اِنَّمَا یَاۡمُرُکُمۡ بِالسُّوۡٓءِ وَ الۡفَحۡشَآءِ وَ اَنۡ تَقُوۡلُوۡا عَلَی اللّٰہِ مَا لَا تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۱۷۰﴾
إِنَّمَا يَأۡمُرُكُم بِٱلسُّوٓءِ وَٱلۡفَحۡشَآءِ وَأَن تَقُولُواْ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ مَا لَا تَعۡلَمُونَ
a. 2:269; 24:22. (close)
194. Satan first prompts man to do such deeds as do not appear to be manifestly bad and the influence of which is confined to the doer alone. Then step by step he makes him a hardened sinner, making him lose all sense of modesty. (close)
a. 2:269; 24:22. (close)
176. Important Words:
سوء (evil) is the noun-infinitive from ساء meaning, he or it became bad or evil. ساء الامر فلانا means, the thing was disagreeable to such a one and made him sorrowful. سوء means: (1) evil, bad or wicked; (2) mischief and corruption; (3) anything that makes a person sad and sorrowful (Aqrab & Mufradat).
فحشاء (foul) is derived from فحش i.e. it became excessive or immoderate; or it became manifestly or excessively bad, evil or unseemly. Thus فحشاء means: (1) anything manifestly or excessively bad, evil, etc.; (2) anything forbidden by God; (3) foul talk or saying; and (4) illegal intercourse or fornication (Lane & Aqrab).
This verse speaks of the subtle ways by which Satan misleads man. He first prompts him to do deeds which do not appear to be manifestly wicked and the influence of which is confined to the person of the doer alone. Then, step by step, he makes the deluded person a hardened sinner, causing him to lose all sense of modesty, till finally the man goes so far as to make innovations in religion for which he possesses neither knowledge nor authority. As Satan’s promptings are never based on knowledge, so the natural consequence is that those who follow him begin to attribute to God things without having the least authority for so doing. Their theories are based on ignorance and not on knowledge. In fact, all knowledge is based on close observation, and close observation cannot be had, unless one enjoys nearness of a thing. So it is futile to expect true knowledge of God from those who are away from Him. (close)
وَ اِذَا قِیۡلَ لَہُمُ اتَّبِعُوۡا مَاۤ اَنۡزَلَ اللّٰہُ قَالُوۡا بَلۡ نَتَّبِعُ مَاۤ اَلۡفَیۡنَا عَلَیۡہِ اٰبَآءَنَا ؕ اَوَ لَوۡ کَانَ اٰبَآؤُہُمۡ لَا یَعۡقِلُوۡنَ شَیۡئًا وَّ لَا یَہۡتَدُوۡنَ ﴿۱۷۱﴾
وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمُ ٱتَّبِعُواْ مَآ أَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُ قَالُواْ بَلۡ نَتَّبِعُ مَآ أَلۡفَيۡنَا عَلَيۡهِ ءَابَآءَنَآۚ أَوَلَوۡ كَانَ ءَابَآؤُهُمۡ لَا يَعۡقِلُونَ شَيۡـٔٗا وَلَا يَهۡتَدُونَ
b. 5:105; 10:79; 21:53, 54; 31:22. (close)
195. It is indeed strange, but nevertheless regrettable, that in matters of religion which so deeply concern his eternal life man is often content to follow blindly in the footsteps of his elders. But in worldly matters where only the interests of this life are at stake, and that too partially, he takes meticulous care to see that he adopts the right course, and does not blindly follow others. (close)
a. 5:105; 10:79; 21:53, 54; 31:22. (close)
It is indeed strange, but nevertheless a hard fact, that in matters of religion which so deeply concern man, he is often content to follow blindly the footsteps of his forefathers and does not even care to satisfy himself that his forefathers were wise and well-guided people. On the other hand, in worldly matters where only the interests of this life are at stake, and that too partially, he often takes meticulous care to see that he adopts the right course and does not blindly follow others. (close)
وَ مَثَلُ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا کَمَثَلِ الَّذِیۡ یَنۡعِقُ بِمَا لَا یَسۡمَعُ اِلَّا دُعَآءً وَّ نِدَآءً ؕ صُمٌّۢ بُکۡمٌ عُمۡیٌ فَہُمۡ لَا یَعۡقِلُوۡنَ ﴿۱۷۲﴾
وَمَثَلُ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ كَمَثَلِ ٱلَّذِي يَنۡعِقُ بِمَا لَا يَسۡمَعُ إِلَّا دُعَآءٗ وَنِدَآءٗۚ صُمُّۢ بُكۡمٌ عُمۡيٞ فَهُمۡ لَا يَعۡقِلُونَ
196. The Holy Prophet delivered the Divine Message to disbelievers. He is the crier. They heard his voice but made no effort to grasp its meaning. His words fell, as it were, on deaf ears, with the result that their spiritual faculties became wholly vitiated and they stooped low to the level of animals and beasts (7:180; 25:45), which only hear the cry of the crier but do not understand what he says. (close)
c. See 2:19. (close)
b. See 2:19. (close)
178. Important Words:
ینعق (shouts) is derived from نعق which means, he cried aloud. They say نعق الراعی بغنمه i.e. the shepherd shouted to his flock.نعق المؤذن means, the (Mu’adhdhin) raised his voice to call people to Prayer (Aqrab).
دعاء (call). دعاه means, he called a person by addressing him (Aqrab).
نداء (cry) means: (1) a loud voice or cry; (2) a general call without any specific person being addressed (Aqrab & Lane).
