قُلۡ اِنۡ کَانَتۡ لَکُمُ الدَّارُ الۡاٰخِرَۃُ عِنۡدَ اللّٰہِ خَالِصَۃً مِّنۡ دُوۡنِ النَّاسِ فَتَمَنَّوُا الۡمَوۡتَ اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ صٰدِقِیۡنَ ﴿۹۵﴾
قُلۡ إِن كَانَتۡ لَكُمُ ٱلدَّارُ ٱلۡأٓخِرَةُ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ خَالِصَةٗ مِّن دُونِ ٱلنَّاسِ فَتَمَنَّوُاْ ٱلۡمَوۡتَ إِن كُنتُمۡ صَٰدِقِينَ
c. 2:112; 62:7. (close)
122A. The meaning is that if the Jews are convinced that they are justified in their claim that God will bestow His favours upon them alone, and that the Holy Prophet’s claim is false, then they should invoke death and destruction upon the liar. (close)
a. 2:112; 62:7. (close)
See under 2:96 below. (close)
وَ لَنۡ یَّتَمَنَّوۡہُ اَبَدًۢا بِمَا قَدَّمَتۡ اَیۡدِیۡہِمۡ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ عَلِیۡمٌۢ بِالظّٰلِمِیۡنَ ﴿۹۶﴾
وَلَن يَتَمَنَّوۡهُ أَبَدَۢا بِمَا قَدَّمَتۡ أَيۡدِيهِمۡۚ وَٱللَّهُ عَلِيمُۢ بِٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ
a. 62:8. (close)
b. 62:8. (close)
In verses 95 and 96 Jews are invited to join with Muslims in what is termed a مباھلة or prayer contest. They are called upon to pray to God in the company of Muslims for the death or destruction of the party with which God is displeased on account of its espousal of the cause of falsehood. If Jews are really the favourites of God and Muslims are under His wrath, the latter, as a result of the prayer contest, will surely meet with ruin, and thus it will become clear which of the two parties is on the side of truth. The only evidence which in this world can prove the truth of any of the conflicting claims regarding the next life made by the different religious systems is that the promises held out about the next life should in part at least begin to fulfil themselves in this very life. If, in such a prayer contest as the above, God were to show His favour to the Jews, it would furnish a clear proof that His favours would accompany them also in the next life.
The Quran adds that Jews will never venture to accept the challenge, for they are well aware of their actions and the motives that guide them.
For a fuller description of the institution of Mubahalah or prayer contest see under 3:62. (close)
وَ لَتَجِدَنَّہُمۡ اَحۡرَصَ النَّاسِ عَلٰی حَیٰوۃٍ ۚۛ وَ مِنَ الَّذِیۡنَ اَشۡرَکُوۡا ۚۛ یَوَدُّ اَحَدُہُمۡ لَوۡ یُعَمَّرُ اَلۡفَ سَنَۃٍ ۚ وَ مَا ہُوَ بِمُزَحۡزِحِہٖ مِنَ الۡعَذَابِ اَنۡ یُّعَمَّرَ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ بَصِیۡرٌۢ بِمَا یَعۡمَلُوۡنَ ﴿٪۹۷﴾
وَلَتَجِدَنَّهُمۡ أَحۡرَصَ ٱلنَّاسِ عَلَىٰ حَيَوٰةٖ وَمِنَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَشۡرَكُواْۚ يَوَدُّ أَحَدُهُمۡ لَوۡ يُعَمَّرُ أَلۡفَ سَنَةٖ وَمَا هُوَ بِمُزَحۡزِحِهِۦ مِنَ ٱلۡعَذَابِ أَن يُعَمَّرَۗ وَٱللَّهُ بَصِيرُۢ بِمَا يَعۡمَلُونَ
122B. The pagans were less cringingly attached to the present life than the Jews because unlike the Jews they did not believe in the life after death and therefore had no fear of punishment after death. (close)
b. 62:9. (close)
a. 62:9. (close)
The reason why Jews were more attached to the world than pagans is that the latter did not believe in any retribution after death and, therefore, though they loved this world as the only place for enjoying honour and happiness and entertained no hope about the next, yet with no fear of punishment after death, they were less cringingly attached to the present life than the Jews, who believed in Resurrection after death and feared in their hearts that their actions would make them liable to punishment before God. (close)
قُلۡ مَنۡ کَانَ عَدُوًّا لِّجِبۡرِیۡلَ فَاِنَّہٗ نَزَّلَہٗ عَلٰی قَلۡبِکَ بِاِذۡنِ اللّٰہِ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَیۡنَ یَدَیۡہِ وَ ہُدًی وَّ بُشۡرٰی لِلۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ ﴿۹۸﴾
قُلۡ مَن كَانَ عَدُوّٗا لِّـجِبۡرِيلَ فَإِنَّهُۥ نَزَّلَهُۥ عَلَىٰ قَلۡبِكَ بِإِذۡنِ ٱللَّهِ مُصَدِّقٗا لِّمَا بَيۡنَ يَدَيۡهِ وَهُدٗى وَبُشۡرَىٰ لِلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ
123. Jibril is a compound word, made up of Jabr and Il, and means—a brave man of God, or a servant of God. Jabr in Hebrew is Geber which means, 'a servant, and Il means the Mighty; the Powerful' (Hebrew English-Lexicon by William Geseneus; Bukhari, chap. on Tafsir; and Aqrab). According to Ibn-e-‘Abbas the other name of Jibril is ‘Abdullah (Jarir). Gabriel being the chief among the angels (Manthur) was the bearer of the Quranic Revelation. See also The Larger Edition of the Commentary. According to Commentators of the Holy Qur’an Jibril is synonymous with Ruhul-Qudus and Ruhul-Amin. According to the Bible also the function of Gabriel is to convey Messages of God to His servants (Dan. 8:16; 9:21 & Luke 1:19). The Qur’an, as the present verse points out, assigns the same function to Gabriel. But in some later Jewish writings he is described as "the angel of fire and thunder" (Enc. Bib. under Gabriel). In the Holy Prophet’s time the Jews looked upon Gabriel as their enemy and as an angel of wars, calamities and hardships (Jarir & Musnad). (close)
a. 26:194-195. (close)
b. See 2:90. (close)
b. 26:194, 195. (close)
c. See 2:90. (close)
104. Important Words:
جبریل (Gabriel) is a compound word made up of جبر (גבך) which in Hebrew means a man or a mighty man or a hero, and ایل (א ל) which means God (Hebrew-English Lexicon by William Geseneus, Boston, 1836. Also see Bukhari, chap. onTafsir). The latter word occurs in many combinations (e.g. in the word Ishmael in Gen. 16:11 which means "God heareth" or "God has heard"). In Arabic, which is the mother of Hebrew, the word جبر means, mending a broken thing; giving a poor man so liberally as to make him well off; a brave man. The word ایل is either derived from the Arabic word الله (God) or from the root آل, the active participle from which is آئل meaning Controller or Ruler, i.e. God (Aqrab). Ibn ‘Abbas relates that the other name of جبریل is عبدالله i.e. the servant of God (Jarir), which is simply another rendering of the word جبریل. Thus the angel جبریل (Gabriel) is so called because he is the servant of God; he is the strong and brave servant of God; he looks after the repairing or reformation of the universe, he bestows God’s bounties on mankind and is a liberal giver.
In Islam جبریل has been described as the chief among the angels (Manthur) and was therefore selected by God to be the bearer of the Quranic message, the best and the last شریعة (Law) to descend from Heaven. Many commentators consider that جبریل (Gabriel) is synonymous with روح القدس (the Spirit of Holiness) spoken of in the Quran and the Hadith. Similarly, Gabriel has been spoken of as روح الامین (the Trusty Spirit) in the Quran (26:194).
The Jews had been invited to believe in the Quran, but they refused to accept it (v. 92 above) on the ground that it was said to have been brought by Gabriel while, according to them, the bearer of Divine Revelation was Michael, and not Gabriel (Musnad). The function of Gabriel, as we learn from the Bible, is to convey the messages of God to His servants (Dan. 8:16; 9:21; and Luke 1:19, 26. It is strange that Gabriel is mentioned in the Old Testament for the first time in Daniel and not earlier). The Quran, as the verse under comment points out, assigns the same function to Gabriel. But in some later writings of the Jews, he is described as "the angel of fire and thunder" (Enc. Bib. under Gabriel).
Such was the idea of the Jews in the days of the Holy Prophet. They looked upon Gabriel as an angel of wars, calamities and hardships (Jarir under 2:98). Muslim historians tell us that this idea had such a firm hold on the minds of the Jews that when they were told that the bearer of the Quranic revelation was Gabriel, they said: جبریل ذالك الذی ینزل بالحرب والقتال والعذاب- عدونا i.e. "Gabriel is the angel who is associated with war and bloodshed and punishment. He is our enemy." By saying this, they meant that they would not believe in a revelation brought by Gabriel (Musnad). The reason why the Jews bore enmity to Gabriel seems to be that they had fallen on evil days and as, according to them, Gabriel was the angel of war and punishment, therefore they ascribed their misfortunes to him. There is no doubt that the Talmudic traditions and the Targums were the origin of this notion which gained such a firm footing among Jews; otherwise originally the Bible declares Gabriel to be the angel of good tidings and of the Divine Word. It is evident that with the lapse of time legends and myths grew round the original truth, which was subsequently lost; and the Jews clung fast to their erroneous belief, which stood in the way of their accepting the Quran or, for that matter, any revelation coming through the agency of Gabriel.
The Quran has, in the verse under comment, brought forward four arguments in refutation of the Jewish plea for rejecting the Quran:
Firstly, that no angel can bring down any revelation unless he receives direct command from God. Hence the angel who brings the revelation, whether he is Gabriel or Michael or any other, is only a vehicle for the Divine Word; and even if Jewish tradition associates an angel with calamities, it cannot call into question the authority from which his message originates.
Secondly, that the revelation sent down to the Prophet of Islam is مصدق (in fulfilment) of the previous Books and in it all the prophecies about the promised Lawgiver contained in the earlier Scriptures find their fulfilment, which is a clear proof of its Divine origin.
Thirdly, that when it is practically established that the teachings of the Quran are a guidance for mankind, its acceptance becomes binding upon all right thinking men.
Fourthly, that the Quran contains teachings which, besides being right, are also بشری (bearers of glad tidings) to its followers and harbingers of God’s mercy and favours. Such revelation should not be rejected simply for the reason that it has been brought down by Gabriel. (close)
مَنۡ کَانَ عَدُوًّا لِّلّٰہِ وَ مَلٰٓئِکَتِہٖ وَ رُسُلِہٖ وَ جِبۡرِیۡلَ وَ مِیۡکٰٮلَ فَاِنَّ اللّٰہَ عَدُوٌّ لِّلۡکٰفِرِیۡنَ ﴿۹۹﴾
مَن كَانَ عَدُوّٗا لِّلَّهِ وَمَلَـٰٓئِكَتِهِۦ وَرُسُلِهِۦ وَجِبۡرِيلَ وَمِيكَىٰلَ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَدُوّٞ لِّلۡكَٰفِرِينَ
c. 58:6. (close)
124. Mikal is also one of the chief angels. The word is considered as being a combination of Mik and Il which means, who is like God (Jew. Enc. & Bukhari.) i.e. there is none like God. The Jews looked upon Michael as their favourite angel (Jew. Enc.) and as the angle of peace and plenty, rain and herbage (Kathir) and is considered to be associated chiefly with the work of sustaining the world. (close)
125. Angels constitute an important link in the spiritual chain and he, who breaks even one link of the spiritual chain or manifests against any single unit of the spiritual system, in fact, severs his connection with the whole system. Such a one deprives himself of the favours and blessings which are bestowed upon the true servants of God and renders himself deserving of the punishment decreed for transgressors. (close)
a. 58:6. (close)
105. Important Words:
میکال (Michael) is the name of another angel who, like Gabriel, is also one of the chief angels. The word has been described, as being a combination of words, i.e. می کائیل or من کائیل which means, who as God? or who is like God? (Geseneus & Jew. Enc.); i.e. there is none like God, the angel Michael having been given this name owing to his being assigned the duty of establishing God’s Unity and Oneness in the universe. The Jews looked upon Michael as their favourite angel (Jew. Enc., also Jarir, under verse 2:98, 99). He was the guardian angel of the Israelites (Enc. Brit. under Michael). In Islam Gabriel is believed to be superior to Michael in rank, for whereas Gabriel is known as عبدالله Michael has been given the name عبیدالله, the word عبید being diminutive of the word عبد (Jarir, i. 329). In the days of the Holy Prophet, the Jews looked upon Gabriel as the angel of wars, calamities and hardships, whereas they looked upon Michael as the angel of peace and plenty and rain and herbage (Jarir & Kathir).
As an insult to a king’s agent implies insult to the king himself, so those who say unworthy things about any of the angels really find fault with God. The Quran, therefore, declares that the words of the Jews referred to in the preceding verse imply irreverence to God and opposition to His will, such as only an enemy of God could show. Angels constitute an important link in the spiritual chain and he who breaks even one link of the spiritual chain or manifests ill-will against any single unit of the spiritual system, in fact severs his connection with the whole system. Such a man deprives himself of the favours and blessings which are bestowed upon the true servants of God and renders himself deserving of the punishment fixed for transgressors.
In this verse a general mention of God, the angels and the Prophets is followed by a specific mention of Gabriel and Michael. The reason is not far to seek. The Jews regarded Gabriel as their enemy. It is therefore particularly pointed out that enmity with Gabriel merits divinepunishment. The name of Michael is also mentioned along with Gabriel’s so that no Muslim might take it into his head to retort to Jewish hatred of Gabriel by speaking ill of Michael, the favourite angel of the Jews. (close)
وَ لَقَدۡ اَنۡزَلۡنَاۤ اِلَیۡکَ اٰیٰتٍۭ بَیِّنٰتٍ ۚ وَ مَا یَکۡفُرُ بِہَاۤ اِلَّا الۡفٰسِقُوۡنَ ﴿۱۰۰﴾
وَلَقَدۡ أَنزَلۡنَآ إِلَيۡكَ ءَايَٰتِۭ بَيِّنَٰتٖۖ وَمَا يَكۡفُرُ بِهَآ إِلَّا ٱلۡفَٰسِقُونَ
The verse purports to say that the denial of the Holy Prophet by the Jews, and for that matter by all other disbelievers, is quite unreasonable because his claim is based on convincing arguments and manifest Signs. The verse gives the lie to those who have the effrontery to assert that, according to the Quran, the Prophet of Islam showed no Signs. The greatest of the Signs shown by the Holy Prophet is the matchlessness of the Quran itself.
