Surat Al-Mā'idah

What is the Qur'an About?

Tafsir Ishraq al-Ma`ani
Syed Iqbal Zaheer

تفسير إِشراقُ المَعَاني
سيد إقبال ظهير


What is the Qur'an About?
The Qur'an is the Word of Allah and a Book of Guidance. It can be asked, guidance to what? The answer is: “Guidance to Allah Most High, His Attributes, His Will, and the way in which one may conduct oneself to obtain that approval (rida) of Allah after which there is no anger." Imam Shafe`i perhaps had the first part of this statement in mind when he said:

"All that (the scholars of) the Ummah have to say is nothing but the exposition of the Sunnah. All that is in the Sunnah is the exposition of the Qur'an. And the whole of the Qur'an is nothing but the exposition of the Names and Attributes of Allah" (Zarkashi: Al‑Burhan Fi `Ulum al‑Qur'an).

This guidance to Allah, the knowledge of His Attributes and Will, and the guidance to right conduct cannot be obtained by any means other than the Qur'an and its complementary, the Sunnah, (the sayings and practices of Prophet Muhammad, peace be on him).
The Qur'an is also the only source of guidance. Someone who is unaware of its existence, but is a seeker of Truth, (on account of his innate faith in God and disillusionment with the world), will be led to this Book, one way or the other. The Qur'an says (29: 69): "Those who strive in Us, We shall surely guide them unto Our paths."

What is Guidance?
From another angle, it might be said that being on the guidance is to know, acknowledge, and, live by the Truth. In the context of this life, it is
a) the knowledge of what one is required to do, in the right measure, at any particular moment, and
b) the will to live by that knowledge.
In one sense, then, Guidance is knowledge, and in another, the will to act by it. The ‘will to act' is not the same as the ‘power to act.' That is because man has been granted will (or the freedom of choice) in a limited framework, while all power is Allah's. The power, or ability to act ‑ referred to as tawfiq in Islamic terminology ‑ is granted when willingness is demonstrated.
Further, since there is no such thing as half‑guidance, both are essential for salvation: knowledge without the will to act is only an evidence against one's self (hujjah), and deeds (however pretty their appearance), are grains thrown in the sand if they go without the acknowledgement of the Truth.
The Qur'an guides in both the senses. It bestows knowledge (or 'ilm wa 'irfan), giving the seeker the proper concept of the truth, as well as the will‑power and the moral courage to produce a living model of that concept in his own person, overcoming the obstacles he might encounter from within or without.
No other book, writing, philosophy, or person can achieve this. There should be no doubt about it; for any ambiguity in this regard can deprive one of the fruits of study and application.
The above definition illustrates and emphasizes the external, physical, and ephemeral aspect. Guidance has an esoteric, transcendent, and eternal meaning also, which is the fruit and essence of the external aspect. It is that state of mind and soul in which the other world becomes dearer than this one, in which, one eagerly awaits to be transported to the other world in order to heal that pain in the heart, and quench that thirst of the soul which only the company of those on High can heal and quench.
It is when one begins to ‘wait for the next salah after the last one,' when one ‘remembers Allah in his seclusion and the remembrance brings tears to his eyes,' when Allah becomes so dear that one begins to ‘love for Allah and hate for Allah,' and, when ‘the state of sabr and shukr become one and the same,' then it is that a person can said to be, in the words of the Qur'an, "on a guidance from his Lord."

The Path of Knowledge
A hadith of the Prophet (saws) says: "I am leaving behind me two things. So long as you hold fast unto them, you will not be misguided: they are Allah's Book and my practices." Nevertheless, this oft‑quoted hadith is rarely treated seriously. People apply themselves with great fervor to books, writings, speeches and ideologies presented by the scholars of Islam, but not as often do they leave them and their influences aside to turn directly to the Qur'an in complete seriousness. They do not seem to realize that they are not guided by those books and writings but to the extent that they themselves contain the Qur'an and the Sunnah in their pure form and unadulterated meaning.
Further, even when the Qur'an is studied, it is mostly done through the eyes, minds, and explanations of the scholars. The knowledge derived is, therefore, at best second‑hand, vicarious, and not wholly trustworthy. Again, a study of the Qur'an after a lot of other literature has been read has the disadvantage of the earlier readings embossing on the mind impressions that do not allow for the new ones to take place in their pristine form. The result is a jumble of concepts, true, half true, and false.
Alternatively, the Qur'an is read with pre‑conceived ideas. Human ideas are then taken for Divine ideas with citation of Qur’anic verses as evidences.
There are a few other characteristics that distinguish the Qur'an from all other kinds of writings. Firstly, the knowledge that the Qur'an imparts is the true and infallible knowledge. Secondly, the Qur'an succeeds in communicating the ideas it holds. That is, the reader cannot miss the meaning that it intends to communicate. Provided one is sincere, no one can miss its guidance, or, led to a meaning and understanding not intended. That happens with writings other than the Divine; humans say one thing, and the audience understand another thing. Moreover, through its intricate sequencing of the texts, the Qur’an answers to the doubts that arise, so to say, on the spot, and registers its meaning and message without adulteration of doubts menacing the mind, or skeptical notes lying beneath like snakes in the grass.
Therefore, to obtain true knowledge and right guidance from the Qur'an the requirement is to do away with preconceived ideas and study it with the firm intention to live by the meaning as it unfolds itself. With that kind of intention, the student is qualified to receive the true meaning. The meaning obtained is also accompanied by an urge to live by it, which then is the next requirement. That accomplished, that is, the meaning translated into action, the reader demonstrates purity of intention. In consequence, he qualifies to receive a fresh set of true meaning which unfolds themselves with further reading. This goes on until the student reaches that state which has been described in a hadith by Allah (swt) Himself in words, “I become the hands of the slave with which he grips, the feet of the slave with which he walks ... (to the end of the hadith).” But if he fails, that is, he is not true to himself at any given phase, or discontinues the process, then the tawfiq is held back until he amends his ways. The Qur’an has said (7: 146):

{سَأَصْرِفُ عَنْ آيَاتِيَ الَّذِينَ يَتَكَبَّرُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ وَإِنْ يَرَوْا كُلَّ آيَةٍ لَا يُؤْمِنُوا بِهَا وَإِنْ يَرَوْا سَبِيلَ الرُّشْدِ لَا يَتَّخِذُوهُ سَبِيلًا وَإِنْ يَرَوْا سَبِيلَ الْغَيِّ يَتَّخِذُوهُ سَبِيلًا ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا وَكَانُوا عَنْهَا غَافِلِينَ} [الأعراف: 146]

“I shall turn away from My signs those who wax proud in the land without cause. If they witnessed all the signs, they will not believe in them, and, if they see the path of righteousness, they will not accept it as a path. But if they see the deviated path, they will accept it as a path. That, because they gave a lie to Our signs and were heedless of them.”

How to Obtain the Right Verbal Meaning?
It is to seek guidance, in the sense delineated above, that one should read the Qur'an. That should be the intention in every session with it.
Dr. Muhammad Iqbal's father well illustrated this point when he asked his son, who was reciting the Qur'an, as to what he was reading. The young son, knowing that the father was aware what he was reading, responded with an indifferent answer. “Who was it revealed to?” was the next question. The embarrassed son replied that it was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (on whom be peace). “This way, my son,” said the father, “you will never profit from the Qur'an. You will only if you read with the belief that the Revelation has just come down, that it has been sent down specifically for you, and that it is you who has been addressed. It is only then that this Book will open itself to you.”
In other words, one should take it as a message unto himself, and allow each verse of the Qur'an free and unhindered access to the mind and heart with the will to be led where it will lead.

In contrast to other revealed Books and religious literatures, in whatever form and language they may exist, the Qur'an should not only be read by oneself, directly, but also in its own language ‑ Arabic. No commentary, however comprehensive, and no exegete, however erudite, can impart what the Qur'an itself can. The following reasons will illustrate the point.

The Miraculous nature of the Qur'an
It is well known that the Qur'an is a miracle. In fact, it is a living miracle; although the true nature of the miracle is not always understood. We cannot elaborate on this point extensively at this juncture. But it might be pointed out that the miracle expresses itself both in its form as well in its content. Both are powerful, unique to the Qur'an, which defy translation. The Prophet said: "Every prophet before me was given a miracle. I have been given the Qur'an. And I hope to have a greater following by its virtue than any prophet of the past."
Consequently, thousands of people from all over the globe are led to Islam every year through their study of the Qur'an. When a non‑Muslim asks a Muslim about Islam, all that he does in most cases is to hand him over a copy of the Qur'an. Invariably, even that mangled thing called ‘the translation of the Qur'an' leads the person to Islam. That is the miracle of the Qur'an. And of course, miracles cannot be translated.
Let us look into a few reasons that make impossible to communicate what the Qur'an itself communicates.

The Qur'an is in Arabic. It is neither in prose nor in verse but a unique combination of both, unsurpassed in its effect on the mind and soul by any other writing. In the words of John Alden Williams:

"...the Arabic of the Qur'an is by turns striking, soaring, vivid, terrible, tender, and breathtaking ... It is meaningless to apply adjectives such as ‘beautiful' or ‘persuasive' to the Qur'an; its flashing images and inexorable measures go directly to the brain and intoxicate it.
It is not surprising, then, that a skilled reciter of the Qur'an can reduce an Arabic‑speaking audience to helpless tears" (Islam: p.2, Washington Square Press '69).

In the words of Arberry:

"... to produce something which might be accepted as echoing however faintly the sublime rhetoric of the Arabic Koran, I have been at pains to study the intricate and richly varied rhythms which ‑ apart from the message itself ‑ constitute the Koran's undeniable claim to rank amongst the greatest literary masterpieces of mankind" (The Koran Interpreted, Intr. p. x, Oxford Univ. Press '64).

It is this inimitable beauty that challenges mankind to produce its equivalent: in sublimity of language, its instructions, and its sublime effect on the mind and soul. The Qur'anic challenge has remained unanswered by the humans (2: 23, 24):

"O People! If you are in any doubt concerning what We have sent down on Our slave (Muhammad), then produce a piece similar to it (in all its merits). And call (to your aid) your witnesses apart from Allah, if you are true (in your allegation that it is the work of Muhammad). But if you cannot do it ‑ and you can never do it ‑ then beware of the Fire whose fuel is human beings and rocks: prepared for the unbelievers."

The Qur'an then is inimitable and, therefore, untranslatable. Any translation, however accurately done, and however close to the original, cannot reproduce the sense and beauty of the original. Therefore, when one is reading a translation, he is not reading the Qur'an per se. No surprise then that the best effects are lost. No wonder also that the scholars of old would not allow translation of the Qur'an. This is also Ibn Taymiyyah's opinion. In fact there is a consensus of opinion among the scholars that the Qur'an should not be quoted in ‘sense' or ‘meaning' but always in its original textual words. How can then one be allowed to translate the Qur'an and call it the Qur'an?
Accordingly, if permission to translate the Qur'an has been granted due to modern exigencies, it is on condition that sufficient notes are supplied to overcome the deficiencies arising out of the translation. Further, it is required that the new work be called "interpretative translation of the Qur'an" (tarjumah tafsiriyyah), or, "the translation of the meaning of the Qur'an," rather than "the translation of the Qur'an" or, what would be more audacious, "the meaning of the Qur'an," since none of these are within human power (Manahil al `Irfan, Zarqani).

Linguistic Difficulties
There are many linguistic difficulties that make the Qur'an untranslatable. In Arabic one expresses sense rather than meaning. A beautiful Arabic sentence that can enrapture the mind and touch the soul becomes insipid in another language. Not only sentences or words, even single consonant letters are hard to translate. For example, the "fi" of Arabic has a depth that is lacking in the "in" of English. One needs a whole ugly, terse, and unmusical word in English to translate mere letters such as:

و ف إنَّ

Obviously, the complications with the words are far greater than those with the letters. Arabic is a language in which words are based on consonantal roots, from which are derived scores of words in various forms giving out various meanings but remaining, even if loosely and distantly, connected in sense and letter‑content to the root. `Ayn for instance can mean: an eye, a spring, a spy, a group of people, evil‑eye, honor, a flag, a girl, etc. `Afw stands for effacement, obliteration, elimination, forgiveness, amnesty, boon, kindness, favor, surplus, and others. The translated word must on the one hand give out the basic meaning and, on the other, convey several nuances the original carries. Obviously, to achieve that is well‑nigh impossible.
Let us take an example (4: 4):

وَآتُوا النِّسَاءَ صَدُقَاتِهِنَّ نِحْلَةً [النساء : 4]

"Give the women their dowries (as a gift) spontaneous,"
In this example, the word saduqat is derived from the root sadaqa ( صَدَقَ ) which means, with the addition of various suffixes or prefixes: ‘to speak the truth, to be sincere, to prove to be true, to come true, to fulfill one's promise,' and so on. Now, a true translation of the derived term saduqa, (plural: saduqat صَدُقات ), should carry in its overtones the sense of truth and sincerity. That is, ‘a gift that is offered (by the groom to the bride), as an expression of his sincerity toward her and the relationship he is proposing.' To render it as dowry, with the connotation that the language and culture of the readers carry, is to mutilate it.
In addition to the problem of words that yield several meanings, the complex structure of the Qur'anic verses admit of many interpretations (well described by Muhammad Asad as unfolding of "layer upon layer of meaning") from which the translator can choose but one, without necessarily being right in his choice. This means that, granted the translator did not err, the translation conveyed only one meaning out of the several contained in the Qur'an.
As another example, the following is speaking of the unbelievers (11: 20):

يُضَاعَفُ لَهُمُ الْعَذَابُ مَا كَانُوا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ السَّمْعَ وَمَا كَانُوا يُبْصِرُونَ [هود : 20]

"For them the chastisement shall be doubled; (for) they could not hear, neither did they see."
It can be translated in at least six different ways, three of them depending on how the letter "maa" is treated: whether of the same meaning as "lamu kayy," ( لامُ كَي ); as a synonym of "ila," ( إلى ); or as a negative "maa". Obviously such possibilities, which occur quite often, can leave the translator baffled as to his own choice during translation.
Another linguistic difficulty is that many Arabic and Qur'anic terms do not have proper equivalents in other languages, especially the languages of the occident. Allah, al‑Rahman, al‑Rahim, jihad, salah, zakah, sadaqah, `ibadah, al‑ghayb, kufr, nur, fisq, taghut, nabiyy, rasul, ghaniyy, are a few examples from a long list.
If, to the above are added the difficulties of `ijaz (ellipticism), rhetoric, alliteration, resonance and rhythm (all of them present in the Qur'an in their most excellent forms and in the highest degree of expression), then the job of translation becomes a hopeless task.
But the impaired meaning is not the only casualty. The loss in terms of beauty, charm, appeal, elation and the ecstasy that a reader feels on reading the Qur'an in its original is immeasurable.
Therefore, it can be safely said of a person who has always read the Qur'an through translations alone, that he did not read the Qur'an once.

Trying to understand the Qur'an with the help of commentaries is no less hazardous. Some reasons are as follows.
Essentially, commentaries are of two kinds. Those that are based on the Qur'an itself, supported by the hadith and opinions of the Companions, or their next‑generation Followers (tabe`iyyun). These are known as al‑tafsir bi 'l ma'thur ( التفسير بالمأثور ) i.e., interpretation based on report or tradition.
The other category is the one in which the commentator offers an interpretation, based not on a specific accepted source ‑ a Qur'anic verse, a hadith, or a remark of a Companion or one of their Followers ‑ but his personal opinion based on his intellect, knowledge or intuition. This kind of commentary is known as al‑tafsir bi 'l ra'yi ( التفسير بالرأي ). al‑tafsir 'l‑ishari [ التفسير الإشاري ] falls under the same category).
As for the first kind of tafsir, i.e., al‑tafsir bi 'l ma'thur, it can be fully appreciated only when read in Arabic. Many concepts and ideas of the Qur'an are closely tied up with the Arabic language. Further, those concepts and ideas are so subtle that their explanations fall flat and lose their import in another language. The commentaries of Ibn Jarir or Ibn Kathir, for example (which are good examples of the al‑tafsir bi 'l ma'thur) fail to have their impact on the reader in their translated version. Besides, some basic knowledge of hadith classification, fiqh and other disciplines, which in turn require knowledge of Arabic, is necessary to appreciate this kind of commentary.
In short al-tafsir bi ‘l ma’thur does not help much in understanding the core meanings of the Qur’anic texts. The profound part is often missed.
On the other hand, if one tries to understand the Qur'an with the help of the other kind of tafsir, viz. al‑tafsir bi 'l ra'yi, he faces the following hazards.
Firstly, to be able to correctly comment on the Qur'an, one has to have, in addition to the Revealed texts, a thorough knowledge of all the physical and metaphysical sciences and disciplines that have been developed by the humans. The Qur'an deals with history, law, social affairs, morality, worship, economy, psychology, state affairs, spiritual development, eschatology, divinity, and many other disciplines ‑ all in one go. Obviously, since it is beyond one man's capacity to master so many disciplines in a life‑time, it is beyond him also to write a commentary of the Qur'an that conveys the true intent of the Qur’an.
Further, every commentator is a product of his own age, genre, intellectual atmosphere, and cultural background. His problems are the problems of his time ‑ not necessarily of all times. His view of life is from a certain angle ‑ not necessarily the ecumenical and transcendental view of the Qur'an. (So, we often hear from such commentators that “the Qur’an lays down the way of life”: which immediately reduces its message to mundane level. Had they said it lays down the ways to moral and spiritual life, they would have been closer to truth). Such commentators are led, and cannot help but be led, by their personal predispositions and bent of mind, appealing to those of similar dispositions, and not necessarily reaching out to all the inquisitive minds and thirsty souls. Finally, whatever a commentator’s caliber, he remains subjective. True objectivity is not the share of man.
For example, if he is of a sufi bent of mind he detects suggestions that may or may not exist. If he subscribes to a certain philosophy, he may emphasize a certain point, which might be there in the text, but might not be it focal point. Thereby he distorts the overall view. Or, if his interpretation of life is materialistic and earthly, he is quite likely to rush through verses that are, so to say, mawarid al zam'an (watering places for the thirsty), and the hovering grounds of the restless soul, concentrating instead on the wonderful capabilities of Islam to promote material growth and development on earth and bring back to the Muslim Ummah its lost glory!
In short, he is a human dealing with the Word of Allah. To do justice to it is not in his power.
Finally, it is agreed by the scholars of Islam that there are two aspects to the meaning of the Qur'an: the external and the internal. The external or the obvious meaning is that which has come down from the authorities: the hadith, the opinions of the Companions, their next‑generation Followers and the meaning unanimously accepted by the scholars of Islam through and through the ages. The internal, hidden or the secret meaning of the Qur'an comes from deep reflection and a sustained exercise of the mind and soul coupled with righteous living. To take an example, it is reported that the verse (5: 3): "This day I have perfected your religion for you and completed My favor unto you, and have chosen for you as religion al‑Islam," brought tears into the eyes of `Umar ibn al-Khattab The Prophet asked him the reason. He replied: "So far we were witnessing a continuous rise of Islam. Now that it has been completed (i.e. it has reached its zenith), it can only follow a downward direction, as it happens with anything that has achieved its zenith." The Prophet (saws) agreed with him.
Imam Ghazali writes in his eighth book of Ihya' `Ulum 'l‑Din:

"The truth is that to everything pertaining to reflective and intellectual matters, which have become ambiguous to men of reflection, and in which people have differed, there are indications and implications in the Qur'an which can be observed by men of understanding. How can these indications and implications be completely conveyed by translations of its outward meanings and its (outward) exegesis?"

Further down he writes:

"The man who imagines that the Qur'an has no meaning except that which the outward exegesis has translated (and described), is acknowledging his own limitations; he is right in his acknowledgement (because he knows only this measure and is not aware of that which lies beyond this), but is wrong in his judgment which places all other people on the same footing as himself." (The Recitation and Interpretation of the Qur'an: Al-Ghazali's Theory by Muhammad Abdul Quasem, p. 87, 88).

Nevertheless, the scholars are also in agreement that the internal meaning can be attained only after a complete mastery of the external has been achieved. Zarkashi writes:

"The Book of Allah: it is the bottomless sea, whose meaning cannot be unfathomed but by the well-versed in (religious) knowledge; he who fears Allah in open and secret, and gives due esteem to Him in places where he comes across the ambiguous. Its subtleties and truths cannot be grasped but by one who (as the Qur’an said) ‘lends his ear and is attentive...'"

He adds a little further,

"All knowledge can be summed up as that of the ‘Acts' and ‘Attributes' of Allah. The Qur'an contains the knowledge of the Acts, Attributes, and the Essence of the Supreme Being. This fact leads us to another, viz., the field of knowledge is immensely vast. There is room for much more than what is obvious to the mind. The exegesis therefore, that has been passed on to us (by the authorities) do not lay down limits for the attainment of knowledge. Yet, it is not possible to jump over to the hidden without mastery of the obvious. Indeed, the knowledge of the external is absolutely essential to step into the internal and the hidden. Whoever claims to have knowledge of the secret part of the Qur'an while lacking a proper understanding of the external and the obvious, is like he who claims manhood at the threshold of his house (to which he has just crawled) although he has not yet stepped out of the door."

In brief, the Qur'an has two levels of meaning: the external and the internal. It should be obvious, therefore, how difficult it can be for a person to get to the second level, while his first level of understanding is suspect due to his ignorance of the language which leads him to take the words of men for the words of God.
These are some of the reasons why neither a translation nor a commentary can be substituted for the original.
It should not be surprising therefore to note that according to Imam Shafe`i, learning of the Arabic language is obligatory on every Muslim. Imam Abu Yousuf and Zufar, both students of Imam Abu Hanifah, went a step further. They stated that it is makruh (undesirable) for two Muslims who can manage some Arabic, to speak with each other in another language. Ibn Taymiyyah is also of the opinion that learning Arabic is a religious requirement since what is necessary to realize an obligation (wajib) is itself obligatory (wajib).

Pre‑conceived Ideas
In contrast, neglect of the language and study and reliance upon a single commentary of the al-tafsir bi 'l‑ra'yi type, can lead a student of the Qur'an to hold questionable opinions despite long study and painful application. Many of those who could become connoisseurs ended up dilettantes. Imam Ghazali writes about this class of people:

"The sufis have said that knowledge (`ilm) is a veil (between man and God), and by this knowledge they have meant those beliefs (`aqa'id) which most people have been firmly holding either by dogmatically following an authority or by mere reliance on casuistic sentences written by zealots of schools of thought and delivered to them. As for the real knowledge which is the uncovering of the actual condition of the thing known and which is a vision by the light of spiritual insight, how can it be a veil, seeing that it is the ultimate object of desire?
Pure dogmatic following of an authority is sometimes false (in itself) and is, therefore, an obstacle to the understanding of the meaning (of the Qur'an). An example of this is a man who has a (purely dogmatic) belief in Allah's istawa' on the Throne as His being settled on it physically. Then in the case of (the divine name) ‘the Holy One' (al-Quddus), for example, there comes to his mind the meaning that He is pure from all that is ascribable to His creation: but that purely dogmatic belief of his does not make it possible for this meaning to be firmly implanted in his mind. Had it become strengthened in his mind it would have led to a second meaning and a third, which could be inter-connected. But he hastens to drive this meaning away from his mind, because it contradicts his false belief which is held purely dogmatically.
Sometimes purely dogmatic following of an authority is true (in itself), but it too becomes an obstacle to understanding (the meaning of the Qur'an) and to unveiling of them. The truth in which man is obliged to believe has stages and grades, and it has an external beginning and an internal end. Concentration of man's nature on the external aspect prevents him from reading the internal end" (source cited above, p.70, 71).

Finally, every commentator is influenced by the ideas of his time that seem to be so powerful, and therefore of great consequence, which could be so during a particular epoch, but prove not to be so with the passage of time. Moved by those ideas or forces, a commentator might try to give the verses of the Qur'an a new meaning, sometimes at the expense of certain basic and universal truths. This can seriously affect the way in which his readers understand the Qur'an.
The conclusion therefore is that anyone who has not done a course of study in the tafsir of the approved type, but, instead, applies himself to the other type ‑ the tafsir bi 'l‑ra'yi ‑ runs the great risk of ending up with ideas that might not be true, half true or altogether wrong.
Therefore, every serious student of the Qur'an must learn enough Arabic to be able to read the Qur'an himself, directly, and without dependence on a translation to an extraordinary degree. It is only after he has spent sufficient time with the Qur'an (and, in addition, the Sunnah), that he can turn his attention to the translations and commentaries as further aids. It is only those for whom it is beyond their capacity to learn the language that might resort to dependence on translations and commentaries alone, although, to remain in consultation with the scholars is a necessary requirement for not getting misled on concepts.

Al-Tafsir bi 'l Ma'thur
The safest way to derive the right meaning of any part of the Qur'an is to seek its explanation within the Qur'an itself. What is stated in brief at one place is detailed at another, and what is ambiguous at one point is supplemented with elaborations elsewhere. Also, the Qur'an deals with a subject in a variety of ways, at different points, and with emphasis on different aspects in different contexts. The complete meaning can only be obtained by collecting together, either on paper or in the mind, all relevant verses, seeking connections that become apparent with contemplation. The Qur'an then should be understood in the first instance with the Qur'an itself.

The Hadith
Next, one should turn to the hadith. The ahadith are in reality a commentary on the Qur'an. Allah (swt) not only revealed the Word to the Prophet but also its meaning. A verse (4:105) says, "Surely We have sent down a Book to you (O Muhammad) with Truth so that you may judge between the people by what Allah shows you (as its true meaning)."
But it is not only the meaning as expressed in the words of the Prophet (saws) that has to be learnt. It is also the meaning as expressed in his actions that should be applied to one’s own life, to gain an understanding of the Qur'an. The Prophet lived according to the Message he received, not deviating from it in the least. In other words his life was the Qur'an interpreted: "Have you not read the Qur'an?!" was the answer given by `A'isha (ra) when asked about the Prophet's conduct in everyday life.
An example will illustrate how well the Prophet understood and lived by the Qur'an.
The Qur'an uses the term rih (in the sense of ‘winds') in two ways. In some places in the singular form as rih, and in others in the plural form as riyah. In all, it has used these terms on 29 occasions. Now a careful study reveals that when the occasion is the announcement of a punishment or chastisement from Allah, the word is used in its singular form (rih). In contrast, when the context is announcement of a glad tiding, it is the plural form that is chosen (riyah). [The odd deviation from the rule can be explained].
Now, keep the Qur'anic rule in mind and consider the prayer‑words of the Prophet, who, with every stormy weather supplicated in the words:

اللَّهُمَّ اجْعَلْهَا رِيَاحًا وَلا تَجْعَلْهَا رِيحًا

"O Lord! Make it winds (riyah) for us and not wind (rih)."
Another example can be cited. The Qur'an said (9: 103): "Accept (O Muhammad) of their wealth a free-will offering, to purify them and to cleanse them." This injunction came after the declaration that the free-will offering of the hypocrites was not acceptable; and the reference is to the zakah on wealth. The free-will offering, of course, is collected by the State and is distributed following another injunction (9: 60) that cites eight categories of people as the deserving recipients.
However, following the clue that zakah (and sadaqat by implication) purify and cleanse the people ("to purify them and cleanse them"), and, reasoning that the purifying agent cannot itself be clean after its purifying operation (another example is ablution water dropping down a man), the Prophet declared his kinsfolk as undeserving of a share in the zakah (and sadaqat) funds. He told them that the zakah funds were a dirt of the hand and hence unsuitable for them.
The above stray examples demonstrate not only how well the Prophet understood the Qur'an and the extent to which he applied it to himself, but also, how important it is for a reader to gain mastery over the two: the Qur'an and the Sunnah texts, to understand either.

The Companions and their Followers
Any clarification required after the first two sources have been exhausted, should be sought in the opinions of the Prophet's Companions; especially those who were close to him, received his special attention, and specialized in the Qur'an during his life‑time: such as the four khulafa', Ibn `Abbas, Ibn Mas`ud, `Abdullah ibn `Umar, Ubayy b. Ka`ab and others, or those of the Followers who became the pupils of these Companions, such as: Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Sa`id ibn Jubayr, Masruq, `Ata' ibn Rabah, Hassan al Busri, Sa`id ibn al Musayyib, Qatadah, Dahhak, Abu al `Aliyyah and others.
The differences in their opinions, however, should not disturb a student. For, as Ibn Taymiyyah has pointed out in his Muqaddimah fi Usul al Tafsir, in most cases they express the same meaning in different words. The word "hafadah" for instance, has been explained as "daughters" by Ibn Mas`ud and Sa`id b. Jubayr; as "grandsons" by Ibn `Abbas; as "in‑laws" by Ibn Mas`ud; while `Ikrimah, Mujahid, and Hasan al‑Basri say it stands for "servants." They are all of course expressing one or the other aspect of the meaning of the word. For "hafadah" is plural of "hafid" and in its singular form it means "he who is made to serve." At the time the verse was revealed, the word was used in all those senses in which it was adopted by different authorities.
Tafsir bi 'l ma'thur derives its basis from ‑ apart from others ‑ a hadith which says that when the Prophet was deputing Mu`adh ibn Jabal to Yemen he asked him how he was going to judge between the people. "With the Book of Allah," replied Mu`adh. "But what if you do not find (a lead) therein?" the Prophet asked. "With the Sunnah of Allah's Messenger," he replied. "But if you do not find (a lead) therein also?" he asked him. "Then," Mu`adh replied, "I will work out my own opinion." The Prophet expressed his approval (Muqaddimah, Ibn Taymiyyah).
A word of caution however, about this kind of tafsir should be in place. What is recommended is the methodology as enumerated above, and not the entire content of the books of tafasir that have followed this methodology. In some of these works massive amount of Jewish material and comments of the early exegetes have been included without verifications of their authenticity. If not read critically, these can have their own pitfalls. Naivety, for instance, can be perceived in those who rely on these alone and have failed to step into the modern age in intellectual terms.

Al-Tafsir bi al Ra'yi (Personal Opinions)
As stated above, sometimes a commentator uses his intelligence, knowledge, intuition or inspiration to bring out a point in language, history, law, etc. Some of such comments are acceptable, while others are not. Take for example verse (2: 102): "Sulayman blasphemed not, but the Satans blasphemed." A question arises. We know that a prophet does not blaspheme. Why then did the Qur'an have to say that Sulayman (asws) did not blaspheme? For an explanation we have to look into the Bible which alleges that Solomon became an idolater during the last days of his life (Majid). Though not based on an athar, it is a valid explanation and also corroborates with what details classical commentators (such as Ibn Kathir) have recorded as coming from Suddi and Sa`id b. Jubayr.
To take another example, the Qur'an says (2: 273): "(Alms are) for the poor who are restrained in the way of Allah, who can not journey in the land (for trade). The ignorant supposes them rich because of their restraint. You will know them by their mark. They do not beg of people with importunity. And whatsoever of good things that you spend, surely, Allah will know it."
Commenting on the verse, Thanwi says that the words, ‘(Alms are) for the poor who are restrained in the way of Allah,' are telling us that those who are working in the way of Allah deserve to receive first priority in aid. Further, the clause ‘who cannot journey in the land' signifies that it is desirable for those engaged in the path of Allah that they may suspend their efforts at livelihood, if need be, although there is no contradiction between the two (i.e. engagement in the path of Allah, and search for livelihood). Finally, the words ‘the ignorant supposes them rich,' implies that it is undesirable to put on appearances that will distinguish a man from the common people.
This is the kind of Tafsir bi 'l ra'yi that is acceptable since such statements can be corroborated in other ways also. What can be proved as valid either directly through deductions from the Qur'an, Sunnah, opinions of the Companions, their immediate Followers, or that which, in the least, does not contradict any of the above, in word or spirit, is valid and acceptable.
The permission for this kind of interpretation is based on the supplication (du`a) which the Prophet made for Ibn `Abbas. He said:

اللَّهُمَّ فَقِّهْهُ فِي الدِّينِ وَعَلِّمْهُ التَّأْوِيلَ

"O Allah, grant him knowledge of the Qur'an and teach him the interpretation."
Contrary to this is the unprincipled interpretation that has its basis neither in the sources cited above, nor does it agree with the spirit of Islam as understood by the scholars at large.
To explain, any opinion with reference to a Qur’anic text that contradicts with that of the Salaf, in matters involving the Shari`ah, values, morals or spiritual affairs, is Tafsir bi al-Ra’yi, and stands rejected outright. It is about such an interpretation that the Prophet remarked: "Whoever speaks about the Qur'an without knowledge, may seek his abode in the Fire."
The Companions and their Followers were quite careful about offering an interpretation that did not have a Qur'anic verse or hadith in its support. Abu Bakr (ra) used to say: "Which heaven will shelter me, and which earth will support me if I said about Allah's Book, that which I have no knowledge of." Abu Yezid said: "We used to ask Sa`id ibn al‑Musayyib about the ‘lawful' and the ‘unlawful' and would find him the most knowledgeable of men. But when we asked him about a verse of the Qur'an as to how it was to be understood, he would be quiet, turning a deaf ear to us."

Al-Tafsir 'l‑Ishari (Allegorical Interpretation)
By nature, man is awed by the mysterious. It is the inexplicable, the symbolical, and the mysterious that engage his attention. The obvious and the clear‑cut escape him. To seek a solution to a riddle or the meaning of an allegory is a task he undertakes with enthusiasm. The allegorical verses of the Qur'an have provided grist to the minds of its scholars and there have been several interpretations proffered to explain them. Some of these are not readily acceptable and raise controversies. The best course of action about them when they are authentically quoted, by authoritative people, but which seemingly contradicts ideas of the Salaf, is to make no judgment about their acceptance or rejection.
In this work the use of Tafsir 'l Ishari has been restricted. It is inadvisable to read them without the guidance of a specialist. Thanwi’s Masa'il al‑Suluk as footnotes to his Urdu Bayan al‑Qur'an, is of this class. So are Alusi’s notes under this heading.
Nevertheless, it should also be borne in mind that every passage whose meaning is not obvious is not necessarily of the allegorical type, nor is the Qur'an entirely without them. There are some portions of the Qur'an whose true meaning the human mind might never be able to unravel. Ibn `Abbas has said: "There are four kinds of meanings: a) that which is apparent to the Arabs because it is in their language, b) that whose meaning no one can deny on the pretext of ignorance, c) the meaning that is the share of the scholars alone, and, d) the meaning that no one knows save Allah and His Messenger."
Further, one may note that there are Qur’anic texts whose meanings would be understood at the time of death, or subsequent to it.

Following the Qur'anic method, we might end with what we started with. Application is part of the study. One will not travel much on the road if he failed to live by the instructions and inspirations that he received with the study. The Qur'an is the Word of Allah. It has been sent to guide the people. But it guides only those who are willing to be guided. As Rumi has said, the Qur’an is a closed book except for the true ardent seeker; to which we might add, ‘those who would care to apply.’
A further condition is to avoid sins of all kinds. The following is reported to have been said by Imam Shafe`i:

شكوت إلى وكيع سوء حفظى * فأرشدنى إلى ترك المعاصى
وأخـبرنى بـأن العـلم نور * ونور الله لايهدى لعاصى

I complained to Waki` of my forgetfulness
He guided me to give up sins
And taught me that knowledge is Light
And Allah’s Light is not shown to the sinner

The student of the Qur'an will have to develop his mind in such a way as to be skeptical of everything that the senses report, doubt every opinion that is formed by the intellect, and question every information that comes from non‑revealed sources. In the next step, he will have to test all of them against the Qur'an and reject any that contradicts it in word or spirit. Ibn Mas`ud (ra) said: "During the life-time of the Prophet, we used to take ten verses of the Qur'an for study and would not move on to the next ten until we had lived by those ten." It is reported of `Umar ibn al‑Khattab (ra) that he finished surah al‑Baqarah in seven years. According to a report he was so happy at its completion that he slaughtered a camel and invited his friends to a feast.
We can conclude with Zarkashi's remarks. He writes in Al‑Burhan fi `Ulum al‑Qur'an:

"In the final analysis, the derivation of the meaning of the Qur'an is largely dependent on a man's own thoughts and reflections. Let it be known, therefore, that the true meaning of the revelation and the secrets of the veiled knowledge will never be the share of a man whose heart is filled with innovations, or who insists on a sin, or in whose heart resides pride or base desires or love of the world, or that he be of an uncertain faith, or poor of discernment, or dependent on the opinions of a mufassir who has knowledge only of the externals (`ilm al-zahir), or gives precedence to his own thoughts and ideas (during the process of thinking). All these are veils and obstacles, some of which are of greater impedance than others.
"(In contrast), if the man pays full attention to the words of His Lord, is receptive to the meaning that the Attributes of the One addressing him unfold themselves, is always aware of His powers, abandons his own self-established conclusions based on reason and intellect, renounces his own powers and abilities, is ever mindful of the greatness of the Speaker, beseeching Him the grant of the meaning: and all this from a personal state of integrity, a good-natured heart, with the power of knowledge, of a calm disposition to gather the meaning, and to wait for the missed meaning seeking (Divine) help through Prayers and Supplications, (the supplications themselves) presented with the weakness (of the human against Powers of the Divine), and observing patience while waiting for the mind to be opened by Him who is the Opener, the Knowing; and he who strengthens these qualities with a recitation during which his mind is fully attentive to the verbal meaning and bears witness to the Attributes of the One addressing him by anxiously waiting for the promises (of the opening of the heart coming true), and fearing the calamities (that may befall him for his failings), and who warns forcefully .. such is the one who has a good voice for the Qur'an and it is about him that Allah Most High has said (2:121): ‘Those to whom we have given the Book, read it in the manner it should be read. It is these who believe in it'" (p. 180-81, vol.2).

The Methodology in this Work
It has been this writer's endeavor to present in this work, principally, the meaning of the Qur'an as understood by the classical scholars. That is, in the light of the Qur'an itself, traditions of the Prophet and statements of the Companions and their followers. To achieve this, the author first consulted Ibn Jarir Tabari. Since Ibn Jarir was a Muhaddith himself, he did not cite sources to the hadith, or to statements of the Companions that he quoted. Citing the sources was done by Ibn Kathir. Therefore, Ibn Kathir was next consulted. However, Ibn Kathir did not cite sources to the statements of the Salaf. This was done, to some degree, by Shawkani. So, he was consulted next. Although Ibn Kathir cited hadith sources, he did not state the authenticity-status of ahadith. In such cases, this author tried to search the opinion of Hadith Doctors, to add a note about their reliability. Further, if there were differences in opinions over the meaning of a certain verse, Ibn Kathir preferred to adopt the opinion of Ibn Jarir, which, this author indicated. Thus, a meaning emerged as of the Salaf. The translation of the verses reflects this meaning. The author suppressed his own opinion, for whose credibility he lacks the qualification, unless it was a scientific issue, historical, geographical or the like.
Thereunto, the author added the opinions of various other commentators, taking care of course, that such opinions did not clash with the opinions of the Salaf, for in matters of Law, morals (Akhlaq), and spiritual matters, the Salaf were the true authority. The way the first three generations understood the Qur’an, was never understood by any after them. It is they who changed the world, the way no generation could. If a headstrong person thinks that someone’s understanding of the Qur’an and Sunnah, was, or is, as good as that of the Salaf, and as accurate, he might need a course on how `ilm is defined in Islam. Ibn Sirin, a prominent Tabe`i said, “Knowledge is gone. What’s left of it is bits and pieces, scattered among the scholars.” Hasan al-Basri, his contemporary, was told by someone that the “Fuqaha’ say so and so.” He corrected him, “Have you ever seen a Faqih?”

An additional note about the commentaries made by the Companions and their followers might be in order. The Prophet has said: "The best of epochs is my epoch, then that of the Followers, and then that of the Followers." He was referring to the epoch followed by his own, and that of the Companions and the Tabe`iyyun. There were many Companions of the Prophet who received his special attention and specialized in the Qur'an during his life‑time itself. In turn they tutored many among the Tabe`iyyun. The term Salaf applies mainly to these: i.e., the Companions and the two succeeding generations, plus the third (because of some reports). Their opinion is the approved opinion. If they agree over the meaning of a particular word, or a verse, and the issue is purely of a religious nature as indicated above, then any other opinion that contradicts it and cannot be reconciled with it, stands rejected. Of course, there is no such restriction when the subject concerned is of historical, geographical or scientific nature, for, these disciplines were developed after them. Some contemporary commentaries tend to give new meanings to some Qur’anic terms. If they clash with those of the Salaf, they must be ignored; for, the Salaf knew the ‘Arabic of the Qur’an,’ and not the Arabic of those who refer to dictionaries and literary works developed after them to argue their case. `Umar used to say, “If you are in doubt, refer to the Jahiliyy poetry. The Qur’an was revealed in that language.”

The opinions of the Salaf might sometimes surprise the reader. He might consider them as entirely out of context. But, it is the failure to understand the context that creates the confusion. "Jump the line" is a sentence in English that conveys different meanings to different people in different situations. To a sportsman it has one meaning. When spoken by a motorist complaining of the erratic behavior of another motorist it has another meaning. In contrast, to an electrician working on the power grid, the sentence carries a different sense altogether. What we have to realize about the Companions is that they did not merely understand the context; they were themselves the context, and often spoke from the transcendental level; not from the stand point of the misleading cliché of modern times: ‘reason and logic.’

If the reader wishes to make the most of this work, he or she should allocate an area in his mind wherein he stores information obtained from the Salaf, in this work. This is the principal, the most reliable meaning, and the basis on which he can build on further. He might highlight such passages for ease of later reference.

Nonetheless, in order to keep alive interest and help increase knowledge, I have also included material that has so far been the prerogative of the Arabic‑speaking readers: material without which the Qur'anic spectrum of legitimate meaning loses some of its color.
To the above I have added some useful material from commentaries in Urdu and English. But of course, while selecting material from contemporary works, a critical eye has been kept open for errors of the conceptual type and, to the extent possible, those that contradict with a meaning accepted by the Jumhur al‑Ummah (the great majority). Jumhur al‑Ummah is of course not the same thing as the Ijma` al‑Ummah (the consensus of opinion ‑ the research of which is a difficult task, well beyond the scope of this work). The opinions of the Jumhur give us some idea of how the Qur'an has been understood through the ages. When Ibn Jarir, Zamakhshari, Razi, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir, Thanwi or others consider a point from the previous exegetes as worth quoting, then surely that adds up to the weight of the comment.
I have not reproduced from, or cited reference to, the contemporary commentators if they have discussed those matters that the ancients have already done. In most cases the contemporary scholars have changed the form, picking out from the ancients what would suit them most. I have quoted them only if they have a new idea or a fresh point, with the condition, once again, that such ideas do not, in my limited knowledge, contradict a proven opinion held by the Salaf or Jumhu al-Ummah. Anecdotes, poetry, fiqh points, and comparative study material have been added to break the monotony.

A word about quotations from the Sufiya' would be in order. We all know that an unclean person in dirty clothes would hardly improve himself by applying perfume. He first needs to cleanse himself. How can it be any different in matters pertaining to the soul? A heart filled with pride or preferential love of this world will hardly improve through wisdom-words or supererogatory exercises. Something needs to be done first to remove the impurities. Sufism is all about this removal of impurities. This centrist position however, lies between two extremes. It should not be imagined that by quoting the Sufiya' we are approving the extreme positions, practices, or the so‑called "ways of the Gnostic" that have no basis in the Shari`ah.

Hadith Authenticity
The most difficult task has been to present only those ahadith or reports from the Companions or others that are authentic, since no noteworthy work has been done by the hadith experts on Qur'anic commentaries. Mahmud Shakir's attempt at Tabari has remained incomplete. Hussain b. Ibrahim and Sayyid Ibrahim have done some useful, although not exhaustive work on Ibn Kathir and Shawkani. Occasionally, I have either traced the ahadith to their sources, and when not in the Sahih works, have depended on works on the topic by Hadith experts. I have tried not to quote anything less than Hasan in status. If I have quoted some weak reports, it is only those that are not very weak or are strengthened by other, although weak, ahadith, or the personal opinions of the Companion or others.

Ideological Interpretations
Some readers might be surprised to note the lack of a single string of thought in this work, as it is also lacking in classical commentaries: one strand, so to say, that weaves into itself the "philosophy of the whole of the Qur'an." This is a naive idea. To speak of the Qur'an in such terms is to presume a certain meaning, a certain philosophy, a certain ideology, and reduce the Word of Allah to human definitions.
It is common knowledge that this terrestrial existence is too complex to be interpreted in terms of a single philosophy. Life cannot be reduced to equations. Even the inorganic does not render itself to such simplification. At this very moment, scientists at a billion dollar apiece Accelerators (commonly known as atom smashers) are at their wit’s end trying to determine if the building blocks of an atom (which were once thought to be electrons, protons, neutrons and a few other elementary particles) are quarks, those 300 subatomic particles visible for a fraction of a second when the nucleus is smashed with highly accelerated protons, or there is more to it. No one can say for sure if there will be an end to it!! The wave and particle function of the sub-atomic particles is another intriguing issue. If solid matter is proving so complex, what should one think of the uncreated ‘Word’ of Allah?
Moreover, such a demand betrays the failure to understand the very basics of life in terms of human fears, hopes, aspirations, creativity and interactions. At every moment of his existence a man has several options before him, only one of which is the optimum best for him. What can guide him to the right choice but a criterion backed by a vast set of concepts, data and ideas that have their own quality to fuse themselves, in a flash of a second, into one homogenized whole and present a single, synchronized, workable idea or a suggestion ‑ that the man may accept or reject!?
Again, the Qur'an is, from one angle, a long essay in the education of concepts: the divisions are for human convenience. No detail can be missed in any area but at the loss of a concept; sometimes it might be the most valuable concept acting as the central link to a maze of ideas, and, a powerful magnet to iron flakes flying by in every direction. Hence the presentation in the style I have adopted. The reader will have to pick up bits and pieces, and put them together into a homogenous meaningful whole that is pertinent to his situation, and would be useful perhaps to him alone.

Rarely has a work of such dimensions and a task so demanding been attempted by a man as poorly qualified as this author. Yet, no efforts were spared to locate material necessary to produce the "aid for understanding the Qur'an" that he has aimed at producing. Although, it must be admitted, that efforts are no substitute for abilities.
The author’s dependence, therefore, on those who are pioneers in similar efforts should be quite evident. In the rendering of the Qur'anic text into English for instance, A.J. Arberry's influence can be easily detected. Yusuf `Ali, Asad and Pickthall have been in constant reference. N.J. Dawood and several others have also been consulted. To make it easier for the beginners and non‑Muslims (and following the recommendation of the fuqaha'), words and phrases have been added in parenthesis while rendering the text into English. Such interpolations are, nonetheless, based on an accepted interpretation.
Without trying to be humble, it can be said with a fair amount of accuracy that for all that is good and useful in this work, the credit is due to someone else, while the shortcomings are the contributions of this author who seeks Allah's forgiveness, and the reader's help in overcoming them.

Syed Iqbal Zaheer
March 2015


References, abbreviations, and technical terms

Clue to References
Ahmad: Musnad by Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal (d. 241 A.H.).
Albani: Silsilah al-Ahadith al-Sahiha, Muhammad Nasiruddin Albani, (d. 1420 A.H.).
Albani: Silsilah al-Ahadith al-Da`eefah wa al-Mawdu`ah, Muhammad Nasirudding Albani, , Al-Maktab al-Islami.
Alusi/Ruh: Ruh al Ma`ani Fi Tafsir Qur’an al `Azim Wa al Sab` al Mathani by Shihab al Din Sayyid Mahmood Alusi (d.1291 A.H.)
`Aqidah: `Aqidah Tahawiyyah, commentary Ibn Abi al-`Izz, (tr. By Syed Iqbal Zaheer, as Funamentals of Islamic Creed), World Assembly of Muslim Youth, Dammam, Saudi Arabia
Arba`ahal, Kitab al-Fiqh `ala Madhahib al-Arba`ah by Abdul Rahman al-Jaziri
Asad: The Message of the Qur’an by Muhammad Asad (d. 1412 A.H.)
`Awn al-Ma`bud: Sharh Sunan Abi Da’ud, Muhammad Shams al-Haq al-`Azimabadi.
`Ayni, `Umdatu al-Qari Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, Badruddin `Ayni, Ihya al-Turath al-Islami, Beirut.
Bada’i`: Bada’i` al-Tafsir, Al-Jami` al-Tafsir al-Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, collected by Yusri Sayyid Muhammad, Dar Ibn Jawzi, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 1993
E.I.: Encyclopedia of Islam, E.J. Brill, Leiden 1991
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Haythami, , Majma`u al-Zawa’id wa Manba` al-Fawa’id, Nuruddin `Ali b. abi Bakr, Mu’assasatu al-Ma`arif, Beyrut.
Hussain: Tafsir ibn Kathir, Hussain b. Ibrahim Zahran, ed.
Ibn Is-haq: Sirah Rasulullah, by Muhammad ibn Ishaq (d. 151 A.H.).
Ibn Jarir/Tabari: Jami` al Bayan Fi Tafsir al Qur’an by Ibn Jarir al-Tabari (d.310 A.H.)
Ibn Kathir: Tafsir al Qur’an al `Azim by `Imad al Din Abul Fida Isma`il ibn `Amr ibn Kathir (d.774 A.H.)
Ibn Majah, Sunan, Muhammad b. Yazid al-Qazwini, Maktabah al-`Ilmiyyah, Beirut.
Ibn Qayyim: Al-Tafsir Al-Qayyim, by Shamsuddin Muhammad b. Abi Bakr Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (d.751 A.H.) collected by Muhammad Uways Al-Nadwi.
Jami` Saghir: Fayd al-Qadir Sharh Jami` Saghir (of Jalaluddin Suyuti) by Muhammad `Abdul Ra’uf al-Munawi.
Kabir al: Al-Tafsir Al-Kabir, tafsir notes of Imam Ibn Taymiyyah (d.728 A.H) collected by Dr. `Abdul Rahman `Umayrah.
Kanz: Kanz al-`Ummal,by Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi.
Lane: An Arabic-English Lexicon, by Edward Willian Lane, Librarie Du Luban, 1968
Lisan: Lisan al-`Arab, Ibn Manzur, (d. 711 A.H.).
Lughat: Lughat al-Qur’an (Urdu) by Mawlana Abdul Rashid No`mani & Mawlana Sayyid Abdud-Da’im Al-Jalali.
Ma`arif /Shafi`: Ma`arif al Qur’an by Mufti Muhammad Shafi` Deobandi (d. 1396 A.H.).
Majid: Holy Qur’an Translation and Commentary (English) by `Abdul Majid Daryabadi (1397).
Majidi: Holy Qur’an Translation and Commentary by `Abdul Majid Daryabadi (Urdu).
Manar, Tafsir al-Manar, Rashid Rada Misri, Dar al-Ma`rifa, Beirut.
Mawdudi/Tafhim: Tafhim al-Qur’an by Sayyid Abul A`la Mawdudi (d.1979 C.E.)
Mughni al, Ibn Qudamah, al-Maqdisi, Ri’asat al-Idaratu al-Buuth al-`Ilmiyyah, Saudi Arabia.
Mulhim: Fath al-Mulhim, Shabbir Ahmad `Uthmani, and, Takmilatu Fath al-Mulhim, Taqiuddin `Uthmani, Dar al-Ulum, Karachi.
Muwatta’: Muwatta’ by Imam Malik ibn Anas (d. 179 A.H.).
Nasa’i, Ahmad b. Shu`ayb, Sunan al-Nasa’i, Dar al-Rayyan li al-Turath, Cairo.
Nawawi: Sharh Sahih Muslim by Imam Sharfuddin al-Nawawi (d. 261 A.H.)
Penrice: A Dictionary and Glossary of the Qur’an, John Penrice, Gaurav Publishing House, 187
Qurtubi: Al-Jam`i Li ‘l Ahkam al Qur’an by Abu `Abdullah Muhammad ibn Ahmad al Ansari al Qurtubi (d.671 A.H.)
Raghib: Mu`jam Mufradat al-Qur’an by al-Raghib al-Asfahani (d. 503 A.H.)
Rawa‘e`: Rawa‘e` al-Bayan Tafsir Ayat al-Ahkam by Muhammad `Ali Sabuni.
Razi: Tafsir al Fakhr al Razi by Muhammad al-Razi Fakhr al Din ibn Dia al Din `Umar (d.604 A.H.)
Sabuni: Safwatu al Tafasir by Muhammad `Ali Sabuni.
Sahih ibn Hibban bi-Tarteeb Ibn Balban, `Ala’uddin `Ali b. Balban, , Mu’assasah al-Risalah, Beirut.
Shabbir/`Uthmani: Al-Qur’an al-Karim, Commentary by Shabbir Ahmed `Uthmani (d. 1370 A.H.).
Shanqiti: Adwa‘ al-Bayan, Fi Idahi Al-Qur’an bi ‘l-Qur’an by Muhammad Al-Amin b.Muhammad Al-Mukhtar Al-Jakani Al-Shanqiti.
Se`di: Taysir al-Karim al-Rahman, fir Tafsir al-Mannan, `Abdul Rahman b. Nasir Se`id.
Shawkani: Al-Fut-h al-Qadir by Muhammad ibn `Ali Shawkani (d.1255 A.H.)
S. Ibrahim: Ed. Al-Fath al-Qadir, by Shawkani
Sihah: Taj al-Lugha wa Sihah al-`Arabiyyah, Isma`il b. Nasr Hammad al-Jawhari, 393 A.H.
Sirah: Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah fi Daw Masadir al-Athliyyah, Dr. Mahdi Rizqallah, Saudi Arabia 1992.
Sayyid Qutb/Qutb/Zilal: Fi Zilal al Qur’an by Sayyid Qutb (d.1386 A.H.).
Thanwi/Bayan: Bayan al Qur’an by Ashraf `Ali Thanwi (d.1361 A.H.)
Tuhfah: Tuhfah al-Ahwazi bi Sharh Jami` al-Tirmidhi by Muhammad ibn `Abdul Rahman Mubarakpuri.
Yusuf Ali: The Glorious Qur’an, Meaning and Translation by Abdullah Yusuf Ali (d. 1953 A.H.).
Zafar Ahmad `Uthmani, I`la al-Sunan, Idaratu al-Islam wa `Ulum al-Islamiyyah, Karachi, Pakistan.
Zamakhshari/Kashshaf: Haqa’iq al- Tanzil Wa `Uyun al-Aqawil Fi Wujuh at-Ta‘wil by Abu al-Qasim Jarallah Mahmood b.`Umar al-Zamakhshari (d.538 A.H.).
Zarkashi: Al-Burhan Fi `Ulum al-Qur’an by Badruddin Muhammad bin `Abdullah al-Zarkashi (d. 794 A.H.), Dar al-Ma`rifa, Beirut.
Note: The list above is not a complete bibliography, but rather books sort of more often referred.


Abbreviations as in
Abdul Majid Daryabadi’s English Commentary

Ac. = Acts of the Apostles.
Am. = Amos.
1. Ch. = The First Book of the Chronicles.
2. Ch. = The Second Book of the Chronicles.
1. Cor. = Paul’s First Epistle of the Apostles.
1. Ch. = The First Book of the Chronicles.
2. Ch. = The Second Book of the Chronicles.
1. Cor. = Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians.
2. Cor. = Paul’s Second Epistle to the Corinthians.
Dn. = The Book of Daniel.
Dt. = Deuteronomy: The Fifth Book of Moses.
Ex. = Exodus: The Second Book of Moses.
Ez. = Ezra.
Ezek. = The Book of the Prophet Ezekiel.
Ga. = Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians.
Ge. = Genesis: The First Book of Moses.
He. = Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews.
Ho. = Hosea.
Is. = Isiah.
Ja. = The General Epistle of James.
Jn. = Gospel according to St. John.
Jo. = Joel.
Job. = The Book of Job.
Jon. = The Book of Jonah.
Josh. = The Book of Joshua.
Judg. = The Book of Judges.
Je. = The Book of Jeremiah.
1. Ki. = The First Book of the Kings.
2. Ki. = The Second Book of the Kings.
La. The Lamentations of Jeremiah.
Lk. = The Gospel according to St. Luke.
Le. = Leviticus: The Third Book of Moses.
Mi. = Micah.
Mk. = Gospel according to St. Mark.
Mt. = Gospel according to St. Matthew.
Na. = Nahum.
Ne. = The Book of Nehemiah.
Nu. = Numbers: The Fourth Book of Moses.
1. Pe. = The First Epistle General of Peter.
2. Pe. = The Second Epistle General of Peter.
Ph. = Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians.
Pr. = The Proverbs.
Ps. = The Book of Psalms.
Re. = The Revelation of St. John.
Ro. = Paul’s Epistle to the Romans
1. Sa. = The First Book of Samuel.
2. Sa. = The Second Book of Samuel.
So. = The Song of Solomon.
1. Thes. = Paul’s First Epistle to the Thessalonians.
2. Thes. = Paul’s Second Epistle to the Thessalonians.
1. Ti. = Paul’s First Epistle to Timothy.
2. Ti. = Paul’s Second Epistle to Timothy.
Tt. = Paul’s Epistle to Titus.
Ze. = Zechariah.

