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#256 [Permalink] Posted on 2nd December 2011 11:18
Tafseer Of Surah Aal 'Imraan, Verses 52-53





"So, when 'Isa sensed disbelief in them, he said: 'Who are my helpers in the way of Allah?" The disciples said: "We are helpers of Allah. We believe in Allah; and be witness that we are Muslims." [52] "Our Lord, we have believed in what You have revealed, and we have followed the messenger. So, write us down with those who bear witness.""[53] (3:52-53)

Following blessed predictions mentioned earlier, Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) was born with all promised signs. As a messenger sent to Bani Isra'il, he presented his call to them supported by miracles to prove his prophethood. But, the Bani Isra'il were adamant and kept on rejecting him as a prophet, even going to the limit of being physically hostile to him.

The text now identifies the very first followers of Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S), brings to light their real creed, expressed first before their prophet and then (in verse 53), reiterated it in the form of a prayer before their Lord.

Commentary

The word, 'hawariyy (singular of 'al-hawariyyun') appearing in verse 52 (translated as 'the disciples'), is a derivation from hawar which lexically means whiteness. In the religious terminology, the title of 'hawariyy' has been given to the sincere disciples or companions of Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) either because of their sincerity or the purity of their heart, or because of their white dress. Likewise, the Companions (radiallaahu 'anhum: May Allah be pleased with them) of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him have been called, sahabiyy (plural, sahabah).

Some commentators have given the number of the disciples as twelve. Incidentally, the word 'hawariyy' is also, at times, used in the absolute sense of 'helper' or 'supporter'. It is in this very sense that it was said in a hadith: "Every prophet has a hawariyy, that is, a sincere companion; Zubair is my hawariyy" (Tafsir al-Qurtubi)
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#257 [Permalink] Posted on 4th December 2011 07:23
Tafseer Of Surah Aal 'Imraan, Verse 54-55





And they made a move, and Allah made a move. And Allah is the best of those who make moves. [54] When Allah said: "O 'Isa, I am to take you in full and raise you towards Myself, and cleanse you of those who disbelieve, and place those who follow you above those who disbelieve, upto the Day of Doom. Then to Me is your return, whereupon I shall judge between you in what you have been differing in."[55] (3:54-55)

Commentary

In these verses the miraculous event of the Ascension of Sayyidna 'Isa (Jesus Christ) has been mentioned. "And they made a move" refers to the evil designs of the Jews who planned to arrest him and to get him crucified.

The next sentence i.e. "and Allah made a move" refers to the plan designed by Allah Almighty to save his prophet 'Isa from their ill designs. They sent one of them to Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) to arrest him and Allah changed his face totally and made him resemble Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) and raised Sayyidna 'Isa to heavens, while that person was crucified under the mistaken identity. How Allah had planned to save 'Isa (A.S) from their clutches was disclosed to him when his enemies came to arrest him. The details of these disclosures have been mentioned in verse 55.


Explanation Of Important Words In The Verse

Some sects which deny, contrary to the belief of the entire Muslim community, the Ascension of Sayyidna 'Isa (Jesus Christ), his being alive in the heavens and his descension towards the later times, have worked through the words and meanings of these verses to open doors of distortion in the Qur'anic text. Therefore, it seems appropriate that these words be explained in some details.
Let us begin with 'and Allah is the best of those who make moves'. The word, makr in Arabic denotes a subtle and secret move or plan. If this is for a good purpose, it is good; and if this is for a bad purpose, it is bad. It was why the restriction of saiyy (evil) was placed with makr (move, plan) in: (And evil plan besets none but its perpetrator - 35:43).

The Qur'anic word, makr, is used exclusively for conspiracy, evil plan and strategy in the everyday idiom of the Urdu language (in which this commentary was originally written), therefore, it should not be equated with the Arabic usage. This is the reason why Allah has been called: 'Khair al-Makireen' here.

The verse means that the Jews started making a series of conspiracies and secret schemes against Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) going to the limit of convincing the ruler of the time that he was a heretic (God forbid) all bent upon changing the Torah and was going to make apostates of everybody. The ruler ordered the arrest of Sayyidna Isa. While this was the scene on one side, the subtle and secret move made by Allah Almighty was countering their evil plans more effectively, which has been mentioned in the verses coming next.

The word, 'Mutawaffi' takes 'tawaffi as its verbal noun with its root being 'wafyun.' Lexically, the word means 'to take in full'. This being its real meaning, its derivations wafa, Ifa' and 'istifa' are used to convey that sense. In fact, the real meaning of tawaffi is 'to take in full' which is universally confirmed by all lexicons of the Arabic language. Since man completes his appointed time at the hour of death and the spirit or soul given by Allah is taken back fully and conclusively, it is in that context that this word is also used figuratively in the sense of death. A simple form of death is the daily sleep of human beings. For this too, the Holy Qur'an uses the same word when it says:

'Allah takes away lives of the living at the time of their death and of those that do not die, in their sleep'. (39:42)

Hafiz Ibn Taimiyyah رضي الله عنه says in al-Jawab al-Sahih (v. 2, p. 83):


"Al-tawaffi, in the Arabic language, means: to exact fully or take in full. It takes three forms; the first: to take in sleep; the second: to take in death; and the third: to take the soul and the body all together."

In Kulliyat Abu al-Baqa', it is said:


"Al-tawaffi is putting to death and exacting of the soul in common usage while, in the classical usage, it is taking in full and the exacting of the due right."

Therefore, the majority of scholars have translated the word 'mutawaffika' in the verse under study in the sense of 'taking in full'. This means that Allah will not leave Sayyidna 'Isa in the hands of the Jews, rather He would take him away which would be in the form that he would be risen unto Him in the heavens.

This is how the words 'I am to take you in full' have been interpreted by the majority of the scholars. However, some authentic commentators of the Holy Qur'an have interpreted these words in the sense of 'giving death' also, but they do not mean that the death of Sayyidna Isa (A.S) will occur at the hands of his enemies. The true meaning of the verse, according to these commentators is as follows:

Allah Almighty said two things to comfort Jesus at a time when the Jews were bent on killing him. One: That his death will come, not at their hands in the form of killing, but that it would be a natural death. Two: In order to rescue him from the evil designs of those people, Allah Almighty will, at that time, raise Jesus towards Him. This explanation is exactly what has been reported from Sayyidna Ibn 'Abbas Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him as quoted by al-Suyuti رضي الله عنه in his al-Durr al-Manthur v. 2, p. 36 on the authority of several narrators.

The gist of this tafsir or explanation is that tawaffi does mean giving death, but there is the element of precedence and sequence in the words used. The fact of (I shall raise you) will come first and that (I shall give you death) later. Now at this point, the wisdom behind mentioning the phenomenon of the earlier lies in the hint that it gives about the events which are to come later on. It means that raising towards Allah will not last for ever; it would be temporary and then, he would return to the mortal world and prevail over enemies and later on, death will come to him in a natural way.

Thus, the event of his return from heaven and his death after having established his victory in the world was not only a miracle but a consummation of the honour and integrity of Jesus (A.S). In addition to that, the unfounded Christian belief in the divinity of Jesus was also refuted. Had it not been so, the event of Jesus being raised towards the heavens alive would have further strengthened their false belief that he too was Living and Eternal like Allah. Therefore, by introducing the word (pointing out to his death) first, all those misconceptions which might have arisen from 'raising of Jesus' have been refuted in advance.

The reality is that disbelievers and polytheists have always been vehemently opposed to prophets (A.S). And parallel to that there has been the customary practice of Allah - when a people unto whom a prophet has been sent stick to their own opinion, do not listen to the prophet and do not believe in him even after having witnessed the miracles, then, one of the following two counter-actions were taken: Either those people were annihilated through some natural calamity as was done with 'Ad and Thamud and the peoples of Prophets Lut and Salih (A.S); or, alternatively Allah would instruct His prophet to migrate from the habitat of disbelievers and go to some other place. It was there that they were provided with such power and glory that they finally achieved victory against the people whom they were sent to. For example Prophet Ibrahim (A.S), migrated from Iraq and sought refuge in Syria. Similarly, Prophet Musa (Moses) (A.S), migrated from Egypt and came to Madyan. Finally, the Last prophet, Muhammad Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him migrated from Makkah and came to Madinah. It was from there that he finally attacked Makkah and conquered it. This raising of Jesus to the heavens to outmaneuver the threatening designs of the Jews was, in fact, an act of emigration in its own way following which he would return to this world and achieve total victory over the Jews.

Now comes the question as to why this emigration of his, quite separate from the rest, has the heavens as the destination? So, for that matter, Allah Almighty has Himself said about him that his case is like that of Adam, (A.S). The way in which Adam's birth differs from the normal birth of the rest of creation, (i.e., without a father and a mother) so it is that the birth of Jesus took a miraculous form different from the normal birth of human beings; and his death too, taking a unique and unmatched form, will materialize after hundreds of years following his return to the world - unprecedented indeed. Why then, should one be surprised if his emigration too follows some such unique pattern?

These marvels of nature led the ignorant among Christians into believing and declaring that he was God, while deliberation into the various aspects of these very marvels, are clear proofs of his servitude as a human being to God, obedience to the Divine will and the demonstration of human traits. It is for this reason that the Holy Qur'an has made a pointed reference to the refutation of belief in the Godhood of Jesus on all such occasions. The raising towards the heavens would have made this doubt all the more strong. Therefore, by bringing the word mutawaffika (I am to take you in full) earlier, this doubt was totally eliminated. Thus we come to realize that this verse, no doubt, aims at negating the Jewish plans since they were all set to crucify and kill Jesus (A.S), and that Allah Almighty made their plans come to nothing. Moreover, this precedence and sequence of words became the mode of refuting the Christians as well, that Jesus was no God who was never to die but that a time will come when he too will meet his death.

In his Tafseer Imam al-Razi رضي الله عنه has said that such precedence and sequence occurs frequently in the noble Qur'an in order to cover similar expedient considerations under which an event due later has. been mentioned first while an event due earlier has been placed after that. (al-Tafsir al-Kabir, v. 2, p. 48)

As for (And I shall raise you towards Me), the meaning is clear. Addressing Jesus here, it has been said: 'I shall raise you towards Me'. Every one knows that Jesus is not the name of just the spirit but that of the spirit and the body of Jesus. Now taking the raising of Jesus in the sense that the act of raising was spiritual only, and not physical, is all wrong. As far as the word, raf' (raising) is concerned, there are occasions when it is also used to indicate raising of ranks as it appears in the following verses of the noble Qur'an:

"... And raised some of you in ranks over others" (6:165)

"... and Allah will raise up in rank those of you who believe and those who have been given knowledge" (58:11)

So, it is obvious that the word, raf' (raising), in the sense of the raising of rank or status has been used figuratively in view of the context of the aforementioned verses. There is no reason here to ignore the real meaning and go by that which is figurative. Moreover, by using the word, ila: (towards) alongwith the word, raf' (raising), at this particular place, the possibility of such a figurative meaning has been totally eliminated. What is said in this verse is (rafi'uka ilaiyya) I shall raise you towards Me. Then there is the verse from Surah al-Nisa' (4:158), which refutes the belief of Jews; there too, what was said is that the Jews certainly did not kill Jesus, instead, Allah raised him towards Himself. This later expression is used for nothing but the raising alive of the spirit and the body. Explained this far were the words of the verse.


Allah Almighty's Five Promises to Jesus (peace be upon him)

In the verse under reference, Allah Almighty made five promises to 'Isa (A.S) vis-a-vis the Jews:

1. The first promise was that his death will not come at the hands of the Jews through killing. It will be a natural death coming at its appointed time and that appointed time will come close to the Day of Doom, when Isa (A.S) will come down from the heavens onto the earth as reported in details in sound ahadith transmitted through unbroken chains, part of which will appear later.

2. The second promise was to raise him towards the heavens in the existing situation. This was fulfilled right then. The report of this fulfillment was given in Surah al-Nisa' (4:158) by saying: "Certainly, the Jews did not kill him, instead; Allah Almighty raised him towards Himself."

3. The third promise was to have him cleansed of false accusations brought on him by his enemies. That promise was fulfilled when the last of the prophets Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him came and refuted all false accusations of the Jews. For instance, the Jews threw slanders on the parentage of Sayyidna' Isa (A.S) because of his having been born without a father. The noble Qur'an refuted this slander by declaring that he was born without a father because such was the power and will of Allah. And that too does not call for much of a surprise. More surprising is the birth of Adam since he was born without both a father and a mother.

The Jews accused Sayyidna Isa (A.S) of claiming to be God. There are many verses in the noble Qur'an in which, contrary to this accusation, Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) has been reported to have publicly confessed his being human and a servant and bondsman of Allah.

4. The fourth promise appears in (and placed those who follow you above those who disbelieve) which means that his followers will be made to overcome those who deny and oppose him. This promise was fulfilled in the sense that following here means the belief in and confession of the prophethood of Sayyidna Isa (A.S). The belief in and the practice of all injunctions ascribed to him is not a pre-condition. Thus the Christians and the Muslims both fall in this category as they believe in the prophethood and messengership of Sayyidna Isa (A.S).

However, this is a different matter that holding this much of belief is not enough to bring forth salvation in the Hereafter. Instead, the salvation in the Hereafter depends on believing in all injunctions brought by Sayyidna Isa (A.S). One of the instructions given by Sayyidna Isa (A.S) was that his followers should believe and have faith in the last of the Prophets Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, who would come after Jesus departs. The Christians did not follow this instruction in matters of faith and belief, therefore, they deprived them of salvation in the Hereafter while Muslims acted in accordance with that too, therefore, they became deserving of salvation in the Hereafter. But, part of the promise which relates to having dominant authority over Jews was dependent on the prophethood of Sayyidna Isa (A.S) only. That dominance in the world has always been the 'fate of Christians and Muslims vis-a-vis the Jews, and surely, so shall it be through the Day of Judgement.

From the time when Allah Almighty made this promise right upto now it has always been the case that the Christians and Muslims have dominated the Jews. The world has seen the establishment of their empires. The existence of the present state of Israel cannot make the truth of this position doubtful for several reasons. To begin with, and in reality, this state is no more than a manifestation of the military might of Russia and the Christians of Euro-American origin which they have established and maintained against Muslims. As soon as Russia, America and countries of Europe withdraw their patronage, the world will itself witness the instant collapse of this state and its disappearance from the map of the world. Therefore, people who can see the reality do realise the actual position of Israel or the Government of the Jews. It is by no means a manifestation of the domination of Jews. If, just for the sake of argument, it is taken to be their own state, even then, who would 7 in his right frame of mind - deny that, given the totality of Christians and Muslims, they are wielders of lesser influence and are much subjugated with fear. Even if we were to leave this aspect aside, we know that a temporary domination by the Jews close to the Day of Judgement has been reported in the authentic reports of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him. Now if this world is destined to exist for any considerable period of time and if the Day of Judgement is close, that domination too is not contrary to the reports which Muslims consider authentic. Moreover, such short-lived occupation cannot be given the name of a state or government especially when it is based on a conspiracy hatched by the Christians and the communists.

5. The fifth promise, that of giving a decision in respect of such conflicts in faith on the Day of Judgement will certainly be fulfilled on its appointed time as it has been indicated in the verse: "Then, to Me is your return, whereupon I shall judge between you." (3:55)

Jesus (peace be upon him): The Question Of His Life And Second Coming

The Jews are the only people in the world who say that Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) was crucified, killed and buried following which he never returned to life. What happened really and truly has been clarified in verse 158 of Surah al-Nisa' in the Holy Qur'an. Then, in (And they made a move, and Allah made a move.) of the present verse, it has been pointed out that Allah Almighty made the sinister move of the enemies of 'Isa recoil upon those who had gone into the house to kill Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S). It was one of them that Allah Almighty changed to look exactly like Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) and then He raised Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) alive onto the heavens. The words of the verse are as follows:

"And they did not kill him and they did not crucify him, but they were deluded by resemblance." (4:157).

Details regarding this will appear under the commentary on Surah al-Nisa'.
The Christians said that Jesus was, no doubt, killed on the cross but was brought back to life once again and raised onto the heavens. The verse under reference has refuted this false notion as well. It is stressed here that similar to the Jews who were rejoicing after killing their own man, the Christians fell a victim to the same mistaken identity by believing that it was Jesus who got killed on the Cross, and as such, the Christians too became the victims of mistaken identity. This is obvious from the Qur'anic statement (they were deluded by resemblance) just like the Jews were deceived by mistaken identity.

As opposed to the view of these two groups, there is the Islamic belief, stated here in this verse and in several other verses clearly, which says that Allah Almighty raised him alive onto the heavens in order to rescue him from the Jews. He was not to be killed and he was not to be crucified. He is in the heavens alive and it will be close to the Day of Judgement when he shall come down from the heavens, lead the Muslims to victory over the Jews, and finally, he will die a natural death.

There is a consensus of the entire Muslim community on this belief. Hafiz ibn Hajr رضي الله عنه, in his Talkhis al-Habir, has reported this consensus (page 319). This belief, and the consensus of the community on it, stands proved on the authority of several verses of the Holy Qur'an and reports from mutawatir ahadith transmitted through an unbroken chain of reporting. However, this is not the place for its detailed discussion, and not necessary either. The reason being that scholars of the community have already taken up this question in special books with full clarity giving detailed answers to those who dispute in the Ascension of the Christ. For instance, the Arabic work, 'Aqidatul Islam fi Hayati 'Isa (A.S) by Hujjatul Islam Maulana Sayyid Muhammad Anwar Shah al-Kashmiri, Hayat-e-Isa (A.S), (the Life of Jesus) in Urdu by Hadrat Maulana Badr 'Alam Muhajir Madani, Hayat-e-Masih (A.S) in Urdu by Maulana Sayyid Muhammad Idris and hundreds of other books or essays dealing with this question have been widely published and circulated.

While carrying out the orders of his respected teacher, Maulana Sayyid Muhammad Anwar Shah al-Kashmiri رضي الله عنه, this writer had collected more than one hundred mutawatir ahadith identified by him which prove in an undeniable manner that Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) was raised alive and that he will return close to the Day of Judgement. This collection in book form and entitled, Al-Tasrih bima Tawatara fi Nuzul al-Masih has been recently published from Beirut with marginal notes and commentary by 'Allama 'Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah رضي الله عنه, a revered scholar of Allepo, Syria.

Hafiz ibn Kathir رضي الله عنه while explaining the verse of Surah Al-Zukhruf (43:61) has said:



"There are ahadith from the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, narrated in an uninterrupted succession, that he proclaimed the coming of 'Isa (A.S) before the Day of Judgment as a just leader."

At this stage I would like to draw the attention of the reader to a point which, if noticed even with a small measure of sanity and justice, would leave no room for any doubt regarding this question. The point is that in the eleventh section of Surah 'Al-'Imran, Allah Almighty while refering to past prophets deemed it sufficient to refer to prophets Adam, Nuh, Al-Ibrahim and 'Al-'Imran briefly in one single verse. After that, it was in nearly three sections and twenty two verses that reference was made to Sayyidna Isa (A.S) and his family with meticulous detail - something which has not been made in that manner even in respect of the Last of the prophets Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him to whom the Qur'an was revealed. Note the detailed mention of the grandmother of Jesus, her pledge, the birth of his mother, her name, her upbringing, the conceiving of Jesus by his mother then the detailed narrative of his birth, followed by the description of what his mother ate and drank, after child birth, her return to the family with the newborn child, their blames and curses, first the gift of eloquence to the newborn as his miracle. then his growing up and call to his people, opposition faced and the help of disciples, the hostile attempts by the Jews to trap and kill him, his being raised alive onto the heavens - then complete details of his additional traits, his looks, physique, dress and its likes - these are accounts which have not been taken up in the whole spectrum of the Qur'an and Hadith in respect of any prophet or messenger with that much of detail. This point is an open invitation to everyone to think as to why did this happen and what was the wisdom behind it.

Even a moment's reflection here makes it clear that the Last of the prophets Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, being the final prophet and messenger with no apostle to come after him, took special care to guide his community about conditions that it was going to face right through the Day of Judgement. He therefore, took upon himself to identify those who would be worthy of the community's following. He, as a matter of principle, described them with a profile of their general qualities. There were other blessed people whom he identified by name and emphatically asked the community to follow them. Other than these, he also marked out the astray and the deviating who posed a danger to the faith of the community.

Of the mischief-makers who were to come after the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him the most notorious was Dajjal (the anti-Christ) the imposter of the Messiah, whose disturbing wickedness was terribly deviation-prone. Therefore, the Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him related many details of his profile, attending conditions and distinguishing traits, so that there remains no room for the community to doubt about his being a mischief monger whenever he appears. Similarly, among the later day religious reformers and power-worthy elders, Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) is the most distinguished whom Allah Almighty blessed with the station of prophethood, kept him alive in the heavens to come to the rescue of the Muslim community during the wicked period of Dajjal (anti-Christ) and appointed him to kill Dajjal close to the Day of Judgement. This is why it was deemed necessary that the community should be given the most clear indications of his person and qualities as well, so that no human being remains in doubt while identifying Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) when he comes, the second time.

There are many elements of wisdom in this treatment.

Firstly, should the community find it difficult to identify 'Isa (Jesus Christ) (A.S), the very purpose of his coming will be negated. If the Muslim community will not identify and cooperate with him, how could he help and support them? Secondary, although Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) will not come into the world at that time designated as Prophet, but he would come to lead the Muslim community as the Khalifa (viceregent) the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, the personal station of prophethood that he has will not be taken from him. Instead, he would be like the governor of a province or state who continues to hold that position even if he has gone out to visit some other province or state for some reason. Therefore, even though he is not as a governor in that province, the office of the governorship has not been ipso facto taken away from him. Similarly, Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) will not be without his attribute of prophethodd at that time, and the way the rejection of his prophethood was infidelity earlier, so infidelity it shall be at that time. Now the Muslim community which has already nursed and shown its faith in his prophethood as based on the guidance of the Qur'an would falHnto the grievous error of rejection, if it fails to recognize him when he comes. So, clarifying his signs and attributes in a greater measure was extremely necessary.

Thirdly, since the event of the coming of Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) will take place towards the later years of this mortal world, chances were given the ambiguity in his marks of identification that some other person could come up with the claim of being Messiah, the son of Mary, in which case, these indicators will serve well to refute and reject any such claim. This is what happened in prepartition India where Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian claimed that he was the promised Messiah. The scholars of the Muslim community refuted his claim on the basis of these very cited indicators.

In short, here and at other places, the very fact of such detailed description concerning Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) is in itself indicating that his reappearance is due close to the Day of Judgement and that he would return to the world. This humble writer has taken up this subject in full details in his Urdu treatise entitled Masih Maw'ud ki pahchan (Identifying the Promised Messiah) which may be consulted for these details.
(Ma'ariful Qur'an)
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#258 [Permalink] Posted on 5th December 2011 08:21
Tafseer Of Surah Aal 'Imraan, Verses 56-58





"Now, as for those who disbelieve, I shall punish them, a severe punishment, in this world and in the Hereafter; and for them there are no helpers. [56] And as for those who believe and do good deeds, He (Allah) will give them their rewards in full. And Allah does not like transgressors. [57] This We recite to you of the Verses and the Message that is full of wisdom."[58] (3:56-58)

Sequence

In the previous verse (56), it was said that Allah will be the final judge and decision-maker in what they used to differ in between themselves. This verse describes that decision.

Commentary

Are the Sufferings of This World Beneficial for the Next Life?


The words "I shall punish them in this world and the Hereafter" in verse 56 may create a little doubt. Since the statement here relates to the judgement to be pronounced on the Last Day, how can the statement -'I shall punish them in this world and in the hereafter'- be explained as this world of ours would not exist at that time and even though it exists today, but the judgement is to be given on the Day of Resurrection?

This difficulty can be resolved by turning to an analogy. This saying is similar to the saying of a judge to a culprit -'Right now I am sending you to the jail for a year; if you misbehave there, I shall make it for two years'- which simply means that those two years will be counted from the day the punishment is being awarded. Based on this, it is certain that following any misbehaviour the two-year punishment will become effective. So, given the misconduct, the validity of this whole will regulate itself for one more year as add-on'.

