40 - Al Ghafir (The forgiver)

6 Tafsir(s) related to verse 40.1


Hā mīm: God knows best what He means by these [letters].


Ḥā Mīm.! The revelation of the Book is from God, the Almighty, the All-Knowing,He said:That is, the Living (al-Ḥayy), the King (al-Malik), who sent down the Book to you. He is ⸢God⸣, who turns thereby [by the Revelation] the hearts of mystics (ʿārifūn). He is Almighty (al-ʿAzīz) beyond the grasp of created beings, the All-Knowing (al-ʿAlīm) with regard to what He has produced and ordained.

Ibn Al Kathir

«إِنْ بُيِّتُّمُ اللَّيْلَةَ فَقُولُوا: حم لَا يُنْصَرُون»

(When you go to bed tonight, recite Ha Mim, La Yunsarun.)'' Its chain of narrators is Sahih.

تَنزِيلُ الْكِتَـبِ مِنَ اللَّهِ الْعَزِيزِ الْعَلِيمِ

(The revelation of the Book is from Allah, the Almighty, the All-Knower.) means, this book -- the Qur'an -- is from Allah, the Owner of might and knowledge, Who cannot be overtaken and from Whom nothing is hidden, not even an ant concealed beneath many layers.

غَافِرِ الذَّنبِ وَقَابِلِ التَّوْبِ

(The Forgiver of sin, the Acceptor of repentance,) means, He forgives sins that have been committed in the past, and He accepts repentance for sins that may be committed in the future, from the one who repents and submits to Him.

شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ

(the Severe in punishment,) means, to the one who persists in transgression and prefers the life of this world, who stubbornly turns away from the commands of Allah and commits sin. This is like the Ayah:

نَبِّىءْ عِبَادِى أَنِّى أَنَا الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ - وَأَنَّ عَذَابِى هُوَ الْعَذَابُ الاٌّلِيمُ

(Declare unto My servants that truly I am the Oft-Forgiving, the Most-Merciful. And that My torment is indeed the most painful torment.) (15:49-50). These two attributes (mercy and punishment) are often mentioned together in the Qur'an, so that people will remain in a state of both hope and fear.

ذِى الطَّوْلِ

(the Bestower.) Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "This means He is Generous and Rich (Independent of means).'' The meaning is that He is Most Generous to His servants, granting ongoing blessings for which they can never sufficiently thank Him.

وَإِن تَعُدُّواْ نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ لاَ تُحْصُوهَا

(And if you would count the favors of Allah, never could you be able to count them...) (16:18).

لاَ إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ

(La ilaha illa Huwa) means, there is none that is equal to Him in all His attributes; there is no God or Lord besides Him.

إِلَيْهِ الْمَصِيرُ

(to Him is the final return.) means, all things will come back to Him and He will reward or punish each person according to his deeds.

وَهُوَ سَرِيعُ الْحِسَابِ

(and He is Swift at reckoning) (13:41).

Kashf Al-Asrar

ḤāÌ Mīm

ḤāÌ is an allusion to love [maḤabba] and Mīm is an allusion to favor [minna]. He is saying, “O you who have become a friend through the ḤāÌ of My love, not through your own excellence! O you have found Me through the Mīm of My favor, not through your obedience! O you whom I took as My friend when you did not recognize Me! O you whom I wanted when you did not know Me! O you to whom I belonged when you did not belong to Me! A hundred thousand were standing at My threshold wanting Me and making their supplications. I paid no attention to them and I said to you without your asking, 'O community of AḤmad, I bestowed upon you before you asked from Me, I responded to you before you called upon Me, and I forgave you before you asked Me to forgive you.'

“The previous prophets were eager and yearning for you. Abraham said, 'Make for me a tongue of truthfulness among the later folk' [26:84], and Moses said, 'Make me one of the community of AḤmad.' This was not because We explained your acts to them, for if We had talked about your acts to them, all would have pulled back from you. It was because I explained My bounteousness and beneficence toward you. Before you, I chose everyone I chose one by one. Thus, 'Surely God chose Adam and Noah and the House of Abraham and the House of Imran' [3:33]. When your turn came, I spoke generally and inclusively: 'You are the best community' [3:110]. All of you are My chosen ones.” In another place He says, “The ones We chose from among Our servants” [35:32]. Included in this address are worshippers, wrongdoers, and disobedient.

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an

This is the introduction to the discourse. By this the listener has been forewarned to the effect: ¦What is being presented before you, is not the word of an ordinary being but of that God Who has infinite power." After this, some of Allah's attributes have been mentioned, one after the other, which bear a deep relevance to the following theme:

First, that He is "All-Mighty", i.e. He is Dominant over everything. His every decree concerning anybody is always enforced; none can fight Him and win; none can escape His grasp. Therefore, a person who expects to be successful after turning away from His Command and expects to frustrate His Message after having a dispute with Him is himself foolish. Such notions are only deceptions.

Second, that He is "All-Knowing", i.e. He does not say anything on mere conjecture, but has the direct knowledge of everything. Therefore, whatever information He gives about the supernatural realities, is lure, and the one who does not accept it, is following nothing but ignorance. Likewise, He knows in what lies the true success of man and what rules and laws and commands are necessary for his well-being. His every teaching is based on wisdom and correct knowledge, which does not admit of any error. Therefore, if a person does not accept His guidance, he only wants to follow the path of his own ruin. Then, nothing from the acts and deeds of man can remain hidden from Him; so much so that He even knows the intentions of man, which arc the real motives of his deeds. Therefore, man can never escape His punishment.

The third attribute is that He is "Forgiver of sin and Acceptor of repentance. " This attribute brings hope and causes inducement, which has been mentioned so that the people who have led lives of sin, should not despair but should reform themselves with the hope that if they refrained from their behavior even now, they could still be redeemed by Allah's mercy. Here, one should understand well that forgiving of sins and accepting of repentance are not necessarily one and the same thing, but in most cases Allah forgives sins even without the repentance. For example, a person commits errors as well as does good, and his good acts become the means of forgiveness for his mistakes, whether or not he had opportunity to show repentance for the errors, but might even have forgotten them. Likewise, all the troubles and hardships and diseases and calamities that afflict man and cause him grief in the world, serve as penance for his mistakes. That is why mention of forgiveness of sins has been made separately from the acceptance of repentance. But one should remember that the concession of forgiveness of errors without repentance only refers to those believers, who are free from defiance and who committed sins due to human weakness and not persistence in pride and sin.

The fourth attribute is that "He is stern in punishment." By this the people have been warned that just as Allah is Merciful for those who adopt the way of His service, so He is stern for those who adopt an attitude of rebellion against Him. When a person (or persons) transgresses the limits where he can still deserve pardon and forgiveness from Allah, then he becomes worthy of His punishment, and His punishment is so dreadful that only a fool would persist in his wrongdoing.

The fifth attribute is that "He is Bountiful", i.e. He is Generous and Beneficent: all creatures are being showered with His blessings and favors every moment: whatever the servants are getting, they are getting only through His bounty and beneficence.

After these five attributes, two realities have been stated expressly:

(1) That none but Allah is the Deity no matter how many false gods the people might have set up; and

(2) that to Him everyone must return: there is no other deity which can call the people to account and reward or punish them.

Therefore, if somebody makes another his deity, apart from Him, he will himself face the consequences of his folly.

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 (Ha. Mim.): '(Ha. Mim.) He says: He has decreed or explained that which will happen until the Day of Judgement; it is also said that this is an oath by which Allah swore.