35 - Al Fatir (The angels)

5 Tafsir(s) related to verse 35.1


Praise be to God, God praises Himself with in these [terms], as explained at the beginning of [the preceding] sūrat Saba’, Originator of the heavens and the earth, the One Who created them without any precedent, Appointer of the angels as messengers, to [His] prophets, having wings in [sets of] two or three or four. He multiplies in creation, in angels and other [creatures], what He will. Surely God has power over all things.

Ibn Al Kathir

The Power of Allah

Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "I did not know what Fatir As-Samawati wal-Ard meant until two bedouins came to me disputing over a well. One of them said to his companion, `Ana Fatartuha,' meaning, `I started it.''' Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, also said,

فَاطِرَ السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضِ

(Fatir of the heavens and the earth,) means, "The Originator of the heavens and the earth.'' Ad-Dahhak said, "Every time the phrase Fatir As-Samawati wal-Ard is used in the Qur'an, it means the Creator of the heavens and the earth.''

جَاعِلِ الْمَلَـئِكَةِ رُسُلاً

(Who made the angels messengers) means, between Him and His Prophets.

أُوْلِى أَجْنِحَةٍ

with wings means, with which they fly to convey quickly that which they have been commanded to convey.

مَثْنَى وَثُلَـثَ وَرُبَاعَ

two or three or four. means, among them are some who have two wings, some have three and some who have four. Some have more than that, as stated in the Hلad0th mentioning that the Messenger of Alla0h saw Jibr0l, peace be upon him, on the Night of the Isra0 with six hundred wings. Between each pair of wings was a distance like that between the east and the west. Alla0h says:

يَزِيدُ فِى الْخَلْقِ مَا يَشَآءُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَىْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

(He increases in creation what He wills. Verily, Allah is Able to do all things.) As-Suddi said, "He increases their wings and creates them as He wills.''

Kashf Al-Asrar

Praise belongs to God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, who appointed the angels as messengers having wings, two, three, and four. He adds to creation as He wills.

"The praise belongs to God; that which belongs to Me is the praise by which I praise Myself, not your praise. The praise that is worthy of Me is the praise that comes from Me, not that which comes from you. What would come from water and dust worthy of My exalted majesty and ever- lasting beauty? How can the description of newly arrived things find access to the Eternal? How can that which undergoes annihilation reach the subsistent Real? How can that which was not, then came to be, praise Him who always was and always will be? O Adamite, your praise is defective because of your request for pardon and forgiveness. How can the defective be suited for the Pres- ence of Exalted Majesty? A majesty that is incomparable with defect and hallowed beyond infir- mity must have the praise of the Haqiqah, and that is nothing other than praise by Me, who am the Lord. For I am the Real, and My attributes are the Haqiqah. My servant, now I bring forth praise that is worthy of Myself. You also, bring forth praise of Me worthy of yourself, in the measure of your possibility. Then I will take your metaphor and through My generosity make it accord with the Haqiqah. I will make its ruling property the ruling property of the Haqiqah. If you say 'Amen' and your words conform with My saying 'Amen,' I will forgive you your sins. So when you praise Me and your praise of Me conforms with My praise of Me, how can any imagination carry and how can any mind contain the caress and robe of honor that I will bestow upon you?"

Listen while I confirm these words with their like: The Exalted Lord says, "God bears wit- ness that there is no god but He" [3:18]. Before you bore witness, He Himself bore witness, for your bearing witness is defective because of the request to attain the promise of paradise and to safeguard against the threat of hell. Moreover, your bearing witness is temporal, but His attributes are beginningless and everlasting.

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an

This can have two meanings:

(1) "That these angels perform the service of communicating messages between Allah and His Prophets :" and

(2) "that it is the duty of these angels to convey and enforce the Commands of Allah Almighty throughout the universe."

The object is to impress this truth: The position of the angels whom the polytheists have made their gods and goddesses is no more than of obedient servants of Allah, the One. Just as the servants of a king run about for the implementation of his orders, so do these angels fly about in the service of the real Sovereign of the Universe. These servants have no authority of their own; All powers rest with Allah, Who is the real Sovereign.

We have no means to know what is the nature of the wings of these angels. But when Allah has used this word, which in human language is used for the wings of birds, instead of any other words, to express and depict the truth, one can certainly conclude that this very word of our language is nearest to the actual meaning. The mention of two and three and four pairs of the wings shows that different angels have been granted different degrees of powers by Allah. They have been equipped with different powers of speed and efficiency as demanded by the nature of service for which they arc employed.

These words show that the number of the wings of the angels is restricted to four, but Allah has provided some angels with more wings than four. According to a Hadith related by Hadrat 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud, the Holy Prophet once saw the Angel Gabriel (peace be upon hits) with six hundred wings. (Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi). Hadrat 'A'ishah relates that the Holy Prophet had seen Gabriel twice in his real shape: he had six hundred wings and had covered the whole horizon. (Tirmidhi)

This also is meant to remove the misunderstanding of the polytheists, who believed that from among the servants of Allah some one gave them the jobs, some one the children and some one health to their patients. All these superstitions of shirk are baseless, and the pure truth is just that whatever of mercy reaches the people, reaches them only through Allah Almighty's bounty and grace. No one else has the power either to bestow it or to withhold it. This theme has been expressed at many places in the Qur'an and the Ahadith in different ways so that man may avoid the humiliation of begging at every door and at every shrine and may realize that making or marring of his destiny.n the power of One Allah alone and of none else.

He is the All-Mighty": He is dominant and the owner of Sovereignty: none can stop His judgments from being enforced. Also "He is All-Wise": every of His is based on wisdom. When He gives somebody something He because it is demanded by wisdom, and when He withholds something judgment gives it from somebody He withholds it because it would be against wisdom to give it.

Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs

And from his narration on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas that he said upon explaining Allah's words: (Praise be to Allah): '(Praise be to Allah) He says: gratitude and favour belong to Allah, (the Creator of the heavens and the earth, who appointeth the angels) Who created and honoured the angels and made them (messengers) i.e. He sends them with a message to His created beings; this refers to Gabriel, Michael, Seraphiel, the angel of death, thunder and the Guardian angels (having wings) i.e. the angels have wings (two, three and four) wings with which to fly. (He multiplieth in creation) in the creation of angels (what He will) it is also said that in those wings are what He wills; and it is also said: whomever He wills is in good fortune; and it is said that this means: whomsoever He wills has a good voice. (Lo! Allah is Able to do all things) of increase and decrease.