The same applies here as the punishment in the world has already been given; now the punishment of the Hereafter will be added on and the sum-total will be finally executed on the Last Day, that is, having been punished in the world will not serve as expiation for the punishment of the Hereafter. This is contrary to the condition of believers who, when struck by suffering in the mortal world, have their sins forgiven and find the punishment due in the Hereafter lightened or warded off. For this reason, a hint to this effect has been made in (and Allah does not like transgressors - v. 57), that is, believers are dear because of their belief and the beloved ones are always treated in such a manner. The disbelievers are detested because of their disbelief and those detested do not receive such treatment. (Bayan al-Qur'an) (Ma'ariful Qur'an)
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#259 [Permalink] Posted on 6th December 2011 07:16
Tafseer Of Surah Aal 'Imraan, Verses 59-63







"Surely, the case of 'Isa, in the sight of Allah, is like the case of 'Adam. He created him from dust, then said to him, "Be", and he came to be. [59] The truth is from your Lord. So, do not be of those who doubt. [60] So, if someone argues with you in this after what has come to you of the knowledge, say, "Come, let us call our sons and your sons, our women and your women, ourselves and yourselves, then pray and invoke the curse of Allah upon the liars." [61] This is, indeed, the true narration. And there exists no god but Allah. And Allah is surely the All-Mighty, the All-Wise. [62] So, should they turn back, Allah is all-aware of the mischievous."[63] (3:59-63)

The Event of Mubahalah and the Refutation of Heretics

The background of these verses is that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him sent an ultimatum to the Christians of Najran which included three options in the order given below.

1. Accept Islam, or
2. Pay jizya (a levy on free non-Muslims under Muslim rule), or
3. Get ready for a war.

After mutual consultation, the Christians sent a delegation to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon himconsisting of Shurahbil 'Abdullah b. Shurahbil and Jabbar ibn Fayd to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him. They came and began their talks on religious issues. When they, in their effort to prove the godhood of Jesus, took their debate to the extremes of dispute, that was the moment this verse of Mubahala was revealed. Thereupon, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him invited the Christians to join in the Mubahala confrontation (a form of resolving disputes by praying to Allah, the details of which shall shortly be discussed) and quite readily, he himself came out with Sayyidah Fatimah Radhi-Allahu Anha: Allah be pleased with her, Sayyidna 'Ali Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him and their sons, Hasan and Husain (R.A) along with him all set for the Mubahalah. Looking at this, Shurahbil said to his two comrades: 'Look, you already know that he is a prophet of Allah and getting into a Mubahalah confrontation with a prophet means certain death and destruction for us. So find out some other way to get out of this fix.' His comrades asked him as to what he thought it could be. Shurahbil said: 'I think the best solution is to opt for a truce as advised by the prophet'. So, on this everybody agreed. As a result, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him made peace by fixing a levy on them which was accepted by them as well. (Tafsir ibn Kathir, v. 1)


The Meaning of Mubahalah

As stated earlier, verse 61 has instructed the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him to invite his opponents (Christians) to Mubahalah which literally means 'mutual prayer' but in the terminology of Islamic Shari'ah it refers to a particular form of resolving religious disputes. When the argumentations from both sides fail to resolve a religious issue, the parties jointly pray Allah to cast His curse on whichever of the two parties is false. Since curse means 'moving someone far away from the divine mercy', -and moving far away from mercy is being close to divine wrath -- therefore, the essence of the meaning is: Wrath be on the liar. As such, whoever is the liar shall face the evil consequences whereupon the truth will become evident before the disbelievers as well. Invocation in this manner is called 'Mubahalah'.

Originally, the Mubahalah can be carried out by the disputants only; they can simply get together and pray. It is not necessary that all their family members are assembled. However, if all the family members participate in the Mubahalah, it becomes more effective. (That is why the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him was instructed to invite the family members of both sides).

'Son' Includes Grandson

In verse 61 the words 'our sons' does not mean 'our' sons as of the loins only. Instead, the sense is general. They may be sons or grandsons, because this is how the word is used in common usage. Therefore, the grandsons of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, namely Sayyidna Hasan and Sayyidna Husain Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him, as well as Sayyidna 'Ali Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him the son-in-law of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him are all included in the words: 'our sons'.

Sayyidna 'Ali Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him has another additional reason for being included in the 'sons' of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, because he had grown up under the patronage of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him who had treated him like his own son.

It is, therefore, evident that Sayyidna 'Ali Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him is included in the words: 'our sons'. Some Shi'ites have claimed that since he was not the son of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, he could not be referred to by the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him as 'our son'. Through this notion the Shi'itesconclude that Sayyidna 'Ali Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him was included in the words 'ourselves', therefore, he was the immediate successor of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him.

The fallacy of this argument is evident from what has been discussed above. (Ma'ariful Qur'an)


Tafseer Of Surah Aal 'Imraan, Verse 64



"Say, "O people of the Book, come to a word common between us and you that we worship none but Allah, that we associate nothing with Him and that some of us do not take some others as lords instead of Allah." Then, should they turn back, say, "You be witness that we are Muslims."[64] (3:64)

Commentary

Important Principles Of Tableegh And Da'wah


This verse unfolds an important principle of Tabligh (Preaching) and Da'wah (Preaching Islam). The principle requires that a person, who desires to carry his call to a group which holds beliefs and ideas different from his own, should follow a particular method. That method is to induce that group to unite only on what they both can agree to, for instance, when the Holy Prophet ife gave the Byzantine ruler, Hiraql (Heraclius) the call to Islam, he picked up a particular point on which there was mutual agreement, i.e., on the Oneness of Allah Almighty. That invitation is reproduced below:



I begin with the name of Allah who is All-Merciful, Very-Merciful. From Muhammad, servant of Allah, and His messenger: To Heraclius, the Byzantine emperor. Peace be on him who takes the right path. After that, I invite you to the call of Islam. Embrace Islam and be in peace. Allah will bestow upon you a twofold reward, but should you turn away, then, on you shall be the sin of your subjects. "O people of the Book, come to a word common between us and you that we worship none but Allah, that we associate nothing with Him and that some of us do not take some others as Lord instead of Allah." (Al-Bukhari)

The statement, 'you be witness...' in the last sentence of the verse teaches us a lesson, that is, should someone refuse to accept the truth, even after it has been proved clearly, then the proper course is to re-state one's own belief and conclude the conversation. Entering into further debate and verbal altercation is not appropriate. (Ma'ariful Qur'an)


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#260 [Permalink] Posted on 7th December 2011 07:45
Tafseer Of Surah Aal 'Imraan, Verses 65-68






"O people of the Book, why do you argue about Ibrahim while the Torah and the Injil were not revealed until after him? Have you, then, no sense? [65] Look, this is what you are - you argued about what you had knowledge; why then do you argue about what you have no knowledge? And Allah knows and you do not know. [66] Ibrahim was not a Jew, nor a Christian. But he was upright, a Muslim, and was not one of those who associate partners with Allah. [67] The closest of people to Ibrahim are those who followed him, and this prophet, and those who believe. And Allah is guardian of the believers."[68] (3:65-68)

Commentary

The argumentation referred to in verse 65 was to decide whether Sayyidna Ibrahim (A.S) followed the way of the Jews, or that of the Christians. The futility of their exercise already stood exposed as both these ways in religion appeared long after the revelation of the Old and New Testaments. These just did not exist before that. How, then, could it be claimed that Sayyidna Ibrahim (A.S) adhered to these ways?

Verse 66 points out to the hollowness of their approach when they indulged in their argumentation on the basis of incomplete knowledge. That they would venture to do so on the basis of no knowledge could hardly he explained. The truth is that only Allah knows the way of Ibrahim (A.S). That way has been described in Verse 67.

Verse 68 declares that the closest of people to Sayyidna Ibrahim were those who followed him during his time and now the closest to him is the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad al-MustafaSallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, and so are the believers in him and in past prophets. These believers are the community of Muhammad Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him and their guardian is Allah and He will reward them for their belief.
(Ma'ariful Qur'an)
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#261 [Permalink] Posted on 8th December 2011 07:29
Tafseer Of Surah Aal 'Imraan, Verses 69-71





"A group from the people of the Book loves to mislead you, while they mislead none but themselves and they do not realise. [69] O people of the Book, why do you disbelieve in the signs of Allah while you are yourselves a witness? [70] O People of the Book, why do you confound the truth with falsehood, and conceal the truth when you know?"[71] (3:69-71)

Commentary

Verse 69 exposes the cherished desire of the people of the Book to mislead Muslims away from the true faith they are on. The text, then, firmly declares that the victim of their effort to misguide is no one other than themselves, something they do not realize.

Verse 70, addressing the people of the Book, asks them as to why they disbelieve in the signs of Allah, such as the verses in Torah and Injil which prove the prophethood of Muhammad Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him because the denial of his prophethood amounts to declaring these verses to be false which is infidelity, although they themselves confirm these as true. This is an admonition on their error in belief.

