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#181 [Permalink] Posted on 14th June 2011 11:30
Surah al-Baqarah, Verses 174-176

"Verily, those who conceal what Allah has revealed of the Book and get out of it a small price, they eat nothing into their bellies but fire, and Allah will not speak to them on Doomsday nor will He purify them. And for them there is painful punishment - they are those who have bought the wrong way at the price of the right path, and punishment at the price of pardon. What an endurance on their part against the fire! All that is because Allah revealed the Book with the truth, and those who have disagreed about the Book are far out in schism." (2:174-176)

Mentioned in the earlier verses were unlawful things which are tangible. Now, the verses that follow take up the intangible deeds that have been made unlawful. These are evil deeds, inner and outer. For instance, religious scholars among the Jews were addicted to giving out false verdicts in favour of people who bribed them. They would go to the limit of distorting the verses of the Torah to suit the desire of their client. In this, there is a veiled warning given to the 'ulama', the religious scholars of the community of the Last of the prophets, that they should keep away from such practices and never fall short in disclosing the true injunctions of Allah for any material reason or vested interest of their own.

Earning Money Against The Faith

There is no doubt that people who conceal the contents of the Book of Allah and, in return for this breach of trust, collect insignificant worldly gains are simply eating fire. When comes the Qiyamah (Doomsday), Allah Almighty will not speak to them affectionately, nor will He purify them by forgiving their sins. Their punishment will be terrible for they are the kind of people who, during their mortal life, chose to abandon guidance and adopt error, and in the Hereafter, they missed forgiveness and became deserving of punishment. They must be very courageous in that they are all set to go into Hell. All these punishments to them are because they elected to stray away from the Book of Allah, something so clear and true. It is evident that they must be victims of serious intransigence and are far out in schism, as a result of which they can expect to deserve a matching punishment.

Verse 175 tells us that a person who changes the injunction of Shari'ah in his greed for worldly gains, he should know that these worldly gains he consumes are like embers of fire he is storing in his stomach because that is the ultimate end of his deeds. Some perceptive 'Ulama' have said that unlawful wealth is, in reality, the very fire of Hell, even though we do not sense it as such during our lifetime in the mortal world, but once one dies, his or her deeds will appear in the form of fire. (Ma'aariful Qur'aan, Volume 1) Mufti Muhammad Shafi rahmatullaahi 'alaih
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#182 [Permalink] Posted on 14th June 2011 11:31
Surah al-Baqarah, Verse 177

"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 and the angels and the Book and the Prophets, and gives wealth, despite its love* , to relatives, and to orphans, the helpless, the wayfarer, and to those who ask, and (spends) in (freeing) slaves and observes the prayers and pays the Zakah; and those who fulfil their promise when they promise and, of course, the patient** in hardships and sufferings and when in battle! Those are the ones who are true and those are the God-fearing." (2:177)

[*Or, 'out of His love'. ]

[**Reflects the emphasis the Holy Qur'an has given to al-sabireen by changing the case from nominative to objective.]

From the beginning to this point, the Surah al-Baqarah is reaching its half-way mark. Until now, the message was addressed mostly to its deniers since the truth of the Holy Qur'an was the first thing to be established. In that context, mention was made of those who accepted it and those who rejected it, which was followed by providing proof of Allah's Oneness and the Prophethood. Then, recounted were Allah's blessings and favours on the progeny of Ibrahim (A.S) right through the verse (2:124). Thenceforth started the issue of the Qiblah which continued until it was resolved when the status of Safa and Marwah was identified as a sign from Allah (Verse 158).

Then, the affirmation of Allah's Oneness was rightfully followed by a refutation of the principles and subsidiaries of Shirk, the act of associating others with Allah. The approach this far is full of warning mostly given to the deniers of the message of the Qur'an; any reference to Muslims was only as a corollary.

The verses that follow contain nearly the other half of Surah al-Baqarah where the primary purpose is to educate Muslims in the principles and the subsidiaries of their religion and any address to non-Muslims is by implication only. This subject which continues through the end of the Surah has been unfolded by presenting and explaining the cardinal concept of birr, an umbrella word in Arabic used for what is good in the absolute sense and which combines in itself all acts of righteousness and obedience, inward or outward. So, when the verse begins, basic principles such as belief in the Book, spending of wealth in charity, fulfillment of promises and patience in distress have been stressed upon which, incidentally, include the basic principles behind all injunctions of the Holy Qur'an. The fact is that the articles of belief, the deeds in accordance with them and the morals are the essence of all religious injunctions while all details fall under these basics. Thus, the verse actually houses all these three major departments.


When Baytullah, the House of Allah at Makkah was made the Qiblah of the Muslims in place of Baytul-Maqdis, the Jews and Christians and the Mushrikin, who were much too eager to find fault with Islam and Muslims, were stirred and they started coming up with all sorts of objections against Islam and the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, detailed answers to which have been given in verses that have appeared earlier.

In the present verse, this debated issue has been closed in a unique manner when it was said that Faith cannot be restricted to the single aspect of turning to the West or the East when praying. These are directions in an absolute sense and thus cannot be turned into the very object of Faith to the total exclusion of other injunctions of the Shari'ah.

It is also possible that this is addressed to Jews, Christians and Muslims at the same time, the sense being that real birr (righteousness) and thawab (merit) lies in obedience to Allah Almighty. The direction in which He wants us to turn automatically becomes merit-worthy and correct. In itself, the East or the West, or any other direction or orientation, has no importance or merit. Instead, the real merit comes out of one's obedience to the injunctions of Allah, no matter what the direction be. Upto the time the command was to turn towards the Baytul-Maqdis, the obedience to that command was an act deserving of merit, and now, when the command to turn towards the House of Allah at Makkah has come, obeying this command has become deserving of merit.

As stated earlier during the discussion of linkage of verses, a new sequence begins from this verse where the main body of the text comprises of teachings and instructions for Muslims with answers to antagonists appearing there by implication. This is why this particular verse has been identified as very comprehensive in presenting Islamic injunctions. What follows through the end of Surah al-Baqarah is an explanation or elaboration of this verse. Given below is a detailed account of what the verse presents as a gist of the articles of faith, the modes of Allah's worship, dealings with people, and the moral principles.

Foremost are the articles of faith. These were covered under man aamana billah: "That one believes in Allah." Then comes the act of following the articles of faith in one's deeds, that is, in Allah's worship and in dealings with people. Allah's worship is mentioned upto the end of: "And pays the Zakah", then, dealings with people were covered under: "And those who fulfil their promise", concluding with the mention of morals under was sabireen: "The patient." The final statement is that those who follow all these injunctions are true Muslims and they are the ones who can be called God-fearing.

While mentioning these injunctions, the verse has given a number of subtle but eloquent indications, for instance, the spending of wealth has been tied up with : 'ala hubbihi which has three possible meanings. Firstly, the pronoun in 'hubbihi' may refer to Allah Almighty, in which case, it would mean that in spending wealth one should not be guided by material motives or the desire to show off. Such spending should rather be done out of love for Allah Almighty, whose exalted majesty requires that this be done with perfectly un-alloyed sincerity (in the sense of the genuine ikhlas of Arabic and not in the sense of some modern casual nicety).

The second possibility is that this pronoun refers to wealth, in which case, it would mean that, while spending in the way of Allah, only that part of one's wealth and possessions which one loves will be deserving of merit. Giving out throw-aways in the name of charity is no charity, barring the option of giving it to somebody who can use it, which is better than simply throwing things away.

The third possibility is that the pronoun refers to the infinitive: ata which emerges from the word ita' of the text, in which case, the meaning could be that one should be fully satisfied in the heart with what one spends, not that hands spend and the heart aches.

Imam Al-Jassas (A.R.) has suggested the likelihood that all three meanings may be inclusive in the statement. It may be noted that, at this place, two forms of spending have been stated earlier which are other than Zakah. Zakah has been taken up after these two. Perhaps, the reason for this earlier mention could be the general negligence practiced in the liquidation of these rights on the assumption that the payment of Zakah is sufficient.

This proves that financial obligations do not end at the simple payment of Zakah. There are occasions, other than those of paying Zakah, where spending out of one's wealth becomes obligatory and necessary (Jassas and Qurtubi). For instance, spending on your kin, when they have a valid excuse of not being able to earn their own living, is necessary; or there may be some needy person dying in poverty while you have already paid your Zakah, then, it becomes obligatory for you to save his life by spending your wealth on the spot.

Similarly, building mosques and schools for religious education are all included in financial obligations. The difference is that Zakah has a special law of its own and it is obligatory to take full care in paying the Zakah in accordance with that law, under all conditions. While these other obligations depend on necessity and need; where needed, spending would become obligatory and where not needed, it will not be obligatory. (Ma'aariful Qur'aan, Volume 1)
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#183 [Permalink] Posted on 15th June 2011 15:42
Surah al-Baqarah, 178-179

"O those who believe, the Qisas has been enjoined upon you - freeman for a freeman, slave for a slave and female for a female. If one is then forgiven something by his brother, then there is pursuing as recognized and payment to him in fairness. That is a relief from your Lord, and mercy. So, whoever exceeds the limit after all that, for him there is painful punishment. And vested in the Qisas, there is life for you O people of wisdom, perhaps you will be God-fearing." (2:178-179)

From the brief introduction to the nature of righteousness appearing in verses before this, the text now enters into the description of related subsidiary injunctions. Under the first injunction in this connection, the verse prescribes the law of Qisas (even retaliation), that is, the killer will be killed, irrespective of the status of the parties involved. If the aggrieved party somewhat relents on its own and forgives the Qisas, but does not forgive the offence totally, it will become necessary for the killer to pay diyah or blood-money as fixed, in a fair manner, and promptly. The claimant too, should pursue the matter in a recognized manner causing no harassment to the defendant.

This law of blood-money and pardon is a relief granted by Allah Almighty in His grace, otherwise, there would have been no choice but to face the punishment of death. If, after all that, anyone crosses the limit set by Allah, such as, the filing of a false or doubtful case of murder, or a post-pardon re-opening of a murder case, he will be severely punished. In the end, the verse points out that wise people should have no difficulty in seeing that the law of even retaliation does not take life, instead, it gives life, for such a deterrent law will make people fear the punishment of killing somebody and thus lives will be saved.

There is Life in 'Qisas'

Literally, the word, Qisas means likeness. In usage, it denotes 'even retaliation' or to return like for like. In Islamic juristic terminology, Qisas means the equal retaliation of an aggression committed against the body of a person. This retaliation is allowed only with a condition that the principle of "like for like" is strictly observed. This has been explained more clearly later on in verse 194 of this very Surah which says:

"So, agress against him in the like manner as he did against you."

And also in the concluding verses of Surah al-Nahl, the same rule has been covered:

"And, if you retaliate, then retaliate just as you have been oppressed against." (16:126)

Therefore, as a term of the Shari'ah, the Qisas is a punishment for killing or wounding in which the principle of equality or likeness is taken into full consideration.


1) The principle of even retaliation is applied exclusively in cases of culpable homicide when someone has been killed intentionally with a lethal weapon causing injury and blood-loss.

2) In a homicide of this nature, the killer is killed in even retaliation - 'free man for a free man, slave for a slave, and female for a female - and similarly, a man for a woman. The mention of 'free man for a free man' and 'female for a female' in this verse refers to a specific event in the background of which it was revealed.

On the authority of Ibn Abi Hatim رضي الله عنه, Ibn Katheer رضي الله عنه has reported that, just before the advent of Islam, war broke out between two tribes. Many men and women, free and slaves, belonging to both, were killed. Their case was still undecided when the Islamic period set in and the two tribes entered the fold of Islam. Now that they were Muslims, they started talking about retaliation for those killed on each side. One of the tribes which was more powerful insisted that they would not agree to anything less than that a free man for their slave and a man for their woman be killed from the other side.

It was to refute this barbaric demand on their part that this verse was revealed. By saying 'free man for a free man, slave for a slave and female for a female' it is intended to negate their absurd demand that a free man for a slave and man for a.woman should be killed in retaliation, even though he may not be the killer. The just law that Islam enforced was that the killer is the one who has to be killed in Qisas. If a woman is the killer why should an innocent man be killed in retaliation? Similarly, if the killer is a slave, there is no sense in retaliating against an innocent free man. This is an injustice which can never be tolerated in Islam.

This verse means nothing but what has been stated earlier, and we repeat, that the one who has killed will be the one to be killed in Qisas. It is not permissible to kill an innocent man or someone free for a killer, woman or slave. Let us hasten to clarify that the verse does not mean that Qisas will not be taken from a man who kills a woman or from a free man who kills a slave. In the very beginning of this verse the words: "The Qisas has been enjoined upon you in the case of those murdered" are a clear proof of this universality of application. There are other verses where this aspect has been stated more explicitly, for instance, in (the person for the person).

3) If, in a case of intentional killing the murderer is given full pardon, for instance, should both of the two surviving sons of the deceased pardon and forego their right of retaliation, the killer is free of any claim against him. In case the pardon is not that full, for instance, as illustrated above, one of the two surviving sons does pardon the killer while the other does not, the result will be that the killer will stand released right there from the retaliatory punishment, but the one who has not pardoned the killer will be entitled to half of the blood-money (diyah). In Shari'ah, this diyah amounts to one hundred camels or one thousand dinars or ten thousand dirhams or approximately nineteen pounds of silver according to current weights and measures.

4) The way an incomplete pardon makes payment of blood-money necessary, in the same manner, a mutual settlement between parties concerned on a certain amount makes retaliation inapplicable and payment of the agreed amount becomes necessary. This, however, is governed by some conditions which appear in books of Fiqh.

5) Under the Islamic law, the inheritors of the person killed, whatever their number, will inherit and own the right of retaliation and blood-money in accordance with their share in the inheritance. If blood-money is taken, it will be distributed among the inheritors in accordance with their share in the inheritance.

And should Qisas (even retaliation) become the choice, the right of Qisas will also be commonly shared by all. Since Qisas is indivisible, the pardon given by any one of the inheritors will hold good and the pardon will become inclusive of the right of retaliation held by other inheritors. However, they shall receive the blood-money amount according to their share.

6) It is true that the right of even retaliation is vested in the legal heirs of the persons killed but, in accordance with the consensus of the Muslim community, they do not have the right to settle the score all by themselves, in other words, they cannot kill the killer on their own, instead, they have to seek the help of a Muslim ruler or his deputy to realize their right. The reason is that Qisas is an intricate issue when it comes to details which are simply out of reach for an average person. Therefore, the legal heirs of the person killed, not knowing the particular circumstances when retaliation does, or does not become necessary, may commit some sort of excess under the heat of their anger. So, by a unanimous agreement of the scholars of the Muslim community, it is necessary that the right of retaliation be secured and made effective through the agency of an Islamic government. (Qurtubi) (Ma'ariful Qur'an, Vol.1)
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#184 [Permalink] Posted on 16th June 2011 13:48
Surah al-Baqarah, Verses 180-182

"It is enjoined upon you, when death probes anyone of you and he leaves some wealth, to bequeath for the parents and the nearest of kin in the approved manner, being an obligation on the God-fearing. Then, whoever changes it after he has heard it, its sin will only be on those who change it. Surely, Allah is all-hearing, all-knowing. But, whoever apprehends slant or sin from a testator and puts things right between them, then there is no sin on him. Surely, Allah is Forgiving, Merciful." (2:180-182)

The Qur'anic View of Making Will

Literally, al-wasiyyah means an order to do something, either in the lifetime of the maker of wasiyyah or after his death. But, in commonly accepted usage, it refers to what must be done after death. It can be translated as the will or bequest.

Out of the many meanings the word khayr has in Arabic, 'wealth' happens to be one of them, for instance, in the verse (Surely he is passionate in his love for good things) where, according to the unanimous agreement of commentators, 'khayr' means 'wealth'.

In early Islam, when shares in inheritance were not fixed by the Shari'ah, the rule was that a dying person could make a will within the one third of inheritance, leaving behind in the name of his parents and relatives in whatever proportion he chose. This much was their right; the rest went to children. This injunction appears here in this verse.

The making of a will made obligatory for one who is leaving behind some wealth
has three aspects:

1) No shares except those of children are fixed for any other inheritors in what is being left by the dying person. These are to be determined through the will made by him.

2) Making a will for such relatives is obligatory on the dying person.

