وَ اعۡتَصِمُوۡا بِحَبۡلِ اللّٰہِ جَمِیۡعًا وَّ لَا تَفَرَّقُوۡا ۪ وَ اذۡکُرُوۡا نِعۡمَتَ اللّٰہِ عَلَیۡکُمۡ اِذۡ کُنۡتُمۡ اَعۡدَآءً فَاَلَّفَ بَیۡنَ قُلُوۡبِکُمۡ فَاَصۡبَحۡتُمۡ بِنِعۡمَتِہٖۤ اِخۡوَانًا ۚ وَ کُنۡتُمۡ عَلٰی شَفَا حُفۡرَۃٍ مِّنَ النَّارِ فَاَنۡقَذَکُمۡ مِّنۡہَا ؕ کَذٰلِکَ یُبَیِّنُ اللّٰہُ لَکُمۡ اٰیٰتِہٖ لَعَلَّکُمۡ تَہۡتَدُوۡنَ ﴿۱۰۴﴾
وَٱعۡتَصِمُواْ بِحَبۡلِ ٱللَّهِ جَمِيعٗا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُواْۚ وَٱذۡكُرُواْ نِعۡمَتَ ٱللَّهِ عَلَيۡكُمۡ إِذۡ كُنتُمۡ أَعۡدَآءٗ فَأَلَّفَ بَيۡنَ قُلُوبِكُمۡ فَأَصۡبَحۡتُم بِنِعۡمَتِهِۦٓ إِخۡوَٰنٗا وَكُنتُمۡ عَلَىٰ شَفَا حُفۡرَةٖ مِّنَ ٱلنَّارِ فَأَنقَذَكُم مِّنۡهَاۗ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ ٱللَّهُ لَكُمۡ ءَايَٰتِهِۦ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَهۡتَدُونَ
c. 3:106; 6:160; 8:47. (close)
449. Habl means, a rope or cord with which a thing is tied or made fast; a bond; a covenant or compact; an obligation by which one becomes responsible for the safety of a person or thing; alliance and protection (Lane). The Holy Prophet is reported to have said, 'The Book of God is the rope of Allah which has been extended from the heavens to the earth' (Jarir, iv. 30). (close)
d. 2:232. (close)
e. 8:64. (close)
450. It will be hard to find a more disunited people than the Arabs before the Holy Prophet appeared among them, but, at the same time, human history fails to provide any example of the bond of loving brotherhood into which the Arabs were united by the noble teaching and example of their great Master. (close)
451. The words "on the brink of a pit of fire" signify the internecine warfare in which the Arabs were constantly engaged and which was consuming their manpower. (close)
a. 3:106; 6:160; 8:47. (close)
b. 2:232. (close)
c. 8:64. (close)
390. Important Words:
حبل (rope). They say حبله i.e. he bound or tied him with a rope or cord. حبل الصید means, he caught the game with a snare or net. حبلت المرأة means, the woman became pregnant. حبل means, a rope or cord or anything with which a thing is tied or made fast; a bond or cause of union or link of connection, such as a bond of love or friendship; mutual connection by such a bond; a covenant or compact; an obligation by which one becomes responsible for the safety of a person or thing; a promise or assurance of security or safety; an artery, vein or nerve (Lane). It also means alliance and protection (Aqrab).
Another cause of the spiritual degradation of the Israelites was that they did not remain united but split up into sections, finding fault with one another. The verse warns Muslims against that danger. The Holy Prophet is reported to have said: "The Book of God is the rope of Allah which has been extended from the heavens to the earth" (Jarir, iv. 30). Broadly speaking, there are three things which may be taken to have been here meant by the rope of God, by holding fast to which Muslims may remain united and be safe against disunion and disruption: (1) the Quran; (2) the Messenger of God; (3) the Successors to the Messenger of God.
The similitude may have reference to sea life. Ropes are thrown to save the life of a drowning man. When a man falls into the sea or when a boat is wrecked by a storm, people in the boat or those standing on the shore throw out ropes to those who are struggling for their lives in the sea. The similitude is thus incidentally a refutation of the objection that the Quran restricts its similitudes to such objects only as were known to the desert dwellers of Arabia.
It may be noted here that whenever the Quran speaks of the open or secret hostility of the enemies of Islam, it exhorts Muslims to be strong of faith; for it is at such times that one is likely to waver and show weakness in resolution. Thus, after referring to the hostility of the People of the Book (3:100, 101) the Quran exhorts Muslims: (1) to fear God as He should be feared (3:103); (2) to be constant in obedience to God (3:103); and (3) to hold fast to the rope of God and preserve themselves from disunion (3:104).
The words, remember the favour of Allah, signify that as one can properly appreciate a boon of God only when one experiences the disadvantages that result from its absence, so the Quran reminds Muslims of the discord and enmity that existed between them before they became united in Islam.
The words, He united your hearts in love, show that according to Islam it is no great virtue to bear no malice or hatred to others. Nor does Islam inculcate a life of seclusion and detachment. What it requires is positive love for, and active sympathy with, fellow beings. One who is devoid of this is really devoid of true faith. (close)
وَلۡتَکُنۡ مِّنۡکُمۡ اُمَّۃٌ یَّدۡعُوۡنَ اِلَی الۡخَیۡرِ وَ یَاۡمُرُوۡنَ بِالۡمَعۡرُوۡفِ وَ یَنۡہَوۡنَ عَنِ الۡمُنۡکَرِ ؕ وَ اُولٰٓئِکَ ہُمُ الۡمُفۡلِحُوۡنَ ﴿۱۰۵﴾
وَلۡتَكُن مِّنكُمۡ أُمَّةٞ يَدۡعُونَ إِلَى ٱلۡخَيۡرِ وَيَأۡمُرُونَ بِٱلۡمَعۡرُوفِ وَيَنۡهَوۡنَ عَنِ ٱلۡمُنكَرِۚ وَأُوْلَـٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلۡمُفۡلِحُونَ
a. 3:111, 115; 7:158; 9:71; 31:18. (close)
452. Al-Khair here signifies Islam, because goodness in general is included in the word Ma‘ruf occurring immediately after it. (close)
453. The Holy Prophet is reported to have said, 'If anyone of you sees anything evil, let him remove it with his hand. If he cannot do so with his hand, then let him forbid it with his tongue. If he cannot do even that, then let him at least hate it in his heart, and that is the weakest kind of faith' (Muslim). (close)
The word خیر (goodness) here signifies Islam, because goodness in general is included in the word معروف (equity) used immediately after it. In fact, the true Faith (Islam) is the only goodness in the true sense of the word. The verse purports to say that as by making you enter the fold of Islam God has delivered you from a pit of fire, you should also try to deliver others from the fire of disbelief.
The words, And let there be among you a body of men who should invite to goodness, do not mean that the duty of preaching is only confined to a few. What is meant is that, whereas all should try to preach and propagate the truth of Islam, there should be a party of men among Muslims who should be wholly and solely devoted to this work.
As for the method of preaching, the Quran says elsewhere, Call unto the way of thy Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation and argue with them (the disbelievers) in a way that is best (16:126). And the Holy Prophet is reported to have said, "If anyone of you sees anything evil, let him remove it with his hand. If he cannot do it with his hand, then let him forbid it with his tongue. If he cannot do even that, then let him at least detest it in his mind, and that is the weakest kind of faith" (Muslim).
The verse also suggests a way by following which Muslims can maintain their unity. So long as a Muslim people have their attention concentrated on the preaching of Islam and doing good, they will live in peace among themselves, for disunion is mostly born of idleness and a false sense of security.
Each and every individual Muslim is not enjoined here to devote himself wholly to the preaching of Islam; for if it were so, Muslims could not earn their livelihood nor take part in other healthy pursuits of life. So, though all must contribute their quota, only a section of the community is required to devote itself exclusively to the work of preaching. (close)
وَ لَا تَکُوۡنُوۡا کَالَّذِیۡنَ تَفَرَّقُوۡا وَ اخۡتَلَفُوۡا مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ مَا جَآءَہُمُ الۡبَیِّنٰتُ ؕ وَ اُولٰٓئِکَ لَہُمۡ عَذَابٌ عَظِیۡمٌ ﴿۱۰۶﴾ۙ
وَلَا تَكُونُواْ كَٱلَّذِينَ تَفَرَّقُواْ وَٱخۡتَلَفُواْ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ مَا جَآءَهُمُ ٱلۡبَيِّنَٰتُۚ وَأُوْلَـٰٓئِكَ لَهُمۡ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٞ
b. 3:104; 6:160; 8:47. (close)
454. The verse refers to disunity and dissensions among the People of the Book in order to bring home to Muslims the dangers of discord and disagreement. (close)
a. 3:104; 6:160; 8:47. (close)
The Quran does not merely give general philosophic teachings but actually refers to historical facts to bring home to the Faithful the gravity of the dangers that proved the ruin of peoples gone by. The verse, therefore, aptly refers to the dissensions of the People of the Book, and Muslims are enjoined to avoid them. The Holy Prophet says: "Whoso separates himself from the body of the Muslims even by the space of a span, throws off from his neck the rope of Muslim brotherhood (Dawud). Again, "whoso severs his connection (with the community of the Muslims) will be cast into the Fire" (Tirmidhi, ch. on Fitan). (close)
یَّوۡمَ تَبۡیَضُّ وُجُوۡہٌ وَّ تَسۡوَدُّ وُجُوۡہٌ ۚ فَاَمَّا الَّذِیۡنَ اسۡوَدَّتۡ وُجُوۡہُہُمۡ ۟ اَکَفَرۡتُمۡ بَعۡدَ اِیۡمَانِکُمۡ فَذُوۡقُوا الۡعَذَابَ بِمَا کُنۡتُمۡ تَکۡفُرُوۡنَ ﴿۱۰۷﴾
يَوۡمَ تَبۡيَضُّ وُجُوهٞ وَتَسۡوَدُّ وُجُوهٞۚ فَأَمَّا ٱلَّذِينَ ٱسۡوَدَّتۡ وُجُوهُهُمۡ أَكَفَرۡتُم بَعۡدَ إِيمَٰنِكُمۡ فَذُوقُواْ ٱلۡعَذَابَ بِمَا كُنتُمۡ تَكۡفُرُونَ
c. 10:27, 28; 39:61; 80:39-43. (close)
455. The Qur’an has explained "whiteness" and "blackness" as emblematic of "happiness" and "sorrow" respectively (3:107, 108; 75:23-25; 80:39-41). When a person does a deed for which he is praised, the Arabs say of him: Ibyadda Wajhu-hu, i.e. the face of such a one has become white. And when he does a deed for which he is reproached, it is said of him Iswadda Wajhu-hu, i.e. his face has become black. (close)
a. 10:27, 28; 39:61; 80:39-43. (close)
393. Important Words:
تبیض (shall be white) is derived from باض. They say باض فلانا i.e. he exceeded him in whiteness. ابیض means, he or it turned white. بیاض signifies whiteness, and ابیض means white (Aqrab). The expression ابیض وجھه means, his face became white, meaning, his face became expressive of joy, i.e. he became joyful (Lane).
تسود (will turn black) is derived from ساد. They say ساد فلانا i.e. he exceeded him in blackness. اسود means, he or it turned black. سواد means, blackness, and اسود means, black (Aqrab). اسود وجھه means, his face became black, meaning, his face became expressive of grief or sorrow (Lane). Whiteness is sometimes used to denote a good and happy condition; while blackness is a token of a bad condition and failure (Aqrab under بیاض).
The Quran itself explains "whiteness" and "blackness" as emb-lematic of "happiness" and "sorrow", respectively (see 3:108 and 16:59 and also compare 75:23 and 80:39, 40). Similarly, when a person does a deed for which he is praised, the Arabs say of him ابیض وجه فلان i.e. the face of such a one has become white or قد بیض الله وجه فلان i.e. God has made the face of such a one white. On the contrary, if a person does a deed for which he is reproached, it is said of him اسود وجھه i.e. his face has become black, or سود الله وجھه i.e. Allah has blackened his face. Thus, the words یوم تبیض وجوہ و تسود وجوہ (lit. when some faces shall turn white and some faces shall turn black) mean, when some will be praised for their deeds, and some will be reproached; or they mean, when some will rejoice and some will grieve.
