یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوا ادۡخُلُوۡا فِی السِّلۡمِ کَآفَّۃً ۪ وَ لَا تَتَّبِعُوۡا خُطُوٰتِ الشَّیۡطٰنِ ؕ اِنَّہٗ لَکُمۡ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِیۡنٌ ﴿۲۰۹﴾
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱدۡخُلُواْ فِي ٱلسِّلۡمِ كَآفَّةٗ وَلَا تَتَّبِعُواْ خُطُوَٰتِ ٱلشَّيۡطَٰنِۚ إِنَّهُۥ لَكُمۡ عَدُوّٞ مُّبِينٞ
249. Kaffah means, (1) all together; (2) wholly or completely; (3) repulsing the enemy and (4) restraining oneself or others from sin and digression (Mufradat). (close)
b. See 2:169. (close)
215. Important Words:
السلم (submission) is derived from سلم meaning, he was or became safe from danger or disease or defect, etc. سالمه means, he made peace with him.
اسلم means, he submitted; he embraced Islam. السلم therefore, means (1) submission; (2) peace; (3) the religion of Islam (Aqrab).
کافة (wholly) is derived from کف. They say کف الاناء meaning, he filled the vessel to the full. کف الشیء means, he collected the thing all in one place. کفه عن الامر فکف means, he turned him away from it and consequently he (the latter) kept back; he prevented or restrained him from the affair, so that, as a result thereof, he (the latter) desisted from it. Thus کف is both transitive and intransitive. کافة is the feminine from کاف and means: (1) all together with none standing aside (Aqrab); (2) wholly or completely, not partially or half-heartedly (Lane); (3) preventing the enemy and turning him back; and (4) restraining oneself, or restraining the people from sin and digression (Mufradat).
Having completed the description of the two classes of men along with their sub-divisions in the previous verses, the Quran now fittingly addresses believers generally and those weak in faith particularly, calling upon them to try to be reckoned among the best and noblest type of men. To attain this end they should do two things, one positive and the other negative: (1) Individually they should come into submission or, in other words, they should enter Islam, wholly. Partial submission and half-hearted obedience will not do; and collectively they should try to offer submission all together, allowing no member to stand aside and remain outside the circle. (2) They should eschew the ways of Satan, who is an open enemy of Islam and is out to cut all holy ties asunder (2:169).
Besides the above two meanings, the clause ادخلوا فی السلم کافة (come into submission wholly) is capable of yet another meaning. As کافة also means, restraining or turning one back, the clause may be translated as, "come into submission wholly, shutting all such doors through which sin may enter". This is indeed a most comprehensive advice and can save many a soul, if people only care to act up to it.
The word خطوات (footsteps) in the clause, follow not the footsteps of Satan, apparently seems to be superfluous, for, "following Satan" seems to give the same meaning as "following in his footsteps", but it is not so really. The word خطوات (footsteps) has been very wisely added to hint that those who follow Satan do so slavishly and blindly. Just as a blind man who cannot see his way, finds it convenient to place his hand on the shoulder of any passer-by and then blindly tread on in his footsteps, so do they. (close)
فَاِنۡ زَلَلۡتُمۡ مِّنۡۢ بَعۡدِ مَا جَآءَتۡکُمُ الۡبَیِّنٰتُ فَاعۡلَمُوۡۤا اَنَّ اللّٰہَ عَزِیۡزٌ حَکِیۡمٌ ﴿۲۱۰﴾
فَإِن زَلَلۡتُم مِّنۢ بَعۡدِ مَا جَآءَتۡكُمُ ٱلۡبَيِّنَٰتُ فَٱعۡلَمُوٓاْ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ
The preceding verse called upon believers, particularly those weak in faith, to try to become perfect Muslims, and pointed out to them the means by which they could become so. The present verse makes it clear that if, even after this warning and after God’s clear Signs had come to them, they should slip and digress from the true path, they would find God "Mighty and Wise", hinting that in that case they would rightly deserve punishment by the Wise God Who possesses the power to punish.
The word "Wise" also hints that erring ones should not despair; for, God being Wise, He has kept the way open for their return to the right faith. In fact, the liability of man to err is not without purpose. In His eternal wisdom, God has made man a free agent who is liable to err, so that his error might serve as an incentive for him to rise again and make a redoubled effort towards the ideal. (close)
ہَلۡ یَنۡظُرُوۡنَ اِلَّاۤ اَنۡ یَّاۡتِیَہُمُ اللّٰہُ فِیۡ ظُلَلٍ مِّنَ الۡغَمَامِ وَ الۡمَلٰٓئِکَۃُ وَ قُضِیَ الۡاَمۡرُ ؕ وَ اِلَی اللّٰہِ تُرۡجَعُ الۡاُمُوۡرُ ﴿۲۱۱﴾٪
هَلۡ يَنظُرُونَ إِلَّآ أَن يَأۡتِيَهُمُ ٱللَّهُ فِي ظُلَلٖ مِّنَ ٱلۡغَمَامِ وَٱلۡمَلَـٰٓئِكَةُ وَقُضِيَ ٱلۡأَمۡرُۚ وَإِلَى ٱللَّهِ تُرۡجَعُ ٱلۡأُمُورُ
a. 6:159; 16:34; 89:23. (close)
250. The phrase, "coming of God," is used by the Qur’an elsewhere also (16:27; 59:3) and signifies God’s punishment. (close)
251. The word al-Ghamam has been used by the Qur’an to express both mercy (7:161) and punishment (25:26). (close)
252. The reference is to the Battle of Badr, when God helped the believers by sending down clouds and rain (Bukhari), as was promised to them (25:26), and also sent down angels (8:10) who inspired the believers with courage and filled the hearts of the disbelievers with fear (8:13). Some of the disbelievers are reported to have actually seen the angels on that day (Zurqani). (close)
a. 6:159; 16:34; 89:23. (close)
217. Important Words:
یاتیھم الله (Allah should come to them) is a metaphorical expression, meaning, Allah should come to them with His punishment, i.e. Allah should punish them. The metaphor ایتان الله i.e. coming of God, is used by the Quran elsewhere also (16:27; 59:3). In contrast to this, the Quran uses the metaphor توب الله i.e. turning of God, to express His turning with mercy (2:38; 9:117.) Similarly, ایتان الملئکة i.e. the coming of the angels, indicates their coming with punishment.
