The Quran

Commentaries for 88.20

Al Ghashiya (The overwhelming) - الغاشية

88.20 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(And the earth, how it is spread) over water? All these are signs for them.
88.20 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
And the earth, how it was laid out flat?, and thus infer from this the power of God, exalted be He, and His Oneness? The commencing with the [mention of] camels is because they are closer in contact with it [the earth] than any other [animal]. As for His words sutihat, ‘laid out flat’, this on a literal reading suggests that the earth is flat, which is the opinion of most of the scholars of the [revealed] Law, and not a sphere as astronomers (ahl al-hay’a) have it, even if this [latter] does not contradict any of the pillars of the Law.
88.17-26 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
The Exhortation to look at the Creation of the Camel, the Heaven, the Mountains and the Earth
Allah commands His servants to look at His creations that prove His power and greatness. He says,
أَفَلاَ يَنظُرُونَ إِلَى الإِبِلِ كَيْفَ خُلِقَتْ
(Do they not look at the camels, how they are created) Indeed it is an amazing creation, and the way it has been fashioned is strange. For it is extremely powerful and strong, yet gentle, carrying heavy loads. It allows itself to be guided by a weak rider. It is eaten, benefit is derived from its hair, and its milk is drunk. They are reminded of this because the most common domestic animal of the Arabs was the camel. Shurayh Al-Qadi used to say, "Come out with us so that we may look at the camels and how they were created, and at the sky and how it has been raised.'' Meaning, how Allah raised it in such magnificence above the ground. This is as Allah says,
أَفَلَمْ يَنظُرُواْ إِلَى السَّمَآءِ فَوْقَهُمْ كَيْفَ بَنَيْنَـهَا وَزَيَّنَّـهَا وَمَا لَهَا مِن فُرُوجٍ
(Have they not looked at the heaven above them, how we have made it and adorned it and there are no rifts on it) (50:6) Then Allah says,
وَإِلَى الْجِبَالِ كَيْفَ نُصِبَتْ
(And at the mountains, how they are rooted) meaning, how they have been erected. For indeed they are firmly affixed so that the earth does not sway with its dwellers. And He made them with the benefits and minerals they contain.
وَإِلَى الاٌّرْضِ كَيْفَ سُطِحَتْ
(And at the earth, how it is outspread) meaning, how it has been spread out, extended and made smooth. Thus, He directs the bedouin to consider what he himself witnesses. His camel that he rides upon, the sky that is above his head, the mountain that faces him, and the earth that is under him, all of this is proof of the power of the Creator and Maker of these things. These things should lead him to see that He is the Lord, the Most Great, the Creator, the Owner, and the Controller of everything. Therefore, He is the God other than Whom none deserves to be worshipped.
The Story of Dimam bin Tha`labah
These are the things Dimam swore by after questioning the Messenger of Allah. This can be seen in what Imam Ahmad recorded from Thabit, who reported that Anas said, "We were prohibited from asking the Messenger of Allah anything. Thus, it used to amaze us when an intelligent man from the people of the desert (bedouin Arabs) would come and ask him about something while we were listening. So a man from the people of the desert came and said, `O Muhammad! Verily, your messenger has come to us and he claims that you claim that Allah sent you.' He (the Prophet) said,
(He told the truth.) The man said, Who created the heaven؟ He (the Prophet ) replied,
,(Alla0h.) The man said, Who created the earth؟ He (the Prophet ) replied,
,(Alla0h). The man said, `Who erected these mountains and placed in them whatever is in them' He (the Prophet ) replied, ا,(Allah). Then the man said, `By the One Who created the heaven, the earth, and erected these mountains, did Allah send you' He (the Prophet ) said,
(Yes.) The man then said, `Your messenger claims that we are obligated to pray five prayers during our day and night.' He (the Prophet ) said,
(He told the truth.) The man then said, `By He Who has sent you, did Allah command you with this' He (the Prophet ) replied,
(Yes.) The man then said, `Your messenger also claims that we are obligated to give charity from our wealth.' He (the Prophet ) said,
(He told the truth.) Then the man said, `By He Who has sent you, did Allah command you with this' He (the Prophet ) replied,
(Yes.) The man then said, `Your messenger claims that we are obligated to perform pilgrimage (Hajj) to the House (the Ka`bah), for whoever is able to find a way there.' He (the Prophet ) said,
(He told the truth.) Then the man turned away to leave while saying, `By He Who has sent you with the truth, I will not add anything to these things and I will not decrease anything from them.' The Prophet then said,
«إِنْ صَدَقَ لَيَدْخُلَنَّ الْجَنَّة»
(If he has spoken truthfully, he will certainly enter Paradise.) This Hadith was recorded by Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah.
