Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(And though We should send down the angels) as they have asked and testified in favour of that which they denied (unto them) unto those who sneer, (and the dead should speak unto them) from their graves, as they asked, telling them that Muhammad is Allah's Messenger and that the Qur'an is Allah's speech, (and We should gather against them all things) of birds and beasts (in array) face to face, testifying that what We say is the Truth and affirming that which they have denied, (they would not believe) in Muhammad and the Qur'an (unless Allah so willed) that they believe. (Howbeit, most of them are ignorant) that it is the Truth from Allah.
Were We to send down the angels to them, were the dead to speak to them, and were We to muster all things in front of them, they would still not have faith, unless God willed.
He is speaking about those rejected by the Presence, those driven away by severance. “If We were to send the angels of heaven-the proximate and the cherubim, the emissaries and the pious, the watchers over the decree and the measuring out, the trustees of the Exalted Thresholdto the earth to invite the abandoned to Us and to report about Us; and if We were to muster the dead in the earth to direct them to Our threshold; and if We were to bestow eloquence on all the animals and inanimate things, the entities and bodies of the created things, the form and essence of the determined things, and the instances and individuals of the known things and send these to them to offer them the signs of Our divinity and the signposts of Our lordhood so that they may see and know all of the reports, still, as long as I, who am the Lord, did not want and did not show them the road, they would not have faith and they would not find the way to recognize Us. How can a handful of dust talk about the eternal were it not for the eternal solicitude and want of the Generous?”
Who is the heart that it should scatter pearls without You?
What is the body that it should run a kingdom without You?
By God, intelligence does not know the way without You, the spirit has not the gall to remain without You
The belief of the Folk of the Sunnah is that as long as the Exalted Lord does not make Himself recognized to the servant's heart, and as long as He does not fix the marks that bear witness to the eternal attributes in the servant's heart, the servant will not find the road to recognition of Him. This is why the ulama of the Sunnah and the leaders of emulation have said, “Recognition becomes necessary when transmitted, requisite when conveyed, and acquired when made known.” Indeed, it is a candle, but when will He light it? It is a pearl, but where will He deposit it? God says, “It is one of My secrets that I deposit in the hearts of those whom I love among My servants.”
One must have both recognition and familiarity to be the target of this work and worthy for this robe. Claiming familiarity without recognition is rejecting the truth, just as He reports about those estranged ones who said, “We are God's children and His loved ones” [5:18]. Claiming recognition without familiarity is nothing but deception, as in the case of him who was abandoned by the Threshold, the head of the wretched, Iblis, who had recognition, but not familiarity. Both his beginning and his end were nothing but deception, concealed in the depths of unbelief. Outwardly he had the angelic form, wearing the mask of calling God holy, but inwardly he was corrupt. For thousands of years he had walked on the carpet of worship in the hope of union. When he fancied
that the eye of his hope would be opened, or the breath of union would blow inside him, he fell from the heaven of loftiness to the dust of the curse: Upon thee shall be My curse [38:78].
I said, “My heart wants to be Your comrade,
so I will be worthy of thanks and applause.” By God, I did not think, O Spirit of the world,
And if We had sent down the angels to them, and the dead had spoken with them, as they have requested, and We had gathered against them all things in droves (read qubulan, plural of qabīl, meaning ‘throng upon throng’, or read qibalan, meaning ‘before their very eyes’), and they were witness to your truthfulness, yet they would not have believed, as God already knows, unless God willed, that they believe and they did; but most of them are ignorant, of this.
yet they would not have believed, unless God willed: meaning the one who prepares himself for faith, having understood the rational and perceived the argument, with the eye of his insight having been opened by the smallest light of God's guidance and having embraced faith for the smallest reason. As for the one who is not prepared for that and was not created for it, were he to see every single sign of the breaking of the habit [of the natural world] or otherwise, it would have no effect on him; but most of them are ignorant, of the fact that faith is by the will of God and not by the breaking of habits. Faith that results from the witnessing of the breaking of habits carries no weight in reality, for this might well be [a case of simply] yielding to a sensory affair and affirming [faith] by the tongue, which means nothing in terms of the heart, like the faith of the followers of the Samaritan [cf. Q. 20:85]. Faith can only be [true if it is] through the inner heart (janān), as God, exalted be He, says The Bedouins say, 'We believe'. Say, 'You do not believe, but rather say, “We have submitted” for faith has not yet entered into your hearts' [Q. 49:14].
