An Overview of Surah al-Dhariyat (51): Ibn Taymiyah

In the last part of surah al-Dhariyat, Allah says:

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ

And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. [5:56]

Sheikh al-Islam ibn Taymiyah commented on this ayah in one of his many written works by saying:

إن سياق الآية يقتضي أن هذا ذم وتوبيخ لمن لم يعبد الله منهم لأن الله خلقه لشيء فلم يفعل ما خلق له ولهذا عقبها بقوله ; { ما أريد منهم من رزق وما أريد أن يطعمون } ـ

The context of this ayah necessitates that it is a statement of dispraise and rebuke towards those men and Jinn who do not worship Allah. For Allah created them for one thing but they do not do what they were created for. This is why Allah immediately follows up this ayah by saying:

مَا أُرِيدُ مِنْهُم مِّن رِّزْقٍ وَمَا أُرِيدُ أَن يُطْعِمُونِ

I do not want any provision from them, nor do I want them to feed Me. [51:57]

فإثبات العبادة ونفي هذا يبين أنه خلقهم للعبادة ولم يرد منهم ما يريده السادة من عبيدهم من الإعانة لهم بالرزق والإطعام ـ

When placed beside this negation, the affirmation of Allah’s sole right to be worshiped makes it clear that He created them to worship Him and that He does not desire what a ruler might desire of his slaves – i.e. their aid in gaining provision and food.

ولهذا قال بعد ذلك : { فإن للذين ظلموا ذنوبا } أي نصيبا { مثل ذنوب أصحابهم } أي المتقدمين من الكفار . أي نصيبا من العذاب ـ

And this is why Allah said after that:

فَإِنَّ لِلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا ذَنُوبًا مِّثْلَ ذَنُوبِ أَصْحَابِهِمْ

And indeed, for those who have done wrong there is a portion like the portion of their companions [51:59]

here, “their companions” means: their predecessors among their fellow disbelievers. And “portion” means: a share of punishment.

وهذا وعيد لمن لم يعبده من الإنس والجن ; فذكر هذا الوعيد عقيب هذه الآية من أولها إلى آخرها يتضمن وعيد من لم يعبده . ـ

This is a threat of punishment to those men and Jinn who do not worship Him. So Allah mentioned this threat immediately after this ayah [i.e. 51:56]. So from beginning to end this entire surah entails a threat for those who do not worship Him.

وذكر عقابه لهم في الدنيا والآخرة فقال تعالى في أولها : { والذاريات ذروا } – إلى قوله – { إنما توعدون لصادق } { وإن الدين لواقع } ـ

○ And Allah mentioned His punishing them in this worldly life and in the hereafter, for in the opening of the surah He said:

وَالذَّارِيَاتِ ذَرْوًا * فَالْحَامِلَاتِ وِقْرًا * فَالْجَارِيَاتِ يُسْرًا * فَالْمُقَسِّمَاتِ أَمْرًا * إِنَّمَا تُوعَدُونَ لَصَادِقٌ * وَإِنَّ الدِّينَ لَوَاقِعٌ

By those winds scattering dust * And those clouds carrying a load of water * And those ships sailing with ease * And those angels apportioning each matter, * Indeed, what you are promised is true. * And indeed, the recompense is to occur. [51:1-6]

ثم ذكر قوله : { إنكم لفي قول مختلف } { يؤفك عنه من أفك } ـ

○ Then He mentions His statement:

إِنَّكُمْ لَفِي قَوْلٍ مُّخْتَلِفٍ * يُؤْفَكُ عَنْهُ مَنْ أُفِكَ

Indeed, you all are in contradictory in speech. * Deluded away from the Qur’an is he who is deluded. [51:8-9]

ثم ذكر وعيد الآخرة بقوله : { قتل الخراصون } { الذين هم في غمرة ساهون } { يسألون أيان يوم الدين } { يوم هم على النار يفتنون } ـ

○ Then He mentions the threat for the hereafter by saying:

قُتِلَ الْخَرَّاصُونَ * الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي غَمْرَةٍ سَاهُونَ * يَسْأَلُونَ أَيَّانَ يَوْمُ الدِّينِ * يَوْمَ هُمْ عَلَى النَّارِ يُفْتَنُونَ

Cursed are the falsifiers * Who are in a clamor of misguidance and are heedless. * They ask, “When is the Day of Recompense?” * The Day they will be tormented over the Fire [51:10-13]

ثم ذكر وعده للمؤمنين فقال : { إن المتقين في جنات وعيون } – إلى قوله – { وفي الأرض آيات للموقنين } { وفي أنفسكم أفلا تبصرون } { وفي السماء رزقكم وما توعدون } { فورب السماء والأرض إنه لحق مثل ما أنكم تنطقون } ـ

