Surah Al-A’raf Ayat 123 – 179

{123. Firawn said: “You have believed in him [Musa] before I gave you permission. Surely, this is a plot which you have plotted in the city to drive out its people, but you shall come to know.”

124. “Surely, I will cut off your hands and your feet from opposite sides, then I will crucify you all.”

125. They said: “Verily, we are returning to our Lord.”

126. “And you take vengeance on us only because we believed in the Ayat of our Lord when they reached us! Our Lord! pour out on us patience, and cause us to die as Muslims.”}

Firawn threatens the Magicians after They believed in Musa and Their Response to Him

Allah mentions the threats that the Firawn – may Allah curse him – made to the magicians after they believed Musa, peace be upon him, and the deceit and cunning that Firawn showed the people. Firawn said, “Surely, this is a plot which you have plotted in the city to drive out its people” meaning Firawn proclaimed, ‘Musa’s defeating you today was because you plotted with him and agreed to that.’ Firawn also said, “He (Musa) is your chief who has taught you magic.” (20:71) However, Firawn and all those who had any sense of reason knew for sure that what Firawn said was utterly false. As soon as Musa came from Madyan, he called Firawn to Allah and demonstrated tremendous miracles and clear proofs for the Truth that he brought. Firawn then sent emissaries to various cities of his kingdom and collected magicians who were scattered throughout Egypt. Firawn and his people chose from them, summoned them, and Firawn promised them great rewards. These magicians were very eager to prevail over Musa in front of Firawn, so that they might become closer to him. Musa neither knew any of them nor saw or met them before. Firawn knew that, but he claimed otherwise to deceive the ignorant masses of his kingdom, just as Allah described them, “Thus he [Firawn] fooled his people, and they obeyed him.” (43:54) Certainly, a people who believed Firawn in his statement, “I am your lord, most high.” (79:24), are among the most ignorant and misguided creatures of Allah.

In his Tafsir, As-Suddi reported that Ibn Masud, Ibn Abbas, and several other Companions, commented, “Surely, this is a plot which you have plotted in the city…” “Musa met the leader of the magicians and said to him, ‘If I defeat you, will you believe in me and bear witness that what I brought is the truth’ The magician said, ‘Tomorrow, I will produce a type of magic that cannot be defeated by another magic. By Allah! If you defeat me, I will believe in you and testify to your truth.’ Firawn was watching them, and this is why he said what he said.” (At-Tabari 13:33) His statement, “to drive out its people”, means, so that you all cooperate to gain influence and power, replacing the chiefs and masters of this land. In this case, power in the state will be yours, “but you shall come to know”, what I will do to you. He then explained his threat, “Surely, I will cut off your hands and your feet from opposite sides.” by cutting the right hand and the left leg or the opposite, “then I will crucify you all.” just as he said in another Ayah, “Fi the trunks of date palms” (20:71), Fi in this Ayah means “on”. Ibn Abbas said that Firawn was the first to crucify and cut off hands and legs on opposite sides. (At-Tabari 13:34) The magicians said, “Verily, we are returning to our Lord.” They said, ‘We are now sure that we will go back to Allah. Certainly, Allah’s punishment is more severe than your punishment and His torment for what you are calling us to, this day, and the magic you forced us to practice, is greater than your torment. Therefore, we will observe patience in the face of your punishment today, so that we are saved from Allah’s torment.’ They continued, “Our Lord! Pour out on us patience”, with your religion and being firm in it, “and cause us to die as Muslims.”, as followers of Your Prophet Musa, peace be upon him. They also said to Firawn, “So decide whatever you desire to decree, for you can only decide for the life of this world. Verily, we have believed in our Lord, that He may forgive us our faults, and the magic to which you did compel us. And Allah is better [to reward] and more lasting [in punishment]. Verily, whoever comes to his Lord as a criminal, then surely, for him is Hell, wherein he will neither die nor live. But whoever comes to Him (Allah) as a believer, and has done righteous good deeds, for such are the high ranks (in the Hereafter).” (20:72-75).

The magicians started the day as sorcerers and ended as honorable martyrs! Ibn Abbas, Ubayd bin Umayr, Qatadah and Ibn Jurayj commented, “They started the day as sorcerers and ended it as martyrs.” (At-Tabari 13:36)

 

{127. The chiefs of Firawn’s people said: “Will you leave Musa and his people to spread mischief in the land, and to abandon you and your gods?” He said: “We will kill their sons, and let their women live, and we have indeed irresistible power over them.”

128. Musa said to his people: “Seek help in Allah and be patient. Verily, the earth is Allah’s. He gives it as a heritage to whom He wills of His servants; and the (blessed) end is for the pious and righteous persons.”

129. They said: “We suffered troubles before you came to us, and since you have come to us.” He said: “It may be that your Lord will destroy your enemy and make you successors on the earth, so that He may see how you act”}

Firawn vows to kill the Children of Israel, Who complain to Musa; Allah promises Them Victory

Allah mentions the conspiracy of Firawn and his people, their ill intentions and their hatred for Musa and his people. “The chiefs of Firawn’s people said”, to Firawn, “Will you leave Musa and his people”, will you let them be free, “to spread mischief in the land”, spreading unrest among your subjects and calling them to worship their Lord instead of you Amazingly, these people were worried that Musa and his people would cause mischief! Rather, Firawn and his people are the mischief-makers, but they did not realize it. They said, “and to abandon you and your gods?” ‘Your gods’, according to Ibn Abbas, as As-Suddi narrated from him, “Were cows. Whenever they saw a beautiful cow, Firawn would command them to worship it. This is why As-Samiri, made the statue of a calf that seemed to moo for the Children of Israel.” (At-Tabari 13:38) Firawn accepted his people’s recommendation, saying, “We will kill their sons, and let their women live” thus reiterating his previous order concerning the Children of Israel. He had tormented them [killing every newly born male] before Musa was born, so that Musa would not live. However, the opposite of what Firawn sought and intended occurred. The same end struck Firawn that he intended to subjugate and humiliate the Children of Israel with. Allah gave victory to the Children of Israel, humiliated and disgraced Firawn, and caused him to drown along with his soldiers.

When Firawn insisted on his evil plot against the Children of Israel, “Musa said to his people: “Seek help in Allah and be patient” and promised them that the good end will be theirs and that they will prevail, saying, “Verily, the earth is Allah’s. He gives it as a heritage to whom He wills of His servants; and the (blessed) end is for the pious and righteous persons.” They said: “We suffered troubles before you came to us, and since you have come to us.”

The Children of Israel replied to Musa, ‘they (Firawn and his people) inflicted humiliation and disgrace on us, some you witnessed, both before and after you came to us, O Musa’! Musa replied, reminding them of their present situation and how it will change in the future, “It may be that your Lord will destroy your enemy…” encouraging them to appreciate Allah when the afflictions are removed and replaced by a bounty.

{130. And indeed We punished the people of Firawn with years of drought and lack of fruits (crops), that they might remember (take heed).

131. But whenever good came to them, they said: “This is for us.” And if evil afflicted them, they considered it an omen about Musa and those with him. Be informed! Verily, their omens are with Allah but most of them know not.}

 

Firawn and His People suffer Years of Drought

Allah said, And indeed We punished the people of Firawn” We tested and tried them, “with years of drought” of famine due to little produce, “and lack of fruits”, which is less severe, according to Mujahid. (At-Tabari 13:46) Abu Ishaq narrated that Raja bin Haywah said, “The date tree used to produce only one date!” (At-Tabari 13:46)  “That they might remember (take heed). But whenever good came to them” such as a fertile season and provisions, “they said, “This is for us.”, because we deserve it, “and if evil afflicted them” drought and famine, “they considered it an omen Musa and those with him.” saying that this hardship is because of them and what they have done. “Verily, their omens are with Allah” Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas commented on the Ayah, “Verily, their omens are with Allah” “Allah says that their afflictions are with and from Him, “but most of them know not.” (At-Tabari 13:48)

{132. They said [to Musa] : “What ever Ayat you may bring to us, to work therewith your sorcery on us, we shall never believe in you.”

133. So We sent on them: the Tuwfan, the locusts, the Qummal, the frogs, and the blood (as a succession of) manifest signs, yet they remained arrogant, and they were of those people who were criminals.

134. And when the punishment struck them, they said: “O Musa! Invoke your Lord for us because of His promise to you. If you remove the punishment from us, we indeed shall believe in you, and we shall let the Children of Israel go with you.”

135. But when We removed the punishment from them for a fixed term, which they had to reach, behold! They broke their word!}

Allah punishes the People of Firawn because of Their Rebellion

Allah describes the rebellion, tyranny, defiance of the truth and insistence on falsehood of the people of Firawn, prompting them to proclaim, “Whatever Ayat you may bring to us, to work therewith your sorcery on us, we shall never believe in you.” They said, ‘whatever miracle, proof and evidence you bring us, we will neither accept it from you nor believe in you or what you came with.’ Allah said, “So We sent on them the Tufan”

Ibn Abbas commented; “It was a heavy rain that ruined the produce and fruits.” He is also reported to have said that Tuwfan refers to mass death. Mujahid said it is water that carries the plague every where. As for the locust, it is the well-known insect, which is permissible to eat. It is recorded in the Two Sahihs, that Abu Yafur said that he asked Abdullah bin Abi Awfa about locust. He said, “We participated in seven battles with the Messenger of Allah , and we used to eat locusts.” (Fath Al-Bari 9:535 and Muslim 3:1546) Ash-Shafi`i, Ahmad bin Hanbal and Ibn Majah recorded from Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam that his father narrated from Ibn Umar that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”We were allowed two dead animals and two [kinds of] blood: fish and locust, and kidney and spleen.” (Musnad Ash-Shaf’i 2:173, Ahmad 2:97 and Ibn Majah 2:1073)

Ibn Abi Najih narrated from Mujahid about Allah’s statement, ”So We sent on them: the flood, the locusts …” “Eating the nails on their doors and leaving the wood.” (At-Tabari 13:68) As for the Qummal, Ibn Abbas said that it is the grain bug, (At-Tabari 13:54) or, according to another view; small locusts that do not have wings. (At-Tabari 13:54) Similar was reported from Mujahid, Ikrimah and Qatadah. Al-Hasan and Said bin Jubayr said that ‘Qummal’ are small black insects. (At-Tabari 13:55) Abu Jafar bin Jarir recorded that Said bin Jubayr said, “When Musa came to Firawn, he demanded, ‘Release the Children of Israel to me.’ But, Firawn did not comply; and Allah sent the Tuwfan, and that is a rain which continued until they feared that it was a form of torment. They said to Musa, ‘Invoke your Lord to release us from this rain, and we will believe in you and send the Children of Israel with you.’ Musa invoked his Lord and He removed the affliction from them. However, they did not believe, nor did they send the Children of Israel with him. In that year, Allah allowed (the earth) to grow various types of produce, fruits and grass for them as never before. They said, ‘This is what we hoped for.’ So Allah sent the locusts, and the locusts started to feed on the grass. When they saw the effect the locusts had on the grass, they knew that no vegetation would be saved from devastation. They said, ‘O Musa! Invoke your Lord so that He will remove the locusts from us, and we will believe in you and release the Children of Israel to you.’ Musa invoked his Lord, and He removed the locusts. Still, they did not believe and did not send the Children of Israel with him.

They collected grains and kept them in their homes. They said, ‘We saved our crops.’ However, Allah sent the Qummal, grain bugs, and one of them would take ten bags of grains to the mill, but only reap three small bags of grain. They said, ‘O Musa! Ask your Lord to remove the Qummal (weevil) from us and we will believe in you and send the Children of Israel with you.’ Musa invoked his Lord, and Allah removed the Qummal from them. However, they did not send the Children of Israel with him. Once, when he was with Firawn, Musa heard the sound of a frog and said to Firawn, ‘What will you and your people suffer from this (the frogs)?’ Firawn said, ‘What can frogs do?’ Yet, by the time that night arrived a person would be sitting in a crowd of frogs that reached up to his chin and could not open his mouth to speak without a frog jumping in it. They said to Musa, ‘Invoke your Lord to remove these frogs from us, and we will believe in you and send the Children of Israel with you.’ Musa invoked his Lord, but they did not believe.

Allah then sent blood that filled the rivers, wells and the water containers they had. They complained to Firawn, saying, ‘We are inflicted with blood and do not have anything to drink.’ He said, ‘Musa has bewitched you.’ They said, ‘How could he do that when whenever we look for water in our containers we found that it has turned into blood?’ They came to Musa and said, ‘Invoke your Lord to save us from this blood, and we will believe in you and send the Children of Israel with you.’ Musa invoked his Lord and the blood stopped, but they did not believe nor send the Children of Israel with him.” A similar account was attributed to Ibn Abbas, As-Suddi, Qatadah and several others among the Salaf. Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar said, “The enemy of Allah, Firawn, went back defeated and humiliated, after the sorcerers believed (in Musa). He insisted on remaining in disbelief and persisted in wickedness. Allah sent down the signs to him, and he (and his people) were first inflicted by famine. Allah then sent the flood, the locusts, the Qummal, the frogs then blood, as consecutive signs. When Allah sent the flood, it filled the surface of the earth with water. But the water level receded, and they could not make use of it to till the land or do anything else. They became hungry. This is when, “They said: “O Musa! Invoke your Lord for us because of His promise to you. If you remove the punishment from us, we indeed shall believe in you, and we shall let the Children of Israel go with you.” Musa invoked his Lord and He removed the affliction from them, but they did not keep their promises. So Allah sent locusts that ate the trees and consumed the nails on their doors, until the doors fell from their homes and residences. They again said what they said to Musa before, and he called on his Lord and He removed the affliction. Still, they did not keep their promises, and Allah sent the Qummal. Musa, peace be upon him, was commanded to go to a mound and strike it with his staff. So Musa went to a huge mound, struck it with his staff and the Qummal fell out of it in tremendous numbers, until they overwhelmed the houses and food reserves, ultimately depriving them of sleep and rest. When they suffered under this affliction, they said similar to what they said before, and Musa invoked his Lord and He removed the affliction. They did not keep their promise and Allah sent the frogs to them, and they filled the houses, foods and pots. One of them would not pick up a piece of clothing, or uncover some food, without finding frogs in it. When this affliction became hard on them, they made similar promises as before, Musa supplicated to his Lord and Allah removed the affliction. They did not keep any of the promises they made, and Allah sent the blood, and the waters of the people of Firawn turned to blood. Any water they collected from a well, a river, or a container, turned to blood.” (At-Tabari 13:63)

 

{136. So We took retribution from them. We drowned them in the sea, because they belied Our Ayat and were heedless with them.

137. And We made the people who were considered weak to inherit the eastern parts of the land and the western parts thereof which We have blessed. And the fair Word of your Lord was fulfilled for the Children of Israel, because of their endurance. And We destroyed what Firawn and his people produced, and what they erected.}

The People of Firawn drown in the Sea; the Children of Israel inherit the Holy Land

Allah states that when the people of Firawn rebelled and transgressed, even though He inflicted them with consecutive signs, one after another, He took retribution from them by drowning them in the sea that Musa parted by Allah’s power, and he and the Children of Israel passed through. In their pursuit, Firawn and his soldiers went in the sea chasing Musa and his people. When they all had gone inside the water, the sea closed in on them and they all drowned, because they belied the Ayat of Allah and were heedless of them. Allah said that He has granted the people who were considered weak, the Children of Israel, to inherit the eastern and western parts of the land. Al-Hasan Al-Basri and Qatadah commented that Allah’s statement , “…the eastern parts of the land and the western parts thereof which We have blessed.” refers to the Sham area (Greater Syria). Also, Mujahid and Ibn Jarir said that Allah’s statement, “And the fair Word of your Lord was fulfilled for the Children of Israel, because of their endurance.” is explained by Allah’s other statement, “And We wished to do a favor to those who were weak (and oppressed) in the land, and to make them rulers and to make them the inheritors. And to establish them in the land, and We let Firawn and Haman and their hosts receive from them that which they feared” (28:5-6). Further, Allah’s statement, “And We destroyed what Firawn and his people produced” meaning, We destroyed what Firawn and his people produced, such as agriculture and buildings. “and what they erected.” Ibn Abbas and Mujahid said that “they erected” means, they built.

{138. And We brought the Children of Israel (with safety) across the sea, and they came upon a people devoted to some of their idols (in worship). They said: “O Musa! Make for us a god as they have gods.” He said: “Verily, you are an ignorant people.”

139. [Musa added] “Verily, these people will be destroyed for that which they are engaged in (idols’ worship). And all that they are doing is in vain.”}

The Children of Israel safely cross the Sea, but still held on to the Idea of Idol Worshipping

Allah mentions the words that the ignorant ones among the Children of Israel uttered to Musa after they crossed the sea and witnessed Allah’s Ayat and great power.“And they came upon a people devoted to some of their idols (in worship).” Some scholars of Tafsir said that the people mentioned here were from Canaan, or from the tribe of Lakhm. Ibn Jarir commented, “They were worshipping idols that they made in the shape of cows, and this influenced the Children of Israel later when they worshipped the calf. They said here, “O Musa! Make for us a god as they have gods.” He said: “Verily, you are an ignorant people.” (At-Tabari 13:80) Musa replied, you are ignorant of Allah’s greatness and majesty and His purity from any partners or anything resembling Him.

“Verily, these people will be destroyed for that which they are engaged in” they will perish, “and all that they are doing is in vain.” Commenting on this Ayah, Imam Abu Jafar bin Jarir reported from Abu Waqid Al-Laythi that they (the Companions) went out from Makkah with the Messenger of Allah for (the battle of) Hunayn. Abu Waqid said, “Some of the disbelievers had a lote tree whose vicinity they used to remain in, and upon which they would hang their weapons on. That tree was called ‘Dhat Al-Anwat’. So when we passed by a huge, green lote tree, we said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Appoint for us a Dhat Al-Anwat as they have.’ He said,”By He in Whose Hand is my soul! You said just as what the people of Musa said to him: “Make for us a god as they have gods.” He said: “Verily, you are an ignorant people. Verily, these people will be destroyed for that which they are engaged in, and all that they are doing is in vain.” (At-Tabari 13:82)

{140. He said: “Shall I seek for you an ilah (a god) other than Allah, while He has given you superiority over the nations?”

141. And (remember) when We rescued you from Firawn’s people, who were afflicting you with the worst torment, killing your sons and letting your women live. And in that was a great trial from your Lord.}

 

Reminding the Children of Israel of Allah’s Blessings for Them

Musa reminded the Children of Israel of Allah’s blessings, such as saving them from Firawn, his tyranny and the humiliation and disgrace they suffered. He reminded them of the glory and revenge against their enemy, when they watched them suffering in disgrace, destroyed by drowning and meeting utter demise. We mentioned this subject in the Tafsir of Surat Al-Baqarah. [See the Tafsir of Surah Al-Baqarah2:49-50]

 

{142. And We appointed for Musa thirty nights and added ten, and he completed the term, appointed by his Lord, of forty nights. And Musa said to his brother Harun: “Replace me among my people, act in the right way and follow not the way of the mischief-makers.”}

Musa fasts and worships Allah for Forty Days

Allah reminds the Children of Israel of the guidance that He sent to them by speaking directly to Musa and revealing the Tawrah to him. In it, was their law and the details of their legislation. Allah stated here that He appointed thirty nights for Musa. The scholars of Tafsir said that Musa fasted this period, and when they ended, Musa cleaned his teeth with a twig. Allah commanded him to complete the term adding ten more days, making the total forty. When the appointed term finished, Musa was about to return to Mount Tur, as Allah said, “O Children of Israel! We delivered you from your enemy, and We made a covenant with you on the right side of the Mount” (20:80). Musa left his brother Harun with the Children of Israel and commanded him to use wisdom and refrain from mischief. This was only a reminder, for Harun was an honorable and noble Prophet who had grace and exalted standard with Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him and the rest of the Prophets.

 

{143. And when Musa came at the time and place appointed by Us, and his Lord (Allah) spoke to him; he said: “O my Lord! Show me (Yourself), that I may look upon You.” Allah said: “You cannot see Me, but look upon the mountain; if it stands still in its place then you shall see Me.” So when his Lord appeared to the mountain, He made it collapse to dust, and Musa fell down unconscious. Then when he recovered his senses he said: “Glory be to You, I turn to You in repentance and I am the first of the believers.”}

 

Musa asks to see Allah

Allah said that when Musa came for His appointment and spoke to Him directly, he asked to see Him, “O my Lord! Show me (Yourself), that I may look upon You.” Allah said: “You cannot see Me,” ‘You cannot’ (Lan) by no means indicates that seeing Allah will never occur, as (the misguided sect of) Al-Mutazilah claimed. The Hadiths of Mutawatir grade [having numerous narrators in every link of every chain] narrated from the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, affirm that the believers will see Allah in the Hereafter. We will mention these Hadiths under the explanation of Allah’s statement, “Some faces that Day shall be radiant. Looking at their Lord.” (75:22-23)

In earlier Scriptures, it was reported that Allah said to Musa, “O Musa! No living soul sees Me, but will perish, and no solid but will be demolished.” (Al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah 3:112) Allah said here, “So when his Lord appeared to the mountain, He made it collapse to dust, and Musa fell down unconscious.” In his Musnad Imam Ahmad recorded from Anas bin Malik that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said about Allah’s saying;

“And when his Lord appeared to the mountain,”

“Like this” then he held out the tip of his little finger. (Ahmad 3:125) At-Tirmidhi recorded this in the chapter of Tafsir for this Ayah, then he said; “This Hadith is Hasan Sahih Gharib.” (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 8:451)

This was also recorded by Al-Hakim in his Mustadrak through the route of Hamad bin Salamah, and he said; “This Hadith is Sahih according to the criteria of Muslim and they did not record it.” (Al-Hakim 2:320)  And As-Suddi reported that Ikrimah reported from Ibn Abbas about Allah’s saying, “And when his Lord appeared to the mountain” Only the extent of the little finger appeared from Him, “He made it collapse” as dust; “And Musa fell down unconscious” fainting from it. Ibn Jarir recorded these because of the relation to the word Al-Ghashi. (At-Tabari 13:97)

“Then when he (Musa) recovered his senses” after he lost consciousness, he said: “Glory be to You,” thus, praising, glorifying and honoring Allah since no living soul could see Him in this life and remain alive. Musa’ statement, “I turn to You in repentance” means, according to Mujahid, that from asking you to look at you, “and I am the first of the believers.”, among the Children of Israel, according to Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, and Ibn Jarir preferred this view. Or, according to another narration from Ibn Abbas, the meaning of, “and I am the first of the believers.”, is that ‘none shall see You (in this life).’ Allah said, “And Musa fell down unconscious.” Abu Said Al-Khudri and Abu Hurayrah narrated a Hadith from the Prophet that is suitable to mention here. As for the Hadith from Abu Said, Al-Bukhari recorded in his Sahih that he said: A Jew came to the Prophet after his face was smacked, and said, “O Muhammad! One of your companions from Al-Ansar smacked me on the face.” The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Summon him”

and he was summoned. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, asked him,

“Why did you smack his face?”

He said, “O Allah’s Messenger! I passed by that Jew and heard him swearing, ‘No, by He Who has chosen Musa over mankind!’ I said, ‘Over Muhammad too’, and I became angry and struck his face.” The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Do not prefer me above the Prophets. Verily, on the Day of Resurrection, people will be struck unconscious, and I (feel that I) am the first to wake up. Thereupon I will find that Musa is holding onto a pillar of the Throne (Arsh of Allah). I will not know if he woke up before me or he received his due (because of his) unconsciousness on (Mount) At-Tur.”

Al-Bukhari recorded this Hadith in many locations of his Sahih, as did Muslim and Abu Dawud. As for the Hadith from Abu Hurayrah, Imam Ahmad and the Two Shaykhs (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) collected his narration.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 4 Pages 139-159

{144. (Allah) said: “O Musa, I have chosen you above men by My Messages, and by My speaking (to you). So hold that which I have given you and be of the grateful.”

145. And We wrote for him on the Tablets the exhortation all things and the explanation for all things (and said): Hold unto these with firmness, and enjoin your people to take the better therein. I shall show you the home of the rebellious.}

Allah chooses Musa and gives Him the Tablets

Allah states that He spoke to Musa directly and informed him that He has chosen him above the people of his time, by His Message and by speaking to him.

Here we should mention that there is no doubt that Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, is the chief of all the Children of Adam, the earlier and later ones among them. This is why Allah has chosen him to be the Final and Last Prophet and Messenger, whose Law shall remain dominant and valid until the commencement of the Last Hour. Muhammad’s followers are more numerous than the followers of all Prophets and Messengers. After Muhammad , the next in rank of honor and virtue is Ibrahim upon him be peace, then Musa, son of Imran, who spoke to the Most Beneficent directly. Allah commanded Musa, saying, “So hold to that which I have given you”, of My Speech and conversation with you, “and be of the grateful” , for it and do not ask for what is beyond your capacity to bear.

Allah stated that He has written lessons and exhortation for all things and explanations for all things on the Tablets. It was said that in the Tablets, Allah wrote advice and the details of the commandments for lawful and prohibited matters. The Tablets contained the Tawrah, that Allah described; “And indeed We gave Musa – after We had destroyed the generations of old – the Scripture as an enlightenment for mankind” (28: 43). It was also said that Allah gave Musa the Tablets before the Tawrah, and Allah knows best. Allah said next, “and enjoin your people to take the better therein.”

Sufyan bin Uyaynah said, “Abu Sad narrated to us from Ikrimah from Ibn Abbas that “Musa, peace be upon him, was commanded to adhere to the toughest of what was ordained on his people.” Allah’s statement, ”I shall show you the home of the rebellious”, means, you will witness the recompense of those who defy My order and deviate from My obedience, the destruction, demise and utter loss they will suffer. ”Hold unto these with firmness”, be firm on the obedience,

{146. I shall turn away from My Ayat those who behave arrogantly on the earth, without a right, and (even) if they see all the Ayat, they will not believe in them. And if they see the way of righteousness, they will not adopt it as the way, but if they see the way of error, they will adopt that way, that is because they have rejected Our Ayat and were heedless of them.

147. Those who deny Our Ayat and the meeting in the Hereafter, vain are their deeds. Are they requited with anything except what they used to do}

 

Arrogant People will be deprived of Allah’s Ayat

Allah said, “I shall turn away from My Ayat those who behave arrogantly on the earth, without a right.”

Allah says, “I shall deprive the hearts of those who are too proud to obey Me, and arrogant with people without right, from understanding the signs and proofs that testify to My Might, Law and Commandments.” And just as they acted arrogantly without justification, Allah has disgraced them with ignorance. Allah said in another Ayah, “And We shall turn their hearts and their eyes away (from guidance), as they refused to believe therein for the first time.” (6:110), and, ”So when they turned away (from the path of Allah), Allah turned their hearts away (from the right path)”. (61:5) Sufyan bin Uyaynah commented on this Ayah, ”I shall turn away from My Ayat those who behave arrogantly on the earth, without a right”, “(Allah says) I shall snatch away comprehension of the Qur’an from them and turn them away from My Ayat. ” (At-Tabari 13:112) Ibn Jarir commented on Sufyan’s statement that, “This indicates that this part of the Ayah is addressed to this Ummah.” (At-Tabari 13:113) This is not necessarily true, for Ibn Uyaynah actually meant that this occurs in every Ummah and that there is no difference between one Ummah and another Ummah in this regard. Allah knows best. Allah said next, ”and (even) if they see all the Ayat, they will not believe in them”. Allah said in a similar Ayah, ”Truly, those, against whom the Word (wrath) of your Lord has been justified, will not believe. Even if every sign should come to them, until they see the painful torment.” (10:96-97)

Allah’s statement , ”And if they see the way of righteousness, they will not adopt it as the way” means, even if the way of guidance and safety appears before them, they will not take it, but if the way that leads to destruction and misguidance appears to them, they adopt that way. Allah explains why they do this, ”that is because they have rejected Our Ayat”, in their hearts, ”and were heedless of them”, gaining no lessons from the Ayat. Allah’s statement, ”Those who deny Our Ayat and the meeting in the Hereafter, vain are their deeds.” indicates that whoever among them does this, remaining on this path until death, then all his deeds will be in vain. Allah said next, ”Are they requited with anything except what they used to do?” meaning, ‘We only recompense them according to the deeds that they performed, good for good and evil for evil. Surely, as you bring forth, you reap the harvest thereof.’

 

{148. And the people of Musa made in his absence, out of their ornaments, the image of a calf (for worship). It had a sound. Did they not see that it could neither speak to them nor guide them to the way? They took it (for worship) and they were wrongdoers.

149. And when they regretted and saw that they had gone astray, they said: “If our Lord have not mercy upon us and forgive us, we shall certainly be of the losers”}

Story of worshipping the Calf

Allah describes the misguidance of those who worshipped the calf that As-Samiri made for them from the ornaments they borrowed from the Copts. He made the shape of a calf with these ornaments and threw in it a handful of dust from the trace of the horse that the Angel Jibril was riding, and the calf seemed to moo. This occurred after Musa went for the appointed term with his Lord, where Allah told him about what happened when he was on Mount Tur. Allah said about His Honorable Self, ”(Allah) said: “Verily, We have tried your people in your absence, and As-Samiri has led them astray” (20:85).

The scholars of Tafsir have different views over the calf, whether it actually became alive and mooing, or if it remained made of gold, but the air entering it made it appear to be mooing. These are two opinions. Allah knows best. It was reported that when the statue mooed, the Jews started dancing around it and fell into misguidance because they adored it. They said that this, the calf, is your god and the god of Musa, but Musa forgot it! Allah answered them, ”Did they not see that it could not return them a word (for answer), and that it had neither power to harm them nor to do them good?” (20:89). Allah said here, ”Did they not see that it could neither speak to them nor guide them to the way?”

Allah condemned the Jews for falling into misguidance, worshipping the calf and ignoring the Creator of the heavens and earth, the Lord and King of all things. They worshipped besides Him a statue made in the shape of a calf, that seemed to moo, but it neither spoke to them nor brought them any benefit. Rather, their very sense of reason was blinded because of ignorance and misguidance.

Allah’s statement, ”And when they regretted, and felt sorrow for their action, and saw that they had gone astray, they said: “If our Lord have not mercy upon us and forgive us, we will certainly become among the losers.” or among the destroyed ones. This was their recognition of their sin and their way of seeking salvation from Allah the Most Mighty and Majestic.

 

{150. And when Musa returned to his people, angry and grieved, he said: “What an evil thing is that which you have done during my absence. Did you hasten in matter of your Lord?” And he threw down the Tablets and seized his brother by (the hair of) his head and dragged him towards him. He (Harun) said: “O son of my mother! Indeed the people judged me weak and were about to kill me, so make not the enemies rejoice over me, nor put me among the people who are wrongdoers.”

151. He (Musa) said: “O my Lord! Forgive me and my brother, and admit us into Your mercy, for You are the Most Merciful of those who show mercy.”}

 

Allah states that when Musa returned to his people after conversation with his Lord, he became angry and full of regret. Abu Ad-Darda’ said that Asif, or regret, is the severest type of anger. ”He (Musa) said: “What an evil thing is that which you have done during my absence?” evil it is that which you committed after I departed and left you, by worshiping the calf, ‘‘Did you hasten in the matter of your Lord?”

Musa said, ‘You wanted me to rush back to you, even though [being there] this was Allah’s decision?’ Allah said next, ”And he threw down the Tablets and seized his brother by his head and dragged him towards him.” This Ayah demonstrates the meaning of the Hadith,

”Information is not the same as observation.” (Ahmad 1:271)

It indicates that Musa threw down the Tablets because he was angry at his people, according to the majority of scholars of early and latter times. Allah said, “and seized his brother by (the hair of) his head and dragged him towards him.” for Musa feared that Harun might have not tried hard enough to forbid them from their evil action. In another Ayah, Allah said, “He [Musa] said: “O Harun! What prevented you when you saw them going astray. That you followed me not (according to my advice to you) Have you then disobeyed my order?” He [Harun] said: “O son of my mother! Seize (me) not by my beard, nor by my head! Verily, I feared lest you should say: ‘You have caused a division among the Children of Israel, and you have not respected (waited or observed) my word!” (20:92-94).

Here, Allah said that Harun said, “O son of my mother! Indeed the people judged me weak and were about to kill me, so make not the enemies rejoice over me, nor put me among the people who are wrongdoers.”

Harun said, ‘Do not place me on the same level as they are, as if I was one of them.’ Further, Harun said, ‘O son of my mother’, so that Musa would feel more mercy and leniency towards him, even though Harun was also the son of Musa’s father. When Musa was satisfied that his brother was innocent, ”And Harun indeed had said to them beforehand: “O my people! You are being tried in this, and verily, your Lord is (Allah) the Most Gracious, so follow me and obey my order.” (20:90), this is when, (he said) Musa, “O my Lord! Forgive me and my brother, and admit us into Your mercy, for you are the Most Merciful of those who show mercy.”

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn Abbas said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”May Allah grant His mercy to Musa! Surely, he who observes [something] is nothing like he who is informed about it. His Lord, the Exalted and Most Honored, told him that his people were tested after him, but he did not throw the Tablets. When he saw them with his eyes, then he threw the Tablets.” (Ibn Majah 2:380)

 

{152. Certainly, those who took the calf (for worship), wrath from their Lord and humiliation will come upon them in the life of this world. Thus do We recompense those who invent lies.

153. But those who committed evil deeds and then repented afterwards and believed, verily, your Lord after (all) that is indeed Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.}

The ‘wrath’ mentioned here that struck the Children of Israel because of their worshipping the calf, means, Allah did not accept their repentance until some of them [who did not worship the calf] killed others [who worshipped the calf]. We mentioned this story in Surat Al-Baqarah, ”So turn in repentance to your Creator and kill yourselves (the guilty), that will be better for you before your Creator.” Then He accepted your repentance. Truly, He is the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful.” (2:54)

As for the humiliation mentioned in the Ayah, it pertains to the disgrace and humiliation that the Jews suffered in the life of this world. Allah’s statement, ”Thus do We recompense those who invent lies” is for all those who invent an innovation ”in religion”. Surely, the disgrace resulting from inventing an innovation (in religion) and defying Allah’s Message, will be placed in the heart and from there on to the shoulders. Al-Hasan Al- Basri said; “The disgrace of innovation will weigh on their shoulders even if they were to gallop on their mules or trot on their work horses.” Ayyub As-Sakhtiyani narrated from Abu Qilabah Al- Jarmi that he commented on this Ayah, ”Thus do We recompense those who invent lies.” “By Allah! This Ayah is for all those who invent a lie, until the Day of Resurrection.” (At-Tabari 13:135) Also, Sufyan bin Uyaynah said, “Every person who invents a Bidah (innovation in the religion) will taste disgrace.” (At-Tabari 13:136) Allah tells His servants that He accepts repentance from His servants for any sin, even Shirk, Kufr, hypocrisy and disobedience. Allah said: “But those who committed evil deeds and then repented afterwards and believed, verily, your Lord” O Muhammad, Messenger of Repent ance and Prophet of Mercy, ”after that” after committing that evil action, ”is indeed Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” Ibn Abi Hatim reported that Abdullah bin Masud was asked about a man committing fornication with a woman and then marrying her, and Ibn Masud recited this Ayah, ”But those who committed evil deeds and then repented afterwards and believed, verily, your Lord after (all) that is indeed Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” Abdullah recited this Ayah ten times, neither allowing nor disallowing it. (Ad-Durr Al-Manthur 3:566)

 

{154. And when the anger of Musa calmed, he took up the Tablets; and in their inscription was guidance and mercy for those who fear their Lord.}

 

Musa picked up the Tablets when His Anger subsided

Allah said next, ”And when calmed” and subsided, ”the anger of Musa” with his people, ”he took up the Tablets”, which he had thrown out of jealousy for Allah and anger for His sake, because of his people worshipping the calf, ”and in their inscription was guidance and mercy for those who fear their Lord.”

Several scholars of Tafsir said that when Musa threw the Tablets on the ground they were shattered and he collected the pieces afterwards. Musa found in its inscription guidance and mercy, but the specific details of the Law was lost, so they said. They also claimed that the shattered pieces of the Tablets still remained in the treasury safes of some Israelite kings until the Islamic State came into existence. Only Allah knows if these statements are true.

 

{155. And Musa chose out of his people seventy (of the best) men for Our appointed time and place of meeting, and when they were seized with a violent earthquake, he said: “O my Lord, if it had been Your Will, You could have destroyed them and me before; would You destroy us for the deeds of the foolish among us It is only Your trial by which You lead astray whom You will, and keep guided whom You will. You are our protector, so forgive us and have mercy on us: for You are the best of those who forgive.

156. “And ordain for us good in this world, and in the Hereafter. Certainly we have Hudna unto You.” He said: (As to) My punishment I afflict therewith whom I will and My mercy embraces all things. That (mercy) I shall ordain for those who have Taqwa, and give Zakah; and those who believe in Our Ayat.}

 

Seventy Men from the Children of Israel go for the appointed Meeting Place that Allah designated, Allah later on destroys Them

Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas commented; “Allah commanded Musa to choose seventy men. So he chose them and proceeded with them in order that they supplicate to their Lord. Their supplication included asking Allah, ‘O Allah! Give us what you have never given anyone before us and will never give anyone after us!’ Allah disliked this supplication and they were seized with a violent earthquake, Musa said: “O my Lord, if it had been Your will, You could have destroyed them and me before.” (At-Tabari 13:141)

As- Suddi said, “Allah commanded Musa to come with thirty men from the Children of Israel, apologizing for worshipping the calf; and He gave them an appointed time and place. ”And Musa chose out of his people seventy (of the best) men.” He chose these men and went along with them so that they could apologize. When they reached the appointed place, they said, ”We shall never believe in you”, (2:55) ‘O Musa, ”until we see Allah plainly,” for you spoke to Him,’ they said, ‘therefore, show Him to us,”but they were struck with a bolt of lightning” (4:153) and they died. Musa stood up crying, invoking Allah, ‘O Lord! What should I tell the Children of Israel, when I go back to them after You destroyed their best men?’ “O my Lord, if it had been Your will, You could have destroyed them and me before”. (At-Tabari 13:140)

Muhammad bin Ishaq said, “Musa chose seventy of the best men from the Children of Israel. He said to them, ‘Go to the meeting with Allah and repent for what you committed. Beg His forgiveness for those of your people whom you left behind. Fast, purify yourselves and clean your clothes.’ So, he went with them to Mount Tur in Sinai for the meeting place and time designated by his Lord. He went there only with the leave and knowledge of Allah. According to what has been mentioned to me, when the seventy did what he ordered them to do, and went with him to the meeting of Musa with his Lord, they said, ‘Request that we may also hear the words of our Lord.’ So he replied, ‘I shall.’ When Musa approached the mountain it became completely covered with columns of clouds, Musa approached it and entered in them. He said to the people, ‘Approach.’ But when Allah spoke to Musa, his cloak was surrounded by a brilliant light which no human could bear to look at, so below him a barrier was placed and the people approached. When they entered the cloud they fell prostrate and they heard Him while he was speaking to Musa, commanding him and forbidding him, saying what to do and what not to do. When He completed commanding him, and removed the cloud from Musa, he faced the people and they said, ‘O Musa! We will not believe in you unless we see Allah directly.’ So the thunder shook them, their souls were captured and they all died. Musa stood up invoking, begging and supplicating to his Lord, “O my Lord, if it had been Your will, You could have destroyed them and me before.” (At-Tabari 13:140) meaning, ‘They were foolish. Would You destroy anyone who comes after me from the Children of Israel?’

Ibn Abbas, Qatadah, Mujahid and Ibn Jarir At-Tabari said, “They were seized by the tremor or lightning, because they neither shunned nor forbade their people who worshipped the calf.” (At-Tabari 13:143-144) This is supported by Musa’s statement, “would You destroy us for the deeds of the fools among us” He said next, “It is only Your Fitnah” affliction, test and trial, according to Ibn Abbas, Said bin Jubayr, Abu Al-Aliyah, Ar-Rabi bin Anas and several among the Salaf and latter scholars. (At-Tabari 13:151) This is the only plausible meaning, in which Musa says, “The decision is Yours (O Allah), and the judgment, and whatever You will occurs. You misguide whom You will, guide whom You will, and none can guide whom You misguide or misguide whom You guide. There is none who can give what You deprive or avert what You give. The sovereignty is all Yours, and Yours is the judgment, the creation and the decision.” The Ayah, “You are our protector, so forgive us and have mercy on us: for You are the best of those who forgive.”, pertains to (Allah’s) covering the mistake and not punishing for the sin. Whenever mercy is mentioned along with forgiveness [such as in Musa’s supplication to Allah], it includes the hope that Allah does not permit one to fall into that act again. “for You are the best of those who forgive,” for none except You can forgive the sin.

“And ordain for us good in this world, and in the Hereafter.” The first part of Musa’s supplication was to fend off what should be avoided, while this part is a request for what is sought. The meaning of, “And ordain for us good in this world, and in the Hereafter. ” is, ‘ordain for us and grant us all that is good in both lives. We mentioned the meaning of ‘good’ before in Surat Al-Baqarah. [See the Tafsir of Surah Al-Baqarah (2:200-202)“We have Hudna unto You” ‘we repent, go back and return unto You,’ according to the meaning of, ‘Hudna’, given by Ibn Abbas, Said bin Jubayr, Mujahid, Abu Al-Aliyah, Ad- Dahhak, Ibrahim At-Taymi, As-Suddi, Qatadah and several others. (At-Tabari 13:154-155) “He said: (As to) My punishment I afflict therewith whom I will and My mercy embraces all things. That (mercy) I shall ordain for those who have Taqwa, and give Zakah; and those who believe in OurAyat.” (7:156)

Allah’s Mercy is for Those Who have Taqwa and believe in Allah’s Ayat and His Messenger

Allah answers the statement, “It is only Your trial…” (7:155), by saying, “(As to) My punishment I afflict therewith whom I will and My mercy embraces all things.” Allah says here, ‘I do what I will, decide what I will and I have wisdom and justice in all matters.’ Certainly, there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah. Allah’s statement, “and My mercy embraces all things” testifies to His encompassing mercy. Allah said that the angels who carry His Throne and those around the Throne supplicate, “Our Lord! You comprehend all things in mercy and knowledge.” (40:7) Imam Ahmad recorded that Jundub bin Abdullah Al-Bajali said, “A bedouin man came, he made his camel kneel and he tied it. Then he prayed behind the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. When the Messenger of Allah finished the prayer, that man untied his camel mounted it and supplicated aloud, ‘O Allah! Grant Your mercy to me and to Muhammad, and do not give a share in it to anyone else.’ The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, commented (to his Companions),

“Do you think that this man is more misguided or his camel? Did you not hear what this man has said?”

They said, ‘Yes.’ He said,

“You (the bedouin man) have restricted a vast mercy! Allah, the Exalted, the most Honored has created a hundred mercies and sent down one of them by which the creation, men, Jinn and animals, show mercy to each other. He left with Him ninety-nine mercies, so do you say that this man is more misguided or his camel?”

Ahmad (Ahmad 4:312) and Abu Dawud (Abu Dawud 5:197) collected this Hadith. Imam Ahmad recorded that Salman narrated that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Allah, the Exalted and Most Honored, has a hundred mercies. With one of them, the creations show mercy to each other, and even the beasts show kindness to their offspring. He has kept ninety-nine mercies with Him for the Day of Resurrection.” (Ahmad 5:439)

Muslim recorded it. (Muslim 4:2108) Allah said next, “That (mercy) I shall ordain for those who have Taqwa,” meaning, I will ordain My mercy for them, as a favor and kindness from Me to them. Allah said in a similar Ayah, “He has prescribed mercy for Himself” (6:12) Allah’s statement, “for those who have Taqwa”, means, ‘I will ordain My mercy for those who possess these qualities, and they are the Ummah of Muhammad,”for those who have Taqwa”, who avoid Shirk and major sins, “and give the Zakah”, purify themselves, according to one opinion. It was also said that, ‘the Zakah’, here pertains to wealth. It is possible that both meanings are included here, for this Ayah was revealed in Makkah [before Zakah in fixed shares was ordained], “and those who believe in Our Ayat”, those who have faith in them.

{157. Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write whom they find written of with them in the Tawrah and the Injil, – he commands them to do good; and forbids them from evil; he makes lawful for them the good things, and forbids them from the evil things, he releases them from their heavy burdens and from the fetters that were upon them. So those who believe in him, honour him, help him, and follow the light which has been sent down with him, it is they who will be successful.}

 

The Description of that Messenger

“Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write whom they find written with them in the Tawrah and the Injil” This is the description of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, in the Books of the Prophets. They delivered the good news of his advent to their nations and commanded them to follow him. His descriptions were still apparent in their Books, as the rabbis and the priests well know. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Sakhr Al-Uqayli said that a bedouin man said to him, “I brought a milk-producing camel to Al-Madinah during the life time of Allah’s Messenger. After I sold it, I said to myself, ‘I will meet that man (Muhammad) and hear from him.’ So I passed by him while he was walking between Abu Bakr and Umar, and I followed them until they went by a Jewish man, who was reading from an open copy of the Tawrah. He was mourning a son of his who was dying and who was one of the most handsome boys. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, asked him (the father),

“I ask you by He Who has sent down the Tawrah, do you not find the description of me and my advent in your Book?”

He nodded his head in the negative. His son said, ‘Rather, yes, by He Who has sent down the Tawrah! We find the description of you and your advent in our Book. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that you are the Messenger of Allah. ‘ The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said (to the Companions),

“Stop the Jew (the father) from (taking care of) your brother (in Islam).”

The Prophet then personally took care of the son’s funeral and led the funeral prayer on him.”’ (Ahmad 5:411) This Hadith is sound and is supported by a similar Hadith in the Sahih narrated from Anas. (Fath Al-Bari 3:259)

Ibn Jarir recorded that Al-Muthanna said that Ata’ bin Yasar said, “I met Abdullah bin Amr and asked him, ‘Tell me about the description of Allah’s Messenger in the Tawrah.’ He said, ‘Yes, by Allah! He is described in the Tawrah, just as he is described in the Qur’an, “O Prophet! Verily, We have sent you as a witness, and a bearer of glad tidings, and a warner.” (33:45) as a safe refuge for the unlettered ones. ‘You are My servant and Messenger. I have called you ‘Al-Mutawakkil’ (who trusts in Allah), not hard or harsh.’ Neither uttering foul speech in the markets nor returning evil deed with one in kind. Rather, he forgives and forgoes. Allah will not end his life until He straightens through him the crooked religion, so that they might proclaim, ‘There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah.’ He will open through him sealed hearts, deaf ears and blind eyes.”’ Ata’ then said, “I also met Kab and asked him the same question, and his answer did not differ from Abdullah’s answer, even concerning one letter. ” (At-Tabari 13:164)  Al-Bukhari recorded it (Fath Al-Bari 4:402) from Abdullah bin Amr. It was also recorded by Al-Bukhari [up to the word] forgoes. And he mentioned the narration of Abdullah bin Amr then he said; “It was common in the speech of our Salaf that they describe the Books of the People of the Two Scriptures as the Tawrah, as some Hadiths concur. Allah knows best.”

Allah’s statement, “He commands them to do good; and forbids them from evil” This is the description of the Messenger of Allah in previous Books. These were the true qualities of our Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, as well, for he only ordained good and forbade evil. We should mention here that Abdullah bin Masud said, “When you hear Allah’s statement, “O you who believe!”, then pay it your full attention, for it is a good that you are being commanded, or an evil that you are being forbidden.” And the most important and greatest of these commands and prohibitions, is that Allah has sent the Messenger to order worshipping Him Alone without partners and forbid worshipping others besides Him. This is the Message that Allah has sent all Messengers with before Muhammad , just as Allah said, “And verily, We have sent among every Ummah a Messenger (proclaiming): “Worship Allah, and avoid the Taghut (false deities)” (16:36). Allah’s statement, “He makes lawful for them the good things, and forbids them from the evil things” meaning, he makes the Bahirah, Sa’ibah, Wasilah and Ham, etc., lawful. They were prohibitions that they invented which were only hard for themselves. He also forbids them from evil things, such as the flesh of the pig, Riba, and foods that were treated as lawful although Allah the Exalted had forbidden them. Ali bin Abi Talhah reported this from Ibn Abbas. (At-Tabari 13:166)

Allah’s statement, “He (Muhammad) releases them from their heavy burdens, and from the fetters that were upon them.” indicates that Muhammad came with leniency and an easy religion. As mentioned in the Hadith recorded from many routes that Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“I was sent with the easy way of Hanifiyyah [monotheism]” (Ahmad 5:266 and 6:116)

The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said to the two Commanders he appointed, Muadh and Abu Musa Al-Ashari, when he sent them to Yemen,

“Bring glad tidings and do not drive people away, make things easy and do not make them difficult, obey each other and do not differ among yourselves.” (Fath Al-Bari 5:188)

Abu Barzah Al-Aslami, the Prophet’s Companion, said, “I accompanied the Messenger of Allah and saw how easy he was. The nations that were before us had things made difficult for them in their laws. Allah made the law encompassing and easy for this Ummah. Hence the statement of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him,

“Allah has forgiven my Ummah for what occurs in themselves, as long as they do not utter it or act upon it.” (Fath Al-Bari 9:300)

The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“My Ummah was forgiven (by Allah) unintentional errors, forgetfulness and what they are forced to do.” (Ibn Majah 1:659)

This is why Allah has guided this Ummah to proclaim, “Our Lord! Punish us not if we forget or fall into error, our Lord! Lay not on us a burden like that which You did lay on those before us (Jews and Christians); Our Lord! Put not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Pardon us and grant us forgiveness. Have mercy on us. You are our Mawla (Patron, Supporter and Protector) and give us victory over the disbelieving people.” (2:286) It is recorded in Sahih Muslim that [the Prophet said that] Allah the Exalted said after every one of these supplications, “I shall accept (your supplication).” Allah’s statement, “So those who believe in him, honor him, help him.” refers to respecting and honoring Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, “and follow the light which has been sent down with him” the Qur’an and the revelation [Sunnah] that the Prophet delivered to mankind, “it is they who will be successful.” in this life and the Hereafter.

{158. Say: “O mankind! Verily, I am sent to you all as the Messenger of Allah – to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. None has the right to be worshipped but He. It is He Who gives life and causes death. So believe in Allah and His Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write, who believes in Allah and His Words, and follow him so that you may be guided.”}

Muhammad’s Message is Universal

Allah says to His Prophet and Messenger Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, “Say”, O Muhammad, “O mankind!”, this is directed to mankind red and black, and the Arabs and non-Arabs alike, “I am sent to you all as the Messenger of Allah” This Ayah mentions the Prophet’s honor and greatness, for he is the Final Prophet who was sent to all mankind [and the Jinns]. Allah said, “Say, “Allah is Witness between you and I; this Qur’an has been revealed to me that I may therewith warn you and whomsoever it may reach.” (6:19), “but those of the sects that reject it, the Fire will be their promised meeting place” (11:17) and, “And say to those who were given the Scripture and to the illiterates (Arab pagans): “Do you (also) submit yourselves (to Allah in Islam)” If they do, they are rightly guided; but if they turn away, your duty is only to convey the Message.” (3:20) There are many other Ayat and more Hadiths than can be counted on this subject. It is also well-known in our religion that the Messenger of Allah was sent to all mankind [and the Jinns]. Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Ad- Darda’ said, “Abu Bakr and Umar had an argument in which Abu Bakr made Umar angry. So Umar went away while angry and Abu Bakr followed him asking him to forgive him, but Umar refused. Umar shut his door closed in Abu Bakr’s face and Abu Bakr went to the Messenger of Allah while we were with him. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“This fellow of yours (Abu Bakr) has made someone angry!”

Umar became sorry for what he did, went to the Prophet and greeted him with the Salam and sat next to him, telling him what had happened. The Messenger of Allah became angry (at Umar), and realizing that, Abu Bakr said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! It was me who was unjust.’ The Messenger of Allah said,

”Will you leave my Companion (Abu Bakr) alone! I said, ‘O People! I am the Messenger of Allah to you all,’ and you said, ‘You lie,’ but Abu Bakr declared, ‘You said the truth.”

Al-Bukhari recorded it. (Fath Al-Bari 8:153) Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn Abbas said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“I have been given five things which were not given to any Prophet before me, and I do not say it out of pride. I was sent to all mankind (their) black and white alike. Allah made me victorious by fright, (by His frightening my enemies) for a distance of one month’s journey. The spoils of war are lawful for me, yet it was not lawful for anyone else before me. The earth has been made for me (and for my followers) a place for praying and a thing to perform purification with. I have been given the Shafa’ah (right of intercession), and I saved it for my Ummah on the Day of Resurrection. Therefore, the Shafa’ah will reach those who associate none with Allah in worship.” (Ahmad 1:301)

This Hadith’s chain of narration is suitable, but the Two Sahihs did not record it. Allah’s statement, “to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. None has the right to be worshipped but He. It is He Who gives life and causes death.” describes Allah by the words of the Messenger that He Who has sent him is the Creator, Lord and King of all things and in His Hand is the control, life, death and the decision. Just as Allah said “So believe in Allah and His Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write” Allah proclaims here that Muhammad is His Messenger and reiterates this fact by commanding that he be believed in and followed. Allah said, “The Prophet who can neither read nor write” who you were promised and given the good news of in previous revealed books. Certainly, Muhammad was amply described in the previous books, including his description as being the unlettered Prophet. Allah’s statement, “who believes in Allah and His Words”, means, his actions conform with his words and he believes in what he was given from his Lord. “And follow him”, embrace his path and guidance, “so that you may be guided” to the Straight Path.

{159. And of the people of Musa there is a community who lead (the men) with truth and establish justice therewith.}

 

Allah stated that of the Children of Israel there are some who follow the truth and judge by it, just as He said in another Ayah, “A party of the people of the Scripture stand for the right, they recite the verses of Allah during the hours of the night, prostrating themselves in prayer” (3:113) “And there are, certainly, among the People of the Scripture, those who believe in Allah and in that which has been revealed to you, and in that which has been revealed to them, humbling themselves before Allah. They do not sell the verses of Allah for a small price, for them is a reward with their Lord. Surely, Allah is Swift in account.” (3:199) “Those to whom We gave the Scripture before it, they believe in it (the Qur’an). And when it is recited to them, they say: “We believe in it. Verily, it is the truth from our Lord. Indeed even before it we have been from those who submit themselves. These will be given their reward twice over, because they are patient.” (28:52-54), and, ”Verily, those who were given knowledge before it, when it (this Qur’an) is recited to them, fall down on their faces in humble prostration. And they say: “Glory be to our Lord! Truly, the promise of our Lord must be fulfilled.” And they fall down on their faces weeping and it increases their humility.” (17:107-109)

{160. And We divided them into twelve tribes (as distinct) nations. We revealed to Musa when his people asked him for water (saying): “Strike the stone with your stick,” and there gushed forth out of it twelve springs, each group knew its own place for water. We shaded them with the clouds and sent down upon them the manna and the quail (saying): “Eat of the good things with which We have provided you.” They harmed Us not but they used to harm themselves.

161. And (remember) when it was said to them: “Dwell in this town (Jerusalem) and eat therefrom wherever you wish, and say, ‘(O Allah) forgive our sins’; and enter the gate prostrating (bowing with humility). We shall forgive you your wrongdoings. We shall increase (the reward) for the good-doers.”

162. But those among them who did wrong, changed the word that had been told to them. So We sent on them a torment from the heaven in return for their wrongdoings.}

 

We discussed these Ayat in Surat Al-Baqarah, [See the Tafsir of Surah Al-Baqarah 2:60] which was revealed in Al- Madinah, while these Ayat were revealed in Makkah. We also mentioned the difference between the two narrations, and thus we do not need to repeat it here, all thanks are due to Allah and all the favors are from Him.

 

{163. And ask them about the town that was by the sea; when they transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath: when their fish came to them openly on the Sabbath day, and did not come to them on the day they had no Sabbath. Thus We made a trial for them, for they used to rebel against Allah’s command.}

The Jews transgress the Sanctity of the Sabbath

This Ayah explains Allah’s statement, “And indeed you knew those among you who transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath…” (2:65) Allah says to His Prophet here, ”And ask them” ask the Jews who are with you, about the story of their fellow Jews who defied Allah’s command, so that His punishment overtook them all of a sudden for their evil actions, transgression and defiance by way of deceit. Also, warn the Jews (O Muhammad) against hiding your description that they find in their books, so that they do not suffer what their forefathers suffered. The village mentioned here is Aylah, on the shore of the Qulzum (Red) Sea. Muhammad bin Ishaq recorded from Dawud bin Al-Husayn from Ikrimah that Ibn Abbas commented on Allah’s statement, ”And ask them about the town that was by the sea…” “A village called Aylah between Madyan and At-Tur (which is in Sinai). (At-Tabari 13:180) Ikrimah, Mujahid, Qatadah and As-Suddi said similarly. (At-Tabari 13:180-181) Allah’s statement , ”when they transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath” means, they transgressed in the Sabbath and defied Allah’s command to them to keep it sanctified, ”when their fish came to them openly on the Sabbath day” visible on top of the water, according to Ad-Dahhak who reported it from Ibn Abbas. (At-Tabari 13:183) Ibn Jarir said, “Allah’s statement, ”and did not come to them on the day they had no Sabbath. Thus We made a trial of them,” means, this is how We tested them by making the fish swim close to the surface of the water , on the day which they were prohibited to fish. The fish would be hidden from them on the day when they were allowed to fish, ”Thus We made a trial for them,” so that We test them, ”for they used to rebel against Allah’s command” by defying His obedience and rebelling against it.” (At-Tabari 13:183) 

Therefore, these were a people who used a trick to violate Allah’s prohibitions, taking an action that seemed legal on the surface. However, in reality, this action was meant to transgress the prohibition. Imam and scholar Abu Abdullah Ibn Battah reported that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said,

”Do not repeat what the Jews committed, and violate Allah’s prohibitions using deceitful tricks.” (Adab Az-Zafaf p192)

This Hadith has a reasonable chain.

 

{164. And when a community among them said: “Why do you preach to a people whom Allah is about to destroy or to punish with a severe torment?” (The preachers) said: “In order to be free from guilt before your Lord (Allah), and perhaps they may fear Allah.”

165. So when they forgot the reminder that had been given to them, We rescued those who forbade evil, but with a severe torment We seized those who did wrong, because they used to rebel against Allah’s command.

166. So when they exceeded the limits of what they were prohibited, We said to them: “Be you monkeys, despised.”}

 

Those Who breached the Sabbath were turned into Monkeys, but Those Who prohibited Their Actions were saved

Allah said that the people of this village were divided into three groups, a group that committed the prohibition, catching fish on the Sabbath, as we described in the Tafsir of Surat Al-Baqarah. [See the Tafsir of Surah Al-Baqarah 2:65-66) Another group prohibited them from transgression and avoided them. A third group neither prohibited them, nor participated in their action. The third group said to the preachers, “Why do you preach to a people whom Allah is about to destroy or to punish with a severe torment?”. They said, ‘why do you forbid these people from evil, when you know that they are destroyed and have earned Allah’s punishment?’ Therefore, they said, there is no benefit in forbidding them. The preachers replied, “In order to be free from guilt before your Lord (Allah),” ‘for we were commanded to enjoin righteousness and forbid evil,’ “and perhaps they may fear Allah” for on account of our advice, they might stop this evil and repent to Allah. Certainly, if they repent to Allah, Allah will accept their repentance and grant them His mercy.’ Allah said, ‘So when they forgot the reminder that had been given to them,” when the evil doers refused the advice, ”We rescued those who forbade evil, but We seized who did wrong,” who committed the transgression, ”with a severe torment”. Allah stated that those who enjoined good were saved, while those who committed the transgression were destroyed, but He did not mention the end of those who were passive (the third group), for the compensation is comparable to the deed. This type did not do what would warrant praise, nor commit wrong so that they are admonished.

