After attesting to the reality of the Day of Judgment (vv. 1-6) in the Islamic understanding, the surah discusses the intellectual fallacies that lie at the heart of disbelief (vv. 7-14) and contrasts the ﬁnal end of those who conjecture with the ﬁnal end of the reverent (vv. 15-19). In other words it describes, what later came to be known as Pascal wager.
Pascal’s Wager is an argument in philosophy presented by the seventeenth-century French philosopher, mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal (1623–1662). It posits that humans bet with their lives that God either exists or does not.
Pascal argues that a rational person should live as though God exists and seek to believe in God. If God does not actually exist, such a person will have only a finite loss (some pleasures, luxury, etc.), whereas he stands to receive infinite gains (as represented by eternity in Heaven) and avoid infinite losses (eternity in Hell).
According to Seyyed Hossein Nasr and colleagues in their recent commentary, as they discuss the introduction to this surah:
It (the surah) then calls upon the signs within creation and the human soul as evidence of the Day of Judgment (vv. 20-23). This is followed by references to the stories of Abraham, Lot, and Moses (vv. 24-40), transitioning into a discussion of the pre- Islamic Arabian tribes of ‘Ad and Thamud (vv. 4.1-4.5), and concluding with a reference to Noah (v. 46), who preceded all of the aforementioned tribes and peoples. The next passage (vv. 47-55) begins with another allusion to the evidence of Divine Omnipotence provided by the natural order (vv. 47-49) and provides counsel to the Prophet Muhammad. The surah concludes with a discussion of the relationship between the Divine and the human (vv. 56-58) and a ﬁnal warning to the disbelievers (vv. 59-60)
There are several verses in this surah that bring our attention to religion and science correlation. The most salient in this regard, in our opinion are the first few verses and, “And the heaven We built with Our own powers and indeed We go on expanding it;” (51:47) and “We created every thing in pairs that you may reflect!” (51:49) Please see the commentary below. From a broader perspective, may we suggest: Cataloging 750 verses of the Holy Quran inspiring believers to study nature.
The holy Quran is a book for the spiritual guidance of man, but it discloses a large number of scientific truths which were not known to man at the revelation of the Book.
بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
|51:1. By those winds that scatter far and wide.||
|51:2. And those that are heavily laden.||
|51:3. That blow gently.||
|51:4. That distribute rain as ordained!||
|51:5. What you people are promised is true.||
إِنَّمَا تُوعَدُونَ لَصَادِقٌ
|51:6. The judgment will surely come to pass.||
وَإِنَّ الدِّينَ لَوَاقِعٌ
|51:7. By the sky with its pathways.||
وَالسَّمَاءِ ذَاتِ الْحُبُكِ
|51:8. You are caught in contradictory assertions.||
إِنَّكُمْ لَفِي قَوْلٍ مُّخْتَلِفٍ
|51:9. That mislead those who are destined to be turned away.||
يُؤْفَكُ عَنْهُ مَنْ أُفِكَ
|51:10. Ruined are the liars,||
|51:11. who flounder about in ignorance.||
الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي غَمْرَةٍ سَاهُونَ
|51:12. They ask, ‘When is this Judgement Day coming?’||
يَسْأَلُونَ أَيَّانَ يَوْمُ الدِّينِ
|51:13. It will be the day when they are afflicted with fire.||
يَوْمَ هُمْ عَلَى النَّارِ يُفْتَنُونَ
|51:14. ‘Taste the punishment! This is what you wished to hasten.’||
ذُوقُوا فِتْنَتَكُمْ هَـٰذَا الَّذِي كُنتُم بِهِ تَسْتَعْجِلُونَ
