In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
لَقَدۡ كَانَ لِسَبَإٍ۬ فِى مَسۡكَنِهِمۡ ءَايَةٌ۬ ۖ جَنَّتَانِ عَن يَمِينٍ۬ وَشِمَالٍ۬ۖ كُلُواْ مِن رِّزۡقِ رَبِّكُمۡ وَٱشۡكُرُواْ لَهُۚ ۥ بَلۡدَةٌ۬ طَيِّبَةٌ۬ وَرَبٌّ غَفُورٌ۬
فَأَعۡرَضُواْ فَأَرۡسَلۡنَا عَلَيۡہِمۡ سَيۡلَ ٱلۡعَرِمِ وَبَدَّلۡنَـٰهُم بِجَنَّتَيۡہِمۡ جَنَّتَيۡنِ ذَوَاتَىۡ أُڪُلٍ خَمۡطٍ۬ وَأَثۡلٍ۬ وَشَىۡءٍ۬ مِّن سِدۡرٍ۬ قَلِيلٍ۬
ذَٲلِكَ جَزَيۡنَـٰهُم بِمَا كَفَرُواْۖ وَهَلۡ نُجَـٰزِىٓ إِلَّا ٱلۡكَفُورَ
وَجَعَلۡنَا بَيۡنَہُمۡ وَبَيۡنَ ٱلۡقُرَى ٱلَّتِى بَـٰرَڪۡنَا فِيہَا قُرً۬ى ظَـٰهِرَةً۬ وَقَدَّرۡنَا فِيہَا ٱلسَّيۡرَۖ سِيرُواْ فِيہَا لَيَالِىَ وَأَيَّامًا ءَامِنِينَ
فَقَالُواْ رَبَّنَا بَـٰعِدۡ بَيۡنَ أَسۡفَارِنَا وَظَلَمُوٓاْ أَنفُسَہُمۡ فَجَعَلۡنَـٰهُمۡ أَحَادِيثَ وَمَزَّقۡنَـٰهُمۡ كُلَّ مُمَزَّقٍۚ إِنَّ فِى ذَٲلِكَ لَأَيَـٰتٍ۬ لِّكُلِّ صَبَّارٍ۬ شَكُورٍ۬
Indeed there was for Saba’ a sign in their dwelling place, – two gardens on the right hand and on the left (and it was said to them) “Eat of the provision of your Lord, and be grateful to Him, a fair land and an Oft-Forgiving Lord. But they turned away (from the obedience of Allah), so We sent against them Sail Al-‘Arim (flood released from the dam), and We converted their two gardens into gardens producing bitter bad fruit, and tamarisks, and some few lote-trees. Like this We requited them because they were ungrateful disbelievers. And never do We requite in such a way except those who are ungrateful, (disbelievers). And We placed between them and the towns which We had blessed, towns easy to be seen, and We made the stages (of journey) between them easy (saying): “Travel in them safely both by night and day.” But they said: “Our Lord! Make the stages between our journey longer,” and they wronged themselves, so We made them as tales (in the land), and We dispersed them all, totally. Verily, in this are indeed signs for every steadfast grateful (person).
Imaam As-Sadi [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: Saba was a well-known tribe close to Yemen and their dwelling place was a township called Ma’rib. And one of blessings Allaah has bestowed upon the people – in general- and His kindness to them, and to the Arabs in particular, is that Allaah narrated – in the Qur’aan – the news regarding those who were destroyed and punished, who lived close to the Arabs and they saw its Aathaar [i.e. the signs left behind in the land to indicate their evil end]; and the people transmitted its news, so that it became easier to [believe and affirm] its truthfulness and closer [to the hearts and minds] as an admonition.
