The Virtues of Surah Al-Baqarah
In Musnad Ahmad, Sahih Muslim, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa'i, it is recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Prophet said,
Do not turn your houses into graves. Verily, Shaytan does not enter the house where Surah Al-Baqarah is recited.
At-Tirmidhi said, "Hasan Sahih". Also, Abdullah bin Mas'ud said,
"Shaytan flees from the house where Surah AlBaqarah is heard.''
This Hadith was collected by An-Nasa'i in Al-Yawm wal-Laylah, and Al-Hakim recorded it in his Mustadrak, and then said that its chain of narration is authentic, although the Two Sahihs did not collect it.
In his Musnad, Ad-Darimi recorded that Ibn Mas'ud said,
"Shaytan departs the house where Surah AI-Baqarah is being recited, and as he leaves, he passes gas.''
Ad-Darimi also recorded that Ash-Sha'bi said that Abdullah bin Mas'ud said,
"Whoever recites ten Ayat from Surah AI-Baqarah in a night, then Shaytan will not enter his house that night. These ten Ayat are;
· four from the beginning,
· Ayat AI-Kursi (255),
· the following two Ayat (256-257) and
· the last three Ayat.''
In another narration, Ibn Mas'ud said,
"Then Shaytan will not come near him or his family, nor will he be touched by anything that he dislikes. Also, if these Ayat were to be recited over a senile person, they would wake him up.''
Further, Sahl bin Sa'd said that the Messenger of Allah said,
Everything has a hump (or, high peek), and AI-Baqarah is the high peek of the Qur'an. Whoever recites AIBaqarah at night in his house, then Shaytan will not enter that house for three nights. Whoever recites it during a day in his house, then Shaytan will not enter that house for three days.
This Hadith was collected by Abu Al-Qasim At-Tabarani, Abu Hatim Ibn Hibban in his Sahih and Ibn Marduwyah.
"The Messenger of Allah sent an expedition force comprising of many men and asked each about what they memorized of the Qur'an. The Prophet came to one of the youngest men among them and asked him, 'What have you memorized (of the Qur'an) young manT
He said, 'I memorized such and such Surahs and also AI-Baqarah.'
The Prophet said, 'You memorized Surah AI-Baqarah.' He said, 'Yes.'
The Prophet said, 'Then you are their commander.'
One of the noted men (or chiefs) commented, 'By Allah! I did not learn Surah AI-Baqarah, for fear that I would not be able to implement it.
The Messenger of Allah said,
Learn Al-Qur'an and recite it, for the example of whoever learns the Qur'an, recites it and adheres to it, is the example of a bag that is full of musk whose scent fills the air.
The example of whoever learns the Qur'an and then sleeps (i.e. lazy) while the Qur'an is in his memory, is the example of a bag that has musk, but is closed tight.
This is the wording collected by At-Tirmidhi, who said that this Hadith is Hasan.
In another narration, At-Tirmidhi recorded this same Hadith in a MursaI manner, so Allah knows best.
Also, Al-Bukhari recorded that;
Usayd bin Hudayr said that he was once reciting Surah AI-Baqarah while his horse was tied next to him. The horse started to make some noise. When Usayd stopped reciting, the horse stopped moving about. When he resumed reading, the horse started moving about again. When he stopped reciting, the horse stopped moving, and when he resumed reading, the horse started to move again. Meanwhile, his son Yahya was close to the horse, and he feared that the horse might step on him. When he moved his son back, he looked up to the sky and saw a cloud radiating with light that looked like lamps. In the morning, he went to the Prophet and told him what had happened and then said, "O Messenger of Allah! My son Yahya was close to the horse and I feared that she might step on him. When I attended to him and raised my head to the sky, I saw a cloud with lights like lamps. So I went, but I couldn't see it.''
The Prophet said, "Do you know what that was?'' He said, "No.''
The Prophet said,
They were the angels, they came close hearing your voice (reciting Surah AI-Baqarah), and if you had kept reading, the people would have been able to see the angels when the morning came, and the angels would not be hidden from their eyes.
This is the narration reported by Imam Abu Ubayd AlQasim bin Salam in his book Fada'il Al-Qur'an.
Virtues of Surah Al-Baqarah and Surah Al Imran
Imam Ahmad said that Abu Nu'aym narrated to them that Bishr bin Muhajir said that Abdullah bin Buraydah narrated to him from his father,
"I was sitting with the Prophet and Iq heard him say,
Learn Surah AI-Baqarah, because in learning it there is blessing, in ignoring it there is sorrow, and the sorceresses cannot memorize it.
He kept silent for a while and then said,
Learn Surah AI-Baqarah and Al Imran because they are two lights and they shade their people on the Day of Resurrection, just as two clouds, two spaces of shade or two lines of (flying) birds.
The Qur'an will meet its companion in the shape of a pale-faced man on the Day of Resurrection when his grave is opened. The Qur'an will ask him, 'Do you know meT
The man will say, 'I do not know you.
The Qur'an will say, 'I am your companion, the Qur'an, which has brought you thirst during the heat and made
you stay up during the night. Every merchant has his certain trade. But, this Day, you are behind all types of trade.'
you stay up during the night. Every merchant has his certain trade. But, this Day, you are behind all types of trade.'
Kingship will then be given to him in his right hand, eternal life in his left hand and the crown of grace will be placed on his head.
His parents will also be granted two garments that the people of this life could never afford.
They will say, 'Why were we granted these garments
It will be said, 'Because your son was carrying the Qur'an.'
t will be said (to the reader of the Qur'an), 'Read and ascend through the levels of Paradise.'
He will go on ascending as long as he recites, whether reciting slowly or quickly.''
Ibn Majah also recorded part of this Hadith from Bishr bin Al-Muhajir, and this chain of narrators is Hasan, according to the criteria of Imam Muslim.
A part of this Hadith is also supported by other Hadiths.
For instance, Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Umamah Al-Bahili said that he heard the Messenger of Allah say,
Read the Qur'an, because it will intercede on behalf of its people on the Day of Resurrection.
Read the two lights, AI-Baqarah and All Imran, because they will come in the shape of two clouds, two shades or two lines of birds on the Day of Resurrection and will argue on behalf of their people on that Day.
The Prophet then said,
Read AI-Baqarah, because in having it there is blessing, and in ignoring there is a sorrow and the sorceresses cannot memorize it.
Also, Imam Muslim narrated this Hadith in the Book of Prayer.
Imam Ahmad narrated that An-Nawwas bin Sam'an said that the Prophet said,
On the Day of Resurrection the Qur'an and its people who used to implement it will be brought forth, preceded by Surah AI-Baqarah and All Imran.
"The Prophet set three examples for these two Surahs and I did not forget these examples ever since. He said,
They will come like two clouds, two dark shades or two lines of birds arguing on behalf of their people.
It was also recorded in Sahih Muslim and At-Tirmidhi narrated this Hadith, which he rendered Hasan Gharib.
Surah Al-Baqarah was revealed in Al-Madinah
There is no disagreement over the view that Surah AI-Baqarah was revealed in its entirety in Al-Madinah. Moreover, AIBaqarah was one of the first Surahs to be revealed in Al-
Madinah, while, Allah's statement,
(And be afraid of the Day when you shall be brought back to Allah). (2:281) was the last Ayah to be revealed from the Qur'an.
Also, the Ayat about usury were among the last Ayat to be revealed.
Khalid bin Ma'dan used to call AI-Baqarah the Fustat (tent) of the Qur'an.
Some of the scholars said that it contains a thousand news incidents, a thousand commands and a thousand prohibitions. Those who count said that the number of AI-Baqarah's Ayat is two hundred and eighty-seven, and its words are six thousand two hundred and twenty-one words. Further, its letters are twenty-five thousand five hundred. Allah knows best.
Ibn Jurayj narrated that Ata said that Ibn Abbas said,
"Surah AI-Baqarah was revealed in Al-Madinah.''
Also, Khasif said from Mujahid that Abdullah bin Az-Zubayr said;
"Surah AI-Baqarah was revealed in Al-Madinah.''
Several Imams and scholars of Tafsir issued similar statements, and there is no difference of opinion over this as we have stated.
The Two Sahihs recorded that;
Ibn Mas'ud kept the Ka`bah on his left side and Mina on his right side and threw seven pebbles (at the Jamrah) and said,
"The one to whom Surah AI-Baqarah was revealed (i.e. the Prophet) performed Rami (the Hajj rite of throwing pebbles) similarly.''
The Two Sahihs recorded this Hadith.
Further, Ibn Marduwyah reported a Hadith of Shu'bah from Aqil bin Talhah from Utbah bin Marthad;
"The Prophet saw that his Companions were not in the first lines and he said,
O Companions of Surah AI-Baqarah.
I think that this incident occurred during the battle of Hunayn when the Companions retreated. Then, the Prophet commanded Al-Abbas (his uncle) to yell out,
O Companions of the tree!
Meaning, the Companions who participated in the pledge of Ar-Ridwan (under the tree).
In another narration, Al- Abbas cried, "O Companions of Surah AI-Baqarah!''
encouraging them to come back, so they returned from every direction.
Also, during the battle of Al-Yamamah, against the army of Musaylimah the Liar, the Companions first retreated because of the huge number of soldiers in Musaylimah's army. The Muhajirun and the Ansar called out for each other, saying; "O people of Surah AI-Baqarah!'' Allah then gave them victory over their enemy, may Allah be pleased with all of the companions of all the Messengers of Allah.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most
2:1 Alif Lam Mim.
The Discussion of the Individual Letters
Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful says;
Alif Lam Mim.
The individual letters in the beginning of some Surahs are among those things whose knowledge Allah has kept only for Himself. This was reported from Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, Ali and Ibn Mas'ud.
It was said that these letters are the names of some of the Surahs.
It was also said that they are the beginnings that Allah chose to start the Surahs of the Qur'an with.
Khasif stated that Mujahid said,
"The beginnings of the Surahs, such as Qaf, Sad, Ta Sin Mim and Alif Lam Ra, are just some letters of the alphabet.''
Some linguists also stated that;
they are letters of the alphabet and that Allah simply did not cite the entire alphabet of twenty-eight letters.
For instance, they said, one might say, "My son recites Alif, Ba, Ta, Tha...'' he means the entire alphabet although he stops before mentioning the rest of it.
This opinion was mentioned by Ibn Jarir.
The Letters at the Beginning of Surahs
If one removes the repetitive letters, then the number of letters mentioned at the beginning of the Surahs is fourteen:
So glorious is He Who made everything subtly reflect His wisdom.
Moreover, the scholars said,
"There is no doubt that Allah did not reveal these letters for jest and play.''
Some ignorant people said that;
some of the Qur'an does not mean anything, (meaning, such as these letters) thus committing a major mistake.
On the contrary, these letters carry a specific meaning. Further, if we find an authentic narration leading to the Prophet that explains these letters, we will embrace the
Prophet's statement. Otherwise, we will stops where we were made to stop and will proclaim, (We believe in it; all of it (clear and unclear verses) is from our Lord), (3:7).
The scholars did not agree on one opinion or explanation regarding this subject. Therefore, whoever thinks that one scholar's opinion is correct, he is obliged to follow it, otherwise it is better to refrain from making any judgment on this matter. Allah knows best.
2:2 This is the B..k, wherein there is n. d.ubt, a guidance f.r the Muttagin.
There is no Doubt in the Qur'an
This is the Book, wherein there is no doubt,
The Book, is the Qur'an, and Rayb means doubt.
As-Suddi said that Abu Malik and Abu Salih narrated from Ibn Abbas, and Murrah Al-Hamadani narrated from Ibn Mas'ud and several other Companions of the Messenger of Allah that, (In which there is no Rayb),
means about which there is no doubt.
Abu Ad-Darda, Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Sa'id bin Jubayr, Abu Malik, Nafi Ata, Abu Al-Aliyah, ArRabi bin Anas, Muqatil bin Hayyan, As-Suddi, Qatadah and Isma'il bin Abi Khalid said similarly.
In addition, Ibn Abi Hatim said,
"I do not know of any disagreement over this explanation.''
The meaning of this is that;
the Book, the Qur'an, is without a doubt revealed from Allah.
Similarly, Allah said in Surah As- Sajdah,
The revelation of the Book (this Qur'an) in which there is no doubt, is from the Lord of all that exists. (32:2)
Some scholars stated that this Ayah - 2:2 - contains a prohibition meaning,
"Do not doubt the Qur'an.''
Furthermore, some of the reciters of the Qur'an pause upon reading, Zri;b V (there is no doubt) and they then
continue; (in which there is guidance for the Muttaqin (the pious and righteous persons)).
However, it is better to pause at, (in which there is no doubt) because in this case, (guidance) becomes an attribute of the Qur'an and carries a better meaning than, a (in which there is guidance).
Guidance is granted to Those Who have Taqwa
guidance for the Muttaqin.
that it means, "They are the believers."
Hidayah - correct guidance - is only granted to those who have Taqwa - fear of Allah.
Say: It is for those who believe a guide and a healing. And as for those who disbelieve, there is heaviness (deafness) in their ears, and it (the Qur'an) is blindness for them. They are those who are called from a place far away (so they neither listen nor understand). (41:44)
And We send down of the Qur'an that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe (in Islamic Monotheism and act on it), and it increases the Zalimin (wrongdoers) in nothing but loss. (17:82)
This is a sample of the numerous Ayat indicating that the believers, in particular, benefit from the Qur'an. That is because the Qur'an is itself a form of guidance, but the guidance in it is only granted to the righteous, just as Allah said,
O mankind! There has come to you a good advice from your Lord (i. e. the Qur'an, enjoining all that is good and forbidding all that is evil), and a healing for that (disease of ignorance, doubt, hypocrisy and differences) which is in your breasts, - a guidance and a mercy (explaining lawful and unlawful things) for the believers. (10:57)
Ibn Abbas and Ibn Mas'ud and other Companions of the Messenger of Allah said, 60"A' LOA (guidance for the Muttaqin (the pious and righteous persons),
means, a light for those who have Taqwa.
The Meaning of Al-Muttaqin
Ibn Abbas said about, (guidance for the Muttagin) that it means,
"They are the believers who avoid Shirk with Allah and who work in His obedience.''
Ibn Abbas also said that AI-Muttagin means,
"Those who fear Allah's punishment, which would result if they abandoned the true guidance that they recognize and know. They also hope in Allah's mercy by believing in what He re vealed.''
Further, Qatadah said that,
Muttagin), are those whom Allah has described in His statement; (Who believe in the Ghayb and perform the SaIah) (2:3), and the following Ayat.
Ibn Jarir stated that the Ayah (2:2) includes all of these meanings that the scholars have mentioned, and this is the correct view.
Also, At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah narrated that Atiyah As-Sa'di said that the Messenger of Allah said,
The servant will not acquire the status of the Muttagin until he abandons what is harmless out of fear of falling into that which is harmful.
At-Tirmidhi then said "Hasan Gharib.''
There are Two Types of Hidayah (Guidance)
Huda here means;
·the faith that resides in the heart, and only Allah is able to create it in the heart of the servants.
Verily, you (O Muhammad) guide not whom you like. (28:56)
Not upon you (Muhammad) is their guidance. (2:272)
Whomsoever Allah sends astray, none can guide him. (7:186)
He whom Allah guides, he is the rightly guided; but he whom He sends astray, for him you will find no Wali (guiding friend) to lead him (to the right path). (18:17)
·Huda also means to explain the truth, give direction and lead to it.
Allah, the Exalted, said,
And verily, you (O Muhammad) are indeed guiding (mankind) to the straight path (i.e. Allah's religion of Islamic Monotheism). (42: 52)
You are only a warner, and to every people there is a guide. (13:7)
And as for Thamud, We showed and made clear to them the path of truth (Islamic Monotheism)
through Our Messenger (i.e. showed them the way of success), but they preferred blindness to guidance. (41:17)
testifying to this meaning. Also, Allah said,
And shown him the two ways (good and evil). (90:10)
This is the view of the scholars who said that the two ways refer to the paths of righteousness and evil, which is also the correct explanation. And Allah knows best.
Meaning of Taqwa
The root meaning of Taqwa is to avoid what one dislikes. It was reported that;
Umar bin Al-Khattab asked Ubayy bin Ka'b about Taqwa.
Ubayy said, "Have you ever walked on a path that has thorns on it?"
Umar said, "Yes."
Ubayy said, "What did you do then?"
He said, "I rolled up my sleeves and struggled." Ubayy said, "That is Taqwa."
2:3 Wh0 believe in the Ghayb and perform the Salah and spend out of what We have provided for them
The Meaning of Iman
Those Who have faith in the Ghayb.
Abu Jafar Ar-Razi said that Al-Ala bin Al-Musayyib bin Rafi narrated from Abu Ishaq that Abu Al-Ahwas said that Abdullah said,
"Iman is to trust.''
Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas said, (who have faith),
means they trust.
Also, Ma'mar said that Az-Zuhri said, "Iman is the deeds.''
In addition, Abu Jafar Ar-Razi said that Ar-Rabi bin Anas said that,
'They have faith', means, they fear (Allah). Ibn Jarir (At-Tabari) commented,
"The preferred view is that they be described as having faith in the Unseen by the tongue, deed and creed. In this case, fear of Allah is included in the general meaning of Iman, which necessitates following deeds of the tongue by implementation. Hence, Iman is a general term that includes affirming and believing in Allah, His Books and His Messengers, and realizing this affirmation through adhering to the implications of what the tongue utters and affirms.''
Linguistically, in the absolute sense, Iman merely means trust, and it is used to mean that sometimes in the Qur'an, for instance, Allah the Exalted said,
He trusts (yu'minu) in Allah, and trusts (yu'minu) in the believers. (9: 61)
Prophet Yusuf's brothers said to their father,
But you will never believe us even when we speak the truth. (12:17)
Further, the word Iman is sometimes mentioned along with deeds, such as Allah said,
Save those who believe (in Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous deeds. (95:6)
However, when Iman is used in an unrestricted manner, it includes beliefs, deeds, and statements of the tongue. We should state here that Iman increases and decreases.
There are many narrations and Hadiths on this subject, and we discussed them in the beginning of our explanation of Sahih Al-Bukhari, all favors are from Allah.
Some scholars explained that Iman means Khashyah (fear of Allah). For instance, Allah said;
Verily, those who fear their Lord unseen (i.e. they do not see Him, nor His punishment in the Hereafter). (67:12)
Who feared the Most Gracious (Allah) in the Ghayb (unseen) and brought a heart turned in repentance (to Him and absolutely free from every kind of polytheism). (50: 33)
Fear is the core of Iman and knowledge, just as Allah the Exalted said,
It is only those who have knowledge among His servants that fear Allah. (35:28)
The Meaning of Al-Ghayb
As for the meaning of Ghayb here, the Salaf have different explanations of it, all of which are correct, indicating the same general meaning.
For instance, Abu Jafar Ar-Razi quoted Ar-Rabi bin Anas, reporting from Abu Al-Aliyah about Allah's statement, ((Those who) have faith in the Ghayb),
"They believe in Allah, His angels, Books, Messengers, the Last Day, His Paradise, Fire and in the meeting with Him. They also believe in life after death and in Resurrection. All of this is the Ghayb.''
Qatadah bin Di'amah said similarly.
Sa'id bin Mansur reported from Abdur-Rahman bin Yazid who said,
"We were sitting with Abdullah bin Mas'ud when we mentioned the Companions of the Prophet and their deeds being superior to our deeds.
Abdullah said, 'The matter of Muhammad was clear for those who saw him. By He other than Whom there is no God, no person will ever acquire a better type of faith than believing in Al-Ghayb.'
He then recited,
Alif Lam Mim. This is the Book, wherein there is no doubt, guidance for the Muttagin. Those who believe in the Ghayb, until, (the successful).''
Ibn Abi Hatim, Ibn Marduwyah and Al-Hakim, in his Mustadrak, recorded this Hadith.
Al-Hakim commented that this Hadith is authentic and that the Two Sheikhs - Al-Bukhari and Muslim - did not collect it, although it meets their criteria.
Ahmad recorded a Hadith with similar meaning from Ibn Muhayriz who said:
I said to Abu Jumu'ah, "Narrate a Hadith for us that you heard from the Messenger of Allah.''
He said, "Yes. I will narrate a good Hadith for you.
Once we had lunch with the Messenger of Allah. Abu Ubaydah, who was with us, said, 'O Messenger of Allah! Are people better than us We embraced Islam with you and performed Jihad with you.'
Yes, those who will come after you, who will believe in me although they did not see me.''
This Hadith has another route collected by Abu Bakr bin Marduwyah in his Tafsir, from Salih bin Jubayr who said:
Abu Jumu'ah Al-Ansari, the Companion of the Messenger of Allah, came to Bayt AI-Maqdis (Jerusalem) to perform the prayer. Raja' bin Haywah was with us, so when Abu Jumu'ah finished, we went out to greet him. When he was about to leave, he said, "You have a gift and a right. I will narrate a Hadith for you that I heard from the Messenger of Allah.''
