إِنَّكُمْ لَتَأْتُونَ الرِّجَالَ شَهْوَةً مِنْ دُونِ النِّسَاءِ بَلْ أَنْتُمْ قَوْمٌ مُسْرِفُونَ (الأعراف: 81).
مَا كَانَ جَوَابَ قَوْمِهِ إِلاَّ أَنْ قَالُوا أَخْرِجُوهُمْ مِنْ قَرْيَتِكُمْ إِنَّهُمْ أُنَاسٌ يَتَطَهَّرُون (الأعراف: 82).
فَأَنجَيْنَاهُ وَأَهْلَهُ إِلاَّ امْرَأَتَهُ كَانَتْ مِنْ الْغَابِرِينَ (الأعراف: 83).
وَأَمْطَرْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ مَطَرًا فَانظُرْ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الْمُجْرِمِينَ (الأعراف: 84).
وَإِلَى مَدْيَنَ أَخَاهُمْ شُعَيْبًا قَالَ يَاقَوْمِ اعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ مَا لَكُمْ مِنْ إِلَهٍ غَيْرُهُ قَدْ جَاءَتْكُمْ بَيِّنَةٌ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ فَأَوْفُوا الْكَيْلَ وَالْمِيزَانَ وَلاَ تَبْخَسُوا النَّاسَ أَشْيَاءَهُمْ وَلاَ تُفْسِدُوا فِي الأَرْضِ بَعْدَ إِصْلاَحِهَا ذَلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ إِنْ كُنتُمْ مُؤْمِنِينَ (الأعراف: 85).
وَلاَ تَقْعُدُوا بِكُلِّ صِرَاطٍ تُوعِدُونَ وَتَصُدُّونَ عَنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ مَنْ آمَنَ بِهِ وَتَبْغُونَهَا عِوَجًا وَاذْكُرُوا إِذْ كُنتُمْ قَلِيلاً فَكَثَّرَكُمْ وَانظُرُوا كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الْمُفْسِدِينَ (الأعراف: 86).
وَإِنْ كَانَ طَائِفَةٌ مِنْكُمْ آمَنُوا بِالَّذِي أُرْسِلْتُ بِهِ وَطَائِفَةٌ لَمْ يُؤْمِنُوا فَاصْبِرُوا حَتَّى يَحْكُمَ اللَّهُ بَيْنَنَا وَهُوَ خَيْرُ الْحَاكِمِينَ (الأعراف: 87).
قَالَ الْمَلَأُ الَّذِينَ اسْتَكْبَرُوا مِنْ قَوْمِهِ لَنُخْرِجَنَّكَ يَا شُعَيْبُ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَعَكَ مِنْ قَرْيَتِنَا أَوْ لَتَعُودُنَّ فِي مِلَّتِنَا قَالَ أَوَلَوْ كُنَّا كَارِهِينَ (الأعراف: 88).
قَدْ افْتَرَيْنَا عَلَى اللَّهِ كَذِبًا إِنْ عُدْنَا فِي مِلَّتِكُمْ بَعْدَ إِذْ نَجَّانَا اللَّهُ مِنْهَا وَمَا يَكُونُ لَنَا أَنْ نَعُودَ فِيهَا إِلاَّ أَنْ يَشَاءَ اللَّهُ رَبُّنَا وَسِعَ رَبُّنَا كُلَّ شَيْءٍ عِلْمًا عَلَى اللَّهِ تَوَكَّلْنَا رَبَّنَا افْتَحْ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَ قَوْمِنَا بِالْحَقِّ وَأَنْتَ خَيْرُ الْفَاتِحِينَ (الأعراف: 89).
وَقَالَ الْمَلَأُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ قَوْمِهِ لَئِنْ اتَّبَعْتُمْ شُعَيْبًا إِنَّكُمْ إِذًا لَخَاسِرُونَ (الأعراف: 90).
فَأَخَذَتْهُمْ الرَّجْفَةُ فَأَصْبَحُوا فِي دَارِهِمْ جَاثِمِينَ (الأعراف: 91).
الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا شُعَيْبًا كَأَنْ لَمْ يَغْنَوْا فِيهَا الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا شُعَيْبًا كَانُوا هُمْ الْخَاسِرِينَ (الأعراف: 92).
فَتَوَلَّى عَنْهُمْ وَقَالَ يَا قَوْمِ لَقَدْ أَبْلَغْتُكُمْ رِسَالاَتِ رَبِّي وَنَصَحْتُ لَكُمْ فَكَيْفَ آسَى عَلَى قَوْمٍ كَافِرِينَ (الأعراف: 93).
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا فِي قَرْيَةٍ مِنْ نَبِيٍّ إِلاَّ أَخَذْنَا أَهْلَهَا بِالْبَأْسَاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَضَّرَّعُونَ (الأعراف: 94).
ثُمَّ بَدَّلْنَا مَكَانَ السَّيِّئَةِ الْحَسَنَةَ حَتَّى عَفَوا وَقَالُوا قَدْ مَسَّ آبَاءَنَا الضَّرَّاءُ وَالسَّرَّاءُ فَأَخَذْنَاهُمْ بَغْتَةً وَهُمْ لاَ يَشْعُرُونَ (الأعراف: 95).
وَلَوْ أَنَّ أَهْلَ الْقُرَى آمَنُوا وَاتَّقَوْا لَفَتَحْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ بَرَكَاتٍ مِنْ السَّمَاءِ وَالأَرْضِ وَلَكِنْ كَذَّبُوا فَأَخَذْنَاهُمْ بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ (الأعراف: 96).
أَفَأَمِنَ أَهْلُ الْقُرَى أَنْ يَأْتِيَهُمْ بَأْسُنَا بَيَاتًا وَهُمْ نَائِمُونَ (الأعراف: 97).
