Our Beacon Forum

“The Angels” - Al-Malâ’ikah
By:Ahmed Moosa, RSA
Date: Friday, 12 January 2018, 3:21 pm

“The Angels” - Al-Malâ’ikah

Please, we ask that it should be constantly remembered that there are only two types of verses in the Arabic Glorious Qur’ân, especially when one makes effort to understand the term al-malâ’ikah, which makes the subject Mutashâbihât (i.e., allegorical).

The term al-malâ’ikah is commonly translated as “the angels” (singular: angel) in English and defined as follows:

“Angel, n. a divine messenger: a ministering spirit: an attendant or guardian spirit: a person possessing the qualities attributed to these-- gentleness, purity, etc.: a dead person regarded as received into heaven: one supposed to have a special commission, as the head of the Church in Rev. ii and iii: in the Catholic Apostolic Church, one who corresponds in a limited sense to a bishop: a messenger generally…”[1]

The meaning of the Arabic word malak or its plural malâ’ikah is defined as follows by Lane:

“ma’lak is said to be the original form of malak [an angel; so called because he conveyed, or communicates, the message from God; (K,{= The Kámoos}. TA, {= The “Táj el-‘Aroos.”} in art. la-’aka]; derived from ’alûk; (Msb, K, TA; [but in the CK {= The Calcutta edition of the "Kámoos.”} is a mistake here, pointed out above, voce ’alûk ;]) so that the measure of malak is ma‘al: (Msb:) {= The “Misbáh.” of El-Feiyoomee.} malak is both sing. and pl. : Ks says that it is originally ma’lak, from ’alûk signifying “a message;” then, by transposition, mal’ak, a form also in use; and then, in consequence of frequency of usage, the hemzeh (that is the first Arabic letter) is suppressed, so that it becomes malak; but in forming the pl. they restore it to mal’ak, saying malâ’ika, and malâ’ika also : (S in art. malak: or, accord. to some, it is from la’aka “he sent;” so that the measure of malak is mafal: and there are other opinions respecting it : (Msb:) some say that its meem is a radical : see art. malak. (TA in art. la’aka” [our emphases].[2] [Please note where in the original there was a dot under a letter we have underlined the letter].

From the above definitions one can conclude that the literal meaning of an “angel” is a “spirit” who communicates God’s word or message. Since the term “Angel”, is used in translations of the Arabic Glorious Qur’ân it has been interpreted literally, the following common understanding exists. We refer to the well-known book by the late Moulana Mohammed Abdul Aleem Siddiqui called “Elementary Teachings of Islam”. On page 13 it states:

“1. Q. What kind of creatures are the Angels?

A. Angels are spiritual creatures of Allâh , ever obedient to His Will and Commands. They are neither males nor females; they have neither parents, nor wives nor husbands, nor sons nor daughters. They have no material bodies, but can assume any forms they like.

2. Q. Do Angels eat and drink like human beings?

A. Angels do not eat and drink like human beings, nor do they enjoy sleep.

3. Q. Can you name some of the most important Angels of Allâh ?

A. Yes, the most important Angels of Allâh are four in number, viz.:

(1) Jibreel...

(2) Mikaeel...

(3) Israfeel...

(4) ‘Izraeel...

4. Q. Are there any other Angels besides those enumerated?

A. Yes, there are many other Angels, some of whom mentioned in the Quran are known to us, but we have no knowledge about the number, names and duties of others, which are known only to Allâh .

5. Q. What do you know about Angel Jibreel?

A. Angel Jibreel was employed by Allâh to convey His Messages to His Ones on earth, the Apostles and the Prophets who appeared in all ages and all climes. It was the Angel Jibreel who communicated the revelations of Allâh to our Prophet Mohammed (May Peace and blessings of Allâh be upon him).

6. Q. Can you name some of the qualities of Angels?

A. Yes, the main qualities of Angels are purity, righteousness, truthfulness and obedience to the Will and Commands of Allâh .

7. Q. Can Angels do anything on earth without the express permission of Allâh?

A. No, the Angels only act in obedience to the Commands of Allâh; hence they cannot do anything on earth without His order.

