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A Living Interpretation of Allahs Final Revelation

A translation and contemporary study of the Quran using multiple exegeses, research articles and other sources by

Abu Maryam Adel Hamed Aboueldahab

Volume One: Al-Faatihah and Al-Baqarah

Zaid Ibn Thabit Publishers

A Living Interpretation of Allahs Final Revelation


The meanings of the Quran, compiled and translated from different exegeses by Abu Maryam Adel Hamed Aboueldahab

Volume One: Al-Faatihah and Al-Baqarah Copyright 2012 by Zaid Ibn Thabit Publishers, Cairo, Egypt Deposit no. 1657/ 2010 Published by Zaid Ibn Thabit Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, or any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher, except brief passages for inclusion in a magazine, newspaper, book or broadcast. www.zaidibnthabit.com All praise is due to Allah, Id like to thank my parents and my wife for supporting me throughout writing this first volume on the meanings of the Quran. Id also like to thank my friend, Tarek Shaltout, for his efforts and the research he contributed.
For inquiries: administrator@zaidibnthabit.com, tel: 2-0100-50-9876

About this book: The Quran is the last of Allahs revealed books and was revealed by Allah to the last of His messengers, Prophet Muhammed . To understand that the Quran is the Word of Allah and therefore completely perfect in every way, is to understand that the Quran is untranslatable into any other language. Indeed, the translation of any text from one language to another is bound to fall short of conveying all the original meanings, and so it is that much more unlikely that a translation of the immaculate, wholly complete and entirely perfect Word of Allah be possible, much less successful. Instead, one can only endeavor to translate some of the Qurans more essential meanings; and because Prophet Muhammed was sent so that all people - in every time and place - would believe in him and in the message he was sent with, translating these meanings as clearly as possible becomes a necessary and important task. Attempting to put together a clear and coherent translation of the meanings of the Qurans first two chapters is something that has benefited me tremendously and would not have been possible without the grace, mercy and blessings of Allah, the All-Mighty. Aside from being a means by which I was able to study the Qurans meanings and go through a variety of different exegeses in doing so, it prevented me from inattentively skimming over verses or meanings without giving them due thought for it is not possible that one translate anything without first understanding it. I have based this translation primarily on the exegesis of Sheikh Saadi, Tafseer-us-Saadi, (I will explain why this particular exegesis shortly) but have often used the works of other scholars to further clarify and elaborate on the meanings of some of the verses. The explanations of other scholars are not least important because Sheikh Saadi, may Allah have mercy on him, wrote his exegesis for Arabic-speaking Muslims and students of knowledge and, therefore, often leaves out or at least briefly explains - terms and concepts that he felt were already clear to the reader. English-speaking readers, however, may or may not be familiar with such terms, and because some of them are critical to the proper understanding of many verses, it became
1. The term, tafseer, means exegesis or explanation.

necessary to expound on these terms further by using additional sources. Furthermore, because I sought to better familiarize the reader with some of the fundamentals of Islam and to clear up common misconceptions, it became evident that some verses required more time and space than did others. To this end, I have added the words of other scholars in their relevant places as well as studies and statistics whenever relevant. Because Tafseer-us-Saadi is, in a sense, the default reference for this translation, any text that is not referenced and not in italics should be understood to be translated from the Sheikhs work. This saves a lot of unnecessary footnotes and, hence, space. It is, however, still important to stress that this is not a translation of Sheikh Saadis work per se. Rather, and as already mentioned, it is a translation based primarily on his work, with a fair amount of additions from the works of other scholars (about 15 other exegeses have been cited), as even a quick glance at the bibliography will reveal. I have chosen to cite as opposed to directly quote almost all Arabic sources, as this allows the flexibility of tuning the language to the English reader and prevents, to a degree, awkward sentences or sentence structure. Indeed, within the context of translation, the line between paraphrasing and quoting may not be all that clear to begin with, as a translator is essentially rewording into another language. Perhaps one of the greater benefits of referring primarily to Sheikh Saadis exegesis is that, rather than document the reports or hadeeths that explain why a particular verse was revealed or what it means, the Sheikh took upon himself the extremely laborious task of presenting the meanings derived from these reports or, in a sense, simplifying them - so that they explain the verses as clearly as possible. This spares the beginner reader the additional effort of having to study the reports that pertain to the verse in question. From the viewpoint of translation, this is of inestimable value as merely translating reports that pertain to a given verse does not necessarily mean that one has explained that verse. Often, such reports themselves require, not just translation, but translation that serves to highlight the meaning of the verse being discussed and the context within which the verse was revealed. This, of course, would have taken an enormous amount of additional time and effort. Sheikh Saadis tafseer is beautiful in its clarity and simplicity and in the way

the Sheikh often times stops to draw lessons from the verses he is discussing. May Allah have mercy on him and grant him His full reward for his efforts. As mentioned on the cover, the book includes a contemporary study of the Qurans meanings. This refers to various refutations to some of the most common criticisms of the Quran and its verses and rulings. The reader will find that all responses on such issues are made using studies and statistics presented by reputable and widely accepted Western authors, authorities and organizations. In some instances, the Bible itself is used to dispel arguments that, while common, are far from sound. Western publications on war, war crimes, marriage, divorce, eyewitness testimony, interest, and other issues have all been used in their appropriate places. Aside from responding to criticisms, these studies also seek to show the continued relevance and practicality of Islams rulings in todays societies, and explain how forsaking these rulings has caused the complex and devastating problems societies face today. Regarding translation technique: As already alluded to, it is always very important that the English reader be conscious that he/she is not reading the Quran, but an English translation of its meanings. There is only one Quran, and Allah has decreed that it be revealed in Arabic. While the explanation of the Quran should conform to the methodology1 taught to the companions of the Prophet and adhered to by them, the way that different scholars articulate the meanings is, no doubt, going to differ. In addition to this, different scholars may infer different meanings, and for all of these reasons, translations of any given verse or
1. There are five steps taken by scholars of tafseer when explaining the Quran. The first is to explain the Quran using the Quran itself. Often times Allah will make a generalization and then go into more detail in another verse. The second step is to use the sayings of the Prophet , as the companions would often ask him regarding a given verse, and he would then clarify its meaning(s) to them. The third step is to use the sayings of the companions as they were the most knowledgeable of generations regarding the meaning of Allahs words. The fourth step is to use the opinions of the tabieen (the generation that followed the companions), who learned the Quran from the companions of the Prophet and were the most knowledgeable and pious of people after the companions (this is a fact that was foretold by the Prophet ). Finally, tafseer based on the Arabic language is the last step taken in explaining the Quran.

even any word within a verse are bound to differ as well. While the decision to adhere to one primary exegesis has saved a lot of time and trouble in this regard, including different opinions from other scholars on the meanings of some of the verses has also proven very helpful. Perhaps in an effort to stay true to the Quranic text, some translators have been quite literal in their interpretations of the verses of the Quran. This has, ironically, led to some of the meanings being distorted or, at best, led to the construction of awkward sentences that seem, at times, to lack basic coherency, let alone properly convey a verses meanings. A certain degree of awkwardness, however, would seem almost inevitable, simply because in being so conscious of the fact that they are translating the Word of Allah, translators become understandably weary of deviating too much from the structure of the Qurans verses. Moreover, the richness of Allahs words and verses is inimitable even in Arabic. Attempts to articulate such eloquence, effect, strength, subtlety and sheer beauty into any other language are likely to yield muddled articulations, and are bound to be in vain. One of the more questionable, but to an extent unavoidable, techniques used by some translators to attempt to stay true to the wording of the Quran while at the same time clarifying its meanings is the excessive use of parentheses for words or phrases that are implied by the text but not explicitly mentioned. In the Arabic language and in the Quran, elliptical clauses can be far more intricate than in English, and are often absolutely critical to the coherency and proper meaning of the verse. Placing such information in parentheses might lead to some confusion in the minds of English readers who are used to such information as being additional but not integral. In trying to simplify matters, I have, first, chosen to reduce the amount of parenthesised material as much as possible, and secondly, opted to use square brackets as they are more commonly used to denote that which is explanatory as opposed to that which is supplementary. Some might argue that taking parenthesized text out of parentheses so that it becomes an integral part of the sentence might give the impression that these words are actually in the Qurans text. This argument suggests that we are still trying to translate the words of the Quran and not its meanings. As already mentioned, this will only serve to confuse the reader, and perhaps

even misguide him/her. By simply bearing in mind that we are translating meanings and not words, its easy to see how doing away with parentheses may often serve to clarify and not distort. It is, however, imporatnt to bear in mind that there may be a difference of scholarly opinion regarding the content of elliptical clauses, which of course will affect the meaning of a given verse. In such instances, it is probably safer to use parentheses because it allows the opportunity to mention alternate explanations for the meaning of a verse more easily. Reducing parentheses, of course, also allows the text to flow more smoothly and prevents a lot of unecessary starting and stopping on the part of the reader. I have also tried to avoid word transliterations that are followed or footnoted with explanations of these words, as this tends to distance the English reader from the text and burden him/her with having to remember meanings as they go along. I say I have tried to avoid this, as in many cases it seemed practically impossible to convey even an approximate meaning using an English term. Words like dhikr, hikmah and taqwa will often not be done any justice if a single word or even a single phrase is used to translate any one of these terms. This problem is augmented even further by the fact that their meanings change from verse to verse, and sometimes even within the same verse. In such cases I have chosen to transliterate the word, and then explain it as clearly as possible at a point that would be most relevant. I have then inserted footnotes referring back to this explanation whenever the word reappeared in the chapter. As, by the grace and mercy of Allah, Islam continues to spread and interest in the religion continues to grow, more and more English dictionaries are adding Arabic words and Islamic terminology. Terms like Hajj and Zakat are, today, fairly standard entries, and for this reason, I have included them as they are with only brief definitions whenever appropriate.

The Islamic concept of monotheism Islam is not, and was never, a religion first revealed to Prophet Muhammed . Rather, Islam is the only religion ever chosen by Allah for His servants. Each and every one of Allahs prophets and books came to establish or re-establish Allahs right to be worshipped alone in times and places where people had lost sight of or strayed from the true path to their Lord and Creator. Because Islam essentially means submission, to be a Muslim means to submit completely and sincerely to Allah - the Creator of everything that exists - and obey Him in all that He orders or commands. Submission, however, is not limited to what one says or does, but rather includes all that one believes in terms of creed, and all that one holds in his heart in terms of inward acts of worship and intentions. All such forms of submission or obedience constitute worship and the worship of Allah, alone, is why mankind was created. It is important to bear in mind that the first part of the first pillar of Islam to bear witness that no deity is worthy of worship but Allah does not imply that no other deity exists. Indeed, false gods are virtually countless, since to merely take anything or anyone for worship aside from Allah or alongside Allah is to deify them or to make them a god, regardless of the fact that they are not worthy. While most religions, including the paganism practiced in pre-Islamic Arabia, acknowledge that Allah is the sole Creator of everything in existence, they do not corroborate this belief by directing all worship towards Allah. This, of course, is contradictory, as the acknowledgment of Allahs sovereignty, creatorship and absolute power must necessarily mean the acknowledgement of Allah as the only god worthy of worship. To affirm that Allah is the only Creator, and that He alone provides sustenance and nurtures every living creature on Earth, and that He alone gives life, and that He alone gives death by causing the soul to depart its body, and that He alone bestows us with all the favors and blessings we experience and benefit from, and then to take other helpless and completely powerless deities for worship instead of Allah - or alongside Him - is thus the single most heinous crime committable. With this in mind, it is easy to see that any act of worship cannot be considered righteousness if it is done for the sake of anyone or anything other than Allah,

regardless of how apparently praiseworthy it may seem. Rather, to direct worship to anyone or anything other than Allah is, itself, an act of betrayal. Indeed, sincerity towards Allah in undertaking any act of worship is one of two criteria that determine whether or not that act is, in fact, righteous, and therefore acceptable to Allah. The other criterion is that it conform with what the Prophet taught or approved of. Hence, to bear witness that Muhammed is the last and final prophet of Allah is the second part of the first pillar of Islam. Based on the above, only acts of worship that are done sincerely for Allah and in accordance with the Sunnah of the Prophet are acceptable to Allah. To direct ones worship to anything or anyone other than Allah, or to worship any deity alongside Allah is a form of shirk. While shirk might literally be translated as association, in this context it means to ascribe partners (no matter what form they may take) to Allah in anything that is unique to Him or in anything that only He has a right to. At its worst, Shirk takes a person beyond the fold of Islam, as it is directly opposed to Islams core principle; namely, that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah. Conversely, the acknowledgment of this right or privilege is one of the forms of tawheed - or the singling out of Allah for worship. Everything in existence was created so that this most fundamental of all principles would be upheld and so that man would be tested in his sincerity towards his Creator. Paradise and Hell with everything they contain were created for this reason, alone. Because supplications or invocations are at the heart of all worship, one of the examples of how people direct to Allahs creation that which only Allah has a right to are the supplications that scores of stray individuals direct to saints, prophets, angels and other creatures that are completely incapable of bringing benefit or harm to themselves - let alone others - of their own accord. But shirk and tawheed arent just opposites in the context of Allahs unique right to be worshipped. To ascribe any of Allahs unique attributes of perfection to any of His creation, or to ascribe attributes of Allahs creation to Allah when such attributes are not befitting of Him are also forms of shirk. One of the more common forms of ascribing that which is uniquely Allahs to His creation is to believe that someone other than Allah holds knowledge

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of the future. This, again, constitutes shirk. To claim that Allah has begotten a son, on the other hand, is an example of ascribing attributes of Allahs creation to Allah when such attributes do not befit Him. Also, to claim that Allah rests, or that He tires, or that He sleeps, or that He regrets, or to ascribe any form of weakness whatsoever to Allah is also shirk for the same reason. The term unbelief often used to translate the word kufr (as has been done in this translation) - only describes one of the dimensions of kufr; namely, the refusal to believe in Allah or in any part of what His prophets have informed us. Shirk and unbelief are, however, very interchangeable, as an Unbeliever or someone who does not believe in the existence of Allah, for instance, is someone who ascribes the creation of everything around him to someone or something other than Allah, thus committing shirk. Likewise, someone who does not believe in the Quran or any part of it is someone who ascribes the Quran or its contents to someone other than Allah, and this again is shirk. Based on the principle that all worship must be directed towards Allah, to take as valid laws or legislation that go against those of Allah is another form of shirk, as only Allah has the right to decree such laws. Because obedience is the essence of worship, to forsake obedience towards Allahs laws for other laws is, consequently, to forsake the worship of Allah for the worship of something or someone else. This applies at both individual and societal levels. For instance, to hold the opinion that dealing in interest is acceptable, or that homosexuality is acceptable, or that a Muslim woman has the right not to wear a veil are all forms of shirk for the reasons mentioned. It is also shirk or kufr to hold the view that a murderer should be sent to prison rather than executed, or that a thief should go to jail rather that have his hand cut off, etc. All legislation in Islam comes from the Quran and the Sunnah, and the Sunnah is essentially the Prophets living interpretation of the Quran. Based on this, worldly rulers or commanders are limited to implementing Allahs laws on Earth or instating laws that are derived from these two sources. In this sense, it becomes easier to see why paganism or idolatry is not limited to directing prayers to, or prostrating oneself before an idol or statue, just as it becomes easier to see how Islamic monotheism is not limited to the mere acknowledgment of Allah as the sole Creator and Orchestrator of everything

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in existence. Tawheed and, consequently, shirk are far more comprehensive in nature and must be regarded as such by anyone seeking to adhere to the path of Allah. May Allah bestow us all with His guidance. As Creator of the heavens and the Earth, Allah has ordained a religion that is completely harmonious with what He has created. For just as Allah has created man, He has also created the environment within which man lives. The proper functioning of all creation, therefore, depends on the actualization of the laws established by the Creator. More than this, the environment that Allah has created for man and has made subservient to mans needs can only serve man as it should if it is made to succumb to the laws ordained by Allah. Adherence to Allahs guidance, therefore, is the fundamental condition for the proper interaction between man and the world in which he lives. Islam is also the only religion that truly liberates mankind from the darkness of worshipping other than Allah to the enlightenment of worshipping Allah, the one and only deity worthy of worship. All other religions or belief systems subjugate man to the worship of mortal, if not lifeless, beings that have neither the power nor capacity to independently harm or benefit themselves, let alone others. All the meanings and terms mentioned in this introduction will Allah willing be expounded on throughout this first volume on the meanings of the Quran. It seemed wise, however, to briefly outline some of the fundamental principles that anyone seeking a proper understanding of Islamic monotheism needs to be familiar with.

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Surat-ul-Faatihah
On the virtues and status of Surat-ul-Faatihah Because the Prophet described this chapter as being the greatest chapter in the Quran, it is worth expounding on some of its fundamental meanings, especially since they recur over and over again throughout Allahs Book. Indeed, Surat-ul-Faatihahs meanings are so essential to the soundness of our lives that we have been ordered to repeat it seventeen times a day in our mandatory Prayers, and emphatically encouraged to read it many more times than that in the prescribed supererogatory Prayers. Without its recitation, Prayers whether mandatory or supererogatory are invalid. It is remarkable to think that this chapter, containing seven verses, is greater than even Surat-ul-Baqarah, which contains 286 verses.

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1. Al-Bukhari, 7

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1. In the Name of Allah, The AllMerciful, The Especially-Merciful 2. All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all the worlds, 3. The All-Merciful, The EspeciallyMerciful, 4. Master of the Day of Reckoning. 5. It is You alone that we worship, and it is You alone that we depend on. 6. Guide us to the Straight Path, 7. The Path of those upon whom You have bestowed Your favor, not of those who incur wrath, nor of those who have strayed.

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1. In the Name of Allah, The All-Merciful, The Especially-Merciful


Concerning this opening verse, commonly referred to as The Basmallah, AtTabari writes, Allah disciplines His Prophet by teaching him to precede his actions and affairs with the pronunciation of His (Allahs) Beautiful Names, making this, in turn, a tradition that all of Allahs creation were to hold fast to. It is these words that a Muslim uses to open a speech or a discussion, a book or piece of writing, or even to begin undertaking day-to-day tasks and duties.1 Allahs Beautiful Names are a fundamental means by which Allah describes Himself and His actions to His servants, and by which Allahs glorious attributes of perfection are conveyed. This is why they are referred to by Allah as The Beautiful Names (7:180), for had they not conveyed any meanings at all, there would be no real beauty to them. Likewise, had they communicated attributes that were any less than perfect or attributes that depending on the context - may or may not be praiseworthy, they would still not be considered Beautiful. Each of Allahs names, therefore, carries all the meanings of the attribute derived from it.2 Because names cannot really be translated, clarifying through translation the difference between a name and the attribute derived from it is somewhat difficult. For this reason, translating Allahs names into English often makes them sound more like their respective attributes than actual names, e.g. The All-Knowing, The All-Wise, The All-Seeing, etc. Even to English readers, however, its easy to see (or hear) how the Arabic words, rahmah (mercy), yarham (to have mercy upon - present tense), rahem (to have mercy upon - past tense) etc., are all derived from the name, ArRahmaan (The All-Merciful). The Basmallah contains three of Allahs Beautiful Names: Allah, ArRahmaan, Ar-Raheem. Allah (a contraction of Al-Ilah) literally means, The Worshipped One, or
1. At-Tabari, vol. 1: 121 2. As-Saadi, 0

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He who has been singled out for, and is exclusively deserving of worship, owing to attributes that must necessarily be present in He who deserves this privilege. Such attributes are also referred to as Attributes of Perfection. Ar-Rahmaan, The All-Merciful, illustrates Allahs vast and all-encompassing mercy, a mercy that covers everything and every living being in this life as well as the Believers in the Hereafter, while Ar-Raheem, The EspeciallyMerciful, expresses Allahs mercy towards the Believers on Judgment Day.1 Ar-Rahmaan is often translated as The Most Gracious, and there is much merit to this interpretation. For one thing, it points to Allahs grace and blessings in the way that He gives life, sends forth rain, brings forth plants and all the different foods the earth produces, creates the human body with all of its miraculous systems and facilities, and bestows us with the senses to perceive the world around us, etc. It also refers to His sending the messengers and the revealed books to bring mankind out of the darknesses of unbelief and into the light of faith, so that they may attain happiness both in this life and in the Hereafter. Still, while the bestowment of these blessings may lend itself more to Allahs grace, the ultimate benefit behind such favors, and the fact that they are all forms of Allahs all-encompassing mercy is perhaps better communicated using The All-Merciful. This is especially true when we consider that Allah bestows these blessings upon those who believe in Him as well as those who disbelieve and disobey Him. Nevertheless, keeping the former aspect of the name, Ar-Rahmaan, in mind is important, as the common definition for the word mercy (i.e. compassion or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy or other person in ones power2) is somewhat deficient in highlighting the bestowment of blessings and favors.

2. All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all the worlds,


The word Rubb, commonly translated as Lord, refers to Allahs creating,
1. Adwaa Al-Bayaan, vol. 1: 7 2. Collins Concise English Dictionary

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developing, sustaining, nurturing and maintaining everything that exists within the heavens and on the Earth. While the term rubb may be used to describe the role a guardian assumes when he nurtures, provides for and raises those under his care, or to describe the power and authority a master has over his slave, when used in reference to Allah, the term takes on these as well as other more comprehensive meanings. Literally, a rubb is someone who takes something (or someone) from one stage to the next or one form to the next along the path of development and growth.1 Aside from these connotations, and aside from Allahs all-encompassing care for His creation, Allah additionally takes His believing servants from one level to the next along the road of spiritual development and growth, gradually increasing them in faith, freeing them from restraints and guiding them to overcome the obstacles they meet along the path to Him. These are some of the exclusive blessings and bestowments that make Allah the only Deity truly worthy of praise and worship. The word hamd, commonly translated as praise, embodies both the extolment and complete gratitude due to Allah as sole Creator and Lord of all the worlds. Aside from extolment, gratitude and glorification, the word also bears connotations of love or adoration for the one being praised.2 Allahs unique and tremendous ability to create, sustain, provide for, cherish and develop His creation is further illustrated by the use of the plural worlds (as opposed to world), which alludes to the variety of different types of worlds in existence. Such worlds include mankind, the world of the jinn, the world of the angels and the worlds of plants and animals etcAllah is the sole Rubb for all of these different worlds, creating, sustaining, providing
1. Ahkaam Al Quran vol. 2: 26 2. Sheikh Uthaymeen, Tafseer Surat-ul-Faatihah, audio tape lecture . Al-Kashaaf, 27-28

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and caring for the thousands upon thousands of different species and creatures He has brought - and continues to bring - into existence.

3. The All-Merciful, The Especially-Merciful,


The meanings of these two names have been explained above, and they are repeated here as additional justification for why all praise is due exclusively to Allah.

4. Master of the Day of Reckoning,


While Allah is the ultimate Owner and Master of everything that exists, He affords temporary and limited ownership to His creatures in this life so that a person is said, for instance, to own a given house or car etc. On Judgment Day, however, when all worldly ownership ceases and there is no longer a difference between kings and paupers or masters and their slaves, Allah will be seen, before all His creation, as the sole Owner and Master of the universe, without the illusion or perception of other owners or masters beside Him. Allah, alone, will judge His servants on this Day, rewarding good with good, and evil with punishment. The Quran mentions several different names for Judgment Day, each providing a different perspective on the events that will occur and the feelings evoked on this grave and burdensome day. Day of Reckoning, for instance, reflects the process of reward and retribution, Day of Regret illustrates the remorse the Unbelievers will have for having disbelieved, as well as the regret the Believers will have for not having done even more good when they see the gracious rewards of their actions. The Approaching Day describes the increasing proximity of Judgment Day, and Day of Resurrection pictures Allahs unique ability to raise people from their graves so that they may be judged for their actions.

5. It is You alone that we worship, and it is You alone that we depend on.
While the English word worship is usually associated with religious rituals and rites such as Prayers, Fasting, Pilgrimage, etc, in Islam, the original word ibaadah is far broader and far more expansive in meaning.

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Ibaadah entails everything Allah loves and approves of, whether in terms of words or actions, and whether these actions are overt and apparent or concealed. Hence, Prayers, charity, Fasting, Pilgrimage, honesty, integrity, kindness to ones parents, maintaining ties of kinship, keeping promises, the enjoinment of good and the prohibition of evil, struggling against and fighting Unbelievers and Hypocrites, kindness to ones neighbors, orphans, the poor, the traveler, and animals; supplications and the invocation and glorification of Allah, the recitation of the Quran and many other actions are all considered ibaadah. Further, the love of Allah and His Prophet, the fear of Allah, as well as repentance and sincerity towards Him, patience throughout any hardship He has ordained, praise for His blessings, the acceptance of what He has decreed, placing ones absolute faith and trust in Him, the hope of His mercy, the fear of His punishment etc, also fall under the term ibaadah.1 With this in mind, it is easy to see how the verse, And I created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (51:56) refers to all aspects of a persons life, and is not limited to the more obvious acts of worship like Prayers or Pilgrimage. As can be seen from the verse just quoted, worship and servitude to Allah is the one and only supreme objective behind mans creation and existence. All of Allahs books and all His messengers served, ultimately, to call towards the worship of Allah, alone, and away from the worship of any other deity. As pointed out in the introduction on monotheism, worship is only considered worship if it meets two essential requirements: that it be directed solely to Allah, and that it be carried out in accordance with the Prophets teachings. If either of these two conditions is absent, the act of worship is void. Indeed, the first and foremost pillar of Islam - to bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah, and that Muhammed is His Messenger - implies both these conditions. Having outlined that our relationship with Allah is that of a servant to his
1. Al-Uboodiyah, pg 6

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master, it is important that we explain that there are two different types of servitude to Allah. The first is a kind that all of mankind and everything in existence falls under, and that no living being has any choice in. Overwhelming and completely overpowering, Allahs mastery over His creatures means that they succumb completely to all that He decrees to happen in His universe, and that they havent the slightest power to prevent what He wills to happen, or to make happen what He has not decreed. The other form of servitude is the result of willingness on the part of an individual to adhere to and to obey Allahs commands and His legislative decrees. Hence, in this form of servitude, a servant has the freedom to disobey Allah and delve into what He has prohibited; in fact, a servant may even decide to disbelieve in Allah outright. Reward and punishment are, therefore, based on ones adherence to this form of servitude. And so while everything in existence succumbs to the first form of servitude, only the obedient among Allahs creation can be said to ascribe to the second category. With this difference in mind, it can be seen that the latter form of servitude is, in fact, worship itself, and that the terms servant and worshipper are, in this context, interchangeable.1 In times of distress and anguish, even Unbelievers are seen to call upon Allah, alone, asking Him to save them from what they fear, or deliver them from danger to safety, but upon having their prayers answered, they are only too quick to sink back into unbelief. Because calling upon Allah is itself a form of worship, an Unbeliever is thus said to occasionally succumb to the higher or voluntary form of servitude, if only for a short period of time. Allah affirms this in more than one verse in the Quran. For instance, Say [O Prophet], Who saves you from the darknesses [and dangers] of the land and sea when you call upon Him quietly and with humility saying, If He saves us from this, we will certainly be among the thankful!? Say, Allah saves you from it and from every hardship, but then you go back to associating partners with Him (6: 6-6)2

1. Majmoo Fataawah, vol. 1:29-0 2. ibid, vol. 1:1

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The word nastaeen, translated here as we depend on, combines between relying on Allah and having trust in Him. Because it is possible to trust someone and not depend on them (due to lack of need), and because it is possible to depend on someone and not trust them (due to necessity and lack of any other option), it is important to understand that both trust and reliance come together in ones dependence upon Allah.1 While to depend on Allah for His support in all that we undertake is, itself, a form of worship, it is mentioned separately and after the acknowledgment of our duty to worship Allah in order to emphasize the priority given to the rights of Allah over those of His servants. Also, because it is not possible to worship Allah without seeking His help or support in doing so, the two are appropriately mentioned together. Clearly, the attainment of Allahs pleasure through worship is a servants ultimate goal, and because this objective cannot be met without depending and calling upon Allah for His support, to ask for such support is the most beneficial of all requests. Likewise, to have this request granted by Allah is the greatest of all blessings. It is for this reason that the Prophet taught Muadh (may Allah be pleased with him) to repeat the following supplication after every prayer: Allah, help me to make dhikr2 of You, and to be grateful to You and to worship You in the best possible manner.

6. Guide us to the Straight Path,


The Straight Path is the clear path that leads to Allah and His Paradise. To be guided to the Straight Path, in a complete sense, is to know what Allah has commanded and what He has prohibited in all instances of ones life, and then to corroborate that knowledge by obeying these commands. While guidance to the Straight Path is fundamentally adherence to Islam and the forsaking of all other religions, guidance within the path is what entails both learning and practicing the different particulars of Islam. In his commentary on this verse, Imam Ibn Taymiyyah explains that a servant
1. Madarij-is-Salikeen, vol. 1: 77 2. See interpretation of verse 2:152 for a more detailed explanation of the word dhikr.

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of Allah is in continual and constant need of being guided to this Path in all his affairs. Neither salvation from Hellfire nor admission to Paradise is possible without this guidance. While it is true that guidance, at a general level, is attained by believing that the Quran is the word of Allah and that Muhammed is His Messenger, and that Islam is the one and only true religion of Allah, such general guidance, alone, will not suffice if we seek to deal successfully with the more specific matters we are faced with in every moment of our lives. In such instances we are all too often confounded and unable to discern right from wrong, or defeated by our fancies and desires so that we follow other than the correct course of conduct, even while knowing the right path.1 This verse is itself, therefore, one of the most all-encompassing and beneficial supplications a Muslim can make - an important reason for why Allah has made it compulsory that it be recited in every rakah of ones Prayers.

7. The Path of those upon whom You have bestowed Your favor, not of those who incur wrath, nor of those who have strayed.
Adherence to the Straight Path is a blessing that Allah bestows upon His prophets, the siddeeqeen2, martyrs and the righteous among His servants. These are the individuals upon whom Allah has bestowed His favor, grace and blessings. Those who have earned Allahs wrath are those who came to know the truth and then deliberately deviated away from it, such as the Jews; while those who have strayed are those who have no knowledge of the truth to begin with, and hence only speak and act without knowledge or guidance, such as the Christians.

1. Majmoo Fataawah vol. 1: 7-8 2. The word Siddeeqeen (plural for siddeeq), describes the first and foremost Believers in the prophets, such as Abu Bakr , the closest of the Prophets companions. In a more general sense, the word is used to describe those who consistently speak only the truth, maintain an exceptional degree of honesty and sincerity and act in accordance to their beliefs at all times (Mukhtassar-As-Sihaah, 12).

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The tendency of Jews to not follow what they know to be true, and to suppress the truth: In several instances in the Quran, Allah states that the Jews knew well that Prophet Muhammed was indeed the prophet they had been waiting for, and that they rejected him only out of spite for the fact that he wasnt from the Children of Israel. In Surat-ul-Baqarah, Allah says, Those whom Weve given the scriptures recognize him (the Prophet) just as they recognize their own sons; but, indeed, a faction among them suppresses the truth, in spite of recognizing it. (2:16). In Surat-ul-Anaam, Allah says, Those whom Weve given the scriptures recognize him (the Prophet) just as they recognize their own sons, but they have lost their own selves, for they do not believe. (6:20) In Suratul-Baqarah, Allah says, Miserable is the price they (the People of the Scriptures) have sold their own selves for in rejecting what Allah has sent down - in resentment that Allah should send down of His favor upon whom He chooses of His servants. And so they incurred wrath upon wrath; and prepared for the Unbelievers is a humiliating torment. (2:90) The Sunnah also bears witness to the stifling of truth by the Jews, and one such report is narrated by Salamah bin Salaamah Bin Waqsh , mentioned in the explanation of verses 2:89-90. Another report, collected by Imam Al-Bukhari, is especially telling and involves Abdullah Ibn Salaam , a distinguished companion of the Prophet and a Jew before accepting Islam: Shortly after his arrival to Madinah, Prophet Muhammed was met by Abdullah Ibn Salaam. After asking the Prophet questions that only a prophet would know the answer to, and after receiving correct answers to these questions, Abdullah announced his belief in the Prophet . He then informed the Prophet that his (Abdullahs) people recognized him as the most eminent and the most learned among them, but because he knew that they would fabricate lies about him upon learning that he had accepted Islam, he requested that the Prophet call them and ask them what they thought of

2

him before telling them that he had become a Muslim. The Prophet agreed to this, and requested the presence of an assembly of Jews from among Abdullahs people. When they came to him, the Prophet told them to fear Allah and to acknowledge that he was a prophet, for they knew full well that he was the Messenger they had been waiting for. The Jews, however, declined and continued to deny his prophethood. The Prophet then asked them what they thought of Abdullah Ibn Salaam - who at that moment stood hidden from them. They replied by praising Abdullah and by acknowledging that He was the most eminent and the most learned of them, and that he came from a family that was equally noble. The Prophet then asked them what they would say if they learned that Abdullah had accepted Islam. They replied, with much disdain, that it was completely unbefitting for someone of Abdullahs stature to accept Islam, and repeatedly rejected that that could even be possible. The Prophet then told Abdullah to emerge. Abdullah stood before his people, chastised them for their stubborn denial, and told them to acknowledge the Prophet , for they knew that he was the prophet they had been anticipating. The assembly of Jews was only too quick to reject Abdullahs exhortation, and immediately accused him of lying after having admitted to his eminency only a few moments earlier.1 This tendency to suppress truth and even falsify scriptures is mentioned even in the Old Testament. In Jeremiah 8:8-9, Prophet Jeremiah is reported to have addressed the Children of Israel saying: 8. How can you say, We are wise, for we have the Law of the Lord, when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely? 9. The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped. Since they have rejected the word of the Lord, what kind of wisdom do they have?.. In his monumental work, Izhar-ul-Haq2, Sheikh Rahmatullah Kairanvi
1. Al-Bukhari, 911 2. An incomplete English translation of Izhar-ul-Haq currently exists, but the section on prophecies from the Bible pertaining to Prophet Muhammed doesnt appear to have been

2

cites eighteen different places in the Bible where the coming of Prophet Muhammed is referred to or prophesized. The Sheikh also explains why Prophet Muhammed fits these prophecies, and refutes claims that they refer to Jesus or any other prophet. A much smaller book entitled, What Did Jesus Really Say?1 by Mishaal ibn Abdullah Al Kadhi also discusses the mention of Prophet Muhammed in the Bible, and the book Al-Ajweba Al-Fakhera Ala Al-Assela Al-Fajerah2 by Imam Shehab-ud-Deen Abu Al Abbass Al Qurafy, lists and discusses up to fifty verses in the Bible that refer to the coming of Prophet Muhammed . As one such example, consider the following passage from Deuteronomy, where Moses addresses the Children of Israel and describes a prophet that is to come: 17. The Lord said to me: What they say is good. 18. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. 19. If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account. 20. But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death. 21. You may say to yourselves, How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord? 22. If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him. (Deuteronomy 18: 17-22) In his book, Izhar ul Haqq, Sheikh Rahmatullah mentions 10 reasons for why this passage refers to Prophet Muhammed and not to any other prophet, including Prophet Jesus . In spite of the fact that the passage clearly states that the promised prophet will be like Moses , many Jews take this
completed yet. 1. This book is available online and in English at http://www.scribd.com/doc/780019/WhatDid-Jesus-Really-Say-by-Misha-al-ibn-Abdullah-Al-Kadhi 2. This book has yet to be translated into English. . I say many because Jews appear to hold at least a few different opinions on who is meant

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prophesy to refer to Prophet Joshua , who was certainly not of Moses stature, nor was he like Moses at all. Indeed, Deuteronomy : 10 states, Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses , whom the Lord knew face to face. Moreover, according to the Bible, Joshua was alive during Prophet Moses lifetime and was appointed by Moses to succeed him; and so Moses had to have been talking about another prophet and one who was of greater rank than Joshua . Even if we were to understand that this prophecy referred to Prophet Jesus , from Christians such a claim would make no sense as in Christianity, Jesus is considered God or the son of God. Moses , on the other hand, clearly mentions that God was to raise a prophet and not Himself or His son. Also, the promised prophet was to be from the brothers of the Children of Israel, and not from the Children of Israel themselves. All twelve Tribes of Israel existed at the time, and so Moses could only have been talking about their brothers: the Children of Ismail, of whom Prophet Muhammed , of course, was the only prophet. Whats important here is that Jews reject both the prophethood of Jesus and that of Prophet Muhammed , leaving this and several other Old Testament prophecies unfulfilled (please refer to the books referenced on such prophecies). The idea behind this section is to highlight that Jews have always been inclined to reject truth and to refuse adherence to what they know to be true. This is not the place to discuss the different prophecies that match Prophet Muhammed in the Bible. For a more detailed study of these prophecies in English, it would be best to refer to Dr. Munqidh Bin Mahmoud As-Saqqars book, The Promised Prophet of the Bible. This publication is primarily a translation of Dr. Ahmed Hejazy Al Saqqas work on Biblical prophecies that refer to Prophet Muhammed .1 As already mentioned, the book, What did Jesus Really Say, by Mishaal ibn Abdullah Al Kadhi also discusses this topic quite well.
by this prophecy. Interestingly, Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki (d. 1105, and better known as Rashi), the foremost commentator on the Torah, has completely neglected to provide any kind of commentary on Deuteronomy 18: 17-19. 1. Available at http://www.islamhouse.com/p/17868 and other websites in PDF format

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The tendency of Christians to act without knowledge: To go about life holding beliefs for which there is no evidence will not be without its consequences at some point or another. If those beliefs happen to be religious or creedal, proof becomes all the more important and the matter becomes all the more dire, as aside from deciding ones wellbeing in this life, such beliefs determine where a person spends eternity. All too often, emotion and the inclination to follow what our fathers followed take the place of rational thought and sometimes even common sense, causing many to be led further and further astray. For this section, while it mightve been sufficient to simply quote references which affirm that there is no Biblical evidence for some of Christianitys central and most important doctrines, it seemed important to quote these references primarily from Christian academics and then to include some of the efforts they have made to explain these doctrines or the attempts made to provide reasonable foundations for them. It is important to bear in mind that the point of this section is not essentially to refute Christianitys doctrines, but to show that these beliefs continue to be adhered to in spite of the lack of evidence for them. The Trinity Under the entry Trinity, The Oxford Companion to the Bible states, Because the Trinity is such an important part of later Christian doctrine, it is striking that the term does not appear in the New Testament. Likewise, the developed concept of three coequal partners in the Godhead found in later creedal formulations cannot be clearly detected within the confines of the canon.1 After mentioning a few references from the Bible that are often used to validate the Trinity (we will elaborate on these shortly), the author says, these passages provide assurance for the presence and power of God both in the ministry of Jesus and in the ongoing life of the community. Beyond this immediate context, however, such references raise the question of how
1. The Oxford Companion to the Bible (online reference)

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Father, Son and Spirit can be distinct and yet the same.1 In rebuttal to far-fetched attempts to draw proof for the Trinity from whence they do not exist, the author advises, it is important to avoid reading the Trinity into places where it does not appear.2 If the very references that are used as proof for the Trinity actually raise the question of how Father, Son and Spirit can be distinct and yet the same, how much more unreasonable is it that such a doctrine lie at the heart of Christianity? The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church starts its section on the Trinity by calling it the central dogma of Christian theology. After again mentioning that the word Trinity is not found in Scripture, it goes on to say that Christian theologians have seen adumbrations of the doctrine in the Biblical narratives; in the OT, for example, the appearance of the three men to Abraham (Gen. 18) was held by the Fathers to foreshadow the revelation of the threefold nature of God. In the NT the most influential text was the reference to the three Persons in the baptismal formula at the end of Mt. (28: 19), but there are other passages held to have Trinitarian overtones, such as the Pauline benediction of 2 Cor. 1-1. While it is not necessary that the word Trinity appear in the Bible, it is certainly necessary that at least the teaching of a doctrine considered the central dogma of Christian theology be clearly present. Passages that offer adumbrations and overtones can hardly be regarded as satisfactory for anyone seeking proof for Christianitys core doctrine. The Encyclopedia Britannica of World Religions states, Neither the word Trinity nor the explicit doctrine appears in the NEW TESTAMENT, nor did JESUS and his followers intend to contradict the SHEMA in the OLD TESTAMENT: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord (Deuteronomy 6:). The earliest Christians, however, had to cope with the implications
1. ibid 2. ibid . The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 161

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of the coming of Jesus Christ and of the presumed presence and power of God among them i.e., the Holy Spirit, whose coming was connected with the celebration of the PENTECOST. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were associated in such New Testament passages as Matthew 28:19 and 2 Corinthians 1:1, and thus it established the basis for the doctrine of the Trinity. The doctrine developed gradually over several centuries and through many controversies.1 Again, no evidence for the existence of a trinity; only a hint at why the development of such a doctrine was deemed important. In fact, this excerpt blatantly says that the doctrine developed gradually over several centuries and through many controversies. How could the central dogma of Christian theology develop over several centuries after Jesus had died, and what of those who lived and died before that dogma was developed? Further, regarding the two passages mentioned and that are supposed to establish the basis for the doctrine of the Trinity, the Oxford Companion to the Bible has the following to say: The earliest New Testament evidence for a tripartite formula comes in 2 Corinthians 1.1, where Paul wishes that the grace of the Lord Jesus, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with the people of Corinth. It is possible that this three-part formula derives from later liturgical usage and was added to the text of 2 Corinthians as it was copied. In support of the authenticity of the passage, however, it must be said that the phrasing is much closer to Pauls understandings of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit than to a more fully developed concept of the Trinity. Jesus, referred to not as Son but as Lord and Christ, is mentioned first and is connected with the central Pauline theme of grace. God is referred to as a source of love, not as father, and the Spirit promotes sharing within the community. The word holy does not appear before spirit in the earliest manuscript evidence for this passage.2 As for Matthew 28:19, the author states, A more familiar formulation is found in Matthew 28:19, where Jesus commands the disciples to go out and baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
1. Encyclopedia Britannica of World religions, 1159. 2. The Oxford Companion to the Bible (online reference)

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The phrasing probably reflects baptismal practice in churches at Matthews time or later if the line is interpolated. Elsewhere Matthew records a special connection between God the Father and Jesus the Son (e.g., 11:27), but he falls short of claiming that Jesus is equal with God.1 The conclusion to this excerpt has already been mentioned at the top of this section (such references raise the question of how Father, Son and Spirit can be distinct and yet the same.), and its clear to see that all such references cannot possibly be taken as even indications of a Trinity, let alone solid evidence upon which this central doctrine might be established. Even if we assumed that these passages are consistent with the doctrine of the Trinity, passages that are completely inconsistent with it are more obvious and far more numerous, as will be shown. Under Trinity the Dictionary of Bible and Religion says, Meaning literally threeness, this term is used especially of the Christian doctrine that God is three persons in one substance, or substance in three persons three in one and one in three. Strictly speaking the word, triunity is preferable to the word, trinity, since triunity emphasizes the unity as much as it does the trinity. But even to say this is to show where the difficulty of the doctrine lies. How does one reconcile the paradox of unity and trinity? Why was it first considered necessary to get into the paradox? Theologians have oscillated between an emphasis on the unity of God, which leads into unitarianism and the virtual abandonment of the Trinity, or else they have so emphasized the distinctness of the three persons that they have moved toward tritheism, a belief in three Gods.2 In 1 Corinthians 1: it says, For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. Where is the peace in the above excerpt? How did so much confusion find its way into Christianitys central doctrine? Again under the entry, Trinity, the New Bible Dictionary explains, The term Trinity is not itself found in the Bible. It was first used by Tertullian at the close of the second century, but received wide currency and formal elucidation only in the th and 5th centuries. Three affirmations are central to the historic doctrine of the Trinity: 1. There is but one God; 2. The Father,
1. Oxford Companion to the Bible

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the Son and the Spirit is each fully and eternally God; . the Father, the Son, and the Spirit is each a distinct person. Nowhere does the Bible explicitly teach this combination of assertions. It may nevertheless be claimed that the doctrine of the Trinity is a profoundly appropriate interpretation of the Biblical witness to God in the light of the ministry, death and resurrection - exaltation of Jesus - the Christ event.1 As an interpretation, is a Christian allowed to reject the Trinity for another more appropriate interpretation? If the Bible does not explicitly teach this combination of assertions, why have they become central to the historic doctrine of the Trinity a doctrine that itself was established only upon adumbrations and overtones? If salvation really does lie in belief in the Trinity, then how could Jesus fail to clarify this belief, let alone even mention it? The Divinity of Jesus: The New Catholic Encyclopedia opens its section on the divinity of Jesus by stating: Christs divinity is in a true sense the basis of the Christian faith: with it stands or falls the religion named after Him2. Four paragraphs later it continues, Reason and history are unable to prove the mystery [of Jesus divinity] as a fact. The eyewitness of Christs life saw the man in Jesus but did not see God; they saw only signs, the miracles, and on the strength of them believed in the divine power He claimed. Historical evidence about Christs life, death, and Resurrection can make his divinity reasonably acceptable or credible; it cannot prove it with logical stringency. To accept the divinity of Christ requires a free assent of faith assisted by the light of grace and justified before reason by guarantees of its truthfulness. Only so can one enter into the mystery of Christs divinity. It goes on to state, In the New Testament, the revelation of Christs divinity was gradual, discreet, and mainly indirect. One never meets a blunt statement: Christ is God. It had to be so if that faith was to find entrance with the Jews.
1. The New Bible Dictionary (rd edition), 1209 2. New Catholic Encyclopedia, 82-825 . ibid

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Christs own testimony about Himself, it continues, was explicit as to His being the Messiah and in continuity with the Old Testament expectation, though He repudiated a temporal messianic kingdom for a higher spiritual one. With regard to His divinity, His testimony was more implicit than explicit, more indirect that forthright. His works and miracles more than His words were to prove to men that He had divine power, even in another way than others had who worked miracles before.1 Again, why would our Creator endow us with the faculty of reason, the faculty of discerning between right and wrong, then command us to accept something that [r]eason and history are unable to prove and then punish us with eternal Hell for not accepting it? How could a belief so crucial to the salvation of mankind require a free assent of faith and only be expressed implicitly? How can an implicit statement count as proof against someone on Judgment Day? Also, if implicit statements were necessary so that that faith was to find entrance with the Jews then what need was there for explicit statements that lead listeners to conclusions directly opposed to the objectives of the implicit statements? For instance, Jesus responds to one who addresses him as O good master and says, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is God. (Matthew 19:17). In John 1:28, Jesus is quoted as saying, The Father is greater than I. Jesus is reported to have said, I judge only as I hear, and my Judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me. (John 5:0) Such explicit statements could only serve to convince listeners that Jesus was not God, no matter how many implicit statements are taken to suggest the opposite. As for the miracles, neither Jews nor Christians take the miracles of Moses to be evidence for his divinity, no matter how great they were and they were indeed magnificent. Furthermore, if Jesus miracles were an indication of his divinity, what sense is there in Jesus saying, By myself I can do nothing? (John 5:0) The New Catholic Encyclopedia mentions that Christology is a study motivated by a solidly practical interest [,] for the worship of Christ is the life of the Church. It then immediately goes on to say, Consequently, the Church has ever been under the necessity of explaining, both to its own faithful
1. ibid

2

and to those without, how the worship of Jesus, a man, can be combined with monotheism.1 The authors hence affirm that Christology is a field of study developed in order to validate or endorse the worship of Jesus. This is to put the carriage before the horse in no uncertain manner. To then state that the Church has ever since attempted to explain how monotheism might be reconciled with the worship of a man further reinforces the fact that Reason and history are unable to prove the mystery as a fact and cements the conclusion that to accept the divinity of Christ requires a free assent of faith. The Sonship of Jesus Under the entry, Son of God, The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology states the following, The title, Son of God is not used by Jesus himself to the same extent as Son of Man (though cf., e.g. Mark 12:6)2 The authors then go on to cite instances where this title (Son of God) was given to Jesus. The problem with this statement is that it gives the impression that Jesus actually called himself Son of God but to a lesser extent than Son of Man. This is untrue, and the reference the author provides in parenthesis (Mark 12:6) does not mention the title, Son of God at all. Rather, this entire passage is a parable (as is explicitly stated in Mark 12:1 and 12:12) where Jesus refers to, a man who planted a vineyard and then rented it to farmers. Whenever this man sent a servant to collect some of the fruit of the vineyard from the farmers, they would kill him. Eventually the man sent, a son, whom he loved, and they killed him as well.  The fact is that Jesus does not call himself Son of God anywhere in the Bible. Conversely, he gives himself the title, Son of Man countless times in different instances. No one calls himself Son of Man more than Jesus did. Moreover, God refers to many of his prophets as sons in the Old Testament; both Jews and Christians understood this usage to be metaphoric and that it meant pious man or faithful servant of God and therefore had
1. New Catholic Encyclopedia, 559 2. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology . The parable is documented in Mark 12:1-12



no reservations against it. In fact, the Bible mentions that God calls Prophet Jacob his first born son (Exodus 4:22-23). God also promises to make Prophet David his son in Psalms 89:27, etc.1 In his book, The True Message of Jesus Christ, Dr. Bilal Philips explains that, In the New Testament, there are many references to sons of God other than Jesus. For example, when the author of the Gospel according to Luke listed Jesus ancestors back to Adam, he wrote: The son of Enos, son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God. [Luke :8].2 God is recorded to have called Prophet David a begotten son in Psalms 2:7; and, interestingly, Jesus himself rejects the title Son of God : Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, You are the Son of God! But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Christ. (Luke :1) If we consider that over two thousand years onwards, Christian literature continues to be packed with attempts to resolve such deep contradictions, its difficult not to wonder why so many would continue to hold to these unfounded beliefs to begin with. Again, the point is not merely to draw attention to these contradictions, but to show that belief in falsehood and the adoption of core doctrines and central dogmas for which there isnt any evidence is a tendency characteristic of Christians throughout the ages. The Dictionary of Bible and Religion opens its section on Christology by stating that Any approach to Christology (the teaching of Christs person as both a figure of history and the object of Christian worship) must face the issue of methodology. Specifically, this means that a choice has to be made whether the interpreter will begin with creedal formulations that announce JESUS Christ as true God and true Man and then work backward to the way this teaching arose as a beginning premise (Christology from above). The other approach is to begin with the empirical data of the historical and theological records (in the NT) and trace the way the churchs understanding

1. The True Message of Jesus Christ, 52 2. Ibid . Ibid, 5



developed until the creeds were formulated (Christology from below).1 For one thing, it is worth noticing that both methods trace the way in which the churchs understanding developed or arose and that these creeds were formulated over a period of several centuries (as is acknowledged in practically all books on Christian theology). In other words, the creeds that are at the heart of Christianity find no direct or incontrovertible proofs even in the scriptures that they are said to be derived from. The doctrines are themselves, as has already been cited, interpretations that attempt to reconcile between very contradictory passages and verses. What then of the fate of those who lived and died before these doctrines were finally established, assuming the church finally arrived at the truth? Why is there no conclusive evidence for beliefs that must be adopted by anyone seeking salvation from eternal Hell? Whats more, in both the above methods, the conclusion (partly that Christ is the object of Christian worship) is a given that cannot be substituted for any other outcome, regardless of what the empirical data of the historical and theological records (in the NT) suggests. In other words, it is not permissible that the data lead to any conclusion other than that Christ is the object of Christian worship. In this sense, Christology may as well be defined as the study of how the worship of Jesus might be justified, regardless of whether or not it is correct to worship him to begin with. Allah only ever sent prophets so that they might make clear the difference between right and wrong, or that between truth and falsehood. Without a doubt, Prophet Jesus made the pathway to Allah as clear as possible, for he was only sent so that those who had strayed among the Children of Israel might be led back to guidance. To even indulge in the kind of havocridden interpretations mentioned above, especially with regards to basic tenets of faith, is to accuse Jesus himself of confusing Allahs message and of tainting its purity. All praise is due to Allah for making the true path of guidance clear, time and time again with every prophet He sent, and for making it clear once and for all with the advent of Prophet Muhammed . Will they not then contemplate the Quran? And had it been from anyone other than Allah, theyd have found within it great
1. The Dictionary of Bible and Religion, 195-196

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contradiction. (: 82) Hence, and to conclude the meanings of this verse, while the unbelief of Jews stems from the fact that they do not practice or acknowledge what they know to be true, Christians act and speak without knowledge, and delve into the practice of falsities that lie far from the truth of matters. It is interesting to note that no matter how wide and how varied different forms of wrongdoing may be, they will not fall beyond the scope of the two categories mentioned, i.e.: - Failure to adhere to the truth in spite of knowledge of it - Failure to adhere to the truth due to ignorantly straying from it. A servant of Allah must, therefore, ask Allah to guide him to learning the truth and acting in accordance with it. Likewise, one must ask Allah to preserve him against speaking and acting out of ignorance, and against failing to adhere to the truth after coming to know and understand it. Recap on the meanings of Surat-ul-Faatihah: In the Name of Allah, the One and only Deity worthy of worship, the One whose grace and mercy encompass every living thing in this life, and whose absolute mercy is reserved for the Believers in the Hereafter. All praise and gratitude is due to Allah, the All-Merciful, the EspeciallyMerciful. The sole Master and Owner of the Day when everyone will be called to account for their deeds. It is You, alone, that we direct all forms of worship to, and it is You, alone, that we depend on in all we seek to accomplish. Guide us to the path of discerning right from wrong, and to practicing what is right in all we undertake.The path of those upon whom You have bestowed Your graciousness and blessings, not of those who have incurred wrath by deliberately forsaking the truth after recognizing it, nor of those who strayed from the truth and thus act and speak out of ignorance.

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Surat-ul-Baqarah

^\

1. Alif Laam Meem

2. This is The Book. Concerning it there is no doubt. It is guidance for those who fear Allah, 3. [they are] those who believe in the unseen, establish Prayers and spend - in Our cause - of what We have provided them 4. [and they are] those who believe in what was sent down to you [O Prophet], and sent down before you, and are certain of the Hereafter. 5. It is they who are upon guidance from their Lord, and it is they, they who are the prosperous.

7

1. Alif Laam Meem


Perhaps the soundest opinion regarding the letters that begin some of the Qurans chapters is that it is best not to delve into their meaning in the absence of clear and solid evidence pertaining to what they mean. It should suffice to say that Allah, The All-Wise, neither says nor does anything in vain, and that their meaning or purpose is something that He, alone, knows and has left unexplained for a reason known only to Him.

2. This is The Book. Concerning it there is no doubt. It is guidance for those who fear Allah,
Just as in English one might declare, This is the solution! meaning the best or most complete solution, or the only solution, Allah starts this chapter by referring to the Quran as The Book, meaning The Perfect Book, compared to which any other book is deemed deficient, or The Glorious Book that rises above any other scripture, etc. The negation of any form of doubt with regards to the Quran is to state, with certainty, that it is from Allah and no one else. Additionally, the Quran removes doubt and suspicion from the hearts of those who fear Allah by guiding them out of the darkness of uncertainty and into the light of faith and conviction. The Quran also guides to that which is beneficial in terms of well-being in this life and prosperity in the Hereafter. It offers guidance, both in relation to Islams fundamentals, as well as the religions secondary matters, providing a means of discerning right from wrong, and of differentiating between what is beneficial and what is detrimental. In this, and other verses, Allah describes the Quran as guidance for the pious, while elsewhere in the Quran He describes it as being guidance for mankind in general. This is because the Quran is, in itself, guidance for all mankind, but those who do not fear Allah or do not believe in Him will not benefit from this quality. The terms Muttaqeen or Muttaqoon (grammatical variations dictated

8

by the usage of the word in the sentence), commonly interpreted as pious or Allah-fearing, describes those who seek to do all they can to save themselves from Allahs punishment, whether by staying away from what He has prohibited or doing what He has commanded. Both these words come from the root, taqwa which is a critically important and recurring term. Believers who maintain these qualities are those who stand to benefit from the Quran and the guidance it holds. In the following verse, Allah goes on to describe the Muttaqoon by referring to them as those whose belief in the unseen conforms with what Allah has ordered them to believe, and those who practice righteous deeds both inwardly (i.e. actions of the heart) and outwardly:

3. [they are] those who believe in the unseen, establish Prayers and spend - in Our cause - of what We have provided them
Belief consists of both absolute faith in everything related to us by Allahs prophets as well as the actions1 or deeds a Muslim does that are a result of that belief. Belief in what can be seen cannot be the discerning criterion between Unbelievers and Believers as both factions believe in what can be seen or what is tangible. Rather, real belief pertains to that which cannot be seen, but is known to exist owing to knowledge conveyed to us by Allah and His Prophet . This is the form of belief that, ultimately, differentiates a Believer from an Unbeliever. The word al-ghaib is often translated as the unseen, but can hardly be left at that. Rather, al-ghaib is a collective term used to refer to crucial and essential issues of creed as well as secondary issues. And so it refers to such matters as Allah, His existence and His attributes, Judgment Day and all its events, Paradise and Hell with all that they contain, the angels and that which characterizes their actions and appearance, the jinn2 and their nature, and
1. This is a particularly important point as the English term belief usually does not include actions and is, therefore, restricted to faith alone or issues of creed, irrespective of actions. 2. These are creatures that are unseen to human beings. Like human beings they have limited free-will, and so among them are Believers and Unbelievers. The worst of all jinn is Satan.

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other matters related to us by Allah in the Quran and through His prophets and messengers. In English, the word prayer is usually used to describe invocation or supplication; in Islam, however, Prayer1 or Salaah refers to an act of worship that is the most important pillar of Islam after bearing witness that there is no deity worthy of worship other than Allah, and that Muhammad is His Messenger. To establish Prayers is to do more than offer or perform Prayers in a merely apparent manner. Rather, the establishment of Prayers is to pray with ones heart and to ponder the meanings of the words being recited, as well as to observe scrupulously what is required outwardly in terms of conditions necessary for the acceptance of Prayers (such as purity, etc), and to practice all pillars and mandatories to the best of ones ability. Prayers established in this fashion are what protect a person from the practice of what is obscene and evil, and these are the Prayers that a Muslim is rewarded for. The Prayers referred to in this verse include those that are both mandatory and supererogatory. In continuing with the description of the Muttaqeen, Allah states that it is they who spend - in His cause - of what He has provided them with. This includes obligatory charity such as Zakat2, spending on ones wives, children and relatives etc, as well as supererogatory charity. The specific beneficiaries are not mentioned in this verse; and this indicates the number of channels available and the variety of people or establishments (mosques, hospitals, schools, etc) deserving of such charity. This generalization also suggests that any kind of charity, regardless of the different possible recipients, is deemed as a good deed or pious act that brings a Muslim closer to Allah. Allah draws attention to the fact that He is the real provider of any wealth a person possesses by stating that the Believers only spend of what We
Unlike human beings, the jinn are made of fire and not clay. 1. Whenever referring to the specific act of worship described in this paragraph and that is the second pillar of Islam, the word Prayer will be capitalized. 2. Zakat-ul-Maal is charity that wealthy Muslims are to pay once a year as a percentage on specific items and that is, in turn, given to specific recipients or beneficiaries

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(Allah) have provided them with, and that the wealth acquired by any individual is not a result of that individuals strength, ability or intelligence. Hence, just as Allah has favored those who are able to give charity with the very wealth that they contribute, they should, in turn, thank Him for this privilege by spending some of this wealth on the poor and the needy, etc. Allah mentions Prayers alongside Zakat in many instances in the Quran; the reason being that while prayer embodies sincerity to Allah, Zakat represents benevolence towards and the kind treatment of Allahs creation. It is these two essential principles - sincerity to Allah and the undertaking of that which benefits His creation - that form the foundation of happiness and success in both this life and the Hereafter, just as their opposites lead only to misery and deprivation.

4. [and they are] those who believe in what was sent down to you [O Prophet], and sent down before you, and are certain of the Hereafter.
In reference to the Believers acceptance of the Quran and Sunnah with all that they contain, Allah continues, and they are those who believe in what was sent down to you. Those who fear Allah, therefore, believe in everything that was revealed to the Prophet and do not divide Allahs revelation into that which they accept and that which they reject. The Muttaqoon also believe in that which was revealed before the Prophet , such as the Gospel, the Torah and the Psalms of David. Belief in these revealed scriptures necessarily means belief in the prophets who were sent with them. Indeed, belief in all of Allahs books and prophets and the refusal to show discrimination towards any of them - such as by acknowledging some and denying others - is a trait specific only to Muslims. Belief in the Hereafter is one of the pillars of faith, and certainty of the Hereafter is one of the single most effective incentives for doing what is good and abstaining from evil, a fundamental characteristic of the Muttaqoon.

5. It is they who are upon guidance from their Lord, and it is they, they who are the prosperous.

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These are the qualities of those who are upon guidance from Allah, their Lord, not only in terms of sound belief but also with regards to all that they say and do. The word al-Muflihoon has been translated here as the prosperous, but more accurately describes those who accomplish what they seek to achieve, and escape what they fear falling into. The repetition and it is they emphasizes that theirs is the only road to success and prosperity, and that any other road must necessarily lead to loss, failure and ruin.

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6. As for those who disbelieve, indeed, it makes no difference to them whether you warn them or warn them not - they refuse to believe. 7. Allah has placed a seal upon their hearts and their ears. And upon their eyes is a veil; and for them awaits a horrendous punishment. 8. And of mankind are those who claim to believe in Allah and the Last Day, when in fact they do not believe.

9. They attempt to deceive Allah and the Believers; and yet they deceive only themselves without perceiving it. 10. Within their hearts lies a disease, and Allah has worsened this disease. And a painful punishment awaits them for their persistent lying. 11. And when it is said to them, Do not cause corruption on Earth, they say, We are but reformers.



12. Rather, it is they who are the corruptors, but they do not perceive it. 13. And when it is said to them, Believe as others have believed, they respond, Are we to believe as the fools have believed? Indeed, it is they who are the fools, but they know it not. 14. And when they come across the Believers, they say, We have believed. But when they are alone with their evil superiors, they say, We are with you, we were only mocking [them]. 15. Rather, it is Allah who mocks them and leaves them to wander blindly in their transgression. 16. It is they who have traded guidance for misguidance, and so their exchange brought them no profit, nor were they guided.




6. As for those who disbelieve, indeed, it makes no difference to them whether you warn them or warn them not - they refuse to believe.
The term kufr1 is commonly translated as unbelief, and essentially means to deny or reject what was revealed to the Prophet , or any part of it. Those guilty of this crime are labeled Unbelievers by Allah, as unbelief has become a trait inherent to them, and hence their beliefs, words and deeds all stem from this most terrible of attributes. This verse does not direct the Prophet to abandon calling Unbelievers to Islam, as this was something he was obligated to do. Rather, the point was to make known to the Prophet - as well as anyone else who calls to Allah - that there will necessarily be those who disbelieve no matter how much they are admonished, and no matter how much proof they are presented with. The establishment of this truth was important so that the Prophet would not feel any blame or harbor any sadness for the Unbelievers rejection of what he was sent with2.

7. Allah has placed a seal upon their hearts and their ears. And upon their eyes is a veil; and for them awaits a horrendous punishment.
This next verse continues to explain why warning does not help those who reject faith, and shows that it is Allah who has placed a seal upon their hearts and ears so that they are unreceptive to calls to faith and do not hear or listen to that which benefits them. Moreover, upon their eyes lies a veil preventing them from seeing or perceiving that which brings benefit or does them good. Allah cuts off these channels of enlightenment to those who reject and refuse to follow the truth that has become known to them. And just as isolation from the truth is part of the punishment for their rejection of faith in this life, there awaits them, in the Hereafter, a punishment far greater.
1. For a more detailed explanation of kufr and its different forms, see the footnote under verse 2: 2. Ibn Katheer/ Mubarakfoori, .

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8. And of mankind are those who claim to believe in Allah and the Last Day, when in fact they do not believe. 9. They attempt to deceive Allah and the Believers; and yet they deceive only themselves without perceiving it.
After having outlined, thus far in this chapter, some of the most important qualities of the Believers as well as some of the traits of those who disbelieve, Allah goes on to mention a third group of people: Hypocrites. This group only appeared after the Prophet and the Believers had moved to Madinah and had been bestowed by Allah with strength after having been persecuted and impoverished during the Makkan period. Hypocrisy is, in a general sense, to outwardly express or display what is good while secretly concealing that which is evil. There are two main kinds of hypocrisy: greater or creedal hypocrisy - which is to outwardly ascribe oneself to Islam and inwardly disbelieve - and lesser or practical hypocrisy which, unlike greater hypocrisy, does not take a person beyond the fold of Islam. Hypocrites of the lesser kind are described by the Prophet as those who lie when they speak, break promises when they make them, and betray when entrusted. It is, however, Hypocrites of the greater kind that are described by Allah in this and other chapters so that Believers may be able to identify them and take heed, and so that the Hypocrites themselves might refrain from practicing such evil in the face of being exposed by Allah. Far from deceiving Allah or the Believers, the Hypocrites deceive only themselves, as their actions merely serve to bring them humiliation in this life as well as agonizing and endless torment in the Hereafter.

10. Within their hearts lies a disease, and Allah has worsened this disease. And a painful punishment awaits them for their persistent lying.
The disease referred to here is that of harboring doubt and suspicion towards Allahs revelation, as well as the disease of hypocrisy itself. When the Hypocrites met Allahs clear and incontrovertible signs with such undue suspicion and hypocrisy, their recompense was that Allah worsened their

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disease and only led them further into their evil. This verse shows that among the punishments for wrongdoing is to be led to even further wrongdoing, just as among the rewards for doing what is good is to be guided to even more righteous deeds. Along with the punishment they incur upon themselves in this life, there awaits the Hypocrites an even greater torment in the Hereafter for their relentless lying and rejection of faith.

11. And when it is said to them, Do not cause corruption on Earth, they say, We are but reformers. 12. Rather, it is they who are the corruptors, but they do not perceive it.
When told to abstain from the rejection of faith, the perpetration of sins, the spread of corruption and the treacherous divulgence of what they came to know of the Believers confidentialities to the Unbelievers with the intention of doing harm, the Hypocrites rejected these commands by claiming that it is, in fact, they who were the righteous. The Hypocrites of Madinah also claimed that any connection or collaboration between them and the Unbelievers was for the sake of rectifying the relationship between the Believers and the Unbelievers, but this was only another lie. In response to these contentions, Allah reaffirms that it is they who are the sinners and corrupters, but that they do not perceive their actions to be what they really are. The Hypocrites were therefore guilty of two serious evils: grievous wrongdoing that took the form of rejecting faith and committing sin, and the denial that these actions count as wrongdoing to begin with. This is worse than to do wrong while admitting that it is wrong, as repentance is a more likely course of action for someone who has confessed to sin than it is for someone who does not feel that they have done anything to repent for to begin with. History has never seen any shortage of personalities who claim to be righteous, moral and upright but whose actions only serve to cause corruption, wreak havoc and bring about widespread devastation at every level imaginable. This form of insidious behavior is due to the fact that such individuals do not judge matters using level scales.

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Indeed, the only true and balanced scales with which one might judge the reality of things are those established upon the revelation sent down by Allah; and hypocrites have always stood vehemently opposed to Allahs revelation. Any form of inclination towards anything other than revelation or towards ones whims and conjectures can only distort ones ability to judge or to see things for what they really are. All of ones values, principles and morals consequently become distorted as a result of this fundamental defect. Also, by failing to acknowledge, with sincerity, that Allahs decrees are the only legitimate or just means against which all that one believes or holds to be true can be measured, there is little chance that a person might even recognize his own wrongdoing. Without the solid basis for judgment laid down by Allah, an individuals understanding of the difference between good and bad, righteousness and evil, and right and wrong continues to change - seemingly endlessly as transitory whims and fancies take the place of solid evidence and sound reason.1

13. And when it is said to them, Believe as others have believed, they respond, Are we to believe as the fools have believed? Indeed, it is they who are the fools, but they know it not.
Whenever told to accept faith as the companions of the Prophet had done, the Hypocrites of Madinah refused and only accused the companions of foolishness in their acceptance of what the Prophet came with. Allah again refutes them, and states that it is they who are foolish for rejecting faith and for rejecting what was of benefit to them. Indeed, the Hypocrites only chose to trade what was beneficial for what was detrimental and harmful without realizing the grievous reality of their actions.

14. And when they come across the Believers, they say, We have believed. But when they are alone with their evil superiors, they say, We are with you, we were only mocking [them].
This is an obvious example of how the Hypocrites outwardly expressed to
1. Qutb, 

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the Believers that which was contrary to what they concealed. The mocking referred to here is their belief that they were fooling the Believers into thinking that they were their allies, when in fact they were not. But Allah quickly refutes this misperception in the coming verse. The difference in the way the Hypocrites respond (in verse thirteen they respond to being called to faith by saying, Are we to believe as the fools have believed?, while in this verse they declare, We have believed upon meeting the Believers), shows how they change their words depending on whom they are addressing.1

15. Rather, it is Allah who mocks them and leaves them to wander blindly in their transgression.
Allah mocks and ridicules the Hypocrites in both this life and in the Hereafter. In this life, Allah mocks them by allowing them to feel safe in thinking that they are deceiving the Believers and to think that what they conceal is unknown to anyone else. On Judgment Day there will be a moment when the Hypocrites stand among the Believers, just as they dwelt among them in this life, so that they are encompassed with the light that Allah bestows upon the Believers for their faith. But when the Believers depart the Hypocrites, their light will depart with them, leaving the Hypocrites to stand humiliated in their darkness and exposed before the Believers they once dwelt among. This a particularly painful moment for the Hypocrites, as to be stripped of something that one fervently desired after experiencing it is more tormenting than to never have experienced it to begin with, and hence evokes an even greater feeling of loss and regret. And so to be deprived of the light of the Believers after having stood in its comfort and safety will be all the more anguishing.

16. It is they who have traded guidance for misguidance, and so their exchange brought them no profit, nor were they guided.
Allah likens the actions of the Hypocrites to a trade transaction where
1. Al-Qassimy, vol. 1: 50

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a merchant buys something he desires for something he is willing to give up. In this metaphor, misguidance is the merchandise sought, while guidance is the price the Hypocrites are willing to spend in order to attain it. If trading a pound for a penny is considered an obvious loss, how much worse is the loss of he who trades guidance for misguidance, happiness for misery, and the best state of affairs for the worst possible state of affairs? Such is the enormity of the loss a hypocrite incurs. The phrase, nor were they guided, is not only a reaffirmation of their misguidance, but also an indication that their capital, which in this parable refers to the guidance they knew and recognized, was completely depleted in this transaction. And so they were left with nothing of the guidance they had bartered away, and were thus left only in despair.1

1. Zamakhshaari, 50

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17. Their likeness is as he who sought [assistance] to light a fire. And so when it shed light around him, Allah took away this light and left them [the Hypocrites] in darknesses, whereupon they could not see. 18. Rendered deaf, dumb and blind, they are unable to return. 19. Or [their likeness is] as those caught in a rainstorm beneath a cloud filled with darknesses, thunder and lightning. They thrust their fingers into their ears against the thunderclap, in fear of death. And Allah completely encompasses the Unbelievers. 20. The lightning almost blinds them. Whenever it sheds light for them, they walk in it; and when it darkens again, they come to a halt. And if Allah had so willed, He would have deprived them of their hearing and of their sight. Indeed, Allah is capable of all things.


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17. Their likeness is as he who sought [assistance] to light a fire. And so when it shed light around him, Allah took away this light and left them [the Hypocrites] in darknesses, whereupon they could not see.
In this verse, Allah compares the state of the Hypocrites when they pretended to accept Islam to that of a man who did not have the tools to light a fire and hence sought the help of others in kindling one. And so when the fire illuminated about him so that he could now see and was able to discern between that which was of benefit and that which was detrimental and so that he took comfort and reassurance from the fire, Allah took away the light and left him in utter darkness. Notice that Allah says he took away the light and not the fire, indicating that only the benefit of the fire was taken away, while the harm of its scorching flames remained in addition to the terrifying darkness. The term, darknesses in this parable refers either to the intensity of the darkness experienced or to its different forms, such as the darkness brought on by nightfall, or that caused by clouds or rain etc. The Hypocrites, therefore, are those who only pretended to accept Islam and lived among the Muslims claiming to be Believers for the sake of preserving their lives, property and belongings. In this sense, they benefitted from the society around them, but only for a period of time. When death came to them, however, it took away the light they shared with - or acquired from - the Believers, and left them in the darkness of their graves, the darkness of their unbelief, the darkness of their hypocrisy, the darkness of their sins, and ultimately, the darkness of Hellfire.

18. Rendered deaf, dumb and blind, they are unable to return
Allah describes the traits that led the Hypocrites to this demise and describes them as being deaf to what is of benefit to them, and dumb and blind in that they are unable to speak or see the truth. After having abandoned the truth so comprehensively, they were now incapable of returning to it.

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19. Or [their likeness is] as those caught in a rainstorm from a cloud filled with darknesses, thunder and lightning. They thrust their fingers into their ears against the thunderclap, in fear of death. And Allah completely encompasses the Unbelievers. 20. The lightning almost blinds them. Whenever it sheds light for them they walk in that light, but when it darkens again they come to a halt. And if Allah had so willed, He would have deprived them of their hearing and of their sight. Indeed, Allah has power over all things.
In this parable, Allah compares the Hypocrites to those caught beneath a raincloud which, in this case, is a metaphor for the Quran. Whenever they hear its warnings, commandments or prohibitions, they place their fingers in their ears so as not to hear and, hence, not be influenced by the power of Allahs words. These words distress the Hypocrites and strike fear into their hearts in much the same way a thunderclap strikes fear into the hearts of those caught in the rainstorm described. Every now and again, the sheer clarity and radiance of Allahs verses and signs lights the sky above them so vividly that they are almost blinded by this brightness. And if only for a short while, they walk within this clarity and guidance, and hence benefit from what they see and hear. But they are only too quick to fall back into their misguidance, darkness and confusion. Allah warns the Hypocrites that if He so willed, and if they do not desist from their rejection of faith, He could take away their sight and their hearing so that they would no longer see nor hear anything that might bring them benefit. Allah further reminds the Hypocrites that He has power over all things, and that nothing in the heavens or on the Earth can prevent Him from doing what He wills to do.