Proceeding further, Verse 71 admonishes them for confusing the real statement, that is, the prophecy about the prophethood of Muhammad Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him with the fictitious, that is, the interpolated statements or false exegesis. The crucial question being asked is as to why would they conceal the truth of the matter despite knowing the truth, and knowing that they are hiding it.

The words (you are yourselves a witness - 70) and in (you know - 71) should not be taken to mean that disbelief will become permissible for them if they do not attest to the truth or have no knowledge about it. This is because kufr (disbelief) is intrinsically an abominable thing to practice. This is prohibited under all conditions. However, the mention of kufr (disbelief) after knowledge and attestation is to increase the impact of reproachment.
(Ma'ariful Qur'an)
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#262 [Permalink] Posted on 9th December 2011 07:48
Tafseer Of Surah Aal 'Imraan, Verses 72-74





"And a group from the people of the Book said, "Believe in what has been revealed to the believers in the early part of the day, and disbelieve at the end of it, so that they may turn back. [72] And do not believe except in those who follow your faith." Say, "(Real) guidance is the guidance of Allah." (But all that you do is due to your envy) that someone is given what is similar to that which you have been given, or that they argue against you before your Lord. Say, "The bounty is in the hands of Allah. He gives it to whom He wills. And Allah is All-Embracing, All-Knowing. [73] He chooses for His grace whom He wills. And Allah is the Lord of great bounty." [74] (3:72-74)

Some from among the people of the Book chose a strategy of deception in order to mislead Muslims. According to their agreed plan, they would declare their belief in the Qur'an in the morning and then reject it in the evening. They thought that this quick about-turn would create doubts in the minds of Muslims about Qur'an and Islam and they might turn away from their faith thinking that there must be something wrong with Islam visible to such learned people who were open-minded enough to accept it first. They also made it a point to reserve their feinted declaration of belief in Islam to hoodwink Muslims only! Their true belief, they planned, would be affirmed before none but only those who follow their own creed. The rule was: Sincerity with the later, expediency with the former!

That these tricks are low is proved later in Verse 73 when the Holy prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has been asked to declare that their clever moves are not going to work for them since Guidance given to servants of Allah is certainly from Allah. So, it is He who, with Guidance in His control, can make whoever He will steadfast on that Guidance. No one can succeed in weaning such a person away from it with any trick, plan or enticement whatsoever.

The reason why they act in the way they do is envy, that is, they envy Muslims as to why they were given the Scripture, or they envy their supremacy in religious argument. It is because of this envy that they keep working to bring about the downfall of Islam and of the community that adheres to it.

That this envy is based on not knowing the nature, timing and wisdom of Allah's grace and mercy is explained in the later part of verse 73 and in verse 74.
(Ma'ariful Qur'an)
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#263 [Permalink] Posted on 10th December 2011 15:52
Tafseer Of Surah Aal 'Imraan, Verse 75




"And among the people of the Book there is one who, if you entrust him with a heap (of gold or silver), will give it back to you; and among them there is one who, if you entrust him with a single dinar, he will not give it back to you unless you keep standing over him. This is because they have said, "There is no way we can be blamed in the matter of the unlettered." And they tell lies about Allah knowingly."[75] (3:75)

Sequence

In the previous verses (70-72), breach of faith committed by the people of the Book was mentioned. This included disbelieving in the verses of Allah, confusing the truth with what is false, concealing the truth and conspiring to mislead Muslim believers.

In the verse cited above (75), their breach of trust in matters of property has been mentioned. Since some of them happened to be trustworthy, both types were identified.

Commentary

Praising Good Qualities In Some Non-Muslim Is Correct


In this verse (75), some people have been praised for their trustworthiness. If this 'some' refers to those among the people of the Book who had embraced Islam, praising them poses no problems. But, in case, it does not refer to Muslims particularly and instead, refers to the people of the Book in the absolute sense including non-Muslims as well, then the situation generates the question: When no act of a kafir (disbeliever) is acceptable why praise them?

The answer is that for an action or deed to become acceptable is a different matter and having a word of praise for it is something else. From praising something it does not follow that it is acceptable with Allah. The purpose is to point out that something good, even if it be that of a kafir (disbeliever), is good enough in a certain degree, the benefit of which he receives in the form of good reputation in the mortal world, and of course, in the Hereafter, in the form of a reduction in punishment for his disbelief.

This statement also makes it clear that Islam does not resort to prejudice and short-sightedness. On the contrary, it shows open-hearted appreciation of the excellence of even its adversary in respect of his achievements.

It is from this verse: (unless you keep standing over him - 75) that Imam Abu Hanifah (may Allah have mercy on him) has deduced the ruling that the lender has the right to keep pursuing the borrower until he receives his due. (Qurtubi, v. 4) (Ma'ariful Qur'an)
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#264 [Permalink] Posted on 11th December 2011 08:13
Tafseer Of Surah Aal 'Imraan, Verses 76-77




"Why not? Whoever fulfils his pledge and fears Allah, then, Allah loves the God-fearing. [76] Surely, those who take a small price out of the covenant of Allah and out of their oaths, for them there is no share in the Hereafter, and Allah will not speak to them, nor will He look towards them on the Day of Doom, nor will He purify them. And for them there is a painful punishment."[77] (3:76-77)

Sequence

Earlier, in yaqulun (they say - 75), there was a refutation of the claim made by the people of the Book. Onwards from there, in verses 76-77, the same refutation has been re-asserted and the merit of fulfilling a commitment as well as the condemnation for its breach have been clarified.

Commentary

'Ahd (pledge or covenant) is what gets settled between parties concerned after mutual discussions and by which both of them have to abide. Contrary to this is : wa'dah or promise which issues forth from a single side, that is, 'ahd (pledge or covenant) is bilateral while wa'dah (promise) is unilateral.
That commitments should be fulfilled has been stressed in the Qur'an and Sunnah time and again. For instance, right here in verse 77 cited above, five warnings have been given to those who break their solemn pledge:

1. They will have no share in the blessings of the heaven. In a hadith, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has said that one who usurps the right of a Muslim under false oath makes the fire of Hell compulsory for himself. The narrator of the hadith asked if the Fire will become compulsory even if this concerned something very insignificant? In reply, he said: Even if this be the green bough of a tree. (Muslim vide Mazhari)

2. Allah Almighty will not speak to them with glad tidings.

3. Allah Almighty will not look at them mercifully on the Day of Doom.

4. Allah Almighty will not forgive them their sins since they wasted away the rights of a servant of Allah through breach of trust, and Allah will not forgive what a human being owes to another human being. In Islamic terminology, this is known as the haqq al-'abd or the right of a servant of Allah.

5. And a grievous punishment shall await them.

(Ma'ariful Qur'an)
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#265 [Permalink] Posted on 13th December 2011 08:22
Tafseer Of Surah Aal 'Imraan, Verses 78-80





"And among them there is indeed a group who twist their tongues in (reading) the Book, so that you may deem it to he from the Book, while it is not from the Book. And they say, 'It is from Allah", while it is not from Allah. And they tell lies about Allah knowingly. [78] It is not (possible) for a man that Allah gives him the Book, the wisdom and the prophethood, then he starts saying to the people "Be my worshippers aside from Allah" rather, (he would say), "Be men of the Lord; as you have been teaching the Book, and as you have been learning it." [79] Nor is it (possible for him) that he bids you to hold the angels and the prophets as Lords. Shall he bid you to disbelief, after your having become Muslims?"[80] (3:78-80)

Commentary

It was during the presence of the deputation from Najran that some Jews and Christians had said: 'O Muhammad, do you want us to worship you the way Christians worship Jesus, son of Mary?' He said: 'I seek refuge with Allah that we worship someone other than Allah or call on others to do so. Allah Almighty has not sent us to do that.' Thereupon, this verse was revealed.

