Question: In the English translation of the Qur’aan that we are studying from, verse 27 of Soorah An-Nazi’aat is translated as (that which means): “Are you more difficult to create or is the heaven that He constructed?”
They have translated the word ﺃشَدُّ (Ashad-du) here as meaning ‘difficult’. We know that there is nothing that is difficult for Allaah (سبحانه وتعالى). Is this translation correct? Is this something that befits His Majesty?
Answer: As for this translation it has come in some of the books of tafseer. In some of the books of tafseer they use the word ‘Ashaq’ which has the meaning of more difficult, like As-Sa’dee in his tafseer in the explanation of the verse in Soorah As-Saafaat, verse 11, and Al-Oosee in Rooh Al-Ma’aanee in the explanation of the verse in Soorah An-Naba.
This does not mean that something is difficult for Allaah (سبحانه وتعالى). Rather, Allaah in this verse is addressing those who deny the ressurrection. The meaning is: Is creating you after death harder in your estimation or the heavens! And no doubt they will say the heavens. So the one who created the heavens, which is harder in your estimation, is able to create you after your death so why do you deny the ressurrection. So this verse is dealing with those who deny the ressurrection in their estimation, in their thinking. As for Allaah, the Most High:
وَإِذَا قَضَى أَمْرًا فَإِنَّمَا يَقُولُ لَهُ كُنْ فَيَكُون
“When He decrees a matter He only says to it: ‘Be’ and it is.” - Al-Baqarah (2):117
Ibn Jareer said in the tafseer of this verse: “He, Ta’ala Dhikruhu, is saying to those who deny the ressurrection from Quraish, those who say:
أَئِذَا كُنَّا عِظَامًا نَخِرَةً“Even after we are crumbled bones?”
قَالُوا تِلْكَ إِذًا كَرَّةٌ خَاسِرَةٌ“They say: It would in that case be a return with loss.” - An-Nazi’aat (79):11-12
Are you, O people, ‘Ashad’ (a harder) creation or the heavens that your Lord has constructed. For verily, He who constructed the heavens and raised it as a roof, it is easy for Him to create you and to create those like you and to bring you back to life after your death, and creating you after your death is not harder than creating the heavens.”
Al-Qurtubee said in his tafseer: “Meaning: Is creating you after death harder in your estimation or the heavens. So He, who is able (to create) the heavens, is able (to create) the return (of you).”
Ibn Al-Jawzee said in his tafseer: “The people of tafseer said: ‘Is creating you after death ‘Ashad’ (harder) to you or the heavens, in your estimation, while they both in Allaah’s ability are one.’”