In this verse the Holy Prophet has been likened to a herdsman who shouts to his flock but they hear nothing except the sound, being unable to understand the meaning of the words uttered by him. Similarly, the people whom the Prophet addresses are like a herd of animals unable to follow and understand his call. The words of the verse fully expressed would read somewhat like this: مثل الذین کفروا کمثل اصحاب الذی ینعق i.e. "The case of those who disbelieve is like that of a people surrounding one who shouts, etc." The Holy Prophet conveyed the Divine Message to disbelievers. They heard his voice but made no effort to grasp the meaning of his message. His words fell, as it were, on deaf ears, with the result that the spiritual faculties of the disbelievers became wholly vitiated and they stooped low to the level of animals and beasts (7:180; 25:45). (close)
یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا کُلُوۡا مِنۡ طَیِّبٰتِ مَا رَزَقۡنٰکُمۡ وَ اشۡکُرُوۡا لِلّٰہِ اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ اِیَّاہُ تَعۡبُدُوۡنَ ﴿۱۷۳﴾
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ كُلُواْ مِن طَيِّبَٰتِ مَا رَزَقۡنَٰكُمۡ وَٱشۡكُرُواْ لِلَّهِ إِن كُنتُمۡ إِيَّاهُ تَعۡبُدُونَ
a. 5:6; 16:115; 23:52; 40:65. (close)
197. The injunction contained in the words, "eat of good, pure and wholesome things (Tayyibat) indicates that Muslims are not allowed to use things which may, in any way, injure their physical or moral or spiritual health, though they may be allowed by the Shari‘ah. (close)
The injunction contained in the words, "eat of طیبات i.e. good, pure and wholesome things", indicates that Muslims are not allowed to use things which may, in any way, injure their physical or moral or spiritual health, though they may be حلال i.e. allowed by Law. The injunction is thus very important and far-reaching in its effect. The words, We have provided for you, further imply that Muslims are also not allowed to make use of things acquired by unfair and unlawful means. Only the things bestowed by God, i.e. those lawfully earned, are to be used. (close)
اِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ عَلَیۡکُمُ الۡمَیۡتَۃَ وَ الدَّمَ وَ لَحۡمَ الۡخِنۡزِیۡرِ وَ مَاۤ اُہِلَّ بِہٖ لِغَیۡرِ اللّٰہِ ۚ فَمَنِ اضۡطُرَّ غَیۡرَ بَاغٍ وَّ لَا عَادٍ فَلَاۤ اِثۡمَ عَلَیۡہِ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ غَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِیۡمٌ ﴿۱۷۴﴾
إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ عَلَيۡكُمُ ٱلۡمَيۡتَةَ وَٱلدَّمَ وَلَحۡمَ ٱلۡخِنزِيرِ وَمَآ أُهِلَّ بِهِۦ لِغَيۡرِ ٱللَّهِۖ فَمَنِ ٱضۡطُرَّ غَيۡرَ بَاغٖ وَلَا عَادٖ فَلَآ إِثۡمَ عَلَيۡهِۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَفُورٞ رَّحِيمٌ
b. 5:4; 6:146; 16:116. (close)
198. The very name of this foul animal contains an allusion to the prohibition of its flesh. The word is a combination of Khinz and Ara; the first part meaning, 'very foul' and the second, 'I see', meaning, 'I see it very foul'……In Hindi, this animal is known by the name Su’ar which exactly means the same as the Arabic Khinzir, i.e. 'I see it very foul'......In Hindi this animal is also known as bad meaning 'bad' or 'foul' which is probably a translation of the original Arabic word. (close)
199. Ithm means, anything unlawful, i.e. a sin; anything which renders a person deserving of punishment (Aqrab); anything that pricks the mind as something evil (Mufradat). The four things mentioned in this verse are not the only things prohibited in Islam. Islam prohibits the use of many other things also which are divided into grades or categories, some of them being "unlawful" and others Mamnu‘ (forbidden). The verse under comment mentions only the "unlawful things." The forbidden things have been stated by the Holy Prophet and are mentioned in the Hadith. The use of Haram or an unlawful thing has direct bearing on the moral development of man but it is not so with a forbidden thing which stands on a lower level of importance, though both are prohibited. Among the things declared unlawful in this verse, the blood and the flesh of a dead animal as food are evidently injurious and have been recognized as such by most authorities on medicine. The flesh of swine has been proved to be injurious, besides man’s physical health, to his moral and spiritual health. The swine eats filth and takes delight in living in dirty places. It has indecent habits and possesses the evil trait of sex- perversion. Tape-worms, scrofula, cancer and encysted trichina are known to be more prevalent among pork-eating peoples. The use of pork also causes trichinosis. (close)
180. Important Words:
المیتة (that which dies of itself) is derived from مات i.e. he died. میتة means: (1) an animal that has died a natural death (Aqrab); (2) an animal that has not been slaughtered in a manner prescribed by Law (Lane & Mufradat).
الخنزیر (swine). Authorities differ as to the derivation of this word, some deriving it from خنزر and others from خزر. The word الخنزرة means, hard and rugged land; or a clumsy, badly-finished axe. خزر الرجل means, the man looked with the hinder parts or outer angles of his eyes (Lisan). خزرت العین means, the eye was or became narrow and small. خزر الرجل means, the man looked from the outer angle of the eye; or he had a distortion of one of his eyes. The Arabs say: کل خنزیراخزر i.e. all swine look from the outer angles of their eyes. خزر المرء means the man affected or pretended to be cunning. الخنزیر means, the swine, the hog, the pig; a certain well-known foul animal the eating of whose flesh is said to be forbidden by every Prophet (Lane). The Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement says of the word خنزیر: "The very name of this foul animal contains an allusion to the prohibition of its flesh. It is a combination of خنز and ار, the first part meaning, 'very foul' and the second, 'I see'. The word thus literally means, 'I see it very foul'…What is yet more remarkable is that in Hindi this animal is known by the name سؤر which is similarly composed of two words, i.e. سوء and ار, the latter part being identical with the latter part of the Arabic word and the former being the exact equivalent of the first part of the Arabic form. The Hindi word, therefore, exactly means the same as the Arabic, viz. 'I see it very foul'…In Hindi this animal is also known as بد meaning bad or foul which is probably a translation of the original Arabic word" (Teachings of Islam).
أھل (invoked) is derived from ھل meaning, it (the moon) made its appearance; he (the man) cried aloud. اھل also means, it made its appearance; he called or cried aloud. اھل بالتسمیة علی الذبیحة means, he invoked or pronounced the name of God while slaughtering an animal. اھل السیف بفلان means, the sword cut into him ( Aqrab). اھلال which is the infinitive-noun from اھل means, to raise one’s voice aloud by way of exclamation, on seeing the ھلال or the moon of the first night (Mufradat). Thus اھل به لغیر الله would mean, on which the name of anything besides God has been invoked at the time of slaughter; or which has been cut or slaughtered for a being other than God.
اضطر (driven by necessity) is derived from ضر which means, it did harm. ضرہ الی کذا means, it forced him to resort to that. اضطره means, he compelled him against his will. اضطره الی کذا means, he compelled him against his will to have recourse to that (Aqrab).
باغ (disobedient) is derived from بغی meaning, he rebelled; he disobeyed; he committed a wrong. باغ is really باغی being the active participle from بغی meaning, one who disobeys; one who is rebellious (Aqrab).
عاد (exceeding the limit) is the active participle from عدا i.e. he exceeded the proper or the prescribed limit. عدی علیهmeans, he transgressed against him. عاد is really عادی meaning, one who exceeds the limit (Aqrab).
اثم (sin). The verb اثم means, he did a thing which was unlawful for him; he did a thing which made him deserving of punishment. Thus the noun اثم means: (1) anything unlawful, i.e. a sin; (2) anything which makes a person deserving of punishment (Aqrab); (3) anything that pricks the mind as something evil (Mufradat).
This verse speaks only of food that is حرام or unlawful. It makes no mention of طیبات or pure and wholesome things to which reference has already been made in the preceding verse. It should not be supposed that the four things mentioned in this verse are the only things prohibited in Islam. As a matter of fact, Islam prohibits the use of many things; but they are divided into grades or classes, some of them being حرام or unlawful and others being ممنوع or simply forbidden. The verse under comment mentions only the former class. The forbidden things have been stated by the Holy Prophet and are mentioned in Hadith. They must not be used by the Faithful but they cannot be called حرام or unlawful. In fact, there is a great difference between unlawful (حرام) and forbidden (ممنوع) things. Islam recognizes due difference in the importance of different things, and so all prohibitions cannot be classed together and treated as of equal importance. The use of حرام or an unlawful thing has a great and direct bearing on the moral and spiritual development of man but it is not so with a ممنوع or forbidden thing which stands on a lower level of importance, though both are prohibited.
Among the things declared حرام or unlawful in this verse, the injuriousness of consuming blood and the flesh of a dead animal as food has been recognized by most authorities on medicine. The use of the flesh of swine has also proved to be injurious not only to the physical health of man, but also to his moral and spiritual health. The swine eats filth and takes delight in living in dirty places. It has indecent habits and possesses the evil trait of sex-perversion. Tape-worms, scrofula, cancer and encysted trichina are known to be more prevalent among pork-eating peoples. The use of pork also causes trichinosis.
The clause, and that on which the name of any other than Allah has been invoked, refers to that animal at the time of whose slaughter the name of any deity other than Allah is invoked or that animal which is slaughtered with a view to winning the pleasure of an idol or a saint etc., even though the name of Allah may have been mentioned while slaughtering it. Hence, all such animals as are sacrificed in order to propitiate a false deity or a saint, or any food that is cooked as an offering to a deceased person have been condemned as unlawful. Such foods are spiritually harmful. The incentive to these offerings is شرك (i.e. idolatry) and شرك is tantamount to rebellion against God.
In spite of the fact that the above mentioned things have been declared to be unlawful, the verse goes on to say that if for want of food the very life of a person should be in danger, considerations of the preservation of human life must temporarily prevail over other considerations. This is a case of choosing the lesser of two evils. Hence the verse very wisely makes an exception in case of a real and urgent necessity when no other food is available and one is in real danger of losing one’s life if one does not use the unlawful food. In fact, of the four unlawful things, the first three have been declared unlawful mostly on the basis of the fact that they are injurious to physical and moral health, and it is certainly wise to permit their use in case of urgent necessity when there is real danger to life. As for the fourth thing, i.e. a food consecrated to any other being beside Allah, it is evident that it is not injurious intrinsically. It is injurious only from the point of view of faith. Therefore when such a thing is used merely to save one’s life, which may be so usefully employed in the service of religion, there can be no real objection in eating it, because this extremely rare act cannot be considered as involving شرك or idolatry, particularly when it is performed with the sanction of God.
Permission for the exceptional use of such things is, however, qualified by two important conditions: (1) that one who resorts to this use must not be باغی (i.e. disobedient). There should be no lurking spirit of revolt or disobedience behind the act. The circumstances must be real and the condition genuine, and nothing should be done out of design and wilfulness; (2) that the user of unlawful food under exceptional circumstances should not become عاد i.e. he should not exceed the limit. He should confine himself to such quantity only as is absolutely essential to save life. Thus the exceptional use is permissible only at a time when one is under bona fide constraint and is in real danger, and then only to the extent which is absolutely necessary for saving life.
Though it has been declared in this verse that there is no sin in partaking of a prohibited food when no revolt or transgression is intended, yet as one might err in judging what is revolt or transgression and what is not, and thus be unconsciously guilty of breaking a divine commandment, the Quran adds the words: surely, Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful, meaning that an unintentional deviation will be forgiven by the Merciful God. The clause also reminds a Muslim that though it has been made permissible for him to take unlawful food in exceptional circumstances, yet such circumstances may be due to certain hidden shortcomings of his own for which he should seek God’s forgiveness, and that if he does so he will find God Forgiving and Merciful. In this connection see also 5:4; 6:146 & 16:116. (close)
اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ یَکۡتُمُوۡنَ مَاۤ اَنۡزَلَ اللّٰہُ مِنَ الۡکِتٰبِ وَ یَشۡتَرُوۡنَ بِہٖ ثَمَنًا قَلِیۡلًا ۙ اُولٰٓئِکَ مَا یَاۡکُلُوۡنَ فِیۡ بُطُوۡنِہِمۡ اِلَّا النَّارَ وَ لَا یُکَلِّمُہُمُ اللّٰہُ یَوۡمَ الۡقِیٰمَۃِ وَ لَا یُزَکِّیۡہِمۡ ۚۖ وَ لَہُمۡ عَذَابٌ اَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۱۷۵﴾
إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يَكۡتُمُونَ مَآ أَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُ مِنَ ٱلۡكِتَٰبِ وَيَشۡتَرُونَ بِهِۦ ثَمَنٗا قَلِيلًا أُوْلَـٰٓئِكَ مَا يَأۡكُلُونَ فِي بُطُونِهِمۡ إِلَّا ٱلنَّارَ وَلَا يُكَلِّمُهُمُ ٱللَّهُ يَوۡمَ ٱلۡقِيَٰمَةِ وَلَا يُزَكِّيهِمۡ وَلَهُمۡ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ
a. See 2:147. (close)
b. 2:42. (close)
200. The words signify that as fire cannot satisfy thirst, but rather increases it, so the things of this world cannot bring peace of mind and contentment but rather the reverse of them. (close)
c. 2:160. (close)
b. See 2:42. (close)
c. 2:160 (close)
181. Important Words:
یزکیھم (purify them) is from زکی meaning, he purified him; he elevated him (Aqrab). See also 2:130.
Sin generally originates from an undue love of the world but the world is indeed a small thing as compared with the Hereafter (9:38). Those who forsake truth or conceal it for the things of this world eat naught but fire which will eventually consume their own bodies. The verse beautifully hints that the things of this world, as opposed to spiritual blessings, are like the hellfire of the next. As food goes to make up the tissues of the body, so will the body of an enemy of truth eating fire become one whole mass of fire, serving as fuel for the fire of Hell. The words also signify that as fire cannot satisfy hunger and thirst, but rather increases them, so the things of this world cannot bring about peace of mind and contentment but rather the reverse of them. The verse also constitutes a stern warning to those preachers who, in order to gain worldly ends, accommodate their sermons to the views of the listeners and refrain from speaking the truth.
The words Allah will not speak to them do not mean that God will not speak to them at all; for God, being the Lord and Master, will speak even to the guilty on the Day of Judgement, but such speech will be like that of a judge condemning a criminal to punishment. What is meant is that God will not speak to them with love and affection.
The words, nor will He purify them, mean that He will not adjudge them as purified but will declare them unclean and unholy, These words may also mean that on the Day of Judgement, God will not elevate them or exalt them to Himself but will leave them abased and neglected. Again, as these people opposed the truth in the world in order that they might enjoy the good things thereof, they will correspondingly have a painful punishment in the Hereafter and will be deprived of all sweetness of life in the world to come (see important Words under 2:8). (close)
اُولٰٓئِکَ الَّذِیۡنَ اشۡتَرَوُا الضَّلٰلَۃَ بِالۡہُدٰی وَ الۡعَذَابَ بِالۡمَغۡفِرَۃِ ۚ فَمَاۤ اَصۡبَرَہُمۡ عَلَی النَّارِ ﴿۱۷۶﴾
أُوْلَـٰٓئِكَ ٱلَّذِينَ ٱشۡتَرَوُاْ ٱلضَّلَٰلَةَ بِٱلۡهُدَىٰ وَٱلۡعَذَابَ بِٱلۡمَغۡفِرَةِۚ فَمَآ أَصۡبَرَهُمۡ عَلَى ٱلنَّارِ
d. 2:17; 3:178; 4:45. (close)
201. The words mean that the disbelievers are, as it were, possessed of great endurance to bear the torment of the fire of Hell. These words have been used ironically. (close)
b. 2:17; 3:178; 4:45. (close)
The words ما اصبرھم علی النار i.e. how great is their endurance of the Fire, and similar other expressions are used in the Arabic language to express wonder on the part of the onlooker and tenacity and intensiveness of the relevant quality in the object. The expression, therefore, means that though the deeds of disbelievers are sure to bring down upon them the great punishment of Fire, yet they so tenaciously persist in their wicked course as to indicate that they are, as it were, possessed of great endurance of its torment. (close)
ذٰلِکَ بِاَنَّ اللّٰہَ نَزَّلَ الۡکِتٰبَ بِالۡحَقِّ ؕ وَ اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ اخۡتَلَفُوۡا فِی الۡکِتٰبِ لَفِیۡ شِقَاقٍۭ بَعِیۡدٍ ﴿۱۷۷﴾٪
ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّ ٱللَّهَ نَزَّلَ ٱلۡكِتَٰبَ بِٱلۡحَقِّۗ وَإِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ ٱخۡتَلَفُواْ فِي ٱلۡكِتَٰبِ لَفِي شِقَاقِۭ بَعِيدٖ
e. 17:106. (close)
a. 17:106. (close)
The estrangement of the disbelievers from the truth and their long association with falsehood have made them callous and incapable of knowing and accepting the Quranic revelation. Just as a sick person sometimes loses his faculty of taste and consequently declines to partake of delicious things, similarly these people, owing to their lack of contact with truth for a long time, have become inclined to reject the word of God. They prefer small worldly gains to the great spiritual and material advantages that would certainly have accrued to them, if they had accepted the truth. The words فی شقاق بعید i.e. "gone far in enmity" signify that there has come to exist a wide gulf between these people on the one hand and the truth on the other. (close)
لَیۡسَ الۡبِرَّ اَنۡ تُوَلُّوۡا وُجُوۡہَکُمۡ قِبَلَ الۡمَشۡرِقِ وَ الۡمَغۡرِبِ وَ لٰکِنَّ الۡبِرَّ مَنۡ اٰمَنَ بِاللّٰہِ وَ الۡیَوۡمِ الۡاٰخِرِ وَ الۡمَلٰٓئِکَۃِ وَ الۡکِتٰبِ وَ النَّبِیّٖنَ ۚ وَ اٰتَی الۡمَالَ عَلٰی حُبِّہٖ ذَوِی الۡقُرۡبٰی وَ الۡیَتٰمٰی وَ الۡمَسٰکِیۡنَ وَ ابۡنَ السَّبِیۡلِ ۙ وَ السَّآئِلِیۡنَ وَ فِی الرِّقَابِ ۚ وَ اَقَامَ الصَّلٰوۃَ وَ اٰتَی الزَّکٰوۃَ ۚ وَ الۡمُوۡفُوۡنَ بِعَہۡدِہِمۡ اِذَا عٰہَدُوۡا ۚ وَ الصّٰبِرِیۡنَ فِی الۡبَاۡسَآءِ وَ الضَّرَّآءِ وَ حِیۡنَ الۡبَاۡسِ ؕ اُولٰٓئِکَ الَّذِیۡنَ صَدَقُوۡا ؕ وَ اُولٰٓئِکَ ہُمُ الۡمُتَّقُوۡنَ ﴿۱۷۸﴾
۞لَّيۡسَ ٱلۡبِرَّ أَن تُوَلُّواْ وُجُوهَكُمۡ قِبَلَ ٱلۡمَشۡرِقِ وَٱلۡمَغۡرِبِ وَلَٰكِنَّ ٱلۡبِرَّ مَنۡ ءَامَنَ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلۡيَوۡمِ ٱلۡأٓخِرِ وَٱلۡمَلَـٰٓئِكَةِ وَٱلۡكِتَٰبِ وَٱلنَّبِيِّـۧنَ وَءَاتَى ٱلۡمَالَ عَلَىٰ حُبِّهِۦ ذَوِي ٱلۡقُرۡبَىٰ وَٱلۡيَتَٰمَىٰ وَٱلۡمَسَٰكِينَ وَٱبۡنَ ٱلسَّبِيلِ وَٱلسَّآئِلِينَ وَفِي ٱلرِّقَابِ وَأَقَامَ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَءَاتَى ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ وَٱلۡمُوفُونَ بِعَهۡدِهِمۡ إِذَا عَٰهَدُواْۖ وَٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ فِي ٱلۡبَأۡسَآءِ وَٱلضَّرَّآءِ وَحِينَ ٱلۡبَأۡسِۗ أُوْلَـٰٓئِكَ ٱلَّذِينَ صَدَقُواْۖ وَأُوْلَـٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلۡمُتَّقُونَ
a. 2:190. (close)
b. 76:9. (close)
202. ‘Ala Hubbi-hi means, for love of God; notwithstanding love of money. (close)
c. 9:4; 13:21. (close)
d. 2:215; 6:43; 7:95. (close)
202A. Al-Ba’sa’ and al-Ba’s are both derived from Ba’usa and Ba’isa. i.e.; he was or became strong and valiant in war or fight; he was or became in a state of great want or poverty or distress. Al-Ba’sa’ means, might or strength in war or fight; war or fight; fear; harm, etc., ad-Darra’ is especially that evil or affliction which relates to one’s person as disease, etc., and al-Ba’sa’ is that which relates to property, as poverty, etc. (Lane). (close)
e. 49:16. (close)
203. The verse gives a gist of Islamic teaching. It begins with the basic Islamic beliefs and doctrines which are the source and basis of all actions and on the rightness of which depends the rightness of human actions—belief in God, in the Last Day, in angels, Revealed Books and Divine Prophets. After this some of the more important ordinances relating to man’s actions are mentioned. (close)
b. 2:190. (close)
c. 76:9. (close)
d. 9:4; 13:21. (close)
e. 2:215; 6:43; 7:95. (close)
f. 49:16. (close)
184. Important Words:
البر (righteousness) is derived from بر. They say بر والدہ i.e. he obeyed his father or he behaved kindly and lovingly towards him. بر الله means, he obeyed God. بر فی قوله means, he spoke truthfully. برت الصلوة means, the Prayer was accepted. بر(birr) therefore, means: (1) a gift or favour; (2) obedience; (3) righteousness; (4) truthfulness (Aqrab); also (5) extensive goodness or goodness of a high order (Mufradat). And بر (barr) is one who does good to others. It is also one of the attributive names of God (Aqrab).
ابن السبیل (wayfarer) literally means, son of the road. The word signifies: (1) one who travels much (Lane); (2) a traveller or wayfarer who is far away from home, i.e. one who is on a long journey (Mufradat); (3) simply one on journey; (4) one whose way has been cut short to him, i.e. one who is stranded on the way (Aqrab).
الرقاب (captives) is the plural of رقبة (a captive or a slave) which is derived from رقب. They say رقبه i.e. he waited for or looked for him; he watched or guarded him; he was on his guard against him; he put a rope round his neck. رقبة means: (1) neck; (2) the hinder part thereof; (3) a person or being possessing a neck; (4) a slave or bondman or captive or prisoner, particularly a slave or captive who has contracted with his owner or custodian for his freedom. Thus the expression فی الرقاب would mean, in the ransoming of slaves or captives, etc. (Aqrab, Mufradat & Lane).
الباساء (poverty) and الباس (war) are both derived from بؤس orبئس i.e. (1) he was or became strong and valiant in war or fight; (2) he was or became in a state of great want or poverty or distress. الباساء means: (1), distress; (2) poverty; (3) hardship; (4) misfortune; (5) calamity; and (6) war. And البأس means (1) might or strength in war or fight; (2) courage, valour and prowess; (3) war or fight; (4) fear; (5) punishment or torment; and (6) harm or injury, as in لاباس به i.e. there is no harm in it (Lane & Aqrab). See also below.
الضراء (afflictions) is derived from ضر meaning, he caused him a loss or an injury. الضراء means: (1) vicissitudes of time; (2) hardship; (3) loss of life or property; (4) afflictions; and (5) famine (Aqrab). الضراء is especially that evil or affliction which relates to one’s person, as disease, etc. whereas البأساء is that which relates to property, as poverty, etc. (Lane).
The verse points to an important principle relating to form and spirit. Every commandment must have an outward form as well as an underlying spirit. What, however, is really meant is the underlying spirit and not the outward form which mostly serves as an outer shell for preserving the inner kernel. To illustrate this principle, the verse refers to the commandment relating to the turning of faces to a particular direction while offering Prayers. The verse points out that Islam has not directed the Faithful to face in a particular direction during Prayers, because it considers such an act to be of any intrinsic virtue. The fixing of a special direction is merely meant to bring about uniformity, whereas what really counts is the purpose underlying it, which is perfection of faith and deeds. The Quran, accordingly, proceeds to give in a nutshell the Islamic teachings about these two subjects.
The literal translation of the clauses ولکن البر من آمن is, "but righteousness is one who believes" which is obviously incomplete. So some words must be understood here. According to Sibawaih, a great authority on Arabic syntax, the rules of the Arabic language sometimes permit the omitting of a word for the sake of brevity or for laying special stress or for affording greater elasticity in speech. In accordance with this rule, the clause would read: ولکن البر من آمن i.e. "but righteousness is the righteousness of one who believes." Instances of such omissions of words are not lacking in the Arabic language (Sibawaih, i. 109).
According to yet another rule of the Arabic language, a مصدر (infinitive noun) is sometimes used in place of an اسم فاعل(active participle) in order to convey an intensified sense. Thus the word بر (righteousness) in the verse would mean بر الکامل i.e. "perfectly righteous or very righteous," and the clause would be translated as "perfectly righteous or very righteous is he who believes in Allah…"
The pronoun in the expression حبه (love of Him) may refer either to the word "Allah" in the previous clause, and in that case, the clause آتی المال علی حبه would mean, "spends his money for love of God". Or it may refer to the word مال(money). In this case, the clause would mean, "spends his money notwithstanding his love for money". Lastly, it may also refer to the noun implied in the verb آتی i.e. the act of spending. In this case the clause would mean "spends his money for the love of spending it". All these meanings are correct and may be applied. Indeed, it is one of the inimitable beauties of the Quranic diction that it chooses words and constructions that go to convey a variety of meanings in the shortest of expressions.
The verse affords another example of this kind in the expression ابن السبیل (son of the road). As explained under Important Words, this expression gives no less than four meanings and all are equally applicable here. So spending on ابن السبیل would signify (1) spending money in order to encourage travelling, which is a means of increasing knowledge and extending social relations; (2) helping such travellers as are on long journeys and are far away from home; (3) helping all wayfarers; and (4) helping such wayfarers and travellers as become stranded on the way. This is indeed a wonderful example of the combination of brevity and comprehensiveness. The verse also throws some light on the Islamic teaching about slavery. Islam prescribes it as a sign of true faith and perfect righteousness that money be spent on emancipating slaves. Nay, even such as are made captives from among those who attack Muslims with a view to annihilating them, are to be shown mercy and granted freedom out of money supplied by Muslims. For the discussion of Islamic teachings about slavery see 24:34.
The word الصابرین (the patient) in this verse is in the accusative case, while, according to the common rules of Arabic grammar, it should be in the nominative case like the preceding word الموفون (those who fulfil). The change is not without purpose and has been made to put emphasis on the word. According to Abu ‘Ali, a well-known authority on Arabic syntax, when a sentence contains a number of nouns of praise or dispraise, it is considered idiomatic to vary their grammatical inflection (Muhit, part ii). This is done to intensify the meaning.
As pointed out in the beginning, this verse gives a gist of the teachings of Islam. It begins with the fundamental Islamic beliefs and doctrines which are the source and basis of all actions and on the rectitude of which depends the rectitude of' one’s actions. The most fundamental of these is belief in God Who is the central point of all faith. Second in importance is belief in the Last Day or the Day of Judgement, upon a real understanding of which depends the direction of man’s actions in this life. Then follows belief in angels who serve as a sort of intermediaries between God and His creation. Then there are Divine Scriptures embodying God’s revelation which point out the way to the attainment of His pleasure and the purification of man’s soul. Lastly are Prophets who are the recipients of God’s revelations, communicating to man the will of God and serving as models to be followed and imitated by him. These five objects of faith have been mentioned here in their natural order and not necessarily in order of importance.
After stating the fundamental objects of faith, the verse proceeds to mention some of the more important ordinances relating to man’s actions. Pride of place is given to charity which a man gives not as a duty imposed on him, but as prompted by love, solicitude and sympathy for his kinsmen and fellow beings or out of love for common humanity. Next come the commandments regarding Prayer and Zakah which help to establish a true connection between God and man on the one hand and regulate relations between man and man on the other. Finally are laid down the two bulwarks of character and morality, i.e. (1) the redemption of promises and pledges; and (2) the displaying of fortitude, patience and steadfastness in time of distress, the first-mentioned forming one of the bases of international morality and the latter the means of its perfection. (close)
یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا کُتِبَ عَلَیۡکُمُ الۡقِصَاصُ فِی الۡقَتۡلٰی ؕ اَلۡحُرُّ بِالۡحُرِّ وَ الۡعَبۡدُ بِالۡعَبۡدِ وَ الۡاُنۡثٰی بِالۡاُنۡثٰی ؕ فَمَنۡ عُفِیَ لَہٗ مِنۡ اَخِیۡہِ شَیۡءٌ فَاتِّبَاعٌۢ بِالۡمَعۡرُوۡفِ وَ اَدَآءٌ اِلَیۡہِ بِاِحۡسَانٍ ؕ ذٰلِکَ تَخۡفِیۡفٌ مِّنۡ رَّبِّکُمۡ وَ رَحۡمَۃٌ ؕ فَمَنِ اعۡتَدٰی بَعۡدَ ذٰلِکَ فَلَہٗ عَذَابٌ اَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۱۷۹﴾
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيۡكُمُ ٱلۡقِصَاصُ فِي ٱلۡقَتۡلَىۖ ٱلۡحُرُّ بِٱلۡحُرِّ وَٱلۡعَبۡدُ بِٱلۡعَبۡدِ وَٱلۡأُنثَىٰ بِٱلۡأُنثَىٰۚ فَمَنۡ عُفِيَ لَهُۥ مِنۡ أَخِيهِ شَيۡءٞ فَٱتِّبَاعُۢ بِٱلۡمَعۡرُوفِ وَأَدَآءٌ إِلَيۡهِ بِإِحۡسَٰنٖۗ ذَٰلِكَ تَخۡفِيفٞ مِّن رَّبِّكُمۡ وَرَحۡمَةٞۗ فَمَنِ ٱعۡتَدَىٰ بَعۡدَ ذَٰلِكَ فَلَهُۥ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٞ
a. 2:195; 5:46. (close)
204. The verse comprises a very important principle of civil law, i.e. equality of man and necessity of awarding proportionate punishment to all offenders without distinction, unless an offender is forgiven by the relatives of his victim under circumstances that are calculated to lead to improvement and betterment of conditions.
The words "is prescribed for you" show that retaliation for the slain is obligatory. Failure to inflict the punishment prescribed by Law on the offender is tantamount to violation of the Divine commandment. The duty, however, of punishing the culprit devolves not on the heirs of the murdered person but, as the plural ‘Alaikum (for you) shows, on the authorities responsible for the maintenance of law and order. The former, however, have been given the option to forgive. So whereas on the one hand the concerned authorities are bound to punish the offender according to the requirements of law, having no right to pardon him of their own accord, on the other the heirs of the murdered person are not entitled to take the law into their own hands and inflict the punishment on the guilty person themselves. In awarding the punishment the verse makes no distinction between offenders. The words used are of a general nature and apply to all offenders who might be guilty of murder, no matter of what rank or station in life or of what religion. Any person, irrespective of his caste or creed and of his station, must be put to death for the murder of any other person, unless pardoned by the relatives of the victim and unless also the pardon has the sanction of the competent authorities. The sayings of the Holy Prophet are explicit on this point (Majah, ch. on Diyat). The Companions of the Holy Prophet are all agreed that a Muslim may be put to death for murdering a non-belligerent disbeliever (Tabari, v. 44). The Holy Prophet himself ordered a Muslim murderer to be put to death for the murder of a non-belligerent non-Muslim (Qutni). The words, the freeman for the freeman and the slave for the slave and the female for the female, do not mean that a freeman should not be punished with death for the murder of a slave or that a woman should not be put to death for killing a member of the opposite sex, etc. The social position of a person or the sex of a party also cannot be considered a bar to the application of this law. The peculiar construction, i.e. "the freeman for the freeman,……" has been adopted to refer to, and abolish, a certain custom of the Arabs whereby they used to take into consideration the sex and the social status of the murderer and the murdered person when determining punishment. The commandment contained in this verse seeks to abolish that obnoxious custom. In fact, the law of retaliation, as stated in this verse, is confined to the clause, equitable retaliation in the matter of the slain is prescribed for you, which forms a complete sentence in itself, giving a full and complete meaning. The ensuing expression, the freeman for the freeman and the slave for the slave and the female for the female, is something extra, not forming part of the law. It only contains a repudiation of the Arab custom referred to above and illustrates, by giving three instances, how the law is to be administered. Such an expression is known as Jumlah Isti’nafiah in Arabic Grammar, and is technically introduced with a view to answering a question which is suggested by the preceding clause to which it is added without any intervening conjunction. The question answered in such an expression is often understood and not expressed (Mukhtasar). The Holy Prophet is reported to have said: "Whoever kills his slave shall be put to death" (Majah). At another place he says: "The blood of all Muslims is alike in respect of the law of retaliation" (Nasa’i). (close)
185. Important Words:
قصاص (retaliation) is derived from قص. They say قصه i.e. (1) he cut it (hair, etc.), or be clipped it; (2) he followed him closely or followed in his footsteps; and (3) he described or narrated it. قاص الرجل means, he did with the man the like of that which he did to him; he retaliated on him for the wrong done to him. اقص الامیر زیدا من بکر means, the Amir retaliated upon Bakr for the wrong he had done to Zaid. قصاص therefore, means, retaliation, by slaying for slaying, and wounding for wounding, etc. (Aqrab) or the following up of a murder or an injury with a view to retaliating or punishing (Mufradat).
القتلی (the slain) is the plural of قتیل in the sense of مقتول i.e. a murdered person (Aqrab).
الحر (freeman) is derived from حر meaning: (1) he was free-born; (2) he was of good and noble origin. حرالارض means, the best portion of land. Thus الحر means; (1) a freeman, opposite of slave or captive; (2) a noble person; (3) the good and pure portion of a thing (Aqrab).
This verse comprises a very important principle of civil law, i.e. equality of man and necessity of awarding proportionate punishment to all offenders without distinction, unless an offender is forgiven by the relatives of his victim under circumstances that are expected to lead to improvement and betterment of conditions.
The words کتب علیکم i.e. "is prescribed for you" show that retaliation for the slain is not simply permissible but is obligatory. Failure to inflict the punishment prescribed by Law on the offender would be tantamount to a violation of the commandment. The duty, however, of punishing the culprit does not devolve on the heirs of the murdered person but, as the plural number of the expression علیکم (for you) shows, on the authorities responsible for the maintenance of law and order. But, as the singular number of the expression اخیه (one’s brother) shows, the former have been given the option to forgive. The clause, therefore, means that on the one hand the concerned authorities are bound to punish the offender according to the requirements of law, having no right to pardon him of their own accord, and on the other hand the heirs of the murdered person are not entitled to take the law into their own hands and inflict the punishment on the guilty person themselves.
The verse under comment makes no distinction between different classes of persons in connection with the law of retaliation. The words used are of a general nature and apply to all offenders who might be guilty of murder, no matter of what rank or station in life or of what religion. Any person, irrespective of his caste or creed and irrespective of his station, must be put to death for the murder of any other person, unless pardoned by the relatives of the victim and unless the pardon has the sanction of the authorities. The sayings of the Holy Prophet are explicit on this point (Majah, ch. on Diyat).
There is indeed a saying of the Holy Prophet to the effect that a Muslim should not be put to death for killing a disbeliever. But this saying, read in conjunction with several others bearing on the same subject and interpreted in the light of the relevant Quranic verses, forces us to the conclusion that the word "disbeliever" in the tradition referred to above is not general but means only a حربی کافر i.e. such disbeliever as belongs to a people who are at war with the Muslims or, in other words, one who is a member of a belligerent community. In fact, the Companions of the Holy Prophet are all agreed that a Muslim may be put to death for murdering a non-belligerent unbeliever (Tabari, v. 44). The Holy Prophet himself ordered a Muslim murderer to be put to death for the murder of a non-belligerent non-Muslim (Qutni).
The expression, the freeman for the freeman and the slave for the slave and the female for the female, does not mean that a freeman should not be punished with death for the murder of a slave or that a woman should not be put to death for killing a member of the opposite sex, etc. The other verses of the Quran as well as the sayings and the practice of the Holy Prophet clearly establish the fact that the social position of a person or the sex of a party was never considered a bar to the application of this law. The peculiar construction, i.e. "the freeman for the freeman," etc. has been adopted here to refer to, and abolish, a custom of the Arabs whereby they used to take into consideration the sex and the social status of the murderer and the murdered person when determining punishment. If a man of high social position happened to kill a man of humble position, or if the slave of a great man killed that of a humble man, or if a lady of noble birth murdered a woman of humble origin, etc. the murderer was not punished with death, leniency being shown to him or her in sundry other ways as well. The commandment contained in this verse seeks to abolish that obnoxious custom of the Arabs and lays down in clear and unmistakable terms that no regard should be paid to the status of the murderer in the matter of retaliation.
In fact, the law of retaliation, as stated in this verse, is confined to the clause, equitable retaliation in the matter of the slain is prescribed for you, which forms a complete sentence in itself, giving a full and complete meaning. The ensuing expression, the freeman for the freeman and the slave for the slave and the female for the female, is something extra, not forming part of the law. It only contains a repudiation of the Arab custom referred to above and illustrates, by giving three instances, how the law is to be administered. Such an expression is known as جملة استینا فیه or جملة مستانفه in Arabic grammar, and is technically introduced with a view to answering a question which is suggested by the preceding clause to which it is added without any intervening conjunction. The question answered in such an expression is often understood and not expressed (Mukhtasar).
The sayings of the Holy Prophet and his practice also support the above interpretation, for it is on record that he once ordered a woman to be put to death for murdering a man (Muslim), and on another occasion he commanded that a freeman be put to death for the murder of a slave. Says the Holy Prophet: "Whoever kills his slave shall be put to death" (Majah). At another place he says: "The blood of all Muslims is alike in respect of the law of retaliation" (Nasa’i).
The words, if one is granted any remission by one’s brother, show that the infliction of capital punishment is not obligatory in all cases; for in special circumstances the murderer can be exempted from the extreme punishment by the heirs of the murdered person. Such exemption, which may be termed partial as the word شیء (any) indicates, means that the heirs of the deceased may renounce their right to have the murderer put to death and may in place of that receive from him blood money. Or as the Holy Prophet has made it clear, the heirs may, in exceptional cases and with the sanction of the authorities, even grant full pardon, remitting blood-money as well (Musnad & Baihaqi).
It is worthy of note that where the Quran speaks of remission, it uses the word "brother" instead of "heir of the murdered person". This is to hint to the heir of the slain person that he should, as far as possible, take a lenient view of the offence. On the other band, the murderer is also enjoined to pay blood money with good grace and without undue delay.
The concluding clause, i.e. whoso transgresses thereafter, for him there shall be a grievous punishment, is meant to point to the fact that if, after the matter has been amicably settled and the murderer granted a remission by the heirs of the murdered person, the heirs should take it into their heads to wreak vengeance on the murderer by killing him, they will be shown no mercy and will get capital punishment. Says the Prophet: "I will allow no remission in case of one whokills the murderer after he has accepted blood money from him" (Jarir).
The Islamic law of قصاص (retaliation), as briefly stated above, provides a very effective and practical means to put a stop to murder and safeguard human life. A man who shows a callous disregard for the life of a fellow person, loses his title to live as a member of human society. The option to pardon allowed to the heirs of the slain person should not be regarded as likely to encourage murder, for such option is not synonymous with exemption from punishment, as in ordinary circumstances the murderer will have to pay the blood money. Moreover, the would-be murderer possesses no means to know that the heirs of the person whose murder he contemplates will actually be persuaded to pardon him; so the fear of capital punishment will always be there to deter him from the commission of the crime. Again, pardon or remission is permissible only where the circumstances are such that pardon or remission is likely to improve matters and bring about good results for all parties concerned (42:41). Thus, while on the one hand, Islam has made due provision for the suppression of crime, it has, on the other, kept open the door for the display of the noble qualities of benevolence and mercy.
The way in which the Quran has upheld the ultimate necessity of the death penalty is indeed most significant. At the time when the Quran was revealed, people exacted retaliation for an injury done to them with a vengeance. They were not satisfied even with inflicting capital punishment on the murderer, to say nothing of pardoning him. They needed no incentive to retaliation. They were already overdoing it. In fact, the Islamic law of retaliation, viewed in the light of the circumstances prevailing at the time of its revelation, implied a prophecy that a time would come when people would go to the other extreme and a movement for the total abolition of capital punishment would be set on foot. So the Omniscient God laid down the law of retaliation in a form that is indispensable for the preservation and protection of human life, as well as the promotion of harmony and goodwill.
To prevent crime, Islam really aims at eliminating the conditions that produce it. It seeks to remove the very root-cause of all crime by working a complete moral reformation in man. But it does not remain content with that. It also prescribes deterrent laws in conformity with the dictates of reason, justice and humanity. The fact that, despite efforts to the contrary, the death penalty is still found on the Statute Books of most countries in one form or another, constitutes a sufficient proof of the wisdom of the Islamic teaching. As a matter of fact, even the most enthusiastic protagonists of the abolition of capital punishment have not yet been able to suggest a suitable alternative to it. They have had to admit that a long term of imprisonment as an alternative is "horrible" and is "not an ideal substitute" (Capital Punishment in the Twentieth Century by E. Roy Calvert, G. P. Putnam, London, 1930). The law of retaliation still remains the most effective deterrent to crime and an essential method to satisfy the demands of justice; and the Islamic Law takes a further step to bring about reconciliation between the offender and the aggrieved party. (close)