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21. O Mankind, worship only your Lord Who created you and those who came before you, so that you may be of the Muttaqoon. 22. It is He who has made the earth a residing place for you and the sky a canopy, and brought down from the clouds water and caused the earth to sprout its fruits as sustenance for you. So do not take other gods as rivals to Allah when you know [of the favors He has bestowed upon you]. 23. And if you are in doubt as to what We have sent down to our Servant [the Prophet], then produce a single chapter like any of its [the Qurans] chapters, and call upon your witnesses besides Allah, if you are indeed truthful [in what you claim].


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24. And if you are unable to do this [produce a chapter like any of the Qurans chapters] - and you will never be able to do this - then guard yourselves against the Fire that is fueled by men and stones, and prepared for the Unbelievers. 25. And give those who believe [in revelation] and do righteous deeds the glad tidings of gardens through which rivers flow. Whenever they are provided with the fruits therein, they will say, This is what we were once provided with,; for they will be brought that which appears similar; and they will have therein purified wives; and in them [the gardens of Paradise] they will abide forever.

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21. O Mankind, worship only your Lord Who created you and those who came before you, so that you may be of the Muttaqoon.1 22. It is He who has made the earth a residing place for you and the sky a canopy, and brought down from the clouds water, and caused the earth to sprout its fruits as sustenance for you. So do not take other gods as rivals to Allah when you know [of the favors He has bestowed upon you].
A brief explanation of the meaning of worship in Islam has already been given under verse 1:, where we mentioned that the term carries far broader connotations than in its literal English meaning. Verse 2:21 holds the first command in the Quran and requires of mankind to do the one thing they were created to do: worship Allah alone, associating nothing and no one else with Him. A proper understanding of worship is key to understanding the depth of this command, and so too, is a proper understanding of the oneness or tawheed of Allah (this term will be discussed shortly), and that aside from Him, absolutely nothing else is deserving of worship. Worshipping Allah, exclusively, is the only means by which a person may attain the highest degrees of faith and become among the Muttaqoon, or those who fear Allah, (see 2:2) and ultimately escape His punishment. Allah then goes on to provide some of the reasons for why He alone deserves worship, and reminds His servants that it is He who created them and created all those who came before them. Further, the creation of the earth in such a way as to facilitate life for mankind, such as through agriculture and housing etc, and the creation of the sky and the water that Allah sends down from the clouds - causing the earth to grow different varieties of fruit, vegetables and other foods and blessings - are more reasons for why Allah, alone, deserves worship. For all such reasons, Allah orders His servants not to create or take rivals for worship alongside Him, especially since it is obvious that no one else has the capacity to create what Allah creates, and that no one else is capable of
1. See verse 2:2

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blessing His servants in the way that He has. Indeed, anything and anyone taken for worship alongside Allah can only be creations of Allah, as Allah is the sole creator of the heavens and the Earth. How, then, could such rivals be deserving of anything that is due to Allah when it is He who created them, provides their sustenance and does with them as He pleases, while they themselves are incapable of benefitting or harming even themselves without His leave? Because any discussion of worship is inextricably tied to Allahs oneness or tawheed, it is best that we introduce some of the meanings behind tawheed so that the reader may attain a clearer idea of the terms and concepts pertaining to it. Tawheed literally means to make as one or to single out. With regards to the worship of Allah, it refers to attributing - to Allah - unique privileges and attributes, and acknowledging that they are His alone. Scholars have typically divided tawheed into three fundamental categories: 1. Tawheed as Pertains to Allahs Creatorship and Lordship (Tawheed ArRuboobiyah) refers to acknowledging that Allah is the one and only Creator of all that exists, and that He alone decrees all that happens and that He alone provides for, cherishes and sustains all His creation (this was referred to somewhat through our previous explanation of the term rubb (see verse 1:2)). 2. Tawheed as Pertains to the Worship of Allah (Tawheed Al-Uloohiyah) concerns singling out Allah for worship, or acknowledging His unique right to be worshipped. Conversely, this is to acknowledge that any other deity is false and unworthy of being worshipped. 3. Tawheed as Pertains to Allahs Names and Attributes (Tawheed AlAsmaa wassifaat) relates to the acknowledgment that no-one and nothing is comparable to Allah in either His Beautiful Names or His Attributes of Perfection. Throughout the Quran, Allah uses Tawheed Ar-Ruboobiyah as evidence for the principle of Tawheed Al-Uloohiyah, and the verse at hand is one such

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example of this. Because even non-believers - including Arab Pagans and other polytheists - acknowledge that Allah is the sole Creator, Provider, Cherisher and Sustainer of everything that exists, it only follows that He should be the sole Deity deserving of worship. This is one of the clearest forms of rational evidence for Allahs right to worshipped, alone (i.e. Tawheed Al-Uloohiyah).

23. And if you are in doubt as to what We have sent down upon Our Servant [the Prophet], then produce a single chapter like any of its chapters, and call upon your witnesses besides Allah if you are indeed truthful [in what you claim]
After having established the evidence for tawheed, the most important principle in Islam, Allah goes on to establish the next tenet of faith, namely that Muhammed is His Prophet1. In this verse, Allah challenges the Pagans among the tribe of Quraysh, and anyone else who doubts the prophethood of Prophet Muhammed or has doubts regarding what was revealed to him, to produce a single chapter that is comparable to any of the chapters of the Quran. This is a particularly biting challenge since the Arabs of Makkah knew perfectly well that the Prophet was not only as human as they were, but also completely illiterate. After all, he had been brought up among them, and his abilities and limitations were known to all. Furthermore, they took a great deal of pride in their mastery of the Arabic language, and they were now being challenged to use what they were renowned for to demolish the efforts of an illiterate Prophet . While the word shuhadaa may literally be translated as witnesses, it has been interpreted here to mean several things, including the false gods worshipped by the Pagans; aides in the form of humans or jinn; and the most well-versed of poets among the Arabs. Effectively, Allah challenges those who deny the divinity of the Quran to support their allegation that the Quran isnt really from Allah by using whatever resources available to them to produce anything like any of its chapters.
1. Al-Jazaairy, vol.1: 

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After failing to meet this challenge and produce anything like any of the Qurans chapters, Quraysh put down their pens, picked up their swords and launched smear campaigns drenched in falsehood and lies in stubborn opposition to the truth, even after it had become clear to them1.
1. Today, over 400 years after the revelation of the Quran, this attitude has not changed, and rather than even attempt to meet the challenge established by Allah and, thereby, end Islam quite conclusively, hate-infused media systems and spite-ridden news networks continue their campaigns against Islam by means of spreading falsehood, misinformation and distorted images throughout practically every corner of the globe. Just as the Pagans of Quraysh had the material ability, the strength and the resources to bring together their finest poets and attempt to produce that all-important similar chapter, today those who spare nothing in their attempts to extinguish the light of Allah also have massive resources at their disposal. It should be no feat to set up objective, balanced and academic conferences or symposia for the purpose of discussing or developing a chapter that is like any of the Qurans chapters (the shortest chapter, Surat-ul-Kawthar, is only ten words long). In fact, something like that would save the billions upon billions of dollars spent to produce media content to distort Islams message. Why has this not been done? Why the hit and run tactics of taking verses of the Quran out of context, while not allowing time or resources for even a simple response? A great degree of attention in the form of media time has been given to solving mysteries on how the pyramids were built or how crop circles are formed, but nothing on how the microscopic stages of embryonic development were mentioned in the Quran some 000 years before the invention of the most primitive microscopes. Why are there no mainstream broadcast programs aimed at discussing how this and other acknowledged scientific facts were mentioned in the Quran long before their modern-day verification? Why do media systems that credit themselves with objectivity and adherence to hard evidence withhold that the Quran had mentioned the continual expansion of the universe almost 1300 years before Edwin Hubble made this discovery in 929? Is the fact that the Quran mentions that mountains act as pegs (i.e. that they can have roots that are several times the length of their elevations) and thus function as stabilizers for the earth too trivial a fact to discuss in the light of modern corroborating evidence? Are theories concerning the Loch Ness Monster more worthy of our thought and attention? Should more interest be given to substantiating completely unfounded myths and legends than to discussing how a Prophet who lived in the seventh century could come with a Book that described why the sea and fresh water dont mix in spite of their merging; or how rain forms; or how the Earth, moon and sun all move in relation to one another in space? Prophet Muhammed did not come to us with this information out of frivolity. He was sent with these signs so that they might serve as unequivocal proof of his prophethood and as evidence that all he described with regards to Allah and the Unseen, or anything else was true. Apart from Prophet Muhammed , every prophet ever sent by Allah was only sent to a given

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24. And if you are unable to do this [produce a chapter like any of the Qurans chapters] - and you will never be able to do this - then guard yourselves against the Fire that is fueled by men and stones, and prepared for the Unbelievers.
Allah makes clear to the Unbelievers that if they are unable to meet the above challenge, they must necessarily believe that the Quran was revealed to the Prophet by Allah. Further, if they acknowledge that the Quran is, indeed, Allahs revelation and that it is the truth, then all that it contains, including the mention of Hellfire is also true, and that they must, therefore, guard against such punishment by fearing Allah and believing in what He has revealed. The statement, and you will never be able to do this, is itself one of the miracles of the Quran, as it states, boldly, unwaveringly and without making exceptions, that no one will ever produce anything comparable to Allahs Book. Indeed, since the Quran was revealed, no-one has ever produced anything even remotely comparable to it; and how could they when the Quran is the Word of the Creator, and hence completely superior and incomparable to the word of the created1. This verse also illustrates one of the many differences between the Fire of the Hereafter and that of this world, as it describes the fuel of Hellfire as consisting of men and stones, and not of mere wood, for instance.

25. And give those who believe [in revelation] and do righteous deeds the glad tidings of gardens through which rivers flow. Whenever they are provided with the fruits therein, they will say, This is what we were once provided with,; for they will be brought that which appears similar; and they will have therein purified wives; and in
people at a given time; and so the miracles they came with only needed to satisfy whatever doubts their contemporaries might have harbored. Because Prophet Muhammed was sent to all people in all places until the Final Hour, however, it is completely appropriate that the miracle he was sent with be the message itself. And so this miracle remains with us, as proof that the Quran is Allahs Word and that Prophet Muhammed is, indeed, His Messenger. 1. Ibn Katheer/ A. Shakir, vol. 1: 86

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them [the gardens of Paradise] they will abide forever.


Throughout the Quran, Allah emphasizes the contrast between the ultimate fate of those who believe and that of those who do not believe, whether explicitly or by stating one immediately after the other, as is done here. This allows Allahs servants to alternate between seeking refuge in Him from His punishment at times, and asking Him for His bounty, absolute mercy and Paradise at other times. The order to give glad tidings to the Believers is directed to the Prophet and to anyone who calls others to Allah. The tight association between faith and righteous deeds is referred to repeatedly throughout Allahs Book, as it is only through accepting faith with ones heart and then affirming or corroborating that faith with ones actions that Allahs Paradise may be attained. Allah then proceeds to describe some of what He has prepared for His believing servants and mentions the gardens of Paradise. These are gardens that are so rich and lush with abundant beautiful trees and with such succulent and plentiful fruit, that the growth enshrouds and encloses the lavish luxury of those who reside within them. Within these gardens flow rivers of pure fresh water, milk, wine and honey; and all of this exists for the sheer pleasure and delight of the Believers. Allah allows the dwellers of Paradise to cause these rivers to gush forth abundantly wherever they please, and to make them run in whichever direction they desire. It is from these rivers that the people of Paradise drink and that the trees of Paradise take their nourishment, causing them to grow the delicious fruits that Allahs believing servants savor and delight in without ever feeling uncomfortably full or hungry. Whenever offered the fruits of Paradise, the Believers find these fruits to be consistently delicious and delightful, no single fruit stands better than the rest, and not a single moment goes by where they do not live in complete bliss or do not dwell in the delights Allah has rewarded them with. After having described some of the food prepared for the Believers and the gardens within which they will dwell, the verse then tells of the wives created for the Believers through the use of a single, yet tremendously

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informative adjective: purified. The wisdom behind not saying what they are purified of is to allude to the fact that they are purified of every type of shortcoming possible. Their manners and behavior are perfect, they say only that which is decent and they do only what their husbands love or approve of. They are created completely and utterly beautiful, purified of any form of unsightliness, purified of menstruation, stools, urine and anything that might be the least bit unattractive, much less repulsive. They are completely without fault or blemish, bringing only joy to their husbands, and never seeking the contentment of anyone but their husbands at any time. All of these wondrous pleasures are only attainable through faith and righteous deeds, and in this verse is an indication that it is beneficial to call to these two fundamental requirements through describing the tremendous rewards of those who attain them, and by highlighting the incentives that encourage their attainment. Indeed, to be brought the glad tidings of such a blissful existence makes righteous deeds, no matter how difficult they may be, easier to undertake, and causes a Muslim to be more patient in his struggle to attain His Lords favor.

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26. Truly, Allah is not shy to use parables; even if they be of things as small as a mosquito, or smaller still. And so those who believe know that such parables are the truth from their Lord; while those who disbelieve say, What does Allah mean in making such a parable?

With it [the Quran] He misguides many, and with it He guides many; but He misguides only the transgressors. 27. They are those who negate the covenant of Allah after vowing to uphold it, sever what Allah has decreed to be upheld, and cause corruption and decadence on Earth. And it is they, they who are the bereft. 28. How could you disbelieve in Allah when, after you were once dead, He brought you to life? Then shall He cause you to die again, and then shall He bring you to life again, and then to Him shall you return. 29. It is He who created for you everything that exists on Earth. He then turned to create the heavens and fashioned them into seven heavens; and He is all-knowing of all things.

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26. Truly, Allah is not shy to use parables; even if they be of things as small as a mosquito, or smaller still. And so those who believe know that such parables are the truth from their Lord; while those who disbelieve say, What does Allah mean in making such a parable? With it [the Quran] He misguides many, and with it He guides many; but He misguides only the transgressors.
It is narrated that this verse was revealed in response to the Unbelievers claim that it isnt befitting of Allah that He use parables of such insignificant things as flies and spiders, as is done in other chapters. This, however, is an unwarranted objection, as through drawing analogies there is much to be learned or understood, and meanings become clearer and easier to grasp. Hence, Allah describes the Believers as those who benefit from and understand the parables He uses and the analogies He draws. Without doubt, a thorough understanding of the Qurans allegories and parables effectively serves to increase the Believers in knowledge of what benefits them and strengthens them in faith. Indeed, even if unable to fully grasp the meanings of Allahs parables, a Believer knows that such analogies are the truth from his Lord and knows that Allah has revealed these parables for a purpose and as a blessing bestowed upon His servants. Those who reject faith, on the other hand, object to such analogies (as they object to the Quran in its entirety), wallowing in doubt and confusion as to their meanings and ultimately only wading further into unbelief. The everworsening state of the Unbelievers lies in sharp contrast to the continually developing faith of the Believers; showing that while the verses of the Quran are a cause of guidance and a source of enlightenment for some, they drive others deeper into the darknesses of unbelief and the rejection of truth. Allah refers to this latter group as al-fasiqoon (from the root word fisq), which may literally be interpreted as the transgressors, or those who are disobedient and pay no heed to the commands of Allah. It is important to note that disobedience is of two types. The type mentioned here is greater disobedience, or that which takes an individual beyond the pale of Islam so that he/she is not considered a Muslim upon falling into it. In

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other verses, however, this term refers to Believers who are disobedient with regards to some of the commandments of Allah, but whose disobedience is not of the kind that renders them unbelievers.

27. They are those who negate the covenant of Allah after vowing to uphold it, sever what Allah has decreed to be upheld, and cause corruption and decadence on Earth. It is they, they who are the bereft.
Allah then lists the traits of transgressors and begins by mentioning that they break covenants after pledging to uphold them. The covenant referred to here includes what must be upheld between Allah and His servants, as well what must be upheld between Allahs servants themselves. Pledges to uphold such covenants are repeatedly made by the disobedient among Allahs creation, only to be violated through sin, unbelief, and other degrees of insubordination towards Allah. To sever what Allah has decreed to be upheld includes severing what is supposed to be maintained between a servant and his Lord - such as the duty to have faith and practice righteous deeds, just as it includes severing what is to be maintained between Allahs servants and the Prophet with regards to belief in his prophethood, adherence to his Sunnah and the acknowledgment of his due rights. It also entails all that should be upheld between a Believer and his parents, his kin, his neighbors, his friends, and creation as a whole. A Believer, then, is someone who upholds all of these duties and covenants to the fullest extent possible, while a disobedient Unbeliever is he who negates and neglects such duties, ultimately causing corruption and evil on Earth through his violation of trust. While Allah describes this segment of His creation (the Unbelievers) as being bereft, He does not say what they are bereaved of. This, again, serves the purpose of generalization, and suggests that they are bereaved of every form of good in this life and the Hereafter. Similarly in English, by describing someone as being hated, without saying hated by whom, we usually mean that they are hated by everyone or almost everyone.

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28. How could you disbelieve in Allah when, after you were once dead, He brought you to life? Then shall He cause you to die again, and then shall He bring you to life again, and then to Him shall you return.
Phrased as a question, this verse is a response to atheists, polytheists and those who deny the resurrection and the existence of the Hereafter. By establishing that it is He who created man from nothing, Allah refutes the possibility of man simply coming into existence by chance, as nothing is capable of creating itself from nothingness. Further, even the Pagans among the Arabs acknowledged that Allah, alone, created mankind and then bestowed His servants with every kind of blessing. Allah tells them that it is He who will then cause them to die, then recompense them for their deeds in their graves, and then try them for their actions on the Day of Judgment. Where, then, is the wisdom in ascribing partners or gods to Allah when such partners are incapable of bringing life even to themselves, much less to others? The Pagans already acknowledged that it was Allah who brought them into existence by creating them the first time; and so what basis was there for doubting His ability to bring them to life a second time and call them to account for their deeds? Such doubt or skepticism is especially unfounded in view of the commonly accepted fact that doing something a second time is typically easier than doing it the first.

29. It is He who created for you everything that exists on Earth. He then turned to create the heavens and fashioned them into seven heavens; and He is all-knowing of all things.
Allah tells us that it is He who created everything that exists on the Earth for the purpose of bringing benefit and facilitating the needs of mankind. In this manner, Allah bestows yet another gracious favor upon His servants and establishes the basic legislative principle that all things created are lawful for use or consumption unless there is proof to indicate unlawfulness. Allah states that He then fashioned the heavens into seven heavens; and this

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supports the widely-held scholarly view that the heavens were created after the Earth. In this verse and in many other instances throughout the Quran, Allah mentions His knowledge of all things alongside the mention of His creation, or certain aspects of it. This is because His creation is itself one of the most obvious proofs of His all-encompassing knowledge, wisdom and power.

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30. And relate [O Prophet] the moment your Lord said to the angels, I shall place on Earth those who will live upon it generation after generation. They replied, Will You place upon it those who will cause corruption and bring bloodshed, while we exalt You, extol You with praise, and sanctify You? He [Allah] replied, I know that which you do not know. 31. And He [Allah] taught Adam all the names [of all things], and then brought these things before the angels and said, Tell me the names of these, if you are indeed truthful [in what you have presumed]. 32. The angels replied, Exalted be You! We have no knowledge other than what You have taught us. Indeed, You are the AllKnowing, the All-Wise.


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33. He [Allah] said, O Adam, tell them the names of these things. And once he had told them, Allah said, Did I not tell you that I know all that is unseen in the heavens and on the Earth, and that I know all you reveal and all you conceal? 34. And relate the moment We said to the angels, Prostrate yourselves before Adam, and so they prostrated, except Satan. He refused, became arrogant, and was among the Unbelievers.

35. And We said to Adam, Reside both you and your wife in Paradise, and eat from thereof as you please. But do not approach this tree, for if you do this, you will be among the wrongdoers. 36. But Satan then caused them to slip from Paradise and, hence, to be cast away from the bliss within which they dwelt. And so We said, Fall [to the Earth] as enemies one to another; and upon Earth shall be your residence and livelihood until a predetermined time.

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37. Adam was then taught words of repentance from his Lord [so that he may implore Allah for forgiveness with them], and Allah thus accepted his repentance. Indeed, He [Allah] is The ContinuallyAccepting-of-Repentance, The Especially-Merciful. 38. We [Allah] said, Fall, all of you, to Earth. And when there comes to you guidance from Me, then whoever follows My guidance will neither fear, nor will they grieve. 39. But as for those who disbelieve and deny Our signs and verses, they are the companions of the Fire; in it they shall abide forever.


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30. And relate [O Prophet] the moment your Lord said to the angels, I shall place on Earth those who will live upon it generation after generation. They replied, Will You place upon it those who will cause corruption and bring bloodshed, while we exalt You, extol You with praise, and sanctify You? He [Allah] replied, I know that which you do not know.
Allah directs His Prophet to relate the account of the time when Allah informed the angels of His decision to place mankind on Earth so that - referring to the progeny of Adam - they would live upon the Earth, generation after generation. In attempting to understand, and not refute1, Allahs reason for creating mankind, the angels inquired as to the purpose behind creating those who would cause corruption and bring bloodshed to the Earth, especially as they (the angels) never ceased to exalt, glorify and praise Allah. There are a few different explanations for why the angels assumed that mankind would delve into such evil, but it suffices to say that they had prior knowledge from Allah to suggest this tendency. It should be understood that the term corruption here, and in the majority of the Qurans verses carries the broader sense of the word and, thus, includes sins and different degrees of disobedience towards Allah. Again, Allah ties between His creation and His knowledge and tells the angels that it is He who knows the purpose and benefit behind the creation of mankind. Hence, Allah knows that the benefit gained from this creation is far greater than any detriment or evil that will be incurred, regardless of the fact that they (the angels) did not see this wisdom. Indeed, if Allah created man only so that He could raise and choose from among His servants those who would become prophets, siddeeqeen (see
1. Angels are, by virtue of their nature, unable to refute or disobey Allah in any shape or form. Rather, they carry out all that He orders, completely and exactly as they are told.

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1:7), martyrs and righteous Believers, or so that He could reveal His signs and verses to mankind, and decree different kinds of worship (such as Jihad) so that they might be practiced by His servants, then these alone are noble grounds for the creation of man. The wisdom behind this undertaking, however, goes much further and includes numerous worthy objectives, including: exposing the inner dispositions and tendencies of mankind - whether good or evil - through trials and tribulations, separating between Allahs allies and His enemies, exposing the evil that lay concealed within Satan before Adams creation, etc.

31. And He [Allah] taught Adam all the names [of all things], and then brought these things before the angels and said, Tell me the names of these, if you are indeed truthful [in what you have presumed]. 32. The angels replied, Exalted be You! We have no knowledge other than what You have taught us. Indeed, You are the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. 33. He [Allah] said, O Adam, inform them of the names of these things. And once he had informed them, Allah said, Did I not tell you that I know all that is unseen in the heavens and on the Earth, and that I know all you reveal and all you conceal?
Because the question asked by the angels suggested they felt somewhat favored or privileged over this new creation owing to their continued praise and glorification of Allah, Allah proceeded to show them that He had, in fact, favored Adam over them. In demonstrating this privilege, Allah began to teach Adam the names of all things - without neglecting anything. He then challenged the angels to tell Him the names He had taught Adam . Upon realizing their inability to meet this challenge, the angels confessed their lack of knowledge and exalted Allah. The angels exaltation of Allah, in this instance, refers to their acknowledging that Allah is above doing, saying or commanding anything that might be in the least bit objectionable or even questionable. They go on to admit that

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they have no knowledge other than that given to them by Allah, and further acknowledge that it is He who is All-Knowing of all that exists, and AllWise in that He neither creates, acts nor commands frivolously. Rather, all His actions are a result of His divine knowledge and judgment. The wisdom behind meeting the angels question, Will You place upon it those who will cause corruption and cause bloodshed?, with a challenge to name the things that Adam had been taught was that the names they were challenged to give were of things that were seen and that stood apparent before them. If, then, the angels had no knowledge of matters that pertained to the present or of things that they could plainly see, it only followed that they had no knowledge whatsoever of what pertained to the future or to the unseen1. In this manner, the angels came to understand that their assumptions of what mankind would do upon being placed on the Earth were mere conjectures and speculation, and that the true knowledge and wisdom behind creating mankind was something that belonged exclusively to Allah. And Allah knows best. Allah goes on to remind the angels that it is He who holds the knowledge of all that is unseen in the heavens and on the Earth, as by establishing knowledge of the unseen, it becomes obvious that knowledge of all that is seen also lies with Him. (See verse 2: for more on the term unseen). Allah also makes known to the angels that He knows all they reveal and all they conceal, and that no matter what they hide or what they make apparent, Allah is all knowing of it. It is also reported that Allahs knowledge of the concealed refers to the objection and arrogance Satan concealed within himself and that was only made apparent when he was ordered to prostrate to Adam 2. Among the lessons derived from the last few verses is that one must always have faith in Allahs wisdom, and that not being able to appreciate why something was created or why we are commanded to do one thing or to stay away from another is in no way proof, or even an indication, that due justification does not exist. Indeed, all of Allahs actions are based on His
1. Ibn Katheer/ Ridwan Al-Jami, vol.1: 215 2. ibid, vol.1: 217

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divine wisdom and one must always accuse ones own lack of knowledge and understanding upon failing to appreciate these actions and decrees. These verses also illustrate the virtues of knowledge in a variety of different ways. For one thing, Allah made Himself better known to the angels by revealing aspects of His infinite wisdom and all-encompassing knowledge to them. He also raised and favored Adam over the angels by virtue of the knowledge He had given him. Allah then ordered the angels to prostrate themselves to Adam after having shown them his superiority.

34. And relate the moment We said to the angels, Prostrate yourselves before Adam, and so they prostrated, except Satan. He refused, became arrogant, and was among the Unbelievers.
After establishing Adams superiority over the angels, Allah then mentions the moment the angels were told to prostrate themselves to Adam as a symbol of veneration. All the angels immediately complied with this command, while Satan - whose evil had not been exposed until this point - did not. It is important to bear in mind that although Satan had come to be situated among the angels, he was, in fact, one of the jinn (as is mentioned explicitly in 18:50). As noted previously, the angels can only comply with Allahs every word, while the jinn - like human beings - are created with the capacity to choose between obedience and disobedience. The story of Adam and Satan is mentioned a few different times in the Quran, each time through a different perspective and for a different purpose. In this particular verse, Allah highlights arrogance as the fundamental reason for Satans disobedience. In Suratu-Saad, Allah details Satans false pretext for refusing to prostrate by metioning that Satan saw himself as superior to Adam , as Adam was created from clay while he was created from fire. Satans unbelief was, therefore, a result of his objection to Allahs order, and his arrogance, and not just a result of his refusal to obey Allah and prostrate

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to Adam 1. This is an important point as the word unbelief may, to many, be taken to simply mean unbelief in the existence of Allah or in another fundamental article of faith such as the Hereafter or the Quran, etc. In more than one instance in the Quran, Satan specifically acknowledges, not just the existence of Allah, but that it was Allah who created both him and Adam. Indeed, Satan addresses Allah directly when refusing to comply with Allahs command to prostrate. In emphasizing this point, Sheikh Mustafa Al-Adawi writes: And this (Satans unbelief) proves that not everyone who acknowledges the existence of Allah is counted as a Believer. Indeed, even the Arab Pagans acknowledged the existence of Allah and acknowledged that it was He, alone, who created them and provided them with sustenance. In fact, the Pagans would even supplicate to Allah (as is mentioned in 8:2), but when it came to worship, they associated partners and false deities with Him, and this association is what constituted their form of unbelief2. It may, in other words, be said that the Pagans disbelieved in and rejected Allahs right to be worshipped alone, in spite of acknowledging that He, alone, was the Creator, Sustainer, Cherisher and Maintainer of all that exists (See explanations for Tawheed Ar-Ruboobiyah and Tawheed Al-Uloohiyah under verse 2:22). Likewise, Satan also believed that Allah, alone, created him and that He was the sole Creator of everything else in existence. In spite of this acknowledgment, he arrogantly objected to Allahs command and refused to comply. Having mentioned that there are different forms of unbelief or kufr and that, for the sake of identifying them, it is important to keep these differences in mind, it might be worth mentioning briefly the categories that scholars have divided major kufr - the level of kufr that takes a person beyond the pale of Islam - into:
1. Adawy, vol.1: 81-82 2. Ibid, 82

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1. Kufr that is a result of literally denying or refusing to believe in the prophets and what they were sent with - effectively accusing them of lying. 2. Kufr that is a result of arrogant refusal to comply with Allahs commands in spite of actually knowing the truth, regardless of whether one openly acknowledges this knowledge or not (this is the form of kufr that Satan was guilty of). . Kufr that is a result of disregard for the Prophet or for what he was sent with. A person guilty of this form of kufr neither listens to, nor believes in, nor disbelieves in, nor accepts, nor rejects the Prophet ; and does not concern himself with what the Prophet was sent with in any way. . Kufr that is a result of doubt or suspicion. Here, an individual neither positively affirms, nor positively rejects the Prophets truthfulness. This type of kufr only persists if an individual insists on turning a blind eye to the numerous signs that prove the Prophets honesty and which confirm the authenticity of the revelation he came with. Any contemplation of such signs must necessarily lead to belief in the Prophet and belief in what he was sent with. 5. Kufr that is hypocrisy. This is when a person outwardly claims or expresses belief in the Prophet , but inwardly disbelieves in him. As already stated, all the above categories are different forms of major kufr; and so individuals guilty of any of these forms are not considered Muslims.1

35. And We said to Adam, Reside both you and your wife in Paradise, and eat from thereof as you please. But do not approach this tree, for if you do this, you will be among the wrongdoers.
After having created and favored Adam (and ultimately mankind as a whole) over the rest of creation, Allah makes His favor more complete by creating Eve so that Adam might find tranquility and take comfort in her
1. Shubuhaat-ut-Takfeer, 62-6

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companionship. Allah then directs them both to reside in Paradise and eat from whichever of its fruits they desired, save one tree. This is the tree Allah ordered them both to stay away from as a test and trial. Allah also warns Adam and Eve that upon failing to comply with His prohibition, they would be among the wrongdoers.

36. But Satan then caused them to slip from Paradise and hence to be cast away from the bliss within which they dwelt. And so We said, Fall [to the Earth] as enemies one to another; and upon Earth shall be your residence and livelihood until a predetermined time.
Through his incessant evil whispers, temptation and the beautification of the prohibited, Satan was eventually able to lead Adam and his wife to eat from the forbidden tree. Upon violating Allahs command, Adam and Eve were bereft of the the lavish luxury of Paradise and descended to dwell in the hardship and difficulties that are an integral part of existence on Earth. Allahs saying, enemies one to another, expresses the animosity between the progeny of Adam and that of Satan. Clearly, an enemy is someone who takes every available measure to harm his adversary, lead him to that which is detrimental and prevent him from all that that is good or beneficial. This verse is, therefore, a clear warning to mankind to take heed against the whispers of the devils and to take every precaution against falling into the traps they lay and the deceptions they use to draw mankind towards grievance, suffering and harm. Reference to Earth as a residing place until a set or predetermined time demonstrates that life on Earth is merely a temporary, transitional stage where one gathers the provision, or the good deeds, needed to attain prosperity in the Hereafter - mankinds final destination.

37. Adam was then taught words of repentance from his Lord [so that he may implore Allah for forgiveness using them], and Allah thus accepted his repentance. Indeed, He [Allah] is The Continually-Accepting-of-Repentance, The Especially-Merciful

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The particular words revealed to Adam by Allah are mentioned in Surat-ul-Araaf as being, Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy on us, we will certainly be of those who are bereft. (7:2) This supplication is both a confession, and a plea for forgiveness; and it was upon their uttering these words, that Allah forgave Adam and Eve for their sin.

38. We [Allah] said, Fall, all of you, to Earth. And when there comes to you guidance from Me, then whoever follows My guidance will neither fear, nor will they grieve.
Allah again mentions His decree to have Adam , Eve and Satan all fall to Earth; and this is mentioned again for the purpose of providing a context for the condition of happiness on Earth: namely holding fast to Allahs guidance by believing in His prophets and the scriptures sent with them. Only through fulfilling this all-important requirement may one be rid of fear and grief in this life and in the Hereafter. While fear, in this context, might be regarded as the anticipation of being afflicted with what one dreads or is afraid of, grief is what results from actually being afflicted with what one fears. In Surat-Taha, Allah also mentions that those who follow His guidance shall neither stray nor suffer in misery. The opposites of such afflictions as fear and grief are complete security, happiness and wellbeing, all of which are afforded to the Believers who adhere to the teachings of Allahs prophets and to His revealed scriptures.

39. But as for those who disbelieve and deny Our signs and verses, they are the companions of the Fire; in it they shall abide forever.
In contrast to the state of those who follow Allahs guidance, Allah affirms that those who disbelieve in His scriptures, prophets, and any other article of faith are those for whom He has prepared eternal torture in the Fire of Hell. The term companions reflects their inseparability from Hellfire and that they are forever doomed to it.

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40. O Children of Israel, be mindful of the favors I have bestowed upon you; and fulfill your covenant with Me so that I may fulfill my covenant with you; and fear Me, alone. 41. And believe in what I have sent down in confirmation of what has already been revealed to you, and do not be the first to reject it; nor be of those who sell My verses for a meagerly gain. And guard against My punishment. 42. And do not enshroud truth with falsehood, nor suppress the truth even while knowing what you do. 43. And establish Prayers and pay Zakat and bow before Allah along with those who bow before Him. 44. Do you enjoin others to be righteous while forgetting your own selves, even as you recite the scriptures?! Will you not have understanding!?


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45. And seek Allahs help through patience and Prayers; and this is indeed a weighty task except for those who humble themselves before Allah, 46. [for they are] those who are certain they will meet their Creator, and that unto Him they will return. 47. O Children of Israel, recognize the favors I have bestowed upon you, and that I had favored you over all the worlds. 48. And take heed against the Day when no-one will avail anything of anyone else, and when intercession will not be accepted [for those who disbelieved], nor reparation allowed, and when none will be protected against due punishment.


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40. O Children of Israel, be mindful of the favors I have bestowed upon you; and fulfill your covenant with Me so that I may fulfill My covenant with you; and fear Me, alone.
Israel is Prophet Jacob , the son of Isaac who was the second son of Abraham , and so those being addressed are the descendants of Israel, or the Jews. Many of the Jews who lived at the time of the Prophet dwelt in and around Madinah, and so Allah addresses them, as well as others and those who would come after them. Allah tells the Children of Israel to be mindful of the favors He has bestowed upon them and to be appreciative and grateful for these favors (a few of Allahs blessings upon the Children of Israel will be mentioned in this Chapter, and other favors are referred to in different places in the Quran). To be mindful of Allahs favors, in this regard, is essentially to acknowledge those favors with ones heart, thank Allah and praise Him for them, and practice the righteous deeds that Allah loves and approves of in appreciation of these favors. The covenant the Children of Israel were required to fulfill refers to the belief in, and worship of, Allah alone without associating partners with Him. It also includes belief in Allahs prophets and the establishment of His laws and adherence to them. The covenant Allah has, in turn, decreed upon Himself to fulfill, refers to the gracious rewards (both in this life and in the Hereafter) Allah bestows upon His servants for fulfilling their obligations towards Him. Allah then provides the Children of Israel with the most important and most effective incentive for fulfilling such obligations; namely, fear of Him, or more specifically, fear of His punishment.

41. And believe in what I have sent down in confirmation of what has already been revealed to you, and do not be the first to reject it; nor be of those who sell My verses for a meagerly gain. And guard against My punishment.
Allah then goes on to order the Children of Israel to believe in the Quran, the last of the revealed scriptures, containing and confirming the news and prophecies of previously revealed books. The Qurans corroboration of the

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prophecies mentioned in previous scriptures is one of the most important means by which the Children of Israel were to verify the authenticity of the Quran and the prophethood of Prophet Muhammed . Additionally, the Qurans confirmation of what was in the Gospel and the Torah was especially pertinent, as unlike the Pagans of Quraysh, many among the Children of Israel were learned men and scholars who had studied their books and were in anticipation of the last and final Prophet described in their scriptures. To reject this anticipated Prophet would, therefore, necessarily constitute rejecting part of their own scriptures. Just as the prophets corroborate one another, so too do the scriptures they were sent with; and so to deny or reject any one of these scriptures is tantamount to denying them all. Rather than merely tell the Children of Israel not to reject the Quran, Allah orders them not to be the first to reject it. This is because their anticipation of the Quran and the Prophet should, reasonably, make them the first to believe in this revelation rather than the first to deny it and carry the grievous sin of unbelief, as well as the sins of those who would follow blindly in their footsteps thereafter. Belief in the Quran, of course, necessarily means belief in the Messenger upon whom the Quran was revealed, and these are both absolutely fundamental articles of faith, without which any deed - no matter how righteous - is void and hence unacceptable to Allah. Allah then repudiates one of the primary motivations and real reasons for why the Children of Israel rejected the Quran. Namely, preference for the temporary, fleeting pleasures of this life over the eternal happiness and pleasures of the Hereafter. By refusing to acknowledge that genuine happiness in this life and in the Hereafter is only attainable through adherence to Allahs laws, and by assuming that by succumbing to Allahs commands they would be deprived of their worldly profits, they proceeded to sell away the guidance of Allahs verses for a meagerly gain, in spite of being warned against doing so. It is important to note that while Allah specifically addresses the Children of Israel in these verses, the lessons derived are for all mankind. Allah again exhorts the Children of Israel to fear Him, as fear of Allahs

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punishment is a primary means by which His verses may be given their due respect and given preference over the temporary pleasures this life has to offer. Conversely, a servant who gives this life precedence over the eternal bliss of the Hereafter can only be someone who lacks piety, or someone whose heart is necessarily devoid of the fear and veneration of Allah.

42. And do not enshroud truth with falsehood, nor suppress the truth even while you know what you do.
Allah continues to remind the scholars and learned men among the Children of Israel that they are bound to their covenant or obligation, and prohibits them against mixing and enshrouding the truth with lies and against witholding the truth from others. The truth referred to here is, namely, belief in the Prophet who, as just mentioned, was already perfectly recognizable to them due to specific mention of him in their scriptures1. Allahs directives to the learned men among the Children of Israel - or People of the Scriptures - are also important directives for Muslim scholars. It is only through separating truth from falsehood in all issues of religion, and through making the truth as clear as possible that those seeking guidance might be guided, while those who have strayed might find their way back to the Straight Path. Furthermore, by elucidating the truth as effectively as possible, those who stubbornly reject the truth are left with no pretext for their unwarranted and continual denial and no excuse for their rejection of Allahs verses. Scholars who undertake the noble and crucial task of making the truth known are those who are the real successors of the prophets, and it is they who guide individuals and nations to that which is sound and correct. Those who mix truth with lies and suppress what they know to be true, on the other hand, are those who call only to Hellfire.

43. And establish Prayers and pay Zakat and bow before Allah along with those who bow before Him.

1. Al-Muyasar, 7

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The meaning of establishing Prayers has already been discussed in (2:). Zakat is also one of the five pillars of Islam and entails giving a limited percentage of specific kinds of ones wealth or of the value of certain possessions to specific recipients. This obligatory contribution is due once a year and only applies to the rich among the Muslims or those whose wealth surpasses a minimum value. The benefits Zakat brings to a community are inestimable, and it is one of the greatest acts of worship a Muslim might undertake. The form of Zakat just described is also known as Zakat-ul-Maal (Zakat on ones wealth). Another form of Zakat, Zakat-ul-Fitr, is given to the poor at the end of Ramadan, but unlike the former kind, is paid in specific kinds of foodstuff and is not a percentage, but rather an absolute sum. The order to bow before Allah along with those who bow before Him may be taken literally, meaning to establish Prayers - and as such may be seen as an order to pray in congregation. Figuratively, it refers to fearing Allah and show humility before Him1. These are some of the most important directives given the Children of Israel by Allah, as such commands require that outward and inward acts of righteousness be combined. They also call to sincerity to Allah, the sole Creator and Sustainer of mankind and all that exists.

44. Do you enjoin others to be righteous while forgetting your own selves, even as you recite the scriptures?! Will you not have understanding!?
A person of reason or sound intellect is he who, upon recognizing good, acts upon it even before enjoining others to do the same. And so to direct others to what is good and righteous, while personally neglecting to undertake such deeds, is a sign of unsoundness of intellect and imprudence. It is important that this verse not be taken as a pretext for abstaining from enjoining good and forbidding evil under the premise that one does not act that way himself, rather it is an order to practice what one preaches, and to enjoin oneself and others to do what is good while staying away from what is evil or sinful.

1. Al-Jazaairy, vol.1: 9

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Contradiction between ones words and actions adversely affects ones efforts to call others to Allah, as people are instinctively repelled by those whose actions belie their words, while being far more likely to follow those whose actions corroborate what they preach.

45. And seek Allahs help through patience and Prayers; and this is indeed a weighty task except for those who humble themselves before Allah,
Here, Allah mentions patience and Prayers as an important means by which the Believers may seek His help and support in all their affairs. Patience refers to perseverance in carrying out Allahs commandments and the resolve to stay away from all He has prohibited and warned against. It also refers to patience in dealing with whatever Allah decrees in terms of fate and predestination. These forms of patience are a primary reason for overcoming and accomplishing whatever one is faced with, no matter what the nature of the task or challenge. Indeed, those who earnestly seek patience are those who shall be granted it by Allah. Likewise, the establishment of Prayers is another important means of attaining Allahs help in ones affairs, and is the true indicator or gauge of faith. Allah has declared Prayers to be an act of worship by which one may guard against sin and all that is obscene and reprehensible (as mentioned is Surat-ul-Ankaboot, 5), and has made it a means through which patience is attained. Also, Allah describes the establishment of Prayers as being a weighty or burdensome undertaking except for those who humble themselves before Allah and fear Him. This is because to fear Allah and genuinely seek His mercy necessarily makes the means (whether Prayers or any other act of worship) of attaining His pleasure and reward and escaping His punishment easier to undertake. In fact, undertaking whatever is required to meet any objective is made either easier or more difficult depending on the strength of ones desire to accomplish that objective.

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On the other hand, those who do not sincerely seek Allahs pleasure or reward and do not fear His punishment are less likely to perform Prayers with any heartfelt sincerity and, hence, find the act of establishing Prayers burdensome and taxing.

46.[For they are] those who are certain they will meet their Creator, and that unto Him they will return.
Allah further describes those who humble themselves before Him, and states that they are those who have firm belief in Judgment Day the Day when they will meet Allah and be recompensed for all they said and did. Such are the attributes of those for whom Allah has made easy the different acts of worship, and those whom He has distanced from sin and wrongdoing. Allah has also provided such righteous individuals with the endurance required to successfully and gracefully face the difficulties and tribulations they are met with. These are the servants for whom Allah has prepared eternal Paradise and never-ending happiness and comfort.

47. O Children of Israel, recognize the favors I have bestowed upon you, and that I had favored you over all the worlds.
Allah, again, reminds the Children of Israel of the numerous favors He has endowed them with and that He had favored them by raising from among them prophets and messengers. Allah had also revealed unto them scriptures, such as the Torah and the Gospel, thus favoring them over all the other nations of their time1. All such favors necessitate that they believe in Allah, worship Him without associating partners, believe in His Prophet and practice righteous deeds.

48. And take heed against the Day when no one will avail anything of anyone else, and when intercession will not be accepted [for those who disbelieved], nor reparation allowed, and when none will be protected against due punishment.

1. Muyasar, 7

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Allah warns the Children of Israel by describing the terrible fate of those who die rejecting faith, and states that Judgment Day is a day when no one will avail the Unbelievers in the slightest, nor will anyone intercede for them, and nor will they even be allowed to sacrifice anything in return for salvation. On that Day the Unbelievers will find none to rescue them from their eternal doom, and they will stand helpless and entirely without hope. To know and understand that on Judgment Day, intercession will not be accepted nor reparation allowed, necessarily drives an individual to depend solely on Allah and therefore worship Him without associating anything with Him. Conversely, this understanding leads one to forsake any kind of dependence on any of Allahs creation, as nothing and no one will be of any benefit under the dire circumstances Judgment Day will bring.

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49. And remember that We saved you [Children of Israel] from the people of Pharaoh, when they had once inflicted you with the worst possible torture. They would slaughter your sons while sparing your daughters. And in this [salvation from Pharaoh] was a tremendous favor and trial from your Lord.

50. And remember that We parted the sea for you and thus saved you; and We drowned the army of Pharaoh as you watched. 51. And remember that We appointed for Moses forty nights [for the revelation of the Torah], but you then took the calf as a god in his absence; and you were wrongdoers [in what you did]. 52. We then pardoned you after that, so that you may perhaps be grateful. 53. And remember that We gave Moses the Scripture and the means to discern truth from falsehood so that you might be guided.


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54. And remember that Moses said to his people, O My people, indeed you have wronged yourselves by worshipping the calf, and so repent to your Creator and kill you one another. That is fairer for you unto your Creator. And so He [Allah] accepted your repentance. Indeed, He is The Continually-Acceptingof-Repentance, The EspeciallyMerciful. 55. And remember that you said, O Moses, we shall never believe in what you have been sent with until we see Allah before our eyes! And so your lives were taken by a tremendous strike, even while you watched. 56. We then resurrected you after your death so that you might perhaps be grateful.


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57. And We shaded you with clouds and descended upon you manna and quails, saying, Eat of the wholesome things We have provided for you. And they [the Children of Israel] did not wrong Us, but rather it was themselves they wronged. 58. And remember that We said, Enter this town and eat plentifully from whence you wish. And enter the gate prostrating saying, Forgive us, so that We may forgive you for your sins and so that We may reward - further - the righteous among you with more [blessings and favors]. 59. But the wrongdoers among them exchanged what they were told to say for another utterance, and so We descended upon the wrongdoers punishment from the sky for their transgression.

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49. And remember that We saved you from the people of Pharaoh, when they had once inflicted you with the worst possible torture. They would slaughter your sons while sparing your daughters. And in this [salvation from Pharaoh] was a tremendous favor and trial from your Lord. 50. And remember that We parted the sea for you and thus saved you; and We drowned the army of Pharaoh as you watched.
Allah begins to mention some of the favors He bestowed on the Jews in more detail and mentions that He saved them from Pharaohs army at a time when they were afflicted with some of the most painful and humiliating forms of torture. Pharaoh would kill their newborn males to curb their strength, and spare their females so that they may be taken as slaves and forced to do the most arduous and exhausting work, only to be told to be thankful for being spared. Such was the degrading and demeaning state of existence from which Allah delivered the Jews, miraculously parting the sea for them, and then drowning Pharaoh and his army in it as they chased Moses and his people. Whats more, Allah mentions that He drowned Pharaoh as the Children of Israel watched. It is no doubt far more relieving (and perhaps even gratifying) to actually see an enemy being punished for inflicing so much torture than not to witness such justice for oneself. The wisdom behind reminding the Children of Israel that they watched the drowning of Pharaoh with their own eyes might also be an exhortation to contemplate Allahs signs and show Him due gratitude. In any case, this deliverance was yet another enormous favor that should have been met with thanks and obedience, instead of ingratitude, disobedience and transgression.

51. And remember that We appointed for Moses forty nights [for the revelation of the Torah], but you then took the calf as a god in his absence; and you were wrongdoers [in what you did].

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52. We then pardoned you after that, so that you may perhaps be grateful.
Here is another of Allahs magnificent favors upon this people, namely, the appointment of forty nights to Moses for the revelation of the Torah with everything it contained in the way of guidance, benevolence and enlightenment. And a means by which all their affairs might be rectified and their prosperity attained. But rather than be thankful for this immeasurable blessing, and even while Moses was still receiving revelation, the Jews were quick to fall into the worst of all sins, and worshipped the calf in Moses absence. Worse still, they committed their crime while aware of their transgression, making their behavior that much more heinous. The story of the Children of Israel and the calf is referred to in a few different places in the Quran and in more detail than is mentioned here. In short, during the period Moses was absent, a man from among the Children of Israel referred to as As-Samiry (The Samiry), constructed a calf made of gold jewelry borrowed by the Jews from the Egyptians before escaping Egypt. Upon putting this calf together, As-Samiry went on to convince them that the calf was actually their god and the god of Moses , and that Moses had mistakenly and absentmindedly left it there and left in search of it!1. They then worshipped this calf until Moses returned and admonished them severely for what they had done. Moses then destroyed the calf before their very eyes, thereby proving that it was of no avail even to itself, let alone anyone else. In spite of their transgression, Allah provided them with a set of conditions and the means (see verse 2:5) by which they could repent for this deed. Upon fulfilling these conditions, Allah accepted their repentance so that they might be thankful and grateful by obeying and worshipping Allah, alone.

53. And remember that We gave Moses the Scripture and the means to discern truth from falsehood so that you might be guided.
1. Qasas Al Anbiyaa, Ibn Katheer/ Mustafa El Adawy, Dar Ibn Rajab, pg 9-50

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54. And remember that Moses said to his people, O My people, indeed you have wronged yourselves by worshipping the calf, and so repent to your Creator and kill you one another. That is fairer for you unto your Creator. And so He [Allah] accepted your repentance. Indeed, He is The Continually-Accepting-of-Repentance, The Especially-Merciful.
The Scripture revealed to Moses was the Torah, and some of its virtues are mentioned in the explanation under verse 2:51. While the means to discern truth from falsehood has been explained as referring to the Torah, itself, it is also said to refer to the miracles Moses was sent with, among which was the parting of the sea - another clear and undeniable sign1. After reminding the Jews of more of the privileges conferred upon them, Allah goes on to warn them against falling into the evil their predecessors had fallen into when they apostatized and took the calf for worship. The magnitude and severity of this evil was such that the means of repentance ordained entailed that those who did not worship the calf kill those who did. When this was done, those who had apostatized were forgiven, and their repentance accepted2.

55. And remember that you said, O Moses, we shall never believe in what you have been sent with until we see Allah before our own eyes! And so your lives were taken by a tremendous strike, even while you watched. 56. We then resurrected you after your death so that you might perhaps be grateful.

1. Al-Jazaairy, vol.1: 5 2. ibid, vol. 1: 57

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Allah reminds the Jews of Madinah of the shameless and ill-mannered request made by the very ancestors they claimed to take pride in. Not only did they demand to see Allah, but they also set meeting this demand as a condition for agreeing to believe in Moses . This is especially appalling in view of the fact that they appear to have made such demands after being forgiven for worshipping the calf. Perhaps even more astonishing is that this demand was, in fact, made by the chosen few who hadnt worshipped the calf, and were supposed to be the better or more obedient of Moses followers!1 For such transgression they were taken by what has been interpreted to be either the snatch of death itself, or a terrifying strike from the sky that took their lives, one by one, as they looked to each other in horror. Some scholars have interpreted the strike to be a streak of fire or a bolt of lightning, but regardless of its nature or the exact means by which they were killed, their lives were taken for their wrongdoing and for their continued, stubborn disobedience2. After what is reported to have been a day and night later, Allah resurrected them and brought them to life again, allowing them yet another chance to worship Him, alone, and show gratitude by being obedient and submissive.

57. And We shaded you with clouds and descended upon you manna and quails saying, Eat of the wholesome things we have provided for you. And they did not wrong Us, but rather it was themselves they wronged.
Allah reminds the Children of Israel of the blessings He bestowed upon them even throughout the forty years they were barred from entering the Holy City of Jerusalem. The prohibition on entering Jerusalem was punishment for their refusal to obey Moses order to fight the citys unbelieving inhabitants. While they wandered the Sinai Desert during this period, Allah shaded them against the burning desert sun with clouds, and descended upon them manna - a collective name for every kind of provision and sustenance that is attained
1. ibid. 2. Adawy, vol.1:519 . This is something that will be discussed in more detail in Surat-ul-Maidah, Allah willing.

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without effort. This included ginger, truffles, bread, quails and other kinds of foods. These are some of the forms of nourishment Allah provided the Children of Israel even as they were being punished for their cowardice and disobedience. None of this benevolence and grace, however, caused them to be any more obedient to Allah, and, instead, they continued along the path of sin and transgression. Hence, Allah says, And they did not wrong Us, but rather it was themselves they wronged. Clearly, those who sin will only harm themselves by their actions, just as those who are obedient and dutiful will only bring themselves benefit; for Allah is without need for the good deeds of His servants and completely unharmed by their evil.

58. And remember that We said, Enter this town and eat plentifully from whence you wish. And enter the gate prostrating saying, Forgive us, so that We may forgive you for your sins and so that We may reward - further - the righteous among you with more [blessings and favors]. 59. But the wrongdoers among them exchanged what they were told to say for another utterance, and so We descended upon the wrongdoers punishment from the sky for their transgression.
At the end of the appointed forty year term, Allah granted the Children of Israel victory over Goliath and his army and granted them Jerusalem as a place of residence and a land where they could settle and live in dignity. Again, they were told to eat freely of the citys foods and were directed to enter the citys gates prostrating to Allah and asking forgiveness so that He may forgive their sins and further reward the righteous among them in both this life and in the Hereafter1. Most importantly, they were to seek forgiveness for their refusal to fight when ordered to during the time of Moses . Far from being appreciative, however, and rather than be thankful and
1. Al-Jazaairy. vol. 1: 60

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obedient for these and numerous past favors, the Jews continued their blatant transgression and their disobedience towards Allahs commands. Not only did they refuse to ask for forgiveness, they even went so far as to ridicule Allahs command by substituting what they were told to say for another word that had another meaning altogether1. Moreover, they refused to enter the city prostrating, and instead entered sliding along their buttocks in mockery and scorn of Allahs command. For this abhorrent evil and atrocious behavior, Allah descended upon them punishment from the skies in the form of a plague, leaving many of them dead. In this incident was a lesson and an example for generations to come, if only they would contemplate Allahs signs2.

1. The word they were ordered to say was, Hita which means forgive our deeds. Instead, they exchanged this word for Habba or Hinta which means grain seed and has nothing to do with that with what they were ordered to say. Instead, this was really just another act of flagrant disobedience and disrespect (ibid). 2. ibid

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60. And remember the time Moses prayed for water for his people, and so We replied, Strike the rock with your staff. And so there gushed forth twelve springs; each people knew their designated spring. We said, Eat and drink of what We have provided you, and do not strive to cause the worst kind of corruption upon the Earth.

61. And remember when you said, O Moses, we cannot bear to eat of only one kind of food, so ask your Lord to bring forth of what the Earth grows - of its legumes, cucumbers, garlic, lentils and onions. He [Moses] said, Would you exchange what is good for what is lesser? Descend to any town and therein you will find what you ask for. And so they were covered in disgrace and humiliation and gained only the wrath of Allah. That is because they disbelieved in Allahs signs [and verses] and used to kill the messengers without just cause. That is because they disobeyed and used to transgress.

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62. Indeed, those who believe [in the Prophet] and those who were Jews, and those who were Christians and those who were Sabians all those who believe in Allah and the Last Day and do righteous deeds shall find their reward with their Lord, and will not fear nor will they grieve.

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60. And remember the time Moses prayed for water for his people, and so We replied, Strike the rock with your staff. And so there gushed forth twelve springs; each people knew their designated spring. We said, Eat and drink from what We have provided you, and do not strive to cause the worst kind of corruption upon the Earth. 61. And remember when you said, O Moses, we cannot bear to eat of only one kind of food, so ask your Lord to bring forth of what the earth grows - of its legumes, cucumbers, garlic, lentils and onions. He [Moses] said, Do you exchange what is good for what is lesser? Descend to any town and therein you will find what you ask for. And so they were covered in disgrace and humiliation and gained only the wrath of Allah. That is because they disbelieved in Allahs signs [and verses] and used to kill the messengers without just cause. That is because they disobeyed and used to transgress.
Allah reminds the Jews of the moment Moses prayed for water so that they might drink thereof and cure their thirst in the scorching desert heat. Allah ordered Moses to strike a rock with his staff, upon which twelve springs immediately gushed forth. Each spring was allocated to one of the twelve Tribes of Israel so that they would not argue or quarrel over a single drinking place and would, therefore, be able to drink comfortably and easily. Allah tells the Tribes to eat of the manna and quails he had provided them and to drink of the water he had brought forth. Allah further tells them that they are not to return such favors with sin and corruption1. After having eaten of the abundant foods mentioned and after drinking from the water Allah had miraculously caused to gush forth from the rock, the Children of Israel claimed to grow tired of eating the same kinds of food and so asked Moses that he call upon Allah to bring forth, from the earth,
1. Ibn Katheer/ Ahmed Shakir, vol. 1: 109

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other foods like vegetables, cucumbers and garlic. In rebuttal and disdain of this request, Moses asked them chidingly what sense there was in trading what Allah had bestowed upon them, (referring to the manna and everything that the term includes such as honey, truffles and bread, and such as the quails and abundant gushing water) with food that is readily available in any town or city and is incomparable to the delightful foods graciously bestowed upon them. Because the Children of Israels desire to trade what was superior for what was inferior evidenced their impatience and ingratitude for Allahs favors and their belittlement of His commands, it was only fitting that their punishment should reflect their crime. They were thus shrouded in humiliation and disgrace for their belittlement, disparagement and ridicule, and incurred only the wrath of Allah. Allah mentions two fundamental reasons for why they incurred His wrath. First, their disobedience towards Allah by means of rejecting His signs and verses; and secondly, transgression that took the terrible form of murdering Allahs messengers. This verse (2:61) shows that sinning often leads to more sinning, and that falling into one sin can lead to falling into more sins of progressively severe degrees. Indeed, a single moment where one is merely unmindful of Allah may lead to a minor sin, which may, in turn, lead to a major sin, which might lead to different forms of innovation1 and then to outright unbelief and the rejection of faith. This was the slippery slope down which the Children of Israel slid, always sinking to deeper and more serious forms of transgression and disobedience. It is again important to note that those being addressed in the previous verses are the Jews who lived at the time the Quran was being revealed, and that while the actions mentioned are those of their predecessors, Allah attributes these actions to them (i.e. the descendants). This understanding carries a number of important insights, including: - The Jews at the time of the Prophet used to praise and extol themselves claiming to be better or of higher status than the Prophet and those
1. Innovations, in this context, refers to unlegislated creedal beliefs or acts of worship.

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who believed in him. Allah thus, reminded them of the manners of their predecessors, bringing to their attention what they already knew - including the fact that their predecessors were not people of virtue at all. The underlying message being: if these are the manners of the predecessors you claim to be proud of, then the manners of those who take pride in such ancestry can hardly be any better. - Favors bestowed upon a nations predecessors are to be counted as favors bestowed upon the descendants, just as favors bestowed upon fathers are considered favors bestowed upon sons. For this reason, Allah addresses them as though it were they who had been privileged with such blessings and endowments. - Addressing and associating the Children of Israel with the actions of their ancestors suggests that a nation that shares a religion is one whose members cooperate and work to assist each other for their own general benefit, much as though they lived in the same age. It also suggests that, in a sense, the actions of some are deemed to be the actions of the whole, as good deeds undertaken by some may benefit all1, just as evil committed by some may bring harm to all. - The Children of Israel at the time of the Prophet did not, for the most part, denounce or decry the actions of their predecessors; and to approve of sin is tantamount to assisting in it.

62. Indeed, those who believe [in the Prophet] and those who were Jews and those who were Christians and those who were Sabians all those who believe in Allah and the Last Day and do righteous deeds shall find their reward with their Lord, and will not fear nor will they grieve.
After having chastised the Children of Israel for their ingratitude and relentless disobedience, and so as to avoid any notion that the condemnation in the above verses applies to the Children of Israel in their entirety, Allah
1. Accounatbility for deeds is, however, individual; for no soul shall be held accountable for the deeds of another.

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makes clear that those who were righteous and accepted faith will not be held blameworthy. Rather, the righteous among them will be rewarded in the same way that the Believers among the Muslims, Christians and Sabians1 will be rewarded. It is important to note that this verse refers to those who lived and died before the time of the Prophet and does not refer to the Jews, Christians or Sabians who lived during or after him as, at that point, belief in the Prophet became mandatory. Also, in spite of the fact that the previous verses dealt specifically with the actions of the Jews, Allah here generalizes and includes all peoples so that it may be known that belief and righteous deeds are the unchanging conditions for Allahs reward throughout all ages. Hence, those among these nations who believed in Allah and worshiped Him without associating anything or anyone with Him, and those who believed in the prophets sent to them and believed in the Last Day while corroborating this belief with righteous deeds, are they who will be rewarded by Allah and will neither fear nor grieve. This, of course, lies in contrast to those who reject faith in Allah, His prophets and Judgment Day, and who will subsequently be covered in fear, grief and regret for such rejection. As just mentioned, this verse serves to establish that salvation and prosperity in this life and in the Hereafter are a result of faith and righteous deeds. Merely ascribing oneself to predecessors or to anything or anyone else, regardless of how pious or righteous they may have been, is, therefore, of no avail without these two fundamental conditions2.

1. One of the more authentic views on the creed of the Sabians is that they were a nation who lived in Mosul, Iraq and believed that none had the right to be worshipped other than Allah, and were neither Christians nor Jews (Al Jazaairy, vol. 1: 6). 2. Al-Jazaairy, vol. 1: 65

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63. And remember that We made a covenant with you [Children of Israel] and raised the Mountain above you saying, Take firmly what We have given you, and recite what it contains so that you may perhaps be of those who fear Allah [and hence escape His punishment]. 64. But then you turned your backs [on the covenant]. And had it not been for Allahs favor and mercy upon you, you would certainly have been among the bereft. 65. And you, indeed, know well the story of those who violated the Sabbath among you, and that [cursing them for their crime] We said, Become, you, despicable monkeys! 66. And so we caused this [their curse and punishment] to be a lesson and warning for those who were present and those who would follow, and an admonishment for those who fear Allah.

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63. And remember that We took your covenant and raised the Mountain above you saying, Take firmly what We have given you, and recite what it contains so that you may perhaps be of those who fear Allah [and hence escape His punishment]. 64. But then you turned your backs [on the covenant]. And had it not been for Allahs favor and mercy upon you, you would certainly have been among the bereft.
Allah returns to reminding the Children of Israel of their past and that they had pledged to believe in Him and His prophets and to worship Him alone without associating anyone with Him1. Here, Allah mentions the time He made a covenant which embodied the above stipulations (faith and righteous deeds) with the Children of Israel, and raised Mount Sinai over their heads, threatening to bring it down upon them if they did not accept the Torah, recite it and adhere to its commands. This covenant was made only for their own benefit, as by adhering to it and obeying Allahs commands, they would become more pious or fearful of Allah, (see 2:2 for an explanation of the word, muttaqoon) and, hence, save themselves from Allahs punishment. The Children of Israel, however, made this covenant only to violate it soon thereafter, and thereby rendered themselves susceptible to the severest possible punishment from Allah. In spite of their transgression, and by virtue of Allahs grace and mercy, Allah allowed them the opportunity to repent for their actions and to save themselves from His punishment2.

65. And you, indeed, know well the story of those who violated the Sabbath among you; and that [cursing them for their crime] We said, Become, you, despicable monkeys! 66. And so We caused this [their curse and punishment] to be a
1. Ibn Katheer/ Ahmed Shakir, vol.1: 11 2. Adawy, vol. 1: 591

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lesson and warning for those who were present and those who would follow, and an admonishment for those who fear Allah.
Saturday, or the Sabbath, was a day that Allah had commanded the Children of Israel to respect and revere, and so prohibited them from certain activities - including fishing - in honor of it. In these verses Allah reminds the Children of Israel of a seaside town that was once inhabited by their ancestors and which, owing to the continual disobedience and transgression of its residents, was tested and tried by Allah. The nature of this trial was such that Allah caused the fish they sought to catch to become abundant and plentiful on Saturdays, to the extent that they could be seen leaping about by the shore before the eyes of the townspeople. On the rest of the weekdays, when they were allowed to fish, Allah caused the fish to disappear back into the sea so that the fishermen would find none at all. In attempting to work around this prohibition, and in an attempt to benefit from the abundance of fish on Saturdays, some of the townspeople set out to dig troughs and lay nets on Friday, so that on the following day the fish would fall into the troughs and be caught in the nets. The catch would then be collected by the fishermen on Sunday. This cunning means of violating Allahs prohibition would then become prevalent among them. For this violation, Allah disgraced them, causing them to become contemptible and lowly monkeys so that those who witnessed the incident and their contemporaries would take heed, and so that later generations would be warned against similar acts of transgression. This incident serves as an admonition for those who fear Allah, for it is only those who fear Him who truly contemplate His signs and actions, while those who do not fear Allah seldom benefit from such lessons and examples at all.

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67. And remember that Moses said to his people, Verily, Allah orders you to slaughter a cow. They said, Do you mock us?! He said, I seek refuge in Allah against being of the ignorant.

68. They said, Ask your Lord to make clear to us what kind of cow it is. He said, He says it is a cow neither old nor young, but of average age; and so do what you have been ordered to do. 69. They said, Ask your Lord to make clear to us what color it is. He said, He says it is a yellow cow, bright is its color, and a joy to beholders. 70. They said, Ask your Lord to make clear to us what kind of cow it is. For indeed, all cows appear similar to us. And if you make this clear, we will certainly - Allah willing - be guided [to doing what you ask].


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71. He said, It is a cow not made subservient such as to plow the land or water the fields, it is unblemished and untainted [with any other color]. They said, Only now have you come with the truth, and so they slaughtered it, and nearly did they not slaughter it. 72. And remember that you killed a person and then disputed concerning his matter. But Allah exposes what you suppress. 73. And so we said, Strike him with a portion of it [the cow]. Thus Allah brings the dead to life and shows you His signs so that you might perhaps attain understanding.

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74. Then, after this, your hearts hardened so that they became like rock and even harder than that. For, indeed, among rocks are those through which rivers gush forth. And, indeed, among them are those that split asunder so that water flows from within them. And, indeed, among them are those that tumble down for fear of Allah. And Allah is not unmindful of what you do.

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67. And remember that Moses said to his people, Verily, Allah orders you to slaughter a cow. They said, Do you mock us?! He said, I seek refuge in Allah against being of the ignorant. 68. They said, Ask your Lord to make clear to us what kind of cow it is. He said, He says it is a cow neither old nor young, but of average age; and so do what you have been ordered to do. 69. They said, Ask your Lord to make clear to us what color it is. He said, He says it is a yellow cow, bright is its color, and a joy to beholders. 70. They said, Ask your Lord to make clear to us what kind of cow it is, for indeed, all cows appear similar to us, and if you tell us this, we will certainly - Allah willing - be guided [to doing what you ask]. 71. He said, It is a cow not made subservient such as to plow the land or water the fields, it is unblemished and untainted [with any other color]. They said, Only now have you come with the truth, and so they slaughtered it, and nearly did they not slaughter it.
Allah reminds the Children of Israel of an incident where a man among their predecessors was murdered, and of the disputes and arguments that ensued between them with regards to the identity of the killer. This matter became increasingly grave, and had Allah not exposed the truth, much evil in the form of strife and conflict would have befallen them. In proceeding to expose the murderer - and in accordance with Allahs command - Moses ordered his people to slaughter a cow. A part of the cow would then be used to strike the corpse of the dead man, upon which Allah would resurrect him so that he could identify the killer before dying again. Rather than obey promptly, as they should have done, the Children of Israel were only too quick to oppose their Prophet, and exhibited even more ill-manners and lack of respect by replying, Do you mock us?!.

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Moses response, I seek refuge in Allah against being of the ignorant., indicates that idle talk or talk that is of no benefit, including the mockery of others, are characteristics of the ignorant and the foolish. A wise person, on the other hand, is one who understands that to ridicule or deride others constitutes a flaw in ones character, ones intellect and ones religious conviction. Rather, to be favored by Allah and endowed with better judgment than others is something that necessitates thanking Allah for such favors as well as showing mercy and kind treatment towards Allahs servants. When the Jews saw that Moses command was genuine and not mere folly, they asked him a string of frivolous questions regarding the kind of cow he wanted them to slaughter. This was nothing more than blatant stubbornness and refusal to comply with what they had been ordered to do. As punishment for their disobedience and for their desire to make things more difficult that need be, Allah would, in turn, make things more difficult for them by responding to their vain inquiries with answers that served to make the choice of cow more and more limited. And so when, at first, any cow would have done, the cow they were ultimately ordered to slaughter was neither too old nor too young, a bright yellow color that was pleasing to look at, unblemished and untainted with any other color, and not taken to plow the land nor water the fields. Such was the stringency they effectively inflicted upon themselves as a result of their own stubbornness and lack of respect for their Prophets instructions. At last, and once Moses had described the cows qualities they said, Only now have you come with the truth, meaning, only now have you made what you want plain to us. This, of course, is ignorance on their part as Moses had come to them with a plain and simple directive the first time. Indeed, had they not said, Allah willing, they would not have been guided to slaughtering the required cow, even at that point. They then proceeded to search for a cow that matched the final description, something they did with great difficulty. Additionally, once they had found the animal, they slaughtered it reluctantly, as indicated by the words, and nearly did they not slaughter it. There are a few opinions reported for the reasons behind this reluctance, including that, being such a unique animal,

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the owner requested a hefty price for it - something they did not want to pay. A second opinion was that those responsible for the murder feared being exposed (it is reported that the body was taken to another town in order to thwart efforts to arrive at the truth). Their recurring tendency and inclination to disobey Allah and the commands of His prophet is yet another potential reason for this disinclination, and because none of these motives are mutually exclusive, its quite possible that they are all legitimate explanations. In fact, this is the opinion held by Imam At-Tabari1.

72. And remember that you killed a person and then disputed concerning his matter. But Allah exposes what you suppress. 73. And so we said, Strike him with a portion of it [the cow]. Thus Allah brings the dead to life and shows you His signs so that you might perhaps attain understanding.
While these two verses appear to begin relating another incident, they are, in fact, referring to the story just mentioned. One proposed explanation for this kind of repitition is that it serves to separate one blameworthy action - their responding to Moses command with frivolous and vain questions - from another action, namely, the murder of one of their people. In this manner, Allah further emphasizes to the Jews that the predecessors they take so much pride in were far from being the praiseworthy people they alleged them to be2. Thus Allah brought to light what they had tried to conceal and suppress, exposing the identity of the assassin while at the same time presenting them with clear proof that just as He was able to raise one man from the dead, He is able to resurrect everyone else on the Day of Judgment. Such additional plain evidence from Allah necessitated that the Children of Israel understand and
1. Adawy, vol. 2: 11 2. ibid, vol.2: 12-1

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recognize Allahs ability to resurrect them and call them to answer for their actions, which, in turn, meant that they should have taken heed and given up the deeds that only served to bring them harm.

74. Then, after this, your hearts hardened so that they became like rock and even harder than that. For, indeed, among rocks are those through which rivers gush forth. And, indeed, among them are those that split asunder so that water flows from within them. And, indeed, among them are those that tumble down for fear of Allah. And Allah is not unmindful of what you do.
The hardening of the heart refers to its inability to absorb things of benefit such as Allahs verses, signs and anything else that might be spiritually beneficial. This hardening is a direct result of sin, unbelief and all kinds of disobedience, and is one of the worst worldly punishments one might be afflicted with. Conversely, the softening of the heart is one of the most gratifying rewards and precious fruits earned through faith, the practice of righteous deeds and abstention from sin. Blatant disregard for favors and signs, including the resurrection of a dead man before their very eyes, led the wrongdoers among the Children of Israel to become hard-hearted and unresponsive to warnings or guidance of any sort. Their lack of receptiveness was particularly inappropriate in view of the fact that such obvious evidence should have served to soften their hearts, and should have caused them to obey and submit to Allahs commands instead of the opposite. In describing the hardness of their hearts, Allah likens some of them to rock or stone, while others are described as being even harder or worse than that. Notably, while materials like lead and iron are made softer through heating, rock is not affected in the same manner, and so this choice of metaphor is particularly indicative of just how hard their hearts had become. Moreover, among the different kinds of rocks Allah has created, there are

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those from which rivers gush forth and others from which water and springs flow, and still others that fall or collapse out of fear of Allah (as did the mountain that Allah revealed Himself to as a sign for Moses (7:1)). All these attributes illustrate that even rocks are not as rigid as were the hearts of the incessantly disobedient transgressors among the Children of Israel. Allah then closes the verse by warning them and stating that He is aware of all they say and do, and so no matter how major or minor their deeds may be, they will be recompensed for them.

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75. Do you [Muslims] then still yearningly anticipate that they [the Jews] will believe in what was revealed to you, even as you know that a group of them heard the words of Allah and then altered them deliberately after having understood them? 76. And upon meeting the Believers they say, We have believed. But when alone, they say to each other, Do you relate to them what Allah has made known to you [in the Torah] so that they may use it against you before your Lord [on Judgment Day], do you not have sense?! 77. Do they not know that Allah knows what they conceal and what they reveal? 78. And among them are those who are unlearned and know nothing of the Scripture, except that they recite it; and they only make assumptions.


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79. And so woe be to those who write [i.e. fabricate] the scriptures with their own hands and then say, This is from Allah, so that they may purchase with it a meagerly gain. And so woe be to them for what their hands write, and woe be to them for what they gain! 80. And they [the Jews] say, Hellfire will not touch us except for a limited number of days. Say, Have you made a covenant with Allah [that ratifies this claim]? For Allah never breaks a covenant. Or is it that you say regarding Allah what you have no knowledge of? 81. Rather, those who commit sin [i.e. shirk], and thus become encompassed by their wrongdoing are they who are the dwellers of Hellfire; in it they shall abide forever. 82. But those who believe and do righteous deeds are they who are the dwellers of Paradise; in it they shall abide forever.

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75. Do you [Muslims] then still yearningly anticipate that they [the Jews] will believe in what was revealed to you, even as you know that a group of them heard the words of Allah and then altered them deliberately after having understood them?
This verse dashes any false hope the Believers may have had of bringing many of the People of the Scriptures to believe in the Prophet and the Quran. The argument here is as follows: These are a people who altered and distorted their own scriptures after having learned and understood them. They also gave their scriptures meanings contrary to those meant by Allah and then strove to mislead people into thinking that they were from Allah. If this was the manner in which they dealt with their own scriptures - scriptures they regarded as a source of pride and viewed as being the fundamentals of their religion - how could you come to expect that they might believe in and acknowledge what was revealed to you?

76. And should they meet the Believers they say, We have believed. But when alone, they say to each other, Do you relate to them what Allah has made known to you [in the Torah] so that they may use it against you before your Lord [on Judgment Day], do you not have sense?! 77. Do they not know that Allah knows what they conceal and what they reveal?
These verses deal, in part, with the Hypocrites among the Jews, i.e. those who outwardly expressed faith in the Prophet , but inwardly concealed their unbelief. Allah makes such evil actions known and exposes that whenever in secrecy, the leaders among the Jews would condemn those who deceptively expressed their belief in the Prophet and say, Do you acknowledge to the Believers what Allah has made known to you in the Torah concerning the description of Muhammed and the truthfulness of his message so that they may use your

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acknowledgment as proof against you on Judgment Day?!1 This sort of reasoning is a direct result of the Jewish creed that likens Allah to human Judges, alleging that it is possible to defeat Allah using crafty or devious arguments or to hide information from Him. This abhorrent form of reasoning also asserts that Allah is prone to doing something and then regretting it as well as other allegations that are all completely unbefitting of Allah and tantamount to kufr. Allah then refutes this absurd logic and states that regardless of whether or not they hide their beliefs, He knows all they reveal and all they conceal. In fact, many of their evil tendencies are exposed by Allah throughout the Quran, just as they are exposed in these verses.

78. And among them are those who are unlearned and know nothing of the Scripture, except that they recite it; and they only make assumptions.
Allah here makes reference to the common folk among the People of the Scriptures who have no real knowledge of the revealed scriptures and do nothing more than recite them without any understanding, blindly following their learned men in whatever they say. (Other scholars have interpreted, Ila amaniyya (translated here as: except that they recite it to mean, except to follow their own desires, without knowledge or understanding.)2 In this past group of verses, Allah mentions different groups among the People of the Scriptures including: their scholars, their common folk, their Hypocrites, and, finally, those not given to hypocrisy among them. And so while their scholars refused to part with the falsehood they had adopted, the common folk only followed their scholars in this falsehood
1. Al Jazaairy, vol. 2: 7-7 and As-Sadee 2. Adwaa-ul-Bayan, vol. 1: 70

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without any understanding or knowledge. With such biased dispositions, what reason could the Believers then have for thinking that the Jews might come to acknowledge the message sent with Prophet Muhammed ?

79. And so woe be to those who write [i.e. fabricate] the scriptures with their own hands and then say, This is from Allah, so that they may purchase with it a meagerly gain. And so woe be to them for what their hands write, and woe be to them for what they gain!
This is a warning to those among the People of the Scriptures who distort Allahs books and thereby fabricate falsehood and conceal the truth for the purpose of material and worldly gain. Indeed, the entire world with everything that it contains is a meagerly and miserable gain if its price is eternal hell. Those guilty of such distortion and responsible for such fabrications wrong their people in two different ways: First, by leading them astray through distorting and altering their religious texts; and secondly, by using this distortion to cheat and deceptively misappropriate the wealth of others. Indeed, to take the wealth of others in this manner is worse than merely stealing it or taking it by force. Allah, thus, vows that such evildoers will be inflicted with the most terrible punishment for what their hands write and for what they gain thereby. Concerning the verses starting with, Do you [Muslims] then yearningly anticipate up until the end of the last verse mentioned, Imam Ibn Taymiyyah explains, Allah has denounced those who distort His words and take them out of their proper context, and this necessarily includes interpreting the Quran and Sunnah based on preconceived false innovations (for the purpose of seeking to defend such false practices and beliefs). Allah also denounces those who know nothing of the Scripture, except that they recite it and this includes those who recite the Quran without considering or pondering its meanings and do nothing more than merely utter its words. Further, these verses also make reference to those who script what is contrary to what Allah has revealed and then claim that what they have done is from Allah for the purpose of making worldly gains. Examples of this that pertain

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to the Islamic nation include false claims made by some that the Islamic ruling on such and such an issue is so and so (i.e. to take verses and Prophetic reports out of context), or to say this is what the Quran means here or this is what the Sunnah means there, or this is what the predecessors and scholars have said, or these are the fundamentals of the religion that must be adhered to at both individual and communal levels. Additionally, these verses refer to those who conceal what they have in terms of knowledge of the Quran and Sunnah so that it may not be used against them by adversaries who speak the truth. This trait is widespread among those who follow only their whims and vain desires such as the Raffidi Shia, the Jahmiyyah and other groups who forsake religious texts for their own opinions and inclinations. Such inclinations are also present, albeit to a lesser degree, among those who falsely claim to be scholars (daru taarud al aql wal naql, vol. 1: 77-78, verified by Muhammed Rashaad Salem as noted in Tafsir-us-Sadee).

80. And they [the Jews] say, Hellfire will not touch us except for a limited number of days. Say, Have you made a covenant with Allah [that ratifies this claim]? For Allah never breaks a covenant. Or is it that you say regarding Allah what you have no knowledge of?
After having mentioned such evil actions as the distortion of texts, the concealment of truth, and hypocrisy, Allah goes on to show that - in addition to such deception - the Jews praise themselves and claim that they will be granted salvation from Allahs punishment, save only a few days that they will spend in Hellfire. In making this claim, they become guilty of two fundamental crimes: the practice of evil, and the false allegation that they are largely safe from punishment in spite of this evil. Because this allegation is completely unfounded and frivolous, Allah tells his Prophet to confront them and ask if they had, made a covenant with Allah affirming this claim. Because, of course, they had made no such covenant, the truth is that they only say regarding Allah things they have no knowledge of and no right to say.1
1. Al Jazaairy, vol. 1: 76

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Sheikh Sadee explains that the word covenant in the above verse means the covenant requiring one to believe in Allah and His prophets, and to obey His commandments. Based on this interpretation, the verse reaffirms that only through belief in Allah and His prophets (as well all other fundamental articles of faith), and through obedience to Allahs commands could the People of the Scriptures (or anyone else) hope for safety from Allahs punishment. This, of course, is true, regardless of whether or not that is the intended meaning in this particular verse.

81. Rather, those who commit sin [i.e. shirk] and become encompassed by their wrongdoing are they who are the dwellers of Hellfire; in it they shall abide forever. 82. But those who believe and do righteous deeds are they who are the dwellers of Paradise; in it they shall abide forever.
In continuing to refute the false claim of the Jews and in making a more general statement that applies to everyone, including Jews, Allah states that the true discerning factor between the inhabitants of Hell and those of Paradise is belief. Those who refuse to believe and choose to reject faith are, therefore, destined for eternal Hell, regardless of what they claim or allege. On the other hand, those who believe in Allah, His angels, His books, His prophets and the Last Day, and those who corroborate this faith with righteous deeds shall be granted eternal Paradise. It is, again, important to bear in mind that a righteous deed in Islam is only acceptable to Allah if it fulfills two conditions: that it is done purely and sincerely for the sake of Allah, and that it is done in accordance with the teachings of the Prophet .

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83. And remember that We made a covenant with the Children of Israel saying: Worship no one other than Allah and show kindness towards your parents, your kin, orphans and the poor, and say to others what is virtuous; and establish Prayers and pay Zakat. But you then turned your backs [on your covenant] in disobedience, except a small number of you. 84. And remember We made a covenant with you stipulating that you not shed one anothers blood, nor drive one another out of your homes. You then ratified this covenant and bore witness to it. 85. But then it was, indeed, you who killed one another and drove a group among yourselves out of their abodes, conspiring against them sinfully and unjustly.


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And when some among you were taken prisoner [by an enemy], you paid their ransom [for it was unlawful not to pay it]. [But just as it was unlawful not to ransom them,] it was also unlawful that you drive your own people from their dwellings. Do you then believe in parts of the Scripture but disbelieve in other parts? And what recompense is there, then, for those of you who do this [believe in parts of the scripture while rejecting others], other than disgrace in this life and the severest possible punishment on the Day of Resurrection? For Allah is not unmindful of what you do. 86. It is they [those guilty of such violations] who have purchased the life of this world with that of the Hereafter; and so their punishment will not be alleviated, nor will they be saved.

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83. And remember that we made a covenant with the Children of Israel saying: Worship no one other than Allah and show kindness towards your parents, your kin, orphans and the poor, and say to others what is virtuous; and establish Prayers and pay Zakat. But you then turned your backs [on your covenant] in disobedience, except a small number of you.
Allah returns to reminding the Jews of the actions of their predecessors. Specific mention is made of the time they broke a covenant that entailed some of the most fundamental principles of their religion. The commandments mentioned in the verse form the common foundations of all legislations decreed by Allah for every time and place, and are, therefore, not subject to abrogation. For this reason, Allah specifically tells the Muslims to abide by these same commandments in other verses of the Quran (e.g., :6). It is important to note that in this verse, Allah doesnt state that the Children of Israel were simply ordered to do what He commanded, but rather states that a covenant was made with them that entailed these commandments. This was due to their incessant disobedience and overwhelming inclination to defy Allahs orders, and so binding covenants or oaths became a necessary means of bringing them to accept such commandments. And so the first commandment was that they should worship Allah alone and that they not associate anything or anyone with Him. This, of course, is the fundamental pillar of Allahs religion in every age. No deed is acceptable, or has ever been acceptable without this pillar as its condition. The Prophet has explained this privilege as being the fundamental right that Allah retains over His servants. Allah then commands that ones parents be dealt with kindly and compassionately; and this entails kindness in both words and actions. This is not just a prohibition against mistreatment of any form, but rather a prohibition against the mere absence of kind treatment, even if it isnt as serious as mistreatment. Hence, while the outright mistreatment of ones parents is an even greater sin and evil, simply neglecting to make the effort to treat ones parents with kindness is also sinful, but to a lesser extent.

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Likewise, kindness to ones relatives, to orphans and to the poor is also an obligation, and there are countless means by which one might express such benevolence. Allah then makes a more general order requiring that all people be dealt with kindly and that they be told of all that might bring them benefit and well-being. Examples of benefitting others, even through mere words, include directing them to enjoin good and to avoid evil, teaching them what is beneficial, and greeting them with salaam (the form of greeting legislated in Islam). In addition to this, simple things like smiling, the avoidance of needless frowning and countless other forms of kindness all serve to develop a sense of good will between Allahs servants. All these directives indicate that the opposites of such manners, including impoliteness or obscenity - whether such inappropriate behavior is directed towards Believers or Unbelievers - are prohibited. Indeed, among the finest manners with which a human being may adorn himself is purity of words and actions, and abstention from obscenity, disrespect, offensiveness and undue enmity. Rather, a person should possess manners that are honorable. One should also be tolerant, complimenting and patient with regards to what he experiences in the way of harm from others. Above all, one must only seek the pleasure of Allah and the attainment of His reward in adhering to such manners and in observing these directives. Allah then mentions that He ordered the Children of Israel to establish Prayers and to pay Zakat. As mentioned, Prayers are a manifestation of sincerity towards the Creator, while Zakat symbolizes benevolence towards His creation. Rather than obey the commands that were clearly ordained for their own good and adhere to the directives that they were bound to on account of their oath and covenant, the Jews turned their backs on what they had sworn to do. This was only further disregard for their vows and additional disobedience towards Allah. While such disobedience embodied the actions of the majority, Allah mentions that among them were a righteous few who upheld their oath and faithfully did what was required of them.

84. And remember We made a covenant with you, stipulating that

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you not shed one anothers blood nor drive one another out of your abodes. You then ratified this covenant and bore witness to it. 85. But then it was, indeed, you who killed one another and drove a group among yourselves out of their abodes, conspiring against them sinfully and unjustly. And when some among you were taken prisoner [by an enemy], you paid their ransom [for it was unlawful not to pay it]. [But just as it was unlawful not to ransom them,] it was also unlawful that you drive your own people from their dwellings. Do you then believe in parts of the Scripture but disbelieve in other parts? And what recompense is there, then, for those of you who do this [believe in parts of the scripture while rejecting others], other than disgrace in this life and the infliction with the severest possible punishment on the Day of Resurrection? For Allah is not unmindful of what you do. 86. It is they [those guilty of such violations] who have purchased the life of this world with that of the Hereafter; and so their punishment will not be alleviated, nor will they be saved.
The covenant Allah mentions He made with the Children of Israel in these verses included the following conditions: - That they not kill one another - That they not drive one another out of their homes - That they pay whatever ransom necessary to free those taken as prisoners by the enemy The deeds mentioned in these verses all refer to the actions of those Jews who lived at the time of the Prophet . Shortly before the revelation of the Quran, the two main pagan tribes of Madinah, Aws and Khazraj, would often battle, as fighting took place regularly in the pre-Islamic era.

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When the Jews came to Madinah (also before revelation) they came in three different tribes, Banu-Quraytha, Banu-un-Nadeer and Banu-Qaynaqa. Each of these three tribes then allied itself with one of the two tribes of Madinah, so that whenever fighting broke out between the two tribes, the Jewish tribes that had affiliated themselves with either of the two factions would fight each other alongside their respective Madinite allies. In this manner, they negated the oath they had taken not to kill one another and not to drive one another out of their homes. Once the fighting had ceased, the Jews would then pay whatever ransom was required to free the captives in the hands of their enemy; and this they did in accordance with their Scripture and covenant. Hence, while Allah had ordained that they abide by the abovementioned three conditions, they chose only to abide by the last of the three commands. Allah, therefore, condemned them for picking and choosing which of His commands they wished to adhere to, saying, Do you then believe in parts of the Scripture, but disbelieve in another parts? This verse is evidence that faith or belief (eman) necessitates obeying Allahs commands and practicing what He has ordered us to do, just as it is evidence for the fact that abstaining from what Allah has prohibited is also an integral part of belief. (I.e. Allah says, Do you then believe in parts of the Scripture, but disbelieve in other parts? And does not say, Do you then do part of what you are ordered to do, but forsake other parts? Allah then says, And what recompense is there, then, for those of you who do this [believe in parts of the scripture while rejecting others], other than disgrace in this life. This part of the verse was actualized when Allah ordered the Prophet to fight the Jews in the wars that ensued between them and the Muslims. And so while some of them were killed in these wars, others were taken as slaves, and others still were expelled or banished. They are then warned of an even worse punishment than this in the Hereafter, and Allah ends the verse by reminding them that He is aware of everything they do.

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Allah then exposes the motives behind their actions and says, It is they [those guilty of the above violations] who have purchased the life of this world with that of the Hereafter. The Jews of Madinah falsely assumed that in order to avoid humiliation or disgrace, it was necessary to align themselves with one of the Madinite tribes even if that meant negating the covenant they had made with Allah. In this sense they, unwisely, opted to allow themselves to become subject to Allahs punishment in their effort to save themselves from that of His creation. In illustrating the gravity of this miscalculation, Allah describes the punishment they chose as being the severest possible punishment, and mentions that such punishment will not be alleviated and that they will not be saved from it. Rather, their chosen punishment will be eternal, unrelenting and constant in its severity.

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87. And indeed We conferred upon Moses the Scripture, and sent messengers after him. And we provided Jesus, the Son of Mary, with clear signs and aided him with the Ruhul-Qudus. Is it each time a prophet is sent to you with what you do not fancy that you arrogantly reject it? For you disbelieved in some [of the prophets sent] and killed others. 88. And they [the Jews] said, Our hearts are sealed. Rather, it is Allah who cursed them for their rejection of faith, for little faith do they have.

89. And when there came to them a Scripture from Allah corroborating what was revealed to them - and in spite of the fact they used to ask Allah to grant them victory over the Unbelievers - and so when there came to them what they recognized, they rejected it. And so be the curse of Allah upon the Unbelievers!

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90. Miserable is the price they sold their own selves for when they rejected what Allah had sent down, only out of resentment that Allah should send down of His favor upon whom He chooses of His servants. And so they incurred wrath upon wrath; and prepared for the Unbelievers is a humiliating torment. 91. And if it is said to them, Believe in what Allah has sent down, they reply, Rather, we will believe in what was sent down to us, and they reject what was revealed afterwards, though it is the truth that corroborates what they hold [the Torah]. Say, Why then did you kill Allahs messengers in the past, if indeed you are Believers?

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92. And, indeed, Moses was sent to you with clear signs, and yet you took the calf as a god in his absence and you were wrongdoers [in what you did]. 93. And remember that We made a covenant with you, and raised the Mountain [Mount Sinai] above you saying, Hold firmly to what We have given you, and listen. They replied, We have listened and we will disobey. And they absorbed the love of the calf into their hearts because of their unbelief. Say, Heinous is that which your belief commands you to do, if you are, indeed, Believers.

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87. And indeed we conferred upon Moses the Scripture, and sent messengers after him. And we provided Jesus, the Son of Mary, with clear signs and aided him with the Ruh-ul-Qudus. Is it each time a prophet is sent to you [Jews] with what you do not fancy that you arrogantly reject it? For you disbelieved in some [of the prophets sent] and killed others.
Allah reminds the Children of Israel of how He favored them by sending Moses to them and by revealing the Torah to him so that he and the prophets sent after him - leading up to Jesus - may rule in accordance to it and adhere to it. In addition to this, Jesus was also given clear signs (mentioned in detail in other chapters such as Aal-Imran and Al Maidah) as evidence of his prophethood and of the authenticity of what he was sent with. Allah also states that Jesus was aided or strengthened by the Ruh-ul Qudus which refers to the Angel Gabriel in most Quranic explanations, but has also been explained to mean the faith that Allah grants His servants to strengthen them. However, rather than take heed and give consideration to the directives of the messengers and the revelation sent with them, the Children of Israel arrogantly rejected revelation as it did not conform to what they desired or fancied, and chose, instead, to follow their own inclinations, thereby rejecting and turning away from the guidance sent to them by Allah. Indeed, their evil drove them so far as to accuse some of Allahs messengers of lying, and even to murdering others.

88. And they [the Jews] said, Our hearts are sealed. Rather, it is Allah who cursed them for their rejection of faith, for little faith do they have.
In attempting to provide justification for their rejection of faith, the Jews alleged that their hearts were sealed or unreceptive to anything the Prophet told them, and that they really could not understand what he was saying. This, of course, was a mere pretext for their continued stubborness, and for this reason Allah states, Rather, it is Allah who cursed them for their

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rejection of faith, thus revealing the real reason for why they were unable to accept the message of the Prophet . Allahs curse also meant that they were bereft of His mercy - another grievous consequence of their rejection of faith.

89. And when there came to them a Scripture from Allah corroborating what was revealed to them - and in spite of the fact they used to ask Allah to grant them victory over the Unbelievers - so when there came to them what they recognized, they rejected it. And so be the curse of Allah upon the Unbelievers! 90. Miserable is the price they sold their own selves for when they rejected what Allah had sent down, only out of resentment that Allah should send down of His favor upon whom He chooses of His servants. And so they incurred wrath upon wrath; and prepared for the Unbelievers is a humiliating torment.
In spite of the fact that there came to the Jews a Scripture - the Quran - carried by the greatest of Allahs creation and last of His prophets, and containing that which corroborated the Torah, they rejected the Prophet out of envy and spite that Allah should choose a Messenger from a people other than theirs. Indeed, before the Prophet was sent, the Jews would threaten the Pagan Arabs by stating that a messenger was soon to be sent by Allah, and that they would fight them under his leadership. This was the level of certainty with which the Jews awaited the coming of the Prophet ; and yet, upon his arrival, and in being completely overcome with envy and hatred, they rejected him and the revelation sent with him. The incessant rejection of what they knew to be true, thereby earned them the curse of Allah as well as wrath upon wrath in this life. Worse still, there awaits them a humiliating torment in the Hereafter in the form of Hellfire and

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overwhelming, eternal grief for being deprived of Paradise. This, of course, was due punishment for their rejection of Allahs scriptures and messengers. In his Musnad, Imam Ahmed narrates that Salamah bin Salaamah Bin Waqsh, one of the companions who witnessed the Battle of Badr said, A short period of time before the Prophet was sent with the message of Islam, a Jewish neighbor of ours came out of his house one day and stood at a congregation of people from Bani Abd Al-Ash-hal. At that time I was the youngest of those present, and was lying down in a garment of mine in the place where my people were gathered. And so he (the Jewish neighbor) began to warn us and tell us of what was to come regarding the Resurrection, Judgment Day, the scales upon which deeds are weighed in the Hereafter, and of Paradise and Hell. All these things he described to a people who were, at the time, Pagans and did not believe in resurrection after death. After listening to him, the people said, Woe be to you! Do you really believe that people can be resurrected after they die and be sent to a place where Paradise and Hell exist, and then be recompensed for their deeds?! Yes, he replied. Salamah continued, And I swear by Allah that he said he wished he could be ransomed from the Fire of the Hereafter, even by being shut into the fiercest of furnaces in this life. Woe be to you! the people said, And what sign will there be to prove what you say? He replied, A Prophet who will be sent from yonder, and he pointed in the direction of Makkah and Yemen. And when will we see him? they asked. He looked at me and said, If this boy grows to be an old man, he will see him. Salamah said, I swear by Allah that after only a mere day and night had passed1, the Prophet was sent to us, and so we believed in him, while he
1. This may not refer to a literal day and night, but perhaps to a short period of time.

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(the Jewish neighbor) rejected and disbelieved in him out of disobedience and spiteful envy (as the Prophet was not from among the Children of Israel). And so the people said to him, Woe to you! Were you not the one who told us that the Prophet would come?! Yes, but that is not him, he replied.1

91. And if it is said to them, Believe in what Allah has sent down, they reply, Rather, we will believe in what was sent down to us, and they reject what was revealed afterwards, even though it is the truth that corroborates what they hold [the Torah]. Say, Why then did you kill Allahs messengers in the past, if indeed you are Believers?
Whenever the Jews were ordered to believe in the Quran, they refused and stated that they would only believe in what was revealed to them (meaning to Moses ). This, of course, lies contrary to what sincere faith necessarily dictates; namely, absolute belief in all Allahs scriptures and prophets. Indeed, to pick and choose which of Allahs books and prophets one wishes to believe in epitomizes unbelief and the rejection of faith. For this reason, Allah says in Suratun-Nisaa: Verily those who disbelieve in Allah and His messengers and seek to dissociate Allah from His messengers [by believing in Allah and disbelieving in His messengers] and by saying, We believe in some and reject others, and seek to take a path in between [belief and unbelief] It is they who are truly the Unbelievers; and We have prepared for the Unbelievers a humiliating torment. (:151-152) And so in the verse at hand, Allah responds to their refusal to believe in the Quran; first, by stating that the Quran is, the truth in all that it tells of, all it commands and all it prohibits. Unbelief in the Quran is, therefore,
1. This hadeeth was narrated by Imam Ahmed and classified as Hassan by Shaikh Muqbil in AsSaheeh Al Musnad mimma laysa fisaheehayn, hadeeth no. , pg 75.

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tantamount to unbelief in Allah Himself (as these are His words, His commands and His prohibitions). Allah also responds by telling them that the Quran corroborates what they hold, referring to the Torah. And so to reject the Quran is, essentially, to reject part of the Torah which tells of the coming of Prophet Muhammed and describes him so accurately, that upon seeing him, the Jews could identify him just as they could identify their own sons. Such verses indeed placed those who rejected the Prophet in quite a predicament as the legitimacy of what they had with them now depended on their affirmation of the Quran as the truth; just as their rejection of the Quran necessitated the invalidity of the Scripture they held. Allah further dispels the arguments made by the Jews, and challenges them to explain why they murdered Allahs past messengers if - as they claimed - they truly believed in them and what they were sent with? How could anyone who claims to truly believe in Allahs prophets be guilty of such an atrocity?

92. And, indeed, Moses was sent to you with clear signs, and yet you took the calf as a god in his absence and you were wrongdoers [in what you did].
This is continued evidence against the Jews and against the claim that they would accept only what was revealed to them. Because the single most important message of all prophets is that Allah should be worshipped alone and without partner, their taking the calf as a god in the absence of Moses was clearly a violation of this fundamental article of faith. How then could they claim to believe in what was revealed to them after having violated the very essence of it?

93. And remember that We had made a covenant with you and raised the Mountain [Mount Sinai] above you saying, Hold firmly to what We have given you, and listen. They replied, We have listened and we will disobey. And they absorbed the love of the calf into their hearts because of their unbelief. Say, Heinous is that which your belief commands you to do, if you

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are, indeed, Believers.


Allah reminds the Jews of the covenant He had made with them - a covenant that they would not ratify until Allah raised Mount Sinai above them and threatened to bring it down upon them if they did not comply. Allah reminds them of this and that they were told to listen and obey His commandments. But rather than submit to His decrees they chose to disobey and allowed their hearts to become filled with love for the worship of the calf. Are these then the actions of a believing people? The rejection of an awaited scripture that affirms the scriptures they held in their own hands? The murder of Allahs prophets? The deification of a calf in the absence of their Prophet and outward neglect for his commands and prohibitions? Blatant disregard for their covenant and the shameless rejection of what it stipulated? If these really are the actions dictated by a peoples faith, then, [h]einous is what their faith commands them to do, if indeed they have any faith at all.

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94. Say [O Prophet, to the Jews], If the dwelling place with Allah in the Hereafter [Paradise] is reserved for you, at the exclusion of everyone else, then pray for death if you are indeed truthful in what you claim. 95. And they will never pray for death, owing to what they have committed with their own hands. And Allah is all-knowing of what the wrongdoers do. 96. And indeed you will find that they are the most desirous of life - even more desirous than the Pagans. Any given one of them wishes that he could live for a thousand years. But it would not spare him his due punishment even if he were to live that long. And Allah is All-watchful of what they do.


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97. Say, Whoever is an enemy of Gabriel, [then let him perish in his fury], for it is he who descended it [the Quran] upon your heart with Allahs permission, corroborating what was sent before and as guidance and good tidings for the Believers. 98. Whoever is an enemy of Allah, His angels, His prophets, and Gabriel and Mikael, then Allah is indeed an enemy of the Unbelievers.

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94. Say [O Prophet, to the Jews], If the dwelling place with Allah in the Hereafter [Paradise] is reserved for you, at the exclusion of everyone else, then pray for death if you are indeed truthful in what you claim. 95. But they will never pray for it, owing to what they have committed with their owns hands. And Allah is All-knowing of what the wrongdoers do. 96. And indeed you will find that they are the most desirous of life even more desirous than the Pagans. Any given one of them wishes that he could live for a thousand years. But it would not spare him his due punishment even if he were to live that long. And Allah is All-watchful of what they do.
Among the false claims made by the Jews (and also the Christians, as is mentioned in verse 2:111) is that Paradise is reserved exclusively for them. Allah offers the Jews an opportunity to prove the validity of this claim and tells the Prophet to tell them to invoke Allah for death if they are indeed truthful in what they allege. If what they claim is true, then what could possibly be better than asking Allah for eternal Paradise? This challenge puts the Jews in a dilemma, as they were now caught between accepting the challenge and hence invoking Allah for death, on the one hand, or conceding that the Prophet was indeed the Prophet they had been waiting for and that he had come with the truth. But never would they ask Allah to bring death upon them, as they knew full well that death was the route by which they would be called to account for their rejection of faith and their sins. Instead, these are a people who are greedier for life than even the Pagans who believed in neither the Resurrection nor Judgment Day, nor the existence of Paradise or Hell. Far from seeking death, Jews hunger for a life that is a thousand years long. But even if they were to live that long, it would not avail them anything of the punishment that awaits them for their deeds; for Allah sees all that they do and will recompense them for their actions when the time comes.

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97. Say, Whoever is an enemy of Gabriel [then let him perish in his fury], for it is he who descended it [the Quran] upon your heart with Allahs permission, corroborating what was sent before, and as guidance and good tidings for the Believers. 98. Whoever is an enemy of Allah, His angels, His prophets, and Gabriel and Mikael, then Allah is indeed an enemy of the Unbelievers.
This verse was revealed when the Jews claimed that the reason for why they refused to accept the Prophet and the revelation sent with him was that it was revealed through the Angel Gabriel , and that had it been revealed through the Angel Mikael, theyd have been willing to accept it. Allah tells His Prophet to rebuff this arrogant, nonsensical and weak-minded claim and state to the Jews that Gabriel descended the Quran upon his (the Prophets ) heart in complete accordance with Allahs command. Gabriel is, therefore, purely a messenger of Allah and not someone who acts of his own accord. Weve already mentioned that all angels, including Gabriel, only act in accordance with Allahs command. It, therefore, makes no sense that a message be accepted from one angel and not another; especially when that message is ultimately from Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. The Jews are further reminded that the Quran confirms and corroborates the scriptures they already had with them, suggesting that they should have been quick to accept it instead of being among the first to meet it with spite and rejection. Whats more, the Quran guides to all that is beneficial, and away from all that is harmful or all that leads astray, bringing the good tidings of this world and the Hereafter to those who believe in it. Because this is the nature of what Gabriel was sent with, animosity towards Gabriel therefore necessitates the outright rejection of belief in Allah, His verses, His prophets and His angels. And so by rejecting Gabriel as the messenger, the Children of Israel inevitably rejected the sender - Allah, and the recipient - the Prophet , and

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rejected the message itself - the Quran. Indeed, the Jews only rejected Gabriel for knowledge of the fact that he is only ever sent with the truth (some scholars contend that the Jews rejected Gabriel because Allah sends him with punishment, as is narrated in the reports that tell of the punishment delivered to the people of Prophet Lot).

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99. And indeed We have sent down to you [O Prophet] clear signs; and none would reject these signs, except those who transgress. 100. Is it every time they make a covenant, a group of them discounts it? Rather, [the truth is that] most of them do not believe. 101. And when there came to them a Prophet from Allah confirming what they held [the Torah], a group among the People of the Scriptures discarded Allahs book behind their backs, as though they knew nothing of it.

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99. And indeed We have sent down to you [O Prophet] clear signs; and none would reject these signs except those who transgress. 100. Is it every time they make a covenant, a group of them discounts it? Rather, [the truth is that] most of them do not believe.
Allah addresses His Messenger and says that He has revealed to him verses that guide those who seek guidance and that are proof against those who seek only to argue stubbornly. Allah also describes His verses as being so clear, that to reject them can only be an act of deliberate transgression. Allah then exposes one of the most defining characteristics of the Jews, namely, the unremitting tendency to break oaths, and states that the reason for this tendency is that they do not believe. The verse itself is worded as a question that reflects astonishment; and this is to draw attention to their unparalleled consistency in breaking covenants. Had they been truthful and kept their oaths, Allah wouldve likened them to the Believers of whom He says, Among the Believers are men who are sincere in what they have pledged to Allah (:2).

101. And when there came to them a Prophet from Allah confirming what they held [the Torah], a group among the People of the Scriptures discarded Allahs book behind their backs, as though they knew nothing of it.
And so when the Prophet came to them with the glorious Quran - a scripture that brought the truth and that confirmed the scriptures they held - a group among the People of the Scriptures abandoned the Torah and paid no attention to its corroboration of the Quran. In spite of knowing perfectly well that the Torah mentioned the coming of the Prophet , they pretended to know nothing of it. Consequently, this group of Jews were left with nothing to hold to, since by rejecting the Prophet , they were forced to reject the integrity of their own scriptures. Allahs divine wisdom dictates that whoever abandons what is beneficial is

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consequently punished by becoming preoccupied with what is detrimental or harmful. And so whoever abandons the worship of Allah is condemned to idolatry (in any of its different forms), and whoever abandons the love and fear of Allah and the hope of His mercy becomes preoccupied with the love and fear of other than Allah, and the vain hope of other than Allahs mercy. And whoever refuses to spend of their wealth in the cause of Allah is made to spend in the cause of Satan; and whoever abandons humbling himself before Allah is destined to become subjugated and overcome by mere servants of Allah; and whoever abandons the truth is punished with the adoption of falsehood. And so after mentioning their rejection of the Prophet and the rejection of the inestimable benefit sent with him in the fom of revelation, Allah reveals the fitting destiny of those who chose to disbelieve

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102. And they [the Jews] followed what the devils practiced [of magic] at the time of Solomon. And Solomon did not disbelieve [i.e. he did not practice magic], but it was the devils who disbelieved [by practicing it]. They would teach people magic and what was sent down to the two angels, Haroot and Maroot, at Babel. And they [the two angels] would not teach anyone anything without first saying, We are but a trial, so do not disbelieve! And so they [those who insisted on learning magic and hence disbelieved] would learn from them what they could use to sow discord between a man and his wife; but none can they harm with it [magic], except by Allahs leave. And they learned what brings them harm, but does not bring them benefit. And yet they knew with certainty that anyone

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purchasing magic would have no share in the Hereafter [Paradise]. And dismal is the price they sold their own selves for; if they only but knew. 103. And had they [the Jews] believed and feared Allah, theyd have been rewarded by Allah with what was better [than the punishment they incurred for their evil]; if they only but knew.

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102. And they [the Jews] followed what the devils practiced [of magic] at the time of Solomon. And Solomon did not disbelieve [i.e. he did not practice magic], but it was the devils who disbelieved [by practicing it]. They would teach people magic and what was sent down to the two angels, Haroot and Maroot, at Babel. And they [the two angels] would not teach anyone anything without first saying, We are but a trial, so do not disbelieve! And so they [those who insisted on learning magic and hence disbelieved] would learn from them what they could use to sow discord between a man and his wife; but none can they harm with it [magic], except by Allahs leave. And they learned what brings them harm, but does not bring them benefit. And yet they knew with certainty that anyone purchasing magic would have no share in the Hereafter [Paradise]. And dismal is the price they sold their own selves for; if they only but knew.
Hence, when a group among the Jews abandoned Allahs Scripture and its commandments, they were punished and made to follow the commandments of devils and to practice the magic that these devils taught others and had brought with them from the time of Prophet Solomon . These devils untruthfully and deceitfully alleged that Prophet Solomon practiced magic and attained his magnificent kingdom through this practice. Allah refutes this lie (which was also adopted by the Jews) and states that Prophet Solomon did not disbelieve - whether through the practice of magic or by any other means - and that it was the devils who disbelieved.1
1. In what can only be described as a monstrous fabrication, the Old Testament actually mentions that Prophet Solomon turned to worship idols towards the end of his life, and thereby incurred the wrath of Allah: As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been. He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech [a] the detestable god of the Ammonites. So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the LORD; he did not follow the LORD completely, as David his father had done. On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab,

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As part of their incessant efforts to lead the progeny of Adam astray, these devils then began to teach people the magic that was revealed to the two angels who existed in Babel. Allah had revealed magic to these angels as a trial and tribulation by which He would test mankind. The two angels, however, would only teach magic after warning those who came seeking it that they were nothing more than a trial, and that anyone choosing to learn magic from them, in spite of this admonition, would become an unbeliever. And so when the devils taught magic to people, they did so with the intention of sowing confusion, misleading mankind and wreaking havoc. As mentioned, they attributed such wrongdoing to Prophet Solomon , who was cleared of this accusation by Allah Himself. The Jews mentioned in this verse, therefore, delved into the practice of magic, thereby forsaking the beneficial knowledge brought to them by the prophets and choosing instead to follow the evil and falsehood brought to them by devils. And just as good is inclined towards good, so too is evil inclined towards evil. Based upon the lessons derived from this verse, Sheikh Abu Bakr Al-Jazaairy observes that among the consequences of forsaking adherence to the Quran and Sunnah, is the adoption of man-made laws, deviant innovations and different kinds of erroneous teachings that are defective products of the human mind (and not of Allahs divine guidance)1. Allah then mentions some of the harm magic causes by exposing that devils
and for Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods. The LORD became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the LORDs command. So the LORD said to Solomon, Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen. (1 Kings 11:4-13) 1. Al-Jazaairy, vol. 1: 92

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use it to sow discord between a man and his wife. Because the love that exists between a man and his wife is normally stronger than what might exist between others, it can be seen that there is a reality to magic and that it can cause genuine harm, but only by Allahs leave. It is particularly important to note that Allah specifically mentions that those who practice magic may harm others only if He so wills, as this suggests that no matter how sure or how guaranteed the means adopted to accomplish something may appear to be, the outcome is always subject to what Allah has decreed. This is something that is stated clearly in the Quran and Sunnah and is a belief upon which the companions of the Prophet and the tabiees (the generation that followed the companions) agreed to and did not differ on at all.

103. And had they [the Jews] believed and feared Allah, theyd have been rewarded by Allah with what was better [than the punishment they incurred for their evil]; if they only but knew.
Here, Allah opens the door of repentance to the Jews so that they may perhaps accept faith, show piety and give up their evil.

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104. O You who believe, do not [when addressing the Prophet] say, raina, and instead say, unzurna, and listen. And for the Unbelievers awaits a painful torment. 105. Neither the Unbelievers among the People of the Scriptures nor the Pagans want that any kind of good be sent down upon you from your Lord. But Allah bestows His mercy upon whom He wills, and Allah is the bestower of magnificent favor.


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104. O You who believe, do not [when addressing the Prophet] say, raina, and instead say, unzurna, and listen. And for the Unbelievers awaits a painful torment.
Sheikh Abu Bakr Al Jazaairy explains that the word raina means allow us time to comprehend what you are teaching us and that the word, unzurna, means practically the same thing1. Upon coming to the Prophet to seek knowledge, the Muslims would say, raina to him thereby using the word in an appropriate manner. The Jews, on the other hand, took the opportunity to use this same word, which in Hebrew bore the connotations of an insult, to spite the Prophet . In protecting His Messenger against such malice, Allah orders the Muslims to use an alternative word, unzurna, so that the Jews could no longer insult the Prophet by using the former term maliciously. Allah also tells the Muslims to listen carefully to what the Prophet teaches them so that they do not have to ask him to repeat what he says2. Also, the instruction to listen, without specifying what they should listen to, suggests that they should listen to everything they are taught or told, whether the Quran or the Sunnah, and that that they are to listen to the words, understand the meanings and obey the orders contained within. Such directives clarify some of what is required of Muslims with regards to appropriate manners towards the Prophet , and the obedience that is due to him.

105. Neither the Unbelievers among the People of the Scriptures nor the Pagans want that any kind of good be sent down upon you from your Lord. But Allah bestows His mercy upon whom He wills, and Allah is the bestower of magnificent favor.
Allah describes the enmity that the Jews and Pagans have for Muslims and the spite they bear for the fact that Allah chose to descend the Quran upon Prophet Muhammed (in spite of the fact that the Pagans never denied that he was the most truthful of Quraysh, even before he began to receive revelation).
1. Al-Jazaairy, vol. 1: 9 2. ibid, vol. 1: 9

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106. Not a single verse do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten except that We bring one better than it or similar to it. Do you not know that Allah is capable of all things? 107. Do you not know that to Allah belong the heavens and the Earth, and that aside from Allah, you have neither guardian nor ally. 108. Or is it that you seek to question your Prophet [stubbornly] just as Moses was questioned by his people before? And whoever exchanges belief for unbelief has certainly strayed from the even path of guidance.


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106. Not a single verse do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten except that We bring one better than it or similar to it. Do you not know that Allah is capable of all things?
Abrogations either serve to exchange one ruling for another or to annul the original ruling completely without replacing it. The Jews would repudiate the idea of abrogations claiming that they were unacceptable. This, of course, is blatant unbelief, not least because abrogations exist in the Torah, and so to deny them is to deny yet another aspect of their own scriptures. Allah also states that He abrogates verses and rulings for the benefit of His servants and that abrogations never bring about reduced benefit. Instead, whenever Allah abrogates a verse, He only replaces it with what is, better than it or similar to it. Indeed, to suggest that abrogations are not possible is to deny Allahs power, capability and sovereignty. For this reason Allah says, Do you not know that Allah is capable of all things? Because the existence of abrogations and abrogated verses in the Quran are among the means often used by the People of the Scriptures (and others) to discredit the Quran, it might be wise to take a closer look at their arguments and the counter-arguments. Imam Shehab-ud-Deen Abu Al Abbass Al Qurafy mentions that both Jews and Christians allege that it is unacceptable and even impossible that the Islamic Shariah abrogate rulings stated in the Torah, including the prohibition on consuming fat, camel meat, hunting (and fishing) on Saturdays, mixing with menstruating women and the consumption of small amounts of alcohol etc. The reason this is unacceptable, they claim, is that abrogation necessarily means that Allah, in a sense, changed His mind or that he regretted His first decision. They further argue that what is beneficial must not be prohibited, while that which is, in itself, detrimental must not be made mandatory. Abrogation, they allege, reverses these realities and turns what is beneficial into what is detrimental and vice versa. They also argue that because Allahs speech is without beginning (as His speech is one of His attributes and Allah, Himself, has no beginning) and

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because His rulings are part of His speech, His commands and prohibitions are also without beginning. Hence, they contend, abrogations essentially necessitate that the command to do something and the prohibition against doing it exist at the same time, which is impossible. The Imam responds in a number of ways, including (the following points are summarized from the original): 1- Abrogation implies neither a change of mind nor regret, as these are both the results of not knowing what the future holds, whereas Allah knows all things. Instead, abrogations are made in accordance with what benefits a particular people living at a particular time. People differ in terms of strengths and weaknesses and dispositions; indeed, even a single person can change drastically over a given period of time. Allah abrogated the consumption of fat, for instance, because He knew that there would be benefit in its consumption for those who lived during a certain period, while it would be detrimental to those living at another time. Allah, therefore, knew that He would permit this practice at one point, and that He would prohibit it at another. In this sense, both rulings were always known to Allah and the case is not that Allah saw to do one thing and then saw to do something else later on. 2- Both Jews and Christians are agreed that Allah permitted the children of Adam to marry their siblings (provided a brother did not marry his twin sister) and both Jews and Christians agree that this was later prohibited. This example again illustrates the reality of abrogations and that they often allow what is necessary in one age, and then prohibit it in another. - Both Jews and Christians agree that, in the Torah, Allah abrogated the killing of the son of Abraham and commanded that a ram be slaughtered in his stead. This is the strongest form of abrogation as it occurs before the abrogated command is even executed. And so if the Torah bears witness to the strongest form of abrogation, other forms should be more easily acceptable. - The marriage of one man to both a free woman and a slave woman at the same time was originally permissible in the legislation of Abraham , and this is evidenced by the fact that Abraham himself was married to both Sara (a free woman) and Haajar (a slave woman) at the same time. This ruling was later abrogated in the Torah itself.

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5- The prohibition of hunting on Saturdays is something that was instated at the time of Moses in spite of being permissible up until then. This is a very obvious example of abrogation in the Old Testament. 6- The Torah mentions that when Hezekiah was on his deathbed, Prophet Isaiah came to him, ordered him to make his will and told him that he was about to die. Upon hearing this, Hezekiah wept and implored Allah; Allah then added another fifteen years to his life (thus abrogating the decision to take Hezekiahs life at that point). There are many such similar accounts in the Bible.1

107. Do you not know that to Allah belong the heavens and the Earth, and that aside from Allah, you have neither guardian nor ally.
Allah continues to rebut the allegation that abrogation isnt possible by stating that to Him belong the heavens and the Earth, and that nothing exists within His dominion without His permission. How, then, could His power and sovereignty to merely change rulings that He has decreed be put into question or restricted? Just as Allahs servants are under His complete power in all that He predetermines for them with regards to occurrences and events, they are also under His complete power with regards to the rulings He decrees for them. Allah also states that He is the sole guardian and ally for His servants, so that it is He, alone, who decrees what is of benefit to them, prohibits what is detrimental and abrogates rulings in accordance with His divine wisdom.

108. Or is it that you seek to question your Prophet [stubbornly] just as Moses was questioned by his people before? And whoever exchanges belief for unbelief has certainly strayed from the even path of guidance.
Allah prohibits the Muslims and the Jews from questioning the Prophet in
1. Al-Ajwebatul-fakhera ala al-assilatul-Fajerah, pg. 71-7

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the manner that Moses was questioned before. The types of questions or requests referred to in this context are those made for the purpose of creating false pretexts in order to disobey commands and orders. Different examples of such requests are mentioned throughout the Quran, including the verse, The People of the Scriptures ask you [O Prophet] to descend upon them a scripture from the heavens [as proof of prophethood]; and indeed they asked Moses for what was of even greater sacrilege than that, for they said, Show us Allah before our very eyes! (:15). Allah Also says, O You who believe, do not ask about things that if made apparent to you will cause you grief (5:101). These are the kinds of vain questions and requests that are prohibited. Questions, however, made for the purpose of learning and discerning right from wrong are praiseworthy. Indeed, Allah orders His servants to ask such beneficial questions. For instance, Allah says, And ask the People of the Reminder (the scholars of the scriptures) if you do not know (21:8). Furthermore, Allah acknowledges the questions the Believers would ask the Prophet , and tells His Prophet to acknowledge such questions with answers. There are several instances of this in the Quran, for instance, They ask you regarding the permissibility of alcohol and gambling (2:219) or they ask you regarding orphans (2:220) or They ask you concerning menstruation (2: 222), etc. Because impermissible questions and requests are so blameworthy and may even lead to kufr (as they often entail bad manners in dealing with the Prophet and stubbornness towards him), Allah says, And whoever exchanges belief for unbelief has certainly strayed from the even path of guidance.

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109. Many among the People of the Scriptures yearn to drive you [O Believers] back into unbelief after your acceptance of faith - out of spite and envy, once the truth had become clear to them. But forgive them and pardon them until Allahs decree comes [i.e. the command to fight]. Indeed, Allah is capable of all things. 110. And establish Prayers and pay Zakat; and whatever good you present yourselves with you will find with Allah [i.e. you will find the reward for these deeds in the Hereafter]. Allah is, indeed, All-watchful of what you do. 111. And they [the People of the Scriptures] say, None will enter Paradise except those who are Jews or Christians. Such are their fantasies. Say, Bring forth your proof if you are, indeed, truthful.


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112. [Rather, Paradise is not reserved for them.] Instead, whoever turns towards Allah with sincerity and is a muhsin [i.e. adheres to the Prophets Sunnah] shall have their reward with Allah, and there shall be no fear upon them and nor shall they grieve. 113. And the Jews say, The Christians hold nothing of the truth, and the Christians say, The Jews hold nothing of the truth, in spite of the fact that they each recite the scriptures. Those who have no knowledge [of the scriptures] spoke similar words to theirs. But Allah will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning what they differed upon.

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109. Many among the People of the Scriptures yearn to drive you [O Believers] back into unbelief after your acceptance of faith - out of spite and envy, once the truth had become clear to them. But forgive them and pardon them until Allahs decree comes [i.e. the command to fight]. Indeed, Allah is capable of all things.
Allah then exposes the envy and jealousy that fills the hearts of many Jews and Christians towards the Believers, and states that their malevolence even drives them to wish that they could turn the Believers away from belief and back into unbelief. But far from merely desiring to lead the Believers astray, some among the People of the Scriptures even set out to accomplish the evil they so sought after. Allah uncovers this wicked intent and says, a party among the People of the Scriptures say (among themselves) Declare your belief in what has been revealed unto those who believe at the beginning of the day, and disbelieve at the end thereof, so that they may perhaps return to unbelief (after having their faith weakened). (:72) It is worth noting that similar tactics continue to be employed even today by those seeking to turn Muslims away from their religion. Personalities who claim to have once been Muslims and then guided away from Islam are often brought into the spotlight as part of aggressively anti-Islamic campaigns aiming to cause Muslims to doubt their religion. In spite of such blatant ill will, Allah commands the Believers to forgive and pardon those who seek and plot to drive them back into unbelief until the order to fight is issued. When Allah decreed fighting, He allowed the Believers to finally take satisfaction through fighting the Unbelievers and gave them victory over those who had caused them so much harm. Indeed, Allah is capable of all things.

110. And establish Prayers and pay Zakat; and whatever good you present yourselves with, you will find with Allah [i.e. you will find the reward for these deeds in the Hereafter]. Allah is, indeed, Allwatchful of what you do.

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Allah directs the Believers to strive to practice acts of worship such as the establishment of Prayers, the payment of Zakat and other praiseworthy deeds. Allah also promises the Believers that they will be graciously rewarded for whatever good they undertake in the Hereafter. This verse suggests that in times when Jihad is not possible, Muslims are to occupy themselves with preparation for Jihad by disciplining and purifying themselves through the establishment of Prayers, the payment of Zakat and other good deeds to the best of their ability until Jihad becomes possible again1.

111. And they [the People of the Scriptures] say, None will enter Paradise except those who are Jews or Christians. Such are their fantasies. Say, Bring forth your proof if you are, indeed, truthful. 112. [Rather, Paradise is not reserved for them.] Instead, whoever turns towards Allah with sincerity and is a muhsin [i.e. adheres to the Prophets Sunnah] shall have their reward with Allah, and there shall be no fear upon them and nor shall they grieve.
The Jews claimed that none would enter Paradise but they, and likewise the Christians claimed that none would enter Paradise but themselves. These are claims that require proof, and when either of the two groups was asked to bring forth such proof, they failed to do so. Clearly, all claims are to be judged only against the evidence supporting them, as without evidence there is no real difference between any given assertion and its opposing argument. Allah responds to these unfounded assertions by stating that the real dwellers of Paradise are those who worship Allah, seeking only His pleasure, and adhere to the Sunnah of his Prophet . It is they who will have nothing to fear and who will not grieve. And so with these two essential qualities sincerity to Allah and adherence to the Prophets Sunnah - Believers may
1. Al-Jazaairy, vol. 1: 99

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attain what they seek of Allahs Paradise and escape what they fear in the way of punishment and grief.

113. And the Jews say, The Christians hold nothing of the truth, and the Christians say, The Jews hold nothing of the truth, in spite of the fact that they each recite the scriptures. Those who have no knowledge [of the scriptures] spoke similar words to theirs. But Allah will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning what they differed upon.
Allah mentions that, in spite of their knowledge of each others revealed books, a group among the People of the Scriptures denied one anothers scriptures completely, so that each party refused to believe in any of part of what was revealed to the other. This made no sense, as their scriptures corroborated one another (the Torah mentions the coming of Jesus and the Bible mentions the prophethood of Moses , for instance). Thus, for one party to deny the other partys scripture in its entirety was, in fact, to deny a part of their own scripture. Allah mentions that such nonsensical practices and inclinations were also practiced by people who had no knowledge of any scripture at all and, thereby, draws a parallel between the actions of those who were supposed to be learned men among the People of the Scriptures and those who had no knowledge of any revealed books. Allah then goes on to state that it is He who will judge between these different groups on Judgment Day in accordance with His divine justice. Without doubt, success or prosperity in this life or in the Hereafter for all nations is - and was only ever - attainable through belief in Allahs messengers and obedience to Allah and to His prophets in all that they enjoin or prohibit. Anyone choosing to disobey or show animosity towards Allah or any of His prophets is destined to doom and deprivation, no matter what group or religion they might ascribe themselves to.

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114. And who could possibly be more unjust than he who forbids the mention of His [Allahs] name in Allahs mosques and strives to destroy them?

It is they [those guilty of these crimes] who will only enter such mosques in fear. For them there will be disgrace in this life, and a terrible punishment in the Hereafter. 115. And to Allah belong the East and the West, and so whichever direction you turn, that will be the direction of Allahs Face. Indeed, Allah completely suffices His creatures and is All-Knowing. 116. They [Unbelievers of different religions] say, Allah has begotten a child. Exalted is He above what they claim. Rather, to Him belongs all that is in the heavens and on the Earth; everything submits to Him. 117. He is the Originator of the heavens and the Earth; and should He decree a matter, He only need say, Be, and it is.


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118. And those who have no knowledge say, Why does Allah not speak to us, or a sign not come to us? Likewise, those who came before them said that which was similar. Their hearts are similar. We have, indeed, made clear the signs to those who are certain in their faith. 119. We have, indeed, sent you [O Prophet] with the truth, as a bringer of glad tidings and as a warner; and you will not be held accountable for the dwellers of Hellfire [i.e. those who choose to disregard your warnings]. 120. And never will the Jews nor the Christians be pleased with you until you [O Prophet] follow their religion. Say, Allahs guidance is the only true guidance. And if you follow their fancies after what has come to you of the truth, then you will find neither friend nor ally to protect you against Allah.

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121. Those whom We have given scriptures [and believe in them] adhere to them as they should be adhered to; it is they who believe in them. But as for those who disbelieve in them - it is they who are the deprived. 122. O Children of Israel, recognize the favors I have bestowed upon you, and that I had once favored you over all the worlds. 123. And take heed against the Day when no one will avail anything of anyone else, and when reparation will not be accepted, nor will intercession be of benefit, and when none will be saved from due punishment.

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114. And who could possibly be more unjust than he who forbids the mention of His [Allahs] name in Allahs mosques and strives to destroy them? It is they [those guilty of these crimes] who will only enter such mosques in fear. For them there will be disgrace in this life, and a terrible punishment in the Hereafter.
Allah states that no-one is more unjust than those who prevent others from worshipping Allah in His mosques, whether they prevent them from establishing Prayers or any other act of worship such as dhikr1 and the recitation of the Quran. Allah condemns these evildoers for this crime and for the crime of ruining the mosques of Allah, whether literally by demolishing them or figuratively by barring worshippers from them. This is a general condemnation and therefore refers to the likes of the Companions of the Elephant2, Quraysh - for their obstruction of the Prophet from the Sacred Mosque in the year of the Hudaibiyah treaty, the Christians who destroyed the Holy Mosque in Jerusalem and anyone else guilty of similar evils. While these are examples of past nations, the verse, of course, also refers to anyone who might seek to commit this heinous crime at any other point in time. Because these transgressors sought to prevent and frighten Allahs servants away from worshipping Allah in His mosques, Allah - as due recompense for their actions - decreed that they would be prevented from approaching His mosques and that they would become fear stricken for even attempting to enter the mosques of Allah. Such was the fate of the Companions of the Elephant (whose story is outlined in Surat-ul-Feel) and the fate of the Pagans of Quraysh after Allah ordered His Prophet to fight them in the conquest of Makkah. They were thereby prevented them from entering the Sacred Mosque thereafter. Such punishment
1. See interpretation of verse 2:152 for a more exhaustive explanation of dhikr. 2. A Christian army who sought, without success, to destroy the Kabah shortly before the Prophets birth

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was also the fate of the Christians of Jerusalem who were fought and driven out by the Muslims just as they had driven the Believers out before. Anyone guilty of obstructing worshippers from the mosques of Allah, whether in the past, present or future is, therefore, destined to be afflicted with what he did or sought to do. Such punishment is both humiliating and fitting to the crime of such wrongdoers, and the punishment for their evil in the Hereafter will be even greater. It is worth noting that just as the destruction of mosques is counted among the worst of crimes, the construction and population of mosques is among the most praiseworthy of deeds and something that Allah has ordained upon His believing servants.

115. And to Allah belong the East and the West, and so whichever direction you turn, that will be the direction of Allahs Face. Indeed, Allah completely suffices His creatures and is All-Knowing.
To Allah belongs everything, but in this verse He specifically mentions the East and West. These are the glorious points at which the sun rises and sets and, hence, Allahs dominion over them illustrates His ownership of everything that lies between them. This is further corroborated by the verse, The foolish among mankind will ask, What has turned them [the Muslims] away from the direction in which they used to pray? (referring to the point in time at which the Muslims were ordered to turn away from the direction of the Holy Mosque in Jerusalem and, instead, face the Kabah in Makkah) Say, To Allah belong the East and the West, He guides whomever He chooses to a Straight Path. (2:12) And so whether a worshipper is commanded to pray in a given direction, as is the case with the Kabah (and before that the Holy Mosque in Jerusalem), or permitted to pray in any direction - as in the case of a travelers supererogatory Prayers; or mistakenly prays in a direction other than that of the Kabah, his Prayers are still valid, as all directions belong to Allah. This verse is proof that Allah, the Exalted, has a Face. It is, however, a Face

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that is befitting of Him and, therefore, unlike any other. Allahs dissimilarity to any of His creation is stated in Suratu-Shoorah: Nothing is similar to Him, and He is The All-Hearing, The All-Watchful. (2:11) Allah goes on to state that He completely suffices His creatures and servants and that He is, hence, able to provide them with all they need and desire. In the context of this particular verse, Allah shows that He has made easy for His servants the means by which they might worship Him. And so while facing the Kabah is mandatory during mandatory Prayers, facing other directions under the conditions stipulated above is also acceptable. All gratitude and praise is most certainly due to Allah for these and all other blessings.

116. They [different groups of Unbelievers] say, Allah has begotten a child. Exalted is He above what they claim. Rather, to Him belongs all that is in the heavens and on the Earth; everything submits to Him. 117. He is the Originator of the heavens and the Earth; and should He decree a matter, He only need say, Be, and it is.
This is a response to anyone who ascribes a child to Allah, whether it be the Jews who claimed that Uzair was the son of Allah, or the Christians who claim that Jesus was the son of Allah, or the Arab Pagans who alleged that the angels were the daughters of Allah. Attributing children to Allah is one of the most atrocious crimes and heinous allegations ever made as it is completely unbefitting of Allahs uniqueness and majesty that a son be ascribed to Him. A son must necessarily be of the same kind or species as the father, which runs contradictory to the uniqueness of Allah and, therefore, detracts from His exclusive divinity and His exclusive right to be worshipped. Based on this, it can be seen why the attribution of sons or daughters to Allah is an idea that lends itself more to polytheism than to monotheism - much less Islamic monotheism, which is the only pure, genuine and complete form of monotheism in existence. Further, the fact that to Him belongs all that is in the heavens and on

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the Earth reveals that Allah is the Master and Owner of all that exists, and not father to any of it. Everything, including those who are falsely attributed to Allah as children, comes under Allahs complete ownership and power, and is completely subservient to Him. How then could He who has such complete ownership over everything and everyone in existence be said to have begotten a son, when the difference between mastery and fatherhood is clear and obvious. The difference between fatherhood and mastery or ownership is again stressed in verse 8 of Surat-ul-Maidah when Allah refutes the Jews and Christians in their claim that they are Allahs children and loved ones. This will be dealt with in its place, Allah willing. In order to further illustrate His ability to create things from nothingness, Allah describes Himself as the badee or the Originator of the heavens and the Earth, thereby refuting the idea that He begets or needs to beget. Indeed, upon decreeing a matter, or upon desiring to bring anything into existence, He only need say, Be and it becomes.

118. And those who have no knowledge say, Why does Allah not speak to us, or a sign not come to us? Likewise, those who came before them spoke that which was similar. Their hearts are similar. We have, indeed, made clear the signs to those who are certain in their faith. 119. We have, indeed, sent you [O Prophet] with the truth as a bringer of glad tidings and as a warner; and you will not be held accountable for the dwellers of Hellfire [i.e. those who choose to disregard your warnings].
Inspite of the already overwhelming evidence for Prophet Muhammeds prophethood, ignorant and ill-mannered individuals among the People of the Scriptures requested of the Prophet that Allah speak to them or that they be shown a sign. But rather than ask for signs for the purpose of guidance, they would ask for signs only out of obstinacy and disobedience. This was nothing new, as such frivolous requests were made of other

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prophets. As already mentioned, the Children of Israel once said, O Moses, we shall never believe in what you have been sent with until we see Allah before our own eyes! (2:55), and concerning another request they made of Prophet Muhammed , Allah says, The People of the Scriptures ask you (O Prophet) to descend upon them a scripture from the heavens (as a sign of prophethood); and indeed they asked Moses for what was of even greater sacrilege than that, for they said, Show us Allah before our very eyes! (:15). Allah also tells us that other Unbelievers said, How is it suitable for this Messenger to eat food and walk through the markets [as though he were like any other man]? Would not that an angel be sent down to him as a warner alongside him? (8) Or that a treasure be bestowed upon him or that a garden from which he might eat be granted him...?. (25:7-8) Such were the vain appeals of ignorant Unbelievers, and had they genuinely sought guidance, theyd have found it plainly obvious in the incontrovertible signs that Allah had sent them - signs that others had unquestionably accepted as clear proof of the truthfulness of Allahs messengers. For this reason, Allah says, We have, indeed, made clear the signs to those who are certain in their faith. Hence, anyone seeking guidance with objectivity and sincerity, will find in Allahs signs the proof and the certainty by means of which any doubt or suspicion might be dispelled. In Allahs statement, We have, indeed, sent you with the truth as a bringer of glad tidings and as a warner, lie three categories of evidence for Prophet Muhammeds prophethood. The first is the simple fact that the Prophet was sent by Allah at a time when the entire world - aside from a rare few among the People of the Scriptures - lived in the darkness of polytheism (in its different forms, including the worship of idols, fire, people and other false gods) and unbelief. Because Allah does not create frivolously and because too He is All-Wise, AllPowerful and All-Merciful, He created and sent a Messenger who would command mankind to worship Allah, alone, and forsake all false gods. This is an important point and one worth contemplating, as the world immediately prior to the advent of the Prophet was in dire need of his

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arrival, which indicates that his coming was itself proof for the truthfulness of his message. A second category of evidence lies in the biography of the Prophet and what had become widely known of his praiseworthy manners and personality both before and after prophethood. Any study of the Prophets personality reveals that his were manners that were only befitting of a prophet (indeed, befitting of the greatest of Allahs prophets). This, again, is important, as Allah has caused a persons character and behavior to be among the most important indicators of a persons honesty or lack thereof. Aside from the verses that highlight the Prophets outstanding manners and conduct, there are literally thousands of authentically narrated reports that describe even the most minute details of his actions, habits and words. Far from being restricted to details of the way the Prophet prayed, made Pilgrimage or supplicated, there exist innumerable reports that tell us how he ate, drank, combed his hair, brushed his teeth, greeted others, walked, sat, slept, washed, dressed, as well as countless other habits and practices. In all such actions, whether deeply significant or seemingly trivial, lies evidence of the beautiful manners that adorned the Prophet , and that will remain testimony to his truthfulness and greatness forever. The third proof for the Messengers prophethood alluded to here is the nature of the actual message that the Prophet was sent with. In this verse, Allah describes the Quran (and revelation as a whole) as the truth, for it contains within it the truth pertaining to past occurrences, and events that were still to come. It also contains commands enjoining righteousness and justice in every aspect of life, as well as prohibitions on all forms of evil and wrongdoing. Additionally, the Quran is laden with clear, magnificent and undeniable miracles; indeed, it is in its entirety a miracle that testifies to the truth of the Prophet from beginning to end. Practically all evidence for the Prophets prophethood will likely fall under one of these three categories. (Mention of the Prophet in previous scriptures might be considered another category, but because such mention is itself stated in the Quran, it may, in a sense, fall under the third category). Allah reminds His Prophet that He has sent him with the tidings of good

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things to come - both in this life and the next - for those who believe in him and follow him. Allah also states that He sent His Prophet as a warner of torment and punishment - both in this life and the next - for those who deny his prophethood and disobey him. Allah then comforts His Prophet by informing him that he will not be held accountable for those who choose to disobey him and choose, ultimately, to inflict themselves with the punishment of Hellfire through their disobedience and unbelief. Indeed, the Prophet was merely to convey the message of Allah, while the final judgment and recompense is for Allah, himself.

120. And never will the Jews nor the Christians be pleased with you [O Prophet] until you follow their religion. Say, Allahs guidance is the only true guidance. And if you follow their fancies after what has come to you of the truth, then you will find neither friend nor ally to protect you against Allah.
Allah then makes clear to the Prophet that the Jews and Christians will never be pleased or even satisfied with him until he follows their religion. It is worth noting that Allah chooses the singular, religion, instead of the plural form religions, in spite of the fact that Jews and Christians follow two separate religions. This is because, in terms of their deviance from the religion of Islam and the textual distortions that have befallen their scriptures, both religions are essentially the same - for they both constitute falsehood. To follow either of the two religions, therefore, is no different to following the other in terms of the lack of benefit therein1. Imam Qurtubi mentions that this verse relates to the preceding verses (especially 2:118) in that Allah is again making clear to the Prophet that many among the People of the Scriptures do not ask for signs as a means of seeking proof for the authenticity of the message he has been sent with, but rather only make such requests out of stubborn disobedience. In reality, therefore, they will never be satisfied with the Prophet until he forsakes his religion and follows their ways2.
1. Tantawi, vol. 1: 262 2. Qurtubi, vol. 1: 80

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Allah then tells His Prophet to respond to the Jews and Christians and to respond to their calls to follow them by stating that Allahs guidance is the only true guidance, and that far from being based on any kind of guidance at all, their religions are, instead, founded on mere whims, fancies and desires. Allah warns His Messenger against following these fancies and makes it clear that to follow them is to make himself vulnerable to the wrath and punishment of Allah, against which he will find neither ally nor aide. This is a clear and strong prohibition against following either Jews or Christians, and against even imitating them in anything that pertains to the different aspects of religion. Although Allah addresses His Messenger in this verse, the meanings and directives contained herein are doubtless meant for all Muslims.

121. Those whom We have given scriptures [and believe in them] adhere to them as they should be adhered to; it is they who believe in them. But as for those who disbelieve in them - it is they who are the deprived.
The Believers among the People of the Scriptures were those who recited and adhered to the scriptures that Allah had revealed in the manner ordained by Allah. Imam Ibn Katheer reports that Ibn Masood (may Allah be pleased with him) interpreted adherence to the scriptures as adherence to their rulings by taking as permissible what they allow, forsaking what they prohibit and by reciting them without distorting their words or their intended meanings.1 This is the faction among the People of the Scriptures who fully appreciated the blessing of being bestowed with Allahs books and, hence, showed gratitude through obedience to their messengers and to Prophet Muhammed . This praiseworthy attitude is, of course, drastically different to the behavior
1. Ibn katheer, Ridwan-ul-Jami, vol. 1:5

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of those who declared that they would only believe in what was revealed to them, and hence rejected what was revealed afterwards (i.e. the Quran). Allah warns those who reject His scriptures of deprivation and loss in both this life and in the Hereafter. Some scholars have mentioned that this verse refers specifically to the companions of the Prophet , and hence describes their reverence for the Quran and their steadfast adherence to it. (It should be noted that the term, kitab, translated here as scriptures is also used for the singular scripture and so may, in this verse, refer to the Torah and Bible or to the Quran alone, or to all three).

122. O Children of Israel, recognize the favors I have bestowed upon you, and that I had once favored you over all the worlds. 123. And take heed against the Day when no one will avail anything of anyone else, and when reparation will not be accepted, nor will intercession be of any benefit [to those who disbelieve]; and when none will be saved from due punishment.
While the meanings of these two verses have already been explained under verses 7 and 8 of this chapter, it is worth noting what Imam Ibn Katheer has stated regarding why they are repeated here1. The repitition, Imam Ibn Katheer explains, is made for the purpose of stressing the obligation of following the Prophet , whose description, name, purpose and even companions are mentioned in the books of the People of the Scriptures. Allah, hence, warns the Jews and Christians against concealing such prophecies and agaisnt concealing the guidance and truth He has blessed them with in their scriptures. Allah further commands them to recall these favors and not wield spite or envy for the progeny of Ishmael , or for the fact that Allah had favored this progeny by decreeing that the last and final Messenger would rise from among them. Such envy, they are warned, must never lead them to antagonizing or to disobeying or to any attempts at
1. There is a slight difference in the wording between verse 8 and verse 12

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discrediting the Prophet 1.

1. Ibn Katheer/ Ridwan-ul-Jami, vol.1: 55)

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124. And relate the time when Abraham was tested by his Lord with certain commands - which he fulfilled completely. And so Allah said, I shall make you an imam [i.e. a guiding example] for all people. Abraham said, And make also of my progeny imams. Allah said, The imamate will not be attained by the unjust. 125. And remember We made The House [The Kabah] a place that people would come back to regularly, and a sanctuary. And We commanded that the place where Abraham once stood be taken as a place for Prayer. And We covenanted with Abraham and Ishmael saying, Purify My House for those circumambulating it, those confining themselves to it for worship, and those bowing and prostrating themselves in Prayer.

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126. And relate that Abraham said, My Lord, make this a secure land, and provide its inhabitants with different fruit - provided they are among those who believe in Allah and the Last Day. Allah answered, And, too, for those who disbelieve [i.e. that they, too, shall be provided with sustenance] for I shall content them for a short while, and then I will force them into the punishment of Hellfire, and most terrible is this final destination. 127. And relate that Abraham and Ishmael built the House [the Kabah] upon its foundations, saying, Our Lord, accept this deed from us; indeed You are The AllHearing, The All-Knowing,

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128. Our Lord, cause us to submit to You, and raise of our progeny a nation submissive to You and teach us our rites and accept our repentance; indeed You are The ContinuallyAccepting of Repentance, The All-Forgiving. 129 Our Lord, and send to them [our progeny] a messenger who is one of them, and who will recite Your verses upon them and teach them the Scripture and the Hikmah, and purify them; indeed You are The All-Mighty, The All-Wise.


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124. And relate the time when Abraham was tested by his Lord with certain commands - which he fulfilled completely. And so Allah said, I shall make you an imam [i.e. a guiding example] for all people. Abraham said, And make also of my progeny imams. Allah said, The imamate will not be attained by the unjust.
Allah tells His Prophet to relate to the People of the Scriptures the news of Allahs servant and beloved friend1, Abraham , whose distinction and greatness were never held in question. Indeed, Jews, Christians and even the Pagans among the Arabs revered him, attributed themselves to him and alleged that he was one of their own. Allah states that He tested Abraham with certain commands and prohibitions; and such tests are Allahs custom and means of setting apart the dishonest - who do not hold steadfast in times of tribulation - from the sincere who persevere and, thus, rise in rank and greatness as their actions and own selves become purified through such perseverance and patience. Prophet Abraham was exemplary in his adherence to Allahs commands and in his unwavering tenacity in situations where Allah tested his faith. Allah acknowledged this steadfastness and rewarded him by making him a guiding example for all mankind and a model for anyone seeking eternal happiness, thus magnifying his good deeds and causing him to be extolled and honored by nations to come until the Last Day. Upon attaining this admirable rank with Allah, Abraham asked that Allah also make of his progeny guiding examples for others, so that they too might be granted the rank Allah had bestowed upon him. Such an appeal is further revealing of Abrahams distinguished order and imamate, as it illustrates his
. While the word khaleel approximately translates to intimate friend or beloved friend, it is important to beware of any connotations of parity the word friend might bear, as nothing is equal or similar to Allah. In clarifying this point, Imam Qurtubi explains that after describing Prophet Abraham as His khaleel in verse 125 of Suratu-Nissa, Allah goes on to say, And to Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and on the Earth (An-Nisaa, 126). The meaning being, that Allah only took Prophet Abraham as a khaleel due to the completeness of his servitude to Allah, and not out of any need for a friend; for as owner and master of everything that exists in the heavens and on the Earth, Allah is in need of nothing and no-one (Tafseer-ulQurtubi, vol. 3: 1972.)

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benevolence and desire for all mankind to be guided to the path of Allah. Allahs response reveals that those who guard against committing injustice are they who are bestowed with leadership. It is they who become models for others, provided they prove themselves worthy of this grade by possessing the necessary qualities. Evildoers and the unjust are not bestowed with the imamate by Allah, regardless of their lineage.

125. And remember We made The House [The Kabah] a place that people would come back to regularly, and a sanctuary. And We commanded that the place where Abraham once stood be taken as a place for Prayer. And We covenanted with Abraham and Ishmael saying, Purify My House for those circumambulating it, those confining themselves to it for worship, and those bowing and prostrating themselves in Prayer.
The Quran then moves on to mention one of the greatest symbols of Prophet Abrahams imamate: the Kabah in the Sacred Mosque of Makkah. Aside from making its circumambulation a pillar without which Hajj (Pilgrimage) is invalid, Allah has made the Kabah a place that Muslims from all corners of the Earth will always come back to for affairs that pertain to both this life and the Hereafter. Allah has also made the Sacred Mosque a place of safety and security, so much in fact that it is prohibited to cut down trees or kill in its vicinity. Indeed, even before Islam the Arab Pagans would honor and revere the Kabah and its surrounding area to the extent that even if a man hunting for his fathers assassin were to find him within its grounds, he would not attempt to assault him. With the advent of Islam, the Kabah was given even further respect and honor. The place where Abraham once stood or the Maqaam is the spot at which Prophet Abraham stood when building the Kabah. Today this spot lies a few meters away from, and directly in front of the door of the Kabah. To take this point as a place of prayer, refers to the two rakahs one prays upon completing circumambulation, as it is preferred that these two rakahs are prayed behind the place where Abraham stood. Allah goes on to state that He commanded Prophet Abraham and his

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son, Ishmael , to keep the Kabah and Sacred Mosque clean and free of polytheism of any form - and this includes paganism and kufr - as these constitute the worst kinds of impurity. Allah also commands them to purify the Sacred Mosque of tangible impurities such as urine, blood or feces, and to keep the it free of all forms of sin. All such purification allowed pilgrims, worshippers and anyone praying at the Mosque a completely pure and clean environment within which they might worship Allah.

126. And relate that Abraham said, My Lord, make this a secure land and provide its inhabitants with different fruit - provided they are among those who believe in Allah and the Last Day. Allah answered, And, too, for those who disbelieve [i.e. that they, too, shall be provided with sustenance] for I shall content them for a short while, and then I will force them into the punishment of Hellfire; and most terrible is this final destination.
Prophet Abraham then supplicated that Allah make the Sacred House and its vicinity a place of security and safety, and asked that its inhabitants be provided with different fruit, as long as they believed in Allah and the Last Day. The reason Prophet Abraham singled out the Believers in his supplication was that upon asking Allah to make imams of his progeny, Allah responded by telling him that the imamate will not be attained by the unjust (2:12); and so just as Allah had excluded the unjust from the imamate, Prophet Abraham sought to conform with Allahs will in this supplication and, hence, excluded Unbelievers from his appeal. Allah, however, informs His Prophet that both Believers and Unbelievers will be provided with sustenance in this life and contented or comforted by being given of what they desire. However, when all such worldly pleasures come to an end, those who disbelieved will be forced into the punishment of Hellfire for their unbelief and most terrible is this final destination.

127. And relate that Abraham and Ishmael built the House [the Kabah] upon its foundations, saying, Our Lord, accept this deed from us; indeed you are The All-Hearing, The All-Knowing, 128. Our Lord, cause us to submit to You, and raise of our progeny

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a nation submissive to You and teach us our rites and accept our repentance; indeed You are The Continually-Accepting of Repentance, The All-Forgiving.
Allah tells Prophet Muhammed to relate the time Abraham and Ishmael built the Kabah in accordance with Allahs command, and mentions that although they were carrying out Allahs duty, they were still concerned that Allah might not accept this deed from them. This, of course, is a direct result of the humility and humbleness with which they worshipped Allah; and so they supplicated in earnest hope that Allah would accept this magnificent act of worship and that it would bring benefit to nations and generations to come. They also asked Allah to raise from their descendants a people who would submit themselves completely to the will of Allah in both heart and body, and that Allah teach this people different acts of worship - both specific to the rites of Pilgrimage and those more general than that. This is a very admirable supplication and is essentially a request that Allah bless them with sincerity and the ability to accomplish virtuous deeds. Regardless of a servants virtue, sincerity and devotion to his Lord, shortcomings in ones duty to Allah are inevitable. For this reason they both asked Allah to forgive them for such shortcomings and to accept their repentance, as He, Allah, continually accepts the repentance of those who turn to Him in repentance, and forgives those who seek His forgiveness.

129. Our Lord, and send to them [our progeny] a messenger who is one of them, and who will recite Your verses upon them and teach them the Scripture and the Hikmah, and purify them; indeed You are The All-Mighty, The All-Wise.
Abraham and his son further implored Allah to raise among their progeny a messenger who would be one of their own so that this would raise their rank with Allah, and so that their offspring would be more inclined to follow this prophet and recognize him. They asked that this messenger recite Allahs verses upon his people and that he teach them the Scripture and the Hikmah and that he purify them. The Scripture here refers to the Quran, and while

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the word Hikmah may literally be translated as wisdom, in this context it refers to a proper understanding of Islam and its laws or the customs and sayings of the Prophet . All such Prophetic customs serve to explain and provide practical examples that clarify the meanings of the Quran. Such a messenger, they appealed, would also purify his people by teaching them to practice what was virtuous and to avoid all that was impious or blameworthy. And so they asked Allah, by virtue of His overwhelming might and perfect wisdom, to answer these prayers and send this prophet to their descendants. In answering this beautiful prayer, Allah sent the most noble and greatest of all prophets, Prophet Muhammed , as a blessing to their progeny and to all mankind. In affirmation of the meanings behind these verses, the Prophet is reported to have said, I am the answered prayer of Abraham1

1. This hadeeth was narrated by Imam Ahmed, and Al-Hakim and was classified as saheeh by Al-Albaani in his As-silsilah As-saheeha.

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130. And who would forsake the religion of Abraham except he who deprives himself [i.e of all that is beneficial]? For, indeed, We privileged him in this life, and in the Hereafter he will be among the righteous. 131. For when his Lord said to him, Submit! he replied, I have submitted to the Lord of all the worlds. 132. And Abraham entrusted his children with it [the worship of nothing and no-one other than Allah] as did Jacob, saying, My sons, indeed Allah has chosen the true religion for you, and so do not die except as Muslims.

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133. Or is it that you [Jews and Christians] were present as death was imminently upon Jacob as he said to his sons, What will you worship after I die?? They replied, We shall worship He who is your God and the God of your fathers. The God of Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac; one God, and to Him we submit. 134. These are a people who have since passed away. They shall have what they earned of their deeds, and you shall have what you earn; and you will not be questioned regarding anything they did.

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130. And who would forsake the religion of Abraham except he who deprives himself [i.e of all that is beneficial]? For, indeed, We privileged him in this life, and in the Hereafter he will be among the righteous. 131. For when his Lord said to him, Submit! he replied, I have submitted to the Lord of all the worlds.
Upon highlighting some of the glorious traits that made Prophet Abraham the exemplary man and prophet that he was, Allah asserts that only those who neglect what is of benefit to them and cheat themselves of what brings them good could possibly choose a religion other than that of Abrahams. Prophet Abraham was tested, favored and ultimately guided by Allah to accomplishing and overcoming all that he was tried with, whereupon he became among the greatest of Allahs servants and prophets. It is only fitting that someone of Abrahams virtue dwell in the Hereafter among those who were of virtue in this life, and that he be rewarded with the highest and most lavish levels of Paradise. Allah shows that He bestowed such honors upon Prophet Abraham as a result of his immediate compliance with the command to submit himself to Allah, which essentially is a command to adhere to the religion of Islam. Imam Tabari points out that the word, Islam (a derivative of the term aslim, interpreted here as Submit), means submissiveness to Allah through complete obedience to Him1. This definition is beautiful in its conciseness, and in that it illustrates that Islam is a complete and all-encompassing way of life that has a bearing on everything one believes, says and does. Because this group of verses are a response to allegations made by the People of the Scriptures that Prophet Abraham followed their religions (or either one of their religions), it is particularly important to keep the above definition of Islam in mind, as complete submission to Allah, the sole Creator of everything in existence, is a characteristic specific only to Muslims. And so Prophet Abrahams submission to Allah was complete, sincere and
1. At-Tabari, vol. 1: 71

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exclusive to the extent that he epitomized and embodied the worship of none but Allah (tawheed).

132. And Abraham entrusted his children with it [the worship of nothing and no-one other than Allah] as did Jacob, saying, My sons, indeed Allah has chosen the true religion for you, and so do not die except as Muslims. 133. Or is it that you [Jews and Christians] were present as death was imminently upon Jacob as he said to his sons, What will you worship after I die?? They replied, We shall worship He who is your God and the God of your fathers. The God of Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac; one God, and to Him we submit.
Abraham then passed this most important of all legacies on to his sons and entrusted them with it so that they would, in turn, hand it down to their sons until it reached Prophet Jacob . Prophet Jacob , likewise, entrusted his children with the worship of no-one and nothing but Allah. Of Prophet Abrahams descendants, Allah makes specific mention of Prophet Jacob (who, as mentioned, is also referred to as Israel) as it is to him that the Children of Israel directly attribute themselves to. Allah, hence, reveals that Prophet Jacobs real legacy was, in fact, tawheed. With this in mind, who could possibly be more obligated to continue the legacy of Israel than his own children? It was, therefore, incumbent upon the Children of Israel to accept Prophet Jacobs advice and to adhere to Islam, uphold its laws and infuse themselves with the praiseworthy manners and honorable conduct it prescribes. By living in this manner, they would, Allah willing, be granted death upon the religion of Islam, as he who lives by something, dies by it; and he who dies by something is resurrected upon it. Because the Jews falsely contended that they were upon the religion of Abraham and Jacob , Allah responds by asking whether they were present during Jacobs final moments. In order to seek reassurance and comfort in their answer, Jacob asked his sons what they would worship after he

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died. His sons, of course, responded with the only valid answer and the only response that could have brought him the comfort he sought. They, therefore, declared that they would worship Allah alone, never associating anything with Him and that they would obey Allah with complete submission. The Jews of Madinah, of course, were neither present nor even existent during any part of this incident, and Allah informs them that Prophet Jacob advised his sons to adhere to Islam and not to Judaism as they claimed.

134. These are a people who have since passed away. They shall have what they earned and you shall have what you earn; and you will not be questioned regarding anything they did.
Allah tells the People of the Scriptures that merely attributing themselves and making claim to a people who have long since passed away will not benefit them in the least if they do not follow in their footsteps and adhere to the religion of Islam. Rather, just as their predecessors shall reap the rewards of their own actions and be held accountable for what they did, so too will the descendants reap the rewards of their actions and, equally, be held responsible for what they earned. They must, therefore, attempt to appraise their own deeds and ask themselves whether or not such deeds will bring them salvation. This would be far more beneficial than endeavoring to claim the merits of Abraham and his sons for themselves through mere words that will be of no benefit or avail.

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135. And they say, Be Jews or Christian so that you might be guided. Say, Rather we shall follow the religion of Abraham, a monotheist and Muslim; and he was never of the Pagans. 136. Say, We have believed in Allah and what has been sent down to us and what was sent down to Abraham and Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes of Israel, and in what was given to Moses and Jesus and what was given to the other prophets by their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them [Allahs prophets]; and it is to Him [Allah] that we submit ourselves. 137. And so if they believe in what you [the Believers] have believed in, then they are upon guidance. But if they turn away, then they are but in schism with you [O Prophet]. But Allah will protect you and grant you victory over them, for He is The All-Hearing, The All-knowing.

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138. [Maintain] the dye of Allah [i.e. Allahs religion]. And what dye could possibly be better than that of Allah? And say, And we [Muslims] are worshippers of Him, alone.

139. Say [O Prophet, to the People of the Scriptures], Do you dispute with us concerning Allah when He is our Lord and your Lord, and to us are our deeds, and to you are your deeds; and to Him we are sincere [i.e. we worship Him alone]? 140. Or do you [O People of the Scriptures] say that Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes were Jews or Christians? Say, Are you more knowledgeable or is Allah? And who is more unjust than he who conceals testimony he holds from Allah!? And Allah is not unmindful of what you do. 141. These are a people who have since passed away. They shall have what they earned [of their deeds] and you shall have what you earn, and you will not be questioned regarding anything they did.

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135. And they say, Be Jews or Christians so that you might be guided. Say, Rather we shall follow the religion of Abraham, a monotheist and Muslim; and he was never of the Pagans.
Because the Jews and Christians claimed that guidance was only to be found in their religions, Allah tells His Prophet to respond to this unfounded claim and to say that he (the Prophet) and the Muslims shall continue to follow the religion of Abraham , the only truly monotheistic religion. The word haneef, interpreted here as monotheist, literally means inclining. In this context, it means to incline towards the worship of Allah, alone, while inclining away from polytheism in all its different forms. And so to incline towards Islam and the exclusive worship of Allah is ultimately to incline away from the worship of idols, prophets, angels, and anything else that might be taken for worship other than Allah. It is also to incline away from false religions.

136. Say, We have believed in Allah and what has been sent down to us and what was sent down to Abraham and Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes of Israel, and in what was given to Moses and Jesus and what was given to the other prophets by their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them [Allahs prophets]; and it is to Him [Allah] that we submit ourselves.
This gracious verse contains within it all that one is required to believe. To believe or to accept faith requires that one believe completely with ones heart the different fundamentals that constitute faith or eman and then to corroborate this belief with actions of both heart and body1. The broader meaning of the term eman includes Islam and all the righteous deeds a servant might practice. Likewise, if the term Islam is used in
. The English connotations for the word faith only reflect a part of the broader and more general definition of eman. This is because, in the English language, faith is normally not used to describe outward or apparent actions, whereas eman, in its broader sense, includes such actions. It is important to keep this point in mind, as some groups contend that eman does not include actions. This is a deviant teaching and does not lie in accordance with the teachings of the Prophet , or with the understanding of his companions.

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its general sense, it encompasses eman. In this sense, the two terms are somewhat interchangeable. If, however, the terms Islam and eman are each used in their more specific contexts (such as to say, one must accept Islam and have eman), then eman refers specifically to what lies within the heart with regards to belief, while Islam refers to what appears outwardly in terms of words and actions. The command to Say, We have believed is not merely a command to speak these words, but rather a command to speak them while firmly believing with ones heart everything they mean and imply. This is the only comprehensive kind of declaration for which one is rewarded by Allah. For just as to declare ones faith verbally while not believing the words one utters constitutes hypocrisy and kufr, a declaration of faith void of real belief or deeds that substantiate such a declaration brings no real benefit to those who utter such words. However, to declare ones faith - even with little substantiation - will bring some reward to the declarer provided he has accepted the basic tenets of faith that render him a Believer. Nonetheless, the difference between a declaration void of substance, on the one hand, and a declaration that is endorsed by unwavering faith and righteous deeds, on the other, is clearly significant. Further, Allahs command to Say, We have believed indicates the importance and obligation of publicizing or making ones adoption of the Islamic creed known, as this is the very foundation of the religion. The order to say what Allah has commanded us to say is a collective order as is shown by the word We, and this illustrates the importance of unity and coherence of action, just as it is necessarily a prohibition against disunity. Far from being a mere testimony or affirmation that Allah exists, the declaration, We have believed in Allah, is also an acknowledgment that Allah is the sole Creator of everything in existence, and that nothing and no one else aside from Him is deserving of any kind of worship at all. It is also to acknowledge that Allah is perfect in all His attributes and completely free of shortcomings or imperfections of any sort. To believe in what was revealed to us refers to belief in the Quran and

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Sunnah, and consequently includes belief in everything mentioned in them pertaining to Allah, His prophets, the Last Day, accounts of past nations and events that were previously unknown to us, and accounts of future events and the unseen. It also includes belief in legislative rulings, rulings concerning reward and punishment, and belief pertaining to other matters. The rest of the verse indicates the obligation to believe in all the scriptures Allah has revealed to His prophets. It also refers to the obligation of believing in all Allahs prophets at a general level, and to believe - more specifically - in the prophets mentioned in this verse for their special status and for their being given major legislative scriptures. Hence, the Muslim duty regarding belief in Allahs prophets and His revealed scriptures is: to believe in all the prophets Allah has sent and all the scriptures He has revealed in a general manner, and then to believe in and follow more specifically what has been made specific to the Muslim nation by Allah through Prophet Muhammed . The statement We make no distinction between any of them refers to the fact that we believe in all Allahs prophets. This, as mentioned, is something specific only to Muslims and differentiates them from Jews, Christians, Sabians and followers of other religions who claim to believe in some of Allahs messengers and scriptures but reject others. Such discrimination is, itself, self-contradictory, as the prophets that they claim to believe in were the very prophets who commanded them to believe in the rest of Allahs prophets - especially Prophet Muhammed . Their rejection of any of Allahs messengers is, therefore, essentially a rejection of the messengers they allege to believe in, as it is neither possible, nor permissible to believe in a prophet while rejecting what he says. Allah states that that which was given to the prophets was given to them by their Lord. This signals that Allahs custom of descending guidance for mankind in the form of revelation to His prophets is a manifestation of His Lordship1, and hence His complete care for His servants and His benevolence
1. A more thorough explanation of the word Lord and its connotations when used to refer to Allah was outlined under 1:2

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towards them. Additionally, because all true revelation can only come from Allah and because the necessary nature of divine revelation is that it calls to what is good and away from what is evil, contemplating the message a prophet is sent with will itself reveal the difference between the real prophets of Allah and liars who falsely allege prophethood. Fundamental discrepancies and contradictions in words and doctrines also serve to expose false prophets, as Allah says And had it [the Quran] come from [anyone] other than Allah, theyd have found within it much contradiction (:82). After outlining what constitutes belief, at both general and specific levels (regarding belief in the prophets and scriptures), and because to merely utter or declare ones belief in all that is outlined in this verse does not relieve one of the responsibility of practicing it, Allah ends the verse by telling the Believers to say, and to Him [Allah] we submit ourselves.. Hence, after the command to verbally affirm belief in the different items that make up the Islamic creed, Allah commands the Believers to submit themselves completely and exclusively to Him by humbling themselves before His magnificence and by willfully succumbing themselves to His worship, both inwardly and outwardly with sincerity and devotion. In spite of its brevity, this gracious verse touches on the following important fundamentals: - The obligation of believing in the three forms of tawheed (Ruboobeya, Ulooheya, Asmaa wassifaat) (See explanation for verse 2:22). - The obligation of believing in all of Allahs prophets and revealed scriptures, both at a general level and more specifically with regards to those mentioned for their distinction. Believers are today, of course, only requred to adhere to the Quran and Sunnah. - The obligation of affirming ones belief verbally and through the actions of both heart and body; and the duty of being sincere to Allah in these affirmations - The distinction between the prophets of Allah and liars who claim to be

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prophets - Allahs benevolence and favor upon His servants in teaching them what to say and how to say it, as well as His mercy and kindness in bestowing upon them blessings of guidance that serve to bring them happiness both in this life and in the Hereafter

137. And so if they [Jews and Christians] believe in what you [the Believers] have believed in, then they are upon guidance. But if they turn away, then they are but in schism with you [O Prophet]. But Allah will protect you and grant you victory over them, for He is The All-Hearing, The All-knowing.
Allah directs His speech to the Believers and tells them that if the People of the Scriptures (or followers of any other religion) accept what the Muslims have accepted and what they have believed regarding Allahs prophets and revealed scriptures - at the helm of which are the Prophet Muhammed and the Quran - and if they submit to Allah alone and believe in all His prophets without rejecting any of them, then they have been guided to the Straight Path that leads to Paradise. Based on this, any other form of faith or belief is unacceptable to Allah, and the claim that guidance is reserved only for those who are either Jews or Christians (2:15) is clearly erroneous. As mentioned in Surat-ul-Faatihah1, to be guided is to have knowledge of the truth and to act in accordance with it. To stray, on the other hand, is either due to: - refusal to follow or acknowledge the truth in spite of knowledge of it - ignorance of the truth and the following of vain whims and falsities for which there is no evidence Those who turned away among the People of the Scriptures are those who were guilty of the former, for they knew and recognized the truth upon hearing it. By rejecting the truth, they drew a rift between themselves, - on the one hand - and Allah and His Prophet on the other. This necessarily meant animosity and all-out enmity for the Prophet and for what he was sent with. For this
1. See explanation of verse 1:7

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reason, Allah reassures His Prophet and tells him that He will deliver him from the harm of these enemies, and grant him victory over them. This was a promise that was very soon thereafter fulfilled, as with the command to fight, the Prophet and the Believers defeated the Jews in battle. Allah reminds His Prophet and the Believers that He is The All-Hearing, and thus hears all that is said in whatever language it might be said. Allah also reminds them that He is The All-knowing, for He knows all that was, all that is, and all that is to come, whether apparent or concealed. With such unique and perfect attributes, who else but Allah could truly protect against the evil and the plotting of enemies.

138. [Maintain] the dye of Allah [i.e. Allahs religion]. And what dye could possibly be better than that of Allah? And say, And we [Muslims] are worshippers of Him, alone.
The Arabic word sibghah literally means dye. In this verse, it refers to the metaphoric tint or color that a Muslim takes on when infused with faith and belief, and the noble manners, deeds and behavior that follow from being instilled with such faith. This is a dye that is neither faded nor washed away by the water of doubt or suspicion, nor can it be overcome or replaced with the dye or stains of any other creed or religion1. Hence, to adhere - at all times - to the religion of Allah with faith of heart and virtue of deed, whether overt or concealed, is to take on and maintain the dye of Islam. In this manner, Islam becomes an inextricable part of a Muslims character and a part of his nature, just as a garments color is a necessary part of its description. The word dye is used in place of faith because faith blends into the heart and therefore reveals its effect on the actions and words of Believers, just as a dye leaves its hue on material dyed with it.2.
1. Al-Qassimy, vol. 1: 27 2. Tantawi, vol. 1: 286

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Those who take in such faith and internalize the manners and behavior that are a result of it are those who attain happiness in both this life and the Hereafter. And if this is the reward for adhering to Islam, then reason dictates that no other religion or way of life could possibly be better or more beneficial. For this reason Allah says, And what dye could possibly be better than that of Allah?. The difference that Allahs sibghah makes on the lives of individuals is easy to see. For the beautiful manners and traits that adorn those who sincerely believe in their Lord stand in sharp contrast to the manners of those who disbelieve in their Creator and, thereby, do not feel that they will be held accountable for anything they say or do. Because it is only natural that someone characterized with such deep running faith be steeped in the worship of Allah, the verse ends with a testimony that true Believers are worshippers of Allah. Notice that Allah does not tell the Believers to simply say that they worship Allah, but to say that they are worshippers of Him. This difference suggests continuity and persistence in worship, just as in English there is a difference between someone who is selling something and someone who is a seller of something.

139. Say [O Prophet, to the People of the Scriptures], Do you dispute with us concerning Allah, though He is our Lord and your Lord, and to us are our deeds and to you are your deeds; and to Him we are sincere in worship [i.e. we worship Him alone]?
The People of the Scriptures would dispute with the Muslims and claim to be more worthy of Allah than the Muslims were, and this was a claim that required proof they could not produce. Rather, this contention was based on the argument that their religions were revealed before Islam, that their prophets were sent before Prophet Muhammed and that their scriptures were revealed before the Quran1. Such logic, however, falls well short of being evidence to suggest that they were upon guidance. Indeed, just as Allah is their Lord, He is also the Lord of
1. At-Tabari, vol. 1: 7

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Muslims, and just as they have earned deeds that they will be held accountable for, so too do Muslims have deeds that they will be held accountable for. At this level, there is nothing that either Jews or Christians are able to use as evidence for the claim that they are more worthy of Allah than Muslims are. Instead, the deciding criterion comes in the last part of the verse where Allah tells the Prophet to say, and to Him we are sincere in worship (i.e. worship Him alone. Here lies the key difference that sets Muslims aside from Jews, Christians and Arab Pagans who all directed worship to other than Allah when they deified such things as the calf, Prophet Jesus and idols respectively. Because each of these different groups was guilty of taking something or someone other than Allah as a god, it made no sense that they should claim to be more worthy of Allah than Muslims - the only people who associated nothing and no-one with Allah in their worship Him.1

140. Or do you [O People of the Scriptures] say that Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes were Jews or Christians? Say, Are you more knowledgeable or is Allah? And who is more unjust than he who conceals testimony he holds from Allah!? And Allah is not unmindful of what you do. 141. These are a people who have since passed away. They shall have what they earned and you shall have what you earn, and you will not be questioned regarding anything they did.
Allah, again, responds to the People of the Scriptures in their allegation that the prophets mentioned in this verse were Jews or Christians, and while the response itself comes in the form of a question, the meaning is clear and requires no literal or direct answer. Allah further asks them whether they believe themselves to be more knowledgeable than He in making such claims. Because the claim to know what Allah does not know is preposterous, and
1. At-Tabari, vol. 1: 75

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indeed tantamount to unbelief, there can only be one correct answer. The testimony referred to in Allahs saying And who is more unjust than he who conceals testimony he holds from Allah!? refers to Allahs affirmation - in their scriptures - that Abraham and his offspring were Muslims, i.e. those who submit themselves exclusively to Allah1. If concealing the testimony of another human being is considered criminal, unjust and fraudulent, then what could possibly be worse or more unjust than concealing the testimony of Allah, Himself? Especially when done with the intention to lead mankind away from the light of guidance and into the darknesses of falsehood and eternal loss. Allah informs the People of the Scriptures that He is always aware and watchful of what they do. This is a stern warning that such evil actions will be met with the most excruciating of punishments, and that Hellfire will be their abode as recompense for these wicked actions. Verse 11 has already been explained above (2:1), but is repeated here to further emphasize that salvation lies in faith and righteous deeds, and not in merely attributing oneself to those who had faith and practiced righteous deeds.

1. Other scholars contend that the testimony refers to their affirmation or the oath taken upon themselves to believe in Prophet Muhammed .

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142. The foolish among mankind will ask, What has turned them [the Muslims] away from the direction in which they used to pray? Say, To Allah belong the East and the West. He guides whom He wills to the Straight Path.

143. And [just as We have guided you to Islam and to praying in the direction of the Qiblah,] We have also made you a just and balanced nation so that you may be witnesses over mankind, and so that the Prophet might be a witness over you. And We only appointed the Qiblah that you were upon so that We may distinguish between those who would follow the Prophet from those who would turn back on their heels. And, indeed, it [the change in qiblah] was a difficult trial, except for those whom Allah had guided. But it is not of Allah to render your faith [and righteous deeds] in vain. Indeed, Allah is compassionate and merciful with mankind.


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144. Indeed, We see you [O Prophet] repeatedly turning your face to the sky, and so We will turn you to a qiblah that pleases you. And so turn towards the Sacred Mosque [in Makkah], and no matter where any of you [Believers] might be, turn yourselves towards it. For, indeed, those who have been given the scriptures [Jews and Christians] know that this is the truth from their Lord; and Allah is not unmindful of what they do. 145. And if you [O Prophet] bring the People of the Scriptures every piece of evidence [to prove that the appointment of the new Qiblah is the truth], they will not face your Qiblah; and nor are you one to face their qiblah; and nor do they face the qiblahs of one another. And should you follow their fancies after what has come to you of the truth, you will indeed then be among the wrongdoers.

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142. The fools among men will ask, What has turned them [the Muslims] away from the direction in which they used to pray? Say, To Allah belong the East and the West. He guides whom He wills to the Straight Path.
Upon their emigration to Madinah, the Prophet and the Muslims continued to face the Holy Mosque in Jerusalem for their Prayers. Approximately sixteen months later, they were ordered to face the Holy Mosque in Makkah instead of their former Qiblah, or direction of Prayer. This, as will soon be explained, was a test of faith. Allah thus informs the Believers, beforehand, that when the command to change the direction of Prayer comes, Fools among mankind will ask, What has turned them [the Muslims] away from the direction in which they used to pray? As can be seen, foolishness is a necessary characteristic of those who object to, and make arguments against the divine rulings of Allah. Equally, it is a trait of those who neglect to undertake what is of benefit to them. In this verse lies reassurance for the Believers in more than one sense. First, it is further evidence that the Quran is from Allah as it tells of an event before its occurrence. Secondly, it prepares the Believers for the event itself by telling them that they must not concern themselves with the frivolous arguments of those who have been described by Allah as fools, as it is hardly worth arguing with someone of whom foolishness is a fundamental trait. Regarding the change of qiblah, Ibn-ul-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) writes, The command to change the direction of Prayer was a tremendous example of Allahs wisdom and a test for Muslims, Jews, Hypocrites and the Pagan Arabs. Upon learning that the direction of Prayer had been changed, different groups responded in different ways: - The Muslims responded by saying, We have heard and we will obey (2:285) and it is they whom Allah had rightly guided so that such a change was not something they accepted with any real difficulty. - The Arab Pagans responded by saying, Just as Muhammed has returned

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to our Qiblah, he will very soon return to our religion, for the only reason he turned back to face our Qiblah is that it is the truth! - The Jews responded by saying, He has gone against the Qiblah of the prophets before him, and had he been a real prophet, hed have continued to pray towards the Qiblah of the prophets. - The Hypocrites responded by saying, Muhammed doesnt know which way to turn! For if the first Qiblah had been the correct direction, he has now left it; and if the second Qiblah is the correct direction, then he was wrong before.1 The fundamental reason for the change in direction of Prayer will be discussed under the following verse, and responses to the above claims will be dealt with in their appropriate places throughout the following seven verses which all deal with this same issue. Because a Muslim understands and believes firmly that Allah is All-Wise in what He decrees and All-Knowing of what does and does not bring benefit, he does not question Allahs commands and, instead, obeys Allahs directives without objection or dispute. In outlining this important trait, Allah says The only response fitting of the Believers when called to obey Allah and His Prophet is that they say, We have heard and we will obey. (2:51) Allah also says And it is not for a believing man or woman to choose anything of their own accord if Allah and His Prophet have decreed a matter. (:6) Rather than leave these vain objections unanswered, however, Allah tells the Prophet to respond by telling those who questioned the change in direction of Prayer that To Allah belong the East and the West, and hence neither of these two directions lies beyond the dominion of Allah. Moreover, Allah guides whom He wills to the Straight Path of truth, and
1. Zad-ul-Maaad, vol. : 60

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His guiding Muslims to praying towards the Kabah (the Qiblah of Prophet Abraham) is one example of such benevolent guidance. Where, then, is the sense in objecting to Allahs decree to have His believing servants face a Qiblah that lies within His dominion? Such an objection stems from nothing more than envy of the fact that Allah has chosen what is best for His believing servants and seeks to guide them to what is beneficial for them. Just as Allah guides whom He wills of His servants, it is also Allahs custom to create the means by which guidance may take place. Reference to these various means is made in different verses throughout the Quran so that they may be recognized, sought after and adhered to by those genuinely seeking guidance and hence seek to learn the truth and act upon it. Because one means of attaining Allahs guidance is to adopt and maintain the justice and balance that Allah has prescribed for us, the following verse touches on this point.

143. And [just as We have guided you to Islam and to praying in the direction of the Qiblah,] We have also made you a just and balanced nation so that you may be witnesses over mankind, and so that the Prophet might be a witness over you. And We only appointed the Qiblah that you [O Prophet] were upon so that We may distinguish between those who would follow the Prophet from those who would turn back on their heels. And, indeed, it [the change in qiblah] was a difficult trial, except for those whom Allah had guided. But it is not of Allah to render your faith [and righteous deeds] in vain. Indeed, Allah is compassionate and merciful with mankind.
Allah tells the Believers that in addition to having blessed them with Islam when He sent the Prophet with the Quran, and to having favored them over other nations by directing them to pray towards the Holy Mosque, He has also guided and favored them by making them a just and balanced nation. Because guidance lies in adopting this balance, the meaning of the word balanced, in this context, requires some explanation.

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The term wasat literally means median, or in the middle between two extremes. In the context of this verse, it refers to the Islamic nations metaphoric position of lying between two creedal or doctrinal extremes. And so, for instance, while Christians go to the extreme of deifying and worshipping Prophet Jesus , and Jews to the other extreme of spiting him and alleging that he was of illegitimate birth, Muslims understand that he was a prophet and servant of Allah who was born, miraculously, without a father. Another example of such balance is that Muslim laws and legislation are neither excessively stringent such as those of the Jews, nor do they bear the excessive laxity of many Christian laws. Jewish law, for instance, stipulates that a menstruating woman is to be isolated from others for seven days; anything she sits on or lays upon becomes ritually impure. Hence, anyone who comes into contact with these things, or with her, also become ritually impure until the onset of evening and until the person making contact has washed themselves and their clothes in water. Because this ruling comes from the Old Testament, it is more the practice of Jews than Christians. Only prayers performed in synagogues or designated temples are valid in Judaism. Also, much of what Allah first made lawful to Jews was then made unlawful or prohibited as punishment for their continual and excessive transgression and disobedience. The majority of Christians, on the other hand, hardly view anything as impure (ritual impurity) and do not deem any kind of food as prohibited. Indeed, many Christians do not see the laws of the Old Testament as binding, and, instead, only see that they are to be followed in a very general sense, if at all. Paul demonstrates this basic principle in the following passage: . The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2. Such teachings come
1. Leviticus 15:19-2

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through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5. because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. 6. If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.. The justification for the purity of all food mentioned in verse 5 of the above passage (i.e. that it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer) suggests that all a Believer need do to sanctify any food is to make a prayer of thanksgiving to recognize the One who has provided the gift. It should be noted that quotes from Paul and others lie in contrast to what is quoted from Jesus, himself, and that clearly indicates the necessity of adhering to the laws revealed to Moses. For instance, Think not that I come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.2 Conversely, the purity decreed by Allah for Muslims is of the best and most perfect kind. Ritual purity, for instance, is a pre-requisite for Prayer, and, in the view of the majority of scholars, even for touching the Quran. While a person in a state of minor ritual impurity is allowed to recite the Quran (without touching it), a person in a state of major ritual impurity is not allowed to recite it until he has purified himself. The manners of purification, which are themselves fundamental acts of worship, will be discussed in their appropriate places, Allah willing. Allah has made all that is pure lawful for Muslims, whether in terms of food, drink, clothes and marriage (and that which is allowable with regards to intimacy), and has made unlawful all that is impure. Allah has endowed and
1. 1 Timothy :1-6 2. Matthew 5:17 . Detailed rulings on food, drink and clothing are to be taken from books on Islamic jurisprudence.

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blessed Muslims with the best of all religions, the best of all manners, and the best of all deeds. Additionally, Allah has made the Muslim nation the most knowledgeable of all nations (in their religious affairs), as well as the most wise and the most benevolent. Just as these are some of the characteristics by which Allah has caused this to be a just and balanced nation, they are, in turn, the necessary characteristics of those qualified to stand as witnesses for (or against) others. It is the Islamic nation, therefore, that will be summoned on Judgment Day so that its people might be witnesses over mankind and so that whatever they deem acceptable will be accepted, and whatever they reject will be rejected. A number of reports have been narrated pertaining to the Muslim nations testimony on Judgment Day, and the following report - narrated by Imam Bukhari - is one such text regarding this event: Abu Saeed Al Khudri reported that the Prophet said, Noah will be summoned on the Day of Resurrection and asked (by Allah), Did you convey the message you were sent with? And he will respond, Yes. And so it will be said to his people, Did he convey the message to you? And they will respond, No one came to warn us (of any kind of punishment). And so Noah will be asked, Who will bear witness that you conveyed the message? to which he will respond, Muhammed and his nation, whereupon they will witness that he did, indeed, convey the message. This is what Allah means in saying, We have also made you a just and balanced nation so that you may be witnesses over other people and so that the Prophet might be a witness over you. 1 While the above report only makes mention of Prophet Noah , the Muslim nation will testify that all the prophets of Allah conveyed the message to their people and will, therefore, testify against those who deny receiving the message sent with their respective prophets. Additionally, just as this nation will be called to testify over other nations, the Prophet , who is the best and fairest of Allahs creation, will, likewise, be
1. Al Bukhari, 86

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called to testify that he had conveyed Allahs message to his nation. Allahs wisdom in changing the appointed direction of prayer is made evident in the next part of this verse: And we only appointed the Qiblah that you [O Prophet] were upon so that We may distinguish between those who would follow the Prophet from those who would turn back on their heels. Because Allah is All-knowing of all things past, present and to come, the establishment of this trial for the purpose of knowing or distinguishing between those who would obey the Prophet and those who would not is not to be understood at an apparent level. Instead, this is the kind of knowledge upon which reward and punishment is based. For, in spite of the fact that Allah knows all that is to come, he does not punish or reward anyone until the occurrence of the actual deed. This, of course, lies in accordance with Allahs divine justice and custom of establishing proof for or against His servants before rewarding or punishing them for their deeds. Those who followed the Prophet in turning to the new Qiblah are, hence, those who would follow him in all matters, as it is they who obey simply upon being commanded to do so by Allah or His Prophet . Those who object, on the other hand, are those who only do themselves harm, for they fall deeper into their rejection of faith and deeper into confusion. Such are the means by which Allah sets apart those who truly believe from those who do not. The extract mentioned a short while ago from Ibn-ul-Qayyims Zad ul Maaad mentions how the change in qiblah was used by various groups to sow doubt in the hearts of the Believers. However, to those whom Allah had guided and blessed with faith and conviction, the command to change the direction of prayer brought neither doubt nor hesitation at all, and instead only led to their acknowledgment of Allahs additional favor upon them. (It is important to note that the People of the Scriptures had knowledge that the prophet they were anticipating would face Makkah, making their rejection of him all the more deplorable. This will be discussed further shortly.) When the command to face the new Qiblah came, the Believers asked whether or not the Prayers of those who had died facing the former Qiblah would be accepted. Allah responded by saying that it was not of Allah to render your faith (and righteous deeds) in vain. The choice of word,

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faith, has different bearings. First, it is uplifting and inspiring news that Allah preserves the faith of those whom He has blessed with guidance to Islam. Allahs preservation of faith comes in two different forms. First, He preserves a Believers faith from being lost or invalidated in instances of vulnerability that may cause doubt, deterioration or outright unbelief. Trials and tribulations are the most common examples of such tests of faith. Secondly, Allah preserves a Believers faith by developing it or nurturing it and through guiding Believers to what will strengthen their faith and bring them certainty and conviction. And so the overall meaning here is: just as Allah has guided you (Believers) to Islam and to believing in Allah and His Prophet , He will continue to preserve and develop your faith for you and, in turn, increase your reward for such faith. Hence, in times of tribulation that serve to differentiate between the sincere and the insincere, Allah makes evident the faith of those who truly believe and causes them to stand out against those who are weaker in conviction. It is understood, therefore, that the change of qiblah was not decreed so that the Believers might lose faith; rather, this was a command that served to strengthen their faith while, at the same time, exposing those who inwardly disbelieved in spite of outwardly claiming belief in the Prophet . This verse is also proof for Ahl-ul-Sunnahs position that both outward deeds (such as Prayer), and belief, together, constitute eman (and not just belief, alone, as some have suggested). In this verse, Allahs mercy and favor is made apparent in that He not only guided the Believers to Islam, but also tried them with what would raise their ranks and strengthen their faith. He also guided them to praying in the direction of the most honorable of all places, the Sacred Mosque. Allahs favor is further exemplified in that this appointment served to discern between those who embraced Islam with sincerity of heart and those who accepted it with mere words and without any real conviction.

144. Indeed, We see you [O Prophet] repeatedly turning your face to the sky, and so We will turn you to a qiblah that pleases you.

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And so turn towards the Sacred Mosque [in Makkah], and no matter where any of you [Believers] might be, turn yourselves towards it. For, indeed, those who have been given the scriptures [Jews and Christians] know that this is the truth from their Lord; and Allah is not unmindful of what they do.
Allah addresses His Messenger and tells him that He sees him repeatedly gazing up into the sky in anticipation of the moment when Allah will command him to face the Kabah. After promising to bring the Messenger what he so desired, Allah immediately fulfills this promise and commands the Prophet and the Believers to turn and face in the direction of the Sacred Mosque, the most beloved of all places to the Prophet . This verse is evidence that standing in the direction of the Qiblah is one of the conditions of Prayer and that diverting away from it with ones body invalidates Prayers. In addition to the wrongful objections to the change of qiblah made by the People of the Scriptures, their transgression and rejection of faith is made all the worse because they knew well that the Prophet they anticipated would turn to face the Kabah. Regarding this, Allah says For, indeed, those who have been given the scriptures [Jews and Christians] know that this is the truth from their Lord. The Believers were, therefore, not to concern themselves with any of the sterile objections and attempts made to dissuade them from what they knew to be true. Indeed, such transgression is something that such wrongdoers shall be held accountable for and, hence, punished for in both this life and the Hereafter, for Allah is not unmindful of what they do.

145. And if you [O Prophet] bring the People of the Scriptures every piece of evidence [to prove that the appointment of the new Qiblah is the truth], they will not face your Qiblah; and nor are you one to face their qiblah; and nor do they face the qiblahs of one another. And should you follow their fancies after what has come to you of the truth, you will indeed then be among the wrongdoers.

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Because the Prophet would strive with sincerity and compassion to guide others to the truth, he would be deeply saddened when his calls to guidance were rejected or when his exhortations were met with disregard. Indeed, such calls would often be met with harsh rejection from Jews and Christians who, in spite of knowing perfectly well that he was the anticipated Messenger, were adamant in their efforts to discredit him. In order to alleviate the Messengers pain by ridding him of any sense of blame and by making clear to him that stubborn Unbelievers would never believe in him no matter how much proof he presented, Allah tells the Prophet , And if you bring the People of the Scriptures every piece of evidence (to prove that the appointment of the new Qiblah is the truth), they will not face your Qiblah. Hence, the rejection of the Prophets message was not due to the unavailability of evidence. Rather, those who rejected faith hadnt the slightest inclination to believe in the Prophet , no matter how much evidence for his prophethood was established. The rejection of the Prophets Qiblah is, of course, an embodiment of the Unberlievers refusal to follow or believe in the Prophet himself; for had they believed in him, theyd have faced the new Qiblah without any trouble. This is a clear indication that evidence and proof only benefit those who sincerely seek the truth and, hence, ask Allah for His guidance when searching for it. Those who stubbornly reject the truth, however, will not be influenced by any amount of evidence. Allah then tells His Prophet that he (the Prophet) is not one to face their Qiblah. Notice that Allah does not simply say, and you will not face their Qiblah. This difference suggests that going against the ways of the Unbelievers among the People of the Scriptures (and other Unbelievers) is something intrinsic to the Prophets character, and that there was, therefore, no possibility of him ever facing their Qiblah after Allah had made the truth clear to him. Additionally, while Jews pray in the direction of the Holy Mosque in Jerusalem, Christians pray in the direction of the East; and so if they differ among themselves with regards to the direction of prayer, in spite of referring

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to the same scripture, it is all the more unlikely that they would agree to pray towards the Prophets Qiblah. This, of course, is another example of how evidence does not benefit those who do not seek the path of guidance to begin with. Again, rather than refer to the religions of the People of the Scriptures as religions, Allah refers to them as fancies or vain desires, thus reaffirming that they do not base their beliefs, actions or arguments on any real evidence. Allah then warns His Prophet and all Muslims that if they follow the deviated ways of the Jews and Christians after having come to know the truth, they would most certainly be among the wrongdoers. For, indeed, what could possibly be worse than the rejection of truth after it has become apparent?

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146. Those whom Weve given the scriptures recognize him [the Prophet] just as they recognize their own sons; but, indeed, a faction among them suppresses the truth, in spite of recognizing it. 147. The Truth is from your Lord, so do not be of those who wield doubt. 148. And each nation has a direction to which they turn in prayer, so compete you [Believers] in doing good deeds. Anywhere you might be, Allah will bring you together [for Judgment Day]. Indeed, Allah is capable of all things. 149. And wherever you set off to pray, turn towards the direction of the Sacred Mosque. And, indeed, it is the truth from your Lord, and Allah is not unmindful of what you do.


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150. And wherever you [O Prophet] set out to pray, turn towards the direction of the Sacred Mosque; and wherever any of you [Believers] might be, turn yourselves towards it. This is so that others may not have grounds for argument against you, save those who commit wrongdoing [and will thus persist in making vain arguments, regardless]. So do not fear them, but fear Me so that I may complete My favor upon you, and so that you might be guided.

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146. Those whom Weve given the scriptures recognize him [the Prophet] just as they recognize their own sons; but, indeed, a faction among them suppresses the truth, in spite of recognizing it.
Allah reveals and exposes that the scholars and learned men among the People of the Scriptures know and recognize the Prophet as being the prophet that they were in anticipation of. In fact, they recognize him as surely as they recognize their own sons. This is a degree of certainty that doesnt bear even the least hint of doubt, as no one could confuse their own son with anyone else. Hence, while a group or faction among the People of the Scriptures rejected the Prophet and concealed evidence of his prophethood, other groups believed in him and accepted him, and still others rejected him out of ignorance and without knowing of the evidence their scholars had concealed. A righteous scholar must, therefore, (and contrary to the actions of dishonest, deceitful scholars) expose the truth and do everything possible to make it beloved to the hearts of people by producing the evidence for it and by using parables and other means to bring about its acceptance. A scholar must also seek to emphasize the difference between truth and falsehood, and to expose the evil of falsehood so that it becomes despised and rejected. When dishonest scholars among the Jews and Christians sought to do exactly the opposite of what they were supposed to do, their affairs in general were turned upside down, and so they sought to beautify and adorn falsehood while making the truth seem detestable and undesirable. The People of the Scriptures were, of course, able to identify the Prophet owing to the fact that he was described in their scriptures. While much of the Bible has been distorted, scholars, such as Imam Shehab-Udeen Al-Qurafy, list fifty different places in the Bible that make reference to the coming of Prophet Muhammed . Along with the citations themselves, Imam Al-Qurafy also makes arguments for why only Prophet Muhammed could possibly be the person referred to.
1. For further information on this topic, refer to Imam Shehab-Udeens book, Al Ajweba al fakhera ala al-assela al fajerah and the other books referred to under verse 1: 7.

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147. The Truth is from your Lord, so do not be of those who wield doubt.
Nothing is more worthy of being referred to as the Truth than that which was revealed by Allah and, therefore, calls to righteousness and to the purification of the soul while calling away from all that is corrupt and shameful. Scholars have mentioned that the phrase, do not be of those who wield doubt, doesnt mean, do not have doubt, as feelings of doubt cannot always be helped. Rather this means, think about or ponder what has been revealed to you until any kind of doubt you might have is wiped away and replaced with certainty.1

148. And each nation has a direction to which they turn in Prayer, so compete you [Believers] in doing good deeds. Anywhere you might be, Allah will bring you together [for Judgment Day]. Indeed, Allah is capable of all things.
After having explained that no matter how much evidence one provides the People of the Scriptures for the correctness and obligation of following the Prophet and his Qiblah, and after having shown that Jews and Christians are not united upon a single direction of Prayer, Allah tells the Believers not to concern themselves with attempting to convince those who reject the truth, and that they should instead race towards doing what is beneficial.2 Imam At-Tabari mentions that, in this verse, Allah addresses the Believers and orders them to face the Qiblah He has appointed for them, and that they are not to stray from it as did the People of the Scriptures. Rather, they are to compete against each other in practicing good deeds so that they may show gratitude towards Allah for having guided them to this Qiblah.

1. Al-Qassimy, vol. 2: 06 2. Al-Jazaairy, vol. 1: 11 . At-Tabari, vol. 1: 771

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The direction of Prayer comes under legislation that was once subject to change and abrogation and was, therefore, never the heart of the matter. Rather, it is the deeds that serve to bring one closer to Allah that count, and just as these deeds bring about happiness, forsaking them brings nothing but loss and deprivation. The command to compete in doing good deeds isnt just a command to do good deeds, but rather a command to take the initiative and proactively seek to undertake all that is virtuous and praiseworthy as early and as well as possible. These deeds include both mandatory and voluntary acts of worship such as Praying, Fasting, paying Zakat, Pilgrimage (both major and minor), jihad and anything else that might bring individual and social benefit. Because one of the greatest incentives to practicing such virtuous deeds is the reward that Allah has prepared for those who undertake them, Allah says, Anywhere you might be, Allah will bring you together for Judgment Day. Indeed, Allah is capable of all things. Hence, no matter where one might be, Allah is sure to bring His servants together for the Final Reckoning, and judge each and every one of them for what they did. This verse serves as an important piece of evidence for the virtue of undertaking virtuous deeds as early as possible. One must, therefore, strive to pray at the earliest designated time, make up missed fasts as soon as possible, perform Hajj as soon as one is able to, pay Zakat as soon as it is due, etc.

149. And wherever you [O Prophet] set off to pray, turn towards the direction of the Sacred Mosque. And, indeed, it is the truth from your Lord, and Allah is not unmindful of what you do.
Allah again tells the Prophet to face the Sacred Mosque in Makkah for Prayer, whether during travel or not. Allah also repeats that this change of Qiblah is the truth, and that He is completely aware of His servants actions and will recompense them for these actions in the Hereafter.

150. And wherever you [O Prophet] set out to pray, turn towards the direction of the Sacred Mosque; and wherever any of you [Believers] might be, turn yourselves towards it. This is so that others may not

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have grounds for argument against you, save those who commit wrongdoing [and will thus persist in making vain arguments, regardless]. So do not fear them, but fear Me so that I may complete My favor upon you and so that you might be guided.
Both these verses begins with precisely the same command as did the verse before it, making these the second and third times that Allah tells His Prophet to direct himself towards the Sacred Mosque in Makkah for Prayer. Allah then directs this command to the Believers yet again, and the wisdom behind this repitition will be mentioned shortly. The appointment of the new Qiblah would silence the Jews who had argued that the Prophets Prayer towards the Holy Mosque in Jerusalem was an affirmation of the correctness of their religion. It was also proof against them in the sense that they knew the anticipated prophet would pray towards Makkah, as mentioned in their scriptures. The Arab Pagans, on the other hand, continued to allege that just as the Prophet had turned towards Makkah, he would also, very soon, turn to their religion as well. Allah refers to those who make such irrational arguments as those who commit wrongdoing, as their arguments are themselves a form of wrongdoing in that they are based on vain desires rather than sense and reasoning. Because there is no substance to the arguments of those who reject the truth out of stubborness, there is no point in even concerning oneself with such wrongdoers or with paying attention to what they say. For this reason, Allah says, do not fear them, as the perpetrator of such falsehood can only be a weak, contemptible individual. Those who stand upon the solid ground of truth and certainty are, on the other hand, worthy of being feared and respected. Allah then commands the Believers to fear Him; and the fear of Allah is, itself, the source of all that is good; just as a person who does not fear Allah is clearly more prone to sin and disobedience. The command to turn towards the Kabah was one that tested the Muslims, not least because the Jews, Pagans and Hypocrites all attempted to take advantage of this command in order to sow doubt and confusion in the hearts of the Believers.

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Furthermore and as is pointed out by many scholars, the change of qiblah, was the first instance of abrogation in Islam. Because abrogation is a phenomenon that may potentially cause doubt, it became necessary to affirm and then reaffirm the new ruling so that the Believers might remain firm in their belief and even increase in faith. This change of direction also came contrary to the desires of the Jews who had very eagerly wanted the Muslims to continue facing their Qiblah (as this gave legitimacy to their claims to truth). When the change came, therefore, they were quick to use the incident as an opportunity to discredit the Prophet and, hence, attempted to sow misgivings and suspicion in the hearts of those who were still weak in faith1. Allah, therefore, deals with this matter as clearly as possible and affirms the command itself in the following ways: First, the command to face the new Qiblah was made three times, in spite of the fact that once would have sufficed for the purpose of legislation. Second, any command made by Allah to the Prophet is ordinarily applicable to the entire Muslim nation. And while Allah very often addresses the Muslim nation directly, in these verses He addresses both the Prophet and the Muslim nation separately, further emphasizing the obligation to obey. Third, Allah responds to each of the objections made against the change of qiblah and invalidates them through clear cut arguments. Fourth, Allah puts a firm and decisive end to any possibility that the Believers might continue to face the former Qiblah. Fifth, the repetitions in the verses emphasize and reemphasize that there isnt even a shred of doubt as to the absolute legitimacy of changing the direction of Prayer. Finally, Allah tells us that the People of the Scriptures know that this is the truth: And, indeed, those who have been given the scriptures know that this is the truth from their Lord. But rather than affirm this truth and follow the Messenger , they, instead, chose to conceal and suppress what
1. Tantawi, vol. 1: 05-06

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they knew to be true. The turn towards the Kabah was another tremendous favor bestowed by Allah upon the Muslims, and, indeed, Allahs mercies upon the Muslim nation continued only to increase. For these reasons, and because every piece of legislation decreed is itself a blessing, Allah calls His believing servants to comply with His commands so that He may continue to complete His favor upon them by means of everything else He has ordained for the Muslim nation. Because the matter of the qiblah was dealt with so exhaustively by Allah, rather than become a source of doubt - as the Unbelievers would have liked - it instead became a means by which the Believers increased in faith and conviction. Interestingly, it was the incessant objections and refutations perpetrated by the Unbelievers that brought the wisdom and truth behind the change of qiblah to light. Indeed, adversity often makes known that which may never have become clear without it, and things are often identified or made clear by means of their opposites. For just as we would not have known the meaning of day without the existence of night, nor the meaning of beauty without unattractiveness, we would likewise not have understood truth so well without the presence of falsehood. All praise is due to Allah for all of His blessings upon us.

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151. And [just as We favored you [Believers] by directing you to the Kabah,] We also [favored you and] sent unto you a Messenger who is one of your own, so that he may recite Our verses upon you, purify you, teach you the Book [the Quran] and the Sunnah, and teach you what you knew not before. 152. And so make dhikr of Me, so that I may reward and forgive you, and show gratitude towards Me, and do not deny My blessings upon you. 153. O You who believe, seek assistance through patience and Prayer. Allah is, indeed, with those who are patient. 154. And do not refer to those who are killed in the cause of Allah as dead. Rather, they are alive, but you do not perceive it.

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155. And you will be tested with something of fear, hunger, the loss of wealth, the loss of lives, and the depletion of crops but give glad tidings to those who are patient, 156. Those whom when inflicted with calamity say, We belong to Allah, and unto Him we shall return. 157. It is they whom Allah praises and blesses with mercy, and it is they who are upon guidance.

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151. And [just as We favored you [Believers] by directing you to the Kabah,] We also [favored you and] sent unto you a Messenger who is one of your own, so that he may recite Our verses upon you, purify you, teach you the Book [the Quran] and the Sunnah, and teach you what you knew not before.
Allah points out that the blessing of being directed to the Kabah and other consequent blessings were not the first nor the most important graces He bestowed upon the Believers. Rather, Allah had, beforehand, graced the Muslims by sending unto to them the most noble of all prophets, Prophet Muhammed . This was a prophet whose lineage, honesty, integrity and benevolence they knew well, even before his prophethood. This was a prophet who came to recite Allahs verses upon the Believers and make clear to them the signs by which they might discern truth from falsehood, and by which they might understand the oneness and perfectness of Allah. All the signs Prophet Muhammed came with made evident his honesty, and therefore made necessary the obligation of believing in him and in all he related regarding the unseen. Such signs also served to guide the Believers to the truth so that they might be firm in their knowledge and, hence, in their faith. Allah mentions that among the most important objectives behind sending the Prophet to his people was to purify the Believers of all that is detestable or loathsome, and to discipline them by instilling them with all that is virtuous, praiseworthy and honorable. This included purifying them of shirk and riyaa (the act of making apparent ones worship of Allah with the intention of being praised by others), while instilling them with tawheed and sincerity; ridding them of untruthfulness and deceit while infusing them with honesty; ridding them of blameworthy conduct while teaching them the best possible manners and etiquette; and replacing any traces of arrogance or conceit with modesty, humility and other noble qualities. Allah also sent the Prophet to teach the Quran, in both word and meaning, and to teach the Sunnah or Hikmah so that Muslims might understand their religion more fully and follow in the footsteps of their Prophet in everything they say and do.

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All that was unknown to the Prophets people before he was sent to them ultimately came to them from Allah by way of the Prophet . Hence, by being the means by which Allahs guidance (and everything they learned and practiced) came, the Prophet was, himself, an enormous blessing to his people and to all mankind. These are some of the most magnificent favors bestowed by Allah upon His servants, and some of the blessings for which one must be grateful and show appreciation. Such appreciation is shown through wholehearted obedience and adherence to Allahs laws, and for this reason, Allah says:

152. And so make dhikr* of Me, so that I may reward and forgive you1, and show gratitude towards Me, and do not deny My blessings upon you.
*The Meaning of Dhikr: While dhikr is often translated as remembrance, the term more fully refers to being conscious or aware of Allah with ones heart and corroborating that consciousness verbally by glorifying or praising Allah, etc. For this reason, various acts of worship, especially reading the Quran, Prayer and supplication are all considered examples and particularly important forms of dhikr. Imam Qurtubi mentions that with time and usage, the term dhikr began to be used more frequently to signify only the verbal manifestation of such remembrance, as opposed to the remembrance of the heart, of which utterance is a result. In a broader sense, dhikr is also said to encompass any form of obedience to Allah, whether by undertaking anything we have been commanded to do or by forsaking anything we have been told to stay away from. This more general meaning is said to be the intended meaning in the verse at hand, as has been mentioned by scholars of tafseer.2

1. Interpreted in accordance to Tafseer-ul-Qurtubi, vol. 1: 55 2. ibid

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Allah, thus, directs us to the means (or one of the means) of showing gratitude for His blessings upon us, and commands us to make dhikr of Him, promising, in return, the additional blessing of His forgiveness and mercy. The best and most beneficial form of dhikr is that which involves both heart and tongue, as this is what develops an understanding and an appreciation of the greatness of Allah. It also allows the love of Allah to grow in ones heart and is a means by which Allahs gracious reward might be attained. Because dhikr is the foremost means of gratitude, Allah, first, directs His servants to making dhikr, and then to all other means of expressing gratitude or thanking Him. Gratitude is due to Allah both for all the blessings and favors He has bestowed upon us, and for any punishment He may have protected us against. Gratitude also serves to preserve current blessings as well as bring about other previously unattainable blessings. Allah says if you are grateful, I will increase you in blessings. (1:7) Allahs command to offer thanks and be grateful for religious blessings such as beneficial knowledge, purification, manners, and guidance to the practice of good deeds, reveals that these are the greatest possible blessings Allah bestows upon His servants. Indeed, such blessings are the only endowments for which the reward is never-ending. It is, therefore, incumbent upon anyone that has been blessed with knowledge and the practice of good deeds to thank Allah for these favors so that He may, in turn, continue to bestow him with all that is good and protect him from self-admiration1. Because gratitude is a form of obedience and ingratitude a form of sin, Allah warns us against denying the favors He has granted us and against neglecting to thank Him for favors such as those mentioned in the above verses.

153. O You who believe, seek assistance through patience and


1. Self-admiration, in this context, is the inclination to believe that any knowledge one acquires and any good deeds one does are a result of ones own efforts, and not blessings bestowed by Allah. This and other pitfalls where ones sincerity becomes tainted or is altogether lost (such as riyaa) invalidate ones good deeds. For this reason, it is important that one seek refuge in Allah against falling into these dangers.

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Prayer. Allah is, indeed, with those who are patient.


Allah orders the Believers to seek assistance and derive strength in accomplishing both religious and worldly matters through exhibiting patience and establishing Prayers. Patience is to suppress ones self against its will and to confine it to what it dislikes for the purpose of betterment. There are three different categories of patience: - The patience required to undertake Allahs commands until they are accomplished (the term perseverance overlaps, somewhat, with the meaning of patience in this context). - The patience required to abstain from a particular sin until one becomes free of the urge to commit or practice it. - The patience to cope with the more painful of Allahs decrees (such as sickness and the loss of lives or property) while accepting them and not complaining of being befallen with them. Because patience and perseverance are two of the most advantageous and helpful virtues that aid in the accomplishment of almost any task, a person lacking in patience is unlikely to accomplish what he sets out to do, especially with regards to ongoing acts of worship that entail effort. Such righteous deeds are particularly demanding in terms of both patience and perseverance; and success comes to those who embark upon the journey of accomplishing such tasks with patience as their companion. Likewise, if the difficulties and hardships of the road towards accomplishment cause one to lose patience, success will not be attained and, instead, deprivation and loss will be the ultimate results. Further, sins that the self gravitates towards or inclines to - especially those sins that are within arms length - are unconquerable without the patience and the will required to subjugate the urge to commit them. The tendency or inclination to fall into sin are among the major tests that one must fight and struggle against for the sake of Allah. Difficult trials and tribulations (especially those that are prolonged) that are a result of Allahs decrees are among the things that might weaken ones

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spiritual and physical strength, which in turn may lead to despondency and hopelessness. Such negative sentiments are only fought through patience, faith in Allah and seeking refuge with Him. Hence, because patience is something we cannot do without, and something we are in dire need of at all times, Allah has commanded us to adorn ourselves with it, and tells us that He is with those who are patient. Allah, therefore, assists, guides and brings success to those who hold this virtue, just as He helps them accomplish all they seek to undertake. Fortified with Allahs assistance, a persons tasks become easier - so that nothing is too difficult and no objective too great. Because of all these benefits, and especially because Allah is with those who have patience, patient Believers occupy an especially praiseworthy rank with Allah, as it is they who are loved by Allah, helped by Allah, made victorious by Him and brought closer to Him. Allah also commands the Believers to seek assistance through Prayer, a fundamental pillar of Islam and the channel of communication between a servant and his Lord. If a servant perfects his Prayer so that it is complete with all its mandatory and supererogatory words and actions, and if a servants heart is conscious of his Lord during Prayer, he stands before Allah as a humble servant stands before his master. Such humility entails fighting off absent-mindedness and, hence, being completely aware of all one says and does throughout ones Prayers and being aware that one is talking to his Lord and earnestly seeking His help. Needless to say, Prayers performed with this level of humbleness and humility are one of the greatest means of assistance a servant may call upon in undertaking whatever he seeks to accomplish and in seeking protection against all that is sinful and evil. Further, the conscious heart of a servant who performs his Prayers at this exemplary level only calls him to do what Allah commands and to abstain from what He has prohibited.

154. And do not refer to those who are killed in the cause of Allah as dead. Rather, they are alive, but you do not perceive it.
After commanding the Believers to be patient in undertaking any of their

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tasks, Allah mentions an example of something else we must seek patience in undertaking: Jihad. Jihad is the most superior physical act of worship, and the most arduous. This is not just because it is strenuous and demanding, but also because it presents the undeniable possibility of death - a prospect that makes Jihad a particularly difficult task for those who seek only the meagerly gains of this life. Individuals afflicted with the calamity of seeking only the fleeting and temporary pleasures of this world and, thereby, choose only to occupy themselves with the attainment of such pleasures are bound to resist or be averse to whatever calls away from what they deem to be so dear. Because a reasonable person only forsakes what he loves for that which he loves even more, Allah states that those killed fighting in His cause are not dead, as what some might assume. Rather, these martyrs are alive and live a life that is far better, more beautiful and more lavish than any life they once lived. And so martyrs are alive, with their Lord, and provided with sustenance - delighted with the bounty their Lord has bestowed upon them, and rejoicing in the glad tidings that those who have not yet joined them (Believers who are still fighting and have not yet been killed) will have no fear, and will not grieve - joyous in the glad tidings of Allahs reward and additional bounty and in the knowledge that Allah fulfills the Believers their promised reward (:169-171) What could possibly be better than a life such as this? - closeness to Allah and lavish luxury of both body and soul in the form of different kinds of delicious food and drink, complete happiness and the absence of all cause for grief or fear. This is the life of the Barzakh, the period between a persons death and his resurrection on the Day of Judgment. For those who die as Muslims and were obedient to Allah, this will be a period of bliss and happiness. But for those who die having rejected Islam and were disobedient towards Allah, this will be a period of torture and punishment that serves as a prelude to the eternal punishment that awaits them in Hellfire. Muslims who committed major sins and did not repent are also subject to punishment in the Barzakh, but, unlike Unbelievers, will not abide in Hellfire forever. In an authentic hadeeth collected by Muslim, the Prophet informs us that the souls of martyrs are placed by Allah into the bodies of green birds that fly

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over the rivers of Paradise, eat of its fruit and nest in lanterns that hang from the throne of Allah1. There are numerous other verses and hadeeths that are a tremendous incentive for Jihad and encourage the kind of patience and perseverance required to practice it. Indeed, if a servant were to be truly aware of the delights and pleasures in store for those killed fighting in the cause of Allah, hardly anyone would be disinclined towards Jihad. However, because the kind of sound knowledge that brings certainty and conviction is so lacking among Muslims today, their resolve remains weak and they continue to lay asleep, depriving themselves of the great reward and spoils that Jihad brings. Truly, if a person had a thousand lives and was then to lose all of those lives, one by one, fighting in the cause of Allah, that would not be too high a price to pay for such a magnificent reward. It is also authentically reported that, in the Hereafter, when those who were martyred are asked what more they desire of Allahs grace and bounty, they will only wish that they be sent back to this world so that they might be killed again and again in the cause of Allah.

155. And you will be tested with something of fear, hunger, the loss of wealth, the loss of lives, and the depletion of crops but give glad tidings to those who are patient, 156. those whom when inflicted with calamity say, We belong to Allah, and unto Him we shall return. 157. It is they whom Allah praises and blesses with mercy, and it is they who are upon guidance.
Allah informs us that He tries us with different forms of hardship so that those who are sincere in faith become discernable from those who falsely claim to be among the faithful; and so that those who are irresolute become discernable from those of firm resolve and patience. Such differentiation is necessary, since if prosperity were to continue uninterrupted by trials and
1. Muslim, 1887

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tribulations, those of true faith would not be distinguishable from those of no faith, which would result in confusion and detriment. Allahs wisdom, therefore, decrees that the righteous among His servants be differentiated from the unrighteous. This is the real reason behind such tests. Allah does not try His servants with such tribulations so that those of faith might lose their conviction or give up their religion. Certainly, Allah would never cause a Believers faith to be in vain. In this verse, Allah tells His servants that He shall test them with something of fear, and this might take the form of enemy threats, hunger, impoverishment and other causes of trepidation. The words something of indicate only minor degrees of such trials and tribulations. Indeed, if Allah had tested His servants with greater levels of hardship, they would not bear it; and, as just mentioned, the purpose of trials is to bring discernment, not demise. The loss of wealth refers to any wealth that might be lost for a variety of different reasons, whether through theft, natural disasters such as flooding, wrongful confiscation by unjust rulers, or other means. The loss of lives refers to the loss of loved ones such as ones children, relatives or friends. In a broader sense, it also refers to different kinds of illnesses that afflict an individual or those he loves. The term crops is general and refers to all that one might grow and harvest and then lose due to severe weather conditions, fires, locusts, etc. These trials and tribulations are destined to befall us, as Allah, The AllKnowing, has stated unequivocally that He will test us by these means. Once tested, Allahs servants become divided into two groups: - The irresolute who neither endure nor persevere, and thus give in and lose hope. - The patient and perseverant who hold steadfast to their faith and conviction. And so the irresolute among Allahs servants are those who have, in fact, been afflicted with two calamities: The loss of what they love (children, relatives, friends, wealth, property, etc); and the loss of something even greater, namely, the reward for being patient and perseverant in times of such loss. It is they

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who have truly been afflicted with loss, deprivation and weakened faith, for it is they who have squandered the opportunity to show gratitude and patience for Allahs decrees and have instead immersed themselves in the darknesses of contempt and bitterness. On the other hand, there are those who are blessed with patience in times of calamity and, hence, do not even express dissatisfaction whether verbal or physical - for having been afflicted with such troubles. Rather, such righteous individuals accept what has befallen them, ask Allah to compensate them, and remain firm in the knowledge that the reward of Allah is far greater than anything they might have lost. Indeed, it is they who see such tribulations as blessings; for they recognize them as opportunities to acquire what is even greater or of even more benefit than any loss incurred. These are the servants who fully comply with Allahs order to show patience and, hence, attain Allahs reward. For this reason, Allah says, but give glad tidings to those who are patient, i.e. glad tidings of unbounded and unlimited reward. Allah further describes those who show patience in times of tribulation and tells us that whenever befallen with calamity, such individuals say, We belong to Allah and unto Him we shall return.. Because Allah is our sole Master, He owns us completely and we are under His complete control. No doubt, everything we own ultimately belongs to Allah and so if He should decide to take away any part of it, He has only taken what has always belonged to Him; and for this reason we must not object. The truth of this is made even clearer in light of the fact that no one is more merciful to us than Allah, not even our own selves. Allah only takes something away in order to replace it with that which is better - in spite of the fact that this may not be initially apparent to us. In addition to all this, we are ultimately destined to return to Allah on the Day of Resurrection so that those who were patient might find their promised reward while those who were bitter and resentful will find no such reward and will instead be left with nothing more than the bitterness they harbored for Allahs decrees. To hold, with certainty, the knowledge that we belong to Allah and that unto Him we shall return is one of the strongest sources of patience and perseverance in times of hardship. And so just as

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Allah praises and extols His patient servants, He also endows them with great mercy. Indeed, one of the manifestations of such mercy is the very patience by which these servants attain Allahs reward. Allah also describes the patient among His servants as those who are guided or upon guidance. Guidance, in this context, refers to the knowledge that one belongs to Allah and that unto Him one shall return. It also refers to the use of this knowledge as a source of patience throughout the trials and tribulations decreed by Allah. This verse is proof that those who show impatience and disdain in times of difficulty only attain the opposite of such blessings. Instead of being extolled, praised and guided by Allah, such servants are deprecated, punished, deprived and cast astray. Such is the enormous difference between the two groups and it is a difference that shows that the path of those who show patience and gratitude is actually easier and far less grueling or punishing than the path of those who dont. Both the above verses serve to prepare us for tribulations before they actually happen so that they might be more bearable once they occur. They also direct us to the means by which patience might be attained, tell us of the reward for showing such patience and reveal that trials and tribulations are one of Allahs irreplaceable customs or ways. Also, because Allah mentions the different kinds of trials that might befall a servant, we are better able to identify such trials when they occur and, hence, better able to deal with them in the manner that Allah commands us.

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158. Indeed, the Safa and Marwa [Mountains] are among the symbols of Allah, and so whoever performs Hajj or Umra will not be held blameworthy for performing the ritual of walking back and forth between them. And whoever willingly does good, then Allah is indeed AllRewarding and All-Knowing. 159. Those who suppress the clear signs and guidance We have sent down after We had made such guidance clear to people in the scriptures - it is, indeed, they who are cursed by Allah, and cursed by all of Allahs creation. 160. Except those who repent, make amends, and make known what they had previously suppressed; for it is they whom I turn to in acceptance - for I am The Continually-Accepting-ofRepentance, The EspeciallyMerciful.

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161. But, indeed, those who disbelieve and die as Unbelievers - it is they upon whom is the curse of Allah, the angels and all mankind. 162. Forever will they perish in it [i.e. the curse that they have incurred] - their punishment will not be alleviated, and nor will they be granted reprieve. 163. And your only true God is but one God. No other god is worthy of worship but He - The All-Merciful, the EspeciallyMerciful.

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158. Indeed, the Safa and Marwa [Mountains] are among the symbols1 of Allah, and so whoever performs Hajj or Umra will not be held blameworthy for performing the ritual of walking back and forth between them. And whoever willingly does good, then Allah is, indeed, All-Rewarding and All-Knowing.
The Safa and Marwa are two small mountains that lie very close to the Kabah, and walking back and forth between them constitutes one of the rituals of both Hajj (Major Pilgrimage) and Umra (Minor Pilgrimage). The rite of walking back and forth between the two mountains is one of the sacred symbols of Islam, and like all other sacred symbols is to be glorified and venerated. Indeed, such veneration is itself a sign of piety as Allah says And whoever glorifies the symbols of Allah, then that is, indeed, a sign of the piety of hearts (22:2) (i.e. the act of glorifying and venerating Allahs symbols is an indication of the piety of ones heart). Because, before Islam, the Arab Pagans worshiped statues placed at the Safa and Marwa mountains, some Muslims felt uneasy about the rite of walking to and fro between them, as this was something they had practiced when they were idol worshippers. In order to alleviate this uneasiness, Allah first states that the rite of walking between the two mountains is one of His symbols, as it was something He had legislated for Prophet Abraham long before the Pagans practiced it. Allah then explicitly states that whoever performs Hajj or Umrah will not be held blameworthy for walking back and forth between them. Hence, while the Pagans performed this rite steeped in polytheism and idolatry, and in glorification of their idols, the Believers would perform the same rite in glorification of Allah alone just as Prophet Abraham once did, and as part of the necessary rituals ordained by Allah for Hajj and Umrah2. A report narrated by Ibn Abbass reveals that the origin of this rite lies in
1. The symbols in this case refers to the rite of walking back and forth between the two mountains, as was explained by Imam At-Tabari, and not just to the mountains themselves (AtTabari, vol. 1: 789). It is important that the phrase Allahs symbols not be understood to mean that they symbolize Allah. Rather, the symbol, in this sense, is part of an act of worship decreed by Allah. 2. At-Tabari, vol. 1: 789

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Haajars1 hurrying back and forth between the two mountains in search of water for her son, Ishmael , once their water and provision had run out. This took place after Prophet Abraham had, in accordance with Allahs command, left both Haajar and Ishmael in the desert at Makkah with no one else around. After a while and upon fearing for her sons life when their water had run out, Haajar got up and began to implore Allah to provide them with sustenance. In search of the water she so desperately needed, and not bearing to see her child ailing, Haajar climbed the Safa Mountain in search of anyone in the valley who might be able to help. Failing to catch sight of anyone, she descended the mountain and walked tiredly, yet desperately across the valley until she reached the Marwa Mountain. She then climbed this mountain, again in search of help, and again found no one. Haajar went back and forth between the Safa and Marwa seven times, climbing each as she did so. All the while she would ask Allahs help with sincerity, humility, and fear, and would express her absolute need for His assistance and mercy. Upon climbing the Marwa Mountain for the seventh time, Haajar heard a faint voice. Suddenly and magnificently, an angel appeared before her, and struck the earth with his wing causing water to appear from beneath the ground. With her supplication answered by Allah in the most spectacular manner conceivable, Haajar began to circle the water with sand, and filled her skin with it.2 This, of course, is the origin of the ever-flowing Zam Zam Well that - until this very day - millions upon millions of people continue to drink from every year. Undertaking virtuous acts of worship such as Hajj, Umrah, circumambulation of the Kabah, Prayers, Fasting, or any other act of good sincerely for the sake of Allah always serves to bring good to the doer, himself. This indicates that the more good a servant undertakes, the more good he is rewarded with and the higher his rank with Allah. For righteous deeds are an important indicator of faith. Allah specifically makes mention of those who willingly do good so as
1. The second wife of Prophet Abraham 2. Qasas al Quran, vol. 1: 88

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to differentiate them from those who think they are doing good, but instead only undertake various forms of innovated acts of worship that are neither good nor acceptable to Allah. While such innovations are often done under the pretext of desiring to do good, they do not bring reward and, instead, potentially bring about harm or evil when carried out deliberately by those who know that they are not legislated in Islam. Al-Shaakir is one of Allahs Beautiful Names and has been interpreted here as the All-Rewarding in order to reflect an important aspect of its meaning, namely, that Allah is He who dispenses great reward for even the most minor of good deeds. Hence, if a servant obeys Allah and strives to practice righteous deeds, he is not only aided by Allah, but also praised and rewarded with a heart that glows with faith and that welcomes the opportunities to do even more good. Allah rewards those who practice righteous deeds by providing them with strength and vitality of body, making their affairs more blessed, and bringing them even more success in all they undertake. All such rewards do not serve to detract even the least bit from the additional and incomparably greater reward that awaits the righteous in the gardens of Paradise. There are many other examples of the disproportionately greater rewards given by Allah to His servants for their deeds. For instance, a servant who gives up something for the sake of Allah is always rewarded by Allah with something better than what he has given up. When a servant comes a hand span closer to Allah through faith and righteous deeds, Allah moves an arms length closer to him; when a servant moves an arms length closer to Allah, Allah moves more than two arms lengths closer to him, when a servant comes walking to Allah, Allah comes to His servant hurrying; and whoever barters with Allah by practicing righteous deeds, profits exponentially by reaping the gracious rewards of those deeds. As well as stating that He is the All-Rewarding, Allah also mentions that He is the All-Knowing of those whose intentions, faith and piety deem them worthy of reward. Likewise, Allah is All-Knowing of those who are not worthy of such blessings. Allah, therefore, never renders the actions or deeds of any of His servants in vain; rather, He records these actions so that His servants come to reap the rewards of their deeds in proportion with the sincerity of their intentions.

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159. Those who suppress the clear signs and guidance We have sent down after We had made such guidance clear to people in the scriptures - it is, indeed, they who are cursed by Allah and cursed by all of Allahs creation. 160. Except those who repent, make amends, and make known what they had previously suppressed; for it is they whom I turn to in acceptance - for I am The Continually-Accepting-of-Repentance, The Especially-Merciful. 161. But, indeed, those who disbelieve and die as Unbelievers - it is they upon whom is the curse of Allah, the angels and all mankind. 162. Forever will they perish in it [i.e. the curse that they have incurred] - their punishment will not be alleviated and nor will they be granted reprieve.
The above verses were revealed concerning those among the People of the Scriptures who suppressed what their own scriptures mentioned of Prophet Muhammeds advent and description. These verses apply equally to anyone concealing or holding back any of the clear signs and knowledge Allah has revealed for the purpose of guiding His servants. Indeed, Allah has taken a pledge from scholars in every age requiring them to make clear, and not suppress, the knowledge they have of the scriptures. Those who strive to hold back such knowledge and, therefore, cheat others of what they were supposed to make clear to them, are those who are cursed by Allah, and cursed by all of Allahs creation. In Islam, to curse someone is to implore that Allah deprive them of His mercy and cast them away from His protection and care. To be cursed by Allah, Himself, is to actually be afflicted with this most terrible of punishments. Hence, in addition to being punished so severely by Allah Himself, these wrongdoers are also cursed by all of Allahs creation, making their torment even worse. This, of course, is an example of how the evil are afflicted with what they inflict upon others; for just as they strove to conceal the truth and

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lead others away from Allah and His mercy, they were ultimately punished by being, themselves, cast away from Allahs mercy and protection. Indeed, those who set out to conceal and suppress what Allah reveals stand only in direct opposition to Allahs commands, as Allah orders that His signs and verses be made clear to all people. It is only fitting, therefore, that the evil among the scholars and those who endeavor to erase and conceal Allahs signs and verses be severely punished for such an atrocious crime. In contrast, those who strive to teach people what will benefit them are praised by Allah and prayed for by mankind. In fact, it is authentically reported that even the fish in the sea ask Allah to forgive and have mercy on scholars who endeavor to bring benefit to mankind and those who strive to rectify the affairs of others. Additionally, Allah pardons those who repent and give up their past deeds, regret them and resolve never to go back to them. These actions, however, are only the first step towards Allahs forgiveness, as those seeking to repent must also amend the harm they have caused by revealing or exposing what they had previously suppressed. Servants who repent in this manner, and are sincere in their repentance to Allah, are those who will be forgiven by Him. This is not least because Allah is The Continually-Accepting-of-Repentance and The EspeciallyMerciful. Indeed, it is only by virtue of Allahs grace and mercy that individuals who were once evil suppressors of truth were guided to the path of repentance to begin with; and it is only by His grace and mercy that He accepted their repentance. Those, however, who choose to persist in such injustice and wrongdoing and thus die rejecting faith without repenting or turning to their Lord for forgiveness, are those upon whom is the curse of Allah, the angels and all mankind. Owing to their persistent and unrelenting deceit, their evil actions become an inseparable part of who they are. Appropriately, the curse of Allah, His angels and all of mankind becomes their permanent recompense. While the next verse begins, Forever will they perish in it, it does not specify if it refers to the curse of Allah, of the angels, and of all of

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mankind or Hellfire. The two, however, are inseparable, for one is only a consequence of the other. Additionally, their punishment will not be alleviated in the least, and will instead be continuous and severe. Such wrongdoers will not be granted even the least respite in the Hereafter, as they will have already squandered their reprieve in this world when there was still time to repent.

163. And your only true God is but one God. No other god is worthy of worship but He - The All-Merciful, the Especially-Merciful.
Allah tells us that He is the one and only uniquely perfect God in His essence, His attributes, His names and His actions. He, therefore, has no counterpart or partner, and nothing or no-one is even remotely similar to Him. Nor does anyone create or decree anything that exists or anything that will come into existence other than Allah. If then, all such qualities belong uniquely and wholly to Allah, it only follows that He should be the only God worthy of worship in every way, and that no other deity could possibly be deserving of worship alongside Him. It is important to remember that that the term ilaah translated as god simply means something or someone that is worshiped, and does not mean something or someone that deserves to be worshiped. For this reason, la ilaha illallah, the first part of the first and most important pillar of Islam, means that no god is worthy of worship but Allah, and not that no other god exists, since the moment something is worshiped it becomes a god, even if it does not deserve to be worshiped. In order to highlight this fundamental point, we have used the word true in the above verse, as it is implied in the meaning, in spite of the fact that it is not literally stated. Allah then immediately provides proof for the fact that He is the only God worthy of worship and thus states that He is The All-Merciful and The Especially-Merciful. While weve dealt briefly with these two names and the difference between them at the beginning of Surat-ul-Faatihah, they appear together again here as further proof that only Allah is worthy of worship. It is Allahs vast, all-encompassing and completely unique mercy that has brought into existence every existing creature and then caused such creatures to develop to different levels of maturity, protecting them against harm at every

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stage. Among the mercies Allah has allowed mankind is that He has made Himself known to us through His attributes, actions and signs. By sending messengers and divinely revealed scriptures, Allah has also provided us with all we require for the preservation of both our religious and worldly affairs. If one genuinely understands and appreciates that there is not a single blessing or mercy bestowed upon us except that it is from Allah, and that not a single one of Allahs creatures is capable of helping any other creature without Allahs guidance and permission, it is easy to see why only Allah is deserving of all forms of worship (see explanation of worship and its different forms under 1:5). In this sense, it also becomes clear that Allah is uniquely deserving of being loved, feared, beseeched, glorified, depended upon, etc. Understanding that these rights belong only to Allah reveals why it is so completely heinous, abhorrent and unjust that anyone or anything other than Allah be worshipped. For where is the sense in worshipping something that is created and is thus either completely powerless or of limited ability, while by virtue of His might, Allah brings all things under His control and complete domination? In spite of its brevity, this verse reveals the unique oneness of Allah as Creator, and as the only deity worthy of worship. The fundamental proofs presented to show this oneness are Allahs all-encompassing mercy, compassion, graciousness and countless blessings and favors of every kind and sort. Conversely, by showing that no other entity or being bears these attributes or is capable of such actions, the verse also illustrates that any other deity cannot possibly be deserving of worship, and hence can only be false. After presenting what might be considered general proof for Allahs sole right to be worshipped, Allah goes on to provide more specific proofs in the following verse.

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164. Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the Earth - and in the alternation of night and day - and in the ships that sail in the sea carrying that which benefits mankind - and in the water Allah descends from the sky to bring the earth back to life after its death, and in the way He then scatters, throughout the Earth, creatures of every kind and in the changing of the winds - and in the clouds that hang in servitude between the sky and the earth lie signs for those who have understanding. 165. And among mankind are those who take gods as equals to Allah, and love them as they love Allah. But the Believers are stronger in their love for Allah. And if the wrongdoers could but see the Last Day, and see the punishment prepared for them, they would know that to Allah belongs all might, and that Allah is severe in punishment.

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166. On this Day, those who led [i.e. led others into unbelief] will absolve themselves of those who followed them, and they will see the punishment; and all ties between them will be severed. 167. And those who followed will say, If only we had a chance to return, so that we may absolve ourselves of them, just as they have absolved themselves of us. And [just as Allah will show them their punishment,] thus will He show them their deeds as regrets; and never will they escape Hellfire.


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164. Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the Earth - and in the alternation of night and day - and in the ships that sail in the sea carrying that which benefits mankind - and in the water Allah descends from the sky to bring the earth back to life again after its death, and in the way He then scatters, throughout the Earth, creatures of every kind - and in the changing of the winds - and in the clouds that hang in servitude between the sky and the earth lie signs for those who have understanding.
Allah states that in the different creations listed in this verse are signs or proofs that demonstrate His oneness as Creator, His exclusive right to be worshipped, His supreme sovereignty, His mercy, and all His divine attributes. These signs, however, are only perceived or appreciated by those who have understanding, and thus know why such creations exist and what they indicate. The more understanding and intellect one is blessed with by Allah, the more one is able to appreciate such signs and therefore benefit from them through contemplation and reflection. Hence, in the creation of the heavens, one might contemplate the sheer size, height, flawlessness and mastery of the skies, the sun, moon and stars, the systematic order and arrangement of all such entities, and how all this, in turn, brings benefit to mankind. One may also reflect on the way the earth acts as a stable foundation or surface that enables creatures to take it as a place of residence and to benefit from it in innumerable ways. Indeed, everything Allah has created on the Earth is worthy of contemplation. All of these signs point to the oneness of Allah and His ability to create, harmonize and plan. They also reveal His tremendous ability to create such marvels, as well as His wisdom in perfecting, arranging and synchronizing all such entities together. Such signs also reveal Allahs boundless knowledge and mercy in that He has placed in the heavens and on the Earth all that His servants might benefit from and all that they need and derive sustenance from. In all these things lies completely convincing and irrefutable proof of Allahs perfection, and evidence that only He is deserving of worship. The perpetual alternation of night and day and the alternation of hot, cold and intermediate temperatures, as well as the alternation of long, short and

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average-length daylight intervals are more of Allahs magnificent signs. The alternation of the different seasons and what this brings in terms of countless benefits to mankind and other creatures is, of course, an extension of such glorious signs and further proof of Allahs uniquely perfect orchestration. Indeed all such signs reveal Allahs boundless power, all-encompassing mercy, limitless knowledge, endless wisdom and complete sovereignty. Again, given such evidence, it only makes sense that Allah should be the sole focus of our worship and the only deity worthy of our complete love, glorification, fear and supplication. Allah then mentions the ships and boats He has inspired His servants to design. It is only Allah who enables His servants to build these vessels, meticulously, with instruments for navigation and other means by which they might sail across the seas carrying passengers and different kinds of merchandise for the benefit of mankind. It was only Allah who created the seas upon which these boats run and the winds that propel them along their journeys. It is only Allah who creates all forms of transport and everything necessary for the manufacture of such transport including metals, fire, energy, etc. Are we then to say that it was man, a creature born helpless with neither power nor knowledge, that brought all such creations and inventions into existence of his own accord? Clearly, the Creator of all these blessings is the one and only All-Wise, All-Knowing Lord of all the worlds, the Lord for whom no task is too difficult and to whom all creation lies submissive and completely subject to His awe and power. At the most, man is a mere means in the creation or manufacture of any given machine or device, and not, in himself, a creator. Because inventions make our lives on Earth enormously easier, they are further proof of Allahs mercy and benevolence and hence another indication that He is the only God deserving of our love, fear, supplications, submissiveness, glorification and worship. The rain that Allah sends down to revitalize the earth and bring it back to life so that it produces the different foods and plants vital to the existence of mankind is another of Allahs beautiful signs. Further, it is a sign of Allahs continuing mercy and a sign that Allah is capable of bringing what is dead to life. This last sign is particularly worth taking note of as it demonstrates Allahs ability to resurrect mankind on the Last Day and judge His servants

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for their actions. Allah continues to state that it is He who has scattered and spread a magnificent variety of different beasts throughout the Earth as more proof of His oneness, might and sovereignty. Allah has made such beasts subservient so that people may benefit from them in a multitude of different ways. Hence, while we eat the meat of some animals, we drink the milk of others and take others, still, as beasts of burden and work animals. Allah provides sustenance and all forms of provision for these and every other creature in existence, and knows exactly where each one of His creatures resides and where it will die. The changing of the winds, whether from warm to cold, northern to southern, eastern to western, or to any other direction, is also among the signs Allahs servants might contemplate and reflect on. Some winds gently drive clouds along from one destination to another; others bring clouds together; and others, still, serve to fertilize clouds so that they produce rain. Some winds break up cloud formations and, thus, prevent potential harm, some are sent as a mercy and blessing and others are sent as punishment and admonishment. All this diversity and alternation in the nature of the winds and all that this diversity brings in the way of benefits to mankind, to plants, to trees and animals is a clear sign of Allahs strength and wisdom, and of His mercy towards His creation. Allah also mentions the clouds that hang suspended by His will and power between the sky and the earth, and that carry rain - in accordance with His decrees - to different lands so that fields and valleys might be revitalized and bring forth produce and lush vegetation. Allah guides these clouds so that they benefit those who need them, and steers them away at times when rainfall might become overabundant and harmful. Merciful in what He brings and merciful in what He holds back, completely gracious and compassionate, nothing is greater or more glorious than Allah. Is it then not completely heinous and utterly criminal to benefit from Allahs mercies and from his unbounded generosity and benevolence, and then to use all such mercies and favors in sin and transgression against Allah, Himself!? Is not the fact that Allah allows wrongdoers and blatant offenders to benefit from what He has created - even while they transgress His limits and disbelieve

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in Him - further evidence of His unbounded mercy, patience, leniency and kindness?! Truly, all praise is due to Allah. This verse indicates that the more those of intellect and understanding reflect and contemplate Allahs creation, and the more they deeply consider the wonders of Allahs innovations and the intricacies of His benevolence and wisdom, the more they see that all such creations were created with purpose and for the sake of establishing the truth. Such creations are, themselves, pages upon which Allahs signs are written, and scriptures that contain proof of the truthfulness of Allahs words, of His oneness, and of what His prophets have related to us concerning the ever-approaching Last Day.

165. And among mankind are those who take gods as equals to Allah, and love them as they love Allah. But the Believers are stronger in their love for Allah1. And if the wrongdoers could but see the Last Day and see the punishment prepared for them, they would know that to Allah belongs all might, and that Allah is severe in punishment. 166. On this Day, those who led [i.e. led others into unbelief] will absolve themselves of those who followed them, and they will see the punishment; and all ties between them will be severed. 167. And those who followed will say, If only we had a chance to return, so that we may absolve ourselves of them, just as they have
1. stronger in their love for Allah has been interpreted in two different ways: - That the Believers are stronger in their love for Allah than the Pagans are in their love for their gods. - That the Believers are stronger in their love for Allah than the Pagans are in their love for Allah. Imam Ibn Taymiyyah, among other scholars, favors the latter and this, of course, is highly significant because it is clear proof that the love of Allah is not enough to grant salvation in the presence of shirk.

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absolved themselves of us. And [just as Allah will show them their punishment], thus will He show them their deeds as regrets; and never will they escape Hellfire.
The relationship between these verses and the verse preceding them is particularly powerful, as after having established some of the important proofs for why He alone should be worshipped, Allah then mentions the irrationality of those who take other gods as equals to Him. Such gods arent just wrongfully worshiped, but are also loved, glorified, and obeyed by those who worship them. To direct ones worship to such false gods after proof of Allahs oneness and unique right to be worshipped has been established can only be due to the stubborn rejection of faith and disobedience to Allah, or due to disregard for Allahs signs and the refusal to contemplate His creation. Regardless of the reason, to worship other gods alongside Allah after witnessing all the signs that establish Allahs sole and sovereign right to be worshipped is completely inexcusable and well deserving of punishment. Even those who do equate false deities with Allah openly admit that they do not equate these deities with Him in terms of the ability to create or provide sustenance, or in the ability to orchestrate and plan all that transpires in the universe. Rather, they are aware and confess that only Allah has this capacity; and this confession is something referred to many times in the Quran. Instead, they take such false deities as equals to Allah in their worship and love of them, and allege that their worship of other gods alongside Allah is only meant to draw them closer to Allah, Himself. Hence, there is really no truth to the gods or deities that they worship and, rather, all such deities are mere made-up names and fabrications with no substance to them. Nothing in existence can ever be equal to Allah, as Allah is the Creator while everything else that exists is created. Likewise, just as Allah is the provider of sustenance, everything else that exists receives sustenance from Allah; and just as Allah is completely independent, everything else that exists is completely dependent upon Him. Further, Allah is perfect in every way while

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creation is imperfect in every way. Allah is capable of both benefit and harm while His creation is incapable of bringing about benefit or harm or anything else of their own accord. Because of these realities, to take anything else aside from Allah as a god, whether it be an angel, a prophet, a righteous person (saints, etc), an idol or anything else, is completely unfounded and indisputably false. Such truths also reveal that Allah, alone, is deserving of His servants complete love and subservience, and for this reason Allah praises His believing servants and says But the Believers are stronger in their love for Allah. This is true, not least because the Believers are those who wholly and completely love Allah, whereas polytheists fabricate partners and false gods to be taken for worship alongside Him, and thus could not possibly love Allah to the same degree. Additionally, a Believers love is directed towards the only Deity deserving of such love, and the only Deity whose love brings about virtuousness, happiness and prosperity. A polytheist, on the other hand, is one who directs his love towards that which is not deserving of it. Indeed, any kind of devotion to such false gods only brings about pain, detriment and turmoil in ones affairs. Allah then warns all such polytheistic wrongdoers, and says And if the wrongdoers could but see the Last Day and see the punishment prepared for them. Allah here refers to those who took gods as equals to Allah and led others astray through the worship of such gods and through concealing the truth about Allahs sole right to be worshipped. If these evildoers could see the Day of Resurrection, they would know of certainty that all power, strength and might belong exclusively to Allah, and that the gods they had taken as equals to Him havent even the slightest capacity to do anything at all. On this Day, not a single one of the gods they had taken as equals to Allah will avail them of any due punishment; and rather than benefit them, they will only bring them the worst kind of harm. Indeed, eternal agony will be their only recompense for their worship of these deities. On Judgment Day, those who led others astray will absolve themselves of those who followed them, and will declare themselves innocent of their deeds. All ties that may have once existed between them in this life will be severed, for they were based on nothing legitimate and will, therefore, avail

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them of nothing in the Hereafter. Allah will show those who took others as gods beside Him that the deeds they thought would bring them reward are, in fact, exactly the deeds that will bring them remorse and eternal agony in the Fire of Hell. These are the consequences they will earn for following and practicing such falsehood, and such is the punishment they will incur for seeking the mercy of other than Allah and for attributing themselves to false deities. Needless to say, the worship of such fraudulent gods must itself be fraudulent and false, even if those who practice such worship claim that their actions are correct or valid. Upon seeing the invalidity of their actions exposed before their eyes, such evildoers will sense nothing but remorse, for they will have lost all hope of salvation and, instead, will have doomed themselves to eternal punishment. This most terrible of predicaments lies in tremendous contrast to those who worship only Allah and purify their actions so that they are done wholly and sincerely for Him. Because these are the servants that seek what is true with deeds that are true, their deeds are valid and acceptable to Allah, and the reward they seek is ultimately attained. Those who had followed their evil leaders and associated partners with Allah will, on the Last Day, wish that they could be sent back to the worldly life so that they might declare themselves innocent of following their evil leaders and deities. There will, however, be no reprieve and no second chances on this Day. And even if they had been given a second opportunity, theyd have gone back to worshipping false gods and would change nothing of their evil actions. Any words of yearning and regret they might utter are nothing but mere spite directed towards those they had followed - at the helm of whom was Satan. On Judgment Day, and after all has been said and done, Satan will tell his followers that Allah had, indeed, promised them what was true, while he, on the other hand, had only made false promises and then broken them. Satan will reveal to his followers that he never had any power over them, save to merely call them to his path. He will tell them that they should not blame him for their fate, and that, rather, they only had themselves to blame for

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following his commands and obeying his orders.

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168. O Mankind, eat of the Earths food that which is lawful and good, and do not follow the footsteps of Satan; indeed, he is a clear enemy to you.

169. He only commands you to do what is evil and obscene, and to say of Allah what you have no knowledge of. 170. And if it is said to them [the Unbelievers], Follow what Allah has sent down. They say, Rather, we shall follow what we found our fathers following. [Would they follow their fathers,] even if their fathers had no understanding and were upon no guidance?! 171. The parable of those who reject faith is as a flock of sheep who, when beckoned [to guidance], hear nothing but unintelligible calls and incomprehensible cries. Deaf, dumb and blind, they are devoid of understanding.

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168. O Mankind, eat of the Earths food that which is lawful and good, and do not follow the footsteps of Satan; indeed, he is to you a clear enemy. 169. He only commands you to do what is evil and obscene, and to say of Allah what you have no knowledge of. 170. And if it is said to them [the Unbelievers], Follow what Allah has sent down. They say, Rather, we shall follow what we found our fathers following. [Would they follow their fathers,] even if their fathers had no understanding and were upon no guidance?!
In the first of these verses, Allah addresses Believers and Unbelievers, alike, and orders them to eat of the Earths fruits, plants, lentils and animals, provided that such foods are lawful and good. Lawful refers to what has neither been stolen, taken by force, gained through unlawful means, and not taken for unlawful purposes. Allah also stipulates that that which is eaten must be good or wholesome, and not unclean. Impure foods include animals that were dead before being slaughtered, blood, swine and anything else that might be harmful to ones mind and body due to its impurity. This verse (2:168) demonstrates that the basic principle is that all foods are lawful except those that are made unlawful for one of two reasons: - Inherent impurity, such as swine and blood - Impurity that is a result of violating Allahs laws in the manner it was attained.1 After commanding His servants to obey His orders, Allah warns them to steer clear of following the footsteps of Satan. The term footsteps here refers to Satans ways and methods and, so, includes unbelief, sins, transgression, injustice and all forms of evil or wrongdoing. More specifically to the context
1 For instance, while buying and selling grapes is normally permissible, grapes that have been stolen are impure or unlwaful. Likewise, meat that is normally permissible, such as beef, becomes impure and unlawful if the animal is sacrificed for anyone or anything other than Allah.

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of the verse, it refers to unallowable foods, and anything sacrificed or offered to idols or false gods. Satans clear and blatant animosity towards Allahs servants means that He only seeks to deceive them, so that they may, in turn and in due course, be among the companions of Hell. While such animosity is one obvious reason for why we must never follow Satans footsteps, another reason is the heinousness of what he calls to. Allah tells us that Satan calls to all forms of evil and to all that is obscene. Adultery, fornication, murder, alcohol consumption, stinginess and wrongfully accusing chaste women of adultery are all among the hideous obscenities Satan calls to. Allah also reveals that Satan commands mankind to say of Allah what they have no knowledge of. This includes speaking of what Allah has legislated and what He has decreed without being qualified to do so, describing Allah in a manner that Allah does not use to describe Himself, (nor is used by His Prophet ), attributing to Allah what He has not attributed to Himself and denying of Allah what He has affirmed of Himself. Also, to attribute partners to Allah or to claim that any idol or false deity taken for worship serves to bring one closer to Allah, or to claim that Allah has made this and that lawful and this and that unlwaful without knowledge or understanding are also forms of saying of Allah what we do not know. Certainly, one of the most grievous forms of speaking of Allah without knowledge is to interpret the words of Allah and the words of His Prophet falsely or in accordance with false ideologies, heresies and innovations, and then to declare that such interpretations are the true and intended meanings. To speak of Allah without knowledge is one of the most serious, most severe and most comprehensively detrimental sins. For this reason, urging people to speak without knowledge is one of the most common means used by Satan to lead mankind astray. Allah, on the other hand, calls to justice, benevolence, and to upholding ties of kinship through acts of kindness, mutual support and assistance. And just as Allah calls to all forms of good, He also prohibits all forms of evil, wrongdoing, injustice and oppression.

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It is important, therefore, that we ask ourselves which of the two callers we truly seek to follow. Do we follow Allah who calls only to what is good and to all that brings happiness in both this life and in the Hereafter? Or do we follow an avowed enemy who seeks to do nothing more than drag us towards evil, detriment and devastation in both this life and the next? No doubt, all happiness lies in following, obeying and worshiping Allah; while ruin and despair are the inevitable consequences for those who follow and obey Satan in what he calls to and encourages. Upon being told to adhere to and to follow what Allah had revealed, the Pagans were only too quick to refuse, and responded by stating that they would continue to follow the religion of their fathers. This is an especially irrational response as their fathers were men of ignorance who lacked understanding and did not discern between right and wrong. How, then, could the stray beliefs of their fathers be the basis for rejecting the truth revealed to them from their Lord? Such a response illustrates their tendency to blindly reject truth, their lack of fairness and their bias. Anyone who seeks truth with sincerity and fairness, and weighs it up against that which lies in opposition to it is bound to recognize and follow the correct path of conduct.

171. The parable of those who reject faith is as a flock of sheep who, when beckoned [to guidance], hear nothing but unintelligible calls and incomprehensible cries. Deaf, dumb and blind, they are devoid of understanding.
After having made clear to us that the Unbelievers hadnt the least intention of following what was revealed to the messengers, and that they neither sought to follow the truth nor, as such, deserved to be guided to it, Allah draws a parable to illustrate their response when called to guidance. In this parable, Allah compares the Unbelievers to sheep that hear nothing of their shepherds calls but meaningless sounds and incoherent bellows. Likewise, upon being called to faith, the Unbelievers do not show any real understanding of what is being said to them and, therefore, do not benefit from it. In this sense, they are deaf to the truth and cannot follow it, blind to the clear signs of Allah, and dumb so that they are unable to utter anything

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that might avail them. All such ailments, ultimately, stem from their lack of wisdom and understanding. Indeed, how could anyone with even the slightest bit of sense reject all that brings them benefit and guidance, while deliberately striving to do all that brings harm and eternal torment? How could a person of sound judgment refuse an invitation to his betterment and prosperity, and to a lavish and luxurious eternal existence while, instead, choosing to reject the truth, embrace falsehood, and throw himself into the burning flames of Hell? And how much worse is it when a person of such weak intellect further taints himself with such reprehensible characteristics as cunning, deceitfulness and dishonesty?

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172. O You who believe, eat of the good things We have provided you, and be grateful to Allah, if, indeed, it is He whom you worship. 173. He has only made prohibited to you the flesh of dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and animals slaughtered in other than Allahs name. But whoever is forced to eat of these things - without intending to sin or to exceed what is needed - will not be held sinful. Indeed, Allah is All-Forgiving, Especially-Merciful. 174. Indeed, those who conceal any part of the scriptures Allah has sent down and trade what they conceal for a meagerly gain, it is they who only consume Hellfire into their bellies. And Allah will not speak to them on the Day of Resurrection and will not purify them - and for them awaits a painful punishment.


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175. It is they who have traded guidance for misguidance, and traded punishment for forgiveness - what resolve they show for the punishment of Hellfire! 176. This [punishment] they deserve because Allah has sent down the scriptures with the truth. And, indeed, those who conflict regarding the scriptures, are in deep schism with the guidance of Allah.

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172. O You who believe, eat of the good things We have provided you, and be grateful to Allah if, indeed, it is He whom you worship. 173. He has only made prohibited to you the flesh of dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and animals slaughtered in other than Allahs name. But whoever is forced to eat of these things - without intending to sin or exceed what is needed - will not be held sinful. Indeed, Allah is All-Forgiving, Especially-Merciful.
After having addressed mankind in general in verse 2:168, Allah here addresses the Believers in particular as, on account of their faith, it is they who truly benefit by adhering to Allahs commands. Allah instructs the Believers to eat of the good things He has provided them with and to be grateful to Him for such provision by consuming it in accordance with His laws. Another form of gratitude is that such foods be consumed with the intention of deriving the strength needed to worship Allah and to fulfill His commands. The order in this verse is similar to the command Allah directs to His messengers in Surat-ul-Muminoon where He says, O Messengers, eat of what is good and practice righteous deeds (2:51) In saying, be grateful to Allah if, indeed, it is He whom you worship, Allah shows that neglecting to be grateful to Allah is to neglect singling Him out for worship. Gratitude is, therefore, a sign of ones worship of Allah and obedience to Him. This verse also indicates that eating of the good things Allah provides His servants helps a Believer to undertake righteous deeds and makes such deeds acceptable to Allah. The command to be grateful comes directly after the command to eat of the good things Allah has provided, and this is because gratitude is what preserves existing blessings and brings about the attainment of additional blessings and favors. Ingratitude, on the other hand, causes a servant to be stripped of what Allah has blessed him with and prevents the attainment of what is desired or sought after. After having mentioned the permissibility of that which is good or wholesome, Allah then mentions the impermissibility or unlawfulness of all that is impure and unwholesome.

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The flesh of dead animals refers to an animal that has died in a manner other than that necessary for its legal purification. A dead animal is impure merely by virtue of having been dead prior to slaughter, as it may, therefore, be potentially harmful due to decay or other reasons. Additionally, an animal will very often die due to disease, which may serve to make its consumption particularly detrimental. Allah makes exceptions to this rule in the consumption of locusts and seafood, as they are permissible and pure even as dead or without being slaughtered. Spilt blood is also impermissible (as opposed to what little blood might remain in the veins of a slaughtered animal as this is pardonable), and so too is anything that has been slaughtered for anyone or anything other than Allah, such as idols, saints and the dead, etc. While not all that is prohibited with regards to food is mentioned here, this verse serves to outline the main categories or types of prohibited food. Because Allah has only established such prohibitions for the well-being of mankind, they are themselves another manifestation of His mercy. In dire instances where no other food is available, or in situations where one must eat such foods against ones will, Allah permits His servants to eat of what He has normally prohibited. Hence, provided one does not consume these foods in disregard of Allahs laws, and provided one eats only the quantity needed to maintain himself, such items in such situations become lawful. Indeed, to eat such foods in dire circumstances is mandatory, as to allow oneself to perish due to starvation is completely prohibited. The permissibility of such foods in desperate situations is, again, further evidence of Allahs mercy, and for this reason Allah concludes by mentioning that He is All-Forgiving and Especially-Merciful - two Beautiful Names that are highly pertinent to the essence of the verse. Because we are prone to fault and to at least some degree of transgression in our attempts to fulfill the required conditions for the permissibility of such foods, Allah informs us that He is the All-Forgiving and that He, therefore, forgives whatever shortcomings we might exhibit when befallen with trying circumstances. In the verses immediately preceding these, Allah mentions that the Pagans and Unbelievers refused to follow guidance when it came to them. Here, Allah addresses the Believers, and commands them not to make unlawful what He

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has made lawful (and vice versa), as this was the custom of the Pagans or polytheists who blindly followed in the footsteps of their predecessors. This issue is dealt with in more detail in Surat-ul-Anaam.

174. Indeed, those who conceal any part of the scriptures Allah has sent down and trade what they conceal for a meagerly gain, it is they who only consume Hellfire into their bellies. And Allah will not speak to them on the Day of Resurrection and will not purify them - and for them awaits a painful punishment. 175. It is they who have traded guidance for misguidance and traded forgiveness for punishment - what resolve they show for the punishment of Hellfire! 176. This [punishment] they deserve because Allah has sent down the scriptures with the truth. And, indeed, those who conflict regarding the scriptures are in deep schism with the guidance of Allah.
These verses are a stern warning to those who suppress what Allah has revealed to His prophets. Allah here refers to deceitful and cunning scholars and learned men who had, in fact, taken an oath upon themselves to make known and clear to people what Allah had revealed without suppressing or concealing any of it. But rather than hold to Allahs revelation as they should have and rather than teach their people Allahs commands, these individuals chose instead to neglect Allahs revelation and even traded it for the comparatively worthless gains of this life. Because such despicable earnings only came about through the most wicked means and through transgressing Allahs most sacred limits, Allah states that these wrongdoers only consume Hellfire into their bellies. Allah will not speak to such individuals on Judgment Day and instead will forsake them and direct only His wrath towards them. Indeed, Allahs refusal to speak to the Unbelievers is, itself, even greater punishment than the eternally agonizing punishment of Hellfire. Additionally, Allah will not purify them of their appalling manners, for it is they who had neglected to adopt the primary means of purification to begin with. Such means include

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adherence to Allahs scriptures, seeking guidance through them and calling others to the pathway of Allah. Hence, in neglecting what was expected of them (most importantly the acceptance of faith), the Unbelievers were left with nothing in the way of praiseworthy manners by which they might please Allah, and were consequently left with nothing they might be rewarded for and nothing they might be saved by. In choosing to abandon Allahs revelation and turn away from it, and by preferring misguidance over guidance and choosing punishment over forgiveness, the torment of Hellfire became a deserved and appropriate recompense for those guilty of this degree of evil. But aside from their disregard for Allahs scriptures, their actions also reflect complete disregard for Allahs punishment. In describing this apparent unconcern for His excruciating punishment, Allah says, What steadfastness they show for the punishment of Hellfire!. Indeed, only those who do not appreciate the magnitude of Allahs punishment could possibly be so bold as to transgress His bounds with such irreverence. Both the torment of Hell and the punishment of being denied guidance are a direct result of disregard for Allahs revelation. This was revelation that was revealed only with complete justice, and so that the truth might be discernable from falsehood. To turn a blind eye to Allahs guidance must, therefore, only bring due and deserved punishment and deprivation, just as to adhere to His guidance is sure to bring salvation and the most gracious rewards. Those who strive to distort the meanings of Allahs words and those who conflict regarding the scriptures - choosing to believe in only part of what Allah has revealed while rejecting other parts of it - and those who endeavor to distort Allahs words so that they correspond to their own desires stand far from the truth in their actions and beliefs. Such individuals also stand in stern opposition to the very scriptures that Allah has revealed for the purpose of eradicating conflict and disagreement to begin with. Hence, while a faction among the People of the Scriptures adhered to their scriptures and thus became united upon the truth, those who conflicted among them only drowned further into disagreement so that the rifts that existed between them only deepened and worsened. In addition to the scholars among the People of the Scriptures, this verse

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serves as a stern warning to all those who might seek to suppress what Allah has revealed (in whatever manner they seek to do so) for the purpose of attaining what little gain this world has to offer. Those who indulge in such evil only inflict themselves with Allahs wrath, and their actions only serve to deprive them of Allahs guidance and purification - a natural result of trading guidance for misguidance and for trading forgiveness for punishment. Allah thus rebukes them for the astonishing shamelessness they show in undertaking the very deeds they know will warrant them His punishment. Verse 176 also indicates that adherence to Allahs revelation necessarily leads to unity in following the truth and prevents the conflict, discord and disunity that results from going against what He has revealed. And Allah knows best.

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177. Righteousness is not that you face the East or the West. Rather, righteousness is a virtue of those who believe in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the scriptures and the messengers; and of those who spend of their wealth - in spite of their love for it - on their kin, orphans, the poor, the traveler, those who appeal for it, and slaves seeking freedom. And [righteousness is] of those who establish Prayer, pay Zakat, fulfill their oaths upon making them, and are patient during poverty and sickness, and during battle. It is they who are of true faith, and it is they who are the pious.

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177. Righteousness is not that you face the East or the West. Rather, righteousness is a virtue of those who believe in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the scriptures and the messengers; and of those who spend of their wealth - in spite of their love for it - on their kin, orphans, the poor, the traveler, those who appeal for it, and slaves seeking freedom. And [righteousness is] of those who establish Prayer, pay Zakat, fulfill their oaths upon making them and are patient during poverty and sickness, and during battle. It is they who are of true faith, and it is they who are the pious.
This verse was revealed in response to the objections and disputes raised by the Jews and Christians when the Qiblah was changed1, and so Allah states that true righteousness and virtue is not about which way to face during Prayer, and that indulging into such matters excessively and needlessly only leads to discord and detriment. Moving from what righteousness isnt to what it is, Allah begins to list the fundamental pillars of a Muslims faith, as well as other traits that constitute true virtue and uprightness. Righteousness, Allah states, is a quality of those who believe in Allah and His oneness, understand that He is perfect in His names and attributes, and that He is free of all imperfections and of any shortcomings. To believe in the Last Day is to believe in everything related to us by Allah and His Prophet regarding all that happens after death. Likewise, belief in the angels also means to believe in all we have been told by Allah and His Prophet pertaining to them, their actions and their traits. To believe in the scriptures means to believe in all the scriptures Allah has revealed, the greatest of which is the Quran, and to believe in all it contains in terms of news of what has passed, what is to come, and all that the Quran
1. Zubdat-ut-tafaseer, 27

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legislates. Likewise, belief in the messengers necessitates belief in all Allahs messengers at a general level, and, more specifically, belief in Allahs last and greatest prophet, Prophet Muhammed . Allah reveals mans affinity for wealth and states that the righteous are those who spend of their wealth - in spite of their love for it - for the sake of Allah. Clearly, such contributions are a true sign of faith and conviction. Further, to spend in the cause of Allah while one is: in good health, reluctant to spend, aspiring to become wealthy, and fearful of poverty is the best possible state in which contributions might be made. Likewise, to give of what little one has is better than to give of what is plentiful, as the former is again a stronger sign of faith. Yet another sign of faith is to spend of the different forms of wealth one especially loves. Regarding this, Allah says, You will never attain piety until you spend of what you love (:92) For instance, if a person happens to be more inclined towards buying and raising livestock than he is towards buying and trading land, then to give of that livestock is better than to give of its equivalent value in land. After mentioning that spending for the sake of Allah is a trait of the righteous, Allah goes on to mention those who are most worthy of being spent on, and begins with ones kin. Kindness towards ones kin is one of the best possible forms of righteousness and might take the form of kind words or actions, or of spending on those who are in need of such assistance. The command to spend on orphans is a clear manifestation of Allahs mercy and demonstrates that Allah is more merciful to His servants than their own parents. It also ensures that those who are without fathers receive the same provision as those brought up in the comfort of having a father to provide for them. This serves to lessen the feeling of deprivation and also serves to ease an orphans hardship. Additionally, because one is destined to be dealt with in the same manner one deals with others, looking after a persons orphans ensures that ones own children will be looked after when one passes away.

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The wealthy are also obligated to spend on the poor so that their poverty may at least be alleviated, if not eradicated altogether. Wayfarers or travelers are those who, for one reason or another, are away from their homelands (or place of residence); and thereby worthy and eligible recipients of monetary aid. This is primarily because travelling often comes with its own expenses, and so due to being removed from his native soil, a traveler is seldom able to find assistance. It is, therefore, incumbent on a Muslim to help his brother as much as possible in supplying him with the means he might need to continue along his journey. Those afflicted with dire circumstances such as having to pay blood money or other necessary expenses that might be difficult to pay, are also entitled to aid. Additionally, those seeking to build mosques, schools and other public facilities that are established for the betterment of society should also be given funds for such endeavors. Further, slaves seeking freedom from their masters, prisoners of war held by an enemy and captives wrongfully held by unjust oppressors are also eligible for the funds needed to free them. Acts of worship that involve ones heart, body and wealth such as Prayers and Zakat, are among the highest forms of worship as they are a true indicator of ones faith and religious conviction. To fulfill oaths upon making them includes oaths that exist between Allah and His servants, as well as those that exist between Allahs servants themselves. Everything that Allah has ordered us to do, therefore, is an oath we have taken upon ourselves to fulfill, and the rights that others have over us are also oaths that must be kept. Additionally, anything we have sworn to do and any other pledges we make also fall under this general category of obligations. Patience during poverty is especially praiseworthy, as destitution requires patience for a number of different reasons. The poor, for instance, often experience more emotional and physical pain than would anyone else. To a poor struggling person, seeing the rich pamper themselves with luxury can bring pain; seeing the hunger of their own children brings pain, having to eat of what they find resentful brings pain; the lack of sufficient clothing brings

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pain, to contemplate and prepare for the onset of more difficult circumstances brings pain, and to feel the cold, chilling wind, and not be able to shield oneself or ones children against it brings pain. All such circumstances require that an individual be patient, and that he seek the reward of Allah through remaining perseverant throughout such trials. Likewise, patience during times of sickness and disease, no matter what the affliction might be, is also necessary, as these are instances that weigh heavily upon us and can be a cause of much grief. Periods of extended pain or illness are especially trying, and in all such instances we are commanded to be patient and to seek the reward of Allah for our perseverance. The battlefield and all the dangers it presents such as the possibility of death, mutilating injuries and captivity is another instance where perseverance and strong faith are especially required and particularly praiseworthy. Hence, patience and firm resolve during battle and in all such trying circumstances is a primary means by which Allahs victory is attained. These are the beliefs and the traits of servants whose actions are a clear indicator of the strength of their faith; and such are the manners that adorn a human being and embody the essence of humanity. It is these individuals whose faith is true, for their actions corroborate what lies in their hearts; and it is they who are the pious, for they have forsaken what Allah has prohibited, and fulfilled what He has enjoined upon them. Because the qualities in this verse are so comprehensive, and because the fulfilment of oaths encompasses religious obligation in its entirety, and too because the acts of worship mentioned are the most important, those who fulfill all such obligations are described by Allah as being righteous, of true faith and pious. The state of eternal happiness, bliss and pleasure - both in this life and in the Hereafter - for those who exude such glorious qualities is described in numerous verses throughout the Quran.

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178. O You who believe, the Law of Equal Retribution has been decreed upon you in cases of murder - a free man for a free man, a slave for a slave, and a female for a female. But if the killer is pardoned by his Muslim brother [i.e. pardoned by the victims kin], then fairness in requesting blood money, and payment in goodwill are prescribed. This is mitigation granted to you by your Lord and a mercy. But whoever transgresses [by seeking to kill the killer even after accepting blood money] shall have a painful punishment. 179. And in the Law of Equal Retribution is life for you, O Men of understanding, so that you may perhaps fear Allah.

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178. O You who believe, the Law of Equal Retribution has been decreed upon you in cases of murder - a free man for a free man, a slave for a slave, and a female for a female. But if the killer is pardoned by his Muslim brother [i.e. pardoned by the victims kin], then fairness in requesting blood money, and payment in goodwill are prescribed. This is mitigation granted to you by your Lord and a mercy. But whoever transgresses [by seeking to kill the killer even after accepting blood money] shall have a painful punishment.
Regarding the reason for why this verse was revealed, Imam Ibn Katheer explains that before Islam, the Jewish tribe, Banu-un-Nadir, invaded and defeated another Jewish tribe called Banu-Quraitha. In cases of murder, Banu-un-Nadir enforced a law stipulating that if a man from their tribe killed a man from Banu Quraitha he would only have to pay the equivalent of approximately 10 kilograms of dates to the victims family. If, on the other hand, a man from Banu Quraitha murdered a man from Banu-un-Nadir, he would be executed in retribution, unless pardoned by the victims family in which case he would have to pay double the quantity of dates paid for a man from Banu Quraitha (i.e. 260 kilograms). In renouncing such injustice, Allah orders the Believers to be fair and just in dealing with murder cases, and not to follow the unjust ways of those who came before them.1 Sheikh Mustafa Al-Adawy explains that, while the verse explicitly states that a free man is to be executed for murdering a free man, and that a slave is to be executed for murdering a slave, and that a woman is to be executed for murdering a woman, the verse does not negate that a free man is to be executed for murdering a slave, or that a man is to be executed for murdering a woman. Indeed, evidence from other verses and Prophetic traditions suggest that a free man is to be killed for killing a slave, and show beyond doubt that a man is to be killed for killing a woman.2 The Sheikh also states that scholars of tafseer have reported other reasons for why this verse was revealed. For instance, among the pre-Islamic Arab tribes were those who refused to settle for the execution of a slave who had killed
1. Ibn Katheer/ Mubarakfoori, 128 2. Mustafa El-Adawy, Tafseer Suratul-Baqarah, Vol. : 2

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one of their slaves (if the killer was from another tribe). Instead, they insisted that a free man from the other tribe should be killed in retribution, as they regarded their slaves as equal to free men from other tribes. Such tribes also sought to kill a free man from another tribe if a woman from that tribe were to kill one of their men. They also saw that more than one free man from another tribe should be killed if a free man from that tribe killed a free man from their own tribe. While none of the above reports pertaining to the explanation of this verse are regarded as authentic, they, in a general sense, provide an acceptable context within which the verse might be understood.1 With regards to Islamic legislation, laws pertaining to the Law of Equal Retribution (qisaas) are derived from this and other verses and Prophetic traditions. Some scholars contend that part of this verse was abrogated by the verse stating a life for a life (5:5). An exception to the Law of Equal Retribution is the principle stating that a parent cannot be killed for killing his son or daughter. Aside from being explicitly stated by the Prophet , this exception also exists because a parent is normally exceptionally merciful and caring towards his own children. Filicide is, therefore, inconceivable except in cases where the parent is either not in his right mind at the time of the killing, or has suffered unbearable harm at the hands of his/her child. Another exception is that a Muslim is not to be killed for killing a non-Muslim, as it is unjust that an ally of Allah be equated with an enemy of Allah. This verse serves as proof for the basic principle stating that the murder victims family has the right to retribution, and that payment of blood money (diyah) is an alternative that they are entitled to if they so wish. For this reason, Allah says But if the killer is pardoned by his Muslim brother (i.e. pardoned by the victims kin). The meaning here is that if the inheritor of the victim pardons the killer and chooses to take the blood money instead, or if a group from among the victims kin opts to pardon the victim, retribution is dropped, and the blood money becomes mandatory unless the right to the blood money is also relinquished by the guardians. In the event that the victims guardian chooses blood money over retribution,
1. ibid.

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it is necessary that he request it without overburdening the offender, and should, therefore, show leniency in the manner with which he seeks what is due. It is, likewise, also necessary that the offender exhibit decency by not seeking to inflict any physical or verbal abuse upon the victims family. It is also important that the offender pay what is due of him on time, without stalling and without attempting to deduce from the amount due of him. After all, after being pardoned so graciously by the victims family, its only appropriate that the offender should behave with decency and respect. It is important to note that such laudable manners are to be exhibited in all instances where one party owes something to another. And so just as any creditor, for instance, is to show leniency and patience with his debtor, the debtor is to reciprocate that respect and honor his obligation to the best of his ability. It is well worth noting that Allah refers to the offender as the victims brother, as in this choice of words is a means of softening the hearts of the victims family so that they may perhaps pardon the offender and choose blood money over retribution. Even more gracious than settling for blood money is that they pardon the offender completely and forgo any kind of compensation altogether. Allahs saying, But whoever transgresses, refers to those who seek to kill the offender after having settled for blood money. Allah warns those who attempt to commit such injustice of a painful torment in the Hereafter.

179. And in the Law of Equal Retribution is life for you, O Men of understanding, so that you may perhaps fear Allah.
In this short verse, Allah reveals His wisdom in legislating retribution and states that the law serves as a deterrent against murder and that it ultimately saves lives. Clearly, to understand that a killer will be killed for his crime and to witness the enforcement of this law in ones society are factors that provide a strong disincentive for anyone who might consider killing. Because the wisdom and benefits behind such a ruling can only really be fully appreciated by those of wisdom and firm understanding, Allah specifically addresses such individuals in this verse. This also indicates that

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it pleases Allah that His servants employ their intellects to contemplate the wisdom behind His rulings; for through contemplation, Allahs laws are better understood and appreciated. In fact, in addition to Allahs perfect wisdom, justice and all-encompassing mercy, Allahs perfection is better perceived through reflecting upon the laws He has legislated for our benefit. Those who grasp the wisdom behind Allahs decrees and, hence, appreciate them are those who are deserving of being referred to as men of understanding. Indeed, the mere fact that Allah addresses them specifically in this and other verses is honor enough. The gift of properly understanding Allahs rulings and appreciating His commands also serves to increase a Muslims veneration of Allah, which, in turn, serves to increase his obedience towards His Lord. Strengthened with knowledge and piety, a believing servant is better able to steer clear of what Allah has prohibited and better able to comply with what He has commanded attributes clearly befitting of those who fear Allah.

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180. In the event that death approaches you [Believers] and you leave wealth behind, it is decreed that you make a bequest to your parents and your next of kin in accordance with what is right and proper. This is a duty upon the pious. 181. And should someone unjustly alter a bequest after hearing it, then the sin will only be upon he who alters it. Indeed, Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. 182. But whoever senses unfairness on the part of the testator, whether intentional or unintentional, and seeks to amend between the beneficiaries, then there is no sin upon him [if he alters the bequest so that it is more fair]. Indeed, Allah is All-Forgiving, All-Merciful.

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180. In the event that death approaches you [Believers] and you leave wealth behind, it is decreed that you make a bequest to your parents and your next of kin in accordance with what is right and proper. This is a duty upon the pious.
The majority of scholars view this verse as having been abrogated by the verses that specifically detail the amount of inheritance parents and kin are to receive. Sheikh Sadee, however, favors the view that the verse is to be taken as a general command, so that parents and kin for whom fixed amounts of inheritance are appointed inherit in accordance to the verses outlining these amounts. Kin who are not entitled to fixed amounts of inheritance, on the other hand, are to be granted wealth by the testator in accordance to what is cutomary or right and proper. Thus, while that which is right and proper with regards to those who have fixed amounts of inheritance appointed to them is defined by Allah in other verses of the Quran, right and proper regarding those who are not entitled to a predetermined portion of inheritance is left more to the testators discretion and sense of fairness. The phrase, next of kin, alludes to the fact that priorities in distributing wealth should be based on the closeness of kinship ties as well as need.

181. And should someone unjustly alter a bequest after hearing it, then the sin will only be upon he who alters it. Indeed, Allah is AllHearing, All-Knowing.
In reassuring testators who might worry that they be held blameworthy for the unjust alteration of their bequests after their death, Allah states that only those who seek to unfairly change or distort bequests will be held accountable for such wrongdoing. The testator, on the other hand, will not be held culpable, as they are clearly not to blame. Allah reminds all testators that He is AllHearing of what they bequeath and All-Knowing of their intentions in the bequests they make, just as He is All-Knowing of the intentions of the beneficiaries and will, thus, compensate each in accordance with his intention. Indeed, even a mediator (commissioned or requested by beneficiaries to distribute a testators wealth) who errs in distributing a testators wealth will

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still be rewarded by Allah for his effort, provided his intentions were pure.

182. But whoever senses unfairness on the part of the testator, whether intentional or unintentional, and seeks to amend between the beneficiaries, then there is no sin upon him [if he alters the bequest so that it is more fair]. Indeed, Allah is All-Forgiving, AllMerciful.
It is incumbent upon those who are present while a testator is making his bequest to advise him against being unjust if they see that he is distributing his wealth unfairly. If, however, the testator dies refusing to change an unjust bequest, it is allowable - indeed praiseworthy - to try and make amends between the beneficiaries by altering the bequest so that it is more just. A person advising the beneficiaries of an unjust testator should encourage them to forgive the deceased for any wrongdoing he may be held accountable for before Allah, and to persuade them to come to a reasonable agreement between themselves. Allah reminds His servants that He is All-Forgiving so that those seeking His forgiveness might find the motivation to forgive one anothers unfairness. Indeed, he who forgives others is forgiven by Allah - and with this in mind - inheritors who have been wronged are more likely to forgive a testator for depriving them of what they were entitled to. In doing so, they themselves might be forgiven by Allah in the Hereafter for their wrongdoing. Allah also reminds His servants that He is All-Merciful, as He has ordained laws and commands for the purpose of maintaining mercy and sympathy between His servants. This verse provides proof for the importance of outlining bequests and specifying exactly who they are for. It also warns against altering bequests that are fair and just, and encourages amends and reconciliation in cases of injustice.

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183. O You who believe, Fasting has been decreed upon you just as it was decreed upon those before you, so that you may perhaps attain piety. 184. [The Fasting decreed is] only a set number of days. But if you are ill or travelling, then make up the days missed [due to these circumstances] at another time. Those who are only able to fast with difficulty may, instead, feed a poor person for every day that they do not fast. And whoever volunteers to do what is better [by feeding more than one poor person for each day missed], then this will be better for him. But to fast is still better for you, if you only but knew.

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185. [Fasting has been appointed in] [t]he Month of Ramadan, during which the Quran was first sent down as guidance for mankind, with clear signs of Allahs guidance and as a means of discerning between right and wrong.

And so whoever witnesses the Month must fast it. But those who are ill or travelling shall make up the missed days at another time. Allah desires that your affairs are made easy, and not that they be made difficult. This is so that you may complete the appointed number of days [of fasting], and so that you may magnify Allah for what He has guided you to, and so that you may perhaps be grateful. 186. And should My servants ask you [O Prophet] regarding Me, I am Indeed close. I answer the supplications of those who call, if they call upon Me. And so let them respond to me [when I call them to obey Me], and let them believe in Me, so that they may, perhaps, be led aright.


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187. Made permissible to you on the nights of Fasting are sexual relations with your women. They are as a garment to you, and you are as a garment to them. Allah knows that you used to deceive yourselves [by having sexual relations with your wives when it was prohibited for you to do so], and so He accepted your repentance and pardoned you.

And so you are now permitted to have sexual relations with them [at any time during the night of the fast], and seek the reward Allah has ordained for you; and eat and drink until you are able to discern between the white thread and the black thread of dawn [between the light of dawn that appears on the horizon and the darkness of the night]. Then continue to fast until nightfall. But do not have sexual relations with your women while confining yourselves to mosques in worship. These are the boundaries set forth by Allah, and so do not approach them. Such is the manner in which Allah makes clear His verses to mankind so that they may, perhaps, attain piety.

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183. O You who believe, Fasting1 has been decreed upon you just as it was decreed upon those before you so that you may perhaps attain piety. 184. [The Fasting decreed is] only a set number of days. But if you are ill or travelling, then make up the days missed [due to these circumstances] at another time. Those who are only able to fast with difficulty may, instead, feed a poor person for every day that they do not fast. And whoever volunteers to do what is better [by feeding more than one poor person for each day missed], then this will be better for him. But to fast is still better for you, if you only but knew.
Allah states that He has blessed this and other nations by ordaining Fasting for it, as Fasting is among the commands and legislations that are a source of uprightness for mankind at every age and time. The command to fast, along with the revelation that Fasting had also been ordained for past nations, creates a sense of righteous competition and allows the Believers to compare their deeds to those of Believers from previous nations. Allah then goes on to mention the wisdom behind legislating Fasting and says, so that you may perhaps attain piety. Fasting is an act of worship that is particularly conducive to taqwa (see explanation of V2:2 for a more detailed explanation of taqwa) as, in a general sense, it involves practicing what Allah commands as well as staying away from what He prohibits. There are a number of means by which Fasting increases taqwa or piety, and the following are some: - Because a fasting person is prohibited from things that are normally allowed by Allah, and from things that he or she is naturally inclined towards such as food, drink and sexual relations, all that is normally prohibited by Allah - such as sin in all its forms - becomes all the more distant to a fasting person. When
1. Fasting the month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam, and in a general sense, refers to the act of abstaining from food, drink and sexual relations with sincerity of intention from sunrise to sunset for the entire month.

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all such abstention is practiced for the sake of pleasing Allah and attaining His reward, increased piety is a natural result. - Fasting further develops a servants awareness of his Lord, and develops the sense that Allah is ever-watchful (as eating and drinking in secrecy is always possible). This awareness, in turn, causes a Believer to forsake what he might crave or desire, in spite of physically being able to indulge into it. - Because it is authentically reported that Satan moves around through a persons blood vessels, Fasting serves to constrict these blood vessels, and thus reduces Satans ability to influence an individual and cause him to sin. - A fasting person is often more inclined towards practicing acts of worship, and worship is itself a form of piety. - When a wealthy person experiences hunger, he is more likely to sympathize and empathize with the poor who are unable to provide sufficiently for themselves. This, in turn, causes a person to be more apt to helping the poor or to alleviating their hardship. Contributions that are a result of such sympathy are, again, a form of piety. After establishing the obligation to fast, Allah goes on to tell His servants that obligatory Fasting is prescribed for only a limited or set number of days and not for any prolonged period of time. While this alone makes Fasting easier, Allah makes things easier still for those who might be sick or travelling. Just as a sick person might be overburdened by his illness, a traveller might also experience different hardships on his journey, and so Allah mercifully allows His servants to break their fast in such circumstances. Because the overwhelming benefits of Fasting should, however, be attained by everyone, Allah orders those who are allowed to break their fast during Ramadan to make up the missed days at a later and more convenient time. Those who are only able to fast with difficulty such as the elderly or those suffering from diseases that prevent them from Fasting, are exempted from Fasting altogether. These individuals are, instead, to feed a poor person for every day that they do not fast. In the event that such persons are able to fast without doing themselves harm, Allah states that Fasting is better than feeding a poor person. This is something that we would appreciate more

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fully if we but knew and understood the full virtues of Fasting and the tremendous reward it brings1.

185. [Fasting has been appointed in] the Month of Ramadan, during which the Quran was first sent down as guidance for mankind, with clear signs of Allahs guidance and as a means of discerning between right and wrong. And so whoever witnesses the Month must fast it. But those who are ill or travelling shall make up the missed days at another time. Allah desires that your affairs are made easy, and not that they be made difficult. This is so that you may complete the appointed number of days [of fasting], and so that you may magnify Allah for what He has guided you to, and so that you may perhaps be grateful.
Allah then specifies that the time appointed for Fasting is the Month of Ramadan - the month within which Allah descended the entire Quran from Al-Lawh-ul-Mahfooz (The Preserved Tablet) to Bait-ul-Iza (The House of Glory) situated in the sky of this world. This descent is authentically reported to have occurred during Laylat-ul-Qadr (Night of Honor). Scholars also mention that the descent referred to here is the time the first verses for the Quran were revealed to Prophet Muhammed , which also took place in Laylat-ul-Qadr.2 The following is a brief explanation of the three new terms just introduced: Al-Lawh-ul-Mahfooz: As mentioned, this terms literally translates into the The Preserved Tablet,
1. Some of these beautiful virtues and tremendous rewards are detailed in several authentic Prophetic reports, all of which serve as a strong incentive for Fasting, not just the mandatory fasts, but also those that are supererogatory. 2. Al-Jazaairy, vol. 1:162

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and refers to the tablet upon which is written everything Allah has ordained or decreed to be. All Allahs decrees were written on this tablet fifty thousand years before the creation of the heavens and the Earth. The term Preserved refers to it being protected against any kind of alteration or distortion, whether by devils or anything else. From this tablet, the Quran was descended during Laylat-ul-Qadr to Bayt-ul-Iza. Bayt-ul-Iza: This term approximately translates into House of Glory or House of Honor and, as just mentioned, is the place where the Quran was descended to on Laylat-ul-Qadr. Little else has been reported regarding Bayt-ul-Iza, but the fact that the Quran was descended to it is honor enough. Laylat-ul-Qadr: According to the most popular of scholarly opinions, Laylat-ul-Qadr is one of the odd-numbered nights of the last 10 days of Ramadan. It is an immensely magnificent night, and is described in Surat-ul-Qadr as being better or greater than a thousand months. Scholars suggest that this means that worship on Laylat-ul-Qadr brings more reward than the worship of a thousand months. Much has been reported on the virtues of this tremendous night and, Allah willing, we will expound on these virtues in their appropriate place. While weve suggested Night of Honor as an approximate translation, the word Qadr also means magnificence, and grand stature or grand standing (hence, Night of Magnificence etc). And so in this glorious month, Allah first began to descend the Quran, a Book that carries guidance for mankind in terms of both their religious and worldly affairs and that clearly shows the truth and provides a means of discerning right from wrong. Because the Quran presents the criteria that allow mankind to discern between guidance and misguidance, and between truth and falsehood, it is also the means by which we might discern between those for whom will be prosperity and bliss, and those for whom will be deprivation and misery in both this life and the next. It is, therefore, very appropriate that a month of such tremendous virtue and grace be a season of worship and a month where Fasting, with all its benefits

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and rewards, be ordained. To witness the month refers to receiving news of the crescent sighting (which indicates that the month has begun) while being healthy enough to fast and while not travelling. Allah, again, mentions the exemption made for those who are sick or travelling, and that they are to make up the missed fasts on other days. All such exemptions, along with the largely undemanding nature of what Allah has ordained for us in the way of religious obligations and duties, are proof that Allah has decreed essentially easy and not overly exacting means of attaining His pleasure and approval. Should such acts of worship become difficult or stressful due to exceptional circumstances, Allah either makes them easier through the legislation of alternatives (such has already been described in the case of Fasting), or exempts us from undertaking these acts of worship altogether. Allah also mentions that the wisdom behind allowing those who are sick or travelling to postpone their Fasting is that they are, in this manner, capable of Fasting all of the appointed days and, will therefore, not miss out on any of the reward or benefits of Fasting1. Further, one is to magnify Allah by repeating the prescribed dhikr (see meaning of dhikr under verse 2:152) upon seeing the crescent of the Month of Shawaal - a sighting that designates Ramadan has come to an end. Such magnification is a form of gratitude owed to Allah by His believing servants and is due for His guiding them to fasting Ramadan and for the immense benefits and reward earned in both this life and in the Hereafter for doing so. Regarding the words, and so that you may perhaps be grateful, Ibn Katheer explains that Allah addresses the Believers and tells them that if they undertake the mandatories they have been commanded with, forsake what is prohibited and confine themselves within the legal limits set by Allah, they will - Allah willing - be counted among those who are grateful (and hence

1. Zubdatu-Tafaseer, 28

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attain the rewards of those ranked as such by Allah)1. As mentioned earlier, gratitude involves more than merely offering verbal thanks and, rather, includes all forms of obedience to Allah.

186. And should My servants ask you [O Prophet] regarding Me, I am Indeed close. I answer the supplications of those who call, if they call upon Me. And so let them respond to me [when I call them to obey Me], and let them believe in Me, so that they may, perhaps, be led aright.
Some scholars have narrated that the reason for why this verse was revealed is that some among the Prophets companions asked him where Allah was, or asked whether He was near or far. Sheikh Mustafa Al-Adawy, however, states that none of the reports he has come across regarding the reasons behind the revelation of the verse are authentic2. To continue, Allah informs His servants that He is close to them in a manner that is befitting of His greatness and majesty, and not in any manner that resembles His creation. It is very important to note that Allah is, as He states in other places in the Quran, situated upon His throne and high above His creation. Because nothing is like or similar to Allah in either essence or action, this does not contradict His closeness to His servants. Indeed, the fact that Allah is high above His creation while at the same time close to His servants is, itself, further proof that nothing is even remotely similar to Him. In his Al-Aqeedah Al-Wasittiyah Imam Ibn Taymiyah explains that all that is mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah affirming Allahs closeness to His creation does not contradict what has been affirmed regarding Allahs loftiness above His creation, for nothing is like unto Him (2:11) in any of His attributes (or in His essence or His actions). Allah is thus understood to be high up above His creation while being close to it at the same time. Hence, and without doubt, Allah is All-Observant, All-Watchful, All-Knowledgeable of what is kept secret or hidden, and of all that hearts conceal.
1. Ibn Katheer/ Mubarakfoori, 1 2. Adawy, vol. : 106

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A servant who calls upon his Lord with a conscious heart and asks for that which is permissible without committing that which might prevent his supplication from being answered - such as earn illegitimate wealth, for instance - is promised, by Allah, to have his supplication answered. Abiding by Allahs commands and staying away from His prohibitions brings even further assurance that Allah will answer ones prayers. Needless to say, firm belief in Allah is also among that which causes supplications to be answered, and for all these reasons Allah says And so let them respond when I call them to obey Me, and let them have faith in Me so that they may, perhaps, be led aright. Allahs saying, so that they may, perhaps, be led aright, means so that they may be guided to attaining even stronger faith in Allah, to practicing even more righteous deeds, and so that they may be rid of the misguidance that negates these qualities. Moreover, faith and righteous deeds are a means by which Allah blesses a servant with knowledge. In establishing this point, Allah says, O You Who Believe, if you fear Allah [through having faith and by practicing righteous deeds], He will provide you with the means of discerning between right and wrong (8:29) (meaning increase you in your ability to distinguish truth from falsehood and to discern between what is permissible and what is prohibited, etc.) Because knowledge is a pre-requisite to guidance, it is important that one seek to attain knowledge through having faith and practicing virtuous deeds. Allah further guides His servants to all that is good and all that He loves by virtue of the very knowledge He blesses His servants with.

187. Made permissible to you on the nights of Fasting are sexual relations with your women. They are as a garment to you, and you are as a garment to them. Allah knows that you used to deceive yourselves [by having sexual relations with your wives when it was prohibited for you to do so], and so He accepted your repentance and pardoned you. And so you may now have sexual relations with them [at any time

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during the night of the fast]. And seek the reward Allah has ordained for you, and eat and drink until you are able to discern between the white thread and the black thread of dawn [between the light of dawn that appears on the horizon and the darkness of the night]. Then continue to fast until nightfall. But do not have sexual relations with your women while confining yourselves to mosques in worship. These are the limits set forth by Allah, and so do not approach them. Such is the manner in which Allah makes clear His verses to mankind so that they may, perhaps, attain piety.
When Fasting was first decreed, eating, drinking and sexual relations were prohibited during the night (preceding a day of Fasting) if a person had slept and then woken up during that night. This caused some hardship to the Prophets companions , and so Allah revealed this verse, allowing them to eat, drink and have sexual relations during the night of Ramadan, regardless of whether they had slept or not. Allah reveals that He knew some of the Muslims would deceive themselves by practicing what they were prohibited against (i.e. sexual relations with their women after waking up during the night), and so He pardoned them by abrogating this prohibition, thus making their affairs easier1. The Believers were from then on permitted to have sexual relations and practice other forms of permissible intimacy with their women on the night of a fast. Allahs believing servants are then directed to seek the reward Allah has ordained for them; and this means to practice what Allah has made permissible (in this context sexual relations with their wives during the night), with the intention of seeking Allahs reward and attaining His approval. Some of the means of attaining Allahs reward include forming the intention to preserve oneself against falling into adultery, and to preserve ones wife against what is similar. Seeking to have and raise righteous children who might strengthen Islam and call to Allah is also a fundamental objective of marriage and something that Allah rewards graciously.
1. Zubdatu-Tafaseer, 29

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Another reward Allah has ordained for His servants is the tremendous reward earned by those who spend Laylat-ul-Qadr in worship (see verse 2:185). To seek the reward of this night is to spend it in worship with the intention of capitalizing on its rewards and taking advantage of the unique, overwhelming opportunities it holds. Allah then directs the Believers to eat and drink as they please during the night of the fast until they are able to discern clearly between the light of dawn, which first appears as a white thread on the horizon, and the black thread of darkness1. A fasting person is then to resume his fast until sunset, after which he is allowed to break his fast by eating, drinking and having sexual relations. Because the permissibility of having sexual relations does not apply to those who have confined themselves to worship in mosques, Allah specifically mentions that this group of worshippers is not to have sexual relations for the period that they remain in the mosques. All the bounds mentioned in this verse and in the preceding verses, including the prohibition on eating, drinking and having sexual relations during the day of a fast; the prohibition against not Fasting for those who are able to; the prohibition against sexual relations for those who have confined themselves to the mosques in worship and all other sacred bounds are limits set forth by Allah. Allah warns us, not just against transgressing these limits, but against even approaching them. Hence, a servant of Allah is required to stay as far away as possible from what Allah has forbidden and to forsake whatever might lead to falling into such prohibitions to begin with. Such is the manner in which Allah makes clear these and other rulings so that they are as clear and as comprehensible as possible. This clarity, in turn, allows Allahs servants to stay away from what brings harm and to practice what Allah commands in the manner required. Also, such unambiguity leaves no one with any kind of excuse for not abiding by Allahs decrees. A servants compliance with all such directives and rulings is, itself, a primary means of attaining piety.
1. At-Tafseer Al-Muyasar, 29 and Az-Zamakhshari, 11

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188. And do not consume your wealth unlawfully between yourselves, nor use it to wrongfully persuade [or bribe] judges so that you might sinfully and knowingly consume a portion of the wealth of others. 189. They ask you [O Prophet] regarding the phases of the moon. Say, They mark periods of time for people, and mark the Hajj. And righteousness is not that you enter your homes from the rear. Instead, righteousness is of those who fear Allah. And enter your homes through their proper doors and fear Allah so that you may, perhaps, prosper.

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188. And do not consume your wealth unlawfully between yourselves, nor use it to wrongfully persuade [or bribe] judges so that you might sinfully and knowingly consume a portion of the wealth of others.
Allah begins this verse by ordering against wrongfully taking the wealth of others, but rather than refer to it as the wealth of others, Allah instead says, do not consume your wealth unlawfully. The reason for this is that a Believer is required to wish for his Muslim brothers what he wishes for himself and is, therefore, expected to be concerned for the protection of their wealth as he would for his own wealth. Moreover, to unlawfully take that which belongs to others may incite them to retaliate by taking of ones own wealth. In this sense, your wealth, refers to the mutual detriment caused by the unlawful consumption of anothers wealth. Means of unlawfully consuming wealth include extortion, stealing, cheating in its different forms, taking illegitimate sources of income such as interest, gambling, dues wrongfully withheld from a hired hand, and taking payment for work that was either not done or not done as agreed. It also includes being paid for acts of worship, just as it includes taking money paid in charity or left by a testator without having a legitimate right to it. All such forms of illegally or unlawfully consuming wealth are completely prohibited, regardless of whether or not a judge - who has either been misled through deceptive arguments or bribed to rule in favor of such wrongful consumption - rules in favor of it. A ruling issued by a judge does not and cannot make permissible that which is prohibited, nor does it make prohibited that which is permissible. Even a fair judge is only capable of judging in accordance to what he hears, and so if he should, for one reason or another, rule in favor of a wrongdoer, this wrongdoer should find no comfort in the judges ruling and is still regarded a transgressor who has unlawfully and sinfully take what is not his. To appropriate anothers wealth wrongfully and knowingly is particularly serious and, therefore, especially deserving of punishment and harsh retribution.

189. They ask you [O Prophet] regarding the phases of the moon. Say, They mark periods of time for people, and mark the Hajj.

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And righteousness is not that you enter your homes from the rear. Instead, righteousness is of those who fear Allah. And enter your homes through their proper doors and fear Allah so that you may, perhaps, prosper.
It is reported that the companions asked the Prophet regarding the purpose or wisdom behind the different phases of the moon and what they signified. Allah tells His Prophet to respond and tell them that these phases designate assigned times for different acts of worship, including Fasting, the time when Zakat is due, and the time for Pilgrimage, etc. Because ihram1 normally takes place during designated months and because Hajj or Pilgrimage, itself, can take up a considerable amount of time, Allah has specifically singled out Hajj for mention in this verse. The phases of the moon - upon which the lunar calendar is based - also allow people to specify such things as due dates for debts, periods for which rental contracts are valid, periods of waiting legislated for divorced women and widows before they can marry again, pregnancy stages, and other intervals that need to be defined for one purpose or another. Because the moon phases are apparent to everyone, old or young, learned or unlearned, they provide a simple means of identifying the time of month. Upon completing ihram, the Ansaar2 as well as other Arabs would enter their homes through their rear entrances, rather than through their front doors, thinking that this was an act of worship and something that would draw them closer to Allah. Scholars have stated that this was a practice the Believers had become accustomed to in the pre-Islamic era, and hence unwittingly brought with them to Islam when they became Muslims. Allah ends this false and innovated rite, and informs them that this - and any act of worship unlegislated by Allah or His Prophet - is not a form of righteousness, as they had presumed. Indeed, anyone seeking to worship Allah in any manner that has not been
1. A set of prescribed actions that start off the ritual of Pilgrimage 2. The Muslims of Madinah, the city the Prophet migrated to from Makkah.

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legislated by Allah or His Prophet is, in fact, seeking to worship Allah by means of an innovation, and because innovations that pertain to acts of worship are strictly prohibited, all innovated acts of worship are unacceptable to Allah and hence bring no benefit to those who practice them. This is a particularly important point, as innovations in religion are a fundamental reason behind the downfall and demise of the Islamic nation. Prosperity, success, strength and honor are attained only through adherence to the Sunnah of the Prophet and by following in the footsteps of his companions and those who, in turn, followed them in earnest. Allah, therefore, orders those among the Believers who practiced this innovation to enter their homes from their proper doors. This was not only the right thing to do, but also clearly the easier thing to do. This is an important point, as facilitation and the avoidance of hardship is one of the fundamental objectives of Islamic legislation. Indeed, one of the important lessons taken from this verse is that an individual should seek to approach whatever he intends to do by way of the easiest possible means (provided this means is permissible). Those who seek to call others to good and warn against or prohibit evil, for instance, must first consider the state of those they wish to advise and then use leniency and gentle persuasion to guide them to that which is better for them. Likewise, both teachers and students are to seek out the easiest means of achieving their respective goals. Indeed, anyone who embarks on any kind of endeavor, and proceeds by seeking the easiest routes and by showing perseverance will, by the grace of Allah, achieve his desired objective. Allah goes on to say, and fear Allah, indicating that piety - in the form of refraining from what Allah has prohibited and doing what He has commanded - is the real route to prosperity, both in this life and in the Hereafter.

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190. And fight, in the cause of Allah, those who fight you, but do not transgress. Indeed, Allah likes not those who transgress. 191. And kill them wherever you find them and drive them out from where they drove you out; [for] the evil of polytheism is worse than the evil of killing. And do not fight them within the sanctuary of the Sacred Mosque, unless they attack [i.e. initiate fighting] you there. But should they initiate fighting, then fight them; thus is the punishment of the Unbelievers. 192. But if they cease, then, indeed, Allah is All-Forgiving, Especially-Merciful. 193. And fight them until the threat [of polytheism] has been eradicated, and the only prevalent religion is that of Allah. But if they cease, then let there not be aggression except against the wrongdoers.


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194. [Retaliation in] a sacred month is retribution for [being attacked in] a sacred month, and the violation of sanctities is subject to equal retribution. And so whoever should transgress against you, then transgress against them in a manner similar to their transgression against you, but fear Allah. And be sure that Allah is with those who fear Him. 195. And spend in the cause of Allah, and do not bring about your demise with your own hands. And strive to do what is good. Indeed, Allah loves those who strive to do good.


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190. And fight, in the cause of Allah, those who fight you, but do not transgress. Indeed, Allah likes not those who transgress. 191. And kill them wherever you find them and drive them out from where they drove you out; for the evil of polytheism is worse than the evil of killing. And do not fight them within the sanctuary of the Sacred Mosque unless they attack [i.e. initiate fighting] you there. But should they initiate fighting, then fight them; thus is the punishment of the Unbelievers. 192. But if they cease, then, indeed, Allah is All-Forgiving, EspeciallyMerciful. 193. And fight them until the threat of polytheism has been eradicated, and the only prevalent religion is that of Allah. But if they cease, then let there not be aggression except against the wrongdoers.
These verses explain the command to fight in the way of Allah - a command decreed by Allah after the Muslims had emigrated to Madinah and were now stronger than they had been throughout the Makkan period. The order to fight only in the cause of Allah stresses the importance of forming a sincere intention in fighting. It may, therefore, be taken as a prohibition against participating in fighting or killing during times where tribulation has spread among Muslims; for sincerity of intention is improbable in such cases. The command to fight those who fight, refers to fighting those capable of aggression against the Believers, and is, therefore, a reference to able-bodied men among the enemy. Conversely, elderly men who have no influence on decisions pertaining to war and do not engage in fighting must be spared. Islam also prohibits the killing of non-fighting women, the insane, children, priests, etc. Also, killing animals, destroying trees, and other forms of transgression that serve to bring no benefit to Muslims are regarded as

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unlwaful. It is also completely unacceptable to kill or even fight those who pay the Jizyah1. Allahs command, kill them wherever you find them, is a command to fight those who fight Muslims wherever they may be found, in every place and every time, both defensively and offensively. Allah then makes the exception of fighting them within the sanctuary of the Sacred Mosque, and states that they must only be fought there if they initiate fighting. This ruling is one that would remain in place until the Pagans would desist from their unbelief and become Muslims. Allah then states that if they do desist, He will accept their repentance, regardless of the fact that they once disbelieved and worshipped idols in the Sacred Mosque, and in spite of their having once obstructed the Prophet and the Believers from entering Makkah. This is a further indication of Allahs grace, mercy and forgiveness. Because killing within the vicinity of the Sacred Mosque might have been seen as a particularly serious evil, Allah states that the evil of polytheism, and the Unbelievers opposition to the spread of Allahs religion is a greater evil. This verse is proof of the well-established principle that undertaking the lesser of two evils is permitted for the purpose of preventing the greater of the two from occuring. Allah then mentions that, far from merely spilling the blood of others or taking their property or wealth, the real objective of fighting in the cause of Allah is to establish Islam - the true religion of Allah - as the only prevalent religion, and to fight against all those who strive to suppress Islam (such as polytheism and other forms of unbelief) until such evil is eradicated. Once this objective is met, fighting and killing are no longer permissible. Again, Allah states that in the event the Pagans or Unbelievers desist from their unbelief and from fighting the Believers at the Sacred Mosque, aggression against them is not permitted. Only wrongdoers who persist in their rejection of faith and in their killing of Muslims are to be fought.

1. A tax imposed upon non-Muslims who live under the protection of an Islamic government.

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As a general basis upon which verses that pertain to Jihad in the Quran might be understood, Sayed Qutb offers some useful insights. The following excerpt is paraphrased from his exegesis of the Quran1: Islam, as revealed to Prophet Muhammed , was the last manifestation of exactly the same creed that each and every one of Allahs prophets had ever taught. Islam came to establish this creed as a foundation upon which humanity might live and as a doctrine it might adhere to. The Muslim nation is, therefore, responsible for steering or guiding mankind to the pathway of Allah in accordance with this complete and comprehensive doctrine, revealed to it only by the Lord and Creator of mankind Himself. And what other pathway could bring more prosperity and happiness? What other pathway could raise humanity to the glorious levels that those who adopt and truly implement the Islamic shariah are seen to rise to? What other blessing could possibly compare to that which brings true happiness and reward in both this life and in the Hereafter. Indeed, to be deprived of this divine favor (Islam) is to be deprived of all genuine prosperity and success; and for this reason, no aggressor could possibly do more harm than to deny or dispossess a people of their right to Islam a religion bestowed by Allah for the enhancement, purification, contentment and completeness of all people. It is, therefore, humanitys right that it be shown the way of prosperity, and that it not be obstructed from it in any way or by any force or authority. Upon being shown this pathway, it is then the right of each individual to embrace Islam without being withheld from doing so by any opposing power. Those who decide to reject Islam would then be allowed to do so, without being allowed to prevent others from embracing the religion. Rather, those who reject Islam must agree to terms that prevent them from barring others from the pathway of Allah and from obstructing calls to the truth. Further, those who choose to embrace Islam must also be allowed the right to practice their religion without persecution and without being drawn or lured away from it by any means. Indeed, it is incumbent upon Muslims as a group to fight back against any means of persecution or intimidation so that individual Muslims and their societies might be free to practice their religion without having to face such dangers or threats...
1. Titled, Fee Zilaal Al-Quran

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Because the Muslim nation must protect mankinds right to be shown, to accept and to adhere to the pathway of Allah without persecution or harassment of any form, a fourth duty naturally follows. Namely, the obligation to suppress the powers that, themselves, seek to suppress the free call to Islam and its acceptance. Antagonizing all such destructive and unjust forces must then continue until they no longer pose any such threat and so that Islam prevails. This does not mean that others are to be forced into Islam against their will. Rather, the point behind establishing Islams ascendancy is that no one be afraid to embrace Islam if they seek to do so, and that no Muslim be afraid to practice his or her religion. Such pre-eminency ultimately ensures that systems and regimes that seek to extinguish the light of Allah are not provided with the means to dominate and thereby lead people away from the path of Allah in any way. These are the basic principles upon which the idea of Jihad in Islam is based. These, alone, are the goals and objectives of Jihad, and they are not be tainted with any other goals. Jihad in the cause of Allah is Jihad undertaken to protect the Islamic creed, to preserve the Islamic code and legislation, and to firmly establish the banner of Islam on Earth so that those who seek to aggress against Islam might be intimidated away from even attempting such evil. Because this is the only legitimate goal of Jihad, it is hence the only objective Islam acknowledges and the only objective anyone might excpect to be rewarded for. Those killed practicing this kind of Jihad are considered martyrs, and those who carry its burden are the righteous.1 It is important to understand Qutbs words in the light and context of the overwhelming evidence (scriptural and commonsensical) establishing that Islam is - and has always been - the only religion of Allah. Such evidence is established again and again in the Quran, and proof for the prophethood of Prophet Muhammed is still to be found in the Bible, in spite of distortions made to conceal this fact. It is completely unacceptable that falsehood in whatever form it may take - be allowed to flourish and obstruct mankind from
1. Tafsir Sayed Qutb, vol. 1: 186-187

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the pathway of Allah, or lead mankind to the pathway of destruction in this life and eternal anguish and agony in the Hereafter. Moreover, falsehood cannot but protect itself except through employing falsehood, and hence regimes that are established upon other than what Allah has revealed are destined to twist and distort the truth in whatever way they can for the sake of maintaining authority. Anti-Islamic systems and regimes have never ceased to propagate and broadcast anti-Islamic propaganda and to spread anti-Islamic sentiment through whatever deceptive means available to them. All such scheming, along with the persecution and bloodshed perpetrated to drive Muslims away from Islam and to prevent others from even considering to accept it violates the right to learn the truth, adopt it and continue to live by it. Moreover, Jihad was never something revealed to Prophet Muhammed alone. Both the Old and New Testament show that Jihad was ordained by Allah for the Children of Israel, and that they were commanded to practice it. In fact, in light of the following passage from Deuteronomy, it is baffling to think that some Christians and Jews accuse Islam of being a violent religion. Deuteronomy (20:10-18) shows not only that Jihad was ordained for the Children of Israel, but why: 10. When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. 11. If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you. 12. If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. 1. When the Lord your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. 1. As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the Lord your God gives you from your enemies. 15. This is how you are to treat all the cities that are at a distance from you and do not belong to the nations nearby. 16. However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. 17. Completely destroy themthe Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites as the Lord your God has commanded you. 18. Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the Lord your God.

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The last verse, Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the Lord your God, shows clearly that the point of Jihad was to resist the worship of false deities and the evils of such wrongful worship. Ultimately, to preserve Allahs right to be worshipped alone (the very first of the ten commandments), comes through quite plainly as the underlying objective behind waging Jihad in all ages. Leviticus 26: 6-8 reads as follows: 6. I will grant peace in the land, and you will lie down and no one will make you afraid. I will remove savage beasts from the land, and the sword will not pass through your country. 7. You will pursue your enemies, and they will fall by the sword before you. 8. Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you In Psalms 18, 7-2 David is reported to have recited: 7. I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed. 8. I crushed them so that they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet. 9. You armed me with strength for battle; you made my adversaries bow at my feet. 40. You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes. 1. They cried for help, but there was no one to save them to the Lord, but he did not answer. 42. I beat them as fine as dust borne on the wind; I poured them out like mud in the streets. According to the New Testament, Matthew 10:34-36, Jesus is reported to

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have said: . Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the Earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 5. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her motherin-law. 6. A mans enemies will be the members of his own household. We only draw attention to these passages for the sake of highlighting that Jihad, or fighting for the cause of Allah, is a principle already well known to anyone reading the Bible, and was never something introduced by the Quran or by Prophet Muhammed . Fighting falsehood for the sake of upholding the truth has always been legislated, and hence the claim that Islam is a violent religion - especially in view of Biblical verses that seem to go so far as to order genocide (do not leave alive anything that breathes) - is weak-minded at best. The command not to transgress limits when fighting an enemy is stated unequivocally in the Quran as in this verse and then explained in more

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detail in the Prophets Sunnah .


1. One of the most grim results of the decrepit state of the Muslims and hence the absence of Jihad and consequent spread of all that goes against Allahs commands is the painfully apparent infliction of widespread devastation and bloodshed. Particularly insidious are the pretexts that perpetrators of such butchery present as justification for what they carry out. While countless blood baths and genocides of unfathomable proportion have taken place throughout recent history, it is more relevant to take a look at some of the atrocities committed in the name of combating terrorism , bringing peace or establishing democracy by those who allege to uphold these ideals. You no longer have to be a Muslim to cite the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as obvious examples of gratuitous carnage. Human rights group, Iraq Body Count, puts the civilian death toll for the Iraq war at between 95,881-10,588 for the period between 200 and 2009. The total number of deaths and casualties that include the worst kind of injuries and deformations is, of course, much higher. - www.iraqbodycount.org Previous to the second Iraq war, the UN imposed sanctions on Iraq had been another form of gross injustice. The cost in lives was staggering. Between 1991 and 1998, reported Unicef, 500,000 Iraqi children under the age of five died. If you include adults, said Denis Halliday, the figure is now almost certainly well over a million. Denis Halliday was appointed United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Baghdad, Iraq as of 1 September 1997, at the Assistant Secretary-General level. In October 1998 he resigned after a  year career with the UN in order to have the freedom to criticise the sanctions regime, saying I dont want to administer a programme that satisfies the definition of genocide. Hallidays successor, Hans von Sponeck, another assistant secretary general with more than 0 years service, also resigned in protest. - Pilger, John. (http://www.newstatesman. com/20041004002) Efforts to combat terrorism in Afghanistan have had the same repurcussions for the civilians of that country, and reports from different human rights organizations and aid groups put the total civilian death toll for 2001-2009 at up to ,000 people. Needless to say, devastation for both countries runs far deeper than available statistics that estimate only the death toll or the number of critically wounded. All such plundering, corruption and devastation is always alleged to be done for the betterment of those most torn to pieces by it and with the objective of brining them peace and prosperity. But as the years and decades drag on, the results of these insiduous campaigns continue to belie the already incredible assertions that betterment was the objective behind these deeds. Again, the numbers mentioned in this section are mere drops in the seemingly endless seas of blood that the likes of Stalin, Hitler, Lenin, Mao and the instigators of the Vietnam War have all contributed to, but the point is to highlight the righteous and even humane and benevolent pretexts for such carnage, and not merely to present figures.

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Furthermore, in Surat-ul-Hadeed, Allah says, and We sent down iron (from its mountain ores), in it lies awesome strength and benefits for mankind, and (We sent it down) so that Allah might know who will champion Him (i.e. uphold His religion) and His prophets, even without seeing Him (i.e. out of sheer faith in Him). Indeed, Allah is All-Powerful, All-Wise..(57:25). In this verse, Allah mentions that He has created iron so that mankind may manufacture things of benefit, including weapons that might be used to defend Islam. The plural prophets is another indication that Jihad is something that had been ordained by Allah for past nations and their prophets, and not something specific to the Quran or to Prophet Muhammed . There are plenty of other verses in the Quran that illustrate this truth.

194. [Retaliation in] a sacred month is retribution for [being attacked in] a sacred month; and the violation of sanctities is subject to equal retribution. And so whoever should transgress against you, then transgress against them in a manner similar to their transgression against you, but fear Allah; and be sure that Allah is with those who fear Him.2
Allah, here, addresses the Believers, and tells them that because the Pagans had attacked them during a sacred month, they would, in turn, not be held
Justice can only be sought through adherence to Allahs laws. It is blasephemy, not to mention completely senseless, to even assume that any kind of justice might be sought in going against what Allah has decreed for the proper functioning of an existence that He Himself created. Over and over again, history has shown the horrific results of deviating from Allahs decrees or failing to establish what He has commanded. With this fundamental precept in mind, it doesnt matter how laudable or praiseworthy the objectives or principles used to justify war and killing appear to be, for as long as they do not conform to what Allah has decreed, they can only be a source of evil. Verse 11 of this chapter exposes the age-old tendency of those who, whether knowingly or unknowingly, cloak evil and devastation in the gown of righteousness and goodwill: And when it is said to them, Do not cause corruption on Earth, they say, We are but reformers.. 1. As interpreted by Imam Ibn Taymiyyah, Al-Qassimy, vol. 16: 5696 2. This is a translation of one of the interpretations mentioned by Sheikh As-Saadi, the other interpretation will be mentioned in the explanation of the verse.

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blameworthy or accountable for attacking the Pagans during a sacred month in retribution. Based on this interpretation, Allahs following statement, and the violation of sanctities is subject to equal retribution, is a general explanatory statement which indicates that the violation of anything sacred, whether the Sacred Mosque or the Sacred Land (Makkah) or anything protected under Islamic law (such as ones life and property) is subject to retribution by law. Hence, those who wage war during a sacred month are duly fought back against, regardless of the sanctity of the month; those who seek to desecrate the sanctity of the Sacred Land are punished in accordance with the degree of their crime; he who deliberately injures another without just cause is injured in the same manner; and those who unlawfully take the property of others or wealth are, in return, divested of the same value of property or wealth. Sheikh Saadi mentions another interpretation for the opening of this verse which, rather that pertain to killing during a sacred month, instead involves the incident where the Pagans barred the Prophet and the Believers from entering Makkah. This occurrence, itself, took place in the Month of ZulQidah, one of the sacred months, and it is said that this verse was revealed because Allah granted the Prophet and the Believers access to Makkah the following year in the same month. In accordance with this interpretation, the verse would read, [We have granted you entry into Makkah in] a sacred month, in compensation for the sacred month [in which you were barred from entering by the Pagans] Allah goes on to command the Believers to retaliate against the Pagans in a manner similar to the manner in which they were unjustly transgressed against. However, because a victim often seeks to do more damage to his aggressor than the aggressor was originally guilty of, Allah reminds the Believers to fear Him and not transgress the boundaries or exceed the limits He has set. Allah then reassures the Believers and tells them that He is with those who fear Him. This means that He helps His believing servants, supports them, makes them victorious, guides them to achieving their objectives and helps them to attain what He loves and approves of.

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195. And spend in the cause of Allah, and do not bring about your demise with your own hands. And strive to do what is good. Indeed, Allah loves those who strive to do good.
Allah directs His believing servants to spend of their wealth in His cause. There are many things a Believer might do with his wealth in seeking Allahs pleasure, including looking after those in need - such as the poor, or those who might be in need of financial assistance for reasons other than poverty (such as debt). In fact, even spending on those whom one is obligated to spend on, such as ones wife and children, is a means of attaining Allahs pleasure and reward. Still, the greatest of all endeavors worthy of ones wealth, and to which priority should be given, is Jihad. Indeed, to spend on Jihad is itself a form of Jihad and is mandatory; just as to wage Jihad with ones own self (i.e. to literally fight using weapons or other means) is mandatory. Jihad with ones wealth brings enormous benefits; but above all, it strengthens Muslims, weakens polytheism and unbelief and weakens those who ascribe themselves to such falsehood and those who seek to extinguish the light of Allah. No doubt, to spend on Jihad is to contribute to the establishment and to the strengthening of Allahs religion, the most noble of all causes. Jihad is, therefore, something that cannot be established except on the foundations of contributions, for funding is the soul of Jihad and something without which it cannot survive. Neglecting to spend on Jihad only serves to bring this glorious act of worship to a halt, and hence allows enemies to attack Muslim lands, unabated and unopposed. For these reasons, Allah says, and do not bring about your demise with your own hands. The self-demise or self-destruction referred to here may take one of two forms. The first - and that which is more directly referred to in this verse - is to refuse or to neglect to undertake the mandatories or obligations required to ensure the protection of ones body and soul. Hence, while neglecting to take precautions against all that is physically harmful is to make ones body vulnerable (either to being killed or other forms of physical harm), neglecting to take precautions against what is religiously harmful is to make ones soul or self susceptible to destruction. Examples of this form of

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self-destruction include abandoning Jihad and neglecting to contribute to it, just as it includes neglecting to obey Allahs commands a crime that only brings detriment to ones religious conviction and hence ones self and soul. The second form of self-destruction entails actually practicing that which is harmful (as opposed to neglecting what is beneficial or mandatory) and, therefore, includes things like throwing oneself into dangerous or lifethreatening situations frivolously or without taking the necessary precautions. It also includes wallowing in sin, adopting feelings of despair with regards to attaining Allahs mercy and other destructive attitudes and beliefs, etc. Because to spend on Jihad is clearly one of the most virtuous acts of worship a servant might undertake, Allah follows this command by making a more general command and says, And strive to do good. This refers to all kinds of good or virtuous deeds, including spending of ones wealth in the cause of Allah, helping others through intercession or other means, enjoining good and forbidding evil, teaching others what benefits them, helping to meet the needs of others and alleviating their pain, visiting the sick, attending funerals and participating in their rites, helping stray individuals find their way back to obedience and piety, and any other form of good. Because the Arabic word Ihsan from which the word Ahsinoo is derived - translated above as strive to do good - also means to worship Allah as though one can see Him (i.e. with the highest level of sincerity), Allahs command must also be taken to include this important meaning. In this context, the translation would read: And worship Allah with sincerity. Indeed, Allah loves those who worship Him with sincerity.

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196. And complete, as perfectly as you can and with sincerity towards Allah, the rituals of Hajj and Umrah. But if you [pilgrims] are barred from reaching Makkah, then sacrifice - to the extent that you are able to - an animal as offering. And do not shave your heads until the sacrificial animal reaches its designated point.

But if you are ill or afflicted with a scalp ailment [which necessitates shaving before due time], then make redemption by Fasting for three days, or by feeding six poor people, or by sacrificing an animal. But if you are safe enough [to perform the rites], then those who perform Umrah and follow it up with Hajj should if they are able to sacrifice an animal as offering. And whoever is unable to do this must fast for three days during the months of Hajj, and then seven days upon completing the rituals of Hajj and returning home. These ten days of Fasting must be completed. This pertains to those who do not reside at the Sacred Mosque. And fear Allah, and know that Allah is severe in punishment.


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197. Hajj is to be performed in its known months. And so those making ihram during these months must abstain from sexual relations, sinning and arguing during Hajj; and no matter what good you do, Allah knows of it. And take provision [on your journey to make Pilgrimage]. And, indeed, the best provision is taqwa. And be fearful of Me, O Men of understanding. 198. There is no blame upon you [Believers] in seeking bounty from your Lord [i.e by trading during Hajj]. And when you descend from Arafaat, then make dhikr of Allah at the Mashar Al-Haram, and make dhikr of Him in gratitude for His guiding you - for before His guidance you were among those who were astray. 199. And then descend from whence others before you had descended, and ask Allah for forgiveness. Indeed, Allah is All-Forgiving, Especially Merciful.


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196. And complete, as perfectly as you can and with sincerity towards Allah, the rituals of Hajj and Umrah. But if you [pilgrims] are barred from reaching Makkah, then sacrifice - to the extent that you are able to - an animal as offering. And do not shave your heads until the sacrificial animal reaches its designated point. But if you are ill or afflicted with a scalp ailment [which necessitates shaving before due time], then make redemption by Fasting for three days, or by feeding six poor people, or by sacrificing an animal. But if you are safe enough [to perform the rites], then those who perform Umrah and follow it up with Hajj should if they are able to sacrifice an animal as offering. And whoever is unable to do this must fast for three days during the months of Hajj, and then seven days upon completing the rituals of Hajj and returning home. These ten days of Fasting must be completed. This pertains to those who do not reside at the Sacred Mosque. And fear Allah, and know that Allah is severe in punishment.
This verse provides the basis for numerous rulings that pertain to Major Pilgrimage (Hajj) and Minor Pilgrimage (Umrah). While such rulings can never, and must never, be derived from translations, we will refer to some of what Islamic scholars have inferred from this verse: - Performing Hajj and Umrah is mandatory and must be done in accordance with the Sunnah of the Prophet and to the best of ones ability - Like all other acts of worship, they are to be performed solely and sincerely for Allah - An individual who has started the rituals of either Hajj or Umrah must not leave out any of the required rites, unless forced to do so for one reason or another. In reference to this point, Allah says, But if you [pilgrims] are barred from reaching Makkah, (meaning if you are prevented from reaching the Sacred Mosque due to resistance from an enemy, sickness, or

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any other reason etc,) then sacrifice - to the extent that you are able to - an animal as offering. - The animals qualified to be slaughtered in this case are sheep, cows and camels1. - Only upon slaughtering the sacrificial animal may a pilgrim shave his head2 and exit ihram. - Pilgrims caught in such predicaments and cannot afford or find a sacrificial animal, must fast for ten days; upon completing this period, they may then exit ihraam. - Pilgrims performing Umrah are not permitted to shave their heads until they finish its rituals. Pilgrims performing Hajj or both Umrah and Hajj cannot shave their heads until the tenth day of Zul-Hijjah. Hence, Allah says And do not shave your heads until the animal reaches its designated point. The designated point here refers to the tenth day of Zul-Hijjah, commonly referred to as Yawmu-Nahr or The Day of Slaughtering. Pilgrims are to shave their heads on this day after the sacrificial animals are slaughtered and their meat distributed among the poor. - Allahs command, And do not shave your heads until the sacrificial animal reaches its designated point, may also be a command to those who have entered ihram but are unable to complete Hajj or Umrah due to circumstances preventing them. These individuals are commanded to slaughter an animal at the last point reached before exiting ihram. In this
1. It is acceptable to share a cow or camel provided ones share is a minimum of one seventh of the animal. However, only a whole sheep is sufficient as an offering. 2. This is something that is prescribed only for men, and normally impermissible until the completion of other rituals, at which point it becomes mandatory. Women are to trim only a small amount of their hair. . See verse 2:189 . These rulings are further clarified by the Prophet in the report that details the incident when the Pagans barred him and the companions from reaching the Sacred Mosque in the year of the Hudaybiyah Treaty. Authentic reports regarding this incident are narrated in Al-Bukhari (1807) and Muslim (1230).

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sense, the word point refers to a designated place, and not a designated time1, as in the first meaning mentioned. In addition to those prevented from continuing with their Pilgrimage, those suffering from illnesses that might require shaving the scalp, and those suffering from a scalp ailment that might be cured (or at least significantly alleviated) by shaving before due time, must also redeem for shaving or cutting their hair prematurely. In this case, redemption may take one of three forms: Fasting for three days, feeding six poor people, or sacrificing an animal and distributing its meat among the poor. These pilgrims may continue to complete their rituals, and, in fact, it is mandatory that they complete them as long as they are not deterred. The best of these forms of redemption is to sacrifice an animal and distribute its meat, followed by the option to feed six poor people and, finally, Fasting. To follow Umrah with Hajj on a single visit is referred to as Hajj At-tamattu. To form the intention of performing Hajj and Umrah at the same time, or to begin by performing Hajj and then incorporate Umrah into it is referred to as Hajj Al-Qiran. Both these forms of Hajj require that a sacrificial animal be offered. For this reason, Allah addresses the Believers, and tells them that if they are safe enough to perform Hajj, then those performing Hajj Attamattu as well as those performing Hajj Al-Qiran (not stated in the verse, but derived as an Islamic ruling) must sacrifice an animal if they are able to. This sacrificial offering is legislated as a form of gratitude to Allah for allowing the pilgrim to make both Hajj and Umrah in a single visit. This verse is, therefore, also proof that those performing Hajj without performing Umrah - also known as Hajj Al-Ifrad do not need to make a sacrificial offering. Allah then mentions that those who are unable to afford making a sacrificial offering may, instead, fast for three days during Hajj (the period of time that extends from the moment that ihram for Umrah is made up until the thirteenth day of Zul-Hijjah) and then seven days upon completing Hajj. Fasting these ten days is mandatory2.
1. Tafseer-ul-Jalalayn, 0 2. Tafseer Al-Muyassar, 0

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The rulings mentioned regarding offering a sacrificial animal for those making Hajj At-tamattu, and for those making Hajj Al-Qiran apply only to those who do not live in the vicinity of the Sacred Mosque (i.e. Makkah). This is because the offering, as mentioned, is a form of gratitude for being allowed to perform both Hajj and Umrah in the same trip, a mercy that relieves the pilgrim of the additional effort of having to coming back. Those residing in Makkah are exempt from making the offering, as there is no basis for it in this regard. Allah concludes the verse by telling the Believers to fear Him in all of their affairs, which means to obey Him at all times and to stay away from all He has prohibited. More specifically, such obedience refers to adhering to the commandments of this verse and staying away from all it prohibits. Allah then reminds His servants that He is severe in punishment; for a servants knowledge of Allahs punishment is conducive to piety and to developing the kind of fear that brings about the required submission to Allahs commands. Clearly, anyone who genuinely fears Allah will abstain from disobeying Him, and anyone seeking the reward of Allah will do what is required to attain it. Conversely, those who neither fear Allah nor seek His reward will only show irreverence towards Allahs sanctities and will readily and unashamedly indulge in what He has prohibited.

197. Hajj is to be performed in its known months. And so those making ihram during these months must abstain from sexual relations, sinning and arguing during Hajj; and no matter what good you do, Allah knows of it. And take provision [on your journey to make Pilgrimage]. And, indeed, the best provision is taqwa1. And be fearful of Me, O Men of understanding.
Allah informs the Believers that ihram for Hajj is to be made in certain designated months that were already known to them. The reason they had prior knowledge of these months, is that Hajj was already part of the
1. See verse 2: 2

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Abrahamic faith, and therefore something even pre-Islamic Arabs were already familiar with. These known or recognized months are the months of Shawaal, Zul-Qidah and the first ten days of Zul-Hijjah. Allah goes on to outline what is prohibited during Hajj, and first mentions sexual relations. This includes intercourse and any form of intimacy that might lead to it - whether physical or verbal. Allah then mentions that all forms of sin and arguing are also prohibited during Hajj. Arguing refers to disputes, conflict and any squabbling, all of which are factors that contribute to evil and enmity. Hajj, on the other hand, is meant to evoke feelings of humility, submission and closeness to Allah through obedience and the forsaking of sin. To perform Hajj without falling into the pitfalls mentioned in this verse earns a pilgrim the reward of nothing less than Paradise itself. While sinning, squabbling and disputing are forbidden at all times and all places, they are emphatically prohibited during Hajj. It is important to recognize that closeness to Allah through abstaining from sin is seldom possible until one undertakes what Allah commands. For this reason, Allah says and no matter what good you do, Allah knows of it. Hence, no matter what kind of good a servant does, Allah sees and, hence, rewards for it. This is a tremendous incentive to do as much good as possible, especially in Makkah - the most sacred and honored of all lands. And so while acts of worship such as Prayers, Fasting, charity and all that is praiseworthy in terms of words and actions are strongly encouraged at all times and all places, they are especially encouraged in Makkah. Other acts of worship, such as circumambulating the Kabah, are, of course, specific to Makkah, and are also encouraged. Allah then directs His believing servants to prepare provision for the blessed trip to the Sacred Land, as doing so frees a pilgrim of dependence on others and liberates him/her from asking for help and from desiring what others possess. Taking sufficient provision, hence, brings not only material benefit, but also allows a pilgrim to focus on gaining closeness to Allah. While this form of provision is required to meet ones physical and material requirements, the best provision and that which brings benefit both in this life and in the next is taqwa. Taqwa is indeed a form of provision one takes to the Hereafter, and is a means by which one attains eternal Paradise - the greatest of all pleasures. Conversely, to neglect fortifying oneself with

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taqwa or piety is to cause oneself to become vulnerable to loss, and to being deprived of an eternal and blissful existence. After extolling the virtues of taqwa, Allah goes on to order those of intellect and understanding - and hence those who are more likely to fully comprehend the importance of His commands - to have taqwa and to fear His punishment by showing obedience towards Him in every possible way. The attainment of taqwa is, in fact, the greatest command a person of sound mind might seek to fulfill, while disregard for attaining it is proof of a persons ignorance and weak-mindedness.

198. There will be no blame upon you [Believers] for seeking bounty from your Lord [i.e. by trading during Hajj]. And when you descend from Arafaat, then make dhikr1 of Allah at the Mashar Al-Haram; and make dhikr of Him in gratitude for His guiding you - for before His guidance you were among those who were astray.
Allah states that trading during the months of Hajj is permissible, provided it doesnt cause preoccupation and unconcern for Hajj. A pilgrims profits are therefore lawful, and Allah attributes these profits or bounty to Himself in order to highlight that they are, essentially, an endowment from Him, and not a mere result of ones efforts or shrewdness. While it is important to undertake the lawful means necessary for acquiring wealth (buying, selling, working, etc), it is essential that one not depend on these means by believing that they are themselves the sources of income. Rather, one must depend solely on Allah in all such endeavors and understand wholeheartedly that Allah, alone, is the sole source of all wealth and provision. Indeed, to depend on such material means without understanding that Allah is the true provider of them and without imploring Allah to continue bestowing such blessings is something particularly blameworthy. In continuing to outline the rituals of Hajj, Allah orders that upon descending from Mount Arafaat on the night before the tenth day of Zul-Hijjah, pilgrims are to make dhikr of Allah and supplicate to Him at the Mashar
1. See interpretation of verse 2:152 for a more exhaustive explanation of the word dhikr.

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Al-Haram, commonly referred to as Muzdalifah. Pilgrims are to then pray the Morning Prayers at Muzdalifah and continue to supplicate until the sunlight fills the sky. Dhikr at Muzdalifah includes performing both mandatory and supererogatory Prayers at this location. As with verse 2:196, this verse carries much in the way of proof for a number of rulings regarding Hajj. However, books on jurisprudence detail all such rulings far more elaborately and more comprehensively than might be done here. Allah then orders that pilgrims make dhikr of Him in gratitude for His guiding them to Islam and to eman after they had once wallowed in the darknesses of misguidance, and for teaching them what they knew not before. These are indeed some of the greatest and most important blessings bestowed by Allah upon His believing servants, and are therefore particularly worthy reasons for praising Allah and making dhikr of Him, both with ones heart and tongue.

199. And then descend from whence others before you had descended, and ask Allah for forgiveness. Indeed, Allah is AllForgiving, Especially Merciful.
Pilgrims are then to descend from Muzdalifah, just as pilgrims from the time of Prophet Abraham had done and continued to do. The purpose of this descent was already known to the Arabs and includes: stoning the Jamaraat (three pillars that symbolize the devil and that are stoned on more than one occasion during Hajj), slaughtering the sacrificial animals, circumambulating the Kabah, walking back and forth between the Safa and Marwa mountains (see verse 2:158), and other rituals. Because such rituals, along with the three overnight stays in Mina (the location where the stoning of the Jamaraat takes place) are some of the final acts performed in Hajj, Allah directs His servants to ask His forgiveness upon completing these rituals. The wisdom behind asking for forgiveness at this point is that a servant is bound to exhibit shortcomings while performing what is required of him, and so asking Allahs forgiveness is a means of atoning for such inadequacies. Additionally, it is also important that we praise Allah for guiding and aiding us to completing such a tremendous and infinitely rewarding act of worship. Indeed, it is important to seek Allahs forgiveness and to praise Him upon completing any act of worship, as such achievements are themselves blessings from Allah.

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Those who show such humility and praiseworthy manners towards Allah stand in sharp contrast to those who feel that they have offered their acts of worship perfectly, and feel that it is they who have bestowed a favor upon their Lord. While someone displaying such ingratitude may think that his act of worship has earned him a high rank and gracious reward, the nature of his attitude suggests that he is more worthy of Allahs wrath than mercy and that his worship is hardly worthy of being accepted. Those who strive to seek the forgiveness of their Lord and praise Him for His blessings are, on the other hand, more apt to having their worship accepted and to being guided to more righteous deeds.

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200. And when you complete your rituals, make dhikr of Allah in the same way that you used to extol the virtues of your forefathers, if not more ardently than that. For among mankind are those who say, Our Lord, grant us what we ask for in this life, and for them will be no share in the Hereafter. 201. And among them are those who say, Our Lord, grant us what is good in this life, and what is good in the Hereafter, and protect us against the punishment of Hellfire. 202. To each is a share of what they have earned; and Allah is quick in recompense. 203. And make dhikr of Allah in the appointed days. Those who hasten to leave in two days will not be held blameworthy, and those who wait for three days will not be held blameworthy, provided they show piety. And fear Allah, and know that it is to Him that you will be gathered.

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200. And when you complete your rituals, make dhikr of Allah in the same way that you used to extol the virtues of your forefathers, if not more ardently than that1. For among mankind are those who say, Our Lord, grant us what we ask for in this life, and for them will be no share in the Hereafter.
In addition to directing His servants to praising and extolling Him upon completing their rites, Allah illustrates the degree of praise or dhikr prescribed, and states that a pilgrim should praise Him in the same manner with which pilgrims used to extol the virtues of their forefathers and ancestors before the advent of Islam. During the pre-Islamic era, it is reported that pilgrims would indulge in this extolment upon completing the rites of Hajj and while standing at the last Jamarah2, Allah then goes on to highlight an important difference between two different groups of His servants with regards to what they ask of Him. One group, Allah tells us, merely asks for the pleasures of this life, and that He fulfill their material desires. Such individuals neglect to give the Hereafter its due concern, and hence allow themselves to become indulged in the worldly life and to be led astray by its fleeting pleasures. This group will have no share in the eternal bliss that the Hereafter offers. Allah then says:

201. And among them are those who say, Our Lord, grant us what is good in this life, and what is good in the Hereafter, and protect us against the punishment of Hellfire.
And so those who seek the betterment of both their worldly existence and their existence in the Hereafter are those who sincerely ask Allah to bring them that which is good in this life and that which is good in the Hereafter. Allah responds to each of these groups in accordance with their actions and intentions so that He recompenses some with complete and perfect justice and rewards others with His unparalleled grace, mercy and generosity. For
1. The meaning of this part of the verse is translated as explained in Zubadut-tafaseer, 1 2. Singular of Jamaraat, explained under verse 2:199 . Zubdatut-tafaseer, 1

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this reason Allah says:

202. To each is a share of what they have earned; and Allah is quick in recompense.
This verse serves as proof that Allah answers the prayers and supplications of all His creation, whether Believers, Unbelievers or the sinful. However, unless the answered prayer pertains to the betterment of ones religious affairs or to the betterment of ones existence in the Hereafter, it is not always proof of Allahs love for the supplicant. That which is good in this life includes all that is desirable to a servant, such as wealth that is both abundant and lawful; a righteous wife; children who bring comfort and joy; contentment; knowledge that is beneficial; actions that are virtuous and other such desires that are either commendable or permissible. That which is good in the Hereafter refers to salvation from the punishment of the grave, the torment of Judgment Day and from the eternally agonizing punishment of Hellfire. It also includes attaining Allahs pleasure and acceptance, being close to Him, and the attainment of eternal Paradise. The supplication included in this verse is, thus, one of the most complete and comprehensive prayers one might make, and is therefore more worthy of being frequently repeated than other supplications. Indeed, the Prophet would often repeat these words and stress their importance.

203. And make dhikr of Allah in the appointed days. And those who hasten to leave in two days will not be held blameworthy. Those who wait for three days will not be held blameworthy, provided they show piety. And fear Allah, and know that it is to Him that you will be gathered.
The appointed days referred to here are the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth days of the Month of Zul-Hijjah, commonly referred to as Ayamut-tashreeq. Pilgrims spend this time at Mina, and because these are days of honor and
1. See 2:152 for the meaning of dhikr

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distinction, dhikr of Allah is prescribed all throughout this period. This honor is due to the fact that the remaining rituals of Hajj are performed within these days. Also, because people are regarded as guests of Allah during this period, Fasting is prohibited. The Prophet is authentically reported to have said, The days of tashreeq are days of eating, drinking and making dhikr of Allah. The different forms of dhikr prescribed during these days include the same kind of dhikr made at the stoning of the Jamaraat (second and third occasions), dhikr made while slaughtering sacrificial animals, dhikr specifically prescribed after completing mandatory Prayers and other forms of dhikr. Allah goes on to state that there is neither blame nor any kind of sin on those deciding to spend only two days at Mina (i.e. those who leave before the sun sets on the second day) nor upon those who decide to spend the full three days there. However, to spend all three days at Mina is better as it allows an additional day for worship and because it was the practice of the Prophet . The privilege of choosing between spending two or three days at Mina without any penalties for leaving early is meant for those who fear Allah and show piety throughout Hajj. Indeed, it is they who are the true pilgrims. As a general point, those who show piety and fear Allah in all of their affairs will not be held accountable for shortcomings they may exhibit, no matter how frequently they may exhibit them. Those, however, who fear Allah only at times, and neglect to fear Him at other times (i.e. obey Him at times and neglect to obey at other times) will be dealt with in accordance with their different actions and intentions. Allah then orders His servants to fear His punishment and tells them to know and be certain that they will be gathered to Him on Judgment Day. No doubt, acquiring knowledge of the Day when one will be resurrected and judged for his actions is one of the most effective means of developing a fear of Allah and, hence, conducive to piety and abstention from all forms of evil. Thus, Allah directs His servants to acquire this knowledge for the inestimable benefit that it brings.

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204. And among mankind are those whose speech will please you in this life, and they call Allah to bear witness to what is in their hearts. But they are the most bitter of rivals. 205. And when they turn away from you [O Prophet], they seek to cause corruption on Earth and bring destruction to crops and cattle. And Allah does not like corruption. 206. And if it is said to them, Fear Allah! They refuse arrogantly, persisting in sin. And so Hell will suffice them; and most terrible is this abode. 207. And among mankind are those who sell their own selves seeking the pleasure of Allah. And Allah is most compassionate with His servants.


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204. And among mankind are those whose speech will please you in this life, and they call Allah to bear witness to what is in their hearts. But they are the most bitter of rivals. 205. And when they turn away from you [O Prophet], they seek to cause corruption on Earth and bring destruction to crops and cattle. And Allah does not like corruption. 206. And if it is said to them, Fear Allah! They refuse arrogantly, persisting in sin. And so Hell will suffice them; and most terrible is this abode.
After directing His servants to make as much dhikr of Him as possible especially during seasons where this is particularly recommended - and after highlighting the virtues of dhikr, Allah moves on to describe those who say with their tongues what their hearts belie. Allah states that among mankind are those whose speech will please those who listen to it, for it is ornate with words that seem praiseworthy and beneficial. Whats more, rather than just confine themselves to polished rhetoric, these speakers seek to reinforce their words by calling upon Allah to bear witness that they speak only what lies in their hearts. These individuals are, in fact, liars, as what they say does not corroborate what lies in their hearts at all, but rather contradicts it. This of course, runs contrary to the manners of a Believer, whose heart and tongue corroborate each other in truth. In instances of rivalry or even casual differences, however, what these individuals conceal becomes apparent, as they exhibit appalling manners and become especially resentful, revealing themselves to be the most bitter of rivals. Again, this goes against the praiseworthy manners exhibited by true Believers who are gentle in their dealings with others and always strive to adhere to the truth and show forgiveness towards those who may cause them harm. In continuing to describe such ill-mannered and deceitful individuals, Allah reveals that when they turn away after speaking with the Prophet and after

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outwardly expressing belief in him, they only strive to cause corruption on Earth through sin and the violation of Allahs laws. Consequently, crops, cattle and other blessings are destroyed or ruined as a result of their actions, for Allah deprives His servants of such blessings or depletes them in the presence of such widespread transgression. Because Allah does not like corruption, He, consequently, completely detests those who strive to cause corruption on Earth, no matter how beautiful or pleasing their words may seem. Needless to say, the consequences of being detested by Allah are grave both in this life and in the Hereafter. These verses show that mere words cannot be regarded as proof of a persons honesty or dishonesty, or of a persons righteousness or impiety until they are substantiated with actions. Attempting to judge the integrity of others (as is necessary in choosing witnesses for various contracts and transactions, for instance) must, therefore, be made on the basis of their actions and the realities that provide insights into their character. One must not be misled by a persons self-praise or their ability to distort and misrepresent themselves. Allah goes on to mention another characteristic of such wrongdoers and states that, upon being told to abstain from their evil and to fear Allah, they show only arrogance and resentment towards those who advise them. This arrogance, in turn, only causes them to plunge deeper into transgression. Such flagrant evil and the refusal to respond to appeals to fear Allah ultimately earn these evildoers the punishment of Hell, the most terrible of dwelling places and a fitting abode for the arrogant and sinful. This is the abode of never-abating eternal punishment, perpetual helplessness, hopelessness and endless anguish. Due punishment for the crimes they committed and deeds they did.

207. And among mankind are those who sell their own selves seeking the pleasure of Allah. And Allah is most compassionate with His servants.
In highlighting the difference between the evildoers mentioned in the last few verses and the righteous among mankind, Allah refers to servants that He has blessed with guidance and those who have thus sold their very selves -

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deciding that no price was too great - in seeking Allahs pleasure and reward. Gracious, indeed, is Allah that He should bestow the blessing of guidance upon His righteous servants, so that they may, in turn, attain honor in this life and the greatest of rewards and bounties in the Hereafter.

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208. O You who believe, submit completely to Allah [by obeying all His commands], and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy. 209. And should you stray from the truth after clear signs have come to you, then know that Allah is All-Mighty, AllJudicious. 210. Do they then wait except that Allah should come to them on Judgment Day in the shadows of clouds - and so too will come the angels - and when all matters will have been judged? And to Allah, alone, return all matters for judgment. 211. Ask the Children of Israel how many clear signs We brought them. And whoever trades away the blessing of Allah after being endowed with it - then, indeed, Allah is severe in punishment.

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212. The life of this world is beautified in the eyes of those who disbelieve; and they ridicule those who do believe. But the pious will be above the Unbelievers on the Day of Resurrection; and Allah bestows His favors upon whom He wills, without limitation.


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208. O You who believe, submit completely to Allah [by obeying all His commands], and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy. 209. And should you stray from the truth after clear signs have come to you, then know that Allah is All-Mighty, All-Judicious.
Allah orders His servants to submit to Him completely and to adhere to all Islams rulings without picking and choosing whatever suits their fancies. Indeed, a servant must undertake all that is mandatory and strive - as dilligently as possible - to do all that is righteous and commendable. Even forming a sincere intention to do righteous deeds that might not be feasible at a given time will bring the same reward as actually doing these deeds until they become possible again. This, of course, is only due to Allahs graciousness and mercy. Because it is not possible to adopt all aspects of Islam in all aspects of ones life without resisting the appeals and enticements of Satan, Allah reminds us not to follow the footsteps of Satan. To follow in Satans footsteps is to listen to his calls, obey them and thereby fall into sin and transgression. Again, Allah reminds us that Satan is a clear enemy to us; and a clear enemy is one who only attempts to lead his adversaries to what is evil, profane and harmful. Allah then warns His servants and tells them that if they stray from the truth after clear signs that make the truth obvious have come to them, then they should know that He is All-Mighty, All-Judicious. These clear signs have been interpreted to include the Prophet , the Quran, and Islam in its entirety.1 One might ask how the statement, then know that Allah is All-Mighty, AllJudicious, counts as a warning to those who deliberately stray from the truth. The answer lies in that the attribute, All-Mighty, refers to Allahs absolute power to subjugate and subdue any and all of His creation, which, of course, makes His punishment inescapable. This is more powerful than
1. At-Tabari, vol.2: 112

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to specifically state what the nature of the punishment will be, as it evokes different kinds of fear (such as fear of punishment and fear of the unknown). To illustrate this further, consider the example of a father warning his son and saying, You know that I can punish you if you misbehave.1 In addition to being completely powerful, Allah is also All-Judicious, and therefore only punishes the disobedient with absolute justification and in accordance with His divine wisdom.

210. Do they then wait except that Allah should come to them on Judgment Day in the shadows of clouds - and so too will come the angels - and when all matters will have been judged? And to Allah, alone, return all matters for judgment2.
While phrased as a question, this verse is, in fact, a stern and severe warning to those who ceaselessly strive to cause corruption, continue to follow the footsteps of Satan and show nothing but disregard for the commands of Allah. Rephrased, the verse states: After being granted gracious respite, time after time, in spite of their stubbornness and transgression, these individuals persist in their wrongdoing and, hence, only delay themselves to Judgment Day when Allah will come to them in the shadows of clouds to judge them for their actions. And so the actions of these wrongdoers suggest that they seem only to sit and wait, with complete disregard, for the Day of Judgment, in spite of the terror, severity, and horrible retribution it holds for those who strived to cause corruption. This is a Day when Allah will roll up the heavens and the Earth, when the stars will fall from the sky, and when the sun and moon will no longer shine. This is the Day when the angels descend and encompass Allahs creation, and when Allah will descend in the dark shadows of clouds to judge with complete justice between His servants. This is when the scales that weigh
1. Ar-Raazi, vol. 5: 5 2. The meaning of the last part of the verse is translated in accordance with Imam At-Tabaris interpretation. . Qassimy, vol.: 515

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the deeds of mankind will be laid down, and when the scripts containing all one has said and done will be spread open. This is the Day when the faces of those who are destined for eternal happiness will radiate with light, while the faces of those who are destined for eternal anguish will blacken so that the righteous stand clearly differentiated from the evil. This is the time when everyone will be judged in accordance with their actions, and this is the Day when a wrongdoer will bite his hands in anguish upon realizing the reality of his evil deeds and seeing the horror of what they have earned him. This and other similar verses count as proof for the doctrine of Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jamaaah1 who affirm Allahs voluntary attributes. Such attributes include that He is situated upon His throne, that He descends, that He arrives, and all other attributes that either Allah or His Prophet have relayed to us. Hence, Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jamaaah affirm Allahs attributes in a manner that befits His majesty and magnificence, without attempting to liken Allah to His creation in any way and without attempting to distort the meanings of His attributes in the way stray sects have done. Indeed, in addition to distorting the attributes of Allah and giving them meanings for which there is no evidence or basis, some groups have even gone so far as to reject these attributes altogether. Not only do the beliefs of such sects contradict the clear texts of the Quran and Sunnah, they even go so far as to claim that theirs is the only pathway to guidance. As well as holding no scriptural evidence for their claims, these sects hold no commonsensical or logically acceptable evidence for such stray beliefs either. Indeed, these sects have even admitted that the apparent and straightforward
1. While this term might literally be translated as People of the Sunnah and Congregation, it is better defined as: Those who hold steadfast to the Sunnah of the Prophet , and are united in their adherence to it. The foremost among those who held to this fundamentally important doctrine were the companions of the Prophet , the generation that came after them, the imams of guidance who came after them, and those who followed - and continue to follow - in the footsteps of these righteous predecessors with regards to creed, words and actions until the Day of Judgment. (Tareequl-Hidayah, Sheikh Muhammed Yusry, page 2)

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meanings of the Quran and Sunnah support the doctrine of Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jamaaah. They further admit that it is necessary to change, add to, and take away from the apparent meanings of these texts in order to support their own creeds! Needless to say, this is something that no one with even the least bit of faith would deem acceptable. Also, common sense and sound judgment dictate that one who is capable of a given action is superior to he who is incapable (and so to deny that Allah is capable of a particular action on the sole pretext that humans practice the same action, is to raise Allahs creation above Allah Himself). Common sense also dictates that because Allah is perfect, all His actions - whether they pertain to Himself or to His creation - are also completely perfect. Hence, if these sects were then to claim that affirming the apparent meaning of any of Allahs attributes was tantamount to likening Allah to His creation, we would respond by saying that Allahs attributes only follow from His essence, and that just as Allahs essence is completely unique (something no one denies), His actions are also completely unique and therefore resemble nothing and no-one else. Likewise, the actions and attributes of Allahs creatures follow from their respective essences. To affirm Allahs attributes cannot, therefore, be taken to mean likening Allah to His creation in any way.

211. Ask the Children of Israel how many clear signs We brought them. And whoever trades away the blessing of Allah after being endowed with it - then, indeed, Allah is severe in punishment.
Allah tells His Prophet to ask the Children of Israel regarding the numerous proofs sent to them for the purpose of showing them the truth and establishing beyond doubt the coming of His Prophet and his truthfulness. Allah does not command His Prophet to ask this question for the purpose of receiving an answer, but rather as a form of chastisement and reprimand for their continued unbelief and rejection of clear evidences. Many of the signs brought to the Children of Israel have already been mentioned and include the verses in the Torah that tell of Prophet Muhammeds advent , Moses staff, the parting of the sea, and other signs1.
1. Qassimy, vol. : 522

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Rather than be grateful for the blessing of being shown the truth, the Children of Israel instead became ungrateful. They therefore rejected all such signs, denied Allahs blessings and chose instead to trade these blessings for a meagerly, worldly gain. The term blessing has been interpreted to mean Islam itself1, while other scholars have suggested that it refers to any kind of blessing Allah bestows upon His servants2. To show ingratitude for the blessings of Allah causes these blessings to deteriorate or disappear altogether and, instead, be replaced with the calamities of sin and unbelief. To be grateful for the blessings of Allah, on the other hand, is a means by which Allah preserves them for His servants. Indeed, Allah continues to reward such gratefulness with the bestowment of even more blessings and favors.

212. The life of this world is beautified in the eyes of those who disbelieve, and they ridicule those who do believe. But the pious will be above the Unbelievers on the Day of Resurrection; and Allah bestows His favors upon whom He wills without limitation.
Allah reveals that the worldly life is made to seem beautiful and alluring in the eyes and hearts of those who reject belief in Allah, His signs, His verses and His prophets - just as it is beautified in the eyes of those who refuse to obey His commands. In becoming so mesmerized with this apparent beauty, these individuals become pleased and comfortable with the life of this world, and hence desire only what it has to offer and neglect to strive after the pleasures of the Hereafter. Moreover, just as they dedicate themselves to attaining this worlds fleeting pleasures, they also hold in esteem those who agree with their ways and actions and those who share the desire to gorge themselves with what little material pleasures this life offers. Conversely, such individuals only ridicule the Believers and hold them in contempt, spitefully uttering such condescending remarks as, Is it these that Allah has favored among us?! (6:5)

1. At-Tafseer al Muyasar,  2. Tafseer Ash-Shawkaani, 17

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This attitude is a result of their weak-mindedness and short-sightedness, as this life only serves as a test where hardships afflict both those of faith and those who reject faith. When, on the other hand, Believers are afflicted with trials and tribulations, Allah allows their faith, patience and conviction to become a source of comfort for them. The faithful also take comfort in the fact that they will be rewarded for their suffering by Allah; while Unbelievers can only expect more suffering for their continued rejection of faith. Far from the temporality of this life and the superficial, ostensible accolades one might achieve for chasing it, real ranking and real superiority is what is attained in the ever-lasting Hereafter. For this reason, Allah says, But the pious will be above the Unbelievers on the Day of Resurrection. Hence, the pious are those who will rest lavishly at the highest levels of Paradise, savor its different pleasures and experience unending happiness and delight in all that Allah has rewarded them with. In dismal, dreadful contrast to this blissful existence, the Unbelievers will be sent to and tortured in the deepest and lowest levels of Hell, as well as tormented with different forms of agonizing and humiliating punishment an abysmal existence that will neither end nor even be alleviated. This verse is therefore a source of hope and patience for Believers, while at the same time being a morbid announcement of imminent misery and anguish for those who choose to reject faith. Because Allahs favors and blessings (whether those that bring the fruits of this life, or those that bring the rewards of the Hereafter) can only be attained by His will and decree, Allah says and Allah bestows His favors upon whom He wills without limitation.. Hence, while worldly blessings and mercies are attainable and, indeed, bestowed by Allah upon both Believers and Unbelievers, blessings of the heart such as knowledge (religious), faith, the love and fear of Allah, faith in His mercy and other manifestations of Allahs grace are only given by Allah to those whom He loves.

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213. Mankind was once but one nation [but then they differed]. And so Allah sent prophets as heralds of glad tidings and as admonishers; and sent down to them the scriptures with the truth so that they may judge between people concerning what they differed upon. And none did differ regarding the truth except those who had received the scriptures; and they only disagreed out of spiteful envy and transgression against one another, even after clear signs had come to them. And so Allah, by His grace, guided the Believers to the truth that others had differed concerning. And Allah guides whom He wills to a Straight Path.

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213. Mankind was once but one nation [but then they differed]. And so Allah sent prophets as heralds of glad tidings and as admonishers; and sent down to them the scriptures with the truth so that they may judge between people concerning what they differed upon. And none did differ regarding the truth except those who had received the scriptures; and they only differed out of spiteful envy and transgression against one another, even after clear signs had come to them1. And so Allah, by His grace, guided the Believers to the truth that others had differed concerning. And Allah guides whom He wills to a Straight Path.
Allah reveals that all of mankind was once upon guidance in their worship of Allah, alone, but that after a time people differed and became divided into Believers and Unbelievers. There are different opinions regarding the time within which all of mankind was but one nation, and many scholars, including Sheikh Saadi, hold that it refers to the period lasting ten generations after the time Prophet Noah and his followers were saved on the arc. Others contend that it was the period spanning between Prophet Adam and Prophet Noah . Allah then sent His prophets to judge between those who were in dispute so that the truth might be made clear once again and so that no-one would be left with any justification for continuing upon the path of misguidance. These prophets brought Allahs believing servants the glad tidings of prosperity and strength of both heart and body in this life, and of Paradise and the ever-lasting mercy of Allah in the Hereafter. To those who refused to believe, however, Allahs prophets brought warnings of the evil consequences of unbelief. Such evils include deprivation, weakness of heart and body, humiliation, and Allahs wrath and excruciating torment in the Fire of Hell. Allah goes on to state that, with His prophets, He revealed scriptures
1. Translated in accordance with Tafseer-At-Tabari, vol. 2:115



with the truth regarding past, present and future events. The truth also refers to what is just, and therefore refers to the laws and commands that Allah revealed for His servants to follow and adhere to. Hence, all Allahs scriptures contained the truth pertaining to all matters and were a means of judging and settling differences on issues that were both fundamental and secondary. Referring back to the Quran and Sunnah in instances of dispute or disagreement is, of course, the correct and necessary course of action, as is mentioned in Suratu-Nisaa (:59). Had the information required for settling such disagreements not been present in these texts, Allah would not have ordered us to refer back to them and would have, instead, guided us elsewhere. After mentioning His grace and mercy in bestowing scriptures upon the Jews and Christians, and after stating that the reason behind the revelation of these scriptures was guidance to the truth, Allah reveals that it was precisely these people who differed and disagreed upon what was meant to bring them together. Allah further mentions that the People of the Scriptures only disagreed out of spite and hatred for one another, and not out of ignorance or misunderstanding. Disputes and conflicts thus raged among them so that they strayed far from the truth, in spite of the clear signs they saw and understood. In contrast to the dismal route chosen by the Unbelievers, Allah guided the Believers and led them to the truth in all the matters that the People of the Scriptures had disagreed upon - another blessing clearly indicative of Allahs grace and mercy. Allahs justice, therefore, dictates that all of His creation be called to the straight path of guidance so that the truth be known and so that no one be left with any kind of defense for straying from it. Allahs graciousness and mercy are manifested in the guidance He bestows upon His believing servants, while His justice and wisdom are demonstrated in the manner he makes the truth clear and known to all His creatures.



214. Or do you suppose that you will enter Paradise without being afflicted with what nations before you were afflicted with? They were tried with destitution and sickness and were so taken with fear, that even prophets and their followers would say, When will the deliverance of Allah come? Indeed, the deliverance of Allah is near. 215. They [the Believers] ask you [O Prophet] regarding what they should spend in the cause of Allah. Say, Whatever wealth you spend is for your parents, your next of kin, orphans, the poor and the wayfarer. And no matter what good you do Allah is, indeed, AllKnowing of it.

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214. Or do you [Believers] suppose that you will enter Paradise without being afflicted with what nations before you were afflicted with? They were tried with destitution and sickness and were so taken with fear, that even prophets and their followers would say, When will the deliverance of Allah come? Indeed, the deliverance of Allah is near.
Allah reveals that trials and tribulations are inevitable, and that His servants will always be tested with both prosperity and hardship - just as nations before them were tested by similar means. Such trials are among Allahs neverchanging ways and a divine tradition that is irreplaceable. Anyone living by Allahs religion and laws must be tested so that the sincerity of those who remain patient and perseverant and do not allow themselves to be impeded by the obstacles that lie on the path to Allah is recognized. These are the servants who attain the utmost levels of happiness and it is they who are blessed with the substance that makes imams and leading examples for nations to follow. Those, on the other hand, who withdraw, retreat and give up upon experiencing harm, and those who erroneously perceive the harm inflicted upon them at the hands of Allahs creation as equal to the punishment of Allah Himself, are those whose faith is insincere or, at best, superficial. Faith was never something that could be claimed easily or comfortably through mere words and wishes; rather, it is actions that either substantiate ones claims or belie them. In affirming this, Allah mentions that past nations were tried with destitution and sickness and with different forms of fear and trepidation that included threats of death, the confiscation of property, exile, the killing of loved ones and other kinds of torment. The degrees of such hardship would at times be so severe that even prophets and their followers would say, When will the deliverance of Allah come?. Regarding this verse, Az-Zamakhshari explains that this degree of severity is a sign that their plight was as dire as could possibly be, for prophets are unparalleled in their perseverance and self-control. To come so close to running out of patience in the face of such trying circumstances, therefore,

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indicates a scale of anguish and suffering that cannot be more testing1. Because, however, with every difficulty comes ease, and because just as a situation becomes more difficult, it is destined to become easier, Allah reassures those who endure for His sake and says, Indeed, the deliverance of Allah is near. The path of trials and tribulations is, therefore, the road that upholders of the truth must walk. Indeed, with patience and perseverance, drawbacks turn into grants, hardship turns into relief, and victory over adversaries is attained. Other verses that establish the necessity of trials include, Or did you suppose that you would enter Paradise without Allah setting apart those who made Jihad and were patient from the rest of you? (:12), and the verse, Alif Laam Meem. Do people suppose that they might be left to say, We believe, without being tested? For, indeed, We tested those who came before them. And Allah will surely make known those who are sincere, and Allah will surely make known those who lie.2 (29:1-).

215. They [the Believers] ask you [O Prophet] regarding what they should spend in the cause of Allah. Say, Whatever wealth you spend is for your parents, your next of kin, orphans, the poor and the wayfarer. And no matter what good you do Allah is, indeed, All-Knowing of it.
Allah mentions that the Believers asked the Prophet to tell them how much of their wealth they should spend in the cause of Allah, and who they should spend it on. Allah tells His Messengger to respond by telling them that whatever wealth they spend - no matter how much or how little - is first and foremost for ones parents. Clearly, ones parents are the most deserving of ones care, concern and benevolence; and showing kindness to them is
1. Az-Zamakhshari, 126 2. Translated in accordance with Tafseer At-Tabari, vol. 8: 650 . The answer to how much they should spend will be detailed under verse 2:219

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something the Quran stresses in several instances. Clearly, compassion towards ones parents is one of the most honorable and praiseworthy acts of worship an individual might undertake, just as being unkind or cruel to them is a grievous and major sin. Consequently, because spending on ones parents (when they are need, and when one is able to afford it) is a form of kindness towards them, and because neglecting to spend on them is a form of unkindness, they are given priority over anyone else with regards to monetary assistance. Next in terms of priority are ones next of kin, and priority in this case is determined both by the degree of kinship and the extent of a recipients need. Providing ones kin with financial assistance is a form of upholding ties of kinship, which, itself, is a particularly honorable act of worship and a highly praiseworthy form of charity. Allah then mentions orphans as the next most eligible recipients for charity. As mentioned under verse 2:177, orphans are the young who have no one to spend on them, and are, therefore, very often in need of assistance. The poor are those who are unable to obtain even the most basic necessities. And so the more affluent among the Believers are required to spend on the poor so that they might meet their needs and so that they do not have to ask others for assistance. The eligibility of wayfarers for charity and the wisdom behind this eligibility has been detailed under verse 2:177. After specifying the above categories as primary recipients of charity, Allah then informs His servants that no matter what they spend in His cause and no matter what good they do, their actions will be recorded and rewarded. This is because Allah is All-Knowing and therefore aware of His servants intentions. He is also aware of how much or how little of their wealth they give and is equally aware of their needs at the time they give, and of how much benefit they bring through giving.

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216. Fighting in the cause of Allah has been ordained upon you, though it is something you resent. But it might be that you resent something that is beneficial for you, and it might be that you love something that is detrimental to you. And Allah knows, and you know not. 217. They [the Pagans] question you [O Prophet] regarding the permissibility of fighting during the sacred months. Say, Fighting during these months is a major sin. But obstructing the path to Allah, unbelief in Him, preventing access to the Sacred Mosque, and the banishment of its rightful inhabitants from it are even greater sins to Allah. And the evil of polytheism is greater than killing.


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And they [the Unbelievers] will continue to fight you [Believers] until they turn you away from your religion - if they are able to. And whoever should turn away from his religion and die an Unbeliever, it is they whose deeds will be rendered in vain in this life and in the Hereafter. And it is they who are the dwellers of HellFire; in it they shall abide forever. 218. Indeed, those who believe, those who migrated and those who made Jihad in the cause of Allah - it is they who earnestly seek the mercy of Allah. And Allah is AllForgiving, All-Merciful.

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216. Fighting in the cause of Allah has been ordained upon you, though it is something you resent. But it might be that you resent something that is beneficial for you, and it might be that you love something that is detrimental to you. And Allah knows, and you know not.
This verse was revealed to make fighting in the cause of Allah mandatory after it had been prohibited during the Makkan period when the Believers were still too weak to fight1. Upon moving to Madinah, however, Allah commanded them with this duty and made known to them that He knew it was something they disliked. This, of course, is a common aversion and is due to the physical and mental exertion fighting requires, and the dangers and threats it typically presents. In spite of these realities, Allah states that Jihad is completely and utterly beneficial for the tremendous reward it brings, the punishment it repels, the victories and spoils it grants, and other worthy benefits. Allah then tells the Believers that it is quite possible that they resent something that is beneficial, and love what is detrimental. Examples of this include forsaking Jihad for the love of comfort or relaxation when such comfort may, in fact, provide enemies with the opportunity to attack Muslim lands. In a situation like this, the consequences of choosing what is apparently comforting are clearly detrimental, if not fatal. Moreover, the reward lost for not participating in Jihad is also a cause for lament and grief. The underlying principle in this verse is that righteous actions that are resented for the effort they require or for the danger they present are, without doubt, beneficial, if not vital. Conversely, sinful actions that carry an appeal due to the temporary pleasure or apparent comfort they bring are always harmful and detrimental. This principle pertains more to actions that have a direct bearing on ones religious conviction or to actions that might be classified as either permissible or prohibited. As for the arbitrary wants and desires of this life, however, the above principle doesnt necessarily apply, as to desire something (provided it is lawful) does
1. See also 2: 190

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not necessarily indicate that it is harmful and vice versa. It is, however, more appropriate for a Believer who has been denied something he sought after to thank Allah in any case and to genuinely believe that Allah has chosen what is better for Him. Indeed, a believing servant knows that Allah is more merciful with His servants that they are with themselves, and that Allah is infinitely more capable and more knowledgeable of what will bring benefit to His creation. For all of these reasons, Allah says And Allah knows, and you know not. To accept Allahs decrees is, therefore, always more befitting of a Believer, regardless of whether these decrees bring us joy and comfort or sadness and pain.

217. They [the Pagans] question you [O Prophet] regarding the permissibility of fighting during the sacred months. Say, Fighting during these months is a major sin. But obstructing the path to Allah, unbelief in Him, preventing access to the Sacred Mosque, and the banishment of its rightful inhabitants from it are even greater sins to Allah. And the evil of polytheism is greater than killing. And they [the Unbelievers] will continue to fight you [Believers] until they turn you away from your religion - if they are able to. And whoever should turn away from his religion and die an Unbeliever, it is they whose deeds will be rendered in vain in this life and in the Hereafter. And it is they who are the dwellers of HellFire; in it they shall abide forever.
Because, from the previous verse, it mightve been perceived that it was acceptable to wage Jihad at any time - including the sacred months - Allah begins this verse by stating that fighting during these months is prohibited. Still, the majority of scholars are of the opinion that this verse was abrogated by the general command to fight Unbelievers wherever theyre found. Others maintain that it has not been abrogated and that, rather, this verse qualifies the command to fight by prohibiting it during the sacred months. They go on to

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argue that the prohibition on fighting is one of the primary privileges (if not the primary privilege) of the sacred months, except that it is offensive Jihad and not defensive Jihad that is prohibited. This verse is said to have been revealed in connection with an incident where a companion of the Prophet killed a Pagan Arab during the month of Rajab - one of the four sacred months. The Pagans then rebuked the Believers for aggression during a sacred month, which, coming from the Pagans, was preposterous given the gravity of the crimes they were guilty of. Hence, after affirming that killing or battling during the sacred months was, indeed, a major sin, Allah goes on to rebuke the shamelessness with which the Pagans accused the Believers of killing and lists some of the offenses perpetrated by the Pagans themselves. Such crimes included: - Preventing people from embracing Islam as well as attempting to force Muslims back into unbelief - The rejection of Islam in spite of being certain that it was the truth, and in spite of seeing clear and unequivocal signs establishing it as the truth - Denying the Believers access to the Sacred Mosque and exiling the Prophet and his companions from Makkah in spite of the fact that, as Believers and residents, they were far more entitled to the Sacred Mosque than were the Pagans Any one of these sins was greater than killing during a sacred month, and so to be guilty of all these crimes at the same time (and to have committed them all within the sanctity of the Sacred Mosque) clearly left the Pagans no grounds for such a barefaced accusation. Allah thus declares paganism (or polytheism) - the root cause of all the crimes the Arab Pagans were guilty of - to be a greater sin than killing, even in a sacred month. Allah then cautions the Believers and tells them that the Pagans will continue to fight them, not for the purpose of merely killing them or taking their wealth and property, but for the sake of turning them away from Islam. Here lies clearly defined the ultimate goal behind the Unbelievers continued persecution of Muslims in every place and time.



Aside from killing and widespread millitary campaigns, for centuries, Jews and Christians have continued to establish organizations, dispatch preachers and doctors and even build schools with the intention of indoctrinating Muslims with their teachings and sowing the seeds of doubt in the hearts of Believers all across the Muslim world. Whether overt or inconspicuous, these efforts are made for no reason other than to turn Muslims away from their religion. In Surat-ul-Anfaal, Allah says, Indeed, those who disbelieve spend their wealth to obstruct the path of Allah, and they will continue to spend it. But it [their spending] will turn into remorse, and then they will be defeated. And the Unbelievers will be gathered together in Hell. (8:6)1. This verse, of course, is as applicable to todays Unbelievers as it was to those who lived at the time of the Prophet . We, therefore, ask Allah - who has blessed us with this great religion and perfected it for us - to protect Islam, to disgrace all those who seek to extinguish its light and to make His religion victorious and allow it to prevail. Allah ends the verse by warning the Believers that if they allow the enemies of Islam to turn them away from their religion, and if they then die as Unbelievers, they will have whatever good deeds they earned nullified and rendered worthless both in this life and in the Hereafter. These apostates will then be thrown into Hell, wherein they will abide forever.

218. Indeed, those who believe, those who migrated and those who made Jihad in the cause of Allah - it is they who earnestly seek the mercy of Allah. And Allah is All-Forgiving, All-Merciful.
The three deeds (faith, migration and Jihad) listed in this verse are, together, the key to happiness in this life and in the Hereafter, and serve as a measure by which a persons real worth might be determined. The value of belief or
1. The meaning of this verse is particularly difficult to articulate in English in any concise manner, but , Allah willing, we will expound on its meanings more effectively in Surat-ul-Anfaal.



faith is inestimable, for how could one even begin to estimate the value of something that is the sole differentiator between the inhabitants of eternal Hell and the dwellers of eternal Paradise? From a believing servant, all righteous acts are acceptable to Allah, while the actions of an unbelieving servant - no matter how large or small - are void and unacceptable. Migration, as pertains to Islam, is to leave behind that which one loves and has become attached to with the intention of seeking Allahs pleasure and acceptance. An emigrant is, therefore, someone who leaves his homeland, his family and his wealth for the sake of attaining closeness to Allah, and for the purpose of upholding and propagating His religion. Jihad is to exert ones effort to strike at the enemies of Islam and to strive as much as possible to protect and propagate Allahs religion while subduing and crushing the religion of Satan1. Jihad is at the pinnacle of all righteous deeds and brings the greatest rewards. It is also the primary means by which Islam is made prevalent, and by which enemy endeavors are thwarted so that the safety of Muslims, their children and their is wealth ensured. Those who undertake these three deeds, in spite of the inevitable difficulties they entail, are likely to take on other less-demanding deeds even more thoroughly and more painstakingly. It is only appropriate, therefore, that those who perform such glorious acts of virtue and righteousness be lauded as those who sincerely seek and are, therefore, entitled to Allahs unparalleled and unbounded mercy. This is not least because they are credited with the very actions Allah uses to grant His servants this mercy. This verse is important proof for the fact that Allahs mercy is only to be sought through undertaking the conditions or deeds required to attain it. Conversely, the kind of listless hopefulness that commonly comes devoid of righteous deeds usually indicates a lack of commitment and even a lack of intellect. Individuals who exhibit such disinclination and laziness resemble those who seek to grow crops and, yet, neglect to plant seeds or water the
1. Any false religion might be regarded as the religion of Satan, as it calls away from the worship of Allah, and to the worship of false deities.

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soil. Rather than state that those who practice such good deeds are those who attain the mercy of Allah, Allah, instead, says that it is they who earnestly seek the mercy of Allah. This indicates the importance of not relying on ones deeds as the sole means of attaining Allahs mercy, no matter how many or how virtuous they might be. Instead, one must seek and hope for Allahs mercy with sincerity, and pray that Allah accept ones deeds, forgive ones sins and conceal ones faults before others. Allah tells us that He is All-Forgiving towards those who sincerely repent and that He is All-Merciful in that His mercy and grace shelter and encompass everything. This verse also shows that those who practice good deeds are those who attain Allahs forgiveness - as good deeds serve to wipe out bad deeds. Aside from Allahs general and all-encompassing mercy, righteous servants also attain Allahs special mercy. And so while Allahs forgiveness protects a servant against due punishment for sins, Allahs mercy is what brings every form of good, both in this life and in the Hereafter. In fact, the deeds mentioned in this verse (belief, migration, jihad) are, themselves, a manifestation of Allahs mercy, for had He not mercifully guided His servants to such righteous deeds, they would not have even sought to undertake them to begin with. Certainly, all praise is due to Allah at the beginning and at the end of all affairs; it is He who has blessed us by providing the means of attaining His mercy and it is He who has guided us to these means.

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219. They [the Believers] ask you [O Prophet] regarding the permissibility of alcohol and gambling. Say, In them there is great sin, but also benefit for mankind. And the sin of them outweighs their benefit. And they ask you how much they should spend in the cause of Allah. Say, Spend what you are able to spare. Such is the manner by which Allah shows you His signs so that you may perhaps contemplate220. this life and the Hereafter. 220. [cont.]...And they ask you regarding orphans. Say, To set aright their affairs is best; but if you mix your affairs with theirs, then this is acceptable as they are your brothers. And Allah knows those who seek to do wrong from those who seek to set aright. And if Allah had so wanted, He would have caused you difficulty. Indeed, Allah is All-Powerful, All-Wise.

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221. And do not marry Pagan women unless they become Muslims, for a Muslim slave girl is better than a free Pagan woman, even if the latter pleases you. And give not your women in marriage to Pagan men unless they accept Islam, for a Muslim slave is better than a Pagan freeman, even if the latter pleases you. They [the Pagans] call you to Hell-Fire, while Allah calls to Paradise and to forgiveness by His grace; and He makes clear His signs to mankind so that they may perhaps be mindful.

222. They [the Believers] ask you [O Prophet] regarding menstruation. Say, It is harmful, and so abstain from [sexual intercourse with] your women while they are menstruating, and do not come near them [i.e. near their genitalia] until they are purified. But when they purify themselves, then have intercourse with them in the manner that Allah has ordained for you. Indeed, Allah loves those who continually repent and those who purify themselves.

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219. They [the Believers] ask you [O Prophet] regarding the permissibility of alcohol1 and gambling. Say, In them there is great sin, but also benefit for mankind. And the sin of them outweighs their benefit. And they ask you how much they should spend in the cause of Allah. Say, Spend what you are able to spare. Such is the manner by which Allah shows you His signs so that you may perhaps contemplate 220. this life and the Hereafter...
Because alcohol consumption and gambling were existent both before and during the first stages of Islam and because some of the companions were no longer sure of their permissibility, they asked the Prophet regarding their respective rulings. As a precursor to the prohibition of both these practices, Allah ordered His Prophet to clarify that they bring both harm and benefit, and that the harm they bring outweighs their benefit. It is important to note that when this verse was revealed the term, great sin did not mean that consuming alcohol or practicing gambling was sinful as they had not yet been prohibited. Rather, it meant that they led to major and grievous sins and to the detriment of those who indulged in them. Consequences of alcohol consumption (and the intake of any intoxicants), for instance, include intoxication, dulled senses, and squandered money. Worse still, alcohol prevents a servant from making dhikr of Allah and from properly establishing Prayers. It also cultivates animosity between people, as can very frequently be seen. All such negative consequences far outweigh any apparent benefits like profit through the trade of alcohol, the temporary pleasure of consuming it and any relatively minor medical benefits alcohol might bring. Likewise, winning money through gambling and whatever short-lived excitement that might bring hardly balances the loss of money (often exacerbated by addiction), enmity and other harmful results that this destructive practice is known to cause. Because a sound mind is one that is inclined towards what is more beneficial
1. The Arabic word is khamr and incluides all intoxicants that dull the senses as will be explained.

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than harmful, and away from what holds more evil than good, this verse served to begin drawing the Believers away from these two vices by sowing the seeds of aversion in their hearts. Because drinking and gambling were so prevalent in pre-Islamic Arabia and because ordering the Believers to forsake these habits in any immediate manner wouldve been overburdening to some, Allah readied the Believers with this verse until He revealed the verse: O You who believe, alcohol (intoxicants), gambling, idols erected for worship, and lots (used to decide fate) are but the filth of Satans deeds, and so stay away from them so that you might perhaps prosper. Satan only seeks to sow enmity between you through alcohol and gambling, and to obstruct you from the dhikr of Allah and from Prayers. And so will you not then abstain [from these practices]? (5:90-91). When these verses were later revealed, alcohol consumption and gambling became completely prohibited - another manifestation of Allahs mercy and kindness towards His servants. From a juridical (and even linguistic) standpoint, the word khamr, translated here as alcohol, includes all that intoxicates or dulls the senses. The term maysir, translated here as, gambling, is also broader in meaning than its English counterpart1. With regards to the inquiry on how much they should spend in the cause of Allah, the Prophet is told to respond and explain that the Believers are to spend of whatever might be in excess of their basic needs. This amount will, of course, differ from the rich to the poor, but each individual should strive earnestly to spend of what is in excess of his needs, no matter how small this amount might be. Indeed, to give even half a date in charity is acceptable to Allah and rewarded by Him. Hence, Allah only directs His Prophet to take what the Believers can afford, and does not burden them with anything more than that. Completely independent of His creation, Allah takes nothing from His servants out of need or with any desire to bring them hardship. Instead, Allahs commands
1. A more comprehensive understanding of the rulings on these matters is better taken from books of Islamic jurisprudence. Several such books have been translated into English, all praise be to Allah.

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only bring His servants happiness and prosperity and make their lives easier and not more difficult. Truly, all praise is due to Allah for all He has ordained and all He has guided us to. Upon having clarified these rulings, Allah tells us that He elucidates His signs, verses and decrees so that we may contemplate them and appreciate His wisdom in legislating all that brings us benefit in this life and the Hereafter. Contemplating Allahs signs also allows us to weigh the temporariness of this life against the everlastingness of the Hereafter. By doing this, we might avoid becoming immersed in the affairs of the former and, instead, become more focused on attaining the endless happiness of the latter.

220. ...And they ask you regarding orphans. Say, To set aright their affairs is best; but if you mix your affairs with theirs, then this is acceptable as they are your brothers. And Allah knows those who seek to do wrong from those who seek to set aright. And if Allah had so wanted, He would have caused you difficulty. Indeed, Allah is All-Powerful, All-Wise.
Previous to the revelation of this verse, Allah had revealed the verse, Indeed, those who consume the wealth of orphans unjustly only consume fire into their bellies; and they will come to burn in a scorching Fire. (:10). This verse (:10) caused Believers who were taking care of orphans some concern as they had become accustomed to buying whatever food was approximately necessary for their orphans from the orphans wealth; they would then add to it food they had bought for their own families from their own wealth. In this manner, everyone ate together, but it was always possible that an orphan would consume a little more or a little less than the exact amount he/she was due. Because, at a practical level, completely separating the food of orphans under their care from their own food was at times difficult to ensure, the Believers worried that they might be susceptible to punishment for unintentionally taking what they were not entitled to, even if it was a small amount. Hence, in response to their inquiry on how to handle the wealth of orphans

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under their care, Allah explains that the point of the ruling is that the Believers set aright their [the orphans] affairs or seek to do what is most beneficial for them. This includes such things as protecting and maintaining an orphans wealth against wrongful consumption, and seeking to develop it through trade, etc. Allah also makes clear that it is permissible to mix ones wealth (whether food or other items) with that of orphans under ones care, provided that does not bring them detriment. This is because orphans are the Muslim brothers or sisters of those who care for them, and it is appropriate that brothers and sisters share their wealth justly and fairly. Because the sincerity of ones intentions and validity of ones actions are what distinguish between wrongfully and lawfully handling an orphans wealth, Allah warns that He is capable of discerning between those who seek to do harm and those who seek to set aright. Those who sincerely seek to protect, maintain and develop an orphans wealth are, therefore, forgiven for mistakes leading to wrongful consumption, as Allah knows that they mean well. Those, however, who seek to mix the wealth and property of an orphan with their own wealth for the purpose of taking what they have no right to are sinners whom Allah has threatened to burn in the scorching Fire of Hell. Within this verse lies proof for the permissibility of some forms of mixing wealth. It is, therefore, permissible, for instance, for a group of people travelling together to combine their money and buy their needs collectively. Unevenness in terms of consumption in such circumstances is inevitable, as not everyone is alike with regards to how much they eat or drink, and so rulings such as these bring reassurance to those of sincere intention who might worry about unintentionally consuming what is not theirs. Clearly, such an alleviation is an example of Allahs mercy; and Allah reminds His servants that if He had so wished, He would have caused them difficulty in this and other matters. Such difficulty mightve taken the form of making the rulings more stringent, which would have left the Believers more prone to sin and, hence, punishment. This, however, is not the custom of Allah with His servants, and while Allah is All-Powerful and capable of all things, He is also All-Wise, and hence only does what runs in accordance with His divine wisdom and care. It is, therefore, not appropriate to say that

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Allah does what He wishes regardless of whether or not it conforms to His wisdom. Instead, it should be said that all Allahs actions and rulings completely conform to His wisdom, and that He does nothing frivolously. The same applies to all Allahs rulings, for He only commands us with what is either completely or mostly beneficial, just as He only prohibits what is completely or mostly harmful.

221. And do not marry Pagan1 women unless they become Muslims, for a Muslim slave girl is better than a free Pagan woman, even if the latter pleases you. And give not your women in marriage to Pagan men unless they become Muslims, for a Muslim slave is better than a Pagan freeman, even if the latter pleases you. They [the Pagans] call you to Hellfire, while Allah calls to Paradise and to forgiveness by His grace; and He makes clear His signs to mankind so that they may perhaps be mindful.
Allah prohibits Muslim men from marrying non-Muslim women, but makes the exception to this rule in Surat-ul-Maidah where He states that Muslim men are allowed to marry Jewish and Christian women - provided they are chaste. The permissibility of marrying Jews and Christians exists only for Muslim men. Muslim women, however, are only permitted to marry Muslim men. Allah then goes on to explain the wisdom behind the prohibition and mentions that the words, actions and general dispositions of Unbelievers are such that they call or invite to Hellfire. This verse also indicates that mixing with Unbelievers and people of innovation without any due cause is also unacceptable for the same reasons, especially if the Unbeliever has the upper
1. It is important to note that, at a legislative level, the terms, mushrikaat and mushrikeen (translated here as Pagan women and Pagan men respectively) refer to more than just pagans in the sense understood to most English readers. A pagan or polytheist is, quite simply, someone who is not a Muslim, as to attribute anything that is from Allah or due to Allah to anyone other than Allah is inherently polytheistic. Additionally, to attribute to Allahs creation anything that is exclusive to Allah, or to ascribe attributes of Allahs creation to Allah, are also forms of polytheism. These, as already mentioned, are particularly important points in understanding the true meaning of tawheed.

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hand (as in the case of an Unbelieving master who owns a Muslim slave, for instance). While Pagans and Unbelievers only call to what is evil and detrimental, Allah calls to Paradise and to His forgiveness. This means that Allah calls His servants to practicing all that earns these gracious blessings; and this includes righteous deeds, repentance and the attainment of beneficial knowledge. By highlighting and explaining His signs - which in verses such as this refers to His rulings and ordinances - Allah allows His servants to be mindful of such rulings. This, in turn, allows the Believers to recall what rulings they may have forgotten and to learn what they did not know so that they may adhere to Allahs laws and return to what they mayve neglected to follow.

222. They [the Believers] ask you [O Prophet] regarding menstruation. Say, It is harmful, and so abstain from [sexual intercourse with] your women while they are menstruating, and do not come near them [i.e. near their genitalia] until they are purified. But when they purify themselves, then have intercourse with them in the manner that Allah has ordained for you. Indeed, Allah loves those who continually repent and those who purify themselves.
Upon noticing that the Jews would completely avoid menstruating women - even to the point that they would not eat or mix with them in their homes - the companions asked the Prophet to clarify the rulings on menstruation for them. Allah directs His Messenger to respond and tell the Believers that intercourse during menstruation is harmful, and that they were to abstain from having intercourse with their women during menses. While the impermissibility of sexual intercourse with menstruating women is something that is agreed upon by scholars, this verse provides proof that intimacy that does not include intercourse is lawful, provided that does not include coming near a womans genitalia. Proof for this ruling is also derived from the actions of the Prophet himself. Allah qualifies the prohibition on intercourse by stating that it holds only until

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a menstruating woman is purified of her menses. Purification requires that the ceases and that the woman perform ghusl, or major ablution, by washing her entire body as prescribed in Islam. After a woman purifies herself, intercourse becomes permissible again, provided it is vaginal and not anal, as anal intercourse is strictly prohibited in Islam at all times and is not the manner that Allah has ordained for His servants. Allah reminds His servants that He loves those who continually turn to Him in repentance and strive to obey Him, just as He loves those who seek to purify themselves of all that is impure, whether physical or spiritual1.

1. Spiritual impurity includes such things as sin and ill manners, etc.

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223. Your women are a tillage for you. And so approach your tillage in the manner that you wish. And present yourselves with what is righteous, and fear Allah, and know that unto Him you will return. And give glad tidings to the Believers. 224. And do not let oaths you have made with Allah prevent you from doing what is good or from abstaining from evil, or from reconciling between people. And Allah is AllHearing, All-Knowing.

225. Allah does not hold you accountable for unintentional vows, but He holds you accountable for what you have intended with your hearts. And Allah is All-Forgiving, EverForbearing. 226. For those who have made an oath not to have sexual intercourse with their women, a maximum waiting period of four months is prescribed. If they return to their wives [before the end of this period], then, indeed, Allah is AllForgiving, All-Merciful.

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227. But if they are determined to divorce, then, indeed Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. 228. Divorced women are to wait three menstrual periods [before marrying again]. And it is not lawful for them to withhold information pertaining to what Allah has created in their wombs, if they, indeed, believe in Allah and the Last Day. And their husbands have the better right to take them back within this period [three menstrual cycles], provided they seek reconciliation in doing so. Rights due to wives are similar to the obligations due of them, as dictated by custom. But their husbands are due a degree [of rights and responsibilities] more. And Allah is All-Powerful, All-Wise.


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223. Your women are a tillage for you. And so approach your tillage in the manner that you wish. And present yourselves with what is righteous, and fear Allah, and know that unto Him you will return. And give glad tidings to the Believers.
Allah reminds the Believers that their women are a means of having children, which, itself, is a particularly noble and important objective of marriage. Further, provided they practice vaginal intercourse, men may approach their women as they please. Along with the Prophetic reports that explicitly and sternly prohibit anal intercourse, the words approach your tillage in the manner that you wish provide additional proof for the prohibition, as anal intercourse is not a means of reproduction. Allah also reminds His servants to seek His reward in all their actions, including sexual relations with their women. To seek Allahs reward in this sense is to form the intention to have children that will, Allah willing, be of benefit to Islam. It also includes practicing intercourse with the purpose of lawfully satisfying ones desires (and the desires of ones wife) and thereby avoiding sin. Allah further tells His servants to fear Him in all of their affairs and to be mindful of the fact that they will meet Him and be judged by Him for their actions. Allah ends this verse by saying, And give glad tidings to the Believers, without specifying what those glad tidings are of. This is indicative of a very broad and, indeed, unbounded list of delights and pleasures both in this life and in the Hereafter. Believers are, hence, promised the attainment of all that is good, as well as protection against all that is evil in both worlds. This is a clear manifestation of Allahs love for His believing servants and of His desire for their happiness. This statement also shows it is recommended that one urge and encourage others to do what is righteous by reminding them of the blissful and infinite rewards Allah has promised.

224. And do not let oaths you have made with Allah prevent you from doing what is good or from abstaining from evil, or from reconciling between people. And Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.
An oath necessarily involves glorifying or magnifying whatever has been

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sworn by as well as affirming whatever one has sworn to do. Allah had previously ordered the Believers to uphold their oaths in every way, but here He allows one exception to this command. Essentially, if the reason for breaking an oath1 is that a person seeks to do what is more beloved to Allah than what he had originally sworn to do, it becomes permissible to break that oath. Indeed, if one has sworn not to do something that is mandatory, it becomes mandatory to break ones oath; likewise, if one has sworn to do something that is prohibited, it, again, becomes mandatory to break ones oath. Following from this principle, it is recommended to break oaths in order to do what is recommended, just as it is disliked to break oaths for the purpose of doing what is disliked. As for merely seeking to do what is permissible, it is more appropriate for one to keep ones oath, for this is clearly more beloved to Allah. Allah, therefore, tells the Believers not to allow their oaths to prevent them from doing that which is better. This might include undertaking righteous deeds, abstaining from from evil, and reconciling between people. This verse serves as important proof for the well-established principle that stipulates: If interests become mutually exclusive, priority is given to the more important of these interests. In this sense, while keeping oaths is, itself, an interest, undertaking any of the righteous acts mentioned is of even greater benefit or interest and should therefore be given precedence. Allah then concludes this verse with two of His Beautiful Names, AllHearing and All-Knowing. While the former indicates that Allah hears all things - including the declarations of those who take oaths - the second name indicates that He knows what their intentions are when they take these oaths upon themselves. To understand this, is to understand that we will be judged for our actions and our intentions, which, in turn, serves to keep us mindful of Allah at all times and in all we do.

225. Allah does not hold you accountable for unintentional vows, but He holds you accountable for what you have intended with your hearts. And Allah is All-Forgiving, Ever-Forbearing.
1. Oath-breaking or redemption is subject to certain requirements laid out in verse 5:89.

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Allah informs His servants that He does not hold them accountable for unintended vows or declarations often made in casual speech. Spur of the moment declarations such as By Allah it was like this and By Allah Ill do that are, therefore, normally not binding, provided the speaker did not intend to vow. Instead, Allah only holds His servants responsible for what they deliberately intend or vow to do. In this is proof for the assertion that intentions - or whatever may indicate a persons intention - should be considered in judging a persons words or actions (such as in a court of law, for instance). Allah concludes this verse by reminding His servants that He is AllForgiving to those who repent, and Ever-Forbearing with sinners in that He graciously allows them time to repent and does not punish them immediately.

226. For those who have made an oath not to have sexual intercourse with their women, a maximum waiting period of four months is prescribed. If they return to their wives [before the end of this period], then, indeed, Allah is All-Forgiving, All-Merciful. 227. But if they are determined to divorce, then, indeed Allah is AllHearing, All-Knowing.
After mentioning some of the rulings that pertain to oaths in a general sense, Allah here mentions a specific kind of oath. Al-Eelaa is the Arabic term for an oath made by a husband who has vowed not to have sexual intercourse with his wife for a period of time. A man who swears not to have sexual intercourse with his wife for less than four months is not held legally accountable, and may go back to having sexual intercourse with her once the specified period ends. In the event that he breaks his oath, however, (i.e. by seeking intercourse with his wife before the end of the specified period) he is required to redeem his oath in accordance with the prescribed requirements for doing so. A husband who swears to abstain from sexual intercourse with his wife for a

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period exceeding four months, on the other hand, is given a maximum of four months (if the wife so wishes) within which he must either have intercourse with his wife or divorce her. If the four-month period ends and the husband still refuses to have relations with his wife, he is either commanded, by law, to resume relations with his wife - in which case he will only have to make the required redemption for breaking his oath - or forced to divorce her. Reconciliation between a man and his wife, and the prevention of divorce is more beloved to Allah than the evils of divorce, separation, conflict and discord.1 For this reason, Allah tells Muslim men that if they return to their
1. Islamic marital laws and principles encourage married couples to stay together and avoid divorce, in as far as that is possible. Quranic verses and Prophetic traditions provide very specific guidelines for creating and preserving successful marriages (starting with hadeeths that describe the qualities of the kind of partner a man or woman should seek), just as they provide the means for settling disputes fairly and amicably whenever they do arise. Furthermore, when divorce does occur, Islam provides very specific instructions regarding the rights of men and women after the termination of a marriage so that any further discord or dispute might be avoided, and so that further repercussions might be curbed. Indeed, Islamic legislation lays down laws that are completely just, and provides guiding principles so that such disputes might be placated and so that the fabric of society might be spared from the potentially shattering effects of divorce. There is absolutely no shortage of reports and studies that demonstrate the comprehensively negative effects of divorce at both individual and societal levels. Aside from the emotional strain on the divorced couple themselves, children can suffer tremendously. Surveys consistently show that children whose parents divorce are more likely to suffer from pathologies and exhibit antisocial behavior. Adolescents in divorced families are more likely than their counterparts from intact families to suffer depression, get expelled from school, have to repeat a grade, be involved in behavioral problems such as stealing, vandalism or truancy, and use drugs. (It doesnt help when the societies these children live in often glamorize all such behavior through extremely pervasive mainstream media). But the damage doesnt stop there. Researcher Judith Wallerstein finds that the effects of divorce on children are not restricted to childhood, but rather a prelude to the problems children will face as adults. From the viewpoint of the children and counter to what happens to their parents, divorce is a cumulative experience. Its impact increases over time and rises to a crescendo in adulthood. In adulthood it affects personality, the ability to trust, expectations about relationships and ability to cope with change. - Judith Wallerstein, Julia Lewis, and Sandra Blakeslee, The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: A 25-year Landmark Study (New York: Hyperion, 2000), p 298.

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wives, He is All-Forgiving and will, hence, forgive them for the oath they will necessarily break upon reconciling with their wives. Allah also tells His servants that He is All-Merciful in that He has provided them with a means of lawfully breaking oaths (i.e. redemption). Moreover, the compassion and mercy a husband normally feels towards his wife is another manifestation of Allahs mercy, as it is only Allah who instills hearts with such sentiments to begin with, and it is through these sentiments that a man and his wife may come to reunite. If, however, with the completion of the four-month waiting period, a husband is determined to divorce, he must do so immediately. In the event that a husband refuses to divorce immediately, he is forced to do so by means of a legislative ruling. Allah warns husbands against making such oaths for the purpose of causing
All these findings completely corroborate an authentic report where Prophet Muhammed explains that Satan places his throne upon the water, and then dispatches his devils so that they may cause corruption and sin upon the Earth. As they return to him one by one and inform him of what they have done, he responds to each of them by saying, You have done nothing, thereby belittling whatever deed they have carried out or whatever sins they caused others to fall into. This continues until one of the devils informs Satan that he managed to cause a man to divorce his wife. Upon hearing this, Satan gets up out of his throne, lauds this devil, and then draws him closer to him in appreciation and approval. In explaining why Satan would be so overjoyed with divorce, in spite of the fact that divorce is not a sin, scholars have suggested that the devastating effects on people and societies brought about by divorce are the principal reason. A healthy family is one of the stitches that hold together the fabric of society. To undo the bonds of a family is to unravel or even rip apart the societies these families form, which, in turn, brings detriment and devastation at all levels. Societies that fall apart in this manner are all the more prone to the spread of sin and different forms of corruption. While there are instances where divorce will be unavoidable - and perhaps even favorable controlling whatever potential effects might ensue is best done by adhering to Allahs laws and by giving each of the parties their due rights as stipulated by Islam. If, through adherence to Allahs laws, a child is spared nothing more than the bitterness of long, emotionally-draining custody battles, that alone would make a difference to his/her psychological health and happiness. (Judith S. Wallerstein, Ph.D., is considered the worlds foremost authority on the effects of divorce on children, and her book, The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: A 25 year Landmark Study, is a 30-year study of 3 children and adolescents from 60 divorcing families in Marin County, just North of San Francisco, USA.)

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their wives distress, and reminds them that He is All-Hearing and AllKnowing. The relevance of these two attributes in this context has already been detailed in verse 2:22.

228. Divorced women are to wait three menstrual periods [before marrying again]. And it is not lawful for them to withhold information pertaining to what Allah has created in their wombs, if they, indeed, believe in Allah and the Last Day. And their husbands have the better right to take them back within this period [three menstrual cycles], provided they seek reconciliation in doing so. Rights due to wives are similar to the obligations due of them, as dictated by custom. But their husbands are due a degree [of rights and responsibilities] more. And Allah is All-Powerful, All-Wise.
Upon being divorced, a woman must wait for three menstrual periods before being allowed to marry again. This period is called the iddah, and jurists have suggested at least a few reasons1 for why this waiting period is prescribed, including: - Establishing certainty that the divorcee is not pregnant, as marriage to another man while pregnant from a former husband may cause confusion with regards to lineage. This, in turn, leads to other serious complications including breaking ties of kinship (which are critical in Islam), loss of inheritance rights, the possibility of illegitimate marriages due to incest, and other consequences that are disastrous at both individual and societal levels. - Allowing both sides to reconsider and think about reconciliation. As mentioned in the preceding verses, marriage is more beloved to Allah than divorce, and so an opportunity to think again might cause a change of heart and, hence, bring about amends.
. It is completely impermissible to claim that owing to alternative means of discerning whether or not a woman is pregnant, the iddah is obsolete or unnecessary. Discerning pregnancy is only one reason behind the wisdom behind the iddah and there are, likely, plenty of other reasons (such as emotional, psychological or physical reasons) that may or may not be known to us. The iddah is a mandatory act of worship and cannot be substituted under any pretext. Indeed, a definitive command from Allah can never be set aside for fallible human inferences and conjectures.

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- Making sure divorce is taken seriously and not trivialized. For all of these reasons and more, Allah has stated that it is not permissible for divorced women to withhold information pertaining to what Allah has created in their wombs. A woman must, therefore, be candid and not withhold information regarding her pregnancy or lack thereof, as hiding such information may lead to some of the harms and evils just mentioned. Additionally, concealing this information may lead to her remarrying illegitimately, which comes with its own set of tremendous problems. Indeed, to withhold or to lie in such instances is evidence of a lack of religious commitment. For how could a woman who believes in Allah and believes that she will be held accountable for such dishonesty on the Day of Judgment dare to be so deceitful? For this reason, Allah says And it is not permissible for them to withhold information pertaining to what Allah has created in their wombs, if they, indeed, believe in Allah and the Last Day. Also regarding women, Allah then states that their husbands have the better right to take them back within this period (three menstrual cycles), provided they seek reconciliation. This applies to men who have not yet divorced their wives for a third consecutive time. A third consecutive divorce means that a man may no longer take his former wife back (unless she marries another man and is then divorced from him, as will be discussed shortly, Allah willing). Because a man who has divorced his wife only once or twice is allowed to take her back without a marriage contract, Allah still refers to these men as husbands, and not to former husbands. This right, however, is not something that is to be abused by the husband, and should only be taken advantage of by husbands sincerely seeking to reconcile and make amends with their wives. To take a wife back with the intention of doing harm to her by such means as extending the period of time she has to wait before marrying someone else, or by attempting to prevent her from marrying someone else altogether is impermissible. Allah then states that the rights due to, and the obligations due from wives are similar to those due of their husbands, and dictated by the accepted customs of a given time and place. Hence, a husband and wife are to comply with

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whatever the socially accepted norms are with regards to food, clothing, housing and other forms of provision. Additional conditions that are agreed upon and mentioned in a marriage contract and that stipulate something more or less than what is socially acceptable should also be met. However, customs and conditions that go against Islamic rulings or that make permissible what Allah has made impermissible or vice versa, are void and should be disregarded. While spousal rights and obligations are, for the most part, similar, Allah mentions that the obligations due of men and the privileges due to them are of a degree more than those of their wives. In this sense, men hold more of a position of authority and responsibility with regards to family matters and final decisions. At a more general level, some social positions of authority and leadership are specific only to men for the same reasons. The right to more inheritance, which stems from a mans obligation to spend on his wives and children, is another example of the extra rights due to men, and of the extra responsibilities due of them. Allah ends this verse by stating that He is the All-Powerful, and thus completely capable of doing what He chooses, and that He is also All-Wise in all that He chooses to do.

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229. Divorce may only be revoked twice. And so if you take your women back, treat them with due respect, but if you let them go, then do so in goodwill. It is not permissible for you to take back anything you have given your wives, except if you both [husband and wife] fear not maintaining Allahs limits. And if you fear not maintaining Allahs limits, then there is no sin on you for taking whatever your wives pay back to absolve themselves of the marriage. These are the limits of Allah and so do not transgress them. And whoever should transgress the limits of Allah - then it is indeed they who are the wrongdoers.


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230. If a husband divorces his wife [for a third consecutive] time], she will not be lawful to him again unless she marries another man [and is then divorced from him]. But if he [the second husband] divorces her, there is no sin on them [the first husband and the woman] for going back to each other if they believe they will maintain Allahs limits. These are the limits of Allah. He clarifies them to people of knowledge.

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229. Divorce may only be revoked twice. And so if you take your women back, treat them with due respect, but if you let them go, then do so in goodwill. It is not permissible for you to take back anything you have given your wives, except if you both [husband and wife] fear not maintaining Allahs limits. And if you fear not maintaining Allahs limits, then there is no sin on you for taking whatever your wives pay back to absolve themselves of the marriage. These are the limits of Allah, and so do not transgress them. And whoever should transgress the limits of Allah - then it is indeed they who are the wrongdoers.
Before Islam and during the early stages of it, men were still capable of divorcing their wives and then taking them back as many times as they liked. This meant that if a man sought to prevent his wife from ever marrying again, he would simply divorce her and then, just before the end of her waiting period, he would marry her and then divorce her again. Needless to say, this was a particularly cruel and spiteful way of causing a woman hardship and emotional distress, and so Islam completely abolished this injustice. Allah, therefore, ordained that divorce only be revocable twice. This enables husbands who sincerely want their wives back - and do not seek to harm them - the opportunity to reconsider this option after a first and second divorce. Upon divorcing for a third time, however, a husband no longer has the right to take his wife back, and his wife is free to marry someone else after completing her waiting period. It is important to note that even a husband who has only divorced his wife a first or second time does not have the right to take his wife back if she has completed her waiting period. Instead, a marriage contract must be rewritten, and her consent becomes necessary again. Allah tells husbands that they are to either take their women back with the intention of treating them properly and with respect, or let them go with

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kindness and in goodwill. To let them go in goodwill is to let them go without taking back anything of the dowry given to them or any part of their wealth. To take any such wealth is regarded unjust as there are normally no grounds for compensation. For this reason, Allah says And it is not permissible for you to take back anything you have given your wives, except if you both fear transgressing Allahs limits. The exception made in this part of the verse relates to what is known as khul. Khul is prescribed when a wife does not wish to continue being married to her husband due to such reasons as ill-manners, lack of religious commitment or even unattractive physical appearance. A woman who fears not being able to obey her husband due to any of these shortcomings may offer compensation for being let go by her husband. And so while in the case of divorce a woman does not pay anything at all (and instead keeps all she was given), khul allows the husband to take whatever is agreed upon by the two parties in return for ending the marriage. These are some of the limits and rules set by Allah regarding marriage and divorce. Allah warns against transgressing these limits and against breaking these laws and states that those who transgress His limits are wrongdoers who have committed injustice. The word zulm is commonly translated as injustice and can be split into three main categories. Because the term itself isnt always used to denote the same level of injustice, it is worth mentioning the different degrees of zulm. - Major Injustice or Shirk: Shirk, or associating partners with Allah, is only forgiven if a servant repents. A servant who dies without repenting from major shirk will, thus, not be forgiven by Allah and will abide in Hell forever. - Injustice Incurred by a Believing Servant who does not Uphold Allahs Rights2: A servant guilty of this form of zulm and does not repent, may or may not be forgiven by Allah, and this is something that is subject to Allahs will and wisdom. While this degree of injustice is forgivable without repentance,
1. Zulm is discussed more thoroughly under verse 2:25. 2. Such as neglecting to fast or neglecting to practice other mandatory acts of worship.

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repentance is still mandatory and refusing or neglecting to repent is, itself, a sin. - Injustice that pertains to the rights of other servants (as opposed to the rights of Allah): Nothing of a servants rights is neglected or ignored by Allah, and any kind of injustice that ensues between Allahs creation (such as stealing, killing, insulting, hitting, backbiting, etc) is dealt with justly and is fairly compensated. Repenting from violating the rights of others requires that one return what he has taken (if applicable) or make whatever amends necessary (such as seek the victims forgiveness).

230. If a husband divorces his wife [for a third consecutive time], she will not be lawful to him again unless she marries another man [and is then divorced from him]. But if he [the second husband] divorces her, there is no sin on them [the first husband and the woman] for remarrying if they believe they will maintain Allahs limits. These are the limits of Allah; He clarifies them for people of knowledge.
Allah continues and says that if a husband divorces his wife for a third consecutive time, she will not be lawful to him until she marries another man first. Marriage to another man must, however, be contractually legitimate, and there must be a genuine desire by both man and woman to live together as husband and wife. Further, should a wife and her second husband divorce, it is necessary that they would have had intercourse in order for the wife to become permissible to her former husband again. In other words, a woman who has been divorced from a second husband and wishes to go back to her previous husband without having had intercourse with the second husband will still not be lawful to her first husband. It is completely impermissible and grievously sinful for a second man to marry a woman who has been divorced three times by her previous husband with the intention of making her lawful to that husband again. It is also unlawful that this be the intention of the woman when marrying the second

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husband. Indeed, a marriage that is consummated for this purpose is void and does not make the woman lawful to her first husband. If, however, the second husband takes this wife out of sincere desire for her and has sexual intercourse with her, and then - for one reason or another - divorces her, she will become lawful to her first husband again upon completing her waiting period. In this instance, a new marriage contract is made where both man and woman must consent to marriage. It is also important that they both feel they will be capable of living a life of obedience to Allahs laws, and that they will not transgress the limits of Allah due to any ill-will or discord that may redevelop between them. For this reason, Allah says that they may return to each other only if they believe they will maintain Allahs limits. It might be inferred from this verse that it is sinful for a husband and wife who do not see that they will be able to uphold the laws of Allah or treat each other with due respect to remarry. Indeed, it is not permissible for anyone to undertake any sort of endeavor if Allahs laws will not be upheld in doing so. Upon clarifying such important and enlightening laws, Allah states that these are the limits of Allah and that He clarifies these laws, directives and commands for people of knowledge. Allah specifically mentions people of knowledge or scholars as it is they who are qualified to properly understand Islams legislative rulings and, hence, benefit others with this understanding. This final statement is also very indicative of the stature scholars enjoy, as Allah specifically states that He clarifies such rulings for them above anyone else. It also shows that it pleases Allah that His servants learn and understand His laws and decrees.

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231. If you divorce your women [revocably] and they approach the end of their assigned waiting period, then either keep them with due respect or let them go with due respect. And do not keep them to cause them grief or to transgress. And whoever does this [i.e. keeps his wife with wrongful intentions] has, indeed, wronged himself. And do not take the laws of Allah as a mockery. And be grateful for Allahs blessings upon you, and for His sending down the Quran and Hikmah so that He may exhort you thereby. And fear Allah. And know that Allah is All-Knowing of all things. 232. And do not prevent divorced women who have completed their waiting period from going back to their husbands, provided they both seek to make amends with mutual respect. This is an exhortation that those of you who truly believe in Allah and the Last Day will pay heed to. This is more virtuous and more chaste. And Allah knows, and you know not.


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231. If you divorce your women [revocably] and they approach the end of their assigned waiting period, then either keep them with due respect or let them go with due respect. And do not keep them to cause them grief or to transgress. And whoever does this [i.e. keeps his wife with wrongful intentions] has, indeed, wronged himself. And do not take the laws of Allah as a mockery. And be grateful for Allahs blessings upon you, and for His sending down the Quran and Hikmah so that He may exhort you thereby. And fear Allah. And know that Allah is All-Knowing of all things.
Allah reaffirms that husbands who have revocably divorced their wives are obligated to do one of two things: - Take them back with the intention of treating them fairly and respectfully and of giving them their due rights or - Let them go without attempting to cause them hardship or difficulty, and without taking back anything they may have given them in the past. Allah warns those who keep their wives with the intention of causing them distress or suffering, and states that a husband guilty of such injustice has only wronged himself. This, of course, is because by causing such grief to their women, these husbands have really only made themselves susceptible to the anger and punishment of Allah. Upon clarifying His verses and the laws contained therein so that people might be guided by obeying His commands, Allah warns His servants against not taking His laws seriously. Examples of making a mockery of Allahs laws include taking wives back (or letting them go) with the intention of causing them grief; divorcing excessively (especially for no good reason); and choosing to divorce a woman all three times at once instead of one divorce at a time as has been decreed by Allah, etc... Allah then directs His servants to be grateful towards Him for showing them right from wrong, for calling them to that which benefits them, and for calling them away from that which brings them harm. A servant must also be grateful for being blessed with knowledge of Allah and for being shown how

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He rewards pious Believers and how He deals with those who transgress His limits. The blessing of being provided with all such knowledge is cause for tremendous gratitude. Moreover, because gratitude is itself a form of worship and because Allah is so gracious, grateful servants are blessed and rewarded even further by Allah in this life and in the Hereafter for showing the gratitude that is due of them. While the Book or the Quran outlines rulings concerning given issues so that we know the difference between right and wrong, the Hikmah, which is essentially the proper understanding of these rulings, is what drives us towards all that is right, and drives us away from all that is wrong. Allah reminds His servants to fear Him at all times, and further reminds them that He is All-Knowing of all things. Because Allahs knowledge is so complete and so all-encompassing, all that He legislates and decrees runs in complete accordance with what is beneficial to His servants in every age and place.

232. And do not prevent divorced women who have completed their waiting period from going back to their husbands, provided they both seek to make amends with mutual respect. This is an exhortation that those of you who truly believe in Allah and the Last Day will pay heed to. This is more virtuous and more chaste. And Allah knows, and you know not.
In this verse, Allah addresses the guardians of women who have completed their waiting period after a second or third divorce. Allah tells the guardians not to prevent the women under their guardianship from going back to their husbands provided they (husband and wife) wish to reunite on grounds of mutual respect and agreement. This ruling serves to prevent guardians who feel bitter towards the former husbands of the women under their guardianship from standing in the way of remarriage. Allah reminds these guardians that if they truly believe in Allah and the Last Day, they will not prevent women under their care from remarrying, and that, contrary to what they may feel or think, remarriage is

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more virtuous and more chaste. The reason this ruling is more conducive to chastity is that it prevents formerly married couples from falling into sinful relationships on account of feelings of affection they may continue to have for each other. It also prevents guardians from becoming suspicious of such unlawful relationships and, hence, eliminates the undue trouble that this might bring1. In urging adherence to His commands, Allah reminds His servants that He knows and legislates for His servants all that brings benefit, and is capable of providing them with the means by which all such benefit is attained. Human beings, however, know not where their true welfare lies, and should therefore obey Allahs commands at all times.

1. At-Tabari, vol. 2:111

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233. Mothers are to lactate their children for two complete years if they desire to complete the term of suckling. A father is to provide food and clothing in accordance with what is customary. No person will be burdened with more than they can bear. No mother shall be harmed by means of her child, and no father shall be harmed by means of his child. And a childs inheritor is responsible for the same duties [as the father]. If they [a childs parents] agree to wean their child in mutual consent and after consultation between themselves, then there is no sin on them for doing so. And if you agree to hiring a wet-nurse to lactate your children, there is no sin on you provided you compensate her reasonably. And fear Allah; and know that Allah is All-Watchful over what you do.

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233. Mothers are to lactate their children for two complete years if they desire to complete the term of suckling. A father is to provide food and clothing in accordance with what is customary. No person will be burdened with more than they can bear. No mother shall be harmed by means of her child, and no father shall be harmed by means of his child. And a childs inheritor is responsible for the same duties [as the father]. If they [a childs parents] agree to wean their child in mutual consent and after consultation between themselves, then there is no sin on them for doing so. And if you agree to hiring a wet-nurse to lactate your children, there is no sin on you provided you compensate her reasonably. And fear Allah; and know that Allah is All-Watchful over what you do.
Allah informs His servants that the complete term for breastfeeding is two years. It is important to note that breastfeeding makes unlawful what blood ties make unlawful with regards to whom a person can or cannot marry. This means that a child who is fed at any point during these first two years by someone other than his mother becomes unlawful to everyone he would have been unlawful to had she been his real mother. Breastfeeding beyond the two year period, however, has no such consequence. During this period, fathers are to provide sustenance that includes food and clothing to the mother and child regardless of whether they have divorced the childs mother or not. If the childs mother is divorced then additional compensation for her breastfeeding is required. All such spending is to be made in accordance with the norms of the land and the mothers socioeconomic status. It is not permissible to overburden a father with more than he can afford, and for this reason Allah says, No person will be burdened with more than they can bear. Likewise, it is not permissible that a mother be caused distress by means of her child. Such harm includes preventing her from suckling her child,

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not allowing her sufficient funds with regards to food or clothing, and not allowing her the proper suckling expenses due to her. A mother must also refrain from seeking to cause grievance to the father of her child by such methods as deliberately refusing to suckle the child or by requesting more funds than is adequate or customary. If a childs father dies and the childs wealth is insufficient for his own sustenance, the inheritors of the child become responsible for paying the childs necessary expenses. Deciding to wean a child before the end of the two-year term is subject to the mutual consent of both parents and should be done only if they see that there is benefit in doing this. It is, therefore, not permissible for a child to be weaned before completing this period if only one of the parents consents to this or if there is no benefit to the child. Hiring a wet-nurse to suckle the child is permissible provided this is not done with the intention of causing grief to the mother and provided the wet-nurse is paid fairly. Allah, again, commands His servants to fear Him at all times, and reminds them that He is All-Watchful of what they do and will, thus, hold them to account for their actions.

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234. The wives of deceased men are to wait four months and ten days before marrying again. But if they complete this term, then there is no sin on you [their guardians] in how they dispose of themselves, provided they do so with decency. And Allah is completely informed of what you do.

235. You [Muslim men] will not be counted sinful for insinuating your desire to marry or for forming a secret intention to marry [women before completion of their waiting period]. Allah knows that you will think of them [the women you wish to marry]. But do not secretly promise [i.e. in any direct manner] them marriage, except by saying what is acceptable. And do not consummate a marriage contract until their waiting period is complete. And know that Allah knows the intentions you conceal within yourselves, so be mindful of Him. And know that Allah is All-Forgiving, Most-Forbearing.

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234. The wives of deceased men are to wait four months and ten days before marrying again. But if they complete this term, then there is no sin on you [their guardians] in how they dispose of themselves, provided they do so with decency. And Allah is completely informed of what you do.
Unlike the three-month iddah for divorced women, widows are to wait a period of four months and ten days after the death of their husbands before marrying again. While many scholars, including Sheikh Sadee, have suggested that discerning pregnancy through movement of the fetus is the reason for this ruling, one must not assume that this is the only reason. The obligation to adhere to all such waiting periods (and other rulings) has already been discussed (see footnote for verse 2:228). If pregnancy is indeed established, the waiting period only continues until the delivery of the newborn, regardless of whether or not that happens within or after a period of four months and ten days. Pregnant slave girls are to wait for two months and five days (half the prescribed period for free women). Widows are not allowed to beautify or make themselves more attractive during their iddah, but once the waiting period is complete, they are allowed to go back to wearing makeup and scents etc, provided this is done within legal limits and not in any manner that is disliked. Allah addresses a womans guardians and states that they will not be held as sinful if a woman under their guardianship returns to adorning herself after her waiting period is complete. Because Allah addresses the guardians, it can be inferred that a guardian has the right to prohibit a woman under his care from doing what is unacceptable. Allah ends the verse by stating that He is completely informed of what His servants do. Hence, no matter how big or small, or how overt or concealed our actions may be, Allah sees them and will hold us to account for them.

235. You [Muslim men] will not be counted sinful for insinuating your desire to marry or for forming a secret intention to marry [women before completion of their waiting period]. Allah knows that you will think of them [the women you wish to marry]. But

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do not secretly promise [i.e. in any direct manner] them marriage, except by saying what is acceptable. And do not consummate a marriage contract until their waiting period is complete. And know that Allah knows the intentions you conceal within yourselves, so be mindful of Him. And know that Allah is AllForgiving, Most-Forbearing.
These rulings apply to widows and women who have been divorced irrevocably. Allah states that it is unacceptable to make overt proposals of marriage to these women while they are still in their waiting periods, but that it is acceptable to hint or indirectly indicate intentions of betrothal. Scholars have suggested that one of the potential reasons for this ruling is that because an overt proposal carries no other meaning than the intention to marry, it may potentially incite a woman who seeks to remarry quickly to lie about what is left of her waiting period or about her pregnancy. To hint at marriage, however, may or may not be understood as a proposal, and the abovementioned dangers are thereby avoided. An example of hinting might be to say, I was thinking of marriage, and Id like to take your advice on who would be a good choice after your waiting period is over. Because the urge to propose is often quite strong, Allah has facilitated this safer means of expressing desire, thus reducing the potentially harmful consequences of overt proposals. A marriage contract, however, cannot be consummated until the waiting period is complete. Allah reminds His servants that He knows the real intentions behind their actions and that they should, therefore, only intend what is good and lawful and veer away from what is evil and impermissible. A person must always strive to seek Allahs reward through good intentions and deeds, and avoid Allahs punishment by staying away from unlawful objectives and the actions that lead to them. A servant who has, however, fallen into sin, but seeks to repent should know that Allah is All-Forgiving and capable of forgiving all sins. One must also understand that Allah is Most-Forbearing, and that he grants His servants time to repent, in spite of being able to punish them immediately.

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236. You will not be held blameworthy for divorcing women you have not yet had intercourse with or appointed dowry to. But present them with a gift - a rich man in accordance with what he can afford, and a poor man in accordance with what he can afford. A reasonable gift is a duty upon those who strive to do what is good. 237. And if you divorce them [your wives] before having intercourse with them, but after having specified their dowry, then pay half of what you have specified, unless they or their guardians pardon you. And to pardon is more pious. And do not neglect to deal among yourselves with generosity. Indeed, Allah is AllWatchful over what you do.

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236. You will not be held blameworthy for divorcing women you have not yet had intercourse with or appointed dowry to. But present them with a gift - a rich man in accordance with what he can afford, and a poor man in accordance with what he can afford. A reasonable gift is a duty upon those who strive to do what is good.
Allah tells His believing servants that they will not be held accountable for divorcing women with whom they have not had intercourse, nor appointed dowry to. However, in order to prevent or lessen feelings of sadness or bitterness, a man is to offer a gift that is within his means and that lies in accordance with what is customarily acceptable. Essentially, just as the man was - in a sense - responsible for his former brides sadness, he is to try and make amends in the manner prescribed by Allah and must not attempt to get away with presenting a gift that is of less value than what is customarily due. This is a particularly beautiful ruling and is very indicative of Allahs wisdom and mercy.

237. And if you divorce them [your wives] before having intercourse with them, but after having specified their dowry, then pay half of what you have specified unless they or their guardians pardon you. And it is more pious that they pardon you. And do not neglect to deal among yourselves graciously. Indeed, Allah is All-Watchful over what you do.
This is the ruling as applies to men who have divorced their wives before having intercourse with them but after having specified the dowry they are going to pay. In this instance, a man is to pay half the amount he had specified, unless the woman or her guardian (such as in the case of women who are not eligible to act on their own behalf) forgoes the amount due to her. After explicating this rule, Allah goes on to encourage and urge the pardoning of others by explaining that such benevolence lends itself to piety more than would claiming ones rights in full. Aside from generating acceptance and goodwill between people in instances such as this, generosity is a quality that, in general, must not be neglected.

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In correlation with these directives, it is important to note that there are only two acceptable levels of dealing with others with regards to rights: The first and lesser of these two levels is that of fairness and justice, where one takes what is rightfully his and gives others what is rightfully theirs. The second and higher level is that of graciousness and generosity, where one gives to others more than what is due to them, while pardoning and exonerating others for what they owe, or for what is due of them. It is, therefore, important not to forget this second level of transacting with others, especially if they are people with whom we have dealings on a regular basis. Indeed, Allah rewards the generous and the benevolent with generosity and benevolence, for He is All-Watchful of what His servants do.

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238. Guard strictly the mandatory Prayers, and especially the middle Prayer; and stand before Allah with humility and submission.

239. But if there is cause for fear, then pray walking or riding. But if you are safe, then make dhikr of Allah in the manner He has taught you and that you knew not before. 240. [Allah decrees that] the wives of deceased men should be allowed to reside in the homes of their husbands for a complete year without being asked to leave. But if they decide to leave [of their own accord], you [their guardians] will not be held blameworthy for how they dispose of themselves, provided they do so with decency. And Allah is All-Powerful, All-Wise. 241. And pay divorced women a reasonable endowment. This is a duty upon those who fear Allah. 242. Such is the manner in which Allah clarifies His laws to you - so that you might perhaps attain understanding.

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238. Guard strictly the mandatory Prayers, and especially the middle Prayer; and stand before Allah with humility and submission. 239. But if there is cause for fear, then pray walking or riding. But if you are safe, then make dhikr of Allah in the manner He has taught you and that you knew not before.
Allah commands that His servants guard and observe strictly the five mandatory Prayers; He also makes special mention of the middle or Asr Prayer as a means of honoring it for its virtues1. To guard these Prayers is to pray them on time, to fulfill all their required conditions and pillars and to undertake all of their mandatory and voluntary rituals. To strictly observe Prayers as they should be observed leads to all other acts of worship being properly fulfilled. As mentioned under previous verses, Prayers are a primary means of abstaining from all that is evil and obscene; and this is especially true when a servant perfects his Prayers by standing before Allah with humility and submission. Allah mentions that those who have due cause for fear, such as the presence of a lurking enemy or a ferocious animal, or even the fear of missing something important upon failing to arrive at a destination fast enough, may pray walking or riding. In these cases it is not essential to face the Qiblah, but when safe again, it is mandatory that a person offer Prayers in the manner normally prescribed. To make dhikr of Allah, in this context, refers fundamentally to Prayer, but also refers to thanking Allah for blessing us with safety and security, and for teaching us what we knew not before. This verse demonstrates the virtues of knowledge and that - upon being taught something new by Allah - a servant should strive to thank His Lord by making dhikr of Him. It also indicates that to make dhikr of Allah is a means by which one may attain more knowledge, as to thank Allah for His blessings causes Allah to bestow even more of His favors and grace upon His creation.
1. Zubdatu-Tafaseer, 9

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240. [Allah decrees that] the wives of deceased men should be allowed to reside in the homes of their husbands for a complete year without being told to leave. But if they decide to leave [of their own accord], you [their guardians] will not be held blameworthy for how they dispose of themselves, provided they do so with decency. And Allah is All-Powerful, All-Wise.
Allah commands that widows are to not be told to leave the homes of their husbands (by the husbands inheritors) for a complete year after the husbands death. This is to help alleviate the sadness a widow goes through upon losing her husband, and is also a form of honoring the deceased as it shows kindness towards his family. If a widow voluntarily decides to leave, however, a husbands inheritors1 are not to blame for her departure, nor are her guardians to blame for the manner in which she adorns herself, provided it is within the limits of decency and after the iddah is complete (see verse 2:2). Allah reminds His servants that He is the All-Powerful, and that transgressing His laws or stripping others of their due rights will make them subject to punishment He is completely capable of inflicting. Women must not be denied the right to reside in the homes of their husbands for the term prescribed, nor be prevented from adorning themselves or remarrying at the end of their iddah. Hence, just as guardians must fear Allah and allow women their due rights, women too must fear Allah and not adorn themselves or remarry before the iddah is complete, nor transgress in any other manner. A servant must also remember that Allah is All-Powerful and is, therefore, capable of punishing those of His servants who do not guard the mandatory Prayers in the manner prescribed (verses 2:28-29). While Prayers are a fundamental pillar of Islam and thus deserve special mention, neglecting to undertake anything Allah has made mandatory is to make oneself susceptible to Allahs punishment. But just as Allah is infinitely powerful, He is also infinitely wise, and thus only decrees that which is most appropriate and most beneficial for mankind.
1. This clarification from Tafseer Al-Muyasar, 39

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241. And give divorced women a reasonable endowment. This is a duty upon those who fear Allah. 242. Such is the manner in which Allah clarifies His laws for you - so that you might perhaps attain understanding.
In the previous verses Allah mentions some of the rights of: widows, women who were divorced before having sexual relations with their husbands, and women who were divorced either before or after the appointment of a dowry. Here Allah makes a general ruling and states that all divorced women are to be offered an endowment, regardless of whether they were divorced before or after sexual relations with their husbands. Scholars differ, however, as to whether this endowment is mandatory or merely recommended. It is important to note that women divorced after having had sexual relations with their husbands keep the full dowry paid to them, and the endowment referred to here is something in addition to that. After clarifying the rulings mentioned in these verses, Allah indicates that His laws run in complete accordance with what is sound and sensible. To attain a thorough understanding of Allahs rulings is not just to comprehend them, but also to learn them and then put them into practice.

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243. Will you not consider those who fled their homes in thousands in fear of death? And so Allah said to them, Die, and then brought them to life again. Indeed, Allah is most gracious towards mankind, yet most people do not show gratitude. 244. And fight in the cause of Allah, and know that Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. 245. Who will lend Allah a righteous loan so that Allah might multiply it for him many times? And it is Allah who withholds bounty and bestows it. And to Him you shall return.

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243. Will you not consider those who fled their homes in thousands in fear of death? And so Allah said to them, Die, and then brought them to life again. Indeed, Allah is most gracious towards mankind, yet most people do not show gratitude.
Allah tells His Prophet to consider the story of a people among the Children of Israel who fled their homes in scores in fear of a plague. But rather than escape death, they ran directly to it, for Allah merely said, Die, and they were dead. Allah then brought them back to life by His grace and mercy, and while Allahs graciousness continues to shower mankind with bountiful blessings in every time and age, rarely do people show gratitude for these favors. Instead, rather than acknowledge Allahs favors and use them to seek His pleasure, mankind is often more disposed to being ungrateful and abusing such blessings. This story not only shows that Allah is capable of all things, but also provides more tangible evidence for His ability to resurrect mankind on Judgment Day. The fact that Allah does not take the time to tell this story more elaborately (such as by providing the time and place of its occurrence for instance) suggests that the incident was already well known to the Children of Israel as well as to those who were acquainted with them and thus heard it from them. It is also possible that those mentioned in this story fled their homes for fear of having to fight an enemy. Regardless, the story urges adherence to Allahs commands and encourages Jihad that takes the form of battling Unbelievers and struggling against the evils of ones self through patience and perseverance. It also shows that attempting to run away from Allahs commands and decrees is of no avail.

244. And fight in the cause of Allah, and know that Allah is AllHearing, All-Knowing. 245. Who will lend Allah a goodly loan so that Allah might multiply it for him many times? And it is Allah who withholds bounty and bestows it. And to Him you shall return.

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In these two verses, Allah makes mention of both fighting in His cause and spending in His cause, for Jihad cannot be undertaken without funding. Allah also urges His servants to be sincere in their intention to fight, as is implied by the term, in the cause of Allah, and therefore warns against jihad for the sake of worldly gains such as war booty or the admiration of others. Instead, one must fight so that Islam, the only religion of Allah, prevails over all other religions. Being All-Hearing and All-Knowing, Allah hears all that is said, no matter how silently it is said, and knows what His servants intentions are in all that they say and do. He thus compensates His servants in accordance with the sincerity of their actions and deeds. A servant who truly appreciates that Allah is All-Hearing and All-Knowing can draw upon this knowledge to derive motivation for Jihad and to continue persevering in even the most grueling and antagonistic conditions. Indeed, a believing servant is everconscious of Allah and knows, with certainty, that Allah will aid and assist him in all that he undergoes and endures. Allah - who is completely without need - urges His servants to spend of their wealth in His cause by promising to multiply whatever wealth they lend Him exponentially. In verse 261 of this chapter, Allah says, The similitude of those who spend their wealth in the cause of Allah is as a grain that grows seven ears. Within each ear lies a hundred grains. And Allah further multiplies reward for whom He wills. And Allah is Most Bountiful, AllKnowing. Because one of the greatest hindrances to spending in the cause of Allah is fear of poverty or financial hardship, Allah tells His servants that their wealth is always in His hands and it is He who withholds bounty and bestows it in accordance with His wisdom. With this knowledge and with the firm belief that Allah multiplies whatever wealth His servants spend in His cause, a servant can never be afraid or reluctant to spend in the cause of Allah. Additionally, the tremendous reward of such spending awaits the Believers in the Hereafter where it will be of indescribable benefit to them, and where the need for it will be most desperate. For this reason Allah says And to Him you shall return. A goodly loan embodies different virtuous attributes. These include that it be made with sincerity and without reluctance, that it be directed to appropriate recipients, and that it not be followed with condescension or haughtiness.

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246. Will you not consider the time when the elite faction among the Children of Israel, after the time of Prophet Moses, said to their prophet, Raise up a king for us so that we may fight in the cause of Allah. He replied, Do you not think it possible that if fighting is ordained upon you that you might refuse to fight? They replied, How could we refuse to fight in the cause of Allah after having been driven out of our homes and after our sons have been killed or taken captive? And so when fighting was ordained upon them they turned back, except a few among them. And Allah is All-Knowing of what the wrongdoers do.


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247. And their prophet had said to them, Allah has indeed raised up Taloot as your king. They replied, How could he be granted sovereignty over us, when among us are those more worthy of sovereignty than he; and when he has not been endowed with any abundance of wealth? He [their prophet] replied, Allah has indeed chosen him over you, and has endowed him with knowledge and strength of build. And Allah grants of His kingdom to whom He wills; and Allah is completely bountiful, AllKnowing. 248. And their prophet had said to them, Indeed, the sign of his [Taloots] rulership over you is that the Casket will come to you. In it there is tranquility from your Lord and the remnants of what the people of Moses and the people of Aaron left behind; and it will be carried by the angels. Verily, in this is a sign for you, if indeed you have faith.


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246. Will you not consider the time when the elite faction among the Children of Israel, after the time of Prophet Moses, said to their prophet1, Raise up a king for us so that we may fight in the cause of Allah. He replied, Do you not think it possible that if fighting is ordained upon you that you might refuse to fight? They replied, How could we refuse to fight in the cause of Allah after having been driven out of our homes and after our sons have been killed or taken captive? And so when fighting was ordained upon them they turned back, except a few among them. And Allah is All-Knowing of what the wrongdoers do.
The above verse serves as a general overview of this story while the following verses outline the account in more detail.

247. And their prophet had said to them, Allah has indeed raised up Taloot as your king. They replied, How could he be granted sovereignty over us, when among us are those more worthy of sovereignty than he; and when he has not been endowed with any abundance of wealth? Their prophet replied, Allah has indeed chosen him over you and has endowed him with knowledge and strength of build. And Allah grants of His kingdom to whom He wills; and Allah is completely bountiful, All-Knowing.
Allah narrates this story so that the Muslim nation may contemplate its
1. Nothing in either the Quran or Sunnah specifies the name of the prophet mentioned in this account, which indicates that his identity is unimportant to the meanings of the story. (Adawy, vol. :25)

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meanings, derive motivation for waging Jihad, and so that they may maintain determination when fighting an enemy. For, indeed, the patient and the perseverant are rewarded graciously in both this life and the Hereafter, while those who turn their backs on Jihad will only find deprivation in both this life and the next. Sometime after the death of Prophet Moses , the influential and elite figures among the Children of Israel conferred with one another regarding waging Jihad. They agreed to ask their prophet to appoint a leader who would unite them for the purpose of this endeavor and thereby end the discord and strife that existed between them. Such a leader would then lead them into battle against Goliath and his army so that they might attain victory over their enemy and reclaim the land they had been driven out of and, Allah willing. Upon listening to this request, their prophet probingly asked if they really thought they would fight if Jihad was ordained upon them and if they were given the king they sought. They replied, with certainty, that they would fight the enemy, especially since it was a means by which they might reclaim their lost homeland. Their prophet consequently informed them that Allah had appointed Taloot as the king who would lead them into war - a task requiring the most apt and competent of leaders. Upon hearing of this appointment, however, the elite figures among the Children of Israel were only too quick to disagree, claiming that among them were individuals who, on account of their lineage and wealth, were more worthy of rulership than Taloot. Their prophet responded by telling them that it was Allah who had chosen Taloot, and that he had endowed him with knowledge, political prowess and physical strength - attributes conducive to courage and wise planning. Leadership, they were hence shown, was not necessarily a privilege exclusive to those of prolific wealth or nobility of lineage; as Allah grants His kingdom to whomever He wills. While all the above reasons should have sufficed as proof for Allahs appointment of Taloot, their prophet went on to give them additional evidence for the validity of this appointment, as is stated in the following verse:

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248. And their prophet said to them, Indeed, the sign of his [Taloots] rulership over you is that the Casket1 will come to you. In it there is tranquility from your Lord and the remnants of what the people of Moses and the people of Aaron left behind; and it will be carried by the angels. Verily, in this is a sign for you, if indeed you have faith.
Reference to The Casket and not a casket indicates that this was an item already known to those being addressed. While there are different reports regarding the exact remnants found in the Casket, hardly anything beyond what Allah has said in this verse can be authenticated. The tranquility they were to find in the Casket most likely refers to the reassurance they would attain upon being shown tangible evidence that Taloot was the most worthy of assuming authority among them2. The Casket was carried by the angels who then set it down amidst those of the Children of Israel who witnessed this conclusive sign and spectacular miracle. Once those accompanying Taloot had conceded to his authority, and after they had prepared themselves and set off for battle, Taloot noticed a lack of determination and resolve among those with him. He then sought to set the resolute aside from the weak so that only the steadfast would continue with him

1. Many translations hold that The Casket is, in fact, the Ark of the Covenant. While there appears to be some evidence to support this, it is still safer, in terms of historicity, to avoid making this assumption. 2. At-Tabari, vol. 2:156 . At-Tabari, vol. 2:160

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249. And when Taloot departed with his troops he said to them, Allah will indeed test you at a river; and so whoever drinks of it will not accompany me, but he who abstains from drinking will accompany me - though a single handful of water is pardonable.
But they drank [more than they were allowed] of it, save a few of them. And after Taloot crossed the river along with the Believers [who did not drink of it], some of them said, We have not the strength, today, to overcome Goliath and his troops. But those who were certain of the Day they would meet Allah [i.e. sure of the Resurrection] said, How many a small faction has defeated a large faction by the leave of Allah? And Allah is with those who are patient. 250. And when they [Taloot and his troops] came forward to fight Goliath and his troops, they invoked Allah saying, Our Lord, pour steadfastness upon us, make us stand firm, and grant us victory over the Unbelievers.


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251. And so they defeated them with Allahs leave; and David killed Goliath. And Allah granted him [David] sovereignty and prophethood, and taught him of what He willed. And had Allah not caused factions among mankind to repel one another, the Earth would become corrupted, but Allah is most gracious to all the worlds.

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249. And when Taloot departed with his troops he said to

them, Allah will indeed test you at a river; and so whoever drinks of it will not accompany me, but he who abstains from drinking will accompany me - though a single handful of water is pardonable. But they drank [more than they were allowed] of it, save a few of them. And after Taloot crossed the river along with the Believers [who did not drink of it], some of them said, We have not the strength, today, to overcome Goliath and his troops. But those who were certain of the Day they would meet Allah [i.e. sure of the Resurrection] said, How many a small faction has defeated a large faction by the leave of Allah? And Allah is with those who are patient.
And so Taloot informed his troops that they would be tested at a flowing river on a day of severe heat. Those who would yield to their thirst and drink from the river would not be allowed to continue on the path to Jihad, as their drinking would be a sign of ill-resolve and weakness. Those who would obey the command to abstain from drinking, however, would be allowed to continue, having demonstrated patience, perseverance and sincerity. As an exception to the prohibition on drinking, they were each allowed a handful of water, and nothing more than that. Upon reaching the river, however, all but a few of them succumbed to their thirst and drank in excess of what they were permitted. After Taloot crossed the river with the Believers, many of those with him became wary of the prospect of fighting an enemy that outnumbered them so overwhelmingly and that was so well prepared for battle. Overcome with trepidation, they declared that they had not the strength to overcome Goliath and his troops on that day. However, those among them who were firm in belief and conviction, and were certain that they would meet Allah sought to reassure the anxiety of their brothers and responded, How many a small faction has defeated a large faction by the permission of Allah? And Allah is with those who are patient..

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Such was the conviction and faith that bore this faction of Believers the strength to wage Jihad against Goliath and his troops.

250. And when they [Taloot and his troops] came forward to fight Goliath and his troops, they invoked Allah saying, Our Lord, pour steadfastness upon us, make us stand firm, and grant us victory over the Unbelievers. 251. And so they defeated them with Allahs leave; and David killed Goliath. And Allah granted him [David] sovereignty and prophethood, and taught him of what He willed. And had Allah not caused factions among mankind to repel one another, the Earth would become corrupted, but Allah is most gracious to all the worlds.
In what was clearly the most pivotal point of the battle, Prophet David killed Goliath, and victory was for the Believers. After this momentous triumph, Allah granted David both sovereignty and prophethood, and endowed him with more knowledge, wisdom and sound judgment. In concluding this inspirational and enlightening narrative, Allah makes clear the benefit of Jihad and states that had He not caused factions among mankind to repel one another, the Earth would become corrupted through the ascendancy of evildoers, Unbelievers and those who strive to cause corruption. But it is Allah who defends Islam and the Believers by ordaining Jihad and by making it a means through which the righteous may fight against evil and against those who seek to spread it.

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252. These are the verses of Allah; We recite them unto you [O Prophet] in truth. And you are, indeed, of the messengers.

253. These messengers [i.e. the messengers mentioned throughout this chapter] - We favored some of them over others. Some Allah spoke to [without intermediary]; and some He raised in rank. And We gave Jesus, the Son of Mary, clear signs and aided him with the Ruh-ul-Qudus. And had Allah willed, succeeding generations would not have fought after receiving clear signs, but they differed; and so some of them believed while others disbelieved. And had Allah willed, they would not have fought, but Allah does what He wills. 254. O You who believe, spend of what We have provided you before there comes a Day when there will be no trading, and when neither friendship nor intercession will avail [those undeserving of it]. And it is the Unbelievers who are the unjust [zalimoon].

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252. These are the verses of Allah; We recite them unto you [O Prophet] in truth. And you are, indeed, of the messengers.
The narrative detailed in the previous verses is yet another of many signs proving Prophet Muhammeds prophethood, as it was revealed to him by Allah in complete accordance with the events that had taken place at that time. For the Muslim nation, this story holds a multitude of important lessons including: - The importance, virtues and fruits of Jihad, as well as a demonstration of the fact that it is the only means by which Muslims, their religion, their lands, their lives and their properties may be preserved. It further illustrates that no matter how severe the difficulties presented may be and no matter how much difficulty the mujahedeen (those waging Jihad) might face, the final outcomes are bound to be in their favor. Conversely, while those who turn away from Jihad may find limited relief, they will only be recompensed with prolonged misery, anguish and defeat at the hands of the enemy. - The importance of appointing only qualified individuals to positions of authority. Such qualification revolves around two main attributes: knowledge of sound political planning and effective strategies, and the strength to uphold the truth through the implementation of such policies and strategies. - That it is necessary for military leaders to filter out elements that are unfit to do battle as such constituents are likely to bring only harm. - The importance of fortifying mujahedeen at the onset of hostilities by encouraging them and by calling upon them to have faith and to put their faith completely in Allah. It is also important that fighters be reminded to ask Allah to grant them patience and victory over the enemy. - That determination to wage Jihad is not the same as actually waging Jihad. While determination might at first be solid, the reality of war might cause ones resolve to dwindle or disappear altogether. For this reason, the Prophet used to invoke Allah saying, Allah grant me steadfastness in my affairs, and the will to accomplish all that is righteous. Another similar Prophetic invocation is, I ask you to grant me the acceptance of what You decree after it befalls. The meaning here is that real acceptance is that which comes

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after an affliction, while claims that one will accept whatever hardships are to come are mere claims until substantiated.

253. These messengers [i.e. the messengers mentioned throughout this chapter] - We favored some of them over others. Some Allah spoke to [without intermediary]; and some He raised in rank. And We gave Jesus, the Son of Mary, clear signs and aided him with the Ruh-ul-Qudus. And had Allah willed, succeeding generations would not have fought after receiving clear signs, but they differed; and so some of them believed while others disbelieved. And had Allah willed, they would not have fought, but Allah does what He wills.
Allah makes reference to the prophets He has mentioned thus far in this chapter, and states that He has favored some over others by bestowing them with varying degrees of admirable qualities, praiseworthy traits and miracles, conviction of faith, nobleness of manners, the power to influence with regards to what they taught and preached and other favors. And so while Allah took some messengers as beloved friends (see explanation of khaleel under verse 12 of this chapter), others He spoke to without intermediary and others, still, He raised in rank. Regardless of the means by which Allah favored some of His messengers over others, it should be understood that the degree of virtue bestowed by Allah upon any of His prophets is unattainable by the rest of Allahs servants. Allah makes specific reference to the signs given to Prophet Jesus , and that these signs proved clearly and beyond any doubt that he was a Prophet of Allah and that he came with the truth. And so Allah caused him to cure lepers and those born blind, to bring the dead to life, and to speak while only a newborn. Allah further aided him with the Ruh-ul-Qudus (see verse 2:87). After making reference to some of His prophets and explaining that He had favored some over others by the means described, Allah then mentions the discord and conflict that ensued between the generations that came after these prophets. While these messengers came time and time again with the same message from Allah, consequent generations differed greatly among themselves, even after clear unequivocal evidence of the truth was brought to them. In fact, their differences became so great that battles and bloodshed were often the result.

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Allah then reveals that had He so willed, these generations would neither have differed nor fought. However, because some believed while others disbelieved, conflict and killing ensued. Allah again states that had He willed, He would have prevented them from fighting even after they differed, but that He does what He pleases. This verse proves that Allah commands the various means by which different ends are met, but that He can also allow and disallow things from happening, regardless of whether these means exist or not. Hence, while Allah mentions that differences were the root cause of the conflicts that broke out between Believers and Unbelievers across the ages, He also mentions that, had He so willed, He would have prevented their conflicts, in spite of these differences. One must always remember, however, that all of Allahs actions and all that He does or does not do falls in complete accordance with His divine wisdom and complete knowledge.

254. O You who believe, spend of what We have provided you before there comes a Day when there will be no trading, and when neither friendship nor intercession will avail [those undeserving of it]. And it is the Unbelievers who are the unjust [zalimoon].
The word zulm is on some occasions translated as wrongdoing or evildoing and in other contexts is closer to the term injustice. Respectively, zalimoon, a derivative of zulm, is either translated as wrongdoers, evildoers or the unjust. While there is an obvious correlation between these meanings, different contexts often stress one meaning over another. Moreover, zulm when translated as injustice is still considerably broader than the common English definition(s) for its English counterpart. Zulm, broadly speaking, is to place something where it should not be placed, whether literally or non-literally (as in most instances in the Quran). Therefore, to direct something to a destination other than its correct destination, to give something or someone rights that are due to someone
1. At-Tabari, vol. 1: 1

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else, to use something for a purpose other than its intended purpose are all forms of zulm, etc. Hence, while in the English language, the wrongful conviction of an innocent man is easily recognizable as a form of injustice, zulm also encompasses things like directing ones worship to anything or anyone other than Allah, or spending ones wealth on things that Allah has prohibited, or using whatever blessings Allah has endowed us with for purposes other than those made lawful to us by Him, etc. Bearing this essential meaning in mind, it is easy to appreciate the enormous injustice committed by Unbelievers as they benefit from or enjoy all the blessings showered upon them by Allah while directing their worship to other than Him. This is especially blameworthy when we take into consideration that Allah only created us for His worship (see explanation of verse 1:5 for a more complete explanation of the word worship) and endowed us with countless blessings and favors as a means of achieving this most honorable of objectives. Worse still, those who reject faith actually use Allahs blessings to propagate such evils as the worship of other than Allah, disobedience towards Him, corruption, and every other conceivable form of wrongdoing. Because unbelief is the greatest possible form of injustice, Allah stresses that it is the Unbelievers who are truly and completely unjust. It is important to bear in mind that a Believer might also be guilty of lesser degrees of injustice (all sins are regarded as a form of injustice) that do not take an individual beyond the pale of Islam. The different levels of injustice are detailed under verse 2:229. Allah encourages the Believers to spend in His cause of the wealth that He has provided them with before the arrival of a Day when no amount of spending will buy salvation. Unlike previous verses in this chapter, Allah does not specify what the Believers should spend on, which suggests a general command to seek different means of doing good with ones wealth. Allah reminds His servants that it is He who has provided them with whatever wealth they possess, and that He only orders them to spend of it in His cause, as opposed to spend it in its entirety. Bearing both these facts (that all our wealth is bestowed upon us by Allah, and that He only asks us to spend

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some of it in His cause) in mind is very conducive to generosity. Indeed, to think that Allah directs His servants to spend only some of the wealth that He has provided them with, and then rewards them for what they spend is an overwhelming sign of Allahs unbounded grace and generosity. The reward of all such spending is preserved with Allah where it will be of benefit to the Believers on a Day when salvation cannot be purchased and when no friend nor intercessor will avail an Unbeliever of due punishment.

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255. Allah. There is no god worthy of worship but He; the Completely Alive and EverLiving, the Self-Subsisting and Ever-Sustaining. He is taken by neither drowsiness nor sleep. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on the Earth. Who could possibly intercede with Him except by His leave? He knows all that lies ahead of His creatures and all that lies behind them; and they hold nothing of His knowledge except what He wills. His Footstool overspreads the heavens and the Earth; and preserving them [the heavens and the Earth] does not tire Him; and He is The Most High, The Most Great.

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256. Compulsion to accept the Religion [Islam] is unnecessary [as evidence, sound judgment and common sense prove it to be the religion of truth]. Guidance has become clearly distinguishable from misguidance. And so whoever disbelieves in the taghoot [false deities] and believes in Allah has taken the handhold that does not break. And Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. 257. Allah is the Guardian of the Believers; He draws them out of the darknesses and into the light. And the guardians of the Unbelievers are the taghoot; they draw them out of the light and into the darknesses. It is they who are the dwellers of the Fire; in it they shall abide forever.

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255. Allah. There is no god1 worthy of worship but He; the Completely Alive and Ever-Living2, the Self-Subsisting and Ever-Sustaining3. He is taken by neither drowsiness nor sleep. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on the Earth. Who could possibly intercede with Him except by His leave? He knows all that lies ahead of His creatures and all that lies behind them; and they hold nothing of His knowledge except what He wills. His Footstool overspreads the heavens and the Earth; and preserving them [the heavens and the Earth]; and He is The Most High, The Most Great.
It is authentically reported that the Prophet stated that this verse, commonly referred to as Ayat-ul-Kursiyy, is the greatest verse in the entire Quran. An important reason for this rank is what the verse carries in terms of different aspects of tawheed, the greatness of Allah and the greatness of His attributes. As pointed out in verse 1:1, the name Allah means The Worshipped One; and, hence, even Allahs name bears the purpose behind our existence and the reason for our creation. Allah affirms that He is the only God deserving of worship, and, as mentioned in the explanation of verse 1:1, this right is due to Him owing to attributes of perfection that are specific only to Him. To worship anything or anyone but Allah is, as just mentioned, the greatest of all forms of injustice and the worst possible crime. Allah then describes Himself as being Al-Hayy which is approximately translated here as the The Completely Alive, and Ever-Living but, of course, requires some elaboration. Because attributes such as hearing, sight,
1. Weve previously pointed out that a god or an ilaah is anything or anyone taken for worship, regardless of whether it is deserving of worship or not. 2. While Al-Hayy counts as one of Allahs names, it has here been interpreted into two names (or two attributes), as no single English word can convey the different meanings intended by the Arabic original. While this holds true for many (perhaps even all) of Allahs names, given the status of this verse and the implications of attaining a proper understanding of this name in this context, it seemed appropriate to elaborate in this manner. . The name, Al-Qayyuum has been translated into two different names or attributes for the same reasons.

