Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
And they who believe) in Muhammad (pbuh) and the Qur'an and are true in their faith (and whose seed follow them in faith) in the life of the world, (We cause their seed to join them (there)) in the Hereafter, enjoying the same rank as that of their fathers; it is also said that this means: and those who believe in Muhammad (pbuh) and the Qur'an, We will enter them into the Garden along with their young children, thus enjoying the same rank, because these offspring had already believed on the Day of the Primordial Covenant. We made their fathers follow them. It is also said that this means: We make the offspring attain to the same rank as that of the fathers, if the ranks of the fathers are higher, (and We deprive them of naught of their (life's) work) He says: We do not diminish the reward of the fathers at all upon making their offspring join them. (Every man is a pledge) such that Allah does with him as He will (for that which he hath earned) of sins.
And those who believed (wa’lladhīna āmanū, the subject) and whom We made to be followed (wa-atba‘nāhum: a variant reading has wa’ttaba‘athum, ‘and there followed them’, as a supplement to āmanū, ‘who believed’) by their descendants (dhurrīyātihim: a variant reading [for this plural] has dhurrīyatuhum), young and old, in faith, on the part of the older ones and on the part of the parents in [their] young ones (the predicate [of the subject above] is [the following, alhaqnā bihim), We will make their, mentioned, descendants join them, in Paradise, so that they are in the same degree [of reward], even though they might not have performed the same [meritorious] deeds as them [to deserve this equal status], a way of honouring the parents by having their children join them [again]; and We will not deprive them (read alatnāhum or alitnāhum), [We will not] diminish [them], of anything (min shay’in: min is extra) of their deeds, in order to add it to the deeds of their children. Every man is subject to what he has earned, of good or evil deeds, and will be requited for evil and rewarded for good.
The Offspring of Righteous Believers will be elevated to Their Grades in Paradise
In this Ayah, Allah the Exalted affirms His favor, generosity, graciousness, compassion and beneficence towards His creation. When the offspring of the righteous believers imitate their parents regarding faith, Allah will elevate the latter to the ranks of the former, even though the latter did not perform deeds as goodly as their parents. Allah will comfort the eyes of the parents by seeing their offspring elevated to their grades. Surely, Allah will gather them together in the best manner, and He will not decrease the reward or the grades of those higher in rank for joining them together, hence His statement,
(to them shall We join their offspring, and We shall not decrease the reward of their deeds in anything.) Ath-Thawri reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "Verily, Allah elevates the ranks of the believers' offspring to rank of their parents, even though the latter have not performed as well as the former, so that the eyes of the parents are comforted.'' Ibn `Abbas then recited this Ayah,
(And those who believe and whose offspring follow them in faith, -- to them shall We join their offspring, and We shall not decrease the reward of their deeds in anything.) Ibn Jarir and Ibn Abi Hatim recorded this statement from Sufyan Ath-Thawri from Ibn `Abbas. Ibn Abi Hatim also recorded that Ibn `Abbas commented on Allah's statement,
(And those who believe and whose offspring follow them in faith, -- to them shall We join their offspring.) saying, "They are the offspring of the believers who died on the faith. If the ranks of their parents are higher than their ranks, they will be joined with their parents. No part of the reward their parents received for their good deeds will be reduced for them.'' `Abdullah, son of Imam Ahmad, recorded that `Ali said, "Khadijah asked the Prophet about two of her children who died during the time of Jahiliyyah, and the Messenger of Allah said;
«هُمَا فِي النَّار»
(They are both in the Fire.) When he saw sadness on her face, he said,
«لَوْ رَأَيْتِ مَكَانَهُمَا لَأَبْغَضْتِهِمَا»
(If you saw their dwelling place, you would hate them.) She said, `O Allah's Messenger! What about my children with you.' He said,
(They are in Paradise.) The Messenger of Allah said,
(And those who believe and whose offspring follow them in faith...)'' Certainly, it is Allah's grace and favor that He grants the children this blessing because of the good deeds of their parents. He also grants His favor to parents on account of their offspring invoking Allah for them. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Verily, Allah shall elevate the grade of a righteous servant in Paradise, who will ask, "O Lord! How did I earn this'' Allah will reply, "Through your son's invoking Me to forgive you.'') This Hadith has an authentic chain of narration, but it was not recorded in the Sahih this way. However, there is a witnessing narration for it in Sahih Muslim, from the Hadith of Abu Hurayrah, who said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(When the Son of Adam dies, his record of deeds will cease except in three cases: an ongoing charity, knowledge that people are benefiting from and a righteous son who invokes Allah for him.)
