Surah al-Baqarah [the Cow] - Nouman Ali Khan
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This Series will not be Tadabbur-ul Qur’an – detailed tafseer, but it is a Series on Ta’leem al Qur’an – Understanding and Knowing the Style of Surah al Baqarah and its; outline, flow and connection of its aayaat.
Allah’s Messenger, Muhammad (sal Allah alayhi wasalam) said;
Lu kuli shay’in sanaam, wa sanaam-ul Qur’an al Baqarah -
Everything has a peak, and the peak of the Qur’an is surah al Baqarah.
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Alif, Lam, Meem.
These are Huroof al Muqatta’aat – Disjointed letters.
We do not know their true meaning, which humbles mankind – people who recite letters in their daily speech but they do not have full knowledge of the meanings of all words.
Opinions of Scholars:
Ar-Razi said: In surah al Fatihah, we asked Allah to ‘guide us to the upright path’. Showing that we cannot be guided by our own will, we need Allah’s help.
The letters in this ayah; Alif, Lam, Meem – show that we cannot know and understand everything, so we should put more hope and reliance upon Allah.
Allah lets us know that if you really want to get guidance from this Book – you will ask Allah to give you understanding of this religion, you cannot know it of your own accord. So an arrogant attitude will prevent you from true knowledge, and submission to Allah will open the doors for true understanding.
(this is a Madani surah, in which the Israelites thought they were extremely knowledgable, so they would mock the Arabs of being Ummi – illiterate).
When Allah’s Messenger recited; Alif Lam Meem, the ones who thought that they had full knowledge of language became shocked. How can a people who are illiterate use such letters which are only used in text?
al Kashshaaf by az-Zamakshari:
One of the benefits of these letters is a rhetorical benefit; O you disbelievers, how come you cannot come up with a similar Qur’an to this one? Aren’t these the same letters you use in your daily speech? So why can’t you produce a similar Qur’an if it is not from Allah?
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dhaalika-al kitaabu laa Rayba feehi, hudan lil muttaqeen
That is the Book, No Doubt in it is Enormous Guidance for the Guarders against Evil/Allah’s Punishment etc.
Dhaalika = That.
this is used when something is far away. Because the Qur’an is not in Book form yet (during the life of Allah’s Messenger), Allah is telling us that the Kitab/book is in the heavens with Allah. And only later – you will write it down and compile it in Book format.
Haadha = This.
Also in Arabic rhetoric – to point that something is far away gives that thing an Elevated status.
..Laa Rayba feehi – there is Absolutely No room for any doubt whatsoever in it.
when a Fat-ha/zabar is placed after the Laa [i.e. Laa raybA], this shows ‘No doubt whatsoever.’
[Later on in the surah, Allah will say; if you are in any Doubt (fee Raybin..) [al A has more emphasis.]
..HudaN lil Muttaqeen..
HudaN [taNween] = (mufeed-ul ADhma) = ENORMOUS Guidance.
lil muttaqeen – for those who have Taqwa.
Taqwa comes over 36 times in different forms in this surah. It is directly related to our pursuit of guidance.
HudaN lin-Naas – enormous guidance for mankind. This is used in other parts of the Qur’an, but
Hudan lil muttaqeen – is enormous guidance for those who have seeked it and do not want to disappoint Allah.
Taqwa is not just fear. It is the attempt to ‘want to protect yourself’ /taking precautions. [from; Evil, Allah's anger and His Punishment]
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aladheena yu’minoona bi-’l Ghayb, wa yuQeemoona as-Salaata, wa min maa razaqnaa hum yuNfiquwn
Those who believe in the Unseen, and they Establish the prayer, and from what We provided them – they spend [in charity].
This teaches us;
1 – You are not spending anything that is yours. You are giving that which Allah gave you, back to Him (i.e. for His sake) so that He can reward you in the next life.
It is like transferring funds from this worldly account to the bank of the hereafter.
2 – When you perform salaah [prayer] properly, you find it easy to spend for Allah’s pleasure, because you have a good connection with Him through salaah.
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wa-aladheena yu’minoona bi maa unzila ilayka wa maa unzila min Qablika wa bi-l aakhirati hum yuwQinoon
And those who believe in what was revealed upon you, and what was revealed to those From Much (Min) before you. And especially in regards to the Hereafter, they have Certainty.
Dr Murtaza Malik in Pakistan used this ayah in refuting new movements like Qadianis and Nation of Islam etc. who use the Quran to argue that Prophets’ will come after Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam).
Dr Murtaza Khan said; Allah tells us to; believe in what was revealed upon you (Muhammad) and what was revealed to those before you. – There is no mention of believing in books of people who will come after Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam.)
..wa bil Aakhirati hum yoowqinoon
and Especially with the Afterlife (because Akhirah is mentioned earlier in the sentence structure = Ikhtisas/Especially) – they are Certain.
yoowqinoon- Eeqaan / Yaqeen – Certain = Convinced of something so much, as if you can see it.
That is how solid our certainty is in regard to the Afterlife.
Emaan was mentioned about alot of things, but Yaqeen (Certainty) was mentioned about the Afterlife. Since our actions of Emaan are only useful when we have certainty of belief in the hereafter.
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أُولَٰئِكَ عَلَىٰ هُدًى مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ ۖ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ
Ulaa/ika ‘alaa hudan min Rabbihim – wa ulaa’ika hum-ul muFlihoon
Those are the people who are commited to great guidance from their Master. And those are the ones who are truly successful.
(aFlaha) / muFlih = Farmer who has put in alot of effort in sowing his seeds, and when his crops grow and he collects the fruit = muFlih/ Fal-lah, he sees his success and rewards.
He puts his time and effort to see his success.
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إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا سَوَاءٌ عَلَيْهِمْ أَأَنذَرْتَهُمْ أَمْ لَمْ تُنذِرْهُمْ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ
Inna aladheena kafaroo, sawaa’un ‘alayhim, a-andhartahum am lam tundhirhum - laa yu’minoon
No doubt, those who have disbelieved, it is the same upon them, whether you warn them or not – they will not believe.
This is a particular brand of disbelievers – people who Allah’s Messenger warned for an entire decade. And all that only increased was their closed mindedness and arrogance against Islam. It is these people -
Past tense: inna-aladheena Kafaroo – surely those who disbelieveD (past tense)
Present tense: Not; inna-aladheena yaKfuroo – surely those who disbelieve (present-future tense)
Past tense is used, which shows that those who have been warned alot clearly with the message, and their arrogance prevents them from following the guidance, then they will not be guided in the future.
When they have shown their animosity to the truth and shown stubbornness – then they will not believe.
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Why will they now not believe?
خَتَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ وَعَلَىٰ سَمْعِهِمْ ۖ وَعَلَىٰ أَبْصَارِهِمْ غِشَاوَةٌ ۖ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ
khatama Allahu ‘alaa quloobihim, wa ‘alaa sam’ihim, wa ‘alaa abSaarihim ghishaawah, wa la-hum adhaabun aDheem
Allah has placed a seal upon their hearts, and upon their hearing, and upon their Sight is a covering, and for them is a Tough/Severe Punishment.
Why has Allah mentioned putting a Seal on their Hearts?
This surah began with;
Ayah 2: ذَٰلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لَارَيْبَۛفِيهِ - that is the Book in which there is no Doubt. (Doubt affects the heart)
[ وَمَن يُؤْمِن بِاللَّهِ يَهْدِقَلْبَهُ ۚ - (and whoever believes in Allah - He guides his heart) [Taghabun 64:11]. – so Emaan is in the heart.]
Ayah 2: هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ - Hudan lil muttaqeen – Guidance for the (God) fearing who guard against evil.
Guidance produces Taqwa in the heart and is shown through action:
[فَإِنَّهَا مِن تَقْوَى الْقُلُوبِ - then surely that is from (the) taqwa of the heart. (Surah Ayah 3: الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْغَيْبِ - those who believe in the unseen.. (with the Heart)
Ayah 6 & 7: those who disbelieve.. they will not believe.. Allah has set a seal upon their Hearts. – we again see that the heart is that which has disbelieved, so a Permanent seal has been placed ontop of it.
Allah has sealed their Hearts permanently, because they have closed their Hearts to the guidance.
Now if we compare this Sealing with an ayah in surah Jaathiyah 45:23;
أَفَرَأَيْتَ مَنِ اتَّخَذَ إِلَٰهَهُ هَوَاهُ وَأَضَلَّهُ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ عِلْمٍ وَخَتَمَ عَلَىٰ سَمْعِهِ وَقَلْبِهِ وَجَعَلَ عَلَىٰ بَصَرِهِ غِشَاوَةً فَمَن يَهْدِيهِ مِن بَعْدِ اللَّهِ ۚ أَفَلَا تَذَكَّرُونَ
Have you seen he who has taken as his god his [own] desire, and Allah has sent him astray due to knowledge and has set a seal upon his hearing and his heartand put over his vision a veil? So who will guide him after Allah ? Then will you not be reminded?
Allah tells us; He has sealed their hearing first.
Now why would Allah seal their hearing in surah Jaathiyah and seal their hearts in surah al Baqarah?
Because earlier in surah Jaathiyah 45:8 – Allah told us that the disbeliever refused to listen to the guidance – so Allah sealed the disbelievers hearing first.
يَسْمَعُ آيَاتِ اللَّهِ تُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِ ثُمَّ يُصِرُّ مُسْتَكْبِرًا كَأَن لَّمْ يَسْمَعْهَا ۖ فَبَشِّرْهُ بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ
Who hears the verses of Allah recited to him, then persists arrogantly as if he had not heard them. So give him tidings of a painful punishment.
In surah al Baqarah – we are being told that these people refused to believe in the guidance with their hearts and had doubts – even though they saw the miracles, so Allah has sealed their hearts.
This is amazing precision of the Qur’an word useage.
..Wa ‘alaa aBsaarihim ghishaawah – and upon their Sight is a Cover.
So these people see, but they do not see clearly. They see miracles, and they deny/reject them. They see the truth, but they call it falsehood.
لَهُمْ أَعْيُنٌ لَّا يُبْصِرُونَ بِهَا - they have eyes but they cannot see by them (al A’raf 7:179)
Wa lahum adhaabun aDheem – and for them is a Tough/Severe punishment.
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Baqarah2 – Ayah 8-21
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَقُولُ آمَنَّا بِاللَّهِ وَبِالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَمَا هُم بِمُؤْمِنِينَ
wa min an-Naasi man yaQoolu aamannaa bi-illahi wa bi-l yawmi-l aakhiri wa maa hum bi mu’mineen
and from the People are he who says we believe in Allah, and in the Last Day, and they are not believers at all.
And from mankind are those who say, We believe in Allah.
One could say; wa min al-naasi ALADHEENA yaQooloona aaman-naa bi-illah
Because ‘Man‘ and ‘Aladheena‘ both imply; Who/those.
Man = Who (usually refers to the Singular.)
Aladheena = Those (refers to Plural)
Allah purposelly used the word ‘Man’ (who) to show that One person is talking whilst being in a group of people. This is why it is said;
Wa min al-naasi Man (who [singular]) yaQooloona (Say [plural]) aamaan-naa bi-illah – and from the people there is he Who [singular] – Says[plural] – we believe in Allah…
Because Allah is describing the hypocrite (munaafiq) who is pretending to be amongst the believers, but infact he is a Hypocrite who has other hypocrites with him.
The hypocrite and his crowd who pretend to be believers say;
Aaman-naa bi-illahi (We believe in Allah), wabi-il yawmi-il ‘aakhir (and in the Final Day [Judgment Day])
..wa MAA hum Bi mu’mineen – and they are not believers at all.
There are many ways of Negating something. But to say Maa (strong negation) with the word ‘Bi’ after it = this is of the strongest ways of saying ‘No’.
Allah is telling us that they are not believers at all!
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yuKhaadi’oon Allah wa-aladheena Aamanoo wa maa yaKhda’oona il-laa aNfusaHum Wa maa yash’uroon
They are trying to decieve Allahand those who believeand they do not decieve anyone at all except their Own selves, but they do not know.
yuKhaadi’oon Allah – they are trying to decieve Allah
wa-aladheena Aamanoo – and those who believe
wa maa yaKhda’oona il-laa aNfusaHum – and they do not decieve anyone at all except their Own selves.
When they pretend to be believers and mingle amongst them – Allah is calling them as decievers and as spies within the community of the believers.
They try to fool; Allah, those who believe, but they don’t fool anyone but themselves.
Wa maa yash’uroon – and the have no realisation.
There are 2 basic types of Hypocrites:
1 – Those who know they are not believers and spy amongst the believers for a specific motive.
2 – The 2nd type is more dangerous – he doesn’t know he is a hypocrite. They think they are good Muslims. This can be any one of us. This was so scary for our Salaf [earlier generations], i.e. Even Umar bin al Khattab that he would be worried for himself!
Allah tells us how to find the Disease of hypocrisy.
What are the symptoms – Allah tells us throughout the Qur’an. One is explained as follows in this surah;
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Fee quloobihim maraD, Fa Zaadahum-ullahu maraDa, wa LaHum adhaabun Aleemun, bi maa kaanoo yaKdhiboon
in their Hearts is a disease, so Allah has Increased their disease, and Especially for them is a Painful Punishment, for what they continuously Lied.
Fee quloobihim maraD – in their Hearts is a disease
Fa Zaadahum-ullahu maraDa – so Allah has Increased their disease
So this is a fatal heart disease.
wa LaHum adhaabun Aleem -
And they especially [because 'LaHum = For Them' is placed earlier in the sentence to signify 'Especially'] have Painful punishment.
Allah told us that the disbelievers will have a ‘Tough’/great (aDheem) punishment.
But He warns the hypocrites of an Especially Painful punishment (an even severer warning.)
Alam = Pain
alEEm = CONSTANT pain.
Adhaab = Punishment.
So Allah is warning the Hypocrites of a Pain which is Constant and does not End – you always feel that same level of constant Pain. (imagine having a constant toothache, how bad it is. And a constant punishment in the lowest parts of Hell is so unimaginably painful. We ask Allah to save us from His punishment, ameen.)
This is an even worser punishment than the punishment of the disbelievers. And Allah is always severer with the hypocrites than the disbelievers.
We will see how throughout this surah how this surah deals with purifying the heart, and eman (belief).
And in the next surah aal Imran (3rd surah) – there is more focus on Islaam (doing rituals/actions of the religion.)
Bi maa kaanoo yaKdhiboon – because of the lies they continue to make
Kaanoo (past tense) – used to
yaKdhiboon (present tense) – continue toLie
Merging the past and present tense shows Strong emphasis that they Persist in Lying in the past and the continuous present.
This is a strong disease of the hypocrite which we have to avoid so we are not hypocrites – Lying.
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wa idhaa Qeela lahum laa tuFsidoo fi-l ‘arDi Qaaloo inna-maa nahnu muSlihoon
And when it is said to them – don’t cause corruption in the Earth, they say we are the Peace-makers/reconcilers.
The Context of the Ayah: The Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam) is in an intense struggle against disbelief.
The truth and falsehood have collided, but the hypocrites have a mix of disbelieving and believing friends. They don’t make a clear distinction in their allegiance on whose side they are really on.
They think the Muslims might lose and get overpowered – so they don’t have full allegiance to Allah, His Messenger and the believers. They are connected to the disbelievers too (in their allegiance). And Allah is not happy with their half-heartedness in the religion.
So when they are asked about their half-heartedness – their excuse is that ‘we are only peace makers/reconcilers’.
muSlihoon- Sulh = Connection, reconciliation.
Some of these hypocrite people did think they were trying to cause peace. But they didn’t know how much intense hatred the disbelievers have against the believers.
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أَلَا إِنَّهُمْ هُمُ الْمُفْسِدُونَ وَلَٰكِن لَّا يَشْعُرُونَ
ALaa innahum hum-ul muFsidoona wa-laakin laa yaSh’uroon
No! Beware! Surely they [the hypocrites], they are the cause of corruption, yet they have no realisation!
ALaa = You should all Know! No! Beware!
muFsidoon – from the meaning ‘Fasaad’ = Corruption.
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wa idhaa Qeela lahum aaminoo kamaa aamana an-Naasu Qaaloo anu’minu kamaa aamana as-Sufahaa’, ALaa innahum hum us-Sufahaa’u wa laakin laa ya’lamoon
When it is said to them – why don’t you have belief – like the people believe, They (look at the emigrants/true believers and) say; You want us to be believe like these fools/ignorant? No, it is indeed these people who are the ignorant, and they do not know (how foolish they are).
When it is said to them – why don’t you have belief – like the people believe (i.e. like those who have proven their belief i.e. Abu Bakr, Umar etc.)
They (look at the emigrants and) say;
You want us to be believe like these fools/ignorant? (sufahaa)
The hypocrites would accuse the righteous like Abu Bakr etc. of being foolish that they left their businesses etc. for the religion. And sarcastically saying how foolish they are for giving up their ‘normal’ lifestyle and giving it up for an Islamic cause.
Someone could even say that those who insult the righteous before us (i.e. The sahabah/companions of the Prophet) and saying they are people of old who were foolish – they might also be warned in these aayaat.
These hypocrites insult the believers by saying that they are foolish and ignorant for following the religion whole-heartedly – so Allah defends the believers and responds by telling us that it is the hypocrites who are the ignorant and foolish, but they do not know.
“No, it is indeed these people who are the ignorant, and they do not know (how foolish they are).”
So Allah has 2 emphasises; in one place Allah tells us – and they do not percieve it (their ignorance), and in ayah following it – He tells us they do not know (their ignorance.)
So another Conclusion derived from this is that Hypocrisy results from a lack of knowledge. They do not know their own ignorance.
And later in the surah – Allah tells us how to leave hypocrisy, through following the Legacy of Prophet Ibrahim/Abraham (peace be upon him.)
وَمَن يَرْغَبُ عَن مِّلَّةِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ إِلَّا مَن سَفِهَ نَفْسَهُ ۚ وَلَقَدِ اصْطَفَيْنَاهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَإِنَّهُ فِي الْآخِرَةِ لَمِنَ الصَّالِحِينَ
and who wants to leave the legacy of Ibrahim, except the one who fools himself. Truly, We chose him in this world and verily, in the Hereafter he will be among the righteous. [Baqarah
وَإِذَا لَقُوا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قَالُوا آمَنَّا وَإِذَا خَلَوْا إِلَىٰ شَيَاطِينِهِمْ قَالُوا إِنَّا مَعَكُمْ إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ مُسْتَهْزِئُونَ
wa idhaa laQoo aladheena aamaanoo Qaaloo aamannaa, wa idhaa Khalaw ilaa shayaaTeenihim, Qaaloo innaa ma’akum innamaa nahnu mustahzi’oon
And when they come face to face with those who believe – they say “we believe”. And when they are alone with their devils, they say “Surely we are with you, we were only making fun.”
When they come to those who believe – they say – “We have emaan/belief”
When somebody comes to you and says ‘I believe’ or ‘I believe alot’ everytime they see the believers. You can see that they feel they have to prove themselves, even though they havn’t been asked to prove themselves continuously.
All this is because the hypocrite has a guilty conscience.
It is like a child -without being asked- tells his parent that ‘I did not write on the wall today.’
This statement seems strange because the parent did not ask the child. And if the child was not guilty – he would not be trying to prove his innocence. By saying “I did not write on the wall today”, he most probably wants to cover up his guilty conscience.
The Example of Abdullah ibn Ubayy (Head of the Hypocrites):
The leader of the Hypocrites, Abdullah ibn Ubayy – who was not known for his hypocrisy then – would stand up when the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam) came, and he would tell the believers to listen attentively because the Messenger of Allah is about to give a speech.
The believers would listen to the speech anyway, even if Abdullah ibn Ubayy didn’t say his statement. But he used this technique to try to prove his claim of belief to the masses (although inside he was a guilty conscioussed hypocrite.)
But after the Battle of Uhud – Abdullah ibn Ubayy left the battle field and did not support the believers. This exposed his hypocrisy.
So that the next time Allah’s Messenger (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam) gave a speech in the Masjid. Abdullah ibn Ubayy got up to tell the believers to listen attentively to the Messenger of Allah. But when he was about to say this – the believers pulled him down because now people realised he was a hypocrite who only said things, but did not act upon them.
But due to the Sahaba pulling him down. He became furious and left the Jumu’ah (Friday) Prayer.
At the entrance of the Mosque – some companions/sahaba told him why he’s leaving the prayer, and that he should make istighfar (repentance/seeking forgiveness.) So he got angry and said he does not need to pray.
Just like Allah’s Messenger described the hypocrite;
Wa idhaa khaasama, fajarah. – when he is criticized – he explodes in anger.
So Allah is telling us; When they come Face to Face with the believers – they say “we believe.”
[LaqaW (Plural) - of Liqaa = they are coming Face to Face with something else.]
..wa idha khalaw ilaa shayaaTeenihim – and when they are alone with their devils
Khalaw – khalwah – to be Alone/Seclusion
Qaaloo – inNaa ma’akum – they say – surely We are with you
Inna maa nahnu mustaHzi’oon – surely we were doing nothing but mocking/joking/messing about.
mustaHzi’oon – Huzuwa – mocking/joking.
These people were meeting with people who were pure enemies of Islam (disbelievers). They would tell them the secrets of the Muslims, and take these people who have pure hatred for Islam as close friends.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَّخِذُوا بِطَانَةً مِّن دُونِكُمْ لَا يَأْلُونَكُمْ خَبَالًا وَدُّوا مَا عَنِتُّمْ قَدْ بَدَتِ الْبَغْضَاءُ مِنْ أَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَمَا تُخْفِي صُدُورُهُمْ أَكْبَرُ ۚ قَدْ بَيَّنَّا لَكُمُ الْآيَاتِ ۖ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ
O you who have believed, do not take as intimates those other than yourselves, for they will not spare you [any] ruin. They wish you would have hardship. Hatred has already appeared from their mouths, and what their breasts conceal is greater. We have certainly made clear to you the signs, if you will use reason. [aal Imran 3:118]
These hypocrites do not understand, they are foolish in believing that these disbelievers really love them. When the disbelievers are using them (the hypocrites.)
The hypocrites would say to the devils (from the disbelievers who opposed the religion) – that ‘we are with you – we were only joking when pretending to be believers.‘
So we see that the Hypocrites try to make both sides (the believers and disbelievers) happy, while both sides are not really happy with them (but rather they are suspicious of them).
Amazing Useageof the word MuNaafiq [Hypocrite]:
The language of the Quran is extremely amazing because the word ‘Hypocrite’ is muNaafiq.
muNaafiq comes from the word – Naafaqa = a Lizard’s hole.
Lizard: The Lizard of the desert makes two holes in the ground. So that if a fox or wolf comes to chase him from one hole – the lizard can run out of the other hole.
Hypocrite:; the hypocrite enters Islam from one hole and leaves Islam from another hole. He also goes into one hole of Islam and then comes out of another hole secretly to approach the devils from amongst the disbelievers.
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Allahu yastahzi’u bihim wa yaMuddu-hum fee Tughyaanihim ya’mahoon
It is Allah who is making fun of them, and He extends for them their Rebellion (while them being) blind in their heart.
It is Allah who is making fun of them.
1 – Allah will humiliate them in this life. So both the believers and disbelievers don’t respect them.
2 – Allah will humiliate them on Judgment Day.
And He extends them in their Rebellion [Tughyaan], (while them being) blind in their heart.
Amiha – blind in the heart.
[similar: Amiya - blind in the eyes.]
Allah gives them more opportunities for them to do more evil deeds, more sins, and He makes it easy for them to do that.
Dr. Abdul Samee‘ (Nouman’s teacher) said about this;
If you put a dog on a really long leash/rope – the dog runs really fast thinking he is free. As he reaches the peak of his assumed freedom – the leash reaches its full length stretch, and the dog is tightly pulled and chokes on the leash.
Allah tells us;
إِنَّ الْمُنَافِقِينَ فِي الدَّرْكِ الْأَسْفَلِ مِنَ النَّارِ وَلَن تَجِدَ لَهُمْ نَصِيرًا
Surely the hypocrites are in the lowest part of the fire, – and never will you find for them a helper [an-Nisa' 4:145]
Why? Because they themselves got themselves their due to their evil sins.
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Ulaa’ika aladheena ashtaraw al-Dalaalata bi-l huda, Fa maa Rabihat tijaaratuhum, wa maa kaanoo muHtadeen
It is those who have purchased misguidance in exchange for guidance, then their trade did not give them any benefit at all, and they were not guided.
Ulaa’ika aladheena ashtaraw al-Dalaalata bi-l huda.. – It is those who have purchased misguidance in exhchange for guidance.
These people were in the presence of Allah’s best Messenger, Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam) and heard the Quran being recited from his mouth – yet they disbelieved in him and opposed him.
They exchanged guidance for misguidance.
Fa maa Rabihat tijaaratuhum – then their trade did not give them any benefit at all.
wa maa kaanoo muHtadeen – and they were not guided.
muHtad – someone who Makes an effort to be guided.
So Allah is telling us that they never made an effort to be guided. So these people casually came into Islam, and they weren’t serious about being committed to it.
So they would easily leave it just as they entered it without being serious about it.
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mathaluhum ka-mathali-aladhee istawqada naaran, fa lam-maa aDaa’at maa Hawlahu dhahaba-Allahu bi-noorihim wa tarakahum fee Dhulumaatin laa yuBSiroon
Their example is like the one who Kindled a fire, but when it illuminated what was around him, Allah took away their light and left them in darkness [so] they could not see.
Their example is of someone who lit a fire,
Parable – 2 degrees of Nifaaq (Hypocrisy):
So imagine this as a scene:
Their example is of someone who lit a fire. (so we can imagine it being purely dark and then suddenly someone lights a fire so gradually a light shows – there is pure bright light everywhere.)
How many people lit the fire? One. (some scholars say it is referring to Prophet Muhammad, others say Prophet Moses (alayhim Salaam) because he will be mentioned later in the surah.)
..dhahaba Allahu bi nooriHIM – Allah removes THEIR light.
