Tafheem ul Quran

Surah 38 Sad, Ayat 41-64

وَاذۡكُرۡ عَبۡدَنَاۤ اَيُّوۡبَۘ اِذۡ نَادٰى رَبَّهٗۤ اَنِّىۡ مَسَّنِىَ الشَّيۡطٰنُ بِنُصۡبٍ وَّعَذَابٍؕ‏ ﴿38:41﴾ اُرۡكُضۡ بِرِجۡلِكَ​ ۚ هٰذَا مُغۡتَسَلٌ ۢ بَارِدٌ وَّشَرَابٌ‏ ﴿38:42﴾ وَوَهَبۡنَا لَهٗۤ اَهۡلَهٗ وَمِثۡلَهُمۡ مَّعَهُمۡ رَحۡمَةً مِّنَّا وَذِكۡرٰى لِاُولِى الۡاَلۡبَابِ‏ ﴿38:43﴾ وَخُذۡ بِيَدِكَ ضِغۡثًا فَاضۡرِبْ بِّهٖ وَلَا تَحۡنَثۡ​ؕ اِنَّا وَجَدۡنٰهُ صَابِرًا​ ؕ نِعۡمَ الۡعَبۡدُ​ ؕ اِنَّـهٗۤ اَوَّابٌ‏ ﴿38:44﴾ وَاذۡكُرۡ عِبٰدَنَاۤ اِبۡرٰهِيۡمَ وَاِسۡحٰقَ وَيَعۡقُوۡبَ اُولِى الۡاَيۡدِىۡ وَالۡاَبۡصَارِ‏ ﴿38:45﴾ اِنَّاۤ اَخۡلَصۡنٰهُمۡ بِخَالِصَةٍ ذِكۡرَى الدَّارِ​ۚ‏ ﴿38:46﴾ وَاِنَّهُمۡ عِنۡدَنَا لَمِنَ الۡمُصۡطَفَيۡنَ الۡاَخۡيَارِؕ‏ ﴿38:47﴾ وَاذۡكُرۡ اِسۡمٰعِيۡلَ وَ الۡيَسَعَ وَذَا الۡكِفۡلِ​ؕ وَكُلٌّ مِّنَ الۡاَخۡيَارِؕ‏  ﴿38:48﴾ هٰذَا ذِكۡرٌ​ؕ وَاِنَّ لِلۡمُتَّقِيۡنَ لَحُسۡنَ مَاٰبٍۙ‏ ﴿38:49﴾ جَنّٰتِ عَدۡنٍ مُّفَتَّحَةً لَّهُمُ الۡاَبۡوَابُ​ۚ‏ ﴿38:50﴾ مُتَّكِـئِيۡنَ فِيۡهَا يَدۡعُوۡنَ فِيۡهَا بِفَاكِهَةٍ كَثِيۡرَةٍ وَّشَرَابٍ‏  ﴿38:51﴾ وَعِنۡدَهُمۡ قٰصِرٰتُ الطَّرۡفِ اَتۡرَابٌ‏ ﴿38:52﴾ هٰذَا مَا تُوۡعَدُوۡنَ لِيَوۡمِ الۡحِسَابِ‏ ﴿38:53﴾ اِنَّ هٰذَا لَرِزۡقُنَا مَا لَهٗ مِنۡ نَّـفَادٍ ​ۖ ​ۚ‏ ﴿38:54﴾ هٰذَا​ ؕ وَاِنَّ لِلطّٰغِيۡنَ لَشَرَّ مَاٰبٍ ۙ‏ ﴿38:55﴾ جَهَـنَّمَ​ ۚ يَصۡلَوۡنَهَا​ ۚ فَبِئۡسَ الۡمِهَادُ‏ ﴿38:56﴾ هٰذَا ۙ فَلۡيَذُوۡقُوۡهُ حَمِيۡمٌ وَّغَسَّاقٌ ۙ‏ ﴿38:57﴾ وَّاٰخَرُ مِنۡ شَكۡلِهٖۤ اَزۡوَاجٌ ؕ‏ ﴿38:58﴾ هٰذَا فَوۡجٌ مُّقۡتَحِمٌ مَّعَكُمۡ​ۚ لَا مَرۡحَبًۢـا بِهِمۡ​ؕ اِنَّهُمۡ صَالُوا النَّارِ‏ ﴿38:59﴾ قَالُوۡا بَلۡ اَنۡتُمۡ لَا مَرۡحَبًۢـا بِكُمۡ​ؕ اَنۡتُمۡ قَدَّمۡتُمُوۡهُ لَنَا​ۚ فَبِئۡسَ الۡقَرَارُ‏ ﴿38:60﴾ قَالُوۡا رَبَّنَا مَنۡ قَدَّمَ لَنَا هٰذَا فَزِدۡهُ عَذَابًا ضِعۡفًا فِى النَّارِ‏  ﴿38:61﴾ وَقَالُوۡا مَا لَنَا لَا نَرٰى رِجَالًا كُنَّا نَـعُدُّهُمۡ مِّنَ الۡاَشۡرَارِؕ‏  ﴿38:62﴾ اَ تَّخَذۡنٰهُمۡ سِخۡرِيًّا اَمۡ زَاغَتۡ عَنۡهُمُ الۡاَبۡصَارُ‏ ﴿38:63﴾ اِنَّ ذٰ لِكَ لَحَقّ ٌ تَخَاصُمُ اَهۡلِ النَّارِ‏ ﴿38:64﴾

