Tafsir of Surah al Tin - The Fig (Surah 95)

by 'Abdur-Rahmân ibn Nâsir as-Sa'dî

Translated by Abű Rumaysah

1) By the fig and the olive, 2) by Mount Sinai, 3) and by this secure land. 4) We have indeed created man in the finest mould, 5) then We reduced him to the lowest of the low, 6) save those who believe and work righteous deeds: theirs is an unfailing reward. 7) So what will make you deny the Reckoning? 8) Is not Allah the most just of all judges?*

“By the fig and the olive,” Allah took an oath by these two trees because of the huge benefit they give and the fruits they grow. Moreover, these trees are predominately found in Sham which was the place in which `Īsa was given Prophethood. “By Mount Sinai,” the place where Musa was given Prophethood, “and by this secure land,” Mecca, the place where Muhammad (SAW) was given Prophethood. Allah took an oath by these three places which He selected and from where He commissioned the best and most noble Prophets. The purpose of the oath follows: “We have indeed created man in the finest mould,” a complete creation, well proportioned and of upright stature. He is not lacking in anything that he needs, not outwardly or inwardly. Yet, despite this great blessing, most of creation turn their backs on showing gratitude to the Granter of these blessings, busying themselves instead with idle pastimes and play. They preferred the lowest qualities and meanest manners so “then We reduced him to the lowest of the low,” the lowest part of the Fire, the place reserved for the disobedient, those who boldly transgressed the bounds set by their Lord. Exempted from this are those who Allah graced with faith, righteous deeds and lofty, gracious mannerisms: in recompense for their lofty stations “is an unfailing reward,” never to end, rather they will have abundant delight, innumerable joys, and fulsome blessings and plentiful food and fruits, and shade for eternity. “So what will make you deny the Reckoning?” i.e. what will make you, man, deny the Day of Recompense? You have seen the many Signs of Allah that would lead you to having certainty and you have seen His many blessings that would lead you to gratitude. “Is not Allah the most just of all judges?” Would His wisdom dictate that He leave man wandering aimlessly, not being commanded or prohibited, not being rewarded or punished? Or is the One who created man in various “diverse stages” [1], who granted him innumerable blessings and gifts, and who cultivated and nurtured him in the best of ways going to return him to a land which will be his final abode of residence, the final stop of his journey, towards which he is being led?


Endnotes

* or “the most decisive of all judges” [Qurtubi]

1. Nuh (71): 14

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