○ Then He mentions His promise to the believers, for He says:

إِنَّ الْمُتَّقِينَ فِي جَنَّاتٍ وَعُيُونٍ

Indeed, the righteous will be among gardens and springs [51:15]

until His statement:

وَفِي أَمْوَالِهِمْ حَقٌّ لِّلسَّائِلِ وَالْمَحْرُومِ * وَفِي الْأَرْضِ آيَاتٌ لِّلْمُوقِنِينَ * وَفِي أَنفُسِكُمْ ۚ أَفَلَا تُبْصِرُونَ * وَفِي السَّمَاءِ رِزْقُكُمْ وَمَا تُوعَدُونَ * فَوَرَبِّ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ إِنَّهُ لَحَقٌّ مِّثْلَ مَا أَنَّكُمْ تَنطِقُونَ

And on the earth are signs for the certain [in faith] * And in yourselves. Then will you not see? * And in the heaven is your provision and whatever you are promised. * Then by the Lord of the heaven and earth, indeed, it is truth – just as [sure as] it is that you are speaking. [51:20-23]

ثم ذكر قصص من آمن فنفعه إيمانه ومن كفر فعذبه بكفره . فذكر قصة إبراهيم ولوط وقومه وعذابهم . [ ص: 42 ] ثم قال : { وتركنا فيها آية للذين يخافون العذاب الأليم } { وفي موسى إذ أرسلناه إلى فرعون بسلطان مبين } أي في قصة موسى آية أيضا . هذا قول الأكثرين ومنهم من لم يذكر غيره كأبي الفرج وقيل : هو عطف على قوله : { وفي الأرض آيات للموقنين } { وفي موسى } وهو ضعيف ; لأن قصة فرعون وعاد هي من جنس قوم لوط فيها ذكر الأنبياء ومن اتبعهم ومن خالفهم يدل بها على إثبات النبوة وعاقبة المطيعين والعصاة . ـ

○ Then He mentions the stories of those who believed and as a result their faith benefited them, as well as those who disbelieved and were consequently punished for their disbelief. So He mentions the story of Ibrahim, Lut, Lut’s people, and their punishment.

○ He then says:

وَتَرَكْنَا فِيهَا آيَةً لِّلَّذِينَ يَخَافُونَ الْعَذَابَ الْأَلِيمَ * وَفِي مُوسَىٰ إِذْ أَرْسَلْنَاهُ إِلَىٰ فِرْعَوْنَ بِسُلْطَانٍ مُّبِينٍ

And We left therein a sign for those who fear the painful punishment. * And in Moosaa, when We sent him to Fir’awn with clear authority. [51:37-38]

meaning: and there was also a sign in the story of Moosaa. This is the understanding of the majority of the mufassiroon, and some of them – such as Abu’l-Faraj ibn al-Jawzi – did not even mention any other opinion. However, some said that this second ayah here was a continuation of and in reference back to:

وَفِي الْأَرْضِ آيَاتٌ لِّلْمُوقِنِينَ

And on the earth are signs for those certain in faith [51:20]

i.e. “and in Moosaa” there are also signs for those certain in faith

but that is a weak position, because the stories of Fir’awn and ‘Aad are of the same sort as the story of the People of Lut: they include mention of the prophets and those who followed them as well as those who opposed them, thereby showing affirmation of the belief in prophethood and the just ends of both those who obey and those who disobey.

وأما قوله : { وفي الأرض } { وفي أنفسكم } فتلك آيات على الصانع جل جلاله وقد تقدمت ـ

But as for Allah’s statements, “and on the earth…” [51:20] and “and in yourselves…” [51:21], these verses are dealing the subject of Allah as the creator and fashioner, as we have previously mentioned [which is why referring the ayahand in Moosaa…” [51:38] back to that thematic section of the surah dealing with the proof’s for Allah’s right to be worshiped rather than the current section on the stories of the disbelieving people is a weak position].

ولأنه لا يفصل به بين المعطوف والمعطوف عليه بمثل هذا الكلام الكثير مع أن قبله لا يصلح العطف عليه وهو قوله : { وتركنا فيها آية للذين يخافون العذاب الأليم } ثم قال : { وفي عاد } { وفي ثمود } . ثم ذكر أنه بنى السماء بأيد وفرش الأرض وخلق من كل شيء زوجين لعلكم تذكرون فلما بين الآيات الدالة على ما يجب من الإيمان وعبادته أمر بذلك فقال : { ففروا إلى الله إني لكم منه نذير مبين } { ولا تجعلوا مع الله إلها آخر } الآية . ـ

And it is a also weak position because something would not normally be a continuation or reference back to something else so far separated in the text. Not to mention the fact that holding such a position would necessitate also referring the previous ayah

وَتَرَكْنَا فِيهَا آيَةً لِّلَّذِينَ يَخَافُونَ الْعَذَابَ الْأَلِيمَ

And We left therein a sign for those who fear the painful punishment. [51:37]

back to that same point [i.e. back to the ayaat about Allah’s role as the creator], which is not something befitting.

○ Next Allah said:

وَفِي عَادٍ

And in ‘Aad (was also a sign)… [51:41]

وَفِي ثَمُودَ

And in Thamood (was also a sign)… [51:43]

○ Then He mentioned that He constructed the sky with might and spread out the earth and created everything in it in pairs, in order that you might remember [see 51:47-49].

○ So after having clearly shown His signs which prove that faith and worshiping Him is obligatory, He then commanded that by saying:

فَفِرُّوا إِلَى اللَّـهِ ۖ إِنِّي لَكُم مِّنْهُ نَذِيرٌ مُّبِينٌ * وَلَا تَجْعَلُوا مَعَ اللَّـهِ إِلَـٰهًا آخَرَ

So flee to Allah. Indeed, I am to you from Him a clear warner. * And do not make [as equal] with Allah another deity. [51:50-51]

  ثم بين أن هؤلاء المكذبين من جنس من قبلهم ليتأسى الرسول والمؤمنون ويصبروا على ما ينالهم من أذى الكفار فقال { كذلك ما أتى الذين من قبلهم من رسول إلا قالوا ساحر أو مجنون } { أتواصوا به بل هم قوم طاغون } . فهذا كله يتضمن أمر الإنس والجن بعبادته وطاعته وطاعة رسله واستحقاق من يفعل العقوبة في الدنيا والآخرة ـ

○ He then explained that these ones who deny Him and His signs are of the same sort as those who preceded them. This is so that the Messenger and the believers might be consoled by this news and exercise steadfast patience against whatever harm they may encounter from the disbelievers. For Allah said:

كَذَٰلِكَ مَا أَتَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِم مِّن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا قَالُوا سَاحِرٌ أَوْ مَجْنُونٌ * أَتَوَاصَوْا بِهِ ۚ بَلْ هُمْ قَوْمٌ طَاغُونَ

Similarly, there came not to those before them any messenger except that they said, “A magician or a madman.” * Did they suggest it to them? Rather, they [themselves] are a transgressing people. [51:52-53]

So all of this entails the command for men and Jinn to worship and obey Allah, and to obey His messenger, and that whose whom He punishes in this life and the next are completely deserving of that.

 فإذا قال بعد ذلك : { وما خلقت الجن والإنس إلا ليعبدون } { ما أريد منهم من رزق وما أريد أن يطعمون } كان هذا مناسبا لما تقدم مؤتلفا معه : أي هؤلاء الذين أمرتهم إنما خلقتهم لعبادتي ما أريد منهم غير ذلك لا رزقا ولا طعاما . ـ

This is the case, as following from that Allah says:

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ * مَا أُرِيدُ مِنْهُم مِّن رِّزْقٍ وَمَا أُرِيدُ أَن يُطْعِمُونِ

And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. * I do not want from them any provision, nor do I want them to feed Me. [51:56-57]

the placement of this ayah is completely fitting with what came before it and brings it all together, with the meaning that: These ones who have a I commanded to worship Me, I only created them to worship Me. I do not desire anything other than that – neither provision nor food – from them.

[Majmoo’ al-Fataawaa 8/41-43]

See also: I did not Create the Jinn and Mankind Except to Worship Me: Tafsir al-Sa’di

For an in-depth discussion of the story of Ibrahim in this surah, see: Ibn al-Qayyim’s Model for Contemplating the Qur’an

See also: The purpose of Allah’s creation: Imam al-Shinqitee

See also: Overview of Surah al-Insaan: Ibn Taymiyah

See also: The Themes and Contents of Surah Maryam: ibn Taymiyah

See also: The Themes of Surah Qaaf and When to Recite it: Tafsir ibn Kathir

See also: Central Themes of Surah al-Baqarah: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

See also: The Arrangement of the Final Chapters of the Qur’an: Ibn Taymiyah

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5 thoughts on “An Overview of Surah al-Dhariyat (51): Ibn Taymiyah

  1. Pingback: I did not Create the Jinn and Mankind Except to Worship Me: Tafsir al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: The Themes and Contents of Surah Maryam: ibn Taymiyah | Tulayhah

  3. Pingback: The Themes of Surah Qaaf and When to Recite it: Tafsir ibn Kathir | Tulayhah

  4. Pingback: Overview of Surah al-Insaan: Ibn Taymiyah | Tulayhah

  5. Pingback: Ibn al-Qayyim’s Model for Contemplating the Qur’an | Tulayhah

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