So Allah is now talking about Him removing ‘their’ light.
Who are these people whose light Allah removes?
Noor in classical Arabic poetry would also refer to aBSaar- Vision, the ability to see.
So Allah removed their sight after they preferred misguidance over the light of guidance.
So Allah removed their Vision, and removed their ability to See the Guidance.
Wa taraqa-hum fee dhulumAAT
Taraqa – abandoned
fee – in
DhulumAAT – DarknesseS.
So Allah abandoned them and left them in many darknesses upon darknesses.
So there are different degrees of darknesses and different degrees/levels of hypocrisy.
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صُمٌّ بُكْمٌ عُمْيٌ فَهُمْ لَا يَرْجِعُونَ
Sumun, bukmun, ‘umyun, fa hum laa yaRji’oon.
Deaf (not able to Hear), Mute (not able to Speak), Blind (not able to See) – so they will not Return.
There is no ‘and’ inbetween them. Which means they are ALL 3 at the same time.
Now imagine being in the desert, and these people cannot ‘hear’, can’t ‘speak’, and are ‘blind’ – all at once.
This means that no-one can guide them or help them, and these people cannot ask others to guide them either. And they cannot imitate others in guidance due to being blind to the truth.
They are a lost cause and are blocked off from guidance in every way.
Fa hum laa yaRji’oon – so they will not Return.
These people were in the Light, but they lost the light by not being sincere to it. They did not stay committed to it sincerely, so they
lost it and were lost in darknesses of misguidance.
We ask Allah that we remain sincere to His guidance, ameen.
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2nd example of Hypocrisy:
aw kaSayyibin min as-samaa’i feehi Dhulumaatun wa Ra’dun wa Barqun, yaJa’aloona aSaabi’ahim fee aadhaanihim min-as-Sawaa’iqi hadhara-al-mawt, wa-Allahu muHeeTun bi-al-Kaafireen
Or picture a dark cloud in the sky, in which there is alot of darkness, thunder and lightning. “They place their fingers in their ears, from (because of) the loud explosions (sawaa’iqi), being wary of death, and Allah has completely encircled the disbelievers.
Or picture a dark cloud in the sky, in which there is alot of darkness, thunder and lightning.
These are like heavy/dark/clouds which come really low, so it looks like its night time, even though its daytime.
And imagine these clouds raining harshly, strong wind and thunder and lightning flashing.
The people stranded in the sea.
“They place their fingers in their ears, from (because of) the loud explosions (sawaa’iqi).
Hadhara-al mawt - being wary of death.
Wa-Allahu muHeeTun bi-al Kaafireen – and Allah has completely encircled the disbelievers.
Because Allah knows who the disbelievers are (even though they may be hypocrites pretending to be Believers.)
But What does Allah mean by this parable/image/scenario?
The scholars say: The hypocrites are in a very difficult journey and in this journey there are alot of scarey things happening. (i.e. when people enter Islam, there are alot of difficulties people have to pass through.)
The hypocrites are so scared of these challenges, that they put their fingers in their ears to disillusion themselves that none of this is really happening, so that they do not have to fulfill the Islamic responsibilities.
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يَكَادُ الْبَرْقُ يَخْطَفُ أَبْصَارَهُمْ ۖ كُلَّمَا أَضَاءَ لَهُم مَّشَوْا فِيهِ وَإِذَا أَظْلَمَ عَلَيْهِمْ قَامُوا ۚ وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ لَذَهَبَ بِسَمْعِهِمْ وَأَبْصَارِهِمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
yaKaadu-ul barQu yaKhTafu aBSaarahum, kulla-maa aDaa’a lahum-maShaw feehi, wa idhaa aDhlama ‘alayhim Qaamoo, wa law shaa’a-Allahu la dhahaba bi sam’ihim wa aBSaarihim, inna-Allaha ‘alaa kulli shay’in Qadeer
The lightning almost snatches away their sight. Every time it lights [the way] for them, they walk therein; but when darkness comes over them, they stand [still]. And if Allah had willed, He could have taken away their hearing and their sight. Indeed, Allah is over all things able.
The lightning almost takes their eyesight away. So when the hypocrite sees the believers performing extremely difficult tasks in the religion, the hypocrite is almost blinded by shock (hoping that he does not have to go through such difficulty.)
“Everytime the light comes out for them – they see, but when it goes again – they stand.”
The scholars comment that this refers to the easy good deeds. So when the hypocrite sees easy good deeds – he walks forward abit with the believers, then suddenly stops again when he faces hardship, and sticks his fingers in his ears again.
Allah is exposing the foolishness of the Hypocrites: Because when you are deserted in travel and it is dark and thundering – is it a good idea to put your fingers in your ears? Does that even benefit you at all? It doesn’t.
If Allah wanted to – He could take away their hearing and seeing.
So this parable was about less worse hypocrites, or people with weak emaan.
Allah is warning them that if they do not stop their evil acts of hypocrisy (lying, cheating etc.) – Allah may misguide them like He did for the 1st parable of hypocrites.
In the previous example – Allah told us how He did remove the hypocrites; hearing, speaking and seeing.
In this example – He is warning people with weak emaan not to have attributes of the hypocrites – otherwise He may also remove their hearing and speaking.
InAllaha ‘alaa kulli shay’in Qadeer – No Doubt, Allah is capable over all things.
Aayaat Discussion Summarized:
The disbelievers were talked about Briefly.
The believers were talked about briefly.
But the hypocrites were talked about in extreme depth.
Because the believers are clear, the disbelievers are clear.
But the Hypocrite (munaafiq) is a difficult one to understand.
So Allah spends extra time on the case which is difficult to understand. Something which is not clear to the masses, but is deep inside of a persons heart.
Allah will also speak indepth about the Bani Isra’eel (Jews) throughout this surah because there biggest problem was their Nifaaq (Hypocrisy.)
Allah tells us their mistakes so we do not fall into their mistakes.
These 3 categories summarize mankind:
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yaa ayyuha-an-Naasu-u’budoo Rabbakumu-aladhee khalaqakum wa-aladheena min Qablikum la’allakum tattaQuwn
O People, enslave yourselves to your Master, the One who created you and those who came much before you – SO you all can protect yourselves.
Taqwa in this ayah means ‘protect’ (i.e. ‘ward off’ harm from) yourself.
This ayah is a call to all of mankind.
فَكَيْفَ تَتَّقُونَ إِن كَفَرْتُمْ يَوْمًا يَجْعَلُ الْوِلْدَانَ شِيبًا -
So how will you PROTECT [taTaQuWna] yourself on the Day which will make the child grey-haired. [ 73:17]
This surah began with:
That is the Book, guidance for those who have Taqwa (people who actually do protect themselves from Allah’s anger, His punishment, and from hypocrisy.)
So we see a Common Trend of Taqwa in this surah.
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وَإِن كُنتُمْ فِي رَيْبٍ مِّمَّا نَزَّلْنَا عَلَىٰ عَبْدِنَا فَأْتُوا بِسُورَةٍ مِّن مِّثْلِهِ وَادْعُوا شُهَدَاءَكُم مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ
Wa in kuntum fee raybin min maa nazzalNaa ‘alaa ‘abdiNaa, fa’too bi Sooratin min mithlih -
And if any of you are in doubt from what We have sent down upon Our slave, then bring a Surah that is anything like it...
Allah’s Messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him) had spent around 10years in Makkah with constant Warning against the evil and corrupt
practises of the polytheists (i.e. killing innocent daughters, oppressing the orphans and weak etc.), and he gave Good news for those
who stopped corruption and Believed – that they would have a great reward.
Yet the disbelievers persisted in their ungratefulness and rejected the message. They made false accusations against the message, saying
that it had been forged by other humans etc.
So after 10 long years of Inviting the people to the Divine Book/Guidance, and 10 long years of rejection by the disbelievers -
Allah put forward a challenge to the deniers.
If you really think this is the word of an insane, liar or plagiarizer or old stories, then;
“Produce a Surah similar to it.”
The Polytheists, Jews and Christians were baffled and could not produce any surah (commonly translated as ‘chapter’) like a surah in
the Quran. And these people had Arabic as their first language, and also were Masters of Classical Arabic. Yet still they could not respond to the challenge.
This lack of response showed their inability, which shows that if the Masters of Classical Arabic could not plagiarize something like it, then their claim that Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam) plagiarizing it from someone else is even more of a false and exaggerated claim.
When Allah says produce a surah like it – it has to stump/shock (dumbfound), make emotional to the extent of Tears – the experts of Classical Arabic as occurred to:
- Tufayl bin ‘Amr al-dawsi (who converted to Islam on the moment of hearing it.)
- ‘Utbah ibn Rabee’ah. (when he heart Surah Fussilat.)
After many years of calling the Quran; a Lie, Stories of Old, Plagiarizarion etc.
One of the last Accusations of Quraysh put forward was that the Quran is Magic.
The Messenger of Allah would recite the Quran and it had so much overwhelming power on the people, that they would start to cry (even the disbelievers themselves!).
This shows that they recognized the Quran was something which is not ‘normal’ speech, but speech which is ‘supernatural’.
This is the Challenge, this is the effect a person has to produce when they are attempting to ‘produce a surah like it.’
We ask Allah that He allows us to understand His Book deeply and allows us to follow it’s teachings sincerely.
..wa-d’oo shuhadaa’akum min doon-illahi inKunTum Saadiqeen – and call upon your witnesses, any you have besides Allah, if you are Truthful
And if any of you are in doubt about what We have sent down to our slave, then bring your witnesses – any you have [inferior/duwn] besides Allah, if you are truthful..
This shows Mahaara/Expertise. Allah did not say ‘bring your Experts’. Rather, Allah said bring your Witnesses, which covers a much more wider group of those who witness the Qurans miracle.
So don’t just bring your Experts, but bring all the witnesses you can for help – even your false gods/idols! Even they won’t be able to produce a surah like this. Allah is mocking their gods by implying that if they were truly gods or equals with Allah, then they would be able to produce a similar chapter like that of the Quran. But none of them are able to do that. Showing a mockery and the falseness of their beliefs.
The 2nd meaning is; ‘the Witness of Truth’ was the most eloquent speaker of the ‘Arabs. They were the most respected and Leaders of society due to their deep knowledge of the Arabic language.
These people would be able to study speech and find out if an expert is speaking certain words, or if it is the words of an insane/mad/crazy person.
Experts were called ‘Witnesses’ in ancient arabic because they testify if something is valid and true/correct or not.
So Allah challenges them to bring their Expert critics. And there were times when the arab polytheists actually did this.
I.e. Waleed ibn al Mugheerah who was one of these Expert Witnesses praised it, but out of arrogance and pride – he never submitted to it and instead said that this Quran is magic (whilst admitting that it is something ‘supernatural/out of this world’).
[see surah Mudathir 74:11-26]
He admitted it wasn’t poetry, nor the word of a mad person. If people heard these claims – they might try to hear what it’s about. So by saying magic which breaks families – people would run away and not want to hear the Qur’an.
Wa-ad’oo shuhadaa’a min DUWN-illah.. – and call your witnesses besides Allah
The word; Duwn = Lesser.
Allah could have used the word ‘Ghayr’ which means ‘without’. Meaning; call your witnesses ‘without’ (ghayr) Allah if you are truthful.
But Allah said; min Duwn-illah = (call your witnesses) [who are] Inferior to Allah..
Allah is telling them that even if you did bring any witnesses or critics or helpers to produce a chapter similar to the Quran – they are inferior than Allah and Lesser than Him. So call any of them besides Allah – you will not be able to produce similar to this Qur’an.
How are you going to compete with Allah?
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فَإِن لَّمْ تَفْعَلُوا وَلَن تَفْعَلُوا فَاتَّقُوا النَّارَ الَّتِي وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ وَالْحِجَارَةُ ۖ أُعِدَّتْ لِلْكَافِرِينَ
If infact you have not been able to do so [Lam - Past tense], and you will never be able to do so [Lan - Future tense], then Protect yourselves/be Cautious of/Fear (watch out!) from the Fire, whose fuel is men and stones, promised for the Ungrateful Deniers.
This surah started with Allah telling us that this Book is a Guidance for those who Protect themselves (muttaqeen).
Since the disbelievers didn’t want to follow the guidance, nor did they want to protect themselves – then Allah is sarcastically telling them – then protect yourselves from the Fire whose fuel is men and stones!
Theme: This surah has alot of Sarcasm against the strong/committed Disbelievers.
(i.e. see al Baqarah 2:15, 2:24, 2:93, 2:175)
Baqarah 2:93 – Evil it is what your (Jews) Emaan/belief commands you to do..
(this is sarcasm because the jews are supposed to be following and having Emaan/belief in Allah and doing good, but their sinful attitude makes them have bad Emaan/belief and do bad actions.)
Baqarah 2:175 – What (amazing/ Maa of ta’ajjub) patience [the disbelievers and hypocrites] have on the Fire of Hell.
(Allah is being sarcastically amazed at the patience of the disbelievers in wanting to be in hell, and making us imagine them in hell and how patient can they really be there?)
..al-Naara al-latee waQoodu-haa al-Naasu wa-al Hijaarah -
the Fire which is Kindled with People and Stones.
This fire’s fuel is not wood, or oil, like fuel for fire is in this world. But its fuel is only 2 things;
Humans (who deserve this punishment), and Stones.
The people would worship idols made of Stone, so you’ll burn with your idols which you worshipped.
Others also commented that a fire which Burns Stones and melts them (into Lava etc.) shows the intensity of the fire of hell.
[mentioned in Tafseers' and some statements of the Sahabah/companions of Prophet Muhammad.]
U’iddat li-al Kaafireen – Promised for those who are Ungrateful Disbelievers.
Kaafir – Kafara – to Bury a seed into the ground.
He – the disbeliever – had the seed of Truth in his heart – but he covered it with the Darkness of disbelief.
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وَبَشِّرِ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ أَنَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ ۖ كُلَّمَا رُزِقُوا مِنْهَا مِن ثَمَرَةٍ رِّزْقًا ۙ قَالُوا هَٰذَا الَّذِي رُزِقْنَا مِن قَبْلُ ۖ وَأُتُوا بِهِ مُتَشَابِهًا ۖ وَلَهُمْ فِيهَا أَزْوَاجٌ مُّطَهَّرَةٌ ۖ وَهُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ
Wa Bash-shir -iladheena aamanoo – and give Good news to those who believe..
Allah could have said;
i – Ubash-shir -uladheena aamanoo – good news for those who believe.
ii – al-taBsheer bi-iladheena aamanoo – Congratulations to those who believe.
But Allah said;
Bash-shir -iladheena aamanoo – Congratulate (O Muhammad) those who believe.
Allah is emphasising His Messenger’s importance. That it is he who will give the good news to those who believe and do good actions of the reward of Paradise.
Allah is honoring His Messenger infront of those who are rejecting him – by implying that – ‘you need to follow the Messenger for him to give you the good news of Paradise.’ You cannot go to Paradise based on your own way of life.
..aladheena aamanoo wa ‘amilu al-Saalihaat – those who believe and do Good Actions.
Whenever Allah mentions; ‘those who believe AND do good actions’ – it refers to the good believers.
Anna lahum Jannaatin taJree min tahti-haa al-aNhaar –
That exclusively for them are Gardens, at the foots of which rivers flow.
Throughout all of history, even today – humans like properties which are surrounded by beautiful Green gardens, and humans love to see water flowing (this is why the 5 star hotels have water fountains). And people want a place to live – which they own.
These are the main things all people around the world and through history always want.
So Allah is giving this reward and more in His Paradise to those who believe and do good.
Allah is promising those who do believe and do good;
- Permanent houses with beautiful viewing – which are Custom made to how YOU want it, gardens (not one, but many), with rivers flowing through them.
This is what Allah is promising you. But before you can get there, you might have to emigrate from your house of this world to protect your religion and contract with Allah. Many Sahaba had to leave their property and had become homeless in Medinah, and would live in Masjid al Nabawi (the Prophet’s Mosque in Medinah.)
So Allah is promising a huge reward – but now is the time for effort.
..kulla maa ruziqoo min-haa min thamaratin rizqan
Everytime they are given provision from it, in terms of different fruits, they say – this is what was given to us last time.
They are not complaining, but they are amazed and remembering back. They are excited, just like when children like a food – they say excitedly; ‘remember we ate this before!? It was really tastey.’
Wa utoobi-hee mutaShaabihaat – and they will be given similar ones.
They will look similar, but their tastes will be even better and more unique than the last time.
Wa lahum fee haa azwaajun muTah-harratun
..And especially for them will be purified spouses (wives or husband).
One of the best things in life is to have the best property, food, and also to have someone you can share this happiness with. So Allah is telling us that they will have purified spouses. And He is showing us that having the best spouse in this world is a glimpse of a beautiful marriage life in Jannah (Paradise.)
This purification is talked about in detail in surah ar-Rahmaan.
wa hum fee haa khaalidoon
- and especially in it – they will live forever.
This congratulations is given to the believers by the Messenger of Allah (saws), because wherever the believers turn – they are being called fools (sufahaa) by the disbelievers and hypocrites.
So Allah is telling His Messenger to give the good news to the believers that you will get the highest and best reward anyone can ever earn.
O Allah make us of the people of Your Paradise, Jannah al Firdaws, by your Mercy. Ameen.
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Ayah 26 – 29
[Download Ayah 26:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَسْتَحْيِي أَن يَضْرِبَ مَثَلًا مَّا بَعُوضَةً فَمَا فَوْقَهَا ۚ فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا فَيَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّهِمْ ۖ وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فَيَقُولُونَ مَاذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِهَٰذَا مَثَلًا ۘ يُضِلُّ بِهِ كَثِيرًا وَيَهْدِي بِهِ كَثِيرًا ۚ وَمَا يُضِلُّ بِهِ إِلَّا الْفَاسِقِينَ
Surely Allah is not embarrassed to strike an example..
Daraba mathalan (Striking an example) =
i – striking/hitting something which causes the Attention of people.
ii – Impact – the one who listens to the example has an Impact on him, just like the one who is Hit has a great Impact Effect on him.
“Allah for sure is not embarassed to strike an example of a Mosquito or even something Above [Fawq] and beyond that (in minisculeness/smallness.)”
In surah Hajj, Allah tells us that ‘those who they call upon besides Allah, will never be able to create a Fly – even if they came altogether (to do so.) [Hajj 22:73]
Why would Allah give such examples?
Ustadh Nouman said; The example given isn’t always the main point, rather – the Message behind the example is even more important.
To make that message even more clear and meaningful – Allah will give the example of a Mosquito, or anything even smaller or bigger than that.
The teacher will use the best means to – to drive the lesson across.
To understand more clearly the message being given, we see that
this surah started off describing:
1 – This Quran is a Book of Guidance.
2 – This Quran is an unmatchable Miracle.
3 – those who can’t match the Quran want to find any excuse to reject the Quran. So they criticize the parables and examples/lessons Allah gives.
The disbelievers of old did this, and others of today do the same. But they don’t understand Allah’s parables, and their arrogance makes them make fun of what they don’t understand.
..fa amm-aladheena aamanoo FA ya’lamoona anna-hu al-Haqqu min Rabbi-him.. -
Then as for those who believe, THEN they know that it is the Truth from their Master..
The FA (Then) in that part of the ayah shows that; Whenever the believers hear the Parables of Allah, then they Suddenly know and Realise that they are the truth and from their Master (Allah.)
So they submit their Intellect to Allah, and then they try to reflect on them, and the Scholars are those who try to fully understand their meanings. [Allah tells us this in surah al-Ankaboot 29:43]
Whereas the disbelievers doubt and mock – even without wanting to understand.
Fa amma al-ladheena kafaroo fa yaQooloona; maa dhaa araadAllahu bi HAADHA MATHALA;
And as for those who disbelieve, then they are saying;
What does Allah intend by using THIS Example [tamyeez]?
So the disbelievers are mocking at the signs and parables of Allah.
They are mocking at the Objects being mentioned and ignoring the message which Allah is giving.
..yuDillu bi-hee Katheeran wa yaHdee bi-hee Katheera -
He misguides with it Many, and He guides by it Many.
In this context, Allah is talking about;
- the Quran
- the Parables He mentions.
The Quran will guide or misguide people based on their Intentions before reading it.
If they are seeking Guidance from it – Allah will guide them.
If they are seeking Criticism for it – Allah will misguide them through it.
..Wa maa yuDillu bi-hee il-laa al-Faasiqeen -
And He does not misguide – except the Corrupt.
So Allah misguided them because they did not desire guidance – so they had a Corrupt intention when approaching the Quran.
All the different misguided groups try to use the Quran to prove to the people of Sunnah (Ahl al-Sunnah) their misguidance – through the Quran.
So Allah tells us that He further misguides the Corrupt through this Quran.
Who are the Faasiqeen/Corrupt?
الَّذِينَ يَنقُضُونَ عَهْدَ اللَّهِ مِن بَعْدِ مِيثَاقِهِ وَيَقْطَعُونَ مَا أَمَرَ اللَّهُ بِهِ أَن يُوصَلَ وَيُفْسِدُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْخَاسِرُونَ
Those who Cut apart/violate the Covenant of Allah after taking it firmly..
Which Covenant is this;
1 – The Covenant our Souls took when we were with Allah before we entered this world, when Allah said – ‘Am I not your Master?’, and we all said ‘Yes, no doubt – we testify and bear witness’;
[see surah al A'raf 7:172]
2 – Covenant of Believing in the Messengers’;
When we say the Shahadah;
Laa illaaha illaa Allah, Muhammadun Rasool Allah – there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him).
Then we have to accept the religion in its entirety, even if some of it doesn’t make sense to us.
We can not be doubters who criticize the Messenger of Allah’s actions, because this is what the Jews did to their Prophets, and the Hypocrites did to Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam.)
If someone has such characteristics, it is likely that Allah will misguide them.
“..Wa yaQta’oona maa ‘amarAllahu bi-hee an yuWSala..” -
And they Cut off what Allah has commanded, which should have been Strongly Connected/Linked.
The scholars commented that this refers to;
1 – the Unity of the Muslims (the Corrupt people/Faasiqeen wanted to cause disunity and break/Cut the ties and strength of the Muslims.)
2 – Silat-ur-Rahm (Connection of the Blood/Family). These people would cause disunity amongst the people, especially having a bad relationship with their families and breaking the family ties.
3 – al-Shawkani said: the Hypocrites tried to Cut and Separate the connection between the Quran, and the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam.)
I.e. The Hypocrites tried to separate the Quran from the Sunnah, even at the time of Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam).
So if the Messenger commanded something, the hypocrites would ask; where does it say it in the Quran?
This is hinted at in surah Muhammad (47).
Such a Hypocrite movement started at the time of Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam), and still continues till today. They try to ignore the Sunnah because they feel too ‘restricted’ by it. So Allah has misguided them because of their lack of sincerety.
..Wa yuFsidoona fee al-’ArD –
And they are Corrupting in the Earth.
They are corrupting the Earth by Cutting off and separating which Allah has commanded to be joined.
..ulaa’ika hum-ul Khaasiroon –
It is they who are the Losers.
When they cause corruption, others also suffer. So people might think that the Corrupters are winning worldly benefit for themselves by harming others, but they are truly Losers in the sight of Allah and on Judgment Day.
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كَيْفَ تَكْفُرُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَكُنتُمْ أَمْوَاتًا فَأَحْيَاكُمْ ۖ ثُمَّ يُمِيتُكُمْ ثُمَّ يُحْيِيكُمْ ثُمَّ إِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ
How can any of you Disbelieve in and be Ungrateful to Allah – and you used to be dead and He brought you to life, then He will give you death again, then He will give you life again, then to Him you will return..
Allah has described our whole life journey, and if you truly reflect on it – it makes you scared because you realise that no matter how much you travel – in the end – you will return to Allah and be held responsible for what you did.
“O forgetful human, surely you are returning to your Lord a truly returning, then you will meet Him” (Inshiqaq 84:6)
He is the One who created for you all, everything which is on the Earth, Jamee’an (altogether).
The word Jamee’an (Altogether / group) has 2 implications;
1 – ALL (objects) that are ON the Earth is for us humans to use.
2 – that which is on the Earth is for ALL us humans (i.e. It isn’t just for some specific nation, but rather – for all people and colours/tribes etc.)
So it can imply either; ALL the things on the Earth, or it can imply
ALL us humans as a whole.
LA-kum = FOR you (all)
Paradise/Jannah – was created FOR us to enjoy.
The World/Dunya – was created FOR us to use to get to Jannah/Paradise.
..Thumma astawaa ila-as-samaa’i fa sawwaa hunna sab’a samaawaat -
Allah rose towards the sky and balanced them into 7 seven skies .
This ayah is of the Mutashaabihaat verses, which means they are not Clear in our limited human understanding. So we accept them as they are Without asking ‘Kayf?’ (the question of; How?) Allah did what He did. We should not do this, based on what Allah says in surah aal Imran 3:7.
..wa huwwa bi kulli shay’in ‘aleem -
“And only HE is knowledgable over everything.” (Allah is telling us that only He knows knowledge of everything, so we should admit that we cannot know everything. A sign of our humble imperfection and a sign of Allah’s perfection and vast knowledge and power.)
This surah started with Alif Lam Meem – that which we didn’t understand. So Allah is telling us humans to admit that we can’t know everything.
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[Download Ayah 30:
وَإِذْ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلَائِكَةِ إِنِّي جَاعِلٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً ۖ قَالُوا أَتَجْعَلُ فِيهَا مَن يُفْسِدُ فِيهَا وَيَسْفِكُ الدِّمَاءَ وَنَحْنُ نُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِكَ وَنُقَدِّسُ لَكَ ۖ قَالَ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
Allah told us in the previous ayah that;
How can you disbelieve in Allah, and you were dead (not existent), and then He gave you life..
1 – The first person Allah gave life to was Adam (alayhi as-Salaam). So now Allah will start to talk about him and his origins.
2 – Soon; Allah will also talk about the first Islamic nation which ruled by Laws – the nation of Bani Isra’eel (the Jews.)
