English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Chapter 98: Al-Bayyinah — The Clear Evidence (Revealed at Makkah: 8 verses)

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Introduction:

The Holy Prophet, who received the mightiest of revelations, or that revelation itself, is here called The Clear Evidence. This revelation contained all the pure and essential teachings of previous scriptures, as stated in v. 3. It may not be a very early revelation but there seems no doubt that it belongs to the Makkah period.

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Translation:

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

98:1 Those who disbelieve from among the People of the Book and the idolaters could not have been freed till clear evidence came to them1
98:2 a Messenger from Allah, reciting pure pages,2
98:3 in which are (all) right books.3
98:4 Nor did those to whom the Book was given become divided till clear evidence came to them.4
98:5 And they are enjoined nothing but to serve Allah, being sincere to Him in obedience, upright, and to keep up prayer and give the due charity, and that is the right religion.
98:6 Those who disbelieve from among the People of the Book and the idolaters will be in the Fire of hell, abiding in it. They are the worst of creatures.
98:7 Those who believe and do good, they are the best of creatures.
98:8 Their reward is with their Lord: Gardens of perpetuity in which rivers flow, abiding in them forever. Allah is well pleased with them and they are well pleased with Him. That is for him who fears his Lord.5

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Commentary:

  1. Both the People of the Book, people to whom revelation had been granted at some previous time, and the idolaters of Arabia, among whom no prophet had ever appeared, were sunk so deep in immorality and sin that only a Divine Messenger could now free them from this bondage. The Jews and the Christians, one after another, had exerted themselves to their utmost to reform Arabia, but both had failed. In fact they were themselves demoralized like the Arabs. That by the clear evidence is meant the Prophet is made clear in the next verse, where this clear evidence is spoken of as being a Messenger from Allah.
  2. It should be noted that the Messenger is here described as reciting pure pages, thus showing clearly that the Quran existed in a written form at the time of the revelation of this chapter. Their designation as pure is to show that the Quran brought them out of all impurities.
  3. Kitāb (occurring here in the plural, kutub) means a book or an ordi­nance. Whichever signifi­cance may be adopted, the meaning of the passage is that all those right directions necessary for the guidance of people, whether previously revealed or not, are to be met with in the Quran. The Quran thus claims to contain all the good points of other sacred books, and, in addition, to supply their deficiencies.
  4. The division mentioned here is the division into believers and dis­believers, some accepting the Messenger and others rejecting him.
  5. The companions of the Holy Prophet are here spoken of as having attained to the highest spiritual stage; compare 89:27–30, where the same words occur regarding spiritual perfection; see 89:30 footnote. This shows clearly that they were above all worldly motives, and not only joined Islam with the single object of pleasing God but also that their sincerity was above all reproach to the end, so that God was pleased with them and made them enter His Garden.

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Footnotes: