Ma'ariful Qur'an

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#361 [Permalink] Posted on 25th April 2012 09:06
Tafseer Of Surah an-Nisaa', Verses 148-152








" Allah does not like the saying of evil words openly except from anyone wronged. And Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. [148]

If you do good openly or keep it secret or overlook an evil deed, then, Allah is All-Forgiving, All-Powerful. [149]

Surely those who disbelieve in Allah and His Messengers, and wish to make division between Allah and His Messengers, and say, "We believe in some and disbelieve in some others" and wish to take a way in between that. [150]

Those are the disbelievers in reality, and We have prepared for the disbelievers a humiliating punishment. [151]

And those who have believed in Allah and His Messengers, and have made no division between any of them, to them He will give their rewards. And Allah is Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful."[152]
(4:148-152)

Commentary


Out of these verses, the first (148) and the second (149) give a law to eradicate injustice and oppression from the world. But, this is not like the usual worldly laws which are limited to dictatory formulations. This, in turn, is the kind of law which tries a combination of persuasion and awe whereby, on the one hand, the victim of injustice has been permitted to protest against the perpetrator of injustice, or to go to a court of law to seek redress. All this is nothing but the basic demand of justice and, certainly, a source of eradication of crimes. But, along with this option, there is a restriction on it as mentioned in Surah al-Nahl: It means: 'If a person inflicts injustice on you, you too can retaliate against him for that injustice. But, the condition is that your retaliation should not exceed the unjust aggressive action by him - if so, it is you who would turn into the unjust one.' (16:126) The outcome is that returning an injustice by another injustice is not allowed. Rather, the retaliation to injustice, if any, can be made only through justice. On the other hand alongwith this course of action, comes the instruction that revenge is, though permissible, yet observing patience (sabr) and forgiving is better.

This verse also tells us that for an oppressed person who goes about complaining to people about the injustice done to him or her, this will not be included under backbiting ghibah, which is haram (forbidden) - because it is the oppressor who has given the victim the opportunity to complain. Thus, the Holy Qur'an has, on the one hand, allowed the oppressed person to use the option of 'even retaliation' against the injustice. On the other hand, by teaching the oppressed to practice high morals and to forgive and forget, and by focusing before him the the great gain of the life-to-come, the victim of injustice has been persuaded to do a little sacrifice in this matter of his legitimate right and take no revenge for the injustice inflicted. The Holy Qur'an says: If you do good openly or keep it secret or overlook an evil deed, then, Allah is All-Forgiving, All-Powerful - 4:149

It means: If you do a good deed openly or do it secretly or forgive any injustice or evil done by someone, then, this is better, because Allah is All-Forgiving, All-Powerful. Primarily, this verse is concerned with the forgiving of injustice but, by also mentioning the doing of what is good, openly or secretly, the hint given is that this act of overlooking and forgiving is great and anyone who elects to do it shall become deserving of the mercy and forgiveness from Almighty Allah.
Towards the end of the verse, by saying (Allah is All-Forgiving, All-Powerful), it has been made clear that Allah is powerful in the absolute sense. He can punish whomsoever He wills, yet He is All-Forgiving. Now, a human being, who does not have much of power or choice, were to think of taking revenge, it is quite possible that he may just not have the capability to do that. Therefore, for such a person, overlooking and forgiving is far more desirable.

This is the principle which the Holy Qur'an enunciates to eradicate injustice and reform the society. The counsel, befitting of the Sustainer of everything, does, on the one hand permit retaliation in an equal measure, thus upholding justice. On the other hand, it exhorts the aggrieved party to forgive and forgo. The result is what has been described in Qur'an at another place: "You will see that he with whom you had enmity has become your closest friend" (41:34).

Court decisions and taking of revenge for injustices do play a role in checking injustice. The fact, however, is that the parties to the dispute are usually left saddled with long term grievances and feelings of abhorrence against each other which can result in further disputes in the future. The impeccable lesson in morality, given by Holy Qur'an, results in patch up among quarrelling parties such that even old enmities change into close and lasting friendships.

Now, we move on to verses 150, 151 and 152 where the Holy Qur'an has given the clear verdict that anyone who believes in Allah but does not believe in His messengers, or believes in some of them and does not believe in some others is not a believer in the sight of Allah. He is, rather, an open and avowed disbeliever for whom there is no road to salvation in the Hereafter. Let us examine this aspect of the verses concerned in some detail.


Salvation Depends on Islam


This clear verdict of the Holy Qur'an has exposed the rudderless and crooked ways of those who, in an effort to appear tolerant in dealings with peoples of other faiths, would like to present their religion and religious beliefs as gifts on a platter. By doing so, they wish to tell - despite and contrary to the clear injunctions of the Qur'an and Sunnah - people of other faiths that Muslims do not think that salvation depends on Islam alone and a Jew could keep to his or her creed and a Christian to his or hers and yet, both could look forward to salvation; though, they deny all prophets or at least some of them, for which reason this verse has declared them to be the kind of disbelievers who are destined for Hell.

There is no doubt about the fact that Islam stands unmatched in its attitude to non-Muslims in matters of justice and fairness, sympathy and goodwill, favour and tolerance. But, good favours can be made within the limits of one's rights and possessions. Religious principles and articles of faith are not our property which we could donate or present to somebody. Of course, Islam is generous and benevolent in its teachings of tolerance and good treatment with non-Muslims, but it is also equally cautious and firm in the defence of its frontiers. It maintains its essential approach of all possible sympathy and maximum tolerance with non-Muslims, but, at the same time, Islam absolves itself decisively from all forms of disbelief and customs woven around it, declaring Muslims as a people distinct from non-Muslims - and yet, it provides full protection to their national hallmarks. In short, Islam prefers to keep not only the acts of worship Muslims perform distinct from those of others, but also its way of life in a society, the examples of which abound in the Qur'an and Sunnah.

Had Islam believed in the possibility of salvation through every religion or community, it would have had no right to lay so much stress on spreading the message (Tabligh) of Islam, almost to the limit of staking property and life for it. This would have been wrong in principle and quite contrary to dictates of reason. In fact, by accepting such a premise, the very coming of the noble Prophet, may the blessings of Allah and peace be upon him, and the revelation of the glorious Qur'an, is rendered, God forbid, redundant. And, lest we miss, the entire Jihad carried out by the noble Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him and the rightly-guided Caliphs (R.A) becomes meaningless, rather reduced to nothing but the lust for more land.

In this case, some people have fallen victims to doubt by a misreading of verse 62 in Surah al-Baqarah which is cited below:

Surely, those who believed in Allah, and those who happened to be Jews and Christians, and the Sabeans - whosoever believes in Allah and in the Last Day, and does good deeds - they have their reward with their Lord, And there is no fear for them nor shall they grieve.

Since, in this verse, rather than giving the full detail of what constitutes faith, only belief in Allah and in the Last Day has been considered sufficient, those who try to understand the Qur'an through an incomplete study have misunderstood the whole idea. They assumed that simply believing in Allah and the Last Day is enough for salvation and that believing in prophets is no condition for it. Thus, they failed to understand that the Qur'an has its own terminology in which Belief in Allah, in order to be acceptable, has to be in conjunction with Belief in the Prophet. Otherwise, even the Satan admits that there is a God and that He is One. The Holy Qur'an has Itself clarified the real issue in the following words:

So, if they believe in the like of what you believe in, they have certainly found the right path. And if they turn away, they are nothing but in antagonism. Then Allah will suffice you against them, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing. (2:137)

In other words, we can say that their faith will be valid and trustworthy only when they have the same faith as common Muslims do, a faith in which Belief in the Prophet is indispensably necessary with Belief in Allah. Otherwise, if they do not do that, let it be understood that they are the ones who wish to create dissension. After that, for them, Allah will be sufficient on your behalf, and He is the One who hears everything and He is the One who knows everything.

As for the verses under discussion, it has been clearly declared that anyone who rejects even one of the prophets of Allah is an avowed disbeliever (kafir) and a recipient of the punishment of Hell. So, let us remember that Belief in Allah, in order to be valid, has to be with Belief in the Prophet. If the Belief in the Prophet is not there, even referring to Belief in Allah as such will not be correct.

In the concluding verse (15:22), it has been reaffirmed that salvation in the Hereafter is the lot of those who believe in Him and in all of His prophets as well. Therefore, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him said:

One part of the Qur'an explains the other.

It is not permissible for anyone to explain the Qur'an in any way contrary to the Tafsir of the Qur'an itself.
[Ma'ariful Qur'an]
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#362 [Permalink] Posted on 30th April 2012 07:50
Tafseer Of Surah an-Nisaa', Verses 153-154





"The People of the Book ask you to bring down upon them a Book from the heaven. No wonder, (because) they have already asked Musa something greater than that when they said, "Make us see Allah openly." So, the thunderbolt took them for the wrong they did. Later, they took to themselves the calf even after the clear signs had come to them. Then, We forgave them, and gave Musa an open authority. [153]

And We raised the (Mount of) Tur high over them for binding them to the pledge, and We said to them, "Do not transgress in (the matter of) the Sabbath." And We took from them a firm pledge. [154]

Some previous verses censured Jews for their mistrustfulness in matters of faith. In the present verses too, there appears a long list of some of their other evil doings and, because of these ugly problems with them, mention has been made of their punishment. This strain continues in many more verses coming later."
(4:153-154)

Commentary


Some Jewish chiefs came to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him and demanded that he bring down a book from the heaven similar to that which came to Musa (A.S) all written from there: If so, they would believe him. They had made this demand not because they wished to believe with all their heart on this condition. It was just a device to drag and stall. In fact, because of their chronic urge to take an opposite stand, they were given to offering one or the other excuse all the time. By revealing this verse, Almighty Allah made the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him become aware of the real state of affairs. This was to give him comfort and peace of mind against the doings of a people who are used to harassing the prophets of Allah. They would go to unbelievable limits of audacity by going as far as committing outrage against Almighty Allah. Their forefathers had gone even beyond them by demanding something more grave: "Make us see Allah openly." Upon this audacity of theirs, came a thunderbolt from the heaven and destroyed them.

Then, it was despite being fully cognizant of clear signs and proofs of Allah being One and free of any partners in His Divinity, they stooped lowest of the low by taking a calf as their object of worship bypassing their own genuine Creator. But, Allah still remained forbearing, otherwise the occasion demanded that they be eliminated. Then, Allah gave His prophet, Sayyidna Musa, peace be upon him, authority and power.

Then, there came an occasion when these people had flatly refused to acknowledge the canonical law of the Torah whereupon Allah raised the Mount of Tur high suspending over them, thus threatening and forcing them to acknowledge the Law of Torah or otherwise they were to be mashed under the mountain. Allah had also told them to enter the gate of the city of Eliah humbly filled with fervour to obey Him. Allah had also asked them to catch fish on the day of Sabbath which was a command from Him and which was not to be transgressed. And Allah had taken a solemn pledge from them, but it so turned out that they contravened every single command one after the other breaking the solemn pledge with Allah. So, Allah too put disgrace on them in the mortal life of the world and they will have to undergo the worst punishment in the Hereafter as well.
(Ma'ariful Qur'an)
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#363 [Permalink] Posted on 4th May 2012 12:12
Tafseer Of Surah an-Nisaa', Verses 155-159








"So, (they met their fate) for breaking their pledge, and for their disbelief in the verses of Allah, and for their slaying of the prophets unjustly, and for their saying, "Our hearts are sealed" - rather, Allah has set a seal over them for their disbelief. So, they do not believe but a little [155]

- and for their disbelief and for what they said against Maryam as a grim imputation, [156] and for their saying, "We have certainly killed the Masih 'Isa (Jesus) the son of Maryam, the Messenger of Allah." And they did not kill him, and they did not crucify him, but they were deluded by resemblance. And those who disputed in this matter are certainly in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it, but they follow whims. And it is certain that they did not kill him, [157]

but Allah lifted him towards Himself. And Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise. [158]

And there is not one among the People of the Book but shall certainly believe in him (Jesus) before he (Jesus) dies, and on the Day of Doom, he shall be a witness against them."[159]
(4:155-159)

Like the earlier verses, the censure of Jews continues through the present ones. As a thematically coherent subject, their false ideas have also been refuted which have been discussed in detail in the following commentary.


Commentary


In the verse ("O 'Isa, I am to take you in full and lift you towards Me..." 3:55) appearing in Surah 'Al-'Imran, Almighty Allah had made five promises in connection with foiling the Jewish plans against Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) and protecting him from their hostile intentions. A detailed explanation of these has been given earlier on that occasion in Surah 'Al-'Imran. One of the promises made there was that the Jews will not be allowed to have their way with their intention to kill Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S). Instead of that, Allah will lift him towards Him.

In the present verses (157-158) of Surah al-Nisa', it has been made explicit that they did not kill nor crucify Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S), rather, what actually happened was that they were deluded by resemblance.


