نَزَّلَ عَلَیۡکَ الۡکِتٰبَ بِالۡحَقِّ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَیۡنَ یَدَیۡہِ وَ اَنۡزَلَ التَّوۡرٰٮۃَ وَ الۡاِنۡجِیۡلَ ۙ﴿۴﴾
نَزَّلَ عَلَيۡكَ ٱلۡكِتَٰبَ بِٱلۡحَقِّ مُصَدِّقٗا لِّمَا بَيۡنَ يَدَيۡهِ وَأَنزَلَ ٱلتَّوۡرَىٰةَ وَٱلۡإِنجِيلَ
a. 4:106; 5:49; 29:52; 39:3. (close)
364. Haqqa means, it was or became just, proper, right, true, authentic, genuine, substantial or real; or it was or became an established or confirmed fact; or it was or became binding, incumbent or due (Lane). The expression Bil-Haqq signifies, (1) that the Qur’an comprises teachings which are based on eternal truths and are incapable of being successfully assailed; (2) that its first recipients are the people best suited to receive it; (3) that it has come in the fulness of time and fulfils all true human needs; (4) that it has come to stay and no effort on the part of its opponents can destroy or tamper with it. (close)
365. The word, Taurat, is derived from Wara which means, he burnt; he concealed (Aqrab). Taurat is so called probably because in its pristine purity reading it and acting upon its teaching kindled in the heart of men the fire of Divine love. Possibly, the word also contains a hint that bright prophecies about the advent of the last Law-giving Prophet lie hidden in the Book. Taurat is the name applied to the five books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. The name is also sometimes applied to the Ten Commandments. (close)
366. Injil, which means, good news, is, according to Aqrab, a Greek word (un-derived from any Arabic root) from which the English word "Evangel" is derived. The Gospels were so called because they contained not only "good news" for those who accepted Jesus but also because they contained prophecies about the advent of the greatest Prophet whose coming Jesus had described as the coming of the Lord Himself (Matt. 21:40). The word does not refer to the present four Gospels which were written by the followers of Jesus long after his crucifixion and which give merely an account of his life and teachings, but to the actual revelation received by Jesus. (close)
295. Important Words:
بالحق (containing the truth). الحق is derived from حق i.e. it was or became just, proper, right, true, authentic, genuine, substantial or real; or it was or became an established or confirmed truth or fact; or it was or became binding, incumbent or due. So حق means, a truth; an established fact; a right; equity and justice; a thing that is decreed or destined; a thing suitable to the requirements of wisdom, justice, truth and right. الحق is one of the names of God, meaning the Really Existing God; or the Creator according to the requirements of wisdom, justice and right. The word is also applied to the Quran and the religion of Islam (Lane). See also 2:181.
توراة (Torah) is believed to be a Hebrew word. In Arabic it is said to be derived from وری. They say وری النار i.e. the fire burnt. وری الزند means, he made the fire-producing wood or steel produce fire. وری الخبر means, he concealed the news. وری عن کذا means, he meant one thing but by using equivocal expressions made the listener think of another (Aqrab). In view of these significations of the word, توراة (Torah) is so called probably because in its pristine purity reading it and acting upon its teaching kindled in the heart of man the fire of Divine love. Possibly, the word also contains a hint that bright prophecies about the advent of the final Law-giving Prophet lie hidden in the Book. In Hebrew the root meaning of the word is "to teach", the word Torah meaning, "instruction or precept or law" (Gesenius). Torah is the name applied to the five books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. The name may have its origin in the popular Jewish belief that "the original Pentateuch, like everything celestial, consisted of fire, being written in block letters of flame upon a white ground of fire" (Jew. Enc. xii. 197). The name Torah is also sometimes applied to the Ten Commandments.
انجیل (Gospel) is probably of Greek origin from which the English form "Evangel" (good news) is derived. The word Evangel was formerly freely used in place of Gospel, but is now archaic. In Arabic نجله ابوہ (najalahu) means, his father begot him. نجل الشیء means, he laid bare or disclosed the thing. نجل الارض means, he tore open or ploughed the land for the purpose of sowing seed. نجل الرجل (najila) means, the man’s eyes were large and beautiful. The word انجیل which, according to Aqrab, is a Greek word underived from any Arabic root, means بشارة i.e. good news.
مصدقًا (fulfilling). See 2:42.
الفرقان (Discrimination). See 2:54.
The expression بالحق rendered as "containing the truth" (lit. "with truth") means:(1) that the Quran comprises true teachings which are based on eternal truth and are incapable of being successfully assailed; (2) that the Quran has been sent rightly, meaning that the first recipients of it were the fittest people to receive it; (3) that it has come in the fullness of time and fulfils a true need; (4) that it has come to stay and no effort on the part of its opponents can succeed in destroying or tampering with it. See Important Words above.
انجیل means "good news", and the Gospels are so called because they contained not only "good news" for those who accepted Jesus, but also because they contained prophecies about the advent of the Greatest of the Prophets whose coming Jesus described as the coming of the Lord Himself (Matt. 21:40) or as the advent of the kingdom of God (Mark, 1:15). They also contain prophecies about the advent in the Latter Days of Jesus’ own counterpart, the Promised Messiah.
The word انجیل occurring in the verse does not refer to the present four Gospels which were written by the followers of Jesus long after his so-called crucifixion and which give merely an account of his life and teachings. The word refers to the actual revelation received by Jesus from God. The present Gospels do indeed contain a part of that revelation, but Divine words have become so mixed up with the sayings of Jesus himself that in many cases it is difficult to distinguish between the two. The Gospels contain a good deal of matter which is admittedly not of Divine origin.
The saying of the Holy Prophet, صدورھم اناجیلھم i.e. "the breasts of my Companions are like Gospels" (Lisan), sheds some light on the significance and position of the Gospels. This saying of the Prophet means that the breasts of his Companions were repositories of his life history and teachings which are indeed a great gospel. It may be inferred from this that the position of the present Gospels is analogous to that of the collections of Hadith, such as Bukhari, Muslim, etc.
The clause, He sent down the Torah and the Gospel before this as a guidance, means that before the Quran was revealed, the Torah and the Gospels provided spiritual guidance for men but that their place was now taken by the Quran which has come as a guidance for all time and all mankind. (close)
مِنۡ قَبۡلُ ہُدًی لِّلنَّاسِ وَ اَنۡزَلَ الۡفُرۡقَانَ ۬ؕ اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا بِاٰیٰتِ اللّٰہِ لَہُمۡ عَذَابٌ شَدِیۡدٌ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ عَزِیۡزٌ ذُو انۡتِقَامٍ ﴿۵﴾
مِن قَبۡلُ هُدٗى لِّلنَّاسِ وَأَنزَلَ ٱلۡفُرۡقَانَۗ إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ بِـَٔايَٰتِ ٱللَّهِ لَهُمۡ عَذَابٞ شَدِيدٞۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَزِيزٞ ذُو ٱنتِقَامٍ
b. 2:54, 186; 8:42; 21:49; 25:2. (close)
367. Al-Furqan may refer to the Qur’an or to the heavenly signs vouchsafed to the Holy Prophet which establish his truth. (close)
a. 5:96; 14:48; 39:38. (close)
a. 2:54, 186; 8:42; 21:49; 25:2. (close)
b. 5:96; 14:48; 39:38. (close)
296. Important Words:
ذوانتقام (Possessor of the power to requite). انتقام is the noun-infinitive from نقم i.e. he took vengeance. They say نقم منه or انتقم منه meaning, he wreaked vengeance on him; he punished him; he inflicted penal retribution on him for what he had done. نقمة and انتقام both mean, vengeance or penal retribution or punishment (Aqrab & Lane).
The words, and He has sent down the Discrimination, placed at the end of the verse refer to the Quran, the coming down of which has already been mentioned in the beginning of the verse. The idea has been repeated here to point out that the Quran has come to take the place of the previous scriptures, the word "Discrimination" also pointing to the same fact. The word may also refer to the heavenly signs vouchsafed to Islam to establish its truth.
For an explanation of the term مصدق (fulfilling) see 2:42.
After the coming down of the Quran as a "Discrimination" and as "fulfilling" what is in the previous scriptures, the persistent rejection of the Holy Prophet becomes indeed deserving of great punishment, and the verse points out that the God of Islam being "Mighty" and "Possessor of the power to requite", those who have rejected the truth must be prepared for divine requital. (close)
اِنَّ اللّٰہَ لَا یَخۡفٰی عَلَیۡہِ شَیۡءٌ فِی الۡاَرۡضِ وَ لَا فِی السَّمَآءِ ؕ﴿۶﴾
إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يَخۡفَىٰ عَلَيۡهِ شَيۡءٞ فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَلَا فِي ٱلسَّمَآءِ
b. 14:39; 40:17; 64:5; 86:6. (close)
a. 14:39; 40:17; 64:5; 87:8. (close)
God is not only Mighty and the Possessor of the power to requite but He is also All-Knowing, which is a necessary attribute for the successful exercise of power and the infliction of punishment. The verse thus constitutes yet another argument against the alleged divinity of Jesus. Nothing is hidden from God, His knowledge encompassing everything; but Jesus, according to his own admission, did not know many things (Mark 11:12, 13). He even did not know when the Judgement Day was to be (Matt. 24:36). Such lack of knowledge is evidently incompatible with the dignity of God. (close)
ہُوَ الَّذِیۡ یُصَوِّرُکُمۡ فِی الۡاَرۡحَامِ کَیۡفَ یَشَآءُ ؕ لَاۤ اِلٰہَ اِلَّا ہُوَ الۡعَزِیۡزُ الۡحَکِیۡمُ ﴿۷﴾
هُوَ ٱلَّذِي يُصَوِّرُكُمۡ فِي ٱلۡأَرۡحَامِ كَيۡفَ يَشَآءُۚ لَآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ٱلۡعَزِيزُ ٱلۡحَكِيمُ
c. 22:6; 23:12-15; 39:7; 40:65; 64:4. (close)
368. As development of the child takes place in the womb of the mother, the offspring naturally is affected by her physical and moral condition. So Jesus, whose body like that of all other human beings was formed in the womb of a woman, could not escape being affected by the limitations and failings inherent in woman. This is why, in his discussion with the Christians of Najran, the Holy Prophet pointedly referred to the birth of Jesus as an argument to disprove his so-called divinity. He is reported to have said to them: "Do you not know that it was a woman who conceived Jesus, and then she was delivered of him just as a normal woman is delivered of a child" (Jarir, iii.101)? (close)
b. 22:6; 23:13-15; 39:7; 40:65; 64:4. (close)
298. Important Words:
یصور (fashions) is derived from صار. They say صار الشیء meaning: (1) he made the thing inclined; (2) he divided or cut the thing into parts or pieces. صورہ means, he formed or fashioned it; he gave it a shape. صورہ تصویرا means, he fashioned it and gave it a definite shape.الصورة means, the image or form or shape of a thing by which it is distinguished from other things (Aqrab & Lane).
تصویر (fashioning) and خلق (creating) are two different things as is clear from 7:12 and 82:89. خلق which takes place before تصویر means creating a thing and giving it a general physical form, whereas تصویر signifies detailed formation and the endowing of a child with moral and spiritual faculties. Thus خلق and تصویر are interrelated like body and soul. Medical research has shown that there exists some subtle relationship between the physical features of a man and his morals. The clause, He it is Who fashions you in the wombs, would, therefore, mean that after God brings into existence a body in the womb, He endows it with faculties and capacities necessary to fulfil its destiny. So it is in the womb of his mother that the foundations of a man’s future are laid, and it is to this fact that the Holy Prophet referred when he said that when the formation of the child in the womb begins, the angels ask God whether they should write it down as lucky or ill-fated (Bukhari).
As the formation of the child takes place in the womb of the mother, naturally it is affected by its environment, i.e. the physical and moral condition of the mother. So Jesus, whose body, like that of other human beings, was formed in the womb of a woman, could not escape being affected by the limitations and failings inherent in woman. Now as the Bible holds woman to be morally inferior to man, for it was through Eve that Satan deceived Adam (Gen. 3:12, 13), Jesus could not but have partaken of the failings and weaknesses of his mother. Thus, the fatherless birth of Jesus proved, if anything, that Jesus was by nature more inclined to sin than other men. This is why, in his discussion with the Christians of Najran, the Holy Prophet pointedly referred to the birth of Jesus as an argument disproving his divinity. He is reported to have said to them: "Do you not know that it was a woman who conceived Jesus, just as a woman conceives a child, and then she was delivered of him just as a woman is delivered of a child" (Jarir, iii. 101).
