In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Holy Quran Surah 98 Al Bayyinah (The Clear Evidence)
Interpretation of the Meanings of the Noble Quran in English Language by A.Yusuf Ali
2 An apostle from Allah rehearsing scriptures kept pure and holy: 6224 6225
3 Wherein are laws (or decrees) right and straight. 6226
4 Nor did the people of the Book make schisms until after there came to them Clear Evidence. 6227
5 And they have been commanded no more than this: to worship Allah offering Him sincere devotion being True (in faith); to establish regular Prayer; and to practice regular Charity; and that is the Religion Right and Straight. 6228 6229 6230
6 Those who reject (Truth) among the People of the Book and among the Polytheists will be in hell-fire to dwell therein (for aye). They are the worst of creatures. 6231
7 Those who have faith and do righteous deeds they are the best of creatures. 6232
8 Their reward is with Allah: Gardens of Eternity Beneath which rivers flow; They will dwell therein for ever; Allah well pleased with them and they with Him: all this for such as fear their Lord and Cherisher. 6233 6234
The Surah is so designated after the word al-bayyinah occurring at the end of the first verse.
Period of Revelation
Where it was revealed, at Makkah or Madinah, is also disputed. Some commentators say it is a Makki revelation according to most scholars; others say it is a Madani revelation according to most scholars. Ibn Az Zubair and Ata bin Yasar hold the view that it is Madani. Ibn Abbas and Qatadah are reported to have held two views, first that it is Makki, second that it is Madani. Hadrat Aishah regards it as a Makki Surah. Abu Hayyan, author of Bahr al-Muhit, and Abdul Munim ibn al-Faras, author of Ahkam al-Quran, alsa have preferred to regard it as Makki. As for its contents, there is nothing in it to indicate whether it was revealed at Makkah or at Madinah.
Theme and Subject Matter
Its having been placed after Surahs Al-Alaq and Al-Qadr in the arrangement of the Quran is very meaningful. Surah Al-Alaq contains the very first revelation, while Surah Al-Qadr shows as to when it was revealed, and in this Surah it has been explained why it was necessary to send a Messenger along with this Holy Book.
First of all the need of sending a Messenger has been explained, saying: The people of the world, be they from among the followers of the earlier scriptures or from among the idolaters, could not possibly be freed from their state of unbelief, until a Messenger was sent whose appearance by itself should be a clear proof of his apostleship, and he should present the Book of God before the people in its original, pristine form, which should be free from every mixture of falsehood corrupting the earlier Divine Books; and which should comprise sound teachings.
Then, about the errors of the followers of the earlier Books it has been said that the cause of their straying into different creeds was not that Allah had not provided any guidance to them, but they strayed only after a clear statement of the Right Creed had come to them. From this it automatically follows that they themselves were responsible for their error and deviation. Now, if even after the coming of the clear statement through this Messenger, they continued to stray, their responsibility would further increase.
In this very connection, it has been stated that the Prophets who came from Allah and the Books sent down by Him, did not enjoin anything but that the way of sincere and true service to Allah be adopted, apart from all other ways, no one else's worship, service or obedience be mixed with His, the salat be established and the zakat be paid. This same has been the true religion since ever. From this also it automatically follows that the followers of the earlier scriptures, straying from this true religion, have added extraneous things to it, which are false, and Allah's this Messenger has come to invite them back to, the same original faith.
In conclusion, it has been pointed out clearly that the followers of the earlier Books and the idolaters who would refuse to acknowledge this Messenger are the worst of creatures: their punishment is an everlasting Hell; and the people who would believe and act righteously, and would spend life in the world in awe of God, are the best of creatures: their reward is eternal Paradise wherein they will live for ever. Allah became well pleased with them and they became well pleased with Allah.
6221 The People of the Book immediately referred to are the Jews and the Christians, who had received scriptures in the same line of prophecy in which came our holy Prophet. Their scriptures should have prepared them for the advent of the greatest and last of the Prophets. For the Jewish scriptures promised to the Jews, cousins or brethren to the Arabs, a prophet like Moses: "The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken" (Deut, xviii. 15). And Christ promised a Comforter (John. xiv. 16; xv. 26; and xvi. 7; see my n. 5438 to lxi. 6) almost by name. The People of the Book fell from the true, straight, and standard religion, into devious ways, and would not come to the true Path until (they said) they were convinced by the arrival of the promised Prophet. But when the promised Prophet came in the person of Muhammad, they rejected him, because they really did not seek for Truth but only followed their own fancies and desires. (98.1)
6222 The Polytheists, the Pagans, had not previously believed in any scriptures. But yet, when clear evidence came to them, they should have believed. Yet they rejected the holy Prophet because they were not really searching for Truth, but were only following their own fancies and desires. (98.1)
6223 The Clear Evidence was the holy Prophet himself, his life, his personality, and his teaching. (98.1)
6224 Cf. ii. 15 1. (98.2)
6225 Cf. lxxx. 13-16. (98.2)
6226 Qaiyim. straight, as opposed to crooked; standard as opposed to irregular; definite and permanent, as opposed to casual or temporary. Cf. ix. 36; xii. 40; etc. (98.3)
6227 The responsibility of the People of the Book is greater than that of Pagans, because the People of the Book had been prepared for the standard and straight Religion by the revelations which they had already received. Yet, when the clear evidence came in Islam, they resisted it, And what is this standard and straight Religion, free of all ambiguity, and free of all casual rights and ceremonies? They are summed up in three eternal principles, as explained in the next verse and the next note. (98.4)
6228 The three eternal principles of Religion are: (1) sincere devotion to Allah; (2) Prayer and Praise as drawing man nearer to Allah; and (3) the service of Allah's creatures by deeds of practical charity. (98.5)
6229 Hanif: see n. 134 to ii. 135. (98.5)
6230 See n. 6226 above. (98.5)
6231 To be given the faculty of discrimination between right and wrong, and then to reject truth and right, is the worst folly which a creature endowed with will can commit. It must necessarily bring its own punishment, whether the creature calls himself one of the children of Abraham or one of the redeemed of Christ, or whether he goes by the mere light of nature and reason as a Pagan. Honour in the sight of Allah is not due to race or colour, but to sincere and righteous conduct (xlix. 13). (98.6)
6232 Contrast this with the preceding verse. Human beings who live a life of faith and good deed justify the purpose of their probation here. They attain the fulfilment of their highest hopes. (98.7)
6233 The Good Pleasure of Allah is the final Bliss of Salvation. The good pleasure is mutual; the truly saved is he whose will has become completely identified with Allah's universal will. (98.8)
6234 The fear of Allah is the fear to offend against His holy law, the fear to do anything which is against His holy Will. Such fear is akin to love; for with it dawns the consciousness of Allah's loving-care for all His creatures. (98.8)
End of Surah Al-Baiyyinah