(57) َظَلَّلْنَا عَلَيْكُمُ الْغَمَامَ وَأَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَنَّ وَالسَّلْوَى كُلُواْ مِن طَيِّبَاتِ مَا رَزَقْنَاكُمْ وَمَا ظَلَمُونَا وَلَكِن كَانُواْ أَنفُسَهُمْ يَظْلِمُونَ
57. " And We outspread the clouds to shade you, and We sent down ' manna ' and ' quail ' upon you, (saying) : ' Eat of the good things We have provided for you '. (But they rebelled) ; to Us they did no harm, but they were putting themselves to destruction."
Abundant Bounties !
As it is understood from Sura Al-Ma'idah, verses 20 to 22, when the Children of Israel were saved from the hostility of the Pharaoh and his army, Allah commanded them to move toward the Holy Land of Jerusalem and enter in it. But the Israelites did not obey the command saying: "...in this land are a people of exceeding strength: never shall we enter it until they leave it: if (once) they leave then shall we enter ", (the Holy Qur'an 5: 22) .
Those rebellious people's disobedience did not stop there. They even told Moses (a.s.) : "...Go thou, and thy Lord, and fight ye two, while we sit here (and watch) ", (Sura Al-Ma'idah, No. 5, verse 24) .
Moses became very displeased with their words and told the story of his grievance to the Lord. Finally, it was appointed that the Children of Israel wander through the desert (of Sinai) in distraction for forty years.
A group of those people regretted their wrong action and returned to the Lord repenting of that sin. Then, He bestowed His bounties on them again, a part of which is referred to in the verse under discussion, where it says:
It is obvious how happy a wandering passenger, who has been walking under the hot sun in the desert that he has to pass through without any shelter from morning till evening, is when he receives the welcome shade of clouds !
True, it is probable that shady clouds sometimes appear in the sky of the deserts, but the verse clearly declares that the event was not an ordinary thing that occurred for the Children of Israel. It was the favour of Allah that often showered upon them and they enjoyed it.
At the same time, during that long span of time, the passengers in that hot dry desert needed food and sustenance. That problem was also solved for them by the Merciful Creator, as the verse continues saying:
"...and We sent down 'manna 'and 'quail 'upon you, ..."
"...(saying) : ' Eat of the good things We have provided for you '...",
in order that you may enjoy of the pure delicious nutritious sustenance and not disobey Him. Yet, they were not thankful to Him.
"...(But they rebelled) ; to Us they did no harm, but they were putting themselves to destruction."
The terms ' manna ' and ' salwa ' are differently interpreted by different philologists and commentators. However, the fact is: ' manna ' and ' salwa ' refer to the heavenly provisions the Israelites were provided with, without any strain or burden on their part.