The Quran

Commentaries for 21.28

Al Anbiya (The prophets) - الأنبياء

21.28 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(He knoweth what is before them) of the matter of the Hereafter (and what is behind them) of the matter of this worldly life, (and they) i.e. the angels (cannot intercede) on the Day of Judgement (except for him whom He accepteth) except for those who profess Allah's divine Oneness and with whose monotheism Allah is pleased, (and they quake for awe of Him) among those who fear Him.
21.28 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
He knows what is before them and what is behind them, that is, what they have done and what they will do, and they do not intercede except for him with whom He is satisfied, that he be interceded for, and they, for awe of Him, exalted be He, are apprehensive, fearful.
21.26-29 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
The Refutation of Those Who claim that the Angels are the Daughters of Allah; description of their Deeds and Status
Here Allah refutes those who claim that He has offspring among the angels -- exalted and sanctified be He. Some of the Arabs believed that the angels were the daughters of Allah, but Allah says:
سُبْحَانَهُ بَلْ عِبَادٌ مُّكْرَمُونَ
(Glory to Him! They are but honored servants.) meaning, the angels are servants of Allah who are honored by Him and who hold high positions of noble status. They obey Him to the utmost in all their words and deeds.
لاَ يَسْبِقُونَهُ بِالْقَوْلِ وَهُمْ بِأَمْرِهِ يَعْمَلُونَ
(They speak not until He has spoken, and they act on His command.) meaning, they do not initiate any matter before Him or go against His commands; on the contrary, they hasten to do as He commands, and He encompasses them with His knowledge so that nothing whatsoever is hidden from Him.
يَعْلَمُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْ
(He knows what is before them, and what is behind them,)
وَلاَ يَشْفَعُونَ إِلاَّ لِمَنِ ارْتَضَى
(and they cannot intercede except for him with whom He is pleased.) This is like the Ayat:
مَن ذَا الَّذِى يَشْفَعُ عِندَهُ إِلاَّ بِإِذْنِهِ
(Who is he that can intercede with Him except with His permission) 2:255
وَلاَ تَنفَعُ الشَّفَـعَةُ عِندَهُ إِلاَّ لِمَنْ أَذِنَ لَهُ
(Intercession with Him profits not except for him whom He permits) 34:23. There are many Ayat which say similar things.
وَهُمْ مِّنْ خَشْيَتِهِ
(And they for fear of Him) means, because they fear Him.
مُشْفِقُونَوَمَن يَقُلْ مِنْهُمْ إِنِّى إِلَـهٌ مِّن دُونِهِ
(And they stand in awe. And if any of them should say: "Verily, I am a god besides Him,'') meaning, whoever claims to be a god instead of Allah, i.e., alongside Allah,
فَذلِكَ نَجْزِيهِ جَهَنَّمَ كَذَلِكَ نَجْزِى الظَّـلِمِينَ
(such We should recompense with Hell. Thus We recompense the wrongdoers.) meaning, everyone who says this. This is a conditional sentence, and the condition stated does not necessarily have to take place. This is like the Ayat:
قُلْ إِن كَانَ لِلرَّحْمَـنِ وَلَدٌ فَأَنَاْ أَوَّلُ الْعَـبِدِينَ
(Say: "If the Most Gracious had a son, then I am the first of worshippers.'') 43:81
لَئِنْ أَشْرَكْتَ لَيَحْبَطَنَّ عَمَلُكَ وَلَتَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْخَـسِرِينَ
(If you join others in worship with Allah, (then) surely, (all) your deeds will be in vain, and you will certainly be among the losers.) 39:65
21.26-29 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
"Offspring" here refers to the angels as is clear from v. 28. The disbelievers of Arabia believed that the angels were the daughters of God.
These two verses refute the two reasons for which the mushriks had made the angels their deities:
(1) They took them for the offspring of Allah.
(2) They thought that if they worshiped the angels, they would be so pleased that they would intercede with Allah on their behalf. (See X:18; XXXIX:3).
In this connection, it should also be noted that the Qur'an refutes the doctrine of intercession of the mushriks, saying, that their so-called intercessors are not qualified to intercede for anyone. This is so' because they have no knowledge of the hidden things, whereas Allah knows all that is hidden from or open to them. Therefore, the angels or Prophets or saints shall be allowed intercession only with the prior permission of Allah. As Allah alone has the power to hear or accept intercession, none else is entitled to divine worship or rights. For further details, please sec Ta Ha (XX): E. N.'s 85-86.