Hā mīm: God knows best what He means by these [letters].
Hā mīm: God knows best what He means by these [letters].
Hā, Mīm! By the Book that makes things clear.That is, within it He clearly distinguished guidance from error, good from evil, and expounded the bliss of the fortunate (suʿadāʾ) and the misery of the wretched (ashqiyāʾ).
حـم - تَنزِيلُ الْكِتَـبِ مِنَ اللَّهِ الْعَزِيزِ الْعَلِيمِ
(Ha-Mim. By the manifest Book.) means, plain and clear in both wording and meaning, because it was revealed in the language of the Arabs, which is the most eloquent language for communication among people. Allah says:
(Verily, We have made it) meaning, revealed it,
(a Qur'an in Arabic) meaning, in the language of the Arabs, eloquent and clear;
(that you may be able to understand.) means, that you may understand it and ponder its meanings. This is like the Ayah:
بِلِسَانٍ عَرَبِىٍّ مُّبِينٍ
(In the plain Arabic language.) (26:195)
وَإِنَّهُ فِى أُمِّ الْكِتَـبِ لَدَيْنَا لَعَلِىٌّ حَكِيمٌ
(And verily, it is in the Mother of the Book with Us, indeed exalted, full of wisdom.) This explains the high status of the Qur'an among the hosts on high (the angels), so that the people of earth will respect it, venerate it and obey it.
(And verily, it) means, the Qur'an,
فِى أُمِّ الْكِتَـبِ
(is in the Mother of the Book) meaning, Al-Lawh Al-Mahfuz (the Preserved Tablet). This was the view of Ibn `Abbas and Mujahid.
(with Us,) means, in Our presence. This was the view of Qatadah and others.
(indeed exalted) means, occupying a position of honor and virtue. This was the view of Qatadah.
(full of wisdom.) means, clear, with no confusion or deviation. All of this indicates its noble status and virtue, as Allah says elsewhere:
إِنَّهُ لَقُرْءَانٌ كَرِيمٌ - فِى كِتَـبٍ مَّكْنُونٍ - لاَّ يَمَسُّهُ إِلاَّ الْمُطَهَّرُونَ - تَنزِيلٌ مِّن رَّبِّ الْعَـلَمِينَ
(That (this) is indeed an honorable recitation. In a Book well-guarded. Which none can touch but the pure. A revelation from the Lord of the all that exists.) (56:77-80)
كَلاَّ إِنَّهَا تَذْكِرَةٌ فَمَن شَآءَ ذَكَرَهُ فَى صُحُفٍ مُّكَرَّمَةٍ مَّرْفُوعَةٍ مُّطَهَّرَةٍ بِأَيْدِى سَفَرَةٍ كِرَامٍ بَرَرَةٍ
(Nay, indeed it is an admonition. So whoever wills, let him pay attention to it. (It is) in Records held (greatly) in honor, exalted, purified, in the hands of scribes (angels), honorable and obedient.) (80:11-16)
أَفَنَضْرِبُ عَنكُمُ الذِّكْرَ صَفْحاً أَن كُنتُمْ قَوْماً مُّسْرِفِينَ
(Shall We then take away the Reminder (this Qur'an) from you, because you are a people excessive.) means, `do you think that We will forgive you and not punish you, when you do not do as you have been commanded' This was the view of Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, Abu Salih, Mujahid and As-Suddi, and was the view favored by Ibn Jarir.
أَفَنَضْرِبُ عَنكُمُ الذِّكْرَ صَفْحاً
(Shall We then take away the Reminder (this Qur'an) from you,) Qatadah said, "By Allah, if this Qur'an had been taken away when the first generations of this Ummah rejected it, they would have been doomed, but Allah by His mercy persisted in sending it and calling them to it for twenty years, or for as long as He willed.'' What Qatadah said is very good, and his point is that Allah, by His grace and mercy towards His creation, did not stop calling them to the truth and to the wise Reminder, i.e., the Qur'an, even though they were heedless and turned away from it. Indeed, He sent it so that those who were decreed to be guided might be guided by it, and so that proof might be established against those who were decreed to be.
(In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Consolation to the Prophet for the Disbelief of Quraysh
Then Allah consoles His Prophet for the disbelief of his people, and commands him to bear it with patience.
وَكَمْ أَرْسَلْنَا مِن نَّبِيٍّ فِى الاٌّوَّلِينَ
(And how many a Prophet have We sent amongst the men of old.) meaning, among the sects (communities) of old.
وَمَا يَأْتِيهِم مِّنْ نَّبِىٍّ إِلاَّ كَانُواْ بِهِ يَسْتَهْزِءُونَ
(And never came there a Prophet to them but they used to mock at him.) means, they disbelieved him and mock at him.
فَأَهْلَكْنَآ أَشَدَّ مِنْهُم بَطْشاً
(Then We destroyed men stronger than these) means, `We destroyed those who disbelieved in the Messengers, and they were stronger in power than these who disbelieve in you, O Muhammad.' This is like the Ayah:
أَفَلَمْ يَسِيرُواْ فِى الاٌّرْضِ فَيَنظُرُواْ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَـقِبَةُ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ كَانُواْ أَكْـثَرَ مِنْهُمْ وَأَشَدَّ قُوَّةً
(Have they not traveled through the earth and seen what was the end of those before them They were more in number than them and mightier in strength) (40:82). And there are many similar Ayat.
وَمَضَى مَثَلُ الاٌّوَّلِينَ
(and the example of the ancients has passed away. ) Mujahid said, "The way of their life.'' Qatadah said, "Their punishment.'' Others said, "Their lesson,'' i.e., `We made them a lesson for those disbelievers who came after them, that they would suffer the same end as them,' as in the Ayah at the end of this Surah:
فَجَعَلْنَـهُمْ سَلَفاً وَمَثَلاً لِّلاٌّخِرِينَ
(And We made them a precedent, and an example to later generations.) (43:56);
سُنَّةَ اللَّهِ الَّتِى قَدْ خَلَتْ فِى عِبَادِهِ
(this has been the way of Allah in dealing with His servants) (40:85).
وَلَن تَجِدَ لِسُنَّةِ اللَّهِ تَبْدِيلاً
(and you will not find any change in the way of Allah.) (33:62)
The object of taking an oath by the Qur'an is to impress this fact: "We are the Author of this Book and not Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace)," and the attribute of the Qur'an chosen for the oath is that it is a "lucid Book". To swear by the Qur'an itself with its this attribute in order to impress that the Qur'an is Divine Word by itself implies this: "O people, this is an open Book before you. Read it intelligently. Its clear and un-ambiguous themes, its language and literary style, its teaching which distinguishes the truth from falsehood, all arc testifying to the fact that none but the Lord of the Universe could be its Author. " Then the sentence: '"We have made it an Arabic Qur'an so that you may understand it." has two meanings:
(1) "It is not in any foreign tongue but in your own language; therefore, you can have no difficulty in assessing its value and worth. Had it been in a non-Arabic language, you could have offered the excuse that you could not determine its being Divine, or otherwise, for you did not understand it. But you cannot offer this excuse about this Arabic Qur'an. Its each word is clear to you: its each passage and discourse, both in language and in theme, is plain for you. Now you may see it for yourself whether this could be the word of Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace) or of some other Arab."
(2) "We have sent this Book in Arabic because We are addressing the Arabs, who can only understand an Arabic Qur'an. The person who disregards this expressly rational ground for sending down the Qur'an in Arabic and regards it as the word of Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace) instead of Divine Word only because Muhammad's mother tongue is also Arabic, commits a grave injustice. " (To understand this second meaning, please see Surah Ha-Mim As-Sajdah: 44 and its E.N.'s).
"Umm al-Kitab": the "Original Book": the Book from which all the Books sent down to the Prophets have been derived. In Surah AI-Waqi`ah the same thing has been described as Kitab-um-Maknun (the hidden and preserved Book) and in Surah AI-Buruj 22 as Lauh-i Mahfuz (the Preserved Tablet), that is, the Tablet whose writing cannot be effaced, which is secure from every kind of interference. By saying that the Qur'an is inscribed in Umm al-Kitab, attention has been drawn to an important truth. Different Books had been revealed by Allah in different ages to different Prophets for the guidance of different nations in different languages, but all these Books invited mankind to one and the same Faith: they regarded one and the same thing as the Truth; they presented one and the same criterion of good and evil; they propounded the same principles of morality and civilization; in short, they brought one and the same Din (Religion). The reason was that their source and origin was the same, only words were different; they had the same meaning and theme which is inscribed in a Source Book with Allah, and whenever there was a need, He raised a Prophet and sent down the same meaning and subject-matter clothed in a particular diction according to the environment and occasion. Had Allah willed to raise the Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be His peace) in another nation instead of the Arabs, He would have sent down the same Qur'an in the language of that nation. In it the meaning and content would have been expressed according to the environments and conditions of the people and land; the words would have been different and the language also different but the teaching and guidance the same basically, and it would be the same Qur'an though not the Arabic Qur'an. This same thing has been expressed in Surah Ash-Shu`ara, thus: "This (Book) has been revealed by the Lord of the worlds. The trustworthy Spirit has come down with it upon your heart so that you may become one of those who are (appointed by God) to warn (the people) in plain Arabic language; and this is also contained in the scriptures of the former peoples." (vv. 192-196). (For explanation, see Ash-Shu`ara: 192196 and the E.N.'s on it).
This sentence is related both to Kitab-i mubin and to Umm al-Kitab. Thus, it is in praise of both the Qur'an and the Original Book from which the Qur'an has been derived. This praise is meant to impress the fact that if a person does not recognize the true worth of this Book and does not benefit from its wise teachings because of his own folly, it would be his own misfortune. If someone tried to degrade it and found fault with it, it would be his own meanness. It cannot become worthless on account of someone's lack of appreciation of it, and its wisdom cannot be eclipsed by anyone's throwing dust at it. This is by itself a glorious Book, which stands exalted by its matchless teaching, miraculous eloquence, faultless wisdom and the sublime personality of its great Author. Therefore, none can succeed in minimizing its value and worth. In verse 44 below the Quraish in particular and the Arabs in general have been told that the revelation of the Book for which they are showing such lack of appreciation had provided them a unique opportunity of honor, which if they lost, would subject them to a severe accountability before God. (Please see E.N. 39 below).
And from his narration on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas that he said in the interpretation of Allah's saying (Ha. Mim.): '(Ha. Mim.) He says: He has already decreed that which will happen, i.e. He has shown it.