16. Abbreviations, like Alif Lam Mim, are known as al-Muqatta‘at (letters used and pronounced separately), and occur in the beginning of not less than 28 Surahs, and are made up of one or more, to a maximum of five, letters of the Arabic alphabet. The letters out of which these abbreviations are constituted are fourteen in number: Alif, Lam, Mim, Sad, Ra, Kaf, Ha, Ya, ‘Ain, Ta, Sin, Ha, Qaf and Nun. Of these Qaf and Nun occur alone in the beginning of Surahs Qaf and Qalam, the rest occur in combinations of two or more in the beginning of certain Surahs. The use of Muqatta‘at was in vogue among the Arabs. They used them in their poems and conversation. An Arab poet says: Qulna Qifi Lana, Faqalat Qaf i.e. "We said to her, 'Stop for us for a while' and she said that she was stopping" the letter Qaf standing for Waqaftu (I am stopping). There is also a saying of the Holy Prophet as reported by Qurtubi to the effect: Kafa Bis-Saifi Sha, i.e. sufficient is sword as a remedy, Sha standing for Shafiyan. In the modern West and in its imitation in Eastern countries also abbreviations are very popular and widespread. Every dictionary provides a list of them. The Muqatta‘at are abbreviations for specific attributes of God and the subject-matter of a Surah before which they are placed has a deep connection with the Divine attributes for which they stand. They have not been haphazardly placed at the beginning of different Surahs, nor are their letters combined arbitrarily. There runs a deep and far- reaching connection between their various sets, and the letters of which they are made also serve a definite purpose. The subject-matter of those Chapters which have no abbreviated letters is subordinate to, and follows the pattern of the subject-matter of the preceding Chapters possessing them. Of the meanings ascribed to Muqatta‘at two seem to be more authentic: (a) That each letter has a definite numerical value (Jarir). The letters Alif Lam Mim have the numerical value 71 (Alif having the numerical value 1, Lam 30 and Mim 40). Thus the placing of Alif Lam Mim in the beginning of the Surah may signify that its subject-matter, i.e. the special consolidation of early Islam, would take 71 years to unfold itself completely. (b) They are, as stated above, abbreviations for specific attributes of God and the Surah before which Muqatta‘at are placed is, in its subject-matter, connected with the Divine attributes for which the specific Muqatta‘at stand. Thus the abbreviation Alif Lam Mim placed here and in the beginning of the 3rd, 29th, 30th, 31st and 32nd Chapters of the Qur’an signifies, "I am Allah, the All-Knowing" which has the authority of Ibn-e-‘Abbas and Ibn-e-Mas‘ud, Alif standing for Ana, Lam for Allah and Mim for A‘lamu; or according to some Alif stands for Allah, Lam for Jibril and Mim for Muhammad, indicating that the central theme of the Surah is Divine knowledge which was given to Muhammad by Allah through Jibril. These abbreviated letters form an integral part of the Quranic revelation (Bukhari). (close)
b. 3:2; 7:2; 13:2; 29:2; 30:2; 31:2; 32:2. (close)
Abbreviations like الم (Alif Lam Mim) are known as المقطعات (Al-Muqatta‘at), i.e. letters used and pronounced separately. They occur in the beginning of not less than 28 Surahs, and are made up of one or more, to a maximum of five, letters of the Arabic alphabet. The letters out of which these abbreviations are constituted are thirteen in number: Alif, Lam, Mim, Sad, Ra, Kaf, Ha, Ya, ‘Ain, Ta, Sin, Ha, Nun and Qaf. Of these Sad, Qaf and Nun occur alone in the beginning of one Surah only; the rest occur in combinations of two or more in the beginning of certain Surahs.
Of the meanings ascribed to Muqatta‘at two seem to be more authentic:
1. that each letter has a definite numerical value. Thus ا has the value of 1, ب of 2, ج of 3, د of 4, ھ of 5, and so on (Aqrab). This system was known to the early Arabs and is mentioned in some well-known books of tradition (e.g. Jarir, 70 & 71). In numerical terms the letters الم (Alif Lam Mim) could signify the length of time which the full manifestation of the inner significance of the Surah was meant to take.
The letters الم have the numerical value of 71 (ا being 1, ل 30 and م 40). Thus the placing of Alif Lam Mim in the beginning of the Surah would mean that the subject matter of Al-Baqarah, i.e. the special consolidation of early Islam, would take 71 years to unfold itself completely. It is well known that this consolidation went on until the year 71 Nabawi (after claim of Prophethood), the year of the coming to power of Yazid, son of Mu‘awiyah, when the history of Islam took a different turn.
2. The second and much more important significance of the Muqatta‘at is that they are abbreviations for specific attributes of God and a Surah before which the Muqatta‘at are placed is, in its subject matter, connected with the divine attributes for which the Muqatta‘at stand. The Arabs used such abbreviations. Says an Arab poet:
بالخیر خیرات و ان شر فا
ولا ارید الشر الا ان تا
"I will certainly return good for good; but if you are bent on mischief, so will I. I do not contemplate mischief except that you yourself should desire it" (Jarir). Here فا and تا stand for فشر and تشاء respectively. Similarly, the letters الم stand for انا الله اعلم i.e. "I am Allah, the All-Knowing"—a meaning which has the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas, cousin of the Holy Prophet (Jarir). Thus Alif Lam Mim placed in the beginning of Al-Baqarah indicate that the central theme of this chapter is divineknowledge. God proclaims, as it were, that Muslims, weak in the beginning, will soon become strong and attain to knowledge, wisdom and power.
The system of using Muqatta‘at was in vogue among the Arabs, who used them in their poems and conversations. In the modern West also the use of abbreviations has become very widespread. Nearly every dictionary provides a list of them along with their meanings (For fuller discussion of the Muqatta‘at see Tafsir-e-Kabir by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II, Qadian). (close)
ذٰلِکَ الۡکِتٰبُ لَا رَیۡبَ ۚۖۛ فِیۡہِ ۚۛ ہُدًی لِّلۡمُتَّقِیۡنَ ۙ﴿۳﴾
ذَٰلِكَ ٱلۡكِتَٰبُ لَا رَيۡبَۛ فِيهِۛ هُدٗى لِّلۡمُتَّقِينَ
17. Dhalika is primarily used in the sense of "that," but is also sometimes used in the sense of "this" (Aqrab). Sometimes it is used to indicate the high rank and dignity of the subject to which it refers. Here it signifies that the Book is, as it were, remote from the reader in eminence and loftiness of merit (Fath). (close)
17A. The particle al, like the definite article "the" in the English language, is used to denote a definite object known to the reader. In this sense the word Dhalikal-Kitabu would mean, this is the Book, or this is that Book—the promised Book. The particle is also used to denote the combination of all possible attributes in one individual. The expression thus means, this is a Book which possesses all those excellent qualities which a perfect book should possess. Or it means, this alone is a perfect Book. (close)
a. 2:24; 10:38; 32:3; 41:43. (close)
18. Raib means, disquietude or uneasiness of mind; doubt; affliction or calamity and evil opinion; false charge or calumny (Aqrab). The verse does not mean that nobody will ever entertain any doubt about the Qur’an. It only means that its teaching is so rational that a right-thinking person, who approaches it with an unbiased mind, will find it a safe and sure guide. (close)
b. 2:186; 3:139; 31:4. (close)
19. Muttaqi is derived from Waqa which has the sense of guarding against that which harms or injures. Wiqayah means, a shield and Ittaqa bihi (Muttaqi is in the nominative case of Ittaqa) means, he took him or it as a shield (Lane). Ubayy bin K‘ab, a distinguished Companion of the Holy Prophet, aptly explains Taqwa by likening Muttaqi to one who walks through thorny bushes, taking all possible care that his clothes are not caught in, and torn by, their branches (Kathir). A Muttaqi, therefore, is one who is ever on his guard against sins and takes God for his shield or shelter and is very regardful of his duty. The words, "a guidance for the righteous," mean that guidance contained in the Qur’an knows no limit. It helps man to attain limitless stage of spiritual perfection and makes him more and more deserving of God’s favours. (close)
a. 2:24; 10:38; 32:3; 41:43. (close)
9. Important Words:
ذالك (this) is derived from ذا meaning "this". The word is primarily used in the sense of "that," but it is also sometimes used in the sense of "this" (Aqrab). Here it is used to denote that the Book, as it were, is remote from the reader in eminence and loftiness of merit (Fath).