The Messengers’ before Prophet Moses would not have a full Law system by which they ruled their people. Rather, the Messengers’ would recieve Guidance from Allah in regard to different matters i.e: how to Praise and thank Allah through Prayer, to be a Morally good person (i.e. good to parents, relatives, neighbours etc.) but they were not given a full detailed Law system.
Bani Isra’eel (Children of Isra’eel – the Jews) would be the first nation with a full system; Clear Rights and wrongs, Specific Laws and Punishments which would be executed if people of that nation went against the Law.
So Allah will discuss both Beginnings in this surah;
- the Beginning origin of humans
- Beginning of the first Islamic established State. And its people.
Ayah 30 continued:
“Remember When [idh] your (O Muhammad) Master said to the Angels, Surely I am One who is going to make especially in the Earth a Khaleefah”
Idh = When (past tense). But has an implication of; (wa adhkur) – ‘and Remember/think about the time When..’
‘and Remember/think about the time When Allah said to the Angels, I am going to make in the Earth a Khaleefah..’
Ibn Katheer said: yaKhlufu ba’Du-hum ba’da – Khaleefah is someone who proceed/come one after another
i – (someone who will have Children, and those children have children etc.)
ii – Prophets’ will come – one after another – throughout history.
[Note: The angels do not have children. I.e. Angel Jibreel (Gabriel) was existent before (many thousands of years before), and is still existent even now.]
Islam differs from Jews and Christians, because:
1 – We don’t believe Adam and Eve were sent to the Earth as a punishment.
Especially if we consider that the first mention of Adam in the Quran has a mention of Allah saying He will create a Khaleefah on the Earth (this is mentioned even before the narrative story of Adam is mentioned.)
2 – Both Adam and Eve ate from the tree. (some of the Jews and Christians have said that maybe the word ‘Evil’ derives from the name ‘Eve’ [blaming it on only Eve]. The Quran says they both ate from the tree (see surah Taha 2:121)]
“..They (the angels) said, are you placing in it someone who will cause Corruption (Fasaad) in it, And it is we who declare your perfection by Praising you and Sanctifying You..”
Allah told us earlier in this surah that there were people who did cause Corruption in the Earth (see ayah 12.) Showing that the Angels were – to an extent – correct in their assumption.
We also learn that Spilling/Shedding blood unjustly is a sign of disregard of the Perfection of Allah. I.e. A person who does so does not truly comprehend the Perfectness of Allah.
Allah created the human to be in harmony with his surroundings on Earth. So if this person unjustly, out of lust or anger kills or harms someone else – and causes Corruption on the Earth, then this person has violated the Hamd/praise of Allah. This person – who is supposed to have an intellect has done more violence and injustice than even an animal/beast.
He said, It is I who knows what you do not know.
The angels said humans will shed blood, and they were correct.
However, Allah told the Angels that He knows what they do not. Which means;
i – There will be some people who won’t cause Corruption on Earth. Rather, they will be fighting against and opposing corruption. They are the followers of the Prophets’.
ii – Even though this group will be a small amount, they will be a proof enough to the Angels – that Allah’s point was valid.
This means that Allah is Prideful when His slaves submit to Him, follow His Messengers’ and oppose Corruption. And this is why Allah will be extremely happy with these slaves on Judgment Day – since they opposed Corruption;
a – proving Allah’s point to the Angels.
b – declaring Allah’s perfection and praises (Hamd) by opposing the Corruption.
We ask Allah to make us of His slaves who He is prideful of and amazed at. So that He shows off to the Angels about us. Ameen ya Rabb.
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[Download Ayah 31:
وَعَلَّمَ آدَمَ الْأَسْمَاءَ كُلَّهَا ثُمَّ عَرَضَهُمْ عَلَى الْمَلَائِكَةِ فَقَالَ أَنبِئُونِي بِأَسْمَاءِ هَٰؤُلَاءِ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ
And He taught Adam the names, all of them.
The word; ‘Al-lama [Fa'alla/taf'eel form] = Continuous/Intense Teaching.
So whenever knowledge and its teaching is mentioned, Allah is telling us that He is the One who has taught it. He attributes ALL knowledge to Himself.
I.e. Surah Rahman 55:1-4; The Abundantly Merciful (Allah), has Taught ['Al-lama] the Qur’an, He has created the Human, and He has Taught ['Al-lama] him how to Speak (Bayaan – Conveying/communication in speech).
So when we see this ayah in surah al Baqarah, we see that Allah taught names’ to Adam.
Ustadh Nouman says;
Some figurative translations translate this ayah as:
‘Allah taught Adam the names of Everything.’
But this is not correct. In that case it would be;
“‘Al-lama Adama (He taught Adam) - Asmaa’a Kulli shay’in (Names of Everything.” or something similar.
But it has been translated by Ustadh Nouman as:
“And He (Allah) taught Adam the names, all of them.”
Some have commented:
Adam was taught ALL kinds of names.
The word ‘Kullu’ = Every/All in the Arabic language, but it can also imply ‘Lots’.
(This is why there are different connotations/implications in the language meaning.)
Some scholars comment;
- Adam was given knowledge of Lots’ of things.
- Adam was given Potential knowledge of Lots’/all of things. (he had the ability to know Lots of things’).
Even in Modern Linguistics, it is noted that;
The progression of Human knowledge has always been based on ‘Names’ and Objects. So no matter what field or language you go into of human sciences; people mention Names and Objects to understand and explain their concepts to others. And it is said that all languages begin with Nouns/Objects, and then Verbs and other descriptions are derived from them.
This is exactly what Allah describes teaching Adam; the Asmaa’ (Names of Objects).
We see that Adam has been taught names and has vast potential for a huge amount of knowledge. Something which the Angels don’t have.
So Allah asks the Angels;
“Inform me the Names of these – if infact you are Truthful (Saadiqeen)”
You would think that Allah might say; ‘”Inform me the Names of these – if infact you Know’ (in kuntum ta’lamoon.)
But the reason why Allah said; ‘In kuntum Saadiqeen’ (if you are Truthful) is based on a previous comment of the Angels who asked Allah why He would create someone who would spill/shed blood.
Allah is proving to them that just as you don’t know the Names of these things – the same way, you do not know everything about Allah’s plans.
So you (Angels) are wrong in your assumptions that All humans will cause Corruption and shed/spill blood. (there will be some who will follow guidance and try to remove Corruption i.e. True believers).
[Note: sometimes we read Ahadeeth where Allah boasts/shows off to the Angels about some Righteous human slaves who have fought in the cause of Allah without fleeing, or done something to remove corruption.
Allah proves to the Angels that He knows what they did not know - that there would be some good slaves (Muslims).]
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They said; SubhaanaK – (we declare) Your Perfection
Subhan – something which stays Constantly in its place.
I.e. Sabaha = he is Floating. when a swimmer is floating without drowning = constantly in his place.
So the Angels said;
“You are constantly always Perfect, we have absolutely no knowledge except what you have taught us..”
The scholars comment that: the Names (Asmaa’) of Objects which Allah taught Adam were Objects of the world we live in (the Dunya). Like names of Tools for Agriculture etc.
So when people mistakenly think that Religious knowledge is only from Allah, then this is a misunderstanding.
Rather – Allah taught us Worldly knowledge too. So all advances in worldly Sciences is due to Allah teaching it to His Prophets’, starting from Adam.
(I.e. Allah taught Prophet Idrees how to Write, Prophet Noah how to build a Ship, Prophet Saalih of a perfect and fair Economic Finance system, Prophet Dawud how to make light and flexible armour, Prophet Jesus advances in Medicine, Prophet Muhammad in a perfect System for ALL Spheres/areas of life etc.)
So when people praise human inventions, they should praise Allah that He gave us minds and knowledge of Objects (which He taught Adam) to construct them amazing ideas.
“InnaKa anta al-Aleem ul-Hakeem”
Surely only You are the All* Knowing, the All* Wise.
The Angels admit that they were wrong and limited in their understanding, and that Allah knows everything.
But then they say that Allah is al-Hakeem – the All Wise. They say this because only Allah knows the Wisdom for which He created Adam.
[*The word 'All' has been added in translation because 'AL' (The) has an implication of someone/thing being Specific for someone.
So 'Al Hamd' means 'the Praise' (so if we imagine 'Praise' as a physical Object being Specific for someone = 'THE Praise / All of the Praise' belongs to Allah.]
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قَالَ يَا آدَمُ أَنبِئْهُم بِأَسْمَائِهِمْ ۖ فَلَمَّا أَنبَأَهُم بِأَسْمَائِهِمْ قَالَ أَلَمْ أَقُل لَّكُمْ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ غَيْبَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَأَعْلَمُ مَا تُبْدُونَ وَمَا كُنتُمْ تَكْتُمُونَ
He (Allah) said; O Adam, inform them the Names of them [asmaa'i-Him'] (Objects).
‘Him’ [translated as 'Them'] refers to; (li dhaw-il ‘Uqool – Creatures with ‘Aql/Intellect.)
So it includes the Names of; Nations, other Human and possibly even Jinn related aspects.
[If it was just Inanimate Objects that Adam was taught, then it would be said as; asmaa'i-HAA'. But this was not said.]
“Then (Fa) when he informed them of their names..”
Allah used the word ‘Fa’ (Then) to show that when Allah asked Adam to name them – he named them Straightaway.
[If the word 'Thumma' (also meaning 'Then, after some time') was used, it would mean; 'Then after some time' - Adam named them.]
This shows us that Adam (alayhi as-Salaam) was able to do so Immediately.
“He (Allah) said; Didn’t I tell you that I am the only One who knows for sure the unseen of the skies and the earth, and what you are exposing (tuBdoon – your criticism which you show) and that which you have been hiding (taKtumoon)
Ustadh Nouman explains that the Angels are created to always obey Allah, so they do not have secret agendas. But he says that he believes this is the most convincing explanation he has found about what the angels Hiding (taKtumoon);
Al Aloosi in Ruh al Ma’aani’s explanation; Iblees (the future; Shaytaan) was given high ranks among the angels, even though he was a Jinn. He gained this high rank, (maybe because he did acts of worship to Allah alot) but most of all because it was a test for him from Allah.
So the Angels didn’t know as they were innocent, but Iblees was amongst them, and he may have been getting jealous when Adam (alayhi as-Salaam) was being honored, or maybe Iblees would get jealous in the future against Adam when Allah would tell the Angels (and Iblees who was amongst them) to prostrate to Adam.
So Allah is telling them that Allah knew what Iblees had hidden in him (of jealousy against Adam), or that Allah knew what Iblees (who is amongst the angels) will do in the near-future.
Then suddenly Allah introduces us to this subject, in the next ayah;
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وَإِذْ قُلْنَا لِلْمَلَائِكَةِ اسْجُدُوا لِآدَمَ فَسَجَدُوا إِلَّا إِبْلِيسَ أَبَىٰ وَاسْتَكْبَرَ وَكَانَ مِنَ الْكَافِرِينَ
And when We said to the Angels; Prostrate to Adam, so they all Prostrated, except Iblees.
Abaa – he Refused. Means: to Refuse the command of someone who has Authority over you.
Show a lack of regard for the authority and disobey.
[similar word: RafaDa - he Refused between someone of an equal ranking.]
wa AST-aKbara [ISTaF'ala] – and he Seeked/sought Greatness
So Allah told us a glimpse in the psyche of Iblees; he sought Greatness and thought to himself; why should everyone respect this new Adam when I have been worshipping Allah for so long?
So Iblees wasn’t sincere to Allah, he just wanted to boost and raise his ego and false respect.
Dr. Abdus Samee’ (Nouman’s teacher said;)
Allah has created us as Allah’s caretakers of the Earth. So even though we might have power to rule the full Earth, we have to admit that we are slaves and weak in front of Allah. And that we are always dependant on Him.
This is important because in all parts of life, religious or non-religious – Iblees/shaytaan will try to make us follow his example of disobeying Allah out of arrogance against others. And this is what destroys the best of people.
So we have to admit we are weak slaves of Allah who are always dependant upon Him, and there is no strength or power except from Allah.
“..wa Kaana min al Kaafireen” -
and he Was from the Ungrateful Disbelievers.
[Allah could have said; 'fa aSbaha min al Kaafireen' - then he Became of the Disbelievers."]
By saying the word; ‘Kaana’ (Was – past tense) – it shows that; in the sight of Allah (Azza wa Jal), iblees Was Always a Kaafir (Ungrateful Disbeliever) deep inside himself – and Allah exposed the disease of arrogance in his heart when he spoke back to Allah arrogantly on that Day.
[We will see in other surahs' - when Allah mentions this story again - he mentions different details in it. I.e. Iblees will try to justify his sin and disobedience by trying to give arguments to Allah why he shouldn't prostrate (do Sajdah). See: surah al A'raf 7:12]
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وَقُلْنَا يَا آدَمُ اسْكُنْ أَنتَ وَزَوْجُكَ الْجَنَّةَ وَكُلَا مِنْهَا رَغَدًا حَيْثُ شِئْتُمَا وَلَا تَقْرَبَا هَٰذِهِ الشَّجَرَةَ فَتَكُونَا مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ
O Adam, settle – you and your partner in the Garden
Sukoon: you were in motion and you stop somewhere and remain there.
Saakin – someone who you used to be somewhere else and is placed somewhere else to Live (i.e. Adam was placed from somewhere else into the Jannah/gardens).
Sukoon: does not necessarily imply ‘Permanent Residence’.
Khuld = Permanent/’Ongoing’ Residence.
[There are 10 different words for 'Living' somewhere in the Qur'an. This word 'uSkun' is one of them.]
We see that Allah did not tell Adam to stay ‘Khuld’ (ongoing and always) in the Garden/Jannah, He said ‘uSkun’ (stay there for some time.)
This shows that Allah had already predestined that Adam would have to come to the Earth, especially when we consider that Allah has taught him the names of many Objects of the Earth world.
‘You and your wife settle in the Garden’
Allah never said ‘you two’ settle in the Garden. Rather, He said – ‘you and your wife – settle in the garden’. This shows that Allah honored both the male and female at the same time when He said this.
‘Then eat from this Garden/Paradise carefree/with joy/delight (Raghadan), but don’t come close to this tree – either of you – and if you do so, you both will be of the losers.
Raghadan – freely without fear / carefree.
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Ayah 36 – 38
[Download Ayah 36:
فَأَزَلَّهُمَا الشَّيْطَانُ عَنْهَا فَأَخْرَجَهُمَا مِمَّا كَانَا فِيهِ ۖ وَقُلْنَا اهْبِطُوا بَعْضُكُمْ لِبَعْضٍ عَدُوٌّ ۖ وَلَكُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ مُسْتَقَرٌّ وَمَتَاعٌ إِلَىٰ حِينٍ
And shaytan caused Both of them (HumAA) to Slip (a-zalla) from It (‘an-Haa)
The ['an] ‘Haa’ ([slip from] It/her) refers to them slipping from;
- Allah’s Instruction,
- His Guidance,
- ['an = in regards to] the Tree (tree/shajarah is a feminine word.)
“Then He expelled [akhraja] both of them from what they were in.”
The majority of scholars say that Allah expelled them both (Adam and Hawwa/Eve) from Paradise.
However, some scholars say that the ‘he’ refers to shaytaan/iblees expelling them from Paradise.
[Note: Allah explains events briefly in some surahs', and explains the same event in alot more detail in another surah.
I.e. Surah al A'raf (7) explains this narrative of Adam and Eve and how Iblees/shaytan tricks them - in more detail than surah al Baqarah does.
The reason why this occurs is because; every surah has a Central message and Central Themed Lessons. So Allah will mention a story in more detail when the lessons from the story are relevant to the Theme of the surah.]
Allah told us that the Waswasa of shaytan effected both Adam and Eve, and they both ate from the tree. (some of the Jews and Christians have said that maybe the word ‘Evil’ derives from the name ‘Eve’ [blaming it on only Eve].
The Quran says they both were victims of shaytans Waswasa (whisperings) and they both ate from the tree (see surah Taha 2:121)].
..Wa qul-Naa ihbiToo -
“And We said descend..”
ihbiTOO – descend (plural)
The ‘OO’ [waw, alif] at the end of the command ihbiT (descend) is a Plural (3 or more characters.)
It is not in Dual (2 / two characters) form [which would be ihbitAA), which shows that Allah is not just telling Adam and Eve to descend, but also to a 3rd character - Iblees/shaytan.
They were descended to Earth. Which shows that the Earth is 'lesser' in position to the Paradise.
Ba'Da-kum bi Ba'Din 'aduw
"..Some of you (one group) [will be an] enemy ['aduw] to Another.”
There will be 3 different types of enmities on the planet Earth;
1 – Some Men will have animosity/hatred against women.
2 – Some Women will have animosity/hatred against men.
3 – Iblees/shaytaan will be an enemy to both Men and Women.
When men and women have hatred for each other – it will be because of shaytaan’s influences.
In Modern Sociology and through history, there is a Social problem we see;
1 – Male Chauvinism – where men feel they deserve everything and females deserve nothing.
2 – Extreme Femininism – where women feel they deserve everything and males deserve nothing.
People might try to make compromises – but they can never fully reach a fair/unbiased solution, except if someone/thing which isn’t male or female, and who knows the full internal/external details of human beings can provide a fair solution. And who both males and females can accept as a unified Authority – then the arguments and animosity will be settled. And this is through God/Allah and His Guidance.
“..Wa la-kum fee al ‘Ardi mustaqarrun..”
And in the Earth, there will be a temporary place of rest for you.
MustaQarr – a place you take Stop/tranquility/calmness in for a temporary amount of time.
“wa mataa’un ilaa Heeyn” -
And Utilities (for use) until a given time.
So Allah is saying that the Earth will be a temporary stay for us all, and a use (mataa’) for us until a set time.
Mataa’ – a Tool which you use and do not really enjoy. (i.e. Like a cleaning cloth, or any tool which you need to use to get your jobs done.)
[Al Asma'i: - he did research on especially this word - Mataa' (because Allah describes this world as Mataa' so much in the Qur'an). So he would go to the desert Arabs and would listen to what Objects they would use this word for (without telling them that this was his intent.)
But he found it hard because people would not say it naturally. And he did not want to ask them directly what it meant because he would not get a natural definition.
Until once he was sitting at a pond and a small girl was cleaning dishes with a Scrubbing Brush, and a goat came and snatched it away from her. She shouted; 'Akhadha Mataa'i' (he took my Brush!). So he writ this down in his Commentary - that Mataa' means 'Scrubbing Brush' (i.e. a using tool.) ]
Ustadh Nouman explains: Allah is telling us that this world is Mataa’, and that we should not waste our life being attached to things which is only a Use to get to the next life.
Our money should be in our pocket or with the needy, not in our hearts.
Especially when Allah is telling us that this world is for a limited time only (mataa’un ilaa Heeyn.)
فَتَلَقَّىٰ آدَمُ مِن رَّبِّهِ كَلِمَاتٍ فَتَابَ عَلَيْهِ ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ
“Then (when they were sent down) “
Muslims believe that Adam and Eve being sent to the Earth was not a punishment. It was part of the Allah’s Divine plan before Adam was created. Yet everything that they and their children would do would have consequences in the next life.
The Catholic christians;- thought that God punished Adam and Eve, so they were sent to this world.
As a result - they abandoned the world and locked themselves in monasteries.
The Protestant ('Protesting/opposing') christians went to the opposite extreme of Catholics and said that the more richer you are, the more God loves you. This is why their Pasteurs are millionaires nowadays.
Islam is the middle way - which tells us that this world is a Using Tool to get to the next life. So your riches can be given to the needy, and also used on yourself. But you need to show your gratefulness to Allah as a result and not be attached to this world.]
We know that this was not a punishment, although Allah did say some strong words to Adam.
‘Did I not forbid you the from that tree, and did I not say to you – surely Shaytaan is a clear enemy to you both?’ (surah al A’raf 7:22)
So Adam, Eve and Iblees/shaytaan had been placed on the Earth.
“..Then (Fa) Especially from his Master, Adam recieved special words, then (Fa) his Master turned back towards him.”
And Allah tells us the words He gave them;
‘Our Master, we have wronged ourselves, and if you do not forgive us, then surely we will be of the losers.’ (surah al A’raf 7:23)
The ‘Fa’ (then) means ‘ Then – straightaway’.
[If 'Thumma' was used, it would mean 'after some time, Then..']
So Allah is showing us that just when Adam was sent to the Earth, Allah Himself chose to give him words (out of His Mercy for Adam and Eve) by which – they begged Allah – and Allah forgave them..
‘..Fa taaba ‘alayh’ -
then straightaway – He (Allah) turned back to them.
Adam and Eve were sent to the Earth, and Allah taught Adam words, and they sincerely recited them – and Allah turned back to them in forgiveness.
[NOTE: Allah taught Adam the words, and he taught them to his wife. Which shows that Allah wants the male to be a leading example in the household of teaching his women the religion.]
How kind is Allah!
Tawbah (turning back to Allah for the slave in regret is loved by Allah so much, that He converts the bad deed into a good one.) [see surah al-Furqan 25:70]
“..Innahu huwwa al-tawwaabu al-raheem -
Surely it is He, He who is the One who turns back in love (to the repenters) over and over again, the Constantly Merciful.”
This ayah is so powerful. Any person who has sinned so much will think that Allah will never forgive him.
But who can be more regretful than Adam and his wife? They were in a Jannah/garden where they had everything they wanted. They were told directly by Allah not to eat from the tree. Yet they fell into a mistake/slipped, and they had to leave the Jannah/garden temporarily.
Yet they sincerely repented to Allah, and He forgave them. So no other sinner has an excuse after hearing this from repenting sincerely to Allah.
[Ayah of Repentance: al A'raf 7:23]:
رَبَّنَا ظَلَمْنَا أَنفُسَنَا وَإِن لَّمْ تَغْفِرْ لَنَا وَتَرْحَمْنَا لَنَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ
They said, “Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we will surely be among the losers.”
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Lessons & Reminders from surah al Baqarah 2: 38-44
Watch Video of Tafseer:
قُلْنَا اهْبِطُوا مِنْهَا جَمِيعًا ۖ فَإِمَّايَأْتِيَنَّكُممِّنِّيهُدًىفَمَنتَبِعَ هُدَايَ فَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
We said, “Go down from it, all of you. And when guidance comes to you from Me, whoever follows My guidance – there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve.
fa = then - whoever follows the guidance, no fear will be upon them.
mantabi’a hudaaya – whoever follows my guidance – this is singular, because a person may embrace Islam by themselves and feel strange in society for following it. Yet Allah is giving them the good news that no fear will be upon them [plural] – which shows that the person will find other good believing companions in this life, and especially in the next life.
ya’tiyANNA kum. Really it would be; ya’tiy kum. The difference is; the ‘ANNA‘ implies Certainty.
ya’tee / Ataa = to Give. So the overall meaning is;
Then if GuidanceCertainly [is] given to youfrom Me.
So Allah is telling people to investigate guidance, not just any guidance, but to investigate that it is truly guidance from Allah. This is implied by ya’tiyANNA.
There is no fear on them – because when fear is in your mind, it has a greater affect on you than just sadness. So fear is mentioned before sadness.
But not all fear will leave them [otherwise it would be Khawfa], rather for most of the part – they will not be in fear.
The word Khawfun is mentioned as a Noun, which is a Permanent form. This is interesting because Fear is permanently part of a person.
And they will not be sad – sadness can be ignored, whereas fear is not as easy to ignore. So this is mentioned after fear.
The ‘hum’ [them] is mentioned to emphasise that Especially them – they will not be sad (in this worldly life and on Judgment Day).
The word yaHzanoon is in verb form, which is a a Temporary form. This is interesting because Sadness comes and goes in life.
In this world, the believers have no loss. It is a win-win situation. In hardships, they are between Sabr and Shukr [Patience and Thankfulness]. Both are rewardable. [They will not fear or be sad].
Whereas the disbeliever is in loss. He is in a lose-lose situation. In hardships he is sad he has lost his time and health, in ease he is arrogant and ungrateful to Allah – causing Allah’s punishment to descend.
People who misinterpret the Qur’an, they have fallen into one of these 2 categories;
Khawf[Fear] – many Muslims who misinterpret the aayaat of Allah are scared of being criticized – so they do not discuss them, or they misinterpret them.
Huzn[grief] – many Muslims are extremely angered and annoyed due to hardships they have faced, so they make mis-interpretations based on the griefs that they have faced in life.
Allah in the upcoming aayaat/verses tells us not to hide or misinterpret His aayaat/verses. So we have to look at the Quran from a balanced and neutral perspective when deriving rulings.
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وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَكَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا أُولَٰئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ ۖ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ
And those who disbelieve and lied against Our miraculous signs – those will be companions of the Fire; they will abide therein eternally.”
This is contrasting with the previous ayah which spoke about following the guidance, and this ayah is talking about disbelieving and lying against the guidance.
So it is criticizing the point of not following the guidance.
So who is the best example of people who know the guidance is true, but they didn’t follow it? [read the next ayah for the answer].
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يَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ اذْكُرُوا نِعْمَتِيَ الَّتِي أَنْعَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَأَوْفُوا بِعَهْدِي أُوفِ بِعَهْدِكُمْ وَإِيَّايَفَارْهَبُونِ
O Children of Israel, remind yourselves of Myfavor which I have bestowed upon you and fulfill My covenant [upon you] that I will fulfill your covenant [from Me], and be afraid of [only] Me.
An’am – Favour/blessing.
Allah is reminding the Children of Israel that Allah did favour them, but they were ungrateful. We as Muslims are also favoured, so we should not fall into their mistakes – otherwise Allah might remove His favour from us, just like He removed it from them.
Moses is mentioned the most in the Qur’an so that we can compare ourselves to his Ummah [nation].
Allah is reminding Bani Isra’eel [the Children of Israel] to remember the favour of Allah. Similarly, we should remember the favour of Allah that He chose us.
Now that we remember this favour, what should we do?
We should fulfill Allah’s promise [through obedience] so that He will fulfill His promise [of success and reward] for us.
