Surah Jathiyah: Kneeling

Introduction

A Meccan surah that takes its title from verse 28, where the kneeling posture of all communities on the Day of Judgement is described.

This surah, like so many others, talks about Monotheism and the Creator God, Who is also the Personal God and will hold us accountable in the Afterlife; the two  fundamental shared articles of faith of all the Abrahamic faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

The surah addresses some of the arguments put forward by those skeptical of the truthfulness of the Quran. Emphasis is placed on the signs of God’s existence discernible in nature, and on the painful punishment that awaits the doubters on the Day of Judgement.

This Surah is also known to some as al-Shari’ah, because it is the only surah to employ the term shari’ah (verse 18), which later came to denote Islamic Law.

The misguided arrogance of the disbelievers (verses 8 and 31) is contrasted with God’s true greatness (verse 37); references to God’s wisdom and majesty open and close the surah.

Suggested reading

All Knowing, All Seeing God Keeps Us Away from Crime and Sin: See the Evidence

The science is in: God is the answer

Harvard University: Spiritual Upbringing Leads to Happiness

Afterlife A Dream-State or A Virtual Reality?

Science: The Only Present Day Arbiter Between Religions?

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

45:1. The Praiseworthy, The Lord Of Honor.

حم

45:2 This Scripture is sent down from God, the Mighty, the Wise.

تَنزِيلُ الْكِتَابِ مِنَ اللَّـهِ الْعَزِيزِ الْحَكِيمِ

45:3. There are signs in the heavens and the earth for those who believe.

إِنَّ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ لَآيَاتٍ لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ

45:4 And in your creation and the other creatures God scattered on earth, there are signs for people who have faith.

وَفِي خَلْقِكُمْ وَمَا يَبُثُّ مِن دَابَّةٍ آيَاتٌ لِّقَوْمٍ يُوقِنُونَ

45:5. In the alternation of night and day, in the rain God provides, sending it down from the sky and reviving the dead earth with it, and in His shifting of the winds there are signs for those who use their reason.

وَاخْتِلَافِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ وَمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّـهُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مِن رِّزْقٍ فَأَحْيَا بِهِ الْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا وَتَصْرِيفِ الرِّيَاحِ آيَاتٌ لِّقَوْمٍ يَعْقِلُونَ

45:6. These are God’s signs that We
recount to you Prophet, to show the Truth. If they deny God and His revelations, what message will they believe in?

تِلْكَ آيَاتُ اللَّـهِ نَتْلُوهَا عَلَيْكَ بِالْحَقِّ ۖ فَبِأَيِّ حَدِيثٍ بَعْدَ اللَّـهِ وَآيَاتِهِ يُؤْمِنُونَ

45:7. Woe to every lying sinful person.

وَيْلٌ لِّكُلِّ أَفَّاكٍ أَثِيمٍ

45:8. Who hears God’s revelations being recited to him, yet persists in his arrogance as if he had never heard them. Bring him the glad tidings of a painful torment!

يَسْمَعُ آيَاتِ اللَّـهِ تُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِ ثُمَّ يُصِرُّ مُسْتَكْبِرًا كَأَن لَّمْ يَسْمَعْهَا ۖ فَبَشِّرْهُ بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ

45:9. Who, if he knows anything about Our revelations, ridicules it! Such people will have a humiliating torment.

وَإِذَا عَلِمَ مِنْ آيَاتِنَا شَيْئًا اتَّخَذَهَا هُزُوًا ۚ أُولَـٰئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُّهِينٌ

45:10. Hell lurks behind them and their gains will not benefit them, nor will those beings they took as protectors besides God; a tremendous torment awaits them.

مِّن وَرَائِهِمْ جَهَنَّمُ

 ۖ وَلَا يُغْنِي عَنْهُم مَّا كَسَبُوا شَيْئًا وَلَا مَا اتَّخَذُوا مِن دُونِ اللَّـهِ أَوْلِيَاءَ ۖ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ

45:11. This is true guidance; those who reject their Lord’s revelations will have a woeful torment.

