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)
وَ اِذَا لَقُوا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا قَالُوۡۤا اٰمَنَّا ۚۖ وَ اِذَا خَلَا بَعۡضُہُمۡ اِلٰی بَعۡضٍ قَالُوۡۤا اَتُحَدِّثُوۡنَہُمۡ بِمَا فَتَحَ اللّٰہُ عَلَیۡکُمۡ لِیُحَآجُّوۡکُمۡ بِہٖ عِنۡدَ رَبِّکُمۡ ؕ اَفَلَا تَعۡقِلُوۡنَ ﴿۷۷﴾
وَإِذَا لَقُواْ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ قَالُوٓاْ ءَامَنَّا وَإِذَا خَلَا بَعۡضُهُمۡ إِلَىٰ بَعۡضٖ قَالُوٓاْ أَتُحَدِّثُونَهُم بِمَا فَتَحَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَيۡكُمۡ لِيُحَآجُّوكُم بِهِۦ عِندَ رَبِّكُمۡۚ أَفَلَا تَعۡقِلُونَ
b. 2:15; 3:120; 5:62. (close)
113. The verse mentions another class of Jews who always acted hypocritically. When they mixed with Muslims, they chimed in with them from worldly motives, confirming the prophecies contained in their Scriptures about the Holy Prophet. But when they mixed with their own people, other members of the community would reproach them for their enlightening the Muslims on what God had revealed to them, i.e. for letting the Muslims know the prophecies about the Holy Prophet which were contained in their own Scriptures. (close)
a. 2:15; 3:120; 5:62. (close)
83. Important Words:
فتح (has unfolded) means: (1) he opened; (2) he unfolded or disclosed; (3) he taught; (4) he gained victory over a place or a people (Aqrab).
عند (before) gives a number of meanings, e.g., with, by, at, near, in the presence of, in the opinion of or in the estimation of, etc. (Lane). See also 2:275.
The verse mentions another class of Jews who acted hypocritically. When they mixed with Muslims, they chimed in with them from worldly motives, confirming the prophecies contained in their Books about the Holy Prophet. But when they were away from Muslims and mixed with their own people, they behaved in quite a different way. On such occasions other members of the community would reproach them for their enlightening the Muslims on what God had revealed to them, i.e., for letting the Muslims know the prophecies about the Holy Prophet contained in the Jewish scriptures. In that case, they would say, the Muslims would argue with them before God, blaming them before Him on the Day of Judgement for their rejection of the Holy Prophet. And yet they well knew the prophecies which spoke of his advent and bore witness to his truth. That there will be such contentions on the Day of Judgement has also been mentioned elsewhere in the Quran which says: Then surely on the Day of Resurrection you will contend with one another in the presence of your Lord (39:32). It is a weakness of human nature that a culprit, even when knowing that the judge knows the truth, tries to put up pleas in his favour. Moreover, there is a sect among the Jews who, against the teachings of their own scriptures, hold that God does not know the details of all things, and quite possibly those who reproached their brethren for disclosing such prophecies to the Muslims held a similar view and feared lest the latter should place these facts before God on the Day of Resurrection and blame them in the presence of their Lord. (close)
اَ وَ لَا یَعۡلَمُوۡنَ اَنَّ اللّٰہَ یَعۡلَمُ مَا یُسِرُّوۡنَ وَ مَا یُعۡلِنُوۡنَ ﴿۷۸﴾
أَوَلَا يَعۡلَمُونَ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَعۡلَمُ مَا يُسِرُّونَ وَمَا يُعۡلِنُونَ
c. 11:6; 35:39. (close)
a. 11:6; 35:39. (close)
The verse points out that the Jews know that their own scriptures teach that God knows both what is hidden and what is disclosed (Jer. 16:17; Dan. 2:22). So even if they do not disclose their prophecies to the Muslims, God knows the whole truth and He will judge accordingly. (close)
وَ مِنۡہُمۡ اُمِّیُّوۡنَ لَا یَعۡلَمُوۡنَ الۡکِتٰبَ اِلَّاۤ اَمَانِیَّ وَ اِنۡ ہُمۡ اِلَّا یَظُنُّوۡنَ ﴿۷۹﴾
وَمِنۡهُمۡ أُمِّيُّونَ لَا يَعۡلَمُونَ ٱلۡكِتَٰبَ إِلَّآ أَمَانِيَّ وَإِنۡ هُمۡ إِلَّا يَظُنُّونَ
113A. Ummiyyun signifies those who follow no revealed Book. The word is plural of Ummiyy which means, one who cannot read or write. (close)
85. Important Words:
امیون (illiterate persons) is the plural of امی which means, one who can neither write nor read. The word is said to have been derived from ام (mother), for an امی (illiterate person) continues, as it were, the same as when born of his mother (Aqrab). امیalso signifies: (1) one not having a revealed Scripture; (2) one belonging to the Arab nation (Lane).
امانی (false notions) derived from منی is the plural of امنیة meaning: (1) a desire; (2) an object of desire; (3) falsehood; (4) reading or recitation (Aqrab).
There is yet a third class among the Jews who have no knowledge of the Book at all. They have only their own false notions or desires, and, instead of trying to understand the Book and basing their faith on conviction, they depend upon their own whims. Their knowledge is not based on God’s Book. They rather twist the Book according to their own vain desires and false notions. It is a case of the wish being father to the thought. As the word also means, reading or recitation, the verse in this sense would mean that the Jews only know the letter of the Law and have lost all contact with its spirit. They read the Book but do not understand it. (close)
فَوَیۡلٌ لِّلَّذِیۡنَ یَکۡتُبُوۡنَ الۡکِتٰبَ بِاَیۡدِیۡہِمۡ ٭ ثُمَّ یَقُوۡلُوۡنَ ہٰذَا مِنۡ عِنۡدِ اللّٰہِ لِیَشۡتَرُوۡا بِہٖ ثَمَنًا قَلِیۡلًا ؕ فَوَیۡلٌ لَّہُمۡ مِّمَّا کَتَبَتۡ اَیۡدِیۡہِمۡ وَ وَیۡلٌ لَّہُمۡ مِّمَّا یَکۡسِبُوۡنَ ﴿۸۰﴾
فَوَيۡلٞ لِّلَّذِينَ يَكۡتُبُونَ ٱلۡكِتَٰبَ بِأَيۡدِيهِمۡ ثُمَّ يَقُولُونَ هَٰذَا مِنۡ عِندِ ٱللَّهِ لِيَشۡتَرُواْ بِهِۦ ثَمَنٗا قَلِيلٗاۖ فَوَيۡلٞ لَّهُم مِّمَّا كَتَبَتۡ أَيۡدِيهِمۡ وَوَيۡلٞ لَّهُم مِّمَّا يَكۡسِبُونَ
a. 2:175; 3:200. (close)
114. There were Jews who composed books or parts thereof and then gave them out as the Word of God. This malpractice was common among the Jews. In addition, therefore, to the canonical Books of the Bible, there are a number of books which are supposed by the Jews to have been revealed, so that it has now become impossible to distinguish the revealed Books from those not revealed. (close)
a. 2:175; 3:200; 13:27. (close)
86. Important Words:
ویل (woe) means: (1) the coming or befalling of some calamity, misfortune or sorrow; (2) punishment; (3) perdition. The expression ویل له or ویله or ویل لك or ویلك etc. is used as a warning for some coming sorrow or misfortune (Aqrab & Lane).
There were Jews who composed books or parts thereof and then gave them out as the word of God. This malpractice was common among the Jews and other peoples. Therefore, in addition to the canonical Books of the Bible, there are a number of books which are supposed to be revealed, so that it has now become impossible to distinguish the revealed Books from those not revealed. Another mal-practice of the Jews was that they distorted the meaning of the Divine Word. They themselves wrote a whole book or part thereof and declared it to be based on Biblical evidence; while, as a matter of fact, it was opposed to this evidence. Those responsible for this were responsible not only for their own misdeeds, namely, fabricating and distorting the Word of God, but also for the misdeeds of their followers who were led by their example to commit one or all of the following acts (1) tampering with the Word of God (2:76); (2) preferring worldliness to religion (2:77); and (3) following their own vain desires and false notions (2:79). Hence, while speaking of them, the Quran uses the word ویل (woe) in order to warn them and remind them of the seriousness of their offence.
Some Christian writers have argued that the verse under comment proves that the Jewish and Christian scriptures were intact at the time of the Holy Prophet. This inference is absolutely unjustified. For tampering with the text does not necessarily mean tampering with a genuine text. One who tampers with a version of a false book which he believes to be true is as liable to blame as the one who tampers with a genuine scripture. Hence, the warning to the People of the Book against tampering with the Bible cannot be cited as proof of the existence of the true Bible at the time of the Holy Prophet.
The words, paltry price, do not mean that the taking of a good price would be lawful. The words have been used to point out that whatever price they may take would be paltry in view of the great loss they would be suffering thereby. Elsewhere, the Quran says: the benefit of this world is little (4:78).
In the last clause the Quran repeats the words, Woe to them, twice, saying: Woe, then, to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for what they earn. This is to point out that by so doing the Israelites are committing two offences: (1) writing down a thing falsely and (2) doing it with the intention of earning some worldly benefit. As the offence is double, the punishment also will be double. (close)
وَ قَالُوۡا لَنۡ تَمَسَّنَا النَّارُ اِلَّاۤ اَیَّامًا مَّعۡدُوۡدَۃً ؕ قُلۡ اَتَّخَذۡتُمۡ عِنۡدَ اللّٰہِ عَہۡدًا فَلَنۡ یُّخۡلِفَ اللّٰہُ عَہۡدَہٗۤ اَمۡ تَقُوۡلُوۡنَ عَلَی اللّٰہِ مَا لَا تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۸۱﴾
وَقَالُواْ لَن تَمَسَّنَا ٱلنَّارُ إِلَّآ أَيَّامٗا مَّعۡدُودَةٗۚ قُلۡ أَتَّخَذۡتُمۡ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ عَهۡدٗا فَلَن يُخۡلِفَ ٱللَّهُ عَهۡدَهُۥٓۖ أَمۡ تَقُولُونَ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ مَا لَا تَعۡلَمُونَ
b. 3:25. (close)
115. After recounting some malpractices of the Jews, the Qur’an proceeds to explain the root cause of their arrogance and hard-heartedness. These evil practices of the Jews, the Qur’an points out, are due to their wrong notion that they were immune from punishment (Jew. Enc. under 'Gehenna'), or, if they will at all be punished, the punishment will be very slight and of very short duration. At the time of the Holy Prophet, a section of the Jews thought that their punishment would not last more than forty days. Others reduced it to seven days (Jarir, under 2:81). "It is a received opinion among the Jews at present that no person (from among the Jews), be he ever so wicked, or of whatever sect, shall remain in Hell above eleven months or at most a year, except Dathan and Abiram and atheists (from among the Jews) who will be tormented there to all eternity" (Sale). (close)
c. 54:44. (close)
a. 3:25; 5:19. (close)
b. 54:44. (close)
87. Important Words:
النار (the Fire) means fire both as a source of light and of heat, the latter aspect being more dominant. Another word derived from the same root is نور meaning light, which is used without reference to the element of heat. The word النار (the Fire) has come to be used about "Hell", the punishment of which will consist of fire (Aqrab). It is significant that whereas the blessings of Heaven have been metaphorically spoken of as "streams of water", the punishment of Hell has been called "fire".
After recounting some malpractices of the Jews, the Quran proceeds to explain the root cause of their arrogance and hard-heartedness. These evil practices of the Jews, the Quran points out, are due to the wrong notion that they were immune from punishment (Jew. Enc. under Gehenna), or if they will at all be punished, the punishment will be very slight. It is recorded that at the time of the Holy Prophet, a section of the Jews thought that the punishment of the Jews would not last more than forty days (Jarir, under 2:81). Others regarded even this as too long, and reduced it to seven days (Jarir, ibid). As for modern Jews, Sale says: "It is a received opinion among the Jews at present, that no person (from among the Jews), be he ever so wicked, or of whatever sect, shall remain in Hell above eleven months or at most a year, except Dathan and Abiram and atheists (from among the Jews) who will be tormented there to all eternity" (Wherry, i. 318).
The concluding portion of the verse, i.e. have you taken a promise from Allah…? has been added to point out that the matter of salvation does not rest on the wish of a person or people but only on the grace and mercy of Allah Who has prescribed a law for it. This law the Quran proceeds to explain in the following two verses. (close)
بَلٰی مَنۡ کَسَبَ سَیِّئَۃً وَّ اَحَاطَتۡ بِہٖ خَطِیۡٓــَٔتُہٗ فَاُولٰٓئِکَ اَصۡحٰبُ النَّارِ ۚ ہُمۡ فِیۡہَا خٰلِدُوۡنَ ﴿۸۲﴾
بَلَىٰۚ مَن كَسَبَ سَيِّئَةٗ وَأَحَٰطَتۡ بِهِۦ خَطِيٓـَٔتُهُۥ فَأُوْلَـٰٓئِكَ أَصۡحَٰبُ ٱلنَّارِۖ هُمۡ فِيهَا خَٰلِدُونَ
88. Important Words:
سیئة (evil) is derived from ساء meaning, it or he was or became evil or bad. So سیئة means, anything that is evil or bad. The Arabs say قول سیء i.e. an evil word or an evil opinion (Aqrab).
خطیئة (sins) is derived from خطأ meaning, he committed a mistake or an offence or a sin. The word خطیئة, though translated here as plural, is really singular, meaning, a sinful act or an offence, whether intentional or otherwise (Aqrab, Mufradat & Lane).
This and the following verse prescribe the law of punishment and reward, or, in other words, of Hell and Heaven. The Quran here begins with the law pertaining to punishment, because in the preceding verse the Jews claimed immunity from punishment. The Jews based their claim on the fact that they were a chosen people of God, being descended from Prophets. The Quran strongly repudiates this idea, saying, that Hell and Heaven have not been earmarked for any race. The entry of man into Hell or Heaven depends on what beliefs he holds and what actions he performs in this world. If a man holds wrong beliefs and per- forms sinful deeds, he will go to Hell, irrespective of the fact whether he is a Jew or a Christian or anybody else.
In the verse under comment, the word سیئة (evil) read with the context signifies rejection of the Holy Prophet by the Jews, thus referring to the condition as to wrong belief, and the word خطیئة (sin) signifies their general misdeeds, thus referring to the condition as to sinful actions. It must, however, be noted that, as occasional stumbling is generally pardonable with the Merciful God, provided the belief is good and provided further that there is an honest effort on one’s part to live righteously, the words, he is encompassed by his sins, have been used to point to the fact that only such misdeeds can drive one to Hell as are so large in number as to virtually encompass a man, just as an invading army encompasses a besieged force, leaving it no way out.
Coming as it does after a narration of the wrong beliefs and sinful deeds of the Israelites, the verse warns the Jews that with such a black record they should be ashamed to claim immunity from the punishment of Hellfire. (close)
وَ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَ عَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ اُولٰٓئِکَ اَصۡحٰبُ الۡجَنَّۃِ ۚ ہُمۡ فِیۡہَا خٰلِدُوۡنَ ﴿٪۸۳﴾
وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَٰتِ أُوْلَـٰٓئِكَ أَصۡحَٰبُ ٱلۡجَنَّةِۖ هُمۡ فِيهَا خَٰلِدُونَ
89. Important Words:
خالدون (shall abide) signifies a long time but not necessarily time without end. See note on 2:26.
This verse sententiously sets forth the Divine law relating to salvation or the entry into Heaven.
Almost all the religions of the world hold salvation as a monopoly for their adherents and condemn others to everlasting Hell. Islam has raised its powerful voice against such notions, declaring them to be false and baseless. It does not lend the least support to the idea that salvation will come as a free gift to a certain class of men in whose case punishment, if resorted to at all, will only be a nominal one. According to Islam salvation can be attained only by combining true faith with good actions. The condition as to true faith serves as a warning to those people who reject certain Prophets of God andstill hope to attain salvation because they belong to a specified class and are descended from certain holy persons. And the condition of good actions serves as a warning to those who are negligent in deeds, thinking that mere enrolment in the category of believers will bring salvation. Islam would have none of them.
The word خالدون (shall abide) signifies a long, long time but not necessarily eternity. As will be noted, the word has been used in verses 82 and 83 both with regard to the inmates of Hell and of Heaven. This should not give rise to the misunderstanding either that both the punishment of Hell and the reward of Heaven are eternal or that both will come to an end after a long time. The Quran makes it clear elsewhere that though both the punishment of Hell and the reward of Heaven are meant to last long, it is only the reward of Heaven which is everlasting (11:107-109). (close)