فَبَعَثَ اللّٰہُ غُرَابًا یَّبۡحَثُ فِی الۡاَرۡضِ لِیُرِیَہٗ کَیۡفَ یُوَارِیۡ سَوۡءَۃَ اَخِیۡہِ ؕ قَالَ یٰوَیۡلَتٰۤی اَعَجَزۡتُ اَنۡ اَکُوۡنَ مِثۡلَ ہٰذَا الۡغُرَابِ فَاُوَارِیَ سَوۡءَۃَ اَخِیۡ ۚ فَاَصۡبَحَ مِنَ النّٰدِمِیۡنَ ﴿ۚۛۙ۳۲﴾
فَبَعَثَ ٱللَّهُ غُرَابٗا يَبۡحَثُ فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِ لِيُرِيَهُۥ كَيۡفَ يُوَٰرِي سَوۡءَةَ أَخِيهِۚ قَالَ يَٰوَيۡلَتَىٰٓ أَعَجَزۡتُ أَنۡ أَكُونَ مِثۡلَ هَٰذَا ٱلۡغُرَابِ فَأُوَٰرِيَ سَوۡءَةَ أَخِيۖ فَأَصۡبَحَ مِنَ ٱلنَّـٰدِمِينَ
739. Commentators differ as to whether the incident of the raven did actually happen or it is only a parable. It is not improbable that an incident of this nature might have actually occurred. Study of the ways and habits of birds has led to many useful discoveries. See Gen. 4:1-15; and 'The Jerusalem Targum.' (close)
Commentators differ as to whether the incident of the raven mentioned in the present verse was an actual fact or whether it is merely meant as a parable. It is not at all improbable that an incident of this nature might have actually occurred. The study of the ways and habits of birds has led to many useful discoveries. For the Biblical story of the two sons of Adam see Gen. 4:1-15 also the Jerusalem Targum. (close)
مِنۡ اَجۡلِ ذٰلِکَ ۚۛؔ کَتَبۡنَا عَلٰی بَنِیۡۤ اِسۡرَآءِیۡلَ اَنَّہٗ مَنۡ قَتَلَ نَفۡسًۢا بِغَیۡرِ نَفۡسٍ اَوۡ فَسَادٍ فِی الۡاَرۡضِ فَکَاَنَّمَا قَتَلَ النَّاسَ جَمِیۡعًا ؕ وَ مَنۡ اَحۡیَاہَا فَکَاَنَّمَاۤ اَحۡیَا النَّاسَ جَمِیۡعًا ؕ وَ لَقَدۡ جَآءَتۡہُمۡ رُسُلُنَا بِالۡبَیِّنٰتِ ۫ ثُمَّ اِنَّ کَثِیۡرًا مِّنۡہُمۡ بَعۡدَ ذٰلِکَ فِی الۡاَرۡضِ لَمُسۡرِفُوۡنَ ﴿۳۳﴾
مِنۡ أَجۡلِ ذَٰلِكَ كَتَبۡنَا عَلَىٰ بَنِيٓ إِسۡرَـٰٓءِيلَ أَنَّهُۥ مَن قَتَلَ نَفۡسَۢا بِغَيۡرِ نَفۡسٍ أَوۡ فَسَادٖ فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِ فَكَأَنَّمَا قَتَلَ ٱلنَّاسَ جَمِيعٗا وَمَنۡ أَحۡيَاهَا فَكَأَنَّمَآ أَحۡيَا ٱلنَّاسَ جَمِيعٗاۚ وَلَقَدۡ جَآءَتۡهُمۡ رُسُلُنَا بِٱلۡبَيِّنَٰتِ ثُمَّ إِنَّ كَثِيرٗا مِّنۡهُم بَعۡدَ ذَٰلِكَ فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِ لَمُسۡرِفُونَ
740. What is hinted at in the verse is that an incident similar to that of the two sons of Adam mentioned here but of much greater import was to take place later. There was to appear among the brethren of the Israelites a Prophet. This fact was to enrage the Israelites against that Prophet and they were to become thirsty for his blood on account of envy, even as Cain had become thirsty for the blood of his brother Abel. The Prophet was to be no ordinary soul. He was to be a World-Reformer, ordained to bring the eternal Law for all mankind whose entire future depended on him, and therefore slaying him was equivalent to slaying the whole of mankind, and the preservation of his life was, as it were, the preservation of the whole of mankind. (close)
a. 7:102; 9:70; 14:10; 40:23. (close)
a. 7:102; 9:70; 14:10; 40:23. (close)
This verse draws a great moral from the simple incident related in the foregoing verses. The incident of the two sons of Adam had a parallel in the history of nations, as hinted in the words, On account of this We prescribed for the Children of Israel, etc. If the incident simply related to "the two sons of Adam" it had obviously no direct bearing on the Israelites.