هَـٰذَا هُدًى

 ۖ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بِآيَاتِ رَبِّهِمْ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مِّن رِّجْزٍ أَلِيمٌ

45:12. It is God who subjected the sea for you, ships sail on it by His command so that you can seek His bounty and give Him thanks.

اللَّـهُ الَّذِي سَخَّرَ لَكُمُ الْبَحْرَ لِتَجْرِيَ الْفُلْكُ فِيهِ بِأَمْرِهِ وَلِتَبْتَغُوا مِن فَضْلِهِ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ

45:13. He has subjected all that is in the heavens and the earth for your benefit, as a gift from Him. There truly are signs in this for those who reflect.

وَسَخَّرَ لَكُم مَّا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ جَمِيعًا مِّنْهُ ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

45:14. Tell the believers to forgive those who do not fear God’s days of punishment. He will requite people for what they have done.

قُل لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا يَغْفِرُوا لِلَّذِينَ لَا يَرْجُونَ أَيَّامَ اللَّـهِ لِيَجْزِيَ قَوْمًا بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ

45:15. Whoever does good benefits himself, and whoever does evil harms
himself: you will all be returned to your Lord.

مَنْ عَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَلِنَفْسِهِ ۖ وَمَنْ أَسَاءَ فَعَلَيْهَا ۖ ثُمَّ إِلَىٰ رَبِّكُمْ تُرْجَعُونَ

45:16. We gave scripture, wisdom, and prophethood to the Children of
Israel; We provided them with good things and favored them above others.

وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحُكْمَ وَالنُّبُوَّةَ وَرَزَقْنَاهُم مِّنَ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَفَضَّلْنَاهُمْ عَلَى الْعَالَمِينَ

45:17. We also bestowed on them clear Signs and commandments.  They differed among themselves out of mutual jealousy, only after knowledge came to them: on the Day of Resurrection your Lord will judge between them regarding their differences.

وَآتَيْنَاهُم بَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْأَمْرِ

 ۖ فَمَا اخْتَلَفُوا إِلَّا مِن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَهُمُ الْعِلْمُ بَغْيًا بَيْنَهُمْ ۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ يَقْضِي بَيْنَهُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ فِيمَا كَانُوا فِيهِ يَخْتَلِفُونَ

45:18. Now We have set you on a clear path in the matter of the Law; so follow it, and follow not the wishes of those who have no knowledge.

ثُمَّ جَعَلْنَاكَ عَلَىٰ شَرِيعَةٍ مِّنَ الْأَمْرِ فَاتَّبِعْهَا وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَ الَّذِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ

45:19. They cannot help you against God in any way. Wrongdoers only have each other to protect them; the righteous have God Himself as their protector.

إِنَّهُمْ لَن يُغْنُوا عَنكَ مِنَ اللَّـهِ شَيْئًا ۚ وَإِنَّ الظَّالِمِينَ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ ۖوَاللَّـهُ وَلِيُّ الْمُتَّقِينَ

45:20. This revelation is a means of insight for people, and a guidance and a mercy for a people who have faith.

هَـٰذَا بَصَائِرُ لِلنَّاسِ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةٌ لِّقَوْمٍ يُوقِنُونَ

45:21. Do those who seek to do evil imagine that We shall make them the equal of those who believe and act righteously, in life and in death? Evil indeed is that which they judge.

أَمْ حَسِبَ الَّذِينَ اجْتَرَحُوا السَّيِّئَاتِ أَن نَّجْعَلَهُمْ كَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ سَوَاءً مَّحْيَاهُمْ وَمَمَاتُهُمْ ۚ سَاءَ مَا يَحْكُمُونَ

45:22. God created the heavens and the earth for a true purpose: to reward each soul according to its deeds. They will not be wronged.

وَخَلَقَ اللَّـهُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ بِالْحَقِّ وَلِتُجْزَىٰ كُلُّ نَفْسٍ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ وَهُمْ لَا يُظْلَمُونَ 

45:23. Consider the one who has taken his own desire as a god, and whom Allah has adjudged astray on the basis of His knowledge, sealing his ears and heart and covering his eyes; who can guide such a person after God has condemned him? Will you not take heed?

