لَمْ يَكُنِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ وَالْمُشْرِكِينَ مُنْفَكِّينَ حَتَّىٰ تَأْتِيَهُمُ الْبَيِّنَةُ
IT IS NOT [conceivable] that such as are bent on denying the truth – [be they] from among the followers of earlier revelation or from among those who ascribe divinity to aught beside God – should ever be abandoned [by Him] ere there comes unto them the [full] evidence of the truth: (1)
رَسُولٌ مِنَ اللَّهِ يَتْلُو صُحُفًا مُطَهَّرَةً
an apostle from God, conveying [unto them] revelations blest with purity, (2)
فِيهَا كُتُبٌ قَيِّمَةٌ
wherein there are ordinances of ever-true soundness and clarity. (3)
وَمَا تَفَرَّقَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ إِلَّا مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَتْهُمُ الْبَيِّنَةُ
Now those who have been vouchsafed revelation aforetime did break up their unity [of faith] after such an evidence of the truth had come to them. (4)
وَمَا أُمِرُوا إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ حُنَفَاءَ وَيُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَذَٰلِكَ دِينُ الْقَيِّمَةِ
And withal, they were not enjoined aught but that they should worship God, sincere in their faith in Him alone, turning away from all that is false; and that they should be constant in prayer; and that they should spend in charity: for this is a moral law endowed with ever-true soundness and clarity. (5)
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ وَالْمُشْرِكِينَ فِي نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أُولَٰئِكَ هُمْ شَرُّ الْبَرِيَّةِ
Verily, those who [despite all evidence] are bent on denying the truth – [be they] from among the followers of earlier revelation or from among those who ascribe divinity to aught beside God – will find themselves in the fire of hell, therein to abide: they are the worst of all creatures. (6)
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمْ خَيْرُ الْبَرِيَّةِ
[And,] verily, those who have attained to faith and do righteous deeds – it is they, they who are the best of all creatures. (7)
جَزَاؤُهُمْ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ جَنَّاتُ عَدْنٍ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ ذَٰلِكَ لِمَنْ خَشِيَ رَبَّهُ
Their reward [awaits them] with God: gardens of perpetual bliss, through which running waters flow, therein to abide beyond the count of time; well-pleased is God with them, and well-pleased are they with Him: all this awaits him who of his Sustainer stands in awe! (8)
- wherein there are ordinances of ever-true soundness and clarity.2
- 2 This aggregate connotation is inherent in the adjective qayyimah as used here (Razi). - The above passage has caused some difficulties to the classical commentators on account of the participle munfakkin occurring in the first verse. It is generally assumed that this participle, in combination with the phrase lam yakun at the beginning of the verse, denotes "they did not [or "could not"] give up" or "separate themselves from" - i.e., supposedly, from their erroneous beliefs - "until there came to them the evidence of the truth" in the person of the Prophet Muhammad and in the revelation of the Qur'an: implying that after the evidence came, they did give up those false beliefs. This assumption is, however, deficient on two counts: firstly, it is well-known that not all of the erring ones from among the ahl al-kitab and the mushrikin accepted the message of the Qur'an when it was conveyed to them; and, secondly, the ahl al-kitab are spoken of in verse 4 as having "broken their unity [of faith]" - i.e., offended against the fundamental principles of that faith - after "the evidence of the truth" had come to them. This apparent contradiction has been convincingly resolved by no less an authority than Ibn Taymiyyah (see Tafsir Sitt Suwar, pp. 391 ff.); and it is his interpretation that I have followed in my rendering of the above three verses. According to Ibn Taymiyyah, the pivotal phrase lam yakun munfakkin does not denote "they did not give up" or "separate themselves from", but, rather, "they are not abandoned" - i.e., condemned by God - unless and until they have been shown the right way by a God-sent prophet, and thereupon have consciously refused to follow it: and this is in accord with repeated statements in the Qur'an to the effect that God does not take anyone to task for wrong beliefs and wrong actions unless the true meaning of right and wrong has previously been made clear to him (cf. 6:131-132 and the second paragraph of 17:15, as well as the corresponding notes). Hence, the above reference to "the evidence of the truth" does not relate only to the Qur'an and the Prophet Muhammad but to all the earlier prophets and revelations as well (cf. 42:13 and the corresponding notes 12-14) - just as the "ordinances of ever-truue soundness and clarity" (spelled out in verse 5 below) are common to all God-inspired messages, of which the Qur'an is the final, most perfect expression.
- Wherein are laws (or decrees) right and straight.6226
- 6226 Qayyimah: straight, as opposed to crooked; standard as opposed to irregular; definite and permanent, as opposed to casual or temporary. Cf. 9:36; 12:40; etc.
Wherein are laws (or decrees) right and straight.
— Abdullah Yusuf Ali
Containing correct scriptures.
— Marmaduke Pickthall
Wherein are all the right ordinances.
— M. Habib Shakir
Containing correct and straight laws from Allah.
— Taqiuddin Hilali and M. Mohsin Khan
Wherein are discourses eternal.
— Abdul-Majid Daryabadi
in which there are valuable Books.
— Hasan Qaribullah and Ahmed Darwish
wherein are standing decrees.
— Ayub Khan
Wherein are lasting commandments.
— Sher Ali
wherein there are ordinances of ever-true soundness and clarity.
— Muhammad Asad
therein true Books.
— Arthur Arberry
in writings wherein are scriptures, absolutely true and unerring.
— Abu'l Ala Maududi