3) Making a will for more than one third of the inheritance is not permissible. Out of these three injunctions, the first one was abrogated by the 'verse of inheritance' as determined by most of the Companions and their immediate successors. Ibn Kathir (A.R.) has reported from the blessed Companion, 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him that this injunction was abrogated by the 'verse of inheritance' which is as follows:

"For men there is a share in what the parents and the nearest of kin have left, and for women there is a share in what the parents and the nearest of kin have left, be it is small or large - a determined share." (4:7)

In another narration of the hadith from him it has been said that the 'verse of inheritance' has abrogated the making of will in the name of those who have a fixed share in the inheritance, while the injunction to make a will in favour of those relatives who do not have a share in the inheritance still holds good. (Jassas, Qurtubi)

It should, however, be borne in mind that according to the consensus of the Muslim Ummah it is not obligatory on the dying person to necessarily make a will in favour of relatives who have no fixed shares in the inheritance. Therefore, the obligatory character of a wasiyyah in their favour is also abrogated (Jassas, Qurtubi). Now, making a will in favour of such relatives is only a desired (mustahabb) act, and that, too, is subject to their need.

Now the second injunction regarding the obligation of making a will also stands abrogated in accordance with the consensus of the Muslim ummah. It was abrogated by that famous hadith (al-hadith al-mutawatir: the veracity of which stands ensured through an uninterrupted chain of transmitters from many sides who are unlikely to agree on a lie) which was part of the sermon delivered before some one hundred and fifty thousand Companions on the occasion of his last Hajj when he said:

"Allah has Himself given everyone, who has a right, his right. So, there is no will for any inheritor." (Tirmidhi)

The same hadith, as narrated by Sayyidna ibn 'Abbas Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him, has the following additional words:

"There is no will for any inheritor unless all inheritors permit."

The essence of the hadith is that Allah Almighty has Himself fixed the shares of the inheritors, therefore, the executor need not make a will anymore, in fact, he does not even have the permission to make a will in favour of an heir; however, should other inheritors allow the enforcement of such a will, it will then be permissible.

Imam Al-Jassas (A.R.) says that this hadith has been reported from a group of the blessed Companions and the jurists of the Muslim community have accepted it unanimously, therefore, this is an uninterruptedly ensured hadith which makes the abrogation of the verse of the Qur'an permissible.

Imam Al-Qurtubi (A.R.) has said that the scholars of the Muslim community unanimously agree that an injunction which comes to us through the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, and we know about it with full certitude, as is the case with mutawatir and mashhur reports, it will be at par with the injunction of the Holy Qur'an and will have to be taken as the command of Allah Almighty. Therefore, the abrogation of some verse of the Holy Qur'an from a hadith of this kind is no case for doubt. Although the hadith which invalidates a will in favour of an heir is a solitary report, (Al-Khabar al-Wahid), however, the fact that this hadith comes from the sermon of the last Hajj of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him when he openly proclaimed this before the largest ever gathering of the blessed Companions, and then their consensus and the consensus of the Muslim community make it clear that this hadith is, according to them, absolutely proven, otherwise in the presence of the slightest doubt, they would have never abandoned the verse of the Qur'an and agreed to this abrogating command through the hadith.

The third injunction stills holds good with the unanimous approval of the Muslim ummah in which it is not permissible to bequeath more than one-third of what one leaves behind. However, should the inheritors allow the bequest of more than one third, even the whole of what one leaves behind, it shall be permissible.


1) As stated earlier, now making a will is not necessary to cover relatives whose shares have been fixed by the Holy Qur'an. In fact, this is not permissible without the permission of other inheritors. However, relatives who do not hold a legal share in the inheritance can be bequeathed upto one third of the total.

2) In this verse a particular will was mentioned which was to be made by a dying person about what he left behind. This stands abrogated. But, making a will is still necessary, specially for a person who owes to others or holds something in trust. He should make sure that these are taken care of in his will. The Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has said in a hadith that a person who has some rights of other people due against him, then, he should not let three nights pass on him by which he does not have his written will with him.

3) As for the right to make a will covering the one-third of his property, one has the right to make some change in this will or cancel it totally during his life time.

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#185 [Permalink] Posted on 19th June 2011 11:33
Surah al-Baqarah, Verses 183-184

"O those who believe, the fasts have been enjoined upon you as were enjoined upon those before you so that you be God-fearing. Days (of fasting are) few in number. However, should anyone of you be sick or on a journey, then a number from other days. And those who have the strength, on them there is a ransom: the feeding of a poor person. Then whoever does good voluntarily, that is better for him. And that you fast is better for you, if you know." (2:182-183)


Literally, Sawm means 'to abstain'. In the terminology of Islamic law, Sawm means 'to abstain from eating, drinking and sexual intercourse; with the conditions that one abstains continuously from dawn to sunset, and that there is an intention to fast'.

Therefore, should one eat or drink anything even a minute before sunset, the fast will not be valid. Similarly, if one abstained from all these things throughout the day but made no intention to fast, there will be no fast here too.

Sawm or 'fasting' is an 'ibadah, an act of worship in Islam, regarded as its pillar and sign. The merits of fasting are too numerous to be taken up at this point.

Past Communities And The Injunction To Fast

The verse makes it obligatory for the Muslims to fast in a specified period, but the command in this respect has been accompanied by the statement that the obligation of fasting is not peculiar to them. The fasting had also been enjoined upon the earlier Ummahs (communities of the past prophets). The reference to the earlier Ummahs in the verse shows the importance of fasting on the one hand, and gives an encouragement to the Muslims on the other. It indicates that although there may be some inconvenience in fasting but the same inconvenience was also faced by the earlier communities. This brings a psychological comfort to the Muslims, because if an inconvenience is faced by a large number of people, it becomes easier to bear, (Ruh al-Ma'ani)

The words of the Qur'an, (those before you) have been used in a general sense including all religious communities from Sayyidna Adam to the last of the Prophets (A.S). This tells us that, like Salah, fasting has also been enjoined upon every Ummah of every prophet without an exception.

Commentators who interpret min qablikum (before you) to mean 'the Christians' take it just as an example, not aiming to exclude other Communities. (Ruh al-Ma'ani)

The verse simply says that fasts have been enjoined on Muslims as were enjoined on past communities. From this it does not necessarily follow that the fasts enjoined upon the earlier communities were fully indentical in all respects with the fasts enjoined upon this Ummah. There may have been differences in the number and the timings of the fasts etc. and, actually, there has been such a difference. (Ruh al Ma'ani)

By saying (so that you be God-fearing), the text has pointed out to the inherent quality of fasting which contributes significantly to one's ability to become abstaining from the sins and God-fearing. Fasting grows into man a power which helps him control his desires, which is really the foundation of Taqwa, the very special term of the Holy Qur'an which has been tentatively translated as fear of God, abstinence, and the warding of evil.

Fasting When Sick

Verse 184 gives concession in the matter of fasting to a 'sick' person and to a person 'on journey'. The word 'sick' used here refers to a person who cannot fast without an unbearable hardship or has strong apprehension that his illness will be aggravated. The words "and (Allah) does not want hardship for you"occuring in the following verse (185) have a clear indication to this effect. This position is also accepted by the consensus of the Muslim jurists.

Fasting When In Travel

It will be noticed that while giving concession to a traveller, the Qur'anic text elects to use the phrase aw a'ala safarin (or on a journey) rather than the word, musafir or 'traveller'. This is to point out that leaving home and going out is not enough to claim the exemption. The duration of the travel should be somewhat longer since the expression, 'ala safarin means that one should have 'embarked' on a journey which does not mean going five or ten miles away from home. But, the precise duration of this journey has not been mentioned in the words of the Holy Qur'an. Guided by the statement of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him and the subsequent practice of his blessed Companions, the great Imam, Abu Hanifah and many jurists have fixed this distance to be what can be covered in three days by walking in three daily stages. The later-day jurists have put it as 48 miles.

The other ruling that comes out from the same phrase, 'ala safarin is that a traveller who leaves his home shall be entitled to having been exempted from fasting only upto the time his travel continues. It is obvious that stopping in between to rest or take care of something does not cut off his onward travel in the absolute sense, unless his stay be for a considerable period of time. This very considerable period of time has been set at fifteen days following a statement of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him. Anyone who intends to stay at a given place for fifteen days shall not come under the umbrella of 'ala safarin, therefore, he shall not be deserving of the leave granted to one on 'a journey'.


Right from here comes the ruling that anyone who intends to stay out for fifteen days, not at one place but at different places and towns, he shall continue to remain in the status of a 'traveller' and thereby shall continue to enjoy the concession of being 'on a journey' because he is in the state of ala safarin.

Making Qada' Of The Missed Fast

The words of the text, literally translated as 'then, a number from other days' mean that a sick person or a traveller is obligated to fast during other days making the number match the number of days he could not fast. The purpose is to tell people that fasts abandoned because of the compulsion of sickness or journey must be replaced by making qada' of them. Rather than using a simple statement to the effect that 'their replacement is on them', the Qur'anic text has said: which suggests that a sick person or a traveller will have to make qada' only when the sick person becomes healthy and the traveller returns home and gets to live on for the number of days he is required to replace the fasts he missed. So, one who dies before this happens, qada' of fasts will not remain obligatory on him, nor will he be required to make a will for the payment of ransom (Fidyah).


In the Qur'anic provision, 'a number from other days', there is no restriction on qada' fasts, they could be seriatim or random; the choice is open. Therefore, a person who has missed his fasts for the first ten days of Ramadan, could first fast in lieu of his tenth or ninth fast of Ramadan and replace the earlier ones missed later on; this brings no harm. Similarly, one can fast with gaps at his convenience which would be quite permissible since the wordings of the Qur'an in (then, a number from other days) leave the possibility open.

The Fidyah Or Ransom For A Missed Fast

The verse means that those who have the strength to fast and are not restricted by sickness or travel, but do not wish to do it for some reason, they have the option of paying, in lieu of a fast, ransom in the form of charity. However, along with this leave, it was simply added: 'And that you fast is better for you'.

This injunction was valid in the early days of Islam when the purpose was to familiarize people to fasting. In the verse that follows, that is, (so, those of you who witness the month must fast therein), this injunction was abrogated for normal people. However, according to the consensus of the Ummah, it remained applicable to the people of very old age and to those who suffer from a permanent illness with no hope of recovery (Jassas and Mazhari).

All Imams of Hadith, such as, al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, al-Nasa'i, al-Tirmidhi, al-Tabarani and others (may Allaah have mercy on them all) have reported from the blessed Companion Salma ibn Akwa' (radiallahu 'anh): 'When the verse (and on those who have the strength) was revealed, we were given the choice of either fasting or paying fidyah for each fast. However, when the other verse, (those of you who witness the month must fast therein), was revealed, this choice was withdrawn and fasting alone became necessary for those who had the strength.'

A long hadith from the blessed Companion, Mu'adh ibn Jabal Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him reported in the Musnad of Ahmad describes three changes that came in Salah during the early period of Islam, as well as, three changes in Sawm. The three changes brought in the injunctions of fasting are as follows:

When the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him came to Madinah, he used to fast for three days in a month, and on the tenth of Muharram. Then the command to observe fasts in the month of Ramadan was revealed. Under the verse (the fasts have been enjoined upon you), there was an option either to fast or to pay ransom, with a preference given to fasting. Then, Allah Almighty revealed the other verse, (those of you who witness the month must fast therein), which took away the option given to those who had the strength, and ordained fasting as the only alternative. However, the command remained valid for the very old who could pay ransom for fasts they missed.

After these two changes, there was a third change. In the beginning, the permission to eat, drink and have marital intimacy after iftar was valid only if one did not sleep after breaking his fast Sleeping was taken to be an indicator of the beginning of the next fast in which, naturally, eating and drinking and marital intimacy are prohibited. Then, Allah Almighty revealed the verse, (It is made lawful for you, in the nights of fast, to have sex with your women), which made it permissible to eat, drink and have sex during the night until the break of dawn.

The eating of suhur or sehri soon after getting up in the early hours of dawn was declared to be the sunnah. This is corroborated by ahadith in al-Bukhari, Muslim and Abu Dawud. (Ibn Kathir)

The Amount Of Ransom And Other Rulings

The ransom of one missed fast is half sa' of wheat, or its cost. Half sa' is equivalent to approximately 1.632 kilograms. After finding out the correct market price of wheat, the amount should be given to a poor person which will be the ransom of one missed fast. It should be borne in mind that this amount should not be given as part of wages given to those engaged in the service of a mosque or madrasah.

Ruling 1. The amount of ransom for one fast should not be distributed between two recipients. Similarly, it is not correct to give the ransom amount for several fasts to one person on a single date. Although, some scholars permit this, yet, as a matter of precaution, it is better not to give the ransom amount of several fasts to one person on one single date. However, if someone does not observe this precaution, the ransom may be treated as valid. (See Shami, Bayan al-Qur'an, Imdad al-Fatawa)

Ruling 2. Should someone be in a position that he cannot even pay the ransom due, he should simply seek forgiveness from Allah through istighfar and have an intention in his heart that he would pay it when he Can. (Bayan al-Qur'an) (Ma'ariful Qur'an)

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#186 [Permalink] Posted on 19th June 2011 11:40
Surah al-Baqarah, Verse 185

"The month of Ramadan is the one in which the Qur'an was revealed as guidance for mankind and with vivid features of (earlier) guidance and the Criterion (of right and wrong); so those of you who witness the month must fast therein and should anyone be sick, or on a journey, then, a number from other days. Allah wants ease for you and does not want hardship for you. And all this because you may complete the number and proclaim the Takbir of Allah for having guided you and that you be grateful." (2:185)

The Merits Of The Month Of Ramadan

The present verse is an extension of the previous brief verse and also an assertion of the great merit the month of Ramadan holds in its fold. This is an extension because the expression ayyamam ma'dudat (Days few in number) in Verse 184 is a bit vague and which has been explained out in the present verse by saying that those counted number of days mean the days of the month of Ramadan. As far as the merit of this month is concerned, it has been said that Allah Almighty has chosen this month to reveal Scriptures.

Consequently, the Holy Qur'an was revealed in this very month. According to a narration from the blessed Companion Wathilah ibn Asqa' appearing in the Musnad of Ahmad, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him said that Abrahamic scriptures were revealed on the first of Ramadan, the Torah on the sixth, the Evangile on the thirteenth and the Qur'an on the twenty fourth of Ramadan. In another narration from the blessed Companion Sayyidna Jabir, it appears that Zabur (the Book of Psalms) was revealed on the twelfth of Ramadan and the Evangile on the eighteenth. (ibn Kathir)

All previous Books mentioned in the hadith cited above were revealed on dates given in their entirety. It is a peculiarity of the Holy Qur'an that it was sent from the Preserved Tablet down to the Firmament of the Earth in one night of the month of Ramadan, all of it. But, it was revealed to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him gradually during a period of twenty three years.

The night of Ramadan when the Qur'an was revealed was the Night of Power as mentioned by the Qur'an itself when it said: (We have revealed it in the Laylatul Qadr, the Night of Power). The hadith cited above places it on the twenty fourth of Ramadan and according to Sayyidna Hasan, the Night of Power falls on the night of twenty fourth which aligns this hadith with the statement of the Qur'an. Should this alignment be unacceptable, the fact remains that the statement of the Qur'an is above everything else, in which case, whatever night is the Night of Power that shall be regarded to be what the Qur'an intends.

The next sentence (those of you who witness the month must fast therein) carries many pointers to injunctions relating to fasting. The word, shahida is derived from shuhud which means presence. The word, al-shahr means the month. It denotes the month of Ramadan here which has been identified above. The sentence, therefore, means that it is obligatory for one who is 'present' in the month of Ramadan that he fasts throughout that month. The general choice of paying ransom for not fasting, mentioned in the previous verse, was concelled by this sentence and fasting is now the only alternative in force.

As for the 'witnessing' of the month or being 'present' in the month of Ramadan, it simply means that a person finds the blessed month of Ramadan with ability to fast. In other words, he or she should be a Muslim, sane, pubert, resident and well-purified from all impurities including those of menstruation and childbed.

Therefore, the persons who lacked the initial ability to fast throughout the month, such as, the disbelievers, the minor, the insane, they are not subject to the obligation of fasting, because the verse obligating the fasts did not intend them.

As for those who did have the personal ability but were compelled at some time by a legally acceptable excuse, such as, a woman in menstruation or childbed, or a sick person or one on a journey, these have, in a way, found the month of Ramadan in a state of ability, therefore, the injunction in the verse applies to them. However, because of temporal compulsion, relief from fasting has been granted at that particular time, but qada' will be necessary later on.


1) The verse tells us that fasts of Ramadan become obligatory only on the condition that one finds the month of Ramadan in a state of ability to fulfil the obligation. Therefore, anyone who 'finds' the whole of Ramadan will come under obligation to fast during the entire month of Ramadan. Anyone who 'finds' somewhat less of it, he will fast for the number of days he finds in Ramadan. So, should a disbeliever embrace Islam in the middle of Ramadan, or a minor becomes pubert, they will have to fast from that point onwards; they will not do qada' fasts for the previous days of Ramadan.

