from them. Like someone who sees [an animal’s] claws understands that they are for tearing at or grasping things.
The Second: That the purpose of their creation, and the function with which they are charged and the perfection to which they are turned, is the fear of Allah. This is the most complete and perfect worship.
That is to say, “so that you might remain conscious of Him;” that is, the aim of your creation, and your perfection, and that for which your innate disposition has been made, is the consciousness of Allah and fear of Him.
Now for the phrase “has made the earth a resting-place for you (ja‘ala la-kum al-arḍ firāshan):” this points out the most likely evidences of the Most High’s existence furnished by the outer world. It is also an allusive rebuttal of the actual effectiveness of causes, which is the source of a sort of associating partners with Allah (shirk); that is, its ascribing the spreading-out of the earth, or its preparation as man’s cradle, to the Most High and not to nature.
The phrase “and the sky a canopy (wa al-samā’ binā’an)” indicates by mentioning the sky, which is contiguous with the earth, the most elevated of the simple proofs in the outer world.
Then with the phrase “and has sent down water from the sky (wa anzala min al-samā’)” [it indicates] the evidence of their Maker’s existence [offered by] compound beings and things animal, vegetable, and mineral.
Moreover, all the previous phrases point to proof of [the Maker’s] existence. Similarly, as a whole they indicate His unity. And the way they are set out indicates the order [of the universe] and alludes to the bounties. With the evidence [offered by] “for your sustenance (rizqan la-kum),” it establishes the fitness of the Most High to be worshipped, for it is compulsory to thank the bestower of bounties. “For your sustenance” also indicates that just as the earth and things animal, vegetable and mineral have been made to serve you, so you should serve the One who subjugated them to you.
Now the positioning [and relationships] of “then set not up rivals to Allah (fa-lā taj‘alū li’llāhi andādan):” know that extending from its position are lines to “O you people! worship your Sustainer and Lord;” and to “who has created you;” and to “who has made ... for you;” and to “and has sent down.” That is, when you worship your Lord, associate no partners with Him, for it is He who is the Lord and Sustainer, and is your Creator and the Creator of the human race; do not set up lords and masters in derogation of Allah; and because it was He who created the heavens and made them the roof to your dwelling-place, so do not believe that natural causes