Sura Insan (Human) No. 76 (verses 27-31)






27. " They love the fleeting life and put away behind them a Day (that will be) hard and grievous."

28. " It is We who created them and strengthened their joints and when We will We can substitute the like of them (in their place) by a complete change".

29. " Surely this is an admonishment, that whosoever will, (taking this straight way) may take a path unto his Lord".

30. " Yet you will not, unless Allah Wills; surely Allah is All-knowing, All-wise".

31. " He will admit to His Mercy whom He will, but (as for the) evildoers, He has prepared a painful penalty."

This is an admonition; but it is you who choose the way

In the aforementioned verses, the Prophet was admonished and told that he should never he affected by offenders and pagans.

Historical evidences exit which confirm that there were some people who wanted to have an effect on Prophet's thoughts by alluring him to change his decision. They made offers of wealth, high social rank and beautiful women.

The following verse indicates the above and says: "They love the fleeting life and put away behind them a Day (that will be) hard and grievous.

The scope of their thought is open only to eating, sleeping and sensuality. These bodily enjoyments are their ideal. They weigh the Prophet's great soul with the same criterion. They are some blind-hearted people who are not aware of their future hard day. And what a hard day it will be! Hard from the point of punishment; hard from the point of reckoning, and hard from the point of the length of time of being dishonored and bearing the responsibility of spreading scandals for their vices.

In fact, they will have the day in front of them but, here, using the term /wara ahum/ 'behind them' instead of 'in front of them' is to denote carelessness, as if they put away the day behind them. But, some interpreters have said that the Arabic word /wara/ has the meaning of 'behind' in some texts and of 'forward' in some others.' (1)

In the next verse they are warned not to be proud of their strength, because it is Allah who gave it, and other faculties, to them so whenever He Wills He can take these back at once. Look again at the sentiments of the verse: " It is We Who created them and strengthened their joints and when We Will, We can substitute the like of them (in their place) by a complete change".

The term /asr/, in Arabic etymology, means: 'to fasten with a chain' and that is why 'captives' are called 'asir' in Arabic. In the old days, captives were fastened with chains. But, here in this verse, 'asr' means 'to firm the joints' of Man which strengthens him to move about and enables him to carry out his activities, efficiently.

Certainly, the Qur'an has touched on a most fascinating point: 'firming the different joints of Man' , which consists of small and large nerves; connecting tissues that hind muscles to each other; rope-like

(1) If the term /wara/ is added to the subject it means 'behind' and if is added to the object it means 'forward, front': (Ruh-al-Bayan, vol. 8, P. 439)

ligaments and the various muscles themselves.

Small and large pieces of bone, clothed in flesh, comprise the body and are so uniquely tied together that it totally forms a complete unit (Man) , which is able to do almost anything. On the whole, the statement is about man's strength.

This verse also makes it clear that Allah is self-sufficient (free from want) and is not in need of their faith and their obedience but, it is only to make them understand. If the verse insists on their faith, it is a grace from Allah's favor to them.

There is a similar sense in Sura An'am, No.6, verses 133, which says: 'And they Lord is self-sufficient', full of Mercy. if it were His Will, He could destroy you and in your place appoint whom He will as your successors....'

The next verse covers the general idea which the Sura conveys and, on the whole, it is a complete program for the happiness of Man: "Surely this is an admonishment, that whosoever will, (taking this straight way) may take a path unto his Lord".

It is for Us to show you the Way. There is no compulsion on you to choose it. It is you, using your wisdom, that must distinguish between right and wrong and of your own free-will decide which way to follow.

In fact, this is an emphasis on what was stated at the beginning of the Sura: "Surely We guided...", ie. 'We showed him the Way; whether he be grateful (and assumes it) or ungrateful'.

Since some feeble-minded persons may think of the verse as meaning absolute free-will for the servants, the next verse negates their claim by adding: "Yet you will not unless Allah Wills; surely Allah is All-knowing, All-wise". This is the confirmation of the principle of the medium status between fatalism and the idea of chaotic free-will.

On the one hand, it remarks that 'Allah shows the way, and choosing it is up to you'. On the other hand, there is another fact added to it that "Yet you will not unless Allah Wills"; that is, you are not completely independent, but your power and your free-will depends on Allah's Will. It is He who has given them to you and whenever He Wills, He can take them back.

Thus, there is neither an absolute free-will nor an absolute compulsion, but it is a fine, subtle line between them. In other words, there is a kind of freedom which depends on Allah's Will; that at any moment He can take it back, if He Wills. In such a way, the servants are able to fulfill their responsibility, which is the secret of their improvement, while at the same time, they do not feel any independence or self-sufficiency.

In brief, the reason for this idea is so that the servants will not feel independent divine providence, but are in need of His guidance and support. When they are making a decision to do something, they call on his support.

Some of the commentators who believe in fatalism have taken this verse as an evidence of their doctrine. Among them is Fakhr-i-Razi who said: "Take note that this verse is one of the verses in which the waves of fatalism surge." (1)

Yes, if we separate this verse from the former ones, this statement can be right, but paying attention to the fact that in one verse the possibility of the influence of Man's 'free-will' is pointed out, and in another one the recognition of Allah's Will is mentioned, the same 'variety of conditions' clearly approves these conditions, (a place between them; a place between two extreme ends) .

It is ironic that those who believe in free-will' have seriously taken to heart this verse, to denote absolute free-will, and those who believe in fatalism have taken stock in the next verse, which addresses only fatalism. Each of these two groups tries to explain away its own idea with that single verse that it has chosen, but, when a correct understanding of a statement in Qur'an (as in any other text) is read, it is meant to be read in relationship to the other statements around it, without any prejudice.

The sentence: "Surely Allah is All-knowing, All-wise" at the end of the verse, may be a point with the same understanding. Allah's knowledge and wisdom is necessary for the servants' freedom on their way to success, otherwise there must be a compulsory success which cannot be a lasting one. Furthermore, His knowledge and wisdom does not compel some individuals to do only good deeds and some others to

(1) Tafsir-Fakhr-i-Razi vol. 30, p.262

do evil, so that He would reward the former group and punish the latter one.

Finally, in the last verse, of this Sura, a short and meaningful statement refers to the happy end of the righteous and dreadful destiny of the evildoers. It says: "He will admit to His Mercy whom He will, but as for the evildoers He has prepared, for them, a painful Penalty".

It is worth noting that at the beginning of the verse it is said: "He will admit to His Mercy whom He will", but at the end of the verse it concentrates on the painful penalty for the evildoers. This shows that His Will for distributing pain, ollows the individual's Will for seeking to commit sin and also the contrary is true: His Will for bestowing blessings, follows the ndividual's Will for perfecting their faith in Allah and in doing good deeds. This is he very thing that is expected from Allah.

Though these clear evidences are available, there are some persons, such as Fakhr-i-Razi who have taken the first part of the verse as an evidence for fatalism, and in so doing they have neglected the last part of the verse, which addresses free-will and the deeds of the evildoers.


"O Lord! Admit us to your mercy, and keep us away from the painful pena4y prepared for the evildoers".

"O Lord! You showed us the way and we will follow. Please help us to stay firm and constant along Your way".

"O Lord! We may not be of the righteous, but we love them. Please count us among them".

The End of Sura Insan (Human)