Chapter One, Part 2

Fourth Verse

وَيَقُولُونَ مَتَى هَذَا الْوَعْدُ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ قُلْ إِنَّمَا الْعِلْمُ عِندَ اللَّهِ وَإِنَّمَا أَنَا نَذِيرٌ مُّبِينٌ

“They say when is this promise, if you are truthful? Say: Its knowledge is only with Allah. And I am only a clear warner.” (67:25-6)

[after quoting the translations of Shah Wali Allah and Shah ‘Abd al-Qadir]

The first of these two verses is about the Resurrection, concerning a question asked about it on behalf of the disbelievers, that this Resurrection which has again and again been promised, when will it happen? Just as the previous [verses], here too, the answer is given that the knowledge of its time is only with Allah. Even though the meaning of the verse by itself is clear, nonetheless, because of what I decided [at the outset], I will include quotes from a number of the imams of Tafsir.

‘Umdat al-Mufassirin Hafiz ‘Imad al-Din ibn Kathir (Allah have mercy on him) wrote in the tafsir of this verse:

 { قُلْ إِنَّمَا ٱلْعِلْمُ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ } أي: لا يعلم وقت ذلك على التعيين إلا الله عز وجل، لكنه أمرني أن أخبركم أن هذا كائن وواقع لا محالة

“Say its knowledge is only with Allah.’ I.e. None besides Allah, Great and Glorious, knows its exact timing , but He ordered me to inform you that it will happen and will certainly take place.” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir 10:40)

‘Allamah Mu‘in ibn Safi wrote:

اي علم وقت الحشر عند الله لا يعلم الا هو

“Meaning, the knowledge of the time of resurrection is ‘with Allah,’ none knows it besides Him.” (Jami‘ al-Bayan p. 466)

‘Allamah Abu al-Su‘ud (Allah have mercy on him) said:

 قُلْ إِنَّمَا ٱلْعِلْمُ } أي العلمُ بوقتِهِ { عَندَ ٱللَّهِ } عزَّ وجلَّ لا يطلعُ عليهِ غيرُهُ

“Say its knowledge,’ i.e. the knowledge of its time ‘is with Allah,’ Great and Glorious, none besides Him is aware of it.” (Tafsir Abu al-Su‘ud 8:307)

These very some words were used by al-Baydawi at this place (Tafsir al-Baydawi2:329)

Imam al-Razi (Allah have mercy on him) said in the commentary of this verse:

والمراد أن العلم بالوقوع غير العلم بوقت الوقوع، فالعلم الأول حاصل عندي، وهو كاف في الإنذار والتحذير، أما العلم الثاني فليس إلا لله، ولا حاجة في كوني نذيراً مبيناً إليه

“The intent is that the knowledge of occurrence is not knowledge of the time of occurrence. Thus the first knowledge is possessed by me [i.e. the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), and it is sufficient for warning and cautioning. As for the second knowledge, it is only with Allah, and I have no need for it in being a clear warner.” (al-Tafsir al-Kabir 8:191)

 

Fifth Verse

وَيَقُولُونَ مَتَى هَـذَا الْوَعْدُ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ قُل لاَّ أَمْلِكُ لِنَفْسِي ضَرًّا وَلاَ نَفْعًا إِلاَّ مَا شَاء اللّهُ 

“They say when is this promise, if you are truthful? Say: I do not possess for myself harm, and nor [do I possess] benefit, except what Allah wills.” (10:48-9)

[after quoting the translations of Shah Wali Allah and Shah ‘Abd al-Qadir]

Here too a question occurred regarding the specific time of the Hour, in response to which no answer was given; but advancing on the question, he gave the answer that I have no choice even over benefit and harm to my own self – that too is under the will of the Lord. It is, as if, a subtle indication that your question is completely misplaced and the knowledge of Resurrection is only with Allah. After this explanation, the correlation between the question and answer becomes clear, and all praise is due to Allah for that.

Anyhow, the outcome of this verse is close to the verse that was mentioned before it.