أَفَرَأَيْتَ مَنِ اتَّخَذَ إِلَـٰهَهُ هَوَاهُ وَأَضَلَّهُ اللَّـهُ عَلَىٰ عِلْمٍ وَخَتَمَ عَلَىٰ سَمْعِهِ وَقَلْبِهِ وَجَعَلَ عَلَىٰ بَصَرِهِ غِشَاوَةً فَمَن يَهْدِيهِ مِن بَعْدِ اللَّـهِ ۚأَفَلَا تَذَكَّرُونَ

45:24.  They assert: There is nothing but our present life; we live and we die and it is the passage of time that kills us. But they have no real knowledge of the matter; they do nothing but conjecture.

وَقَالُوا مَا هِيَ إِلَّا حَيَاتُنَا الدُّنْيَا نَمُوتُ وَنَحْيَا وَمَا يُهْلِكُنَا إِلَّا الدَّهْرُ ۚ وَمَا لَهُم بِذَٰلِكَ مِنْ عِلْمٍ ۖ إِنْ هُمْ إِلَّا يَظُنُّونَ

45:25. When Our manifest Signs are recited to them, their only contention is: Bring back our forefathers if you are truthful.

وَإِذَا تُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُنَا بَيِّنَاتٍ مَّا كَانَ حُجَّتَهُمْ إِلَّا أَن قَالُوا ائْتُوا بِآبَائِنَا إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ

45:26. Tell them: ‘It is God who gives you life, then causes you to die, and then He gathers you all on the Day of Resurrection of which there is no doubt, though most people do not comprehend.’

قُلِ اللَّـهُ يُحْيِيكُمْ ثُمَّ يُمِيتُكُمْ ثُمَّ يَجْمَعُكُمْ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ لَا رَيْبَ فِيهِ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ

45:27. To Allah belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. On the day when the Hour shall come, those who follow falsehood will be the losers.

وَلِلَّـهِ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ

وَالْأَرْضِ

 ۚ وَيَوْمَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ يَوْمَئِذٍ يَخْسَرُ الْمُبْطِلُونَ

45:28. You will see every community kneeling.  Every community will be summoned to its record: ‘Today you will be repaid for what you did.’

وَتَرَىٰ كُلَّ أُمَّةٍ جَاثِيَةً ۚكُلُّ أُمَّةٍ تُدْعَىٰ إِلَىٰ كِتَابِهَا الْيَوْمَ تُجْزَوْنَ مَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ

45:29. ‘Here is Our record that tells the truth about you: We have been recording everything you do.’

هَـٰذَا كِتَابُنَا يَنطِقُ عَلَيْكُم بِالْحَقِّ ۚ إِنَّا كُنَّا نَسْتَنسِخُ مَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ

45:30. Their Lord will admit into His mercy those who believed and acted righteously. That is the manifest triumph.

فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ فَيُدْخِلُهُمْ رَبُّهُمْ فِي رَحْمَتِهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْمُبِينُ

45:31. But those who disbelieved will be asked: ‘When My revelations were recited to you, were you not arrogant and persistent in wicked deeds?’

وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَفَلَمْ تَكُنْ آيَاتِي تُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْكُمْ فَاسْتَكْبَرْتُمْ وَكُنتُمْ قَوْمًا مُّجْرِمِينَ

45:32. When it was said to you, “God’s promise is true: there is no doubt about the Hour,” did you not reply, “We know nothing of the Hour. This is only conjecture in our opinion. We are not convinced?”

وَإِذَا قِيلَ إِنَّ وَعْدَ اللَّـهِ حَقٌّ وَالسَّاعَةُ لَا رَيْبَ فِيهَا قُلْتُم مَّا نَدْرِي مَا السَّاعَةُ إِن نَّظُنُّ إِلَّا ظَنًّا وَمَا نَحْنُ بِمُسْتَيْقِنِينَ

45:33. The evil of their actions will then become clear to them. The punishment they mocked will engulf them.

وَبَدَا لَهُمْ سَيِّئَاتُ مَا عَمِلُوا وَحَاقَ بِهِم مَّا كَانُوا بِهِ يَسْتَهْزِئُونَ

45:34. It will be said, ‘Today We shall ignore you just as you ignored your appointment of this Day. The Fire will be your home and no one will help you.’

وَقِيلَ الْيَوْمَ نَنسَاكُمْ كَمَا نَسِيتُمْ لِقَاءَ يَوْمِكُمْ هَـٰذَا وَمَأْوَاكُمُ النَّارُ وَمَا لَكُم مِّن نَّاصِرِينَ

45:35. ‘Because you received God’s revelations with ridicule and were deceived by worldly life.’ They will not be brought out of the Fire on that Day, nor will they be given the chance to make amends.

ذَٰلِكُم بِأَنَّكُمُ اتَّخَذْتُمْ آيَاتِ اللَّـهِ هُزُوًا وَغَرَّتْكُمُ الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا ۚ فَالْيَوْمَ لَا يُخْرَجُونَ مِنْهَا وَلَا هُمْ يُسْتَعْتَبُونَ

45:36. So praise be to God, Lord of the heavens and earth, Lord of the worlds.

فَلِلَّـهِ الْحَمْدُ رَبِّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَرَبِّ الْأَرْضِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

45:37. True greatness in the heavens and the earth is rightfully His: He is the Mighty, the Wise,

وَلَهُ الْكِبْرِيَاءُ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۖ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ

Commentary

45:3-5 and 45:12-13

“There are signs in the heavens and the earth for those who believe. And in your creation and the other creatures God scattered on earth, there are signs for people who have faith. In the alternation of night and day, in the rain God provides, sending it down from the sky and reviving the dead earth with it, and in His shifting of the winds there are signs for those who use their reason.”

“It is God who subjected the sea for you, ships sail on it by His command so that you can seek His bounty and give Him thanks. He has subjected all that is in the heavens and the earth for your benefit, as a gift from Him. There truly are signs in this for those who reflect.”

These verses contain, in addition to Surah Rome, one of the most explicit and extended Quranic discussions about ‘the signs of God,’ enjoining people to reflect upon them and also describing the fate of those who deny them.

According to Seyyed Hossein Nasr and colleagues in their recent commentary, under verse number 3 of this surah:

This is one of many verses that call human beings to reflect upon God’s signs in the created order, since they are seen as indications of His Oneness (Aj). Signs translates ayat, which refers to the verses of the Quran, the natural phenomena in the heavens and on the earth, and the signs within the human soul. The heavens and the earth are filled with signs for believers (cf. 6:99; 15:77; 16:79; 27:86; 29:24, 44; 30:37; 39:52), for a people who reflect (13:3; 30:21; 39:42; 45:13; cf. 10:24), for a people who hear (10:67; 16:65; 30:23), for those who know (30:22), for a people who understand (2:164; 13:4; 16:12, 67; 30:24; 45:5), for a people who are reverent (1026), for those possessed of intelligence (20:54, 128), for the possessors of intellect (3:190), for those who possess insight (3:13) and for a. people who are certain (45:4; cf. 51:20).  Signs (ayat) occurs twelve times in this short surah, especially in the first section (vv. 3-8), where it is used interchangeably as a reference to the wonders of the created order (vv. 3-5) and the verses of the Quran (vv. 6-8), suggesting a subtle connection between revelation and the created order. This connection has led many Islamic philosophers and mystics to view the created order as ‘the cosmic Quran’ (al-Qur’an al-takwini) as distinguished from ‘the written Quran’ (al-Qur’an al-tadwini). When understood by those with certainty in their hearts, the signs of the created order are said to guide, by their very being (kawn), to the One who brought them into being (al-Mukawwin; ST).

This correlation between the revealed and the created order, reminded the author of a profound quote from Charles Darwin, as he quoted Francis Bacon from his book, Advancement of learning, in the later editions of Origin of Species to establish the proper relationship between religion and natural science:

To conclude, therefore, let no man out of weak conceit of sobriety, or an ill-applied moderation, think or maintain, that a man can search too far or be too well-studied in the book of God’s word, or in the book of God’s works; divinity or philosophy; but rather let men endeavor an endless progress or proficiency in both.

