The Quran

Commentaries for 45.21

Al Jathiya (Kneeling) - الجاثية

45.21 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Or do those who commit ill deeds) or do those who ascribes partners to Allah, i.e. 'Utbah and Shaybah and al-Walid Ibn 'Utbah who fought duals against 'Ali, Hamzah and 'Ubaydah Ibn al-Harth on the Day of Badr, and who had said: “If what Muhammad (s)ays about the Hereafter is true, then we will surely be better than them in the Hereafter, as we are better than them in the life of the world”. And so Allah said: or do they (suppose that We shall make them) that We shall make the disbelievers in terms of reward in the Hereafter (as those who believe) 'Ali and his two fellow believers (and do good works) and do acts of obedience privately between themselves and their Lord, (the same life and death?) the life of the believer in his state of faith and his death in a state of faith cannot be the same as the life of the disbeliever who lives and dies in transgression and disbelief while Allah is angry with him. (Bad is their judgement) evil is that which they judge for themselves!
45.21 Asrar - Kashf Al-Asrar
Or do those who commit ugly deeds reckon that We will make them like those who have faith and do wholesome deeds, that their living and their dying will be equal? Ugly is what they reckon!
About them He also says that they have gone into roadlessness, become headstrong in the tracks of their own caprice, and ridiculed the prophets and those who call to the road of the Real:
45.21 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
Or (am has the significance of the [rhetorical] hamza of denial) do those who have perpetrated evil acts, [such as] disbelief and disobedience, suppose that We shall treat them as those who believe and perform righteous deeds, equally (sawā’an is the predicate) in their life and in their death? (mahyāhum wa-mamātuhum, [this clause] constitutes the subject and a supplement; the sentence [itself] is a substitution for the kāf [of ka’lladhīna, ‘as those’], and both [suffixed] pronouns [-hum] refer to the disbelievers). The meaning is: do they suppose that in the Hereafter We will assign them [a] good [fate] like believers, [that they will enjoy] a life of plenty, one equal to their life in this world, as when they said to the believers: ‘Surely if we were to be resurrected, we will be given the same good things that you will be given!’ God, exalted be He, says, in accordance with His denial [implicit] in the [rhetorical interrogative] hamza: How evil is that judgement which they make! In other words, it will not be so, for in the Hereafter they will be [suffering] in the chastisement, in contrast to their lives in this world; the believers, on the other hand, will be [delighting] in the Reward in the Hereafter because of their righteous deeds in this world, such as [their observance of] prayers, [their] alms-giving, fasting and otherwise (the mā, ‘that … which’, relates to the verbal action, that is to say, ba’isa hukman hukmuhum hādhā, ‘awful as a judgement is this judgement of theirs’).
45.21-23 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
The Life and the Death of the Believers and the Disbelievers are not Equal
Allah the Exalted states here that the believers and the disbelievers are never equal. Allah said in another Ayah,
لاَ يَسْتَوِى أَصْحَـبُ النَّارِ وَأَصْحَـبُ الْجَنَّةِ أَصْحَـبُ الْجَنَّةِ هُمُ الْفَآئِزُونَ
(Not equal are the dwellers of the Fire and the dwellers of the Paradise. It is the dwellers of Paradise that will be successful.) (59:20) Allah said here,
أَمْ حَسِبَ الَّذِينَ اجْتَرَحُواْ السَّيِّئَـتِ
(Or do those who earn evil deeds think) those who commit and practice evil,
أَن نَّجْعَلَهُمْ كَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ الصَّـلِحَـتِ سَوَآءً مَّحْيَـهُمْ وَمَمَـتُهُمْ
(that We shall hold them equal with those who believe and do righteous good deeds, in their life and their death) treat them equally in the present life of the world and in the Hereafter
سَآءَ مَا يَحْكُمُونَ
(Worst is the judgement that they make.) `worst is the thought that they have about Us and about Our justice, thinking that We will ever make the pious and the wicked equal in the Hereafter or this life.' At--Tabarani recorded that Shu`bah said that `Amr bin Murrah narrated that Abu Ad-Duha said that Masruq said that Tamim Ad-Dari once stood in voluntary prayer through the night until the morning only reciting this Ayah,
أَمْ حَسِبَ الَّذِينَ اجْتَرَحُواْ السَّيِّئَـتِ أَن نَّجْعَلَهُمْ كَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ الصَّـلِحَـتِ
(Or do those who earn evil deeds think that We shall hold them equal with those who believe and do righteous good deeds) Allah said in reply:
سَآءَ مَا يَحْكُمُونَ
(Worst is the judgement that they make.) Allah said,
وَخَلَقَ اللَّهُ السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضَ بِالْحَقِّ
(And Allah has created the heavens and the earth with truth,) meaning, in justice,
وَلِتُجْزَى كُلُّ نَفْسٍ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ وَهُمْ لاَ يُظْلَمُونَ
(in order that each person may be recompensed what he has earned, and they will not be wronged.) Allah the Exalted said,