8. Q. Do you worship Angels?

A. No, I do not worship the Angels at all. I adore and pray Allâh alone. Angels are the servants of Allâh and they too worship Him. The Holy Quran explicitly says that we should neither worship anyone but Allâh nor should we associate any partner with Him (our emphasis).”

The above interpretation of “angels” is not in compliance with the concept conveyed by verse 16 of chapter 50:

وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ وَنَعْلَمُ مَا تُوَسْوِسُ بِهِ نَفْسُهُ وَنَحْنُ أَقْرَبُ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ حَبْلِ الْوَرِيدِ

“And certainly We (i.e. Allâh) created human beings, and We (i.e. Allâh) know what his mind suggests to him - and We (i.e. Allâh) are nearer to him than his jugular vein.”[3]

The last part of the verse is allegorical; it emphasises the closeness between Allâh and human beings. If Allâh is closer to human beings than life itself (as this verse suggests) then, He (i.e. Allâh) certainly does not need to send “spiritual creatures” to communicate with human beings on His (i.e. Allâh’s) behalf. The term “malâ’ikah”, as used in the Arabic Glorious Qur’ân, is thus clearly allegorical and thus open to an interpretation guided by the decisive verses in the Arabic Glorious Qur’ân.

Firstly, from 16:49,

وَلِلّهِ يَسْجُدُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الأَرْضِ مِن دَآبَّةٍ وَالْمَلآئِكَةُ وَهُمْ لاَ يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ

“And to Allâh yasjudu (submit) all that is in the samâwât[4] (the entire universe excluding the earth) and that is in the earth, of living creatures and the malâ’ikah: for none are arrogant (before their Rabb).”

‘Malâ’ikah’ are everything in the universe, other than the living creatures, that submit to the will of Allâh. They obey Allâh’s command.

We suggest that,

1) The forces of nature that we see in operation around us can be considered ‘malâ’ikah’ since these are non-living and obey the will of Allâh.

2) ‘Malâ’ikah’ is the medium through which Allâh interacts with human beings. This interaction is,

(a) that of observation, whereby Allâh is aware of everything that human beings does,

(b) that of communicating His message to human beings.

An explanation for suggesting (a) comes from chapter 82 verses 10-12 and chapter 10: verse 61: -

Some people interpret or translate chapter 82 verses 10-12 as follows:

وَإِنَّ عَلَيْكُمْ لَحَافِظِينَ كِرَامًا كَاتِبِينَ يَعْلَمُونَ مَا تَفْعَلُونَ

“But verily, over you (are appointed angels in charge of mankind) to watch you, Kirâman - Kâtibîn [honourable (in Allâh ’s Sight), - writing down (your deeds)]. They know all that you do.” (The Noble Qur’an).[5]

The literal translation of this verse implies that there are “spiritual creatures” that record our deeds so that Allâh may read it – but cannot be substantiated with evidence.

However, chapter 10:61 states:

وَمَا تَكُونُ فِي شَأْنٍ وَمَا تَتْلُو مِنْهُ مِن قُرْآنٍ وَلاَ تَعْمَلُونَ مِنْ عَمَلٍ إِلاَّ كُنَّا عَلَيْكُمْ شُهُودًا إِذْ تُفِيضُونَ فِيهِ وَمَا يَعْزُبُ عَن رَّبِّكَ مِن مِّثْقَالِ ذَرَّةٍ فِي الأَرْضِ وَلاَ فِي السَّمَاء وَلاَ أَصْغَرَ مِن ذَلِكَ وَلا أَكْبَرَ إِلاَّ فِي كِتَابٍ مُّبِينٍ

“And you are not (engaged) in any affair and you recite not concerning it any portion of the Qur’ân, and you do no work, but We are Witness of you when you are engaged therein. And not the weight of an atom in the earth or in (the) as-samâ’[6] is hidden from your Rabb, nor anything less than that nor greater, but it is (all) in a clear book.”

Here Allâh says that He witnesses everything that we do. This implies that He does not have to read it from anywhere. Also, He does not need anyone to watch and record when He knows everything that transpires. Yet again “a clear book” is referred to.