The clause, there is no God but He, has been placed as a natural consequence of the preceding clause. When it is God Who fashions children in the wombs of their mothers, no child born of a woman could claim to be divine. (close)
ہُوَ الَّذِیۡۤ اَنۡزَلَ عَلَیۡکَ الۡکِتٰبَ مِنۡہُ اٰیٰتٌ مُّحۡکَمٰتٌ ہُنَّ اُمُّ الۡکِتٰبِ وَ اُخَرُ مُتَشٰبِہٰتٌ ؕ فَاَمَّا الَّذِیۡنَ فِیۡ قُلُوۡبِہِمۡ زَیۡغٌ فَیَتَّبِعُوۡنَ مَا تَشَابَہَ مِنۡہُ ابۡتِغَآءَ الۡفِتۡنَۃِ وَ ابۡتِغَآءَ تَاۡوِیۡلِہٖ ۚ وَ مَا یَعۡلَمُ تَاۡوِیۡلَہٗۤ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ ۘؔ وَ الرّٰسِخُوۡنَ فِی الۡعِلۡمِ یَقُوۡلُوۡنَ اٰمَنَّا بِہٖ ۙ کُلٌّ مِّنۡ عِنۡدِ رَبِّنَا ۚ وَ مَا یَذَّکَّرُ اِلَّاۤ اُولُوا الۡاَلۡبَابِ ﴿۸﴾
هُوَ ٱلَّذِيٓ أَنزَلَ عَلَيۡكَ ٱلۡكِتَٰبَ مِنۡهُ ءَايَٰتٞ مُّحۡكَمَٰتٌ هُنَّ أُمُّ ٱلۡكِتَٰبِ وَأُخَرُ مُتَشَٰبِهَٰتٞۖ فَأَمَّا ٱلَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمۡ زَيۡغٞ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ مَا تَشَٰبَهَ مِنۡهُ ٱبۡتِغَآءَ ٱلۡفِتۡنَةِ وَٱبۡتِغَآءَ تَأۡوِيلِهِۦۖ وَمَا يَعۡلَمُ تَأۡوِيلَهُۥٓ إِلَّا ٱللَّهُۗ وَٱلرَّـٰسِخُونَ فِي ٱلۡعِلۡمِ يَقُولُونَ ءَامَنَّا بِهِۦ كُلّٞ مِّنۡ عِندِ رَبِّنَاۗ وَمَا يَذَّكَّرُ إِلَّآ أُوْلُواْ ٱلۡأَلۡبَٰبِ
d. 11:2. (close)
369. Muhkam means, (1) that which has been made secure from change or alteration; (2) that in which there is no ambiguity or possibility of doubt; (3) that which is clear in meaning and decisive in exposition and (4) a verse which embodies a teaching special to the Qur’an (Mufradat & Lane). (close)
370. Umm means, (1) mother; (2) source or origin or basis of a thing; (3) anything which is a means of sustenance and support or of reformation and correction for another; (4) anything to which other things around it are linked (Aqrab & Mufradat). (close)
e. 39:24. (close)
371. Mutashabih is used about (1) that phrase, sentence or verse which is susceptible of different, though concordant, interpretations; (2) that whose parts resemble or are concordant with one another; (3) that whose true significance bears a similarity to a sense which is not meant; (4) that of which the true meaning is known only by referring it to what is termed Muhkam; (5) that which cannot be rightly understood without repeated consideration; (6) a verse which contains teaching corresponding to or resembling those contained in the previous revealed Scriptures (Mufradat). (close)
a. 7:54; 18:79. (close)
372. Ta’wil means, (1) interpretation or explanation; (2) conjecture about the meaning of a speech or writing; (3) turning away a speech or writing from its right interpretation; (4) interpretation of a dream; (5) end, result or sequel of a thing (Lane). In this verse the word occurs twice; in the former place it gives the second or the third meaning, while in the latter it gives the first or the fifth meaning. (close)
b. 4:163. (close)
373. The verse lays down the golden rule that, in order to prove a controversial point, the decisive and clearly worded parts of a Scripture should be taken into consideration, and if these are found to contradict the construction put upon a certain ambiguous passage that passage should be so interpreted as to make it harmonize with the decisive and clearly worded parts of the text. According to the verse, the Qur’an has two sets of verses. Some are Muhkam (firm and decisive in meaning) and others Mutashabih (capable of different interpretations). The right way to interpret a Mutashabih verse is that only such interpretation of it should be accepted as agrees with the verses that are Muhkam. In 39:24 the whole of the Qur’an is called Mutashabih and in 11:2 all the Quranic verses have been described as Muhkam. This should not be taken as contradicting the verse under comment, according to which some verses of the Qur’an are Muhkam and others Mutashabih. So far as the real significance of the Quranic verses is concerned the whole of the Qur’an is Muhkam, in that all its verses contain decisive and eternal truths. In another sense, however, the whole of the Qur’an is Mutashabih inasmuch as the Quranic verses have been so worded as to give at one and the same time, several meanings equally true and good. The Qur’an is also Mutashabih (mutually resembling) in the sense that there is no contradiction or inconsistency in it, its different verses supporting one another. But parts of it are certainly Muhkam and others Mutashabih for different readers according to their knowledge, mental make up and natural capacities, as the present verse points out. As regards prophecies, those that are couched in plain and direct language, susceptible of only one meaning, would be regarded as Muhkam and those that are described in figurative or metaphorical language, capable of more than one interpretation, would be regarded as Mutashabih. The prophecies described in metaphorical language should, therefore, be interpreted in the light of the prophecies that are clearly and literally fulfilled and also in the light of the basic and fundamental principles of Islam. For Muhkam prophecies, the reader is referred to 58:22; whereas 28:86 contains a Mutashabih prophecy. The term Muhkam may also be applied to such verses as embody full and complete commandments while Mutashabih verses are those which give only part of a certain commandment, and are required to be read in conjunction with other verses to make a complete injunction. Muhkamat (decisive verses) generally deal with the Law and the doctrines of Faith, while Mutashabihat generally deal with topics of secondary importance or describe incidents in the lives of Prophets or the history of peoples and, while so doing, sometimes make use of idioms and phrases capable of different meanings. Such verses should not be so interpreted as to contradict the clearly worded tenets of the Faith. It may be noted here that the use of metaphors, the main basis of Mutashabih verses in religious Scriptures, is necessary in order to assure vastness of meaning in the fewest of words, to add beauty and grace to the style, and to provide for the people a trial without which spiritual development and perfection are not possible. (close)
a. 11:2. (close)
b. 39:24. (close)
c. 7:54; 18:79. (close)
d. 4:163. (close)
299. Important Words:
محکمات (decisive in meaning) is derived from احکم which again is derived from حکم which means, he decided or he judged; he prevented or restrained or withheld. احکمه means, he rendered it firm, stable and secure; he restrained it. Hence محکم means: (1) that which has been made secure from change or alteration; (2) that in which there is no ambiguity or possibility of doubt; (3) that which is clear in meaning and decisive in exposition (Aqrab, Mufradat & Lane).