“Ant.” = Josephus’ ‘Antiquities of the Jews.’ (Routledge London).
Aq. = Shah Abdul Qadir Dehlavi (D. 1241 A.H./1826 C.E.). Urdu translator and commentator of the Holy Qur’an.
ASB. = Asad’s English Translation of Sahih al-Bukhari.
AV. = Authorized Version of the Bible.
AYA. = `Abdullah Yusuf `Ali. English translator and commentator of the Holy Qur’an.
Bdh. = Nasir-ud-Din `Abdullah Baidhavi (D. 685 A.H./1282 C.E.). Commentator of the Holy Qur’an.
BK. = ‘Book of Knowledge,’ 4 Vols. (Educational Book Co., London)
CD. = Pallen and Wynne’s ‘New Catholic Dictionary.’ (New York).
CE. = McDannell’s ‘Concise Encyclopedia,’ 8 Vols. (New York).
C.E. = Christian Era.
DB. = Hastings’ ‘Dictionary of the Bible,’ 5 Vols. (Clarke, London).
DCA. = Smith and Cheetham’s ‘Dictionary of Christian Antiquities,’ 2 Vols. (Murray, London).
DV. = Douay Version of the Bible.
EBi. = Cheyne and Black’s ‘Encyclopedia Biblica,’ 4 Vols. (Black, London).
EBr. = ‘Encyclopedia Britannica,’ 29 Vols. 11th Edition. (London).
Encyclopedia Britannica,’ 24 Vols. 14th Edition. (London and New York). Where no edition is specified, the reference is to 14th edition.
EI. = Houtsma and Wensink’s ‘Encyclopedia of Islam,’ 5 Vols. (Luzac, London).
EMK. = Hammerton’s ‘Encyclopedia of Modern Knowledge,’ 5 Vols. (Waverly, New York).
ERE. = Hastings’ ‘Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics,’ 13 Vols. (Clarke, London).
ESS. = Seligman’s ‘Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences,’ 15 Vols. (Macmillan, London).
FWN = Frazer’s ‘Worship of Nature,’ 2 Vols. (Macmillan, London).
GB. = Ragg’s ‘The Gospel of Barnabas.’ (Oxford).
GRE. = Gibbon’s ‘Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,’ 7 Vols. (Methuen, London).
HHW. = ‘Historians’ History of the World,’ 25 Vols. (The Times, London).
HJ. = The Hibbert Journal. (Constable, London).
IA. = Hadhrat `Abdullah Ibn-i-`Abbas. (D. 68 A.H./688 C.E.) (A companion and cousin of the Holy Prophet).
IQ. = Ibn-i-Qutaiba. (D. 276 A.H./890 C.E.) Author of ‘Arabic Glossary of the Holy Qur’an.
JE. = ‘The Jewish Encyclopedia,’ 12 Vols. (Funk and Wagnalls, New York).
LL. = Lane’s ‘Arabic-English Lexicon,’ 8 Vols. (Williams and Norgate, London).
LSK. = Lane and Lane-Poole’s ‘Selections from the Kuran.” (Trubner, London).
M.A. = Maulana Mohammad `Ali: (D. 1349 A.H./1931 C.E.) Indian Muslim leader. (Not to be confused with his namesake of Lahore and a translator of the Qur’an). The references are to his unpublished work, ‘Islam: The Kingdom of God’ (since published as ‘My Life – A Fragment’ by Sh. M. Ashraf, Lahore).
NSD. = ‘New Standard Dictionary of the English Language,’ 4 Vols. (Funk and Wagnalls, New York).
NT. = The New Testament.
OT. = The Old Testament.
PC. = Tyler’s ‘Primitive Culture,’ 2 Vols. (Murray, London).
RV. = Revised Version of the Bible.
RZ. = Imam Fakhruddin Razi. (D. 659 A.H./1209 C.E.). Well-know commentator of the Holy Qur’an.
SOED. = ‘Shorter Oxford English Dictionary,’ 2 Vols. (Oxfor).
SPD. = Sale’s ‘Preliminary Discourse to the Translation of the Kuran,’ prefixed as Introduction to Wherry’s ‘Commentary on the Kuran,’ 4 Vols. (Trubner, London)
Th. = Maulana Ashraf `Ali Thanvi. (B. 1280 A.H./1864 C.E.). Translator and commentator of the Holy Qur’an
UHW. = Hammerton’s ‘Universal History of the World,’ 8 Vols. (New York).
VJE. = Vallentine’s ‘One Volume Jewish Encyclopedia.’ (London).
WGAL. = Wright’s ‘Grammar of the Arabic Language,’ 2 Vols. (Cambridge).
Zm. = Jar-ul-lah Zamakhsari (D. 538 A.H./1144 C.E.). Commentator of the Holy Qur’an.


Abbreviations - General
asws: `Alayhi al‑Salat wa al‑Salam (on him be peace and blessing).
ra: Radi Allahu `anhu/`anha (may Allah be pleased with him/her).
Au.: Author.
Sahihayn: Bukhari and Muslim.
saws: Sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam (May Allah send peace and blessing upon him).
swt: Subhanahu wa Ta`ala (glorified be He, the Exalted).


Technical Terms
Da`if: A weak report but not a fabricated one nor entirely untrustworthy. It has some weakness in its text or in its isnad. A kind of hadith, therefore, before which one can place a question mark.
Gharib: That report in which the isnad has a single narrator after the Companion.
Hasan: A da`if report but above in strength over the one classified as da`if. Several da`if versions (unless too weak) render a hadith hasan.
Isnad: Chain of narrators.
Mawquf: A report whose chain of narration stops at a Companion.
Munkar: A kind of da`if hadith that has no other report through any other chain of narrators for a double check.
Mursal: A hadith which has been transmitted directly from the Prophet (saws) by a tabe`i, without a Companion in between Mutawatir: A report by such a large number of narrators whose agreement upon a lie is inconceivable.
Sahih: A trustworthy report.


The transliteration method used in this work neither conforms to the international standards, nor it has been applied extensively. It is only where it was thought that some confusion might occur that a few marks have been added. However, the method is as follows:
( ث ) is transliterated as "tha" ; ( ح ) as "ha" ; ( ذ ) as "dhal" ; ( ز ) and ( ظ ) both as "za" ; ( ص ) as "sad" ; ( ض ) as "dad" ; ( ع ) as "`ayn" ; and hamza ( ه ) as “ ' “ e.g. Jibra’il.


Vowels have been expressed in the following manner
( ا ) is expressed as "a", so that ( باب ) is written as "bab" ; (و ) is expressed with "u" , as for example ( نون ) is written as "nun"; ( ي ) is expressed with "i", as in the word (سين ) which is written as "sin".


  • Surah No. 5

    Merits of the surah

    Imam Ahmad has recorded Asma' b. Yezid:

    عَنْ أَسْمَاءَ بِنْتِ يَزِيدَ قَالَتْ إِنِّي لآخِذَةٌ بِزِمَامِ الْعَضْبَاءِ نَاقَةِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِذْ أُنْزِلَتْ عَلَيْهِ الْمَائِدَةُ كُلُّهَا فَكَادَتْ مِنْ ثِقَلِهَا تَدُقُّ بِعَضُدِ النَّاقَةِ

    "I was holding the rein of the Prophet's camel `Adba', when al Ma'idah was revealed to him – the whole of it. It appeared as if its weight would break down the forelegs of the camel."
    Other versions have it that unable to bear, the camel collapsed down. Finally, the Prophet (saws) dismounted to unburden her. There are reports that this is the last chapter of the Qur'an to be revealed as one whole, although other chapters have also been named (Ibn Kathir).
    With special reference to verse 3 Qurtubi writes that what they meant when they said that this was the last chapter to be revealed was that this was the last whole chapter that dealt with the lawful and the unlawful, after which no chapter was revealed discussing these subjects.
    Ibn Hibban has written however that some parts of this surah were revealed during the Prophet's Hudaybiyyah journey; some parts during the Makkah campaign, while others during Hajjatu al Wada` (Shafi`).
    Qurtubi also writes: This surah was not revealed in one piece, rather, its parts were revealed at different times: but all of them after the Hijrah. And whatever was revealed after Hijrah even if out of the town of Madinah is called Madinan.
    Naqqash has reported that once al Kindi (the renowned Muslim philosopher of the 3rd century) was asked by some people: "Wise man. Why do you not produce for us something equal to the Qur'an." He said he would and shut himself up in his house for several days. He came out to say: "By God! I can not. I came across the first verse of al Ma'idah. It advised to keep the pledges, ordered a thing, then stated an exception, and then an exception over the exception, then described Allah's power and will: all in a line. No human could have done it."
    Asad writes: "The surah begins with a call to the believers to fulfill their spiritual and social responsibilities, and ends with a reminder of man's utter dependence on God... Being one of the last revelation vouchsafed to the Prophet, it lays down a series of ordinances relating to religious rites and social obligations; but, at the same time, it warns the followers of the Qur'an not to enlarge the area of divine ordinances by means of subjective deductions (verse 101), since this might make it difficult for them to act in accordance with God's Law, and might ultimately lead them to denying the truth of revelation as such (verse 102). They are also warned not to take the Jews and the Christians for their ‘allies’ in the moral sense of the word: that is, not to imitate their way of life and their social concepts at the expense of the principles of Islam (verses 51 ff.) ... The crowning statement of the whole surah is found in verse 3, which was revealed to the Prophet shortly before his death: ‘Today have I perfected ...’"

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَوْفُوا بِالْعُقُودِ ۚ أُحِلَّتْ لَكُمْ بَهِيمَةُ الْأَنْعَامِ إِلَّا مَا يُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْكُمْ غَيْرَ مُحِلِّي الصَّيْدِ وَأَنْتُمْ حُرُمٌ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَحْكُمُ مَا يُرِيدُ (1)

    5|1| Believers! Fulfill your commitments.1 Lawful unto you are all beasts of the flock2 except that which is now recited to you (and) except for the (hunting of) game animals when you are in a state of consecration. Verily, Allah decrees what He will.

    1. That is, O Muslims, be true to your pledges given to Allah, to His Prophet, your vows that you will follow Allah's commandments, and the word of promises that you give to each other (Ibn Jarir).
    Hasan has stated that it includes all kinds of pledges: those that one makes to Allah, those that one makes to His creatures, and those that one makes to himself such as, for example, to promise oneself to practice Islam more faithfully (Qurtubi).
    Asad adds: "The term `aqd ("covenant") denotes a solemn undertaking or engagement involving more than one party. According to Raghib, the covenant referred to in this verse ‘are of three kinds: the covenants between God and man, [i.e., man's obligations towards God], between man and his own soul, and between the individual and his fellow men’ thus embracing the entire area of man's moral and social responsibilities."
    In yet simpler words: commitments of all kinds, including those a man makes to himself (Au.).
    Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Mutarrif, Rabi`, Dahhak and others have said that `uqud of the original is equivalent of `uhud, i.e., pacts and pledges (Ibn Jarir).

    2. Although the authorities have understood camels, cows, goats and the like as alluded to, according to some scholars, the words "bahimatu al an`am" include antelopes, wild cows, wild asses, etc. (Ibn Jarir). An`am excludes all canine animals, while the addition of bahimah includes all quadrupeds that feed on plants (Qurtubi).
    Nevertheless, Ibn `Umar, Ibn `Abbas and others have held the opinion that it is the dead fetus found in an animal's wombs that has been alluded to, making it lawful to eat, (if the mother has been duly slaughtered) Ibn Jarir.
    Qurtubi adds: If it emerges alive, it must be slaughtered. As for the dead, Imam Malik has conditioned it to one which has completed its growth and has fully achieved its physical features. If not, it cannot be consumed (Qurtubi).
    In fact, there is a hadith in Tirmidhi (who declares it as hasan sahih), with another in Abu Da'ud of similar meaning, which says that when the Prophet was asked about the fetus of a slaughtered animal, he said that it might be eaten because slaughtering of her mother was the slaughter of its fetus (Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir).
    Mawdudi writes: ".. the permission ... embraces all grazing quadrupeds of the cattle type, i.e., which do not posses canine teeth, which feed on plants rather than animals, and which resemble the cattle... This implies that the flesh of those animals which have canine teeth and are carnivorous is not permissible. This implication was elucidated by the Prophet (peace be on him) and is embodied in a tradition in which he prohibited those beasts which kill and eat other animals. Likewise, the Prophet (peace be on him) also prohibited birds with claws and those that feed on carrion."

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُحِلُّوا شَعَائِرَ اللَّهِ وَلَا الشَّهْرَ الْحَرَامَ وَلَا الْهَدْيَ وَلَا الْقَلَائِدَ وَلَا آمِّينَ الْبَيْتَ الْحَرَامَ يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلًا مِنْ رَبِّهِمْ وَرِضْوَانًا ۚ وَإِذَا حَلَلْتُمْ فَاصْطَادُوا ۚ وَلَا يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ أَنْ صَدُّوكُمْ عَنِ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ أَنْ تَعْتَدُوا ۘ وَتَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْبِرِّ وَالتَّقْوَىٰ ۖ وَلَا تَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ (2)

    5|2| Believers! Violate not the consecrated of Allah3 nor the Sacred month,4 neither the consecrated (animal),5 nor the collared ones (marked out for sacrifice),6 nor those (pilgrims) repairing7 to the Holy House seeking Allah's bounty8 and (His) good pleasure. However, after you are out of the state of consecration, you might hunt. Also, detestation for a people - who had prevented you from the Holy Mosque9 - might not urge you to commit aggression (against them). Rather, co-operate in matters of piety and godfearing,10 and do not co-operate in matters involving sin and aggression.11 Fear Allah. Verily Allah is severe in retribution.

    3. Ibn `Abbas and Mujahid have said that it is the rites of Hajj that is meant by Sha`a'ir Allah (symbols of Allah) Ibn Jarir.
    Another opinion coming from him, as reported by Ibn Jarir and Ibn abi Hatim, is that whatever becomes unlawful after a man dons the pilgrim garb is Sha`a'ir Allah (Shawkani). But ‘Ata' seems to be more apt when he says that "Sha`a'ir" (sing. Sha`irah) linguistically being "the well known things," would mean those of the commandments of Allah that, by their nature, are well known by the people. Muslims should not violate them (Ibn Jarir).
    Qurtubi states that another opinion is that Sha`a'ir is from Ish-`ar which is "a mark." Sometimes a camel to be slaughtered was marked with a (minor) wound in its hump. Such of them were known as Sha`a'ir and the allusion seems to be to them. According to Imam Abu Hanifah, the practice is now undesirable, because, if it was resorted to by the Prophet himself, as recorded in a hadith of Muslim, it was because that was the only way in practice then to mark out a beast for sacrifice. It is said that Abu Hanifah feared its misuse and suffering it causes to the animal.

    4. That is, do not fight in the Sacred month: Ibn `Abbas, `Ikrimah (Ibn Jarir).
    However, according to the great majority (the rule is now abrogated and), the Muslims can begin a battle in the Sacred months (which are: Dhu al Qa`idah, Dhu al Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab) - Ibn Kathir.
    It should be obvious, that of the two parameters, time and space, with which Allah controls this world, He has declared some as sacrosanct, and Muslims are required to treat them as such. Also see note 448 of surah al Baqarah (Au.).

    5. Although the "hadyu" of the original primarily refers to the animals that have been intended for slaughter in the Haram area, some commentators have said that anything that one intends to give out in charity in the way of Allah such as a piece of cloth is hadyu. It is forbidden for the owner to put the article to personal use after the intention (Qurtubi).

    6. The allusion by the qala'id (sing: qaladah) could either be to the animals that were collared as a mark by the pilgrims who drove them along to the Hajj sites for sacrifice, or, to the people in the days of ignorance who used to tear down the skin of a Makkan tree and collar themselves as the mark of a pilgrim to escape being harmed until they returned home. If the word has been used in the latter sense, then, according to Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Sha`bi, Qatadah and others, the rule stands abrogated (Qurtubi). Mutarrif b. Shikhkhir has however said that the practice thereof of collaring oneself has itself been declared unlawful by the verse (and thus it is not abrogated) Ibn Jarir. The Prophet himself however, had thus got his camels marked, as confirmed by reports in the Sahihayn.
    Nevertheless, a general meaning that can be derived is: Do not make lawful unto yourself those animals that you intend to slaughter in the Haram area, nor those others that you (or others) have collared for such purposes (Au.).

    7. "'Ammi na" has ammama in its root, which means to intend (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi); and, although the application is general, as Ibn `Abbas has said, to include anyone heading to the Haram, the verse came down in particular reference to Hutam b. Hind who came to the Prophet enquiring about Islam. When the Prophet told him about the message he had brought, Hutam (who, according to some sources had embraced Islam) said: "That is a bit tough. However, I shall present it to my people. If they accept it, I shall come back with them. If they do not I will stay back." The Prophet said about him: "The man came in with the face of an unbeliever and went out with the face of a deceiver." On his way back, Hutam (became an apostate and) stole some Madinan cattle. Although given a chase, he managed to reach his tribe in Najd safely. The next year he came down to Makkah, as a trader (he was a fabulously rich businessman) and intending Hajj. He had collared himself and his beasts. The Companions sought the Prophet's permission to capture and punish him. But this verse was revealed which prevented them. Nevertheless, at a later stage, as Ibn `Abbas, Suddi and many others named above have pointed out, this verse was abrogated by the verses of surah al Tawbah which ordered the Muslims to fight all kinds of unbelievers and prevent the pagans from entering the Holy Haram (Ibn Jarir).
    Qurtubi adds that Hutam was killed during the sedition of the apostates of Yamamah.

    8. The term bounty (fadl) has generally been understood to mean trade and business opportunity (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).

    9. The Muslims were generally prevented by the pagans from entering Makkah after their emigration and specifically on the occasion of the treaty of Hudaybiyyah.

    10. Abu al `Aliyyah has said that with the birr of the original, the allusion is to what has been ordered and by taqwa to what has been prohibited (Ibn Jarir).
    Qurtubi quotes al Mawardi that piety involves deeds that please the people while godfearing involve those deeds that please Allah alone; someone who combined the two, achieved salvation.
    Accordingly, when the Prophet said, as in a hadith of Bukhari and others:

    عَنْ أَنَسٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ انْصُرْ أَخَاكَ ظَالِمًا أَوْ مَظْلُومًا فَقَالَ رَجُلٌ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَنْصُرُهُ إِذَا كَانَ مَظْلُومًا أَفَرَأَيْتَ إِذَا كَانَ ظَالِمًا كَيْفَ أَنْصُرُهُ قَالَ تَحْجُزُهُ أَوْ تَمْنَعُهُ مِنْ الظُّلْمِ فَإِنَّ ذَلِكَ نَصْرُهُ (بخاري)

    "Help thy brother, be he the oppressor or the oppressed," the Companions reacted: "Messenger of Allah! The oppressed yes, but how can we help the oppressor?" The Prophet replied: "By restraining him from his oppression. That’s the way to help him."
    Another hadith, in Ahmad, Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah records the Prophet as having said:

    عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ الْمُؤْمِنُ الَّذِي يُخَالِطُ النَّاسَ وَيَصْبِرُ عَلَى أَذَاهُمْ أَعْظَمُ أَجْرًا مِنْ الْمُؤْمِنِ الَّذِي لا يُخَالِطُ النَّاسَ وَلا يَصْبِرُ عَلَى أَذَاهُمْ

    "A believer who intermingles with the people and is patient over the inconveniences (that it causes) is better rewarded than he who does not intermingle with them and does not bear the inconveniences with patience." The Prophet has also said (Qurtubi), in a hadith preserved by Abu Bakr al Bazzar:

    الدَّالُُُّّ على الخير كفاعله

    "He who leads to a good deed is like the doer."
    Shawkani adds: Ahmad, Ibn Humayd and Bukhari in his Tarikh, have recorded the Prophet as saying:

    فَقَالَ الْبِرُّ مَا انْشَرَحَ لَهُ صَدْرُكَ وَالإِثْمُ مَا حَاكَ فِي صَدْرِكَ وَإِنْ أَفْتَاكَ عَنْهُ النَّاسُ

    "Virtue is what satisfies the heart and the soul while sin is that which pricks your heart, even if the people assure you of its lawfulness." (The hadith is sahih: S. Ibrahim).
    Muslim, Tirmidhi and others have also recorded the Prophet as saying:

    الْبِرُّ حُسْنُ الْخُلُقِ وَالإِثْمُ مَا حَاكَ فِي نَفْسِكَ وَكَرِهْتَ أَنْ يَعْلَمَهُ النَّاسُ

    "Virtue is good behavior and sin is what pricks your heart, and you dislike that people should know about it."

    11. In this context Tabarani has a hadith which says:

    مَنْ مَشَى مَعَ ظَالِمٍ لِيُعِينَهُ وَهُوَ يَعْلَمُ أَنَّهُ ظَالِمٌ ، فَقَدْ خَرَجَ مِنَ الإِسْلامِ

    "Whoever strove with an oppressor to help him, while he knew that the man is an oppressor, departed from the fold of Islam" (Ibn Kathir).
    According to Haythami, the isnad of the above report has one or two unknown narrators (Au.).

    حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَيْتَةُ وَالدَّمُ وَلَحْمُ الْخِنْزِيرِ وَمَا أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ اللَّهِ بِهِ وَالْمُنْخَنِقَةُ وَالْمَوْقُوذَةُ وَالْمُتَرَدِّيَةُ وَالنَّطِيحَةُ وَمَا أَكَلَ السَّبُعُ إِلَّا مَا ذَكَّيْتُمْ وَمَا ذُبِحَ عَلَى النُّصُبِ وَأَنْ تَسْتَقْسِمُوا بِالْأَزْلَامِ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ فِسْقٌ ۗ الْيَوْمَ يَئِسَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ دِينِكُمْ فَلَا تَخْشَوْهُمْ وَاخْشَوْنِ ۚ الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْإِسْلَامَ دِينًا ۚ فَمَنِ اضْطُرَّ فِي مَخْمَصَةٍ غَيْرَ مُتَجَانِفٍ لِإِثْمٍ ۙ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ (3)

    5|3| Forbidden unto you are carrion,12 blood,13 swine's flesh, what has been consecrated to other than Allah, a (beast) strangled (to death),14 or (died) by a violent blow,15 or by a fall from a height, or one gored with the horns (to death), and (that which was killed and) devoured by the wild beasts16 - unless you have sacrificed them duly17 - and what is slaughtered on the altars,18 (or) that you seek the shares (in disputed divisions) by the divining arrows.19 All that is impiety. This day the unbelievers have despaired of your religion.20 Therefore, fear them not. Rather, fear Me. This day I have perfected your religion for you,21 have completed My favor unto you,22 and have approved for you as religion al-Islam.23 However, whoever is forced in extreme hunger (to resort to the unlawful) without any inclination for a sin,24 then, Allah is All-forgiving, All-kind.

    12. The pagans ate carrion (and justified their beastly act by) saying: "Will you eat the slaughtered by yourselves but not the slaughtered of God?" (Razi)

    13. It is the running blood that is meant (even if it solidifies after slaughter), in the light of the verse (6: 145):

    قُلْ لَا أَجِدُ فِي مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيَّ مُحَرَّمًا عَلَى طَاعِمٍ يَطْعَمُهُ إِلَّا أَنْ يَكُونَ مَيْتَةً أَوْ دَمًا مَسْفُوحًا [الأنعام : 145]

    "Say, I do not find anything forbidden in that which has been revealed to me for one wishing to eat, unless it were to be carrion, or running blood ..." This means lever and spleen are not prohibited.
    Also see notes 336 340 of surah al Baqarah of this work.
    Ibn Kathir says that in pagan days when a man was hungry and had nothing to eat, he would stab a wound in a camel and suck its blood.
    Christians, who joyously relish blood, might note the prohibition in the New Testament. Majid quotes: "Ye abstain from meat offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled" (Ac. 15: 29).
    Ibn Kathir also presents the following. Abu Umamah, whose real name was Sudayy b. ‘Ajalan, has an incident to narrate of which various parts are recorded by Ibn Abi Hatim, Ibn Marduwayh and Hakim. Here is a combined report. Abu Umamah says he was commissioned by the Prophet to preach his people. While he was speaking to them about Islam and its message, they brought up a tray filled with (cooked) blood. They gathered around it and invited him to join in. He told them that he was coming from a man who had prohibited it. They wanted to know what exactly the prohibition was about and Abu Umamah recited this verse to them. He continued to invite them to Islam. But they would not accept. Then he asked them for some water as he was extremely thirsty. They refused, saying that they would rather leave him there until he died of thirst. Abu Umamah says: "I had a piece of cloth with me. I covered my head with it and lay down in that terrible heat. As I dozed off, someone came to me with a crystal bowl that was more beautiful than anyone can imagine. It had a drink tastier than anyone could think of. He helped me with it and I drank out of it. With that I woke up. And by God, I was not thirsty anymore and was never in want of clothes after that drink."
    "Then I heard them say to each other, ‘Look. The man came to you from the people of the uplands but you did not even give him a drink!' So they presented me with some water mixed with milk. I told them, ‘I do not need your drink, for Allah fed me and gave me a drink.' Then I showed them my stomach. At that they became Muslims, to the last of them."
    The earlier part of the report is in Hakim who has declared it sahih (Shawkani).

    14. This includes one that gets stuck between two rocks and dies. Qatadah has said that the pagans used to kill the animals by strangling them and then devour them (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi).

    15. In pre Islamic times the pagans beat an animal until it died. Then they ate it. Those killed in such a manner are unlawful now (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    And the scholars have differed over the animal killed by a bullet or a stone of a catapult, some saying it is lawful, but the majority saying no. Muslim has recorded that ‘Adiyy b. Hatim asked the Prophet: "(How about what) I hunt with a broad bodied arrow." He replied: "If it pierces the body, you might eat of it, but if it hits it length wise, do not" (Qurtubi). That is because the important function of removal of blood is not achieved (Razi). An added condition is that the hunter should have shot the weapon in the name of Allah (Shafi`).
    Shafi` also writes that Jassas has reported Ibn `Umar’s opinion that what is killed by the bunduqah (an improvised weapon that fired a bullet without fire power: Au.) is unlawful. Imam Abu Hanifah, Shafe`i and Malik are of the same opinion.
    Mawdudi adds: "The disadvantage of killing an animal by either guillotine or strangulation is that the greater part of the blood remains within the body, and at various places it sticks to the flesh and forms congealed lump. If an animal is slaughtered by slitting the throat, on the other hand, the connection between mind and body remains intact for a short while, with the result that the blood is thoroughly drained out from all the veins and the flesh becomes fully cleansed of blood."

    16. If pre Islamic Arabs found an animal killed by the beasts and partly devoured by them, they ate the rest (Ibn Jarir).

    17. This exception is applied to all kinds of animals, otherwise lawful, that if they are found alive after a fall, after being gored etc., and even if just wagging their tails as a sign of life they might be Islamically slaughtered and eaten thereof. This is the opinion of ‘Ali, Ibn `Abbas, Hasan, Qatadah and others (Ibn Jarir). This is also the opinion of the great majority of jurists including Abu Hanifah, Shafe`i and Ibn Hanbal.

    18. Ibn Jurayj, Mujahid, Qatadah and others have said that nusub of the original refers not to idols, which had a facial feature, rather to those stones and rocks that were placed upright, worshipped and offered sacrifices to, but which had no facial features (Ibn Jarir). They dotted the entire town of Makkah and whole of the country (Qurtubi). There were three hundred and sixty of them surrounding the Ka`bah itself (Razi, Ibn Kathir).

    19. According to Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Hasan and many others azlam were divining arrows that were used during the days of paganism. Whenever a person was in doubt over an affair, whether he should attempt it or not, he would go to a temple wherein they stocked these arrows for consultation. The arrows had various writings on them, such as: "Yes," "No," "My Lord orders it," "My Lord disapproves of it," and so forth. If one in doubt, for instance over a journey, received the arrow saying: "My Lord disapproves of it," he would cancel his trip. The Hubal temple had seven such sets of divining arrows: separately for journeys, battles, trade, digging of a well etc. (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir)
    During the 2010 Football World Cup, an octopus was often used to predict the winner (Au.).
    Qurtubi adds: Rather, every kahin had in stock these seven sets of arrows. It were the same divining arrows that Suraqa b. Malik was carrying and which he had consulted while chasing the Prophet during his hijrah journey.
    Az-hari has written in Taj al Masadir: "Istiqsam is to seek whatever God has in store with Him, hidden from the people, of their share: whether it is life or death, good or bad fortune, or whatever else." The people endeavored in pre Islamic days to seek their share through God’s own judgment by consulting the arrows (Lughat).
    Qurtubi also writes that the Prophet approval of fa'l has no relationship with the divining methods. Fa'l is simply to draw a good omen from a good word that one hears, such as, when a sick man is addressed as "O Salim" (which means "O the hale and healthy one"), he draws a good omen from it and hopes to get well soon. In contrast, the Prophet disapproved of bad omen, known in Arabic as "tiyarah," which were drawn from a flying bird or a passing woman, etc. The Prophet preferred to fasten good hope on Allah rather than show a lack of trust in Him.
    In other words, the Prophet approved of a state of optimism and disapproved of pessimism, a key element in turn of good fortune that has now been proven true after thousands of scientifically satisfying tests conducted in American and European research centers (Au.).
    Ibn Kathir writes: The Prophet replaced the divine arrows with salah al istikharah. Bukhari has a hadith in which Jabir b. `Abdullah says:

    عن جَابِرِ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ السَّلَمِيُّ قَالَ كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يُعَلِّمُ أَصْحَابَهُ الِاسْتِخَارَةَ فِي الأُمُورِ كُلِّهَا كَمَا يُعَلِّمُهُمْ السُّورَةَ مِنْ الْقُرْآنِ يَقُولُ إِذَا هَمَّ أَحَدُكُمْ بِالأَمْرِ فَلْيَرْكَعْ رَكْعَتَيْنِ مِنْ غَيْرِ الْفَرِيضَةِ ثُمَّ لِيَقُلْ اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْتَخِيرُكَ بِعِلْمِكَ وَأَسْتَقْدِرُكَ بِقُدْرَتِكَ وَأَسْأَلُكَ مِنْ فَضْلِكَ فَإِنَّكَ تَقْدِرُ وَلا أَقْدِرُ وَتَعْلَمُ وَلا أَعْلَمُ وَأَنْتَ عَلاَّمُ الْغُيُوبِ اللَّهُمَّ فَإِنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ هَذَا الأَمْرَ ثُمَّ تُسَمِّيهِ بِعَيْنِهِ خَيْرًا لِي فِي عَاجِلِ أَمْرِي وَآجِلِهِ قَالَ أَوْ فِي دِينِي وَمَعَاشِي وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِي فَاقْدُرْهُ لِي وَيَسِّرْهُ لِي ثُمَّ بَارِكْ لِي فِيهِ اللَّهُمَّ وَإِنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّهُ شَرٌّ لِي فِي دِينِي وَمَعَاشِي وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِي أَوْ قَالَ فِي عَاجِلِ أَمْرِي وَآجِلِهِ فَاصْرِفْنِي عَنْهُ وَاقْدُرْ لِي الْخَيْرَ حَيْثُ كَانَ ثُمَّ رَضِّنِي بِهِ (بخاري)

    “The Prophet used to teach us istikharah over every affair, in the manner he used to teach us Qur’anic chapters. He would say, ‘When one of you intends to do something, let him offer two rak`ah of Prayers and then say in supplication: “O Allah! I seek your help by Your knowledge, seek Your help by Your power, and seek Your great favor, for You have Power and I have no power, and You know what I do not know. You are the Knower of the unseen. O Allah! If You know that this affair (let the supplicant name it) is good for me: for my religion, my providence and the ultimate end of my affairs, (or, the Prophet said, ‘in the short or the long term'), then give me power over it, make it easy for me, and place barakah in it for me. But, if You know that this affair will be an evil one for me: in my religion, providence, or the ultimate end of my affairs, (or, the Prophet said, ‘in the short or the long term'), then turn it away from it, turn me away from it, and give me power over what is better - wherever it might be - and then assign me satisfaction (of heart) in it."

    20. That you will ever return to paganism (Ibn Jarir).
    Ibn Kathir adds: It is in this sense that the Prophet said:

    إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ قَدْ أَيِسَ أَنْ يَعْبُدَهُ الْمُصَلُّونَ فِي جَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِ وَلَكِنْ فِي التَّحْرِيشِ بَيْنَهُمْ (مسلم)


    "Shaytan is despaired that he will ever be worshipped again in the Arabian Peninsula, but hopes to create dissension between them."

    21. Suddi has said that this verse was revealed in ‘Arafah after which nothing was revealed about the lawful and the unlawful. It is also said that when this verse was revealed it brought tears into the eyes of `Umar. The Prophet asked him the reason and he said: "So far we were experiencing a continuous rise of this religion. Now that it has been completed, it can only experience decline." The Prophet said: "You spoke the truth" (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi).
    Majid quotes Asad (perhaps from his "The Road to Makkah"): "The world," says an European convert to Islam, "has not been able to produce a better system of ethics than that expressed in Islam: it has not been able to put the idea of human brotherhood on a practical footing as Islam did in its supernational conception of ‘Ummat’: it has not been able to create a social structure in which the conflicts and conflictions between the members are as efficiently reduced to a minimum as in the social plan of Islam: it has not been able to enhance the dignity of man: his feeling of security: his spiritual hope: and last, but surely not least: his happiness. In all these things the present achievements of the human race fall considerably short of the Islamic programme. Where, then is the justification for saying that Islam is ‘out of date?’"

    22. Ibn `Abbas, Qatadah, Sha`bi and others have said that after the revelation of this verse the pagans were barred from performing Hajj, thus drawing a line between them and the believers in one God, and this was the completion of the favor that Allah spoke of (Ibn Jarir).
    Razi says that at Makkah nothing was declared obligatory. With migration, obligations began to be imposed, until by the ninth year after hijrah, when Hajj was made obligatory. It is to this that the verse alludes. Qurtubi is also very near to this.

    23. The Prophet lived for 81 days after the revelation of this verse (Qurtubi, Shawkani and others).
    Tariq b. Shihab reports that a Jew said to `Umar that had the verse, "This day I have perfected your religion ...," revealed to them they would have declared it a day of celebration. `Umar told him: "I know when and where it was revealed. It was revealed in ‘Arafat on the day of ‘Arafah (the ninth day of Dhu al Hijjah)." According to another report he said, "on Friday; and both Friday as well as the day of ‘Arafah are the days of celebration for us" (Ibn Jarir). There are ahadith to this effect in Muslim (Qurtubi).

    24. That is, the person constrained is not at all inclined at heart towards partaking of the unlawful. It is only the need that forces him. Such a person incurs no sin (Ibn Jarir).
    Ibn Kathir adds: As to when it become lawful to partake of the unlawful, the answer is, it is not necessary to wait for three days, as believed by the common people. Rather, it will depend on the circumstances. If someone fears death, it becomes wajib. Yet, one need not wait until then either. Whenever it becomes unbearable, one might resort to the unlawful as prescribed by a hadith according to which when the Prophet was asked about when the unlawful could be eaten, he replied:

    إذا لم تَصْطَبِحوا، ولم تَغْتَبِقُوا، ولم تَجتفئوابقْلا فشأنكم بها

    "When you have nothing for the morning, nothing for the evening, and cannot manage to lay hands on some vegetables, then eat of it." Further, when Allah offers a concession, it must be accepted. A hadith of Sahih Ibn Hibban says:

    إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ أَنْ تُؤْتَى رُخَصُهُ كَمَا يَكْرَهُ أَنْ تُؤْتَى مَعْصِيَتُهُ

    "Verily, Allah is pleased that His concession be accepted just as He disapproves that He be sinned against."

    يَسْأَلُونَكَ مَاذَا أُحِلَّ لَهُمْ ۖ قُلْ أُحِلَّ لَكُمُ الطَّيِّبَاتُ ۙ وَمَا عَلَّمْتُمْ مِنَ الْجَوَارِحِ مُكَلِّبِينَ تُعَلِّمُونَهُنَّ مِمَّا عَلَّمَكُمُ اللَّهُ ۖ فَكُلُوا مِمَّا أَمْسَكْنَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَاذْكُرُوا اسْمَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ ۖ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ سَرِيعُ الْحِسَابِ (4)

    5|4| They ask you (concerning) what is lawful unto them.25 Tell them, all things good and clean have been made lawful to you;26 (as also what is seized by) the animals of prey27 that you train by what Allah has taught you and which you let loose (to hunt).28 Therefore eat out of what they hold down for you, but pronounce Allah's name over it.29 Fear Allah, verily Allah is swift at reckoning.

    25. We have a hadith in this context:

    عن أبي رافع قال: جاء جبريل إلى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ليستأذن عليه، فأذن له فقال: قد أذنا لك يا رسول الله. قال: أجل، ولكنا لا ندخل بيتا فيه كلب، قال أبو رافع: فأمرني أن أقتل كل كلب بالمدينة، فقتلت، حتى انتهيت إلى امرأة عندها كلب ينبح عليها، فتركته رحمة لها، ثم جئت إلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فأخبرته فأمرني، فرجعت إلى الكلب فقتلته، فجاءوا فقالوا: يا رسول الله، ما يحل لنا من هذه الأمة التي أمرت بقتلها؟ قال: فسكت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم، قال: فأنزل الله عز وجل: {يَسْأَلُونَكَ مَاذَا أُحِلَّ لَهُمْ قُلْ أُحِلَّ لَكُمُ الطَّيِّبَاتُ وَمَا عَلَّمْتُمْ مِنَ الْجَوَارِحِ مُكَلِّبِينَ}

    Abu Rafi` has reported that once Jibril sought permission to enter the house. The Prophet gave him the permission; but he said: "We do not enter a house in which there is a dog." The Prophet then ordered me, continues Abu Rafi`, to kill every dog I came across the town. I did as he had ordered until I came across a dog in the outskirts of Madinah which barked for its woman owner. I let it off, out of compassion and reported to the Prophet. He ordered me to kill that one also. So people began to come in enquiring what of these creatures (that is, the dogs) were lawful for them. Allah revealed this verse (Ibn Jarir).
    Hakim has graded the report as Sahih (Ibn Kathir).
    However, it is allowed to keep dogs for hunting or for security purposes. The verse also proves by implication that the scholars have an edge over the ordinary people. After all, Allah granted a special status to dogs that have been "taught" (Qurtubi).

    26. Accordingly, Ibn abi Hatim has reported that Zuhri was asked about the use of urine for medicinal purposes. He replied: "It is not of the good and clean things" (Ibn Kathir).
    Imam Razi adds: The point to be remembered however is that "the good and the clean" spoken of here are those things that are good and clean to the people of taste, for we know that to savages of the desert, everything that they eat is good and clean.
    Shafi` adds: The Prophet has given us to understand through his various utterances on the topic that all such animals are unlawful that a decent soul detests to eat. He has also prohibited us those animals that feed by tearing apart their prey (such as lions, wolves, etc.), and those birds that use their claws to hold their prey. Following the rule of "things good and clean," it is also unlawful to eat snakes, scorpions, lizards, flies, hawks, eagles etc. Those are also unlawful that live in filthy surroundings such as rats and the like.
    The Prophet himself refused to eat of the dabb meat (a huge desert lizard) - Au.

    27. According to Ibn `Abbas, Hasan, Mujahid and others, trained dogs, lynx (a kind of cheetah), falcons, hawks, etc., are beasts and birds of prey. In fact we have a hadith from the Prophet who was asked by ‘Adiyy b. Hatim about hunting with the help of falcons. He replied:

    ما أمسك عليك فَكُلْ

    "Eat of that which they hold down."
    As regards use of the term "mukallabina" (which has its root in kalb: dog), it has been used simply because most often dogs are employed for hunting (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir); and, adds Shafi`, with the passage of time the same word came to be employed for birds of prey also.
    Ibn Kathir adds: Imam Ahmad has prohibited hunting with the help of a black dog, which, according to instructions in several ahadith, must be destroyed. When the Prophet was asked the difference between a red hound and a black one, he replied:

    الْكَلْبُ الْأَسْوَدُ شَيْطَانٌ

    "Black dog is a Shaytan" (Muslim)
    Qurtubi adds: By implication the verse permits the sale and purchase of dogs and birds of prey.

    28. A hadith in the Sahihayn reports ‘Adiyy b. Hatim as having asked the Prophet about hunting with dogs. He replied:

    إذا أرسلت كلبك المعلَّم وذكرت اسم الله، فكل ما أمسك عليك". قلت: وإن قتلن؟ قال: "وإن قتلن ما لم يشركها كلب ليس منها، فإنك إنما سميت على كلبك ولم تسم على غيره"

    "If you let loose the dog in the name of Allah, then eat of what it pins down for you." ‘Adiyy asked: "What if they kill it?" He replied: "Even then, so long as another dog had not participated in it, since you sent your dog (in Allah’s name) but did not sent the other dog (in His name)."
    Another report adds the words:

    فإن أكل فلا تأكل، فإني أخاف أن يكون أمسك على نفسه." (متفق عليه)

    "However, if they start eating out of it then you do not eat out of the rest, for it is possible that they hunted for themselves; not for you."
    Ibn `Abbas is widely reported as having said: "If the beast of prey hunts an animal, kills it, but starts eating it, then do not eat of the rest, irrespective of whether you had spelt out Allah's name before letting it loose or not. It had killed it for itself, and is not a "taught one." Such is also the opinion of Ibn `Umar, Sha`bi, ‘Ata', Suddi and others. In fact ‘Adiyy b. Hatim has reported a hadith exactly in the words Ibn `Abbas has used in his above statement. However, that is not the condition with birds of prey. All that is required of them by way of training is that they should return to the master when beckoned. If they do that then they are "the taught ones." Their prey might be eaten, even if they start eating out of their prize. Nevertheless, ‘Ali, Sa`id ibn Jubayr, `Ikrimah and others have said that there is no difference between beasts or birds of prey. If they eat out of what they prey on, the rest might not be eaten. There have been other varying opinions on the subject (Ibn Jarir).
    Nevertheless, there are ahadith that allow eating from what the dogs begin to eat. One is in Abu Da'ud which reports a bedouin having asked the question and the Prophet replying:

    إِذَا أَرْسَلْتَ كَلْبَكَ وَذَكَرْتَ اسْمَ اللَّهِ فَكُلْ وَإِنْ أَكَلَ مِنْهُ

    "So long as you have sent your dog in Allah’s name, eat of it even if they begin to eat out of it."
    A hadith of similar meaning is in Nasa'i. And both reports are trustworthy. Accordingly, Salman al-Farsi, Qatadah, Sa`d b. abi Waqqas, Abu Hurayrah and `Abdullah ibn `Umar have also allowed eating from the remaining of what the beasts of prey have begun to eat.
    Imam Juwayni and some others have reconciled the two conflicting statements of the Prophet by saying that if the beasts of prey start eating out of the prey immediately after the catch then you better not eat out of it. But if the master is a bit slow in arriving at the scene, and meanwhile, perhaps out of their hunger, if the beasts of prey start eating then you might eat of the rest.
    As for spelling out Allah's name, some believe it is obligatory, while others say that it is not a condition. If one forgets, then there is no harm (Razi, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir).

    29. That is, pronounce Allah's name at the time you let loose the beast or bird of prey. However, if you forget, even then there is no harm (Ibn `Abbas: Ibn Jarir).
    Fiqh Points
    According to the Hanafiyyah, the following rules have to be observed for a hunted animal to be lawful to eat:
    1. The beasts or birds of pray must be trained ones; and the test is that if they come back when beckoned, they are trained ones.
    2. They should have been let loose by the master. If they catch on their own and kill an animal, then that animal is not lawful to eat.
    3. They should not begin to eat immediately after the catch.
    4. Allah's name should have been recited when they were let loose.
    5. The animal killed should have been injured by the animal of prey. If they fall and die (during the chase) they are not lawful.
    6. If found alive, they must be duly slaughtered.
    7. The game should be a free forest animal. If it is a captured one, or one domesticated, then killed by a beast or bird of prey would not be lawful. They must be properly slaughtered.

    الْيَوْمَ أُحِلَّ لَكُمُ الطَّيِّبَاتُ ۖ وَطَعَامُ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ حِلٌّ لَكُمْ وَطَعَامُكُمْ حِلٌّ لَهُمْ ۖ وَالْمُحْصَنَاتُ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ وَالْمُحْصَنَاتُ مِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ إِذَا آتَيْتُمُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُنَّ مُحْصِنِينَ غَيْرَ مُسَافِحِينَ وَلَا مُتَّخِذِي أَخْدَانٍ ۗ وَمَنْ يَكْفُرْ بِالْإِيمَانِ فَقَدْ حَبِطَ عَمَلُهُ وَهُوَ فِي الْآخِرَةِ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ (5)

    5|5| This day all that is good and clean has been made lawful to you;30 and the food of the people of the Book is lawful for you,31 as is your food lawful to them;32 as (are lawful) chaste33 believing women and chaste women of the people given the Book before you,34 provided you have given them the dower due to them,35 seeking chastity, and not lewdness nor taking them as secret lovers.36 And whoever rejects faith (after belief),37 surely his deeds are lost38 and he shall be of the losers in the Hereafter.

    30. For connection, one has to look back at the previous verse wherein it was stated: "This day I have perfected your religion for you, (and) have completed My favor unto you." The favor referred to is that of religion and everything that is part of religion per se. Herein, Allah is impressing upon us the fact that even physical and material favors have been completed: "This day, all that is good and clean has been made lawful unto you" (Razi).

    31. Ibn `Abbas, Hasan, `Ikrimah, Mujahid, Suddi and many others have said that the slaughtered of the Jews and Christians is lawful to the Muslims, and that's what the verse is talking about. However, `Ali had a different opinion about some of their sects. He said: "Do not eat of the slaughtered of the Banu Taghlib (a north Arabian Christian tribe), for I believe they have taken nothing from Christianity except intoxicants" (Ibn Jarir, Kashshaf, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir).
    Shafi` clarifies a point: Although the Jews and Christians (who are the only two communities to whom the term "people of the Book" is applicable), commit ‘a kind of shirk and kufr,' Allah knew of their beliefs and yet He declared their slaughtered animal lawful. Therefore the (properly) slaughtered of today's Jews and Christians is also lawful. This is because their Shari`ah is not at a great distance from ours. For instance, we find in their present day Scriptures also that they were prohibited carrion, blood, an animal killed by another, one strangled to death, that which had been consecrated in the name of other than God, etc.
    None the less, if it is known for certain that instead of spelling Allah's name before slaughtering, or spelling no name whatsoever, they spell out other than Allah's name, or intentionally do not recite Allah's name, then, in that case, their slaughtered is unlawful. This is the opinion of Abu Darda', `Ubadah b. Samit and a group of Companions. This is also the opinion of Abu Hanifah, Abu Yusuf, Muhammad, Zufar, Imam Malik, Nakha`i and Thawri. It is in this light that we must try to understand ‘Ali's statement about the Christians of Taghlib tribe, who, as he said, had taken nothing from Christianity but drunkenness. It is also possible that `Ali knew that they did not slaughter in Allah's name. Further, if the people of the Book do not kill by slaughtering, rather with a blow (of a bullet) or whatever, then too their slaughtered animal is not lawful to Muslims.

    32. A point implicit here has been brought out by Suddi. By saying, "your food is lawful unto them," what is being meant is that what is lawful unto you O Muslims, is lawful unto the people of the Book also, and not all that they have made lawful unto themselves, such as pork, etc. Therefore, if they offer pork to a Muslim, he cannot eat on the pretext that Allah has declared their food lawful unto the Muslims. Rather, pork is unlawful unto them also and they are sinning by consuming it (Alusi, slightly modified).

    33. Some scholars have understood the word "muhsinat" as meaning the free ones among them (and not their slaves), but the majority understand it as chaste women. Accordingly, if a man finds that the woman he has wedded was unchaste, the marriage is null and void, and nothing of the dowry is due to the woman. In fact, to contract a marriage with an unchaste woman is unlawful, until she repents. If she repents there is no blame on her (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    Shafi` adds: Although marriage to a Jewish or Christian woman is allowed, it is not preferable. When Hudhayfah b. al-Yaman married a Jewish woman in Syria, `Umar wrote to him to divorce her. When Hudhayfah asked him whether it was unlawful, `Umar replied that he foresaw laxity in morals, and a social problem for Muslim women. `Umar had also forbidden Talha and Ka`b b. Malik from marrying women of the people of the Book. Hence, the Hanafiyy view is that marriage among them is undesirable.

    34. Accordingly, when Hasan was asked whether women of the people of the Book could be married, he answered: "Where is the need, when there is no shortage of Muslim women? However, if one has to, let him marry chaste ones among them and not the lewd ones." He was asked: "How do you define the lewd ones?" He replied: "Such as one, who, when a man looks at her, follows him with her looks" (Alusi from Ibn Jarir).
    Sayyid points out that if we consider the fact the Catholics and Protestants do not inter-marry, then the generosity of Islam will be better appreciated.

    35. Not that the dower is to be necessarily paid before the marriage is legal. It is simply being emphasized here (Alusi and others).

    36. The words in the original for "lewdness" is "musafihin" and for secret lovers "akhdan." Now, "sifah" is for a woman to co-habit with several men and "mukhadanah" to have sexual relationship with a single man out of wedlock (Sayyid).

    37. Although the word used is "faith" the allusion is actually to deeds that follow the Shari`. Another possibility pointed out by Qaffal is that the address is to the people of the Book, who, if they have been allowed marriage with Muslims, they should not begin to imagine that they have a share in the Hereafter also (Razi).

    38. The word in the original is "habitat." In its root "hubut" is for a cattle to graze on a poisonous grass, resulting in the swelling of its stomach and it dying off (Sayyid Qutb).

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا قُمْتُمْ إِلَى الصَّلَاةِ فَاغْسِلُوا وُجُوهَكُمْ وَأَيْدِيَكُمْ إِلَى الْمَرَافِقِ وَامْسَحُوا بِرُءُوسِكُمْ وَأَرْجُلَكُمْ إِلَى الْكَعْبَيْنِ ۚ وَإِنْ كُنْتُمْ جُنُبًا فَاطَّهَّرُوا ۚ وَإِنْ كُنْتُمْ مَرْضَىٰ أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ أَوْ جَاءَ أَحَدٌ مِنْكُمْ مِنَ الْغَائِطِ أَوْ لَامَسْتُمُ النِّسَاءَ فَلَمْ تَجِدُوا مَاءً فَتَيَمَّمُوا صَعِيدًا طَيِّبًا فَامْسَحُوا بِوُجُوهِكُمْ وَأَيْدِيكُمْ مِنْهُ ۚ مَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيَجْعَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ مِنْ حَرَجٍ وَلَٰكِنْ يُرِيدُ لِيُطَهِّرَكُمْ وَلِيُتِمَّ نِعْمَتَهُ عَلَيْكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ (6)

    5|6| Believers! When you prepare for Prayer,39 wash your face,40 arms up to the elbows, wipe your heads and (wash) your feet up to the ankles.41 However, if you are in a state of major impurity, then wash yourselves (wholly). Yet, were you to be ill, or on a journey, or one of you has come from the privy (requiring minor ablution) or you have been in contact with women (requiring major ablution), but you do not find water, then resort to clean dust and wipe your faces and hands therewith.42 Allah does not desire to cause inconveniences to you. Rather, He wishes to purify you43 and complete His favors upon you, haply you will give thanks.44

    39. The words "When you prepare for Prayers" have the hint hidden that Tayammum, of which the latter part of the verse speaks, can be resorted to only when water is not found at the time one begins to make preparations for Prayers, and not earlier (Razi).
    Majid quotes a Christian writer: "The scrupulous cleanliness of the Mohammadans, which contrasts so favourably with the unsavory state of the easterners of other creeds, is an excellent feature in the practical influence of Islam."
    He also contrasts the Islamic statutes with regard to cleanliness with those of Christianity. He quotes: "(In the early Christian centuries) the cleanliness of the body was regarded as a pollution of the soul, and the saints who were most admired had become one hideous mass of clotted filth. St Athanasius relates with enthusiasm how St. Anthony, the patriarch of monarchism, had never, to extreme old age, been guilty of washing his feet ... St. Euphraxia joined a covenant of one hundred and thirty nuns, who never washed their feet, and who shuddered at the mention of a bath." (Lecky, History of European Morals, II, p. 47)
    He also quotes Encyclopedia Britannica: “A pious (Christian) pilgrim, in the 4th century, ‘boasted that she had not washed her face for 18 years for fear of removing the baptismal chrism.'”

    40. Wetting the periphery of the beard, if it is a thick and flowing one, and passing fingers through it is mustahab according to the Hanafiyyah, Shafe`iyyah and Malikiyyah (Ibn Kathir).

    41. Abu Musa (al-Ash`ari), Sa`id ibn al-Musayyib, Hasan al-Busri, Abu al-`Aliyyah, Dahhak and many others saw no reason to repeat ablution for a salah, if one had not nullified his ablution, although `Ali and Ibn Sirin would make ablution for every Prayer while `Umar ibn Khattab merely washed his face and hands and wiped his head saying, "This is the wudu of one who has not annulled it." (The same is reported of `Ali also: Ibn Kathir). The Prophet himself offered his Prayers of the whole day on the day of the fall of Makkah with a single ablution (the report is in Muslim: Ibn Kathir. The Prophet had also offered Prayers of a whole day with a single wudu at the time of Khyber campaign: Qurtubi). His earlier practice was of re-making wudu for every salah; and he encouraged that one should make a fresh wudu at every salah. (In fact, the Prophet did not even prefer to reply to salam when not in wudu saying he did not like to spell Allah's name without wudu: Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir). He has also encouraged that one should do a thorough wudu, especially taking care of his heels. He warned of punishment with Fire when he noticed some people with dry heels (Ibn Jarir).
    Therefore, a fresh wudu, even if not required, is mustahab (Ibn Kathir).
    Qurtubi adds: According to Imam Abu Hanifah and Imam Shafe`i, it is not permitted to wipe on the socks, unless they are made of leather. But others have allowed it.
    Alusi writes several paragraphs to refute the Shi`ah who say that wiping, in lieu of washing the feet, is enough in wudu.
    Their interpretation is based on a reading of the text that has been rejected by consensus (Au.).

    42. See notes 152-155 of surah al-Nisa' of this work for details of tayammum.
    The injunctions about tayammum have perhaps been repeated in this last chapter to be revealed to emphasize that the concession granted earlier in surah al-Nisa', has not been abrogated (Alusi).

    43. Abu Umamah (Sudayy b. `Ajalan) has reported that he heard he Prophet (saws) several times saying that wudu expiates the previous sins while salah helps add on virtue (Ibn Jarir). The Prophet has said in a tradition of the Sahihayn:

    إِنَّ أُمَّتِى تَأْتِى يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ غُرًّا مُحَجَّلِينَ مِنْ آثَارِ الْوُضُوءِ ، فَمَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ مِنْكُمْ أَنْ يُطِيلَ غُرَّتَهُ فَلْيَفْعَلْ

    "Members of my Ummah will appear on the Day of Judgment with brightness on their faces because of the marks of wudu. Therefore, he of you who can do it thoroughly, let him do it."
    Muslim has another report which reports the Prophet:

    إِذَا تَوَضَّأَ الْعَبْدُ الْمُسْلِمُ - أَوِ الْمُؤْمِنُ - فَغَسَلَ وَجْهَهُ خَرَجَ مِنْ وَجْهِهِ كُلُّ خَطِيئَةٍ نَظَرَ إِلَيْهَا بِعَيْنَيْهِ مَعَ الْمَاءِ - أَوْ مَعَ آخِرِ قَطْرِ الْمَاءِ - فَإِذَا غَسَلَ يَدَيْهِ خَرَجَ مِنْ يَدَيْهِ كُلُّ خَطِيئَةٍ كَانَ بَطَشَتْهَا يَدَاهُ مَعَ الْمَاءِ - أَوْ مَعَ آخِرِ قَطْرِ الْمَاءِ - فَإِذَا غَسَلَ رِجْلَيْهِ خَرَجَتْ كُلُّ خَطِيئَةٍ مَشَتْهَا رِجْلاَهُ مَعَ الْمَاءِ - أَوْ مَعَ آخِرِ قَطْرِ الْمَاءِ - حَتَّى يَخْرُجَ نَقِيًّا مِنَ الذُّنُوبِ

    "When a Muslim – or Mu’min - makes ablution and washes his face, the sins committed by the eyes are washed off with the water – or with the last drop of water, when he washes his hands, all the sins of the what he held with his hands are washed off – or with the last drop of water, and when he washes his feet, his sins of the feet that he walked with are washed off with water – or with the last drop of water, until he emerges clean and pure of sins" (Ibn Kathir).

    44. Scholars have pointed out that this single short verse is composed of 7 elements, all of them in pairs: i) two kinds of cleansing: real and virtual; ii) of the two, the real is of two kinds: the whole (ghusl) and the partial (wudu); iii) two types of actions have been mentioned: washing and wiping; iv) the agents of cleaning are of two types: liquid (water) and solid (dust); v) the reasons that make cleaning obligatory are of two types: major impurity (hadath akbar) and minor impurity (hadath asghar); vi) two situations allow for a substitution (tayammum), journey and sickness; and finally, vii) two rewards have been mentioned: purification and completion of favors (Alusi, slightly modified).

    وَاذْكُرُوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَمِيثَاقَهُ الَّذِي وَاثَقَكُمْ بِهِ إِذْ قُلْتُمْ سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا ۖ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ (7)

    5|7| Recall the favors of Allah on you, and His compact that He took from you, when you said, ‘We have heard and we shall obey.'45 Therefore, fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Aware of what is in the breasts.

    45. The reference is either to the compact of obedience that the believers made with the Prophet, or to the promise of obedience that every believer makes when he spells out the kalimah tayyibah to enter into Islam.

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامِينَ لِلَّهِ شُهَدَاءَ بِالْقِسْطِ ۖ وَلَا يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ عَلَىٰ أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا ۚ اعْدِلُوا هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَىٰ ۖ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ (8)

    5|8| Believers! Stand out firmly for Allah, bearing testimony to justice;46 and let not the detestation of a people lead you to injustice. Be just. That is nearer to taqwa.47 Fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Aware of what you do.

    46. That is, standing out for Allah and bearing testimony for justice should be so often in your life that they should have become your second nature (Alusi).

    47. Accordingly, we find Nu`man b. Bashir reporting in the Sahihayn that when his father went to the Prophet and told him that he had gifted such and such an orchard to him (Nu`man), the Prophet asked him if he had made similar gifts to other children. When his father said no, the Prophet told him: "I shall not be a witness to injustice" (Ibn Kathir).
    Qurtubi writes: It is not allowed, following this verse, that if the enemies of Muslims torture them, kill their women and children, or disfigure their dead, the Muslims also retaliate in a similar manner. Islam does not allow beastly behavior under any circumstance.

    وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ ۙ لَهُمْ مَغْفِرَةٌ وَأَجْرٌ عَظِيمٌ (9)

    5|9| Allah has promised those of you who believe and do righteous deeds, forgiveness and a great reward.

    وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَكَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا أُولَٰئِكَ أَصْحَابُ الْجَحِيمِ (10)

    5|10| As for those who disbelieved and cried lies to Our signs, they are the companions of the Fire.

