1. By those who range themselves in ranks.

Notes (Tafseer)

4030. At a later stage, we shall study the general meaning of the adjurations in the Qur-an indicated by the particle wa. See app. xi. Here we may note that the last Sura (Ya-Sin) practically began with the adjuration "by the Qur-an, full of wisdom", emphasising the fact that Revelation was the evidence by which we could learn the highest wisdom of the spiritual world. Here our attention is called in three verses or clauses, to three definite attitudes which illustrate the triumph of Good and the frustration of Evil. See the notes following.

4031. Two questions arise: (1) are the doers of the three things noted in verses 1-3 the same persons, whose actions or qualities are differently described, or are they three distinct sets of persons? (2) in either case, who are they? As to (1) the most authoritative view is that the three clauses describe the same set of persons in different aspects. As to (2) some take them to refer to angels, and others understand by them the good men, the men of God, who strive and range themselves in Allah's service. The words are perfectly general, and I interpret them to refer to both classes. The feminine form is grammatically used in Arabic idiom for the indefinite plural. In xxxvii. 165 below, the word saffan is used in the definite plural, and seems to be spoken by these beings, angels or men of God or both, according to how we interpret this verse.