فَجَعَلۡنٰہَا نَکَالًا لِّمَا بَیۡنَ یَدَیۡہَا وَ مَا خَلۡفَہَا وَ مَوۡعِظَۃً لِّلۡمُتَّقِیۡنَ ﴿۶۷﴾
فَجَعَلۡنَٰهَا نَكَٰلٗا لِّمَا بَيۡنَ يَدَيۡهَا وَمَا خَلۡفَهَا وَمَوۡعِظَةٗ لِّلۡمُتَّقِينَ
c. 5:39. (close)
a. 5:39. (close)
73. Important Words:
نکالا (an example) is derived from نکل. They say نکل بفلان i.e. he inflicted on him such a punishment as to make him an example for others (Aqrab).
All punishment, if wisely directed, should serve a twofold purpose: (1) to inflict pain on the offender so as to make him reform in future; (2) to make it a lesson for others so that they may beware of falling into a similar error. But, as the latter part of the verse points out, only such men benefit by punishment as are God-fearing. (close)
وَ اِذۡ قَالَ مُوۡسٰی لِقَوۡمِہٖۤ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ یَاۡمُرُکُمۡ اَنۡ تَذۡبَحُوۡا بَقَرَۃً ؕ قَالُوۡۤا اَتَتَّخِذُنَا ہُزُوًا ؕ قَالَ اَعُوۡذُ بِاللّٰہِ اَنۡ اَکُوۡنَ مِنَ الۡجٰہِلِیۡنَ ﴿۶۸﴾
وَإِذۡ قَالَ مُوسَىٰ لِقَوۡمِهِۦٓ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَأۡمُرُكُمۡ أَن تَذۡبَحُواْ بَقَرَةٗۖ قَالُوٓاْ أَتَتَّخِذُنَا هُزُوٗاۖ قَالَ أَعُوذُ بِٱللَّهِ أَنۡ أَكُونَ مِنَ ٱلۡجَٰهِلِينَ
74. Important Words:
ھزوا (a jest) means: (1) jest; (2) the object or butt of a joke (Lisan). See also 2:14.
Here begins an account of another Israelite wrong which was allied to their worship of the calf. Though the calf mentioned in 2:52 was destroyed, yet veneration for the cow lingered in their hearts. The verse, along with those that follow, will be explained under verse 72 below. (close)
قَالُوا ادۡعُ لَنَا رَبَّکَ یُبَیِّنۡ لَّنَا مَا ہِیَ ؕ قَالَ اِنَّہٗ یَقُوۡلُ اِنَّہَا بَقَرَۃٌ لَّا فَارِضٌ وَّ لَا بِکۡرٌ ؕ عَوَانٌۢ بَیۡنَ ذٰلِکَ ؕ فَافۡعَلُوۡا مَا تُؤۡمَرُوۡنَ ﴿۶۹﴾
قَالُواْ ٱدۡعُ لَنَا رَبَّكَ يُبَيِّن لَّنَا مَا هِيَۚ قَالَ إِنَّهُۥ يَقُولُ إِنَّهَا بَقَرَةٞ لَّا فَارِضٞ وَلَا بِكۡرٌ عَوَانُۢ بَيۡنَ ذَٰلِكَۖ فَٱفۡعَلُواْ مَا تُؤۡمَرُونَ
75. Important Words:
فارض (old) is derived from فرض. They say فرضت البقرة meaning, the cow became old (Lane).
اعوان (full-grown) is derived from عان. They say عانت المراة i.e. the woman attained middle age. So عوان is said of one that has attained middle age. الحرب العوان means, the hottest and bloodiest part of a battle (Aqrab).
See under 2:72. (close)
قَالُوا ادۡعُ لَنَا رَبَّکَ یُبَیِّنۡ لَّنَا مَا لَوۡنُہَا ؕ قَالَ اِنَّہٗ یَقُوۡلُ اِنَّہَا بَقَرَۃٌ صَفۡرَآءُ ۙ فَاقِعٌ لَّوۡنُہَا تَسُرُّ النّٰظِرِیۡنَ ﴿۷۰﴾
قَالُواْ ٱدۡعُ لَنَا رَبَّكَ يُبَيِّن لَّنَا مَا لَوۡنُهَاۚ قَالَ إِنَّهُۥ يَقُولُ إِنَّهَا بَقَرَةٞ صَفۡرَآءُ فَاقِعٞ لَّوۡنُهَا تَسُرُّ ٱلنَّـٰظِرِينَ
76. Important Words:
صفراء (of a dun colour) is the feminine from أصفر which signifies a thing having the colour of gold; yellow-coloured or saffron-coloured (Aqrab).