ام (basis) is the noun-infinitive from ام (amma), i.e. he aimed at or sought or took himself to. ام possesses a variety of meanings some of which are: (1) mother; (2) source or origin or basis of a thing; (3) anything which is a means of sustenance and support or of reformation and correction for another; (4) anything to which other things surrounding it are linked (Aqrab & Mufradat).
متشابھات (susceptible of different interpretations) is the plural of متشابھة which is derived from شبه. They say شبھه به i.e. he made it to be like that; he likened it to that. شبه علیه الامر means, he rendered the affair confused or obscure or ambiguous to him. تشابه الرجلان means, the two men were so like each other that it was difficult to distinguish one from the other. متشابهmeans, mutually resembling. Thus the expressions متشابھه is used about (1) that phrase, sentence or verse which is susceptible of different, though concordant, interpretations; or (2) that whose parts resemble or are concordant with one another; or (3) that whose true significance bears a similarity to a sense which is not meant; or (4) that of which the true meaning is known only by referring it to what is termed محکم (decisive); or (5) that which cannot be rightly understood without repeated consideration (Aqrab, Lane & Mufradat).
زیغ (perversity) is the noun-infinitive from زاغ which means, he declined or deviated, or turned aside from the right course. So زیغ means, deviation from the truth or the right course; crookedness; doubt. ازاغه means, he made him deviate from the right course (Aqrab & Mufradat).
تاویله (its interpretation). تاویل is the noun-infinitive from اول which is derived from آل i.e. he or it turned or returned. اولهmeans, he caused it or him to turn or return. اول الکلام means, he interpreted or explained the speech or writing. اول الرؤیاmeans, he interpreted the dream. تاویل means, (1) interpretation or explanation; (2) conjecture about the meaning of a speech or writing; (3) turning away a speech or writing from its right interpretation; (4) interpretation of a dream; (5) end, result or sequel of a thing (Lane & Aqrab). In the present verse the word تاویل occurs twice, the first-mentioned تاویلgiving the second or the third meaning, while the second-mentioned gives the first or the fifth meaning.
الراسخون (firmly grounded) is the plural of الراسخ which is derived from رسخ i.e. he or it was or became firm, stable or established. رسخ الشیءmeans, the thing became firmly established. رسخ العلم فی قلبه means, knowledge became firmly established, or sank deep, in his heart. الراسخ فی العلم is one whose knowledge is extensive and deep-rooted, being firmly established and based on sure ground (Aqrab & Mufradat).
The verse, which was revealed when a party of Christians from Najran visited the Holy Prophet in Medina (Jarir), serves a fourfold purpose: (1) it gives the genesis of the later Christian doctrines and explains how the true original doctrines became perverted; (2) it tells how the critics of Islam, particularly the Christians, distort true Islamic teachings in order to find an excuse for attacking Islam; (3) it warns Muslims to take a lesson from the history of Christians; and (4) it supplies a sure and trustworthy principle of interpreting revealed Books, or, for that matter, any writing or speech, in a right manner.
What proved the perversion of the Christian faith was that expressions like "Son of God" etc. used metaphorically were taken literally and the simple and straightforward faith of Jesus was transformed out of all recognition, the متشابهbeing given the place of محکم.