The word الفاسقون (the disobedient) occurring at the end of this verse means "those who first take upon themselves to observe what the Law orders and acknowledge its authority and then go against it" (Lane). This is a true picture of the Jews who rejected the Holy Prophet in spite of the fact that his coming had been foretold in their own Scriptures. (close)
اَوَ کُلَّمَا عٰہَدُوۡا عَہۡدًا نَّبَذَہٗ فَرِیۡقٌ مِّنۡہُمۡ ؕ بَلۡ اَکۡثَرُہُمۡ لَا یُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ ﴿۱۰۱﴾
أَوَكُلَّمَا عَٰهَدُواْ عَهۡدٗا نَّبَذَهُۥ فَرِيقٞ مِّنۡهُمۚ بَلۡ أَكۡثَرُهُمۡ لَا يُؤۡمِنُونَ
d. 3:188. (close)
a. 3:188. (close)
See under next verse. (close)
وَ لَمَّا جَآءَہُمۡ رَسُوۡلٌ مِّنۡ عِنۡدِ اللّٰہِ مُصَدِّقٌ لِّمَا مَعَہُمۡ نَبَذَ فَرِیۡقٌ مِّنَ الَّذِیۡنَ اُوۡتُوا الۡکِتٰبَ ٭ۙ کِتٰبَ اللّٰہِ وَرَآءَ ظُہُوۡرِہِمۡ کَاَنَّہُمۡ لَا یَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۱۰۲﴾۫
وَلَمَّا جَآءَهُمۡ رَسُولٞ مِّنۡ عِندِ ٱللَّهِ مُصَدِّقٞ لِّمَا مَعَهُمۡ نَبَذَ فَرِيقٞ مِّنَ ٱلَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ ٱلۡكِتَٰبَ كِتَٰبَ ٱللَّهِ وَرَآءَ ظُهُورِهِمۡ كَأَنَّهُمۡ لَا يَعۡلَمُونَ
a. See 2:90. (close)
b. 3:188. (close)
c. 3:188. (close)
As pointed out in the preceding verse, the Jews had pledged themselves to their own Prophets that they would accept the Prophet who was to appear from among their brethren, the Ishmaelites, in fulfilment of the prophecies mentioned in the Bible. But although all the signs mentioned in the prophecies concerning the promised Prophet had been fulfilled in the person of the Holy Prophet, yet they persisted in their denial and thus broke their promise and belied their own Scriptures.
The word مصدق has been construed to mean: (1) that the Quran declares the Bible to be true, and (2) that the Quran fulfils the prophecies contained in the Bible. The latter meaning only is applicable here. For here the People of the Book are spoken of as casting the Book of God (the Torah) behind their backs as a result of the fulfilment of its prophecies in the Quran. This cannot be the case, if we follow the first meaning ascribed to the word; for if the Quran declared the Bible to be true, this could not be the cause of the Jews casting their own Book behind their backs. Evidently, the correct meaning is that in spite of the fact that the Quran fulfils the prophecies contained in the Bible, the Jews reject it, and thereby cast their own Book behind their backs. (close)
وَ اتَّبَعُوۡا مَا تَتۡلُوا الشَّیٰطِیۡنُ عَلٰی مُلۡکِ سُلَیۡمٰنَ ۚ وَ مَا کَفَرَ سُلَیۡمٰنُ وَ لٰکِنَّ الشَّیٰطِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا یُعَلِّمُوۡنَ النَّاسَ السِّحۡرَ ٭ وَ مَاۤ اُنۡزِلَ عَلَی الۡمَلَکَیۡنِ بِبَابِلَ ہَارُوۡتَ وَ مَارُوۡتَ ؕ وَ مَا یُعَلِّمٰنِ مِنۡ اَحَدٍ حَتّٰی یَقُوۡلَاۤ اِنَّمَا نَحۡنُ فِتۡنَۃٌ فَلَا تَکۡفُرۡ ؕ فَیَتَعَلَّمُوۡنَ مِنۡہُمَا مَا یُفَرِّقُوۡنَ بِہٖ بَیۡنَ الۡمَرۡءِ وَ زَوۡجِہٖ ؕ وَ مَا ہُمۡ بِضَآرِّیۡنَ بِہٖ مِنۡ اَحَدٍ اِلَّا بِاِذۡنِ اللّٰہِ ؕ وَ یَتَعَلَّمُوۡنَ مَا یَضُرُّہُمۡ وَ لَا یَنۡفَعُہُمۡ ؕ وَ لَقَدۡ عَلِمُوۡا لَمَنِ اشۡتَرٰٮہُ مَا لَہٗ فِی الۡاٰخِرَۃِ مِنۡ خَلَاقٍ ۟ؕ وَ لَبِئۡسَ مَا شَرَوۡا بِہٖۤ اَنۡفُسَہُمۡ ؕ لَوۡ کَانُوۡا یَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۱۰۳﴾
وَٱتَّبَعُواْ مَا تَتۡلُواْ ٱلشَّيَٰطِينُ عَلَىٰ مُلۡكِ سُلَيۡمَٰنَۖ وَمَا كَفَرَ سُلَيۡمَٰنُ وَلَٰكِنَّ ٱلشَّيَٰطِينَ كَفَرُواْ يُعَلِّمُونَ ٱلنَّاسَ ٱلسِّحۡرَ وَمَآ أُنزِلَ عَلَى ٱلۡمَلَكَيۡنِ بِبَابِلَ هَٰرُوتَ وَمَٰرُوتَۚ وَمَا يُعَلِّمَانِ مِنۡ أَحَدٍ حَتَّىٰ يَقُولَآ إِنَّمَا نَحۡنُ فِتۡنَةٞ فَلَا تَكۡفُرۡۖ فَيَتَعَلَّمُونَ مِنۡهُمَا مَا يُفَرِّقُونَ بِهِۦ بَيۡنَ ٱلۡمَرۡءِ وَزَوۡجِهِۦۚ وَمَا هُم بِضَآرِّينَ بِهِۦ مِنۡ أَحَدٍ إِلَّا بِإِذۡنِ ٱللَّهِۚ وَيَتَعَلَّمُونَ مَا يَضُرُّهُمۡ وَلَا يَنفَعُهُمۡۚ وَلَقَدۡ عَلِمُواْ لَمَنِ ٱشۡتَرَىٰهُ مَا لَهُۥ فِي ٱلۡأٓخِرَةِ مِنۡ خَلَٰقٖۚ وَلَبِئۡسَ مَا شَرَوۡاْ بِهِۦٓ أَنفُسَهُمۡۚ لَوۡ كَانُواْ يَعۡلَمُونَ
126. Talautu-hu means, I followed him (Lane). (close)
127. ‘Ala gives the sense of fi, i.e. "in" or "during" and "against" (Mughni). The particle is also used in the Qur’an in the sense of "in conformity with" (2:113); assigning a cause (2:186); in the sense of fi (28:16) and min (83:3). Tala ‘Alaihi also means, he lied against him (Taj, Muhit & Razi). (close)