The present verse speaks of discord and disagreement mentioned in the preceding verse as disbelief; for the ultimate end of such disagreement and dissension is nothing but disbelief. (close)
وَ اَمَّا الَّذِیۡنَ ابۡیَضَّتۡ وُجُوۡہُہُمۡ فَفِیۡ رَحۡمَۃِ اللّٰہِ ؕ ہُمۡ فِیۡہَا خٰلِدُوۡنَ ﴿۱۰۸﴾
وَأَمَّا ٱلَّذِينَ ٱبۡيَضَّتۡ وُجُوهُهُمۡ فَفِي رَحۡمَةِ ٱللَّهِۖ هُمۡ فِيهَا خَٰلِدُونَ
a. 10:27. (close)
b. 10:27. (close)
تِلۡکَ اٰیٰتُ اللّٰہِ نَتۡلُوۡہَا عَلَیۡکَ بِالۡحَقِّ ؕ وَ مَا اللّٰہُ یُرِیۡدُ ظُلۡمًا لِّلۡعٰلَمِیۡنَ ﴿۱۰۹﴾
تِلۡكَ ءَايَٰتُ ٱللَّهِ نَتۡلُوهَا عَلَيۡكَ بِٱلۡحَقِّۗ وَمَا ٱللَّهُ يُرِيدُ ظُلۡمٗا لِّلۡعَٰلَمِينَ
456. The expression Bil-Haqq (lit. 'with truth' and translated as, comprising the truth) signifies, firstly, that these Signs or words of God are full of truth; secondly, they have come as a matter of right, i.e. you had a right to receive them; thirdly, this was the proper time for their revelation. See also 364. (close)
394. Important Words:
The words بالحق (lit. 'with truth' and translated as, while they comprise the truth) signify, firstly, that these Signs or words of God are full of truths; secondly, that they have come as a matter of right, i.e. you had a right to receive them; thirdly, that this was the proper time for their recital. See also 3:4.
The words, Allah wills not any wrong, mean that by calling upon mankind to accept the Holy Prophet, God does not intend to cause them harm; in fact, He desires to have mercy on them. The interests of mankind required that a Prophet should have been sent to them. (close)
وَ لِلّٰہِ مَا فِی السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ مَا فِی الۡاَرۡضِ ؕ وَ اِلَی اللّٰہِ تُرۡجَعُ الۡاُمُوۡرُ ﴿۱۱۰﴾٪
وَلِلَّهِ مَا فِي ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَمَا فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِۚ وَإِلَى ٱللَّهِ تُرۡجَعُ ٱلۡأُمُورُ
b. 3:130, 190; 4:132; 57:11. (close)
a. 3:130, 190; 4:132; 57:11. (close)
As whatever is in the heavens and in the earth belongs to God, so it was in the fitness of things that finally a Prophet with a universal mission should have been raised. The previous system of raising separate Prophets for separate peoples and separate periods was meant only by way of preparation. Now was the time of one God and one Prophet. (close)
کُنۡتُمۡ خَیۡرَ اُمَّۃٍ اُخۡرِجَتۡ لِلنَّاسِ تَاۡمُرُوۡنَ بِالۡمَعۡرُوۡفِ وَ تَنۡہَوۡنَ عَنِ الۡمُنۡکَرِ وَ تُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ بِاللّٰہِ ؕ وَ لَوۡ اٰمَنَ اَہۡلُ الۡکِتٰبِ لَکَانَ خَیۡرًا لَّہُمۡ ؕ مِنۡہُمُ الۡمُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ وَ اَکۡثَرُہُمُ الۡفٰسِقُوۡنَ ﴿۱۱۱﴾
كُنتُمۡ خَيۡرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخۡرِجَتۡ لِلنَّاسِ تَأۡمُرُونَ بِٱلۡمَعۡرُوفِ وَتَنۡهَوۡنَ عَنِ ٱلۡمُنكَرِ وَتُؤۡمِنُونَ بِٱللَّهِۗ وَلَوۡ ءَامَنَ أَهۡلُ ٱلۡكِتَٰبِ لَكَانَ خَيۡرٗا لَّهُمۚ مِّنۡهُمُ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنُونَ وَأَكۡثَرُهُمُ ٱلۡفَٰسِقُونَ
c. 2:144. (close)
d. 3:105, 115; 7:158; 9:71; 31:18. (close)
457. The verse not only claims that the Muslims are the best people—a big claim indeed—but also gives reasons for it: (1) They have been raised for the good of all mankind; and (2) it is their duty to enjoin good and forbid evil and believe in one God. The glory of the Muslims is subject to and governed by these two conditions. (close)
b. 2:144. (close)
c. 3:105, 115; 7:158; 9:71; 31:18. (close)
The verse not only claims that the Muslims are the best people—a great claim indeed—but also gives reasons for it. These reasons are: (1) Muslims have been raised for the good of others; (2) they have been raised not for the good of any one people or any one country but for the good of all mankind; (3) it has been made their duty to enjoin what is good and forbid evil and believe in one God. The history of Islam bears ample testimony to the fact that Muslims fulfilled all the hopes expressed in this verse. They were not only the torch-bearers of Islam to the four corners of the world but they also contributed to the betterment of other peoples in a most remarkable manner. The renaissance of the west was mostly, if not entirely, due to their influence (The Making of Humanity by Robert Briffault).
