You are reading a tafsir for the group of verses 34:34 to 34:38

How Those Who lived a Life of Luxury disbelieved in the Messengers and were misled by Their pursuit of Wealth and Children

Allah is consoling His Prophet and commanding him to follow the example of the Messengers that came before him. He tells him that no Prophet was ever sent to a township but those among its people who lived a life of luxury disbelieved in him, and the weaker people of the town followed him. The people of Nuh, peace be upon him, said to him:

أَنُؤْمِنُ لَكَ وَاتَّبَعَكَ الاٌّرْذَلُونَ

(Shall we believe in you, when the weakest (of the people) follow you) (26:110)

وَمَا نَرَاكَ اتَّبَعَكَ إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ هُمْ أَرَاذِلُنَا بَادِىَ الرَّأْى

(nor do we see any follow you but the meanest among us and they (too) followed you without thinking) (11:27). The leaders among the people of Salih said:

قَالَ الْمَلأ الَّذِينَ اسْتَكْبَرُواْ مِن قَوْمِهِ لِلَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُواْ لِمَنْ ءَامَنَ مِنْهُمْ أَتَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّ صَـلِحاً مُّرْسَلٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِ قَالُواْ إِنَّا بِمَآ أُرْسِلَ بِهِ مُؤْمِنُونَ - قَالَ الَّذِينَ اسْتَكْبَرُواْ إِنَّا بِالَّذِى ءَامَنتُمْ بِهِ كَـفِرُونَ

(to those who were counted weak -- to such of them as believed: "Know you that Salih is one sent from his Lord." They said: "We indeed believe in that with which he has been sent." Those who were arrogant said: "Verily, we disbelieve in that which you believe in.") (7:75-76). And Allah said:

وَكَذلِكَ فَتَنَّا بَعْضَهُمْ بِبَعْضٍ لِّيَقُولواْ أَهَـؤُلاءِ مَنَّ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِم مِّن بَيْنِنَآ أَلَيْسَ اللَّهُ بِأَعْلَمَ بِالشَّـكِرِينَ

(Thus We have tried some of them with others, that they might say: "Is it these (poor believers) that Allah has favored from among us" Does not Allah know best those who are grateful) (6:53),

وَكَذلِكَ جَعَلْنَا فِي كُلِّ قَرْيَةٍ أَكَـبِرَ مُجْرِمِيهَا لِيَمْكُرُواْ فِيهَا

(And thus We have set up in every town great ones of its wicked people to plot therein) (6:123), and

وَإِذَآ أَرَدْنَآ أَن نُّهْلِكَ قَرْيَةً أَمَرْنَا مُتْرَفِيهَا فَفَسَقُواْ فِيهَا فَحَقَّ عَلَيْهَا الْقَوْلُ فَدَمَّرْنَاهَا تَدْمِيرًا

(And when We decide to destroy a town (population), We (first) send a definite order to those among them who lead a life of luxury. Then, they transgress therein, and thus the Word (of torment) is justified against it (them). Then We destroy it with complete destruction) (17:16). And Allah says here:

وَمَآ أَرْسَلْنَا فِى قَرْيَةٍ مِّن نَّذِيرٍ

And We did not send a warner to a township meaning a Prophet or a Messenger,

إِلاَّ قَالَ مُتْرَفُوهَآ

(but those who were given the worldly wealth and luxuries among them) means, those who enjoyed a life of riches and luxury, and positions of leadership. Qatadah said, "They are their tyrants, chiefs and leaders in evil."

إِنَّا بِمَآ أُرْسِلْتُمْ بِهِ كَـفِرُونَ

(We believe not in the (Message) with which you have been sent.) means, `we do not believe in it and we will not follow it.' Allah tells us that those who enjoyed a life of luxury and who disbelieved the Messengers said:

وَقَالُواْ نَحْنُ أَكْثَـرُ أَمْوَلاً وَأَوْلَـداً وَمَا نَحْنُ بِمُعَذَّبِينَ

(And they say: "We are more in wealth and in children, and we are not going to be punished.") meaning, they were proud of their great wealth and great numbers of children, and they believed that this was a sign that Allah loved them and cared for them, and that if He gave them this in this world, He would not punish them in the Hereafter. This was too far-fetched. Allah says:

أَيَحْسَبُونَ أَنَّمَا نُمِدُّهُمْ بِهِ مِن مَّالٍ وَبَنِينَ - نُسَارِعُ لَهُمْ فِى الْخَيْرَتِ بَل لاَّ يَشْعُرُونَ

(Do they think that in wealth and children with which We enlarge them We hasten unto them with good things. Nay, but they perceive not.) (23:55-56)