Allah is Just with the Sinners
Allah the Exalted said,
كُلُّ امْرِىءٍ بِمَا كَسَبَ رَهَينٌ
(Every person is a pledge for that which he has earned.) After Allah mentioned His favor of elevating the offspring to the ranks of their parents, even though the deeds of the former did not qualify them, He affirmed His fairness in that, He does not punish anyone for the mistakes of others,
كُلُّ امْرِىءٍ بِمَا كَسَبَ رَهَينٌ
(Every person is a pledge for that which he has earned.) Therefore, every person will be responsible for his actions. No sin committed by others shall ever be added to one's load, even if committed by his or her parents or offspring. Allah the Exalted said,
(And We shall provide them with fruit and meat such as they desire.) meaning, `We shall provide them with various types and kinds of fruits and meat, whatever they wish for and desire,'
يَتَنَـزَعُونَ فِيهَا كَأْساً
(There they shall pass from hand to hand a cup,) meaning, of wine, according to Ad-Dahhak,
لاَّ لَغْوٌ فِيهَا وَلاَ تَأْثِيمٌ
(free from any Laghw, and free from Ta'thim) meaning, when they drink, they do not say any idle, vain words or utter dirty, sinful speech like the drunken people in this life do. Ibn `Abbas said that Laghw means `falsehood' while Ta'thim means `lying'. Mujahid said, "They do not curse each other nor sin.'' Qatadah said, "These were the consequences of drinking in this life, and Shaytan helped in this regard. Allah purified the wine of the Hereafter from the ills and harm caused by the wine of this life.'' Therefore, Allah has purified the wine of the Hereafter from causing headaches, stomachaches and intoxication like the wine of this life. Allah stated that wine of the Hereafter shall not cause those who drink it to utter false, vain words that carry no benefit, full of foolishness and evil. Allah also described the wine of the Hereafter as beautiful in appearance, tasty and fruitful,
(And there will go round boy-servants of theirs to serve them as if they were preserved pearls.) This is a description of the servants and aids, the believers will have in Paradise. Their servants will be beautiful, graceful in appearance, clean and neat as well-preserved pearls,
(Immortal boys will go around them with cups, and jugs, and a glass of flowing wine.)(56:17-18) Allah the Exalted said,
وَأَقْبَلَ بَعْضُهُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ يَتَسَآءَلُونَ
(And some of them draw near to others, questioning.) meaning, the believers will draw near to each other talking and remembering their actions and conditions in this life, just as people in this life talk while drinking, especially when they become intoxicated,
(Saying: "Aforetime, we were afraid in the midst of our families.'') meaning, `in the life of world and in the midst of our families, we were afraid of our Lord and fearful of His torment and punishment,'
(So Allah has been gracious to us, and has saved us from the torment of the Fire.) meaning, `He has granted us a favor and saved us from what we feared,'
إِنَّا كُنَّا مِن قَبْلُ نَدْعُوهُ
(Verily, We used to invoke Him before.) meaning, `we used to invoke Him with submission and humility, and He accepted our invocation and gave us what we wished,'
إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْبَرُّ الرَّحِيمُ
(Verily, He is the Most Subtle, the Most Merciful.)
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
This theme has already been mentioned in Surah Ar-Ra`d: 23 and Al Mu'min: 8 above, but here a greater good news has been given. In the verse of Surah Ar-Ra'd only this much was said: "They will enter into them (Gardens) along with the righteous from among their forefathers, wives and descendants," and in Surah AI-Mu'min: "The angels ask forgiveness for the believers; they say Our Lord...(admit therein also) of their parents and wives and children who are righteous." Here, what has been said in addition is: If the children had been following in the footsteps of their forefathers in faith, they will be joined with them in Paradise even though they might not deserve, on the basis of their deeds, the same high rank which the elders would attain on the basis of their superior faith and deeds, and this joining will not be of the nature of occasional visits and meetings but they will be lodged permanently with them in Paradise as is borne out by the words: alhaqna bi-him. For the sake of further satisfaction it has been stated: "In order to be joined with their offspring the parents will not be lowered and reduced in rank, but in order to be joined with their elders the rank of the children will be enhanced and exalted".
Here, it should be borne in mind that this news has been given in respect of the children who on reaching maturity voluntarily decided to affirm faith and of their own free will followed in the footsteps of their righteous forefathers. As for those of the children of a believer, who might have died even before reaching maturity, there cannot be any question of belief or disbelief, obedience or disobedience, for they will be admitted to Paradise automatically and will be lodged along with their parents to be a comfort of the eyes for them.