(38:41) And remember Our servant Job:41 when he cried to his Lord: “Behold, Satan has afflicted me with much hardship and suffering.”42 (38:42) (We commanded him): “Stamp your foot on earth, and here is cool water to wash with and to drink.”43 (38:43) And We granted to him his family and also the like of them,44 as a mercy from Us, and as a reminder to people of understanding,45 (38:44) (and We said to him): “Take in your hand a bundle of rushes and strike with it, and do not break your oath.”46 Indeed We found him steadfast. How excellent a servant (of Ours) he was. Indeed he constantly turned (to his Lord).47 (38:45) And remember Our servants � Abraham, Isaac and Jacob � they were endowed with great strength and vision.48 (38:46) Verily We exalted them in consideration of a sterling quality: their remembrance of the Abode of the Hereafter.49 (38:47) In Our sight they are among the chosen and excellent ones. (38:48) And remember Ishmael, Elisha,50 and Dhu al-Kifl.51All were of the best. (38:49) This was a remembrance. An excellent retreat awaits the God-fearing (38:50) � everlasting Gardens with gates wide open for them52 (38:51) wherein they shall recline, wherein they shall ask for abundant fruit and drinks, (38:52) and wherein there shall be with them well-matched, bashful mates.53 (38:53) All this is what you are promised for the Day of Judgement. (38:54) This is Our provision for you, never to end. (38:55) All this (is for the God-fearing). But for the transgressors, an evil resort awaits them � (38:56) Hell, where they will be roasted. An evil place to dwell! (38:57) All this (is for them); so let them taste boiling water and pus,54 (38:58) and other sufferings of the kind. (38:59) (Observing their followers advancing to Hell they will say, among themselves: “This is a troop rushing in to you. There is no welcome for them. They are destined to roast in the Fire.” (38:60) They will reply: “Rather, no welcome to you. (You will roast in Hell.) It is you who led us to this end. What an evil resort!” (38:61) They will say: “Our Lord, give twofold punishment in the Fire to him who has led us to this.” (38:62) They will say to one another: “But why do we not see those whom we considered him among the wicked?55 (38:63) Is it that we mistakenly made fun of them; or have they disappeared from our sight?” (38:64) Verily all this is true. This is how the inmates of the Fire will dispute among themselves.