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اذْكُرُوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ هَمَّ قَوْمٌ أَنْ يَبْسُطُوا إِلَيْكُمْ أَيْدِيَهُمْ فَكَفَّ أَيْدِيَهُمْ عَنْكُمْ ۖ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ وَعَلَى اللَّهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ (11)

    5|11| Believers! Recall the favors of Allah that He bestowed on you when some people tried to stretch their hands at you, He prevented their hands from you.48 Therefore, fear Allah. Surely it is Allah in whom the believers should place their trust.49

    48. `Abdullah ibn abi Bakr, Mujahid, `Ikrimah and some others have said that the allusion is to the attempts at the assassination of the Prophet. Once he was sitting along with Abu Bakr, `Umar, `Uthman, ‘Ali, Talha ibn Zubayr and `Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Awf under a wall among the Banu Nadir. He had gone there to settle a blood-wit dispute. The Jews attempted to slide down a rock upon him and his Companions but Allah prevented them and informed the Prophet, who quickly returned from the place.
    Some other assassination attempts have also been mentioned as the cause of revelation (Ibn Jarir, Kashshaf, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir).
    Another instance is reported by Ibn abi Hatim. It says that a group of Jews invited the Prophet to a poisoned dinner. But Allah informed the Prophet. He stayed away and asked his Companions not to attend.
    A third reported incident involves Ka`b al-Ahsraf and his companions who plotted to assassinate the Prophet in his fort but failed.
    And a fourth incident took place during one of the Prophet’s journey. At one camping point people spread around seeking shades of the trees to rest. The Prophet also sought rest under a tree and hung his arms by it. When he opened his eyes, he found a bedouin with his sword right over his head. The bedouin asked, “Who will save you from me now.” The Prophet calmly answered, “Allah.” He repeated his threat and the Prophet repeated his answer, three times. The bedouin was so awe-struck that the sword fell from his hand. The Prophet called his Companions and pointing to the bedouin who was sitting by his side, narrated the story. The bedouin’s name was Ghawrath b. al-Harith. It is reported that a group of pagans had sent the bedouin to assassinate the Prophet.
    Thus, the verse was referring to several attempts at the Prophet’s life (Ibn Kathir).
    Imam Razi has said that the allusion could as well be to the situation in early Islam when the pagans were trying to wipe out Islam.

    49. Imam Shafe`i has said that one might recite this verse seven times in the morning and seven times in the evening to keep away plague (Alusi).

    The Connection
    For a connection we can look back at verse 7 which exhorts Muslims to remain true to the compact they have made with their Lord and not back down as did the Jews and the Christians whose own performance is being described herewith in the following verses (Razi).
    Ibn Kathir has another perspective. He says: If we go back to the beginning of this surah we notice that after Allah urged the Muslims to keep their covenants and oaths that He took with them through His Messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him, and mentioned the great blessings that He bestowed upon them, He now turns to the Jews and Christians to remind them that similar compacts were made with them also, but when they broke them, He settled a curse upon them, which acts a barrier and prevents them from responding to this new call.

    وَلَقَدْ أَخَذَ اللَّهُ مِيثَاقَ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ وَبَعَثْنَا مِنْهُمُ اثْنَيْ عَشَرَ نَقِيبًا ۖ وَقَالَ اللَّهُ إِنِّي مَعَكُمْ ۖ لَئِنْ أَقَمْتُمُ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَيْتُمُ الزَّكَاةَ وَآمَنْتُمْ بِرُسُلِي وَعَزَّرْتُمُوهُمْ وَأَقْرَضْتُمُ اللَّهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا لَأُكَفِّرَنَّ عَنْكُمْ سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ وَلَأُدْخِلَنَّكُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ ۚ فَمَنْ كَفَرَ بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ مِنْكُمْ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ سَوَاءَ السَّبِيلِ (12)

    5|12| Surely, Allah did take compact with the children of Israel. And We raised up from among them twelve chieftains.50 Allah told them, ‘I am with you.51 If you perform the Prayer, pay the zakah, believe in My Messengers,52 strengthen them, and lend Allah a goodly loan,53 I will acquit you of your evil deeds and admit you to gardens underneath which rivers flow.54 Whosever of you disbelieves thereafter,55 surely lost the straight path.'

    50. Razi writes: The word in the original (for what has been rendered as chieftains) is "naqib." Zajjaj has said that its origin is "naqab" which is used for a large hole. Hence when it is said that so and so is a "naqib" of his people, it means he is one who examines them closely - as one examines through a hole to know someone's secrets. "Manaqib" is another derivation, which means "virtues" because the virtues of a man do not become apparent without a close scrutiny. "Naqabah" is an animal disease: so called because it penetrates the body so well that an affected camel's flesh tastes like tar coal. Here, adds Razi, the word here is in the sense of one made in charge of the affairs of a group of people, (sort of ‘religious and moral mentors': Mawdudi), who were also responsible for their welfare.
    Asad adds: "The noun naqib ... has also the meaning of "investigator" or "spy" inasmuch as it is derived from the verb naqaba, which signifies - among other things - "he scrutinized" or "investigated."
    It has also been said that they were also responsible for promoting virtue and curbing vice among their respective tribesmen. It was in this sense that they were appointed chieftains (Shawkani). The chieftains were, thus, to help their people keep the compact they had made with Allah (Thanwi).
    When Musa (asws) intended to launch an attack on the pagan populations of the holy land of Palestine, (the town was Jericho: Alusi) he sent these twelve chieftains, representatives of twelve tribes, as scouts to gather news about the enemy's strength. The allusion here is to their appointment as nuqaba' and the oath of secrecy taken from them on that occasion (Suddi: Ibn Jarir).
    The twelve returned much impressed by the might of the Palestinians, then known as Canaanites, and, instead of confiding only in Musa as they were required to, they slipped the news to their wives, children and friends, who soon spread it among the Israelites. That led to a disheartening attitude among the Israelites and ultimately to the refusal to fight. As a consequence, they were denied entry into Palestine for forty years. See verses 20-27 below. (Au.)
    Interestingly, it might be noted that when the Prophet took the first oath of allegiance in Islam, from the Ansar, during a night at ‘Aqabah, they were 12 in numbers too. Three of them were from Aws and nine from Khazraj. Usayd b. Hudayr, Sa`d b. Khayzumah and Rifa`ah b. al-Mundhir (some say it was Abu al-Haytham al-Tayhan) were from Aws while Abu As`ad b. Zurarah, Sa`d b. Rabi`, `Abdullah ibn Rawaha, Rafe` b. Malik b. al-`Ajalan, Bara' b. Ma`rur, `Ubadah b. Samit, Sa`d b. `Ubadah, `Abdullah ibn `Amr b. Hizam and Mundhir b. `Amr b. Hunaysh - may Allah be pleased with them - were from Khazraj. The Prophet made them the `Urafa so that they might represent Islam and take oath of obedience from their people on behalf of the Prophet (Ibn Kathir).
    Qurtubi writes: Following Musa's example, peace be on him, the Prophet also chose twelve people to lead the seventy Ansari men and two women who had taken the oath of allegiance on the occasion of the second bay`ah at ‘Aqabah.
    Ibn Kathir remarks: In fact, according to some traditions in the Sahihayn, the Prophet said: "People (i.e., Muslims) will continue to be until twelve khulafa' have appeared among them." Muslim's report adds: "All of them of the Quraysh." Now, it is not necessary that these khulafa' should follow each other consecutively. Rather, they might appear intermittently. The four Khulafa' al-Rashidun and `Umar ibn `Abdul `Aziz are definitely of them. Some of the `Abbasids might have also belonged to the group. The prophesied Mahdi is definitely included who will bear the same name as that of our Prophet and whose father will also bear the same as name as our Prophet's: Muhammad b. `Abdullah." Further, they are not the same as the twelve Imams of the Twelver Shi`ah. Their belief in this regard is fictitious. Indeed the Bible also predicts the appearance of Isma`il and the twelve great men of his progeny.
    Ibn Kathir’s reference to the prediction of the Bible is perhaps to the following (Gen. ch. 17: 20):

    And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed
    him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him
    exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make
    him a great nation.

    Thanwi adds that the appointment of khulafa' by the shuyukh is in principle of the same nature as the appointment of the twelve chieftains.

    51. The words "I am with you," carry the senses both of awakening the desire to do things well, so that rewards may be earned (targhib), as well as a threat at doing things badly with which punishments might descend (tarhib) - Razi.

    52. Faith in the Prophets had to be additionally stated (not as an after thought: Au.) because the Jews rejected many prophets. As if they are being told that the above deeds will be of no profit to them if they persist in believing in some prophets and disbelieving in others (Razi).

    53. Although when someone spends for the sake of Allah, he does not lend money to Him, the term (qard) has been used here because of a shared meaning viz., as it is binding that loans be returned, so it is binding on Allah that He bestow rewards for the acts of charity (Bayan).

    54. It can be easily noticed that the Qur'an only portrays the rewards of the righteous believers contrasting them with the punishment of the hardened unbelievers. It does not state anything about the sinning believers: those who fall in between the two extremes. This is because, while on the one hand the matter is dealt with in the traditions of the Prophet, on the other, the fate of those who fall in between can be inferred from the fate of those who are at the two extremes (Bayan).

    55. That is, whoever broke the compact (by disobeying Allah) will never find a way to truth and guidance (Ibn Kathir).

    فَبِمَا نَقْضِهِمْ مِيثَاقَهُمْ لَعَنَّاهُمْ وَجَعَلْنَا قُلُوبَهُمْ قَاسِيَةً ۖ يُحَرِّفُونَ الْكَلِمَ عَنْ مَوَاضِعِهِ ۙ وَنَسُوا حَظًّا مِمَّا ذُكِّرُوا بِهِ ۚ وَلَا تَزَالُ تَطَّلِعُ عَلَىٰ خَائِنَةٍ مِنْهُمْ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا مِنْهُمْ ۖ فَاعْفُ عَنْهُمْ وَاصْفَحْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ (13)

    5|13| But, because of their (frequent) breach of the compact We cursed them56 and hardened their hearts57 (so that) they displace the words from their context,58 and have forgotten much of what they were reminded with.59 You will never cease to discover a treachery (or the other) on their part,60 save for a few of them. Yet, forgive them and overlook, surely, Allah approves of those who do good.

    56. That is, distanced them from Our Grace and Mercy. Yusuf Ali writes: "... because of their breach of their Covenant, Allah withdrew His overflowing Grace from them. The withdrawal of Grace made their hearts grow hard in two ways: (1) they were no longer protected from the assaults of evil, and (2) they became impervious even to the message of forgiveness and mercy which is open to all of Allah's creations."

    57. The word qasiyah (hardened) has its root in qaswa which is hardness. Hence for a fake coin they say Dirham qasiyy since pure gold and silver are soft but when adulterated they harden up. (Zamakhshari)
    Majid quotes: "Cf. the OT: ‘They have refused to receive correction, they have made their faces harder than a rock, they have refused to return.' (Jen. 5: 3) ‘Yea! They have made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law.' (Ze. 7: 12)
    Thanwi writes: The qasawah referred to here, is both the result of sins of the past, as well as the source and origin of sins thereafter.

    58. Majid writes: "Look at the Jews' own estimate of the correctness of their Bible:- ‘We may infer with certainty that the ancient copies of the Torah contained no vowels or accents, and that these have come down to us by oral tradition. For the multiplication of copies, human copyists had to be employed. It is by no mans contrary to our faith in the Bible to assume that, as far as the human work of these copyists is concerned, it must have been subject to the fate of all human work, to error and imperfection. And, in fact, there are many copies of the Bible that abound in mistakes: there are passages in Scriptures that vary in the different manuscripts; hence numerous varioe le tiones met with in the critical editions of the Bible.' (Friedlander, The Jewish Religion, p. 53)"

    59. Ibn Mas`ud has said sometimes a man forgets what he has learnt of the knowledge because of his sins. He recited this verse to substantiate his statement. (Zamakhshari)
    Imam Shafe`i has said in a famous poetical quartet of his:

    شكوت إلى وكيع سوء حفظى
    فأرشـدنى إلى ترك المـعاصى
    وأخبـرنى بأن العلـم نـور
    ونـور الله لايهدى لعـاصى

    I complained to Waki` of my forgetfulness
    He counselled me to give up the ways of sinfulness
    Knowledge is Light, he said
    And Allah's Light is to the sinner not arrayed.

    60. Such as their several efforts to get the Prophet assassinated, or their efforts at instigating the pagans to attack Madinah. (Au.)
    Sayyid Qutb adds: "The address was then to the Prophet depicting for him an aspect of Jewish response to his call. Indeed this was their constant attitude towards the Prophet, not in Madinah alone, during his life time, but also after they had vacated the city. There never was any change in their attitude. And this has been their attitude towards the Muslims since then, until today, despite the fact that the Muslims alone gave them shelter in the face of persecutions launched against them (in Europe and elsewhere, by the Christians). But they - or most of them - remained the same, armed with treacheries, right from the Prophet's time until this day: plotting, scheming, and waiting for every chance to harm the Muslims."

    وَمِنَ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّا نَصَارَىٰ أَخَذْنَا مِيثَاقَهُمْ فَنَسُوا حَظًّا مِمَّا ذُكِّرُوا بِهِ فَأَغْرَيْنَا بَيْنَهُمُ الْعَدَاوَةَ وَالْبَغْضَاءَ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ ۚ وَسَوْفَ يُنَبِّئُهُمُ اللَّهُ بِمَا كَانُوا يَصْنَعُونَ (14)

    5|14| As for those who said, ‘We are Nasara,'61 We took a compact with them (also)62 but they forgot a great deal of what they were reminded with. Therefore, We stirred up63 among them enmity and hatred (to last) until the Day of Resurrection,64 when Allah will inform them of what they were manufacturing.

    61. The compact was to the effect that when the Final Prophet appears they would believe in him and support him. Majid writes: "Witness various references to him (the Last Prophet), the well-known and well-recognized "that Prophet" or "the Prophet" found even in the garbled text of the modern Gospels:- ‘And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? ... Art thou that prophet! And he answered, No. ... And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizes thou then, if thou b not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet.' (Jn. 1: 19-21, 25) ‘Jesus stood and cried, saying, if any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink ... Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, of a truth this is the Prophet.' (7: 37, 40) ‘If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.' (14: 15, 16) ‘It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come to you; but I depart. I will send him unto you. And he is come, he will reprove the word of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgement.' (16: 7,8)

    62. The word Nasara has its origin in ansar, the word the followers of Christ had chosen to identify themselves with when they had answered to Jesus Christ's request for help, in words, "We are the helpers (ansar) of Allah." Ref. verse 52 of Al-`Imran (Zamakhshari, Razi, Alusi).
    With the passage of time, adds Zamakhshari, the Ansarullah became Ansarus-Shaytan.

    63. The word in the original has its root in "ighra'" which is to paste something so that it adheres strongly (Zamakhshari, Razi).

    64. While Suddi, Ibn Zayd, Mujahid and others have said that the allusion is to the hatred and enmity between the Jews and the Christians, some others have thought that the allusion is to the hatred among the various Christian sects who can be so often seen at each other's throats (Ibn Jarir).
    Majid writes: "And the wordy acrimony has frequently given place to severe religious persecutions, and even massacres. In Dean Milman's admirable summing up of the Christian history, ‘Bloodshed, murder, treachery, assassinations, even during the public worship of God - these are the frightful means by which each party strives to maintain its opinions and to defeat its adversary.' (Quoted by Lecky, History of European Morals, II. p. 82 n.) ‘After having been persecuted by the pagans, the Christians persecuted each other over nonsensical follies. They killed, imprisoned or exiled each other over the word homoonsios or the sense of the word physis, nature, which the Nestorian school of Antioch understood differently from the Monophysite school of Alexandria (Dermingham, Life of Mahomet, p. 117).
    With reference to the words: "... to last until the Day of Judgment," Majid quotes: ‘A prophecy which thirteen centuries have not falsified.' (ERE. X. p. 544) ‘There is an Abyssinian proverb which says that the Christians never agree except on one point, the birth of Christ.'
    Asad comments: "I.e., their going astray from the genuine teachings of Jesus - and thus from the true faith in God - is the innermost cause of the enmity and hatred which has so often set the so-called Christian nations against one another and led to unceasing wars and mutual persecution."

    يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ قَدْ جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولُنَا يُبَيِّنُ لَكُمْ كَثِيرًا مِمَّا كُنْتُمْ تُخْفُونَ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَيَعْفُو عَنْ كَثِيرٍ ۚ قَدْ جَاءَكُمْ مِنَ اللَّهِ نُورٌ وَكِتَابٌ مُبِينٌ (15)

    5|15| People of the Book! Now (another of) Our Messenger has come to you revealing to you much of what you were concealing of the Book65 - although He overlooks much.66 There have come to you now a Light67 and a Book manifest from Allah.

    65. The specific reference through this verse of general application was, as Ibn `Abbas has said, to the Jewish efforts to conceal the identity of Prophet Muhammad as stated in their Scriptures, and certain instructions of the Tawrah, such as punishment of stoning to death for adultery (Ibn Jarir, Razi, Ibn Kathir).

    66. That is, the Prophet does not - out of good grace - expose all that he knows of what they conceal (Qurtubi, Thanwi and others).

    67. The allusion by the "Light" is to our Prophet who illuminated the Truth (Ibn Jarir). That was the opinion of Qatadah and the preference of Zajjaj (Alusi).

    يَهْدِي بِهِ اللَّهُ مَنِ اتَّبَعَ رِضْوَانَهُ سُبُلَ السَّلَامِ وَيُخْرِجُهُمْ مِنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ بِإِذْنِهِ وَيَهْدِيهِمْ إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُسْتَقِيمٍ (16)

    5|16| Whereby Allah guides him who searches for His Approval68 to paths of peace;69 and brings them forth from darknesses into Light by His leave and guides them unto a Straight Path.70

    68. The mention of Allah's approval (ridwan) before the rewards of Paradise has the implication that the reward of Paradise follows as a necessary corollary to the search for Allah's approval (Thanwi).

    69. The words in the original "Subul al-Salam" draw the following commentary from Asad: "The word salam ... has no proper equivalent in the English language. It denotes inner peace, soundness and security from evil of any kid, both physical and spiritual, and the achievement of what, in Christian terminology, is described as "salvation": with the difference, however, that the Christian concept of salvation presupposes the existence of an a-priori state of sinfulness, which is justified in Christianity by the doctrine of "original sin", but is not justified in Islam, which does not subscribe to this doctrine. Consequently, the term "salvation" ... does not adequately convey the full meaning of salam. Its nearest equivalent in Western languages would be the German Heil or the French salut, both of which express the idea of spiritual peace and fulfillment without being necessarily (i.e., linguistically) connected with the Christian doctrine of salvation."

    70. Commenting on the "Sawa' al-Sabil" of the original, Mawdudi writes that refusal to follow Allah's guidance has led mankind to swing from one extreme to another, unable to find the golden mean that will do full justice to his various potentialities and urges, to all his instincts and predispositions, and to all the multifarious claims of the body and soul. And, instead of accepting defeat, mankind has begun to claim victory for this very swinging from one extreme to another. He concludes: "In the modern times some philosophers have been so impressed by this constant swinging in human life, from one extreme to another, as to have mistakenly argued that the dialectical process is the natural course of human life. They conclude, therefore, that the only way for human life to progress is that a thesis should first wing it in on direction, and then an antithesis swing it in the opposite direction, after which there will emerge a synthesis which constitutes the course of human progress. These curved lie from one extreme to the other do not indicate the correct course of human progress. Rather they represent the tragic stumbling which again and again obstruct the true progress of human life. Every extreme thesis sets life on a certain course and continues to pull it in that direction for some time. When human life is thus thrown off its ‘right course' the result is that certain realities of life - which had not received their due - rise up in revolt, and this revolt often assumes the form of an antithesis. This revolt begins to pull life in the opposite direction. As the ‘right way' is approached the conflicting ideas - the thesis and antitheses - begin to effect some kind of mutual compromise, leading to the emergence of a synthesis. This synthesis comprises many elements conducive to the good of mankind. But since societies which do not submit to the guidance from the Prophet are deprived both of the signposts that might indicate the ‘right way' and faith to help to steady man's feet thereon this synthesis does not permit human life to maintain the golden mean. Its momentum is so powerful that it once more pushes life to the opposite extreme."
    Mawdudi is obviously alluding to the materialistic life. Mankind, for instance, has swung from the two extremes of capitalism and communism to what they refer to as the golden synthesis, socialism. Much of the workers' rights in the West, for instance, were granted to them after the successes of communism in Eastern Europe. That kind of achievement misleads many. Further, some people believe that even if the society misses the golden mean, individuals can always work out the golden mean for themselves. But that is true only in the material sense. In the overall sense, comprising various dimension of life: the social, moral, spiritual, etc., it remains out of reach. What has to be understood is that whatever man chooses as the mean path, is the extreme path. It might at best satisfy the aspirations of the body. It misses the satisfaction of the soul. It is guidance from above that leads to a mean path that guarantees satisfactions both of the aspirations of the body as well as of the soul. Without the guidance from above - not to the mean path, rather to faith in Allah, recognition of spiritual values, the methods of worship and devotion to Allah, etc., - there is no mean path in existence that can be realized (Au.).

    لَقَدْ كَفَرَ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ ۚ قُلْ فَمَنْ يَمْلِكُ مِنَ اللَّهِ شَيْئًا إِنْ أَرَادَ أَنْ يُهْلِكَ الْمَسِيحَ ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ وَأُمَّهُ وَمَنْ فِي الْأَرْضِ جَمِيعًا ۗ وَلِلَّهِ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا ۚ يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاءُ ۚ وَاللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ (17)

    5|17| Surely those people disbelieved who said God is Messiah, son of Maryam.71 Ask them, ‘Who can prevail with Allah, if He desires to destroy the Messiah, son of Maryam, his mother72 and all that are on the face of the earth?' And Allah's is the sovereignty over what is in the heavens and the earth and what is between them, creating what He will.73 Allah has power over all things.

    71. Thanwi comments: In these words is the rejection of the concept of Unity of the Creator and the created.
    "The original mistake committed by the Christians in declaring Jesus to be a combination of human and divine essences turned Jesus into a mystery for them, and the more the Christian scholars tried to solve this mystery by resorting to conjecture and rhetorical extravagance the more involved the whole matter became. Those who were more impressed by the humanity of Jesus stressed his being the son of God and considered him to be one of the three gods. Those who were more impressed by the divinity of Jesus considered him to be none other than God, stressing that he was the human incarnation of God, and worshipped him as God. Those who tried to strike a middle path spent all their efforts hammering out subtle verbal formulations of the Trinity that would allow people to consider the Messiah to be God and man at one and the same time, to affirm that God and the Messiah are independent and simultaneously constitute an inseparable whole." (Mawdudi)
    Majid offers greater depth: "The reference here is mainly to certain less well-known varieties of Christianity such as Docetism, Monarchianism and Sabellianism, which rest on some such propositions as the following:- ‘That one and the same God is the Creator and Father of all things; and when it pleased Him, He appeared.' ‘When the Father had not been born, He yet was justly styled Father; and when it pleased Him to undergo generation, having been begotten, He himself became His own Son, not another's.' ‘Father and Son, so called, are one and the same substance, not an individual produced from different ones, but Himself for Himself.' (ERE. VII, p. 779) ... But hardly distinguishable from these ‘heresies' and equally bewildering to the Muslim mind is the accepted central doctrine of the orthodox Christianity: ‘Jesus is very God of very God, who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was made Man.' His nature is ‘consubstantial' with God. ‘He is not inferior to the Father, nor posterior, not merely like unto Him, but identical in substance and in essence with Him. He is truly God, God of very God, consubstantial with the Father, as the Nicene Creed has it, having, or rather, being, the Godhead no less than the Father' (CD. p.252).

    72. Maryam (asws) has also been included to impress that insofar as the two were creations of Allah, there was no difference between the two (Kashshaf).
    Majid writes about Maryam, who is also adored and worshipped as a Divinity by a large number of Christians: "In the most widely distributed form of Christianity, the "virgin" mother of God plays an important part as a fourth deity; in the many Catholic countries she is practically taken to be much more powerful and influential than the three male persons of the celestial administration.' (Haeckel, Riddle of the Universe, p. 232). Even as early as the early 3rd century, the title of Mary as the ‘Mother of God' and as the ‘Queen of Heaven,' were demanded by more fanatical Christians who claimed Divine honours for the ideal and prototype of virginity.' (DB. III, pl 289). ‘Mariatology is probably more prevalent in the Church of Home than at any former time.' (p. 291) ... ‘According to the Roman Catholic Church, God, without ceasing to be God, in the characteristic phrase of St. Paul, "implied Himself" and was born in human form of Mary's womb and she became Virgin Mother, the Virgin Mother of God.' (Ptoserpie, The Council of Ephesus and the Divine Motherhood, p. 4).

    73. That is, Allah creates in all manners: sometimes without a father and a mother, such as Adam, sometimes without a mother, such as Hawwa', and sometimes without a father, such as ‘Isa. Therefore, the Christians need not be over-perplexed by the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ to ascribe divinity to him (Zamakhshari, Razi).

    وَقَالَتِ الْيَهُودُ وَالنَّصَارَىٰ نَحْنُ أَبْنَاءُ اللَّهِ وَأَحِبَّاؤُهُ ۚ قُلْ فَلِمَ يُعَذِّبُكُمْ بِذُنُوبِكُمْ ۖ بَلْ أَنْتُمْ بَشَرٌ مِمَّنْ خَلَقَ ۚ يَغْفِرُ لِمَنْ يَشَاءُ وَيُعَذِّبُ مَنْ يَشَاءُ ۚ وَلِلَّهِ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا ۖ وَإِلَيْهِ الْمَصِيرُ (18)

    5|18| The Jews and Christians boast, ‘We are God's children74 and His beloved ones.'75 Ask them, ‘Why then does He punish you for your sins?"76 Rather, you are a people, just as any other people that He created. He forgives whom He will and punishes whom He will. Allah's is the complete sovereignty in the heavens and the earth and what is between them. And to Him is the returning.

    74. Ibn `Abbas has said that once Nu`man b. Ada, Bahra b. `Amr and Shas b. `Adiyy visited the Prophet. He invited them to Islam and warned them of the consequences of rejection. They said: "Muhammad. Do not try to scare us. We are the children of God" (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir).
    But S. Ibrahim says there is some weakness in the chain of narration of this report.
    It is said that this belief has its basis in the words of Tawrah to the effect: "You are my first born son" (Ibn Kathir).
    Majid quotes from the Bible: "Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my first-born.' (Ex. 4: 22) ‘Ye are the children of Lord your God.' (Dt. 14: 1) ‘When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son, out of Egypt.' (Ho. 11: 1)
    Asad adds: "Cf. Exodus iv, 22-23 ("Israel is my son"), Jeremiah xxxi, 9 ("I am a father to Israel"), and the many parallel expressions in the Gospels."
    The Christians make similar claims. Majid quotes: ‘As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of god, even to them that believe on his name.' (Jn. 1: 12) ‘As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.' (Ro. 8: 14) ‘Children of God' is a title of the faithful in virtue of special adoption by God.' (Mcdonald's Concise Encyclopedia, p. 204). ‘Jesus teaches that this relation of sonship to God is connected with his own person, and to be enjoyed through Him.' (Hastings Dictionary of the Bible, II, p. 217)

    75. Jewish and Christian literature is replete with the claims of a special status with God, it being immaterial how they treat His commandments. They remain His beloved under all circumstances, with their status conferring upon them no special responsibility, but every prerogative (Au.). Majid quotes from Jewish literature: "`Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy; for I the Lord your God am holy.' (Le. 19: 2) ‘Ye are the children of the Lord your God ... For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord has chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.' (Dt. 14: 1-2) And the Jewish rabbis have said: ‘Beloved one Israel, for they are called "Sons of the Highest" ... Even if they are foolish, even if they transgress, even if they are full of blemishes, they are still called "Sons." (Quoted in Klausner's, Jesus of Nazareth, p. 377)."
    Then, as to the Christians, Majid quotes the following: "`This sonship conferred on men depended not on human descent from Abraham, nor upon the sexual relations of their parents, nor could it be had for willing or wishing it, i.e., human effort. It was a free and supernatural gift from God, inward and spiritual, implanted by the Holy Ghost, and depended for its maintenance on union with Christ.' (Dumalew, Commentary on the Holy Bible, p. 775) ‘The specific condition of the "new man", in contrast to the "old", is that of sonship and installation into sonship after the likeness of Christ's ... God himself is the veritable Father of the Christian believer, the kindred fontal source of his new life ... Baptism is to him [St. John] the normal condition under which believers came to rank as "Children of God", in virtue of a manifest sealing by Holy Spirit power' (Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible, IV. pp. 218-219).

    76. It is said that a sufi asked a faqih: "Where do you find in the Qur'an that a loved one will not punish the beloved." The faqih could not answer. The sufi quoted this verse: "The Jews and the Christians boast, ‘We are the Children of God and His beloved ones.' Ask them, ‘Why then does He punish you for your sins?'"
    In fact, there is a tradition to this effect in Ahmad.

    عن أَنَسٍ قَالَ كَانَ صَبِيٌّ عَلَى ظَهْرِ الطَّرِيقِ فَمَرَّ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَمَعَهُ نَاسٌ مِنْ أَصْحَابِهِ فَلَمَّا رَأَتْ أُمُّ الصَّبِيِّ الْقَوْمَ خَشِيَتْ أَنْ يُوطَأَ ابْنُهَا فَسَعَتْ وَحَمَلَتْهُ وَقَالَتْ ابْنِي ابْنِي قَالَ فَقَالَ الْقَوْمُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ مَا كَانَتْ هَذِهِ لِتُلْقِيَ ابْنَهَا فِي النَّارِ قَالَ فَقَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لَا والله َلَا يُلْقِي اللَّهُ حَبِيبَهُ فِي النَّارِ (شعيب): إسناده صحيح على شرط الشيخين .

    It is said that a child came across a caravan being led by the Prophet. When his mother saw them she came running, crying, "My child! My child." She was afraid that they would trample him. She snatched him and hurried away. Upon this some of the Companions remarked: "Messenger of Allah! It is not expected of this woman that she will throw her child into fire." The Prophet replied: "No by Allah. He will not cast His beloved ones into the Fire" (Ibn Kathir, Shawkani).

    يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ قَدْ جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولُنَا يُبَيِّنُ لَكُمْ عَلَىٰ فَتْرَةٍ مِنَ الرُّسُلِ أَنْ تَقُولُوا مَا جَاءَنَا مِنْ بَشِيرٍ وَلَا نَذِيرٍ ۖ فَقَدْ جَاءَكُمْ بَشِيرٌ وَنَذِيرٌ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ (19)

    5|19| People of the Book! Our Messenger has come to you now making manifest (the Truth) to you - after a break in the (series of) Messengers:77 lest you should say, ‘No one - neither one bearing good tidings nor a warner - ever came to us.' Now, one bearing good tidings and a warner has come to you. And Allah has power over all things.

    77. The word in the original for break is "fatrah." It is that period between which there is no Prophet among a people; or, in other words, the interval between two Prophets.
    The break, according to Salman al-Farsi's opinion in Bukhari, between our Prophet and Jesus Christ, lasted 600 years, during which no Prophet was commissioned. A hadith of the Sahihayn reports the Prophet as having said: "I am closest to ‘Isa. And prophets are of the same father. And, there was no Prophet between us." As for the three mentioned in Surah Yasin, they were messengers of ‘Isa sent to a town as his representatives. As regards Khalid b. Sinan, Shihab has said that he was sent before ‘Isa (asws). Further, the report in connection with Ibn Sinan's daughter meeting the Prophet, mentions her as his daughter only in the figurative sense and not real (Ruh, Bayan).

    وَإِذْ قَالَ مُوسَىٰ لِقَوْمِهِ يَا قَوْمِ اذْكُرُوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ جَعَلَ فِيكُمْ أَنْبِيَاءَ وَجَعَلَكُمْ مُلُوكًا وَآتَاكُمْ مَا لَمْ يُؤْتِ أَحَدًا مِنَ الْعَالَمِينَ (20)

    5|20| And when Musa told his people: ‘My people! Remember the favors of Allah upon you, (such as) when He made Prophets from among you,78 made you kings79 and gave you what He gave no one else of the worlds.80

    78. The verse implies that to be of the family of the righteous is a blessing of Allah that one must be thankful for. But, there is no room for pride and bragging (Thanwi).

    79. "I.e., masters of your own selves. A "malik" is not necessarily a king. He may be anybody possessing dominion, authority, or even independence" (Majid).
    Shawkani also writes on the same lines: "It has been said that since, after a long spell of slavery at the hands of Fir`awn's folk, the Israelites were led to freedom by Musa (asws) to be once again in full command of their affairs, their state of freedom was referred to as kingship."
    Asad has written: "According to most of the commentators (e.g. Tabari, Zamakhshari, Razi), the "kingship" of the Israelites is a metaphorical allusion to their freedom and independence after their Egyptian bondage, the term "king" being equivalent here to "a free man who is master of his own affairs" (Manar VI, 323f.), and can, therefore, adopt any way of life he chooses."
    Ibn `Abbas, Hakam, Mujahid and others have however said that whoever possesses a wife, a house and a servant is a king, and it is in this sense that the word has been used here. It is reported of `Abdullah b. `Amr that someone asked him: "Are we not the destitute Muhajirun (that the Qur'an has mentioned in 59: 8)?" He asked him: "Do you have a wife that you seek comfort with?" He said: "Yes." He asked him: "Do you have a house?" The man replied: "Yes." `Abdullah told him: "Then you are a rich man." The man said: "I have a servant too." `Abdullah replied: "Then you are a king" (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir). The report is in Muslim (Qurtubi). And the Prophet has said (in a hadith of Ibn Majah: H.Ibrahim):

    مَنْ أَصْبَحَ مِنْكُمْ آمِنًا فِي سِرْبِهِ مُعَافًى فِي جَسَدِهِ عِنْدَهُ قُوتُ يَوْمِهِ فَكَأَنَّمَا حِيزَتْ لَهُ الدُّنْيَا قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ غَرِيبٌ

    "Whoever woke up in the morning peaceful with himself, hale and hearty, and has enough provision for the day, then as if he has been given the whole of the world" (Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir).
    The hadith is also in Tirmidhi and is of hasan status (S. Ibrahim).

    80. Such as Mann, Salwa, shelter from the sun, water out of a rock, etc. (Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid: Ibn Jarir).

    يَا قَوْمِ ادْخُلُوا الْأَرْضَ الْمُقَدَّسَةَ الَّتِي كَتَبَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَلَا تَرْتَدُّوا عَلَىٰ أَدْبَارِكُمْ فَتَنْقَلِبُوا خَاسِرِينَ (21)

    5|21| My people! Enter the holy land81 which Allah has prescribed for you,82 and turn not around, else you will be turning losers.'

    81. Yusuf Ali beautifully summarizes the background incidents as in the Bible: "We have now come to the events detailed in the 13th and 14th chapters of the Book of Numbers in the Old Testament. Read these as a Commentary, and examine a good map of the Sinai Peninsula, showing its connections with Egypt on the west, North-West Arabia on the east, and Palestine on the north-east. We may suppose that Israel crossed from Egypt into the Peninsula somewhere near the northern extremity of the Gulf of Suez. Moses organized and numbered the people, and instituted priesthood. They went south about 200 miles to Mount Sinai where the Torah was received. Then, perhaps a hundred and fifty miles north was the desert of Paran, close to the southern borders of Canaan. From the camp there, twelve men were sent to spy out the land, and they penetrated as far as Hebron, say about 150 miles north of their camp, about 20 miles south of the future Jerusalem. They saw a rich country, and brought from it pomegranates and figs and a bunch of grapes so heavy that it had to be carried by two men on a staff. They came back and reported that the land was rich, but the men there were too strong for them. The people of Israel had no courage and no faith, and Moses remonstrated with them."

    82. Qatadah and Suddi have said that "kataba" of the original is in the sense of a command, i.e., "(Allah has) ordered you (to fight your way through and enter the land)" - Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir, Shawkani.
    That is, it is in the same sense as (2: 183) "kutiba ‘alykum al-siyamu", i.e., "Fasts have been prescribed for you." Yet, other commentators have said that the allusion might be to the promise made to Ibrahim that the land of Palestine would be given to his progeny. Such a promise, however, is not to be found in the present day Torah. The best that can be got of the Torah are the words of Genesis: "Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your descendants I will give this land.'" (12: 7) Abram is presumably Abraham. The earlier verses are however, speaking of the land in which the Canaanites lived: people of an obscure territory who never occupied the whole of the Palestine at any time. Finally, Abraham's progeny include the Isma`lites (Au.).

    قَالُوا يَا مُوسَىٰ إِنَّ فِيهَا قَوْمًا جَبَّارِينَ وَإِنَّا لَنْ نَدْخُلَهَا حَتَّىٰ يَخْرُجُوا مِنْهَا فَإِنْ يَخْرُجُوا مِنْهَا فَإِنَّا دَاخِلُونَ (22)

    5|22| They said, ‘O Musa! Therein are a people of mighty strength.83 We shall never enter it until they leave it. But if they leave it, then we shall enter.'84

    83. Ibn Kathir rejects the story (in Ibn Jarir and others) as untrustworthy that reports Mujahid and Suddi as saying that the Amalekites (or Canaanites) were of such gigantic size as to reduce the Israelites to Lilliputian size. But it is possible that when the 12 chieftains brought in the reports of the impressive physical stature of the Canaanites, the Israelites blew the description out of all proportions. And those reports might have lingered among the Israelites acquiring the fairy tale status which Mujahid and Suddi were re-narrating (Au.).
    Majid quotes what the Israelites had to report: ‘We will not be able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we ... The land ... is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof, and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants; and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight' (Nu. 13: 31-33).
    Majid also quotes Rawlinson from his Moses, His Life and Times: ‘The Amalekites were ... exceedingly warlike, well-armed, and fairly disciplined, having been long accustomed to hold their own against the surrounding nations, with whom they had frequent collisions.'

    84. It is said that unduly scared by the reports of the chieftains, the Israelites began to moan and even to contemplate returning to Egypt (Ibn Jarir).
    The Torah says: "Then all the congregation raised a loud cry; and the people wept that night. And all the people of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron; the whole congregation said to them, "Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why does the lord bring us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey; would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?" (Nu. 14: 1-4) - Au.

    قَالَ رَجُلَانِ مِنَ الَّذِينَ يَخَافُونَ أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمَا ادْخُلُوا عَلَيْهِمُ الْبَابَ فَإِذَا دَخَلْتُمُوهُ فَإِنَّكُمْ غَالِبُونَ ۚ وَعَلَى اللَّهِ فَتَوَكَّلُوا إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُؤْمِنِينَ (23)

    5|23| Two people,85 of those who feared Allah, and whom Allah had blessed, said, ‘Assault them at the gate. Once you are in, you will be the victors. And place your trust in Allah if you are believers.'86

    85. Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Suddi, and others have said that the two were: Yusha` b. Nun and Kalib b. Yuqanna (Ibn Jarir).

    86. That is, prepare yourself to the best of possibility, but do not depend on the material means, rather have trust in Allah (Alusi).
    The Bible confirms the remonstration of the two with their people. Majid quotes: ‘And Joshua ... and Caleb ... rent their clothes: And they spoke unto all the company of the children of Israel saying ... Only rebel not ye against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us; their defence is departed from them, and the Lord is with us; fear then not. But all the congregation bade stone them with stones' (Nu. 14: 6-10).

    قَالُوا يَا مُوسَىٰ إِنَّا لَنْ نَدْخُلَهَا أَبَدًا مَا دَامُوا فِيهَا ۖ فَاذْهَبْ أَنْتَ وَرَبُّكَ فَقَاتِلَا إِنَّا هَاهُنَا قَاعِدُونَ (24)

    5|24| They replied, ‘Musa! We shall not set foot in it, so long as they are there. Go forth, you and your Lord, and the two of you fight. We shall remain seated right here.'87

    87. In contrast, when Muslims were prevented at Hudaybiyyah from entering into Makkah and perform ‘Umrah and the news spread of the murder of `Uthman's b. `Affan, the Prophet tried to ascertain the support of his Companions. Miqdad b. al-Aswad, spoke out the minds of the Ansar and Muhajirun when he said: "We do not say what the Israelites said, ‘Go, you and your Lord, and the two of you fight them. We shall remain seated right here.' Rather, we say, ‘Go, you and your Lord, and fight them. We are right with you'" (Ibn Jarir). It is widely reported, including a report in Bukhari, that Miqdad al-Aswad had replied similarly when the Prophet had sought the consent of the Ansar whether to fight or not the Makkans at Badr (Ibn Kathir).
    In his usual subtle style and mild manner, Shabbir censures the Ummah al-Muslimah of today. He writes: "Keep these set of verses before you and consider the situation of the Muslim Ummah today. Allah favored this Ummah as He favored none before, and will none ever after. He raised a Messenger among them who was the Final Messenger bearing a final message. He raised up among them such scholars as, although not prophets, gave the peoples of the world lessons in morals and ways of organized life. (Just as the Israelites) this Ummah was also commanded to wage jihad, not against the Amalekites alone, rather, against all the tyrants of the world; not merely to subdue the Syrian region, rather to raise high the Word of Allah and uproot shirk from all parts of the world. The Israelites were promised the holy land. But to the Ummah the promise was (24: 55): ‘Allah promises those of you who believe and do good deeds that He shall grant them inheritance of the earth as He granted inheritance to those who went before, and shall establish the religion for them that He approves of and shall change their fear to peace...' If Allah had forbidden the Israelites from turning their backs from jihad, then He also addressed this Ummah in words (8: 15): ‘Believers! When you meet the unbelievers in a hostile encounter, do not turn away showing your backs to them.' The Israelites however said to their Prophet: "Go forth, you and your Lord, and the two of you fight (them)." But the Companions of the Prophet told him: ‘By Allah. If you ask us to rush into the waves of the oceans, we shall do that, not one of us will back out...' The result was that in a period less than that which the Israelites spent wandering in the Sinai, the followers of Muhammad pitched the flags of guidance in the East and the West: "Allah was pleased with them and they with Him. That (reward), for those who fear their Lord (98: 8)."

    قَالَ رَبِّ إِنِّي لَا أَمْلِكُ إِلَّا نَفْسِي وَأَخِي ۖ فَافْرُقْ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَ الْقَوْمِ الْفَاسِقِينَ (25)

    5|25| Musa said, ‘O my Lord! I have no power over anybody except myself and my brother. Therefore, judge between us and (these) wicked people.'88

    88. The translation of "faf-ruq" follows the interpretation of Ibn `Abbas as in Ibn Jarir (Au.).

    قَالَ فَإِنَّهَا مُحَرَّمَةٌ عَلَيْهِمْ ۛ أَرْبَعِينَ سَنَةً ۛ يَتِيهُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ ۚ فَلَا تَأْسَ عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْفَاسِقِينَ (26)

    5|26| (Allah) said, ‘Then it shall remain forbidden unto them for forty years,89 (during which time) they shall wander in the land.90 Therefore, grieve not for a people wicked.'91

    89. Accordingly, Ibn `Abbas and Qatadah have said that none survived who was above twenty, including Musa and Harun, peace upon them. It was Yusha` b. al-Nun who was appointed a Prophet after them and it is he who led the new generation into the lands of Palestine (Ibn Jarir).
    Majid writes: "The wandering lasted, according to Sir Charles Marston's computation, from 1440 to 1400 B.C."
    The Torah records: ‘And the Lord said to Moses and to Aaron, "How long shall this wicked congregation murmur against me? ... Say to them, ‘As I live,' says the Lord, ‘what you have said in my hearing I will do to you; your dead bodies shall fall in the wilderness; and all of your number, numbered from twenty year old ... shall come into the land ... And your children shall be shepherd in the wilderness forty years ..." (Nu. 14: 26: 30) - (Au.)
    Further, the punishment matched their insolence. The Israelites had said scornfully, ‘We shall remain seated here,' therefore, the punishment to them was that they remained where they were, unable to leave the desert and settle into a town" (Au.).

    90. Here Imam Razi raises a doubt. Although the commentators have said that the Israelites wandered aimlessly in the Sinai, without finding a way out, it is not very convincing that that should have happened. Had they simply followed the sun they would have come out of the desert. Therefore, he says, it is possible that the "forbidding" of the original was a religious command, i.e., it is possible that the Israelites were banned from entering the land of Palestine.
    Yet another possibility is that although the Israelites could follow the sun and march eastward, they could not be very sure of the exact point at which they would arrive without first determining the geographical location of the place they were in on any given day. After all, from the Sinai they were facing the whole of the 400 km border line of the Syrian region. And that region was divided into several petty states, each well fortified and well defended by its people - the Canaanites, Amalekites, Philistines and others - who were all well known for their ferocity.
    Therefore, without being sure of the point at which they would arrive, the Israelites could not venture in any direction, without the risk of arriving at a point where they would come face to face with a hostile people that would slaughter them with little effort. Safety of the desert would have been better for a people, who were in no mood to fight for a land they thought Yahweh should have gifted them. Therefore, they had to wait until the various kingdoms broke down into fragments, with each town declaring its independence. That obviously facilitated the subjugation of the area. Town after town fell to the Israeli onslaught, as depicted in the book entitled Joshua of the Old Testament (Au.).
    Muslim has a report that, according to some of the Salaf, (as stated in Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir and some others), is referring to Yusha` b. Nun. Abu Hurayrah says the Prophet (saws) said (in a hadith shortened here):

    عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ غَزَا نَبِيٌّ مِنْ الْأَنْبِيَاءِ فَقَالَ لِقَوْمِهِ لَا يَتْبَعْنِي رَجُلٌ مَلَكَ بُضْعَ امْرَأَةٍ وَهُوَ يُرِيدُ أَنْ يَبْنِيَ بِهَا وَلَمَّا يَبْنِ بِهَا وَلَا أَحَدٌ بَنَى بُيُوتًا وَلَمْ يَرْفَعْ سُقُوفَهَا وَلَا أَحَدٌ اشْتَرَى غَنَمًا أَوْ خَلِفَاتٍ وَهُوَ يَنْتَظِرُ وِلَادَهَا فَغَزَا فَدَنَا مِنْ الْقَرْيَةِ صَلَاةَ الْعَصْرِ أَوْ قَرِيبًا مِنْ ذَلِكَ فَقَالَ لِلشَّمْسِ إِنَّكِ مَأْمُورَةٌ وَأَنَا مَأْمُورٌ اللَّهُمَّ احْبِسْهَا عَلَيْنَا فَحُبِسَتْ حَتَّى فَتَحَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ فَجَمَعَ الْغَنَائِمَ فَجَاءَتْ يَعْنِي النَّارَ لِتَأْكُلَهَا فَلَمْ تَطْعَمْهَا فَقَالَ إِنَّ فِيكُمْ غُلُولًا فَلْيُبَايِعْنِي مِنْ كُلِّ قَبِيلَةٍ رَجُلٌ فَلَزِقَتْ يَدُ رَجُلٍ بِيَدِهِ فَقَالَ فِيكُمْ الْغُلُولُ فَلْيُبَايِعْنِي قَبِيلَتُكَ فَلَزِقَتْ يَدُ رَجُلَيْنِ أَوْ ثَلَاثَةٍ بِيَدِهِ فَقَالَ فِيكُمْ الْغُلُولُ فَجَاءُوا بِرَأْسٍ مِثْلِ رَأْسِ بَقَرَةٍ مِنْ الذَّهَبِ فَوَضَعُوهَا فَجَاءَتْ النَّارُ فَأَكَلَتْهَا ثُمَّ أَحَلَّ اللَّهُ لَنَا الْغَنَائِمَ رَأَى ضَعْفَنَا وَعَجْزَنَا فَأَحَلَّهَا لَنَا.

    "One of the Prophets went out in a campaign. He reached a town at ‘Asr time or thereabout. He addressed the sun in words, ‘You are commissioned and I am commissioned. O Allah hold it for me for a couple of hours.' Accordingly, the sun was held stationary for some time until he captured the town. Then they gathered the booty (and offered it to the heavenly fire for consumption). The fire (appeared, but) would not consume it. He said, ‘One of you is a deceiver.' Then he ordered that a representative of every tribe give his hand into his in turns. One of them stuck to his. He said, ‘The deceiver is from your tribe. Therefore, bring up everyone.' When the tribesmen placed their hands in his, in turns, two or three of them got stuck to his. He said, ‘You have deceived.' So they brought out what they had stolen of the booty. It was gold the size of a sheep's head. It was placed with the booty which was lying in the field. The fire descended and consumed it all. This is because booty was not lawful unto anyone before us. It has been made lawful to us alone because of the weakness that Allah observed in us and so made it lawful to us."
    And the reason why the Prophet in question had requested delaying of the sunset is that it was a Friday. Had evening set in, they would have entered into Saturday - the day of Sabbath. They would then have had to cease fighting (Ibn Kathir). Accordingly, the commentators of the Qur'an as well as of the hadith quoted above, guess that it was an Israeli Prophet, and most likely it was Yusha`. But the hadith itself does not specify him. The story is in the Bible too (Joshua 10: 12-14), but it alleges there that the Sun stayed in the sky for a whole day (Au.).

    91. Although Musa had himself asked for a punishment, he had not expected it to be so severe. Therefore, he felt aggrieved when the judgment was announced, which explains these words of consolation (Ibn Jarir).
    It has also been said that although it was much inconvenient for the Israelites to be wandering in the desert, the sojourn was made easy for Musa and Harun so that it turned out to be no punishment for them (Razi, Qurtubi and others). Thanwi adds that in fact it must have been a pleasure for Musa and Harun to be with them since they were there to guide those people, and all efforts toward such objectives are a pleasurable reward in themselves.

    The Relationship
    The incident of the two sons of Adam seems to be directly connected with verse 11 which said, "Believers! Recall the favors of Allah that He bestowed upon you ..." until the end of the verse. With the incident of the two sons they are now being told, ‘If the people of the Book are envious of you, O Muslims, and respond with machinations, deceptions and conspiracies, it is nothing new in the history of man. The first murder in fact took place because of envy.'
    The story also implies that the Jews and Christians opposing Islam would end up a regretters. Also, the Jews and Christians used to proudly link themselves to great historical figures, in which vein they would claim, as in verse 18 above, "We are the children of God." Allah tells them that even Qabil was the son of a virtuous man and a Prophet, but stood condemned because of his evil deed (Based on Razi's notes).
    Further, in the injunction concerning highway robbers, and their exemplary punishment that follows immediately (verse 30), is the implied meaning that those who wage war against a Prophet and his message, are equal in crime with them (Au.).

    وَاتْلُ عَلَيْهِمْ نَبَأَ ابْنَيْ آدَمَ بِالْحَقِّ إِذْ قَرَّبَا قُرْبَانًا فَتُقُبِّلَ مِنْ أَحَدِهِمَا وَلَمْ يُتَقَبَّلْ مِنَ الْآخَرِ قَالَ لَأَقْتُلَنَّكَ ۖ قَالَ إِنَّمَا يَتَقَبَّلُ اللَّهُ مِنَ الْمُتَّقِينَ (27)

    5|27| And narrate to them with truth92 the story of the two sons of Adam when they made an offering.93 It was accepted of one of them and not accepted of the other. He threatened, ‘I'll surely kill you.' The other replied, ‘Allah accepts only of the godfearing.94

    92. While, on the one hand, the addition of the words "with truth" is to emphasize the accuracy of the story narrated, Allah has, on the other hand, by adding similar words at every place where historical stories have been narrated, taught us that when narrating history we too have to be precise, narrating only that which can be proved as authentic. Addition of a few innocent words can sometimes change the direction of the whole story or rob it of its admonitory aspect (Ma`arif).
    Majid adds: "`With truth' is added to distinguish the story as related here from its corrupted form in the OT."
    The narration in the Bible is in Genesis vi, 1 16 (Au.).

    93. It is widely reported of Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Abbas, Murrah, and several other Companions of the Prophet that with every pregnancy Hawwa' gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl. Adam married off the girl of one birth to the boy of another, and vice versa. Two of his sons were called Qabil and Habil (Cain and Abel of the Bible), the former being elder. Adam ordered Habil to marry Qabil's sister and Qabil the sister of Habil. But, because the girl born along with Qabil was prettier, he refused to marry Habil's sister, rather wanted to marry the girl that was with him in the womb. Adam told him that she, having being with him in the womb, was not lawful to him. But he insisted. They decided to present an offering each to Allah to check whose would be accepted. Now those very days Adam was ordered by Allah to make his first visit to the House of Allah at Makkah. He took promise from Qabil that he would look after the family in his absence. The two sons decided to present their offerings. Habil was a shepherd and he presented the best of sheep he had. Qabil tended farms and presented the worst kind of vegetables he could lay his hands on. The fire descended and consumed the sheep but left the vegetables untouched. This angered Qabil who threatened him with death (Shortened). Similar reports have come from `Ali ibn abi Talib, ‘Atiyyah, Qatadah, Mujahid and others. (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    Ibn Kathir and Suyuti in his Al-Durr al-Manthur (Shawkani) have said that the chain of narrators is reliable. However, there is no hadith confirming the above (Au.).
    It is said that Qabil presented a rotten offering because the results did not matter to him. He was bent upon marrying the girl anyway (Razi).

    94. It is said that when people found ‘Amir b. `Abdullah crying at his death bed, they reminded him that he had spent his life devoted to Allah's worship. He replied, "The verse, ‘Allah accepts only of the godfearing' troubles me."
    Ibn Mas`ud has said, "If I knew for sure that any of my good deed has been accepted by Allah, that would be dearer to me than an earth weight of gold."
    `Umar ibn `Abdul ‘Aziz wrote to someone: "I admonish you to observe taqwa, without which no deed is accepted by Allah. And none deserve mercy and kindness, save the people of taqwa. There are many who use these words for sermonizing the people, but few who observe it in their lives" (Ma`arif).
    Thanwi adds: The verse implies that to speak of one's religious achievements by way of thanks, and not by way of pride, is permissible.

    لَئِنْ بَسَطْتَ إِلَيَّ يَدَكَ لِتَقْتُلَنِي مَا أَنَا بِبَاسِطٍ يَدِيَ إِلَيْكَ لِأَقْتُلَكَ ۖ إِنِّي أَخَافُ اللَّهَ رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ (28)

    5|28| If you stretch your hand against me to kill me, I shall not lift mine to kill you.95 I fear Allah the Lord of the worlds.

    95. `Abdullah ibn `Umar has said that a man those days was prohibited from killing another even in self defense (Ibn Jarir). Although, adds Razi, the same opinion has been reported of Mujahid, Habil's statement could also mean, "I shall not be the first to stretch my hands against you, despite your threats." And therefore, being the weaker of the two, Qabil waited until he found him asleep in a remote place with his head on a stone. He dropped a rock on his head.
    Qurtubi writes: We of this Ummah have been allowed self defense, even if it means killing the attacker. Nonetheless, the question has been asked: is it obligatory to defend oneself, or should one act like the son of Adam? The answer is that it is obligatory to defend oneself. It is only in times of tribulation and general disorder that one might remain passive, from the fear of falling into a fitnah (e.g., what `Uthman did: Au).
    As for the legality of self defense, the Sahihayn have Abu Hurayrah narrating that a man came to the Prophet and enquired:

    يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَرَأَيْتَ إِنْ جَاءَ رَجُلٌ يُرِيدُ أَخْذَ مَالِى قَالَ « فَلاَ تُعْطِهِ مَالَكَ ». قَالَ أَرَأَيْتَ إِنْ قَاتَلَنِى قَالَ « قَاتِلْهُ ». قَالَ أَرَأَيْتَ إِنْ قَتَلَنِى قَالَ « فَأَنْتَ شَهِيدٌ ». قَالَ أَرَأَيْتَ إِنْ قَتَلْتُهُ قَالَ « هُوَ فِى النَّارِ ».

    "Messenger of Allah! What have you to say if someone wants to take away my wealth by force?" He replied: "Do not let him take away your wealth." He asked: "What if he attacks me?" He replied: "Fight him." He asked: "What if he kills me?" He replied: "You are a martyr." He asked: "What if I kill him?" The Prophet replied: "He is in the Fire."

    إِنِّي أُرِيدُ أَنْ تَبُوءَ بِإِثْمِي وَإِثْمِكَ فَتَكُونَ مِنْ أَصْحَابِ النَّارِ ۚ وَذَٰلِكَ جَزَاءُ الظَّالِمِينَ (29)

    5|29| Rather, I wish that you add on my sin96 to your sins and end up a companion of the Fire.97 And that is the recompense of the transgressors.'98

    96. `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Abbas, Murrah and several other Companions have said that Habil was alluding to the sin that Qabil would earn by murdering him and to the sins he had previously earned (Ibn Jarir, Razi and others).

    97. Ibn `Abbas has said that with these words he meant to, in addition, warn Qabil of the consequence of his murder (Ibn Kathir).

    98. `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud has reported the Prophet as saying:

    لَا تُقْتَلُ نَفْسٌ ظُلْمًا إِلَّا كَانَ عَلَى ابْنِ آدَمَ الْأَوَّلِ كِفْلٌ مِنْ دَمِهَا وَذَلِكَ لِأَنَّهُ أَوَّلُ مَنْ سَنَّ الْقَتْلَ

    "No innocent person is ever killed but a part of the sin is laid on the son of Adam; because he was the first to set up the example." The hadith is in all the six books except Abu Da'ud (Ibn Kathir).
    In another report of the Sahihayn, the Prophet said:

    « إِذَا تَوَاجَهَ الْمُسْلِمَانِ بِسَيْفَيْهِمَا فَالْقَاتِلُ وَالْمَقْتُولُ فِى النَّارِ ». قَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ هَذَا الْقَاتِلُ فَمَا بَالُ الْمَقْتُولِ قَالَ « إِنَّهُ أَرَادَ قَتْلَ صَاحِبِهِ »

    "When two Muslims face one another with their swords, then the killer and the killed are both in the Fire." He was asked: "Messenger of Allah, the killer we can understand, but what about the killed?" He replied: "He was (equally) prepared to kill the other man."
    Ahmad has another hadith which Sa`d ibn abi Waqqas narrated at the time of the insurrection during the time of `Uthman. It reports the Prophet as having said:

    إِنَّهَا سَتَكُونُ فِتْنَةٌ الْقَاعِدُ فِيهَا خَيْرٌ مِنْ الْقَائِمِ وَالْقَائِمُ خَيْرٌ مِنْ الْمَاشِي وَالْمَاشِي خَيْرٌ مِنْ السَّاعِي قَالَ أَفَرَأَيْتَ إِنْ دَخَلَ عَلَيَّ بَيْتِي فَبَسَطَ يَدَهُ إِلَيَّ لِيَقْتُلَنِي قَالَ كُنْ كَابْنِ آدَمَ

    "Soon there will be tribulations when the one sitting will be better than the one standing, the one standing better than the one walking, and the one walking better than the one striving." (Sa`d ibn `Abbas) asked: "What happens if a man enters my house and stretches his hand against me to kill me?" The Prophet replied: "Be like one of the two sons of Adam" (i.e., do not fight back).
    In another hadith, that can be found in Muslim, Abu Da'ud, Nasa'i and Ahmad, Abu Dharr says he was the pillion rider of the Prophet's donkey when he asked him:

    يَا أَبَا ذَرٍّ أَرَأَيْتَ إِنْ أَصَابَ النَّاسَ جُوعٌ شَدِيدٌ لَا تَسْتَطِيعُ أَنْ تَقُومَ مِنْ فِرَاشِكَ إِلَى مَسْجِدِكَ كَيْفَ تَصْنَعُ قَالَ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَعْلَمُ قَالَ تَعَفَّفْ قَالَ يَا أَبَا ذَرٍّ أَرَأَيْتَ إِنْ أَصَابَ النَّاسَ مَوْتٌ شَدِيدٌ يَكُونُ الْبَيْتُ فِيهِ بِالْعَبْدِ يَعْنِي الْقَبْرَ كَيْفَ تَصْنَعُ قُلْتُ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَعْلَمُ قَالَ اصْبِرْ قَالَ يَا أَبَا ذَرٍّ أَرَأَيْتَ إِنْ قَتَلَ النَّاسُ بَعْضُهُمْ بَعْضًا يَعْنِي حَتَّى تَغْرَقَ حِجَارَةُ الزَّيْتِ مِنْ الدِّمَاءِ كَيْفَ تَصْنَعُ قَالَ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَعْلَمُ قَالَ اقْعُدْ فِي بَيْتِكَ وَأَغْلِقْ عَلَيْكَ بَابَكَ قَالَ فَإِنْ لَمْ أُتْرَكْ قَالَ فَأْتِ مَنْ أَنْتَ مِنْهُمْ فَكُنْ فِيهِمْ قَالَ فَآخُذُ سِلَاحِي قَالَ إِذَنْ تُشَارِكَهُمْ فِيمَا هُمْ فِيهِ وَلَكِنْ إِنْ خَشِيتَ أَنْ يَرُوعَكَ شُعَاعُ السَّيْفِ فَأَلْقِ طَرَفَ رِدَائِكَ عَلَى وَجْهِكَ حَتَّى يَبُوءَ بِإِثْمِهِ وَإِثْمِكَ

    "Abu Dharr! What if starvation strikes the people to the extent that you are not able to get up and walk to the mosque? What will you do?" Abu Dharr replied: "Allah and His Messenger know better." He said: "Abstain (from asking)." He asked: "Abu Dharr! What if death strikes the people so that homes turn into graveyards? What will you do?" Abu Dharr replied: "Allah and Messenger know better." He said: "Observe patience." Then he asked: "Abu Dharr! What if people start killing each other so that grinding stones are filled in blood? What will you do?" Abu Dharr replied: "Allah and His Messenger know better." He said: "Remain in your house and lock the door from within." He asked: "What if I am not left alone?" He replied: "Then go to the people you belong to and be with them." Abu Dharr asked: "Should I bear arms?" He replied: "Then you will be one of the participants. Rather, if you fear the shine of the sword then throw a corner of your shroud over your face in order that (the assaulter kills you and) bears your sins and his sins" (Ibn Kathir).
    Ahadith of similar meaning have been reported by Abu Bakr, Sa`d ibn abi Waqqas, Ibn Mas`ud, Abu Hurayrah, Khabbab b. al Art and Abu Waqid (Shawkani).

    فَطَوَّعَتْ لَهُ نَفْسُهُ قَتْلَ أَخِيهِ فَقَتَلَهُ فَأَصْبَحَ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ (30)

    5|30| Thereupon99 his self drove him to the murder of his brother. So he murdered him,100 and became of the losers.

    99. Qabil knew from his words that Habil was not even going to bother himself with self defense. That made it easier for him to resolve on his murder. Hence the "fa" of the Qur'an rendered as "thereupon" (Based on Bayan).

    100. Most of the early commentators have said that he murdered him by dropping a rock over his head as he slept with his head over a stone (Ibn Jarir).

    فَبَعَثَ اللَّهُ غُرَابًا يَبْحَثُ فِي الْأَرْضِ لِيُرِيَهُ كَيْفَ يُوَارِي سَوْءَةَ أَخِيهِ ۚ قَالَ يَا وَيْلَتَا أَعَجَزْتُ أَنْ أَكُونَ مِثْلَ هَٰذَا الْغُرَابِ فَأُوَارِيَ سَوْءَةَ أَخِي ۖ فَأَصْبَحَ مِنَ النَّادِمِينَ (31)

    5|31| Then Allah sent a raven101 that scratched the ground to show him how he could conceal his brother's corpse.102 He said, ‘Woe to me!' was I incapable of even being equal to this raven to conceal my brother's corpse?!'103 And he turned a regretter.104

    101. It is noticed of the ravens that they make a big hue and cry when they notice the carcass of another raven (Shabbir).

    102. Although the word in the original is "saw'ah" which means the private part of a person, male or female, it is generally understood that here it is the dead body that is meant (Ibn Jarir). The word "saw'ah" has perhaps been used because the whole of a dead body is "`awrah" that should be shrouded in coffin cloth and buried (Rashid).

    103. `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Abbas, Murrah and several other Companions have said that since that was the first ever death, Qabil did not know how to dispose off the corpse. Therefore Allah sent two ravens that fought each other, one of them killing the other. The raven then dug a hole in the ground and hid the corpse of the dead raven. Qabil followed the example.

    104. This proves that not every regretter or remorseful person is also a repentant (Thanwi).

    مِنْ أَجْلِ ذَٰلِكَ كَتَبْنَا عَلَىٰ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ أَنَّهُ مَنْ قَتَلَ نَفْسًا بِغَيْرِ نَفْسٍ أَوْ فَسَادٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَكَأَنَّمَا قَتَلَ النَّاسَ جَمِيعًا وَمَنْ أَحْيَاهَا فَكَأَنَّمَا أَحْيَا النَّاسَ جَمِيعًا ۚ وَلَقَدْ جَاءَتْهُمْ رُسُلُنَا بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ ثُمَّ إِنَّ كَثِيرًا مِنْهُمْ بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ فِي الْأَرْضِ لَمُسْرِفُونَ (32)

    5|32| On that account, We prescribed for the Children of Israel, that whosoever killed a soul not for retaliation of another, or for spreading disorder in the land, as if killed the whole of the mankind. And whosoever saved a life as if saved the life of the whole of mankind.105 And Our messengers came to them with definite signs, yet, notwithstanding that, many of them thereafter remained committing excesses in the land.106

    105. Although the literal meaning of ahya is to give life, or revive, the meaning given by Ibn `Abbas for "ahya" at this point is, "one who restrained another from killing," but Mujahid has generalized it to mean anyone who saved another from death, such as saved someone from drowning, from getting burnt, or the like (Ibn Jarir).
    Abu Hurayrah has reported that (during the time `Uthman was besieged in his house) he entered upon him and told him: "Leader of the faithful! I have come to defend you. And surely you have a right to strike." He replied: "No, Abu Hurayrah. Would it please you that you kill all the people with me along with them?" I said: "No." He said: "If you kill one man, it is like killing all the people. Therefore, go away, freely, rewarded (for your good intention) without any sin upon you." Abu Hurayrah says: "So I left, and did not confront the besiegers" (Ibn Kathir).

    106. Yusuf Ali writes: "The story of Cain (Qabil) is referred to in a few graphic details in order to tell the story of Israel. Israel rebelled against Allah, slew and insulted righteous men who did them no harm but on the contrary came in all humility. When Allah withdrew His favor from Israel because of its sins and bestowed it on a brother nation, the jealousy of Israel plunged it deeper into sin..."

    إِنَّمَا جَزَاءُ الَّذِينَ يُحَارِبُونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَيَسْعَوْنَ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَسَادًا أَنْ يُقَتَّلُوا أَوْ يُصَلَّبُوا أَوْ تُقَطَّعَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَأَرْجُلُهُمْ مِنْ خِلَافٍ أَوْ يُنْفَوْا مِنَ الْأَرْضِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ لَهُمْ خِزْيٌ فِي الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَلَهُمْ فِي الْآخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ (33)

    5|33| Indeed, the punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger,107 and strive to spread disorder in the land108 is that they be slaughtered, or crucified, or their hands and feet be severed from the opposite sides, or be exiled from the land.109 This is their ignominy in this life, and for them is a mighty chastisement (in the Hereafter).

    107. To flout the rules of the Shari`ah, to disobey the Messenger sent by Allah, to destroy peace of the people and to cast terror into their hearts is a declaration of war against Allah (who disapproves of such acts) and against His Messenger (who is sent to work for peace) Au.

    108. Ibn `Abbas and Dahhak have said that some Jews had entered into a treaty with the Prophet, but broke it, causing corruption and disorder and, therefore, Allah revealed these verses. But `Ikrimah and Hasan al Busri have said that the allusion is to some pagans. Yet others, such as Anas, Qatadah and Suddi have said that the reference is to the particular incident of the people of ‘Uraynah who visited Madinah, embraced Islam, complained of sicknesses, were sent by the Prophet to the outskirts of Madinah for recuperation, but, as soon as they had recovered, they blinded the eyes of a Muslim looking after the cattle of Madinah, murdered him, escaped with the cattle, were given a chase and, finally, captured. This verse was revealed in connection with that incident. The Prophet punished them by blinding them, cutting off their alternative limbs and abandoned them lying in the desert until they died. However, whatever the cause of revelation, according to Qatadah, ‘Ata' Khurasani (and the great majority of scholars: Qurtubi) the punishment stated here is applicable to Muslim highway robbers and their like (Ibn Jarir, Razi and others). The hadith is well reported, including by Bukhari and Muslim. And some reports state that the criminals were eight in number (Ibn Kathir). Reports suggest that it took place in 6 A.H. (Qurtubi).

    109. The Salaf have differed over the exact implication; but the general consensus is over what Ibn `Abbas has said, which is as follows. If a man attacks the wayfarers, he is the one waging war. If he kills and plunders he should be crucified (for one to three days) and then killed (by firing, or stabbing in the stomach etc.). If he kills but does not plunder he is to be killed but not crucified. If he plunders but does not kill, his limbs should be severed from opposite sides (i.e., the right hand from the wrist and left foot from the ankle: Bayan). If he threatens the security of the way and is captured before he commits any of the above then he is to be banished (Razi). Abu Mijlaz, Sa`id ibn Jubayr, Ibrahim Nakha`i, Hasan, Qatadah, Suddi and ‘Ata' are with Ibn `Abbas in this opinion (Ibn Kathir). In fact, if some kill, and others do not, then too all of them should be given the punishment as stated by the Qur'an (Qurtubi). Nevertheless, others have said that the ruler or the judge has the option to punish in either of the ways suggested by the Qur'an. Further, Ibn `Abbas, Sa`id b. Jubayr, Suddi and others have said with reference to banishment that the criminal should be chased by the Muslim law keepers until the borders of the Muslim lands so that the harm from him is mitigated. But Imam Abu Hanifah and his followers have said that such a criminal should be imprisoned (Ibn Jarir). This is because they feared that if the men are banished from one town to another, they would commit the same crimes in those towns. And, if they are pushed out of the borders of Muslim lands altogether, they might join up with the unbelievers. Therefore, "nafyum min al ard" is to be understood as imprisonment (Razi).
    It has also been said that the form here is plural, "those who wage a war ...," because such criminals normally operate in bands helping and defending each other. Hence, Imam Shafe`i has concluded that if a team of men commits theft together, within a city, the whole team should be handed down the same punishment (Razi). Accordingly, it is reported of Qadi Ibn al `Arabi that when a case was brought to him of a man who held a knife against the breast of another, while his companions looted his house, he ruled that they all were muharibin, i.e., "those who wage a war" (Qurtubi).
    Capital Punishments
    Mufti Shafi` writes: A lack of understanding of Islamic punishments has led to much confusion among the people. Firstly, it must be understood that the secular law hands down no punishment save under one kind of it: what is known as the criminal law. In contrast, Islam has prescribed three kinds of punishments known by three terms: "Hudud, Qisas and Ta`zirat." But, before we explain the three, the following might be needed as a preamble.
    Crimes in Islam are considered a transgression against the rights of Allah as well as the rights of man. However, there are some crimes that transgress more the rights of Allah, than the rights of man. Conversely, there are crimes that transgress more the rights of man than those of Allah. Another point to be understood is that the Islamic Shari`ah has not prescribed punishment for all kinds of crimes, rather, has done so for some, and left the others to the discretion of the judges. It is also possible that the government takes away this discretion from the judges, and binds them to a set of laws formulated in the light of the punishments prescribed by the Shari`ah. This was largely the case in the Muslim world of the past and this is the situation in most of the Muslim countries today where Shari`ah law is in application.
    Now, punishments for those crimes which are left to the discretion of the judges are called "Ta`zirat," while those crimes for which punishments have been prescribed by the Qur'an and Sunnah are known as "Hudud and Qisas." The difference between the two, Hudud and Qisas, is that the punishments for those crimes that transgress more the rights of Allah than those of man, are known as "Hudud" (singular: Hadd, or what is commonly rendered as "capital punishment") while punishment for those crimes that transgress more the rights of man than of Allah are known as "Qisas." Now, as far as "Hudud" are concerned, they have been prescribed for five types of crimes: robbery, burglary, adultery (and fornication), false allegation of adultery, and, intoxication. Of these, punishment for the first four have been prescribed by the Qur'an and for the last one for drinking wine by the consensus of the Companions. Now, no one, no government, or judge can reduce or rescind the punishments that have been prescribed for these crimes by the Qur'an and Sunnah. Even repentance cannot save a man from Hudud punishments in this world. As for the punishment in the Hereafter, that is in the hand of Allah.
    As for "Qisas," these are also punishments prescribed by the Qur'an. The difference is that the discretionary power has been delegated to those whose rights are transgressed. For example, in case of murder, the kin have the discretion to either claim the criminal's life or accept blood wit. Further, it must also be understood that where enough proof is not available, or the crime is not established beyond doubt, the courts still have their discretionary power to prescribe a Ta`zir punishment instead of a Hadd. For instance, the punishment for theft (one of the "Hudud" crimes) is amputation of a hand. But, if indisputable proof cannot be produced, yet, the evidence is very strong, then the judge might prescribe a Ta`zir, such as imprisonment for a while. This also applies to Qisas. So that, if, in a case, a murderer is forgiven by the kin, the judges might still hand down a suitable "Ta`zir" by imposing a fine or certain number of cane strikes. This is to discourage crimes. Finally, there is one exception. It is that of the highway robbers or rebels who repent before they are overpowered. That is, when they have not been besieged, and it does not seem likely at that moment that they can be overpowered. If, at that time they repent, their crimes, including those of murder, robbery etc., would be forgiven. They will not even be subjected to a Ta`zir. And the wisdom seems to be that sometimes bandits, pirates, rebels and the like are in such large numbers that either their capture is beyond the government's power, or their killing, if overpowered, proves to be a dreadful human loss. Therefore, a door for peaceful settlement between them and the government has been left open. Yet, there should be no confusion. It is the "Hadd" that is forgiven: the right of Allah viz., the punishment as stated in the verse under discussion and which Allah has relinquished. But, if they have shed blood or looted wealth, that is, transgressed the rights of some people, then that cannot be forgiven. Either they pay for their crimes to the victims or their kin, or seek their pardon, or, according to the Hanafiyyah, Qisas will be resorted to.
    Quote from Shafi` ends here.

    إِلَّا الَّذِينَ تَابُوا مِنْ قَبْلِ أَنْ تَقْدِرُوا عَلَيْهِمْ ۖ فَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ (34)

    5|34| Except for those who repent before you can overpower them. And be aware that Allah is very Forgiving, very Merciful.110

    110. Ibn `Abbas, Hasan al Busri, `Ikrimah, Mujahid and others believe that this part of the verse is applicable to those of the unbelieving dacoits, robbers and others who embrace Islam. Some others believe it is applicable to Muslim robbers, bandits and the like alone, who, if they come seeking a pardon, they might be forgiven by the ruler. In support of their view, they cite an incident involving Haritha b. Badr al Tamimi during the time of `Ali ibn abi Talib, who came repentant before he was overpowered and `Ali forgave him. Another incident involving `Ali al Asadi took place during the time of Mu`awiyyah ibn abi Sufyan. `Ali al Asadi was a highway robber who, despite several attempts eluded capture. One day he heard the Qur'anic verse: "Tell them, ‘O those of My slaves who have wronged their souls, do not despair of Allah's mercy. Verily Allah forgives all sins. Surely He is very Forgiving, very Kind." `Ali al Asadi was so powerfully moved by the verse that he decided to repent. He went to Madinah and gave himself up. He was pardoned.
    But some scholars hold the opinion that they might be pardoned the crime of robbery etc., but if they had shed blood or plundered wealth and property, they should be punished for those crimes (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir and others). Imam Shafe`i is also one of them who has said that in view of the transgression of two kinds of rights, (those of Allah and those of the people), even if those of Allah are forgiven by Himself, those of the people will have to be restored to them (Razi); so that, the criminal will be required to requite for the property seized or, in case of murder, pay blood wit for (Bayan).

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَابْتَغُوا إِلَيْهِ الْوَسِيلَةَ وَجَاهِدُوا فِي سَبِيلِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ (35)

    5|35| Believers! Fear Allah,111 seek nearness to Him112 and struggle in His cause113 haply you will prosper.

    111. "Taqwa ... might be translated as "fear of Allah," but the very next clause shows that "fear of Allah" does not mean "fear" in the ordinary sense, which would make you avoid the object of fear. On the contrary the "fear of Allah" is the intense desire to avoid everything that is against His Will and Law. It is in fact (a) duty to Allah, for we are told to seek the means by which we may approach Him, and that can only be done by striving with might and means for His cause" (Yusuf Ali).

    112. Wasilah has been interpreted as "nearness" by Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Qatadah, Suddi, Hasan, ‘Ata', Abu Wa'il and others. Thus the meaning is, seek Allah's nearness with righteous deeds (Ibn Jarir, Razi, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir and others). The statement of Ibn `Abbas to this effect has been evaluated as sahih by Hakim (Shawkani, Manar).
    In contrast to the word wasl (with saad) which stands for any joining, this wasl (with sin) stands, in its origin, for unison with love (Shafi` from Lisan al-`Arab).
    Ibn Zayd however has interpreted wasilah as love, basing his opinion on verse (17: 57): "Such are those who call (upon Him) and seek the wasilah of their Lord" (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    Wasilah has, however, another meaning. It is a place of honor in Paradise (Qurtubi).
    Jabir b. `Abdullah has been reported in Bukhari as narrating that the Prophet said: "Whoever heard the call (adhan) and said:

    اللَّهُمَّ رَبَّ هَذِهِ الدَّعْوَةِ التَّامَّةِ وَالصَّلاَةِ الْقَائِمَةِ آتِ مُحَمَّدًا الْوَسِيلَةَ وَالْفَضِيلَةَ وَابْعَثْهُ مَقَامًا مَحْمُودًا الَّذِى وَعَدْتَهُ إِلاَّ حَلَّتْ لَهُ الشَّفَاعَةُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ

    ‘O Allah, the Lord of this complete call and the Prayer that is to be offered, grant Muhammad the excellent Wasilah, and the special rank You have promised him' - but my intercession will become lawful for him on the Day of Judgment."
    Muslim has another report which quotes the Prophet through `Abdullah ibn `Amr in words:

    إِذَا سَمِعْتُمُ الْمُؤَذِّنَ فَقُولُوا مِثْلَ مَا يَقُولُ ثُمَّ صَلُّوا عَلَىَّ فَإِنَّهُ مَنْ صَلَّى عَلَىَّ صَلاَةً صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ بِهَا عَشْرًا ثُمَّ سَلُوا اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ لِىَ الْوَسِيلَةَ فَإِنَّهَا مَنْزِلَةٌ فِى الْجَنَّةِ لاَ تَنْبَغِى إِلاَّ لِعَبْدٍ مِنْ عِبَادِ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى وَأَرْجُو أَنْ أَكُونَ أَنَا هُوَ فَمَنْ سَأَلَ اللَّهَ لِىَ الْوَسِيلَةَ حَلَّتْ عَلَيْهِ الشَّفَاعَةُ

    "When you hear the caller (mu'adhdhin) calling out, repeat his words. Then send peace to me. For, he who sent peace to me will have Allah send peace to him ten times. After that ask Allah to grant me Wasilah. It is a place in Paradise that is not deserving of anyone of the slaves of Allah except one. And I hope to be that one. Therefore, whoever prayed to Allah that He grant me that, will enjoy my intercession."
    There are ahadith to this effect in Ahmad, Tabarani and Ibn Marduwayh also. (Ibn Kathir)
    Mufti Shafi` writes that wasilah written with a sad and wasilah written with a sin both have the same meaning of joining something with another, but since wasilah written with a sin has the additional nuance of joining with love, Mujaddid Alf-Thani has written in his "Correspondences" that an advancement into higher states depends entirely on the love of Allah and His Messenger. And an increase in love depends on following the ways of the Prophet.
    The famous Sufi Mufassir Alusi, a one time Hanafiyy Mufti of Baghdad deals with the subject of wasilah in a thorough fashion. Here is an abridged translation:
    Some people have used this verse to prove the correctness of supplicating to Allah by the wasilah of the righteous people, placing them between themselves and Allah as the means. They say, for instance, ‘I supplicate to You (O Allah) in the name of so and so (`that You grant me Your grace,' - or whatever else they seek). Some of them say, (naming a dead or a living person), ‘O so and so, supplicate to Allah that He grant me such and such (a thing).' They believe this is the wasilah that is the subject of this verse. They even quote some ahadith to the effect that one might supplicate by the wasilah of the dead. All of this, of course, adds Alusi, is far from the truth.
    Alusi writes further down: There is no difference of opinion among the scholars that one might seek the help of the living in supplications, such as to say to someone that he pray for him. However, in such an event, it is not necessary that the more virtuous pray for the less virtuous. It can be vice versa also. The Prophet, for instance, told `Umar when he was leaving for an ‘Umrah: "Do not forget to pray for me, brother." Similarly, the Prophet had instructed `Umar to ask Uways al-Qarni to pray to Allah and seek forgiveness for his (`Umar's) sins. (The hadith is in Muslim: Au.) However, if the person is dead, or not present, then, there is no difference of opinion among the scholars that seeking his wasilah is prohibited. It is a bid`ah that none of the Salaf ever committed. We know very definitely of the Companions that they never sought the Prophet's wasilah when they visited his grave. All that is allowed when one visits the graves is to say Salam to the dead. The Prophet had himself taught his followers to say when they enter the graveyard:

    السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ أَهْلَ الدِّيَارِ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُسْلِمِينَ إِنَّا إِنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ بِكُمْ لاَحِقُونَ نَسْألُ اللَّهَ لَنَا وَلَكُمُ الْعَافِيَةَ.

    "Peace upon you O Muslim and Mu’min residents of these dwellings. We are, by the Will of Allah, to join you soon. We seek Allah's refuge for you and for us." Accordingly, we see that the Companions never asked the dead for anything when they entered the graveyards - although they were very greedy of virtuous acts. We also know of `Umar that when he visited the Prophet's grave, he merely said Salam to him and to Abu Bakr, and departed without saying another word. The other Companions too used to supplicate to Allah facing the qiblah. It is not reported of any of them that he supplicated facing the Prophet's grave - although the grave of the Prophet is superior to the ‘Arsh. Indeed, Abu Hanifah has ruled that while one offers his Salam to the Prophet, when visiting his grave, he should show his back to the grave and face the qiblah, although some others have said that one might face the grave when saying Salam, but face the qiblah from the right or the left side of the grave while supplicating. What then should one do when visiting the graves of lesser people?
    There is, however, continues Alusi, one exception with regard to wasilah. One might supplicate by the wasilah of the Prophet but none else: neither any other Prophet, an angel, nor any other righteous person. This is the opinion of Ibn `Abdul Salam as reported by Munawi in his Al-Fayd Al-Qadir which is a commentary on (Suyuti's) Al-Jami` al-Saghir. This is because of the extremely high status that the Prophet enjoys with his Lord. The opinion also derives its strength from a hadith in Tirmidhi, evaluated hasan sahih by him, (as also in Ahmad):

    عَنْ عُثْمَانَ بْنِ حُنَيْفٍ أَنَّ رَجُلًا ضَرِيرًا أَتَى النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَالَ يَا نَبِيَّ اللَّهِ ادْعُ اللَّهَ أَنْ يُعَافِيَنِي فَقَالَ إِنْ شِئْتَ أَخَّرْتُ ذَلِكَ فَهُوَ أَفْضَلُ لِآخِرَتِكَ وَإِنْ شِئْتَ دَعَوْتُ لَكَ قَالَ لَا بَلْ ادْعُ اللَّهَ لِي فَأَمَرَهُ أَنْ يَتَوَضَّأَ وَأَنْ يُصَلِّيَ رَكْعَتَيْنِ وَأَنْ يَدْعُوَ بِهَذَا الدُّعَاءِ اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ وَأَتَوَجَّهُ إِلَيْكَ بِنَبِيِّكَ مُحَمَّدٍ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ نَبِيِّ الرَّحْمَةِ يَا مُحَمَّدُ إِنِّي أَتَوَجَّهُ بِكَ إِلَى رَبِّي فِي حَاجَتِي هَذِهِ فَتَقْضِي وَتُشَفِّعُنِي فِيهِ وَتُشَفِّعُهُ فِيَّ قَالَ فَفَعَلَ الرَّجُلُ فَبَرَأَ - تعليق شعيب الأرنؤوط : إسناده صحيح رجاله ثقات

    A blind man came to the Prophet and requested him to pray for his eyesight. The Prophet told him: "If you wish I supplicate for you. But if you observe patience (and remain blind), that would be better for you." The man said: “But rather, pray to Allah.” The Prophet ordered him to make to make an ablution (wudu). He may then offer two rak`ah of Prayer and then supplicate in these words: "O Allah, I ask You and turn to You through Your Prophet - the Prophet of Mercy. O Messenger of Allah, I turn to my Lord by you in this my need so that You might - (O Allah) – so grant this to me, and O Allah accept his intercession in this (affair) of mine." The man did as he was told and he was cured of blindness.
    However, continues Alusi, many scholars have interpreted the hadith differently and, consequently, have disallowed that the Prophet's name be cited as wasilah. In the forefront of those who prohibit wasilah of the Prophet are: Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Abu Yusuf (Abu Hanifa's successor), Imam Ibn Taymiyyah and many others. Nonetheless, those who believe that the Prophet's intercession might be sought, have another hadith in their favor in Abu Da'ud in which a man is reported to have said, addressing the Prophet:

    فَإِنَّا نَسْتَشْفِعُ بِكَ عَلَى اللَّهِ وَنَسْتَشْفِعُ بِاللَّهِ عَلَيْكَ. قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- « وَيْحَكَ أَتَدْرِى مَا تَقُولُ » وَسَبَّحَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- فَمَا زَالَ يُسَبِّحُ حَتَّى عُرِفَ ذَلِكَ فِى وُجُوهِ أَصْحَابِهِ ثُمَّ قَالَ « وَيْحَكَ إِنَّهُ لاَ يُسْتَشْفَعُ بِاللَّهِ عَلَى أَحَدٍ مِنْ خَلْقِهِ شَأْنُ اللَّهِ أَعْظَمُ مِنْ ذَلِكَ ... »

    "We seek your intercession with Allah, and seek Allah's intercession with you." The Prophet responded angrily: "Woe unto you man, do you realize what you are saying?” Then he glorified him and kept glorifying until its effect was seen on his face by his Companions. Then he said, “Woe unto you, Allah cannot be cited as interceding for any of His creation. He is far above that..”
    Thus we see that the Prophet prohibited that someone seek Allah's intercession for any of His creation, but he did not disapprove the rest of the supplication words, that is, his own intercession be sought with Allah.
    As for seeking Allah's favor through someone else saying, in supplication, "O Allah grant me such and such a thing by the grace of so and so," well, this is completely prohibited. The Salaf never used to supplicate in this manner. The ahadith that are quoted in favor of such a practice are untrustworthy. The one in Ibn Majah, for instance, which quotes Abu Sa`id al-Khudri as saying that the Prophet told him to supplicate in words:

    اللهم إنى أسألك عليك وبحق السائلين عليك

    "O Allah, I ask you by the right of the seekers ..." until the end of the hadith ... well, this is a weak hadith. Similarly, what is reported of Ma`ruf al-Karkhi that he told his pupils to place him as an intermediary while supplicating to Allah, is also an untrustworthy report. In fact, the Prophet taught his Companions to supplicate with words of Allah's praise and by His Good Names and Perfect Attributes, such as to say:

    أعوذ برضاك من سخطك وبمعفاتك من عقوبتك وأعوذ بك منك

    “O Allah I seek refuge in Your Approval and Forgiveness from Your anger and Your retribution, and I seek Your refuge from You..”
    Such are the words that the Prophet has taught us to supplicate with.
    Indeed, seeking help of the dead is one of the most ludicrous things to do. (Far from the dead, even the living are helpless). Ba Yezid Bustami has said that for the creations to seek the help of other creations is like a prisoner seeking the help of another prisoner. As for the reports of the appearances, (either when awake or in dreams), of those figures whose wasilah was sought while making supplications, and they assuring the suppliant that his supplications have been heard, (or forwarded to Allah), well, that is one of the tricks of Shaytan. It is he who appears to the misguided. In fact, sometimes he speaks through the idols of the pagans too to keep them firm in their religion. The fact is, those who are dead are either the righteous ones who are too busy enjoying the life of barzakh, or they are the wretched ones licking their wounds of punishment, and therefore, also too busy to pay any attention to those seeking their help in the affairs of this life.
    Alusi's quote ends here.
    Rashid Rida adds: The practice of seeking wasilah of the people first appeared in the Middle Ages and gradually such things as seeking blessings by the names of the righteous, abjuring Allah by their names, seeking their help in overcoming a difficulty or obtaining a thing of one's desire, or seeking the help of those who are in the grave, caught the imagination of Muslim masses in the subsequent periods. The fact is overlooked that, as the Prophet has said,

    إن الدعاء هو العبادة

    ‘Supplication is nothing but a kind of worship.'
    Allah has also said (72: 18),

    فَلَا تَدْعُوا مَعَ اللَّهِ أَحَدًا [الجن : 18]

    "Do not call upon any other than Allah."
    And, elsewhere, (7: 194),

    إِنَّ الَّذِينَ تَدْعُونَ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ عِبَادٌ أَمْثَالُكُمْ [الأعراف : 194]

    aves like your." 

    He also said (35: 13-14),

    وَالَّذِينَ تَدْعُونَ مِنْ دُونِهِ مَا يَمْلِكُونَ مِنْ قِطْمِيرٍ (13) إِنْ تَدْعُوهُمْ لَا يَسْمَعُوا دُعَاءَكُمْ وَلَوْ سَمِعُوا مَا اسْتَجَابُوا لَكُمْ وَيَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ يَكْفُرُونَ بِشِرْكِكُمْ وَلَا يُنَبِّئُكَ مِثْلُ خَبِيرٍ [فاطر : 13 ، 14]

    "Those whom you call upon apart from Allah do not own even a date-skin. If you call upon them, they cannot hear you. And, if they hear, they cannot answer you. Further, they will disown you on the Day of Judgment. And no one can inform you the way the All-knowing can."
    The ignorant are unaware of all these texts.

    113. That is, conduct jihad (Ibn Jarir).

    إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لَوْ أَنَّ لَهُمْ مَا فِي الْأَرْضِ جَمِيعًا وَمِثْلَهُ مَعَهُ لِيَفْتَدُوا بِهِ مِنْ عَذَابِ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ مَا تُقُبِّلَ مِنْهُمْ ۖ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ (36)

    5|36| Surely those who have disbelieved, were they to possess all that is in the earth, and the like of it with it, to ransom themselves from the chastisement of the Day of Judgment thereby, it would not be accepted of them.114 Rather, there is for them a painful chastisement.115

    114. The implication is: good deeds are the wasilah. In the absence of good deeds, all the wealth of the world would be of no profit (Bayan).
    Sayyid Qutb writes: "The most a mind can imagine is the unbelievers coming to possess the whole world. But the Qur'anic statement suggests what is beyond the imagination. It supposes that they possess all that the earth holds, and, in addition, a treasure similar to it; yet, granted that possession, it will prove to be of no profit to them."

    115. Muslim has reported the Prophet as having said:

    وَيُؤْتَى بِالرَّجُلِ مِنْ أَهْلِ النَّارِ فَيَقُولُ لَهُ يَا ابْنَ آدَمَ كَيْفَ وَجَدْتَ مَنْزِلَكَ فَيَقُولُ أَيْ رَبِّ شَرُّ مَنْزِلٍ فَيَقُولُ لَهُ أَتَفْتَدِي مِنْهُ بِطِلَاعِ الْأَرْضِ ذَهَبًا فَيَقُولُ أَيْ رَبِّ نَعَمْ فَيَقُولُ كَذَبْتَ قَدْ سَأَلْتُكَ أَقَلَّ مِنْ ذَلِكَ وَأَيْسَرَ فَلَمْ تَفْعَلْ فَيُرَدُّ إِلَى النَّارِ - تعليق شعيب الأرنؤوط : إسناده صحيح على شرط مسلم

    "A man will be brought out of the Fire. He will be asked: ‘Son of Adam. How do you find your place of rest?' He will reply: ‘An evil resting place.' He will be asked: ‘Would you ransom yourself with earthful of gold?' He will reply: ‘Yes my Lord.' Allah will tell him: ‘You have lied. You were asked for something much simpler than that, but you refused.' Then he will be ordered hurled back into the Fire." Similar reports are in Bukhari and Nasa'i (Ibn Kathir).

    يُرِيدُونَ أَنْ يَخْرُجُوا مِنَ النَّارِ وَمَا هُمْ بِخَارِجِينَ مِنْهَا ۖ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُقِيمٌ (37)

    5|37| They would wish to get out of the Fire, but they will not be able to get out of it. Rather, there is for them a lasting chastisement.116

    116. Nafi` b. Azraq (the Khariji: Au.) is reported to have objected to Ibn `Abbas, in words: "Do you believe people will get out of the Fire? Here is a verse which says: ‘Rather, they will suffer a permanent chastisement.' Ibn `Abbas answered: "Look up man. The verse is talking of unbelievers" (Ibn Kathir, Shawkani).
    The Relationship
    When Allah (swt) spoke of highway robbery in verse 33 above, He followed it up with the mention of burglary in homes.

    وَالسَّارِقُ وَالسَّارِقَةُ فَاقْطَعُوا أَيْدِيَهُمَا جَزَاءً بِمَا كَسَبَا نَكَالًا مِنَ اللَّهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ (38)

    5|38| As for the thief117 - man or woman118 - amputate their hands,119 – as a recompense for what they have earned:120 a punishment exemplary from Allah.121 Allah is Mighty, Wise.122

    117. Ibn Jarir comments: There was no consensus among the Companions of the Prophet over the value of a stolen article which would earn a person the appellant sariq (generally speaking, a thief) and entail the amputation of his hand. It is said that in an incident, the value of goods for which the Prophet ordered amputation was 3 Dirhams (or about 10.9 gm of gold). Some say the value was equal to 10 Dirhams (36.3 gm of gold). The Prophet would perhaps have ordered amputation for a Daniq (smallest coin of those times) had there been a theft of that value. Ibn `Abbas has also said that there is no lower limit to the amount. Nevertheless, a hadith reported by ‘A'isha says that the Prophet said:

    القطع في ربع دينار ، فصاعدا

    "Amputation is for a quarter Dinar or above."
    This last mentioned hadith is in the Sahihayn (Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir).
    (Quarter Dinar of those times was roughly 6.35 gm of gold: Au.).
    Imam Razi points out that the implication of this verse is that it is incumbent upon the Muslims to set up an Islamic state ruled by an Amir. Capital punishments cannot be carried out without a proper Islamic government headed by an Amir. A group of people cannot execute Islamic punishments.

    118. It is noticeable that ordinarily the Qur'an does not make a separate mention of women, since what applies to man applies to woman. But when it came to commandments pertaining to theft and adultery, both sexes were specifically named. This is because in matters of capital punishments, no doubts whatsoever can be entertained. Therefore women were also specifically mentioned. Further, in theft, men were mentioned first, while in adultery women were mentioned first when it was said (24: 2):

    الزَّانِيَةُ وَالزَّانِي فَاجْلِدُوا كُلَّ وَاحِدٍ مِنْهُمَا مِائَةَ جَلْدَةٍ [النور : 2]

    "The (unmarried) adulteress and the (unmarried) adulterer, give them both a hundred lashes." This is because in an Islamic society, women are well protected from immorality. If one of them gets involved in adultery, then surely, she would have broken all bounds and measures imposed by the society to be able to do that. Hence she was mentioned earlier to man in adultery. Whereas, so far as theft is concerned, men have several opportunities and options open to them to earn their livelihood. Yet, if one of them chooses to commit theft, surely there is a trace of criminality in him. Therefore, he was mentioned first (Shafi`).

    119. With reference to another verse Majid writes: "Next to high moral education and deep religious upbringing it is fear of consequences as world-wide human experience proves, that keeps in check the very natural tendency, almost inherent in human nature, to stealing and thieving."
    Legal Points
    1. The word in the original is sariqah. Theft is not the precise equivalent for the word since larceny, picking of the pocket, burglary, mugging, felony and all kinds of similar crimes are covered by the term theft, whereas, sariqah is that theft in which i) the value reaches a certain amount, ii) the property was kept well secured, iii) the money was taken stealthily, and iv) it should have been taken without permission. If, for instance, the thief is a part owner, such as, to take an extreme example, in public property (parks, state railways), or an inheritor, share-holder of a company, etc., or the goods were not kept in a secured place, then technically it is not sariqah. It might be some kind of crime, punishable by the court of law, but amputation cannot be ordered. Or, in another case, if the person involved had the permission to use the material, and not to take it home, but he moves it off to his house, then also it might be some kind of a crime, but amputation cannot be ordered. The definition of stealth also removes snatching away of purses, or embezzlement of money, or falsification of accounts, or coffin-stealing, etc. from the definition of sariqah, (Shafi`). Since slavery is no more prevalent, Mufti Shafi` has not pointed out that a fifth condition is that the accused should be a free person and not a slave. Under no condition will slaves undergo capital punishments. Half slaves therefore, as for instance, foreign labor in the Arab countries, cannot be subjected to sariqah rules (Au.).
    2. Theft of quickly perishable articles of food is not sariqah.
    3. A thief's hand cannot be amputated if the article stolen has no conventional value, even if the thing be greatly valued (Majid), such as, for example, an old stamp or an ancient artifact (Au.).
    4. Any doubt, however minor, with regard to the conditions of amputation, will work in favor of the accused, and, following the famous fiqh principle: "Doubts repulse capital punishments," amputation will not be ordered (Shafi`).
    5. If the accused does not admit, at least two trustworthy eye-witnesses are essential to prove the crime and order amputation (Shafi`).
    6. While in other criminal cases delayed testimony is admissible in the Islamic courts, in cases involving sariqah the witnesses have to be produced within a reasonably short time after the crime. A delay, say of a month, is inadmissible, and in which case, amputation cannot be ordered (Shafi`).
    7. If sariqah cannot be proved and amputation cannot be ordered, then the courts are free, (following Ta`aziri rules: Au.) to hand out the punishment they think befits the crime: say imprisonment or monetary fines etc.
    8. Since sariqah falls under the General Law, non-Muslims living as dhimmis in a Muslim state will also be punished with amputation (Shafi`). But non-dhimmis, tourists and others are exempted. However, according to the Hanafiyyah, unbelievers cannot be stoned to death for adultery. If the Prophet had ordered it in case of the Jewish pair, it was firstly because it was a very special case and secondly because they had come to him for judgment, and, finally, he ordered a punishment that they admitted was according to the Torah (Thanwi). A corollary of this is that now, in our times, the Jews do not accept the Law of the Torah, rather, have devised their own laws. Accprdingly, stoning to death in crimes involving them or their likes, cannot be ordered (Au.).
    9. Testimony of the unbelievers, even if dhimmis, in cases involving hudud (capital punishments) is not admissible (Qurtubi).
    10. According to Imam Shafe`i, (also Imam Malik) with the first theft the right hand should be severed from the wrist; with the second, the left foot from the ankle; with the third left hand, and with the fourth left foot. However, Imam Abu Hanifa's (and Imam Ahmad's: Qurtubi) opinion is that there is no amputation after the loss of a hand and a foot (Razi).
    11. According to Imam Shafe`i, the criminal is bound to return the stolen goods even if he undergoes the punishment of amputation. (This is also the opinion of Imam Ahmad: Qurtubi). Imam Malik has said that amputation is to be administered in all cases. As for return of the stolen goods, if the criminal is rich then yes, but if he is poor, then no. But, according to Imam Abu Hanifah, it is either amputation or return of the goods. Both punishments cannot be administered at the same time to the same person (Razi).
    12. Security (i.e., wealth or property should have been kept in a secured place) is one of the conditions of amputation that has the consensus of the scholars. It is implied from some ahadith. An untied animal or an unanchored boat, for example, are not secured property (Qurtubi).
    13. A hungry person cannot be punished with amputation for stealing food (Qurtubi). Accordingly we see, Sayyid adds, that `Umar temporarily annulled the punishment of amputation during the famous starvation of his times. Also, when the slaves of ibn Hatib ibn abi Balta`ah stole a camel belonging to the Muzayyinah tribe, he initially ordered amputation, but later, when he learned that the slaves were kept starved by their masters, he rescinded the punishment, and, as a measure of disciplinary punishment, ordered their masters to pay fine which amounted to eight camels.
    14. In opposition to many others, Imam Abu Hanifah has ruled that the close kinsfolk cannot be punished with amputation for stealing from one another (Qurtubi).
    15. If the master of the stolen property forgives the thief before he is presented to the court, amputation cannot be ordered (Manar).
    16. So also, amputation is annulled during an active jihad (Manar).
    17. A group of people (such as people of a town or village) cannot enforce capital punishments of Islam on themselves, or a section of the population. A proper Islamic government is an essential requirement (Au.).
    18. In addition to the above, Qurtubi states some other conditions for amputation such as:
    i) Maturity: (i.e., a minor's hand cannot be amputated: Au.).
    ii) Sanity
    iii) Non-ownership: (i.e., the criminal should not have been an owner or a co-owner of the stolen goods: Au.). A father's hand cannot be amputated for stealing from his son, since a son is himself the father's property.
    iv) Non-custodianship: so that a slave or servant's hand will not be amputated for stealing from his master's goods.

    120. Asad writes: "The extreme severity of this Qur'anic punishment can be understood only if one bears in mind the fundamental principle of Islamic Law that no duty (taklif) is ever imposed on man without his being granted a corresponding right (haqq); and the term "duty" also comprises, in this context, liability to punishment. Now, among the inalienable rights of every member of the Islamic society - Muslim and non-Muslim alike - is the right to protection (in every sense of the word) by the community as a whole. As is evident from innumerable Qur'anic ordinances as well as the Prophet's injunctions forthcoming from authentic Traditions, every citizen is entitled to a share in the community's economic resources and, thus, to the enjoyment of social security: in other words, he or she must be assured of an equitable standard of living commensurate with the resources at the disposal of the community. For, although the Qur'an makes it clear that the human life cannot be expressed in terms of physical existence alone - the ultimate values of life being spiritual in nature - the believers are not entitled to look upon spiritual truths and values as something that could be divorced from physical and social factors of human existence. In short, Islam envisages and demands a society that provides not only for the spiritual needs of man, but for his bodily and intellectual needs as well. It follows, therefore, that - in order to be truly Islamic - a society (or state) must be so constituted that every individual, man and woman, may enjoy the minimum of material well-being and security without which there can be no human dignity, no real freedom, and, in the last resort, no spiritual progress: for, there can be no real happiness and strength in a society that permits some of its members to suffer undeserved want while others have more than they need. If the whole society suffers privations owing to circumstances beyond its control (as it happened, for instance, to the Muslim community in the early days of Islam), such shared privations may become a source of spiritual strength and, through it, of future greatness. But if the available resources of a community are so unevenly distributed that certain groups within it lives in affluence while the majority of the people are forced to use up all their energies in search of their daily bread, poverty becomes the most dangerous enemy of spiritual progress, and occasionally drives whole communities away from God-consciousness ... Consequently, the social legislation of Islam aims at a state of affairs in which every man, woman and child has (a) enough to eat and wear, (b) an adequate home, (c) equal opportunities and facilities for education, and (d) free medical care in health and sickness. A corollary of these rights is the right to productive and remunerative work while of working age and good health, and a provision (by the community or the state) of adequate nourishment, shelter, etc., in cases of disability resulting from illness, widowhood, enforced unemployment, old age, or under-age. As already mentioned, the communal obligation to create such a comprehensive social scheme has been laid down in many Qur'anic verses, and has been amplified and explained by a great number of the Prophet's commandments. It was the second Caliph, `Umar ibn al-Khattab, who began to translate these ordinances into a concrete administrative scheme ...
    "It is against the background of this social security scheme envisaged by Islam that the Qur'an imposes the severe sentence of hand-cutting as a deterrent punishment..."
    Ibn Kathir notes: It is said that Abu al-`Ala Mu`arri criticized the scholars in one of his poetical pieces ridiculing their opinion that a man's hand be amputated for an amount as small as three Dirhams: as if a hand was as cheap as that. Qadi Abdul Wahhab Maliki replied that so long as it was a trusted hand, it was a precious one, but after the theft it became worthless. The injunction in fact, is completely in line with the demands of wisdom. If the people's property is to be safe, hands that threaten them have to be amputated. And, to save people's hands from the risk of amputation, its price should be kept high, viz., five hundred Dirhams, which is the compensation (diyah) a man gets if his hand is severed by someone either accidentally or willfully. (Today the diyah for a severed hand is an amount equal to about 1300 grams of gold: Au.)
    Yusuf Ali comments: "... (the cutting of the hand follows) the principle that "if thy hand or thy foot offend thee: cut them off, and cast them from thee" (Matthew, xviii, 8). Apparently in the age of Jesus thieves were crucified (Matt. xxvii, 38)".

    121. Alusi writes: The punishment for theft, until the time of Musa (asws) was slavery. That is, the thief became a slave of the one he had offended.

    122. Allah is Mighty, Wise: Asma`i says, "I was reciting these verses and, instead of reading out ‘Allah is Mighty, Wise,' I read out ‘Allah is Forgiving, Kind.' A bedouin was listening. He asked, ‘Whose words are these?' I replied, ‘Allah's.' He said, ‘Read again.' So I repeated ending with, ‘Allah is Forgiving, Kind,' and then realizing the error I corrected, ‘Allah is Mighty, Wise.' He said, ‘Now you have read it right.' I asked, ‘How did you know?' He said, ‘Man. He is Mighty, Wise, so He ordered the amputation. Had He forgiven, out of kindness, He would not have ordered the amputation'" (Razi).

    فَمَنْ تَابَ مِنْ بَعْدِ ظُلْمِهِ وَأَصْلَحَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ يَتُوبُ عَلَيْهِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ (39)

    5|39| Nevertheless, whoso repents after his evildoing, and makes amends,123 then surely Allah will turn to him.124 Indeed, Allah is Forgiving, Kind.

    123. Making amends includes returning - if possible - of the goods stolen or seeking forgiveness of the wronged (Bayan).

    124. Amputation of a repentant will be carried out all the same (Qurtubi).
    Mujahid said that amputation is the thief's repentance. This is based on a hadith:

    عن عبد الله بن عمرو أن امرأة سرقت على عهد رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم، فجاء بها إلى الذين سرقتهم، فقالوا: يا رسول الله، أن هذه المرأة سرقتنا. قال قومها: فنحن نفديها، فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: "اقطعوا يدها"، فقالوا: نحن نفديها بخمسمائة دينار، فقال "اقطعوا يدها" فقطعت يدها اليمنى، فقالت المرأة: هل لي من توبة يا رسول الله ؟ قال "نعم أنت اليوم من خطيئتك كيوم ولدتك أمك"، فأنزل الله في سورة المائدة {فَمَنْ تَابَ مِنْ بَعْدِ ظُلْمِهِ وَأَصْلَحَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ يَتُوبُ عَلَيْهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ}

    It says in sum that a woman's hand was to be amputated by the order of the Prophet, despite the fact that her tribe offered ransom amounting to 500 Dinar. She asked him after the amputation whether there was repentance for her. He replied: "Today, you are as clean of sins as you were the day you were born" (Ibn Jarir).
    The above report is also in Ahmad and the Sahihayn. It speaks of the famous incident involving the Makhzumi woman after whose theft people sought a concession in her punishment since she belonged to a noble family. Usama b. Zayd was given the tough job of speaking about her to the Prophet. The Prophet was upset when Zayd spoke to him. He asked him: "Do you want to intervene in a punishment ordered by Allah?" Zayd begged him that he should seek Allah's forgiveness for him. The Prophet climbed the pulpit, praised Allah and then said:

    أما بعد فإنما أهلك الذين من قبلكم أنهم كانوا إذا سرق فيهم الشريف تركوه، وإذا سرق فيهم الضعيف أقاموا عليه الحد، وإني والذي نفسي بيده لو أن فاطمة بنت محمد سرقت، لقطعت يدها

    "Indeed, people before you were destroyed because when one of their nobility committed theft, he was spared, but when a weak one did it, they punished him by the Divine law. By Allah in whose hand is my life! If Fatimah, the daughter of Muhammad, were to steal, her hand would be cut." Then he ordered that the woman's hand be amputated.
    ‘A'isha and others have reported that previous to amputation she used to borrow jewelry from women and then deny that she had borrowed them.
    `A'isha says the concerned woman later repented well. Later, she got married. She used to visit her seeking the Prophet's help and counsel.
    Finally, the Prophet ordered amputation for stealing a camel. Ibn Majah has another report which says that a man called `Umar ibn Samurah came to the Prophet and said:

    يا رسول الله، إني سرقت جملاً لبني فلان، فطهرني فأرسل إليهم النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فقالوا: إنا افتقدنا جملاً لنا، فأمر به فقطعت يده وهو يقول: الحمد لله الذي طهرني منك، أردت أن تدخلي جسدي النار

    "Messenger of Allah. I have stolen a camel belonging to such and such (a tribe). So cleanse me." The Prophet sent a man to the people whose camel he had stolen. They sent word that they were short of a camel. So the Prophet ordered his hand amputated. When that was done, the man said (addressing his hand): "Allah be praised he cleansed me of you. You tried to shove me into the Fire" (Ibn Kathir).

    أَلَمْ تَعْلَمْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ لَهُ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ يُعَذِّبُ مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَيَغْفِرُ لِمَنْ يَشَاءُ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ (40)

    5|40| Do you not know that to Allah belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth?125 He punishes whom He will and forgives whom He will. Allah has power over all things.126

    125. Sayyid comments: "`Do you not you know that to Allah belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth?': Thus, it is a single dominion ... dominion of the Sovereign ... from whom emanates the punishment in this world and from whom emanates the punishment in the Hereafter. So there is no division (of authority), no plurality and no break. And, obviously, people's affairs can never be set right without the consolidation of the legalizing and punishing authority into one hand - in this world and in the Hereafter: ‘Were there to be in them another deity, surely they would be destroyed', and ‘It is He who is the deity in the heavens and the deity in the earth.'"

    126. Majid writes: "This refutes the doctrine of Karma as promulgated in scores of Indian religions, that there is no remission of sins, and that God Himself is powerless to forgo and forgive!"

    يَا أَيُّهَا الرَّسُولُ لَا يَحْزُنْكَ الَّذِينَ يُسَارِعُونَ فِي الْكُفْرِ مِنَ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا آمَنَّا بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَلَمْ تُؤْمِنْ قُلُوبُهُمْ ۛ وَمِنَ الَّذِينَ هَادُوا ۛ سَمَّاعُونَ لِلْكَذِبِ سَمَّاعُونَ لِقَوْمٍ آخَرِينَ لَمْ يَأْتُوكَ ۖ يُحَرِّفُونَ الْكَلِمَ مِنْ بَعْدِ مَوَاضِعِهِ ۖ يَقُولُونَ إِنْ أُوتِيتُمْ هَٰذَا فَخُذُوهُ وَإِنْ لَمْ تُؤْتَوْهُ فَاحْذَرُوا ۚ وَمَنْ يُرِدِ اللَّهُ فِتْنَتَهُ فَلَنْ تَمْلِكَ لَهُ مِنَ اللَّهِ شَيْئًا ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يُرِدِ اللَّهُ أَنْ يُطَهِّرَ قُلُوبَهُمْ ۚ لَهُمْ فِي الدُّنْيَا خِزْيٌ ۖ وَلَهُمْ فِي الْآخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ (41)

    5|41| O Messenger!127 Let not those who plunge headlong into disbelief grieve you: such of them as claim with their mouths, ‘We believe,' but their hearts do not believe; and those who are Judized128 - great patrons of lies, spying for a people who did not come to you (themselves)129 perverting the words from their meaning130 saying, ‘If you are handed over this (kind of judgment), accept it, but if you are not given it, then watch out.'131 And whomsoever Allah desires to test, you cannot avail anything for him against Allah. These are a people whom Allah did not desire to cleanse their hearts; for them is disgrace in this life, and a mighty chastisement in the Hereafter.

    127. Rashid Rida points out that the choice of the words while addressing the Prophet tells us something about the high regard in which he is held with Allah, for He did not say, "O Muhammad," rather, "O Messenger." Consequently, we should also exercise care in the choice of words while mentioning him.
    The Relationship
    The verses above spoke of the hudud of Allah. Now, in the verses that follow Allah gives us an account of those who tampered with the hudud of Allah and earned chastisement. Then, with verse 44, a new passage begins with a note on Tawrah and Injil: those beautiful revelations that their followers neglected (Shabbir).

    128. "Those who are Judized" implies that at some point in their history, the Israelites became distinctly different as a people from their forefathers, the Children of Israel. They became Jews (Au.).
    Yusuf Ali writes: "Two classes of men are meant, viz., the Hypocrites and the Jews. For both of them Al-Mustafa laboured earnestly and assiduously; and it must have been a cause of great grief and disappointment to him that some among them showed so much insincerity, cunning, and hardness of heart. These are types not yet extinct."

    129. "Because they cannot stand the sight of you out of hatred" (Zamakhshari).

    130. "These are men among the Jews who were eager to catch up any lie against the Prophet. They had their ears open even to tales from people who had never so much as come near to the Prophet. If we understand ‘for’ instead of ‘to’ before ‘others’ (for the Arabic word would bear both meanings), the sense will be: They are keen listeners or spies for any lies they can catch; and they will act as spies for others (their Rabbis, etc.) who are in the background but to whom they carry false tales" (Yusuf Ali).

    131. According to Abu Hurayrah the revelation of these verses was occasioned by an incident involving a Jewish pair that had committed adultery. The Jews referred the case to the Prophet with the intention to accept his judgment if he would order whipping but reject otherwise. The Prophet went to their dwellings to enquire what the Tawrah prescribed as the punishment for such a crime. They said, ‘Whipping and then parading them around the town on a donkey with faces blackened, facing the tail - as a measure of humiliation.' He asked Ibn Suriyah, a fairly young man, one-eyed, but an acclaimed scholar of the Torah, in the name of all that was holy to the Jews if it was not stoning to death that the Tawrah had prescribed. After some hesitation the man admitted that that was the punishment, and the Prophet ordered the pair stoned to death. However, notwithstanding the context of revelation, the verses also seem to be dealing with the hypocrites (Ibn Jarir).
    Another cause of revelation has been reported. Ibn `Abbas said that in pre-Islamic times some Jewish tribes did not consider themselves equal to other Jewish tribes. Banu Nadir for instance, considered themselves superior to Banu Qurayzah. Therefore, in cases involving murder, they would not allow their man to be killed in retaliation of a murder, rather, forced Banu Qurayzah to accept blood wit. Now, the murder of a Qurazi at the hands of a Banu Nadir man took place after the Prophet's migration to Madinah. Banu Qurayzah demanded that the murderer be handed over to them. Banu Nadir would only agree to blood wit. Banu Qurayzah - long victims of Banu Nadir's oppression - began to moan about it. They said: "We believe in the same Prophet, follow the same Scripture, believe in the same Law, and are one people. Why then should we be treated unequal?" Finally, when no solution could be found, Banu Nadir were advised by their rabbis to refer the case to the Prophet and accept the decision only if he gave a favorable judgment. The rabbis themselves remained behind the scene (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi).
    The above report is in Ahmad, Abu Da'ud, Ibn al-Mundhir, Tabarani, Abu al-Sheikh and Ibn Marduwayh (Shawkani). Ahmad Shakir has evaluated the report in Musnad Ahmad as sahih. (S. Ibrahim)
    Nonetheless, a second opinion, that of Ibn `Abbas, Abu Hurayrah, Mujahid, Jabir and others, is that this refers to the incident of the Jews forwarding a case to the Prophet of a pair of adulterers. The rabbis had given instructions to their people that they were to accept the judgment only if he ordered whipping. But if he ordered the punishment as prescribed in the Torah, viz., stoning to death, then it was to be rejected (Ibn Jarir).
    Rejecting the Prophet's judgment would not, of course, have been difficult. But, had the Prophet judged in accordance with what they desired, they would have accepted it. For, if criticized, they would have explained to the Muslims that they had accepted the judgment of a Prophet, and to the Jews that they had accepted the judgment of a political authority. Further, some reports say that the Jews came to the Prophet, but some other reports say that he went to them. Well, it is possible that first they came to him and then, subsequently, he visited them for a first hand assessment of the crime (Bayan).
    Reports supporting the opinion of Ibn `Abbas vis a vis the cause of revelation, are in Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi and Abu Da'ud (Qurtubi).
    The Sahihayn have a report which confirms the report of Ibn Jarir. Narrated by `Abdullah ibn `Umar, it says that the Jews presented to the Prophet the case of a Jewish man and woman who had committed adultery. They did that in the hope of a light punishment as his religion sounded to be less demanding. He asked them: "What has the Tawrah to say about it?" They replied: "Well. We disgrace them and whip them." `Abdullah ibn Sallam interjected: "You have lied. It commands stoning to death. Bring the Torah."
    Accordingly, they brought in the Torah and began to read. When they reached the portion speaking of the punishment by stoning to death, the reader placed his hand on the line and read what was before and after it. `Abdullah ibn Sallam said: "Move away your hand and read." It was speaking of stoning to death. They said, "Muhammad. You spoke the truth. It has the commandment about stoning to death." So the Prophet ordered that they be stoned to death. "I was one of those," Ibn `Umar added, "who threw the stones. And I saw the man shielding the woman as the stones were being pelted at them." The version of Abu Da'ud gives some more details such as that the Prophet was invited to their dwellings. He went into a house called Midrash
    in a locality called Quff. They asked him to judge a case involving a pair that had adulterated. They presented a cushion for him to sit on. He sat on it and asked them to produce the Torah. When they brought in the Torah, he got down the cushion, placed the Torah on it and said, "I believe in you and in what has been revealed to me."
    A report in Ahmad also says that the Jews followed the Torah commandment only when a weak among them was involved, sparing the noble ones. But when adultery spread among them then they decided that they should rather have one punishment for all, and so they agreed on whipping, blackening the faces and parading the offenders around the town on a donkey with faces turned toward the tail. Abu Da'ud has several versions of this report. According to one, the Prophet ordered them to produce four witnesses who would swear that they saw the very act of copulation. When they did, he ordered the stoning (Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir).
    Asad adds: "Although this verse is, in the first instance, addressed to the Prophet, it concerns all followers of the Qur'an and is, therefore, valid for all times. The same observation applies to the people of whom this verse speaks: although it mentions only the hypocrites and Jews, it refers, by implication, to all people who are prejudiced against Islam and willingly lend ear to any false statement about its teachings, preferring to listen to unfriendly non-Muslim ‘experts’ rather than to turn to the Qur'an itself for enlightenment..."
    Thanwi comments: In the words, ‘If you are given this accept it, but if you are not given it, then be on the guard,' there is a lot of similarity between this Jewish attitude and that of those Muslims who go to the scholars with enquiries, but with the intention that if they rule according to their desires they would follow them, but if they would not, the affair would be subject to further enquiry and consideration.

    سَمَّاعُونَ لِلْكَذِبِ أَكَّالُونَ لِلسُّحْتِ ۚ فَإِنْ جَاءُوكَ فَاحْكُمْ بَيْنَهُمْ أَوْ أَعْرِضْ عَنْهُمْ ۖ وَإِنْ تُعْرِضْ عَنْهُمْ فَلَنْ يَضُرُّوكَ شَيْئًا ۖ وَإِنْ حَكَمْتَ فَاحْكُمْ بَيْنَهُمْ بِالْقِسْطِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ (42)

    5|42| (They are) Great patrons of lies, great devourers of the unlawful.132 If they come to you, judge between them or turn away from them.133 If you turn away from them, they shall not be able to harm you. However, if you judge between them, then judge with equity.134 Surely, Allah loves the just.

    132. In its root the word suht means something that destroys. The unlawful has been termed suht because it destroys the person's character as it does his good deeds. Elsewhere the Qur'an has used the word in this sense. It said (20: 61):

    فَيُسْحِتَكُمْ بِعَذَابٍ [طه : 61]

    "Lest the punishment destroys you."
    According to `Umar ibn al-Khattab, `Abdullah (ibn Mas`ud), Mujahid, Hasan, Qatadah, Suddi and others the word suht alludes to bribes. `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud has ruled that if bribes are accepted to offer a judgment following laws other than the revealed ones, then it amounts to disbelief. To substantiate, he recited the verse (5: 44):

    وَمَنْ لَمْ يَحْكُمْ بِمَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ فَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْكَافِرُونَ [المائدة : 44]

    "He who did not rule by what Allah has revealed, such then are the unbelievers."
    It is said that upon Masruq's recommendation, someone's pending work was completed (by a contractor). So the man gifted a slave girl to Masruq. Masruq was upset about it. He said: "Had I known that you will behave this way, I would never have recommended your case. And I shall never do it in the future. I have heard Ibn Mas`ud say, ‘Whoever did something to get someone obtain his right or get a wrong righted, and is gifted something which he accepts, then that is suht.'" He was told: "We did not know that. We had always thought that playing with the rules (of the Shari`ah) to favor someone is suht." Masruq replied: "That is disbelief."
    `Ali ibn abi Talib has said, "The following are suht: A cupper's earnings, the earnings of a prostitute, the price of a dog, expedition of a case (upon receipt of bribe), a soothsayer's earnings, the fees for lending out a bull for mating, bribes, the price of wine and the price of carrion." The Prophet has said:

    وَمَنْ نَبَتَ لَحْمُهُ عَلَى السُّحْتِ ، فَالنَّارُ أَوْلَى بِهِ.

    "He who nurtured his flesh on suht is better deserving of the Fire."
    He was asked: "What is suht, O Messenger of Allah?" He replied: "Bribes for judging in one’s favor" (Ibn Jarir).
    The second part of the above hadith could not be found in Sahih Hadith works (Au).
    As for the price for a dog, perhaps, those would be exempted that are used for security purposes or for hunting. See note 27 above (Au.).
    Qurtubi writes: Imam Abu Hanifah has said that if a ruler accepts bribes, he loses the right to rule even if he does not abdicate. Therefore, all his rulings and judgments after that are null and void. The Prophet has forbidden bribes in very strong terms. He said:

    الرَّاشِي وَالْمُرْتَشِي فِي النَّارِ

    "He who gives and he who accepts bribe are in the Fire."
    However, there is no difference of opinion that if a person finds it impossible to obtain his right without bribes, then he might bribe without incurring a sin. The sin will be upon he who received it.

    133. Authorities have differed over whether a Muslim ruler is bound to judge the affairs of the unbelievers within his jurisdiction according to the Shari`ah law, or, has he a choice? Scholars such as Hasan, `Ikrimah, Suddi, Mujahid and Qatadah have said that the choice has been abrogated by another verse (5: 49):

    وَأَنِ احْكُمْ بَيْنَهُمْ بِمَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ [المائدة : 49]

    "And that you should judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and follow not their vain desires."
    However, others, such as Sha`bi, Ibrahim, ‘Ata' and Qatadah have said that a Muslim ruler has the choice to either judge between them or turn them away to be judged by their own laws. Zuhri has stated that the practice has always been to let them be judged by their own laws in matters of "personal affairs” unless they apply to the Shari`ah courts. But, without sufficient evidence of abrogation, I am inclined to believe that the second opinion is correct (Ibn Jarir).
    Qurtubi adds: Imam Abu Hanifa's opinion is that non-Muslims cannot be judged by Islamic laws, unless they seek judgment by them, in which case the judge is bound to rule by the Islamic law alone. But, if there is no such request, then they have to be judged by their own laws. For example, if a Muslim and a non-Muslim commit adultery, the Muslim would be stoned to death but not the non-Muslim partner in the crime. And, if a pair of non-Muslims commits adultery, the two might be whipped but not stoned to death. Nevertheless, the issue is complicated and other jurists hold different opinions (Qurtubi).

    134. Sha`bi, Ibrahim and Mujahid have said that the allusion by the term "equity" is to the Shari`ah, i.e., "If you judge between them, judge by what Allah has revealed" (Ibn Jarir).

    وَكَيْفَ يُحَكِّمُونَكَ وَعِنْدَهُمُ التَّوْرَاةُ فِيهَا حُكْمُ اللَّهِ ثُمَّ يَتَوَلَّوْنَ مِنْ بَعْدِ ذَٰلِكَ ۚ وَمَا أُولَٰئِكَ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ (43)

    5|43| But how can they seek your judgment seeing that they have the Tawrah wherein are Allah's commandments?135a But they turn back after that. They are not believers.

    135. That is, why at all should the Jews come to a Muslim authority for judgment when it is already clearly mentioned in the Torah that the adulterer and adulteress should be stoned to death? Says the Torah in Deutronomy:

    22.20 But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel, (unmarried women)
    22.21 then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die, because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house; so shalt thou put evil away from among you.
    22.22 “If a man be found lying with a woman married to a husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman and the woman; so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.
    22.23 If a damsel who is a virgin be betrothed unto a husband, and a man find her in the city and lie with her,
    22.24 then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones, that they die — the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city, and the man,because he hath humbled his neighbor’s wife; so thou shalt put away evil from among you.
    The Gospels too confirm that stoning to death was the punishment in the Jewish Law. The Gospel of John recounts the following famous story:

    8:1 Jesus went to the mount of Olives: 8:2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came to him; and he sat down and taught them. 8:3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought to him a woman taken in adultery: and when they had set her in the midst, 8:4 They say to him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 8:5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned; but what sayest thou? 8:6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with [his] finger wrote on the ground, [as though he heard them not]. 8:7 So when they continued asking him, he raised himself, and said to them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. 8:8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 8:9 And they who heard [it], being convicted by [their own]
    conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, [even] to the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 8:10 When Jesus had raised himself, and saw none but the woman, he said to her, Woman, where are those thy accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 8:11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said to her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

    إِنَّا أَنْزَلْنَا التَّوْرَاةَ فِيهَا هُدًى وَنُورٌ ۚ يَحْكُمُ بِهَا النَّبِيُّونَ الَّذِينَ أَسْلَمُوا لِلَّذِينَ هَادُوا وَالرَّبَّانِيُّونَ وَالْأَحْبَارُ بِمَا اسْتُحْفِظُوا مِنْ كِتَابِ اللَّهِ وَكَانُوا عَلَيْهِ شُهَدَاءَ ۚ فَلَا تَخْشَوُا النَّاسَ وَاخْشَوْنِ وَلَا تَشْتَرُوا بِآيَاتِي ثَمَنًا قَلِيلًا ۚ وَمَنْ لَمْ يَحْكُمْ بِمَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْكَافِرُونَ (44)

    5|44| Surely, We sent down the Tawrah wherein was guidance136 and a Light. The Prophets who had surrendered themselves gave judgment thereby for those of the Jewry (who believed in it),137 as did the godly men and the scholars,138 following what of Allah's book they were charged to preserve - and they were witnesses to it. So fear not the people, rather, fear Me and sell not My revelations for a paltry price.139 And whoso judges not by what Allah has ... such ... they are the unbelievers.140

    136. The guidance therein included instructions pertaining to the enquiry that the Jews had made, i.e., adultery (Razi). That is, We had sent down earlier, O Prophet, a revelation to the Israelites which contained commandments pertaining to the crime of adultery about which the Jews had sought your judgment (Ibn Jarir).

    137. One of the interpretations (Qurtubi) is that the "lam" of "lilladhina hadu" is in the sense of "`ala". Further, the use of the words "alladhina hadu" instead of "al-yahud" is perhaps to point out that the prophets who followed Musa were Muslims and did not refer to themselves as Jews (Au.).

    138. Explaining the word rabbaniyyun of the original, Asad writes under surah 3 in note 62: "According to Sibawayh (as quoted by Razi), a rabbani is "one who devotes himself exclusively to the endeavor to know the Sustainer (ar-rabb) and to obey Him." Also see note 133 of Surah Aal-`Imran of this work.
    Shafi` writes: The revelation of Allah has two aspects: (i) knowledge and, (ii) its application (i.e., ‘ilm wa ‘amal). Now, although it is expected of every knowledgeable (`alim) that he should also be good in application, as it is expected of everyone who applies, to be good in knowledge, the fact remains that while there are some who treat application as more serious than knowledge, there are others who dedicate themselves more to knowledge. Now those who are meticulous about application aspect of the revelation are known as rabbaniyyun while those who concentrate more on knowledge are known as Ahbar. Thus, the sufiya and the ‘ulama are only two faces of the same coin.
    Rashid Rida has something similar to state: "It seems to me that the rabbaniyyun with the Jews were similar to our awliya' and ‘arifin, while ahbar as our common scholars. It is said that Ibn `Abbas was the Habr of the ummah, while `Ali the Rabbaniyy.

    139. It should be obvious that in this verse the address by implication is to the Ummah of the Prophet through him (Au.).

    140. Basing their opinion on these words, the Khawarij have argued that someone who commits a major sin (in other words, every fasiq) is an unbeliever. The answer that has been given by the Ahl al-Sunnah is that although the verse is general in meaning, it is specifically applicable to the act of the heart, so that whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed out of disbelief in it, then, he is an unbeliever (Alusi).
    Not Judging by Allah’s Command:
    Qurtubi points out that the report of Bara’ b. `Aazib, as in Muslim, (concerning the Prophet’s judgment of stoning to death the pair of Jews that had committed adultery) demonstrates that the following three verses, have unbelievers as their subject: 1. ‘And whoso judges not by what Allah has revealed, such, they are the unbelievers;' 2. ‘And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, such, they are the transgressors;' and, 3. ‘And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, such, they are the corrupt.'
    Abu Salih, `Ikrimah, Dahhak, Qatadah and Abu Mijlaz were of the same opinion. (So were Ibn Mas`ud and Hasan, who have said that whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, believing another set of laws as better, is an unbeliever: Qurtubi).
    In fact, it is reported of Abu Mijlaz that once some people of Banu `Amr came to him and asked him about these three verses whether they were making a true statement or not. He said, "Yes, they are." They said: "Let these then (the rulers of their time) also judge by what Allah has revealed." He replied: "It is their religion in which they believe. They claim they live by it (i.e., Islam). And to it they are invited. But if they do not live by a portion of it, then, they are aware that they have sinned." They said: "No, by Allah. Rather, you know for sure (rather, you fear them)." He replied: "That's not true. You might look at it that way. But I do not. These verses were revealed censuring the Jews and Christians."
    Nevertheless, it is reported of Hudhayfah (b. al-Yaman: Au., whose report is in Hakim who declared it sahih: Alusi) that when he was asked whether these verses were not revealed to censure the Jews and Christians, he replied: "The Jews are a comfortable set of brothers unto you. So that, all that is bitter is for them while all that is sweet is for you. Rather, you will follow them in their footsteps in even the most insignificant affairs."
    `Amir and Sha`bi have said that the first verse is talking of Muslims, the second of the Jews and the third of the Christians. Ta'us has however said that the "disbelief" in the verse is not the kind that will dislodge a person out of the millah altogether. When Ibn `Abbas was asked he replied: "When he does that (i.e., does not judge by what Allah has revealed) he is a disbeliever in it, but not a disbeliever in Him, His Prophets, in the Angels and so on." According to other reports (which is in ibn al-Mundhir and declared sahih by Hakim: Alusi) he said: "Yes, disbelief, true; but of a lower order. Not a disbelief of the kind your minds imagine, and not the kind that will exclude a person from the millah"
    Ibn `Abbas also said: "Whoever argued against what Allah has revealed, is a kafir, while he who admits that it is the commandment of Allah, yet does not judge by it, such a one is a zalim and a fasiq."
    Ibn Zayd clarified the issue in another manner. He said: "Whoever judged by a book that he wrote with his hands, rejecting the Book of Allah, and believed that what he has in his hands is the word of God, such a man is a kafir" (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir).
    After stating that none of the fuqaha' has ever said that a man becomes a kafir simply by failing to judge by what Allah has revealed, Rashid Rida discusses the situation in which Muslim rulers choose to ignore the Shari`ah and enforce non-Shari`ah laws. What should the Muslims of such a state do? Should they simply avoid getting involved in the state machinery? Then he answers that if, despite their efforts to change the situation, they fail, their land is "Dar al-Harb." It is no different from the land of the unbelievers where Muslims are in minority. (But Rashid Rida does not offer an evidence for why the land in which Allah’s laws are not enforced is Dar al-Harb. After all, even a Dar al-Kufr is not necessarily a Dar al-Harb; it being a land which has openly declared war against a Muslim country: Au.).
    Nonetheless, so far as the Muslim minority lands are concerned, Rashid Rida thinks that the avoidance of involvement in state machinery is not the best course for Muslims in those places. For, of the religious commandments there are two kinds: first, those that pertain to the personal life of an individual and second, those that are concerned with the functioning of the state. Now, there is no way in which a Muslim can rule against the Shari`ah in matters of "personal law." Muslims should avoid involvement in a machinery that fiddles with this area of the Islamic laws. As for the state laws, which are truly quite few, such as, for instance, capital punishments, it has been clearly stated by the fuqaha' that capital punishments cannot be enforced in Dar al-Kufr. This is the opinion of persons such as `Umar, Abu Darda', Hudhayfah and Imam Abu Hanifah. Ibn Qayyim has stated in "A`lam al-Mawqi`in" that such is also the opinion of Imam Ahmad, Ishaq b. Rahwayh, Awza`i and others. As for Ta`zirat punishments, we know that they have been left to the discretion of the ruling authorities. Therefore, there should be no harm in accepting judicial posts, so long as one does not enforce a law which is harmful to the Muslims of the state. Otherwise, he might. Though of course, in all situations, a Muslim should endeavor to enforce the laws of Islam and work for the establishment of a true Islamic state (Abridged).

    وَكَتَبْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ فِيهَا أَنَّ النَّفْسَ بِالنَّفْسِ وَالْعَيْنَ بِالْعَيْنِ وَالْأَنْفَ بِالْأَنْفِ وَالْأُذُنَ بِالْأُذُنِ وَالسِّنَّ بِالسِّنِّ وَالْجُرُوحَ قِصَاصٌ ۚ فَمَنْ تَصَدَّقَ بِهِ فَهُوَ كَفَّارَةٌ لَهُ ۚ وَمَنْ لَمْ يَحْكُمْ بِمَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ (45)

    5|45| Therein We had decreed for them: a life for a life,141 an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth and for wounds retaliation.142 Nevertheless, whosoever forgives in charity, then that is an expiation for him.143 And whoso does not judge by what Allah has revealed ... such ... they (indeed) are the transgressors.

    141. Ibn `Abbas has said that blood wit in place of life or an organ was not allowed for the Israelites. It was granted to this Ummah as a mercy from Allah (Ibn Jarir).

    142. Basing their judgment on this verse, the great majority of scholars are of the opinion that the Law of the previous nations (who received revelations), is our Law, unless the Qur'an abrogated it (Qurtubi).
    We have a hadith in the Sahihayn which says that once a woman called Rabi` slapped a slave-girl and broke her tooth. The Prophet ordered the offender's tooth broken. Her brother Anas b. Nadr remonstrated: "Will her tooth be broken, O Apostle of Allah?" The Prophet said: "Anas. Allah's Book demands retaliation." Anas replied: "No by the God who sent you with truth, her tooth will not be broken." It so happened that the victim's kinsfolk agreed to monetary compensation and withdrew their claim of retaliation. The Prophet remarked: "There are people who, if they swear by Allah a thing, He does it that way." However, this retaliatory law is applicable only if the injury is caused intentionally. If it is accidental, monetary compensation alone will be resorted to (Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir).
    The hadith in Muslim reports the mother of Rabi` as having said, "No by God who sent you with truth ..." (and not Anas). But it is possible that both Umm Anas as well as Anas b. Nadr had sworn by Allah (Qurtubi).
    Fiqh Points
    1. There is no retaliation for broken bones, intentional or intentional. Only monetary compensation will have to be accepted (Razi). It is only teeth about which there is no differences in opinion that a just retaliation (qisas) may follow (Ibn Kathir).
    2. The judgment about monetary compensation will be withheld until the wounds have healed. However, if a man demands and accepts monetary compensation before his wounds have healed, he can make no further claims, if, after healing, he suffers from a permanent disability (Ibn Kathir).
    3. What happens if the offender dies as a result of retaliation for a wound? Imam Shafe`i has said that there is nothing upon the victim who had demanded the retaliation. But, according to Abu Hanifah, blood-wit is due upon the man who had demanded retaliation (Ibn Kathir).
    4. The monetary compensation for two eyes is equal to a man's blood wit (so that, of one eye, it is one half of the blood wit); of the nose one blood wit; of the two ears one blood wit, (so that of one ear it is one half of the blood wit); and of each tooth it is five camels, which is also the blood wit for every finger and toe (Qurtubi).
    5. There is no Qisas for killing one's own progeny (Thanwi).
    6. If one of the claimants forgives his share, (such as one of the several children in case of a murder: Au.) then Qisas will stand annulled. Others can only receive monetary compensation.

    143. That is, if the victim forgave, equal amount of his sins was forgiven in appreciation of his charitable act. And the rule holds good for this Ummah also. It happened during Mu`awiyyah's rule that a Qurayshi pushed an Ansari who fell and broke his tooth. He complained to Mu`awiyyah and the Qurayshi tried to win some concession. But Mu`awiyyah told him that he will have to settle the issue with the Ansari alone. Abu Darda' happened to be present. He interjected: "I have heard the Prophet say,

    ما من مسلم يُصَاب بشيء من جسده فيَهبُه، إلا رفعه الله به درجةً وحطّ عنه به خطيئة. فقال له الأنصاري: أنت سمعته من رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم؟ قال: سمعته أذناي ووَعاه قلبي! فخلَّى سبيلَ القرشيّ

    ‘No hurt Muslim will forgive for a hurt but Allah will raise his status in Paradise and forgive his sins.'" The Ansari turned to him and asked: "Did you hear that from the Prophet yourself?" When he said yes, the Ansari forgave the Qurayshi and Mu`awiyyah ordered that the Ansari be gifted some money. (The report is in Ahmad and Tirmidhi: Ibn Kathir; but Tirmidhi declared it weak). Another opinion, that of Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and Ibrahim, is that if the victim forgives, the atonement is for the aggressor (in the sense that he has no sin upon him after that) while the victim will be rewarded by Allah (Ibn Jarir).

    وَقَفَّيْنَا عَلَىٰ آثَارِهِمْ بِعِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ مُصَدِّقًا لِمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ التَّوْرَاةِ ۖ وَآتَيْنَاهُ الْإِنْجِيلَ فِيهِ هُدًى وَنُورٌ وَمُصَدِّقًا لِمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ التَّوْرَاةِ وَهُدًى وَمَوْعِظَةً لِلْمُتَّقِينَ (46)

    5|46| And, in their footsteps We sent ‘Isa, son of Maryam, confirming that which came before it of the Tawrah.144 And We gave him Injil wherein was guidance and a Light,145 confirming that which came before it of the Tawrah, a guidance and an admonition unto the godfearing.

    144. That is, Allah sent ‘Isa, son of Maryam, with the message that what was revealed to Musa was the truth, and unless abrogated, stood in force, despite his own appointment as a Messenger (Ibn Jarir).

    145. That is, it showed the way to guidance, and, in addition, gave light in which was cure for doubts and skepticism (Ibn Kathir).

    وَلْيَحْكُمْ أَهْلُ الْإِنْجِيلِ بِمَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ فِيهِ ۚ وَمَنْ لَمْ يَحْكُمْ بِمَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ (47)

    5|47| Therefore, let the people of Injil judge by what Allah has revealed therein. And whoso does not judge by what Allah has revealed ... such ... they (indeed) are the ungodly.

    وَأَنْزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ مُصَدِّقًا لِمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَمُهَيْمِنًا عَلَيْهِ ۖ فَاحْكُمْ بَيْنَهُمْ بِمَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ ۖ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ عَمَّا جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ ۚ لِكُلٍّ جَعَلْنَا مِنْكُمْ شِرْعَةً وَمِنْهَاجًا ۚ وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ لَجَعَلَكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَلَٰكِنْ لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ فِي مَا آتَاكُمْ ۖ فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَيْرَاتِ ۚ إِلَى اللَّهِ مَرْجِعُكُمْ جَمِيعًا فَيُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ فِيهِ تَخْتَلِفُونَ (48)

    5|48| And (now) We have sent down a Book to you in truth, confirming the Book which came before it and a guardian over it.146 Therefore, judge between them by what Allah has revealed; and follow not their caprices in lieu of what has come to you of the Truth.147 For every one of you We have prescribed a Law and a Way.148 And, had Allah desired, He would have made you all one nation.149 But in order that He may try you in what He has given to (each of) you. Therefore, vie in good deeds; unto Allah is the return of you all. He will then lay open the things in which you were differing.

    146. Muhaymin of the original has been interpreted by Ibn `Abbas, Qatadah, Mujahid and many others as a guardian and a witness (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    Asad writes: "The participle muhaymin is derived from the quadrilateral verb haymana, "he watched [over a thing]" or "controlled [it]", and is used here to describe the Qur'an as the determinant factor in deciding what is genuine and what is false in earlier Scriptures."
    Yusuf Ali comments: "The Arabic word muhaimin is very comprehensive in meaning. It means one who safeguards, watches over, stands witness, preserves, and upholds. The Qur'an safeguards "the Book", for it has preserved within it the teachings of all the former Books. It watches over these Books in the sense that it will not let their true teaching to be lost. It supports and upholds these Books in the sense that it corroborates the Word of Allah which has remained intact in them. It stands a witness because it bears testimony to the Word of Allah contained in these Books and helps to sort it out from the interpretation and commentaries of the people which were mixed with it: what is confirmed by the Qur'an is the Word of Allah and what is against it is that of the people."

    147. Since the Prophet was not expected to follow his caprice, it is his followers that have been addressed through him (Razi, Qurtubi).

    148. Qatadah has said that although all the previous nations followed one religion - that of faith in Oneness of Allah - they all had different Shari`ah. Ibn `Abbas, Hasan, Mujahid, Suddi, Dahhak and others have said that the term shir`ah here is equivalent of Sunnah (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    Abu al-`Abbas Muhammad b. Yezid, has, however, given the linguistic meaning of shir`ah as the beginning of a path, and of minhaj as its continuation (Qurtubi).
    Originally shir`ah or shari`ah were used for a path that led to water. Raghib and others have said that the word has probably been employed because living and practicing the Shari`ah (of Islam) re-invigorates spiritual life as water re-invigorates material life (Alusi).
    What the verse is saying is that although the religion of all the Prophets was one, in the sense of basic beliefs and faiths, the Laws differed from nation to nation. The Prophet (saws) said, in a hadith of Bukhari:

    الأَنْبِيَاءُ إِخْوَةٌ مِنْ عَلاَّتٍ وَأُمَّهَاتُهُمْ شَتَّى وَدِينُهُمْ وَاحِدٌ

    "Prophets are brothers, sons of the same father but different mothers. Theirs was one religion" (Ibn Kathir).
    Asad writes: "The expression ‘every one of you' denotes the various communities of which mankind is composed. The term shir`ah (or shari`ah) signifies, literally, "the way to a watering place" (from which men and animals derive the element indispensable to their life), and is used in the Qur'an to denote a system of law necessary for a community's social and spiritual welfare. The term minhaj, on the other hand, denotes an "open road", usually in an abstract sense: that is, "a way of life". The terms shir`ah and minhaj are more restricted in their meanings than the term din, which comprises not merely the laws relating to a particular religion but also the basic, unchanging spiritual truths which, according to the Qur'an, have been preached by every one of God's apostles, while the particular body of laws (shir`ah or shari`ah) promulgated through them, and the way of life (minhaj) recommended by them, varied in accordance with the exigencies of the time and of each community's cultural development. This "unity in diversity" is frequently stressed in the Qur'an..."
    Shawkani adds the pointer that the statement "For every one of you We have prescribed a Law and a Way" is to be understood as a truth of the past. That is, it used to be so. Now, after the Final revelation, there is no Law and no Way, but one. All others stand abrogated.

    149. That is, Allah could have given them all the same set of Laws, but He did not for reasons of trying out different people by different means (Ibn Kathir).

    وَأَنِ احْكُمْ بَيْنَهُمْ بِمَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ وَاحْذَرْهُمْ أَنْ يَفْتِنُوكَ عَنْ بَعْضِ مَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ إِلَيْكَ ۖ فَإِنْ تَوَلَّوْا فَاعْلَمْ أَنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ أَنْ يُصِيبَهُمْ بِبَعْضِ ذُنُوبِهِمْ ۗ وَإِنَّ كَثِيرًا مِنَ النَّاسِ لَفَاسِقُونَ (49)

    5|49| Judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and follow not their caprices; and be on the guard lest they beguile you from any of what Allah has revealed to you.150 If they turn away, then know that Allah desires to punish them for some of their sins. And, truly, most people are ungodly.

    150. Ibn `Abbas has said that once the Jewish rabbis wanted to test the Prophet. So three of them, Ka`b b. Usad, Ibn Suriyyah and Shas b. Qays went to him and said: "You know our position with the Jews. If we declare our belief in you the common people will follow suit. Now there are a few cases pending between us and them. If you will promise to judge in our favor, we will now at this moment declare our faith in you. The Prophet refused and Allah revealed this verse (Ibn Jarir, Zamakhshari, Razi, Qurtubi).
    Ibn abi Hatim has also reported this (Ibn Kathir).

    أَفَحُكْمَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ يَبْغُونَ ۚ وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ مِنَ اللَّهِ حُكْمًا لِقَوْمٍ يُوقِنُونَ (50)

    5|50| Do they seek judgment by the (law of the days of) Ignorance?151 But who is better than Allah in judgment unto a people firm in faith?152

    151. Ibn Kathir writes: "As do the Tartars. Chengis Khan has handed them down a set of laws, compiled by a man called Al-Yasiq, who used Judaism, Christianity and Islam as his sources - apart from others. They give this set of laws precedence over the Laws of Islam. Now, whoever did that is an unbeliever. War should be waged against him - whether such transcendence is of the minor type or major - until he submits to the Shari`ah of Islam. Bukhari has recorded the Prophet's statement through Ibn `Abbas:

    عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ عَنِ النَّبِىِّ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- قَالَ :« أَبْغَضُ النَّاسِ إِلَى اللَّهِ مُلْحِدٌ فِى الْحَرَمِ وَمُبْتَغٍ فِى الإِسْلاَمِ سَنَّةَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ وَمُطَّلِبُ دَمِ امْرِئٍ بِغَيْرِ حَقٍّ لِيُهَرِيقَ دَمَهُ

    "The most despicable in the sight of Allah is he who spreads corruption in the Makkan Sanctuary, someone who sought Jahiliyy ways in Islam, and he who demanded life of a person in an unproven case of retaliation, in order that he might shed innocent blood."
    Mawdudi comments: "The word Jahiliyyah (gross ignorance) is used as an antonym to Islam. Islam is the way of ‘ilm (true knowledge), since it is God Himself Who has shown this way, and His knowledge embraces everything. In contrast is the way that diverges from Islam - the path of Ignorance (Jahiliyyah). The pre-Islamic period in Arabia is designated as Jahiliyyah, because this was the era when human beings derived their norms from either superstitious beliefs, conjectures and imaginations or from their desires. Whenever such an attitude is adopted, it is bound to be designated as Ignorance. The appellation ‘Jahiliyyah' will apply to every aspect of life which is developed in disregard of the knowledge made available by God..."

    152. Sayyid writes: "The text of the Qur'an defines Jahiliyyah at this point. Jahiliyyah is man's legislation for man. That is tantamount to the worship of man by man, a denial to worship Allah and refusal to acknowledge His Lordship substituting it with the Lordship of humans and submission to them.
    "In this light Jahiliyyah is not a phase in human history, rather a phenomenon that has existed all along. It existed yesterday, exists today, and will exist tomorrow. Its character and quality are diagonally opposed to Islam and are totally contradictory to it.
    "As for the people - at any time and in any part of the world - they are either governed by the Law of Allah, without any exemption of any kind whatsoever, and they accept that wholeheartedly - in which case they are within the folds of the din of Allah - or they are not governed by the Law of Allah. If they are ruled by the laws of man's making, in whatever form and fashion, and they are satisfied with it, then, in that case they live in Jahiliyyah. They are the followers of the religion of those who legislate for them. They are not, in any sense, in the din of Allah. Further, whosoever does not desire to be judged by the Law of Allah, actually desires to be judged by the Jahiliyyah. Whoever denies to accept the Shari`ah of Allah, but rather desires to live by the Jahiliyy Shari`ah ... lives in a state of Jahiliyyah.
    "This then is the dividing line ... the parting of ways ... and the people have to make a choice.
    "Therefore they are asked, ‘Who is better than Allah in judgment unto a people of firm faith?'
    "Of course, who is better than Allah in judgment?
    "Who can claim to legislate for the people and judge between them in a way better than what Allah can legislate and judge? If someone does that, what proof he has for such a claim?
    "Is it possible for him to say that he understands the people's nature better than their Creator? Can he claim to be kinder towards the people than their Lord? Can he say that he knows in what lies the welfare of the people better than the Sustainer of the people? Can he say that Allah - who legislated for the people for the last time, who sent the Final Messenger, with no Prophet to follow, who declared the Law He sent through him as the everlasting Law - was ignorant of the circumstances that were to follow, of needs that were to arise, the phenomena that were yet to appear, and therefore, could not take them into account, since they were hidden from Him, and which came to light only much later?
    "What is it that he would say who divorces Allah's Law from everyday life, replacing it with the rule of the Days of Ignorance, placing his own fanciful thoughts, or those of some other people, or those of the people of a particular generation, over Allah's Judgment and His Laws?
    "What is it that he will say ... especially if he claims to be a Muslim?
    "Will he point to the circumstances? Situations? People's disinclination? Fear of enemies? Were all these things not in Allah's knowledge, while He was ordering the Muslims to establish the religion of Allah, and put it to practice in their everyday life, not to be beguiled of some of what He has revealed?
    "Or, will he say that the Shari`ah did not take into account the contingent situations that arose subsequently, or of circumstances that presented themselves newly, or of predicaments that showed up latterly? But, were not these things in the knowledge of Allah, while He was emphasizing on the application of His laws so forcefully, and warning in such severe terms?
    "A non-Muslim is free to say what he will ... But a Muslim? Or those who claim to be Muslims? ... About that which is stated above, what will he choose to say and still remain within the fold of Islam, or will there remain in his soul anything of Islam?
    "The truth is that this is the parting of ways. There is no escape from a choice. There need be no contention, nor arguments: it is either Islam or Jahiliyyah; either belief or disbelief; either Allah's judgment, or that of the Days of Ignorance.
    "Those who do not judge by what Allah has revealed ... they are the unbelievers, the transgressors, the ungodly. And those of the ruled who do not accept to be ruled by Allah's commandments ... they are unbelievers.
    "This is an issue that should be very clear to the Muslim conscience. He should not hesitate from applying this reality to the people of his time and to accept the consequences of such an application on his friends and foes.
    "So long as this issue is not clear to the Muslim, he will not be able to set straight his scales. The methods and procedures would not be clear to him. His conscience will not be able to distinguish between the truth and falsehood. He will not be able to take a single step in the right direction. Even if it happens that this issue remains unclear to the great majority of the people, it cannot remain unclear to those who are ‘Muslims,’ and who wish to deserve this majestic appellation."

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَّخِذُوا الْيَهُودَ وَالنَّصَارَىٰ أَوْلِيَاءَ ۘ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ ۚ وَمَنْ يَتَوَلَّهُمْ مِنْكُمْ فَإِنَّهُ مِنْهُمْ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ (51)

    5|51| Believers! Take not the Jews and Christians as intimate friends.153 They are friends of each other.154 Whoso of you befriends them intimately, is one of them.155 Verily, Allah does not guide a transgressing people.

    153. Although the verse addresses the common believers and is general in its application, it seems to be specially speaking of the hypocrites. And the prohibition is for Muslims from entering into alliance with the Jews and Christians in opposition of Islam and Muslims. It was originally revealed in connection with ‘Ubadah ibn Samit and `Abdullah ibn Ubayy. After Badr, ‘Ubadah went to the Prophet and told him that he had several hundred Jewish allies whom he was intending to disown in favor of the friendship with Allah and his Messenger. But ‘Ubayy insisted on their friendship and this verse was revealed. That is the opinion of ‘Atiyyah b. Sa`id, Zuhri and Ibn Is-haq. However, Suddi has said that after the defeat of Uhud, some Muslims suggested that they befriend the Jews against the pagans. Allah revealed this verse (Ibn Jarir).
    Ibn Ishaq provides the background when he says that the statements of ‘Ubadah ibn Samit and `Abdullah ibn Ubayy were made at the time the Muslims laid siege to the forts of the Jewish tribe Banu Qaynuqa, who had broken their treaty with the Prophet. `Abdullah ibn Ubayy thrust his hand in the pocket of the mail coat the Prophet had on him, and held him until he had obtained pardon for the Jews locked in their forts. It was then that the two made their statements and Allah revealed this verse. Further, it is reported in Ahmad and Abu Da'ud that on another occasion, when the Prophet visited `Abdullah ibn Ubayy, who had fallen sick, he reminded him that he had told him not to befriend the Jews. Ibn Ubayy replied: "As`ad b. Zurarah had angered them and (as a consequence) he died" (Ibn Kathir).
    (`Umar did not even approve of their employment in key positions: Au.). It is reported that when Abu Musa al-Ash`ari presented the accounts of his governorate prepared by his secretary, `Umar was much impressed by the presentation and asked him if his secretary could read out in the mosque a letter that `Umar had received from Syria. Abu Musa said he could not because he can not enter the mosque. "Why not?" asked `Umar. "Is he in a state of impurity?" Abu Musa told him: "That's not the reason. Rather, the man is a Christian." `Umar recited this verse and told him to remove him from the post (Ibn Kathir).

    154. Most commentators have said that the meaning is: "Jews are friends to Jews, and Christians are friends to Christians," since the two communities are pitted against each other in hatred and distrust. However, some have pointed out the possibility of the two communities allying with each other in opposition of the Muslims (Au.).
    Majid comments: "The Jews and Christians have much in common, and can, and do, readily form a combination against Islam. As the most recent instance of their animosity against Islam, witness the Christian Britain’s zealous sponsoring of ‘Zionism' and ‘Jewish home in Palestine.'"
    Asad writes: "However ... this prohibition of a "moral alliance" with non-Muslims does not constitute an injunction against normal, friendly relations with such of them as are well-disposed towards Muslims. It should be borne in mind that the term waliyy has several shades of meaning: "ally", "friend", "helper", "protector", etc. The choice of the particular term - and sometimes a combination of two terms - is always dependent on the context."
    For a fuller understanding refer to Thanwi's explanation as in 3: 48 of this work.

    155. In sum, Allah forbid the believers from taking the Jews and Christians as their allies against the believers and has declared that those who take them as allies against the believers in Islam are one of them.
    Hence we see that although Banu Taqhlib were not Christians in the true sense, but since they were the allies of, and friendly to the (Roman) Christians, inclining toward them in many religious matters, Ibn `Abbas had ruled that they were to be treated as Christians and their slaughtered animal was lawful to the Muslims, although Hasan and Ibn Sirin (also `Ali: Au.) did not think their slaughtered animal was lawful to the Muslims (Ibn Jarir).

    فَتَرَى الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ مَرَضٌ يُسَارِعُونَ فِيهِمْ يَقُولُونَ نَخْشَىٰ أَنْ تُصِيبَنَا دَائِرَةٌ ۚ فَعَسَى اللَّهُ أَنْ يَأْتِيَ بِالْفَتْحِ أَوْ أَمْرٍ مِنْ عِنْدِهِ فَيُصْبِحُوا عَلَىٰ مَا أَسَرُّوا فِي أَنْفُسِهِمْ نَادِمِينَ (52)

    5|52| Wherefore you will notice those in whose heart is sickness hastening toward them saying: ‘We fear a turn of misfortune that might smite us.' But, it may be156 that Allah will bring you either victory, or a command from Himself,157 then they will turn regretful of what they conceal in their hearts.

    156. ‘Asa is literally "may be" or "perhaps" but "when used in reference to an act of God it signifies surety of the happening" (Majid).

    157. Suddi has said that by "victory" the allusion is to the fall of Makkah, and by "command" it is jizyah (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir).

    وَيَقُولُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَهَٰؤُلَاءِ الَّذِينَ أَقْسَمُوا بِاللَّهِ جَهْدَ أَيْمَانِهِمْ ۙ إِنَّهُمْ لَمَعَكُمْ ۚ حَبِطَتْ أَعْمَالُهُمْ فَأَصْبَحُوا خَاسِرِينَ (53)

    5|53| And the believers will say (amazingly): ‘Are these the people who used to so forcefully swear by Allah that they are with you?!' Their works have failed and they are the losers.158

    158. That's exactly what happened. The Jews of Madinah were either killed or expelled and those of the pagans who befriended them gained nothing from their alliance (Qurtubi); and, throughout history, Muslims never gained anything from the alliance of the unbelievers, nor will they ever (Au.).
    Wilayah and Friendship
    Despite their personal experiences in every day dealings with the Muslims, both at the individual as well as state level, the non-Muslims level the charge against them that their religion is intolerant and unaccommodating. It is against peaceful co-existence. One of the Qur'anic verses cited as an example is the one under discussion. But, since Arabic words frequently occurring in the translation can be irksome to many, we have resorted to an easier rendering. Otherwise, a proper rendering should be as follows: "O ye who believe, take not the Jews and Christians for awliya'. They are friends to each other. And whosoever amongst you takes them for awliya', he is indeed of them. Surely Allah guides not the unjust people." That is, the verse in question is speaking of wilayah (of which "friendship" is an inadequate equivalent). Wilayah is to take someone close to what is in one's bosom, sharing the secrets therein keeping back nothing, and trusting him to the fullest degree, as one would trust his own self. It is in this sense that the Muslims have been ordered not to take the Jews and Christians their awliya' (sing. waliyy). The verse does not disapprove of friendship in the ordinary sense: in the sense, in which Jews and Christians themselves understand the word, and the sense in which Jews and Christians, or any other people, are friends unto each other. Islam does not bar the Muslims from that kind of friendship at the individual or state level.
    The term the Qur'an has used, wilayah, is, quite alien to non-Muslims. They have no concept of it at all. It exists among Muslims alone, and manifests itself by way of complete faith, trust and love for the sake of Allah, between two Muslims otherwise totally strangers to each other. It can exist between two Muslims that do not even speak each other's language and have run across each other only a moment earlier. They might not be friends to each other, yet, they can be awliya' to each other.
    In contrast friendship requires sharing of certain opinions (not necessarily faith), language, culture, long companionship, and proving true under trying circumstances. Yet, friendship can break off. Two Christians, for instance, can be good friends for a long spell but break off for ever. That cannot happen between two awliya'.
    Now, since non-Muslims are totally ignorant of this concept of wilayah, they can never be awliya' to one another, far from being so to a Muslim. Muslims therefore, have been told not to attempt wilayah with them. If they do, it will be a one sided affair: an affair in which the Muslim will try to be a waliyy, whereas the non-Muslim will only try to be a good friend. Surely that would be an odd arrangement, in which the non-Muslim will draw full advantage, whereas the Muslim will be a loser.
    As for friendship with non-Muslims, Islam encourages it. Islam encourages its adherents to be friendly with everyone around. Indeed, it expects them to be not merely friendly with the people, rather, one step ahead, it expects them to be good toward them. If they happen to be within the gamut of interactions, then Islam expects the Muslims to treat them well and look after their interests. If they happen to be neighbors, Islam disapproves that Muslims sleep well fed, while they go hungry. The Prophet himself, when there was famine, sent across food to the Makkans although they were at war with him and were attempting to get him assassinated.
    Again, as for relations between one state and another, Islam does not approve of the state of a perpetual belligerency. The Qur'an says (8: 61):

    {وَإِنْ جَنَحُوا لِلسَّلْمِ فَاجْنَحْ لَهَا وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ } [الأنفال: 61]

    "If they are inclined toward peace, make peace with them, and place trust in Allah."
    When the Muslims made peace at Hudaybiyyah in 6 A.H., the Qur'an called it a "victory" despite the disadvantageous terms of the treaty. Yes, it allows - rather orders - the Muslims to retaliate if attacked, and fight to the end. In fact, in case of declared state of war, it recommends that the Muslims launch preemptory attack to weaken the enemy. But in the normal course of things its dictum is (28: 77): "Do not look for corruption in the land. Verily, Allah does not approve of the corrupt." For ordinary, peaceful circumstances, it tells the Muslims (5: 2):

    {وَتَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْبِرِّ وَالتَّقْوَى وَلَا تَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ} [المائدة: 2]

    "Co-operate with each other in matters of virtue and piety but do not co-operate in matters of sins and transgression." 

    It also tells them to co-operate with people and go with them, hand in hand, to the extent they can go. The Qur'an said (3: 64):

    {يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ تَعَالَوْا إِلَى كَلِمَةٍ سَوَاءٍ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمْ أَلَّا نَعْبُدَ إِلَّا اللَّهَ وَلَا نُشْرِكَ بِهِ شَيْئًا وَلَا يَتَّخِذَ بَعْضُنَا بَعْضًا أَرْبَابًا مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ} [آل عمران: 64]

    "O people of the Book! Come to an equitable term between us and you: that we worship none but Allah and associate not aught with Him, and that some of us do not declare others as lords besides Allah."
    This short note should help remove some misconceptions about Islam, particularly the idea, originally spread by the Orientalists, that Muslims are required by Islam to be perpetually at war with the outside world. Yes, there are lots of things over which the two, Islam and non-Islam, differ with each other. But, they are not sufficient causes for a permanent state of war between them. So long as both are just, equitable, do not interfere in each other's affairs, and are ready to resolve their issues peacefully, they can co-exist and meet on many platforms for mutual benefit.
    Finally, it should also be noted that the term for friendship in Arabic is sadaqah or khullah. But, they are rarely used in Arabic. Therefore, the Qur'an employs this one term for two meanings: depending on the context. When it is employed for Muslims, it is in the meaning of awliya'. But when it employs for non-Muslims, such as, "some of them are awliya' to others," it uses the term in the sense of "friendship." And so, a proper rendering would be, "they are friends to each other" (Au.).

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَنْ يَرْتَدَّ مِنْكُمْ عَنْ دِينِهِ فَسَوْفَ يَأْتِي اللَّهُ بِقَوْمٍ يُحِبُّهُمْ وَيُحِبُّونَهُ أَذِلَّةٍ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَعِزَّةٍ عَلَى الْكَافِرِينَ يُجَاهِدُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَلَا يَخَافُونَ لَوْمَةَ لَائِمٍ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ فَضْلُ اللَّهِ يُؤْتِيهِ مَنْ يَشَاءُ ۚ وَاللَّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ (54)

    5|54| Believers! Whosoever of you turns from his religion,159 (might know that) soon Allah will bring forth a people whom He loves, and who love Him:160 soft with the believers, firm with the unbelievers,161 fighting in the cause of Allah,162 fearing not the criticism of a critic.163 That is a bounty of Allah that He bestows upon whom He will.164 Allah is All-embracing, All-knowing.

    159.In this verse a prediction was hidden that soon there would be apostasy (Shafi`). And the apostasy referred to here started to appear even before the Prophet's death when Musaylimah the Liar, Aswad al-`Ansi and Tulayha b. Khuwaylid, claimed prophethood and gained some of their own following among the Muslims. Of these, Wahshi killed Musaylimah, and used to say, "Before Islam I killed the best of Muslims and after Islam I killed the worst of the (unbelievers)." Khuwaylid was defeated in a battle, ran away to Syria, but subsequently became a good Muslim. Aswad al-`Ansi was killed just one day before the Prophet's death. Nonetheless, the truly serious apostasy took place immediately after the death of the Prophet, as a result of which there was a time when Prayers were being offered in no more than three places: Makkah, Madinah and in the Ju`aathi mosque of the `Abdul Qays tribe in Bahrayn (area above Oman in the south, and south of Kuwait in the north of the eastern part of the Arabian Peninsula). The apostates were of two kinds: 1) those who had repudiated the religion of Islam itself, and 2) those who had refused to pay the zakah, although they believed in the rest of the religion of Islam. They said, "We shall pray and fast, but shall not pay the zakah." It was Abu Bakr who fought against them and subdued both the classes (Zamakhshari, Qurtubi).
    Initially, none of the other Companions seconded his opinion to fight them until Abu Bakr addressed them in words: "It is my obligation that I fight those who, after their Islam during the time of the Prophet, should refuse now to live by its commandments. If they were to assemble together against me, all the forces of the Jinns, the trees and the rocks, and I am alone against them, even then I shall conduct Jihad against them." With those words he climbed his horse and was taking off when other Companions went after him, brought him back to his seat, and then it was that plans were laid down for military action against various apostate groups (Shafi`).

    160. Ibn Jarir writes that according to the earliest interpretation, the allusion by those "who will turn away from their religion" is to the renegades immediately after the death of the Prophet, and by the words "those whom He loves, and who love Him," the allusion is to Abu Bakr and others (the Muhajirun and Ansar) who fought against the renegades. It is also widely reported that when the verse about those "whom He loves and who love Him," was revealed, the Prophet pointed to Abu Musa al-Ash`ari and said: "It is this man and his people who have been alluded to." (The report is in many hadith collections including Hakim who has assessed it as sahih: Shawkani). But Mujahid, Shahr b. Hawshab and Muhammad ibn Ka`b have said that it is whole of the Yemeni people that have been alluded to (and not merely the Ash`ari of them: Au.) Ibn Jarir himself prefers the second interpretation and says that those who were alluded to (of the people of Yemen), appeared only at the time of `Umar, since, the earlier generations were of the renegades.
    Imam Razi however disagrees that the verse under discussion is applicable to Salman al-Farsi or the second-generation Yemenis. (Although it might be applicable in the general sense: Au.). Rather, the context says that it is applicable to Abu Bakr and those who swore allegiance to him and who fought against: (i) false prophets (ii) apostates after the Prophet, and (iii) those who refused to pay zakah. It was they who gave Islam the upper hand that lasts to this day.
    Love of Allah by His bondsmen draws a good deal of commentary from Alusi. Herewith the sum and substance: Apparently, there is nothing wrong in the answer which is normally given out when scholars are asked about the exact nature and essence of a believer's love of Allah. The usual answer is: it is nothing but His obedience. That is to say, obedience is a demand as well as a proof of one's love of Allah. In other words obedience is equated with love and love with obedience, each treated as a synonym of the other. (But love itself is not defined). Therefore, this answer needs some modification because, firstly, it is disallowed that the text of the Qur'an be given an allegorical meaning unless the apparent and literal meaning is completely out of question. (In this context, love cannot be replaced with obedience). We might, rather, look at the literal meaning of the term mahabbah to find out if can be understood in its original sense and meaning. Now, the lexical meaning of the term mahabbah is one's inclination toward someone or something with a feeling of delight. Now, this feeling of delight is of two kinds: sensual, such as what one derives when he looks at a beautiful face, or when he eats a delicious food, etc.; the other kind is known as the rational kind (`aqliyy), such as the delight one derives out of status, power, knowledge and the like. Further, the intensity of the feelings also differs. For instance, the pleasure one derives out of ruling over a large nation is not the same as what he derives out of ruling over a village. Consequently, the pleasure derived from knowledge will depend upon the kind and nature of knowledge. If it is high quality knowledge then the pleasure would also be of a high degree, and vice versa. Now, man's knowledge tells him that there is nothing that is better or more perfect than our Lord. Consequently, the pleasure derived from the knowledge of His Person and Attributes can be the most delightful thing, and therefore, the love arising out of it can only be the most soothing (to the soul). It is when one has gained this mahabbah that he is inspired to obedience and concordance (al-ta`at wa al-muwafiqat). Thus, it is demonstrated that a believer's love of Allah is not only possible, rather, a reality, and, in fact, a necessary condition of faith. And, thus, in the light of the above discussion, it is possible to interpret the word mahabbah in this context in its literal sense, without having to look for alternative interpretations. It should also be clear that Allah's obedience is an outgrowth, demand, or effect of the mahabbah (and not its cause, even if its value toward that effect cannot be underestimated: Au.). Consider for instance, the report of the bedouin who asked about the Hour of the Doom. The Prophet asked him: "What have you prepared for it?" The man answered: "Not much by way of acts and deeds. But I love Allah and His Messenger." The Prophet replied: "A man will be with those he loved." It is evident from this that acts of obedience and good deeds are not a necessary ingredient of love, nor they are love themselves. The bedouin in fact denied their absence but claimed the existence of love. And the Prophet did not deny him rather acknowledged his claim.
    Again, continues Alusi, the feelings of love differ in intensity. ‘Ishq is the higher and more intensive form of love. But those who have not experienced it deny it, just as a child does not believe that older people draw great pleasure from sexual intercourse. For him, to be playing with the toys, is the supreme end of pleasure. In the like manner, one who is immersed in sensual or sexual pleasures cannot imagine that there is any other pleasure beyond what he experiences, such as, for example, that of power, or popularity. Thus, every group makes fun of the one that is above it and believes that the others are wasting their time.
    Alusi also adds a little below: Al-Sulami has said that it is by the grace of Allah's love of His slaves that they love Him. Otherwise, how can they ever find His love? What comparison is there, after all, between dust and the Lord of all lords? He also said that a sure sign of love is drunkenness. Otherwise, it is not the real thing. A bedouin woman said about love that it is "too secret to be shown and too revealing to be successfully hidden." It is hidden like fire in the stones. If you strike you might see a spark. But, if you leave it alone, you will suspect nothing. Another point that might be considered is that if this is the description of the love of the incorporeal, then what do you imagine of the love of the corporeal - that of Allah toward His slaves?!
    Sayyid Qutb adds: "When, as we know, love is beyond description, being a feeling that defies the power of words and expression, little of it, therefore, do we come across in human writings. The following lines of Rabi`a ‘Adawiyyah have always had a special effect on me:
    Were it not for Your Being sweetening this bitter life,
    Were it not for Your approval, while the people are irate,
    Were it not for the making between me and You,
    Between me and the worlds is all but destruction.
    Your Love assured, all else is endurable
    For, all that is above the dust is dust."
    The lines however, belong to Abu Firas, famously known by his kunniyyah as Farazdaq who died in 110 AH (Au.).

    161. Being soft implies that if there is, for instance, a dispute between two believers over rights, both are yielding to each other (Shafi`).

    162. Imam Razi points out that this verse is a definite repudiation of the Shi`ah's faith which holds that Abu Bakr and those who swore allegiance to him turned apostates when they denied `Ali the right of caliphate. Had that been the case, surely Allah would have kept His promise and brought forth a people who would have fought those renegades. But, as a matter of fact, it is exactly the opposite that happened. It was Abu Bakr and those who had declared allegiance to him that fought against the renegades and subdued them to the rule of Islam.

    163. Musnad Ahmad has recorded a narration of Abu Dharr in which he says,

    عَنْ أَبِي ذَرٍّ قَالَ أَمَرَنِي خَلِيلِي صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ بِسَبْعٍ أَمَرَنِي بِحُبِّ الْمَسَاكِينِ وَالدُّنُوِّ مِنْهُمْ وَأَمَرَنِي أَنْ أَنْظُرَ إِلَى مَنْ هُوَ دُونِي وَلَا أَنْظُرَ إِلَى مَنْ هُوَ فَوْقِي وَأَمَرَنِي أَنْ أَصِلَ الرَّحِمَ وَإِنْ أَدْبَرَتْ وَأَمَرَنِي أَنْ لَا أَسْأَلَ أَحَدًا شَيْئًا وَأَمَرَنِي أَنْ أَقُولَ بِالْحَقِّ وَإِنْ كَانَ مُرًّا وَأَمَرَنِي أَنْ لَا أَخَافَ فِي اللَّهِ لَوْمَةَ لَائِمٍ وَأَمَرَنِي أَنْ أُكْثِرَ مِنْ قَوْلِ لَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِاللَّهِ فَإِنَّهُنَّ مِنْ كَنْزٍ تَحْتَ الْعَرْشِ: مسند أحمد

    "My friend enjoined me seven things: that I should love the poor and seek their company, that I should look at one below me and not at one above me, that I should join the kin even if they abandon me, that I should not ask anyone anything, that I should speak out the truth, even if it were to be bitter, that I should not fear in Allah's affairs the criticism of a critic, and, that I should often say the words (tr.: ‘There is no power nor strength but with Allah’); because they are from the treasures below the ‘Arsh."
    Ahmad has another tradition narrated by Abu Sa`id al-Khudri which reports the Prophet as saying:

    عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيِّ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَلَا لَا يَمْنَعَنَّ أَحَدَكُمْ رَهْبَةُ النَّاسِ أَنْ يَقُولَ بِحَقٍّ إِذَا رَآهُ أَوْ شَهِدَهُ فَإِنَّهُ لَا يُقَرِّبُ مِنْ أَجَلٍ وَلَا يُبَاعِدُ مِنْ رِزْقٍ أَنْ يَقُولَ بِحَقٍّ أَوْ يُذَكِّرَ بِعَظِيمٍ

    "Lo! Let not someone's fear prevent you from speaking out the truth that he has observed. For, it will neither distance him away nor bring him closer to his sustenance if he should speak out the truth or make a statement of import."
    Another report of Abu Sa`id al-Khudri, also in Ahmad as well in Ibn Majah, quotes the Prophet (saws) as having said:

    لاَ يَحْقِرَنَّ أَحَدُكُمْ نَفْسَهُ أَنْ يَرَى أَمْرًا لِلَّهِ عَلَيْهِ فِيهِ مَقَالٌ لاَ يَقُومُ بِهِ فَيَلْقَى اللَّهَ فَيَقُولَ مَا مَنَعَكَ أَنْ تَقُولَ يَوْمَ كَذَا وَكَذَا قَالَ يَا رَبِّ إِنِّى خَشِيتُ النَّاسَ قَالَ قَالَ إِيَّاىَ أَحَقُّ أَنْ تَخْشَى

    "Let not one of you belittle himself to say in an affair pertaining to Allah whatever that ought to be said, to be asked on the Day of Judgment as to what prevented him from speaking out in connection with such and such an affair. He will reply, ‘I feared the people.' He will be told, ‘I was more deserving that you feared Me.'" (Nevertheless, the above ahadith have to be balanced with) the sahih one in Ibn Majah which reports that the Prophet once said:

    "ما ينبغي لمؤمن أن يذل نفسه"، قالوا: وكيف يذلّ نفسه يا رسول الله؟ قال: "يتحمل من البلاء ما لا يطيق"

    "Let not one of you belittle himself." He was asked: "How can a believer do that?" He replied: "By bringing upon himself a tribulation that he cannot bear" (Ibn Kathir).

    164. Shabbir writes: Allah's act of strengthening Islam goes on and on. In every age we observe that whenever a set of foolish Muslims intend to give up their religion, Allah raises another set of people who embrace Islam and who prove to be more knowledgeable and more capable than the old Muslims.

