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Surah Ma’idah (1-30)
Qur'anic Exegesis
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi
(Tr. by:Dr. Shehzad Saleem)

 

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ أَوْفُواْ بِالْعُقُودِ أُحِلَّتْ لَكُم بَهِيمَةُ الأَنْعَامِ إِلاَّ مَا يُتْلَى عَلَيْكُمْ غَيْرَ مُحِلِّي الصَّيْدِ وَأَنتُمْ حُرُمٌ إِنَّ اللّهَ يَحْكُمُ مَا يُرِيدُ (١)

Believers, fulfill [all] your promises [made with your Lord].1 It is lawful for you2 to eat the flesh of all beasts which are cattle3 except those which are being informed of. In the state of ihrām do not allow [to yourselves] hunting of animals.4 [This is the decree of God]. God decrees what He intends.5 (1)

 

 

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ لاَ تُحِلُّواْ شَعَآئِرَ اللّهِ وَلاَ الشَّهْرَ الْحَرَامَ وَلاَ الْهَدْيَ وَلاَ الْقَلآئِدَ وَلا آمِّينَ الْبَيْتَ الْحَرَامَ يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلاً مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَرِضْوَانًا وَإِذَا حَلَلْتُمْ فَاصْطَادُواْ وَلاَ يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ أَن صَدُّوكُمْ عَنِ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ أَن تَعْتَدُواْ وَتَعَاوَنُواْ عَلَى الْبرِّ وَالتَّقْوَى وَلاَ تَعَاوَنُواْ عَلَى الإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ إِنَّ اللّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ (٢)

Believers! Do not violate the sha‘ā’ir6 of God, or the sacred months, or the animals of hadī7 or [specifically those among them] who are marked with collars of vow or those people who have set out for the House to seek God’s grace and pleasure. Once you take off your ihrām you are free to hunt. Some people had stopped you from coming to the Sacred House. [Now that they have accepted faith] your animosity against them should not incite you so much that you cross the limits of the Almighty. [No, abide by these limits come what may8] and help one another in what is virtuous and pious and not in what is sinful and oppressive. And have fear of God because God is stern in retribution.9  (2)

 

 

حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَيْتَةُ وَالْدَّمُ وَلَحْمُ الْخِنْزِيرِ وَمَا أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ اللّهِ بِهِ وَالْمُنْخَنِقَةُ وَالْمَوْقُوذَةُ وَالْمُتَرَدِّيَةُ وَالنَّطِيحَةُ وَمَا أَكَلَ السَّبُعُ إِلاَّ مَا ذَكَّيْتُمْ وَمَا ذُبِحَ عَلَى النُّصُبِ وَأَن تَسْتَقْسِمُواْ بِالأَزْلاَمِ ذَلِكُمْ فِسْقٌ الْيَوْمَ يَئِسَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ مِن دِينِكُمْ فَلاَ تَخْشَوْهُمْ وَاخْشَوْنِ الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الإِسْلاَمَ دِينًا فَمَنِ اضْطُرَّ فِي مَخْمَصَةٍ غَيْرَ مُتَجَانِفٍ لِّإِثْمٍ فَإِنَّ اللّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ (٣)

Prohibited10 to you is the meat of dead animals,11 blood,12  the flesh of swine,13 and that on which Allah’s Name has not been invoked while slaughtering, and [also subsumed under this directive of prohibition] is an animal which has been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by the goring of horns and that also which has been eaten by a wild animal14 unless you are able to slaughter it [before its death].15 And [similarly also forbidden to you are animals] slaughtered at the stone altars and [forbidden also] is the division [of meat] by arrows of gambling.16  [You should that] all these are acts of disobedience to God. These disbelievers have now lost hope in your religion.17 So [with regard to these prohibitions] have no fear of them; fear Me. This day18 I have completed your religion for you19 and completed My favour to you and have chosen Islam as your religion.20 [Hence follow my directives]. Then he who is constrained by hunger is compelled to eat any of these things not intending to commit sin, then God forgiving and merciful.21 (3)

 

يَسْأَلُونَكَ مَاذَا أُحِلَّ لَهُمْ قُلْ أُحِلَّ لَكُمُ الطَّيِّبَاتُ وَمَا عَلَّمْتُم مِّنَ الْجَوَارِحِ مُكَلِّبِينَ تُعَلِّمُونَهُنَّ مِمَّا عَلَّمَكُمُ اللّهُ فَكُلُواْ مِمَّا أَمْسَكْنَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَاذْكُرُواْ اسْمَ اللّهِ عَلَيْهِ وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ إِنَّ اللّهَ سَرِيعُ الْحِسَابِ (٤)

They ask you what is lawful for them.22 Say: “All good things are lawful to you23 as well as [the prey of] the hunting animals24 you have taught, training them from the knowledge Allah has taught you.25 So eat of what they catch for you26 and [before you let lose the animal to catch the prey], pronounce upon it the name of Allah.27 And have fear of Allah. swift is He in taking account.”  (4)

 

الْيَوْمَ أُحِلَّ لَكُمُ الطَّيِّبَاتُ وَطَعَامُ الَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ الْكِتَابَ حِلٌّ لَّكُمْ وَطَعَامُكُمْ حِلُّ لَّهُمْ وَالْمُحْصَنَاتُ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ وَالْمُحْصَنَاتُ مِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ الْكِتَابَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ إِذَا آتَيْتُمُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُنَّ مُحْصِنِينَ غَيْرَ مُسَافِحِينَ وَلاَ مُتَّخِذِي أَخْدَانٍ وَمَن يَكْفُرْ بِالإِيمَانِ فَقَدْ حَبِطَ عَمَلُهُ وَهُوَ فِي الآخِرَةِ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ (٥)

All clean things have this day been made lawful to you.28 [Consequently,] the food to whom the Book was given is lawful to you and yours to them.29 [Similarly, once the bounds and limits of [polytheism and monotheism have become evident] lawful to you are the chaste women of the Muslims and also the chaste women from among the People of the Book before you30 when you give them their dowers with the condition that you desire chastity not lewdness nor becoming secret paramours. [Always keep your faith pure] and [do remember that] they who reject faith31 shall gain nothing from their labours. And in the world to come they will be among the losers. (5)

 

 

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ إِذَا قُمْتُمْ إِلَى الصَّلاةِ فاغْسِلُواْ وُجُوهَكُمْ وَأَيْدِيَكُمْ إِلَى الْمَرَافِقِ وَامْسَحُواْ بِرُؤُوسِكُمْ وَأَرْجُلَكُمْ إِلَى الْكَعْبَينِ وَإِن كُنتُمْ جُنُبًا فَاطَّهَّرُواْ وَإِن كُنتُم مَّرْضَى أَوْ عَلَى سَفَرٍ أَوْ جَاء أَحَدٌ مَّنكُم مِّنَ الْغَائِطِ أَوْ لاَمَسْتُمُ النِّسَاء فَلَمْ تَجِدُواْ مَاء فَتَيَمَّمُواْ صَعِيدًا طَيِّبًا فَامْسَحُواْ بِوُجُوهِكُمْ وَأَيْدِيكُم مِّنْهُ مَا يُرِيدُ اللّهُ لِيَجْعَلَ عَلَيْكُم مِّنْ حَرَجٍ وَلَـكِن يُرِيدُ لِيُطَهَّرَكُمْ وَلِيُتِمَّ نِعْمَتَهُ عَلَيْكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ (٦)

Believers! [This very purity is also needed to come in the presence of God. So] when you rise to pray, wash your faces and your hands as far as the elbows, and wipe your heads and wash your feet to the ankle also.32 And if you are [ceremonially] unclean, bathe yourselves.33 But if [at times] you are sick or on a journey, or when, you have relieved yourselves34 or have had intercourse with women, no water is available to you, find some clean surface and wipe your faces and your hands from it.35 God does not wish to burden you; He seeks only to purify you. [Thus He makes it mandatory on you to do wuḍū and take the ceremonial bath] and [wants to] perfect His favour to you. [So in compelling circumstances allows you do dry ablution] so that you show gratitude. (6)

 

 

وَاذْكُرُواْ نِعْمَةَ اللّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَمِيثَاقَهُ الَّذِي وَاثَقَكُم بِهِ إِذْ قُلْتُمْ سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ إِنَّ اللّهَ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ (٧) يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُونُواْ قَوَّامِينَ لِلّهِ شُهَدَاء بِالْقِسْطِ وَلاَ يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ عَلَى أَلاَّ تَعْدِلُواْ اعْدِلُواْ هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَى وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ إِنَّ اللّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ (٨) وَعَدَ اللّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ الصَّالِحَاتِ لَهُم مَّغْفِرَةٌ وَأَجْرٌ عَظِيمٌ (٩) وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ وَكَذَّبُواْ بِآيَاتِنَا أُوْلَـئِكَ أَصْحَابُ الْجَحِيمِ (١٠) يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اذْكُرُواْ نِعْمَتَ اللّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ هَمَّ قَوْمٌ أَن يَبْسُطُواْ إِلَيْكُمْ أَيْدِيَهُمْ فَكَفَّ أَيْدِيَهُمْ عَنكُمْ وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ وَعَلَى اللّهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ (١١)

[Benefit from this concession] and keep in remembrance God’s favour to you,36 and also the covenant37 with which He bound you when you said: “We have heard and we are obedient.” [Keep it in remembrance] and have fear of God. Indeed, God knows the secrets of the hearts. Believers! Be those who adhere to justice by bearing witness to it for God. And your animosity for a people should not induce you to turn away from justice. Be just; this is nearer to piety. And have fear of God;38 indeed, God is well aware of all your deeds. Believers! [It is the requisite of this covenant that you] stand up for God bearing witness to justice and your animosity for a people should not induce you to turn away from justice. Be just; this is nearer to piety. And have fear of God; indeed, God is well aware of all your deeds. God has promised those that have embraced faith and done righteous deeds forgiveness and a great reward. [On the contrary] those who are disbelievers and have denied Our revelations, it is they who shall go to Hell. Believers! [And] remember also this favour which God bestowed upon you when He restrained39 the hands of a people40 who sought to harm you and keep fearing God. [And remember] the believers should put their trust in God only. (7-11)

 

 

وَلَقَدْ أَخَذَ اللّهُ مِيثَاقَ بَنِي إِسْرَآئِيلَ وَبَعَثْنَا مِنهُمُ اثْنَيْ عَشَرَ نَقِيبًا وَقَالَ اللّهُ إِنِّي مَعَكُمْ لَئِنْ أَقَمْتُمُ الصَّلاَةَ وَآتَيْتُمُ الزَّكَاةَ وَآمَنتُم بِرُسُلِي وَعَزَّرْتُمُوهُمْ وَأَقْرَضْتُمُ اللّهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا لَّأُكَفِّرَنَّ عَنكُمْ سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ وَلأُدْخِلَنَّكُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الأَنْهَارُ فَمَن كَفَرَ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ مِنكُمْ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ سَوَاء السَّبِيلِ (١٢) فَبِمَا نَقْضِهِم مِّيثَاقَهُمْ لَعنَّاهُمْ وَجَعَلْنَا قُلُوبَهُمْ قَاسِيَةً يُحَرِّفُونَ الْكَلِمَ عَن مَّوَاضِعِهِ وَنَسُواْ حَظًّا مِّمَّا ذُكِّرُواْ بِهِ وَلاَ تَزَالُ تَطَّلِعُ عَلَىَ خَآئِنَةٍ مِّنْهُمْ إِلاَّ قَلِيلاً مِّنْهُمُ فَاعْفُ عَنْهُمْ وَاصْفَحْ إِنَّ اللّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ (١٣)

[In a similar manner], God had taken a covenant from the Israelites as well [and to protect it] deputed on them twelve chiefs41 from among them. God took this promise from them: “I shall be with you.42 If you diligently adhere to the prayer, pay the zakāh and acknowledge my messengers43 and help them and keep giving a generous loan44 to God, then you should rest assured that I shall brush away your mistakes45 and admit you to gardens watered by running streams. Then even after this [covenant] those of you who disbelieve46 [should know that] they have strayed from the straight path. So because they broke their covenant We cursed them47 and hardened their hearts. [Now their situation is that] they sever words from their context and occasion and have forgotten that through which they were reminded.48 And [it is a result of this that] every now and then a news of one fraud of theirs or the other comes to your notice. Very few of them do not indulge in this.49 [You can expect nothing good from them now]. So [O Prophet!] keep forgiving them50 [and remember that] God likes those who show goodness. (12-13)

 

وَمِنَ الَّذِينَ قَالُواْ إِنَّا نَصَارَى أَخَذْنَا مِيثَاقَهُمْ فَنَسُواْ حَظًّا مِّمَّا ذُكِّرُواْ بِهِ فَأَغْرَيْنَا بَيْنَهُمُ الْعَدَاوَةَ وَالْبَغْضَاء إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ وَسَوْفَ يُنَبِّئُهُمُ اللّهُ بِمَا كَانُواْ يَصْنَعُونَ (١٤)

[In a similar manner,] We took a covenant with those also who said: “We are Nazarenes.”51 Then they too forgot a part of that through which they had been reminded. Therefore We stirred among them enmity and hatred, which shall endure till the Day of Judgement.52 [They are burning in it]. And soon God will inform them of what they have been doing. (14)

 

 

يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ قَدْ جَاءكُمْ رَسُولُنَا يُبَيِّنُ لَكُمْ كَثِيرًا مِّمَّا كُنتُمْ تُخْفُونَ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَيَعْفُو عَن كَثِيرٍ قَدْ جَاءكُم مِّنَ اللّهِ نُورٌ وَكِتَابٌ مُّبِينٌ (١٥) يَهْدِي بِهِ اللّهُ مَنِ اتَّبَعَ رِضْوَانَهُ سُبُلَ السَّلاَمِ وَيُخْرِجُهُم مِّنِ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ بِإِذْنِهِ وَيَهْدِيهِمْ إِلَى صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ (١٦)

People of the Book! Our Messenger has come to reveal to you much of what you have been hiding of the Book of God,53 and is also ignoring many things.54 A light has come to you from God that is a Book [which] explains [everything related to religion]. Through it God guides to the paths of peace those who seek to please Him; and through His grace and blessing55 leads them from the vastness of darkness to light and guides them to a straight path. (15-16)

 

 

لَّقَدْ كَفَرَ الَّذِينَ قَآلُواْ إِنَّ اللّهَ هُوَ الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ قُلْ فَمَن يَمْلِكُ مِنَ اللّهِ شَيْئًا إِنْ أَرَادَ أَن يُهْلِكَ الْمَسِيحَ ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ وَأُمَّهُ وَمَن فِي الأَرْضِ جَمِيعًا وَلِلّهِ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاء وَاللّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ (١٧)

There is no doubt that those who declare: “God is Messiah, the son of Mary,” have committed disbelief.56 Ask them: “Who can prevent God, if He so willed, from killing the Messiah, the son of Mary, his mother, and all the people of the earth?”57 [No one can influence his decisions because] God has sovereignty over the heavens and the earth and all the lies between them. He creates whatever He wills, and God has power over all things.58 (17)

 

 

وَقَالَتِ الْيَهُودُ وَالنَّصَارَى نَحْنُ أَبْنَاء اللّهِ وَأَحِبَّاؤُهُ قُلْ فَلِمَ يُعَذِّبُكُم بِذُنُوبِكُم بَلْ أَنتُم بَشَرٌ مِّمَّنْ خَلَقَ يَغْفِرُ لِمَن يَشَاء وَيُعَذِّبُ مَن يَشَاء وَلِلّهِ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا وَإِلَيْهِ الْمَصِيرُ (١٨)

These Jews and the Christians say: “We are the sons of God and His loved ones.”59 Tell them: “Why has He been punishing you for your sins?60 [Certainly not!] in fact, You are mortals created by Him. He will forgive whom He wants [from among you] and punishes [according to His law] whom He wants.61 [No one can influence His decisions because] the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth and all that lies between them belongs to Him. And [each of you] shall return to Him.62 (18)

 

 

يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ قَدْ جَاءكُمْ رَسُولُنَا يُبَيِّنُ لَكُمْ عَلَى فَتْرَةٍ مِّنَ الرُّسُلِ أَن تَقُولُواْ مَا جَاءنَا مِن بَشِيرٍ وَلاَ نَذِيرٍ فَقَدْ جَاءكُم بَشِيرٌ وَنَذِيرٌ وَاللّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ (١٩)

People of the Book! This Messenger of Ours has come to you after an interval which saw no messengers and is explaining [religion to you from all aspects], lest you say: “No one has come to us to deliver glad tidings and warnings.” So see that a deliverer of glad tidings and warnings has come to you. [If you do not believe in him you will not be able to save yourself from God’s grasp. He will definitely seize you.] And God has power over all things. (19)

 

 

وَإِذْ قَالَ مُوسَى لِقَوْمِهِ يَا قَوْمِ اذْكُرُواْ نِعْمَةَ اللّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ جَعَلَ فِيكُمْ أَنبِيَاء وَجَعَلَكُم مُّلُوكًا وَآتَاكُم مَّا لَمْ يُؤْتِ أَحَدًا مِّن الْعَالَمِينَ (٢٠) يَا قَوْمِ ادْخُلُوا الأَرْضَ المُقَدَّسَةَ الَّتِي كَتَبَ اللّهُ لَكُمْ وَلاَ تَرْتَدُّوا عَلَى أَدْبَارِكُمْ فَتَنقَلِبُوا خَاسِرِينَ (٢١) قَالُوا يَا مُوسَى إِنَّ فِيهَا قَوْمًا جَبَّارِينَ وَإِنَّا لَن نَّدْخُلَهَا حَتَّىَ يَخْرُجُواْ مِنْهَا فَإِن يَخْرُجُواْ مِنْهَا فَإِنَّا دَاخِلُونَ (٢٢) قَالَ رَجُلاَنِ مِنَ الَّذِينَ يَخَافُونَ أَنْعَمَ اللّهُ عَلَيْهِمَا ادْخُلُواْ عَلَيْهِمُ الْبَابَ فَإِذَا دَخَلْتُمُوهُ فَإِنَّكُمْ غَالِبُونَ وَعَلَى اللّهِ فَتَوَكَّلُواْ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ (٢٣) قَالُواْ يَا مُوسَى إِنَّا لَن نَّدْخُلَهَا أَبَدًا مَّا دَامُواْ فِيهَا فَاذْهَبْ أَنتَ وَرَبُّكَ فَقَاتِلا إِنَّا هَاهُنَا قَاعِدُونَ (٢٤)

[O People of the Book! Fear the consequences of your crimes] and bear in mind the incident when Moses said to his people: “Think, my people, of the favour which God has bestowed upon you: He has raised up prophets among you, made you kings,63 and gave you that which He has given to no other nation.”64 O People of My Nation! [for this] enter the holy land65 which God has ordained for you. And do not turn back; otherwise you lose everything.”66 They replied: “Moses! Very powerful people dwell here; we shall not set foot in it till they go away. Yes, if they go away, we shall definitely enter it.”67 From among their God-fearing men there were two whom God had favoured;68 they said: “Enter you upon the people [of this city] by forcing yourselves in through the gate. When you enter it, you will be victorious, and trust God if you believe in Him.69 But they again said: “Moses! As long as they are there, we shall never enter it. So, go, you and your Lord, and fight; we shall stay here.”70 (20-24)

 

 

قَالَ رَبِّ إِنِّي لا أَمْلِكُ إِلاَّ نَفْسِي وَأَخِي فَافْرُقْ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَ الْقَوْمِ الْفَاسِقِينَ (٢٥) قَالَ فَإِنَّهَا مُحَرَّمَةٌ عَلَيْهِمْ أَرْبَعِينَ سَنَةً يَتِيهُونَ فِي الأَرْضِ فَلاَ تَأْسَ عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْفَاسِقِينَ (٢٦)

At this Moses prayed: “I have no authority on anyone except on my own self and my brother; so separate us from these insolent people.71 [God] replied: “If this is the case, then this land shall be forbidden to them for forty years; they shall keep wandering about in the land. So [now] do not lament on these insolent.” 72  (25-26)

 

 

وَاتْلُ عَلَيْهِمْ نَبَأَ ابْنَيْ آدَمَ بِالْحَقِّ إِذْ قَرَّبَا قُرْبَانًا فَتُقُبِّلَ مِن أَحَدِهِمَا وَلَمْ يُتَقَبَّلْ مِنَ الآخَرِ قَالَ لَأَقْتُلَنَّكَ قَالَ إِنَّمَا يَتَقَبَّلُ اللّهُ مِنَ الْمُتَّقِينَ (٢٧) لَئِن بَسَطتَ إِلَيَّ يَدَكَ لِتَقْتُلَنِي مَا أَنَاْ بِبَاسِطٍ يَدِيَ إِلَيْكَ لَأَقْتُلَكَ إِنِّي أَخَافُ اللّهَ رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ (٢٨) إِنِّي أُرِيدُ أَن تَبُوءَ بِإِثْمِي وَإِثْمِكَ فَتَكُونَ مِنْ أَصْحَابِ النَّارِ وَذَلِكَ جَزَاء الظَّالِمِينَ (٢٩)

[O Prophet! In your enmity, they are now bent upon creating disorder]. Narrate to them in all truth73 the tale74 of Adam’s two sons when each of them offered an animal for sacrifice; then the offering of one was accepted75 while that of the other was not. [The he whose offering had not been accepted] said: “I will surely kill you.”76 The other replied: “God accepts the offerings of only those of His servants who fear Him.77 If you raise your hand to kill me, I [will not take the initiative] to raise my hand to kill you. I fear God, Lord of the worlds.78 I want that [if you have decided to kill me then] you bear the burden of your own sin and that of mine79 and be among the companions of Hell. This is the punishment of such unjust people. (27-29)

 

 

فَطَوَّعَتْ لَهُ نَفْسُهُ قَتْلَ أَخِيهِ فَقَتَلَهُ فَأَصْبَحَ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ (٣٠) فَبَعَثَ اللّهُ غُرَابًا يَبْحَثُ فِي الأَرْضِ لِيُرِيَهُ كَيْفَ يُوَارِي سَوْءةَ أَخِيهِ قَالَ يَا وَيْلَتَا أَعَجَزْتُ أَنْ أَكُونَ مِثْلَ هَـذَا الْغُرَابِ فَأُوَارِيَ سَوْءةَ أَخِي فَأَصْبَحَ مِنَ النَّادِمِينَ (٣١)

[Even this did not stop him and] his soul finally prompted him to kill his brother80 and after killing him he became one of those who have procured loss.81 Then God sent a raven that would claw the earth to show him how to bury the corpse of his brother.82  Seeing this, he cried: “Woe be to me! I could not even be like this raven so that I may have just hidden my brother’s corpse.” So he was very ashamed [on this].83  (30-31)

 

(Translated from al-Bayān by Dr Shehzad Saleem)

 

 

1. These refer to the promises a believer after embracing faith makes with His Lord to obey the directives of the sharī‘ah.

2. In other words, their allowance has been made evident and all those restrictions have been lifted which people had imposed on them because of some superstition or because of some tradition of an earlier scripture.

3.The Qur’ānic words used are: بَهِيمَةُ الأَنْعَامِ. In the Arabic language, the word أَنْعَام is used for goats, sheep, cows and camels. The annexure of بَهِيمَةُ  towards it has incorporated in it the beasts belonging to the genre of أَنْعَام like for example the deer.

4. The Qur’ānic words used are: غَيْرَ مُحِلِّي الصَّيْدِ وَأَنتُمْ حُرُمٌ. The implication is that all cattle are allowed to Muslims on the condition that they should not allow hunting animals to themselves while they are wearing the ihrām. This directive was exactly the same in nature as that was given to the Jews about observing the Sabbath.

5. Such directives are given to test and try people. The betterment they hold for human beings is not evident. Hence until a person firmly believes that God is the absolute sovereign and that no directive of His is without some wisdom and betterment, no one can fully comply with them faithfully.

6. This word is the plural of sha‘īrah (شَعِيْرَة) and means “a symbol”. In religious parlance, they connote certain manifestations which have been fixed by Allah and His Prophet (sws) to ingrain the comprehension of certain realities in our minds. Examples include hajr-i aswad, istilām and ramī.

7. This word refers to the sacrificial animals which are taken to the haram to be presented to God.

8. The implied meaning is that these are the sanctities ordained by God and taking the initiative in violating them is a grave sin. In no circumstances should this happen. An attack on the Sacred House is an attack on the House of God; harming the animals which are marked for sacrifice to God and the people who have travelled to seek the bounty and pleasure of their Lord is like going after God. Hence, even animosity towards a nation should not lead Muslims to violate the limits in this regard. It should remain clear to them that the Almighty is stern in retribution for those who break promises and covenants – promises which He had made with people as a favour and as a means to grant them dominance

9. This sentence emphasizes from another aspect what is said earlier. Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, while elaborating upon it, writes:

… i.e. it is not a befitting attitude for the group who had been created by God to establish virtue and piety that on being infuriated by the excesses committed by others starts committing such excesses itself. If it does so, it would mean that it has co-operated in a sin and a transgression and in fact by this act furthered the evil worked by the miscreants whereas the objective of this group was nothing but to co-operate in virtue and piety. (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 2, 455)

10. From here onwards are the details of what is prohibited as referred to earlier by the words: إِلاَّ مَا يُتْلَى عَلَيْكُمْ (except those which are being informed of) .

11. The Qur’ānic word used is: الْمَيْتَةُ (al-maytah). It is mentioned in these directives according to its usage in the Arabic language. No doubt, it has a literal meaning; however, its usage in the Arabic language does not include all the dead, as is the case with its Urdu usage. In such a case, it becomes confined to a certain specific meaning, and anyone who is aware of this intricacy, for example, will never include dead fish or dead locust in its connotation

12. In verse 146 of Sūrah An‘ām, the words دَمًا مَسْفُوحًا are used. Their meaning is the same as is understood in the light of their linguistic usage. Though it can be said that spleen and liver are in fact nothing but blood, yet usage of the word entails that they not be included in its connotation. The adjective مَسْفُوحًا (poured forth) which qualifies blood shows that the blood which is left in the blood vessels of the animal is an exception to this directive.

13. The pig is a quadruped beast of the same genre as the goat, sheep, cow and cattle; however, it consumes meat like other carnivores. Should it then be considered forbidden or not? The Almighty has explained through His prophets that it should be considered among the carnivores and shall be regarded as prohibited.

14. The directive of prohibition mentioned earlier about مَيْتَه (maytah: the dead) could have  raised a question in the minds of some people: Should an animal which died some sort of an accidental death also be classified as maytah just like an animal which dies a natural death is classified so? The Qur’ān answered this question by saying that there is no difference between the two: both are forms of maytah.

15. The actual words are: إِلَّا مَا ذَكَّيْتُمْ (except if you slaughter it in the prescribed way). After detailing out maytah it is evident from these words that the only form of death that does not make an animal maytah is تَذْكِيَه (tadhkiyah). Tadhkiyah is a sunnah established by the Prophets of Allah and as a term means to inflict a wound on the animal with something in such a way that it drains out all the blood in the animal’s body and the animal dies because of this. It is only this method of killing an animal which cleanses its meat from the impurity of blood. The correct methodology for tadhkiyah is ذِبْح (dhibh) or نَحْر (nahr). Dhibh specifically concerns the cow, goat and similar animals, while nahr specifically relates to the camel and animals similar to it. Dhibh means to cut the throat of an animal such that the gullet and the throat is slit open or to cut the throat and the jugular veins. Nahr means to pierce the throat of the animal with a sharp edged weapon like a spear so that blood bursts out from the wound and the animal dies because of blood loss..

16. Earlier, an animal slaughtered in someone other than God’s name is regarded as prohibited. In verse 146 of Sūrah An‘ām, it is explained that the reason for the prohibition of such meat is not the رِجْس (apparent impurity) of the animal but the فِسْق (defiance) of the person who slaughters the animal. Since slaughtering an animal while invoking the name of someone other than Allah is an idolatrous practice, it has been termed as فِسْق (defiance), which is a form of an impurity pertaining to one’s beliefs. Consequently, sense and reason demand that anything which contains such impurity should be analogously included in this prohibition. So on this principle, the Qur’ān has prohibited both these things. The words used for them are:وَمَا ذُبِحَ عَلَى النُّصُبِ وَأَنْ تَسْتَقْسِمُوا بِالْأَزْلَامِ ذَلِكُمْ فِسْقٌ (3:5). While explaining this verse, Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī writes:

Nusub mean stone altars on which sacrifices and offerings are made. There were several such altars in Arabia where sacrifices were offered to please numerous deities, demons and the jinn. The Qur’ān has also prohibited such a slaughtered animal. It is evident from the words of the Qur’ān that the real reason for their prohibition is merely to please a deity or to seek its nearness – it is of no consequence whether the name of Allah has been invoked or not in such cases. If this prohibition was owing to the fact that the name of someone other than Allah has been invoked during sacrifice, then there was no need to mention it separately since such a prohibition has already been mentioned earlier in أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ اللَّهِ بِهِ وَمَا. In my opinion, also included in the sphere of this prohibition are the various sacrifices offered in tombs and mausoleums to earn the pleasure of the departed person buried in the grave or tomb. At the time of slaughter, whether the name of Allah is invoked or that of the person buried in the grave or tomb, the real reason of prohibition is not this invocation but the place at which the slaughter takes place.

The word اِسْتِقْسَام (istiqsām) means to look up one’s share or to find out about one’s fate and future. The word اَزْلَام (azlām) means arrows of divination or gambling. The practice of seeking divination from arrows was in vogue in Arabia, through which people would try to find out fates ordained for them. Similarly, the practice of gambling on arrows was also in vogue in Arabia through which people would procure pieces of meat or some other thing. I have already pointed out in my commentary on Sūrah Baqarah under verse 219 that people would gather at various places, drink liquor and in their state of inebriation slaughter any camels they could get hold of. They would pay the owner of the camels whatever price he demanded. They would then gamble on the meat of the slaughtered camels. Whatever parts of meat a person won in this gambling, he would cook and eat them and drink liquor; they would also generously distribute them among the poor who would gather around on such occasions. At times, fights and brawls would ensue in such gatherings as a result of inebriation which would result in inter-tribal battles that would last for years and cause a lot of bloodshed. I think that the words وَأَنْ تَسْتَقْسِمُوا بِالْأَزْلَامِ of the verse actually refer to this second category. (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 2, 456)

17. This refers to the fact that they have lost hope in being able to harm your religion.

18. The word “this day” does not refer to some particular day but to the time period in which this sūrah was revealed.

19. The implication is that the religion which began with the first revelation to Muhammad (sws) has now been completed.

20. In other words, God has chosen Islam and not Judaism or Christianity because they are not religions of God; they are deviations from the religion of God.

21. The implication is that only in compelling circumstances is one allowed to benefit from these forbidden items and that too with the conditions that a person neither craves for them nor crosses the bounds by going beyond his essential need. Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī writes:

The word مخمصة means “hunger”. To be constrained by hunger means that a person reaches the state that he is left with no other option but to eat prohibited items if he is to survive. In these circumstances, he is allowed to benefit from any of the prohibited items in order to save his life. This condition is imposed by the word غَيْرَ مُتَجَانِفٍ which at other places is mentioned by the words  غير باغ و لاعادwhich imply that neither should he eat such items with the fondness of heart, nor should he eat more than what is essentially required. The condition mentioned in the word مخمصة shows that where other alternatives exist the excuse that halal meat is not available, as is the case in parts of the US and the UK, is not justifiable enough to benefit from prohibited items. Meat is not essential to keep a person alive. Other forms of food can not only keep a person alive but also give him good health and vitality. The condition implied by the words غَيْرَ مُتَجَانِفٍ لِإِثْمٍ shows that a concession is a concession, and what is prohibited is prohibited in every form. Neither should a prohibited thing become a sought after and cherished item nor a concession an eternal permission to benefit from. Consequently, it is stressed that one should only benefit from prohibited edibles to combat compelling circumstances. If a person takes into consideration these conditions and then benefits from a prohibited item to save his life, the Merciful Lord would indeed forgive him. However, if he takes undue advantage of this permission by having a relishing meal from it, then he should be ready to face its consequences, for this would not be a legitimate excuse on his part when he stands up on the Day of Judgement to give his account to the Almighty. (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 2, 458)

22. This question arose because in the earlier verses certain things which one could have regarded as allowable had been prohibited. One example of this is an animal that has been cut open by a beast. When it was clarified that it was only allowed to be eaten if it is found alive and then slaughtered in the prescribed way, some questions arose about the prey of animals trained for hunting. In this situation, people asked that it would be appropriate if they were told what was allowed to them.

23. The actual word is: الطَّيِّبَاتُ. It is the opposite of الخَبَائِث. The implication is that all those things are allowable which because of the their temperament and nature are in congruence with humanity and which are regarded as appropriate to be eaten by all those who have a refined taste except if the Almighty through His prophets has corrected some mistake of it.

24. The Qur’ānic word used is الْجَوَارِحِ. It refers to animals trained for hunting regardless of whether they are beasts or birds.

25. The implication is that the very tact the Almighty has taught man to discipline and regulate his instincts is instilled by man in animals by training them.

26. This is the answer to the question which arises from the condition إِلَّا مَا ذَكَّيْتُمْ (except if you slaughter it in the prescribed way) mentioned in earlier verses: cutting open of an animal by a tamed beast of prey is tantamount to tadhkiyah, and therefore it can be eaten even if it has not be slaughtered in the prescribed way with one condition: the tamed beast of prey has preserved the prey for his master and has not eaten from it. In case it has, then such an animal should not be eaten. This condition is stated in the words مِمَّا أَمْسَكْنَ عَلَيْكُمْ (what they have preserved for you). The word إِمساك means “to withhold and hold back”. If the preposition عَلى  is used with it, the meaning “specifically” is incorporated into it.

27. The Qur’ānic words used are: وَاذْكُرُواْ اسْمَ اللّهِ عَلَيْهِ. The antecedent of the pronoun in عَلَيْهِ (on it) is وَمَا عَلَّمْتُمْ مِنْ الْجَوَارِحِ (and [the prey of] the beasts you have taught). The reason for this is that if مِمَّا أَمْسَكْنَ (that which has been caught) is considered to be the antecedent, then this would merely be a repetition of what has already been stated earlier in the words إِلَّا مَا ذَكَّيْتُمْ (except if you slaughter it in the prescribed way), and if the antecedent is related to فَكُلُوْا (so eat), then it would pertain to the normal etiquette of eating, which of course would be totally out of place here.

28. This means that after clarifying doubts regarding any unclean edibles all clean things have been made lawful for Muslims and all those restrictions regarding edibles have been lifted which either the Jews had imposed on themselves or had been imposed on them by God due to their arrogance and haughtiness.

29. The implied meaning is that after the lawful and unlawful, clean and unclean have been made evident in every way no fear remains that Muslims will be stained with what is unlawful and unclean. Hence the clean among edibles whether eaten at their own tables or those at the People of the Book, are lawful. So much so, an animal slaughtered by one or the other while pronouncing the name of God on it is lawful to both. If the People of the Book do not accept this, it is their misfortune. The Almighty, by making the food of the Muslims lawful to the People of the Book, has fulfilled the promise He had made with the latter and has lifted all the restrictions which had been imposed on them because of their rebelliousness. Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī writes:

… if they did not duly value it, then this was their own misfortune and deprivation. Why would God not fulfill His promise because of their wrong attitude? The sun shines whether a person opens his eyes or keeps them shut. The fresh air of the morning wants to surround every person who breathes because of its trait to reach out to each and every person; but the unfortunate and the wretched who close their nostrils and mouths are deprived of it. In a similar manner, the favour which the Almighty wanted to bless all the world with through this ummah was presented by Him before the whole world by Him and the People of the Book were invited to benefit from it. If they did not do so, then this is their own misfortune. (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 2, 464)

30. In verse 221 of Sūrah Baqarah, the Almighty has said that neither can Muslims wed women who are Idolaters nor can they wed their own women to the Idolaters. This directive which related to the Idolaters of Arabia by analogy could also have related to the Jews and Christians because the Jews and Christians of the Prophet’s times were also deeply incriminated with the filth of polytheism both in their beliefs and in their deeds. However, since they were basically monotheists, the Almighty was lenient to the Muslims and allowed marriage to their chaste women. It is evident from the context of the verse that this permission was given when no confusion or doubt remained between monotheism and polytheism and between what was lawful and unlawful. It should be kept in mind that the verse quoted above begins with the word اَلْيَوْم (this day). It is evident from this word that this permission had a lot to do with the fact that monotheism had become distinct from polytheism and no confusion remained between the two. It was thus expected that if Muslim men would marry among the People of the Book these women would be positively influenced by Islam. In this way, not only would there be no clash between monotheism and polytheism, but also there was a great chance that most of them would accept Islam. Consequently, Muslims today must necessarily take this aspect into consideration if they want to benefit from this permission.

31. That is in spite of laying claim to faith, they adopted disbelief or polytheism in their beliefs and deeds or adopted a compromising attitude towards them.

32. The method of doing wuḍū that is mentioned in these verses is that first the face shall be washed and the hands up to the elbows and after that the whole of the head shall be wiped and after that the feet shall be washed. The wiping of the whole head is essential because for this directive the words are وَامْسَحُواْ بِرُؤُوسِكُمْ (wipe your head) and those who are aware of the subtleties of the Arabic language know that on such occasions the letter ب signifies completeness. Similarly, it apparently seems that the directive regarding feet is governed by the verb وَامْسَحُواْ (wipe). However, the words إِلَى الْكَعْبَينِ (up to the ankles) after أَرْجُلَكُمْ (your feet) declined in the accusative are decisive that this directive is coordinated to أَيْدِيكُم (your hands). Had they been coordinated to ِرُؤُوسِكُمْ (your heads) the words إِلَى الْكَعْبَينِ (up to the ankles) would have been redundant. We can see this from the verses of tayammum where wiping has not been made conditional to إِلَى الْمَرَافِقِ (up to the elbows). Hence, the feet shall necessarily be washed. Their directive has been deferred merely to keep intact the sequence of washing the limbs in wuḍū.

33. It is evident from this that a bath is necessary after janābah; without this the prayer cannot be offered. The actual word used in the verse is اِطَّهَرُوا (ittaharū) and earlier in the forty third verse of Sūrah Nisā’, the word used is تَغْتَسِلوُا (taghtasilū). These words entail that one should have this bath in a thorough and complete manner.

34. The Qur’ānic words used are: أَوْ جَاء أَحَدٌ مَّنكُم مِّنَ الْغَائِطِ. In Arabic, the word غَائِط refers to a low-lying land. Here it connotes relieving one’s self. The reason for this is that in rural life, people would generally go to low-lying areas to relieve themselves.

35. If, in the case of a journey, sickness or unavailability of water, wudū and the ceremonial bath become difficult, in this verse and in verse forty three of Sūrah Nisā’ earlier the Almighty has allowed the believers to do tayammum (dry ablution). The verses go on to state the method of tayammum as well: hands should be rubbed on a pure surface and wiped over the face and hands. The Qur’ān has clarified that the tayammum suffices for all type of impurities. It can thus be done after things that terminate the wudū and also in place of the ceremonial bath which is necessitated by sexual intercourse. Similarly, it has also been pointed out that in case of being on a journey or being sick, tayammum can be done even if water is available. Writes Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī:

… in case of sickness, the ceremonial bath and wuḍū can cause harm and thus this relief was given. Similarly, in case of a person being on a journey, a person may encounter circumstances in which he might have to limit himself to tayammum only. For example, water may not be available in large quantities. In such cases, using it for bathing etc might leave it scanty for drinking or there could be a chance that if a person starts preparing to have a bath he might be left behind by his fellow companions of the caravan or a situation may arise when having a bath may become very difficult in a train, ship or aeroplane. (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 2, 303)

Tayammum, no doubt, does not clean a person; however, it serves as a reminder for the real means of achieving cleanliness and as such has special importance. The temperament of the sharī‘ah is that if a directive cannot be followed in its original form or it becomes very difficult to follow it, then lesser forms should be adopted to serve as its reminder. An advantage of this is that once circumstances return to normal, one becomes inclined to follow the directive in its original form.

36. This directive of keeping in remembrance God’s favour has a certain emphasis in it: the duties ensuing from this favour should be fulfilled in letter and in spirit.

37. The implication is that they should remember that if they adhere to this covenant of “to listen and to obey” God will forgive them and abundantly reward them in the Hereafter. This is further explained in verse nine ahead.

38. The implication is that not only should every Muslim adhere to truth and justice, but also if truth and justice require his testimony he should fulfill this demand even if this means endangering his life. He should speak the truth and submit to the truth. He should be just, bear witness to justice and not have anything in his beliefs and deeds except what is true and just. So much so, even his animosity to a nation should not induce him to swerve from truth and justice. Writes Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī:

The greatest weapon used by Satan to lead people away from the truth is to try to instill enmity between them. It was merely because of enmity with the Ishmaelites and the Muslims that the Jews broke all their promises and covenants which they were made witnesses to. For this reason, Muslims were bound in the covenant that they would safeguard themselves from this mischief of Satan: they must treat and behave justly with both friend and foes. (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 2, 471)

39. This is a factual evidence of the covenant mentioned earlier. The implication is that when the Almighty has fulfilled His promise with such majesty in this world, He will most certainly do so in the Hereafter as well.

40. This is a reference to the Quraysh of Makkah whose evil intent was stalled by God and Muslims were finally made to prevail over them.

41. The real meaning of this word is one who investigates and wants to seek out various matters and scenarios. For this reason, it also is used to refer to a chief and guardian of a tribe or nation. Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī writes:

It is evident from the history of the Israelites that after Moses (sws) bound them in a covenant of obeying the sharī‘ah and of protecting it, he deputed a chief on each of the tribes. The purpose was that these leaders should watch over their people in obeying the sharī‘ah and see to the fact that nothing infiltrates in them which might lead them to violate their covenant with God. Since the Israelites had twelve tribes, the number of chiefs deputed was also twelve. They were appointed by Moses (sws) at the behest of the Almighty. For this reason the Almighty has attributed this appointment to Himself. (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 2, 474)

42. This is a comprehensive expression for the help and support of God. It means that if God is with them, then it is like the whole world is with them.

43. Since this promise was taken from the Israelites, it has a special reference in it to the Prophet Muhammad (sws) who has been mentioned in the Torah with very explicit signs.

44. This is a specific expression of the Qur’ān for spending in the way of God that is done for the service of religion and striving and fighting for His cause.

45. The Qur’ānic word used is سَيِّئَات. It refers to those mistakes which emanate from violating directives which are given as precautionary directives to stop a person from being led into a sin.

46. It is evident from this that if the Israelites deviated from this covenant it would be tantamount to denying God and His guidance. For this reason it was called disbelief.

47. That is deprived them of His mercy and humiliatingly dismissed them from His presence. The word “curse” is used to comprehensively convey this meaning. The subsequent verses mention its consequences. Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī have explained them. He writes:

… the first consequence of a nation being cursed is that it is deprived of the fear of God – the fear which guarantees a living and vibrant heart, which as a result becomes hardened. The seeds of repentance cannot be sown in such a hard soil. Though this situation arises because of a nation breaking its promise, but since it arises in accordance with an established divine practice, God has attributed it to Himself. This callousness emboldens a nation which has breached a promise to not stop at merely breaking its promise with God, it even changes and alters the words of the promise to mould it according to its desires. (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 2, 476)

48. This refers to the Torah because it is this testament of God which the Israelites were bound in a promise to obey and through which an arrangement of reminding them had been made. A study of Jewish history shows that they altered its words, totally distorted its meanings through their interpretations and even hid certain facts from the masses. This was for them the lamp of their house and in the words of Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, it is the lamp of the house from which light can be obtained. If it is blown out or hidden, then what else would provide radiance?

49. This refers to the small group of the righteous among the Jews which has earlier been mentioned in Sūrah Baqarah and Āl ‘Imrān.

50. The Qur’ānic words used are: فَاعْفُ عَنْهُمْ وَاصْفَحْ. They do not mean forgiving someone sincerely; they mean to ignore and take no notice of faults. An example of this meaning of the words can be seen in verse fifteen ahead.

51. It is evident from this that the followers of Jesus (sws) themselves adopted the name of Nazarenes. It was not given to them by God so that on its basis people be called towards accepting Nazarenity. The name given by God to the religion preached by all His messengers has always been Islam.

52. The consequence of interpolation in the Book of God and squandering away a part of it is mentioned here. Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī writes:

… an ummah is organized in the form of a unit on the basis of God’s covenant and the Book revealed by Him. If disorder and anarchy find their way in these, then who can stop the ummah from being inflicted with disorder and anarchy as well as bloodshed and carnage? This scenario is the natural consequence of breaching the covenant as well as a punishment of this violation. For this reason, God has ascribed it to Himself. The only way out for the Nazarenes was by accepting the direction of the Qur’ān, to lead themselves out of the darkness of error into the light of guidance and to the path of peace and serenity. However, their prejudice stopped them from doing this. Now neither is another divine Book to be revealed nor a messenger of God is to come; so there is no way out left for them to come out of this situation of dispute, anarchy and disorder till the Day of Judgement. (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 2, 478)

53. That is at times through interpolations related to the words and those related to their meanings and times hiding real teachings of the Book from the masses. For this purpose, the word used is تُخْفُونَ. All these forms of interpolations are covered by it.

54. The reason was that there was no need to disclose them. The Almighty intends to elucidate the essence of religion and its requisites. He does not humiliate or disgrace someone without any reason.

55. The Qur’ānic word used is بِإِذْنِهِ. The implication is that it is with the permission of God that a person is blessed with the good fortune of being led out of darkness into light. This permission is granted only to those who seek the pleasure of God. It is because of this that I have translated this word as “grace and blessing”.

56. This is refers to the followers of Saint Paul who by regarding Jesus (sws) to be a manifestation of God adopted the term of trinity for their belief which is the basis of Christianity. Like the Sufis who subscribe to the creed of wahdat al-wujūd, a lot of effort is spent to assign difference in status to each member of trinity, though the Qur’ān has made it clear that such hair-splitting is of no value to God. They are guilty of turning Jesus (sws) into God and have therefore certainly committed disbelief.

57. This is an expression of anger from God on those who have made the Messiah God.

58. The implication is that if Jesus (sws) was born without a father, then this does not mean that he has become God or become an associate to God. If God wants He can create someone without father and a mother not to speak of creating someone without a father only.

59. The word “son” at times is used, especially in the Bible, to connote “loved one” and “favoured one”. Instead of comprehending the responsibilities of the position bestowed on the Israelites by God, they wrongly concluded from this bestowal that they were God’s favourites in the absolute sense and arrogantly assumed that they could do whatever they wanted to and God would not hold them accountable for anything they did.

60. Here the Qur’ān has negated their false assumption through their own history. Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī writes:

… the implication is that if they are of the view that being the favoured and beloved ones of God, they will not be held accountable by Him, then why did not this status of theirs be of use to them in this world?  Their whole history bears witness that whenever they were rebellious to God, they were given exemplary punishment by Him. So exemplary were these punishments that one cannot find their parallel in world history viz. the slavery of the whole nation; desert-wanderings of the whole nation; exile of the whole nation; many episodes of national carnage; exemplary destruction of the Jerusalem mosque. All these incidents are mentioned in the Torah itself. If they have a declaration of immunity for themselves because they are the progeny of Abraham (sws) and Isaac (sws), then why did this declaration not save them from the afore-mentioned punishments? (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 2, 483)

 

61. The implication is that God is not bound in any contract with them that makes Him liable to necessarily forgive them. Reward and punishment rest on His will, and His will is governed by His law. He decides to reward or punish people on the basis of this law.

62. The implication is that about the being raised to life before God there is no other place where hopes should be pinned. People have to return to Him at all cost.

63. The Qur’ānic words used are: جَعَلَ فِيكُمْ أَنبِيَاء وَجَعَلَكُم مُّلُوكًا. In my opinion, the verb here is used to connote decision. The meaning would thus be that God decided to make prophets and kings. This is a subtle way to express the certainty of promises. It is also evident from this verse that the status of a king is a collective status given to the whole nation. There is no absolutely no possibility of despotism or repression of a single person or family. Thus for prophets the expression used is جَعَلَ فِيكُمْ أَنبِيَاء ; and for being given the status of kings, the expression used is: وَجَعَلَكُم مُّلُوكًا.

64. The reference is to the status of bearing witness to the truth and to that of the leadership of nations for which the Abraham’s progeny was chosen in the same way that God chooses prophets and messengers from Adam’s progeny.

65. This refers to the land of Palestine. It has been called holy because just as of the progeny of Abraham (sws) the Ishmaelites were made to dwell in the land of Arabia to discharge their preaching responsibility, the Israelites were made to dwell in the Palestine region by God for this purpose. He bestowed on this land holiness so that people should turn to it to cleanse their ideologies and deeds. Thus, for this reason, a mosque (bayt al-maqdis) was built here at the behest of Almighty

66. This speech was given by Moses (sws) in the desert of Paran when he had directed the Israelites to wage an attack on Palestine. This attack was necessary because the Almighty, after declaring Palestine to be their inherited territory, directed them to make it the centre of their government. Since a government which is established under the leadership of the prophets is in fact directly the government of God, He automatically has the right to displace the government of a people in any land He wants to and establish His own rule just as He has the right to punish and reward people in this world after conclusive communication of the truth to them. This directive is not related to human beings. Their government neither has this right nor can ever have it. Though the speech of Moses (sws) is briefly cited here, deliberation will show that it has all the elements which are necessary to inculcate courage in people and to warn them of the consequences of cowardice. Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī writes:

Moses (sws) referred to the blessings and favours of the Almighty which always remained readily available to the Israelites right after their exodus from Egypt, to the certain and assured promises which the Almighty made with them to initiate a series of prophets in them and make them a great nation to lead other nations and to the inheritance which was soon to be given to them in the form of a lush and flourishing land and which the Almighty had ordained for them. With all these promises and assurances, He invited them to attack the Holy land and also informed them of the consequences of showing cowardice and frailty in this regard: if they turned back, they would end up losers. Behind them loomed their slavery in Egypt and if they did not show courage to move ahead they would keep wandering in the desert and left to die there. (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 2, 488)

67. It is evident from chapters thirteen and fourteen of the Book of Numbers of the Bible that the Israelites said all these things when the committee of twelve leaders came back to present their report after Moses (sws) had sent them to the holy land to investigate the situation there. In the Bible, this report is cited in the following words:

The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them. (Numbers, 13:32-33)

68. The actual words are: رَجُلاَنِ مِنَ الَّذِينَ يَخَافُونَ. The two people they refer to are Joshua and Caleb. They were the members of the group sent to Palestine to find out the situation there. The expression refers to the Israelites who had become spineless due to fear of the descendents of Anak. They were totally ravaged by cowardliness. Our exegetes have generally regarded the object of the verb يَخَافُونَ to be suppressed. In their opinion, the object is God. The meaning would thus be: those who fear God (اللّهَ يَخَافُونَ). However, for two reasons, this interpretation needs to be reviewed. Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, while explaining them, writes:

… firstly, this occasion entailed the expression of the object and not its suppression because its suppression could have resulted in ambiguity and on such occasions expression is always better; secondly, in this case, one would have to assume that there was a God-fearing group present at that time and Joshua and Caleb were from among them. If this is the case, then why did the Qur’ān specify that they were the only ones who were favoured by God. In such a case, all members of the group should have been called the favoured ones of God and the words should have been أَنْعَمَ اللّهُ عَلَيْهِم instead of أَنْعَمَ اللّهُ عَلَيْهِمَا. (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 2, 489)

69. This is a reference to the speech delivered by Joshua and Caleb when their people had been totally overcome with fear. This incident is recorded in the Bible in the following words:

Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them.” (Numbers, 14: 6-9)

While commenting on this speech, Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī writes:

… there is no doubt that when a whole nation is overcome with fear and loses courage the way the Israelites did then the bravest of persons become very anxious and worried. Supremely faithful and truthful is a person of integrity who even at such precarious instances passes the test of adhering to theses traits. It is this aspect of the characters of Joshua and Caleb which the Qur’ān has immortalized by mentioning it in this sūrah of covenant and promises. The objective is that people who make up their mind to tread the path of God are able to learn from their exemplary characters how to remain awake when everyone goes off to sleep and how to remain alive when everyone is spiritually dead. The reason that the Qur’ān has highlighted here the valiant among the cowards and the living among the dead because one can indeed see many valiant among the valiant and many living among the living but rare is the breed of these lively living who enliven the dead even though they may have to sacrifice their own lives for this cause. (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 2, 489-490)

70. This is the final answer from the Israelites. It is not cited in the Bible in these words but it is evident from the way the mourning and lamentation of the Israelites are mentioned that after the assurance sounded by Joshua and Caleb by the words: “the LORD is with us; do not be afraid of them,” (Numbers, 14: 6-9), they would have said that same thing which the Qur’an has cited here.

71. This is a request by Moses (sws) that he be relieved from the great burden of leadership of these worthless people.

72. It is evident from this that though the above request was not accepted because in such a case all the Israelites would have been destroyed, yet a verdict of their punishment was given. The Bible records this verdict in the following words:

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron: “How long will this wicked community grumble against me? I have heard the complaints of these grumbling Israelites. So tell them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the LORD, I will do to you the very thing I heard you say: In this wilderness your bodies will fall—every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me. Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. As for your children that you said would be taken as plunder, I will bring them in to enjoy the land you have rejected. But as for you, your bodies will fall in this wilderness. Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness. (Numbers, 14:26-33)

Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī writes:

…this incident of their history totally negated the notion of the Israelites referred to above according to which they regard themselves to be the loved and favoured ones of God and had absolved themselves as a result of any responsibilities relating to obedience and practically following His directives. The implied meaning is that if their notion was true then they should have been more loved and favoured in the presence of Moses (sws) and so if they had in cowardice given up invading the holy city why had God Himself not picked them up and taken them there and installed them as the kings of Palestine. If this did not happen, then why are they naively infatuated with the notion of attaining God’s Paradise without any effort? (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 2, 492)

73. The implication is that he should recount to them this tale with exact details and with true facts.

74. The Qur’ānic word used is: نَبَأَ. This word is used in Arabic for news of some important incident or accident. This was the first incident on God’s earth of the murder of a truthful and sincere person. For this reason, the Qur’ān has called it by this name.

75. The Qur’ānic words used are: قُرْبَان. It connotes both sadaqah (charity) and animals offered for sacrifice. Whatever is offered to acquire the nearness of the Almighty is قُرْبَان. Here the Qur’ān has not clarified how Abel and Cain got to know whether their offering was accepted or not. According to the Qur’ān (3:183), one way in which this acceptance could have been known was that a fire would descend from the heavens and consume the sacrifice offered. The statement of the Bible in this regard is, however, different. It is evident from it that this news was given directly by God:

The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis, 4:4-7)

76. Instead of realizing his evil intention and turning to God in repentance and to reform himself, he was overwhelmed with jealousy and angrily attacked Abel because his own offering had not been accepted even though Abel had no role in his offering not having been accepted. This is the same mentality which manifested itself in the Jews regarding the Prophet (sws). Instead of realizing their crimes and understanding why the position of prophethood was taken from them, they got after harming these brothers of theirs and started to make plans of killing the Prophet (sws) and his companions. For this reason, the Qur’ān has asked the Prophet (sws) to recount this tale to them.

77. Abel stated this to direct the attention of his brother  to the reality. Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī has explained this. He writes:

… the implied meaning is that you are planning to kill me in anger of your offering not being accepted even though this is  neither my fault nor that of God. It is totally you and your offering who are at fault. Only those offerings are acceptable to God which are offered by those who fear Him while taking into consideration the requisite etiquette and conditions. This principle applies to both of us equally. So if you are angry at this rejection, then instead of getting after my life, you should in fact plan to acquire this fear of God. How can killing me pave the way to the acceptance of your offering? (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 2, 497)

78. The implication of Abel’s words is that in spite of the fact that he knows full well that Cain is preparing to kill him, he will not take the initiative in killing him because he fears God Who is the Lord of the worlds and Who has decided that the life, wealth and honour of a person is sacred.

79. The Qur’ānic words used are: أَنْ تَبُوءَ بِإِثْمِي وَإِثْمِكَ. As per linguistic principles, a suppression of a governing noun (mudāf) has occurred here before both nouns. I have revealed this suppression in my translation. In other words, the implied meaning of Cain is that if while defending himself some harm comes to Abel, then only Abel will be responsible of this sin because he would its cause and not Cain. Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī:

… this is a reference to a principle of justice mentioned by the words فعلى البادي ما لم يعتد المظلوم in a hadīth (Muslim, no. 6683). It states that if the oppressed party has not inflicted any harm, then the sin of whatever he does to defend himself will rest with the person who takes the initiative. The wordبِإِثْمِي  mentioned with وَإِثْمِكَ occur on the principle of similarity of words (mujānisah) which is so very common in Arabic. Some other examples include: دناهم كما دانوا  and  وَجَزَاء سَيِّئَةٍ سَيِّئَةٌ مِّثْلُهَا (42 :40). (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 2, 498)

80. Through this sentence, the Qur’ān has revealed the internal conflict which arose within Cain initially after he had made the decision to kill his brother.

81. The implication is that in this conflict between good and evil, evil triumphed and he while remaining vanquished by evil was doomed forever.

82. The act of sending the raven is ascribed to God is an ascription to the established practice of God as per which people who became indifferent to the remembrance of God are consigned to Satan in this manner and it is as if they receive inspiration from him.

83. It is evident from this anecdote of Abel and Cain that man has not acquired the basic precepts of religion and morality through evolution; in reality, they were innately known to him.

   
 
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