Tafseer Surah Yasin Ibnu Kathir (21): The Denial of Life after Death, and the Refutation of this Idea

Tafsir Ibnu Kathir Surah Yasin (21)

If you want to read surah yasin with arabic and english translation, please click here.
Mujahid, `Ikrimah, `Urwah bin Az-Zubayr, As-Suddi and Qatadah said, “Ubayy
bin Khalaf, may Allah curse him, came to the Messenger of Allah with a dry bone
in his hand, which he was crumbling and scattering in the air, saying, `O
Muhammad! Are you claiming that Allah will resurrect this’ He said:
«نَعَمْ، يُمِيتُكَ
اللهُ تَعَالَى، ثُمَّ يَبْعَثُكَ، ثُمَّ يَحْشُرُكَ إِلَى النَّار»

(Yes, Allah, may He be exalted, will cause you to die, then He will resurrect
you and will gather you into the Fire.)” Then these Ayat at the end of Surah Ya
Sin were revealed:
﴿أَوَلَمْ يَرَ
الإِنسَـنُ أَنَّا خَلَقْنَـهُ مِن نُّطْفَةٍ﴾

(Does not man see that We have created him from Nutfah.) — until the end of
the Surah. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with
him, said, “Al-`As bin Wa’il took a bone from the bed of a valley and crumbled
it in his hand, then he said to the Messenger of Allah : `Will Allah bring this
back to life after it has disintegrated’ The Messenger of Allah said:
«نَعَمْ، يُمِيتُكَ
اللهُ، ثُمَّ يُحْيِيكَ، ثُمَّ يُدْخِلُكَ جَهَنَّم»

(Yes, Allah will cause you to die, then He will bring you back to life, then
He will make you enter Hell.) Then the Ayat at the end of Surah Ya Sin were
revealed.” This was recorded by Ibn Jarir from Sa`id bin Jubayr. Whether these
Ayat were revealed about Ubayy bin Khalaf or Al-`As bin Wa’il, or both of them,
they apply to all those who deny the resurrection after death. The definite
article “Al” in
﴿أَوَلَمْ يَرَ

(Does not man (Al-Insan) see…) is generic, applying to all those who deny
the Resurrection.
﴿أَنَّا خَلَقْنَـهُ
مِن نُّطْفَةٍ فَإِذَا هُوَ خَصِيمٌ مٌّبِينٌ﴾

(that We have created him from Nutfah. Yet behold he (stands forth) as an
open opponent.) means, the one who is denying the resurrection, cannot see that
the One Who initiated creation can re-create it. For Allah initiated the
creation of man from semen of despised fluid, creating him from something
insignificant, weak and despised, as Allah says:
﴿أَلَمْ نَخْلُقكُّم
مِّن مَّآءٍ مَّهِينٍ – فَجَعَلْنَـهُ فِى قَرَارٍ مَّكِينٍ – إِلَى قَدَرٍ
مَّعْلُومٍ ﴾

(Did We not create you from a despised water Then We placed it in a place of
safety, for a known period) (77:20-22)
﴿إِنَّا خَلَقْنَا
الإِنسَـنَ مِن نُّطْفَةٍ أَمْشَاجٍ﴾

(Verily, We have created man from Nutfah) (76:2). which means, from a mixture
of different fluids. The One Who created man from this weak Nutfah is not unable
to re-create him after his death. Imam Ahmad recorded in his Musnad that Bishr
bin Jahhash said, “One day the Messenger of Allah spat in his hand and put his
finger on it, then the Messenger of Allah said:
«قَالَ اللهُ
تَعَالَى: ابْنَ آدَمَ أَنَّى تُعْجِزُنِي وَقَدْ خَلَقْتُكَ مِنْ مِثْلِ هَذِهِ،
حَتْى إِذَا سَوَّيْتُكَ وَعَدَلْتُكَ، مَشَيْتَ بَيْنَ بُرْدَيْكَ، وَلِلْأَرْضِ
مِنْكَ وَئِيدٌ، فَجَمَعْتَ وَمَنَعْتَ، حَتْى إِذَا بَلَغَتِ التَّرَاقِيَ قُلْتَ:
أَتَصَدَّقُ، وَأَنَّى أَوَانُ الصَّدَقَةِ؟»

(Allah, may He be exalted, says: “Son of Adam, how can you outrun Me when I
have created you from something like this, and when I have fashioned you and
formed you, you walk in your cloak on the earth and it groans beneath your
tread. You accumulate and do not spend until the death rattle reaches your
throat, then you say, `I want to give in charity,’ but it is too late for
charity.”)” It was also recorded by Ibn Majah. Allah says:
﴿وَضَرَبَ لَنَا
مَثَلاً وَنَسِىَ خَلْقَهُ قَالَ مَن يُحىِ الْعِظَـمَ وَهِىَ رَمِيمٌ ﴾