|51:15. The righteous will be in Gardens with flowing springs.||
إِنَّ الْمُتَّقِينَ فِي جَنَّاتٍ وَعُيُونٍ
|51:16. They will receive their Lord’s gifts because of the good they did before:||
آخِذِينَ مَا آتَاهُمْ رَبُّهُمْ ۚإِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا قَبْلَ ذَٰلِكَ مُحْسِنِينَ
|51:17. They slept but little at night||
كَانُوا قَلِيلًا مِّنَ اللَّيْلِ مَا يَهْجَعُونَ
|51:18. and sought forgiveness at dawn.||
وَبِالْأَسْحَارِ هُمْ يَسْتَغْفِرُونَ
|51:19. They gave a rightful share of their wealth to the beggar and the deprived.||
وَفِي أَمْوَالِهِمْ حَقٌّ لِّلسَّائِلِ وَالْمَحْرُومِ
|51:20. In the earth are Signs for those who believe firmly||
وَفِي الْأَرْضِ آيَاتٌ لِّلْمُوقِنِينَ
|51:21. and in yourselves too, do you not see?||
ۚ أَفَلَا تُبْصِرُونَ
|51:22. In the sky is your sustenance and all that you are promised.||
وَفِي السَّمَاءِ رِزْقُكُمْ وَمَا تُوعَدُونَ
|51:23. And by the Lord of the heavens and the earth, all that which is being said in the Quran and the Day of Judgment are as real as your speaking to one another.||
فَوَرَبِّ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ إِنَّهُ لَحَقٌّ مِّثْلَ مَا أَنَّكُمْ تَنطِقُونَ
|51:24. Muhammad, have you heard the story of the honored guests of Abraham?||
هَلْ أَتَاكَ حَدِيثُ ضَيْفِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ الْمُكْرَمِينَ
|51:25. They went in to see him and said, ‘Peace.’ ‘Peace,’ he replied, and murmured to himself, ‘These people are strangers.’||
إِذْ دَخَلُوا عَلَيْهِ فَقَالُوا سَلَامًا ۖ قَالَ سَلَامٌ قَوْمٌ مُّنكَرُونَ
|51:26. He turned quickly to his household, brought out a fat roasted calf.||
فَرَاغَ إِلَىٰ أَهْلِهِ فَجَاءَ بِعِجْلٍ سَمِينٍ
|51:27. And placed it before them. ‘Will you not eat?’ he said.||
فَقَرَّبَهُ إِلَيْهِمْ قَالَ أَلَا تَأْكُلُونَ
|51:28. Beginning to be afraid of them, but they said, ‘Do not be afraid.’ They gave him good news of a son who would be gifted with knowledge.||
فَأَوْجَسَ مِنْهُمْ خِيفَةً ۖ قَالُوا لَا تَخَفْ ۖ وَبَشَّرُوهُ بِغُلَامٍ عَلِيمٍ
|51:29. His wife then entered with a loud cry, struck her face and said, ‘A barren old woman?’||
فَأَقْبَلَتِ امْرَأَتُهُ فِي صَرَّةٍ فَصَكَّتْ وَجْهَهَا وَقَالَتْ عَجُوزٌ عَقِيمٌ
|51:30. But they said, ‘It will be so. This is what your Lord said, and He is the Wise, the All Knowing.’||
قَالُوا كَذَٰلِكِ قَالَ رَبُّكِ ۖ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْحَكِيمُ الْعَلِيمُ
|51:31. Abraham said, ‘What is your errand, messengers?’||
قَالَ فَمَا خَطْبُكُمْ أَيُّهَا الْمُرْسَلُونَ
|51:32. They said, ‘We have been sent to a people lost in sin,||
قَالُوا إِنَّا أُرْسِلْنَا إِلَىٰ قَوْمٍ مُّجْرِمِينَ
|51:33. to bring down rocks of clay, on them.||
لِنُرْسِلَ عَلَيْهِمْ حِجَارَةً مِّن طِينٍ
|51:34. Which are marked by your Lord for those who exceed all bounds.’||
مُّسَوَّمَةً عِندَ رَبِّكَ لِلْمُسْرِفِينَ
|51:35. We brought out such believers as were there.||
فَأَخْرَجْنَا مَن كَانَ فِيهَا مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ
|51:36. We found only one household there devoted to God.||
فَمَا وَجَدْنَا فِيهَا غَيْرَ بَيْتٍ مِّنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ
|51:37. And we left the town to be a sign for those who fear the painful punishment.||
وَتَرَكْنَا فِيهَا آيَةً لِّلَّذِينَ يَخَافُونَ الْعَذَابَ الْأَلِيمَ
|51:38. There is another sign in Moses: We sent him to Pharaoh with clear authority.||
وَفِي مُوسَىٰ إِذْ أَرْسَلْنَاهُ إِلَىٰ فِرْعَوْنَ بِسُلْطَانٍ مُّبِينٍ
|51:39. Pharaoh turned away with his supporters, saying, ‘This is a sorcerer, or maybe a madman.’||
