Haroen Soebratie

In de naam van Allah, de Barmhartige, de Genadevolle.


The Tafsir of Al-Qur'an

1. Al-Fatihah (Het Begin)
2. Al-Baqarah (De Koe)
3. Al-Imran (De Familie van Imran)

The Tafsir of Surat Al-Fatihah (Het Begin) (Chapter 1)
Top Index

Which was revealed in Al-Madinah
1. The Meaning of Al-Fatihah and its Various Names
2. How many Ayat does Al-Fatihah contain
3. The Number of Words and Letters in Al-Fatihah
4. The Reason it is called Umm Al-Kitab
5. Virtues of Al-Fatihah
6. Al-Fatihah and the Prayer
7. Explaining this Hadith
8. Reciting Al-Fatihah is required in Every Rak`ah of the Prayer
9. The Tafsir of Isti`adhah (seeking Refuge)
10. Seeking Refuge before reciting the Qur'an
11. Seeking Refuge with Allah when One is Angry
12. Is the Isti`adhah (seeking Refuge) required
13. Virtues of the Isti`adhah
14. What does Isti`adhah mean
15. Why the Devil is called Shaytan
16. The Meaning of Ar-Rajim
17. Bismillah is the First Ayah of Al-Fatihah
18. Basmalah aloud in the Prayer
19. The Virtue of Al-Fatihah
20. Basmalah is recommended before performing any Deed
21. The Meaning of Allah
22. The Meaning of Ar-Rahman Ar-Rahim - the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
23. The Meaning of Al-Hamd
24. The Difference between Praise and Thanks
25. The Statements of the Salaf about Al-Hamd
26. The Virtues of Al-Hamd
27. Al before Hamd encompasses all Types of Thanks and Appreciation for Allah
28. The Meaning of Ar-Rabb, the Lord
29. The Meaning of Al-`Alamin
30. Why is the Creation called `Alam
31. Indicating Sovereignty on the Day of Judgment
32. The Meaning of Yawm Ad-Din
33. Allah is Al-Malik (King or Owner)
34. The Meaning of Ad-Din
35. The Linguistic and Religious Meaning of `Ibadah
36. The Merit of stating the Object of the Action before the Doer of the Act, and the Merit of these Negations
37. Al-Fatihah indicates the Necessity of praising Allah. It is required in every Prayer
38. Tawhid Al-Uluhiyyah
39. Tawhid Ar-Rububiyyah
40. Allah called His Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم an `Abd
41. Encouraging the Performance of the Acts of Worship during Times of Distress
42. Why Praise was mentioned First
43. The Meaning of As-Sirat Al-Mustaqim, the Straight Path.
44. The Faithful ask for and abide by Guidance
45. The Summary of Al-Fatihah
46. The Bounties are because of Allah, not the Deviations
47. Saying Amin


1. The Meaning of Al-Fatihah and its Various Names

This Surah is called Al-Fatihah, that is, the Opener of the Book, the Surah with which prayers are begun. It is also called, Umm Al-Kitab (the Mother of the Book), according to the majority of the scholars. In an authentic Hadith recorded by At-Tirmidhi, who graded it Sahih, Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

[ الْحَمْدُ للهِ رَبَ الْعَالَمِينَ أُمُّ الْقُرْآنِ وَأُمُّ الْكِتَابِ وَالسَّبْعُ الْمَثَانِي وَالْقُرْآنُ الْعَظِيمُ ]

(Al-Hamdu lillahi Rabbil-`Alamin is the Mother of the Qur'an, the Mother of the Book, and the seven repeated Ayat of the Glorious Qur'an.)

It is also called Al-Hamd and As-Salah, because the Prophet said that his Lord said,

[ قَسَمْتُ الصَّلَاةَ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَ عَبْدِي نِصْفَيْنِ، فَإِذَا قَالَ الْعَبْدُ:الْحَمْدُدِلله رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ، قَالَ اللهُ: حَمِدَنِي عَبْدِي ]

(`The prayer (i.e., Al-Fatihah) is divided into two halves between Me and My servants.' When the servant says, `All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of existence,' Allah says, 'My servant has praised Me.') (At-Tirmidhi, Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 8:283)

Al-Fatihah was called the Salah, because reciting it is a condition for the correctness of Salah - the prayer. Al-Fatihah was also called Ash-Shifa' (the Cure).

It is also called Ar-Ruqyah (remedy), since in the Sahih, there is the narration of Abu Sa`id telling the the story of the Companion who used Al-Fatihah as a remedy for the tribal chief who was poisoned. Later, the Messenger of Allah said to a Companion,

[ وَمَا يُدْرِيكَ أَنَّهَا رُقْيَةٌ]

(How did you know that it is a Ruqyah) (Fath Al-Bari 4:529)

Al-Fatihah was revealed in Makkah as Ibn `Abbas, Qatadah and Abu Al-`Aliyah stated. Allah said,

[ وَلَقَدْ ءاتَيْنَـكَ سَبْعًا مِّنَ الْمَثَانِي ]

(And indeed, We have bestowed upon you the seven Mathani) (seven repeatedly recited verses), (i.e. Surat Al-Fatihah) (15:87). (That is, because this Ayay, which refers to Al-Fatihah, was itself relealed in Makkah.) Allah knows best.

2. How many Ayat does Al-Fatihah contain

There is no disagreement over the view that Al-Fatihah contains seven Ayat. According to the majority of the reciters of Al-Kufah, a group of the Companions, the Tabi`in, and a number of scholars from the successive generations, the Bismillah is a separate Ayah in its beginning. We will mention this subject again soon, if Allah wills, and in Him we trust.

3. The Number of Words and Letters in Al-Fatihah

The scholars say that Al-Fatihah consists of twenty-five words, and that it contains one hundred and thirteen letters.

4. The Reason it is called Umm Al-Kitab

In the beginning of the Book of Tafsir, in his Sahih, Al-Bukhari said; "It is called Umm Al-Kitab, because the Qur'an starts with it and because the prayer is started by reciting it.'' (Fath Al-Bari 8:6) It was also said that it is called Umm Al-Kitab, because it contains the meanings of the entire Qur'an. Ibn Jarir said, "The Arabs call every comprehensive matter that contains several specific areas an Umm. For instance, they call the skin that surrounds the brain, Umm Ar-Ra's. They also call the flag that gathers the ranks of the army an Umm.'' He also said, "Makkah was called Umm Al-Qura, (the Mother of the Villages) because it is the grandest and the leader of all villages. It was also said that the earth was made starting from Makkah.'' (At-Tabari 1:107)

Further, Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah narrated about Umm Al-Qur'an that the Prophet said,

[هِيَ أُمُّ الْقُرْآنِ وَهِيَ السَّبْعُ الْمَثَانِي وَهِيَ الْقُرْآنُ الْعَظِيمُ]

(It is Umm Al-Qur'an, the seven repeated (verses) and the Glorious Qur'an.) (Ahmad 2:448)

Also, Abu Ja`far, Muhammad bin Jarir At-Tabari recorded Abu Hurayrah saying that the Messenger of Allah said about Al-Fatihah,

[هِيَ أُمُّ الْقُرْآنِ وَهِيَ فَاتِحَةُ الْكِتَابِ وَهِيَ السَّبْعُ الْمَثَانِي]

(It is Umm Al-Qur'an, Al-Fatihah of the Book (the Opener of the Qur'an) and the seven repeated (verses). (At-Tabari 1:107)

5. Virtues of Al-Fatihah

Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal recorded in the Musnad that Abu Sa`id bin Al-Mu`alla said, "I was praying when the Prophet called me, so I did not answer him until I finished the prayer. I then went to him and he said, (What prevented you from coming) I said, 'O Messenger of Allah ! I was praying.' He said, (`Didn't Allah say),

[يأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ اسْتَجِيبُواْ لِلَّهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ إِذَا دَعَاكُمْ لِمَا يُحْيِيكُمْ]

(O you who believe! Answer Allah (by obeying Him) and (His) Messenger when he () calls you to that which gives you life) He then said,

[لَأُعَلِّمَنَّكَ أَعْظَمَ سُورَةٍ فِي الْقُرْآنِ قَبْلَ أَنْ تَخْرُجَ مِنَ الْمَسْجِدِ]

(I will teach you the greatest Surah in the Qur'an before you leave the Masjid.) He held my hand and when he was about to leave the Masjid, I said, `O Messenger of Allah! You said: I will teach you the greatest Surah in the Qur'an.' He said, (Yes.)

[الْحَمْدُ للَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَـلَمِينَ ]

(Al-Hamdu lillahi Rabbil-`Alamin)''

[نَعَمْ هِيَ السَّبْعُ الْمَثَانِي وَالْقُرْآنُ الْعَظِيمُ الَّذِي أُوتِيتُهُ]

(It is the seven repeated (verses) and the Glorious Qur'an that I was given.)'' (Ahmad 4:211)

Al-Bukhari, Fath Al-Bari 8:6, 271, Abu Dawud 2:150, An-Nasa'i 2:139 and Ibn Majah 2:1244, also recorded this Hadith.

Also, Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah said, "The Messenger of Allah went out while Ubayy bin Ka`b was praying and said, (O Ubayy!) Ubayy did not answer him. The Prophet said, (O Ubayy!) Ubayy prayed faster then went to the Messenger of Allah saying, `Peace be unto you, O Messenger of Allah!' He said, (Peace be unto you. O Ubayy, what prevented you from answering me when I called you) He said, `O Messenger of Allah! I was praying.' He said, (Did you not read among what Allah has sent down to me,)

[اسْتَجِيبُواْ لِلَّهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ إِذَا دَعَاكُمْ لِمَا يُحْيِيكُمْ]

(Answer Allah (by obeying Him) and (His) Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life) He said, `Yes, O Messenger of Allah! I will not do it again.' the Prophet said,

[أَتُحِبُّ أَنْ أُعَلِّمَكَ سُورَةً لَمْ تَنْزِلْ لَا فِي التَّورَاةِ وَلَا فِي الْإِنْجِيلِ وَلَا فِي الزَّبُورِ وَلَا فِي الْفُرْقَانِ مِثْلَهَا؟]

(Would you like me to teach you a Surah the likes of which nothing has been revealed in the Tawrah, the Injil, the Zabur (Psalms) or the Furqan (the Qur'an)) He said, `Yes, O Messenger of Allah!' The Messenger of Allah said, (I hope that I will not leave through this door until you have learned it.) He (Ka`b) said, `The Messenger of Allah held my hand while speaking to me. Meanwhile I was slowing down fearing that he might reach the door before he finished his conversation. When we came close to the door, I said: O Messenger of Allah ! What is the Surah that you have promised to teach me' He said, (What do you read in the prayer.) Ubayy said, `So I recited Umm Al-Qur'an to him.' He said,

[وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ مَا أَنْزَلَ اللهُ فِي التَّورَاةِ وَلَا فِي الْإِنْجِيلِ وَلَا فِي الزَّبُورِ وَلَا فِي الْفُرْقَانِ مِثْلَهَا إِنَّهَا السَّبْعُ الْمَثَانِي]

(By Him in Whose Hand is my soul! Allah has never revealed in the Tawrah, the Injil, the Zabur or the Furqan a Surah like it. It is the seven repeated verses that I was given.)''

Also, At-Tirmidhi recorded this Hadith and in his narration, the Prophet said,

[إِنَّهَا مِنَ السَّبْعِ الْمَثَانِي وَالْقُرْآنِ الْعَظِيمِ الَّذِي أُعْطِيتُهُ]

(It is the seven repeated verses and the Glorious Qur'an that I was given.) At-Tirmidhi then commented that this Hadith is Hasan Sahih. (Ahmad 2:412, Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 8:283)

There is a similar Hadith on this subject narrated from Anas bin Malik (Al-Hakim 1:560) Further, `Abdullah, the son of Imam Ahmad, recorded this Hadith from Abu Hurayrah from Ubayy bin Ka`b, and he mentioned a longer but similar wording for the above Hadith. (Ahmad 2:357 en 5:114) In addition, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa'i recorded this Hadith from Abu Hurayrah from Ubayy bin Ka`b who said that the Messenger of Allah said,

[مَا أَنْزَل اللهُ فِي التَّورَاةِ وَلَا فِي الْإِنْجِيلِ مِثْلَ أُمِّ الْقُرْآنِ وَهِيَ السَّبْعُ الْمَثَانِي وَهِيَ مَقْسُومَةٌ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَ عَبْدِي نِصْفَيْنِ]

(Allah has never revealed in the Tawrah or the Injil anything similar to Umm Al-Qur'an.

It is the seven repeated verses and it is divided into two halves between Allah and His servant.)

This is the wording reported by An-Nasa'i in Al-Kubra 1:318. At-Tirmidhi said that this Hadith is Hasan Gharib. (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 8:553)

Also, Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn Jabir said, "I went to the Messenger of Allah after he had poured water (for purification) and said, `Peace be unto you, O Messenger of Allah!' He did not answer me. So I said again, `Peace be unto you, O Messenger of Allah!' Again, he did not answer me, so I said again, `Peace be unto you, O Messenger of Allah!' Still he did not answer me. The Messenger of Allah went while I was following him, until he arrived at his residence. I went to the Masjid and sat there sad and depressed. The Messenger of Allah came out after he performed his purification and said, (Peace and Allah's mercy be unto you, peace and Allah's mercy be unto you, peace and Allah's mercy be unto you.) He then said, (O `Abdullah bin Jabir! Should I inform you of the best Surah in the Qur'an) I said, `Yes, O Messenger of Allah!' He said, (Read, `All praise be to Allah, the Lord of the existence,' until you finish it.)'' (Ahmad 4:177 en Al-Muwatta 1:84) This Hadith has a good chain of narrators.

Some scholars relied on this Hadith as evidence that some Ayat and Surahs have more virtues than others.

Furthermore, in the chapter about the virtues of the Qur'an, Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri said, "Once, we were on a journey when a female servant came and said, `The leader of this area has been poisoned and our people are away. Is there a healer among you' Then a man whose healing expertise did not interest us stood for her, he read a Ruqyah for him, and he was healed. The chief gave him thirty sheep as a gift and some milk. When he came back to us we said to him, `You know of a (new) Ruqyah, or did you do this before' He said, `I only used Umm Al-Kitab as Ruqyah.' We said, `Do not do anything further until we ask the Messenger of Allah.' When we went back to Al-Madinah we mentioned what had happened to the Prophet . The Prophet said,

[وَمَا كَانَ يُدْرِيهِ أَنَّهَا رُقْيَةٌ اقْسِمُوا وَاضْرِبُوا لِي بِسَهْمٍ]

(Who told him that it is a Ruqyah Divide (the sheep) and reserve a share for me.)'' (Fath Al-Bari 8:671)

Also, Muslim recorded in his Sahih, and An-Nasa'i in his Sunan that Ibn `Abbas said, "While Jibril (Gabriel) was with the Messenger of Allah , he heard a noise from above. Jibril lifted his sight to the sky and said, `This is a door in heaven being open, and it has never been opened before now.' An angel descended from that door and came to the Prophet and said, `Receive the glad tidings of two lights that you have been given, which no other Prophet before you was given: the Opening of the Book and the last (three) Ayat of Surat Al-Baqarah. You will not read a letter of them, but will gain its benefit.''' This is the wording collected by An-Nasa'i (Al-Kubra 5:12) and Muslim recorded similar wording (1:554).

6. Al-Fatihah and the Prayer

Muslim recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Prophet said,

[مَنْ صَلَى صَلَاةً لَمْ يَقْرَأْ فِيهَا أُمَّ الْقُرْآنِ فَهِيَ خِدَاجٌ ثَلَاثًا غَيْرُ تَمَامٍ]

(Whoever performs any prayer in which he did not read Umm Al-Qur'an, then his prayer is incomplete.) He said it thrice.
Abu Hurayrah was asked, "[When] we stand behind the Imam'' He said, "Read it to yourself, for I heard the Messenger of Allah say,

[ قَالَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ: قَسَمْتُ الصّلَاةَ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَ عَبْدِي نِصْفَيْنِ وَلِعَبْدِي مَا سَأَلَ فَإِذَا قَالَ:

[الْحَمْدُ للَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَـلَمِينَ ]، قَالَ اللهُ: حَمِدَنِي عَبْدِي وَإِذَا قَالَ:

[الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ ]، قَالَ اللهُ: أَثْنى عَلَيَّ عَبْدِي، فَإذَا قَالَ:

[مَـلِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ ]، قَالَ اللهُ: مَجَّدَنِي عَبْدِي وَقَالَ مَرَّةً: فَوَّضَ إِلَيَّ عَبْدِي فَإِذَا قَالَ:

[إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ ]، قَالَ: هذَا بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَ عَبْدِي وَلِعَبْدِي مَا سَأَلَ، فَإِذَا قَالَ:

[اهْدِنَا ال صِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِي مَ - صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أ َنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غ َيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَل َيْهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّآل ِّينَ ]، قَالَ اللهُ: هذَ ا لِعَبْدِي وَلِعَبْد ِي مَا سَأَلَ

(Allah, the Exalted, said, `I have divided the prayer (Al-Fatihah) into two halves between Myself and My servant, and My servant shall have what he asks for.' If he says,

[الْحَمْدُ للَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَـلَمِينَ ] Alhamdu lillahi rabbi alAAalameena

(All praise and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of existence.) - (1. In naam van Allah, de Barmhartige, de Genadevolle.)
Allah says, `My servant has praised Me.' When the servant says,

[الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ ] Alrrahmani alrraheemi

(The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.) - (2. Alle lof zij Allah, de Heer der Werelden.)
Allah says, `My servant has glorified Me.'

[مَـلِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ ] Maliki yawmi alddeeni

When he says, (The Owner of the Day of Recompense.) - (3. De Barmhartige, de Genadevolle.) Allah says, `My servant has glorified Me,' or `My servant has related all matters to Me.' When he says,

[إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ ] Iyyaka naAAbudu waiyyaka nastaAAeenu

(You (alone) we worship, and You (alone) we ask for help.) - (4. Meester van de Dag des Oordeels.) Allah says, `This is between Me and My servant, and My servant shall acquire what he sought.' When he says,

[اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَق ِيمَ - صِرَاطَ الَّذِين َ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِم ْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّ آلِّينَ ] Ihdina alssirata almustaqeema - Sirata allatheena anAAamta AAalayhim - Ghayri almaghdoobi AAalayhim wala alddalleena

(Guide us to the straight path. The way of those on whom You have granted Your grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your anger, nor of those who went astray.) - (5. U alleen aanbidden wij en U alleen smeken wij om hulp. 6. Leid ons op het rechte pad, 7. Het pad dergenen, aan wie Gij gunsten hebt geschonken - niet dat van hen, op wie toorn is nedergedaald, noch dat der dwalenden.) Allah says, `This is for My servant, and My servant shall acquire what he asked for.').''

These are the words of An-Nasa'i, while both Muslim 1:296 and An-Nasa'i in Al-Kubra 5:11,12. collected the following wording, "A half of it is for Me and a half for My servant, and My servant shall acquire what he asked for.''

7. Explaining this Hadith

The last Hadith used the word [Salah] `prayer' in reference to reciting the Qur'an, (Al-Fatihah in this case) just as Allah said in another Ayah,

[وَلاَ تَجْهَرْ بِصَلاتِكَ وَلاَ تُخَافِتْ بِهَا وَابْتَغِ بَيْنَ ذَلِكَ سَبِي

(And offer your Salah (prayer) neither aloud nor in a low voice, but follow a way between.) meaning, with your recitation of the Qur'an, as the Sahih related from Ibn `Abbas. (Fath Al-Bari 8:257) Also, in the last Hadith, Allah said, "I have divided the prayer between Myself and My servant into two halves, a half for Me and a half for My servant. My servant shall have what he asked for.'' Allah next explained the division that involves reciting Al-Fatihah, demonstrating the importance of reciting the Qur'an during the prayer, which is one of the prayer's greatest pillars. Hence, the word `prayer' was used here although only a part of it was actually being referred to, that is, reciting the Qur'an. Similarly, the word `recite' was used where prayer is meant, as demonstrated by Allah's statement,

[وَقُرْءَانَ الْفَجْرِ إِنَّ قُرْءَانَ الْفَجْرِ كَانَ مَشْهُودًا]

(And recite the Qur'an in the early dawn.Verily, the recitation of the Qur'an in the early dawn is ever witnessed.) in reference to the Fajr prayer. The Two Sahihs recorded that the angels of the night and the day attend this prayer. (Fath Al-Bari 8:251 en Muslim 1:439)

8. Reciting Al-Fatihah is required in Every Rak`ah of the Prayer

All of these facts testify to the requirement that reciting the Qur'an (Al-Fatihah) in the prayer is required, and there is a consensus between the scholars on this ruling. The Hadith that we mentioned also testifies to this fact, for the Prophet said,

[مَنْ صَلَّى صَلَاةً لَمْ يَقْرَأْ فِيهَا بِأُمِّ الْقُرْآنِ فَهِيَ خِدَاجٌ]

(Whoever performs any prayer in which he did not recite Umm Al-Qur'an, his prayer is incomplete.) (Ahmad 2:250)
Also, the Two Sahihs recorded that `Ubadah bin As-Samit said that the Messenger of Allah said,

[لَا صَلَاةَ لِمَنْ لَمْ يَقْرَأْ بِفَاتِحَةِ الْكِتَابِ]

(There is no prayer for whoever does not recite the Opening of the Book.) (Fath Al-Bari 2:276 en Muslim 1:295)
Also, the Sahihs of Ibn Khuzaymah and Ibn Hibban recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

[لَا تُجْزِئُ صَلَاةٌ لَا يُقْرَأُ فِيهَا بِأُمِّ الْقُرآنِ]

(The prayer during which Umm Al-Qur'an is not recited is invalid.) (Ibn Khuzaymah 1:248, en Ibn Hibban 3:139)

There are many other Hadiths on this subject. Therefore, reciting the Opening of the Book, during the prayer by the Imam and those praying behind him, is required in every prayer, and in every Rak`ah.

9. The Tafsir of Isti`adhah (seeking Refuge)

Allah said,

[خُذِ الْعَفْوَ وَأْمُرْ بِالْعُرْفِ وَأَعْرِض عَنِ الْجَـهِلِينَ - وَإِمَّا يَنَزَغَنَّكَ مِنَ الشَّيْطَـنِ نَزْغٌ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّهِ إِنَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ ]

(Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and stay away from the foolish (i.e. don't punish them). And if an evil whisper comes to you from Shaytan (Satan), then seek refuge with Allah. Verily, He is Hearing, Knowing) (7:199-200),

[ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِى هِىَ أَحْسَنُ السَّيِّئَةَ نَحْنُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا يَصِفُونَ - وَقُلْ رَّبِّ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ هَمَزَاتِ الشَّيـطِينِ - وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ رَبِّ أَن يَحْضُرُونِ ]

(Repel evil with that which is better. We are Best-Acquainted with things they utter. And say: "My Lord! I seek refuge with You from the whisperings (suggestions) of the Shayatin (devils). And I seek refuge with You, My Lord! lest they should come near me.'') (23:96-98) and,

[وَلاَ تَسْتَوِى الْحَسَنَةُ وَلاَ السَّيِّئَةُ ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِى هِىَ أَحْسَنُ فَإِذَا الَّذِى بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ عَدَاوَةٌ كَأَنَّهُ وَلِىٌّ حَمِيمٌ - وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ صَبَرُواْ وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَآ إِلاَّ ذُو حَظِّ عَظِيمٍ - وَإِمَّا يَنزَغَنَّكَ مِنَ الشَّيْطَـنِ نَزْغٌ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّهِ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ ]

(Repel (an evil) with one which is better, then verily he with whom there was enmity between you, (will become) as though he was a close friend. But none is granted it except those who are patient ـ and none is granted it except the owner of the great portion (of happiness in the Hereafter, i.e. Paradise and of a high moral character) in this world. And if an evil whisper from Shaytan tries to turn you away (O Muhammad ) (from doing good), then seek refuge in Allah. Verily, He is the Hearing, the Knowing.) (41:34-36) These are the only three Ayat that carry this meaning. Allah commanded that we be lenient human enemy, so that his soft nature might make him an ally and a supporter. He also commanded that we seek refuge from the satanic enemy, because the devil does not relent in his enmity if we treat him with kindness and leniency. The devil only seeks the destruction of the Son of Adam due to the vicious enmity and hatred he has always had towards man's father, Adam. Allah said,

[يَـبَنِى آدَمَ لاَ يَفْتِنَنَّكُمُ الشَّيْطَـنُ كَمَآ أَخْرَجَ أَبَوَيْكُم مِّنَ الْجَنَّةِ]

(O Children of Adam! Let not Shaytan deceive you, as he got your parents [Adam and Hawwa' (Eve)] out of Paradise) (7:27),

[إِنَّ الشَّيْطَـنَ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ فَاتَّخِذُوهُ عَدُوّاً إِنَّمَا يَدْعُو حِزْبَهُ لِيَكُونُواْ مِنْ أَصْحَـبِ السَّعِيرِ ]

(Surely, Shaytan is an enemy to you, so take (treat) him as an enemy. He only invites his Hizb (followers) that they may become the dwellers of the blazing Fire) (35:6) and,

[أَفَتَتَّخِذُونَهُ وَذُرِّيَّتَهُ أَوْلِيَآءَ مِن دُونِى وَهُمْ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ بِئْسَ لِلظَّـلِمِينَ بَدَلاً]

(Will you then take him (Iblis) and his offspring as protectors and helpers rather than Me while they are enemies to you What an evil is the exchange for the Zalimun (polytheists, and wrongdoers, etc)) (18:50).

The devil assured Adam that he wanted to advise him, but he was lying. Hence, how would he treat us after he had vowed,

[فَبِعِزَّتِكَ لأغْوِيَنَّهُمْ أَجْمَعِينَإِلاَّ عِبَادَكَ مِنْهُمُ الْمُخْلَصِينَ ]

("By Your might, then I will surely, mislead them all. Except Your chosen servants among them (i.e. faithful, obedient, true believers of Islamic Monotheism).'') (38:82-83)

Also, Allah said,

[فَإِذَا قَرَأْتَ الْقُرْءَانَ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَـنِ الرَّجِيمِ ]

[إِنَّهُ لَيْسَ لَهُ سُلْطَانٌ عَلَى الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَلَى رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ - إِنَّمَا سُلْطَـنُهُ عَلَى الَّذِينَ يَتَوَلَّوْنَهُ وَالَّذِينَ هُم بِهِ مُشْرِكُونَ ]

(So when you [want to] recite the Qur'an, seek refuge with Allah from Shaytan, the outcast (the cursed one). Verily, he has no power over those who believe and put their trust only in their Lord (Allah). His power is only over those who obey and follow him (Satan), and those who join partners with Him.) (16:98-100).

10. Seeking Refuge before reciting the Qur'an

Allah said,

[فَإِذَا قَرَأْتَ الْقُرْءَانَ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَـنِ الرَّجِيمِ ]

(So when you [want to] recite the Qur'an, seek refuge with Allah from Shaytan, the outcast (the cursed one).) meaning, before you recite the Qur'an. Similarly, Allah said,

[إِذَا قُمْتُمْ إِلَى الصَّلوةِ فاغْسِلُواْ وُجُوهَكُمْ وَأَيْدِيَكُمْ]

(When you intend to offer As-Salah (the prayer), wash your faces and your hands (forearms)) (5:6) meaning, before you stand in prayer, as evident by the Hadiths that we mentioned. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri said, "When the Messenger of Allah would stand up in prayer at night, he would start his prayer with the Takbir (saying "Allahu Akbar''; Allah is Greater) and would then supplicate,

[سُبْحَانَكَ اللَّهُمَّ وَبِحَمْدِكَ، وَتَبَارَكَ اسْمُكَ، وَتَعَالَى جَدُّكَ، وَلَا إِلَهَ غَيْرُكَ]

(All praise is due to You, O Allah, and also the thanks. Blessed be Your Name, Exalted be Your sovereignty, and there is no deity worthy of worship except You.)
He would then say thrice,

[لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللهُ]

ثَلَاثًا

(There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah,).
He would then say,

[أَعُوذُ بِاللهِ السَّمِيعِ الْعَلِيمِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ مِنْ هَمْزَهِ وَنَفْخِهِ وَنَفْثِهِ]

(I seek refuge with Allah, the Hearing, the Knowing, from the cursed Satan, from his coercion, lures to arrogance and poems.).''
The four collectors of the Sunan recorded this Hadith, which At-Tirmidhi considered the most famous Hadith on this subject. (Ahmad 3:69, Abu Dawud 1:490, Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 2:47, An-Nasa'i 2:132, en Ibn Majah)

Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah recorded that Jubayr bin Mut`im said that his father said, "When the Messenger of Allah started the prayer, he said,

[اللهُ أَكْبَرُ كَبِيرًا ثَلَاثًا الْحَمْدُ للهِ كَثِيرًا ثَلَاثًا سُبْحَانَ اللهِ بُكْرَةً وَأَصِيلًا ثَلَاثًا اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ مِنْ هَمْزِهِ وَنَفْخِهِ وَنَفْثِهِ]

(Allah is the Greater, truly the Greatest (thrice); all praise is due to Allah always (thrice); and all praise is due to Allah day and night (thrice). O Allah! I seek refuge with You from the cursed Satan, from his Hamz, Nafkh and Nafth.).''

`Amr said, "The Hamz means asphyxiation, the Nafkh means arrogance, and the Nafth means poetry.'' (Abu Dawud 1:486 en Ibn Majah 1:265) Also, Ibn Majah recorded that `Ali bin Al-Mundhir said that Ibn Fudayl narrated that `Ata' bin As-Sa'ib said that Abu `Abdur-Rahman As-Sulami said that Ibn Mas`ud said that the Prophet said,

[اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الشَّيطَانِ الرَجِيمِ وَهَمْزِهِ وَنَفْخِهِ وَنَفْثِهِ]

(O Allah! I seek refuge with You from the cursed devil, from his Hamz, Nafkh and Nafth.)
He said, "The Hamz means death, the Nafkh means arrogance, and the Nafth means poetry.'' (Ibn Majah 1:266)

11. Seeking Refuge with Allah when One is Angry

In his Musnad, Al-Hafiz Abu Ya`la Ahmad bin `Ali bin Al-Muthanna Al-Mawsili reported that Ubayy bin Ka`b said, "Two men disputed with each other in the presence of the Messenger of Allah and the nose of one of them became swollen because of extreme anger. The Messenger of Allah said,

[إِنِّي لَأَعْلَمُ شَيْئًا لَوْ قَالَهُ لَذَهَبَ عَنْهُ مَا يَجِدُ: أَعُوذُ بِاللهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ]

(I know of some words that if he said them, what he feels will go away, 'I seek refuge with Allah from the cursed Satan.')''
An-Nasa'i also recorded this Hadith in his book, Al-Yawm wal-Laylah. (An-Nasa'i in Al-Kubra, no. 10233)

Al-Bukhari recorded that Sulayman bin Surad said, "Two men disputed in the presence of the Prophet while we were sitting with him. One of them was cursing the other fellow and his face turned red due to anger. The Prophet said,

[إِنِّي لَأَعْلَمُ كَلِمَةً لَوْ قَالَهَا لَذَهَبَ عَنْهُ مَا يَجِدُ، لَوْ قَالَ: أَعُوذُ بِاللهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ]

(I know of a statement which if he said it, will make what he feels disappear, `I seek refuge with Allah from the cursed Satan.') They said to the man, `Do you not hear what the Messenger of Allah is saying' He said, `I am not insane.''' (Fath Al-Bari 6:388) Also, Muslim 4:2015, Abu Dawud 5:140 and An-Nasa'i in Al-Kubra recorded this Hadith.

There are many other Hadiths about seeking refuge with Allah. One can find this subject in the books on supplication and the virtues of righteous, good deeds.

12. Is the Isti`adhah (seeking Refuge) required

The majority of the scholars state that reciting the Isti`adhah (in the prayer and when reciting the Qur'an) is recommended and not required, and therefore, not reciting it does not constitute a sin. However, Ar-Razi recorded that `Ata' bin Abi Rabah said that the Isti`adhah is required in the prayer and when one reads the Qur'an. In support of `Ata's statement, Ar-Razi relied upon the apparent meaning of the Ayah,

[فَاسْتَعِذْ]

(Then seek refuge.) He said that the Ayah contains a command that requires implementation. Also, the Prophet always said the Isti`adhah. In addition, the Isti`adhah wards off the evil of Satan, which is neccessary, the rule is that the means needed to implement a requirement of the religion is itself also required. And when one says, "I seek refuge with Allah from the cursed devil.'' Then this will suffice.

13. Virtues of the Isti`adhah

The Isti`adhah cleanses the mouth from the foul speech that it has indulged in. It also purifies the mouth and prepares it to recite the speech of Allah. Further, the Isti`adhah entails seeking Allah's help and acknowledging His ability to do everything. The Isti`adhah also affirms the servant's meekness, weakness and inability to face the enemy of his inner evil, whom Allah alone, Who created this enemy, is able to repel and defeat. This enemy does not accept kindness, unlike the human enemy. There are three Ayat in the Qur'an that affirm this fact. Also, Allah said,

[إِنَّ عِبَادِى لَيْسَ لَكَ عَلَيْهِمْ سُلْطَـنٌ وَكَفَى بِرَبِّكَ وَكِيلاً ]

(Verily, My servants (i.e. the true believers of Islamic Monotheism) ـ you have no authority over them. And sufficient is your Lord as a Guardian.) (17:65).

We should state here that the believers, whom the human enemies kill, become martyrs, while those who fall victim to the inner enemy - Satan - become bandits. Further, the believers who are defeated by the apparent enemy - disbelievers - gain a reward, while those defeated by the inner enemy earn a sin and become misguided. Since Satan sees man where man cannot see him, it is befitting that the believers seek refuge from Satan with Whom Satan cannot see. The Isti`adhah is a form of drawing closer to Allah and seeking refuge with Him from the evil of every evil creature.

14. What does Isti`adhah mean

Isti`adhah means, "I seek refuge with Allah from the cursed Satan so that he is prevented from affecting my religious or worldly affairs, or hindering me from adhering to what I was commanded, or luring me into what I was prohibited from.'' Indeed, only Allah is able to prevent the evil of Satan from touching the son of Adam. This is why Allah allowed us to be lenient and kind with the human devil, so that his soft nature might cause him to refrain from the evil he is indulging in. However, Allah required us to seek refuge with Him from the evil of Satan, because he neither accepts bribes nor does kindness affect him, for he is pure evil. Thus, only He Who created Satan is able to stop his evil. This meaning is reiterated in only three Ayat in the Qur'an. Allah said in Surat Al-A`raf,

[خُذِ الْعَفْوَ وَأْمُرْ بِالْعُرْفِ وَأَعْرِض عَنِ الْجَـهِلِينَ ]

(Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the foolish (i.e. don't punish them).) (7:199)
This is about dealing with human beings. He then said in the same Surah,

[وَإِمَّا يَنَزَغَنَّكَ مِنَ الشَّيْطَـنِ نَزْغٌ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّهِ إِنَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ ]

(And if an evil whisper comes to you from Shaytan, then seek refuge with Allah. Verily, He is Hearing, Knowing (7: 200).)
Allah also said in Surat Al-Mu'minun,

[ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِى هِىَ أَحْسَنُ السَّيِّئَةَ نَحْنُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا يَصِفُونَ - وَقُلْ رَّبِّ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ هَمَزَاتِ الشَّيـطِينِ - وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ رَبِّ أَن يَحْضُرُونِ ]

(Repel evil with that which is better. We are Best-Acquainted with the things they utter. And say: "My Lord! I seek refuge with You from the whisperings (suggestions) of the Shayatin (devils). And I seek refuge with You, My Lord! lest they should come near me.'' (23:96-98).)

Further, Allah said in Surat As-Sajdah,

[وَلاَ تَسْتَوِى الْحَسَنَةُ وَلاَ السَّيِّئَةُ ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِى هِىَ أَحْسَنُ فَإِذَا الَّذِى بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ عَدَاوَةٌ كَأَنَّهُ وَلِىٌّ حَمِيمٌ - وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ صَبَرُواْ وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَآ إِلاَّ ذُو حَظِّ عَظِيمٍ - وَإِمَّا يَنزَغَنَّكَ مِنَ الشَّيْطَـنِ نَزْغٌ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّهِ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ ]

(The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better, then verily he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend. But none is granted it (the above quality) except those who are patient ـ and none is granted it except the owner of the great portion (of happiness in the Hereafter, i.e. Paradise and of a high moral character) in this world. And if an evil whisper from Shaytan tries to turn you away (from doing good), then seek refuge in Allah. Verily, He is the Hearing, the Knowing) (41:34-36).

Further, Allah said in Surat As-Sajdah,
(The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better, then verily he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend. But none is granted it (the above quality) except those who are patient ـ and none is granted it except the owner of the great portion (of happiness in the Hereafter, i.e. Paradise and of a high moral character) in this world. And if an evil whisper from Shaytan tries to turn you away (from doing good), then seek refuge in Allah. Verily, He is the Hearing, the Knowing) (41:34-36).

15. Why the Devil is called Shaytan

In the Arabic language, Shaytan is derived from Shatana, which means the far thing. Hence, the Shaytan has a different nature than mankind, and his sinful ways are far away from every type of righteousness. It was also said that Shaytan is derived from Shata, (literally `burned'), because it was created from fire. Some scholars said that both meanings are correct, although they state that the first meaning is more plausible. Further, Siybawayh (the renowned Arab linguistic) said, "The Arabs say, `So-and-so has Tashaytan,' when he commits the act of the devils. If Shaytan was derived from Shata, they would have said, Tashayyata (rather than Tashaytan).'' Hence, Shaytan is derived from the word that means, far away. This is why they call those who are rebellious (or mischievous) from among the Jinns and mankind a `Shaytan'. Allah said,

[وَكَذَلِكَ جَعَلْنَا لِكُلِّ نِبِىٍّ عَدُوّاً شَيَـطِينَ الإِنْسِ وَالْجِنِّ يُوحِى بَعْضُهُمْ إِلَى بَعْضٍ زُخْرُفَ الْقَوْلِ غُرُوراً]

(And so We have appointed for every Prophet enemies ـ Shayatin (devils) among mankind and Jinn, inspiring one another with adorned speech as a delusion (or by way of deception)) (6:112).
In addition, the Musnad by Imam Ahmad records that Abu Dharr said that the Messenger of Allah said,

[يَا أَبَا ذَرَ تَعَوَّذْ بِاللهِ مِنْ شَيَاطِينِ الْإِنْسِ وَالْجِنِّ]

(O Abu Dharr! Seek refuge with Allah from the devils of mankind and the Jinns.)

Abu Dharr said, "I asked him , `Are there human devils' He said, (Yes.)'' (Ahmad 5:178) Furthermore, it is recorded in Sahih Muslim that Abu Dharr said that the Messenger of Allah said,

[يَقْطَعُ الصَّلَاةَ الْمَرْأَةُ وَالْحِمَارُ وَالْكَلْبُ الْأَسْوَدُ]

(The woman, the donkey and the black dog interrupt the prayer (if they pass in front of those who do not pray behind a Sutrah, i.e. a barrier).) Abu Dharr said, "I said, `What is the difference between the black dog and the red or yellow dog' He said,

[الْكَلْبُ الْأَسْوَدُ شَيْطَانٌ]

(The black dog is a devil.).'' (Muslim 1:365)

Also, Ibn Jarir At-Tabari recorded that `Umar bin Al-Khattab once rode a Berthawn (huge camel) which started to proceed arrogantly. `Umar kept striking the animal, but the animal kept walking in an arrogant manner. `Umar dismounted the animal and said, "By Allah! You have carried me on a Shaytan. I did not come down from it until after I had felt something strange in my heart.'' This Hadith has an authentic chain of narrators. (At-Tabari 1:111)

16. The Meaning of Ar-Rajim

Ar-Rajim means, being expelled from all types of righteousness. Allah said,

[وَلَقَدْ زَيَّنَّا السَّمَآءَ الدُّنْيَا بِمَصَـبِيحَ وَجَعَلْنَـهَا رُجُوماً لِّلشَّيَـطِينِ]

(And indeed We have adorned the nearest heaven with lamps, and We have made such lamps Rujuman (as missiles) to drive away the Shayatin (devils)) (67:5).

Allah also said,

[إِنَّا زَيَّنَّا السَّمَآءَ الدُّنْيَا بِزِينَةٍ الْكَوَكِبِ - وَحِفْظاً مِّن كُلِّ شَيْطَـنٍ مَّارِدٍ - لاَّ يَسَّمَّعُونَ إِلَى الْمَلإِ الاٌّعْلَى وَيُقْذَفُونَ مِن كُلِّ جَانِبٍ - دُحُوراً وَلَهُمْ عَذابٌ وَاصِبٌ - إِلاَّ مَنْ خَطِفَ الْخَطْفَةَ فَأَتْبَعَهُ شِهَابٌ ثَاقِبٌ ]

(Verily, We have adorned the near heaven with the stars (for beauty). And to guard against every rebellious devil. They cannot listen to the higher group (angels) for they are pelted from every side. Outcast, and theirs is a constant (or painful) torment. Except such as snatch away something by stealing, and they are pursued by a flaming fire of piercing brightness) (37:6-10).

Further, Allah said,

[وَلَقَدْ جَعَلْنَا فِى السَّمَاءِ بُرُوجًا وَزَيَّنَّـهَا لِلنَّـظِرِينَ - وَحَفِظْنَـهَا مِن كُلِّ شَيْطَـنٍ رَّجِيمٍ - إِلاَّ مَنِ اسْتَرَقَ السَّمْعَ فَأَتْبَعَهُ شِهَابٌ مُّبِينٌ ]

(And indeed, We have put the big stars in the heaven and We beautified it for the beholders. And We have guarded it (near heaven) from every Shaytan Rajim (outcast Shaytan). Except him (devil) who steals the hearing then he is pursued by a clear flaming fire.) (15:16-18).

There are several similar Ayat. It was also said that Rajim means, the person who throws or bombards things, because the devil throws doubts and evil thoughts in people's hearts. The first meaning is more popular and accurate.

17. Bismillah is the First Ayah of Al-Fatihah

The Companions started the Book of Allah with Bismillah:

[بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ ]

(1. In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.)

The scholars also agree that Bismillah is a part of an Ayah in Surat An-Naml (chapter 27). They disagree over whether it is a separate Ayah before every Surah, or if it is an Ayah, or a part of an Ayah, included in every Surah where the Bismillah appears in its beginning. Ad-Daraqutni also recorded a Hadith from Abu Hurayrah from the Prophet that supports this Hadith by Ibn Khuzaymah. Also, similar statements were attributed to `Ali, Ibn `Abbas and others. (Ad-Daraqutni 1:303 en 306)

The opinion that Bismillah is an Ayah of every Surah, except Al-Bara'ah (chapter 9), was attributed to (the Companions) Ibn `Abbas, Ibn `Umar, Ibn Az-Zubayr, Abu Hurayrah and `Ali. This opinion was also attributed to the Tabi`in: `Ata', Tawus, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Makhul and Az-Zuhri. This is also the view of `Abdullah bin Al-Mubarak, Ash-Shafi`i, Ahmad bin Hanbal, (in one report from him) Ishaq bin Rahwayh and Abu `Ubayd Al-Qasim bin Salam. On the other hand, Malik, Abu Hanifah and their followers said that Bismillah is not an Ayah in Al-Fatihah or any other Surah. Dawud said that it is a separate Ayah in the beginning of every Surah, not part of the Surah itself, and this opinion was also attributed to Ahmad bin Hanbal.

18. Basmalah aloud in the Prayer

As for Basmalah aloud during the prayer, those who did not agree that it is a part of Al-Fatihah, state that the Basmalah should not be aloud. The scholars who stated that Bismillah is a part of every Surah (except chapter 9) had different opinions; some of them, such as Ash-Shafi`i, said that one should recite Bismillah with Al-Fatihah aloud. This is also the opinion of many among the Companions, the Tabi`in and the Imams of Muslims from the Salaf and the later generations. For instance, this is the opinion of Abu Hurayrah, Ibn `Umar, Ibn `Abbas, Mu`awiyah, `Umar and `Ali - according to Ibn `Abdul-Barr and Al-Bayhaqi. Also, the Four Khalifahs - as Al-Khatib reported - were said to have held this view although the report from them is contradicted. The Tabi`in scholars who gave this Tafsir include Sa`id bin Jubayr, `Ikrimah, Abu Qilabah, Az-Zuhri, `Ali bin Al-Hasan, his son Muhammad, Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib, `Ata', Tawus, Mujahid, Salim, Muhammad bin Ka`b Al-Qurazi, Abu Bakr bin Muhammad bin `Amr bin Hazm, Abu Wa'il, Ibn Sirin, Muhammad bin Al-Munkadir, `Ali bin `Abdullah bin `Abbas, his son Muhammad, Nafi` the freed slave of Ibn `Umar, Zayd bin Aslam, `Umar bin `Abdul-Aziz, Al-Azraq bin Qays, Habib bin Abi Thabit, Abu Ash-Sha`tha', Makhul and `Abdullah bin Ma`qil bin Muqarrin. Also, Al-Bayhaqi added `Abdullah bin Safwan, and Muhammad bin Al-Hanafiyyah to this list. In addition, Ibn `Abdul-Barr added `Amr bin Dinar.

The proof that these scholars relied on is that, since Bismillah is a part of Al-Fatihah, it should be recited aloud like the rest of Al-Fatihah. Also, An-Nasa'i recorded in his Sunan, Ibn Hibban and Ibn Khuzaymah in their Sahihs and Al-Hakim in the Mustadrak, that Abu Hurayrah once performed the prayer and recited Bismillah aloud. After he finished the prayer, he said, "Among you, I perform the prayer that is the closest to the prayer of the Messenger of Allah .'' Ad-Daraqutni 1:305, Al-Khatib and Al-Bayhaqi 2:46 graded this Hadith Sahih (An-Nasa'i 2:134, Ibn Khuzaymah 1:251, Ibn Hibban 3:143, Al-Hakim 1:232). Furthermore, in Sahih Al-Bukhari it is recorded that Anas bin Malik was asked about the recitation of the Prophet . He said, "His recitation was unhurried.'' He then demonstrated that and recited, while lengthening the recitation of Bismillah Ar-Rahman Ar-Rahim (Fath Al-Bari 8:709), Also, in the Musnad of Imam Ahmad, the Sunan of Abu Dawud, the Sahih of Ibn Hibban and the Mustadrak of Al-Hakim - it is recorded that Umm Salamah said, "The Messenger of Allah used to distinguish each Ayah during his recitation,

[بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ - الْحَمْدُ للَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَـلَمِينَ - الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ - مَـلِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ ]

(In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. All praise and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of all that exists, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. The Owner of the Day of Recompense.)''

Ad-Daraqutni graded the chain of narration for this Hadith Sahih (Ahmad 6:302, Abu Dawud 4:294, Ibn Khuzaynah 1:248, Al-Hakim 2:231, Ad-Daraqutni 1:307) Furthermore, Imam Abu `Abdullah Ash-Shafi`i and Al-Hakim in his Mustadrak, recorded that Mu`awiyah led the prayer in Al-Madinah and did not recite the Bismillah. The Muhajirin who were present at that prayer criticized that. When Mu`awiyah led the following prayer, he recited the Bismillah aloud. (Musnad Al-Imam Ash-Shafi'i 1:80, Al-Hakim 1:233)

The Hadiths mentioned above provide sufficient proof for the opinion that the Bismillah is recited aloud. As for the opposing evidences and the scientific analysis of the narrations mentioned their weaknesses or otherwise it is not our desire to discuss this subject at this time.

Other scholars stated that the Bismillah should not be recited aloud in the prayer, and this is the established practice of the Four Khalifahs, as well as `Abdullah bin Mughaffal and several scholars among the Tabi`in and later generations. It is also the Madhhab (view) of Abu Hanifah, Ath-Thawri and Ahmad bin Hanbal.

Imam Malik stated that the Bismillah is not recited aloud or silently. This group based their view upon what Imam Muslim recorded that `A'ishah said that the Messenger of Allah used to start the prayer by reciting the Takbir (Allahu Akbar; Allah is Greater) and then recite,

[الْحَمْدُ للَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَـلَمِينَ ]

(All praise and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of all that exists.) (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:12).
Also, the Two Sahihs recorded that Anas bin Malik said, "I prayed behind the Prophet , Abu Bakr, `Umar and `Uthman and they used to start their prayer with,

[الْحَمْدُ للَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَـلَمِينَ ]

(All praise and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of all that exists.)
Muslim added, "And they did not mention,

[بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ ]

(In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful) whether in the beginning or the end of the recitation.'' (Fath Al-Bari 2:265, en Muslim 1:299. We should state that Al-Hafiz Ibn Jajar Al-Asqalani said in his book Bulugh Al-maram, "Ahmad, An-Nasa'i en Ibn Khuzaymah recorded this wording (for the Hadith above): They did not recite [بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ ] [In de naam van Allah, de barmhartige, de Genadevolle] luid.' In another narration by Ibn Khuzaymah, They used to recite it silently.' This is the meaning intended (by the Hadith recorded by Muslim)."
Similar is recorded in the Sunan books from `Abdullah bin Mughaffal, may Allah be pleased with him. (At-Tirmidhi no. 244)

These are the opinions held by the respected Imams, and their statements are similar in that they agree that the prayer of those who recite Al-Fatihah aloud or in secret is correct. All the favor is from Allah.

19. The Virtue of Al-Fatihah

Imam Ahmad recorded in his Musnad, that a person who was riding behind the Prophet said, "The Prophet's animal tripped, so I said, `Cursed Shaytan.' The Prophet said,

[لَا تَقُلْ: تَعِسَ الشَّيْطَانُ، فَإِنَّكَ إِذَا قُلْتَ: تَعِسَ الشَّيْطَانُ، تَعَاظَمَ وَقَالَ: بِقُوَّتِي صَرَعْتُهُ، وَإِذَا قُلْتَ: بِاسْمِ اللهِ تَصَاغَرَ حَتى يَصِيرَ مِثْلَ الذُبَابِ]

(Do not say, 'Cursed Shaytan,' for if you say these words, Satan becomes arrogant and says, 'With my strength I made him fall.' When you say, 'Bismillah,' Satan will become as small as a fly.) (Ahmad 5:59)

Further, An-Nasa'i recorded in his book Al-Yawm wal-Laylah, and also Ibn Marduwyah in his Tafsir that Usamah bin `Umayr said, "I was riding behind the Prophet...'' and he mentioned the rest of the above Hadith. The Prophet said in this narration,

[لَا تَقُلْ هكَذَا فَإِنَّهُ يَتَعَاظَمُ حَتَّى يَكُونَ كَالْبَيْتِ، وَلكِنْ قُلْ: بِسْمِ اللهِ، فَإنَّهُ يَصْغَرُ حَتَّى يَكُونَ كَالذُبَابَةِ]

(Do not say these words, because then Satan becomes larger; as large as a house. Rather, say, 'Bismillah,' because Satan then becomes as small as a fly.) (An-Nasa'i in Al-Kubra 6:142)

This is the blessing of reciting Bismillah.

20. Basmalah is recommended before performing any Deed

Basmalah (reciting Bismillah) is recommended before starting any action or deed. For instance, Basmalah is recommended before starting a Khutbah (speech).

The Basmalah is also recommended before one enters the place where he wants to relieve himself, there is a Hadith concerning this practice. (Awn Al-Ma'bud (the explanation of Sunan Abu Dawud) 1:6) Further, Basmalah is recommended at the beginning of ablution, for Imam Ahmad and the Sunan compilers recorded that Abu Hurayrah, Sa`id bin Zayd and Abu Sa`id narrated from the Prophet ,

[لَا وُضُوءَ لِمَنْ لَمْ يَذْكُرِ اسْمَ اللهِ عَلَيْهِ]

(There is no valid ablution for he who did not mention Allah's Name in it.) (Ahmad 3:41, Abu Dawud 1:75, Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 1:115, An-Nasa'i 1:61, en Ibn Majah 1:140)
This Hadith is Hasan (good). Also, the Basmalah is recommended before eating, for Muslim recorded in his Sahih that the Messenger of Allah said to `Umar bin Abi Salamah while he was a child under his care,

[قُلْ بِسْمِ اللهِ وَكُلْ بِيَمِينِكَ وَكُلْ مِمَّا يَلِيكَ]

(Say Bismillah, eat with your right hand and eat from whatever is next to you.) (Muslim 3:1600)

Some of the scholars stated that Basmalah before eating is obligatory. Basmalah before having sexual intercourse is also recommended. The Two Sahihs recorded that Ibn `Abbas said that the Messenger of Allah said,

[لَوْ أَنَّ أَحَدَكُمْ إِذَا أَرَادَ أَنْ يَأْتِيَ أَهْلَهُ قَالَ: بِسْمِ اللهِ اللَهُمَّ جَنِّبْنَا الشَّيْطَانَ وَجَنِّبِ الشَّيْطَانَ مَا رَزَقْتَنَا،فَإنَّهُ إِنْ يُقَدَّرْ بَيْنَهُمَا وَلَدٌ لَمْ يَضُرَّهُ الشَّيْطَانُ أَبَدًا]

(If anyone of you before having sexual relations with his wife says, 'In the Name of Allah. O Allah! Protect us from Satan and also protect what you grant us (meaning the coming offspring) from Satan,' and if it is destined that they should have a child then, Satan will never be able to harm that child.) (Fath Al-Bari 9:136, Muslim 2:1058)

21. The Meaning of Allah

Allah is the Name of the Lord, the Exalted. It is said that Allah is the Greatest Name of Allah, because it is referred to when describing Allah by the various attributes. For instance, Allah said,

[هُوَ اللَّهُ الَّذِى لاَ إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ عَالِمُ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَـدَةِ هُوَ الرَّحْمَـنُ الرَّحِيمُ - هُوَ اللَّهُ الَّذِى لاَ إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ الْمَلِكُ الْقُدُّوسُ السَّلَـمُ الْمُؤْمِنُ الْمُهَيْمِنُ الْعَزِيزُ الْجَبَّارُ الْمُتَكَبِّرُ سُبْحَـنَ اللَّهِ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ - هُوَ اللَّهُ الْخَـلِقُ الْبَارِىءُ الْمُصَوِّرُ لَهُ الاٌّسْمَآءُ الْحُسْنَى يُسَبِّحُ لَهُ مَا فِى السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضِ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ ]

(He is Allah, beside Whom La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He) the Knower of the unseen and the seen. He is the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. He is Allah, beside Whom La ilaha illa Huwa, the King, the Holy, the One free from all defects, the Giver of security, the Watcher over His creatures, the Almighty, the Compeller, the Supreme. Glory be to Allah! (High is He) above all that they associate as partners with Him. He is Allah, the Creator, the Inventor of all things, the Bestower of forms. To Him belong the Best Names. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorify Him. And He is the Almighty, the Wise) (59:22-24).

Hence, Allah mentioned several of His Names as Attributes for His Name Allah. Similarly, Allah said,

[وَللَّهِ الأَسْمَآءُ الْحُسْنَى فَادْعُوهُ بِهَا]

(And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them) (7:180), and,

[قُلِ ادْعُواْ اللَّهَ أَوِ ادْعُواْ الرَّحْمَـنَ أَيًّا مَّا تَدْعُواْ فَلَهُ الاٌّسْمَآءَ الْحُسْنَى]

(Say (O Muhammad :) "Invoke Allah or invoke the Most Gracious (Allah), by whatever name you invoke Him (it is the same), for to Him belong the Best Names.'') (17:110)

Also, the Two Sahihs recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

[إِنَّ للهِ تِسْعَةً وَتِسْعِينَ اسْمًا، مِائَةً إِلَا وَاحِدًا، مَنْ أَحْصَاهَا دَخَلَ الْجَنَّةَ]

(Allah has ninety-nine Names, one hundred minus one, whoever counts (and preserves) them, will enter Paradise.) (Fath Al-Bari 11:218, Muslim 4:2062)

These Names were mentioned in a Hadith recorded by At-Tirmidhi, Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 9:480 and Ibn Majah 2:1269, and there are several differences between these two narrations.

22. The Meaning of Ar-Rahman Ar-Rahim - the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Ar-Rahman and Ar-Rahim are two names derived from Ar-Rahmah (the mercy), but Rahman has more meanings that pertain to mercy than Ar-Rahim. There is a statement by Ibn Jarir that indicates that there is a consensus on this meaning. Further, Al-Qurtubi said, "The proof that these names are derived (from Ar-Rahmah), is what At-Tirmidhi recorded - and graded Sahih from `Abdur-Rahman bin `Awf that he heard the Messenger of Allah say,

[قَالَ اللهُ تَعَالى: أَنَا الرَّحْمنُ خَلَقْتُ الرَّحِمَ وَشَقَقْتُ لَهَا اسْمًا مِنِ اسْمِي، فَمَنْ وَصَلَهَا وَصَلْتُهُ وَمَنْ قَطَعَها قَطَعْتُهُ]

(Allah the Exalted said, 'I Am Ar-Rahman. I created the Raham (womb, i.e. family relations) and derived a name for it from My Name. Hence, whoever keeps it, I will keep ties to him, and whoever severs it, I will sever ties with him.') (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 6:33)
He then said, "This is a text that indicates the derivation.'' He then said, "The Arabs denied the name Ar-Rahman, because of their ignorance about Allah and His attributes.''

Al-Qurtubi said, "It was said that both Ar-Rahman and Ar-Rahim have the same meaning, such as the words Nadman and Nadim, as Abu `Ubayd has stated. Abu `Ali Al-Farisi said, `Ar-Rahman, which is exclusively for Allah, is a name that encompasses every type of mercy that Allah has. Ar-Rahim is what effects the believers, for Allah said,

[وَكَانَ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ رَحِيماً]

(And He is ever Rahim (merciful) to the believers.)' (33:43) Also, Ibn `Abbas said - about Ar-Rahman and Ar-Rahim, `They are two soft names, one of them is softer than the other (meaning it carries more implications of mercy).''' (Tafsir Al-Qurtubi 1:105)

Ibn Jarir said; As-Surri bin Yahya At-Tamimi narrated to me that `Uthman bin Zufar related that Al-`Azrami said about Ar-Rahman and Ar-Rahim, "He is Ar-Rahman with all creation and Ar-Rahim with the believers.'' (At-Tabari 1:127) Hence. Allah's statements,

[ثُمَّ اسْتَوَى عَلَى الْعَرْشِ الرَّحْمَـنُ]

(Then He rose over (Istawa) the Throne (in a manner that suits His majesty), Ar-Rahman) (25:59),) and,

[الرَّحْمَـنُ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ اسْتَوَى ]

(Ar-Rahman (Allah) rose over (Istawa) the (Mighty) Throne (in a manner that suits His majesty).) (20:5)

Allah thus mentioned the Istawa - rising over the Throne - along with His Name Ar-Rahman, to indicate that His mercy encompasses all of His creation. Allah also said,

[وَكَانَ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ رَحِيماً]

(And He is ever Rahim (merciful) to the believers), thus encompassing the believers with His Name Ar-Rahim. They said, "This testifies to the fact that Ar-Rahman carries a broader scope of meanings pertaining to the mercy of Allah with His creation in both lives. Meanwhile, Ar-Rahim is exclusively for the believers.'' Yet, we should mention that there is a supplication that reads,

[رَحْمنَ الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ وَرَحِيمَهُمَا]

(The Rahman and the Rahim of this life and the Hereafter)
Allah's Name Ar-Rahman is exclusively His. For instance, Allah said,

[قُلِ ادْعُواْ اللَّهَ أَوِ ادْعُواْ الرَّحْمَـنَ أَيًّا مَّا تَدْعُواْ فَلَهُ الاٌّسْمَآءَ الْحُسْنَى]

(Say (O Muhammad ): "Invoke Allah or invoke Ar-Rahman (Allah), by whatever name you invoke Him (it is the same), for to Him belong the Best Names) (17:110),) and,

[وَاسْئلْ مَنْ أَرْسَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ مِن رُّسُلِنَآ أَجَعَلْنَا مِن دُونِ الرَّحْمَـنِ ءَالِهَةً يُعْبَدُونَ ]

(And ask (O Muhammad ) those of Our Messengers whom We sent before you: "Did We ever appoint alihah (gods) to be worshipped besides Ar-Rahman (Most Gracious, Allah)'') (43:45).

Further, when Musaylimah the Liar called himself the Rahman of Yamamah, Allah made him known by the name `Liar' and exposed him. Hence, whenever Musaylimah is mentioned, he is described as `the Liar'. He became an example for lying among the residents of the cities and villages and the residents of the deserts, the bedouins.

Therefore, Allah first mentioned His Name - Allah - that is exclusively His and described this Name by Ar-Rahman, which no one else is allowed to use, just as Allah said,

[قُلِ ادْعُواْ اللَّهَ أَوِ ادْعُواْ الرَّحْمَـنَ أَيًّا مَّا تَدْعُواْ فَلَهُ الاٌّسْمَآءَ الْحُسْنَى]

(Say (O Muhammad ): "Invoke Allah or invoke Ar-Rahman (Allah), by whatever name you invoke Him (it is the same), for to Him belong the Best Names.'') (17:110)

Only Musaylimah and those who followed his misguided ways described Musaylimah by Ar-Rahman.
As for Allah's Name Ar-Rahim, Allah has described others by it. For instance, Allah said,

[لَقَدْ جَآءَكُمْ رَسُولٌ مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ عَزِيزٌ عَلَيْهِ مَا عَنِتُّمْ حَرِيصٌ عَلَيْكُمْ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ رَءُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ ]

(Verily, there has come unto you a Messenger (Muhammad ) from amongst yourselves (i.e. whom you know well). It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty. He (Muhammad ) is anxious over you (to be rightly guided) for the believers (he is) kind (full of pity), and Rahim (merciful)) (9:128).

Allah has also described some of His creation using some of His other Names. For instance, Allah said,

[إِنَّا خَلَقْنَا الإِنسَـنَ مِن نُّطْفَةٍ أَمْشَاجٍ نَّبْتَلِيهِ فَجَعَلْنَـهُ سَمِيعاً بَصِيراً ]

(Verily, We have created man from Nutfah (drops) of mixed semen (sexual discharge of man and woman), in order to try him, so We made him hearer (Sami`) and seer (Basir) (76:2).

In conclusion, there are several of Allah's Names that are used as names for others besides Allah. Further, some of Allah's Names are exclusive for Allah alone, such as Allah, Ar-Rahman, Al-Khaliq (the Creator), Ar-Raziq (the Sustainer), and so forth.

Hence, Allah started the Tasmiyah (meaning, `In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious Most Merciful') with His Name, Allah, and described Himself as Ar-Rahman, (Most Gracious) which is softer and more general than Ar-Rahim. The most honorable Names are mentioned first, just as Allah did here.

A Hadith narrated by Umm Salamah stated that the recitation of the Messenger of Allah was slow and clear, letter by letter,

[بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ - الْحَمْدُ للَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَـلَمِينَ - الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ - مَـلِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ ]

(In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. All the praises and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of all that exists. The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. The Owner of the Day of Recompense) (1:1-4).

And this is how a group of scholars recite it. Others connected the recitation of the Tasmiyah to Al-Hamd.

[الْحَمْدُ للَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَـلَمِينَ ]

(2. Al-Hamd be to Allah, the Lord of all that exists.)

23. The Meaning of Al-Hamd

Abu Ja`far bin Jarir said, "The meaning of

[الْحَمْدُ للَّهِ]

(Al-Hamdu Lillah) (all praise and thanks be to Allah) is: all thanks are due purely to Allah, alone, not any of the objects that are being worshipped instead of Him, nor any of His creation. These thanks are due to Allah's innumerable favors and bounties, that only He knows the amount of. Allah's bounties include creating the tools that help the creation worship Him, the physical bodies with which they are able to implement His commands, the sustenance that He provides them in this life, and the comfortable life He has granted them, without anything or anyone compelling Him to do so. Allah also warned His creation and alerted them about the means and methods with which they can earn eternal dwelling in the residence of everlasting happiness. All thanks and praise are due to Allah for these favors from beginning to end.'' (At-Tabari 1:135)

Further, Ibn Jarir commented on the Ayah,

[الْحَمْدُ للَّهِ]

(Al-Hamdu Lillah), that it means, "A praise that Allah praised Himself with, indicating to His servants that they too should praise Him, as if Allah had said, `Say: All thanks and praise is due to Allah.' It was said that the statement,

[الْحَمْدُ للَّهِ]

(All praise and thanks be to Allah), entails praising Allah by mentioning His most beautiful Names and most honorable Attributes. When one proclaims, `All thanks are due to Allah,' he will be thanking Him for His favors and bounties.'' (At-Tabari 1:137)

24. The Difference between Praise and Thanks

Hamd is more general, in that it is a statement of praise for one's characteristics, or for what he has done. Thanks are given for what was done, not merely for characteristics.

25. The Statements of the Salaf about Al-Hamd

Hafs mentioned that `Umar said to `Ali, "We know La ilaha illallah, Subhan Allah and Allahu Akbar. What about Al-Hamdu Lillah'' `Ali said, "A statement that Allah liked for Himself, was pleased with for Himself and He likes that it be repeated.'' (At-Tabari 1:15) Also, Ibn `Abbas said, "Al-Hamdu Lillah is the statement of appreciation. When the servant says Al-Hamdu Lillah, Allah says, `My servant has praised Me.'' Ibn Abi Hatim recorded this Hadith. (Ibid 1:13)

26. The Virtues of Al-Hamd

Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal recorded that Al-Aswad bin Sari` said, "I said, `O Messenger of Allah! Should I recite to you words of praise for My Lord, the Exalted, that I have collected' He said,

[أَمَا إِنَّ رَبَّكَ يُحِبُّ الْحَمْدَ]

(Verily, your Lord likes Al-Hamd.)''

An-Nasa'i also recorded this Hadith. (Ahmad 3:435 en An Nasa'i in Al-Kubra 4:416) Furthermore, Abu `Isa At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah recorded that Musa bin Ibrahim bin Kathir related that Talhah bin Khirash said that Jabir bin `Abdullah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

[أَفْضَلُ الذِّكْرِ لَا إِلهَ إِلَّا اللهُ، وَأَفْضَلُ الدُّعَاءِ الْحَمْدُدِلله]

(The best Dhikr (remembering Allah) is La ilaha illallah and the best supplication is Al-Hamdu Lillah.)
At-Tirmidhi said that this Hadith is Hasan Gharib. (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 9:324, An-Nasa'i in Al-Khubra 6:208, Ibn Majah 2:1249) Also, Ibn Majah recorded that Anas bin Malik said that the Messenger of Allah said,

[مَا أَنْعَمَ اللهُ عَلَى عَبْدٍنِعْمَةً فَقَالَ: الْحَمْدُ للهِ، إِلَّا كَانَ الَّذِي أَعْطَى أَفْضَلَ مِمَّا أَخَذَ]

(No servant is blessed by Allah and says,`Al-Hamdu Lillah', except that what he was given is better than that which he has himself acquired.) (Ibn Majah 2:1250) Further, in his Sunan, Ibn Majah recorded that Ibn `Umar said that the Messenger of Allah said,

[إِنَّ عَبْدًا مِنْ عِبَادِ اللهِ قَالَ:يَا رَبِّ لَكَ الْحَمْدُ كَمَا يَنْبَغِي لِجَلَالِ وَجْهِكَ وَعَظِيمِ سُلْطَانِكَ. فَعَضَلَتْ بِالْمَلَكَيْنِ فَلَمْ يَدْرِيَا كَيْفَ يَكْتُبَانِهَا فَصَعِدَا إِلَى اللهِ فَقَالَا: يَا رَبَّنَا إِنَّ عَبْدًا قَدْ قَالَ مَقَالَةً لَا نَدْرِي كَيْفَ نَكْتُبُهَا، قَالَ اللهُ، وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا قَالَ عَبْدُهُ: مَاذَا قَالَ عَبْدِي؟ قَالَا: يَا رَبِّ إِنَّهُ قَالَ: لَكَ الْحَمْدُ يَا رَبِّ كَمَا يَنْبَغِي لِجَلَالِ وَجْهِكَ وَعَظِيمِ سُلْطَانِكَ. فَقَالَ اللهُ لَهُمَا: اكْتُبَاهَا كَمَا قَالَ عَبْدِي، حَتَّى يَلْقَانِي فَأَجْزِيهِ بِهَا.]

(A servant of Allah once said, `O Allah! Yours is the Hamd that is suitable for the grace of Your Face and the greatness of Your Supreme Authority.' The two angels were confused as to how to write these words. They ascended to Allah and said, `O our Lord! A servant has just uttered a statement and we are unsure how to record it for him.' Allah said while having more knowledge in what His servant has said, 'What did My servant say' They said, `He said, `O Allah! Yours is the Hamd that is suitable for the grace of Your Face and the greatness of Your Supreme Authority.' Allah said to them, `Write it as My servant has said it, until he meets Me and then I shall reward him for it.) (Ibn Majah 2:1249)

27. Al before Hamd encompasses all Types of Thanks and Appreciation for Allah

The letters Alif and Lam before the word Hamd serve to encompass all types of thanks and appreciation for Allah, the Exalted. A Hadith stated,

[اللَّهُمَّ لَكَ الْحَمْدُ كُلُّهُ، وَلَكَ الْمُلْكُ كُلُّهُ، وَبِيَدِكَ الْخَيْرُ كُلُّهُ، وَإِلَيْكَ يُرْجَعُ الْأَمْرُ كُلُّهُ]

(O Allah! All of Al-Hamd is due to You, You own all the ownership, all types of good are in Your Hand and all affairs belong to You.) (At-Targhib wat-Tarhib 2:253)

28. The Meaning of Ar-Rabb, the Lord

Ar-Rabb is the owner who has full authority over his property. Ar-Rabb, linguistically means, the master or the one who has the authority to lead. All of these meanings are correct for Allah. When it is alone, the word Rabb is used only for Allah. As for other than Allah, it can be used to say Rabb Ad-Dar, the master of such and such object. Further, it was reported that Ar-Rabb is Allah's Greatest Name.

29. The Meaning of Al-`Alamin

Al-`Alamin is plural for `Alam, which encompasses everything in existence except Allah. The word `Alam is itself a plural word, having no singular form. The `Alamin are different creations that exist in the heavens and the earth, on land and at sea. Every generation of creation is called an `Alam. Al-Farra` and Abu `Ubayd said, "`Alam includes all that has a mind, the Jinns, mankind, the angels and the devils, but not the animals.'' Also, Zayd bin Aslam and Abu Muhaysin said, `Alam includes all that Allah has created with a soul.'' Further, Qatadah said about,

[رَبِّ الْعَـلَمِينَ]

(The Lord of the `Alamin), "Every type of creation is an `Alam.'' Az-Zajjaj also said, "Alam encompasses everything that Allah created, in this life and in the Hereafter.'' Al-Qurtubi commented, "This is the correct meaning, that the `Alam encompasses everything that Allah created in both worlds. Similarly, Allah said,

[قَالَ فِرْعَوْنُ وَمَا رَبُّ الْعَـلَمِينَ - قَالَ رَبُّ السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَآ إِن كُنتُمْ مُّوقِنِينَ ]

(Fir`awn (Pharaoh) said: "And what is the Lord of the `Alamin'' Musa (Moses) said: "The Lord of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, if you seek to be convinced with certainty'') (26:23-24).

30. Why is the Creation called `Alam

`Alam is derived from `Alamah, that is because it is a sign testifying to the existence of its Creator and to His Oneness.'' (Al-Qurtubi 1:139)

[الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ ]

(3. Ar-Rahman (the Most Gracious), Ar-Rahim (the Most Merciful)). Allah said next,

[الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ ]

(Ar-Rahman (the Most Gracious), Ar-Rahim (the Most Merciful)) We explained these Names in the Basmalah. Al-Qurtubi said, "Allah has described Himself by `Ar-Rahman, Ar-Rahim' after saying `the Lord of the Alamin', so His statement here includes a warning, and then an encouragement. Similarly, Allah said,

[نَبِّىءْ عِبَادِى أَنِّى أَنَا الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ - وَأَنَّ عَذَابِى هُوَ الْعَذَابُ الاٌّلِيمُ ]

(Declare (O Muhammad ) unto My servants, that truly, I am the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful. And that My torment is indeed the most painful torment.) (15:49-50) Allah said,

[إِنَّ رَبَّكَ سَرِيعُ الْعِقَابِ وَإِنَّهُ لَغَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ]

(Surely, your Lord is swift in retribution, and certainly He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) (6:165)

Hence, Rabb contains a warning while Ar-Rahman Ar-Rahim encourages. Further, Muslim recorded in his Sahih that the Messenger of Allah said,

[لَوْ يَعْلَمُ الْمُؤْمِنُ مَا عِنْدَ اللهِ مِنَ الْعُقُوبَةِ مَا طَمِعَ فِي جَنَّتِهِ أَحَدٌ، وَلَوْ يَعْلَمُ الْكَافِرُ مَا عِنْدَ اللهِ مِنَ الرَّحْمَةِ مَا قَنَطَ مِنْ رَحْمَتِهِ أَحَدٌ]

(If the believer knew what punishment Allah has, none would have hope in acquiring His Paradise, and if the disbeliever knew what mercy Allah has, none will lose hope of earning His earning.) (Muslim 4:2109)

[مَـلِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ ]

(4. The Owner of the Day of Recompense.)

31. Indicating Sovereignty on the Day of Judgment

Allah mentioned His sovereignty of the Day of Resurrection, but this does not negate His sovereignty over all other things. For Allah mentioned that He is the Lord of existence, including this earthly life and the Hereafter. Allah only mentioned the Day of Recompense here because on that Day, no one except Him will be able to claim ownership of anything whatsoever. On that Day, no one will be allowed to speak without His permission. Similarly, Allah said,

[يَوْمَ يَقُومُ الرُّوحُ وَالْمَلَـئِكَةُ صَفّاً لاَّ يَتَكَلَّمُونَ إِلاَّ مَنْ أَذِنَ لَهُ الرَّحْمَـنُ وَقَالَ صَوَاباً ]

(The Day that Ar-Ruh (Jibril (Gabriel) or another angel) and the angels will stand forth in rows, they will not speak except him whom the Most Gracious (Allah) allows, and he will speak what is right.) (78:38),

[وَخَشَعَتِ الأَصْوَاتُ لِلرَّحْمَـنِ فَلاَ تَسْمَعُ إِلاَّ هَمْساً]

(And all voices will be humbled for the Most Gracious (Allah), and nothing shall you hear but the low voice of their footsteps.)(20:108), and,

[يَوْمَ يَأْتِ لاَ تَكَلَّمُ نَفْسٌ إِلاَّ بِإِذْنِهِ فَمِنْهُمْ شَقِىٌّ وَسَعِيدٌ ]

(On the Day when it comes, no person shall speak except by His (Allah's) leave. Some among them will be wretched and (others) blessed) (11:105).
Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn `Abbas commented, "Allah says, `On that Day, no one owns anything that they used to own in the world.'''

32. The Meaning of Yawm Ad-Din

Ibn `Abbas said, "Yawm Ad-Din is the Day of Recompense for the creatures, meaning the Day of Judgment. On that Day, Allah will reckon the creation for their deeds, evil for evil, good for good, except for those whom He pardons.'' (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:19) In addition, several other Companions, Tabi`in and scholars of the Salaf, said similarly, for this meaning is apparent and clear from the Ayah.

33. Allah is Al-Malik (King or Owner)

Allah is the True Owner (Malik) (of everything and everyone). Allah said,

[هُوَ اللَّهُ الَّذِى لاَ إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ الْمَلِكُ الْقُدُّوسُ السَّلَـمُ]

(He is Allah, beside Whom La ilaha illa Huwa, the King, the Holy, the One free from all defects) (59:23).
Also, the Two Sahihs recorded Abu Hurayrah saying that the Prophet said,

[أَخْنَعُ اسْمٍ عِنْدَ اللهِ رَجُلٌ تَسَمَّى بِمَلِكِ الْأَمْلَاكِ وَلَا مَالِكَ إِلَّا اللهُ]

(The most despicable name to Allah is a person who calls himself the king of kings, while there are no owners except Allah.) (Fath Al-Bari 1:604 en Muslim 3:1688)
Also the Two Sahihs recorded that the Messenger of Allah said,

[يَقْبِضُ اللهُ الْأَرْضَ وَيَطْوِي السَّمَاءَ بِيَمِينِهِ ثُمَّ يَقُولُ: أَنَا الْمَلِكُ، أَيْنَ مُلُوكُ الْأَرْضِ؟ أَيْنَ الْجَبَّارُونَ؟ أَيْنَ الْمُتَكَبِّرُونَ؟]

((On the Day of Judgement) Allah will grasp the earth and fold up the heavens with His Right Hand and proclaim, 'I Am the King! Where are the kings of the earth Where are the tyrants Where are the arrogant') (Fath Al-Bari 13:404 en Muslim 4:2148)

Also, in the the Glorious Qur'an;

[لِّمَنِ الْمُلْكُ الْيَوْمَ لِلَّهِ الْوَحِدِ الْقَهَّارِ]

(Whose is the kingdom this Day Allah's, the One, the Irresistible.)(40:16).

As for calling someone other than Allah a king in this life, 3-24). :23NN Ar-Rahman (the Most Gracious), Ar-Rahim (the Most Merciful)) We explained these Names in the Basmalah. Al-Qurtubi said, "Allah has described Himself by `Ar-Rahman, Ar-Rahim' after saying `the Lord of the Alamin', so His statement here includes a warning, and then an encouragement. Similarly, Allah said, حRNA ? Allah is Al-Malik (King or Owner)

Allah is the True Owner (Malik) (of everything and everyone). Allah said,

[هُوَ اللَّهُ الَّذِى لاَ إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ الْمَلِكُ الْقُدُّوسُ السَّلَـمُ]

(He is Allah, beside Whom La ilaha illa Huwa, the King, the Holy, the One free from all defects) (59:23).
Also, the Two Sahihs recorded Abu Hurayrah saying that the Prophet said,

[أَخْنَعُ اسْمٍ عِنْدَ اللهِ رَجُلٌ تَسَمَّى بِمَلِكِ الْأَمْلَاكِ وَلَا مَالِكَ إِلَّا اللهُ]

(The most despicable name to Allah is a person who calls himself the king of kings, while there are no owners except Allah.)

Also the Two Sahihs recorded that the Messenger of Allah said,

[يَقْبِضُ اللهُ الْأَرْضَ وَيَطْوِي السَّمَاءَ بِيَمِينِهِ ثُمَّ يَقُولُ: أَنَا الْمَلِكُ، أَيْنَ مُلُوكُ الْأَرْضِ؟ أَيْنَ الْجَبَّارُونَ؟ أَيْنَ الْمُتَكَبِّرُونَ؟]

((On the Day of Judgement) Allah will grasp the earth and fold up the heavens with His Right Hand and proclaim, 'I Am the King! Where are the kings of the earth Where are the tyrants Where are the arrogant')

Also, in the the Glorious Qur'an;

[لِّمَنِ الْمُلْكُ الْيَوْمَ لِلَّهِ الْوَحِدِ الْقَهَّارِ]

(Whose is the kingdom this Day Allah's, the One, the Irresistible.)(40:16).
As for calling someone other than Allah a king in this life, then it is done as a figure of speech. For instance, Allah said,

[إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَدْ بَعَثَ لَكُمْ طَالُوتَ مَلِكًا]

(Indeed Allah appointed Talut (Saul) as a king over you.) (2:247),

[وَكَانَ وَرَآءَهُم مَّلِكٌ]

(As there was a king behind them)(18:79), and,

[إِذْ جَعَلَ فِيكُمْ أَنْبِيَآءَ وَجَعَلَكُمْ مُّلُوكاً]

When He made Prophets among you, and made you kings )5:20(.
Also, the Two Sahihs recorded,

[مِثْلُ الْمُلُوكِ عَلَى الْأَسِرَّةِ]

(Just like kings reclining on their thrones) (Fath Al-Bari 6:89 en Muslim 3:1518)

34. The Meaning of Ad-Din

Ad-Din means the reckoning, the reward or punishment. Similarly, Allah said,

[يَوْمَئِذٍ يُوَفِّيهِمُ اللَّهُ دِينَهُمُ الْحَقَّ]

(On that Day Allah will pay them the (Dinahum) recompense (of their deeds) in full) (24:25), and,

[أَءِنَّا لَمَدِينُونَ]

(Shall we indeed (be raised up) to receive reward or punishment (according to our deeds)) (37:53). A Hadith stated,

[الْكَيِّسُ مَنْ دَانَ نَفْسَهُ وَعَمِلَ لِمَا بَعْدَ الْمَوتِ]

(The wise person is he who reckons himself and works for (his life) after death.) (Ibn Majah 2:1423) meaning, he holds himself accountable. Also, `Umar said, "Hold yourself accountable before you are held accountable, weigh yourselves before you are weighed, and be prepared for the biggest gathering before He Whose knowledge encompasses your deeds,

[يَوْمَئِذٍ تُعْرَضُونَ لاَ تَخْفَى مِنكُمْ خَافِيَةٌ ]

(That Day shall you be brought to Judgement, not a secret of yours will be hidden) (69:18).''

[إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ ]

(5. You we worship, and You we ask for help.) (1:5)

35. The Linguistic and Religious Meaning of `Ibadah

Linguistically, `Ibadah means subdued. For instance, a road is described as Mu`abbadah, meaning, `paved'. In religious terminology, `Ibadah implies the utmost love, humility and fear.

36. The Merit of stating the Object of the Action before the Doer of the Act, and the Merit of these Negations

"You...'', means, we worship You alone and none else, and rely on You alone and none else. This is the perfect form of obedience and the entire religion is implied by these two ideas. Some of the Salaf said, Al-Fatihah is the secret of the Qur'an, while these words are the secret of Al-Fatihah,

[إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ ]

(5. You we worship, and You we ask for help from.)

The first part is a declaration of innocence from Shirk (polytheism), while the second negates having any power or strength, displaying the recognition that all affairs are controlled by Allah alone. This meaning is reiterated in various instances in the Qur'an. For instance, Allah said,

[فَاعْبُدْهُ وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَيْهِ وَمَا رَبُّكَ بِغَـفِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ]

(So worship Him (O Muhammad ) and put your trust in Him. And your Lord is not unaware of what you (people) do.) (11:123),

[قُلْ هُوَ الرَّحْمَـنُ ءَامَنَّا بِهِ وَعَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلْنَا]

(Say: "He is the Most Gracious (Allah), in Him we believe, and in Him we put our trust.'') (67:29),

[رَّبُّ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ لاَ إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ فَاتَّخِذْهُ وَكِيلاً ]

((He alone is) the Lord of the east and the west; La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He).
So take Him alone as Wakil (Disposer of your affairs)), (73:9), and,

[إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ ]

(You we worship, and You we ask for help from).

We should mention that in this Ayah, the type of speech here changes from the third person to direct speech by using the Kaf in the statement Iyyaka (You). This is because after the servant praised and thanked Allah, he stands before Him, addressing Him directly;

[إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ ]

(You we worship, and You we ask for help from).
So take Him alone as Wakil (Disposer of your affairs)), (73:9), and,

[إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ ]

(You we worship, and You we ask for help from).

We should mention that in this Ayah, the type of speech here changes from the third person to direct speech by using the Kaf in the statement Iyyaka (You). This is because after the servant praised and thanked Allah, he stands before Him, addressing Him directly;

[إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ ]

(You we worship, and You we ask for help from).

37. Al-Fatihah indicates the Necessity of praising Allah. It is required in every Prayer.

The beginning of Surat Al-Fatihah contains Allah's praise for Himself by His most beautiful Attributes and indicates to His servants that, they too, should praise Him in the same manner. Hence, the prayer is not valid unless one recites Al-Fatihah, if he is able. The Two Sahihs recorded that `Ubadah bin As-Samit said that the Messenger of Allah said,

[لَا صَلَاةَ لِمَنْ لَمْ يَقْرَأْ بِفَاتِحَةِ الْكِتَابِ]

(There is no valid prayer for whoever does not recite Al-Fatihah of the Book.) (Fath Al-Bari 2:276 en Muslim 1:295)
Also, it is recorded in Sahih Muslim that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

[يَقُولُ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى : قَسَمْتُ الصَّلَاةَ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَ عَبْدِي نِصْفَيْنِ، فَنِصْفُهَا لِي وَنِصْفُهَا لِعَبْدِي وَلِعَبْدِي مَا سَأَلَ، إِذَا قَالَ الْعَبْدُ:

[الْحَمْدُ للَّهِ رَبّ الْعَـلَمِينَ يَوْمِ إِنَّ اللَّهُ يُؤْمِنُونَ كَفَرُواْ اللَّهُ يُؤْمِنُونَ غِشَـوَةٌ عَلَى الْمَغْضُوبِ يُنفِقُونَ اللَّهُ سَوَآء قُلُوبِهِمْ يُؤْمِنُونَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ قُلُوبِهِمْ تُنذِرْهُمْ يُوقِنُونَ اللَّهُ بِالْغَيْبِ سَمْعِهِمْ يُؤْمِنُونَ قُلُوبِهِمْ تُنذِرْهُمْ يَوْمِ أَمْ اللَّهُ لّلْمُتَّقِينَ قُلُوبِهِمْ بِمَآ اللَّهُ يُؤْمِنُونَ إِنَّ اللَّهُ يُؤْمِنُونَ كَفَرُواْ اللَّهُ الْمَغْضُوبِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ]

، قَالَ اللهُ: أَثْنى عَلَيَّ عَبْدِي فَإذَا قَالَ:

[مَـلِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ ]، قَالَ اللهُ: مَجَّدَنِي عَبْدِي، وَإِذَا قَالَ:

[إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ ]، قَالَ: هذَا بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَ عَبْدِي، وَلِعَبْدِي مَا سَأَلَ، فَإِذَا قَالَ:

[اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ ]

[صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّآلِّينَ ]، قَالَ: هذَا لِعَبْدِي، وَلِعَبْدِي مَا سَأَلَ]

(Allah said, `I divided the prayer into two halves between Myself and My servant, one half is for Me and one half for My servant. My servant shall have what he asks for.' When the servant says,

[الْحَمْدُ للَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَـلَمِينَ ]

(All praise and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of all that exists.), Allah says, `My servant has praised Me.' When the servant says,

[الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ ]

(The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful), Allah says, `My servant has praised Me.' When the servant says,

[مَـلِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ ]

(The Owner of the Day of Recompense), Allah says, `My servant has glorified Me.' If the servant says,

[إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ ]

(You we worship, and You we ask for help), Allah says, `This is between Me and My servant, and My servant shall have what he asked.' If the servant says,

[اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ - صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّآلِّينَ ]

(Guide us to the straight path. The path of those on whom You have bestowed Your grace, not (that) of those who have earned Your anger, nor of those who went astray), Allah says, `This is for My servant, and My servant shall have what he asked.') (MUslim 1:297)

38. Tawhid Al-Uluhiyyah

Ad-Dahhak narrated that Ibn `Abbas said,

[إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ]

(You we worship) means, "It is You whom we single out, Whom we fear and Whom we hope in, You alone, our Lord, and none else.

39. Tawhid Ar-Rububiyyah

[وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ]

(And You we ask for help from), to obey you and in all of our affairs.'' (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:19) Further, Qatadah said that the Ayah,

[إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ ]

(You we worship, and You we ask for help from) "Contains Allah's command to us to perform sincere worship for Him and to seek His aid concerning all of our affairs.'' (Ibid 1:20) Allah mentioned,

[إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ]

(You we worship) before,

[وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ]

(And You we ask for help from), because the objective here is the worship, while Allah's help is the tool to implement this objective. Certainly, one first takes care of the most important aspects and then what is less important, and Allah knows best.

40. Allah called His Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم an `Abd

Allah called His Messenger an `Abd (servant) when He mentioned sending down His Book, the Prophet's involvement in inviting to Him, and when mentioning the Isra' (overnight journey from Makkah to Jerusalem and then to heaven), and these are the Prophet's most honorable missions. Allah said,

[الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِى أَنْزَلَ عَلَى عَبْدِهِ الْكِتَـبَ]

(All praise and thanks be to Allah, Who has sent down to His servant (Muhammad ) the Book (the Qur'an)) (18:1),

[وَأَنَّهُ لَّمَا قَامَ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ يَدْعُوهُ]

(And when the servant of Allah (Muhammad ) stood up invoking Him (his Lord ـ Allah in prayer)), (72:19) and,

[سُبْحَانَ الَّذِى أَسْرَى بِعَبْدِهِ لَيْلاً]

(Glorified (and Exalted) be He (Allah) (above all that they associate with Him) Who took His servant (Muhammad ) for a journey by night) (17:1).

41. Encouraging the Performance of the Acts of Worship during Times of Distress

Allah also recommended that His Prophet resort to acts of worship during times when he felt distressed because of the disbelievers who defied and denied him. Allah said,

[وَلَقَدْ نَعْلَمُ أَنَّكَ يَضِيقُ صَدْرُكَ بِمَا يَقُولُونَ - فَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ وَكُنْ مِّنَ السَّـجِدِينَ - وَاعْبُدْ رَبَّكَ حَتَّى يَأْتِيَكَ الْيَقِينُ ]

(Indeed, We know that your breast is straitened at what they say. So glorify the praises of your Lord and be of those who prostrate themselves (to Him). And worship your Lord until there comes unto you the certainty (i.e. death)) (15:97-99).

42. Why Praise was mentioned First

Since the praise of Allah, Who is being sought for help, was mentioned, it was appropriate that one follows the praise by asking for his need. We stated that Allah said,

[فَنِصْفُهَا لِي وَنِصْفُهَا لِعَبْدِي، وَلِعَبْدِي مَا سَأَلَ]

(One half for Myself and one half for My servant, and My servant shall have what he asked.)

This is the best method for seeking help, by first praising the one whom help is sought from and then asking for His aid, and help for one's self, and for his Muslim brethren by saying.

[اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ ]

(Guide us to the straight path.)
This method is more appropriate and efficient in bringing about a positive answer to the pleas, and this is why Allah recommended this better method.

Asking for help may take the form of conveying the condition of the person who is seeking help. For instance, the Prophet Moses said,

[رَبِّ إِنِّى لِمَآ أَنزَلْتَ إِلَىَّ مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَقِيرٌ]

(My Lord! Truly, I am in need of whatever good that You bestow on me!) (28:24).
Also, one may first mention the attributes of whoever is being asked, such as what Dhun-Nun said,

[لاَّ إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ أَنتَ سُبْحَـنَكَ إِنِّى كُنتُ مِنَ الظَّـلِمِينَ]

(La ilaha illa Anta (none has the right to be worshipped but You (O Allah)), Glorified (and Exalted) be You (above all that they associate with You)! Truly, I have been of the wrongdoers) (21:87).

Further, one may praise Him without mentioning what he needs. The Meaning of Guidance mentioned in the Surah

The guidance mentioned in the Surah implies being directed and guided to success. Allah said,

[اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ ]

(Guide us to the straight path) meaning guide, direct, lead and grant us the correct guidance. Also,

[وَهَدَيْنَـهُ النَّجْدَينِ ]

(And shown him the two ways (good and evil)) (90:10), means, `We explained to him the paths of good and evil.' Also, Allah said,

[اجْتَبَـهُ وَهَدَاهُ إِلَى صِرَطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ]

(He (Allah) chose him (as an intimate friend) and guided him to a straight path) (16:121), and,

[فَاهْدُوهُمْ إِلَى صِرَطِ الْجَحِيمِ]

(And lead them on to the way of flaming Fire (Hell)) (37:23). Similarly, Allah said,

[وَإِنَّكَ لَتَهْدِى إِلَى صِرَطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ]

(And verily, you (O Muhammad ) are indeed guiding (mankind) to the straight path) (42:52), and,

[الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِى هَدَانَا لِهَـذَا]

(All praise and thanks be to Allah, Who has guided us to this) (7:43), meaning, guided us and directed us and qualified us for this end - Paradise.

43. The Meaning of As-Sirat Al-Mustaqim, the Straight Path.

As for the meaning of As-Sirat Al-Mustaqim, Imam Abu Ja`far At-Tabari said, "The Ummah agreed that Sirat Al-Mustaqim, is the clear path without branches, according to the language of the Arabs. For instance, Jarir bin `Atiyah Al-Khatafi said in a poem, `The Leader of the faithful is on a path that will remain straight even though the other paths are crooked.'' At-Tabari also stated that, "There are many evidences to this fact.'' At-Tabari then proceeded, "The Arabs use the term, Sirat in reference to every deed and statement whether righteous or wicked. Hence the Arabs would describe the honest person as being straight and the wicked person as being crooked. The straight path mentioned in the Qur'an refers to Islam. (At-Bari 1:170)

Imam Ahmad recorded in his Musnad that An-Nawwas bin Sam`an said that the Prophet said,

[ضَرَبَ اللهُ مَثَلًا صِرَاطًا مُسْتَقِيمًا، وَعَلَى جَنْبَتَيِ الصِّرَاطِ سُورَانِ فِيهِمَا أَبْوَابٌ مُفَتَّحَةٌ، وَعَلَى الْأَبْوَابِ سُتُورٌ مُرْخَاةٌ، وَعَلَى بَابِ الصِّرَاطِ دَاعٍ يَقُولُ: يَاأَيُّهَا النَّاسُ ادْخُلُوا الصِّرَاطَ جَمِيعًا وَلَا تَعْوَجُّوا، وَدَاعٍ يَدْعُو مِنْ فَوْقِ الصِّرَاطِ، فَإِذَا أَرَادَ الْإِنْسَانُ أَنْ يَفْتَحَ شَيْئًا مِنْ تِلْكَ الْأَبْوَابِ قَالَ:وَيْحَكَ لَا تَفْتَحْهُ فَإِنَّكَ إِنْ فَتَحْتَهُ تَلِجْهُ فَالصِّرَاطُ: الْإِسْلَامُ وَالسُّورَانِ: حُدُودُ اللهِ وَالْأَبْوَابُ الْمُفَتَّحَةُ مَحَارِمُ اللهِ وَذَلِكَ الدَّاعِي عَلَى رَأْسِ الصِّرَاطِ كِتَابُ اللهِ، وَالدَّاعِي مِنْ فَوْقِ الصِّرَاطِ وَاعِظُ اللهِ فِي قَلْبِ كُلِّ مُسْلِمٍ]

(Allah has set an example: a Sirat (straight path) that is surrounded by two walls on both sides, with several open doors within the walls covered with curtains. There is a caller on the gate of the Sirat who heralds, 'O people! Stay on the path and do not deviate from it.' Meanwhile, a caller from above the path is also warning any person who wants to open any of these doors, 'Woe unto you! Do not open it, for if you open it you will pass through.' The straight path is Islam, the two walls are Allah's set limits, while the doors resemble what Allah has prohibited. The caller on the gate of the Sirat is the Book of Allah, while the caller above the Sirat is Allah's admonishment in the heart of every Muslim.) (Ahmad 4:182)

44. The Faithful ask for and abide by Guidance

If someone asks, "Why does the believer ask Allah for guidance during every prayer and at other times, while he is already properly guided Has he not already acquired guidance''

The answer to these questions is that if it were not a fact that the believer needs to keep asking for guidance day and night, Allah would not have directed him to invoke Him to acquire the guidance. The servant needs Allah the Exalted every hour of his life to help him remain firm on the path of guidance and to make him even more firm and persistent on it. The servant does not have the power to benefit or harm himself, except by Allah's permission. Therefore, Allah directed the servant to invoke Him constantly, so that He provides him with His aid and with firmness and success. Indeed, the happy person is he whom Allah guides to ask of Him. This is especially the case if a person urgently needs Allah's help day or night. Allah said,

[يَـأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ءَامِنُواْ بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَالْكِتَـبِ الَّذِى نَزَّلَ عَلَى رَسُولِهِ وَالْكِتَـبِ الَّذِى أَنَزلَ مِن قَبْلُ]

(O you who believe! Believe in Allah, and His Messenger (Muhammad ), and the Book (the Qur'an) which He has sent down to His Messenger, and the Scripture which He sent down to those before (him)) (4:16).

Therefore, in this Ayah Allah commanded the believers to believe, and this command is not redundant since what is sought here is firmness and continuity of performing the deeds that help one remain on the path of faith. Also, Allah commanded His believing servants to proclaim,

[رَبَّنَا لاَ تُزِغْ قُلُوبَنَا بَعْدَ إِذْ هَدَيْتَنَا وَهَبْ لَنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً إِنَّكَ أَنتَ ا لْوَهَّابُ ]

(Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate (from the truth) after You have guided us, and grant us mercy from You. Truly, You are the Bestower.) (dua 3:8). Hence,

[اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ ]

(Guide us to the straight way) means, "Make us firm on the path of guidance and do not allow us to deviate from it.''

[صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّآلِّينَ ]

(7. The way of those upon whom You have bestowed Your grace, not (that) of those who earned Your anger, nor of those who went astray).

We mentioned the Hadith in which the servant proclaims,

[اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُس ْتَقِيمَ ]

(Guide us to the straight way) and Allah says, "This is for My servant, and My servant shall acquire what he asks for.'' Allah's statement.

[صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ]

(The way of those upon whom You have bestowed Your grace) defines the path. `Those upon whom Allah has bestowed His grace' are those mentioned in Surat An-Nisa' (chapter 4), when Allah said,

[وَمَن يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ فَأُوْلَـئِكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِم مِّنَ النَّبِيِّينَ وَالصِّدِّيقِينَ وَالشُّهَدَآءِ وَالصَّـلِحِينَ وَحَسُنَ أُولَـئِكَ رَفِيقاً - ذلِكَ الْفَضْلُ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَكَفَى بِاللَّهِ عَلِيماً ]

(And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger (Muhammad ), then they will be in the company of those on whom Allah has bestowed His grace, the Prophets, the Siddiqin (the truly faithful), the martyrs, and the righteous. And how excellent these companions are! Such is the bounty from Allah, and Allah is sufficient to know) (4:69-70).

Allah's statement,

[غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّآلِّينَ]

(Not (the way) of those who earned Your anger, nor of those who went astray) meaning guide us to the straight path, the path of those upon whom you have bestowed Your grace, that is, the people of guidance, sincerity and obedience to Allah and His Messengers. They are the people who adhere to Allah's commandments and refrain from committing what He has prohibited. But, help us to avoid the path of those whom Allah is angry with, whose intentions are corrupt, who know the truth, yet deviate from it. Also, help us avoid the path of those who were led astray, who lost the true knowledge and, as a result, are wandering in misguidance, unable to find the correct path. Allah asserted that the two paths He described here are both misguided when He repeated the negation `not'. These two paths are the paths of the Christians and Jews, a fact that the believer should beware of so that he avoids them. The path of the believers is knowledge of the truth and abiding by it. In comparison, the Jews abandoned practicing the religion, while the Christians lost the true knowledge. This is why `anger' descended upon the Jews, while being described as `led astray' is more appropriate of the Christians. Those who know, but avoid implementing the truth, deserve the anger, unlike those who are ignorant. The Christians want to seek the true knowledge, but are unable to find it because they did not seek it from its proper resources.

This is why they were led astray. We should also mention that both the Christians and the Jews have earned the anger and are led astray, but the anger is one of the attributes more particular of the Jews. Allah said about the Jews,

[مَن لَّعَنَهُ اللَّهُ وَغَضِبَ عَلَيْهِ]

(Those (Jews) who incurred the curse of Allah and His wrath) (5:60).
The attribute that the Christians deserve most is that of being led astray, just as Allah said about them,

[قَدْ ضَلُّواْ مِن قَبْلُ وَأَضَلُّواْ كَثِيراً وَضَلُّواْ عَن سَوَآءِ السَّبِيلِ]

(Who went astray before and who misled many, and strayed (themselves) from the right path) (5:77).

There are several Hadiths and reports from the Salaf on this subject. Imam Ahmad recorded that `Adi bin Hatim said, "The horsemen of the Messenger of Allah seized my paternal aunt and some other people. When they brought them to the Messenger of Allah , they were made to stand in line before him. My aunt said, `O Messenger of Allah! The supporter is far away, the offspring have stopped coming and I am an old woman, unable to serve. Grant me your favor, may Allah grant you His favor.' He said, `Who is your supporter' She said, `Adi bin Hatim.' He said, `The one who ran away from Allah and His Messenger' She said, `So, the Prophet freed me.' When the Prophet came back, there was a man next to him, I think that he was `Ali, who said to her, `Ask him for a means of transportation.' She asked the Prophet , and he ordered that she be given an animal.

'' `Adi then said, "Later on, she came to me and said, `He (Muhammad ) has done a favor that your father (who was a generous man) would never have done. So and-so person came to him and he granted him his favor, and so-and-so came to him and he granted him his favor.' So I went to the Prophet and found that some women and children were gathering with him, so close that I knew that he was not a king like Kisra (King of Persia) or Caesar. He said, `O `Adi! What made you run away, so that La ilaha illallah is not proclaimed Is there a deity worthy of worship except Allah What made you run away, so that Allahu Akbar (Allah is the Greater) is not proclaimed Is there anything Greater than Allah' I proclaimed my Islam and I saw his face radiate with pleasure and he said:

[إِنَّ الْمَغْضُوبَ عَلَيْهِمُ الْيَهُودُ وَ إِنَّ الضَّالِينَ النَّصَارَى]

(Those who have earned the anger are the Jews and those who are led astray are the Christians.)''
This Hadith was also collected by At-Tirmidhi who said that it is Hasan Gharib. (Ahmad 4:378 en Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 8:289)

Also, when Zayd bin `Amr bin Nufayl went with some of his friends - before Islam - to Ash-Sham seeking the true religion, the Jews said to him, "You will not become a Jew unless you carry a share of the anger of Allah that we have earned.'' He said, "I am seeking to escape Allah's anger.'' Also, the Christians said to him, "If you become one of us you will carry a share in Allah's discontent.'' He said, "I cannot bear it.'' So he remained in his pure nature and avoided worshipping the idols and the polytheistic practices. He became neither a Jew, nor Christian. As for his companions, they became Christians because they found it more pure than Judaism. Waraqah bin Nawfal was among these people until Allah guided him by the hand of His Prophet, when he was sent as Prophet, and Waraqah believed in the revelation that was sent to the Prophet may Allah be pleased with him.

45. The Summary of Al-Fatihah

The honorable Surah Al-Fatihah contains seven Ayat including the praise and thanks of Allah, glorifying Him and praising Him by mentioning His most Beautiful Names and most high Attributes. It also mentions the Hereafter, which is the Day of Resurrection, and directs Allah's servants to ask of Him, invoking Him and declaring that all power and strength comes from Him. It also calls to the sincerity of the worship of Allah alone, singling Him out in His divinity, believing in His perfection, being free from the need of any partners, having no rivals nor equals. Al-Fatihah directs the believers to invoke Allah to guide them to the straight path, which is the true religion, and to help them remain on that path in this life, and to pass over the actual Sirat (bridge over hell that everyone must pass over) on the Day of Judgment. On that Day, the believers will be directed to the gardens of comfort in the company of the Prophets, the truthful ones, the martyrs and the righteous. Al-Fatihah also encourages performing good deeds, so that the believers will be in the company of the good-doers on the Day of Resurrection. The Surah also warns against following the paths of misguidance, so that one does not end up being gathered with those who indulge in sin, on the Day of Resurrection, including those who have earned the anger and those who were led astray.

46. The Bounties are because of Allah, not the Deviations

Allah said,

[صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ]

(The way of those upon whom you have bestowed Your grace), when He mentioned His favor. On mentioning anger, Allah said,

[غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ]

(Not (that) of those who earned Your anger), without mentioning the subject, although it is He Who has sent down the anger on them, just as Allah stated in another Ayah,

[أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ تَوَلَّوْاْ قَوْماً غَضِبَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِم]

(Have you (O Muhammad ) not seen those (hypocrites) who take as friends a people upon whom is the wrath of Allah (i.e. Jews)) (58:14).

Also, Allah relates the misguidance of those who indulged in it, although they were justly misguided according to Allah's appointed destiny. For instance, Allah said,

[مَن يَهْدِ اللَّهُ فَهُوَ الْمُهْتَدِ وَمَن يُضْلِلْ فَلَن تَجِدَ لَهُ وَلِيًّا مُّرْشِدًا]

(He whom Allah guides, he is the rightly-guided; but he whom He sends astray, for him you will find no Wali (guiding friend) to lead him (to the right path)) (18:17) and,

[مَن يُضْلِلِ اللَّهُ فَلاَ هَادِيَ لَهُ وَيَذَرُهُمْ فِى طُغْيَـنِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ ]

(Whomsoever Allah sends astray, none can guide him; and He lets them wander blindly in their transgression) (7:186).

These and several other Ayat testify to the fact that Allah alone is the One Who guides and misguides, contrary to the belief of the Qadariyyah sect, who claimed that the servants choose and create their own destiny. They rely on some unclear Ayat avoiding what is clear and contradicts their desires. Theirs, is the method of the people who follow their lust, desire and wickedness. An authentic Hadith narrated,

[إِذَا رَأَيْتُمُ الَّذِينَ يَتَّبِعُونَ مَا تَشَابَهَ مِنْهُ فَأُولئِكَ الَّذِينَ سَمَّى اللهُ فَاحْذَرُوهُمْ]

(When you see those who follow what is not so clear in it (the Qur'an), then they are those whom Allah has mentioned (refer to 3:7). Hence, avoid them.) (Fath Al-Bari 8:57)

The Prophet was referring to Allah's statement,

[فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ فى قُلُوبِهِمْ زَيْغٌ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ مَا تَشَـبَهَ مِنْهُ ابْتِغَآءَ الْفِتْنَةِ وَابْتِغَآءَ تَأْوِيلِهِ]

(So as for those in whose hearts there is a deviation (from the truth) they follow that which is not entirely clear thereof, seeking Al-Fitnah (polytheism and trials), and seeking for its hidden meanings)(3:7).

Verily, no innovator in the religion could ever rely on any authentic evidence in the Qur'an that testifies to his innovation. The Qur'an came to distinguish between truth and falsehood, and guidance and misguidance. The Qur'an does not contain any discrepancies or contradictions, because it is a revelation from the Most Wise, Worthy of all praise.

47. Saying Amin

It is recommended to say Amin after finishing the recitation of Al-Fatihah. Amin means, "O Allah! Accept our invocation.'' The evidence that saying Amin is recommended is contained in what Imams Ahmad, Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi recorded, that Wa'il bin Hujr said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah recite,

[غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّآلِّينَ]

(Not (that) of those who earned Your anger, nor of those who went astray), and he said `Amin' extending it with his voice.'' (Ahmad 4:315, ABu Dawud 1:574, Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 2:67)

Abu Dawud's narration added, "Raising his voice with it.'' At-Tirmidhi then commented that this Hadith is Hasan and was also narrated from `Ali and Ibn Mas`ud. (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 2:67) Also, Abu Hurayrah narrated that whenever the Messenger of Allah would recite,

[غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّآلِّينَ]

(Not (the way) of those who earned Your anger, nor of those who went astray), He would say Amin until those who were behind him in the first line could hear him. (Abu Dawud 1:575)

Abu Dawud 1:575 and Ibn Majah 1:279 recorded this Hadith with the addition, "Then the Masjid would shake because of (those behind the Prophet ) reciting Amin.'' Also, Ad-Daraqutni recorded this Hadith and commented that it is Hasan. Further, Bilal narrated that he said, "O Messenger of Allah! Do not finish saying Amin before I can join you.'' (Ad-Daraqutni 1:335) This was recorded by Abu Dawud 1:576. In addition, Abu Nasr Al-Qushayri narrated that Al-Hasan and Ja`far As-Sadiq stressed the `m' in Amin.

Saying Amin is recommended for those who are not praying (when reciting Al-Fatihah) and is strongly recommended for those who are praying, whether alone or behind the Imam. The Two Sahihs recorded that the Messenger of Allah said,

[إِذَا أَمَّنَ الْإِمَامُ فَأَمِّنُوا، فَإِنَّهُ مَنْ وَافَقَ تَأْمِينُهُ تَأْمِينَ الْمَلَائِكَةِ غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ]

(When the Imam says, ' Amin', then say, 'Amin', because whoever says, Amin' with the angels, his previous sins will be forgiven.) (Fath Al-Bari 11:203 en Muslim 1:307)

Muslim recorded that the Messenger of Allah said,

[إِذَا قَالَ أَحَدُكُمْ فِي الصَّلَاةِ: آمِينَ، وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ فِي السَّمَاءِ: آمِينَ، فَوَافَقَتْ إِحْدَاهُمَا الْأُخْرَى غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ]

(When any of you says in the prayer, 'Amin ` and the angels in heaven say, `Amin', in unison, his previous sins will be forgiven.) (Muslim 1:307)

It was said that the Hadith talks about both the angels and the Muslims saying Amin at the same time. The Hadith also refers to when the Amins said by the angels and the Muslims are equally sincere (thus bringing about forgiveness).

Further, it is recorded in Sahih Muslim that Abu Musa related to the Prophet that he said,

[إِذَا قَالَ يَعنِي الْإِمَامَ : وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ، فَقُولُوا: آمِينَ، يُجِبْكُمُ اللهُ]

(When the Imam says, `Walad-dallin', say, `Amin' and Allah will answer your invocation.) (Muslim 1:303)

In addition, At-Tirmidhi said that `Amin' means, "Do not disappoint our hope'', while the majority of scholars said that it means. "Answer our invocation.''

Also, in his Musnad, Imam Ahmad recorded that `A'ishah said that when the Jews were mentioned to him, the Messenger of Allah said,

[إِنَّهُم لَنْ يَحْسُدُونَا عَلَى شَيْءٍ كَمَا يَحْسُدُونَا عَلَى الْجُمُعَةِ الَّتِي هَدَانَا اللهُ لَهَا وَضَلُّوا عَنْهَا، وَعَلَى الْقِبْلَةِ الَّتِي هَدَانَا اللهُ لَهَا وَضَلُّوا عَنْهَا وَعَلَى قَوْلِنَا خَلْفَ الْإِمَامِ: آمِينَ]

(They will not envy us for anything more than they envy us for Friday which we have been guided to, while they were led astray from it, and for the Qiblah which we were guided to, while they were led astray from it, and for our saying `Amin' behind the Imam.) (Ahmad 6:134)

Also, Ibn Majah recorded this Hadith with the wording,

[مَا حَسَدَتْكُمُ الْيَهُودُ عَلَى شَيْءٍ مَا حَسَدَتْكُمْ عَلَى السَّلَامِ وَالتَّأْمِينِ]

(The Jews have never envied you more than for your saying the Salam (Islamic greeting) and for saying Amin.) (Ibn Majah 2:278).


The Tafsir of Surat Al-Baqarah (De Koe) (Chapter 2)
Top Index

Which was revealed in Al-Madinah

1. The Virtues of Surat Al-Baqarah
2. Virtues of Surat Al-Baqarah and Surat Al `Imran
3. Surat Al-Baqarah was revealed in Al-Madinah
4. The Discussion of the Individual Letters
5. The Letters at the Beginning of Surahs
6. These Letters testify to the Miraculous Qur'an
7. There is no Doubt in the Qur'an
8. Guidance is granted to Those Who have Taqwa
9. The Meaning of Al-Muttaqin
10. There are Two Types of Hidayah (Guidance)
11. Meaning of Taqwa
12. The Meaning of Iman
13. The Meaning of Al-Ghayb
14. Meaning of Iqamat As-Salah
15. The Meaning of "Spending" in this Ayah
16. The Meaning of Salah
17. Attributes of the Believers
18. Guidance and Success are awarded to the Believers
19. Meaning of Khatama
20. The Meaning of Ghishawah
21. The Hypocrites
22. Meaning of Nifaq
23. The Beginning of Hypocrisy
24. The Tafsir of Ayah 2:8
25. The Meaning of `Disease' in this Ayah
26. Meaning of Mischief
27. Types of Mischief that the Hypocrites commit
28. The Hypocrites' Cunning and Deceit
29. Human and Jinn Devils
30. The Meaning of `Mocking
31. The Hypocrites suffering for their Plots
32. Meaning of `Leaves them increasing in their deviation to wander blindly
33. The Example of the Hypocrites
34. Another Parable of the Hypocrites
35. Types of Believers and Types of Disbelievers
36. Types of Hearts
37. Tawhid Al-Uluhiyyah
38. A Hadith with the same Meaning
39. Signs of Allah's Existence
40. The Message of Messenger of Allah is True
41. The Challenge
42. Examples of the Miracle of the Qur'an
43. The Qur'an is the Greatest Miracle given to the Prophet
44. Meaning of `Stones
45. Jahannam (Hellfire) exists now
46. Rewards of Righteous Believers
47. The similarity between the Fruits of Paradise
48. The Wives of the People of Paradise are Pure
49. A Parable about the Life of This World
50. The Meaning of `Loss
51. Evidence of Allah's Ability
52. The Beginning of the Creation
53. The Earth was created before Heaven
54. Spreading the Earth out after the Heavens were created
55. Adam and His Children inhabited the Earth, Generation after Generation
56. The Obligation of appointing a Khalifah and some related Issues
57. The Virtue of Adam over the Angels
58. Adam's Virtue of Knowledge is demonstrated
59. Honoring Adam when the Angels prostrated before Him
60. The Prostration was before Adam but the Obedience was to Allah
61. Adam was honored again
62. Hawwa' was created before Adam entered Paradise
63. Allah tests Adam
64. Adam was very Tall
65. Adam remained in Paradise for an Hour
66. A Doubt and a Rebuttal
67. Adam repents and supplicates to Allah
68. Encouraging the Children of Israel to embrace Islam
69. Israel is Prophet Ya`qub (Jacob)
70. Allah's Blessings for the Children of Israel
71. Reminding the Children of Israel of Allah's Covenant with Them
72. The Prohibition of hiding the Truth and distorting It with Falsehood
73. The Condemnation of commanding Others to observe Righteousness while ignoring Righteousness
74. The Support that comes with Patience and Prayer
75. Reminding the Children of Israel that They were preferred above the Other Nations
76. The Ummah of Muhammad is Better than the Children of Israel
77. Neither Intercession, Ransom, or Assistance will be accepted on behalf of the Disbelievers
78. The Children of Israel were saved from Pharaoh and His Army Who drowned
79. Fasting the Day of `Ashura
80. The Children of Israel worshipped the Calf
81. The Children of Israel kill each other in Repentance
82. The Best among the Children of Israel ask to see Allah; their subsequent Death and Resurrection
83. The Shade, the Manna and the Quail
84. The Virtue of Muhammad's Companions over the Companions of all Other Prophets
85. The Jews were Rebellious instead of Appreciative when They gained Victory
86. Twelve Springs gush forth
87. The Children of Israel preferred Foods inferior to Manna and Quails
88. Covering the Jews in Humiliation and Misery
89. Meaning of Kibr
90. Faith and doing Righteous Deeds equals Salvation in all Times
91. The Meaning of Mu'min, or Believer
92. Why the Jews were called `Yahud
93. Why the christians were called nasara
94. The Sabi'un or Sabians
95. Taking the Covenant from the Jews
96. The Jews breach the Sanctity of the Sabbath
97. The Monkeys and Swine that exist now are not the Descendants of Those that were transformed
98. The Story of the murdered Israeli Man and the Cow
99. The Stubbornness of the Jews regarding the Cow; Allah made the Matter difficult for Them
100. Bringing the murdered Man back to Life
101. The Harshness of the Jews
102. Solid Inanimate Objects possess a certain Degree of Awareness
103. There was little Hope that the Jews Who lived during the Time of the Prophet could have believed
104. The Jews knew the Truth of the Prophet, but disbelieved in Him
105. The Meaning of `Ummi
106. The Explanation of Amani
107. Woe unto Those Criminals among the Jews
108. The Jews hope They will only remain in the Fire for a Few Days
109. When Small Sins gather, They bring about Destruction
110. The Covenant that Allah took from the Children of Israel
111. The Terms of the Covenant and their Breach of It
112. The Arrogance of the Jews who denied and killed Their Prophets
113. Jibril is Ruh Al-Qudus
114. The Jews tried to kill the Prophet
115. The Jews were awaiting the Prophet's coming, but They disbelieved in Him when He was sent
116. Although The Jews denied the Truth, They claimed to be Believers!
117. The Jews rebel after Allah took Their Covenant and raised the Mountain above Their Heads
118. Calling the Jews to invoke Allah to destroy the Unjust Party
119. Disbelievers wish They could live longer
120. The Jews are the Enemies of Jibril
121. Choosing Some Angels to believe in over Others is Disbelief like choosing Some Prophets over Others
122. Proofs of Muhammad's Prophethood
123. The Jews break Their Covenants
124. The Jews abandoned the Book of Allah and practiced Magic
125. Magic existed before Sulayman (Solomon)
126. The Story of Harut and Marut, and the Explanation that They were Angels
127. Learning Magic is Kufr
128. Causing a Separation between the Spouses is One of the Effects of Magic
129. Allah's Appointed Term supercedes Everything
130. Manners in Speech
131. The extreme Enmity that the Disbelievers and the People of the Book have against Muslims
132. The Meaning of Naskh
133. Naskh occurs even though the Jews deny it
134. The Prohibition of Unnecessary Questions
135. The Prohibition of following the Ways of the People of the Book
136. The Encouragement to perform Good Deeds
137. The Hopes of the People of the Book
138. The Jews and Christians dispute among Themselves out of Disbelief and Stubbornness
139. Of the Most Unjust are Those Who prevent People from the Masjids and strive for their Ruin
140. The Good News that Islam shall prevail
141. Facing the Qiblah (Direction of the Prayer)
142. The Qiblah for the People of Al-Madinah is what is between the East and the West
143. Refuting the Claim that Allah has begotten a Son
144. Everything is within Allah's Grasp
145. The Meaning of Bad 299
146. The Description of the Prophet in the Tawrah
147. The Meaning of Correct Tilawah
148. Ibrahim Al-Khalil was an Imam for the People
149. What were the Words that Ibrahim was tested with
150. The Unjust do not qualify for Allah's Promise
151. The Virtue of Allah's House
152. Allah described the House as a safe resort and refuge, for those who visit it are safe, even if they had committed acts of evil. This honor comes from the honor of the person who built it first, Khalil Ar-Rahman, just as Allah said,
153. The Command to purify the House
154. Makkah is a Sacred Area
155. Ibrahim invokes Allah to make Makkah an Area of Safety and Sustenance
156. Building the Ka`bah and asking Allah to accept This Deed
157. The Story of rebuilding the House by Quraysh before the Messenger of Allah was sent as Prophet
158. The Dispute regarding Who should place the Black Stone in Its Place
159. Ibn Az-Zubayr rebuilds Al-Ka`bah the way the Prophet wished
160. An Ethiopian will destroy the Ka`bah just before the Last Hour
161. Al-Khalil's Supplication
162. The Meaning of Manasik
163. Ibrahim's Supplication that Allah sends the Prophet
164. The Meaning of Al-Kitab wal-Hikmah
165. Only the Fools deviate from Ibrahim's Religion
166. Adhering to Tawhid until Death
167. Ya`qub's Will and Testament to His Children upon His Death
168. The Muslim believes in all that Allah `revealed and all the Prophets
169. Changing the Qiblah - Direction of the Prayer
170. The Virtues of Muhammad's Nation
171. The Wisdom behind changing the Qiblah
172. The First Abrogation in the Qur'an was about the Qiblah
173. Is the Qiblah the Ka`bah itself or its General Direction
174. The Jews had Knowledge that the (Muslim) Qiblah would later be changed
175. The Stubbornness and Disbelief of the Jews
176. The Jews know that the Prophet is True, but they hide the Truth
177. Every Nation has a Qiblah
178. Why was changing the Qiblah mentioned thrice
179. The Wisdom behind abrogating the Previous Qiblah
180. Muhammad's Prophecy is a Great Bounty from Allah
181. The Virtue of Patience and Prayer
182. The Life enjoyed by Martyrs
183. The Believer is Patient with the Affliction and thus gains a Reward
184. The Virtue of asserting that We all belong to Allah, during Afflictions
185. The Meaning of "it is not a sin" in the Ayah
186. The Wisdom behind legislating Sa`i between As-Safa and Al-Marwah
187. The Eternal Curse for Those Who hide Religious Commandments
188. Cursing the Disbelievers is allowed
189. The Proofs for Tawhid
190. The Condition of the Polytheists in this Life and the Hereafter
191. The Order to eat the Lawful Things, and the Prohibition of following the Footsteps of Shaytan
192. The Polytheist imitates Other Polytheists
193. The Disbeliever is just like an Animal
194. The Command to eat Pure Things and the Explanation of the Prohibited Things
195. The Prohibited is Allowed in Cases of Emergency
196. Criticizing the Jews for concealing what Allah revealed
197. Al-Birr (Piety, Righteousness)
198. The Command and the Wisdom behind the Law of Equality
199. The Benefits and Wisdom of the Law of Equality
200. Including Parents and Relatives in the Will was later abrogated
201. The Will for the Relatives that do not qualify as Inheritors
202. The Will should observe Justice
203. The Virtue of Fairness in the Will
204. The Order to Fast
205. The various Stages of Fasting
206. The Fidyah (Expiation) for breaking the Fast is for the Old and the Ailing
207. The Virtue of Ramadan and the Revelation of the Qur'an in it.
208. The Virtues of the Qur'an
209. The Obligation of Fasting Ramadan
210. Several Rulings concerning the Fast
211. Ease and not Hardship
212. Remembering Allah upon performing the Acts of Worship
213. Allah hears the Servant's Supplication
214. Allah accepts the Invocation
215. Three Persons Whose Supplication will not be rejected
216. Eating, Drinking and Sexual Intercourse are allowed during the Nights of Ramadan
217. Time for Suhur
218. Suhur is recommended
219. There is no Harm in beginning the Fast while Junub (a state of major ritual impurity)
220. Fasting ends at Sunset
221. Prohibition of Uninterrupted Fasting (Wisal)
222. The Rulings of I`tikaf
223. Bribery is prohibited and is a Sin
224. The Judge's Ruling does not allow the Prohibited or prohibit the Lawful
225. The Crescent Moons
226. Righteousness comes from Taqwa
227. The Command to fight Those Who fight Muslims and killing Them wherever They are found
228. The Prohibition of mutilating the Dead and stealing from the captured Goods
229. Shirk is worse than Killing
230. Fighting in the Sacred Area is prohibited, except in Self-Defense
231. The Order to fight until there is no more Fitnah
232. Fighting during the Sacred Months is prohibited, except in Self-Defense
233. The Command to spend in the Cause of Allah
234. The Command to complete Hajj and `Umrah
235. If One is prevented while in Route, He slaughters the Sacrifice, shaves his Head and ends Ihram
236. Whoever shaved his Head during Ihram, will have to pay the Fidyah
237. Tamattu` during Hajj
238. Whoever performs Tamattu` should fast Ten Days if He does not have a Hady
239. The Residents of Makkah do not perform Tamattu
240. When does Ihram for Hajj start
241. The Months of Hajj
242. Prohibition of Rafath (Sexual Intercourse) during Hajj
243. The Prohibition of Fusuq during Hajj
244. The Prohibition of arguing during Hajj
245. The Encouragement for Righteous Deeds and to bring Provisions for Hajj
246. The Provisions of the Hereafter
247. Commercial Transactions during Hajj
248. Standing at `Arafat
249. The Time to leave `Arafat and Al-Muzdalifah
250. Al-Mash`ar Al-Haram
251. The Order to stand on `Arafat and to depart from it
252. Asking Allah for His Forgiveness
253. The Order for Remembrance of Allah and seeking Good in this Life and the Hereafter upon completing the Rites of Hajj
254. Remembering Allah during the Days of Tashriq - Days of Eating and Drinking
255. The Appointed Days
256. The Characteristics of the Hypocrites
257. Rejecting Advice is Characteristic of the Hypocrites
258. The Sincere Believer prefers pleasing Allah
259. Entering Islam in its Entirety is obligated
260. Do not delay embracing the Faith
261. The Punishment for changing Allah's Favor and mocking the Believers
262. Disputing, after the Clear Signs have come, indicates Deviation
263. Victory only comes after succeeding in the Trials
264. Who deserves the Nafaqah (Spending or Charity)
265. Jihad is made Obligatory
266. The Nakhlah Military Maneuvers, and the Ruling on Fighting during the Sacred Months
267. The Gradual Prohibition of Khamr (Alchoholic Drink)
268. Spending whatever One could spare of his Money on Charity
269. Maintaining the Orphan's Property
270. The Prohibition of marrying Mushrik Men and Women
271. Sexual Intercourse with Menstruating Women is prohibited
272. Anal Sex is prohibited
273. The Reason behind revealing Allah's Statement: Your Wives are a Tilth for You.
274. The Prohibition of swearing to abandon a Good Deed
275. The Laghw (Unintentional) Vows
276. The Ila' and its Rulings
277. The `Iddah (Waiting Period) of the Divorced Woman
278. The Meaning of Al-Quru
279. A Woman's Statement about Menses and Purity is to be accepted
280. The Husband has the Right to take back his Divorced Wife during the `Iddah (Waiting Period)
281. The Rights the Spouses have over Each Other
282. The Virtue Men have over Women
283. Divorce is Thrice
284. Taking back the Mahr (Dowry)
285. Allowing Khul` and the Return of the Mahr in that Case
286. The `Iddah (Waiting Period) for the Khul
287. Pronouncing Three Divorces at the same Time is Unlawful
288. The Wife cannot be taken back after the Third Divorce
289. The Curse on the Participants of Tahlil/Halalah
290. When does a Woman who was divorced Three Times become Eligible for Her First Husband
291. Being Kind to the Divorced Wife
292. The Wali (Guardian) of the Divorced Woman should not prevent Her from going back to Her Husband
293. There is no Marriage without a Wali (for the Woman)
294. The Reason behind revealing the Ayah (2:232)
295. The Suckling Period is only Two Years
296. Suckling beyond the Two Years
297. Suckling for Monetary Compensation
298. No Darar (Harm) or Dirar (Revenge)
299. Fitam (weaning) occurs by Mutual Consent
300. The `Iddah (Waiting Period) of the Widow
301. The Wisdom behind legislating the `Iddah
302. The `Iddah of the Slave Mother whose Master dies
303. Mourning is required during the `Iddah of Death
304. Mentioning Marriage indirectly during the `Iddah
305. Divorce before consummating the Marriage
306. The Mut`ah (Gift) at the time of Divorce
307. The Wife gets half of Her Mahr if She is divorced before the Marriage is consummated
308. The Middle Prayer
309. The Proof that the `Asr Prayer is the Middle Prayer
310. The Prohibition of speaking during the Prayer
311. The Fear Prayer
312. Prayer during the Times of Peace is performed normally
313. Ayah (2:240) was abrogated
314. The Necessity of the Mut`ah (Gift) at the Time of Divorce
315. The Story of the Dead People
316. Abandoning Jihad does not alter Destiny
317. The Good Loan and its Reward
318. The Story of the Jews Who sought a King to be appointed over Them
319. Allah Honored Some Prophets Above Others
320. The Virtue of Ayat Al-Kursi
321. Allah's Greatest Name is in Ayat Al-Kursi
322. Ayat Al-Kursi has Ten Complete Arabic Sentences
323. No Compulsion in Religion
324. Tawhid is the Most Trustworthy Handhold
325. The Debate Between Ibrahim Al-Khalil and King Nimrod
326. The Story of `Uzayr
327. The Khalil Supplicates to Allah to Show Him How He Resurrects the Dead
328. The Answer to Al-Khalil's Request
329. Rewards of Spending in Allah's Cause
330. To Remind About Charity Given is Forbidden
331. The Example of Evil Deeds Nullifying Good Deeds
332. The Encouragement to Spend Honest Money for Allah's Sake
333. Shaytanic Doubts Concerning Spending in Charity
334. The Meaning of Al-Hikmah
335. The Virtue of Disclosing or Concealing Charity
336. Giving Charity to Polytheists
337. Who Deserves Charity
338. Praise for those who Spend in Charity
339. The Punishment for Dealing with Riba (Interest and Usury)
340. Allah Does Not Bless Riba
341. Allah Increases Charity, Just as One Raises His Animal
342. Allah Does not Like the Disbelieving Sinners
343. Praising Those Who Thank Allah
344. The Necessity of Taqwa and Avoiding Riba
345. Riba Constitutes War Against Allah and His Messenger
346. Being Kind to Debtors Who Face Financial Difficulties
347. The Necessity of Writing Transactions That Take Effect Later on
348. Witnesses Should Attend the Dictation of Contracts
349. What is the `Mortgaging' Mentioned in the Ayah
350. Would the Servants be Accountable for What They Conceal in Their Hearts
351. The Tafsir of the Last Two Ayat of Surat Al-Baqarah


1. The Virtues of Surat Al-Baqarah

In Musnad Ahmad, Sahih Muslim, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa'i, it is recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Prophet said,

[لَا تَجْعَلُوا بُيُوتَكُمْ قُبُورًا فَإِنَّ الْبَيْتَ الَّذِي تُقْرَأُ فِيهِ سُورَةُ الْبَقَرَةِ لَا يَدْخُلُهُ الشَّيْطَان]

(Do not turn your houses into graves. Verily, Shaytan does not enter the house where Surat Al-Baqarah is recited.) At-Tirmidhi said, "Hasan Sahih.(Ahmad 2:284, Muslim 1:539, Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 8:180, An-Nasa'i in Al-Kubra 5:13)

Also, `Abdullah bin Mas`ud said, "Shaytan flees from the house where Surat Al-Baqarah is heard.'' This Hadith was collected by An-Nasa'i in Al-Yawm wal-Laylah An-Nasa'i in Al-Kubra 5:13, and Al-Hakim recorded it in his Mustadrak, and then said that its chain of narration is authentic, although the Two Sahihs did not collect it. (Al-Hakim 2:260) In his Musnad, Ad-Darimi recorded that Ibn Mas`ud said, "Shaytan departs the house where Surat Al-Baqarah is being recited, and as he leaves, he passes gas.'' Ad-Darimi also recorded that Ash-Sha`bi said that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud said, "Whoever recites ten Ayat from Surat Al-Baqarah in a night, then Shaytan will not enter his house that night. (These ten Ayat are) four from the beginning, Ayat Al-Kursi (255), the following two Ayat (256-257) and the last three Ayat.'' In another narration, Ibn Mas`ud said, "Then Shaytan will not come near him or his family, nor will he be touched by anything that he dislikes. Also, if these Ayat were to be recited over a senile person, they would wake him up.'' (Ad-Darimi 2:322)

Further, Sahl bin Sa`d said that the Messenger of Allah said,

[إِنَّ لِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ سَنَامًا، وَإِنَّ سَنَامَ الْقُرْآنِ الْبَقَرَةُ، وَإِنَّ مَنْ قَرَأَهَا فِي بَيْتِهِ لَيْلَةً لَمْ يَدْخُلْهُ الشَّيْطَانُ ثَلَاثَ لَيَالٍ، وَمَنْ قَرَأَهَا فِي بَيْتِهِ نَهَارًا لَمْ يَدْخُلْهُ الشَّيْطَانُ ثَلَاثَةَ أَيَّام]

(Everything has a hump (or, high peek), and Al-Baqarah is the high peek of the Qur'an. Whoever recites Al-Baqarah at night in his house, then Shaytan will not enter that house for three nights. Whoever recites it during a day in his house, then Shaytan will not enter that house for three days.) This Hadith was collected by Abu Al-Qasim At-Tabarani 6:163, Abu Hatim Ibn Hibban 2:78, in his Sahih and Ibn Marduwyah.

At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah recorded that Abu Hurayrah said, "The Messenger of Allah sent an expedition force comprising of many men and asked each about what they memorized of the Qur'an. The Prophet came to one of the youngest men among them and asked him, `What have you memorized (of the Qur'an) young man' He said, `I memorized such and such Surahs and also Al-Baqarah.' The Prophet said, `You memorized Surat Al-Baqarah' He said, `Yes.' The Prophet said, `Then you are their commander.' One of the noted men (or chiefs) commented, `By Allah! I did not learn Surat Al-Baqarah, for fear that I would not be able to implement it. The Messenger of Allah said,

[تَعَلَّمُوا القُرْآنَ وَاقْرَءُوهُ، فَإِنَّ مَثَلَ الْقُرْآنِ لِمَنْ تَعَلَّمَهُ فَقَرَأَ وَقَامَ بِهِ كَمَثَلِ جِرَابٍ مَحْشُوَ مِسْكًا يَفُوحُ رِيحُهُ فِي كُلِّ مَكَانٍ، وَمَثَلُ مَنْ تَعَلَّمَهُ فَيَرْقُدُ وَهُوَ فِي جَوْفِهِ كَمَثَلِ جِرَابٍ أُوكِيَ عَلى مِسْك]

(Learn Al-Qur'an and recite it, for the example of whoever learns the Qur'an, recites it and adheres to it, is the example of a bag that is full of musk whose scent fills the air. The example of whoever learns the Qur'an and then sleeps (i.e. lazy) while the Qur'an is in his memory, is the example of a bag that has musk, but is closed tight.)

This is the wording collected by At-Tirmidhi, who said that this Hadith is Hasan. In another narration, At-Tirmidhi recorded this same Hadith in a Mursal manner, so Allah knows best. (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 8:186, An-Nasa'i in Al-Kubra 5:227 en Ibn Majah 1:78)

Also, Al-Bukhari recorded that Usayd bin Hudayr said that he was once reciting Surat Al-Baqarah while his horse was tied next to him. The horse started to make some noise. When Usayd stopped reciting, the horse stopped moving about. When he resumed reading, the horse started moving about again. When he stopped reciting, the horse stopped moving, and when he resumed reading, the horse started to move again. Meanwhile, his son Yahya was close to the horse, and he feared that the horse might step on him. When he moved his son back, he looked up to the sky and saw a cloud radiating with light that looked like lamps. In the morning, he went to the Prophet and told him what had happened and then said, "O Messenger of Allah! My son Yahya was close to the horse and I feared that she might step on him. When I attended to him and raised my head to the sky, I saw a cloud with lights like lamps. So I went, but I couldn't see it.'' The Prophet said, "Do you know what that was'' He said, "No.'' The Prophet said,

[تِلْكَ الْمَلَائِكَةُ دَنَتْ لِصَوْتِكَ وَلَو قَرَأْتَ لَأَصْبَحْتَ يَنْظُرُ النَّاسُ إِلَيْهَا، لَا تَتَوارَى مِنْهُم]

(They were the angels, they came close hearing your voice (reciting Surat Al-Baqarah), and if you had kept reading, the people would have been able to see the angels when the morning came, and the angels would not be hidden from their eyes.) (Fath Al-Bari 8:680)

This is the narration reported by Imam Abu Ubayd Al-Qasim bin Salam in his book Fada'il Al-Qur'an.

2. Virtues of Surat Al-Baqarah and Surat Al `Imran

Imam Ahmad said that Abu Nu`aym narrated to them that Bishr bin Muhajir said that `Abdullah bin Buraydah narrated to him from his father, "I was sitting with the Prophet and I heard him say,

[تَعَلَّمُوا سُورَةَ الْبَقَرَةِ فَإِنَّ أَخْذَهَا بَرَكَةٌ، وَتَرْكَهَا حَسْرَةٌ، وَلَا تَسْتَطِيعُهَا الْبَطَلَة]

(Learn Surat Al-Baqarah, because in learning it there is blessing, in ignoring it there is sorrow, and the sorceresses cannot memorize it.)

He kept silent for a while and then said,

[تَعَلَّمُوا سُورَةَ الْبَقَرَةِ وَآلَ عِمْرَانَ فَإِنَّهُمَا الزَّهْرَاوَانِ، يُظِلَّانِ صَاحِبَهُمَا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ كَأَنَّهُمَا غَمَامَتَانِ أَوْ غَيَايَتَانِ أَوْ فِرْقَانِ مِنْ طَيْرٍ صَوَافَّ، وَإِنَّ الْقُرآنَ يَلْقى صَاحِبَهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ حِينَ يَنْشَقُّ عَنْهُ قَبْرُهُ كَالرَّجُلِ الشَّاحِبِ فَيَقُولُ لَهُ: هَلْ تَعْرِفُنِي؟ فَيَقُولُ: مَا أَعْرِفُكَ. فَيَقُولُ: أَنَا صَاحِبُكَ الْقُرْآنُ الَّذِي أَظْمَأْتُكَ فِي الْهَوَاجِرِ وَأَسْهَرْتُ لَيْلَكَ وَإِنَّ كُلَّ تَاجِرٍ مِنْ وَرَاءِ تِجَارَتِهِ، وَإِنَّكَ الْيَوْمَ مِنْ وَرَاءِ كُلِّ تِجَارَةٍ فَيُعْطَى الْمُلْكَ بِيَمِينِهِ وَالْخُلْدَ بِشِمَالِهِ وَيُوضَعُ عَلَى رَأْسِهِ تَاجُ الْوَقَارِ، وَيُكْسَى وَالِدَاهُ حُلَّتَانِ لَا يَقُومُ لَهُمَا أَهْلُ الدُّنْيَا، فَيَقُولَانِ: بِمَا كُسِينَا هَذَا؟ فَيُقَالُ: بِأَخْذِ وَلَدِكُمَا الْقُرْآنَ ثُمَّ يُقَالُ: اقْرَأْ وَاصْعَدْ فِي دَرَجِ الْجَنَّةِ وَغُرَفِهَا، فَهُوَ فِي صُعُودٍ مَا دَامَ يَقْرأُ هَذًّا كَانَ أَوْ تَرْتِيلًا]

(Learn Surat Al-Baqarah and Al `Imran because they are two lights and they shade their people on the Day of Resurrection, just as two clouds, two spaces of shade or two lines of (flying) birds. The Qur'an will meet its companion in the shape of a pale-faced man on the Day of Resurrection when his grave is opened. The Qur'an will ask him, 'Do you know me' The man will say, 'I do not know you.' The Qur'an will say, 'I am your companion, the Qur'an, which has brought you thirst during the heat and made you stay up during the night. Every merchant has his certain trade. But, this Day, you are behind all types of trade.' Kingship will then be given to him in his right hand, eternal life in his left hand and the crown of grace will be placed on his head. His parents will also be granted two garments that the people of this life could never afford. They will say, 'Why were we granted these garments' It will be said, 'Because your son was carrying the Qur'an.' It will be said (to the reader of the Qur'an), 'Read and ascend through the levels of Paradise.' He will go on ascending as long as he recites, whether reciting slowly or quickly.)'' (Ahmad 5:352)

Ibn Majah 2:1242, also recorded part of this Hadith from Bishr bin Al-Muhajir, and this chain of narrators is Hasan, according to the criteria of Imam Muslim.

A part of this Hadith is also supported by other Hadiths. For instance, Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Umamah Al-Bahili said that he heard the Messenger of Allah say,

[اقْرَأُوا الْقُرْآنَ فَإِنَّهُ شَافِعٌ لِأَهْلِهِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ اقْرَأُوا الزَّهْرَاوَيْنِ، الْبَقَرَةَ وَآلَ عِمْرَانَ، فَإِنَّهُمَا يَأْتِيَانِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ كَأَنَّهُمَا غَمَامَتَانِ، أَوْ كَأَنَّهُمَا غَيَايَتَانِ أَوْ كَأَنَّهُمَا فِرْقَانِ مِنْ طَيْرٍ صَوَافَّ، يُحَاجَّانِ عَنْ أَهْلِهِمَا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَة]

(Read the Qur'an, because it will intercede on behalf of its people on the Day of Resurrection. Read the two lights, Al-Baqarah and Al `Imran, because they will come in the shape of two clouds, two shades or two lines of birds on the Day of Resurrection and will argue on behalf of their people on that Day.)

The Prophet then said,

[ اقْرَأُوا الْبَقَرَةَ فَإِنَّ أَخْذَهَا بَرَكَةٌ وَتَرْكَهَا حَسْرَةٌ وَلَا تَسْتَطِيعُهَا الْبَطَلَة]

(Read Al-Baqarah, because in having it there is blessing, and in ignoring there is a sorrow and the sorceresses cannot memorize it.) (Ahmad 5:249)

Also, Imam Muslim 1:553 narrated this Hadith in the Book of Prayer
Imam Ahmad narrated that An-Nawwas bin Sam`an said that the Prophet said,

[يُؤْتَى بِالقُرْآنِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَأَهْلِهِ الَّذِينَ كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ بِهِ تَقْدَمُهُم سُورَةُ الْبَقَرَةِ وَآلُ عِمْرَان]

(On the Day of Resurrection the Qur'an and its people who used to implement it will be brought forth, preceded by Surat Al-Baqarah and Al `Imran.)

An-Nawwas said, "The Prophet set three examples for these two Surahs and I did not forget these examples ever since. He said,

[كَأَنَّهُمَا غَمَامَتَانِ، أَوْ ظُلَّتَانِ سَودَاوَانِ بَيْنَهُمَا شَرْقٌ، أَوْ كَأَنَّهُمَا فِرْقَانِ مِنْ طَيْرٍ صَوَافَّ، يُحَاجَّانِ عَنْ صَاحِبِهِمَا]

(They will come like two clouds, two dark shades or two lines of birds arguing on behalf of their people.) (Ahmad 4:183)
It was also recorded in Sahih Muslim 1:554 and At-Tirmidhi narrated this Hadith, which he rendered Hasan Gharib. (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 8:191)

3. Surat Al-Baqarah was revealed in Al-Madinah

There is no disagreement over the view that Surat Al-Baqarah was revealed in its entirety in Al-Madinah. Moreover, Al-Baqarah was one of the first Surahs to be revealed in Al-Madinah, while, Allah's statement,

[وَاتَّقُواْ يَوْمًا تُرْجَعُونَ فِيهِ إِلَى اللَّهِ]

(And be afraid of the Day when you shall be brought back to Allah.) (2:281) was the last Ayah to be revealed from the Qur'an. Also, the Ayat about usury were among the last Ayat to be revealed. Khalid bin Ma`dan used to call Al-Baqarah the Fustat (tent) of the Qur'an. Some of the scholars said that it contains a thousand news incidents, a thousand commands and a thousand prohibitions. Those who count said that the number of Al-Baqarah's Ayat is two hundred and eighty-seven, and its words are six thousand two hundred and twenty-one words. Further, its letters are twenty-five thousand five hundred. Allah knows best.

Ibn Jurayj narrated that `Ata' said that Ibn `Abbas said, "Surat Al-Baqarah was revealed in Al-Madinah.'' (Ad-Durr Al-Manthur 1:47) Also, Khasif said from Mujahid that `Abdullah bin Az-Zubayr said; "Surat Al-Baqarah was revealed in Al-Madinah.'' Several Imams and scholars of Tafsir issued similar statements, and there is no difference of opinion over this as we have stated.

The Two Sahihs recorded that Ibn Mas`ud kept the Ka`bah on his left side and Mina on his right side and threw seven pebbles (at the Jamrah) and said, "The one to whom Surat Al-Baqarah was revealed (i.e. the Prophet ) performed Rami (the Hajj rite of throwing pebbles) similarly.'' The Two Sahihs recorded this Hadith. (Fath Al-Bari 3:678, Muslim 2:942)

Further, Ibn Marduwyah reported a Hadith of Shu`bah from `Aqil bin Talhah from `Utbah bin Marthad; "The Prophet saw that his Companions were not in the first lines and he said,

[يَا أَصْحَابَ سُورَةِ الْبَقَرَة]

(O Companions of Surat Al-Baqarah.) I Think that this incident occurred during the battle of Hunayn when the Companions retreated. Then, the Prophet commanded Al-`Abbas (his uncle) to yell out,

[يَا أَصْحَابَ الشَّجَرَة]

(O Companions of the tree!) meaning the Companions who participated in the pledge of Ar-Ridwan (under the tree). In another narration, Al- `Abbas cried, "O Companions of Surat Al-Baqarah!'' encouraging them to come back, so they returned from every direction. Also, during the battle of Al-Yamamah, against the army of Musaylimah the Liar, the Companions first retreated because of the huge number of soldiers in Musaylimah's army. The Muhajirun and the Ansar called out for each other, saying; "O people of Surat Al-Baqarah!'' Allah then gave them victory over their enemy, may Allah be pleased with all of the companions of all the Messengers of Allah. (Al-Majma 6:180)

[بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ ]

[الم ]

(In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful)

(1. Alif Lam Mim).

4. The Discussion of the Individual Letters

The individual letters in the beginning of some Surahs are among those things whose knowledge Allah has kept only for Himself. This was reported from Abu Bakr, `Umar, `Uthman, `Ali and Ibn Mas`ud. It was said that these letters are the names of some of the Surahs. It was also said that they are the beginnings that Allah chose to start the Surahs of the Qur'an with. Khasif stated that Mujahid said, "The beginnings of the Surahs, such as Qaf, Sad, Ta Sin Mim and Alif Lam Ra, are just some letters of the alphabet.'' Some linguists also stated that they are letters of the alphabet and that Allah simply did not cite the entire alphabet of twenty-eight letters. For instance, they said, one might say, "My son recites Alif, Ba, Ta, Tha... '' he means the entire alphabet although he stops before mentioning the rest of it. This opinion was mentioned by Ibn Jarir. (At-Tabari 1:208)

5. The Letters at the Beginning of Surahs

If one removes the repetitive letters, then the number of letters mentioned at the beginning of the Surahs is fourteen: Alif, Lam, Mim, Sad, Ra, Kaf, Ha, Ya, `Ayn, Ta, Sin, Ha, Qaf, Nun.

So glorious is He Who made everything subtly reflect His wisdom.

Moreover, the scholars said, "There is no doubt that Allah did not reveal these letters for jest and play.'' Some ignorant people said that some of the Qur'an does not mean anything, (meaning, such as these letters) thus committing a major mistake. On the contrary, these letters carry a specific meaning. Further, if we find an authentic narration leading to the Prophet that explains these letters, we will embrace the Prophet's statement. Otherwise, we will stop where we were made to stop and will proclaim,

[ءَامَنَّا بِهِ كُلٌّ مِّنْ عِندِ رَبِّنَا]

(We believe in it; all of it (clear and unclear verses) is from our Lord) (3:7).

The scholars did not agree on one opinion or explanation regarding this subject. Therefore, whoever thinks that one scholar's opinion is correct, he is obliged to follow it, otherwise it is better to refrain from making any judgment on this matter. Allah knows best.

6. These Letters testify to the Miraculous Qur'an

The wisdom behind mentioning these letters in the beginning of the Surahs, regardless of the exact meanings of these letters, is that they testify to the miracle of the Qur'an. Indeed, the servants are unable to produce something like the Qur'an, although it is comprised of the same letters with which they speak to each other. This opinion was mentioned by Ar-Razi in his Tafsir who related it to Al-Mubarrid and several other scholars. Al-Qurtubi also related this opinion to Al-Farra' and Qutrub. Az-Zamakhshari agreed with this opinion in his book, Al-Kashshaf. In addition, the Imam and scholar Abu Al-`Abbas Ibn Taymiyyah and our Shaykh Al-Hafiz Abu Al-Hajjaj Al-Mizzi agreed with this opinion. Al-Mizzi told me that it is also the opinion of Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah. KAz-Zamakhshari said that these letters, "Were not all mentioned once in the beginning of the Qur'an. Rather, they were repeated so that the challenge (against the creation) is more daring. Similarly, several stories were mentioned repeatedly in the Qur'an, and also the challenge was repeated in various areas (i.e., to produce something like the Qur'an). Sometimes, one letter at a time was mentioned, such as Sad, Nun and Qaf. Sometimes two letters were mentioned, such as

[حـم ]

(Ha Mim) (44:1) Sometimes, three letters were mentioned, such as,

[الم ]

(Alif Lam Mim (2: 1)) and four letters, such as,

[المر]

(`Alif Lam Mim Ra) (13:1), and

[المص ]

(Alif Lam Mim Sad) (7:1).

Sometimes, five letters were mentioned, such as,

[كهيعص ]

(Kaf Ha Ya `Ayn Sad) (19:1), and;

[حـم - تَنزِيلُ الْكِتَـبِ مِنَ اللَّهِ الْعَزِيزِ الْعَلِيمِ ]

(Ha Mim. `Ayn Sin Qaf) (42:1-2).

This is because the words that are used in speech are usually comprised of one, two, three, four, or five letters.''

Every Surah that begins with these letters demonstrates the Qur'an's miracle and magnificence, and this fact is known by those well-versed in such matters. The count of these Surahs is twenty-nine. For instance, Allah said,

[الم ذَلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لاَ رَيْبَ فِيهِ]

(Alif Lam Mim) This is the Book (the Qur'an), wherein there is no doubt (2:1-2),

[الم - ذَلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لاَ رَيْبَ فِيهِ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ نَزَّلَ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَـبَ بِالْحَقِّ مُصَدِّقاً لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ]

(Alif Lam Mim. Allah! La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), Al-Hayyul-Qayyuum (the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists). It is He Who has sent down the Book (the Qur'an) to you (Muhammad ) with truth, confirming what came before it.) (3:1-3), and,

[المص كِتَـبٌ أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ فَلاَ يَكُن فِى صَدْرِكَ حَرَجٌ مِّنْهُ]

(Alif Lam Mim Sad. (This is the) Book (the Qur'an) sent down unto you (O Muhammad ), so let not your breast be narrow therefrom) (7:1-2).

Also, Allah said,

[الر كِتَابٌ أَنزَلْنَـهُ إِلَيْكَ لِتُخْرِجَ النَّاسَ مِنَ الظُّلُمَـتِ إِلَى النُّورِ بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِمْ]

(Alif Lam Ra. (This is) a Book which We have revealed unto you (O Muhammad ) in order that you might lead mankind out of darkness (of disbelief and polytheism) into the light (of belief in the Oneness of Allah and Islamic Monotheism) by their Lord's leave) (14:1),

[الم - ذَلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لاَ رَيْبَ فِيهِ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ ]

(Alif Lam Mim. The revelation of the Book (this Qur'an) in which there is no doubt, is from the Lord of the `Alamin (mankind, Jinn and all that exists)!) (32:1-2),

[حـم - تَنزِيلُ الْكِتَـبِ مِنَ اللَّهِ الْعَزِيزِ الْعَلِيمِ ]

(Ha Mim. A revelation from (Allah) the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful) (41:1-2), and,

[حـم - تَنزِيلُ الْكِتَـبِ مِنَ اللَّهِ الْعَزِيزِ الْعَلِيمِ - غَافِرِ الذَّنبِ وَقَابِلِ التَّوْبِ شَدِيدِ الْعِقَابِ ذِى الطَّوْلِ لاَ إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ إِلَيْهِ الْمَصِيرُ ]

(Ha Mim. `Ain Sin Qaf. Likewise Allah, the Almighty, the Wise sends revelation to you (O Muhammad ) as (He sent revelation to) those before you.) (42:1-3).

There are several other Ayat that testify to what we have mentioned above, and Allah knows best.

[ذَلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لاَ رَيْبَ فِيهِ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ ]

(2. That is Book in which there is no Rayb, guidance for the Muttaqin).

7. There is no Doubt in the Qur'an

The Book, is the Qur'an, and Rayb means doubt. As-Suddi said that Abu Malik and Abu Salih narrated from Ibn `Abbas, and Murrah Al-Hamadani narrated from Ibn Mas`ud and several other Companions of the Messenger of Allah that,

[لاَ رَيْبَ فِيهِ]

(In which there is no Rayb), means about which there is no doubt. (At-Tabari 1:228) Abu Ad-Darda', Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Abu Malik, Nafi` `Ata', Abu Al-`Aliyah, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, Muqatil bin Hayyan, As-Suddi, Qatadah and Isma`il bin Abi Khalid said similarly. In addition, Ibn Abi Hatim said, "I do not know of any disagreement over this explanation.'' (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:31) The meaning of this is that the Book, the Qur'an, is without a doubt revealed from Allah. Similarly, Allah said in Surat As- Sajdah,

[الم - ذَلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لاَ رَيْبَ فِيهِ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ ]

(Alif Lam Mim). The revelation of the Book (this Qur'an) in which there is no doubt, is from the Lord of all that exists) (32:1-2).

Some scholars stated that this Ayah - 2:2 - contains a prohibition meaning, "Do not doubt the Qur'an.'' Furthermore, some of the reciters of the Qur'an pause upon reading,

[لاَ رَيْبَ]

(there is no doubt) and they then continue;

[فِيهِ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ]

(in which there is guidance for the Muttaqin (the pious and righteous persons)). However, it is better to pause at,

[لاَ رَيْبَ فِيهِ]

(in which there is no doubt) because in this case,

[هُدًى]

(guidance) becomes an attribute of the Qur'an and carries a better meaning than,

[فِيهِ هُدًى]

(in which there is guidance).

8. Guidance is granted to Those Who have Taqwa

Hidayah - correct guidance - is only granted to those who have Taqwa - fear of Allah. Allah said,

[قُلْ هُوَ لِلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ هُدًى وَشِفَآءٌ وَالَّذِينَ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ فِى ءَاذَانِهِمْ وَقْرٌ وَهُوَ عَلَيْهِمْ عَمًى أُوْلَـئِكَ يُنَادَوْنَ مِن مَّكَانٍ بَعِيدٍ]

(Say: It is for those who believe, a guide and a healing. And as for those who disbelieve, there is heaviness (deafness) in their ears, and it (the Qur'an) is blindness for them. They are those who are called from a place far away (so they neither listen nor understand)) (41:44), and,

[وَنُنَزِّلُ مِنَ الْقُرْءَانِ مَا هُوَ شِفَآءٌ وَرَحْمَةٌ لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَلاَ يَزِيدُ الظَّـلِمِينَ إَلاَّ خَسَارًا ]

(And We send down of the Qur'an that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe (in Islamic Monotheism and act on it), and it increases the Zalimin (wrongdoers) in nothing but loss) (17:82).

This is a sample of the numerous Ayat indicating that the believers, in particular, benefit from the Qur'an. That is because the Qur'an is itself a form of guidance, but the guidance in it is only granted to the righteous, just as Allah said,

[يَأَيُّهَا النَّاسُ قَدْ جَآءَتْكُمْ مَّوْعِظَةٌ مَّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَشِفَآءٌ لِّمَا فِى الصُّدُورِ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةٌ لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ ]

(O mankind! There has come to you a good advice from your Lord (i. e. the Qur'an, enjoining all that is good and forbidding all that is evil), and a healing for that (disease of ignorance, doubt, hypocrisy and differences) which is in your breasts, ـ a guidance and a mercy (explaining lawful and unlawful things) for the believers) (10:57).

Ibn `Abbas and Ibn Mas`ud and other Companions of the Messenger of Allah said,

[هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ]

(guidance for the Muttaqin (the pious and righteous persons), means, a light for those who have Taqwa.

9. The Meaning of Al-Muttaqin

Ibn `Abbas said about,

[هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ]

(guidance for the Muttaqin) that it means, "They are the believers who avoid Shirk with Allah and who work in His obedience.'' Ibn `Abbas also said that Al-Muttaqin means, "Those who fear Allah's punishment, which would result if they abandoned the true guidance that they recognize and know. They also hope in Allah's mercy by believing in what He revealed.'' Further, Qatadah said that,

[لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ]

(Al-Muttaqin), are those whom Allah has described in His statement;

[الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْغَيْبِ وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلوةَ]

(Who believe in the Ghayb and perform the Salah) (2:3), and the following Ayat. Ibn Jarir stated that the Ayah (2:2) includes all of these meanings that the scholars have mentioned, and this is the correct view. Also, At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah narrated that `Atiyah As-Sa`di said that the Messenger of Allah said,

[لَا يَبْلُغُ الْعَبْدُأَنْ يَكُونَ مِنَ الْمُتَّقِينَ حَتَّى يَدَعَ مَالَا بَأْسَ بِهِ حَذَرًا مِمَّا بِهِ بَأْس]

(The servant will not acquire the status of the Muttaqin until he abandons what is harmless out of fear of falling into that which is harmful.) (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 7:147 en Ibn Majah 2:1409) At-Tirmidhi then said "Hasan Gharib.''

10. There are Two Types of Hidayah (Guidance)

Huda here means the faith that resides in the heart, and only Allah is able to create it in the heart of the servants. Allah said,

[إِنَّكَ لاَ تَهْدِى مَنْ أَحْبَبْتَ]

(Verily, you (O Muhammad ) guide not whom you like) (28:56),

[لَّيْسَ عَلَيْكَ هُدَاهُمْ]

(Not upon you (Muhammad ) is their guidance) (2:272),

[مَن يُضْلِلِ اللَّهُ فَلاَ هَادِيَ لَهُ]

(Whomsoever Allah sends astray, none can guide him) (7:186), and,

[مَن يَهْدِ اللَّهُ فَهُوَ الْمُهْتَدِ وَمَن يُضْلِلْ فَلَن تَجِدَ لَهُ وَلِيًّا مُّرْشِدًا]

(He whom Allah guides, he is the rightly guided; but he whom He sends astray, for him you will find no Wali (guiding friend) to lead him (to the right path)) (18:17).

Huda also means to explain the truth, give direction and lead to it. Allah, the Exalted, said,

[وَإِنَّكَ لَتَهْدِى إِلَى صِرَطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ]

(And verily, you (O Muhammad ) are indeed guiding (mankind) to the straight path (i.e. Allah's religion of Islamic Monotheism)) (42: 52),

[إِنَّمَآ أَنتَ مُنذِرٌ وَلِكُلِّ قَوْمٍ هَادٍ]

(You are only a warner, and to every people there is a guide) (13:7), and,

[وَأَمَّا ثَمُودُ فَهَدَيْنَـهُمْ فَاسْتَحَبُّواْ الْعَمَى عَلَى الْهُدَى]

(And as for Thamud, We showed and made clear to them the path of truth (Islamic Monotheism) through Our Messenger (i.e. showed them the way of success), but they preferred blindness to guidance) (41:17).

testifying to this meaning.

Also, Allah said,

[وَهَدَيْنَـهُ النَّجْدَينِ ]

(And shown him the two ways (good and evil).) (90:10)

This is the view of the scholars who said that the two ways refer to the paths of righteousness and evil, which is also the correct explanation. And Allah knows best.

11. Meaning of Taqwa

The root meaning of Taqwa is to avoid what one dislikes. It was reported that `Umar bin Al-Khattab asked Ubayy bin Ka`b about Taqwa. Ubayy said, "Have you ever walked on a path that has thorns on it'' `Umar said, "Yes.'' Ubayy said, "What did you do then'' He said, "I rolled up my sleeves and struggled.'' Ubayy said, "That is Taqwa.''

[الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْغَيْبِ]

(3.Those Who have faith in the Ghayb).

12. The Meaning of Iman

Abu Ja`far Ar-Razi said that Al-`Ala' bin Al-Musayyib bin Rafi` narrated from Abu Ishaq that Abu Al-Ahwas said that `Abdullah said, "Iman is to trust.''. (At-Tabari 1:235) `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said,

[يُؤْمِنُونَ]

(who have faith) means they trust. Also, Ma`mar said that Az-Zuhri said, "Iman is the deeds.'' In addition, Abu Ja`far Ar-Razi said that Ar-Rabi` bin Anas said that, `They have faith', means, they fear (Allah).

Ibn Jarir (At-Tabari) commented, "The prefered view is that they be described as having faith in the Unseen by the tongue, deed and creed. In this case, fear of Allah is included in the general meaning of Iman, which necessitates following deeds of the tongue by implementation. Hence, Iman is a general term that includes affirming and believing in Allah, His Books and His Messengers, and realizing this affirmation through adhering to the implications of what the tongue utters and affirms.''

Linguistically, in the absolute sense, Iman merely means trust, and it is used to mean that sometimes in the Qur'an, for instance, Allah the Exalted said,

[يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَيُؤْمِنُ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ]

(He trusts (yu'minu) in Allah, and trusts (yu'minu) in the believers.) (9: 61)
Prophet Yusuf's brothers said to their father,

[وَمَآ أَنتَ بِمُؤْمِنٍ لَّنَا وَلَوْ كُنَّا صَـدِقِينَ]

(But you will never believe us even when we speak the truth) (12:17).
Further, the word Iman is sometimes mentioned along with deeds, such as Allah said,

[إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ الصَّـلِحَـتِ]

(Save those who believe (in Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous deeds) (95:6).
However, when Iman is used in an unrestricted manner, it includes beliefs, deeds, and statements of the tongue.(See the Tafsir of Ibn Abi Hatim 1:35) We should state here that Iman increases and decreases.

There are many narrations and Hadiths on this subject, and we discussed them in the beginning of our explanation of Sahih Al-Bukhari, all favors are from Allah. Some scholars explained that Iman means Khashyah (fear of Allah). For instance, Allah said;

[إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَخْشَوْنَ رَبَّهُم بِالْغَيْبِ]

(Verily, those who fear their Lord unseen (i.e. they do not see Him, nor His punishment in the Hereafter)) (67:12), and,

[مَّنْ خَشِىَ الرَّحْمَـنَ بِالْغَيْبِ وَجَآءَ بِقَلْبٍ مُّنِيبٍ ]

(Who feared the Most Gracious (Allah) in the Ghayb (unseen) and brought a heart turned in repentance (to Him and absolutely free from every kind of polytheism)) (50: 33).

Fear is the core of Iman and knowledge, just as Allah the Exalted said,

[إِنَّمَا يَخْشَى اللَّهَ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ الْعُلَمَاءُ]

(It is only those who have knowledge among His servants that fear Allah) (35:28).

13. The Meaning of Al-Ghayb

As for the meaning of Ghayb here, the Salaf have different explanations of it, all of which are correct, indicating the same general meaning. For instance, Abu Ja`far Ar-Razi quoted Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, reporting from Abu Al-`Aliyah about Allah's statement, i

[يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْغَيْبِ]

((Those who) have faith in the Ghayb), "They believe in Allah, His angels, Books, Messengers, the Last Day, His Paradise, Fire and in the meeting with Him. They also believe in life after death and in Resurrection. All of this is the Ghayb.'' Qatadah bin Di`amah said similarly. (At-Tabari 1:236)

Sa`id bin Mansur reported from `Abdur-Rahman bin Yazid who said, "We were sitting with `Abdullah bin Mas`ud when we mentioned the Companions of the Prophet and their deeds being superior to our deeds. `Abdullah said, `The matter of Muhammad was clear for those who saw him. By He other than Whom there is no God, no person will ever acquire a better type of faith than believing in Al-Ghayb.' He then recited,

[الم - ذَلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لاَ رَيْبَ فِيهِ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْغَيْبِ]

(Alif Lam Mim. This is the Book, wherein there is no doubt, a guidance for the Muttaqin. Those who believe in the Ghayb), until,

[الْمُفْلِحُونَ]

(the successful). ' (Sa'id bin Mansur 2:544) Ibn Abi Hatim, Ibn Marduwyah and Al-Hakim, in his Mustadrak, (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:34 en Al-Hakim 2:260) recorded this Hadith. Al-Hakim commented that this Hadith is authentic and that the Two Shaykhs - Al-Bukhari and Muslim - did not collect it, although it meets their criteria.

Ahmad recorded a Hadith with similar meaning from Ibn Muhayriz who said: I said to Abu Jumu`ah, "Narrate a Hadith for us that you heard from the Messenger of Allah.'' He said, "Yes. I will narrate a good Hadith for you. Once we had lunch with the Messenger of Allah . Abu `Ubaydah, who was with us, said, `O Messenger of Allah! Are people better than us We embraced Islam with you and performed Jihad with you.' He said,

[نَعَمْ قَوْمٌ مِنْ بَعْدِكُمْ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِي وَلَمْ يَرَوْنِي]

(Yes, those who will come after you, who will believe in me although they did not see me.)'' (Ahmad 4:106)

This Hadith has another route collected by Abu Bakr bin Marduwyah in his Tafsir, from Salih bin Jubayr who said: `Abu Jumu`ah Al-Ansari, the Companion of the Messenger of Allah , came to Bayt Al-Maqdis (Jerusalem) to perform the prayer. Raja' bin Haywah was with us, so when Abu Jumu`ah finished, we went out to greet him. When he was about to leave, he said, "You have a gift and a right. I will narrate a Hadith for you that I heard from the Messenger of Allah. '' We said, "Do so, and may Allah grant you mercy.'' He said, "We were with the Messenger of Allah, ten people including Mu`adh bin Jabal. We said, "O Messenger of Allah! Are there people who will acquire greater rewards than us We believed in Allah and followed you.' He said,

[مَا يَمْنَعُكُمْ مِنْ ذَلِكَ وَرَسُولُ اللهِ بَيْنَ أَظْهُرِكُمْ يَأْتِيكُمْ بِالْوَحْيِ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ، بَلْ قَوْمٌ بَعْدَكُمْ يَأْتِيهِمْ كِتَابٌ مِنْ بَيْنِ لَوْحَيْنِ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِهِ وَيَعْمَلُونَ بِمَا فِيهِ، أُولئِكَ أَعْظَمُ مِنْكُمْ أَجْرًا مَرَّتَيْن]

(What prevents you from doing so, while the Messenger of Allah is among you, bringing you the revelation from heaven There are people who will come after you and who will be given a book between two covers (the Qur'an), and they will believe in it and implement its commands. They have a greater reward than you, even twice as much.)''

[وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلوةَ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَـهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ]

(And perform Salah, and spend out of what we have provided for them)

14. Meaning of Iqamat As-Salah

Ibn `Abbas said that,

[وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلوةَ]

(And perform the Salah), means, "Perform the prayer with all of the obligations that accompany it.'' (At-Tabari 1:241) Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn `Abbas said, "Iqamat As-Salah means to complete the bowings, prostrations, recitation, humbleness and attendance for the prayer.'' Qatadah said, "Iqamat As-Salah means to preserve punctuality, and the ablution, bowings, and prostrations of the prayer.'' (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:37) Muqatil bin Hayyan said Iqamat As-Salah means "To preserve punctuality for it, as well as completing ones purity for it, and completing the bowings, prostrations, recitation of the Qur'an, Tashahhud and blessings for the Prophet . This is Iqamat As-Salah.''

15. The Meaning of "Spending" in this Ayah

`Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said,

[وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَـهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ]

(And spend out of what We have provided for them) means, "The Zakah due on their wealth.'' (At-Tabari 1:243) As-Suddi said that Abu Malik and Abu Salih narrated from Ibn `Abbas, as well as Murrah from Ibn Mas`ud and other Companions of the Messenger of Allah , that,

[وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَـهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ]

(And spend out of what We have provided for them) means, "A man's spending on his family. This was before the obligation of Zakah was revealed.'' Juwaybir narrated from Ad-Dahhak, "General spending (in charity) was a means of drawing nearer to Allah, according to one's discretion and capability. Until the obligation of charity was revealed in the seven Ayat of Surat Bara'ah (chapter 9), were revealed. These abrogated the previous case.''

In many instances, Allah mentioned prayer and spending wealth together. Prayer is a right of Allah as well as a form of worshipping Him. It includes singling Him out for one's devotion, praising Him, glorifying Him, supplicating to Him, invoking Him, and it displays one's dependence upon Him. Spending is form of kindness towards creatures by giving them what will benefit them, and those people most deserving of this charity are the relatives, the wife, the servants and then the rest of the people. So all types of required charity and required spending are included in Allah's saying,

[وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَـهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ]

(And spend out of what we have provided for them). The Two Sahihs recorded that Ibn `Umar said that the Messenger of Allah said,

[بُنِيَ الْإِسْلَامُ عَلَى خَمْسٍ: شَهَادَةِ أَنْ لَا إِلهَ إِلَّا اللهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ اللهِ، وَإِقَامِ الصَّلَاةِ، وَإِيتَاءِ الزَّكَاةِ، وَصَوْمِ رَمَضَانَ، وَحَجِّ الْبَيْت]

(Islam is built upon five (pillars): Testifying that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establishing the prayer, giving Zakah, fasting Ramadan and Hajj to the House.) (Fath Al-bari 1:64 en Muslim 1:45)

There are many other Hadiths on this subject.

16. The Meaning of Salah

In the Arabic language, the basic meaing of Salah is supplication. In religious terminology, Salah is used to refer to the acts of bowing and prostration, the remaining specified acts associated with it, specificed at certain times, with those known conditions, and the characteristics, and requirements that are well-known about it.

[وَالَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ وَمَآ أُنزِلَ مِن قَبْلِكَ وَبِالأْخِرَةِ هُمْ يُوقِنُونَ ]

(4. And who have faith in what is revealed to you and in what was revealed before you, and in the Hereafter they are certain.)

Ibn `Abbas said that,

[وَالَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ وَمَآ أُنزِلَ مِن قَبْلِكَ]

(And who have faith in what is revealed to you and in what was revealed before you.) means, "They believe in what Allah sent you with, and in what the previous Messengers were sent with, they do not distinguish between (believing) them, nor do they reject what they brought from their Lord.'' (At-Tabari 1:244)

[وَبِالأْخِرَةِ هُمْ يُوقِنُونَ]

(And in the Hereafter they are certain) that is the resurrection, the standing (on the Day of Resurrection), Paradise, the Fire, the reckoning and the the Scale that weighs the deeds (the Mizan). (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:39) The Hereafter is so named because it comes after this earthly life.

17. Attributes of the Believers

The people described here (2:4) are those whom Allah described in the preceding Ayah,

[الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْغَيْبِ وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلوةَ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَـهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ ]

(Those who have faith in the Ghayb and perform Salah, and spend out of what we have provided for them.)

Mujahid once stated, "Four Ayat at the beginning of Surat Al-Baqarah describe the believers, two describe the disbelievers, and thirteen describe the hypocrites.'' (At-Tabari 1:239) The four Ayat mentioned in this statement are general and include every believer, whether an Arab, non-Arab, or a person of a previous Scripture, whether they are Jinns or humans. All of these attributes complement each other and require the existence of the other attributes. For instance, it is not possible that one believes in the Unseen, performs the prayer and gives Zakah without believing in what the Messenger of Allah and the previous Messengers were sent with. The same with certainty in the Hereafter, this is not correct without that, for Allah has commanded the believers,

[يَـأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ءَامِنُواْ بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَالْكِتَـبِ الَّذِى نَزَّلَ عَلَى رَسُولِهِ وَالْكِتَـبِ الَّذِى أَنَزلَ مِن قَبْلُ]

(O you who believe! Believe in Allah, and His Messenger, and the Book (the Qur'an) which He has revealed to the Messenger, and the Book which He sent own to those before (him)) (4:136),

[وَلاَ تُجَـدِلُواْ أَهْلَ الْكِتَـبِ إِلاَّ بِالَّتِى هِىَ أَحْسَنُ إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُواْ مِنْهُمْ وَقُولُواْ ءَامَنَّا بِالَّذِى أُنزِلَ إِلَيْنَا وَأُنزِلَ إِلَيْكُمْ وَإِلَـهُنَا وَإِلَـهُكُمْ وَاحِدٌ]

(And argue not with the People of the Book, unless it be in (a way) that is better, except with such of them as do wrong; and say (to them): "We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you; our Ilah (God) and your Ilah (God) is One (i.e. Allah)') (29:46),

[يَـأَيُّهَآ الَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ الْكِتَـبَ ءَامِنُواْ بِمَا نَزَّلْنَا مُصَدِّقاً لِّمَا مَعَكُمْ]

(O you who have been given the Book (Jews and Christians)! Believe in what We have revealed (to Muhammad ) confirming what is (already) with you) (4:47), and,

[قُلْ يَـأَهْلَ الْكِتَـبِ لَسْتُمْ عَلَى شَىْءٍ حَتَّى تُقِيمُواْ التَّوْرَاةَ وَالإِنجِيلَ وَمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكُمْ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ]

(Say (O Muhammad ): "O People of the Book (Jews and Christians)! You have nothing until you act according to the Tawrah (Torah), the Injil (Gospel), and what has (now) been revealed to you from your Lord (the Qur'an).'') (5:68).

Also, Allah the Exalted described the believers;

[ءَامَنَ الرَّسُولُ بِمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مِن رَّبِّهِ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ كُلٌّ ءَامَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَمَلَـئِكَتِهِ وَكُتُبِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ لاَ نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِّن رُّسُلِهِ]

(The Messenger (Muhammad ) believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers. Each one believes in Allah, His Angels, His Books, and His Messengers. (They say,) "We make no distinction between any of His Messengers'') (2: 285), and,

[وَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ بِاللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَلَمْ يُفَرِّقُواْ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِّنْهُمْ]

(And those who believe in Allah and His Messengers and make no distinction between any of them (Messengers)) (4:152),

This is a sample of the Ayat that indicate that the true believers all believe in Allah, His Messengers and His Books.

The faithful among the People of the Book, have a special significance here, since they believe in their Books and in all of the details related to that, so when such people embrace Islam and sincerely believe in the details of the religion, then they will get two rewards. As for the others, they can only believe in the previous religious teachings in a general way. For instance, the Prophet stated,

[إِذَا حَدَثَكُمْ أَهْلُ الْكِتَابِ فَلَا تُكَذِّبُوهُمْ وَلَا تُصَدِقُوهُمْ وَلكِنْ قُولُوا: آمَنَّا بِالَّذِي أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْنَا وَأُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكُم]

(When the People of the Book narrate to you, neither reject nor affirm what they say. Rather, say, 'We believe in what was revealed to us and what was revealed to you.') (Abu Dawud 4:59)

However, the faith that many Arabs have in the religion of Islam as it was revealed to Muhammad might be more complete, encompassing and firmer than the faith of the People of the Book who embraced Islam. Therefore, if the believers in Islam among the People of the Book gain two rewards, other Muslims who have firmer Islamic faith might gain an equal reward that compares to the two the People of the Book gain (upon embracing Islam). And Allah knows best.

[أُوْلَـئِكَ عَلَى هُدًى مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَأُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ ]

(5. They are on guidance from their Lord, and they are the successful.)

18. Guidance and Success are awarded to the Believers

Allah said,

[أُوْلَـئِكَ]

(They are) refers to those who believe in the Unseen, establish the prayer, spend from what Allah has granted them, believe in what Allah has revealed to the Messenger and the Messengers before him, believe in the Hereafter with certainty, and prepare the necessary requirements for the Hereafter by performing good deeds and avoiding the prohibitions. Allah then said,

[عَلَى هُدًى]

(On guidance) meaning, they are (following) a light, guidance, and have insight from Allah,

[وَأُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ]

(And they are the successful) meaning, in this world and the Hereafter. They shall have what they seek and be saved from the evil that they tried to avoid. Therefore, they will have rewards, eternal life in Paradise, and safety from the torment that Allah has prepared for His enemies.

[إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ سَوَآءٌ عَلَيْهِمْ ءَأَنذَرْتَهُمْ أَمْ لَمْ تُنذِرْهُمْ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ ]

-(6. Verily, those who disbelieve, it is the same to them whether you warn them or do not warn them, they will not believe.)

Allah said,

[إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ]

(Verily, those who disbelieve) meaning, covered the truth and hid it. Since Allah has written that they would do so, it does not matter if you (O Muhammad ) warn them or not, they would still have disbelieved in what you were sent with. Similarly, Allah said,

[إِنَّ الَّذِينَ حَقَّتْ عَلَيْهِمْ كَلِمَةُ رَبِّكَ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ - وَلَوْ جَآءَتْهُمْ كُلُّ ءايَةٍ حَتَّى يَرَوُاْ الْعَذَابَ الاٌّلِيمَ ]

(Truly, those against whom the Word (wrath) of your Lord has been justified, will not believe. Even if every sign should come to them, until they see the painful torment) (10:96-97).

About the rebellious People of the Book, Allah said,

[وَلَئِنْ أَتَيْتَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ الْكِتَـبَ بِكُلِّ ءَايَةٍ مَّا تَبِعُواْ قِبْلَتَكَ]

(And even if you were to bring to the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) all the Ayat, they would not follow your Qiblah (prayer direction)) (2:5).

These Ayat indicate that whomever Allah has written to be miserable, they shall never find anyone to guide them to happiness, and whomever Allah directs to misguidance, he shall never find anyone to guide him. So do not pity them - O Muhammad - deliver the Message to them. Certainly, whoever among them accepts the Message, then he shall gain the best rewards. As for those who turn away in rejection, do not feel sad for them or concerned about them, for

[فَإِنَّمَا عَلَيْكَ الْبَلَـغُ وَعَلَيْنَا الْحِسَابُ]

(Your duty is only to convey (the Message) and on Us is the reckoning) (13: 40), and,

[إِنَّمَآ أَنتَ نَذِيرٌ وَاللَّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَىْءٍ وَكِيلٌ]

(But you are only a warner. And Allah is a Wakil (Disposer of affairs, Trustee, Guardian) over all things) (11:12).
`Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said about Allah's statement,

[إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ سَوَآءٌ عَلَيْهِمْ ءَأَنذَرْتَهُمْ أَمْ لَمْ تُنذِرْهُمْ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ ]

(Verily, those who disbelieve, it is the same to them whether you (O Muhammad ) warn them or do not warn them, they will not believe) "That the Messenger of Allah was eager for all the people to believe and follow the guidance he was sent with. Allah informed him that none would believe except for those whom He decreed happiness for in the first place, and none would stray except those who Allah has decreed to do so in the first place.'' (At-Tabari 1:252)

[خَتَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ وَعَلَى سَمْعِهِمْ وَعَلَى أَبْصَـرِهِمْ غِشَـوَةٌ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ عظِيمٌ ]

(7. Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing, and on their eyes there is a covering. Theirs will be a great torment).

19. Meaning of Khatama

As-Suddi said that,

[خَتَمَ اللَّهُ]

(Khatama Allah) means, "Allah has sealed.'' (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:44) Qatadah said that this Ayah means, "Shaytan controlled them when they obeyed him. Therefore, Allah sealed their hearts, hearing and sight, and they could neither see the guidance nor hear, comprehend or understand.'' Ibn Jurayj said that Mujahid said,

[خَتَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ]

(Allah has set a seal on their hearts), "A stamp. It occurs when sin resides in the heart and surrounds it from all sides, and this submersion of the heart in sin constitutes a stamp, meaning a seal.'' (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:44) Ibn Jurayj also said that the seal is placed on the heart and the hearing. (At-Tabari 1:259) In addition, Ibn Jurayj said, that `Abdullah bin Kathir narrated that Mujahid said, "The stain is not as bad as the stamp, the stamp is not as bad as the lock which is the worst type.'' Al-A`mash said, "Mujahid demonstrated with his hand while saying, `They used to say that the heart is just like this - meaning the open palm. When the servant commits a sin, a part of the heart will be rolled up - and he rolled up his index finger. When the servant commits another sin, a part of the heart will be rolled up' - and he rolled up another finger, until he rolled up all of his fingers. Then he said, `Then, the heart will be sealed.' Mujahid also said that this is the description of the Ran (refer to 83:14).'' (At-Tabari 1:258)

Al-Qurtubi said, "The Ummah has agreed that Allah has described Himself with sealing and closing the hearts of the disbelievers, as a punishment for their disbelief. Similarly, Allah said,

[بَلْ طَبَعَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهَا بِكُفْرِهِمْ]

(Nay, Allah has set a seal upon their hearts because of their disbelief) (4:155).'' (Al-Qurtubi 1:187)
He then mentioned the Hadith about changing the hearts, (in which the Prophet supplicated),

[يَا مُقَلِبَ الْقُلُوبِ ثَبِّتْ قُلُوبَنَا عَلى دِينِك]

(O You Who changes the hearts, make our hearts firm on Your religion.)
He also mentioned the Hadith by Hudhayfah recorded in the Sahih, in which the Messenger of Allah said,

[تُعْرَضُ الْفِتَنُ عَلَى الْقُلُوبِ كَالْحَصِيرِ عُودًا عُودًا، فَأَيُّ قَلْبٍ أُشْرِبَهَا نُكِتَ فِيه نُكْتَةٌ سَوْدَاءُ وَأَيُّ قَلْبٍ أَنْكَرَهَا نُكِتَ فِيهِ نُكْتَةٌ بَيْضَاءُ حَتى تَصِيرَ عَلَى قَلْبَيْنِ: عَلى أَبْيَضَ مِثْلِ الصَّفَا، فَلَا تَضُرُّهُ فِتْنَةٌ مَا دَامَتِ السَّمَوَاتُ وَالْأَرْضُ وَالْآخَرُ أَسْوَدُ مُرْبَادًّا كَالْكُوزِ مُجَخِّيًا لَا يَعْرِفُ مَعْرُوفًا وَلَا يُنْكِرُ مُنْكَرًا]

(The Fitan (trials, tests) are offered to the hearts, just as the straws that are sewn into a woven mat, one after another. Any heart that accepts the Fitan, then a black dot will be engraved on it. Any heart that rejects the Fitan, then a white dot will be engraved on it. The hearts will therefore become two categories: white, just like the barren rock; no Fitnah shall ever harm this category as long as the heavens and earth still exist. Another category is black, just as the cup that is turned upside down, for this heart does not recognize righteousness or renounce evil.) (Muslim 1:128)

Ibn Jarir said, "The truth regarding this subject is what the authentic Hadith from the Messenger of Allah stated. Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Messenger of Allah said,

[إِنَّ الْمُؤمِنَ إِذَا أَذْنَبَ ذَنْبًا كَانَتْ نُكْتَةً سَوْدَاءَ فِي قَلْبِهِ، فَإِنْ تَابَ وَنَزَعَ وَاسْتَعْتَبَ صَقِلَ قَلْبُهُ وَإِنْ زَادَ زَادَتْ حَتَّى تَعْلُوَ قَلْبَهُ، فَذلِكَ الرَّانُ الَّذِي قَالَ اللهُ تَعَالى:

[كَلاَّ بَلْ رَانَ عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ مَّا كَانُواْ يَكْسِبُونَ ]

(When the believer commits a sin, a black dot will be engraved on his heart. If he repents, refrains and regrets, his heart will be polished again. If he commits more errors, the dots will increase until they cover his heart. This is the Ran (stain) that Allah described,

[كَلاَّ بَلْ رَانَ عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ مَّا كَانُواْ يَكْسِبُونَ ]

(Nay! But on their hearts is the Ran (stain) which they used to earn)'' (83:14).

At-Tirmidhi, Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 9:254, An-Nasa'i in Al-Kubra 6:509, and Ibn Majah 2:1418, recorded this Hadith, and At-Tirmidhi said that it is Hasan Sahih.

20. The Meaning of Ghishawah

Reciting the Ayah,

[خَتَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ وَعَلَى سَمْعِهِمْ]

(Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing), then pausing, then continuing with,

[وَعَلَى أَبْصَـرِهِمْ غِشَـوَةٌ]

(And on their eyes there is a Ghishawah (covering)) is accurate, for the stamp is placed on the heart and the hearing while the Ghishawah, the covering, is appropriately placed on the eyes. In his Tafsir, As-Suddi said that Ibn `Abbas and Ibn Mas`ud said about Allah's statement,

[خَتَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ وَعَلَى سَمْعِهِمْ]

(Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing), "So that they neither understand nor hear. Allah also said that He placed a covering on their sight, meaning eyes, and so, they do not see.'' (At-Tabari 1:266)

21. The Hypocrites

We mentioned that four Ayat in the beginning of Surat Al-Baqarah described the believers. The two last Ayat (2:6-7) describe the disbelievers. Afterwards, Allah begins to describe the hypocrites who show belief and hide disbelief. Since the matter of the hypocrites is vague and many people do not realize their true reality, Allah mentioned their description in detail. Each of the characteristics that Allah used to described them with is a type of hypocrisy itself. Allah revealed Surat Bara'ah (chapter 9) and Surat Al-Munafiqun (chapter 63) about the hypocrites. He also mentioned the hypocrites in Surat An-Nur (24) and other Surahs, so that their description would be known and their ways and errors could be avoided. Allah said,

[وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَقُولُ ءَامَنَّا بِاللَّهِ وَبِالْيَوْمِ الأْخِرِ وَمَا هُم بِمُؤْمِنِينَ - يُخَـدِعُونَ اللَّهَ وَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا وَمَا يَخْدَعُونَ إلاَّ أَنفُسَهُمْ وَمَا يَشْعُرُونَ ]

(8. And of mankind, there are some who say: "We believe in Allah and the Last Day'' while in fact they do not believe). (9. They try to deceive Allah and those who believe, while they only deceive themselves, and perceive (it) not!)

22. Meaning of Nifaq

Nifaq means to show conformity - or agreement - and to conceal evil. Nifaq has several types: Nifaq in the creed that causes its people to reside in Hell for eternity, and Nifaq in deed, which is one of the major sins, as we will explain soon, Allah willing. Ibn Jurayj said of the hypocrite that, "His actual deeds are different from what he publicizes, what he conceals is different from what he utters, his entrance and presence are not the same as his exit and absence.'' (At-Tabari 1:270)

23. The Beginning of Hypocrisy

The revelations about the characteristics of the hypocrites were revealed in Al-Madinah, this is because there were no hypocrites in Makkah. Rather the opposite was the situation in Makkah, since some people were forced to pretend that they were disbelievers, while their hearts concealed their faith. Afterwards, the Messenger of Allah migrated to Al-Madinah, where the Ansar from the tribes of Aws and Khazraj resided. They used to worship idols during the pre-Islamic period of ignorance, just as the rest of the Arab idolators. Three Jewish tribes resided in Al-Madinah, Banu Qaynuqa`-allies of Al-Khazraj, Banu An-Nadir and Banu Qurayzah-allies of the Aws. Many members of the Aws and Khazraj tribes embraced Islam. However, only a few Jews embraced Islam, such as `Abdullah bin Salam. During the early stage in Al-Madinah, there weren't any hypocrites because the Muslims were not strong enough to be feared yet.

On the contrary, the Messenger of Allah conducted peace treaties with the Jews and several other Arab tribes around Al-Madinah. Soon after, the battle of Badr occurred and Allah gave victory to Islam and its people. `Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul was a leader in Al-Madinah. He was Al-Khazraj's chief, and during the period of Jahiliyyah he was the master of both tribes - Aws and Khazraj. They were about to appoint him their king when the Message reached Al-Madinah, and many in Al-Madinah embraced Islam. Ibn Salul's heart was filled with hatred against Islam and its people. When the battle of Badr took place, he said, "Allah's religion has become apparent.'' So he pretended to be Muslim, along with many of those who were just like him, as well as many among the People of the Book. It was then that hypocrisy began in Al-Madinah and among the surrounding nomad tribes. As for the Emigrants, none of them were hypocrites, since they emigrated willingly (seeking the pleasure of Allah). Rather, when a Muslim would emigrate from Makkah, he would be forced to abandon all of his wealth, offspring and land; he would do so seeking Allah's reward in the Hereafter.

24. The Tafsir of Ayah 2:8

Muhammad bin Ishaq narrated that Ibn `Abbas said that,

[وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَقُولُ ءَامَنَّا بِاللَّهِ وَبِالْيَوْمِ الأْخِرِ وَمَا هُم بِمُؤْمِنِينَ ]

(And of mankind, there are some who say: "We believe in Allah and the Last Day'' while in fact they do not believe) "This refers to the hypocrites among the Aws and Khazraj and those who behaved as they did.'' (At-Tabar 1:269)

This is how Abu Al-`Aliyah, Al-Hasan, Qatadah and As-Suddi explained this Ayah. Allah revealed the characteristics of the hypocrites, so that the believers would not be deceived by their outer appearance, thus saving the believers from a great evil. Otherwise, the believers might think that the hypocrites were believers, when in reality they are disbelievers. To consider the sinners as righteous people is extremely dangerous, Allah said,

[وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَقُولُ ءَامَنَّا بِاللَّهِ وَبِالْيَوْمِ الأْخِرِ وَمَا هُم بِمُؤْمِنِينَ ]

(And of mankind, there are some who say: "We believe in Allah and the Last Day'' while in fact they do not believe) meaning, they utter these false statements only with their tongues, just as Allah said,

[إِذَا جَآءَكَ الْمُنَـفِقُونَ قَالُواْ نَشْهَدُ إِنَّكَ لَرَسُولُ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ إِنَّكَ لَرَسُولُهُ]

(When the hypocrites come to you (O Muhammad ), they say: "We bear witness that you are indeed the Messenger of Allah.'' Allah knows that you are indeed His Messenger) (63:1).

This Ayah means that the hypocrites utter these statements only when they meet you, not because they actually believe what they are saying. The hypocrites emphasize their belief in Allah and the Last Day with their words, when that is not the case in reality. Therefore, Allah stated that the hypocrites lie in their testimony of creed, when He said,

[وَاللَّهُ يَشْهَدُ إِنَّ الْمُنَـفِقِينَ لَكَـذِبُونَ]

(And Allah bears witness that the hypocrites are indeed liars.) (63:1), and,

[وَمَا هُم بِمُؤْمِنِينَ]

(while in fact they believe not)
Allah said,

[يُخَـدِعُونَ اللَّهَ وَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا]

(They try to deceive Allah and those who believe). The hypocrites show belief outwardly while concealing disbelief. They think that by doing this, they will mislead Allah, or that the statements they utter will help them with Allah, and this is an indication of their total ignorance. They think that such behavior will deceive Allah, just as it might deceive some of the believers. Similarly, Allah said,

[يَوْمَ يَبْعَثُهُمُ اللَّهِ جَمِيعاً فَيَحْلِفُونَ لَهُ كَمَا يَحْلِفُونَ لَكُمْ وَيَحْسَبُونَ أَنَّهُمْ عَلَى شَىْءٍ أَلاَ إِنَّهُمْ هُمُ الْكَـذِبُونَ ]

(On the Day when Allah will resurrect them all together; then they will swear to Him as they swear to you. And they think that they have something (to stand upon). Verily, they are liars!) (58:18). aHence, Allah refuted their way by saying,

[وَمَا يَخْدَعُونَ إلاَّ أَنفُسَهُمْ وَمَا يَشْعُرُونَ]

(While they only deceive themselves, and perceive (it) not!) Allah stated that the hypocrites only deceive themselves by this behavior, although they are unaware of this fact. Allah also said,

[إِنَّ الْمُنَـفِقِينَ يُخَـدِعُونَ اللَّهَ وَهُوَ خَادِعُهُمْ]

(Verily, the hypocrites try to deceive Allah, but it is He Who deceives them) (4:142).
Also, Ibn Abi Hatim narrated that Ibn Jurayj commented on Allah's statement,

[إِنَّ الْمُنَـفِقِينَ يُخَـدِعُونَ اللَّهَ وَهُوَ خَادِعُهُمْ]

(Verily, the hypocrites seek to deceive Allah, but it is He Who deceives them), "The hypocrites pronounce, `There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah' seeking to ensure the sanctity of their blood and money, all the while concealing disbelief.'' (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:46) Sa`id said that Qatadah said,

[وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَقُولُ ءَامَنَّا بِاللَّهِ وَبِالْيَوْمِ الأْخِرِ وَمَا هُم بِمُؤْمِنِينَ - يُخَـدِعُونَ اللَّهَ وَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا وَمَا يَخْدَعُونَ إلاَّ أَنفُسَهُمْ وَمَا يَشْعُرُونَ ]

(And of mankind, there are some who say: "We believe in Allah and the Last Day'' while in fact they believe not. They try to deceive Allah and those who believe, while they only deceive themselves, and perceive (it) not!) "This is the description of a hypocrite. He is devious, he says the truth with his tongue and defies it with his heart and deeds. He wakes up in a condition other than the one he goes to sleep in, and goes to sleep in a different condition than the one he wakes up in. He changes his mind just like a ship that moves about whenever a wind blows.'' (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:47)

[فِى قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ فَزَادَهُمُ اللَّهُ مَرَضًا وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ بِمَا كَانُواْ يَكْذِبُونَ ]

(10. In their hearts is a disease and Allah has increased their disease. A painful torment is theirs because they used to tell lies.)

25. The Meaning of `Disease' in this Ayah

As-Suddi narrated from Abu Malik and (also) from Abu Salih, from Ibn `Abbas, and (also) Murrah Al-Hamdani from Ibn Mas`ud and other Companions that this Ayah,

[فِى قُلُوبِهِمْ مَّرَضٌ]

(In their hearts is a disease) means, `doubt', and,

[فَزَادَهُمُ اللَّهُ مَرَضًا]

(And Allah has increased their disease) also means `doubt'. (At-Tabari 1:280) Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Abu Al-`Aliyah, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas and Qatadah also said similarly. (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:48) `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam commented on,

[فِى قُلُوبِهِمْ مَّرَضٌ]

(In their hearts is a disease), "A disease in the religion, not a physical disease. They are the hypocrites and the disease is the doubt that they brought to Islam.

[فَزَادَهُمُ اللَّهُ مَرَضًا]

(And Allah has increased their disease) meaning, increased them in shameful behavior.'' (At-Tabari 1:280) He also recited,

[فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ ءامَنُواْ فَزَادَتْهُمْ إِيمَـناً وَهُمْ يَسْتَبْشِرُونَوَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ فِى قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ فَزَادَتْهُمْ رِجْسًا إِلَى رِجْسِهِمْ]

(As for those who believe, it has increased their faith, and they rejoice. But as for those in whose hearts is a disease, it will add disgrace to their disgrace.) (9:124-125) and commented, "Evil to their evil and deviation to their deviation.'' This statement by `Abdur-Rahman is true, and it constitutes a punishment that is compatible to the sin, just as the earlier scholars stated. Similarly, Allah said,

[وَالَّذِينَ اهْتَدَوْاْ زَادَهُمْ هُدًى وَءَاتَـهُمْ تَقُوَاهُمْ ]

(While as for those who accept guidance, He increases their guidance and grants them their piety) (47:17).

Allah said next,

[بِمَا كَانُواْ يَكْذِبُونَ]

(Because they used to tell lies). The hypocrites have two characteristics, they lie and they deny the Unseen.

The scholars who stated that the Prophet knew the hypocrites of his time have only the Hadith of Hudhayfah bin Al-Yaman as evidence. In it the Prophet gave him the names of fourteen hypocrites during the battle of Tabuk. These hypocrites plotted to assassinate the Prophet during the night on a hill in that area. They planned to excite the Prophet's camel, so that she would throw him down the hill. Allah informed the Prophet about their plot, and the Prophet told Hudhayfah their names.

As for the other hypocrites, Allah said about them,

[وَمِمَّنْ حَوْلَكُم مِّنَ الاٌّعْرَابِ مُنَـفِقُونَ وَمِنْ أَهْلِ الْمَدِينَةِ مَرَدُواْ عَلَى النَّفَاقِ لاَ تَعْلَمُهُمْ نَحْنُ نَعْلَمُهُمْ]

(And among the bedouins around you, some are hypocrites, and so are some among the people of Al-Madinah who persist in hypocrisy; you (O Muhammad ) know them not, We know them) (9:101), and,

[لَّئِن لَّمْ يَنتَهِ الْمُنَـفِقُونَ وَالَّذِينَ فِى قُلُوبِهِمْ مَّرَضٌ وَالْمُرْجِفُونَ فِى الْمَدِينَةِ لَنُغْرِيَنَّكَ بِهِمْ ثُمَّ لاَ يُجَاوِرُونَكَ فِيهَآ إِلاَّ قَلِيلاً - مَّلْعُونِينَ أَيْنَمَا ثُقِفُواْ أُخِذُواْ وَقُتِّلُواْ تَقْتِيلاً ]

(If the hypocrites, and those in whose hearts is a disease, and those who spread false news among the people in Al-Madinah do not cease, We shall certainly let you overpower them, then they will not be able to stay in it as your neighbors but a little while. Accursed, they shall be seized wherever found, and killed with a (terrible) slaughter) (33:60-61).

These Ayat prove that the Prophet was not informed about each and everyone among the hypocrites of his time. Rather, the Prophet was only informed about their characteristics, and he used to assume that some people possessed these characteristics. Similarly, Allah said,

[وَلَوْ نَشَآءُ لأَرَيْنَـكَهُمْ فَلَعَرَفْتَهُم بِسِيمَـهُمْ وَلَتَعْرِفَنَّهُمْ فِى لَحْنِ الْقَوْلِ]

(Had We willed, We could have shown them to you, and you should have known them by their marks; but surely, you will know them by the tone of their speech!) (47:30).

The most notorious hypocrite at that time was `Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul; Zayd bin Arqam - the Companion - gave truthful testimony to that effect. In addition, `Umar bin Al-Khattab once mentioned the matter of Ibn Salul to the Prophet , who said,

[إِنِّي أَكْرَهُ أَنْ تَتَحَدَّثَ الْعَرَبُ أَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا يَقْتُلُ أَصْحَابَه]

(I would not like the Arabs to say to each other that Muhammad is killing his Companions.) (Al-Bhukhari 4905 en Muslim 2584)

Yet, when Ibn Salul died, the Prophet performed the funeral prayer for him and attended his funeral just as he used to do with other Muslims. It was recorded in the Sahih that the Prophet said,

[إِنِّي خُيِّرْتُ فَاخْتَرْت]

(I was given the choice (to pray for him or not), so I chose.)
In another narration, the Prophet said,

[لَوْ أَعْلَمُ أَنِّي لَوْ زِدْتُ عَلَى السَّبْعِينَ يُغْفَرُ لَهُ لَزِدْت]

(If I knew that by asking (Allah to forgive Ibn Salul) more than seventy times that He would forgive him, then I would do that.) (Fath Al-Bari 8:184, Muslim 4:2141)

[وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ لاَ تُفْسِدُواْ فِى الأَرْضِ قَالُواْ إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ مُصْلِحُونَ - أَلا إِنَّهُمْ هُمُ الْمُفْسِدُونَ وَلَـكِن لاَّ يَشْعُرُونَ ]

(11. And when it is said to them: "Do not make mischief on the earth,'' they say: "We are only peacemakers.'')

(12. Verily, they are the ones who make mischief, but they perceive not.)

26. Meaning of Mischief

In his Tafsir, As-Suddi said that Ibn `Abbas and Ibn Mas`ud commented,

[وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ لاَ تُفْسِدُواْ فِى الأَرْضِ قَالُواْ إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ مُصْلِحُونَ ]

(And when it is said to them: "Do not make mischief on the earth,'' they say: "We are only peacemakers.'') "They are the hypocrites. As for,

[لاَ تُفْسِدُواْ فِى الأَرْضِ]

("Do not make mischief on the earth''), that is disbelief and acts of disobedience.'' (At-Tabari 1:288) Abu Ja`far said that Ar-Rabi` bin Anas said that Abu Al-`Aliyah said that Allah's statement,

[وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ لاَ تُفْسِدُواْ فِى الأَرْضِ]

(And when it is said to them: "Do not make mischief on the earth,''), means, "Do not commit acts of disobedience on the earth. Their mischief is disobeying Allah, because whoever disobeys Allah on the earth, or commands that Allah be disobeyed, he has committed mischief on the earth. Peace on both the earth and in the heavens is ensured (and earned) through obedience (to Allah).'' (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:50) Ar-Rabi` bin Anas and Qatadah said similarly. (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:51)

27. Types of Mischief that the Hypocrites commit

Ibn Jarir said, "The hypocrites commit mischief on earth by disobeying their Lord on it and continuing in the prohibited acts. They also abandon what Allah made obligatory and doubt His religion, even though He does not accept a deed from anyone except with faith in His religion and certainty of its truth. The hypocrites also lie to the believers by saying contrary to the doubt and hesitation their hearts harbor. They give as much aid as they can, against Allah's loyal friends, and support those who deny Allah, His Books and His Messengers. This is how the hypocrites commit mischief on earth, while thinking that they are doing righteous work on earth.'' (At-Tabari 1:289)

The statement by Ibn Jarir is true, taking the disbelievers as friends is one of the categories of mischief on the earth. Allah said,

[وَالَّذينَ كَفَرُواْ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَآءُ بَعْضٍ إِلاَّ تَفْعَلُوهُ تَكُنْ فِتْنَةٌ فِى الاٌّرْضِ وَفَسَادٌ كَبِيرٌ ]

(And those who disbelieve are allies of one another, if you do not do this (help each other), there will be turmoil and oppression on the earth, and great mischief.) (8:73), In this way Allah severed the loyalty between the believers and the disbelievers. Similarly, Allah said,

[يَـأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لاَ تَتَّخِذُواْ الْكَـفِرِينَ أَوْلِيَآءَ مِن دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَتُرِيدُونَ أَن تَجْعَلُواْ للَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ سُلْطَاناً مُّبِيناً ]

(O you who believe! Do not take disbelievers as Awliya' (protectors or helpers or friends) instead of believers. Do you wish to offer Allah a manifest proof against yourselves) (4: 144).

Allah then said,

[إِنَّ الْمُنَـفِقِينَ فِى الدَّرْكِ الاٌّسْفَلِ مِنَ النَّارِ وَلَن تَجِدَ لَهُمْ نَصِيراً ]

(Verily, the hyprocrites will be in the lowest depth of the Fire; no helper will you find for them) (4:145).

Since the outward appearance of the hypocrite displays belief, he confuses the true believers. Hence, the deceitful behavior of the hypocrites is an act of mischief, because they deceive the believers by claiming what they do not believe in, and because they give support and loyalty to the disbelievers against the believers.

If the hypocrite remains a disbeliever (rather than pretending to be Muslim), the evil that results from him would be less. Even better, if the hypocrite becomes sincere with Allah and makes the statements that he utters conform to his deeds, he will gain success. Allah said,

[وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ لاَ تُفْسِدُواْ فِى الأَرْضِ قَالُواْ إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ مُصْلِحُونَ ]

(And when it is said to them: "Do not make mischief on the earth,'' they say: "We are only peacemakers.'') meaning, "We seek to be friends with both parties, the believers and the disbelievers, and to have peace with both parties.'' Similarly, Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that Ibn `Abbas said,

[وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ لاَ تُفْسِدُواْ فِى الأَرْضِ قَالُواْ إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ مُصْلِحُونَ ]

(And when it is said to them: "Do not make mischief on the earth,'' they say: "We are only peacemakers.'') means, "We seek to make amends between the believers and the People of the Book.'' (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:52) Allah said,

[أَلا إِنَّهُمْ هُمُ الْمُفْسِدُونَ وَلَـكِن لاَّ يَشْعُرُونَ ]

(Verily, they are the ones who make mischief, but they perceive not.). This Ayah means that the hypocrites' behavior, and their claim that it is for peace, is itself mischief, although in their ignorance, they do not see it to be mischief.

[وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ ءَامِنُواْ كَمَآ ءَامَنَ النَّاسُ قَالُواْ أَنُؤْمِنُ كَمَآ آمَنَ السُّفَهَآءُ أَلاَ إِنَّهُمْ هُمُ السُّفَهَآءُ وَلَـكِن لاَّ يَعْلَمُونَ ]

(13. And when it is said to them: Believe as the people believe,'' They say: "Shall we believe as the fools have believed'' Verily, they are the fools, but they do not know.)

Allah said that if the hypocrites are told,

[ءَامِنُواْ كَمَآ ءَامَنَ النَّاسُ]

("Believe as the people believe,''), meaning, `Believe just as the believers believe in Allah, His angels, His Books, His Messengers, Resurrection after death, Paradise and Hellfire, etc. And obey Allah and His Messenger by heeding the commandments and avoiding the prohibitions.' Yet the hypocrites answer by saying,

[قَالُواْ أَنُؤْمِنُ كَمَآ آمَنَ السُّفَهَآءُ]

("Shall we believe as the fools have believed'') they meant (may Allah curse the hypocrites) the Companions of the Messenger of Allah . This is the same Tafsir given by Abu Al-`Aliyah and As-Suddi in his Tafsir, with a chain of narration to Ibn `Abbas, Ibn Mas`ud and other Companions. (At-Tabari 1:293) This is also the Tafsir of Ar-Rabi` bin Anas and `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam. (At-Tabari 1:294) The hypocrites said, "Us and them having the same status, following the same path, while they are fools!'' `The fool' is the ignorant, simple-minded person who has little knowledge in areas of benefit and harm. This is why, according to the majority of the scholars, Allah used the term foolish to include children, when He said,

[وَلاَ تُؤْتُواْ السُّفَهَآءَ أَمْوَلَكُمُ الَّتِى جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ قِيَـماً]

(And do not give your property, which Allah has made a means of support for you, to the foolish) (4:5).
Allah answered the hypocrites in all of these instances. For instance, Allah said here,

[أَلاَ إِنَّهُمْ هُمُ السُّفَهَآءُ]

(Verily, they are the fools). Allah thus affirmed that the hypocrites are indeed the fools, yet,

[وَلَـكِن لاَّ يَعْلَمُونَ]

(But they know not). Since they are so thoroughly ignorant, the hypocrites are unaware of their degree of deviation and ignorance, and such situation is more dangerous, a severer case of blindness, and further from the truth than one who is aware.

[وَإِذَا لَقُواْ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ قَالُوا ءَامَنَّا وَإِذَا خَلَوْاْ إِلَى شَيَـطِينِهِمْ قَالُواْ إِنَّا مَعَكُمْ إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ مُسْتَهْزِءُونَ - اللَّهُ يَسْتَهْزِىءُ بِهِمْ وَيَمُدُّهُمْ فِي طُغْيَـنِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ ]

(14. And when they meet those who believe, they say: "We believe,'' but when they are alone with their Shayatin (devils), they say: "Truly, we are with you; verily, we were but mocking.'') (15. Allah mocks at them and leaves them increasing in their deviation to wander blindly.)

28. The Hypocrites' Cunning and Deceit

Allah said that when the hypocrites meet the believers, they proclaim their faith and pretend to be believers, loyalists and friends. They do this to misdirect, mislead and deceive the believers. The hypocrites also want to have a share of the benefits and gains that the believers might possibly acquire. Yet,

[وَإِذَا خَلَوْاْ إِلَى شَيَـطِينِهِمْ]

(But when they are alone with their Shayatin), meaning, if they are alone with their devils, such as their leaders and masters among the rabbis of the Jews, hypocrites and idolators.

29. Human and Jinn Devils

Ibn Jarir said, "The devils of every creation are the mischievous among them. There are both human devils and Jinn devils. Allah said,

[وَكَذَلِكَ جَعَلْنَا لِكُلِّ نِبِىٍّ عَدُوّاً شَيَـطِينَ الإِنْسِ وَالْجِنِّ يُوحِى بَعْضُهُمْ إِلَى بَعْضٍ زُخْرُفَ الْقَوْلِ غُرُوراً]

(And so We have appointed for every Prophet enemies ـ Shayatin (devils) among mankind and Jinn, inspiring one another with adorned speech as a delusion (or by way of deception)) (6:112).

30. The Meaning of `Mocking

Allah said,

[قَالُواْ إِنَّا مَعَكُمْ]

(They say: "Truly, we are with you''). Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that Ibn `Abbas said that the Ayah means, "We are with you,

[إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ مُسْتَهْزِءُونَ]

(Verily, we were but mocking), meaning, we only mock people (the believers) and deceive them.'' (At-Tabari 1:300) Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn `Abbas said that the Ayah,

[إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ مُسْتَهْزِءُونَ]

(Verily, we were but mocking), means, "We (meaning the hypocrites) were mocking the Companions of Muhammad.'' Also, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas and Qatadah said similarly. Allah's statement,

[اللَّهُ يَسْتَهْزِىءُ بِهِمْ وَيَمُدُّهُمْ فِي طُغْيَـنِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ ]

(Allah mocks at them and leaves them increasing in their deviation to wander blindly) answers the hypocrites and punishes them for their behavior. Ibn Jarir commented, "Allah mentioned what He will do to them on the Day of Resurrection, when He said,

[يَوْمَ يَقُولُ الْمُنَـفِقُونَ وَالْمُنَـفِقَـتُ لِلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ انظُرُونَا نَقْتَبِسْ مِن نُّورِكُمْ قِيلَ ارْجِعُواْ وَرَآءَكُمْ فَالْتَمِسُواْ نُوراً فَضُرِبَ بَيْنَهُم بِسُورٍ لَّهُ بَابٌ بَاطِنُهُ فِيهِ الرَّحْمَةُ وَظَـهِرُهُ مِن قِبَلِهِ الْعَذَابُ ]

(On the Day when the hypocrites ـ men and women ـ will say to the believers: "Wait for us! Let us get something from your light!'' It will be said: "Go back to your rear! Then seek a light!'' So a wall will be put up between them, with a gate therein. Inside it will be mercy, and outside it will be torment.) (57:13), and,

[وَلاَ يَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ أَنَّمَا نُمْلِى لَهُمْ خَيْرٌ لاًّنفُسِهِمْ إِنَّمَا نُمْلِى لَهُمْ لِيَزْدَادُواْ إِثْمَاً]

(And let not the disbelievers think that Our postponing of their punishment is good for them. We postpone the punishment only so that they may increase in sinfulness.) (3:178).''

He then said, "This, and its like, is Allah's mockery of the hypocrites and the people of Shirk.''

31. The Hypocrites suffering for their Plots

Allah stated that He will punish the hypocrites for their mockery, using the same terms to describe both the deed and its punishment, although the meaning is different. Similarly, Allah said,

[وَجَزَآءُ سَيِّئَةٍ سَيِّئَةٌ مِّثْلُهَا فَمَنْ عَفَا وَأَصْلَحَ فَأَجْرُهُ عَلَى اللَّهِ]

(The recompense for an offense is an offense equal to it; but whoever forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is with Allah) (42:40), and,

[فَمَنِ اعْتَدَى عَلَيْكُمْ فَاعْتَدُواْ عَلَيْهِ]

(Then whoever transgresses (the prohibition) against you, transgress likewise against him) (2:194).

The first act is an act of injustice, while the second act is an act of justice. So both actions carry the same name, while being different in reality. This is how the scholars explain deceit, cunning and mocking when attributed to Allah in the Qur'an. Surely, Allah exacts revenge for certain evil acts with a punishment that is similar in nature to the act itself. We should affirm here that Allah does not do these things out of joyful play, according to the consensus of the scholars, but as a just form of punishment for certain evil acts.

32. Meaning of `Leaves them increasing in their deviation to wander blindly

Allah said,

[وَيَمُدُّهُمْ فِي طُغْيَـنِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ]

(Allah mocks at them and leaves them increasing in their deviation to wander blindly). As-Suddi reported that Ibn `Abbas, Ibn Mas`ud and several other Companions of the Messenger of Allah said that,

[وَيَمُدُّهُمْ]

(and leaves them increasing) means, He gives them respite. (At-Tabari 1:311) Also, Mujahid said, "He (causes their deviation) to increase.'' (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:57) Allah said;

[أَيَحْسَبُونَ أَنَّمَا نُمِدُّهُمْ بِهِ مِن مَّالٍ وَبَنِينَ - نُسَارِعُ لَهُمْ فِى الْخَيْرَتِ بَل لاَّ يَشْعُرُونَ ]

(Do they think that by the wealth and the children with which We augment them. (That) We hasten to give them with good things. Nay, but they perceive not.) (23:55-56).

Ibn Jarir commented, "The correct meaning of this Ayah is `We give them increase from the view of giving them respite and leaving them in their deviation and rebellion.' Similarly, Allah said,

[وَنُقَلِّبُ أَفْئِدَتَهُمْ وَأَبْصَـرَهُمْ كَمَا لَمْ يُؤْمِنُواْ بِهِ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ وَنَذَرُهُمْ فِى طُغْيَانِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ ]

(And We shall turn their hearts and their eyes away (from guidance), as they refused to believe in it the first time, and We shall leave them in their trespass to wander blindly). '' (6:110). (At-Tabari 1:307)

Tughyan used in this Ayah means to transgress the limits, just as Allah said in another Ayah,

[إِنَّا لَمَّا طَغَا الْمَآءُ حَمَلْنَـكُمْ فِى الْجَارِيَةِ ]

(Verily, when the water Tagha (rose) beyond its limits, We carried you in the ship) (69:11).
Also, Ibn Jarir said that the term `Amah, in the Ayah means, `deviation'. He also said about Allah's statement,

[فِي طُغْيَـنِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ]

(in their deviation to wander), "In the misguidance and disbelief that has encompassed them, causing them to be confused and unable to find a way out of it. This is because Allah has stamped their hearts, sealed them, and blinded their vision. Therefore, they do not recognize guidance or find the way out of their deviation.'' (At-Tabari 1:309)

[أُوْلَـئِكَ الَّذِينَ اشْتَرَوُاْ الضَّلَـلَةَ بِالْهُدَى فَمَا رَبِحَت تِّجَـرَتُهُمْ وَمَا كَانُواْ مُهْتَدِينَ ]

(16. These are they who have purchased error with guidance, so their commerce was profitless. And they were not guided.)

In his Tafsir, As-Suddi reported that Ibn `Abbas and Ibn Mas`ud commented on;

[أُوْلَـئِكَ الَّذِينَ اشْتَرَوُاْ الضَّلَـلَةَ بِالْهُدَى]

(These are they who have purchased error with guidance) saying it means, "They pursued misguidance and abandoned guidance. '' Mujahid said, "They believed and then disbelieved,'' while Qatadah said, "They preferred deviation to guidance.'' Qatadah's statement is similar in meaning to Allah's statement about Thamud,

[وَأَمَّا ثَمُودُ فَهَدَيْنَـهُمْ فَاسْتَحَبُّواْ الْعَمَى عَلَى الْهُدَى]

(And as for Thamud, We granted them guidance, but they preferred blindness to guidance) (41:17).

In summary, the statements that we have mentioned from the scholars of Tafsir indicate that the hypocrites deviate from the true guidance and prefer misguidance, substituting wickedness in place of righteousness. This meaning explains Allah's statement,

[أُوْلَـئِكَ الَّذِينَ اشْتَرَوُاْ الضَّلَـلَةَ بِالْهُدَى]

(These are they who have purchased error with guidance), meaning, they exchanged guidance to buy misguidance. This meaning includes those who first believed, then later disbelieved, whom Allah described,

[ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ ءَامَنُواّ ثُمَّ كَفَرُوا فَطُبِعَ عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ]

(That is because they believed, and then disbelieved; therefore their hearts are sealed) (63:3).
The Ayah also includes those who preferred deviation over guidance. The hypocrites fall into several categories. This is why Allah said,

[فَمَا رَبِحَت تِّجَـرَتُهُمْ وَمَا كَانُواْ مُهْتَدِينَ]

(So their commerce was profitless. And they were not guided), meaning their trade did not succeed nor were they righteous or rightly guided throughout all this. In addition, Ibn Jarir narrated that Qatadah commented on the Ayah,

[فَمَا رَبِحَت تِّجَـرَتُهُمْ وَمَا كَانُواْ مُهْتَدِينَ]

(So their commerce was profitless. And they were not guided), "By Allah! I have seen them leaving guidance for deviation, leaving the Jama`ah (the community of the believers) for the sects, leaving safety for fear, and the Sunnah for innovation.'' (At-Tabari 1:316 en Ibn Abi Hatim 1:60), also reported other similar statements.

[مَثَلُهُمْ كَمَثَلِ الَّذِى اسْتَوْقَدَ نَاراً فَلَمَّآ أَضَاءَتْ مَا حَوْلَهُ ذَهَبَ اللَّهُ بِنُورِهِمْ وَتَرَكَهُمْ فِي ظُلُمَـتٍ لاَّ يُبْصِرُونَ - صُمٌّ بُكْمٌ عُمْىٌ فَهُمْ لاَ يَرْجِعُونَ ]

(17. Their likeness is as the likeness of one who kindled a fire; then, when it illuminated all around him, Allah removed their light and left them in darkness. (So) they could not see). (18. They are deaf, dumb, and blind, so they return not (to the right path).)

33. The Example of the Hypocrites

Allah likened the hypocrites when they bought deviation with guidance, thus acquiring utter blindness, to the example of a person who started a fire. When the fire was lit, and illumnitated the surrounding area, the person benefited from it and felt safe. Then the fire was suddenly extinguished. Therefore, total darkness covered this person, and he became unable to see anything or find his way out of it. Further, this person could not hear or speak and became so blind that even if there were light, he would not be able to see. This is why he cannot return to the state that he was in before this happened to him. Such is the case with the hypocrites who preferred misguidance over guidance, deviation over righteousness. This parable indicates that the hypocrites first believed, then disbelieved, just as Allah stated in other parts of the Qur'an.

Allah's statement,

[ذَهَبَ اللَّهُ بِنُورِهِمْ]

(Allah removed their light) means, Allah removed what benefits them, and this is the light, and He left them with what harms them, that is, the darkness and smoke. Allah said,

[وَتَرَكَهُمْ فِي ظُلُمَـتٍ]

(And left them in darkness), that is their doubts, disbelief and hypocrisy.

[لاَّ يُبْصِرُونَ]

((So) they could not see) meaning, they are unable to find the correct path or find its direction. In addition, they are,

[صُمٌّ]

(deaf) and thus cannot hear the guidance,

[بِكُمْ]

(dumb) and cannot utter the words that might benefit them,

[عَمًى]

(and blind) in total darkness and deviation. Similarly, Allah said,

[فَإِنَّهَا لاَ تَعْمَى الاٌّبْصَـرُ وَلَـكِن تَعْمَى الْقُلُوبُ الَّتِى فِى الصُّدُورِ]

(Verily, it is not the eyes that grow blind, but it is the hearts which are in the breasts that grow blind) (22:46) and this why they cannot get back to the state of guidance that they were in, since they sold it for misguidance.

[أَوْ كَصَيِّبٍ مِّنَ السَّمَآءِ فِيهِ ظُلُمَـتٌ وَرَعْدٌ وَبَرْقٌ يَجْعَلُونَ أَصْـبِعَهُمْ فِى ءَاذَانِهِم مِّنَ الصَّوَعِقِ حَذَرَ الْمَوْتِ وَاللَّهُ مُحِيطٌ بِالْكـفِرِينَ - يَكَادُ الْبَرْقُ يَخْطَفُ أَبْصَـرَهُمْ كُلَّمَآ أَضَآءَ لَهُم مَّشَوْاْ فِيهِ وَإِذَآ أَظْلَمَ عَلَيْهِمْ قَامُواْ وَلَوْ شَآءَ اللَّهُ لَذَهَبَ بِسَمْعِهِمْ وَأَبْصَـرِهِمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَىْءٍ قَدِيرٌ ]

(19. Or like a rainstorm in the sky, bringing darkness, thunder, and lightning. They thrust their fingers in their ears to keep out the stunning thunderclap for fear of death. But Allah ever encompasses the disbelievers.) (20. The lightning almost snatches away their sight, whenever it flashes for them, they walk therein, and when darkness covers them, they stand still. And if Allah willed, He could have taken away their hearing and their sight. Certainly, Allah has power over all things.)

34. Another Parable of the Hypocrites

This is another parable which Allah gave about the hypocrites who sometimes know the truth and doubt it at other times. When they suffer from doubt, confusion and disbelief, their hearts are,

[كَصَيِّبٍ]

(Like a Sayyib), meaning, "The rain", as Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Abbas, and several other Companions have confirmed (At-Tabari 1:334) as well as Abu Al-`Aliyah, Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr, `Ata', Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Qatadah, `Atiyah Al-`Awfi, `Ata' Al-Khurasani, As-Suddi and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas. (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:66) Ad-Dahhak said "It is the clouds." (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:67) However, the most accepted opinion is that it means the rain that comes down during,

[ظُلُمَـتِ]

(darkness), meaning, here, the doubts, disbelief and hypocrisy.

[وَرَعْدٌ]

(thunder) that shocks the hearts with fear. The hypocrites are usually full of fear and anxiety, just as Allah described them,

[يَحْسَبُونَ كُلَّ صَيْحَةٍ عَلَيْهِمْ]

(They think that every cry is against them) (63: 4), and,

[وَيَحْلِفُونَ بِاللَّهِ إِنَّهُمْ لَمِنكُمْ وَمَا هُم مِّنكُمْ وَلَـكِنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ يَفْرَقُونَ - لَوْ يَجِدُونَ مَلْجَئاً أَوْ مَغَـرَاتٍ أَوْ مُدَّخَلاً لَّوَلَّوْاْ إِلَيْهِ وَهُمْ يَجْمَحُونَ ]

(They swear by Allah that they are truly of you while they are not of you, but they are a people who are afraid. Should they find refuge, or caves, or a place of concealment, they would turn straightway thereto in a swift rush) (9:56-57).

[الْبَرْقَ]

(The lightning), is in reference to the light of faith that is sometimes felt in the hearts of the hypocrites,

[يَجْعَلُونَ أَصْـبِعَهُمْ فِى ءَاذَانِهِم مِّنَ الصَّوَعِقِ حَذَرَ الْمَوْتِ وَاللَّهُ مُحِيطٌ بِالْكـفِرِينَ]

(They thrust their fingers in their ears to keep out the stunning thunderclap for fear of death. But Allah ever encompasses the disbelievers), meaning, their cautiousness does not benefit them because they are bound by Allah's all-encompassing will and decision. Similarly, Allah said,

[هَلُ أَتَاكَ حَدِيثُ الْجُنُودِ - فِرْعَوْنَ وَثَمُودَ - بَلِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ فِى تَكْذِيبٍ - وَاللَّهُ مِن وَرَآئِهِمْ مُّحِيطٌ ]

(Has the story reached you of two hosts. Of Fir`awn (Pharaoh) and Thamud Nay! The disbelievers (persisted) in denying. And Allah encompasses them from behind!) (85:17-20).

Allah then said,

[يَكَادُ الْبَرْقُ يَخْطَفُ أَبْصَـرَهُمْ]

(The lightning almost snatches away their sight) meaning, because the lightning is strong itself, and because their comprehension is weak and does not allow them to embrace the faith. Also, `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas commented on the Ayah,

[يَكَادُ الْبَرْقُ يَخْطَفُ أَبْصَـرَهُمْ]

(The lightning almost snatches away their sight), "The Qur'an mentioned almost all of the secrets of the hypocrites.'' (At-Tabari 1:349) `Ali bin Abi Talhah also narrated that Ibn `Abbas said,

[كُلَّمَآ أَضَآءَ لَهُم مَّشَوْاْ فِيهِ]

(Whenever it flashes for them, they walk therein), "Whenever the hypocrites acquire a share in the victories of Islam, they are content with this share. Whenever Islam suffers a calamity, they are ready to revert to disbelief.''. Similarly, Allah said,

[وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَعْبُدُ اللَّهَ عَلَى حَرْفٍ فَإِنْ أَصَابَهُ خَيْرٌ اطْمَأَنَّ بِهِ]

(And among mankind is he who worships Allah on the edge: If good befalls him, he is content with that.) (22:11). Also, Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that Ibn `Abbas said,

[كُلَّمَآ أَضَآءَ لَهُم مَّشَوْاْ فِيهِ وَإِذَآ أَظْلَمَ عَلَيْهِمْ قَامُواْ]

(Whenever it flashes for them, they walk therein, and when darkness covers them, they stand still), "They recognize the truth and speak about it. So their speech is upright, but when they revert to disbeleif, they again fall into confusion.'' (At-Tabari 1:346) This was also said by Abu Al-`Aliyah, Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Qatadah, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas and As-Suddi, who narrated it from the Companions, and it is the most obvious and most correct view, and Allah knows best. (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:75)

Consequently, on the Day of Judgment, the believers will be given a light according to the degree of their faith. Some of them will gain light that illuminates over a distance of several miles, some more, some less. Some people's light will glow sometimes and be extinguished at other times. They will, therefore, walk on the Sirat (the bridge over the Fire) in the light, stopping when it is extinguished. Some people will have no light at all, these are the hypocrites whom Allah described when He said,

[يَوْمَ يَقُولُ الْمُنَـفِقُونَ وَالْمُنَـفِقَـتُ لِلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ انظُرُونَا نَقْتَبِسْ مِن نُّورِكُمْ قِيلَ ارْجِعُواْ وَرَآءَكُمْ فَالْتَمِسُواْ نُوراً]

(On the Day when the hypocrites ـ men and women ـ will say to the believers: "Wait for us! Let us get something from your light!'' It will be said to them; "Go back to you rear! Then seek a light!'') (57:13).

Allah described the believers,

[يَوْمَ تَرَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَـتِ يَسْعَى نُورُهُم بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَبِأَيْمَـنِهِم بُشْرَاكُمُ الْيَوْمَ جَنَّـتٌ تَجْرِى مِن تَحْتِهَا الاٌّنْهَـرُ]

(On the Day you shall see the believing men and the believing women ـ their light running forward before them and by their right hands. Glad tidings for you this Day! Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise)) (57:12), and,

[يَوْمَ لاَ يُخْزِى اللَّهُ النَّبِىَّ وَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ مَعَهُ نُورُهُمْ يَسْعَى بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَبِأَيْمَـنِهِمْ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَآ أَتْمِمْ لَنَا نُورَنَا وَاغْفِرْ لَنَآ إِنَّكَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَىْءٍ قَدِيرٌ]

(The Day that Allah will not disgrace the Prophet (Muhammad ) and those who believe with him. Their Light will run forward before them and (with their Records ـ Books of deeds) in their right hands. They will say: "Our Lord! Keep perfect our Light for us [and do not put it off till we cross over the Sirat (a slippery bridge over the Hell) safely] and grant us forgiveness. Verily, You are Able to do all things'') (66:8).

Ibn Abi Hatim narrated that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud commented on,

[نُورُهُمْ يَسْعَى بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ]

(Their Light will run forward before them), "They will pass on the Sirat. according to their deeds. The light that some people have will be as big as a mountain, while the light of others will be as big as a date tree. The people who will have the least light are those whose index fingers will sometimes be lit and extinguished at other times.'' (At-Tabari 23:3179) Ibn Abi Hatim also reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "Every person among the people of Tawhid (Islamic Monotheism) will gain a light on the Day of Resurrection. As for the hypocrite, his light will be extinguished. When the believers witness the hypocrite's light being extinguished, they will feel anxious. Hence, they will supplicate,

[رَبَّنَآ أَتْمِمْ لَنَا نُورَنَا]

(Our Lord! Keep perfect our Light for us).'' (Al-Hakim 2:495) Ad-Dahhak bin Muzahim said, "On the Day of Resurrection, everyone who has embraced the faith will be given a light. When they arrive at the Sirat, the light of the hypocrites will be extinguished. When the believers see this, they will feel anxious and supplicate,

[رَبَّنَآ أَتْمِمْ لَنَا نُورَنَا]

(Our Lord! Keep perfect our Light for us).''

35. Types of Believers and Types of Disbelievers

Consequently, there are several types of people. There are the believers whom the first four Ayat (2:2-5) in Surat Al-Baqarah describe. There are the disbelievers who were described in the next two Ayat. And there are two categories of hypocrites: the complete hypocrites who were mentioned in the parable of the fire, and the hesitant hypocrites, whose light of faith is sometimes lit and sometimes extinguished. The parable of the rain was revealed about this category, which is not as evil as the first category.

This is similar to the parables that were given in Surat An-Nur (chapter 24). Like the example of the believer and the faith that Allah put in his heart, compared to a brightly illuminated lamp, just like a rising star. This is the believer, whose heart is built on faith and receiving its support from the divine legislation that was revealed to it, without any impurities or imperfections, as we will come to know, Allah willing.

Allah gave a parable of the disbelievers who think that they have something, while in reality they have nothing; such people are those who have compounded ignorance. Allah said,

[وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ أَعْمَـلُهُمْ كَسَرَابٍ بِقِيعَةٍ يَحْسَبُهُ الظَّمْآنُ مَآءً حَتَّى إِذَا جَآءَهُ لَمْ يَجِدْهُ شَيْئاً]

(As for those who disbelieved, their deeds are like a mirage in a desert. The thirsty one thinks it to be water, until he comes up to it, he finds it to be nothing) (24:39).

Allah then gave the example of ignorant disbelievers, simple in their ignorance. He said;

[أَوْ كَظُلُمَـتٍ فِى بَحْرٍ لُّجِّىٍّ يَغْشَـهُ مَوْجٌ مِّن فَوْقِهِ مَوْجٌ مِّن فَوْقِهِ سَحَابٌ ظُلُمَـتٌ بَعْضُهَا فَوْقَ بَعْضٍ إِذَآ أَخْرَجَ يَدَهُ لَمْ يَكَدْ يَرَاهَا وَمَن لَّمْ يَجْعَلِ اللَّهُ لَهُ نُوراً فَمَا لَهُ مِن نُورٍ ]

(Or (the state of a disbeliever) is like the darkness in a vast deep sea, overwhelmed by waves, topped by dark clouds, (layers of) darkness upon darkness: if a man stretches out his hand, he can hardly see it! And he for whom Allah has not appointed light, for him there is no light) (24:40).

Therefore, Allah divided the camp of the disbelievers into two groups, advocates and followers. Allah mentioned these two groups in the beginning of Surat Al-Hajj,

[وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يُجَـدِلُ فِى اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَيَتَّبِعُ كُلَّ شَيْطَـنٍ مَّرِيدٍ ]

(And among mankind is he who disputes about Allah, without knowledge, and follows every rebellious (disobedient to Allah) Shaytan (devil) (devoid of every kind of good)) (22:3), and,

[ومِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يُجَـدِلُ فِى اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَلاَ هُدًى وَلاَ كِتَـبٍ مُّنِيرٍ ]

(And among men is he who disputes about Allah, without knowledge or guidance, or a Book giving light (from Allah)) (22:8).

Furthermore, Allah has divided the group of the believers in the beginning of Surat Al-Waqi`ah (56) and at the end. He also divided them in Surat Al-Insan (76) into two groups, the Sabiqun (those who preceded), they are the "near ones" (Muqaribun) and Ashab Al-Yamin (the companions of the right), and they are righteous (Abrar).

In summary, these Ayat divide the believers into two categories, the near ones and righteous. Also, the disbelievers are of two types, advocates and followers. In addition, the hypocrites are divided into two types, pure hypocrites and those who have some hypocrisy in them. The Two Sahihs record that `Abdullah bin `Amr said that the Prophet said,

[ثَلَاثٌ مَنْ كُنَّ فِيهِ كَانَ مُنَافِقًا خَالِصًا، وَمَنْ كَانَتْ فِيهِ وَاحِدَةٌ مِنْهُنَّ كَانَتْ فِيهِ خَصْلَةٌ مِنَ النِّفَاقِ حَتَّى يَدَعَهَا: مَنْ إِذَا حَدَّثَ كَذَبَ، وَإِذَا وَعَدَ أَخْلَفَ، وَإِذَا ائْتُمِنَ خَان]

(Whoever has the following three (characteristics) will be a pure hypocrite, and whoever has one of the following three characteristics will have one characteristic of hypocrisy, unless and until he gives it up. Whenever he speaks, he tells a lie. Whenever he makes a covenant, he proves treacherous. Whenever he is entrusted, he breaches the trust) (Fath Al-Bari 1:111, Muslim 1:78)

Hence, man might have both a part of faith and a part of hypocrisy, whether in deed, as this Hadith stipulates, or in the creed, as the Ayah (2:20) stipulates.

36. Types of Hearts

Imam Ahmad recorded Abu Sa`id saying that the Messenger of Allah said

[الْقُلُوبُ أَرْبَعَةٌ: قَلْبٌ أَجْرَدُ فِيهِ مِثْلُ السِّرَاجِ يَزْهَرُ وَقَلْبٌ أَغْلَفُ مَرْبُوطٌ عَلى غِلَافِهِ وَقَلْبٌ مَنْكُوسٌ وَقَلْبٌ مُصْفَحٌ، فَأَمَّا الْقَلْبُ الْأَجْرَدُ فَقَلْبُ الْمُؤْمِنِ فَسِرَاجُهُ فِيهِ نُورُهُ، وَأَمَّا الْقَلْبُ الْأَغْلَفُ فَقَلْبُ الْكَافِرِ، وَأَمَّا الْقَلْبُ الْمَنْكُوسُ فَقَلْبُ الْمُنَافِقِ الْخَالِصِ عَرَفَ ثُمَّ أَنْكَرَ وَأَمَّا الْقَلْبُ الْمُصْفَحُ فَقَلْبٌ فِيهِ إيمَانٌ وَنِفَاقٌ وَمَثَلُ الْإيمَانِ فِيهِ كَمَثَلِ الْبَقْلَةِ يَمُدُّهَا الْمَاءُ الطَّيِّبُ وَمَثَلُ النِّفَاقِ فِيهِ كَمَثَلِ الْقُرْحَةِ يَمُدُّهَا الْقَيْحُ وَالدَّمُ فَأَيُّ الْمَادَّتَيْنِ غَلَبَتْ عَلَى الْأُخْرَى غَلَبَتْ عَلَيْه]

(The hearts are four (types): polished as shiny as the radiating lamp, a sealed heart with a knot tied around its seal, a heart that is turned upside down and a wrapped heart. As for the polished heart, it is the heart of the believer and the lamp is the light of faith. The sealed heart is the heart of the disbeliever. The heart that is turned upside down is the heart of the pure hypocrite, because he had knowledge but denied it. As for the wrapped heart, it is a heart that contains belief and hypocrisy. The example of faith in this heart, is the example of the herb that is sustained by pure water. The example of hypocrisy in it, is the example of an ulcer that thrives on puss and blood. Whichever of the two substances has the upper hand, it will have the upper hand on that heart). This Hadith has a Jayid Hasan (good) chain of narration. (Ahmad 3:17)

Allah said,

[وَلَوْ شَآءَ اللَّهُ لَذَهَبَ بِسَمْعِهِمْ وَأَبْصَـرِهِمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَىْءٍ قَدِيرٌ]

(And if Allah willed, He would have taken away their hearing and their sight. Certainly, Allah has power over all things). Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that Ibn `Abbas commented on Allah's statement,

[وَلَوْ شَآءَ اللَّهُ لَذَهَبَ بِسَمْعِهِمْ وَأَبْصَـرِهِمْ]

(And if Allah willed, He would have taken away their hearing and their sight), "Because they abandoned the truth after they had knowledge in it.''

[إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَىْءٍ قَدِيرٌ]

(Certainly, Allah has power over all things). Ibn `Abbas said, "Allah is able to punish or pardon His servants as He wills.'' (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:76) Ibn Jarir commented, "Allah only described Himself with the ability to do everything in this Ayah as a warning to the hypocrites of His control over everything, and to inform them that His ability completely encompasses them and that He is able to take away their hearing and sight.'' (At-Tabari 1:361)

Ibn Jarir and several other scholars of Tafsir stated that these two parables are about the same kind of hypocrite. So the `or' mentioned in,

[أَوْ كَصَيِّبٍ مِّنَ السَّمَآءِ]

(Or like a rainstorm from the sky) means `and', just as the Ayah,

[وَلاَ تُطِعْ مِنْهُمْ ءَاثِماً أَوْ كَفُوراً]

(And obey neither a sinner or a disbeliever among them). Therefore, `or' in the Ayah includes a choice of using either example for the hypocrites. Also, Al-Qurtubi said that `or' means, "To show compatibility of the two choices, just as when one says, `Sit with Al-Hasan or Ibn Sirin.' According to the view of Az-Zamakhshari, `so it means each of these persons is the same as the other, so you may sit with either one of them.' The meaning of `or' thus becomes `either.' Allah gave these two examples of the hypocrites, because they both perfectly describe them.''

I (Ibn Kathir) say, these descriptions are related to the type of hypocrite, because there is a difference between them as we stated. For instance, Allah mentioned these types in Surat Bara'ah (chapter 9) when He repeated the statement, "And among them'' three times, describing their types, characteristics, statements and deeds. So the two examples mentioned here describe two types of hypocrites whose characteristics are similar. For instance, Allah gave two examples in Surat An-Nur, one for the advocates of disbelief and one for the followers of disbelief, He said,

[وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ أَعْمَـلُهُمْ كَسَرَابٍ بِقِيعَةٍ]

(As for those who disbelieved, their deeds are like a mirage in a desert) (24:39), until,

[أَوْ كَظُلُمَـتٍ فِى بَحْرٍ لُّجِّىٍّ]

(Or (the state of a disbeliever) is like the darkness in a vast deep sea) (24:40).

The first example is of the advocates of disbelief who have complex ignorance, while the second is about the followers who have simple ignorance. Allah knows best.

[يَـأَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اعْبُدُواْ رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِىْ خَلَقَكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ - الَّذِى جَعَلَ لَكُمُ الاٌّرْضَ فِرَاشاً وَالسَّمَآءَ بِنَآءً وَأَنزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَآءِ مَآءً فَأَخْرَجَ بِهِ مِنَ الثَّمَرَتِ رِزْقاً لَّكُمْ فَلاَ تَجْعَلُواْ للَّهِ أَندَاداً وَأَنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ ]

(21. O mankind! Worship your Lord (Allah), Who created you and those who were before you so that you may acquire Taqwa.) (22. Who has made the earth a resting place for you, and the sky as a canopy, and sent down water (rain) from the sky and brought forth therewith fruits as a provision for you. Then do not set up rivals unto Allah (in worship) while you know (that He alone has the right to be worshipped).)

37. Tawhid Al-Uluhiyyah

Allah next mentioned His Oneness in divinity and stated that He has favored His servants by bringing them to life after they did not exist. He also surrounded them with blessings, both hidden and apparent. He made the earth a resting place for them, just like the bed, stable with the firm mountains.

[وَالسَّمَآءَ بِنَآءً]

(And the sky as a canopy) meaning, `a ceiling'. Similarly, Allah said in another Ayah,

[وَجَعَلْنَا السَّمَآءَ سَقْفاً مَّحْفُوظاً وَهُمْ عَنْ ءَايَـتِهَا مُعْرِضُونَ ]

(And We have made the heaven a roof, safe and well-guarded. Yet they turn away from its signs (i.e. sun, moon, winds, clouds)) (21:32).

[وَأَنزَلَ لَكُمْ مِّنَ السَّمَآءِ مَآءً]

(And sends down for you water (rain) from the sky) meaning, through the clouds, when they need the rain. Hence, Allah caused the various types of vegetation and fruits to grow as a means of sustenance for people and their cattle. Allah reiterated this bounty in various parts of the Qur'an.

There is another Ayah that is similar to this Ayah (2:22), that is, Allah's statement,

[الَّذِى جَعَـلَ لَكُـمُ الاٌّرْضَ قَـرَاراً وَالسَّمَآءَ بِنَـآءً وَصَوَّرَكُـمْ فَأَحْسَنَ صُوَرَكُـمْ وَرَزَقَكُـمْ مِّنَ الطَّيِّبَـتِ ذَلِكُمُ اللَّهُ رَبُّكُـمْ فَتَـبَـرَكَ اللَّهُ رَبُّ الْعَـلَمِينَ]

(It is He Who has made for you the earth as a dwelling place and the sky as a canopy, and has given you shape and made your shapes good (looking) and has provided you with good things. That is Allah, your Lord, so Blessed be Allah, the Lord of all that exists) (40:64).

The meaning that is reiterated here is that Allah is the Creator, the Sustainer, the Owner and Provider of this life, all that is in and on it. Hence, He alone deserves to be worshipped, and no one and nothing is to be associated with Him. This is why Allah said next,

[فَلاَ تَجْعَلُواْ للَّهِ أَندَاداً وَأَنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ]

(Then do not set up rivals unto Allah (in worship) while you know (that He alone has the right to be worshipped)) (2:22).

The Two Sahihs record that Ibn Mas`ud said, "I said to the Messenger of Allah , `Which evil deed is the worst with Allah' He said,

[أَنْ تَجْعَلَ للهِ نِدًّا وَهُوَ خَلَقَك]

(To take an equal with Allah, while He alone created you.)'' (Fath Al-Bari 8:350 en Muslim 1:90)
Also, Mu`adh narrated the Prophet's statement,

[أَتَدْرِي مَا حَقُّ اللهِ عَلَى عِبَادِهِ؟ أَنْ يَعْبُدُوهُ وَلَا يُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا]

(Do you know Allah's right on His servants They must worship Him alone and refrain from associating anything with Him in worship.) (Fath Al-Bari 13:359 en Muslim 1:59) Another Hadith states,

[لَا يَقُولَنَّ أَحَدُكُمْ مَا شَاءَ اللهُ وَشَاءَ فُلَانٌ، وَلكِنْ لِيَقُلْ: مَا شَاءَ اللهُ ثُمَّ شَاءَ فُلَان]

(None of you should say, `What Allah and so-and-so person wills. Rather, let him say, `What Allah wills, and then what so-and-so person wills.) (Ahmad 5:384, 394, 398)

38. A Hadith with the same Meaning

Imam Ahmad narrated that Al-Harith Al-Ash`ari said that the Prophet of Allah said,

[إِنَّ اللهَ عَزَّوَجَلَّ أَمَرَ يَحْيَى بْنَ زَكَرِيَّا عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ بِخَمْسِ كَلِمَاتٍ أَنْ يَعْمَلَ بِهِنَّ، وَأَنْ يَأْمُرَ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ أَنْ يَعْمَلُوا بِهِنَّ وَأَنَّهُ كَادَ أَنْ يُبْطِىءَ بِهَا،فَقَالَ لَهُ عِيسَى عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ: إِنَّكَ قَدْ أُمِرْتَ بِخَمْسِ كَلِمَاتٍ أَنْ تَعْمَلَ بِهِنَّ وَتَأْمُرَ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ أَنْ يَعْمَلُوا بِهِنَّ فَإِمَّا أَنْ تُبَلِّغَهُمْ وَإمَّا أَنْ أُبَلِّغَهُنَّ، فَقَالَ: يَا أَخِي إِنِّي أَخْشَى إِنْ سَبَقْتَنِي أَنْ أُعَذَّبَ أَوْ يُخْسَفَ بِي قَالَ: فَجَمَعَ يَحْيَى بْنُ زَكَرِيَّا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ فِي بَيْتِ الْمَقْدِسِ حَتَّى امْتَلَأَ الْمَسْجِدُ، فَقَعَدَ عَلَى الشَّرَفِ فَحَمِدَ اللهَ وَأَثْنَى عَلَيْهِ ثُمَّ قَالَ: إِنَّ اللهَ أَمَرَنِي بِخَمْسِ كَلِمَاتٍ أَنْ أَعْمَلَ بِهِنَّ وَآمُرَكُمْ أَنْ تَعْمَلُوا بِهِنَّ أَوَّلُهُنَّ: أَنْ تَعْبُدُوا اللهَ وَلَا تُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا، فَإِنَّ مَثَلَ ذلِكَ كَمَثَلِ رَجُلٍ اشْتَرَى عَبْدًا مِنْ خَالِصِ مَالِهِ بِوَرِقٍ أَوْ ذَهَبٍ فَجَعَلَ يَعْمَلُ وَيُؤَدِّي غَلَّتَهُ إِلى غَيْرِ سَيِّدِهِ، فَأَيُّكُمْ يَسُرُّهُ أَنْ يَكُونَ عَبْدُهُ كَذلِكَ، وَإِنَّ اللهَ خَلَقَكُمْ وَرَزَقَكُمْ فَاعْبُدُوهُ وَلَا تُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا. وَآمُرَكُمْ بِالصَّلَاةِ فَإِنَّ اللهَ يَنْصِبُ وَجْهَهُ لِوَجْهِ عَبْدِهِ مَا لَمْ يَلْتَفِتْ فَإِذَا صَلَّيْتُمْ فَلَا تَلْتَفِتُوا. وَآمُرُكُمْ بِالصِّيَامِ فَإِنَّ مَثَلَ ذلِكَ كَمَثَلِ رَجُلٍ مَعَهُ صُرَّةٌ مِنْ مِسْكٍ فِي عِصَابَةٍ كُلُّهُمْ يَجِدُ رِيحَ الْمِسْكِ وَإِنَّ خَلُوفَ فَمِ الصَّائِم أَطْيَبُ عِنْدَ اللهِ مِنْ رِيحِ الْمِسْكِ. وَآمُرُكُمْ بِالصَّدَقَةِ فَإِنَّ مَثَلَ ذلِكَ كَمَثَلِ رَجُلٍ أَسَرَهُ الْعَدُوُّ فَشَدُّوا يَدَيْهِ إِلى عُنُقِهِ وَقَدَّمُوهُ لِيَضْرِبُوا عُنُقَهُ فَقَالَ لَهُمْ: هَلْ لَكُمْ أَنْ أَفْتَدِيَ نَفْسِي مِنْكُمْ فَجَعَلَ يَفْتَدِي نَفْسَهُ مِنْهُمْ بِالْقَلِيلِ وَالْكَثِيرِ حَتَّى فَكَّ نَفْسَهُ.وَآمُرُكُمْ بِذِكْرِ اللهِ كَثِيرًا وَإِنَّ مَثَلَ ذلِكَ كَمَثَلِ رَجُلِ طَلَبَهُ الْعَدُوُّ سِرَاعًا فِي أَثَرِهِ فَأَتَى حِصْنًا حَصِينًا فَتَحَصَّنَ فِيهِ وَإِنَّ الْعَبْدَأَحْصَنَ مَا يَكُونُ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ إِذَا كَانَ فِي ذِكْرِ الله]

(Allah commanded Yahya bin Zakariya to implement five commands and to order the Children of Israel to implement them, but Yahya was slow in carrying out these commands. `Isa said to Yahya, `You were ordered to implement five commands and to order the Children of Israel to implement them. So either order, or I will do it.' Yahya said, 'My brother! I fear that if you do it before me, I will be punished or the earth will be shaken under my feet.' Hence, Yahya bin Zakariya called the Children of Israel to Bayt Al-Maqdis (Jerusalem), until they filled the Masjid. He sat on the balcony, thanked Allah and praised him and then said, `Allah ordered me to implement five commandments and that I should order you to adhere to them. The first is that you worship Allah alone and not associate any with Him. The example of this command is the example of a man who bought a servant from his money with paper or gold. The servant started to work for the master, but was paying the profits to another person. Who among you would like his servant to do that Allah created you and sustains you. Therefore, worship Him alone and do not associate anything with Him.

I also command you to pray, for Allah directs His Face towards His servant's face, as long as the servant does not turn away. So when you pray, do not turn your heads to and fro. I also command you to fast. The example of it is the example of a man in a group of men and he has some musk wrapped in a piece of cloth, and consequently, all of the group smells the scent of the wrapped musk. Verily, the odor of the mouth of a fasting person is better before Allah than the scent of musk. I also command you to give charity. The example of this is the example of a man who was captured by the enemy. They tied his hands to his neck and brought him forth to cut off his neck. He said to them, 'Can I pay a ransom for myself' He kept ransoming himself with small and large amounts until he liberated himself. I also command you to always remember Allah. The example of this deed is that of a man who the enemy is tirelessly pursuing. He takes refuge in a fortified fort. When the servant remembers Allah, he will be resorting to the best refuge from Satan.)

Al-Harith then narrated that the Messenger of Allah said,

[وَأَنَا آمُرُكُمْ بِخَمْسٍ اللهُ أَمَرَنِي بِهِنَّ: الْجَمَاعَةِ وَالسَّمْعِ وَالطَّاعَةِ وَالْهِجْرَةِ وَالْجِهَادِ فِي سَبِيلِ اللهِ. فَإِنَّهُ مَنْ خَرَجَ مِنَ الْجَمَاعَةِ قِيدَ شِبْرٍ فَقَدْ خَلَعَ رَبْقَةَ الْإِسْلَامِ مِنْ عُنُقِهِ إِلَّا أَنْ يُرَاجِعَ وَمَنْ دَعَا بِدَعْوَى جَاهِلِيَّةٍ فَهُوَ مِنْ جُثَى جَهَنَّم]

قَالُوا: يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ وَإِنْ صَامَ وَصَلَّى؟ فَقَالَ:

[وَإِنَّ صَلَّى وَصَامَ وَزَعَمَ أَنَّهُ مُسْلِمٌ، فَادْعُوا الْمُسْلِمِينَ بِأَسْمَائِهِمْ عَلَى مَا سَمَّاهُمُ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ الْمُسْلِمِينَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ عِبَادَ الله]

(And I order you with five commandments that Allah has ordered me. Stick to the Jama`ah (community of the faithful), listen and obey (your leaders) and perform Hijrah (migration) and Jihad for the sake of Allah. Whoever abandons the Jama`ah, even the distance of a hand span, will have removed the tie of Islam from his neck, unless he returns. Whoever uses the slogans of Jahiliyah (the pre-Islamic period of ignorance) he will be among those kneeling in Jahannam (Hellfire).) They said, "O Messenger of Allah! Even if he prays and fasts'' He said, (Even if he prays, fasts and claims to be Muslim. So call the Muslims with their names that Allah has called them: `The Muslims, the believing servants of Allah.') (Ahmad 4:130)

This is a Hasan Hadith, and it contains the statement, "Allah has created and sustains you, so worship Him and do not associate anything with Him in worship.'' This statement is relevant in the Ayat (2:21-22) we are discussing here and supports singling Allah in worship, without partners.

39. Signs of Allah's Existence

Several scholars of Tafsir, like Ar-Razi and others, used these Ayat as an argument for the existence of the Creator, and it is a most worthy method of argument. Indeed, whoever ponders over the things that exist, the higher and lower creatures, their various shapes, colors, behavior, benefits and ecological roles, then he will realize the ability, wisdom, knowledge, perfection and majesty of their Creator. Once a bedouin was asked about the evidence to Allah's existence, he responded, "All praise is due to Allah! The camel's dung testifies to the existence of the camel, and the track testifies to the fact that someone was walking. A sky that holds the giant stars, a land that has fairways and a sea that has waves, does not all of this testify that the Most Kind, Most Knowledgeable exists''. (Ar-Razi 2:91)

Hence, whoever gazes at the sky in its immensity, its expanse, and the various kinds of planets in it, some of which appear stationary in the sky - whoever gazes at the seas that surround the land from all sides, and the mountains that were placed on the earth to stabilize it, so that whoever lives on land, whatever their shape and color, are able to live and thrive - whoever reads Allah's statement,

[وَمِنَ الْجِبَالِ جُدَدٌ بِيضٌ وَحُمْرٌ مُّخْتَلِفٌ أَلْوَنُهَا وَغَرَابِيبُ سُودٌوَمِنَ النَّاسِ وَالدَّوَآبِّ وَالاٌّنْعَـمِ مُخْتَلِفٌ أَلْوَنُهُ كَذَلِكَ إِنَّمَا يَخْشَى اللَّهَ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ الْعُلَمَاءُ]

(And among the mountains are streaks white and red, of varying colours and (others) very black. And likewise, men and Ad-Dawabb (moving (living) creatures, beasts) and cattle are of various colours. It is only those who have knowledge among His servants that fear Allah) (35: 27-28).

Whoever thinks about the running rivers that travel from area to area bringing benefit, whoever ponders over what Allah has created on earth; various animals and plants of different tastes, scents, shapes and colors that are a result of unity between land and water, whoever thinks about all of this then he will realize that these facts testify to the existence of the Creator, His perfect ability, wisdom, mercy, kindness, generosity and His overall compassion for His creation. There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, nor is there a Lord besides Him, upon Him we rely and to Him we turn in repentance. There are numerous Ayat in the Qur'an on this subject.

[وَإِن كُنتُمْ فِى رَيْبٍ مِّمَّا نَزَّلْنَا عَلَى عَبْدِنَا فَأْتُواْ بِسُورَةٍ مِّن مِّثْلِهِ وَادْعُواْ شُهَدَآءَكُم مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ إِن كُنتُمْ صَـدِقِينَ - فَإِن لَّمْ تَفْعَلُواْ وَلَن تَفْعَلُواْ فَاتَّقُواْ النَّارَ الَّتِى وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ وَالْحِجَارَةُ أُعِدَّتْ لِلْكَـفِرِينَ ]

(23. And if you (Arab pagans, Jews, and Christians) are in doubt concerning that which We have sent down (i.e. the Qur'an) to Our servant (Muhammad ), then produce a Surah (chapter) of the like thereof and call your witnesses (supporters and helpers) besides Allah, if you are truthful). (24. But if you do it not, and you can never do it, then fear the Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, prepared for the disbelievers.)

40. The Message of Messenger of Allah is True

Allah begins to prove the truth of prophethood after He stated that there is no deity worthy of worship except Him. Allah said to the disbelievers,

[وَإِن كُنتُمْ فِى رَيْبٍ مِّمَّا نَزَّلْنَا عَلَى عَبْدِنَا]

(And if you (Arab pagans, Jews, and Christians) are in doubt concerning that which We have sent down (i.e. the Qur'an) to Our servant) meaning, Muhammad ,

[فَأْتُواْ بِسُورَةٍ]

(then produce a Surah (chapter)) meaning, similar to what he brought to you. Hence, if you claim that what he was sent with did not come from Allah, then produce something similar to what he has brought to you, using the help of anyone you wish instead of Allah. However, you will not be able to succeed in this quest. Ibn `Abbas said that,

[شُهَدَآءَكُمُ]

(your witnesses) means "Aids.'' (At-Tabari 1:376) Also, As-Suddi reported that Abu Malik said the Ayah means, "Your partners, meaning, some other people to help you in that. Meaning then go and seek the help of your deities to support and aid you.'' (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:84) Also, Mujahid said that,

[وَادْعُواْ شُهَدَآءَكُم]

(and call your witnesses) means, "People, meaning, wise and eloquent men who will provide the testimony that you seek.'' (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:85)

41. The Challenge

Allah challenged the disbelievers in various parts of the Qur'an. For instance, Allah said in Surat Al-Qasas (28:49),

[قُلْ فَأْتُواْ بِكِتَـبٍ مِّنْ عِندِ اللَّهِ هُوَ أَهْدَى مِنْهُمَآ أَتَّبِعْهُ إِن كُنتُمْ صَـدِقِينَ ]

(Say (to them, O Muhammad ): "Then bring a Book from Allah, which is a better guide than these two (the Tawrah (Torah) and the Qur'an), that I may follow it, if you are truthful''). Also, Allah said in Surat Al-Isra' (17:88),

[قُل لَّئِنِ اجْتَمَعَتِ الإِنسُ وَالْجِنُّ عَلَى أَن يَأْتُواْ بِمِثْلِ هَـذَا الْقُرْءَانِ لاَ يَأْتُونَ بِمِثْلِهِ وَلَوْ كَانَ بَعْضُهُمْ لِبَعْضٍ ظَهِيرًا ]

(Say: "If mankind and the Jinn were together to produce the like of this Qur'an, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they helped one another.'') Allah said in Surat Hud (11:13),

[أَمْ يَقُولُونَ افْتَرَاهُ قُلْ فَأْتُواْ بِعَشْرِ سُوَرٍ مِّثْلِهِ مُفْتَرَيَاتٍ وَادْعُواْ مَنِ اسْتَطَعْتُمْ مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ إِن كُنتُمْ صَـدِقِينَ ]

(Or they say, "He (Prophet Muhammad ) forged it (the Qur'an).'' Say: "Bring you then ten forged Surahs (chapters) like it, and call whomsoever you can, other than Allah (to your help), if you speak the truth!''), and in Surat Yunus (10:37-38),

[وَمَا كَانَ هَـذَا الْقُرْءَانُ أَن يُفْتَرَى مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ وَلَـكِن تَصْدِيقَ الَّذِى بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَتَفْصِيلَ الْكِتَابِ لاَ رَيْبَ فِيهِ مِن رَّبِّ الْعَـلَمِينَ - أَمْ يَقُولُونَ افْتَرَاهُ قُلْ فَأْتُواْ بِسُورَةٍ مِّثْلِهِ وَادْعُواْ مَنِ اسْتَطَعْتُمْ مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ إِن كُنتُمْ صَـدِقِينَ ]

(And this Qur'an is not such as could ever be produced by other than Allah (Lord of the heavens and the earth), but it is a confirmation of (the revelation) which was before it (i.e. the Tawrah, and the Injil), and a full explanation of the Book (i.e. Laws decreed for mankind) ـ wherein there is no doubt ـ from the Lord of all that exists.) (Or do they say: "He (Muhammad ) has forged it'' Say: "Bring then a Surah (chapter) like it, and call upon whomsoever you can besides Allah, if you are truthful!''). All of these Ayat were revealed in Makkah.

Allah also challenged the disbelievers in the Ayat that were revealed in Al-Madinah. In this Ayah, Allah said,

[وَإِن كُنتُمْ فِى رَيْبٍ]

(And if you (Arab pagans, Jews, and Christians) are in Rayb) meaning, doubt.

[مِّمَّا نَزَّلْنَا عَلَى عَبْدِنَا]

(Concerning that which We have sent down (i.e. the Qur'an) to Our servant) meaning, Muhammad ,

[فَأْتُواْ بِسُورَةٍ مِّن مِّثْلِهِ]

(then produce a Surah (chapter) the like thereof) meaning, similar to the Qur'an. This is the Tafsir of Mujahid, Qatadah, Ibn Jarir At-Tabari, Az-Zamakhshari and Ar-Razi. Ar-Razi said that this is the Tafsir of `Umar, Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Abbas, Al-Hasan Al-Basri and the majority of the scholars. And he gave preference to this view and mentioned the fact that Allah has challenged the disbelievers as individuals and as groups, whether literate or illiterate, thus making the challenge truly complete. This type of challenge is more daring than simply challenging the disbelievers who might not be literate or knowledgeable. This is why Allah said,

[فَأْتُواْ بِعَشْرِ سُوَرٍ مِّثْلِهِ]

(Bring you then ten forged Surahs (chapters) like it) (11:13), and,

[لاَ يَأْتُونَ بِمِثْلِهِ]

(They could not produce the like thereof) (17:88).

Therefore, this is a general challenge to the Arab disbelievers, the most eloquent among all nations. Allah challenged the Arab disbelievers both in Makkah and Al-Madinah several times, especially since they had tremendous hatred and enmity for the Prophet and his religion. Yet, they were unable to succeed in answering the challenge, and this is why Allah said,

[فَإِن لَّمْ تَفْعَلُواْ وَلَن تَفْعَلُواْ]

(But if you do it not, and you can never do it), indicating that they will never be able to answer the challenge. This is another miracle, in that, Allah clearly stated without doubt that the Qur'an will never be opposed or challenged by anything similar to it, for eternity. This is a true statement that has not been changed until the present and shall never change. How can anyone be able to produce something like the Qur'an, when the Qur'an is the Word of Allah Who created everything How can the words of the created ever be similar to the Words of the Creator

42. Examples of the Miracle of the Qur'an

Whoever reads through the Qur'an will realize that it contains various levels of superiority through both the apparent and hidden meanings that it mentions. Allah said,

[الركِتَـبَأُحْكِمَتْ ءايَـتُهُ ثُمَّ فُصِّلَتْ مِن لَّدُنْ حَكِيمٍ خَبِيرٍ]

(Alif Lam Ra. (This is) a Book, the verses whereof are perfect (in every sphere of knowledge, etc.), and then explained in detail from One (Allah), Who is Wise and well-acquainted (with all things)) (11:1)

So the expressions in the Qur'an are perfect and its meanings are explained. Further, every word and meaning in the Qur'an is eloquent and cannot be surpassed. The Qur'an also mentioned the stories of the people of the past; and these accounts and stories occurred exactly as the Qur'an stated. Also, the Qur'an commanded every type of righteousness and forbade every type of evil, just as Allah stated,

[وَتَمَّتْ كَلِمَةُ رَبِّكَ صِدْقاً وَعَدْلاً]

(And the Word of your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and in justice) (6:115). meaning, true in the stories it narrates and just in its Laws. The Qur'an is true, just and full of guidance. It does not contain exaggerations, lies or falsehood, unlike Arabic and other types of poems that contained lies. These poems, conform with the popular statement, "The most eloquent speech is the one that contains the most lies!'' Sometimes, one would find a long poem that mainly contains descriptions of women, horses or alcohol. Or, the poem might contain praise or the description of a certain person, horse, camel, war, incident, fear, lion, or other types of items and objects. Such praise or descriptions do not bring any benefit, except shed light on the poet's ability to clearly and eloquently describe such items. Yet, one will only be able to find one or two sentences in many long poems that elaborate on the main theme of the poem, while the rest of the poem contains insignificant descriptions and repetitions.

As for the Qur'an, it is entirely eloquent in the most perfect manner, as those who have knowledge in such matters and understand Arabic methods of speech and expressions concur. When one reads through the stories in the Qur'an, he will find them fruitful, whether they were in extended or short forms, repeated or not. The more these stories are repeated, the more fruitful and beautiful they become. The Qur'an does not become old when one repeats reciting it, nor do the scholars ever get bored with it. When the Qur'an mentions the subject of warning and promises, it presents truths that would make solid, firm mountains shake, so what about the comprehending, understanding hearts When the Qur'an promises, it opens the hearts and the ears, making them eager to attain the abode of peace - Paradise - and to be the neighbors of the Throne of the Most Beneficent. For instance, on the subject of promises and encouragement, the Qur'an said,

[فَلاَ تَعْلَمُ نَفْسٌ مَّآ أُخْفِىَ لَهُم مِّن قُرَّةِ أَعْيُنٍ جَزَآءً بِمَا كَانُواْ يَعْمَلُونَ ]

(No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do) (32:17), and,

[وَفِيهَا مَا تَشْتَهِيهِ الاٌّنْفُسُ وَتَلَذُّ الاٌّعْيُنُ وَأَنتُمْ فِيهَا خَـلِدُونَ]

((There will be) therein all that inner selves could desire, and all that eyes could delight in and you will abide therein forever) (43:71).

On the subject of warning and discouragement;

[أَفَأَمِنتُمْ أَن يَخْسِفَ بِكُمْ جَانِبَ الْبَرِّ]

(Do you then feel secure that He will not cause a side of the land to swallow you up) (17:68), and,

[أَءَمِنتُمْ مَّن فِى السَّمَآءِ أَن يَخْسِفَ بِكُمُ الاٌّرْضَ فَإِذَا هِىَ تَمُورُ - أَمْ أَمِنتُمْ مِّن فِى السَّمَآءِ أَن يُرْسِلَ عَلَيْكُمْ حَـصِباً فَسَتَعْلَمُونَ كَيْفَ نَذِيرِ ]

(Do you feel secure that He, Who is over the heaven (Allah), will not cause the earth to sink with you, and then it should quake Or do you feel secure that He, Who is over the heaven (Allah), will not send against you a violent whirlwind Then you shall know how (terrible) has been My warning) (67:16-17).

On the subject of threats, the Qur'an said,

[فَكُلاًّ أَخَذْنَا بِذَنبِهِ]

(So We punished each (of them) for his sins) (29:40). Also, on the subject of soft advice, the Qur'an said,

[أَفَرَأَيْتَ إِن مَّتَّعْنَـهُمْ سِنِينَ - ثُمَّ جَآءَهُم مَّا كَانُواْ يُوعَدُونَ - مَآ أَغْنَى عَنْهُمْ مَّا كَانُواْ يُمَتَّعُونَ ]

(Tell Me, (even) if We do let them enjoy for years. And afterwards comes to them that (punishment) which they had been promised. All that with which they used to enjoy shall not avail them) (26:205-207).

There are many other examples of the eloquence, beauty, and benefits of the Qur'an.

When the Qur'an is discussing Laws, commandments and prohibitions, it commands every type of righteous, good, pleasing and beneficial act. It also forbids every type of evil, disliked and amoral act. Ibn Mas`ud and other scholars of the Salaf said, "When you hear what Allah said in the Qur'an, such as,

[يَـأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ]

(O you who believe!), then listen with full attention, for it either contains a type of righteousness that Allah is enjoining, or an evil that He is forbidding.'' For instance, Allah said,

[يَأْمُرُهُم بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَـهُمْ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَيُحِلُّ لَهُمُ الطَّيِّبَـتِ وَيُحَرِّمُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْخَبَـئِثَ وَيَضَعُ عَنْهُمْ إِصْرَهُمْ وَالاٌّغْلَـلَ الَّتِى كَانَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ]

(He (Muhammad ) commands them for Al-Ma`ruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam has ordained); and forbids them from Al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief, polytheism of all kinds, and all that Islam has forbidden); he allows them as lawful At-Tayyibat(i.e. all good and lawful things), and prohibits them as unlawful Al-Khaba'ith (i.e. all evil and unlawful things), he releases them from their heavy burdens and from the fetters (bindings) that were upon them) (7:157).

When the Ayat mention Resurrection and the horrors that will occur on that Day, and Paradise and the Fire and the joys and safe refuge that Allah prepared for His loyal friends, or torment and Hell for His enemies, these Ayat contain glad tidings or warnings. The Ayat then call to perform good deeds and avoid evil deeds, making the life of this world less favorable and the Hereafter more favorable. They also establish the correct methods and guide to Allah's straight path and just legislation, all the while ridding the hearts of the evil of the cursed devil.

43. The Qur'an is the Greatest Miracle given to the Prophet

The Two Sahihs record that Abu Hurayrah said that the Prophet said,

[مَا مِنْ نَبِيَ مِنَ الْأَنْبِيَاءِ إِلَّا قَدْ أُعْطِيَ مِنَ الآيَاتِ مَا آمَنَ عَلَى مِثْلِهِ الْبَشَرُ، وَإنَّمَا كَانَ الَّذِي أُوتِيتُه وَحْيًا أَوْحَاهُ اللهُ إِلَيَّ فَأَرْجُو أَنْ أَكُونَ أَكْثَرَهُمْ تَابِعًا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَة]

(Every Prophet was given a miracle, the type of which brings mankind to faith. What I was given is a revelation that Allah sent down to me. Yet, I hope that I will have the most following on the Day of Resurrection.) (Fath Al-Bari 8:619 en Muslim 1:134)

This is the wording narrated by Muslim. The Prophet stated that among the Prophets he was given a revelation, meaning, he was especially entrusted with the miraculous Qur'an that challenged mankind to produce something similar to it. As for the rest of the divinely revealed Books, they were not miraculous according to many scholars. Allah knows best. The Prophet was also aided with innumerable signs and indications that testify to the truth of his prophethood and what he was sent with, all thanks and praise is due to Allah.

44. Meaning of `Stones

Allah said,

[فَاتَّقُواْ النَّارَ الَّتِى وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ وَالْحِجَارَةُ أُعِدَّتْ لِلْكَـفِرِينَ]

(Then fear the Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, prepared for the disbelievers) (2:24).

`Fuel' is wood, or similar substances, used to start and feed a fire. Similarly, Allah said,

[وَأَمَّا الْقَـسِطُونَ فَكَانُواْ لِجَهَنَّمَ حَطَباً ]

(And as for the Qasitun (disbelievers who deviated from the right path), they shall be firewood for Hell) (72:15), and,

[إِنَّكُمْ وَمَا تَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ حَصَبُ جَهَنَّمَ أَنتُمْ لَهَا وَارِدُونَ ]

[لَوْ كَانَ هَـؤُلاءِ ءَالِهَةً مَّا وَرَدُوهَا وَكُلٌّ فِيهَا خَـلِدُونَ ]

(Certainly you (disbelievers) and that which you are worshipping now besides Allah, are (but) fuel for Hell! (Surely) you enter it. Had these (idols) been alihah (gods), they would not have entered there (Hell), and all of them will abide therein) (21:98-99).

The stones mentioned here are the giant, rotten, black, sulfuric stones that become the hottest when heated, may Allah save us from this evil end. It was also reported that the stones mentioned here are the idols and rivals that were worshipped instead of Allah, just as Allah said,

[إِنَّكُمْ وَمَا تَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ حَصَبُ جَهَنَّمَ]

(Certainly you (disbelievers) and that which you are worshipping now besides Allah,are (but) fuel for Hell!) (21:28).

Allah's statement,

[أُعِدَّتْ لِلْكَـفِرِينَ]

(prepared for the disbelievers)

It appears most obvious that it refers to the Fire that is fueled by men and stones, and it also may refer to the stones themselves. There is no contradiction between these two views, because they are dependent upon each other. `Prepared' means, it is `kept' and will surely touch those who disbelieve in Allah and His Messenger . Ibn Ishaq narrated that Muhammad said that `Ikrimah or Sa`id bin Jubayr said that Ibn `Abbas said,

[أُعِدَّتْ لِلْكَـفِرِينَ]

(prepared for the disbelievers),

"For those who embrace the disbelief that you (disbelievers) have embraced.'' (At-Tabari 1:383)

45. Jahannam (Hellfire) exists now

Many of the Imams of the Sunnah used this Ayah to prove that the Fire exists now. This is because Allah said,

[أُعِدَّتْ]

(prepared) meaning, prepared and kept. There are many Hadiths on this subject. For instance, the Prophet said,

[تَحَاجَّتِ الْجَنَّةُ وَالنَّار]

(Paradise and the Fire had an argument..) (Muslim 4:2186)
Also, the Prophet said,

[اسْتَأْذَنَتِ النَّارُ رَبَّهَا فَقَالَتْ: رَبِّ أَكَلَ بَعضِي بَعْضًا فَأذِنَ لَهَا بِنَفَسَيْنِ: نَفَسٍ فِي الشِّتَاءِ وَنَفَسٍ فِي الصَّيْف]

(The Fire sought the permission of her Lord. She said, 'O my Lord! Some parts of me consumed the other parts.' And Allah allowed her two periods to exhale, one in winter and one in summer.) (Al-Bukhari no. 527, Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 7:317)

Also, there is a Hadith recorded from Ibn Mas`ud that the Companions heard the sound of a falling object. When they asked about it, the Messenger of Allah said,

[هَذَا حَجَرٌ أُلْقِيَ بِهِ مِنْ شَفِيرِ جَهَنَّمَ مُنْذُ سَبْعِينَ سَنَةً، الْآنَ وَصَلَ إِلى قَعْرِهَا]

(This is a stone that was thrown from the top of Jahannam seventy years ago, but only now reached its bottom.) This Hadith is in Sahih Muslim 4:2184

There are many Hadiths that are Mutawatir (narrated by many different chains of narrations) on this subject, such as the Hadiths about the eclipse prayer, the night of Isra' etc.

Allah's statements,

[فَأْتُواْ بِسُورَةٍ مِّن مِّثْلِهِ]

(Then produce a Surah (chapter) of the like thereof) (2:23), and,

[بِسُورَةٍ مِّثْلِهِ]

(A Surah (chapter) like it) (10:38) this includes the short and long Surahs of the Qur'an. Therefore, the challenge to creation stands with regards to both the long and short Surahs, and there is no disagreement that I know of on this fact between the scholars of old and new. Before he became Muslim, `Amr bin Al-`As met Musaylimah the Liar who asked him, "What has recently been revealed to your fellow (meaning Muhammad ) in Makkah'' `Amr said, "A short, yet eloquent Surah.'' He asked, "What is it'' He said,

[وَالْعَصْرِ - إِنَّ الإِنسَـنَ لَفِى خُسْرٍ ]

(By Al-`Asr (the time). Verily, man is in loss,) (103:1-2)

Musaylimah thought for a while and said, "A similar Surah was also revealed to me.'' `Amr asked, "What is it'' He said, "O Wabr, O Wabr (i.e. a wild cat), you are but two ears and a chest, and the rest of you is unworthy and thin.'' `Amr said, "By Allah! You know that I know that you are lying.''

[وَبَشِّرِ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ الصَّـلِحَاتِ أَنَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّـتٍ تَجْرِى مِن تَحْتِهَا الأَنْهَـرُ كُلَّمَا رُزِقُواْ مِنْهَا مِن ثَمَرَةٍ رِّزْقاً قَالُواْ هَـذَا الَّذِى رُزِقْنَا مِن قَبْلُ وَأُتُواْ بِهِ مُتَشَـبِهاً وَلَهُمْ فِيهَآ أَزْوَجٌ مُّطَهَّرَةٌ وَهُمْ فِيهَا خَـلِدُونَ ]

(25. And give glad tidings to those who believe and do righteous good deeds, that for them will be Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise). Every time they will be provided with a fruit therefrom, they will say: "This is what we were provided with before,'' and they will be given things in resemblance (i.e. in the same form but different in taste) and they shall have therein Azwajun Mutahharatun (purified mates or wives), and they will abide therein forever.)

46. Rewards of Righteous Believers

After mentioning the torment that Allah has prepared for His miserable enemies who disbelieve in Him and in His Messengers, He mentions the condition of His happy, loyal friends who believe in Him and in His Messengers, adhere to the faith and perform the good deeds. This is the reason why the Qur'an was called Mathani, based on the correct opinion of the scholars. We will elaborate upon this subject later. Mathani means to mention faith and then disbelief, or vice versa. Or, Allah mentions the miserable and then the happy, or vice versa. As for mentioning similar things, it is called Tashabbuh, as we will come to know, Allah willing. Allah said,

[وَبَشِّرِ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ الصَّـلِحَاتِ أَنَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّـتٍ تَجْرِى مِن تَحْتِهَا الأَنْهَـرُ]

(And give glad tidings to those who believe and do righteous good deeds, that for them will be Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise)). Consequently, Allah stated that Paradise has rivers that run beneath it, meaning, underneath its trees and rooms. From Hadiths it is learned that the rivers of Paradise do not run in valleys, and that the banks of Al-Kawthar (the Prophet's lake in Paradise) are made of domes of hollow pearls, the sand of Paradise is made of scented musk while its stones are made from pearls and jewels. We ask Allah to grant Paradise to us, for verily, He is the Most Beneficent, Most Gracious.

Ibn Abi Hatim reported that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

[أَنْهَارُ الْجَنَّةِ تَفَجَّرُ تَحْتَ تِلَالٍ أَوْ مِنْ تَحْتِ جِبَالِ الْمِسْك]

(The rivers of Paradise spring from beneath hills, or mountains of musk.) (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:87)

He also reported from Masruq that `Abdullah said, "The rivers of Paradise spring from beneath mountains of musk.'' (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:88)

47. The similarity between the Fruits of Paradise

Allah said next,

[كُلَّمَا رُزِقُواْ مِنْهَا مِن ثَمَرَةٍ رِّزْقاً قَالُواْ هَـذَا الَّذِى رُزِقْنَا مِن قَبْلُ]

(Every time they will be provided with a fruit therefrom, they will say: "This is what we were provided with before'').

Ibn Abi Hatim reported that Yahya bin Abi Kathir said, "The grass of Paradise is made of saffron, its hills from musk and the boys of everlasting youth will serve the believers with fruits which they will eat. They will then be brought similar fruits, and the people of Paradise will comment, `This is the same as what you have just brought us.' The boys will say to them, `Eat, for the color is the same, but the taste is different. Hence Allah's statement,

[وَأُتُواْ بِهِ مُتَشَـبِهاً]

(and they will be given things in resemblance). Abu Ja`far Ar-Razi narrated that Ar-Rabi` bin Anas said that Abu Al-`Aliyah said that,

[وَأُتُواْ بِهِ مُتَشَـبِهاً]

(and they will be given things in resemblance) means, "They look like each other, but the taste is different.'' Also, `Ikrimah said,

[وَأُتُواْ بِهِ مُتَشَـبِهاً]

(and they will be given things in resemblance) "They are similar to the fruits of this life, but the fruits of Paradise taste better. '' Sufyan Ath-Thawri reported from Al-A`mash, from Abu Thubyan, that Ibn `Abbas said, "Nothing in Paradise resembles anything in the life of this world, except in name.'' In another narration, Ibn `Abbas said, "Only the names are similar between what is in this life and what is in Paradise.''

48. The Wives of the People of Paradise are Pure

Allah said,

[وَلَهُمْ فِيهَآ أَزْوَجٌ مُّطَهَّرَةٌ]

(and they shall have therein Azwajun Mutahharatun). Ibn Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "Purified from filth and impurity.'' Also, Mujahid said, "From menstruation, relieving the call of nature, urine, spit, semen and pregnancies.'' Also, Qatadah said, "Purified from impurity and sin.'' In another narration, he said, "From menstruation and pregnancies.'' Further, `Ata', Al-Hasan, Ad-Dahhak, Abu Salih, `Atiyah and As-Suddi were reported to have said similarly.

Allah's statement,

[وَهُمْ فِيهَا خَـلِدُونَ]

(and they will abide therein forever) meaning ultimate happiness, for the believers will enjoy everlasting delight, safe from death and disruption of their bliss, for it never ends or ceases. We ask Allah to make us among these believers, for He is the Most Generous, Most Kind and Most merciful.

[إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَسْتَحْىِ أَن يَضْرِبَ مَثَلاً مَّا بَعُوضَةً فَمَا فَوْقَهَا فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ فَيَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّهِمْ وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ فَيَقُولُونَ مَاذَآ أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِهَـذَا مَثَلاً يُضِلُّ بِهِ كَثِيرًا وَيَهْدِي بِهِ كَثِيرًا وَمَا يُضِلُّ بِهِ إِلاَّ الْفَـسِقِينَ - الَّذِينَ يَنقُضُونَ عَهْدَ اللَّهِ مِن بَعْدِ مِيثَـقِهِ وَيَقْطَعُونَ مَآ أَمَرَ اللَّهُ بِهِ أَن يُوصَلَ وَيُفْسِدُونَ فِي الاٌّرْضِ أُولَـئِكَ هُمُ الْخَـسِرُونَ ]

(26. Verily, Allah is not ashamed to set forth a parable even of a mosquito or so much more when it is bigger (or less when it is smaller) than it. And as for those who believe, they know that it is the truth from their Lord, but as for those who disbelieve, they say: "What did Allah intend by this parable'' By it He misleads many, and many He guides thereby. And He misleads thereby only the Fasiqin (the rebellious, disobedient to Allah). (27. Those who break Allah's covenant after ratifying it, and sever what Allah has ordered to be joined and do mischief on earth, it is they who are the losers.)

In his Tafsir, As-Suddi reported that Ibn `Abbas, Ibn Mas`ud, and some Companions said; "When Allah gave these two examples of the hypocrites'' meaning Allah's statements,

[مَثَلُهُمْ كَمَثَلِ الَّذِى اسْتَوْقَدَ نَاراً]

(Their likeness is as the likeness of one who kindled a fire), and,

[أَوْ كَصَيِّبٍ مِّنَ السَّمَآءِ]

(Or like a rainstorm from the sky), "The hypocrites said, `Allah's far more exalted than for Him to make such examples.' So Allah revealed these Ayat (2:26-27) up to:

[هُمُ الْخَـسِرُونَ]

(Who are the losers)''. Sa`id said that Qatadah said, "Allah does not shy away from the truth when He mentions a matter as a parable, whether this matter is significant or not. When Allah mentioned the flies and the spider in His Book, the people of misguidance said, `Why did Allah mention these things.' So Allah revealed;

[إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَسْتَحْىِ أَن يَضْرِبَ مَثَلاً مَّا بَعُوضَةً فَمَا فَوْقَهَا]

(Verily, Allah is not ashamed to set forth a parable even of a mosquito or so much more when it is bigger (or less when it is smaller) than it).''

49. A Parable about the Life of This World

Abu Ja`far Ar-Razi reported that Ar-Rabi` bin Anas commented on this Ayah (2:26); "This is an example that Allah has given for the life of this world. The mosquito lives as long as it needs food, but when it gets fat, it dies. This is also the example of people whom Allah mentioned in the Qur'an: when they acquire (and collect the delights of) the life of this world, Allah then takes them away.'' Afterwards, he recited,

[فَلَمَّا نَسُواْ مَا ذُكِّرُواْ بِهِ فَتَحْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ أَبْوَابَ كُلِّ شَىْءٍ]

(So, when they forgot (the warning) with which they had been reminded, We opened for them the gates of every (pleasant) thing) (6:44)

In this Ayah (2:26) Allah stated that He does not shy away or hesitate in making an example or parable of anything, whether the example involves a significant or an insignificant matter.

Allah's statement,

[فَمَا فَوْقَهَا]

(Or so much more when it is bigger than it) Fama fawqaha means, something bigger than the mosquito, which is one of the most insignificant and tiniest of creatures. Muslim narrated that Aishah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

[مَا مِنْ مُسْلِمٍ يُشَاكُ شَوكَةً فَمَا فَوْقَهَا إِلَّا كُتِبَتْ لَهُ بِهَا دَرَجَةٌ، وَمُحِيَتْ عَنْهُ بِهَا خَطِيئَة]

(No Muslim is harmed by a thorn, Fama fawqaha (or something larger), but a good deed will be written for him and an evil deed will be erased from his record.)

So Allah has informed us that there is no matter that is too small that is exempt from being used as an example, even if it was as insignificant as a mosquito or a spider. Allah said,

[يأَيُّهَا النَّاسُ ضُرِبَ مَثَلٌ فَاسْتَمِعُواْ لَهُ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ تَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ لَن يَخْلُقُواْ ذُبَاباً وَلَوِ اجْتَمَعُواْ لَهُ وَإِن يَسْلُبْهُمُ الذُّبَابُ شَيْئاً لاَّ يَسْتَنقِذُوهُ مِنْهُ ضَعُفَ الطَّالِبُ وَالْمَطْلُوبُ ]

(O mankind! A similitude has been coined, so listen to it (carefully): Verily, those on whom you call besides Allah, cannot create (even) a fly, even though they combine together for the purpose. And if the fly snatches away a thing from them, they will have no power to release it from the fly. So weak are (both) the seeker and the sought.) (22:73),

[مَثَلُ الَّذِينَ اتَّخَذُواْ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ أَوْلِيَآءَ كَمَثَلِ الْعَنكَبُوتِ اتَّخَذَتْ بَيْتاً وَإِنَّ أَوْهَنَ الْبُيُوتِ لَبَيْتُ الْعَنكَبُوتِ لَوْ كَانُواْ يَعْلَمُونَ ]

(The likeness of those who take (false deities as) Awliya' (protectors, helpers) other than Allah is the likeness of a spider who builds (for itself) a house; but verily, the frailest (weakest) of houses is the spider's house ـ if they but knew.) (29:41), and,

[أَلَمْ تَرَ كَيْفَ ضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلاً كَلِمَةً طَيِّبَةً كَشَجَرةٍ طَيِّبَةٍ أَصْلُهَا ثَابِتٌ وَفَرْعُهَا فِى السَّمَآءِ - تُؤْتِى أُكُلَهَا كُلَّ حِينٍ بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهَا وَيَضْرِبُ اللَّهُ الأَمْثَالَ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَذَكَّرُونَ - وَمَثلُ كَلِمَةٍ خَبِيثَةٍ كَشَجَرَةٍ خَبِيثَةٍ اجْتُثَّتْ مِن فَوْقِ الاٌّرْضِ مَا لَهَا مِن قَرَارٍ - يُثَبِّتُ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ بِالْقَوْلِ الثَّابِتِ فِى الْحَيَوةِ الدُّنْيَا وَفِى الاٌّخِرَةِ وَيُضِلُّ اللَّهُ الظَّـلِمِينَ وَيَفْعَلُ اللَّهُ مَا يَشَآءُ ]

(See you not how Allah sets forth a parable A goodly word as a goodly tree, whose root is firmly fixed, and its branches (reach) to the sky (i.e. very high). Giving its fruit at all times, by the leave of its Lord, and Allah sets forth parables for mankind in order that they may remember. And the parable of an evil word is that of an evil tree uprooted from the surface of earth, having no stability. Allah will keep firm those who believe, with the word that stands firm in life of this world (i.e. they will keep on worshipping Allah alone and none else), and in the Hereafter. And Allah will cause the Zalimin (polytheists and wrongdoers) to go astray those and Allah does what He wills.) (14:24-27). Allah said,

[ضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلاً عَبْدًا مَّمْلُوكًا لاَّ يَقْدِرُ عَلَى شَىْءٍ]

(Allah puts forward the example of (two men ـ a believer and a disbeliever); a servant under the possession of another, he has no power of any sort) (16:75). He then said,

[وَضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلاً رَّجُلَيْنِ أَحَدُهُمَآ أَبْكَمُ لاَ يَقْدِرُ عَلَى شَىْءٍ وَهُوَ كَلٌّ عَلَى مَوْلاهُ أَيْنَمَا يُوَجِّههُّ لاَ يَأْتِ بِخَيْرٍ هَلْ يَسْتَوِى هُوَ وَمَن يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ]

(And Allah puts forward (another) example of two men, one of them dumb, who has no power over anything, and he is a burden on his master; whichever way he directs him, he brings no good. Is such a man equal to one who commands justice) (16:76). Also, Allah said,

[ضَرَبَ لَكُمْ مَّثَلاً مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ هَلْ لَّكُمْ مِّن مَّا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَـنُكُمْ مِّن شُرَكَآءَ فِى مَا رَزَقْنَـكُمْ]

(He sets forth for you a parable from your own selves: Do you have partners among those whom your right hands possess (i.e. your servants) to share as equals in the wealth we have bestowed on you) (30:28).

Mujahid commented on Allah's statement,

[إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَسْتَحْىِ أَن يَضْرِبَ مَثَلاً مَّا بَعُوضَةً فَمَا فَوْقَهَا]

(Verily, Allah is not ashamed to set forth a parable even of a mosquito or so much more when it is bigger than it.) "The believers believe in these parables, whether they involve large matters or small, because they know that they are the truth from their Lord, and Allah guides the believers by these parables.''

In his Tafsir, As-Suddi reported that Ibn `Abbas, Ibn Mas`ud and other people among the Companions said,

[يُضِلُّ بِهِ كَثِيرًا]

(By it He misleads many), "Meaning the hypocrites. Allah guides the believers with these parables, and the straying of the hypocrites increases when they reject the parables that Allah mentioned for them which they know are true. This is how Allah misleads them.''

[وَيَهْدِي بِهِ]

(And He guides thereby) meaning, with the parables,

[كَثِيراً]

(many) from among the people of faith and conviction. Allah adds guidance to their guidance, and faith to their faith, because they firmly believe in what they know to be true, that is, the parables that Allah has mentioned. This is guidance that Allah grants them;

[وَمَا يُضِلُّ بِهِ إِلاَّ الْفَـسِقِينَ]

(And He misleads thereby only the Fasiqin (the rebellious, disobedient to Allah)), meaning, the hypocrites. The Arabs say that the date has Fasaqat, when it comes out of its skin, and they call the mouse a Fuwaysiqah, because it leaves its den to cause mischief. The Two Sahihs recorded `A'ishah saying that the Messenger of Allah said,

[خَمْسٌ فَوَاسِقُ يُقْتَلْنَ فِي الْحِلِّ وَالْحَرَمِ: الغُرَابُ وَالْحِدَأَةُ وَالْعَقْرَبُ وَالْفَأْرَةُ وَالْكَلْبُ الْعَقُور]

(Five animals are Fawasiq, and they must be killed during Ihram and otherwise: the crow, the kite, the scorpion, the mouse and the rabid dog.) eFasiq, includes the disbeliever and the disobedient. However, the Fisq of the disbeliever is worse, and this is the type of Fasiq that the Ayah is describing here, because Allah described them as,

[الَّذِينَ يَنقُضُونَ عَهْدَ اللَّهِ مِن بَعْدِ مِيثَـقِهِ وَيَقْطَعُونَ مَآ أَمَرَ اللَّهُ بِهِ أَن يُوصَلَ وَيُفْسِدُونَ فِي الاٌّرْضِ أُولَـئِكَ هُمُ الْخَـسِرُونَ ]

(Those who break Allah's covenant after ratifying it, and sever what Allah has ordered to be joined and do mischief on earth, it is they who are the losers.)

These are the characteristics of the disbelievers and they contradict the qualities of the believers. Similarly, Allah said in Surat Ar-Ra`d,

[أَفَمَن يَعْلَمُ أَنَّمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِن رَبِّكَ الْحَقُّ كَمَنْ هُوَ أَعْمَى إِنَّمَا يَتَذَكَّرُ أُوْلُواْ الأَلْبَـبِ - الَّذِينَ يُوفُونَ بِعَهْدِ اللَّهِ وَلاَ يِنقُضُونَ الْمِيثَـقَ - وَالَّذِينَ يَصِلُونَ مَآ أَمَرَ اللَّهُ بِهِ أَن يُوصَلَ وَيَخْشَوْنَ رَبَّهُمْ وَيَخَافُونَ سُوءَ الحِسَابِ ]

(Shall he then, who knows that what has been revealed unto you (O Muhammad ) from your Lord is the truth, be like him who is blind But it is only the men of understanding that pay heed. Those who fulfill the covenant of Allah and break not the Mithaq (bond, treaty, covenant). And those who join that which Allah has commanded to be joined (i.e. they are good to their relatives and do not sever the bond of kinship), and fear their Lord, and dread the terrible reckoning.) (13:19-21)) until,

[وَالَّذِينَ يَنقُضُونَ عَهْدَ اللَّهِ مِن بَعْدِ مِيثَـقِهِ وَيَقْطَعُونَ مَآ أَمَرَ اللَّهُ بِهِ أَن يُوصَلَ وَيُفْسِدُونَ فِى الاٌّرْضِ أُوْلَـئِكَ لَهُمُ اللَّعْنَةُ وَلَهُمْ سُوءُ الدَّارِ ]

(And those who break the covenant of Allah, after its ratification, and sever that which Allah has commanded to be joined (i.e. they sever the bond of kinship and are not good to their relatives), and work mischief in the land, on them is the curse (i.e. they will be far away from Allah's mercy), and for them is the unhappy (evil) home (i.e. Hell).) (13:25)

The covenant that these deviant people broke is Allah's covenant with His creation, that is, to obey Him and avoid the sins that He prohibited. This covenant was reiterated in Allah's Books and by the words of His Messengers. Ignoring this covenant constitutes breaking it. It was said that the Ayah (2:27) is about the disbelievers and the hypocrites among the People of the Book. In this case, the covenant that they broke is the pledge that Allah took from them in the Tawrah to follow Muhammad when he is sent as a Prophet, and to believe in him, and in what he was sent with. Breaking Allah's covenant in this case occured when the People of the Book rejected the Prophet after they knew the truth about him, and they hid this truth from people, even though they swore to Allah that they would do otherwise. Allah informed us that they threw the covenant behind their backs and sold it for a miserable price.

It was also reported that the Ayah (2:27) refers to all disbelievers, idol worshippers and hypocrites. Allah took their pledge to believe in His Oneness, showing them the signs that testify to His Lordship. He also took a covenant from them to obey His commands and refrain from His prohibitions, knowing that His Messengers would bring proofs and miracles that none among the creation could ever produce. These miracles testified to the truth of Allah's Messengers. The covenant was broken when the disbelievers denied what was proven to them to be authentic and rejected Allah's Prophets and Books, although they knew that they were the truth. This Tafsir was reported from Muqatil bin Hayyan, and it is very good. It is also the view that Az-Zamakhshari held.

Allah's statement next,

[وَيَقْطَعُونَ مَآ أَمَرَ اللَّهُ بِهِ أَن يُوصَلَ]

(And sever what Allah has ordered to be joined) is in reference to keeping the relations with the relatives, as Qatadah asserted. This Ayah is similar to Allah's statement,

[فَهَلْ عَسَيْتُمْ إِن تَوَلَّيْتُمْ أَن تُفْسِدُواْ فِى الاٌّرْضِ وَتُقَطِّعُواْ أَرْحَامَكُمْ ]

(Would you then, if you were given the authority, do mischief in the land, and sever your ties of kinship) (47:22)

Ibn Jarir At-Tabari preferred this opinion. However, it has been said that the meaning of the Ayah (2:27) here is more general. Hence, everything that Allah has commanded to nurture, and the people severed, is included in its meaning.

50. The Meaning of `Loss

Muqatil bin Hayyan commented on Allah's statement,

[أُولَـئِكَ هُمُ الْخَـسِرُونَ]

(It is they who are the losers) "In the Hereafter.'' Similarly, Allah said,

[أُوْلَـئِكَ لَهُمُ اللَّعْنَةُ وَلَهُمْ سُوءُ الدَّارِ]

(On them is the curse (i.e. they will be far away from Allah's mercy), and for them is the unhappy (evil) home (i.e. Hell)) (13:25).

Also, Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn `Abbas said, "Every characteristic that Allah describes those other than the people of Islam - such as being losers - then it refers to disbelief. However, when they are attributed to the people of Islam, then these terms refer to sin.'' Ibn Jarir commented on Allah's statement,

[أُولَـئِكَ هُمُ الْخَـسِرُونَ]

(It is they who are the losers,) "`Losers is plural for loser, this word refers to whoever decreased his own share of Allah's mercy by disobeying Him, just as the merchant loses in his trade by sustaining capital loss. Such is the case with the hypocrite and the disbeliever who lose their share of the mercy that Allah has in store for His servants on the Day of Resurrection. And that is when the disbeliever and the hypocrite most desperately need Allah's mercy.''

[كَيْفَ تَكْفُرُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَكُنتُمْ أَمْوَتًا فَأَحْيَـكُمْ ثُمَّ يُمِيتُكُمْ ثُمَّ يُحْيِيكُمْ ثُمَّ إِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ ]

(28. How can you disbelieve in Allah seeing that you were dead and He gave you life Then He will give you death, then again will bring you to life (on the Day of Resurrection) and then unto Him you will return.)

Allah testifies to the fact that He exists and that He is the Creator and the Sustainer Who has full authority over His servants,

[كَيْفَ تَكْفُرُونَ بِاللَّهِ]

(How can you disbelieve in Allah)
How can anyone deny Allah's existence or worship others with Him while;

[وَكُنتُمْ أَمْوَتًا فَأَحْيَـكُمْ]

(You were dead and He gave you life) meaning, He brought them from the state of non-existence to life. Similarly, Allah said,

[أَمْ خُلِقُواْ مِنْ غَيْرِ شَىْءٍ أَمْ هُمُ الْخَـلِقُونَ - أَمْ خَلَقُواْ السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضَ بَل لاَّ يُوقِنُونَ ]

(Were they created by nothing Or were they themselves the creators Or did they create the heavens and the earth Nay, but they have no firm belief) (52:35-36) and,

[هَلْ أَتَى عَلَى الإِنسَـنِ حِينٌ مِّنَ الدَّهْرِ لَمْ يَكُن شَيْئاً مَّذْكُوراً ]

(Has there not been over man a period of time, when he was not a thing worth mentioning) (76:1).
There are many other Ayat on this subject. Ibn Jarir reported from `Ata' that Ibn `Abbas said that,

[وَكُنتُمْ أَمْوَتًا فَأَحْيَـكُمْ]

(Seeing that you were dead and He gave you life) means, "You did not exist beforehand. You were nothing until Allah created you; He will bring death to you and then bring you back to life during Resurrection.'' Ibn `Abbas then said, "This is similar to Allah's statement;

[قَالُواْ رَبَّنَآ أَمَتَّنَا اثْنَتَيْنِ وَأَحْيَيْتَنَا اثْنَتَيْنِ]

(They will say: "Our Lord! You have made us to die twice and You have given us life twice.'') (40:11)''

[هُوَ الَّذِى خَلَقَ لَكُم مَّا فِى الاٌّرْضِ جَمِيعاً ثُمَّ اسْتَوَى إِلَى السَّمَآءِ فَسَوَّاهُنَّ سَبْعَ سَمَـوَاتٍ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَىْءٍ عَلِيمٌ ]

(29. He it is Who created for you all that is on earth. Then He Istawa ila the heaven and made them seven heavens and He is the Knower of everything.)

51. Evidence of Allah's Ability

After Allah mentioned the proofs of His creating them, and what they can witness in themselves as proof of that, He mentioned another proof that they can witness, that is, the creation of the heavens and earth. Allah said,

[هُوَ الَّذِى خَلَقَ لَكُم مَّا فِى الاٌّرْضِ جَمِيعاً ثُمَّ اسْتَوَى إِلَى السَّمَآءِ فَسَوَّاهُنَّ سَبْعَ سَمَـوَاتٍ]

(He it is Who created for you all that is on earth. Then He Istawa ila the heaven and made them seven heavens) meaning, He turned towards the heaven,

[فَسَوَّاهُنَّ]

(And made them) meaning, that He made the heaven, seven heavens. Allah said,

[فَسَوَّاهُنَّ سَبْعَ سَمَـوَاتٍ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَىْءٍ عَلِيمٌ]

(And made them seven heavens and He is the Knower of everything) meaning, His knowledge encompasses all His creation, just as He said in another Ayah,

[أَلاَ يَعْلَمُ مَنْ خَلَقَ]

(Should not He Who has created know) (67:14).

52. The Beginning of the Creation

This Ayah (2:29) is explained in detail in Surat As-Sajdah where Allah said;

[قُلْ أَءِنَّكُمْ لَتَكْفُرُونَ بِالَّذِى خَلَقَ الاٌّرْضَ فِى يَوْمَيْنِ وَتَجْعَلُونَ لَهُ أَندَاداً ذَلِكَ رَبُّ الْعَـلَمِينَ - وَجَعَلَ فِيهَا رَوَاسِىَ مِن فَوْقِهَا وَبَـرَكَ فِيهَا وَقَدَّرَ فِيهَآ أَقْوَتَهَا فِى أَرْبَعَةِ أَيَّامٍ سَوَآءً لِّلسَّآئِلِينَ - ثُمَّ اسْتَوَى إِلَى السَّمَآءِ وَهِىَ دُخَانٌ فَقَالَ لَهَا وَلِلاٌّرْضِ ائْتِيَا طَوْعاً أَوْ كَرْهاً قَالَتَآ أَتَيْنَا طَآئِعِينَ - فَقَضَاهُنَّ سَبْعَ سَمَـوَتٍ فِى يَوْمَيْنِ وَأَوْحَى فِى كُلِّ سَمَآءٍ أَمْرَهَا وَزَيَّنَّا السَّمَآءَ الدُّنْيَا بِمَصَـبِيحَ وَحِفْظاً ذَلِكَ تَقْدِيرُ الْعَزِيزِ الْعَلِيمِ ]

(Say (O Muhammad ): "Do you verily disbelieve in Him Who created the earth in two Days And you set up rivals (in worship) with Him That is the Lord of all that exists. He placed therein (i.e. the earth) firm mountains from above it, and He blessed it, and measured therein its sustenance (for its dwellers) in four Days equal (i.e. all these four `days' were equal in the length of time) for all those who ask (about its creation). Then He Istawa ila the heaven when it was smoke, and said to it and to the earth: "Come both of you willingly or unwillingly.'' They both said: "We come willingly.'' Then He finished them (as) seven heavens in two Days and He made in each heaven its affair. And We adorned the nearest (lowest) heaven with lamps (stars) to be an adornment as well as to guard (from the devils by using them as missiles against the devils). Such is the decree of the Almighty, the Knower) (41:9-12).

These Ayat indicate that Allah started creation by creating earth, then He made heaven into seven heavens. This is how building usually starts, with the lower floors first and then the top floors, as the scholars of Tafsir reiterated, as we will come to know, Allah willing. Allah also said,

[أَءَنتُمْ أَشَدُّ خَلْقاً أَمِ السَّمَآءُ بَنَـهَا - رَفَعَ سَمْكَهَا فَسَوَّاهَا - وَأَغْطَشَ لَيْلَهَا وَأَخْرَجَ ضُحَـهَا - وَالاٌّرْضَ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ دَحَـهَا - أَخْرَجَ مِنْهَا مَآءَهَا وَمَرْعَـهَا - وَالْجِبَالَ أَرْسَـهَا - مَتَـعاً لَّكُمْ وَلاًّنْعَـمِكُمْ ]

(Are you more difficult to create or is the heaven that He constructed He raised its height, and has perfected it. Its night He covers with darkness and its forenoon He brings out (with light). And the earth, after that, He spread it out. And brought forth therefrom its water and its pasture. And the mountains He has fixed firmly. (To be) a provision and benefit for you and your cattle) (79:27-33).

It is said that "Then'' in the Ayah (2:29) relates only to the order of reciting the information being given, it does not relate to the order that the events being mentioned took place, this was reported from Ibn `Abbas by `Ali bin Abi Talhah.

53. The Earth was created before Heaven

Mujahid commented on Allah's statement,

[هُوَ الَّذِى خَلَقَ لَكُم مَّا فِى الاٌّرْضِ جَمِيعاً]

(He it is Who created for you all that is on earth) "Allah created the earth before heaven, and when He created the earth, smoke burst out of it. This is why Allah said,

[ثُمَّ اسْتَوَى إِلَى السَّمَآءِ وَهِىَ دُخَانٌ]

(Then He Istawa ila (turned towards) the heaven when it was smoke.) (41:11)

[فَسَوَّاهُنَّ سَبْعَ سَمَـوَاتٍ]

(And made them seven heavens) means, one above the other, while the `seven earths' means, one below the other.''
This Ayah testifies to the fact that the earth was created before heaven, as Allah has indicated in the Ayat in Surat As-Sajdah.

54. Spreading the Earth out after the Heavens were created

Sahih Al-Bukhari records that when Ibn `Abbas was question about this matter, he said that the earth was created before heaven, and the earth was spread out only after the creation of the heaven. Several Tafsir scholars of old and recent times also said similarly, as we have elaborated on in the Tafsir of Surat An-Nazi`at (chapter 79). The result of that discussion is that the word Daha (translated above as "spread'') is mentioned and explained in Allah's statement,

[وَالاٌّرْضَ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ دَحَـهَا - أَخْرَجَ مِنْهَا مَآءَهَا وَمَرْعَـهَا - وَالْجِبَالَ أَرْسَـهَا ]

(And the earth, after that, He spread it out. And brought forth therefrom its water and its pasture. And the mountains He has fixed firmly.) (79:30-32)

Therefore, Daha means that the earth's treasures were brought to its surface after finishing the job of creating whatever will reside on earth and heaven. When the earth became Daha, the water burst out to its surface and the various types, colors, shapes and kinds of plants grew. The stars started rotating along with the planets that rotate around them. And Allah knows best.

[وَإِذْ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلَـئِكَةِ إِنِّي جَاعِلٌ فِى الأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً قَالُواْ أَتَجْعَلُ فِيهَا مَن يُفْسِدُ فِيهَا وَيَسْفِكُ الدِّمَآءَ وَنَحْنُ نُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِكَ وَنُقَدِّسُ لَكَ قَالَ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مَا لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ ]

(30. And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels: "Verily, I am going to place (mankind) generations after generations on earth.'' They said: "Will You place therein those who will make mischief therein and shed blood, ـ while we glorify You with praises and thanks and sanctify You.'' He (Allah) said: "I know that which you do not know.'')

55. Adam and His Children inhabited the Earth, Generation after Generation

Allah reiterated His favor on the Children of Adam when He stated that He mentioned them in the highest of heights before He created them. Allah said,

[وَإِذْ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلَـئِكَةِ]

(And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels.)
This Ayah means, "O Muhammad ! Mention to your people what Allah said to the angels,

[إِنِّي جَاعِلٌ فِى الأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً]

(Verily, I am going to place a Khalifah on earth).
Meaning people reproducing generation after generation, century after century, just as Allah said,

[وَهُوَ الَّذِى جَعَلَكُمْ خَلَـئِفَ الاٌّرْضِ]

(And it is He Who has made you (Khala'if) generations coming after generations, replacing each other on the earth) (6:165),

[وَيَجْعَلُكُمْ حُلَفَآءَ الاٌّرْضِ]

(And makes you (Khulafa') inheritors of the earth) (27:62),

[وَلَوْ نَشَآءُ لَجَعَلْنَا مِنكُمْ مَّلَـئِكَةً فِى الاٌّرْضِ يَخْلُفُونَ ]

(And if it were Our will, We would have (destroyed you (mankind all, and) made angels to replace you (Yakhlufun) on the earth.) (43: 60) and,

[فَخَلَفَ مِن بَعْدِهِمْ خَلْفٌ]

(Then after them succeeded an (evil) generation (Khalf)) (7:169). It appears that Allah was not refering to Adam specifically as Khalifah, otherwise he would not have allowed the angels' statement,

[أَتَجْعَلُ فِيهَا مَن يُفْسِدُ فِيهَا وَيَسْفِكُ الدِّمَآءَ]

(Will You place therein those who will make mischief therein and shed blood).

The angels meant that this type of creature usually commits the atrocities they mentioned. The angels knew of this fact, according to their understanding of human nature, for Allah stated that He would create man from clay. Or, the angels understood this fact from the word Khalifah, which also means the person who judges disputes that occur between people, forbidding them from injustice and sin, as Al-Qurtubi said.

The statement the angels uttered was not a form of disputing with Allah's, nor out of envy for the Children of Adam, as some mistakenly thought. Allah has described them as those who do not precede Him in speaking, meaning that they do not ask Allah anything without His permission. When Allah informed them that He was going to create a creation on the earth, and they had knowledge that this creation would commit mischief on it, as Qatadah mentioned, they said,

[أَتَجْعَلُ فِيهَا مَن يُفْسِدُ فِيهَا وَيَسْفِكُ الدِّمَآءَ]

(Will You place therein those who will make mischief therein and shed blood)

This is only a question for the sake of learning about the wisdom of that, as if they said, Our Lord! What is the wisdom of creating such creatures since they will cause trouble in the earth and spill blood "If the wisdom behind this action is that You be worshipped, we praise and glorify You (meaning we pray to You) we never indulge in mischief, so why create other creatures''

Allah said to the angels in answer to their inquiry,

[إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مَا لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ]

(I know that which you do not know.) meaning, "I know that the benefit of creating this type of creature outweighs the harm that you mentioned, that which you have no knowledge of. I will create among them Prophets and send Messengers. I will also create among them truthful, martyrs, righteous believers, worshippers, the modest, the pious, the scholars who implement their knowledge, humble people and those who love Allah and follow His Messengers.''

The Sahih recorded that when the angels ascend to Allah with the records of the servant's deeds, Allah asks them, while having better knowledge, "How did you leave My servants'' They will say, "We came to them while they were praying and left them while they were praying.'' This is because the angels work in shifts with mankind, and they change shifts during the Fajr and `Asr prayers. The angels who descended will remain with us, while the angels who have remained with us ascend with our deeds. The Messenger of Allah said,

[يُرْفَعُ إِلَيْهِ عَمَلُ اللَّيْلِ قَبْلَ النَّهَارِ وَعَمَلُ النَّهَارِ قَبْلَ اللَّيْل]

(The deeds of the night are elevated to Allah before the morning, and the deeds of the morning before the night falls. )
Hence, the angels' statement, "We came to them while they were praying and left them while they were praying,'' explains Allah's statement,

[إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مَا لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ]

(I know that which you do not know.)
It was said that the meaning of Allah's statement,

[إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مَا لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ]

(I know that which you do not know.) is, "I have a specific wisdom in creating them, which you do not have knowledge of.'' It was also said that it is in answer to,

[وَنَحْنُ نُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِكَ وَنُقَدِّسُ لَكَ]

(While we glorify You with praises and thanks and sanctify You) after which Allah said,

[إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مَا لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ]

(I know that which you do not know). Meaning, "I know that Iblis is not as you are, although he is among you.'' Others said,

[أَتَجْعَلُ فِيهَا مَن يُفْسِدُ فِيهَا وَيَسْفِكُ الدِّمَآءَ وَنَحْنُ نُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِكَ وَنُقَدِّسُ لَكَ]

"(Will You place therein those who will make mischief therein and shed blood, ـ while we glorify you with praises and thanks and sanctify You.) is their request that they should be allowed to inhabit the earth, instead of the Children of Adam. So Allah said to them,

[إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مَا لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ]

(I know that which you do not know) if your inhabiting the heavens is better, or worse for you.'' Ar-Razi as well as others said this. Allah knows best.

56. The Obligation of appointing a Khalifah and some related Issues

Al-Qurtubi, as well as other scholars, said that this Ayah (2:30) proves the obligation of appointing a Khalifah to pass judgements on matters of dispute between people, to aid the oppressed against the oppressor, to implement the Islamic penal code and to forbid evil. There are many other tasks that can only be fulfilled by appointing the Imam, and what is necessary in performing an obligation, is an obligation itself. We should state here that Imamah occurs by either naming a successor, as a group among Ahl As-Sunnah scholars said occurred - by the Prophet - in the case of Abu Bakr, or hinting to a successor. Or, the current Khalifah names a certain person as Khalifah after him, as Abu Bakr did with `Umar. Or, the Khalifah might leave the matter in the hands of the Muslim consultative council, or a group of righteous men, just as `Umar did. Or, the people of authority could gather around a certain person to whom they give the pledge of allegiance, or they could select one among them to choose the candidate, according to the majority of the scholars.

The Khalifah must be a responsible adult Muslim male, able to perform Ijtihad (independent legal judgments), bodily able, righteous, with knowledge of warfare, politics. He also must be from the tribe of Quraysh, according to the correct view, but it is not necessary that he be from the tribe of Bani Hashim, or that he be immune from error, as the Rafidah (Shiites) falsely claim.

When the Khalifah becomes an immoral person (Fasiq), should he be impeached There is disagreement over this matter, but the correct view is that he is not to be removed, because the Messenger of Allah said,

[إِلَّا أَنْ تَرَوْا كُفْرًا بَوَاحًا عِنْدَكُمْ مِنَ اللهِ فِيهِ بُرْهَان]

(Unless you witness a clear Kufr regarding which you have clear proof from Allah. )

Does the Khalifah have the right to resign from his post There is a difference on this issue. It is a fact that Al-Hasan bin `Ali removed himself from the position of Khalifah and surrendered it to Mu`awiyah. However, this occurred because of a necessity, and Al-Hasan was praised for this action.

It is not permissible to appoint two Imams for the world or more at the same time. This is not allowed because the Messenger of Allah said,

[مَنْ جَاءَكُمْ وَأَمْرُكُمْ جَمِيعٌ يُرِيدُ أَنْ يُفَرِّقَ بَيْنَكُمْ فَاقْتُلُوهُ كَائِنًا مَنْ كَان]

(Whoever came to you while you are united and tried to divide you, then execute him, no matter who he is.)

This is the view of the majority of scholars. Imam Al-Haramayn stated that Abu Ishaq allowed the appointment of two or more Imams when the various provinces are far away from each other. However, Imam Al-Haramayn himself was indecisive about this view.

[وَعَلَّمَ ءَادَمَ الأَسْمَآءَ كُلَّهَا ثُمَّ عَرَضَهُمْ عَلَى الْمَلَـئِكَةِ فَقَالَ أَنبِئُونِى بِأَسْمَآءِ هَـؤُلاَءِ إِن كُنتُمْ صَـدِقِينَ - قَالُواْ سُبْحَـنَكَ لاَ عِلْمَ لَنَآ إِلاَّ مَا عَلَّمْتَنَآ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْعَلِيمُ الْحَكِيمُ - قَالَ يَـاءَادَمُ أَنبِئْهُم بِأَسْمَآئِهِمْ فَلَمَّآ أَنبَأَهُم بِأَسْمَآئِهِم قَالَ أَلَمْ أَقُل لَّكُمْ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ غَيْبَ السَّمَـوَاتِ وَالاٌّرْضِ وَأَعْلَمُ مَا تُبْدُونَ وَمَا كُنتُمْ تَكْتُمُونَ ]

(31. And He taught Adam all the names (of everything), then He showed them to the angels and said, "Tell Me the names of these if you are truthful.'') (32. They (angels) said: "Glory is to You, we have no knowledge except what you have taught us. Verily, You are the Knower, the Wise.'') (33. He said: "O Adam! Inform them of their names,'' and when he had informed them of their names, He said: "Did I not tell you that I know the Ghayb (unseen) in the heavens and the earth, and I know what you reveal and what you have been concealing'')

57. The Virtue of Adam over the Angels

Allah stated the virtue of Adam above the angels, because He taught Adam, rather than them, the names of everything. This occurred after they prostrated to him. This discussion precedes that event here, only to show the importance of his position, and the absence of the angels' knowledge about creating the Khalifah when they asked about it. So Allah informed the angels that He knows what they do not know, and then He mentioned this to show them Adam's superiority over them in knowledge. Allah said,

[وَعَلَّمَ ءَادَمَ الأَسْمَآءَ كُلَّهَا]

(And He taught Adam all the names (of everything)).
Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn `Abbas commented on the Ayah;

[وَعَلَّمَ ءَادَمَ الأَسْمَآءَ كُلَّهَا]

(And He taught Adam all the names (of everything)) "Meaning, the names that people use, such as human, animal, sky, earth, land, sea, horse, donkey, and so forth, including the names of the other species.'' Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Jarir reported that `Asim bin Kulayb narrated from Sa`id bin Ma`bad that Ibn `Abbas was questioned,

[وَعَلَّمَ ءَادَمَ الأَسْمَآءَ كُلَّهَا]

(And He taught Adam all the names (of everything)) "Did Allah teach him the names of the plate and the pot'' He said, "Yes, and even the terms for breaking wind!''

Allah taught Adam the names of everything, their proper names, the names of their characteristics, and what they do, just as Ibn `Abbas stated about the terms for passing gas.

In his Sahih, Al-Bukhari explained this Ayah in the Book of Tafsir with a report from Anas bin Malik who said that the Messenger of Allah said,

[يَجْتَمِعُ الْمُؤمِنُونَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ فَيَقُولُونَ: لَوِ اسْتَشْفَعْنَا إِلَى رَبِّنَا فَيَأْتُونَ آدَمَ فَيَقُولُونَ: أَنْتَ أَبُو النَّاسِ خَلَقَكَ اللهُ بِيَدِهِ وَأَسْجَدَ لَكَ مَلَائِكَتَهُ وَعَلَّمَكَ أَسْمَاءَ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ، فَاشْفَعْ لَنَا عِنْدَ رَبِّكَ حَتَّى يُريحَنَا مِنْ مَكَانِنَا هَذا، فَيَقُولُ: لَسْتُ هُنَاكُمْ وَيَذْكُرُ ذَنْبَهُ فَيَسْتَحْيِي ائْتُوا نُوحًا فإِنَّهُ أَوَّلُ رَسُولٍ بَعَثَهُ اللهُ إِلَى أَهْلِ الْأَرْضِ، فَيَأْتُونَه، فَيَقُولُ: لَسْتُ هُناكُمْ وَيَذْكُر سُؤَالَه رَبَّه مَا لَيْسَ لَهُ بِه عِلْم فَيَسْتَحْيِي فَيَقُولُ: ائْتُوا خَلِيلَ الرَّحْمن فَيَأْتُونَهُ فَيقُولُ: لَسْتُ هُنَاكُمْ فَيَقُولُ: ائْتُوا مُوسَى عَبْدًا كَلَّمَهُ اللهُ وَأعْطَاهُ التَّوْرَاةَ، فَيقُولُ: لَسْتُ هُنَاكُم فَيَذْكُرُ قَتْلَ النَّفْسِ بِغَيْرِ نَفْسٍ فَيَسْتَحْيِي مِنْ رَبِّهِ فَيَقُولُ: ائْتُوا عِيسى عَبْدَاللهِ وَرَسُولَهُ وَكَلِمَةَ اللهِ ورُوحَهُ، فَيَأْتُونَهُ فَيَقُولُ: لَسْتُ هُنَاكُمْ ائْتُوا مُحَمَّدًا عَبْدًا غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّم مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ وَمَا تَأَخَّرَ، فَيَأْتُونِّي فأَنْطَلِقُ حَتَّى أَسْتأذِنَ عَلَى رَبِّي فيَأْذَنُ لِي، فإِذَا رأَيْتُ رَبِّي وَقَعْتُ سَاجِدًا فَيَدَعُنِي مَا شَاءَ اللهُ ثُمَّ يُقَالُ: ارْفَعْ رَأْسَكَ وَسَلْ تُعْطَهْ وَقُلْ يُسْمَعْ وَاشْفَعْ تُشَفَّعْ، فأَرْفَعُ رَأْسِي فأَحْمَدُهُ بِتَحْمِيدٍ يُعَلِّمُنِيهِ ثُمَّ أَشْفَعُ فَيُحَدُّ لِي حَدًّا فأُدْخِلُهُمُ الْجَنَّةَ ثُمَّ أَعُودُ إلَيْهِ فَإذَا رَأَيْتُ رَبِّي مِثْلَهُ ثُمَّ أَشْفَعُ فَيُحَدُّ لِي حدًّا فأُدْخِلُهُمُ الْجَنَّةَ ثُمَّ أَعُودُ الثَّالِثَةَ ثُمَّ أعُودُ الرَّابِعَةَ فَأَقُولُ:مَا بَقِيَ فِي النَّار إلَّا مَنْ حَبَسَهُ الْقُرْآنُ وَوَجَبَ عَلَيْهِ الْخُلُود]

(The believers will gather on the Day of Resurrection and will say, `We should seek a means of intercession with our Lord' They will go to Adam and say, `O Adam! You are the father of all mankind, Allah created you with His Own Hand, ordered the angels to prostrate for you and taught you the names of everything. Will you not intercede for us with your Lord, so that he relieve us from this gathering place' On that Adam will reply, `I cannot do what you have asked'. He will have remembered his error and will be embarrassed, saying, `Go to Nuh, for he is the first of Allah's Messengers whom Allah sent to the people of the earth.' They will go to Nuh and ask him. He will say, `I cannot do what you have asked.' He will recall asking Allah what he was not to know, and will also be embarrassed. He will say, `Go to Khalil Ar-Rahman.' They will go to Ibrahim and he will also say, `I cannot do what you have asked.' He will say, `Go to Musa, a servant to whom Allah spoke directly and gave the Tawrah.' Musa will say, `I cannot do what you have asked.' He will remember that he killed a person without justification and will be embarrassed before his Lord.

He will say, `Go to `Isa, Allah's servant and Messenger and His Word and a spirit of His.' They will go to `Isa and he will say, `I will not do what you asked. Go to Muhammad, a servant whose previous and latter errors were forgiven.' They will come to me, and I will go to Allah and seek His permission and He will give me His permission. When I gaze at my Lord, I will prostrate myself and Allah will allow me to remain like that as much as He will. Then I will be addressed, `O Muhammad! Raise your head; ask, for you will be given what you ask, and intercede, for your intercession will be accepted.' I will raise my head and thank and praise Allah with such praise as He will inspire me. I will intercede and He will grant me a quantity of people that He will admit into Paradise. I will go back to Him, and when I see my Lord, I will intercede and He will allow me a quantity that He will admit into Paradise. I will do that for a third and then a fourth time. I will say, `There are no more people left in Hell except those whom the Qur'an has incarcerated and have thus acquired eternity in Hell.') This Hadith was collected by Muslim, An-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah. fThe reason why we mentioned this Hadith here is the Prophet's statement,

[فَيَأْتُونَ آدَمَ فَيَقُولُون: أنْتَ أَبُو النَّاسِ خَلَقَكَ اللهُ بِيَدِهِ وَأَسْجَدَ لَكَ مَلَائِكَتَهُ وَعَلَّمَكَ أَسْمَاءَ كُلِّ شَيْء]

(They will go to Adam and say, `O Adam! You are the father of all mankind, and Allah created you with His Own Hand, ordered the angels to prostrate for you, and taught you the names of everything). This part of the Hadith testifies to the fact that Allah taught Adam the names of all creatures.

This is why Allah said,

[ثُمَّ عَرَضَهُمْ عَلَى الْمَلَـئِكَةِ]

(Then He showed them to the angels) meaning, the objects or creations. `Abdur-Razzaq narrated that Ma`mar said that Qatadah said, "Allah paraded the objects before the angels,

[فَقَالَ أَنبِئُونِى بِأَسْمَآءِ هَـؤُلاَءِ إِن كُنتُمْ صَـدِقِينَ]

(And said, "Tell Me the names of these if you are truthful'').''
Allah's statement means, "Tell Me the names of what I paraded before you, O angels who said,

[أَتَجْعَلُ فِيهَا مَن يُفْسِدُ فِيهَا وَيَسْفِكُ الدِّمَآءَ]

(Will You place therein those who will make mischief therein and shed blood).
You asked, `Are You appointing a Khalifah from us or from other creations We praise and glorify You.

Therefore, Allah said, "If you say the truth, that if I appoint a non-angel Khalifah on the earth, he and his offspring will disobey Me, commit mischief and shed blood, but if I designate you the Khalifahs you will obey Me, follow My command and honor and glorify Me. However, since you do not know the names of the objects I paraded before you, then you have even less knowledge of what will occur on the earth that does not exist yet.''

[قَالُواْ سُبْحَـنَكَ لاَ عِلْمَ لَنَآ إِلاَّ مَا عَلَّمْتَنَآ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْعَلِيمُ الْحَكِيمُ ]

(They (angels) said: "Glory is to You, we have no knowledge except what you have taught us. Verily, it is You, the Knower, the Wise.'').

Here the angels are praising Allah's holiness, and perfection above every kind of deficiency, affirming that no creature could ever acquire any part of Allah's knowledge, except by His permission, nor could anyone know anything except what Allah teaches them. This is why they said,

[سُبْحَـنَكَ لاَ عِلْمَ لَنَآ إِلاَّ مَا عَلَّمْتَنَآ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْعَلِيمُ الْحَكِيمُ]

("Glory is to You, we have no knowledge except what you have taught us. Verily You are the Knower, the Wise) meaning, Allah is knowledgeable of everything, Most Wise about His creation, and He makes the wisest decisions, and He teaches and deprives whom He wills from knowledge. Verily, Allah's wisdom and justice in all matters is perfect.

58. Adam's Virtue of Knowledge is demonstrated

Allah said,

[قَالَ يَـاءَادَمُ أَنبِئْهُم بِأَسْمَآئِهِمْ فَلَمَّآ أَنبَأَهُم بِأَسْمَآئِهِم قَالَ أَلَمْ أَقُل لَّكُمْ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ غَيْبَ السَّمَـوَاتِ وَالاٌّرْضِ وَأَعْلَمُ مَا تُبْدُونَ وَمَا كُنتُمْ تَكْتُمُونَ ]

(He said: "O Adam! Inform them of their names,'' and when he had informed them of their names, He said: "Did I not tell you that I know the Ghayb (unseen) in the heavens and the earth, and I know what you reveal and what you have been concealing'')

Zayd bin Aslam said, "You are Jibril, you are Mika'il, you are Israfil, until he mentioned the name of the crow.'' Mujahid said that Allah's statement,

[قَالَ يَـاءَادَمُ أَنبِئْهُم بِأَسْمَآئِهِمْ]

(He said: "O Adam! Inform them of their names,'') "The name of the pigeon, the crow and everything.'' Statements of a similar meaning were reported from Sa`id bin Jubayr, Al-Hasan, and Qatadah. When Adam's virtue over the angels became apparent, as he mentioned the names that Allah taught him, Allah said to the angels,

[أَلَمْ أَقُل لَّكُمْ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ غَيْبَ السَّمَـوَاتِ وَالاٌّرْضِ وَأَعْلَمُ مَا تُبْدُونَ وَمَا كُنتُمْ تَكْتُمُونَ]

(Did I not tell you that I know the Ghayb (unseen) in the heavens and the earth, and I know what you reveal and what you have been concealing)

This means, "Did I not state that I know the seen and unseen matters. '' Similarly, Allah said,

[وَإِن تَجْهَرْ بِالْقَوْلِ فَإِنَّهُ يَعْلَمُ السِّرَّ وَأَخْفَى ]

(And if you (O Muhammad ) speak (the invocation) aloud, then verily, He knows the secret and that which is yet more hidden) (20:7).
Also, Allah said about the hoopoe, that it said to Sulayman;

[أَلاَّ يَسْجُدُواْ للَّهِ الَّذِى يُخْرِجُ الْخَبْءَ فِى السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضِ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا تُخْفُونَ وَمَا تُعْلِنُونَ - اللَّهُ لاَ إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ رَبُّ الْعَرْشِ الْعَظِيمِ ]

([As Shaytan (Satan) has barred them from Allah's way] so they do not prostrate before Allah, Who brings to light what is hidden in the heavens and the earth, and knows what you conceal and what you reveal. Allah, La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the Lord of the Supreme Throne!) (27:25-26).

They also have comments other than what we have said about the meaning of Allah's statement,

[وَأَعْلَمُ مَا تُبْدُونَ وَمَا كُنتُمْ تَكْتُمُونَ]

(And I know what you reveal and what you have been concealing).
It is reported from Ad-Dahhak that Ibn `Abbas said that,

[وَأَعْلَمُ مَا تُبْدُونَ وَمَا كُنتُمْ تَكْتُمُونَ]

(And I know what you reveal and what you have been concealing) means, "`I know the secrets, just as I know the apparent things, such as, what Iblis concealed in his heart of arrogance and pride.'' Abu Ja`far Ar-Razi narrated that Ar-Rabi` bin Anas said that,

[وَأَعْلَمُ مَا تُبْدُونَ وَمَا كُنتُمْ تَكْتُمُونَ]

(And I know what you reveal and what you have been concealing) means, "The apparent part of what they said was: `Do you create in it that which would commit mischief and shed blood' The hidden meaning was: `We have more knowledge and honor than any creation our Lord would create.' But they came to know that Allah favored Adam above them regarding knowledge and honor.''

[وَإِذْ قُلْنَا لِلْمَلَـئِكَةِ اسْجُدُواْ لاًّدَمَ فَسَجَدُواْ إِلاَّ إِبْلِيسَ أَبَى وَاسْتَكْبَرَ وَكَانَ مِنَ الْكَـفِرِينَ ]

(34. And (remember) when We said to the angels: "Prostrate yourselves before Adam.'' And they prostrated except Iblis (Shaytan), he refused and was proud and was one of the disbelievers (disobedient to Allah).)

59. Honoring Adam when the Angels prostrated before Him

This Ayah mentions the great honor that Allah granted Adam, and Allah reminded Adam's offspring of this fact. Allah commanded the angels to prostrate before Adam, as this Ayah and many Hadiths testify, such as the Hadith about the intercession that we discussed. There is a Hadith about the supplication of Musa, "O my Lord! Show me Adam who caused us and himself to be thrown out of Paradise.'' When Musa met Adam, he said to him, "Are you Adam whom Allah created with His Own Hands, blew life into and commanded the angels to prostrate before'' Iblis was among Those ordered to prostrate before Adam, although He was not an Angel

When Allah commanded the angels to prostrate before Adam, Iblis was included in this command. Although Iblis was not an angel, he was trying - and pretending - to imitate the angels' behavior and deeds, and this is why he was also included in the command to the angels to prostrate before Adam. Satan was criticized for defying that command, as we will explain with detail, Allah willing, when we mention the Tafsir of Allah's statement,

[إِلاَّ إِبْلِيسَ كَانَ مِنَ الْجِنِّ فَفَسَقَ عَنْ أَمْرِ رَبِّهِ]

(Except Iblis (Satan). He was one of the Jinn; he disobeyed the command of his Lord.) (18:50)

Similarly, Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "Before he undertook the path of sin, Iblis was with the angels and was called `Azazil.' He was among the residents of the earth and was one of the most active worshippers and knowledgeable persons among the angels. This fact caused him to be arrogant. Iblis was from a genus called Jinn.''

60. The Prostration was before Adam but the Obedience was to Allah

Qatadah commented on Allah's statement,

[وَإِذْ قُلْنَا لِلْمَلَـئِكَةِ اسْجُدُواْ لاًّدَمَ]

(And (remember) when We said to the angels: "Prostrate yourselves before Adam.'')

"The obedience was for Allah and the prostration was before Adam. Allah honored Adam and commanded the angels to prostrate before him.'' Some people said that this prostration was just a prostration of greeting, peace and honor, hence Allah's statement,

[وَرَفَعَ أَبَوَيْهِ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ وَخَرُّواْ لَهُ سُجَّدَا وَقَالَ يأَبَتِ هَـذَا تَأْوِيلُ رُؤْيَـى مِن قَبْلُ قَدْ جَعَلَهَا رَبِّى حَقًّا]

(And he (Prophet Yusuf) raised his parents to the throne and they fell down before him prostrate. And he said: "O my father! This is the interpretation of my dream aforetime! My Lord has made it come true!'') (12:100)

The practice of prostrating was allowed for previous nations, but was repealed for ours. Mu`adh said to the Prophet , "I visited Ash-Sham and found that they used to prostate before their priests and scholars. You, O Messenger of Allah, are more deserving of prostration.'' The Prophet said,

[لَا لَوْ كُنْتُ آمِرًا بَشَرًا أنْ يَسْجُدَ لِبَشَرٍ لَأَمَرْتُ الْمَرْأةَ أنْ تَسْجُدَ لِزَوجِهَا مِنْ عِظَمِ حَقِّهِ عَلَيْهَا]

(No. If I was to command any human to prostrate before another human, I would command the wife to prostrate before her husband because of the enormity of his right on her.)

Ar-Razi agreed with this view. Also, Qatadah said about Allah's statement,

[فَسَجَدُواْ إِلاَّ إِبْلِيسَ أَبَى وَاسْتَكْبَرَ وَكَانَ مِنَ الْكَـفِرِينَ]

(And they prostrated except Iblis (Shaytan), he refused and was proud and was one of the disbelievers (disobedient to Allah).)

"Iblis, the enemy of Allah, envied Adam because Allah honored Adam. He said, `I was created from fire, and he was created from clay.' Therefore, the first error ever committed was arrogance, for the enemy of Allah was too arrogant to prostrate before Adam.'' I - Ibn Kathir - say, the following is recorded in the Sahih,

[لَا يَدْخُلُ الْجَنَّةَ مَنْ كَانَ فِي قَلْبِهِ مِثْقَالُ حَبَّةٍ مِنْ خَرْدَلٍ مِنْ كِبْر]

(No person who has the weight of a mustard seed of arrogance in his heart shall enter Paradise.)
Iblis had disbelief, arrogance, and rebellion, all of which caused him to be expelled from the holy presence of Allah, and His mercy.

[وَقُلْنَا يَاءَادَمُ اسْكُنْ أَنْتَ وَزَوْجُكَ الْجَنَّةَ وَكُلاَ مِنْهَا رَغَدًا حَيْثُ شِئْتُمَا وَلاَ تَقْرَبَا هَـذِهِ الشَّجَرَةَ فَتَكُونَا مِنَ الْظَّـلِمِينَ - فَأَزَلَّهُمَا الشَّيْطَـنُ عَنْهَا فَأَخْرَجَهُمَا مِمَّا كَانَا فِيهِ وَقُلْنَا اهْبِطُواْ بَعْضُكُمْ لِبَعْضٍ عَدُوٌّ وَلَكُمْ فِى الأَرْضِ مُسْتَقَرٌّ وَمَتَـعٌ إِلَى حِينٍ ]

(35. And We said: "O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in the Paradise and eat both of you freely with pleasure and delight, of things therein wherever you will, but come not near this tree or you both will be of the Zalimin (wrongdoers). '') (36. Then the Shaytan made them slip therefrom (the Paradise), and got them out from that in which they were. We said: "Get you down, all, with enmity between yourselves. On earth will be a dwelling place for you and an enjoyment for a time.'')

61. Adam was honored again

Allah honored Adam by commanding the angels to prostrate before him, so they all complied except for Iblis. Allah then allowed Adam to live and eat wherever and whatever he wished in Paradise. Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr bin Marduwyah reported Abu Dharr saying, "I said, `O Messenger of Allah! Was Adam a Prophet' He said,

[نَعَمْ نَبِيًّا رَسُولًا كَلَّمَهُ اللَّهُ قُبُلًا]

(Yes. He was a Prophet and a Messenger to whom Allah spoke directly), meaning

[اسْكُنْ أَنتَ وَزَوْجُكَ الْجَنَّةَ]

((O Adam!) Dwell you and your wife in the Paradise.)''

62. Hawwa' was created before Adam entered Paradise

The Ayah (2:35) indicates that Hawwa' was created before Adam entered Paradise, as Muhammad bin Ishaq stated. Ibn Ishaq said, "After Allah finished criticizing Iblis, and after teaching Adam the names of everything, He said,

[يَـاءَادَمُ أَنبِئْهُم بِأَسْمَآئِهِمْ]

(O Adam! Inform them of their names) until,

[إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْعَلِيمُ الْحَكِيمُ]

(Verily, You are the Knower, the Wise.)

Then Adam fell asleep, as the People of the Book and other scholars such as Ibn `Abbas have stated, Allah took one of Adam's left ribs and made flesh grow in its place, while Adam was asleep and unaware. Allah then created Adam's wife, Hawwa', from his rib and made her a woman, so that she could be a comfort for him. When Adam woke up and saw Hawwa' next to him, it was claimed, he said, `My flesh and blood, my wife.' Hence, Adam reclined with Hawwa'. When Allah married Adam to Hawwa' and gave him comfort, Allah said to him directly,

[يَاءَادَمُ اسْكُنْ أَنْتَ وَزَوْجُكَ الْجَنَّةَ وَكُلاَ مِنْهَا رَغَدًا حَيْثُ شِئْتُمَا وَلاَ تَقْرَبَا هَـذِهِ الشَّجَرَةَ فَتَكُونَا مِنَ الْظَّـلِمِينَ]

("O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in the Paradise and eat both of you freely with pleasure and delight, of things therein wherever you will, but come not near this tree or you both will be of the Zalimin (wrongdoers).'').''

63. Allah tests Adam

Allah's statement to Adam,

[وَلاَ تَقْرَبَا هَـذِهِ الشَّجَرَةَ]

(but come not near this tree) is a test for Adam. There are conflicting opinions over the nature of the tree mentioned here. Some said that it was the grape tree, barley, date tree, fig tree, and so forth. Some said that it was a certain tree, and whoever eats from it will be relieved of the call of nature. It was also said that it was a tree from which the angels eat so that they live for eternity. Imam Abu Ja`far bin Jarir said, "The correct opinion is that Allah forbade Adam and his wife from eating from a certain tree in Paradise, but they ate from it. We do not know which tree that was, because Allah has not mentioned anything in the Qur'an or the authentic Sunnah about the nature of this tree. It was said that it was barley, grape, or a fig tree. It is possible that it was one of those trees. Yet, this is knowledge that does not bring any benefit, just as being ignorant in its nature does no harm. Allah knows best.'' This is similar to what Ar-Razi stated in his Tafsir, and this is the correct opinion. Allah's statement,

[فَأَزَلَّهُمَا الشَّيْطَـنُ عَنْهَا]

(Then the Shaytan made them slip therefrom) either refers to Paradise, and in this case, it means that Shaytan led Adam and Hawwa' away from it, as `Asim bin Abi An-Najud recited it. It is also possible that this Ayah refers to the forbidden tree. In this case, the Ayah would mean, as Al-Hasan and Qatadah stated, "He tripped them.'' In this case,

[فَأَزَلَّهُمَا الشَّيْطَـنُ عَنْهَا]

(Then the Shaytan made them slip therefrom)
means, "Because of the tree'', just as Allah said,

[يُؤْفَكُ عَنْهُ مَنْ أُفِكَ ]

(Turned aside therefrom (i.e. from Muhammad and the Qur'an) is he who is turned aside (by the decree and preordainment of Allah)) (51:9) meaning, the deviant person becomes turned aside - or slips - from the truth because of so and so reason. This is why then Allah said,

[فَأَخْرَجَهُمَا مِمَّا كَانَا فِيهِ]

(And got them out from that in which they were) meaning, the clothes, spacious dwelling and comfortable sustenance.

[وَقُلْنَا اهْبِطُواْ بَعْضُكُمْ لِبَعْضٍ عَدُوٌّ وَلَكُمْ فِى الأَرْضِ مُسْتَقَرٌّ وَمَتَـعٌ إِلَى حِينٍ]

(We said: "Get you down, all, with enmity between yourselves. On earth will be a dwelling place for you and an enjoyment for a time.'') meaning, dwelling, sustenance and limited life, until the commencement of the Day of Resurrection

64. Adam was very Tall

Ibn Abi Hatim narrated that Ubayy bin Ka`b said that the Messenger of Allah said,

[إِنَّ اللهَ خَلَقَ آدَمَ رَجُلًا طُوَالًا كَثِيرَ شَعْرِ الرَّأْسِ كَأَنَّهُ نَخْلَةٌ سَحُوقٌ، فَلَمَّا ذَاقَ الشَّجَرَةَ سَقَطَ عَنْهُ لِبَاسُهُ فَأَوَّلُ مَا بَدَا مِنْهُ عَوْرَتُهُ، فَلَمَّا نَظَرَ إلى عَوْرتِه جَعَلَ يَشْتَدُّ فِي الْجَنَّةِ فَأَخَذَتْ شَعْرَهُ شَجَرَةٌ فَنَازَعَهَا، فَنَادَاهُ الرَّحْمنُ: يَا آدَمُ مِنِّي تَفِرُّ؟ فَلَمَّا سَمِعَ كَلامَ الرَّحْمنِ قَالَ: يَا رَبِّ لَا ولَكِنِ اسْتِحْيَاء]

(Allah created Adam tall, with thick hair, just as a date tree with full branches. When Adam ate from the forbidden tree, his cover fell off, and the first thing that appeared was his private area. When he saw his private area, he ran away in Paradise and his hair got caught in a tree. He tried to free himself and Ar-Rahman called him, 'O Adam! Are you running away from Me' When Adam heard the words of Ar-Rahman (Allah), he said, 'No, O my Lord! But I am shy.')

65. Adam remained in Paradise for an Hour

Al-Hakim recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, "Adam was allowed to reside in Paradise during the time period between the `Asr (Afternoon) prayer, until sunset.'' Al-Hakim then commented this is "Sahih according to the Two Shaykhs (Al-Bukhari and Muslim), but they did not include it in their collections.'' Also, Ibn Abi Hatim recorded Ibn `Abbas saying, "Allah sent Adam to earth to an area called, Dahna, between Makkah and At-Ta'if.'' Al-Hasan Al-Basri said that Adam was sent down to India, while Hawwa' was sent to Jeddah. Iblis was sent down to Dustumaysan, several miles from Basra. Further, the snake was sent down to Asbahan. This was reported by Ibn Abi Hatim. Also, Muslim and An-Nasa'i recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

[خَيْرُ يَوْمٍ طَلَعَتْ فِيهِ الشَّمْسُ يَوْمُ الْجُمُعَةِ فِيهِ خُلِقَ آدَمُ وَفِيهِ أُدْخِلَ الْجَنَّةَ وَفِيهِ أُخْرِجَ مِنْهَا]

(Friday is the best day on which the sun has risen. On Friday, Allah created Adam, admitted him into Paradise, and expelled him from it.)

66. A Doubt and a Rebuttal

If one asks, "If the Paradise that Adam was thrown out of was in heaven, as the majority of the scholars assert, then is it possible for Iblis to enter Paradise, although he was expelled from it by Allah's decision (when he refused to prostrate before Adam)''

Basically, the response to this would be that the Paradise which Adam was in, was in the heavens, not on the earth, as we explained in the beginning of our book Al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah.

The majority of scholars said that Shaytan was originally prohibited from entering Paradise, but there were times when he sneaked into it in secret. For instance, the Tawrah stated that Iblis hid inside the snake's mouth and entered Paradise. Some scholars said that it is possible that Shaytan led Adam and Hawwa' astray on his way out of Paradise. Some scholars said that he led Adam and Hawwa' astray when he was on earth, while they were still in heaven, as stated by Az-Zamakhshari. Al-Qurtubi mentioned several beneficial Hadiths here about snakes and the ruling on killing them.

[فَتَلَقَّى ءَادَمُ مِن رَّبِّهِ كَلِمَاتٍ فَتَابَ عَلَيْهِ إِنَّهُ هُوَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ ]

(37. Then Adam received from his Lord Words. And his Lord pardoned him (accepted his repentance). Verily, He is the One Who forgives (accepts repentance), the Most Merciful.)

67. Adam repents and supplicates to Allah

It was reported that the above Ayah is explained by Allah's statement,

[قَالاَ رَبَّنَا ظَلَمْنَآ أَنفُسَنَا وَإِن لَّمْ تَغْفِرْ لَنَا وَتَرْحَمْنَا لَنَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْخَـسِرِينَ ]

(37. They said: "Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers.'') (dua 7:23) as Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Abu Al-`Aliyah, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Muhammad bin Ka`b Al-Qurazi, Khaلlid bin Ma`dan, `Ata' Al-Khurasani and `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam have stated. As-Suddi said that Ibn `Abbas commented on,

[فَتَلَقَّى ءَادَمُ مِن رَّبِّهِ كَلِمَاتٍ]

(Then Adam received from his Lord Words) "Adam said, `O Lord! Did You not created me with Your Own Hands' He said, `Yes.' He said, `And blow life into me' He said, `Yes.' He said, `And when I sneezed, You said, `May Allah grant you His mercy.' Does not Your mercy precede Your anger' He was told, `Yes.' Adam said, `And You destined me to commit this evil act' He was told, `Yes.' He said, `If I repent, will You send me back to Paradise' Allah said, `Yes.''' Similar is reported from Al-`Awfi, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Sa`id bin Ma`bad, and Ibn `Abbas. Al-Hakim recorded this Hadith in his Mustadrak from Ibn Jubayr, who narrated it from Ibn `Abbas. Al-Hakim said, "Its chain is Sahih and they (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) did not record it.''

Allah's statement,

[إِنَّهُ هُوَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ]

(Verily, He is the One Who forgives (accepts repentance), the Most Merciful) (2:37) means that Allah forgives whoever regrets his error and returns to Him in repentance. This meaning is similar to Allah's statements,

[أَلَمْ يَعْلَمُواْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ يَقْبَلُ التَّوْبَةَ عَنْ عِبَادِهِ]

(Know they not that Allah accepts repentance from His servants) (9:104),

[وَمَن يَعْمَلْ سُوءاً أَوْ يَظْلِمْ نَفْسَهُ]

(And whoever does evil or wrongs himself) (4:110) and

[وَمَن تَابَ وَعَمِلَ صَـلِحاً]

(And whosoever repents and does righteous good deeds) (25:71).

The Ayat mentioned above, testify to the fact that Allah forgives the sins of whoever repents, demonstrating His kindness and mercy towards His creation and servants. There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful.

[قُلْنَا اهْبِطُواْ مِنْهَا جَمِيعًا فَإِمَّا يَأْتِيَنَّكُم مِّنِّى هُدًى فَمَن تَبِعَ هُدَايَ فَلاَ خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ - وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ وَكَذَّبُواْ بِآيَـتِنَآ أُولَـئِكَ أَصْحَـبُ النَّارِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَـلِدُونَ ]

(38. We said: "Get down all of you from this place (the Paradise), then whenever there comes to you Hudan (guidance) from Me, and whoever follows My guidance, there shall be no fear on them, nor shall they grieve.) (39. But those who disbelieve and belie Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) ـ such are the dwellers of the Fire. They shall abide therein forever.'')

Allah stated that when He sent Adam, Hawwa', and Shaytan to earth from Paradise, He warned them that He will reveal Books and send Prophets and Messengers to them, i.e., to their offspring. Abu Al-`Aliyah said, "Al-Huda, refers to the Prophets, Messengers, the clear signs and plain explanation.''

[فَمَن تَبِعَ هُدَايَ]

(And whoever follows My guidance) meaning, whoever accepts what is contained in My Books and what I send the Messengers with,

[فَلاَ خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ]

(There shall be no fear on them) regarding the Hereafter,

[وَلاَ هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ]

(nor shall they grieve) regarding the life of this world. Similarly, in Surat Ta Ha, Allah said,

[قَالَ اهْبِطَا مِنْهَا جَمِيعاً بَعْضُكُمْ لِبَعْضٍ عَدُوٌّ فَإِمَّا يَأْتِيَنَّكُم مِّنِّى هُدًى فَمَنِ اتَّبَعَ هُدَاىَ فَلاَ يَضِلُّ وَلاَ يَشْقَى ]

(He (Allah) said: "Get you down (from the Paradise to the earth), both of you, together, some of you are an enemy to some others. Then if there comes to you guidance from Me, then whoever follows My guidance, he shall neither go astray, nor shall he be distressed.) (20:123)

Ibn `Abbas commented, "He will not be misguided in this life or miserable in the Hereafter.'' The Ayah,

[وَمَنْ أَعْرَضَ عَن ذِكْرِى فَإِنَّ لَهُ مَعِيشَةً ضَنكاً وَنَحْشُرُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيـمَةِ أَعْمَى ]

(But whosoever turns away from My Reminder (i.e. neither believes in this Qur'an nor acts on its teachings) verily, for him is a life of hardship, and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Resurrection.) (20:124) is similar to what Allah stated here,

[وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ وَكَذَّبُواْ بِآيَـتِنَآ أُولَـئِكَ أَصْحَـبُ النَّارِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَـلِدُونَ ]

(But those who disbelieve and belie Our Ayat ـ such are the dwellers of the Fire. They shall abide therein forever), meaning, they will remain in Hell for eternity and will not find a way out of it.

[يَـبَنِى إِسْرَءِيلَ اذْكُرُواْ نِعْمَتِيَ الَّتِى أَنْعَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَأَوْفُواْ بِعَهْدِى أُوفِ بِعَهْدِكُمْ وَإِيَّـىَ فَارْهَبُونِ - وَءَامِنُواْ بِمَآ أَنزَلْتُ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا مَعَكُمْ وَلاَ تَكُونُواْ أَوَّلَ كَافِرٍ بِهِ وَلاَ تَشْتَرُواْ بِآيَـتِي ثَمَنًا قَلِيلاً وَإِيَّـىَ فَاتَّقُونِ ]

(40. O Children of Israel! Remember My favor which I bestowed upon you, and fulfill (your obligations to) My covenant (with you) so that I fulfill (My obligations to) your covenant (with Me), and fear none but Me.) (41. And believe in what I have sent down (this Qur'an), confirming that which is with you (the Tawrah and the Injil), and be not the first to disbelieve therein, and buy not with My verses (the Tawrah and the Injil) a small price (i.e. getting a small gain by selling My verses), and fear Me and Me alone.)

68. Encouraging the Children of Israel to embrace Islam

Allah commanded the Children of Israel to embrace Islam and to follow Muhammad . He also reminded them with the example of their father Israel, Allah's Prophet Ya`qub, as if saying, "O children of the pious, righteous servant of Allah who obeyed Allah! Be like your father, following the truth.'' This statement is similar to one's saying, "O you son of that generous man! Do this or that'' or, "O son of the brave man, engage the strong fighters,'' or "O son of the scholar, seek the knowledge,'' and so forth. Similarly, Allah said,

[ذُرِّيَّةَ مَنْ حَمَلْنَا مَعَ نُوحٍ إِنَّهُ كَانَ عَبْدًا شَكُورًا ]

(O offspring of those whom We carried (in the ship) with Nuh (Noah)! Verily, he was a grateful servant) (17:3).

69. Israel is Prophet Ya`qub (Jacob)

Israel is Prophet Ya`qub, for Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi recorded that `Abdullah Ibn `Abbas said, "A group of Jews came to the Prophet and he said to them,

[هَلْ تَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّ إِسْرَائِيلَ يَعْقُوبُ؟]

(Do you know that Israel is Jacob) They said, "Yes, by Allah.'' He said,

[اللَّهُمَّ اشْهَد]

(O Allah! Be witness.)''

At-Tabari recorded that `Abdullah Ibn `Abbas said that `Israel' means, `the servant of Allah.'

70. Allah's Blessings for the Children of Israel

Allah said,

[اذْكُرُواْ نِعْمَتِيَ الَّتِى أَنْعَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ]

(Remember My favor which I bestowed upon you).

Mujahid commented, "Allah's favor that He granted the Jews is that He made water gush from stones, sent down manna and quails for them, and saved them from being enslaved by Pharaoh.'' Abu Al-`Aliyah also said, "Allah's favor mentioned here is His sending Prophets and Messengers among them, and revealing Books to them.'' I - Ibn Kathir - say that this Ayah is similar to what Musa said to the Children of Israel,

[يَـقَوْمِ اذْكُرُواْ نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ جَعَلَ فِيكُمْ أَنْبِيَآءَ وَجَعَلَكُمْ مُّلُوكاً وَءَاتَـكُمْ مَّا لَمْ يُؤْتِ أَحَداً مِّن الْعَـلَمِينَ]

(O my people! Remember the favor of Allah to you: when He made Prophets among you, made you kings, and gave you what He had not given to any other among the nations (of their time) (5:20) meaning, during their time. Also, Muhammad bin Ishaq said that Ibn `Abbas said,

[اذْكُرُواْ نِعْمَتِيَ الَّتِى أَنْعَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ]

(Remember My favor which I bestowed upon you,) means, "My support for you and your fathers,'' that is saving them from Pharaoh and his people.

71. Reminding the Children of Israel of Allah's Covenant with Them

Allah's statement,

[وَأَوْفُواْ بِعَهْدِى أُوفِ بِعَهْدِكُمْ]

(And fulfill (your obligations to) My covenant (with you) so that I fulfill (My obligations to) your covenant (with Me),) means, `My covenant that I took from you concerning Prophet Muhammad , when he is sent to you, so that I grant you what I promised you if you believe in him and follow him. I will then remove the chains and restrictions that were placed around your necks, because of the errors that you committed.' Also, Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, "The `covenant' is in reference to Allah's statement, i

[وَلَقَدْ أَخَذَ اللَّهُ مِيثَـقَ بَنِى إِسْرَءِيلَ وَبَعَثْنَا مِنهُمُ اثْنَىْ عَشَرَ نَقِيباً وَقَالَ اللَّهُ إِنِّى مَعَكُمْ لَئِنْ أَقَمْتُمُ الصَّلوةَ وَءَاتَيْتُمْ الزَّكَوةَ وَءَامَنتُمْ بِرُسُلِى وَعَزَّرْتُمُوهُمْ وَأَقْرَضْتُمُ اللَّهَ قَرْضاً حَسَناً لأُكَفِّرَنَّ عَنْكُمْ سَيِّئَـتِكُمْ وَلأدْخِلَنَّكُمْ جَنَّـتٍ تَجْرِى مِن تَحْتِهَا الاٌّنْهَـرُ]

(Indeed, Allah took the covenant from the Children of Israel (Jews), and We appointed twelve leaders among them. And Allah said: "I am with you if you perform As-Salah and give Zakah and believe in My Messengers; honor and assist them, and lend a good loan to Allah, verily, I will expiate your sins and admit you to Gardens under which rivers flow (in Paradise)) (5:12).''

Other scholars said, "The covenant is what Allah took from them in the Tawrah, in that, He will send a great Prophet - meaning Muhammad - from among the offspring of Isma`il, who will be obeyed by all peoples. Therefore, whoever obeys him, then Allah will forgive his sins, enter him into Paradise and award him two rewards.'' We should mention here that Ar-Razi mentioned several cases of information brought by the earlier Prophets regarding the coming of Muhammad . Further, Abu Al-`Aliyah said that,

[وَأَوْفُواْ بِعَهْدِى]

(And fulfill (your obligations to) My covenant (with you)) means, "His covenant with His servants is to embrace Islam and to adhere to it.'' Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn `Abbas said, "`I fulfill My obligations to you' means, `I (Allah) will be pleased with you and admit you into Paradise.''' As-Suddi, Ad-Dahhak, Abu Al-`Aliyah and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas said similarly.

Ibn `Abbas said that Allah's statement,

[وَإِيَّـىَ فَارْهَبُونِ]

(And fear Me and Me alone.) means, "Fear the torment that I might exert on you, just as I did with your fathers, like the mutation, etc.'' This Ayah contains encouragement, followed by warning. Allah first called the Children of Israel, using encouragement, then He warned them, so that they might return to the Truth, follow the Messenger , heed the Qur'an's prohibitions and commands and believe in its content. Surely, Allah guides whom He wills to the straight path.

Allah said next,

[وَءَامِنُواْ بِمَآ أَنزَلْتُ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا مَعَكُمْ]

(And believe in what I have sent down, confirming that which is with you (the Tawrah and the Injil)) meaning, the Qur'an that Allah sent down to Muhammad , the unlettered Arab Prophet, as bringer of glad tidings, a warner and a light. The Qur'an contains the Truth from Allah and affirms what was revealed beforehand in the Tawrah and the Injil (the Gospel). Abu Al-`Aliyah said that Allah's statement,

[وَءَامِنُواْ بِمَآ أَنزَلْتُ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا مَعَكُمْ]

(And believe in what I have sent down (this Qur'an), confirming that which is with you (the Tawrah and the Injil)) "means, `O People of the Book! Believe in what I sent down that conforms to what you have.' This is because they find the description of Muhammad recorded in the Tawrah and the Injil.'' Similar statements were attributed to Mujahid, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas and Qatadah.

Allah said,

[وَلاَ تَكُونُواْ أَوَّلَ كَافِرٍ بِهِ]

(and be not the first to disbelieve therein).

Ibn `Abbas commented, "Do not become the first to disbelieve in the Qur'an (or Muhammad ), while you have more knowledge in it than other people.'' Abu Al-`Aliyah commented, "`Do not become the first to disbelieve in Muhammad, ' meaning from among the People of the Book, `after you hear that he was sent as a Prophet.''' Similar statements were attributed to Al-Hasan, As-Suddi and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas. Ibn Jarir stated that the Ayah (disbelieve therein 2:41) refers to the Qur'an, mentioned earlier in the Ayah,

[بِمَآ أَنزَلْتُ]

(in what I have sent down (this Qur'an),)

Both statements are correct because they are inter-related. For instance, whoever disbelieves in the Qur'an will have disbelieved in Muhammad , and whoever disbelieves in Muhammad will have disbelieved in the Qur'an. Allah's statement,

[أَوَّلَ كَافِرٍ بِهِ]

(the first to disbelieve therein) means, do not become the first among the Children of Israel to disbelieve in it, for there were people from Quraysh and the Arabs in general who rejected Muhammad before the People of the Book disbelieved in him. We should state here that the Ayah is talking about the Children of Israel in specific, because the Jews in Al-Madinah were the first among the Children of Israel to be addressed by the Qur'an. Hence, their disbelief in the Qur'an means that they were the first among the People of the Book to disbelieve in it.

Allah's statement,

[وَلاَ تَشْتَرُواْ بِآيَـتِي ثَمَنًا قَلِيلاً]

(and buy not with My verses a small price,) means, "Do not substitute faith in My Ayat and belief in My Prophet with the life of this world and its lusts which are minute and bound to end. '' Allah said,

[وَإِيَّـىَ فَاتَّقُونِ]

(and have Taqwa of Me and Me alone).

Ibn Abi Hatim reported that Talq bin Habib said, "Taqwa is to work in Allah's obedience, on a light from Allah, hoping in Allah's mercy, and to avoid Allah's disobedience, on a light from Allah, fearing Allah's punishment.'' Allah's statement,

[وَإِيَّـىَ فَاتَّقُونِ]

(and fear Me and Me alone) means, that Allah warns the People of the Book against intentionally hiding the truth and spreading the opposite of it, as well as, against defying the Messenger .

[وَلاَ تَلْبِسُواْ الْحَقَّ بِالْبَـطِلِ وَتَكْتُمُواْ الْحَقَّ وَأَنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ - وَأَقِيمُواْ الصَّلوةَ وَآتُواْ الزَّكَوةَ وَارْكَعُواْ مَعَ الرَّاكِعِينَ ]

(42. And mix not truth with falsehood, nor conceal the truth while you know (the truth).) (43. And perform As-Salah, and give Zakah, and bow down along with Ar-Raki`in.)

72.The Prohibition of hiding the Truth and distorting It with Falsehood

Allah forbade the Jews from intentionally distorting the truth with falsehood and from hiding the truth and spreading falsehood,

[وَلاَ تَلْبِسُواْ الْحَقَّ بِالْبَـطِلِ وَتَكْتُمُواْ الْحَقَّ وَأَنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ ]

(And mix not truth with falsehood, nor conceal the truth while you know (the truth)).
So Allah forbade them from two things; He ordered them to make the truth known, as well as explaining it. Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn `Abbas mentioned the Ayah,

[وَلاَ تَلْبِسُواْ الْحَقَّ بِالْبَـطِلِ]

(And mix not truth with falsehood) and said; "Do not mix the truth with falsehood and the facts with lies.'' Qatadah said that,

[وَلاَ تَلْبِسُواْ الْحَقَّ بِالْبَـطِلِ]

(And mix not truth with falsehood) means, "Do not mix Judaism and Christianity with Islam,

[وَأَنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ]

(while you know (the truth).) that the religion of Allah is Islam, and that Judaism and Christianity are innovations that did not come from Allah.'' It was reported that Al-Hasan Al-Basri said similarly.

Also, Muhammad bin Ishaq narrated that Ibn `Abbas said that,

[وَتَكْتُمُواْ الْحَقَّ وَأَنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ]

(nor conceal the truth while you know (the truth).) means, "Do not hide the knowledge that you have of My Messenger and what he was sent with. His description, which you know about, can be found written in the Books that you have.''

It is possible that it means, "..although you know the tremendous harm that this evil will cause people, misguiding them and leading them to the Fire, because they will follow the falsehood that you mixed with the truth in your claims.''

[وَأَقِيمُواْ الصَّلوةَ وَآتُواْ الزَّكَوةَ وَارْكَعُواْ مَعَ الرَّاكِعِينَ ]

(And perform As-Salat and give Zakah, and bow down along with Ar-Raki`in.)
Muqatil said, "Allah's statement to the People of the Book,

[وَأَقِيمُواْ الصَّلَوةَ]

(And perform As-Salah) commands them to perform the prayer behind the Prophet ,

[وَآتَوُاْ الزَّكَوةَ]

(and give Zakah) commands them to pay the Zakah to the Prophet , and

[وَارْكَعُواْ مَعَ الرَّاكِعِينَ]

(and bow down along with Ar-Raki`in) commands them to bow down with those who bow down among the Ummah of Muhammad . Allah therefore commands the People of the Book to be with, and among the Ummah of Muhammad .'' In addition, Allah's statement,

[وَارْكَعُواْ مَعَ الرَّاكِعِينَ]

(And bow down along with Ar-Raki`in) means, "And be among the believers performing the best deeds they perform, such as, and foremost, the prayer.'' Many scholars said that this Ayah (2:43) is proof for the obligation of performing the prayer in congregation (for men only). I will explain this ruling in detail in Kitab Al-Ahkam Al-Kabir, Allah willing.

[أَتَأْمُرُونَ النَّاسَ بِالْبِرِّ وَتَنسَوْنَ أَنفُسَكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ تَتْلُونَ الْكِتَـبَ أَفَلاَ تَعْقِلُونَ ]

(44. Enjoin you Al-Birr (piety and righteousness and every act of obedience to Allah) on the people and you forget (to practise it) yourselves, while you recite the Scripture (Tawrah))! Have you then no sense)

73. The Condemnation of commanding Others to observe Righteousness while ignoring Righteousness

Allah said, "How is it, O People of the Book, that you command people to perform Al-Birr, which encompasses all types of righteousness, yet forget yourselves and do not heed what you call others to And you read Allah's Book (the Tawrah) and know what it promises to those who do not fulfill Allah's commandments.

[أَفَلاَ تَعْقِلُونَ]

(Have you then no sense) of what you are doing to yourselves, so that you might become aware of your slumber and restore your sight from blindness'' `Abdur-Razzaq said that Ma`mar stated that Qatadah commented on Allah's statement,

[أَتَأْمُرُونَ النَّاسَ بِالْبِرِّ وَتَنسَوْنَ أَنفُسَكُمْ]

(Enjoin you Al-Birr (piety and righteousness and every act of obedience to Allah) on the people and you forget (to practise it) yourselves,) "The Children of Israel used to command people to obey Allah, fear Him and perform Al-Birr. Yet, they contradicted these orders, so Allah reminded them of this fact.'' As-Suddi said similarly. Ibn Jurayj said that the Ayah:

[أَتَأْمُرُونَ النَّاسَ بِالْبِرِّ]

(Enjoin you Al-Birr on the people) "Is about the People of the Book and the hypocrites. They used to command people to pray and fast. However, they did not practice what they commanded others. Allah reminded them of this behavior. So whoever commands people to do righteousness, let him be among the first of them to implement that command.'' Also, Muhammad bin Ishaq narrated that Ibn `Abbas said that,

[وَتَنسَوْنَ أَنفُسَكُمْ]

(And you forget yourselves,) means, "You forget to practice it yourselves,

[وَأَنتُمْ تَتْلُونَ الْكِتَـبَ أَفَلاَ تَعْقِلُونَ]

(While you recite the Scripture (Tawrah)! Have you then no sense) You forbid the people from rejecting the prophethood and the covenant that you have mentioned with you in the Tawrah, while you yourselves have forgoten it, meaning that `you have forgotten the covenant that I made with you that you will accept My Messenger. You have breeched My covenant, and rejected what you know is in My Book.' ''

Therefore, Allah admonished the Jews for this behavior and alerted them to the wrongs that they were perpetrating against themselves by ordering righteousness, yet refraining themselves from righteousness. We should state that Allah is not criticizing the People of the Book for ordering righteousness, because enjoining good is a part of righteousness and is an obligation for the scholars. However, the scholar is himself required to heed, and adhere to, what he invites others to. For instance, Prophet Shu`ayb said,

[وَمَآ أُرِيدُ أَنْ أُخَالِفَكُمْ إِلَى مَآ أَنْهَـكُمْ عَنْهُ إِنْ أُرِيدُ إِلاَّ الإِصْلَـحَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُ وَمَا تَوْفِيقِى إِلاَّ بِاللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلْتُ وَإِلَيْهِ أُنِيبُ]

(I wish not, in contradiction to you, to do that which I forbid you. I only desire reform to the best of my power. And my guidance cannot come except from Allah, in Him I trust and unto Him I repent) (11:88).

Therefore, enjoining righteousness and performing righteousness are both required. Neither category is rendered not necessary by the practice of the other, according to the most correct view of the scholars among the Salaf (predecessors) and the Khalaf.

Imam Ahmad reported that Abu Wa'il said, "While I was riding behind Usamah, he was asked, `Why not advise `Uthman' He said, `Do you think that if I advise him I should allow you to hear it I advise him in secret, and I will not start something that I would hate to be the first to start. I will not say to a man, `You are the best man,' even if he was my leader, after what I heard from the Messenger of Allah .' They said, `What did he say' He said, `I heard him say,

[يُجَاءُ بِالرَّجُلِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامةِ فَيُلْقَى فِي النَّار فَتَنْدَلِقُ بِه أَقْتَابُهُ فيَدُورُ بِهَا فِي النَّار كَمَا يَدُورُ الْحِمَارُ بِرَحَاهُ فيُطِيفُ بِهِ أَهْلُ النَّار فَيَقُولُون: يَا فُلَانُ ما أَصَابَكَ؟ أَلَمْ تَكُنْ تَأْمُرُنَا بِالْمَعْرُوف وَتَنْهَانَا عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ؟ فَيَقُولُ: كُنْتُ آمرُكُمْ باِلْمَعْرُوفِ وَلَا آتِيهِ وَأَنْهَاكُمْ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَآتِيه]

(A man will be brought on the Day of Resurrection and thrown in the Fire. His intestines will fall out and he will continue circling pulling them behind him, just as the donkey goes around the pole. The people of the Fire will go to that man and ask him, `What happened to you Did you not used to command us to do righteous acts and forbid us from committing evil' He will say, `Yes. I used to enjoin righteousness, but refrained from performing righteousness, and I used to forbid you to perform from evil while I myself did it.').'''

This Hadith was also recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim. eAlso, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i said, "I hesitate in advising people because of three Ayat:

[أَتَأْمُرُونَ النَّاسَ بِالْبِرِّ وَتَنسَوْنَ أَنفُسَكُمْ]

(Enjoin you Al-Birr on the people and you forget (to practise it) yourselves).

[يأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لِمَ تَقُولُونَ مَا لاَ تَفْعَلُونَ - كَبُرَ مَقْتاً عِندَ اللَّهِ أَن تَقُولُواْ مَا لاَ تَفْعَلُونَ ]

(O you who believe! Why do you say that which you do not do Most hateful it is to Allah that you say that which you do not do) (61:2-3).''

And Allah informed us that the Prophet Shu`ayb said,

[وَمَآ أُرِيدُ أَنْ أُخَالِفَكُمْ إِلَى مَآ أَنْهَـكُمْ عَنْهُ إِنْ أُرِيدُ إِلاَّ الإِصْلَـحَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُ وَمَا تَوْفِيقِى إِلاَّ بِاللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلْتُ وَإِلَيْهِ أُنِيبُ]

(I wish not, in contradiction to you, to do that which I forbid you. I only desire reform to the best of my power. And my guidance cannot come except from Allah, in Him I trust and unto Him I repent) (11:88).

[وَاسْتَعِينُواْ بِالصَّبْرِ وَالصَّلَوةِ وَإِنَّهَا لَكَبِيرَةٌ إِلاَّ عَلَى الْخَـشِعِينَ - الَّذِينَ يَظُنُّونَ أَنَّهُم مُّلَـقُوا رَبِّهِمْ وَأَنَّهُمْ إِلَيْهِ رَجِعُونَ ]

(45. And seek help in patience and As-Salat (the prayer) and truly, it is extremely heavy and hard except for Al-Khashi`in.) (46 (They are those) who are certain that they are going to meet their Lord, and that unto Him they are going to return.)

74. The Support that comes with Patience and Prayer

Allah commanded His servants to use patience and prayer to acquire the good of this life and the Hereafter. Muqatil bin Hayan said that this Ayah means, "Utilize patience and the obligatory prayer in seeking the Hereafter. As for patience (here), they say that it means fasting.'' There are similar texts reported from Mujahid. Al-Qurtubi and other scholars commented, "This is why Ramadan is called the month of patience,'' as is mentioned in the Hadith literature. It was also said that `patience' in the Ayah means, refraining from evil, and this is why `patience' was mentioned along with practicing acts of worship, especially and foremost, the prayer. Also, Ibn Abi Hatim narrated that `Umar bin Al-Khattab said, "There are two types of patience: good patience when the disaster strikes, and a better patience while avoiding the prohibitions of Allah.'' Ibn Abi Hatim said that Al-Hasan Al-Basri was reported to have said similarly.

Allah then said,

[والصَّلَوةِ]

(And As-Salah (the prayer).)

The prayer is one of the best means of assistance for firmly adhering to Allah's orders, just as Allah said;

[اتْلُ مَا أُوْحِىَ إِلَيْكَ مِنَ الْكِتَـبِ وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَوةَ إِنَّ الصَّلَوةَ تَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَآءِ وَالْمُنْكَرِ وَلَذِكْرُ اللَّهِ أَكْبَرُ]

(Recite (O Muhammad ) what has been revealed to you of the Book (the Qur'an), and perform As-Salah. Verily, As-Salah (the prayer) prevents from Al-Fahsha' (i.e. great sins of every kind), and Al-Munkar and the remembrance of (praising) of (you by) Allah is greater indeed) (29:45).

The personal pronoun in the Ayah,

[وَإِنَّهَا لَكَبِيرَةٌ]

(And truly, it is extremely heavy and hard) refers to prayer, as Mujahid is reported to have said, and it was also the choice of Ibn Jarir. It is possible that the pronoun might be referring to the advice - to observe patience and the prayer - mentioned in the same Ayah. Similarly, Allah said about Qarun (Korah),

[وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ الْعِلْمَ وَيْلَكُمْ ثَوَابُ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ لِّمَنْ ءَامَنَ وَعَمِلَ صَـلِحاً وَلاَ يُلَقَّاهَآ إِلاَّ الصَّـبِرُونَ ]

(But those who had been given (religious) knowledge said: "Woe to you! The reward of Allah (in the Hereafter) is better for those who believe and do righteous good deeds, and this, none shall attain except As-Sabirun (the patient).'') (28:80).

Also, Allah said,

[وَلاَ تَسْتَوِى الْحَسَنَةُ وَلاَ السَّيِّئَةُ ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِى هِىَ أَحْسَنُ فَإِذَا الَّذِى بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ عَدَاوَةٌ كَأَنَّهُ وَلِىٌّ حَمِيمٌ - وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ صَبَرُواْ وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَآ إِلاَّ ذُو حَظِّ عَظِيمٍ ]

(The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better then verily he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend. But none is granted it (the above quality) except those who are patient ـ and none is granted it except the owner of the great portion (of happiness in the Hereafter and) in this world.) (41:34-35) meaning, this advice is only implemented by those who are patient and the fortunate. In any case, Allah's statement here means, prayer is `heavy and burdensome',

[إِلاَّ عَلَى الْخَـشِعِينَ]

(except for Al-Khashi`in.)

Ibn Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas commented on this Ayah, "They (Al-Khashi`in) are those who believe in what Allah has revealed.''

Allah's statement,

[الَّذِينَ يَظُنُّونَ أَنَّهُم مُّلَـقُوا رَبِّهِمْ وَأَنَّهُمْ إِلَيْهِ رَجِعُونَ ]

(They are those who are certain that they are going to meet their Lord, and that unto Him they are going to return.) continues the subject that was started in the previous Ayah. Therefore, the prayer, or the advice to observe it is heavy,

[إِلاَّ عَلَى الْخَـشِعِينَالَّذِينَ يَظُنُّونَ أَنَّهُم مُّلَـقُوا رَبِّهِمْ]

(except for Al-Khashi`in. (They are those) who are certain (Yazunnuna) that they are going to meet their Lord,) meaning, they know that they will be gathered and face their Lord on the Day of Resurrection,

[وَأَنَّهُمْ إِلَيْهِ رَجِعُونَ]

(and that unto Him they are going to return.) meaning, their affairs are all subject to His will and He justly decides what He wills. Since they are certain that they will be returned to Allah and be reckoned, it is easy for them to perform the acts of obedience and refrain from the prohibitions. Ibn Jarir commented on Allah's statement;

[يَظُنُّونَ أَنَّهُم مُّلَـقُوا رَبِّهِمْ]

(Yazunnuna that they are going to meet their Lord)

Ibn Jarir said; "The Arabs call certainty as well as doubt, Zann. There are similar instances in the Arabic language where a subject as well as its opposite share the same name. For instance, Allah said,

[وَرَأَى الْمُجْرِمُونَ النَّارَ فَظَنُّواْ أَنَّهُمْ مُّوَاقِعُوهَا]

(And the Mujrimun (criminals, polytheists, sinners), shall see the Fire and Zannu (apprehend) that they have to fall therein)''(18:53).

It is recorded in the Sahih that on the Day of Resurrection, Allah will say to a servant, "Have I not allowed you to marry, honored you, made the horses and camels subservient to you and allowed you to become a chief and a master'' He will say, "Yes.'' Allah will say, "Did you have Zann (think) that you will meet Me'' He will say, "No.'' Allah will say, "This Day, I will forget you, just as you forgot Me.'' If Allah wills, we will further elaborate on this subject when we explain Allah's statement,

[نَسُواْ اللَّهَ فَنَسِيَهُمْ]

(They have forgotten Allah, so He has forgotten them) (9:67).

[يَـبَنِى إِسْرَءِيلَ اذْكُرُواْ نِعْمَتِى الَّتِى أَنْعَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَأَنِّى فَضَّلْتُكُمْ عَلَى الْعَـلَمِينَ ]

(47. O Children of Israel! Remember My favor which I bestowed upon you and that I preferred you over the `Alamin (nations))

75. Reminding the Children of Israel that They were preferred above the Other Nations

Allah reminds the Children of Israel of the favors that He granted their fathers and grandfathers, how He showed preference to them by sending them Messengers from among them and revealing Books to them, more so than any of the other previous nations. Similarly, Allah said,

[وَلَقَدِ اخْتَرْنَـهُمْ عَلَى عِلْمٍ عَلَى الْعَـلَمِينَ ]

(And We chose them (the Children of Israel) over the `Alamin, (nations) with knowledge.) (44:32) and,

[وَإِذْ قَالَ مُوسَى لِقَوْمِهِ يَـقَوْمِ اذْكُرُواْ نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ جَعَلَ فِيكُمْ أَنْبِيَآءَ وَجَعَلَكُمْ مُّلُوكاً وَءَاتَـكُمْ مَّا لَمْ يُؤْتِ أَحَداً مِّن الْعَـلَمِينَ ]

(And (remember) when Musa (Moses) said to his people: "O my people! Remember the favor of Allah to you: when He made Prophets among you, made you kings, honored you above the `Alamin (nations).'') (5:20).

Abu Ja`far Ar-Razi reported that Ar-Rabi` bin Anas said that Abu Al-`Aliyah said that Allah's statement,

[وَأَنِّى فَضَّلْتُكُمْ عَلَى الْعَـلَمِينَ]

(and that I preferred you over the `Alamin) means, "The kingship, Messengers and Books that were granted to them, instead of granting such to the other kingdoms that existed during their time, for every period there is a nation.'' It was also reported that Mujahid, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, Qatadah and Isma`il bin Abi Khalid said similarly.

76. The Ummah of Muhammad is Better than the Children of Israel

This is the only way the Ayah can be understood, because this Ummah is better than theirs, as Allah said;

[كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَلَوْ ءَامَنَ أَهْلُ الْكِتَـبِ لَكَانَ خَيْراً لَّهُمْ]

(You are the best of people ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin good and forbid evil, and you believe in Allah. And had the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) believed, it would have been better for them) (3:110).

Also, the Musnad and Sunan Collections of Hadith recorded that Mu`awiyah bin Haydah Al-Qushayri said that the Messenger of Allah said,

[أَنْتُمْ تُوَفُّونَ سَبْعِينَ أُمَّةً أَنْتُمْ خَيْرُهَا وَأَكْرَمُهَا عَلَى الله]

(You (Muslims) are the seventieth nation, but you are the best and most honored of them according to Allah.)

There are many Hadiths on this subject, and they will be mentioned when we discuss Allah's statement,

[كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ]

(You are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind) (3:110).

[وَاتَّقُواْ يَوْمًا لاَّ تَجْزِى نَفْسٌ عَن نَّفْسٍ شَيْئًا وَلاَ يُقْبَلُ مِنْهَا شَفَـعَةٌ وَلاَ يُؤْخَذُ مِنْهَا عَدْلٌ وَلاَ هُمْ يُنصَرُونَ ]

(48. And fear a Day (of Judgement) when a person shall not avail another, nor will intercession be accepted from him, nor will compensation be taken from him, nor will they be helped.)

After Allah reminded the Children of Israel of the favors that He has granted them, He warned them about the duration of the torment which He will punish them with on the Day of Resurrection. He said,

[وَاتَّقُواْ يَوْمًا]

(And fear a Day) meaning, the Day of Resurrection,

[لاَّ تَجْزِى نَفْسٌ عَن نَّفْسٍ شَيْئًا]

(When a person shall not avail another) meaning, on that Day, no person shall be of any help to another. Similarly, Allah said,

[وَلاَ تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ أُخْرَى]

(And no bearer of burdens shall bear another's burden) (35:18)

[لِكُلِّ امْرِىءٍ مِّنْهُمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ شَأْنٌ يُغْنِيهِ ]

(Every man that Day will have enough to make him careless of others.) (80:37) and,

[يأَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُواْ رَبَّكُمْ وَاخْشَوْاْ يَوْماً لاَّ يَجْزِى وَالِدٌ عَن وَلَدِهِ وَلاَ مَوْلُودٌ هُوَ جَازٍ عَن وَالِدِهِ شَيْئاً]

(O mankind! Have Taqwa of your Lord (by keeping your duty to Him and avoiding all evil), and fear a Day when no father can avail aught for his son, nor a son avail aught for his father) (31: 33).

This indeed should serve as a great warning that both the father and the son will not be of help to each other on that Day.

77. Neither Intercession, Ransom, or Assistance will be accepted on behalf of the Disbelievers

Allah said,

[وَلاَ يُقْبَلُ مِنْهَا شَفَـعَةٌ]

(nor will intercession be accepted from him)
meaning, from the disbelievers. Similarly, Allah said,

[فَمَا تَنفَعُهُمْ شَفَـعَةُ الشَّـفِعِينَ ]

(So no intercession of intercessors will be of any use to them) (74:48) and described the people of the Fire saying,

[فَمَا لَنَا مِن شَـفِعِينَ - وَلاَ صَدِيقٍ حَمِيمٍ ]

(Now we have no intercessors. Nor a close friend (to help us)) (26:100-101).
Allah's statement here (2:48)

[وَلاَ يُؤْخَذُ مِنْهَا عَدْلٌ]

(nor will compensation be taken from him) means, that Allah does not accept the disbelievers to ransom themselves. Similarly, Allah said,

[إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ وَمَاتُواْ وَهُمْ كُفَّارٌ فَلَن يُقْبَلَ مِنْ أَحَدِهِم مِّلْءُ الاٌّرْضِ ذَهَبًا وَلَوِ افْتَدَى بِهِ]

(Verily, those who disbelieved, and died while they were disbelievers, the (whole) earth full of gold will not be accepted from anyone of them even if they offered it as a ransom) (3:91)

[إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ لَوْ أَنَّ لَهُمْ مَّا فِى الاٌّرْضِ جَمِيعاً وَمِثْلَهُ مَعَهُ لِيَفْتَدُواْ بِهِ مِنْ عَذَابِ يَوْمِ الْقِيَـمَةِ مَا تُقُبِّلَ مِنْهُمْ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ ]

(Verily, those who disbelieve, if they had all that is in the earth, and as much again therewith to ransom themselves from the torment on the Day of Resurrection, it would never be accepted of them, and theirs would be a painful torment) (5:36)

[وَإِن تَعْدِلْ كُلَّ عَدْلٍ لاَّ يُؤْخَذْ مِنْهَآ]

(And even if he offers every ransom, it will not be accepted from him) (6:70) and,

[فَالْيَوْمَ لاَ يُؤْخَذُ مِنكُمْ فِدْيَةٌ وَلاَ مِنَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ مَأْوَاكُمُ النَّارُ هِىَ مَوْلَـكُمْ]

(So this Day no ransom shall be taken from you (hypocrites), nor of those who disbelieved. Your abode is the Fire. That is your Mawla (friend ـ proper place)) (57:15).

Allah stated that if the people do not believe in His Messenger and follow what He sent him with, then when they meet Him on the Day of Resurrection, after remaining on the path of disbelief, their family lineage and/or the intercession of their masters will not help them at all. It will not be accepted of them, even if they paid the earth's fill of gold as ransom. Similarly, Allah said,

[مِّن قَبْلِ أَن يَأْتِىَ يَوْمٌ لاَّ بَيْعٌ فِيهِ وَلاَ خُلَّةٌ وَلاَ شَفَـعَةٌ]

(Before a Day comes when there will be no bargaining, nor friendship, nor intercession) (2:254) and,

[لاَّ بَيْعٌ فِيهِ وَلاَ خِلَـلٌ]

(On which there will be neither mutual bargaining nor befriending) (19:31). Allah's statement next,

[وَلاَ هُمْ يُنصَرُونَ]

(nor will they be helped.) means, "no person shall get angry - or anxious - on their behalf and offer them any help, or try to save them from Allah's punishment.'' As stated earlier on that Day, neither the relative, nor persons of authority will feel pity for the disbelievers, nor will any ransom be accepted for them. Consequently, they will receive no help from others and they will be helpless themsleves. Allah said,

[وَهُوَ يُجْيِرُ وَلاَ يُجَارُ عَلَيْهِ]

(While He (Allah) grants refuge (or protection), but none grants refuge from Him) (23:88)

[فَيَوْمَئِذٍ لاَّ يُعَذِّبُ عَذَابَهُ أَحَدٌ - وَلاَ يُوثِقُ وَثَاقَهُ أَحَدٌ ]

(So on that Day none will punish as He will punish. And none will bind (the wicked, disbelievers and polytheists) as He will bind) (89:25-26)

[مَا لَكُمْ لاَ تَنَـصَرُونَ - بَلْ هُمُ الْيَوْمَ مُسْتَسْلِمُونَ ]

("What is the matter with you Why do you not help one another (as you used to do in the world)'' Nay, but that Day they shall surrender) (37:25-26) and,

[فَلَوْلاَ نَصَرَهُمُ الَّذِينَ اتَّخَذُواْ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ قُرْبَاناً ءَالِهَةَ بَلْ ضَلُّواْ عَنْهُمْ]

(Then why did those whom they had taken for alihah (gods) besides Allah, as a way of approach (to Allah) not help them Nay, but they vanished completely from them) (46:28).

Also, Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn `Abbas said that Allah's statement,

[مَا لَكُمْ لاَ تَنَـصَرُونَ ]

("What is the matter with you Why do you not help one another'') (37:25) means, "This Day, you shall not have a refuge from Us. Not this Day.'' Ibn Jarir said that Allah's statement,

[وَلاَ هُمْ يُنصَرُونَ]

(nor will they be helped.) meaning, on that Day, they shall neither be helped by any helper, nor shall anyone intercede on their behalf. No repeal or ransom will be accepted for them, all courtesy towards them will have ceased, along with any helpful intercession. No type of help or cooperation will be available for them on that Day. The judgment will, on that Day, be up to the Most Great, the Most Just, against whom no intercessor or helper can ever assist. He will then award the evil deed its kind and will multiply the good deeds. This is similar to Allah's statement,

[وَقِفُوهُمْ إِنَّهُمْ مَّسْئُولُونَ - مَا لَكُمْ لاَ تَنَـصَرُونَ - بَلْ هُمُ الْيَوْمَ مُسْتَسْلِمُونَ ]

(But stop them, verily, they are to be questioned. "What is the matter with you Why do you not help one another'' Nay, but that Day they shall surrender) (37:24-26).

[وَإِذْ نَجَّيْنَـكُم مِّنْ ءَالِ فِرْعَوْنَ يَسُومُونَكُمْ سُوءَ الْعَذَابِ يُذَبِّحُونَ أَبْنَآءَكُمْ وَيَسْتَحْيُونَ نِسَآءَكُمْ وَفِى ذَلِكُمْ بَلاَءٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ عَظِيمٌ - وَإِذْ فَرَقْنَا بِكُمُ الْبَحْرَ فَأَنجَيْنَـكُمْ وَأَغْرَقْنَا ءَالَ فِرْعَوْنَ وَأَنتُمْ تَنظُرُونَ ]

(49. And (remember) when We delivered you from Fir`awn's (Pharaoh) people, who were afflicting you with a horrible torment, killing your sons and sparing your women, and therein was a mighty trial from your Lord.) (50. And (remember) when We separated the sea for you and saved you and drowned Fir`awn's (Pharaoh) people while you were watching.)

78. The Children of Israel were saved from Pharaoh and His Army Who drowned

Allah said to the Children of Israel, "Remember My favor on you

[وَإِذْ نَجَّيْنَـكُم مِّنْ ءَالِ فِرْعَوْنَ يَسُومُونَكُمْ سُوءَ الْعَذَابِ]

(And (remember) when We delivered you from Fir`awn's (Pharaoh) people, who were afflicting you with a horrible torment,) meaning, `I - Allah - saved you from them and delivered you from their hands in the company of Musa, after they subjected you to horrible torture.' This favor came after the cursed Pharaoh had a dream in which he saw a fire emerge from Bayt Al-Maqdis (Jerusalem), and then the fire entered the houses of the Coptics in Egypt, with the exception of the Children of Israel. Its purport was that his kingship would be toppled by a man among the Children of Israel. It was also said that some of Pharaoh's entourage said that the Children of Israel were expecting a man among them to arise who would establish a state for them. We will mention the Hadith on this subject when we explain Surat Ta Ha (20), Allah willing. After the dream, Pharaoh ordered that every newborn male among the Children of Israel be killed and that the girls be left alone. He also commanded that the Children of Israel be given tasks of hard labor and assigned the most humiliating jobs.

The torment here refers to killing the male infants. In Surat Ibrahim (14) this meaning is clearly mentioned,

[يَسُومُونَكُمْ سُوءَ الْعَذَابِ وَيُذَبِّحُونَ أَبْنَآءَكُمْ وَيَسْتَحْيُونَ نِسَآءَكُمْ]

(Who were afflicting you with horrible torment, and were slaughtering your sons and letting your women live.) (14:6).
We will explain this Ayah in the beginning of Surat Al-Qasas (28), Allah willing, and our reliance and trust are with Him.

The meaning of,

[يَسُومُونَكُمْ]

(who were afflicting you) is, "They humiliated you,'' as Abu `Ubaydah stated. It was also said that it means, "They used to exaggerate in tormenting you'' according to Al-Qurtubi. As for Allah saying,

[يُذَبِّحُونَ أَبْنَآءَكُمْ وَيَسْتَحْيُونَ نِسَآءَكُمْ]

(killing your sons and sparing your women) that explains His statement,

[يَسُومُونَكُمْ سُوءَ الْعَذَابِ]

(who were afflicting you with horrible torment) then it explains the meaning of the favor He gave them, as mentioned in His statement,

[اذْكُرُواْ نِعْمَتِيَ الَّتِى أَنْعَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ]

(Remember My favor which I bestowed upon you). As for what Allah said in Surat Ibrahim,

[وَذَكِّرْهُمْ بِأَيَّامِ اللَّهِ]

(And remind them of the annals of Allah) (14:5) meaning, the favors and blessing He granted them, He then said,

[يَسُومُونَكُمْ سُوءَ الْعَذَابِ وَيُذَبِّحُونَ أَبْنَآءَكُمْ وَيَسْتَحْيُونَ نِسَآءَكُمْ]

(Who were afflicting you with horrible torment, and were slaughtering your sons and letting your women live.) (14:6)
So Allah mentioned saving their children from being slaughtered in order to remind them of the many favors that He granted them.

We should state here that `Pharaoh' (Fir`awn) is a title that was given to every disbelieving king who ruled Egypt, whether from the `Amaliq (Canaanites) or otherwise, just as Caesar (Qaysar) is the title of the disbelieving kings who ruled Rome and Damascus. Also, Khosrau (Kisra) is the title of the kings who ruled Persia, while Tubb`a is the title of the kings of Yemen, and the kings of Abyssinia (Ethiopia) were called Negus (An-Najashi).

Allah said,

[وَفِى ذَلِكُمْ بَلاَءٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ عَظِيمٌ]

(And therein was a mighty trial from your Lord.)

Ibn Jarir commented that this part of the Ayah means, "Our saving your fathers from the torment that they suffered by the hand of Pharaoh, is a great blessing from your Lord.'' We should mention that in the blessing there a is test, the same as with hardship, for Allah said,

[وَنَبْلُوكُم بِالشَّرِّ وَالْخَيْرِ فِتْنَةً]

(And We shall make a trial of you with evil and with good) (21:35) and,

[وَبَلَوْنَـهُمْ بِالْحَسَنَـتِ وَالسَّيِّئَاتِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ]

(And We tried them with good (blessings) and evil (calamities) in order that they might turn (to obey Allah.)) (7:168).

Allah's statement next,

[وَإِذْ فَرَقْنَا بِكُمُ الْبَحْرَ فَأَنجَيْنَـكُمْ وَأَغْرَقْنَا ءَالَ فِرْعَوْنَ وَأَنتُمْ تَنظُرُونَ ]

(And (remember) when We separated the sea for you and saved you and drowned Fir`awn's (Pharaoh) people while you were watching) means, `After We saved you from Fir`awn and you escaped with Musa; Fir`awn went out in your pursuit and We parted the sea for you.' Allah mentioned this story in detail, as we will come to know, Allah willing. One of the shortest references to this story is Allah's statement,

[فَأَنجَيْنَـكُمْ]

(And saved you) meaning, "We saved you from them, drowning them while you watched, bringing relief to your hearts and humiliation to your enemy.''

79. Fasting the Day of `Ashura

It was reported that the day the Children of Israel were saved from Fir`awn was called the day of `Ashura'. Imam Ahmad reported that Ibn `Abbas said that the Messenger of Allah came to Al-Madinah and found that the Jews were fasting the day of `Ashura'. He asked them, "What is this day that you fast'' They said, "This is a good day during which Allah saved the Children of Israel from their enemy, and Musa used to fast this day.'' The Messenger of Allah said,

[أَنَا أَحَقُّ بِمُوسَى مِنْكُم]

(I have more right to Musa than you have.)

So the Messenger of Allah fasted that day and ordered that it be fasted. This Hadith was collected by Al-Bukhari, Muslim, An-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah.

[وَإِذْ وَعَدْنَا مُوسَى أَرْبَعِينَ لَيْلَةً ثُمَّ اتَّخَذْتُمُ الْعِجْلَ مِن بَعْدِهِ وَأَنتُمْ ظَـلِمُونَ - ثُمَّ عَفَوْنَا عَنكُمِ مِّن بَعْدِ ذَلِكَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ - وَإِذْ ءَاتَيْنَا مُوسَى الْكِتَـبَ وَالْفُرْقَانَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ ]

(51. And (remember) when We appointed for Musa (Moses) forty nights, and (in his absence) you took the calf (for worship), and you were Zalimun (polytheists and wrongdoers).) (52. Then after that We forgave you so that you might be grateful.) (53. And (remember) when We gave Musa the Scripture (the Tawrah)) and the criterion (of right and wrong) so that you may be guided aright.)

80. The Children of Israel worshipped the Calf

Allah then said, "Remember My favor on you when I forgave you for worshipping the calf.'' This happened after Musa went to the meeting place with his Lord at the end of that period which was forty days. These forty days were mentioned in Surat Al-A`raf, when Allah said,

[وَوَعَدْنَا مُوسَى ثَلَـثِينَ لَيْلَةً وَأَتْمَمْنَاهَا بِعَشْرٍ]

(And We appointed for Musa thirty nights and added (to the period) ten (more)) (7:142).
It was said that these days were during the month of Dhul-Qa`dah plus the first ten days in Dhul-Hijjah, after the Children of Israel were delivered from Fir`awn and they safely crossed the sea. Allah's statement,

[وَإِذْ ءَاتَيْنَا مُوسَى الْكِتَـبَ]

(And (remember) when We gave Musa the Scripture) means, the Tawrah,

[وَالْفُرْقَانِ]

(And the criterion) that is that which differentiates between truth and falsehood, guidance and deviation.

[لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ]

(So that you may be guided aright), after escaping the sea, as another Ayah in Surat Al-A`raf clearly stated,

[وَلَقَدْ ءَاتَيْنَا مُوسَى الْكِتَـبَ مِن بَعْدِ مَآ أَهْلَكْنَا الْقُرُونَ الاٍّولَى بَصَآئِرَ لِلنَّاسِ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةً لَّعَلَّهُمْ يَتَذَكَّرُونَ ]

(And indeed We gave Musa ـ after We had destroyed the generations of old ـ the Scripture (the Tawrah) as an enlightenment for mankind, and a guidance and a mercy, that they might remember (or receive admonition)) (28:43).

[وَإِذْ قَالَ مُوسَى لِقَوْمِهِ يَـقَوْمِ إِنَّكُمْ ظَلَمْتُمْ أَنفُسَكُمْ بِاتِّخَاذِكُمُ الْعِجْلَ فَتُوبُواْ إِلَى بَارِئِكُمْ فَاقْتُلُواْ]

(54. And (remember) when Musa said to his people: "O my people! Verily, you have wronged yourselves by worshipping the calf. So turn in repentance to your Creator and kill yourselves (the innocent kill the wrongdoers among you), that will be better for you with your Creator.'' Then He accepted your repentance. Truly, He is the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful.)

81. The Children of Israel kill each other in Repentance

This was the repentance required from the Children of Israel for worshipping the calf. Commenting on Allah's statement;

[وَإِذْ قَالَ مُوسَى لِقَوْمِهِ يَـقَوْمِ إِنَّكُمْ ظَلَمْتُمْ أَنفُسَكُمْ بِاتِّخَاذِكُمُ الْعِجْلَ]

(And (remember) when Musa said to his people: "O my people! Verily, you have wronged yourselves by worshipping the calf...), Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, "When their hearts thought of worshipping the calf,

[وَلَمَّا سُقِطَ فَى أَيْدِيهِمْ وَرَأَوْاْ أَنَّهُمْ قَدْ ضَلُّواْ قَالُواْ لَئِن لَّمْ يَرْحَمْنَا رَبُّنَا وَيَغْفِرْ لَنَا]

(And when they regretted and saw that they had gone astray, they (repented and) said: "If our Lord does not have mercy upon us and forgive us'') (7:149). This is when Musa said to them,

[يَـقَوْمِ إِنَّكُمْ ظَلَمْتُمْ أَنفُسَكُمْ بِاتِّخَاذِكُمُ الْعِجْلَ]

(O my people! Verily, you have wronged yourselves by worshipping the calf...).'' Abu `Al-`Aliyah, Sa`id bin Jubayr and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas commented on,

[فَتُوبُواْ إِلَى بَارِئِكُمْ]

(So turn in repentance to your Bari') that it means, "To your Creator.'' Allah's statement,

[إِلَى بَارِئِكُمْ]

(to your Bari' (Creator)) alerts the Children of Israel to the enormity of their error and means, "Repent to He Who created you after you associated others with Him in worship.''

An-Nasa'i, Ibn Jarir and Ibn Abi Hatim recorded Ibn `Abbas saying, "Allah told the Children of Israel that their repentance would be to slay by the sword every person they meet, be he father or son. They should not care whom they kill. Those were guilty whom Musa and Harun were not aware of their guilt, they admitted their sin and did as they were ordered. So Allah forgave both the killer and the one killed.'' This is part of the Hadith about the trials that we will mention in Surat Ta Ha, (20) Allah willing.

Ibn Jarir narrated that Ibn `Abbas said, "Musa said to his people,

[فَتُوبُواْ إِلَى بَارِئِكُمْ فَاقْتُلُواْ أَنفُسَكُمْ ذَلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ عِندَ بَارِئِكُمْ فَتَابَ عَلَيْكُمْ إِنَّهُ هُوَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ]

("So turn in repentance to your Creator and kill each other (the innocent kill the wrongdoers among you), that will be better for you with your Creator.'' Then He accepted your repentance. Truly, He is the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful.)

Allah ordered Musa to command his people to kill each other. He ordered those who worshipped the calf to sit down and those who did not worship the calf to stand holding knives in their hands. When they started killing them, a great darkness suddenly overcame them. After the darkness lifted, they had killed seventy thousand of them. Those who were killed among them were forgiven, and those who remained alive were also forgiven.'' p

[وَإِذْ قُلْتُمْ يَـمُوسَى لَن نُّؤْمِنَ لَكَ حَتَّى نَرَى اللَّهَ جَهْرَةً فَأَخَذَتْكُمُ الصَّـعِقَةُ وَأَنتُمْ تَنظُرُونَ - ثُمَّ بَعَثْنَـكُم مِّن بَعْدِ مَوْتِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ ]

(55. And (remember) when you said: "O Musa! We shall never believe in you until we see Allah plainly.'' But you were seized with a bolt of lightning while you were looking). (56.Then We raised you up after your death, so that you might be grateful.)

The Best among the Children of Israel ask to see Allah; their subsequent Death and Resurrection

Allah said, `Remember My favor on you for resurrecting you after you were seized with lightning when you asked to see Me directly, which neither you nor anyone else can bear or attain.' This was said by Ibn Jurayj. Ibn `Abbas said that the Ayah

[وَإِذْ قُلْتُمْ يَـمُوسَى لَن نُّؤْمِنَ لَكَ حَتَّى نَرَى اللَّهَ جَهْرَةً]

(And (remember) when you said: "O Musa ! We shall never believe in you until we see Allah plainly.'') means, "Publicly'', "So that we gaze at Allah.'' Also, `Urwah bin Ruwaym said that Allah's statement,

[وَأَنتُمْ تَنظُرُونَ]

(While you were looking) means, "Some of them were struck with lightning while others were watching.'' Allah resurrected those, and struck the others with lightning. As-Suddi commented on,

[فَأَخَذَتْكُمُ الصَّـعِقَةُ]

(But you were seized with a bolt of lightning) saying; "They died, and Musa stood up crying and supplicating to Allah, `O Lord! What should I say to the Children of Israel when I go back to them after You destroyed the best of them,

[لَوْ شِئْتَ أَهْلَكْتَهُم مِّن قَبْلُ وَإِيَّـىَ أَتُهْلِكُنَا بِمَا فَعَلَ السُّفَهَآءُ مِنَّآ]

(If it had been Your will, You could have destroyed them and me before; would You destroy us for the deeds of the foolish ones among us)' Allah revealed to Musa that these seventy men were among those who worshipped the calf. Afterwards, Allah brought them back to life one man at a time, while the rest of them were watching how Allah was bringing them back to life. That is why Allah's said,

[ثُمَّ بَعَثْنَـكُم مِّن بَعْدِ مَوْتِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ ]

(Then We raised you up after your death, so that you might be grateful.)''
Ar-Rabi` bin Anas said, "Death was their punishment, and they were resurrected after they died so they could finish out their lives.'' Qatadah said similarly.

`Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam commented on this Ayah, "Musa returned from meeting with his Lord carrying the Tablets on which He wrote the Tawrah. He found that they had worshipped the calf in his absence. Consequently, he commanded them to kill themselves, and they complied, and Allah forgave them. He said to them, `These Tablets have Allah's Book, containing what He commanded you and what He forbade for you.' They said, `Should we believe this statement because you said it By Allah, we will not believe until we see Allah in the open, until He shows us Himself and says: This is My Book, therefore, adhere to it. Why does He not talk to us as He talked to you, O, Musa''' Then he (`Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd) recited Allah's statement,

[لَن نُّؤْمِنَ لَكَ حَتَّى نَرَى اللَّهَ جَهْرَةً]

(We shall never believe in you until we see Allah plainly) and said, "So Allah's wrath fell upon them, a thunderbolt struck them, and they all died. Then Allah brought them back to life after He killed them.'' Then he (`Abdur-Rahman) recited Allah's statement,

[ثُمَّ بَعَثْنَـكُم مِّن بَعْدِ مَوْتِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ ]

(Then We raised you up after your death, so that you might be grateful), and said, "Musa said to them, `Take the Book of Allah.' They said, `No.' He said, `What is the matter with you' They said, `The problem is that we died and came back to life.' He said, `Take the Book of Allah.' They said, `No.' So Allah sent some angels who made the mountain topple over them.''

This shows that the Children of Israel were required to fulfill the commandments after they were brought back to life. However, Al-Mawardy said that there are two opinions about this matter. The first opinion is that since the Children of Israel witnessed these miracles, they were compelled to believe, so they did not have to fulfill the commandments. The second opinion states that they were required to adhere to the commandments, so that no responsible adult is free of such responsibilities. Al-Qurtubi said that this is what is correct, because, he said, although the Children of Israel witnessed these tremendous calamities and incidents, that did not mean that they were not responsible for fulfilling the commandments any more. Rather they are responsible for that, and this is clear. Allah knows best.

[وَظَلَّلْنَا عَلَيْكُمُ الْغَمَامَ وَأَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَنَّ وَالسَّلْوَى كُلُواْ مِن طَيِّبَـتِ مَا رَزَقْنَـكُمْ وَمَا ظَلَمُونَا وَلَـكِن كَانُواْ أَنفُسَهُمْ يَظْلِمُونَ ]

(57. And We shaded you with clouds and sent down on you Al-Manna and the quail, (saying): "Eat of the good lawful things We have provided for you,'' (but they rebelled). And they did not wrong Us but they wronged themselves.)

83. The Shade, the Manna and the Quail

After Allah mentioned the calamities that He saved the Children of Israel from, He mentioned the favors that He granted them, saying,

[وَظَلَّلْنَا عَلَيْكُمُ الْغَمَامَ]

And We shaded you with clouds. This A0yah mentions the white clouds that provided shade for the Children of Israel, protecting them from the sun s heat during their years of wandering. In the Hلad0th about the trials, An-Nasa0 i recorded Ibn Abba0s saying, Alla0h shaded the Children of Israel with clouds during the years of wandering. Ibn Abi Hلa0tim said, Narrations similar to that of Ibn Abba0s were reported from Ibn Umar, Ar-Rab0 bin Anas, Abu Mijlaz, Adل-Dلahلhلa0k, and As-Suddi. Al-Hلasan and Qata0dah said that,

[وَظَلَّلْنَا عَلَيْكُمُ الْغَمَامَ]

(And We shaded you with clouds) "This happened when they were in the desert and the clouds shielded them from the sun.'' Ibn Jarir said that several scholars said that the type of cloud the Ayah mentioned, "was cooler and better than the type we know.''

`Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas commented on Allah's statement,

[وَأَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَنَّ]

And sent down on you Al-Manna, The manna used to descend to them to the trees, and they used to eat whatever they wished of it. Also, Qata0dah said, The manna, which was whiter than milk and sweeter than honey, used to rain down on the Children of Israel, just as the snow falls, from dawn until sunrise. One of them would collect enough for that particular day, for if it remained more than that, it would spoil. On the sixth day, Friday, one would collect enough for the sixth and the seventh day, which was the Sabbath during which one would not leave home to seek his livelihood, or for anything else. All this occurred in the wilderness. The type of manna that we know provides sufficient food when eaten alone, because it is nutritious and sweet. When manna is mixed with water, it becomes a sweet drink. It also changes composition when mixed with other types of food. However, this is not the only type. The evidence to this fact is that Al-Bukha0ri narrated, that Sa 0d bin Zayd said that the Messenger of Alla0h said,

[الْكَمْأَةُ مِنَ الْمَنِّ وَمَاؤُهَا شِفَاءٌ لِلْعَيْن]

(Kam'ah (truffles) is a type of manna, and its liquid is a remedy for the eyes.)

This Hadith was also collected by Imam Ahmad. The group of Hadith compilers, with the exception of Abu Dawud, also collected it, and At-Tirmidhi graded it Hasan Sahih. At-Tirmidhi recorded Abu Hurayrah saying that the Messenger of Allah said,

[الْعَجْوَةُ مِنَ الْجَنَّةِ وَفِيهَا شِفَاءٌ مِنَ السُّمِّ وَالْكَمْأَةُ مِنَ الْمَنِّ وَمَاؤُهَا شِفَاءٌ لِلْعَيْن]

(The `Ajwah (pressed, dried date) is from Paradise and it cures poison, Al-Kam'ah (truffles) is a form of manna, and its liquid heals the eye.'') At-Tirmidhi is the only one of them who recorded this Hadith.

As for the quail (Salwa) in question, `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "The (Salwa) is a bird that looks like the quail.'' This is the same opinion reported from Mujahid, Ash-Sha`bi, Ad-Dahhak, Al-Hasan, `Ikrimah and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, may Allah have mercy upon them. Also, `Ikrimah said that the Salwa is a bird in Paradise about the size of a sparrow. Qatadah said "The Salwa is a bird that is similar to a sparrow. During that time, an Israelite could catch as many quails as was sufficient for that particular day, otherwise the meat would spoil. On the sixth day, Friday, he would collect what is enough for the sixth and the seventh day, the Sabbath, during which one was not allowed to depart his home to seek anything.''

Allah said,

[كُلُواْ مِن طَيِّبَـتِ مَا رَزَقْنَـكُمْ]

(Eat of the good lawful things We have provided for you,) (7:160) this form of command is a simple order of allowance, guiding to what is good. Allah said,

[وَمَا ظَلَمُونَا وَلَـكِن كَانُواْ أَنفُسَهُمْ يَظْلِمُونَ]

(And they did not wrong Us but they wronged themselves) means, `We commanded them to eat from what We gave them, and to perform the acts of worship (but they rebelled).' This Ayah is similar to Allah's statement,

[كُلُواْ مِن رِّزْقِ رَبِّكُمْ وَاشْكُرُواْ لَهُ]

(Eat of the provision of your Lord, and be grateful to Him) (34:15).
Yet, the Children of Israel rebelled, disbelieved and committed injustice against themselves, even though they saw the clear signs, tremendous miracles and extraordinary events.

84. The Virtue of Muhammad's Companions over the Companions of all Other Prophets

Here it is important to point out the virtue of Muhammad's Companions over the companions of the other Prophets. This includes firmness in the religion, patience and the lack of arrogance, may Allah be pleased with them. Although the Companions accompanied the Prophet in his travels and battles, such as during the battle of Tabuk, in intense heat and hardship, they did not ask for a miracle, though this was easy for the Prophet by Allah's leave. And when the Companions became hungry, they merely asked the Prophet - to invoke Allah - for an increase in the amount of food. They collected whatever food they had and brought it to the Prophet , and he asked Allah to bless it, told each of them to take some food, and they filled every pot they had. Also, when they needed rain, the Prophet asked Allah to send down rain, and a rain cloud came. They drank, gave water to their camels and filled their water skins. When they looked around, they found that the cloud had only rained on their camp. This is the best example of those who were willing to accept Allah's decision and follow the Messenger of Allah .

[وَإِذْ قُلْنَا ادْخُلُواْ هَـذِهِ الْقَرْيَةَ فَكُلُواْ مِنْهَا حَيْثُ شِئْتُمْ رَغَدًا وَادْخُلُواْ الْبَابَ سُجَّدًا وَقُولُواْ حِطَّةٌ نَّغْفِرْ لَكُمْ خَطَـيَـكُمْ وَسَنَزِيدُ الْمُحْسِنِينَ - فَبَدَّلَ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُواْ قَوْلاً غَيْرَ الَّذِي قِيلَ لَهُمْ فَأَنزَلْنَا عَلَى الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُواْ رِجْزًا مِّنَ السَّمَآءِ بِمَا كَانُواْ يَفْسُقُونَ ]

(58. And (remember) when We said: "Enter this town (Jerusalem) and eat bountifully therein with pleasure and delight wherever you wish, and enter the gate in prostration (or bowing with humility) and say: `Forgive us,' and We shall forgive you your sins and shall increase (reward) for the good-doers.'') (59. But those who did wrong changed the word from that which had been told to them for another, so We sent upon the wrongdoers Rijz (a punishment) from the heaven because of their rebellion.)

85. The Jews were Rebellious instead of Appreciative when They gained Victory

Allah admonished the Jews for avoiding Jihad and not entering the holy land as they had been ordered to do when they came from Egypt with Musa. They were also commanded to fight the disbelieving `Amaliq (Canaanites) dwelling in the holy land at that time. But they did not want to fight, because they were weak and exhausted. Allah punished them by causing them to become lost, and to continue wandering, as Allah has stated in Surat Al-Ma'idah (5). The correct opinion about the meaning of, `the holy land' mentioned here is that it was Bayt Al-Maqdis (Jerusalem), as As-Suddi, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, Qatadah and Abu Muslim Al-Asfahani, as well as others have stated. Musa said,

[يَاقَوْمِ ادْخُلُوا الاٌّرْضَ المُقَدَّسَةَ الَّتِى كَتَبَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَلاَ تَرْتَدُّوا]

(O people! Enter the holy land which Allah has assigned to you and turn not back (in flight).) (5:21)

However, some scholars said that the holy land is Jericho, (Ariha') and this opinion was mentioned from Ibn `Abbas and `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd.
After the years of wandering ended forty years later, in the company of Yuwsha` (Joshua) bin Nun, Allah allowed the Children of Israel to conquer the holy land on the eve of a Friday. On that day, the sun was kept from setting for a little more time, until victory was achieved. When the Children of Israel conquered the holy land, they were commanded to enter its gate while,

[سُجَّدًا]

(prostrating) in appreciation to Allah for making them victorious, triumphant, returning them to their land and saving them from being lost and wandering. Al-`Awfi said that Ibn `Abbas said that,

[وَادْخُلُواْ الْبَابَ سُجَّدًا]

(and enter the gate Sujjadan) means, "While bowing''. Ibn Jarir reported Ibn `Abbas saying,

[وَادْخُلُواْ الْبَابَ سُجَّدًا]

(and enter the gate in prostration) means, "Through a small door while bowing.'' Al-Hakim narrated it, and Ibn Abi Hatim added, "And they went through the door backwards!'' Al-Hasan Al-Basri said that they were ordered to prostrate on their faces when they entered the city, but Ar-Razi discounted this explanation. It was also said that the Sujud mentioned here means, `submissiveness', for actually entering while prostrating is not possible.

Khasif said that `Ikrimah said that Ibn `Abbas said, "The door mentioned here was facing the Qiblah.'' Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, As-Suddi, Qatadah and Ad-Dahhak said that the door is the door of Hittah in Iylya', which is Jerusalem. Ar-Razi also reported that some of them said that it was a door in the direction of the Qiblah''. Khasif said that `Ikrimah said that Ibn `Abbas said that the Children of Israel entered the door sideways. As-Suddi said that Abu Sa`id Al-Azdy said that Abu Al-Kanud said that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud said that they were commanded to, u

[وَادْخُلُواْ الْبَابَ سُجَّدًا]

(enter the gate in prostration (or bowing with humility)) but instead, they entered while their heads were raised in defiance.

Allah said next,

[وَقُولُواْ حِطَّةٌ]

(and say: `Hittah'). Ibn `Abbas commented, "Seek Allah's forgiveness.'' Al-Hasan and Qatadah said that it means, "Say, `Relieve us from our errors.''

[نَّغْفِرْ لَكُمْ خَطَـيَـكُمْ وَسَنَزِيدُ الْمُحْسِنِينَ]

(and We shall forgive you your sins and shall increase (reward) for the good-doers) Here is the reward for fulfilling Allah's commandment. This Ayah means, "If you implement what We commanded you, We will forgive your sins and multiply your good deeds.'' In summary, upon achieving victory, the Children of Israel were commanded to submit to Allah in tongue and deed and, to admit to their sins and seek forgiveness for them, to be grateful to Allah for the blessings He gave them, hastening to do the deeds that Allah loves, as He said,

[إِذَا جَآءَ نَصْرُ اللَّهِ وَالْفَتْحُ - وَرَأَيْتَ النَّاسَ يَدْخُلُونَ فِى دِينِ اللَّهِ أَفْوَجاً - فَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ وَاسْتَغْفِرْهُ إِنَّهُ كَانَ تَوِبَا ]

(When there comes the help of Allah (to you, O Muhammad against your enemies) and the conquest (of Makkah). And you see that the people enter Allah's religion (Islam) in crowds. So glorify the praises of your Lord, and ask His forgiveness. Verily, He is the One Who accepts the repentance.) (110).

Allah said,

[فَبَدَّلَ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُواْ قَوْلاً غَيْرَ الَّذِي قِيلَ لَهُمْ]

(But those who did wrong changed the word from that which had been told to them for another).

Al-Bukhari recorded Abu Hurayrah saying that the Prophet said,

[قِيلَ لِبَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ ادْخُلُوا الْبَابَ سُجَّدًا وَقُولُوا: حِطَّةٌ، فَدَخَلُوا يَزْحَفُون عَلى أَسْتَاهِهِم فَبَدَّلُوا وَقَالُوا، حَبَّةٌ فِي شَعْرَة]

(The Children of Israel were commanded to enter the door while bowing and to say `Hittah'. Yet, they entered the door on their behinds, distorting the words. They said; `Habbah (seed), in Sha`rah (a hair).')

An-Nasa'i recorded this part of it from Abu Hurayrah only, but he has a chain from the Prophet , explaining Allah's statement,

[حِطَّةٌ]

(`Hittah'), saying, "So they deviated and said `Habbah.'' Similar was recorded by `Abdur-Razzaq, and his route was also collected by Al-Bukhari. Muslim and At-Tirmidhi narrated similar versions of this Hadith, At-Tirmidhi said, "Hasan Sahih.''

The summary of what the scholars have said about this subject is that the Children of Israel distorted Allah's command to them to submit to Him in tongue and deed. They were commanded to enter the city while bowing down, but they entered while sliding on their rear ends and raising their heads! They were commanded to say, `Hittah' meaning, "Relieve us from our errors and sins.'' However, they mocked this command and said, "Hintah (grain seed) in Sha`irah (barley).'' This demonstrates the worst type of rebellion and disobedience, and it is why Allah released His anger and punishment upon them, all because of their sinning and defying His commands. Allah said,

[فَأَنزَلْنَا عَلَى الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُواْ رِجْزًا مِّنَ السَّمَآءِ بِمَا كَانُواْ يَفْسُقُونَ]

(So We sent upon the wrongdoers Rijz (a punishment) from the heaven because of their rebellion.)

Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn `Abbas said, "Every word in Allah's Book that says Rijz means, `a punishment.''' Mujahid, Abu Malik, As-Suddi, Al-Hasan and Qatadah were reported to have said that Rijz means `Torment.' Ibn Abi Hatim narrated that Sa`d bin Malik, Usamah bin Zayd and Khuzaymah bin Thabit said that the Messenger of Allah said,

[الطَّاعُونُ رِجْزٌ.عَذَابٌ عُذِّبَ بِهِ مَنْ كَانَ قَبْلَكُم]

(The plague is a Rijz, a punishment with which Allah punished those before you.)
This is also how An-Nasa'i recorded this Hadith. In addition, the basis of this Hadith was collected in the Two Sahihs,

[إِذَا سَمِعْتُمُ الطَّاعُونَ بأَرْضٍ فَلَا تَدْخُلُوهَا]

(If you hear of the plague in a land, then do not enter it.)
Ibn Jarir recorded Usamah bin Zayd saying that the Messenger of Allah said,

[إنَّ هَذَا الْوَجَعَ وَالسَّقَمَ رِجْزٌ عُذِّبَ بِهِ بَعْضُ الْأُمَمِ قَبْلَكُم]

(This calamity and sickness (i.e. the plague) is a Rijz, a punishment with which some nations who were before you were punished.)

The basis of this Hadith was also collected in the Two Sahihs.

[وَإِذِ اسْتَسْقَى مُوسَى لِقَوْمِهِ فَقُلْنَا اضْرِب بِّعَصَاكَ الْحَجَرَ فَانفَجَرَتْ مِنْهُ اثْنَتَا عَشْرَةَ عَيْنًا قَدْ عَلِمَ كُلُّ أُنَاسٍ مَّشْرَبَهُمْ كُلُواْ وَاشْرَبُواْ مِن رِّزْقِ اللَّهِ وَلاَ تَعْثَوْاْ فِى الاٌّرْضِ مُفْسِدِينَ ]

(60. And (remember) when Musa asked for water for his people, We said: "Strike the stone with your stick.'' Then gushed forth therefrom twelve springs. Each (group of) people knew its own place for water. "Eat and drink of that which Allah has provided and do not act corruptly, making mischief on the earth.'')

86. Twelve Springs gush forth

Allah said, "Remember My favor on you when I answered the supplication of your Prophet, Musa, when he asked Me to provide you with water. I made the water available for you, making it gush out through a stone. Twelve springs burst out of that stone, a designated spring for each of your tribes. You eat from the manna and the quails and drink from the water that I provided for you, without any effort or hardship for you. So worship the One Who did this for you.

[وَلاَ تَعْثَوْاْ فِى الاٌّرْضِ مُفْسِدِينَ]

(And do not act corruptly, making mischief on the earth) meaning, "Do not return the favor by committing acts of disobedience that cause favors to disappear.''

Ibn `Abbas said that the Children of Israel, "Had a square stone that Musa was commanded to strike with his staff and, as a result, twelve springs burst out of that stone, three on each side. Each tribe was, therefore, designated a certain spring, and they used to drink from their springs. They never had to travel from their area, they would find the same bounty in the same manner they had in the first area.''This narration is part of the long Hadith that An-Nasa'i, Ibn Jarir and Ibn Abi Hatim recorded about the trials.

This story is similar to the story in Surat Al-`Araf (Chapter 7) although the latter was revealed in Makkah. In Surat Al-A`raf, Allah used the third person when He mentioned the Children of Israel to the Prophet and narrated what He favored them with. In this Surat Al-Baqarah, which was revealed in Al-Madinah, Allah directed His Speech at the Children of Israel. Further, Allah said in Surat Al-A`raf,

[فَانبَجَسَتْ مِنْهُ اثْنَتَا عَشْرَةَ عَيْنًا]

(And there gushed forth out of it twelve springs) (7:160), describing what first occurred when the water begins to gush out. In the Ayah in Surat Al-Baqarah, Allah described what happened later on, meaning when the water burst out in full force. Allah knows best.

[وَإِذْ قُلْتُمْ يَـمُوسَى لَن نَّصْبِرَ عَلَى طَعَامٍ وَحِدٍ فَادْعُ لَنَا رَبَّكَ يُخْرِجْ لَنَا مِمَّا تُنبِتُ الأَرْضُ مِن بَقْلِهَا وَقِثَّآئِهَا وَفُومِهَا وَعَدَسِهَا وَبَصَلِهَا قَالَ أَتَسْتَبْدِلُونَ الَّذِى هُوَ أَدْنَى بِالَّذِى هُوَ خَيْرٌ اهْبِطُواْ مِصْرًا فَإِنَّ لَكُم مَّا سَأَلْتُمْ]

(61. And (remember) when you said, "O Musa ! We cannot endure one kind of food. So invoke your Lord for us to bring forth for us of what the earth grows, its herbs, its cucumber its Fum, its lentils and its onions.'' He said, "Would you exchange that which is better for that which is lower Go you down to any town and you shall find what you want!'')

87. The Children of Israel preferred Foods inferior to Manna and Quails

Allah said, "And remember My favor on you when I sent down the manna and quails to you, a good, pure, beneficial, easily acquired food. And remember your ungratefulness for what We granted you. Remember how you asked Musa to exchange this type of food for an inferior type that consists of vegetation, and so forth.'' Al-Hasan Al-Basri said about the Children of Israel, "They were bored and impatient with the type of food they were provided. They also remembered the life they used to live, when their diet consisted of lentils, onions, garlic and herbs.'' They said,

[يَـمُوسَى لَن نَّصْبِرَ عَلَى طَعَامٍ وَحِدٍ فَادْعُ لَنَا رَبَّكَ يُخْرِجْ لَنَا مِمَّا تُنبِتُ الأَرْضُ مِن بَقْلِهَا وَقِثَّآئِهَا وَفُومِهَا وَعَدَسِهَا وَبَصَلِهَا]

(O Musa ! We cannot endure one kind of food. So invoke your Lord for us to bring forth for us of what the earth grows, its herbs, its cucumbers, its Fum, its lentils and its onions). They said,

[عَلَى طَعَامٍ وَحِدٍ]

(One kind of food) meaning, the manna and quails, because they ate the same food day after day. The Ayah mentioned lentils, onions and herbs, which are all known types of foods. As for the Fum, Ibn Mas`ud read it, Thum (garlic). Also, Ibn Abi Hatim narrated that Al-Hasan said about the Ayah,

[وَفُومِهَا]

(Its Fum), "Ibn `Abbas said that Fum means, garlic.''
He also said that the expression, `Fumu-lanna' means, `bake for us', according to the languages of old. Ibn Jarir commented, "If this is true, then `Fum' is one of the words whose pronounciation were altered, the letter `fa' was replaced by the letter `tha', since they are similar in sound.'' And Allah knows best. Others said that Fum is wheat, the kind used for bread. Al-Bukhari said, "Some of them said that Fum includes all grains or seeds that are eaten.''

Allah's statement,

[قَالَ أَتَسْتَبْدِلُونَ الَّذِى هُوَ أَدْنَى بِالَّذِى هُوَ خَيْرٌ]

(He said, "Would you exchange that which is better for that which is lower'') criticized the Jews for asking for inferior foods, although they were living an easy life, eating tasty, beneficial and pure food. Allah's statement,

[اهْبِطُواْ مِصْرًا]

(Go you down to any Misr) means, `any city', as Ibn `Abbas said. Ibn Jarir also reported that Abu Al-`Aliyah and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas said that the Ayah refers to Misr, the Egypt of Fir`awn. The truth is that the Ayah means any city, as Ibn `Abbas and other scholars stated. Therefore, the meaning of Musa's statement to the Children of Israel becomes, "What you are asking for is easy, for it is available in abundance in any city that you might enter. So since what you asked for is available in all of the villages and cities, I will not ask Allah to provide us with it, especially when it is an inferior type of food. '' This is why Musa said to them,

[أَتَسْتَبْدِلُونَ الَّذِى هُوَ أَدْنَى بِالَّذِى هُوَ خَيْرٌ اهْبِطُواْ مِصْرًا فَإِنَّ لَكُم مَّا سَأَلْتُمْ]

(Would you exchange that which is better for that which is lower Go you down to any town and you shall find what you want!)

Since their request was the result of boredom and arrogance and since fulfilling it was unnecessary, their request was denied. Allah knows best.

[وَضُرِبَتْ عَلَيْهِمُ الذِّلَّةُ وَالْمَسْكَنَةُ وَبَآءُوا بِغَضَبٍ مِّنَ اللَّهِ ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ كَانُواْ يَكْفُرُونَ بِآيَـتِ اللَّهِ وَيَقْتُلُونَ النَّبِيِّينَ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ ذلِكَ بِمَا عَصَواْ وَّكَانُواْ يَعْتَدُونَ]

(61. And they were covered with humiliation and misery, and they drew on themselves the wrath of Allah. That was because they used to disbelieve in the Ayat (proofs, evidence) of Allah and killed the Prophets wrongfully. That was because they disobeyed and used to transgress the bounds (in their disobedience to Allah, i.e. commit crimes and sins.)) (2:61)

88. Covering the Jews in Humiliation and Misery

Allah said,

[وَضُرِبَتْ عَلَيْهِمُ الذِّلَّةُ وَالْمَسْكَنَةُ]

(And they were covered with humiliation and misery). This Ayah indicates that the Children of Israel were plagued with humiliation, and that this will continue, meaning that it will never cease. They will continue to suffer humiliation at the hands of all who interact with them, along with the disgrace that they feel inwardly. Al-Hasan commented, "Allah humiliated them, and they shall have no protector. Allah put them under the feet of the Muslims, who appeared at a time when the Majus (Zoroastrians) were taking the Jizyah (tax) from the Jews.'' Also, Abu Al-`Aliyah, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas and As-Suddi said that `misery' used in the Ayah means, `poverty.' `Atiyah Al-`Awfi said that `misery' means, `paying the tilth (tax).' In addition, Ad-Dahhak commented on Allah's statement,

[وَبَآءُوا بِغَضَبٍ مِّنَ اللَّهِ]

(and they drew on themselves the wrath of Allah), "They deserved Allah's anger.'' Also, Ibn Jarir said that,

[وَبَآءُوا بِغَضَبٍ مِّنَ اللَّهِ]

(and they drew on themselves the wrath of Allah) means, "They went back with the wrath. Similarly, Allah said,

[إِنِّى أُرِيدُ أَن تَبُوءَ بِإِثْمِى وَإِثْمِكَ]

(Verily, I intend to let you draw my sin on yourself as well as yours) (Al-Ma'idah 5:29) meaning, `You will end up carrying my, and your, mistakes instead of me'. Thus, the meaning of the Ayah becomes, `They went back carrying Allah's anger; Allah's wrath descended on them; they deserved Allah's anger.'''

Allah's statement,

[ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ كَانُواْ يَكْفُرُونَ بِآيَـتِ اللَّهِ وَيَقْتُلُونَ النَّبِيِّينَ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ]

(That was because they used to disbelieve in the Ayat (proofs, evidences, etc.) of Allah and killed the Prophets wrongfully.) means, "This is what We rewarded the Children of Israel with: humiliation and misery.'' Allah's anger that descended on the Children of Israel was a part of the humiliation they earned, because of their defiance of the truth, disbelief in Allah's Ayat and belittling the carriers of Allah's Law i.e. the Prophets and their following. The Children of Israel rejected the Messengers and even killed them. Surely, there is no form of disbelief worse than disbelieving in Allah's Ayat and murdering the Prophets of Allah.

89. Meaning of Kibr

Similarly, in a Hadith recorded in the Two Sahihs the Messenger of Allah said,

[الْكِبْرُ بَطَرُ الْحَقِّ وَغَمْطُ النَّاس]

(`Kibr, is refusing the truth and degrading (belittling) people.)
Imam Ahmad recorded, `Abdullah bin Mas`ud saying that the Messenger of Allah said,

[أَشَدُّ النَّاسِ عَذَابًا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ رَجُلٌ قَتَلَهُ نَبِيٌّ أَوْ قَتَلَ نَبِيًّا: وَإِمَامُ ضَلَالَةٍ وَمُمَثِّلٌ مِنَ الْمُمَثِّلِين]

(The people who will receive the most torment on the Day of Resurrection are: a man who was killed by a Prophet or who killed a Prophet, an unjust ruler and one who mutilates (the dead).) Allah's statement,

[ذلِكَ بِمَا عَصَواْ وَّكَانُواْ يَعْتَدُونَ]

(That was because they disobeyed and used to transgress the bounds) mentions another reason why the Children of Israel were punished in this manner, for they used to disobey and transgress the limits. Disobedience is to do what is prohibited, while transgression entails overstepping the set limits of what is allowed and what is prohibited. Allah knows best.

[إِنَّ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَالَّذِينَ هَادُواْ وَالنَّصَـرَى وَالصَّـبِئِينَ مَنْ ءَامَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الاٌّخِرِ وَعَمِلَ صَـلِحاً فَلَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلاَ خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ ]

(62. Verily, those who believe and those who are Jews and Christians, and Sabians (Sabi'in), whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and does righteous good deeds shall have their reward with their Lord, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.)

90. Faith and doing Righteous Deeds equals Salvation in all Times

After Allah described the condition - and punishment - of those who defy His commands, fall into His prohibitions and transgress set limits by committing prohibited acts, He stated that the earlier nations who were righteous and obedient received the rewards for their good deeds. This shall be the case, until the Day of Judgment. Therefore, whoever follows the unlettered Messenger and Prophet shall acquire eternal happiness and shall neither fear from what will happen in the future nor become sad for what has been lost in the past. Similarly, Allah said,

[أَلا إِنَّ أَوْلِيَآءَ اللَّهِ لاَ خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ ]

(No doubt! Verily, the Awliya' of Allah, no fear shall come upon them nor shall they grieve) (10:62).

The angels will proclaim to the dying believers, as mentioned,

[إِنَّ الَّذِينَ قَالُواْ رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ ثُمَّ اسْتَقَـمُواْ تَتَنَزَّلُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْمَلَـئِكَةُ أَلاَّ تَخَافُواْ وَلاَ تَحْزَنُواْ وَأَبْشِرُواْ بِالْجَنَّةِ الَّتِى كُنتُمْ تُوعَدُونَ ]

(Verily, those who say: "Our Lord is Allah (alone),'' and then they stand firm, on them the angels will descend (at the time of their death) (saying): "Fear not, nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised!''). (41:30)

91. The Meaning of Mu'min, or Believer

`Ali bin Abi Talhah narrated from Ibn `Abbas, about,

[إِنَّ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَالَّذِينَ هَادُواْ وَالنَّصَـرَى وَالصَّـبِئِينَ مَنْ ءَامَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الاٌّخِرِ]

(Verily, those who believe and those who are Jews and Christians, and Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day) that Allah revealed the following Ayah afterwards,

[وَمَن يَبْتَغِ غَيْرَ الإِسْلَـمِ دِينًا فَلَن يُقْبَلَ مِنْهُ وَهُوَ فِى الاٌّخِرَةِ مِنَ الْخَـسِرِينَ ]

(And whoever seeks religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers) (3:85).

This statement by Ibn `Abbas indicates that Allah does not accept any deed or work from anyone, unless it conforms to the Law of Muhammad that is, after Allah sent Muhammad . Before that, every person who followed the guidance of his own Prophet was on the correct path, following the correct guidance and was saved.

92. Why the Jews were called `Yahud

The Jews are the followers of Prophet Musa, who used to refer to the Tawrah for judgment. Yahud is a word that means, `repenting', just as Musa said,

[إِنَّا هُدْنَـآ إِلَيْكَ]

93. Why the christians were called nasara

[مَنْ أَنصَارِى إِلَى اللَّهِ قَالَ الْحَوَارِيُّونَ نَحْنُ أَنْصَارُ اللَّهِ]

("Who will be my helpers in Allah's cause'' Al-Hawariyyun said: "We are the helpers of Allah.'') (61:14)

It was said that they were called `Nasara', because they inhabited a land called An-Nasirah (Nazareth), as Qatadah, Ibn Jurayj and Ibn `Abbas were reported to have said, Allah knows best. Nasara is certainly plural for Nasran.

When Allah sent Muhammad as the Last and Final Prophet and Messenger to all of the Children of Adam, mankind was required to believe in him, obey him and refrain from what he prohibited them; those who do this are true believers. The Ummah of Muhammad was called `Mu'minin' (believers), because of the depth of their faith and certainty, and because they believe in all of the previous Prophets and matters of the Unseen.

94. The Sabi'un or Sabians

There is a difference of opinion over the identity of the Sabians. Sufyan Ath-Thawri said that Layth bin Abu Sulaym said that Mujahid said that, "The Sabians are between the Majus, the Jews and the Christians. They do not have a specific religion.'' Similar is reported from Ibn Abi Najih. Similar statements were attributed to `Ata' and Sa`id bin Jubayr. They (others) say that the Sabians are a sect among the People of the Book who used to read the Zabur (Psalms), others say that they are a people who worshipped the angels or the stars. It appears that the closest opinion to the truth, and Allah knows best, is Mujahid's statement and those who agree with him like Wahb bin Munabbih, that the Sabians are neither Jews nor Christians nor Majus nor polytheists. Rather, they did not have a specific religion that they followed and enforced, because they remained living according to their Fitrah (instinctual nature). This is why the idolators used to call whoever embraced Islam a `Sabi', meaning, that he abandoned all religions that existed on the earth. Some scholars stated that the Sabians are those who never received a message by any Prophet. And Allah knows best.

[وَإِذْ أَخَذْنَا مِيثَـقَكُمْ وَرَفَعْنَا فَوْقَكُمُ الطُّورَ خُذُواْ مَآ ءَاتَيْنَـكُم بِقُوَّةٍ وَاذْكُرُواْ مَا فِيهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ - ثُمَّ تَوَلَّيْتُم مِّن بَعْدِ ذلِكَ فَلَوْلاَ فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَتُهُ لَكُنتُم مِّنَ الْخَـسِرِينَ ]

(63. And (O Children of Isra'il, remember) when We took your covenant and We raised above you the Mount (saying): "Hold fast to that which We have given you, and remember that which is therein so that you may acquire Taqwa.) (64. Then after that you turned away. Had it not been for the grace and mercy of Allah upon you, indeed you would have been among the losers.)

95. Taking the Covenant from the Jews

Allah reminded the Children of Israel of the pledges, covenants and promises that He took from them to believe in Him alone, without a partner, and follow His Messengers. Allah stated that when He took their pledge from them, He raised the mountain above their heads, so that they affirm the pledge that they gave Allah and abide by it with sincerity and seriousness. Hence, Allah's statement,

[وَإِذ نَتَقْنَا الْجَبَلَ فَوْقَهُمْ كَأَنَّهُ ظُلَّةٌ وَظَنُّواْ أَنَّهُ وَاقِعٌ بِهِمْ خُذُواْ مَآ ءَاتَيْنَاكُم بِقُوَّةٍ وَاذْكُرُواْ مَا فِيهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ ]

(And (remember) when We raised the mountain over them as if it had been a canopy, and they thought that it was going to fall on them. (We said): "Hold firmly to what We have given you (Tawrah), and remember that which is therein (act on its commandments), so that you may fear Allah and obey Him.'') (7:171).

The mount mentioned here is At-Tur, just as it was explained in Surat Al-A`raf, according to the Tafsir of Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, `Ata', `Ikrimah, Al-Hasan, Ad-Dahhak, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas and others. This is more obvious. There is another report from Ibn `Abbas saying; `The Tur is a type of mountain that vegetation grows on, if no vegetation grows on it, it is not called Tur.' And in the Hadith about the trials, Ibn `Abbas said; "When they (the Jews) refused to obey, Allah raised the mountain above their heads so that they would listen.''

Al-Hasan said that Allah's statement,

[خُذُواْ مَآ ءَاتَيْنَـكُم بِقُوَّةٍ]

(Hold fast to that which We have given you) means, the Tawrah. Mujahid said that the Ayah commanded, "Strictly adhere to it.'' Abu Al-`Aliyah and Ar-Rabi` said that,

[وَاذْكُرُواْ مَا فِيهِ]

(and remember that which is therein) means, "Read the Tawrah and implement it.'' Allah's statement,

[ثُمَّ تَوَلَّيْتُم مِّن بَعْدِ ذلِكَ فَلَوْلاَ فَضْلُ اللَّهِ]

(Then after that you turned away. Had it not been for the grace of Allah) means, "Yet, after the firm pledge that you gave, you still deviated and broke your pledge'';

[فَلَوْلاَ فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَتُهُ]

(Had it not been for the grace and mercy of Allah upon you), meaning, by forgiving you and by sending the Prophets and Messengers to you,

[لَكُنتُم مِّنَ الْخَـسِرِينَ]

(Indeed you would have been among the losers) meaning, in this life and the Hereafter due to their breach of the covenant.

[وَلَقَدْ عَلِمْتُمُ الَّذِينَ اعْتَدَواْ مِنكُمْ فِى السَّبْتِ فَقُلْنَا لَهُمْ كُونُواْ قِرَدَةً خَـسِئِينَ - فَجَعَلْنَـهَا نَكَـلاً لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهَا وَمَا خَلْفَهَا وَمَوْعِظَةً لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ ]

(65. And indeed you knew those amongst you who transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath (i.e. Saturday). We said to them: "Be you monkeys, despised and rejected.'') (66. So We made this punishment an example for those in front of it and those behind it, and a lesson for Al-Muttaqin (the pious.)

96. The Jews breach the Sanctity of the Sabbath

Allah said,

[وَلَقَدْ عَلِمْتُمُ]

(And indeed you knew). This Ayah means, O Jews! Remember that Allah sent His torment on the village that disobeyed Him and broke their pledge and their covenant to observe the sanctity of the Sabbath. They began using deceitful means to avoid honoring the Sabbath by placing nets, ropes and artificial pools of water for the purpose of fishing before the Sabbath. When the fish came in abundance on Saturday as usual, they were caught in the ropes and nets for the rest of Saturday. During the night, the Jews collected the fish after the Sabbath ended. When they did that, Allah changed them from humans into monkeys, the animals having the form closest to humans. Their evil deeds and deceit appeared lawful on the surface, but they were in reality wicked. This is why their punishment was compatible with their crime. This story is explained in detail in Surat Al-A`raf, where Allah said (7:163),

[وَسْئَلْهُمْ عَنِ الْقَرْيَةِ الَّتِى كَانَتْ حَاضِرَةَ الْبَحْرِ إِذْ يَعْدُونَ فِى السَّبْتِ إِذْ تَأْتِيهِمْ حِيتَانُهُمْ يَوْمَ سَبْتِهِمْ شُرَّعًا وَيَوْمَ لاَ يَسْبِتُونَ لاَ تَأْتِيهِمْ كَذَلِكَ نَبْلُوهُم بِمَا كَانُوا يَفْسُقُونَ ]

(And ask them (O Muhammad ) about the town that was by the sea; when they transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath (i.e. Saturday): when their fish came to them openly on the Sabbath day, and did not come to them on the day they had no Sabbath. Thus We made a trial of them, for they used to rebel (disobey Allah).)(7:163)

In his Tafsir, Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas that he said,

[فَقُلْنَا لَهُمْ كُونُواْ قِرَدَةً خَـسِئِينَ]

(We said to them: "Be you monkeys, despised and rejected'') means, "Allah changed their bodies into those of monkeys and swines. The young people turned into monkeys while the old people turned into swine.'' Shayban An-Nahwi reported that Qatadah commented on,

[فَقُلْنَا لَهُمْ كُونُواْ قِرَدَةً خَـسِئِينَ]

(We said to them: "Be you monkeys, despised and rejected''), "These people were turned into howling monkeys with tails, after being men and women.''

97. The Monkeys and Swine that exist now are not the Descendants of Those that were transformed

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, "Those who violated the sanctity of the Sabbath were turned into monkeys, then they perished without offspring.'' Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn `Abbas said, "Allah turned them into monkeys because of their sins. They only lived on the earth for three days, for no transformed person ever lives more than three days. They did not eat, drink or have offspring. Allah transformed their shapes into monkeys, and He does what He wills, with whom He wills and He changes the shape of whomever He wills. On the other hand, Allah created the monkeys, swines and the rest of the creation in the six days (of creation) that He mentioned in His Book.''

Allah's statement,

[فَجَعَلْنَـهَا نَكَـلاً]

(So We made this punishment an example) means, Allah made the people of this village, who violated the sanctity of the Sabbath,

[نَكَـلاً]

(an example) via the way they were punished. Similarly, Allah said about Pharaoh,

[فَأَخَذَهُ اللَّهُ نَكَالَ الاٌّخِرَةِ وَالاٍّوْلَى ]

(So Allah, seized him with punishing example for his last and first transgression) (79:25). nAllah's statement,

[لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهَا وَمَا خَلْفَهَا]

(for those in front of it and those behind it) meaning, for the other villages. Ibn `Abbas commented, "Meaning, `We made this village an example for the villages around it by the manner in which We punished its people.''' Similarly, Allah said,

[وَلَقَدْ أَهْلَكْنَا مَا حَوْلَكُمْ مِّنَ الْقُرَى وَصَرَّفْنَا الاٌّيَـتِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ ]

(And indeed We have destroyed towns (populations) round about you, and We have (repeatedly) shown (them) the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) in various ways that they might return (to the truth and believe in the Oneness of Allah ـ Islamic Monotheism)).(46:27)

Therefore, Allah made them an example for those who lived during their time as well as a reminder for those to come, by preserving their story. This is why Allah said,

[وَمَوْعِظَةً لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ]

(and a lesson for Al-Muttaqin (the pious)), meaning, a reminder. This Ayah means, "The torment and punishment that this village suffered was a result of indulging in Allah's prohibitions and their deceit. Hence, those who have Taqwa should be aware of their evil behavior, so that what occurred to this village does not befall them as well.'' Also, Imam Abu `Abdullah bin Battah reported that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

[لَا تَرْتَكِبُوا مَا ارْتَكَبَتِ الْيَهُودُ فَتَسْتَحِلُّوا مَحَارِمَ اللهِ بِأَدْنَى الْحِيَل]

(Do not commit what the Jews committed, breaching what Allah has forbidden, by resorting to the lowest types of deceit.)

This Hadith has a good (Jayid) chain of narration. Allah knows best.

[وَإِذْ قَالَ مُوسَى لِقَوْمِهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُكُمْ أَن تَذْبَحُواْ بَقَرَةً قَالُواْ أَتَتَّخِذُنَا هُزُوًا قَالَ أَعُوذُ بِاللَّهِ أَنْ أَكُونَ مِنَ الْجَـهِلِينَ ]

(67. And (remember) when Musa said to his people: "Verily, Allah commands you that you slaughter a cow.'' They said, "Do you make fun of us'' He said, "I take Allah's refuge from being among Al-Jahilin (the ignorant or the foolish).'')

98. The Story of the murdered Israeli Man and the Cow

Allah said, `O Children of Israel! Remember how I blessed you with miracle of the cow that was the means for discovering the identity of the murderer, when the murdered man was brought back to life.'

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded `Ubaydah As-Salmani saying, "There was a man from among the Children of Israel who was impotent. He had substantial wealth, and only a nephew who would inherit from him. So his nephew killed him and moved his body at night, placing it at the doorstep of a certain man. The next morning, the nephew cried out for revenge, and the people took up their weapons and almost fought each other. The wise men among them said, `Why would you kill each other, while the Messenger of Allah is still among you' So they went to Musa and mentioned the matter to him and Musa said,

[إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُكُمْ أَن تَذْبَحُواْ بَقَرَةً قَالُواْ أَتَتَّخِذُنَا هُزُوًا قَالَ أَعُوذُ بِاللَّهِ أَنْ أَكُونَ مِنَ الْجَـهِلِينَ]

("Verily, Allah commands you that you slaughter a cow.'' They said, "Do you make fun of us'' He said, "I take Allah's refuge from being among Al-Jahilin (the ignorant or the foolish)).'' "Had they not disputed, it would have been sufficient for them to slaughter any cow. However, they disputed, and the matter was made more difficult for them, until they ended up looking for the specific cow that they were later ordered to slaughter. They found the designated cow with a man, only who owned that cow. He said, `By Allah! I will only sell it for its skin's fill of gold.' So they paid the cow's fill of its skin in gold, slaughtered it and touched the dead man with a part of it. He stood up, and they asked him, `Who killed you' He said, `That man,' and pointed to his nephew. He died again, and his nephew was not allowed to inherit him. Thereafter, whoever committed murder for the purpose of gaining inheritance was not allowed to inherit.'' Ibn Jarir reported something similar to that. Allah knows best.

[قَالُواْ ادْعُ لَنَا رَبَّكَ يُبَيِّنَ لَّنَا مَا هِىَ قَالَ إِنَّهُ يَقُولُ إِنَّهَا بَقَرَةٌ لاَّ فَارِضٌ وَلاَ بِكْرٌ عَوَانٌ بَيْنَ ذلِكَ فَافْعَلُواْ مَا تُؤْمَرونَ - قَالُواْ ادْعُ لَنَا رَبَّكَ يُبَيِّن لَّنَا مَا لَوْنُهَا قَالَ إِنَّهُ يَقُولُ إِنَّهَا بَقَرَةٌ صَفْرَآءُ فَاقِـعٌ لَّوْنُهَا تَسُرُّ النَّـظِرِينَ - قَالُواْ ادْعُ لَنَا رَبَّكَ يُبَيِّن لَّنَا مَا هِىَ إِنَّ البَقَرَ تَشَـبَهَ عَلَيْنَا وَإِنَّآ إِن شَآءَ اللَّهُ لَمُهْتَدُونَ - قَالَ إِنَّهُ يَقُولُ إِنَّهَا بَقَرَةٌ لاَّ ذَلُولٌ تُثِيرُ الاٌّرْضَ وَلاَ تَسْقِى الْحَرْثَ مُسَلَّمَةٌ لاَّ شِيَةَ فِيهَا قَالُواْ الَـنَ جِئْتَ بِالْحَقِّ فَذَبَحُوهَا وَمَا كَادُواْ يَفْعَلُونَ ]

(68. They said, "Call upon your Lord for us that He may make plain to us what it is!'' He said, "He says, `Verily, it is a cow neither too old nor too young, but (it is) between the two conditions', so do what you are commanded.'') (69. They said, "Call upon your Lord for us to make plain to us its colour.'' He said, "He says, `It is a yellow cow, bright in its colour, pleasing the beholders.' '') (70. They said, "Call upon your Lord for us to make plain to us what it is. Verily, to us all cows are alike. And surely, if Allah wills, we will be guided.'') (71. He (Musa) said, "He says, `It is a cow neither trained to till the soil nor water the fields, sound, having no blemish in it.' '' They said, "Now you have brought the truth.'' So they slaughtered it though they were near to not doing it.)

99. The Stubbornness of the Jews regarding the Cow; Allah made the Matter difficult for Them

Allah mentioned the stubbornness of the Children of Israel and the many unnecessary questions they asked their Messengers. This is why when they were stubborn, Allah made the decisions difficult for them. Had they slaughtered a cow, any cow, it would have been sufficient for them, as Ibn `Abbas and `Ubaydah have said. Instead, they made the matter difficult, and this is why Allah made it even more difficult for them. They said,

[ادْعُ لَنَا رَبَّكَ يُبَيِّنَ لَّنَا مَا هِىَ]

(Call upon your Lord for us that He may make plain to us what it is!), meaning, "What is this cow and what is its description'' Musa said,

[إِنَّهُ يَقُولُ إِنَّهَا بَقَرَةٌ لاَّ فَارِضٌ وَلاَ بِكْرٌ]

(He says, `Verily, it is a cow neither too old nor too young'), meaning, that it is neither old nor below the age of breeding. This is the opinion of Abu Al-`Aliyah, As-Suddi, Mujahid, `Ikrimah, `Atiyah Al-`Awfi, `Ata', Al-Khurasani, Wahb bin Munabbih, Ad-Dahhak, Al-Hasan, Qatadah and Ibn `Abbas. Ad-Dahhak reported that Ibn `Abbas said that,

[عَوَانٌ بَيْنَ ذلِكَ]

(But (it is) between the two conditions) means, "Neither old nor young. Rather, she was at the age when the cow is strongest and fittest.'' In his Tafsir Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas that,

[فَاقِـعٌ لَّوْنُهَا]

(bright in its colour) "A deep yellowish white.''

As-Suddi said,

[تَسُرُّ النَّـظِرِينَ]

(pleasing the beholder) meaning, that it pleases those who see it. This is also the opinion of Abu Al-`Aliyah, Qatadah and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas. Furthermore, Wahb bin Munabbih said, "If you look at the cow's skin, you will think that the sun's rays radiate through its skin.'' The modern version of the Tawrah mentions that the cow in the Ayah was red, but this is an error. Or, it might be that the cow was so yellow that it appeared blackish or reddish in color. Allah's knows best.

[إِنَّ البَقَرَ تَشَـبَهَ عَلَيْنَا]

(Verily, to us all cows are alike) this means, that since cows are plentiful, then describe this cow for us further,

[وَإِنَّآ إِن شَآءَ اللَّهُ]

(And surely, if Allah wills) and if you further describe it to us,

[لَمُهْتَدُونَ]

(we will be guided.)

[قَالَ إِنَّهُ يَقُولُ إِنَّهَا بَقَرَةٌ لاَّ ذَلُولٌ تُثِيرُ الاٌّرْضَ وَلاَ تَسْقِى الْحَرْثَ]

(He says, `It is a cow neither trained to till the soil nor water the fields') meaning, it is not used in farming, or for watering purposes. Rather, it is honorable and fair looking. `Abdur-Razzaq said that Ma`mar said that Qatadah said that,

[مُّسَلَّمَةٌ]

(sound) means, "The cow does not suffer from any defects.'' This is also the opinion of Abu Al-`Aliyah and Ar-Rabi`. Mujahid also said that the Ayah means the cow is free from defects. Further, `Ata' Al-Khurasani said that the Ayah means that its legs and body are free of physical defects.

Also, Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn `Abbas said that the Ayah,

[فَذَبَحُوهَا وَمَا كَادُواْ يَفْعَلُونَ]

(So they slaughtered it though they were near to not doing it) means, "They did not want to slaughter it.''

This means that even after all the questions and answers about the cow's description, the Jews were still reluctant to slaughter the cow. This part of the Qur'an criticized the Jews for their behavior, because their only goal was to be stubborn, and this is why they nearly did not slaughter the cow. Also, `Ubaydah, Mujahid, Wahb bin Munabbih, Abu Al-`Aliyah and `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said, "The Jews bought the cow with a large amount of money.'' There is a difference of opinion over this.

[وَإِذْ قَتَلْتُمْ نَفْسًا فَادَرَأْتُمْ فِيهَا وَاللَّهُ مُخْرِجٌ مَّا كُنتُمْ تَكْتُمُونَ - فَقُلْنَا اضْرِبُوهُ بِبَعْضِهَا كَذَلِكَ يُحْىِ اللَّهُ الْمَوْتَى وَيُرِيكُمْ آيَـتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ ]

(72. And (remember) when you killed a man and disagreed among yourselves as to the crime. But Allah brought forth that which you were Taktumun.) (73. So We said: "Strike him (the dead man) with a piece of it (the cow).'' Thus Allah brings the dead to life and shows you His Ayat (proofs, evidences, etc.) so that you may understand.)

100. Bringing the murdered Man back to Life

Al-Bukhari said that,

[فَادَرَأْتُمْ فِيهَا]

(And disagreed among yourselves as to the crime) means, "Disputed.''
This is also the Tafsir of Mujahid. `Ata' Al-Khurasani and Ad-Dahhak said, "Disputed about this matter.'' Also, Ibn Jurayj said that,

[وَإِذْ قَتَلْتُمْ نَفْسًا فَادَرَأْتُمْ فِيهَا]

(And (remember) when you killed a man and disagreed among yourselves as to the crime) means, some of them said, "You killed him,'' while the others said, "No you killed him.'' This is also the Tafsir of `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam. Mujahid said that,

[وَاللَّهُ مُخْرِجٌ مَّا كُنتُمْ تَكْتُمُونَ]

(But Allah brought forth that which you were Taktumun) means, "what you were hiding.''

Allah said,

[فَقُلْنَا اضْرِبُوهُ بِبَعْضِهَا]

(So We said: "Strike him (the dead man) with a piece of it (the cow)'') meaning, "any part of the cow will produce the miracle (if they struck the dead man with it).'' We were not told which part of the cow they used, as this matter does not benefit us either in matters of life or religion. Otherwise, Allah would have made it clear for us. Instead, Allah made this matter vague, so this is why we should leave it vague. Allah's statement,

[كَذَلِكَ يُحْىِ اللَّهُ الْمَوْتَى]

(Thus Allah brings the dead to life) means, "They struck him with it, and he came back to life.'' This Ayah demonstrates Allah's ability in bringing the dead back to life. Allah made this incident proof against the Jews that the Resurrection shall occur, and ended their disputing and stubbornness over the dead person.

Allah mentioned His bringing the dead back to life in five instances in Surat Al-Baqarah. First Allah said,

[ثُمَّ بَعَثْنَـكُم مِّن بَعْدِ مَوْتِكُمْ]

(Then We raised you up after your death). He then mentioned the story about the cow. Allah also mentioned the story of those who escaped death in their land, while they were numbering in the thousands. He also mentioned the story of the Prophet who passed by a village that was destroyed, the story of Abraham and the four birds, and the land that comes back to life after it has died. All these incidents and stories alert us to the fact that bodies shall again become whole, after they were rotten. The proof of Resurrection is also reiterated in Allah's statement,

[وَءَايَةٌ لَّهُمُ الاٌّرْضُ الْمَيْتَةُ أَحْيَيْنَـهَا وَأَخْرَجْنَا مِنْهَا حَبّاً فَمِنْهُ يَأْكُلُونَ - وَجَعَلْنَا فِيهَا جَنَّـتٍ مِّن نَّخِيلٍ وَأَعْنَـبٍ وَفَجَّرْنَا فِيهَا مِنَ الْعُيُونِ - لِيَأْكُلُواْ مِن ثَمَرِهِ وَمَا عَمِلَتْهُ أَيْدِيهِمْ أَفَلاَ يَشْكُرُونَ ]

(And a sign for them is the dead land. We give it life, and We bring forth from it grains, so that they eat thereof. And We have made therein gardens of date palms and grapes, and We have caused springs of water to gush forth therein. So that they may eat of the fruit thereof ـ and their hands made it not. Will they not then give thanks) (36:33-35).

[ثُمَّ قَسَتْ قُلُوبُكُمْ مِّن بَعْدِ ذلِكَ فَهِىَ كَالْحِجَارَةِ أَوْ أَشَدُّ قَسْوَةً وَإِنَّ مِنَ الْحِجَارَةِ لَمَا يَتَفَجَّرُ مِنْهُ الأَنْهَـرُ وَإِنَّ مِنْهَا لَمَا يَشَّقَّقُ فَيَخْرُجُ مِنْهُ الْمَآءُ وَإِنَّ مِنْهَا لَمَا يَهْبِطُ مِنْ خَشْيَةِ اللَّهِ وَمَا اللَّهُ بِغَـفِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ ]

(74. Then after that your hearts were hardened and became as stones or even worse in hardness. And indeed, there are stones out of which rivers gush forth, and indeed, there are of them (stones) which split asunder so that water flows from them, and indeed, there are of them (stones) which fall down for fear of Allah. And Allah is not unaware of what you do.)

101. The Harshness of the Jews

Allah criticized the Children of Israel because they witnessed the tremendous signs and the Ayat of Allah, including bringing the dead back to life, yet,

[ثُمَّ قَسَتْ قُلُوبُكُمْ مِّن بَعْدِ ذلِكَ]

(Then after that your hearts were hardened).

So their hearts were like stones that never become soft. This is why Allah forbade the believers from imitating the Jews when He said,

[أَلَمْ يَأْنِ لِلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ أَن تَخْشَعَ قُلُوبُهُمْ لِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَمَا نَزَلَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ وَلاَ يَكُونُواْ كَالَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ الْكِتَـبَ مِن قَبْلُ فَطَالَ عَلَيْهِمُ الاٌّمَدُ فَقَسَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَكَثِيرٌ مِّنْهُمْ فَـسِقُونَ ]

(Has not the time come for the hearts of those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah ـ Islamic Monotheism) to be affected by Allah's Reminder (this Qur'an), and that which has been revealed of the truth, lest they become as those who received the Scripture (the Tawrah) and the Injil (Gospel)) before (i.e. Jews and Christians), and the term was prolonged for them and so their hearts were hardened And many of them were Fasiqun (the rebellious, the disobedient to Allah)) (57:16). v In his Tafsir, Al-`Awfi said that Ibn `Abbas said, "When the dead man was struck with a part of the cow, he stood up and became more alive than he ever was. He was asked, `Who killed you' He said, `My nephews killed me.' He then died again. His nephews said, after Allah took his life away, `By Allah! We did not kill him' and denied the truth while they knew it. Allah said,

[فَهِىَ كَالْحِجَارَةِ أَوْ أَشَدُّ قَسْوَةً]

(And became as stones or even worse in hardness). ''
And by the passage of time, the hearts of the Children of Israel were unlikely to accept any admonishment, even after the miracles and signs they withnessed. Their hearts became harder than stones, with no hope of ever softening. Sometimes, springs and rivers burst out of stones, some stones split and water comes out of them, even if there are no springs or rivers around them, sometimes stones fall down from mountaintops out of their fear of Allah. Muhammad bin Ishaq narrated that Ibn `Abbas said that,

[وَإِنَّ مِنَ الْحِجَارَةِ لَمَا يَتَفَجَّرُ مِنْهُ الأَنْهَـرُ وَإِنَّ مِنْهَا لَمَا يَشَّقَّقُ فَيَخْرُجُ مِنْهُ الْمَآءُ وَإِنَّ مِنْهَا لَمَا يَهْبِطُ مِنْ خَشْيَةِ اللَّهِ]

(And indeed, there are stones out of which rivers gush forth, and indeed, there are of them (stones) which split asunder so that water flows from them, and indeed, there are of them (stones) which fall down for fear of Allah), means, "Some stones are softer than your hearts, they acknowledge the truth that you are being called to,

[وَمَا اللَّهُ بِغَـفِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ]

(And Allah is not unaware of what you do).''

102. Solid Inanimate Objects possess a certain Degree of Awareness

Some claimed that the Ayat mentioned the stones being humble as a metaphor. However, Ar-Razi, Al-Qurtubi and other Imams said that there is no need for this explanation, because Allah creates this characteristic - humbleness - in stones. For instance, Allah said,

[إِنَّا عَرَضْنَا الاٌّمَانَةَ عَلَى السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضِ وَالْجِبَالِ فَأبَيْنَ أَن يَحْمِلْنَهَا وَأَشْفَقْنَ مِنْهَا]

(Truly, We did offer Al-Amanah (the trust) to the heavens and the earth, and the mountains, but they declined to bear it and were afraid of it (i.e. afraid of Allah's torment)) (33:72),

[تُسَبِّحُ لَهُ السَّمَـوَتُ السَّبْعُ وَالاٌّرْضُ وَمَن فِيهِنَّ]

(The seven heavens and the earth and all that is therein, glorify Him) (17:44),

[وَالنَّجْمُ وَالشَّجَرُ يَسْجُدَانِ ]

(And the stars and the trees both prostrate themselves (to Allah)) (55:6),

[أَوَ لَمْيَرَوْاْ إِلَىخَلَقَ اللَّهُ مِن شَىْءٍ يَتَفَيَّأُ]

(Have they not observed things that Allah has created: (how) their shadows incline) (16:48),

[قَالَتَآ أَتَيْنَا طَآئِعِينَ]

(They both said: "We come willingly.'') (41:11),

[لَوْ أَنزَلْنَا هَـذَا الْقُرْءَانَ عَلَى جَبَلٍ]

(Had We sent down this Qur'an on a mountain) (59:21), and,

[وَقَالُواْ لِجُلُودِهِمْ لِمَ شَهِدتُّمْ عَلَيْنَا قَالُواْ أَنطَقَنَا اللَّهُ]

(And they will say to their skins, "Why do you testify against us'' They will say: "Allah has caused us to speak.'') (41:21).

It is recorded in the Sahih that the Prophet said,

[هذَا جَبَلٌ يُحِبُّنَا وَنُحِبُّه]

(This (Mount Uhud) is a mount that loves us and that we love.)

Similarly, the compassion of the stump of the palm tree for the Prophet as confirmed in authentic narrations. In Sahih Muslim it is recorded that the Prophet said,

[إِنِّي لَأَعْرِفُ حَجَرًا بِمَكَّةَ كَانَ يُسَلِّمُ عَلَيَّ قَبْلَ أَنْ أُبْعَثَ إِنِّي لَأَعْرِفُهُ الْآن]

(I know a stone in Makkah that used to greet me with the Salam before I was sent. I recognize this stone now.)

He said about the Black Stone that,

[إِنَّهُ يَشْهَدُ لِمَنِ اسْتَلَمَ بِحَقَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَة]

(On the Day of Resurrection it will testifiy for those who kiss it.)

There are several other texts with this meaning. The scholars of the Arabic language disagreed over the meaning of Allah's statement,

[فَهِىَ كَالْحِجَارَةِ أَوْ أَشَدُّ قَسْوَةً]

(And became as stones or even worse in hardness) after agreeing that `or' here is not being used to reflect doubt. Some scholars said that `or' here means, `and'. So the meaning becomes, "As hard as stones, and harder.'' For instance, Allah said,

[وَلاَ تُطِعْ مِنْهُمْ ءَاثِماً أَوْ كَفُوراً]

(And obey not a sinner or a disbeliever among them) (76:24), and,

[عُذْراً أَوْ نُذْراً ]

(To cut off all excuses or to warn) (77:6).
Some other scholars said that `or' here means, `rather'. Hence, the meaning becomes, `As hard as stones. Rather, harder.' For instance, Allah said,

[إِذَا فَرِيقٌ مِّنْهُمْ يَخْشَوْنَ النَّاسَ كَخَشْيَةِ اللَّهِ أَوْ أَشَدَّ خَشْيَةً]

(A section of them fear men as they fear Allah or even more) (4:77),

[وَأَرْسَلْنَـهُ إِلَى مِاْئَةِ أَلْفٍ أَوْ يَزِيدُونَ ]

(And We sent him to a hundred thousand (people) or even more) (37:147), and,

[فَكَانَ قَابَ قَوْسَيْنِ أَوْ أَدْنَى ]

(And was at a distance of two bows' length or (even) nearer) (53:9).
Some other scholars said that this Ayah means their hearts are only of two types, as hard as stone or harder than stone. Further, Ibn Jarir commented that this Tafsir means that some of their hearts are as hard as stone and some hearts are harder than stone. Ibn Jarir said that he favored this last Tafsir, although the others are plausible. I - Ibn Kathir - say that the last Tafsir is similar to Allah's statement,

[مَثَلُهُمْ كَمَثَلِ الَّذِى اسْتَوْقَدَ نَاراً]

(Their likeness is as the likeness of one who kindled a fire) (2:17), and then His statement,

[أَوْ كَصَيِّبٍ مِّنَ السَّمَآءِ]

(Or like a rainstorm from the sky) (2:19).
It is also similar to Allah's statement,

[وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ أَعْمَـلُهُمْ كَسَرَابٍ بِقِيعَةٍ]

(As for those who disbelieved, their deeds are like a mirage in a desert) (24:39), and then His statement,

[أَوْ كَظُلُمَـتٍ فِى بَحْرٍ لُّجِّىٍّ]

(Or (the state of a disbeliever) is like the darkness in a vast deep sea) (24:40).
This then means that some of them are like the first example, and some others are like the second example. Allah knows best.

[أَفَتَطْمَعُونَ أَن يُؤْمِنُواْ لَكُمْ وَقَدْ كَانَ فَرِيقٌ مِّنْهُمْ يَسْمَعُونَ كَلَـمَ اللَّهِ ثُمَّ يُحَرِّفُونَهُ مِن بَعْدِ مَا عَقَلُوهُ وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ - وَإِذَا لَقُواْ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ قَالُواْ ءَامَنَّا وَإِذَا خَلاَ بَعْضُهُمْ إِلَى بَعْضٍ قَالُواْ أَتُحَدِّثُونَهُم بِمَا فَتَحَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكُمْ لِيُحَآجُّوكُم بِهِ عِندَ رَبِّكُمْ أَفَلاَ تَعْقِلُونَ - أَوَلاَ يَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا يُسِرُّونَ وَمَا يُعْلِنُونَ ]

(75. Do you (faithful believers) covet that they will believe in your religion inspite of the fact that a party of them (Jewish rabbis) used to hear the Word of Allah (the Tawrah), then they used to change it knowingly after they understood it) (76. And when they (Jews) meet those who believe (Muslims), they say, "We believe,'' but when they meet one another in private, they say, "Shall you (Jews) tell them (Muslims) what Allah has revealed to you that they (Muslims) may argue with you (Jews) about it before your Lord'' Have you (Jews) then no understanding) (77. Know they (Jews) not that Allah knows what they conceal and what they reveal)

103. There was little Hope that the Jews Who lived during the Time of the Prophet could have believed

Allah said,

[أَفَتَطْمَعُونَ]

(Do you covet) O believers,

[أَن يُؤْمِنُواْ لَكُمْ]

(That they will believe in your religion) meaning, that these people would obey you They are the deviant sect of Jews whose fathers witnessed the clear signs but their hearts became hard afterwards. Allah said next,

[وَقَدْ كَانَ فَرِيقٌ مِّنْهُمْ يَسْمَعُونَ كَلَـمَ اللَّهِ ثُمَّ يُحَرِّفُونَهُ]

(Inspite of the fact that a party of them (Jewish rabbis) used to hear the Word of Allah (the Tawrah), then they used to change it) meaning, distort its meaning,

[مِن بَعْدِ مَا عَقَلُوهُ]

(after they understood it). They understood well, yet they used to defy the truth,

[وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ]

(knowingly), being fully aware of their erroneous interpretations and corruption. This statement is similar to Allah's statement,

[فَبِمَا نَقْضِهِم مِّيثَـقَهُمْ لَعنَّـهُمْ وَجَعَلْنَا قُلُوبَهُمْ قَاسِيَةً يُحَرِّفُونَ الْكَلِمَ عَن مَّوَضِعِهِ]

(So, because of their violation of their covenant, We cursed them and made their hearts grow hard. They change the words from their (right) places) (5:13).

Qatadah commented that Allah's statement;

[ثُمَّ يُحَرِّفُونَهُ مِن بَعْدِ مَا عَقَلُوهُ وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ]

(Then they used to change it knowingly after they understood it) "They are the Jews who used to hear Allah's Words and then alter them after they understood and comprehended them.'' Also, Mujahid said, "Those who used to alter it and conceal its truths; they were their scholars.'' Also, Ibn Wahb said that Ibn Zayd commented,

[يَسْمَعُونَ كَلَـمَ اللَّهِ ثُمَّ يُحَرِّفُونَهُ]

(used to hear the Word of Allah (the Tawrah), then they used to change it) "They altered the Tawrah that Allah revealed to them, making it say that the lawful is unlawful and the prohibited is allowed, and that what is right is false and that what is false is right. So when a person seeking the truth comes to them with a bribe, they judge his case by the Book of Allah, but when a person comes to them seeking to do evil with a bribe, they take out the other (distorted) book, in which it is stated that he is in the right. When someone comes to them who is not seeking what is right, nor offering them bribe, then they enjoin righteousness on him. This is why Allah said to them,

[أَتَأْمُرُونَ النَّاسَ بِالْبِرِّ وَتَنسَوْنَ أَنفُسَكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ تَتْلُونَ الْكِتَـبَ أَفَلاَ تَعْقِلُونَ ]

(Enjoin you Al-Birr (piety and righteousness and every act of obedience to Allah) on the people and you forget (to practise it) yourselves, while you recite the Scripture (the Tawrah)! Have you then no sense) (2:44)''

104. The Jews knew the Truth of the Prophet, but disbelieved in Him

Allah said next,

[وَإِذَا لَقُواْ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ قَالُواْ ءَامَنَّا وَإِذَا خَلاَ بَعْضُهُمْ إِلَى بَعْضٍ]

(And when they (Jews) meet those who believe (Muslims), they say, "We believe'', but when they meet one another in private..). Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that Ibn `Abbas commented,

[وَإِذَا لَقُواْ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ قَالُوا ءَامَنَّا]

(And when they (Jews) meet those who believe (Muslims), they say, "We believe'') "They believe that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, `But he was only sent for you (Arabs)''' However, when they meet each other they say, "Do not convey the news about this Prophet to the Arabs, because you used to ask Allah to grant you victory over them when he came, but he was sent to them (not to you).'' Allah then revealed,

[وَإِذَا لَقُواْ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ قَالُواْ ءَامَنَّا وَإِذَا خَلاَ بَعْضُهُمْ إِلَى بَعْضٍ قَالُواْ أَتُحَدِّثُونَهُم بِمَا فَتَحَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكُمْ لِيُحَآجُّوكُم بِهِ عِندَ رَبِّكُمْ]

(And when they (Jews) meet those who believe (Muslims), they say, "We believe,'' but when they meet one another in private, they say, "Shall you (Jews) tell them (Muslims) what Allah has revealed to you, that they (Muslims) may argue with you (Jews) about it before your Lord'') meaning, "If you admit to them that he is a Prophet, knowing that Allah took the covenant from you to follow him, they will know that Muhammad is the Prophet that we were waiting for and whose coming we find foretold of in our Book. Therefore, do not believe in him and deny him.'' Allah said,

[أَوَلاَ يَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا يُسِرُّونَ وَمَا يُعْلِنُونَ ]

(Know they (Jews) not that Allah knows what they conceal and what they reveal).
Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, "When the Jews met the believers they used to say, `We believe.' When they met each other, some of them would say, `Do not talk to the companions of Muhammad about what Allah has foretold in your Book, so that the news (that Muhammad is the Final Messenger) does not become a proof for them against you with your Lord, and, thus, you will win the dispute.''' Further, Abu Al-`Aliyah said about Allah's statement,

[أَوَلاَ يَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا يُسِرُّونَ وَمَا يُعْلِنُونَ ]

(Know they (Jews) not that Allah knows what they conceal and what they reveal), "Meaning their secret denial and rejection of Muhammad, although they find his coming recorded in their Book.'' This is also the Tafsir of Qatadah. Al-Hasan commented on,

[أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا يُسِرُّونَ]

(That Allah knows what they conceal), "What they concealed refers to when they were alone with each other away from the Companions of Muhammad . Then they would forbid each other from conveying the news that Allah revealed to them in their Book to the Companions of Muhammad , fearing that the Companions would use this news (about the truth of Muhammad ) against them before their Lord.''

[وَمَا يُعْلِنُونَ]

(And what they reveal) meaning, when they said to the Companions of Muhammad ,

[ءَامَنَّا]

(We believe), as Abu Al-`Aliyah, Ar-Rabi` and Qatadah stated.

[وَمِنْهُمْ أُمِّيُّونَ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ الْكِتَـبَ إِلاَّ أَمَانِىَّ وَإِنْ هُمْ إِلاَّ يَظُنُّونَ ]

[فَوَيْلٌ لِّلَّذِينَ يَكْتُبُونَ الْكِتَـبَ بِأَيْدِيهِمْ ثُمَّ يَقُولُونَ هَـذَا مِنْ عِندِ اللَّهِ لِيَشْتَرُواْ بِهِ ثَمَنًا قَلِيلاً فَوَيْلٌ لَّهُمْ مِّمَّا كَتَبَتْ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَوَيْلٌ لَّهُمْ مِّمَّا يَكْسِبُونَ ]

(78. And there are among them (Jews) `Ummyyun (unlettered) people, who know not the Book, but they trust upon Amani (false desires) and they but guess.) (79. Then woe to those who write the book with their own hands and then say, "This is from Allah,'' to purchase with it a little price! Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for that they earn thereby.)

105. The Meaning of `Ummi

Allah said,

[وَمِنْهُمْ أُمِّيُّونَ]

(And there are among them Ummyyun people) meaning, among the People of the Book, as Mujahid stated. Ummyyun, is plural for Ummi, that is, a person who does not write, as Abu Al-`Aliyah, Ar-Rabi`, Qatadah, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i and others said. This meaning is clarified by Allah's statement,

[لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ الْكِتَـبَ]

(Who know not the Book) meaning, are they not aware of what is in it.
Ummi was one of the descriptions of the Prophet because he was unlettered. For instance, Allah said,

[وَمَا كُنتَ تَتْلُو مِن قَبْلِهِ مِن كِتَـبٍ وَلاَ تَخُطُّهُ بِيَمِينِكَ إِذاً لاَّرْتَـبَ الْمُبْطِلُونَ ]

(Neither did you (O Muhammad ) read any book before it (this Qur'an) nor did you write any book (whatsoever) with your right hand. In that case, indeed, the followers of falsehood might have doubted) (29:48).

Also, the Prophet said,

[إِنَّا أُمَّةٌ أُمِّيَّةٌ لَا نَكْتُبُ وَلَا نَحْسِبُ، الشَّهْرُ هكَذَا وَهكَذَا وَهكَذَا]

(We are an Ummi nation, neither writing nor calculating. The (lunar) month is like this, this and this (i.e. thirty or twenty-nine days.)

This Hadith stated that Muslims do not need to rely on books, or calculations to decide the timings of their acts of worship. Allah also said,

[هُوَ الَّذِى بَعَثَ فِى الأُمِّيِّينَ رَسُولاً مِّنْهُمْ]

(He it is Who sent among the Ummiyyin ones a Messenger (Muhammad ) from among themselves) (62:2).

106. The Explanation of Amani

Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn `Abbas said that Allah's statement,

[إِلاَّ أَمَانِىَّ]

(But they trust upon Amani) means, "It is just a false statement that they utter with their tongues.'' It was also said that Amani means `wishes and hopes'. Mujahid commented, "Allah described the Ummiyyin as not understanding any of the Book that Allah sent down to Musa, yet they create lies and falsehood.'' Therefore, the word Amani mentioned here refers to lying and falsehood. Mujahid said that Allah's statement,

[وَإِنْ هُمْ إِلاَّ يَظُنُّونَ]

(And they but guess) means, "They lie.'' Qatadah, Abu Al-`Aliyah and Ar-Rabi` said that it means, "They have evil false ideas about Allah.''

107. Woe unto Those Criminals among the Jews

Allah said,

[فَوَيْلٌ لِّلَّذِينَ يَكْتُبُونَ الْكِتَـبَ بِأَيْدِيهِمْ ثُمَّ يَقُولُونَ هَـذَا مِنْ عِندِ اللَّهِ لِيَشْتَرُواْ بِهِ ثَمَنًا قَلِيلاً]

(Then Waylun (woe) to those who write the book with their own hands and then say, "This is from Allah,'' to purchase with it a little price!).

This is another category of people among the Jews who called to misguidance with falsehood and lies about Allah, thriving on unjustly amassing people's property. `Waylun (woe)' carries meanings of destruction and perishing, and it is a well-known word in the Arabic language. Az-Zuhri said that `Ubadydullah bin `Abdullah narrated that Ibn `Abbas said, "O Muslims! How could you ask the People of the Book about anything, while the Book of Allah (Qur'an) that He revealed to His Prophet is the most recent Book from Him and you still read it fresh and young Allah told you that the People of the Book altered the Book of Allah, changed it and wrote another book with their own hands. They then said, `This book is from Allah,' so that they acquired a small profit by it. Hasn't the knowledge that came to you prohibited you from asking them By Allah! We have not seen any of them asking you about what was revealed to you.'' This Hadith was also collected by Al-Bukhari. Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, "The little amount here means this life and all that it contains.''

Allah's statement,

[فَوَيْلٌ لَّهُمْ مِّمَّا كَتَبَتْ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَوَيْلٌ لَّهُمْ مِّمَّا يَكْسِبُونَ]

(Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for that they earn thereby) means, "Woe to them because of what they have written with their own hands, the lies, falsehood and alterations. Woe to them because of the property that they unjustly acquired.'' Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn `Abbas commented,

[فَوَيْلٌ لَّهُمْ]

(Woe to them), "Means the torment will be theirs because of the lies that they wrote with their own hands,

[وَوَيْلٌ لَّهُمْ مِّمَّا يَكْسِبُونَ]

(And woe to them for that they earn thereby), which they unjustly acquired from people, be they commoners or otherwise.''

[وَقَالُواْ لَن تَمَسَّنَا النَّارُ إِلاَّ أَيَّامًا مَّعْدُودَةً قُلْ أَتَّخَذْتُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ عَهْدًا فَلَن يُخْلِفَ اللَّهُ عَهْدَهُ أَمْ تَقُولُونَ عَلَى اللَّهِ مَا لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ ]

(80. And they (Jews) say, "The Fire shall not touch us but for a few numbered days.'' Say (O Muhammad to them): "Have you taken a covenant from Allah, so that Allah will not break His covenant Or is it that you say of Allah what you know not'')

108. The Jews hope They will only remain in the Fire for a Few Days

Allah mentioned the claim of the Jews, that the Fire will only touch them for a few days, and then they will be saved from it. Allah refuted this claim by saying,

[قُلْ أَتَّخَذْتُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ عَهْدًا]

(Say (O Muhammad to them): "Have you taken a covenant from Allah'). Hence, the Ayah proclaims, `if you had a promise from Allah for that, then Allah will never break His promise. However, such promise never existed. Rather, what you say, about Allah, you have no knowledge of and you thus utter a lie about Him.' Al-`Awfi said that Ibn `Abbas said about the Ayah,

[وَقَالُواْ لَن تَمَسَّنَا النَّارُ إِلاَّ أَيَّامًا مَّعْدُودَةً]

(And they (Jews) say, "The Fire shall not touch us but for a few numbered days.''). "The Jews said, `The Fire will only touch us for forty days.''' Others added that this was the period during which the Jews worshipped the calf.

Also, Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr bin Marduwyah reported Abu Hurayrah saying,

[لَمَّا فُتِحَتْ خَيْبَرُ أُهْدِيَتْ لِرَسُولِ اللهِصلى الله عليه وسلّم شَاةٌ فِيهَا سُمٌّ، فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِصلى الله عليه وسلّم]

[اجْمَعُوا لِي مَنْ كَانَ مِنَ الْيَهُودِ ههُنَا]

[فَقَالَ لَهُمْ رَسُولُ اللهِصلى الله عليه وسلّم]

[مَنْ أَبُوكُم]

[؟ قَالُوا: فُلَانٌ قَالَ]

[كَذَبْتُمْ بَلْ أَبُوكُمْ فُلَان]

[فَقَالُوا: صَدَقْتَ وَبَرَرْتَ ثُمَّ قَالَ لَهُمْ]

[هَلْ أَنْتُمْ صَادِقِيَّ عَنْ شَيءٍ إِنْ سَأَلْتُكُمْ عَنْه]

[؟ قَالُوا: نَعَمْ يَا أَبَا الْقَاسِمِ وَإِنْ كَذَبْنَاكَ عَرَفْتَ كَذْبَنَا كَمَا عَرَفْتَهُ فِي أَبِينَا فَقَالَ لَهُمْ رَسُولُ اللهِصلى الله عليه وسلّم]

[مَنْ أَهْلُ النَّارِ ]

[؟ فَقَالُوا: نَكُونُ فِيهَا يَسِيرًا ثُمَّ تَخْلُفُونَا فِيهَا فَقَالَ لَهُم رَسُولُ اللهِ صلى الله عليه وسلّم]

[اخْسَئُوا وَاللهِ لَا نَخْلُفُكُمْ فِيهَا أَبَدًا]

[ثُمَّ قَالَ لَهُمْ رَسُولُ اللهِصلى الله عليه وسلّم]

[هَلْ أَنْتُمْ صَادِقِيَّ عَنْ شَيءٍ إِنْ سَأَلْتُكُمْ عَنْهُ؟]

[قَالُوا: نَعَمْ يَا أَبَا الْقَاسِمِ، قَالَ]

[هَلْ جَعَلْتُمْ فِي هذِهِ الشَّاةِ سُمًّا؟]

[فَقَالُوا: نَعَمْ قَالَ]

[فَمَا حَمَلَكُم عَلى ذلِكَ؟]

[فَقَالُوا: أَرَدْنَا إِنْ كُنْتَ كَاذِبًا أَنْ نَسْتَرِيحَ مِنْكَ وَإِنْ كُنْتَ نَبِيًّا لَمْ يَضُرَّكَ]

(When Khaybar was conquered, a roasted poisoned sheep was presented to the Prophet as a gift (by the Jews). The Messenger of Allah ordered, `Assemble before me all the Jews who were here.' The Jews were summoned and the Prophet said (to them), `Who is your father' They replied, `So-and-so.' He said, `You have lied; your father is so-and-so.' They said, `You have uttered the truth.' He said, `Will you now tell me the truth, if I ask you about something' They replied, `Yes, O Abul-Qasim; and if we should tell a lie, you will know our lie as you have about our fathers.' On that he asked, `Who are the people of the (Hell) Fire' They said, `We shall remain in the (Hell) Fire for a short period, and after that you will replace us in it.' The Prophet said, `May you be cursed and humiliated in it! By Allah, we shall never replace you in it.' Then he asked, `Will you tell me the truth if I ask you a question' They said, `Yes, O Abul-Qasim.' He asked, `Have you poisoned this sheep' They said, `Yes.' He asked, `What made you do so' They said, `We wanted to know if you were a liar, in which case we would get rid of you, and if you were a Prophet then the poison would not harm you.') Imam Ahmad, Al-Bukhari and An-Nasa'i recorded similarly.

[بَلَى مَن كَسَبَ سَيِّئَةً وَأَحَـطَتْ بِهِ خَطِيـَـتُهُ فَأُوْلَـئِكَ أَصْحَـبُ النَّارِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَـلِدُونَ - وَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ الصَّـلِحَاتِ أُوْلَـئِكَ أَصْحَـبُ الْجَنَّةِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَـلِدُونَ ]

(81. Yes! Whosoever earns evil and his sin has surrounded him, they are dwellers of the Fire (i.e. Hell); they will dwell therein forever). (82. And those who believe and do righteous good deeds, they are dwellers of Paradise, they will dwell therein forever.)

Allah says, the matter is not as you have wished and hoped it to be. Rather, whoever does an evil deed and abides purposefully in his error, coming on the Day of Resurrection with no good deeds, only evil deeds, then he will be among the people of the Fire.

[وَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ الصَّـلِحَاتِ]

(And those who believe and do righteous good deeds) meaning, "They believe in Allah and His Messenger and perform the good deeds that conform with the Islamic Law. They shall be among the people of Paradise.'' Allah said in a similar statement,

[لَّيْسَ بِأَمَـنِيِّكُمْ وَلا أَمَانِىِّ أَهْلِ الْكِتَـبِ مَن يَعْمَلْ سُوءًا يُجْزَ بِهِ وَلاَ يَجِدْ لَهُ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ وَلِيّاً وَلاَ نَصِيراً - وَمَن يَعْمَلْ مِنَ الصَّـلِحَـتَ مِن ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنثَى وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَأُوْلَـئِكَ يَدْخُلُونَ الْجَنَّةَ وَلاَ يُظْلَمُونَ نَقِيراً ]

(It will not be in accordance with your desires (Muslims), nor those of the People of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), whosoever works evil, will have the recompense thereof, and he will not find any protector or helper besides Allah. And whoever does righteous good deeds, male or female, and is a (true) believer [in the Oneness of Allah (Muslim)], such will enter Paradise and not the least injustice, even the size of a Naqira (speck on the back of a date stone), will be done to them) (4: 123-124).

Also, Abu Hurayrah, Abu Wa'il, `Ata', and Al-Hasan said that,

[وَأَحَـطَتْ بِهِ خَطِيـَـتُهُ]

(And his sin has surrounded him) means, "His Shirk (polytheism) has surrounded him.'' Also, Al-A`mash reported from Abu Razin that Ar-Rabi` bin Khuthaym said,

[وَأَحَـطَتْ بِهِ خَطِيـَـتُهُ]

(And his sin has surrounded him), "Whoever dies before repenting from his wrongs.'' As-Suddi and Abu Razin said similarly. Abu Al-`Aliyah, Mujahid, Al-Hasan, Qatadah and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas said that,

[وَأَحَـطَتْ بِهِ خَطِيـَـتُهُ]

(And his sin has surrounded him) refers to major sins. All of these statements carry similar meanings, and Allah knows best.

109. When Small Sins gather, They bring about Destruction

Here we should mention the Hadith that Imam Ahmad recorded, in which `Abdullah bin Mas`ud said that the Messenger of Allah said,

[إِيَّاكُمْ وَمُحَقَّرَاتِ الذُّنُوبِ فَإِنَّهُنَّ يَجْتَمِعْنَ عَلَى الرَّجُلِ حَتّى يُهْلِكْنَه]

(Beware of the belittled sins, because they gather on a person until they destroy him.)
He then said that the Messenger of Allah gave them an example,

[كَمَثَلٍ قَوْمٍ نَزَلُوا بِأَرْضِ فَلَاةٍ، فَحَضَرَ صَنِيعُ الْقَوْمِ فَجَعَلَ الرَّجُلُ يَنْطَلِقُ فَيَجِيءُ بِالْعُودِ وَالرَّجُلُ يَجِيءُ بِالْعُودِ، حَتّى جَمَعُوا سَوَادًا وَأَجَّجُوا نَارًا فَأَنْضَجُوا مَا قَذَفُوا فِيهَا]

(This is the example of people who set up camp on a flat land, and then their servants came. One of them collected some wood and another man collected some wood until they collected a great deal. They then started a fire and cooked what they put on it.)

Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that Ibn `Abbas said that,

[وَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ الصَّـلِحَاتِ أُوْلَـئِكَ أَصْحَـبُ الْجَنَّةِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَـلِدُونَ ]

(And those who believe and do righteous good deeds, they are dwellers of Paradise, they will dwell therein forever) "Whoever believes in what you (Jews) did not believe in and implements what you refrained from implementing of Muhammad's religion, shall acquire Paradise for eternity. Allah stated that the recompense for good or evil works shall remain with its people for eternity. ''

[وَإِذْ أَخَذْنَا مِيثَـقَ بَنِى إِسْرءِيلَ لاَ تَعْبُدُونَ إِلاَّ اللَّهَ وَبِالْوَلِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا وَذِى الْقُرْبَى وَالْيَتَـمَى وَالْمَسَـكِينِ وَقُولُواْ لِلنَّاسِ حُسْنًا وَأَقِيمُواْ الصَّلَوةَ وَءَاتُواْ الزَّكَوةَ ثُمَّ تَوَلَّيْتُمْ إِلاَّ قَلِيلاً مِّنْكُمْ وَأَنْتُمْ مُّعْرِضُونَ ]

(83. And (remember) when We took a covenant from the Children of Israel, (saying): Worship none but Allah (alone) and be dutiful and good to parents, and to kindred, and to orphans and (the poor), and speak good to people and perform As-Salah and give Zakah. Then you slid back, except a few of you, while you are backsliders.)

110. The Covenant that Allah took from the Children of Israel

Allah reminded the Children of Israel of the commandments that He gave them, and the covenants that He took from them to abide by those commands, and how they intentionally and knowingly turned away from all of that. Allah commanded them to worship Him and to associate none with Him in worship, just as He has commanded all of His creatures, for this is why Allah created them. Allah said,

[وَمَآ أَرْسَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلاَّ نُوحِى إِلَيْهِ أَنَّهُ لا إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ أَنَاْ فَاعْبُدُونِ ]

(And We did not send any Messenger before you (O Muhammad ) but We revealed to him (saying): La ilaha illa Ana [none has the right to be worshipped but I (Allah)], so worship Me (alone and none else)) (21:25), and,

[وَلَقَدْ بَعَثْنَا فِى كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ رَّسُولاً أَنِ اعْبُدُواْ اللَّهَ وَاجْتَنِبُواْ الْطَّـغُوتَ]

(And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): "Worship Allah (alone), and avoid the Taghut (all false deities,)) (16:36).

This is the highest and most important right, that is, Allah's right that He be worshipped alone without partners.
After that comes the right of the creatures, foremost, the right of the parents. Allah usually mentions the rights of the parents along with His rights. For instance, Allah said,

[أَنِ اشْكُرْ لِى وَلِوَلِدَيْكَ إِلَىَّ الْمَصِيرُ]

(Give thanks to Me and to your parents. Unto Me is the final destination) (31:14). Also, Allah said,

[وَقَضَى رَبُّكَ أَلاَّ تَعْبُدُواْ إِلاَّ إِيَّـهُ وَبِالْوَلِدَيْنِ إِحْسَـناً]

(And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents) (17:23), until,

[وَءَاتِ ذَا الْقُرْبَى حَقَّهُ وَالْمِسْكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ]

(And give to the kinsman his due and to the Miskin (poor) and to the wayfarer) (17:26). The Two Sahihs record that Ibn Mas`ud said,

قُلْتُ:

[يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ أيُّ الْعَمَل أَفْضَلُ؟ قَالَ:

[الصَّلَاةُ عَلى وَقْتِهَا]

قُلْتُ: ثُمَّ أَيٌّ؟ قَالَ:

[بِرُّ الْوَالِدَيْن]

قُلْتُ: ثُمَّ أَيٌّ؟ قَالَ:

[الْجِهَادُ فِي سَبِيلِ الله]

(I said, `O Messenger of Allah! What is the best deed' He said, `Performing the prayer on time.' I said, 'Then what' He said, `Being kind to one's parents.' I said, `Then what' He said, `Jihad in the cause of Allah.')

Allah then said,

[وَالْيَتَـمَى]

(and to orphans) meaning, the young who have no fathers to fend for them.

[وَالْمَسَـكِينُ]

(and Al-Masakin (the poor)), plural for Miskin, the one who does not find what he needs to spend on himself and his family. We will discuss these categories when we explain the Ayah of Surat An-Nisa` where Allah said,

[وَاعْبُدُواْ اللَّهَ وَلاَ تُشْرِكُواْ بِهِ شَيْئاً وَبِالْوَلِدَيْنِ إِحْسَـناً]

(Worship Allah and join none with Him (in worship); and do good to parents) (4:36).

Allah's statement,

[وَقُولُواْ لِلنَّاسِ حُسْنًا]

(and speak good to people) meaning, say good words to them and be lenient with them, this includes commanding good and forbidding evil. Al-Hasan Al-Basri commented on Allah's statement,

[وَقُولُواْ لِلنَّاسِ حُسْنًا]

(and speak good to people), ".`The good saying' means commanding good and forbidding evil, and being patient and forgiving. The `good words to people', as Allah commanded, also includes every good type of behavior that Allah is pleased with.'' Imam Ahmad narrated that Abu Dharr said that the Prophet said,

[لَا تَحْقِرَنَّ مِنَ الْمَعْرُوفِ شَيْئًا وَإِنْ لَمْ تَجِدْ فَالْقَ أَخَاكَ بِوَجْهٍ مُنْطَلِق]

(Do not belittle any form of righteousness, and even if you did not find any good deed except meeting your brother with a smiling face, then do so.)

This Hadith was also collected by Muslim in his Sahih and At-Tirmidhi, who graded it Sahih.
Allah commands the servants to say good words to people, after He commanded them to be kind to them, thereby mentioning two categories of manners: good speech and good actions. He then emphasized the command to worship Him and the command to do good, ordaining the prayer and the Zakah,

[وَأَقِيمُواْ الصَّلوةَ وَآتُواْ الزَّكَوةَ]

(and perform As-Salah and give Zakah). Allah informed us that the People of the Book, except for a few among them, ignored these orders, that is, they knowingly and intentionally abandoned them. Allah ordered this Ummah similarly in Surat An-Nisa' when He said,

[وَاعْبُدُواْ اللَّهَ وَلاَ تُشْرِكُواْ بِهِ شَيْئاً وَبِالْوَلِدَيْنِ إِحْسَـناً وَبِذِى الْقُرْبَى وَالْيَتَـمَى وَالْمَسَـكِينِ وَالْجَارِ ذِى الْقُرْبَى وَالْجَارِ الْجُنُبِ وَالصَّـحِبِ بِالجَنْبِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ وَمَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَـنُكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يُحِبُّ مَن كَانَ مُخْتَالاً فَخُوراً ]

(Worship Allah and join none with Him (in worship); and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, Al-Masakin (the poor), the neighbor who is near of kin, the neighbor who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet), and those (servants) whom your right hands possess. Verily, Allah does not like such as are proud and boastful) (4:36).

Of these orders, this Ummah has practiced what no other nation before it has, and all praise is due to Allah.

[وَإِذْ أَخَذْنَا مِيثَـقَكُمْ لاَ تَسْفِكُونَ دِمَآءِكُمْ وَلاَ تُخْرِجُونَ أَنفُسَكُمْ مِّن دِيَـرِكُمْ ثُمَّ أَقْرَرْتُمْ وَأَنتُمْ تَشْهَدُونَ - ثُمَّ أَنتُمْ هَـؤُلاَءِ تَقْتُلُونَ أَنفُسَكُمْ وَتُخْرِجُونَ فَرِيقًا مِّنكُم مِّن دِيَـرِهِمْ تَظَـهَرُونَ علَيْهِم بِالإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَنِ وَإِن يَأْتُوكُمْ أُسَـرَى تُفَـدُوهُمْ وَهُوَ مُحَرَّمٌ عَلَيْكُمْ إِخْرَاجُهُمْ أَفَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِبَعْضِ الْكِتَـبِ وَتَكْفُرُونَ بِبَعْضٍ فَمَا جَزَآءُ مَن يَفْعَلُ ذلِكَ مِنكُمْ إِلاَّ خِزْىٌ فِي الْحَيَوةِ الدُّنْيَا وَيَوْمَ الْقِيَـمَةِ يُرَدُّونَ إِلَى أَشَدِّ الّعَذَابِ وَمَا اللَّهُ بِغَـفِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ - أُولَـئِكَ الَّذِينَ اشْتَرَوُاْ الْحَيَوةَ الدُّنْيَا بِالاٌّخِرَةِ فَلاَ يُخَفَّفُ عَنْهُمُ الْعَذَابُ وَلاَ هُمْ يُنصَرُونَ ]

(84. And (remember) when We took your covenant (saying): Shed not the blood of your (people), nor turn out your own people from their dwellings. Then, (this) you ratified and (to this) you bore witness.) (85. After this, it is you who kill one another and drive out a party of you from their homes, assist (their enemies) against them, in sin and transgression. And if they come to you as captives, you ransom them, although their expulsion was forbidden to you. Then do you believe in a part of the Book and reject the rest Then what is the recompense of those who do so among you, except disgrace in the life of this world, and on the Day of Resurrection they shall be consigned to the most grievous torment. And Allah is not unaware of what you do.) (86. Those are they who have bought the life of this world at the price of the Hereafter. Their torment shall not be lightened nor shall they be helped.)

111. The Terms of the Covenant and their Breach of It

Allah criticized the Jews who lived in Al-Madinah during the time of the Messenger of Allah . They used to suffer, because of the armed conflicts between the tribes of Al-Madinah, Aws and Khazraj. Before Islam, the Aws and Khazraj worshipped idols, and many battles took place between them. There were three Jewish tribes in Al-Madinah at that time, Banu Qaynuqa` and Banu An-Nadir, the allies of the Khazraj, and Banu Qurayzah, who used to be the allies of the Aws. When war erupted between Aws and Khazraj, their Jewish allies would assist them. The Jew would kill his Arab enemy, and sometimes they also killed Jews who were the allies of the other Arab tribe, although the Jews were prohibited from killing each other according to clear religious texts in their Books. They would also drive each other from their homes and loot whatever furniture and money they could. When the war ended, the victorious Jews would release the prisoners from the defeated party, according to the rulings of the Tawrah. This is why Allah said,

[أَفَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِبَعْضِ الْكِتَـبِ وَتَكْفُرُونَ بِبَعْضٍ]

(Then do you believe in a part of the Scripture and reject the rest) Allah said,

[وَإِذْ أَخَذْنَا مِيثَـقَكُمْ لاَ تَسْفِكُونَ دِمَآءِكُمْ وَلاَ تُخْرِجُونَ أَنفُسَكُمْ مِّن دِيَـرِكُمْ]

(And (remember) when We took your covenant (saying): Shed not the blood of your (people), nor turn out your own people from their dwellings.) meaning, "Do not kill each other, nor expel one another from their homes, nor participate in fighting against them.'' Allah mentioned the word `your own' here, just as He said in another Ayah.

[فَتُوبُواْ إِلَى بَارِئِكُمْ فَاقْتُلُواْ أَنفُسَكُمْ ذَلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ عِندَ بَارِئِكُمْ]

(So turn in repentance to your Creator and kill yourselves, that will be better for you with your Creator) (2:54) because the followers of one religion are just like one soul. Also, the Messenger of Allah said,

[مَثَلُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ فِي تَوَادِّهِمْ وَتَرَاحُمِهِمْ وَتَوَاصُلِهِمْ بِمَنْزِلَةِ الْجَسَدِ الْوَاحِدِ إِذَا اشْتَكى مِنْهُ عُضْوٌ تَدَاعَى لَهُ سَائِرُ الْجَسَدِ بِالْحُمَّى وَالسَّهَر]

(The example of the believers in their kindness, mercy and sympathy to each other is the example of one body, when an organ of it falls ill, the rest of the body rushes to its aid in fever and sleeplessness.) Allah's statement,

[ثُمَّ أَقْرَرْتُمْ وَأَنتُمْ تَشْهَدُونَ]

(Then, (this) you ratified and (to this) you bore witness.) means, "You testified that you know of the covenant and that you were witnesses to it.''

[ثُمَّ أَنتُمْ هَـؤُلاَءِ تَقْتُلُونَ أَنفُسَكُمْ وَتُخْرِجُونَ فَرِيقًا مِّنكُم مِّن دِيَـرِهِمْ]

(After this, it is you who kill one another and drive out a party of you from their homes). Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar reported that Ibn `Abbas commented on the Ayah,

[ثُمَّ أَنتُمْ هَـؤُلاَءِ تَقْتُلُونَ أَنفُسَكُمْ وَتُخْرِجُونَ فَرِيقًا مِّنكُم مِّن دِيَـرِهِمْ]

(After this, it is you who kill one another and drive out a party of you from their homes) "Allah mentioned what they were doing, and that in the Tawrah He had prohibited them from shedding each other's blood, and required them to free their prisoners. Now they were divided into two camps in Al-Madinah, Banu Qaynuqa`, who were the allies of the Khazraj, and An-Nadir and Qurayzah, who were the allies of the Aws. When fighting erupted between Aws and Khazraj, Banu Qaynuqa` would fight along with the Khazraj, while Banu An-Nadir and Qurayzah would fight along with the Aws. Each Jewish camp would fight against their Jewish brethren from the other camp. They would shed each other's blood, although they had the Tawrah with them, and they knew their rights and dues. Meanwhile, the Aws and Khazraj were polytheists who worshipped idols. They did not know about Paradise, the Fire, Resurrection, Divine Books the lawful and prohibited. When the war would end, the Jews would ransom their prisoners and implement the Tawrah. Consequently, Banu Qaynuqa` would ransom their prisoners who were captured by the Aws, while Banu An-Nadir and Qurayzah would ransom their prisoners who were captured by the Khazraj. They would also ask for blood money. During these wars, they would kill whomever (Jews or Arabs) they could, while helping the polytheists against their brethren. Therefore, Allah reminded them of this when He said,

[أَفَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِبَعْضِ الْكِتَـبِ وَتَكْفُرُونَ بِبَعْضٍ]

(Then do you believe in a part of the Scripture and reject the rest) This Ayah means, `Do you ransom them according to the rulings of the Tawrah, yet kill them while the Tawrah forbade you from killing them and from expelling them from their homes The Tawrah also commanded that you should not aid the polytheists and those who associate with Allah in the worship against your brethren. You do all this to acquire the life of this world.' I was informed that the behavior of the Jews regarding the Aws and Khazraj was the reason behind revealing these Ayat.''

These noble Ayat criticized the Jews for implementing the Tawrah sometimes and defying it at other times, although they believed in the Tawrah and knew what they were doing was wrong. This is why they should not be trusted to preserve or convey the Tawrah. Further, they should not be believed when it comes to the description of the Messenger of Allah , his coming, his expulsion from his land, and his Hijrah, and the rest of the information that the previous Prophets informed them about him, all of which they hid. The Jews, may they suffer the curse of Allah, hid all of these facts among themselves, and this is why Allah said,

[فَمَا جَزَآءُ مَن يَفْعَلُ ذلِكَ مِنكُمْ إِلاَّ خِزْىٌ فِي الْحَيَوةِ الدُّنْيَا]

(Then what is the recompense of those who do so among you, except disgrace in the life of this world), because they defied Allah's Law and commandments,

[وَيَوْمَ الْقِيَـمَةِ يُرَدُّونَ إِلَى أَشَدِّ الّعَذَابِ]

(And on the Day of Resurrection they shall be consigned to the most grievous torment) as punishment for defying the Book of Allah that they had.

[وَمَا اللَّهُ بِغَـفِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَأُولَـئِكَ الَّذِينَ اشْتَرَوُاْ الْحَيَوةَ الدُّنْيَا بِالاٌّخِرَةِ]

(And Allah is not unaware of what you do. Those are they who have bought the life of this world at the price of the Hereafter) meaning, they prefer this life to the Hereafter. Therefore,

[فَلاَ يُخَفَّفُ عَنْهُمُ الْعَذَابُ]

(Their torment shall not be lightened) not even for an hour,

[وَلاَ هُمْ يُنصَرُونَ]

(Nor shall they be helped), and they shall find no helper who will save them from the eternal torment they will suffer, nor shall they find any to grant them refuge from it.

[وَلَقَدْ ءَاتَيْنَا مُوسَى الْكِتَـبَ وَقَفَّيْنَا مِن بَعْدِهِ بِالرُّسُلِ وَءَاتَيْنَا عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ الْبَيِّنَـتِ وَأَيَّدْنَـهُ بِرُوحِ الْقُدُسِ أَفَكُلَّمَا جَآءَكُمْ رَسُولٌ بِمَا لاَ تَهْوَى أَنفُسُكُم اسْتَكْبَرْتُمْ فَفَرِيقًا كَذَّبْتُمْ وَفَرِيقًا تَقْتُلُونَ ]

(87. And indeed, We gave Musa the Book and followed him up with a succession of Messengers. And We gave `Isa, the son of Maryam, clear signs and supported him with Ruh-il-Qudus. Is it that whenever there came to you a Messenger with what you yourselves desired not, you grew arrogant Some you disbelieved and some you killed.)

112. The Arrogance of the Jews who denied and killed Their Prophets

Allah described the insolence of Children of Israel, their rebelliousness, defiance and arrogance towards the Prophets, following their lusts and desires. Allah mentioned that He gave Musa the Book, the Tawrah, and that the Jews changed, distorted, and defied its commands, as well as altered its meanings.

Allah sent Messengers and Prophets after Musa who followed his law, as Allah stated,

[إِنَّآ أَنزَلْنَا التَّوْرَاةَ فِيهَا هُدًى وَنُورٌ]

[الَّذِينَ أَسْلَمُواْ لِلَّذِينَ هَادُواْ وَالرَّبَّانِيُّونَ وَالاٌّحْبَارُ بِمَا اسْتُحْفِظُواْ مِن كِتَـبِ اللَّهِ وَكَانُواْ عَلَيْهِ شُهَدَآءَ]

(Verily, We did reveal the Tawrah (to Musa), therein was guidance and light, by which the Prophets, who submitted themselves to Allah's will, judged for the Jews. And the rabbis and the priests (too judged for the Jews by the Tawrah after those Prophets), for to them was entrusted the protection of Allah's Book, and they were witnesses thereto) (5:44). This is why Allah said here,

[وَقَفَّيْنَا مِن بَعْدِهِ بِالرُّسُلِ]

(And Qaffayna him with Messengers).
As-Suddi said that Abu Malik said that Qaffayna means, "Succeeded'', while others said, "Followed". Both meanings are plausible, since Allah said,

[ثُمَّ أَرْسَلْنَا رُسُلَنَا تَتْرَى]

(Then We sent Our Messengers in succession) (23:44).

Thereafter, Allah sent the last Prophet among the Children of Israel, `Isa the son of Mary, who was sent with some laws that differed with some in the Tawrah. This is why Allah also sent miracles to support `Isa. These included bringing the dead back to life, forming the shape of birds from clay and blowing into them, afterwhich they became living birds by Allah's leave, healing the sick and foretelling the Unseen, as Ibn `Abbas stated. Allah also aided him with Ruh Al-Qudus, and that refers to Jibril. All of these signs testified to the truthfulness of `Isa and what he was sent with. Yet, the Children of Israel became more defiant and envious of him and did not want to differ with even one part of the Tawrah, as Allah said about `Isa,

[وَلاٌّحِلَّ لَكُم بَعْضَ الَّذِي حُرِّمَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَجِئْتُكُمْ بِأَيَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ]

(And to make lawful to you part of what was forbidden to you, and I have come to you with a proof from your Lord) (3:50).

Hence, the Children of Israel treated the Prophets in the worst manner, rejecting some of them and killing some of them. All of this occurred because the Prophets used to command the Jews with what differed from their desires and opinions. The Prophets also upheld the rulings of the Tawrah that the Jews had changed, and this is why it was difficult for them to believe in these Prophets. Therefore, they rejected the Prophets and killed some of them. Allah said,

[أَفَكُلَّمَا جَآءَكُمْ رَسُولٌ بِمَا لاَ تَهْوَى أَنفُسُكُم اسْتَكْبَرْتُمْ فَفَرِيقًا كَذَّبْتُمْ وَفَرِيقًا تَقْتُلُونَ]

(Is it that whenever there came to you a Messenger with what you yourselves desired not,you grew arrogant Some you disbelieved and some you kill).

113. Jibril is Ruh Al-Qudus

The proof that Jibril is the Ruh Al-Qudus is the statement of Ibn Mas`ud in explanation of this Ayah. This is also the view of Ibn `Abbas, Muhammad bin Ka`b, Isma`il bin Khalid, As-Suddi, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, `Atiyah Al-`Awfi and Qatadah. Additionally, Allah said,

[نَزَلَ بِهِ الرُّوحُ الاٌّمِينُ - عَلَى قَلْبِكَ لِتَكُونَ مِنَ الْمُنْذِرِينَ ]

(Which the trustworthy Ruh (Jibril) has brought down. Upon your heart (O Muhammad ) that you may be (one) of the warners) (26:193-194).

Al-Bukhari recorded `A'ishah saying that the Messenger of Allah erected a Minbar in the Masjid on which Hassan bin Thabit (the renowned poet) used to defend the Messenger of Allah (with his poems). The Messenger of Allah said,

[اللَّهُمَّ أَيِّدْ حَسَّانَ بِرُوحِ الْقُدُسِ كَمَا نَافَحَ عَنْ نَبِيِّك]

(O Allah! Aid Hassan with Ruh Al-Qudus, for he defended Your Prophet.)
Abu Dawud recorded this Hadith in his Sunan as did At-Tirmidhi who graded it Hasan Sahih. Further, Ibn Hibban recorded in his Sahih that Ibn Mas`ud said that the Prophet said,

[إِنَّ رُوحَ الْقُدُسِ نَفَثَ فِي رُوعِي أَنَّهُ لَنْ تَمُوتَ نَفْسٌ حَتَّى تَسْتَكْمِلَ رِزْقَهَا وَأَجَلَهَا، فَاتَّقُوا اللهَ وَأَجْمِلُوا فِي الطَّلَب]

(Ruh Al-Qudus informed me that no soul shall die until it finishes its set provisions and term limit. Therefore, have Taqwa of Allah and seek your sustenance in the most suitable way.)

114. The Jews tried to kill the Prophet

Az-Zamakhshari commented on Allah's statement,

[فَفَرِيقًا كَذَّبْتُمْ وَفَرِيقًا تَقْتُلُونَ]

(Some you disbelieved and some you kill), "Allah did not say `killed' here, because the Jews would still try to kill the Prophet in the future, using poison and magic.'' During the illness that preceded his death, the Prophet said,

[مَا زَالَتْ أَكْلَةُ خَيْبَرَ تُعَاوِدُنِي، فَهذَا أَوَانُ انْقِطَاعِ أَبْهَرِي]

(I kept feeling the effect of what I ate (from the poisoned sheep) during the day of Khaybar, until now, when it is the time that the aorta will be cut off (meaning when death is near).)

This Hadith was collected by Al-Bukhari and others

[وَقَالُواْ قُلُوبُنَا غُلْفٌ بَل لَّعَنَهُمُ اللَّهُ بِكُفْرِهِمْ فَقَلِيلاً مَّا يُؤْمِنُونَ ]

(88. And they say, "Our hearts are Ghulf.'' Nay, Allah has cursed them for their disbelief, so little is that which they believe.)

Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that Ibn `Abbas said that,

[وَقَالُواْ قُلُوبُنَا غُلْفٌ]

(And they say, "Our hearts are Ghulf.''), means, "Our hearts are screened.'' Mujahid also said that,

[وَقَالُواْ قُلُوبُنَا غُلْفٌ]

(And they say, "Our hearts are Ghulf.''), means, "They are covered.''`Ikrimah said, "There is a stamp on them.'' Abu Al-`Aliyah said, "They do not comprehend.'' Mujahid and Qatadah said that Ibn `Abbas read the Ayah in a way that means, "Our hearts contain every type of knowledge and do not need the knowledge that you (O Muhammad) have.'' This is the opinion of `Ata' and Ibn `Abbas.

[بَل لَّعَنَهُمُ اللَّهُ بِكُفْرِهِمْ]

(Nay, Allah has cursed them for their disbelief) meaning, "Allah expelled them and deprived them of every type of righteousness.'' Qatadah said that the Ayah,

[فَقَلِيلاً مَّا يُؤْمِنُونَ]

(So little is that which they believe.) means, "Only a few of them believe.'' Allah's statement,

[وَقَالُواْ قُلُوبُنَا غُلْفٌ]

(And they say, "Our hearts are Ghulf.'') is similar to His statement,

[وَقَالُواْ قُلُوبُنَا فِى أَكِنَّةٍ مِمَّا تَدْعُونَا إِلَيْهِ]

(And they say: "Our hearts are under coverings (screened) from that to which you invite us) (41:5).
This is why Allah said here,

[بَل لَّعَنَهُمُ اللَّهُ بِكُفْرِهِمْ فَقَلِيلاً مَّا يُؤْمِنُونَ]

(Nay, Allah has cursed them for their disbelief, so little is that which they believe.) meaning, "It is not as they claim. Rather, their hearts are cursed and stamped,'' just as Allah said in Surat An-Nisa' (4:155),

[وَقَوْلِهِمْ قُلُوبُنَا غُلْفٌ بَلْ طَبَعَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهَا بِكُفْرِهِمْ فَلاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ إِلاَّ قَلِيلاً]

(And of their saying: "Our hearts are wrapped (with coverings, i.e. we do not understand what the Messengers say) ـ nay, Allah has set a seal upon their hearts because of their disbelief, so they believe not but a little.)

There is a difference of opinion regarding the meaning of Allah's statement,

[فَقَلِيلاً مَّا يُؤْمِنُونَ]

(So little is that which they believe.) and His statement,

[فَلاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ إِلاَّ قَلِيلاً]

(So they believe not except a few). Some scholars said that the Ayat indicate that a few of them would believe, or that their faith is minute, because they believe in Resurrection and in Allah's reward and punishment that Musa foretold. Yet, this faith will not benefit them since it is overshadowed by their disbelief in what Muhammad brought them. Some scholars said that the Jews did not actually believe in anything and that Allah said,

[فَقَلِيلاً مَّا يُؤْمِنُونَ]

(So little is that which they believe), meaning, they do not believe. This meaning is similar to the Arabic expression, "Hardly have I seen anything like this,'' meaning, "I have never seen anything like this.''

[وَلَمَّا جَآءَهُمْ كِتَـبٌ مِّنْ عِندِ اللَّهِ مُصَدِّقٌ لِّمَا مَعَهُمْ وَكَانُواْ مِن قَبْلُ يَسْتَفْتِحُونَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ فَلَمَّا جَآءَهُم مَّا عَرَفُواْ كَفَرُواْ بِهِ فَلَعْنَةُ اللَّهِ عَلَى الْكَـفِرِينَ ]

(89. And when there came to them (the Jews), a Book (this Qur'an) from Allah confirming what is with them (the Tawrah) and the Injil (Gospel), although aforetime they had invoked Allah (for the coming of Muhammad ) in order to gain victory over those who disbelieved, then when there came to them that which they had recognised, they disbelieved in it. So let the curse of Allah be on the disbelievers.)

115. The Jews were awaiting the Prophet's coming, but They disbelieved in Him when He was sent

Allah said,

[وَلَمَّا جَآءَهُمُ]

(And when there came to them) meaning, the Jews,

[كِتَـبٌ مِّنْ عِندِ اللَّهِ]

(a Book from Allah) meaning, the Qur'an that Allah sent down to Muhammad,

[مُصَدِّقٌ لِّمَا مَعَهُمْ]

(confirming what is with them) meaning, the Tawrah. Further, Allah said,

[وَكَانُواْ مِن قَبْلُ يَسْتَفْتِحُونَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ]

(although aforetime they had invoked Allah (for coming of Muhammad ) in order to gain victory over those who disbelieved) meaning, before this Messenger came to them, they used to ask Allah to aid them by his arrival, against their polytheistic enemies in war. They used to say to the polytheists, "A Prophet shall be sent just before the end of this world and we, along with him, shall exterminate you, just as the nations of `Ad and Iram were exterminated.'' Also, Muhammad bin Ishaq narrated that Ibn `Abbas said, "The Jews used to invoke Allah (for the coming of Muhammad ) in order to gain victory over the Aws and Khazraj, before the Prophet was sent. When Allah sent him to the Arabs, they rejected him and denied what they used to say about him. Hence, Mu`adh bin Jabal and Bishr bin Al-Bara' bin Ma`rur, from Bani Salamah, said to them, `O Jews! Fear Allah and embrace Islam. You used to invoke Allah for the coming of Muhammad when we were still disbelievers and you used to tell us that he would come and describe him to us,' Salam bin Mushkim from Bani An-Nadir replied, `He did not bring anything that we recognize. He is not the Prophet we told you about.' Allah then revealed this Ayah about their statement,

[وَلَمَّا جَآءَهُمْ كِتَـبٌ مِّنْ عِندِ اللَّهِ مُصَدِّقٌ لِّمَا مَعَهُمْ]

(And when there came to them (the Jews), a Book (this Qur'an) from Allah confirming what is with them (the Tawrah) and the Injil (Gospel)).'''

Abu Al-`Aliyah said, "The Jews used to ask Allah to send Muhammad so that they would gain victory over the Arab disbelievers. They used to say, `O Allah! Send the Prophet that we read about - in the Tawrah - so that we can torment and kill the disbelievers alongside him.' When Allah sent Muhammad and they saw that he was not one of them, they rejected him and envied the Arabs, even though they knew that he was the Messenger of Allah. Hence, Allah said,

[فَلَمَّا جَآءَهُم مَّا عَرَفُواْ كَفَرُواْ بِهِ فَلَعْنَةُ اللَّهِ عَلَى الْكَـفِرِينَ]

(Then when there came to them that which they had recognized, they disbelieved in it. So let the curse of Allah be on the disbelievers). ''

[بِئْسَمَا اشْتَرَوْاْ بِهِ أَنفُسَهُمْ أَن يَكْفُرُواْ بِمَآ أنزَلَ اللَّهُ بَغْيًا أَن يُنَزِّلُ اللَّهُ مِن فَضْلِهِ عَلَى مَن يَشَآءُ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ فَبَآءُو بِغَضَبٍ عَلَى غَضَبٍ وَلِلْكَـفِرِينَ عَذَابٌ مُّهِينٌ ]

(90. How bad is that for which they have sold their own selves, that they should disbelieve in that which Allah has revealed (the Qur'an), grudging that Allah should reveal of His grace unto whom He wills of His servants. So they have drawn on themselves wrath upon wrath. And for the disbelievers, there is disgracing torment.)

Mujahid said,

[بِئْسَمَا اشْتَرَوْاْ بِهِ أَنفُسَهُمْ]

(How bad is that for which they have sold their own selves), "The Jews sold the truth for falsehood and hid the truth about Muhammad .'' As-Suddi said that the Ayah,

[بِئْسَمَا اشْتَرَوْاْ بِهِ أَنفُسَهُمْ]

(How bad is that for which they have sold their own selves) means, "The Jews sold themselves.'' meaning, what is worse is what they chose for themselves by disbelieving in what Allah revealed to Muhammad instead of believing, aiding and supporting him. This behavior of theirs is the result of their injustice, envy and hatred,

[أَن يُنَزِّلُ اللَّهُ مِن فَضْلِهِ عَلَى مَن يَشَآءُ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ]

(grudging that Allah should reveal of His grace unto whom He wills of His servants). '' There is no envy worse than this. Therefore,

[فَبَآءُو بِغَضَبٍ عَلَى غَضَبٍ]

(So they have drawn on themselves wrath upon wrath). Ibn `Abbas commented on this Ayah, "Allah became angry with them because they ignored some of the Tawrah and disbelieved in the Prophet that He sent to them.'' I (Ibn Kathir) say that the meaning of,

[بَاءُوا]

(And they drew on themselves) is that they deserved and acquired multiplied anger. Also, Abu Al-`Aliyah said, "Allah became angry with them, because of their disbelief in the Injil and `Isa and He became angry with them again, because they disbelieved in Muhammad and the Qur'an.'' Similar was said by `Ikrimah and Qatadah. Allah said,

[وَلِلْكَـفِرِينَ عَذَابٌ مُّهِينٌ]

(And for the disbelievers, there is disgracing torment). Since their disbelief was a result of their transgression and envy, which was caused by arrogance, they were punished with disgrace and humiliation in this world and the Hereafter. Similarly, Allah said,

[إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ عَنْ عِبَادَتِى سَيَدْخُلُونَ جَهَنَّمَ دَخِرِينَ]

(Verily, those who scorn My worship (i.e. do not invoke Me, and do not believe in My Oneness) they will surely enter Hell in humiliation!'') (40:60) meaning, "Disgraced, degraded and humiliated.'' Imam Ahmad narrated that `Amr bin Shu`ayb said that his father said that his grandfather said that the Prophet said,

[يُحْشَرُ الْمُتَكَبِّرُونَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ أَمْثَالَ الذَّرِّ فِي صُوَرِ النَّاسِ، يَعْلُوهُمْ كُلُّ شَيْءٍ مِنَ الصِّغَارِ حَتَّى يَدْخُلُوا سِجْنًا فِي جَهَنَّمَ يُقَالُ لَهُ. بَوْلَسُ تَعْلُوهُمْ نَارُ الْأَنْيَارِ يُسْقَونَ مِنْ