128. Sihr means, a crafty device; mischief; enchantment; producing what is false in the form of truth; any event of which the cause is hidden and which is imagined to be different from what it really is (Lane). Thus every falsehood, deceit or crafty device which is meant to hide the real object from public view is included in Sihr. (close)
129. The word "two angels" here signifies two holy men (12:32), because the two angels are here mentioned as teaching something to the people and angels do not live among men and do not have free intercourse with them (17:95; 21:8). (close)
130. Harut and Marut are both descriptive names, the former being derived from Harata, (i.e. he tore up—Aqrab) means, one who tears up; and the latter derived from Marata, (i.e. he broke) means, one who breaks. These names signify that the object of the appearance of these holy men was to 'tear asunder' and 'break' the glory and power of the empire of the enemies of the Israelites. These holy men told the new members, at the time of initiation, that they were a sort of trial from God, serving to differentiate between the good and the bad. They confined the membership of their society to the males only. The verse signifies that the Jews in the time of the Holy Prophet indulged in the same mischievous devices and practices which characterized their forefathers in the days of Solomon. It further says that the mischief-mongers in Solomon’s time were those rebellious men who called him a disbeliever. The verse clears Solomon of the accusation of disbelief. It adds that the mischief-mongers in Solomon’s time taught their associates such signs as conveyed to them meanings quite different from those generally understood, for the purpose of deceiving people and concealing their real designs. The verse alludes to those secret plots which the enemies of Solomon hatched against him and by which they sought to break up his Empire. It is implied that the Medinite Jews are now resorting to the selfsame vile tactics against the Holy Prophet but they will never succeed in their evil designs. (close)
130A. When the Jews saw that the power of Islam was steadily expanding and opposition to it in Arabia had completely broken down and they could not arrest or retard its progress, they began to excite outsiders against it. Oppressed and persecuted by Christian rulers they had taken refuge in Persia and had shifted their religious centre from Judah to Babylonia (Hutchinson’s History of the Nations, p. 550). Gradually, they came to exercise great influence at the court of the Persian Monarchs and began to hatch plots against Islam. When Chosroes II received a letter from the Holy Prophet inviting him to accept Islam, they succeeded in instigating him to issue orders to Badhan, the Governor of Yemen, which was then a province of Persia, to arrest and send the Holy Prophet in chains to the Persian court. It is to these plots and machinations of the Jews in the Prophet’s time that the verse alludes. Their attention is invited to the fact that their forefathers had also hatched plots first against Solomon when some members of their community set up against him societies in which secret signs and symbols were taught (1 Kings, 11:29-32; 1 Kings, 11:14, 23, 26; II Chron. 10:2-4). The second occasion when they resorted to secret societies was during their captivity in Babylon in the time of King Nebuchadnezzar. The holy men referred to in the verse were Haggai, the Prophet, and Zechariah, the son of Iddo (Ezra, 5:1). These holy men confined membership of their society to males and told the new members at the time of initiation that they were a sort of trial from God and that the Israelites should not, therefore, refuse to believe what they said. When Cyrus, King of Media and Persia, rose to power, the Israelites entered into a secret agreement with him which greatly facilitated his conquest of Babylon. In return for this service Cyrus not only allowed them to return to Jerusalem but also helped them in rebuilding the Temple of Solomon (Historians’ History of the World, ii. 126). The verse hints that the efforts of the Jews on two previous occasions had met with different results. On the first occasion their conspiracy being directed against Solomon, had ended in the total loss of their prestige and finally in their banishment to Babylon. On the second occasion, they took a similar course under two inspired personages and were successful. Hence, in order to indicate whether the efforts of the Jews against the Holy Prophet would meet with failure, as they did in the days of Solomon, or with success as in Babylon, the Qur’an says, the opponents of the Holy Prophet are learning that which would harm them and do them no good, hinting that they will not be successful as their forefathers were in Babylon. (close)
