The Quran

Commentaries for 13.4

Ar Rad (The thunder) - الرعد

13.4 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(And in the Earth are neighbouring) adjacent (tracts) places: a bad, swampy land close to a good, fertile land, (vineyards and ploughed lands, and date-palms, like) which have the same roots, whether they are ten or less (and unlike) have different roots, (which are watered with one water) they are watered with the rain or water from rivers. (And We have made some of them to excel others in fruit) in bearing and taste. (Lo! Herein) in their difference and different colours (verily are portents) signs (for people who have sense) for people who believe that they are from Allah.
13.4 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
And on the earth are tracts, diverse terrains, neighbouring each other, joined side by side, some good, some briny, some of little yield and some fruitful — and these constitute proofs of His power, exalted be He — and gardens, orchards, of vines and sown fields (read zar‘un, in the nominative, as a supplement to jannātun, ‘gardens’, or read zar‘in, in the genitive, [as a supplement] to a‘nābin, ‘of vines’); similarly [constituting proofs of His power are] His words: and date-palms sharing one root (sinwān is the plural of sinw, which are date-palms belonging to the same root, but with many offshoots) and date-palms otherwise, [each] of individual root, watered (read tusqā as [referring to] jannāt, ‘gardens’, and what is in them, or read yusqā as [referring to] the mentioned [date-palms]) by the same [source of] water; and We make some of them to excel (wa-nufaddil, or read wa-yufaddil, ‘and He [God] makes [some of them] to excel’) others in flavour (read fī’l-ukul or fī’l-ukl): and so some are sweet, others, bitter — and these are [also] proofs of His power, exalted be He. Surely in that, which is mentioned, are signs for a people who understand, [who] reflect.
13.4 Kashani - Kashani
And on, the earth of the body, are tracts neighbouring each other, such as bone and flesh, fat and nerves, and gardens of the trees of the natural, animal and human faculties, of the vines of the appetitive faculties from which are pressed the wines of the vain desires of the soul, and [gardens] of the [vines of the] rational faculties from which are pressed the wines of love and fervent love, and sown fields that are the vegetative faculties, and the date-palms that are all of the other external and internal senses, sharing one root, such as the eyes, the ears, the nostrils, and not sharing a root, such as the tongue, and the instrument of reflection, that of estimation and that of memory, watered by the same [source of] water, the water of life, and We make some of them to excel others in, the flavour of objects of perceptions and natural dispositions, as in the superiority of the intellect's objects of perception over those of the senses, and [the superiority of] eyesight over touch and the natural disposition of wisdom over that of modesty and the like. Surely in that are signs for a people who understand, the wonders of His handiwork.
13.3-4 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
Allah's Signs on the Earth
After Allah mentioned the higher worlds, He started asserting His power, wisdom and control over the lower parts of the world. Allah said,
وَهُوَ الَّذِى مَدَّ الاٌّرْضَ
(And it is He Who spread out the earth) made it spacious in length and width. Allah has placed on the earth firm mountains and made rivers, springs and water streams run through it, so that the various kinds of fruits and plants of every color, shape, taste and scent are watered with this water,
مِن كُلٍّ زَوْجَيْنِ اثْنَيْنِ
(and of every kind of fruit He made Zawjayn Ithnayn.), two types from every kind of fruit,
يُغْشِى الَّيْلَ النَّهَارَ
(He brings the night as a cover over the day.) Allah made the day and night pursue each other, when one is about to depart, the other overcomes it, and vice versa. Allah controls time just as He controls space and matter,
إِنَّ فِى ذلِكَ لآيَـتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
(Verily, in these things, there are Ayat for people who reflect.) who reflect on Allah's signs and the evidences of His wisdom. Allah said,
وَفِى الاٌّرْضِ قِطَعٌ مُّتَجَـوِرَتٌ
(And in the earth are neighboring tracts, ) Meaning, next to each other, some of them are fertile and produce what benefits people, while others are dead, salty and do not produce anything. This meaning was collected from Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Ad-Dahhak and several others. This also covers the various colors and types of diverse areas on the earth; some red, some white, or yellow, or black, some are stony, or flat, or sandy, or thick, or thin, all made to neighbor each other while preserving their own qualities. All this indicates the existence of the Creator Who does what He wills, there is no deity or lord except Him. Allah said next,