Allaah said: [لَقَدۡ كَانَ لِسَبَإٍ۬ فِى مَسۡكَنِهِمۡ ءَايَةٌ۬ – Indeed there was for Saba’ a sign in their dwelling place]- Meaning: The place they lived. [The term ‘Sign’ in this statement] are the blessings Allah bestowed upon them and averted calamities from them, which necessitated that they worship Allah alone and thank Him. Then Allaah [clarified and explained what] this sign was, saying: [جَنَّتَانِ عَن يَمِينٍ۬ وَشِمَالٍ۬ – two gardens on the right hand and on the left]- Meaning: They used to have a huge valley to which came abundant rainfall. They built a robust dam that gathered the water and the rainfall used to come to it. It gathered abundant water over there, so they distributed it to their orchards, which were situated on the right and left of that valley. The two big gardens brought forth for them Thimaar [i.e. fruits and other produce from trees, plants] that was sufficient for them, which brought about – for them- a state of bliss and happiness. So, Allaah commanded them to thank Him for bestowing upon them His blessings which He facilitated for them in numerous ways as follows:
The two gardens from which came most of their nourishments.
Allah made their dwelling place good- its air was good, it had very little pollution and the land brought provision continuously.
Allaah promised them that if they are grateful to Him, He will forgive them and show them mercy, and this is why Allaah said: [بَلۡدَةٌ۬ طَيِّبَةٌ۬ وَرَبٌّ غَفُورٌ۬ – a fair land and an Oft-Forgiving Lord].
Due to the fact that Allah knew their need for trade and earnings in the blessed land- and what is apparent is that it was the surrounding towns of Sanaa [i.e. in Yemen] as stated by more than one of the Salaf, and it was stated that the blessed land was Shaam [syria]-, therefore, Allaah facilitated for them the means through which they got there with great ease, safely and without fear, and the adjacent towns between them and that blessed land; so that they encountered no difficulty in carrying provisions and merchandise. And due to this Allaah said: [وَجَعَلۡنَا بَيۡنَہُمۡ وَبَيۡنَ ٱلۡقُرَى ٱلَّتِى بَـٰرَڪۡنَا فِيہَا قُرً۬ى ظَـٰهِرَةً۬ وَقَدَّرۡنَا فِيہَا ٱلسَّيۡرَۖ – And We placed between them and the towns which We had blessed, towns easy to be seen, and We made the stages (of journey) between them easy]- Meaning: Distances they were acquainted with and make [good plans for their journeys], so that they did not get lost on their way. [سِيرُواْ فِيہَا لَيَالِىَ وَأَيَّامًا ءَامِنِينَ – Travel in them safely both by night and day]- Meaning: With tranquillity during those nights and days, without fear. This was one of Allaah’s perfect blessings which He bestowed upon them by saving them from fear.
However, they turned away from the One [i.e. their Lord Allaah] Who bestowed those blessings upon them- turned away from worshipping Him alone, thankless for the blessings bestowed upon them and became unconcerned about them, until they asked and wished that the distance of their journeys between those towns [which was very easy] should be longer.
[وَظَلَمُوٓاْ أَنفُسَہُمۡ – And they wronged themselves]- Meaning: Due to their disbelief in Allaah and being ungrateful to Him for the blessings He bestowed on them, Allaah punished them as a result of their transgression, took it away from them [i.e. the blessings] and sent them Sail Al-Arim [a wild flood], which destroyed their dam, destroyed their gardens and orchards. So, those gardens that had amazing verdant plots and trees that bore fruits were substituted with trees that had no benefit. And due to this Allah said: [وَبَدَّلۡنَـٰهُم بِجَنَّتَيۡہِمۡ جَنَّتَيۡنِ ذَوَاتَىۡ أُڪُلٍ خَمۡطٍ۬ وَأَثۡلٍ۬ وَشَىۡءٍ۬ مِّن سِدۡرٍ۬ قَلِيلٍ۬ – and We converted their two gardens into gardens producing bitter bad fruit, and tamarisks, and some few lote-trees]- Meaning: Brought little food that was not enough to suffice them. All these trees are well known and was a just recompense for their evil deeds. (1)
Story of The Dam of Ma’rib: The story of the dam is about the water which used to come to them from between two mountains, combined with water from rain falls and their valleys. Their kings built a huge, strong dam and the water reached a high level between the two mountains. Then they planted trees and got the best fruits that could ever be harvested, plentiful and beautiful. A number of the Salaf, including Qataadah [rahimahumullaah] mentioned that a woman would walk beneath the trees, carrying a basket or vessel – such as is used to gather fruit – on her head, and that fruit would fall from the trees and fill the basket without any need for her to make the effort to pick the fruit, because it was so plentiful and ripe. This was the dam of Marib, a land between which and San’a was a journey of three days. Others said that in their land there were no flies, mosquitos or fleas, or any kind of vermin. This was because the weather was good and the people were healthy, and Allaah took care of them so they that they worship Him alone.
Some including Ibn Abbaas [may Allaah be pleased with him and his father], Wahb Bin Munabbih, Qataadah and Ad-Dahhaak [may Allaah have mercy upon them] said that when Allaah wanted to punish them by sending the flood upon them, he sent animals from the earth to the dam, large rats which made a hole in it. (2) Wahb Bin Munabbih said, “They found written in their scriptures that the dam would be destroyed because of these large rats. So they brought cats for a while, but when the decree came to pass, the rats overran the cats and went into the dam, making a hole in it, and it collapsed”. (3) Qataadah and others said, “The large rat is the desert rat. They gnawed at the bottom of the dam until it became weak, then the time of the floods came and the waters rushed through the bottom of the valley and destroyed everything in their path- buildings, trees etc!” (4)
And just as they substituted beautiful thankfulness with that ugly ingratitude, those blessings were substituted with the things that have been mentioned. And due to this Allaah said: [ذَٲلِكَ جَزَيۡنَـٰهُم بِمَا كَفَرُواْۖ وَهَلۡ نُجَـٰزِىٓ إِلَّا ٱلۡكَفُورَ- Like this We requited them because they were ungrateful disbelievers. And never do We requite in such a way except those who are ungrateful, (disbelievers)]- Meaning: We do not recompense with this punishment, except to those who disbelieve in Allaah and are thankless for His blessings.
After that which befell them befell them, they scattered and split, even though aforetime they were together. Allah made them a story by way of which others spoke about them – stories people narrated at night, and people used to mention them in the parable [i.e. when talking about others], “They scattered like Saba”. Everyone used to speak about that which happened to them.
However, none learns a lesson regarding their affair, except those about whom Allaah said: [إِنَّ فِى ذَٲلِكَ لَأَيَـٰتٍ۬ لِّكُلِّ صَبَّارٍ۬ شَكُورٍ۬ – Verily, in this are indeed signs for every steadfast grateful (person)]- Meaning: Those who are patient when facing hardship and extreme difficulties, who persevere for the Sake of Allaah, grateful to Allaah for His blessings, affirm and acknowledge such blessings, praise the One who bestowed it upon them [i.e. Allaah] and utilise them in obedience to Allaah. When this type of person hears their story [i.e. the people of Sabah]- their behaviour and what happened to them, he knows that the punishment was a recompense for their ungratefulness, and that whoever commits the likes of that which they did will be treated in the same way. And that being grateful to Allaah for His blessings is a safeguard for those blessing and repels punishment; and that Allaah’s Messengers spoke the truth regarding that which they informed the people and that recompense is true, as its examples are seen in this worldly abode. (5)
Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: It [i.e. Saba] was an Arab tribe named after a grandfather of theirs – a man with many children. It has been reported in a hadeeth that his children were ten in number- six stayed in Yemen and four in Shaam [Syria]. Then they spread in the earth and became numerous.
[لَقَدۡ كَانَ لِسَبَإٍ۬ فِى مَسۡكَنِهِمۡ ءَايَةٌ۬ – Indeed there was for Saba’ a sign in their dwelling place]: [مَسۡكَنِ – Maskan- is that which a person lives in and lives there with tranquillity, such as houses, groves, orchards etc]. [ءَايَةٌ۬ – Aayah]- is a sign that shows something. The sign [i.e. the one mentioned in this Aayah] shows Allaah’s All-Encompassing Power, His blessings and [Perfect] Wisdom. [جَنَّتَانِ عَن يَمِينٍ۬ وَشِمَالٍ۬ – two gardens on the right hand and on the left]- Meaning: Gardens filled with trees. And if situated on the right and the left, it will possess a marvellous and attractive sight. They were a chain of gardens on the right and left. [كُلُواْ مِن رِّزۡقِ رَبِّكُمۡ وَٱشۡكُرُواْ لَهُۚ – (and it was said to them) “Eat of the provision of your Lord, and be grateful to Him]- Meaning: That which Allah has provided for you in the land of Saba. Allaah placed numerous good in these two gardens and benefiting from them was very easy. [وَٱشۡكُرُواْ لَهُۚ-And thank Him (i.e. Allaah)]- Meaning: This is what was sought from them [i.e. to be thankful], and thankfulness is connected to the heart, the tongue and the limbs- to acknowledge that those blessings are from Allaah, praise Allaah for them and perform acts of obedience with your limbs, until you fulfil the obligation of thankfulness in the manner sought from you. Thank Allaah for the blessings He has bestowed on you in the land of Saba. [بَلۡدَةٌ۬ طَيِّبَةٌ۬ – a fair land (i.e. Saba)]. This land had no predators, mosquitoes, flies, fleas, scorpions and snakes. A stranger would go pass the land and the lice on his clothes will die due to the good air [or weather condition]. [وَرَبٌّ غَفُورٌ۬ – an Oft-Forgiving Lord]- Meaning: Allaah is the Forgiving Lord – the forgiver of sins. Allaah granted them these two blessings: the blessing of a good dwelling place, and the blessing of forgiveness, safety from sins and its punishment in the afterlife; and the good land is a means of safety against evils in the worldly life.
This great Aayah shows Allaah’s All-Encompassing Power and His Perfect Wisdom in relation to the story of Saba in general, that they were blessed in their dwelling places, orchards, castles and other than that. But when they turned away, the situation changed. In this is a lesson and a sign from many different angles – a sign that shows Allaah’s All-Encompassing Power to the one who disobeys Allaah, a lesson for one who obeys Allaah and a sign that shows Allaah’s [Perfect] Wisdom.
Contemplate on this Aayah and you’ll find the different and various signs in it! It is a sign that shows Allaah’s All-Encompassing Power because He created for them those mighty orchards, and then substituted it with something else that was not equal to them in anything. This shows the [Perfect] Wisdom of Allaah when He bestowed that good upon them- when they were [obedient, submissive etc] to Him, and then took it away from them when they turned away – turned away from worshipping Him due to pride. This is a sign to take a lesson from by the people who disobey Allaah, because in it is a warning that the cessation of Allaah’s blessings is due to their sins. It is a sign for those who obey Allaah when they take a lesson from it, that as long as they obey Allaah, then Allah’s blessings will be sent to them.
Those gardens brought forth its food in abundance and many other ways, because Allaah said to them [i.e. the people of Saba]: [كُلُواْ مِن رِّزۡقِ رَبِّكُمۡ – Eat of the provision of your Lord].
It is obligatory to be grateful to Allaah because Allaah said [وَٱشۡكُرُواْ لَهُۚ – and be grateful to Him]. Sound intellect obligates gratitude just as it is obligated by the divine revelation. As for its obligation in the Sharee’ah, then the Aayaat of the Qur’aan commanding it are numerous. As for its obligation as [dictated or recognised] by sound intellect, then that is because sound intellect necessitates that whoever does good for you, then you should thank him. The one who is not thankful to Allaah will not be thankful to the people – Meaning: Everyone sees that it is wrong when a person does good to you, but you shun him and you do not thank him. All of us know that this is wrong and it is obligatory that you are thankful.