أَوَ أَمِنَ أَهْلُ الْقُرَى أَنْ يَأْتِيَهُمْ بَأْسُنَا ضُحًى وَهُمْ يَلْعَبُونَ (الأعراف: 98).
أَفَأَمِنُوا مَكْرَ اللَّهِ فَلاَ يَأْمَنُ مَكْرَ اللَّهِ إِلاَّ الْقَوْمُ الْخَاسِرُونَ (الأعراف: 99).
أَوَلَمْ يَهْدِ لِلَّذِينَ يَرِثُونَ الأَرْضَ مِنْ بَعْدِ أَهْلِهَا أَنْ لَوْ نَشَاءُ أَصَبْنَاهُمْ بِذُنُوبِهِمْ وَنَطْبَعُ عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ فَهُمْ لاَ يَسْمَعُونَ (الأعراف: 100).
تِلْكَ الْقُرَى نَقُصُّ عَلَيْكَ مِنْ أَنْبَائِهَا وَلَقَدْ جَاءَتْهُمْ رُسُلُهُمْ بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ فَمَا كَانُوا لِيُؤْمِنُوا بِمَا كَذَّبُوا مِنْ قَبْلُ كَذَلِكَ يَطْبَعُ اللَّهُ عَلَى قُلُوبِ الْكَافِرِينَ (الأعراف: 101).
وَمَا وَجَدْنَا ِلأَكْثَرِهِمْ مِنْ عَهْدٍ وَإِنْ وَجَدْنَا أَكْثَرَهُمْ لَفَاسِقِينَ (الأعراف: 102).
ثُمَّ بَعَثْنَا مِنْ بَعْدِهِمْ مُوسَى بِآيَاتِنَا إِلَى فِرْعَوْنَ وَمَلَئِهِ فَظَلَمُوا بِهَا فَانظُرْ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الْمُفْسِدِينَ (الأعراف: 103).
وَقَالَ مُوسَى يَا فِرْعَوْنُ إِنِّي رَسُولٌ مِنْ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ (الأعراف: 104).
حَقِيقٌ عَلَى أَنْ لاَ أَقُولَ عَلَى اللَّهِ إِلاَّ الْحَقَّ قَدْ جِئْتُكُمْ بِبَيِّنَةٍ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ فَأَرْسِلْ مَعِي بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ (الأعراف: 105).
قَالَ إِنْ كُنتَ جِئْتَ بِآيَةٍ فَأْتِ بِهَا إِنْ كُنتَ مِنْ الصَّادِقِينَ (الأعراف: 106).
فَأَلْقَى عَصَاهُ فَإِذَا هِيَ ثُعْبَانٌ مُبِينٌ (الأعراف: 107).
وَنَزَعَ يَدَهُ فَإِذَا هِيَ بَيْضَاءُ لِلنَّاظِرِينَ (الأعراف: 108).
قَالَ الْمَلَأُ مِنْ قَوْمِ فِرْعَوْنَ إِنَّ هَذَا لَسَاحِرٌ عَلِيمٌ (الأعراف: 109).
يُرِيدُ أَنْ يُخْرِجَكُمْ مِنْ أَرْضِكُمْ فَمَاذَا تَأْمُرُونَ (الأعراف: 110).
قَالُوا أَرْجِهِ وَأَخَاهُ وَأَرْسِلْ فِي الْمَدَائِنِ حَاشِرِينَ (الأعراف: 111).
يَأْتُوكَ بِكُلِّ سَاحِرٍ عَلِيمٍ (الأعراف: 112).
وَجَاءَ السَّحَرَةُ فِرْعَوْنَ قَالُوا إِنَّ لَنَا لَأَجْرًا إِنْ كُنَّا نَحْنُ الْغَالِبِينَ (الأعراف: 113).
قَالَ نَعَمْ وَإِنَّكُمْ لَمِنْ الْمُقَرَّبِينَ (الأعراف: 114).
قَالُوا يَا مُوسَى إِمَّا أَنْ تُلْقِيَ وَإِمَّا أَنْ نَكُونَ نَحْنُ الْمُلْقِينَ (الأعراف: 115).
قَالَ أَلْقُوا فَلَمَّا أَلْقَوْا سَحَرُوا أَعْيُنَ النَّاسِ وَاسْتَرْهَبُوهُمْ وَجَاءُوا بِسِحْرٍ عَظِيمٍ (الأعراف: 116).
وَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَى مُوسَى أَنْ أَلْقِ عَصَاكَ فَإِذَا هِيَ تَلْقَفُ مَا يَأْفِكُونَ (الأعراف: 117).
فَوَقَعَ الْحَقُّ وَبَطَلَ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ (الأعراف: 118).
فَغُلِبُوا هُنَالِكَ وَانقَلَبُوا صَاغِرِينَ (الأعراف: 119).
وَأُلْقِيَ السَّحَرَةُ سَاجِدِينَ (الأعراف: 120).
قَالُوا آمَنَّا بِرَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ (الأعراف: 121).
رَبِّ مُوسَى وَهَارُونَ (الأعراف: 122).
قَالَ فِرْعَوْنُ آمَنتُمْ بِهِ قَبْلَ أَنْ آذَنَ لَكُمْ إِنَّ هَذَا لَمَكْرٌ مَكَرْتُمُوهُ فِي الْمَدِينَةِ لِتُخْرِجُوا مِنْهَا أَهْلَهَا فَسَوْفَ تَعْلَمُونَ (الأعراف: 123).
لَأُقَطِّعَنَّ أَيْدِيَكُمْ وَأَرْجُلَكُمْ مِنْ خِلاَفٍ ثُمَّ لَأُصَلِّبَنَّكُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ (الأعراف: 124).