However, the insane person, being a Muslim adult, does have the personal ability to observe fasts; so, should he regain his sanity during any part of Ramadan, he shall become obligated to do qada' fasts for the previous days of Ramadan. Similarly, should a woman in menstruation or childbed become purified in the middle of Ramadan, or a sick person becomes healthy, or a traveller becomes a resident, qada fasts for the previous days of Ramadan will become obligatory on them.

2. How does one 'find' or 'witness' the month of Ramadan?

According to Islamic law, it is proved in either of the three ways:

1. One gets to have a sighting of the Ramadan moon with his own eyes.
2. The sighting of the moon is proved through some trustworthy witness.
3. In the absence of the two conditions cited above, thirty days of the month of Sha'ban will be completed following which the month of Ramadan will set in.

3) If, on the eve of the twenty ninth of Sha'ban, the new moon is not visible on the horizon because of clouds or bad weather conditions, and at the same time, there comes no witness of moon-sighting as admissible under Islamic law, the next day will be known as the 'day of doubt': (yawm al-shakk) because the possibility exists that the moon may have really been there on the horizon but could not become visible due to unclear horizon as it is also possible that the moon was just not there on the horizon. On such a day, since 'the presence of the month' or the 'finding of Ramadan' or being a 'witness' to it does not apply, therefore, fasting for that day is not obligatory, instead, it is makruh (reprehensible) to fast on that day. It has been forbidden in the hadith so that fard and nafl, (the obligatory and the supererogatory) do not get mixed up with each other (Jassas).

4) In countries where days and nights extend over months, the 'finding of Ramadan' does not, obviously, seem to apply. The situation would require that people living there should not fast. As far as Salah is concerned, al-Huluwani and al-Qabali from among the Hanafi jurists have ruled that such people will be bound to observe Salah in accordance with the timings of their own day and night. For instance, in a country where dawn follows immediately after maghrib, there the Salah of 'Isha' will just not be obligatory. (Shami) This makes it necessary that in an area where the day lasts for six months, people would have only five Salahs in six months and, for that matter, they will witness no Ramadan coming there, therefore, fasting will not become obligatory for them. Maulana Ashraf 'Ali Thanavi (rahmatullaahi 'alaih) has, in Imdad al-Fatawa, taken this very position.


In the sentence (should anyone be sick, or on a journey, then, a number from other days), the sick and the travelling have been granted leave that they may not fast at that time. When the sick person regains his health and the traveller returns home, they can make up for the days they missed by doing qada' fasts. It will be recalled that this injunction had appeared in the previous verse, but now that the choice of paying fidyah (ransom) for not fasting has been cancelled, a doubt could creep up in relation to the concession granted to the sick and the travelling, that it may have been abrogated as well, therefore, the provision was positively repeated. (Ma'ariful Qur'an)
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#187 [Permalink] Posted on 20th June 2011 12:13
Surah al-Baqarah, Verse 186

"And when My servants ask you about Me, of course, I am near. I respond to the call of one when he prays to Me;'so they should respond to Me, and have faith in Me so that they may be on the right path." (2:186)

Allah Is Near His Servants

Injunctions and merits concerning fasting and Ramadan were mentioned in three previous verses. This strain continues even after the present verse when details of fasting and I'tikaaf appear in a long verse. In between, this brief verse has been introduced to persuade of Allah to obey the commands of Allah by recognizing how He, in His special grace, hears and answers their prayers. There is no doubt about fasting being a difficult obligation despite many concessions and permissions. It is to make the trial bearable that special grace has been mentioned - 'I am near My servants. When they pray, I answer their prayers and take care of what they need.'

Under these conditions, it is befitting that servants of Allah should bear by hardships that come during the performance of given injunctions. Ibn Kathir has pointed out to another wisdom behind this sentence appearing in the middle of injunctions of fasting.

According to him, this verse gives a hint that a prayer (du'aa') made at the completion of a fast is accepted, therefore, one should be very particular about making prayers at that time. The Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has said: "The prayer made by one who is fasting at the time of his iftar is accepted."

This is why the blessed Companion, 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him would assemble his family members around him at the time of iftar and would pray.


By saying inni qarib (I am near) in this verse, it has been hinted that prayer should be made slowly and quietly; to raise voice while praying is not desirable. This is confirmed by the background in which this verse was revealed. According to Ibn Kathir, a visitor from a village asked the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him: "Tell me if our Lord is near us, then, we shall pray in a lowered voice; and if He is far, we shall call Him with raised voices." Thereupon, this verse was revealed. (Ma'ariful Qur'an)
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#188 [Permalink] Posted on 23rd June 2011 00:10
Surah al-Baqarah, Verse 187

"It is made lawful for you, in the nights of fast, to have sex with your women. They are a cover for you and you are a cover for them. Allah knew that you were betraying yourselves, so He relented towards you and pardoned you. So now you can have sexual intimacy with them and seek what Allah has destined for you and eat and drink until the white thread of the dawn becomes distinct from the black thread; then complete the fast upto the night, and do not have sexual intimacy with them while you are staying in mosques for I'tikaf. These are the limits set by Allah, so do not go near them. Thus Allah manifests His signs to the people that they may be God-fearing." (2:187)

Explained here in this verse are the remaining injunctions of fasting including the injunction relating to I'tikaf.


The opening words of the verse, (uhilla lakum: 'It is made lawful for you') tell us that the act made lawful through this verse was unlawful before. According to a narration by the blessed Companion, Bara' ibn 'Azib appearing in Sahih al-Bukhari, in the early days when the fasts of Ramadan were made obligatory, the permission to eat, drink and have marital intimacy with wives was subjected to the condition that one does not sleep after breaking of the fast. So, as the practice was, a post-iftar nap rendered all these conveniences unlawful. Some Companions ran into difficulties due to this restriction. The blessed Companion, Qays ibn Sarma al-Ansari is reported to have reached home after a hard day's labour. The time of iftar was near and there was nothing to eat. His wife said that she would go out and somehow get him something to eat. When she returned she found her husband asleep, obviously because he was so tired from his day-long work. Now, when he got up, eating had become unlawful. He went on to fast for the next day in the same condition with the result that by afternoon, he fainted (ibn Kathir).

Similarly, some Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, were embarrassed getting involved in marital relations with their wives after they had taken a post-iftar nap. It was after such happenings that the present verse was revealed in which the first rule was cancelled and permission was given to eat, drink and have marital relations, even if this was after getting up from the post-iftar nap. In fact, the permission was extended much further when the eating of suhur or sehri towards the fag end of the night, after getting up from the night's sleep, was declared to be a sunnah. This has been clearly stated in Hadith narrations. The present verse outlines this very injunction.

The literal meaning of the Qur'anic word (rafath) is, no doubt, general and covers everything a husband suggests, says or does in making his wife consent to his desire, but there is a total agreement of the Muslim Ummah that, at this place, it means sexual intercourse.

It is important to bear in mind that the order or rule which has been abrogated by this verse, that is, the unlawfulness of eating and drinking after having taken a nap, has not appeared in the text of the Holy Qur'an anywhere. The noble Companions acted in accordance with this rule as set by the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him (as narrated by Ahmad in his Musnad). This rule is abrogated by the verse only after giving it the authenticity of a divine command. In other words, the verse first establishes the rule in force as the divine command and then,it was for the sake of convenience that it was abrogated. From here we find out that some rules provenly set by the Sunnah can also be abrogated through the Qur'an. So, in the Islamic law, the decision of the Messenger of Allah has the same authority as the injunction of the Holy Qur'an.

Eating Sehri

The correct time when fasting begins and all eating and drinking turns unlawful has been fixed through a delicate similitude in the verse ('until the white thread of the dawn becomes distinct from the black thread'). Here, the darkness of the night has been likened to the black thread and the light of the dawn to the white thread. In order to eliminate the chances of extremism, the qualifier hatta yatabayyana (becomes distinct) was added which means that one should not act like the chronically skeptical to believe all eating and drinking to be unlawful earlier than the break of dawn, nor should one become so heedless as to go on eating and drinking even after having become certain of the light of dawn.

In fact, the certainty of the break of dawn is the line of demarcation between eating and drinking and the intended fast. Before one arrives at this certainty, it is not correct to take eating and drinking as haram. Similarly, after the certainty, any indulgence in eating and drinking shall be haram, and is a source which may lead to the spoiling of the fast, even if it exceeds the limit for a minute. The latitude and leeway allowed in eating suhur remains valid only upto the time one is not certain of the break of dawn. Particular incidents of this nature attributed to some blessed Companions have been reported when they continued eating and drinking well past the break of dawn. This was because they were not yet 'certain' of the dawn and refused to listen to those who favoured to stop much earlier.
In a hadith, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him is reported to have said: 'The adhan of Bilal should not stop you from eating suhur because he calls the adhan well ahead in the night. Therefore, you continue eating and drinking, even after having heard Bilal's adhan, until such time that you hear the adhan called by Ibn Umm Maktum because he calls the adhan precisely at the break of dawn.' (Bukhari and Muslim).

Because of the partial reporting of this hadith, some contemporaries misunderstood its provision when they suggested that there is no harm if eating and drinking is continued for a little while even after the adhan of Fajr and consequently, made it permissible for a person, who woke up late while the adhan of Fajr was being called, that he can hasten to eat something. The fact is that the hadith quoted above has very clearly said that it was necessary to stop eating or drinking with the adhan of Ibn Umm Maktum which was called precisely at the break of dawn.

In addition to that, the Holy Qur'an has itself established the deadline which is the 'certainty' of the break of dawn. Giving people the permission to eat and drink even one minute beyond that is a contravention of the textual imperative of the Holy Qur'an. As for the narrations reported from the noble Companions and early elders of the community regarding the subject of convenience in iftar and suhur, these can be explained, keeping the text of the Holy Qur'an in view, by saying that they aim to avoid excessive precautionary self-restriction well before one becomes certain of the break of dawn. Imam Ibn Kathir رضي الله عنه has also explained these narrations as based on the factor mentioned above. Otherwise, how could even a common Muslim tolerate an open contravention of the Qur'anic command? One could not even dream of something like this coming from the blessed Companions, specially so, when the Holy Qur'an has right here at the end of this verse, emphasised special precaution in this respect. Notice how wa la taqrabuha (do not go near them) has been added to tilka hududullah (These are the limits set by Allah) which explains the point made earlier.


All that has been said here is about people who are at a place from where they could see the break of the dawn with their own eyes and thus become 'certain' of it, moreover, if they have the additional advantage of a clear horizon and the personal ability to recognize the initial light of the dawn, then, it is necessary that they should act directly by looking at the horizon. Where the case is other than this, for example, the horizon is not in open view, or it is not clear, or one does not know how to identify the break of dawn, people determine its time by other signs or calculations. Obviously, for them there will be a time when the certain break of dawn would not be that certain. If it remains doubtful, what should people do then?

Imam al-Jassas رضي الله عنه, in his Ahkam al-Qur'an, has answered this question by saying that, in a condition such as this, it will be desirable not to go ahead and eat or drink with considered volition, but, should anyone eat or drink something in a state of doubt, well ahead of becoming certain of the break of dawn, he will not be a sinner. However, should it prove later that dawn had set in at that time, keeping a fast as qada will become necessary. For instance, if moon is not sighted on the eve of Ramadan and people do not fast, but the sighting of the new moon on the 29th was proved later on through witnesses, then, in that case, those who did not fast that day under the impression that it was the 30th of Sha'ban did not become sinners thereby, however, the qada' of that particular fast will become due on them, a position on which there is a unanimous agreement of the community. Similarly, if someone breaks his fast close to sunset on a cloudy day and the sun turns out to be still there on the horizon later on, then such a person, for that matter, will not be a sinner but he has to do the necessary qada' for the spoiled fast.

The explanation given by Imam al-Jassas رضي الله عنه makes it clear that one who wakes up late and the usual calls of adhan were being made, which necessarily makes it certain that dawn has appeared, then if such a person eats anything knowingly, he will not only be a sinner but also be bound to do qada'. If he eats in a state of doubt, the sin will be committed but qada' will still be due with the added factor of reprehensibility in a certain degree.

The Worship of I'tikaf

Literally, I'tikaf means to stay at some place in seclusion. In the terminology of the Qur'an and Sunnah, I'tikaf'is the act of staying in a mosque under particular conditions. The universality of the word fil masajid ('in mosques') proves that I'tikaf can be performed in every masjid (mosque). The juristic condition that I'tikaf can be done only in a masjid where congregational prayers are regularly held and that I'tikaf is not correct in a desolate masjid where congregational prayers are not held, is really a derivation from the very sense of a masjid since Salah with jama'ah (prayer in congregation) is the main purpose of making a masjid, otherwise, individual Salah can be offered in a house, a shop, anywhere.


1) That eating, drinking and marital intimacy are all lawful in the night of fasts has been stated earlier in the verse. In the state of I'tikaf, the permission to eat and drink in the night remains the same as it is for everybody else, but it is different when it comes to intimacy with women which is not permissible in the state of I'tikaf, not even in the night. Therefore, the verse gives the necessary injunction in this connection.

2) The rules of I'tikaf, such as, doing I'tikaf while fasting and not coming out of the masjid without pressing needs recognized by Islamic law, are partly derived from the very word of I'tikaf and partly from the sayings and acts of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him.

Observe The Limits Of Allaah

Towards the end of the verse, by saying ('These are the limits set by Allah, so do not go near them'), it has been hinted that the forbiddance of eating, drinking and marital intimacy while fasting are the limits set by Allah. One should not even go near them because, if you go near them, you may cross those limits. This is why overindulgence in gargling while fasting is makruh (reprehensible) as it holds the danger of water slipping into the throat; also makruh is the use of some medicine inside the mouth; again, equally makrooh is the kissing and hugging of one's wife. Similarly, it is better to stop eating and drinking a couple of minutes ahead of the time allowed for sehri or suhur just as a matter of precaution, and also, delaying the iftar a couple of minutes. Becoming heedless and ease-prone in these matters is against this command from Allah. (Ma'ariful Qur'an)
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#189 [Permalink] Posted on 26th June 2011 13:06
Surah al-Baqarah, Verse 188

"And do not eat up each other's property by false means, nor approach the authorities with it to eat up a portion of the property of the people sinfully, while you know (all that)." (2:188)

Previous verses dealt with injunctions relating to fasting in which the use of lawful things has been forbidden during a fixed period and fixed timings. Now in this verse, the acquisition and use of haram or unlawful wealth or property has been forbidden. This has a thematic congruity since the real purpose behind fasting, an act of worship, is nothing but to make man get used to abstaining from what is lawful for him. If he can do that, there is every likelihood that abstaining from what is totally unlawful will become all the more easier for him.

There is yet another correspondence here. It is necessary that one must make an effort to break his or her fast with what is halal. Anyone who goes through the rigours of fasting throughout the day but ends up breaking his fast in the evening with what is haram shall only find his fast unacceptable in the sight of Allah.


This verse forbids the acquisition and use of wealth and property by unlawful means. It will be recalled that the acquisition and use of things by lawful means has been stressed upon in Verse 168 of Surah al-Baqarah as follows:

"O people, eat of what is in the earth, permissible and good, and do not follow the footsteps of Satan; indeed, for you he is an open enemy."

Again, the same command appears in Surah al-Nahl: "So, eat from what Allah has provided for you, permissible and good, and be grateful for the blessing of Allah, if it is Him you worship." (16:114)

The Criterion of Good and Evil in Earning

The whole world agrees that money and materials are needed and that life depends on them. So does it agree that there are favoured and permissible ways of acquiring them and there are undesirable and forbidden ways as well. Virtually the whole world looks down upon theft, robbery, and fraud, but people do not generally have some sound criterion to determine if these means are permissible or impermissible, may be this is just not possible since it relates to the well-being of the peoples of the entire world and affects humanity as such. Therefore, a universal criterion, sound and reasonable, can only come from the Lord-Creator of all the worlds through the medium of revelation. Otherwise, if human beings were themselves given the choice of forging their own criterion, naturally, those who give it a legal framework will think more about their nation, country or community and, as customary, this would be different from what would be thought about other nations and countries. Even if this exercise was done through an international body representing the whole world, that too, as experience shows, cannot satisfy all human beings. As a result, there will be legal injustice ending up in nothing but wars and chaos.

