The Quran

Commentaries for 7.17

Al Araf (The heights) - الأعراف

7.17 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Then I shall come upon them from before them) with regard to the Hereafter that there is no hell, Paradise, resurrection or reckoning (and from behind them) that the life of this world is everlasting and I shall bid them to amass and withhold out of stinginess and I will order them to commit corruption (and from their right hands) vis-à-vis the religion: I shall confuse those who are guided until they leave the guidance, and I shall make it seem fair to those who are misguided such that they remain misguided (and from their left hands) as regard pleasures and delights, (and Thou wilt not find most of them) all of them (beholden (unto Thee)) believers in You.
7.17 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
Then I shall come upon them from before them and from behind them and from their right and from their left, that is to say, from every side, and prevent them from following it [that path]. Ibn ‘Abbās said, ‘However, he cannot come upon them from above, lest he come between the servant and the mercy of God, exalted be He’. And You will not find most of them thankful’, believing.
7.17 Kashani - Kashani
And You will not find most of them thankful', employing their faculties and limbs and what God has graced them with in the path of obedience and seeking proximity to God.
7.16-17 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
إِلَى يَوْمِ يُبْعَثُونَ
(till the Day they are raised up (resurrected)) and Iblis was sure that he got what he wanted, he went on in defiance and rebellion. He said,
فَبِمَآ أَغْوَيْتَنِى لأَقْعُدَنَّ لَهُمْ صِرَطَكَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ
("Because You have `Aghwaytani', surely, I will sit in wait against them (human beings) on Your straight path.'') meaning, as You have sent me astray. Ibn `Abbas said that `Aghwaytani' means, "Misguided me.'' Others said, "As You caused my ruin, I will sit in wait for Your servants whom You will create from the offspring of the one you expelled me for.'' He went on,
صِرَطَكَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ
(Your straight path), the path of truth and the way of safety. I (Iblis) will misguide them from this path so that they do not worship You Alone, because You sent me astray. Mujahid said that the `straight path', refers to the truth. Imam Ahmad recorded that Saburah bin Abi Al-Fakih said that he heard the Messenger of Allah saying,
«إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ قَعَدَ لِابْنِ آدَمَ بِطُرُقِهِ، فَقَعَدَ لَهُ بِطَرِيقِ الْإِسْلَامِ، فَقَالَ: أَتُسْلِمُ وَتَذَرُ دِينَكَ وَدِينَ آبَائِكَ؟ قَالَ: فَعَصَاهُ وَأَسْلَم»
«قَعَدَ لَهُ بِطَرِيقِ الْهِجْرَةِ فَقَالَ: أَتُهَاجِرُ وَتَدَعُ أَرْضَكَ وَسَمَاءَكَ؟ وَإِنَّمَا مَثَلُ الْمُهَاجِرِ كَالْفَرَسِ فِي الطِّوَلِ، فَعَصَاهُ وَهَاجَرَ، ثُمَّ قَعَدَ لَهُ بِطَرِيقِ الْجِهَادِ وَهُوَ جِهَادُ النَّفْسِ وَالْمَالِ، فَقَالَ: تُقَاتِلُ فَتُقْتَلُ فَتُنْكَحُ الْمَرْأَةُ وَيُقْسَمُ الْمَالُ، قاَلَ: فَعَصَاهُ وَجَاهَد»
وقال رسول اللهصلى الله عليه وسلّم:
«فَمَنْ فَعَلَ ذَلِكَ مِنْهُمْ فَمَاتَ، كَانَ حَقًّا عَلَى اللهِ أَنْ يُدْخِلَهُ الْجَنَّةَ، وَإِنْ قُتِلَ كَانَ حَقًّا عَلَى اللهِ أَنْ يُدْخِلَهُ الْجَنَّةَ، وَإِنْ غَرِقَ كَانَ حَقًّا عَلَى اللهِ أَنْ يُدْخِلَهُ الْجَنَّةَ أَوْ وَقَصَتْهُ دَابَّةٌ كَانَ حَقًّا عَلَى اللهِ أَنْ يُدْخِلَهُ الْجَنَّة»