Clearly 82:10-12 and the last part of 10:61 are allegorical. In other words, “watch over you”, “writing down” and “a clear book” should not be interpreted literally. Instead, “writing down” by the ‘malâ’ikah’ into “a clear book” is better suited to refer to a medium through which Allâh has immediate access to our deeds and thoughts and through which He is then able to witness everything in the universe, down to the “weight of an atom”.

An explanation for suggesting (b):

The Arabic Glorious Qur’ân states the following:

وَمَا كَانَ لِبَشَرٍ أَن يُكَلِّمَهُ اللَّهُ إِلَّا وَحْيًا أَوْ مِن وَرَاء حِجَابٍ أَوْ يُرْسِلَ رَسُولًا فَيُوحِيَ بِإِذْنِهِ مَا يَشَاء إِنَّهُ عَلِيٌّ حَكِيمٌ

“And it is not vouchsafed to a bashar (human being or mortal) that Allâh should speak to (one of them), except by revelation or from behind a veil, or by sending a messenger and revealing by His permission what He pleases. Surely He is High, Wise.”[7]

The very first point, which one ought to take note of, is the term kalimah, which is translated as ‘speak’ in this verse. The term “speak” is subject to interpretation, as Allâh does not “speak” like human beings. The term should therefore be interpreted as “communicate”. The verse thus informs us of the different modes through which Allâh communicates with human beings.

Three modes of communication are mentioned in this verse, namely:

The first is wahy: Although wahy is generally translated as ‘revelation’, in the context of this verse it specifically refers to ‘revelation’ through ‘instilling into one’s mind’, or a ‘hasty suggestion’. ‘Wahy’ is thus something, which is not tangible (capable of being touched etc.). This mode of communication is one that is experienced by many people. The source of it is often not recognised and the message is subject to interpretation by the recipient. The recipient must use his/her discretion as to how and where the hasty suggestion must be applied.

The second is “from behind a hijâb”: The literal meaning of ‘hijâb’ is “veil” or “covering”. A literal interpretation of the phrase, “from behind a veil”, implies that if the veil is taken away, one would literally find Allâh. Allâh is omnipresent: How does a veil cover something that is omnipresent? The literal meaning now becomes cynical. Thus the phrase is allegorical and the figurative meaning of the phrase, “from behind a veil”, is more appropriate. In the figurative meaning “veil” or “covering” is anything, which hides masks or covers the source. An example of how a message is communicated in this mode: A ‘vision’ in which a scene is shown that carries a deeper significance or words are spoken without the source being seen. Again this mode excludes the tangible aspect because its source cannot be seen or touched. The source may or may not be recognised. However, if it is recognised, it is still “veiled” meaning (hidden from sight). Once again the message is subject to interpretation by the recipient. In fact, although more information is given than in the first mode - wahy - “from behind a veil” implies that not only is the source obscure but not all the information about the revelation itself is given. Some information is still “veiled”.

The third is “sending a rasûl”: The word “rasûl” is commonly translated as ‘messenger’. We suggest that this mode of communication have been personified; hence the term ‘messenger’ is used. The reason for the personification is to convey in no uncertain terms the concrete nature of this mode of communication. When compared with the other two modes, it is (1) more direct, (2) more definite, conclusive and bold - there is no doubt of its source and its aim. The message is clear and free from ambiguity. It contains the laws necessary to interpret it self and, is thus not subject to the recipient’s interpretation. The term ‘messenger’ is commonly thought to refer to an “Angel”. One of the reasons could be that the words in 26:192-194 are commonly translated as ‘the faithful spirit has brought it’.[8] However, the words al-rûhul’Amîn is better translated as, “the non-failing Divine Scheme”. Hence, we have translated the verse to mean “It came within the non-failing Divine Scheme.” - The message is thus faultless and free of error. This is the highest mode of revelation and is the mode in which the Prophets (Allâh is pleased with them) received their revelation.

Chapter 2:97,

قُلْ مَن كَانَ عَدُوًّا لِّجِبْرِيلَ فَإِنَّهُ نَزَّلَهُ عَلَى قَلْبِكَ بِإِذْنِ اللّهِ مُصَدِّقاً لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَهُدًى وَبُشْرَى لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ

“Say: Whoever is an enemy to jibrîl (i.e. revelation sent to the Prophets) - for surely it is revealed to your heart by Allâh’s command, verifying that which is before it and guidance and glad tidings for the believers”,

reveals that this revelation is instilled into the mind of the recipient, metaphorically referred to as the “heart” of the recipient. This mode of revelation is thus not subject to the physical eyes or ears of the recipient. It is in the non-physical state that an individual receives it. Again this mode of communication is not subject to the tangible aspect of things.


When 42:51, 2:97 and 2:285 are translated literally, they convey the understanding that ‘malâ’ikah’ are living entities that communicate Allâh’s message to human beings. But, chapter 50:16 states that Allâh is ‘nearer to him than his life-vein’. This verse implies that Allâh does not need any physical messengers to convey His message. Hence, 42:51, 2:97 and 2:285 are allegorical verses and should be interpreted according to the guidelines set by the decisive verses, 50:16 and 16:49. Consequently, ‘malâ’ikah’ can be interpreted as media through which Allâh interacts with human beings. These media are non-living and cannot be seen. They have no will of their own (chapter 66:6). ‘Malâ’ikah’ can also be the different ways/media through which Allâh executes His commands, like the forces of nature. The fact that the Arabic Glorious Qur’ân does not give any information with regard to the origin of ‘malâ’ikah’ supports the above interpretation.

Those who still maintain that ‘malâ’ikah’ are “winged” creatures, based on chapter 35:1: -

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ فَاطِرِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ جَاعِلِ الْمَلَائِكَةِ رُسُلًا أُولِي أَجْنِحَةٍ مَّثْنَى وَثُلَاثَ وَرُبَاعَ يَزِيدُ فِي الْخَلْقِ مَا يَشَاء إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

(1). “Praise be to Allâh, the Originator of the samâwât[9] (the entire universe excluding the earth) and the earth. The Maker of the malâ’ikah (the medium with which Allâh communicates and interacts with human beings), rusulan ’ûlî ’ajnihatim-mathnâ wa thulâtha wa rubâ‘(Who made the messengers with wings - two and three and four). He increases in creation what He pleases. Surely Allâh is Possessor of power over all things”,

must interpret “wings” in the context of the following verses:

لاَ تَمُدَّنَّ عَيْنَيْكَ إِلَى مَا مَتَّعْنَا بِهِ أَزْوَاجًا مِّنْهُمْ وَلاَ تَحْزَنْ عَلَيْهِمْ وَاخْفِضْ جَنَاحَكَ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ

(1). “Strain not your eyes at what We (i.e. Allâh) have given certain classes of them to enjoy, and grieve not for them, but lower your janâha (wing) to the believers.” (Al-Qur’ân 15:88)

وَاخْفِضْ لَهُمَا جَنَاحَ الذُّلِّ مِنَ الرَّحْمَةِ وَقُل رَّبِّ ارْحَمْهُمَا كَمَا رَبَّيَانِي صَغِيرًا

(2). “And lower to them the janâha (wing) of humility out of mercy, and say: My Rabb, have mercy on them, as they brought me up when I was small.” (Al-Qur’ân 17:24)

وَاخْفِضْ جَنَاحَكَ لِمَنِ اتَّبَعَكَ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ

(3). “And lower your janâha (wing) to the believers who follow you.” (Al-Qur’ân 26:215)

Clearly “wings” in the above verses are used in a metaphorical sense: ‘to have wings’ means ‘to have more’. As a result, you think that you are better than the next person is. We are encouraged to lower our “wings”, and hence our pride. - To be humble.

The words ‘’ûlî [possessing] wings, two and three, and four - means the following. He increases in creation what He pleases’ in chapter 35:1 could further mean that the ‘wings’ refer to the rewards of our prayers. Our deduction is based on the words of chapter 17 verse 79 which states:

عَسَى أَن يَبْعَثَكَ رَبُّكَ مَقَامًا مَّحْمُودًا

‘’asâ-an (be hopeful that) your Rabb will raise you to a position of great glory.’ Yet, it could have other meanings such as being other forces in creation.

The meaning of the Mutashâbihât (allegorical) term Malâ’ikah and Malak is best explained as follow:

The Arabic word malâ’ikah which is the plural of malak, is said to be derived, either from malaka which means he controlled, and refers to the function of controlling the forces of nature on the physical side of life, or from alk, to send, the ma’lak, contracted into malak, and refers to the function of acting as intermediaries between Allâh and human beings. Both root ideas thus contain a reference to the principal functions ascribed to the malâ’ikah. The existence of such intermediaries has been recognized by righteous human beings in all ages and all countries. It will also be seen, from what has been said above as to the functions of the malâ’ikah, that Allâh’s saying to them is really the expression of an intention which is to be brought into execution. It is not a conversation, or a consultation with a being; it is an expression of the Divine will to the intermediary functionaries which the Divine Being brings into operation for the execution of anything Allâh desires.

The Mutashâbihât (allegorical) Arabic term Jibrîl:

When a person studies the Arabic Glorious Qur’ân one will discover that the term is not referring to a being. It is simply define in the Divine Book as the function of the communication with the prophets. This interpretation is supported as follow: Chapter 2, verse 97:

قُلْ مَن كَانَ عَدُوًّا لِّجِبْرِيلَ فَإِنَّهُ نَزَّلَهُ عَلَى قَلْبِكَ بِإِذْنِ اللّهِ مُصَدِّقاً لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَهُدًى وَبُشْرَى لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ

“Say: Whoever is an enemy to jibrîl (i.e., an enemy of the Divine revelation sent to the Prophets for the guidance of human beings) - for surely it is revealed to your heart by Allâh’s command, verifying that which is before it and guidance and glad tidings for the believers.”

All the other terms for example: Mikaîl... Israfîl... ‘Izraîl... has the same implications in the different function which Allâh brings into operation.

Is there any truthful rational being that sees the following verses as Decisive?

3:45-46: “When the malâ’ikah said:[10] O Maryam, surely Allâh gives you good news with a word from Him (of one) whose name is the Masîh, ‘Îsâ, son of Maryam, worthy of regard in this world and the Hereafter, and of those who are drawn nigh (to Allâh), And he will speak to the people when in the cradle and when of old age, and (he will be) one of the good ones.”

3:47: “She said: My Rabb, how can I have a son and man has not yet touched me? He said: Even so; Allâh creates what He pleases. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, Be, and it is.”

3:48-49: “And He will teach him the Book and the Wisdom and the Taurât and the Injîl: And (make him) a messenger to the Children of Isrâ’îl (saying): I have come to you with a sign from your Rabb, that I determine for you out of dust the form of a bird (i.e. out of the people who were of the evil lowly type), then I nafakha (advance) into it (i.e. them) and it (i.e. they) becomes (like) a bird (meaning above the transgressors) with Allâh’s permission, and I heal the blind (i.e. those who were blind to the truth) and the leprous (i.e. those who were inflicted with evil inclinations), and bring the dead (i.e. those of whom it was thought that they would never return to the path of truth) to life with Allâh’s permission; and I inform you of what you should eat and what you should store in your houses. Surely there is a sign in this for you, if you are believers.”

All truthful rational beings do not claim that the following verses are Decisive!

19:16 “And mention Maryam in the Book. When she drew aside from her family to an eastern place;”

19:17 “So she screened herself from them. Then We (i.e. Allâh) sent to her Our Rûhanâ (i.e. Divine revelation in Mutashâbihât terms) and it appeared to her as a well-made man.”[11]

19:18 “She said: I flee for refuge from you to the Beneficent, if you are one guarding against evil.”

19:19 “He said: I am only bearer of a message of your Rabb: That I will give you a Ghulâman zakiyyan.”[12]

19:20 “She said: How can I have a son and no mortal has yet touched me, nor have I been unchaste?”

19:21 “He said: So (it will be). Your Rabb says: It is easy to Me (i.e. Allâh); and that We (i.e. Allâh) may make him a sign to human beings and a mercy from Us. And it is a matter decreed.”

Consequently, why the following verses should be taken literally?