Also this shows that the lands are divided into two- good and bad, because Allaah said: [بَلۡدَةٌ۬ طَيِّبَةٌ۬ – a fair land]. And what type of good is in this land – is it the terrain [i.e. physical features], its air [or weather, climate] or its fruits? Answer: It includes all these three affairs. Allaah said:[وَٱلۡبَلَدُ ٱلطَّيِّبُ يَخۡرُجُ نَبَاتُهُ ۥ بِإِذۡنِ رَبِّهِۦۖ وَٱلَّذِى خَبُثَ لَا يَخۡرُجُ إِلَّا نَكِدً۬اۚ ڪَذَٲلِكَ نُصَرِّفُ ٱلۡأَيَـٰتِ لِقَوۡمٍ۬ يَشۡكُرُونَ- The vegetation of a good land comes forth (easily) by the Permission of its Lord, and that which is bad, brings forth nothing but a little with difficulty. Thus do We explain variously the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) for a people who give thanks]. [Surah Al-A’raaf. Aayah 58]
Affirmation of Allah’s Lordship and His forgiveness, which is found in the statement: [وَرَبٌّ غَفُورٌ۬ – an Oft-Forgiving Lord]. [فَأَعۡرَضُواْ فَأَرۡسَلۡنَا عَلَيۡہِمۡ سَيۡلَ ٱلۡعَرِمِ وَبَدَّلۡنَـٰهُم بِجَنَّتَيۡہِمۡ جَنَّتَيۡنِ ذَوَاتَىۡ أُڪُلٍ خَمۡطٍ۬ وَأَثۡلٍ۬ وَشَىۡءٍ۬ مِّن سِدۡرٍ۬ قَلِيلٍ۬ – But they turned away, so We sent against them Sail Al-‘Arim (flood released from the dam), and We converted their two gardens into gardens producing bitter bad fruit, and tamarisks, and some few lote-trees]. [Surah Saba. Aayah 16]
[فَأَعۡرَضُواْ – But they turned away]- Meaning: They turned away and disbelieved. [فَأَرۡسَلۡنَا عَلَيۡہِمۡ سَيۡلَ ٱلۡعَرِمِ – so We sent against them Sail Al-‘Arim (flood released from the dam)]- Meaning: Because they turned away, We sent them the flood. This flood drowned their gardens and their wealth. This is Allaah’s way in dealing with His creation [i.e. the disobedient ones amongst mankind and jinn], just as Allaah [The Exalted] said [in another Aayah]:
وَضَرَبَ ٱللَّهُ مَثَلاً۬ قَرۡيَةً۬ ڪَانَتۡ ءَامِنَةً۬ مُّطۡمَٮِٕنَّةً۬ يَأۡتِيهَا رِزۡقُهَا رَغَدً۬ا مِّن كُلِّ مَكَانٍ۬ فَڪَفَرَتۡ بِأَنۡعُمِ ٱللَّهِ فَأَذَٲقَهَا ٱللَّهُ لِبَاسَ ٱلۡجُوعِ وَٱلۡخَوۡفِ بِمَا ڪَانُواْ يَصۡنَعُونَ
And Allah puts forward the example of a township (Makkah), that dwelt secure and well content; its provision coming to it in abundance from every place, but it (its people) denied the Favours of Allah (with ungratefulness). So Allah made it taste the extreme of hunger (famine) and fear, because of that (evil, i.e. denying Prophet Muhammad) which they (its people) used to do. [Surah An-Nahl. Aayah 112]
[وَبَدَّلۡنَـٰهُم بِجَنَّتَيۡہِمۡ جَنَّتَيۡنِ ذَوَاتَىۡ أُڪُلٍ خَمۡطٍ۬ وَأَثۡلٍ۬ وَشَىۡءٍ۬ مِّن سِدۡرٍ۬ قَلِيلٍ۬ – and We converted their two gardens into gardens producing bitter bad fruit, and tamarisks, and some few lote-trees]- Meaning: The two previous gardens that had good fruits from which they ate and benefited through trade and other than that.
In summary: When these people turned away and were not thankful to Allaah, He sent the flood and thus their wealth was drowned and their buildings destroyed. Their two gardens were replaced with two other gardens that were neither equal nor could they be compared to that which they had before.
Benefits Derived From This Noble Aayah:
– A clarification of the situation of these people- that they replaced the blessings of Allaah with disbelief, even though it was incumbent upon them to be thankful to Allah and obey Him after they were given those blessings, but they turned away.
