Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
Allah then exposited on the sign of His ability to the unbelievers of Mecca when they said: " O Muhammad, bring us a clear sign to prove what you are saying ", saying: (Lo! In the creation of the heavens) in that which We created in the heavens of angels, the sun, moon, stars and clouds (and the earth) and in the creation of the earth and what is in it of mountains, seas, trees and beasts (and (in) the difference of night and day) and in the alternation of day and night (are tokens (of His sovereignty)) signs of His divine Oneness (for men of understanding) for those among them who have reasons,
Surely in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the marvels contained in them, and in the alternation of night and day, coming and going, increasing and diminishing, there are signs, indications of God’s power, for people of pith, for people possessing intellects.
The Proofs of Tawhid for People of Understanding, their Characteristics, Speech, and Supplications
إِنَّ فِى خَلْقِ السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضِ
(Verily, in the creation of the heavens and the Earth,) 3:190, referring to the sky in its height and spaciousness, the earth in its expanse and density, the tremendous features they have of rotating planets, seas, mountains, deserts, trees, plants, fruits, animals, metals and various beneficial colors, scents, tastes and elements.
وَاخْتِلَـفِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ
(And in the alternation of night and day), as one follows and takes from the length of the other. For instance, at times one of them becomes longer than the other, shorter than the other at times and equal to the other at other times, and the same is repeated again and again, and all this occurs by the decision of the Almighty, Most Wise. This is why Allah said,
لاّيَـتٍ لاٌّوْلِى الاٌّلْبَـبِ
(there are indeed signs for men of understanding), referring to the intelligent and sound minds that contemplate about the true reality of things, unlike the deaf and mute who do not have sound comprehension. Allah said about the latter type,
(and think deeply about the creation of the heavens and the Earth), contemplating about signs in the sky and earth that testify to the might, ability, knowledge, wisdom, will and mercy of the Creator. Allah criticizes those who do not contemplate about His creation, which testifies to His existence, Attributes, Shari`ah, His decree and Ayat. Allah said,
(Those who remember Allah standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and think deeply about the creation of the heavens and the earth), supplicating;
رَبَّنَآ مَا خَلَقْتَ هَذا بَـطِلاً
("Our Lord! You have not created this without purpose,'')
You did not create all this in jest and play. Rather, You created it in truth, so that You recompense those who do evil in kind, and reward those who do righteous deeds with what is better.
The faithful believers praise Allah and deny that He does anything in jest and without purpose, saying,
("glory to You,''), for You would never create anything without purpose,
فَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ
("Give us salvation from the torment of the Fire.''), meaning, "O You Who created the creation in truth and justice, Who is far from any shortcomings, or doing things without purpose or with jest, save us from the torment of the Fire with Your power and strength. Direct us to perform the deeds that make You pleased with us. Guide us to righteous work from which You admit us into the delightful Paradise, and save us from Your painful torment.''
("Our Lord! Grant us what You promised unto us through Your Messengers'') for our faith in Your Messengers, or, and this explanation is better; grant us what You promised us by the words of Your Messengers,
وَلاَ تُخْزِنَا يَوْمَ الْقِيَـمَةِ
("and disgrace us not on the Day of Resurrection,''), before all creation,
إِنَّكَ لاَ تُخْلِفُ الْمِيعَادَ
("for You never break (Your) Promise.''), for surely, the promise that You conveyed to Your Messengers, which includes us being resurrected before You, shall certainly come to pass.
It was the Prophet's tradition to recite the ten Ayat at the end of Surah Al `Imran when he woke up at night for (voluntary) prayer. Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, "I slept one night at the house of my aunt, Maymunah. The Messenger of Allah spoke with his wife for a while and then went to sleep. When it was the third part of the night, he stood up, looked at the sky and recited,
(Verily, in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding) 3:190.
The Prophet then stood up, performed ablution, used Siwak (to clean his teeth) and prayed eleven units of prayer. When Bilal said the Adhan, the Prophet prayed two units of prayer, went out (to the Masjid) and led the people in the Dawn prayer.'' This was also collected by Muslim.