Ibrâhîm and Lût

11:69 “And certainly Our messengers came to Ibrâhîm with good news.[13] They said: Peace! Peace! Said he. And he made no delay in bringing a roasted calf.

11:71 “And his wife was standing (by), so she wondered. Then We (i.e. Allâh) gave her the good news of Ishâq, and beyond Ishâq, of Ya‘qûb.”

11:72 “She said: O wonder! Shall I bear a son when I am an extremely old woman, and this my husband an extremely old man? This is a wonderful thing indeed!”

11:73 “They said: Wonder you at Allâh’s commandment? The mercy of Allâh and His blessings on you, O people of the house! Surely He is Praised, Glorious.”

11:74 “So when fear departed from Abraham and good news came to him, he began to plead with Us (i.e. Allâh) for Lût’s people.”

11:75 “Surely, Ibrâhîm was forbearing - tender-hearted - oft-returning (to Allâh).”

11:76 “O Ibrâhîm, cease from this. Surely the decree of your Rabb has gone forth and there must come to them a chastisement that cannot be averted.”

11:77 “And when Our messengers came to Lût, he was grieved for them, and he was unable to protect them, and said: This is a distressful day!”

11:78 “And his people came to him, (as if) driven on towards him, and they were used to the doing of evil deeds before. He said: O my people, these are my daughters — they are purer for you; so guard against (the punishment of) Allâh and disgrace me not about my guests. Is there not among you any right-minded man?”a[14]

11:79 “They said: Certainly you know that we have no claim on thy daughters, and you know what we desire.”

11:80 “He said: Would that I had the power to repel you! — rather I shall have recourse to a strong support.”

11:81 “They said: O Lût, we are the messengers of your Rabb. They shall not reach you. So travel with your people for a part of the night — and let none of you turn back — except your wife. Surely whatsoever befalls them shall befall her. Surely their appointed time is the morning. Is not the morning nigh?”

11:82 “So when Our (i.e. Allâh) decree came to pass, We (i.e. Allâh) turned them upside down,[15]a and rained on them stones,b as decreed,c one after another,”

11:83 “Marked (for punishment) with your Rabb. And it is not far off from the wrongdoers.”[16]a


From Guidelines, Understanding Al-Qur’ân

By Ustaaz Sulaimân Ismâ’îl Ibrâhîm Nabîbukhsh

November 2008


RABB: According to ar-Râghib al-Isfahânî who reveals the following in his Mufradât alfâz al-Qur’ân: That is, ‘the word Rabb originally means, to nurture a thing in such a manner as to make it attain one condition after another until its goal of completion.’ Please note that the word has different meanings when it does not refer to the Creator. Refer to al-Qur’ân chapter 87: verses 1-3. The word ‘Lord’ does an injustice to the real meaning of Rabb! The attribute of Allâh, i.e. Rabb is the most used in the Qur’ân after the proper name, Allâh! The attribute of Allâh i.e. Rabb appears over 1,000 times in Al-Qur’ân. Note: The word has a different meaning when not referring Allâh.

[1] : Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary.

[2] : Arabic-English Lexicon, By E. W. Lane, Vol. 1, (Cambridge Islamic Text Society Trust, 1984), p. 82 and Hans Wehr A dictionary of Modern Written Arabic by J Milton Cowan Fourth Edition.

[3] : Al-Qur’ân 50:16.

[4] : The word Samâ’ (singular) means according to the Arabic-English Lexicon by E. W. Lane: “the higher, or highest, or uppermost, part of anything....Er-Rághib says that the Samâ’ as opposed to the ‘ard is fem., and sometimes masc. ...” According to the Tâj al-‘Arûs it is also the: “Canopy of the earth.” Hence, As-samâwât (plural) ought to include the known and the unknown parts which comprise the English word universe. It means more than just the heavens. The word ‘heaven’ is also regarded as a place where God and the angels live. This is rejected in Islâm, as Allâh does not occupy a place. The English word ‘universe’ which means the entire universe including the earth, cannot be applicable in this instance. The reason for this is that the words wal’ard (and the earth) [in most cases] indicates that the earth is excluded from the word As-samâwât. It could be that the Arabic word may have some other meanings. The words wal’ard may have been used as one can examine or understand some of the secrets or rather the order of some of the earth’s components. Most of the universe excluding the earth cannot be examined right now or right from the time the verse was revealed. As-samâwât could also refer to the many solar systems. [Please note that the English word ‘heavens’ is not the equivalent of samâwât - according to the English dictionary one ought to understand the ‘heavens’ to mean the abodes of God and the angels, although it also means: “the firmament surrounding the earth”].