    إِنَّمَا وَلِيُّكُمُ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا الَّذِينَ يُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَهُمْ رَاكِعُونَ (55)

    5|55| Surely, your true friend is Allah, His Messenger, and the believers: those who perform the Prayers, spend in charity and are humble.165

    165. The word in the original is "raki`un." It draws the following comment from Rashid Rida: "In pre-Islamic times, when a man abandoned the duties devoting himself to one God alone, he was referred to as "Raki`". He also quotes a couple of poetical pieces to prove the point.
    Suddi, Mujahid and others have said that the verse was especially referring to `Ali ibn abi Talib who gave a ring to a beggar while he was in the act of ruku` in a Prayer (Ibn Jarir). But Ibn Kathir traces several reports concerning `Ali and this particular act of charity and proves the untrustworthiness of all of them. Further, he adds that linguistically also it would be erroneous to translate the verse as: "... those who spend in charity while they are bowing down."

    وَمَنْ يَتَوَلَّ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا فَإِنَّ حِزْبَ اللَّهِ هُمُ الْغَالِبُونَ (56)

    5|56| And whosoever makes Allah his friend, His Messenger and the believers, (might know that) it is the party of Allah that is victorious.

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَّخِذُوا الَّذِينَ اتَّخَذُوا دِينَكُمْ هُزُوًا وَلَعِبًا مِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ وَالْكُفَّارَ أَوْلِيَاءَ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُؤْمِنِينَ (57)

    5|57| Believers! Take not those who take your religion in mockery and as a sport - of those who were given the Book before you, and the unbelievers - as intimate friends. Fear Allah if you are believers.

    وَإِذَا نَادَيْتُمْ إِلَى الصَّلَاةِ اتَّخَذُوهَا هُزُوًا وَلَعِبًا ۚ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ (58)

    5|58| When you call to Prayer,166 they take it in mockery and as a sport.167 That is because they are a people who do not use reason.168

    166. Kalbi has said that when the Prayer-call was raised and the Muslims began to pray, the Jews made fun of their bows and prostrations, saying about the Prayer-call, ‘Why do they have to bray like donkeys?' These verses were revealed in response to it (Qurtubi).
    The Adhan
    Qurtubi writes: There was no Adhan at Makkah. People were brought into assembly by the word that went around. It was introduced in Madinah. Three people seem to have dreamt of its wordings: `Abdullah ibn Zayd, `Umar ibn al-Khattab and Abu Bakr. It is also reported that the Prophet had heard these words in his Mi`raj journey. As for its legality, it is, according to some scholars, wajib on the Muslims, whenever and wherever they gather for Prayers. A hadith of Muslim says that when the Prophet went out in a campaign, he waited for the Adhan of Fajr. If the villagers did not raise the call, he attacked them. According to others it is Sunnah mu'akkadah. Therefore, according to Imam Shafe`i, Abu Hanifah, his two pupils, Thawri, Ahmad, Ishaq, Abu Thawr and Tabari, if a traveler did not say the Adhan, (and Prayed without saying it) he need not repeat his Prayers, but it is strongly reprehensible that he should do so. Further, Abu `Amr has said that Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Ishaq b. Rahwayh, Da'ud b. `Ali and Muhammad ibn Jarir Tabari have ruled that in view of various reports, it seems to be perfectly alright to say both in the Adhan and Iqamah Allahu Akbar either four times, or, just twice. The Prophet and his Companions did it either way. Also, there is no difference in opinion that qad qamat al-salah should be added in Iqamah and said twice. Also, there is no difference of opinion over the issue that every Adhan has to be said after the entry of the Prayer-time (not before), except for the Fajr Adhan which can be said before dawn.

    167. Suddi has reported that there was a Christian in the outskirts of Madinah who made fun of the Prayer-call. When the caller said, "I bear witness that Muhammad is His Messenger," he said in response, "Burnt be the liar." It so happened that once his slave-girl entered his room with a burning lamp. Something caught fire and spread quickly. It reduced the house to ashes along with the occupants (Ibn Jarir, Zamakhshari, Razi, Qurtubi).
    Ibn Majah has an interesting report coming from Abu Mahzurah. He said: "I was travelling along with some people when we came across the Prophet and his party returning from Hunayn. (That is, he was in another party: Au.). It so happened that the Prophet's caller called for the Prayers. We moved aside and began to make fun of the call by shouting out in repetition. The Prophet heard us and sent for us. When we were presented he asked: ‘Whose voice was it that I heard rising highest?' Everyone pointed his finger at me. And they were not wrong. The Prophet ordered: ‘Stand up now and say the adhan.' So I rose up although nothing was more hateful to me than the Prophet and what he was ordering me do. Never the less, I stood before him and he began to say the words saying: ‘Say, "Allahu Akbar,"' and so on, until I had called out the whole of the adhan. When I was finished he beckoned me and gave me a little purse which had some sliver in it. Then he placed his hand upon the forehead (of Abu Mahzurah) and passed it over his face, then his chest, then his liver, until his hands had reached Abu Mahzura's navel. Then he said: ‘May Allah bless in you and over you.' I pleaded: ‘O Apostle of Allah. Allow me to call for Prayers in Makkah.' He said: ‘You have my permission.' With that all the hatred that was in me for him was gone from me and was replaced by love. I went up to ‘Itab b. Usayd - the Prophet's governor over Makkah - and by the order of the Prophet began to call for Prayers" (Qurtubi). IN varying details, the report is in Ahmad, Muslim and in four of the Sunan (i.e., Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Abu Da'ud and Nasa'i: Au.). Abu Mahzurah's real name was Samurah b. Mu`ayyir. He was one of the four Mu`adhdhins of the Prophet's time and enjoyed a long life (Ibn Kathir).

    168. The reference of course, is to a certain class of them, for, there have always been people who have been deeply impressed by the Prayer-call. Majid quotes an English lady's response: "As the beautiful cadences are elaborated to rise and fall as the Muezzin moves around the minaret to call the four corners of the world beneath, I wonder how anyone can listen to that call unmoved. Surely does the Koranic Arabic hold as spell-bound as the reading of the Sacred Book thrills its hearers."
    In his article on Bilal, ‘Aqqad has quoted La Fcadio Hern as saying: "Without any doubt, the serene Muslim call to Prayer, especially when one happens to hear it for the first time, has an entirely tranquilizing effect upon the heart" (Au.).

    قُلْ يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ هَلْ تَنْقِمُونَ مِنَّا إِلَّا أَنْ آمَنَّا بِاللَّهِ وَمَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْنَا وَمَا أُنْزِلَ مِنْ قَبْلُ وَأَنَّ أَكْثَرَكُمْ فَاسِقُونَ (59)

    5|59| Say, ‘People of the Book! Do you take revenge from us for any cause other than that we believe in Allah, in what was sent down to us and what was sent down before? Surely, most of you are ungodly.'

    قُلْ هَلْ أُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِشَرٍّ مِنْ ذَٰلِكَ مَثُوبَةً عِنْدَ اللَّهِ ۚ مَنْ لَعَنَهُ اللَّهُ وَغَضِبَ عَلَيْهِ وَجَعَلَ مِنْهُمُ الْقِرَدَةَ وَالْخَنَازِيرَ وَعَبَدَ الطَّاغُوتَ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ شَرٌّ مَكَانًا وَأَضَلُّ عَنْ سَوَاءِ السَّبِيلِ (60)

    5|60| Say, ‘Shall I tell you a recompense with Allah worse than that?169 Those whom Allah cursed, with whom He is angry, some of whom He made apes and swine170 and those who worshipped Evil: these are the worse situated and the further astray from the straight path.

    169. Ibn `Abbas has said that a group of Jews comprising of such important men as Abu Yasir, Rafi` b. abi Rafi`, Zayd, Khalid and others came to the Prophet and asked him what he thought of the previous Prophets. He told them that he believed in the Prophethood of Ibrahim, Isma`i, counting many others including Jesus. When they heard his name they jumped and said that they did not know of any religion worse than that of the Prophet. Thereupon Allah revealed this verse (Ibn Jarir, Zamakhshari, Qurtubi).
    The above report explains why the following verse used the words, "worse than that." It was first the Jews who had used the words "worse than that" to describe the Islamic message (Au.).

    170. Are the present-day monkeys and swine the transfigured people of the past? Ahmad has a report which says that the Companions of the Prophet asked him whether the present day swine and apes were descendants of those who were transformed for their sins. He replied:

    « إن الله تعالى لم يهلك قوما أو يمسخ قوما فيجعل لهم نسلا ولا عاقبة ، وإن القردة والخنازير كانت قبل ذلك »

    "No. Allah Most High did not destroy a nation, or disfigure them and then brought out their progeny nor did He leave anyone behind (i.e., they all perished). As for the swine and apes of today, they were in existence since before them" (Ibn Kathir).

    وَإِذَا جَاءُوكُمْ قَالُوا آمَنَّا وَقَدْ دَخَلُوا بِالْكُفْرِ وَهُمْ قَدْ خَرَجُوا بِهِ ۚ وَاللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْتُمُونَ (61)

    5|61| When they come to you they say, ‘We have believed.' But the truth is, they entered with disbelief and departed with it. Allah is well aware of what they were concealing.

    وَتَرَىٰ كَثِيرًا مِنْهُمْ يُسَارِعُونَ فِي الْإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ وَأَكْلِهِمُ السُّحْتَ ۚ لَبِئْسَ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ (62)

    5|62| You will find most of them competing171 in sin, rebellion,172 and in devouring the unlawful.173 Surely, evil is that they have been doing.174

    171. The use of the prefix "fi" before "yusari`una" (instead of "ila") gives out the sense of a people who are sunk in perfidy and debauchery and run to every evil they discover (Manar).

    172. Majid writes: "Compare the denunciation in their own Scriptures: ‘Their feet run fast to evil, and make haste to shed blood.' (Pr. 1: 16) ‘Your iniquities have separated you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you... Your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongues hath muttered perverseness. None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth; they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity ... Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their path' (Is. 59: 2-7)."

    173. Majid quotes again: "Compare the OT:- ‘They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity. The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire' (Mi. 3: 10-11)."
    Note how true this is when applied to today's Israelis. (Au.)
    Majid also quotes: ‘Thy princes are rebellious and companions of thieves; every one loveth gifts and followeth after rewards; they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.' (Is. 1: 23) ‘Yea, they are greatly dogs which can never have enough' (56: 11)."

    174. That is, evil was their transgression (Ibn Kathir).

    لَوْلَا يَنْهَاهُمُ الرَّبَّانِيُّونَ وَالْأَحْبَارُ عَنْ قَوْلِهِمُ الْإِثْمَ وَأَكْلِهِمُ السُّحْتَ ۚ لَبِئْسَ مَا كَانُوا يَصْنَعُونَ (63)

    5|63| Why should not the godly men and the rabbis forbid them the words of sin and consumption of the unlawful?175 Evil indeed is that which they have been doing.176

    175. The Salaf, such as Ibn `Abbas and Dahhak, used to say that this is the toughest of Allah's indictments against the scholars (Ibn Jarir, Razi, Ibn Kathir, Shawkani). This is because, as they say, "He who does not prevent an evil is a doer himself."
    And the Prophet has said in a sahih hadith of Abu Da’ud and others:

    مَا مِنْ قَوْمٍ يُعْمَلُ فِيهِمْ بِالْمَعَاصِي هُمْ أَعَزُّ وَأَكْثَرُ مِمَّنْ يَعْمَلُهُ لَمْ يُغَيِّرُوهُ إِلَّا عمَّهُمْ اللَّهُ بِعِقَابٍ

    "No people in whom sins are committed while they are stronger and larger in numbers against those who commit the sins, except that Allah sends down a common punishment” (Qurtubi).
    Ahmad also has this report. In fact, Ibn Majah has the additional comment that they are punished before their death (Ibn Kathir).
    The above hadith has been declared Hasan (Au.).

    176. The word sana`a of the original implies a crafty act or one which requires some skill (Qurtubi).
    As Raghib has pointed out, the "sana`a" of the original implies not only a more forceful act, but also a more deliberate one than the simple "fa`ala." Every "sani`" is also a "fa`il" but every "fa`il" is not a "sani`" (Manar).

    وَقَالَتِ الْيَهُودُ يَدُ اللَّهِ مَغْلُولَةٌ ۚ غُلَّتْ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَلُعِنُوا بِمَا قَالُوا ۘ بَلْ يَدَاهُ مَبْسُوطَتَانِ يُنْفِقُ كَيْفَ يَشَاءُ ۚ وَلَيَزِيدَنَّ كَثِيرًا مِنْهُمْ مَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِنْ رَبِّكَ طُغْيَانًا وَكُفْرًا ۚ وَأَلْقَيْنَا بَيْنَهُمُ الْعَدَاوَةَ وَالْبَغْضَاءَ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ ۚ كُلَّمَا أَوْقَدُوا نَارًا لِلْحَرْبِ أَطْفَأَهَا اللَّهُ ۚ وَيَسْعَوْنَ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَسَادًا ۚ وَاللَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُفْسِدِينَ (64)

    5|64| The Jews said, ‘Allah's hand is fettered.'177 Fettered are their hands,178 and cursed for what they utter. Rather, both His hands are outstretched;179 He dispenses as He will.180 What has been sent down to you by your Lord will actually increase insolence and disbelief in many of them. We have cast between them enmity and hatred (to last) until the Day of Judgement.181 Every time they kindle a fire for war, Allah extinguishes it.182 Yet they strive mischief in the land, while Allah does not approve of the mischief-mongers.

    177. Ibn Ishaq, Tabarani (in his Awsat) and Ibn Marduwayh have reported Ibn `Abbas as saying that a Jew called Nabbash b. Qays said to the Prophet: "Your Lord is miserly. He does not spend." But Abu al-Sheikh has said that it was Finhas who had made this statement, prompting the revelation of this verse (Shawkani).
    Shabbir comments: "The people of the Book contemporaneous to the Prophet were so advanced in their rebellious attitudes and insolence toward religion that they had lost all distinction between mortal men and God. They could utter such blasphemies against Allah that could raise the hair on any believer's head, but to them it was no more than a casual statement of no consequence.
    Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Qatadah, Suddi and Dahhak have said that what the Jews meant when they said: "Allah's hands are fettered" is that God is miserly (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    In other words, the word "hand," its fettering, or its outstretching is not to be understood in the literal sense (Au.).
    Imam Razi points out that some people believe that the phrase "Allah's hand" is to be understood in the literal sense. They cite verses, such as 175 of surah al-A`raf, to substantiate their claim. But there are several problems with this kind of literal interpretation. Firstly, such an interpretation leads to Allah having a form, or a body. But a body cannot be separated from movement. That makes Him a caused being, which is unacceptable. Further, limbs necessarily have dimensions. And dimensions impose limits, which is also wrong to imagine of Allah. Therefore, He cannot have Hands in the literal sense. As for the Salaf, their belief was that Allah has Hands and other limbs that He has spoken of. But we do not know anything about their reality. Therefore, we believe in the words, without taking them in the literal sense and without seeking further clarification.

    178. Whether this is taken as a curse, or as a statement of fact or not, it remains true that the Jews are the most miserly people on the earth. Apart from the dictionary definition of the term in olden dictionaries and the stories that circulated in the West, including one dramatized by Shakespeare, immortalizing the Jewish attitude to money, it might also be noted that despite being much richer than the Arabs in its neighborhood, thanks to the billions sent to it by the Jews of the West and because of the monetary and non-monetary help by the Western nations to this outpost, the state of Israel has not spent a penny as aid on any of the extremely poor nations such as those of Africa, while an ordinary Jew enjoys the life standard of American citizens at the cost of their taxes (Au.).

    179. That is, Allah is extremely generous, bestowing without measure. The phrase "both His hands" has been interpreted to be alluding to His bounties of this present and the next world (Shawkani).
    A hadith of the Sahihayn says:

    إِنَّ يَمِينَ اللَّهِ مَلْأَى لَا يَغِيضُهَا نَفَقَةٌ سَحَّاءُ اللَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ أَرَأَيْتُمْ مَا أَنْفَقَ مُنْذُ خَلَقَ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ فَإِنَّهُ لَمْ يَنْقُصْ مَا فِي يَمِينِهِ وَعَرْشُهُ عَلَى الْمَاءِ وَبِيَدِهِ الْأُخْرَى الْفَيْضُ أَوْ الْقَبْضُ يَرْفَعُ وَيَخْفِضُ

    "Allah's Right hand is full. Expending day and night does not exhaust what He has. Do you not you see that He has been expending from the day He created this world, but that has not exhausted what His right hand possesses?" (The Prophet further said): "His ‘Arsh is on water. In His other hand is "al-Fayd" (the bestowal) or "al-Qabd” (withholding) – [according to other versions, "the Balance": Au.]. He elevates or lowers."
    He also said,

    “Expend, and you will be expended upon (i.e., replenished).” - Ibn Kathir.

    180. That is, Allah bestows upon whom He will and in measures He will. He said at another place (42: 27):

    وَلَوْ بَسَطَ اللَّهُ الرِّزْقَ لِعِبَادِهِ لَبَغَوْا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَكِنْ يُنَزِّلُ بِقَدَرٍ مَا يَشَاءُ إِنَّهُ بِعِبَادِهِ خَبِيرٌ بَصِيرٌ [الشورى : 27]

    "Were Allah to plentifully bestow upon His slaves, surely they would rebel in the land. Therefore, He sends down (sustenance) in measures He will" (Au.).
    Keeping in mind that the Jews had actually uttered the words the Qur'an has mentioned here, the following from Asad might yet be read with profit: "The phrase "one's hand is shackled" is a metaphorical expression denoting niggardliness, just as its opposite - "his hands is stretched out wide" - signifies generosity (Zamakhshari). However, these two phrases have a wider meaning as well, namely, "lack of power" and "unlimited power", respectively (Razi). It would appear that the Jews of Medina, seeing the poverty of the Muslims, derided the latter's conviction that they were struggling in God's cause and that the Qur'an was divinely revealed. Thus, the "saying" of the Jews mentioned in this verse, "God's hand is shackled", as well as the parallel one in 3: 181, "God is poor while we are rich", is an elliptical description of their attitude towards Islam and the Muslims - an attitude of disbelief and sarcasm which could be thus paraphrased: "If it were true that you Muslims are doing God's will, He would have bestowed upon you power and riches; but your poverty and your weakness contradict your claim - or else this claim of yours amounts, in effect, to saying that God cannot help you." This outstanding example of the elliptical mode of expression (ijaz) so often employed in the Qur'an has, however, a meaning that goes far beyond the historical circumstances to which it refers: it illustrates an attitude of mind which mistakenly identifies worldly riches or power with one's being, spiritually, "on the right way". In the next sentence the Qur'an takes issue with this attitude and declares, in an equally elliptical manner, that all who see in material success an alleged evidence of God's approval are blind to spiritual truths and, therefore, morally powerless and utterly self-condemned in the sight of God."

    181. That is, Allah has cast hatred among the Jews, so that there will never be any internal unity among them. However, some have thought that the allusion is to the enmity between the Jews and Christians (Alusi and others).

    182. It was customary of the pre-Islamic Arabs that when they decided on a war, they kindled a fire on a hill top (Alusi).

    وَلَوْ أَنَّ أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ آمَنُوا وَاتَّقَوْا لَكَفَّرْنَا عَنْهُمْ سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ وَلَأَدْخَلْنَاهُمْ جَنَّاتِ النَّعِيمِ (65)

    5|65| Had the people of the Book believed and been godfearing,183 surely We would have acquitted them of their evil deeds and admitted them to gardens of delight.

    183. The importance of taqwa is apparent. (When someone spoke of faith) Hasan (al-Busri) exclaimed:

    هذا العمود فأين الاطناب

    "Well. This is the post (i.e., faith), but where are the ropes (i.e., taqwa for erecting the tent of Islam)?" – Kashshaf.

    وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ أَقَامُوا التَّوْرَاةَ وَالْإِنْجِيلَ وَمَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْهِمْ مِنْ رَبِّهِمْ لَأَكَلُوا مِنْ فَوْقِهِمْ وَمِنْ تَحْتِ أَرْجُلِهِمْ ۚ مِنْهُمْ أُمَّةٌ مُقْتَصِدَةٌ ۖ وَكَثِيرٌ مِنْهُمْ سَاءَ مَا يَعْمَلُونَ (66)

    5|66| And, had they observed the Tawrah and Injil,184 and that which has (now) been sent down to them by their Lord, surely they would have enjoyed (sustenance) from their above and from their feet below.185 Some of them are a just people;186 but most of them - evil are the things they do.

    184. (That is, had they lived by those Revelations which is supported by a hadith according to which: Au.):

    عَنْ زِيَادِ بْنِ لَبِيدٍ قَالَ ذَكَرَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ شَيْئًا قَالَ وَذَاكَ عِنْدَ أَوَانِ ذَهَابِ الْعِلْمِ قَالَ قُلْنَا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ يَذْهَبُ الْعِلْمُ وَنَحْنُ نَقْرَأُ الْقُرْآنَ وَنُقْرِئُهُ أَبْنَاءَنَا وَيُقْرِئُهُ أَبْنَاؤُنَا أَبْنَاءَهُمْ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ قَالَ ثَكِلَتْكَ أُمُّكَ يَا ابْنَ أُمِّ لَبِيدٍ إِنْ كُنْتُ لَأَرَاكَ مِنْ أَفْقَهِ رَجُلٍ بِالْمَدِينَةِ أَوَلَيْسَ هَذِهِ الْيَهُودُ وَالنَّصَارَى يَقْرَءُونَ التَّوْرَاةَ وَالْإِنْجِيلَ فَلَا يَنْتَفِعُونَ مِمَّا فِيهِمَا بِشَيْءٍ

    Once the Prophet was speaking of something when he said: "That would happen (to the Muslims) because they would have lost knowledge;" at that Ziyad b. Lubayd asked: "How could that happen, O Messenger of Allah, when we teach our children the Qur'an and they will teach their children (and that will go on) until the Day of Resurrection?" The Prophet replied: "Your mother may lose you O Ibn Lubayd. I thought you were the most learned man of Madinah. Do the Jews and Christians not read the Tawrah and Injil, but profit nothing from them?" The hadith is in Ahmad and Ibn Majah, and is a sahih narration (Ibn Kathir).

    185. Some scholars have interpreted these words to mean that as a consequence of their belief, they would have drawn their sustenance in abundance, without much hardship (Ibn Kathir).
    Mufti Shafi` points out that this is not the general rule, rather a reminder to a specific people to the effect that had they observed their Book, Allah would have given them free sustenance. Otherwise, the general promise to all believers of all times is that of a "goodly life," which has nothing to do with their material well-being.
    Alusi writes: The promise of forgiveness and rewards in the Hereafter is of general nature: applicable to all the peoples of the Book of all times. However, the worldly rewards stated in the verse seem to be especially for the people of the Book contemporary to the Prophet. Had they believed in the Prophet, they would have been blessed with an easy sustenance in this world. This later promise of immediate ease is, obviously, not for all the peoples of the Book of all times, for we see many of them those who believed in our Prophet, but are poor in application, yet living a life of great comfort, while, conversely, many of the newly-converted people of the Book who observe the Tawrah, Injil and the Qur'an meticulously, live a life of stress and wants. Indeed, the observation is that some of those who had been leading a luxurious life previous to acceptance of Islam, actually ran their ship into rough waters after the acceptance of Islam and a faithful application of its commandments to their lives.
    Probably it is the difficulty of verse 66 which prompts the following from Asad. "(This) is an allusion to the blessing which accompanies the realization of a spiritual truth, as well as the social happiness which is bound to follow an observance of the moral principles laid down in the genuine teachings of the Bible." He also adds: "It should be borne in mind that the phrase "if they would but truly observe (law annahum aqamu) the Torah and Gospel", etc., implies an observance of those scriptures in their genuine spirit, free of the arbitrary distortions due to that "wishful thinking" of which the Qur'an so often accuses the Jews and the Christians - such as the Jewish concept of "the chosen people", or the Christian doctrines relating to the alleged divinity of Jesus and the "vicarious redemption" of his followers."

    186. Such as Najashi the king of Negus, the former Jew `Abdullah ibn Sallam, and many others who saw in the Prophet a true Messenger and fearlessly acknowledged it (Ibn Kathir, Razi, Qurtubi and others).

    يَا أَيُّهَا الرَّسُولُ بَلِّغْ مَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِنْ رَبِّكَ ۖ وَإِنْ لَمْ تَفْعَلْ فَمَا بَلَّغْتَ رِسَالَتَهُ ۚ وَاللَّهُ يَعْصِمُكَ مِنَ النَّاسِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْكَافِرِينَ (67)

    5|67| O Messenger, deliver that which has been sent down to you from your Lord.187 If you do not, then you would not have conveyed His message.188 Allah will protect you from the people.189 Surely, Allah does not show the way to an unbelieving people.190

    187. Alusi writes: Some scholars have said that the Prophet was required to convey to the people only that which had anything to do with their spiritual or material welfare. That which was not of that category was not to be necessarily conveyed to the people. There were things that were only for the Prophet. Verse 10 of surah Al-Najm says:

    فَأَوْحَى إِلَى عَبْدِهِ مَا أَوْحَى [النجم : 10]

    "Then He revealed unto His slave what He revealed," is in this vein. Allah did not reveal to the people what He revealed then, at that moment, to His Messenger. And, what was especially for the Prophet could have remained unknown to others. Tayyibi has added that with this in the background the report of Bukhari has to be understood in which Abu Hurayrah said:

    حَفِظْتُ مِنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وِعَاءَيْنِ فَأَمَّا أَحَدُهُمَا فَبَثَثْتُهُ وَأَمَّا الْآخَرُ فَلَوْ بَثَثْتُهُ قُطِعَ هَذَا الْبُلْعُومُ

    "I obtained two kinds of knowledge from the Prophet. The first kind I have spread across. As for the other kind, were I to narrate it, my throat would be slit." He was alluding to esoteric knowledge. That is how it seems Bukhari also understands it. (Alusi’s note ends here).
    (Alusi might have a point. But the esoteric interpretation of the hadith of Abu Hurayrah has not been universally accepted. See Ibn Hajr: Au.)
    Nevertheless, Alusi continues: `Abdul Wahhab Sha`rani has however warned that the best of Sufi knowledge that has been handed down to us is the result of faithful following of the Qur'an and the Sunnah. Whoever lives by what he knows, would also be given to talk in the manner they talked and is likely to possess a part of what they jointly possessed. It all depends on how God-conscious one is and how devoted to Him. The more one acts in accordance with what he knows, the more difficult appreciation of his words become. It is said that somebody reported to his Sheikh that the words of another were quite incomprehensible. The Sheikh replied: “That is because you possess two shirts while he has one." This then is what the non-Sufis call as the `ilm al-batin (esoteric knowledge) of the Sufiya, although, in reality, it is not `ilm al-batin since, in truth, `ilm al-batin is "the knowledge about Allah." As for what Allah has taught the people of the knowledge of the Shari`ah or any other kind, it is `ilm al-zahir and not `ilm al-batin.
    Alusi further writes: My own considered opinion is that all that the Prophet had of knowledge, whether of the secrets pertaining to the divinity or those pertaining to the Shari`ah is contained in the Qur'an. Allah has said (16: 89):

    وَنَزَّلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ تِبْيَانًا لِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ [النحل : 89]

    "Surely, We have sent down a Book to you making clear everything." The Prophet said in a report of Tirmidhi and others: "There would be trials and tribulations." He was asked: "What's the way out?" He replied: "Allah's Book. It contains the tidings about you as well about those after you." Imam Shafe`i has said that all that is in the Sunnah is what the Prophet understood from the Qur'an. This is strengthened by that hadith of the Prophet in the Awsat of Tabarani which reports the Prophet as having said: "I do not declare anything as lawful or unlawful but that which Allah has declared lawful or unlawful in His Book." This knowledge he passed on to his senior Companions and others such as Ibn Mas`ud. (Not surprisingly, therefore,) it is reported of Ibn `Abbas that he said that if he lost his camel's halter he would search it in the Qur'an. But, gradually, the later generations lost the proficiency. In fact, some people have even worked out the age of the Prophet as sixty-three years from a verse of the chapter al-Munafiqun which says:

    وَلَنْ يُؤَخِّرَ اللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِذَا جَاءَ أَجَلُهَا [المنافقون : 11]

    "Allah will not delay a soul's term when its term has come." For surah al-Munafiqun is the sixty-third chapter of the Qur'an followed by surah al-Taghabun. And it was taghabun (mutual loss) that the Companions suffered with the loss of the Prophet.
    Continuing to discuss the esoteric knowledge of the Sufiya, Alusi writes: I have several times heard my Sheikh assert, ‘Whoever thinks that the "Truth" is in sharp contrast to the Shari`ah, or the other way round, is an ignorant man. Rather, they go together, hand in hand, so that, the Shari`ah is falsehood without "haqiqah" and haqiqah falsehood without the Shari`ah. As for some people saying, (as a way of rejecting what the Sufiya have said), that what the Sufiya claim to have, either conforms with what is in the Qur'an and Sunnah or it is opposed to it. If it conforms with the Qur'an and Sunnah, then we already have them (so we stand in no need of the special knowledge that they claim). But if it is opposed to the two texts, then, obviously, we are in no need of it either ... As for this kind of statement, the answer is that there is no doubt about it that what they have of the special knowledge is from the Qur'an and Sunnah. But is it impossible that some people are given an understanding of the Qur'an and Sunnah which others miss? So long as they do not say anything that goes against the "consensus of the Ummah," their differences with "some" of the scholars should be of no concern. After all, how many great scholars of fiqh and hadith have not been there with whose opinions "some" scholars have disagreed?
    Abridged remarks of Alusi end here.

    188. (Since the belief - to later crystallize as a Shi`ah article of faith - had begun to surface, to the effect that the Prophet had not made all of the Qur'anic revelations public, rather, had passed on some text secretly to `Ali ibn abi Talib: Au.), `Ali was asked by Wahab b. `Abdullah whether there was anything of the Revelation with him that was not there in the Qur'an. He stoutly denied, saying: "No by Allah who splits the seed and brings out the verdure, nothing save the understanding of the Qur'an that Allah bestows upon a man and that which is in this parchment." He was asked: "And what's in the parchment?" He answered: "(Commandments concerning blood-wit, freeing of prisoners, and that a Muslim should not be killed in retaliation of the murder of an unbeliever" (Ibn Kathir).
    Ghadir Khumm
    Alusi writes: The Shi`ah have a report in their books narrated by Abu Ja`far and Abu `Abdullah which says that Allah ordered the Prophet to declare `Ali ibn abi Talib as the first khalifah after him. But he delayed breaking the news fearing that some of his Companions might not accept it cheerfully. Therefore, Allah revealed this verse, i.e., "O Messenger, deliver (all) that has been sent down to you from your Lord. If you do not, then you would not have conveyed His message." The Shi`ah further claim that to allay his fears that some of his Companions might not accept the order in good spirit, Allah reassured the Prophet in the following verse which said: "Allah will protect you from the people." They further claim that the Prophet finally made the announcement about the khilafah of `Ali to a group of Companions assembled at a place called Ghadir Khumm (the Khumm-well). There he addressed them in words:

    مَنْ كُنْتُ مَوْلَاهُ فَعَلِيٌّ مَوْلَاهُ اللَّهُمَّ وَالِ مَنْ وَالَاهُ وَعَادِ مَنْ عَادَاهُ

    "Whoever accepts me as his friend also accepts `Ali as his friend. O Allah, befriend him who befriends him (i.e., ‘Ali) and antagonize him who antagonizes him." (Dhahabi has declared it a trust-worthy report: Rashid Rida). Alusi refutes the claim by saying that although it is true that the Prophet had gathered his Companions in a place between Makkah and Madinah near Juhfa called Ghadir Khumm and had spoken those words, the background story is not as widely known. It was on a Sunday, the 18th of Dhu al-Hijjah. (The Shi`ah began to celebrate this day as a day of ‘Eid from the time of Banu Buwayh in the fifth Islamic century: Rashid Rida). It was after the famous Farewell Pilgrimage. The Prophet collected his followers under a tree and spoke out those words. And the reason why he had to do so was that when `Ali returned from Yemen (from where he was bringing in a hundred sacrificial camels for the Prophet: Au.), he went straight to the Hajj sites, leaving behind him a group of people who had accompanied him from Yemen, appointing one of them as their amir. Now, in his absence the amir ordered his companions to dress themselves in an expensive cloak that they were carrying. When they neared (Makkah) `Ali returned to receive them. But he was surprised to see the men dressed up in that apparel. He asked the amir: "Woe unto you man. What's all this?" The amir told him that he had got them dressed up in that manner in order to impress the people. `Ali told him: "Woe unto you man. Get them remove that stuff before we meet the Prophet." They obeyed him but were not too pleased about it. They began to complain of his harshness and frugality. When the complaints reached the Prophet's ears, he ordered his men assembled at Ghadir Khumm and spoke those words.
    Other reports say that even those people who had accompanied `Ali (to Yemen from Madinah: Au.), had complained about his harshness (in religious matters). A report in Ahmad, of sound isnad, records Buraydah al-Aslami as saying: "I was in the contingent sent to Yemen under ‘Ali's command. I found him a dry, tough man. So, when I met the Prophet I told him about what I thought of ‘Ali. The Prophet was displeased. He asked me,

    ُ أَلَسْتُ أَوْلَى بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ مِنْ أَنْفُسِهِمْ قُلْتُ بَلَى يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ قَالَ مَنْ كُنْتُ مَوْلَاهُ فَعَلِيٌّ مَوْلَاهُ

    ‘Do I not come first to the believers before their own souls?' I said, ‘Sure, you do, O Messenger of Allah.' He said, ‘(Then) whoever has me as a friend has (to have) `Ali as a friend.'"
    Such were the complaints against `Ali then, that led the Prophet to speak out those words. The Shi`ah however, derive strange meanings from it. For instance, they understand the term "mawla" ("friend") in the sense of "awla" which of course means, one who comes first: that is, `Ali comes first. (That is, he should have been the first khalifah). But, linguistically, it is impossible to understand "mawla" in the sense of "awla." Further, even if the word is understood in the sense of "awla," it does not prove that the Prophet was speaking about khilafah. Had he intended that, he would not have spoken about it in such a round about way. Rather, as (a person no less than) Hasan al-Muthanna b. Hasan (a descendant of ‘Ali) has put it, he would have said: "People! `Ali is going to be my immediate successor. Therefore, listen and obey." (Moreover, if the Prophet had intended that `Ali should be the first khalifah after him, then surely, the best time and place for an announcement to this effect was the day of ‘Arafah, when he delivered his famous sermon: Rashid Rida). Further, had `Ali been named the first khalifah after the Prophet he would have surely made his claim after him. To this, the Shi`ah reply that if he did not do it, it was either out of fear of the people or out of taqiyyah. But that is not acceptable, because `Ali was a fearless, outspoken person - the Asadullah al-Ghalib - far from cowardice, who did not need to resort to feigning attitudes of obedience. Finally, the Prophet himself was a fearless person. When he was ordered by Allah to do a thing, he went ahead and did it, unmindful of the consequences, fearless of the people. We have several reports of him facing hostile crowds all alone in Makkah, before hijrah.
    Alusi's abridged comments end here.

    189. ‘A'isha, Muhammad b. Ka`b al-Qurazi, Sa`id ibn Jubayr and others have said that the Prophet used to be guarded by his Companions, until the revelation of this verse. (This verse came down in a journey, even as the guards were posted outside the Prophet's tent). The Prophet peeped out of his tent and told them to disperse as Allah had promised to guard him (Ibn Jarir). Another report in Ahmad and the Sahihayn, has ‘A'isha saying:

    عَائِشَةَ كَانَتْ تُحَدِّثُ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ سَهِرَ ذَاتَ لَيْلَةٍ وَهِيَ إِلَى جَنْبِهِ قَالَتْ فَقُلْتُ مَا شَأْنُكَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ قَالَتْ فَقَالَ لَيْتَ رَجُلًا صَالِحًا مِنْ أَصْحَابِي يَحْرُسُنِي اللَّيْلَةَ قَالَ فَبَيْنَا أَنَا عَلَى ذَلِكَ إِذْ سَمِعْتُ صَوْتَ السِّلَاحِ فَقَالَ مَنْ هَذَا قَالَ أَنَا سَعْدُ بْنُ مَالِكٍ فَقَالَ مَا جَاءَ بِكَ قَالَ جِئْتُ لِأَحْرُسَكَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ قَالَتْ فَسَمِعْتُ غَطِيطَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فِي نَوْمِهِ

    "One night, while I was by his side in the bed, the Prophet evinced restlessness. I asked him, ‘What makes you restless?' He said, ‘I wish someone would guard me this night.' Thus we were (continues ‘A'isha) when we heard the sounds of steel outside. ‘Who is this,' the Prophet asked. ‘It is me, Sa`d b. Malik,' the man replied. The Prophet asked, ‘What brings you here?' Sa`d answered: ‘I thought I would guard you.' ‘A'isha says, "After that I heard the Prophet snore lightly."

    190. That is, your mission is to convey. It is Allah who will guide whom He will. However, He does not guide a people who have decided against receiving guidance (Au.).

    قُلْ يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لَسْتُمْ عَلَىٰ شَيْءٍ حَتَّىٰ تُقِيمُوا التَّوْرَاةَ وَالْإِنْجِيلَ وَمَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكُمْ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ ۗ وَلَيَزِيدَنَّ كَثِيرًا مِنْهُمْ مَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِنْ رَبِّكَ طُغْيَانًا وَكُفْرًا ۖ فَلَا تَأْسَ عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْكَافِرِينَ (68)

    5|68| Say, ‘O people of the Book, you do not stand on anything until you observe the Tawrah and Injil and what has been sent down to you from your Lord.'191 But surely what has been sent down unto you by your Lord will (only) increase them in insolence and unbelief. Therefore, grieve not over an unbelieving people.

    191. The verse holds the clear implication that no achievement is of any worth without following of the Shari`ah (Thanwi).

    إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَالَّذِينَ هَادُوا وَالصَّابِئُونَ وَالنَّصَارَىٰ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ (69)

    5|69| Verily, those who have believed, those of the Jewry, the Sabians,192 the Christians: whoever believed in Allah, in the Last Day, and worked righteousness, they shall have nothing to fear nor shall they ever grieve.

    192. The word Sabi'un as it appears in the nominative, presents a grammatical difficulty since, apparently, it should have been Sabi'in - in the genitive. Zamakhshari and others have said that the best answer is that the word is mubtada' of a khabar which has been suppressed. Alusi quotes some poetical pieces as illustrative of this kind of usage.
    For an explanation of the term Sabi' as well as of the whole verse see verse 62 of surah Al-Baqarah of this work.
    Majid adds: "It was on the banks of lower Euphrates that the Sabians or Christians of St. John the Baptist had, settle, whom the Arabs called Mughtasilah, ‘Ablutionists', because they were always washing in the river: not only were they still living there in the time of Muhammad but they are there to this day, under the name of Saban` (Hyart, Ancient Persia and Iranian Civilization, p. 179).
    Notwithstanding his comments at verse 62 of al-Baqarah, Mufti Shafi` once again attempts to clear the doubt that commonly surfaces at this point. He says: A superficial mind would conclude that the verse is promising salvation to those of the Jews, Christians and others who deny Prophet Muhammad. Apart from other points that can be presented to refute the notion, the following verse can be quoted. It declares unbeliever anyone who denies any of the Messengers of Allah.

    إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَكْفُرُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَيُرِيدُونَ أَنْ يُفَرِّقُوا بَيْنَ اللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَيَقُولُونَ نُؤْمِنُ بِبَعْضٍ وَنَكْفُرُ بِبَعْضٍ وَيُرِيدُونَ أَنْ يَتَّخِذُوا بَيْنَ ذَلِكَ سَبِيلًا (150) أُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْكَافِرُونَ حَقًّا [النساء : 150 ، 151]

    "Verily, those who deny Allah and His messengers and wish to make division between Allah and His messengers and say, ‘We shall believe in some and deny others,' wishing to take between this and that a way, such are the true unbelievers" (4: 150-151).
    Then Mufti Shafi` points out that the religion (that is acceptable to Allah) is not a brotherhood gift by which new alliances can be created. One might create alliances, be kind towards non-Muslims, do what he can to alleviate their sufferings, or co-operate with them in constructive affairs, but so far as the religion of Allah is concerned, one cannot gift away its brotherhood to anyone he wishes.

    لَقَدْ أَخَذْنَا مِيثَاقَ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ وَأَرْسَلْنَا إِلَيْهِمْ رُسُلًا ۖ كُلَّمَا جَاءَهُمْ رَسُولٌ بِمَا لَا تَهْوَىٰ أَنْفُسُهُمْ فَرِيقًا كَذَّبُوا وَفَرِيقًا يَقْتُلُونَ (70)

    5|70| Surely, We took compact with the Children of Israel and sent them Messengers. (But) whenever a Messenger came to them with what their base selves would not approve of,193 they cried lies to some of them, and the others they slew.

    193. This verse goes a long way in proving that it is the following of the base desires - a point emphasized by the Sufiya - that is at the root of all major sins (Thanwi).

    وَحَسِبُوا أَلَّا تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ فَعَمُوا وَصَمُّوا ثُمَّ تَابَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ ثُمَّ عَمُوا وَصَمُّوا كَثِيرٌ مِنْهُمْ ۚ وَاللَّهُ بَصِيرٌ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ (71)

    5|71| And they thought that there would be no punishment and, therefore, they became blind and deaf.194 Yet Allah turned to them (in mercy,), but most of them became blind and deaf.195 And Allah is Aware of the things they do.

    194. Majid writes: "Compare the O.T.:- ‘They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless. Yet they say, The Lord shall not see' (Ps. 94: 6, 7)."

    195. Most of the earlier commentators have thought that by the first mention of "blindness and deafness" the allusion is to the first of the two "great rebellions" of the Israelites against God and His Prophets, when they slew Sha`ya (Isaiah) and imprisoned Armiyyah (Jeremiah). By the "turning to them in mercy" the allusion is to their release from Babil (Babylon) where Nebuchadnezzar had enslaved them, and their return to Palestine. The allusion by the second mention of "blindness and deafness" is to the second of their two "great rebellions" against God and His Prophets when they slew Zackariyyah and Yahya (John the Baptist), and attempted to assassinate ‘Isa (asws) - Au.

    لَقَدْ كَفَرَ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ ۖ وَقَالَ الْمَسِيحُ يَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ اعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ رَبِّي وَرَبَّكُمْ ۖ إِنَّهُ مَنْ يُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ فَقَدْ حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ الْجَنَّةَ وَمَأْوَاهُ النَّارُ ۖ وَمَا لِلظَّالِمِينَ مِنْ أَنْصَارٍ (72)

    5|72| Surely, those people disbelieved who declared that God is Christ,196 son of Maryam;97 whereas Christ proclaimed, ‘O Children of Israel, worship Allah: my Lord and your Lord.'198 Verily, whoso associated partners with Allah - Allah has forbidden Paradise for him.199 His abode is Hell-fire; and the transgressors shall have no helpers.

    196. Majid quotes a Christian source: "To the orthodox Christian ‘Jesus is without qualification God, and the greater the contradiction to the mind, the more the heart responds to the wonder of the mystery.' (HJ. Oct. 1934, p.6)"

    197. In this verse is the refutation of the Union and Absorption (Ittihad wa Hulul) that some ignorant Sufis believe in (Thanwi).

    198. Majid quotes from the Bible: ‘Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him alone shall thou serve.' (Mt. 4: 10; Lk. 4: 8) ‘And Jesus said unto him, why callest thou me good? none is good save one, that is, God.' (Lk. 18: 19) ‘Jesus never refers to Himself as "Son of God," and the title when bestowed upon Him by others, probably involves no more than the acknowledgement that He was the Messiah.' (EBr. XIII, p. 23) ‘That the trinitarian baptismal formula does not go back to Jesus himself is evident and recognized by all independent critics.' (EBi, c. 4689) ‘A critical study of the synoptical material leads invariably to the conclusion that Jesus never called himself the "son of God" and never was addressed by that title' (EBi. c. 4701).

    199. Majid once again quotes: ‘That the Christians are proud of their Christolatry is a fact self-evident. It is noted in their books with self-adulation that the Church in the course of its long history has never ceased to offer prayers to Christ with the Father' (ERE. I, p. 104).

    لَقَدْ كَفَرَ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ ثَالِثُ ثَلَاثَةٍ ۘ وَمَا مِنْ إِلَٰهٍ إِلَّا إِلَٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ ۚ وَإِنْ لَمْ يَنْتَهُوا عَمَّا يَقُولُونَ لَيَمَسَّنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ (73)

    5|73| Surely, those people disbelieved who declared that God is the third of the three.200 There is no deity save one God. If they do not desist from what they say, soon a painful chastisement shall afflict those of them who disbelieved.

    200. That is, if Union is wrong, Trinity is no less preposterous (Au.).
    Majid presents a variety of criticism coming from Christian sources: ‘There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.' (I. Jn. 5: 7). The Athansasian Creed runs:- ‘There is one person of the Father, another of the Son and another of the Holy Ghost: the Father is God and Lord: the Son is God and Lord: and the Holy Ghost is God and Lord.' These words of the Creed, says Swendberg, make it ‘as clear as water in a crystal cup, that there are three persons, each of whom is God and Lord.' (The True Christian Religion, p. 244). This central doctrine of the Christian religion can only mean that God ‘is three really distinct Persons: the son, the father and the Holy Ghost ... Three persons are co-equal, co-eternal, and consubstantial, and deserve co-equal glory and adoration.' (CD. p. 973). ‘The dogma of the "Trinity", which still comprises three of the chief articles of faith in the creed of Christian peoples, culminates in the notion that the one God of Christianity is really made up of three different persons: (1) God the Father ... (2) Jesus Christ; and (3) Holy Ghost, a mystical being over whose incomprehensible relation to the Father and the Son millions of Christians theologians have racked their brains in vain for the last 1900 years' (Haeckel, op. cit. p. 227).
    Shabbir expresses his frustration over the failure of the rationalists the world over to convince the Trinitarians of their folly and cleanse the religious atmosphere of the West in words: "The truth is expressed (in an Arabic proverb), ‘The perfumist will not manage to cleanse the pollution of the atmosphere.'"
    Further, how difficult the concept has been for the Christians, whether for the learned or the laymen, is illustrated by the following story as narrated by Sheikh Rahmatullah al-Hindi in his Izhar al-Haq. It is said that three persons embraced Christianity and a priest taught them the basic tenets of the religion, especially, of course, the concept of Trinity. The three were in his service. It happened one day that the priest had a guest. The guest enquired whether he had been able to convert anyone to the Christian faith. When the priest told him about his success with the three, the guest enquired whether they had been taught the necessary catechism. The priest replied in affirmation and wished to test them before the guest. He called one of them in and asked him to explain how he understood Trinity. The man replied: "You have taught me that there are three gods. One is in the heaven. The second was born to Virgin Mary. The third is the one who descended upon the second - when he was thirty-three - in the form of a pigeon." The priest was angry, and remarking, "This is an ignorant man," dismissed him. He called in the second man and asked him the same question. The man replied: "You have taught me that there used to be three gods. Then one of them was crucified. That leaves two alive." The priest also sent him out and ordered the third to be presented. This man seemed to be cleverer than the other two. When asked about Trinity he answered: "Master! I have preserved all that you have taught me. And I have understood too - by the grace of Jesus Christ (all that you have taught). You have taught me that there are three are in one and one in three. One of them was crucified and is dead. Consequently, all of them died, since the three were in one. Now, at this moment, there is no god in existence. For if we suppose that there is one, then, it would amount to refuting Unity!" (Rashid Rida).
    See Surah Nisa’, note no. 390 for discussions in greater detail, especially concerning the Councils of Nicea.

    أَفَلَا يَتُوبُونَ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَيَسْتَغْفِرُونَهُ ۚ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ (74)

    5|74| Will they not then turn to Allah and seek His forgiveness, when Allah is All-forgiving, All-kind?

    مَا الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ إِلَّا رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِنْ قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ وَأُمُّهُ صِدِّيقَةٌ ۖ كَانَا يَأْكُلَانِ الطَّعَامَ ۗ انْظُرْ كَيْفَ نُبَيِّنُ لَهُمُ الْآيَاتِ ثُمَّ انْظُرْ أَنَّىٰ يُؤْفَكُونَ (75)

    5|75| Jesus son of Maryam, was no more than a Messenger. Surely, Messengers have passed before him. His mother was a person of high integrity.201 Both of them ate food.202 Behold, how We make Our signs clear to them. Yet behold, how they are beguiled.203

    201. "This refutes the outrageous calumny of the Jews who held her guilty of misconduct, and reinforces her in her pure, saintly character" (Majid).
    The verse points out to a historical truth. Maryam was a woman, like any other woman, except that she was a lady of high integrity, godfearing, and, pious to the highest degree. Yet, she was a mortal in every sense of the word. Interestingly, in none of the Gospels she claims to be a mother of God, nor does she claim divinity for her son Jesus Christ. Why? Did she forget? That is unimaginable, especially in view of the salvation of billions of people who have every right to be skeptic of a concept so important for them yet so unimportant for the divinity to forget! As for the word in the original - Siddiqah - it has its root in sadaqa, which is to speak the truth or to be truthful. Saddaqa is to confirm, acknowledge, testify or believe. Elsewhere, Allah said about her (66: 12):

    وَصَدَّقَتْ بِكَلِمَاتِ رَبِّهَا [التحريم : 12]

    "She confirmed in the Words ofHer Lord and His Books." 

    Siddiq (of which Siddiqah is the female form) is also a rank attained by those who are complete in their submission and the most devoted to their Lord. Allah said (4: 69):

    وَمَنْ يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ فَأُولَئِكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ مِنَ النَّبِيِّينَ وَالصِّدِّيقِينَ وَالشُّهَدَاءِ وَالصَّالِحِينَ وَحَسُنَ أُولَئِكَ رَفِيقًا [النساء : 69]

    "And whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, they are with those whom Allah has favored: the Prophets, Siddiqun, the martyrs and the righteous: and good companions they are."
    The note here is to refute the Jewish claims of impropriety on her part, who took that extreme position, in contrast to one Christian group who believes in her divinity. Further, basing their opinion on this verse, and on another (12: 109):

    وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِنْ قَبْلِكَ إِلَّا رِجَالًا نُوحِي إِلَيْهِمْ [يوسف : 109]

    "We sent not before you but men as Messengers," the great majority of scholars believe that Maryam was not a Prophetess (Au.).

    202. It has been conjectured that the hint by the words "they both ate food" is to their need to attend to nature's call. How could those who were human to that extent be gods? (Razi, Alusi).

    203. That is, see how the common Christians are beguiled by their priestly class!
    Yet the Qur’an did influence Christian belief. Majid quotes Encyclopedia Britannica: "That the Holy Qur'an did, to some extent, exert modifying influence on certain Christian sects is now an admitted truth. ‘The opposition of Islam' also partly determined the form of men's views on the doctrine of Christ's person.' (EBr. I, p. 177)

    قُلْ أَتَعْبُدُونَ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ مَا لَا يَمْلِكُ لَكُمْ ضَرًّا وَلَا نَفْعًا ۚ وَاللَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ (76)

    5|76| Say, ‘Do you worship besides Allah that204 which has no power to harm or benefit you?'205 Whereas Allah is the All hearing, the All knowing

    204. "That" (ma of the original) is normally employed for the non living, and the allusion could be to the Christian worship of the Cross (Alusi).

    205. Majid writes: "Christianity gradually ‘assumed a form that was quite as polytheistic and quite as idolatrous as the ancient paganism.' (Lecky, op. cit., II, p. 97). ‘The polytheist peoples the world with a variety of gods and goddesses, which enter into its machinery more or less independently ... It reaches its highest stage in Hellenic polytheism ... At a much lower stage we have Catholic polytheism, in which innumerable "saints" (many of them of equivocal repute) are venerated as subordinate divinities, and prayed to exert their mediation with the supreme divinity' (Haeckel, op. cit., p. 226)."

    قُلْ يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لَا تَغْلُوا فِي دِينِكُمْ غَيْرَ الْحَقِّ وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا أَهْوَاءَ قَوْمٍ قَدْ ضَلُّوا مِنْ قَبْلُ وَأَضَلُّوا كَثِيرًا وَضَلُّوا عَنْ سَوَاءِ السَّبِيلِ (77)

    5|77| Say, ‘People of the Book! Do not exceed the limits in your religion other than the truth206 and follow not the caprices of a people who lost the way earlier, misled many, and swerved off the right course.207

    206. This in essence has been the main problem with the people. Either they have gone to one extreme, or to the other. For instance, with regard to the Prophets, either they have gone to one extreme of worshipping them, in fact, even the graves of their followers, or have gone to the other extreme of treating them as no better than couriers (Shafi`).

    207. The concept of Trinity is so vigorously unacceptable to human mind that no devoted Christian is questioned about it, but, after initial defense, he falls silent, and, mentally disturbed. Herewith we present some criticism of it.
    Majid comments: "Now who are these erring peoples the prototype of the Christian error? The allusion may well be to the ‘highly cultured' yet polytheistic and idolatrous nations of Greece and Rome many of whose superstitions and blasphemies the early church, inspired by Paul of Tarsus, was only too prone to imbibe. St. Paul, the founder of latter day Christianity, ‘owed much to the Greek philosophy and thought, gained partly in formal education at Tarsus, partly by assimilation of the knowledge which floated on the surface of a more or less educated society and became insensibly the property of all its members.'
    Mawdudi's quotation from Encyclopedia Britannica is abridged here: "... there is nothing in these three Gospels to suggest that their writers thought of Jesus as other than human, a human being specially endowed with the Spirit of God and standing in an unbroken relation to God which justifies His being spoken of as the ‘Son of God.' Even Matthew refers to Him as the carpenter's son and records that after Peter had acknowledged Him as Messiah he ‘took Him aside and began to rebuke Him' (Matthew, xvi. 22). And in Luke the two disciples on the way to Emmaus can still speak of Him as ‘a prophet, mighty indeed in word before God and all the people' (Luke, xxiv, 19).
    Further on: "... The Gospels leave no room for doubt as to the completeness with which these statements (about the human nature of Christ: au.) are to be accepted. From them we learn that Jesus passed through the natural stages of development, physical and mental, that He hungered, thirsted, was weary and slept, that He could be surprised and require information, that He suffered pain and died. He not only made no claim to omniscience, He distinctly waived it."
    The same source states: "... It may not be possible to decide whether it was the primitive community or Paul himself who first put full religious content into the title ‘Lord' as used of Christ. Probably it was the former. But the Apostle (Paul: Au.) undoubtedly adopted the title in its full meaning, and did much to make that meaning clear by transferring to ‘the Lord Jesus Christ' many of the ideas and phrases which in the Old Testament had been specifically assigned to the Lord Jehovah. God ‘gave unto Him that name that is above every name the name of "Lord". At the same time by equating Christ with the Wisdom of God and with the Glory of God, as well as ascribing to Him Sonship in an absolute sense, Paul claimed for Jesus Christ a relation to God which was inherent and unique, ethical and personal, eternal. While, however, Paul in many ways and in many aspects, equated Christ with God, he definitely stopped short of speaking of him as ‘God' (xiv edition, title, ‘Christianity.').
    (Mawdudi goes on), "In another article in Encyclopedia Britannica (xiv edition), under the title ‘Christianity', the Reverend George William Knox writes as follows about the fundamental beliefs of Christianity:
    ‘Its moulds of thought are those of Greek philosophy, and into these were run the Jewish teachings. We have thus a peculiar combination the religious doctrines of the Bible, as culmination in the person of Jesus, run through the forms of an alien philosophy.
    The Doctrine of Trinity: Jewish sources furnished the terms Father, Son and Spirit. Jesus seldom employed the last term and Paul's use of it is not altogether clear. Already in Jewish literature it had been personified (Cf. the Wisdom of Solomon). Thus the material is Jewish, though already doubtless modified by Greek influences: but the problem is Greek; it is not primarily ethical nor even religious, but it is metaphysical. What is the ontological relationship between these three factors? The answer of the Church is given in the Nicene formula, which is characteristically Greek ...'
    Also significant (Mawdudi continues) in this connection are the following passages of another article in Encyclopedia Britannica (xiv edition), entitled ‘Church History':
    "The recognition of Christ as the incarnation of the Logos was practically universal before the close of the 3rd century, but His deity was still widely denied, and the Arian controversy which distracted the Church of the 4th century concerned the latter question. At the Council of Nicaea in 325 the deity of Christ received official sanction and was given formulation in the original Nicene creed. Controversy continued for some time, but finally the Nicene decision was recognized both in East and West as the orthodox faith. The deity of the Son was believed to carry with it that of the Spirit, who was associated with Father and Son in the baptismal formula and in the current symbols, and so the victory of the Nicene Christology meant the recognition of the doctrine of Trinity as part of the orthodox faith."
    Mawdudi's quotes end here.
    At this point, the reader might wonder if the above are not stray thoughts, of odd figures, prejudiced against the Church, since the Roman Catholic Church does not seem to take any notice of them. But that is not true. From the time people began to read the Bible for themselves, no generation of Christians has been without eminent men raising their voice against the Christian doctrines that have no basis either in reason and logic, nor do they have any basis in the New or Old Testaments. Many learned men of the Christian world have either denounced Trinity unequivocally or have expressed serious doubts and reservations about it. But such dissensions have been carefully suppressed. Sir Isaac Newton, for instance, who revolutionized science, was one of them. A recent work on the Church's relationship with science says: "In the early 1670s Newton began serious theological study, which came to focus almost at once on the doctrine of the Trinity. As he read on, with his eye riveted on the allied problems of the nature of Christ and the nature of God, the conviction took hold of him that a monstrous fraud had perverted the nature of Christianity in the fourth and fifth centuries. The fraud had altered the Bible. Newton began to collect evidence that the passages on which Trinitarians relied had been inserted into the Bible in the fourth and fifth centuries ... Although he did not say so directly, Newton clearly believed that the Protestant Reformation had only scratched the surface. It has left the source of infection, Trinitarianism, untouched" (God and Nature, Ed. David C. Lindberg and Ronald L. Numbers, p. 230-231). A little before him, John Milton, the great English poet, also differed with the doctrines taught by the Church, but did not have the courage, as scores of others also did not have the courage to denounce them publicly. He preferred to put the idea in his writings in a somewhat camouflaged manner. Nonetheless, in a book, "A Treatise Relating to God," not intended to be published during his life-time, he was somewhat outspoken. In Book One, Chapter two, Milton writes: "... what can be plainer, what more distinct, what more suitable to general comprehension and the ordinary forms of speech, for the purposes of impression on the people of God that there was numerically One God and One Spirit in the common acceptation of numerical unity? must always be remembered in this place that nothing can be said of the One God which is inconsistent with His Unity, and which assigns to Him at the same time the attributes of unity and plurality. Mark 12: 29-32, "Hear O Israel, the Lord Our God is One Lord." (Muhammad Ata ur Rahim, Jesus the Prophet of Islam, Riyadh Pub., p. 152).
    There have been many others who have said similar things. For instance, Brinton wrote: "... The point must be made again firmly, for if Christianity is so regarded one would expect the triumphant Christianity of the Council of Nicaea, the official faith of the world's greatest empire, to be quite different from Christianity of the fishermen of Galilee. On the other hand, if one takes the New Testament as the final assertion of Christian truth, one is bound to conclude, not just that the Christianity of the fourth century was different from that of the first, but that the Christianity of the fourth century was not Christian" (Clarence Crane Brinton, Ideas and Men, Prentice Hall Pub. p. 127).
    H.G. Wells presented the result his own research on the subject. An excerpt: "Then appeared in time a great teacher whom many critics consider as the true founder of Christianity, viz. Saul of Tartus, or otherwise known as Paul. It is apparent that he was Jewish by birth, although the Jews disown him. However, the fact is uncontested that he received education at the hands of the Jewish masters and was extremely good in the theology of the Alexandrian Hellenism. Therefore, he was influenced by the Hellenistic school on the one hand and by the methods of the Stoicists on the other. Thus he became a man of sound opinions and a teacher of religious sciences even much before he heard about Jesus Christ. It is also strongly possible that he was influenced by Mithraian thought, as he uses very strange sounding words taken from the Mithraians. It is apparent to every reader of his letters of diverse nature in comparison with the Gospels themselves that the foremost thought in his mind was, (which does not seem to receive the same emphasis in the writings of the Apostles), that of an individual who offers his sacrifices to God as an atonement for sins. Therefore, what Jesus presented promised a new life to the human soul, but what Paul offered, alas, is the ancient religion: religion of the priests, sacrifices, blood offerings in search of God's Pleasure" ("The Fundamental Interpolations in the Teachings of Jesus").
    Earnest Renan, whose crusade against the church is well known, wrote the following: "In order to understand the true teachings of Christ, as he himself understood it, it is necessary that we search for those details and false explanations which have obscured the real teachings of Christ and placed it behind a barrier of thick layers of clouds. That will take us right back to the days of Paul who did not understand the teachings of Christ, rather, who gave it a new interpretation adding to it a lot of ideas and practices of the Pharisians and the teachings of the Old Testament. And Paul, as it appears, was a people's messenger, or a messenger of disputes and religious contests. He was inclined towards the outward appearances of religious nature such as, circumcision and so forth. He introduced his own personal inclinations and proclivities in the religion of Christ and perverted it" (Discourses on Christianity).
    And, finally, here are the words of the most learned man of Europe of his day, Edward Gibbon: "He adopted the Platonian theory of the Logos and gave it a Christian coloring, explaining that ‘the Logos, who was with God from the beginning and was God, who had made all things and for whom all things had been made, was incarnate in the person of Jesus of Nazareth’" (The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol 1, p. 611) - Au.

    لُعِنَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ عَلَىٰ لِسَانِ دَاوُودَ وَعِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ بِمَا عَصَوْا وَكَانُوا يَعْتَدُونَ (78)

    5|78| Cursed were the unbelievers of the Children of Israel by the tongue of Da'ud and `Isa ibn Maryam: that because they disobeyed and were ceaselessly crossing the bounds.

    كَانُوا لَا يَتَنَاهَوْنَ عَنْ مُنْكَرٍ فَعَلُوهُ ۚ لَبِئْسَ مَا كَانُوا يَفْعَلُونَ (79)

    5|79| They forbid not one another the vile things they committed.208 Surely evil were the things they were doing.

    208. On the importance of enjoining good and forbidding evil, Ibn Jarir has the following reports. Ibn Mas`ud has reported the Prophet as having said (to the effect):

    "إنه من كان قبلكم من بني إسرائيل إذا عمل فيهم العامل الخطيئة فنهاه الناهي تعذيراً فإذا كان من الغد جالسه وواكله وشاربه كأنه لم يره على خطيئة بالأمس فلما رأى الله تعالى ذلك منهم ضرب قلوب بعضهم على بعض على لسان داود وعيسى بن مريم {ذلك بما عصوا وكانوا يعتدون} والذي نفسي بيده لتأمرن بالمعروف ولتنهن عن المنكر ولتأخذن على أيدي المسيء ولتأطرنه على الحق أطراً أو ليضربن الله بقلوب بعضكم على بعض ويلعنكم كما لعنهم". (مجمع الزوائد ومنبع الفوائد - رواه الطبراني ورجاله رجال الصحيح).

    "When one of the Israelite saw someone committing a sin he forbid him. But, the next time he saw him doing the same thing, he did not prevent him because they ate, drank and interacted with each other. When that went on for a while, Allah transformed the hearts of some of them in the mold of the hearts of others. As a result they were cursed by the tongue of Da'ud and `Isa ibn Maryam. (That because they disobeyed and were ceaselessly crossing the bounds)." The Prophet then added: "By Him in whose hand is my life, you (O Muslims) will enjoin the good, forbid the evil, restrict the evil doer by holding his hand, and bend him down to the truth, or, Allah will transform the heart of some of you into the mold of the hearts of the others and lay a curse upon you as He laid a curse upon them."
    There are several versions of the above report, and, therefore, we have resorted to a free translation.
    According to several other reports the Prophet recited this verse and then, sitting up from a reclining position, added:

    ثم جلس رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم وكان متكئا ثم قال : كلا والذي نفسي بيده حتى تأطروهم على الحق أطرا

    "No! Not until you restrain the hand of the oppressor and force him to act justly."
    Another report coming through Ibn Zayd quotes the Prophet as having said:

    إنّ رَحَى الإيمان قد دارت، فدُوروا مع القرآن حيث دار [*فإنه... قد فرغ الله مما افترض فيه]. ..كان أمة من بني إسرائيل، كانوا أهل عدل، يأمرون بالمعروف وينهون عن المنكر، فأخذه قومهم فنشروهم بالمناشير، وصلبوهم على الخشب، وبقيت منهم بقية، فلم يرضوا حتى داخلوا الملوك وجالسوهم، ثم لم يرضوا حتى واكلوهم، فضرب الله تلك القلوب بعضها ببعض فجعلها واحدة. فذلك قول الله تعالى: "لعن الذين كفروا من بني إسرائيل على لسان داود" إلى: "ذلك بما عصوا وكانوا يعتدون"، ماذا كانت معصيتهم؟ قال: "كانوا لا يتناهون عن منكر فعلوه لبئس ما كانوا يفعلون".

    "The mill stone of faith has taken a full circle. Therefore, turn with the Qur'an, whichever way it turns. For, Allah has finished stating the obligations in it. Among the Israelites were a people who enjoined virtues and forbid evil. But their people slit them through with saws and crucified them over wooden crosses. A few escaped. But they were not spared until they accepted the rulers. With that also they were not satisfied until they interacted with each other. Then Allah transformed the hearts of some of them in the mold of others, unifying them. It is in reference to this that Allah revealed, ‘Cursed were the unbelievers of the Children of Israel by the tongue of Da'ud and `Isa ibn Maryam: that because they disobeyed and continuously crossed the bounds. And, what was their sin? They forbid not one another the evil they committed. Surely vile were the things they did.'"
    The above report of Ibn Jarir could not be found in any Hadith collection. However, the following is found in Tabarani’s Mu`jam al-Saghir, which, but for disconnection in the chain, Haythami declared the narrators trustworthy. It says:

    أَلا إِنَّ رَحَى الإِسْلامِ دَائِرَةٌ ، فَدُورُوا مَعَ الْكِتَابِ حَيْثُ دَارَ ، أَلا إِنَّ الْكِتَابَ وَالسُّلْطَانَ سَيَفْتَرِقَانِ فَلا تُفَارِقُوا الْكِتَابَ ، أَلا إِنَّهُ سَيَكُونُ أُمَرَاءُ يَقْضُونَ لَكُمْ ، فَإِنْ أَطَعْتُمُوهُمْ أَضَلُّوكُمْ وَإِنْ عَصَيْتُمُوهُمْ قَتَلُوكُمْ ، قَالَ : يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ ، فَكَيْفَ نَصْنَعُ ؟ قَالَ : كَمَا صَنَعَ أَصْحَابُ عِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ ، نُشِرُوا بِالْمَنَاشِيرِ وَحُمِلُوا عَلَى الْخَشَبِ مَوْتٌ فِي طَاعَةٍ خَيْرٌ مِنْ حَيَاةٍ فِي مَعْصِيَةِ اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ

    “Lo, the mill-stone of Islam is a full circle, so turn with the Book wheresoever it turns. Lo, the Book and political power will soon split pathways. So, do not part ways with the Book. Lo, there will be rulers who will judge for you but if you obeyed them they will take you off the right path. On the other hand, if you disobeyed them, they will kill you.” The narrator asked, “What shall we do, Messenger of Allah?” He replied, “Do as the Companions of `Isa ibn Maryam did. They were split with saws and were hung by the wooden crosses. Indeed, death in obedience is better than life in disobedience of Allah Most High.”
    Ibn Kathir adds: Ahadith similar to the above are found in various collections such as Abu Da'ud, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and others. The following can be added for emphasis. A report in Ahmad backed by one in Tirmidhi of hasan status has Hudhayfah ibn al Yaman quoting the Prophet (saws):

    "والذي نَفْسِي بيده لتَأمُرُنَّ بالمعروف ولَتَنْهَوُنَّ عن المُنْكَرِ، أو ليُوشِكَنَّ الله أن يبعث عليكم عِقابًا من عنده، ثم لتدعنه فلا يستجيب لكم". (رواه الترمذي وقال: هذا حديث حسن)

    "By Him in whose hands is my life, you will either enjoin good, forbid evil or, it is feared that Allah sends down a chastisement from Him so that you supplicate but are not answered."
    Ibn Majah has a hadith of ‘A'isha saying:

    مُروا بالمعروف، وانْهَوْا عن المنكر، قبل أن تَدْعوا فلا يستجاب لكم

    "I heard the Prophet say, ‘Enjoin good, forbid evil before it happens that you supplicate but are not answered." The hadith however, is weak. But Abu Sa`id al Khudri has been recorded in Muslim as reporting the Prophet:

    مَنْ رَأَى مِنْكُمْ مُنْكَرًا فَلْيُغَيِّرْهُ بِيَدِهِ فَإِنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَبِلِسَانِهِ فَإِنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَبِقَلْبِهِ وَذَلِكَ أَضْعَفُ الإِيمَانِ

    "Whoever of you sees an evil should rectify it with his hand; if he cannot, then with the tongue; if he cannot, then with his heart. And that's the weakest (state) of faith."
    The Musnad of Ahmad has another hadith which reports the Prophet as having said:

    إن الله لا يُعذِّب العامَّة بعَمَلِ الخاصة، حتى يَرَوا المنكر بين ظَهْرانيْهِم، وهم قادرون على أن ينكروه. فلا ينكرونه فإذا فعلوا ذلك عَذَّبَ الله العامة والخاصة

    "Allah does not punish a people for the deeds of a few, until they see evils among themselves, and, despite their ability to prevent it, they do nothing about it. When that happens then Allah punishes everyone: the few as well as the whole lot."
    Abu Da'ud has a report which says:

    إِذَا عُمِلَ بِالْخَطِيَّةِ فِى الأَرْضِ كَانَ مَنْ شَهِدَهَا فَكَرِهَهَا كَمَنْ غَابَ عَنْهَا وَمَنْ غَابَ عَنْهَا فَرَضِيَهَا كَانَ كَمَنْ شَهِدَهَا.

    "When a wrong is committed on the earth, then someone who saw it but disapproved of it, is like he who was away from the scene. In contrast, he who was away from the scene but approved of it, is like he who was present at the scene." (The report has been declared Hasan: Au.)
    Abu Da'ud, Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah with Tirmidhi grading it hasan gharib have a report from the Prophet:

    أَفْضَلُ الْجِهَادِ كَلِمَةُ حَقٍّ عِنْدَ سُلْطَانٍ جَائِرٍ

    "The best jihad is a word of truth before a tyrannical ruler."
    Another hadith of Ibn Majah says that:

    عَنْ أَبِي أُمَامَةَ قَالَ جَاءَ رَجُلٌ إِلَى النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَهُوَ عِنْدَ الْجَمْرَةِ الْأُولَى فَقَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَيُّ الْجِهَادِ أَفْضَلُ قَالَ فَسَكَتَ عَنْهُ وَلَمْ يُجِبْهُ ثُمَّ سَأَلَهُ عِنْدَ الْجَمْرَةِ الثَّانِيَةِ فَقَالَ لَهُ مِثْلَ ذَلِكَ فَلَمَّا رَمَى النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ جَمْرَةَ الْعَقَبَةِ وَوَضَعَ رِجْلَهُ فِي الْغَرْزِ قَالَ أَيْنَ السَّائِلُ قَالَ كَلِمَةُ عَدْلٍ عِنْدَ إِمَامٍ جَائِرٍ

    A man presented himself to the Prophet near the First Jamurah. He asked: "Messenger of Allah, which jihad is the best." The Prophet did not answer him. When he had thrown the pebbles at the Second Jamurah, the man asked the same question. The Prophet did not answer him. Then, after he had thrown the pebbles at the Jamurah al `Aqabah and had placed his foot in the stirrup to mount, he turned and enquired: "Where is the questioner?" And then said: "A word of truth spoken out before a tyrannical ruler."
    Yet another report of Ibn Majah says the Prophet said:

    "لا يَحْقِر أحدكم نفسه". قالوا: يا رسول الله، كيف يحقر أحدنا نفسه؟. قال: "يرى أمرًا لله فيه مَقَال، ثم لا يقول فيه. فيقول الله له يوم القيامة: ما منعك أن تقول فيّ كذا وكذا وكذا؟ فيقول: خَشْيَةَ الناس، فيقول: فإياي كنت أحق أن تَخْشَى"

    "Let not one of you belittle himself." He was asked, "How can one belittle himself?" He replied: "He sees something happening, but does not say a word about it. Allah will ask him on the Day of Judgment: ‘What prevented you from speaking out on such and such a day?' He will reply: ‘Fear of the people.' Allah will say, ‘It was more deserving that you feared Me.'" (Haythami declared it trustworthy: Au.).
    Quotes from Ibn Kathir end here.

    تَرَىٰ كَثِيرًا مِنْهُمْ يَتَوَلَّوْنَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا ۚ لَبِئْسَ مَا قَدَّمَتْ لَهُمْ أَنْفُسُهُمْ أَنْ سَخِطَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ وَفِي الْعَذَابِ هُمْ خَالِدُونَ (80)

    5|80| You will see many of them befriending those who have disbelieved. Surely, evil is that which their souls have forwarded for themselves that Allah is angry with them. And in chastisement shall they abide forever.

    وَلَوْ كَانُوا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالنَّبِيِّ وَمَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مَا اتَّخَذُوهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءَ وَلَٰكِنَّ كَثِيرًا مِنْهُمْ فَاسِقُونَ (81)

    5|81| Had they believed in Allah and the Prophet (Moses), and in that which was sent down to him, they would not have befriended them; but many of them are ungodly.

    لَتَجِدَنَّ أَشَدَّ النَّاسِ عَدَاوَةً لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا الْيَهُودَ وَالَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا ۖ وَلَتَجِدَنَّ أَقْرَبَهُمْ مَوَدَّةً لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّا نَصَارَىٰ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّ مِنْهُمْ قِسِّيسِينَ وَرُهْبَانًا وَأَنَّهُمْ لَا يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ (82)

    5|82| You will find the most hostile of men to the believers, the Jews209 and those who associate partners (unto Allah). And you will find nearest of them in love to the believers those who say, ‘We are Christians.' That is because among them are priests and monks210 and because they do not wax proud.211

    209. Verse 81 spoke of the Jews befriending the pagans. This verse, 82, speaks of their enmity with the Muslims (Shafi`).

    210. Ruhban (sing. rahib) and ruhbaniyyah have the same root, and, as Raghib has said, the latter means ‘to devote oneself to acts of worship to an extreme degree out of an immoderate fear.’ Accordingly, we have a hadith, ‘There is no ruhbaniyyah in Islam (Ruh). In fact, the indirect praise here, adds Thanwi, is not directed at ruhbaniyyah, rather, one aspect of it, viz., abandonment of this world.

    211. When there are a large number of people among a nation who have such qualities as renunciation of the world, devotion to God, and, who are not proud such as the Christians of the Prophet's time then, their influence reaches the masses, who also tend to take a soft line to the Truth, even if not as soft as to embrace it in the first instance. In contrast, when there are many in a nation who love this world, follow their carnal self and are proud such as the Jews then their masses too are little inclined to the Truth, even if a few of them might embrace it with the first call. It was the same problem with the Quraysh of Makkah: they were extremely proud. It was when their pride was broken that they became receptive to the Truth (Thanwi).
    Shafi` adds: Nevertheless, the situation today is that the so called Christians are no better than Jews in their enmity of Islam and Muslims. So far as their faiths are concerned, surely they are nearer to polytheism than the Jews. The verse then is not speaking of the Christians of all times, as Jassas has pointed out, rather of a specific group of people. Indeed, writes Thanwi, the Qur'anic verse in question, has not been revealed in appreciation of the Christians, rather, when the Jews were condemned for exhibiting certain characteristics, the sense of justice required that the Christian attitudes be also mentioned. Therefore, Shabbir adds, in effect, why should (the Ummah) look for friends among those who lack the qualities stated here?

    وَإِذَا سَمِعُوا مَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَى الرَّسُولِ تَرَىٰ أَعْيُنَهُمْ تَفِيضُ مِنَ الدَّمْعِ مِمَّا عَرَفُوا مِنَ الْحَقِّ ۖ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا آمَنَّا فَاكْتُبْنَا مَعَ الشَّاهِدِينَ (83)

    5|83| When they hear that which has been sent down to the Messenger, you will find their eyes overflow with tears because of the truth they recognize. They say, ‘Our Lord! We have believed, therefore, write us down among the witnesses.212

    212. Hakim has narrated a sahih report from `Abdullah ibn Zubayr to the effect that these verses were revealed in reference to Najashi of Abyssinia. Others have said that they were revealed in reference to a group of Abyssinians who had visited Madinah. The Prophet recited a few verses to them. They were in tears and readily declared their faith in Islam. Nonetheless, it seems more reasonable to assume a general import and application of the verses rather than a specific one (Ibn Jarir).
    The latter report is in Nasa'i and Hakim who has termed it as sahih of isnad (Ibn Kathir).

    وَمَا لَنَا لَا نُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَمَا جَاءَنَا مِنَ الْحَقِّ وَنَطْمَعُ أَنْ يُدْخِلَنَا رَبُّنَا مَعَ الْقَوْمِ الصَّالِحِينَ (84)

    5|84| And why should we not believe in Allah and the truth that has come to us, seeing that we long that our Lord should admit us with the righteous?'

    فَأَثَابَهُمُ اللَّهُ بِمَا قَالُوا جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا ۚ وَذَٰلِكَ جَزَاءُ الْمُحْسِنِينَ (85)

    5|85| So, because of what they maintained, Allah rewarded them with gardens underneath which rivers flow, abiding therein forever. That is the recompense of those who do good.

    وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَكَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا أُولَٰئِكَ أَصْحَابُ الْجَحِيمِ (86)

    5|86| As for those who disbelieved and cried lies to Our signs, they are the companions of the Fire.

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُحَرِّمُوا طَيِّبَاتِ مَا أَحَلَّ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَلَا تَعْتَدُوا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ (87)

    5|87| Believers! Treat not as unlawful that which has been made lawful unto you and exceed not the bounds.213 Verily, Allah does not approve of those who exceed the bounds.214

    213. A little above, the verses spoke in favorable terms of the Christian asceticism, and its good effect on their masses. This verse warns the Muslims to beware of excessive renunciation (Shafi`).
    Although, once again, the application is common, it is reported that this verse was occasioned by three Companions of the Prophet who met together. One of them promised that then onward he would pray the whole night and not sleep. The other said he would fast uninterruptedly. The third said that he would not go into women anymore. When the Prophet came to know about them he told them:

    أَمَا وَاللَّهِ إِنِّي لأَخْشَاكُمْ لِلَّهِ وَأَتْقَاكُمْ لَهُ ، لَكِنِّي أَصُومُ وَأُفْطِرُ ، وَأُصَلِّي وَأَرْقُدُ ، وَأَتَزَوَّجُ ، فَمَنْ رَغِبَ عَنْ سُنَّتِي فَلَيْسَ مِنِّي

    "As for me, I am more fearful of Allah than you, and more God-conscious, yet I fast and discontinue fasting, sleep but also pray in the night and I marry women. Lo! Whoever fought shy of my Sunnah is not of me."
    (A similar report narrated by ‘A'isha is also in the Sahihayn: Ibn Kathir).
    Other reports suggest that it was `Uthman b. Maz`un's conduct toward his wife that invoked the revelation of this verse. It is said that his wife visited ‘A'isha in a shabby state. On enquiry she complained that `Uthman would not even touch her. ‘A'isha mentioned it to the Prophet who spoke to `Uthman the words of the above hadith (Zamakhshari, Ibn Jarir).
    Ibn Kathir adds: Masruq said in a report of Hakim, who said it meets with the requirement of the Sahihayn:

    أُتِيَ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بِضَرْعٍ فَتَنَحَّى رَجُلٌ، فَقَالَ: إِنِّي حَرَّمْتُهُ، فَقَالَ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ:" "يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لا تُحَرِّمُوا طَيِّبَاتِ مَا أَحَلَّ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ" [المائدة: 87] أَطْعِمْ، وَاكَفّرْ".

    "We were with `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud when he was presented with a dish of udder. A man turned away saying, ‘I have declared it unlawful unto myself.' Ibn Mas`ud recited this verse: ‘Believers! Treat not as unlawful that which has been made lawful unto you,’ and then said, ‘Eat, and expiate for your oath.'"
    Imam Razi raises a question. It is well known that the love of this world gets the better of the people's heart. Now, if a person freely indulges in the pleasures of this world, his inclination to the lower world spirals down. With every increase in his inclination, there is a proportionate increase in his greed of the worldly goods and pleasures, taking away much of his time and efforts which are entirely devoted to obtaining those goods and the pleasures. This weakens his spiritual contacts with the higher world, hinders his obedience to Allah's commands, and causes a decrease in his efforts to seek the Hereafter. His base self is little inclined, if at all, towards seeking the knowledge of the divine. What then is the wisdom in Allah's behest: "Believers! Treat not as unlawful that which has been made lawful unto you?" Answering the question Imam Razi writes: Firstly, excessive asceticism and a total abnegation of the material blessings and the sensual things weakens the mind and the heart. With (an extremely low indulgence) thoughts become polluted and the mind gets muddled. Whereas, as it is well known, the best of blessings and the greatest of bounties is the ma`rifah of Allah. If excessive asceticism hinders it, then it better be prohibited. Secondly, it is recognized that a free indulgence in the world hinders a man from attaining spiritual heights. That is true. But that is true of only the weak ones. The strong of will are not thus affected. Therefore, an indulgence in the world is of no harm to them. We notice for instance, with regard to a weak person, that when he attends to an affair, he cannot do justice to another affair at the same time. But that is not true of a people of strong character. Extreme asceticism is itself a kind of weakness, and a middle road is best suited for most people. Thirdly, by indulgence in this world, a person might aim at the next, as a total avoidance creates disinclination in the carnal self for anything sublime. Finally, excessive asceticism promises destruction of this world. It prides in non productive attitudes. Giving up such an attitude, coupled with a firm knowledge of the divine, promotes the development of this world as well as the Hereafter.

    214. There are three ways in which a man can declare a lawful, unlawful unto himself. First, he believes that one of Allah's lawful things is actually unlawful. That is kufr. Second, he swears that he will not partake of one of Allah's lawful things. He should break the oath and expiate. Third, he does not believe in its unlawfulness nor declares it so to himself verbally, but does not partake of it for a good reason. It might, for instance, be harmful to his body. This kind of abstinence is permissible (Thanwi).
    While Thanwi adds that the abstinence of certain articles of food that has been reported of the Sufiya, belongs to the last class mentioned above and was a means of avoiding certain harmful spiritual effects, he also states that such abstaining can only be for a short period. If someone abstains from one of the lawful blessings of Allah, lifelong, without the reasons of physical harm to him, then, surely, that would be treating a lawful thing of Allah as unlawful (Au.).

    وَكُلُوا مِمَّا رَزَقَكُمُ اللَّهُ حَلَالًا طَيِّبًا ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ الَّذِي أَنْتُمْ بِهِ مُؤْمِنُونَ (88)

    5|88| Eat of the lawful and the clean that Allah has provided you;215 and fear Allah in whom you believe.

    215. It is said that Hasan was told about a man who would not drink faaludha (a kind of soft drink) because he did not think he would be able to give thanks to Allah. Hasan asked: "Does the man drink cold water?" They said yes. He said: "That is an ignorant man. The blessing of Allah in cold water is greater than it is in faludha."

    لَا يُؤَاخِذُكُمُ اللَّهُ بِاللَّغْوِ فِي أَيْمَانِكُمْ وَلَٰكِنْ يُؤَاخِذُكُمْ بِمَا عَقَّدْتُمُ الْأَيْمَانَ ۖ فَكَفَّارَتُهُ إِطْعَامُ عَشَرَةِ مَسَاكِينَ مِنْ أَوْسَطِ مَا تُطْعِمُونَ أَهْلِيكُمْ أَوْ كِسْوَتُهُمْ أَوْ تَحْرِيرُ رَقَبَةٍ ۖ فَمَنْ لَمْ يَجِدْ فَصِيَامُ ثَلَاثَةِ أَيَّامٍ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ كَفَّارَةُ أَيْمَانِكُمْ إِذَا حَلَفْتُمْ ۚ وَاحْفَظُوا أَيْمَانَكُمْ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ (89)

    5|89| Allah will not call you to account for your unintentional oaths, but will call you to account for your deliberate oaths,216 whereof the expiation is feeding of ten poor (souls) with what you normally feed your homefolk, or their clothing, or freeing of a slave. Yet, whoever does not find (these means),217 then for him are three days of fasts. That is the expiation of the oaths when you have sworn. But keep your oaths. Thus Allah makes clear His commands to you, haply you will give thanks.

    216. When Allah chided those who had vowed not to partake of the good things of the world, he showed a way in which they could break their vows and expiate them (Razi).
    Qurtubi adds: If the oath is about a sinful thing, then a man is neither bound to act by it, nor is he required to offer expiation for it. Expiation is for an oath about a lawful thing. The Prophet has said:

    مَنْ حَلَفَ عَلَى يَمِينٍ فَرَأَى غَيْرَهَا خَيْرًا مِنْهَا فَلْيَأْتِهَا وَلْيُكَفِّرْ عَنْ يَمِينِهِ

    "If someone swears about a thing but finds something better than that, then, let him break the oath and expiate it" (Qurtubi).
    For some more commentary see note 467 of surah al Baqarah of this work.
    The hadith is in the Sahihayn (Au.).

    217. A ghayr mustati` is defined as one on whom zakah is not obligatory (Alusi, Shabbir).

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّمَا الْخَمْرُ وَالْمَيْسِرُ وَالْأَنْصَابُ وَالْأَزْلَامُ رِجْسٌ مِنْ عَمَلِ الشَّيْطَانِ فَاجْتَنِبُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ (90)

    5|90| Believers!218 Verily, intoxicants,219 game of chance,220 stone altars221 and divining arrows222 are an abomination handiwork of Shaytan; therefore, shun it, haply you will prosper.

    218. When Allah Most High instructed the believers in the previous verses, not to declare the lawful as unlawful unto themselves, He followed it up by stating that they ought not to declare the unlawful as lawful unto themselves, crossing the bounds set by Him (Ibn Jarir).

    219. Asad writes: "According to all the lexicographers, the word khamr, (derived from the verb khamara "he concealed" or "obscured") denotes every substance the use of which obscures the intellect, i.e., intoxicates. Hence, the prohibition of intoxicants laid down in this verse comprises not merely alcoholic drinks, but also drugs which have a similar effect. The only exception from this total prohibition arises in case of "dire necessity" (in the strictest sense of the word), as stipulated in the last sentence of verse 3 of this surah: that is to say, in cases where illness or a bodily accident makes the administration of intoxicating drugs or of alcohol imperative and unavoidable."
    The above seems to have its source in Al Manar, where Rashid Rida has added the condition (apart from lack of an alternative medicine), of recommendation by a trustworthy medical authority for administration of the unlawful. This is in view of the strong disapproval expressed in a hadith in Muslim, Tirmidhi, Abu Da'ud and others which reports the Prophet (saws) as having said when asked about the healing qualities of wine:

    إِنَّهَا لَيْسَتْ بِدَوَاءٍ وَلَكِنَّهَا دَاءٌ

    "It is not a medicine, rather, a disease" (Au.).
    Prohibition of Wine
    Ahmad has the following report:

    عَنْ نَافِعِ بن كَيْسَانَ الدِّمَشْقِيِّ، أَنَّ أَبَاهُ كَيْسَانَ نَفْسَهُ أَخْبَرَهُ , أَنَّهُ كَانَ يَتَّجِرُ فِي الْخَمْرِ فِي زَمَانِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، فَأَقْبَلَ مِنَ الشَّامِ وَمَعَهُ خَمْرٌ فِي الزِّقَاقِ يُرِيدُ بِهِ التِّجَارَةَ، فَأَتَى رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، فَقَالَ: يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ، إِنِّي جِئْتُ بِشَرَابٍ جَيِّدٍ، فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ:"يَا كَيْسَانُ، إِنَّهَا قَدْ حُرِّمَتْ"، قَالَ كَيْسَانُ: فَأَذْهَبُ فَأَبِيعُهَا يَا نَبِيَّ اللَّهِ؟، قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ:"إِنَّهَا قَدْ حُرِّمَتْ، وَحَرَامٌ ثَمَنُهَا"، فَانْطَلَقَ كَيْسَانُ إِلَى الزِّقَاقِ فَأَخَذَهَا بِأَرْجُلِهِ، ثُمَّ أَهْرَقَهَا جَمِيعًا ).

    Nafi` b. Kaysan reports from his father that he used to trade in wine during the time of the Prophet. He came back from Syria with wine with several skin-bags of wine to sell them down here. He met the Prophet and told him, “Messenger of Allah, I have brought some fine wine.” He told him, “O Kaysan, it has been prohibited.” Kaysan asked, “Should I sell it all, Prophet of Allah.” He replied, “That has been prohibited and its price is unlawful.” So Kaysan upturned the bags and poured out all of it.”
    (One of the narrators of the above report was not too trustworthy: Au.).
    Ibn Jarir reports Ibn `Abbas as saying:

    إنما نزل تحريم الخمر في قبيلتين من قبائل الأنصار، شربوا فلما أن ثمل عبث بعضهم ببعض، فلما أن صحوا جعل الرجل يرى الأثر بوجهه ورأسه ولحيته، فيقول: صنع هذا بي، أخي فلان -وكانوا إخوة ليس في قلوبهم ضغائن والله لو كان بي رؤوفًا رحيمًا ما صنع هذا بي، حتى وقعت الضغائن في قلوبهم فأنزل الله هذه الآية

    "What occurred between two tribes of the Ansar became a cause of prohibition of wine. They drank until they were intoxicated. They played pranks with each other in that state. When they recovered some of them saw marks on their faces and said, ‘So and so did this to me. By Allah, if he had any regard for me he would not have done it.' That aroused rancor in their hearts, while there was never any rancor in their hearts before that. So Allah revealed this verse.
    Ibn Kathir writes: Abu Buraydah reported his father:

    عن أبي بريدة، عن أبيه قال: بينا نحن قُعُود على شراب لنا، ونحن رَمْلة، ونحن ثلاثة أو أربعة، وعندنا باطية لنا، ونحن نشرب الخمر حلا إذ قمت حتى آتي رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فأسلم عليه، إذ نزل تحريم الخمر: { يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّمَا الْخَمْرُ وَالْمَيْسِرُ } إلى آخر الآيتين { فَهَلْ أَنْتُمْ مُنْتَهُونَ } ؟ فجئت إلى أصحابي فقرأتها إلى قوله: { فَهَلْ أَنْتُمْ مُنْتَهُون } ؟ قال: وبعض القوم شَربته في يده، قد شرب بعضها وبقي بعض في الإناء، فقال بالإناء تحت شفته العليا، كما يفعل الحجام، ثم صبوا ما في باطيتهم فقالوا: انتهينا ربنا

    "During the days when wine was lawful, I drank in the company of a few friends. Later, I went up to the Prophet. By that time the verse prohibiting it had been revealed. I went back to those with whom I was drinking and read out this verse. Some of them had wine-cups in their hands, half emptied. When they heard the exhortation, ‘Will you then desist?' they threw it away saying, ‘We desist, O Our Lord.'"
    It is also reported in Muslim and Nasa'i that:

    كان لرسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم صديق من ثقيف -أو: من دوس-فلقيه يوم الفتح براوية خمر يهديها إليه، فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: "يا فلان، أما علمت أن الله حرمها؟" فأقبل الرجل على غلامه فقال: اذهب فبعها. فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: "يا فلان، بماذا أمرته؟" فقال: أمرته أن يبيعها. قال: "إن الذي حرم شربها حرم بيعها". فأمر بها فأفرغت في البطحاء.

    A Thaqafi or Dawsi friend of the Prophet met him on the day Makkah fell. He had wine in his hand. The Prophet asked him if he did not know that wine was prohibited. The man turned to his slave and ordered him to sell it off. The Prophet asked him about his instructions to his slave. He said, “I have asked him to sell it off.” The Prophet said: "He who declared its drinking unlawful has declared its trading unlawful." The man ordered his slave to throw it all away. (Humaydi's version says that the man then expressed his intention to gift it away to the Jews but the Prophet prevented him from doing that also: Rashid Rida).
    Another report in Abu Ya`la and Ahmad says that:

    عن تميم الداري أنه كان يهدي لرسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم راوية من خمر، فلما أنزل الله تحريم الخمر جاء بها، فلما رآها رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ضحك وقال: "إنها قد حرمت بعدك". قال: يا رسول الله، فأبيعها وأنتفع بثمنها؟ فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: "لعن الله اليهود، حرم عليهم شُحُوم البقر والغنم، فأذابوه، وباعوه، والله حَرّم الخمر وثمنها"

    A man presented some wine to the Prophet. When he met him, the Prophet smiled at him and told him about the prohibition. The man asked him if he could sell it off. He replied: "Allah cursed the Jews who, when fat was prohibited to them, they liquefied it and sold it. Allah has declared wine as well as its price unlawful."

    Abu Da'ud, Ibn Majah and Ahmad have preserved a hadith of Ibn `Umar which reports the Prophet as having said:

    عن أَنَسٍ بْنِ مَالِكٍ قَالَ لَعَنَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فِي الْخَمْرِ عَشْرَةً عَاصِرَهَا وَمُعْتَصِرَهَا وَشَارِبَهَا وَحَامِلَهَا وَالْمَحْمُولَةُ إِلَيْهِ وَسَاقِيَهَا وَبَائِعَهَا وَآكِلَ ثَمَنِهَا وَالْمُشْتَرِي لَهَا وَالْمُشْتَرَاةُ

    "Allah has cursed wine in ten different ways. He cursed its squeezer, the one for whom it was squeezed, its drinker, transporter, he for whom it was transported, the server, buyer, he who consumed its price, buyer and one for whom it was bought."
    And, according to a hadith in the Sunan of Bayhaqi, Thabit has reported that he asked Ibn `Umar about the sale (and purchase) of wine. He said, "Let me tell you about it. I was with the Prophet in the mosque. He was sitting with his legs folded against his breast and tied up with a cloth to his breast. He ordered, ‘Whoever has any wine in his house, let him bring it.' They began to bring in. Someone said, ‘I have a leather bottle.' Another said, ‘I have a wine skin.' When they had all brought in the wine, he ordered, ‘Let all of you assemble at such and such a place at Baqi` and then call me over.' When they had done that they called him over. He rose up to go, and I accompanied him. I was on his right side and he was supporting himself on my shoulder. Then Abu Bakr arrived. He pulled me to his left side, making room for Abu Bakr on the right. Then `Umar arrived. He abandoned me and took `Umar to his left side. When he arrived at the site, he asked the people, ‘Do you know what this is?' They answered, ‘Yes, O Messenger of Allah. It is wine.' He said, ‘You spoke the truth.' Then he said, ‘Allah has cursed it, its drinker, supplier, seller, buyer, squeezer, the one who it is squeezed for, the carrier, the one who it is carried to, and making use of its earnings.' Then he asked for a knife and ordered it sharpened. With that he began to make holes in the skins. The people protested, ‘These leather bags are useful to us.' He replied, ‘I know. I am doing it for Allah's sake who is angry with it.' `Umar asked, ‘Shall I help you, O Messenger of Allah?' He said, ‘No.'"
    Shabbir points out that the reason why the prohibition was so easily accepted is that the Companions, after the refinement of their tastes and spiritual sensibilities, with the effects of the Prophet's companionship added to it, were sure that wine drinking simply did not fit into the scheme of life as projected by Islam, and that the announcement of its prohibition was simply a matter of time. Hence, when a single man brought in the news of its prohibition to their wine assemblies, they did not think it necessary to go to the Prophet and check up the authenticity of the news, (although, one or two wished to do that but the rest did not think it necessary: Au.) rather, simply emptied their cups, jars, and containers. The situation was analogous to that of the change in qiblah. When a crier cried out that the qiblah had been changed to Makkah, the while a group of them were in Prayers, with an Imam leading them, they immediately turned around by 180 deg., rather than complete the Prayers and make enquiries about it, although, the importance of the matter demanded enquiry and clarification. That is because of the fact that they were anticipating a change in qiblah, which injunction, although paraphrased by the Qur'anic revelation, was attributed to the Prophet alone when it said (2: 144): "We have seen your face (O Prophet) turning (oft) towards the heavens. We will surely turn you toward the qiblah dear to you."
    Consequences of Wine drinking
    Ibn Kathir quotes the following ahadith: Bayhaqi and Ahmad have a report which says that:

    مَنْ تَرَكَ الصَّلاَةَ سُكْرًا أَرْبَعَ مَرَّاتٍ كَانَ حَقًّا عَلَى اللَّهِ أَنْ يَسْقِيَهُ مِنْ طِينَةِ الْخَبَالِ. قِيلَ وَمَا طِينَةُ الْخَبَالِ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ؟ قَالَ : « عُصَارَةُ أَهْلِ جَهَنَّمَ

    “Allah will have the right to offer in drink the blood and puss of the people of the Fire, to someone who missed four of his prayers because he was drunk.” (Tr. abridged).
    A hadith in Bukhari says:

    من شرب الخمر في الدنيا، ثم لم يتب منها حُرمها في الآخرة

    “Whoever drank wine in this world and did not repent, will miss it in the Hereafter.”
    Bayhaqi has recorded the Prophet as having said,

    ثلاثة لا ينظر الله إليهم يوم القيامة العاق لوالديه، والمُدْمِن الخمر، والمنَّان بما أعطى

    "Allah will not look at three people in the Hereafter: one who disobeyed his parents, a habitual drinker and one who reminded after expending (in charity)."
    Bayhaqi has also reported through a trustworthy chain `Uthman as saying, "Do not drink wine. It is the mother of all evils. There was a man before you given to much devotion. A prostitute was enchanted by him. She got him into her house on the pretext of a testimony. She locked up every entry door that he left behind. In the inner chambers, there was a young man and some wine. She told him that she would not let him go until he would either kill the man, drink wine or have sex with her. The pious man thought wine would be the lightest of the three. So he drank. Then he asked for more. And more. When drunk, he killed the man and had sex with her."
    Rashid adds: Tabarani has recorded the words of the Prophet:

    فَإِنَّهَا رَأْسُ كُلِّ شَرٍّ

    "Wine is the source of all evils." Another hadith says:

    الخمر أم الفواحش وأكبر الكبائر من شربها وقع على أمه وخالته وعمته

    "Wine is the head of all evils and the greatest of the Great sins. Whoever drank gives up his Prayers and leaps on his mother or aunt." In another report, narrated by Ibn `Abbas, he said: "Whoever drank rapes his mother." Suyuti has classified these reports as sahih.
    Rashid Rida also writes that wine drinking can lead the Muslims to those moral and spiritual consequences that the non Muslims escape. This can be commonly noticed. This is because non Muslims have not received a revelation warning them of the ill consequences. In contrast, the Muslim is fully conscious of the ill effects of not acting according to the commands and, consequently, suffers heavy effects upon his mind and soul. (This can be demonstrated as true from psychological point of view: Au.).
    Building upon some of the points stated by Razi, Rashid Rida also points out to a total of fourteen ways by which Allah emphasized the prohibition of intoxicants: (1) He started the sentence with "innama" (verily) which is for emphasis. (2) He equated it with idol worship. (3) He called it an abomination. (4) He called it a handiwork of Shaytan. (5) He ordered the prohibition not through a direct decree, rather through exortation, which, according to the rules of rhetoric, is a more emphatic way of doing it. (6) He declared abstinence from it a way to success. (7) He declared that it leads to enmity. (8) He declared that it leads to rancor. (9) He declared that it prevents from His remembrance. (10) He declared that it prevents from Praying. (11) He brought a causative "fa" before ending with a question, indicating that the "cause" and "effect" are inseparable: they will appear together. (12) In the next sentence He exhorted the believers to obey Allah and His Messenger: the Messenger saying, "Every intoxicant is forbidden." (13) Allah saying, "Beware." And, (14) the threat hidden in words, "If you turn away..."
    For a further discussion of the subject of intoxicants refer to notes 455 of Surah al Baqarah and 149 of Surah al Nisa' of this work (Au.).
    In the contemporary world, Islam seems to be the only religion on earth that scorns intoxicants. Majid writes: "Wine is considered a sacred drink among the Jews. Far from being forbidden, it is an integral part of their religious festivities. ‘As wine gladdens the heart of men and forms an important element in a festive meal, it has been ordered that our meal on the evening of Sabbath and Festival should begin with a cup of wine in the honour of the day, and that mention should be made of the holiness of the day before partaking of the wine. The Kidduah consists of two blessings: one over the wine, and one that refers to the holiness of the day' (Friedlander, The Jewish Religion, p. 341)."
    The Scriptures on Wine
    Nevertheless, the Bible is not entirely without a few lines of disfavor. Rashid Rida quotes the following:

    "Woe to those who rise early in the morning,
    that they may run after strong drink,
    who tarry late into the evening
    till wine inflames them!
    They have lyre and harp,
    timbrel and flute and wine at their feasts;
    but they do not regard the deeds of their Lord,
    or see the work of his hand.
    Therefore my people go into exile
    for want of knowledge;
    their men are dying of hunger,
    and their multitude is parched with thirst."
    (Isaiah, 5: 11 13)

    "Woe to the proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim,
    and to the fading flower of its glorious beauty,"
    (Isaiah 28: 1)

    "The proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim
    will be trodden under foot."
    (Isaiah 28: 3)

    As for the New Testament, it has also one or two unkind sentences:

    "And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery;" (Paul's Letter to the Ephesians, 5: 18).


    "Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, .... drunkenness."
    (Paul's Letter to the Galatians 5: 20).

    Rashid's quote ends here.

    It appears that it is only the concept of Divinity of Jesus Christ, which he himself never claimed, that is taken from Paul’s teachings by the Christians, but not the Law. A kind of vague prohibition is to be found in the Torah also:

    "And the Lord spoke to Aaron, saying, ‘Drink no wine nor strong drink, you nor your sons with you, when you go into the tent of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations'"
    (Leviticus, 10: 8,9) Au.

    On the special need for the Muslims to be true to the prohibition, we have a good point from Sayyid. He writes: "Suspension of sensibilities however caused goes against the awareness that Islam instills into the hearts of its adherents. A believer is required to be in constant spiritual contact with his Lord and turn to Him in every situation of peril (major or minor). Moreover, the awareness on his part is required to be a positive, constructive one, leading to a growth and renewal of life and in its defense against any weakness or corruption attacking it from any direction. He is also required to be in a state of readiness for the protection of his self, property and honor and the protection of the peace of the Muslim society and its safety against any efforts toward a destabilization. A Muslim personality is not given to his own self or to his pleasures. There is on him, in every moment of life, demands that require a constant vigilance: demands of his Lord, demands of his self, demands of his dependents, demands of the Muslim society in which he lives and the demands of the humanity at large which he has to guide and invite to the path of salvation. These demands require a constant vigilance. In fact, even when he indulges in pleasures, Islam demands that he, during those very moments of pleasure and indulgence, remain mindful of his pleasures, enjoying them conscientiously and not given away totally to them to be a slave of those indulgences. He is the master of the situations of pleasure welcoming them in the manner of someone in control of the situation. The state of intoxication works against all these.
    Sayyid's quote ends here.
    Finally, the following are extracts from a book, Contemporary Topics In Islamic Medicine, (Saudi Publishing & Dist. House, Riyadh), by Dr. Muhammad Ali Albar, an FRCP medical practitioner.
    Production, Consumption and Problems
    “Today, millions of gallons of wine is consumed throughout the world every year. In West Germany alone, wine consumption was worth $30 billion in 1982. In Scotland, 92 percent of boys and 85 percent of girls experience alcohol by the age of 14. In France and Germany, 2.5 million of each country are incurable alcoholics. In the former USSR, it was 25 million. As a result hundreds of billions of production loss are recorded annually. In USA alone the loss was estimated at $120 billion in 1984. Almost 90 percent of murders and 50 percent of rapes are committed by alcoholics. It is estimated that in Britain an estimated 40,000 deaths occur annually due to alcohol consumption. Despite these consequences, the production of wine is on the rise world wide. In 1982 alone the rise noted by WHO in certain Asian countries, was a staggering 500 percent over the previous years.”
    Physical Effects
    There is a general misconception, especially among the youth, that alcohol beverages enhance libido. Dr. Albar writes: "Alcoholic beverages are still used by layman because they are believed to have an aphrodisiac effect, a claim that was refuted by the renowned English poet, Shakespeare, who said, ‘It provokes the desire, but takes away the performance.' Nevertheless, this misconception continues because of the many sexual crimes which are committed under the influence of alcohol. Fifty percent of all rapes are committed under its influence. Crimes of incest are reported to occur mainly under the effects of intoxicating liquor. The force of advertising, which connects liquor with manliness and sexual prowess, is so strong that it promotes the mistaken concept, especially among teenagers, that alcohol enhances libido and sexuality. But the reality is quite the opposite the cumulative effect of alcohol on sex is deleterious.
    "Alcohol acts as a direct toxin to the testicles where the male sex hormones and semen are produced. The autonomic nervous system, which controls erection and ejaculation, is also affected by chronic consumption of alcohol. In addition, the affected liver of the alcoholic is incapable of destroying the oestrogenic hormones normally produced by the male suprarenal gland. This results in decreased libido, impotence and gynecomastia. (Ref. Gordon, D. Olivo, Jr., Rafir, R., et al., Conversion of androgens to estrogens in cirrhosis of the liver. J. Clin. Endocranial, Metabl. 1982; 55:583 6 and Van Thiel, D., Evidence of adrenal origin of plasma estrogens in subjects with liver disease, Gastroenterology, 1975, 69:819)."
    Alcohol and Cold Climates
    Dr. Albar also writes: "Alcohol dilates the cutaneous blood vessels, which provides a sense of warmth. It also abolishes the shivering reflex, which is a protective mechanism of the body against cold. Therefore, if a person drinks alcohol and is exposed to cold weather, as often occurs at Christmas and New Year festivals, such a person will be greatly endangering his health being liable to lose body heat and suffer hypothermia. The level of consciousness declines progressively with decreasing body temperature; pupils contract and tendon reflexes are lost. (Ref. Weyman, A., Greenhouse, D., Grace, W., Accidental hypothermia in an alcoholic population, A. J., Med. 1974; 56:13 21, and others)."

    220. Apart from the game of chance involving money or property, also prohibited are those games that might lead to gambling, such as, for instance, backgammon and chess. In a hadith of Muslim the Prophet said:

    مَنْ لَعِبَ بِالنَّرْدَشِيرِ فَكَأَنَّمَا صَبَغَ يَدَهُ فِى لَحْمِ خِنْزِيرٍ وَدَمِهِ

    "Whoever played backgammon colored his hand with the flesh and blood of swine." Imam Malik, Abu Hanifah and Ahmad have declared playing of chess unlawful with Imam Shafe`i considering it merely undesirable (Ibn Kathir).

    221. The word in the original, nusub, is for those stone altars at which the pre Islamic Arabs slaughtered their offerings (Ibn Kathir). The difference between asnam and ansab is that the former enjoyed some kind of form and shape, while the latter was simply a stone altar erected, worshipped and slaughtered at (Alusi).
    To declare the prohibition of wine and idols in one sentence is as if to say that the two are equal in sin and abomination (Zamakhshari). Accordingly, we find that the Prophet said:

    مُدْمِنُ الْخَمْرِ إِنْ مَاتَ لَقِيَ اللَّهَ كَعَابِدِ وَثَنٍ

    "A wine-drinker is akin to an idol worshipper."
    The last quoted hadith is in Ibn Majah. Suyuti said in his Jami` al Saghir that it is hasan (Au.).

    222. (Apart from using the divining arrows for "do" or "don't do" purposes, see note 19 of this surah: au.) the pre Islamic Arabs also used them for drawing lots. For example, ten of them would put in their money and slaughter a camel. But, instead of dividing the meat equally between themselves, they would take ten arrows with figures one, two or three inscribed on them along with a few blank ones. Then, after a mix up in the quiver, every participant would draw. Some would get maybe two or three shares of the meat, but others might draw a blank arrow and get nothing. This kind of gambling has been banned in Islam. However, when the shares are equal, but the sharers are unable to decide as to which part should go to whom, then resorting to drawing lots is admissible (Shafi`).

    إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ الشَّيْطَانُ أَنْ يُوقِعَ بَيْنَكُمُ الْعَدَاوَةَ وَالْبَغْضَاءَ فِي الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَيْسِرِ وَيَصُدَّكُمْ عَنْ ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَعَنِ الصَّلَاةِ ۖ فَهَلْ أَنْتُمْ مُنْتَهُونَ (91)

    5|91| Shaytan seeks only to stir up enmity and hatred among you by means of intoxicants223 and gambling and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from Prayer.224 Will you then desist?

    223. Rashid Rida writes: A good case in point is that of Hamza. He was once drinking wine with some Ansar. They also had a singer among them. She sang out some poetical pieces extolling the virtue of those who slaughtered beautiful and expensive camels for their friends. In his drunkenness Hamza got up and slaughtered two camels belonging to ‘Ali. Now, `Ali was not in an envious financial situation. The loss of camels was quite depressing. He complained to the Prophet. He came with `Ali and Zayd b. Haritha and reproached Hamza. Hamza was drunk with his eyes red. He said, addressing him and those who were with him, "Are you not but my father's slaves?" The Prophet turned back and left the place (without a word). And, obviously, if it was not Hamza, the valiant defendant of Islam, an uncle of the Prophet, and, were he not to be drunk, matters would not have ended as quietly as they did.

    224. (That a drunken man loses his head, uttering nonsense, leading to fights, hatred and enmity is well known. But such are the consequences of gambling too. The loser hates the winner: Au.). Qatadah has said that the pre Islamic Arabs lost even their wives, children, wealth, and property in gambling (Ibn Jarir).
    (And so did the ancient Hindus). Majid writes: "And who has not heard of the ancient king Yuddisthira playing away all his wealth and kingdom; and finally, his brothers, himself and his wife Draupadi in a game of dice?"
    Shabbir writes: It is common observation that not only Prayers, the chess players forget even their food and drink.

    وَأَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَاحْذَرُوا ۚ فَإِنْ تَوَلَّيْتُمْ فَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّمَا عَلَىٰ رَسُولِنَا الْبَلَاغُ الْمُبِينُ (92)

    5|92| Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger and beware; yet, if you turn away then know that upon Our Messenger is (no more than) a clear proclamation.

    لَيْسَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ جُنَاحٌ فِيمَا طَعِمُوا إِذَا مَا اتَّقَوْا وَآمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ ثُمَّ اتَّقَوْا وَآمَنُوا ثُمَّ اتَّقَوْا وَأَحْسَنُوا ۗ وَاللَّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ (93)

    5|93| There is no sin upon those (of the dead) who believed and worked righteousness in what they partook of, so long as they feared,225 believed, and worked righteousness; then they feared and believed; and then226 they feared and did things well.227 And Allah loves those who do things well.228

    225. Most of the commentators have found the verse difficult to understand. The "ittaqaw" could also be understood as "they refrained from indulging in what was prohibited in their time," and the whole verse could be paraphrased as, ‘There is no sin upon the men of the past who believed and worked righteousness in what they ate or drank, so long as they refrained from what was prohibited at that time, and then refrained from what (ever else that) was subsequently prohibited, provided they were of faith and worked righteousness, and then, remained for the rest of their lives, refraining from all unlawful things: generally doing things well. And Allah loves those who do things well.' This rendering would cover both those believers who died before some of the lawful of their time was later declared unlawful, as well as those who lived through both the eras. It also stipulates the rule that sin does not consist in eating this or not eating that, rather in total submission and zealous application. Hence we find, as Alusi has pointed out, that when this verse (‘There is no sin upon those who believed and worked righteousness ...’) was revealed, the Prophet said to Ibn Mas`ud, in a hadith preserved by Muslim, Nasa'i and others, "I was told, ‘you (i.e., Ibn Mas`ud) are one of them.'" That is, you are one of those upon whom there is no sin (Au.).

    226. (Looked at from a different angle: Au.) the thumma of the original, translated as "then" indicates "a sequence expressing growth and intensification" (Razi and Asad).

    227. Ibn `Abbas, Bara', Mujahid and Dahhak have said that when the verse declaring wine unlawful was revealed, some people asked the Prophet about the fate of those who had died before the prohibition came into force. Allah revealed this verse (Ibn Jarir).
    Rashid Rida adds the following. Ibn al Mundhir has recorded Sa`id ibn Jubayr as saying that when Allah revealed the verse 219 of al Baqarah, "They ask you concerning wine and gambling. Tell them: ‘There are grave sins in both, although there are (some) benefits (also) for mankind,'" some of the people continued to drink following Allah's words: "there are some benefits also," while others gave up following His words: "there are grave sins in it." `Uthman b. Maz`un was one of those who had given up. Then verse 34 of al Nisa' came down which said, "Believers! Draw not near to Prayers while you are in a state of drunkenness." Thereupon, some more people gave up, while some others continued to drink in the evenings, until this present verse was revealed. Then everyone gave up. But it was hard upon them. So that, when one of them came across another he would say, in effect, "I have an empty feeling inside me." The other man would ask, "Perhaps you have been thinking of wine." When the first admitted, the second would say, "Me too." Finally, as if to seek a concession, they went to the Prophet and asked: "Aren't Hamza b. `Abdul Muttalib, Mus`ab b. `Umayr and `Abdullah b. Jahsh in Paradise?!" When the Prophet said yes, they reminded him that they used to drink wine. So Allah revealed this verse.
    Someone understood the verse wrong during the time of `Umar ibn al Khattab. When brought to him for drinking wine, the man, Qudamah, argued that since he had believed, performed righteous deeds, and was godfearing, his drinking was forgivable. `Umar told him, (according to some reports it was Ibn `Abbas) that if he had believed, acted righteously and been God fearing, he would not have drunk in the first place. He ordered the man whipped (Qurtubi).

    228. Shabbir writes: The verse tells us by implication that of taqwa and iman there are many grades and levels and that their every subsequent mention is alluding to a new and higher level, ending with the highest level in Islam known as ihsan.

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَيَبْلُوَنَّكُمُ اللَّهُ بِشَيْءٍ مِنَ الصَّيْدِ تَنَالُهُ أَيْدِيكُمْ وَرِمَاحُكُمْ لِيَعْلَمَ اللَّهُ مَنْ يَخَافُهُ بِالْغَيْبِ ۚ فَمَنِ اعْتَدَىٰ بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ فَلَهُ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ (94)

    5|94| Believers! Surely, Allah will test you with some game within easy reach of your hands and spears229 so that Allah may know who fears Him in the unseen.230 Whoso transgresses thereafter shall face a painful chastisement.

    229. Ibn `Abbas and Mujahid have said that the allusion by the easy reach of your "hands" is to small game, such as wild chicken, birds’ eggs etc., and with "spear" to big game (Ibn Jarir).
    Others have suggested that the allusion by "hands" could be to the nests, snares etc. that are set up for small game and by "spear" to those that are hunted with the help of weapons (Alusi).
    However, Muqatil ibn Hayyan has said that these verses were revealed during the `Umrah of Hudaybiyyah, when, it so happened that the Muslims encountered so much game that they could have caught some of them with their bare hands. By "the easy reach of your hands" the allusion is to that (Ibn Kathir).
    Keeping in mind the precarious economic conditions which the Muslims were facing those days and years, and, considering the fondness of the Arabs for game, surely, appearance of the game, within easy reach, in large numbers, to the hungry travelers must have been quite a test. If the boycott of all transaction with them by the Makkans is added, then, surely, the prohibition must have been as difficult and trying to them, as the stream water for the followers of Talut, to which incident some commentators have rightly compared this one (Au.).

    230. People are normally afraid of the Unseen. Behind all superstitious practices is the effort to please those evil forces that the people imagine are hidden in the Unseen. Allah tells us that there is nothing in the world that has any power besides Him. Therefore, if people have to fear anything of the unseen, let them fear Him who is in the Unseen (Au.).