(Shaytan sat in wait for the Son of Adam in all his paths. He sat in the path of Islam, saying, `Would you embrace Islam and abandon your religion and the religion of your forefathers' However, the Son of Adam disobeyed Shaytan and embraced Islam. So Shaytan sat in the path of Hijrah (migration in the cause of Allah), saying, `Would you migrate and leave your land and sky' But the parable of the Muhajir is that of a horse in his stamina So, he disobeyed Shaytan and migrated. So Shaytan sat in the path of Jihad, against one's self and with his wealth, saying, `If you fight, you will be killed, your wife will be married and your wealth divided.' So he disobeyed him and performed Jihad. Therefore, whoever among them (Children of Adam) does this and dies, it will be a promise from Allah that He admits him into Paradise. If he is killed, it will be a promise from Allah that He admits him into Paradise. If he drowns, it will be a promise from Allah that He admits him into Paradise. If the animal breaks his neck, it will be a promise from Allah that He admits him into Paradise.) `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas commented on:
ثُمَّ لآتِيَنَّهُم مِّن بَيْنِ أَيْدِيهِمْ
(Then I will come to them from before them) Raising doubts in them concerning their Hereafter,
وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِمْ
(and (from) behind them), making them more eager for this life,
وَعَنْ أَيْمَـنِهِمْ
(from their right), causing them confusion in the religion,
وَعَن شَمَآئِلِهِمْ
(and from their left) luring them to commit sins.'' This is meant to cover all paths of good and evil. Shaytan discourages the people from the path of good and lures them to the path of evil. Al-Hakam bin Abban said that `Ikrimah narrated from Ibn `Abbas concerning the Ayah,
ثُمَّ لآتِيَنَّهُم مِّن بَيْنِ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِمْ وَعَنْ أَيْمَـنِهِمْ وَعَن شَمَآئِلِهِمْ
(Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left,) "He did not say that he will come from above them, because the mercy descends from above.'' `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said,
وَلاَ تَجِدُ أَكْثَرَهُمْ شَـكِرِينَ
(and You will not find most of them to be thankful.) "means, those who single Him out in worship.'' When Shaytan said this, it was a guess and an assumption on his part. Yet, the truth turned out to be the same, for Allah said,
وَلَقَدْ صَدَّقَ عَلَيْهِمْ إِبْلِيسُ ظَنَّهُ فَاتَّبَعُوهُ إِلاَّ فَرِيقاً مِّنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ - وَمَا كَانَ لَهُ عَلَيْهِمْ مِّن سُلْطَـنٍ إِلاَّ لِنَعْلَمَ مَن يُؤْمِنُ بِالاٌّخِرَةِ مِمَّنْ هُوَ مِنْهَا فِى شَكٍّ وَرَبُّكَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَىْءٍ حَفُيظٌ
(And indeed Iblis (Shaytan) did prove true his thought about them, and they followed him, all except a group of true believers. And he had no authority over them, except that We might test him who believes in the Hereafter, from him who is in doubt about it. And your Lord is Watchful over everything.) 34:20-21. tThis is why there is a Hadith that encourages seeking refuge with Allah from the lures of Shaytan from all directions. Imam Ahmad narrated that `Abdullah bin `Umar said, "The Messenger of Allah used to often recite this supplication in the morning and when the night falls,
«اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ الْعَافِيَةَ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ، اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ الْعَفْوَ وَالْعَافِيَةَ فِي دِينِي وَدُنْيَايَ وَأَهْلِي وَمَالِي، اللَّهُمَّ اسْتُرْ عَوْرَاتِي وَآمِنْ رَوْعَاتِي، اللَّهُمَّ احْفَظْنِي مِنْ بَيْنِ يَدَيَّ وَمِنْ خَلْفِي وَعَنْ يَمِينِي وَعَنْ شِمَالِي وَمِنْ فَوْقِي وَأَعُوذُ بِعَظَمتِكَ أَنْ أُغْتَالَ مِنْ تَحْتِي»
(O Allah! I ask You for well-being in this life and the Hereafter. O Allah! I ask You for pardon and well-being in my religion, life, family and wealth. O Allah! Cover my errors and reassure me in times of difficulty. O Allah! Protect me from before me, from behind me, from my right, from my left and from above me. I seek refuge with Your greatness from being killed from below me.)'' Waki` commented (about being killed from below), "This refers to earthquakes.'' Abu Dawud, An-Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, Ibn Hibban and Al-Hakim collected this Hadith, and Al-Hakim said, "Its chain is Sahih. ''
7.11-17 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
Please see also vv. 30-36, Al-Baqarah, for comparison.
The wording of v. 34, Al-Baqarah, might have given rise to the doubt that the command given to the angels to bow before Adam was meant for the person of Adam, but the wording of this verse clears that doubt. Here the words preceding the Command show that the angels were to bow before Adam as representative of the whole of mankind.
As regards the creation of mankind, first of all, Allah made a plan for it; then He got ready the necessary material for this purpose; then He gave it the human shape, and when Adam carne into being in the shape of a living man, then the angels were commanded to bow before him, who was the representative of the whole human race.
The above explanation of the verse is based on some other passages of the Qur'an. For instance, let us examine vv. 71-72 of Surah sad:
"Just recall the time when your Lord said to the angels, 'I am going to create a man of clay when I perfect it in every way, and blow into it of My Spirit, all of you should bow down before hire'."
Here, too, the same three stages, the creation, the perfection and bringing to life, have been mentioned in a different way. First of all, a man of clay was created, then he was given a shape and proportionate limbs and faculties and then he was brought to life as Adam by the blowing of His Spirit into it.
Let us also examine vv. 28-29 of Al-Hijra
"Just recall the time when your Lord said to the angels, 'I am going to create a man out of clay of molded mud W hen I perfect it in every way and blow into it of My Spirit, then all of you should bow down before hint'. "
It is very difficult for us to understand the exact nature of the creation of the first man, for we cannot comprehend fully how man was made from the material of the earth, how he was shaped and perfected and how the Spirit was blown into him. However, it is quite clear that the story of man's creation as stated in the Qur'an is quite different from Darwinism. According to this doctrine, the evolution of man has taken place from a non-human and semi-human state by a continuous process of elimination, selection and adaptation, and in this there is no line of demarcation to denote the end of the non-human state and the beginning of the species of `man' as such. On the contrary, the Qur'an says that man started his life as man; that in the entire history he has absolutely no connection whatsoever with any non-human state. Allah created him as man from the very first day of his life on the earth and endowed him with wisdom and enlightenment from the very start of iris life.
The above two points of view of the story of man lead to two opposite conceptions in regard to man. The adoption of the Darwinian conception reduces man to one of the species of animals: therefore all the principles of human life (including the moral principles) will be based on the principles governing animal life and any animal-like behavior of his will be regarded as natural. Then the only difference between human beings and animals will be the ability of the former to make use of instruments for the provision of their necessities and luxuries. On the contrary, the adoption of the Divine conception raises him from the low position of animal to the high position of man, His noblest creation. Then he is no longer a mere talking animal or a social animal but the vicegerent of Allah on this earth. Then what will distinguish him from all other creatures will not be his faculty of speech and his social life, but his moral responsibilities and the trust of the power delegated to him by Allah and his accountability for these to Him. This will change man's entire outlook about his life on this earth and will demand a different philosophy of life and system of morality, law and civilization. Then man will, of his own accord, look upwards in search of the principles of life and not downwards.
Now let us consider an objection to the Divine conception of man howsoever high sounding this may be from the moral and psychological points of view: how can we reject the scientific Darwinian conception merely on this account? In answer to this, we put a counter question: has the Darwinian theory of the `Origin of Species' been scientifically proved? Only those people who have a cursory knowledge of science may be suffering from this misunderstanding that the theory of evolution has been scientifically proved to be true, but the majority of the scientists know that it is merely a theory in spite of its high-sounding technical terms, and that the arguments in favor of this are not conclusive, but merely hypothetical. The most that can be said in this connection is that both the theories of the creation of the species may be equally possible. Their creation might have taken place according to the Darwinian theory of evolution, or each of the species might have been brought into existence individually.