55 - Ar Rahman (The beneficent)

4 Tafsir(s) related to verse 55.1


The Compassionate One, God, exalted be He,

Kashf Al-Asrar

The All-Merciful-He taught the Qur'an.

No one's hand will reach the knocker on the Qur'an's gate simply and easily, unless with the suc- cess-giving and facilitating of the All-Merciful. If anyone could reach this good fortune without the help of the All-Merciful, that would be MuṣṬafā, the Seal of the Prophets. But there is no one among the creatures with the majesty and rank that he had. Concerning him the Real says, "The All-Merciful-He taught the Qur'an," that is, He taught MuḤammad the Qur'an.

As much as teachers strive in teaching, masters instruct, and memorizers keep classes going, all of these are secondary causes, and the teacher in reality is God. Whenever someone comes to be taught, He is the teacher. Whenever someone lights up, He is the light-giver. Whenever someone burns, He is the burner. Whenever something is made, He is the maker.

He taught Adam the knowledge of the names: And He taught Adam the names, all of them [2:31]. He taught David chain-mail making: And We taught him the artisanry of garments for you [21:80]. He taught Jesus the science of medicine: And He will teach him the book and the wisdom [3:48]. He taught Khiẓr the science of recognition: We taught him knowledge from Us [18:65]. He taught MuṣṬafā the secrets of the divinity: He taught thee what thou didst not know [4:113]. He taught the folk of the world explication:

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an

That is, the teaching of this Qur'an is not the production of a man's mind but its Teacher is the Merciful God Himself. Here, there was no need to tell as to whom Allah had imparted this Qur'anic teaching for the people were hearing it from the tongue of the Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings). Therefore, the situation by itself made it evident that the teaching had been imparted to Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings).

To begin the discourse with this sentence is meant,,first of all, to tell that the Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings) himself is not its author, but its Teacher is Allah Almighty. Furthermore, there is another object also to which the word Rahman (Merciful) is pointing. If the purpose was only to say that that teaching is from Allah, and not the production of the Prophet's mind, there was no need to use an attribute of Allah instead of His proper name, acid for that purpose any attribute from among the Divine attributes could have been adopted, But when, instead of saying that Allah, or the Creator, or the Providence, has taught this, it was said: 'The Merciful (Ar-Rahman) has taught this Qur'an,' it by itself gave the meaning that the revelation of the Qur'an for the guidance of mankind was nothing but Allah's mercy and grace, As He is most kind and Merciful to His creation, He did not like that He should leave them wandering in the darkness, and His mercy demanded that He should send down this Quran to bless them with the knowledge on which depends their right guidance and conduct in the world and their success and well-being in the Hereafter, "

In other words, as Allah is the Creator of man, and it is the Creator's responsibility to provide guidance to His creation and show it the way by following which it may fulfill the object of its erection, the revelation of this Qur'anic teaching from Allah is not only the demand of Allah's mercifulness but also the necessary and natural demand of His being the Creator. Who else would provide guidance to the creation if not the Creator ? And if the Creator did not provide guidance, who else could? And what greater defect could there be for a creator that he should not teach his creation the method of fulfilling the object, for which it has been created? Thus, in fact, the arrangement and' provision of the teaching for man by Allah is not anything strange; it would be strange if no such arrangement had been made at all, Allah has not just left alone whatever He has created in the Universe, but has given it the most appropriate structure by which it may play its role in the system of nature and has taught it the method of playing that role effectively and successfully. Thus, each single hair and each single cell of man's own body has been born with the knowledge of how it has to carry out the task in the human body for which it has been created, Then, after all how could man himself remain deprived and independent of his Creator's teaching and guidance? This theme has been presented in the Qur'an at different places in different ways, In Surah Al-lail; 12, it has been said; "Indeed, it is for Us to toll the Way" in surah An-Nahl: 9, it is said Allah has taken upon Himself to show the Right Way, when there exist crooked ways too:12 In surah Ta Ha (vv: 47-50) it has been stated that when the Pharaoh heard the prophetic message from the Prophet Moses and asked who was his Lord who had sent him as a Messenger to him, the Prophet replied: "Our Lord is He Who has given a distinctive form to everything and then guided it aright. " That is, He has taught it the method by which it could carry out and fulfill the object of its creation in the system of existence. This is the reasoning by which an unbiased mind is satisfied that the coming of the Prophets and the Books from Allah for the instruction of man is the very demand of nature.

One meaning of the word bayan, as used in the original, is the expressing of one's own mind, i e. speaking and expressing one's thoughts and intentions. Its other meaning is to make distinction between things, which here signifies the distinction between good and evil, virtue and vice. According to those two meanings this brief sentence completes the above reasoning. Speech is the distinctive quality which distinguishes man from the animals and other earthly creatures, It is not merely the power of speech, but there are working behind It the faculties of reasoning and intellect, understanding and discernment, will and Judgment, and other mental powers without which man's power of speech could not operate at all. Therefore, speech is in fact an express symbol of man's being an intelligent being who has been endowed with freedom and authority, and when Allah has blessed man with this distinctive quality, evidently the nature of instruction for him also cannot be the same a: would be suitable for the guidance of other creatures. Likewise, another distinctive quality of vital Importance in man is that Allah has placed in him moral sense by virtue of which he can naturally distinguish between good and evil, truth and falsehood, Justice and injustice, right and wrong, and this intuition and sense does not leave him even when he degrades himself to the lowest state of error and ignorance. The Inevitable demand of these two distinctive qualities is that the method of instruction for man's conscious and voluntary life should be different from the innate, natural mode of instruction under which the fish has been taught to swim, the bird to fly, and the eye in the human body itself to wink and see, the ear to hear and the stomach to digest, Man in this sphere of his life himself recognizes the means like the teacher, the book, the school, the verbal and written instruction and reasoning and discussion as the modes of instruction, and does not regard the innate knowledge and intelligence as enough. Why should It then appear arrange that for fulfilling the responsibility that falls upon the Creator of educating man, He has made the Messenger and the Book the means of his education and instruction ? The mode of education has to suit the nature of the creation, And very rationally so; The "Qur'an" alone cart be the means of educating the creation that has been taught 'bayan"(speech) and not my other means that might salt the creatures which have not been taught the speech.

Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs

And from his narration on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas that he said: "When the verse (Say (unto mankind): Cry unto Allah, or cry unto the Beneficent) [17:111] was revealed, the disbelievers of Mecca-Abu Jahl, al-Walid, 'Utbah and Shaybah and their hosts-said: we know no one called the Beneficent except Musaylimah the liar who lives in Yamamah. So he is this Beneficent one, O Muhammad?" And so Allah revealed this: (The Beneficent