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَقْتُلُوا الصَّيْدَ وَأَنْتُمْ حُرُمٌ ۚ وَمَنْ قَتَلَهُ مِنْكُمْ مُتَعَمِّدًا فَجَزَاءٌ مِثْلُ مَا قَتَلَ مِنَ النَّعَمِ يَحْكُمُ بِهِ ذَوَا عَدْلٍ مِنْكُمْ هَدْيًا بَالِغَ الْكَعْبَةِ أَوْ كَفَّارَةٌ طَعَامُ مَسَاكِينَ أَوْ عَدْلُ ذَٰلِكَ صِيَامًا لِيَذُوقَ وَبَالَ أَمْرِهِ ۗ عَفَا اللَّهُ عَمَّا سَلَفَ ۚ وَمَنْ عَادَ فَيَنْتَقِمُ اللَّهُ مِنْهُ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ ذُو انْتِقَامٍ (95)

    5|95| Believers! Kill not the game while you are in a state of consecration.231 Whosoever of you kills it, intentionally,232 the compensation is the like of what he killed in domestic beasts,233 to be determined by two of your just persons - an offering to reach the Ka`bah;234 or, as expiation, feeding of a poor, or equivalent of that in fasts,235 in order that he might taste the bitter consequence of his action. Allah has forgiven what was in the past, but Allah shall take revenge of the repeater. And Allah is All-Mighty, the Lord of Retribution.

    231. Excluded from the general prohibition are harmful animals such as wolves, snakes, a rabid dog, eagles etc., as clarified by a ahadith (Au.).

    232. Mujahid, Ibn Jurayj and Hasan have said that the verse is speaking of someone who has forgotten that he is in a state of ihram or, has forgotten that it is forbidden to hunt while he is in ihram, or, alternatively, throws his weapon at something, but it hits a game animal. He has to expiate it. In contrast, if he is well aware that he is in a state of ihram and is also aware that hunting is prohibited in that state, but still hunts a game animal, then, his Hajj or `Umrah is null and void. Never the less, Ibn `Abbas and Sa`id b. Jubayr made no such distinction, declaring all situations as requiring expiation, and that seems to be the correct position (Ibn Jarir).

    233. Ibn `Abbas, Suddi and others have explained that if a man kills, for instance, a wild cow, he should expiate with a domestic cow, if he kills a deer, he should offer a goat in expiation, etc. Accordingly, when Qubaysah ibn Jabir and another person killed a deer together and consulted `Umar ibn al-Khattab, he consulted a man sitting next to him and then ordered them to sacrifice a sheep (Ibn Jarir).
    Obviously, `Umar did not need to consult another person to arrive at the conclusion that a sheep was equivalent of a deer; he did that following the Qur'anic dictum: "to be determined by two of your just persons" (Au.).
    Asad writes: "The ‘two persons of probity' are supposed to determine the approximate flesh-value of the wild animal which has been killed, and to decide on this basis as to what domestic animal should be offered in compensation." He writes further: "... two alternatives are open to a pilgrim who is too poor to provide a head or heads of cattle corresponding in value to the game which he has killed, or - in the last-named alternative - too poor even to feed other poor people."

    234. That is, the slaughtering has to be done within the Haram area and the meat to be distributed among the poor of Makkah (Ibn Kathir).

    235. Neither the Qur’an nor the Hadith have any direction about how the number of fasts may be computed. The Fuqaha’ have, therefore, as in Qurtubi, filled in the gap. Abu Haneefah’s opinion is that he who kills an animal in the state of consecration may assess the quantity of the flesh the animal yields. Convert it into handfuls. Then for every two handfuls (where each handful involves both the hands cupped together), fast a day as expiation. Imam Shafe`i and Malik have suggested other methods of computation, leading perhaps to more or less the same results. However, all agree that if a big animal is involved, then, there is no need to fast for more than two months in expiation.
    This is a good instance of how the claim of the rejecters of Hadith, (believers in the Qur’an alone), stands refuted. To act by Qur’anic directions, not only the Hadith is indispensible, even the rulings of the Fuqaha’ cannot be denied their role (Au.).
    Ka`bah has been named instead of the Haram (the Sacred precincts) because of its honor (Alusi).

    أُحِلَّ لَكُمْ صَيْدُ الْبَحْرِ وَطَعَامُهُ مَتَاعًا لَكُمْ وَلِلسَّيَّارَةِ ۖ وَحُرِّمَ عَلَيْكُمْ صَيْدُ الْبَرِّ مَا دُمْتُمْ حُرُمًا ۗ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ الَّذِي إِلَيْهِ تُحْشَرُونَ (96)

    5|96| However, game of the water and its food236 has been made lawful unto you237 - a provision for you and the traveller;238 but forbidden unto you is the game of the land so long as you are in the state of consecration.239 And fear Allah to whom you shall be returned.

    236. Abu Bakr, `Umar and many others have interpreted the original ta`amuhu as that which the seas throw out: dead or alive, although some have interpreted ta`amuhu as the dead of it (Ibn Jarir).
    Asad adds: "Zamakhshari, however, regards the pronoun (of ta`amuhu) as relating to the object of the game (sayd) as such, and, consequently, understands the phrase as meaning ‘eating thereof'."
    Ibn Kathir writes: The Sahihayn have a report of Abu `Ubaydah leading a campaign. They came across a whale that had anchored itself ashore and died. Abu `Ubaydah said, ‘We are messengers of the Messenger, and in dire need, therefore, eat of it.' They ate of it for a whole month. It was a huge thing and Abu `Ubaydah ordered one of its bow-like bone to be erected. Ten men in a row passed through it. They carried some of its meat to Madinah and enquired the Prophet whether what they had done was right. He said yes and asked for some and ate of it.
    As for sea animals, there are differences in opinion over which of them is lawful and which is not. At least frogs are not lawful according to Imam Shafe`i in view of a hadith in Nasa'i which prohibits their killing.

    237. In the words, "Game of the water and its food has been made lawful unto you," (coming as they do, after prohibition of the game of land: Au.) is the hint that exaggerations in asceticism is disapproved (Thanwi).

    238. The allusion is to the salted sea-food that travelers in those days carried as provision, or the sedentary preserved for future use (Ibn Jarir).

    239. With regard to what a muhrim kills, the question is, is it lawful for an unconnected muhrim to eat of it or not? There are two opinions: some declaring it unlawful and others lawful (Ibn Jarir). Imam Malik, Shafe`i and Ibn Hanbal are of the opinion that if the hunter (a non-muhrim) had intended to offer it to a muhrim, he might not eat of it. But, if he did not intend that then the muhrim is free to eat of it, as did the Prophet. He was offered the meat of a wild ass, hunted down by Abu Qatadah. But, before eating he enquired any of the muhrim had expressed the desire that it be hunted for him. When they said no, he allowed them to eat of it. The report is in the Sahihayn (Ibn Kathir).

    جَعَلَ اللَّهُ الْكَعْبَةَ الْبَيْتَ الْحَرَامَ قِيَامًا لِلنَّاسِ وَالشَّهْرَ الْحَرَامَ وَالْهَدْيَ وَالْقَلَائِدَ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ لِتَعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ (97)

    5|97| Allah has appointed Ka`bah,240 the Sacred House, as an establishment for men,241 as also (He consecrated) the Sacred Month, the sacrificial beast, and the collared ones:242 so that you may know that Allah knows all that is in the heavens and in the earth and that Allah has knowledge of everything.

    240. "The noun Ka`bah, by which, owing to its shape, the sanctuary has always been known, denoting any ‘cubical building'. It would seem that he who first built the Ka`bah consciously chose the simplest three-dimensional form imaginable - a cube - as a parable of man's humility and awe before the idea of God, whose glory is beyond anything that man could conceive by way of architectural beauty. This symbolism is clearly expressed in the term qiyam (lit. ‘support' or ‘mainstay') which - in the abstract sense - signifies ‘a standard by which [men's] affairs are made sound or improved' (Razi)" - Asad

    241. The Ka`bah is the focal point and the axis around which the wheel of human activities turn. When this focal point is destroyed, life on earth would be destroyed. This is how Imam Bukhari seems to have understood the verse. He has recorded the hadith of the Abyssinian slave demolishing the Ka`bah, stone by stone, a little before the Hour of Doom, as explanation of this verse. The consecration of the other three: the Sacred Month, the offering, and the collared ones, are extensions of the sacredness of the Holy House (based on Shabbir).
    Since Allah has made Ka`bah a means of establishment, or support, Sa`id ibn Jubayr has said that whoever travelled to Makkah seeking either this world or the other, will be rewarded (Alusi).

    242. See note 6 above.

    اعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ (98)

    5|98| You should know that Allah is stern in retribution and that Allah is All-forgiving, All-compassionate.

    مَا عَلَى الرَّسُولِ إِلَّا الْبَلَاغُ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تُبْدُونَ وَمَا تَكْتُمُونَ (99)

    5|99| There is nothing more upon Our Messenger but delivery (of the message). And Allah knows what you reveal and what you conceal.

    قُلْ لَا يَسْتَوِي الْخَبِيثُ وَالطَّيِّبُ وَلَوْ أَعْجَبَكَ كَثْرَةُ الْخَبِيثِ ۚ فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ يَا أُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ (100)

    5|100| Say: ‘Not alike are the good and the evil,243 even if abundance of the evil bedazzles you.244 Therefore, fear Allah, O people of understanding, haply you will prosper.

    243. The unbeliever and the believer, the rebellious and the submissive, the evil and the virtuous, the unlawful and the lawful, the unclean and the clean, etc., are all examples of "khabith" and "tayyib" (Shafi` and others).
    It is perhaps in view of the super-abundance of the khabith that its mention has preceded that of the tayyib in this verse, although, the normal order is to say "the good and the evil," the "clean and the unclean," etc. (Au.).
    Yusuf Ali writes: "People often judge by quantity rather than quality. They are dazzled by numbers: their hearts are captured by what they see everywhere around them. But the man of understanding and discrimination judges by a different standard. He knows that good and bad things are not to be lumped together, and carefully chooses the best, which may be the scarcest, and avoids the bad, though evil may meet him at every step."

    244. When `Umar ibn `Abdul `Aziz rescinded all tyrannical taxes and returned to the people the wealth and property that had been unjustly appropriated by the rulers preceding him, one of his governors wrote to him that his measures had emptied the state treasury. `Umar ibn `Abdul `Aziz wrote back to him this verse: ‘Not alike are the good and the evil, even if abundance of the evil bedazzles you (Shafi`).

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَسْأَلُوا عَنْ أَشْيَاءَ إِنْ تُبْدَ لَكُمْ تَسُؤْكُمْ وَإِنْ تَسْأَلُوا عَنْهَا حِينَ يُنَزَّلُ الْقُرْآنُ تُبْدَ لَكُمْ عَفَا اللَّهُ عَنْهَا ۗ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ حَلِيمٌ (101)

    5|101| Believers! Question not concerning things245 which, if disclosed to you, would vex you.246 Yet, if you question concerning them while the Qur'an is being revealed, they will be disclosed to you.247 Allah has forgiven you over the issue.248 And Allah is Very Forgiving, Very Compassionate.

    245. Ordinarily, the word "ashya'a" should have been in the genitive. Imam Razi cites reasons on the authority of grammarians such as Khalil, Akhfash, Farra', Kisa'i and Sibawayh to explain, why it is accusative.

    246. The Prophet has said in a hadith of Bukhari,

    إِنَّ أَعْظَمَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ فِى الْمُسْلِمِينَ جُرْمًا مَنْ سَأَلَ عَنْ أَمْرٍ لَمْ يُحَرَّمْ فَحُرِّمَ مِنْ أَجْلِ مَسْأَلَتِهِ

    "The most sinful of Muslims is he who asked about a thing that was not declared unlawful but whose unlawfulness was brought to light because of a question he asked."
    Another sahih hadith says:

    ذروني ما تركتم فإنما هلك الذين قبلكم بكثرة سؤالهم واختلافهم على أنبيائهم

    "Let me alone so long as you are left alone. Those before you were destroyed because of their myriad questioning and (subsequent) disagreement with their Prophets." Another sahih hadith says,

    إن الله فرض فرائض فلا تُضيِّعُوها، وحَدَّ حدودًا فلا تعتدوها، وحَرَّم أشياء فلا تنتهكوها، وسكت عن أشياء رحمة بكم غَيْرَ نِسْيان فلا تسألوا عنها

    "Allah has obligated some acts, so do not ignore them. He has set some bounds, so do not cross them. He has declared certain things unlawful, so do not violate them and has remained silent over certain things, out of His mercy, not out of forgetfulness, therefore, do not ask about them" (Ibn Kathir).
    Ibn `Abdul Barr has pointed out however, that the above prohibition was for the time when revelation was coming down. In subsequent times, there is no harm in someone seeking details, or making enquiries in order to improve upon one's knowledge, for the cure of ignorance is in asking (Qurtubi).
    The Qur'an has said (16: 43):

    فَاسْأَلُوا أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

    "Ask the men of admonition if you do not know" (Au.).
    Some modernist scholars have leveled criticism against the jurists (fuqaha') of Islam who have worked out details of the law, that their exercises have lent complications to the issues and made violation more likely. It is also said that the believers should not try to deduce additional laws from the injunctions clearly laid down by the Qur'an or the Sunnah, since this might cause the people hardship. These critics forget that greater the knowledge, the more polished one's deeds, and, coarser the knowledge, coarser the deeds. After all, every religion has provided a rough idea of things: "do not lie, do not drink, be good to your neighbors," and so on. The beauty of Islam is in its details. What is it but detailed knowledge of things that lends a man refinement? As for violation, those who violate will do so, whether they possess a nominal knowledge of things or a detailed knowledge of them. In contrast, great spiritual pleasure is derived from the knowledge and the feeling, that one attempted perfection and came very close to achieving it. Should the refined abandon their spiritual joy for the sake of the coarse minds to whom it does not matter either way? Further, evolved circumstances demand changes in the law. And, since, the core is inalterable. It is the surrounding details that will undergo changes in changed circumstances. Left to their bare bones, Islamic Law would have soon met with a summary rejection - as unfit for modern life and its complications, as the Hamurabi or the Jewish Law. If the Ummah remains following only the Shari`ah as brought to light during the Prophet's time, what will the community do in the face of drugs, insurances of various kinds, gambling, leas business of dubious nature, interest-lending in surreptitious ways, surrogate motherhood, cloning, and multitude of new problems? Again, the Qur'an is not saying: "Do not seek the details of religion." It prohibited that its first converts ask about things that the Qur'an had remained silent during its revelation. There is a sea of a difference between the two. Finally, what the people inquire is “details” of what has been already revealed. They do not seek new laws from their Lord.
    It has also been said, ‘Many of our jurists have, by their subjective deductions, unduly widened the range of man's religious obligations (taklif), thus giving rise to difficulties and complications which the clear wordings [of the Qur'an] had put an end to; and this has led to the abandoning, by many individual Muslims as well as by their governments, of Islamic Law in its entirety." In the words of another commentator, "Now there are some people who make unnecessary inquiries, cause elaborately prescribed, inflexibly determined and restrictive regulations to be added to the Law. Some others, in cases where such details are in no way deducible from the text, resort to analogical reasoning, thereby turning a broad general rule into an elaborate law, full or restrictive details, and an unspecified into a specified rule. Both sort of people put Muslims in general danger. For, in the area of belief, the more detailed the doctrine to which people are required to subscribe, the more problematic it becomes to do so. Likewise, in legal matters, greater the restrictions, greater the likelihood of violations."
    Although, what has been stated in the lines above touch an aspect of the truth, in the overall, these are irresponsible statements. What has to be primarily understood is that it was not the difficulties and complications of the Laws of Islam that led to their abandoning. Rather, in the new age, the ruling class, the elite, and those educated on Western lines, abandoned Islamic Law and way of life wholesale in favor of Western Laws and way of life in the hope of achieving the same personal material progress as the West had achieved in the course of past few centuries. In the words of an Arab thinker: "If we wish to achieve progress, of the kind they (the Westerners) have achieved, we will have to eat like they eat and drink like they drink ..." To give a specific example, it was not the details of the Islamic Law pertaining to the unlawfulness of intoxicants that led to their violation, and acceptance of its sale in Muslim countries. On the contrary, it was because the ruling elite was brought up in a culture of which intoxicants are a necessary ingredient, and because it was quite willing to abandon a religious Law for the sake of fattening state exchequer through taxation on liquor.
    Further, it is one thing for a thinker to work out in his mind what could have led to this or that particular historical situation. But it is another thing to sit in the jurists benches and decided on complicated issues day in and day out. If the jurist insists on simply following the "clear injunctions of the Qur'an and Sunnah," probably he will not be able to pass a judgment on a single case of the dozens of extremely complicated ones filed in the courts every day.
    It is perfectly alright to say to an ordinary Muslim that he ought to adhere to the basic teachings of the Qur'an and Sunnah. But to say that to the Jurist is something incredible. It is like telling the secular judges to stick to the constitution alone of the country and disregard the precedence. How many cases can they settle every day?
    Finally, if what is understood by the prohibition in the verse, as discouragement from seeking further details of the Law, how can one explain the Companions asking the Prophet several questions on several occasions, such as, for example, during Hajj, when they were free to perform it following the simplest of rules of the Shari`ah?
    The fact is, the thinkers of Islam have to reconcile themselves to the fact that it is not the complications of the Shari`ah Law, worked out to its finer details by the jurists and others, that has led to the Muslim downfall. It is the refusal to accept Islam as a way of life.
    Finally, in this particular case, it is not the details of the Shari`ah that the Companions had asked; but rather, their question was opening a door to further obligations, such as, for instance, should Hajj be performed every year? See the next note also (Au.).
    Yusuf Ali has another, but very pertinent aspect to point out. He says: "Many secrets are wisely hidden from us. If the future were known to us, wee need not necessarily be happy. In many cases we should be miserable. If the inner meaning of some of the things we see before our eyes were disclosed to us, it might cause a lot of mischief. Allah's Message, in so far as it is necessary for shaping our conduct, is plain and open to us. But there are many things too deep for us to understand, either individually or collectively. It should be foolish to pry into them ..."

    247. Ibn Jarir writes: Anas has reported (as in Bukhari: Au.) that:

    عَنْ أَنَسٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ سَأَلُوا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ حَتَّى أَحْفَوْهُ الْمَسْأَلَةَ فَغَضِبَ فَصَعِدَ الْمِنْبَرَ فَقَالَ لَا تَسْأَلُونِي الْيَوْمَ عَنْ شَيْءٍ إِلَّا بَيَّنْتُهُ لَكُمْ فَجَعَلْتُ أَنْظُرُ يَمِينًا وَشِمَالًا فَإِذَا كُلُّ رَجُلٍ لَافٌّ رَأْسَهُ فِي ثَوْبِهِ يَبْكِي فَإِذَا رَجُلٌ كَانَ إِذَا لَاحَى الرِّجَالَ يُدْعَى لِغَيْرِ أَبِيهِ فَقَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ مَنْ أَبِي قَالَ حُذَافَةُ ثُمَّ أَنْشَأَ عُمَرُ فَقَالَ رَضِينَا بِاللَّهِ رَبًّا وَبِالْإِسْلَامِ دِينًا وَبِمُحَمَّدٍ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ رَسُولًا نَعُوذُ بِاللَّهِ مِنْ الْفِتَنِ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مَا رَأَيْتُ فِي الْخَيْرِ وَالشَّرِّ كَالْيَوْمِ قَطُّ إِنَّهُ صُوِّرَتْ لِي الْجَنَّةُ وَالنَّارُ حَتَّى رَأَيْتُهُمَا وَرَاءَ الْحَائِطِ

    Once the people asked the Prophet (saws) several questions. A bit furious, he went up the pulpit and said, "You will not ask me a question now, but I will lay bare its truth to you." (According to another version: "So long as I am standing here": Qurtubi). Anas says, "I looked around, and there was none who had not hidden his face in his cloth and crying." At that moment a man who used to be attributed to other than his father, rose up and asked, "Messenger of Allah? Who is my father?" The Prophet replied, "Your father is Hudhafah (and not the one alleged)." At that `Umar stood up (according to one version went on his knees) and said, "We are satisfied with Allah as our Lord, Islam as our religion, Muhammad as a Messenger and I seek Allah's protection from the evil of trials." The Prophet said, "I have never seen of the good and evil as I did today. Paradise and Hell-fire were both depicted to me as if I saw them beyond this wall." Then Allah revealed this verse. According to some other versions, another man asked him on that occasion about his father, as to where he is, the Prophet replied, "In Hell-fire."
    It is said that `Abdullah b. Hudhafa's mother chided him saying, "You are a headless man. Did you not think that were your mother to have committed what women in pre-Islamic days committed, would not you have put her to shame?" `Abdullah replied, "Had the Prophet named a black slave, I would have accepted him": Qurtubi). Nevertheless, Abu Hurayrah and Abu Umamah al-Bahiliyy, as also Ibn `Abbas, have said that once the Prophet told his followers that Hajj had been prescribed unto them. Someone asked him whether it was a yearly obligation. The Prophet did not reply. The man repeated his question twice or thrice. The Prophet was angry with him. He said, "Had I said yes, it would have become a yearly obligation and you would not have been able to perform it. And, were you to neglect it, you would become unbelievers." And this verse was revealed. (This hadith is in Ibn Hibban and is sahih: S. Ibrahim). It is apparent, Ibn Jarir adds, that there were several incidents in which useless questions were asked which led to the revelation of this verse.
    The report of the Prophet's speech is in Bukhari, Muslim, Nasa'i, Tirmidhi and others, with the addition of the words by Anas that he never heard such a moving and fearful speech from him earlier, in which he also said, "Were you to know what I know, surely you would have laughed less and cried much." That sent the Companions to crying. Bukhari has another report which says that some of them used to ask him senseless questions such as, "Who is my father," or "Where is my camel," etc. As for the reported question about Hajj quoted by Tabari, it is in Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah, as well as in some other compilations, but some of them appear to suffer some weaknesses (Ibn Kathir).

    248. Another interpretation of the words "`afa Allahu `anha" is that what Allah has not mentioned in His revelation (as forbidden), has been (deliberately) overlooked (Ibn Kathir).

    قَدْ سَأَلَهَا قَوْمٌ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ ثُمَّ أَصْبَحُوا بِهَا كَافِرِينَ (102)

    5|102| A people before you raised questions, then in consequence thereof became disbelievers (by disagreeing).

    مَا جَعَلَ اللَّهُ مِنْ بَحِيرَةٍ وَلَا سَائِبَةٍ وَلَا وَصِيلَةٍ وَلَا حَامٍ ۙ وَلَٰكِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا يَفْتَرُونَ عَلَى اللَّهِ الْكَذِبَ ۖ وَأَكْثَرُهُمْ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ (103)

    5|103| It was not Allah who instituted Bahirah, Sa'ibah, Wasilah or Ham;249 rather, the unbelievers fabricated a lie against Allah.250 In fact, most of them have no understanding.251

    249. There has been a considerable difference in opinion over what exactly Bahirah, Sa'ibah and others constituted. We shall give here the definitions as given by Sa`id b. Jubayr in Bukhari. Bahirah was a she-camel whose milk was dedicated to the deities and no man was allowed to milk it, or use it in any other way. Sa'ibah was that male animal that was let free in the name of a deity. Wasilah was a camel that gave birth to several she camels without a male in between. Such a camel was also consecrated to a deity and let loose. And Ham was that stallion camel which had copulated with several females. It was also dedicated to a deity and freed of all services (Ma`arif). But there seem to be a few other classes of freed animals, involving other cattle, that were known by these names (Ibn Kathir). The practice is still common among the pagans of the world (Au.).

    250. Abu Hurayrah has reported the Prophet as having said,

    عرضت علي النار فرأيت فيها عمرو بن لحي بن قمعة بن خندف أبو عمرو و هو يجر قصبه في النار و هو أول من سيب السوائب و غير عهد إبراهيم عليه السلام و أشبه من رأيت به أكثم بن أبي الجون قال : فقال أكثم : يا رسول الله يضرني شبهه ؟ قال : لا إنك مسلم و إنه كافر

    "I was shown the Fire. I saw therein `Amr b. Luhayy (otherwise named as `Aamir al-Khuza`i: Ibn Kathir) dragging his intestine in the Fire. He was the first to introduce the concept of Sa'ibah and to corrupt the religion of Ibrahim. The most similar to him I find Aktham b. abi al-Jawn." (This much is in Bukhari: Ibn Kathir). Thereupon, Aktham asked, "Messenger of Allah, will his similarity to me do me any harm?" The Prophet told him, "No. For you are a believer and he was an unbeliever."
    In another report transmitted by Zayd b. Aslam, the Prophet said:

    قد عرفت أول الناس بحر البحائر رجل من بني مدلج كانت له ناقتان فجدع آذانهما وحرم ألبانها وظهورهما ، ولقد رأيته وإياهما في النار : تخبطانه بأخفافهما وتقضمانه بأفواههما

    "I know who the first to institute the practice of Bahirah was. It was a man from Mudlij tribe who slit the ears of two she-camels, and declared their milk as unlawful. Subsequently he made their milk lawful unto himself. I saw him in the Fire. The two (she-camels) were pounding upon him, and biting him" (Ibn Jarir, Razi, Qurtubi).

    251. Imam Razi points out that man has been created for the worship of Allah. When he rebels, he loses his freedom to others. In contrast, animals have been enslaved to him for his various benefits. In freeing them from that slavery is his own loss as well as that of the cattle, which become no one's responsibility and are left to suffer a life worse than what they would suffer if they remain in the slavery of man and be tended by him.

    وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ تَعَالَوْا إِلَىٰ مَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ وَإِلَى الرَّسُولِ قَالُوا حَسْبُنَا مَا وَجَدْنَا عَلَيْهِ آبَاءَنَا ۚ أَوَلَوْ كَانَ آبَاؤُهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ شَيْئًا وَلَا يَهْتَدُونَ (104)

    5|104| When it was said to them, ‘Come now to what Allah has revealed, and to His Messenger,' they said, ‘Enough for us what we found our forefathers on.'252 What! Even if their forefathers did not know anything and were not (rightly) guided?253

    252. In this is the refutation of the ignorant Sufis who argue about the ways of their Masha'ikh when confronted with the Shari`ah (Thanwi).

    253. To most of the polytheistic peoples, like the Arab pagans, religion is not a matter of sound reason and Divine Revelation, but a mere usage - a set of rites and dogmas handed down from the fathers to the sons (Majid).

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا عَلَيْكُمْ أَنْفُسَكُمْ ۖ لَا يَضُرُّكُمْ مَنْ ضَلَّ إِذَا اهْتَدَيْتُمْ ۚ إِلَى اللَّهِ مَرْجِعُكُمْ جَمِيعًا فَيُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ (105)

    5|105| Believers! Look after your own souls.254 Whoso is misguided can do you no harm if you are guided.255 Unto Allah is the return of you all. He will then inform you of all that you were doing.

    254. Ibn Mas`ud was asked about this verse. He said, "It is not applicable to our times. Rather, a time will come when you will enjoin good but people will respond with violence. It is in those times that a man might look after his own soul."
    Similar reports have come from Ibn `Umar. In fact, Abu Tha`labh has reported that he enquired the Prophet himself about the exact implication of this verse. He replied:

    بَلْ أَنْتُمُ ائْتَمِرُوا بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنَاهَوْا عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ حتَّى إِذَا رَأَيْتَ شُحًّا مُطَاعًا وَهَوًى مُتَّبَعًا وَدُنْيَا مُؤْثَرَةً وَإِعْجَابَ كُلِّ ذِى رَأْىٍ بِرَأْيِهِ وَرَأَيْتَ أَمْرًا لاَ يَدَانِ لَكَ بِهِ فَعَلَيْكَ نَفْسَكَ وَدَعْ عَنْكَ أَمْرَ الْعَوَامِّ فَإِنَّ مَنْ وَرَائِكَ أَيَّامَ الصَّبْرِ الصَّبْرُ فِيهِنَّ مِثْلُ قَبْضٍ عَلَى الْجَمْرِ لِلْعَامِلِ فِيهِنَّ كَأَجْرِ خَمْسِينَ رَجُلاً يَعْمَلُونَ مِثْلَ عَمَلِهِ ». لَفْظُ حَدِيثِ ابْنِ شُعَيْبٍ زَادَ ابْنُ الْمُبَارَكِ فِى رِوَايَتِهِ قَالَ وَزَادَنِى غَيْرُهُ قَالُوا : يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَجْرُ خَمْسِينَ مِنْهُمْ. قَالَ :« أَجْرُ خَمْسِينَ مِنْكُمْ

    "Rather, keep enjoining right and forbidding wrong. But, when you find the people preferring this world over the next, greed followed, and every man boastful of his opinion, and you see affairs in which you have no say at all, then it is that you have to look after your own souls and avoid affairs of the common people. I can see after you days demanding a lot of patience when observing patience will be like holding burning coal in the hand. So, he who holds fast unto the truth that day will have the reward of fifty men doing the same thing as he." They asked, "Messenger of Allah, (his reward will be equal to the rewards of fifty of them?" He replied, "No. (His reward will be equal to the reward of) fifty of you."
    (The hadith is in Tirmidhi, who classified it as sahih, as also in Abu Da'ud: Ibn Kathir, and in Ibn Majah and Hakim, with the latter declaring it sahih: Shawkani). Nevertheless, many of the Salaf, such as Abu Bakr, Hudhayfah, Sa`id ibn Musayyib, Suddi and others have said that in those times too the obligation of enjoining right and forbidding evil will remain in force (Ibn Jarir).
    It is reported that Abu Bakr once climbed the pulpit and said:

    أيها الناس، إنكم تقرؤون هذه الآية: { يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا عَلَيْكُمْ أَنْفُسَكُمْ لا يَضُرُّكُمْ مَنْ ضَلَّ إِذَا اهْتَدَيْتُمْ } إلى آخر الآية، وإنكم تضعونها على غير موضعها، وإني سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: "إن الناس إذا رأوا المنكر ولا يغيرونه أوشك الله، عز وجل، أن يَعُمَّهُمْ بعِقَابه"

    "People! You read this verse but misinterpret it; and misplace it in (meaning). I have heard the Prophet that if a people see wrongs committed but do nothing to stop them, it is feared that a punishment touching all will descend upon them" (Ibn Kathir).
    Rashid Rida adds: Ibn abi Hatim has recorded Ka`b's statement that when the church of the Dimashq mosque is pulled down and made a mosque and when `Asab appears amongst the people then will be the time for the application of the verse: "Look after your own souls. Whoso is misguided can do you no harm if you are (rightly) guided."
    And the background story of the Dimashq mosque/church is as follows. It is said that one half of the city of Dimashq fell to the Muslim army advancing upon it from one side, while from the other side another contingent entered into the city under a peace treaty. The two forces of the Companions met at the Church of Mary. They decided that one of half of the building would be converted to a mosque since it was taken by force, while the other half would be left as a Church following the treaty clause that the places of worship of the Christians would be left to themselves. It is said that the Muslims offered hefty price for the place but the Christians were adamant. At the time of the Umayyads, they were coerced into giving their part to the Muslims. But `Umar ibn `Abdul `Aziz restored it to them during his reign. What Ka`b meant is that when the collective dishonesty of the Muslims would reach such a level that they occupy the Church by force and convert it into a mosque, then it will be time for each soul to look after itself, as the admonition of the admonishers will do them no good. As for `Asab, it is a kind of expensive cloak that came from Yemen.

    255. `Abdullah ibn Mubarak has pointed out that far from absolving the Muslims of their responsibility of enjoining good and forbidding evil, the words in this verse actually confirm it. The verse says, "`alaykum anfusakum," meaning, "Upon you is the responsibility of the souls of the Muslims." It is in the same vein as the Israelites were told: "Kill yourselves," meaning, "Kill each other," and not meaning "Commit suicide." Similarly, here the words "`alaykum anfusakum" would mean, "Look after each other (and work to improve each other's commitment to Islam)" - Razi, Qurtubi.

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا شَهَادَةُ بَيْنِكُمْ إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَكُمُ الْمَوْتُ حِينَ الْوَصِيَّةِ اثْنَانِ ذَوَا عَدْلٍ مِنْكُمْ أَوْ آخَرَانِ مِنْ غَيْرِكُمْ إِنْ أَنْتُمْ ضَرَبْتُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَأَصَابَتْكُمْ مُصِيبَةُ الْمَوْتِ ۚ تَحْبِسُونَهُمَا مِنْ بَعْدِ الصَّلَاةِ فَيُقْسِمَانِ بِاللَّهِ إِنِ ارْتَبْتُمْ لَا نَشْتَرِي بِهِ ثَمَنًا وَلَوْ كَانَ ذَا قُرْبَىٰ ۙ وَلَا نَكْتُمُ شَهَادَةَ اللَّهِ إِنَّا إِذًا لَمِنَ الْآثِمِينَ (106)

    5|106| Believers! When death approaches one of you, the testimony at the time of bequest shall be of two just ones among you, or two of other (non-believing) folk - if you were be journeying in the land, and the disaster of death strikes you.256 You shall detain257 them after the Prayer258 and they shall - if you are in doubt - swear by Allah,259 ‘We do not desire any wealth, even if he happens to be a kinsfolk, and we are not concealing Allah's testimony. Surely, in that event we are of the sinners.'

    256. The Qur'anic text, and the incident that became a cause of revelation of these verses, tell us that the non-Muslims can be allowed to testify against Muslims, not excluding in disputes of inheritance. This is the opinion of Abu Musa al-Ash`ari, Ibn `Abbas and others (Shawkani).
    Thanwi remarks: The verse tells us by implication that one ought to organize his affairs, to the inclusion of worldly affairs, and be mindful to safeguard the rights of others. Disorganization results in some people losing their rights, which will bring sin upon the disorganized person.

    257. The word "tahbisunahuma" imply that if the ruler or the judge should remand the accused to custody, for some reason or the other, then that is permissible (Qurtubi).

    258. Since "al-Salah" of the original is definitive, it has been subjected to enquiry as to which Salah is meant. Sa`id b. Jubayr, Ibrahim and Qatadah have said that it is the `Asr Prayer, since the Prophet, in a similar case, had conducted the testimonial proceedings after `Asr Prayer (Ibn Jarir). This is also in view of the fact that the Arabs used to conduct their governmental affairs after Zuhr and `Asr (Zamakhshari, Razi and others). Also, `Asr congregation in the mosques used to be, in those times, larger than at other times and the presence of a large number of people would have - in addition to the holiness of the place - discouraged the testifiers from lying (Thanwi and others).

    259. Qurtubi mentions that Ibn Zubayr, Mutarrif, Ibn Mazin and Qatadah also accepted oaths by the Qur'an. Ahmad and Ishaq also did not see anything wrong in that. In fact, following them, Imam Shafe`i has allowed swearing by the Qur'an, although Ibn al-`Arabi has declared it a bid`ah.

    فَإِنْ عُثِرَ عَلَىٰ أَنَّهُمَا اسْتَحَقَّا إِثْمًا فَآخَرَانِ يَقُومَانِ مَقَامَهُمَا مِنَ الَّذِينَ اسْتَحَقَّ عَلَيْهِمُ الْأَوْلَيَانِ فَيُقْسِمَانِ بِاللَّهِ لَشَهَادَتُنَا أَحَقُّ مِنْ شَهَادَتِهِمَا وَمَا اعْتَدَيْنَا إِنَّا إِذًا لَمِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ (107)

    5|107| But, were it to be discovered that they have merited accusation of sin, then two other men shall stand forth in their place - of those whose rights have been usurped by the two - and testify in the name of Allah, ‘Our testimony is truer than the testimony of the two, and that we have not transgressed. If we do that, then, in such an event, we are of the transgressors.'260

    260. Ibn `Abbas has reported that a man from Banu Sahm (called Budayl, a Muslim: Shafi`), went out for trade in the company of Tamim al-Daari and `Adi b. Bada' (both Christians then). The Sahmi died on the way. When they returned his people found a gold-plated silver cup missing from his baggage. The two companions said on oath that they knew nothing about it. But, later, it was found in the Makkan market. Upon enquiry the new owners said they had purchased it from Tamim al-Dari and `Adi b. Bada'. Then two of the kinsfolk of the Sahmi stood up and testified that the cup belonged to the Sahmi and Allah revealed this verse (Ibn Jarir, Zamakhshari, Razi).

    ذَٰلِكَ أَدْنَىٰ أَنْ يَأْتُوا بِالشَّهَادَةِ عَلَىٰ وَجْهِهَا أَوْ يَخَافُوا أَنْ تُرَدَّ أَيْمَانٌ بَعْدَ أَيْمَانِهِمْ ۗ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَاسْمَعُوا ۗ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْفَاسِقِينَ (108)

    5|108| That is nearer to assurance that they bear the testimony in the correct form, or they fear that (other) oaths might be taken after their oaths. Fear Allah, and hearken. Allah does not guide an ungodly people.261

    261. The commentators consider these last two verses as the most difficult verses of the Qur'an in meaning, implication, and grammatical construction (Razi, Qurtubi).

    يَوْمَ يَجْمَعُ اللَّهُ الرُّسُلَ فَيَقُولُ مَاذَا أُجِبْتُمْ ۖ قَالُوا لَا عِلْمَ لَنَا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ عَلَّامُ الْغُيُوبِ (109)

    5|109| The Day when Allah shall gather together the Messengers and ask, ‘How were you answered?' They will reply, ‘We have no knowledge.262 You indeed are the Knower of the Unseen.'

    262. Suddi, Hasan and Mujahid have said that it is out of the terror of the Day that the Messengers would say, ‘We do not know how they responded.' Subsequently, however, when things will calm down and they would have regained their selves, they would bear witness against those they were raised amongst (Ibn Jarir).
    Zamakhshari thinks however that since they would know that such questioning was a prelude to the questioning of those they had been commissioned to, and that, it concealed a threat of punishment, they would say that they have no knowledge, thus washing their hands off the issue and leaving it to Allah to judge and punish the people if He may. Another possibility is that they would belittle their knowledge before Allah's.

    إِذْ قَالَ اللَّهُ يَا عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ اذْكُرْ نِعْمَتِي عَلَيْكَ وَعَلَىٰ وَالِدَتِكَ إِذْ أَيَّدْتُكَ بِرُوحِ الْقُدُسِ تُكَلِّمُ النَّاسَ فِي الْمَهْدِ وَكَهْلًا ۖ وَإِذْ عَلَّمْتُكَ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَالتَّوْرَاةَ وَالْإِنْجِيلَ ۖ وَإِذْ تَخْلُقُ مِنَ الطِّينِ كَهَيْئَةِ الطَّيْرِ بِإِذْنِي فَتَنْفُخُ فِيهَا فَتَكُونُ طَيْرًا بِإِذْنِي ۖ وَتُبْرِئُ الْأَكْمَهَ وَالْأَبْرَصَ بِإِذْنِي ۖ وَإِذْ تُخْرِجُ الْمَوْتَىٰ بِإِذْنِي ۖ وَإِذْ كَفَفْتُ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ عَنْكَ إِذْ جِئْتَهُمْ بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ فَقَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْهُمْ إِنْ هَٰذَا إِلَّا سِحْرٌ مُبِينٌ (110)

    5|110| When Allah will say, ‘O `Isa ibn Maryam! Recall My favor on you and on your mother when I strengthened you with the Holy Spirit,263 you spoke to the people from the cradle and in maturity,264 and when I taught you the Book, the Wisdom, the Tawrah and the Injil; when you made from clay the form of a bird by My leave then blew into it, it became thereof a (real) bird by My leave; you cured the born blind and the leper by My leave, and you brought out the dead by My leave;265 and when I shielded you from the Israelites when you brought them the manifest signs, whereupon those of them who had disbelieved declared, “This is nothing but magic, plain and simple."’266

    263. The obvious explanation of "Ruh al-Qudus" is Jibril. But, since there are many kinds of souls, from the brightest to the darkest, an alternative explanation is that the allusion could be to a very bright soul of a very high order bestowed to `Isa (Razi).

    264. By saying "from the cradle as well as in maturity," (although "maturity" did not need to be mentioned) the allusion perhaps is to the quality of "talk" as being of the class of Prophets - in both the stages of life - and not merely the naive talk of an infant miraculously begun to speak (Based on Razi).
    Further, the use of the term "kahl," which is for a person of age between 34 and 51, while `Isa ibn Maryam was raised up to the heaven when he was only 33, is for the implicit assertion that he will come back and attain that age (Alusi).

    265. In the repetition of the words "by My leave" is perhaps the indication that the ability to accomplish these feats did not rest with `Isa all the time, rather, every time he wished to accomplish one of them, he needed to freshly invoke Allah's help (Al-Manar).

    266. Majid writes: "According to the Jewish sources: ‘Jesus learned magic in Egypt and performed his miracle by means of it ... The accusation of magic is frequently brought against Jesus.' (Jewish Encyclopedia VII, p. 171). ‘The nearest approach to a definite opinion about Him in the Talmud is the statement that ‘he practiced magic and deceived and led astray Israel.' (ERE. VII, p. 551). ‘Now when the wise men saw that all were believing in him, straightaway they bound him fast and led him before Helene, the queen, under whose hand was the land of Israel. They said unto her, This man is a sorcerer, and he deceived the world.' (Schoufield, According to the Hebrews, p. 41)"

    وَإِذْ أَوْحَيْتُ إِلَى الْحَوَارِيِّينَ أَنْ آمِنُوا بِي وَبِرَسُولِي قَالُوا آمَنَّا وَاشْهَدْ بِأَنَّنَا مُسْلِمُونَ (111)

    5|111| And when I inspired267 the Apostles to the effect, ‘You believe in Me and My messenger.' They said, ‘We have believed. Bear witness that we have surrendered (unto You).'

    267. "Wahyun" is any secret, quick signaling (Manar). It is used in various senses of: revelation, inspiration, bestowing the knowledge either during sleep or awakening, as well as ordering a thing done (Qurtubi).

    إِذْ قَالَ الْحَوَارِيُّونَ يَا عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ هَلْ يَسْتَطِيعُ رَبُّكَ أَنْ يُنَزِّلَ عَلَيْنَا مَائِدَةً مِنَ السَّمَاءِ ۖ قَالَ اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُؤْمِنِينَ (112)

    5|112| When the Apostles asked, ‘O `Isa ibn Maryam! Could268 your Lord send down upon us a ma'idah269 out of heaven?'270 He replied, ‘Fear Allah if you are believers.'

    268. Being believers, the Apostles were not questioning the capability of their Lord. Rather it was in the same vein as one would say to another person, ‘I am going. Do you think you can come along with me?' By the choice of such words the speaker is not questioning the ability of the person, rather, seeking to know his willingness (based on Ibn Jarir).
    Zamakhshari however believes that they were a few skeptic followers of `Isa (sitting mixed up with his true disciples: Qurtubi), who demanded to be shown a sign. The construction of the verse too does not give an emphatic proof of their faith.
    A variant reading, as taught by the Prophet to Mu`adh ibn Jabal is "tastati`u rabbaka" meaning, "Is it possible that you ask your Lord" (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir). The report is also in Hakim who has declared it of sahih status (Shawkani).
    `Ali, `A'isha and Ibn `Abbas were of the opinion that the correct reading is "tastati` rabbaka," but the Hijazi scholars have read it as "yastati`u rabbuka" (Ibn Jarir, Razi, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir and others).

    269. Although the word in the original is "ma'idah" (which is for a half-height table, around which people gathered, sitting on the floor to partake their meals arranged on it), the term has been used here, in this verse, in the sense of "sufra" (which is a circular peace of skin that was laid down on the floor and on which in turn a large platter of food was placed out of which the people ate). Never did our Prophet, (as reported by Anas in a trustworthy report), eat on a "ma'idah" rather, only on the "sufra." Although some ahadith use the term "ma'idah" but it has been used in the sense of "sufra." In fact, in its origin "ma'idah" is anything that is stretched out. Further, when it was said "ma'idah" by the Apostles, it was understood that it was food that they were requesting and not the table (Qurtubi).
    Alusi adds: Eating on a table is bid`ah if it is out of pride. (So far as its usage here), the word ma'idah is synonymous with food.
    "Indeed," writes Rashid Rida, "a ‘ma'idah' is not ‘ma'idah' without any food on it."

    270. Ibn `Abbas has narrated the following as background story to the request for the ma'idah. Once, `Isa ibn Maryam asked his Apostles to fast for thirty days and then make supplications. It was likely to be answered. For, every wage earner is given his wages at the end of his work. So they fasted and at the end of the fasts made the request to their Lord to send them food from the heaven (Ibn Jarir).

    قَالُوا نُرِيدُ أَنْ نَأْكُلَ مِنْهَا وَتَطْمَئِنَّ قُلُوبُنَا وَنَعْلَمَ أَنْ قَدْ صَدَقْتَنَا وَنَكُونَ عَلَيْهَا مِنَ الشَّاهِدِينَ (113)

    5|113| They said, ‘We only wish to eat out of it and strengthen our hearts, and know that you spoke the truth to us, and so that we might be of the witnesses thereto.'

    قَالَ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ اللَّهُمَّ رَبَّنَا أَنْزِلْ عَلَيْنَا مَائِدَةً مِنَ السَّمَاءِ تَكُونُ لَنَا عِيدًا لِأَوَّلِنَا وَآخِرِنَا وَآيَةً مِنْكَ ۖ وَارْزُقْنَا وَأَنْتَ خَيْرُ الرَّازِقِينَ (114)

    5|114| Isa the son of Maryam prayed, ‘O Lord our God! Send down upon us a ma'idah out of heaven so that it might be a (day of) prayers, and celebration for the first and the last of us,271 and a Sign from You. And provide for us. Surely, You are the best of providers.'272

    271. That is, a day of prayers and celebration for the people of our times as well as of those that will follow (Au.).
    Majid writes: "`Eid is not necessarily ‘a festival' or ‘a periodical festival' as generally mistranslated. It is ‘an occurrence that befalls, or besides, one or that happens to one,' or ‘the time of return of joy and of grief.' There is no allusion here to the ‘Last Supper' or any other Christian legend."

    272. Note the difference between the two statements of `Isa (asws) and his followers. When they gave out the reasons for the plate of meals, it was material reason that was stated first (so that we might eat out of it) and the spiritual reason next. But when `Isa spoke he gave the spiritual reason first, (so that we might declare it a day of prayers) and the material reason last. Further, he did not stop at provision alone, rather moved on from the provision to the Provider Himself (Razi).

    قَالَ اللَّهُ إِنِّي مُنَزِّلُهَا عَلَيْكُمْ ۖ فَمَنْ يَكْفُرْ بَعْدُ مِنْكُمْ فَإِنِّي أُعَذِّبُهُ عَذَابًا لَا أُعَذِّبُهُ أَحَدًا مِنَ الْعَالَمِينَ (115)

    5|115| Allah said, ‘I will send it down to you. But whoso of you disbelieves after that, I shall surely chastise him in a way I have not chastised anyone in the worlds.'273

    273. Contradictory reports have come down from the Salaf. The same authorities have been reported as saying on the one hand that a plate of food was actually sent down, and, on the other hand, that the Apostles withdrew their request, fearing the punishment and so it was not sent down (Ibn Jarir). Since there is no mention of it in the traditions of the Christians, it is more likely that the plate of meals was not sent down (Ibn Kathir). And the hadith that has been quoted in Tirmidhi, to the effect that food was sent down but the followers of Jesus Christ stored the remains, despite orders against it, and were, in consequence, transformed into swine and apes, is most probably an opinion of the narrator (Shawkani).

    وَإِذْ قَالَ اللَّهُ يَا عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ أَأَنْتَ قُلْتَ لِلنَّاسِ اتَّخِذُونِي وَأُمِّيَ إِلَٰهَيْنِ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ ۖ قَالَ سُبْحَانَكَ مَا يَكُونُ لِي أَنْ أَقُولَ مَا لَيْسَ لِي بِحَقٍّ ۚ إِنْ كُنْتُ قُلْتُهُ فَقَدْ عَلِمْتَهُ ۚ تَعْلَمُ مَا فِي نَفْسِي وَلَا أَعْلَمُ مَا فِي نَفْسِكَ ۚ إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ عَلَّامُ الْغُيُوبِ (116)

    5|116| When Allah will say to `Isa ibn Maryam, ‘Did you suggest to the people, "Take me and my mother as gods besides Allah?"'274 He will answer, ‘Glory to You.275 It was not for me to say things I had no right (to say). Had I said that, surely You would have known about it. You know what is in my thoughts, whereas I do not know what is in Your thoughts.276 Surely, You are the Knower of the unseen.

    274. Worship of Mary in the Eastern Churches is a common practice. Father Louis Sheikhu has written: "The worship of Mary, the mother of God, by the Armenian Churches is a well known fact." So is the case with the Coptian Churches (Al-Manar).
    Mawdudi writes: "...During the first three centuries after the Messiah ... (the concept of the divinity of Mary) ... was totally alien to Christian thinking. Towards the end of the third century of the Christian era, some theologians of Alexandria employed, for the first time, the expression ‘Mother of God' in connection with Mary... It was not until the Council of Ephesus in 431 that the Church officially used the expression ‘Mother of God' for Mary. The result was the Mariatology began to spread fast within the Church itself... Statues of Mary adorned the cathedrals. She became the object of worship... In the preamble of his code, Justinian had declared Mary to be the defender and supporter of his empire, and his general, Marses, sought Mary's guidance on the battlefield... Several centuries later the Protestants argued strongly against Mariatology... (but the) Roman Catholic Church has, nevertheless, managed so far to cling to Mariatology in one form or the other."
    Majid writes: "Compare the Angelical Salutations of the Roman Catholics:-
    ‘Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for our sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.'
    And their Angelo Domini:-
    ‘Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.'
    And the prayer of Saint Bernard:-
    ‘O most pious Virgin Mary! ... I cast myself at thy sacred feet, humbly deploring my sins, and beseeching thee to adopt me for thy child, and to take upon thee the care of my eternal salvation.'
    And this Litany of the Blessed Virgin:-
    ‘We fly to thy patronage, O Holy Mother of God! Despise not our petition in our necessities, but deliver us from all dangers.'
    "The Anatolian aspiration, according to another distinguished scholar, was to look for the divine nature in a feminine personality, ‘and this was found at last in the ideas of thee "Mother of God." It was at Ephesus, thee city of the goddess, that the earlier proof is found of an established cult of the Virgin Mary as the Mother of God; and in the Council held at Ephesus in A.D. 431 this cult was definitely established as a feature of the Orthodox ritual" (ERE, IX, p. 908).

    275. Note that `Isa ibn Maryam will begin his reply with the glorification of Allah (Qurtubi).

    276. That is, I do not know what you keep to Yourself that remains unknown to me. (Ibn Jarir)

    مَا قُلْتُ لَهُمْ إِلَّا مَا أَمَرْتَنِي بِهِ أَنِ اعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ رَبِّي وَرَبَّكُمْ ۚ وَكُنْتُ عَلَيْهِمْ شَهِيدًا مَا دُمْتُ فِيهِمْ ۖ فَلَمَّا تَوَفَّيْتَنِي كُنْتَ أَنْتَ الرَّقِيبَ عَلَيْهِمْ ۚ وَأَنْتَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدٌ (117)

    5|117| I did not say to them save that which You ordered me to say, namely, "Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord." I was a witness over them so long as I dwelt with them. But, after You completed my term, You were Yourself the Watcher over them. And You are a Witness over all things.277

    277. Our Prophet too will quote this verse on the Day of Judgment. A hadith in the Sahihayn says:

    إِنَّكُمْ مَحْشُورُونَ إِلَى اللَّهِ حُفَاةً عُرَاةً غُرْلًا ثُمَّ قَالَ {كَمَا بَدَأْنَا أَوَّلَ خَلْقٍ نُعِيدُهُ وَعْدًا عَلَيْنَا إِنَّا كُنَّا فَاعِلِينَ} إِلَى آخِرِ الْآيَةِ ثُمَّ قَالَ أَلَا وَإِنَّ أَوَّلَ الْخَلَائِقِ يُكْسَى يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ إِبْرَاهِيمُ أَلَا وَإِنَّهُ يُجَاءُ بِرِجَالٍ مِنْ أُمَّتِي فَيُؤْخَذُ بِهِمْ ذَاتَ الشِّمَالِ فَأَقُولُ يَا رَبِّ أُصَيْحَابِي فَيُقَالُ إِنَّكَ لَا تَدْرِي مَا أَحْدَثُوا بَعْدَكَ فَأَقُولُ كَمَا قَالَ الْعَبْدُ الصَّالِحُ {وَكُنْتُ عَلَيْهِمْ شَهِيدًا مَا دُمْتُ فِيهِمْ فَلَمَّا تَوَفَّيْتَنِي كُنْتَ أَنْتَ الرَّقِيبَ عَلَيْهِمْ وَأَنْتَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدٌ} فَيُقَالُ إِنَّ هَؤُلَاءِ لَمْ يَزَالُوا مُرْتَدِّينَ عَلَى أَعْقَابِهِمْ مُنْذُ فَارَقْتَهُمْ

    "Once the Prophet stood up and gave a sermon. He said, ‘People! You will be raised up before your Lord naked, bare-footed, and uncircumcised, ‘As We began the creation, We shall repeat it.' The first ever of those to be dressed on the Day of Judgment would be Ibrahim. Lo! A people would be brought who will be taken away to the left. I will say, ‘My Companions, my Companions.' It will be said, ‘You do not know what they did after you.' So I will say as the righteous slave of Allah said, "I was a witness over them so long as I dwelt with them. But, after You completed my term, You were Yourself the Watcher over them. And You are a Witness over everything. If You punish them then, surely they are Your slaves. But, if You forgive them, then surely, You are the Mighty, the Wise." It will be said, ‘These people remained turning back upon their heels, apostates, from the time you parted with them (Ibn Kathir).
    Qabeesah said that the allusion is to the apostates that Abu Bakr fought (Au.).

    إِنْ تُعَذِّبْهُمْ فَإِنَّهُمْ عِبَادُكَ ۖ وَإِنْ تَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ فَإِنَّكَ أَنْتَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ (118)

    5|118| (Nevertheless), If You punish them (today), well then, surely they are Your slaves. But, if You forgive them, then, surely, You are the Mighty, the Wise.'278

    278. Abu Dharr has reported in a hadith (preserved in Ahmad: Ibn Kathir):

    عَنْ أَبِى ذَرٍّ قَالَ : سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- وَهُوَ يُصَلِّى ذَاتَ لَيْلَةٍ ، وَهُوَ يُرَدِّدُ آيَةً حَتَّى أَصْبَحَ بِهَا يَرْكَعُ وَبِهَا يَسْجُدُ (إِنْ تُعَذِّبْهُمْ فَإِنَّهُمْ عِبَادُكَ) قُلْتُ : يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ مَا زِلْتَ تُرَدِّدُ هَذِهِ الآيَةَ حَتَّى أَصْبَحْتَ. قَالَ :« إِنِّى سَأَلْتُ رَبِّى الشَّفَاعَةَ لأُمَّتِى ، وَهِىَ نَائِلَةٌ لِمَنْ لاَ يُشْرِكُ بِاللَّهِ شَيْئًا ».

    Once the Prophet recited nothing but this verse in his night Prayer that lasted until the dawn, repeating it in his bows and prostrations. I asked him the reason. He replied: "I asked for intercession for my Ummah. It shall be for whoso that did not attribute aught with Allah."
    Another hadith in Muslim narrated by `Abdullah b. `Amr b. al-As says that once the Prophet recited the words of Ibrahim (14: 36):

    رَبِّ إِنَّهُنَّ أَضْلَلْنَ كَثِيرًا مِنَ النَّاسِ فَمَنْ تَبِعَنِي فَإِنَّهُ مِنِّي وَمَنْ عَصَانِي فَإِنَّكَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ [إبراهيم : 36]

    ‘My Lord. Surely, they (the deities) led astray many a people. Therefore, whoso followed me is of me. As for him who disobeyed me, well, You are the Forgiving, the Kind.' Then the Prophet recited the words of `Isa ibn Maryam:

    إِنْ تُعَذِّبْهُمْ فَإِنَّهُمْ عِبَادُكَ وَإِنْ تَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ فَإِنَّكَ أَنْتَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ [المائدة : 118]

    ‘If You punish them then, surely they are Your slaves. But, if You forgive them, then surely, You are the Mighty, the Wise.'

    فَرَفَعَ يَدَيْهِ وَقَالَ « اللَّهُمَّ أُمَّتِى أُمَّتِى ». وَبَكَى فَقَالَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ يَا جِبْرِيلُ اذْهَبْ إِلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَرَبُّكَ أَعْلَمُ فَسَلْهُ مَا يُبْكِيكَ فَأَتَاهُ جِبْرِيلُ - عَلَيْهِ الصَّلاَةُ وَالسَّلاَمُ - فَسَأَلَهُ فَأَخْبَرَهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- بِمَا قَالَ. وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ. فَقَالَ اللَّهُ يَا جِبْرِيلُ اذْهَبْ إِلَى مُحَمَّدٍ فَقُلْ إِنَّا سَنُرْضِيكَ فِى أُمَّتِكَ وَلاَ نَسُوءُكَ.

    Then he raised his hand and prayed: "My Lord! My people, my people," and cried. Allah sent Jibril and said, "Go to Muhammad – and although your Lord knows – ask him, ‘What makes you cry?'" Jibril came to him and asked him. The Prophet told him what he had said, although He knows. Allah said, "Jibril. Go to Muhammad and tell him, ‘We shall please you in the affair of your Ummah, and shall not give you pain'" (Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir).
    Also note that `Isa ibn Maryam ended with "You are the Mighty, the Wise" and not with "You are the Forgiving, the Kind," because the latter words would take forgiveness for granted, or, would be a way of interceding for them (Razi).

    قَالَ اللَّهُ هَٰذَا يَوْمُ يَنْفَعُ الصَّادِقِينَ صِدْقُهُمْ ۚ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٌ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا ۚ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ (119)

    5|119| Allah will say, ‘This is a Day when the truth of the truthful will benefit them. For them are gardens underneath which rivers flow, abiding therein forever and ever. Allah is well pleased with them and they are well pleased with Him. That is a great success.'

    لِلَّهِ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا فِيهِنَّ ۚ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ (120)

    5|120| To Allah belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth, and all that is within them. And He has power over all things.