یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡۤا اِذَا تَدَایَنۡتُمۡ بِدَیۡنٍ اِلٰۤی اَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّی فَاکۡتُبُوۡہُ ؕ وَ لۡیَکۡتُبۡ بَّیۡنَکُمۡ کَاتِبٌۢ بِالۡعَدۡلِ ۪ وَ لَا یَاۡبَ کَاتِبٌ اَنۡ یَّکۡتُبَ کَمَا عَلَّمَہُ اللّٰہُ فَلۡیَکۡتُبۡ ۚ وَ لۡیُمۡلِلِ الَّذِیۡ عَلَیۡہِ الۡحَقُّ وَ لۡیَتَّقِ اللّٰہَ رَبَّہٗ وَ لَا یَبۡخَسۡ مِنۡہُ شَیۡئًا ؕ فَاِنۡ کَانَ الَّذِیۡ عَلَیۡہِ الۡحَقُّ سَفِیۡہًا اَوۡ ضَعِیۡفًا اَوۡ لَا یَسۡتَطِیۡعُ اَنۡ یُّمِلَّ ہُوَ فَلۡیُمۡلِلۡ وَلِیُّہٗ بِالۡعَدۡلِ ؕ وَ اسۡتَشۡہِدُوۡا شَہِیۡدَیۡنِ مِنۡ رِّجَالِکُمۡ ۚ فَاِنۡ لَّمۡ یَکُوۡنَا رَجُلَیۡنِ فَرَجُلٌ وَّ امۡرَاَتٰنِ مِمَّنۡ تَرۡضَوۡنَ مِنَ الشُّہَدَآءِ اَنۡ تَضِلَّ اِحۡدٰٮہُمَا فَتُذَکِّرَ اِحۡدٰٮہُمَا الۡاُخۡرٰی ؕ وَ لَا یَاۡبَ الشُّہَدَآءُ اِذَا مَا دُعُوۡا ؕ وَ لَا تَسۡـَٔمُوۡۤا اَنۡ تَکۡتُبُوۡہُ صَغِیۡرًا اَوۡ کَبِیۡرًا اِلٰۤی اَجَلِہٖ ؕ ذٰلِکُمۡ اَقۡسَطُ عِنۡدَ اللّٰہِ وَ اَقۡوَمُ لِلشَّہَادَۃِ وَ اَدۡنٰۤی اَلَّا تَرۡتَابُوۡۤا اِلَّاۤ اَنۡ تَکُوۡنَ تِجَارَۃً حَاضِرَۃً تُدِیۡرُوۡنَہَا بَیۡنَکُمۡ فَلَیۡسَ عَلَیۡکُمۡ جُنَاحٌ اَلَّا تَکۡتُبُوۡہَا ؕ وَ اَشۡہِدُوۡۤا اِذَا تَبَایَعۡتُمۡ ۪ وَ لَا یُضَآرَّ کَاتِبٌ وَّ لَا شَہِیۡدٌ ۬ؕ وَ اِنۡ تَفۡعَلُوۡا فَاِنَّہٗ فُسُوۡقٌۢ بِکُمۡ ؕ وَ اتَّقُوا اللّٰہَ ؕ وَ یُعَلِّمُکُمُ اللّٰہُ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ بِکُلِّ شَیۡءٍ عَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۲۸۳﴾
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ إِذَا تَدَايَنتُم بِدَيۡنٍ إِلَىٰٓ أَجَلٖ مُّسَمّٗى فَٱكۡتُبُوهُۚ وَلۡيَكۡتُب بَّيۡنَكُمۡ كَاتِبُۢ بِٱلۡعَدۡلِۚ وَلَا يَأۡبَ كَاتِبٌ أَن يَكۡتُبَ كَمَا عَلَّمَهُ ٱللَّهُۚ فَلۡيَكۡتُبۡ وَلۡيُمۡلِلِ ٱلَّذِي عَلَيۡهِ ٱلۡحَقُّ وَلۡيَتَّقِ ٱللَّهَ رَبَّهُۥ وَلَا يَبۡخَسۡ مِنۡهُ شَيۡـٔٗاۚ فَإِن كَانَ ٱلَّذِي عَلَيۡهِ ٱلۡحَقُّ سَفِيهًا أَوۡ ضَعِيفًا أَوۡ لَا يَسۡتَطِيعُ أَن يُمِلَّ هُوَ فَلۡيُمۡلِلۡ وَلِيُّهُۥ بِٱلۡعَدۡلِۚ وَٱسۡتَشۡهِدُواْ شَهِيدَيۡنِ مِن رِّجَالِكُمۡۖ فَإِن لَّمۡ يَكُونَا رَجُلَيۡنِ فَرَجُلٞ وَٱمۡرَأَتَانِ مِمَّن تَرۡضَوۡنَ مِنَ ٱلشُّهَدَآءِ أَن تَضِلَّ إِحۡدَىٰهُمَا فَتُذَكِّرَ إِحۡدَىٰهُمَا ٱلۡأُخۡرَىٰۚ وَلَا يَأۡبَ ٱلشُّهَدَآءُ إِذَا مَا دُعُواْۚ وَلَا تَسۡـَٔمُوٓاْ أَن تَكۡتُبُوهُ صَغِيرًا أَوۡ كَبِيرًا إِلَىٰٓ أَجَلِهِۦۚ ذَٰلِكُمۡ أَقۡسَطُ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ وَأَقۡوَمُ لِلشَّهَٰدَةِ وَأَدۡنَىٰٓ أَلَّا تَرۡتَابُوٓاْ إِلَّآ أَن تَكُونَ تِجَٰرَةً حَاضِرَةٗ تُدِيرُونَهَا بَيۡنَكُمۡ فَلَيۡسَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ جُنَاحٌ أَلَّا تَكۡتُبُوهَاۗ وَأَشۡهِدُوٓاْ إِذَا تَبَايَعۡتُمۡۚ وَلَا يُضَآرَّ كَاتِبٞ وَلَا شَهِيدٞۚ وَإِن تَفۡعَلُواْ فَإِنَّهُۥ فُسُوقُۢ بِكُمۡۗ وَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَۖ وَيُعَلِّمُكُمُ ٱللَّهُۗ وَٱللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيۡءٍ عَلِيمٞ
b. 96:5. (close)
354. The borrower, and not the lender, is to dictate because; (1) it is the borrower who incurs the liability; and justice demands that the words defining the liability should be selected by him; (2) the document is to be deposited with the lender and not the borrower. So the borrower has been asked to dictate so that the fact of his having dictated may serve as a proof of the correctness of the amount and the conditions about payment, and he may have no cause or ground to deny it. (close)
a. 4:30. (close)
354A. The implication is that it would be better to have a writing even in such a case like cash memo or voucher. (close)
354B. This refers to big transactions. (close)
a. 96:5. (close)
b. 4:30. (close)
289. Important Words:
ولیه (someone who can watch his interest). ولی means, friend; helper; guardian of one’s affairs; he who protects or watches one’s interests (Aqrab). See also 2:108.
As the preceding verses prohibit interest and enjoin that only the original sum taken as a loan be returned to the creditor, the Quran now fittingly turns to the subject of loans not carrying interest. The verse enjoins that all transactions regarding loans should be committed to writing. It is really amazing, and is indeed a wonderful testimony to its Divine origin, that the Quran, which was revealed about 1,350 years ago when the art of writing was yet in its infancy, should lay so much stress on writing down all transactions.
The verse should not be interpreted to signify that only such transactions should be committed to writing as have a fixed term for the paying back of a loan. The injunction is general and is meant to obviate or minimize disputes so as to leave no room for doubt as to whether any amount has really been lent and as to the amount of the money lent. The words, for a fixed period, have been added to emphasize the additional fact that whenever a loan is advanced, a term must be fixed.
The verse further enjoins that when a transaction is made on credit, the document drawn up should be written by a third person so that there may be little chance of fraud and neither of the parties may have a cause of complaint against the other, both standing on the same level.
The borrower, and not the lender, is to dictate because: (1) it is the borrower who incurs the liability, and justice demands that words defining the liability should not only be well known to, but also selected by him; (2) the document is to be deposited with the lender and not the borrower. So the borrower has been asked to dictate so that the fact of his having dictated may serve as a proof of the correctness of the amount and the condition about payment, and he may have no ground to deny it.The clause, he should not diminish anything therefrom, have been added because loans may be of different kinds. They may not always be in cash and may be for long terms and there may also be certain conditions attached to them. In such cases it sometimes happens that in drawing up documents, people resort to trickery and leave loopholes. So borrowers (who have to dictate) have been warned against such evil practices and have been enjoined to fear God and dictate with honesty and justice.
In the clause, and call two witnesses from among your men, the word "your" has been most wisely added to imply that the witnesses should not be strangers but should be known men residing in the same locality so that, if need arises, they may be easily summoned to give evidence. The words "such as you like", point to the fact that the witnesses, whether men or women, should be desirable persons and should enjoy the confidence of both parties.
The clause, and let no harm be done to the scribe or the witness, signifies that if the scribe is a professional man, he should be duly paid for his services; otherwise wrong would be done to him. Similarly, a person should not be compelled, so far as possible, to become a witness if it causes him loss of any kind. Again, the scribe or the witnesses should also be paid their travelling and other necessary expenses when they are summoned before a Qadi or judge. The words also hint that the witnesses and the scribe should not be forced or threatened or bribed or otherwise influenced to suppress the truth or tell a falsehood when called upon to give evidence. (close)
وَ اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ عَلٰی سَفَرٍ وَّ لَمۡ تَجِدُوۡا کَاتِبًا فَرِہٰنٌ مَّقۡبُوۡضَۃٌ ؕ فَاِنۡ اَمِنَ بَعۡضُکُمۡ بَعۡضًا فَلۡیُؤَدِّ الَّذِی اؤۡتُمِنَ اَمَانَتَہٗ وَ لۡیَتَّقِ اللّٰہَ رَبَّہٗ ؕ وَ لَا تَکۡتُمُوا الشَّہَادَۃَ ؕ وَ مَنۡ یَّکۡتُمۡہَا فَاِنَّہٗۤ اٰثِمٌ قَلۡبُہٗ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُوۡنَ عَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۲۸۴﴾٪
۞وَإِن كُنتُمۡ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٖ وَلَمۡ تَجِدُواْ كَاتِبٗا فَرِهَٰنٞ مَّقۡبُوضَةٞۖ فَإِنۡ أَمِنَ بَعۡضُكُم بَعۡضٗا فَلۡيُؤَدِّ ٱلَّذِي ٱؤۡتُمِنَ أَمَٰنَتَهُۥ وَلۡيَتَّقِ ٱللَّهَ رَبَّهُۥۗ وَلَا تَكۡتُمُواْ ٱلشَّهَٰدَةَۚ وَمَن يَكۡتُمۡهَا فَإِنَّهُۥٓ ءَاثِمٞ قَلۡبُهُۥۗ وَٱللَّهُ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُونَ عَلِيمٞ
355. Loans may also be advanced in the form of pledges, one party receiving the loan of money and the other the thing pledged in lieu of it. This form of practical transaction will be in the nature of an Amanah, i.e. a trust or deposit affecting both parties. By identifying a loan with a trust it is hinted that loans should be returned with the same care and honesty with which property deposited as a trust is returned on demand. (close)
a. 2:141; 5:107. (close)
290. Important Words:
رھان (pledge) is derived from رھن. They say رھن الشیء فلانا او عند فلان i.e. he deposited the thing with him or gave it in his possession as a pledge or security for a debt, etc. راھن is one who makes such a pledge and مرتھن is one who receives it. رھینand مرھون mean, the thing so pledged; the thing placed or kept in custody in lieu of a debt, etc. رھان which is the noun-infinitive from راھن and رھن (rahn) which is the noun-infinitive from رھن (rahana) mean, the act of pledging; also the thing pledged. رھان is also the plural of رھن (Aqrab & Lane).
امانة (trust) and اوتمن (is entrusted) and امن (entrusts) are all derived from the same root. امن means, he trusted or he entrusted. ائتمن فلانا علی کذا means, he trusted him with that; he deposited it with him as a trust. امانة means, the thing committed to the trust and care of a person; also honesty, faithfulness and trustworthiness (Aqrab).
If a scribe is not available, loans may be advanced in the form of pledges, one party receiving the loan of money and the other the thing pledged in lieu of this loan. This form of practical transaction, the verse goes on to explain, will be in the nature of an امانة i.e. a trust or deposit affecting both parties. By classing a loan with a trust, it is hinted that loans should be returned with the same care and the same honesty with which property deposited as a trust is returned on demand.
The words, and conceal not testimony, either refer to the testimony of such witnesses as may be present at the time of the pledge, or it may refer to the testimony of the parties themselves. When no other witness is available, the parties are themselves treated as such and may be called upon to give a true account of the affairs on oath.
The expression, his heart is sinful, signifies that he who conceals testimony commits a sin which has not a temporary effect but vitiates the innermost recesses of his heart. Nay, it is a sign of the fact that his heart has already become vitiated. (close)
لِلّٰہِ مَا فِی السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ مَا فِی الۡاَرۡضِ ؕ وَ اِنۡ تُبۡدُوۡا مَا فِیۡۤ اَنۡفُسِکُمۡ اَوۡ تُخۡفُوۡہُ یُحَاسِبۡکُمۡ بِہِ اللّٰہُ ؕ فَیَغۡفِرُ لِمَنۡ یَّشَآءُ وَ یُعَذِّبُ مَنۡ یَّشَآءُ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ عَلٰی کُلِّ شَیۡءٍ قَدِیۡرٌ ﴿۲۸۵﴾
لِّلَّهِ مَا فِي ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَمَا فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِۗ وَإِن تُبۡدُواْ مَا فِيٓ أَنفُسِكُمۡ أَوۡ تُخۡفُوهُ يُحَاسِبۡكُم بِهِ ٱللَّهُۖ فَيَغۡفِرُ لِمَن يَشَآءُ وَيُعَذِّبُ مَن يَشَآءُۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيۡءٖ قَدِيرٌ
b. 21:48. (close)
356. The word bihi signifies; (a) by means of or on the basis of; (b) for or because of; and the clause would mean, "Allah will call you to account for it or because of it," i.e. no human thought or action will go unaccounted for, however hidden it may be, and that it will be punished or pardoned as Allah may will. (close)
c. 5:19, 41; 48:15. (close)
357. The expression, "the will or pleasure of God," rather denotes the existence of a natural law (7:157). But as in the case of Allah it is His Will which stands for His Law, therefore the Qur’an has used this expression to point out (1) that God is the final authority in the universe; and (2) that His Will is the Law, and (3) that His Will manifests itself in a just and benevolent manner, for He is the Possessor of perfect attributes (17:111). (close)
a. 21:48. (close)
b. 5:19, 41; 48:15. (close)
In this and the following two verses, with which the present Surah concludes, the subject of تزکیة (tazkiyah) or purification has been dealt with as promised in the prayer of Abraham (2:130). By reminding us that to Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth, the Quran teaches us that, since everything is God’s, we must avoid all those things which He requires us to avoid and adopt all those which He requires us to adopt. If we obey the commandments of God, which are meant for our own good, He will cause us to thrive and prosper, for He is the Controller of all causes and all effects.
The verse embodies the great secret of attaining purification. That secret is, that if you wish to become pure, you should begin with the root, i.e. you should make your hearts pure. Says the Holy Prophet: "In the body of man there is a piece of flesh; if this piece of flesh is sound, the whole body becomes sound; if it is corrupt, the whole body becomes corrupt. Behold! It is the heart" (Bukhari).
The particle با (for) in the Arabic clause rendered as, Allah will call you to account for it, means: (a) by means of or on the basis of; (b) for or because of. Following the first meaning, the verse would mean "Allah will call you to account by means of it or on the basis of it", i.e. your actions will be judged on the basis of that which is in your hearts. They will be weighed from the point of view of your motives. This is another way of saying, in the words of the Holy Prophet, انما الاعمال بالنیات i.e. Surely, the actions of men will be judged by the intention or the motive with which they are performed (Bukhari). Following the second meaning of it, the verse would mean, "Allah will call you to account for it or because of it", i.e. no human thought will be lost, however hidden it may be and that it will be requited or pardoned as Allah may will it.
In connection with the words, whether you keep it hidden, it should be remembered that God will not call man to account for passing or momentary thoughts that sometimes cross his mind, for they are beyond one’s control. In 2:287 we read, "Allah burdens not any soul beyond its capacity", and it is certainly beyond our "capacity" to check the fleeting thoughts that occasionally flash across our minds. It is only the evil thoughts that we cherish and harbour in our minds, such as malice, envy, etc., and we shall be called to account for only the evil designs that we knowingly evolve and contemplate. The Holy Prophet is reported to have said that God has commanded the angels saying: "If a servant of mine thinks of doing an evil deed, do not write it down against him; but if he carries out his intention, then write it down. And if he intends to do a good deed, but abstains from doing it, write it down as one good act; and if he actually does a good deed then let it be noted as ten acts of virtue" (Tirmidhi).
The expression, whomsoever He pleases, does not mean that God acts, as it were, arbitrarily without law or purpose. In the Quranic idiom the expression, "the will or pleasure of God," rather denotes the existence of a natural law (7:157). But as in the case of Allah it is His will which stands for His Law, therefore the Quran uses this expression to point out that (1) God is the final authority in the universe; and that (2) His will is the law; and that (3) His will manifests itself in a just and benevolent manner, for He is the possessor of perfect attributes (17:111). (close)
اٰمَنَ الرَّسُوۡلُ بِمَاۤ اُنۡزِلَ اِلَیۡہِ مِنۡ رَّبِّہٖ وَ الۡمُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ ؕ کُلٌّ اٰمَنَ بِاللّٰہِ وَ مَلٰٓئِکَتِہٖ وَ کُتُبِہٖ وَ رُسُلِہٖ ۟ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَیۡنَ اَحَدٍ مِّنۡ رُّسُلِہٖ ۟ وَ قَالُوۡا سَمِعۡنَا وَ اَطَعۡنَا ٭۫ غُفۡرَانَکَ رَبَّنَا وَ اِلَیۡکَ الۡمَصِیۡرُ ﴿۲۸۶﴾
ءَامَنَ ٱلرَّسُولُ بِمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيۡهِ مِن رَّبِّهِۦ وَٱلۡمُؤۡمِنُونَۚ كُلٌّ ءَامَنَ بِٱللَّهِ وَمَلَـٰٓئِكَتِهِۦ وَكُتُبِهِۦ وَرُسُلِهِۦ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيۡنَ أَحَدٖ مِّن رُّسُلِهِۦۚ وَقَالُواْ سَمِعۡنَا وَأَطَعۡنَاۖ غُفۡرَانَكَ رَبَّنَا وَإِلَيۡكَ ٱلۡمَصِيرُ
358. Good deeds are indeed the principal means for the attainment of spiritual purification, but they have their origin in the purity of the heart, which can be attained only by holding right beliefs. Hence the verse details the fundamental beliefs, which the Qur’an has taught, i.e. belief in God and His angels, His Books and His Messengers, in their natural order. (close)
a. See 2:137. (close)
b. 3:148, 194; 60:6. (close)
a. See 2:137. (close)
292. Important Words:
غفرانك (Thy forgiveness). غفران is the noun-infinitive from غفر for which see 2:59 and 2:200. غفران on the part of God signifies, covering man with mercy and forgiveness and saving him from the punishment of sins. It is used in the infinitive form for the sake of emphasis, words like "I or we implore" being understood before it.
The mention of the believers along with the Prophet has a special significance in the verse; the purifying influence of the Holy Prophet has brought into existence a class of men who have become purified both in belief and in deeds, thus fulfilling the object for which the Prophet for whom Abraham had prayed was to make his appearance.
Good deeds are indeed the principal means for the attainment of purification, but they have their origin in the purity of the heart, which can be attained only by holding true beliefs. Hence, the verse details the fundamental points of belief which the Holy Prophet taught his followers, i.e. belief in God and His angels and His Books and His Messengers, mentioned in their natural order.
Among the points of belief detailed here, one is that true believers say, We make no distinction between any of His Messengers. This means that true believers should accept all the Messengers of God, without exception, and should make no distinction between them by accepting some and rejecting others. There is in this, food for thought for those Muslims who reject the Promised Messiah, Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, whom God raised in fulfilment of the prophecies of the Holy Prophet and who came to demonstrate the truth of Islam, by cogent reasons and powerful signs.
Another very important means of attaining purification is prayer. The verse represents true believers as offering prayer to God in the ennobling words, We hear and we obey. We implore Thy forgiveness, O our Lord, and to Thee is the returning. This prayer contains four basic elements of purification: (1) man should ever be prepared to listen to God’s commandments; (2) he should be ever ready to obey His commandments, whatever the circumstances; (3) he should always be asking for God’s forgiveness for his sins and shortcomings; and (4) he should never forget that he will one day return to, and stand before, his Maker and will render an account of his works. (close)
لَا یُکَلِّفُ اللّٰہُ نَفۡسًا اِلَّا وُسۡعَہَا ؕ لَہَا مَا کَسَبَتۡ وَ عَلَیۡہَا مَا اکۡتَسَبَتۡ ؕ رَبَّنَا لَا تُؤَاخِذۡنَاۤ اِنۡ نَّسِیۡنَاۤ اَوۡ اَخۡطَاۡنَا ۚ رَبَّنَا وَ لَا تَحۡمِلۡ عَلَیۡنَاۤ اِصۡرًا کَمَا حَمَلۡتَہٗ عَلَی الَّذِیۡنَ مِنۡ قَبۡلِنَا ۚ رَبَّنَا وَ لَا تُحَمِّلۡنَا مَا لَا طَاقَۃَ لَنَا بِہٖ ۚ وَ اعۡفُ عَنَّا ٝ وَ اغۡفِرۡ لَنَا ٝ وَ ارۡحَمۡنَا ٝ اَنۡتَ مَوۡلٰٮنَا فَانۡصُرۡنَا عَلَی الۡقَوۡمِ الۡکٰفِرِیۡنَ ﴿۲۸۷﴾٪
لَا يُكَلِّفُ ٱللَّهُ نَفۡسًا إِلَّا وُسۡعَهَاۚ لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتۡ وَعَلَيۡهَا مَا ٱكۡتَسَبَتۡۗ رَبَّنَا لَا تُؤَاخِذۡنَآ إِن نَّسِينَآ أَوۡ أَخۡطَأۡنَاۚ رَبَّنَا وَلَا تَحۡمِلۡ عَلَيۡنَآ إِصۡرٗا كَمَا حَمَلۡتَهُۥ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلِنَاۚ رَبَّنَا وَلَا تُحَمِّلۡنَا مَا لَا طَاقَةَ لَنَا بِهِۦۖ وَٱعۡفُ عَنَّا وَٱغۡفِرۡ لَنَا وَٱرۡحَمۡنَآۚ أَنتَ مَوۡلَىٰنَا فَٱنصُرۡنَا عَلَى ٱلۡقَوۡمِ ٱلۡكَٰفِرِينَ
c. See 2:234. (close)
359. The clause constitutes a powerful refutation of the doctrine of Atonement. It embodies two important principles: (1) That the commandments of God are always given with due regard for man’s capacities and his natural limitations. (2) That moral purification in this world does not necessarily signify complete freedom from all kinds of failings and shortcomings. All that man is expected to do is sincerely to strive for good and avoid sin to the best of his power, and the rest will be forgiven him by the Merciful God. So no Atonement is needed. (close)
360. The word Kasaba generally denotes the doing of good deeds and Iktasaba the doing of evil deeds. Both words are from the same root but the latter denotes greater exertion on the part of the doer. A man will be rewarded for good deeds even if they are done casually and without conscious effort, while he will be punished for his evil deeds only if they are committed deliberately and with conscious effort. (close)
361. In ordinary circumstances, Nisyan and Khati’ah are not punishable for they lack intention or motive which are necessary for awarding punishment. But here the words denote forgetfulness and error which can be avoided if due care is taken. (close)
362. Isr means, (1) a burden which restrains one from motion; (2) a heavy responsibility the breaking of which renders one deserving of punishment; (3) a sin or an offence; and (4) grievous punishment of a sin. The expression 'lay not on us a responsibility as Thou didst lay upon those before us,' does not mean that the burden to be laid upon us should be lighter than that which was laid upon those before us. The meaning is that we may be safeguarded against breaking Thy covenant and thus may be saved from incurring a heavy responsibility for disobedience as was incurred by those before us. This is a collective prayer for the preservation and protection of Islam and the safeguarding of Muslims against incurring the displeasure of God. (close)
a. 3:148. (close)
a. See 2:234. (close)
b. 3:148. (close)
292A. Important Words:
اصرا (responsibility). They say اصرالشیء i.e. he broke the thing. اصرہ means, be confined or detained or debarred him; he held him in custody or he restrained him. اصرالخیمة means, he provided the tent with a peg or a rope for tying. اصر (isr.) or اصر (asr) or اصر (usr) means: (1) a burden which restrains one from motion; (2) a burdensome covenant or a heavy responsibility the breaking of which makes one deserving of punishment; (3) a sin, or an offence; and (4) grievous punishment of a sin (Aqrab & Lane).
The clause, Allah burdens not any soul beyond its capacity, is a powerful refutation of the doctrine of Atonement. It embodies two important principles: (1) That the commandments of God are always given with due regard for human capacities and weaknesses. (2) That purification in this world does not necessarily signify complete freedom from all kinds of failings and shortcomings. All that man is expected to do is sincerely to strive after good and avoid sin to the best of his power, and the rest will be forgiven him by the Merciful God. So no atonement is needed.
The word کسب (earns) has been used here with regard to the doing of good deeds and اکتسب (incurs) for the doing of evil deeds. They are from the same root but the latter denotes greater exertion. Thus the words hint that a man will be rewarded for good deeds even if they are done casually and without concentrated effort, while he will be punished for his evil deeds only if they are committed deliberately and with concentrated effort.
In ordinary circumstances, نسیان (forgetfulness) and خطاء (error) are not punishable, for they lack intention or motive which are necessary for punishment. But here the words denote a forgetfulness and an error which might have been avoided, if due care had been exercised.
As explained under Important Words above, the word اصر (responsibility) has several connot-ations, all of which are applicable here. Hence, the verse may also be translated as (a) Impose not on us a sin, i.e. enable us to avoid sin and prevent us from the doing of deeds which might make us stumble; (b) Do not punish us if we commit some sin or break some covenant; (c) Taking the expression لاتحمل علینا to mean, as it literally does, do not make it ride us or do not mount it on us, the clause may also be rendered as, do not make a responsibility or a covenant mount on us as Thou didst mount it on those before us. The simile is beautiful. divine covenants are meant to help the people in their onward march; but sometimes, through abuse or breach, they become a burden, instead of a help, thus turning into a rider in place of a riding beast. Muslims are taught to pray against such an eventuality.
The words, lay not on us a responsibility as Thou didst lay upon those before us, do not mean that Muslims have been taught to wish for lighter burdens. The facts of history belie that inference. The words only mean that God may help Muslims to fulfil their responsibilities and to avoid sins as well as the consequences thereof. The previous peoples were entrusted with some responsibilities and given certain commandments which were all for their own good, but many of them failed to fulfil them and also rejected Islam to which they had been invited and thus turned a blissful guidance into a veritable means of incurring God’s displeasure. Thus, they were virtually laid under an isr or a burdensome responsibility. Muslims, being the bearers of the final and universal Shari‘ah, have been exhorted to set a better example and pray to God for success in their great task and in the fulfilment of their heavy responsibilities. The laying of burden or burdensome responsibility has been attributed to God just as in the Quranic idiom ضلالة (misguidance) is sometimes attributed to Him for which see 2:7.
The clause, lay not on us a responsibility as Thou didst lay on those before us, may also refer to Christians particularly who, by declaring the Law to be a curse, converted a divine mercy into an isr, i.e. a burden and a punishment. Muslims are thus taught to pray that for them the Shari‘ah may always remain a mercy. In this case the verse comes as a fitting preamble to the succeeding Surah of which Christianity forms the special theme.
The clause, and efface our sins and grant us Forgiveness and have Mercy on us, comprises three important invocations placed in perfect order. They not only correspond to the preceding three prayers but also constitute a perfect manifestation of a perfect treatment on the part of a perfect Master. فاعف عنا means that God may efface our sins and leave out no trace of them to be seen by men. اغفرلنا means that He may not only efface our sins but also grant us forgiveness so that He Himself may treat them as non-existent. And ارحمنا means that God may not only efface our sins and forgive us but also show positive mercy to us.
The concluding clause, help us Thou against the disbelieving people, provides a fitting ending to the Surah. The Muslims are out for a great struggle. The entire world of کفر (disbelief) is arrayed against them and the field of work, as hinted in Abraham’s prayer (2:130), is wide and far-stretched, extending over (1) heavenly signs, (2) laws and covenants, (3) wisdom and philosophy, (4) morals and spirituality, and (5) general progress. This was a stupendous task and unless God came to their help, there was little hope for that tiny Muslim community that was just emerging into existence. But God did come to their help. (close)