Ibn Marduwyah recorded that `Ata' said, "I, Ibn `Umar and `Ubayd bin `Umayr went to `A'ishah and entered her room, and there was a screen between us and her. She said, `O `Ubayd! What prevents you from visiting us' He said, `What the poet said, `Visit every once in a while, and you will be loved more.' Ibn `Umar said, `Tell us about the most unusual thing you witnessed from the Messenger of Allah.' She cried and said, `All his matters were amazing. On night, he came close to me until his skin touched my skin and said, `Let me worship my Lord.' I said, `By Allah I love your being close to me. I also love that you worship your Lord.' He used the water-skin and performed ablution, but did not use too much water. He then stood up in prayer and cried until his beard became wet. He prostrated and cried until he made the ground wet. He then laid down on his side and cried. When Bilal came to alert the Prophet for the Dawn prayer, he said, `O Messenger of Allah! What makes you cry, while Allah has forgiven you your previous and latter sins' He said,
(Verily, in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding.)
(Woe to he who recites it but does not contemplate it.).''
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
From here begins the concluding part of. the Surah and it has no direct connection with the preceding verses, but with the Surah as a whole. Therefore it is worth while to turn to the introduction to this Surah to understand this portion.
That is, "These Signs can help one understand the Reality, provided that one is not unmindful of God and observes the phenomena of Nature like a thinking person and not like an animal."
A close observation of the system of the Universe leads them to the right conclusion that most surely there is a life in the Hereafter with its rewards and punishments. The system itself speaks eloquently of the great wisdom that underlies it, so it follows that the All-Wise Creator must have a definite purpose in the creation of Man. Moreover, the very fact, that He placed everything at man's disposal and has endowed him with a moral sense to discriminate between good and bad, clearly shows that he must be accountable to Him as to whether he had fulfilled that purpose. Consequently he should be rewarded for the good he dces in this world and punished for the evil. This thinking leads one to the conclusion that there must be a life-after-death, where one will be accountable for his deeds. This realization fills man's heart with fear of punishment in the Hereafter, and he spontaneously prays to Him to save him from the Hell-fire.
In the same way, this observation also convinces right thinking men that the point of view of the Messengers about the beginning and the end of the Universe and the purpose of its creation is the correct one; hence the way of life preached and prescribed by them is the only right way.
It does not mean that they have any doubts about the promises of Allah, but this merely shows that they are anxious to know whether they themselves are entitled to the blessings that have been promised. That is why they pray to God, "Our Lord, forgive us-You do not break your promises," for they tear lest they should be ridiculed in the Hereafter by the disbelievers as they were here in this world by such taunts at these; "Look at these people-even their Faith in the Messengers has not saved them from disgrace."
Surely in the creation of the heavens and the earth and in the alternation of night and day there are signs for people of pith. Those who remember God standing and sitting and on their sides The signs which the Real سبحانه presents to ordinary people are from the lessons and the vestiges [of people gone by] in the regions [of the heavens and the earth]. The signs which He presents to the elect are within their souls. [God] سبحانه said “We shall show them Our signs in the horizons and in their own souls” [41:53]. The outer signs lead to the knowledge of certainty ʿilm al-yaqīn while the inner signs lead to the eye of certainty ʿayn al-yaqīn. The alternation ikhtilāf of night and day alludes to the different responses ikhtilāf to the night among the servants. The nights of the people of communion are short and the nights of the people of separation are long. [Someone] said: Months passwe have not noticed their midpoints nor their ends. And he said: For you morning is drunkenness and the night a hangover. You slept even as the days of happiness were short. A second [poet] said: After they departed the nights were long in so many ways[once short] the night of the lovers is [now] long. A third [poet] had nothing to say about the length or brevity of the night for he said because of what had overwhelmed him: How should I know whether the night was long or notḍ How can one who is on fire know thatḍ If I had paid attention to the length of the night I would have been deprived of watching the stars. For people of pith: The people of pith ulū l-albāb are those whose intellects have been kept sound from the drunkenness of forgetfulness and inattention. The sign of one like this is that his gaze will be through the Real. When he gazes from the Real to the Real his gaze is in the right direction. But when he gazes from created beings and things to the Real his thoughts are thrown into upheaval which causes a state of confusion. Those who remember God standing and sitting: Remembrance dhikr permeates their every moment. If they stand it is in remembrance of Him.
