The Quran

Commentaries for 17.56

Bani Israil (The Israelites) - الإسراء

17.56 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Say) O Muhammad, to Khuza'ah who worshipped the jinn, thinking they were angels: (Cry unto those (saints and angels) whom ye assume (to be gods)) you worship (beside Him) apart from Allah in times of hardship, (yet they have no power to rid you of misfortune) they cannot remove hardship from you (nor to change) nor transfer this hardship to someone else.
17.56 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
Say, to them: ‘Call on those whom you assumed, to be gods, besides Him, such as the angels, Jesus and Ezra (‘Uzayr); yet they have no power to rid you of misfortune nor to transfer, it to [persons] other than you.
17.56-57 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
The gods of the Idolators can neither benefit nor harm; rather they themselves seek to draw close to Allah
Allah says:
(Say) O Muhammad to these idolators who worship things other than Allah,
ادْعُواْ الَّذِينَ زَعَمْتُم مِّن دُونِهِ
(Call upon those - besides Him whom you pretend.) such as idols and rivals of Allah. Even if you turn to them,
فَلاَ يَمْلِكُونَ كَشْفَ الضُّرِّ عَنْكُمْ
(They have neither the power to remove the adversity from you) they have no such power at all,
وَلاَ تَحْوِيلاً
(nor even to shift (it from you to another person.)) to lift the distress from you and give it to someone else. The meaning is that the only one Who is able to do that is Allah Alone, with no partner or associate, Who is the One Who creates and issues commands.
قُلِ ادْعُواْ الَّذِينَ زَعَمْتُم
(Say: "Call upon those whom you pretend) Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas, "The people of Shirk used to say, `we worship the angels and the Messiah and `Uzayr,' while these (the angels and the Messiah and `Uzayr) themselves call upon Allah.''
أُولَـئِكَ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ
(Those whom they call upon, desire) Al-Bukhari recorded from Sulayman bin Mahran Al-A`mash, from Ibrahim, from Abu Ma`mar, from `Abdullah:
أُولَـئِكَ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ يَبْتَغُونَ إِلَى رَبِّهِمُ الْوَسِيلَةَ
(Those whom they call upon, desire a means of access to their Lord,) "Some of the Jinn used to be worshipped, then they became Muslims.'' According to another report: "Some humans used to worship some of the Jinn, then those Jinn became Muslim, but those humans adhered to their religion (of worshipping the Jinn).''
وَيَرْجُونَ رَحْمَتَهُ وَيَخَـفُونَ عَذَابَهُ
(they hope for His mercy and fear His torment.) Worship cannot be complete or perfect unless it is accompanied by both fear and hope. Fear stops one from doing things that are forbidden, and hope makes one do more good deeds.
إِنَّ عَذَابَ رَبِّكَ كَانَ مَحْذُورًا
(Verily, the torment of your Lord is (something) to be afraid of!) meaning, one should beware of it and be afraid lest it happen. We seek refuge with Allah from that.
17.56-57 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
This warning helps to elaborate the Doctrine of Tauhid and negate shirk. According to this, shirk is not confined merely to falling prostrate before any other than Allah but it is also shirk to pray to or invoke the help of any other than Allah; for praying to or calling for help any other than Allah is in reality a kind of worship. Therefore, the one who invokes for help any other than Allah is as much guilty of shirk as the worshiper of an idol. This verse also shows clearly that none other than Allah has any power to attend to prayers and relieve any one of trouble or alter any one's bad condition. Hence, if one believes that some one other than Allah has any power, he shall be guilty of shirk.
The words of the text are a clear proof that the deities and the helpers referred to in this verse were not idols of stone but were either angels or dead saints. It is clearly implied in this that no prophet, no saint and no angel, whom the people invoke for help, has the power to hear prayers and help anyone. They themselves hope for mercy from Allah and dread His punishment and vie with one another in seeking means for nearness to Him.