English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)
by Maulana Muhammad Ali
Chapter 23: Al-Muminun — The Believers (Revealed at Makkah: 6 sections, 118 verses)
Section 3 (Verses 23:33–23:50): Prophets after Noah
وَ قَالَ الۡمَلَاُ مِنۡ قَوۡمِہِ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا وَ کَذَّبُوۡا بِلِقَآءِ الۡاٰخِرَۃِ وَ اَتۡرَفۡنٰہُمۡ فِی الۡحَیٰوۃِ الدُّنۡیَا ۙ مَا ہٰذَاۤ اِلَّا بَشَرٌ مِّثۡلُکُمۡ ۙ یَاۡکُلُ مِمَّا تَاۡکُلُوۡنَ مِنۡہُ وَ یَشۡرَبُ مِمَّا تَشۡرَبُوۡنَ ﴿۪ۙ۳۳﴾
23:33 And the chiefs of his people who disbelieved and called the meeting of the Hereafter a lie, and whom We had given plenty to enjoy in this world’s life, said: He is only a mortal like you, eating what you eat and drinking what you drink.1
وَ لَئِنۡ اَطَعۡتُمۡ بَشَرًا مِّثۡلَکُمۡ اِنَّکُمۡ اِذًا لَّخٰسِرُوۡنَ ﴿ۙ۳۴﴾
23:34 And if you obey a mortal like yourselves, then surely you are losers.
اَیَعِدُکُمۡ اَنَّکُمۡ اِذَا مِتُّمۡ وَ کُنۡتُمۡ تُرَابًا وَّ عِظَامًا اَنَّکُمۡ مُّخۡرَجُوۡنَ ﴿۪ۙ۳۵﴾
23:35 Does he promise you that, when you are dead and become dust and bones, you will then be brought forth?
ہَیۡہَاتَ ہَیۡہَاتَ لِمَا تُوۡعَدُوۡنَ ﴿۪ۙ۳۶﴾
23:36 Far, very far, is what you are promised:
اِنۡ ہِیَ اِلَّا حَیَاتُنَا الدُّنۡیَا نَمُوۡتُ وَ نَحۡیَا وَ مَا نَحۡنُ بِمَبۡعُوۡثِیۡنَ ﴿۪ۙ۳۷﴾
23:37 There is nothing but our life in this world, we die and we live and we shall not be raised again;
اِنۡ ہُوَ اِلَّا رَجُلُۨ افۡتَرٰی عَلَی اللّٰہِ کَذِبًا وَّ مَا نَحۡنُ لَہٗ بِمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ ﴿۳۸﴾
23:38 he is only a man who has forged a lie about Allah, and we are not going to believe in him.
قَالَ رَبِّ انۡصُرۡنِیۡ بِمَا کَذَّبُوۡنِ ﴿۳۹﴾
23:39 He said: My Lord, help me against their calling me a liar.
قَالَ عَمَّا قَلِیۡلٍ لَّیُصۡبِحُنَّ نٰدِمِیۡنَ ﴿ۚ۴۰﴾
23:40 He said: In a little while they will certainly be repenting.
فَاَخَذَتۡہُمُ الصَّیۡحَۃُ بِالۡحَقِّ فَجَعَلۡنٰہُمۡ غُثَآءً ۚ فَبُعۡدًا لِّلۡقَوۡمِ الظّٰلِمِیۡنَ ﴿۴۱﴾
23:41 So the punishment overtook them in justice, and We made them as rubbish; so away with the unjust people!
ثُمَّ اَنۡشَاۡنَا مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِہِمۡ قُرُوۡنًا اٰخَرِیۡنَ ﴿ؕ۴۲﴾
23:42 Then We raised after them other generations.
مَا تَسۡبِقُ مِنۡ اُمَّۃٍ اَجَلَہَا وَ مَا یَسۡتَاۡخِرُوۡنَ ﴿ؕ۴۳﴾
23:43 No people can hasten on their doom, nor postpone it.