If they sit or sleep or prostrate-all of their states are consumed with the rightful due and realities of remembrance ḥaqāÌiq al-dhikr. They stand in the proper manner ḥaqq of remembering Him and they refrain from [literally “sit from”] opposing His command. They stand by means of the purest and choicest of states but refrain from paying too much attention to them or claiming anything concerning them. They remember God standing on the carpet of service and then they sit on the carpet of nearness. Those who are not secure from negligence in their standing in the beginning will not be sound and secure in their sitting in the quality of presence ḥuḌūr in the end. Remembrance is the path Ṭarīq of the Real سبحانه. The aspirants murīdūn cannot travel a path that is more sound or clear than the path of remembrance. If there were only His words “I sit among those who remember Me” concerning it that would be sufficient. Those who remember are of several types and this is because of the difference in their states. There is a remembrance which causes the contraction qabḌ of one who by remembering [God] remembers his own prior failings or something ugly that came from him. His embarrassment holds him back from remembering himself [in a positive way]; this is a remembrance of contraction qabḌ. There is a remembrance that causes the expansion basṬ of the one who remembers; this is because of what he finds in the pleasures of remembrance and even more so [when] the Real draws him near in the most beautiful way. There is the one who remembers and is effaced in the witnessing of what is being remembered. The remembrance that flows from his tongue is a constant habit and in what has appeared to it his heart has become completely cut off [from anything else]. There is the one who remembers and who is in a place of the most intense veneration [of God]: he abstains from remembering Him and considers his praise of Him unclean. It is as if he finds himself too insignificant for [the remembrance of God] so he wants nothing to do in this world and the hereafter with praising remaining existing and glory. Their speaker said: I cannot remember younot even oncewithout my heart my spirit and my innermost self cursing me.
It is as if a lookout from you called out to me “Watch out!” “Woe unto you!” “Beware of this remembrance!” Remembrance is the sign of friendship walāya the clear evidence of the communion [of lovers] the actualization of spiritual desire irāda the mark of the soundness of the beginning bidāya and the signifier of the purity of the end nihāya. There is nothing beyond remembrance. All of the praiseworthy qualities return to remembrance and arise from it. and reflect upon the creation of the heavens and the earth: “Our Lord You have not created this in vain. Reflection tafakkur is the attribute of every seeker and its fruit is union provided there is knowledge. When reflection becomes free of defects its possessor will arrive at the watering places of realization taḥqīq. When he achieves witnessing shuhūd and presence ḥuḌūr he will rise from reflection to the boundaries of remembrance ḥudūd al-dhikr and remembrance is without beginning or end. The ascetics zāhidūn then reflect on the ephemerality of the present world and the insignificance of its promise to those who seek it and by that reflection they increase in their asceticism toward it. The worshipers ʿābidūn reflect on the beautiful reward and they increase in their eagerness and longing for it. Those with the deepest knowledge ʿārifūn reflect on blessings and kindnesses and they increase in their love for the Real سبحانه. Glory be to You! So guard us against the chastisement of the fire. The glorification tasbīḥ alludes to the swimming sabḥ of the innermost selves in the sea of grandeur.
(Lo! In the creation of the heavens and the earth…) [3:190]. Abu Ishaq al-Muqri’ informed us> ‘Abd Allah ibn Hamid> Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Yahya al-'Anbari> Ahmad ibn Najdah> Yahya ibn ‘Abd al-Hamid al-Humani> Ya‘qub al-Qummi Ja‘far ibn Abi al-Mughirah> Sa‘id ibn Jubayr> Ibn ‘Abbas who said: “The people of Quraysh went to the Jews and said: ‘What are the signs that Moses brought to you?’ They replied: ‘His staff and white hand for people to see’. Then they went to the Christians and said: ‘How was Jesus in your midst?’ They said: ‘He restored eyesight to the blind, healed the leper and brought the dead back to life’. The people of Quraysh then went to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, and said: ‘Ask your Lord to turn the hill of al-Safa into gold’. As a consequence, Allah, exalted is He, revealed (Lo! In the creation of the heavens and the earth and (in) the difference of night and day are tokens (of His Sovereignty) for men of understanding)”.