[5] : The Noble Qur’an IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE A Summarised Version of At-Tabarî, Al-Qurtubî and Ibn Kathîr with comments from Sahîh Al-Bukharî Summarised in One Volume By Dr. Muhammad Taqî-ud-Dîn Al-Hilâlî, Ph. D. (Berlin) Professor of Islâmic Faith and Teachings – Islâmic University Al-Madîna Al-Munawwara – Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khân Islâmic University Al-Madîna Al-Munawwara.

[6] : See footnote 4 above.

[7] : Al-Qur’ân 42:51.

[8] : Al-Qur’ân 26:193, the word ar-rûh in this verse is better translated, ‘as the Divine scheme’. See also 26:192 and 194.

[9] : See footnote 4 above.

[10] : It is these words which makes the subject Mutashâbihât!

[11] : It is these words which makes the subject Mutashâbihât!

[12] : Firstly, the noun “GHULÂM” denotes a “male child...one from the time of his birth until he attains to the period termed “shabâb”, meaning young manhood.” (See Lane). Secondly, the adjective “ZAKIYY” signifies “...one that shall in the future become purified ...or increasing in goodness and righteousness...” (See Lane) It is therefore clear that the adjectival phrase describes ‘Îsâ (Allâh is pleased with him) as a “GHULÂM” who will develop into a “righteous” person. However, this transformation of ‘Îsâ (Allâh is pleased with him) would encounter the characteristic, which was the natural development of all prophets chosen by Allâh to disseminate His Law. What the verse explains is the mortality of ‘Îsâ (Allâh is pleased with him), who like all other prophets was chosen by Allâh. In other words ‘Îsâ (who would appear on the scene) should be regarded as a “GHULÂMÂN” who would eventually become “ZAKIYY” and should not be considered as being immortal and faultless.

[13] : It is these words which makes the subject Mutashâbihât!

[14] 78a. Lot, it appears from Genesis 19:9, was a stranger in the city: “This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge,” and the messengers being strangers, the townsmen would not allow him to keep them. Lot offered his daughters as hostages so that he might be allowed to keep his guests with him, for according to 15:70 he had not permission to allow any stranger to come under his roof: “Did we not forbid thee from people?” i.e. from giving shelter to them. This may have been due to the constant danger of tribal fighting. Another view is that Lût offered his daughters for marriage, as thus he would not be a stranger among them but would be one of them. Some commentators have suggested that Lût did not point to his real daughters, but to women of the tribe, because a prophet would speak of the women of his tribe as his daughters (Al-Tafsîr al-Kabîr (Commentary), by Imâm Fakhr al-Dîn Râzî and the Jâmi‘ al-Bayân f î Tafsîr al-Qur’ân (Commentary), by Al-Shaikh Mu‘în al-Dîn ibn Safî al-Dîn), and in that case he did no more than point to the natural relation of man and woman. The answer of his people seems, however, to relate to his daughters.

[15] 82a. It was a severe earthquake, which so utterly demolished the cities as to turn them upside down. In 15:73 it is called saihah, i.e., the rumbling that precedes an earthquake; see 7:84a.

82b. The raining down of stones might have been the result of a volcanic eruption which was accompanied by an earthquake.

82c. The word sijjîl is derived from the root sajala, meaning he poured forth (water), from which a large number of derivatives have followed, as usual in Arabic. Sajjala means he wrote a paper or a scroll, or decided judicially. Sijjîl means what had been written or decreed for them (Arabic-English Lexicon by Edward William Lane).

[16] 83a. The concluding words indicate a reversion to the subject of the punishment of the opponents of the Holy Prophet. It refers to the punishment.