35 - Al Fatir (The angels)

5 Tafsir(s) related to verse 35.1

Al-Jalalayn

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 everlasting 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 Presence of Exalted Majesty? A majesty that is incomparable with defect and hallowed beyond infirmity 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 witness 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.

The temporal will never be suited for the beginningless. So He Himself bore witness, and His bearing witness is beginningless. Thus when you do so, the temporal will follow the beginningless and its ruling property will become that of the beginningless. Because of that following, He will give you an endless reward.

Who appointed the angels as messengers having wings, two, three, and four. He made Himself recognized to the servants by His acts and He charged them to learn lessons from them. Part of this is what they come to know face-to-face, like heaven, earth, and so on. Part is what is affirmed by way of reports and transmission, for it is not known by self-evidence or the proofs of intellect, and this includes the angels. Hence we do not come to realize the quality of their forms and their wings and how they fly with their three or four wings. But, in short, we know the perfection of His power and the truthfulness of His words.

The angels are those proximate to the Exalted Threshold, the peacocks of the Divine Presence kept in veils of awesomeness. They wear the belt of acquiescence, their heads placed on the line of the command, for they do not disobey God in what He commands them and they do as they are commanded [66:6]. In another place He says, “Nay, but they are honored servants [21:26]. Despite this rank and level, the faithful dust-dwellers and wholesome children of Adam have eminence and superiority over them. Do you not see that the Prophet said, “The man of faith is nobler in God's eyes than the angels who are with Him”?

ʿāÌisha said, “I said, 'O Messenger of God, who are the noblest of creatures in God's eyes?' “He said, 'O ʿāÌisha, have you not recited, “Surely those who have faith and do wholesome

deeds-those are the best of the creatures” [98:7]?'”

It has been narrated that the angels said, “Our Lord, surely You have given the children of Adam this world, and they eat of it and enjoy it. But You have not given it to us, so give us the next world.”

He said, “By My exaltedness, I will not make the wholesome progeny of him whom I created with My own two hands like those to whom I said, 'Be,' so they came to be.”

The Prophet said, “Surely the man of faith is recognized in heaven just as a man is recognized by his family, and surely he is nobler in God's eyes than a proximate angel.”

In the traditions it has come that at the beginning of the creation of Adam, when the Exalted Lord spread the carpet of Adam's dignity and smoothed the foundations of his sinlessness, He addressed the angels by saying, “Surely I am setting in the earth a vicegerent.” By way of asking for information they said, “What, wilt Thou set therein one who will work corruption there?” The Exalted Lord answered them by saying, “Surely I know what you do not know” [2:30]. They regretted what they had said and began to plead, striving to seek the Real's approval. They said, “Our God, we have heard Your address, we fear Your punishment, and we will obey those who obey You, so approve of us. O Lord, may our listening be the ransom for Your eternal address, our makeup the ransom for Your severity and rebuke, and our worship and hallowing the largesse at the feet of those who are faithful to Your threshold. Our desire is that the presence of Your approval may accept us with beginningless favor!”

The address came, “Our approval lies in this: you who are the noble and proximate should circumambulate the Throne and ask forgiveness for the not-yet-done offenses of Adam's offspring, for they are still in the concealment of nonexistence.” This is why the Lord of the Worlds says, “The angels are glorifying the praise of their Lord and asking forgiveness for those in the earth” [42:5].

“O you who are in charge of the veils, weep for the folk of heedlessness among Adam's offspring so that We may conceal their disobedience with Our forgiveness because of your weeping!” Concerning this it has been narrated that the Prophet said, “When I was carried up to heaven, I heard a droning. I asked Gabriel what it was and he said, 'This is the weeping of the cherubim for the sinners in your community.'”

He adds to creation as He wills. The folk of realization say that He means the highness of aspiration. He gives a high aspiration to whomsoever He wants.

The possessors of aspiration are three: The aspiration of one is this world-it is the furthest limit of his hope and the spindle of his effort's mill.

According to the report, “When someone comes to the point where this world is his greatest aspiration, he does not belong to God. His heart will be inseparable from four traits: an aspiration that will never be cut off from him, an occupation in which he will never take comfort, a poverty in which he will never attain wealth, and a hope that will never reach its object.”

On the night of the miʿrāj MuṣṬafā saw a person adorned in the form of a bride. He said, “Gabriel, who is that?” He said, “This world, which adorns herself to the eyes of those with low aspiration. Of your community, only one in 70,000 will buy back his spirit from love for her beauty by seeking God.”

When someone's aspiration is only this world, the scent of severance comes from him. We seek refuge in God from him!

The aspiration of the second reaches the afterworld. The gardens and meadows, the bliss of the colorful things, the houris and palaces, the serving boys, the women good and beautiful [55:70], keep on attracting his heart, as is shown by his passing days. This is the state of the wage-earner who stays attached to the reward and is held back from the realities of the unveilings and the seclusion of whispered prayer.

The third person has a high aspiration and a hidden mystery in the heart. His heart is captive to love and his spirit drowned in face-to-face vision. He has no news of this world and no mark of the afterworld. With the tongue of bewilderment he keeps on saying, “O Unique and One from the beginningless and forever, O One and Alone in name and mark! Bring me to life with the life of the friends! Keep me alive in togetherness itself! Make me flourish in the light of proximity! Lift up duality from the midst! Settle me down with the proximate in the station of tawḤīd!”

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.