41. This is the fourth place in the Quran where the Prophet Job (peace be upon him) has been mentioned. Before this he has been mentioned in (Surah An-Nisa, Ayat 163); (Surah Al-Anaam, Ayat 84 )and (Surah Al-Anbiya, Ayats 83-84). For the details about him, please see (E.Ns 76 to 79 of Surah Al- Anbiya).

42. This does not mean that Satan has afflicted me with illness and brought distress upon me, but it means: The affliction of the severities of illness, the loss of property and wealth, and the desertion of the near and dear ones is not so great a torment and trouble for me as the temptation of Satan, who is exploiting my condition to despair me of my Lord and wants that I should turn ungrateful to Him and become desperate and impatient. This meaning of the lamentation of the Prophet Job (peace be upon him) is preferable for two reasons: (1) According to the Quran, Allah has granted Satan only the power of temptation. He has not given him the power to afflict with illness the worshipers of Allah and compel them to deviate from the way of service and obedience by causing them physical ailments. (2) In Surah Al-Anbiya when the Prophet Job (peace be upon him) puts before Allah his complaint about illness and disease, he does not mention Satan at all, but says only: I have been afflicted with the disease and You are most Merciful.

43. That is, as soon as he stamped his foot on the ground, a spring gushed forth by Allah’s command, drinking from which and washing with which was the remedy of the Prophet Job’s (peace be upon him) disease. Most probably he was suffering from some skin disease. According to the Bible also: Satan smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. (Job, 2: 7).

44. Traditions show that during this illness everyone except his wife had deserted the Prophet Job (peace be upon him); even his children had turned away. To this Allah has alluded, saying: When We granted him health, the whole family returned to him, and then We granted him even more children.

45. That is, in it there is a lesson for an intelligent man. Neither should man forget God and become arrogant in good times nor despair of Him in bad times. Good fortune and misfortune are entirely in the Power of Allah, the One. If He wills He can change the best times of man into the worst times and the worst into the best. Therefore, a wise person should trust in Him alone in all sorts of circumstances and should pin all his hopes on Him.

46. A careful study of these words shows that the Prophet Job (peace be upon him) during illness had been annoyed with somebody (according to traditions, his wife) and sworn to beat him or her by giving so many stripes. When Allah restored him to health and the anger of the illness was gone, he became worried as how to fulfill the oath. For if he carried out the oath, he would be inflicting pain on an innocent person, and if he did not, he would be committing the sin of breaking the oath. Allah took him out of the difficult situation by the command: Take a broom containing as many sticks of straw as the number of the stripes you had sworn to give; then strike the person just once with the broom so as both to fulfill your oath and to avoid giving undue trouble to the person concerned.

Some jurists hold the view that this concession was specially meant for the Prophet Job (peace be upon him), and some others think that other people also can take advantage of it. The first view has been cited by Ibn Asakir from Abdullah bin Abbas and by Abu Bakr al-Jassas from Mujahid, and Imam Malik also held the same view. The second view has been adopted by Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Abu Yusuf, Imam Muhammad, Imam Zufar and Imam Shafei. They say that if a person, for instance, has sworn to give his servant ten stripes, and afterwards combines ten whips and strikes him only once in a way that some part of each whip strikes him, his oath will be fulfilled.

Several Ahadith show that the Prophet (peace be upon him), in order to inflict the prescribed punishment on a fornicator who was too ill or too weak to receive a hundred stripes, also adopted the method taught in this verse. Allama Abu Bakr al-Jassas has related a tradition on the authority of Saeed bin Saad bin Ubadah to the effect that a person from the tribe of Bani Saidah happened to commit fornication, and he was a sick man and a mere skeleton. Thereupon the Prophet (peace be upon him) commanded: Take a branch of the palm tree with a hundred twigs on it and strike him therewith once and for all. (Ahkam al Quran). In Musnad Ahmad, Abu Daud, Nasai, Ibn Majah, Tabarani, Abdur Razzaq and other collections of Hadith, there are several Ahadith supporting it, which conclusively proves that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had devised this very method for inflicting the prescribed punishment on a sick or weak person. However, the jurists lay the condition that some part of every twig or piece of straw must strike the culprit, and even if only one stroke, it must also hurt the culprit; that is, it is not enough just to touch him but he must be struck with it.