ظلل (coverings) is the plural of ظلة (zullah) which is derived from ظل and اظل the latter word meaning, he or it afforded or cast a shadow. But whereas ظل (zill) the plural of which is ظلال or اظلال means, shadow, ظلة whose plural is ظلل, means, a covering or a shade, i.e. a thing that casts or gives a shade or a shadow (Aqrab). The word ظلة or ظلل is generally used in connection with punishment (Mufradat).
الغمام (clouds) for which see 2:58. The word has been used by the Quran both in connection with mercy (7:161) and punishment (25:26).
The form of speech has been changed here from the second to the third person. The verse has apparently been addressed to either disbelievers or to hypocrites and the weak in faith. If it be taken to refer to disbelievers, as the change of form in the address indicates, it would mean that by desisting from belief they are, as it were, waiting for the punishment of God, and the verse incidentally hints that appointed punishment would come to them through raining clouds. The reference is to the Battle of Badr, when God helped believers by sending down clouds and rain (Bukhari), as was promised (25:26), and also sent down angels (8:10) who inspired the believers with courage and filled the hearts of the disbelievers with fear (8:13). Some of the disbelievers are reported to have actually seen the angels on that day (Zurqani). The matter was then "decided"; for, on that memorable day, all the chief leaders of the Quraish were killed, the Muslims obtaining a decisive victory which broke the power of the enemy. The coming of clouds refers to the rainfall which on the battlefield of Badr proved a blessing for the Muslims. It made the sand firm for them, while the land on the side of the enemy, being clayey, became slippery.
If, however, the verse be taken to refer to the hypocrites or the weak in faith, as the preceding two verses would suggest, then the clause, that Allah should come to them in the coverings of the clouds, would mean that if they did not mend their ways, God would have to chastise them even though they were apparently resting in the shade of faith, which is likened to a غمام or cloud. As shown under Important Words above, the word غمام (clouds) is sometimes used in connection with God’s mercy (7:161). (close)
سَلۡ بَنِیۡۤ اِسۡرَآءِیۡلَ کَمۡ اٰتَیۡنٰہُمۡ مِّنۡ اٰیَۃٍۭ بَیِّنَۃٍ ؕ وَ مَنۡ یُّبَدِّلۡ نِعۡمَۃَ اللّٰہِ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ مَا جَآءَتۡہُ فَاِنَّ اللّٰہَ شَدِیۡدُ الۡعِقَابِ ﴿۲۱۲﴾
سَلۡ بَنِيٓ إِسۡرَـٰٓءِيلَ كَمۡ ءَاتَيۡنَٰهُم مِّنۡ ءَايَةِۭ بَيِّنَةٖۗ وَمَن يُبَدِّلۡ نِعۡمَةَ ٱللَّهِ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ مَا جَآءَتۡهُ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ شَدِيدُ ٱلۡعِقَابِ
b. 17:102; 28:37. (close)
253. This does not mean that God is unnecessarily severe in punishment, but that Divine punishment is bound to be felt severely. (close)
a. 17:102; 28:37. (close)
The preceding verses referred to those weak in faith who had not yet "come into submission wholly" (2:209). The position of these people was that they had received a favour of God but practically they sought to "change" it. They wished to be known as Muslims and yet to be free to live as they liked. This was exactly what the Israelites had done before. So the Quran fittingly turns here to the story of the children of Israel who afforded an object-lesson for Muslims. The Holy Prophet and, for that matter, every reader of the Quran is asked to enquire of the descendants of Israel how many and how varied were the Signs which God had bestowed upon them as a favour and how persistent and impudent was their rejection of His Messengers and their disregard of His teachings.
The expression, whoso changes the gift of God, appears to be rather peculiar; but really the word یبدل (changes) gives a very interesting meaning. For believers it means, accepting the teaching of a Prophet in theory but rejecting it in practice, as unfortunately is very often the case with the weak in faith. They receive a thing as a gift or blessing, but by abstaining from acting upon it, they incur the displeasure of God, thus practically "changing" a favour into a disfavour.
For disbelievers the expression means converting a مبشر Prophet into a منذر Prophet. The Quran speaks of the Prophets of God as a نعمة i.e. a favour or gift (5:21) and it further holds that the mission of every Prophet is twofold—he is a مبشر or bearer of glad tidings for those who accept him, and he is a منذر or warner of coming punishment for those who reject him (18:57). Now when God sends a Prophet, He wishes the people to accept him as a bearer of glad tidings only, and it is the people themselves who reverse the position by rejecting him. In this way the people, as it were, "change" the مبشر Prophet into the منذر Prophet.
Again, for Israelites or Jews the expression, whoso changes the gift of Allah, may mean that though they knew that their Scriptures embodied the word of God which was a favour and a blessing, yet they had the audacity to interfere with it in order to meet their own ends (5:14), thus "changing" the very substance of God’s favour.
The expression may have yet another meaning. The شریعة or Law being meant as a guidance, is a mercy or a blessing of God (5:4 & 6:155, 156). But Christians, who are an offshoot of the Jews have "changed" it into a curse (Gal. 3:13).