فاقع (pure and rich) is derived from فقع which means: (1) it was of a rich, pure and unmixed colour; or (2) its golden colour was rich and pure. فاقع means: (1) possessing pure and rich colour; (2) possessing rich and pure golden colour. Thus it is both general and particular (Aqrab).
قَالُوا ادۡعُ لَنَا رَبَّکَ یُبَیِّنۡ لَّنَا مَا ہِیَ ۙ اِنَّ الۡبَقَرَ تَشٰبَہَ عَلَیۡنَا ؕ وَ اِنَّاۤ اِنۡ شَآءَ اللّٰہُ لَمُہۡتَدُوۡنَ ﴿۷۱﴾
قَالُواْ ٱدۡعُ لَنَا رَبَّكَ يُبَيِّن لَّنَا مَا هِيَ إِنَّ ٱلۡبَقَرَ تَشَٰبَهَ عَلَيۡنَا وَإِنَّآ إِن شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ لَمُهۡتَدُونَ
77. Important Words:
البقر (cows) is the plural ofالبقرة (a cow). The word is used for both male and female (Aqrab).
قَالَ اِنَّہٗ یَقُوۡلُ اِنَّہَا بَقَرَۃٌ لَّا ذَلُوۡلٌ تُثِیۡرُ الۡاَرۡضَ وَ لَا تَسۡقِی الۡحَرۡثَ ۚ مُسَلَّمَۃٌ لَّا شِیَۃَ فِیۡہَا ؕ قَالُوا الۡـٰٔنَ جِئۡتَ بِالۡحَقِّ ؕ فَذَبَحُوۡہَا وَ مَا کَادُوۡا یَفۡعَلُوۡنَ ﴿٪۷۲﴾
قَالَ إِنَّهُۥ يَقُولُ إِنَّهَا بَقَرَةٞ لَّا ذَلُولٞ تُثِيرُ ٱلۡأَرۡضَ وَلَا تَسۡقِي ٱلۡحَرۡثَ مُسَلَّمَةٞ لَّا شِيَةَ فِيهَاۚ قَالُواْ ٱلۡـَٰٔنَ جِئۡتَ بِٱلۡحَقِّۚ فَذَبَحُوهَا وَمَا كَادُواْ يَفۡعَلُونَ
a. 67:16. (close)
108. The Israelites had lived for a long time among the Egyptians who had great veneration for the cow. Thus reverence for this animal had crept into their minds also. This is why, when they made an idol for themselves, they made it in the shape of a calf (Qur’an 2:52 & Exod. 32:4). In order that their minds should have been purged of the feeling of veneration for the cow, they were repeatedly commanded to sacrifice it (Num. 19:1-9; Lev. 4:1-21; 16:3, 11). It seems that they had a particular cow, which served as a pet among them, and they had a misgiving that the order pertained to it. So they repeatedly asked Moses to specify the cow which God meant to be slaughtered, and as a result of their questioning some conditions were added to specify the animal. (close)
The Israelites had lived for a long time among the Egyptians who had great veneration for the cow. Thus reverence for the cow had crept into the minds of the Israelites as well. This is why, when they made an idol for themselves, they made it in the shape of a calf (Quran 2:52 & Exod. 32:4). It was, therefore, quite in the fitness of things that, in order to root out this evil inclination from the hearts of the Israelites, they should have been repeatedly commanded to sacrifice the cow. And this was actually the case (Num. 19:1-9; Lev. 4:1-21; 16:3, 11; etc.) A nation which freely slaughters an animal can never think of deifying it.