Oowfee [maJzoom] – Jawab al Shart: I.e. if you fulfill your Promise [Condition] – Allah will fulfill His promise.
What was the promise to Bani Isra’eel? That if they applied the laws of the Torah/Tawraat, They would eat from above them and below them [Ma'idah 5:66]*. Allah will give them everything. If you just follow Allah’s guidance, the reward of the world will come to you and even the next life.
*وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ أَقَامُوا التَّوْرَاةَ وَالْإِنجِيلَ وَمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِم مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ لَأَكَلُوا مِن فَوْقِهِمْ وَمِن تَحْتِ أَرْجُلِهِم ۚ مِّنْهُمْ أُمَّةٌ مُّقْتَصِدَةٌ ۖ وَكَثِيرٌ مِّنْهُمْ سَاءَ مَا يَعْمَلُونَ
And if only they had acted according to the Taurat (Torah), the Injeel (Gospel), and what has (now) been sent down to them from their Lord (the Quran), they would surely have gotten provision from above them and from underneath their feet. There are from among them people who are on the right course (i.e. they act on the revelation and believe in Prophet Muhammad SAW like ‘Abdullah bin Salam), but many of them do evil deeds. [Ma'idah 5:66]
The same way, Allah has promised for our Ummah [nation];
وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنكُمْ وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَيَسْتَخْلِفَنَّهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ كَمَا اسْتَخْلَفَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ وَلَيُمَكِّنَنَّ لَهُمْ دِينَهُمُ الَّذِي ارْتَضَىٰ لَهُمْ وَلَيُبَدِّلَنَّهُم مِّن بَعْدِ خَوْفِهِمْ أَمْنًا ۚ يَعْبُدُونَنِي لَا يُشْرِكُونَ بِي شَيْئًا ۚ وَمَن كَفَرَ بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ
Allah has promised those who have believed among you and done righteous deeds that He will surely grant them succession [to authority] upon the earth just as He granted it to those before them and that He will surely establish for them [therein] their religion which He has preferred for them and that He will surely substitute for them, after their fear, security, [for] they worship Me, not associating anything with Me. But whoever disbelieves after that – then those are the defiantly disobedient. [Nur 24:55]
iyyaaya ha faRhaboon – and Fear Only Me.
So Allah is reminding His favours before reminding people to fear Him alone.
wa Aaminoo… – and come to believe..
in what I have sent down, as a confirmation of what you already have [they had the Torah, and the Qur'an confirmed the Torah] – so Allah is necessitating that the people believe in the Messenger – Prophet Muhammad – because he is the Messenger from Allah confirming what came of the early message of the Torah.
Believing in Prophet Muhammad is important in this ayah because in ayah :62 in this surah, we will realise that Allah does not mention the Messenger. So believing in the Messenger – Prophet Muhammad – is mentioned in this ayah, and this ayah  is part of the discussion which leads to the discussion in ayah 62 of this surah.
أَفَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِبَعْضِ الْكِتَابِ وَتَكْفُرُونَ بِبَعْضٍ ۚ
فَمَا جَزَاءُ مَن يَفْعَلُ ذَٰلِكَ مِنكُمْ إِلَّا خِزْيٌ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَيَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ يُرَدُّونَ إِلَىٰ أَشَدِّ الْعَذَابِ ۗ وَمَا اللَّهُ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ
So do you believe in part of the Scripture and disbelieve in part? Then what is the recompense for those who do that among you except disgrace in worldly life; and on the Day of Resurrection they will be sent back to the severest of punishment. And Allah is not unaware of what you do. [Baqarah 2:85]
We have to believe in ALL the religion 100%.
..And do not be of the first to disbelieve in it. This is emphasised because the Jews had knowledge of previous Prophets, so the Sahaba thought that the Jews would be the first to be Muslims. But ironically, they never. It was easier for the polytheist Arabs to become Muslim in huge numbers than it was for the Jews, and this is what actually happened.
Allah exposes the secret agendas of the enemies of Islam;
Don’t sell my signs for a small price;
I.e. they knew Prophet Muhammad was a Messenger of Allah, and they knew that if they tell everyone that a non-Jew is a Prophet, then their special status is gone. Their high status of being the honored ‘people of the Book’ will be gone, so they will lose their special status in the sight of society, and they will have to be equals to the slaves who follow the Messenger, and equal to the Gentiles [non-Jews].
wa iyyaaya fattaqoon – and fear only, only Me.
This is a warning to ALL people who receive Allah’s book and revelation. Because they may interpret Allah’s book in the wrong way out of fear of the people, and not fearing Allah. They may do this to please the people, and earn Allah’s wrath.
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وَلَا تَلْبِسُواالْحَقَّ بِالْبَاطِلِوَتَكْتُمُواالْحَقَّ وَأَنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ
And don’t clothe the truth with falsehood.
People might use the Quran and Sunnah and produce wrong conclusions for an agenda/motive – this is done using 90% truth and 10% false, yet whatever is not 100% truth – then it is not the truth.
مَثَلًا ۘ يُضِلُّ بِهِ كَثِيرًا وَيَهْدِي بِهِ كَثِيرًا ۚ وَمَا يُضِلُّ بِهِ إِلَّا الْفَاسِقِينَ
He misleads many thereby and guides many thereby. And He misleads not except the defiantly disobedient, [Baqarah 2:26]
..And don’t conceal the truth while you know.
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وَأَقِيمُواالصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَوَارْكَعُوامَعَ الرَّاكِعِينَ
Establish the prayer and give Zakah [purification charity] - because when you pray – you are connecting with Allah and remembering Him much, and purifying yourself by giving in away in charity.
And make Rukoo’ [bowing] along with the BowerS [Raaki'EEN].
The conservative Jews these days have the exact similar prayer to us today, EXCEPT that they make rukoo’ [bowing] first and then sajdah [prostration] after that. This is proven in surah aal Imran;
يَا مَرْيَمُ اقْنُتِي لِرَبِّكِ وَاسْجُدِي وَارْكَعِي مَعَ الرَّاكِعِينَ
O Mary, be devoutly obedient to your Lord and prostrate and bow with those who bow [in prayer].” [aal Imran 3:43]
Unlike our Ummah where we do Rukoo’ first, and then sajdah;
مُّحَمَّدٌ رَّسُولُ اللَّهِ ۚ وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ أَشِدَّاءُ عَلَى الْكُفَّارِ رُحَمَاءُ بَيْنَهُمْ ۖتَرَاهُمْ رُكَّعًا سُجَّدًا يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلًا مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانًا
Muhammad (SAW) is the Messenger of Allah, and those who are with him are severe against disbelievers, and merciful among themselves. You see them bowing and falling down prostrate (in prayer), seeking Bounty from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure. [Fath 48:29]
This time, Allah is commanding them to make Rukoo’ [bowing] with those who bow – i.e. the Muslims.
Up until now, Allah has still not declared the Muslims as a separate nation. Their Qiblah is the same, and their beliefs are similar.
So Allah is reminding them of His favours, He is almost trying to show them like a deviated sect/group who should join back to the mainstream and obedient Muslims. That is extremely powerful.
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أَتَأْمُرُونَ النَّاسَ بِالْبِرِّ وَتَنسَوْنَ أَنفُسَكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ تَتْلُونَ الْكِتَابَ ۚ أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ
This is the scariest ayah/verse.
Do you command people to do good, and forget your ownselves, and [yet] you read the Book? Why is it that you don’t understand?
This is the scariest ayah for people especially people of knowledge.
Then don’t you understand?
‘Aql [commonly translated as 'Intellect']=to Tie.
‘iqaal – a rope [which the arabs would tie around their head - which they would take off to tie their camel after they had rode it].
= control and restraint (over your emotions and thoughts) = self control, so you can make a good Judgment.
your ‘Aql should make you follow the truth when it comes to you and your judgment should not be clouded by false emotion and false pride.
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Ayah 45 – 49
The first passage which addressed Bani Isra’eel (Children of Isra’eel/Prophet Ya’qub/Jacob) is coming to its Conclusion.
Isti’aanah = seeking ‘Awn – Assistance / Help.
It is a special type of Assistance. The word is used when you are already trying to complete a job, and you cannot finish it yourself. So you ask someone for Help/Aid/Assistance [Isti'aanah] to finish it.
So Allah is telling the Bani Isra’eel (and also Muslims);
“Seek Help (asta’eenoo) by means of Perseverance and Prayer”
So Allah is telling; Start the effort yourself, THEN seek help through Perseverance (Sabr) and Prayer.
Sabr = Patience, constancy, perseverance, consistency, commitment.
It has the literal implication of ‘being tied down firmly on what you are aiming for.’
Sabr does not just apply to times of Calamity, but during all times (bad and good.) It is all about Self-discipline.
Ibn Taymiyyah said about Sabr; “Sabr is to have the same response during worldly ease to worldly difficulty.”
So Allah is ordering them;
- Put effort in yourself (in the Solutions/guidance Allah will outline for you.)
- then Seek help through Perseverance, commitment, consistency in that through Self-discipline.
- Salaah (Prayer to Allah.)
The real help comes only from Allah, so you have to be patient – and only that will qualify you for Allah’s help.
Salaah will get you Allah’s help.
‘And no doubt, it is truly huge – except on those who are truly fearful and humble.’
What is truly huge (kabeer)?
1 – the Salaah (Prayer) – prayer is very difficult except for those who are truly fearful of Allah. So those who aren’t regular in their prayers don’t really have true fear of Allah.
2 – the Isti’aanah (Seeking help) – is very difficult for these people. So they may pray due to its obligation, but their patience is only temporary, and as a result – they do not get true help from Allah through their prayers. It is extremely hard for them to get this help.
It is common for Allah to mention a Characteristic, and then explain the signs of such a character in the aayaat after it.
Allah has mentioned the; Khaashi’een (those who are; truly Fearful, and Humble to Allah.)
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الَّذِينَ يَظُنُّونَ أَنَّهُم مُّلَاقُو رَبِّهِمْ وَأَنَّهُمْ إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ
“These are the people who are thoroughly convinced (yaDhun-oon)*..”
*’Dhan’ usually means – ‘to Assume without any evidence’, but also means – ‘to be fully sure with the strongest conviction’.
This might seem like they are opposite in meaning; ‘thinking’ and ‘being sure with certainty.’
[This is because Arabic is Lughat-ul Abdaad = Language of Opposites. So one word may have one meaning, and mean its exact opposite at the same time.
Some said this might be because the Arabs Lived in Opposites i.e. They lived in the Desert which represents Death, yet they Lived (were Alive) there.
Another example: Snake represents Death because it can kill you. But the 'Arabs called it; Hayya (Life) because it is Alive in the dead desert.]
“These are the people who are thoroughly convinced (yaDhun-oon) that they will come face to face (mulaaq) with their Lord”
Mulaaq [Noun form = permanency] – Liqaa = come Face to Face.
By having it in Noun form, it shows that it is a Permanent and fixed part of these peoples lives that they they are certain that they will meet their Master. There is no way around it to escape.
“Wa anna ilayHi raaji’oon” -
and surely to Him they are returning.
Allah has used Positive reinforcement [Psychologically] to encourage them to turn back to Him sincerely.
Now Allah will use different ways (i.e. Negative Reinforcement, and sometimes Punishment) of encouraging them to return back to His guidance.
“O sons of Isra’eel, make mention of the favour that especially I favoured you with.
And Especially (AnnEE) I who had given you preference over all nations.
So the conversation almost starts all over again. Allah is reminding the sons of Isra’eel (the Jews) that they were not special because of their race.
Rather – they were only preferred and special because Allah had chosen them over other nations.
He could remove this favour and they would not be special anymore.
“Annee faD-Daltu-kum ‘alaa al ‘Aalameen
“I am the One who had preferred you [past tense] over all of mankind and jinn (‘aalameen = beings with intellect.)”
So Allah can take away the favour (and it seems that Allah has done so – by using ‘past tense’ FaD-Dal-TU-kum = I favourED you all [past tense].)
Due to continuous disobedience and rejection and killing of their Prophets’, Allah replaced the Jews with sincere Muslims who submitted to what Allah commanded them.
‘Aalameen – (nations/peoples/beings/generations of the world)
And Be cautious/mindful/fearful of a Day
Before they were told to only fear Allah (ayah 41 of this surah), but now Allah has lowered the standard and told them;
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وَاتَّقُوا يَوْمًا لَّا تَجْزِي نَفْسٌ عَن نَّفْسٍ شَيْئًا وَلَا يُقْبَلُ مِنْهَا شَفَاعَةٌ وَلَا يُؤْخَذُ مِنْهَا عَدْلٌ وَلَا هُمْ يُنصَرُونَ
‘and fear a Day (Judgment Day) when:
- no soul will benefit/reward/compensate any other person (i.e. a woman will even drop her breastfeeding child [surah Hajj 22:3]), and
- no intercession will be accepted (and no-one who will try to make intercession will be accepted),
(some people will try these (ie. offering their families going to hellfire in the hope that they will be saved from it etc.), but they will not be accepted.) [see surah Ma'arij 70:11]
- and no equivalent/ransom/bail will be taken’
(not even the planet Earth full of gold will save them as ransom [see surah aal Imran 3:91]
“..wa laa hum yuNSaroon” -
‘and they are the ones who are not going to be helped.’
By saying this, it signifies that there will be some others who will be helped. O Allah, make us of those who you help on that Day, ameen.
Now Allah will give a long series of Events which happened in the history of Bani Isra’eel (the sons of Isra’eel), not in any historical chronological order.
The purpose of the Quran is not timeline, but to drive the lesson across in the best way.
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And When We rescued you over and over again (Naj-jay-Naa) from the children of Pharoah, they would blacken your faces (arabic phrase meaning: cause you enormous humiliation), they would slaughter your sons and they would allow your women (Nisaa’) to live.
Naj-jay is used – Saved over and over again.
[aNjay - Saved once.]
Allah is telling the Children of Isra’eel (the Jews) that they could easily destroy you so you would become extinct totally from the face of the Earth. Yet Allah saved you over and over again.
Allah also tells us that; they – the oppressors – killed the boys/sons, and left the women (Nisaa’) alive and violated their honour (raped them). And this would happen repeatedly throughout history.
Furthermore, Allah used the Oppressive Acts in Present-Future tense form which implies these events would occur throughout history (even to the weak believers in this Muslim nation); – yudhabihooNa abnaa’akum (they slaughter your sons – present-future tense),
- yastaHyyooNa Nisaa’akum (they keep alive your women – present-future tense.)
“Wa fee dhaalikum Balaa’un min Rabbi-kum ‘ADheem “-
And in that, for all of you was an enormous test that had come especially from your Master.
We are living in a time similar to Bani Isra’eel today, in which there are many Pharoahs/Fir’awns, and we ask Allah that He ease our test for us and relieve us of this hardship soon and give us a near victory. Ameen ya Rabb.
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وَإِذْ فَرَقْنَا بِكُمُ الْبَحْرَ فَأَنجَيْنَاكُمْ وَأَغْرَقْنَا آلَ فِرْعَوْنَ وَأَنتُمْ تَنظُرُونَ
And remind yourselves when – especially for you – We parted the ocean/sea, We saved (aNjay-Naa-kum) you. And We caused the lineage of Pharoah to drown.
aNjay – saved once.
In this context, we see that Allah only parted the ocean for them once. So aNjay has been mentioned as ‘One saving’ in comparison to the previous ayah where Allah ‘Naj-jay’ (saved them Many times) from becoming extinct in history.
“Wa antum taNDhuroon” -
And you were all Watching closely (them being drowned).
In Jewish historical accounts; some Jews actually believed that Pharoah could not be killed, and they were convinced he was a ‘god’. So when they saw Pharoah and his army being drowned to death – they were amazed.
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وَإِذْ وَاعَدْنَا مُوسَىٰ أَرْبَعِينَ لَيْلَةً ثُمَّ اتَّخَذْتُمُ الْعِجْلَ مِن بَعْدِهِ وَأَنتُمْ ظَالِمُونَ
And remind yourselves when We called Moses (to fulfill our promise) for a period of 40nights, thereafter – you held onto the calf (‘ijl – baby cow) from [min al-ta'ajjub/amazement] even after that!? And you were Wrongdoers.
Allah is amazed and disappointed at them because they had seen the sea/ocean split infront of their own eyes, and Moses led them out of slavery of Pharoah to freedom. Yet they still doubted him!? Yet they still worshipped a God other than the God of Moses who gave them these miracles!?
They had reached a point when they should have no doubt. But instead, their actions showed a lack of certainty in belief.
Wa antum Dhaalimoon -
‘And you were Wrongdoers.’ -
Because the Jews throughout history attribute wrongdoing to Allah, and are known to blame and criticize Allah. (i.e. see al Ma’idah 5:64) and there are other real life examples.
All this which has been mentioned has occured in chronological order;
1 – Torture and near extinction of the Bani Isra’eel (Jews)
2 – The parting of the Ocean/sea, and The Drowning of Pharoah and his army.
3 – Moses being called by Allah for 40 nights.
Then (after some time) – We Pardoned you Lovingly (‘afuww), so that you may be grateful.
[how they are forgiven is mentioned in ayah 54.]
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Kitaab/Book also means Law (Shari’ah)
Furqaan [Criterion] – Farq = to separate two things so they become distinct/separate/clear from each other.
Furqaan = A Book which tells Clearly the difference between Wrong and Right categorically.
Bayaan – Bayt/Baana – separating things from each other.
(words derived from it; Bayaan, muBeeyn, tiByaan)
“..La’allakum taHtadoon” –
so that perhaps you will put an effort to be Guided [iFti'al].
‘I’ve given you the road and clear path, now you have to walk down it and follow it.’
Now Allah will explain how He forgave them (Bani Isra’eel – the Jews) lovingly [which was mentioned in ayah 52].
But what was the point of the message in ayah 53?
Allah told us that the Bani Isra’eel (Jews) were given the Book/Law and the Criterion (for Right and wrong) – so they may be rightly guided.
Their Law told them that this was the punishment for idol worship – so if they followed the Law, Allah would forgive them Lovingly – because they would be showing their dedication to Him.
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وَإِذْ قَالَ مُوسَىٰ لِقَوْمِهِ يَا قَوْمِ إِنَّكُمْ ظَلَمْتُمْ أَنفُسَكُم بِاتِّخَاذِكُمُ الْعِجْلَ فَتُوبُوا إِلَىٰ بَارِئِكُمْ فَاقْتُلُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ ذَٰلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ عِندَ بَارِئِكُمْ فَتَابَ عَلَيْكُمْ ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ
“And when Moses said; ‘O my nation, it is you – no doubt – who have wronged your ownselves by holding onto the Calf intensely.
So repent to your Master (Baari’i-kum) and kill yourselves (each Jewish tribe would kill its own members who had worshipped the calf). “
Baari’ – is interestingly used in this ayah. It is used alot in Hebrew for Allah as Rabb (Master/Lord.) So amazingly the speech of the Qur’an is accurate.
This is Jewish history, and part of Jewish law. And Islamic law is a continuation of the Law revealed to Prophet Moses.
“..That is better for you with your Master (Baari’i-kum).”
It is interesting Allah says this because humans think it is a bad thing, but Allah is telling them that it is better for them.
If they fulfill this command in their Law, Allah will accept their repentance.
‘No doubt, He is the One who constantly accepts repentance [tawwaab], the constantly Merciful [al-Raheem]‘
Allah offered His tawbah to them, so long as they followed His command. And they did follow the Law at that time – so Allah accepted their repentance.
But as time passed, they felt that they were Allah’s ‘saved people’ who Allah would guarantee His forgiveness to. So they historically gradually became relaxed in implementing the Law, and did not fully follow it. They thought that if they go hell, they will be there for only a few days.
So why should Allah even forgive them?
Then the Christians came: they Abandoned the Law altogether and felt that Christ died for their sins. This is another way shaytaan fooled them.
The Islamic way of Repentance/Tawbah is to obey Allah and then ask for forgiveness.
If we obey Allah and ask Him for forgiveness – then in that case – the door for tawbah will constantly be open.
وَإِذْ قُلْتُمْ يَا مُوسَىٰ لَن نُّؤْمِنَ لَكَ حَتَّىٰ نَرَى اللَّهَ جَهْرَةً فَأَخَذَتْكُمُ الصَّاعِقَةُ وَأَنتُمْ تَنظُرُونَ
And when all of you said; O Moses – we will not surrender [LA] to/For you/give into your demands (of killing our tribesmen) .
1a – Allah is saying; ‘idh Qul-tum – when you all said’ – instead of; ‘when They said’.
This makes the discussion more personal because the Jews consider themselves to be all one unified family, so when Allah talks to the Jewish listener even now – he feels that direct experience with Allah.
1b – The fact that the Jews spoke and argued with Moses and not directly to Allah still shows that Allah was still watching when they were arguing with Moses. This is why Allah is showing this discussion from His own direct perspective.
1c – If it was said:
- BI = With / in
= (i.e. Lan nu’mina BI ka = we wont’ believe WITH / In you) – in your beliefs.
But it was said;
- La / Li after a Verb implies: Surrender – give into someones demands.
(i.e. Lan nu’mina LA ka = we won’t believe (submit) FOR you [and what you command us to do.]).
In the previous ayah, Allah (azza wa Jal) had told Moses to tell the Bani Isra’eel (children of Israel – which consisted of 12 tribes) to kill from their own tribes – the people who had worshipped the Calf.
If they did that – the Children of Isra’eel – would be lovingly forgiven by Allah as a whole. Because they had followed the Law which Allah had given to them.
But now they had started debating Moses, and even though they had believed IN [Bi] him and seen the miracles. They were not willing to submit TO [La] his commands.
“..hat-taa naRaa Allaha jahrah” -
(we will not submit to you) Until we see Allah face to face.
Jahr = clearly / apparent.
“Then suddenly, the explosion and loud sound (Saa’iqah) seized you all whilst you were staring”
This explosion (Saa’iqah) killed all of them instantaneously.
“Then We raised you even after you had died, so perhaps you may be thankful.”
The majority of scholars say that this literally happened. Allah caused these people to come back to life again.
‘that perhaps you may be thankful’. You would think that Allah would raise them again so they be ‘obedient’ (tuTee’oon). But Allah said; ‘that perhaps you may be Thankful’ (taShkuroon).
This shows us that the one who is truly grateful to Allah, is the one who is obedient to Allah AND His Messenger.
وَظَلَّلْنَا عَلَيْكُمُ الْغَمَامَ وَأَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَنَّ وَالسَّلْوَىٰ ۖ كُلُوا مِن طَيِّبَاتِ مَا رَزَقْنَاكُمْ ۖ وَمَا ظَلَمُونَا وَلَٰكِن كَانُوا أَنفُسَهُمْ يَظْلِمُونَ
And We cool shaded you with Clouds (Ghamaam), and We descended upon you Manna (Bread) and Salwa (bird meat.)
Ghamaam = clouds which are joyful and light, as a shade for others.
(not scary dark clouds).
Mann – wheat/grain, when it came into the ground and grew – they could make bread from it. [Carbohydrates].
Salwa – a type of bird which are easily catchable and cannot fly away, and are easy to cook.
Scientifically; the two most essential foods the human body needs are; Carbohydrates and Proteins.
They have been given; Shade (like Shelter), Food (Proteins and Carbohydrates), and it will be mentioned later – that they have Water.
“Eat of the Tayyib (good,pure) things We have provided you with”
Tayyib = good and pure.
Allah has given us many good and pure things for us to eat from, so we should not go into what He has forbidden – since that is harmful and not good.
The Bani Isra’eel (including; men, old men, women, children etc) had just left Egypt and were travelling in the hot desert – without any home. They never had the ability to survive on their own in this desert. Yet Allah gave them Ghamaam (cool clouds) to shade them, and healthy and expensive foods. So that they be grateful.
[NOTE: We are given food and property, sometimes even more than them. Yet we are many times ungrateful. So this narrative is a lesson for us too.]
wa Maa dhalamoo-Naa, waLaakin aNfusa-hum yaDhlimoon -
‘they did not wrong us at all, however – they are continuously wronging their ownselves.’
The ‘Maa’ is used for Strong Negation. They did Not wrong Us at all (when they did acts of rebellion against Allah). They are continuously (present-future tense is used) only wronging themselves.
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وَإِذْ قُلْنَا ادْخُلُوا هَٰذِهِ الْقَرْيَةَ فَكُلُوا مِنْهَا حَيْثُ شِئْتُمْ رَغَدًا وَادْخُلُوا الْبَابَ سُجَّدًا وَقُولُوا حِطَّةٌ نَّغْفِرْ لَكُمْ خَطَايَاكُمْ ۚ وَسَنَزِيدُ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
And remember, when We told you (O sons of Isra’eel/Ya’qub/Jacob) to enter this town.
1a – If the Jews love one thing especially, it is their history.
So even if you mention one event – they remember the whole story.
Because they’ve been raised to remember that they are a nation which has survived and lived on, even though it has gone through so many trials and calamities.
Especially their history with Moses – the Jews treasure this the most, even till today.
1b – The reason why Dates and locations aren’t mentioned is because;
i – they (the jews) already know all the dates of the events in their history.
ii – the Quran isn’t concerned with dates and locations of events, rather – the lesson behind the narrative is the most important issue.
This is why – most of the times in the Quran – Allah will not mention the Time or Location, unless it is part of the Lesson.
We see that Allah is describing His favours to the Muslim Israelites (those who truly submitted to Allah/God) at that time in history.
The Muslim Israelites have followed Moses and seen the different Miracles He has given them. (i.e. the sea parting, pharoah being drowned, being provided for in the desert etc.)
They were given many Tests, many which they failed in, or had taken their time in responding to, and they showed Ungratefulness to Allah.
Now they have reached a Town/city, called ‘Jericho’ (it is still existent today.) The people in this town were a warrior/fighting/combat type of people.
And the Israelites were commanded by Allah to fight these wrongdoing people, and that if they fought – Allah would give them victory.
So when Moses went to tell his people to fight, they said;
O Moses, we will never enter it as long as they are there.