The expression "gift of God" may refer to the manifold and multifarious favours which God had bestowed upon the Israelites in the form of Prophets and their noble teachings. But they "changed" the gift of God by rejecting the Prophets and disobeying their teachings. The expression may also refer to the Holy Prophet and the religion brought by him; they are certainly the greatest gifts of God for mankind, and whoever rejects Islam either by disbelieving or disobeying its teachings, deserves God’s severest punishment. In either case, the verse also warns hypocrites and those weak of faith among Muslims that if they accepted the Holy Prophet outwardly but rejected him in their heart or if they accepted his teachings as being from God but did not act upon them, they would be "changing" the gift of God and would make themselves liable to severe punishment. (close)
زُیِّنَ لِلَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوا الۡحَیٰوۃُ الدُّنۡیَا وَ یَسۡخَرُوۡنَ مِنَ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا ۘ وَ الَّذِیۡنَ اتَّقَوۡا فَوۡقَہُمۡ یَوۡمَ الۡقِیٰمَۃِ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ یَرۡزُقُ مَنۡ یَّشَآءُ بِغَیۡرِ حِسَابٍ ﴿۲۱۳﴾
زُيِّنَ لِلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ ٱلۡحَيَوٰةُ ٱلدُّنۡيَا وَيَسۡخَرُونَ مِنَ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْۘ وَٱلَّذِينَ ٱتَّقَوۡاْ فَوۡقَهُمۡ يَوۡمَ ٱلۡقِيَٰمَةِۗ وَٱللَّهُ يَرۡزُقُ مَن يَشَآءُ بِغَيۡرِ حِسَابٖ
c. 3:15; 18:47; 57:21. (close)
a. 3:38; 24:39; 35:4; 40:41. (close)
a. 3:15; 18:47; 57:21. (close)
b. 3:38; 24:39; 35:4; 40:41. (close)
219. Important Words:
زین (is made to appear attractive) is passive voice from زین which is derived from زان. They say زان الشیء or زین الشیءmeaning, he decorated or embellished or beautified the thing so as to make it look attractive (Aqrab).
یسخرون (they scoff) is formed from سخر. They say سخر منه or سخربه i.e. (1) he mocked at or scoffed at or laughed at him; he derided or ridiculed him; (2) he cut a joke with him or made a jest of him; (3) he deemed him ignorant (Aqrab & Lane).
فوقھم (above them). The word فوق is the infinitive noun from فاق. They say فاقه i.e. he was above him or was superior to him (in any sense); he excelled him in rank, eminence, nobility, knowledge or any other good quality; he overcame him in argument (Aqrab & Lane).
یوم القیامة (the Day of Resurrection) is a compound expression being made up of یوم (day) and القیامة (resurrection). The word یوم (day) is also used to denote time generally as already explained in 1:4; and القیامة (resurrection) is derived from قام meaning, (1) he stood up, or (2) he stood still. The expression قامت الساعة means, the appointed hour of resurrection came to pass. القیامة therefore, means the rising of the dead or the Resurrection (Aqrab). The word is also used for such occasions on which people leave their homes and gather in a place in response to a call, as in the Friday Prayers (Taj). Thus figuratively the word القیامة (resurrection) may denote a state of unusual life and activity following a state of inertia and lifelessness. The word القیامة is really القیام (the act of standing) which is the noun-infinitive from قام, the final ة being added to denote the act of resurrection being sudden and all together (Mufradat).
As the preceding verse spoke of those who change the gift of God by rejecting it or refusing to act upon it, the present verse fittingly provides the underlying reason of such rejection or refusal. The attention of these people is devoted to the affairs of this world, which appear so attractive to them as to leave no room in their hearts for God and His Messenger. The فاعل or author of the act denoted by the verb زین which is in the passive voice, has not been named here; but elsewhere the Quran clearly states that it is Satan who has taken upon himself to make the things of this world look beautiful and attractive in the eyes of unbelieving people (15:40), who thus become engrossed in the affairs of the world.
Intoxicated with their material gains and worldly possessions, disbelievers, and for that matter, hypocrites also, look down upon believers and scoff at them when they see their apparently low worldly position and hear promises of victory and future greatness being made to them. In view of the utter helplessness of the believers, they cannot possibly bring themselves to conceive that believers will ever become heirs to that eminence and glory which is promised to them by God and, therefore, they treat such promises with contempt. But truth has always triumphed over falsehood in the end. The history of all religions and particularly that of Islam bears undeniable testimony to this fact.
The clause, but those who fear God shall be above them on the Day of Resurrection, does not mean that the triumph of the Faithful over disbelievers will be confined to the next world only. The words "the Day of Resurrection" have been added to point out that whereas believers will also triumph in this world, as borne out by the facts of history, their triumph in the next world will be complete and perpetual. These words may also refer, according to Arab usage, to the time of the downfall of disbelievers and the rise of the Faithful in this very world. In this sense the clause would signify, "wait a while, for the appointed time is not far distant when Muslims will triumph over their enemies and will be above them in all respects", i.e. in knowledge, wealth, power, etc.—a fact to which the early history of Islam in Medina, Damascus, Baghdad, Egypt, Spain, etc., bears ample testimony. To quote only one instance, i.e. that of the Arabs being in their time above the rest of the world in science, Robert Briffault says: "The debt of our science to that of the Arabs does not consist in startling discoveries or revolutionary theories; science owes a great deal to Arab culture; it owes its existence" (The Making of Humanity).
It will be noted that while making the promise of future greatness, the verse substitutes the expression "those who fear God" for the expression "those who believe". This change has been made to point to the fact that to obtain triumph mere ایمان (belief) is not enough; the Muslims should effect a real change in themselves, by attaining تقوی or fear of God. The phrase "without reckoning" may mean three things: (1) that the favours and gifts of God know no ending; for a thing that does not end cannot be reckoned; (2) that God bestows upon believers more favours and more gifts than they appear to deserve, the more so because believers spend in the cause of God to the utmost of their power without keeping an account of what they spend, so God also showers His blessings upon them without reckoning; (3) that God treats the believers as friends; and as people do not keep an account of what they give to their friends, therefore God also keeps no account of what He gives to the Faithful.
