In the name of god, the most gracious, The dispenser of grace: (1)

1 - According to most of the authorities, this invocation (which occurs at the beginning of every surah with the exception of surah 9) constitutes an integral part of "The Opening" and is, therefore, numbered as verse I. In all other instances, the invocation "in the name of God" precedes the surah as such, and is not counted among its verses. - Both the divine epithets rahman and rahrm are derived from the noun rahmah, which signifies "mercy", "compassion", "loving tenderness" and, more comprehensively, "grace". From the very earliest times, Islamic scholars have endeavoured to define the exact shades of meaning which differentiate the two terms. The best and simplest of these explanations is undoubtedly the one advanced by Ibn al-Qayyim (as quoted in Mandr I, 48): the term rahman circumscribes the quality of abounding grace inherent in, and inseparable from, the concept of God's Being, whereas rahrm expresses the manifestation of that grace in, and its effect upon, His creation-in other words, an aspect of His activity.

THE MAJORITY of the commentators regard this surah as belonging to the Medina period, but many others are of the opinion that it is a late Meccan revelation. The expression taghabun, occurring in verse 9, has become the key-word by which this surah is designated.
1. ALL THAT IS in the heavens and all that is on earth extols God's limitless glory: His is all dominion, and to Him all praise is due; and He has the power to will anything.
2. He it is who has created you: and among you are such as deny this truth, and among you are such as believe [in it]. (1) And God sees all that you do.

1 - The above construction, pointing to man's acceptance or denial of the truth of God's creative activity, is in accord with Tabari's interpretation of this passage, as well as with that of Az-Zajjaj (quoted by Razi). According to Zamakhshari, those who deny this truth are mentioned first because they are more numerous and possess greater influence than those who consciously believe in God. A further implication appears to be this: Since all human beings are endowed with the instinctive ability to perceive the existence of the Creator (cf. 7:172 and the corresponding note 139), one man's denial of this truth and another's belief in it is, in the last resort, an outcome of free choice.

3. He has created the heavens and the earth in accordance with [an inner] truth, (2) and has formed you - and formed you so well; (3) and with Him is your journey's end.

2 - See surah 10, note 11.

3 - I.e., in accordance with the exigencies of human life. See also note 9 on 7:11.

4. He knows all that is in the heavens and on earth; and He knows all that you keep secret as well as all that you bring into the open: for God has full knowledge of what is in the hearts [of men].
5. HAVE THE STORIES of those who, in earlier times, refused to acknowledge the truth never yet come within your ken? [They denied it -] and so they had to taste the evil outcome of their own doings, (4) with [more] grievous suffering awaiting them [in the life to come]:

4 - This is an allusion to the disasters and the suffering which, as history shows, inevitably befall a community or nation bent on rejecting the basic ethical truths and, thus, all standards of

6. this, because time and again there came unto them their apostles (5) with all evidence of the truth, but they [always] replied, "Shall mere mortal men be our guides?" (6) And so they. denied the truth and turned away. But God was not in need [of them]: for God is self-sufficient, ever to be praised.

5 - I.e., apostles from their own midst, entrusted with divine messages specifically meant for them. The expression "time and again" is conditioned by the phrase kanat ta'atihim which implies repetition and duration.

6 - Lit., "guide us". This negative response is characteristic of people who, in result of their own estrangement from all moral standards, are instinctively, and deeply, distrustful of all things human and cannot, therefore, accept the idea that a divine message could manifest itself through mere human beings that have nothing "supernatural" about them.

7. They who are bent on denying the truth claim that they will never be raised from the dead! (7) Say: "Yea, by my Sustainer! Most surely will you be raised from the dead, and then, most surely, will you be made to understand what you did [in life]! For, easy is this for God!"
8. Believe then, [O men,] in God and His Apostle, and in the light [of revelation] which We have bestowed [on you] from on high! And God is fully aware of all that you do.

7 - Their refusal to believe in resurrection and a life to come implies a conviction that no one will be called upon, after death, to answer for what he did in life.

9. [Think of (8) ] the time when He shall gather you all together unto the Day of the [Last] Gathering - that Day of Loss and Gain! For, as for hhim who shall have believed in God and done what is just and right, He will [on that Day] efface his bad deeds, and will admit him into gardens through which running waters flow, therein to abide beyond the count of time: that will be a triumph supreme!

8 - This or a similar interpolation is necessary in view of the mansub form of the subsequent noun, yawma (lit., "day"), which I am rendering in this context as "the time".

10. But as for those who are bent on denying the truth and on giving the lie to Our messages - they are destined for the fire, therein to abide: and how vile a journeys end!
11. NO CALAMITY can ever befall [man] unless it be by God's leave: hence, whoever believes in God guides his [own] heart [towards this truth]; (9) and God has full knowledge of everything.

9 - I.e., in the words of Razi, "towards self-surrender to God's will. . , [and so] towards gratitude in times of ease, and patience in times of misfortune". It is also possible - as some of the commentators do - to understand the phrase in another sense, namely, "if anyone believes in God, He [i.e., God] guides his heart". However, the rendering adopted by me seems to be preferable inasmuch as it stresses the idea that conscious belief in God impels a mans reason to control and direct his emotions and inclinations in accordance with all that this belief implies.

12. Pay heed, then, unto God, and pay heed unto the Apostle; and if you turn away, [know that] Our Apostle's only duty is a clear delivery of this message:
13. God - there is no deity save Him! (10) In God then let the believers place their trust.

10 - The above construction of this passage makes it clear, firstly, that a realization of God's existence, oneness and almightiness is the innermost purport - and, thus, the beginning and the end - of God's message to man; and, secondly, that His prophets can do no more than deliver and expound this message, leaving it to man's reason and free choice to accept or reject it.

14. O YOU who have attained to faith! Behold, some of your spouses (11) and your children are enemies unto you: so beware of them! (12) But if you pardon [their faults] and forbear, and forgive-then, behold, God will be much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace.

11 - I.e., "sometimes, your spouses.. .", etc. Since, in the teachings of the Qur'an, all moral duties are binding on women as well as on men, it is obvious that the term azwajikum must not be rendered as "your wives", but is to be understood - according to classical Arabic usage - as applying equally to both the male and the female partners in a marriage.

12 - Love of his or her family may sometimes tempt a believer to act contrary to the demands of conscience and faith; and, occasionally, one or another of the loved ones - whether wife or husband or child - may consciously try to induce the person concerned to abandon some of his or her moral commitments in order to satisfy some real or imaginary "family interest", and thus becomes the other's spiritual "enemy". It is to this latter eventuality that the next sentence alludes.

15. Your worldly goods and your children are but a trial and a temptation, (13) whereas with God there is a tremendous reward.

13 - For an explanation, see note 28 on 8:28, which is almost identical with the present passage.

16. Remain, then, conscious of God as best you can, and listen [to Him], and pay heed. And spend in charity for the good of your own selves: for, such as from their own covetousness are saved it is they, they that shal attain to a happy state! (14)

14 - Cf. last sentence of 59:9 and the corresponding note 14.

17. If you offer up to God a goodly loan, He will amply repay you for it, and will forgive you your sins: for God is ever responsive to gratitude, forbearing,
18. knowing all that is beyond the reach of a created being's perception as well as all that can be witnessed by a creature's senses or mind (15) - the Almighty, the Wise!

15 - See surah 6, note 65.