قَالُوا إِنَّا إِلَى رَبِّنَا مُنقَلِبُونَ (الأعراف: 125).
AL ARRAF AYAH NO 81 to 125
(7:81) You approach men lustfully in place of women. You are a people who exceed all bounds.’
64.The Qur’an refers elsewhere to the many evil deeds of the people of Lot. Here the Qur’an confines itself to mentioning that most ignominious of crimes which invited God’s scourge upon them.
The hideous act of sodomy, for which the people of Lot earned notoriety, has no doubt been committed by perverts in all times. The Greeks philosophers had the distinction of glorifying it as a moral virtue. It was left, however, for the modern West to vigorously propagate sodomy so much so that it was declared legal by the legislatures of a few countries. All this has been done in the face of the obvious fact that this form of sexual intercourse is patently unnatural. God created distinctions between the sexes of all living beings for the purposes of reproduction and perpetuation of the species. As far as the human species is concerned, their creation into two sexes is related to another end as well:
that the two should come together in order to bring into existence the family and establish human civilization. In view of this, not only were human beings divided into two sexes, but each sex was made attractive to the other. The physical structure and psychological make-up of each sex was shaped in keeping with the purpose of forging bonds of mutual cordiality between the members of the two sexes. The sexual act, which is intensely pleasurable is at once a factor leading to the fulfilment of nature’s purposes as underlined by the sexual division of humankind as well as a reward for fulfilling these purposes.
Now, the crime of the person who commits sodomy in flagrant opposition to this scheme of things is not limited to that in the act, alone. In fact he commits along with it a number of other crimes. First, he wages war against his own nature, against his inherent psychological predilection. This causes a major disorder which leads to highly negative effects on the lives of both the parties involved in that unnatural act – effects which are physical, psychological as well as moral. Second, he acts dishonestly with nature since we derive sexual pleasure to fulfill the societal obligation of which this pleasure is a recompense. Third, such a person also acts dishonestly with human society. For, although he avails himself of the advantages offered by various social institutions when he has an opportunity to act, he uses his abilities in a manner which not only fails to serve that society but which positively harms it. Apart from neglecting the obligations he owes to society, he renders himself incapable of serving the human race and his own family. He also produces effeminacy in at least one male and potentially pushes at least two females towards sexual corruption and moral depravity.
(7:82) Their only answer was: ‘Banish them from your town. They are a people who pretend to be pure.’
65.It is evident from the present verse that the people of Lot were not only shameless and corrupt but were also a people who had sunk in moral depravity to such a degree that even the presence of a few righteous persons had become intolerable to them. Their moral degradation left them with no patience for anyone who sought to bring about any moral reform. Even the slightest element of purity found in their society was too much for them, and they simply wished to have their society purged of it.
When these people reached such a low point of wickedness and hostility to good, God decreed that they be wiped out altogether. When the collective life of a people becomes totally bereft of goodness and purity, it forfeits the right to exist on earth. Their example is like that of a basket of fruit. As long as some fruit remains firm, there is some justification to keep that basket. But the basket has to be thrown away when the fruit becomes rotten.
(7:83) Then We delivered Lot and his household save his wife who stayed behind,
66.As the Qur’an mentions elsewhere, Lot’s wife supported her disbelieving relatives to the last. Hence, when God directed Lot and his followers to migrate from that corrupt land, He ordained that Lot’s wife be left behind. This seems to be an inference from(_al- Tahrim 66: 10 – Ed).
(7:84) and We let loose a shower [of stones] upon them, Observe, then, the end of the evil-doers.
67.The ‘rainfall’ in the verse does not refer to the descent of water from the sky. It refers rather to the volley of stones. The Qur’an itself mentions that their habitations were turned upside down and ruined. See (verse 85); also (Hud 11:82-3); (al-Hijr 15:74-E.)
68.In light of this verse and other references in the Qur’an, sodomy is established as one of the deadliest sins; and that it incurred God’s scourge on those who indulged in it. We also know from the teachings of the Prophet (peace be on him) that the Islamic state should purge society of this crime and severely punish those guilty of it. There are several traditions from the Prophet (peace be on him) which mention that very severe punishments were inflicted on both partners of this act. According to one tradition, the Prophet (peace be on him) ordered that both partners be put to death. (See Ibn Majah, Kitab al-Hudud, ‘Bab man ‘amila ‘Amal Qawm ut’- Ed.) In another tradition it has been added that the culprits should be put to death whether they are married or un-married. (Ibn Majah, Kitab al-Hudad – Ed.) In another tradition it has been said that both parties should be stoned (to death). (Ibn Majah, Kitab al-Hudad, ‘Bab man ‘amila ‘Amal Qawm Lut ‘ – Ed.) However, since no case of sodomy was reported in the lifetime of the Prophet (peace be on him), the punishment did not acquire a very clear and definitive shape. Among the Companions, ‘Ali is of the view that such sinners should be beheaded and instead of being buried should be cremated. Abu Bakr also held the same view. However, ‘Umar radiallah and ‘Uthman radiallah suggest that the sinners be made to stand under the roof of a dilapidated building, which should then be pulled down upon them. Ibn ‘Abbas holds the view that those guilty of such a sinful act should be thrown from the top of the tallest building of the habitation and then pelted with stones. (See al-Figh ‘ala al-Madhahib al-Arba’ah, vol. 5, pp. 141-2 – Ed.) As for the jurists, Shafi pronounces the punishment of death on both partners to sodomy irrespective of their marital status, and of their role whether it be active or passive. According to Sha’bi, Zuhri, Malik and Ahmad b. Hanbal, they should be stoned to death. Sa’id b. al-Musayyib, ‘Ata’, Hasan Basri, Ibrahim Nakha’i, Sufyan Thawri and Awa’i believe that such sinners deserve the same punishment as laid down for unlawful sexual-intercourse: that unmarried ones should be lashed a hundred times and exiled, and that married ones should be stoned to death. Abu Hanifah, however, does not recommend any specific punishment. For him, the sinner should be awarded, depending on the circumstances of each case, some deterrent punishment.