أَفَرَأَيْتَ مَنِ اتَّخَذَ إِلَـهَهُ هَوَاهُ
(Have you seen him who takes his own lust as his god), who abides by his lust, and whatever his lust portrays as good he implements it, and whatever his lust portrays as evil, he abandons it! Allah's statement,
وَأَضَلَّهُ اللَّهُ عَلَى عِلْمٍ
(And Allah left him astray with knowledge, ) has two meanings. One of them is that Allah knew that this person deserves to be misguided, so He left him astray. The second meaning is that Allah led this person astray after knowledge reached him and the proof was established before him. The second meaning includes the first meaning, but not the opposite. Allah said,
وَخَتَمَ عَلَى سَمْعِهِ وَقَلْبِهِ وَجَعَلَ عَلَى بَصَرِهِ غِشَـوَةً
(and sealed his hearing and his heart, and put a cover on his sight.) so he does not hear what benefits him, understands not what would lead him to the guidance and sees not the evidence with which he can be enlightened. This is why Allah said,
فَمَن يَهْدِيهِ مِن بَعْدِ اللَّهِ أَفَلاَ تَذَكَّرُونَ
(Who then will guide him after Allah Will you not then remember) Allah said in a similar Ayah,
مَن يُضْلِلِ اللَّهُ فَلاَ هَادِيَ لَهُ وَيَذَرُهُمْ فِى طُغْيَـنِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ
(Whomsoever Allah sends astray, none can guide him; and He lets them wander blindly in their transgressions.) (7:186).
45.21-22 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
After the invitation to Tauhid, the discourse now turns to the theme of the Hereafter.
This is the moral reasoning for the truth of the Hereafter. The difference of good and evil in morals and of goodness and wickedness in deeds necessarily demands that the good and the evil people should not meet with one and the same end, but the good should be rewarded for their good and the wicked punished for their evil deeds. Otherwise, if the good and the evil end up similarly, the distinction of virtue and vice in morals becomes meaningless and God becomes unjust. The people who follow evil ways in the world do want that there should be no accountability and no rewards and punishments, for this concept goes against their enjoyment of life, but it is against the justice and wisdom of the Lord of the worlds that He should treat the good and the evil alike, and should not care to see how the righteous believer has lived his life in the world and how the sinful unbeliever has been enjoying it. One of them kept himself subjected to moral restrictions all his life, rendered the rights of those to whorl they were due, restrained himself from the unlawful benefits and pleasures, and continued to incur losses for the sake of the truth; the other fulfilled his desires in every possible wary: neither recognized the rights of God nor hesitated froth violating the rights of the people, but watt un collecting benefits and good things of life in every possible way. Can it be expected of God that He would overlook the difference between the lives of the two kinds of men? If the end of both be the same, no greater injustice could be conceived. (For further explanation, sec Yunus: 4, Hud: 106 An-Nahl: 38 39, AI-Hajj: E N. 9, An-Naml: E,N. 86, Ar-Rum: 7-8, Suad: 28 and E.N. 30 on it).
That is, 'Allah has not created the earth and the heavens for mere sport, but it is a wise system with a purpose. In this system it is absolutely unimaginable that the people who may have accomplished good deeds by the right use of the powers and means and resources granted by Allah and the people who may have spread mischief and wickedness by their wrong use, should end up ultimately in the dust after death, and there should be no life hereafter in which their good and bad deeds should lead to good or bad results according to justice. If this were so, this universe would be the plaything of a thoughtless being, and not a purposeful system devised by a Wise Being." (For further explanation, sec Al An'am: 73, Yunus: 5-6, Ibrahim: 19, An-Nahl: 3, AI-'Ankabut: 44 and E.N.'s 75, 76; Ar-Rum: 8 and E.N. 6 on it).
In this context the sentence clearly means: 'If the good people are not rewarded for their goodness, and the wicked are not punished for their wickedness, and the grievances of the oppressed are not redressed, it would be injustice. There cannot be such an injustice in the Kingdom of God. Likewise, there cannot also be the other kind of injustice that a good man be given a lesser reward Matt what is due to him, or a bad man given a greater punishment than what he deserves."
45.21 Tustari - Al-Tustari
Do those who have perpetrated evil acts suppose that We shall treat them as those who believe and perform righteous deeds, equally in their life and in their death?...He said:The one who has been seated on the carpet of conformity (bisāṭ al-muwāfaqa) is not like the one who has been made to stand in the station of opposition (maqām al-mukhālafa); for the carpet of conformity brings the person [stationed] upon it to the ‘seats’ of true faith (maqāʿid al-ṣidq), whereas the station of opposition will plunge the person who holds it into a blazing fire.His words, Exalted is He: