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)
اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَ الَّذِیۡنَ ہَاجَرُوۡا وَ جٰہَدُوۡا فِیۡ سَبِیۡلِ اللّٰہِ ۙ اُولٰٓئِکَ یَرۡجُوۡنَ رَحۡمَتَ اللّٰہِ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ غَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِیۡمٌ ﴿۲۱۹﴾
إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَٱلَّذِينَ هَاجَرُواْ وَجَٰهَدُواْ فِي سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ أُوْلَـٰٓئِكَ يَرۡجُونَ رَحۡمَتَ ٱللَّهِۚ وَٱللَّهُ غَفُورٞ رَّحِيمٞ
d. 8:75; 9:20. (close)
a. 8:75; 9:20. (close)
225. Important Words:
ھاجروا (migrated) is derived from ھجر. They say ھجر الشیء i.e. (1) he cut it or he severed it; (2) he avoided it or kept away from it, or he gave it up. ھاجر means, he left one place to settle in another (Aqrab). The word is particularly used about one who leaves a place where religion is persecuted and goes to a place where there is no such persecution, especially to a place where there exists means of serving and supporting the faith. The early Muslims who migrated from Mecca to Medina were known as مھاجرین i.e. those who left Mecca and settled in Medina with the intention of helping the cause of Islam.
جاھدوا (strive hard) is derived from جھد which means, he strove or laboured hard, taking extraordinary pains. جھد فی الامرmeans, he used his utmost power in prosecuting the affair. جاھدالعدو means, he fought with the enemy exerting his utmost effort to repel him, his enemy doing the like. جھاد means, exerting one’s utmost power in contending with an object of disapprobation; and this is of three kinds, namely, (1) with a visible enemy (2) with Satan, and (3) with one’s self (Lane).
یرجون (who hope) is derived from رجا which gives twofold meaning. They say رجا الشیء meaning: (1) he hoped to get the thing; (2) he was afraid of the thing (Aqrab). When used in the sense of hoping, it is used on occasions when the thing hoped for is likely to afford pleasure (Mufradat).
The verse holds out the promise to Muslims, and they are indeed buoyed up with the hope, that though now they are beset with great difficulties and unusual hardships, the time is fast approaching when all difficulties would disappear and they would become heirs to God’s mercy both in this world and the next.
As the context shows, the words, those who believe, occurring in the verse refer to such of the believers as resided in Medina and had not been called upon to migrate. Thus the verse mentions two classes of believers who can hope to get Allah’s mercy; (1) believers resident in Medina, i.e. the Helpers, who engaged themselves in جھاد or holy war against the forces of Satan; and (2) Migrants from Mecca who were also engaged in such war. The words, Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful, have been added to point out that Allah will forgive the above-mentioned two classes of believers their sins and shortcomings which will not stand in the way of their winning God’s mercy, provided they remain sincere in their faith and continue striving hard in the cause of Allah, for, as the Quran elsewhere explains, the good works of a man drive away his evil ones (11:115). (close)
یَسۡـَٔلُوۡنَکَ عَنِ الۡخَمۡرِ وَ الۡمَیۡسِرِؕ قُلۡ فِیۡہِمَاۤ اِثۡمٌ کَبِیۡرٌ وَّ مَنَافِعُ لِلنَّاسِ ۫ وَ اِثۡمُہُمَاۤ اَکۡبَرُ مِنۡ نَّفۡعِہِمَا ؕ وَ یَسۡـَٔلُوۡنَکَ مَا ذَا یُنۡفِقُوۡنَ ۬ؕ قُلِ الۡعَفۡوَ ؕ کَذٰلِکَ یُبَیِّنُ اللّٰہُ لَکُمُ الۡاٰیٰتِ لَعَلَّکُمۡ تَتَفَکَّرُوۡنَ ﴿۲۲۰﴾ۙ
۞يَسۡـَٔلُونَكَ عَنِ ٱلۡخَمۡرِ وَٱلۡمَيۡسِرِۖ قُلۡ فِيهِمَآ إِثۡمٞ كَبِيرٞ وَمَنَٰفِعُ لِلنَّاسِ وَإِثۡمُهُمَآ أَكۡبَرُ مِن نَّفۡعِهِمَاۗ وَيَسۡـَٔلُونَكَ مَاذَا يُنفِقُونَۖ قُلِ ٱلۡعَفۡوَۗ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ ٱللَّهُ لَكُمُ ٱلۡأٓيَٰتِ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَتَفَكَّرُونَ
e. 5:91, 92. (close)
261. Khamarush-Shai’a means, he veiled or covered up or concealed the thing. Wine is called Khamr because it covers or obscures or affects the intellect or the senses, or because it agitates and excites the brain so as to make it lose its power of control. The word is specifically used for wine prepared from grapes but signifies all intoxicants (Lane). "Alcoholism is an important factor in the causation of disease; and in all diseases alcoholics are bad patients. In epidemics the mortality among drinkers is excessive; and the general power of resistance to disease, injury, and fatigue is diminished.....Alcoholism lessens the chance of life; the English life-insurance companies found that the presumptive length of life of non-drinkers was about twice that of drinkers. The close relationship of alcoholism and crime is well- known; and the statistics of Baer, Kurella and Gallavardin and Sichart show that from 25 to 85 per cent of all malefactors are drunkards... "The evil effects of alcoholism are evident in the drunkard’s posterity...Epilepsy, insanity, idiocy and various forms of physical, mental and moral degeneracy are very disproportionately prevalent among the offsprings of alcoholics" (Jew. Enc.). "The effects of consumption of alcohol are almost all due to its action upon the nervous system. In the advanced stage of drunkenness, the intellectual processes of judgment and control are suspended." (Enc. Brit.). "There is universal testimony as to the close relationship between excessive drinking and breaches of the moral law and the law of the State. This is a direct consequence of the paralysis of the higher faculties, intellectual and moral, and the resulting free play given to the lower inclinations" (Enc. Rel. Eth.). (close)
262. Aisarar-Rajulu means, man became well off. Maisar is so called because the gambler seeks to become rich quickly and easily without undergoing the trouble of earning wealth by hard work. "The vicious tendency of gambling has never been called in question. It is essentially anti-social; it sears the sympathies, cultivates hard egoism and so produces a general deterioration of character. It is a habit intrinsically savage....Its motive is carefully disguised covetousness. It is an attempt to get property without paying the price for it. It is a violation of the law of equivalents. It is a kind of robbery by mutual agreement just as duelling which is murder by mutual agreement. It is begotten of covetousness; it leads to idleness. It is, moreover, an appeal to chance. To make chance the arbiter of conduct is to subvert the moral order and stability of life. It concentrates attention upon lucre and thereby withdraws attention from worthier objects of life" (Enc. Rel. Eth.). (close)
263. Ithm means, sin; punishment of sin; the harm that might result from sin (Lane). (close)
264. It is characteristic of Islam that it never condemns a thing wholesale but freely and frankly admits even the smallest good that may be found in it. Islam prohibits certain things not because it considers them to be devoid of all good, for there is nothing in the world, which is wholly bad, but because their evil outweighs their good. While prohibiting the use of intoxicants and games of chance because of their great harm, Islam has not failed to acknowledge the few advantages they possess. (close)
265. ‘Afw means, (a) what exceeds or remains over and above one’s requirements, and the spending of what does not cause hardship to the giver; (b) the best portion of a thing; (c) giving without being asked (Aqrab). Ordinary believers are required to spend what remains after their own legitimate needs have been met, and the higher class of believers are expected to spend the best portion of their possessions. If, however, the clause be applied collectively to all believers, it would mean that in times of war they should retain for themselves only such portion of their possessions as may suffice to meet their bare necessities of life. (close)
a. 5:91, 92. (close)
226. Important Words:
الخمر (wine) is the noun-infinitive from خمر. They say خمر الشیء meaning, he veiled or covered up the thing. خمرالشھادة means, he concealed the evidence. خمرالعجین means, he leavened the dough and left it till it became well fermented. خامره means, it became mixed or blended with it; it infected or pervaded it. A veil worn by a woman is called خمار because it screens or covers her face and head. Wine is called خمر because it covers or obscures or infects the intellect or the senses, or because it agitates and excites the brain so as to make it uncontrolled. The word is specific for wine prepared from grapes but is also used generally (Aqrab & Lane).
المیسر (game of hazard) is derived from یسر i.e. he became docile and submissive. یسرت المرأة means, the woman was easily delivered of the child. ایسرالرجل means, the man became well off. یسرفلان means, such a one played a game of hazard or a game of chance, i.e. he gambled. Thus the primary meaning of the word is to get a thing easily and thereby become well off. A game of chance or a game of hazard is called میسر because by means of such games people seek to become rich easily and quickly without undergoing the trouble of earning with work and labour. The word المیسر is used to indicate (1) any game of hazard or game of chance; (2) a game of hazard played by the Arabs with headless arrows; (3) play for stakes and wages (Lisan & Mufradat).
اثم (sin) is the noun-infinitive from اثم meaning, he did what was unlawful. اثم means: (1) that which is unlawful (Aqrab); (2) that which keeps back a person from what is good (Mufradat); (3) punishment of sins and evil actions (Lane).
عفو (spare) is derived from عفا. They say عفا الشیء i.e. the thing became long and abundant. عفو means: (1) what exceeds or remains over and above one’s requirements. (2) the best portion of a thing (Aqrab).
While dealing with the subject of war, the Quran fittingly turns to the subject of wine and gambling which are directly related to war.
It was customary among Arabs in times of war to cast lots in the name of a few wealthy persons, and those in whose name the lots were drawn were bound to feed the army and supply it with wine. This is how the Arabs defrayed the expenses of war. So when Muslims were called upon to take arms, they naturally enquired of the Holy Prophet about the legality of this peculiar way of meeting the expenses of war and about the use of wine also, which was considered essential to produce a state of reckless courage in the fighters so as to make them blind to all consequences. Islam declared both these practices unlawful because their harm was greater than their advantage. The conviction of faith hadinfused into the hearts of believers far greater and nobler courage than the blind daring engendered by drinking. Similarly, the expenses of war were to be met in a fairer and more respectable manner than the casting of lots. The burden must fall on all according to their means and must come through willing and eager contributions by the faithful.
The clause, their sin is greater than their advantage, embodies a very important principle. A thing should not be adopted simply because it contains some advantage nor should a thing be condemned simply because it is harmful in certain respects. On the contrary, both sides should be carefully weighed and a thing should be condemned only if its harm outweighs its advantage. It is in fact a great characteristic of Islam that it never condemns a thing wholesale but frankly and freely admits even the smallest good that may be found in it. Islam prohibits certain things not because it considers them to be devoid of all good, for there is nothing in the world which is wholly bad, but because their evil outweighs their good. This is why, while prohibiting the use of intoxicants and games of chance because of their great harm, Islam has not failed to acknowledge the few advantages they possess.
It is worthy of note that of all religions, Islam alone has forbidden the use of wine. In Hinduism, drinking forms an essential part of certain religious ceremonies. Judaism does not seem to prohibit drinking, because nowhere has the Bible declared it to be unlawful; while according to the New Testament, the very first miracle which Jesus showed was that he turned water into wine for the use of a marriage party (John 2:7-9).
Attempts have been made during the ages by social reformers, and even the help of legislation has been enlisted in some countries, to put an end to wine-drinking. But all such attempts have so far failed. The only experiment on record which met with complete success in this direction was that made in Arabia more than thirteen hundred years ago. A whole people steeped in drinking became absolute teetotallers by the mere declaration by the Prophet that God had forbidden drinking. This constitutes no small testimony to the great hold that Islam had come to possess on the minds of the unlettered and unruly Arabs, and to the wonderful transformation it had brought about in their lives.
From the meaning of the word خمر (wine) as given above under Important Words it should not be understood that Islam prohibits the use of only such quantity of wine as may make one drunk. The Holy Prophet has made it definitely clear that even small doses of such things as may intoxicate one when used in larger doses are unlawful (Tirmidhi).
When the principal means hitherto employed in Arabia for meeting the expenses of war, i.e. by casting lots, was prohibited, the question naturally arose as to how the expenses of war were to be met. Believers, realizing that they would themselves have to meet these expenses, hastened to inquire of the Holy Prophet as to how much they would have to contribute towards the expenses of war. In reply to their query they were told that they should spend عفو i.e. what may be spared after meeting the necessities of life. The word عفو by virtue of its twofold connotation, given under Important Words above, applies to two different classes of persons. Ordinary believers are required to spend what remains after their needs have been met, i.e. what they can spare; and the higher class of believers are expected to go ahead and spend the best portion of their possessions. If, however, the clause be applied collectively to all believers, it would mean, that in times of war, they should retain for themselves only such portion of their possessions as may suffice to meet their bare necessities of life. The balance should be spent in the cause of God. This is what God wanted them to do. Actually, however, some of the Companions spent even more than that. For instance, when the Holy Prophet appealed for funds for the campaign of Tabuk, Abu Bakr brought his entire possessions and laid them at the feet of his Master. When asked how much he had retained for himself and his family and how much he had brought to be spent in Allah’s cause, Abu Bakr replied that he had brought all that he possessed and that nothing remained in his house except the name of Allah (Tirmidhi, ch. on Manaqib & Zurqani).
