Surah al-`Ankabut (The Spider ) 29 : 20

قُلْ سِيرُوا۟ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ فَٱنظُرُوا۟ كَيْفَ بَدَأَ ٱلْخَلْقَ ۚ ثُمَّ ٱللَّهُ يُنشِئُ ٱلنَّشْأَةَ ٱلْءَاخِرَةَ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَىْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

Translations

 
 Muhsin Khan
 Pickthall
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
Say, [O Muhammad], "Travel through the land and observe how He began creation. Then Allāh will bring the Hereafter into being. Indeed Allāh, over all things, is competent."

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note

The sūrah then calls on people to travel in all directions and contemplate God’s work and signs that appear in all creation, animate and inanimate alike. When they do, they will realize that the One who originates life can bring it back without difficulty.

Travelling opens people’s hearts to new and unfamiliar vistas. It awakens their senses and minds. By contrast, the place where one lives very often holds no attraction or excitement because of over-familiarity. Yet to return home after a period away often rekindles passion and enthusiasm for what once seemed dull and unremarkable. This, thus, leads to new interaction and appreciation of one’s immediate environs. All glory is to God, who has bestowed the Qur’ān from on high and who has full knowledge of how people’s hearts and minds function and interact with their surroundings.

“Say: Go all over the earth and see how God has originated His creation in the first instance.” In the Arabic text the order to travel is followed with a sentence that uses the simple past tense referring to the start of creation. This is significant, for we see today certain things that are indicative of the beginning of life and how the earth came to be populated with different species. Scientific excavations have formed some idea about how life started, spread and progressed, but they have not arrived at anything definite about the secret of life. They do not know how it came to be on earth, nor when the first living creature was placed on it. The order given by God, then, is to search for the beginning of life and to use acquired knowledge to learn about resurrection and the life to come.

We should also note here that the people first addressed by the Qur’ān were not qualified to undertake such scientific research; it is a much more recent development in the search for knowledge. Hence, they could not arrive at the relevant facts, if this was really intended. Nor could they use such facts to draw a mental picture of how a second life would begin. Therefore, the verse required them to look at the way life starts in plants, animals and man everywhere on earth. With this in mind, travelling served to alert their minds and feelings as they pondered that which was unfamiliar. They could then reflect on the manifestations of God’s power, on how easy it is for Him to initiate life at every moment of the night and day.

More importantly, the Qur’ān gives its directives to suit all generations of human life, with their different levels of progress, circumstances and the means available to them. Every generation will take up this order and benefit by it in accordance with what abilities it commands. The order remains applicable to later generations as life develops and progresses, giving fresh incentive and impetus.

“Most certainly, God has the power over all things.” He initiates life and brings it back. He is not restricted by what people imagine to be feasible or unfeasible, possible or impossible.

2. Linguistic Analysis

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Frequency of Root words in this Ayat used in this Surah *


3. Surah Overview

4. Miscellaneous Information

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5. Connected/Related Ayat

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6. Frequency of the word

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7. Period of Revelation

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"Verses 56 to 60 clearly show that this Surah was sent down a little before the migration to Abyssinia, during the period of extreme persecution of the Muslims at Makkah. This is supported by the subject matter as well. The disbelievers were opposing Islam and the new Muslims were being subjected to severe torture and oppression. Such were the conditions when God sent down this Surah to strengthen and encourage the Muslims, as well as to admonish the hypocrites. The disbelievers of Makkah were also threatened not to invite a similar fate to the past nations that denied the truth." [Ref: Mawdudi]

8. Reasons for Revelation

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9. Relevant Hadith

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10. Wiki Forum

Comments in this section are statements made by general users – these are not necessarily explanations of the Ayah – rather a place to share personal thoughts and stories…

11. Tafsir Zone

 

12. External Links

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