The great commentator Mujahid says that by pen here is meant the Pen with which the Qur'an was being written down. From this it automatically follows that that which was being written implies the Holy Qur'an itself.
That is for which an oath has been sworn by the Pen and by the Book. It means that this Qur'an which is being inscribed by the hands of the writers of Revelation, is by itself enough to refute the slander of the disbelievers who say that the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) is, God forbid, a madman, Before his claim to the Prophethood, the people of Makkah looked upon him as the best of their men and trusted his honesty, intelligence and sagacity. But when he started reciting the Qur'an before them they began to call him a madman. This meant that the Qur'an itself in their sight was the cause because of which they accused him of madness; Therefore, it was said: "The Qur'an by itself is a sufficient proof for the refutation of this slander. The presentation of this highly eloquent Revelation which consists of sublime themes, is an argument which proves that Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings) has been especially favored by Allah, and nor an argument which might be used to prove that he has, God forbid, gone mad." Here, one should remember that although the address apparently is directed to the Holy Prophet, yet the real object is to nail the calumny of the disbelievers. Therefore, no one should have the doubt that this verse was sent down only to assure the Holy Prophet that he was not mad. Obviously, the Holy Prophet himself had no such doubt for removing which he might have stood in need of such an assurance. The object was to tell the disbelievers, as if to say: "The Qur'an because of which you-are calling the one presenting it a madman, is by itself an argument that your accusation is false." (For further explanation' see E.N. 22 of Surah At-Tur)
That is, "You will get an unlimited and continuous reward, for although you have to hear discouraging and disturbing things in response to the efforts that you are making for the instruction and guidance of the people, yet you are steadfastly performing your Mission of calling them to the Right Way."
Here, this sentence gives two meanings:
(1) "That you stand exalted to a high and noble character; that is why you are enduring all these hardships in your mission of guiding the people to the Right Way, otherwise a man of weak character could not have done so;" and
(2) "that besides the Qur'an, your high and noble character also is a clear proof that the accusation of madness that the disbelievers bring against you is absolutely false, for high morals and madness cannot co-exist in one and the same person. "
A madman is he whose balance of mind is upset, who has lost his temperamental equilibrium. Contrary to this, the high morals of a person testify that he is a right-minded and sound-natured person, who possesses perfect temperamental equilibrium. The people of Makkah were not unaware of the morals and character possessed by the Holy Messenger of Allah. Therefore, it was enough just to make a reference to them so that every reasonable man of Makkah was made to think how shameless were those people who were calling a man of such sublime morals and character a madman. Their absurd conduct was not at all harmful for the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) but for themselves, for maddened in their craze for opposition they were saying such a thing about him which could not be regarded as credible by any man of understanding. The same also is the case with those men of knowledge and scholarship, who in the modern time are accusing the Holy prophet (upon whom be peace) of having fits of madness and epilepsy. The Qur'an is available everywhere in the world and the Holy Prophet's life also exists in the written form in entire detail. Every person can see it for himself what a foolish and meaningless thing is being uttered in their blind enmity by those who regard the man who brought this unique and matchless Book and who possessed such sublime morals and character as a mentally deranged person.
The best description of the Holy Prophet's character has been given by Hadrat 'A'ishah in her statement: Kana khuluqu-hul-Qur an: the Qur'an was his character." Imam Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Da'ud. Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, Darimi and Ibn Jarir have cited, with a little variation in wording, this saying with several chains of transmitters. This means that the Holy Prophet had not merely presented the teaching of the Qur'an before the world but also given its practical demonstration by his personal example. Whatever was enjoined in the Qur'an was acted upon practically by himself in the first instance; whatever was forbidden in it was shunned and avoided by himself most of all. His own self was characterized most of all by the moral qualities which were declared as sublime by it, and his own self was most free from those qualities which were declared as abhorrent and reprehensible by it. In another tradition Hadrat 'A'ishah has stated: "The Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) never hit a servant, never raised his hand on a woman never used his hand to kill a person outside the battlefield, never avenged himself on anyone for an injury caused unless someone violated a sanctity enjoined by Allah and he avenged it for the sake of Allah. His practice was that whenever he had to choose between two things, he would choose the easier one unless it was a sin; and if it was a sin he would keep away from it most of all" (Musnad Ahmad). Hadrat Anas says: "I served the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) for ten years. He never did so much as express even a slight disgust over what I did or said: he never asked why I had done what I had done, and never inquired why I had not done what I had not done." (Bukhari, Muslim).
That is, "If you slackened a little in your propagation of Islam, they also would slacken in their opposition to you. Or, if you became inclined to effect some changes in your Faith to suit these people, they too would effect a compromise with you."
The word mahin is used for a contemptible, degraded and mean person. This is indeed a necessary quality of a person who swears many oaths. He swears an oath for every minor thing because he himself has the feeling that the people take him for a liar and would not believe him until he swore an oath. For this reason he is not only degraded in his own eyes but commands no respect in society either.
Khayr in Arabic is used both for wealth and for good. If it is taken in the meaning of wealth the, meaning would be that he is miserly and stingy; he would not even spend a farthing on anyone; and if khayr is taken in the meaning of goodness and virtue, it would mean that he creates a hindrance in every good work as well as that he is very active in hindering the people from accepting Islam.
The word `utul is used for a person who is stout and strong and greedy in eating and drinking and is also ill-mannered, quarrelsome and cruel at the same tune.
The word zanim is used to describe a person of illegitimate birth, who does not, in fact, belong to a family but has joined it. Sa`id bin Jubair and Sha`bi say that this word is used for a person who is notorious among the people for his evildoing.
The views of the commentators with regard to the person who has been described in these verses are different. Some one says it was Walid bin Mughirah; another one says it was Aswad bin `Abd-i Yaghuth, and still another has applied this description to Akhnas bin Shurayq, and some other people have pointed to some other persons. But the Qur'an has only described his attributes without naming him. This shows that in Makkah the man concerned was so notorious for his such qualities that there was no need to name him definitely. Hearing his description every person could understand who was being referred to.
This sentence may be connected with the preceding theme as well as with the following sentence. In the first case, it would mean: "Do not yield to the influence of such a person just because he has plenty of wealth and children." In the second: "He has become proud because he possesses abundance of wealth and children; so when Our Revelations are recited to him, he says, "These are tales of ancient times."
Because he thought he was a man of high prestige, his nose has been called a snout, and "branding him on the snout means disgracing him. That is, "We shall so disgrace him in the world and in the Hereafter that his mark of disgrace will become indelible."