Thus, ‘Allamah ‘Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Ibrahim al-Baghdadi better known as Khazin (Allah have mercy on him) said in his Tafsir:

والمراد أن إنزال العذاب على الأعداء وإظهار النصرة للأولياء لا يقدر عليه أحد إلا الله سبحانه، وأنه تعالى ما عين لذلك الوعد والوعيد وقتاً معيناً حتى يقال: لما لم يحصل ذلك الموعود في ذلك الوقت، دل على حصول الخلف فكان تعيين الوقت مفوضاً إلى الله سبحانه، إما بحسب مشيئته

 

“The intent is that delivering punishment on the enemies [of Allah] and manifesting help for the friends [of Allah], none has power over it but Allah, Glorified is He, and that He, Exalted is He, has not specified for that promise and threat a specific time such that it can be said that since that promise was not realised in that time it proves the promise was broken, so the specification of the time was assigned to Allah Glorified is He.” (Khazin 2:158)

And ‘Umdat al-Mufassirin Hafiz al-Hadith Imam Ibn Kathir al-Dimashqi (Allah have mercy on him) wrote in his Tafsir:

 { قُل لاَّ أَمْلِكُ لِنَفْسِى ضَرًّا وَلاَ نَفْعًا } الآية، أي: لا أقول إلا ما علمني، ولا أقدر على شيء مما استأثر به، إلا أن يطلعني الله عليه، فأنا عبده ورسوله إليكم، وقد أخبرتكم بمجيء الساعة، وأنها كائنة، ولم يطلعني على وقتها

 

“’Say I do not possess for myself harm, nor benefit.’ I.e. I do not say except what He taught me, and I have no power over anything from which He has taken exclusive possession of, unless Allah discloses it to me, for I am His slave and His Messenger [sent] to you, and I have informed you of the coming of the Hour, and that it will happen, and He has not informed me of its time.” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir 5:119)

Since the meaning of the verse is equivalent to the fourth verse, further clarification and explanation is not needed.

 

Sixth Verse

وَيَقُولُونَ مَتَى هُوَ قُلْ عَسَى أَن يَكُونَ قَرِيبًا

“They say: When is it? Say: Perhaps it is close.” (17:51)

[after quoting the translations of Shah Wali Allah and Shah ‘Abd al-Qadir]

Here too in answering the question of the [exact] time of the Resurrection only its chronological proximity is described, and no specific time is given, from which is clear that it cannot be hoped from Allah Almighty that He will give this knowledge of the specific time to anybody.

Thus, Imam Fakhr al-Din al-Razi wrote, alerting to this:

واعلم أنه تعالى بين في القرآن أنه لا يطلع أحداً من الخلق على وقته المعين، فقال:
{ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عِندَهُ عِلْمُ ٱلسَّاعَةِ }
[لقمان: 34] وقال:
{ إِنَّمَا عِلْمُهَا عِنْدَ رَبّي }
[الأعراف: 187] وقال:
{ إِنَّ ٱلسَّاعَةَ ءاتِيَةٌ أَكَادُ أُخْفِيهَا }
[طه: 15] فلا جرم. قال تعالى: { قُلْ عَسَىٰ أَن يَكُونَ قَرِيبًا

“Know that He, Exalted is He, explained in the Qur’an that He will not reveal to any of the creation its specific time, so He said: ‘Verily, Allah, with Him is the knowledge of the Hour.’ (31:34) and He said: ‘Its knowledge is only with my Lord.’ (7:187), and He said: ‘Verily the Hour is coming – I almost concealed it.’ (20:15)…” (al-Tafsir al-Kabir 5:404)

Al-Khatib al-Shirbini quoted this passage of Imam al-Razi in his Tafsir al-Siraj al-Munir (al-Siraj al-Munir 2:31)

Since this has the same meaning as the two previous verses, there is no need for a more detailed explanation.

 

Seventh Verse

قُلْ إِنَّمَا يُوحَى إِلَيَّ أَنَّمَا إِلَهُكُمْ إِلَهٌ وَاحِدٌ فَهَلْ أَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ فَإِن تَوَلَّوْا فَقُلْ آذَنتُكُمْ عَلَى سَوَاء وَإِنْ أَدْرِي أَقَرِيبٌ أَم بَعِيدٌ مَّا تُوعَدُونَ

“Say: It is only inspired in me that your God is One God. Will you then surrender? But if they are averse, then say: I have warned you all alike, although I know not whether near or far is that which you are promised.” (21:108-9)

[after quoting the translations of Shah Wali Allah and Shah ‘Abd al-Qadir]

Slightly before this verse, the resurrection after death is mentioned (21:104) after which the nature of the Prophet’s messengership and his overwhelming mercy is mentioned (21:107). And then he is commanded to call people to pure Tawhid, and if some wretched ones from them are unresponsive to this [call], then warn them of the Resurrection and punishment, and [say] I do not know whether it is close or far.

Perhaps a doubt may arise that in the Glorious Qur’an itself in several places the Resurrection has been described as being close (as in 21:1, 54:1, 17:51 etc.). Even the Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) disclosed in the hadiths that it is near. So how can the knowledge of its nearness or farness be negated from him in this verse? The exegetes have answered this as follows: nearness and farness are relative matters; those verses and hadiths which have described the Resurrection as “near,” its intent is that in proportion to the time that has passed before the Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace), there is a short period before the Resurrection. Furthermore, the Arabs described all future events as ‘near’ – ما ابعد ما فات وما اقرب ما هو آت  – ‘How far is what has passed and how near is what is to come!’ And those texts which deny having knowledge of its nearness or farness, its meaning is that the exact amount of time is not known.

Anyhow, according to the clear statements of the mufassirin (Allah have mercy on them all) this noble verse too explains that the specific time of Resurrection is not known.

Thus, ‘Allamah ‘Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Ibrahim al-Baghdadi better known as al-Khazin said in his Tafsir:

{ وإن أدري } أي وما أعلم { أقريب أم بعيد ما توعدون } يعني يوم القيامة لا يعلمه إلا الله

“‘I know not whether near or far is that which you are promised,’ meaning the Day of Resurrection is not known to any besides Allah.” (Khazin 4:264)

Some mufassirin in explaining “that which you are promised” mentioned, besides the Resurrection, earthly punishment and the victory of the Muslims. Thus, ‘Allamah al-Nasafi said:

{ وَإِنْ أَدْرِى أَقَرِيبٌ أَم بَعِيدٌ مَّا تُوعَدُونَ } أي لا أدري متى يكون يوم القيامة لأن الله تعالى لم يطلعني عليه ولكني أعلم بأنه كائن لا محالة، أو لا أدري متى يحل بكم العذاب إن لم تؤمنوا

“Meaning, I do not know when the Day of Resurrection will be because Allah Almighty has not disclosed it to me, but I know it will certainly come to pass; or I do not know when punishment will descend upon you if you do not believe.” (Madarik3:71)

In Tafsir al-Jalalayn:

{ وإِن } ما { أَدْرِى أَقَرِيبٌ أَم بَعِيدٌ مَّا تُوعَدُونَ } من العذاب أو القيامة المشتملة عليه، وإنما يعلمه الله

“I do not know, whether near or far, is what you are promised, of punishment, or the Resurrection comprising of it, and only Allah Almighty knows it.” (Jalalayn p. 276)

‘Allamah Mu‘in ibn Safi also in the commentary of “that which you are promised” mentioned both punishment and Resurrection by way of uncertainty. (Jami‘ al-Bayan p. 276)

And al-Khatib al-Shirbini, along with these two interpretations, mentioned a third interpretation, the victory of the Muslims. His words in this place are:

{وإن} أي: وما {أدري أقريب} جدّاً بحيث يكون قربه على ما يتعارفونه {أم بعيد ما توعدون} من غلب المسلمين عليكم أو عذاب الله أو القيامة المشتملة عليه، وإنّ ذلك كائن لا محالة ولا بدّ أن يلحقكم بذلك الذلة والصغار، وإن كنت لا أدري متى يكون ذلك؛ لأنّ الله تعالى لم يعلمني علمه، ولم يطلعني عليه، وإنما يعلمه الله تعالى

“‘I do not known, whether near,’ extremely, such that its nearness is in accordance with what they are accustomed to [of what is ‘near’], ‘or far, that which you are promised,’ of the Muslims overcoming you, or the punishment of Allah or the Resurrection comprising of that. That will inevitably happen, and thereby humiliation and disgrace will necessarily follow you, although I do not know when that will be, because Allah Almighty has not taught me its knowledge and has not disclosed it to me, and only Allah Almighty has knowledge of it.” (Tafsir al-Siraj al-Munir 2:532)