Again, it is on record that when the party of Christians, referred to above, visited the Holy Prophet and had a discussion with him on the godhead of Jesus, they, like clever casuists, who when it suits their purpose tear a passage from its context and then base their arguments on it, asked the Holy Prophet if the words کلمة الله (word of God) and روح(spirit) were used about Jesus in the Quran, and, receiving an answer in the affirmative, joyfully exclaimed that the divinity of Jesus was thereby proved. They did not care to ponder over the explanation of these words in their context, which did not at all bear out the sense which they thought they possessed. It is to such objectionable practices that allusion is made in this verse, which lays down the golden rule that, in order to prove a controversial point, the decisive and clearly worded parts of a Scripture should be taken into consideration, and that if they are found to contradict the construction put upon a certain ambiguous passage quoted in support of an argument, that interpretation should be rejected and the passage should be so interpreted as to make it harmonize with the decisive and clearly worded parts of the text.
This golden rule should always be observed whenever it is required to interpret or explain a passage which is susceptible of several interpretations and is not easily comprehensible. Its observance is all the more necessary when a seemingly difficult and knotty verse of the Quran is sought to be explained. Any interpretation which clashes with other verses of the Quran and runs counter to the clearly worded parts thereof should be rejected and only that interpretation which is in harmony with its basic principles should be accepted.
According to the verse, the Quran has two sets of verses. Some are محکم (decisive in meaning) and others متشابه(capable of different interpretations). The right way to interpret a متشابه verse is that only such interpretation of it should be accepted as agrees with the verses that are محکم and all other interpretations should be dismissed as incorrect. It is on record that one day the Holy Prophet, on hearing people disputing about the interpretation of certain verses of the Quran, angrily said: "Thus were ruined those who have gone before you. They interpreted certain parts of their scriptures in such a manner as to make them contradict other parts. But the Quran has been so revealed that different parts of it should corroborate one another. So do not reject any truth by making one part contradict the other. Act on what you understand thereof and refer that which you do not understand to those who know and understand it" (Musnad).
The above hadith also refutes the theory of abrogation, for it speaks of the Quran as a Book of which all parts corroborate one another and condemns those who think that some of its verses contradict others. To Ahmad, the Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, goes the credit of exploding the so-called abrogation theory. He and his disciples have given convincing explanations of those verses which were previously regarded as abrogated.
It may be noted here that in 39:24 the whole Quran is called متشابه and in 11:2 all the Quranic verses have been described as محکم. This should not be taken as contradicting the verse under comment, according to which some verses of the Quran are محکم and others متشابه. The apparent in-consistency is easily explained. So far as the real significance of the Quranic verses is concerned the whole of the Quran is محکم (decisive), inasmuch as all its verses contain decisive and eternal truths. In another sense, however, the whole of the Quran is متشابه inasmuch as the Quranic verses have been so worded as to give, at one and the same time, several meanings equally true and good. The Quran is also متشابه (i.e.mutually resembling) in the sense that there is no contradiction or inconsistency in it, its different verses affording support to one another. But parts of it are certainly محکم or متشابه for different readers according to their mental and spiritual capacities, as the present verse points out.
As regards prophecies, those that are couched in plain and direct language, susceptible of only one meaning, would be regarded as محکم and those that are described in figurative or metaphorical language, capable of more than one interpretation, would be regarded as متشابه. The prophecies described in metaphorical language should, therefore, be interpreted in the light of the prophecies that have been clearly and literally fulfilled and also in the light of the basic and fundamental principles of Islam. For an example of محکم prophecies, the reader is referred to 58:22; whereas 28:86 contains a متشابه prophecy.
The term محکم may also be applied to such verses as embody full and complete commandments while متشابه verses are those which give only part of a certain commandment, and require to be read in conjunction with other verses to make a complete injunction.
Moreover, محکمات (decisive verses) generally deal with the Law and the doctrines of Faith, while متشابھات generally deal with topics of secondary importance or describe incidents in the lives of Prophets or the history of peoples and, while so doing, sometimes make use of idioms and phrases capable of different meanings. Such verses should not be so interpreted as to contradict the clear-worded tenets of the Faith.
The Arabic clause which has been translated as and none knows its right interpretation except Allah and those who are firmly grounded in knowledge; they say, ‘We believe in it; the whole is from our Lord', may be rendered in two ways, according as the pause is made after the word الله (Allah) or after the word العلم (knowledge). If the pause is made after العلم (knowledge), the clause would be translated as above and the term would in this case apply to verses pertaining to events of the past or verses containing general exhortation. If, however, the pause is made after الله (Allah), the term متشابھات would refer to prophecies of which the real interpretation is known to God only. In this case the clause would be translated as, "and none knows its interpretation except Allah; and those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say, "We believe in it, the whole is from our Lord". Grammatically, both constructions are correct.
