The Quran

Commentaries for 7.29

Al Araf (The heights) - الأعراف

7.29 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Say) O Muhammad: (My Lord enjoineth justice) the confession of Allah's divine Oneness, that there is no god save Allah. (And set your faces) turn with your faces, (upright (towards Him) at every place of worship) upon every prayer (and call upon Him) worship Him, (making religion pure for Him (only)) sincere in your worship of Him and in professing His divine Oneness. (As He brought you into being) on the Day of the Covenant: felicitous and damned, knower and denier, believer and disbeliever, (so return you (unto Him)) in that state.
7.29 Asrar - Kashf Al-Asrar
Say: “My Lord has commanded justice. Set your faces in every place of prostration and supplicate Him, purifying the religion for Him. Just as He began you, so you shall return.”
In this verse the Lord of heaven and earth, the Creator of the world and the world's folk, the bestower and forgiver, the lovingly kind toward the servants, brings together the foundations of service, the signposts of practice, and the realities of recognition. He makes the faithful aware of pleasing character traits and He instructs them in beautiful worship of Himself and beautiful living with the creatures. He honors them by letting them recognize the causes of His approval.
This verse is one of the all-comprehensive words concerning which MuṣṬafā said, “I was sent out with the all-comprehensive words, and knowledge was made very concise for me.”
In the Qur'an there is much of the same sort. Let me speak about one of them: “Surely God is with those who are godwary and those who are beautiful-doers” [16:128]. Consider how such a short verse has so many of the meanings. All of God's caresses, the generous giving and bounteousness of the Real toward the servant, are included in Surely God is with. All service, such as the sorts of worship and the types of practice that the servant does for God, comes under godwary. All that is rightfully due to people from each other in the various sorts of practices comes under beautiful-doers.
In the same way, all the pillars of the religion, the standpoints of the Shariah, and the gates of the Haqiqah are included in the words, “My Lord has commanded justice. Set your faces in every place of prostration and supplicate Him, purifying the religion for Him.” He is saying, “God has commanded me to justice, that is, in my practice with the Real, the creatures, and the soul: with the Real by putting commands and prohibitions to work and approving of His decree in every state; with the creatures by living with good character, observing equity toward them in the varieties of practice, and not asking equity for myself; and with the soul by opposing it, pulling it into the field of struggle and discipline, and shutting the door to appetites and ease.”
The equal of this verse in the Qur'an is where He says, “God commands justice and beautiful doing” [16:90].
Justice is equity, and beautiful doing is preferring others. Justice is that you do to others what they did to you. Beautiful doing is that you do better than what they did to you. Justice is that you
do not take away from the mandatory, you do not put aside retribution, you do not add to the punishment, and you do not hope for that which cannot be. Beautiful doing is when someone does the beautiful toward you, you do more than what he did. When someone does what is bad to you, you do what is beautiful to him. This is the path of the chevaliers and the conduct of the Men.
It has also been said that justice in interactions is that you take the straight and you give the straight. Beautiful doing is that you take the withered and you give the plump. Justice is that in answering the greeting of peace you say, “And upon you be peace.” Beautiful doing is that you add to it “and the mercy of God.”
Justice is what He says: “The recompense of an ugly deed is an ugly deed the like of it [42:40]. If you would punish, then punish with the like of that with which you were punished [16:126]. And expel them whence they expelled you” [2:191].
Beautiful doing is what He says: “And whoso pardons and sets aright-his wage is upon God” [42:40]. Pardoning a bad-doer is beautiful, and more beautiful is to add to that pardon and act beautifully, as the Exalted Lord says: “Repel the ugly with what is more beautiful [23:96]. And follow the most beautiful of what was sent down to you from your Lord [39:55]. So give good news to My servants who listen to the Word, then follow its most beautiful [39:17-18]. And command thy people to take their most beautiful” [7:145].
Then He says, “And set your faces in every place of prostration.” Junayd said, “He commanded us to guard the secret core, to lift up the aspiration, and to approve of God in place of everything other than Him.” He is saying, “Keep your secret core limpid so that you may recognize the Real. Lift up your disposition to Him so that you may become bold. See that all is His gentleness so that you may place your love in Him.
Sit on the mount of service so that you may reach the way station of honor. Come forth honorably so that you may reach companionship. Have a high aspiration so that you may remain with Him.”
