Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Say) O Muhammad: (Disbelieve ye) O people of Mecca (verily in Him Who created the earth in two Days) each day the equivalent of 1,000 days of the days which you count: Sunday, Monday, etc., (and ascribe ye unto Him rivals) from among the idols? (He (and none else) is the Lord of the Worlds) the one who created them is the Lord of all that which has a spirit.
Say: ‘Do you [really] (read a-innakum, pronouncing both hamzas, or by not pronouncing the second one but inserting an alif between the two in both cases) disbelieve in Him Who created the earth in two days, Sunday and Monday, and ascribe to Him associates? That is the Lord, in other words, the Possesser, of [all] the Worlds (al-‘ālamīn, the plural of ‘ālam, which denotes everything apart from God. On account of the variety [of beings] that it subsumes, it has been expressed in the plural form ending with –īn, as a way of giving prevalence [in the address] to rational beings).
(Who created the heavens and the earth in Six Days) (7:54). is explained in more detail; the creation of the earth and the creation of the heaven are discussed separately. Allah says that He created the earth first, because it is the foundation, and the foundation should be built first, then the roof. Allah says elsewhere:
(Are you more difficult to create or is the heaven that He constructed He raised its height, and has perfected it. Its night He covers with darkness and its forenoon He brings out (with light). And after that He spread the earth, And brought forth therefrom its water and its pasture. And the mountains He has fixed firmly, (to be) a provision and benefit for you and your cattle.) (79:27-33) This Ayah states that the spreading out of the earth came after the creation of the heavens, but the earth itself was created before the heavens according to some texts. This was the response of Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, as recorded by Al-Bukhari in his Tafsir of this Ayah in his Sahih. He recorded that Sa`id bin Jubayr said: "A man said to Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, saying: `I find some things in the Qur'an which confuse me:
(And all who are in the heavens and all who are on the earth will swoon away, except him whom Allah wills) (39:68), and at that time there will be no kinship among them, nor will they ask of one another. Then when the Sur will be blown again,
وَأَقْبَلَ بَعْضُهُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ يَتَسَآءَلُونَ
(And they will turn to one another and question one another) (37:27). With regard to the Ayat,
وَاللَّهِ رَبِّنَا مَا كُنَّا مُشْرِكِينَ
(By Allah, our Lord, we were not those who joined others in worship with Allah) (6:23) and
وَلاَ يَكْتُمُونَ اللَّهَ حَدِيثاً
(but they will never be able to hide a single fact from Allah) (4:42), Allah will forgive the sincere believers their sins, then the idolators will say, `Let us say that we never joined others in worship with Allah.' Then a seal will be placed over their mouths, and their hands will speak. Then it will be known that not a single fact can be hidden from Allah, and at that point,
يَوَدُّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ
(those who disbelieved will wish) (4:42). Allah created the earth in two days, then He created the heavens, then He (Istawa ila) the heaven and gave it its shape in two more days. Then He spread the earth, which means that He brought forth therefrom its water and its pasture. And He created the mountains, sands, inanimate things, rocks and hills and everything in between, in two more days. This is what Allah says:
((He) spread (the earth)) (79:30) And Allah's saying:
خَلَقَ الاٌّرْضَ فِى يَوْمَيْنِ
((He) created the earth in two Days) So He created the earth and everything in it in four days, and He created the heavens in two days.
وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُوراً رَّحِيماً
(verily, Allah (Kana) is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful) (4:23). This is how He described Himself, and this is how He still is. Whatever Allah wills comes to pass, so do not be confused about the Qur'an, for all of it comes from Allah.''' This was recorded by Al-Bukhari.
خَلَقَ الاٌّرْضَ فِى يَوْمَيْنِ
((He) created the earth in two Days) means, on Sunday and Monday.
(He placed therein firm mountains from above it, and He blessed it,) means, He blessed it and gave it the potential to be planted with seeds and bring forth produce.
وَقَدَّرَ فِيهَآ أَقْوَتَهَا
(And measured therein its sustenance) means, what its people need of provision and places in which to plant things and grow crops. This was on Tuesday and Wednesday, which together with the two previous days add up to four days.