According to one of the reports, the same was the view of Shafi’i. (See Ibn Qudamah, al- Mughni, vol. 8, pp. 187-8 – Ed.)
It should also be made clear that it is altogether unlawful for the husband to perpetrate this act on his wife. The Prophet (peace be on him), according to a tradition in Abu Da’ud, said:
‘Cursed be he who commits this act with a woman.’ (Abu Da’ud, Kitab al-Nikah, ‘Bab fi Jami ‘ al Nikah! – Ed.) In other collections of Hadith such as Sunan of Ibn Majah and Musnad of Ahmad b. Hanbal. we find the following saying of the Prophet (peace be on him): ‘God will not even look at him who commits this act of sodomy with his wife in her rectum.’ (Ibn Majah, Kitab al-Nikah’, ‘Bab al-Nahy’an Ityan al-Nisa’ fi Adbarihinn’, Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 2, p. 344 – Ed.) Likewise the following saying of the Prophet (peace be on him) is mentioned in Tirmidhi: ‘He who makes sexual intercourse with a menstruating woman, or indulges in sodomy with a woman. or calls on a soothsayer, believing him to be true, denies the faith sent down to Muhammad (peace be on him).’ (Ibn Majah, Kitab al-Taharah, ‘Bab al- Nahy ‘an ityan al-Ha’id’- Ed.)
(7:85) And to Midian We sent forth their brother Shoib He exhorted them: O my people! Serve Allah, you have no god but Him. Indeed a clear proof has come to you from your Lord. So give just weight and measure and diminish not to men their things ‘2 and make no mischief on the earth after it has been set in good order.2 That is to your own good, if you truly believe .2
69.The territory of Madyan (Midian) lay to the north-west of Hijaz and south of Palestine on the coast of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba, and part of the territory stretched to the northern border of the Sinai Peninsula. The Midianites and their towns were situated at the crossroads of the trade routes from Yemen through Makka and Yanbu’ to Syria along the Red Sea coast, and from Iraq to Egypt. Midian was, therefore, quite well known to the Arabs. In fact it persisted in their memory long after its destruction for the Arab trade caravans enroots to Syria and Egypt passed through territories which were full of the ruins of their monuments.
Another point worth noting about the people of Midian is that they were reckoned to be descendants of Midyan, a son of the Prophet Abraharn born of his third wife, Qatura.
According to a custom of the time, persons who attached themselves to a notable family were gradually counted as members of that family, as the descendants of that family’s ancestor. It is for this reason that a large majority of Arabs were called the descendants of Ismai’l. Likewise those who embraced faith at the hands of Ya’qob’s sons bore the general name ‘the People of Israel’. Now, since the inhabitants of Midian owed allegiance to Midyan, son of Abraham, they were referred to as the descendants of Midyan and their territory was called Midian.
In view of this it should not be thought that the Prophet Shu’ayb invited them, for the first time, to follow Divine Guidance. At the time of the advent of Shu’ayb their state was no different from that of the Israelites at the time of the advent of Moses. They were originally a Muslim people who had subsequently moved far away from Islam. For six to seven centuries they lived amongst a people who were steeped in polytheism and moral corruption, and this led to their contamination with polytheism and moral corruption.
Despite their deviation and corruption, however, they claimed to be the followers of the true faith, and were proud of their religious identification.
70.This shows that the people of Midian suffered from two major ailments – polytheism and dishonesty in business. Shu’ayb devoted his efforts to purging them of those evils.
70.The import of this statement has been explained earlier in (notes 44-5) above. In his exhortations to his people, Shu’ayb emphasized that they should not allow the order of life, established by the previous Prophets on the foundations of true faith and sound morals, to be corrupted by false beliefs and moral depravity.
72.This clearly shows that the people concerned claimed to be believers, as we have already pointed out. In fact, they were originally Muslims who had drifted away from Islam, who had become enmeshed in a range of evils. They not only professed to be believers, but took great pride in being so. See(_n. 69) above – Ed. Shu’ayb made this fact the starting-point of his preaching. He told them that if they indeed were believers they should live up to that fact; they should consider their salvation to lie in practicing goodness and virtue, honesty and integrity; and they should distinguish between good and evil on the basis of the standards followed by righteous people rather than of those who believed neither in God nor in the Hereafter.
(7:86) And do not lie in ambush by every path [of life] seeking to overawe or to hinder from the path of Allah those who believe, nor seek to make the path crooked. Remember, how you were once few, and then He multiplied you, and keep in mind what was the end of mischief-makers?
(7:87) And if there are some among you who believe in the message that I bear while some do not believe, have patience till Allah shall judge between us. He is the best of those who judge.’
(7:88) The haughty elders of his people said: ‘O Shu’ayb! We shall certainly banish you and your companions-in-faith from our town, or else you shall return to our faith.’ Shu’ayb said: ‘What! Even though we abhor [your faith]?
(7:89) If we return to your faith after Allah has delivered us from it we would be fabricating a lie against Allah. Nor can we return to it again unless it be by, the will of Allah, our Lord.2 Our Lord has knowledge of all things, and in Allah we put our trust. Our Lord! Judge rightly between us and our people, for You are the best of those who judge.’
73.This phrase signifies substantively what is meant by the commonly used Islamic formula In-sha’ Allah (‘If Allah so wills’). Its meaning is evident from(_al-Kahf 18: 23-4), in which the believers are directed not to make definitive statements about what they will do without making such actions contingent on God’s will. This is understandable since a believer firmly believes in God’s power and is ever conscious that his destiny is inalienably tied to God’s will. It is impossible for such a person to make foolish statements about what he will do and what he will not do. He is bound to make it clear that he will accomplish what he intends only, if ‘God so wills’.
(7:90) The elders of his people who disbelieved said: ‘Should you follow Shu’ayb, you will be utter losers.2
76.One should not pass cursorily over this short sentence; instead one must reflect upon it.
What the leaders of Midian in effect told their people was that Shu’aybs exhortations to practice honesty and righteousness, and to strictly adhere to moral values, would spell their disaster. They implied that they could not succeed in the business carried on by the people of Midian if they were totally honest and straightforward in their dealings. Were they to let trading caravans pass by unmolested, they would lose all the advantages of being located at the crossroads of the major trade routes and by their proximity to the civilized and prosperous countries such as Egypt and Iraq. Also, if they were to become peaceful and to cease their attacks upon the trade caravans, they would no longer be held in awe by neighboring countries.
Such attitudes have not, however, been confined to the tribal chiefs of Shu’ayb. People who stray away from truth, honesty ,and righteousness, regardless of their age and clime, have always found in honesty a means of great loss. People of warped mentalities in every age have always believed that trade, politics, and other worldly pursuits can never flourish unless they resort to dishonest and immoral practices. The main objection against the message of truth in all ages has been that the pursuit of truth spells material doom.
(7:91) Thereupon a shocking catastrophe seized them, and they remained prostrate in their dwellings.
(7:92) Those who had charged Shu’ayb with lying became as though-they had never lived there; it is they who became utter losers.2
795.The destruction of the people of Midian remained proverbial in Arabia for a long time. As such the following lines in Psalms are significant:
Yea, they conspire with one accord;
against thee they, make a covenant –
the tents of Edom and the Ish’mIshmaelite soaib and the Hagrites,
Gebal and Ammon and Am’alek,
Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre;
Assyria also has joined them;
they are the strong arms of the children of Lot.
Do to them as thou didst to Mid’ian (Psalms 83: 5-9).
Note also the following statement in Isaiah:
A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God. For though your people Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return. Destruction is decreed, overflowing with righteousness. For the Lord, the Lord of hosts, will make a full end, as decreed, in the midst of all the earth. Therefore, thus says the Lord, the Lord of hosts: ‘O my people, who dwell in Zion be not afraid of the Assyrians when they smite you with their rod and lift up their staff against you as the Egyptians did. For in a very little while my indignation will come to an end, and my anger will be directed to their destruction. And the Lord of hosts will wield against them a scourge, as when he smote Mid’ian at the rock of Oreb .. .’ (Isaiah 10: 21-6).
(7:93) Shu’ayb then departed from his people, and said: ‘0 my people! Surely I conveyed to you the message of my Lord, and gave you sincere advice. How, then, can I mourn for a people who refuse to accept the truth?
76.The stories narrated here have a definite didactic purpose and were narrated with a view to highlighting their relevance to the time of the Prophet (peace be on him). In each of these stories one of the parties is a Prophet who in respect of his teachings greatly resembles Muhammad (peace be on him), in summoning his people to the right way, in admonishing them, in sincerely seeking their welfare. At the other end of the scale in each narrative are the unbelieving nations who greatly resembled the Quraysh in the time of the Prophet (peace be on him) with regard to their disbelief and moral degeneration.
By recounting the tragic end of each of these unrighteous nations of the past, the Quraysh are reminded of the moral purpose of these stories. Through the stories they are told that if, because of their stubbornness they fail to follow the Messenger of God during the term of respite granted to them, they will be subjected to the same destruction which befell those past nations who persisted in wrong-doing and error.
(7:94) Never have We sent a Prophet to a place without trying its people with adversity and hardship that they may humble themselves.
(7:95) Then We changed adversity into ease until they throve and said: ‘Our forefathers had also seen both adversity and prosperity. ‘So We suddenly seized them without their even perceiving it
77.After narrating individually the stories of how various nations responded to the Message of their Prophets, the Qur’an now spells out the general rule which has been operative throughout the ages. First, before the appearance of a Prophet in any nation, conditions that would conduce to the acceptance of his Message were created. This was usually done by subjecting the nations concerned to a variety of afflictions and punishments. They were made to suffer miseries such as famine, epidemics, colossal losses in trade and business, defeat in war. Such events usually have a healthy impact on people. They lead to a softening in their hearts. They generate humility and modesty. They enable people to shake off their pride and shatter their reliance on wealth and power and induce there to trust the One Who is all-powerful and fully controls their destiny. Above all, such events incline people to heed the words of warning and to turn to God in humility.
But if the people continue to refrain from embracing the truth they are subjected to another kind of test – that of affluence. This last test signals the beginning of their destruction.
Rolling in abundant wealth and luxury, people are inclined to forget the hard times they have experienced. Their foolish leaders also inculcate in their minds an altogether preposterous concept of history. They explain the rise and fall of nations and the alternation of prosperity and adversity among human beings by reference to blind natural forces, and in total disregard of moral values. Hence if a nation is seized by an affliction or scourge, such people see no reason why it should be explained in terms of moral failure. They are rather inclined to consider that a person’s readiness to heed moral admonition or to turn humbly towards God, is a sign of psychological infirmity.
This foolish mentality has been portrayed all too well by the Prophet (peace be on him): ‘A believer continually faces adversity until he comes out of it purified of his sins. As for the hypocrite, his likeness in adversity is that of a donkey who does not know why his master had tied him and why he later released him.’ (Cited by Ibn Kathir in his comments on the verse – Ed.) Hence, when a people become so hard of heart that they neither turn to God in suffering nor thank Him for His bounties in prosperity, they are liable to be destroyed at any moment.