The Infallibility Of The Prophets (Peace be upon them all)

The verse implies that a person whom Allah invests with the Book, the Wisdom and the power of making decisions, and places him on the great station of prophethood is always faithful to his mission when he communicates the Divine message to people and calls on them to become His faithful servants. That he starts moving people away from the worship of only one God and starts asking them to become his own worshippers or the worshippers of some other creatures is something he can never do. If so, this would mean that the one whom Allah had sent as his messenger did not, in fact, deserve this designation. Any government of this world, when appointing someone to an office of responsibility, always takes two factors into consideration:

1. Does the incumbent have the ability to comprehend and execute government policy?

2. How far can he be expected to execute government directives, and to hold its subjects in a stable stance of loyalty? No king or parliament would ever appoint someone as its representative or ambassador about whom there exists the least doubt of indulging in anti-government activity, or deviation from its policy or directives. However, it is possible that the government may have failed to make a correct assessment of a person's ability or loyalty. But with Allah even that element of doubt does not exist. If He knows about a man that he would not over-step the bounds of loyalty and obedience to Him, even in the slightest degree, then it is impossible that he could, later on, prove to be contrary to that assessment. Otherwise, it would mean that Divine knowledge is defective (we seek refuge with Allah!) Right from here, the question of the 'ismah ['Ismah' means a special protection given to someone by Allah which makes him refrain from sins. For the purpose of brevity we may translate it as 'infallibility' - editor.] (infallibility) of the prophets (A.S), becomes clear. Now that the blessed prophets are free of minor sins, how can the probability of doing shirk (the major sin of associating others with Allah) or making revolt against Allah remain valid?

In this, there is the necessary refutation of the Christians who claimed that it was Masih (A.S) who asked them to have belief in his sonship and godhead. Also chastised were the Muslims who had gone to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him trying to find out if it was all right for them to prostrate before him rather than greet him with the usual salam. Also admonished were the people of the Book who had invested their rabbis and monks with the station of God. Refuge with Allah! (Tafseer 'Usmani) (Ma'ariful Qur'an)

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#266 [Permalink] Posted on 14th December 2011 07:47
Tafseer Of Surah Aal 'Imraan, Verses 81-84







"And when Allah made the prophets take pledge: (saying) "If I give you a book and wisdom, then comes to you a messenger verifying what is with you, you shall have to believe in him and you shall have to support him." He said, "Do you affirm and accept my covenant in this respect?" They said, "We affirm." He said, "Then, bear witness, and I am with you among the witnesses." [81] Then those who turn back after this they are the sinful [82] Are they, then, seeking a faith other than that of Allah while to Him alone submits whosoever there is in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwilling, and to Him they shall be returned? [83] Say, "We believe in Allah and in what has been revealed to us and in what was revealed to Ibrahim, Isma'il, Ishaq, Ya'qub and the descendants, and in what has been given to Musa, 'Isa (Jesus) and the prophets, from their Lord: We do not differentiate between any of them. And to Him we submit ourselves."[84] (3:81-84)

Commentary


Three Covenants With Allah Almighty


There are three kinds of pledges Allah Almighty has taken from His servants:

1) One of them has been mentioned in Surah al-A'raf under : alastu bi rabbikum (Am I not your Lord? - 7:172) The purpose of this pledge was to bring round the whole human community to believe in the being of God and in His universal Lordship since the whole edifice of religion rests on this very corner-stone. Unless this belief is there, the lead given by reason and reflection can be of no positive use in the field of religion. Additional details on this subject will, inshallah, appear where due.

2) The second pledge is mentioned in verse 187 of the present Surah in the following words: "And when Allah took pledge from those who were given the Book: "You shall make it known to people, and you shall not conceal it."" (3:18)

This pledge was taken exclusively from the 'ulama' (religious scholars) of the people of the Book asking them not to hide the truth but to state it clearly and openly.

3) The third pledge has been described in the present verse: "And when Allah made the prophets take pledge: (saying) "If I give you a book and wisdom..." (3:81)


The Purpose And Place Of The Pledge


To answer as to where did this third pledge take place, it can be said that it either took place in the spiritual world on a metaphysical plane or in our physical world by means of revelation. Both are probable. (Bayan al-Qur'an)

As for the meaning of Mithaq (pledge) the Holy Qur'an has itself mentioned its contents. However, with regard to the relevant subject of this pledge, sayings differ. Sayyidna 'Ali and Ibn 'Abbas (R.A) say that this was about the Last Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him. It means that Allah Almighty had taken this pledge from all prophets solely in respect of Muhammad Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him. The pledge was that they should, if they appear in his blessed time, believe in him, give him help and support, and leave behind instructions for their respective communities to do the same.

Ta'wus, Hasan al-Basri and Qatadah say that this pledge was taken from the prophets so that they help and support each other mutually. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir)

This later statement can also be substantiated from what Allah Almighty has said in Surah al-Ahzab: "And when We took from the prophets their pledge, and from you, and from Nuh and Ibrahim and Musa and 'Isa son of Maryam - and We took from them a firm pledge." (33:7)

This is because the pledge was taken in order that they support and attest each other. (Tafsir Ahmadi)

In reality, there is no contradiction in the two explanations cited above, therefore, both can be brought to bear on the meaning. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir)

There may be a doubt here. One may say that Allah Almighty is All-Knowing and All-Aware. He certainly knows that Muhammad Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, will not be appearing in this world during the presence of any prophet. If so, asking prophets to believe in him seems to be of no use. But, a little deliberation would bring its usefulness into clear focus. One will realize that the moment they declare a firm intention to believe, as commanded by Allah Almighty, in the prophethood of Sayyidria Muhammad Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, the paradigm of most sublime attributes, it will be right from that point of time that they will become entitled to Divine blessings. (Sawi vide Jalalayn)


The Final And Universal Prophethood


In verse 81 beginning with the words: (And when Allah made the prophets take pledge:), it has been clearly stated that Allah Almighty took a firm pledge from all prophets, which was: When, during your lifetime there comes another prophet - who will certainly reaffirm the message of past prophets and their books - then, it is necessary for the prophet who is present at that time that he not only believes personally in the veracity and prophethood of the new prophet but also instructs others to do so. From this absolute rule set by the Qur'an, it becomes very clear that Allah Almighty must have taken a pledge from the prophets about Sayyidna Muhammad Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him as well, quite similar to what 'Allamah al-Subki has stated in his treatise entitled . He says: 'In this verse, the word, rasool (messenger) refers to Muhammad Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him; and there has never been a prophet from whom Allah Almighty had hot taken the pledge to believe in his prophethood and provide help and support to him; and there has not been one single prophet who did not bequeath to his community the legacy of believing in and helping and supporting him; and, if the noble prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him had appeared during the times of the prophets, it is he who would have been the prophet to (be obeyed by) all of them, and all of them would have been part of his community.'

This tells us that his status is not restricted to his being simply the prophet of his community; he is the prophet of prophets as well. So, he himself says in a hadith: 'If Musa (Moses) was living today, he too would have had no option but to follow me.'

At yet another occasion, he said: 'When 'Isa (A.S) (Jesus) will come, he too will act in accordance with the noble Qur'an and the rules set forth by your prophet'. (Tafsir ibn Kathir)

Thus, from here we learn that his prophethood is 'universal and inelusive' and that all previous religious codes stand absorbed in his Shari'ah. What is being said here also brings into a bright focus the correct meaning of his saying: (I have been sent to all human beings). It shows that taking this hadith to mean that his prophethood extends from his time to the Day of Judgement is not correct. Instead, the time duration of his prophethood is so extensive that it begins before the prophethood of Sayyidna Adam (A.S) as the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has himself said in a hadith: (I was a prophet even when Adam was in a state between spirit and body). That he will be the first to step forward for intercession on the Day of Resurrection, and that the entire progeny of Adam (A.S) will assemble under his flag and that he led the prayers at a congregation of all prophets in Bayt al-Maqdis on the Night of Ascenst (Mi'raj) are all signs of this leadership which is great and universal. (Ma'ariful Qur'an)

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#267 [Permalink] Posted on 15th December 2011 08:24
Tafseer Of Surah Aal 'Imraan, Verse 85




"And whoever seeks a faith other than Islam, it will never be accepted from him, and he, in the Hereafter, is among the losers."[85] (3:85)

Commentary


The literal meaning of 'Islam' is 'submission and obedience.' As a term 'Islam' stands for submission to that particular religion which Allah Almighty has sent through his prophets to guide human beings, because fundamental principles are the same in the religious codes of all prophets (A.S).

Correspondingly, there are occasions when 'Islam' is used in that general sense, while there are other occasions when it is used exclusively to identify the Last Shari'ah which was revealed to the Last of the Prophets (A.S). Both these kinds of application are present in the Holy Qur'an. That the past prophets called themselves 'Muslim' and their communities, the 'Muslim' community, stands proved under the authority of several wordings of the Qur'anic text. Concurrently, this name has also been used as a particular name of the community the Last of the Prophets:

It was He who named you Muslims before, and in this (Qur'an). (22:78)
In short, every Divine religion which came through a prophet is also called 'Islam'. Then, it is also used as a particular title for the Muslim community. Now, the question is as to which sense does the word, 'Islam', carry at this place in the Holy Qur'an?