فَتَوَلَّىٰ بِرُكْنِهِ وَقَالَ سَاحِرٌ أَوْ مَجْنُونٌ
|51:40. So We seized him and his forces and threw them into the sea: he was to blame.||
فَأَخَذْنَاهُ وَجُنُودَهُ فَنَبَذْنَاهُمْ فِي الْيَمِّ وَهُوَ مُلِيمٌ
|51:41.There is another sign in the Ad: We sent the life-destroying wind against them.||
وَفِي عَادٍ إِذْ أَرْسَلْنَا عَلَيْهِمُ الرِّيحَ الْعَقِيمَ
|51:42, And it reduced every thing it struck to shreds.||
مَا تَذَرُ مِن شَيْءٍ أَتَتْ عَلَيْهِ إِلَّا جَعَلَتْهُ كَالرَّمِيمِ
|51:43. And also in the Thamud: it was said to them, ‘Make the most of your lives for a while.’||
وَفِي ثَمُودَ إِذْ قِيلَ لَهُمْ تَمَتَّعُوا حَتَّىٰ حِينٍ
|51:44. But they rebelled against their Lord’s command, so the blast took them. They looked on helplessly.||
فَعَتَوْا عَنْ أَمْرِ رَبِّهِمْ فَأَخَذَتْهُمُ الصَّاعِقَةُ وَهُمْ يَنظُرُونَ
|51:45. They could not even remain standing, let alone defend themselves.||
فَمَا اسْتَطَاعُوا مِن قِيَامٍ وَمَا كَانُوا مُنتَصِرِينَ
|51:46. Before that We destroyed the people of Noah. They were truly a sinful people!||
وَقَوْمَ نُوحٍ مِّن قَبْلُ ۖ إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا قَوْمًا فَاسِقِينَ
|51:47. And the heaven We built with Our own powers and indeed We go on expanding it.||
وَالسَّمَاءَ بَنَيْنَاهَا بِأَيْدٍ وَإِنَّا لَمُوسِعُونَ
|51:48. We spread out the earth; how well We smoothed it out!||
وَالْأَرْضَ فَرَشْنَاهَا فَنِعْمَ الْمَاهِدُونَ
|51:49. We created every thing in pairs that you may reflect!||
وَمِن كُلِّ شَيْءٍ خَلَقْنَا زَوْجَيْنِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ
|51:50. Flee therefore unto Allah. Surely, I am a plain Warner unto you from Him.||
ۖ إِنِّي لَكُم مِّنْهُ نَذِيرٌ مُّبِينٌ
|51:51. And do not set up any other god or the ultimate goal alongside Him. I am sent by Him to give you clear warning!||
وَلَا تَجْعَلُوا مَعَ اللَّـهِ إِلَـٰهًا آخَرَ ۖ إِنِّي لَكُم مِّنْهُ نَذِيرٌ مُّبِينٌ
|51:52. Every previous people to whom a messenger was sent also said, ‘A sorcerer, or maybe a madman!’||
كَذَٰلِكَ مَا أَتَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِم مِّن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا قَالُوا سَاحِرٌ أَوْ مَجْنُونٌ
|51:53. Did they tell one another to do this? No! They are a people who exceed all bounds.||
ۚ بَلْ هُمْ قَوْمٌ طَاغُونَ
|51:54. So ignore them Prophet; you are not to blame.||
فَتَوَلَّ عَنْهُمْ فَمَا أَنتَ بِمَلُومٍ
|51:55. And go on reminding people, it is good for those who believe.||
وَذَكِّرْ فَإِنَّ الذِّكْرَىٰ تَنفَعُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ
|51:56. I have created men high and low, only to worship Me.||
وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ
|51:57. I want no provision from them, nor do I want them to feed Me.||
مَا أُرِيدُ مِنْهُم مِّن رِّزْقٍ وَمَا أُرِيدُ أَن يُطْعِمُونِ
|51:58. Surely, it is Allah Who is a Great Sustainer, the Lord of Power, the Ever Mighty.||
إِنَّ اللَّـهَ هُوَ الرَّزَّاقُ ذُو الْقُوَّةِ الْمَتِينُ
|51:59. The evildoers, like their predecessors, will have a share of punishment, they need not ask Me to hasten it.||
فَإِنَّ لِلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا ذَنُوبًا مِّثْلَ ذَنُوبِ أَصْحَابِهِمْ فَلَا يَسْتَعْجِلُونِ
|51:60. So woe, then, to those who deny the truth of the Day they have been promised.||
فَوَيْلٌ لِّلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِن يَوْمِهِمُ الَّذِي يُوعَدُونَ
“By those winds that scatter far and wide. And those that are heavily laden. That blow gently. That distribute rain as ordained!”