109. Important Words:
تتلوا (followed). See 2:114
شیاطین (rebellious men). See 2:15.
علی (during) gives the sense of فی i.e. "in" or "during" (Aqrab & Mughni). It is also used to denote a hostile sense meaning "against", as one says خرج علیه i.e. he rebelled against him, or he went out against him with an army intending to fight (Wright). In this sense the phrase علی ملك سلیمان would mean, against the government of Solomon, or conspiring against his government.
سحر (falsehood and deception). In verbal senses سحرہ means, he deceived him; he coaxed him and involved him in trouble and deprived him of his understanding; he enchanted him. سحرالفضة means, he coated a piece of silver so as to make it look like gold. The noun سحر means, anything the source of which is not quite visible; showing off falsehood in the form of truth; a crafty device; craftiness; mischief; enchantment (Aqrab). It also means, producing what is false in the form of truth; any event of which the cause is hidden and which is imagined to be different from what it really is; embellishment by falsification and deceit (Lane). Thus every falsehood, deceit or crafty device which is meant to hide the real object from public view is included in the meaning of سحر.
ملكین (two angels) is the dual number from ملك (angel) for which see 2:31. Figuratively ملك is sometimes used to denote a handsome or holy person, as the Quran says, He (Joseph) is but a gracious angel, i.e. a handsome and pious youth (12:32). As in the verse under comment, the two angels are described as teaching something to the people, therefore the word cannot be taken in its literal significance, because angels do not live among men and do not generally have free intercourse with them (17:95, 96; 21:8). Thus in the present verse ملکین would not mean "two angels" in the literal sense of the word but "two holy men".
ھاروت (Harut) and ماروت (Marut) are both descriptive names. ھاروت is derived from ھرت which means, he tore up (Aqrab); hence ھاروت means, one who tears; the tearer. ماروت is derived from مرت which means, he broke (Aqrab & Lane). Thus ماروت means, one who breaks; the breaker. These names signify that the object of the appearance of these holy men was to 'tear' asunder and 'break' the glory and power of certain people.
فتنة (trial) means, the trial or means whereby the condition of a man may be demonstrated in respect of good or evil (Lane). They say فتن الصائغ الذھب i.e. the goldsmith melted the gold in the crucible so that its purity or impurity might be ascertained (Aqrab).
Many a legend unwarranted by the Quran and the Hadith—and even running contrary to them—clusters round this verse. It would be quite unreasonable to interpret it on the basis of those myths. For their true interpretation no external evidence is needed, the words being self-explanatory. It is clear from the verse itself that Jews in the time of the Holy Prophet were bent upon the same mischief which characterized them in the days of Solomon and during the days of their captivity in Babylon. The verse further indicates that the mischief-mongers of Solomon’s time were those "rebellious men" who called him an unbeliever. God says that those wicked men themselves, and not Solomon, lacked belief. Again, the verse tells us that these men taught their associates such signs as conveyed to them meanings quite different from those generally accepted, for the purpose of deceiving other people and concealing their own activities. All this leads to the conclusion that this verse alludes to those secret plots which the enemies of Solomon made against him, and by which they wished to break his empire. It is pointed out that now, in the time of the Holy Prophet, these people are resorting to the selfsame tactics, but that they will fail.