The greatness of a people is proportionate to the magnitude of their work. As Muslims were to bring about the good of all mankind, they have been declared the greatest of all peoples. In fact, the real purpose of a Muslim’s life is to do good for humanity. As Islam is the greatest good, so Muslims have been enjoined to convey its message to the whole world. They are also required to enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil. There are other people also who claim to enjoin good and forbid evil, but their aim in doing so is to contribute to the strength or betterment of their own respective communities. The Quran warns Muslims against having such restricted motives by adding the words, and you believe in Allah, i.e. your preaching should only be for God’s sake Who is the Lord of the worlds.
The assignment of this great task to Muslims also implies the appearance of Divine Messengers among them from time to time, for it is heavenly Messengers alone who can best perform this duty; and it is through them that we can properly realize the true significance of this task.
It may also be pointed out here that, according to this verse, the excellence of the Muslim people is governed by, and is subject to, the above conditions, i.e. preaching Islam to mankind and enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil; mere lip-profession of Islam cannot entitle anyone to claim excellence. (close)
لَنۡ یَّضُرُّوۡکُمۡ اِلَّاۤ اَذًی ؕ وَ اِنۡ یُّقَاتِلُوۡکُمۡ یُوَلُّوۡکُمُ الۡاَدۡبَارَ ۟ ثُمَّ لَا یُنۡصَرُوۡنَ ﴿۱۱۲﴾
لَن يَضُرُّوكُمۡ إِلَّآ أَذٗىۖ وَإِن يُقَٰتِلُوكُمۡ يُوَلُّوكُمُ ٱلۡأَدۡبَارَ ثُمَّ لَا يُنصَرُونَ
a. 59:13. (close)
a. 59:13. (close)
The words, they cannot harm you save a slight hurt, signify that Jews, in spite of their great enmity to Islam, will not be able to do Muslims more than a slight injury, and this is what actually happened.
The words, they shall show you their backs, contain a prophecy which met with its fulfilment three times by the defeat at Medina of the hostile Jewish tribes who made common cause with the Arab tribes. They were guilty of treachery and met with the punishment they deserved.
