Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Lo! He Who hath given thee the Qur'an for a law) He Who has sent you Gabriel with the Qur'an (will surely bring you again to the place of return) to Mecca; and it is said: to Paradise. (Say) O Muhammad: (My Lord is best aware of he who bringeth guidance) the profession of Allah's divine Oneness and the Qur'an (and him who is in error manifest) and him who is in manifest disbelief and error.
He who made the Qur'an obligatory upon thee shall restore thee to a place of return.
Outwardly, the place of return is Mecca. The Prophet often used to say, “The homeland! The homeland!” and God made his request into reality. In secret and allusion, however, the meaning is this: “He appointed for you the attributes of dispersion so that you may convey the message and spread the Shariah. He will restore you to togetherness through your realization of annihilation from creation.”
As long as MuṣṬafā was busy conveying the message, spreading the Shariah, and laying down the foundations of the religion, he was in the station of dispersion for the sake of the people's salvation. With this verse, he was taken from the narrow pass of dispersion to the vast plain of togetherness, the drinking place of His elect. Thus he said, “No one embraces me in my present moment save my Lord.”
The Pir of the Tariqah said, “When someone's togetherness is sound, dispersion will not harm him. When someone's lineage is sound, recalcitrance will not cut it off. Speaking of togetherness is not the work of the tongue, and expressing its reality is calumny. How can the one destroyed by the ocean of trial explain? What mark has he who has drowned in annihilation itself? This is the talk of the heart's resurrection and the spirit's plundering. With the onslaught of union, what can be done by heart and eyes? When someone is bewildered in the breeze of his own union, his spirit has long been in hock to beginningless love. May he be lost-hearted, for he is wailing in the tracks of the heart! May he be lost-spirited, for he regrets traveling to the Friend!”
Indeed He Who has prescribed for you the Qur’ān, [He Who] has revealed it, will surely restore you to a place of return, to Mecca — he had yearned for it. Say: ‘My Lord knows best him who brings guidance and him who is in manifest error’ — this was revealed in order to refute what the Meccan disbelievers had said to him: ‘Indeed, you are error’. In other words [God is saying that] he [the Prophet] is the one who has brought guidance, while they are the ones in error.
Here Allah commands His Messenger to convey the Message and recite the Qur'an to people. He tells him that he will be brought back to the return, which is the Day of Resurrection, where he will be asked about the prophethood he was entrusted with. So Allah says:
(On the Day when Allah will gather the Messengers together and say to them: "What was the response you received'') (5:109). And He said:
وَجِـىءَ بِالنَّبِيِّيْنَ وَالشُّهَدَآءِ
(and the Prophets and the witnesses will be brought forward) (39: 69) In his Tafsir of his Sahih, Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn `Abbas commented on the Ayah:
لَرَآدُّكَ إِلَى مَعَادٍ
(will surely bring you back to the return.) "To Makkah.'' This was also recorded by An-Nasa'i in his Tafsir in his Sunan, and by Ibn Jarir. Al-`Awfi also reported from Ibn `Abbas that the phrase:
لَرَآدُّكَ إِلَى مَعَادٍ
(will surely bring you back to the return.) means, "will surely bring you back to Makkah as He brought you out of it.'' Muhammad bin Ishaq recorded that Mujahid commented on:
لَرَآدُّكَ إِلَى مَعَادٍ
(will surely bring you back to the return.) He said, "Back to your place of birth in Makkah.'' Ibn `Abbas is also reported to have interpreted it variously referring to death, to the Day of Resurrection which will come after death, and to Paradise which will be his reward and his destiny for putting the Message of Allah into practice and conveying it to the humans and Jinns, and because he is the most perfect, most eloquent and most noble of all the creation of Allah. Allah's saying:
(Say: "My Lord is Aware of him who brings guidance, and of him who is in manifest error.'') means: "Say, O Muhammad, to those among your people who oppose you and disbelieve you, among the idolators and those who follow them in their disbelief, `My Lord knows best which of us, you or I, is rightly guided, and you will come to know for which of us will be the (happy) end in the Hereafter, and for which of us will be a good end and victory in this world and in the Hereafter'.'' Then Allah reminds His Prophet the numerous blessings He granted to him and mankind by virtue of sending him to them:
(And let them not turn you away from the Ayat of Allah after they have been sent down to you.) meaning, `Do not let their opposition to you affect you or put people off from following your way; do not worry about that or pay any attention to it, for Allah will make your word supreme, will support your religion and will make the Message with which He has sent you prevail over all other religions.' So He says:
وَادْعُ إِلَى رَبِّكَ
(and invite to your Lord) to worship your Lord Alone, with no partners or associates,
(The truest word of a poet was the saying of Labid - indeed everything except Allah is false.)
(His is the decision,) means, dominion and control, and there is none who can reverse His judgement or decision.
(and to Him you shall be returned.) means, on the Day when you will be brought back, and He will reward or punish you according to your deeds: if they are good, then you will be rewarded, and if they are bad, then you will be punished. This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Qasas. To Allah be praise and blessings.
