This sūrah of 18 verses was revealed in Madīnah. It takes its name from the phrase in verse 9, yawm at-taghābun (the day of loss for some and gain for some). The sūrah concentrates on faith in God and the Hereafter; doing one’s duty to God in reverence for Him; on sincerity, contentment, and obedience to God; and on spending in His cause.
- Whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth glorifies God. To Him belongs the sovereignty (absolute ownership and dominion of everything) and for Him are all praise and gratitude; and He has full power over every- thing.
- He it is Who has created you, but among you are those who are unbelievers, and among you are those who are believers. God sees well all that you do.1
- It is God Who creates everything and every event, including the actions of human be- ings. Whatever He creates is, in fact, beautiful in that it is His creation. His creation of humankind is also beautiful. He creates every human being with the capacity and ability to believe, but some humans misuse this capacity and ability, choosing instead to disbelieve. Since, in this world, people are often or usually judged outwardly according to their verbal profession and actions, some may be regarded and treated as believers although they are inwardly unbelievers. However, God sees fully whatever everybody does and knows them with their inner worlds; and, therefore, He will judge them as they really are. So the verse contains a warning for the hypocritical ones and calls everybody to sincerity in belief and action.
- He has created the heavens and the earth with truth (meaningfully and for definite purpose, and on solid foundations of truth), and has formed you, and made your forms so well. And to Him is the homecoming.
- He knows all that is in the heavens and on the earth, and knows all that you keep concealed as well as all that you disclose. God has full knowledge of what- ever lies hidden in the bosoms (of His creatures).
- Have there not come to you the illustrative histories of those who disbelieved before, and therefore tasted the evil results of their deeds? And (in the Hereaf- ter) there is for them a painful punishment.
- This is because the Messengers (appointed for them) came to them consis- tently with manifest truths (and clear proofs of their being Messengers), but
(consistently) they said, “Shall a mere mortal guide us?”, and so they disbelieved and turned away (from the warning and hope offered to them). God was inde- pendent (of any need of them: it was they who needed to believe in and obey Him). God is All-Wealthy and Self-Sufficient (on Whom the whole creation is dependent), All-Praiseworthy.
- Those who disbelieve claim that they will never be raised from the dead. Say: “Yes indeed, by my Lord, you will certainly be raised from the dead, then you will certainly be made to understand all that you did (in the world and called to account for it).” That is easy for God.
- Believe, then, (O humankind) in God and His Messenger, and the light (i.e. the Qur’an) that We send down! God is fully aware of all that you do.
- On the Day when He will assemble you all for the Day of Assembly – that will be the day of loss for some (the unbelievers) and gain for some (the believ- ers). Whoever believes in God and does good, righteous deeds, He will blot out from them their evil deeds (which they sometimes happen to commit), and admit them into Gardens through which rivers flow, therein to abide forever. That is the supreme triumph.
- But as for those who disbelieve and deny Our Revelations, they will be the companions of the Fire, therein to abide: how evil a destination to arrive at!
- No affliction befalls except by God’s leave. Whoever believes in God (truly and sincerely), He guides his heart (to true knowledge of His eternal Will, and how He acts with regard to the life of His creatures, and so leads him to humble submission to Him, and to peace and serenity).2 God has full knowledge of all things.
2. everything in the world occurs according to certain laws God has established, and what- ever a person meets as a consequence of whatever he or she does is also according to these laws. It is God Who has established and created both the causes and the effects. However, He is never dependent on these laws and, if He so wills, He can create or bring about dif- ferent things, or nothing, as a result of the same cause; or He can annul a law for whom- ever He wills. So, though things usually occur according to certain laws which God has established, and we should consider these laws in our lives, we should never hold back from praying to God because we think that these laws are absolute, or that whatever we do we cannot escape its consequences. Those who know that God has this power and believe in Him accordingly, or those who believe in God inthe perception of how He acts, submit to Him wholly and find peace and rest in their hearts in this life. For the same meaning, see 57: 22–23: No affliction occurs on the earth (such as droughts, famines, or earthquakes), or in your own persons (such as diseases, damages to your property, or the loss of loved ones), but it is recorded in a Book before We bring it into existence – doing so is surely easy for God— So that you may not grieve for what has escaped you, nor exult because of what God has granted you: God does not love anyone proud and boastful… Also see notes 12
and 13 concerning these verses.