Finally, a word about the sin or harm of wine and gambling, as mentioned in the verse under comment, appears to be called for. Though Islam was the first to prohibit the use of intoxicants and games of chance, the world now appears to be agreed on condemning these two evils which so deeply affect not only the physical but also the moral and spiritual condition of man. Here are some quotations in which non-Muslim writers have forcefully pointed out the harmful effects of wine:
(1) "Alcoholism is an important factor in the causation of disease; and in all diseases alcoholics are bad patients. In epidemics the mortality among drinkers is excessive; and the general power of resistance to disease, injury, and fatigue is diminished…Alcoholism lessens the chance of life; the English life-insurance companies found that the presumptive length of life of non-drinkers was about twice that of drinkers…The close relationship of alcoholism and crime is well known and the statistics of Baer, Kurella, Gallavardin and Sichart show that from 25 to 85 per cent of all malefactors are drunkards. The rate of suicide varies with the general rate of consumption of alcohol in different countries…
"The evil effects of alcoholism are evident in the drunkard’s posterity…Epilepsy, insanity, idiocy and various forms of physical, mental, and moral degeneracy are very disproportionately prevalent among the offsprings of alcoholics" (Jew. Enc. i. 333-334).
(2) "The effects of consumption of alcohol are almost all due to its action upon the nervous system. Thus the immediate sensation of well-being is due to the flushing of the skin, suppressing temporarily the sense of chill, and to the fact that the sensibility to minor pains and inconveniences becomes blunted; whilst with larger doses the diminution of the power of self-control and sense of personal responsibility gives rise to excitability. In the secondary stage the fineness of the senses (hearing, touch, taste and vision) is affected, and this gives rise to an inability to control bodily movements such as facial expression. In the advanced stage of drunkenness, the intellectual processes of judgement and control are suspended." (Enc. Brit. 14th Edition, i. 540).
(3) "Alcohol is a poison for protoplasm, that is, for the soft plastic material which is the essential constituent of every one of the minute cells that make up living organisms, whether animal or vegetable. Its poisonous effect in very dilute solution is easily shown on lowly organisms…
"The nerve cells of the brain, the most highly organised and delicate of the tissues, very early show the effect of alcohol. Many of the test observers of their own mental processes, such as Helmholtz and Huxley, have expressed themselves strongly as to the harmful effect of minute doses of alcohol on brain work. It would seem that the 'stimulating' effect is really due to the paralysis of the very highest nerve-centres, so that cheerfulness, wit, and recklessness have free play. Large numbers of psychometric experiments under conditions of the greatest accuracy prove that alcohol, in small dietetic doses, exercises a distinctly paralysing effect on the working of the brain. Some mental processes are quickened for a short time, and then a retarding effect shows itself, which is prolonged and much more than cancels the apparent beneficial result…
"There is universal testimony as to the close relationship between excessive drinking and breaches of the moral law and the law of the State. This is a direct consequence of the paralysis of the higher faculties, intellectual and moral, and the resulting free play given to the lower inclinations" (Enc. Rel. Eth, i. 299-301).
As to the harm caused by gambling the following quotation would suffice:
"The vicious tendency of gambling has never been called in question. Lord Beaconsfield spoke of it as 'a vast engine of national demoralization'…In 12 years (1895-6 to 1906-7) there were 156 suicides or attempted suicides in England assigned to this cause, as well as 719 cases of theft or embezzlement and 442 bankruptcies. In view of these facts, it is not surprising that, in all civilized countries, gambling is subjected to definite legislative restraints…It is, as Herbert Spencer says, a kind of action by which pleasure is obtained at the cost of pain to another. The happiness of the winner implies the misery of the loser. This kind of action, therefore, is essentially anti-social; it sears the sympathies, cultivates a hard egoism, and so produces a general deterioration of character. It is a habit intrinsically savage…In an atmosphere of brotherhood no form of gambling could exist…But the immorality of gambling may be argued on higher grounds than a calculation of pleasure.