The Virtues of the Islamic Economic System

The Law of the permissible and the forbidden enforced by the Shari'ah of Islam comes clearly through divine revelation, or is derived from it. That law - reasonable, natural and comprehensive - is the only law that can work for every nation, country and community and could be the much wanted guarantee of peace. The reason is that everything of common utility has been left as such under this divine law, specially things to which all human beings claim equal rights, such as, the air, water, vegetation, heat, unowned forests and the produce of uninhabited mountain growth. These are the commonly shared property of all human beings; it is not permissible for anyone to take these over as an owner.

Then there are things which, if shared, would disturb human society, or generate conflict and violence. For these the law of private ownership is promulgated. The law that governs the initial ownership of a land or its produce is different from the law of the transfer of ownership. The law has been so formulated that no human being shall be left deprived of the necessities of life, of course, on condition that he puts in his effort to acquire these. Special attention has been given to the consideration that no man usurps the rights of others, or brings loss to them, and thereby, concentrates capital in the hands of a few individuals. Under the law of the transfer of ownership - whether it is in accordance with the divine injunctions relating to post-death inheritance or takes effect through buying and selling as agreed upon by parties concerned - it was made binding that there should be absolutely no fraud or deception in the transaction and also, there should remain no such ambiguity or insufficiency which might lead to mutual bickering and dispute in the future.

Also taken into consideration is the factor of consent in transactions. It has to be made sure that the consent given by parties concerned is genuine and that such consent has not been extracted under pressure. In Islamic law, all transactions known as void, invalid or sinful have some defect inherent in the deal. At places, it could be plain fraud, at others, a return for some unknown thing or act. On occasions, someone's rights are usurped or self-interest is promoted by bringing loss upon others, or the rights of the general public are illegally disposed off. A very important reason why interest, gambling and their likes have been prohibited is that they are harmful to public interest. As a result of their evil presence in a society, some individuals get to grow as parasites while the whole community is thrown into poverty. Even if such transactions were to be carried out by a mutual consent of the parties involved, such transactions shall not be permissible because they are nothing but a formalized crime against the whole community.

The present verse covers all such impermissible situations and aspects. It is interesting to note that the Holy Qur'an uses the word : (amwalakum) in translated as 'and do not eat up each other's property by false means' which basically means 'your property'. This expression has a subtle indication to the fact that those who encroach upon the property of others must think that the other person would also have the same sort of love and concern for his property as the encroacher has for his own. If the defendant was to encroach upon the offender's property unlawfully, he would certainly be hurt.

In addition to this, the verse may be releasing yet another suggestion. When someone encroaches upon the property of someone else, and if everybody else started doing this as common practice, the natural consequence would be that others would encroach upon his property, giving him what he gave to others. Looked at from this angle, encroaching upon someone's property unlawfully is really an invitation to others to come and encroach upon the encroacher's property, equally unlawfully. For a moment, imagine what would happen to a society where the cult of adulteration in articles of daily use becomes a common practice. There will be a dealer, who earns a little more by adulterating butter with cheaper oil or fat, who will then go to a milk shop and the milkman will give him milk adulterated with water. If he needs spices, these will be adulterated. The same experience will be repeated when he goes to buy medicines. So, one person earns more by adulteration while the other person takes that extra earning out of his pocket and the third person does the same to the second and the vicious circle goes on and on ad nauseum. The adulterer feels good about what extra he puts in his coffers but he never looks at the hole under it for he keeps nothing of that extra in reality. Therefore, anyone who snatches the other person's money or property by false means, in fact, opens the door to the unlawful plundering of his money and property.

In relation to this verse, there is yet another point one should bear in mind. The words of this divine injunction are general: 'And do not eat up each other's property by false means'. This includes the usurping of someone's property, and theft, and robbery, through which money or property belonging to someone is taken away by force. Then, there is interest, gambling, bribery and all defective sales and transactions which are also impermissible under the dictates of the Islamic law, even though, there be the certitude of consent given by concerned parties. Again, any money or property acquired through lying or a false oath, or earnings which have been prohibited by Islamic law, even though one has personally sweated out to earn it, are all haram, unlawful and false. Though the words of the Qur'an forbid 'eating' quite clearly, but the drive of the meaning here is not restricted to 'eating' as such, instead, it means 'using' in the absolute sense; it could be by eating, drinking, wearing or by any other mode of use. Metaphorically, all such uses are covered under the expression 'to eat,' for instance, A ate up the property of B, which is only a manner of saying, even though all that may not be what can be 'eaten'.

The Background of Revelation

This verse was revealed in the background of a particular event which relates to a land dispute between two of the noble Companions. The case came up for hearing in the court of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him. The plaintiff had no witnesses. The Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him asked the defendant to take an oath in accordance with Islamic legal norm. He was all set to take the oath when the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him recited the following verse before him as a matter of good counsel:

"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." (3:77)

When the Companion heard this verse which warns those who try to take over someone's property through a false oath, he abandoned his intention to take that oath and surrendered the land to the plaintiff. (Ruh al-Ma'ani)

So, this was the background under which this verse was revealed. To begin with, it forbids the acquiring of someone's property by unlawful means, then towards the later part, it warns against the filing of false cases, taking of false oaths and the giving or commissioning of false witnesses. Forbidding all these, it has been said:

which means: 'Do not take property cases to the authorities, so that through them, you eat up some portion of the property of the people sinfully while you do know that you have no right therein and you are simply putting up a false case.'

The words wa antum ta'lamun : (while you know) at the end of the verse tell us that a person, who claims something on the basis of misunderstanding and files a suit in the court to acquire it, will not be covered by this warning. In an event of this nature, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has said:

"I am human and you bring your disputes to me. May be one of you is more eloquent with his case than the other and I decide in his favour on the basis of what I hear from him. So, should he get anything from what is the right of his brother, he should not take it because, in that case, I shall be alloting him a plot from Hell." (Bukhari and Muslim from Umm Salmah Radhi-Allahu Anha: Allah be pleased with her)

The Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has made it clear in his saying quoted above that a Muslim judge may give a judgement under some misunderstanding in which the legal right of one party is being unlawfully given to the other, then, such a court judgment will not make the thing lawful for him. Also true is the converse, that is, it does not become unlawful for one to whom it is lawful. In short, the judgment of a court does not make the lawful unlawful, or the unlawful lawful. If anyone succeeds in grabbing something belonging to somebody else through a court by means of fraud, false witness or oath, the curse of having done that will weigh heavy on his shoulders and he should, thinking of the ultimate accountability in the Hereafter and appearance in the court of Allah, the All-knowing, the All-Aware, leave it off.

However, according to Imam Abu Hanifah, if in transactions involving a contract or an annulment where the Qadi or judge have authority under Islamic law, the Qadi gives a judgment, even if it be on the basis of a false oath or witness, that judgment will render the contract or the annulment valid under the Islamic law. The rules of lawful and unlawful will stand imposed on it, although, the curse of lying and engineering false witnesses will hang round his neck.

Halal Brings Blessings; Haram Produces Evil

There are several places in the Holy Qur'an where the abstention from the unlawful and the acquisition of the lawful has been stressed upon in many different ways. It has also been pointed out in a verse that human deeds and morals are enormously affected by eating what is lawful. If one does not eat and drink halal things, it is almost impossible to expect good moral and righteous deeds coming from that person. It was said in the Holy Qur'an:

"O messengers, eat of the good things and be righteous in deeds. I am aware of what you do." (23:51)

In this verse, it will be noted that eating of the lawful has been combined with the command to do what is righteous. The hint is that righteous deeds can issue forth only when man eats and drinks what is lawful. The Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, has himself made it clear in a hadith that the address in this verse is, no doubt, to prophets, but this command is not restricted to them alone, instead, all Muslims are charged with it. Towards the end of this hadith, he also said that the prayer of a person who eats what is unlawful is not answered. The Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him adds that there are many people who take great pains in their acts of worship, then raise their hands in prayer before Allah Almighty and say, 'O Lord, O Lord' but what they eat is haram, what they drink is haram, what they wear is haram, if so, how can this prayer of theirs be answered?

A great portion of the teachings of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has been devoted to the great task of saving his ummah from the unlawful and calling it to the use of what is lawful. He said:

'One who ate halal, followed the sunnah and people were not hurt by him, he will go to Paradise.' The blessed Companions said, 'O Messenger of Allah, right now these things are common in your community. Most Muslims observe these strictly.' He said: 'Yes! In future too, in every age, there will be people who shall abide by these rules.' (This hadith has been reported by Tirmidhi and he calls it sahih)

In another hadith, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him is reported to have said to the blessed Companion 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him:

"There are four traits, if these are in you and you have nothing else in the world, they shall suffice you. Those four traits are: Guarding a trust, telling the truth, good morals and being particular in eating what is Halal."

The blessed Companion Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him requested the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him to pray for him so that he may become one of those whose prayers are accepted. He said:

"O Sa'd, make what you eat permissible and pure, and you shall become one whose prayers are responded to. And by Him in whose hands rests the life of Muhammad, when the servant of Allah slips a morsel of what is haram into his stomach, no deed of his is accepted for the next forty days. And a person whose flesh is made of unlawful acquisitions, for that flesh the fire of Hell is the only recipient."

The blessed Companion 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him reports that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him said:

"By him in whose hands rests my life, no servant of Allah becomes a Muslim unless his heart and tongue become Muslim and until his neighbours become secure from his distressing deeds. And when a servant acquires the unlawful and then gives it in charity, that is not accepted; and if he spends out of it, it stays deprived of blessings; and if he leaves it behind for his inheritors, it becomes his wherewithal for the trip to Hell. Surely, Allah Almighty does not help an evil wash off another evil, but He does help the washing away of an evil deed with a good deed."

The blessed Companion 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him reports that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him said:

"By him in whose hands rests my life, no servant of Allah becomes a Muslim unless his heart and tongue become Muslim and until his neighbours become secure from his distressing deeds. And when a servant acquires the unlawful and then gives it in charity, that is not accepted; and if he spends out of it, it stays deprived of blessings; and if he leaves it behind for his inheritors, it becomes his wherewithal for the trip to Hell. Surely, Allah Almighty does not help an evil wash off another evil, but He does help the washing away of an evil deed with a good deed."

Questions Man Must Answer on the Day of Resurrection

The blessed Companion Mu'adh ibn Jabal Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him reports that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him said:

"No servant of Allah shall move a step on Doomsday unless he is made to answer four questions; firstly, about his life, in what did he spend it out; secondly, about his youth, in what did he consume it; thirdly, about his wealth, where from did he earn it and in what did he spend it; and fourthly, about his knowledge, how far did he act in line with it.' (Al-Bayhaqi, Targhib)

The blessed Companion, 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him reports that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him once gave a sermon in which he said:

"O Emigrants, I seek the refuge of Allah Almighty against five traits of character lest they should grow into you: firstly, against immodesty, for when immodesty prevails in a people they are hit by plagues, epidemics and ever-new diseases not even heard of by their elders; and secondly, against cheating in weights and measures, for when this disease grips a people, they are hit by famine, price-hikes, rigorous labour and over-work and oppressive rulers; and thirdly, against non-payment of Zakah, for when people do not pay Zakah, rains are stopped; and fourthly, against the religious apathy of people, for when a community breaks its covenant with Allah and His Messenger, then Allah Almighty makes alien enemies sit over them who snatch away what belongs to them without any justification; and fifthly, against the apathy of ruling authority, for when the rulers of a people fail to decide matters in accordance with the Book of Allah because the injunctions revealed by Allah Almighty do not suit their fancies, then Allah Almighty causes mutual hatred and disputations descend upon them." (This narration has been reported by Ibn Majah, al-Bayhaqi and others and al-Hakim has called it 'Sahih' according to the standard set by Muslim.)

May Allah Almighty give us and all Muslims the most perfect ability to stay safe against such unfortunate happenings. (Ma'aariful Qur'aan)
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#190 [Permalink] Posted on 29th June 2011 12:00
Tafseer Of Surah al-Baqarah (2), Verses 189-191

"They ask you about the new moons. Say: They are indicative of time for the people, and of the Hajj. And it is not righteousness that you come into your houses from their backs but righteousness is that one fears Allah. And come to the houses through their doors. And fear Allah so that you may be successful. And fight in the way of Allah against those who fight you and do not transgress. Verily, Allah does not like the transgressors. And kill them wherever you find them and drive them out from where they drove you out, and Fitnah (to create disorder) is more severe than to kill. And do not fight them near Al-Masjid al-Haram unless they fight you there. However, if they fight you (there) you may kill them. Such is the reward of the disbelievers." (2:189-191)

The theme of righteousness which started from Verse 177 still continues. The six injunctions that have appeared so far relate to even retaliation, bequest, fasting, I'tikaf and abstention from the unlawful. Now come those of Hajj and Jihad prior to which it was clarified that lunar months and days will be followed in Hajj and in other religious obligations. Also erased here is a custom of jahiliyyah (days of ignorance) which required people in Ihram to go into their houses, if needed, from the back even if it had to be through a hole in the wall bored for this purpose, as they thought it was prohibited to enter houses from the front door when in Ihram. They even rated it as 'righteousness'. So, it is immediately after the mention of Hajj that Allah Almighty tells them that entering the houses from the backs is no righteousness. Real righteousness lies in abstaining from what has been made unlawful by Allah. Since coming into houses through their doors is not forbidden, the question of abstaining from it does not arise. So, those who wish to go into their houses should enter through their doors, but the center-piece of all principles is that people must keep fearing Allah so that they can hope to have the best of both the worlds.

Verse 190-191 carry the injunction relating to fighting with disbelievers. It was the month of Dhul-Qa'dah in the year 6 A.H. that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him began his journey to the sacred city of Makkah in order to perform 'Umrah. Makkah was still controlled by the mushrikin (the infidels). They did not allow him and his Companions to go into the city and 'Umrah could not be performed as intended. It took a great deal of negotiating to arrive at the agreement that the Muslims would perform 'Umrah next year. This pact is known as the 'Peace of Hudaybiyyah'; a detailed explanation of the verse in this context will appear later.


Reported in the first Verse (189) there is a question asked by the noble Companions and its answer given by Allah Almighty. Sayyidna 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him says that the Companions of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him had a distinct mannerliness of their own. On account of the great respect they had for him, they asked very few questions from their Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him. This is contrary to the practice of the communities of the past prophets who asked many questions and thus failed to observe the etiquette due before a prophet. Sayyidna 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him adds that the total number of questions asked by the noble Companions as mentioned in the Holy Qur'an is fourteen, one of which has just appeared above: 'And when My servants ask you...' (186). The other question is right here. Other than these, there are six more questions appearing in Surah al-Baqarah itself. The rest of the six questions come up in various other Surahs.

It is mentioned in the present verse that the noble Companions asked the Messenger of Allah about the new moon as it appears in the early part of the month, having a shape different from the sun. The new moon begins as a thin crescent slowly growing into full circle, then, it starts reducing itself in the same manner. So, they asked either about its cause or about the wisdom underlying its gradual growth. Both possibilities exist. But the answer given states the wisdom and benefit behind it. Now, if the question itself was concerned with the wisdom and benefit behind the waning and waxing of the new moon, then the answer obviously synchronizes with the question. But, if the question aimed at finding out the cause of the waning and waxing of the new moon, which is far away from the mannerliness of the noble Companions, then the answer, by electing to state its wisdom and benefit rather than its reality, simply hints that finding out the reality of the heavenly bodies is not an area under man's control anyway, and then, for that matter, the knowledge of its reality is not necessary for any practical purpose, neither in this world nor in the Hereafter.

Therefore, the question of reality is absurd. What could be asked and what could be explained is that there are certain benefits that accrue to us through the waning and waxing, the setting and the rising of the moon in this manner. Therefore, in response to this, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, was told that he should tell them that their benefits tied to the moon are that they will find it easy to determine the time factor in their transactions and contracts, and to know about the days of the Hajj.

The Lunar Calendar is the Islamic Choice

This verse tells us no more than that the moon will help identify the count of months and days on which rest transactions and acts of worship, such as, the Hajj. The same subject has been dealt with in Surah Yunus in the following manner:

"And determined it (the moon) by stations, that you might know the number of the years and the reckoning." (10:5)

This tells us that the benefit of having the moon pass through different stages and conditions is that people may find out through it the count of years, months and days. But, in a verse of Surah Bani Isra'il, this count has been connected to the sun as well in the following words:

"Then We erased the sign of the night and brought out the sign of the day to see, so that you seek the blessing from your Lord and get to know the number of years and the reckoning." (17:12)

Although this third verse proves that years and months can be counted with the help of a solar calendar also, yet the words used by the Holy Qur'an with regard to the moon very clearly indicate that the lunar calendar is a fixed choice in the Shari'ah of Islam, specially in prescribed acts of worship which relate to a particular month and its dates; for instance, the months of Ramadan and Hajj, as well as injunctions related to the days of Hajj, Muharram and Lailatul-Qadr are all tied to the sighting of the new moon, all this because in this verse, by saying (They are indicative of time for the people and of the Hajj), it has been established that the lunar calendar is the one to be trusted upon in the sight of Allah, although, the count of months can come out of a solar calendar as well.