‘Allamah Abu al-Su‘ud and Qadi Baydawi (Allah have mercy on them) in theirTafsirs mentioned only [the interpretations of] Resurrection and the victory of the Muslims. (Tafsir Abu al-Su‘ud 6:344, Tafsir al-Baydawi 2:56)

Anyhow, regardless of whether “that which you are promised” is interpreted as Resurrection or punishment or victory of the Muslims, with every assumption, the verse is a clear proof for us, and since there is no contradiction between the three possible interpretations, all three meanings can be taken. And if one interpretation is adopted, then Resurrection will be preferred, because the context supports that, which is why no mufassir did not keep Resurrection as at least one possible interpretation, which is why I included this verse amongst the verses related to knowledge of Resurrection.

 

Eighth Verse

قُلْ إِنْ أَدْرِي أَقَرِيبٌ مَّا تُوعَدُونَ أَمْ يَجْعَلُ لَهُ رَبِّي أَمَدًا

“Say: I know not whether that which you are promised is near, or if my Lord has set a distant term for it.” (72:25)

[after quoting the translations of Shah Wali Allah and Shah ‘Abd al-Qadir]

Since this has the exact same meaning as the previous verse, I consider it sufficient to only quote one comprehensive passage from Imam al-Mufassirin Hafiz Ibn Kathir (Allah have mercy on him):

يقول تعالى آمراً رسوله صلى الله عليه وسلم أن يقول للناس: إنه لا علم له بوقت الساعة، ولا يدري: أقريب وقتها أم بعيد؟ { قُلْ إِنْ أَدْرِىۤ أَقَرِيبٌ مَّا تُوعَدُونَ أَمْ يَجْعَلُ لَهُ رَبِّىۤ أَمَداً } أي: مدة طويلة، وفي هذه الآية الكريمة دليل على أن الحديث الذي يتداوله كثير من الجهلة من أنه عليه الصلاة والسلام لا يؤلف تحت الأرض كذب لا أصل له، ولم نره في شيء من الكتب، وقد كان صلى الله عليه وسلم يُسأل عن وقت الساعة، فلا يجيب عنها، ولما تبدى له جبريل في صورة أعرابي، كان فيما سأله أن قال: يا محمد فأخبرني عن الساعة؟ قال:  ما المسؤول عنها بأعلم من السائل 

“He (Exalted is He) says, commanding His Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) to say to people that he has no knowledge of the time of the Hour, and he does not know whether its time is near or far. ‘Say: I know not whether that which you are promised is near, or if my Lord has set a distant term for it,’ i.e. a lengthy period. He (Allah bless him and grant him peace) would be asked about the Hour and not give response to it, and when Jibra’il appeared to him in the form of a Bedouin, from what he asked him was that he said: ‘O Muhammad, tell me about the Hour.’ So he said: ‘The one questioned about it knows no more [about it] than the questioner.’” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir 10:96)

Just like the previous verse, from the apparent words of this verse it is also implied that nearness or farness of the Resurrection themselves are not known, whereas other verses and many hadiths reveal that it is near. I have already elaborated on the answer to this [problem] under the previous verse. Here, I feel it is appropriate to present some brief words from Imam al-Razi (Allah have mercy on him) on this, who after completing the explanation of the verse, said:

فإن قيل: أليس أنه قال: ” بعثت أنا والساعة كهاتين “ فكان عالماً بقرب وقوع القيامة، فكيف قال: ههنا لا أدري أقريب أم بعيد؟ قلنا: المراد بقرب وقوعه هو أن ما بقي من الدنيا أقل مما انقضى، فهذا القدر من القرب معلوم، وأما معنى معرفة القرب القريب وعدم ذلك فغير معلوم

“If it is said, did he (Allah bless him and grant him peace) not say: ‘I was sent, I and the Hour, like these two,’ so he was aware of the nearness of the occurence of the Resurrection, so how can he say here: ‘I know not whether [it is] near or far’? We say: the intent of the nearness of its occurrence is that which remains from the world is less in relation to what has preceded. Thus, this degree of nearness is known. As for the meaning of this [proportional] nearness, whether [quantitatively] near or not, it is unknown.” (al-Tafsir al-Kabir 8:343)

And at this juncture, al-Khatib al-Shirbini used the exact same words [in explanation of this verse] (Tafsir al-Siraj al-Munir 4:408)