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
That is, "He has placed on you the responsibility of conveying the Qur'an and teaching it to the people, and reforming the world according to the guidance contained in it."
The word ma ad in the original means the place to which one has to return ultimately. Its use as a common noun implies that it is a place of eminence and glory. Some commentators think it refers to Paradise. But there is no reason why it should be restricted only to Paradise. Let it remain indefinite as Allah Himself has put it so that the promise become applicable both his world and to the Next World. The context also requires that it should be looked upon as a promise to bestow the highest glory and eminence on the Holy Prophet ultimately not only in the Hereafter but in this world too. In the saying of the disbelievers of Makkah, which has been the theme of the discourse from verse 57 until now, they had said, "O Muhammad (Allah's peace be upon him), do you want us also to be doomed with you ? If we join you and adopt this Faith, it will become hard for us to live in Arabia." In response to this, Allah tells His Prophet: "O Muhammad, that God Who has placed the burden of conveying the message of the Qur'an on you, will not destroy you: rather He will exalt you to the rank which these people cannot even imagine today." And, in actual fact, in a few years after this, even in this world, Allah granted the Holy Prophet complete authority over the whole of Arabia, and there was no power to resist him, and no religion to stand its ground. There had been no precedent in the history of Arabia that the whole peninsula might have come under the sway of one man so completely that no opponent might be there to challenge him and no soul to dare disobey his orders. Then it was not only a political domination but religious too, for the whole population had been won over to Islam.
Some commentators opine that this verse of Surah Al-Qasas was sent down on the way during the Holy Prophet's migration from Makkah to Madinah, and in this Allah had promised His Prophet that He would again bring him back to Makkah. But, firstly, the words of the verse do not allow that "ma `ad" be taken to mean "Makkah". Secondly, this Surah, both according to the traditions and the internal evidence of its theme, was revealed some time during the time of the migration to Habash, and one cannot understand that if this verse was revealed after several years on the way during the migration to Madinah. why was it inserted in this context without any relevance? Thirdly, in this context, the mention of the Holy Prophet's return to Makkah seems quite irrelevant. For if the verse is taken to mean this, it will not be a reply to the disbelievers' excuse but would rather strengthen it. It would mean this: "No doubt, what you say, O people of Makkah, is correct. Muhammad will be expelled from this city, but he will not remain an exile for ever, but eventually We will bring him back to this very place." Though this tradition has been reported by Bukhari, Nasa'i, Ibn Jarir and other traditionalists on the authority of Ibn `Abbas, it is, in fact, Ibn `Abbas's own opinion; it is not a tradition that might have been received direct from the Holy Prophet that one may have to accept it.
This thing is being presented as a proof of the Holy Prophet Muhammad's Prophethood. Just as the Prophet Moses was wholly unaware that he was going to be appointed a Prophet, and sent on a grand mission-when he had never even expected or wished for such a thing, but had been suddenly called upon while on a journey and made a Prophet and assigned a mission which had no relevance with his previous life-so was precisely the case with the Holy Prophet Muhammad (may Allah's peace be upon him). The people of Makkah knew full well what kind of life he was leading till a day before the day when he came down from the Cave of Hira' with the message of Prophethood. They were fully aware of his occupations, of the topics of his conversation, of the nature of his interests and activities. No doubt it was a life which was an embodiment of truth, honesty and righteousness, a model of nobility, peacefulness, fulfillment of obligations and rights of others and of the service to humanity, but there was nothing in it which could give somebody any idea that the righteous man was going to make a claim to Prophethood the next day. There was no one among his most intimate friends and relations and neighbors, who could say that he had already been preparing to become a Prophet. No one had ever heard a word on the themes and problems and topics from him, which became the subject of his daily conversation all of a sudden after the revolutionary moment in the Cave of Hira'. No one had heard him employing the kind of diction and words and terms, which the people started hearing from him in the shape of the Qur'an. He had never stood up for preaching, had never given a message or started a movement, and none of his activities had ever indicated that he was anxious to undertake a program for the solution of the social problems or for religious or moral reformation. Till a day before this revolutionary moment he was leading the life of a trader, who earns his living by fair and lawful means. who lives a happy life with his family, receives his guests, helps the poor and treats his relatives well, and at times retires from society into seclusion for the sake of worship. For such a person it would be a great change if he started making, all of a sudden, world-moving orations, preaching a revolutionary message, producing a sublime literature and propounding an enduring philosophy of life and a profound system of thought and morality and social life. For psychologically too, such a change is not possible through any kind of preparation and conscious effort. Any such effort and preparation, in any case, has to pass through certain evolutionary stages, which cannot remain hidden from the people among whom a person is passing his life. Had the Holy Prophet's life passed through any such stages of gradual development, hundreds of the people in Makkah would have come out to say, "Did we not tell you beforehand that this man would one day make a tall claim?" But history bears evidence that no one in Makkah ever made such an objection although the disbelievers of Makkah raised all sorts of other objections against the Holy Prophet.