فَلاَ تُعْجِبْكَ أَمْوَلُهُمْ وَلاَ أَوْلَـدُهُمْ إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُعَذِّبَهُمْ بِهَا فِي الْحَيَوةِ الدُّنْيَا وَتَزْهَقَ أَنفُسُهُمْ وَهُمْ كَـفِرُونَ

(So, let not their wealth nor their children amaze you; in reality Allah's plan is to punish them with these things in the life of this world, and that their souls shall depart while they are disbelievers.) (9:55), and

ذَرْنِى وَمَنْ خَلَقْتُ وَحِيداً - وَجَعَلْتُ لَهُ مَالاً مَّمْدُوداً - وَبَنِينَ شُهُوداً - وَمَهَّدتُّ لَهُ تَمْهِيداً - ثُمَّ يَطْمَعُ أَنْ أَزِيدَ - كَلاَّ إِنَّهُ كان لاٌّيَـتِنَا عَنِيداً - سَأُرْهِقُهُ صَعُوداً

(Leave Me Alone (to deal) with whom I created lonely. And then granted him resources in abundance. And children to be by his side. And made life smooth and comfortable for him. After all that he desires that I should give more. Nay! Verily, he has been opposing Our Ayat. I shall oblige him to face a severe torment!) (74:11-17) And Allah has told us about the story of the owner of those two gardens, that he had wealth and crops and children, but that could not help him at all when all of that was taken from him in this world, before he reached the Hereafter. Allah says here:

قُلْ إِنَّ رَبِّى يَبْسُطُ الرِّزْقَ لِمَن يَشَآءُ وَيَقْدِرُ

(Say: "Verily, my Lord expands the provision to whom He wills and restricts...") meaning, He gives wealth to those whom He loves and those whom He does not love, and He makes poor whom He wills and makes rich whom He wills. He has complete wisdom and clear proof,

وَلَـكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ

(but most men know not.) Then Allah says:

وَمَآ أَمْوَلُكُمْ وَلاَ أَوْلَـدُكُمْ بِالَّتِى تُقَرِّبُكُمْ عِندَنَا زُلْفَى

(And it is not your wealth, nor your children that bring you nearer to Us,) meaning, `these things are not a sign that We love you or care for you.' Imam Ahmad, may Allah have mercy on him, recorded that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:

«إِنَّ اللهَ تَعَالَى لَا يَنْظُرُ إِلَى صُوَرِكُمْ وَأَمْوَالِكُمْ، وَلَكِنْ إِنَّمَا يَنْظُرُ إِلَى قُلُوبِكُمْ وَأَعْمَالِكُم»

(Allah does not look at your outward appearance or your wealth, rather He looks at your hearts and your deeds.) Muslim and Ibn Majah also recorded this. Allah says:

إِلاَّ مَنْ ءَامَنَ وَعَمِلَ صَـلِحاً

(but only he who believes, and does righteous deeds;) meaning, `only faith and righteous deeds will bring you closer to Us.'

فَأُوْلَـئِكَ لَهُمْ جَزَآءُ الضِّعْفِ بِمَا عَمِلُواْ

(as for such, there will be multiple rewards for what they did,) means, the reward will be multiplied for them between ten and seven hundred times.

وَهُمْ فِى الْغُرُفَـتِ ءَامِنُونَ

(and they will reside in the high dwellings in peace and security.) means, in the lofty dwellings of Paradise, safe from all misery, fear and harm, and from any evil they could fear. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that `Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:

«إِنَّ فِي الْجَنَّةِ لَغُرَفًا تُرَى ظُهُورُهَا مِنْ بُطُونِهَا، وَبُطُونُهَا مِنْ ظُهُورِهَا»

(In Paradise there are lofty rooms whose outside can be seen from the inside and whose inside can be seen from the outside.) A bedouin asked, "Who are they for" He said:

«لِمَنْ طَيَّبَ الْكَلَامَ، وَأَطْعَمَ الطَّعَامَ، وَأَدَامَ الصِّيَامَ، وَصَلَّى بِاللَّيْلِ وَالنَّاسُ نِيَام»

(For those who speak well, feed the hungry, persist in fasting and pray at night while people are asleep.)

وَالَّذِينَ يَسْعَوْنَ فِى ءَايَـتِنَا مُعَـجِزِينَ

(And those who strive against Our Ayat, to frustrate them,) means, those who try to block people from the path of Allah and from following His Messengers and believing in His signs,

فَأُوْلَـئِكَ فِى الْعَذَابِ مُحْضَرُونَ

they will be brought to the torment. means, they will all be punished for their deeds, each one accordingly.