Finally, it may be noted that the use of metaphors, the main basis of متشابھات verses, in religious scriptures is necessary; (1) to assure vastness of meaning in the fewest of words; (2) to add beauty and grace to the style; and (3) to provide for the people a trial (ابتلاء) without which spiritual development and perfection is not possible. (close)
رَبَّنَا لَا تُزِغۡ قُلُوۡبَنَا بَعۡدَ اِذۡ ہَدَیۡتَنَا وَ ہَبۡ لَنَا مِنۡ لَّدُنۡکَ رَحۡمَۃً ۚ اِنَّکَ اَنۡتَ الۡوَہَّابُ ﴿۹﴾
رَبَّنَا لَا تُزِغۡ قُلُوبَنَا بَعۡدَ إِذۡ هَدَيۡتَنَا وَهَبۡ لَنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحۡمَةًۚ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ ٱلۡوَهَّابُ
374. The right knowledge of the Qur’an is vouchsafed only to those who are pure of heart (56:80). (close)
300. Important Words:
الوھاب (Bestower) is derived from وھب i.e. he gave or he bestowed. وھب له مالا means, he gave or bestowed property on him. ھبة which is the noun-infinitive from وھب means: (1) the act of giving a person something without receiving anything in return; (2) the thing so given. الوھاب which is the intensive form of واھب (giver) means, one who gives greatly and extensively (Aqrab). The word is used about God because He gives to each and every one of His creatures according to his deserts and none is overlooked (Mufradat).
The verse, which comprises a very important prayer, comes as a fitting sequel to the preceding verse. It points out the great truth that not unoften a people receive a favour or blessing from God, which sometimes later proves a means of stumbling for them. They abuse the favour of God or misinterpret divine guidance and thus bring about their ruin. This is what happened to the Christians; and Muslims are warned to be watchful against this source of error and ever to pray to God to protect them against it. See also 1:7.
The verse also hints that dissension and straying away from the truth would be the lot of Muslims if they subordinated decisive verses to those ambiguous, and fundamentals to matters of secondary importance. This is why the Holy Prophetsaused to recite this prayer constantly, which fact implied an instruction to his followers to do the same. Indeed, there could be no greater tragedy than, having once found the right path, to go astray, and, having once received Divine favour, to become the object of His anger.
The verse also draws attention to the fact that the error of interpreting متشابھات in a manner which is at variance with محکمات (see preceding verse) can only be avoided through the purification of the heart and through prayer. The right knowledge of the Quran is vouchsafed only to those who are pure of heart. In this connection see also 56:80. (close)
رَبَّنَاۤ اِنَّکَ جَامِعُ النَّاسِ لِیَوۡمٍ لَّا رَیۡبَ فِیۡہِ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ لَا یُخۡلِفُ الۡمِیۡعَادَ ﴿۱۰﴾٪
رَبَّنَآ إِنَّكَ جَامِعُ ٱلنَّاسِ لِيَوۡمٖ لَّا رَيۡبَ فِيهِۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُخۡلِفُ ٱلۡمِيعَادَ
a. 3:26; 4:88; 45:27. (close)
a. 3:26; 4:88; 45:27. (close)
301. Important Words:
جامع (wilt assemble) is derived from جمع i.e. he collected or he assembled. جمع الشیء means, he assembled and arranged the thing. God is called جامع because He will bring together all men on the Day of Judgement and will give them their reward or punishment as they deserve. The central mosque of a town is also called جامع because people gather there for Prayers, particularly for Friday Prayer from the entire neighbourhood. جمعة (Friday) is also so called because on that day people assemble for the weekly worship (Taj & Aqrab).
المیعاد (promise) is derived from وعد i.e. he promised. Generally وعد means, he promised a good thing; and اوعد means, he threatened with something evil. میعاد means, time or place of promise or appointment (Aqrab). It also means, promise (Lane).
The prayer contained in the preceding verse becomes all the more essential because man has to give an account of his actions before God on the Day of Reckoning when He will bring together men of all ages and all lands. An examination is a very hard thing but it becomes harder still if held in the presence of a gathering comprising the whole of mankind. (close)
اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا لَنۡ تُغۡنِیَ عَنۡہُمۡ اَمۡوَالُہُمۡ وَ لَاۤ اَوۡلَادُہُمۡ مِّنَ اللّٰہِ شَیۡئًا ؕ وَ اُولٰٓئِکَ ہُمۡ وَقُوۡدُ النَّارِ ﴿ۙ۱۱﴾
إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ لَن تُغۡنِيَ عَنۡهُمۡ أَمۡوَٰلُهُمۡ وَلَآ أَوۡلَٰدُهُم مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ شَيۡـٔٗاۖ وَأُوْلَـٰٓئِكَ هُمۡ وَقُودُ ٱلنَّارِ
375. As all these verses have particular reference to Christians the word "disbelievers" occurring in the verse under comment may apply to them. (close)
b. 3:117; 58:18; 92:12; 111:3. (close)
a. 3:117; 58:18; 92:12; 111:3. (close)
302. Important Words:
لن تغنی (shall not avail) is derived from غنی i.e. he became free from want; or he was in a state of competence or sufficiency; or he became rich. اغناہ means, he made him free from want; or put him in a state of sufficiency or competence; or he made him rich. ما یغنی عنك ھذا means, this shall not suffice or satisfy thee; or shall not stand thee in good stead; or shall not avail or profit thee (Taj).
As these verses have particular reference to Christians, the word "disbelievers" occurring in this verse may apply to them. Thus the verse contains a great prophecy; for though at the time of its revelation Christians were not strong or numerous, yet the time was to come when they were destined to be so. Indeed, they became the wealthiest people in the whole world and their progeny has spread over entire continents. But that cannot protect them from God’s punishment. Their very wealth and number have become the cause of their destruction and, as predicted in the verse, they are now being punished with fire in the form of shots, shells and incendiary bombs. The verse may also refer to the Day of Judgement, spoken of in the preceding verse, when nothing shall avail the Christian nations against the punishment of God.
The verse may also apply to the infidels of Mecca, all of whose efforts against the Holy Prophet came to naught, whose wealth fell into Muslim hands and whose children joined the fold of Islam in large numbers. In this case "fire" would mean either the fire of Hell or the fire of war which they themselves had kindled against Islam but which finally proved their own ruin. (close)
کَدَاۡبِ اٰلِ فِرۡعَوۡنَ ۙ وَ الَّذِیۡنَ مِنۡ قَبۡلِہِمۡ ؕ کَذَّبُوۡا بِاٰیٰتِنَا ۚ فَاَخَذَہُمُ اللّٰہُ بِذُنُوۡبِہِمۡ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ شَدِیۡدُ الۡعِقَابِ ﴿۱۲﴾
كَدَأۡبِ ءَالِ فِرۡعَوۡنَ وَٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلِهِمۡۚ كَذَّبُواْ بِـَٔايَٰتِنَا فَأَخَذَهُمُ ٱللَّهُ بِذُنُوبِهِمۡۗ وَٱللَّهُ شَدِيدُ ٱلۡعِقَابِ
c. 8:53, 55. (close)
376. Da’b means, habit, custom or manner; case, affair or condition (Aqrab). (close)
a. 8:53, 55. (close)
303. Important Words:
دأب (case) is the noun-infinitive from دأب. They say دأب فی العمل i.e. (1) he laboured and strove hard and exerted and wearied himself in the work; (2) he remained constant in it. دأب means, working hard and constantly; habit, custom or manner; case, affair or condition (Aqrab).
In the previous verse disbelievers were warned that their wealth and their numbers would prove of no avail against God’s punishment. The present verse points to the fact that this warning was no idle threat. Disbelievers in the past had met with a similar fate. Just as the efforts of Pharaoh and his people against Moses proved futile and their wealth, numbers and power could not save them from destruction, so would the endeavours of those who rejected the Holy Prophet not only fail to retard the progress of Islam but would pave the way for their own ruin. (close)
قُلۡ لِّلَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا سَتُغۡلَبُوۡنَ وَ تُحۡشَرُوۡنَ اِلٰی جَہَنَّمَ ؕ وَ بِئۡسَ الۡمِہَادُ ﴿۱۳﴾
قُل لِّلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ سَتُغۡلَبُونَ وَتُحۡشَرُونَ إِلَىٰ جَهَنَّمَۖ وَبِئۡسَ ٱلۡمِهَادُ
d. 8:37; 54:46. (close)
b. 8:37; 54:46. (close)
304. Important Words:
تحشرون (gathered) is derived from حشر i.e. he gathered. حشر الناس means, he gathered together the people; he forced them to migrate, i.e. he banished them. حشر الجمع means, he drove the gathering from one place to another. حشرت الوحوش means, the animals were gathered and made to depart; they died or perished. یوم الحشر means, the Day of Congregation, i.e. of Resurrection (Aqrab).
مھاد (place of rest) is derived from مھد. They say مھد الفراش i.e. he spread and made even, (i.e. prepared) the bedding. مھادmeans, bed; bedding; a low-lying piece of land (Aqrab).
The verse speaks of the end of the disbelievers. Islam will triumph over them in this world; and in the next Hell will be their abode. (close)