Here, the metaphor of rahn (pledge) is very meaningful. If a person takes a loan from somebody, and the creditor keeps some article belonging to the debtor as a pledge with himself as a guarantee for the payment of his right, the debtor cannot redeem his pledge unless he pays off the debts; and if he does not redeem his pledge within the fixed time limit, the pledged article stands forfeited. The nature of the affair between man and God has been compared here to this very situation. The provisions, powers, capabilities and authority that God has granted man in the world are a debt that the Master has given to His servant, and as a guarantee for this debt the self of man is a pledge with Allah. If man by employing the provisions and the powers and authority in the right way earns the good by which the debt can be paid off, he will redeem the pledged thing, i.e. his own self, otherwise it will be forfeited. This thing has been said immediately after the preceding verse because even though the righteous believers may themselves be the people of a very high rank, their children cannot redeem their pledge unless they redeem their self by their own labor and effort. The earning of the forefathers cannot redeem the children. However, if the children are able to redeem themselves by virtue of their faith in some degree by following their righteous forefathers in their footsteps, it would then be Allah's grace and bounty that in Paradise He may exalt them from lower ranks to be joined with their parents in the higher ranks. The good done by the forefathers can benefit the children only so far, but if by their own deeds they deserve Hell, it is not possible that they may be admitted to Paradise for the sake of the forefathers. Another thing that can be deduced from this verse is that the less righteous children's being joined with their more righteous forefathers is not in reality the result of the lifework of the children but of their forefathers'. They by virtue of their deeds will deserve the grace that their children be joined with them in order to be a comfort of the eyes for them. That is why Allah will not lower their ranks to join them with their children but will exalt the children's ranks to be joined with them, so that the perfection of Allah's blessings on them is not marred by the distress that they may suffer on account of the remoteness of their children far away.
In this verse, there is the mention of providing the dwellers of Paradise with every kind of meat generally, and in Surah AI-Waqi'ah it has been said: "They will be served with the flesh of fowls." We do not know what exactly will be the nature of this flesh. But just as in some expressions of the Qur'an and in some Ahadith it has been said about the milk of Paradise that it will not have been drawn from the udders of animals, and about the honey of Paradise it has been said that it will not have been produced by the bees, and about the wine of Paradise it has been said that it will not have been distilled froth rotten fruit, but these things will flow out of the springs into the canals by the power of Allah, so it can be argued by analogy that this flesh too will not be obtained from slaughtered animals but this too will be a natural product. The God Who can produce milk and honey and wine directly from earthly substances can also produce tasty flesh of every kind from the same substances, which should even surpass the flesh of animals in taste and delight. (For further explanation, see E.N. 25 of Surah AsSaaffat, E.N.'s 21 to 23 of Surah Muhammad).
That is, the wine of Paradise will not intoxicate that they should get drunk and talk nonsense, or use abusive language, or conduct and behave indecently as drunkards. (For further explanation, see E.N. 27 of As-Saaffat).
Here, the word used is ghilman-ul lahum and not ghilman-u-hum. If ghilman-u-hum had been used, it would have meant that their servants in the world would be made their servants in Paradise too; whereas whoever from the world goes to Paradise, will go there on the basis of his own work and entitlement, and there is no reason that after his entry in Paradise he may be made a servant of the same master whom he had been serving in the world. But it can also be that a servant on account of his deeds may attain a higher rank than his master in Paradise. Therefore, by using ghilman-ul-lahum no room has been left for this suspicion This word provides the explanation that these will be the boys who will be exclusively appointed for their service in Paradise. (For further explanation, see E.N. 26 of Surah As-Saffat).
That is, "We were not heedless and living a care-free life of ease and comfort, but we were always on our guard lest we should commit an evil for which we may be held accountable before God." Here, the mention of "...living among our kinsfolk, in fear and dread," in particular, has been made for the reason that man commits evil mostly when he is deeply engrossed in arranging ease and comfort for his children and trying to make their future secure and happy. For the same purpose he earns forbidden things by forbidden means, usurps the rights of others and makes evil plans. That is why the dwellers of Paradise will say to one another: "That which particularly saved us from the evil of the Hereafter was that while living among our families we did not think so much of arranging the pleasures of life and a splendid future for them as for avoiding for their sake those methods and means that might ruin our life in the Hereafter and that we should not lead our children also on to the way that might make them worthy of the torment of Allah.
The word samum in the original means hot, scorching wind; here it implies the waves of hot wind that will be arising from Hell.