As to the relevancy of this clause to the previous one, it may be noted that as God promised to grant special victory and unusual greatness to believers—so much so that they were to be "above" the disbelievers in all respects when the time of "resurrection" (i.e. the fall of the disbelievers and the rise of the believers) came—the question naturally arose, how out of all proportion to their efforts and resources were the handful of believers going to attain this glorious triumph? In reply to this implied question, the Quran says that the people need not doubt this prophecy for the matter is not to be settled by ordinary rules of cause and effect but by the fact, so amply borne out by history, that "Allah bestows His favours on whomsoever He pleases without reckoning." In this connection we may well quote from Carlyle who, while speaking of the spectacular rise of Islam to power, says: "These Arabs, the man Mohammad, one spark on a world of what seemed black unnoticeable sand; but lo, the sand proves explosive powder, blazes heaven-high from Delhi to Granada!" (On Heroes and Hero Worship). (close)
کَانَ النَّاسُ اُمَّۃً وَّاحِدَۃً ۟ فَبَعَثَ اللّٰہُ النَّبِیّٖنَ مُبَشِّرِیۡنَ وَ مُنۡذِرِیۡنَ ۪ وَ اَنۡزَلَ مَعَہُمُ الۡکِتٰبَ بِالۡحَقِّ لِیَحۡکُمَ بَیۡنَ النَّاسِ فِیۡمَا اخۡتَلَفُوۡا فِیۡہِ ؕ وَ مَا اخۡتَلَفَ فِیۡہِ اِلَّا الَّذِیۡنَ اُوۡتُوۡہُ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ مَا جَآءَتۡہُمُ الۡبَیِّنٰتُ بَغۡیًۢا بَیۡنَہُمۡ ۚ فَہَدَی اللّٰہُ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا لِمَا اخۡتَلَفُوۡا فِیۡہِ مِنَ الۡحَقِّ بِاِذۡنِہٖ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ یَہۡدِیۡ مَنۡ یَّشَآءُ اِلٰی صِرَاطٍ مُّسۡتَقِیۡمٍ ﴿۲۱۴﴾
كَانَ ٱلنَّاسُ أُمَّةٗ وَٰحِدَةٗ فَبَعَثَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلنَّبِيِّـۧنَ مُبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنذِرِينَ وَأَنزَلَ مَعَهُمُ ٱلۡكِتَٰبَ بِٱلۡحَقِّ لِيَحۡكُمَ بَيۡنَ ٱلنَّاسِ فِيمَا ٱخۡتَلَفُواْ فِيهِۚ وَمَا ٱخۡتَلَفَ فِيهِ إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ أُوتُوهُ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ مَا جَآءَتۡهُمُ ٱلۡبَيِّنَٰتُ بَغۡيَۢا بَيۡنَهُمۡۖ فَهَدَى ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لِمَا ٱخۡتَلَفُواْ فِيهِ مِنَ ٱلۡحَقِّ بِإِذۡنِهِۦۗ وَٱللَّهُ يَهۡدِي مَن يَشَآءُ إِلَىٰ صِرَٰطٖ مُّسۡتَقِيمٍ
254. Before the advent of a Prophet all men are like one people in the sense that they are all unbelievers. But when a Prophet appears, they, in spite of their mutual differences, form one united front against him. The expression, "mankind were one community" or identical words have been used, besides the present verse, at seven places in the Qur’an. In 10:20; 21:93 and 23:53 they signify "national unity" and in 5:49; 16:94; 42:9; 43:34 and in the verse under comment "identity of ideas." (close)
b. 4:166; 6:49; 18:57. (close)
255. The "difference" referred to in the verse at two separate places signifies two different kinds of disagreement. Before the advent of a Prophet people differ among themselves about their idolatrous practices. But after his appearance, they begin to differ with regard to his claims. The Prophet does not create differences. The differences are already there; they merely assume a new form after his appearance. Before a Prophet appears, the people, in spite of their mutual differences, look like one people; they become divided into two distinct camps—believers and disbelievers,—after he appears. Viewed collectively, the verse describes five different stages through which mankind has passed. In the beginning there was unity among the people, all forming one community. With the increase in population and the extension of their interests and the complexity of their problems, they began to differ among themselves. Then God raised Prophets and revealed His Will. Every new revelation was made a cause of discord and differences, particularly by the people to whom the Divine Message was addressed. God finally raised the Holy Prophet with His last Book and a universal mission, calling upon all humanity to rally round his banner. Thus a circle was completed and the world which began with unity is designed to end in unity. (close)
a. 4:166; 6:49; 18:57. (close)
In the preceding verses different classes of people––believers and disbelievers together with their sub-divisions––have been mentioned. The verse under comment not only traces the genesis of these classes but also hints to Muslims that, just as the world began with all people as one community, God now wishes them again to become one community through the Holy Prophet who, unlike previous Prophets, came with a universal mission.
The clause, Mankind were one community, may mean: (1) mankind, i.e. all men were originally one people; (2) all disbelievers are one people. In the first-mentioned case, the verse would mean that, in the beginning of the world, all mankind were one people. They had no social rules, no polity, no civic laws. Then in the course of time, differences arose among them with regard to these things. So God sent to them Prophets to guide them how to live good and useful lives.
In the second case, the meaning of the clause would be that before the advent of a Prophet all men are like one people in the sense that they are all disbelievers, and disbelief and wrongdoing reign supreme in the world. But when a Prophet appears, all people, in spite of their mutual differences, form one united front against him. This meaning is in harmony with the well-known saying of the Holy Prophet, الکفر ملة واحدة i.e. all disbelievers (to whatever creed or religion they may belong) are one people.
The clause, and sent down with them the Book, does not mean that God revealed a separate Book to every Prophet. In that case, "Books", instead of "the Book", would have been the appropriate word. In fact, the "sending down of a Book" to a Prophet does not always mean the actual revelation of it to him in person. The Quran uses similar words with regard to those Prophets who were not the direct recipients of any revealed Book (6:115, 157, 158; 3:73, 200; 29:47; 21:11). The clause, therefore, only means that every Prophet has received a Book from God, whether it was revealed to him direct or whether it was revealed to a previous Prophet whose mission he was called upon to serve.
The "difference" referred to in the verse at two separate places signifies two different kinds of disagreement. Before the advent of a Prophet people differ among themselves about false beliefs and idolatrous practices. But after the appearance of the truth, they begin to differ with regard to the truth itself. The advent of a Prophet, however, does not, as may be wrongly imagined, create differences. The differences are already there; they merely assume a new form. But whereas before a Prophet has made his appearance the people, in spite of their differences, look like one people, they become divided into two distinct camps, believers and disbelievers, after he has appeared.
The clause, out of envy towards one another, points to the important fact that invariably the root-cause of the rejection of a Prophet is jealousy. Disbelievers cannot reconcile themselves to the idea that an ordinary person from among them, generally inferior to many of them in wealth, power or social status, should be made their teacher and leader. Disbelievers also consider it below their dignity to ally themselves with a community a large majority of whose members are of humble origin, as is often the case with the early followers of Divine Messengers.
The clause, Now has Allah, by His command, guided believers to the truth in regard to which they (the unbelievers)differed, refers to the advent of the Holy Prophet who was raised by God with a universal mission to remove the differences of all the peoples of the earth. The expression باذنه translated as "by His command" may also mean "according to His eternal decree". In the beginning of the world God willed that the final Law-giving Prophet should come with a universal mission and should constitute, as it were, the zenith of the system of النبوة or prophecy. Says the Holy Prophet "I was a Prophet of God while Adam was yet in the making between the body and the soul" (Tirmidhi).
Viewed collectively, the verse describes five different stages through which mankind has passed: (1) When there was unity among the people, all forming one community. This was in the beginning of the human race. (2) When, with the increase in population and the extension of interests and the complexity of problems confronting man, people began to differ among themselves. (3) When God raised Prophets among different peoples and different countries to show them the right path and revealed His will to the various contending sections. (4) When the very revelation of God sent to remove differences was made a cause of difference by the mischievous people. (5) When God finally raised the Holy Prophet with His last Book and a universal mission, calling upon entire humanity to rally round his banner. Thus a beautiful circle was completed and the world which began with unity was designed to end with it. (close)
اَمۡ حَسِبۡتُمۡ اَنۡ تَدۡخُلُوا الۡجَنَّۃَ وَ لَمَّا یَاۡتِکُمۡ مَّثَلُ الَّذِیۡنَ خَلَوۡا مِنۡ قَبۡلِکُمۡ ؕ مَسَّتۡہُمُ الۡبَاۡسَآءُ وَ الضَّرَّآءُ وَ زُلۡزِلُوۡا حَتّٰی یَقُوۡلَ الرَّسُوۡلُ وَ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا مَعَہٗ مَتٰی نَصۡرُ اللّٰہِ ؕ اَلَاۤ اِنَّ نَصۡرَ اللّٰہِ قَرِیۡبٌ ﴿۲۱۵﴾
أَمۡ حَسِبۡتُمۡ أَن تَدۡخُلُواْ ٱلۡجَنَّةَ وَلَمَّا يَأۡتِكُم مَّثَلُ ٱلَّذِينَ خَلَوۡاْ مِن قَبۡلِكُمۖ مَّسَّتۡهُمُ ٱلۡبَأۡسَآءُ وَٱلضَّرَّآءُ وَزُلۡزِلُواْ حَتَّىٰ يَقُولَ ٱلرَّسُولُ وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ مَعَهُۥ مَتَىٰ نَصۡرُ ٱللَّهِۗ أَلَآ إِنَّ نَصۡرَ ٱللَّهِ قَرِيبٞ
a. 3:143; 9:16. (close)
256. Acceptance of the Message of Islam was no bed of roses, and Muslims were warned that they would have to pass through fiery ordeals, trials and tribulations before they could hope to achieve their sublime ideal. (close)
b. See 2:178. (close)
c. 12:111. (close)
256A. Hatta also means, "so that" (Mughni). The word has also been used in this sense in 63:8. (close)
257. The pathetic cry for help embodied in the words, When will the help of Allah come, does not denote despair or despondency because an attitude of despair on the part of a Prophet of God and his followers is inconceivable, being inconsistent with true faith (12:88). The words in reality constitute a prayer—a way of earnestly beseeching God to expedite His help. (close)
c. 12:111. (close)
221. Important Words:
زلزلوا (violently shaken) is from زلزل or زل. They say زلزل الله الارض i.e. God made the earth quake violently or put the earth in a state of convulsion or violent motion. زلزله means, he put him or it in a state of commotion or agitation or violent motion; he put him in a state of great fear or terror. الزلزلة which is the noun-infinitive from زلزل means: (1) violent shaking or commotion; (2) earthquake. The word is also used, especially in its plural form, to denote afflictions, miseries and trials (Aqrab & Lane).
In the preceding two verses God promised believers a reward "without reckoning" and called upon them to strive to bring all the peoples of the world under the banner of Islam so that they might become one people. The fulfilment of this great promise and the attainment of this noble object necessitated unusual sacrifices on the part of the Faithful, to which the verse under comment fittingly draws the attention of Muslims.
Indeed, acceptance of the Message of Islam was no bed of roses, and Muslims were warned that they would have to pass through a fiery ordeal of trials and tribulations before they could hope to achieve their sublime ideal. Incidentally, they were also told that the sufferings and hardships they had already undergone were nothing as compared with the trials that were yet in store for them. They were being mentally prepared to meet the storm which was brewing in Mecca and which reached its culmination in the Battle of the Ditch.
The word الجنة literally meaning garden and translated here as "Heaven" need not necessarily refer to the Heaven vouchsafed to the Faithful in the Hereafter. The word is also used to express a state of success and prosperity in this very world. Nay, God has definitely promised in the Quran that the righteous would have جنة or Heaven even in this life (55:47). In this sense the word "Heaven" in this verse would refer to the great success and prosperity promised to Muslims in the preceding verse.
The word حتی translated as 'until' also means, so that or in order that. According to the latter signification, the verse would mean that God proves or tries the Prophet and the believers with difficulties and hardships and withholds His help from them so that they may invoke it by earnest prayers and supplication. This is a beautiful way by which God manifests His love for the Prophet and his followers. He delights in treating them like children, wishing them to beg of Him so that He may give them.
The pathetic cry for help embodied in the words, when will come the help of Allah? Does not denote despair, because an attitude of despair on the part of a Prophet of God and his followers is inconceivable, being inconsistent with true faith (12:88). The words are simply a form of prayer, a way of earnestly beseeching God to expedite His help, and not an expression denoting despair and disappointment. The reply given by God in the words, Yea, surely the help of Allah is nigh, also corroborates this interpretation; for, if the words of the Faithful had been expressive of despair, God would certainly not have answered in that loving manner but would have taken notice of it. (close)
یَسۡـَٔلُوۡنَکَ مَا ذَا یُنۡفِقُوۡنَ ۬ؕ قُلۡ مَاۤ اَنۡفَقۡتُمۡ مِّنۡ خَیۡرٍ فَلِلۡوَالِدَیۡنِ وَ الۡاَقۡرَبِیۡنَ وَ الۡیَتٰمٰی وَ الۡمَسٰکِیۡنِ وَ ابۡنِالسَّبِیۡلِ ؕ وَ مَا تَفۡعَلُوۡا مِنۡ خَیۡرٍ فَاِنَّ اللّٰہَ بِہٖ عَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۲۱۶﴾
يَسۡـَٔلُونَكَ مَاذَا يُنفِقُونَۖ قُلۡ مَآ أَنفَقۡتُم مِّنۡ خَيۡرٖ فَلِلۡوَٰلِدَيۡنِ وَٱلۡأَقۡرَبِينَ وَٱلۡيَتَٰمَىٰ وَٱلۡمَسَٰكِينِ وَٱبۡنِ ٱلسَّبِيلِۗ وَمَا تَفۡعَلُواْ مِنۡ خَيۡرٖ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ بِهِۦ عَلِيمٞ
d. 2:178; 4:37. (close)
258. The verse signifies that whatever is spent should have been honestly acquired. What is spent must be good also in the sense that it should be acceptable to the receiver and should satisfy his need and that the object on which it is spent is also worthy and laudable. (close)
a. 2:178; 4:37. (close)
222. Important Words:
خیر (good and abundant wealth). See 2:181.
اقربین (near relatives) is the plural of اقرب (derived from قریب) meaning, one nearer; a near relative (Aqrab).
When the Companions of the Holy Prophet were told that they could not win the pleasure of God and enter Heaven unless they were made to pass through sufferings and afflictions like those that had gone before, they at once signified their readiness to part with their wealth and property in the cause of God and asked the Holy Prophet to let them know what they should spend in order to win the pleasure of God and attain spiritual progress. They did not wait for the threatened trials to actually overtake them, but were prepared to make every kind of sacrifice in advance. They simply wanted to be told what form their sacrifice should take.
In reply to their eager question, God’s reply also indicates a sort of eagerness, as if He meant to impart to the Faithful the relevant commandment in its entirety, without waiting for any further question on their part; for whereas their question related only "what" they should spend, God’s answer goes a step further, describing also "on whom" the money is to be spent. As to the question, what is to be spent should be (1) well-acquired and (2) abundant. In moments of great national need, there can be no hope of success unless people spend freely and generously. But as free and generous expenditure carries with it the danger of weak people resorting to acquiring wealth by unfair means, therefore the condition about the money being "good" has been added.
As to the other part of the anticipated question, i.e. on whom should the money be spent, the Quran says that money should be spent on parents and near relatives (lit. near ones) and orphans and the needy and the wayfarer. The five classes include all such persons as generally stand in need of help. The two first-mentioned classes include relatives, neighbours and friends who go to form the group that immediately surrounds a man and must claim his first attention, owning to personal relationship or personal contact. Then follow two classes that deserve help owing to their particular circumstance, orphans being without anyone to support them and the needy without any means of support. Lastly comes the wayfarer, whose claim consists in his being a stranger with no friend, no relative and no supporter. By pointing out these five classes as deserving of help, the Quran desires to hint that unless the entire community, including those who come to stay with them temporarily, is prepared to fight in the cause of Allah and unless the well-to-do classes help the weaker ones in their preparation for the national struggle, Muslims cannot present a united front nor can their efforts bring about the desired result. Each and every person must gird up his loins to contribute his fullest possible share, and those who cannot do so for want of means must receive help from others who can afford such help. (close)
کُتِبَ عَلَیۡکُمُ الۡقِتَالُ وَ ہُوَ کُرۡہٌ لَّکُمۡ ۚ وَ عَسٰۤی اَنۡ تَکۡرَہُوۡا شَیۡئًا وَّ ہُوَ خَیۡرٌ لَّکُمۡ ۚ وَ عَسٰۤی اَنۡ تُحِبُّوۡا شَیۡئًا وَّ ہُوَ شَرٌّ لَّکُمۡ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ یَعۡلَمُ وَ اَنۡتُمۡ لَا تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۲۱۷﴾٪
كُتِبَ عَلَيۡكُمُ ٱلۡقِتَالُ وَهُوَ كُرۡهٞ لَّكُمۡۖ وَعَسَىٰٓ أَن تَكۡرَهُواْ شَيۡـٔٗا وَهُوَ خَيۡرٞ لَّكُمۡۖ وَعَسَىٰٓ أَن تُحِبُّواْ شَيۡـٔٗا وَهُوَ شَرّٞ لَّكُمۡۚ وَٱللَّهُ يَعۡلَمُ وَأَنتُمۡ لَا تَعۡلَمُونَ
a. 8:6. (close)
259. Muslims hated war not because they were afraid of it, but because they did not like to shed human blood; also because they thought that a peaceful atmosphere was much more conducive to the spread and propagation of Islam than a state of war. (close)
223. Important Words:
کرہ (repugnant) is the noun-infinitive from کرہ i.e. he disliked. کرہ means, a thing which is disliked; a thing which one is required to do against his wish or liking (Aqrab).
In 2:215, God warned Muslims that in order to reach the promised goal they must pass through an ordeal of poverty, affliction and violent shaking. In conformity with the ordeal of poverty, verse 2:216 called upon them to be prepared to make great monetary sacrifices. Now in the verse under comment, God refers to the ordeal of affliction and violent shakings by drawing the attention of the Faithful to the menace of war surrounding them. As, however, Muslims were averse to war, the verse also enjoins them to put implicit trust in the guidance of Allah: for, it may be that you dislike a thing while it is good for you.
But the aversion of the Holy Prophet’s Companions from war was not due to cowardice. They did not dislike war because they thought that they were few in number or because they were not properly equipped. History gives the direct lie to all such insinuations. Muslims hated war, because they did not like to shed human blood; also because they thought that a peaceful atmosphere was more conducive to the propagation of Islam than a state of war, for the obvious reason that atmosphere of peace gave disbelievers more opportunities for dispassionate consideration of the noble teachings of Islam.
But it was too late. The leaders of the disbelievers had gone too far in their evil designs against Islam and were bent upon extirpating the New Faith. It was evidently a war of self-defence, and he who shirks a war of self-defence, commits an act of suicide (22:40, 41). Thus the verse constitutes an eloquent testimony to the love of peace of the Holy Prophet’sCompanions and a convincing repudiation of the mischievous accusation that it was for the sake of booty or for spreading their faith by force that the early Muslims resorted to arms.
The clause, it may be that you dislike a thing while it is good for you and it may be that you like a thing while it is bad for you, points to a very important principle, i.e. that errors of judgement mostly result from two causes: (1) abuse of the sentiment of love; and (2) abuse of the sentiment of dislike or hatred. One should, therefore, be particularly careful about one’s judgement when one is swayed by either of these two sentiments. They undermine dispassionate thinking as nothing else does. Elsewhere the Quran gives a still clearer warning to Muslims to beware of the abuse of the sentiment of love and hatred (64:15, 16 & 5:9). (close)
یَسۡـَٔلُوۡنَکَ عَنِ الشَّہۡرِ الۡحَرَامِ قِتَالٍ فِیۡہِ ؕ قُلۡ قِتَالٌ فِیۡہِ کَبِیۡرٌ ؕ وَ صَدٌّ عَنۡ سَبِیۡلِ اللّٰہِ وَ کُفۡرٌۢ بِہٖ وَ الۡمَسۡجِدِ الۡحَرَامِ ٭ وَ اِخۡرَاجُ اَہۡلِہٖ مِنۡہُ اَکۡبَرُ عِنۡدَ اللّٰہِ ۚ وَ الۡفِتۡنَۃُ اَکۡبَرُ مِنَ الۡقَتۡلِ ؕ وَ لَا یَزَالُوۡنَ یُقَاتِلُوۡنَکُمۡ حَتّٰی یَرُدُّوۡکُمۡ عَنۡ دِیۡنِکُمۡ اِنِ اسۡتَطَاعُوۡا ؕ وَ مَنۡ یَّرۡتَدِدۡ مِنۡکُمۡ عَنۡ دِیۡنِہٖ فَیَمُتۡ وَ ہُوَ کَافِرٌ فَاُولٰٓئِکَ حَبِطَتۡ اَعۡمَالُہُمۡ فِی الدُّنۡیَا وَ الۡاٰخِرَۃِ ۚ وَ اُولٰٓئِکَ اَصۡحٰبُ النَّارِ ۚ ہُمۡ فِیۡہَا خٰلِدُوۡنَ ﴿۲۱۸﴾
يَسۡـَٔلُونَكَ عَنِ ٱلشَّهۡرِ ٱلۡحَرَامِ قِتَالٖ فِيهِۖ قُلۡ قِتَالٞ فِيهِ كَبِيرٞۚ وَصَدٌّ عَن سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ وَكُفۡرُۢ بِهِۦ وَٱلۡمَسۡجِدِ ٱلۡحَرَامِ وَإِخۡرَاجُ أَهۡلِهِۦ مِنۡهُ أَكۡبَرُ عِندَ ٱللَّهِۚ وَٱلۡفِتۡنَةُ أَكۡبَرُ مِنَ ٱلۡقَتۡلِۗ وَلَا يَزَالُونَ يُقَٰتِلُونَكُمۡ حَتَّىٰ يَرُدُّوكُمۡ عَن دِينِكُمۡ إِنِ ٱسۡتَطَٰعُواْۚ وَمَن يَرۡتَدِدۡ مِنكُمۡ عَن دِينِهِۦ فَيَمُتۡ وَهُوَ كَافِرٞ فَأُوْلَـٰٓئِكَ حَبِطَتۡ أَعۡمَٰلُهُمۡ فِي ٱلدُّنۡيَا وَٱلۡأٓخِرَةِۖ وَأُوْلَـٰٓئِكَ أَصۡحَٰبُ ٱلنَّارِۖ هُمۡ فِيهَا خَٰلِدُونَ
260. The believers were told that if disbelievers violated the sanctity of the Sacred Months, they should not hesitate to punish them in the Sacred Months, for thus alone could the sanctity of a sacred thing be safeguarded (2:195). Commentators generally state, and in fact there are also traditions to this effect, that on one occasion the Holy Prophet sent ‘Abdullah bin Jahsh to bring news about a party of the Quraish proceeding to Mecca. When ‘Abdullah and his companions reached a place called Nakhlah, they met a small party. ‘Abdullah attacked the party, killing one of them and capturing two. The date on which this happened was doubtful, some considering it to be one within the Sacred Month and others not. The news reached Mecca, the Quraish took advantage of the doubt and protested that the Muslims had violated the Sacred Month. The verse under comment was revealed on that occasion. (close)
a. 2:192. (close)
b. 3:87, 91; 4:138; 5:55; 47:26. (close)
c. 3:23; 7:148; 18:106. (close)
b. 3:84, 91; 4:138; 5:55; 47:26. (close)
224. Important Words:
کبیر (great transgression) really stands for ذنب کبیر i.e. a great sin or great transgression or great offence. اکبر is in the comparative degree and means, a greater sin, etc.
صد (to hinder) is the infinitive from صد. They say صدہ i.e. he prevented him; he turned him back. صد عنه اومنه means, he kept back from it. Thus the word is both transitive and intransitive. صد, therefore, means: (1) to hinder or to prevent; (2) a hindrance or a barrier; (3) a mountain or a wall, etc., because it serves as a barrier (Aqrab).
یردوکم (turn you back) and یرتدد (turns back) are both derived from رد. They say ردہ i.e. he turned him back; and ارتد i.e.he himself turned back. ارتد عن الاسلام means, he turned back from Islam and reverted to a state of disbelief. مرتد means, one who turns back from his religion, particularly from Islam; one who apostatizes (Taj).
حبطت (shall be in vain). حبط البعیر means, the stomach of the camel became inflated and his belly became bound by eating unwholesome food. حبط عمله means: (1) his work or deed became null and void and went for nothing; (2) his work or deed became evil and corrupt. حبط دمه means, his blood went unavenged. حبط ماء البئر means, the water of the well receded and went down never to return to its original level (Aqrab & Lane).
The words translated as "to be ungrateful to Him and the Sacred Mosque" may also be rendered as "to be ungrateful to Him and to hinder men from the Sacred Mosque".
The Quran has already explained that if disbelievers violate the sanctity of a sacred month, Muslims may also retaliate in a sacred month; for thus only can the sanctity of a sacred thing be safeguarded (2:195).
The present verse provides a further reason for defending Islam, if need be, in a sacred month. Disbelievers, particularly those of Mecca, had violated the sanctity of things far more sacred than a "sacred month"––they were trying forcibly to turn men form the way of God; they were preventing people from approaching the Sacred Mosque and they had forced the Muslim dwellers of Mecca to flee from it. This was a form of persecution which was certainly much more heinous than fighting in a Sacred Month.
Commentators generally state, and in fact there are also traditions to the effect, that once the Holy Prophet sent one of his Companions, named ‘Abdullah bin Jahsh, to bring news about a party of the Quraish proceeding to Mecca. When ‘Abdullah and his comrades reached a place called Nakhlah, they met a small party proceeding to Mecca. Guided by his own judgement and without any instruction to that effect from the Prophet, ‘Abdullah attacked the party, killing one of them and capturing two. The date was doubtful, some considering it to be as one of the Sacred Month and others as not. When the news reached Mecca, the Quraish took advantage of the doubt as regards date and clamoured that the Muslims had violated the Sacred Month. The verse under comment was revealed on that occasion (Tabari, Hisham & Zurqani).
The verse acknowledges the sanctity of the Sacred Months and considers it an act of sin and transgression knowingly to fight in a sacred month, but forcefully points out that the sanctities which disbelievers were violating were far more worthy of safeguarding. Disbelievers were forcibly preventing people from accepting Islam. They did not allow Muslims to approach the Sacred Mosque and they had mercilessly turned the Prophet and his followers out of their homes.
The verse should not be understood to imply that Muslims did start a fight in a sacred month, it only purports to bring home to disbelievers the fact that in view of their persistent violation of highly sacred thing, it does not lie in their mouth to accuse Muslim of violating the sanctity of a sacred month.
The clause it is they whose works shall be vain in this world and the next does not mean that everything that a renegade from Islam, or, for that matter, everything that a disbeliever, does will go for nothing and produce no result. The clause only means that such actions of the renegades as they might do to weaken the cause of Islam in this world as well as those of their actions which they might perform in opposition to the teaching of Islam in order to win the pleasure of God in the world to come, will all be in vain. Thus the clause does not refer to such good actions as a person may perform in the state o unbelief; for, as the Quran expressly states, these must have their reward (99:8) which may either take the form of the acceptance of Islam or that of the lightening of punishment. The Holy Prophet is reported to have said about his uncle Abu Talib that on account of the good treatment the latter extended to him, he is likely to be only lightly punished for his non-acceptance of Islam (Bukhari). On another occasion when Hakim bin Hizam, a nephew of his wife Khadijah, asked the Prophet whether he would get any reward for the good deeds he did before he accepted Islam, the Holy Prophet said, "your very acceptance of Islam is a reward thereof" (Bukhari).
The clause, their works shall be vain in this world and the next, also signifies that if such men as apostatize from Islam had not done so, their deeds would have brought them the great reward promised to Muslims both in this world and the next, but by apostatizing from Islam they had totally deprived themselves of this twofold reward.
Finally, the clause, and they will not cease fighting you until they turn you back from your faith, if they can, throws a flood of light on the attitude of disbelievers towards Muslim. They were not only the first to begin hostilities, but had also vowed not to cease fighting until Islam had been totally wiped out from Arabia and not a soul remained to call himself a Muslim. This clear testimony of the Quran should be an eye-opener for those who accuse Muslims of being aggressors in their early struggle against disbelievers. The words, if they can, are highly eulogistic of the Companions of the Holy Prophet. Do what they could, disbelievers would never be able to turn back Muslims from their faith. Their love for Islam was too deep to be extirpated by persecution however severe and bitter it might be. (close)