The title of the Surah ‘The Cow’ probably refers to the incident when Allah (SWT) ordered the followers of Musa (PBH) to slaughter a cow (2:67).
Vs. 1 Alif Laam Meem are Arabic alphabets. Such alphabets appear at the beginning of many Surahs. Their meanings are not known, nevertheless they are regarded as part of the Quran.
Vs. 2 The Quran is the book, the law or the record which contains nothing doubtful. The very first verse after the abstract of the Quran given in chapter No. one, demands that the Quran should be read, studied and followed with the firm belief and certainty that the knowledge contained in it is correct, just the truth and nothing else. The Quran is said to be a guide for the ‘Muttaqeen’ i.e. the God fearing, restraining themselves from all evils. Elsewhere it is stated to be a guide for the Momins (10:57), Muslims (16:89), Muhsaneen (31:3) and for mankind in general (2:185) Let us try to understand this categorization through an example. Pedestrians are required to walk on the foot path for their own safety. This is a law for all human beings with an open choice to follow or reject it. This law is followed either by the law abiding good citizens or the accident fearing people. In view of this there is nothing wrong in saying that this in the law for people who are:
1. law abiding
2. good citizens and
3. afraid of accidents,
Because only these categories follow this law although it is meant for all human being but only Muttaqeen, Momineen Muslimeen etc. follow it.
Vs. 3 The true knowledge (Ilm) imparted through the Quran leading to fear of Allah (Taqwa) should give rise to a strong belief in the unseen (Imaan) which in turn should force one to act accordingly (Islam) Belief in the unseen does not mean blind faith without reason. On the contrary, we are invited through the Quran itself to reflect on the creation, reason out and then come to the conclusion that there is an all powerful Creator Who has created the Universe with a set purpose (3:191, 10:24, 13:3, 16:10–11, 30:8, 45:12–13). Many of the Verses of the Quran and our own interaction with the creation provide sufficient reason and proof to believe in the existence of the unseen items of our faith. History provides sufficient proof about the messengers of Allah (SWT). Death proves the existence of angels. It is scientifically reasoned out that the present phase of the Universe will come to an end and a new Universe will be recreated which we call the ‘hereafter’ (Akhirat). The whole Universe and the laws governing its existence can be produced as evidence to prove the existence of the all Powerful Creator – Allah (SWT). The very first action after belief, is the establishment of formal worship i.e. Salat for the remembrance of Allah (SWT) (20:14) and for keeping away from indecencies and sins (29:45). This is to be followed by spending in the cause of Allah (SWT) from that which He Himself has provided, we are required to spend our surplus money (2:219) on parents, relatives, orphans, the needy and the wayfarer (2:215) with the only aim of seeking the Attention of Allah (SWT) who would repay in full whatever we spend in accordance with His instruction (2:272) Salat is essential for the survival of the self (Nafs) and spending for the right cause is essential for the survival of the community, just like food which is essential for the survival of the body and marriage which is essential for the survival of the human species. The sequence suggested here is:
1. Acquiring of Quranic knowledge
2. Being certain about the truth of this knowledge
3. Fearing Allah (SWT) as He deserves to be feared
4. Belief, in the sense of accepting to be at peace with Him by obeying all His orders and finally 5. Action.
Vs 4 We are further required to accept the Quran as the truth revealed to our Prophet (SAWS) by Allah (SWT) for practically implementing it in our lives and also to accept that Divine messages were sent to others prophets too, before our Prophet (SAWS) (16:36, 40:78), like Torah to Musa (PBH), Zuboor to Dawood (PBH) and Injeel to Isa (PBH), for practically implementing them in the lives of the followers of those prophets. Finally we are required to be certain about the hereafter, i.e. our being raised to life after our death (resurrection) for giving an account of all our beliefs and actions on the day of judgment based on which we would either be sent to paradise for rejoicing or hell for punishment.
We prepare hard for the examinations conducted by schools or Universities just because we are sure and certain that the results of the examinations will be declared someday or the other. How many students will appear for an examination if the University announces that it will conduct the examination but it will not declare the result ? The certainty of getting the degree after being successful at the examination and the fear of failure with its associated frustration and grief force one to work hard for success, sacrificing all pleasures. Our life, according to the Quran, is a TEST’ (76:2) for selecting those who are the best in deeds (67:2) i.e. the inhabitants of paradise and sending the failures to hell, with no chance of a re-examination. Therefore, the intensity of certainty and the fear of accountability and the consequent punishment in the life after death, should he more than the intensity of certainty in the result of any University examination and the fear of failure.
The result of this TEST going on throughout our lives will be declared on the day of judgment when the successful candidates will be permanently sent to paradise and the failures to hell.
Vs. 5 Those who accept that all the original Divine messages contain true knowledge and right guidance, those whose attitude exhibits fear of Allah (SWT) due to which they guard themselves from all evils, those who believe in the unseen, those who establish worship (Salat) those who spend for the right cause and those who are certain of the accountability and its consequent result in the life after death – such are the persons on right guidance from their Fosterer i.e. they are on the straight path leading to paradise, consequently they are the successful candidates because they will Insha Allah he sent to paradise for eternal enjoyment.
Vs. 6 One is normally warned before hand about something dangerous which is likely to be encountered in future. Warning the infidels that they will be punished for their bad deeds does not effect them in anyway because they do not believe in Allah, His angels, His messengers, His books and in the accountability of deeds on the day of judgment and the consequent punishment in hell or reward in paradise.
Vs. 7 Two major senses and sources of reception of information are the eyes and the ears. The information received through these sources is processed in the brain (Qulb) the ultimate outcome of which is response in the form of appropriate action, As a punishment, both the sources of reception of information and the mechanism of response are made to filter out religious information and response (i.e.Deen) from the lives of the infidels therefore their beliefs and actions are different from or rather opposite to those of the Muttaqeen, Momineen, Muslimeen etc., listed in verse Nos. 1 to 5. Consequently there is a great punishment waiting for the infidels.
Vs. 8 – 10 Among human beings there are some persons who say that they believe in Allah and the hereafter but they do not mean it, therefore they cannot be counted with the believers. These hypocrites, who say and do things which they do not mean think that they are deceiving Allah (SWT) and the believers but in fact they are deceiving themselves by their hypocrisy as they are unconsciously preparing themselves for hell. In their hearts is the disease of hypocrisy (Nifaaq) (9:77) compared to the healthy hearts of the believers which contain belief (imaan) (49:7) Allah (SWT) has therefore further increased this disease of theirs and because they deny His message they will have to face a painful punishment.
Vs 11 – 16 These Hypocrites used to behave like Muslims and when they were in their company they used to assure them that they were Muslims but when they went back to the non-believers they used to assure them too that they were with them. Infact by their not believing in Allah and the here after the hypocrites were with the non-believers. This dual personality of the hypocrites was one of the causes of corruption, they used to spy for the non-believers. When they were made conscious of this corruption of theirs by the believers they again lied saying that they were reformers and when the non-believers objected to their moving with the believers they told them they were just mocking i.e. acting like Muslims and fooling them. It was probably in view of this assumption of theirs that when they were asked to believe they replied, “Should we believe as the fools believe?” But Allah (SWT) confirmed that they are the corrupt and they are the fools and by allowing them to blindly wander in their rebellion He himself is fooling them because they are presuming that what they are doing is right. Finally He declares that theirs is a bad deal, they are purchasing error i.e. hell at the cost of guidance i.e. paradise. By not receiving guidance they have thus lost the deal.
Vs 17 – 18 The condition of hypocrites is illustrated through two examples! When fire is kindled in the darkness of the night it not only illuminates the surrounding but also radiates heat. The Quran is stated to be ‘light’ (Noor) (5:15) and prophet Muhammed (PBH) ‘a lamp giving light (Sirajam munneera) (33:46). The believers take advantage of this light and are thereby guided towards the straight path leading to paradise. The hypocrites refuse to receive guidance from this light, therefore for their punishment their light i.e. their sight is taken away and they are left in darkness. When light is taken away from fire only heat remains in it, i.e. when guidance is taken away only hell fire remains for punishment. The hyprocrites are thus left not only in darkness but also in an unpleasant heated environment. This suggests that the hypocrites, because of their internal darkness blindly wonder in their rebellion and ultimately land in hell to experience the torture of burning in the fire. Their two major sources of reception of religious information, i.e. their ears and eyes are sealed so they are deaf and blind with regard to the message and the messenger (PBH) of Allah.
Consequently there is no religious response from them, in view of which they are further classed an dumb probably meaning ‘response less’ when the major sources of religious reception and response are sealed there is no question of their returning to the light i.e. the massage and the messenger (PBH) of Allah.
Vs 19-20 In the second example too, it is the darkness of night, but the source of light, instead of continuous fire, is the intermittent lighting that precedes a thunder when there is a rainstorm Due to the horrifying sound of the thunderclaps, the hypocrites place their fingers in their ears fearing death, as if not hearing the sound of the thunderclaps would save them from death. The point that is stressed here is that if one avoids to listen to the message or the messenger (PBH) of Allah by placing his fingers in his ears and thereby pleads ignorance, then this type of ignorance of the religious laws cannot save him from the punishment in hell, because Allah (SWT) knows everything going on in the hearts of all human beings (27:73-74), besides He encompasses everything (2:126) including the infidels (2:19). The hypocrites too are infidels in the sense that, they too like the infidels do not have belief residing in their hearts, the only difference is that the hypocrites act like Muslims and the infidels do not, the light of the message and the messenger (PBH) of Allah is so strong that if anyone confronts it, it would almost snatch away his eye sight. The quality of this light is such that one can walk aright towards paradise only when it shines in his life and when it does not shine then he is forced to stand still, in a state of stagnation. The hypocrites and the infidels do not give importance to this internal light of the message and the messenger (PBH) of Allah. Therefore He warns them that if He wills He can make them physically deaf and blind making their lives in this world miserable and thereby make them realize that if they become deaf and blind to His message and messenger (PBH) their lives in the hereafter will become miserable because He is all powerful to teach them a lesson.
Vs. 21 – 22 Allah (SWT) created us and those before us, He made the earth suitable for us to live therein and the sky a guarded structure above us (41:12). He causes the rain to fall from the sky and thereby provides us with water to drink and food to eat, without which we would die. In view of this we are required to serve (worship) only Him and not to set up equals for Him, serving (worshipping), loving and praying to them as we should serve (worship), love and pray to Him. We should not consider anything or anyone as a partner of Allah (SWT), diluting His supremacy as ‘God’. We should exhibit undivided loyalty to Him, We should not raise objects from His creation to the level of His equals because no one is equal to Him (Chapter 112) and everything other than Him is His creation. We should serve (worship) Him alone (1:4) and thereby save ourselves from His punishment. If we serve (worship) something or someone other than Him and set up equals to Him thereby ascribing partners unto Him we will be punished because of the undivided loyalty amounting to polytheism. (4:48)
Vs. 1 to 22 have helped us in defining:
1. Mutaqeen – those who restrain themselves from sin fearing Allah (SWT)
2. Momineen – believers
3. Muslimeen – those who submit and practically implement the orders of Allah (SWT) and His messenger (PBH)
4. Munafiqeen – hypocrites
5. Kafireen – the infidels and
6. Mushrikeen – the polytheists.
Vs. 23 – 24 If the infidels are correct in their doubt that the Quran was not revealed by Allah (SWT) and it is the product of Prophet Muhammed’s (PBH) mind, i.e. if they think that any human being can be an author of such a voluminous book containing truth and just the truth about practically everything in the creation, then they are challenged to produce just a single chapter resembling one of the chapters of the Quran, and for the production of even such a small portion of the book they are permitted to call all those who can be present to help them besides Allah (SWT). The Quran contains facts about Allah (SWT), His Attributes, His creation, history, politics, economics, natural sciences, religion, life after death, paradise, hell etc. whatever is mentioned in the Quran is correct and final because the Author of this book is Allah (SWT) whose knowledge is perfect compared to human knowledge which is not only imperfect but also insignificantly less. Human beings cannot produce a book dealing with such a variety of subjects containing perfect information in the form of a final verdict, they cannot even produce a single chapter resembling that of the Quran (10:38, 11:13, 17:88, 52:34). Consequently, because of their doubting the Divine origin of the Quran, the infidels are warned that they will have to guard themselves against a fire, the temperature of which will be so high that men and stones will be its fuel and which will specifically be prepared for punishing them for their infidelity. It is quite possible that the stones mentioned in this verse might be containing radio active minerals releasing tremendous amount of energy which will burn the infidels.
Vs 25 Good news of paradise is given to the believers who put into practice their beliefs laid down in the Quran. The pleasant environment of paradise appears to be that of a picnic, gardens, rivers, delicious food resembling that which was provided in this world, beautiful and matching mates with no internal or external impurity or defect and permanence in these conditions. In this life too we like and strive for a comfortable habitation, delicious food, beautiful and accommodative mates etc., and permanence in these conditions. This urge of permanent enjoyment appears to be fulfilled only in the life after death and that too for those who believe and obey the orders of Allah (SWT) given in the Quran in accordance with the teachings of Prophet Muhammed (PBH).
Vs. 26 – 27 We have not seen paradise and something which has not been seen or experienced has to be described in terms used for similar, analogues or comparable things which we have seen or experienced, so that we could atleast partially visualize the real conditions. This is confirmed through verses (13:35) and (47:15) where the description of paradise is preceded by the sentence, “A similitude/likeness (Masal) of the garden (paradise)…”. The items of paradise are thus described in terms used for items which bear a resemblance or likeness to those on earth. Allah (SWT) states that He does not feel shy to set forth any similitude to describe paradise or to explain any other issue, even that of a fly which we consider as an insignificant thing. Believers accept the items explained through a similitude as the truth from Allah (SWT), but the infidels question the intention of Allah (SWT) in setting forth such a similitude’s probably due to their disbelief in life after death, accountability therein for our beliefs and actions in this world and the consequent reward in paradise and punishment in hell. Allah (SWT) guides the believers towards the path leading to paradise and misleads the transgressors (Fasiqeen). These transgressors are probably those who break their agreement with Allah (SWT), of accepting Him as their Fosterer, referred to in verses (7:172-174), they also disobey Him and cause corruption in the earth, which is opposite of righteousness (26:152), consequently they are the losers, having lost paradise.
Vs 28 How is it that people do not believe in the existence and powers of Allah (SWT) when He it is Who has brought them into the state of ‘being’ from a state of ‘death’, granting them life and consciousness which are responsible for all their beliefs and actions. He it is Who causes them to die by taking away their life and consciousness which results in the decay, decomposition and disintegration of the physical body. In birth and death, the consent of no one else is involved. Then it is He alone Who will bring them back to life probably by ordering the life and consciousness associated with them in this world to enter their respective physical bodies resurrected by Him, as hinted through the following verse of the Quran:
“And when the ‘Anfus’ (souls) are paired (probably with their respective bodies)” (81:7).
Thus the psychical personality too will again start functioning through the physical body from the day of resurrection onwards.
Vs 29 Allah (SWT) not only created us, but also created everything on earth for us. Besides, to make the earth suitable for our habitation He suspended it is space, making it rotate around its axis and revolve around the sun so as to give rise to the alternation of the day and the night and changes in seasons etc. which are essential for our life. To keep the earth suspended in space, rotating and revolving He set the balance in the whole Universe probably by organizing it into the following seven systems or higher levels.
1. The movement of the satellite (moon) around the planet (earth). Without the moon, we would
have 8 hours day and an year of 1095 days. Would we be alive under such conditions?
2. The rotation of the planets (earth) about their own axis causing day and night and providing a
measure of time.
3. The revolution of the planets (earth) around a star (sun) providing seasonal changes and data
4. The rotation of the star (sun) about its own axis.
5. The revolution of the star (sun with its family of planets and their satellites) about the common
center of gravity of the galaxy (The Milky way) balancing the planetary system.
6. The mutual movement of the galaxies within a local group of galaxies, providing stability to
the Milky way and.
7. The outward movement of the groups of galaxies in all directions (The Expanding Universe)
providing stability to the whole Universe by balancing the internal gravitational pull tending to
collapse the universe. The whole arrangement is to make human life possible on the earth.
(31:20). Allah (SWT) has done all this because He knows everything.
Vs 30 Angels who are the agencies carrying out the orders of Allah (SWT), were probably expecting that they would be made the successors or rulers of the earth. This expectation of theirs is indicated by their protest against their unexpected competitor man (mankind) (6:165) that he is or will be corrupt and he sheds or will shed blood, when they were informed by Allah (SWT) that He was going to make man the successor or ruler in the earth. ‘Yufsidu’ and ‘Yasfiku’ meaning ‘he is or will be corrupt’ and ‘he sheds or will shed blood’ respectively indicate both present and future tenses. If they are regarded as indicating present tense then it means that many human beings existed along with Adam and Hawwa (PBT) and the angels used to watch them committing these crimes. Adam and Hawwa (PBT) were selected from among these human beings the present human beings are the children of Adam and Hawwa (PBT). We do not know what happened to the other human beings who lived along with Adam and Hawwa (PBT). If the above terms are regarded as indicating future tense then one has to accept that the angels were given the knowledge of future behavior of the progeny of Adam and Hawwa (PBT) by Allah (SWT).
Angels’ expectation of being made the successors of the earth is further indicated by their presentation of their qualification for this post that they are involved in glorification, praise and exalting the holiness of Allah (SWT), which also conveys the sense that they are always busy executing His orders, praising and making everything praise Him for the excellence of His creation and ascribing the credit of His creation only to Him excluding all others, i.e. regarding Him as Pure, He being the Creator and everything else His creation.
Allah (SWT)’s reply to this indirect protest and claim of the angels was that He knew that which they did not know. What was it that the angels did not know? Was it the human capability of receiving, storing in memory, reproducing and utilizing knowledge which was to be imparted to them by Allah (SWT)?
‘Basheer’ means an informer. Does the word ‘Bashar’ used for man (15:28) convey the sense that man will have the capacity of being a recipient and an informer of news, a news-giver? If we analyze our daily social contacts and our conversation with fellow human beings, most of the time we are either receiving information or passing out information to others. We act like information processing machines. Is it this capability of man which the angels had not known ? Angels too receive and convey messages (pass on Knowledge as messengers) (35:1) but they do not appear to utilize knowledge. Contrary to this man appears to have the additional capability of utilizing the knowledge he receives, for his development and progress, the proof of which is his advancement in the fields of science and technology and the cause behind which is his control on and utilization of energies like, heat electricity, sound, magnetism, light etc.
Vs 31 The human capability of receiving, storing in memory and reproducing the stored knowledge by way of passing on information to others (as Bashar or news given) was demonstrated before the angels by Allah (SWT), by teaching Adam (PBH) all names and later asking him to tell the angels all the names he was taught. This may be similar to teaching children the names of things they normally encounter, (like chair, table, fan etc). Later when we question them to tell the names of those things, they are normally able to tell us the names they had learnt earlier. As the child grows, from the name alone, he is able to tell the purpose of that particular thing. If we ask him what the purpose of a chair is he would reply that it is used for sitting. Improvement in knowledge is improvement in knowing the qualities and purposes of more and more things. The growth and development of mankind appears to be similar to the growth and development of a child to a mature adult. We thus see that the very first step in acquiring knowledge is learning names and this is inherent in mankind. When angels were asked to tell the names, they failed to do so probably because they are not designed for that purpose. They are thus proved wrong in their estimation of their capabilities and suppressed claim of being made the successors or rulers of the earth.
Vs 32 Allah (SWT) had not taught the angels the names which He had taught to Adam (PBH). Therefore they confessed that they had knowledge of only that which Allah (SWT) taught them which probably included the knowledge of the future behavior of mankind that they would be corrupt and would shed blood. They also accepted that He is the One Who knows and Who is Wise. This indicates that one should not comment on things of which he has no knowledge.
Vs 33 Adam (PBH) was ordered to and he informed the angels of all the names. After this demonstration of Adam’s (PBH) capability, Allah (SWT) reminded the angels that He had told them earlier itself that He knows the unseen of the skies and the earth and that which they manifest and that which they hide. The angels had manifested their displeasure at Adam (PBH) being made the successor of the earth and were probably hiding their doubt about the human capability of acting as a successor of the earth. Allah (SWT) first demonstrated the merit of Adam (PBH) and then asked the angels to bow down before him.
Vs 34 Angels were asked to bow down before Adam (PBH) after balance was set up in his personality, a spirit from Allah (SWT) was blown into him which gave him the power of right decision (15:29) and he was taught all the names i.e. he was bestowed with the capability of acquiring and reproducing knowledge. Before these three events Adam (PBH) was probably not suitable for appointment as the successor of the earth. This indicates that a ruler should be balanced, he should have the power of right decision which he should exercise after acquiring correct knowledge.
Everything in the Universe, including the angels, bows down to Allah (SWT) (16:49), therefore the bowing down of angels before man appears to convey a different sense. The word ‘Malak’ normally translated as ‘Angel’ also conveys the sense of power, strength, energy, authority, control etc. In view of this ‘Malaik’ i.e. angels, could be different energies or entities ‘In charge of various energies’. Therefore, bowing down of angels could be the bowing down of energies before mankind, i.e. Allah (SWT) made energies like light, heat, sound, electricity, magnetism etc subservient to mankind. This interpretation finds support in the fact that the basic factor behind human progress is the human control on energies. If energies are withdrawn from human control, the whole building of scientific and technological progress will collapse and the present human race would probably perish in no time. This human control on energies is not an achievement of mankind but a gift of Allah (SWT) to humanity when He had made the angels to bow down before Adam (PBH). In view of this ‘Khalifa’ meaning one who succeeds someone to rule’ would refer to mankind in general (6:165). Iblis is not an angel but a Jinn (18:50) yet he too was included in the order of Allah (SWT) to angels, for bowing down before Adam (PBH) and was questioned for his not bowing down (7:12). This further supports the interpretation that ‘Malaik’ refers to all energies or ‘In charges of energies’ who were ordered to bow down or become subservient to mankind, they all did except Iblis, probably the ‘In charge of evil energy’. Iblis too appears to have been expecting that he would be made the successor of the earth as indicated from his statement. “You have removed me from the way,” (7:16). Probably the frustration of not being made the successor forced him to refuse to bow down before Adam (PBH) whom he regarded as inferior (7:12) and junior to him (15:27). Iblis considered himself great, which is the right only of Allah (SWT). He disobeyed Him and thereby became an infidel. Then he sought permission of Allah (SWT) to mislead human being (7:14) except His servants among them who would exclusively serve Him (15:40–42), he was granted this permission (7:15, 5:37-38) but at the same time Allah (SWT) declared (38:85) that He will fill hell with him and his followers.
Vs 35 Now Hawwa (PBH) comes into the picture and Adam (PBH) is asked to live with her in the garden, freely eating the produce of the garden from wherever they liked. But both are warned not to go near a particular tree, the reason given for this prohibition is that if they eat from it they will become unjust. Adam and Hawwa (PBH) appear to have been either living elsewhere before the angels bowed down before Adam (PBH) because now they are asked to live in the garden with instructions not to eat from a particular tree Or they were living in the garden earlier too but without any prohibition.
Vs 36 The Devil by making Adam and Hawwa (PBT) forget the orders of Allah (20:115) and whispering to them (7:19) to eat from the prohibited tree of eternity to acquire a kingdom that has no downfall, to become angels and to become immortal (7:20, 20:120) tempted them. Both fell into the trap of the devil and ate from the prohibited tree, though they were warned by Allah (SWT) that he is their enemy so let him not drive them both out of the garden so that they face distress (20:117). The result of eating from the prohibited tree was that their shame became manifest to them and they both began to cover themselves with the leaves of the garden. Probably, before eating from the prohibited tree, they too like the animals, were not conscious of shame. For this disobedience of theirs, though through the instigation of the devil, they were ordered to leave the garden. Adam’s (PBH) progeny, mankind too, often falls in to the trap of the devil which may be their genetic weakness. Iblis was the first to disobey the orders of Allah (SWT) by not doing that which he was ordered to do and Adam and Hawwa (PBT) were second in disobeying the orders of Allah (SWT) by doing that which they were ordered not to do. This helps us in defining sin:
1. Not doing that which you are ordered by Allah (SWT) to do. Eg. Not offering Salat and
2. Doing that which you are ordered by Allah (SWT) not to do Eg. Gambling.
The term ‘Ahbitu’ is plural not dual, meaning ‘you (more than two) go down’, i.e. Adam, Hawwa (PBT) and Iblis all the three were ordered to go down. If the garden was not on earth then ‘salsal’ (15:28), ‘Teen’ (17:61) meaning mud and clay from which Adam (PBH) was created belonged either to the earth or some extra terrestrial place where Adam and Hawwa (PBT) lived before coming down to the earth.
The residence of mankind and Iblis, after leaving the garden was to be on earth where they would be provided for, till a time, but mankind would have mutual enemity, the proof of which are disputes, riots, battles, wars etc. among different groups of human beings.
Vs 37 Adam and Hawwa (PBT) realizing their mistake of disobeying Allah (SWT) and accepting that they were unjust to themselves as warned by Him earlier, prayed to Him for forgiveness and mercy (7:23) but Iblis did not do so. Allah (SWT) accepted their repentance and turned to them mercifully because He is the Accepter of repentance, the Merciful and communicated some words of guidance to Adam (PBH):
Vs 38 “All of you go down from here, so whenever guidance comes to you from Me (through various messengers to be sent later) then whoever follows My guidance (by obeying the instructions of the messenger sent to them) then (as a result of this) there will neither be any fear on them nor will they grieve. Fear normally pertains to future and grief to some unpleasant past event. Those who follow the guidance of Allah (SWT) will have a fearless future in paradise with no grief or regret for the past life on earth, probably because all their sins’ would have been forgiven by Allah (SWT). Adam and Hawwa (PBT) were sent out of the garden though their repentance was accepted (2:37-38). After eating from the prohibited tree, which was the apparent cause for their shame becoming manifest to them they were probably not in a condition which was suitable for residence in the garden.
Vs 39 And those who do not believe in or reject the message of Allah (SWT) by not implementing it in their lives, are the deniers and they will be the inhabitants of the fire which is just the opposite of the pleasant environment of the garden (paradise), and they will remain there in the fire till Allah (SWT) wills. (6.129). There appear to be two claimants to the post of the ‘Successor of the earth:
1. Angels on the basis of worship and work compared to mankind’s corruption and bloodshed and
2. Iblis on his presumed basis of superiority and seniority over Adam (PBH).
But Allah (SWT) selected mankind on their merit bestowed by Him:
b) power of correct decision and
c) utilization of knowledge for their own progress, which capacity the angels and Iblis do not appear to posses.
Vs 40 – 46 Allah (SWT) reminds the descendants of Prophet Yaqoob (PBH) His favours mentioned later in forthcoming verses and orders them to fulfill their agreement with Him of implementing the instructions given in the Torah (2:63, 2:83-85 and 2:93). Contrary to this they had gone against their agreement (2:100) therefore Allah (SWT) cursed them (5:13). Had they kept up their word, Allah (SWT) too would have kept up His word and rewarded them, both in this world and in the life after death (5:12). When Allah (SWT) favours a people He expects appropriate response from them in the form of expressing their gratitude by obeying all His orders for their own benefit. But Bani Israel exhibited ingratitude by disobeying His orders. The Jews recognised Prophet Muhammed (PBH) as they recognised their own sons (2:146) because they were informed about him through Torah and Injeel (7:157 & 61:6), still they denied him and his message i.e. the Quran. They are therefore ordered to accept the Quran as Allah (SWT)’s word and implement it in accordance with the instructions given by Prophet Muhammed (PBH) and not to reject it. Besides, the Quran did not contradict the original Torah and Bible, in fact it confirmed that these books too in their original form were the word of Allah (SWT) in which contained information about the last messenger Prophet Muhammed (PBH) and the final Divine revelation the Quran. Bani Israel were hiding these facts for small gains therefore they are warned not to sell Allah (SWT)’s signs (Aayaat) i.e. the facts mentioned in the Torah and the Injeel for a small price and to fear Allah (SWT) alone. They are further ordered not to cover this truth with falsehood and not to hide the truth knowingly. They are instructed to offer congregational worship (Salat) and to give charity (zakat) like the followers of Prophet Muhammed (PBH), a Principle of propagation of religion is laid down that when one preaches something he should practice it himself, if one does not follow this principle he is deemed to be senseless. They are ordered to seek Allah’s help first by exhibiting patience during their helplessness then worshipping Allah i.e. offering Salat and praying to Him alone. Only those who consider themselves humble before Allah (SWT) regarding Him all Powerful and those who are not proud will seek His help whereas for those who are not humble and are proud, it will be very difficult because of their egoistic attitude. Allah (SWT)’s help is sought through patience, worship and humility only by those who are sure of meeting Him after death, they are also certain that Allah (SWT) is All powerful to punish them if they seek someone else’s help. Infact no one other than Allah (SWT) can ever help anyone, anywhere in anything. When Allah (SWT) wills to He normally helps us through other people but these people are only agencies the Real Helper is Allah (SWT).
Vs 47 – 50 Allah (SWT) reminds Bani Israel that He showered His favours more on them than on others and warns them to be cautious of the proceedings on the day of judgment. On that day no one will be of any use to anyone in anything, recommendation of anyone for the safety from punishment will not be permitted, no compensation for the sins committed will be accepted and they will not be helped.
Shafaat, meaning recommendation, will be permitted by Allah (SWT) only for the removal of recommended sinners from hell in accordance with the Hadees narrated by Hazrath Anas (R.A.), reported by Bukhari and Muslim, (Mishkat, Vol 2 Page 418)
If someone repents for his sins, seeks Allah (SWT)’s forgiveness in his life time and then leads a virtuous and pious life in accordance with the instructions given in the Quran and by Prophet Muhammed (PBH), Allah (SWT) may forgive him, save him from the deserved punishment and send him to paradise, because if He wills to He can forgive all sins (39:53). Bani Israel were tortured by Firawn’s people to the extent that they killed their male children and left the females alive probably to reduce their population. How painful it must have been to the concerned parents and close relatives! It is stated that there was a great trial in this for the Bani Israel from Allah (SWT) and not Firawn. This shows that Firawn was used by Allah (SWT) as a tool to test the Bani Israel, he himself had no power to kill anyone. According to the Quran Firawn is punishable for his bad intention followed by his crimes (11:98). In fact all calamities involving human beings are brought about by Allah (SWT) alone (6:65, 22:40, 57:22–23, 64:11). Finally it was Allah (SWT) Who saved the Bani Israel from the severe tortures, He made them cross the Red sea by parting it and providing a dry path for them to pass on to the other side whereas He drowned Firawn and his army who perused the Bani Israel, by making the waters of the parted sea to flow in their direction. Bani Israel are reminded both of the tortures and their miraculous deliverance from them which they had witnessed with their own eyes.
Vs 51 – 54 Allah (SWT) had appointed 40 days and nights for Musa (PBH) to receive the code of conduct for Bani Israel in the form of laws which distinguished right from wrong. In his absence, on the advice of a person named Samiri, Bani Israel moulded a calf out of their ornaments and started worshipping it. Musa (PBH) on his return got very angry and asked them to turn to Allah (SWT) for forgiveness by invoking Him through His Attribute ‘Al Bari’ meaning ‘One Who purifies’ i.e. One who removes something unwanted and impure from something of utility and purity, so that He remove the evil of calf worship from them. There appears to be a hint here that Allah (SWT) should be invoked through the Attribute concerned with the subject of help sought, for example if one needs food he should invoke Allah (SWT) by His Attribute ‘AR Razzak’ meaning ‘The Provider’, (7:180). Further as a punishment for their calf worship which amounts to polytheism, Musa (PBH) ordered them to kill themselves for their grave injustice, probably because murder is a lesser sin than polytheism which is unforgivable (4:48, 116). Allah (SWT) is the Accepter of repentance, the Merciful, He therefore turned to them mercifully and pardoned them so that they should be grateful.
Vs 55 – 56 Bani Israel had witnessed all the miracles performed through Musa (PBH) inspite of this they insisted that they would not believe in him till they saw Allah (SWT). They were therefore killed through a thunder – bolt and raised again probably to make them acknowledge this event as a miracle personally experienced by them and to be grateful to Allah (SWT) for bringing them back to life and giving them a chance to amend themselves.
Vs. 57 – 61 Other favours on them were the shade provided over them through clouds, food in the form of Manna and Quails and twelve springs of water. Still they were discontent and demanded that they should be provided with cucumbers, garlic, lentils, onion etc, for which they were asked to migrate to Egypt. They could not be patient with one food although they were getting it without labour and thus exchanged good for something that was worse.
When they were asked to enter Palestine, the land promised to them, and to pray for the removal of their burdens and forgiveness, they changed the words. Summarily they
1. did not believe in the signs of Allah (SWT),
2. killed the Prophets unjustly,
3. disobeyed Allah (SWT) and His messenger,
4. exceeded the limits
5. were ungrateful,
6. were discontent
7. were unjust
8. were transgressors and
9. were corrupt.
They thus became deserving of the anger of Allah (SWT), due to which disgrace and wretchedness were made to strike them, this being their punishment in the life of this World.
Vs. 62 The category ‘Those who believe’ appears to refer to those persons who had directly accepted Muhammed (PBH) as the messenger of Allah and the Quran as the message of Allah. Yahoodees are the followers of Musa (PBH) named after Yahuda the eldest son of Yaqoob (PBH). Nasara, plural of ‘Nasar’ meaning help’, are the Christians so named because they had helped Isa (PBH). The Sabaeans, according to some authorities were followers of ‘Zuboor’ revealed to Dawood (PBH), while others say that they were followers of Yahya (PBH) but later they drifted away from their original book and became star worshippers and angel worshippers. After mentioning these four communities it is clarified that to whichever community one may belong, if one believes in Allah and in the accountability of belief and deed after death and does good work then his reward is with Allah (SWT). Such a person will neither have any fear nor grief. Fear pertains to future and grief to past. Could there be a better definition of peace: A fearless future and a griefless past.
One interpretation could be that this verse refers to:
1. Followers of Muhammed (PBH) and
2. Jews, Christians and Sabaeens who had strictly followed their respective messengers sent to them by Allah (SWT), till their book was valid i.e. till the coming of the next messenger of Allah (SWT).
The second interpretation could be that the Jews and the Christian used to claim that they were the chosen communities of Allah (SWT) and no one else would enter paradise (2:111 & 135, 5:18). Therefore Allah (SWT) clarifies the position and states that you may call yourselves by any name, only those will be rewarded who believe in Him and the life after death and act righteously. Belief in angels, messengers of Allah (SWT) and the Divine books is obvious for one who believes in Allah (SWT) and the accountability in the life after death because this accountability depends on whether or not one has followed the instructions of Allah (SWT) communicated through angels to human messengers in the form of Divine books. This demands the acceptance of Muhammed (PBH) as the last messenger of Allah (SWT) and the Quran as the final Divine book, therefore only those will be successful who accept this fact and act accordingly. A third interpretation could be, that persons who had directly accepted Islam might have had a feeling of superiority over those Jews, Christians & Sabalans who too had accepted Islam and were thus classed as converts. This wrong feeling of superiority of Muslims by birth over new converts to Islam is prevalent even today. Allah (SWT) therefore classifies that whatever might have been your past, to which ever community you might have belonged to earlier, now that you have accepted Islam under Prophet Muhammed (PBH) only those will be regarded as successful who believe in Allah and the life after death and act righteously i.e. implement the Quran in accordance with the instructions of Prophet Muhammed (PBH). Whatever be the possible interpretation, one thing is quite clear that now, paradise can be achieved only by believing and acting in accordance with the instructions given in the Quran the final Divine book and by Prophet Muhammed (PBH) the last messenger of Allah, because no religion other than Islam will be accepted by Allah (SWT) (3:19 & 85). The word ‘Rafa’ means to raise. (2:127) or suspend overhead (13:2). For the same event the word ‘Nataqa’ is used elsewhere (7:171) which means to shake or ‘uproot’ or ‘Pull out’ (Ibn-I-Faras). The mountain was probably raised to convince the Bani Israel that Allah (SWT), Who is All powerful and Who has raised the mountain miraculously, has revealed the Torah to Musa (PBH) so that believing that Torah is His word they should take a pledge to strictly follow it, remembering and taking admonition from all that is written in it. The result of this would be their safety from punishment. But they broke the pledge and if Allah (SWT)’s Grace and Mercy were not there on them, they would have been losers.
Vs 65 – 66 During the period of Prophet Dawood (PBH) some Israelites lived at Elath on the Red Sea. They were ordered not to fish on Sabbath (Saturday) as a mark of respect, but the fish used to come in great numbers on the night before Saturday and stay there throughout Sabbath to tempt them. Some Israelites used to dig ditches and cut canals from the sea for the fish to enter on Sabbath then they prevented them from going back to the sea by disconnecting the ditches and canals. They removed the fish on Sunday. They claimed that the fish had gathered on Friday and were caught on Sunday and not on Saturday. Therefore as a mark of punishment they were transformed into apes. In many advertisements shown on our Television screen we see a motorcycle changing into a panther, a man’s face getting converted to a tiger’s face, one human face changing into another. All these changes take place within seconds but on a two dimensional screen. Is it difficult for Allah (SWT), the Creator of the whole Universe, including man, to effect these changes instantly in three dimensions ?
Modern scientific and technological progress is providing such a rich and convincing data to prove the truth of many facts reported in the Quran that it is difficult to deny them. Our predessor’s believed in the truth of the Quran without these proofs. Should we not have a stronger faith and should we not act more sincerely and vigorously to convey the truths contained in the Quran to the whole mankind? This instance of a sect of Bani Israel being changed to apes is an exemplary punishment for trying to dodge Allah (SWT). Others coming after them should learn a lesson from this happening and guard themselves from evil because Allah (SWT) is the Knower of the seen as well as the unseen and He is all powerful to bring about such or more severe punishments.
Vs 67 – 73 The order for slaughtering a cow appears to have been given for fulfilling two purposes:
1. Bani Israel had held the cow in such high esteem that they had moulded a calf for worship from their ornaments. Allah (SWT) probably wanted to totally wipe off this high esteem from their minds by ordering them to slaughter a cow, so that they could realize that they had worshipped something which they themselves could slaughter and which was helpless even to resist its own killing, leave alone helping others.
2. A person was murdered by someone and they were not able to find out the murderer, so they were ordered to strike the body of the murdered person with flesh of the slaughtered cow, when the murdered person miraculously came back to life and revealed the name of his murderer (2:72–73). When Musa (PBH) had informed the Bani Israel that Allah (SWT) wanted them to slaughter a cow they first asked him whether he was joking with them. This indicates that they were arrogant. It would have been the best for them to have obeyed the order of Allah (SWT) and slaughtered any cow. But they started asking questions about the qualities of the cow to be slaughtered. Each answer to their question made it more and more difficult for them to find the cow with the exact specifications. Finally they slaughtered a cow which was middle aged, delightfully coloured bright yellow which was neither used for ploughing nor irrigating fields and which was sound and defect less, but they did this reluctantly. Bani Israel witnessed the dead man coming back to life and revealing the name of his murderer. This miracle is a clear proof that Allah (SWT) will raise the dead to life to take their account of deeds.
Vs 74 We had seen earlier (2:60) that the word ‘Hajar’ was used for a porous rock which served the purpose of an acquifier from which twelve springs had gushed out (2:60). In this verse an associated word ‘Al Hijarah’ meaning a rock containing small pores is compared with human heart which contains pores full of blood which is pumped out when the heart contracts. One has to admire the selection of the most appropriate word to convey a specific meaning. Out of a number of words available in Arabic which could convey the meaning of a rock, the selection of the word ‘Al Hijarah’ conveys to the reader a true picture by comparison. A porous muscle ‘Qalb’ meaning heart is compared with a rock which in addition to being porous is also hard and rigid. The opposite of the word ‘Khaswatan’ translated as ‘hardness’ is ‘sharaha’ meaning open (39:22). Just as rocks, whose pores are closed, cannot absorb anything, similarly a heart whose pores are closed due to contraction cannot absorb anything. Besides a porous material already filled with something cannot absorb something else. In the case of rocks it is physical rigidity and in the case of hearts it is rigidity in the abstract sense.
Bani Israel had seen a number of miracles but their hearts had become so hard that they did not absorb plain facts consequently they refused to believe in the truth. Even rocks sometimes succumb to internal pressure or external influences but the hearts of Bani Israel were harder. Through some porous rocks rivers gush out while others split due to external pressure of digging or drilling and water comes out of then in the form of wells still others fall down due to the fear of Allah. In the last case we know for certain that rocks fall down due to the force of gravity of the earth as in the case of landslides. Combining these two facts from the Quran and science we can formulate an equation ‘Gravity’ is equal to fear of Allah (Khashiyat-i-Allah)’ The whole universe is held together due to the universal force of gravitation, this means that the whole universe is held together due to the fear of Allah. In the absence of this fear or the universal force of gravity, one cannot imagine the existence of the universe including us. Allah (SWT) knows everything, seen & unseen, consequently He is aware of all that is going on in the hearts and the actions that are motivated by their intentions.
Vs 75–77 Allah (SWT) is giving a hint to Muslims that the Jews will not believe just for their sake. Some of them had heard the word of Allah (SWT) in the form of Torah, Zuboor and the Injeel and understood it. They knew from these sources about Prophet Muhammed (PBH) but they altered this information. Some of the Jews might have told the Muslims that they believed in the Prophethood of Muhammed (PBH) because it was written in their books. This might have prompted other Jews to object, because they felt that Muslims would argue with them on the day of resurrection before Allah (SWT) that even after having information about Prophet Muhammed (PBH) they did not accept him as the last messenger of Allah & the Quran revealed to him as the final message of Allah (SWT). Therefore Allah (SWT) is informing them that whether they hide or proclaim He knows everything.
Vs. 78–82 Some of the Jews did not even know how to read. Their religion was not based on their Divine book but on hearsay and guess work. Here is a clear hint to us that religion should be based on the Divine book and the teachings of the messenger of Allah i.e. The Quran and teachings of Prophet Muhammed (PBH). There were others who wrote the book with their hands and claimed that it was from Allah (SWT), this they did for pity gains. Allah (SWT) declares that theirs’ will be a sorrowful state because of such acts. Without any authority from Allah (SWT) they made a statement that the fire would afflict them only for a counted number of days. In reply to this Allah (SWT) states that if they had made an agreement to this effect with Him then. He will not go against it, and questions them on their committing on His behalf without any knowledge. Then He gives His decision whoever earns evil and is encompassed by his misdeeds will be the inhabitant of the fire, staying in it, and those who believe and act in accordance with the instructions given in the Divine book and by the messenger of Allah, these will be the residents of paradise, they will stay therein.”
Vs 83–86 Allah (SWT) had taken a pledge from the Bani Israel (2:40 & 63) that they should not serve (worship) anyone other than Allah, be good to parents, relatives and orphans, speak to people in a nice manner, establish worship (Salat), give charity (zakat), not shed blood and not drive out people from their houses unlawfully, but they broke the pledge although they had agreed to abide by it. Therefore their reward was disgrace in this life and punishment in the life after death. They preferred the life of this World to the life after death therefore their punishment will neither be reduced nor will they be helped.
Vs 87–88 Musa (PBH) was sent to Bani Israel with the Torah containing the code of conduct for them. Then many messengers of Allah came to them after him, the last in the Israeli lineage being Isa (PBH) who was strengthened with Jibreel (PBH) and given the Injeel. He too performed miracles which were proofs of his prophet hood. Whenever Allah (SWT) sent messengers to them they either proudly rejected them or even killed them just because their messages were against their desires. The reason they gave for their disbelief was that their hearts had a covering which prevented Allah’s message from entering them. Allah (SWT) replies to this statement of theirs that their disbelief was because of His curse on them due to their rejection of the truth.
Vs 89–91 Bani Israel used to caution the infidels that the last messenger of Allah, Muhammed (PBH) is to come. But when he actually came and they even recognised him they rebelled against him because he was not from the Israel lineage as they had expected and was from the Ismaeli lineage, though the Quran revealed to him confirmed the Divine origin of the books sent to them i.e. the Torah, the Zuboor and the Injeel. Selecting a human being for conveying the message of Allah (SWT) to mankind is His choice and no one has any say in it. They were oppressed that Muhammed (PBH) was not of their choice and their rejection of the message and messenger of Allah was a bad deal. On being invited to believe in the Quran they claimed that they believed in their books i.e. they need not believe in any new Divine book. They are therefore questioned as to why they had killed the prophets earlier if they had really believed in the Divine books with them. On account of these faults of theirs, they became deserving of the curse, anger and the consequent punishment from Allah (SWT).
Vs. 92–93 Bani Israel are again reminded that Musa (PBH) had come to their predessors with clear proofs of his prophet hood in the form of miracles and Allah (SWT) had directly taken a pledge from them raising the mountain over them as another miracle, even then they had arrogantly declared that they did hear the message but they would disobey. Because of this infidelity of theirs they were made to get inclined towards the worship of the calf. They are informed that if they claim to be believers then their belief is enjoining something that is evil and not good and beneficial.
Vs 94–96 It was the claim of the Jews that only they would go to paradise and life in paradise is definitely more comfortable than the life in this world. Therefore Allah (SWT) is challenging them to desire for death so as to go paradise if they are truthful in their claim. At the same time He declares that they would never desire for death because of their evil deeds of which they are conscious and which would actually land them in hell. He further reveals that they and the polytheists, contrary to desiring death, are greediest among human beings for long lives wishing to live even for 1000 years. But living for longer periods i.e. pushing death further away in time, if possible, cannot cancel their punishment for the evils they did, because Allah (SWT) being the Knower of the seen and the unseen, knows all that they had done including their injustices.
Vs 97–98 Jews had enemity with Jibreel (PBH) probably because they thought that he had brought down the Quran on the heart of Prophet Muhammed (PBH) on his own accord, not selecting any persons from Bani Israel. In their jealousy, anger and disappointment they were ignoring the fact that the Quran was not contradicting their book, but was actually certifying that the original Torah, the Zabur and the Injeel revealed to Musa, Dawood and Isa (PBT) respectively were of Divine origin. Besides the Quran guides to the straight path leading to, and gives good news of, paradise to those who believe in and follow it. Therefore there is no sense in anyone being offended by it or its revelation to Prophet Muhammed (PBH) because Allah had selected him as the last messenger for communicating His final message to humanity and not Jibreel (PBH) who along with Mikaeel and all other angels and messengers of Allah just obey Allah (SWT)’s orders therefore Allah (SWT) declares that He is an enemy of the infidels who are His enemies and enemies of Jibreel, Mickaeel, His angels and His messengers (PBT).
Vs 99–101 Allah (SWT) states that the Quran confirms the earlier Divine books and contains clear statements but the transgressors do not believe in it. The Jews had earlier agreed to believe in the last messenger of Allah (PBH) and anticipating his arrival they had come and settled at Madina but a party from among them did not honor this agreement, and cast the Quran behind their backs as if they did not know what this book was.
Vs 102-103 Instead of following the Quran they followed that which the evil persons who had lived during Sulaiman’s (PBH) period had read and taught about the miraculous powers of Sulaiman (PBH), who was given knowledge, wisdom and the power to perform miracles, by Allah (SWT). The miracles witnessed during Sulaiman’s (PBH) period were:- the violent wind blew by his command covering one month’s journey in one morning or in one evening, armies of jinn, men and birds were at his disposal, he knew the speech of birds, the throne of the Queen of Saba was brought into his court instantly by one of his courtiers who was bestowed with knowledge etc. (21:78–82, 27:15–44, 34:12–14, 38:36–40). These evil persons probably taught people that the miracles performed by Sulaiman (PBH) were magic which is falsehood, deception and hiding the truth i.e. ‘Kufr’. Contrary to this Allah (SWT) had given to Sulaiman (PBH) the power to perform miracles which were real and factual. Sulaiman (PBH) did not practice magic, had he done so he would have followed falsehood and deception and thus hided the truth. It is therefore clarified here that Sulaiman (PBH) did not hide or reject the truth but the evil persons rejected it, the proof of which is that they themselves taught people magic. A party from among the Jews rejected the Quran by ignoring it and got deeply involved in magic and evil practices associated with it such as charms, spells etc, which they had inherited from the evil persons who had lived during the period of Sulaiman (PBH). Two angels Harut and Marut were sent to Babel probably to tempt and test the Jews. The people of Lut (PBH) were also tested through angels in the form of young boys. (11:77–81). These two angels warned before teaching anyone anything that they were sent for their trial therefore by getting tempted they should not become infidels, doing something against the orders of Allah (SWT). Inspite of this warning the evil persons learnt from these two angels the art of causing division between man and wife which is a devilish act (narrated in a Hadis in Mishkat page No. 31). They thus fell into the temptation and practiced magic i.e. falsehood which amounts to going against the orders of Allah i.e. infidelity or ‘Kufr’. Through these evil practices they could not harm anyone i.e. magic, charms, spells, witchcraft etc. without the permission of Allah (SWT), i.e. they could not harm anyone they liked. Thus they learnt something harmful to them and not beneficial. They knew that by doing this they were preparing themselves for hell and not paradise, this was an evil price they were paying for learning and teaching magic and harming others. On the contrary had they believed and guarded against evil, then the reward from Allah in the form of paradise would certainly be better, had they but realized.
Vs 104 The word ‘Ra’ina’ translated as ‘Listen to us’, with a twist of the tongue means ‘He is foolish’, therefore believers are instructed to use other words while addressing Prophet Muhammed (PBH) who is to be given respect to such an extent that even words with ambiguous meaning are to be avoided. It appears that the infidels twisted their tongues while pronouncing the word ‘Ra’ina’ they are therefore warned of a painful punishment.
Vs. 105 Those persons from among the owners of the book (i.e. Jews and Christians) who did not accept prophet Muhammed (PBH) as the messenger of Allah and the Quran as the message of Allah and the polytheists, both were and are the enemies of the Muslims, consequently they do not like that Muslim’s should receive any good from Allah (SWT), be it in the field of religion or worldly provisions. Allah (SWT) informs them that He being the Possessor of great grace the choice of showering His mercy on someone is His and not theirs.
Vs. 106 – 107 Divine messages were communicated to all prophets right from Adam (PBH) to Muhammed (PBH). From these Divine messages Allah (SWT) either abolished or caused to be forgotten some statements or laws and letter replaced them by better or similar statements or laws, probably keeping in view the changing circumstances with time. Allah (SWT) can do this because He has power over everything being the King of His creation. The Quran is an exception to this because it is the final Divine revelation and therefore it will remain unchanged till the end of the world Insha Allah (15:9, 41:42) Allah (SWT) informs us that besides Him we have neither a guardian nor a helper and this should convince us to accept Him as our only Guardian and Helper and stop us from bowing down before others.
