يَـأَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اعْبُدُواْ رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِىْ خَلَقَكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

“O mankind! Worship your Lord (Allah), Who created you and those who were before you so that you may acquire Taqwa.” [2:21]

A principle mentioned in books of usool al-Tafseer is that “yaa aiyyuha al-naas” refers to the people of Makkah and “yaa aiyyuhalladheena aamanoo” refers to the people of madinah. But it is also fine to say that “naas” refers to all people not just the people of makkah.

According to Ibn Abbas (RA), whenever ‘ibadah is mentioned in the Qur’an it is referring to tawheed.

Definition of ‘Ibadah (worship) by Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah in Madarij al-Salikin:
“Ibadah is a reference to the belief and understanding that the one being worshipped possesses a supernatural power by way of which they are able to benefit and harm in a sense that transcends the physical means.”

So every act of reverence based on this understanding is ‘Ibadah.

The word “rabb” is a mushtaq (derived ism), which denotes that the ‘illah for the worship is Allah being our Rabb i.e. He nourishes and sustains us. When a hukm (ruling) is made on a mushtaq, then the مادة الاشتقاق is the ‘illah.

For example in the verse “Obey Allah and obey the Rasul (Messenger)” the ‘illah for the command to obey the Messenger is his Risalah (Messengership), i.e. because he is a Messenger, not him being the ruler as some of the “Qur’aniyoon” argue.

“Alladhee Khalaqakum” serves as another ‘illah because in mawsool/silah the silah is the ‘illah for the verb at the front. So worship your Lord because He nourishes and sustains you and also because He created you.

Khalaqa can mean to create or to fashion and form. Therefore, the commentator specifies “ansha’akum” i.e. created you.

لَعَلَّكُمْ – Imam Suyuti says the “la’alla” here is for tahqeeq (i.e. definitely, and it is interchangeable with Inna), not for tarajjee (anticipation of something that may or may not i.e. you will definitely protect yourself (as opposed to perhaps you will protect yourself). Some say that it can remain in its original meaning of anticipation (tarajjee) but then the anticipation would be from the perspective of the addressee not the Speaker, because Allah knows for sure and is not hoping for something that is uncertain.

For example, Imam al-Mahalli says regarding the verse below that la’alla is used because Musa (AS) and Harun (AS) do not know whether Pharaoh will accept their adomintion or fear Allah:

فَقُولاَ لَهُ قَوْلاً لَّيِّناً لَّعَلَّهُ يَتَذَكَّرُ أَوْ يَخْشَى

“And speak to him mildly, perhaps he may accept admonition or fear (Allah).” [Taha:44]

Layta can be used to express hope for the possible or the impossible. But la’alla can only be used to express hope for that which is possible.

الَّذِى جَعَلَ لَكُمُ الاٌّرْضَ فِرَاشاً وَالسَّمَآءَ بِنَآءً وَأَنزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَآءِ مَآءً فَأَخْرَجَ بِهِ مِنَ الثَّمَرَتِ رِزْقاً لَّكُمْ فَلاَ تَجْعَلُواْ للَّهِ أَندَاداً وَأَنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ

“Who has made the earth a resting place for you, and the sky as a canopy, and sent down water (rain) from the sky and brought forth therewith fruits as a provision for you. Then do not set up rivals unto Allah (in worship) while you know (that He alone has the right to be worshipped).” [2:22]

Ja’ala is of two types:

جعل بسيط – ja’ala in the meaning of khalaqa i.e. creating something from nothing. So it has one maf’ool bihi.

جعل مركب – ja’ala in the meaning of sayyara i.e. making something into something else. So it has two maf’ool bihi. And the 2 maf’ool bihi are, in essence, mubtada and khabr.

فِرَاشاً is masdar and is ‘haal. But ‘haal needs to be either ismul fa’il or ismul maf’ool. Imam Suyuti explains it by saying that it is masdar in the meaning of ismul maf’ool i.e. bisaatan yuftarashu (a thing which is spread out, that is, a carpet).

فَأَخْرَجَ بِهِ مِنَ الثَّمَرَتِ رِزْقاً لَّكُمْ

مِنَ الثَّمَرَتِ is ‘haal for delayed dhul ‘haal which is nakirah – رِزْقاً لَّكُمْ.

The rule is that whenever the dhul ‘haal is nakirah it is delayed and the ‘haal precedes it, which is what is happening in the above verse.