-Punishment against those who turn away [from obedience to Allaah] is based on that which Allaah’s Perfect Wisdom necessitates. And indeed Allaah has stated in another Aayah: [فَكُلاًّ أَخَذۡنَا بِذَنۢبِهِ- So We punished each (of them) for his sins]. Punishment is always given in a manner that fits the deed [i.e. the crime]. So, when these people became ungrateful and disbelieved due to those gardens [given to them], they were replaced with bad gardens.
– An affirmation of the ‘Reason or Cause’ which can be taken from the Aayah: [فَأَعۡرَضُواْ فَأَرۡسَلۡنَا – But they turned away, so We sent against them (i.e. the flood released from the dam)]. So, Allaah sent them [the flood] due to their turning away.
– Sins are a reason for the cessation of blessings, because Allaah said: [فَأَعۡرَضُواْ فَأَرۡسَلۡنَا – But they turned away, so We sent against them (i.e. the flood released from the dam)]. They were in a state of bliss prior to that, but when they turned away Allaah sent them this destructive flood. This has many other testimonies in the Qur’aan, and from them is the statement of Allaah: [وَضَرَبَ ٱللَّهُ مَثَلاً۬ قَرۡيَةً۬ ڪَانَتۡ ءَامِنَةً۬ مُّطۡمَٮِٕنَّةً۬ يَأۡتِيهَا رِزۡقُهَا رَغَدً۬ا مِّن كُلِّ مَكَانٍ۬ فَڪَفَرَتۡ بِأَنۡعُمِ ٱللَّهِ فَأَذَٲقَهَا ٱللَّهُ لِبَاسَ ٱلۡجُوعِ وَٱلۡخَوۡفِ بِمَا ڪَانُواْ يَصۡنَعُونَ – And Allah puts forward the example of a township (Makkah), that dwelt secure and well content; its provision coming to it in abundance from every place, but it (its people) denied the Favours of Allah (with ungratefulness). So Allah made it taste the extreme of hunger (famine) and fear, because of that (evil, i.e. denying Prophet Muhammad) which they (its people) used to do]. [Surah An-Nahl. Aayah 112]
وَلَوۡ أَنَّ أَهۡلَ ٱلۡقُرَىٰٓ ءَامَنُواْ وَٱتَّقَوۡاْ لَفَتَحۡنَا عَلَيۡہِم بَرَكَـٰتٍ۬ مِّنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَلَـٰكِن كَذَّبُواْ فَأَخَذۡنَـٰهُم بِمَا ڪَانُواْ يَكۡسِبُونَ
أَفَأَمِنَ أَهۡلُ ٱلۡقُرَىٰٓ أَن يَأۡتِيَہُم بَأۡسُنَا بَيَـٰتً۬ا وَهُمۡ نَآٮِٕمُونَ
أَوَأَمِنَ أَهۡلُ ٱلۡقُرَىٰٓ أَن يَأۡتِيَهُم بَأۡسُنَا ضُحً۬ى وَهُمۡ يَلۡعَبُونَ
أَفَأَمِنُواْ مَڪۡرَ ٱللَّهِۚ فَلَا يَأۡمَنُ مَڪۡرَ ٱللَّهِ إِلَّا ٱلۡقَوۡمُ ٱلۡخَـٰسِرُونَ
And if the people of the towns had believed and had the Taqwa (piety), certainly, We should have opened for them blessings from the heaven and the earth, but they belied (the Messengers). So We took them (with punishment) for what they used to earn (polytheism and crimes, etc.). Did the people of the towns then feel secure against the coming of Our Punishment by night while they are asleep? Or, did the people of the towns then feel secure against the coming of Our Punishment in the forenoon while they play? Did they then feel secure against the Plan of Allah. None feels secure from the Plan of Allah except the people who are the losers. [Surah Al-A’raaf. Aayaat 96-99]
– Rain is blessing and mercy, but it can be a source of vengeance and punishment, because Allaah said: [سَيۡلَ ٱلۡعَرِمِ – Flood released from the dam]. Sail in origin is the gathering of rainwater until it begins to flow. Its origin is good, just as Allaah said: [أَوَلَمۡ يَرَوۡاْ أَنَّا نَسُوقُ ٱلۡمَآءَ إِلَى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ ٱلۡجُرُزِ فَنُخۡرِجُ بِهِۦ زَرۡعً۬ا تَأۡڪُلُ مِنۡهُ أَنۡعَـٰمُهُمۡ وَأَنفُسُہُمۡۖ أَفَلَا يُبۡصِرُونَ – Have they not seen how We drive water (rain clouds) to the dry land without any vegetation, and therewith bring forth crops providing food for their cattle and themselves? Will they not then see?] [Surah As-Sajdah. Aayah 27]. This [i.e. rainwater] is good, but sometimes it is a means of punishment.