It should be noted that the above rule which was applied to the nations of the previous Prophets were also applied in the time of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him). When this surah was revealed the Quraysh displayed exactly the same characteristics and attitudes as those nations which had earlier been destroyed. According to a tradition narrated by both ‘Abd Allah b. Mas’ud and Abd Allah b. ‘Abbas, as the Quraysh grew in defiance to the Prophet’s call, he prayed to God that he might be assisted by inflicting famine on the Quraysh, as in the days of the Prophet Joseph. Accordingly, God subjected the Quraysh to such a severe famine that they took to subsisting on carcasses, the skins of animals, bones, and wool. Unnerved by this the Quraysh, led by Abu Sufyan, implored the Prophet (peace be on him) to pray to God on their behalf. But when the Prophets prayer helped to improve the situation somewhat, the Quraysh reverted to their arrogant and ignorant way’s. (Bukhari, Kitab al-Taharah, Bab idha istashfa’a al-Mushrikun bi al-Muslim’ – Ed.) The wicked ones among them tried to dissuade from God those who had derived some lesson from the famine. They argued that famines take place in course of operation of natural laws, that they are merely a recurrent physical phenomenon. They emphasized that the occurrence of famine should not mislead people into believing in Muhammad (peace be on him). It was during this time that the surah under discussion was revealed. The above verses were thus quite relevant and it is against this backdrop that one appreciates their full significance. (For details see (Yunus 10: 21), (al-Nahl 16: 112), (al-Muminun 23: 75-6); and (al-Dukhan 44: 9-16.)
(7:96) Had the people of those towns believed and been God-fearing, We would certainly have opened up to them blessings from the heavens and the earth; but ,hey gave the lie [to their Prophets] and so We seized them for their deeds. so.
(7:97) Do the people of those towns feel secure that Our punishment will not come to them at night while they are asleep?
(7:98) Or, do the people of those towns feel secure that Our punishment will not come to them by daylight while they are at play?
(7:99) Do they feel secure against the design of Allah None can feel secure against the design of Allah except the utter losers.
78.The expression mark signifies a secret strategy of which the victim has no inkling until the decisive blow is struck. Until then, the victim is under the illusion that everything is in good order.
(7:100) Has it not, then, become plain to those who have inherited the earth in the wake of the former generations that, had We so willed, We could have afflicted them for their sins,” (they, however, are heedless to basic facts and so) We seal their hearts so that they hear nothing.®
79.Every nation which rises in place of one that falls, can perceive the misdeeds which brought about the preceding nation’s fall. Were such a people to make use of their reason, to appreciate the false ideas and misdeeds which led to the undoing of those who once strutted abroad in vainglory, they would have realized that the Supreme Being Who had once punished them for their misdeeds and deprived them of power and glory had not ceased to exist. Nor has that Supreme Being been deprived of the power to inflict a punishment on the people of the present times, a power with which He smote the nations of the past. Nor has God become bereft of the capacity to dislodge the wicked nations of today in the manner He did in the past.
80.Those people who derive no lesson from history, who thoughtlessly pass over the ruins of the past, remaining engrossed in heedlessness, are deprived by God of the capacity to think correctly and to pay due attention to the counsel of well-wishers. Such is the God- made law of nature that if someone closes his eyes, not even a single ray of sun-light will reach his sight. Similarly, if someone is bent upon closing his ears none can make him hear even a word.
(7:101) To those [earlier] communities – some of whose stories We relate to you – there had indeed come Messengers with clear proofs, but they would not believe what they had once rejected as false. Thus it is that Allah seals the hearts of those who deny the truth.
81.The purpose behind the ‘sealing of hearts’ mentioned in the preceding verse is also explained in the present verse. It is clear from the two verses that the ‘sealing of hearts’ means that man’s capacity to hear and understand the truth is seriously, impaired because of the operation of natural, psychological laws. Because of these laws, once a person turns away from the truth because of his irrational prejudices and the dominance of lust, he becomes enmeshed in his own obstinacy and adamancy. With the passage of time this adamancy is compounded to such an extent that despite all rational and empirical evidence in support of the truth, he continues to reject it.
(7:102) We did not find most of them true to their covenants; indeed We found most of them to the transgressors.
82.The statement that ‘We did not find most of them true to their covenants’ signifies the general propensity of people not to honor their commitments. They are neither faithful to the primordial covenant which they made with God see (al-A’raf 7: 172) which is binding on every mortal as God’s servant and creature, nor faithful to the collective covenant which is binding on every human being as a member of the human fraternity. Nor are men generally faithful to the commitments which they make to God in hours of distress or in moments when their moral instincts are awake and astir. Violation of any of these covenants has been termed fisq (transgression).
(7:103) After those We sent forth Moses with Our signs to Pharaoh and his nobles, but they dealt with Our signs unjustly.4 Observe, then, what happened to the mischief-makers.
83.The stories narrated in the Qur’an bring home unmistakably the point that people who reject God’s Message are not spared; rather they are destroyed. In narrating at length the story of Moses, Pharaoh and the Israelites, the Qur’an provides some important lessons for the unbelieving Quraysh, the Jews, and also the believers.
The Quraysh are advised that the apparently large differences in the numerical strength of the forces of truth and falsehood in the early phase of the Islamic movement should not lead them to entertain any, kind of illusion. History, provides ample testimony that the Message of truth has always had a very humble beginning. That its proponent, initially, is in the hopelessly small minority of one; in fact, one in the whole world. He then proceeds, despite his resource lessens, to challenge the hegemony of falsehood, to declare war against it, despite the fact that falsehood is backed by powerful states and empires. And ultimately the truth triumphs. The Quraysh are also reminded that all conspiracies hatched against the Prophets and all the means employed to suppress the Message of truth are ultimately foiled.