As a matter of fact, what is hinted at is that an incident similar to that of the two sons of Adam mentioned here, but of much greater import, was to take place later. There was to appear among the brethren of the Israelites a Prophet whose offering God was to favour with acceptance, while that of his brethren, the Israelites, was to be rejected owing to their impiety and lack of righteousness. This was to enrage the Israelites against that Prophet and they were to become thirsty for his blood on account of envy, even as Cain had become thirsty for the blood of his brother Abel. The story of Cain and Abel was, therefore, intended, as hinted in the opening words of this verse, to serve as a warning for the Israelites. The Prophet meant to be raised from among the brethren of the Israelites was to be no ordinary soul. He was to be a World-Reformer ordained to bring the eternal Law for mankind whose entire future depended on him and, therefore, his slaying was equivalent to the slaying of the whole of mankind, and the preservation of his life was, as it were, the preservation of the life of the whole of mankind. This great soul had killed no person, nor had it created disorder in the land.
The advent of this Prophet was foretold in the Bible (Deut. 18:18-22), and therein it was also announced that God would demand requital of those who did not hearken to this Prophet. (close)
اِنَّمَا جَزٰٓؤُا الَّذِیۡنَ یُحَارِبُوۡنَ اللّٰہَ وَ رَسُوۡلَہٗ وَ یَسۡعَوۡنَ فِی الۡاَرۡضِ فَسَادًا اَنۡ یُّقَتَّلُوۡۤا اَوۡ یُصَلَّبُوۡۤا اَوۡ تُقَطَّعَ اَیۡدِیۡہِمۡ وَ اَرۡجُلُہُمۡ مِّنۡ خِلَافٍ اَوۡ یُنۡفَوۡا مِنَ الۡاَرۡضِ ؕ ذٰلِکَ لَہُمۡ خِزۡیٌ فِی الدُّنۡیَا وَ لَہُمۡ فِی الۡاٰخِرَۃِ عَذَابٌ عَظِیۡمٌ ﴿ۙ۳۴﴾
إِنَّمَا جَزَـٰٓؤُاْ ٱلَّذِينَ يُحَارِبُونَ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُۥ وَيَسۡعَوۡنَ فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِ فَسَادًا أَن يُقَتَّلُوٓاْ أَوۡ يُصَلَّبُوٓاْ أَوۡ تُقَطَّعَ أَيۡدِيهِمۡ وَأَرۡجُلُهُم مِّنۡ خِلَٰفٍ أَوۡ يُنفَوۡاْ مِنَ ٱلۡأَرۡضِۚ ذَٰلِكَ لَهُمۡ خِزۡيٞ فِي ٱلدُّنۡيَاۖ وَلَهُمۡ فِي ٱلۡأٓخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ
b. 9:107. (close)
741. Islam does not hesitate to take extreme measures when the interests of the State or society at large so demand to uproot a dangerous evil. It refuses to pander to the false sentiments of emotional visionaries but follows the dictates of reason and sound judgment while prescribing punishment for public offences. The punishment prescribed here is of four categories, the form of the punishment to be inflicted in a particular case would depend upon the attending circumstances. Awarding or imposition of punishment is the concern of Government and not that of any individual. The words "expelled from the land" according to Imam Abu Hanifah signify imprisonment. (close)
a. 9:107. (close)
The verse has two applications. Figuratively it applies to the People of the Book who, by rejecting the Prophet from among their brethren (see the preceding verse), were, as it were, waging war against God. The punishment which the verse prescribes for them finds a fitting illustration in their history. Taken in its apparent sense, the verse lays down the different forms of punishment that may be meted out to those who wage war against innocent Muslims, killing and slaying them and creating disorder in the land.
The object underlying the injunction embodied in the words, their hands and their feet be cut off on alternate sides, is, on the one hand, to disable the culprit from carrying on a war of aggression, and on the other, to leave him fit enough to earn his living by doing some work. The cutting off of the hand and the foot on the same side would leave the victim utterly helpless. The verse also shows that Islam does not hesitate to take extreme measures to uproot an evil when the interests of society or the State demand it. Islam is not a religion of false sentiments but of sound judgement and true reason. See also the next verse. (close)
اِلَّا الَّذِیۡنَ تَابُوۡا مِنۡ قَبۡلِ اَنۡ تَقۡدِرُوۡا عَلَیۡہِمۡ ۚ فَاعۡلَمُوۡۤا اَنَّ اللّٰہَ غَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِیۡمٌ ﴿٪۳۵﴾
إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ تَابُواْ مِن قَبۡلِ أَن تَقۡدِرُواْ عَلَيۡهِمۡۖ فَٱعۡلَمُوٓاْ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَفُورٞ رَّحِيمٞ
a. 4:18. (close)
742. This and the preceding verse refer not to ordinary dacoits and robbers but to rebels and those miscreants who make aggressive war upon the Muslim State, as is clear from the words, who wage war against Allah and His Messenger. The inference finds further support from the fact that the present verse promises amnesty to offenders if they repent. But obviously those who commit heinous offences against individuals or society, such as dacoits, robbers and thieves, cannot, in ordinary circumstances, be pardoned by the State even if they repent. They must suffer the penalty of their evil deeds as prescribed by the Law. Surely, repentance may secure for them pardon from God, but the powers of the State are limited in this respect. Political offenders, however, may be forgiven if they repent and desist from further acts of rebellion and other offences against the State (close)
b. 4:18. (close)
This and the preceding verse refer, not to ordinary dacoits and robbers, as is wrongly assumed by some, but to rebels and those miscreants who make aggressive war upon the Muslim State, as is clear from the words, who wage war against Allah and His Messenger. This inference finds further support from the fact that the present verse promises amnesty to offenders if they repent. But obviously those who commit heinous offences against individuals or against society, such as dacoits, robbers and thieves, cannot, in ordinary circumstances, be pardoned by the State even if they repent. They must suffer the penalty of their wicked deeds as prescribed by the Law. Surely, repentance may secure for them pardon from God, but the powers of the State are limited in this respect. Political offenders, however, may be forgiven if they repent and desist from further acts of rebellion and other offences against the State. (close)
یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللّٰہَ وَ ابۡتَغُوۡۤا اِلَیۡہِ الۡوَسِیۡلَۃَ وَ جَاہِدُوۡا فِیۡ سَبِیۡلِہٖ لَعَلَّکُمۡ تُفۡلِحُوۡنَ ﴿۳۶﴾
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَٱبۡتَغُوٓاْ إِلَيۡهِ ٱلۡوَسِيلَةَ وَجَٰهِدُواْ فِي سَبِيلِهِۦ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تُفۡلِحُونَ
b. 17:58. (close)
743. Wasilah signifies, a means of access to a thing; honourable rank with a king; degree; affinity, a tie or connection (Lane). The word does not mean "an intermediary between God and man." This latter meaning is not only unsupported by the usage of the Arabic language, but is also opposed to the Qur’an and the sayings of the Holy Prophet. The prayer after the usual 'Call to Prayer' includes the words, "O God! Give Muhammad Wasilah," meaning that God may vouchsafe to the Prophet increasing nearness to Himself, and not that the Prophet may have someone to act as intermediary between him and God. (close)
c. 9:41; 22:79. (close)
a. 17:58. (close)
b. 9:41; 22:79. (close)
671. Important Words:
الوسیلة (way of approach) is the noun-infinitive from وسل. They say وسل الی الله بعمل i.e. he did a deed by which he became near to God. وسل الیه بکذا means, he sought to bring himself near to him, or to approach or gain access to him, or to advance himself in his favour. وسیلة therefore, signifies, a means of access to a thing; a means of becoming near to, or intimate with, a thing or person; honourable rank with a king; degree; affinity; a tie or connection (Lane).
It is wrong to interpret the word الوسیلة as meaning "an intermediary between man and God"; such an interpretation is not only unsupported by the usage of the Arabic language, but is also opposed to the teachings of the Quran and the sayings of the Holy Prophet. The Quran says that those whom people invoke beside God and whom they desire to make intermediaries between themselves and God, in order to attain His nearness, are themselves in need of attaining His nearness (17:58). The Holy Prophet is also reported to have said: "Ask for وسیلة(nearness of God) for me", i.e. pray to God that He may grant me His special nearness. The prayer after the usual call to Prayer includes the words, "O God! give Muhammad wasilah", meaning that God may vouchsafe to the Prophet increasingly greater nearness to Himself, and not that he may have someone to act as intermediary between him and God. The words that follow, viz. strive in His way, also point to the same interpretation; for they describe the means by which the nearness of God may be attained. (close)
اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا لَوۡ اَنَّ لَہُمۡ مَّا فِی الۡاَرۡضِ جَمِیۡعًا وَّ مِثۡلَہٗ مَعَہٗ لِیَفۡتَدُوۡا بِہٖ مِنۡ عَذَابِ یَوۡمِ الۡقِیٰمَۃِ مَا تُقُبِّلَ مِنۡہُمۡ ۚ وَ لَہُمۡ عَذَابٌ اَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۳۷﴾
إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ لَوۡ أَنَّ لَهُم مَّا فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِ جَمِيعٗا وَمِثۡلَهُۥ مَعَهُۥ لِيَفۡتَدُواْ بِهِۦ مِنۡ عَذَابِ يَوۡمِ ٱلۡقِيَٰمَةِ مَا تُقُبِّلَ مِنۡهُمۡۖ وَلَهُمۡ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٞ
d. 13:19; 39:48. (close)
a. 13:19; 39:48. (close)
یُرِیۡدُوۡنَ اَنۡ یَّخۡرُجُوۡا مِنَ النَّارِ وَ مَا ہُمۡ بِخٰرِجِیۡنَ مِنۡہَا ۫ وَ لَہُمۡ عَذَابٌ مُّقِیۡمٌ ﴿۳۸﴾
يُرِيدُونَ أَن يَخۡرُجُواْ مِنَ ٱلنَّارِ وَمَا هُم بِخَٰرِجِينَ مِنۡهَاۖ وَلَهُمۡ عَذَابٞ مُّقِيمٞ
The word مقیم rendered here as "lasting" does not mean "never ending" but simply very long and not merely transitory. See also 11:108, 199. (close)
وَ السَّارِقُ وَ السَّارِقَۃُ فَاقۡطَعُوۡۤا اَیۡدِیَہُمَا جَزَآءًۢ بِمَا کَسَبَا نَکَالًا مِّنَ اللّٰہِ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ عَزِیۡزٌ حَکِیۡمٌ ﴿۳۹﴾
وَٱلسَّارِقُ وَٱلسَّارِقَةُ فَٱقۡطَعُوٓاْ أَيۡدِيَهُمَا جَزَآءَۢ بِمَا كَسَبَا نَكَٰلٗا مِّنَ ٱللَّهِۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٞ
744. Whereas in this verse the words the man who steals have been put before the words the woman who steals because stealing is more common among men than among women, in 24:3 the word fornicatress precedes the word fornicator because the guilt of fornication can more easily be proved against women than against men. This arrangement of words shows that there exists not only an intelligent order in the verses of the Qur’an, as shown elsewhere, but also an intelligent order in its words. The punishment prescribed for stealing may appear to be too severe. But human experience shows that punishment, if it is to be deterrent, should be exemplary. It is better to be severe to one and save a thousand than to be indulgent to all and ruin many. He certainly is a good surgeon who does not hesitate to amputate a rotten limb to save the whole body. In the heyday of Islam there were extremely rare cases of the cutting of hands of thieves because the punishment prescribed was deterrent and was put in force. Even today incidents of theft are very rare in Arabia where punishment for theft prescribed by the Qur’an is in force. In order to arrive at a right understanding of the nature of this punishment, it is necessary to know both the literal and metaphorical use of the two words used here, viz. Qat’ and Yad. The Arabic expression Qata‘a-hu bil-Hujjati, means, he silenced him with argument (Lane). And Yad among other things means, the power and capacity to do a certain thing. Thus the phrase, Qata‘a Yada-hu, metaphorically means, he deprived him of the power to do the thing; or he restrained him from doing it. See also 12:32. In view of this signification of the two words the Arabic expression used in the verse may mean, "deprive them of the power to commit theft or employ any practical means calculated to restrain them from committing theft." Taking the verse literally the punishment prescribed in the verse is maximum punishment, and maximum punishment is awarded in extreme cases only, the lesser punishment being the adoption of any practical means by which the offender is deprived of the capacity of, or restrained from, committing the offence. In awarding the punishment the nature and scope of all the attending circumstances are also to be taken into consideration. Moreover, the use of the word as-Sariq which is a noun (instead of the verb Saraqa—he stole) implying the sense of intensiveness signifies an habitual thief or one addicted to theft, is worthy of special consideration. Scholars differ as to the amount of money or property stolen for which the prescribed punishment is to be imposed. Whereas according to some traditions it is three dirhams or a quarter of a dinar, according to others the hand is not to be cut off for stealing fruit on a tree or when theft is committed in the course of journey (Dawud). Imam Abu Hanifah holds it to be ten dirhams, while Imam Malik and Imam Shafi’i consider three dirhams to be the least amount. This disagreement among theologians shows that much discretion is left to the judge who awards the punishment regarding its form and scope. (close)
In this verse the words, the man who steals, have been put before the words, the woman who steals, because stealing is more common among men than among women, while in 24:3 the word fornicatress precedes the word fornicator because the guilt of fornication is generally more easily proved against women than against men. This arrangement of words shows that there exists not only an intelligent order in the verses of the Quran, as shown elsewhere, but also an intelligent order in its words as well.
The punishment prescribed for a thief in this verse may appear to be too severe in the sight of those who are swayed by false sentiments. But the experience of the world shows that punishment, if it is to be deterrent, should be severe and exemplary. It is better to be severe to one and save a thousand than to be indulgent to all and ruin many. The God of Islam would not make Muslims spoilt children. When Islam was in power, there were very few cases of the cutting-off of the hands of thieves for the obvious reason that in view of the deterrent punishment prescribed by Islam there were very few cases of theft. Nowadays, however, when false sentiment prevails, thieves are given a light punishment, with the result that cases of theft are appallingly on the increase. He is certainly not a good surgeon who hesitates to amputate a rotten limb and thereby destroys the whole body.
As for the definition of the word ید (hand) ‘Ali, Son-in-law and Fourth Successor of the Holy Prophet, holds that only the fingers of a thief are to be cut off (Ma‘ani, vol. ii, p. 304); while most scholars are of the view that the hand is to be cut off at the wrist.
Theologians differ as to the least amount of money or property stolen for which the prescribed punishment is to be inflicted. Imam Abu Hanifah held it to be ten dirhams, while Imam Malik and Imam Shafi‘i considered three dirhams or a quarter of a dinar to be the least amount, dirham and dinar being old silver and gold coins respectively. Both the above views are based on different interpretations of the sayings of the Holy Prophet.
A dirham or a drachm (dram) is believed to be one-sixteenth part of an oz. in avoirdupois weight or one-eighth part of an ounce in apothecaries weight, while a dinar is equal to 71 and a half barley-corns (Lane and New Standard Dictionary). (close)
فَمَنۡ تَابَ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ ظُلۡمِہٖ وَ اَصۡلَحَ فَاِنَّ اللّٰہَ یَتُوۡبُ عَلَیۡہِ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ غَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِیۡمٌ ﴿۴۰﴾
فَمَن تَابَ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ ظُلۡمِهِۦ وَأَصۡلَحَ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَتُوبُ عَلَيۡهِۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَفُورٞ رَّحِيمٌ
a. 6:55; 20:83; 25:72. (close)
a. 6:55; 20:83; 25:72. (close)
اَلَمۡ تَعۡلَمۡ اَنَّ اللّٰہَ لَہٗ مُلۡکُ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضِ ؕ یُعَذِّبُ مَنۡ یَّشَآءُ وَ یَغۡفِرُ لِمَنۡ یَّشَآءُ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ عَلٰی کُلِّ شَیۡءٍ قَدِیۡرٌ ﴿۴۱﴾
أَلَمۡ تَعۡلَمۡ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَهُۥ مُلۡكُ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ يُعَذِّبُ مَن يَشَآءُ وَيَغۡفِرُ لِمَن يَشَآءُۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيۡءٖ قَدِيرٞ
b. 5:19; 48:15. (close)
745. Expressions like these do not mean that the Divine Government of the universe is arbitrary and is based on no system or law. They are intended to point out that God being the Final Authority in the universe, His Word is the law, there being no appeal or redress against His decrees. (close)
Expressions like, He punishes whom He pleases and forgives whom He pleases, do not mean that the divine government of the universe is arbitrary and is based on no system or law. Such expressions are only intended to point out that, God being the final authority in the universe, His word is the law, there being no appeal against His orders. So man should be extremely careful in following His wish and carrying out His commandments. But, as God has Himself ordained, "His mercy surpasses or outweighs His anger" (Bukhari), and the universe is governed by "set laws of good and evil" (Muslim, ch. on Iman). (close)