وَجَنَّـتٌ مِّنْ أَعْنَـبٍ وَزَرْعٌ وَنَخِيلٌ
(and gardens of vines, and green crops (fields), and date palms...) Allah's statement, next,
صِنْوَنٌ وَغَيْرُ صِنْوَنٍ
(Sinwanun wa (or) Ghayru Sinwan.) `Sinwan' means, growing into two or three from a single stem, such as figs, pomegranate and dates. `Ghayru Sinwan' means, having one stem for every tree, as is the case with most plants. From this meaning, the paternal uncle is called one's `Sinw' of his father. There is an authentic Hadith that states that the Messenger of Allah said to `Umar bin Al-Khattab,
«أَمَا شَعَرْتَ أَنَّ عَمَّ الرَّجُلِ صِنْوُ أَبِيه»
(Do you not know that man's paternal uncle is the Sinw of his father) Allah said next,
وَحِدٍ وَنُفَضِّلُ بَعْضَهَا عَلَى بَعْضٍ فِى الاٍّكُلِ
(watered with the same water; yet some of them We make more excellent than others to eat.) Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet commented on Allah's statement,
وَنُفَضِّلُ بَعْضَهَا عَلَى بَعْضٍ فِى الاٍّكُلِ
(yet some of them We make more excellent than others to eat.)
«الدَّقَلُ، وَالْفَارِسِيُّ، وَالْحُلْوُ، وَالْحَامِض»
(The Dagal, the Persian, the sweet, the bitter...'') At-Tirmidhi collected this Hadith and said, "Hasan Gharib.'' Therefore, there are differences between plants and fruits with regards to shape, color, taste, scent, blossoms and the shape of their leaves. There are plants that are very sweet or sour, bitter or mild, fresh; some plants have a combination of these attributes, and the taste then changes and becomes another taste, by Allah's will. There is also some that are yellow in color, or red, or white, or black, or blue, and the same can be said about their flowers; and all these variances and complex diversities are watered by the same water. Surely, in this there are signs for those who have sound reasoning, and surely, all this indicates the existence of the Creator Who does what He wills and Whose power made distinctions between various things and created them as He wills. So Allah said,
إِنَّ فِى ذلِكَ لآيَـتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَعْقِلُونَ
(Verily, in these things there are Ayat for the people who understand.)
وَإِن تَعْجَبْ فَعَجَبٌ قَوْلُهُمْ أَءِذَا كُنَّا تُرَابًا أَءِنَّا لَفِى خَلْقٍ جَدِيدٍ أُوْلَـئِكَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ بِرَبِّهِمْ وَأُوْلَئِكَ الاٌّغْلَـلُ فِى أَعْنَـقِهِمْ وَأُوْلَـئِكَ أَصْحَـبُ النَّارِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَـلِدونَ
13.4 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
That is, "If you observe carefully, you will find Divine wisdom, design and purpose in the diversity of the structure of the earth. Though it has countless regions adjoining one another, they are different from one another in their shapes, colors, component parts, characteristics, potentialities, productive capacity and source of minerals. This diversity has countless points of wisdom and advantage. Let alone other creatures, if we consider the diversity of regions from the point of the good it has done to mankind, we shall have to acknowledge that this is the result of the well-thought and well-planned design of the All-Wise Creator. For this diversity has helped the growth of human civilization so much that only an unreasonable person can assign this to mere accident.
Some of the date-palm trees have only a single trunk from the root while others have two or more stems from the same root.
The things mentioned in this verse contain many other Signs besides the proofs of Tauhid and the boundless powers and All-Comprehensive Wisdom of Allah. Let us consider one of these, that is the diversity in the universe, including mankind. There is the one and the same earth but all its regions are quite different from one another. Then there is one and the same water but it helps to produce different kinds of corn and fruits. Then one and the same tree bears fruits which, in spite of likeness, differ from one another in shapes, sizes, and other features. Then there is one and the same root from which sometimes one and at others two trunks sprout up, with their own different characteristics. If one considers these aspects of diversity, one shall come to the conclusion that the Divine wisdom demands the same kind of diversity in the natures, temperaments and inclinations of human beings, and, therefore, in their conducts. So, one need not worry about the existence of this diversity. As it has been stated in v. 31, if Allah had willed, He could have created all human beings alike and virtuous by birth. But the wisdom that underlies the creation of the universe, including mankind, requires diversity and not uniformity. Otherwise, all this creation would have become meaningless.