(Note: Wherever the word “you” or “your” is singular and refers to one human being, it is printed with an italic y, as in: you. Wherever such a word refers to God, the letter y is printed in capital, as in: You.)
For Fast 4
59 Say: Praise be to Allah and peace on His servants whom He has chosen! Is Allah better, or what they set up as partners (with Him)?
60 Or, Who created the heavens and the earth, and sends down for you water from the cloud? Then with it We cause to grow beautiful gardens — it is not possible for you to make their trees to grow. Is there a god with Allah? Indeed, they are a people who deviate!
61 Or, Who made the earth a resting-place, and made in it rivers, and raised on it mountains, and placed between the two seas a barrier? (1) Is there a god with Allah? Indeed, most of them do not know!
62 Or, Who answers the distressed one when he calls upon Him and removes the evil, and will make you successors in the earth? (2) Is there a god with Allah? Little mindful are you!
63 Or, Who guides you in the darkness of the land and the sea, and Who sends the winds as good news before His mercy? Is there a god with Allah? Exalted be Allah above what they set up as partners (with Him)!
64 Or, Who originates the creation, then reproduces it, and Who gives you sustenance from the heaven and the earth? Is there a god with Allah? Say: Bring your proof, if you are truthful.
65 Say: No one in the heavens and the earth knows the unseen but Allah; and they do not know when they will be raised.
66 No, their knowledge does not reach the Hereafter. Indeed, they are in doubt about it. Indeed, they are blind to it. (3)
1 See also ch. 25, v. 53: “And He it is Who has made the two seas to flow freely, the one sweet, very sweet, and the other saltish, bitter. And between the two He has made a barrier and inviolable obstruction.”
Apparently the reference is to the sweet-water rivers flowing on earth or underground and to the saltish sea-water. But there is a deeper reference to the two lives which man leads on earth, a sweet life of faith and goodness, which brings satisfaction and peace to the mind, and a bitter life of faithlessness and wickedness, which ever increases the thirst for material gains and never brings satisfaction to the mind of man. Both existed in the world side by side, and so they would continue.
During the Cold War, at the time of the 1956 Suez crisis, Hazrat Maulana Abdul Haq Vidyarthi ventured the interpretation that the two seas were the two great power blocs, i.e. the Western powers and the communist Soviet-led bloc, and the “barrier” meant that Allah would keep them apart from clashing directly at times of such crises, thus saving mankind from destruction. Similar confrontations occurred later on, for example, over Cuba and Vietnam, but the two powers were kept apart.
2 The manifestation of the marvellous power of God in nature, the creation of the heavens and the earth, the sending down of rain, the making of rivers and mountains — all these wonderful signs of the existence of the Great Creator are here followed by another equally wonderful sign of the existence of God, the manifestation of His marvellous power in man.
But mark the contrast. This manifestation of the existence of God is not to be sought in the greatness and power of man as the conqueror of the forces of nature, but in his weakness in his great distress when, unable to find help from any source, he throws himself on the Divine threshold and seeks help from God. But what is more, this manifestation of God’s power is beautifully mingled with prophecy — and He will make you successors in the earth. The distressed ones here are no other than the Muslims, who were being cruelly persecuted and tortured, and they are told that the manifestation of God’s power in making them rulers of the earth would be as great as it was in His creation of the heavens and the earth. This also shows the purpose underlying the narration of the histories of David and Solomon in this chapter.
3 Human knowledge cannot reach the life after death and God has given this knowledge to man through His revelation. But people are in doubt about it; in fact, they shut their eyes to it. The use of the word “blind” here (“Indeed, they are blind to it”) shows that when the Quran speaks of the blind being “healed” by any prophet, the meaning is that they were granted spiritual insight by the work of that prophet.