"(a) Every gambling transaction involves a transfer of property in one shape or another. When the gambler is asked why he stakes his money on a game or a race, his reply is, 'To add an interest to the game'. The interest thus added is, simply stated, the interest of acquisition. If the real object were, as is claimed, merely the sport and the excitement, then men might just as well wager counters, or, for the matter of that, agree to hand over all winnings to public charities. But this is not done. The transfer of property, in one shape or another, is essential to the act. There are only three ways in which property can be legitimately acquired—by gift, by labour, and by exchange. Gambling stands outside all of these.
"(b) Its motive is, however, carefully disguised covetousness. It is an attempt to get property without paying the price for it. It is a violation of the law of equivalents. It is a kind of robbery by mutual agreement; but it is still robbery, just as duelling, which is murder by mutual agreement, is still treated as murder. It is begotten of covetousness; it leads to idleness.
"(c) It is, moreover, an appeal to chance. If in any contest skill comes in, odds are given or handicaps arranged so as to equalize the chances as far as possible. To make chance the arbiter of conduct is to subvert the moral order and stability of life.
"(d) It concentrates attention upon lucre, and thereby withdraws attention from worthier objects of life" (Enc. Rel. Eth. vi. pp. 165-166). (close)
فِی الدُّنۡیَا وَ الۡاٰخِرَۃِ ؕ وَ یَسۡـَٔلُوۡنَکَ عَنِ الۡیَتٰمٰی ؕ قُلۡ اِصۡلَاحٌ لَّہُمۡ خَیۡرٌ ؕ وَ اِنۡ تُخَالِطُوۡہُمۡ فَاِخۡوَانُکُمۡ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ یَعۡلَمُ الۡمُفۡسِدَ مِنَ الۡمُصۡلِحِ ؕ وَ لَوۡ شَآءَ اللّٰہُ لَاَعۡنَتَکُمۡ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ عَزِیۡزٌ حَکِیۡمٌ ﴿۲۲۱﴾
فِي ٱلدُّنۡيَا وَٱلۡأٓخِرَةِۗ وَيَسۡـَٔلُونَكَ عَنِ ٱلۡيَتَٰمَىٰۖ قُلۡ إِصۡلَاحٞ لَّهُمۡ خَيۡرٞۖ وَإِن تُخَالِطُوهُمۡ فَإِخۡوَٰنُكُمۡۚ وَٱللَّهُ يَعۡلَمُ ٱلۡمُفۡسِدَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُصۡلِحِۚ وَلَوۡ شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ لَأَعۡنَتَكُمۡۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٞ
a. 4:128; 89:18; 93:10; 107:3. (close)
266. The bringing up of orphans is a very delicate affair and also an important social duty. Orphans should be brought up in a manner most conducive to their physical, moral and spiritual welfare. They should be treated as members of the family—the exhortation being contained in the words, "they are your brethren." (close)
227. Important Words:
الیتامی (orphans) is the plural of یتیم which is derived from یتم meaning he fell short of a thing, feeling weak and tired; he lost his father in childhood. Thus یتیم is one whose father has died and who has not yet attained the age of puberty, which, according to Islamic jurisprudence, is 18 years. The word یتیم is also used about a thing which is without equal (Aqrab & Mufradat).
تخالطوھم (intermix with them) is derived from خلط. They say خلط الشیء بالشیء i.e. he mixed up one thing with the other. خالطهmeans, he mixed or mingled or associated with him; he mixed or joined with him in his affairs; he became co-partner with him. خالط قلبه ھم means, anxiety pervaded his heart (Aqrab & Lane).
اعنتکم (put you to hardship) is derived from عنت which means, he fell into difficulty or hardship. اعنته means, he put him to hardship; he burdened him with a task that was beyond his power (Aqrab).
The opening words of this verse apparently seem to be misplaced, for they are connected not with the following words of the verse in which they are placed, but with the concluding words of the previous one. The complete sentence, therefore, should read like this, "thus Allah makes His commandments clear to you that you may reflect upon this world and the next". If read like this, the clause would mean that God has refrained from issuing a definite commandment with regard to war expenditure and has simply ordered you to retain such portion of your possessions as you may require for your worldly needs and spend the balance in the cause of religion so that you may be trained to think over and judge the comparative value of this world and the next and act accordingly. The words, "upon this world and the next" have been separated from the preceding words to provide a pause with the object of impressing the importance of the matter on the mind of the listener or reader.
As Quranic verses follow a natural order––an order prompted and followed by the innermost nature of the addressee––this verse follows in the wake of the verses dealing with war. As the war leaves behind orphans, this verse lays down basic instructions as to how they should be treated and looked after. Muslims are told that the bringing up of orphans is a very delicate affair and an important social duty. Orphans should be brought up in the manner most conducive to their greatest good, i.e. their physical, moral and spiritual welfare. They should be treated as members of the family; and their property properly looked after and steps taken to augment it. The words, and if you intermix with them, they are your brethren, signify not only permission but exhortation. The exhortation lies in the word "brethren" which is meant to point to Muslims to allow orphans to live as members of their family, this being not only wise and humane but also based on considerations of convenience. If orphans had been directed to be kept aloof and their property managed on a strictly legal basis, it would have, in most cases, entailed a good deal of unnecessary inconvenience and trouble for both parties concerned.
The words, Allah knows the mischief-maker from the reformer, serve as a stern warning to the guardians of orphans. Anything they do is sure to come to the knowledge of God. Nay, God knows even the hidden things of the human heart. So they should beware of playing the part of mischief-makers in the garb of reformers.
God’s attributes of "Powerful" and "Wise" placed at the end of the verse contain a general admonition to guardians of orphans to be very careful about their dealings with them. They should not delude themselves with the idea that, being weak and not yet possessed of proper understanding, the orphans are entirely at their mercy and that they can treat them as they like. For, if orphans are not strong and wise, God certainly is, and He would call them to account if they behaved unkindly or dishonestly towards these helpless and friendless creatures of His. By mentioning God’s attributes of "Powerful" and "Wise" the Quran also means to exhort Muslims to look after orphans in such a way and give them such good education and training as should help them to grow strong and wise and become useful members of the community. (close)
وَ لَا تَنۡکِحُوا الۡمُشۡرِکٰتِ حَتّٰی یُؤۡمِنَّ ؕ وَ لَاَمَۃٌ مُّؤۡمِنَۃٌ خَیۡرٌ مِّنۡ مُّشۡرِکَۃٍ وَّ لَوۡ اَعۡجَبَتۡکُمۡ ۚ وَ لَا تُنۡکِحُوا الۡمُشۡرِکِیۡنَ حَتّٰی یُؤۡمِنُوۡا ؕ وَ لَعَبۡدٌ مُّؤۡمِنٌ خَیۡرٌ مِّنۡ مُّشۡرِکٍ وَّ لَوۡ اَعۡجَبَکُمۡ ؕ اُولٰٓئِکَ یَدۡعُوۡنَ اِلَی النَّارِ ۚۖ وَ اللّٰہُ یَدۡعُوۡۤا اِلَی الۡجَنَّۃِ وَ الۡمَغۡفِرَۃِ بِاِذۡنِہٖ ۚ وَ یُبَیِّنُ اٰیٰتِہٖ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّہُمۡ یَتَذَکَّرُوۡنَ ﴿۲۲۲﴾٪
وَلَا تَنكِحُواْ ٱلۡمُشۡرِكَٰتِ حَتَّىٰ يُؤۡمِنَّۚ وَلَأَمَةٞ مُّؤۡمِنَةٌ خَيۡرٞ مِّن مُّشۡرِكَةٖ وَلَوۡ أَعۡجَبَتۡكُمۡۗ وَلَا تُنكِحُواْ ٱلۡمُشۡرِكِينَ حَتَّىٰ يُؤۡمِنُواْۚ وَلَعَبۡدٞ مُّؤۡمِنٌ خَيۡرٞ مِّن مُّشۡرِكٖ وَلَوۡ أَعۡجَبَكُمۡۗ أُوْلَـٰٓئِكَ يَدۡعُونَ إِلَى ٱلنَّارِۖ وَٱللَّهُ يَدۡعُوٓاْ إِلَى ٱلۡجَنَّةِ وَٱلۡمَغۡفِرَةِ بِإِذۡنِهِۦۖ وَيُبَيِّنُ ءَايَٰتِهِۦ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَتَذَكَّرُونَ
b. 60:11. (close)
267. The question of marriage with "idolatrous women" is intimately connected with the subject of war, for it is during war that, being away from their homes for a considerable time, believers are liable to be tempted to contract marriages with such women. This, the Qur’an positively prohibits, as also the giving of believing women in marriage to idolatrous men. The prohibition is based on religious as well as on moral and social grounds. An idolatrous husband is bound to exercise an extremely baneful influence, not only on his wife but also on the children born of this union; and an idolatrous wife is sure to ruin the up-bringing of the offspring. Moreover, when a believing man has an idolatrous wife or vice versa, their ideas, beliefs and outlook on life being widely different, there can possibly exist no harmony or concord between the two and consequently no peace in the family. In Islam slavery carries no stigma of inferiority; and a Muslim bondwoman would in every respect be a better spouse for a Muslim freeman than an idolatress and vice versa. Slaves commanded great respect in Muslim society for their faith and righteousness. Bilal, Salman and Salim, very respected Companions of the Holy Prophet, were all freed slaves. (close)
a. 60:11. (close)
228. Important Words:
تنکحوا––tankihu (marry) and تنکحوا––tunkihu (give in marriage) are both derived from نکح. They say نکح المطرالارض i.e. the rain fell on the earth and became mixed with the soil. نکح امرأة means, he married a woman. نکح زوجته means, he went in unto his wife. نکح المرأة امرء means, the woman married a man. انکح المرأة زیدا means, he gave the woman in marriage to Zaid. Thus نکاح means, both (1) marriage and (2) coition with one’s wife. The Quran itself uses the word in the latter sense in 2:231 (Aqrab & Mufradat).
مشرك (an idolater) is derived from شرك. They say شرکه فیه meaning, he shared the thing with him; he became his co-partner in it. اشرکه فی الامر means, he made him his co-partner in the affair. اشرك الیه means, he attributed to, or set up with, him a co-partner. شریك means, a sharer, or a co-partner, or an associate, or a colleague, Thus مشرك means, one who attributes to, or sets up with, God a co-partner or co-partners, allotting to the latter all or some of the attributes of the former. شرك means, attributing to, or setting up with, God co-partners idolatry (Lane). شرك is of two kinds: شرك عظیم (the greater idolatry) signifying belief in a person or thing as being co-partner with God, and شرك صغیر (the lesser idolatry), i.e. ascribing to some person or thing any of the attributes of God without looking upon him or it as His co-partner (Mufradat). Other relevant terms are شرك جلی i.e. manifest idolatry, and شرك خفی i.e. hidden idolatry; and شرك فی الذات i.e. believing one to be a co-partner with God in His person, and شرك فی الصفات i.e. ascribing any of the attributes of God to someone. The term مشرکین (idolaters) is generally confined to such peoples as set up co-partners with God and do not believe in any revealed Book.
The question of marriage with "idolatrous women" is intimately connected with the subject of war, for it is during war that Muslims, being away from their homes for a considerable time, are liable to be tempted to contract marriages with such women. This the Quran strictly disallows in the verse under comment, which also forbids the giving of believing women in marriage to idolatrous men. The prohibition is based on religions as well as on moral and social grounds. An idolatrous husband is bound to exercise an extremely baneful influence not only on his wife but on his children as well, whereas an idolatrous wife is sure to ruin the early training of the offspring. Moreover, when a believing man has an idolatrous wife or vice versa, their ideas, beliefs, culture and outlook on life being widely different, there cannot possibly be harmony or concord between the two and their life is sure to become miserable, if they possess any attachment whatever for their religion. Again Islam, (submission to One God) and shirk (setting up partners with God) being poles apart, there can be no real contact or permanent intermixing between the two. In this connection, it may be noted that Islam allows, though it certainly does not encourage, the marriage of a Muslim with a woman belonging to the People of the Book who are decidedly nearer to Islam (5:6). But of this we will speak when we come to the relevant verses.
The words, until they believe, appear to be redundant at first sight; for, if marriage with an idolatrous person is prohibited, it is evident that this prohibition will automatically cease to operate when an idolatrous person converted to Islam. On deeper thought, however, the words, until they believe, prove to be most rightly placed. They have indeed been used to remind Muslims of their duty pertaining to the conversion of idolatrous people to Islam. The words also contain a veiled prophecy that the time was fast coming when idolatry would become extinct in Arabia.
The expression باذنه (by His command) when used with regard to a certain action of God signifies, according to the Quranic idiom, that God has provided or intends to provide extraordinary means for the accomplishment of the thing aimed at. So is the case here, the clause signifying that Allah’s call to Heaven and to forgiveness is not an empty announcement but that He has made special arrangements to bring about the desired end. It is further interesting to note that the word جنة and مغفرة both convey the sense of covering up a thing, the idea being that God’s favours and His forgiveness will be so liberal and so generous as to cover or overwhelm believers. (close)