The Quran

Commentaries for 37.1

As Saffat (Those who set up ranks) - الصافات

37.1 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
And from his narration on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas that he said regarding the interpretation of Allah's saying (By those who set the ranks in battle order): '(By those who set the ranks in battle order) Allah swore by the angels who are, in heaven, aligned in rows like the rows of the believers in prayer.
37.1 Asrar - Kashf Al-Asrar
By the row-keepers in rows!
The lords of realization have said various things about which rows of angels these are. One group has said that what is meant is all the rows of the angels adorning the celestial world, through which the seven heavens have become luminous. In each heaven there is one sort and in each class one description. Some are in the station of service with the watchword of veneration, some in the station of awe with the blanket of watchfulness, some in the state of striving while sniffing the scents of contemplation, some in delight at being attracted by passion for the Friend, some in the market of yearning while whispering secretly with the Friend, some in the dice of love while melting in separation. The chanting of their glorification has deafened the ears of the spheres, their glorifying and hallowing have perfumed the world of holiness, and their flashing words have illumined the courtyard of the Throne. All are sitting in the celestial sky in the gardens of approval, all have bound their belts for the Exalted Threshold within the veils of awe. There is no shortcoming in their worship, no fatigue in their obedience, no slackening in their service. They do not disobey God in what He commands them and they do as they are commanded [66:6].
Another group has said that what is meant by these rows is the angels of the Inhabited House specifically, who are in the fourth heaven. They are like the Adamites in this dusty center, who visit the house of the Kaabah every year for one day. The master of the empire, the lord of the Shariah, the foremost of the prophets, said, “On the night of proximity and honor, the night of nearness and familiarity, the night of the miʿrāj, when we were strolling in that towering garden, we reached the fourth heaven and we went to visit the Inhabited House. We saw several thousand of those given proximity next to the Inhabited House. They were all drunk and intoxicated from the wine of union. They were coming from the right and passing to the left, circumambulating and saying 'Here I am,' constantly passing to the left. You would say that their number was more than the stars and greater than the number of leaves on the trees.
I could not imagine their number, nor could my understanding perceive how to count them. I said, 'O Gabriel who are they and whence do they come?'
“Gabriel said, 'O Master, “None knows the hosts of thy Lord but He” [74:31]. It has been fifty thousand years that I have seen it just like this. They do not rest for an hour. Thousands come from that direction and pass by. I have not seen before those who come, and I never again see those who pass by. I do not know whence they come or where they go. I do not know the beginning of their state, nor do I recognize the end of their work.”
Yes, friend, this is a marvelous business and a wondrous state! The heaven-dwellers set their faces toward a stone, and the earth-dwellers set their faces toward a stone. What do the helpless passionate ones have in their hands other than rushing and running? May the chevaliers who will settle for nothing but the face of the object of passion and play dice in nothing but love for the Friend subsist in a thousand happinesses!
O He to whose face is my hajj and my umrah,
the people make their hajj to dust and stones. “Here I am, here I am” in proximity or distance,
a secret to a secret, a thought to a thought.
In this world and that world and all that is,
the passionate turn to the Beloved's face, and that's it.
Even if the world's kiblah is not mine,
my kiblah is the Beloved's street-and that's it.
37.1 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
By those who are ranged in ranks — [by] the angels who range their souls in worship or their wings in the air awaiting their orders;
37.1-5 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
It was reported that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud, may Allah be pleased with him, said:
وَالصَّـفَّـتِ صَفَّا
"(By those ranged in ranks.) -- they are the angels;
فَالزَجِرَتِ زَجْراً
(By those who drive the clouds in a good way. ) they are the angels;
فَالتَّـلِيَـتِ ذِكْراً
(By those who bring the Dhikr.) they are the angels.'' This was also the view of Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, Masruq, Sa`id bin Jubayr, `Ikrimah, Mujahid, As-Suddi, Qatadah and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas. Qatadah said, "The angels form ranks in the heavens.'' Muslim recorded that Hudhayfah, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "The Messenger of Allah said:
«فُضِّلْنَا عَلَى النَّاسِ بِثَلَاثٍ: جُعِلَتْ صُفُوفُنَا كَصُفُوفِ الْمَلَائِكَةِ، وَجُعِلَتْ لَنَا الْأَرْضُ كُلُّهَا مَسْجِدًا، وَجُعِلَ لَنَا تُرَابُهَا طَهُورًا، إِذَا لَمْ نَجِدِ الْمَاء»
(We have been favored over the rest of mankind in three ways: our ranks have been made like the ranks of the angels; the entire earth has been made a Masjid for us; and its soil has been made a means of purification for us if we cannot find water.)'' Muslim, Abu Dawud, An-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah recorded that Jabir bin Samurah, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "The Messenger of Allah said:
«أَلَا تَصُفُّونَ كَمَا تَصُفُّ الْمَلَائِكَةُ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ؟»
(Will you not form ranks as the angels form ranks in the presence of their Lord) We said, `How do the angels form ranks in the presence of their Lord' He said:
«يُتِمُّونَ الصُّفُوفَ الْمُتَقَدِّمَةَ، وَيَتَرَاصُّونَ فِي الصَّف»