Then another thing: the Holy Prophet himself never wished for or expected or awaited his appointment to prophethood, but he came across this experience all of a sudden quite unexpectedly. This is supported by the event that has been reported in the Traditions in connection with the beginning of Revelation. After his first meeting with the Angel Gabriel and the revelation of the initial verses of Surah Al-`Alaq he rushes back home from Hira' trembling with fear, and says to his wife, "Cover me with a cloak! Cover me with a cloak!" After a while when he recovers a little from the state of anxiety, he relates what he had experienced to his wife and says, "I feel there is danger to my life!" She responds, "No, never! Allah will never bring you to grief: you render the rights of your kindred, you support the indigent, help the poor, treat your guests well, and are ever ready to contribute to a good cause."Then she takes him to Waraqa bin Naufal, who was her cousin and a righteous and knowledgeable person from among the people of the Book. Hearing from him what had happened, Waraqa says without any hesitation, "The one who came to you is the same Namus (the specially appointed Divine Messenger), who used to come to Moses. I wish I were a young man and could live till the time when your people will expel you." The Holy Prophet asks, "Will my people expel me?" He replies, "Yes; no one has passed before, who brought same thing that you have brought, and his people did not turn hostile to him. "
This whole event depicts the state which a simple man will naturally undergo when he is confronted unexpectedly by a most extraordinary experience all of a sudden. If the Holy Prophet had already been anxious to become a prophet and thinking that a man like him ought to be a prophet, and had been meditating and straining his mind and awaiting the arrival of an angel with a message, he would have been filled with delight at the experience in the Cave, and descending from the mountain would have gone straight before his people and proclaimed Prophethood. But, quite to the contrary, he is confounded at what he had seen, reaches home trembling and lies in bed fully covered up. When he is composed a little, he tells his wife quietly what had happened in the solitude of the Cave, and expresses feelings of anxiety and insecurity. How different is this state from the state of a candidate for prophethood !
Then, who can be better aware of the husband's life, his ambitions and thoughts, than the wife? If she had perceived before-hand that the husband was a candidate for prophethood and had been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the angel, her reply would have been different from what Hadrat Khadijah said. She would have answered, "Dear husband! Why are you so agitated? You have got what you have been longing since long. Now, flourish as a saint: I too shall get ready for collecting gifts and offerings." But on the basis of what she had seen of her husband during her 15-year-long companionship, she did not take more than a moment to understand that Satan could not have come to a righteous and selfless man like him, nor could Allah have put him to a severe test. Therefore, whatever he had seen was the very truth and reality.
The same is also true in the case of Waraqa bin Naufal. He was not an outsider, but a member of the Holy Prophet's own clan and a brother-in-law by a close relationship. Then being a knowledgeable Christian he could discriminate the prophethood and book and revelation from fabrication and fraud. Being the Holy Prophet's senior by many years his whole life since childhood had been spent before him. Therefore, when he heard what the Holy Prophet had to say about his experience in the Cave, he at once said that it was most surely the same Angel who used to bring Divine messages to the Prophet Moses. For in this case also precisely the same thing had happened as in the case of the Prophet Moses. He also was a pure and righteous person, simple in thought and without any preconceived notions about prophethood, he also had experienced the same thing unexpectedly in full consciousness similarly. Therefore, without the least hesitation, he was led to the firm conclusion that there was no self-deception or satanic insinuation involved but whatever the truthful man had seen, without any will or desire on his own part, was in fact, an experience of the Reality.
This is such a clear proof of the Holy Prophet Muhammad's Prophethood that a realistic person can hardly deny it. That is why it has been presented as a proof of Prophethood at several places in the Qur'an For example, in Surah Yunus it has been said: "O Prophet, say to them: Had Allah willed so, I would never have recited this Qur'an to you, nor would He have told you anything (about its existence). I have already lived a lifetime among you before its revelation. Do you not use common sense?" (v. 16) And in Surah Ash-Shura it has been said: "O Prophet, you did not know at all what was the Book and what was the Faith but We made that Revelation a light by which We show the way to any of Our servants We will." (v. 52) For further explanation, see E.N. 21 of Surah Yunus, E.N.'s 88 to 92 of Al-'Ankabut, and E.N. 84 of Ash-Shu'ara.
That is, "When Allah has granted you this blessing without your asking for it, you are under an obligation to exercise all your energies and spend all your efforts in upholding it conveying it to others and promoting its cause. Any slackness in this regard would mean that you helped the disbelievers. This does not mean that, God forbid, there was any chance of such slackness on the part of the Holy Prophet. Allah, in fact, is exhorting the Holy Prophet, as if to say, "You should go on doing your mission in spite of the disbelievers' opposition and their uproar, and do not at all mind what fears the enemies of the Truth express regarding your message's being harmful to their national interests.