Tafseer of verse 52:41
Fatwa No: 306598

  • Fatwa Date:20-12-2015 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 9, 1437
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Question

What is verse 52:41 implying or trying to convey? Does it mean that the ghaib (the Unseen, here in this verse it means Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz [the Preserved Tablet]) is in their hands so that they can write it down?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

The two verses were revealed in the context of refuting the claims of the disbelievers and answering to their disbelief in the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ).

Tafseer scholars commented on the verse that reads (what means): {Or have they (knowledge of) the unseen...} [Quran 52:41], saying:

"It is a rhetorical question to serve condemnation. It means, 'Have they the knowledge of the unseen that they (claim to) know that what the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is informing them about the Day of Judgment and resurrection is false?' It was also said that the verse answers to their claim that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) was a poet whose death was awaited for, which was reported in the verse (which means): {Or do they say (of you): A poet for whom we await a misfortune of time?} [Quran 52:30] It means, 'Have they known that Muhammad shall die before them?'"

The phrase {...so they write (it) down?} [Quran 52:41], i.e. what they have found out that is contrary to what the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) was telling them. Ibn ʻAbbaas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him commented, "It means, 'Do they have the Preserved Tablet that they write what is on it and inform people of it (i.e. what shall happen)?'" [Briefly excerpted]

At-Tabari  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote, "Allaah, The Exalted, says to the disbelievers of Quraysh: 'Do they have the knowledge of the unseen that they inform people of whatever they want?'"

Ibn Katheer  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote, "The verse means: 'This is not the case; (they do not have the knowledge of the unseen for) verily, none of the dwellers of heavens and Earth has the knowledge of the unseen save Allaah, The Exalted.'"

Allaah knows best.

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