ثُمَّ اِنَّ رَبَّکَ لِلَّذِیۡنَ عَمِلُوا السُّوۡٓءَ بِجَہَالَۃٍ ثُمَّ تَابُوۡا مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ ذٰلِکَ وَ اَصۡلَحُوۡۤا ۙ اِنَّ رَبَّکَ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِہَا لَغَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِیۡمٌ ﴿۱۲۰﴾٪
ثُمَّ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ لِلَّذِينَ عَمِلُواْ ٱلسُّوٓءَ بِجَهَٰلَةٖ ثُمَّ تَابُواْ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ ذَٰلِكَ وَأَصۡلَحُوٓاْ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ مِنۢ بَعۡدِهَا لَغَفُورٞ رَّحِيمٌ
d. 4:18; 6:55. (close)
1585. Jahalah means, both lack of knowledge and lack of spiritual realization. Here it is used in the second sense because there is no justification for punishing a person who does not possess knowledge of a commandment for the non-observance of which he is being punished. (close)
b. 4:18; 6:55. (close)
The preceding verse said that Jews were punished for their disobedience. The present verse says if even now they repent and reform themselves, God will forgive them their past sins and once again shower upon them spiritual blessings of which they had become deprived on account of their disobedience. The expression بجھالة means both lack of knowledge and lack of spiritual realization. Here it is used in the second sense because there is no justification in punishing a person who does not possess knowledge of a commandment for the non-observance of which he is punished. The verse means to say that the Jews possessed requisite knowledge of the commandments which they were expected to observe but they broke those commandments not because of lack of knowledge, but because they did not fear God and were devoid of spiritual realization. This shows that the possession of both knowledge and spiritual realization is essential, for knowledge alone is no great help.
It may also be mentioned here that جھالة (ignorance) is of two kinds, viz. (a) permanent ignorance, the victim of which rushes headlong into sin and derives a sort of pleasure in indulging in it; such a one is completely
devoid of Divine realization; and (b) temporary ignorance, when his lapses are due to a temporary loss of true and living faith and to his realization being defective. See also 4:18, & 6:55. (close)
اِنَّ اِبۡرٰہِیۡمَ کَانَ اُمَّۃً قَانِتًا لِّلّٰہِ حَنِیۡفًا ؕ وَ لَمۡ یَکُ مِنَ الۡمُشۡرِکِیۡنَ ﴿۱۲۱﴾ۙ
إِنَّ إِبۡرَٰهِيمَ كَانَ أُمَّةٗ قَانِتٗا لِّلَّهِ حَنِيفٗا وَلَمۡ يَكُ مِنَ ٱلۡمُشۡرِكِينَ
1586. Ummah among other things means a nation; a race; a righteous man who is an object of imitation; a man possessing all good qualities, a paragon of virtue (Lane). (close)
a. 2:136; 3:68; 6:80. (close)
1921. Important Words:
امة (a paragon of virtue) is derived from ام which means, he betook himself to it, aimed at, sought after or pursued it. امةmeans, a way, course, mode or manner of acting; religion; a nation, a people, a race, a tribe; family; the followers of a Prophet; a generation of men or people of one time; a righteous man who is an object of imitation; one who is known for goodness; a man combining all kinds of good qualities; a learned man; one who has no equal; the learned man of his age or time who is singular in his learning, etc. See also 11:9 & 6:39.
In this verse the Quran exhorts Muslims not to follow the example of idolaters and Jews but to take Abraham as their model. The word امة (a paragon of virtue) is here used in two senses: (a) a righteous man who is an object of imitation; (b) a man combining in him all good qualities. The word, as shown under Important Words, also means "a people", and Abraham has been called "a people" because through him a great people came into being. He is called "a people" in the sense in which a small off-shoot is called the tree that is to spring from it.
The words, He was not of those who set up equals to God, signify that although Abraham combined in himself all the good qualities and excellences, yet the combination of these good qualities did not engender in him conceit or egotism. He did not consider the good qualities he possessed to be the result of his own effort or merit, but of God’s special favour. Thus he was a monotheist in the real sense of the word. He allowed no idol of conceit or pride, etc., to stand between him and his Creator. (close)
شَاکِرًا لِّاَنۡعُمِہٖ ؕ اِجۡتَبٰہُ وَ ہَدٰٮہُ اِلٰی صِرَاطٍ مُّسۡتَقِیۡمٍ ﴿۱۲۲﴾
شَاكِرٗا لِّأَنۡعُمِهِۚ ٱجۡتَبَىٰهُ وَهَدَىٰهُ إِلَىٰ صِرَٰطٖ مُّسۡتَقِيمٖ
b. 2:131. (close)
As Abraham believed that all his good qualities were Divine gifts, therefore he was grateful to God.
The straight path mentioned in the verse is the path which leads to God. The word مستقیم signifies the straight and shortest line between two points. Man represents one end of the line and God represents the other, and the straight and shortest path in religion is the line which joins man to God. The verse exhorts Muslims to develop in themselves the qualities that made Abraham the chosen one of God and to steer clear of the path of iniquity and transgression followed by Meccans and Jews. The former altogether rejected the Divine Law and were satisfied with man-made customs and usages and the latter differed and disagreed with regard to its meaning and application and defied and broke it. (close)
وَ اٰتَیۡنٰہُ فِی الدُّنۡیَا حَسَنَۃً ؕ وَ اِنَّہٗ فِی الۡاٰخِرَۃِ لَمِنَ الصّٰلِحِیۡنَ ﴿۱۲۳﴾ؕ
وَءَاتَيۡنَٰهُ فِي ٱلدُّنۡيَا حَسَنَةٗۖ وَإِنَّهُۥ فِي ٱلۡأٓخِرَةِ لَمِنَ ٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ
c. 2:131; 29:28. (close)
a. 2:131; 29:28. (close)
In verse 121 Abraham was mentioned as an exemplar. Here it is added that it cannot be said of him that because he did not possess material wealth, he had no reason or occasion to become corrupt. The verse removes this misconception and says that God had bestowed upon Abraham power, comfort and wealth and yet he stuck to the path of righteousness. It implies the beautiful hint that Muslims will also be granted worldly power, prestige and prosperity, and in the heyday of their glory would find in Abraham a worthy exemplar. (close)
ثُمَّ اَوۡحَیۡنَاۤ اِلَیۡکَ اَنِ اتَّبِعۡ مِلَّۃَ اِبۡرٰہِیۡمَ حَنِیۡفًا ؕ وَ مَا کَانَ مِنَ الۡمُشۡرِکِیۡنَ ﴿۱۲۴﴾
ثُمَّ أَوۡحَيۡنَآ إِلَيۡكَ أَنِ ٱتَّبِعۡ مِلَّةَ إِبۡرَٰهِيمَ حَنِيفٗاۖ وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُشۡرِكِينَ
d. 2:136; 4:126; 22:79. (close)
b. 2:136; 4:126; 22:79. (close)
The reason why Abraham has been held up as an exemplar is that he was held in high esteem not only by Jews and Christians but also by the idolaters of Arabia, being the common ancestor of all. The verse does not mean, as insinuated by some Christian writers, that according to it the Holy Prophet was merely a follower of the religion of Abraham and nothing more. The words, "following the way of Abraham" only mean, following and imitating him in things mentioned in the preceding verse—he was a paragon of virtue and yet was humble and grateful to God. The Holy Prophet was by far a nobler character than Abraham and Islam a much better religious system than any previous one. (close)
اِنَّمَا جُعِلَ السَّبۡتُ عَلَی الَّذِیۡنَ اخۡتَلَفُوۡا فِیۡہِ ؕ وَ اِنَّ رَبَّکَ لَیَحۡکُمُ بَیۡنَہُمۡ یَوۡمَ الۡقِیٰمَۃِ فِیۡمَا کَانُوۡا فِیۡہِ یَخۡتَلِفُوۡنَ ﴿۱۲۵﴾
إِنَّمَا جُعِلَ ٱلسَّبۡتُ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ ٱخۡتَلَفُواْ فِيهِۚ وَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَيَحۡكُمُ بَيۡنَهُمۡ يَوۡمَ ٱلۡقِيَٰمَةِ فِيمَا كَانُواْ فِيهِ يَخۡتَلِفُونَ
e. 2:66; 4:48, 155. (close)
1587. The Jews believed that their national degradation and misery were due to their profaning the Sabbath. They are told that now they could retrieve their departed glory by accepting Islam and not by observing the Sabbath. (close)
f. 3:56; 22:70. (close)
a. 2:66; 4:48,155. (close)
b. 3:56; 22:70. (close)
The Jews believed that their national degradation and misery were due to their breaking the Sabbath and that they could regain their former high position and lost glory by re-establishing its sanctity. In some previous verses they had been invited to embrace Islam so that God might remove their present degradation and make them heirs to His special favours and blessings. But the Jews held firmly to the belief that their degradation was really due to their violation of the Sabbath and that their acceptance of Islam could not be of any avail to them. In the present verse they are told that before the advent of Islam they were punished for the breach of the Sabbath, the observance of which was a Divinecommand, but now that the old commandments with regard to Sabbath have been superseded by the new Dispensation—Islam—they could retrieve their departed glory only by accepting it and not by observing the Sabbath. (close)
اُدۡعُ اِلٰی سَبِیۡلِ رَبِّکَ بِالۡحِکۡمَۃِ وَ الۡمَوۡعِظَۃِ الۡحَسَنَۃِ وَ جَادِلۡہُمۡ بِالَّتِیۡ ہِیَ اَحۡسَنُ ؕ اِنَّ رَبَّکَ ہُوَ اَعۡلَمُ بِمَنۡ ضَلَّ عَنۡ سَبِیۡلِہٖ وَ ہُوَ اَعۡلَمُ بِالۡمُہۡتَدِیۡنَ ﴿۱۲۶﴾
ٱدۡعُ إِلَىٰ سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِٱلۡحِكۡمَةِ وَٱلۡمَوۡعِظَةِ ٱلۡحَسَنَةِۖ وَجَٰدِلۡهُم بِٱلَّتِي هِيَ أَحۡسَنُۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعۡلَمُ بِمَن ضَلَّ عَن سَبِيلِهِۦ وَهُوَ أَعۡلَمُ بِٱلۡمُهۡتَدِينَ
1588. Hikmah means: (1) knowledge or science; (2) equity or justice; (3) forbearance or clemency; (4) firmness; (5) any saying or discourse which is conforming or agreeable to truth and is in accordance with the exigencies of the occasion; (6) gift of prophecy and (7) what prevents or restrains a person from foolish behaviour (Lane). (close)
a. 41:35. (close)
b. 6:118. (close)
c. 41:35. (close)
d. 6:118. (close)
1926. Important Words:
The word حکمة translated as wisdom in the text among other things means, (1) knowledge or science; (2) equity or justice; (3) forbearance or clemency; (4) firmness; (5) any saying or discourse conforming or agreeable to truth and in accordance with the exigencies of the occasion; (6) gift of prophecy; and (7) what prevents or restrains from ignorant behaviour (Aqrab & Lane).
The word may be used in all these senses in the verse under comment. Taking it in the sense of "knowledge" or "science", the verse would mean that Muslims should invite others to Islam by arguments based on knowledge and reason and should not confine themselves merely to making appeals to sentiments and emotions. Using it in the sense of "equity" or "justice", the injunction embodied would be that, when arguing with the followers of other Faiths, Muslim preachers and missionaries should not bring forward such objections against those Faiths as can be advanced against Islam itself for such a course is not only inconsistent with justice, but is also unsound. If حکمة be understood to mean "forbearance" or "clemency", the verse would mean that Muslims should explain the beauties of their religion with patience. Taking the word in the sense of "a saying or discourse conforming or agreeable to the truth, and in accordance with the exigencies of the occasion", the verse would mean, that while inviting other people to Islam Muslims should not say anything which is not true and is not in accordance with facts, for if they resorted to falsehood while preaching truth they would be ruining their own souls in order to save those of others. Moreover, their discourse should be conformable to the exigencies of the occasion and should not wound other people’s susceptibilities. Taking the word in the sense of "gift of prophecy", the verse would mean that Muslims should invite men to Islam by using arguments contained in the Quran and not arguments which are the creation of their own fancy. Lastly, taking the word in the sense of "what restrains from ignorant behaviour" the verse would mean that the talk of Muslims should not be beyond the comprehension of those to whom the appeal is made. They should say things which may help to resolve the doubts of others and not display or demonstrate their own talents and learning.
The words, "goodly exhortation" mean "a discourse which softens the hearts of the hearers and makes a deep impression on them." Thus the Quran exhorts its followers not to content themselves with mere cold and dry reasoning but to reinforce and support philosophical dissertations with an appeal to sentiments. This appeal, however, should be "goodly exhortation" i.e. it should be based on pure truth and there should be no prevarication or tampering with facts.
The words, and argue with them in a way that is best, mean that while arguing we should make the most solid and unassailable argument we possess as the pivot round which all other arguments should revolve and which they should support.
The expression, Thy Lord best knows those who have strayed from...who are rightly-guided, contains a word of encouragement and good cheer for the Muslim evangelist. He is told that if in spite of his best efforts he finds that his preaching has not had the desired effect, he should not get discouraged and think that his preaching was defective, but should continue his noble work without slackening, leaving the result to God, because He alone knows who is deserving and destined to be guided to the right path.
As Islam was to spread abroad and was to be preached to the people who claimed to possess revealed Scriptures, Muslims have been told in this verse that a much more difficult task lay ahead of them. While dealing with idolaters it was easy enough to refute idolatry, but with respect to the "People of the Book" the excellence and superiority of Islamic teachings will have to be proved regarding details and auxiliary matters also. Hence the admonition given above. (close)
وَ اِنۡ عَاقَبۡتُمۡ فَعَاقِبُوۡا بِمِثۡلِ مَا عُوۡقِبۡتُمۡ بِہٖ ؕ وَ لَئِنۡ صَبَرۡتُمۡ لَہُوَ خَیۡرٌ لِّلصّٰبِرِیۡنَ ﴿۱۲۷﴾
وَإِنۡ عَاقَبۡتُمۡ فَعَاقِبُواْ بِمِثۡلِ مَا عُوقِبۡتُم بِهِۦۖ وَلَئِن صَبَرۡتُمۡ لَهُوَ خَيۡرٞ لِّلصَّـٰبِرِينَ
c. 42:41. (close)
d. 42:44. (close)
a. 42:41. (close)
b. 42:44. (close)
In this verse Muslims are told that when they preach Islam to other nations, the latter, instead of listening to them, will persecute and wage war against them. In such a contingency Muslims will have to take up arms in self-defence. But even when fighting in self-defence, they are not to exceed legitimate bounds, but punish the enemy only to the extent to which he has oppressed them. The word used here which implies the permission to fight and retaliate in self-defence is عاقبوا (punish). The root-meaning of this word is "to follow". The use of this word thus shows that Muslims can only fight in self-defence. jihad connotes fighting only in self-defence i.e. only after Muslims have been wantonly attacked. The Quran has taken care to explain the necessary conditions and limitations of jihad before permitting it. (close)
وَ اصۡبِرۡ وَ مَا صَبۡرُکَ اِلَّا بِاللّٰہِ وَ لَا تَحۡزَنۡ عَلَیۡہِمۡ وَ لَا تَکُ فِیۡ ضَیۡقٍ مِّمَّا یَمۡکُرُوۡنَ ﴿۱۲۸﴾
وَٱصۡبِرۡ وَمَا صَبۡرُكَ إِلَّا بِٱللَّهِۚ وَلَا تَحۡزَنۡ عَلَيۡهِمۡ وَلَا تَكُ فِي ضَيۡقٖ مِّمَّا يَمۡكُرُونَ
e. 15:89, 98; 27:71. (close)
c. 15:89, 98; 27:71. (close)
In this verse, the word صبر (patience) has been used in a sense different from that in which it has been used in the previous verse. When permission was given to Muslims to take up arms against disbelievers, the Holy Prophet realized that Divine punishment was about to overtake the latter. His heart became filled with pity for them and he was much grieved. So in this verse God has comforted him by saying that these people have made themselves deserving of punishment and therefore he should be resigned to God’s decree.
This shows that the Prophet’s heart was full of the milk of human kindness, even for those from whom he had received abuse and injury.
The verse also signifies that the Prophet’s patience was not mere helpless and passive resignation to a condition which was beyond his control but was in perfect harmony with Divine decree, and it is only an act done under God’s command that brings spiritual credit to the doer. (close)
اِنَّ اللّٰہَ مَعَ الَّذِیۡنَ اتَّقَوۡا وَّ الَّذِیۡنَ ہُمۡ مُّحۡسِنُوۡنَ ﴿۱۲۹﴾٪
إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ مَعَ ٱلَّذِينَ ٱتَّقَواْ وَّٱلَّذِينَ هُم مُّحۡسِنُونَ
f. 45:20. (close)
1589. A Muttaqi is one who establishes such a strong connection with God that God Himself becomes his Protector and shields him from every evil. A Muhsin is he who, after he himself has come under the protection of God, tries to bring others also under His protection. Thus a Muhsin possesses a higher spiritual stature than a Muttaqi. (close)
a. 45:20. (close)
This, the last verse of the Surah, implies the prophecy that Muslims shall eventually be victorious and their triumph and the defeat of their enemy will show that it was they, and not their opponents, who were righteous and the doers of good and consequently were the followers of the true path.
For an explanation of the words متقی (righteous) and محسن (who do good) see vv. 2:3 & 2:113. A متقی is one who establishes such a strong connection with God that He Himself becomes his Protector and shields him from every evil. A محسن is he who after he himself has come under the protection of God tries to bring others also under His protection. Thus a محسنpossesses a higher spiritual stature than a متقی. The latter only himself becomes secure against sin, while the former devotes himself whole-heartedly to rescuing others from it. In fact, there are two classes of men: (a) those who make no effort to save others from a life of sin; (b) those who are anxious that others may be saved though they have no such thought for their own safety. God wants Muslims to be both متقی (righteous) and محسن (those who do good). (close)