The correct position is that, no matter which of the two meanings is taken, it does not make much of a difference in terms of the outcome, since the name of 'Islam' given to the religion of past prophets was for a limited group of people and a specified period of time.

That was the 'Islam' of that time. Restricted to the specific group or community, that 'Islam' was not meant to serve as a universal code for all times to come. As such when a particular prophet departed and was replaced by another prophet, Islam' (i.e. the specific code) of that time ceased to be operative. The 'Islam' of the said time was to be what the new prophet presented. Obviously, there was no difference between these different codes in so far as the fundamentals are concerned, however, the subsidiary injunctions might differ. As for the 'Islam' given through the last Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, it will remain unabrogable and will serve as a permanent code right upto the Day of Judgment. And, in accordance with the cited rule, all previous religions stand abrogated after the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has been sent.

Now, they are not Islam as such anymore. Instead, Islam is the name of that particular religion which has reached us through the Holy Prophet, Muhammad al-Mustafa Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him. Therefore, it appears in authentic ahadith that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him said: 'Had Musa (Moses, peace be upon him) been living this day, following me would have been incumbent upon him too.' In yet another hadith, he has been reported to have said that 'Isa (Jesus, peace be upon him), when he appears close to the Day of Resurrection, he too, inspite of holding his distinction and office of prophethood, would follow no other religious code except that of his (the Prophet of Islam).

Therefore, at this place, no matter what sense is taken of Islam - the general or the particular - the outcome of both is the same, that is, after the coming of the Last of the Prophets (A.S), only that religion, and that alone, will be termed as Islam which has come to the world through him. On belief in that alone depends the salvation (najat) of all human beings for it is their indispensable need. This explains what has been said in the present verse: 'Whoever seeks a faith 'other than Islam, it will never be accepted from him.'
(Ma'ariful Qur'an)

Details about this subject have already appeared under the commentary on the verse (3:19).
See: http://www.muftisays.com/blog/Seifeddine-M/2156_30-10-2011/surah-aal-imran,-18.19.html
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#268 [Permalink] Posted on 16th December 2011 10:06
Tafseer Of Surah Aal 'Imraan, Verses 86-91









"How shall Allah give guidance to a people who disbelieved after they had accepted Faith and testified that the Prophet is true and the clear signs had come to them? And Allah does not give guidance to the unjust people. [86] The punishment of such people is that upon them is the curse of Allah, and of the angels and of the human beings altogether. [87] They remain under it forever. Neither will the punishment be lightened for them, nor will they be given respite, [88] except those who repent afterwards and mend their ways; then, Allah is All-Forgiving, Very-Merciful. [89] Those who disbelieve after having accepted Faith and then increase in disbelief, their repentance shall never be accepted. And they are the ones who have lost the right path. [90] Those who disbelieve and die as disbelievers, even an Earth-full of gold shall never be accepted from any of them, even if one were to offer it as ransom. They are the ones for whom there is a painful punishment, and for them there are no helpers."[91] (3:86-91)

Commentary

The Removal Of A Doubt


On a superficial view of the verse: 'How shall Allah give guidance...' (86), there emerges, a doubt that whoever turns an apostate receives no guidance afterwards, although, the fact is contrary to this. There are many who, after having become apostates, re-embrace the faith and become recipients of guidance.

The answer is that the withholding of guidance mentioned here is in accordance with common usage. For instance, some criminal when punished by a certain ruler may say, 'I have been given a special treatment by the ruler with his own hands.' And in answer to him, it is said: 'Why are we going to give a special treatment to such a criminal?' That is, there is just no special treatment called for in this case, while it does not mean that such a person cannot, in any way, become deserving of special treatment even if he behaved well. (Bayan al-Qur'an) (Ma'ariful Qur'an)

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#269 [Permalink] Posted on 17th December 2011 16:47
Tafseer Of Surah Aal 'Imraan, Verse 92




"You shall never attain righteousness unless you spend from what you love. And whatsoever you spend, Allah is fully aware of it."[92] (3:92)

Sequence Of Verses


In the previous verse (91), it was said that charity from disbelievers and deniers was not. acceptable with Allah. In this verse, believers have been told about acceptable charity and the etiquette governing it.

Commentary


Let us first understand what : birr means and what it really signifies so that the whole sense of the verse becomes clear in our minds.

The literal and real meaning of the word "birr" is the perfect fulfillment of someone's rights. It is also used in the sense of charity, performance of good deeds and nice conduct. The word "barr" and "barr" is used for a person who fulfills, fully and totally, all rights due on him. The expression (good to my mother - 19:32) and (good to his father and mother - 19:14) has been used in the Qur'an in this very sense. It has been used there as a personal attribute of prophets who fulfilled the rights of their parents fully and perfectly.

The plural form of this very word barr is "abrar" which has been used frequently in the Qur'an. It has been said: "Surely the righteous shall drink of a cup the mixture of which is camphor" - 76:5.

Again at another place it is said: "Surely the righteous shall be in bliss, upon furnished thrones gazing" - 83:22,23.

Yet again there is: "And surely, the sinners shall be in hell ablaze" - 82:14.

The last verse above also tells us that the antonym of "birr" is "fujoor" (disobedience, sinfulness).

In al-Adab al-Mufrad of Imam al-Bukhari (rahmatullaahi 'alaih) and in Ibn Majah and the Musnad of Ahmad, it has been reported from Sayyidna Abu Bakr Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him said: 'Stick to speaking the truth because truth is a companion of birr (righteousness) and both these are in Paradise; and abstain from lying because that is a companion of fujoor (sin) and both these are in Hell.'

The verse 177 of Surah al-Baqarah (2) says: "Righteousness is not that you turn your faces to the East and the West; but righteousness is that one believes in Allah and the last Day..." 2:177

After giving a list of good deeds in this verse, all of them have been classed as birr (righteousness). The subject verse also tells us that, of the wide range of righteous deeds, the most preferred form of righteousness is to spend the most cherished things in the way of Allah. The verse further tells us 'you can never claim to have righteousness unless you spend out of what you hold dear.' Thus the meaning is that the perfect fulfillment of the the rights of Allah Almighty and a total self-unburdening from it cannot come to pass unless we spend in the way of Allah what we hold dear to our hearts. This very perfect fulfillment of due rights has also been translated as 'perfect good' or 'excellence in doing good' or 'the great merit'. To sum up, the sense here is that entering the ranks of the 'abrar' (the righteous) depends on sacrificing in the way of Allah that which one holds dear.

The Enthusiastic Obedience Of The Sahaabah (radiallaahu 'anhum)


The noble Companions (may Allaah be pleased with them all) who were the first addressees of the Qur'anic injunctions and the direct disciples of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him really loved to carry out the injunctions of the Qur'an in letter and spirit. When this verse was revealed, each one of them surveyed as to what they loved most out of what they had.

Consequently, requests started coming before the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, that these be spent in the way of Allah. Sayyidna Abu Talhah Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him was the richest person among the Ansar (the helping residents) of Madinah. He was the owner of a fruit farm located right across the mosque of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him. It had a well called Bi'r Ha'. Now, in place of this farm, there is, in front of Bab al-Majidi, a building known as Istifa Manzil where pilgrims to Madinah stay. But, in a corner north-east from it, this Bi'r Ha' still exhists by the same name. [This building and well have now been demolished due to the extension of the Mosque. (Translator)] The Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him used to visit this farm once in a while and drink water drawn from Bi'r Ha'. He liked the water from this well. This farm belonging to Sayyidna Talhah was very precious, fertile, and the dearest of all that he owned. After the revelation of this verse, he presented himself before the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him and said: 'I hold Bi'r Ha' the dearest of all that I own. I wish to 'spend' it in the way of Allah. I request you to use it for whatever purpose you like.' He said: 'That farm is a high-yield property. I think it is appropriate that you distribute it among your kith and kin.' Sayyidna Abu Talhah, accepting the suggestion made by the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him distributed it among his relatives and cousins (al-Bukhari and Muslim). This hadith also tells us that charity is not restricted to spending on the poor and the needy, but it is equally charitable and meritorious to give it to one's own family and relatives.