Vs 108 Bani Israel had questioned Musa (PBH) in connection with the slaughtering of a cow (2:67–71) and by their repeated questioning they had themselves made the selection and search of the specific cow very difficult. Had they obeyed the very first order of Allah (SWT) and not put any questions, they could have slaughtered any cow and the matter would have been very easy for them. Allah (SWT) is addressing the Muslims and asking them whether they too would put questions to prophet Muhammed (PBH) like Bani Israel because of their reluctance to obey the orders of Allah (SWT). He then informs them that one who exchanges belief with infidelity has surely gone astray from the balanced path i.e. the path leading to paradise.
Vs 109 – 110 Jews and Christians were jealous of Muslims that the last messenger of Allah was not in the Israeli lineage but an Arab in the Ismaeli lineage. The truth of his prophet hood had also become clear to them. Inspite of this, just due to their jealousy, many of them wanted the Muslims to reject this truth i.e. the prophet hood of Muhammed (PBH) and the Quran, after they had already believed and accepted Islam and thus become infidels, Allah (SWT) is instructing the Muslims to pardon them and overlook till He gives His decision in this affair, knowing that He has power over everything. He further advises them that instead of getting involved in such pity things it is better for them to concentrate on establishing worship (i.e. Salat) and giving charity (i.e. Zakat). He assures them that whatever good they do in this life they will find it with Him in the form of reward because He sees i.e. He know all that they do.
Vs 111 – 112 Jews and Christian claim that except them no one else would enter paradise. Allah (SWT) rejects their claim stating that this is only their desire and orders them to produce the proof for this claim of theirs, if they are truthful then the rule for entry to paradise is announced: Whoever submits himself, i.e. his attention defined as concentrated consciousness, i.e. his total conscious self, to Allah (SWT) and does good i.e. obeys Allah (SWT) and His messenger (PBH) being engulfed in this submissive feeling or attitude, his reward is with Allah (SWT) in the form of paradise wherein there will neither be any fear nor any grief. How else could peace be defined: A fearless and a griefless life paradise.
Vs 113 The Jews and the Christians read their respective books Torah and Injeel in which there must have been cross references about each others religion. Even then they make adverse comment against each other like those who had no knowledge. Allah (SWT) will pronounce His judgment on the day of judgment, in matters in which they differed.
Vs 114 Mosques are meant for offering Salat with the aim of remembering Allah (SWT) (20:14). Enemies of Islam probably thought that they could turn away Muslims from Islam either by stopping them from entering Mosques or directly ruining the Mosques. So Allah (SWT) is questioning as to who is more unjust than one who does this when it was actually required of them to enter Mosques fearing Him, He therefore declares that for such people there will be disgrace in this world and severe punishment in the hereafter.
Vs 115 If Muslims are stopped from visiting Mosques or if Mosques are destroyed, even then, because Allah (SWT) is present everywhere paying attention to everything, all the time. He knows one who pray to or remembers Him. He is Omni present and Ommi scient. The point that is probably stressed here is that one who is determined to remember Allah (SWT), totally submitting to Him, can do so anywhere and any time in case he is stopped from worshipping in Mosques or if Mosques are destroyed i.e. these evil deeds of the enemies of Islam cannot and should not turn away Muslims from Islam.
Vs 116–117 Human beings have attachments with their relatives and the maximum attachment they have is with their children. This attachment is so strong that in some cases parents become partial towards their children while executing justice and even adopt wrong practices for their welfare. Besides, parents in their old age become dependant on their children, specially on sons. A son is therefore liable to make his father act unjustly and also dependable on him in his (i.e. father’s) old age. Contrary to this everything in the Universe obeys Allah (SWT) (20:116). He is Independent (10:68), the whole creation depends on Him (112:2) and He is the Best of all judges (95:8), it therefore neither befits His majesty to have a son (19:92) nor does He need one, Isa (PBH) was a messenger of Allah and not His son (4:171, 6:101). Many people considered and still consider Isa (PBH) as son of Allah (SWT) probably because he was born without a father. This doubt of such people is clarified by Allah (SWT) that He is the Originator of the Universe, having brought it into existence from nothing. This confirms the latest finding of scientists that the Universe was created from nothing reported in the Indian newspaper ‘The Hindu dated 11th April 1996. When Allah (SWT) intends to create something He just says ‘Be’ to it and it is created. This appears to be the manner in which the whole Universe was created and later on Isa (PBH) was created (19:35). When Zakariyya (PBH), on being informed of the birth of a son Yahya (PBH) had asked Allah (SWT) as to how he could have a son when his wife was barren and he was extremely old, He had replied, “It is easy for Me and I had created you before when you were nothing. “ (19:8-9). Therefore the birth of Isa (PBH) without the agency of a father was just a miracle performed by Allah (SWT). Isa (PBH) was created in response to the order ‘Be’, of Allah (SWT) communicated through Jibraeel (PBH) to Maryam (PBH) and he was not His son.
Vs 118–119 Prophet Muhammed (PBH) was sent with the Quran containing the truth, to give good news of paradise to the believers and warn the sinners that they would be punished in hell. But the ignorant people demanded that instead of a human being Allah (SWT) Himself should come and directly speak to them or prophet Muhammed (PBH) should perform a miracle to prove the truth of his prophet hood. Similar demands were made by people who lived earlier and to whom Prophets were sent because their mentalities are similar. Musa and Isa (PBT) had come to them with clear signs in the form of miracles as proofs of their Prophet hood (2:87 & 92). There is information in the Torah and the Injeel that Prophet Muhammed (PBH) is the messenger of Allah then why do they not believe. Besides, all the statements in the Quran are clear signs that the book is of Divine origin. No human being can give such precise and correct information on topics ranging from history to science. These are clear signs of Muhammed (PBH) being the messenger of Allah and the Quran being the message of Allah for people who are certain of the existence of Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, accountability of deeds in the life after death and destiny. Prophet Muhammed (PBH) is not answerable for those who did not respond to him and the message he was sent with i.e. the Quran.
Vs. 120 Jews and Christians have altered their original books in accordance with their desires. If one follows the religion thus dictated by them just to please them, especially after having got the information of these alterations through the Quran (4:46), then he will neither have a guardian nor a helper from Allah (SWT). Now that the Quran, the final Divine guidance protected by Allah (SWT) Himself (15:9) has been revealed to prophet Muhammed (PBH) the last messenger of Allah, the guidance contained in it is ‘The right guidance. Books other than the Quran do not contain the right guidance because they have been altered by human beings.
Vs 121 While discussing verse No. 44 we had seen that the term ‘Tilawat-i-Quran’ conveys the sense of reading and studying the Quran with the intention of practically implementing it in our lives in such a manner as to reflect it through our deeds as prophet Muhammed (PBH) is reported to have done. Allah (SWT) is probably certifying that those to whom He gave the Quran i.e. Prophet Muhammed (PBH) and his companions (R.A), implemented it as it deserved to be implemented, therefore they were the real believers in the Quran. Those who do not believe in it in this manner that is, those who do not read, understand and implement the Quran in their lives as to reflecting it through their deeds, then they are the real losers.
Vs 122-123 These verses are similar to Verses 47 – 48 with slight changes.
Vs 124 Prophet Ibrahim (PBH) was made a leader of or model for mankind only after Allah (SWT) had tested him and he had successfully passed all the tests. When Ibrahim (PBH) was informed that he would be made the leader of or model for mankind, he inquired about his off – spring. Allah (SWT) replied that his agreement does not include those who would be unjust among his off-spring. This indicates that a person cannot be accepted as a Momin or Muslim just because of his birth in a Muslim family, he has to prove himself to be a Momin or Muslim as Ibrahim (PBH) did though his father was an idol worshipper.
Vs 125 ‘Masabatun’ means a resort, a place which is visited or a place where people gather repeatedly. Allah (SWT) states that He made the Kaaba such a place. History is a proof of this fact that since centuries there have been continuous streams of people visiting the Kaaba and there is hardly any time of the day or the night when it is free from visitors, still the place is full of peace. Allah (SWT) orders the visitors to offer salat near the place where Ibrahim (PBH) had stood to construct the walls of the Kaaba.
The ‘Muqaam-i-Ibrahim’ or the place where Ibrahim (PBH) stood is near the present building of Kaaba, it is a stone with imprints of his feet, now enclosed in a glass case.