In describing MuṣṬafā it has been said that God gave him two generosities that He did not give to any other child of Adam. One is that he had a large aspiration and the other is that he was humble. The highness of his aspiration reached the point that the report has come, “He never stretched forth his hand toward any want.” In humility he was as he said: “If I were invited for the trotter, I would answer, and I were given the shank, I would accept.” When he looked at himself he was so humble that he considered himself weaker than all the weak. When he looked at the Real, the two realms of being and worlds did not enter his eyes because of his great aspiration. This is why he said, “I am the master of the children of Adam, without boasting.”
Just as He began you, so you shall return: “In the endless We will bring to pass for you what We decreed for you in the beginningless: A group He guided, and for another group misguidance was the rightful due [7:30].”
It has also been said, “Just as He began you, so you shall return-in knowledge, will, and predetermination.” Just as He began your creation with knowledge, predetermination, and want, so in the end you will become what He wanted at first.
Junayd was asked about this verse. He replied, “Every man's first is similar to his last, and his last is similar to his first.” Then he said, “The end of every work is the return to its beginning.” The road to the Real is a circle that comes out from Him and goes back to Him. Shaykh alIslām Anṣārī said, “The last of this work is so similar to the first of this work!” In other words, first of all is pleasure, comfort, and life with repose and happiness, and then man puts his foot into the trap. The collar comes around his neck, and for every comfort he has seen he sees a tribulation.
For every rise there is a fall.
This is the reality of the words spoken by Abū Bakr Kattānī: “Between the servant and the Real are one thousand stations of light and darkness.
All is not light, for with every light there is a darkness, with every fall a rise.” In other words, one is repose, ease, and life, another disappointment, suffering, and unreached desires. One is disclosure, the other curtaining; one is togetherness, the other dispersion. Were it not that repose and comfort were beforehand in the first of the desire, the servants would not have the capacity for those trials and sufferings. They keep on looking back at that, their hearts incline to it, and through the marks bearing witness to it they carry the burden
of tribulation. Finally, once they are made to pass through all of it and the term is completed, the hidden becomes apparent, and in the end they become what they were at first. This is the secret of the verse spoken by God, “Just as He began you, so you shall return” in keeping with the tasting of the lords of the recognitions and the companions of the realities. And God knows best.
7.29 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
Say: ‘My Lord enjoins justice, fairness. And set (wa-aqīmū is a supplement to the [syntactical] significance of bi’l-qist, ‘justice’, that is to say, [it is as if] He said, ‘Be just and set [your faces]’, or read [wa-aqīmū] with an implied fa-aqbilū, ‘so turn’ towards it) your faces, towards God, in every place of worship, performing your prostrations purely for Him, and call upon Him, worship Him, devoting your religion to Him, [free] of any idolatry. As He brought you into being, [as] He created you, when you were nothing, so you will return, that is, [so] He will bring you back to life on the Day of Resurrection.
7.29 Kashani - Kashani
Say: 'My Lord enjoins justice, that is, equity and uprightness. And set upright your countenances, your existing essences, by preventing them from inclination and deviation towards the two sides of immoderation and excess in justice and from [any] variegations in uprightness, in every place of worship, that is, every station of prostration or moment of prostration. Prostration can be divided into four divisions: 1) the prostration of compliance, obedience and establishing the countenance there through sincere devotion (ikhlāṣ) and the avoidance of show and hypocrisy with regard to deeds performed for God and [the avoidance of] turning one's attention to other [than God] in those [deeds], as well as being mindful that the affair and the sincerity of the intention are in harmony, and avoiding contravention [of God] in all affairs, that which is justice; 2) the prostration of annihilation in the acts and the establishing of the countenance there by fulfilling what is due to that such that the person sees no effective agent other than God and sees no effect [as being] from himself or from any other; 3) the prostration of annihilation in the attributes and the establishing of the countenance there by observing its requirements in such a way that he does not see the adornments of his essence therein nor desire or loathe anything, [but] without inclining towards immoderation by abandoning the enjoining of decency and the forbidding of indecency, nor towards excessive wrath against the one in contravention; 3) and the prostration of annihilation in the Essence and establishing the countenance there by being absent from remnants and by being obliterated totally and by refraining from affirming ego and duality so that he does not become insolent by means of the veil of egoism nor engage in heresy by disregarding the law and abandoning obedience; and call upon Him, devoting your religion to Him, at the first station by singling it out for performing deeds for God [alone], and at the second and third [stations] by seeing religion and obedience as being from God, and at the fourth [station] by seeing these through God, such that God becomes the object of his religion and none other than Him having any share thereof. As He brought you into being, by manifesting you and hiding Himself, so you will return, by your annihilation in Him and your becoming hidden so that He might become manifest.
