لَیۡسَ عَلَیۡکُمۡ جُنَاحٌ اَنۡ تَبۡتَغُوۡا فَضۡلًا مِّنۡ رَّبِّکُمۡ ؕ فَاِذَاۤ اَفَضۡتُمۡ مِّنۡ عَرَفٰتٍ فَاذۡکُرُوا اللّٰہَ عِنۡدَ الۡمَشۡعَرِ الۡحَرَامِ ۪ وَ اذۡکُرُوۡہُ کَمَا ہَدٰٮکُمۡ ۚ وَ اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ مِّنۡ قَبۡلِہٖ لَمِنَ الضَّآلِّیۡنَ ﴿۱۹۹﴾
لَيۡسَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ جُنَاحٌ أَن تَبۡتَغُواْ فَضۡلٗا مِّن رَّبِّكُمۡۚ فَإِذَآ أَفَضۡتُم مِّنۡ عَرَفَٰتٖ فَٱذۡكُرُواْ ٱللَّهَ عِندَ ٱلۡمَشۡعَرِ ٱلۡحَرَامِۖ وَٱذۡكُرُوهُ كَمَا هَدَىٰكُمۡ وَإِن كُنتُم مِّن قَبۡلِهِۦ لَمِنَ ٱلضَّآلِّينَ
c. 62:11. (close)
234. As the object of Pilgrimage is that the greatest possible number of Muslims should take part in it, therefore, the Qur’an permits pilgrims to engage in commerce and trade. Those, who cannot take hard cash with them, may carry merchandise and thereby earn money to meet the expenses of the journey. (close)
235. ‘Arafat is a plain or valley near Mecca where pilgrims halt in the latter part of the ninth day of Dhul-Hijjah. It is nine miles from Mecca, and the halt technically known as Wuquf forms an important rite of the Pilgrimage. ‘Arafat is a compound word meaning, the sacred place or means of perception or knowledge. (close)
236. Mash‘arul-Haram is a small hill in Muzdalifah, which lies between Mecca and ‘Arafat. Here the Holy Prophet said the evening and the night Prayers and remained engaged in prayer all night before the rising of the sun. The place is specially meant for meditation and prayer in Pilgrimage. It is about six miles from Mecca. (close)
a. 2:153, 204; 8:46; 62:11. (close)
a. 62:11. (close)
b. 2:153, 204; 8:46; 62:11. (close)
205. Important Words:
فضل (bounty). See 2:65.
افضتم (you pour forth) is derived from افاض which is again derived from فاض. They say فاض السیل i.e. the flood-water was great in quantity and overflowed the banks. فاضت عینه means, his eye was full of tears, which began to flow down fast. افاض is both transitive and intransitive. They say افاض الماء i.e. he poured out water. افاض القوم من المکان means, the people, who were great in number, poured forth from the house and dispersed. فیاض is one whose charity flows like water (Aqrab).
عرفات (‘Arafat) is the name given to a plain or valley near Mecca where pilgrims halt in the latter portion of the ninth day of Dhul-Hijjah. It is about a mile and a half in circuit with sloping sides rising nearly two hundred feet above the level of the adjacent plain. It is nine miles from Mecca, and the halt technically known as وقوف at this place forms the principal factor of Hajj or Pilgrimage. The word is derived from عرف meaning, he knew or recognized.
مشعرالحرام (Mash‘arul-Haram) is the name given to a small hillock in Muzdalifah, which lies between Mecca and ‘Arafat. Here the Holy Prophet said the evening and the night Prayers and offered special prayers to God before the rising of the sun. It is thus a place specially meant for meditation and prayer in Pilgrimage. It is about six miles from Mecca. The name is a compound of مشعر (from شعر) meaning, the place or means of perception or knowledge, and الحرام (from حرم) meaning, sacred.
As the object of Pilgrimage is that the greatest possible number of Muslims should take part in it, therefore, the Quran permits pilgrims to engage in commerce and trade. Those who cannot take hard cash with them may carry merchandise, and thereby earn money to meet the expenses of the journey. This is what is hinted in the clause, it is no sin for you that you seek the bounty of your Lord. Similar permission is granted to those who gather for the Friday Prayers (62:11).
But trade should not interfere with the acts of worship and devotion prescribed in Pilgrimage. Says God, but when you pour forth from ‘Arafat, remember Him as He has guided you. The Holy Prophet used to pass his time in prayer and meditation at Mash‘arul-Haram and the Faithful are warned that trade or any other worldly occupation should not make them forget the real object of Pilgrimage. The word افضتم (pour forth, lit. overflow) also has a metaphorical meaning, i.e. when you return from ‘Arafat, you should not return empty-handed but should return like a vessel full to overflowing with spiritual knowledge and blessings.
The reader will note that عرفات (‘Arafat) and مشعرالحرام (Mash‘arul-Haram) are both attributive names which have now come to be used as proper ones. They are used to draw the attention of the pilgrim to the fact that Hajj should be a source of knowledge and spiritual realization to him and not a mere outward rite, a mere shell, with no inner soul. The word ‘Arafat also hints that it should be a means of mutual introduction and recognition for Muslims coming from different parts of the world. (close)
ثُمَّ اَفِیۡضُوۡا مِنۡ حَیۡثُ اَفَاضَ النَّاسُ وَ اسۡتَغۡفِرُوا اللّٰہَ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ غَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِیۡمٌ ﴿۲۰۰﴾
ثُمَّ أَفِيضُواْ مِنۡ حَيۡثُ أَفَاضَ ٱلنَّاسُ وَٱسۡتَغۡفِرُواْ ٱللَّهَۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَفُورٞ رَّحِيمٞ
237. If thumma is taken to mean "and," and "the return" spoken of in this verse is taken to refer to the return from ‘Arafat, then an-Nas would mean "other people;" but if it is taken to mean "then" and "the return" spoken of here is taken to refer to the return from Mash‘arul-Haram, then an-Nas would signify "all people" and both these meanings are supported by rules of the Arabic language. (close)
238. Before the advent of Islam the Quraish and the Banu Kinanah known as Hums did not accompany other pilgrims to ‘Arafat, but stopped short at Mash‘arul-Haram, waiting to join other people returning from ‘Arafat. In this and the preceding verse, they are bidden not to stop short at Mash‘arul-Haram but to go up to ‘Arafat and do as other people do. After returning from ‘Arafat to Mash‘arul-Haram, pilgrims should proceed to Mina where sacrifices are offered and the state of Ihram comes to an end. (close)
206. Important Words:
استغفروا (ask forgiveness) is derived from غفر for which see 2:59. استغفر would thus mean, he asked God for مغفرة in all its senses, i.e. covering up of sins, forgiveness, protection against stumbling, protection against punishment of sins, etc. استغفار is not confined to verbal asking for forgiveness only, but extends to, and includes, practical change for the better on the part of him who asks for forgiveness. He should ask for pardon both by word and deed (Mufradat).
The word ثم (then) in the clause, then pour forth from where the people pour forth, has given rise to a divergence of opinion among commentators. If it means "then", it must needs be taken to indicate sequence or order and the clause would thus signify: "after you have returned to مشعرالحرام from عرفات (as mentioned in the preceding verse), you should return (from مشعرالحرام to منی) from where the people return". But this is obviously superfluous, as nobody has ever differed about proceeding to and returning from مشعرالحرام with the people. A difference existed only with regard to proceeding to and returning from عرفات; for, whereas the Quraish and the Kinanah, known as Hums, stopped short at Mash‘arul-Haram, a place within حرم (the Sacred Territory) and did not go up to ‘Arafat which is outside حرم, other pilgrims went right up to ‘Arafat. Consequently if the commandment with regard to "pouring forth with the people" was at all needed, it was needed with regard to ‘Arafat and not with regard to Mash‘arul-Haram but in the verse under comment the Quran appears to mention it in connection with the latter. This difficulty has led some to interpret the word ثم not as "then" but simply as "and" which the idiom of the Arabic language justifies (Lane). These commentators have translated the words ثم افیضوا not as "then pour forth" but simply as "and pour forth". In this case the "pouring forth" spoken of may relate to ‘Arafat and not to Mash‘arul-Haram as the clause under comment appears to indicate. This is certainly not an incorrect interpretation so far as the rules of the Arabic language go; but another interpretation is also possible in which the primary meaning of ثم (then) is retained. This may be explained as follows. The preceding verse speaks of "pouring forth" or returning from ‘Arafat, thereby making it plain that going up to ‘Arafat is necessary. This completes the commandment with regard to the stay at and return from ‘Arafat. The verse under comment takes us further, speaking of the return from Mash‘arul-Haram and not from ‘Arafat, and thus the primary significance of ثم i.e. "then" is retained, for the obvious reason that the return from Mash‘arul-Haram comes after the return from ‘Arafat. As to the words, pour forth from where the people pour forth, it may be noted that in this case they would be taken to have been used merely to indicate that whereas the return from ‘Arafat is confined to those who adhere to the right custom and go right up to ‘Arafat, the return from Mash‘arul-Haram is general, including also the proud Hums who stopped short at Mash‘arul-Haram and did not go further. This is further corroborated by the fact that whereas the Quran uses the word افضتم (you pour forth) with regard to the return from ‘Arafat, it uses the words افیضوامن حیث افاض الناس i.e. "pour forth from where the people (i.e. all people) pour forth" with regard to the return from Mash‘arul-Haram which was at that time more general and extended to all. Thus the meaning of the word الناس would also change with the change in the meaning of the word ثم. If ثم is taken to mean "and", and "the return" spoken of in this verse is taken to refer to the return from ‘Arafat, then الناس would mean "other people"; but if ثم is taken to mean "then" and "the return" spoken of here is taken to refer to the return from Mash‘arul-Haram, then الناس would signify "all people" and both these meanings are justified by the rules of the Arabic language.
In short, before the advent of Islam the Quraish and the Banu Kinanah known as Hums did not accompany other pilgrims to ‘Arafat, but stopped short at Mash‘arul-Haram, waiting to join other people returning from ‘Arafat. In this and the preceding verse, they are bidden not to stop short at Mash‘arul-Haram but to go up to ‘Arafat and do as other people do. After returning from ‘Arafat to Mash‘arul-Haram, pilgrims should proceed to Mina where sacrifices are offered and the state of Ihram comes to an end. The clause, and seek forgiveness from Allah, hints that as Hajj consists of certain rites, there is the possibility of some persons not understanding the meaning and spirit of these rites. Moreover, where a number of religious acts are crowded into a short space of time, there is always the possibility of some persons missing and omitting certain things or of forgetting the prescribed order thereof. The pilgrims are, therefore, exhorted to have recourse to Istighfar, i.e. seeking God’s forgiveness as well as His protection against error and its consequences.
The word استغفار literally means "to pray for the covering up of sins and protection," which signifies forgiveness for past sins and protection against future ones. Thus, when a pilgrim offers Istighfar, he seeks not only forgiveness for what is past or protection against stumbling with regard to the observance of the rites of Pilgrimage but also protection against future stumblings.
It should also be remembered that Istighfar is not needed by ordinary people only, but holy servants of God also resort to it. The former offer Istighfar to seek protection against future sins as well as from the consequences of past errors; while the latter seek protection against human shortcomings and limitations that may hinder their progress and work. Holy men too, are human, and though they may be free from sins, they are always eager to seek divine help and assistance against human weaknesses and frailties. Nay, as they have to set an example to others and their responsibilities are also far heavier than those of other people, they resort to Istighfar more often than ordinary men. (close)
فَاِذَا قَضَیۡتُمۡ مَّنَاسِکَکُمۡ فَاذۡکُرُوا اللّٰہَ کَذِکۡرِکُمۡ اٰبَآءَکُمۡ اَوۡ اَشَدَّ ذِکۡرًا ؕ فَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَنۡ یَّقُوۡلُ رَبَّنَاۤ اٰتِنَا فِی الدُّنۡیَا وَ مَا لَہٗ فِی الۡاٰخِرَۃِ مِنۡ خَلَاقٍ ﴿۲۰۱﴾
فَإِذَا قَضَيۡتُم مَّنَٰسِكَكُمۡ فَٱذۡكُرُواْ ٱللَّهَ كَذِكۡرِكُمۡ ءَابَآءَكُمۡ أَوۡ أَشَدَّ ذِكۡرٗاۗ فَمِنَ ٱلنَّاسِ مَن يَقُولُ رَبَّنَآ ءَاتِنَا فِي ٱلدُّنۡيَا وَمَا لَهُۥ فِي ٱلۡأٓخِرَةِ مِنۡ خَلَٰقٖ
b. 2:129. (close)
c. See 2:153. (close)
d. 4:135; 42:21. (close)
a. 2:129. (close)
b. See 2:153. (close)
c. 4:135; 42:21. (close)
207. Important Words:
فاذکروا (celebrate praises of) is derived from ذکر which means, (1) he talked of him by way of praising him; (2) he remembered him in his heart (Aqrab & Mufradat). See also 2:41, 153.
او (or) is a preposition, used to convey a number of meanings, the more important being: (1) or; (2) and; (3) nay; (4) unless; (5) until (Aqrab & Lane).
خلاق (share) means, an abundant share in what is good (Aqrab).
The clause, celebrate the praises of Allah as you celebrated the praises of your fathers, points to a practice of pagan Arabs who used to gather together at a certain place in Mina after the performance of the rites of Pilgrimage and glorify their forefathers by reciting poems in their praise. Muslims are here bidden to glorify God instead, and praise Him as they used to praise their forefathers, and, the words "even more than that" have been added to emphasize that God’s praises should transcend all, for the word او (or) also means, "nay". It is also possible that the word ك (as) in the expression کذکرکم (as you celebrated praises) has been used only to denote general similarity without reference to degree, and the word او (or) has been used in the sense of "and". In this case the verse would mean that though in the general manner of praise your celebration of God’s praises may resemble the praises with which you glorified your fathers, in degree it should excel it, being اشد (stronger, loftier and firmer).
Here is a good example of how the Quran, while retaining some old customs, improved upon and, spiritualised them to serve the ends of Islam.
The clause, when you have performed the acts of worship prescribed for you, celebrate the praises of Allah as you celebrated the praises of your fathers or even more than that, has yet another meaning. As the word ذکر also means 'remembering' and the word اب (father) includes mother as well (12:101), the clause may also signify that the rites of Pilgrimage, if performed in the right spirit, should fill the heart of man with such love for God as to make him always remember Him just as a child remembers his parents. This is why the Quran begins the word اذکروا with the conjunction ف meaning "so" or "then", hinting that the result of the performance of the rites of Pilgrimage should be that a pilgrim should ever after remember his Creator with the fondness displayed by a child for his parents. But this is only the first stage. With holier men God’s love should be even greater, as the verse hints in the words, or even more than that. Says the Holy Prophet, "The sign of true faith is that a believer’s love for God and His Apostle should be greater than his love for any other being or thing" (Bukhari).
The concluding clause, i.e. of men there are some who say, 'Our Lord, grant us (good things) in this world, and such a one shall have no share in the Hereafter, points to the fact that if the pilgrim confines himself to the celebration of the praises of his fathers and forgets his Creator, he would be like a person who spends all his efforts in the pursuit of this world, even his prayers being confined to search after worldly things. Such a person shall evidently have no claim to the good things of the Hereafter. It is also significant that in this clause the Quran does not use the word حسنة (good things) with the words فی الدنیا (in this world) thereby hinting that such men generally make no distinction between the good things of this world and the bad things thereof, their sole object being the things of this world, irrespective of whether they are good or bad.
As explained under Important Words, the word خلاق (share) occurring in the clause, such a one shall have no share in the Hereafter, really means, "an abundant share in what is good". So the verse would really mean not that such a person will get only a small share in the Hereafter but that, by remaining engrossed in the things of this world, he will deprive himself of a big share and will get no share at all. As the Quran has to condense vast subjects in a small space, it purposely uses words and constructions that take the smallest space but convey the vastest meaning. (close)
وَ مِنۡہُمۡ مَّنۡ یَّقُوۡلُ رَبَّنَاۤ اٰتِنَا فِی الدُّنۡیَا حَسَنَۃً وَّ فِی الۡاٰخِرَۃِ حَسَنَۃً وَّ قِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ ﴿۲۰۲﴾
وَمِنۡهُم مَّن يَقُولُ رَبَّنَآ ءَاتِنَا فِي ٱلدُّنۡيَا حَسَنَةٗ وَفِي ٱلۡأٓخِرَةِ حَسَنَةٗ وَقِنَا عَذَابَ ٱلنَّارِ
a. 42:21. (close)
239. The verse mentions that class of men whose efforts and aspirations are not confined to this world only. They seek the good things of this world and also the good things of the next. Hasanah also means, success (Taj). The prayer is very comprehensive and the Holy Prophet very often made use of it (Muslim). (close)
In this verse God mentions that class of men whose efforts and wishes are not confined to this world only. They (1) seek the good things of this world and (2) seek the good things of the next world, and (3) try to be saved from the Fire which not only signifies the fire of Hell but also everything that is painful and is a source of heart-burning. It may be noted that here, unlike the preceding verse, God uses the word حسنة (good) with the words فی الدنیا (in this world), meaning that even virtuous men may seek the things of this world but they should always be good and not bad.
The prayer mentioned in this verse is indeed very comprehensive and may be used by men of all grades in all their spiritual and temporal requirements, and the Holy Prophet is reported to have used this prayer very often (Muslim, ch. on Dhikr) with a view to teaching his Companions that if and when they choose to seek both the good things of this world and of the next, they should pray like this.
The prayer has another significance also. The good things of this world and the good things of the Hereafter spoken of in this verse may both stand for spiritual blessings, the good things of this world standing for such spiritual blessings as a righteous man gets in this world and the good things of the next world standing for those which he will get in the Hereafter. In fact, the very words used in the verse point to that signification, for the Quranic words فی الدنیاحسنة do not mean "good things of this world" but simply "good in this world". In this case النارor "the Fire" would stand not for Hell, protection against which is, in fact, included in the good things of the next world, but for such trials and hardships as one may come across in this world in the struggle for spiritual advancement or in the effort to benefit others. It was in this sense that the Holy Prophet used this prayer with regard to himself; for personally he never sought even the good things of this world, though he always sought "good in this world". (close)
اُولٰٓئِکَ لَہُمۡ نَصِیۡبٌ مِّمَّا کَسَبُوۡا ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ سَرِیۡعُ الۡحِسَابِ ﴿۲۰۳﴾
أُوْلَـٰٓئِكَ لَهُمۡ نَصِيبٞ مِّمَّا كَسَبُواْۚ وَٱللَّهُ سَرِيعُ ٱلۡحِسَابِ
209. Important Words:
نصیب (share) is derived from نصب. They say نصبه i.e. he set it up. Therefore نصیب means, a set share or portion (Lane).
Such men as seek the good things of this world as well as the good things of the Hereafter (2:202) will have their reward from God according to their deserts. The clause, Allah is swift at reckoning, however, contains a warning to such men, hinting that as some of their efforts are being spent in pursuit of the things of this world, they should be careful lest any stumbling or weakness on their part should bring on them God’s displeasure. The clause also points to the important fact that God has so ordained that in nature every action is immediately followed by its consequences, inasmuch as it leaves an impression on man, and thus all actions are preserved. The Holy Prophet is reported to have said that when a man commits an evil deed, a black spot is formed in his heart and if he repeats the sin, the spot grows bigger and so on (Musnad). This, indeed, is the result which quickly follows the actions of man. In fact it is a reckoning which accompanies all actions of man. (close)
وَ اذۡکُرُوا اللّٰہَ فِیۡۤ اَیَّامٍ مَّعۡدُوۡدٰتٍ ؕ فَمَنۡ تَعَجَّلَ فِیۡ یَوۡمَیۡنِ فَلَاۤ اِثۡمَ عَلَیۡہِ ۚ وَ مَنۡ تَاَخَّرَ فَلَاۤ اِثۡمَ عَلَیۡہِ ۙ لِمَنِ اتَّقٰی ؕ وَ اتَّقُوا اللّٰہَ وَ اعۡلَمُوۡۤا اَنَّکُمۡ اِلَیۡہِ تُحۡشَرُوۡنَ ﴿۲۰۴﴾
۞وَٱذۡكُرُواْ ٱللَّهَ فِيٓ أَيَّامٖ مَّعۡدُودَٰتٖۚ فَمَن تَعَجَّلَ فِي يَوۡمَيۡنِ فَلَآ إِثۡمَ عَلَيۡهِ وَمَن تَأَخَّرَ فَلَآ إِثۡمَ عَلَيۡهِۖ لِمَنِ ٱتَّقَىٰۗ وَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَٱعۡلَمُوٓاْ أَنَّكُمۡ إِلَيۡهِ تُحۡشَرُونَ
240. These are the 11th, 12th and 13th day of Dhul-Hijjah during which the pilgrims are required, so far as possible, to stay at Mina and pass their time in glorifying God. They are called Ayyamut-Tashriq, i.e. the days of brightness and beauty. (close)
241. The underlying object of the Pilgrimage is the attainment of Taqwa (righteousness), the very word with which the Qur’an began its commandments about Hajj in 2:198, thus emphasizing that mere outward observance of certain rites is meaningless unless they are accompanied by the spirit of righteousness which should underlie all actions of man. (close)
242. The different objects and places which play an important part in Pilgrimage are spoken of in the Qur’an as Sha‘a’irullah (2:159; 5:3; 22:33) or the Signs of God, which signifies that they are intended to serve only as symbols to impress upon the minds of pilgrims their inward significance. The Ka‘bah, round which thousands of pilgrims perform the circuit and towards which all Muslims turn while offering their Prayers wherever they may happen to be, recalls to their minds Divine Unity and the Majesty of God. It also reminds them of the unity of mankind. The act of running between Safa and Marwah calls to the minds of pilgrims the story, full of pathos, of Hagar and Ishmael, reminding them how God provides for His helpless servants even in the solitude of a great wilderness. Mina, derived from Umniyyah (an object or a desire), reminds the pilgrim that he goes there with the "object" or the "desire" of meeting God. Mash‘arul-Haram meaning, the sacred symbol, hints that the final stage is near. ‘Arafat reminds him that he has reached the stage of realisation, and Ihram reminds him of the Day of Resurrection. Like the shroud of a dead body, the pilgrim wears only two unsown sheets, one for the upper part of the body and the other for the lower part; and he also remains bare-headed. This condition reminds him that he has, as it were, risen from the dead. The pilgrims gathered together at ‘Arafat present the spectacle of the Day of Resurrection—men suddenly risen from the dead in their white shrouds and assembled in the presence of their Lord. The sacrificial animals are reminders of the great sacrifice offered by Abraham of his son Ishmael, and the sacrifice embodies the lesson in symbolic language that man should ever be ready, not only to sacrifice himself but also his wealth and property and even his children, in the way of God. (close)
a. See 2:153. (close)
The glorification of God, or the celebration of His praises enjoined in the preceding verses is to be particularly observed in the appointed number of days to be spent in Mina after the Hajj is over. These are the 11th, the 12th and the 13th day of Dhul-Hijjah during which the pilgrims are required, so far as possible, to stay at Mina and pass their time in God’s glorification. In these days they are also required, as a symbol of the driving out of Satan, to cast pebbles daily at the three pillars so long as they stay there. These are called ایام التشریق i.e. the days of beauty and brightness.
The clause, whoso hastens to leave in two days, refers to the stay in Mina. If a pilgrim leaves Mina two days earlier or stays behind for two days more, no sin shall attach to him, provided everything he does is done with good intention, acting righteously and God-fearingly.
The verse ends with the clause, and fear Allah and know that you shall be brought together before Him, to bring home to the reader or the pilgrim that the underlying object of the Pilgrimage is تقوی, the very word with which the Quran began its commandments about Hajj in 2:197, thus emphasizing that mere outward observance of certain rites is nothing unless they are accompanied by تقوی or the spirit of righteousness which must underlie all actions of man.
The clause, واعلموا انکم الیه تحشرون translated above as, know that you shall all be brought together before Him, is also intended to hint that the gathering in Hajj is not meant for the performance of certain rites and ceremonies but, as it were, for meeting God. In this case, the clause would be rendered as, "know that (in Hajj) you are brought together (i.e. the purpose of your gathering is) to meet God" and you must, therefore, behave accordingly. The gathering in Hajj is truly like the حشر (gathering) on the great Day of Judgement.
Now that the description of Hajj as given in these verses has come to an end, it would be appropriate to give here a brief but collective note on the wisdom and the significance of this act of worship and devotion. The Pilgrimage is indeed a great spiritual ordinance. According to the Quran, the Ka‘bah is the first house of worship that was built for mankind (3:97). It dates not from Abraham, who simply rebuilt it, but from Adam. The Quran speaks of it as "the Ancient House" (22:30, 34). A Jewish tradition also says that Abraham built "the altar which Adam had built, which had been destroyed by the waters of the Deluge, which Noah had again builded, and which had, been destroyed in the age of divisions" (The Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan ben Uzziel translated by J. W. Ethebridge, London, 1862, p. 226). The Ka‘bah is the only altar that answers this description; there is no other place so ancient. It was the purpose of God that men from all quarters should assemble at this central house and thus be reminded of their common humanity and common relation with the Lord of the worlds. Differences which divided one nation from another were to be forgotten and all drawn closer to one another in one common bond. The Hajj provides pilgrims of different lands and diverse nationalities with an excellent opportunity to cultivate acquaintance with one another and discuss matters of common interest. This purpose has been made all the more accessible by ordering pilgrims to pass the days of Hajj, and the days following, not within the four walls of Mecca but out in the open desert at Mina, Muzdalifah and ‘Arafat and back again in Mina.
The different objects and places which play an important part in Pilgrimage are spoken of in the Quran as شعائرالله(2:159; 5:3; 22:33) or the Signs of God, which shows that they are meant by God to serve as symbols to impress upon the minds of pilgrims their inward significance.
The Ka‘bah or the Baitullah (the House of God), the very first house of worship round which thousands of devout pilgrims perform the circuit and towards which they all turn while offering their Prayers wherever they be, recalls to their mind the Unity and Majesty of God upon Whom depends all creation. It also reminds one of the unity of mankind.
The act of running between the Safa and the Marwah calls to the minds of pilgrims the pathetic story of Hagar and Ishmael, reminding them how God provides for his helpless servants even in the solitude of a great wilderness.
Mina is a name derived from the word ’umniyyah which means "an object" or "a desire". This reminds the pilgrim of the fact that he goes there with the "object" or the "desire" of meeting God. From Mina the pilgrim proceeds to Muzdalifah which means "nearness" and reminds him that the object with which he had set out has drawn "near". The other name of Muzdalifah is Mash‘arul-Haram, meaning the sacred symbol. This also hints that the final stage is near. From Muzdalifah, the pilgrim proceeds to ‘Arafat, the root-meaning of which is "to recognize". This reminds him that he has now reached the stage of "recognition" where he has "recognized" or known the One Lord and has met Him.
Again, the place chosen for this great concourse of the Faithful is a barren waste, devoid of all vegetation, as the Quran itself states (14:38). The only things that are met with there are sand, pebbles, rocks and rugged hillocks. Such a place has been chosen to bring home to us the fact that it possesses absolutely no attraction for which one might visit it. If there is anything for which one should go there, it is God and God alone. This is why in the present verse the Quran says, "know that you are being gathered here (not for any worldly object but) to meet Him".
Ihram reminds one of the Day of Resurrection. Like the shroud of a dead body, the pilgrim is covered only with two unsewn sheets, one for the upper part of the body and the other for the lower; and he also has to remain bareheaded. This condition is to remind him that he has here, as it were, risen from the dead. The pilgrims gathered together at ‘Arafat truly present the spectacle of the Day of Resurrection—men suddenly risen from the dead in their white shrouds and assembled in the presence of their Lord.
The casting of pebbles at the three pillars at Mina—known as Dunya, Wusta and ‘Aqabah, is also an interesting representation. It reminds the pilgrim of the three stages through which man has to pass and which have been referred to in the Quran as the three stages of human life, viz. (1) the present world, or Dunya as it is called, which is symbolized by the first pillar, significantly called Jamratud-Dunya, i.e. the pillar situated near; (2) the grave or the middle stage lying between this world and the next, the pillar corresponding to which is called Jamratul-Wusta, i.e. the middle pillar; and (3) the next world (known also as عقبی ‘Uqba) which is symbolized by the third pillar, which is accordingly called Jamratul-‘Aqabah, i.e. the pillar of the distant hillock that comes after the others. The casting of pebbles at these pillars is also symbolic of Satan being pelted. Evil thoughts should be driven out of one’s mind just as God has driven away Satan from His presence.
The animals sacrificed are reminders of the great sacrifice of his son Ishmael offered by Abraham, and teach, in symbolic language, that man should ever be willing not only to sacrifice himself but also his wealth and property and even children in the way of God out of love for Him.
Pilgrims perform seven circuits round the Ka‘bah, run seven times between the Safa and the Marwah and cast seven pebbles at the pillars at Mina. The number seven being regarded by the Arabs as a symbol of perfection (Aqrab), the pilgrim is thereby reminded that in Pilgrimage, as in all other things, he should not be satisfied with half measures. He should always aim at perfection and get it. It is significant that the stages of spiritual progress which lead man to perfection and which have been detailed in 23:2-12 are also seven.
In short, the various rites of the Hajj and the objects that play a part therein are all emblematic and are replete with great and momentous lessons, but only for those who care to meditate. (close)
وَ مِنَ النَّاسِ مَنۡ یُّعۡجِبُکَ قَوۡلُہٗ فِی الۡحَیٰوۃِ الدُّنۡیَا وَ یُشۡہِدُ اللّٰہَ عَلٰی مَا فِیۡ قَلۡبِہٖ ۙ وَ ہُوَ اَلَدُّ الۡخِصَامِ ﴿۲۰۵﴾
وَمِنَ ٱلنَّاسِ مَن يُعۡجِبُكَ قَوۡلُهُۥ فِي ٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا وَيُشۡهِدُ ٱللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا فِي قَلۡبِهِۦ وَهُوَ أَلَدُّ ٱلۡخِصَامِ
a. 63:5. (close)
243. There are persons whose eloquence and feigned love for fellow-beings would deceive the listener, but at heart they love and seek only their own interests and vehemently dispute with others for their smallest rights, supposed or real; not giving any proof of that spirit of sacrifice which is essential for real human progress. (close)
211. Important Words:
یعجبك (would please thee) is derived from عجب meaning, he wondered; he became pleased. عجبه means, it pleased him and caused him to wonder (Aqrab).
الد (most contentious) is derived from لد (ladda). They say لده meaning, he contended or quarrelled with him vehemently. So الد, which is the noun of pre-eminence from it, means, one who is a great quarreller. The plural of الد is لد––ludd (Aqrab).
الخصام (quarrellers) is the plural of خصم (quarreller). They say خاصمه i.e. he quarrelled or disputed with him. خصم and خصیمand مخاصم all give the same meaning, i.e. quarreller. The word الخصام is also used, in the infinitive sense, meaning the act of quarrelling (Aqrab & Lane).
Two kinds of men have already been mentioned: (1) those who seek only the things of this world (2:201); and (2) those who seek both the good things of this world and those of the next (2:202). The present verse and those that follow mention two extreme types of these two classes. Of the former class, states the verse under comment, there are those who wax eloquent in their talk about this world, pleading for the necessity of improving the conditions of life for mankind and calling God to witness their sincerity. Their eloquence and apparent love for fellow beings would deceive the listener, but at heart they love only their own selfish interests and, would vehemently dispute with others for their smallest rights, supposed or real, displaying none of that spirit of sacrifice which is essential for real human progress. They would look to their own interests or the interests of their family or those of their community or their nation only and would not make any sacrifice for, or even do justice to, others.
The clause, he would call Allah to witness, shows that such people outwardly profess faith in God but at heart are lacking in the quality of universal brotherhood which must result from a true belief in a Universal God—"Lord of all the worlds", as the Quran puts it. (close)
وَ اِذَا تَوَلّٰی سَعٰی فِی الۡاَرۡضِ لِیُفۡسِدَ فِیۡہَا وَ یُہۡلِکَ الۡحَرۡثَ وَ النَّسۡلَ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ لَا یُحِبُّ الۡفَسَادَ ﴿۲۰۶﴾
وَإِذَا تَوَلَّىٰ سَعَىٰ فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِ لِيُفۡسِدَ فِيهَا وَيُهۡلِكَ ٱلۡحَرۡثَ وَٱلنَّسۡلَۚ وَٱللَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلۡفَسَادَ
244. Harth means, (1) a piece of land ploughed for sowing, or actually sown with some crop; (2) crop or produce of land whether field-crop or garden-crop; (3) gain, acquisition or earning; (4) reward or recompense; (5) worldly goods; (6) wife or wives, because a wife is like tilth in which seed is sown to produce crop in the form of children (Lane). (close)
212. Important Words:
تولی (he is in authority) is derived, from ولی. تولی means: (1) he turned his back, he went away from one’s presence; (2) he held command, or he was in authority; he became a والی or ruler (Aqrab & Taj).
سعی (runs about) means: (1) he walked briskly or he ran; (2) he made an effort; or he strove to obtain an object (Aqrab).
الحرث (the crops) is the noun-infinitive from حرث i.e. he ploughed or tilled the soil; he sowed seeds or planted plants in it; he acquired or earned or laboured for wealth or sustenance; he worked or laboured for the goods of the world. حرث means: (1) a tilth or a piece of land ploughed for sowing, or land actually sown with some crop; (2) land under crop; (3) crop or produce of land whether field crop or garden crop; (4) gain, acquisition or earning; (5) reward or recompense; (6) worldly goods; (7) wife or wives, because a wife is like a tilth in which seed is sown to bear crop in the form of children; (8) a much used road or a beaten track (Lane).
النسل (progeny). نسل الولد means, he begot a child. نسل الرجل means, the man had many children; the progeny of the man increased. نسل means: (1) creatures; (2) children; (3) progeny, whether of man or beast (Aqrab & Lane).
This verse further develops the idea contained in the preceding one. The type of man described in the previous verse (i.e. one whose talk about the affairs of this world is very pleasing but who is selfish at heart) becomes unmasked when he happens to be in authority, or when he goes away from the presence of the people and meets his associates in private. Thus both the meanings of the word تولی as mentioned under Important Words are appropriate here: (1) While he is in the presence of those who are sincere lovers of mankind, he says pleasing things; but when he goes away from them and meets his comrades in private, he strives to create disorder on the earth. (2) Similarly, when he happens to come to power, he becomes exposed and all his talk about improving the affairs of the world vanishes like smoke, and instead of acting like a reformer, he actually becomes a source of disorder.
The clause, destroy the crops and the progeny, means that all his efforts are directed towards harming people and their property. The words حرث and نسل have a number of meanings and all are applicable here. They refer to all kinds of damage relating to person and property.
The words, Allah loves not disorder, come as a fitting reply to the clause in the preceding verse, i.e. he calls Allah to witness as to that which is in his heart. Allah’s evidence goes against him, for the man is after disorder, and Allah loves not disorder. (close)
وَ اِذَا قِیۡلَ لَہُ اتَّقِ اللّٰہَ اَخَذَتۡہُ الۡعِزَّۃُ بِالۡاِثۡمِ فَحَسۡبُہٗ جَہَنَّمُ ؕ وَ لَبِئۡسَ الۡمِہَادُ ﴿۲۰۷﴾
وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُ ٱتَّقِ ٱللَّهَ أَخَذَتۡهُ ٱلۡعِزَّةُ بِٱلۡإِثۡمِۚ فَحَسۡبُهُۥ جَهَنَّمُۖ وَلَبِئۡسَ ٱلۡمِهَادُ
245. All his efforts are directed towards injuring the interests of other people and furthering his own. (close)
246. Lexicographers agree that Jahannam has no root in Arabic. The word may have been derived from Jahuma which means, he became frowning or contracted or ugly in the face. If that be so the letter nun in Jahannam would be something additional (Muhit). Thus Jahannam means, a place of punishment which is dark and waterless and which makes the face of its inmates ugly and contracted. (close)
247. A false sense of dignity and prestige is his chief stumbling block, his vanity inciting him to further acts of sin, till it virtually encompasses him on all sides. Such a one paves his own way to Hell. (close)
213. Important Words:
اخذته (incites him) is from اخذ meaning, he took, or he took hold; or he seized; or he punished etc. (Aqrab). اخذته بکذاmeans, you incited him to do that and made him stick to it (Kashshaf). اخذته العزة بالاثم may also mean, pride encompasses him with sin (Muhit); or pride seizes him owing to his sin (Fath).
العزة (pride) is derived from عز which means, he became mighty and honoured and noble. عزالشیء means, the thing became rare. العزة means, (1) might and power; (2) high position; (3) honour; (4) self-exaltation (Lane); (5) consciousness of one’s position and rank; (6) pride in bad sense; (7) vanity (Aqrab).
جھنم (Hell). Lexicographers differ as to the origin of the word جھنم but they generally agree that in Arabic it has no root except itself and is used as a proper name for the place of punishment reserved for the evildoers in the next world. It is, however, possible that the word has been derived from جھم meaning, he became frowning or contracted, or ugly in face. جھمة means, the middle or the darkest part of the night. جھام means, clouds that have no water (Lane). In this case the ن in جھنم would be something additional as in the word الندد derived from الد meaning, a quarreller (Muhit). Thus جھنم would mean, a place of punishment which is dark and waterless and makes the faces of its inmates ugly and contracted.
The description of the kind of man mentioned in 2:205 is continued in this verse also. When such a person comes to power and enters upon a career of disorder and destruction, he becomes deaf to advice and good counsel. Nay, if anyone makes bold to offer him a word of advice, he flares up and becomes all the more stiffened in his tendency towards mischief-making. A false sense of dignity and prestige is his chief stumbling block, his vanity inciting him to further acts of sin, till his pride virtually encompasses him on all sides. Such a one paves his own way to Hell, which is indeed a bad resting place.
The word حسب (sufficient) in the clause, Hell shall be his sufficient reward, points to the fact that as such a man is never contented in this life, and is always hungering for more wealth and more power and more dominion, so nothing in this world would suffice him. He will find satisfaction and sufficiency only in the fire of Hell. Similarly, the word مھاد (place of rest) points to the fact that the man who tramples on the rights of others in order to secure comfort for himself will find no rest in this life; his only rest will be in Hell. (close)
وَ مِنَ النَّاسِ مَنۡ یَّشۡرِیۡ نَفۡسَہُ ابۡتِغَآءَ مَرۡضَاتِ اللّٰہِ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ رَءُوۡفٌۢ بِالۡعِبَادِ ﴿۲۰۸﴾
وَمِنَ ٱلنَّاسِ مَن يَشۡرِي نَفۡسَهُ ٱبۡتِغَآءَ مَرۡضَاتِ ٱللَّهِۚ وَٱللَّهُ رَءُوفُۢ بِٱلۡعِبَادِ
248. In contrast to the people mentioned in the previous verses there is a class of men whose sole concern is to seek the pleasure of Allah as if they had given away their souls for that very purpose. (close)
a. 3:31; 9:117; 57:10. (close)
a. 3:31; 9:117; 57:10. (close)
214. Important Words:
رؤوف (Compassionate) is derived from رأف. They say رأف به meaning, he pitied him, he was compassionate to him. رأفة(compassion) is like رحمة (mercy) but signifies greater tenderness, though the latter is certainly more extensive in meaning. رؤوف means, compassionate or pitiful, and is one of the attributes of God, though like رحیم it may also be applied to human beings as in 9:128 (Lane).
Having completed the description of an extreme type of man belonging to the first-mentioned class of people, i.e. those who seek only the things of this world, the Quran now describes a type of man belonging to the second-mentioned class, i.e. those who seek the good things of this world as well as of the next. And of these, it singles out here the noblest type whose aim is to seek the pleasure of God alone. To such men the good things of this world mean only such spiritual blessings as are vouchsafed to righteous men in this very world or such things as lead to the attainment thereof (2:202). Their sole concern is to seek the pleasure of their Lord, as if they had given away their souls for that very purpose. They use the things of this world, not because these things please them, but because God’s law has made them the support of a life which they find pleasure in devoting to the service of God. Thus they approach the things of this world not directly but through God. To such servants of His, God is indeed most Compassionate and His compassion for them has a good leaven of tenderness in it. (close)