We said, "Do so, and may Allah grant you mercy.''
He said, "We were with the Messenger of Allah, ten people including Mu'adh bin Jabal. We said, "O Messenger of Allah! Are there people who will acquire greater rewards than us We believed in Allah and followed you.'
What prevents you from doing so, while the Messenger of Allah is among you, bringing you the revelation from heaven There are people who will come after you and who will be given a book between two covers (the Qur'an), and they will believe in it and implement its commands. They have a greater reward than you, even twice as much.
And perform Salah, and spend out of what we have provided for them.
Meaning of Iqamat As-Salah
Ibn Abbas said that, (And perform the Salah),
means, "Perform the prayer with all of the obligations that accompany it.''
Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn Abbas said,
"Iqamat As-Salah means to complete the bowings, prostrations, recitation, humbleness and attendance for the prayer.''
"Iqamat As-Salah means to preserve punctuality, and the ablution, bowings, and prostrations of the prayer.''
Muqatil bin Hayyan said Iqamat As-Salah means,
"To preserve punctuality for it, as well as completing ones purity for it, and completing the bowings, prostrations, recitation of the Qur'an, Tashahhud and blessings for the Prophet. This is Iqamat As-Salah.''
The Meaning of "Spending" in this Ayah
Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas said, (And spend out of what We have provided for them) means,
"The Zakah due on their wealth.''
As-Suddi said that Abu Malik and Abu Salih narrated from Ibn Abbas, as well as Murrah from Ibn Mas'ud and other Companions of the Messenger of Allah, that, (And spend out of what We have provided for them) means,
"A man's spending on his family. This was before the obligation of Zakah was re vealed.''
Juwaybir narrated from Ad-Dahhak,
"General spending (in charity) was a means of drawing nearer to Allah, according to one's discretion and capability. Until the obligation of charity was revealed in the seven Ayat of Surah Bara'h, were revealed. These abrogated the previous case.''
In many instances, Allah mentioned prayer and spending wealth together.
· Prayer is a right of Allah as well as a form of worshipping Him. It includes singling Him out for one's devotion, praising Him, glorifying Him, supplicating to Him, invoking Him, and it displays one's dependence upon Him.
· Spending is form of kindness towards creatures by giving them what will benefit them, and those people most deserving of this charity are the relatives, the wife, the servants and then the rest of the people. So all types of required charity and required spending are included in Allah's saying, (And spend out of what we have provided for them).
The Two Sahihs recorded that Ibn Umar said that the Messenger of Allah said,
Islam is built upon five (pillars):
· Testifying that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah,
· establishing the prayer,
· giving Zakah,
· fasting Ramadan and
· Hajj to the House.
There are many other Hadiths on this subject.
The Meaning of Salah
In the Arabic language, the basic meaning of Salah is supplication. In religious terminology, Salah is used to refer to the acts of bowing and prostration, the remaining specified acts associated with it, specified at certain times, with those known conditions, and the characteristics, and requirements that are well-known about it.
2:4 And who have faith in what is revealed to you and in what was revealed before you, and in the Hereafter
And who have faith in what is revealed to you and in what was revealed before you.
Ibn Abbas said that,
means, "They believe in what Allah sent you with, and in what the previous Messengers were sent with, they do not distinguish between (believing) them, nor do they reject what they brought from their Lord."
And in the Hereafter they are certain.
that is the resurrection, the standing (on the Day of Resurrection), Paradise, the Fire, the reckoning and the Scale that weighs the deeds (the Mizan). The Hereafter is so named because it comes after this earthly life.
Attributes of the Believers
The people described here (2:4) are those whom Allah described in the preceding Ayah, (Those who have faith in the Ghayb and perform SaIah, and spend out of what we have provided for them).
Mujahid once stated,
"Four Ayat at the beginning of Surah AI-Baqarah describe the believers, two describe the disbelievers, and thirteen describe the hypocrites."
The four Ayat mentioned in this statement are general and include every believer, whether an Arab, non-Arab, or a person of a previous Scripture, whether they are Jinns or humans. All of these attributes complement each other and require the existence of the other attributes.
For instance, it is not possible that one believes in the Unseen, performs the prayer and gives Zakah without believing in what the Messenger of Allah and the previous Messengers were sent with.
The same with certainty in the Hereafter, this is not correct without that, for Allah has commanded the believers,
O you who believe! Believe in Allah, and His Messenger, and the Book (the Qur'an) which He has revealed to the Messenger, and the Book which He sent own to those before (him). (4:136)
And argue not with the People of the Book, unless it be in (a way) that is better, except with such of them as do wrong; and say (to them): "We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you; our Ilah (God) and your Ilah (God) is One (i.e. Allah)." (29:46)
O you who have been given the Book (Jews and Christians)! Believe in what We have revealed (to Muhammad) confirming what is (already) with you.
Say (O Muhammad): "O People of the Book (Jews and Christians)! You have nothing until you act according to the Tawrah (Torah), the Injil (Gospel), and what has (now) been revealed to you from your Lord (the Qur'an).'' (5:68)
Also, Allah the Exalted described the believers;
The Messenger (Muhammad) believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers.
Each one believes in Allah, His Angels, His Books, and His Messengers. (They say,) "We make no distinction between any of His Messengers''. (2: 285)
And those who believe in Allah and His Messengers and make no distinction between any of them (Messengers). (4:152)
This is a sample of the Ayat that indicate that the true believers all believe in Allah, His Messengers and His Books.
The faithful among the People of the Book, have a special significance here, since they believe in their Books and in all of the details related to that, so when such people embrace Islam and sincerely believe in the details of the religion, then they will get two rewards. As for the others, they can only believe in the previous religious teachings in a general way. For instance, the Prophet stated,
When the People of the Book narrate to you, neither reject nor affirm what they say. Rather, say, 'We believe in what was revealed to us and what was revealed to you.'
However, the faith that many Arabs have in the religion of Islam as it was revealed to Muhammad might be more complete, encompassing and firmer than the faith of the People of the Book who embraced Islam. Therefore, if the believers in Islam among the People of the Book gain two rewards, other Muslims who have firmer Islamic faith might gain an equal reward that compares to the two the People of the Book gain (upon embracing Islam). And Allah knows best.
2:5 They are on guidance from their Lord, and they are the successful.
Guidance and Success are awarded to the Believers
refers to those who believe in the Unseen, establish the prayer, spend from what Allah has granted them, believe in what Allah has revealed to the Messenger and the Messengers before him, believe in the Hereafter with certainty, and prepare the necessary requirements for the Hereafter by performing good deeds and avoiding the prohibitions.
Allah then said,
on guidance from their Lord,
meaning, they are (following) a light, guidance, and have insight from Allah
And they are the successful.
meaning, in this world and the Hereafter. They shall have what they seek and be saved from the evil that they tried to avoid. Therefore, they will have rewards, eternal life in Paradise, and safety from the torment that Allah has prepared for His enemies.
2:6 Verily, those who disbelieve, it is the same to them whether you warn them or do not warn them,
Verily, those who disbelieve, it is the same to them whether you warn them or do not warn them, they will not believe.
(Verily, those who disbelieve) meaning, covered the truth and hid it.
Since Allah has written that they would do so, it does not matter if you (O Muhammad) warn them or not, they would still have disbelieved in what you were sent with.
Similarly, Allah said,
Truly, those against whom the Word (wrath) of your Lord has been justified, will not believe. Even if every sign should come to them, until they see the painful torment. (10:96-97)
About the rebellious People of the Book, Allah said,
And even if you were to bring to the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) all the Ayat, they would not follow your Qiblah (prayer direction). (2:145)
These Ayat indicate that whomever Allah has written to be miserable, they shall never find anyone to guide them to happiness, and whomever Allah directs to misguidance, he shall never find anyone to guide him. So do not pity them - O Muhammad - deliver the Message to them. Certainly, whoever among them accepts the Message, then he shall gain the best rewards.
As for those who turn away in rejection, do not feel sad for them or concerned about them, for (Your duty is only to convey (the Message) and on Us is the reckoning (13:40), and, La (But you are only a warner. And Allah is a Wakil (Disposer of affairs, Trustee, Guardian) over all things), (11:12).
Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas said about Allah's statement, (Verily, those who disbelieve, it is the same to them whether you (O Muhammad) warn them or do not warn them, they will not believe),
"That the Messenger of Allah was eager for all the people to believe and follow the guidance he was sent with. Allah informed him that none would believe except for those whom He decreed happiness for in the first place, and none would stray except those who Allah has decreed to do so in the first place.''
2:7 Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing, and on their eyes there is a covering. Theirs will be a great torment.
Meaning of Khatama
Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing, and on their eyes there is a covering. Theirs will be a great torment.
As-Suddi said that, All 4 (Khatama Allah) means, "Allah has sealed."
Qatadah said that this Ayah means,
"Shaytan controlled them when they obeyed him. Therefore, Allah sealed their hearts, hearing and sight, and they could neither see the guidance nor hear, comprehend or understand."
Ibn Jurayj said that Mujahid said, (Allah has set a seal on their hearts),
"A stamp. It occurs when sin resides in the heart and surrounds it from all sides, and this submersion of the heart in sin constitutes a stamp, meaning a seal."
Ibn Jurayj also said that the seal is placed on the heart and the hearing.
In addition, Ibn Jurayj said, that Abdullah bin Kathir narrated that Mujahid said,
"The stain is not as bad as the stamp, the stamp is not as bad as the lock which is the worst type."
"Mujahid demonstrated with his hand while saying, 'They used to say that the heart is just like this - meaning the open palm. When the servant commits a sin, a part of the heart will be
rolled up - and he rolled up his index finger. When the servant commits another sin, a part of the heart will be rolled up' - and he rolled up another finger, until he rolled up all of his fingers. Then he said, Then, the heart will be sealed.'
Mujahid also said that this is the description of the Ran (refer to 83:14).''
"The Ummah has agreed that Allah has described Himself with sealing and closing the hearts of the disbelievers, as a punishment for their disbelief.
Similarly, Allah said, (Nay, Allah has set a seal upon their hearts because of their disbelief), (4:155).''
He then mentioned the Hadith about changing the hearts, (in which the Prophet supplicated),
O You Who changes the hearts, make our hearts firm on Your religion.
He also mentioned the Hadith by Hudhayfah recorded in the Sahih, in which the Messenger of Allah said,
The Fitan (trials, tests) are offered to the hearts, just as the straws that are sewn into a woven mat, one after another. Any heart that accepts the Fitan, then a black dot will be engraved on it. Any heart that rejects the Fitan, then a white dot will be engraved on it. The hearts will therefore become two categories: white, just like the barren rock; no Fitnah shall ever harm this category as long as the heavens and earth still exist. Another category is black, just as the cup that is turned upside down, for this heart does not recognize righteousness or renounce evil.
Ibn Jarir said,
"The truth regarding this subject is what the authentic Hadith from the Messenger of Allah stated. Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Messenger of Allah said,
When the believer commits a sin, a black dot will be engraved on his heart. If he repents, refrains and regrets, his heart will be polished again. If he commits more errors, the dots will increase until they cover his heart. This is the Ran (stain) that Allah described,
Nay! But on their hearts is the Ran (stain) which they used to earn.'' (83:14)
At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah recorded this Hadith, and At-Tirmidhi said that it is Hasan Sahih.
The Meaning of Ghishawah
Reciting the Ayah, (Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing), then pausing, then continuing with, (And on their eyes there is a Ghishawah (covering)) is accurate, for the stamp is placed on the heart and the hearing while the Ghishawah, the covering, is appropriately placed on the eyes.
2:8 And of mankind, there are some who say: "We believe in Allah and the Last Day'' while in fact they do not believe.
We mentioned that four Ayat in the beginning of Surah AlBaqarah described the believers. The two last Ayat (2:6-7) describe the disbelievers.
Afterwards, Allah begins to describe the hypocrites who show belief and hide disbelief. Since the matter of the hypocrites is vague and many people do not realize their true reality, Allah mentioned their description in detail. Each of the characteristics that Allah used to described them with is a type of hypocrisy itself. Allah revealed Surah Bara'h and Surah Al-Munafiqun about the hypocrites. He also mentioned the hypocrites in Surah An-Nur and other Surahs, so that their description would be known and their ways and errors could be avoided.
And of mankind, there are some who say: "We believe in Allah and the Last Day" while in fact they do not believe. They try to deceive Allah and those who believe, while they only deceive themselves, and perceive (it) not!
Meaning of Nifaq
Nifaq means to show conformity - or agreement - and to conceal evil. Nifaq has several types:
· Nifaq in the creed that causes its people to reside in Hell for eternity, and
· Nifaq in deed, which is one of the major sins, as we will explain soon, Allah willing.
Ibn Jurayj said of the hypocrite that,
"His actual deeds are different from what he publicizes, what he conceals is different from what he utters, his entrance and presence are not the same as his exit and absence."
The Beginning of Hypocrisy
The revelations about the characteristics of the hypocrites were revealed in Al-Madinah, this is because there were no hypocrites in Makkah. Rather the opposite was the situation in Makkah, since some people were forced to pretend that they were disbelievers, while their hearts concealed their faith. Afterwards, the Messenger of Allah migrated to Al-Madinah, where the Ansar from the tribes of Aws and Khazraj resided. They used to worship idols during the pre-Islamic period of ignorance, just as the rest of the Arab idolators. Three Jewish tribes resided in Al-Madinah, Banu Qaynuqa-allies of Al-Khazraj, Banu An-Nadir and Banu Qurayzah-allies of the Aws. Many members of the Aws and Khazraj tribes embraced Islam. However, only a few Jews embraced Islam, such as Abdullah bin Salam.
During the early stage in Al-Madinah, there weren't any hypocrites because the Muslims were not strong enough to be feared yet. On the contrary, the Messenger of Allah conducted peace treaties with the Jews and several other Arab tribes around Al-Madinah. Soon after, the battle of Badr occurred and Allah gave victory to Islam and its people.
Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul was a leader in Al-Madinah. He was Al-Khazraj's chief, and during the period of 7ahiliyyah he was the master of both tribes - Aws and Khazraj. They were about to appoint him their king when the Message reached Al-Madinah, and many in Al-Madinah embraced Islam.
Ibn Salul's heart was filled with hatred against Islam and its people. When the battle of Badr took place, he said, "Allah's religion has become apparent.'' So he pretended to be Muslim, along with many of those who were just like him, as well as many among the People of the Book.
It was then that hypocrisy began in Al-Madinah and among the surrounding nomad tribes. As for the Emigrants, none of them were hypocrites, since they emigrated willingly (seeking the pleasure of Allah). Rather, when a Muslim would emigrate from Makkah, he would be forced to abandon all of his wealth, offspring and land; he would do so seeking Allah's reward in the Hereafter.
The Tafsir of Ayah 2:8
And of mankind, there are some who say: "We believe in Allah and the Last Day'' while in fact they do not believe.
Muhammad bin Ishaq narrated that Ibn Abbas said that,
"This refers to the hypocrites among the Aws and Khazraj and those who behaved as they did.''
This is how Abu Al-Aliyah, Al-Hasan, Qatadah and AsSuddi explained this Ayah.
Allah revealed the characteristics of the hypocrites, so that the believers would not be deceived by their outer appearance, thus saving the believers from a great evil. Otherwise, the believers might think that the hypocrites were believers, when in reality they are disbelievers. To consider the sinners as righteous people is extremely dangerous, Allah said,
(And of mankind, there are some who say: "We believe in Allah and the Last Day" while in fact they do not believe) meaning, they utter these false statements only with their tongues, just as Allah said,
When the hypocrites come to you (O Muhammad), they say: "We bear witness that you are indeed the Messenger of Allah." Allah knows that you are indeed His Messenger. (63:1)
This Ayah means that;
the hypocrites utter these statements only when they meet you, not because they actually believe what they are saying. The hypocrites emphasize their belief in Allah and the Last Day with their words, when that is not the case in reality. Therefore, Allah stated that the hypocrites lie in (And Allah bears witness that the hypocrites are indeed liars), (63:1), and, (while in fact they believe not).
Allah said, (They try to deceive Allah and those who believe).
The hypocrites show belief outwardly while concealing disbelief. They think that by doing this, they will mislead Allah, or that the statements they utter will help them with Allah, and this is an indication of their total ignorance. They think that such behavior will deceive Allah, just as it might deceive some of the believers.
Similarly, Allah said,
On the Day when Allah will resurrect them all together; then they will swear to Him as they swear to you. And they think that they have something (to stand upon). Verily, they are liars! (58:18)
Hence, Allah refuted their way by saying,
While they only deceive themselves, and perceive (it) not!
Allah stated that the hypocrites only deceive themselves by this behavior, although they are unaware of this fact.
Allah also said,
Verily, the hypocrites try to deceive Allah, but it is He Who deceives them. (4:142)
Also, Ibn Abi Hatim narrated that Ibn Jurayj commented on Allah's statement,
"The hypocrites pronounce, There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah' seeking to ensure the sanctity of their blood and money, all the while concealing disbelief.''
And of mankind, there are some who say: "We believe in Allah and the Last Day'' while in fact they believe not. They try to deceive Allah and those who believe, while they only deceive themselves, and perceive (it) not!
Sa'id said that Qatadah commented,
"This is the description of a hypocrite. He is devious; he says the truth with his tongue and defies it with his heart and deeds. He wakes up in a condition other than the one he goes to sleep in, and goes to sleep in a different condition than the one he wakes up in. He changes his mind just like a ship that moves about whenever a wind blows.''
2:10 In their hearts is a disease and Allah has increased their disease. A painful torment is theirs because they used to tell lies.
The Meaning of `Disease' in this Ayah
In their hearts is a disease and Allah has increased their disease. A painful torment is theirs,
because they used to tell lies.
As-Suddi narrated from Abu Malik and (also) from Abu Salih, from Ibn Abbas, and (also) Murrah Al-Hamdani from Ibn Mas'ud and other Companions that this Ayah, (In their hearts is a disease),
means, 'doubt', (And Allah has increased their disease) also means 'doubt'.
Mujahid, Ikrimah, Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Abu AlAliyah, Ar-Rabi bin Anas and Qatadah also said similarly.
Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam commented on, (In their hearts is a disease),
"A disease in the religion, not a physical disease. They are the hypocrites and the disease is the doubt that they brought to Islam.
(And Allah has increased their disease) meaning, increased them in shameful behavior."
He also recited,
As for those who believe, it has increased their faith, and they rejoice. But as for those in whose hearts is a disease, it will add disgrace to their disgrace. (9:124-125)
"Evil to their evil and deviation to their deviation."
This statement by Abdur-Rahman is true, and it constitutes a punishment that is compatible to the sin, just as the earlier scholars stated.
Similarly, Allah said,
While as for those who accept guidance, He increases their guidance and grants them their piety. (47:17)
Allah said next, Because they used to tell lies.
The hypocrites have two characteristics, they lie and they deny the Unseen.
The scholars who stated that the Prophet knew the hypocrites of his time have only the Hadith of Hudhayfah bin Al-Yaman as evidence. In it the Prophet gave him the names of fourteen hypocrites during the battle of Tabuk. These hypocrites plotted to assassinate the Prophet during the night on a hill in that area. They planned to excite the Prophet's camel, so that she would throw him down the hill. Allah informed the Prophet about their plot, and the Prophet told Hudhayfah their names.
As for the other hypocrites, Allah said about them,
And among the Bedouins around you, some are hypocrites, and so are some among the people of Al-Madinah who persist in hypocrisy; you (O Muhammad) know them not, We know them. (9:101)
If the hypocrites, and those in whose hearts is a disease, and those who spread false news among the people in Al-Madinah do not cease, We shall certainly let you overpower them, then they will not be able to stay in it as your neighbors but a little while. Accursed, they shall be seized wherever found, and killed with a (terrible) slaughter. (33:60-61)
These Ayat prove that the Prophet was not informed about each and everyone among the hypocrites of his time. Rather, the Prophet was only informed about their characteristics, and he used to assume that some people possessed these characteristics.
Similarly, Allah said,
Had We willed, We could have shown them to you, and you should have known them by their marks; but surely, you will know them by the tone of their speech! (47:30)
The most notorious hypocrite at that time was Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul; Zayd bin Arqam - the Companion gave truthful testimony to that effect.
In addition, Umar bin Al-Khattab once mentioned the matter of Ibn Salul to the Prophet, who said,
I would not like the Arabs to say to each other that Muhammad is killing his Companions.
Yet, when Ibn Salul died, the Prophet performed the funeral prayer for him and attended his funeral just as he used to do with other Muslims. It was recorded in the Sahih that the Prophet said,
I was given the choice (to pray for him or not), so I chose.
In another narration, the Prophet said,
If I knew that by asking (Allah to forgive Ibn Salul) more than seventy times that He would forgive him, then I would do that.
2:11 And when it is said to them: "Do not make mischief on the earth," they say: "We are only peacemakers."
2:12 Verily, they are the ones who make mischief, but they perceive not.
Meaning of Mischief
And when it is said to them: "Do not make mischief on the earth,'' they say: "We are only peacemakers.''
In his Tafsir, As-Suddi said that Ibn Abbas and Ibn Mas'ud commented,
"They are the hypocrites.
As for,("Do not make mischief on the earth''), that is disbelief and acts of disobedience.''
Abu Jafar said that Ar-Rabi bin Anas said that Abu Al- Aliyah said that Allah's statement, D (And when it is said to them: "Do not make mischief on the earth''),
means, "Do not commit acts of disobedience on the earth. Their mischief is disobeying Allah, because whoever disobeys Allah on the earth, or commands that Allah be disobeyed, he has committed mischief on the earth. Peace on both the earth and in the heavens is ensured (and earned) through obedience (to Allah).''
Ar-Rabi bin Anas and Qatadah said similarly.
Types of Mischief that the Hypocrites commit
Ibn Jarir said,
"The hypocrites commit mischief on earth;
· by disobeying their Lord on it and continuing in the prohibited acts.
· They also abandon what Allah made obligatory and doubt His religion, even though He does not accept a deed from anyone except with faith in His religion and certainty of its truth.
· The hypocrites also lie to the believers by saying contrary to the doubt and hesitation their hearts harbor.
· They give as much aid as they can, against Allah's loyal friends, and support those who deny Allah, His Books and His Messengers.
This is how the hypocrites commit mischief on earth, while thinking that they are doing righteous work on earth.''
The statement by Ibn Jarir is true; taking the disbelievers as friends is one of the categories of mischief on the earth.
And those who disbelieve are allies of one another, if you do not do this (help each other), there will be turmoil and oppression on the earth, and great mischief. (8:73),
In this way Allah severed the loyalty between the believers and the disbelievers.
Similarly, Allah said,
O you who believe! Do not take disbelievers as Awliya (protectors or helpers or friends) instead of believers. Do you wish to offer Allah a manifest proof against yourselves. (4: 144)
Allah then said,
Verily, the hypocrites will be in the lowest depth of the Fire; no helper will you find for them. (4:145)
Since the outward appearance of the hypocrite displays belief, he confuses the true believers. Hence, the deceitful behavior of the hypocrites is an act of mischief, because they deceive the believers by claiming what they do not believe in, and because they give support and loyalty to the disbelievers against the believers.
If the hypocrite remains a disbeliever (rather than pretending to be Muslim), the evil that results from him would be less. Even better, if the hypocrite becomes sincere with Allah and makes the statements that he utters conform to his deeds, he will gain success.
And when it is said to them: "Do not make mischief on the earth,'' they say: "We are only peacemakers.''
meaning, "We seek to be friends with both parties, the believers and the disbelievers, and to have peace with both parties.''
Similarly, Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that Ibn Abbas commented on Allah's statement,
means, "We seek to make amends between the believers and the People of the Book.''
Verily, they are the ones who make mischief, but they perceive not.
This Ayah means that the hypocrites' behavior, and their claim that it is for peace, is itself mischief, although in their ignorance, they do not see it to be mischief.
2:13 And when it is said to them: Believe as the people believe," They say: "Shall we believe as the fools have believed!"
Verily, they are the fools, but they do not know.
they meant (may Allah curse the hypocrites) the Companions of the Messenger of Allah.
This is the same Tafsir given by Abu Al-Aliyah and As-Suddi in his Tafsir, with a chain of narration to Ibn Abbas, Ibn Mas'ud and other Companions.
This is also the Tafsir of Ar-Rabi bin Anas and Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam.
The hypocrites said,
"Us and them having the same status, following the same path, while they are fools!''
'The fool' is the ignorant, simple-minded person who has little knowledge in areas of benefit and harm. This is why, according to the majority of the scholars, Allah used the term foolish to include children, when He said,
And do not give your property, which Allah has made a means of support for you, to the foolish. (4:5)
Allah answered the hypocrites in all of these instances. For instance, Allah said here,
Verily, they are the fools.
Allah thus affirmed that the hypocrites are indeed the fools.
yet, But they know not.
Since they are so thoroughly ignorant, the hypocrites are unaware of their degree of deviation and ignorance, and such situation is more dangerous, a severer case of blindness, and further from the truth than one who is aware.
2:14 And when they meet those who believe, they say: "We believe," but when they are alone with their Shayatin (devils), they say: "Truly, we are with you; verily, we were but macking."
2:15 Allah macks at them and leaves them increasing in their deviation to wander blindly
The Hypocrites' Cunning and Deceit
And when they meet those who believe, they say: "We believe,"
Allah said that when the hypocrites meet the believers, they proclaim their faith and pretend to be believers, loyalists and friends. They do this to misdirect, mislead and deceive the believers. The hypocrites also want to have a share of the benefits and gains that the believers might possibly acquire.
But when they are alone with their Shayatin,
meaning, if they are alone with their devils, such as their leaders and masters among the rabbis of the Jews, hypocrites and idolators.
Human and Jinn Devils
Ibn Jarir said,
"The devils of every creation are the mischievous among them. There are both human devils and Jinn devils.
And so We have appointed for every Prophet enemies - Shayatin (devils) among mankind and Jinn, inspiring one another with adorned speech as a delusion (or by way of deception). (6:112)
The Meaning of `Mocking
They say: "Truly, we are with you".
Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that Ibn Abbas said that the Ayah means,
"We are with you, (Verily, we were but mocking), meaning, we only mock people (the believers) and deceive them."
Verily, we were but mocking,
Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn Abbas said that the Ayah, means,
"We (meaning the hypocrites) were mocking the Companions of Muhammad."
Also, Ar-Rabi' bin Anas and Qatadah said similarly.
Allah mocks at them and leaves them increasing in their deviation to wander blindly.
answers the hypocrites and punishes them for their behavior.
Ibn Jarir commented,
"Allah mentioned what He will do to them on the Day of Resurrection, when He said,
On the Day when the hypocrites - men and women - will say to the believers: "Wait for us! Let us get something from your light!'' It will be said: "Go back to your rear! Then seek a light!'' So a wall will be put up between them, with a gate therein. Inside it will be mercy, and outside it will be torment.) (57:13)
And let not the disbelievers think that Our postponing of their punishment is good for them. We postpone the punishment only so that they may increase in sinfulness." (3:178)
He then said,
"This, and its like, is Allah's mockery of the hypocrites and the people of Shirk.''
The Hypocrites suffering for their Plots
Allah stated that He will punish the hypocrites for their mockery, using the same terms to describe both the deed and its punishment, although the meaning is different.
Similarly, Allah said,
The recompense for an offense is an offense equal to it; but whoever forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is with Allah. (42:40)
Then whoever transgresses (the prohibition) against you, transgress likewise against him. (2:194)
The first act is an act of injustice, while the second act is an act of justice. So both actions carry the same name, while being different in reality.
This is how the scholars explain deceit, cunning and mocking when attributed to Allah in the Qur'an.
Surely, Allah exacts revenge for certain evil acts with a punishment that is similar in nature to the act itself. We should affirm here that Allah does not do these things out of joyful play, according to the consensus of the scholars, but as a just form of punishment for certain evil acts.
...and leaves them increasing in their deviation to wander blindly.
As-Suddi reported that Ibn Abbas, Ibn Mas'ud and several other Companions of the Messenger of Allah said that, fAluj (and leaves them increasing) means,
He gives them respite.
Also, Mujahid said,
"He (causes their deviation) to increase.'' Allah said;
Do they think that by the wealth and the children with which We augment them. (That) We hasten to give them with good things. Nay, but they perceive not. (23:55-56)
Ibn Jarir commented,
"The correct meaning of this Ayah is 'We give them increase from the view of giving them respite and leaving them in their deviation and rebellion.'
Similarly, Allah said,
And We shall turn their hearts and their eyes away (from guidance), as they refused to believe in it the first time, and We shall leave them in their trespass to wander blindly.'' (6:110)
Tughyan used in this Ayah means to transgress the limits, just as Allah said in another Ayah,
Verily, when the water Tagha (rose) beyond its limits, We carried you in the ship. (69:11)
Also, Ibn Jarir said that;
the term 'Amah, in the Ayah means, 'deviation'.
He also said about Allah's statement, (in their deviation to wander),
"In the misguidance and disbelief that has encompassed them, causing them to be confused and unable to find a way out of it. This is because Allah has stamped their hearts, sealed them, and blinded their vision. Therefore, they do not recognize guidance or find the way out of their de viation.''
2:16 These are they who have purchased error with guidance, so their commerce was profitless. And they were not guided.
These are they who have purchased error with guidance,
In his Tafsir, As-Suddi reported that Ibn Abbas and Ibn Mas'ud commented saying it means,
"They pursued misguidance and abandoned guidance.''
"They believed and then disbelie ved,'' while Qatadah said,
"They preferred deviation to guidance.''
This statement is similar in meaning to Allah's statement about Thamud,
And as for Thamud, We granted them guidance, but they preferred blindness to guidance. (41:17)
In summary, the statements that we have mentioned from the scholars of Tafsir indicate that the hypocrites deviate from the true guidance and prefer misguidance, substituting wickedness in place of righteousness. This meaning explains Allah's statement, 1:9~ Pl u41 4\ A +43L. X 5111 (These are they who have purchased error with guidance),
meaning, they exchanged guidance to buy misguidance. This meaning includes those who first believed, then later disbelieved, whom Allah described,
That is because they believed, and then disbelieved; therefore their hearts are sealed. (63:3)
The Ayah also includes those who preferred deviation over guidance. The hypocrites fall into several categories.
This is why Allah said,
So their commerce was profitless. And they were not guided,
meaning their trade did not succeed nor were they righteous or rightly guided throughout all this.
In addition, Ibn Jarir narrated that Qatadah commented on the Ayah,
"By Allah! I have seen them leaving guidance for deviation, leaving the 7ama`ah (the community of the believers) for the sects, leaving safety for fear, and the Sunnah for innovation."
Ibn Abi Hatim also reported other similar statements.
2:17 Their likeness is as the likeness .f .ne wh. kindled a fire; then, when it illuminated all ar.und him, Allah rem.ved their light and left them in darkness. (S.) they c.uld n.t see.
2:18 They are deaf, dumb, and blind, s. they return n.t (t. the right path).
The Example of the Hypocrites
Their likeness is as the likeness of one who kindled a fire; then, when it illuminated all around him,
Allah likened the hypocrites when they bought deviation with guidance, thus acquiring utter blindness, to the example of a person who started a fire. When the fire was lit, and illuminated the surrounding area, the person benefited from it and felt safe. Then the fire was suddenly extinguished. Therefore, total darkness covered this person, and he became unable to see anything or find his way out of it.
Further, this person could not hear or speak and became so blind that even if there were light, he would not be able to see. This is why he cannot return to the state that he was in before this happened to him. Such is the case with the hypocrites who preferred misguidance over guidance, deviation over righteousness. This parable indicates that the hypocrites first believed, then disbelieved, just as Allah stated in other parts of the Qur'an.
Allah removed their light,
means, Allah removed what benefits them, and this is the light, and He left them with what harms them, that is, the darkness and smoke.
And left them in darkness,
that is their doubts, disbelief and hypocrisy.
(So) they could not see.
meaning, they are unable to find the correct path or find its direction.
In addition, they are,
They are deaf, dumb, and blind, so they return not (to the right path).
Verily, it is not the eyes that grow blind, but it is the hearts which are in the breasts that grow blind. (22:46),
and this why they cannot get back to the state of guidance that they were in, since they sold it for misguidance.
2:19 Or like a rainstorm in the sky, bringing darkness, thunder, and lightning.
They thrust their fingers in their ears to keep .ut the stunning thunderclap for fear of death. But Allah ever enc.mpasses the disbelievers.
2:20 The lightning almost snatches away their sight, whenever it flashes f.r them, they walk therein, and when darkness c.vers them, they stand still.
And if Allah willed, He c.uld have taken away their hearing and their sight. Certainly, Allah has p.wer over all things.
Another Parable of the Hypocrites
Or like a rainstorm in the sky, bringing darkness, thunder, and lightning.
This is another parable which Allah gave about the hypocrites who sometimes know the truth and doubt it at other times. When they suffer from doubt, confusion and disbelief, their hearts are, ,S (Like a Sayyib), meaning,
as Ibn Mas'ud, Ibn Abbas, and several other Companions have confirmed as well as Abu AlAliyah, Mujahid, Sa'id bin Jubayr, Ata, Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Qatadah, Atiyah Al-Awfi, Ata AlKhurasani, As-Suddi and Ar-Rabi bin Anas.
"It is the clouds."
However, the most accepted opinion is that;
it means the rain that comes down during, (darkness),
meaning, here, the doubts, disbelief and hypocrisy.
Icii(thunder), that shocks the hearts with fear.
The hypocrites are usually full of fear and anxiety, just as Allah described them,
They think that every cry is against them. (63: 4)
They swear by Allah that they are truly of you while they are not of you, but they are a people who are afraid. Should they find refuge, or caves, or a place of concealment, they would turn straightway thereto in a swift rush. (9:56-57).
is in reference to the light of faith that is sometimes felt in the hearts of the hypocrites.
They thrust their fingers in their ears to keep out the stunning thunderclap for fear of death. But Allah ever encompasses the disbelievers.
meaning, their cautiousness does not benefit them because they are bound by Allah's all-encompassing will and decision.
Similarly, Allah said,
Has the story reached you of two hosts. Of Fir'awn (Pharaoh) and Thamud! Nay! The disbelievers (persisted) in denying. And Allah encompasses them from behind! (85:17-20)
Allah then said,
The lightning almost snatches away their sight,
meaning, because the lightning is strong itself, and because their comprehension is weak and does not allow them to embrace the faith.
Also, Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas commented on the Ayah,
"The Qur'an mentioned almost all of the secrets of the hypocrites.''
Whenever it flashes for them, they walk therein, Ali bin Abi Talhah narrated that Ibn Abbas said,
"Whenever the hypocrites acquire a share in the victories of Islam, they are content with this share. Whenever Islam suffers a calamity, they are ready to revert to disbelief.''
Similarly, Allah said,
And among mankind is he who worships Allah on the edge: If good befalls him, he is content with that. (22:11)
Whenever it flashes for them, they walk therein, and when darkness covers them, they stand still,
Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that Ibn Abbas said,
"They recognize the truth and speak about it. So their speech is upright, but when they revert to disbelief, they again fall into confusion.''
This was also said by Abu Al-Aliyah, Al-Hasan AlBasri, Qatadah, Ar-Rabi bin Anas and As-Suddi, who narrated it from the Companions, and it is the most obvious and most correct view, and Allah knows best.
Consequently, on the Day of Judgment, the believers will be given a light according to the degree of their faith. Some of them will gain light that illuminates over a distance of several miles, some more, some less. Some people's light will glow sometimes and be extinguished at other times. They will, therefore, walk on the Sirat (the bridge over the Fire) in the light, stopping when it is extinguished. Some people will have no light at all, these are the hypocrites whom Allah described when He said,
On the Day when the hypocrites - men and women - will say to the believers: "Wait for us! Let us get something from your light!'' It will be said to them; "Go back to you rear! Then seek a light!'' (57:13)
Allah described the believers,
On the Day you shall see the believing men and the believing women - their light running forward before them and by their right hands. Glad tidings for you this Day! Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise). (57:12)
The Day that Allah will not disgrace the Prophet (Muhammad) and those who believe with him. Their Light will run forward before them and (with their Records - Books of deeds) in their right hands. They will say: "Our Lord! Keep perfect our Light for us (and do not put it off till we cross over the Sirat (a slippery bridge over the Hell) safely) and grant us forgiveness. Verily, You are Able to do all things.'' (66:8)
Ibn Abi Hatim narrated that Abdullah bin Mas'ud commented on, (Their Light will run forward before them),
"They will pass on the Sirat, according to their deeds. The light that some people have will be as big as a mountain, while the light of others will be as big as a date tree. The people who will have the least light are those whose index fingers will sometimes be lit and extinguished at other times.''
Ibn Abi Hatim also reported that Ibn Abbas said,
"Every person among the people of Tawhid (Islamic Monotheism) will gain a light on the Day of Resurrection. As for the hypocrite, his light will be extinguished. When the believers witness the hypocrite's light being extinguished, they will feel
anxious. Hence, they will supplicate, (Our Lord! Keep perfect our Light for us)."
Ad-Dahhak bin Muzahim said,
"On the Day of Resurrection, everyone who has embraced the faith will be given a light. When they arrive at the Sirat, the light of the hypocrites will be extinguished. When the believers see this, they will feel anxious and supplicate, uaj} VJ ~4 Luj (Our Lord! Keep perfect our Light for us)."
Types of Believers and Types of Disbelievers
Consequently, there are several types of people.
·There are the believers whom the first four Ayat (2:2-5) in Surah AI-Baqarah describe.
·There are the disbelievers who were described in the next two Ayat.
·And there are two categories of hypocrites:
the complete hypocrites who were mentioned in the parable of the fire,
and the hesitant hypocrites, whose light of faith is sometimes lit and sometimes extinguished. The parable of the rain was revealed about this category, which is not as evil as the first category.
This is similar to the parables that were given in Surah An-Nur. Like the example of the believer and the faith that Allah put in his heart, compared to a brightly illuminated lamp, just like a rising star. This is the believer, whose heart is built on faith and receiving its support from the divine legislation that was revealed to it, without any impurities or imperfections, as we will come to know, Allah willing.
Allah gave a parable of the disbelievers who think that they have something, while in reality they have nothing; such people are those who have compounded ignorance.
As for those who disbelieved, their deeds are like a mirage in a desert. The thirsty one thinks it to be water, until he comes up to it, he finds it to be nothing. (24:39)
Allah then gave the example of ignorant disbelievers, simple in their ignorance.
Or (the state of a disbeliever) is like the darkness in a vast deep sea, overwhelmed by waves, topped by dark clouds, (layers of) darkness upon darkness: if a man stretches out his hand, he can hardly see it! And he for whom Allah has not appointed light, for him there is no light. (24:40)
Therefore, Allah divided the camp of the disbelievers into two groups, advocates and followers.
Allah mentioned these two groups in the beginning of Surah AI-Hajj,
And among mankind is he who disputes about Allah, without knowledge, and follows every rebellious (disobedient to Allah) Shaytan (devil) (devoid of every kind of good). (22:3)
And among men is he who disputes about Allah, without knowledge or guidance, or a Book giving light (from Allah). (22:8)
Furthermore, Allah has divided the group of the believers in the beginning of Surah AI-Wagi'ah and at the end. He also divided them in Surah AI-Insan into two groups,
· the Sabigun (those who preceded), they are the "near ones" (Mugaribun) and
· Ashab AI-Yamin (the companions of the right), and they are righteous (Abrar).
In summary, these Ayat divide the believers into two categories,
· the near ones and
Also, the disbelievers are of two types,
· advocates and
In addition, the hypocrites are divided into two types,
· pure hypocrites and
· those who have some hypocrisy in them.
Whoever has the following three (characteristics) will be a pure hypocrite, and whoever has one of the following three characteristics will have one characteristic of hypocrisy, unless and until he gives it up.
· Whenever he speaks, he tells a lie.
· Whenever he makes a covenant, he proves treacherous.
· Whenever he is entrusted, he breaches the trust.
Hence, man might have both a part of faith and a part of hypocrisy, whether in deed, as this Hadith stipulates, or in the creed, as the Ayah (2:20) stipulates.
Types of Hearts
Imam Ahmad recorded Abu Sa'id saying that the Messenger of Allah said
The hearts are four (types):
· polished as shiny as the radiating lamp,
· a sealed heart with a knot tied around its seal,
· a heart that is turned upside down and
· a wrapped heart.
As for the polished heart, it is the heart of the believer and the lamp is the light of faith.
The sealed heart is the heart of the disbeliever.
The heart that is turned upside down is the heart of the pure hypocrite, because he had knowledge but denied it.
As for the wrapped heart, it is a heart that contains belief and hypocrisy.
The example of faith in this heart, is the example of the herb that is sustained by pure water.
The example of hypocrisy in it, is the example of an ulcer that thrives on puss and blood. Whichever of the two substances has the upper hand, it will have the upper hand on that heart.
Certainly, Allah has power over all things. Ibn Abbas said,
"Allah is able to punish or pardon His servants as He wills.''
Ibn Jarir commented,
"Allah only described Himself with the ability to do everything in this Ayah as a warning to the hypocrites of His control over everything, and to inform them that His ability completely encompasses them and that He is able to take away their hearing and sight.''
Ibn Jarir and several other scholars of Tafsir stated that;
these two parables are about the same kind of hypocrite. So the 'or' mentioned in, "A
(Or like a rainstorm from the sky) means just as the Ayah,
(And obey neither a sinner or a disbeliever among them).
Therefore, 'or' in the Ayah includes a choice of using either example for the hypocrites.
said that 'or' means,
"To show compatibility of the two choices, just as when one says, 'Sit with
or Ibn Sirin.' According to the view of Az-Zamakhshari, 'so it means each of these persons is the same as the other, so you may sit with either one of them.' The meaning of 'or' thus becomes 'either.'
Allah gave these two examples of the hypocrites, because they both perfectly describe them.'' I (Ibn Kathir) say,
these descriptions are related to the type of hypocrite, because there is a difference between them as we stated.
For instance, Allah mentioned these types in Surah Bara'h when He repeated the statement, "And among them'' three times, describing their types, characteristics, statements and deeds.
So the two examples mentioned here describe two types of hypocrites whose characteristics are similar.
For instance, Allah gave two examples in Surah An-Nur, one for the advocates of disbelief and one for the followers of disbelief, He said, (As for those who disbelieved, their deeds are like a mirage in a (Or (the state of a disbeliever) is like the darkness in a vast deep sea), (24:40).
The first example is of the advocates of disbelief who have complex ignorance, while the second is about the followers who have simple ignorance. Allah knows best.
2:21 O mankind! Worship your Lord (Allah), Who created you and those who were before y0u so that you may acquire Taqwa.
2:22 Who has made the earth a resting place for you, and the sky as a canopy, and sent down water (rain) from the sky and brought forth therewith fruits as a provisi.on for y.ou. Then do not set up rivals unt. Allah (in worship) while you know (that He al.ne has the right to be worshipped).
O mankind! Worship your Lord (Allah), Who created you and those who were before you so that you may acquire Taqwa.
Allah mentioned His Oneness in divinity and stated that He has favored His servants by bringing them to life after they did not exist.
He also surrounded them with blessings, both hidden and apparent.
Who has made the earth a resting place for you,
He made the earth a resting place for them, just like the bed, stable with the firm mountains.
And the sky as a canopy, meaning, 'a ceiling'.
Similarly, Allah said in another Ayah,
And We have made the heaven a roof, safe and well-guarded. Yet they turn away from its signs (i.e. sun, moon, winds, clouds). (21:32)
And sends down for you water (rain) from the sky,
meaning, through the clouds, when they need the rain.
and brought forth therewith fruits as a provision for you.
Hence, Allah caused the various types of vegetation and fruits to grow as a means of sustenance for people and their cattle.
Allah reiterated this bounty in various parts of the Qur'an.
There is another Ayah that is similar to this Ayah (2:22), that is, Allah's statement,
It is He Who has made for you the earth as a dwelling place and the sky as a canopy, and has given you shape and made your shapes good (looking) and has provided you with good things. That is Allah, your Lord, so Blessed be Allah, the Lord of all that exists. (40:64)
The meaning that is reiterated here is that Allah is the Creator, the Sustainer, the Owner and Provider of this life, all that is in and on it. Hence, He alone deserves to be worshipped, and no one and nothing is to be associated with Him.
This is why Allah said next,
Then do not set up rivals unto Allah (in worship) while you know (that He alone has the right to be worshipped).
The Two Sahihs record that Ibn Mas'ud said,
"I said to the Messenger of Allah, 'Which evil deed is the worst with AllahT
To take an equal with Allah, while He alone created you.''
Also, Mu'adh narrated the Prophet's statement,
Do you know Allah's right on His servants?
They must worship Him alone and refrain from associating anything with Him in worship.
Another Hadith states,
None of you should say, 'What Allah and so-and-so person wills. Rather, let him say, 'What Allah wills, and then what so-and-so person wills.
A Hadith with the same Meaning
Imam Ahmad narrated that Al-Harith Al-Ashari said that the Prophet of Allah said,
Allah commanded Yahya bin Zakariyya to implement five commands and to order the Children of Israel to implement them, but Yahya was slow in carrying out these commands.
'Isa said to Yahya, 'You were ordered to implement five commands and to order the Children of Israel to implement them. So either order, or I will do it.'
Yahya said, 'My brother! I fear that if you do it before me, I will be punished or the earth will be shaken under my feet.' Hence, Yahya bin Zakariyya called the Children of Israel to Bayt AI-Maqdis (Jerusalem), until they filled the Masjid.
He sat on the balcony, thanked Allah and praised him and then said,
'Allah ordered me to implement five commandments and that I should order you to adhere to them. The first is that you worship Allah alone and not associate any with Him. The example of this command is the example of a man who bought a servant from his money with paper or gold. The servant started to work for the master, but was paying the profits to another person. Who among you would like his servant to do that Allah created you and sustains you. Therefore, worship Him alone and do not associate anything with Him.
I also command you to pray, for Allah directs His Face towards His servant's face, as long as the servant does not turn away. So when you pray, do not turn your heads to and fro.
I also command you to fast. The example of it is the example of a man in a group of men and he has some musk wrapped in a piece of cloth, and consequently, all of the group smells the scent of the wrapped musk. Verily, the odor of the mouth of a fasting person is better before Allah than the scent of musk.
I also command you to give charity. The example of this is the example of a man who was captured by the enemy. They tied his hands to his neck and brought him forth to cut off his neck. He said to them, 'Can I pay a ransom for myselfT He kept ransoming himself with small and large amounts until he liberated himself.
I also command you to always remember Allah. The example of this deed is that of a man who the enemy is tirelessly pursuing. He takes refuge in a fortified fort. When the servant remembers Allah, he will be resorting to the best refuge from Satan.
Al-Harith then narrated that the Messenger of Allah said,
And I order you with five commandments that Allah has ordered me.
· Stick to the Jama`ah (community of the faithful),
· listen and obey (your leaders) and
perform Hijrah (migration) and
· Jihad for the sake of Allah.
· Whoever abandons the Jama`ah, even the distance of a hand span, will have removed the tie of Islam from his neck, unless he returns. Whoever uses the slogans of Jahiliyah (the pre-Islamic period of ignorance) he will be among those kneeling in Jahannam (Hellfire).)
They said, "O Messenger of Allah! Even if he prays and fasts?''
Even if he prays, fasts and claims to be Muslim.
So call the Muslims with their names that Allah has called them: 'The Muslims, the believing servants of Allah.'
This is a Hasan Hadith, and it contains the statement,
"Allah has created and sustains you, so worship Him and do not associate anything with Him in worship.''
This statement is relevant in the Ayat (2:21-22) we are discussing here and support singling Allah in worship, without partners.
Signs of Allah's Existence
Several scholars of Tafsir, like Ar-Razi and others, used these Ayat as an argument for the existence of the Creator, and it is a most worthy method of argument. Indeed, whoever ponders over the things that exist, the higher and lower creatures, their various shapes, colors, behavior, benefits and ecological roles, then he will realize the ability, wisdom, knowledge, perfection and majesty of their Creator.
Once a Bedouin was asked about the evidence to Allah's existence, he responded,
"All praise is due to Allah! The camel's dung testifies to the existence of the camel, and the track testifies to the fact that someone was walking. A sky that holds the giant stars, a land that has fairways and a sea that has waves, does not all of this testify that the Most Kind, Most Knowledgeable exists''
Hence, whoever gazes at the sky in its immensity, its expanse, and the various kinds of planets in it, some of which appear stationary in the sky - whoever gazes at the seas that surround the land from all sides, and the mountains that were placed on the earth to stabilize it, so that whoever lives on land, whatever their shape and color, are able to live and thrive - whoever reads Allah's statement,
And among the mountains are streaks white and red, of varying colours and (others) very black. And likewise, men and Ad-Dawabb (moving (living) creatures, beasts) and cattle are of various colours. It is only those who have knowledge among His servants that fear Allah. (35: 27-28)
Whoever thinks about the running rivers that travel from area to area bringing benefit, whoever ponders over what Allah has created on earth; various animals and plants of different tastes, scents, shapes and colors that are a result of unity between land and water, whoever thinks about all of this then he will realize that these facts testify to the existence of the Creator, His perfect ability, wisdom, mercy, kindness, generosity and His overall compassion for His creation. There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, nor is there a Lord besides Him, upon Him we rely and to Him we turn in repentance.
There are numerous Ayat in the Qur'an on this subject.
2:23 And if you (Arab pagans, Jews, and Christians) are in doubt concerning that which We have sent down (i.e. the Qur'an) to Our servant (Muhammad), then produce a Surah (chapter) of the like thereof and call your witnesses (supporters and helpers) besides Allah, if you are truthful.
2:24 But if you do it not, and you can never do it, then fear the Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, prepared for the disbelievers.
The Message of Messenger of Allah is True
And if you (Arab pagans, Jews, and Christians) are in doubt concerning that which We have sent down (i.e. the Qur'an) to Our servant (Muhammad), then produce a Surah of the like thereof and call your witnesses (supporters and helpers) besides Allah, if you are truthful.
Allah begins to prove the truth of Prophethood after He stated that there is no deity worthy of worship except Him.
(And if you (Arab pagans, Jews, and Christians) are in doubt concerning that which We have sent down (i.e. the Qur'an) to Our servant) meaning, Muhammad, (then produce a Surah) meaning, similar to what he brought to you.
Hence, if you claim that what he was sent with did not come from Allah, then produce something similar to what he has brought to you, using the help of anyone you wish instead of Allah. However, you will not be able to succeed in this quest.
Ibn Abbas said that,(your witnesses), means "Aids.''
Also, As-Suddi reported that Abu Malik said the Ayah means,
"Your partners, meaning, some other people to help you in that. Meaning then go and seek the help of your deities to support and aid you.''
Also, Mujahid said that, (and call your witnesses) means,
"People, meaning, wise and eloquent men who will provide the testimony that you seek.''
Allah challenged the disbelievers in various parts of the Qur'an. For instance, Allah said in Surah AI-Qasas,
Say (to them, O Muhammad): "Then bring a Book from Allah, which is a better guide than these two (the Tawrah (Torah) and the Qur'an), that I may follow it, if you are truthful''. (28:49)
Also, Allah said in Surah Al-Isra,
Say: "If mankind and the Jinn were together to produce the like of this Qur'an, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they helped one another.'' (17:88)
Allah said in Surah Hud,
Or they say, "He (Prophet Muhammad) forged it (the Qur'an).''
Say: "Bring you then ten forged Surahs like it, and call whomsoever you can, other than Allah (to your help), if you speak the truth!'' (11:13)
and in Surah Yunus,
And this Qur'an is not such as could ever be produced by other than Allah (Lord of the heavens and the earth), but it is a confirmation of (the revelation) which was before it (i.e. the Tawrah, and the Injil), and a full explanation of the Book (i.e. Laws decreed for mankind) - wherein there is no doubt - from the Lord of all that exists.
Or do they say: "He (Muhammad) has forged it!''
Say: "Bring then a Surah like it, and call upon whomsoever you can besides Allah, if you are truthful!'' (10:37-38)
All of these Ayat were revealed in Makkah.
Allah also challenged the disbelievers in the Ayat that were revealed in Al-Madinah.
In this Ayah, Allah said, And if you (Arab pagans, Jews, and Christians) are in Rayb) meaning, doubt. (Concerning that which We have sent down (i.e. the Qur'an) to Our servant) meaning, Muhammad, (then produce a Surah (chapter) the like thereof) meaning, similar to the Qur'an.
This is the Tafsir of Mujahid, Qatadah, Ibn Jarir AtTabari, Az-Zamakhshari and Ar-Razi.
Ar-Razi said that this is the Tafsir of Umar, Ibn Mas'ud, Ibn Abbas, Al-Hasan Al-Basri and the majority of the scholars. And he gave preference to this view and mentioned the fact that Allah has challenged the disbelievers as individuals and as groups, whether literate or illiterate, thus making the challenge truly complete. This type of challenge is more daring than simply challenging the disbelievers who might not be literate or knowledgeable. This is why Allah said,
Bring you then ten forged Surahs like it) (11:13) and,
They could not produce the like thereof. (17:88)
Therefore, this is a general challenge to the Arab disbelievers, the most eloquent among all nations. Allah challenged the Arab disbelievers both in Makkah and Al-Madinah several times, especially since they had tremendous hatred and enmity for the Prophet and his religion. Yet, they were unable to succeed in answering the challenge, and this is why Allah said,
But if you do it not, and you can never do it,
indicating that they will never be able to answer the challenge.
This is another miracle, in that, Allah clearly stated without doubt that the Qur'an will never be opposed or challenged by anything similar to it, for eternity. This is a true statement that has not been changed until the present and shall never change.
How can anyone be able to produce something like the Qur'an, when the Qur'an is the Word of Allah Who created everything!
How can the words of the created ever be similar to the Words of the Creator!
Examples of the Miracle of the Qur'an
Whoever reads through the Qur'an will realize that it contains various levels of superiority through both the apparent and hidden meanings that it mentions.
Alif Lam Ra. (This is) a Book, the verses whereof are perfect (in every sphere of knowledge, etc.), and then explained in detail from One (Allah), Who is Wise and well-acquainted (with all things). (11:1)
So the expressions in the Qur'an are perfect and its meanings are explained. Further, every word and meaning in the Qur'an is eloquent and cannot be surpassed. The Qur'an also mentioned the stories of the people of the past; and these accounts and stories occurred exactly as the Qur'an stated. Also, the Qur'an commanded every type of righteousness and forbade every type of evil, just as Allah stated,
And the Word of your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and in justice. (6:115)
meaning, true in the stories it narrates and just in its Laws.
The Qur'an is true, just and full of guidance. It does not contain exaggerations, lies or falsehood, unlike Arabic and other types of poems that contained lies. These poems, conform with the popular statement,
"The most eloquent speech is the one that contains the most lies!''
Sometimes, one would find a long poem that mainly contains descriptions of women, horses or alcohol. Or, the poem might contain praise or the description of a certain person, horse, camel, war, incident, fear, lion, or other types of items and objects. Such praise or descriptions do not bring any benefit, except shed light on the poet's ability to clearly and eloquently describe such items. Yet, one will only be able to find one or two sentences in many long poems that elaborate on the main theme of the poem, while the rest of the poem contains insignificant descriptions and repetitions.
As for the Qur'an, it is entirely eloquent in the most perfect manner, as those who have knowledge in such matters and understand Arabic methods of speech and expressions concur.
When one reads through the stories in the Qur'an, he will find them fruitful, whether they were in extended or short forms, repeated or not. The more these stories are repeated, the more fruitful and beautiful they become. The Qur'an does not become old when one repeats reciting it, nor do the scholars ever get bored with it.
When the Qur'an mentions the subject of warning and promises, it presents truths that would make solid, firm mountains shake, so what about the comprehending, understanding hearts! When the Qur'an promises, it opens the hearts and the ears, making them eager to attain the abode of peace - Paradise - and to be the neighbors of the Throne of the Most Beneficent.
For instance, on the subject of promises and encouragement, the Qur'an said,
No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do. (32:17)
(There will be) therein all that inner selves could desire, and all that eyes could delight in and you will abide therein forever. (43:71)
On the subject of warning and discouragement;
Do you then feel secure that He will not cause a side of the land to swallow you up! (17:68)
Do you feel secure that He, Who is over the heaven (Allah), will not cause the earth to sink with you, and then it should quake!
Or do you feel secure that He, Who is over the heaven (Allah), will not send against you a violent whirlwind! Then you shall know how (terrible) has been My warning. (67:16-17)
On the subject of threats, the Qur'an said,
So We punished each (of them) for his sins. (29:40)
Also, on the subject of soft advice, the Qur'an said,
Tell Me, (even) if We do let them enjoy for years. And afterwards comes to them that (punishment) which they had been promised. All that with which they used to enjoy shall not avail them. (26:205-207).
There are many other examples of the eloquence, beauty, and benefits of the Qur'an.
When the Qur'an is discussing Laws, commandments and prohibitions, it commands every type of righteous, good, pleasing and beneficial act. It also forbids every type of evil, disliked and amoral act.
Ibn Mas'ud and other scholars of the Salaf said,
"When you hear what Allah said in the Qur'an, such as, L 1,9W u,A t ,1 O you who believe! then listen with full attention, for it either contains a type of righteousness that Allah is enjoining, or an evil that He is forbidding.''
For instance, Allah said,
When the Ayat mention Resurrection and the horrors that will occur on that Day, and Paradise and the Fire and the joys and safe refuge that Allah prepared for His loyal friends, or torment and Hell for His enemies, these Ayat contain glad tidings or warnings. The Ayat then call to perform good deeds and avoid evil deeds, making the life of this world less favorable and the Hereafter more favorable. They also establish the correct methods and guide to Allah's straight path and just legislation, all the while ridding the hearts of the evil of the cursed devil.
The Qur'an is the Greatest Miracle given to the Prophet
The Two Sahihs record that Abu Hurayrah said that the Prophet said,
Every Prophet was given a miracle, the type of which brings mankind to faith. What I was given is a revelation that Allah sent down to me. Yet, I hope that I will have the most following on the Day of Resurrection.
This is the wording narrated by Muslim.
The Prophet stated that among the Prophets he was given a revelation, meaning, he was especially entrusted with the miraculous Qur'an that challenged mankind to produce something similar to it. As for the rest of the divinely revealed Books, they were not miraculous according to many scholars. Allah knows best.
The Prophet was also aided with innumerable signs and indications that testify to the truth of his Prophethood and what he was sent with, all thanks and praise is due to Allah.
Meaning of `Stones
Then fear the Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, prepared for the disbelievers.
'Fuel' is wood or similar substances, used to start and feed a fire.
Similarly, Allah said,
And as for the Qasitun (disbelievers who deviated from the right path), they shall be firewood for Hell. (72:15)
Certainly you (disbelievers) and that which you are worshipping now besides Allah, are (but) fuel for Hell! (Surely) you enter it.
Had these (idols) been alihah (gods), they would not have entered there (Hell), and all of them will abide therein. (21:98-99)
The stones mentioned here are the giant, rotten, black, sulfuric stones that become the hottest when heated, may Allah save us from this evil end.
It was also reported that the stones mentioned here are the idols and rivals that were worshipped instead of Allah, just as Allah said,
Certainly you (disbelievers) and that which you are worshipping now besides Allah, are (but) fuel for Hell! (21:28)
Allah's statement, (prepared for the disbelievers),
It appears most obvious that it refers to the Fire that is fueled by men and stones, and it also may refer to the stones themselves.
There is no contradiction between these two views, because they are dependent upon each other.
it is 'kept' and will surely touch those who disbelieve in Allah and His Messenger.
Ibn Ishaq narrated that Muhammad said that Ikrimah or Sa'id bin Jubayr said that Ibn Abbas said, (prepared for the disbelievers),
"For those who embrace the disbelief that you (disbelievers) have embraced.''
Jahannam (Hellfire) exists now
Many of the Imams of the Sunnah used this Ayah to prove (prepared) meaning, prepared and kept.
There are many Hadiths on this subject. For instance, the Prophet said,
Paradise and the Fire had an argument.. Also, the Prophet said,
The Fire sought the permission of her Lord. She said, 'O my Lord! Some parts of me consumed the other parts.' And Allah allowed her two periods to exhale, one in winter and one in summer.
Also, there is a Hadith recorded from Ibn Mas'ud that the Companions heard the sound of a falling object. When they asked about it, the Messenger of Allah said,
This is a stone that was thrown from the top of 7ahannam seventy years ago, but only now reached its bottom.
This Hadith is in Sahih Muslim.
There are many Hadiths that are Mutawatir (narrated by many different chains of narrations) on this subject, such as the Hadiths about the eclipse prayer, the night of Isra etc.
Allah's statements, (Then produce a Surah of the like thereof) (2:23), and, (A Surah like it) (10:38),
this includes the short and long Surahs of the Qur'an. Therefore, the challenge to creation stands with regards to both the long and short Surahs, and there is no disagreement that I know of on this fact between the scholars of old and new.
Before he became Muslim, Amr bin Al-'As met Musaylimah the Liar who asked him, "What has recently been revealed to your fellow (meaning Muhammad) in Makkah?''
Amr said, "A short, yet eloquent Surah.'' He asked, "What is it?'' He said,
By AI-`Asr (the time). Verily, man is in loss, (103:1-2)
Musaylimah thought for a while and said, "A similar Surah was also revealed to me.''
Amr asked, "What is it?''
He said, "O Wabr, O Wabr (i.e. a wild cat), you are but two ears and a chest, and the rest of you is unworthy and thin.''
Amr said, "By Allah! You know that I know that you are lying.''