7.28-30 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
Disbelievers commit Sins and claim that Allah commanded Them to do so!
Mujahid said, "The idolators used to go around the House (Ka`bah) in Tawaf while naked, saying, `We perform Tawaf as our mothers gave birth to us.' The woman would cover her sexual organ with something saying, `Today, some or all of it will appear, but whatever appears from it, I do not allow it (it is not for adultery or for men to enjoy looking at!).''' Allah sent down the Ayah,
وَإِذَا فَعَلُواْ فَـحِشَةً قَالُواْ وَجَدْنَا عَلَيْهَآ ءَابَاءَنَا وَاللَّهُ أَمَرَنَا بِهَا
(And when they commit a Fahishah (sin), they say: "We found our fathers doing it, and Allah has commanded it for us.'')7:28 I say, the Arabs, with the exception of the Quraysh, used to perform Tawaf naked. They claimed they would not make Tawaf while wearing the clothes that they disobeyed Allah in. As for the Quraysh, known as Al-Hums, they used to perform Tawaf in their regular clothes. Whoever among the Arabs borrowed a garment from one of Al-Hums, he would wear it while in Tawaf. And whoever wore a new garment, would discard it and none would wear it after him on completion of Tawaf. Those who did not have a new garment, or were not given one by Al-Hums, then they would perform Tawaf while naked. Even women would go around in Tawaf while naked, and one of them would cover her sexual organ with something and proclaim, "Today, a part or all of it will appear, but whatever appears from it I do not allow it.'' Women used to perform Tawaf while naked usually at night. This was a practice that the idolators invented on their own, following only their forefathers in this regard. They falsely claimed that what their forefathers did was in fact following the order and legislation of Allah. Allah then refuted them, Allah said,
وَإِذَا فَعَلُواْ فَـحِشَةً قَالُواْ وَجَدْنَا عَلَيْهَآ ءَابَاءَنَا وَاللَّهُ أَمَرَنَا بِهَا
(And when they commit a Fahishah, they say: "We found our fathers doing it, and Allah has commanded it for us.'')
Allah does not order Fahsha', but orders Justice and Sincerity
Allah replied to this false claim,
(Say), O Muhammad, to those who claimed this,
إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْفَحْشَآءِ
("Nay, Allah never commands Fahsha'...'') meaning, the practice you indulge in is a despicable sin, and Allah does not command such a thing.
أَتَقُولُونَ عَلَى اللَّهِ مَا لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ
("Do you say about Allah what you know not'') that is, do you attribute to Allah statements that you are not certain are true Allah said next,
قُلْ أَمَرَ رَبِّي بِالْقِسْطِ
(Say: "My Lord has commanded justice, (fairness and honesty)''),
وَأَقِيمُواْ وُجُوهَكُمْ عِندَ كُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ وَادْعُوهُ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ
("And that you should face Him only, in every Masjid, and invoke Him only making your religion sincere to Him...'') This Ayah means, Allah commands you to be straightforward in worshipping Him, by following the Messengers who were supported with miracles and obeying what they conveyed from Allah and the Law that they brought. He also commands sincerity in worshipping Him, for He, Exalted He is, does not accept a good deed until it satisfies these two conditions: being correct and in conformity with His Law, and being free of Shirk.
