Surah al-A`raf (The Elevated Places) 7 : 155

وَٱخْتَارَ مُوسَىٰ قَوْمَهُۥ سَبْعِينَ رَجُلًا لِّمِيقَٰتِنَا ۖ فَلَمَّآ أَخَذَتْهُمُ ٱلرَّجْفَةُ قَالَ رَبِّ لَوْ شِئْتَ أَهْلَكْتَهُم مِّن قَبْلُ وَإِيَّٰىَ ۖ أَتُهْلِكُنَا بِمَا فَعَلَ ٱلسُّفَهَآءُ مِنَّآ ۖ إِنْ هِىَ إِلَّا فِتْنَتُكَ تُضِلُّ بِهَا مَن تَشَآءُ وَتَهْدِى مَن تَشَآءُ ۖ أَنتَ وَلِيُّنَا فَٱغْفِرْ لَنَا وَٱرْحَمْنَا ۖ وَأَنتَ خَيْرُ ٱلْغَٰفِرِينَ

Translations

 
 Muhsin Khan
 Pickthall
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
And Moses chose from his people seventy men for Our appointment. And when the earthquake seized them, he said, "My Lord, if You had willed, You could have destroyed them before and me [as well]. Would You destroy us for what the foolish among us have done? This is not but Your trial by which You send astray whom You will and guide whom You will. You are our Protector, so forgive us and have mercy upon us; and You are the best of forgivers.

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note

Those seventy men were the best among them. The way the choice is expressed in Arabic makes them stand out from the whole community of Israelites. Nevertheless, what happened to this choice group? They were seized by a violent trembling and dropped unconscious. The reason for this, as mentioned in another sūrah, was that they asked Moses to show them God so that they would believe him and accept the law He has given them in the tablets. This is typical of the nature of the Children of Israel. It applies to all of them, whether good or bad, in different measures. The most singular thing is that they should make such a request when they were supposed to declare their repentance and seek God’s forgiveness.
 
Moses, on the other hand, turned to his Lord imploring Him to bestow His forgiveness and mercy, declaring his total submission to Him: “When they were seized by violent trembling, he said: ‘My Lord, had it been Your will, You could have destroyed them, and myself too, long ago.’“ (Verse 155) That is the mark of total submission to God’s power. Moses makes sure to declare his own submission as he addresses his supplication to God to forgive his people, end their test and to spare them from destruction because of the deed perpetrated by some fools among them: “Would You destroy us because of what the weak- minded among us have done?” (Verse 155) Moses puts his appeal in a questioning form to emphasize his request that God does not destroy them. It is as if he is saying: my Lord, Your grace makes it absolutely unlikely that You should destroy us on account of what some fools among us have done. “This is only a trial You have ordained, whereby You allow to go astray whom You will, and You guide aright whom You will.” (Verse 155)
 
Thus Moses declares his understanding of what was taking place, that it was all a trial. In every trial, God guides those who understand its nature and recognize it as a test. He also lets those who ignore it to go deeper into error. Moses reiterates his recognition as a prelude to an appeal to God for His help to enable him and his people to pass the trial successfully: “You alone are our guardian.” (Verse 155) Give us your help so that we pass the test, and earn Your forgiveness and Your grace: “Grant us, then, forgiveness and bestow mercy on us. You are the best of all those who do forgive.” (Verse 155)

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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A study of its contents clearly shows that the period of its revelation is about the same as that of Surah 6: al-An’am (The Grazing Livestock), i.e. the last year of the Prophet's life at Makkah, but it cannot be asserted with certainty which of these two were sent down earlier. The manner of its admonition clearly indicates that it belongs to the same period. [Ref: Mawdudi]

It is considered the longest surah revealed during the Makkan period. Some consider this surah to have been revealed after Surah 38: Sad. [Ref: Tafsir al-Maudheei, Dr. Mustafah Muslim, vol. 3, p. 2]

8. Reasons for Revelation

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9. Relevant Hadith

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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…

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