As the verse refers to a number of historical events, it is advisable to relate them here at some length.
When Jews saw that the power of Islam was steadily expanding and that no opposition from the Arabs had been able to arrest the progress of Muslims, they began to excite outsiders against them. At that time there were two large empires in the neighbourhood of Arabia: (1) The Byzantine or Eastern Roman Empire; and (2) The Persian Empire. As Jews were already at enmity with the Roman Government, because they were in constant trouble under it, so it was only the Persian Government to which they could look for support. Harassed by the oppression of Christian rulers, they had taken refuge in Persia, where they enjoyed a good deal of religious freedom, and their religious centre shifted from Judah and Jerusalem to Babylonia (Hutchinson’s History of the Nations, p.550). In the seventh century of the Christian era, i.e., during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet, Jews suffered exceptionally cruel persecution at the hands of the Christian Emperors of the Eastern Roman Empire. "Both Phocas and Heraclius", says the Historians’ History of the World (vol. 7, p. 175), "attempted to exterminate the Jewish religion, and if possible to put an end to their national existence. Heraclius not only practised every species of cruelty himself to effect this object within the bounds of his own dominions, but he even made the forced conversion or banishment of the Jews a prominent feature in his diplomacy." So, in the time of the Holy Prophet the only government to which the Jews could look for help was that of Persia, where their co-religionists enjoyed much influence, especially in the reign of Chosroes II (Jew. Enc., ix. 648).
Consequently, when the Jews saw that their efforts to check the progress of Islam had totally failed, they took to exciting the Persian Court against the Holy Prophet by various means; and as a result, Chosroes II issued orders to the Governor of Yemen to send to him the Arabian claimant as a captive. But when the envoys of the Governor came to the Holy Prophet, he asked them to see him the next day, when he told them that God had informed him that He had their king murdered. Thereupon they returned and related this incident to the Governor. A few days later, the Governor received a letter from Siroes, the son of Chosroes II, to the effect that he had killed his father on account of the latter’s tyranny and that the Governor should, on his behalf, renew the oath of allegiance from all the Chiefs of Yemen; and that the order of his father regarding an Arab should be considered as cancelled (Tabari, iii. 1573-1574).
Some historians, including Tabari himself, hold that it was the letter of the Holy Prophet to the king of Persia inviting him to Islam that was the occasion of his orders for the apprehension of the Holy Prophet. But on comparison of the dates of the above-mentioned events, this turns out to be a mistaken view. For, as we read in Zurqani (ii. 211-212), the letter in question was despatched from Medina on the first of Muharram, 7 A.H.–a date corresponding to 12th April, 628 A.D. (Lane under ھجرة); whereas Chosroes II, who sent orders for the arrest of the Holy Prophet, had been assassinated on the 29th of February, 628 A.D. (Historians’ History of the World, viii. 95). Thus the view that the letter of the Holy Prophet was the cause of Chosroes’ orders is quite untenable; and the only possible cause of Chosroes’ ignominious orders was that his ears had been poisoned by malicious reports, a fact admitted by Sir William Muir (The Life of Mahomet, p. 370). It is to these efforts of the Jews that the Quran alludes in the verse under comment.
The verse also points out that it was foolish on the part of the Jews to suppose that they would succeed in that way. Their attention is invited to the fact that they had already been responsible for two secret plots. The first was against Solomon, when some members of their community turned rebels, hatched plots and stirred up bitter feeling against him by calling him an infidel; whereas the infidels were those who opposed him, hurled imputations at him, and set up against him secret societies in which secret signs and symbols were taught. The Jews, however, themselves reaped the ill-reward of their sinister schemes: their power, as a consequence, fell into decay, and at last they became so powerless that they were driven into exile towards Babylon. This account of Jewish secret societies and conspiracies and treacherous signs and symbols, as alluded to in this verse, finds corroboration in the Bible (1 Kings 11:1-6), where we read that the charge of idol-worship was spread against Solomon. An account of his enemies is found in I Kings 11:14, 23, 26, and a reference to secret plots is met with in II Chron. 10:2-4 where we learn that the Jews had sent for Jeroboam, a bitter enemy of Solomon, immediately after his death and had attempted to make Solomon’s son agree to some demands of theirs, involving certain imputations against Solomon, before his accession to the throne. We learn about the secret signs from I Kings 11:29-32, in which the ten tribes of the Israelites are likened to ten pieces of a garment, and Jeroboam is told that these ten tribes were on his side against Solomon; and so it proved to be, for on the death of Solomon, these ten tribes made Jeroboam their king (I Kings 12:20). Again, the reference of the Quran to the infidelity of Solomon’s enemies finds corroboration in II Chron. 11:15, from which we learn that his enemies, who falsely charged him with unbelief, themselves fell into idol-worship when they rose to power.