The Meaning of being brought into Being in the Beginning and brought back again
Allah's saying
كَمَا بَدَأَكُمْ تَعُودُونَ
(As He brought you in the beginning, so shall you be brought into being again) 7:29. Until;
(error.) There is some difference over the meaning of:
كَمَا بَدَأَكُمْ تَعُودُونَ
(As He brought you in the beginning, so shall you be brought into being again.) Ibn Abi Najih said that Mujahid said that it means, "He will bring you back to life after you die.'' Al-Hasan Al-Basri commented, "As He made you begin in this life, He will bring you back to life on the Day of Resurrection.'' Qatadah commented on:
كَمَا بَدَأَكُمْ تَعُودُونَ
(As He brought you in the beginning, so shall you be brought into being again.) "He started their creation after they were nothing, and they perished later on, and He shall bring them back again.'' `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said, "As He created you in the beginning, He will bring you back in the end.'' This last explanation was preferred by Abu Ja`far Ibn Jarir and he supported it with what he reported from Ibn `Abbas, "The Messenger of Allah stood up and gave us a speech, saying,
«يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّكُمْ تُحْشَرُونَ إِلَى اللهِ حُفَاةً عُرَاةً غُرْلًا
كَمَا بَدَأْنَآ أَوَّلَ خَلْقٍ نُّعِيدُهُ وَعْداً عَلَيْنَآ إِنَّا كُنَّا فَـعِلِينَ
(O people! You will be gathered to Allah while barefooted, naked and uncircumcised, (As We began the first creation, We shall repeat it. (It is) a promise binding upon Us. Truly, We shall do it)).21:104 This Hadith was collected in the Two Sahihs. `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas commented on the Ayah,
كَمَا بَدَأَكُمْ تَعُودُونَفَرِيقًا هَدَى وَفَرِيقًا حَقَّ عَلَيْهِمُ الضَّلَـلَةُ
(As He brought you in the beginning, so shall you be brought into being again. A group He has guided, and a group deserved to be in error;) "Allah, the Exalted, began the creation of the Sons of Adam, some believers and some disbelievers, just as He said,
هُوَ الَّذِى خَلَقَكُمْ فَمِنكُمْ كَافِرٌ وَمِنكُمْ مُّؤْمِنٌ
(He it is Who created you, then some of you are disbelievers and some of you are believers) 64:2. He will then return them on the Day of Resurrection as He started them, some believers and some disbelievers. I say, what supports this meaning, is the Hadith from Ibn Mas`ud that Al-Bukhari recorded, (that the Prophet said:)
«فَوَالَّذِي لَا إِلَهَ غَيرُهُ إِنَّ أَحَدَكُمْ لَيَعْمَلُ بِعَمَلِ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ حَتَّى مَا يَكُونُ بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَهَا إِلَّا بَاعٌ أَوْ ذِرَاعٌ، فَيَسْبِقُ عَلَيْهِ الْكِتَابُ فَيَعْمَلُ بِعَمَلِ أَهْلِ النَّارِ فَيَدْخُلُهَا، وَإِنَّ أَحَدَكُمْ لَيَعْمَلُ بِعَمَلِ أَهْلِ النَّارِ حَتَّى مَا يَكُونُ بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَهَا إِلَّا بَاعٌ أَوْ ذِرَاعٌ فَيَسْبِقُ عَلَيْهِ الْكِتَابُ، فَيَعْمَلُ بِعَمَلِ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ فَيَدْخُلُ الْجَنَّة»
(By He, other than Whom there is no god, one of you might perform the deeds of the people of Paradise until only the length of an arm or a forearm would separate him from it. However, that which was written in the Book takes precedence, and he commits the work of the people of the Fire and thus enters it. And one of you might perform the deeds of the people of the Fire until only the length of an arm or a forearm separates between him and the Fire. However, that which was written in the Book takes precedence, and he performs the work of the people of Paradise and thus enters Paradise.) We should combine this meaning -- if it is held to be the correct meaning for the Ayah -- with Allah's statement:
فَأَقِمْ وَجْهَكَ لِلدِّينِ حَنِيفاً فِطْرَةَ اللَّهِ الَّتِى فَطَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَيْهَا
(So set you your face towards the religion, Hanifan. Allah's Fitrah with which He has created mankind) 30:30, and what is recorded in the Two Sahihs from Abu Hurayrah who said that the Messenger of Allah said:
«كُلُّ مَوْلُودٍ يُولَدُ عَلَى الْفِطْرَةِ، فَأَبَوَاهُ يُهَوِّدَانِهِ وَيُنَصِّرَانِهِ وَيُمَجِّسَانِه»
(Every child is born upon the Fitrah, it is only his parents who turn him into a Jew, a Christian or a Zoroastrian.) Muslim recorded that `Iyad bin Himar said that the Messenger of Allah said,
«يَقُولُ اللهُ تَعَالـى: إِنِّي خَلَقْتُ عِبَادِي حُنَفَاءَ، فَجَاءَتْهُمُ الشَّيَاطِينُ فَاجْتَالَتْهُمْ عَنْ دِينِهِم»
(Allah said, `I created My servants Hunafa' (monotheists), but the devils came to them and deviated them from their religion.) The collective meaning here is, Allah created His creatures so that some of them later turn believers and some turn disbelievers. Allah has originally created all of His servants able to recognize Him, to single Him out in worship, and know that there is no deity worthy of worship except Him. He also took their covenant to fulfill the implications of this knowledge, which He placed in their consciousness and souls. He has decided that some of them will be miserable and some will be happy,