Here the question also arises that if a person has sworn to do something and afterwards he comes to know that it is improper then what should he do? There is a tradition from the Prophet (peace be upon him) to the effect that in such a case one should do only that which is better, and the same is the atonement for the oath. Another tradition from him says that one should do something good instead of the improper thing and should atone for his oath. This verse supports this second tradition, for if keeping oneself from an improper thing had been the atonement for the oath, Allah would not have told the Prophet Job (peace be upon him) to strike the broom once and fulfill his oath, but would have said: Do not do this improper thing, and your restraint itself is the atonement for your oath.

This verse also shows that it is not necessary to carry out immediately what one has sworn to do. The Prophet Job (peace be upon him) had sworn an oath in the state of illness, and fulfilled it after complete recovery, and not immediately even after the recovery.

Some people have regarded this verse as an argument for practicing pretense under the Shariah. No doubt it was a pretense which the Prophet Job (peace be upon him) had been taught but it had been taught not for evading anything obligatory but for avoiding an evil. Therefore, in the Shariah those pretenses only are lawful, which are adopted to remove injustice and sin and evil from one’s own self or from another person, otherwise practice of pretense is highly sinful if it is employed for the purpose of making the unlawful as lawful, or evading the obligatory duties and righteous acts. For a person who practices pretense for such impious objects, in fact, tries to deceive God. For example, a person who transfers his wealth to another before the completion of a year on it, only for the purpose of evading payment of the Zakat on it, not only evades an obligatory duty, but also thinks that Allah will get deceived by this trickery and will consider him as relieved of his duty. The jurists who have mentioned such pretenses in their books, do not mean that one should practice them in order to evade the Shariah obligations, but they mean to point out that a judge or ruler cannot take to task a person who escapes the consequences of a sin under a legal cover for his affair is with Allah.

47. The Prophet Job (peace be upon him) has been mentioned in this context to impress the reader that when the righteous servants of Allah are afflicted with hardships and calamities, they do not complain of their distress to Allah but endure the tests and trials set by Him patiently and invoke only Him for help. They do not despair of God and do not turn to others for help if their distress is not removed after making invocations to God for some time, but they believe that whatever they will get, they will get only from Allah. Therefore, they remain hopeful of His mercy, no matter how long they might have to suffer the distress. That is why they are honored and blessed with the favors and bounties with which the Prophet Job (peace be upon him) was honored and blessed in his life. So much so that if they get involved in a moral dilemma due to a state of agitation, Allah shows them a way out of it in order to save them from evil, as He showed a way to the Prophet Job (peace be upon him).

48. The actual words in the text mean: Those who possessed the hands and the insights. The hand, as we have explained above, implies power and capability. To describe these Prophets as “men of great power and insight” means that they were practical men. They possessed great power to obey Allah and to abstain from sin, and they had made great efforts for raising the Word of Allah in the world. “Insight” does not mean eye-sight but the vision of the heart and mind. They could see and recognize the truth. They did not live like the blind in the world, but they walked the straight path of guidance, in the full light of knowledge, with open eyes. In these words, there is a subtle allusion to this also that the people who commit evil, and have gone astray, are in fact, deprived of the hands as well as the eyes. He only, who works in the cause of Allah, possesses the hands, and he, who distinguishes between the light of the truth and the darkness of falsehood, only possesses the eyes.