In the verses under comment, i.e. vv. 68 to 72, mention is made of Moses having ordered the Israelites to sacrifice a cow. It appears that at first they were bidden to sacrifice an ordinary cow, but it seems they had a particular cow which served as a pet among them and they had a natural misgiving that the order pertained to that cow. So they repeatedly asked Moses to specify the cow which God meant to be slaughtered, and as a result of their questionings some conditions were added to specify the animal. Finally, when the description given by Moses corresponded to the particular cow which they had in view, they had perforce to say, Now hast thou brought the truth, the words showing that from the very beginning they had in their mind some particular cow to which they thought the command pertained. Caught in their own net, they were guided aright and had to slaughter the very cow which served as a pet among them and thus a great step was taken to uproot the evil from their hearts.
This incident finds mention in the Bible also (Num. 19:1-9). The Quranic version, however, differs slightly from that of the Bible. According to the Quran, the Israelites were at first ordered to slaughter an ordinary cow, and it was only on their repeated questioning that descriptions were added to specify it. On the other hand, the Biblical version makes no mention of this questioning, but tells us that at the very outset the Israelites were ordered to slaughter a cow answering a particular description. Again, the narrative of the Quran, shows that it was with great reluctance that the Israelites finally complied with the command, but the Bible throws no light on the manner in which the divine behest was carried out. It is not difficult to see on which side the truth lies. It is too much to believe that the Israelites, who were ever ready to quarrel with Moses on receipt of an injunction against their wishes, should have carried out, without question, the order relating to the slaughter of a cow. (close)
وَ اِذۡ قَتَلۡتُمۡ نَفۡسًا فَادّٰرَءۡتُمۡ فِیۡہَا ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ مُخۡرِجٌ مَّا کُنۡتُمۡ تَکۡتُمُوۡنَ ﴿ۚ۷۳﴾
وَإِذۡ قَتَلۡتُمۡ نَفۡسٗا فَٱدَّـٰرَٰٔتُمۡ فِيهَاۖ وَٱللَّهُ مُخۡرِجٞ مَّا كُنتُمۡ تَكۡتُمُونَ
109. Qataltum means, you sought, attempted, claimed, or made up your mind, to kill (40:29), or you made him appear as dead; you almost killed him. They say Qatala-hu, i.e. he rendered him like one killed physically or morally (Lane). The famous saying of ‘Umar, viz. Uqtulu Sa‘dan, has been taken to signify, render Sa‘d like one who is, to all intents and purposes, dead. (close)
109A. Nafsan used as Nakirah, i.e. in an undefined form, according to Arabic grammar may refer to a very important personage (Mutawwal).
In the foregoing verses some of the evil practices and crimes of the Jews were mentioned. This verse refers to their crowning guilt, i.e. they sought to kill Jesus on the Cross and thus to show that according to the Bible he was a false prophet (Deut. 21:23). In this nefarious attempt they utterly failed. Jesus was taken down from the Cross alive but like one dead. For the historical fact that Jesus did not die on the Cross but was taken down alive like one dead. See 2000. (close)
109B. The clause signifies that a time will come when the truth about Jesus’s death will come to light and the mask which had so long been hanging over the incident will be lifted. (close)
79. Important Words:
قتلتم (you slew) is derived from قتل which means: (1) he killed; (2) he attempted to kill; (3) he rendered a person like unto one killed (see also 2:62).
نفساً (a person) has been used here as نکرة i.e. in an indefinite or undefined form. It may, according to the rules of the Arabic language, refer either to an unimportant person that need not be named, or to a very important personage; for sometimes a word used as نکرة denotes a sense of greatness (Mutawwal).
فادارءتم (differed among yourselves) is derived from درأ meaning, he repelled it or he thrust it back. ادارءتم is originally تدارءتمmeaning: (1) you repelled one another by casting blame or responsibility on one another; (2) you disagreed or differed among yourselves (Aqrab & Lane).
تکتمون (you concealed). See 2:34.
See under next verse. (close)
فَقُلۡنَا اضۡرِبُوۡہُ بِبَعۡضِہَا ؕ کَذٰلِکَ یُحۡیِ اللّٰہُ الۡمَوۡتٰی ۙ وَ یُرِیۡکُمۡ اٰیٰتِہٖ لَعَلَّکُمۡ تَعۡقِلُوۡنَ ﴿۷۴﴾
فَقُلۡنَا ٱضۡرِبُوهُ بِبَعۡضِهَاۚ كَذَٰلِكَ يُحۡيِ ٱللَّهُ ٱلۡمَوۡتَىٰ وَيُرِيكُمۡ ءَايَٰتِهِۦ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَعۡقِلُونَ
110. Darb meaning the like of a thing (Lane), the verb Daraba is used in different tenses in 13:18; 16:75 & 43:58 as signifying "comparison." So the expression Idribu-hu Bi-ba‘diha may be interpreted as "compare the condition of Jesus in which he was taken down from the Cross as almost dead with the condition of persons who were considered dead while in reality they were not dead but only appeared as such; and you will discover the truth about the supposed death of Jesus." (close)
a. 2:180. (close)
110A. The clause may signify: This is how God gave Jesus a new lease of life after he was almost dead, Mauta being the plural of Mait which means, one like dead or near death (Lane). Here the word Mauta would be taken in this sense because according to the Qur’an those actually dead never come back to life (21:96 & 23:101).
The verse may also be rendered as: Then We said, "Smite him (the murderer) for a part of his offence. Thus doth Allah give life to the dead and show you His Signs that you may understand." According to this meaning this and the preceding verse will refer to the murder of a Muslim by the Jews at Medina. On his arrival at Medina the Holy Prophet had entered into a treaty of peace and mutual good relations with the Jews. But the growing prosperity and success of Islam gradually roused their jealousy and some of their leaders, Ka‘b bin Ashraf being foremost among them, began secretly to excite their people against Muslims. A short time after the Battle of Badr a Muslim lady happened to go to the shop of a Jew to make some purchases. The shopkeeper behaved very insultingly towards her. The helpless lady cried for help. A Muslim who happened to be nearby went to her help and in the scuffle which followed the shopkeeper was killed, whereupon the Jews fell upon him and murdered him. When the case came to be investigated none of the miscreants who had taken part in the heinous act would admit the guilt and every one of them sought to shift the responsibility for it to others. This murder of a Muslim was not an isolated mischievous act on the part of the Jews. Their behaviour daily had grown insulting and provocative and they were always on the look out to create fresh disturbances (Hisham), and also secretly plotted the assassination of the Holy Prophet himself (Isabah). Ka‘b bin Ashraf was the arch-enemy and the chief instigator of all these disturbances and plots. He had even gone to Mecca and with his powerful eloquence had made the Quraish, who were smarting under their ignominious defeat at Badr, take a solemn oath with the skirts of the Ka‘bah in their hands, that they would know no rest until they had destroyed Islam and its Founder. Ka‘b also got widely circulated most scurrilous poems against the ladies of the Holy Prophet’s family. So, for his repeated acts of treachery and mischief and as a punishment for the death of the innocent Muslim he was ordered to be put to death. The sentence of death was only a partial punishment of the offence, the rest of the punishment being reserved for the Hereafter. By using the word Qataltum in the plural number, the Qur’an holds the entire Jewish community of Medina responsible for the murder. For the sentence of death, however, the ring-leader was marked out, the pronoun hu referring to Ka‘b. According to this meaning of the verse the words, Thus doth Allah give life to the dead signify that retaliation is an effective form of giving life to the dead, for in this way the would-be assassins are prevented from further murders. That retaliation is a most potent means of giving life to the dead is alluded to in (2:180). Moreover, the Arabs of the "Days of Ignorance" regarded a murdered person whose blood was not avenged as dead and regarded as living the person whose blood was fully avenged. Says the famous Arab poet Harith bin Hilzah: "In Nabashtum ma Baina Milhata was-Saqib, Fihal-Amwatu wal Ahya’u, i.e. if you dig out the graves between Malhah and Saqib, you will find therein dead as well as living, i.e. those whose murder has been avenged. (close)
80. Important Words:
الموتی (the dead, i.e. dead persons) is the plural of میت (a dead person) which means: (1) one really dead; (2) one like dead (3) one dying or nearing death (Lane). See also under 2:20, 2:29 & 2:57.
In the preceding verses God related some of the misdeeds of the Israelites in order to bring home to them the fact that, in face of such conduct on their part, it was idle to expect that God would continue to bestow favours on them. In the verses under comment i.e. 2:73, 74, 75, God recounts one of their final misdeeds which filled the cup of their iniquity to overflowing and sealed their fate.
The Quran has not named the person slain, but when read with the context and the relevant facts of history, the verses appear to apply to the murder of a Companion of the Holy Prophet by the Jews at Medina. Following are some of the details of the incident which was the first public act of enmity perpetrated by the Medinite Jews against Muslims.
The Holy Prophet, on his arrival at Medina, entered into a treaty with the Jews. But the growing prosperity and success of Islam gradually roused the jealousy of the Jewish leaders and some of them began secretly to incite their people against the Muslims. The crisis came with the Battle of Badr when the jealousy of the Jews reached its highest pitch. The result was that the Jews were emboldened and assumed a highly insolent attitude towards Islam. A short time after the said battle, a Muslim lady happened to go to a Jew’s shop to make some purchases. The shopkeeper and the other Jews sitting at the shop behaved very insultingly toward her, and the shopkeeper mischievously fastened the lower part of her mantle to the upper part thereof with a thorn so that when, being unable to bear their insults, she unsuspectingly rose to depart, part of her body became naked, at which the shopkeeper and other Jews burst out laughing. This made the helpless lady cry for help. A Muslim happened to be near. Hearing her cry, he rushed to the place and in the fight that ensued the shopkeeper was killed, whereupon the Jews fell upon the Muslim and murdered him and the situation threatened to develop into a sort of a riot. This happened towards the close of the second year of the Hijrah. It is with reference to this murder that the preceding verse says, and remember the time when you slew a person and differed among yourselves about it. The Jews differed among themselves about the murder, for none of them admitted that he had committed it, though all adopted a highly insulting attitude towards the Holy Prophet when he exhorted the Jewish leaders to fear God and abstain from jeopardising the peace of the city. The result was ongoing enmity between the Jewish tribe of Banu Qainuqa‘ and the Muslims culmin-ating in the banishment of the tribe from Medina (Hisham, Tabari & Zurqani).
But the real responsibility lay on the ringleader of the Medinite Jews—Ka‘b bin Ashraf—who had taken a leading part in inciting the Jewish tribes and kindling their hatred against the Muslims. The man was looked upon as their leader by the Jews of the whole of Arabia. He was a very rich man and a poet of eminence. Ka‘b was also a party to the treaty which was concluded between the Jews and the Holy Prophet on the arrival of the latter in Medina. Inwardly, however, he harboured deep hatred against Islam and its Holy Founder which grew in intensity as Islam made progress. When the Muslims won a decisive victory at Badr, Ka‘b, realizing that Islam was taking a deep root in the soil, thought it imperative to make strenuous efforts to extirpate the new faith. So he at once started for Mecca and there, with the aid of his powerful eloquence and stirring verses, set ablaze the fire of enmity and hatred that was already smouldering in the hearts of the Quraish, and with the skirts of the sacred curtain of the Ka‘bah in their hands, he made them take a solemn oath that they would know no rest until they had destroyed Islam and its Founder. Thereafter he toured among other tribes of Arabia and stirred them up against the Prophet and the small body of his followers. Having lighted up the fire of hatred and enmity throughout the land, he returned to Medina and began to create mischief by making scurrilous poems in which mention was made of Muslim women and the ladies nearly related to the Holy Prophet, in the most offensive language. These verses were widely published and were publicly recited by the enemies of Islam. The result of these tactics was that feelings of extreme hatred were excited in the minds of the Jews who assumed an openly hostile attitude to the Holy Prophet and his Companions, throwing to the winds their treaty obligations. It was this attitude of the Jews which emboldened them to commit such offences as the one referred to above, in open defiance of the terms of the treaty they had concluded with the Holy Prophet on his arrival at Medina (Hisham, Zurqani & Dawud).
Thus the real culprit responsible for the assassination of the Muslim referred to above was no other than Ka‘b bin Ashraf, the bold and wicked Jewish leader, who had instigated the Jews to rebellion and breach of contract. He even did not hesitate to plot against the life of the Holy Prophet (Zurqani). His guilt was an established fact. He was guilty of high treason against the State and was the arch-enemy of peace. So he was put to death by the Prophet’s command in the third year of Hijrah. It is to this sentence of death that the present verse refers when it says: then We said, "Smite him (the murderer, i.e. the real culprit) for a part of the offence against him (the murdered person)”, which meant that the sentence of death was only a partial punishment of the offence, the rest of the punishment being reserved for the Hereafter. In fact, there are certain sins which are atoned for by the punishment which is inflicted for them on the offender in this world. But the offence of wilfully killing an innocent man and particularly one who is a righteous servant of the Lord, is not adequately punished with the execution of the murderer, which is only a partial punishment. The real punishment of such an offence is Hell (4:94).
By using the word قتلتم (you slew) in the plural number, the Quran hints that the whole Jewish community of Medinawas responsible for it. For the sentence of death, however, the ringleader, who had brought about a tense atmosphere of hatred and enmity, was selected.
The clause, thus Allah gives life to the dead, signifies that retaliation is an effective form of giving life to the dead, for punishing the offender prevents the would-be assassins from committing further murders, and thus many who would otherwise have been victims of assassination are saved. That retaliation is a sure means of giving life is clearly alluded to in the Quran itself. We read in 2:180, and there is life for you in the law of retaliation, O men of understanding.
Finally, it may be noted that these verses have also been applied to the attempted murder of Jesus by the Jews (for which see Part I of the Quran published by Anjuman Taraqqi Islam, Qadian, in 1916), but recent research strongly supports the above explanation. It may also be noted that the interpretation put on this verse by some commentators that a physically dead person was restored to life is quite erroneous, being unsupported by the context of the verse as well as the authentic teaching of Islam. It is a mere legend which has no foundation in fact. (close)
ثُمَّ قَسَتۡ قُلُوۡبُکُمۡ مِّنۡۢ بَعۡدِ ذٰلِکَ فَہِیَ کَالۡحِجَارَۃِ اَوۡ اَشَدُّ قَسۡوَۃً ؕ وَ اِنَّ مِنَ الۡحِجَارَۃِ لَمَا یَتَفَجَّرُ مِنۡہُ الۡاَنۡہٰرُ ؕ وَ اِنَّ مِنۡہَا لَمَا یَشَّقَّقُ فَیَخۡرُجُ مِنۡہُ الۡمَآءُ ؕ وَ اِنَّ مِنۡہَا لَمَا یَہۡبِطُ مِنۡ خَشۡیَۃِ اللّٰہِ ؕوَ مَا اللّٰہُ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا تَعۡمَلُوۡنَ ﴿۷۵﴾
ثُمَّ قَسَتۡ قُلُوبُكُم مِّنۢ بَعۡدِ ذَٰلِكَ فَهِيَ كَٱلۡحِجَارَةِ أَوۡ أَشَدُّ قَسۡوَةٗۚ وَإِنَّ مِنَ ٱلۡحِجَارَةِ لَمَا يَتَفَجَّرُ مِنۡهُ ٱلۡأَنۡهَٰرُۚ وَإِنَّ مِنۡهَا لَمَا يَشَّقَّقُ فَيَخۡرُجُ مِنۡهُ ٱلۡمَآءُۚ وَإِنَّ مِنۡهَا لَمَا يَهۡبِطُ مِنۡ خَشۡيَةِ ٱللَّهِۗ وَمَا ٱللَّهُ بِغَٰفِلٍ عَمَّا تَعۡمَلُونَ
a. 5:14; 6:44; 57:17. (close)
111. The murder of the innocent Muslim referred to in the preceding verses sealed the fate of the Medinite Jews who thereafter became more and more hardened, their hearts becoming like stones, even worse. The verse goes on to say that even lifeless things like stones are of some use, but the Jews have become so depraved that, far from performing any act of virtue out of a desire to be virtuous, they have not even involuntarily done anything that might be called virtuous. They have become worse than stones, for even from stones there comes out water which people profit by. (close)
112. The remarks do not apply to the whole Jewish nation; for some of the Israelites were, no doubt, swayed by the fear of God. Of these the Qur’an says, of them (the hearts) there are some that humble themselves for fear of Allah, the pronoun ha standing for Qulub (hearts) and not for Hijarah (stones). The Qur’an contains several instances of what is termed Intisharud-Dama’ir, i.e. similar pronouns occurring in the same verse standing for different nouns (48:10). (close)
81. Important Words:
یشقق (cleave asunder) which is originally یتشقق is derived from شق meaning, he cut it open or he clove it.
تشقق means, it clove or broke asunder (Aqrab).
The murder of the innocent Muslim referred to in the preceding verses sealed the fate of the Medinite Jews who thereafter became more and more hardened, their hearts becoming like stones or even worse.
The verse goes on to say that even lifeless things like stones are useful, but the Jews, although rational beings possessing understanding and descended from holy men, have become so hardened as virtually to become worse than stones. Stones have functions to perform; but as they possess no volition, their work can bring them no reward. Deeds are in fact of two kinds, firstly those which are performed through volition or exercise of will, and secondly those which are performed not through volition but under some natural law. According to Islam, it is only the deeds of the former class that bring reward; but the deeds of the latter class, though unable to bring a reward, are also sometimes useful. Most of the Jews, however, had become so depraved that, far from performing any act of virtue out of a desire to be virtuous, they did not even involuntarily perform anything that might be called virtuous. They had become worse than stones; for even from stones there comes out water which people profit by.
It has, however, been added that these remarks do not apply to the whole nation; for some of the Israelites were, no doubt, swayed by the fear of God. Of these the Quran says: Of them (the hearts) there are some that humble themselves for fear of Allah. It may be noted that the pronoun ھما (them) in the clause, and indeed of them there are some that humble themselves for fear of Allah, stands for قلوب (hearts) and not for حجارة (stones). The fact that of the two pronouns in the verse the first refers to حجارة (stones) and this one to قلوب (hearts) need not create any doubt. The Quran contains many instances of what is termed انتشار ضمائر i.e. where similar pronouns occurring in the same verse stand for different nouns. For example, we read in 48:10: That you may believe in Allah and His Messenger and may help him and honour him, and glorify Him morning and evening. In this verse the pronoun 'him' refers to the Holy Prophet in the first two places and to God in the third.
The sentence, for of stones indeed there are some out of which gush forth streams, and of them there are some out of which flows water when they cleave asunder, signifies that even among lifeless things there are grades, some being more useful than others; and the Quran hints that we should recognise the difference in the grade and usefulness of all things. Everything must have its due, whether small or great. (close)
اَفَتَطۡمَعُوۡنَ اَنۡ یُّؤۡمِنُوۡا لَکُمۡ وَ قَدۡ کَانَ فَرِیۡقٌ مِّنۡہُمۡ یَسۡمَعُوۡنَ کَلٰمَ اللّٰہِ ثُمَّ یُحَرِّفُوۡنَہٗ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ مَا عَقَلُوۡہُ وَ ہُمۡ یَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۷۶﴾
۞أَفَتَطۡمَعُونَ أَن يُؤۡمِنُواْ لَكُمۡ وَقَدۡ كَانَ فَرِيقٞ مِّنۡهُمۡ يَسۡمَعُونَ كَلَٰمَ ٱللَّهِ ثُمَّ يُحَرِّفُونَهُۥ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ مَا عَقَلُوهُ وَهُمۡ يَعۡلَمُونَ
a. 3:79; 4:47; 5:14, 42. (close)
a. 3:79; 4:47; 5:14, 42. (close)
82. Important Words:
یحرفونه (they pervert it) is derived from حرف which means, he turned a thing aside; he made a thing incline away, the infinitive حرف meaning the side or border of a thing. حرف القول means: (1) he changed or removed a word or speech or writing from its proper place; (2) he made a word or speech or writing incline from its position so as to give it a wrong significance (Aqrab & Mufradat). Thus تحریف may be either by (1) omitting or adding or changing a word or sentence; or by (2) perverting or putting a wrong interpretation on it.
The verse is addressed to Muslims. The Israelites having been reduced to such a condition as to have become hardened like stones or even worse, Muslims cannot expect them to subscribe to their belief or act faithfully to them. The Israelites had become utterly devoid of faith and all sense of honesty. They would hear the word of God revealed to the Holy Prophet and when they went back to their people, they would wilfully pervert it and thus try to mislead them and turn them against the Holy Prophet and his followers by means of deliberate misrepresentation. Nothing good can be expected from such people and nothing can prevent them from breaking agreements and their plighted word. (close)