Ibrahim and Ismael (PBT) were asked to clean Allah (SWT)’s house i.e. Kaaba, probably by removing all unclean and unwanted things from its premises, so that visitors could go round Kaaba, stay there for a duration or offer Salat in a peaceful and clean atmosphere.
The term ‘Baitii’ translated as ‘My house’ meaning Allah (SWT)’s house could give rise to a misunderstanding that Allah (SWT) is localized and confined to His house as we are. Contrary to this Allah (SWT) is Omni present i.e. He is present everywhere all the time (2:115). The word ‘Bait’ is normally translated as ‘a house,’ but an associated word ‘Yubaiyyituna’ conveys the sense that ‘They spend the night in discussing secrets when others are not watching them’. (4:108) Therefore ‘Baitullah’ or the ‘House of Allah’ would convey the sense of a place where you secretly communicate with Allah (SWT) with no external disturbance, where no one else has access to what you are asking from Him, a place where you have privacy with Allah (SWT) as you have in your houses compared to roads and market places.
Vs 126 Ibrahim (PBH) prayed to Allah (SWT) for making Mecca, the city were Kaaba is located, secure and peaceful and to provide only those people with fruits who believe in Allah (SWT) and the life after death. He probably excluded other people from his prayer because when he had earlier asked about his off-spring being made leaders or models, Allah (SWT) had excluded the unjust from His agreement (2:124). This exhibits the caution exercised by Ibrahim (PBH), he did not like displeasing Allah (SWT) in any way. But Allah (SWT) replied that He would provide a little even to the infidels then He would drive them towards the punishment of fire i.e. hell which is an evil place as a destination. The point that becomes quite obvious from this verse is, that as far as provision i.e. ‘Rizkh’ is concerned Allah (SWT) provides it to everyone, irrespective of his belief or religion, whether he is a believer in His existence or an atheist, but as far as selecting people for His work i.e. leading the community to follow Islam is concerned, He does not select the unjust (2:124).
Vs 127 Ibrahim and Ismael (PBT) were raising the foundations of the Kaaba obviously in compliance with the orders of Allah (SWT), still they were praying to Him for acceptance and acknowledgement of their work invoking His attributes of hearing and knowing. This clearly shows that the success of a work depends on its acceptance and acknowledgement as good by Allah (SWT), if He does not accept or acknowledge a work as good, then the whole effort becomes a waste.
Vs 128 Although Ibrahim and Ismael (PBT) were Muslims having submitted to Allah (SWT), yet they were praying to Him to make them and their descendents submissive to Him, submissive probably referring to their own future. This shows that we too should keep praying to Allah (SWT) to keep us and our descendents established on Islam. They further prayed to Allah (SWT) for showing them the right ways of devotion to Him and to turn to them mercifully invoking His Attributes of acceptance of repentance and mercy.
Vs. 129 They further prayed for a messenger to be raised from their descendents i.e. Muhammed (PBH):
1) who would read, himself follow the message of Allah and thus reflect (Tilawat) the Quran to them by his faith and deed,
2) teach them the laws (Kitab) of Islam,
3) demonstrate the method of practically implementing the laws (Hikmat) and
4) purify and develop them into good Muslim (Tazkiyah).
Their prayer was accepted after 4,000 and odd years but with a slight change in the sequence of items prayed for. Purification and growth into good Muslim was given the second place instead of fourth (2:151), what we learn from this is sometimes Allah (SWT) delays the time of acceptance of prayers whereas sometimes the prayer is accepted immediately as in the case of Musa (PBH) asking for strengthening him with Haruun (PBH) (20:25–36). Sometimes Allah (SWT) sanctions the items prayed for after effecting corrections. ‘Tazkiyah’ meaning purification and growth is associated with ‘Nafs’ i.e. the soul or conscious self (91:7–10) which is the driving force for the body. Belief too is associated with Nafs (10:100). So it is the ‘Nafs’ the conscious inner self’ that should first be purified from all evils like infidelity, hypocrisy, polytheism etc. so that pure belief in Allah could be accommodated. This pure belief in Allah would then become the correct driving force for ordering the body to act in accordance with the Quran and instructions of Prophet Muhammed (PBH). Early Meccan revelations too concentrated on belief and later Madina revelations were about practical implementation of the religious laws.
Vs. 130–132 One who does something wrong but presumes that he is doing the right thing, fools himself, in this sense not following the religion dictated by Ibrahim (PBH) i.e. Islam, is fooling oneself. Ibrahim (PBH) was selected by Allah (SWT) as a Prophet and His friend in this world and due to his right belief and good deeds he would be among the righteous in the hereafter. His merit was that when he was asked to submit, he submitted to Allah (SWT), the Fosterer of the worlds by obeying all His orders and he enjoined the same on his sons and grandson Yaqoob, ( Israel ) (PBT) that Islam is the religion selected for them by Allah (SWT) and they should die only as Muslims. No one knows the time of one’s death, therefore one should spend every moment of one’s life as a Muslim anticipating death any moment, so that he could meet death as a Muslim.
Vs 133–134 Yaqoob (PBH) or Israel the grandson of Ibrahim (PBH) had made his sons i.e. the Bani Israel to commit to him before his death that they would serve only one God, the God of their forefathers Ibrahim, Ismael and Ishaq (PBT) and that they would be Muslims. These Prophets were the fore fathers of the Bani Israel addressed in the Quran, when they had served only one God and were Muslims then why was it that the Bani Israel who lived during the period of Prophet Muhammed (PBH) did not accept Islam. For those Prophets would be the reward for what they earned and for the later generation what they earned and they will not be questioned about the deeds of their forefathers, they will be questioned only about their own deeds.
Vs No. 135–137 On the invitation of the Jews and Christians to join their religion for guidance Muslims are directed to reply that they would follow the religion dictated by Ibrahim (PBH) because Ibrahim (PBH) was an upright man and not a polytheist like them. They are ordered to further declare that they believe not only in the Quran but all the Divine messages sent to other Prophets without making any distinction between them and that they have submitted to Allah (SWT) as Muslims. If the Jews and Christians also agree to believe in the manner in which Muslims believe then they would be considered as those who have received guidance contrary to this if they turn away from Islam then they are opponents of Muslims and Allah (SWT) is sufficient to help the Muslim against them.
Vs. 138 Christians baptize their children by sprinkling on them so called holy or red coloured water which marks the entry of the child into Christianity. By observing this formality of performing the ceremony of baptism they believe that they have transformed the child into a Christian. Allah (SWT) is asking the Owners of the book as to who could be better than Him in transforming or characterizing human beings by giving them His colour. What are the signs exhibited by human beings who received His colour. The answer appears to be given in last four words of the verse under discussion, the translation of which is ‘And we are His servants (or worshippers)’. Those who receive His colour are His servants. These servants of Allah exhibit their internal belief and faith in Allah (SWT) through their external righteous deeds (42:22–23). A person who thus receives the colour of Allah is completely transformed both internally and externally and this transformation makes him to believe and act in accordance with the instructions given in the Quran and the teachings of Prophet Muhammed (PBH), which is quite different from the ceremonial baptism practiced by the Christians.
Vs. 139 The Jews considered Uzair (PBH) and the Christians Isa (PBH) as son of Allah and they regarded their priests and monks and also Isa (PBH) as their Fosterers (9:30– 31). They are therefore asked not to argue in this regard because Allah (SWT) is the Fosterer, Cherisher, Sustainer, Maintainer etc Who provides for all, be they Muslims, Jews, Christians, hypocrites, polytheists or infidels. This fact should have served as a common basis for the unity of the whole human race in addition to their being the children of common parents Adam and Hawwa (PBT).
The Jews and the Christians argued that the home of the hereafter, meaning paradise, was exclusively for them (2:94) and only they are the rightly guided lot (2:135). Therefore Prophet Muhammed (PBH) is asked to make it clear to them that Muslims are responsible for their deeds i.e. everyone is responsible for his own deeds and not of others. Besides, Muslims are exclusively His i.e. they serve or worship only Him and no one else, having been coloured by Him in His colour as discussed above.
Vs. 140 Musa and Isa (PBT) were sent to the Bani Israel, and both these Prophets being descendents of Ibrahim, Ishaq and Yaqoob or Israel (PBH) came after them then how can people who lived before Musa and Isa (PBT) be considered as Jews or Christians? They are therefore questioned, whether their knowledge of history is correct or Allah (SWT)’s, Who precisely knows everything, everywhere. Jews and Christians, as discussed earlier, knew from their Divine books that Muhammed (PBH) was the messenger of Allah but they were hiding this testimony and thus acting unjustly. They are informed that Allah (SWT) is not unaware of all that they are doing
Vs. 141 is repetition of Vs. 134 discussed earlier.
Part one completed.