They are further told that God grants long terms of respite to the evil-doing nations so that they might mend their ways and reform themselves. But when they persistently disregard all warnings and learn no lesson from instructive events, He smites them with an exemplary punishment.
Some further lessons are meant to be conveyed to those who believed in the Prophet (peace be on him). First, that they should not feel disheartened by the paucity of resources, nor be overawed by the impressive numerical strength, pomp and grandeur of their enemies. Nor should they lose heart if they find that God’s help does not come at the expected hour. Second, that those who follow in the footsteps of the Jews are bound, ultimately, to be seized by the same curse which afflicted the Jews.
As for the Israelites, they are warned against the evil effects of clinging to falsehood.
Illustrations of this were provided by important events in their own history. They are also asked to purge the Message of the earlier Prophets of all accretions and distortions and to restore it to its original purity.
84.’They dealt with Our signs unjustly’ refers to their rejection of God’s signs and to the fact that they dismissed them as sheer sorcery. If a person scoffs at a beautiful couplet, and dubs it as amateurish rhyming, this amounts to committing an offence against poetry itself.
Likewise, to brand those extraordinary acts of God as sorcery and magic – even though magicians declared that those acts were beyond their ability – constitutes a serious offence not only against God’s signs but also against common sense and truth.
(7:104) And Moses said: ‘0 Pharaoh! I am a Messenger from the Lord of the universe.
85.’Pharaoh’ literally means ‘the offspring of the sun-god’. The ancient Egyptians called the sun ‘Ra’, worshipped it as their supreme deity’, and Pharaoh – Ra’s physical manifestation and representative – was named after it. It was for this reason that all Egyptian rulers claimed their authority on the basis of their association with Ra, and every ruler who mounted the Egyptian throne called himself Pharaoh, trying thereby to assure his people that he was their supreme deity.
It may be noted that the Qur’anic narrative regarding Moses refers to two Pharaohs. The first of these was one during whose reign Moses was born and in whose palace he was brought up. The second Pharaoh to Whom reference is made is the one whom Moses invited to Islam and who was asked to liberate the Israelites. It is this latter Pharaoh who was finally drowned. Modern scholarship is inclined to the view that the first Pharaoh was Rameses 11 who ruled over Egypt from 1292 B.C. to 1225 B.C. while the second Pharaoh was Minpetah, his son, who had become a co-sharer in his father’s authority during the latter’s lifetime and who, after his death, became the fully-fledged ruler of Egypt. This, however, is not fully established since Moses, according to the Egyptian calendar, died in 1272 B.C. In any case these are merely historical conjectures. It is quite difficult to establish a clear chronological framework owing to discrepancies in the Egyptian, Israeli and Christian calendars.
(7:105) And it behaves me to say nothing about Allah except what is true. I have come to you with a clear sign of having been sent from your Lord. So let the Children of Israel go with me. ‘8
86.Moses was sent to Pharaoh to invite him to two things; first, to surrender himself to God (i.e. Islam); and to release the Israelites – who were already Muslims – from his oppressive bondage. The Qur’an refers occasionally to both these objectives, and occasionally confines itself to mentioning either of the two.
(7:106) Pharaoh said: if you have brought a sign, then — it forth if you are truthful.
(7:107) Thereupon Moses threw his rod, and suddenly it was a veritable serpent.
(7:108) Then he drew out his hand, and it appeared luminous to all beholders.
87.Moses was granted these two miraculous signs in order to provide testimony to his being a Messenger of God, the creator and sovereign of the universe. As we have mentioned earlier, whenever the Prophets introduced themselves as God’s Message-bearers, people asked them to produce some miraculous sign, to perform something supernatural. In response to those demands the Prophets produced what the Qur’an terms as ‘signs’, and which are called ‘miracles’ by theologians.
Those who tend to play down the supernatural character of such signs or miracles, and who try to explain them in terms of natural laws of causation, in fact attempt to build a mid-way house between believing and disbelieving in the statements of the Qur’an. Such an approach can hardly be considered reasonable. What it does demonstrate, however, is how such people can be pulled in two opposite directions. On the one hand, they are not inclined to believe in a Book which abounds in narrations of a supernatural kind. On the other hand, being born followers of their ancestral religion, they are not inclined to reject the Book which carries supernatural narrations.
With regard to miracles, there are two basic questions that people should ask themselves. Did God, after creating the universe and establishing a system of natural causations therein, suspend Himself such that it is no longer possible for Him to interfere in the workings of the universe? or does He still hold the reins to His realm in His owns Hands so that His command is enforced every moment, and He does retain the power to alter the shape of things and the normal course of events – either partially or fully, – as and when He wills? It is impossible for those who respond in the affirmative to the first question to accept the idea of miracles. For clearly miracles do not fit in with their concept of God and the universe.
Honesty demands that instead of indulging in far-fetched explanations of Qur’anic statements on miracles, such people should clearly declare that they do not believe in the Qur’an. For quite obviously the Qur’an is explicit, even quite emphatic in affirming the former concept of God.
As for those who, being convinced by Qur’anic arguments, respond in the affirmative to the second question regarding God and the universe, for them there is no difficulty in accepting miracles. Let us take the instance mentioned in verse 107, namely, that the rod of Moses turned into a serpent. Now, there are those who believe that serpents can come into being only through one process – the known biological process. Such people are bound to reject the statement that Moses’ rod changed into a serpent and later reverted to its original shape.
On the contrary, if you are fully convinced that it is God’s command alone which causes life to arise from lifeless matter, and that God has full power to confer whichever kind of life He wills, the transformation of the rod into a serpent and its subsequent reversion to its original state is no stranger than the transformation of any other lifeless matter into a living entity.