– A clarification of the misguidance of those people who when afflicted with the likes of these calamities, such as floods and its like, it does not have an effect on them and they would say, “This is something that occurs naturally [i.e. it has no connection to the decree of a Creator nor is it due to sins etc]”. Indeed, these floods that cause destruction are nothing else but punishment from Allaah by way of which those punished are put to trial and those upon their way are deterred.
– A clarification of Allaah’s All-Encompassing Power, because He sent them those floods which drowned their fruits and vegetation. And after [the destruction of those fruits and vegetation], bitter bad fruit, tamarisks and some few lote-trees grew [to replace them]. It was not lote-trees [i.e. in their abundance], rather it was few lote-trees, and their gigantic gardens were replaced with it.
– The Perfect Wisdom of Allaah in that He replaced those two gardens with another two gardens, because obedience to Allaah is light [i.e. guidance], uprightness and success, and it is appropriately recompensed with Allaah’s [Favours, Blessings etc]. Sinning is darkness [i.e. misguidance] and corruption, so it is appropriately connected to that bad replacement [i.e. the gigantic gardens that produced abundant good fruits were replaced with gardens that bore few fruits and were bitter].
[ذَٲلِكَ جَزَيۡنَـٰهُم بِمَا كَفَرُواْۖ وَهَلۡ نُجَـٰزِىٓ إِلَّا ٱلۡكَفُورَ – Like this We requited them (i.e. the people of Saba) due to their disbelief. And never do We requite in such a way except those who are ungrateful, (disbelievers)].
[ذَٲلِكَ جَزَيۡنَـٰهُم بِمَا كَفَرُواْۖ – Like this We requited them due to their disbelief]- Meaning: Due to their disbelief, We recompense them with this recompense by drowning their wealth, destroyed their buildings and replaced their two gardens [i.e. the two gigantic, amazing and fruitful gardens] with two other gardens [i.e. the ones that produce bitter fruits]. [وَهَلۡ نُجَـٰزِىٓ إِلَّا ٱلۡكَفُورَ – And never do We requite in such a way except those who are ungrateful, (disbelievers)]
From The Benefits of This Aayah:
– Proof [to show that] Allaah does not recompense anyone with punishment except due to his deeds, as Allaah said: [بِمَا كَفَرُواْۖ – Due to their disbelief]
– An establishment of the Asbaab [Cause or Reason behind this punishment] because the Baa in this statement is Sababiyyah [i.e. the Baa attached to a word to show us the reason or cause behind something]
– The difference between the words [يَجْزِى -Yaj’zee and [يُجَازِى – Yu’jaa’zee. In this Aayah Allaah said: [وَهَلۡ نُجَـٰزِىٓ إِلَّا ٱلۡكَفُورَ- Like this We requited them due to their disbelief]. [نَجْزِى ] refers to good recompense and [ نُجَازِى ]- refers to punishment, and this is what some of the scholars say [may Allaah have mercy upon them]. So, when referring to good, we say [جَزَى ] and when referring to evil. we say [جَازَى ] (6)
[Ref 1: An Excerpt from Tafseer As-Sadi. Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 2: At-tabari 20/378-380]
[Ref 3: At-tabari 20/381].
[Ref 4: At-tabari 20/381]
[Ref 5: An Excerpt from Tafseer As-Sadi. Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 6: An Excerpt from Tafseer Surah Saba. Pages 126-137]