruction of transgressors


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Chapter 70: Al-Ma‘arij (The Ways of Ascent)

Chapter 72: Al-Jinn (The Jinn)

Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 71 (Nuh- Noah) > Section 1 (Verses 1 to 20)


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