These verses not only allude to the water cycle but also reveal a very profound spiritual reality.
According to Malik Ghulam Farid regarding these verses:
From a phenomenon in physical nature, the four verses (1-4) draw attention to a parallel spiritual phenomenon. The parallelism is very striking. The four words — aI- Dhariyat (those that scatter), al-Hamilat (those that carry), al-Jariyat (those that speed lightly along) and al-Muqassimat (those that distribute) — when pointing to the physical phenomenon, may stand for winds that scatter far and wide, the vapours that rise from the oceans, carry the clouds laden with rain-water, blow gently and then cause rain to fall on dry, parched and burnt land and turn it into a smiling, blooming and blossoming piece of earth, full of verdure, beautiful ﬂowers and sweet fruits. Spiritually speaking, these four words may stand for that band of righteous men, who drinking deep at the spiritual fountain that the Holy Prophet caused to ﬂow, and who, after assimilating and being impregnated with the beautiful and life-giving Quranic teaching, went forth to the remote corners of Arabia and afterwards to far-off lands, carrying their blessed load and scattering the revealed Word of God in countries, reeking with polytheistic beliefs and immoral practices, not with the sword but with love and peace, like winds that blow gently and carry rain to withered lands.
“By the sky with its pathways. You are caught in contradictory assertions.”
According to Malik Ghulam Farid regarding these verses:
Tracks or paths of heaven are the orbits of planets, comets, and stars with which the vault of heaven is strewn. These celestial bodies ﬂoat in their respective orbits performing their allotted tasks regularly, punctually and unerringly, without trespassing on one another’s sphere of action and all united forming a glorious harmony of structure and motion. That the heaven is full of such tracks on which planets and stars travel, was a discovery made to the world by the Qur’an, at a time when it was believed that the heavens were solid in their formation.
The great astronomical truth revealed in the preceding verse leads to the inference that the Qur’an is God’s own revealed Word and that there exists a unity of purpose and harmony in Divine work, and yet the materialistic philosophers coin far-fetched theories, groping and ﬂoundering in ill-founded surmises and conjectures, not believing in God’s Word and in His Prophet.
According to Muhammad Ali regarding the verse number 7:
The description of heaven as full of paths is a scientific truth certainly unknown to the world 1300 years ago. The paths in the heavens are the orbits of the various planets and of the stars themselves; compared 36:40 where it is stated that ‘all float on in an orbit.’
“And by the Lord of the heavens and the earth, all that which is being said in the Quran and the Day of Judgment are as real as your speaking to one another.”
We have translated this verse fairly liberally. The verse cites the creation of the universe, by the Lord of Mercy, as a proof for what is being said and we believe that could imply both the holy Quran and Day of Judgment that is being discussed before in this surah.
According to Seyyed Hossein Nasr and colleagues in their recent commentary, under this verse:
It is indeed true, refers to that which you were promised in v. 22 (JJ, R), to the Quran as a whole (R), or to the Judgment, as in v. 6 (R). The ending phrase means that just as you have no doubt that you speak, you should have no doubt in its reality (Bd).
All fundamental truths are interrelated and in some sense can be proof of each other. Suggested reading: We Dream, Therefore God Is!
“There is another sign in Moses: We sent him to Pharaoh with clear authority. Pharaoh turned away with his supporters, saying, ‘This is a sorcerer, or maybe a madman.’ So We seized him and his forces and threw them into the sea: he was to blame.”