The Shari'ah of Islam has opted for the lunar calendar because it is based on something which every sighted person can see on the horizon and be informed accordingly; the knowledge of it is equally easy for the scholars, the ignorant, the villagers, the islanders and the dwellers of the mountains. This stands in contrast with the solar calendar which depends on meteorological equipment and mathematical computations which cannot become the common personal experience of everybody so easily. Then comes the matter of religious observances, the 'ibadat, where the lunar calendar has been fixed as an obligation. This has also been favoured in social and business transactions because it serves as a basis for the acts of Islamic worship, and a symbol of Islamic identity, notwithstanding the position of the solar calendar which has not been prohibited juristically, the only condition being that the use of the solar calendar should not become so widespread that people forget all about the lunar calendar.

If this happens, it would necessarily affect the obligatory 'ibadat like Fasting and Hajj adversely, a sampling of which is visible in our time, in offices and businesses, government and private, where the solar calendar is being used with such frequency that many people do not seem to even remember all Islamic months by name. Apart from the juristic position of the lunar system, this situation is a deplorable demonstration of our lack of will to approach and uphold such a matter of national and religious identity with a sense of self-respect. It is not difficult to use the solar calendar only in office situations where one has to deal with non-Muslims as well, but for the rest of office correspondence, private dealings and dailv requirements the lunar calendar may be used with advantage, that is, if this is done, the user will earn the thawab of performing a fard 'ala al-kifayah (an obligation which, if performed by some, suffices for others), and of course, national identity will be preserved.


From the verse (And it is not righteousness that you come into your houses from their backs) comes the ruling that something which the Shari'ah of Islam has not classed as 'necessary' (wajib) or has not given it the status of an act of 'Ibadah, should not be taken as 'necessary' or an act of 'Ibadah on one's own. This is not permissible. Similarly, taking something to be a sin while it is permissible under Islamic law is a sin in itself. This is exactly what those people had done. Entering houses through doors was permissible under religious law, yet they made it out to be a sin, while coming into the house from its back by breaking through the wall was not 'necessary' under the religious law, yet they made it out to be necessary. This was why they were admonished.

The reason why bid'at (innovations in religious matters) are not permissible is that unnecessary things are taken to be necessary like the obligatory - fard, or wajib. Or, things permissible are taken to be forbidden or unlawful. This verse makes it very clear that doing so is prohibited, and incidentally, this gives us the guiding rule in thousands of acts in vogue.

Jihad: To Fight in the Way of Allah

That Jihad and Qital or fighting against disbelievers was prohibited prior to the emigration to Madinah is a fact the entire Muslim community agrees upon. All verses revealed during that time advised Muslims to be patient against pains inflicted on them by disbelievers, even to ignore and forgive when they can. It was after the emigration to Madinah that the first command to fight against them came through this verse (as said by al-Rabi' ibn Anas and others). Another narration from Sayyidna Abu Bakr al-Siddiq Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him says that the first verse relating to this subject is: [v]"Leave is' given to those who are fought against because they were wronged"[/v], but according to a majority of the blessed Companions and their successors, the first verse commanding to fight the disbelievers is this very verse from Surah al-Baqarah while the verse which has been identified as the first verse on this subject by Sayyidna Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, that too, being among the very initial verses revealed, could be called the first.

The command in this verse is that Muslims should fight only those disbelievers who come to fight against them. It means that there are other people too who do not take part in fighting, such as, the women, the children, the very old, the priests and monks and others devoting themselves to quiet religious pursuits, and the physically handicapped, and those casual labourers who work for disbelievers and do not go to fight along with them; it is not permissible to kill such people in a Jihad. The reason is that the command in the verse is restricted to fighting those who come to fight Muslims. The kind of people mentioned above are not all fighters. That is why Muslim Jurists rahimahumullah, have also ruled that should a woman, an old man or. religious person take part in actual fighting along with disbelievers or be helping them in any manner in their fight against the Muslims, then, killing them is permissible because they come under the purview of: 'those who fight you'. (Mazhari, Qurtubi and Jassas)

The battle orders of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him given to the mujahidin of Islam at the time of Jihad carry a good explanation of this injunction. fn a hadith from al-Bukhari and Muslim, as narrated by the blessed Companion 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar, it is said:

'The Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has prohibited the killing of women and children.'

The following instructions from the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him given to the Companions going on Jihad have been narrated in a hadith from Sayyidna Anas Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him which appears in Abu Dawud: 'Go for Jihad in the name of Allah adhering to the community of the Messenger of Allah. Do not kill anyone old and weak, any young child or any woman.' (Mazhari)

When Sayyidna Abu Bakr al-Siddiq Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him sent Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan to Syria, he gave him the same instructions. Also added there is the prohibition of killing the religiously-devoted, the monks and priests, and the labourers employed by disbelievers, specially when they do not take part in fighting (Qurtubi).

The expression wa la ta'tadu (and do not transgress) towards the end of the verse, according to the majority of the commentators means - 'do not go beyond the limit in fighting as to start killing women and children'.

As already explained briefly in the opening remarks, the verse 191, that is (And kill theirs wherever you find them and drive them out from where they drove you out...), was revealed after the happening at Hudaybiyyah at a time when the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, decided, in accordance with the condition agreed upon in the Peace Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, to embark on a journey to Makkah to perform the qada' of 'Umrah along with his Companions, something he was stopped from doing a year before by the disbelievers of Makkah. The noble Companions, on the eve of this projected journey, had started to worry about the disbelievers who could not be trusted upon in a peace treaty. If they chose to be aggressive, as they did a year before, what option are they going to take? Thereupon, the words used in the present verse gave them the permission to meet the challenge of their aggression and kill them where they find them. And if they could, it was permissible for them to drive the disbelievers out from where they had driven the believers out.

Since Muslims, during their entire Makkan period, were made to stay away from fighting against the disbelievers and were repeatedly asked to forego and forgive, so much so, that the noble Companions were, before the revelation of this verse, under the impression that killing disbelievers was bad, and prohibited. It was to remove this misconception that it was said: "And Fitnah is more severe than to kill," that is, it is true that to kill someone is a terribly evil act, but more terrible and severe is what the disbelievers of Makkah have done by insisting on their kufr and shirk (infidelity and the associating of others with Allah) and by stopping Muslims from fulfillling their religious obligations, and from performing Hajj and 'Umrah. It is to avoid this greater evil that killing them has been permitted. The word, Fitnah in the verse (not translated for want of a perfect equivalent in English) inescapably means kufr and shirk and to prevent Muslims from fulfilling their religious obligations of ibadah. (Jassas, Qurtubi and others)

Since the generality of the words 'kill them wherever you find them' might lead to the misconception that killing the disbelievers is allowed even in the precincts of Haram, this generality has been particularized in the next sentence of the verse by saying:

"And do not fight them near Al-Masjid al-Haram unless they fight you there."

That is, 'you should not fight them close to Al-Masjid al-Haram, which includes all its environs in Makkah, unless they themselves start fighting you there.'

See also:

Definition And Ruling Of Jihad -

The Shortest Path To Jannah -

Progression Of Jihad -


1) In the Haram (the sacred precincts) of Makkah, it is just not permissible to kill even a bird or animal, let alone the human beings. However, this same verse tells us that in the event someone starts killing somebody else within the sacred precincts, then, that other person is permitted to fight back in defence. There is a consensus of the jurists on this point.

2) It also comes out from this verse that the prohibition of initiating Jihad or Qital is restricted to Al-Masjid al-Haram and its environs to which the sacred precincts extend in Makkah. At other places, just as the defensive Jihad is necessary, the initiating of Jihad and Qital is also valid. (Ma'ariful Qur'an, Vol.1)

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#191 [Permalink] Posted on 1st July 2011 00:53
Tafseer Of Surah al-Baqarah (2), Verses 192-195

"But if they desist, then indeed, Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. And fight them until there is no Fitnah any more, and obedience remains for Allah. But, if they desist, then there is no aggression except against the transgressors. The holy month for the holy month, and the sanctities are subject to retribution. So when anyone aggresses against you, agress against him in the like manner as he did against you. And fear Allah and be sure that Allah is with the God-fearing. And spend in the way of Allah and do not put yourselves into destruction. And do good. Of course, Allah loves those who do good." (2:192-195)


1) When the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him decided to travel to Makkah in the year 7 A.H. to perform his qada' 'Umrah as envisaged in the peace treaty of Hudaybiyyah; his Companions who were to accompany him knew that disbelievers could not be trusted with treaties, or peace. It was quite possible that they may start fighting. Now, the blessed Companions had a problem before them. They thought if this fighting came, it would have to be within the sacred precincts of Makkah, which is not permissible in Islam.

This doubt was answered in Verse 191 by stating that the sanctity of the sacred precincts of Makkah must certainly be observed by Muslims, but should the disbelievers start to fight within the sacred limits, then, it is permissible for them to fight back in defence.

2) The second problem that bothered the noble Companions was about the month, which was Dhul-Qa'dah, being one of the four known as the 'sacred months' wherein fighting anyone anywhere was not permissibe. Now, the Muslims thought if the disbelievers of Makkah started fighting against them how could Muslims fight a defensive battle during a 'sacred month'? The verse under reference (194) was revealed to answer this doubt. The answer is that, the way a state of defence grants an exception to observing the sanctity of the Haram of Makkah, in the same manner, it allows an exception to observing the sanctity of the 'sacred months' also.


There are four 'sacred months': Dhul-Qa'dah, Dhul-Hijjah, Muhar-ram which are consecutive and the fourth is Rajab. Even before Islam, fighting in these months was considered unlawful and the disbelievers of Makkah too used to observe their sanctity. Even in the early days of Islam, right through the year 7 A.H., this law was in force which is why the noble Companions were perplexed. Later, according to the consensus of the Ummah, this unlawfulness of fighting was abrogated and the permission to fight was given, but it is still preferable not to initiate fighting in these four months without the need to defend. Therefore, it can be said that the sanctity of the 'sacred months' has not been abrogated totally, but it holds good like the sanctity of Haram. Both of them have been subjected to an exception for the the sake of defence.

Spending For Jihad

The verse 195 introduces the tenth injunction under the theme of 'righteousness' which began in Verse 177. So, in: (And spend in the way of Allah...), Muslims have been obligated to spend money and materials according to the need of Jihad ordered in the way of Allah. From here, jurists have deduced the ruling that Muslims have some other financial obligations as well in addition to the mandatory obligation of Zakah, but these are neither permanent nor bound by a 'threshold' or quantity, instead, it is obligatory on all Muslims to provide everything as and when needed. Of course, should there be no need, nothing remains obligatory. The expenditure on Jihad is included under this provision.

The literal meaning of the next sentence in this verse as translated in the text are obvious. The verse forbids Muslims from throwing themselves into destruction by their own choice. However, the question remains: What does the expression, 'put yourselves into destruction', mean here? Commentators have explained it in different ways. The blessed Companion, Abu Ayyub al-Ansari Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him said: 'This verse was revealed about us. We can explain it best. It was when Allah gave Islam authority and power, we started talking that 'Jihad' was not necessary any more, and that we could stay home and take care of our wealth and property'. Thereupon, this verse was revealed which made it clear that 'destruction' at this place means 'the abandonment of Jihad'.

This proves that the banishing of Jihad from Muslim lives is the cause of their degradation and destruction. This is why the blessed Companion Abu Ayyub al-Ansari Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him spent his entire life in Jihad, out of Madinah, his home, so much so, that he met the end of his life in Constantinople (Istanbul), Turkey and was buried there.

The same approach to the meaning of this verse has been reported from the earliest authorities in Tafsir, such as, Sayyidna Ibn 'Abbas, Hudhayfah, Qatadah, Mujahid and Dahhak (R.A). Sayyidna Bara' ibn 'Azib Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him said that to lose hope in the mercy and forgiveness of Allah is to go for personal destruction voluntarily; therefore, to lose hope in Forgiveness is forbidden. Others say that exceeding the limit while spending in the way of Allah so much so that the rights of the family are compromised thereby, is the act identified as 'putting yourself into destruction'; so, such excess in expenditure is not permissible. Still others think that the verse makes it unlawful to throw oneself into an offensive fighting in a situation when it is already obvious that one will be unable to do anything against the enemy other than dying at their hands.
Notwithstanding the apparently various interpretations of this verse, al-Jassas synthesizes these by saying that all these rules can be inferred from this verse.

The last sentence of the verse (195): (And do good. Of course, Allah loves those who do good), gives an incentive to do everything nicely. The Holy Qur'an calls this Ihsan. Now, doing something nicely, can take two forms. When ihsan relates to 'Ibadah (worship), its meaning has been explained by the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him himself in the well-known hadith of Jibra'il where he said that 'you should worship Allah as if you are seeing Him, and if you cannot achieve that degree of perception, then you should, at the least, believe that Allah Almighty is seeing you'.

And when it (Ihsan) relates to social transactions and dealings, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has explained Ihsan by saying (as reported in the Musnad of Ahmad on the authority of the noble Companion Mu'adh Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him) that 'you should like for others what you like for yourselves, and in the same manner, you should dislike for others what you dislike for yourselves.' (Mazhari) (Ma'ariful Qur'an)
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#192 [Permalink] Posted on 4th July 2011 11:11
Tafseer Of Surah al-Baqarah (2), Verses 196-203

"And accomplish the Hajj and the 'Umrah for Allah, but if you are restricted, then whatever available of the animal offering. And shave not your heads until the offering reaches its place. But if anyone of you is ill, or has some trouble with his scalp, then there is a ransom through fasting or alms giving.
And when you are safe, then, whoever avails the advantage of the 'Umrah alongwith the Hajj, shall make whatever available of the animal offering.

And whoever finds none shall fast for three days during Hajj, and for seven days when you return; thus they are ten in all. This is for him whose family are not residents of Al-Masjid al-Haram. And fear Allah and be aware that Allah is severe at punishment. The Hajj is (in) the months well-known. So whoever undertakes Hajj therein, then there is no obscenity, no sin, no quarrel in the Hajj. And whatever good you do, Allah shall know it.

And take provisions along, for the merit of provision is to abstain (from asking). And fear Me, O men of understanding. There is no sin on you that you seek the bounty of your Lord (by trading).

Later, when you flow down from 'Arafat, recite the name of Allah near Al-Mash'ar al-Haram (the Sacred Monument) and recite His name as He has guided you while before it, you were among the astray. Then flow down from where the people flowed, and seek forgiveness from Allah. Certainly Allah is Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful.

And once you have fulfilled your rites, recite the name of Allah, as you would speak of your forefathers or even with greater fervor. Now among the people there is one who says: "Our Lord, give to us in this world...;" and he, in the Hereafter, has no share. And there is another among them who says: "Our Lord, give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter and save us from the punishment of Fire." For them there is a share of what they have earned, and Allah is swift at reckoning. And recite the name of Allah during the given number of days. Then whoever is early in leaving after two days, there is no sin on him and whoever remains behind, there is no sin on him, if he is God-fearing. And fear Allah and be sure that you are going to be gathered before Him."

Injunctions Concerning Hajj And 'Umrah

In the series of injunctions appearing under the theme of 'righteousness' which has started from verse 177, the eleventh injunction relates to the Hajj. Since it is tied to Makkah al-Mukarramah and Ka'bah, the House of Allah, therefore, some relevant questions have been covered partly under the subject of Qiblah from verse 125 to 128 of Surah al-Baqarah. They begin from "wa'idh ja'alnaa..." and end "wa arinaa..." , then, at the conclusion of the discussion on Qiblah, the injunction of Sa'y between Safa and Marwah has been taken up in verse 158 as a corollary. Now, Verse 196 - 203, present injunctions and questions about Hajj and 'Umrah.

The Hajj, with the strong consensus of the entire Muslim Ummah, is a pillar among the cardinal pillars of Islam and an important obligation. It has been clearly emphasised in the many verses of the Holy Qur'an and in numerous authentic ahadith.

According to the majority opinion, the Hajj became an obligation in the third year of Hijrah, that is, in the year the battle of Uhud was fought, through the verse (and as a right of Allah, it is obligatory on the people to perform Hajj of the House) of Surah Al 'Imran (ibn Kathir). In this verse, conditions of the obligation of Hajj have been stated and a stern warning has been given to those who do not perform Hajj in spite of having the ability to do that.