(They complete the rows nearer the front and they consolidate the rows. )'' As-Suddi and others said that the Ayah
فَالزَجِرَتِ زَجْراً
(By those who drive the clouds in a good way. ) means that they drive the clouds.
فَالتَّـلِيَـتِ ذِكْراً
(By those who bring the Dhikr.) As-Suddi said, "The angels bring the Scriptures and the Qur'an from Allah to mankind.''
The One True God is Allah
إِنَّ إِلَـهَكُمْ لَوَاحِدٌ رَبُّ السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضِ
(Verily, your God is indeed One, Lord of the heavens and the earth,) This is the One by Whom the oath is sworn, stating that there is no God worthy of worship but He, Lord of the heavens and the earth,
وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَآ
(and all that is between them,) means, of created beings.
وَرَبُّ الْمَشَـرِقِ
(and Lord of every point of the sun's risings.) means, He is the Sovereign Who is controlling His creation by subjugating it and all that is in it of stars, planets and heavenly bodies which appear from the east and set in the west. Mentioning the east is sufficient and there is no need for the west to be mentioned too, because it is implied in what is said. This has also been stated clearly elsewhere, in the Ayat:
فَلاَ أُقْسِمُ بِرَبِّ الْمَشَـرِقِ وَالْمَغَـرِبِ إِنَّا لَقَـدِرُونَ
(So I swear by the Lord of all the points of sunrise and sunset in the east and the west that surely We are able.) (70:40)
رَبُّ الْمَشْرِقَيْنِ وَرَبُّ الْمَغْرِبَيْنِ
((He is) the Lord of the two easts and the Lord of the two wests. ) (55:17) which refers to the rising and setting points of the sun and the moon in both winter and summer.
37.1-5 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
The majority of the commentators are agreed that All these three groups imply the groups of the angels, and the same explanation of it has been reported from 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud, Ibn `Abbas, Qatadah, Masruq Said bin Jubair, 'Ikrimah, Mujahid, Suddi, Ibn Zaid and Rabi' bin Anas. Some commentators have given other commentaries also, but this commentary is more in keeping with the context. The words "range themselves in ranks" refer to the fact that all the angels who arc administering the affairs of the universe, are the humble servants of Allah, and are ever ready to carry out any service and implement any command of His. This theme -has been further repeated in verse 165 below, where the angels say with regard to themselves: "We are the ranged servants (of Allah).'
As for "scolding and cursing", some commentators think that it refers to those angels who drive the clouds and arrange the rainfall. Although this meaning is not incorrect either, the meaning which is more relevant to the following context is that among these angels there is also a group of those, who scold and curse the disobedient people and the culprits, and this scolding and cursing is not merely verbal but it rains on human beings in the form of natural disasters and calamities.
"To recite admonition" implies that among these angels there are also those, who perform the service of admonition in order to draw the people's the Truth. This they do by bringing about natural calamities from which the needful take heed, and by bringing down the teachings to the Prophets, and in the form of revelations with which the pious men are blessed through them.
This is the Truth to impress which an oath has been taken by the angels bearing the above-mentioned qualities. In other words, what is meant to be said is: "The whole system of the universe which is functioning in the service of Allah, and all those manifestations of this universe which bring the evil consequences of deviation from the service of Allah before men, testify that the "Deity" of men is One and only One."
The word "Ilah" applies to two meanings:
(1) The deity who is actually being served and worshiped; and
(2) the Deity Who, in reality, is worthy of being served and worshiped.
Here, the word "Ilah"has been used in the second meaning, for, as far as the first meaning is concerned, men have adopted many other deities. That is why we have translated "Ilah"as the "real Deity".
The Truth that has been conveyed in these verses is: "The Master and Ruler of the Universe is the real Deity of men: He alone can be, and should be the Deity. It would be utterly irrational that the Rabb (i.e.. Master, Ruler, Guardian and Sustainer) of the man should be one but his Ilah (deity) another. The basic reason for worship is that man should naturally bow down before and acknowledge the superiority of him who can bring him harm and good, who can fulfill his needs and requirements, who can make or mar his destiny and has power over his life and survival itself. If man understands this he will automatically understand that to worship the one who has no power and not to worship Him Who has All the powers arc both against reason and nature. The One Who alone is worthy of worship is He Who possesses the powers. As far as the powerless beings are concerned, they are neither worthy of worship, nor is it in any way profitable to worship and pray to them, for it is not in their power to take any action whatever on man's petitions and prayers. To bow before them humbly and to petition them would be as foolish and meaningless an act as to bow before and petition another one who has himself gone before a ruler to make obeisance and submit his petitions.
The sun does not always rise at the same point but at a different point every day. Moreover, it does not rise at one and the same time for the whole world but rises at different times for the different parts of the earth. That is why the plural "Mashariq" (Easts) has been used to indicate the different points at which the sun rises according to the season of the year. The corresponding word “Magharib” (Wests) has not been used because Mashariq itself points to Magharib However, in Surah Al-Ma'arij, the word magharib also has been used along with mashariq: Rabb-al-mashariqi wal-magharib.