ال (perfect), like the definite article "the" in the English language, is used to denote a definite object known to the hearer or reader. In this sense the words ذالك الكتاب would mean, this is the Book, or this is that Book. The article ال is also used to denote a species in its totality or the properties of an individual in their totality. It is also used to denote the combination of all attributes in one individual, as one says زید الرجل (Zaidu nir-rajulu), i.e. Zaid is a perfect specimen of humanity. In this sense the words ذالك الكتاب would mean, this is a Perfect Book, or this Book alone is Perfect.
ریب (doubt) is derived from راب. They say رابه meaning, he caused him uneasiness of mind, or he put him in doubt, etc. ریب means: (1) disquietude or uneasiness of mind; (2) doubt; (3) affliction or calamity and (4) evil opinion, false charge or calumny (Aqrab). The word has been used in the Quran at different places; but in the sense of "doubt" it is always used in a bad sense. The Quran addresses disbelievers, saying: If you are in doubt as to what We have sent down to Our servant (2:24). Here ریب means "doubt" about a truth. The Holy Prophet says: "Give up that which creates ریب (doubt) in your mind in favour of that which does not create any doubt" (Musnad). Here again ریب is used in a bad sense. So the word ریب when used in the sense of "doubt", means such doubt as is based on prejudice or suspicion, and not the doubt which helps in research and the promotion of knowledge.
ھدی (guidance), as explained under 1:6, signifies: (1) calling to, or showing, the right path; (2) leading up to the right path; and (3) making one follow the right path till one reaches one’s goal or destination.
متقین (the righteous) is derived from اتقی which is derived from وقی. They say وقاہ i.e. he guarded or shielded him against evil, etc. اتقی means, he was on his guard against, or he guarded himself against. اتقی به means, he took it or him as a وقایة(shield) for himself (Aqrab). In religious language the word means, to guard oneself against sins or harmful things; or to take God as a shield for protection against sins. It is wrong, therefore, to translate the word as "fear", unless it is for want of a better word. تقوی or اتقا or تقی means, ever guarding oneself against sins. Ubayy bin Ka‘b, a distinguished Companion of the Holy Prophet, aptly explains تقوی by likening متقی to a man who walks through thorny bushes, taking every possible care that his clothes are not caught in, and torn by, the branches (Kathir). An Arab poet, Ibnul-Mu‘tazz, has expressed the same idea in the following beautiful verses:
خل الذنوب صغیرھا
وکبیرھا ذاک التقی
واصنع کماٴش فوق ار
ض الشوک یحذر مایری
لا تحقرن صغیرة
اٴن اٴلجباٴل من الحصی
i.e. "Avoid all sins both small and great—that is تقوی. And act like one who walks through a land full of thorny bushes, cautious of all things that one sees. Do not think lightly of small sins, for even big mountains are made up of tiny pebbles" (Kathir). A Muttaqi (righteous person), therefore, is one who is ever on his guard against sins and takes God for his shield or shelter.
The clause ذالك الكتاب (this is a perfect Book) placed in the beginning of the verse, is capable of several interpretations, the following two being more in harmony with the Quranic text:
1. This is a Complete and Perfect Book, a Book which possesses all the excellences that a complete and perfect Book should possess.
2. This is that Book or this is the Book (which you prayed for, or which was promised to you).
Combined with the words لا ریب فیه the full clause ذالك الكتاب لا ریب فیه would mean that this Book is perfect in all respects and contains nothing of ریب in it, i.e. nothing that may make one’s mind uneasy, nothing doubtful, nothing that may cause affliction, etc.
A Book claiming to be revealed and demanding acceptance in the presence of other Books which also claim Divineorigin must at the very outset make such a claim to set at rest the natural question as to what was the necessity of a new Book when already so many Books existed in the world. So the Quran, in the very beginning, asserts that of all Books it alone is perfect, satisfying human needs in a perfect manner.
The above claim of the Quran is capable of detailed substantiation. Briefly, however, it is founded on the comprehensiveness of its teaching. The Quran deals clearly and adequately with all important questions such as God and His attributes; the origin, nature and purpose of man; and his life here and in the hereafter. It instructs man in the regulation of his relations with God and his fellow men in a manner unequalled by other religious Books. It instructs parents and children, husbands and wives and other relatives in their duties. It teaches about wills and inheritance and about the rights of neighbours, employers and employees, rulers and ruled. Above all, it tells how man should conduct himself in relation to God and His Prophets. The other Books either do not teach about these matters at all or their treatment of them is very fragmentary.
The Quran also gives a very systematic account of morals—a subject on which the other Books say either little or nothing. In the Buddhist teaching we have a discussion on the basic instincts of man, but that discussion is very meagre compared with the account of the Quran. The Quran tells us about the roots of instincts, the ends which they serve and the use to which they may rightly be put. It also tells us how instincts become transformed into good or bad moral qualities, and how good qualities may be promoted and bad ones eradicated or discouraged. The Buddhist teaching inculcates the killing of desires but does not tell how bad desires arise and how they can be checked. The Quran teaches about the sources of sin and about the means of damming them.
Dealing with all these subjects in detail, the Quran is yet a book of very small dimensions, a fact which makes the reading, understanding and remembering of it a comparatively easy task. Thousands of persons know it completely by heart. The claim of the Quran that it is a perfect Book is, therefore, based on fact, and is appropriately made in the beginning of the text.
The second meaning of ذالك الكتاب (this is the Book) is that the prayer, Guide us in the right path, contained in Al-Fatihah meets with acceptance in this verse. Man prayed for guidance and guidance has come. "This is the Book" thus means, "this is the Book which contains the guidance prayed for in Al-Fatihah." The expression may also mean, "This is the Book which was promised to you."
The full meaning of ذالك الكتاب (this is a perfect Book) becomes clear when we read it together with the ensuing words لاریب فیه ھدی للمتقین i.e. this is a perfect Book; there is nothing of doubt in it; it is a guidance for the righteous. The first natural reaction to a new message is that of fear lest it should lead one into error or evil; the second reaction is the hope that the message may prove beneficial. Both these reactions—the first negative and the second positive—have thus been addressed in this verse. The Quran is a Perfect Book, because on the one hand there is nothing in the Quran to cause uneasiness or to create doubt or despair, and on the other, there is everything in it which can be a guidance for the God-fearing. Elsewhere in the Quran we read, Aye! it is in the word of God (more literally, the remembrance of Allah) that hearts can find comfort (13:29.)
The words, there is no doubt in it, do not mean that nobody will ever entertain any doubt about the Quran. The Quran itself refers to objections that disbelievers raised against it. The words, therefore, only mean that the teaching of the Quran is so rational that a right-thinking person who approaches it impartially cannot but accept it as a guide. Wherry and other Christian critics, thinking that the words, there is no doubt in it, have only one meaning, have jumped to the conclusion that the Holy Prophet must have been afraid of the doubtful nature of the Quran. These critics forget that this verse was revealed at Medina after a large part of the Quran had already been revealed. Disbelievers had already raised many objections against it, and it was in reply to these objections that the words were revealed. The imputation of a guilty conscience is therefore utterly false. Assertion of truth and denial of doubt is common to other Scriptures as well. In the Proverbs we read, "All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them" (Pro. 8:8; see also Isa. 45:19; Tit. 3:8; 1. Tim. 4:9; Rev. 22:6).
Moreover, the word ریب does not mean a doubt which helps the investigation of truth but a doubt born of unfounded suspicion. Accordingly, the words لاریب فیه would mean that there is nothing in the Quran which is based on doubt, i.e.everything is based on truth and certainty. The Quran asserts no doctrine or principle without also giving cogent reasons for it.
The word ریب also means, "affliction or calamity." The Quran contains nothing that may in any way cause misery or affliction to an individual or a people. It raised nations from the quagmire of moral degradation and social depravity to the highest pinnacles of worldly and spiritual glory. Little wonder they became convinced through experience that there was not a single commandment by acting upon which they could come to grief.
The word ریب is also used in the sense of "evil opinion or false charge or calumny". In this sense the clause would mean that the Quran contains nothing that may, in any way, lay a false charge against anyone. Indeed, the Quran seeks to usurp the right of no one, and it slanders nobody—neither God nor any revealed Book nor any Prophet.
It may seem strange, but is nevertheless true, that religious Books, such as the Vedas, the Zend-Avesta, the Old and the New Testament, ascribe to God imperfections of one kind or another. The Quran, on the contrary, declares Him free of all defects, the Most Perfect in Power, Majesty and Holiness. This point will be discussed in detail when we come to the relevant verses.
The Word of God has also come in for much criticism. There is the school which holds the view that revelation is man’s own mental response to the problems on which he reflects. Thus, certainty of faith, which comes of the spokenWord of God, is denied to man, and there remains no distinction between man’s own thoughts and those revealed by God. The Quran exonerates the revealed Books of different religions from the charge that they are not the spoken Word of God but only a reflection of peculiarly sensitive individuals’ own thoughts (4:165). The Quran accepts the Divineorigin of the Books of other religions (3:4; 35:25).
The Prophets of God—Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Krishna—also have been calumniated unknowingly by their own followers and knowingly by others. The Quran declares them all to be innocent. Belief in the sinlessness of Prophets is among the cardinal beliefs of Islam (6:125). The Quran also proclaims their innocence individually (20:116; 53:38; 20:23; 20:88; 20:91; 2:103; 21:92; 2:88; 19:14).
To sum up, the words لاریب فیه would mean: (1) that the Quran contains nothing that may make one’s mind uneasy; (2) that there is nothing doubtful in it; every teaching and every statement made in it is supported by arguments; (3) that it contains nothing that may bring misery or affliction to an individual or a nation; And (4) that it contains no accusation against, or low opinion about, any object of faith.
The words ھدی للمتقین (guidance for the righteous) bring before us the positive side of the Quran. The reader is assured that the Quran contains not only nothing negative, but also everything positive of the highest order. As explained above, guidance has three stages: (1) showing the right path; (2) leading one to it; and (3) helping one follow it till reaching the goal. The words, guidance for the righteous, therefore, mean that guidance contained in the Quran is limitless, helping man to higher and still higher stages of perfection and making him more and more deserving of the favours of God. The ways and means by which a devotee attains to nearness to his Creator are infinite and unfold themselves one after another without end (29:70). The process of the spiritual advance of man does not stop with death but continues in the life to come (66:9),
The objection has been raised that, if the Quran guides only the righteous, what about those who have not attained righteousness? The objection is groundless. The Quran abounds in verses which prove that it is a guidance not only for the righteous but for all seekers, to whatever stage they may have attained (2:22; 2:186; 3:139; 17:42; 18:55; 30:59). (close)
الَّذِیۡنَ یُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ بِالۡغَیۡبِ وَ یُقِیۡمُوۡنَ الصَّلٰوۃَ وَ مِمَّا رَزَقۡنٰہُمۡ یُنۡفِقُوۡنَ ۙ﴿۴﴾
ٱلَّذِينَ يُؤۡمِنُونَ بِٱلۡغَيۡبِ وَيُقِيمُونَ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَمِمَّا رَزَقۡنَٰهُمۡ يُنفِقُونَ
c. 5:95; 6:104; 21:50; 35:19; 36:12; 50:34; 57:26; 67:13. (close)
20. Al-Ghaib means anything hidden or invisible; anything unseen, absent or far away (Aqrab). God, the angels and the Last Day are all al-Ghaib. Moreover, the word as used in the Qur’an does not mean imaginary and unreal things, but real and verified things, though unseen (32:7; 49:19). It is, therefore, wrong to suppose, as some Western critics of the Qur’an do, that Islam forces upon its followers some mysteries of Faith and invites them to believe in them blindly. The word signifies things which, though beyond the comprehension of human senses, can nevertheless be proved by reason or experience. The supersensible need not necessarily be irrational. Nothing of "the unseen" in which a Muslim is called upon to believe is outside the scope of reason. There are many things in the world which, though unseen, are yet proved to exist by invincible arguments, and nobody can deny their existence. (close)
d. 2:44, 84; 111; 4:78; 5:56; 8:4; 9:71; 20:15; 27:4; 30:32; 31:5; 73:21. (close)
21. The clause, "they observe Prayer," means, they perform their Prayers with all the prescribed conditions; Aqama meaning, he kept the thing or the affair in a right state (Lane). Worship is the outer expression of the inner relationship of man to God. Moreover, God’s favours surround the body as well as the soul. So, perfect worship is that in which body and soul both play their part. Without the two the true spirit of worship cannot be preserved, for though adoration by the heart is the substance and adoration by the body only the shell, yet the substance cannot be preserved without the shell. If the shell is destroyed, the substance is bound to meet with a similar fate. (close)
a. 2:196, 255, 263, 268; 3:93; 8:4; 9:34; 13:23; 14:32; 22:36; 28:55; 32:17; 42:39. (close)
22. Rizq means, anything bestowed by God on man, whether material or otherwise (Mufradat). The verse lays down three directions and describes three stages for the spiritual well-being of man: (1) He should believe in the truths which are hidden from his eyes and are beyond his physical senses, for it is such a belief which shows that he is possessed of the right sort of Taqwa or righteousness. (2) When he reflects on the creation of the universe and the marvellous order and design which exist in it and when, as a result of this reflection, he becomes convinced of the existence of the Creator, an irresistible longing to have a real and true union with Him takes hold of him. This finds consummation in the observance of Prayer. (3) Lastly, when the believer succeeds in establishing a living contact with his Creator, he feels an inward urge to serve his fellow-beings. (close)
a. 5:95; 6:104; 21:50; 35:19; 36:12; 50:34; 57:26; 67:13. (close)
b. 2:44, 84, 111, 278; 5:56; 8:4; 9:71; 20:15; 27:4; 30:32; 31:5; 73:21. (close)
c. 2:196, 255, 263, 268; 3:93; 8:4; 9:34; 13:23; 14:32; 22:36; 28:55; 32:17; 42:39. (close)
10. Important Words:
یؤمنون (who believe) is derived from امن i.e. he felt safe, or he placed his trust in. آمنه means, he rendered him safe; he trusted him. آمن به means, he believed him to be true, or he believed in him, or he trusted in him. آمن به means, he became submissive and obedient to him (Aqrab). Thus the word ایمان (belief) is the opposite of كفر (disbelief). It is particularly used with reference to God and other fundamental objects of faith.
الغیب (the unseen) is derived from غاب i.e. he or it became screened or invisible; he went far away and became separated. Thus غیب means, anything unseen, anything invisible or hidden, anything absent or far away (Aqrab & Lane). All objects of faith—God, the Angels, the Books, the Prophets and the Last Day—are unseen. A revealed Book is visible as a book, but the fact that it is a revealed Book is unseen. Similarly, we see the Prophet as a human being, but the fact that he has a mission from God remains unseen. The word غیب however, is not confined to objects of faith alone.
یقیمون (observe) is derived from اقام. They say اقام الشیء meaning, he set the thing up, or he set the thing erect or upright. اقامagain is derived from قام meaning, he stood erect, or he stood up, or he stood still. اقام الصلوة means, he performed his Prayers regularly (Aqrab). اقام الصلوة also means, he performed Prayers in accordance with all the prescribed conditions (Mufradat).
الصلوة (Prayer) is derived from صلی i.e. he prayed. The word gives different meanings with reference to different objects.When used about God, it means, He showed mercy to, or bestowed praise on; used about the angels, it means, they asked forgiveness for men, etc.; and used about man it means, he prayed. In Islam the word الصلوة has generally come to mean the prescribed form of Prayer (Aqrab).
رزقناھم (We have provided for them) is from رزق i.e. he provided or he gave. رزق means, a thing whereby one profits, or from which one derives an advantage; any article of food; any means of sustenance; anything bestowed by God on man, material or otherwise (Aqrab & Mufradat).
ینفقون (they spend) is derived from نفق. They say نفق الشیء i.e. the thing became spent up or reduced. انفق means, he spent freely and constantly so as to reduce his wealth (Aqrab & Mufradat).
In this verse three important qualities of a متقی (muttaqi) have been mentioned: (1) a believer in the unseen; (2) steadfast in Prayer; and (3) spending out of what God has provided for him. Of these the first relates to faith or belief which must always come first; the other two relate to actions. Belief in the unseen does not mean blind belief or belief in things which cannot be grasped or understood. Nothing can be farther from the spirit of the Quran than to imagine that it demands from Muslims belief which reason and understanding do not support. The Quran strongly denounces such beliefs. True faith, according to it, is that which is supported by reason and argument (53:23; 46:5; 30:36; 6:149, 150; 25:74).
Moreover, the word غیب used in the Quran does not mean, as assumed by some hostile critics, imaginary and unreal things, but real and verified things, though unseen (49:19; 32:7). It is, therefore, wrong to suppose, as Wherry has done in his Commentary, that Islam forces upon its followers some mysteries of faith and invites them to believe in them blindly. It is Christianity which forces on its followers mysteries like Trinity in Unity and the Sonship of Jesus, completely beyond human understanding and human reason.
The word غیب as stated above, means things which, though beyond the comprehension of human senses, can nevertheless be proved by reason or experience. The supersensible need not necessarily be irrational. Nothing of "the unseen" which a Muslim is called upon to believe is outside the scope of reason. There are many things in the world which, though unseen, are yet proved to exist by invincible arguments, and nobody can deny their existence. God cannot be perceived by the physical senses nor, for that matter, can angels or life after death. But can the existence of God and the angels be denied because of this? Can life after death be denied because it remains unseen?
The words, who believe in the unseen, may also mean that the Faithful discharge their duties and perform their acts of worship without a bargaining spirit. They are above such bargaining. They suffer hardships, undergo tribulations and make sacrifices not for the sake of any visible or immediate reward, but out of a selfless desire to serve the large and, as it were, invisible cause of community or country or humanity at large. This is all believing in the unseen.
Another meaning of the word غیب as given above, is the state of being hidden from the public eye. In this sense, the expression would mean that the faith of a true believer is ever firm and steadfast, whether he is in the company of other believers or is alone. The faith that needs constant watching and exhortation is not worth much. True and real faith has roots deep in the heart of the Faithful and lives by itself. It does not fail or falter when a Muslim is deprived of the company of other Muslims or even when surrounded by disbelievers. Such faith is described in 21:50 and 57:26.
The second quality of متقی relates to actions. According to the different meanings of اقام الصلوة explained above, the expression, observe Prayer, would mean: 1. That a Muslim should observe Prayers throughout his life, keeping constant vigil over them. In fact, irregular Prayers are no prayers (70:35). 2. That he should say Prayers regularly at their appointed hours and in accordance with the rules prescribed for them (4:104). 3. That he should say his Prayers in a true spirit and not allow them to be spoilt by wandering thoughts which may disturb and distract his attention (23:3). 4. That he should say his Prayers in congregation (2:44). 5. That he should also exhort others to say their Prayers regularly and thus help to spread the habit (20:133).
Prayer is not a form of bargaining with God, in which a Muslim looks for something in return. Islam strongly repudiates this idea and describes Prayers as a purifying agent for man himself. Through worship man attains certainty of knowledge which dispels doubt and helps to establish a real and living contact between him and his Creator.
There is a tendency to condemn institutional worship as useless and ceremonial. Worship, it is said, is an attitude of the mind and should be confined strictly to it. There is no doubt that attitudes belong to the mind and if the mind is corrupt, humility of the body can be of no avail. A person whose heart is unimpressed by the Majesty and Glory of God and who yet sings His praise is a hypocrite; but so also is the person who claims to accept a certain truth, yet his body and behaviour show no signs of it. When a person is in love, his face betrays a peculiar emotion when the beloved appears before him. Parents fondle and kiss their children and friends express their affection by visible movements. These demonstrations of affection are spontaneous, not assumed. It is, therefore, impossible that a man should love God and entertain a true longing for Him, but should not seek to express this love or longing by some outward acts; and this is the secret of all worship. Worship is the outer expression of the inner relationship of man with God. Moreover, God’s favours surround the body as well as the soul. Thus, perfect worship is only that in which body and soul both play their part. Without the two the true spirit of worship cannot be preserved, for though adoration by the heart is the substance and adoration by the body only the shell, yet the substance cannot be preserved without the shell. If the shell is destroyed, the substance is bound to meet with a similar fate.
Besides other advantages, Prayers in congregation, as Muslim Prayers always are, foster the spirit of brotherhood. Five times a day believers, both rich and poor, have to stand unceremoniously together, shoulder to shoulder, and offer their humble supplications to God. The busiest and the biggest of them have to find the time and join in this united act of worship. Such a fellowship cannot but wholesomely impact the worshippers’ hearts.
Incidentally, it may also be remarked that the outward form of the Islamic Prayer includes all the poses of the body expressive of humility, i.e. standing with folded arms, bowing, prostrating, and sitting with folded knees, each pose being allotted a corresponding prayer. Besides the prescribed Prayers, one is free to pray in one’s own words and one’s own way.
The expression, they spend out of what We have provided for them, includes not only spending in the cause of Allah but also spending for the welfare of the individual and the community. The words used here are used in their widest possible sense. Wealth, power, influence, physical and intellectual capacities—in short, all that one may receive from God—must be devoted, partly at least, to the well-being of others.
The beneficiaries of this injunction are not confined to the poor alone. All who have claims over the belongings of a Muslim are entitled to a share in them. The injunction applies to a mother who gives suck to her child, to a father who spends upon the education and upbringing of his children, to a husband who provides for the needs of his wife, and to the children who serve their parents. The commandment is aptly explained in the famous hadith: "Your self has a claim upon you, and your Lord has a claim upon you, and your guest has a claim upon you, and your family has a claim upon you. So you should give to everyone his due" (Tirmidhi).
The verse, in short, lays down three directions and describes three stages for the spiritual well-being of man:
1. A Muslim should believe in the truths which are hidden from his eyes and beyond his physical senses, for it is such a belief that proves he is possessed of the right sort of تقوی or righteousness. An intelligent person does not remain satisfied with natural phenomena as he sees them, but looks deeper into their source and origin; and it is this delving into the depths of the unknown that leads to great knowledge and great achievement. All this comes under "belief in the unseen" which has special reference to God, Who is the source of all creation.
2. When the believer reflects on the creation of the universe and the marvellous order and design which exists in it and when, as a result of this reflection, he becomes convinced of the existence of the Creator, an irresistible longing to have a real and true union with Him takes hold of him. This finds consummation in اقام الصلوة or observance of Prayer.
3. Lastly, when the believer succeeds in establishing a living contact with his Creator, he feels an inward urge to serve his fellow beings who, being the creatures of his own Lord and Master, are members of the large family to which he himself belongs. So, in order to meet their needs and requirements, he spends willingly and freely out of the wealth, knowledge or anything else which God has given him. (close)
وَ الَّذِیۡنَ یُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ بِمَاۤ اُنۡزِلَ اِلَیۡکَ وَ مَاۤ اُنۡزِلَ مِنۡ قَبۡلِکَ ۚ وَ بِالۡاٰخِرَۃِ ہُمۡ یُوۡقِنُوۡنَ ؕ﴿۵﴾
وَٱلَّذِينَ يُؤۡمِنُونَ بِمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيۡكَ وَمَآ أُنزِلَ مِن قَبۡلِكَ وَبِٱلۡأٓخِرَةِ هُمۡ يُوقِنُونَ
b. 2:137, 286; 3:200; 4:61, 137, 163; 5:60. (close)
23. Belief in the Holy Prophet is the central point so far as belief in the Prophets of God is concerned (2:286; 4:66, 4:137). (close)
24. Islam makes it obligatory upon its followers to believe in the Divine origin of the teachings of all previous Prophets because God sent His Messengers to all peoples (13:8; 35:25). (close)
a. 6:93; 27:4; 31:5. (close)
25. Al-Akhirah means, (a) the Last Abode, i.e. the next life; (b) it may also signify the revelation which is to follow. This second meaning of the word finds further exposition in 62:3, 4 where the Qur’an speaks of two advents of the Holy Prophet. His first advent took place among the Arabs in the 7th century of the Christian era when the Qur’an was revealed to him; and his second advent was to take place in the Latter Days in the person of one of his followers. This prophecy found its fulfilment in the person of Ahmad, the Promised Messiah and Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement. (close)
a. 2:137, 286; 3:200; 4:61, 137, 163; 5:60. (close)
b. 4:70; 7:36; 61:7; 62:4. (close)
11. Important Words:
انزل (has been revealed) is derived from نزل which means, he descended; or he came down. The literal meaning of the transitive form انزل would, therefore, be, he sent down, or he caused to descend. Figuratively, however, the word has come to be used about anything bestowed by God on man. God being high, everything that comes from Him may be said to descend from above. When used with reference to God’s Word, انزل would mean, He revealed. Thus we say, انزل الله كلامه in the sense of اوحی i.e. God revealed His word (Aqrab).
الآخرة (what is yet to come) is derived from اخر. They say اخرہ i.e. he put it back; he put it behind; he postponed it. The word الآخرة which is the feminine of الآخر i.e. the last one or the latter one, is used as an epithet or an adjective opposed to الاول i.e. the first one. الآخر with a different vowel-point in the central letter, means, "the other" or "another" (Aqrab). The object which the adjective الآخرة in the verse qualifies is understood, most commentators taking it to be الدار, the full expression thus being الدار الآخرة (the last abode). The context, however, shows that here the word understood is not الدارbut الرسالة i.e. الرسالة الآخرة (the message or revelation which is to come). The word; الآخرة has, therefore, been rightly translated here as "that (i.e. the revelation) which is yet to come".
یوقنون (they have firm faith) is derived from ایقن which again is derived from یقن i.e. it became clear and established. ایقن الامر means, he knew the matter well and made sure of it; he was certain about it. یقین means, certainty; becoming sure of a thing beyond doubt; anything sure and established (Aqrab).
This verse describes three more qualities of a متقی i.e. a righteous person. In the previous verse mention was made of faith in general. But as a true believer seeks to know the details of تقوی (righteousness) in order to perfect his faith, he is told here that for its consummation he must believe in the Holy Prophet and through him in the previous Prophets, and must at the same time believe in "what is yet to come". Thus, belief in the Holy Prophet is the central point so far as belief in the Prophets of God is concerned, and no person can become متقی (a truly righteous person) unless he believes in the Holy Prophet.
From the words, that which has been revealed to thee, quite an erroneous inference is sometimes drawn to the effect that it is belief in the Quran and not belief in the Holy Prophet that is enjoined. This view the Quran forcefully contradicts. Besides making it clear in several places that belief in the Prophet is as essential as belief in the Book (e.g.2:286; 4:66; 4:137), the Quran makes the point clear in another way also. At one place we have, He it is Who has sent down to you the Book clearly explained (6:115), and at another, and in like manner have We sent down the Book to thee(O Prophet) (29:48). The fact that God sometimes speaks of the Quran as having been sent to the people and sometimes to the Prophet is not without point. In fact, the difference in construction is full of meaning; for where the Quran is spoken of as having been sent to the people, the intention is to point out that the Quranic teaching is suitable and appropriate for them and is meant for their good; and where the Quran is spoken of as having been sent to the Prophet, the intention is to emphasize that he is not merely the bearer of a message but is the person best fitted to explain the message he has brought and to become an exemplar of the teaching contained in the message. Elsewhere God says, Allah knows best where to place His message (6:125), which is a clear proof of the fact that a Prophet is not merely the bearer of a message, but is selected by God for a higher purpose, i.e. to become a model for his followers; otherwise, anybody can be sent as a bearer of a message and the question of special selection does not arise.
The words, and that which was revealed before thee, illustrate a special characteristic of Islam, i.e. it not only recognizes the truth of all previous Prophets but makes it obligatory upon its followers to believe in the Divine origin of the teachings they brought with them (see also 13:8; 35:25). But it must be remembered that Islam is a complete and final teaching which has superseded all previous teachings. Belief in them, therefore, is only in the sense of reverence for them and not in the sense that a Muslim should act upon them. That is why in the verse under comment God mentions the earlier Scriptures after the Quran and not before it, as the chronological order required, so that the attention of the believers may be drawn to the fact that belief in the previous books is based on the Quran and is not independent of it.
According to the Quran (35:25), Prophets have appeared among all peoples and all nations and we are commanded to believe in all previous revelations, and thus an effective step has been taken to promote peace and harmony among the followers of different religions. The verse applies to no particular Book. Any earlier Book which claims Divine origin and has been accepted for a long time and by a large section of mankind to be the Word of God falls within the meaning of this verse.
The word الآخرة (what is yet to come) means either "the message or revelation which is to follow" or "the Last Abode", i.e. the next life. Of these two meanings the first is more applicable here; for it fits in with the other two parts of the verse which speak of God’s revelations. In this connection it is also noteworthy that while the word ایمان has been used in reference to the past and present revelations, the word یقین has been used in reference to the future ones. This is because ایمان relates to something definite and determined, and as the future revelation was not yet definite and determined at the time when the verse was revealed, so the word یقین was used for it.
The subject of the latter part of this verse, referred to in the words, what is yet to come, finds further exposition in 62:3, 4 where the Quran speaks of two advents of the Holy Prophet. His first advent took place among the Arabs in the 7th century of the Christian era when the Quran was revealed to him; and his second advent was to take place in the latter days of the world in the person of one of his followers who was to come in his spirit and power. This prophecy found its fulfilment in the person of Ahmad, the Promised Messiah and Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, in whose advent have been fulfilled also the prophecies of other Prophets regarding the appearance of a World-Messenger in the Latter Days. (close)
اُولٰٓئِکَ عَلٰی ہُدًی مِّنۡ رَّبِّہِمۡ ٭ وَ اُولٰٓئِکَ ہُمُ الۡمُفۡلِحُوۡنَ ﴿۶﴾
أُوْلَٰٓئِكَ عَلَىٰ هُدٗى مِّن رَّبِّهِمۡۖ وَأُوْلَٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلۡمُفۡلِحُونَ
b. 2:158; 31:6. (close)
c. 23:2; 28:68; 31:6; 87:15; 91:10. (close)
a. 2:158; 31:6. (close)
b. 23:2; 28:68; 87:15; 91:10. (close)
12. Important Words:
المفلحون (those who shall prosper) is derived from افلح i.e. he was successful and attained what he desired or sought. When we say افلح زید we mean, Zaid reaped the fruits of his labour and his endeavours proved successful (Aqrab). Thus مفلح is one who is successful and attains what he desires and reaps the fruits of his labour. The word is also used about one who acquires any substantial good, be it material or spiritual, the word فلاح being used for such success or gain as others may envy (Taj).
The word علی in the clause اولئك علی ھدی is significant. If the idea had been of simple guidance, the Quran could easily have used the words اولئك ھم المھتدون. But it leaves the common construction and uses the words علی ھدی which literally mean, they are on guidance or, in other words, they are mounted on guidance. Guidance becomes, as it were, a riding animal for them which they conveniently use in their march towards God. The construction is not peculiar to the Quran. The Arabs say of a person steeped in ignorance جعل الغوایة مركبا i.e. such a one has made error and ignorance a riding beast for himself (Kashshaf).
The verse explains that when a man has fulfilled all the conditions of تقوی (righteousness) in respect of both belief and actions, then he may be sure not only of being rightly guided but also of being a master of guidance whose success in this life as well as in the life to come is assured. The words علی ھدی (lit. on guidance) also hint that as the believer prayed for guidance in the opening chapter of the Quran, so guidance of the highest order has been provided for him—a guidance on which he can ride comfortably and speed on happily towards his Lord and Master. (close)
اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا سَوَآءٌ عَلَیۡہِمۡ ءَاَنۡذَرۡتَہُمۡ اَمۡ لَمۡ تُنۡذِرۡہُمۡ لَا یُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ ﴿۷﴾
إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ سَوَآءٌ عَلَيۡهِمۡ ءَأَنذَرۡتَهُمۡ أَمۡ لَمۡ تُنذِرۡهُمۡ لَا يُؤۡمِنُونَ
d. 26:137; 36:11. (close)
26. The verse speaks of such disbelievers as become so indifferent to truth that it does not matter whether they receive a warning or not. Of these it is declared that as long as their present condition continues, they will not believe. (close)
c. 4:169, 170; 26:137; 36:11. (close)
13. Important Words:
كفروا (they disbelieved) is derived from كفر which is the opposite of آمن and means, he disbelieved. The literal meaning of كفر (kufr) is ستر الشیء i.e. to cover up a thing. Thence it has also come to mean "ungratefulness" and "disbelief" (Aqrab). When the word is used singly, without any qualifying word, it means the rejection of any fundamental object of faith, i.e.the Unity of God or the prophethood of the Holy Prophet, or the Holy Book, etc (Mufradat).
ءانذرتھم (whether thou warn them). انذر is derived from نذر. They say نذر الشیء i.e. he knew the danger underlying the thing and was on his guard against it. انذر is the transitive form of نذر; so انذرہ means, he warned him of a coming danger. نذیرmeans, a warner (Aqrab). The ھمزہ (hamzah) used in the beginning of the word ءانذرتھم does not give the meaning of interrogation. It is simply used to make the word infinitive, and the clause beginning with it would be taken to mean whether thou warn them or warn them not. It is a parenthetical clause which goes to qualify the words, those who have disbelieved (Mufradat).
After speaking of the class of true believers and describing the high stage of faith, God now speaks of the extreme type of disbelievers who have become so indifferent to truth that it matters not whether they receive a warning or not. Of such disbelievers it has been declared that as long as their present condition continues, they will not believe. The verse does not at all mean that no disbeliever will henceforward believe. The idea is not only repugnant to the teaching of the Quran but is also opposed to all established facts of history; for people continued to embrace Islam even after this verse was revealed. Again, it was after this verse that the Surah النصر (Ch.110) was revealed to the Holy Prophet, in which God spoke to him saying that people would soon begin to join Islam in very large numbers (110:3), and so it actually came to pass. In short, the words, they will not believe, refer only to such disbelievers as turn a deaf ear to the warnings of the Prophet, and to them also the words apply only so long as they do not change their present condition. A person who turns a deaf ear to a warning today but begins to heed it tomorrow does not, indeed cannot, come under the so-called ban. (close)
خَتَمَ اللّٰہُ عَلٰی قُلُوۡبِہِمۡ وَ عَلٰی سَمۡعِہِمۡ ؕ وَ عَلٰۤی اَبۡصَارِہِمۡ غِشَاوَۃٌ ۫ وَّ لَہُمۡ عَذَابٌ عَظِیۡمٌ ٪﴿۸﴾
خَتَمَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمۡ وَعَلَىٰ سَمۡعِهِمۡۖ وَعَلَىٰٓ أَبۡصَٰرِهِمۡ غِشَٰوَةٞۖ وَلَهُمۡ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٞ
e. 4:156; 6:26, 47; 7:102, 180; 10:75; 16:109; 45:24; 83:15. (close)
27. Organs which remain unused for a long time atrophy and become useless. The disbelievers mentioned here refused to employ their hearts and ears for the comprehension of truth, consequently their capacities for hearing and understanding were lost. It is only the natural consequence of wilful indifference which is described in the clause, Allah has set a seal. As all laws proceed from God and every cause is followed by its natural effect under His Will, so the sealing of the hearts and the ears of disbelievers is ascribed to Him. (close)
a. 4:156; 6:26, 47; 7:102, 180; 10:75; 16:109; 45:24; 83:15. (close)
14. Important Words:
ختم (set a seal) means, he set a seal on; or he stamped a thing so that there should remain no likelihood of its being regarded as forged. خاتم means, a seal (Aqrab). The expression ختم الله علی قلبه (lit. God has set a seal on his heart) means, God made his heart such that it could neither understand anything nor could anything come out of it, i.e. it could not make itself understood by others (Baqa).
قلوب (hearts) is the plural of قلب which is derived from قلب (qalaba). They sayقلب الشیء i.e. he turned the thing; or he turned it upside down or inside out, etc. قلب means, the heart, or the central point of a thing. The word قلب is also used in the sense of عقل i.e. reason, as well as for such qualities as knowledge, courage and spirit (Aqrab). It also signifies the faculty of thinking and reasoning, i.e. the mind (Lisan).
السمع (the ears) is derived from سمع i.e. he heard. السمع ھاس three different meanings (1) the ear or ears; (2) the sense of hearing; (3) the sound which one hears (Aqrab).
ابصار (eyes) is the plural of بصر (eye). They say بصر (basura) or بصر (basira), i.e. he saw, or he perceived, or he knew. بصرmeans: (1) the eye; (2) the sense of sight; and (3) knowledge (Aqrab).
العذاب (punishment) is derived from عذب (‘adhaba). They say عذب الرجل i.e. the man left off eating, owing to intense thirst. عذب عنه means, he kept back from it. عذب فلانا means, he prevented him or deprived him. عذب الشراب والطعام means, the drink and food became good and tasteful. عذب الماء means, the water became very dirty. عذبه (‘adhdhabahu) means, he inflicted pain or punishment on him; he detained him; he prevented or deprived him (Aqrab). تعذیب means, inflicting pain or punishment; forcing a man to remain without food and sleep; depriving one of the sweetness or goodness of life; making life miserable (Mufradat). Thus عذاب means, anything which is hard and painful for man and prevents him from attaining his object; pain inflicted as punishment in order to prevent one from repeating an act or prevent others from doing the same; the inflicting of such punishment; anything that deprives a person of the sweetness of life and makes life miserable; anything that prevents a man from attaining the object of his life (Aqrab & Mufradat).
The verse refers to the disbelievers mentioned in the last verse and explains how they have reached their present woeful condition. It is a common observation that organs which remain unused for a long time become dead and useless. The eyes lose their sight and the ears their hearing if they remain out of use, and the limbs become stunted for the same reason. The disbelievers mentioned here refused to employ their hearts and ears for the comprehension of the truth, and as a result their capacities for hearing and understanding were lost. It is thus only the natural consequence of wilful indifference which is described in the clause, Allah has set a seal on their hearts and their ears, and over their eyes is a covering. As all laws proceed from God, the final Controller of the universe, and every cause is followed by its natural effect under His will, so the sealing of the hearts and the ears of disbelievers is ascribed to Him. It is, therefore, a mistake to take the verse to mean that as God had Himself sealed up their hearts, so the disbelievers could not believe. The Quran contradicts this view and states clearly that it is the disbelievers themselves who seal their fate and God’s seal follows only as a result of their action (see 4:156; 40:36; 47:25; 83:15). Says the Holy Prophet: "When a man commits a sin, a black spot is thereby formed on his heart. Then if he repents and gives up the sin and asks God’s forgiveness, the black spot is washed off, leaving the heart clean. But if he repents not and commits another sin, another black spot is formed on his heart and so on, until his whole heart is covered with a black covering, and that is the covering of rust to which the Quran refers in Surah Tatfif " (Jarir).
It may also be noted that in the present verse the word "ears" has been put before the word "eyes". This is in conformity with the law of nature that the ears of a newborn baby begin to function earlier than the eyes. (close)
وَ مِنَ النَّاسِ مَنۡ یَّقُوۡلُ اٰمَنَّا بِاللّٰہِ وَ بِالۡیَوۡمِ الۡاٰخِرِ وَ مَا ہُمۡ بِمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ ۘ﴿۹﴾
وَمِنَ ٱلنَّاسِ مَن يَقُولُ ءَامَنَّا بِٱللَّهِ وَبِٱلۡيَوۡمِ ٱلۡأٓخِرِ وَمَا هُم بِمُؤۡمِنِينَ
a. 2:178; 3:115; 4:40, 60; 6:93; 58:23. (close)
28. Only God and the Last Day are mentioned, other Islamic beliefs being left out, because God and the Last Day are respectively the first and the last items in the Islamic formula of faith and a profession of belief in them ipso facto implies profession of belief in the other items. Elsewhere, the Qur’an states that belief in the Last Day implies belief in angels as well as in the Divine Books (6:93). (close)
15. Important Words:
آمنا (we believe) is derived from امن for which see 2:4. The word ایمان (belief or faith) does not consist in a lip-profession of truth, or a vague realization of it. It combines three necessary elements, viz. (1) conviction of mind; (2) profession by tongue; and (3) demonstration through actions (Mufradat). The Quran itself explains ایمان in this light (49:15; 27:15).
After describing the condition of believers (vv. 4-6) and that of disbelievers (vv. 7-8) the Quran proceeds to describe the condition of a third group, the hypocrites. They intermingled with the believers and posed as such. They were divided into two classes: (1) disbelievers at heart but united with the believers for the sake of some material or communal advantages; (2) believers at heart but lacking the strength of conviction necessary for thorough conversion and complete obedience. The reference here is to the first class of hypocrites, those who mixed with the believers but did not at heart believe in the truth of Islam.
It may be noted that only God and the Last Day are mentioned here, other Islamic beliefs being left out. This has led some to think that Islam requires belief only in God and the Last Day. The truth, however, is that 'God' and the 'Last Day' are respectively the first and the last items in the Islamic formula of faith and a profession of them ipso facto implies profession of the other items. Elsewhere the Quran clearly states how belief in the Last Day implies belief in angels as well as in the Divine Books (6:93).
The omission may also be explained in another way. The hypocrites wanted to deceive the believers, so possibly they expressed themselves purposely in these words, omitting all reference to the Prophet and the Quran. By mentioning God and the Last Day they would induce believers to think that they subscribed fully to the Islamic faith, but in their hearts they made a reservation as regards belief in the Quran and the Prophet. This interpretation finds support in the following verse which says that the hypocrites wished to deceive the believers. The expression, they are not believers at all, has been used to intensify the repudiation of the claim of the hypocrites to be believers. If a mere negation of their claim had been intended, it would have been expressed by some such expression as "they are hypocrites".
Strong denunciation of hypocrites is characteristic of the Quran (3:168; 5:42 & 5:62). According to the Quran, hypocrites are sheer disbelievers. This view of the Quran furnishes a strong refutation of the criticism that Islam permits the use of force in religious matters. Conversion by force can never be sincere, while the Quran insists upon sincerity in believers. A religion which makes sincerity a necessary quality of belief cannot tolerate, much less encourage, the use of force in religion. (close)
یُخٰدِعُوۡنَ اللّٰہَ وَ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا ۚ وَ مَا یَخۡدَعُوۡنَ اِلَّاۤ اَنۡفُسَہُمۡ وَ مَا یَشۡعُرُوۡنَ ؕ﴿۱۰﴾
يُخَٰدِعُونَ ٱللَّهَ وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَمَا يَخۡدَعُونَ إِلَّآ أَنفُسَهُمۡ وَمَا يَشۡعُرُونَ
b. 4:143. (close)
29. Khada‘a-hu means, he sought or desired to deceive him but did not succeed in his attempt. Khada‘a-hu means, he succeeded in his attempt to deceive him; he forsook him or it (Baqa’). The former word is used about a man when he has not attained his desire and the latter when he has attained it (Lane). (close)
a. 4:143. (close)
16. Important Words:
یخادعون (would deceive) is derived from خادع and یخدعون (deceive) is derived from خدع. They say خدعه i.e. he deceived him; he made a show of what he was not; he tried to harm him in a way unknown to the latter. خادعه is sometimes loosely used to give the same meaning as خدع but in reality it is different. خادع is used when the deceiver is not successful in his attempt at deception and خدع is used when the party intended to be deceived actually falls a victim to the deception (Baqa & Aqrab). This distinction is corroborated by Lane who says, "One says of a man خادع when he has not attained his desire, and خدع when he has attained his desire." The word خادع also means: (1) he forsook or he abandoned; (2) it (the market) was variable. They say سوق خادعة i.e. a market varying in its state, at one time brisk, at another dull in respect of traffic (Lane). Following this signification یخادعون الله would mean (1) they forsake and abandon God; and (2) they are variable with respect to Allah, believing at one time and disbelieving at another.
یشعرون (they perceive) is derived from شعر. They say شعرہ meaning, he perceived it; he came to know of it; he understood it; he felt it (Aqrab). شعور is the faculty of insight not depending upon the senses for its exercise, something that rises from within. In the verse the word یشعرون has been used to signify that though the disease of the hypocrites lies in their hearts, yet their insight gives them no warning.
The verse makes it clear that effective faith is based upon truth and sincerity. Faith not so based amounts to deception and God cannot be deceived.
The verse has given rise to some objections: 1. How can it be possible for any man to deceive God? 2. The word یخادعون is derived from the verb خادع in the measure of مفاعلة which denotes two parties mutually engaged in the same operation. The words یخادعون الله would, therefore, mean that hypocrites and God are both engaged in deceiving each other.
In answer to the first objection it may be said that the word used here is خادع and not خدع, the former, as explained above, signifying only an attempt at deception and not actual deception. The objection is, therefore, without foundation.
The second objection also does not hold good. The measure مفاعلة does not always carry the sense of mutual participation. Sometimes it signifies only one of the parties so engaged. For example, in the sentence عاقبت اللص meaning, "I punished the thief" the word عاقبت belongs to the measure of مفاعلة, yet here it does not denote mutual participation in the act. It only means, I punished the thief.
A note on the hypocrites will not be out of place here. Before the coming of Islam into Medina, the city’s inhabitants included two pagan Arab tribes known as Aus and Khazraj, and three Jewish tribes named Banu Quraizah, Banu Nadirand Banu Qainuqa‘. The two pagan tribes outnumbered the Jews but were inferior to them in wealth and education. The Jews thus exercised great influence over the pagans of Medina. In order to further increase their influence, they encouraged internecine feuds among their idolatrous neighbours. A few years before the rise of Islam the pagan tribes of Medina, realizing how they had been duped, decided to organize themselves under a duly elected king. Their choice fell upon one ‘Abdullah bin Ubayy, chief of the tribe of Khazraj, and they were preparing for his coronation when news came to them of the rise of Islam in Mecca. Events suddenly began to take a different turn. The idolatrous tribes of Ausand Khazraj became attracted towards Islam and began to embrace the new faith in large numbers, believing that the solution of their difficulties lay not in electing a king but in accepting Islam. Soon after the Holy Prophet migrated to Medina, the tide of enthusiasm became irresistible; and ‘Abdullah bin Ubayy and his party felt it wise to follow their tribesmen into the new faith. They did not realize at the time that the establishment of Islam would mean the frustration of their own hopes. When, however, the power of Islam became established, they realized that they had put an end to their hopes. This realization destroyed any attachment they had for Islam. Instead, they developed actual hostility towards it. However, as a preponderant majority of their tribesmen had already become zealous followers of Islam, they could not openly leave its fold. Thus came into being the hypocrites—a party professing Islam outwardly but hostile to it at heart. Not strong enough to oppose Islam openly, they naturally thought of entering into a secret alliance with the Jews in order to injure the cause of Islam. In the beginning they had nothing to do with the Meccans for whom they bore a long-standing tribal antipathy. After the Battle of Uhud, however, at the instigation of the Jews and prompted by their own jealousy, they forgot their enmity and began to secretly conspire with the Quraish of Mecca, keeping up a show of attachment for Islam. Their leader ‘Abdullah continued to accompany the Holy Prophet in many of his expeditions.
In the Quran this party of hypocrites is mentioned in several places. Their last act of hostility towards Islam was their attempt, after the Fall of Mecca, to conspire with the Byzantine Christian power. The occasion was the Tabuk expedition led by the Holy Prophet in the ninth year of Hijrah. The attempt met with discomfiture. It was probably the shock of its failure that caused, only two months later, the death of ‘Abdullah bin Ubayy. The party then broke up. Some of its members entered Islam sincerely; others ended their days in obscurity. (close)
فِیۡ قُلُوۡبِہِمۡ مَّرَضٌ ۙ فَزَادَہُمُ اللّٰہُ مَرَضًا ۚ وَ لَہُمۡ عَذَابٌ اَلِیۡمٌۢ ۬ۙ بِمَا کَانُوۡا یَکۡذِبُوۡنَ ﴿۱۱﴾
فِي قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٞ فَزَادَهُمُ ٱللَّهُ مَرَضٗاۖ وَلَهُمۡ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمُۢ بِمَا كَانُواْ يَكۡذِبُونَ
c. 5:53; 9:125; 74:32. (close)
30. God has shown so many Signs in support of Islam and it has become gradually so powerful that the hypocrites have become more and more afraid of Muslims and have consequently grown in their hypocrisy. (close)
a. 5:53; 9:125; 74:32. (close)
17. Important Words:
مرض (disease) is derived from مرض i.e. he fell ill; he lost his health. Thus مرض means, anything whereby a man loses his health (physical, moral or spiritual); disease or hypocrisy; doubt or darkness or loss; omission of any kind (Aqrab); any disease or any physical or moral weakness or defect of faith, in fact, anything that hinders man’s physical, moral or spiritual progress (Mufradat).
یكذبون (they lie) is derived from كذب which means, he lied; he said what was untrue while he knew the truth; he gave a wrong account of something, whether intentionally or unintentionally; it (the heart or the eye) felt or perceived wrongly (Aqrab); he said what was true but said it insincerely, i.e. he himself believed the thing to be untrue (the Quran 63:2). كذب(kadhdhaba) is the causative or transitive form from كذب. They say كذبه i.e. he accused him of lying; he attributed falsehood to him in his claim or statement; he pronounced him a liar. كذب به means, he rejected and disbelieved it. كاذبmeans a liar, and كذاب means a great and habitual liar. كذب (kadhib) and كذاب (kidhdhab) mean, falsehood, lie, untruth; also the act of uttering a lie. كذاب also means the act of accusing one of lying (Lane & Aqrab).
God speaks of two diseases of the heart: (1) كفر i.e. disbelief; and (2) نفاق i.e. hypocrisy. The former has already been referred to in verses 7 and 8. The present verse refers to the disease of hypocrisy and points out that those suffering from it do not act as normal healthy persons do.
The Holy Prophet has mentioned the following signs of hypocrisy. Says he: "When a hypocrite speaks, he lies; and when he makes a promise, he does not fulfil it; and when he is entrusted with anything, he acts dishonestly and when he makes a contract, he breaks it; and when he engages in a dispute, he uses foul words" (Bukhari).
In the verse under comment the increase of hypocrisy is attributed to God, not because God increases it but because the increase results from disregard of His commands; also because it is God who finally dispenses the good and evil consequences of human actions. The Quran has only been revealed for healing diseases. Says Allah: O mankind! There has come to you an exhortation from your Lord and a cure for whatever disease there is in the hearts (10:58).
The increasing of disease also means that the expanding power of Islam was naturally increasing the disease of the hypocrites who were all the more forced to remain, against their will, in outward friendliness with the Muslims.
In the case of disbelievers the punishment mentioned is عذاب عظیم (great punishment), whereas in the case of hypocrites it is عذاب الیم(grievous punishment). This is because disbelievers express their disbelief and enmity openly, while hypocrites keep their feelings of hatred and malice concealed in their hearts, thinking that they are thereby deriving twofold pleasure—one of enmity towards Islam and the other, of befooling the Muslims. So the retribution in store for the hypocrites is characterized by special pain and anguish—a fit recompense for their false pleasure. (close)