Against the backdrop of universal signs, the surah condemns and warns those who deny Godâs signs and dispute His revelations: âThose who distort the meaning of Our revelations are not hidden from Us. Who is in a better state: he who is cast into the fire, or he who shall come safe on Resurrection Day? Do what you will; He sees all that you do.â
The warning begins in an implicit but fearful way, stating that such people âare not hidden from Us.â God is fully aware of them. They will have to account for what they perpetrate, no matter how they try to distort meanings or resort to deception. They may think that they can escape Godâs punishment in the same way as their deception spared them the accountability before human authority. However, the warning is then stated clearly: âWho is in a better state: He who is cast into the fire, or he who shall come safe on Resurrection Day?â This puts before them the prospect that lies ahead. It is they who will be cast in the fire, in contrast with the believers who will be safe on the Day of Resurrection. The verse concludes with another implicit warning: âDo what you will; He sees all that you do.â Terrible indeed is the fate of the one who is given the freedom to do what he wills and who distorts the meaning of Godâs revelations when God sees all that he does.
The surah then speaks about those who specifically deny the Qurâanic revelations, describing the Qurâan as a sublime book, admitting no falsehood: âThose who reject this reminder (i.e. the Qurâan) when it comes to them â¦ It is indeed a sublime book; no falsehood can ever touch it openly or in a stealthy manner. It is bestowed from on high by One who is wise, worthy of praise. Nothing is being said to you other than what was said to the messengers sent before your time. Your Lord is the Lord of forgiveness, but He also inflicts painful punishment. Had We willed to make this revelation a discourse in a non-Arabic tongue, they would have said: âIf only its verses were clearly spelled out! Why (a message in) a non-Arabic tongue and an Arab (messenger)?â Say: âThis is guidance and healing for all those who believe; but as for the unbelievers: there is deafness in their ears, and they are blind to it.â They are, as it were, being called to from too far away. (Verses 41-44)
The surah refers to those who reject the Qurâan when it comes to them, but does not mention their status or what will happen to them. The sentence is left without a predicate: âThose who reject this reminder (i.e. the Qurâan) when it comes to them â¦â It is a case of saying that such people do something so horrible that it cannot be properly described. The surah simply mentions them and moves on to describe the reminder which they reject; thus showing their action in its true and ghastly colors: âIt is indeed a sublime book; no falsehood can ever touch it openly or in a stealthy manner. It is bestowed from on high by One who is wise, worthy of praise.â
How could falsehood touch or creep into this book when it comes from God who is the truth absolute? It is a book which clearly presents the word of truth, one that is permanently linked to the truth that ensures the proper conduct of the affairs of the universe. How could falsehood come into it when it is a sublime book, given protection by God who undertakes to keep it intact: âIt is We Ourselves who have bestowed this reminder from on high, and it is We who shall preserve it intact.â (15: 9)
Anyone who looks carefully at the Qurâan will find in it the truth it has come to establish. We find this truth in its spirit and its text: it is simple, natural, reassuring, and addresses human nature in its totality with profound effect. Moreover, âit is bestowed from on high by One who is wise, worthy of praise.â Wisdom is clearly apparent in its structure, directives, the way it was revealed, and in its direct address to the human heart. God who revealed the Qurâan is worthy of praise. There is in the Qurâan much that makes our hearts eager to express its praise of God. ¬