(And those who expect not a meeting with Us said: "Why are not the angels sent down to us, or why do we not see our Lord" Indeed they think too highly of themselves, and are scornful with great pride.) 25:21 Allah said,
(and the dead had spoken unto them,) This is, to inform them of the truth of what the Messengers brought them;
وَحَشَرْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ كُلَّ شَىْءٍ قُبُلاً
(and We had gathered together all things before them,) before their eyes, as `Ali bin Abi Talhah and Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas. This is the view of Qatadah and `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam. This Ayah means, if all nations were gathered before them, one after the other, and each one testifies to the truth of what the Messengers came with,
(Truly, those, against whom the Word (wrath) of your Lord has been justified, will not believe. Even if every sign should come to them, until they see the painful torment.) 10:96-97
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
Here "Sign" stands for such a tangible miracle seeing which they should have no alternative left but to acknowledge that Muhammad (Allah's peace be upon him) was a true Prophet appointed by Allah.
That is, "I have no power to bring about and present Signs, for these are entirely in the power of Allah and He may or may not show them."
These words are addressed to those Muslims, who ardently wished (and sometimes even expressed their wish) that their misguided brethren should be shown such a Sign as might bring them to the Right Way. To this Allah has answered, 'You should realize that they would not believe even if a Sign were shown to them, for this demand is merely a pretext for their disbelief.
That is, there has been no change in their mentality since the first time they heard and rejected the Message of the Prophet Muhammad (Allah's peace be upon him). They are still following the same crooked and perverted way of looking at the Message and, therefore, are unable to see and understand it rightly.
That is, "As they are not going to reject falsehood and accept the Truth by making a free and deliberate choice, the only alternative left for making them follow it is that Allah should force it upon them: He should change their nature so as to deprive them of the freedom of thought and action like other species which have not been made responsible for what they do. But this is against the wisdom of the object for which Allah has created man. You should not, therefore, expect that Allah would make them believers by His supernatural intervention."
Allah is consoling His Messenger, so as to say, "You should not worry at all about the united and active antagonism of the satans from among men and jinn against your Mission. This is not a new thing only happening to you for it has always been happening like this to the Messengers. Whenever a Messenger came to show the Right Way, all the satanic powers girded up their loins to make his Mission a failure.
"Charming things" are all those devices, schemes, suspicions, objections, etc., that are employed by the satans to excite and incite the common people against the Message and the Messenger who invites them to the Truth. Then all these things have been called the means of deceit and delusion as a whole, for all the weapons that the opponent use against the Truth are, in fact, deceptions not only for others but also for the deceivers themselves, though they appear to be very useful and effective weapons.