According to Seyyed Hossein Nasr and colleagues in their recent commentary, under these verses:
The account of Moses, whose name appears 136 times in the Quran, is featured more prominently than that of any other prophet. As with most Makkan surahs that feature the story of Moses (40:23-45; 43:46-56; 44:17-31; 79:15-25), here the account is given more as a spiritual example reﬂecting aspects of the Prophet Muhammad’s challenge than as history. The more detailed accounts of Moses’ mission are found in 2:49-61; 7:103-55; 10:75-93; 17:101-4; 20:9-97; 26:10-66; 27:7-14; 28:3-46.
“And the heaven We built with Our own powers and indeed We go on expanding it.”
Mirza Tahir Ahmad, the previous worldwide leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, writes in his book, Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge & Truth, in the chapter, The Quran and Cosmology, about this verse:
At the time the Holy Quran was revealed, the human understanding of the nature of the cosmos and the movement or the stillness of the heavenly bodies was extremely primitive and obscure. This is no longer the case, as our knowledge of the universe has considerably advanced and expanded by the present age.
Some of the theories relating to the creation of the universe have been verified as facts, whereas some others are still being explored. The concept of the expanding universe belongs to the former category, and has been universally accepted by the scientific community as ‘fact’. This discovery was first made by Edwin Hubble in the 1920s. Yet some thirteen centuries before this, it was clearly mentioned in the Quran:
And the heaven We built with Our own powers (aydin) and indeed We go on expanding it (musi’un).
It should be remembered that the concept of the continuous expansion of the universe is exclusive to the Quran. No other Divine scriptures even remotely hint at it. The discovery that the universe is constantly expanding is of prime significance to scientists, because it helps create a better understanding of how the universe was initially created. It clearly explains the stage by stage process of creation, in a manner which perfectly falls into step with the theory of the Big Bang. The Quran goes further and describes the entire cycle of the beginning, the end and the return again to a similar beginning. The first step of creation as related in the Quran accurately describes the event of the Big Bang in the following words:
Do not the unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were a closed-up mass (ratqan), then We clove them asunder (fataqna)? And We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?
It is significant that this verse is specifically addressed to non-believers, implying perhaps, that the unveiling of the secret mentioned in this verse would be made by the non-believers, a sign for them of the truth of the Quran.
In this verse the words ratqan (closed-up mass), and fataqna (We clove them asunder), carry the basic message of the whole verse. Authentic Arabic lexicons give two meanings of ratqan, that have great relevance to the topic under discussion. One meaning is ‘the coming together of something and the consequent infusion into a single entity’ and the second meaning is ‘total darkness’. Both these meanings are significantly applicable. Taken together, they offer an apt description of the singularity of a black hole.
“We created every thing in pairs that you may reflect!”
Pairs have been discovered in several aspects of nature, since the seventh century when the Quran was revealed. The pairs have been discovered in plant kingdom and in subatomic particles for example.
About reproduction and pairs in the plant kingdom, Dr. Maurice Bucaille, who was a French medical doctor and author, and in 1973, was appointed family physician to King Faisal of Saudi Arabia writes in his book, the Bible, the Quran and Science:
One must bear in mind that there are two methods of reproduction in the vegetable kingdom: one sexual, the other asexual. It is only the first which in fact deserves the term ‘reproduction’, because this defines a biological process whose purpose is the appearance of a new individual identical to the one that gave it birth.
Asexual reproduction is quite simply multiplication. It is the result of the fragmentation of an organism which has separated from the main plant and developed in such a way as to resemble the plant from which it came. It is considered by Guilliermond and Mangenot to be a ‘special case of growth’. A very simple example of this is the cutting. a cutting taken from a plant is placed in suitably watered soil and regenerated by the growth of new roots. Some plants have organs specially designed for this, while others give off spores that behave like seeds, as it were, (it should be remembered that seeds are the results of a process of sexual reproduction).
Sexual reproduction in the vegetable kingdom is carried out by the coupling of the male and female parts of the generic formations united on a same plant or located on separate plants.
This is the only form that is mentioned in the Quran.
— sura 20, verse 53:
“(God is the One Who) sent water down from the sky and thereby We brought forth pairs of plants each separate from the other.”
‘One of a pair’ is the translation of zauj (plural azwaj) whose original meaning is: ‘that which, in the company of another, forms a pair’; the word is used just as readily for a married couple as for a pair of shoes.