49. That is, the real cause for their success and eminence was that there was nothing of worldliness in their character. All their efforts, mental and physical, were directed towards the Hereafter. They remembered it themselves and urged others also to remember it. That is why Allah exalted them to such high ranks as have never been attained by those who remained absorbed in earning worldly wealth and prosperity. In this regard, one should also keep in view the subtle point that Allah here has only used the word ad-dar (that abode, or the real abode) for the Hereafter. This is meant to impress the truth that this world is no abode for man, but only a passage and a rest house, which man has to leave in any case. The real abode is the abode of the Hereafter. He who works to adorn that abode is the man of insight and such a one should inevitably be a commendable person in the sight of Allah. As for him who in order to adorn his transitory abode in this rest house behaves in a way as to ruin his real abode in the Hereafter is foolish and naturally cannot be liked by Allah.

50. The Prophet AlYasa (peace be upon him) has been mentioned only twice in the Quran, in Surah Al-Anaam, Ayat 86 and here, without any detail about him. Only his name appears in the chain of the Prophets. He was one of the major Prophets of Israel, belonged to Abel Meholah, a place on the river Jordan, and is well known as Elisha among the Jews and Christians. When the Prophet Elijah (peace be upon him) had taken refuge in the Sinai peninsula, he was commanded to return to Syria and Palestine for some important works, one of which was to prepare the Prophet Elisha for his successor-ship. Accordingly, when the Prophet Elijah came to his town, he found Elisha ploughing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth. The Prophet Elijah passed by him and cast his mantle upon him, and he left the oxen and followed him. (I Kings, 19:15-21). He remained under training with him for 10 to 12 years. Then, when Allah recalled Elijah, he was appointed Prophet in his place. (2 Kings, oh.2). The Second Book of the Kings gives a detailed account of the Prophet Elisha (chs, 2 to 13), which shows that when the Israeli state of northern Palestine got lost in polytheism, idol-worship and moral evils, Elisha a pointed Jehu, the son of Jehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi, king of Israel against the royal dynasty due to whose misdeeds those evils had spread in Israel. Jehu not only put an end to Baal-worship, but also condemned to death every member of the wicked family, including its children. But in spite of this reformist revolution the evils that had taken root in Israel could not be completely eradicated, and after the death of the Prophet Elisha they assumed enormous proportions; so much so that the Assyrians began to invade Samaria whenever they pleased. (For details, see (E.N. 7 of Surah Bani-Israil) and (E.Ns 70, 71 of Surah As-Saaffat).

51. Dhul-Kifil also has been mentioned only twice in the Quran, in (Surah Al Anbiya, Ayat 85) and here. For our research about him see (E.N. 81 of Surah Al-Anbiya).

52. The words mufattahat-al-lahum-ul-abwab may have several meanings: (1) They will go about in the Gardens (Paradise) freely without any hesitation. (2) No effort will have to be made to open the gates of Paradise, they will open automatically as soon as they will have the desire to enter them. (3) The angels appointed for keeping Paradise will open the gates for them as soon as they see them. This third meaning has been expressed more clearly at another place in the Quran, thus: When they arrive there, and its gates shall already have been opened, its keepers will say: Peace be upon you, you have fared well, enter here to dwell for ever. (Surah Az-Zumar, Ayat 73).

53. “Of equal age” may mean that they will be of equal age among themselves, and also that they will be of the same age as their husbands.

54. Several meanings of the word ghassaq, as used in the original, have been given by the lexicographers: (1) Any moisture that is discharged by the body in the form of pus, blood, or mixture of pus and blood, etc. and this includes tears as well. (2) Something extremely cold. (3) Something stinking and giving out offensive smell. However, the word is generally used in the first meaning only, though the other two meanings also are correct lexically.

55. This implies the believers whom the disbelievers used to look down upon as bad people in the world. It means: They will look around bewildered and will find only themselves and their guides in Hell but will find no trace of those people of whom they used to talk disparagingly in the world, and whom they used to mock in their meetings for talking about God, the Messenger and the Hereafter.