The fact that the latter happens virtually every day whereas the former took place only a few times in history is not enough to declare the first as incredibly, strange and the second as ‘natural.
(7:109) The elders of Pharaoh’s people said: ‘Surely this man is a skillful magician
(7:110) who seeks to drive you out from your land.’ What would you want us to do?
88.The above account raises the question as to how a destitute member of the slave Israeli nation could pose such a serious threat to an emperor as mighty as Pharaoh. This is especially so when one considers that Pharaoh was not only an absolute ruler over territory which stretched in one direction from Syria to Libya and in the other from the Mediterranean coast to Ethiopia, but was even considered a deity deserving of worship, one might also wonder how the transformation of Moses’ rod into a serpent could he considered an event of such magnitude as to give rise to the fear that Moses would overthrow the entrenched empire and unseat the royal family as well as the entire ruling class. It might further seem strange that the mere declaration of prophethood and the demand to liberate the people of Israel caused such a furors even though no other political question had been touched upon.
The answer here lies in the fact that Moses’ claim to prophethood implied the call to total change, obviously, including political change. For if a person lays claim to be God’s Messenger, it implies that people obey him unreservedly. For God’s Messengers are not sent to the world to obey other human beings and live in subordination to them; they rather ask others to accept them as their leaders and rulers. It is this which explains why Pharaoh and his coterie felt threatened by an all-out revolution -political, economic and social – when Moses came forth with his call.
There remains the question as to why the claim to prophethood was considered such a potential threat when Moses enjoyed the support of none except his brother, Aaron, and his claim was reinforced by only two miracles – those of the shining hand and the rod which turned into a serpent. This can be explained by two things. First, that Pharaoh and his courtiers knew very well about Moses. All were aware of his extraordinary abilities and his inherent caliber as a leader of men. Also, according to the traditions of the Talmud and Josephus – provided they are authentic -Moses had also learnt the martial arts and other skills which were available only exclusively to royalty and which were required in connection with their political and military leadership. Moreover, he had proved his mettle
as a good general during the expedition to Ethiopia. Furthermore, during the course of his eight years of life in Midian – rigorous years in the desert working as a shepherd – he had purged himself of all his weaknesses because of his association with the Pharaonic stern.
Hence. when the Pharaonic court was confronted by a mature, serene and pious man who came forth with the claim of prophethood, it was obviously impossible for them to give short shrift to his claim. Second, the miracles of the rod and the shining hand overawed Pharaoh and his courtiers to such an extent they were almost convinced that Moses did indeed enjoy the support of some supernatural power. That they were unnerved by the very first proof of his prophethood is borne out by the contradictions in their charges against Moses. On the one hand they dubbed Moses a sorcerer, and on the other hand they accused him of plotting to banish them from their own land. It is clear that had they taken Moses for a mere sorcerer, they would not have expressed fears of political upheaval. For sorcery has never brought about any political change in the world.
(7:111) Then they advised Pharaoh: ‘Put off Moses and his brother for a while, and send forth heralds to your cities
(7:112) to summon every skillful magician to your presence.2
89.The plan of Pharaoh’s courtiers clearly suggests that they knew the difference between mere sorcery and a miracle. They were well aware that miracles are effective and have the capacity to bring about actual transformation whereas sorcery results merely in optic illusion. Hence, they dubbed Moses a sorcerer so as to refute his claim to prophethood. They claimed instead that the transformation of the rod into a serpent was not a miracle; that it was rather a magical performance that could be undertaken by any sorcerer. Therefore, they asked all the sorcerers of the land to come together and display how rods could be magically transformed into serpents. They believed that such a magical show would remove the awesome effect created by Moses’ miracles on the people, or at least sow doubts in their minds about those miracles.
(7:113) And the magicians came to Pharaoh and said: ‘Shall we have a reward if we win?
(7:114) Pharaoh replied: ‘certainly, and you shall be among those who are near to me.’
(7:115) Then they said: ‘0 Moses, will you [first] throw your rod, or shall we throw?’
(7:116) Moses said: ‘You throw.’ So when they threw [their rods], they enchanted the eyes of the people, and struck them with awe, and produced mighty sorcery.
(7:117) Then We directed Moses: ‘Now you throw your rod.’ And it swallowed up all their false devices.
90.It would be a mistake to believe that the rod of Moses swallowed up the rods and ropes cast by the other sorcerers and which had looked like serpents. The Qur’anic statement means that the rod of Moses swallowed up the falsehood faked by them. This clearly shows that wherever Moses’ rod moved, it destroyed the magical effect which had caused the transformation of their ropes and rods. One blow of Moses’ rod caused every other rod to revert to a rod, and every rope to revert to a rope. (For further elaboration see Tafhim al- Qur’an, (Ta Ha 20, n. 42)
(7:118) Thus was the truth established, and their doings proved in vain.
(7:119) Pharaoh and his men were defeated and put to shame,
(7:120) and the magicians flung themselves prostrate,
(7:121) saying: ‘We believe in the Lord of the universe,
(7:122) the Lord of Moses and Aaron.’2
91.Thus God turned the tables on Pharaoh and his courtiers they arranged the magic show in the hope that it would convince the people that Moses was just a sorcerer, and thus make them skeptical about his claim to prophethood. But the actual outcome was quite the opposite. The sorcerers who had been assembled were defeated. Not only that, it was also unanimously acknowledged that the signs displayed by Moses in support of his claim were not feats of magic. Rather, his signs rather manifested the might of God, the Lord of the universe, and hence could not be overcome by magic.
(7:123) Pharaoh said: ‘What! Do you believe before you have my permission? Surely this is a plot you have contrived to drive out the rulers from the capital. So you shall
(7:124) I shall cut off your hands and feet on the opposite sides, and then crucify you all.”
(7:125) They replied: ‘We shall surely return to our Lord.