Sayyidna Zayd ibn Haritha Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him came with a horse and said that he loved it more than anything else he owned and that he wanted to 'spend' it in the way of Allah. The Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him accepted it. But, after having taken it from him, he gave it to his son Sayyidna Usamah Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him. Zayd ibn Haritha Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him was somewhat disappointed about that thinking that his charity has found its way back into his own home. But, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him comforted him by saying: 'Allah Almighty has accepted this charity of yours'. (Tafsir Mazhari vide Ibn Jarir, and others)

Sayyidna 'Umar Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him had a bond-maid he liked most. He freed her for the sake of Allah.

Similarly, Sayyidna 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him had a bond-maid he loved. He freed her in the name of Allah.

In short, the gist of the verse under reference is that the complete fulfillment of the rights of Allah, the perfect good and excellence in doing good can be achieved only when a person spends something out of his dearest belongings in the way of Allah. Worthy of our attention and retention are some of the following aspects highlighted in this verse.


The Word Birr In This Verse Is Inclusive Of All Charity, Obligatory Or Voluntary


1. First of all, this verse motivates spending in the way of Allah. Some commentators take this to mean obligatory charity such as zakah while others take this to be voluntary (Nafl: supererogatory) charity. But, according to a consensus of respected researchers in the field, it has been established that its sense is general and includes both obligatory and voluntary charities. Then there are the recorded actions of the noble Companions, as cited above, which bear witness that these charitable initiatives taken by them were voluntary.

Therefore, the sense of the verse is that you give in the way of Allah whatever it may be, the obligatory zakah or the voluntary charity, but that perfect excellence and merit will blossom out from them only when you spend in the way of Allah what you like and love. Not that you pick out the spare, the useless or worthless things as if you were trying to get rid of the burden of charity and as if it was some sort of punitive tax on you. This subject has been taken up more clearly in another verse of the Qur'an which is as follows: "O those who believe, spend of the the good things you have earned and of what We have brought forth for you from the earth and do not opt for a bad thing spending only from there while you are not going to accept it at all unless you close your eyes to it..." -2:267.

So, the outcome is that picking out the bad and the useless to give in charity is unacceptable; contrary to that is the acceptable charity which earns full merit and which is nothing but what is spent out of one's dear belongings.

Moderation In Charity


2. The second ruling comes out of the hint made in the sentence (from what) in the verse. That is, the purpose is not to spend away everything one likes and loves en masse in the way of Allah. Instead, the purpose is to spend whatever has to be spent from the good things. Spending in this way will bring the full reward of charity.


In Charity, What Counts Is Sincerity


3. The third ruling is that spending the cherished is not tied to spending something of high value. Instead, by spending what one likes and holds dear, no matter how small it may be in quantity or cost, one would still become deserving of this 'birr' or righteousness. Hasan al-Basri (rahmatullaahi 'alaih) says, 'Whoever spends sincerely for the good pleasure of Allah, even if that be a single date-fruit alone, that too is good enough to make one deserving of the great merit and perfect righteousness promised in the verse.'

Alternative for those who have nothing to spend


4. On the outside, it appears from the verse that poor people who do not have much to spend will remain deprived of the great good and righteousness mentioned here. It is because it has been said in the verse that this great good cannot be achieved without spending one's cherished belonging while the poor and the needy just do not have anything through which they could reach the station of righteousness.

But, a little deliberation would show that the verse does not mean that those who wish to have the great good and the great merit cannot achieve that by any means other than that of spending out of their cherished possessions. Contrary to that, the fact is that this great good can be achieved by some other means as well, such as, 'Ibadah, Dhikr, Tilawah of the Qur'an and abundance of nawafil.

Therefore, the poor and the needy can also become the recipients of this great good through other means as it has been clearly explained in Hadith narrations.

What Is Meant By Things You Love?


5. This is the fifth question. Another verse of the Qur'an tells us that something liked and loved means that the thing is working for him and that he needs it, not that it be spare and useless. The Holy Qur'an says "the favoured servants of Allah feed the poor although they need it themselves." (76:8)

Similarly, in yet another verse, this subject has been further clarified as follows: "They (the favoured servants of Allah) prefer others over their ownselves even though they themselves are in need." (59:9)

Spending The Extra And The Spare Too Is Not Devoid Of Merit


6. The sixth ruling given in this verse is that entry into the fold of perfect good, great merit and ranks of the righteous depends on spending one's cherished possessions in the way of Allah. But, it does not neccassarily follow that there is just no merit in store for one who does spend out of what is extra to his needs. On the contrary, as it is said Awards the end of the verse: that is, 'And whatsoever you spend, Allah is fully aware of it,' the sense of the text in the verse is that while the achievement of the perfect good and entry into the ranks of the righteous, no doubt, depends on spending cherished possessions specially; however, no charity is devoid of merit irrespective of whether one spends the cherished or the extra. But, what is certainly undesirable and prohibited is getting into the habit of always picking out the extra and the bad to spend in the way of Allah. But, a person who not only spends good things he likes in charity but also gives away things which are extra to his needs, e.g., left-over food or used clothing, defective utensils or articles in use, does commit no sin by including these in his acts of charity. He would definitely earn a reward for those too. As far as spending of cherished possessions is concerned, he would thereupon achieve the great good and find his entry into the ranks of the righteous as well.

Also stated in this last sentence of the verse is that Allah is fully aware of the real quality of what man spends and knows whether or not it is dear to him, and if he is spending it for the good pleasure of Allah, or for pretense and publicity. The mere verbal claim by somebody that he is spending what he cherishes in the way of Allah is not enough for this purpose. Keeping vigil over him is the One, the all-Knowing, the all-Aware who is cognizant of the secrets of the heart - He is watching and knows what is the true worth of the spending in His way.
(Ma'ariful Qur'an)

See also: Virtues of Sadaqah (Charity) - http://www.muftisays.com/blog/Seifeddine-M/883_11-01-2011/virtues-of-sadaqah-(charity).html
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#270 [Permalink] Posted on 19th December 2011 08:11
Tafseer Of Surah Aal 'Imraan, Verses 93-95






"Every (kind of) food was lawful for the children of Isra'il, except what Isra'il had made unlawful for himself well before the Torah was revealed. Say, "Then, bring the Torah and recite it, if you are true." [93] Then, after all this, those who forge the lie and attribute it to Allah, they are the transgressors. [94] Say, "Allah has spoken the truth. So, follow the Faith of Ibrahim, the upright -- and he was not one of the associators."[95] (3:93-95)

Commentary


In the verses appearing above, there is a continuity of arguments against positions taken by the people of the Book. At some places, it concerns Jews and at others, the Christians. One such argument, which has been reported in Ruh al-Ma'ani on the authority of Wahidi and al-Kalbi, recounts the incident when the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him stated his adherence to the community of Abraham with reference to all fundamentals of the religious code, and most of the subsidiaries, the Jews objected by saying: 'You eat camel meat and partake of its milk although these were unlawful for Abraham.' The Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him said: 'No, this was lawful for him.' The Jews said: 'All that we consider unlawful has continued to be unlawful since the days of Nooh and Ibraheem (peace be upon them) to the point that this unlawfulness reached us.' Thereupon, Allah Almighty revealed the verse: - 'Every (kind of) food was lawful for the children of Isra'il - 93' to refute the Jewish claim in which it is said that before the revelation of Torah, all things were lawful for the children of Isra'il except the camel meat which Isra'il (Jacob) (A.S) himself had denied to eat for a particular reason, and then it remained unlawful for his progeny also.

The fact, as narrated by Sayyidna Ibn 'Abbas in an authentic report, is that Jacob suffered from Sciatica. He had taken a vow that he would abandon what he liked most in what he ate if Allah Almighty cured him of the disease. He was cured and camel meat was what he liked most, so he abandoned it. (See Al-Hakim and al-Tirmidhi as quoted by Ruh al-Ma'ani). Then, it. so happened that this prohibition which started because of a vow continued among the Bani Isra'il as a divine injunction. It seems their code recognized a vow as a cause of unlawfulness of something lawful, like in our own Shari'ah, a vow may make the permissible acts as obligatory. However, a vow or pledge which renders things unlawful is, in reality, an oath which is not permissible in our Shari'ah. In fact, in such a case, it is obligatory to break the oath and make amends by making Kaffarah. This is in accordance with what Allah Almighty has said in the verse , (... why do you forbid what Allah has made lawful for you? - 66:1) See al-Tafsir al-Kabir) (Ma'ariful Qur'an)

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