Out of the eight verses before us, the first verse (And accomplish the Hajj, and the 'Umrah for Allah) was reveealed, as agreed upon by the commentators, pertaining to the event of Hudaybiyyah which took place in the year 7 A.H. This tells us that the purpose of the verse is not to declare the initial obligation of the Hajj; that has been stated already. Instead, the intention here is to convey some special injunctions governing Hajj and 'Umrah.

The Injunction About 'Umrah

However, Surah Al 'Imran which declares Hajj as an obligation restricts itself to Hajj alone; 'Umrah is not mentioned there, while the present verse mentions 'Umrah, but does not state whether it is basically 'necessary' or 'obligatory'. It rather says that a person who begins Hajj or 'Umrah by going into Ihram, then, it becomes wajib or necessary for him to complete that, very much like voluntary prayers or fasting where the rule is that after one starts them, their completion becomes necessary. Therefore, we do not find out from this verse the answer to the question: Is 'Umrah wajib, or is it not? It simply tells us that once one starts it, it becomes wajib or necessary for him to complete it.

Imaam Ibn Kathir (A.R.) cites, with reference to al-Tirmidhi, Ahmad and al-Bayhaqi, a report from the blessed Companion Jabir that he asked the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him: 'Is 'Umrah wajib?' He said: ]b
'Well, not wajib, but that you do it is better and meritworthy.' (According to al-Tirmidhi, this hadith is hasan sahih). This is why Imam Abu Hanifah (A.R.), Imam Malik (A.R.) and others say that 'Umrah is not wajib, but a sunnah. Looking back at the statement in the present verse that completing Hajj and 'Umrah after one has gone into Ihram becomes wajib or necessary, we face the question as to what happens if, after entering into the state of Ihram, there comes up some sort of compulsion which -makes it impossible to complete the Hajj and 'Umrah. What has to be done in such cases has been clarified in the succeeding sentence which begins with "but if you are restricted."

Rules Concerning Ihram

As this verse pertains to the event of Hudaybiyyah where the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him and his Companions were in a state of Ihram and the disbelievers of Makkah had stopped them from entering Makkah and performing 'Umrah, thereupon came the injunction that the fidyah or ransom to get released from the Ihram is to offer the sacrifice of an animal, sach as, a goat, cow or camel whichever is easy to get. After the sacrifice has been offered, Ihram can be removed, but within the next sentence : (And shave not your heads) it has also been pointed out that removing the Ihram, which is legally possible only after having shaved or close-trimmed the hair on the head, is not permissible until the sacrificial animal of the person in a state of Ihram reaches its destined spot and is actually slaughtered.

The expression 'reaching its place', according to Imam Abu Hanifah (A.R.), means that it should be taken into the sacred precincts of the Haram and ed there. If one cannot do it personally, he can authorise someone else to do it on his behalf. The situation of being 'restricted' by an enemy is clearly mentioned in this verse. Imam Abu Hanifah and some other jurists are of the view that if somebody is unable to complete Hajj or 'Umrah (after wearing Ihram) because of sickness, he can also avail of the concession given by this verse, because the words 'if you are restricted' are so general that they include the restriction imposed by sickness also.

The manner in which the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has practiced the instructions given in the Holy Verse is sufficient to disclose that although it is allowed in such an emergent situation to remove the Ihram after offering a sacrifice, yet it will remain obligatory to perform the Hajj or the 'Umrah afresh as a qada' (whenever the circumstances allow to do so). That is why the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, and his Companions did perform the 'Umrah next year as a qada' for the 'Umrah missed by them at Hudaybiyyah.

In this verse, the shaving of the head has been indentified as the signal for removing the Ihram which proves that shaving the head (halq) or trimming the hair (qasr) in a state of Ihram is forbidden. In view of this, the next injunction tells us the way out for one who faces a compelling need to shave his head in a state of Ihram.

Shaving in the State of Ihram?

In the text of the Holy Qur'an, it is said if one is forced to shave hair on the head, or any other part of the body, because of some ailment or irritating lice, one can do so in proportion to the need, but it has to be redeemed by giving fidyah in the form of fasting, charity or sacrifice. The place for sacrifice is fixed; it has to be offered within the limits of Haram. There is no such fixed place for fasting and charity; these obligations can be accomplished anywhere. The number of fasts and the amount of charity find no mention in the words of the Holy Qur'an, but in a hadith of Sahih al-Bukhari, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him prescribed in a similar situation faced by the noble Companion Ka'b ibn 'Ujrah that he should fast for three days or give 1/2 sa' of wheat as charity to six needy persons. This 1/2 sa' comes to approximately 1.632 kilograms of wheat or its price in cash.

Combining Hajj and 'Umrah During Hajj Months

Before the appearance of Islam, the Arabs in Jahiliyyah would not combine Hajj and 'Umrah during Hajj months, that is, after the advent of Shawwal. They thought it was a sin. Towards the end of this verse, their misconception was corrected by restricting the prohibition on combining Hajj and 'Umrah during the months of Hajj to only those who live within the limits of Miqat because it is not difficult for them to return for 'Umrah after the Hajj months. But, for those coming from outside the Miqat limits, it was declared permissible because it is not easy for them to make a special trip exclusively for 'Umrah all the way from such distances. Miqat is one of the several stations appointed by Allah Almighty on every route leading to Makkah from all over the world and it has been made obligatory on everyone proceeding to Makkah to wear Ihram at this point to perform Hajj or 'Umrah. Going beyond this appointed place without Ihram is a sin.

The verse means just this, that is, combining Hajj and 'Umrah is permissible only for a person whose family does not live within the environs of al-Masjid al-Haram, or in other words, within the limits of the appointed stations known as Miqat.
However, those who combine the Hajj and 'Umrah during the Hajj months are obligated to demonstrate their gratefulness for having been allowed to combine two acts of 'Ibadah. This gratitude is expressed by offering a sacrifice, if one is capable of that. This sacrifice may be offered by slaughtering a goat, cow or camel whichever is easy. But, one who is financially incapable of doing so, he is obligated to fast for ten days, the first three within the Hajj days completing them by the ninth of Dhul-Hijjah, the rest of seven fasts he can complete after the Hajj at a place and time of his choice. He could do so while living in Makkah or when he returns home. If a person fails to fast for three days during the Hajj days, for him, in the view of revered Companions, and Imam Abu Hanifah, offering a sacrifice is mandatory. As soon as it is possible, he can have the sacrifice offered in the Haram through someone he knows (Jassas).

Al-Tamattu' and Al-Qiran; the two Kinds of Hajj

Combining the Hajj and 'Umrah during Hajj days takes two forms. The first method is to enter into Ihram for Hajj and 'Umrah both right from the Miqat. This is known as Al-Qiran in the terminology of hadith. Under this method the release from the Ihram is tied with the release from the Ihram of Hajj. The pilgrim has to stay in a state of Ihram until the last day of Hajj. Under the second method it is possible to enter into Ihram exclusively for 'Umrah from a Miqat and after reaching Makkah al-Mukarramah, and performing the fixed rites of 'Umrah one can get out of the Ihram. After that, when getting ready to go to Mina on the eighth of Dhul-Hijjah, he should enter again into the Ihram of Hajj right within the Haram. This is technically known as Al-Tamattu'. Literally, the word Tamattu' covers both methods since it means 'to have the benefit of combining Hajj and 'Umrah both' which is equally applicable to both the methods detailed above. The words (Then, whoever avails of the advantage) in the present verse of the Holy Qur'an have been used in this general sense.

The Warning Against Violation of Rules

The verse 196 ends up with the words 'Fear Allah' which is a command to adopt Taqwa - a Qur'anic term which has no equivalent in the English language, and denotes the attitude of fearing and abstaining from doing anything against rules set by Allah Almighty. This command has been followed by a warning: (and be aware that Allah is severe at punishment) which means that anyone who knowingly acts against the injunctions revealed by Allah Almighty, for him the punishment of Allah is severe. The people who go in our days for Hajj or 'Umrah are widely negligent of this warning. To begin with, they do not make the necessary effort to find out the rules of Hajj and 'Umrah. Then a good many do not follow the rules strictly, even if they have the knowledge. Bad guides or careless fellow pilgrims sometimes make one miss the obligatory acts, let alone the sunnah and the proper etiquette of the pilgrimage. May Allah bless all of us with the ability to correct what we do.

The Hajj Months: Prohibitions

We now move to the second verse out of the eight that deal with the rules of Hajj, which is: 'The Hajj is (in) the months well-known'. The word, ashhur is the plural of shahr meaning the month. It will be recalled that in the previous verse it was said that one who enters into Ihram with the intention of doing Hajj or 'Umrah must complete it as prescribed. Out of these two, there is no fixed date or month for 'Umrah which could be done anytime during a year. But, for Hajj, the months and the dates and timings of what one must do are all fixed. It is for this reason that the verse opens with the clarification that the Hajj (unlike 'Umrah) has some fixed months which are already known. The months of Hajj have been the same from Jahiliyyah also; they are Shawwal, Dhul-Qa'dah and the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah as it appears in the hadith as narrated by the blessed Companions Abu Umamah and Ibn 'Umar (radiallaahu 'anhum) (Mazhari).

That the Hajj months begin from Shawwal means that it is not permissible to enter into the Ihram of Hajj before it. According to some Imams, the Hajj would simply not be valid with a pre-Shawwal Ihram. Imam Abu Hanifah rules that the Hajj thus performed will be considered valid, but it will be makruh (reprehensible) (Mazhari).

The verse 197, it stresses upon the etiquette of Hajj and makes it necessary for everyone in the state of Ihram to strictly abstain from three things: rafath, fusuq and jidal, which are being explained here in some detail.

A comprehensive word, Rafath includes marital intercourse, its prelimineries, including an open talk about love-making. All these things are forbidden in the state of Ihram. However, an indirect or implied reference to the act of love-making is not prohibited.

Literally fusuq means "transgression". In the terminology of the Holy Qur'an, it means 'disobedience', the general sense of which includes all sins. Early commentators have taken it here in this general sense of the word but the blessed Companion 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him has interpreted the word 'fusuq' here to mean only the acts which are prohibited and impermissible in the state of Ihram. It is obvious that this interpretation is more suitable to the occasion because the prohibition of sins as such is not peculiar to Ihram; they are forbidden under all conditions.

Things which are not sins in themselves but do become impermissible because of the Ihram are six in number.

(1) Marital intercourse, its prelimineries, even lovetalk.
(2) Hunting land game, either hunting personally or guiding a hunter.
(3) Cutting hair or nail.
(4) Using perfume.

These four things are equally impermissible for men and women both when in a state of Ihram. The remaining two basically concern men:

(5) Wearing stitched clothes.
(6) Covering the head and the face. According to Imam Abu Hanifah (A.R.) and Imam Malik (A.R.), it is also not permissible for women to cover their face while in a state of Ihram, therefore, this too is included in the common Ihram prohibitions.

The first of the above six things, that is, intercourse and its correlatives, though included under fusuq, has yet been separated from it, and has been introduced separately through the word Rafath, stressing thereby the importance of abstaining from it when in a state of Ihram. This is because 'amends' can be made for the contravention of other Ihram prohibitions through kaffarah (expiation). But, should one fall into the misfortune of indulging in intercourse before the Wuquf of 'Arafat (stay in 'Arafat) Hajj itself becomes null and void and a fine in the form of a sacrifice of a cow or camel becomes obligatory and the Hajj will have to be performed all over again. Because this aspect was so important, the text has mentioned it expressly.

The word 'jidal' means an effort to upturn the adversary, therefore, a rough altercation or quarrel is known as jidal. This word being very general, some commentators have taken it in the usual general sense, while others, keeping in view the place of Hajj and the importance of Ihram, have particularized the sense of jidal here with a specific quarrel. In the age of ignorance, people differed about the prescribed place of Wuquf (staying). Some thought staying in 'Arafat was necessary, while others insisted that Muzdalifah was the prescribed place to stay and, therefore, did not consider going to 'Arafat as necessary. They even claimed that it was where Sayyidna Ibrahim (A.S) had stayed. Similarly, they differed in the timings of the Hajj as well. Some would do their Hajj in Dhul-Hijjah while some others would do it earlier in Dhul-Qa'dah and then, they would all quarrel among themselves around the subject and charge each other of having gone astray. The Holy Qur'an said La jidal, no quarrel, and put an end to all quarrels. What was proclaimed was the truth - the obligatory stay has to be made in 'Arafat, then, the necessary stay in Muzdalifah, and Hajj has to be performed in no other days but those of Dhul-Hijjah. Once the divine command is there, quarreling is forbidden.

According to this interpretation, the prohibition given in the verse is restricted to those acts only which are normally permissible, yet, they have been forbidden because of the Ihram, just as the permissible acts of eating and drinking are forbidden in the state of Fasting and Salah only.

But some commentators have taken fusuq and jidal in the general sense. According to them even though the fisq and jidal are sins, and deplorable at all places and under all conditions, but their sin becomes all the more grave in the state of Ihram. If one could think about the blessed days and the sacred land of the Haram where everyone comes to perform 'ibadah at its best with fervent chants of labbayk, telling their Lord 'Here we are at Your call', with the garment of Ihram reminding them all the time that the pilgrim is devoted to his act of 'ibadah within the sight of Allah, how could one stoop to do what is prohibited by Allah; obviously, under such condition, any act of sin or any act of entanglement with dispute turns into sinfulness at its worst.

Taking this general sense into account, one can see the wisdom behind the prohibition of obscenity, sin and quarrel as the place and time of Hajj have their peculiar conditions in which one might fall a victim to these three. There are times when one has to stay away from his family and children for a long time in a state of Ihram. Then, men and women perform Hajj rites at Mataf (the place around the Ka'bah where tawaf is made) and Mas'a (place between Safa and Marwah were Sa'y is made) and at 'Arafat, Muzdalifah and Mina with hundreds and thousands of people coming in contact with each other. In such an enormous gathering of men and women, it is not so easy to control one's inner desires, therefore, Allah Almighty has first taken up the prohibition of obscenity. Then, since so many people are around at a given time, all deeply devoted to performing their prescribed rites, there are also occasions where sins such as theft creep in, therefore, came the instruction: la fusuq (no sin). Similarly, during the entire Hajj trip, there are many incidents where people could get to quarrelwith each other because they are cramped for space or for some other reason. The injunction: la jidal (no quarrel) is to eliminate such possibilities.

The Eloquence of the Qur'an

The words in the verse, translated literally as 'then there is no obscenity, no sin, no quarrel ...' are all words of negation, that is, all these things are not there in Hajj, although the object is to forbid them, which could have taken the form close to saying - do not be obscene, do not be sinful and do not quarrel. But, the possible prohibitive imperative has been replaced here by words of negation and thereby the hint has been given that such doings have no place in Hajj and cannot even be imagined in that context.

After proclaiming basic Ihram prohibitions, the sentence: (And whatever good you do, Allah shall know it) instructs that abstaining from sins and the contravention of the Ihram during the blessed days of Hajj and at sacred places is not enough. Taking a step farther, one should consider this occasion to be something that comes once in a lifetime, therefore, it is all the more necessary that one should make an effort to stay devoted to 'ibadah, the Dhikr (also transliterated as 'Dhikr', or 'Zikr', meaning 'remembrance') of Allah and good deeds. The assurance given is that every act of virtue and every demonstration of goodness from a servant of Allah shall be in the knowledge of Allah and, of course, shall be rewarded generously.

The sentence that follows immediately: 'And take provisions along, for the merit of provision is to abstain (from asking)' aims to correct those who leave their homes for Hajj and 'Umrah without adequate preparation claiming that they do so because they have trust in Allah. Obviously, they have to ask for help on their way, or worse still, they themselves go through privation and suffering and in the process, bother others as well. Hence, the instruction has been given that provisions needed for the proposed trip for Hajj should be taken along. This is not against tawakkul or trust in Allah; it is rather, the very essence of tawakkul, which conveys the sense that one should first aequire and collect the means and resources provided by Allah Almighty to the best of one's capability and, then, place his trust (tawakkul) in Allah. This is the exact explanation of tawakkul reported from the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him. Forsaking all efforts to acquire means of subsistence (tark al-asbab) and calling it tawakkul is sheer ignorance.

Trading or Earning During the Hajj

The verse: 'There is no sin on you that you seek the bounty of your Lord (by trading)' was revealed in a particular background of the Jahiliyyah when the people of Arabia had distorted all rules of worship and social dealings by injecting in them all sorts of absurd customs rendering acts of devotion into amusement. They would not even spare the sacred rites of Hajj when they added to them ridiculous doings out of their wild imagination. In the great gathering at Mina, they would set up special bazaars, hold exhibitions, and put up trade promotion devices.

But after the appearance of Islam when Muslims were obligated with Hajj, all these absurd customs were eliminated. The noble Companions (R.A), who would stake anything to seek the pleasure of Allah and to follow the teachings of His Messenger, started suspecting the validity of even the acts of trading or working for wages during Hajj days. They thought that earning in this manner is an outgrowth of the age of ignorance, may be Islam shall forbid it absolutely, so much so, that a certain person came to the blessed Companion 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar (radiallaahu 'anhuma) and asked: 'We are in the business of renting our camels. We have been doing it since long. People hire our camels to go for their Hajj. We go with them and perform our Hajj. Is it that our Hajj will not be valid?' Sayyidna 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar (radiallaahu 'anhuma) said: 'Some one came to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him and asked the same question you are asking me. The Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him did not reply to his question at that particular time until the verse "laysa 'alaykum...." was revealed. Then, he called for that person and said, 'Yes, your Hajj is valid.'

In short, this verse makes it clear that a person, who earns some profit by trading, or wages by working, incurrs no sin. However, the practice of the disbelievers of Arabia whereby they had turned the Hajj into a trade fair was reformed through two simple words of the Qur'an to the effect that they can earn if they have to, but let them earn what they do as a favour and blessing of Allah Almighty, and be grateful for it, never making it a material exercise of minting money. The words, 'the bounty of your Lord' point out to this factor.

Then, the expression: preceding the words referred to above means that 'there is no sin on you' in this indulgence in earning which has a built-in hint that avoiding this indulgence too, if possible, is still better because it affects the ideal of perfect sincerity so desirable in the Hajj.

This whole issue, in fact, revolves round the original intention of a person. If his basic intention is to earn money through trading or employment but he has decided to perform the Hajj as an adjunct, or both the intentions are equally kept in mind, then, this is contrary to the ideal of sincerity and it will reduce the reward of Hajj and the blessings of Hajj would not fall to his lot as they normally would. And should it be that he leaves his home with the basic intention to perform his Hajj, but runs into unforeseen problems accidentally resulting in a shortage of Hajj expenses or needs of subsistence, he then, could go for a little earning through trading or employment to offset his shortage of need-oriented funds. This is, in no way, contrary to the ideal of sincerity. However, for one who has to do so, it is much better that he leaves the five special days of Hajj rites free of any engagement in trading or employment. Instead, he should devote these days to nothing but 'ibadah and dhikr of Allah. This is the reason why some 'ulama' have ruled that trading or employment during these special days of Hajj are forbidden.

Staying in 'Arafat and Muzdalifah

The next statement in the same verse (198) is: "Later, when you flow down from 'Arafat, recite the name of Allah near al-Mash'ar al-Haram (the Sacred Monument) and recite His name as He has guided you, while before it, you were among the astray."

The verse tells us that, on the way back from 'Arafat, it is necessary (wajib) to stay overnight in Muzdalifah and to recite the name of Allah there, specially as taught.

Literally, 'Arafat is plural in number. This is the name of a particular plain. Its geographical boundries are well-known. This plain is located outside the limits of Haram. All hujjaj (Hajj pilgrims) must reach and stay there between noon (zawal) and sunset (ghurub) hours. This is the most important obligation of Hajj for which, if missed out, there is no alternative in the form of kaffarah (expiation) or fidyah (ransom).

Several causes have been cited for the name, 'Arafat. Out of these, the clearer explanation is that 'Arafat is a plain where man gets to know his Lord and, through his 'ibadah and dhikr, learns how to get closer to Him,and in addition to that, Muslims from the East and the West meet and know each other by direct contact.

Emphasis has been laid in the text on the stay near al-Mash'ar al-Haram on the way back from 'Arafat after having spent the day there and after having departed the plain soon after sunset. Al-Mash'ar Al-Haram is the name of a mountain which is located in Muzdalifah. The word, 'al-mash'ar' means 'sign' or 'symbol', and 'haram' being 'sacred', the name signifies that this mountain is a sacred monument to Islam. The plain adjacent is called Muzdalifah. It is necessary (wajib) to spend the night on this plain and offer the combined prayers of Maghrib and 'Isha' at one time in Muzdalifah. The Qur'anic expression: translated as 'recite the name of Allah near al-Mash'ar al-Haram' certainly includes all kinds of the remembrances of Allah, but here it particularly means the offering of two prayers at one time, that is, offering Maghrib with 'Isha'. This is the special act of 'ibadah peculiar to the plain of Muzdalifah. Perhaps, the sentence that follows: (recite his name as He has guided you) is indicative of this aspect. It is said that one should remember Allah and recite His name in the manner He has taught without adulterating it with personal opinions because personal deduction would have demanded that the Salah of Maghrib be offered at the time set for it and the Salah of 'Isha' at its own time. But, on that day, Allah Almighty favours that the Salah of Maghrib be delayed and offered along with 'Isha'. From the Qur'anic statement cited above, recite His name as He has guided you', we see the emergence of yet another basic ruling that man is not independent in worshipping and remembering Allah, that is, he cannot worship Him as he wishes and he cannot remember Him as he chooses. Instead, every 'ibadah and dhikr of Allah demands the observance of special rules of etiquette.

These have to be performed as stipulated; doing it otherwise is not permissible. Then, Allah Almighty does not like any substraction or addition, nor any change in its prescribed time or place, even though the change may lead to an increase in the act of worship. It is observed that people tend to add some features in voluntary prayers and acts of charity from their side without having any reason approved by the Shari'ah, and going a step farther, they take it upon themselves as something necessary while Allah and His blessed Messenger did not declare it as necessary, and last but not the least, such people have the audacity to regard those who do not do all that as in error. This verse exposes their false position by saying that such additional forms of worship reflect the practice of Jahiliyyah when the disbelievers had used their personal opinions and choices to concoct forms of worship and had limited the serious act to few customs.

The third verse (199): (Then, flow down from where the people flowed, and seek forgiveness from Allah. Certainly, Allah is Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful) was revealed in a particular background. The Quraysh of Arabia being the custodians of the Ka'bah enjoyed a unique position of influence and distinction in the country. During the days of Jahiliyyah, while everyone went to 'Arafat, the Quraysh would, in order to demonstrate their unusual importance, stop at Muzdalifah and stay there. They said that, being the custodian of the Ka'bah and the caretakers of the Haram, it was not proper for them to go out of the limits of the Haram. Since Muzdalifah is located within the sacred limits of the Haram and 'Arafat is out of it, they would seize upon the excuse, stay in Muzdalifah and it was from there that they came back. The truth was that they loved to show off their pride and arrogance and made it a point to keep common people at a distance. Their erroneous conduct thus apprehended, Allah Almighty commanded them to go where everyone goes, that is, into the plain of 'Arafat, and then, return from there with everyone else (it will be notedthat in the accompanying translation of the text, the Qur'anic word afidu has been rendered into English literally with the word, 'flow' which succinctly suggests mingling with the multitude, something shunned by the Quraysh of Jahiliyyah).

To begin with, behaving special and staying disconnected from others is a standing act of arrogance which must almost always be avoided, particularly during the days of Hajj where the garment of Ihram and the homogeneity of place and purpose teach the lesson that all human beings are equal, the distinction of rich and poor, learned and ignorant, big and small does not exist here, therefore, such display of assumed distinction, and that too in a state of Ihram, further increases the degree of crime.

Human Equality in Practice

This statement of the Holy Qur'an teaches us an important principle of social living which demands that the the people of a higher status should not cut off their relations with those of a lower status; they should rather behave like members of a large family in their different forms of subsistence, stay and movement. This creates mutual brotherhood, concern and love, removes the walls between the rich and the poor, the employer and the employee. It was during his last sermon of Hajj that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him openly declared for all times to come that no Arab is superior to non-Arab and no white person is superior to a black person. Superiority depends on Taqwa and Ita'ah (the fear of Allah and the obedience to His command). Therefore, those who wanted to establish a distinct status for themselves by staying at Muzdalifah, contrary to the rest, were told that this act of theirs was a sin and they must seek forgiveness for it so that Allah Almighty may forgive them and bless them with His mercy.

The Prohibition of Jahili Customs at Mina

In the verses 199 to 201, some Jahili customs have been corrected. One of these was that the Arabs of the Jahiliyyah would, once they had finished their rites at 'Arafat and Muzdalifah and performed their tawaf and sacrifice and stay in Mina, hold gatherings to recite poetry and to eulogize the achievements of their forefathers. Such gatherings were obviously devoid of the remembrance of Allah. It was strange that they elected to waste such blessed days in activities which were of no consequence in relation to what they were supposed to do there. Therefore, they were told that, as soon as they have completed their Ihram rites and come to stay at Mina, they should dedicate their stay to the remembrance of Allah and leave out the practice of indulging in the reminiscences of their forefathers, specially the boastful claims about their achievements. Better still was to remember Allah, not them, and that too with greater attachment and fervor. There was nothing like being engaged in the dhikr of Allah. So, the Holy Quran guides Muslims to shun the customs coming from the age of ignorance, specially in the great days of Hajj they have been blessed with, which are exclusively reserved for 'ibadah and dhikr and have merits and blessings of their own, a gift from Allah which may not be available again if lost through carelessness.

In addition to that, the Hajj is a special act of worship which one gets to perform only after a long and generally exacting journey, separation from family and business and great expense of money and time. That unforeseen circumstances prevail is not a far-out prospect. It is quite possible that one fails to achieve the long-cherished objective of Hajj, inspite of all efforts and expenses. Now, if Allah Almighty has, in His infinite grace, removed all impediments and one has accomplished his Hajj obligation by successfully performing all required rites, then, the occasion calls for gratitude which further demands that one should keep busy in remembering Allah, avoid wasteful gatherings, engagements or conversations. Compared with the time spent by the people of Jahiliyyah in forefather tale-telling which brought them no benefit here, or there, the thing to do here is the dhikr of Allah which is all radiance and benefit for this world, and for the Hereafter. No doubt, contemporary Muslims do not follow the custom of Jahiliyyah any more by holding poetic recitals to eulogize their family trees, but there are thousands of Muslims from all over the world who still spend out these precious days of Hajj in wasteful gatherings, entertainments, amusements, shoppings and similar other pursuits of personal satisfaction. This verse is enough to warn them.

Some commentators have explained this verse by dwelling upon the analogy of 'father' used here, in some detail. They say that one should remember Allah as one remembered his father during his childhood when he was dependant on his father for everything. If man were to think when he is young, adult and rational, is he not far more dependant on Allah Almighty at all times and under all conditions, certainly much more than a child was on his father? As for the boastful claims about the honour of their fathers, something the people of Jahiliyyah used to make, this verse eliminates that too by saying that real honour comes through the dhikr of Allah. (Ruh al-Bayan)

Moderation in Religious and Worldly Pursuits

Besides what the people of Jahiliyyah used to do during their stay at Mina, some of them had another habit during the Hajj. Normally, they would be engaged in acts of devotion to Allah, yet when it came to making a prayer, they would focus all their attention to praying for worldly needs, such as, comfort, wealth, honour and their likes, showing no concern for the life to come. It was to correct this sort of approach in supplication that it was said that there are people who would use the great occasion of Hajj to pray for the insignificant gains of the present life and forget the Hereafter. For such people the Hereafter holds nothing because their conduct shows that they have gone through the obligation of Hajj merely in a formal manner, or have done it to earn prestige in their society. To please Allah and to earn salvation in the Hereafter are objectives alien to them.

It may be noted at this point that the verse mentions those who pray by saying: (Our Lord, give to us in this world...) which does not include the word, hasanah (good). This indicates that they do not care to have what is really good even in this mortal world, on the contrary, they are so drunk with their craze for material things that nothing short of a constant fulfilment of their desires would satisfy them. They just do not bother to check if it is good or bad, procured rightly or wrongly or what people think about them.

This verse extends a serious warning to those Muslims as well who prefer to pray for their material ends only even at the unique time of Hajj and at places so sacred, devoting most of their concerns towards that goal. There are many rich people who themselves pray, or request others they hold in esteem to pray for them, not for deliverance from the accounting of the Akhirah, but for increase in their wealth, growth in business, and for other worldly concerns. There are many who, by their profusion in waza'if and nawafil (voluntary acts of worship), come to believe that they are very devoted, pious and special. In reality, hidden behind this facade is the same love of the mundane life.

Then, there are respected people who maintain relations with pious elders of their time, as well as show their regard for deceased saints and walis, but the prevailing aim of such relationships is the vague hope that their du'a and ta'widh (prayers and spiritual charms) will work for them, wordly hardships will stay away, and their belongings shall be blessed. For such people too, this verse has special instructions. Stressed here is the fact that this whole affair rests in the hands of Allah who is All-Knowing and All-Aware. Everyone must assess his or her deeds, specially the intention behind whatever is done during the Hajj or Ziarah, which includes all waza'if, nawafil, du'a and salah. Then, towards the later part of the verse, Allah Almighty refers to His virtuous and favoured servants - may be some of them are less prosperous in a material way - by saying:

"And there is another among them who says: "O our Lord, give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter and save us from the punishment of Fire."

The word: (hasanah) used here is inclusive of all that is good, inwardly or outwardly. For instance, hasanah or 'good in this world' shall include personal and family health, increase and benedictory sufficiency (barakah) in lawful livelihood, the fulfilment of all needs, virtuous deeds, desirable morals, beneficial knowledge, honour and prestige, strength of faith, guidance into the straight path and perfect sincerity in 'ibadat. Similarly, hasanah or 'good in the Hereafter' shall cover everything from the Paradise, with its countless and endless blessings to the pleasure of Allah Almighty and the privilege of seeing Him.

In short, this du'a is a compedium of all prayers in as much as it encompasses the entire range of man's wordly and other-worldly objectives. Apart from enjoying peace in the world, and peace in the Hereafter, the verse, refers in the end to the safety from 'the punishment of Fire' as well. It was for this reason that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him used to pray with these words very frequently:

Rabbana 'atina fid-dunya hasanah, wa fil-'akhirati hasanah, wa qina 'adhaban-nar.

Our Lord, give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter and save us from the punishment of Fire.

It is masnun to make this prayer particularly while making tawaf. This verse also corrects those ignorant dervishes (so called mystics) who think that real 'ibadah lies in praying for the Hereafter alone and claim that they do not, on that count, care much about the mortal world. In reality, such a claim is false, for man depends on fulfilling his worldly needs not only for his life and sustenance, but also for performing the acts of worship and obedience. Without these, serving the objectives of faith would become impossible. Therefore, the blessed practice of the prophets of Allah has been that they prayed to Allah for the good of both the worlds. One who thinks that praying to Allah for the fulfillment of his worldly needs is against the norms of piety and spiritual dignity is unaware of the great station of prophethood, and ignorant of man's own role in this mortal world.

So, what is required is that one should not focus all his attention on his material needs as if they were the very purpose of life, but he should, along with it, show far more concern for what would happen to him in the Hereafter, and pray for it.
In the concluding part of this verse, the end of the other class of people who pray for the good of the dunya (mortal world) and akhirah (Hereafter) both has been stated by saying that they will be rewarded in both the worlds for their correct and righteous conduct and for their prayers. Following that, it has been said: (And Allah is swift at reckoning) because His all-pervading knowledge and most perfect power is sufficient to assess the life-long deeds of each and every person who ever breathed in His creation; for this He needs none of those computing mechanisms and means on which only man depends. So, the time will soon come when He shall make man account for what he did, and it will be on the basis of that accounting that he will spread out His reward and punishment.

The Emphasis on Remembering Allah in Mina

In the last of the eight verses relating to injunctions about Hajj, that is, (And recite the name of Allah in the given number of days), the Hajj pilgrims have been asked to engage themselves in the remembrance of Allah so that their Hajj meets a perfect ending and their post-Hajj life becomes correct and fruitful. These 'given number of days' refer to : (ayyam al-tashriq) during which it is necessary (wajib) to say "takbeer", which is:

"Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, Laa ilaaha illallaah, Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, walillaahil-hamd."

Immediately following is a clarification of the duration of stay at Mina and the deadline for throwing pebbles at the three Pillars. This was an issue debated by the people of Jahiliyyah. Some thought it was necessary to stay at Mina upto the 13th of Dhul-Hijjah and throw pebbles at the three Pillars. According to them, to come back from Mini, on the 12th was impermissible and those who did so were sinners. Similarly, others regarded coming back on the 12th necessary, and staying there through the 13th, a sin. Both were corrected in this verse by saying: 'Then whoever is early (in leaving) after two days there is no sin on him and whoever remains behind, there is no sin on him ...' thereby proving that both parties calling each other sinners are involved in excess and error.

The correct position is that Hajj pilgrims have the option of acting on either of the two permissions. However, it is better and preferable to stay there through the third day (that is, 13th of Dhul-Hijjah). Jurists say that one who leaves Mina before sunset on the second day (i.e. 12th of Dhui-Hijjah), it is not necessary for him to do his ramy (throwing of pebbles on the three Pillars) for the third day. But, should the sun set while he is still in Mina, it does not remain anymore permissible for him to leave Mina until he has done his ramy for the third day. However, the ramy for the third day has a special concession that it can also be done between the post-morning and pre-noon hours.

If we look at the manner in which the choice of returning from Mina has been given to the Hujjaj - no sin if they return on the second day and no sin if they return on the third day - we shall realize that all this is for the convenience of one who fears Allah and obeys His commands, for he really deserves the Hajj, as said elsewhere in the Holy Qur'an: which means that Allah Almighty accepts (acts of prayer and worship) only from those who are God-fearing and obedient. Now, one who has been involved in sins much before Hajj, continued being negligent even during the Hajj and was callous enough not to abstain from sins even after Hajj, his Hajj is certainly not going to be of any good to him, although, the formal obligation has been validly fulfilled, releasing him from the possible crime of not having performed the Hajj.

Closing this eight-verse unit, it was said: (And fear Allah and be sure that you are going to be gathered before Him), where He shall make you account for all your open and hidden deeds and give you the reward and punishment for these. This last line is really the essence of all Hajj injunctions given in these verses. It means that one should keep fearing Allah during the special days of the Hajj guarding oneself from any shortcoming in the prescribed acts of Hajj, as he should keep fearing Allah after the Hajj guarding himself against any pride of performance, and keep abstaining from sins because, on the day human deeds shall be weighed on the Balance, his sins will eat away his good deeds, that is, they will nullify the effect and weight of those good deeds. In a hadith about the great 'ibadah of Hajj, it has been said that one who returns after having accomplished his Hajj, is so cleansed of his sins as if he was born on that day.

This is why those performing Hajj have been instructed to maintain the quality of Taqwa, (that vital sense of responsibility before Allah). Being one who has been purified from sins, it is necessary to take all possible precautions against what tempts man to fall into sin so that one can earn the best of both the worlds, the dunya and the akhirah. If this is not done and the performer of Hajj goes back to a life of sin, even after such a cathartic experience, he shall find that the elimination of his past sins by forgiveness is not going to be of any use to him.

Contrary to this, the 'ulama' have said that one who returns from his Hajj with his heart free from the love of dunya and attracted to the concern for the akhirah, his Hajj is accepted and his sins are forgiven and his prayers are answered. From place to place during the Hajj, people pledge their obedience to Allah before His House, how can these pledges be thoughtlessly broken after the Hajj? If those who are lucky to perform their Hajj are a little more mindful of this factor, they might stay by their solemn pledge later on.

A pious elder said: 'When I returned from Hajj, it was by chance that a suggestion of sin crept int" my heart whereupon I heard a voice from the Unseen: Didn't you perform the Hajj? Didn't you perform the Hajj? This voice became a wall between me and that sin. Allah Almighty protected me.'

As against this, there is the case of another pious man from Turkey, who was a disciple of the famous Maulana Jami. He was in such an unusual state of spiritual excellence in his normal life that he used to observe a halo of radiance over his head. He went to perform his Hajj, but after his return he discovered that he has lost that unusual state totally. He talked about it to his master, Maulana Jami. He said: 'Before your Hajj, you had the gift of humbleness, you wept before Allah thinking of yourself as a sinner. After your Hajj, you became proud and picked up the airs of someone righteous, spiritually elevated. Therefore, this very Hajj of yours became the cause of your pride and that is why you lost that state of radiance.'

The emphasis on Taqwa (the fear of Allah) towards the conclusion of Hajj injunctions has yet another secret. It goes without saying that Hajj is a great act of 'ibadah. Once it has been accomplished, that eternal adversary of man, the Satan, generally injects into man's heart the thought of self-righteousness which simply ruins all his deeds. Therefore, the final word said was about the need to fear Allah and the necessity to obey Him, not only before the Hajj and during the Hajj, but also after the Hajj when one must become much more particular in fearing Allah and alert in abstaining from sins by conscious effort, lest all that one has done in the form of the 'ibadah of Hajj goes waste. (Ma'ariful Qur'an)

See also:

Shaykh ul Hadeeth's Journey To Hajj -

Hajj Muftisays Forums -

Essential Hajj Series: By Mufti Abdur Raheem Limbada

1) Introduction- Virtues Of Hajj -

2) Rulings for Ihram & Hajj/Umrah -

3) Components of Hajj & methodology -

4) Rulings for Rami and Qurbani -

5) Virtues & rulings of Dhul hijjah & Qurbani -

6) Ziarah of Madinah Al Munawarrah -

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#193 [Permalink] Posted on 5th July 2011 10:37
Tafseer Of Surah al-Baqarah (2), Verses 204-207

"And among men there is one whose words, in this life, attract you; he even makes Allah his witness on what is there in his heart, while he is so stiff-necked when quarreling. And once he turns back, he runs about in the earth trying to spread disorder therein, and to destroy the tillage and the stock; and Allah does not like disorder. When it is said to him, "Fear Allah", he is overcome by the arrogance (he has) for sin. The hell is then enough for him, and it is, indeed an evil bed to rest. And among men there is one who sells his very self to seek the pleasure of Allah. And Allah is compassionate to His servants." (2:204-207)

In the previous verses, it was said that there are two kinds of those who make prayers. Some wish to have everything right here in this world, others pray for the good of both worlds, the mortal and the eternal. In the present verse, the same two kinds have been identified as those who are hypocritical and those who are sincere.

Verses 204-206 refer to a hypocrite, Akhnas ibn Shurayq known for his eloquence. He would come to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him. and try to impress him with his sworn allegiance to Islam, but no sooner did he walk out of his company than he would get busy with his anti-Muslim mischief-making. Any effort to make such a person fear Allah takes him to the other extreme when he pleases his pride through sin. So, 'the Hell is enough for him.'


The last verse (207) portrays the true, the sincere Muslim who would stake his very life to achieve the good pleasure of Allah Almighty. This verse has been revealed to honour the sincere Companions who offered unmatched sacrifices in the way of Allah. It has been reported by Hakim, Ibn Jarir and Ibn Abi Hatim, with sound authorities, that this verse was revealed in connection with a particular event relating to the blessed Companion Suhayb al-Rumi. It has been reported that soon after he left Makkah on his emigration route to Madinah, he was accosted on his way by a group of disbelievers of the Quraysh. Seeing this, Companion Suhayb dismounted, took position, pulled out all the arrows from his quiver and said to the group: 'O tribe of Quraysh, you all know that I am far better in archery than any of you here. My arrow never misses its target. Now, I swear by Allah that you shall not reach me until there remains even one arrow in my quiver. Then, after arrows, I shall use my sword as long as I can. Only after that you can do what you can. However, if you want to make a deal, I can tell you where my money is in Makkah. You go and take that and let me go my way.'

The confronting group of Quraysh agreed to do so. When Companion Suhayb reached Madinah, safe and unharmed, he went to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, and told him everything about the incident. Upon this, he said twice: "Profitable was your deal Abu Yahya, profitable was your deal Abu Yahya!"

The revelation of the verse under reference in connection with this particular event confirms the blessed comment made by the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him.

However, some commentators cite similar events relating to other noble Companions as the background of the verse's revelation (Mazhari).

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#194 [Permalink] Posted on 7th July 2011 10:42
Tafseer Of Surah al-Baqarah (2), Verses 208-210

"O those who believe, enter Islam completely, and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Surely, for you, he is an open enemy. And if you slip, even after clear signs have come to you, then you must know that Allah is mighty, wise. They are looking forward to nothing but that Allah comes upon them in canopies of cloud with the angels and the matter is closed. And to Allah all matters are returned." (2:208-210)

The previous verses ended with a word of praise for the sincere. As sincerity (ikhlas) can sometimes touch the limits of excess inadvertently, that is, one does intend to come up with more obedience, but that obedience, when observed carefully, turns out to be exceeding the limits set by the Shari'ah and Sunnah. This is called bid'ah. This can be explained through the example of the blessed Companion 'Abdullah ibn Salam and others who were, previous to their Islam, known scholars among the Jews. Since Saturday was the sacred day of rest (the Sabbath) in Judaism, and camel-meat was unlawful, they thought, once they were in Islam, to bring about some sort of a synthesis between the two faiths, through which they could continue to honour Sabbath as it was necessary under the law of Moses while Islam did not require dishonouring it; and similarly, they could simply avoid eating camel-meat in practice while believing that it was lawful, for it was unlawful in the law of Moses but Islam does not make it obligatory to eat it. Thus, they thought that they would stay in touch with the law of Moses and still not go against the Shari'ah of Muhammad Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, something that appealed to them as a stronger demonstration of obedience to divine laws and a closer approach to matters of faith. Allah Almighty corrects this thought in the present verse which aims to establish that Islam is an obligation in its totality. It is total and perfect only when what is not necessary in Islam is not considered to be a part of it. To take such thought or practice as part of the Faith is a Satanic slip which may bring far more severe a punishment than common sins would.

It is in this background of the verse's revelation, that believers have been asked to 'enter Islam completely', not making allowances for a faith other than Islam - a divisive approach which makes one an easy target of Satan. Therefore, the prohibition 'do not follow the footsteps of Satan', an enemy who would cheat you into taking to something which obviously looks very much like your Faith, but happens to be totally contrary to it in reality. After having received clear laws and rules that lead to the straight path, there is no justification left for any deviation. Those who still slip, they must remember that Allah is Mighty, having the power to punish, and Wise too, lest one should misread any delay in punishment which comes when His Wisdom so dictates. Using an eloquent image, the text goes on to question the ultimate acceptance of truth at a time when it shall no longer remain worth accepting and all matters of reward and punishment shall revert to Allah with no power existing other than Him, why then would anyone become quixotic enough to stand against a Power so obvious, the result of which could be nothing but destruction.


The word: (silm) in translated here as 'enter Islam completely', is used to convey two meanings, 'peace' and 'Islam'. At this place, according to the consensus of the Companions and their successors, it means Islam (ibn Kathir).

The word: (kaffah) means 'totally' and 'universally'. In the structural scheme of the sentence, this word appears as hal (an adverb, qualifying the verb before it with a particular state). There are two possibilities here. Firstly, the word be taken as the hal of the pronoun in : (udkhulu) in which case the translation would be referring to the condition of the believers while entering Islam, which must be 'complete'. This would mean that their entire person, hands and feet, eyes and ears, feeling and thinking, after having embraced the Faith should all be within the parameters of Islam and the obedience to Allah. This is to warn against a state of being in which one may be physically carrying out the dictates of Islam while the heart and the mind are not fully satisfied, or in case, the heart and the mind are satisfied, yet what one does physically remains outside the pale of Islam.

Secondly, it is possible to take the word, silm as the hal or indicated state of the Faith in Islam, in which case, the translation would be referring to the perfect and complete state of Islam in which the believers must enter. So, 'entering Islam completely' would mean that one must accept all injunctions of Islam, not that one accepts some and hesitates about others. Since Islam is the name of that particular way of life which has been given through the Qur'an and Sunnah, therefore, it does not matter, which facet of life it concerns, it may be beliefs and acts of worship or social dealings or business transactions or government and politics or trade and industry or any other field; what matters is one's entry into Islam as a complete system, an organic whole, unified, indivisible.

The gist of the two approaches given above is that no Muslim shall be deserving of calling himself a Muslim unless he accepts all Islamic injunctions truly and sincerely from the deep recesses of his heart, irrespective of the department of life they belong to, irrespective of whether they concern the outward physique of the body or the heart and the mind.

The background of the verse's revelation mentioned earlier in the introductory remarks also shows that one must keep nothing but the teachings of Islam in sight, practice it in its entirety which will, in consequence, make Muslims independent of all religions and nations.

Special Note

The verse holds out a stern warning to those who have got Islam all tied up with masjid and 'ibadat (mosque and the performance of acts of prescribed worship) neglecting injunctions relating to social living and business and personal dealings as if they were no part of religion. This negligence is wide-spread among the 'technically' religious people who do not seem to care much about rights and dealings, specially social rights. It appears that they do not regard these injunctions to be the injunctions of Islam, neither do they make an effort to find out what they are, or try to learn them in an orderly manner, nor think of acting in accordance with these injunctions. We seek refuge with Allah.

As regards the possibility of 'Allah Almighty and the angels coming upon them in canopies of clouds,' this will be on Doomsday. The correct position is that such coming of Allah Almighty belongs to the Mutashabihat, statements of hidden meaning, about which there is a standard policy practiced by the majority of the blessed Companions, the Tabi'in, their successors, and the revered elders of the Muslim ummah, that is, one must believe in its truth and avoid worrying about as to how this would happen because it is beyond human reason to find out the reality and the nature, the whats and the hows of the 'Being' and the Attributes of Allah Almighty, and this too is included therein. (Ma'ariful Qur'an)

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#195 [Permalink] Posted on 8th July 2011 10:29
Tafseer Of Surah al-Baqarah (2), Verses 211-212

"Ask the Children of Isra'il how many a clear sign We have given them. And whoever changes the blessing of Allah after it has come to him, then Allah is severe at punishment. Adorned is the present life for those who disbelieve and they laugh at those who belieye while those who fear Allah shall be above them on the Day of Resurrection. And Allah gives, to whom He wills, without measure." (2:211-212)

Immediately earlier, it was said that opposing truth after clear signs have come, deserves punishment. The first verse here (211) cites the case of the elders of Bani Isra'il who were punished for their hostility to truth despite clear signs given to them.

Rather than follow the blessed guidance given to them, they chose to stray away from it and, as a result, underwent punishments, for instance, they received the Torah which deserved being accepted but they denied it, consequent to which, they were threatened with Mount Sinai coming down upon them. Again, they heard the Word of Allah which they should have loved and respected but they tinkered with doubts in it and consequently, were struck dead by lightening. Then, again, they were delivered from the Pharaoh through a passage-way made by parting the river, but they showed no gratitude, instead, took to the calf for which they were killed. Further again, they should have been grateful when Mann and Salwa was sent for them but they disobeyed and spoilage set in. When they showed their distaste for it, it stopped coming, throwing them into the toil of growing their own food. Lastly, the chain of prophets that appeared among them from time to time should have been a matter of great satisfaction for them, yet they started killing them for which they were punished, having been deprived of power.

In the wake of such misdeeds, some of which find mention in the earlier part of Surah al-Baqarah, the divine law is that one who changes the blessings or clear signs of Allah, specially after it has come to him when he should have followed its guidance rather than turn back and go astray, then, the ultimate must come to pass, that is, Allah Almighty punishes such a deviant severely.

In the second verse (212), the real cause of the opposition to truth has been identified as the love of dunya (the worldly life) and its material gains. One of the effects of this attitude shows up in the derogatory stance taken against those who love their faith. The reason is simple. When materialism overpowers, the urge for faith evaporates. In fact, people would go to the limit of abandoning their faith when it happens to be against their worldly interests and would even have the audacity to laugh at those who love and practice it. So, it should not be strange that many chiefs among the Israelites and the ignorant among polytheists would make fun of poor Muslims. It is in this context that the Holy Qur'an says: 'Adorned is the present life for those who disbelieve' because of which 'they laugh at those who believe', although, these Muslims who have said no to kufr and shirk shall be in a state better than that of the disbelievers on the day of Qiyamah (Doomsday), for the disbelievers will be in Jahannam (Hell) and the believers, in Jannah (Paradise).

The last sentence carries a warning for those who pride on their brute economic strength because it is Allah who 'gives, to whom He wills, without measure'. So, all this depends on divinely-ordained destiny and not on personal excellence or influence. As such, it is not necessary that one who is respected for personal possessions happens to be a recepient of honour with Allah as well. The truth is that real honour cannot be anything other than what turns out to be valid in the sight of Allah. That being that, would it not be a plain 'absence of sense' if one stands on the crutches of worldly riches and claims honour for himself and looks down upon the less fortunate as mean? The real consequence of such attitude shall be unravelled on the Last Day.

It has been reported that Sayyidna 'Ali Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him said: 'Anyone who takes a Muslim man or woman low in status because of his or her hunger, Allah Almighty will put him to disgrace before a gathering of all, from the first to the last. And anyone who falsely accuses a Muslim man or woman of a weakness, Allah Almighty would put him on a high mound until he falsifies himself.' (al-Qurtubi) (Ma'ariful Qur'an)
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