ثُمَّ اَرۡسَلۡنَا رُسُلَنَا تَتۡرَا ؕ کُلَّمَا جَآءَ اُمَّۃً رَّسُوۡلُہَا کَذَّبُوۡہُ فَاَتۡبَعۡنَا بَعۡضَہُمۡ بَعۡضًا وَّ جَعَلۡنٰہُمۡ اَحَادِیۡثَ ۚ فَبُعۡدًا لِّقَوۡمٍ لَّا یُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ ﴿۴۴﴾
23:44 Then We sent Our messengers one after another. Whenever its messenger came to a people, they called him a liar, so We made them follow one another and We made them stories. So away with a people who do not believe!2
ثُمَّ اَرۡسَلۡنَا مُوۡسٰی وَ اَخَاہُ ہٰرُوۡنَ ۬ۙ بِاٰیٰتِنَا وَ سُلۡطٰنٍ مُّبِیۡنٍ ﴿ۙ۴۵﴾
23:45 Then We sent Moses and his brother Aaron with Our messages and a clear authority
اِلٰی فِرۡعَوۡنَ وَ مَلَا۠ئِہٖ فَاسۡتَکۡبَرُوۡا وَ کَانُوۡا قَوۡمًا عَالِیۡنَ ﴿ۚ۴۶﴾
23:46 to Pharaoh and his chiefs, but they behaved haughtily and they were an insolent people.
فَقَالُوۡۤا اَنُؤۡمِنُ لِبَشَرَیۡنِ مِثۡلِنَا وَ قَوۡمُہُمَا لَنَا عٰبِدُوۡنَ ﴿ۚ۴۷﴾
23:47 So they said: Shall we believe in two mortals like ourselves while their people serve us?
فَکَذَّبُوۡہُمَا فَکَانُوۡا مِنَ الۡمُہۡلَکِیۡنَ ﴿۴۸﴾
23:48 So they rejected them and became of those who were destroyed.
وَ لَقَدۡ اٰتَیۡنَا مُوۡسَی الۡکِتٰبَ لَعَلَّہُمۡ یَہۡتَدُوۡنَ ﴿۴۹﴾
23:49 And certainly We gave Moses the Book that they might go aright.
وَ جَعَلۡنَا ابۡنَ مَرۡیَمَ وَ اُمَّہٗۤ اٰیَۃً وَّ اٰوَیۡنٰہُمَاۤ اِلٰی رَبۡوَۃٍ ذَاتِ قَرَارٍ وَّ مَعِیۡنٍ ﴿٪۵۰﴾
23:50 And We made the son of Mary and his mother a sign, and We gave them refuge on a lofty ground having meadows and springs.3
- The prophets are rejected because they are subject to the same laws of nature in their human requirements as other people. And no one can be a model for humans, who is not himself a human being, and who is not subject to the same laws of nature, for only a human being can show people how they can avoid falling a prey to the frailties of human nature. Hence, a Divine incarnation, or God in a human body, cannot serve as a model to human beings. We want a mortal to show us how to avoid the pitfalls with which we, as mortals, are surrounded; if God Himself comes into the world, He cannot serve this purpose. ↩
- The significance of making them stories is that the stories of their evil fate were the only remembrance of them left when they perished. ↩
- This description of the land applies exactly to the valley of Kashmir, and part of the lost ten tribes of Israel is traced to Kashmir, where a large number of places bear the names of places in Palestine. There is also a tomb known as the tomb of Nabī (i.e., the prophet), or ‘Īsā (i.e., Jesus), or a man by the name of Yūz Āsaf, in Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir. The fact that the chapter deals with the final triumph of prophets and their deliverance from the hands of their enemies also gives us a clue to the mystery attending the circumstances of the disappearance of Jesus after the event of the Cross; for, as shown in 4:157 footnote, Jesus did not die on the cross. This verse indicates that, being delivered from the hands of his enemies, he was given shelter at some other place which, from its description here and other evidence, seems to be Kashmir. Traditions about Yūz Āsaf lead us to identify him with Jesus, and to conclude that Jesus went to Kashmir after the event of the crucifixion, and that he preached, lived, died and was buried there. (Editor’s Note: Since this footnote was written, much research has been published supporting this theory. For details, Khwaja Nazir Ahmad’s work, Jesus in Heaven on Earth, first published in 1952, as well as a number of later publications, some of them by Western authors, should be consulted.) ↩