So go, you and your Master and fight. We will stay sitting here. (surah al Maa’idah 5: 24)
Because of this – Allah punished them with 40years of exhile. So they would have nowhere to live - except the desert.
According to Jewish history; Moses died within these 40years.
Then the next generation who had seen the harsh life of the desert wanted to fight for the cause of Allah, and they were led by Prophet Yusha (Joshua) ibn Nun. And Allah knows best.
So when they fought – Allah gave them victory.
“And remember when We said; Enter this town and eat there freely without any worry and with delight wherever you wish..”
Allah said something similar in ayah [2:]35, to Prophet Adam and his wife (Hawwa/Eve) when they were in Jannah/Paradise.
Now Allah is saying the same to the Muslim Israelites.
But there is only 1 condition for the Muslim Israelites
[just like with Prophet Adam in Jannah - there was 1 condition of not eating from the tree.];
“Enter the Gate prostrating (i.e. putting your forehead down on the neck of the animal you are riding), whilst saying HiTTatun [Forgiveness]..”
HiTTah – HaTTa in arabic = to bring down. (HaTTa al Hamal = to bring down/take off the burden/weight which the animal is carrying.)
So when the Muslim Israelites say this in Sajdah/prostration, they are asking Allah to ‘bring down/take off’ their sins which they are heavily burdened with.
If you just do that repeatedly while you enter the city;
NaGhfir-la-kum KhaTaayaa-kum – We will Forgive (Ghafr=Cover) your (all your past) Mistakes [KhaTaaya]
Wa sa Na-Zeeyd ul-MuHsineen -
And soon we will increase/excel the Good-doers. (in rank, reward etc.)
[Download Ayah 59:
فَبَدَّلَ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا قَوْلًا غَيْرَ الَّذِي قِيلَ لَهُمْ فَأَنزَلْنَا عَلَى الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا رِجْزًا مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ بِمَا كَانُوا يَفْسُقُونَ
Then those who did wrong changed it (Bad-dala), with a statement – other than the one which was told to them (to say)
Bad-dala – Badl = continuously Change.
Pattern: [Fa33ala = they Repeatedly changed it.] i.e. they kept repeating a wrong word instead of the right word.
Comparison of the Israelites to the story of Prophet Adam:
1 – When Adam made his historic mistake – Allah taught him words by which – if he recited them sincerely, Allah would forgive his sins.
Similarly, Allah told the Muslim Israelites words (HiTTun – drop our burdens of sins) – that if they said them sincerely, Allah would remove their sins.
“So we sent down – on the wrongdoers – from the sky, Rijzan [a Calamity] (a disease which would make their insides come out of their skin – their skin looked peeled off.)
“..Bi maa KAANoo yaFsuqoon” -
Because of the corruption they continuosly engaged in.
- The ‘Kaana’ = Used to (past tense).
- yaFsuqoon – (present-future tense) = still continuously continue in Fisq/Corruption.
So Allah punished them because they had the opportunity to repent, but they acted disobedient repeatedly (from the past, and continued their disobedience into the future too – without wanting to repent.) So the punishment was most suited for such people.
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وَإِذِ اسْتَسْقَىٰ مُوسَىٰ لِقَوْمِهِ فَقُلْنَا اضْرِب بِّعَصَاكَ الْحَجَرَ ۖ فَانفَجَرَتْ مِنْهُ اثْنَتَا عَشْرَةَ عَيْنًا ۖ قَدْ عَلِمَ كُلُّ أُنَاسٍ مَّشْرَبَهُمْ ۖ كُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا مِن رِّزْقِ اللَّهِ وَلَا تَعْثَوْا فِي الْأَرْضِ مُفْسِدِينَ
And remember when Moses asked Istisqaa (asking Allah for Rain) – especially for his people, so We said – especially with your Staff/stick, hit the boulder.. “
We notice that the Staff/big stick Moses had continuously is special and mentioned by Allah in the narratives of Moses.
(i.e. the miracles of it turning into a big snake, of him striking it in the sea so it parted, and now to strike a boulder to get water out of it.)
If you study the history of Moses, we see that Moses at one time gets tired of his people and says to Allah;
‘Fa-fruq bayna-naa wa bayna al Qawm-il Faasiqeen’ (al Maa’idah 5:25).
But when this has not happened yet, he cares and worries for his people when Allah describes him as advising and helping; Li Qawmi-hee (For his People.)
Moses has; saved his people from Pharoah, killed their enemy (Pharoah), made them free people, given them shade from the suns heat, given them meat and carbohydrates from Allah, and now he is going to ask Allah to give them water.
“..When you strike the staff, twelve springs (because of the 12 tribes) will burst (Fajarat/tear) out. Every group of people knew their place of drink.”
In surah al A’raf (7:160), this incident is mentioned again. But Allah says there about the springs; fa-anBajasat = cracked and leak out.
So why did Allah use two different and opposing words?
Some commentaries state;
When Moses asked Allah, Allah made water come bursting out (Fajarat), but when the Muslim Israelites sinned alot – the water from the springs kept on decreasing less and less (the more they sinned.) So it just became ‘leaking’ out (Bajasat).
And since this surah is telling Allah’s favours to the Israelites – then the Fajarat/bursting of water is being emphasised.
“..Eat and drink from the provision of Allah (which He has given you), and don’t corrupt (ta’thaw) in the Earth as causers of corruption (muFsideen).”
‘Athiya / ya’thaa / ‘ithiyaan = corruption of the mind based on false ideas (propaganda.)
‘Don’t be corrupted by false ideas’ -
MuFsid is different to Faasid (Corrupter.)
MuFsid = to be a source of other peoples corruption.
Allah is telling them this because the Israelites;
- miss the better food of Egypt and were already complaining to Moses.
- will become corrupted by false ideas later when Moses is gone, and they are influenced by the propaganda of Samariy and they start worshipping the calf again.
This will be mentioned later in ayah 61 and later in the surah.
So Allah is telling them; i – not to fall into following false propaganda, and ii – not to be a source of making others corrupt either.
Allah warned them powerfully; When you become corrupt, your society around you all becomes corrupt.
So Allah is telling us all; Don’t be brainwashed by the Corrupt, and Don’t be a source of spreading Corruption to others.
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وَإِذْ قُلْتُمْ يَا مُوسَىٰ لَن نَّصْبِرَ عَلَىٰ طَعَامٍ وَاحِدٍ فَادْعُ لَنَا رَبَّكَ يُخْرِجْ لَنَا مِمَّا تُنبِتُ الْأَرْضُ مِن بَقْلِهَا وَقِثَّائِهَا وَفُومِهَا وَعَدَسِهَا وَبَصَلِهَا ۖ قَالَ أَتَسْتَبْدِلُونَ الَّذِي هُوَ أَدْنَىٰ بِالَّذِي هُوَ خَيْرٌ ۚ اهْبِطُوا مِصْرًا فَإِنَّ لَكُم مَّا سَأَلْتُمْ ۗ وَضُرِبَتْ عَلَيْهِمُ الذِّلَّةُ وَالْمَسْكَنَةُ وَبَاءُوا بِغَضَبٍ مِّنَ اللَّهِ ۗ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ كَانُوا يَكْفُرُونَ بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ وَيَقْتُلُونَ النَّبِيِّينَ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ ۗ ذَٰلِكَ بِمَا عَصَوا وَّكَانُوا يَعْتَدُونَ
And when all of you said; O Moses, we are not going to be patient with one type of food, so go and ask YOUR Master that; extract for us from what the Earth grows..”
So the Israelites would talk to each other about how they were bored of just one type of food repeatedly; so they said to Moses – ask YOUR Master (Rabba-KA). But why didn’t they themselves ask the One who provides them with everything they have seen as of now?
Because they know how corrupt they are. They know the kind of blasphemous/evil things they say about Allah and how disobedient they are to Him. So they hope that Moses will ask Allah since he is close to Allah.
.. (Ask your Master to extract from the Earth;) its herbs, cucumbers, its garlics, its lentils and its onions.
They lived in the desert – yet they wanted all these foods to grow from the dead desert and still remain ungrateful to Allah?
And how did they know the names of all these different types of food?
Because they would eat them in Egypt when they were slaves of Pharoah.
So in simple words: They didn’t appreciate all which Allah had done to them – of giving them freedom from the oppressive Pharoahs and all the other miracles.
It’s like saying; ‘I miss prison food, and I dont like the freedom Allah has now given to me.’
What’s so bad about the life in Egypt anyway?
1 – Humiliation:- The Life of Slavery is humiliating. To be enslaved to anything other than Allah means you have no Dignity or self-respect for yourselves.
2 – Powerlessness:- When you are enslaved – you are not a Free / Sovereign nation. You can’t make your own decisions, nor can your decide your own future.
3 - Oppression:- You cannot help yourself and your own people from Oppression. And Pharoah was known to kill, rape and humiliate the Israelites.
Yet they preferred this over the freedom and miracles which Allah had given to them.
So when they ask Moses to ask Allah for food, it is like they are asking Allah for all that Slavery all over again.
Ayah 61.5 – 62 [Download Ayah 61 continued:
Qaala astaBdiloona aladhee huwa adnaa bi-il Khayr
.. He (Moses) said; Are you seeking to change that which is inferior, for that which is good?
The fact that something came from Allah (Moses says) – is better and more good than what they consider is more superior (of slavery to Pharoah and his foods.)
iHbitoo – Habata = come Down.
Metaphoricaly/Figuratively: This is used to humiliate another, that you were on a higher standing position before, so descend and go lower.
[i.e. Poets say many vulgar things sometimes. So Allah tells us about them; They go down into a valley (morally downhill.) (al-Shu'ara 26:225)
Idh-haboo - dhahab - go
InTaliqoo - Talaq - depart
"ihbiToo MiSranfa inna la-kum maa sa'altum" -
Go down to a region (or Egypt) - then surely for you all is what you all asked for.
Moses is telling them angrily and sarcastically;
1 - to go down (iHbiToo) to another region- and humiliate yourselves by going there and giving up what Allah gave you of goodness.
2 - Moses commanded them to go down into a region/territory (MiSran).
MiSraN(with taNween [letter Nuun/N] = a Country/Region/Area/Territory/farmland.
MiSra (without taNween [letter Nuun/N at the end] = Egypt.
[Grammar Note: it is in maNsoob form, hence misrA / misrAn].
So Moses used another word which was similar to the word Egypt, meaning something like;
‘Why don’t you all go to another Egypt?’
Allah has depicted all this through just one word; MiSraN.
‘then – especially for you all- is what you definitely asked for.’
Moses is being sarcastic with them out of anger.
Like the saying in English; ‘you all asked for it.’ [/sarcasm]
3 – Moses said the exact same word which Allah said to Adam, Hawwa/Eve and Iblees/shaytaan – iHbitoo – descend to what is lower. [ayah 2:36]
Since they disobeyed and ate (or the Israelites – wanted to eat) from what is ‘lower’ and less Tayyib [good and pure].
They asked for all types of food, but really they were just being ungrateful, rebelling and asking for trouble.
So Allah says;
“Wa Duribat ‘alayhimu al-dhillah wa-al maskanah -
And humiliation was slapped onto them, and powerlessness.’
When they were in Egypt as slaves, they were weak, humiliated, powerless/being incapable of making their own destiny.
“Wa baa’oo bi GhaDabin min Allah” -
And they drew rage (GhaDab) upon themselves from Allah.
We know that the 3rd problem with slavery was Oppression due to the anger of Pharoah against them.
But now they drew upon themselves rage from Allah. So this was even worse than what they had started off with. The rage of the creation (pharoah) is much less than the rage of Allah.
Why do they deserve the rage of Allah?
Bani Isra’eel (the sons of Israel) earned the wrath and anger of Allah many times in their history.
[Ustadh Nouman says; we Muslims and historians and scholars should study Jewish history in detail because Allah's Messenger, Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam) told us there would be people who follow their footsteps in every way.]
Before the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam) came, the Jews were like the lost Muslim Ummah [nation]. Just like many of us Muslims today are a lost Ummah. We need to learn from their mistakes so we don’t fall into them.
Jewish History and Allah’s anger upon them:
They suffered at the hands of many enemies; i.e. the Byzantines, Ethiopians, Assyrians, Romans etc.) and Allah captures the Reasons for all these tests in just a few words;
Dhaalika bi anna-hum kaanoo yaKfuroona bi aayaat-illah -
That is because they continuously used to deny the revelations/miracles of Allah.
Revelation would come and they would not follow them.
Miracles would come and they would not appreciate them.
Wa yaQtuloona al-Nabiyyeena bi ghayri al-haqq -
“And they engage in the killing of Prophets without having the right to do so.”
But why did they do these evil things?
“that is because they continuously disobey arrogantly, and they continuously crossed the limit [set for them].”
These people did not want to be directed and be told what way is right and guided. Rather, they wanted to follow their own desires without being told what to do.
This arrogance and wanting to follow desires blindly led to them denying the revelations/signs and miracles of Allah, and their killing of some of the Messengers of Allah (who forbade them from evil.)
Keep in mind;
The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam) told us;
‘Ulamaa ummatee ka anbiyaa’ bani Isra’eel –
the Scholars of my nation are like the Prophets’ of the Children of Isra’eel.
[This reminds us of what many Muslims do today, who follow a cultural Islam, where they get angry when someone tells them proof/miracles of the religion and asks them to follow the true guidance. They feel burdened with it, and if a scholar tells them they are wrong, they may insult him, and the most corrupt may even assasinate him.]
It is due to these reasons Allah let their (the Israelites) enemies (and even our enemies today) to overpower them and harm them.
Just like the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam) told us;
“Whenever any people break their covenant/contract with Allah, Allah allows their enemies to overpower them..”
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إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَالَّذِينَ هَادُوا وَالنَّصَارَىٰ وَالصَّابِئِينَ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَلَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
“No doubt those who believed (Muslims), and those who are Jewish and the Christians, and Sabians (originally followers of Prophet Abraham/Ibraheem, but gradually started to worship stars, the sun etc.),
Whoever came to believe in Allah, and the Last Day, and acted Righteously.
Then they have no fear on them, and they are not going to grieve.”
False Claim by the Disbelievers:
Some people misinterpreted this ayah and said that it means that; all people who believe in God, the Last Day (Judgment Day) and do righteous deeds – then they will be safe on Judgment Day.
A Few Points to Notice:
1 – Such people take the ayah out of context and ignore other parts of the Quran where Allah warns and threatens the disbelievers with being in the hellfire forever.
أَفَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِبَعْضِ الْكِتَابِ وَتَكْفُرُونَ بِبَعْضٍ ۚ - Do you believe in part of the book and reject other parts? (al Baqarah 2:85)
And what about other aayaat which mention that those who disbelieve/reject following Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam) will be in the Hellfire forever.
Surely those who disbelieve from the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) and the Polytheists/idol worshippers – they will be in the Hellfire, they will stay there Forever, they are the worst of creation. (surah Bayyinah 98:6)
What are the Benefits of Understanding this Ayah?
1 – We understand that Emaan (belief) in Allah necessitates you Definitely believe in the Next Life (Judgment Day).
Because God is Perfect, and being Perfect means He is; Just/Fair.
But we see injustice in this life, so it is necessary for God to have a Judgment Day to allow Justice and His Perfection to be shown.
But to be prepared for Judgment Day, you need to do ‘Amil-us-Saalihaat’ (good actions).
So Allah is showing us a chain – that if either one of these Links is Missing or lacking (belief in; God, Judgment Day, or good actions) – then you will be rejecting or lowering your certainty of belief in all of them – because they are all connected to each other.
Then Allah tells us that whoever believes in them truly as Allah originally taught them – even before the arrival of Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam) – whether he was a Jew, Helper [Nasaara - Nasr = help] (of Jesus), or Sabian (follower of Abraham) – then there will be no fear on them on Judgment Day, and they are not saddened.
[Download Ayah 63:
وَإِذْ أَخَذْنَا مِيثَاقَكُمْ وَرَفَعْنَا فَوْقَكُمُ الطُّورَ خُذُوا مَا آتَيْنَاكُم بِقُوَّةٍ وَاذْكُرُوا مَا فِيهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ
Remember when We took the Covenant (Meeythaaq) from you..
Meeythaaq – Wathaq – a Promise which comes with alot of responsibility. You are informed with full information of what you need to do – then you get into it.
In surah al A’raf (7) the details of the covenant are mentioned.
We see a strong Relationship between surah al Baqarah (2) and surah al A’raf (7). Where each surah has some extra details which were not mentioned in the other surah.
[The same can be said about other surahs' in the Quran which are Paired with others due to their similarities with each other.]
“..And We elevated the Toor (mountain) above you..”
Two opinions on what this means;
1 – The mountain was shaking and boulders were falling from it, so it looked like the mountain was falling from above them.
2 – The mountain was literally raised above them when the covenant was being taken.
This shows the heaviness and seriousness of the Covenant.
‘Hold onto what We have given to you with strength/might, and remember what is in it so that you guard against (evil, Allah’s anger.)’
When this Quran is being revealed Allah is talking to the Children of Israel at the time of the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (saws). But Allah is reminding them (and through them – us also) that we really need to take our Covenant with Allah seriously. Our feelings and pride cannot get in the way of stopping us from the truth.
The Children of Israel at the time of Moses did accept him as a Messenger, but they did not take him seriously.
So to scare them (as a mercy for them) and to make them wake up and fix their behaviour.
[This in modern day psychology technique is called the; Scared-strait programme.]
Allah (azza wa Jal) is going to scare and rattle them so they might wake up and take their Messenger Moses and his message seriously.
GEM: When everything around you is shaking, i.e. if boulders from mountains are crashing around you and you do not know what to do – you try to hold onto something.
Allah at that moment tells the Muslim Israelites: -
Khudhoo maa aataynaa-kum la’allakum tattaqoon –
“Hold tightly what We give you all so that you may protect/guard yourselves.”
Subhan Allah! So they may protect themselves’;
1 – from harm in that moment (when the mountains are shaking), and also
2 – so they protect themselves morally against; evil, Allah’s anger, and also Allah’s punishments.
Wa adhkuroo maa feeHi -
And remember/mention what is in it
1 – Remember
2 – Mention
So Allah is telling them to not just remember what Allah has given, but also to Mention it out loud to yourself and others.
(I.e. In salaah (prayer), da’wah (inviting others to the guidance), enjoining good and forbidding evil etc.)
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Then (after some time) much of you turned back, even after that..
This refers to;
1 – Those who were present at the Covenant when the Mount Toor was placed above them. Most of them turned away after some time.
2 – The Jews at the time of Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam). They were aware of the Covenant in their history, and they were sure that Prophet Muhammad is the Prophet prophecised in their own religious books, so do they dare to turn away from the Words of Allah – when they are certain that this message is truly from Him?
So these 2 groups have turned away after they have witnessed what Allah gave to them of the Guidance.
“..And Had it not been for the more than needed Favour (FaDl) of Allah upon you, and His Mercy – you would have been from those who are losers.”
FaDl = an extreme favour which is excessive/more than necessity.
(i.e. if someone only needs only 1 thing, but you give them 3 of that instead. that is FaDl.)
The Commentators of the Qur’an state:
The original FaDl/favour of Allah was that He forgave them their sins. And another FaDl was that He sent them a Messenger.
[This is similar to an ayah in surah Jumuah - when Allah told us / our Nation that He sent us a Messenger as an extreme FaDl (favour) - who is Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam);
"That is the FaDl/excessive favour of Allah He gives to who He wills, and Allah is the owner of Great FaDl/excessive favours." [surah al Jumu'ah 62:4]
The revelation of the Quran is continuously described as FaDlu-Allah (an excessive favour of Allah).]
“..And Had it not been for the more than needed Favour (FaDl) of Allah upon you, and His Mercy – you would have been from those who are losers.”
So, Allah is telling the Israelites;
1 – Which were present at the time of Prophet Moses that;
The presence of the Favour of Allah (Prophet Moses) is the cause of these excessive favours [FaDl] to the Israelites.
2 – Which were present at the time of Prophet Muhammad (saws);
That the greatest Messenger (Muhammad [saws]), the greatest FaDl [favour] of Allah is in your presence. If you followed him – Allah would give you even more favours and be even more merciful to you than He was to the Israelites.
“..Had it not been for Allah’s favour on you (Moses / Muhammad [saws]) and His mercy, you would have been losers for sure.”
So Allah is telling the earlier and later Israelites – if you do not follow the Messenger of Allah (who is a favour) to you – you would surely be of the Losers.
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وَلَقَدْ عَلِمْتُمُ الَّذِينَ اعْتَدَوْا مِنكُمْ فِي السَّبْتِ فَقُلْنَا لَهُمْ كُونُوا قِرَدَةً خَاسِئِينَ
“And for sure [La] – you all already know the ones who transgressed in the matters of the Sabbath. Then We said to them become rejected cursed Apes.”
So Allah is telling them of stories of those before them who they already knew of from their own history – people who had broken the covenant.
Some people might say that Islam teaches Anti-Semitism. But Allah tells us that – for sure [La] – it is something they have already been Taught (by their own elders/teachers). So it is not a fake story made by Islam for anti-semitism purposes, but rather – it is in their own Jewish books of history.
The details of how they broke the covenant and the details of this story are mentioned in surah al A’raf (7:163-166).
Them turning into Apes and Monkeys is interpreted in 2 ways (both views are valid and won’t effect our ‘Aqeedah);
1 – They were transformed from their inside. So they were like Animals who did not care about wrong (haraam) and right (halaal) etc.
2 – Allah even transformed them physically into Apes.
And We made that a Nakaal (warning by which you are deterred/put off) for all infront of them, and what will come after them. And it would become a serious lesson/sermon for the people of Taqwa (those who guard against; evil, Allah’s anger etc.)”
It is said that these people indirectly did fishing on the Sabbath day, when they were not allowed to work. So Allah transformed them people into Monkeys and Apes.
So when people would pass by the river where this fishing took place – they saw that the humans there had become monkeys. The good Muslim Israelites who had forbade them from fishing on the Sabbath also gained a strong lesson and warning from this. So Allah said; it is a lesson for those who Guard (against evil, and Allah’s anger.)
DOWNLOAD MP3 – Surah al Baqarah 2:67-68
وَإِذْ قَالَ مُوسَىٰ لِقَوْمِهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُكُمْ أَن تَذْبَحُوا بَقَرَةً ۖ قَالُوا أَتَتَّخِذُنَا هُزُوًا ۖ قَالَ أَعُوذُ بِاللَّهِ أَنْ أَكُونَ مِنَ الْجَاهِلِينَ
“And remember when Moses said to his people; Surely Allah commands you to slaughter/sacrifice a cow..”
Allah mentioned that He took a firm covenant from the Israelites (in ayah 63-64)
The first example of the Israelites given in the ayah above is about them violating the Sabbath (Saturday – when they were not allowed to work, but they did.)
Another example of the Israelites going against the covenant will now be mentioned.
“And when Moses said to his nation/people (Qawm)..”
There is a subtelty in the text because Allah is telling us that Moses said to HIS nation [li qawmiHEE]. Which implies that the Jews who killed Prophets’ and rejected some others are not part of the nation of Moses, even though they may claim to be part of his nation/followers. Especially due to the fact that Moses at one time completely disassociated himself from his people. (He said; ana baree’un min kum – I have totally disassociated myself from you).
So the Jews/Israelites present at the time of Prophet Muhammad did claim to be followers of Moses, but they were in a state where Moses has disassociated himself from them. Meaning – they weren’t his true followers.
‘Inna Allaha ya’muru-kum an tadhbahoo baqarah..’
Surely Allah, He commands you to sacrifice/slaughter a cow.
Inna = Surely (it is used to remove doubts.)
He had to say ‘inna’ / surely’ because the Israelites would think that he is making these commands up himself, they would doubt that he is really a Messenger, or they did not want to submit to him.
This is the essence of hypocrisy. These people accept that Moses/Musa is a Messenger, but they feel that this Messenger sometimes tells them to do things for his own personal benefit.
This is why they would say; We will not submit to you until we see Allah face to face (Surah al Baqarah 2:55) – because they doubted the commands which Moses gave.
[Even the hypocrites at the time of Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam) did the same. So that when the Battle of Badr was commanded, they doubted the Sunnah/example of the Messenger of Allah and asked; 'where does it say it in the Quran?' They again said this in the battle of Uhud, so Allah said;
It is not for a Prophet to have Ghulla (worldly aspirations).. (surah
Background of this Story:
Among the Israelites, there was a dispute – and someone was killed and nobody was sure who the murderer was. There was going to be a big war between the different tribes. So they needed to know who the murderer was.
So when they took the problem to Moses, Allah commanded Moses to tell them to slaughter a cow.
So when they heard that response, they said;
‘A-Tatakhadhoona huzuwa’ -
“Do you take us for a joke/mockery?”
1 – Do you think we are a bunch of jokers?
2 – Are you making fun of us?
We know that Prophets’/Messengers’ of Allah never take the commands of Allah as jokes, especially when it comes to big issues like Murder.
There is a very covert technique going on in the media today:
- They will try to insult the Messengers’ (like Adam, Jesus,Moses etc.) of Allah and aspects of religion, so that when Muslims see it – they become angry. But over time, these cartoons and insults continue. They plan that the Muslims over time become desensitized to these insults and hardly respond back.
Ustadh Nouman says that we should respond back to them in ways which hit them worst. And that is through Lawsuits (sueing). So that if anyone ever insults Islamic beliefs or Muslims (i.e. ‘you terrorist’ etc., the Muslims should file a Lawsuit (sue them) immediately.
This will harm them more, and will bring more income money for supporting Islamic dawah (inviting to Islam) projects.
The more Lawsuits – the better (it hurts them more and profits us more.)
Qaaloo – A-Tatakhadhoona huzuwa’ -
“They said – Do you take us for a joke/mockery?”
“Qaala a’oodhu billahi an akoona min al-jaahileen” -
He (Moses) said; I enter the protection of Allah from being of the ignorant, who have no control over themselves (jaahileen).