(And he puts forth for Us a parable, and forgets his own creation. He says:
“Who will give life to these bones after they are rotten and have become dust”)
meaning, he thinks it unlikely that Allah, the Almighty Who created the heavens
and the earth, will re-create these bodies and dry bones. Man forgets about
himself, that Allah created him from nothing and brought him into existence, and
he knows by looking at himself that there is something greater than that which
he denies and thinks impossible. Allah says:
﴿قُلْ يُحْيِيهَا
الَّذِى أَنشَأَهَآ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ خَلْقٍ عَلِيمٌ ﴾

(Say: “He will give life to them Who created them for the first time! And He
is the All-Knower of every creation!”) meaning, He knows about the bones in all
areas and regions of the earth, where they have gone when they disintegrated and
dispersed. Imam Ahmad recorded that Rib`i said: “”Uqbah bin `Amr said to
Hudhayfah, may Allah be pleased with him, `Will you not tell us what you heard
from the Messenger of Allah ‘ He said, `I heard him say:
«إِنَّ رَجُلًا
حَضَرَهُ الْمَوْتُ، فَلَمَّا أَيِسَ مِنَ الْحَيَاةِ أَوْصَى أَهْلَهُ: إِذَا
أَنَا مُتُّ فَاجْمَعُوا لِي حَطَبًا كَثِيرًا جَزْلًا، ثُمَّ أَوْقِدُوا فِيهِ
نَارًا، حَتْى إِذَا أَكَلَتْ لَحْمِي، وَخَلَصَتْ إِلَى عَظْمِي فَامْتُحِشْتُ،
فَخُذُوهَا فَدُقُّوهَا فَذَرُّوهَا فِي الْيَمِّ، فَفَعَلُوا، فَجَمَعَهُ اللهُ
تَعَالَى إِلَيْهِ، ثُمَّ قَالَ لَهُ: لِمَ فَعَلْتَ ذَلِكَ؟ قَالَ: مِنْ
خَشْيَتِكَ، فَغَفَرَ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ لَه»

(Death approached a man and when there was no longer any hope for him, he
said to his family, “When I die, gather a lot of firewood, then set it ablaze
until my flesh is consumed and it reaches my bones and they become brittle. Then
take them and grind them, and scatter them in the sea.” So they did that, but
Allah gathered him together and said to him: “Why did you do that” He said,
“Because I feared You.” So Allah forgave him.)’ `Uqbah bin `Amr said, `I heard
him say that, and the man was a gravedigger.”’ Many versions of this Hadith
were recorded in the Two Sahihs. One of these versions mentions that he
commanded his sons to burn him and then grind his remains into small pieces, and
then scatter half of them on land and half of them on the sea on a windy day. So
they did that, then Allah commanded the sea to gather together whatever remains
were in it, and He commanded the land to do likewise, then he said to him,
“Be!”, and he was a man, standing. Allah said to him. “What made you do what
you did” He said, “The fear of You, and You know best.” Straight away He
forgave him.
﴿الَّذِى جَعَلَ
لَكُم مِّنَ الشَّجَرِ الاٌّخْضَرِ نَاراً فَإِذَآ أَنتُم مِّنْه تُوقِدُونَ

(He Who produces for you fire out of the green tree, when behold you kindle
therewith.) means, the One Who initiated the creation of this tree from water,
when it has become green and beautiful, bearing fruit, then He changes it until
it becomes dry wood with which fires are lit. For He does whatever He wills and
He is able to do whatever He wills, and none can stop Him. Qatadah said
concerning the Ayah:
﴿الَّذِى جَعَلَ
لَكُم مِّنَ الشَّجَرِ الاٌّخْضَرِ نَاراً فَإِذَآ أَنتُم مِّنْه تُوقِدُونَ

(He Who produces for you fire out of the green tree, when behold you kindle
therewith.) this means, the One Who brought forth this fire from this tree is
able to resurrect him. It was said that this refers to the Markh tree and the
`Afar tree, which grow in the Hijaz. If one wants to light a fire but has no
kindling with him, then he takes two green branches from these trees and rubs
one against the other, and fire is produced from them. So they are just like
kindling. This was reported from Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him.
﴿أَوَلَـيْسَ الَذِى
خَلَقَ السَّمَـوتِ وَالاٌّرْضَ بِقَـدِرٍ عَلَى أَن يَخْلُقَ مِثْلَهُم بَلَى
وَهُوَ الْخَلَّـقُ الْعَلِيمُ – إِنَّمَآ أَمْرُهُ إِذَآ أَرَادَ شَيْئاً أَن
يَقُولَ لَهُ كُن فَيَكُونُ – فَسُبْحَـنَ الَّذِى بِيَدِهِ مَلَكُوتُ كُلِّ شَىْءٍ
وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ ﴾

(81. Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth, able to create the like
of them Yes, indeed! He is the All-Knowing Supreme Creator.) (82. Verily, His
command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says to it, “Be!” — and it
is!) (83. So glorified be He and exalted (above all that they associate with
Him), and in Whose Hand is the dominion of all things, and to Him you shall be