- Obey God and obey the Messenger.3 If you turn away (from that command, know that) what rests with Our Messenger is only to convey the Message fully and clearly.
3. The repetition of obey in the imperative mood for the Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, indicates that he is also authorized to command or forbid, and that Muslims must do what he says.
Obedience to God means unconditional obedience to what has been revealed in the Qur’ān. Obedience to the Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, means following his way of life (Sunnah) as closely as possible, and obeying what has been enjoined and prohibited in the Qur’ān and by him. The Sunnah is a comprehensively detailed account of the life of God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, who said: “Take care! I have been given the Book and its like [i.e. my Sunnah] together with it” (Abū Dāwūd, “Sunnah,” 5).
The Sunnah defines what is stated in general terms by referring to particular instances, and it defines the general principle underlying statements in the Qur’an that are, in them- selves, specific and particular. Also, the Sunnah (like the Qur’ān which it embodies) is also concerned with moral guidance, so the Sunnah provides inspiration and the horizons for moral and spiritual instruction in all spheres of life, as well as providing the inspiration and horizons (limits) within which Islamic legislation may be affected. everything it teaches, every legal ruling, and every piece of moral instruction which is derived from the Sunnah remains within the framework, the spirit, the “color” and the temperament of the Qur’an.
As stated in 8: 20 as well, Muslims must not turn away from the Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings. Therefore, willful disobedience to the Sunnah, even belittling or criticizing it, is to approach heresy or apostasy.
- God, there is no deity but He: so in God let the believers put their trust.
- O you who believe! Among your spouses and children there may be enemies for you, so beware of them. Yet, if you pardon, forbear, and forgive (their faults towards you and in worldly matters), then (know that) God is All-Forgiving, All-compassionate.4
4. Spouses are dutiful toward each other, and parents have intrinsic love for and duties to- ward their children. However, the love of spouses for each other and the love of parents for their children should be regulated according to the commandments of the Religion. Love of family may sometimes bar a man or woman from his or her religious duties, or cause him or her to indulge the family excessively, or to work for the children and their future without considering the children’s duties towards God and their afterlife, whereas true love necessitates that parents should first consider the afterlife and the religious duties of their children. They should consider their worldly welfare within the framework of the Religion. Unfortunately, many spouses and parents neglect this cardinal principle and they misuse their love and compassion for each other and for their children. In addition to this, some
spouses and children may put pressure upon each other and their parents to act without considering the religious commandments and cause each other or themselves to lose in the Hereafter. This is, in fact, enmity. So the Qur’ān draws the attention of spouses to this fact and warns them. However, despite such enmity, parents should be careful, patient, and tolerant in their mutual relations and in their approach to the conduct of their children. They can be forbearing and pardon their mutual faults toward each other and the faults of their children toward themselves. (This is what is expected from parents, but children must be extremely careful about observing the rights of their parents.) They should also overlook any faults concerning worldly matters and be able to act as educators concerning religious matters. They should always give precedence to religious matters over worldly ones.
The next verse concisely expresses this truth.
- Your worldly possessions and your children are but a source of temptation and trial (for you); and God it is with Whom is a tremendous reward.
- Keep, then, from disobedience to God in reverence for Him and piety as far as you can,5 and listen attentively and submit (to His commands), and obey Him, and spend (in His cause and for the needy), as it is to the betterment of your souls. Whoever is guarded against the avarice of his soul, those are they who are truly prosperous.6
- This statement is not contradictory with, Keep from disobedience to God in reverent piety with all the reverence that is due to Him (3: 102), nor does the former abrogate the latter. God should be revered and obeyed as He should because His position as God requires this. In fact, every position requires respect and obedience to the extent of its greatness. However, each human being has a capacity for respect and obedience particular to himself or herself; he or she cannot go beyond this. But as we cannot know the limits of our own capacity, we must try to revere and obey God as His being God requires us to do, to the utmost of our capacity.
- This verse explains how people can be saved from the enmity of their spouses or children and be successful in the trial of their worldly possessions and children.
- If you lend God a goodly loan,7 He will increase it manifold to you and will forgive you. God is All-Responsive (to gratitude), All-clement (forbearing be- fore many of the faults of His servants).
7. See sūrah 57: 11, note 7.
- (And He is) the Knower of the unseen and the witnessed, the All-Glorious with irresistible might, the All-Wise.