The Messenger is only charged with delivering the Message
Allah says,
فَذَكِّرْ إِنَّمَآ أَنتَ مُذَكِّرٌ - لَّسْتَ عَلَيْهِم بِمُسَيْطِرٍ
(So remind them -- you are only one who reminds. You are not a Musaytir over them) meaning, "O Muhammad! Remind the people with what you have been sent with to them.''
فَإِنَّمَا عَلَيْكَ الْبَلَـغُ وَعَلَيْنَا الْحِسَابُ
(your duty is only to convey (the Message) and on Us is the reckoning.) (13:40) Then Allah says,
لَّسْتَ عَلَيْهِم بِمُسَيْطِرٍ
(You are not a Musaytir over them.) Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and others said, "You are not a dictator over them.'' This means that you cannot create faith in their hearts. Ibn Zayd said, "You are not the one who can force them to have faith.'' Imam Ahmad recorded from Jabir that the Messenger of Allah said,
«أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أُقَاتِلَ النَّاسَ حَتْى يَقُولُوا: لَا إِلهَ إِلَّا اللهُ، فَإِذَا قَالُوهَا عَصَمُوا مِنِّي دِمَاءَهُمْ وَأَمْوَالَهُمْ إِلَّا بِحَقِّهَا، وَحِسَابُهُمْ عَلَى اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَل»
(I have been commanded to fight the people until they say La ilaha illallah (none has the right to be worshipped except Allah). So if they say that, they have safeguarded their blood and wealth from me - except for what is rightfully due from it - and their reckoning is with Allah, the Mighty and Majestic.)'' Then he recited,
فَذَكِّرْ إِنَّمَآ أَنتَ مُذَكِّرٌ - لَّسْتَ عَلَيْهِم بِمُسَيْطِرٍ
(So remind them - you are only one who reminds. You are not a dictator over them -) This is how Muslim recorded this Hadith in his Book of Faith, and At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa'i also recorded it in their Sunans in the Books of Tafsir. This Hadith can be found in both of the Two Sahihs.
The Threat for Whoever turns away from the Truth
Concerning Allah's statement,
إِلاَّ مَن تَوَلَّى وَكَفَرَ
(Save the one who turns away and disbelieves.) meaning, he turns away from acting upon its pillars, and he disbelieves in the truth with his heart and his tongue. This is similar to Allah's statement,
فَلاَ صَدَّقَ وَلاَ صَلَّى - وَلَـكِن كَذَّبَ وَتَوَلَّى
(So he neither believed nor prayed! But on the contrary, he belied and turn away!) (75:31-32) Thus, Allah says,
فَيْعَذِّبُهُ اللَّهُ الْعَذَابَ الاٌّكْبَرَ
(Then Allah will punish him with the greatest punishment.) Allah then says,
إِنَّ إِلَيْنَآ إِيَابَهُمْ
(Verily, to Us will be their return;) meaning, their place of return and their resort.
ثُمَّ إِنَّ عَلَيْنَا حِسَابَهُمْ
(Then verily, for Us will be their reckoning.) meaning, `We will reckon their deeds for them and requite them for those deeds.' If they did good, they will receive good, and if they did evil, they will receive evil. This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Ghashiyah.
88.17-20 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
That is, "If they deny the possibility of the Hereafter, have they never looked around themselves and considered how the camels were created, how the heaven was raised high, how the mountains were firmly set and how the earth was spread out? When all these things could be created, and exist before them in their finished form, why can the Resurrection not take place? Why cannot a new world come about, and why cannot.Hell and Heaven be possible'? Only a foolish and thoughtless person would think that the coming into existing of only those things which he has found existing on opening his eyes in the world, is possible. because they already exist. As for the things, which he has not yet observed and experienced, he should thoughtlessly pass the judgment that their coming into being is impossible. If he has any common sense, he should think as to how he things which already exist, came into being? How did the camel possessing precisely the same Characteristics as needed for the beast required by the desert dwellers of Arabia come into being'' How did the sky whose atmosphere is filled with air to breathe in, whose clouds bring rain, whose sun provides light and warmth in the day, whose moon and stars shine at night, come into being'' How did the earth spread out on which man lives and passes his life, whose products fulfill all his needs and requirements on whose springs and wells his life depends? How did the mountains rise up from the surface of the earth, which stand fixed with earth and stones of different colors and a variety of minerals in them? Has all this happened without the artistic skill of an All-Powerful, AI-Wise Designer No thinking and intelligent mind can answer this question in the negative. Unless it is stubborn and obstinate, it will have to acknowledge that each one of these things was impossible, had an Omnipotent; Wise Being not made it possible. And when an All-Powerful, Wise Being created these things, there is no reason why the Hereafter should be regarded as remote from reason and impossible."