Ustadh Nouman continues:
Messengers might make truthful jokes, but they do not make jokes in matters of commandments of Allah. And if you do joke about Allah’s religion, then you better stop and seek the protection of Allah.
Jaahil = someone who has no control over what they; do, say, feel emotionally etc.
‘Aaqil = someone who has control of themselves. (he Ties/Restrains himself to what is correct and right.)
['iqaal = the rope the arabs used to Tie and Restrain their camels from running away.]
Ustadh Nouman further explains:
The words we use in language as jokes and non-hurtful insults – especially in the west – (i.e. you’re gay, ‘stop being so gay’ etc.) all these are major accusations in Islam. Because when we use them as jokes – we become desensitized to them.
So that someone might call you ‘gay’ as a joke, you might not find it shocking, but that is actually
a major insult and a major accusation in the sight of Allah.]
قَالُوا ادْعُ لَنَا رَبَّكَ يُبَيِّن لَّنَا مَا هِيَ ۚ قَالَ إِنَّهُ يَقُولُ إِنَّهَا بَقَرَةٌ لَّا فَارِضٌ وَلَا بِكْرٌ عَوَانٌ بَيْنَ ذَٰلِكَ ۖ فَافْعَلُوا مَا تُؤْمَرُونَ
They said, “Call upon your Lord to make clear to us what it is.” [Moses] said, “[ Allah ] says, ‘It is a cow which is neither old nor virgin, but median between that,’ so do what you are commanded.”
“Go and call on your Master for us especially, and clarify – what type of cow is it?’
It is the Israelites who are making a joke out of Moses by being sarcastic with him.
They are simply being told; slaughter a cow. Yet they want to persist in asking more unnecessary questions.
1 – They’re trying to make a joke out of Moses. (i.e. you can imagine themselves elbowing each other and laughing with each other about what type of cow Moses needs.)
2 – They asked alot of questions because they don’t want to do it. (i.e. if you ask someone so much, the person becomes too annoyed and says ‘forget it, i’ll do it myself.)
But everytime they would ask; Moses would reply;
“Inna-Hu yaQool..” -
Surely He (Allah) says.. (description)
And he would always emphasise to them that indeed Allah said it, not himself.
Furthermore, the Scholars have said that each time the people would ask for details, Moses would go upto Mount Toor (where he spoke to Allah) and ask Allah, and then come back to tell them (this showed that the people put their Messenger to alot of hardship and annoyance.)
“Innahaa baqaratun laa FaariD, wa laa bakr, ‘awaanun bayna dhaalik” -
Surely she is a cow which is not old nor too young, but between the two conditions.’
This is the age where the meat of the cow is at its best. It is neither too young (where it has less meat), neither too old (where it’s meat is old). It’s right in between.
“Fa-af’aloo maa tu’maroon” -
So do what you’re commanded!
aF’al – Fi’l = Do (an action without thought.)
‘Aml = Do an action with thought (intent).
Moses is telling the Israelites to immediately just slaughter a cow which suits that description, without even thinking anymore about it. But they are stubborn and unwilling to do even that.
قَالُوا ادْعُ لَنَا رَبَّكَ يُبَيِّن لَّنَا مَا لَوْنُهَا ۚ قَالَ إِنَّهُ يَقُولُ إِنَّهَا بَقَرَةٌ صَفْرَاءُ فَاقِعٌ لَّوْنُهَا تَسُرُّ النَّاظِرِينَ
They said, “Call upon your Lord to show us what is her color.” He said, “He says, ‘It is a yellow cow, bright in color – pleasing to the observers.’ “
Call upon your Master (and ask); what colour is it (the cow that needs to be sacrificed).
He (Moses) said; surely He (Allah) says – it is a yellowish colour.
These people still never obeyed the command of Moses and continued in ridiculing Moses to ask what colour the cow should be.
Yellow was one of the most rarest and exotic colours for cows. So we learn that the more unnecessary questions you ask – the more you put yourself in trouble and complications. Since the Shari’ah (Islamic law) was simple and clear, and by asking for more unneeded details – you will find more hardship in its implementation.
There is a difference between Asking the Messenger and Questioning the Messenger.
By Asking, you will humbly ask the needed details to fulfill the duty. But by Questioning the Messenger, you’re already showing that you don’t really believe you have to follow the command.
So here – they are questioning the integrity of the Messenger and the command itself. So you see their sarcasm of; ‘if you’re getting so much information from your God – then tell us – what colour did your God say it should be too?’ There is a hint of sarcasm, and this is why they repeated more questions – even though Moses had told them to just follow the command.
Safraa’ – yellow (saffron colour)
Faaqi’ – texture which is; Deep, Brilliant and startling (eye-catching.)
This was not said;
-Lawnuhaa faaqi’un – its colour is brilliant
-Faaqi’un lawnuhaa = [especially] brilliant, is its colour.
So their is a strong emphasis on its brilliance (by Allah putting the word faaqi’/brilliant earlier in the ayah.)
Then a further emphasis is added;
it would please those who stare it.
قَالُوا ادْعُ لَنَا رَبَّكَ يُبَيِّن لَّنَا مَا هِيَ إِنَّ الْبَقَرَ تَشَابَهَ عَلَيْنَا وَإِنَّا إِن شَاءَ اللَّهُ لَمُهْتَدُونَ
They said, “Call upon your Lord to make clear to us what it is. Indeed, [all] cows look alike to us. And indeed we, if Allah wills, will be guided.”
They said, ask your Master – to make it clear to us; What cow is it?
This cow issue is becoming unclear for us. And for sure – if Allah wills – we will be guided (to the right answer.)
Al Islaahi and other scholars explained: They (the Israelites) started to realise they are going to get in real trouble from Allah if they don’t find the cow. So they really start searching for it. And this is why they ask this question (it has a feel of sincerety in it.)
‘And for sure – if Allah wills – we will be guided (to the right answer.)’
Due to this statement of theirs (with sincerety) – Allah guided them to the right cow.
قَالَ إِنَّهُ يَقُولُ إِنَّهَا بَقَرَةٌ لَّا ذَلُولٌ تُثِيرُ الْأَرْضَ وَلَا تَسْقِي الْحَرْثَ مُسَلَّمَةٌ لَّا شِيَةَ فِيهَا ۚ قَالُوا الْآنَ جِئْتَ بِالْحَقِّ ۚ فَذَبَحُوهَا وَمَا كَادُوا يَفْعَلُونَ
He said, “He says, ‘It is a cow neither trained to plow the earth nor to irrigate the field, one free from fault with no spot upon her.’ ” They said, “Now you have come with the truth.” So they slaughtered her, but they could hardly do it.
He (Moses) said; Surely He (Allah) says; it is a cow which – has not been milked, has not been put to work, has not tilled the soil.
When cows are too young or too old – they can’t work due to weakness. They would work in their middle age. But Allah is telling us that this cow didn’t even work in its middle/strong/young age.
Now they have to find a cow which;
- Is middle aged/strong
- Has never been milked
- Has never been used in farm work (for tilling the fields or any other work)
- Is beautiful to stare at.
“Musallamatun laa shiyatan feehaa” -
Is fully (100% yellow) without any blemishes (i.e. other marks/spots/colours etc.)
Finding such a cow is almost impossible except if Allah guides you to it.
The authenticity of the following reports are disputed, but it is stated; they found the cow with a young orphan boy. And he did not give it to them until they gave him its weight in gold. So when they had brought it, they were regretful about their questioning the Messenger (Moses) unnecessarily.
Qaaloo, al Aana ji’ta bi-il haqqi. Fa dhabahoohaa Wa maa kaadoo yaf’aloon –
They said ‘now you have brought the truth’. So they slaughtered it, and they were almost not going to do it.
This shows that they weren’t still willing to obey the command (maybe because they had payed so much for it), and they only did so due to pressures they faced as a whole. (i.e. peer pressure, or pressure from different tribes to find out who the murderer is etc.)
After all this, Allah tells the story behind it.
وَإِذْ قَتَلْتُمْ نَفْسًا فَادَّارَأْتُمْ فِيهَا ۖ وَاللَّهُ مُخْرِجٌ مَّا كُنتُمْ تَكْتُمُونَ
And [recall] when you slew a man and disputed over it, but Allah was to bring out that which you were concealing.
“Wa idh qatalTUM nafsan -
And when You ALL killed a person.”
Only one person did the murder, but there were witnesses who did not tell who the murderer was. So Allah is exposing this – that whoever is involved is also to blame.
Fa – then
daara’ [it's really tadaara'a] = to throw something at each other.
Fa ad-daara’tum fee haa – then you Threw (i.e. Accusations) at each other – in [regards to] it (the murder)
You are throwing Accusations against each other. i.e. ‘you did it.’ ‘No, you did it’. This fighting and arguing attitude would enter them into killing each other too.
“Wa Allahu muKhrijun maa taKtumoon” -
And Allah is the One who takes out what you Hide/conceal.’
This is amazing. Allah does not even tell us the details of who the murderer was. Because that isn’t the lesson of the narrative/story. Rather – Allah is telling us that He will expose the things you try to hide. And He says this in Present-future tense form to show us that He will continuously expose what we try to hide.
The audience whose secrets Allah will expose are;.
1 – The Jews who hide alot of what was in their books about the final Messenger.
2 – The Hypocrites who try to secretly plot against the believers.
3 – The Believing Muslims who may hide somethings, Allah will continue to expose them.
In future events, people will try to hide things (i.e. secrets in books, or secret conversations) and Allah says that He will expose them, and this will occur in future aayaat of the Qur’an (i.e. What the hypocrites say in secret, or what the Jews hide of information in their books about the final Messenger etc.)
فَقُلْنَا اضْرِبُوهُ بِبَعْضِهَا ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ يُحْيِي اللَّهُ الْمَوْتَىٰ وَيُرِيكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ
So, We said, “Strike the slain man with part of it.” Thus does Allah bring the dead to life, and He shows you His signs that you might reason.
Allah just spoke about the cow which had to be slaughtered
Strike some part of the (cow) flesh with the (killed human) corpse, and Allah will bring that corpse back to life and point to the killer.
Then Allah said;
‘It is like that – Allah gives life to the dead.’
It is by Allah’s command that life is given after death i.e. through;
- slaughtering a cow
- kun fa yaKoon (Allah saying; Be! and it is.)
- rain coming down from the sky and giving life.
Implying that Allah gives life to the dead in ways you can’t even imagine.
‘And He shows you His miraculous signs so that you may become of those who Understand.’
ثُمَّ قَسَتْ قُلُوبُكُم مِّن بَعْدِ ذَٰلِكَ فَهِيَ كَالْحِجَارَةِ أَوْ أَشَدُّ قَسْوَةً ۚ وَإِنَّ مِنَ الْحِجَارَةِ لَمَا يَتَفَجَّرُ مِنْهُ الْأَنْهَارُ ۚ وَإِنَّ مِنْهَا لَمَا يَشَّقَّقُ فَيَخْرُجُ مِنْهُ الْمَاءُ ۚ وَإِنَّ مِنْهَا لَمَا يَهْبِطُ مِنْ خَشْيَةِ اللَّهِ ۗ وَمَا اللَّهُ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ
Then your hearts became hardened after that, being like stones or even harder. For indeed, there are stones from which rivers burst forth, and there are some of them that split open and water comes out, and there are some of them that fall down for fear of Allah . And Allah is not unaware of what you do.
Then (after some time), your hearts became hard.
The mind matures and grows in knowledge and understanding, but the heart is always changing and fluctuating (sometimes your connection with Allah is strong, and sometimes extremely weak.)
The Israelites had alot of knowledge about the religion, but they did not have the spirituality in their hearts to be strong enough to do alot of sincere acts of obedience.
What controls the body more? Is it the mind or is it the heart? According to the Quran perspective, the heart is in the ‘driving seat’ (i.e. has control) because your mind might tell you to do good or avoid bad, but your heart (spiritual-emotional drive) might not be strong to push you forward in doing that good or avoiding the evil (you might be too; lazy, or too fearful, scared, to do any of the good actions or avoid the bad ones.)
So the knowledge which was supposed to protect you did not benefit you. And it was the heart/emotions which affected your decisions. If you had strengthened your heart with the knowledge – it would incline towards good decisions, but that did not happen.
[Ustadh Nouman gives an example of a intelligent boy who knew smoking drugs was harmful, but he smoked them in his bedroom anyway. If you asked him why he smokes, he would give an emotional answer i.e. 'I just like it.' But when he saw his dad come home - he quickly threw the cigarette away in the toilet. = the Fear in his heart for his Dad stopped him immediately. But if he never feared his dad, then nothing could stop him, not even the knowledge he has.
Example #2: A person might love playing sports and being with friends etc. But when Exams come, the person really wants to get high grades. So he will give up his entertainment and force himself to study to get good marks. And he has done this just because he really WANTS to get good marks and make his parents happy etc (an act of the heart).]
The Israelites at the time of Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam) had read and heard about the miracles of their Prophets’ and they recognized that Muhammad was really the final Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam).
They had the knowledge, but it had not entered their hearts. So they did not benefit from it.
[It is like when our Emaan is low, so we might have heard a Hadeeth before and say 'we already know it', but it has not really entered our hearts because we have really followed it.]
‘Then your hearts became hard after that, So it was like Stone/Boulder (Hijaarah), or even more intense in stiffness.
1st type of Rock; And even out of stones, there are those from which (water) rivers/springs gush out.
Even those stones sometimes compromise.
2nd type; even out of stones there are those that crack/break open and water comes out. (this might be a hint to cause us to cry out of fear/awe of Allah)
3rd type: and even out of stones which collapse and fall from the fear of Allah. (this might be a hint to cause us to fall into sajdah/prostration out of awe/fear of Allah).
..and Allah is not unaware – at all – in regard to what you are doing.
وَإِذَا لَقُوا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قَالُوا آمَنَّا وَإِذَا خَلَا بَعْضُهُمْ إِلَىٰ بَعْضٍ قَالُوا أَتُحَدِّثُونَهُم بِمَا فَتَحَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكُمْ لِيُحَاجُّوكُم بِهِ عِندَ رَبِّكُمْ ۚ أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ
“And when they meet those who believe, they will say we believe aswell. But when they were in solitude – one group with another – they said; are you telling them news of what Allah has opened up for you, so that they (the Muslims) can make a case against you (the Jews) with your Lord (on Judgment Day)? Do you not then understand?
So the leaders of the Jews at the time of Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam) told the Jews not to tell what was in their scripture (the Torah – about the true Prophecies of Prophet Muhammad etc.) since the Muslims could then expose their disbelief/hypocrisy on Judgment Day infront of Allah.
So they are saying; Don’t share this religious knowledge which Allah gave you (O Jews!) with the Muslims.
Their desperation and anger is shown the way they say;
“A fa laa ta’qiloon” -
Do you not then understand?’
Then Allah responds to them;
أَوَلَا يَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا يُسِرُّونَ وَمَا يُعْلِنُونَ
Don’t they already know that Allah knows what they are hiding and exposing?
These people who are supposed to be knowledgable about Allah are acting as if Allah is unaware of what goes on in their minds. They know they are wrong, but they live in false security from Allah’s anger due to their evil lifestyles.
This kind of attitude comes in someones personality when their hearts harden after having faith, so first they try to hope that Allah is forgiving and He will ignore their sins, but with time – this attitude becomes as if Allah hopefully is unaware of their actions, so they can do what they want of evil. Until this person forgets Allah and becomes of an atheist like nature.
وَمِنْهُمْ أُمِّيُّونَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ الْكِتَابَ إِلَّا أَمَانِيَّ وَإِنْ هُمْ إِلَّا يَظُنُّونَ
And among them are unlettered ones who do not know the Scripture except in wishful thinking, but they are only assuming.
Even out of them (min hum) their are those who are Unlettered people (Ummiy)
Ummiy – someone incapable of 2 things, reading and writing.
[its root is Umm = mother. I.e. They are as illiterate as when the first day they were born (came out of their mother.)]
‘They don’t know the book except for their own wishful thoughts (Amaaniyy).’
[Umniyah (singular), Amaaniyy (Plural) = wishful thoughts.]
I.e. You think you know what it is, and you wishfully think that it is like that. But you are not certain what your Book (of Guidance) tells you of Guidance.
This is the Crime of Bani Isra’eel (the Israelites) against their Book. And amazingly this is the case with the majority of Muslims today.
[i.e. Ustadh Nouman gives the example of forwarded emails which might say false Islamic information (with a good intent by the author).
I.e. The famous chain email about praying Fajr and having light on your face, and praying Dhuhr and getting good money etc. And then at the bottom it says; 'Wisdom from the Holy Quran'. When in reality - it is nowhere mentioned in the Qur'an.
This is a crime in the religion.
'Wa in hum il-laa yaDhunoon' -
And they only guess/assume.
So Allah is telling us that we should not make assumptions about Allah's Book, about what makes Allah angry and happy, what Allah has allowed and what He has not. None of this can be said based on mere assumption, but it has to be based on what Allah, His Messenger and the People of Knowledge have said.
The Sahabah (companions of Prophet Muhammad, sal Allahu alayhi wasalam) interpreted this ayah as;
- Ibn Abbas explained this ayah; the Central word in this Ayah is "Amaaniyy" (wishful thinkings), and he explained that this meant;
"Amaaniyy" ayy - Tilaawah - ya'lamoona hu hifDhan wa qiraa'atan bi laa fahm. Laa yadroona maa feehaa'
Tilaawah (recitation/following the text in reading) - they know it (the Torah) by memorizing it, reciting it - without understanding it. They have no clue what is in it.'
Isn't this the same with majority of Muslims today? Just reciting, memorizing and have no clue what is in it (of the message).
They only make assumptions;
- that what they are doing is okay.
- that it doesn't matter if they don't understand their Book of Guidance.
- that they think they know the basic message of it (i.e. 5 pillars of Islam and no pork and alcohol) - so they don't need to bother to learn anymore.
The vast majority of us even in rich countries might understand the most complicated of education courses, sometimes even speaking computer languages [C++], yet we don’t bother to understand the speech of Allah.
The Qur’an is a Mercy from Allah and a Guidance for mankind – yet those who believe it is from Allah, the majority of them have no time in wanting to understand it.
O Allah, our Guide, please do not make us of these people, ameen.
فَوَيْلٌ لِّلَّذِينَ يَكْتُبُونَ الْكِتَابَ بِأَيْدِيهِمْ ثُمَّ يَقُولُونَ هَٰذَا مِنْ عِندِ اللَّهِ لِيَشْتَرُوا بِهِ ثَمَنًا قَلِيلًا ۖ فَوَيْلٌ لَّهُم مِّمَّا كَتَبَتْ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَوَيْلٌ لَّهُم مِّمَّا يَكْسِبُونَ
So destruction to those who write the “scripture” with their own hands, then say, “This is from Allah ,” in order to exchange it for a small price. Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for what they earn.
Then the worst form of destruction/curse for those who write the Book [Book/Law] with their own hands..
The Jews: Allah spoke about some of the Jews who did this – they altered the Book to suit their own desires.
The Muslims: the Qur’an – Allah did not give us the power to alter the Qur’an. So we cannot change Allah’s Book, but there are people who will try to change it’s Law and interpretation to suit their desires (because they might feel its too strict.)
“Thumma yaQooloona haadhaa min ‘ind-illah -
Then they say – this is especially/definitely from Allah.”
So some of the corrupt people will sell a fake book (pretending it is from God), or a false interpretation of the Quran – all having a certain agenda and promoting their false ideas (i.e. saying – ‘only this interpretation is the true version of Islam.’)
Li yaShtaruw bi-hee thamanan qaleela -
So they can sell it for a pathetic/miniscule price.
So they will pass a Fatwa (Law verdict) which is false, just to please someone who will give them money for that.
Fa waylun la hum bi maa katabat aYdeehim -
So the worst destruction/curse [waylun] for them with what they writ with their hands.
“Wa waylun la hum min maa yaKsiboon” -
And the worst destruction for them from what they earned.’
So these people may have earned;
- Money for selling their forged book.
- A following of people who believed in their book/Law.
In the Muslim community – this also occurs in modern times;
Ustadh Nouman gives an example:
I.e. A qualified scholar/imam may say that something is banned in the Mosque because it is unIslamic.
And after some time, a group of people privately tell the Imam that you should not say this because it upsets the people of the Mosque Committee/boardroom, and we will not be able to raise funds/money for the Mosque.
Now if this person retracts what he said or stays silent – out of fear, he is falling into this error of ‘Selling the Kitaab [Law/Book] for a small/worthless price.’
Some Imams may quit their job instead of selling their religion under pressure. While others may fall into the trap due to the pressures of the people – so they allow which Allah has forbade, or forbid what which Allah allowed.
Allah threatens them with 2 major curses/destructions – one for what they change of the Law, and another for what they earn as a result.
O Allah, protect and prevent us from selling Your verses and signs for a worthless price. Ameen ya Rabb.
وَقَالُوا لَن تَمَسَّنَا النَّارُ إِلَّا أَيَّامًا مَّعْدُودَةً ۚ قُلْ أَتَّخَذْتُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ عَهْدًا فَلَن يُخْلِفَ اللَّهُ عَهْدَهُ ۖ أَمْ تَقُولُونَ عَلَى اللَّهِ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
And they say, “Never will the Fire touch us, except for a few days.” Say, “Have you taken a covenant with Allah ? For Allah will never break His covenant. Or do you say about Allah that which you do not know?”
Now Allah tells us the worst type of ‘Amaaniyy’ (wishful thinking) there is.
These wishful thoughts are extremely bad because you start to get thoughts which make you think things which are in direct opposition to what the Guidance teaches. I.e. thinking you are guaranteed Paradise, or you feel that if you did go to hell – you feel you’ll just go for a few days etc.
These people might disobey Allah continuously, thinking they are from the blessed nation, and they might give in charity – wishfully thinking that Allah will forgive them.
[Ustadh Nouman gives the example of someone who owns a liquor/alcohol store, and has a copy of Ayat-ul-Kursi (Quran 2:255) behind his shop desk, and gives some money from it to charity - wishfully thinking Allah will forgive his sins or only keep him in hell for a few days.
He then mentions that people who have not read the Book of Guidance with understanding - assume this, when they ignore the fact that they have to repent and stop their sins for their repentance to be acceptable.]
“wa Qaaloo lan taMassaNaa naaran il-laa ayyaaman ma’doodaah..” -
and they said that the fire will not touch us except for a few days.’
The mentality/psyche of a person who thinks that they can survive and bear/handle/face the severe punishment of Allah is the problem.
How do you know? What if a Day in Hell is equal to 1000years of this life? And the people of Hell are told to enter into a fire without recieving help from Allah.
A split second spent outside Hellfire – NafHa (= a cold breeze), if that barely touched them, they would scream – O destruction on us, we were of the wrongdoers. (Surah Anbiya 21:46)
[Related word: LafHa (hot breeze)]
So what then of being immersed in Hell for day, after day, after day…
“Say (O Muhammad) Did you (people) take a special contract/promise with Allah, so that Allah won’t change His contract/promise? Or do you say about Allah what you don’t know?”
Allah is telling His Messenger to speak to these people now (by saying; Qul – Say) because He is angry with the people who wishfully think they will only be in the fire for a few days – so He doesn’t even want to talk to them directly.
Through His Messenger – He is asking them – ‘have you taken a contract with Allah by which you are sure that you will only be in the fire for a few days?’ And the answer is no, none of us humans are sure where we will end up in the Afterlife, and how long we will be there.
Then a further emphasis is added;
” fa lan yuKhlifa Allahu ‘ahdah” –
then Allah will not change His contract?’
So even if these people were to get a contract with Allah for just a few days of hell (which doesn’t happen) – then how can you be certain that Allah has not changed His contract?
“Am taQooloona ‘ala Allahi maa laa ta’lamoon?”
‘Or are you saying upon Allah of that which you have no knowledge?’
As we said earlier, these people had their own wishful thinking of what Guidance was – so they were saying about Allah of that which they did not know. Their wishful thinkings were not accurate.
We have to ask ourselves – how do I view salvation? Is it based on what the Quran and Sunnah says? Do I think I’ll be forgiven for sure, or do I think that I need to continue doing more good deeds sincerely and continuously with effort so that hopefully, Allah will be happy with me on Judgment Day and put me into Paradise by His Mercy.
O Allah, make us of those who follow your Guidance whole-heartedly, sincerely and fully, always. Based on a balance of Fear and Hope, and that you are pleased with us when we meet you on Judgment Day. Ameen ya Rabb.
بَلَىٰ مَن كَسَبَ سَيِّئَةً وَأَحَاطَتْ بِهِ خَطِيئَتُهُ فَأُولَٰئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ ۖ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ
“Rather, whoever earned a single sin [sayyi'ah ], and his single enormous mistake encircled him – then those are the people of fire – in which they will remain.”
Sayyi’ah – big sin.
Dhanb = small or big sin.
wa aHaaTat bi-hee khaTee’atuh -
“Then it encircled him” -
this person is addicted to a big sin, (i.e. Drugs/alcoholism, interest/usury (riba), eating haraam, shamelessness etc.) although he might do alot of good deeds.
So this person does alot of good deeds, and he feels that his persistent bad deed will be covered
by these good deeds. So he continues in the sin.
‘His huge mistake has encircled him’
That one mistake has encircled the person’s life, so he is addicted to it, and due to that – he falls into other sins too (i.e. he might lie continuously bigger lies to cover his sin etc.)
“Ulaa’ika aS-haab-ul-Naar” –
‘Those are the companions of the fire’
The One mistake the Bani Isra’eel (the Israelites), and the polytheists of Quraysh had – was their Arrogance.
They had alot of other good qualities but their main mistake made them become the worst of people (opposing the Messengers’ of Allah).
I.e. Abu Jahl – a man at the time of Prophet Muhammad was a Philanthropist before Islam. He would give alot to the needy, and make good decisions for his people. But when the Messenger was chosen by Allah to be from another tribe, Abu Jahl’s arrogance surrounded him from all arround him, and prevented him from following the Messenger, Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam.)
MAN kasaba (the one who earns) [singular]..
Ulaa’ika – Those [plural] are the companions of the fire.
So Allah is telling us that this person who fits that description can be from any group of people (the past nations, or Bani Isra’eel, or the Polytheists, or even the Hypocrites), and that all these people will be forced together as Companions of the fire.
“..Hum fee haa Khaalidoon” -
They will be in it, forever.
وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ أُولَٰئِكَ أَصْحَابُ الْجَنَّةِ ۖ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ
But they who believe and do righteous deeds – those are the companions of Paradise; they will abide therein eternally.
“Those who believe and do good actions (saalihAAT) “
Allah makes a beautiful contrast by just saying a common phrase which we are so used to, but the way it is placed in this part after ayah 81 amazes you.
SaalihAAT = a handful of Good actions [it is in the 'lesser plural (jam'u qillah) form' = a plural less than 10].
So Allah amazingly says that they believe and do a few good deeds which He asked of us (i.e. The 5 pillars of Islam, being good to those around us, and avoiding the sins etc.) So Allah is telling us that He isn’t really asking us for alot, and that this religion is easy.
Maa ja’ala ‘alaykum fee al-deeni min haraj – He (Allah) did not put on you any difficulty in the religion. (Hajj 22:78)
YureeduAllahu an yuKhaffifa ‘ankum - Allah intends to make your burden light for you. (Nisa 4:28)
“Ulaa’ika aS-haab ul Jannah, hum fee haa khaalidoon” -
They are the Companions of the Gardens, especially they will live there forever.
These 3 things link together – and if one link is missing, you cannot reach to step 3;
1) Emaan (Belief) and 2) Righteous deeds = Gardens of Paradise.
وَإِذْ أَخَذْنَا مِيثَاقَ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ لَا تَعْبُدُونَ إِلَّا اللَّهَ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا وَذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَقُولُوا لِلنَّاسِ حُسْنًا وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ ثُمَّ تَوَلَّيْتُمْ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا مِّنكُمْ وَأَنتُم مُّعْرِضُونَ
And [recall] when We took the covenant from the Children of Israel, [enjoining upon them], “Do not worship except Allah ; and to parents do good and to relatives, orphans, and the needy. And speak to people good [words] and establish prayer and give zakah.” Then you turned away, except a few of you, and you were refusing.
Allah will remind us of the serious Covenant again, and this time He will tell us the ‘good deeds’ (Saalihaat) which are part of the Covenant to get to Allah’s Paradise.
1 – You will enslave yourselves to other than Allah.
2 – To be best in excellence (Ihsaan) to your parents, and to close relatives, and the orphans and the poor.
This is easy to say, but really hard to do. Most of the times our parents and close brothers/sisters and cousins/relatives aren’t happy with us. If we see the Muslim Ummah today, we are the worst of people to our relatives and have loads of feuds and arguments.
Most of us don’t even know the orphans and poor (masaakeen – those who can’t support themselves i.e. lookafter their families etc.) of our societies.
“Wa qooloo li al-naas husnan -”
‘And to speak to the people beautifully (husnan).’
Most of us Muslims hardly smile, and if someone smiles from us, we think that person is odd. When smiling is from the Sunnah!
‘And establish the prayer and give the zakah (purification charity)’
‘After all of these instructions, all of you turned away- except a few of you, while you were deliberately ignoring the instructions.’
We see how most of these commands are between us and Allah, and us and our close community.
The reason why Allah wants us to be good to those near us is because if all the people in the world did this good to their community – the whole world would be peaceful. And there would be no in-fighting amongst the Muslim Ummah (nation.)
وَإِذْ أَخَذْنَا مِيثَاقَكُمْ لَا تَسْفِكُونَ دِمَاءَكُمْ وَلَا تُخْرِجُونَ أَنفُسَكُم مِّن دِيَارِكُمْ ثُمَّ أَقْرَرْتُمْ وَأَنتُمْ تَشْهَدُونَ
And [recall] when We took your covenant, [saying], “Do not shed each other’s blood or evict one another from your homes.” Then you acknowledged [this] while you were witnessing.
And when We took the strong covenant from you – that you should not shed your own blood (dimaa’a-kum).
Now Allah tells us what happens when people don’t follow the commands of Allah mentioned in the ayah above (i.e. a good relationship with Allah, and a good relationship with your people [relatives, poor etc].)
So what happens when all these people don’t get their rights? Hatred arises, and then small fights start, and these fights escalate, and there is war amongst the Muslims.
Don’t shed your Own blood (dimaa’a-kum) = don’t fight and kill each other (believers shouldn’t fight each other out of hatred) because it is like you are killing your ownselves.
[Since the believers are all one and have the same purpose (of serving Allah alone.)]
“Waa laa tuKhrijoona aNfusakum min diyaari-kum” -
And you will not expel your ownselves from your own homes.’
No-one would kick themselves out of their own home and not allow their self back into it.
Rather, what Allah is saying is – Don’t expel other believers;
- You’re not going to force other believers out of their homes.
- You’re not going to Deport other Muslims out of their own homes.
[Ustadh Nouman mentions that some Muslims do deport other Muslims out of their countries for Nationalistic reasons and due to fear of non Muslim governments] which is a crime of the Bani Isra’eel which Allah criticizes.
Thumma aQrar-tum -
Then you all agreed
Wa antum taSh-hadoon –
And you all bore witness
ثُمَّ أَنتُمْ هَٰؤُلَاءِ تَقْتُلُونَ أَنفُسَكُمْ وَتُخْرِجُونَ فَرِيقًا مِّنكُم مِّن دِيَارِهِمْ تَظَاهَرُونَ عَلَيْهِم بِالْإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ وَإِن يَأْتُوكُمْ أُسَارَىٰ تُفَادُوهُمْ وَهُوَ مُحَرَّمٌ عَلَيْكُمْ إِخْرَاجُهُمْ ۚ أَفَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِبَعْضِ الْكِتَابِ وَتَكْفُرُونَ بِبَعْضٍ ۚ فَمَا جَزَاءُ مَن يَفْعَلُ ذَٰلِكَ مِنكُمْ إِلَّا خِزْيٌ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَيَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ يُرَدُّونَ إِلَىٰ أَشَدِّ الْعَذَابِ ۗ وَمَا اللَّهُ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ
Then, you are those [same ones who are] killing one another and evicting a party of your people from their homes, cooperating against them in sin and aggression. And if they come to you as captives, you ransom them, although their eviction was forbidden to you. So do you believe in part of the Scripture and disbelieve in part? Then what is the recompense for those who do that among you except disgrace in worldly life; and on the Day of Resurrection they will be sent back to the severest of punishment. And Allah is not unaware of what you do.
Thumma antum haa’ulaa! -
Then you all are these same people..!
[seeghatu al-ta'Ajjub - Amazement/Astonishment is used. 'I am Shocked that you are these same people..' ]
“taQtuloona aNfusakum” -
You are the ones killing yourselves
“wa tuKhrijoona FareeqAn min-kum min diyaari-him” -
‘and you expel a particular Targetted group – from among you – from their homes.’
Fareeq – Farq (to separate to show difference) would be a particular group which separated from the main group.
But Allah said; FareeqAn min-kum – a group you Targetted from your own.
So even though these people might not consider them their own, Allah tells us that they are still killing their own.
taDhaaharoon ‘alayhim bi-al ithmi wa-al ‘udwaan -
You would intend upon them sin (ithm) and enmity (being an enemy – ‘udwaan)
Wa in ya’tuoo-kum usaara tuFaadoo hum -
And if they are given to you as prisoners, you ransom them
Ustadh Nouman says that these people – who were believers at that time – would fight each other as worst enemies. But when the disbelievers fought the Muslims, the Muslims would raise money to free/ransom them.
So Allah is hinting at the hypocrisy of these people, which isn’t too different to how us Muslims have been with each other in our history.
You become one Ummah – when the disbelievers fight you.
Then you become each others enemies after that?
أَفَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِبَعْضِ الْكِتَابِ وَتَكْفُرُونَ بِبَعْضٍ
“Do you believe in part of the Book, and deny another part?”
The principle in Islam is one: our brotherhood in Islam is one, and we need to protect each other.
The fact that these people chose some parts of the religion to follow, and never followed other parts – Allah criticized them as denying/disbelieving in part of the Book.
Ustadh Nouman continues:
When people get more knowledgable about the religion, they might become lazy, and when someone asks them why they are not doing something from it, they will find some intellectual excuses to justify the reasons why they are not.
This makes the religion look ugly to others who don’t know too much about it.
And Allah tells us about such people;
“Then what is the recompense for such people who do that from you – except humiliation in this life, and on the Day of Ressurection – We will return him to the intense Punishment [aShaddu al-Adhaab], and Allah is not forgetful of what you are doing.”
When you only select part of the Book and ignore other parts – Allah will give humiliation to such a people (Ummah).
And Allah will punish them an intense punishment on Judgment Day.
Allah in other parts of the Quran uses the words;
- ‘adhaabun Aleem – Painful punishment.
- ‘adhaabun ‘ADheem – Great/firm punishment.
- ‘adhaabun Shadeed – Intense punishment.
But now Allah said;
AShaddu-ul ‘adhaab = the MOST intense punishment.
Allah is describes this of someone who knows the religion, but chooses to only follow some parts and ignore its other parts.
‘And Allah is not forgetful (Ghaafilan) of what you continue to do’.
When us humans sin and disobey Allah – we forget that Allah is watching us. If we had remembered Allah and truly had certainty of His punishment, we would not be doing sins. But even if do forget – Allah does not forget what we continue to do.
O Allah, do not make us of those who fall into mistakes similar to those failed nations before us.
Make us of those who follow your Book fully.
Ustadh Nouman continues explaining that;
Perfecting some parts of the Religion and ignoring other parts is also being criticized. We have to try to perfect ourselves in all aspects of the religion.
I.e. Some people might focus on one aspect of the religion and ignore another part, thinking that their strong focus on what they are doing will be sufficient. But that is not true.
‘You believe in some part of the Book, and disbelieve in other parts?’
أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ اشْتَرَوُا الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا بِالْآخِرَةِ ۖ فَلَا يُخَفَّفُ عَنْهُمُ الْعَذَابُ وَلَا هُمْ يُنصَرُونَ
Those are the ones who have bought the life of this world [in exchange] for the Hereafter, so the punishment will not be lightened for them, nor will they be aided.
It is those who have purchased the life of this world over the hereafter.
This ayah tells us the core reason why they take some parts of the Book/Law/Religion seriously and ignore other parts.
We know that the main reason Allah sent this Guidance/Book/Law was for us to serve Allah.
But we know that some people don’t whole-heartedly follow the Guidance. Yet when they do follow some parts of it – they might follow the aspects which they find easy. And they only do so – so they can feel ‘good about themselves’.
So these type of people use the Guidance to serve them, not for them to use Serve Allah (with the Guidance.)
Ishtaraw = purchase.
These people have purchased/bought this life over the next life (in preference.)
The shocking thing is that Allah uses this kind of phrase usually for the disbelievers – choosing this life over the next life.
So Allah is telling that people who don’t fully submit to all the Guidance are like the disbelievers in preferring this life more than the next.
“Fa laa yuKhaffafu ‘anhum ul ‘adhaab” -
Then the punishment/torture will not be lightened for them.’
O Allah, please do not make us of them.
Allah wants your life to be easy/light (khafeef) for you by giving you this Guidance.
YureeduAllahu an yuKhaffifa ‘ankum
- Allah intends to make your burden light for you. (Nisa 4:28)
But because these people did not want to follow the Guidance which would lighten their burden, Allah will make their burden heavy in this life and the next.
“wa laa hum yuNSuroon” -
And they are not going to be helped.’
Allah is already warning us that if we should not think we will be saved by following just some part of the religion. And if anyone thinks that this partial choosing of the religion will be enough for them – then know that ‘you will not be helped.’
وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا مُوسَى الْكِتَابَ وَقَفَّيْنَا مِن بَعْدِهِ بِالرُّسُلِ ۖ وَآتَيْنَا عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ الْبَيِّنَاتِ وَأَيَّدْنَاهُ بِرُوحِ الْقُدُسِ ۗ أَفَكُلَّمَا جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولٌ بِمَا لَا تَهْوَىٰ أَنفُسُكُمُ اسْتَكْبَرْتُمْ فَفَرِيقًا كَذَّبْتُمْ وَفَرِيقًا تَقْتُلُونَ
And We have for sure given Moses the Book, and We have fortified it (Qaf-fa) / continued it through several Messengers’, and We gave Eesa son of Maryam (Jesus son of Mary) clear signs, and aided him with the Holy Spirit (Angel Jibreel/Gabriel).
Qaf-fa – have something continue. (i.e. a necklace which has beads come after the other.)
This ayah is amazing in the fact that Allah is addressing the Israelites. The first main Messenger sent to them as a whole (the 12 tribes) was Moses (who is at the beginning of the necklace), and the last bead on the necklace of the Bani Isra’eel (Israelite) Prophets’ is Prophet Jesus son of Mary.
“A fa kulla maa jaa’a kum Rasoolan bi maa laa taHwaa aNfusa-kum fa-astaKbar-tum” -
So why then, everytime a Messenger came to you all with what you did not Desire (taHwaa), you all sought your own greatness.
taHwaa – Hawaa – empty desires.
So Allah is telling us that whenever a Messenger came to them who they didn’t like, whose commands didn’t fit in with their desires – you seeked greatness for yourselves.
Yoy felt your desire, personality was better than what the Messenger had came with.
It’s reported that Allah’s Messenger Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam) said [meaning];
“You won’t fully believe until your desires suit what the Messenger came with.”
“Fa fareeqan kadh-dhab-tum wa fareeqan taQtuloon” -
So a group of you repeatedly and intensely lied against him (the Messenger), and a group of you kill.’
The Israelites did claim belief in the Messengers’ of Allah, apart from two – Jesus son of Mary and Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhim wasalam.)
But Allah says that they lied against them (including the other Messengers.) How is this?
They lied against their Messenger by not obeying, and questioning their Messenger arrogantly – like they did in their early history with Moses.
“wa Fareeqan taQtuloon” -
and a group of you kill (the Messengers’).
Because some of these people couldn’t trust their Messengers’, accusing some of them as being liars. So they thought that killing them would be a good idea.
Allah said; taQtuloon (you all kill) in present-future tense, showing that this attitude of theirs will continue.
Allah brings this reminder many times in the Qur’an to show the seriousness of their crime, and how much He hates it.
The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam) told us that we would follow the ways of the Bani Isra’eel (Israelites) like a shoe matches the other shoe.
The Prophets’ of Bani Isra’eel would update the Shari’ah (Laws) of Moses for the times the Israelites lived in.
This is a similar role the Scholars (‘Ulama) perform in this Ummah (nation.)
We know that the Prophets’ of Bani Isra’eel were caught, humiliated and tortured and insulted by their people.
Many of our ‘Ulama go through a similar fate. Even today.
We need to respect the ‘Ulama because if we don’t, Allah might get angry at us like He got angry at the Israelites for disrespecting the Messengers.
وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ آمِنُوا بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ قَالُوا نُؤْمِنُ بِمَا أُنزِلَ عَلَيْنَا وَيَكْفُرُونَ بِمَا وَرَاءَهُ وَهُوَ الْحَقُّ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا مَعَهُمْ ۗ قُلْ فَلِمَ تَقْتُلُونَ أَنبِيَاءَ اللَّهِ مِن قَبْلُ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ
And when it is said to them, “Believe in what Allah has revealed,” they say, “We believe [only] in what was revealed to us.” And they disbelieve in what came after it, while it is the truth confirming that which is with them. Say, “Then why did you kill the prophets of Allah before, if you are [indeed] believers?”
When it is said to them; Come to believe in what Allah has sent down, they say – ‘We believe what was sent down on to us (‘alayNaa)’
The discussion with Bani Isra’eel (the Israelites/Jews) is approaching it’s end. Now Allah is answering the most obnoxious claims of theirs for not following the Messenger.
When the Jews say, we believe in what was sent on us (‘alayNaa) – it has 2 implications;
1 - the obvious meaning;
‘we believe in what was sent on us’ – they do not want to change their belief that they only have to follow a Jewish book.
2 - we believe in what was sent ON us (‘Alay-naa) – the word “‘alay” (on) signifies that they feel it is a Responsibility which they have to hold onto, which they cannot change from.
So they are saying; ‘we believe and fulfill our Jewish law, and that is enough for us, so no thankyou.’
“wa yaKfuroona bi maa waraa’ah” -
and they deny with what is behind them.’
These people might claim they are believers, but they really are not. As they reject other important parts of the ‘Israelite revealed’ Guidance too:
1 – they deny Jesus son of Mary as a Messenger, and the Scripture (the Injeel) which he came with.
2 – the Book they were given – they did make changes to it (see ayah 90). So if that is not disbelief, then what is?
“Wa huwwa al haqqu muSaddiqan li maa ma’a-hum” -
And it is the truth, confirming what is with them.’
So if they really are sincere in wanting to follow their book, they should follow this (Qur’an). Because their own books are telling them of the future Messenger, and this Messenger (Muhammad [saws]) matches what is written in your own books.
Then Allah exposes their hypocrisy of wanting to follow their book;
“Qul, fa li-ma taQtuloona anbiyaa’Allahi min qablu in kun tum mu’mineen” -
Say (O Muhammad) – then why do you kill the Prophets’ of Allah from before if you truly are Believers?’
What part of your faith told you to kill your Prophets’?
The Israelites had many Prophets’ they harmed, but Allah will interrogate and expose them more in the next ayah.
وَلَقَدْ جَاءَكُم مُّوسَىٰ بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ ثُمَّ اتَّخَذْتُمُ الْعِجْلَ مِن بَعْدِهِ وَأَنتُمْ ظَالِمُونَ
Even Moses already came to you with clear signs, and you held tightly onto the Calf after him, and you were wrongdoers.
This is the Prophet who the Israelites respect most and take pride in. Yet they took the Calf/baby cow as an idol for worship whilst Moses was amongst them!
Is this what your book tells you? So if you never followed it sincerely then, and they were the best of your nation – then how can you be so sure that you are following it sincerely now?
وَإِذْ أَخَذْنَا مِيثَاقَكُمْ وَرَفَعْنَا فَوْقَكُمُ الطُّورَ خُذُوا مَا آتَيْنَاكُم بِقُوَّةٍ وَاسْمَعُوا ۖ قَالُوا سَمِعْنَا وَعَصَيْنَا وَأُشْرِبُوا فِي قُلُوبِهِمُ الْعِجْلَ بِكُفْرِهِمْ ۚ قُلْ بِئْسَمَا يَأْمُرُكُم بِهِ إِيمَانُكُمْ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ
And [recall] when We took your covenant and raised over you the mount, [saying], “Take what We have given you with determination and listen.” They said [instead], “We hear and disobey.” And their hearts absorbed [the worship of] the calf because of their disbelief. Say, “How wretched is that which your faith enjoins upon you, if you should be believers.”
“And when We took the strong covenant from you, We raised the mountain of Toor above you, (saying); Hold onto what We have given you with great strength, and remember what is in it so you can guard (against evil, Allah’s anger, punishment etc.) They (Qaaloo) said; We heard and we disobeyed. Then inside their hearts the love for worshipping the calf was poured into it.”
Allah enhances this interrogation a level even higher. We know they did not even follow Moses properly, now Allah tells us that they even made jokes of Allah’s covenant which He took with them – when the mountain was placed above them and about to fall on them (see surah al A’raf 7:171).
Allah speaks to them in 2nd person (‘kum’ – You lot) first when He is taking the covenant with them. But their arrogance and disobedience makes Allah disgusted, so He talks about them in 3rd person (‘Qaaloo – They said..’). This is called Tab’eed – Distancing intensely from someone because of dislike for them.
Allah is telling us that because of their not wanting to accept Allah’s covenant, Allah punished them by making them love idol worship intensely. So wanting to break the contract with Allah is one of the worst punishments Allah can give to someone.
O Allah, love us and make us of those who love you, always. Ameen.
Then Allah tells His Messenger to say;
Qul bi’sa maa ya’muru-kum eemaanu-kum in kun-tum mu’mineen -
Say (O Muhammad) – evil/disgusting is what your Belief (Emaan) commands you to do if you truly are believers.
Allah tells His Messenger to talk, since He does not even want to directly talk to them (after He has quoted their evil bad habits.)
And now He tells them that if this is what their Belief calls them to (disobeying Messengers’, making jokes about Allah, love for calf worship etc.), then their (false) beliefs call them to extremely disgusting (bi’s) things indeed.
Now that He has spoken to them and they still don’t believe, Allah will stop talking directly to them in 2nd person (i.e. You) etc. If anyone is going to talk to them now, it is the Messenger.
The new transision from now will be that; Allah will tell His Messenger about the Israelites’; Commenting about them, their attitudes and how he (the Messenger) should deal with them.
قُلْ إِن كَانَتْ لَكُمُ الدَّارُ الْآخِرَةُ عِندَ اللَّهِ خَالِصَةً مِّن دُونِ النَّاسِ فَتَمَنَّوُا الْمَوْتَ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ
Say (O Muhammad) – if the final home (Daar) belongs exclusively to you with Allah, then wish for death if infact you are truthful..
Daar – home / residence.
The Jews, Christians, and Muslims all believe that only their religion is the saved group in the Next life.
Muslims believe: “Surely the religion with Allah is Islam” (aal Imran 3:19)
Christians believe you can only get to the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ through Jesus Christ.
The Jews especially – at the time of Prophet Muhammad – believed they were the only saved people who would enter heaven/paradise. [Although over centuries some Jewish sects began to reject an Afterlife. (I.e. Some jewish sects today believe; there is no hell.)]
But Allah is telling the Jews to wish for death if they are so certain it is only for them.
If the Jews asked the Muslims to wish for death – the Muslims did not claim that individually they are guaranteed Paradise. Rather, they wish to Allah and do good acts and ask for forgiveness – hoping Allah will accept them into His Paradise/Jannah. Muslims are in a balance between hope and fear.
Whereas the Jews at that time thought they were guaranteed Paradise. And if that life is better, and you’re sure you’re going there – then why don’t you wish for death?
وَلَن يَتَمَنَّوْهُ أَبَدًا بِمَا قَدَّمَتْ أَيْدِيهِمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِالظَّالِمِينَ
But they will never wish for it, ever, because of what their hands have put forth. And Allah is Knowing of the wrongdoers.
And they will never wish for it, because of what their hands have sent forward (invested).
When you do bad or good deeds – you send them forward to Allah.
So the Jews know;
1 – They have not done alot of good things. So they find it hard to want to return to Allah.
2 – They have spent alot of their worldly efforts and money for this worldly life, and they have not put much effort and money (charity) for the next life. So they are more attracted to this life, and this is why they don’t want to die.
‘And Allah is fully knowledgable of the wrongdoers.’
وَلَتَجِدَنَّهُمْ أَحْرَصَ النَّاسِ عَلَىٰ حَيَاةٍ وَمِنَ الَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا ۚ يَوَدُّ أَحَدُهُمْ لَوْ يُعَمَّرُ أَلْفَ سَنَةٍ وَمَا هُوَ بِمُزَحْزِحِهِ مِنَ الْعَذَابِ أَن يُعَمَّرَ ۗ وَاللَّهُ بَصِيرٌ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ
And you will find them the most greedy/zealous/energetic in pursuit of preserving their worldly life intact (they do not want to lose this life), and even more than the polytheists.
The polytheists would be willing to die in battle, so that they would earn honour for themselves in poetry and tribal history.
The Israelites however would not fight, and if they did come out to fight, they would say;
‘Wait till our awaited Messenger comes, with him we will defeat you like the people of ‘Aad were destroyed.’
(yastaftihoona ‘ala al-aladheena kafaroo – they sought a way out from those who disbelieved.)
“Everyone of them wishes he could live for 1000years. And even then – he will not be escaping at all from the punishment. And Allah is in full view of what they are doing.”
Ustadh Nouman mentions a story which might benefit;
He went to a Muslim families house who had alot of money, and he gave them a talk about surah ‘ASr (which talks about how our time in life is ending each moment.)
Then after the talk, the mother of the house said to Ustadh Nouman; ‘I love this house, I don’t ever want to leave it.’ (she was hinting that she does not want to move onto the next life and would prefer this house instead.)
Ustadh Nouman replied that we will all have to leave this life sometime soon.
The moral of the story was; Don’t be attached too much to this life, like the Israelites and those before us were. Otherwise, we will also fit the description of;
AHraSa al-naasa ‘ala al-hayaat - ‘the most zealous/greedy/attached -of people- upon life.’
We as Muslims should always be preparing for death and meeting Allah. Because the true home is the home of Paradise/Jannah.
O Allah, make us the people of your Jannah al Firdaws (the Highest Paradise), soon, with ease, ameen ya Rabb.
قُلْ مَن كَانَ عَدُوًّا لِّجِبْرِيلَ فَإِنَّهُ نَزَّلَهُ عَلَىٰ قَلْبِكَ بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَهُدًى وَبُشْرَىٰ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ
Say, “Whoever is an enemy to Gabriel – it is [none but] he who has brought the Qur’an down upon your heart, [O Muhammad], by permission of Allah , confirming that which was before it and as guidance and good tidings for the believers.”
The invitation to Bani Isra’eel got stronger and stronger. The more naive members of their community would actually agree that what the Quran is saying is true, similar to their scripture.
‘And when they (the naive/less scholarly Jews) meet those who believe, they say ‘we believe’ but when they (Jews) meet one another in private, they (the scholarly Jews) say (to the Jews who agreed with the Muslims) – ‘Shall you tell them what Allah has revealed to you, so they argue with you about it before your Lord? Have you no intellect!?
Their seniors would criticize their laypeople , saying why do you agree with them that what is in your scripture (the Qur’an) is also in ours (the Torah)?
So there is evidence that some portion of the common Jews of Medinah did agree with the validity of the Qur’an. And their scholars criticized them.
The ayah now discussed is explained. Why did the Jews have a hatred for Angel Jibreel (Gabriel)?
1 - They believed that revelation should only come to the Israelites (children of Is-haaq and Ya’qub [also known as Isra'eel]).
So how could Angel Jibreel give revelation to a non Israelite? They would argue this, and blamed Angel Jibreel that he probably gave revelation to the wrong person – the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam).
Some extreme Khawaarij or Shi’a groups even within our own Ummah fell into this same mistake and claimed that Angel Jibreel made a mistake by giving the revelation to Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam) and that it was really supposed to be revealed to ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib (radhiy Allahu ‘anhu).
2 - The Israelite scholars were angry that their own people were now being convinced by the Qur’an. So they showed their frustration at Angel Jibreel to discredit the message.
They knew that Angel Jibreel would bring Allah’s punishments in past nations, so they were angry at him.
So they argued that Angel Jibreel was bad, and if Allah had sent another like Mikaa’eel (Michael) – we would happily accept the message. These were just excuses to deny the message.
Now to discussing the Ayah in that context:
‘Say; whoever was an enemy to Jibreel – then surely he sent it (the Quran) down upon your heart (O Muhammad) by the permission of Allah.’
So when the Jews were taunting Allah’s Messenger (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam) in their speech, ‘Is it Jibreel who sends it down to you?’
Then Allahs Messenger (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam) does not defend Jibreel or ask Allah as to why Angel Jibreel came instead of other angels. Rather – Allah clearly and strongly replies that; 1 – it surely is Jibreel, and 2 – he sent it specifically upon your heart O Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam), 3 – by the permission of Allah. This is showing a strong unapologetic attitude.
‘muSaddiqan li maa bayna yadayhi’ -
Confirming what is right infront of it (previous revelations.)
Wa hudan – and a guide
Wa bushraa – and the Ultimate good news (even though you disbelievers might not think it is good news due to your denial of it.)
Li al Mu’mineen – for the Believers.
(it is a good news for the believers because it will give them a good life in this world, and a beautiful life to come in Paradise.) This good news is only for the believers, not for the disbelievers.
May Allah make us of the believers, ameen.
مَن كَانَ عَدُوًّا لِّلَّهِ وَمَلَائِكَتِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَجِبْرِيلَ وَمِيكَالَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ عَدُوٌّ لِّلْكَافِرِينَ
Whoever is an enemy to Allah and His angels and His messengers and Gabriel and Michael – then indeed, Allah is an enemy to the disbelievers.
That ‘whoever is an enemy to Allah (‘aduwan li-illah)’
wa malaa’ikatihee (and His angels) -
Wa Jibraa’eela wa Meekaal – and (Angel) Gabriel and Michael.
We know the Israelites only hated Jibreel, yet Allah is telling us that by taking Jibreel as an enemy of Allah, then you have made Allah your enemy. So do not ‘pick and choose’ who you can love, rather you have to love ALL of them to have emaan (true belief) in the sight of Allah.
Some narrations say that the Israelites praised Angel Meeka’eel. So we see that Allah is telling them that if you are an enemy to Angel Jibreel, you are also an enemy to Angel Meekaa’eel.
We also see in ancient civilizations like Greek mythology where Angels as ‘children of gods’ fight each other for kingdom, power and control. This has even mixed in with many modern christians and jewish sects who sometimes even question whether angels are partly divine gods or not. They do not have the standard definition which we have in Islam of angels being ‘obedient servants of God.’
So they have entire mythologies of angels fighting each other.
So by being an enemy to Jibreel, then know that Angel Mikaa’eel is not on your side either.
‘Fa inna Allaha ‘aduwan li-al kaafireen’ – then surely Allah is an enemy – to the disbelievers.
Fa = Then (jawaab al shart – response to the condition.)
Inna Allaha ‘aduw – then no doubt Allah is a enemy…
They declared enmity to one aspect of Allah’s Messengers (angels or humans), so Allah is saying that He is also an enemy..
Li al Kaafireen – to the ungrateful/rejecting/Disbelievers.
To reject any one aspect/link in the chain of the (human and angel) Messengers’ of Allah – then you have become an enemy of Allah, so He has made Himself an enemy against you (the feeling of dislike is mutual).
We ask Allah never to make us His enemy, ameen ya Rabb.
Earlier we see the Israelites claimed we had emaan, ‘aamannaa’ (we believe) in what was revealed to us, and we reject what is other than it. (al Baqarah 2:91)
So when it was said to them to have faith, they said we already believe in what was revealed to us. But Allah is telling them no, you don’t believe. So Allah is telling them;
No, not only do you not have faith. I (Allah) am your enemy, and you are surely disbelievers.
‘Fa inna Allaha ‘aduwan li-al kaafireen – Then surely Allah is an enemy to the disbelievers.’
وَلَقَدْ أَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ آيَاتٍ بَيِّنَاتٍ ۖ وَمَا يَكْفُرُ بِهَا إِلَّا الْفَاسِقُونَ
And We have certainly revealed to you verses [which are] clear proofs, and no one would deny them except the defiantly disobedient.
Wa = and
La = (al tawkeed = emphasis) Surely.
Qad – already
Anzal-Naa – We sent down
Ilay-ka = to you (O Muhammad)
Aayaatin = signs
Bayyinaat = Clear
Wa maa = And none
yaKfuru = (is) denying/rejecting
Bi-haa = With it
Illaa al faasiqoon = except the rebellious
Allah used the word Bayyinah (clear, undeniable proof) – which is explained in surah Bayyinah; the ‘Messenger reciting Purified pages.’
This is what the disbelievers denied – the Messenger who recited the; miraculous, wise, beautiful unmatched Message (aayaat/miraculous signs.)
So they denied the Message, and even the Messenger who they admitted to his nobility and honesty and mercy.
So the Message was credible, the Messenger was credible. By rejecting this – they were clear disbelievers to the Bayyinaat (clear proofs.)
We need to have credible and praised and merciful characteristics in the sight of society in order for our Message in da’wah to have strong impact on the people in society. Just like Allah’s Messenger helped the oppressed idol-worshippers in Makkah when they were treated unjustly, even after Prophethood.
I.e. Abu Jahl would not return the money of a man to him, so the man came to Allah’s Messenger (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam) and asked him for help, so Allah’s Messenger went to Abu Jahl and demanded that he give the man’s money back. And Abu Jahl out of fear passed the money back to the oppressed man.
‘Wa maa yaKfuroo bihaa illaa al-faasiqoon’ -
And none disbelieves in it, except the inherently corrupt.
The people who deny the message after it has; i – come clearly to them. ii – through a reliable/trustworthy source – then this meaning implies to them.
We know there is weakness in our da’wah and we need to try to strengthen it through showing society our good, caring character, and through establishing good masaajid where new converts can find a good muslim community to help them (i.e. If they were forced out of their homes etc.)
We know that some people who do alot of sins are affected by the reminder of the Qur’an. They feel guilty and feel they need to change themselves for the better in atleast some ways.
But now Allah is telling us that these inherently corrupt (faasiqoon) people do not even want to follow the reminder in the least.
أَوَكُلَّمَا عَاهَدُوا عَهْدًا نَّبَذَهُ فَرِيقٌ مِّنْهُم ۚ بَلْ أَكْثَرُهُمْ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ
Is it not [true] that every time they took a covenant a party of them threw it away? But, [in fact], most of them do not believe.
Everytime they came forward and made a strong promise/covenant (with Allah, His Messenger) – a group from among them threw it away carelessly.
Nabadha = he threw away something carelessly (without realising its importance.)
‘Bal aktharuhum laa yu’minoon – No, rather most of them are not believing.
These people said the shahadah (testimony of faith) – never took the contract with Allah seriously and because of that – Allah – who knows the hearts – has said that they do not believe. Allah Himself has declared them to be disbelievers.
We ask Allah to protect us from hypocrisy and disbelief. Ameen ya Allah.
‘When a Messenger especially from Allah came to them, (whose description/na’t/siffa was that he was) confirming what was already with them, a group from among those who were given the book threw it away behind (waraa’) their backs (Dhuhoori-him) like they did not have (any) knowledge.
Similar phrases but different meanings:
1-AatayNaa al Kitaab = We gave the book. [positive context in Quran.]
2-Oowtu al Kitaab = given the book (passive voice.) [negative context in Quran.]
The 2nd (‘Oowtu al Kitaab’) is often used in a negative context in the Quran. These Israelites were given the book but they abandoned it, tossed/threw it away casually behind their back, when the Messenger came to them with clear proofs.
This is what made these people corrupt. Their envy, jealousy and hatred in wanting to accept and act upon the truth. And we need to fear this characteristic from within ourselves too.
‘Ka anna hum laa ya’lamoon’ – Like as if they do not know.
These people threw the book behind their backs without any care for it. (like when you write something, you don’t like it so you throw it behind your back.)
But they acted like they ‘did not know’. Someone might tell you the most amazing thing, but if you say “I have no idea what you’re talking about” – you will dumbfound them. They will feel that they have not explained the idea clearly. This is exactly what the disbelievers did to Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam) and this is what many anti-Islamic people do to the Muslims today.
So Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan recommends us to be abit cleverer and wiser in our da’wah, to use the Quran and Sunnah as our argument (less of our personal opinions), and not to fall into the traps of time-wasters or debators who survive off debates. Rather you convey the message through reciting text off Quran’s meaning, and then you leave their worthless debates unless they show signs of sincerety.
Baqarah ayah 102-103:
وَاتَّبَعُوا مَا تَتْلُو الشَّيَاطِينُ عَلَىٰ مُلْكِ سُلَيْمَانَ ۖ وَمَا كَفَرَ سُلَيْمَانُ وَلَٰكِنَّ الشَّيَاطِينَ كَفَرُوا يُعَلِّمُونَ النَّاسَ السِّحْرَ وَمَا أُنزِلَ عَلَى الْمَلَكَيْنِ بِبَابِلَ هَارُوتَ وَمَارُوتَ ۚ وَمَا يُعَلِّمَانِ مِنْ أَحَدٍ حَتَّىٰ يَقُولَا إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ فِتْنَةٌ فَلَا تَكْفُرْ ۖ فَيَتَعَلَّمُونَ مِنْهُمَا مَا يُفَرِّقُونَ بِهِ بَيْنَ الْمَرْءِ وَزَوْجِهِ ۚ وَمَا هُم بِضَارِّينَ بِهِ مِنْ أَحَدٍ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ۚ وَيَتَعَلَّمُونَ مَا يَضُرُّهُمْ وَلَا يَنفَعُهُمْ ۚ وَلَقَدْ عَلِمُوا لَمَنِ اشْتَرَاهُ مَا لَهُ فِي الْآخِرَةِ مِنْ خَلَاقٍ ۚ وَلَبِئْسَ مَا شَرَوْا بِهِ أَنفُسَهُمْ ۚ لَوْ كَانُوا يَعْلَمُونَ
And they followed [instead] what the devils had recited during the reign of Solomon. It was not Solomon who disbelieved, but the devils disbelieved, teaching people magic and that which was revealed to the two angels at Babylon, Harut and Marut. But the two angels do not teach anyone unless they say, “We are a trial, so do not disbelieve [by practicing magic].” And [yet] they learn from them that by which they cause separation between a man and his wife. But they do not harm anyone through it except by permission of Allah . And the people learn what harms them and does not benefit them. But the Children of Israel certainly knew that whoever purchased the magic would not have in the Hereafter any share. And wretched is that for which they sold themselves, if they only knew.
They pursued and followed precisely what the devils would read upon (at the time/rule) of Sulaymaan/Solomon, and Sulaymaan did not disbelieve but rather the devils disbelieved. Teaching the people magic
The scholars of tafseer mention that the devils used to teach people magic, which people? The Israelites during the rule of Prophet Sulaymaan/Solomon.
We see in the previous ayah that the people threw the book behind their backs and didn’t give value to their Holy Book, then necessarily you will follow the paths of the shayateen (devils.) Why? Because you have abandoned Tawheed (pure monotheism), so you will only follow the path which opposes it – which is worshipping shaytaan (which is a part of magic.)
We know that some people in the modern era deny magic, and supernatural aspects of the religion. But this goes against the classical understandings of scholars who said that magic is real.
We also know another extreme where people in the Muslim world, and even in the western world amongst the Muslim and non-Muslim community go to magicians and fortune tellers. You can imagine non-muslims doing this, but some Muslims even do this, and it reminds you of the previous ayah; ‘groups of them threw their Book (Quran) behind their backs like they did not know.’
[Nouman Ali Khan said he would explain this ayah in depth when he gives a full indepth Tadabbur tafseer of it]
In one stage of Bani Isra’eels history, when their emaan had gone low – this happened ;
‘Whatever was sent down to the two Angels in Babyl (Babylon is the old name of Iraq in the Bible.) [two angels] called Harut and Marut, …
These people had abandoned their Holy Book the Tawrah, and had started to depend on amulets and talismans instead, so Allah tested them by sending them Harut and Marut – two angels who taught people magic.
Now why were they tested this way? We know they abandoned their Holy Book like they did not know, and then they stopped depending upon Allah. So shaytaan fooled them into depending upon other than Allah, papers with writing on (talismans) which would make people commit shirk and call upon jinns. This led people more astray, making the devils happy that people have abandoned tawheed, and have started to worship them instead of Allah.
‘What was sent down upon the two angels Harut and Marut..’
We see that Allah said that the devils disbelieved, yet He did not attribute Him teaching magic to the angels (because evil is not directly attributed to Allah – which is part of the Balaghah of this Qur’an and this ayah.)
‘and these two (Harut and Marut) would never teach anyone at all, not anyone (ahadin), until they said – ‘we are nothing but a test, so do not disbelieve (commit kufr)’
So if someone came to them, they might have Percieved it to be magic, yet it might not have been magic (this is because the word ‘Maa’ [= what (unzila - was sent down on Harut and Marut) You see there is no mention of magic for these Angels, but it is attributed to the devils specifically.].
So when the people came to Harut and Marut – they might have perceived that they would learn magic.
Furthermore Allah does not specifically say that the Angels taught magic. When He tells us that the Angels said; fa laa taKfur – so do not disbelieve. So we do not see the Angels saying; so do not do magic.
So again, it is possible that the devils did magic (since that is clearly stated.) But magic has not clearly been attributed to Allah or the Angels.
This teaches that the Angels warned the people not to disbelieve (commit kufr).
Meaning; do not commit disbelief, but if you do learn magic – you will commit kufr (disbelief.) So you are doing this at your own risk.
‘And they are teaching (present-future tense) what causes separation between a man and his wife.’
So these people choose in magic; ‘I want to separate this couple’, or other types of corruptions on the earth.
[see Ayah 103:
وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ آمَنُوا وَاتَّقَوْا لَمَثُوبَةٌ مِّنْ عِندِ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ ۖ لَّوْ كَانُوا يَعْلَمُونَ
And if they had believed and feared Allah , then the reward from Allah would have been [far] better, if they only knew.
‘Had they had Emaan (belief/security), and attaqaw (had taqwa – guarded against evil), the heavy reward which had especially come from Allah would be better, if only they knew.’
These people could have followed the Book which Allah gave them, which would bring great reward for them. But they abandoned it like they did not know (it existed,)
‘..if only they knew.’
O Allah, make us of the people who follow the guidance of your Book in its entirety, and be of the successful in this world and the next. Ameen ya Rabb.
مَّا يَوَدُّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ وَلَا الْمُشْرِكِينَ أَن يُنَزَّلَ عَلَيْكُم مِّنْ خَيْرٍ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يَخْتَصُّ بِرَحْمَتِهِ مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَاللَّهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ
‘Neither those who committed disbelief from within the People of the Book, nor the Polytheists love that good be sent down upon you from your Lord. But Allah chooses with His Mercy who He wants, and Allah is possessor of Great Favours.’
The attitude of some of the People of the Book and of some of the Polytheists is addressed in this ayah.
Also some new Muslims who had just newly become Muslims in Madinah who had lived amongst the People of the Book thought that these people didn’t care about harming us. How could they if we have lived amongst them as friends all our lives?
But Allah tells us that there are some groups from amongst the disbelievers (who you might have been friends with before practising Islam) who have agendas against Islam.
(this is referring to those who have chosen disbelief after knowing Islam is really true – as mentioned in the previous aayaat before this ayah.)
[NOTE: Kaafir in the Qur'an is different to its usage in the books of Fiqh (which generally say; anyone who does not believe is treated as a Kafir in his rights and roles in society etc.)
In the Qur'an, the Kaafir (constant Disbeliever) is one of two;
1 - someone who denies the truth of Islam after knowing its truthfulness.
2 - someone who wages armed warfare against the believers.]
The people being spoken about now are the ones who disbelieve after seeing the truth, and choose to oppose Islam as their way of life.
This ayah starts with ‘Maa’ [strong negation] – a Nahy/forbidding:
So straightaway from the beginning of the Ayah, Allah is refuting the misconception/misunderstanding that some new believers may have about their past friends who disbelieve, thinking their friends will remain close to them. When this is far from the truth, because changes in beliefs and ways of life separates friendships due to different aims/purposes in life.
Allah mentioned the ‘People of the Book’ first because the believers in Madinah need more convincing that the People of the Book people will try to harm them, and the Mushrikeen (idol worshipper polytheists) hatred was already known in the Makkan period, so Allah is telling us that just as the polytheists harmed and plotted against you, so will the People of the Book in the near future.
‘They would not like it at all that any good (khayr) be sent down on you’
Khayr (good) refers to;
- Victory from Allah,
-Rizq (anything which people can use to benefit themselves in life).
- Establishment of Islam in the Land.
- Most of all; Prophethood/Messengership (Risaalah).
They would not want this to come to Allah’s Messenger and the believers.
The People of the Book did not like that FROM ANY good (MIN khayrin) come to the Messenger of Allah Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam). This is how much hatred was in their hearts, and we see this how they tried to find any excuses to disrespect and belittle the Message revealed to Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam.)
Min – from (min al ta’ajjub – Astonishment)
Allah is telling us that any good the Muslims get, throughout history – there will be some of the People of the Book and Polytheists who cannot tolerate it and get extremely angry if ANY good happens to the Muslims.
‘and Allah who specifices (yaKhtuSu) – especially by His Mercy – whoever He wants’.
Whether you like it or not, the good which is written for the Muslims (of victory, favours and riches), it will happen because it is a promise from Allah to help His believing slaves.
‘and Allah is possessor of Extremely Great Favour (dhuw faDli al-’ADheem.)’
We know the Israelites would take pride in getting many Messengers and Books coming in their lineage. Allah is telling us that He can choose who He wants to give good to, and no-one can prevent Him’.
مَا نَنسَخْ مِنْ آيَةٍ أَوْ نُنسِهَا نَأْتِ بِخَيْرٍ مِّنْهَا أَوْ مِثْلِهَا ۗ أَلَمْ تَعْلَمْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
We do not abrogate [cancel out] any ayah at all, or make to forget it, We bring one better than it, or similar to it, do you not know that Allah is able to do all things?
- Maa is used again for Strong Negation and Refutation to the Christians and Jews who always ask; ‘How can God abrogate our scripture?’.
- Allah also tells us that He abrogates a text or makes it to be forgotten, and He brings one better than it, or similar to it.
We know that Allah has replaced the Laws of the People of the Book with our Law, and some Laws (like Hijaab/modest dress, and the Qisaas Laws like ‘an eye for an eye’) are similar to the Laws revealed to the People of the Book and still in the Bible today. So when they criticize Islam for its Shari’a law, they have the same laws in their own books.
- There are some Laws which Allah has abrogated which were mandatory on past nations like the observation of Sabbath (they can’t do anything on that day.) But Allah was merciful to us by giving us just the Friday Jumu’ah prayer.
Ansa/yunsi/insaa’ [if3aal] – made to be forgotten.
Allah makes some Laws and Revelations, their texts and laws were made to be forgotten.
So Allah is telling us that what He has sent down now is; similar to your Law, or better than it.
Allah tells us the purpose of Shari’ah is to lighten your burden of life; yureedullahu an yukhaffifa ‘ankum – Allah wants to lighten your burden (of your laws and culture for you. (surah Nisaa’ 4:)
Allah also tells us in surah aal Imran (3:) that the Jews never had anything forbidden to eat except what Israa’eel (Prophet Ya’qub/Jacob) made haraam (forbidden) for himself. And that if they disagree, then they should bring their Torah and prove that Allah made it specifically haraam.
‘Don’t you know that Allah is capable of anything and everything?’
Allah is telling the disputing people of the book that if you know Allah is able to do all things, then why are you shocked when Allah has abrogated your laws for the Law of the Qur’an and Sunnah.
Explanation of Naskh and Mansookh (abrogation):
1 – Scholars have explained that Aayaat can be abrogated by Qur’ans other Aayaat and even by Authentic Ahadeeth.
2 – Scholars have tried their best to minimize which aayaat can be abrogated, because they are speaking about the speech of Allah.
- al-Suyuti said – 14 aayaat were abrogated.
-Shah wali-ullah Dehlwi (in Hujjatu-Allahi al-baaligha) reduced it to 5 aayat maybe being abrogated.
-Later scholars said them aayaat can be understood and reconciled and all of them may not be abrogated.
In other words, the scholars did not want to rush to making aayaat maNsookh (abrogated.)
The sad thing is that some people in our times -out of fear from non muslims in society- say that all the Madani aayaat about war are abrogated.
And others say that all of Makki surahs are abrogated. (2/3 of Qur’an is Makki surahs.)
The best way is the middle way – right things in the right context.
Naskh (Abrogation) Reason Summarized:
The disbelievers at the time of Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) could not bear the Qur’an because the Qur’an exposes their errors, from the People of the Book (i.e. When they rebelled against Moses, Allah in their past etc.), and also the flaws in the polytheists beliefs.
So everytime the revelation comes – it exposes the mistakes of the disbelieving people. And for you to be better people, you need to accept that your Laws are abrogated, and you should follow the new and better example. This is the true and main reason for Naskh (abrogation.)
أَلَمْ تَعْلَمْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ لَهُ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۗ وَمَا لَكُم مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ مِن وَلِيٍّ وَلَا نَصِيرٍ
‘Do you not know that to Allah (alone), for Him belongs the kingdom of the heavens/skies and Earth? And besides Allah you have no protector (waliy) and no constant Helper (naSeer.)’
Allah now puts the person who denies Abrogation (naskh) into his place. Making them realise that Ultimately, all matters are decided by Allah because everything belongs to Him.
To Allah alone (the ‘Alone’ is implied by placing Allah earlier in the ayah structure = Exclusivity [taqdeem/ikhtisaas].
To Allah Alone belongs the Kingdom of the Heavens/skies and the Earth.
‘And you will not find other than Allah a wali, or naSeer.’
Wali = someone who wants to protect you.
Mawla – someone who Will protect you.
NaSeer = Constant Helper.
Nusra/NaSr = a Help which is Great against oppression.
This ayah is emphasisng to the Bani Isra’eel that there is no true Wali or NaSeer besides Allah.
So if any of you are convinced of Islam and are wanting to become Muslim but you fear that your people will abandon you (meaning: no family/tribal strength) – Then know that you have no true Helper (Wali or NaSeer) besides Allah.
Ustadh Nouman tells of some stories of converts;
1 – In 1999, a Jew who was studying to become a Rabbi became Muslim inbetween his studies. But he continued in this Jewish education out of fear that his family might abandon him, or give him a hard time.
2 – Another example;
A brother who was Aga Khani (Isma’eeli Shi’a sect) owned an Islamic Bookstore for Ahlus Sunnah Muslims. He started reading them books and became Muslim. Then he gave da’wah to his wife and children and they also became Muslims. Then his tribe found out, and they made his life miserable, they called the police on him randomly all the time, and they took him out of his job. So he and his family had to change their names and move address.
3 – Another story;
A sister in America, Luoisiana lived in a tight-knit community town of around 400people. Her father was a Christian Preacher. She would often get dreams of the Ka’bah.
She heard a lecture and decided to convert and hid her Islam. Then people from her town found out about her Islam and started to call her a heathen and devil worshipper. She searched on google and found the closest mosque which was around 2hrs away from her home. She went to that mosque and the people there never treated her nicely, so she left and may have thought she was wrong. But then she had dreams of the Ka’bah again. So she drove to another mosque and started to learn about Islam. Now her parents abandoned her and she now lives in a College/University, and is doing a Scholarship because alhamdulillah she is intelligent.
So we know that when you give up your past life of jahiliyyah (ignorance), and convert to Islam – you will think that you will have no helper. But Allah tells the new converts/reverts – ‘you will not find anyone besides Allah who will help you.’
Or do you intend to ask your Messenger as Moses was asked before? And whoever exchanges faith for disbelief has certainly strayed from the soundness of the way.
‘Or do you desire to question your Messenger..?’
The idea of Naasikh and mansookh (abrogation) was questioning Allah.
Now the idea of questioning the Messenger (Rasool), not just ‘Messenger’ or ‘Messenger of Allah’, but ‘your Messenger (Rasoola-kum)’.
Allah is telling us that the Messenger he sent to us is a gift, and that we should not question his validity and truthfulness after we have said we believe in him.
(‘your Messenger’ implies that now O Jews, your Messenger -who you have to follow- is Muhammad, not Moses).
Questioning the Messenger was a big trait of hypocrisy in previous nations i.e. many of the followers of Moses continuously questioned and doubted when Moses commanded them to do things. They thought Moses was telling people to do things only for his own benefit. Which is a sign of doubting and questioning and mocking the Messenger.
Asking vs Questioning the Messenger:
Allah tells us; ‘ask the people of the dhikr (knowledge/reminder) if you do not know.’
But the tone, intent and attitude of someones question shows this.
I.e. If someone asks; ‘How much of my wealth is 2.5% zakaah (charity)?’
This is asking, which is praiseworthy.
Then to question the Messenger is like; ‘WHY do I have to give specifically 2.5% of wealth in charity?”
This is criticized if someone is questioning ‘why’ to criticize the religions validity after having claimed emaan (belief).
‘Ka maa su’ila Musa min Qabl’ –
Like Moses was questioned from before?