هُوَ الَّذِى خَلَقَكُمْ فَمِنكُمْ كَافِرٌ وَمِنكُمْ مُّؤْمِنٌ
(He it is Who created you, then some of you are disbelievers and some of you are believers) 64:2. Also, a Hadith states,
«كُلُّ النَّاسِ يَغْدُو فَبَائِعٌ نَفْسَهُ فَمُعْتِقُهَا أَوْ مُوبِقُهَا»
(All people go out in the morning and sell themselves, and some of them free themselves while some others destroy themselves.) Allah's decree will certainly come to pass in His creation. Verily, He it is
وَالَّذِى قَدَّرَ فَهَدَى
(Who has measured (everything); and then guided) 87: 3, and,
الَّذِى أَعْطَى كُلَّ شَىءٍ خَلْقَهُ ثُمَّ هَدَى
(He Who gave to each thing its form and nature, then guided it aright) 20:50. And in the Two Sahihs:
«فَأَمَّا مَنْ كَانَ مِنْكُمْ مِنْ أَهْلِ السَّعَادَةِ فَسَيُيَسَّرُ لِعَمَلِ أَهْلِ السَّعَادَةِ، وَأَمَّا مَنْ كَانَ مِنْ أَهْلِ الشَّقَاوَةِ فَسَيُيَسَّرُ لِعَمَلِ أَهْلِ الشَّقَاوَة»
(As for those among you who are among the people of happiness, they will be facilitated to perform the deeds of the people of happiness. As for those who are among the miserable, they will be facilitated to commit the deeds of the miserable). This is why Allah said here,
فَرِيقًا هَدَى وَفَرِيقًا حَقَّ عَلَيْهِمُ الضَّلَـلَةُ
(A group He has guided, and a group deserved to be in error;) Allah then explained why,
إِنَّهُمُ اتَّخَذُوا الشَّيَـطِينَ أَوْلِيَآءَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ
(because) surely, they took the Shayatin as supporters instead of Allah). Ibn Jarir said, "This is one of the clearest arguments proving the mistake of those who claim that Allah does not punish anyone for disobedient acts he commits of deviations he believes in until after knowledge of what is correct reaches him, then he were to obstinately avoid it anyway. If this were true, then there would be no difference between the deviations of the misguided group - their belief that they are guided - and the group that is in fact guided. Yet Allah has differentiated between the two in this noble Ayah, doing so in both name and judgement.''
7.28-30 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
This refers to the custom of the Arabs of going round the Ka`abah in perfect nudity (E.N. 15), considering it to be a religious act, enjoined by Allah.
This brief sentence ("Allah never enjoins a shameful thing") contains a very forceful argument against their beliefs and customs of ignorance. In order to understand the force of the argument, it is necessary to understand two basic things:
(1) Though the Arabs practiced nudism in the performance of certain religious rituals, they considered nakedness itself a shameful thing. That is why, in spite of this custom, no respectable Arab ever chose to practice nudism in a civilized gathering, in the bazaar or before one's kith and kin.
(2) Even though they considered nudism to be a shameful thing, they said that they practiced it because this custom had been enjoined by Allah. This claim was based on the wrong notion that their religion was from Allah. But the Qur'an refutes their claim by arguing like this: "You yourselves consider nudism to be an indecent thing. Therefore your claim that Allah has enjoined the practice of nudism is absolutely false. As a corollary to this, if this indecent custom is approved by your religion, it is a clear proof of the fact that your religion is not froth Allah.
In v. 29, Allah showed, by contrast, that the religion prescribed by Him had no connection whatsoever with their senseless customs, which were contradictory to the following fundamental principles of His religion:
(1) A man should conduct his life in accordance with justice and righteousness;
(2) He should keep his direction right during worship. That is, "It should be exclusively directed towards Allah and there should be absolutely nothing of shirk in it and he should not show any sort of obedience or obeisance or servility to any other than Allah.
(3) He should invoke Allah and none else, for guidance, succor, help and protection. He should, however, dedicate his entire life exclusively to Allah before invoking His help, for it is absurd to lead a life of shirk. disbelief, disobedience, and slavery of others, and then invoke Allah, as if to say, "O God, help us in carrying out successfully our rebellion against Thyself."
(4) Above all, he should sincerely and firmly believe that he shall be resurrected in the Next World, just as he has been given birth in this world, and then shall be called upon to render an account of all his deeds in this world.
7.29 Tustari - Al-Tustari
…And call on Him, devoting your religion to Him...He [Sahl] said:Seek sincerity (ikhlāṣ) secretly with an [inner] intention, for it is only the sincere who can recognise ostentation. However, seek action openly through emulation, for truly whoever does not emulate the Prophet in all his affairs is misguided. All other than these two [ways] are erroneous.His words, Exalted is He: