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)