6

From transliteration.org, I read the following aya.

037.011 Just ask their opinion: are they the more difficult to create, or the (other) beings We have created? Them have We created out of a sticky clay!

فَاسْتَفْتِهِمْ ‌أَهُمْ ‌أَشَدُّ‌ خَ‍‍لْ‍‍ق‍‍اً‌ ‌أَمْ مَ‍‌‍نْ خَ‍‍لَ‍‍‍قْ‍‍‍نَ‍‍ا‌ ۚ ‌إِنَّ‍‍ا‌ خَ‍‍لَ‍‍‍قْ‍‍‍نَاهُمْ مِ‍‌‍نْ طِ‍‍‍ي‍‍ن‍ٍ‌ لاَ‌زِبٍ

Another source says the word "Ashaddu" means "stronger", whereas the above source interprets as "more difficult".

I am lost as to what this aya is saying. What are the "other beings" being referred to? Any help appreciated.

5

The ayah is speaking to those who deny the Day of Judgement because they don't think they can be created again. Further in the passage, Allah quotes them:

‘What! After we have died and become dust and bones, shall we really be raised up again, along with our forefathers?’

Say, "Yes, and you will be [rendered] contemptible." (37:16-18)

The purpose of the ayah that you quote is to ask a rhetorical question to show that Allah has the power to raise people from the dead, since after all, he created that which are much greater than mere humans.

Then inquire of them, [O Muhammad], "Are they a stronger [or more difficult] creation or those [others] We have created?" [...] (37:11)

So, either interpretation is fine as long as it gets across that Allah is saying that humans are not at all hard for him to create.

Either because He has created those that are stronger than them (stronger as in more magnificent or more enduring). Or because He created those that are more difficult to create hence the difficulty of raising humans from the dead pales in front of Him.

According to Ibn Kathir, it is talking about difficulty to create not strength. And that seems more likely to me as it fits more.

But, either one is possible.

Then, Allah mentions:

[...] Indeed, We created men from sticky clay. (37:11)

To show that they were created from a material that is so insignificant or weak compared with other creatures like angels who were created with light. It might also show that the material is the simplest or easiest of materials to create from compared to light and fire.

A similar verse is in Surah Naziat, where unlike here, Allah compares humans to non-living creations like earth and sky:

Are you a more difficult creation or is the sky? Allah constructed it, raising it high and perfecting it, giving darkness to its night and bringing out its morning brightness.

And the earth, too, He spread out, bringing waters and pastures out of it, and setting firm mountains [in it]. (79:27-32)

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3

أم من خلقنا refers to the other creation that has been mentioned previously in the surah:

  • The Heavens and the Earth and what they contain. This is also supported by the following ayat:

    لخلق السماوات والأرض أكبر من خلق الناس ولكن أكثر الناس لا يعلمون

    The creation of the heavens and earth is greater than the creation of mankind, but most of the people do not know.

    Quran 40:57

    أأنتم أشد خلقا أم السماء بناها

    Are you a more difficult creation or is the heaven? Allah constructed it.

    Quran 79:27

  • The angels and the devils.

  • The nations who have passed away, i.e. they were greater than the people of Makkah. See e.g. 30:9

Reference:

أخرج عبد بن حميد وابن جرير وابن المنذر وابن أبي حاتم عن مجاهد رضي الله عنه في قوله {أهم أشد خلقا أم من خلقنا} قال: السموات والأرض والجبال وأخرج عبد بن حميد وابن جرير وابن المنذر وابن أبي حاتم عن قتادة رضي الله عنه في قوله {أم من خلقنا} قال: أم من عددنا عليك من خلق السموات والأرض قال الله تعالى (لخلق السموات والأرض أكبر من خلق الناس) (غافر 57) وأخرج ابن جرير عن الضحاك رضي الله عنه أنه قرأ أهم أشد خلقا أم من عددنا وأخرج ابن أبي حاتم عن سعيد بن جبير رضي الله عنه في قوله {أم من خلقنا} قال: من الأموات والملائكة

الدر المنثور

أيما أشد خلقا هم أم السماوات والأرض ، وما بينهما من الملائكة والشياطين والمخلوقات العظيمة ؟

تفسير ابن كثير

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2

Pagans did not believe to neither resurrection nor afterlife. in Surah As Saaffat 16 to 20 (37.16/20) Qur'an have said that attitude of deniers about these two subject above. Others are literally others. All the creature, cosmos, beings. "Others" point out that magnificence and perfection to make think and to straighten deniers. Wallahualam

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