We have already explained in E.N. 73 above the fact of this matter, but the fine distinction between Allah's "will" (mashiyat) and His approval (rada) should also be kept in mind; otherwise there might arise very serious misunderstandings. It must be clearly understood that nothing whatsoever can happen without the "will" and permission of Allah, for no incident can happen, unless Allah makes room for it in His vast scheme and provides means for its happening. But it does not necessarily mean that Allah also. approves of and is pleased with that incident. For instance, no thief can commit theft, no murderer can kill, no tyrant can be tyrannical, no breaker of peace can cause disorder, no unbeliever can disbelieve and no mushrik can commit shirk, etc., etc., without the "Will" of Allah. Likewise, no believer can have Faith and no pious person can be pious unless it be the "Will" of Allah; yet He is not pleased with the first kind of bad deeds, whereas He is pleased with and approves of and likes the second kind of good deeds. It is true that the "Will" of Allah is working for an ultimate great good, but that can only come about by means of a conflict between light and darkness, good and bad, peace and disorder. Therefore, He allows, for the sake of His great good designs, the necessary freedom both to the powers of obedience and to those of disobedience, of piety and sin, of Prophethood and the forces of evil, so that both might be allowed to perform the deeds of their own choice and to those of His creatures (men and jinn) who have been delegated with a limited authority and the consequent responsibility. Everyone is free to make a choice of good deeds or of bad deeds for himself in this world. Both the good and the bad people are allowed to have the necessary means, as far as it suits and fits into the Divide Design, but only those who make a choice of good works merit His pleasure and approval, for Allah likes that His servants should make the right use of their freedom of choice and adopt good instead of evil.
In this connection, it will be worthwhile to understand why Allah mentions over and over again that it is by His "Will" that the enemies of Truth have been allowed to carry on their nefarious activities. This is to impress upon the Holy Prophet, and through him on his followers, that the nature of their work is different from that of the angels, who carry out the Commands of Allah without meeting with any resistance. Their Mission, requires that in their conflict with the wicked and rebellious people, they should exert their utmost to make the Way of Allah dominant over their ways. That is why it is the "Will" of Allah to allow such people as have deliberately chosen the way of rebellion against Allah to exert their worst in pursuance of their choice. Likewise, He allows the` Believers also full opportunity to exert their utmost in the service and obedience of Allah that they have deliberately chosen. Though He is pleased with and gives His help and succor to the Believers and guides them to the Right Way because they do the deeds He likes them to do, yet they should not expect that Allah will force, by His supernatural intervention, the unbelievers to believe, if they do not want to believe by their free choice; or that He will remove by force from their way those satans amongst men and jinn who have deliberately chosen to use all the powers of their hearts and minds and bodies against the Truth in order to block its way. They should note it well that, if they sincerely intend to work for the cause of truth, virtue and righteousness, they will have to prove this by putting up hard struggle and exerting their utmost in their conflict with the worshipers of falsehood. If Allah had willed to demolish falsehood and make the Truth dominate by miracles, there was no need to entrust this work to the Believers for in that case He Himself could have arranged the things so as to leave no satan in the world and no room for shirk and disbelief to make their appearance.
(And they swear a solemn oath by Allah that if there come unto them a portent they will believe therein...) [6:109] up to (Howbeit, most of them are ignorant) [6:111]. Muhammad ibn Musa ibn al-Fadl informed us> Muhammad ibn Ya‘qub al-Umawi> Ahmad ‘Abd al-Jabbar> Yunus ibn Bukayr> Abu Ma‘shar> Muhammad ibn Ka‘b who said: “The Quraysh spoke to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace. They said: ‘You inform us that Moses, peace be upon him, had a staff with which he struck a stone and twelve springs gushed forth, and that Jesus, peace be upon him, revived the dead, and that Thamud had a camel; why do you not bring us some of those signs so that we believe in you?’ The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, asked them: ‘What sign do you want me to bring you?’ They said: ‘Turn [mount] al-Safa into gold’. He said: ‘Would you believe in me if I did as you ask?’ They said: ‘Yes, by Allah, if you do, we will all follow you’. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, stood up and began supplicating. Then, Gabriel, peace be upon him, came to him and said: ‘If you wish, I can turn al-Safa into gold. However, never did I send a sign that people disbelieved in except that I sent chastisement after it. If you wish, I will leave them until some of them decide to repent’. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: ‘Leave them until some of them decide to repent’. And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed (And they swear a solemn oath by Allah that if there come unto them a portent they will believe therein) up to His words (… they would not believe unless Allah so willed…) [6:111]”.