In the name of God, the Merciful, the Beneficent
God’s judgment has come; so do not seek to hurry it on. Limitless He is in His glory and sublimely exalted above anything people may associate with Him. He sends down angels with this divine inspiration, (bestowed) by His will on any of His servants He may wish: “Warn (mankind) that there is no deity but Me: so fear Me.” He has created the heavens and the Earth with truth; sublimely exalted above anything people may associate with Him. He creates man out of a drop of sperm; yet this same man is openly contentious. (The Bee, An-Nahl: 16: 1-4)
The nonbelievers in Makkah used to ask the Prophet (peace be upon him) to hasten their punishment in this life, or to hasten the punishment God has in store for them in the life to come. As time passed with no punishment being inflicted, they would urge the Prophet more and more to hasten it, showing that they could not care less. They thought that Muhammad (peace be upon him) was warning them against something that would never happen. His only aim, as they imagined, was to get them to believe what he said and accept his faith. They could not understand God’s wisdom in giving them time. Nor could they appreciate His grace. They would not reflect on the signs He has placed everywhere in the universe around them. Nor would they reflect on His revelations in the Qur’an, which address people’s minds and hearts. That is a much more effective address than punishment and suffering. It is more worthy of man whom God has honored when He gave him a mind and feeling to study and reflect, as well as an independent will and free choice.
The opening of the surah is very decisive: “God’s judgment has come.” It implies that the command has been given, and that God’s will has been made. That is sufficient for the judgment to come to pass at the time appointed for it by God Himself. “So do not seek to hurry it on.” The laws God has set operate in accordance with His will. They cannot be hurried on, nor can they be postponed to satisfy people’s wishes. The statement here tells us that God’s judgment, to resurrect people or to inflict His punishment, has been made. It will come to pass at the time God has determined. There shall be no hurrying or delay.
The decisive nature of this statement is highly effective, even in the case of those who try to put a careless face. Moreover, it expresses the truth. Whatever God wills is bound to take place. The fact that He has made a judgment means that it is carried out, and that it becomes part of the reality. Hence, there is no overstating of the facts or deviating from them.
Their beliefs, associating partners with God, and all the false concepts that they formulate on this basis, are far removed from the true nature of God: “Limitless He is in His glory and sublimely exalted above anything people may associate with Him.” Beliefs that ascribe divinity to anyone other than God are all without foundation. They are only the result of degenerate and disgraceful thinking.
God, who does not abandon mankind to their erring beliefs and baseless concepts, sends down from on high what gives them life and saves them: “He sends down angels with this divine inspiration, (bestowed) by His will on any of His servants He may wish.” This is God’s greatest favor and blessing. He does not only send down water from the sky to make the earth quicken and to give physical life, as the surah will soon mention. He also sends down the angels with His divine inspiration. The Arabic expression uses the word rooh, which also means “spirit,” for inspiration. This adds connotations of life within people’s souls, consciences and feelings, and within society so as to preserve it from corruption. That is the first thing that God sends down to people from on high, and it is His most important blessing and bounty. God’s purest creation, the angels, are sent down to His chosen servants, the Prophets, giving them a message that is summed up in these words: “Warn (mankind) that there is no deity but Me: so fear Me.”