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Chapter 98:
Al-Bayyinah — The Clear Evidence:

Revealed at Makkah: 8 verses

English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali


Introduction:

The Holy Prophet, who received the mightiest of revelations, or that revelation itself, is here called The Clear Evidence, the words supplying the name to this chapter, because this revelation, as this chapter shows, contained all the pure and essential teachings of previous scriptures. It may not be one of the very early revelations, but there seems to be no doubt that it is a Makkan revelation, such being the opinion of the majority.

Translation:

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

98:1 Those who disbelieve from among the People of the Book and the idolaters could not have been freed till clear evidence came to thema

98:2 A Messenger from Allah, reciting pure pages,a

98:3 Wherein are (all) right books.a

98:4 Nor did those to whom the Book was given become divided till clear evidence came to them.a

98:5 And they are enjoined naught but to serve Allah, being sincere to Him in obedience, upright, and to keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, and that is the right religion.

98:6 Those who disbelieve from among the People of the Book and the idolaters will be in the Fire of hell, abiding therein. They are the worst of creatures.

98:7 Those who believe and do good, they are the best of creatures.

98:8 Their reward is with their Lord: Gardens of perpetuity wherein flow rivers, abiding therein forever. Allah is well pleased with them and they are well pleased with Him.a That is for him who fears his Lord.

Commentary:

1a. Both the People of the Book, people to whom revelation had been granted at some previous time, and the idolaters of Arabia, among whom no prophet had ever appeared, were sunk so deep in immorality and sin that only a Divine Messenger could now free them from this bondage. The Jews and the Christians, one after another, had exerted themselves to their utmost to reform Arabia, but both had failed. In fact they were themselves demoralised like the Arabs. “It was not until they heard the spirit-stirring strains of the Arabian Prophet that they too awoke from their slumber, and sprang suddenly into a new and earnest life” (Muir). That by the Clear Evidence is meant the Prophet is made clear in the next verse, where this Clear Evidence is spoken of as being a Messenger from Allah.

2a. It should be noted that the Messenger is here described as reciting pure pages, thus showing clearly that the Qur’an existed in a written form at the time of the revelation of this chapter. Their designation as pure is to show that the Holy Qur’an brought them out of all impurities.

3a. Kitab (pl. kutab) means a book or an ordinance. Whichever significance may be adopted, the meaning of the passage is that all those right directions necessary for the guidance of man, whether previously revealed or not, are to be met with in the Holy Qur’an. The Qur’an thus claims to contain all the good points of other sacred books, and, in addition, to supply their deficiencies.

4a. The division mentioned here is the division into believers and disbelievers, some accepting the Messenger and others rejecting him.

8a. The companions of the Holy Prophet are here spoken of as having attained to the highest spiritual stage; compare 89:27—30, where the same words occur regarding spiritual perfection; see 89:30a. This shows clearly that they were above all worldly motives, and not only joined Islam with the single object of pleasing God but also that their sincerity was above all reproach to the end, so that God was pleased with them and made them enter His Garden.

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