The Quran

Commentaries for 21.16

Al Anbiya (The prophets) - الأنبياء

21.16 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(We created not the heaven and the earth and all that is between them) of created beings (in play) without ordaining commands and prohibitions.
21.16 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
And We did not create the heaven and the earth and all that is between them, playing, being frivolous, but to indicate Our power and to benefit Our servants.
21.16-20 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
Creation was made with Justice and Wisdom
Allah tells us that He created the heavens and the earth in truth, i.e. with justice.
لِيَجْزِىَ الَّذِينَ أَسَاءُواْ بِمَا عَمِلُواْ وَيِجْزِى الَّذِينَ أَحْسَنُواْ بِالْحُسْنَى
(that He may requite those who do evil with that which they have done, and reward those who do good, with what is best.) 53:31. He did not create all that in vain or for (mere) play:
وَمَا خَلَقْنَا السَّمَآءَ وَالاٌّرْضَ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا بَـطِلاً ذَلِكَ ظَنُّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ فَوَيْلٌ لِّلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ مِنَ النَّارِ
(And We created not the heaven and the earth and all that is between them without purpose! That is the consideration of those who disbelieve! Then woe to those who disbelieve from the Fire!) 38:27
لَوْ أَرَدْنَآ أَن نَّتَّخِذَ لَهْواً لاَّتَّخَذْنَـهُ مِن لَّدُنَّآ إِن كُنَّا فَـعِلِينَ
(Had We intended to take a pastime, We could surely have taken it from Us, if We were going to do (that).) Ibn Abi Najih said, narrating from Mujahid:
لَوْ أَرَدْنَآ أَن نَّتَّخِذَ لَهْواً لاَّتَّخَذْنَـهُ مِن لَّدُنَّآ
(Had We intended to take a pastime, We could surely have taken it from Us,) "Meaning, `From Ourself,' He is saying, `We would not have created Paradise or Hell or death or the resurrection or the Reckoning.'''
إِن كُنَّا فَـعِلِينَ
(if We were going to do (that). ) Qatadah, As-Suddi, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i and Mughirah bin Miqsam said: "This means, `We will not do that.''' Mujahid said, every time the word
أَنْ
(if) is used in the Qur'an, it is a negation.
بَلْ نَقْذِفُ بِالْحَقِّ عَلَى الْبَـطِلِ
(Nay, We fling the truth against the falsehood,) means, `We explain the truth and thus defeat falsehood.' Allah says:
فَيَدْمَغُهُ فَإِذَا هُوَ زَاهِقٌ
(so it destroys it, and behold, it disappears.) it is fading and vanishing.
وَلَكُمُ الْوَيْلُ
(And woe to you) O you who say that Allah has offspring.
مِمَّا تَصِفُونَ
(for that which you ascribe.) that which you say and fabricate. Then Allah informs of the servitude of the angels, and how they persevere in worship night and day:
Everything belongs to Allah and serves Him
وَلَهُ مَن فِى السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضِ وَمَنْ عِنْدَهُ
(To Him belongs whosoever is in the heavens and on earth. And those who are near Him) i.e., the angels,
لاَ يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ عَنْ عِبَادَتِهِ
(are not too proud to worship Him,) they do not feel proud and do not refuse to worship Him. This is like the Ayah:
لَّن يَسْتَنكِفَ الْمَسِيحُ أَن يَكُونَ عَبْداً للَّهِ وَلاَ الْمَلَـئِكَةُ الْمُقَرَّبُونَ وَمَن يَسْتَنْكِفْ عَنْ عِبَادَتِهِ وَيَسْتَكْبِرْ فَسَيَحْشُرُهُمْ إِلَيهِ جَمِيعاً
(Al-Masih will never be proud to reject being a servant of Allah, nor the angels who are the near. And whosoever rejects His worship and is proud, then He will gather them all together unto Himself.) 4:172
وَلاَ يَسْتَحْسِرُونَ
(nor are they weary.) means, they do not get tired or feel bored.
يُسَبِّحُونَ الْلَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ لاَ يَفْتُرُونَ
(They glorify His praises night and day, they never slacken.) They persist in their worship night and day, obeying Allah to the utmost, and they are able to do this, as Allah says:
لاَّ يَعْصُونَ اللَّهَ مَآ أَمَرَهُمْ وَيَفْعَلُونَ مَا يُؤْمَرُونَ
(who do not disobey Allah in what He commands them, but do what they are commanded) 66:6
21.16-18 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
This was to refute their entire conception of life which was based on the assumption that man was free to do whatever he liked, and there was none to call him to account or take him to task: that there was no life in the Hereafter where one's good deeds would be rewarded and evil deeds punished. In other words, this meant that the whole universe had been created without any serious purpose and therefore there was no need to pay any heed to the Message of the Prophet.
That is, "This world has been created with a definite purpose and not as a plaything; for, if he had wanted to enjoy a sport, We would have done so without creating a sentient, rational and responsible creature like you. Far be it from Us to put man to trial and conflict for the sake of mere fun."
That is, "The object for which this world has been created is to stage a conflict between the Truth and falsehood. And you yourselves know that in this conflict falsehood has always been defeated and destroyed: You should, therefore, consider this reality seriously, for, if you build the system of your life on the false presumption that it is mere fun, you will meet with the same consequences as the former people did, who presumed that the world was a mere show and pastime. Therefore you should reconsider your whole attitude towards the Message which has come to you. Instead of making fun of it and scoffing at the Messenger, you should take a warning from the fate of the former peoples."