The Quran

Commentaries for 17.70

Bani Israil (The Israelites) - الإسراء

17.70 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Verily We have honoured the children of Adam) by giving them hands and feet. (We carry them on the land) on the backs of beasts (and the sea) aboard ships, (and have made provision of good things for them) We made their provision better and finer than the provision of beasts, (and have preferred them above many of those whom We created) of animals (with a marked preferment) in forms, feet and hands.
17.70 Asrar - Kashf Al-Asrar
We indeed honored the children of Adam, and We carried them on land and sea, and We provided them with goodly things, and We made them much more excellent than many of those We created.
It was a great felicitation, a complete bestowal of eminence, and a tremendous honor that God gave to the faithful children of Adam. On the Day of the Compact, at the outset of the work and the commencement of existence, He gave them a place in the grasp of His attributes and addressed them with the quality of gentleness, binding them to the covenant and compact of friendship.
Then, when they came into this world, He gave them a beautiful form, a lovely shape, and a complete robe of honor, adorning them with knowledge, intellect, speech, understanding, and excellence. He did not hold them back from the outward success of struggle or the inner realization of contemplation and recognition. He opened the door of His mercy and generosity to them, and He kept them on the carpet of whispered prayer. Whenever they want, they call upon Him, ask from Him, and tell Him their secrets. It has been transmitted in one of the traditions that God said, “My servants, confide your secrets in Me. If you will not, then whisper and speak to Me. If you will not, then listen to Me. If you will not, then gaze upon Me. If you will not, then be at My door and lift up your needs before Me, for I am the most generous of the generous.”
Part of the honor is that He bestowed before they asked and He forgave before they begged forgiveness, as has come in the report: “I bestowed upon you before you asked from Me, and I forgave you before you asked Me to forgive you.”
Part of the honor is that among all the created things, He specified them for affection and love. That which He did not bestow on the angels and did not say about the cherubim and the spirituals of heaven, He said about them: “He loves them, and they love Him [5:54]. God approves of them and they approve of Him [9:100]. Those who have faith are more intense in love for God [2:165]. So remember Me; I will remember you [2:152].”
Remember Me is the rivulet of your remembrance, and I will remember you is the ocean of the Real's remembrance. When the rivulet of the servant's remembrance reaches the ocean of the Real's remembrance, the water of the ocean of I will remember you enters the rivulet of Remember Me and all of it becomes the ocean's water. Nothing remains of the rivulet. This is exactly what the Pir of the Tariqah said: “When someone falls into the Real's grasp, he burns, and then the Real is his successor.”
O God, You are the meaning of the call of the truthful, You light up the souls of the friends, You are the repose of the hearts of the exiles! You are present in the midst of the spirit, so it is with my lost heart that I say, “Where are You?” You are the life of the spirit and the mirror of the tongue. You Yourself are the spokesman for Yourself. By Your rightful due against Yourself, do not seat us in the shadow of delusion! Convey us to union with You!
He said, “We indeed honored the children of Adam.” He did not say “the faithful,” or “the worshipers,” or “the strugglers.” Thus He declared this honoring pure of being the counterpart of activity, or being caused by a conformity with something, or being the result of a worthiness in some respect.
The reason He did not tie His generosity and gentleness toward the servants to their deeds or struggle is so that you would know that His caressing has no cause and His honoring is not a compensation. He caresses because He wants to, not because of the servants' obedience. He bestows because of His bounty, not because of their effort. The servant who finds the Real's generosity does not find it because of his obedience. Rather, he has obedience because he has found the Real's generosity. It is not the servant's supplication that led to the response of the Real; rather, it is the Real's response that has led the servant to supplicate. The servant who finds the Real does not find from seeking; rather, he finds seeking from finding. Being carried is the act of him who was not; carrying is the bounty of Him who always was.
And We carried them on land and sea. The mounts of the common people on land and sea are one thing, and the mounts of the elect something else.
Concerning the mounts of the common people He says, “He appointed for you, from ships and cattle, what you mount upon so that you may sit on their backs” [43:12-13]. In these friend and enemy, familiar and stranger, are all the same. Concerning the mounts of the elect on the sea He says, “And the wind was Solomon's, its morning course a month and its evening course a month” [34:12]. About MuṣṬafā He said, “Who took His servant by night” [17:1]. Solomon had the wind and MuṣṬafā had Burāq.
In the afterworld, the mounts of the friends and the near ones will be what He says: “We shall muster the godwary to the All-Merciful in droves” [19:85]. Concerning this verse God's Messenger said, “By Him in whose hand is my soul! When they emerge from their graves, they will be welcomed by white she-camels with wings, upon which are saddles of gold and each of whose strides is the length of eyesight. They will take them as far as the gate of the Garden.”
He also said, “Make your sacrificial animals large and fat, for they will be your mounts on the Narrow Path.”
Among them is he who says, “Everyone will mount upon the deeds he did in this world and upon which he died.” And among them is he who says, “No one will pass over the Narrow Path except with the light of recognition.”
And We provided them with goodly things. Goodly provision is that which is in remembrance of the Provider. When someone is not absent in his heart or heedless of his Lord, his every provision is goodly, for when encountering the Beloved colocynth is honey, and when the Beloved is absent honey is colocynth.
YaḤyā ibn Muʿādh said, “Goodly provision is what is opened to a man without his asking or looking for it.”
And We made them much more excellent than many of those We created: With knowledge of God and His rulings We made the knowers more excellent than the ignorant, and with recognition We made the friends more excellent than all creatures.
17.70 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
And verily We have honoured, We have preferred, the Children of Adam, [above other creation], by [giving them] knowledge, speech and [their being] a creation of even proportions amongst other things, including their [means of] purification after death, and carried them over land, on animal-back, and sea, in ships, and provided them with good things and We have preferred them above many of those whom We created, such as livestock and wild animals, with a marked preferment (the min [of mimman, ‘of those whom’] has the sense of mā, ‘of what’, or something close to it, and includes the angels, the purpose being to give preference to the [angelic] genus; there is no requirement to give [explicit] preference to the individuals [of this category of being], since they [angels] are superior to mankind, excepting the prophets).
17.70 Kashani - Kashani
And verily We have honoured the Children of Adam, with [the faculties of] speech and discrimination, the intellect and gnosis, and carried them over land and sea, that is, We have facilitated for them the means for [their] livelihood and [their] final return in their ability to journey to seek these [means] across the two and to actualise these [means], and We have provided them with good things, that is, with [those] composite things which no creatures other than them have been provided with, and We have preferred them above many of those whom We created, with the exception of the holy essences of the High Council. As for the preferment of certain humans, like prophets, over the near angels, it is not because of the fact that they are sons of Adam, since from that perspective they do not go beyond the station of the intellect, but it is rather from the perspective of the mystery that has been deposited in them, the one alluded to by His words Assuredly I know what you know not [Q. 2:30], which is the complete divine gnosis which He has prepared for that certain individual by means of the concentration in him, namely, the station of unity. In that instance, considered thus, he is not a son of Adam, as has been said:
'Even if I am indeed a son of Adam in form, I also have a meaning within that is witness of my paternity [of him]'.
Nay, indeed he is the very essence of the honoured one, the one who is known, as has been said:
'I saw my Lord with the eye of my Lord; He said, “Who are youḍ”, and I said, “You”.
In this station, the son of Adam has been annihilated and nothing of him remain - how else [could it be] when one is dust and the other the Lord of lords! Or [the verse means] that We have honoured the sons of Adam with proximity and knowledge of the affirmation of Oneness and have carried them over the land of the world of bodies and the sea of the world of spirits by making him journey across them since he is composed of them; and [We have honoured him] by making him rise higher in seeking perfection and We have provided them with the good things that are the forms of knowledge and gnosis and We have preferred them over a great number of what We have created, that is to say, [over] all creatures, provided that [the preposition] min [of mimman] is explicative and hyperbolic, intended to exalt him by describing those [creatures] over whom preferment is being expressed as being 'many' and by making the qualifier indefinite and placing this [indefinite] before what it qualifies, in other words, the [qualifier] kathīr ('many').
Yet, what 'many' can it be when in fact it is the entirety of Our creatures by virtue of the fact that min is used to indicate generality; with a marked preferment, one that is complete and clear.
17.70 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
The Honor and noble Nature of Man
Allah tells us how He has honored the sons of Adam and made them noble by creating them in the best and most perfect of forms, as He says:
لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الإِنسَـنَ فِى أَحْسَنِ تَقْوِيمٍ
(Verily, We created man in the best stature (mould).) (95:4) He walks upright on his two feet and eats with his hand, whilet other living creatures walk on four feet and eat with their mouths, and He has given him hearing, sight and a heart with which to understand all of that, to benefit from it, and distinguish between things to know which are good for him and which are harmful, in both worldly and religious terms.
وَحَمَلْنَـهُمْ فِى الْبَرِّ
(and We have carried them on land) means, on animals such as cattle, horses and mules, and also on the sea in ships and boats, great and small.
وَرَزَقْنَاهُمْ مِّنَ الطَّيِّبَاتِ
(and have provided them with At-Tayyibat,) meaning agricultural produce, fruits, meat, and milk with all kinds of delicious and desirable flavors and colors and beautiful appearance, and fine clothes of all kinds of shapes colors and sizes, which they make for themselves or are brought to them by others from other regions and areas.
وَفَضَّلْنَـهُمْ عَلَى كَثِيرٍ مِّمَّنْ خَلَقْنَا تَفْضِيلاً
(and have preferred them above many of those whom We have created with a marked preferment. ) means, over all living beings and other kinds of creation. This Ayah indicates that human are also preferred over the angels.
17.69-72 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
That is, "It is an obvious fact that the superiority man enjoys over all other beings on the Earth and all that is in it, has not been bestowed upon him by a jinn or an angel or a prophet. Most surely that is Allah's blessing and favor. Is it not then the height of folly and ignorance that after having achieved such a high rank, man should bow down before any creature of Allah instead of Him?"
We learn from the Qur'an that on the Day of Resurrection, the righteous people will be given their records in their right hands and they will be overjoyed to have a look at it and will show it to others. As regards the wicked people, they will get their records in their left hands and in their shame will try to hide it behind their backs. (Please refer to LXIX: 19-28, LXXXIV: 7-13).