(1) (95:1) By the fig and the olive; *1



*1) There has been much difference of opinion among the commentators about the explanation of this verse. Hasan Basri. `Ikrimah, `Ata' bin Abi Rabah, Jabir bin Zaid, Mujahid and Ibrahim Nakha'i (may AIlah bless them all) say that the fig implies the same fig which the people eat, and the olive the same which produces oil. Ibn Abi Hatim and Hakim have cited a statement from Ha 'Abdullah bin 'Abbas also in support of this. And the commentators who have accepted this explanation have, in view of the uses and virtues of the fig and the olive, expressed the opinion that Allah has sworn by these two fruits because of these very qualities. There is no doubt that the Arabic reader would understand the words do and zayun in the same meaning as are their well known meanings in Arabic, yet there are two reasons for which these meanings cannot be accepted. First, that in the subsequent verses, oaths have been sworn by the Mount Sinai and the City of Makkah, and there seems to be no relevance between the oaths sworn by the two fruits and the oaths by the two places. Second, the theme that follows the oaths is borne out by the Mt. Sinai and the City of Makkah but not by the two fruits. Wherever in the Qur'an AIlah has sworn by something, He has not sworn by it because of its glory or its uses and benefits but every oath has relevance to the theme that follows it. Therefore, the virtues and qualities of these two fruits cannot be regarded as the reason for swearing the oath by them.
Some other commentators have taken tin and zaytun to imply some places. Ka`b Abhar, Qatadah an Ibn Zaid say that tin implies Damascus and zaytun Bait al-Maqdis (Jerusalem). A view of Ibn 'Abbas has been cited by Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Marduyah to the effect that tin implies the mosque of the Prophet Noah, which he built on Mt. Judi, and zaytun implies Bait al-Maqdis, but hearing the words wat-tin waz-zaytin, no ordinary Arab could think of these meanings, nor was it well known among the Arabs, who were the first addressees of the Qur'an that ain and zaytun were names of the places.
However, there was a practice among the people of Arabia that they generally named a land where a certain fruit was produced in plenty after the name of the fruit itself. Accordingly, the meaning. Of tin and zaytun can be the land where these fruits are grown, and it is the land of Syria and Palestine, for among the Arabs of that period this very land was well known for the production of fig and olive. lbn Taimiyah'Ibn al-Qayyim, zamakhshari and Alusi (may Allah show them mercy) have adopted this very explanation; and although Ibn Jarir also has preferred the first view, yet he has conceded that ain and zaytun may also imply the land where these fruits are grown. Hafiz Ibn Kathir also has regarded this explanation as worthy of consideration.
 
 
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