The verse number 12 is one of several verses to refer to seafaring as a blessing from God; see also 2:164; 14:32; 17:66; 22:65; 30:46; 31:31; 35:12; 40:80; 42:32-34. Seek His Bounty refers to the advantages of travel by sea and to the food  and precious jewels that can be obtained from the sea.

In summary, in these verses, 3-5 and 12-13, like in so many others, Allah makes a case for the Creator God, who has created the universe and life on this planet.

Suggested reading

Deism: Common between Islam, Christianity and Judaism

The anesthesia of familiarity: There should be a Creator of Our Universe

Photosynthesis: deserving of our awe or ridicule?

Provident God of the Abrahamic Faiths: Plain Water will Tell you the Story

12 Famous Scientists On The Possibility Of God

Cataloging 750 verses of the Holy Quran inspiring believers to study nature

Ten Raised to Five Hundred Reasons for Our Gracious God

A challenge for Dawkins: Where did carbon come from?

Did Eve Come from Adam’s Rib — That is the Question?

45:8-9

“Who hears God’s revelations being recited to him, yet persists in his arrogance as if he had never heard them. Bring him the glad tidings of a painful torment! Who, if he knows anything about Our revelations, ridicules it! Such people will have a humiliating torment.”

According to Seyyed Hossein Nasr and colleagues in their recent commentary, under these verses:

It is understood as a general reference to all who turn away from God’s signs when they hear them (Aj). Although such people hear the Quran, it is as if they do not hear, because they are spiritually deaf and thus do not understand, as in 6:25: Among them are those who listen to thee, but We have placed coverings over their hearts, such that they do not understand, and a deafness in their ears (cf. 2:171; 5:71; 6:25, 39; 8:22; 10:42; 17:46; 18:57; 21:46; 31:7; 41:5. 44; 47:23); see 6:25c. Although glad tidings usually indicates the good news of the means to salvation that prophets bring, here as elsewhere (see 3:21; 4:138; 9:3, 34; 31:7; 84:24), it is used with a sense of irony indicating that the hypocrites and disbelievers will receive the painful punishment that they seem to ‘desire.’

45:18.

“Now We have set you on a clear path in the matter of the Law; so follow it, and follow not the wishes of those who have no knowledge.”

According to Seyyed Hossein Nasr and colleagues in their recent commentary for this verse:

After giving the Israelites gifts (V. 16), God placed the Prophet Muhammad upon a clear path like those upon which He had placed the messengers before him (I). In this context, clear path translates shari’ah, which later became the technical term for Islamic Law, though it occurs only this one time in the Quran. Linguistically, shari’ah means a straight, smooth path that leads to water, which in the deserts of Arabia would also have meant a path to salvation from death. In this context it thus appears to indicate a clear path by which God leads people to the truth (Q).

45:22

“God created the heavens and the earth for a true purpose: to reward each soul according to its deeds. They will not be wronged.”

The Holy Quran makes the above claim about the purpose of the universe, in several other verses also, including:

And We (Allah) have not created the heaven and the earth and all that is between them without purpose. That is the view of those who disbelieve. (Al Quran 38:27)

Also see:

He (Allah) created the heaven and the earth for a true purpose. (Al Quran 39:5)

And:

Allah has created the heavens and the earth for a true purpose. In that surely is a Sign for the believers. (29:44)

Three well known atheists, Prof. Richard Dawkins, Michael Shermer and Matt Ridley debated two Christian and a Jewish apologist, including William Lane Craig, in Mexico, in 2010, regarding the purpose of the universe and human life:

45:35

“‘Because you received God’s revelations with ridicule and were deceived by worldly life.’ They will not be brought out of the Fire on that Day, nor will they be given the chance to make amends.”

The Quranic verses should not be read literally or in isolation. Each verse needs to be understood in the context of every other verse of the scripture, for example, here the punishment of hell is implied to be prolonged but not eternal: Hell is Meant for Purification and is not Permanent.

 

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