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strength and will are - with regards to Allah - perfect and all-encompassing, Allah negates any possibility of deficiency or inadequacy regarding these inherent qualities, and states that complete life is specific only to Him. Allah is, hence, All-Seeing, for He sees all; All-Hearing, for He hears all; and AllKnowing, for He perceives and knows all. This leads very appropriately into the next attribute Allah uses to describe Himself: Al-Qayyuum or The Self-Subsisting and Ever-Sustaining. The attribute, Ever-Sustaining, covers all the actions of Allah and describes His complete and continual care for everything that exists. Allah creates, preserves and then provides all of His creatures with all they need to maintain their existence. Also, in being completely Self-Subsisting, Allah does not need any of His creation in any way. Hence, while Al-Hayy (Completely Alive/ Ever-Living) reflects the completeness of what might be referred to as Allahs inherent attributes, Al-Qayyuum (The Self-Subsisting/ Ever-Sustaining) illustrates the completeness of Allahs actions. Further, because Allah is Completely Alive, Ever-Living, Ever-Sustaining and completely Self-Subsisting, He is taken by neither drowsiness nor sleep. Rather, drowsiness and sleep are qualities of the weak and needy and, therefore, only befitting of creation and not the Creator. Allah then reiterates that to Him belongs all that lies in the heavens and on the Earth. As sole Owner and Master of everything that exists, intercession with Him is possible only by His leave, as all intercessors are servants and slaves of Allah who have neither the power nor the authority to intercede without His permission. If the intercession of those eligible to intercede is only possible with Allahs permission, it goes without saying that the intercession of idols taken as false gods is completely out of the question. Indeed, tawheed and adherence to the teachings of Allahs prophets are necessary prerequisites for anyone genuinely seeking intercession. Allah moves on to describe His all-encompassing knowledge, and states that He knows all that lies ahead of His creation - regarding both this life and

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the Hereafter - and all that lies behind His creation - regarding this life and all that existed prior to it. Because, in this sense, both the future and the past are limitless, this part of the verse illustrates Allahs infinite and complete knowledge. Conversely, Allahs creatures only hold whatever knowledge is bestowed upon them by Allah, and no matter what Allah teaches His creation, it can only be miniscule when compared to His limitless and unbounded knowledge. Allahs awe and incomparable greatness is made even more evident with the mention of His Footstool. This magnificent creation overspreads the heavens and the Earth in their entirety, and should not be mistaken for Allahs Throne. The following Prophetic report illustrates this: Ibn Masud reports that, The distance between the sky of this world and the sky immediately above it is a five hundred-year journey; and between each of the seven skies is a five hundred-year journey; and between the seventh sky and the Footstool is a five hundred-year journey. Between the Footstool and the Water is a five hundred-year journey; and the Throne is above the Water, and Allah is above the Throne; and (yet) nothing of what you do is unknown to Him.1 Abu Dharr , also narrated that, the size of the Footstool compared to the Throne is as that of an iron ring (as might be found on a coat of armour) thrown amidst vast open land.2 In expounding further on His greatness, Allah not only mentions that He preserves and maintains the heavens and the Earth, but that their preservation - with all that it entails - neither tires Him nor causes Him any difficulty. Allah preserves His creation through a variety of different modes, systems, cycles and intricate processes that all work in accordance with the needs of the different species in His dominion. Such modes and methods are themselves overwhelming indicators of Allahs greatness. Just as Allah is literally The Most High - for He is situated high up above
1. This hadeeth was narrated by Ibn Khuzaimah in At-Tawheed and was classed as sound (saheeh) by Ibn-ul-Qayyim in Ijtimaa Al-Juyoosh Al-Islamiyyah. 2. This report was classed as sound by Sheikh Al-Albany in Sharh Al-Tahawiyyah.

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His creation and upon His Throne - He is also figuratively above all else on account of His attributes, His supremacy and His dominance over all creation. The Most Great describes Allahs unparalleled greatness, grandeur and glory. Indeed, Allah is completely adored by the hearts of His creation and revered by their souls; and no matter how great or glorious anything else might be, the greatness and glory of Allah far transcend it and anything else that exists. These are some of the meanings that make this verse the greatest verse in the Quran. Little wonder, then, that to read this verse with purpose and with a sincere intention to understand and contemplate its meanings only serves to fill ones heart with conviction, faith and certainty; and protects against the evils of Satan1.

256. Compulsion to accept the Religion [Islam] is unnecessary [as evidence, sound judgment and common sense prove it to be the religion of truth]. Guidance has become clearly distinguishable from misguidance. And so whoever disbelieves in the taghoot [false deities] and believes in Allah has taken the handhold that does not break. And Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.
This verse states that because Islam is so complete, sound, clear, commonsensical, naturally appealing and because it is the religion of righteousness and calls to all that is good, there should be no need to compel anyone of sound intellect to accept it. Indeed, compulsion is only required in forcing the acceptance of what sound hearts and minds detest, or the acceptance of that which lacks evidence. Hence, anyone refusing or rejecting Islam after having been presented with all the irrefutable arguments, proofs and signs that show - without any doubt - that it is the religion of truth, only does so out of unwarranted stubbornness. Because [g]uidance has become clearly distinguishable from misguidance, there remains no excuse or pretext by which anyone might reject Islam. It is important to note that this verse does not contradict the verses affirming the duty and obligation of waging Jihad. Jihad is a necessary means by which
1. These and other virtues of Ayat-ul-Kurssiy are mentioned in several authentic reports.

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the word of Allah prevails and by which enemies of Islam might be subdued. Indeed, scholars agree that participation in Jihad is mandatory1. Based on the above interpretation, this verse need not be considered abrogated by verses that state the obligation to wage jihad. Allah then reveals that mankind is fundamentally divided into two groups. The first constitutes those who believe in Allah, alone, and reject false deities, polytheism (in all its forms) and anything that goes against sound belief in Allah. Adherents of this group have taken the handhold that does not break. Indeed, it is they who are adherents to the true religion that leads to Allah and to Paradise. The other group, it is thus understood, is that of those who disbelieve in Allah and, instead, worship false deities (through any of the means entailed by the term worship). Adherents of this group are destined to nothing more than ruin, deprivation and an eternal agonizing torment. Allah hears the assertions of those who declare their belief in Him and disavow themselves of the taghoot or false deities. He also knows what His servants hearts hold in terms of the conviction and sincerity behind these and other claims they make, and will recompense them with good or evil in accordance with what they believed.2 For these reasons, Allah concludes this verse by reminding His servants that He is All-Hearing and All-Knowing.

257. Allah is the Guardian of the Believers; He draws them out of the darknesses and into the light. And the guardians of the Unbelievers are the taghoot; they draw them out of the light and into the darknesses. It is they who are the dwellers of the Fire; in it they shall abide forever.
While the verse before this one (2:256) calls to faith and to belief in Allah, this verse reveals the fruits of adopting that faith. Allah states that He is the Guardian of those who believe in Him and those who corroborate their
1. More specific and elaborate rulings pertaining to Jihad can be found in books of Islamic jurisprudence. 2. At-Tabari, vol.2: 1502

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faith with righteous deeds and forsake all that goes against such faith. Allahs guardianship, in this sense, is specific only to the Believers and involves guiding them and taking them from one level to the next along the path of guidance and spiritual growth. Allah thus delivers His believing servants from the different darknesses of ignorance, unbelief, sin, oblivion and the rejection of faith; and draws them into the light of knowledge, conviction, obedience and the complete acceptance of faith and all that that entails. Allah further illuminates the hearts of His servants with the light that emanates from faith and adherence to revelation; just as He guides them to all that brings them what is good, and away from all that is evil and detrimental. Those who disbelieve in Allah, however, and choose instead to take false deities as guardians and protectors, only bring themselves hardship, misery and deprivation. Without doubt, the so-called guardianship of idols that bring neither benefit nor harm can only drag a soul into the darknesses of ignorance and misguidance, and can only serve to prevent the attainment of beneficial knowledge and the practice of righteous deeds. Deprived of all forms of happiness, such individuals are destined for nothing other than eternal Hellfire. We ask Allah to protect us under His guardianship along with all those He chooses to protect.

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258. Will you not consider the account of he who argued denyingly with Abraham regarding his Lord - [out of mere arrogance], for Allah had bestowed him with kingship. When Abraham said to him, My Lord gives life and death, he replied, I give life and death. Abraham said, Allah causes the sun to rise from the East; and so cause it, you, to rise from the West! And so the Unbeliever was dumbfounded; for Allah does not guide wrongdoers [to making sound arguments].


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259. Or [will you not consider the account of] he who passed by a completely ruined town and said, How could Allah bring this [place] back to life? And so Allah caused him to die for a hundred years and then resurrected him. Allah then said, How long have you been dead? He, I have been dead for a day or part of a day. Allah said, Rather, you have been dead for a hundred years. Look at your food and drink; they have not decayed. And look at your donkey; and We shall, indeed, make of you a sign for mankind. And look at the bones [of your donkey and], how We bring them together and cover them with flesh. And so when these signs became clear to him, he said, I now know that Allah is capable of all things.


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260. And consider the time Abraham said, My Lord, show me how You bring the dead to life. Allah said, Do you not believe? Abraham said, I do believe, but so that I may attain reassurance of heart. Allah said, Take four birds unto yourself, then slaughter them and cut them into pieces. Then place a piece of each of them atop each of the [surrounding] mountains, then call them and they will come quickly to you. And know that Allah is All-Powerful, AllWise.


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258. Will you not consider the account of he who argued denyingly with Abraham regarding his Lord - [out of mere arrogance], for Allah had bestowed him with kingship. When Abraham said to him, My Lord gives life and death, he replied, I give life and death. Abraham said, Allah causes the sun to rise from the East; and so cause it, you, to rise from the West! And so the Unbeliever was dumbfounded; for Allah does not guide wrongdoers [to making sound arguments].
Throughout the Quran, Allah narrates accounts of past prophets and their peoples so that different realities might be clarified and different kinds of proof for tawheed and the necessity of worshipping Allah alone might be established. In this instance, Allah tells the story of Prophet Abrahams debate with a self-aggrandizing atheist king1 regarding the existence of Allah. In spite of a multitude of signs, proofs and common sense arguments for Allahs existence, lordship and exclusive right to be worshipped, this evildoer rejected the existence of Allah outright. It would appear that after having ruled for a considerably long period of time and after having become excessively haughty on account of his kingship, this wicked individual sought to challenge Prophet Abraham and hence ordered him to produce evidence that Allah existed. Prophet Abraham replied by saying, My Lord gives life and death.. This response was tantamount to saying All the creatures you see around you - and how theyre born and how they die - is proof of Allahs existence, as no one else is capable of this2. To this, the king replied, I give life and death, implying that if he so desired, he could spare the life of an individual - and in this sense give him life - and if he so wanted, he could have a man killed - thereby giving him death. This, needless to say, is an evasive argument and has nothing
1. There are no authentic reports attributable to the Prophet that mention the name of this king. Many scholars, however, contend that An-Namrood is the king referred to in the verse (Mustafa Al-Adawy, vol. : 66). 2. Ibn Katheer, Mubarakfoori, 187

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to do with what Prophet Abraham meant. The obvious meaning behind Prophet Abrahams argument was that Allah alone gives life to that which either did not exist or was dead, and that it is only He who gives death to his creatures upon completing their appointed terms [and causes their souls to part their bodies1]. Upon noticing that this stubborn evildoer was given to specious arguments and wordplay, and in fearing that this might have an effect on weak-minded listeners or those of little sense, Abraham moved on to another argument do dispel the kings false claim. Abraham , hence, said, Allah causes the sun to rise from the East; and so cause it, you, to rise from the West!. Such a response left no room for wordplay or evasion as it was a direct challenge that, of course, was impossible to meet. Upon realizing his defeat, the king was dumbfounded, and his arguing came to an abrupt end. By producing common sense arguments and pointing out indisputable realities that are clearly seen and sensed, Prophet Abraham proved not only Allahs existence, but His sole right to worship. Clearly, he who is capable of creating, sustaining, nurturing, providing and protecting creation in this unique manner must solely be deserving of worship. This essential and tremendous message is something that every prophet of Allah was sent with, and is something that cannot be denied except by arrogant, stubborn individuals such as the king mentioned in this account. After having re-established the fundamental message of tawheed, Allah goes on to narrate an account that shows His complete power and that proves His ability to resurrect and, thereby, judge His servants for their deeds.

259. Or [will you not consider the account of] he who passed by a ruined town and said, How could Allah bring this place back to life? And so Allah caused him to die for a hundred years and then resurrected him. Allah then said, How long have you been dead? He said, I have been dead for a day or part of a day. Allah said,
1. This last observation from Tafseer-ul-Qassimy, vol. : 667)

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Rather, you have been dead for a hundred years. Look at your food and drink; they have not decayed. And look at your donkey; and We shall, indeed, make of you a sign for mankind. And look at the bones [of your donkey and], how We bring them together and cover them with flesh. And so when these signs became clear to him, he said, I now know that Allah is capable of all things. 260. And consider the time Abraham said, My Lord, show me how You bring the dead to life. Allah said, Do you not believe? Abraham said, I do believe, but so that I may attain reassurance of heart. Allah said, Take four birds unto yourself, then slaughter them and cut them into pieces. Then place a piece of each of them atop each of the [surrounding] mountains, then call them and they will come quickly to you. And know that Allah is All-Powerful, AllWise.
These two verses present further indisputable evidence for Allahs ability to resurrect the dead and, consequently, judge people for their actions. The first pertains to a man who doubted the resurrection and the other, again, to Prophet Abraham . In the first account, the man, who was a traveller, came across a town that had been so completely devastated that it was reduced to nothing but shambles. All the towns inhabitants were dead, and not a sign of life could be seen within it. Upon observing this seemingly irreparable devastation, this passerby doubted that Allah could bring such total ruin back to life and declared, How could Allah bring this [place] back to life?. Allah then chose to bestow His mercy upon this individual, and upon all of mankind by establishing even more tangible evidence for His ability to resurrect. And so Allah caused this man and his donkey to die for a hundred years, and then brought them both back to life again. Upon resurrecting the man, Allah asked him how long he thought hed lain dead, to which the man answered, a day or part of a day.. Allah

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then informed him that he had been dead for a hundred years.1 After realizing that he had, in fact, been dead for a hundred years, Allah directed him to look at his food and drink and to notice that they had not decayed. Because many scholars have indicated that the food and drink mentioned were fruit and juice, this sign is particularly telling of Allahs ability, as such items decompose more quickly than other kinds of food. Allah then tells the man to look at his donkey and to consider how itd been reduced to dust and bones. As the man looked on, Allah brought the donkeys bones together again, covered them with flesh and brought the animal back to life. Upon witnessing all these signs and upon understanding - beyond doubt - the reality of all hed seen, the man acknowledged Allahs power to resurrect the dead, and declared, I now know that Allah is capable of all things. By means of this enlightening incident, Allah made this individual himself a sign by which mankind might be certain of the Resurrection and everything else that will ensue on Judgment Day. The next narrative involves Prophet Abraham , and pertains to the time he asked Allah to show him how He brings the dead to life. Regarding the purpose behind this request, Imam Ibn Katheer writes that Prophet Abraham sought to rise in faith from the level of conviction that comes with unwavering belief to the level of conviction that comes with actually witnessing a sign of Allah with ones own eyes2. Hence, when asked by Allah whether he believed in Allahs ability to resurrect the dead, Prophet Abraham replied that he, indeed, did believe that Allah was capable of all things - including the ability to bring life to the dead - but that He only sought reassurance of heart. In honor of Prophet Abrahams request, and as yet another act of mercy for all of mankind, Allah responded by commanding His prophet to collect four birds, slaughter them, cut them into pieces, and then place individual pieces upon each of the surrounding mountains. Upon distributing the pieces as directed, Prophet Abraham was ordered to call the birds to him; and indeed they came - flying hurriedly and as alive as could possibly be. Because Allahs capacity to resurrect is a clear sign of His power, wisdom
1. It would appear that this dialogue took place by means of messengers and was not a direct exchange between Allah and this person. 2. Ibn Katheer, Radwan-ul-Jami, vol. 2:866.

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and judgment, and because it is evidence that everyone will be resurrected on Judgment Day and held accountable for their deeds, Allah finishes the verses by reminding Prophet Abraham that He is All-Powerful and All-Wise.

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261. The similitude of those who spend their wealth in the cause of Allah is as a grain that grows seven ears. Within each ear lies a hundred grains. And Allah further multiplies reward for whom He wills. And Allah is Most Bountiful, All-Knowing. 262. Those who spend their wealth in the cause of Allah - and do not follow what they spend by speaking of their generosity or by spiting those whom they give - shall have their reward with Allah, and there will be no fear upon them and nor will they grieve. 263. Kind words and forgiveness are better than donations followed with spite; and Allah is Free-Of-All-Needs, Most Forbearing.

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264. O You who believe, do not make invalid your donations by speaking of your generosity or by spiting your recipients - as do those who give only to be seen [and hence praised] by others, and who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day. They are, in parable, like a smooth stone covered in soil that is then hit by heavy rain and left bare. They stand unable to retrieve what they have lost [or benefit from it after having struggled to earn it]. For Allah does not guide the Unbelievers [to making contributions that benefit them].

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261. The similitude of those who spend their wealth in the cause of Allah is as a grain that grows seven ears. Within each ear lies a hundred grains. And Allah further multiplies reward for whom He wills. And Allah is Most Bountiful, All-Knowing. 262. Those who spend their wealth in the cause of Allah - and do not follow what they spend by speaking of their generosity or by spiting those whom they give - shall have their reward with Allah, and there will be no fear upon them and nor will they grieve.
This is a motivational call to spend in the cause of Allah and to give of ones wealth with the intention of attaining closeness to Him. To spend of ones wealth in the cause of Allah is a primary means by which one might attain Allahs pleasure and His Paradise. Such spending includes spending to propagate beneficial knowledge, spending on Jihad and the preparation of mujahedeen and contributing to anything else that might bring benefit to Muslims. Immediately following these priorities comes spending on the poor and the needy. It is, however, possible that one seek to alleviate a persons poverty while, at the same time, seeking to fulfill one of the basic needs outlined (Jihad and the spread of knowledge). Because forming multiple intentions brings multiple benefit, Allah also multiplies His reward up to seven hundred-fold. In fact, Allah even further multiplies reward for whom He wills, and so the return on such contributions is far greater than anything any worldly profit might amount to. The attainment of such exponential reward and bounty depends primarily on the degree of faith and sincerity that lies in the heart of the person making the contribution. It also depends on the degree to which he brings benefits and the real fruits of his contributions. Clearly, many kinds of contributions are seen to bring tremendous benefit and a multitude of different praiseworthy results. It is only appropriate that Allah, the Most Gracious, recompense such benevolence with exponential reward and grace. Exponentially multiplied reward, however, is not the only prize that awaits those who make sincere contributions. Rather, those who spend out of sincerity and guard against following what they give with reminders of their generosity, and guard against being of those who use their contributions to

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hurt the feelings of their recipients are also those who will not have any fear upon them and nor will they grieve.. As previously mentioned, grief is hardship that afflicts an individual in the present, while fear is the anticipation of approaching hardship. To be free of both, therefore, is to attain both present and ever-lasting happiness.

263. Kind words and forgiveness are better than donations followed with spite; and Allah is Free-Of-All Needs1, Most Forbearing.
Allah here mentions three different degrees of benevolence, and then a fourth degree that a is mix of both good and evil: The highest degree is where a donor contributes out of sincere intention and does not follow his contributions with spite or with reminders of his generosity. The next level is to speak Kind words that fill the hearts of other Muslims with happiness. This includes apologizing kindly to someone who asks for a donation in the event that one does not have what can be spared. The third degree of benevolence is to forgive and pardon those who may have shown unkindness or caused us undue harm. In the context of the verse mentioned here, this might include showing forgiveness towards someone who is of ill-manners or someone who asks for a donation impolitely. The lowest level is to make a contribution, but then follow it with spite and reminders of ones generosity. Individuals given to this practice exhibit both good and evil at the same time. However, it is important to note that a small amount of good untainted with evil is better than a great deal of good tarnished with wrongdoing and injustice. Overall, this verse serves as an admonition to those who seek to hurt the feelings of (or harm in any way) recipients of their donations - something
1. The attribute Ghunyy in this context reflects that Allah is in no need of any of the contributions His servants make - much less contributions followed by spite and self-praise and that all such contributions, if made with sincerity, essentially serve to bring benefit and reward to the contributor, himself.

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often practiced by the cunning, foolish and ignorant among mankind. Allah reminds His servants that their donations do not benefit Him in the least, for He is completely Free-Of-All-Needs and, hence completely without need for the donations they make or anything else they might have to offer. He also reminds His servants that He is Most Forbearing, and hence does not seek to immediately punish those who spite others with their contributions or those who cause their recipients grief. Instead, He grants them time to repent and abstain from such evil manners or deeds.

264. O You who believe, do not make invalid your donations by speaking of your generosity or by spiting your recipients - as do those who give only to be seen [and hence praised] by others, and who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day. They are, in parable, like a smooth stone covered in soil that is then hit by heavy rain and left bare. They stand unable to retrieve what they have lost [or benefit from it after having struggled to earn it]1. For Allah does not guide the Unbelievers to making contributions that benefit them.2
Because of the strong correlation between this verse and those preceding it, it has been included in this section. Because, however, Sheikh Sadee has explained the verse along with those that immediately follow it, we will follow in the same manner.

1. Translated in accordance with Zubdatu-Tafaseer 2. From Tafseer Al-Muyasar, 

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265. And the parable of those who spend their wealth seeking the pleasure of Allah, and who spend with sincerity and conviction, is that of a lavish garden on high ground that is poured down upon by heavy rain and, hence, gives forth twice its fruit. And if not hit by heavy rain, then light rain. And Allah is All-Watchful of what you do.

266. Would any of you wish that he own a garden of palm trees and grapevines, through which rivers flow, and have all kinds of different fruit therein; and then while being overcome by old age and while tending weak children see it [the garden] burnt down by a fiery whirlwind? Thus Allah clarifies His signs for you so that you may perhaps reflect. 267. O You who believe, spend in the cause of Allah of the good things you have earned and of what We have brought forth from the land for you. And do not seek to spend of what is poorly and what you yourselves would not accept except by shutting your eyes in distaste. And know that Allah is Free-Of-All-Needs, AllPraiseworthy.


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265. And the parable of those who spend their wealth seeking the pleasure of Allah, and of those who spend with sincerity and conviction is that of a lavish garden on high ground that is poured down upon by heavy rain and, hence, gives forth twice its fruit. And if not hit by heavy rain, then light rain. And Allah is All-Watchful of what you do. 266. Would any of you wish that he own a garden of palm trees and grapevines, through which rivers flow, and have all kinds of different fruit therein; and then after being overcome by old age and while tending weak children see it [the garden] burnt down by a fiery whirlwind? Thus Allah clarifies His signs for you so that you may perhaps reflect.
In these three verses, Allah makes reference to three different types of people using three different parables. Verse 265 sets the example of those who spend in the way of Allah with the intention of seeking the pleasure of Allah and, hence, do not follow their contributions by speaking of their generosity or by spiting their recipients. Verse 266 describes the state of those who initially spend with sincere intention but then follow their contributions by reminding others of their generosity and by spiting them. Finally, verse 26 (included in the previous group of verses) establishes the parable of those who do not seek Allahs pleasure at all and, instead, spend for no reason other than to be admired by others. Contributions made by the first of these kinds of donors are multiplied manifold by Allah, for they are made out of complete faith and sincerity. Those who contribute in this manner spend of their wealth seeking the pleasure of Allah and out of complete conviction, as they have no doubt that they will be rewarded for their contributions. Their parable, therefore, is of a lavish garden on high ground - a place where it is especially receptive to rain, wind and sun. Heavy rains then pour down upon this garden causing it to produce twice the growth and fruit other gardens typically produce. In times when it is not hit by heavy rain, even light showers allow it all it needs to produce its rich fruit. This is the best of all donors and is the most rewarded by Allah.

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The parable Allah presents in verse 266 is that of a man who initially sought to give of his wealth to attain the pleasure of Allah, but then followed his contributions by praising himself and speaking of his generosity or by showing cruelty or meanness towards his recepients. And so after having been blessed with a rich lavish garden with different fruits and with rivers flowing through it (like the garden in the previous example), his garden was burnt down and completely annihilated by a fiery whirlwind. This whirlwind was, of course, the result of the self-praise and spite with which he followed his contributions and that only caused his previous good deeds to be completely obliterated. While a situation like this is agonizingly regrettable and painful enough, matters are exacerbated by the fact that the owner of the garden is in his old age and finds himself caring for children who are still too weak to care for him or even for themselves. How much more dire could this mans need be for the garden destroyed by the evil of his deeds, and how much more desperate could the predicament of those who invalidate their deeds be on Judgment Day? The third parable represents those who neither seek the reward of Allah, nor even believe in Him to begin with. Instead, their contributions are only a means by which they might attain the admiration of others and a device by which they might bask in the praise of mankind. Allah likens the actions of such individuals to a smooth stone covered with soil that is then showered with heavy rain. Far from producing any kind of growth, the heavy rain serves only to wash away the soil and leave the hard stone surface bare. This is the likeness of the hearts of those who have no faith and seek only to be lauded and extolled by others. Such hardened hearts neither soften nor humble themselves before Allah and are devoid of the fertile foundations (i.e. faith) upon which the reward of their contributions might grow and develop. Indeed, all the deeds that such wrongdoers undertake, no matter how righteous they seem, are void and unacceptable since the primary condition for the acceptance of good deeds - belief in Allah - is absent. While the actions of the individual depicted in this last example are unacceptable to Allah due to the fact that the basic condition for acceptance was not met, the actions described in the example preceding it were unacceptable because of the evil deeds that cancelled the original good deeds. Actions described

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in the very first of the three examples, however, were completely acceptable owing to the fulfillment of the conditions required and the fact that they were not nullified by any evil or wrongdoing in the form of spite, or haughtiness. All those who seek to give or make contributions will fall under one of these categories. It is, therefore, important that one weigh up his deeds and those of others in accordance to the scales and examples set by Allah in these verses.

267. O You who believe, spend in the cause of Allah of the good things you have earned and of what We have brought forth from the land for you. And do not seek to spend of what is poorly and what you yourselves would not accept except by shutting your eyes in distaste. And know that Allah is Free-Of-All-Needs, AllPraiseworthy.
Allah urges His servants to spend of what they earn through trade or grow in terms of the kinds of produce (such as seeds and fruit, etc) that He causes to grow forth from the land. This command includes obligatory charity (Zakat) due on some forms of wealth, currency, gold, silver, merchandise and produce grown for trade. The command also includes supererogatory charity, which can also come from any of these sources. Allah tells His servants not to give of what is poorly or inferior in terms of grade or quality (such as defective or low-grade fruit, for instance) or anything they themselves would only accept with distaste from someone who might be bound by duty to spend on them. Instead, the minimum requirement for compulsory charity is that the goods offered be of average quality (i.e. average with regards to the quality of merchandise from which it is taken). To offer the best of what one owns is the highest and most praiseworthy level of charity, while to offer the poorest of ones merchandise or produce is unacceptable with regards to obligatory charity. In instances of supererogatory contributions, offering poorer-thanaverage goods does not attain the contributor full reward but is acceptable. Allah reminds His servants that He is completely Free-Of-All-Needs, and therefore without need for any of His creation or their contributions, or even for their acts of worship. Allah only calls His servants to these deeds

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for their own benefit and out of pure grace and benevolence towards them. All manifestations of Allahs mercy, and all the rulings He decrees for the welfare of His servants - both in this life and in the Hereafter - make Him the All-Praiseworthy. Allahs overwhelming generosity, complete justice and divine wisdom are more reasons for why He is completely deserving of all praise. Allahs most perfect and most praiseworthy attributes - attributes that are glorious beyond comprehension and incomparable to those of anything or anyone else - are another reason for why all worship and praise is due exclusively to Him.

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268. Satan threatens you with the prospect of poverty and orders you to practice evil, while Allah promises you His forgiveness and bounty. And Allah is Vastly Bountiful, AllKnowing.

269. He [Allah] bestows Hikmah upon whom He wills. And whoever is bestowed with Hikmah has indeed been endowed with a great deal of good. And only those of sound intellect will be mindful [of this]. 270. And no matter what you give and no matter what you pledge to do, Allah, indeed, knows it. And the wrongdoers have no protecting allies [against Allah]. 271. If you make known your contributions, then that is noble; but if you conceal them when giving them to the poor, then that is better for you. And Allah will expiate some of your sins [by way of what you give]; and Allah is completely informed of what you do.




272. You [O Prophet] are not burdened with making them [your people] accept guidance, rather it is Allah Who guides whom He wills. And whatever charity you [Believers] offer is for your own good. And do not spend except to seek the Countenance of Allah. And whatever charity you give you will be recompensed for completely; and you will not be wronged.




268. Satan threatens you with [the prospect of] poverty and orders you to practice evil, while Allah promises you His forgiveness and bounty. And Allah is Vastly Bountiful, All-Knowing.
After urging His servants to spend in His cause for their own benefit, Allah warns them against the harm of withholding their contributions. Allah further informs His servants that they will be called to choose between two radically different paths. The first path is that of Allah, the Most Merciful and Most Benevolent who only calls His servants to do what is of benefit to them and then rewards them tremendously for their deeds both in this life and the Hereafter. The other path is the evil and grievously detrimental path of Satan, for it is he who urges his followers to withhold any charity they might intend to make and scares them with the prospect of poverty and hardship. Those who seek the path of Allah are thus given the glad tidings of Allahs gracious forgiveness and bounty, both in this life and the next, while those who obey the whispers of Satan only do so to their own detriment. Allah closes this verse by stating that He is Vastly Bountiful and, therefore, capable of multiplying the reward of those who spend in His cause. Allah also states that He is All-Knowing and thus knows, not just who is deserving of reward, but also who deserves to have their reward multiplied even further.

269. He [Allah] bestows Hikmah1 upon whom He wills. And whoever is bestowed with Hikmah has indeed been endowed with a great deal of good. But only those of sound intellect will be mindful [of this].
In the preceding verses, Allah mentions the different dispositions of those who spend of their wealth charitably and states that it is He who bestows them with the very wealth they spend and use to attain the tremendous rewards He has prepared for them. In this verse, Allah mentions an even greater blessing He bestows upon whom He wills; namely, Hikmah. Hikmah is an attribute of individuals who hold beneficial knowledge,
1. In this context, to be bestowed with Hikmah is primarily to be endowed with knowledge and understanding, as well as to practice the righteous deeds that are a result of these endowments.

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understanding, wisdom and sound intellect, and of those who say and practice what is correct and what lies in accordance to the wisdom and knowledge they hold. This is the greatest of all endowments Allah might bestow upon a servant, and for this reason He says, And whoever is bestowed with Hikmah has indeed been endowed with a great deal of good. Clearly, those endowed with Hikmah are those who have departed the darknesses of ignorance for the light of guidance and truth. It is they who have forsaken idle speech and the practice of futile deeds for words of truth and actions that are wise. But servants endowed with this enormous blessing are not limited to benefitting themselves; indeed, they stand prepared to benefit others in every way that might bring happiness in both worlds. It is safe to say that any matter can only commence, or be rectified through Hikmah, which may also carry meanings as to place something in its appropriate place (literally or metaphorically) or to direct something to its appropriate destination or to give something its due priority, or to move forward when it is appropriate to do so, and hold back when it is appropriate to do so, etc. It is worth noting that Hikmah, in this context, is the exact opposite of zulm, a term weve already defined under verse 2:254. Just as the worst form of zulm is to direct ones worship (see 1:5 for a more elaborate explanation of worship) to anyone or anything other than Allah, the best form of Hikmah is to direct all ones worship only to Allah, as He is the only Deity deserving of it. This tremendous blessing can only be truly appreciated, however, by those of sound intellect and understanding as it is they who know and undertake what brings benefit, and it is they who recognize and keep away from what brings harm. To spend of ones wealth in the cause of Allah and to spread Hikmah to others are two of the greatest means by which a servant might attain the favor of Allah and closeness to Him. Indeed, the Prophet mentioned both these blessings when he explained that it is not permissible to be envious except of two kinds of people: A man that Allah has given wealth and caused to spend of it righteously, and a man that Allah has bestowed with Hikmah and so teaches it to others.

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270. And no matter what you give and no matter what you pledge to do, Allah, indeed, knows it. And the wrongdoers have no protecting allies [against Allah]. 271. If you make known your contributions, then that is noble; but if you conceal them when giving them to the poor, then that is better for you. And Allah will expiate some of your sins [by way of what you give]; and Allah is completely informed of what you do.
Allah states that no matter how large or small His servants contributions might be, and no matter what deeds they pledge to do, He is completely aware of their actions and intentions. This knowledge, of course, means that Allah compensates everyone in accordance with their deeds and the sincerity of their intentions. The wrongdoers referred to in this verse (2:270) are those who do not spend what is required of them, whether in terms of Zakat or anything else that might be due. These are individuals who openly neglect their duties; and Allah warns that if such wrongdoers persist in their wrongdoing, they will find no protecting allies or guardians against His punishment. Allah also tells us that while contributions that are made known to others are good or noble (provided theyre made with sincerity, as will be mentioned), when given to the poor, concealing them is better. Concealment is preferred when giving charity to the poor not just because it is a more evident sign of sincerity than to contribute openly, but also because it is potentially less embarrassing to the recipient. It is authentically reported that the Prophet said that among those that Allah will shield in His shade on the Day when there will be no shade but His (Judgment Day), is a man1 who made a donation and concealed it such that his left hand knew not what his right hand had given. As for contributions made to large-scale social initiatives (such as building mosques and hospitals, for instance), it may actually be better to make known
1. This of course refers to anyone who practices this beautiful act of worship and not to a particular person.

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such charity than to conceal it. The wisdom is that making such contributions known encourages others to contribute and, thereby, creates a sense of praiseworthy competition among the righteous. Aside from the bountiful and unstinted reward that spending in Allahs cause brings, such spending is also a means by which Allah expiates the sins of His servants. Charity, therefore, not only brings much good, it also rids a servant of a great deal of evil. Allah reminds His servants that He is completely informed of their deeds and will compensate them for what they do in accordance with His complete wisdom.

272. You [O Prophet] are not burdened with making them [your people] accept guidance, rather it is Allah Who guides whom He wills. And whatever charity you [Believers] offer is for your own good. And do not spend except to seek the Countenance of Allah. And whatever charity you give you will be recompensed for completely; and you will not be wronged.
Allah addresses the Prophet and reassures him that he will not be held accountable for those who choose to reject faith. Instead, the Prophet was only required to convey the message of Allah and to call to good while warning against evil. Allah also states that it is only He who causes His servants to accept faith, and He bestows this greatest of all blessings in accordance with His knowledge, wisdom and mercy. Allah reminds His servants that any and all of what they spend in His cause is ultimately for their own good. This, of course, is on condition that it is given for the sake of Allah and for the reward of seeing the Countenance of Allah in the Hereafter (the greatest possible reward in Paradise). Allah makes known that all contributions His servants make will be repaid or recompensed in full, and that no one will be wronged or undercompensated in the least. Indeed, Allah states repeatedly in the Quran that He multiplies the reward for charity many times over.

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273. Seek [for your charity] the poor who while struggling in the cause of Allah have become confined [i.e. either due to jihad or immigration] and are not capable of going about the lands to seek their own provision. To those unaware of their need, they appear wealthy due to their aversion to begging; but you will recognize their neediness in their appearance. They do not ask for charity [and if they do, then it is without importunity]. And whatever you spend in the cause of Allah - then Allah is, indeed, All-Knowing of it.

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273. Seek [for your charity] the poor who while struggling in the cause of Allah have become confined [i.e. either due to jihad or immigration] and are not capable of going about the lands to seek their own provision. To those unaware of their need, they appear wealthy due to their aversion to begging; but you will recognize their neediness in their appearance. They do not ask for charity [and if they do, then it is without importunity]. And whatever you spend [in the cause of Allah] then Allah is, indeed, All-Knowing of it.
Allah calls the Believers to spend on the poor who have endured hardship for His sake, left their homes, and are unable to seek their own provision. It is also possible that the poor who while struggling in the cause of Allah have become confined refers to those involved in Jihad and are, therefore, fighting the Unbelievers. Because Jihad is so demanding and leaves little or no time or opportunity for anything else, Allah directs the Believers to spend on these individuals as they engage in one of the most important and necessary acts of worship ordained. Aside from the severe circumstances that poverty presents, the poor mentioned in this verse are also deserving of charity because they do not ask for it; to the extent that they appear wealthy to those who do not know of their plight. They are identifiable only due to hints in their appearance such as frailty of build or inadequacy of clothing. Such individuals either do not ask for charity at all or ask for bare minimum requirements without making any repeated appeals. These persons are, therefore, the most deserving category of the poor, not just for the hardship they endure, but also for their patience and for their reliance on Allah, not His creation. Regardless of whether or not one spends of his charity on the kind of individuals described in this verse, all good causes and initiatives are worthy of the charity and contributions made to them, for all such contributions bring Allahs reward. For this reason Allah says:

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274. Those who spend their wealth in the cause of Allah by night and day, discreetly and openly, will find their reward with their Lord and will not fear, nor will they grieve. 275. Those who consume usury will arise [on Judgment Day] as one so afflicted with insanity, he appears to be stricken uncontrollably by a devils touch [magic]. This is because they used to say, Trade is but the same as usury. But Allah has made trade lawful and made usury prohibited. And so whoever should receive admonition from his Lord [against dealing in usury] and, hence, desist, may keep his previous earnings [i.e. those made before learning of the prohibition], and Allah will undertake his affair. But those who return to this evil are the dwellers of Hellfire, in it they shall abide forever. 276. Allah eradicates what is earned through usury, but cultivates what is spent in charity. And Allah does not love ingrates who persist in sin.

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274. Those who spend their wealth in the cause of Allah by night and day, discreetly and openly will find their reward with their Lord and will not fear, nor will they grieve.
All charity offered in sincerity, therefore, brings great reward and serves to protect against fear and sorrow (see explanation of verse 2:262). Allah specifically says that those who spend in His cause will find their reward with Him so that we may appreciate the honor and magnitude of this reward, and so that they may understand that it will be presented on Judgment Day, the time when it will be needed most. The Prophet is authentically reported to have said that Allah takes in His palm the charity given by a servant, even if it be as small as a date; and provided it comes from lawful earnings, grows it to the magnitude of an enormous mountain - just as one might raise and nurture a foal from meekness to strength1.

275. Those who consume usury will arise [on Judgment Day] as one so afflicted with insanity he appears to be stricken uncontrollably by a devils touch [magic]. This is because they used to say, Trade is but the same as usury. But Allah has made trade lawful and made usury prohibited. And so whoever should receive admonition from his Lord [against dealing in usury] and, hence, desist, may keep his previous earnings [i.e. those made before learning of the prohibition], and Allah will undertake his affair. But those who return to this evil are the dwellers of Hellfire, in it they shall abide forever. 276. Allah eradicates what is earned through usury, but cultivates what is spent in charity. And Allah does not love ingrates who persist in sin.

1. The hadeeth is classified as sound, as agreed upon by both Bukhari and Muslim.

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After having described the virtue of those who spend of their wealth in the cause of Allah and the reward that awaits them, Allah moves on to mention those who consume or deal in usury and how they will be punished in accordance with the gravity and nature of this grievous sin. Just as such evildoers frantically - and even manically - sought to accumulate wealth by taking advantage of others in this life, in the Hereafter they will rise in the same manic stupor and will emerge from their graves as one so afflicted with insanity, he appears to be stricken uncontrollably by a devils touch (magic). This humiliating and degrading punishment is appropriate for such individuals who shamelessly and deceitfully declare that trade is the same as usury, thus equating between what Allah has made lawful and what He has made unlawful. Allah then offers those who deal in usury the opportunity to repent, and states that those who desist from this evil practice upon learning of its prohibition may keep what they had previously earned. Allah will then undertake the affairs of such persons upon Himself and will thereby uphold the repentance of those who sincerely repented and forsake those of insincere intention, thus leaving them to continue dealing in usury1. Those who insist on the lawfulness of usury, even after hearing this verse, and continue to declare that trade is the same as usury, are Unbelievers for having declared lawful what Allah has unequivocally declared unlawful (a form of shirk) and, therefore, completely deserving of eternal Hell2. Those who deal in usury while admitting that it is a sin are not considered unbelievers. Because, however, usury is a major sin, their actions constitute one of the worst forms of evil. In verse 2:276, Allah states that He eradicates what is earned through usury,
1. At-Tabari, vol.2: 1598 2. From Al-Masaail Al Itizaliyyah fee tafseer-il-Kashaaf, lil-Zamakhsari, fee daw ma warad fee kitab al intisaaf libn Muneer, ard wa naqd, pub. Dar Al-Andalus lil-Nashr wattawzee, printed, 118 Hij, pg 270. This is an important note as the verse at hand is used by deviant sects as evidence for the opinion that merely dealing in usury (without declaring it lawful) constitutes unbelief, and that a person who deals in usury and dies without repenting is, therefore, destined for eternal Hell.



but cultivates and develops the reward of what is spent in charity. This is a truly enlightening statement as it dispels the erroneous belief that spending in charity decreases wealth and that consuming usury increases it. Such a misperception does not take into consideration that Allah is the source of all wealth and provision and that what He holds cannot be attained except through obedience to Him. Those who disobey and insist on dealing in usury with the hopes of accumulating wealth are, therefore, punished with the loss of wealth - exactly the opposite of what they had sought to gain. Allah then states that He does not love ingrates who do not appreciate His blessings and who, instead, continually persist in sin and different forms of corruption. Conversely, it can be directly inferred that Allah loves His thankful and appreciative servants, just as He loves those who strive to repent from the sins they commit.



277. Verily, those who believe, do righteous deeds, establish Prayers and pay Zakat will have their reward with their Lord, and will not fear nor will they grieve. 278. O You who believe, fear Allah and forsake any remaining dealings in usury, if you truly do believe.

279. But if you refuse to do this, then stand notified of war against Allah and His Prophet. But if you repent, then you may keep your principal sums. You will be neither unjust, nor be dealt with unjustly [i.e. you will not take back more or less than your principal sums]. 280. And if a debtor is in hardship then defer his debt to a time of ease; and to give charity [by pardoning the debtor] is even better for you, if you only but knew. 281. And take heed against a Day when you will return to Allah, whereupon each soul will be recompensed for what it earned, and none will be wronged.


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277. Verily, those who believe, do righteous deeds, establish Prayers and pay Zakat will have their reward with their Lord, and will not fear nor will they grieve.
This verse reveals that the most important and effective means by which one might avoid dealing in usury is sound belief and its manifestations, especially the establishment of Prayer and the payment of Zakat. As mentioned previously in this chapter, the establishment of Prayers calls a servant away from all that is evil or obscene, while the benevolence and goodwill inherent to the payment of Zakat goes against the injustice and evil of dealing in usury.

278. O You who believe, fear Allah and forsake any remaining dealings in usury, if you truly do believe. 279. But if you refuse to do this, then stand notified of war against Allah and His Prophet. But if you repent, then you may keep your principal sums. You will be neither unjust, nor be dealt with unjustly [i.e. you will not take back more or less than your principal sums].
Allah then addresses the Believers directly and tells them to fear His punishment and end any dealings in usury they may have previously engaged in. This command is then followed by a severe warning from Allah stating that those who choose to continue dealing in usury will be at war against Allah and His Prophet . Such an admonition is clear proof of the heinousness of dealing in usury, as to be at war against Allah and His Prophet is an atrocity of unspeakable proportion. Allah then tells the Believers that those among them who repent from dealing in usury may keep the principal sums of whatever dealings they are currently engaged in. To take back anything more or less than the principal sum is prohibited and considered a form of injustice towards either creditor or debtor. The command to keep only the principal sum applies in instances where the transactions are current and where the person repenting was already aware of the prohibition. Whatever was earned by way of usury before knowledge of the prohibition may - as mentioned before - be kept even upon repenting.

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This verse shows that usury is an injustice as it involves taking from others, especially the needy, what one has no right to take. It also involves exacerbating the affairs of those in need by multiplying their debt and, hence, their misery. Sayed Qutb on Usury: Contributions and donations manifest generosity, benevolence, tolerance, leniency, purity, mutual solidarity and cooperation between people, while interest or usury embodies miserliness, selfishness, cruelty, mercilessness and all that is corrupt. To make a contribution or donation is to generously give of ones wealth without seeking compensation or any kind of return from the recipient, whereas to lend with interest is to take back, not just what one has lent, but also an unjustifiable additional amount of wealth that is wrongfully wrenched from the fruits of a debtors hard work and effort, or worse still - from his very flesh, as is the plight of those who borrow only to support themselves and their families. The stark contrast between the grace and benevolence of charity, on the one hand, and the evil and destructive nature of usury, on the other, is exposed or emphasized in the way Allah presents the grim reality of one immediately after the nobleness and virtue of the other. No other pre-Islamic practice has been so emphatically denounced by Islam as has usury, and no one has been so severely warned or threatened by Allah as have those who deal or persist in dealing in it. Having said this, the ugliness and devastation caused by consuming interest during the pre-Islamic era hardly begins to compare to the detriment and harm caused by the spread of this evil practice in these times. Today, more than any other age, it is easy to see just why those who commit this crime are addressed so sternly and punished so severely. In pre-Islamic Arabia, usury was, for the most part, something practiced at an individual level, and this, in turn, meant that the consequences were more limited or less pervasive than they are today. In this era of massive interest-based organizations, multinational banks and financial establishments that dominate global resources, manipulate governments and subjugate others to systems

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contrived only for self-gain, hardly anyone is immune to this debilitating epidemic. And while the calamitous consequences and repercussions of such widespread interest-based dealings have served to bring an eyewitness-corroborated appreciation of the wisdom, grace and benefit of Allahs decrees, much of mankind continues to wallow in refusal, doubt and disregard. Worse still, through the manipulation of media systems, government policies, university syllabuses and curricula, and whatever modes of communication available to them, proponents of usury have managed to convince unsuspecting and misinformed masses that interest is the only practical means by which a financially healthy society might be established or maintained. Developing Muslim countries are told to look to the progress made by the West as proof for this claim, and anyone calling for the abolishment of interest is derided and brushed off as being idealistic, nave, backward and even accused of seeking to jeopardize a societys financial well-being. Far from allowing any kind of harmony to develop between groups and individuals in any society, interest only leads to perpetual rivalry and animosity between those who lend and those who borrow. All such enmity, discord and strife only serve to shatter even the mere prospect of solidarity, unity and strength. Spiritually and financially weakened, societies that have allowed their financial arteries to become contaminated with usury exist only on the brink of collapse, no matter how outwardly stable they may appear and no matter how much they falsely credit their interest-based financial systems for whatever progress they make. Periodic recessions have proven this point over and over again.1
1. Indeed, the evil of interest is hardly limited to the dealings that take place within a society, or between the members of that society. For decades, rich countries have used debt, under the pretext of aid and development programs, to destroy and completely subjugate developing countries into subservience. Today, Third World debt is commonly referred to as the Third World debt crisis, and experts openly acknowledge that all lending by rich countries to poor countries has only worsened the plight of the latter at practically every level conceivable. Consider the following: For every 1 in grant aid to developing countries, more than 1 comes back in debt repayments.Global Development Finance 2001, based on 1999 figures for grants and total debt service.

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Every day in 1999, $128 million was transferred from the poorest countries to the richest in debt repayments. - Global Development Finance 2001, 1999 figures for 62 lowest income countries. Total debts amassed by the worlds poorest countries shot up from $25bn in 1970 to $52bn in 2002, resulting in endless misery and widespread poverty as many of these economies spiralled out of control. - Madslien, Jorn. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4619189.stm) ...despite having paid back $550bn in principal and interest over the last three decades, on $540bn of loans - they [the Worlds poorest countries] still go on paying, sacrificing both the health and the education of their people, as well as any prospect of economic recovery and growth. - ibid. Debt servicing robs developing countries of between one quarter and one half of their national budgets, depriving them of funds for basic services and economic development. As a consequence, debt has a dramatic impact on the health, education, nutrition, and employment of hundreds of millions of people, as well as undermining political stability, the environment, and long-term development among the poorest countries. The United Nations has estimated that seven million children die every year as a direct result of the debt crisis, or 19,000 per day. Tens of millions more are deprived of primary educations, clean water, sanitation, and vaccinations, and are unnecessarily exposed to a range of infectious diseases. - Jochnick, 133 (see bibliography) In 1992, there was a net flow of 19 billion dollars from the poorest 40 countries in the world to the richest. These low-income countries, 0 of them in sub-Saharan Africa, received 16 billion dollars in aid, but paid 5 billion dollars in debt repayments and interest. They defaulted on 12 billion, which has been added to their debt. The total debt now (199) stands at 50 billion nearly half of their combined gross national products. While struggling to feed their own people they are forced to grow cash crops for exports, and all the time their debt to the developed world is growing. - Godlee, F., 1369 (see bibliography) While its practically inconceivable that aid which leaves seven million children dead every year could ever have been made out of goodwill to begin with, economist and author John Perkins quite conclusively dispels any notion that the debt crisis is merely a miscalculated act of kindness on the part of the lender. In his 200 book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, Perkins tells the story of how while covertly employed by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) and on the payroll of an international consulting firm, his job was to convince Third World Country governments to accept loans that were much larger than needed for infrastructure development as well as other means of development - and to guarantee that the development projects were contracted to U.S. corporations. Once these countries became irreversibly burdened with huge debts, the U.S. government and the international aid agencies allied with it were able to control these economies and to ensure that oil and other resources were channeled to serve their interests. The following excerpts are from his book:

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While it is permissible for a Muslim ruler to persecute, and even kill, those who insist on dealing in usury within a society, war against Allah and His Prophet) is something that is far broader than just a legislated punishment. The war that societies who base their economies on interest inflict upon themselves is a war against any kind of peace of mind or comfort of the heart, a war against comfort and security, a war against any sense of happiness and reassurance, a war that creates internal rivalry, strife and discord, a war where treachery, injustice and mercilessness prevail, a war where its victims exist only in perpetual fear and anxiety, and a war where entire armies and

We are an elite group of men and women who utilize international financial organizations to foment conditions that make other nations subservient to the corporatocracy running our biggest corporations, our government, and our banks ... Like our counterparts in the Mafia, EHMs (Economic Hit Men) provide favors. These take the form of loans to develop infrastructure-electric generating plants, highways, ports, airports, or industrial parks. A condition of such loans is that engineering and construction companies from our own country must build all these projects. In essence, most of the money never leaves the United States; it is simply transferred from banking offices in Washington to engineering offices in New York, Houston, or San Francisco. Despite the fact that the money is returned almost immediately to corporations that are members of the corporatocracy (the creditors), the recipient country is required to pay it all back, principal plus interest. If an EHM is completely successful, the loans are so large that the debtor is forced to default on its payments after a few years. When this happens, then like the Mafia we demand our pound of flesh. This often includes one or more of the following: control over United Nations votes, the installation of military bases, or access to precious resources such as oil or the Panama Canal. Of course, the debtor still owes us the money--and another country is added to our global empire. - Perkins, xvii Although those at the very pinnacle of the economic pyramid gain the most, millions of us (in the United States) depend either directly or indirectly on the exploitation of the LDCs (Least Developed Countries) for our livelihoods. The resources and cheap labor that feed nearly all our businesses come from places like Indonesia, and very little ever makes its way back. The loans of foreign aid ensure that todays children and their grandchildren will be held hostage. They will have to allow our corporations to ravage their natural resources and will have to forego education, health, and other social services merely to pay us back. - Perkins, 48 While its obvious that Perkins is describing an operation that is far more sinister than mere interest-based loans, its worth noting how effective interest is as a weapon of choice in accomplishing such gruesome objectives. Whats more, one can see how interest neednt take the form of currency, and is actually far more useful to the lender/aggressor when it comes in the form of foreign policy concessions or other forms of surrender and submission.

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countries set their weapons against each other in hostility and hatred1. Contrary to all such injustice, devastation and turmoil, Islam commands lenders to be patient with those who are unable to pay their debts and to allow them time. Indeed, Allah encourages even more than that...

280. And if a debtor is in hardship then defer his debt to a time of ease; and to give charity [by pardoning the debtor] is even better for you, if you only but knew.
While providing a financially troubled debtor with more time to pay his debt is compulsory upon the lender, Allah mentions that to pardon a debt, or even a part of it, is better still. Such is the mercy, benevolence and compassion of Islamic legislation. Because to know and understand that one shall be returned to his Lord for judgment is so conducive to the compassionate treatment of others and to the abstention from all evil - including dealing in usury - Allah reminds us of the Day we will be returned to Him and says:

281. And take heed against a Day when you will return to Allah, whereupon each soul will be recompensed for what it earned and none will be wronged.
Hence, a lender who makes matters difficult for his debtors in this life will have his affairs made difficult by Allah in the Hereafter, while a lender who pardons hard-up debtors will be pardoned by Allah. Also, debtors who could have paid but neglected to, will be made to pay (of whatever good deeds they may have accumulated) to their creditors on Judgment Day. On the other hand, creditors who were unable to pay back their loans for legitimate excuses will, Allah willing, be excused by Allah who will Himself compensate their creditors with His graciousness and generosity. On Judgment Day, each soul will be repaid in accordance with its deeds, and none will be wronged. The negation of wrongdoing in this context means that no one will have their

1. Qutb, 18-2

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good deeds unjustly decreased or their bad deeds unjustly increased1. As can be seen from this and other verses, deeds are the currency of the Hereafter. It is only appropriate, therefore, that one strive to accumulate good deeds for the day when no other currency will be acceptable. Likewise, it is sensible to keep away from bad deeds - the worst possible form of deficit. It is authentically narrated that the Prophet once said, There was once a tradesman who, upon seeing that a debtor was experiencing financial hardship, would say to his workers, Pardon him, for perhaps Allah might pardon us (for our sins), - and so Allah pardoned him2.

1. Al-Qassimy, vol. : 715-716 2. Al-Bukhari, 2078

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282. O You who believe, if you transact a loan between yourselves for a predetermined period of time, then document it in writing. And assign an impartial transcriber to document the contract for you, and let not the scribe decline to write as Allah has taught him; and so let him write. And let the debtor dictate to the scribe what to write, and he must fear Allah and not deduct anything [of what is due to the lender]. And if the debtor is of poor understanding, weak or incapable of dictating, then let his guardian dictate justly. And call upon two Muslim men to witness the contract. But if you are unable to find two men, then seek a man and two women who you deem to be worthy witnesses. This is so that if one of the women forgets [any of the details of

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the contract], the other might remind her. And let not the witnesses decline if they are summoned. Do not tire of documenting your debts, no matter how small or large, for their predetermined periods. This is more just in the sight of Allah, more conducive to the accuracy of the testimony, and more apt to prevent uncertainty. You will not be held blameworthy for not documenting on-the-spot trade transactions where goods and the price to be paid for them are at hand. But call upon witnesses if you trade among each other. And let neither scribe nor witness be wronged, for to wrong them is to disobey Allah. And fear Allah so that Allah teaches you. And Allah is All-Knowing of all things.


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283. And if you are on a journey and cannot find a transcriber then take guaranties into your possession [i.e. as in a security loan]. But if you confide in one another [and hence decide not to take a guaranty or call witnesses] then let the debtor be sure to pay what he has been entrusted with, and let him fear Allah. And do not withhold due testimony. And whoever should withhold it is of sinful heart. And know that Allah is All-Knowing of what you do.

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282. O You who believe, if you transact a loan between yourselves for a predetermined period of time, then document it in writing. And assign an impartial transcriber to document the contract for you, and let not the scribe decline to write as Allah has taught him; and so let him write. And let the debtor dictate to the scribe what to write, and he must fear Allah and not deduct anything [of what is due to the lender]. And if the debtor is of poor understanding, weak or incapable of dictating, then let his guardian dictate justly. And call upon two Muslim men to witness the contract. But if you are unable to find two men, then seek a man and two women who you deem to be worthy witnesses. This is so that if one of the women forgets [any of the details of the contract], the other might remind her. And let not the witnesses decline if they are summoned1. Do not grow tired of documenting your debts, no matter how small or large, for their predetermined periods. This is more just in the sight of Allah, more conducive to the accuracy of the testimony, and more apt to prevent uncertainty. You will not be held blameworthy for not documenting on-the-spot trade transactions where goods and the price to be paid for them are at hand. But call upon witnesses if you trade among each other. And let neither transcriber nor witness be wronged, for to wrong them is to disobey Allah. And fear Allah so that2 Allah teaches you.
1. Meaning summoned to witness the original contract, or summoned before a judge in instances of dispute. 2. The wording in the Quran literally interprets into, And fear Allah , and Allah teaches you but because scholars suggest that the verse implies that piety (or the fear of Allah) is one of the factors by which Allah bestows knowledge upon His servants, it has been worded to indicate cause and effect.

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And Allah is All-Knowing of all things. 283. And if you are on a journey and cannot find a transcriber then take guaranties into your possession [i.e. as in a security loan]. But if you confide in one another [and hence decide not to take a guaranty or call witnesses] then let the debtor be sure to pay what he has been entrusted with, and let him fear Allah. And do not withhold due testimony. And whoever should withhold it is of sinful heart. And know that Allah is All-Knowing of what you do.
These verses outline some of the directives Allah has decreed for the purpose of protecting His servants rights and for setting aright their financial affairs and transactions. Those of sound mind will acknowledge that no alternative to these directives could possibly be of better or even equal effect in upholding such important rights and privileges. Some of the rulings and benefits derived from these verses include: - Loans and deferred payment for merchandise are permissible - It is mandatory to set a date by which a debt is due, as is referred to by Allahs saying for a predetermined period of time. This, of course, means that not specifying a date is impermissible, as it allows for disagreement, and the risk involved likens it to gambling. - Writing down such transactions is at the very least preferable and in some instances mandatory, especially with regards to protecting the rights of those under ones guardianship, etc. In any case, documenting transactions in writing is one of the most effective means by which rights might be preserved as it insures against forgetfulness, error and attempts to defraud by dishonest parties. - Transcribers must be unbiased in what they write and not lean towards either of the two parties (lender or borrower) for any reason. - Transcribing transactions is an act of worship and a blessing Allah bestows

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upon an individual. Through this act of worship, a transcriber helps protect the rights of others and should, therefore, form this intention beforehand so that he might be rewarded by Allah. - Aside from being an individual deemed just or fair in the eyes of the parties transacting, it is important that the transcriber they appoint understand properly what fairness or justice in transcribing debts involves. The absence of either of these two conditions renders a transcriber an inadequate choice. - Literacy is, itself, one of the greatest blessings Allah bestows upon His servants, and to use this blessing in helping others is a means by which one might show gratitude towards Allah for being endowed with this gift. For this reason, Allah says and let not the transscriber decline to write as Allah has taught him; and so let him write. Indeed, one of the best ways of showing gratitude to Allah for any blessing He bestows, is to use it to the benefit of others. - A transcriber is to document the debtors acknowledgment of what he owes. If the debtor is unable to articulate properly what is due of him, either due to being too young or of poor understanding, or due to being mute, insane or any other reason that might affect his ability to dictate, a guardian is to assume this task on his behalf. - Written acknowledgment of a debt or oral acknowledgment in the presence of witnesses are among the most effective means of protecting rights. - It is crucial that the debtor fear Allah and be completely honest as he dictates to the transcriber. He must, therefore, not attempt to lessen what is due of him, nor - in instances of borrowed items or those bought through deferred payment - claim that what he bought or borrowed is of lesser value than it really is. It is essential that a debtor dictate the conditions of an agreement exactly as agreed. - It is important to acknowledge rights, no matter how major or minor. To be meticulous in this regard is an indication of piety. Conversely, to be negligent suggests a lack of religious conviction. - It is important to summon witnesses to trade transactions. If such transactions

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are based on lending (such as deferred payment, for instance), then it is important that they be written down. But if they are on-the-spot trade transactions where goods and the price to be paid for them are at hand, then while calling witnesses is necessary, documenting the transaction in writing is not, as this might cause some difficulty in instances where trading is frequent or ongoing. - One must seek two trustworthy Muslim men to bear witness to trade or loan agreements. If this is not possible, then a man and two women is sufficient, and this holds for different types of contracts. It is authentically reported that on one occasion, the Prophet issued a ruling based on the testimony and oath of only one man, which suggests that this is acceptable in certain situations. Calling two witnesses is, however, more preferable and must be regarded as the basic principle for all such transactions. - With regards to worldly affairs (such as financial transactions and contracts), the testimony of one man equals that of two women. In religious affairs, however, such as narrating Prophetic traditions and issuing juristic verdicts, the testimony of one man is equal to that of one woman. - That the relative weakness of a womans memory to that of a mans (with regards to such affairs) is (at least part of) the reason for why the testimony of two women is equal to that of one man.1
1. This is a point well worth elaborating on, and we might ask ourselves an important question: If the reason behind the testimony of a man being equivalent to that of two women is that women are, as a general rule, more prone to forgetting as some have suggested, then why is a womans testimony equivalent to that of a mans in critically important religious matters such as narrating Prophetic traditions and issuing verdicts? Clearly, the importance of accurately narrating the words of the Prophet and issuing verdicts is at least as important as accurately recalling conditions stipulated in business transactions or information needed to settle legal disputes. Consider the following: In 1987, the Michigan Quarterly Review published a review of literature on the differences between males and females with regards to what they remember. The underlying hypothesis was that while neither sex could be said to have a better memory, both men and women pay more attention to items that catch their interest and consequently store more or better information in memory about those items. (Loftus, 79) After stating the results from a variety of different studies and experiments, the authors conclude

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that, The current review suggests that neither sex can be said to have a better memory per se; rather the two sexes differ in terms of what kind of information they remember best. (Loftus, 82) Aside from the difference in interests and the consequent results on memory, it is common knowledge that dispute - especially legal disputes - involve a certain degree, if not a great deal, of stress and anxiety for the witnesses called to testify. Indeed, the same review from which the above excerpts are taken mentions an experiment that showed women were more likely to make mistakes in eyewitness testimony in more stressful situations. In outlining this, the author writes, There is, in fact, some evidence indicating that women do respond to eyewitness situations with a greater degree of stress and that this greater stress may, in at least one respect, produce more inaccurate recollections. (Loftus, 81) The authors also state that[c]onsiderable caution should be used in attempting to explain the gender differences in memory that have been identified in this review. Other researchers (e.g., Kimura) have noted the inescapable fact that men and women differ genetically, physiologically and psychologically. In addition, differences in the historical social roles of the two genders have undoubtedly contributed to the development of different interests (Loftus, 80-83) In addition to the above, it must be said that a womans emotionality makes her objectivity particularly vulnerable in instances when it is most needed. The following excerpt is from the book, Hints on Advocacy, by Richard Harris, which was first published long before the alleged feminist movement began to censor a lot of what was always accepted as perfectly true and completely obvious. A woman on the witness stand is always, in insurance language, extra hazardous. She is very rarely indifferent to the result of the trial, indeed, is very partisan in her feelings, and often a swift witness of the most pronounced type [prior to the section on female witnesses, Harris explains that swift witnesses are partisan witnesses who - for one reason or another - seek a specific outcome to the trial]; for women, as a rule are not gifted with judicial minds, and lack the great juridical instinct of impartiality. (Harris, 82) It is difficult to understand how merely stating widely observed, accepted and proven facts about women being more emotional than men, or about women responding to stress more severely than do men and thus being more prone to making mistakes under such conditions is considered by some to be misogyny. In any case, the above citations and data are not mentioned as proof for the correctness of Allahs decrees. Rather, the irrefutable fact that the Quran is Allahs word - something that is established time and time again in the Quran itself - is more than enough proof that everything it holds is completely true and that everything decreed in it is completely just. And how could that not be when Allah is the All-Knowing, the All-Wise, Creator of the heavens and the Earth and everything that lies between them? Given, however, that the issue of male vs. female testimony is among the issues commonly taken completely out of context by those seeking to discredit the Quran and ultimately Islam, it seemed appropriate to mention modern-day, relevant scientific

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data and real-life experiences corroborating what the Quran has been telling us for over one thousand four hundred years. The fact that there are instances where female testimony is prohibited altogether should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Mosaic Law. In his commentary on Deuteronomy 19:15, Flavius Josephus, the Jewish historian, comments: But let not the testimony of women be admitted, on account of their levity and boldness of their sex. (Josephus, 92). Islam, as already explained, allows for female testimony in several instances (and, in fact, with regards to testimony that pertains to such issues as pregnancy and menstruation, only female testimony is admissible). Witness and eyewitness testimony requirements in Islam are about more than just the gender of the witness, however. A witness integrity, memory, maturity, and relationship to the defendant or plaintiff are all factors taken into consideration (depending on the nature of the case) before deciding the admissibility of a witness testimony. Allah refers to such requirements when He says, whom you deem to be worthy witnesses. Moreover, the minimum number of witnesses required differs from one kind of litigation to another, while different kinds of cases have a bearing on whether male or female testimony (or both) is permissible. While the wholly negative impact of setting aside Allahs laws for man-made legislation is bound to be painfully obvious in the outcome of financial disputes, it is probably not going to be as pronounced as it is in cases involving rape, murder and other violent crimes. In recent years, and as DNA evidence exonerates more and more people who spent several years in prison (the average sentence served by DNA exonerees thus far has been 13 years (innocenceproject.com)) for crimes they did not commit, the subject of eyewitness testimony has attracted intense scrutiny in Western Judicial systems. Eyewitness misidentification is the single greatest cause of wrongful convictions nationwide (U.S.), playing a role in more than 75% of convictions overturned through DNA testing - innocenceproject.com. Moreover, Seventeen people [of the 252 people exonerated up until March, 2010] had been sentenced to death before DNA proved their innocence and led to their release. innocenceproject.com. One can only wonder how many more innocent people continue to serve sentences, and how many others may have actually been executed for crimes they had nothing to do with. More to the point, even a quick look at the testimonies upon which these convictions were originally based reveals that they fall tragically short of the requirements set forth by Islamic legislation; and as eyewitness testimony itself goes to court in the United States, it will be worth seeing how that particular trial unfolds over the coming years. Those who feel that Islams eyewitness laws are unfair to women should consider the severity of the pain and suffering inflicted upon the mothers, daughters, sisters and wives of men who spent

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- It is acceptable for one of the witnesses to remind the other of something they mayve forgotten. It is, therefore, all the more acceptable that a witness testimony be acceptable if they remember what they had previously forgotten without the aid of another witness, provided they are now certain of what they testify to. - A testimony must be based upon firm knowledge and certainty, and not upon uncertainty or doubt. It is, therefore, impermissible for a witness to testify if he or she has any doubt regarding his or her testimony. - It is not acceptable for a person to refuse to witness (without due cause) a contract if called to do so, nor to refuse testifying in instances of dispute. Further, testifying is one of the most praiseworthy acts of worship, as it brings benefit and helps settle disputes. - It is not acceptable to harm or negatively affect either transcriber or witness by requesting their presence at times when it is inconvenient or difficult for them to comply. It is, likewise, unacceptable for transcribers and witnesses to seek to harm or negatively affect, by any means, either of the parties transacting. Indeed, if harm will be caused to either transcriber or witness, they are absolved of undertaking their respective duties. - At a more general level, these rulings show that it is not acceptable to do harm to anyone attempting to help in any matter. Likewise, it is not acceptable for one offering help to attempt doing any kind of harm in what they have taken upon themselves to do. Honoring ones duty in full is, clearly, more conducive to earning the full reward of Allah. - It is not acceptable for either transcriber or witness to be paid for their services as Allah has made these duties mandatory, and accepting payment for individual mandatory obligations is prohibited. - These verses show that the wisdom behind adherence to the rulings outlined
up to 26 years in prison for crimes they were innocent of. The topic of witnesses in Islamic legislation is too lengthy and detailed to be expounded on here. However, Allah willing, this issue will be given more space in other relevant chapters of the Quran.

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is that that is more just in the sight of Allah, more conducive to the accuracy of the testimony, and more apt to prevent uncertainty. - To harm or do wrong to either transcriber or witness is to disobey Allah, and the degree of disobedience depends on the severity of harm done. - One of the means by which Allah rewards piety is the bestowment of more beneficial knowledge, as is stated more explicitly in the verse, O You who believe, if you fear Allah, He will provide you with the means of discernment (8:29) (i.e. increase your ability to differentiate between what is right and wrong, and what is lawful and unlawful) - Beneficial knowledge includes that which serves to better our worldly affairs as well as that which serves to better our religious affairs. Allah has decreed legislation that brings happiness and security in this world and the Hereafter, and has outlined these decrees in the Glorious Quran. - It is legitimate to give and take guaranties to ensure rights. Such assurances and bonds have always proven to be a sound means by which people may retrieve what is rightfully theirs. - The surest kind of guaranty is one taken into the possession of the creditor, and while possession of the guaranty is not a necessary condition, it is more effective in ensuring rights. While taking guaranties is not restricted to transactions carried out on journeys, it is a more likely form of securing loans for the probable lack of witnesses and transcribers. - In the presence of mutual trust, it is acceptable to deal in loans without witnesses or guaranties as is understood by Allahs saying, But if you confide in one another (and hence decide not to take a guaranty or call witnesses) then let the debtor be sure to pay what he has been entrusted with.... Because in such instances, however, the creditor makes himself more vulnerable to losing what is rightfully his, it is all the more important that the debtor be urged to fear Allah and be sure to pay what is due of him. - It is prohibited to withhold testimony, as doing so causes detriment, the loss of rights, and incurs sin upon both witness and debtor.

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Allah finishes this verse by informing His servants that He is All-Knowing of what they do. To bear this in mind provides the incentive to do what is good and deters against evil and dishonesty.

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284. To Allah belongs all that lies in the heavens and on the Earth, and regardless of whether you reveal what lies within yourselves or conceal it, you will be held to account for it by Allah. Allah then forgives whom He wills and punishes whom He wills; and Allah is capable of all things.

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284. To Allah belongs all that lies in the heavens and on the Earth, and regardless of whether you reveal what lies within yourselves or conceal it, you will be held to account for it by Allah. Allah then forgives whom He wills and punishes whom He wills; and Allah is capable of all things.
Allah reaffirms that He is the sole Sovereign over all that lies in the heavens and on the Earth, that He has knowledge of anything His servants reveal or conceal within themselves, and that He is able to call them to account for their actions. Upon calling His servants to account, Allah forgives whom He wills, and this includes those who regret their sins and continually strive to repent; and punishes whom He wills of those who persist in sin both outwardly and inwardly. This verse does not contradict texts which state that a servant is not held accountable for what he conceals within himself provided he neither speaks of it nor acts upon it. Such texts refer to thoughts that merely occur to a servant, while this verse refers to the solid intentions formed and the nature that then becomes inherent to an individual owing to the intentions that he/she forms and the deeds he/she practices. Allahs ability to call His servants to account for what they conceal or what they reveal and then punish, reward or forgive them with complete justice is further evidence that Allah is capable of all things.

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285. The Messenger believes in what has been descended to him from his Lord, and so, too, do the Believers. They all believe in Allah, His angels, His books and His prophets, [and say], We do not discriminate between any of His [Allahs] prophets, [and they say], We have heard and we will obey. We ask your forgiveness, our Lord; and unto You is the final destiny. 286. Allah burdens not a soul with more than it can bear. It will have what it earned of good deeds, and it will be called to account for evil deeds.

[The Believers implore Allah saying,] Our Lord, do not punish us if we should forget or err. Our Lord, do not lay a burden upon us as you did with those who came before us. Our Lord, do not burden us with what we cannot bear. And pardon us and forgive us and have mercy on us. You are our ally, and so grant us victory over the Unbelieving people.

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285. The Messenger believes in what has been descended to him from his Lord, and so, too, do the Believers. They all believe in Allah, His angels, His books and His prophets, [and say], We do not discriminate between any of His [Allahs] prophets, [and they say,] We have heard and we will obey. We ask your forgiveness, our Lord; and unto You is the final destiny. 286. Allah burdens not a soul with more than it can bear. It will have what it earned of good deeds, and it will be called to account for evil deeds. [The Believers implore Allah saying,] Our Lord, do not punish us if we should forget or err. Our Lord, do not lay a burden upon us as you did with those who came before us. Our Lord, do not burden us with what we cannot bear. And pardon us and forgive us and have mercy on us. You are our ally, and so grant us victory over the Unbelieving people.
It is authentically reported that the Prophet stated that whoever should recite the last two verses of this glorious chapter at night will be sufficed by them (i.e. sufficed against any evil during that night)1. This is due to the profound meanings they hold. Towards the middle of this chapter, Allah had commanded His servants to accept all aspects or pillars of faith by saying, Say, We have believed in Allah and what has been sent down to us" (2:136). In verse 2:285, Allah then affirms that the Prophet and the Believers indeed do believe in all that has been revealed to them. This all-encompassing testimony sets the Believers apart from followers of misguided religions who unjustifiably choose to believe in only some of what Allah has revealed while rejecting the rest. Further, to tie between the Prophet and the rest of the Believers in a single statement is a tremendous honor for the Believers. It also shows that the Prophet is both addressable and accountable with regards to legislative rulings, commands and prohibitions. In mentioning the Prophet specifically,
1. Bukhari and Muslim, 5269 and 127 respectively. The phrase in brackets is one interpretation of the Prophets saying, will be sufficed by them.

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Allah emphasizes the virtue he holds with regards to completeness of faith and the fulfillment of all that such faith necessitates. This virtue not only raises the Prophet in rank over the rest of the Believers, but over all other prophets of Allah. In stating that true Believers are those who say, We have heard and we will obey, Allah further demonstrates the commitment the Believers have taken upon themselves and their resolve to adhere to the Quran and Sunnah. To hear, in this sense, is to listen attentively to the commands of Allah and His Messenger , and then obey completely. This declaration, in reality, is a kind of supplication where the Believers ask Allah to help them obey His commands and seek His forgiveness for whatever shortcomings they may exhibit in striving to comply with His orders. In the last verse, Allah mentions other beneficial and important supplications made by the Believers, and in an authentic report, the Prophet states that Allah has answered all these supplications for the Islamic nation1. Thus, from the general body of Believers, these supplications are, without doubt, accepted and answered by Allah. They are also answered at an individual level, provided the supplicant does not commit that which prevents his supplications from being answered. Allah, therefore, does not hold His servants accountable for what they forget, nor does He hold them accountable for the unintentional mistakes they make. He also makes easy the affairs of their religion and does not burden this nation as He burdened previous nations for their sins, nor does He burden anyone with more than they can bear. Further, Allah pardons, forgives, has mercy on, and grants this nation victory over the Unbelievers. All such blessings are attained through adherence to Allahs commands and through making - with sincerity - invocations such as those mentioned in this verse. We implore Allah by means of His Beautiful Names and His Perfect Attributes, and by virtue of His having blessed us with adherence to His religion, to complete His favor upon us, to bestow us with all He has promised us, and to rectify the affairs of the Muslims.

1. Muslim, 126

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