• End of Sūrah al-Raʾd (“The Thunder”) – By Sh. Nāṣir al-Qaṭâmī – Ramaḍân (August) 2012

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    Final page of Ch. 13 of the Qur’ān (v. 35-43), which, on a side note, is a late Meccan or early Medinan revelation. Translation:

    35. The example of the Paradise that the conscientious have been promised is like this: at the bottoms of it will be rivers flowing; its fruits are eternal, and its shade is perpetual. This is the final home of those who were mindful; the deniers’ final home is the Inferno.

    36. Those to whom We previously gave the Scripture rejoice at what has been revealed to you [Prophet], but among the sects are some who reject parts of it*1. Tell them, ‘My orders are just to worship God and not to join anything with Him in worship: to Him I invite and to Him is my final goal.’

    *1 – This verse is saying that those who received revelation before Islam, i.e., the Jews & Christians, can appreciate and find common ground with the Qur’ān. Thus, they rejoice in seeing God mentioned yet again. However, some from among them agree only with small portions of the Qur’ān as they see fit (if it goes along with their worldview).

    37. In this way, We’ve sent it down as an authoritative (book) in the Arabic language. Now if you were to follow their caprices, after the knowledge that has come to you, you would find neither any protective-friend nor defender (to help you) against God.

    38. For sure, We already sent messengers long before you and arranged for them to have spouses and children. It was never the place of a messenger to bring a miracle unless God allowed it. There was a Scripture for every age*2 (of history):

    *2 – Another interpretation is ‘there is a time decreed for everything’.

    [♦Taking the former interpretation (‘Every age had its Book’): In every significant age of humanity there’s been a defining religious text of the time. The Scrolls of Abraham, the Sutras of Buddha (whom some Muslim scholars believe may have been a prophet), the Torah of Moses, the Psalms of David, the Gospel of Jesus and the Qur’ān (Recital) of Muḥammad all came at different turning points in human history. (Think of how many lost scriptures there have been that have passed out of human memory!) Each revelation has influenced the growth/direction of civilization in a significant way.♦]

    39. God rescinds or confirms whatever He wants, for He has the Mother of the Book with Him. (i.e. the source of Scripture, the Original Book, or God’s record book in which everything that happens is recorded)

    40. Whether We show you now part of (the punishment) that We’ve threatened them with or take your soul back to Us (before it befalls them), your duty is only to convey the heart-penetrating message: the Reckoning is Ours.

    41. Don’t they see how We come to [their] land and shrink its borders (eroding it at its extremities)?*3 God decides—none can overrule His decision—and He is swift in reckoning.

    *3 – This phrase could have a number of plausible interpretations, one of them being: The Quraysh tribe of Mecca had enjoyed unparalleled influence in the entire Arabian Peninsula. Yet, by Muḥammad’s last year or two in Mecca, a number of nascent signs began to gnaw away at their preeminence. Some people from Yathrib to the north had embraced Islam, dulling Meccan influence there. A few Arab bedouin tribes of the desert accepted the Prophet’s call, and even within Mecca, itself, around 100 people had quietly embraced the faith. Later on, after the Migration to Medina, the power base of the Meccans would shrink even further, year by year, until they would have no choice but to surrender. Isn’t that proof enough of God’s power that a mere man reciting some verses could overturn and remake an entire society and political order from the ground up, against all odds?

    42. Those before them also plotted and planned, but God alone owns the entire plan: He knows what each and every soul earns for itself. Soon, the denier(s) will come to know who will have the final, excellent home.

    43. Those who’ve suppressed (their awareness of the truth) say, ‘You’re not a messenger,’ but say to them, ‘God is enough of a witness between me and you: all knowledge of the Scripture comes from Him.’*4

    *4 – Alternatively, ‘God—and anyone who has knowledge of previously revealed Scriptures—are sufficient witnesses between us.’

    [♦Christians & Jews have a similar type of religion to Islam, and thus if the Meccans object to the basic tenets of Islam, they should take a look at other (prior) religious dispensations before being so incredulous. Thus, the reference is made to God and ‘those who had knowledge of previous revelation,’ both of which affirmed the truth of Muḥammad’s message.♦]

    Throughout the entire sūrah, the disbelievers were asking the Messenger to have a miracle revealed for them. God mentioned the miracle to them (v. 41): the land around them is shrinking. This concept of change arising in the Arab lands is carried forward in Ch. 14 (“Abraham”). Show less
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