فِى أَرْبَعَةِ أَيَّامٍ سَوَآءً لِّلسَّآئِلِينَ
(in four Days equal for all those who ask.) meaning, for those who want to ask about that, so that they might know. `Ikrimah and Mujahid said concerning the Ayah:
وَقَدَّرَ فِيهَآ أَقْوَتَهَا
(and measured therein its sustenance): "He placed in every land that which is not suited for any other land.'' Ibn `Abbas, Qatadah and As-Suddi said, concerning the Ayah,
(equal for all those who ask): this means, "For whoever wants to ask about that.'' Ibn Zayd said:
(and measured therein its sustenance in four Days equal for all those who ask. ) "According to whatever a person who is need of provision wants, Allah measures out for him what he needs.'' This is like what they said concerning the Ayah:
وَآتَاكُم مِّن كُلِّ مَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُ
(And He gave you of all that you asked for) (14:34). And Allah knows best.
ثُمَّ اسْتَوَى إِلَى السَّمَآءِ وَهِىَ دُخَانٌ
(Then He rose over (Istawa ila) towards the heaven when it was smoke,) i.e., steam which arose from it when the earth was created.
(and said to it and to the earth: "Come both of you willingly or unwillingly.'') meaning, `respond to My command and be subjected to this action, willingly or unwillingly.'
قَالَتَآ أَتَيْنَا طَآئِعِينَ
(They both said: "We come willingly.'') meaning, `we will respond to You willingly and everything that You want to create in us -- angels, Jinn and men -- will all be obedient to You.'
فَقَضَاهُنَّ سَبْعَ سَمَـوَتٍ فِى يَوْمَيْنِ
(Then He completed and finished their creation (as) seven heavens in two Days) means, He finished forming them as seven heavens in two more days, which were Thursday and Friday.
وَأَوْحَى فِى كُلِّ سَمَآءٍ أَمْرَهَا
(and He decreed in each heaven its affair. ) means, He placed in each heaven whatever it needs of angels and things which are known only unto Him.
وَزَيَّنَّا السَّمَآءَ الدُّنْيَا بِمَصَـبِيحَ
(And We adorned the nearest (lowest) heaven with lamps) means, the stars and planets which shine on the people of the earth.
(as well as to guard.) means, as protection against the Shayatin, lest they listen to the angels on high.
ذَلِكَ تَقْدِيرُ الْعَزِيزِ الْعَلِيمِ
(Such is the Decree of Him, the Almighty, the All-Knower) means, the Almighty Who has subjugated all things to His control, the All-Knower Who knows all the movements of His creatures.
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
"Blessings of the earth" imply those measureless and countless things which have been continuously coming out of it since millions and millions of years, and are fulfilling the ever increasing needs and requirements of all the creatures from the microscopic germs to the highly civilized man. Among these the principal blessings are the air and the water by which alone vegetable, animal and then human life became possible on the earth.
This sentence has been interpreted by the commentators in different ways:
Some of them interpret it to mean: "The provisions of the earth were placed in it precisely according to the needs and requirements of those who ask, in exactly four days." That is, it took exactly four days, neither more nor less.
Ibn `Abbas, Qatadah and Suddi interpret it to mean: "The provisions of the earth were placed in it in four days. The answer to those who ask is completed. " That is, whoever asks as to how long it took, his complete answer is that it took four days.
According to Ibn Zaid it means: "The provisions of the earth were placed in it for those who ask within four days, precisely in accordance with the demand and need of everyone. "
As far as the rules of the language are concerned, the words of the verse admit of all these three meanings, but in our opinion the first two meanings have no merit. In view of the context, it is immaterial whether the work was completed in exactly four days and not in more or less four days. There is no need whatever for such an addition to make up for any deficiency in supporting the description of Allah's perfect power, perfect providence and perfect wisdom. Likewise, the commentary: "The answer to those who ask is completed," is a very weak commentary. There is no indication in the theme preceding the verse and following it, to show that at that time somebody had asked the question as to how long it had taken for those works to be completed, and this verse was sent down as an answer to it. That is why we have adopted the third meaning in our translation. In our opinion the correct meaning of the verse is this: "Allah placed within the earth the full provisions of food precisely and exactly in accordance with the demands and needs of every kind of creature that Allah had to create in the earth from the beginning of the creation till Resurrection. There are countless kinds of vegetation found on land and in water and the food requirements of each kind are different from those of other kinds. Allah has created countless species of living creatures in the air and on land and in water, and every species demands a different kind of food. Then unique among all these is the species of man, who requires different kinds of food not only for the development and nourishment of his body but also for the satisfaction of his taste. Who beside Allah could know how many members of the different kinds of creatures would be born on this globe, from the beginning of life till its end, and when and where they would be born and how much and what kind of food would be required for their nourishment? Just as He had made the plan of creating those creatures who stood in need of food in His scheme of creation, so He made full arrangements of food also to meet their requirements and demands.
