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Tafsir at-Tabari
  Tafsir of Surah An`aam (6) Verse 102
Author: Ibn Jarir at-Tabari
Source: Tafsir at-Tabari
Article ID : TFS030003  [19803]  
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This then is Allaah your Lord. There is no diety but He, the Creator Of everything. So serve Him, for He is Guardian over everything. The vision (of men) reaches Him not, but He reaches the vision (of men). (Quran 6:102)

... The exegetes disagree concerning the meaning of Allaah's words The vision (al-absar) (of men) reaches (tudrikuhu) Him not, but He reaches the vision (of men). Some exegetes maintain that the meaning is as follows: The vision (of men) does not fully grasp (ahata) him, but will be grasped by him. To be cited (as authorities) for this view are (the following):...

Yunus ibn 'Abd Allah ibn 'Abd al-Hakam has related to us on the basis of (a chain of authorities going back to) Khalid ibn 'Abd ar-Rahman and Abu 'Arfaja the following quotation from 'Atiyya al-'Aufi concerning Allaah's words: 'Upon that day (of resurrection) there will be radiant faces, gazing (naziratun) upon their Lord' (Sura 75:22) 'They shall gaze upon Allaah, yet their vision shall not reach him because of his greatness, while his vision shall reach them. This is mentioned in Allaah's words: "The vision (of men) reaches Him not, but He reaches the visionThe proponents of this view give reasons for their interpretation by saying that Allaah has said: 'And We brought the Children of Israel over the sea; and Pharaoh and his hosts followed them insolently and impetuously until when the drowning reached him (adrakahu), he said: "I believe that there is no Allaah but He in whom the Children of Israel believe. I am of those that surrender"' (Sura 10:90).

Here, so they say, Allaah ascribes to the drowning the characteristic that it reached the Pharaoh. There is no doubt, however, that the drowning is not ascribed the characteristic that it saw the Pharaoh, and (there is no doubt) that it belongs among those things of which one cannot ascribe the characteristic that it sees anything. They continue by saying that it is far from one's thoughts that Allaah's words 'the vision (of men) reaches Him not' have the meaning 'does not see him', since one thing may reach something else without seeing it.

Thus, Allaah says in his proclamation concerning the story of Moses and his companions when the people of Pharaoh approached: 'And when the two hosts sighted each other, the companions of Moses said: "We are reached (la-mudrakuna) !"' (Sura 26:61). Allaah had told his prophet Moses that they would not be reached, as it is said: 'Also, We revealed to Moses:"Go with My servants (out of the land of the Pharaoh)! And strike (with your staff) for them a dry path in the sea, fearing not being reached (darak), neither being afraid"' (Sura 20:77/79).The proponents of this view say (further) that since one thing can see something else without reaching it and can reach it without seeing it, then interpreting Allaah's words 'the vision (of men) reaches Him not' to mean 'the vision does not see him' gives an entirely isolated meaning, and that the (actual) meaning of these words is:'the vision apprehends him not', since it is impossible for it to apprehend him. Since the believers and the inhabitants of paradise, so they say, see their Lord with their vision, although their vision does not reach him, this means that it will not apprehend him since it is impossible to ascribe to Allaah the characteristic that anything can apprehend him.

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