(dalīl ikhtirā‘ī) [and thus] of the first creation and the resurrection of the dead (al-mabda’ wa’l-ma‘ād). Furthermore, just as this verse looks to the preceding ones, so it looks to the earlier ones that discuss the disbelievers and dissemblers. It infers with its amazed rhetorical question that it is hitting them over the head, and condemning, threatening, and intimidating them.
The positioning [and relationships] of the verse’s phrases:
Know that here, [the Qur’an] turns from the use of the third person [in the previous verses] to the second person, for previously it was quoting [the disbelievers], now it is addressing them. This is to make a point well-known in eloquence, which is that if one describes a person’s iniquities bit by bit, a feeling of anger mounts in [the listener] till if [truly] human he feels compels to speak with the person face to face. Similarly, if one mentions someone’s virtues little by little, the desire to speak with him grows [gradually] stronger till one turns to him and addresses him directly.1 Thus, since the Qur’an was revealed in the styles and modes [of speech] of the Arabs, it turns to [the disbelievers] and addresses [them directly] saying: “How can you refuse to acknowledge Allah? (lit. how can you disbelieve in Allah?)”
Know too that since the aim here is to set out the proofs of the fundamental matters mentioned above, including belief and worship, and to refute disbelief and prevent ingratitude for bounties; and since the clearest evidences are those derived from the chain of human circumstances, and the greatest bounties are those hanging in the stem of that sequence and found in its nodes; it says: “seeing that you were lifeless and He gave you life; then will He cause you to die, and then will bring you again to life; and again to Him will you return.” This indicates the wondrous interlinked sequence, which has five nodes, from the stem of which hang the bunches of bounties. We shall now set out five matters to decipher those nodes.
The First Matter is about “seeing that you were lifeless (wa kuntum amwātan).” While physically man consists of lifeless particles [once] scattered through the world, you see that they are brought under a particular law and specific order. Then, while they are hidden and silent in the world of the elements you notice that they are transposed to the world of animate beings through a specific rule and order which betoken purpose and
This device called ‘iltifāt’ is widely used in Arabic. See, İşârâtü’l-İ’caz [Abdülmecid], 253.