In the modern age, the people who have brought out the Islamic edition of the Marxist conception of Socialism in the name of "the Qur'anic order of providence", translate the words sawa-al-lis-sa'-ilin as `equal for all those who ask", and raise the edifice of reasoning on it, saying that Allah has kept equal provisions for All the people in the earth; therefore, in order to fulfil the intention of the verse a system of the state is needed which may provide equal rations of food to everybody. For in the system of individual ownership the equality which the ¦Qur'anic law" demands cannot be established. But these people, in their enthusiasm to press the Qur'an in the service of their theories, forget that ¦those who ask", who have been mentioned in this verse, are not only human beings but All those different species of animals and plants who need food for survival. Has Allah really established equality among all of them, or even among all the members of each different species of the creatures, in the matter of the provision of food? Do you find anywhere in this entire system of nature the arrangement of the distribution of equal rations of food? If that is not the case, it means that in the vegetable and animal kingdom, where the distribution of the provisions is directly being arranged by the State of Allah, and not by the human state, Allah Himself is violating His own this "Qur'anic law", rather, God forbid, is practicing injustice! Then, they also forgo that "those who ask" also include those animals which man domesticates and arranging provisions for which is also his responsibility, e.g. sheep, goats, cows, buffaloes, horses, asses, mules, camels, etc: If the Qur'anic law is that equal food be given to all those who ask, and to enforce the same law a state is needed, which may administer the order of providence, will that state establish economic equality between men and animals also?
Here, the commentators generally have been confronted with this question: If it is admitted that the creation of the earth took two days and the setting up of the mountains and placing of the provisions and blessings in it took four days, and the creation of the heavens, as mentioned below, took another two days, the total number of the days would be eight, whereas at several places in the Qur'an Allah has said that the creation of the earth and heavens took six days in all. (For example, see AI-A `raf: 54, Yunus: 3, Hud: 7, AI-Furqan: 59). On this very basis, almost all the commentators agree that these four days include the two days of the creation of the earth. That is, two days were taken for the creation of the earth and two days for the creation of the rest of the things within the earth, as mentioned below. Thus, the earth along with its provisions became complete in four days in all. But this not only is against the apparent words of the Qur'an, but the difficulty also is, in fact, an imaginary difficulty, to avoid which need for this interpretation has been felt. The two days of the creation of the earth arc, in fact, not separate from the two days in which this universe as a whole was created. If we consider the following verses, we see that in them the creation of both the earth and the heavens has been mentioned together, and then it has been stated that Allah made the seven heavens in two days. These seven heavens imply the whole universe, one part of which is also our earth. Then, when like the other countless stars and planets of the universe this earth also took the shape of a unique globe within two days, Allah began to prepare it for animate creatures, and in four days created in it all those provisions which have been mentioned in the above verse. What development works were carried out in the other stars and planets in these four days have not been mentioned by Allah, for not to speak of the man of the period of the revelation of the Qur'an, even the man of the present age does not have the capability to digest and assimilate this information.
Three things need to be explained here:
First, by "heaven" is meant the whole universe, as becomes obvious from the following sentences. In other words, "turning to the heaven" means that Allah turned to the creation of the universe.
Second, by "smoke" is implied the initial and primary stage of matter, in which it lay diffused in space in a shapeless, dust like condition before the formation of the universe. Scientists of the modern age describe the same thing as nebulae, and the same also is their view about the beginning of the universe: that is, before creation the matter of which the universe was built lay diffused in smoke-like nebulous form.
Third, it would be wrong to interpret "then He turned to the heaven" to mean that first He created the earth, then set mountains in it, then arranged blessings and provisions of food in it, and then, at the end, He turned towards the creation of the universe. This misunderstanding is removed by the following sentence: "He said to the heavens and the earth: Come into being; and they said: we come in submission. " This makes it clear that in this verse and in the following verses, mention is being made of the time when there was neither the earth nor the heaven, but the creation of the universe was being started. Only the word thumma (then) cannot be made the argument to say that the earth had been created before the heavens. There are several instances of this in the Qur'an that the word thumma is not necessarily used w show the chronological order but it is also used for the order of Presentation. (Please see E.N. 12 of Surah Az-Zumar).
Among the earliest commentators the dispute has been going on for ages as to what was created first according to the Qur'an, the earth or the heavens. One group of them argues on the basis of this verse and verse 29 of Al-Baqarah that the earth was created first. The other group argues from verses 27-33 of An Nazi'at that the heavens were created first, because there it has been clearly stated that the earth was created after the heavens. But the fact is that nowhere in the Qur'an has the mention of the creation of the universe been made to teach Physics or Astronomy, but while inviting towards belief in the doctrines to Tauhid and the Hereafter, like countless other Signs, the creation of the heavens and the earth also has been presented as food for thought. For this purpose it was not at All necessary that the chronological order of the creation of the heavens and the earth should have been presented, and it should have been told whether the heavens were created first or the earth. No matter whether this was created first or that, in any case both are an evidence of Allah Almighty's being the One and only Deity, and are a testimony that their Creator has not created this whole universe as a plaything for a care-fret person. That is why the Qur'an sometimes mentions the creation of the earth first and sometimes the creation of the heavens first. Where the object is to make man realize the blessings of God, there generally it has mentioned the earth first, for it is closer to man; and where the object is to give man the concept of God's greatness and His omnipotence there it has generally mentioned the heavens first, for the scene of the revolving heavens has always been awe-inspiring for man.
In these words Allah has described the nature of His method of creation in a manner as to differentiate between Divine creation and human workmanship. When man wants to make something, he prepares a plan for it in his mind: then gathers together the necessary material; then works persistently hard to mold the material according to his plan, and in the process of his effort the material which he wants to mold according to his mental plan constantly resists lute; so much so that sometimes the resistance of the material succeeds and the thing is not made precisely according to the desired plan, and sometimes man's effort overcomes the resistance and he succeeds in giving it the desired form and shape. For example, when a tailor wants to make a shirt, he first conceives in his mind the shape of the shirt, then arranging the cloth he tries to cut and sew it according to his concept of the shirt, and during this effort, he has constantly to face the resistance of the cloth, for it does not easily yield to be molded according to the tailor's concept; so much so that sometimes the resistance of the cloth dominates and the shirt doesn't take the desired shape, and sometimes the tailor's effort dominates and he is able to shape it precisely according to his concept. Now, consider Allah's mode of creation. The matter of the universe lay scattered and diffused in the form of smoke. Allah willed to give it the shape of the universe as it is now. For this purpose, He did not have to sit down, like a human artisan, and chisel and mold the earth and the moon and the sun and the other stars and planets, but He only commanded the scheme of the universe that was in His Mind to cane into being, i.e. the smoke like diffused matter to take the shape of the galaxies and stars and planets, which He wanted to create. This. matter did not have the power to resist the Command of Allah. Allah did not have to make any effort to give it the shape of the universe. No sooner was the Command given than the matter started contracting and condensing and taking shape obediently according to the scheme of its Master, so that the whole universe including the earth became ready in 48 hours.
This same scheme of Allah's method of creation has been described at several other places in the Qur'an like this: When Allah decides to do something He only commands it to be and it is done. (See AI-Baqarah: 117, AI-'Imran: 47, 59: An-Nahl: 40. Maryam: 35, Ya Sin: 82, Al-Mu'min: 68).
To understand these verses well, it would be useful to study the following portions of the Tafhim al-Qur'an: AI-Baqarah: 29, Ar-Ra'd: 2, AI-Hijr: 1G-18, AI-Anbiya': 30-33, Al-Hajj: 65. Al-Mu'minun: 17, Ya Sin: E.N. 37, and E.N.'s 5, G of As-Saaffat. "