 

Ninth Verse

هُوَ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُم مِّن طِينٍ ثُمَّ قَضَى أَجَلاً وَأَجَلٌ مُّسمًّى عِندَهُ ثُمَّ أَنتُمْ تَمْتَرُونَ

“He is the One who created you from clay, then destined a term. The fixed term lies with Him, yet you are in doubt. ” (6:2)

[after quoting the translations of Shah Wali Allah and Shah ‘Abd al-Qadir]

In this verse, two appointed terms are described for man, and in their interpretation, the mufassirin have various opinions. The preferred interpretation is that by the first “term” is meant man’s death, and by the second “fixed term” the time of Resurrection is meant, and only Allah Almighty has knowledge of its specific time. Hazrat Shah ‘Abd al-Qadir Sahib (Allah have mercy on him) wrote in a “benefit” (fa’idah) from the verse:

“Thus, the first term is for each person and that is not known to him but is known to the angels, and the second term is for all creation, so none knows it [besides Allah].” (Fawa’id Mudih al-Qur’an by Hazrat Shah ‘Abd al-Qadir)

‘Allamah Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti (Allah have mercy on him) preferred this explanation in Tafsir al-Jalalayn. (Jalalayn p. 87)

And ‘Allamah al-Nasafi al-Hanafi (Allah have mercy on him) also adopted this opinion, although he mentioned other opinions as possible interpretations (Madarik4:3).

‘Allamah ‘Ali ibn Muhammad Khazin (Allah have mercy on him) mentioned it along with other possible interpretations:

وقيل: الأجل هو الوقت المقدر فأجل كل إنسان مقدر معلوم عند الله لا يزيد ولا ينقص.

والأجل الثاني: هو أجل القيامة وهو أيضاً معلوم مقدر عند الله لا يعلمه إلا الله تعالى

“It was said, the term is the time determined, so the term of every person is determined and known to Allah, neither increasing nor decreasing, and the second term is the term of Resurrection which is also determined and known to Allah; none knows it besides Allah Almighty.”

Anyhow, according to the preferred opinion the second “term” is the term of Resurrection, and the words “fixed with Him” specifies its knowledge to Allah Almighty. And Allah knows best.

 

Tenth Verse

قُل لَّا يَعْلَمُ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ الْغَيْبَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَمَا يَشْعُرُونَ أَيَّانَ يُبْعَثُونَ

“Say, “No one in the heavens and the earth has the knowledge of the ghayb except Allah.” And they do not know when they will be raised again. ” (27:65)

[after quoting the translations of Shah Wali Allah and Shah ‘Abd al-Qadir]

Muhyi al-Sunnah ‘Allamah al-Baghawi (Allah have mercy on him) wrote regarding the reason for its revelation:

نزلت في المشركين حيث سألوا النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم عن وقت قيام الساعة

“It was revealed about the idolaters when they asked the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) about the time of the establishment of the Hour.” (Ma‘alim al-Tanzil 5:128)

This reason for revelation is also mentioned on page 321 of Tafsir Jalalayn and page 167 of Tafsir al-Madarik and page 321 of Jami‘ al-Bayan.

‘Allamah ‘Ali ibn Muhammad Khazin, after quoting this reason for revelation, wrote on the exegesis of the verse:

والمعنى أن الله هو الذي يعلم الغيب وحده ويعلم متى تقوم الساعة { ما يشعرون أيان يبعثون } يعني أن من في السموات وهم الملائكة ومن في الأرض وهم بنو آدم لا يعلمون متى يبعثون والله تعالى تفرد بعلم ذلك

“The meaning is that Allah is the one Who alone knows the ghayb, and knows when the Hour will commence. ‘And they do not know when they will be raised again,’ meaning that those in the heavens, that is the angels, and those in the earth, that is the children of Adam, do not know when they will be raised again, and Allah Almighty alone has knowledge of that.” (Tafsir al-Khazin 5:125)

‘Umdat al-Mufassirin Hafiz Imam Ibn Kathir al-Dimashqi (Allah have mercy on him) wrote under this verse:

يقول تعالى آمراً رسوله صلى الله عليه وسلم أن يقول معلماً لجميع الخلق: أنه لا يعلم أحد من أهل السموات والأرض الغيب إلا الله. وقوله تعالى: { إِلاَّ ٱللَّهَ } استثناء منقطع أي: لا يعلم أحد ذلك إلا الله عز وجل؛ فإنه المنفرد بذلك وحده لا شريك له؛ كما قال تعالى:
{ وَعِندَهُ مَفَاتِحُ ٱلْغَيْبِ لاَ يَعْلَمُهَآ إِلاَّ هُوَ }
[الأنعام: 59] الآية، وقال تعالى:
{ بِٱللَّهِ ٱلْغَرُورُ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عِندَهُ عِلْمُ ٱلسَّاعَةِ وَيُنَزِّلُ ٱلْغَيْثَ }
[لقمان: 34] إلى آخر السورة، والآيات في هذا كثيرة. وقوله تعالى: { وَمَا يَشْعُرُونَ أَيَّانَ يُبْعَثُونَ } أي: وما يشعر الخلائق الساكنون في السموات والأرض بوقت الساعة؛ كما قال تعالى:
{ ثَقُلَتْ فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلأَرْضِ لاَ تَأْتِيكُمْ إِلاَّ بَغْتَةً }
[الأعراف: 187] أي: ثقل علمها على أهل السموات والأرض.

وقال ابن أبي حاتم: حدثنا أبي، حدثنا علي بن الجعد، حدثنا أبو جعفر الرازي عن داود بن أبي هند عن الشعبي عن مسروق عن عائشة رضي الله عنها، قالت: من زعم أنه يعلم ــــ يعني: النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم – ما يكون في غد، فقد أعظم على الله الفرية؛ لأن الله تعالى يقول:  قُل لاَّ يَعْلَمُ مَن فِي ٱلسَّمَـٰوٰتِ وٱلأَرْضِ ٱلْغَيْبَ إِلاَّ ٱللَّهُ

“He (Exalted is He) says, commanding His Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) to say, informing all creation, that no one from the inhabitants of the heavens and earth knows the ghayb besides Allah. His (Exalted is He) statement, ‘except Allah’ is a disconnected exception [in which the exception is not included in that from which it is exempted, as Allah does not belong to those in the heavens and the earth]; meaning, no one knows that besides Allah (Exalted and Glorified is He), as He is Alone in that, having no partner; as He (Exalted is He) said: ‘With Him are the keys of the Unseen. No one knows them but He’ [to then end of] the verse (6:59) and He (Exalted is He) said: ‘Verily, Allah! With Him is knowledge of the Hour’ [to then end of] the verse (31:34) and the verses on this are many.

“His (Exalted is He) statement: ‘And they do not know when they will be raised again,’ meaning, the creatures living in the heavens and earth are not aware of the time of the Hour, as He (Exalted is He) said: ‘It is burdensome in the heavens and the earth’ (7:187), i.e. its knowledge is burdensome on the inhabitants of the heavens and the earth. Ibn Abi Hatim said: My father narrated to me: ‘Ali ibn al-Ja‘d narrated to us: He said: Abu Ja‘far al-Razi narrated to us from Dawud ibn Abi Hind from al-Sha‘bi from Masruq from ‘A’ishah, she said: ‘Whoever claims that he, meaning the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace), knows what is in the morrow, he has produced a great slander against Allah, because Allah Almighty says: “Say: No one in the heavens and the earth has the knowledge of the ghayb except Allah.””

After this, when commenting on the next verse, “Nay, their knowledge ends at the Afterlife,” he says:

وقرأ آخرون: { بَلْ أدركَ علمُهم } أي: تساوى علمهم في ذلك؛ كما في ” الصحيح ” لمسلم: أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال لجبريل، وقد سأله عن وقت الساعة: ” ما المسؤول عنها بأعلم من السائل “ أي: تساوى في العجز عن درك ذلك علم المسؤول والسائل

“In another reading, it is bal adrak ‘ilmuhum [instead of bal iddaraka ‘ilmuhum], i.e. their knowledge is equal in that, as in the Sahih of Muslim that Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said to Jibra’il when he had asked about the time of the Hour: ‘The one asked about it knows no more than the questioner,’ i.e. the knowledge of every person asked [about it] and the one who asks is equal in failing to grasp it.” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir 7:229)