How Were the Jews 'Deluded by Resemblance'?


While explaining the words of the Qur'an: (but they were deluded by resemblance), master exegete, Dahhak says: It so transpired that, following the intention of Jews to kill Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) his disciples assembled at a given place. Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) joined them there. It was Iblis who gave the address of Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) to the execution squad standing ready for the mission.

Four thousand men surrounded the suspected house. Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) said to his disciples: 'Is one of you willing to go out and be killed and then be in Paradise with me?' One of them offered to do so. Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) gave him his shirt and head-cover. Then, cast on him was the resemblance of Jesus and as soon as he came out, the Jews, believing him to be Jesus, caught him and crucified him, and Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) was lifted. (Qurtubi)

According to some reports, the Jews had sent a person known to Arabs as Teetlanoos to kill Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S). He did not find Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) in the house for he was already lifted by Allah towards Himself. So, when this person came out of the house, he had been made to resemble the looks of Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S). The Jews took him to be Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S). Thus, they took away their own man and killed him. (Mazhari)

There is room for whichever of the situations came to pass - the Holy Qur'an has not determined any particular situation. Therefore, Allah alone knows what really happened. However, this sentence of the Holy Qur'an seen with other exegetical reports does yield the common factor that the Jews and Christians were subjected to compelling delusion. The event as it took shape remained hidden from them, though they did advance all sorts of claims based on their conjectures which only landed them into mutual differences. This is what the Holy Qur'an points out to in the following words:

And those who disputed in this matter are certainly in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it, but they follow whims.

It means that they do not have certitude based on any true knowledge. The diverse claims put forward by those who have differed in the case of Masih (A.S) are simply based on doubt and conjecture. The truth of the matter is that they certainly did not kill Masih (A.S), rather Allah lifted him towards Himself.

According to some other reports, when some of them woke up to what had happened, they said, 'We seem to have killed our own man, for the man we have put to death resembles Masih (A.S) in face only but not in the rest of the body.

Now, if this man we have killed is Masih (A.S) where, then, is our man? And if this is our man where, then, is Masih (A.S)?'

Verse 158, part of which was referred to immediately earlier, ends at: : (And Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise) carrying a significant message. It means that the planning of Jews to kill Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) was insignificant as matched against the Power of Allah who has taken it upon Himself to protect Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S). Might and mastery are His domain. If materialists in their single-track isolation, remain incapable of understanding the reality of the 'lifting off of Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S), that is their own limitation. As for Allah, He is All-Wise - everything He does is based on wisdom and fitness to whatever end is desired.

Then comes the finale of the subject in verse 159 beginning with the words: (And there is not one among the People of the Book but shall certainly believe in him (Jesus) before he (Jesus) dies, and on the Day of Doom, he shall be a witness against them). It means: Though, at this time, so blinded by malice and envy are these people that they are unable to see reality as it is, hold false ideas about Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) and, in addition to that, they are denying the prophethood of Sayyidna Muhammad al-Mustafa Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him yet, a time is to come when their eyes will open up and they will realize that all their notions about Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) and Sayyidna Muhammad Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him were totally false.

One explanation of this verse (159), which appears in Bayan al-Qur'an by Maulana Ashraf 'Ali Thanavi, is that the pronoun in the Qur'anic word (mawtihi: his death) be attributed to the People of the Book. The verse, in that sense, would mean that those Jews, when they see a glimpse of Barzakh (the state between death and resurrection) moments before their death, they will readily believe in the prophethood of Sayyidna Isa (A.S) though, their believing at that point of time will be of no use to them, very much useless like the believing of Pharaoh which he did while drowning.

The second tafsir (explanation) which has been adopted by a large number of Sahabah and Tabi'in (the Companions and their Successors) and which also has the support of authentic Hadith maintains that the pronoun in the word 'mawtihi' refers back to Sayyidna Masih (A.S) and, in that light, the verse means that the People of the Book of this time, be they Jews or Christians, do not believe in Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) in the real sense. The Jews just do not accept him as a prophet, rather, they accuse him of being, God forbid, a liar and imposter!

As for the Christians, some of them despite claiming to believe in him, reached a level of ignorance which, like the Jews, led them to accept that Sayyidna Isa (A.S) was crucified and killed. Then, there were others among them who, in their excess of belief, went out of the limits when they took him to be God and Son of God - but, says the verse of the Qur'an, though they do not believe in the prophethood of Sayyidna Isa (A.S) at this time as they should; but the time will come, close to the Day of Doom, when he will reappear on this earth and all Peoples of the Book will believe in him genuinely and authentically. All Christians will become Muslims holding true beliefs. The hostile among the Jews will be killed, the rest will become Muslims. That will be the time when Kufr will be banished from the world along with whatever forms it may have. Islam will finally reign supreme on the earth.

Reproduced below is a report from Sayyidna Abu Hurairah Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him:

"The Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him said: 'The son of Maryam shall definitely reappear as a just ruler. He will kill the Anti-Christ and the swine. He will break the Cross and worship shall be .made for Allah alone, the one Lord of all the worlds.' Then, Sayyidna Abu Hurairah said: Read, if you wish, the verse of the Qur'an - (159) which mentions that not one person from out of the People of the Book will remain without having believed in Sayyidna 'Isa before his death. Sayyidna Abu Hurairah (may Allaah be pleased with him), then said with stress: Before the death of 'Isa (A.S) and he repeated it three times. (Qurtubi)

This Tafsir (explanation) of the verse under reference stands proved from a highly venerated Companion such as Sayyidna Abu Hurairah Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him on the added strength of sound chain of narrators. This report establishes that the Qur'anic words: (before his death) mean 'before the death of Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) and which explicitly determines that this verse is related to the coming of Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) close to the Qiyamah (Doomsday).

As based on this tafsir, this verse is a conclusive evidence that the death of Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) has not yet come to pass. In fact, when he is'sent down from the heaven close to Qiyamah and the wise considerations of Almighty Allah working behind his coming reach their ultimate fruition, it will be only then that his death will occur on this very earth.

This is also supported by the following verse of Surah al-Zukhruf (43:61): (that is, Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) is a sign of the Doomsday. So, do not doubt it and listen to what I say.) A larger number of commentators has said that the pronoun in the Qur'anic word , at this point refers back to Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) and it means that Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) is a sign of Qiyamah (Doomsday). From here we learn that this verse reports the coming of the Masih (A.S), that is, he will appear close to the Qiyamah and his appearance will be one of the signs of it.

Also worth attention is yet another reading of the Qur'anic word (la'ilmun) in this verse (43:61) which is: (la'ilmun). According to this reading the meaning becomes all the more clear because the word ('alam) with the fatha of lam means 'sign or symbol'. The following tafsir of Sayyidna 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him ends added support to this view:

(About the verse: - 43:61 - Sayyidna Ibn 'Abbas reported that it refers to Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) who will come before the Qiyamah (Ibn Kathir)

In short, if we combine the statement: 'Qabla mawtihi' (Before his death - 4.159) with the authentic hadith of Sayyidna Abu Hurairah and its explanation, the truth that Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) is alive and that he will reappear close to the Doomsday and overcome the Jews stands proved conclusively. Similarly, this view also becomes certain through the words: : 'Surely, he (Sayyidna 'Isa) is a sign of the Doomsday,' as explained by Sayyidna Ibn 'Abbas Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him.

The master commentator, Ibn Kathir (may Allaah have mercy on him), while explaining the verse: cited above, has said:

"The sayings of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him in this connection have been reported through tawatur (in an uninterrupted succession) that he has conveyed the tidings of the coming of 'Isa (A.S) in this world before the Day of Doom as a just ruler. (Ibn Kathir)

These narrations appearing in an uninterrupted succession (mutawatir) were collected by my teacher and a great servant of Islam, Maulana Muhammad Anwar Shah al-Kashmiri. These were more than a hundred in number. This humble writer compiled this collection in Arabic and it was published way back under the title: as proposed by my respected teacher. Recently, a major Syrian scholar, Al-'Allamah 'Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah has published from the city of Beirut a deluxe edition of this work with additional explanations and notes.


The Belief in the Coming of 'Isa (Jesus, peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) Towards the Later Times is Absolute and Unanimous as Held by the Muslims and the Denier of Which Goes out of the Pale of Islam


This subject has become clear enough from the discussion of verses in this part of the commentary. A more comprehensive treatment of the subject has already appeared in the commentary on Surah 'Al-'Imran which may be consulted. The discussions there also include answers to doubts raised by some so-called modernists of our time in order to hurt the credibility of this article of Muslim faith. Only Allah can guide whomsoever He wills. [Ma'ariful Qur'an]
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