— sura 22, verse 5:
“Thou seest the grounds lifeless. When We send down water thereon it shakes and grows and puts forth every magnificent pair (of plants).”
— sura 31, verse 10:
“We caused to grow (on the earth) every noble pair (of plants).”
— sura 13, verse 3:
“Of all fruits (God) placed (on the earth) two of a pair.”
We know that fruit is the end-product of the reproduction process of superior plants which have the most highly developed and complex organization. The stage preceding fruit is the flower, which has male and female organs (stamens and ovules). The latter, once pollen has been carried to them, bear fruit which in turn matures and frees it seeds. All fruit therefore implies the existence of male and female organs. This is the meaning of the verse in the Quran.
It must be noted that for certain species, fruit can come from non-fertilized flowers (parthenocarpic fruit), e.g. bananas, certain types of pineapple, fig, orange, and vine. They can nevertheless also come from plants that have definite sexual characteristics.
“Flee therefore unto Allah. Surely, I am a plain Warner unto you from Him.”
The previous verse “We created every thing in pairs that you may reflect!” A Man and a woman, a male and a female are a natural pair and Allah says: “And one of His Signs is this, that He has created wives for you from among yourselves that you may find peace of mind in them, and He has put love and tenderness between you. In that surely are Signs for a people who reflect.” (30:22) But, as humans we not only seek love and tenderness in this life, but, are concerned about our mortality and look forward to an eternal life. In paradise, our hope and aspiration lies in our relationship with God. In this sense, the pious make an eternal pair with the Lord of Mercy, the God of Abrahamic faiths. Therefore, the Quran says: “Flee therefore unto Allah. Surely, I am a plain Warner unto you from Him.” (51:51)
According to Seyyed Hossein Nasr and colleagues in their recent commentary, under this verse:
That one should not set up equals unto God (2:22) or ascribe partners unto God (4:36; 7:33) is among the most predominant themes of the Quran; see 4:48c; 6:151-52c. Regarding the present verse, al-Ghazzali writes, ‘One who does not see God in everything sees something other than Him. And if there is something other than God to which one gives attention, this attention involves an element of hidden idolatry (al-shirk al-khaﬁ). Rather, pure monotheism (al-tawhid al-khalis) consists in seeing only God in everything’ (Ihya ’, K. Qira ‘at al-Qur’an).
The use of the Arabic word آخَرَ Akhara in this verse highlights that we will have other pursuits and focus of attention but out ultimate devotion and worship should be for Allah alone.
“I have created men high and low, only to worship Me.”
The word الْجِنَّ Jinn used here is for powerful men and the word الْإِنسَ Ins for the ordinary men or the masses.
According to Seyyed Hossein Nasr and colleagues in their recent commentary, under this verse:
Together, this and the preceding verse indicate that God did not create human beings merely to seek their own sustenance, but rather to worship and submit to Him (Aj, IK), or in other words to remember God. Al-Zamakhshari argues that this points to the purpose for which human beings were created, even if most of them do not fulﬁll this function. From this perspective, God only created human beings to worship Him by choosing to worship freely and not being constrained to do it, because He created them as contingent beings. Had God wanted their worship by way of coercion (qasr) and compulsion (ilja’), it would be found among all human beings (Z). Regarding God’s desire that human beings worship, a hadith qudsi states, ‘O Son of Adam! dedicate yourself (tafarragh) to worshipping Me, and I will ﬁll your chest with riches and make your poverty dissipate. Otherwise, I will ﬁll your chest with distractions and will not make your poverty dissipate’ (IK). In this vein, the verse expands upon the command to flee unto God (v. 50), as everything else in which one seeks refuge distracts human beings from their true purpose. This passage could thus be interpreted as another expression of the central Quranic theme that human beings are not created for this world alone, but for the next. Ibn Kathir links this to his understanding of what is reported to have been written in a previous scripture: ‘It has been transmitted in one of the Divine books [that] God says, ‘Son of Adam, I created you to worship Me, so play not! I have taken on the burden of your provision, so tire yourself not! If you seek Me, you will ﬁnd Me. If you ﬁnd Me, you have found everything. If I pass you by, everything has passed you by. And I am more beloved to you than everything.’