The words are equally applicable to the enemies of Islam in general. Preaching of the Divine Message can bring upon Muslims only temporary trouble. If they persevere in preaching with sincerity and patience, they are sure to come out successful in their endeavour. On the other hand, if the enemies of Islam take up arms against Muslims for their preaching of Islam, God will help the latter against their enemies and grant them victory. (close)
ضُرِبَتۡ عَلَیۡہِمُ الذِّلَّۃُ اَیۡنَ مَا ثُقِفُوۡۤا اِلَّا بِحَبۡلٍ مِّنَ اللّٰہِ وَ حَبۡلٍ مِّنَ النَّاسِ وَ بَآءُوۡ بِغَضَبٍ مِّنَ اللّٰہِ وَ ضُرِبَتۡ عَلَیۡہِمُ الۡمَسۡکَنَۃُ ؕ ذٰلِکَ بِاَنَّہُمۡ کَانُوۡا یَکۡفُرُوۡنَ بِاٰیٰتِ اللّٰہِ وَ یَقۡتُلُوۡنَ الۡاَنۡۢبِیَآءَ بِغَیۡرِ حَقٍّ ؕ ذٰلِکَ بِمَا عَصَوۡا وَّ کَانُوۡا یَعۡتَدُوۡنَ ﴿۱۱۳﴾٭
ضُرِبَتۡ عَلَيۡهِمُ ٱلذِّلَّةُ أَيۡنَ مَا ثُقِفُوٓاْ إِلَّا بِحَبۡلٖ مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ وَحَبۡلٖ مِّنَ ٱلنَّاسِ وَبَآءُو بِغَضَبٖ مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ وَضُرِبَتۡ عَلَيۡهِمُ ٱلۡمَسۡكَنَةُۚ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمۡ كَانُواْ يَكۡفُرُونَ بِـَٔايَٰتِ ٱللَّهِ وَيَقۡتُلُونَ ٱلۡأَنۢبِيَآءَ بِغَيۡرِ حَقّٖۚ ذَٰلِكَ بِمَا عَصَواْ وَّكَانُواْ يَعۡتَدُونَ
b. 2:62, 91; 5:61; 7:168. (close)
458. The verse contains an important and far-reaching prophecy regarding the Jews, viz. that they are for ever doomed to disgrace and humiliation and to live in subjection to others. The history of the Jewish people from the time of the Holy Prophet up to the present day bears eloquent testimony to the truth of this awful prophecy. In all countries and in all ages, the present age of enlightenment and toleration not excepted, the Jews have been the victim of bitter persecution and have been subjected to diverse kinds of disgrace and humiliation. The establishment of the State of Israel is but a temporary phase in the life of Jewry. (close)
c. 2:62, 92; 3:22. (close)
b. 2:62, 67; 5:61; 7:168. (close)
398. Important Words:
حبل (protection). See 3:104.
المسکنة (wretchedness) is derived from سکن i.e. he or it was or became still or silent or motionless. مسکنة means, the state of مسکین; lowliness or submissiveness; lowness, abasement or humiliation; paucity of property; evil state or condition; weakness; poverty of mind, etc. (Lane). It also means disgrace and wretchedness (Aqrab) also loss of the power of movement (Mufradat).
This verse contains an important and far-reaching prophecy regarding Jews. They are forever doomed to disgrace and humiliation. They have ever to live in subjection to other powers. The history of the Jewish people from the time of the Holy Prophet up to the present day bears woeful testimony to the truth of this awful prophecy. In all countries and in all ages, the present age of enlightenment and toleration not being excepted, they have been the victims of bitter persecution and have been subjected to diverse kinds of disgrace and humiliation. Their practice of usury has also made them the hated of all nations.
The word حبل rendered here as "protection" is full of significance and is applicable in almost all its different meanings, for which see 3:104. Generally speaking, the divine rope, or in other words, "protection from Allah", refers to Islam; and "protection from men" refers to the protection of non-Muslim powers. The latter may be illustrated by the Treaty of Versailles, which afforded the Jews a temporary protection, while the former was made possible through a section of them accepting the Holy Prophet. In the present age, the Promised Messiah (Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam), whom God has raised as the saviour of mankind, is the emblem of protection for the Jews. They can save themselves by accepting him.
The word مسکنة rendered as "wretchedness" also signifies, humiliation, disgrace, and loss of the power of movement. All these have been the fate of the Jews. They have often been expelled from countries, and even today in Russia there are certain districts which they are not permitted to enter. The recent persecution of the Jews in Germany and other countries of Europe is only too well-known to need a reference.
The clause, kill the Prophets unjustly, refers not only to the attempt of the Jews to crucify Jesus, but also to their plots to kill the Holy Prophet of Islam.
The verse also serves as a warning to Muslims that if they rejected the Promised Messiah, who has come in the spirit and power of Jesus as well as of the Holy Prophet, and whose duty it is to preach and rejuvenate Islam, they would also be smitten with the same disgrace which has been the lot of the Jews for their rejection of Jesus and the Holy Prophet. (close)