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)
وَ اِذۡ اَخَذۡنَا مِیۡثَاقَ بَنِیۡۤ اِسۡرَآءِیۡلَ لَا تَعۡبُدُوۡنَ اِلَّا اللّٰہَ ۟ وَ بِالۡوَالِدَیۡنِ اِحۡسَانًا وَّ ذِی الۡقُرۡبٰی وَ الۡیَتٰمٰی وَ الۡمَسٰکِیۡنِ وَ قُوۡلُوۡا لِلنَّاسِ حُسۡنًا وَّ اَقِیۡمُوا الصَّلٰوۃَ وَ اٰتُوا الزَّکٰوۃَ ؕ ثُمَّ تَوَلَّیۡتُمۡ اِلَّا قَلِیۡلًا مِّنۡکُمۡ وَ اَنۡتُمۡ مُّعۡرِضُوۡنَ ﴿۸۴﴾
وَإِذۡ أَخَذۡنَا مِيثَٰقَ بَنِيٓ إِسۡرَـٰٓءِيلَ لَا تَعۡبُدُونَ إِلَّا ٱللَّهَ وَبِٱلۡوَٰلِدَيۡنِ إِحۡسَانٗا وَذِي ٱلۡقُرۡبَىٰ وَٱلۡيَتَٰمَىٰ وَٱلۡمَسَٰكِينِ وَقُولُواْ لِلنَّاسِ حُسۡنٗا وَأَقِيمُواْ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَءَاتُواْ ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ ثُمَّ تَوَلَّيۡتُمۡ إِلَّا قَلِيلٗا مِّنكُمۡ وَأَنتُم مُّعۡرِضُونَ
a. 4:155; 5:13. (close)
b. 2:44, 111; 4:78; 6:73; 22:79; 24:57; 30:32. (close)
116. The verse does not refer to any particular covenant but to a general covenant enjoining the Jews to give up the vices which were rife among them at that time and to lead a virtuous life (Exod. 20:3-6, 12; Lev. 19:17-18; Prov. 3:27-28, 30; Deut. 6:13 & 14:29). In this verse, as everywhere else in the Qur’an, the sequence of words follows the natural order of importance of the works mentioned. (close)
b. 2:44; 4:78; 6:73; 22:79; 24:57; 30:32. (close)
90. Important Words:
میثاق (a covenant). See 2:64.
After setting forth the attitude of the Israelites of the Holy Prophet’s time towards the Prophets of God and their own Scriptures, the Quran draws their attention to the teachings which they had been required to follow but which they ignored.
The verse under comment does not refer to any particular covenant, but to the vices which were rife among the Jews at the time and which were forbidden them in the Bible. Worship of any object other than God is repeatedly forbidden in the Jewish scriptures (Exod. 20:3-6). Again, kindness to parents is also among the injunctions (Exod. 20:12). Similarly, for the kind treatment of kinsmen, clear injunctions have been given (Lev. 19:17, 18; Exod. 21:9, and Prov. 3:27, 28). For care of orphans, an injunction is to be met with in Deut. 14:29. Sympathy for the poor is enjoined in Deut. 15:11. The injunction to deal gently with mankind is found in Prov. 3:30. The commandment to observe Prayer is given in Deut. 6:13. The injunction for alms-giving may be seen in Exod. 23:10, 11.
The Jews openly disregarded these clear injunctions. They set up equals to God, some believing in Ezra as the son of God, others taking the word of their divines as revelation and setting aside the dictates of the Holy Writ. Their treatment of their own kinsmen and others was cruel. Their attitude towards orphans and the indigent was unsympathetic. They were quite devoid of fellow feeling and were lax in worship and alms-giving. It should, however, be noted that God has not condemned the whole Jewish nation, but has made an exception in the case of the righteous few among them.
In this verse, as everywhere else in the Quran, the sequence of words follows the natural order of importance. The worship of the One God is mentioned first. Then mention is made of mankind, who have been divided into two classes: (1) those who deserve good treatment as a right; (2) those to whom kindness is shown as an act of charity. The first class is mentioned first, because in their case there is a sort of obligation, a debt to be paid. Those who are to be treated kindly out of charity are mentioned afterwards, the degree of need in each case determining the sequence. Last of all, acts of obedience to God are mentioned; and out of them the most important ones pertaining to the purification of the soul and the payment of religious taxes are selected; and these are placed after fellow feeling, because fellow feeling is the first step towards the moral elevation of man, who often feels impelled to it from within without reference to any law.
It is noteworthy that the injunctions that are found scattered in the Bible have been placed together in a most beautiful order in the Quran. (close)
وَ اِذۡ اَخَذۡنَا مِیۡثَاقَکُمۡ لَا تَسۡفِکُوۡنَ دِمَآءَکُمۡ وَ لَا تُخۡرِجُوۡنَ اَنۡفُسَکُمۡ مِّنۡ دِیَارِکُمۡ ثُمَّ اَقۡرَرۡتُمۡ وَ اَنۡتُمۡ تَشۡہَدُوۡنَ ﴿۸۵﴾
وَإِذۡ أَخَذۡنَا مِيثَٰقَكُمۡ لَا تَسۡفِكُونَ دِمَآءَكُمۡ وَلَا تُخۡرِجُونَ أَنفُسَكُم مِّن دِيَٰرِكُمۡ ثُمَّ أَقۡرَرۡتُمۡ وَأَنتُمۡ تَشۡهَدُونَ
117. The reference may be to the covenant between the Holy Prophet and the Jews of Medina by which both sides undertook to help each other against a common enemy and all disputes were to be referred to the Holy Prophet for decision (Muir’s 'Life of Mahomet' & 'Sirat' by Mirza Bashir Ahmad, M.A.). (close)
91. See under 2:87. (close)