Interpretation of Sura al-Fatir – Verse 13

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SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association) 13.“He merges the night into the day and He merges the day into the night, and He has made subservient (to you) the sun and the moon, each of them running to an appointed time; such is Allah, your Lord; to Him belongs the kingdom, and those whom you call upon, apart from Him, possess not (so much as) the skin of a date-stone.”

Commentary

The change of the length of the night and the day, or the gradual transfer of each of them to another is not casual, but the nature is subjected to Allah.

Again in this verse, the Qur’a-n points to another part of the signs of Monotheism and the infinite blessings of Allah so that, by giving awareness to human beings, it invokes their sense of thanksgiving alongside the recognition of the real object of worship and dissuades them from any partnership and superstitious worshipping. It says:

“He merges the night into the day and He merges the day into the night, …”

The Qur’a-nic term /yu-lij/ is derived from /’i-la-j/ in the sense of ‘to merge’. It may refer to one of the following two meanings, or both of them: the gradual increase and decrease of the nights and the days during the year which cause the appearance of different seasons with all their effects and blessings. The gradual decrease from the night and adding to the day, and vice versa, is because of the existence of twilight, which hinders the dangers of sudden transfer from darkness to light and from light to darkness. It gives human beings enough preparation to quietly and slowly transfer from one to another without any danger.

Then the verse refers to the subject of making the sun and the moon subservient, and says:

“… and He has made subservient (to you) the sun and the moon, …”

What a subservient is higher than this that all of them run in the way of man’s interests and that they are the source of kinds of favours in the man’s life. The cloud, the wind, the moon, the sun, and the universe are all busy in order that men can provide his life well and he would not be in negligence, and he should always remember the main real origin of these merits. (Concerning the subservient of the sun and the moon we had a rather detailed explanation mentioned in the commentary of Sura Ar-Ra‘d, No. 13, verse 2, and in the commentary of Sura ’Ibra-hi-m, No. 14, verse 33)

But in the meantime that the sun and the moon in full regularity rotate in their orbits and they are good servants for humankind, the system which governs over them is not eternal, and even these great stars, with their much light, will finally become dark and will be destroyed.

So, next to the subject of making them subservient, the Holy Qur’a-n adds:

“… each of them running to an appointed time; …”

And according to Sura Takwi-r, No. 81, verses 1-2, which say: “When the sun (with its spacious light) is folded up.” “And when the stars fall, losing their lustre.” All of them turn to darkness and will become extinguished.

Some other commentators have delivered here another commentary for the Qur’a-nic term /’ajal-im-musamma-/ (the appointed term). It refers to the rotations of the sun and the moon. The first prolongs one year and the second ends in one month. 32

But, regarding to the different usages of this meaning in numerous verses of the Qur’a-n which have been applied in the sense of ‘the end of life’, it becomes clear that the said commentary is not correct, and its commentary is that very first one, i.e., the end of the lifetime of the sun and the moon. (In this relation, you may refer to Sura An-Nahl, verse 61, Sura Fa-t?ir, verse 45, Sura Az-Zumar, verse 43, Sura An-Nu-r, verse 4, and Sura Qa-fir, verse 67)

Then, as a conclusion upon this monastic discussion, the verse continues saying:

“… such is Allah, your Lord; …”

Allah is the Lord Who has assigned the system of light and darkness and the accurate movements of the sun and the moon with all their favours.

The verse continues again saying:

“… to Him belongs the kingdom, and those whom you call upon, apart from Him, possess not (so much as) the skin of a date-stone.”

The Qur’a-nic term /qit?mi-r/, as Ra-qib says in Mufrada-t, is the sign which exists at the back of the date-stone (a small gap), and according to Tabarsi- in Majma‘-ul-Baya-n, and Qurtabi- in his commentary book, it is a thin white skin which has covered over the date-stone thoroughly. In any case, it indirectly refers to some very small and worthless beings.

Yes, these idols are neither the source of any benefit, and harm, nor do they defend you nor of themselves, nor do they have any authority and possession even over the skin of a dater-stone. Yet, why do you, the unwise, worship them and demand them to solve your problems?

Notes:

32. The Commentary of Rauh-ul-Baya-n, and Abul-Futu-h-i-Ra-zi-

Adopted from the book : “The Light of the Holy Qur’an; Interpretation of Surah al-Fatir” by : “Sayyid Kamal Faghih Imani and a Group of Muslim Scholars”

 

www.shafaqna.com/English

 

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