Surah Ghafir (The Forgiver) 40 : 34

وَلَقَدْ جَآءَكُمْ يُوسُفُ مِن قَبْلُ بِٱلْبَيِّنَٰتِ فَمَا زِلْتُمْ فِى شَكٍّ مِّمَّا جَآءَكُم بِهِۦ ۖ حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا هَلَكَ قُلْتُمْ لَن يَبْعَثَ ٱللَّهُ مِنۢ بَعْدِهِۦ رَسُولًا ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ يُضِلُّ ٱللَّهُ مَنْ هُوَ مُسْرِفٌ مُّرْتَابٌ

Translations

 
 Muhsin Khan
 Pickthall
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
And Joseph had already come to you before with clear proofs, but you remained in doubt of that which he brought to you, until when he died, you said, ‘Never will Allāh send a messenger after him.’ Thus does Allāh leave astray he who is a transgressor and sceptic."

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note

Finally, the believer reminds them of their attitude to the Prophet Joseph, Moses' ancestor. They also doubted him and his message despite the clear evidence he showed them. They must not adopt the same attitude towards Moses who is confirming what Joseph had brought them earlier. In fact, Moses' message disproves their assertions that God would not send a ,messenger after Joseph. For, Moses has been sent to prove them wrong: "Long before this, Joseph came to you with clear evidence of the truth; but you never ceased to cast doubt on the message he brought you. When he died, you said: `God will never send any messenger after him.' In this way God lets go astray those who are transgressors and live in doubt. Those who dispute God's revelations, with no authority granted to them, commit something that is exceedingly loathsome in the sight of God and of those who believe. In this way God sets a seal on the heart of every arrogant tyrant." (Verses 34-35)


This is the only reference in the Qur'an to Joseph's message addressed to the people of Egypt. In the surah carrying his name we learn that he was placed in charge of Egypt's storehouses. He also carried the title of (Aziz, which probably meant the chief minister. There is an indication in the stirah that he sat on Egypt's throne, but this is not confirmed. This may be understood from the verse that says: "And he raised his parents to the throne, and they fell down on their knees, prostrating themselves before him. He said: Father, this is the real meaning of my dream of long ago. My Lord has made it come true." (12: 100)
 
The 'throne' to which Joseph raised his parents might have been something other than Egypt's throne. Be that as it may, Joseph attained a position of power and authority. In light of all this, we can imagine the situation to which the believer in Pharaoh's household was referring: they doubted Joseph's message, but dared not deny it outright when he was the man in power. Then they said: 'God will never send any messenger after him.' They were practically relieved when he died. Expressing their relief in this way suggests that they did not accept his message based on God's complete oneness. They asserted that God would not send another messenger after him, yet this expressed nothing but their own desire. It is often the case that people desire something and then believe it to be true.
At this juncture, the believer takes a strong stance against such hardened denials of the truth: "In this way God lets go astray those who are transgressors and live in doubt." He warns them that God will abandon those who continue to doubt His message after seeing clear evidence of its truth, letting them go astray. He then tells them plainly that those who continue to dispute God's revelation, without justification or evidence, will be loathed by God and the believers.

Pharaoh and his people did this in a very deplorable way. He also condemns arrogance and warns against God's punishment to those who continue to behave arrogantly and resort to high-handedness. "Those who dispute God's revelations, with no authority granted to them, commit something that is exceedingly loathsome in the sight of God and of those who believe. In this way God sets a seal on the heart of every arrogant tyrant." (Verse 35) These words, from a believer among Pharaoh's household, are almost identical to those at the outset of the sii rah speaking of how God dislikes those who dispute His revelations without any proof in support of what they say. The result is that God lets them go astray until there is no room in their hearts for the light of guidance. Pharaoh's Manoeuvre despite such solid arguments from the believer, Pharaoh persisted in his erring ways, adamant in his rejection of the truth. However, he sought to pretend that he wanted to find out whether what Moses said was true.

2. Linguistic Analysis

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


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7. Period of Revelation

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8. Reasons for Revelation

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There are clear indications in the subject matter of this Surah to the conditions in which it was revealed. The disbelievers of Makkah at that time were engaged in two kinds of the activities against the Prophet. First, they were creating suspicion and misgiving in the minds of the people about the teaching of the Qur’an and the message of Islam and about the Prophet himself by starting many disputes and discussions, raising irrelevant objections and bringing ever new accusations so that the Prophet and the believers were sick of trying to answer them. Secondly, they were preparing the ground for putting an end to the Prophet himself. They were devising one plot after another, and on one occasion had even taken the practical steps to execute a plot. There is a hadith on the authority of Abdullah bin Amr bin al-As, saying that, one day when the Prophet was offering his prayers in the precincts of the Ka’bah, suddenly ‘Uqbah bin Abi Mu’ait, rushed forward and putting a piece of cloth round his neck started twisting it so as to strangle him to death. Abu Bakr, who happened to go there in time, pushed him away. Abdullah says that when Abu Bakr was struggling with the man, he was saying words to the effect: “Would you kill a man only because he says: God is my Lord?”

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