فَلاَ تَجْعَلُواْ للَّهِ أَندَاداً

للَّهِ is maf’ool bihi #2 coming first andأَندَاداً is maf’ool bihi #1 delayed.

Ignoring the verb “la taj’aloo”, the two maf’ool bihis would in a mubtada khabr relationship (although the meaning would then be affirmative and hence incorrect in this case). The jumlah ismiyyah in this case is similar to “Fi al-daari rajulun”. The delayed maf’ool bihi#1 would be the mubtada, hence in raf’ (Andaadun), and the maf’ool bihi # 2 (“lillaahi”) would be the khabr connecting to an omitted word.

وَإِن كُنتُمْ فِى رَيْبٍ مِّمَّا نَزَّلْنَا عَلَى عَبْدِنَا فَأْتُواْ بِسُورَةٍ مِّن مِّثْلِهِ

رَيْبٍ is nakirah for taqleel i.e. “If you have the slightest doubt…”

Anzala refers to a one-off revelation i.e. from Lawh al-ma’hfoodh to the dunya, and from there it was gradually revealed over a period of about 23 years. Nazzala refers to this gradual revelation over a period of time.

The mushrikeen in Makkah used to doubt that the Prophet (saw) would study and present the verses of the Qur’an bit by bit because he can’t do it all at once. So this verse is highlighting what the Mushrikeen used to doubt by using the word “nazzalnaa” as opposed to “anzalnaa”.

عَلَى عَبْدِنَا – here the idaafah is for tashreef (Our servant).

مِّن مِّثْلِهِ – the ‘min’ is either ibtidaa’iyyah (in the meaning of “from”), or bayaaniyyah (in the meaning of “which”), or zaa’idah.

If ‘min’ is ibtidaa’iyyah then the verse would mean, “Then bring a surah from someone like him (saw)”, i.e. someone who is unlettered like him.

If ‘min’ is in bayaaniyyah, then the verse would mean, “Then bring a surah which is like it” i.e. like the Qur’an (ma nazzalna ‘ala ‘abdinaa).

If the ‘min’ is zaa’idah, then the verse would mean, “Then bring a surah like it.”

Imam Suyuti takes the ‘min’ as bayaniyyah.

He also defines a surah as a segment of verses with a beginning and an end, and has a minimum of three verses.

وَادْعُواْ شُهَدَآءَكُم مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ إِن كُنتُمْ صَـدِقِينَ

“Shuhadaa” is the plural of “shaheed”, which is mushtaq from the word “Shuhood”, meaning “hudoor” or presence. According to the mushrikeen, they didn’t merely worship stones and images, but more the “pious people” behind the stones and images. They used to believe that Allah gave those “pious people” special powers and that they were always watching the mushrikeen, so they are present. That’s why “Shuhadaa” is mudaf to “kum” i.e. your shuhadaa, meaning who you believe to be shuhadaa, whereas in actual fact they are not truly shuhadaa.

فَإِن لَّمْ تَفْعَلُواْ وَلَن تَفْعَلُواْ فَاتَّقُواْ النَّارَ الَّتِى وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ وَالْحِجَارَةُ أُعِدَّتْ لِلْكَـفِرِينَ

لَن تَفْعَلُواْ – the commentator specifies “never ever” by using the word “abadan” because grammarians differ over whether “lan” is for ta’keed (emphasis) and tab’eed (giving a sense of “never ever”), or just ta’keed.

أُعِدَّتْ لِلْكَـفِرِينَ – It can be jumlah musta’nifah or haal.

If Musta’nifah, then it is in consideration of an assumed question following from the very vivid description of the fire presented in the preceding lines. Most of the times, a jumlah musta’nifah is in response to an assumed question and is brought without a ‘waaw’ at the front (i.e. fasl).

If ‘haal, the dhul ‘haal is النَّارَ .

Usually the ‘haal is temporary as opposed to a sifah which is more lasting. For example, “Zayd came to me riding” does not necessarily mean Zayd always rides or is a rider by profession. Rather, riding is restricted to the act of coming. Whereas, “Zayd, the rider, came to me”, does indicate “riding” as a more permanent attribute of Zayd, i.e. he is a rider. But sometimes even the ‘haal acts like a sifah and gives a more permanent meaning. Hence, Imam Suyuti says that if the above line is ‘haal’, it is ‘haal lazimah’, giving the meaning that the fire is prepared for the disbelievers regardless of whether they fear it or not, which they are commanded to do ( فَاتَّقُواْ النَّارَ).

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