Besides the testimony of the Bible, there is other evidence to show that in the days of Solomon a secret society was at work against him. An old tradition, current among medieval Freemasons, indicates that Solomon was envious of the superior intelligence of Hiram, the chief architect who built the Temple at Jerusalem. He is said to have attempted to kill the great Mason by having him thrown into a tank of molten brass, but he was saved by the spirit of his ancestor, Cain, who prophesied that at last his people would get the better of their enemy. Solomon, however, as the tradition goes, had him afterwards put to death. It is said of him that he had fixed certain secret signs which were a sort of mystery known only to him and his associates (Secret Societies of the World, Volume II, pp. 1-8; as the original book could not be obtained, the reference is to an Urdu translation). We further learn from this book that before the period of the Accepted Masons, the same signs used in all the Lodges were current among the Masons of Solomon’s time (p. 11) and that at the time of initiation, the Hiram incident was related to the new member (pp. 29, 30). However incredible the story as a whole may be, it points at least to the conclusion that in one way or other, secret societies were associated with Solomon’s reign and were much in vogue in his time.
The second occasion when, according to the Quran, the Israelites had resort to secret societies was during their captivity in Babylon. But this time they were not acting against any Prophet but were, on the other hand, working under the leadership of two inspired personages, who were, in obedience to divine command, trying to bring about the deliverance of the Israelites. Their mission was to "tear asunder" and "break down" the empire of the enemies of the Israelites. These holy men told new members, at the time of initiation, that they were a sort of trial from God, serving to differentiate between the good and the bad, and that the Israelites should not therefore refuse to believe what they said, because this would lead them to infidelity. In their teachings they drew a distinction between males and females, confining membership to males only (this is an old practice found among most secret societies). It is also stated that the disciples of these holy men directed their activities against only those for whose chastisement they were commissioned by God.
In this narration, the Quran refers to the days when King Nebuchadnezzar brought the Jews as captives into Babylon and kept them there for a long time. The holy men referred to in the verse under comment were Haggai, the Prophet, and Zechariah, the son of Iddo (Ezra 5:1). When Cyrus, King of Media and Persia, rose to power, the Israelites entered into a secret agreement with him and greatly facilitated his conquest of Babylon. In return for this service, he not only allowed them to return to their own country but also helped in the rebuilding of the Temple (Historians’ History of the World, ii. 126).
After stating that the Jews of the Holy Prophet’s time were following the same course which was adopted by the rebels of Solomon’s days and which was later adopted by the Jews under two holy men in Babylon, it was necessary here to state the ultimate upshot of their efforts against the Holy Prophet, because on the two previous occasion’s their efforts had met with different results. On the first occasion the conspiracy of the Israelites, being directed against a Prophet of God, had ended in the total loss of their prestige and finally in their banishment to Babylon. On the second occasion, they took a similar course under two inspired personages and were successful. Hence, in order to indicate whether the efforts of the Jews against the Holy Prophet would meet with failure, as they did in the days of Solomon, or with success as in Babylon, the Quran says: these people are learning that which would harm them and do them no good; hinting that they will not be successful as in Babylon. Accordingly, the consequence of their hostile efforts against the Holy Prophet was that Chosroes, their only supporter, met his death at the hands of his son, and they themselves were exiled from Arabia in the time of ‘Umar. In the concluding portion of the verse, God adds: And they have certainly known that he who trafficks therein has no share of good in the Hereafter, meaning that a mischievous plotter never succeeds ultimately. The last clause, had they but known, throws a flood of light on how intensely God desires that His creatures should always take the right course and not be misled by mischievous people. (close)
وَ لَوۡ اَنَّہُمۡ اٰمَنُوۡا وَ اتَّقَوۡا لَمَثُوۡبَۃٌ مِّنۡ عِنۡدِ اللّٰہِ خَیۡرٌ ؕ لَوۡ کَانُوۡا یَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۱۰۴﴾٪
وَلَوۡ أَنَّهُمۡ ءَامَنُواْ وَٱتَّقَوۡاْ لَمَثُوبَةٞ مِّنۡ عِندِ ٱللَّهِ خَيۡرٞۚ لَّوۡ كَانُواْ يَعۡلَمُونَ
a. 3:180; 5:66-67. (close)
a. 3:180; 5:66, 67. (close)
110. Important Words:
مثوبة (reward) is, like ثواب (with which it is synonymous), derived from ثاب which means, he returned, or he returned to a good condition. مثوبة and ثواب mean, requital or reward of good or bad deeds. Generally, they are used in the sense of a reward of good deeds (Aqrab).
If the Jews had possessed true faith in God and had acted in His fear, they would not have devoted all their energies to the acquisition of worldly gains but would have sought the good of the Hereafter. They have, however, been seeking the advantage of the present life only and have neglected the Hereafter altogether, which shows that they are utterly lacking in true faith and are not leading righteous lives. (close)