Ikrimah said, “Ibn Abbas said about the Ayah: ‘I do not know whether or not the people were saved who said; “Why do you preach to a people whom Allah is about to destroy…” So I continued discussing it with him until I convinced him that they were. Then he gave me [the gift of] a garment.” (At-Tabari 13:187) Allah said, ”and We seized those who did wrong with a Ba’is torment” indicating that those who remained were saved. As for ‘Ba’is’, it means ‘severe’, according to Mujahid, (At-Tabari 13:202) or ‘painful’, according to Qatadah. (At-Tabari 13:202) These meanings are synonymous, and Allah knows best. Allah said next, “despised”, humiliated, disgraced and rejected.

{167. And (remember) when your Lord declared that He would certainly keep on sending against them, till the Day of Resurrection, those who would afflict them with a humiliating torment. Verily, your Lord is quick in retribution and certainly He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.}

 

Eternal Humiliation placed on the Jews

”Ta’dhdhana” means ‘declared’, according to Mujahid, or ‘ordained’, according to others. This part of the Ayah indicates a vow, ”till the Day of Resurrection, those who would afflict them with a humiliating torment” on account of their disobedience, defying Allah’s orders and Law and using tricks to transgress the prohibitions. It was reported that Musa required the Jews to pay the production tax for seven or thirteen years, and he was the first to do so. Also, the Jews fell under the humiliating rule of the Greek Kushdanin, [perhaps it refers to the Kushite Dynasty, and Allah knows best.] Chaldeans and later on the Christians, who subjugated and disgraced them, and required them to pay the Jizyah (tribute tax). When Islam came and Muhammad was sent, they became under his power and had to pay the Jizyah, as well. Therefore, the humiliating torment mentioned here includes disgrace and paying the Jizyah, as Al-Awfi narrated from Ibn Abbas. (At-Tabari 13:205) In the future, the Jews will support the Dajjal (False Messiah); and the Muslims, along with Isa, son of Mary, will kill the Jews. This will occur just before the end of this world. Allah said next, “that He will keep on sending against them” against the Jews, “Verily, your Lord is quick in retribution”, with those who disobey Him and defy His Law, “and certainly He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” for those who repent and go back to Him. This Ayah mentions both the mercy, as well as, the punishment, so that no despair is felt. Allah often mentions encouragement and warning together, so that hearts always have a sense of hope and fear.

 

{168. And We have broken them (the Jews) up into various separate groups on the earth: some of them are righteous and some are away from that. And We tried them with good (blessings) and evil (calamities) in order that they might turn (to Allah).

169. Then after them succeeded an (evil) generation, which inherited the Book, but they chose (for themselves) the goods of this low life saying: “(Everything) will be forgiven to us.” And if (again) the offer of the like (evil pleasures of this world) came their way, they would (again) seize them (would commit those sins). Was not the covenant of the Book taken from them that they would not say about Allah anything but the truth? And they have studied what is in it (the Book). And the home in the Hereafter is better for those who have Taqwa. Do not you then understand?

170. And as to those who hold fast to the Book (act on its teachings) and perform the Salah, certainly We shall never waste the reward of those who do righteous deeds.}

 

The Children of Israel scatter throughout the Land

Allah states that He divided the Jews into various nations, sects and groups, “And We said to the Children of Israel after him (after Musa died): “Dwell in the land, then, when the final and the last promise comes near, We shall bring you altogether as a mixed crowd (gathered out of various nations).” (17:104) “some of them are righteous and some are away from that”, some of them are led aright and some are not righteous, just asthe Jinns declared, “There are among us some that are righteous, and some the contrary; we are groups having different ways (religious sects).” (72:11) Allah said here, “And We tried them”, and tested them, “with good and evil”, with times of ease, difficulty, eagerness, fear, well-being and affliction, “in order that they might turn (to Allah)” Allah said next, “Then after them succeeded an (evil) generation, which inherited the Book, but they chose (for themselves) the goods of this low life” This Ayah means, after the generation made up of righteous and unrighteous people, another generation came that did not have goodness in them, and they inherited the Tawrah and studied it. Mujahid commented on Allah’s statement, “They chose (for themselves) the goods of this low life” “They will consume anything they can consume in this life, whether legally or illegally. Yet, they wish for forgiveness, “Saying: “(Everything) will be forgiven for us.” And if (again) the offer of the like came their way, they would (again) seize them.” (At-Tabari 13:212)

Qatadah commented on Allah’s statement, “they chose (for themselves) the goods of this low life” “This, by Allah, is an evil generation, “which inherited the Book” after their Prophets and Messengers, for they were entrusted with this job by Allah’s command to them. Allah said in anot her Ayah, “Then, there has succeeded them a posterity who neglect the Salah (the prayers).” (19:59) Allah said next, “They chose the goods of this low life saying: “(Everything) will be forgiven to us.” They wish and hope from Allah, while deceiving themselves, “And if (again) the offer of the like came their way, they would (again) seize them.” Nothing stops them from this behavior, for whenever they are given an opportunity in this life, they will consume regardless of it being allowed or not.” (At-Tabari 13:213) As-Suddi said about Allah’s statement, “Then after them succeeded an (evil) generation” until, “and they have studied what is in it (the Book).” “Every time the Children of Israel appointed a judge, he used to take bribes. The best ones among them held a counsel and took covenants from each that they would not take bribes. However, when one of them would take bribes in return for judgment and was asked, ‘What is the matter with you; you take a bribe to grant judgment?’, he replied, ‘I will be forgiven.’ So the rest of his people would admonish him for what he did. But when he died, or was replaced, the one who replaced him would take bribes too. Therefore, Allah says, if the others “who admonished him” would have a chance to loot this world, they will take it.”’ (At-Tabari 13:213) Allah said, “Was not the covenant of the Book taken from them that they would not say about Allah anything but the truth?” thus, admonishing them for this behavior. Allah took a pledge from them that they would declare the truth to people and not hide it. Allah said in another Ayah “(And remember) when Allah took a covenant from those who were given the Scripture to make it known and clear to mankind, and not to hide it, but they threw it away behind their backs, and purchased with it some miserable gain! And indeed worst is that which they bought” (3:187).

Ibn Jurayj said that Ibn Abbas said about the Ayah, “Was not the covenant of the Book taken from them that they would not say about Allah anything but the truth?”, “Their claim that Allah will forgive the sins they keep committing without repenting from them.” (At-Tabari 13:215) Allah said, ”And the home in the Hereafter is better for those who have Taqwa, Do not you then understand?” Encouraging them to seek Allah’s tremendous reward and warning them against His severe torment. Allah says here, ”My reward and what I have are better for those who avoid prohibitions, abandon lusts and become active in the obedience of their Lord.’ ”Do not you then understand?” Allah says’ Do not these people, who preferred this life instead of what is with Me, have any sense to prohibit them from their foolish and extravagant ways’ Allah then praises those who adhere to His Book, which directs them to follow His Messenger Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, “And as to those who hold fast to the Book” adhere to it, implement its commands and refrain from its prohibitions, “and perform the Salah, certainly We shall never waste the reward of those who do righteous deeds.”

 

{171. And (remember) when We Nataqna the mountain over them as if it had been a canopy, and they thought that it was going to fall on them. (We said): “Hold firmly to what We have given you [the Tawrah], and remember that which is therein (act on its commandments), so that you may fear Allah and obey Him.”}

 

Raising Mount Tur over the Jews, because of Their Rebellion

Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas commented on the Ayah, “And (remember) when We Nataqna the mountain over them”, “We raised the mountain, as Allah’s other statement testifies, “And for their covenant, We raised over them the mountain” (4:154). (At-Tabari 13:218)

Also, Sufyan Ath-Thawri narrated that Al-Amash said that, Said bin Jubayr said that Ibn Abbas said, “The angels raised the Mount over their heads, as reiterated by Allah’s statement, “We raised over them the mountain” (4:154).”

Al-Qasim bin Abi Ayyub narrated that Said bin Jubayr said that Ibn Abbas said, “Musa later on proceeded with them to the Sacred Land. He took along the Tablets, after his anger subsided, and commanded them to adhere to the orders that Allah ordained to be delivered to them. But these orders became heavy on them and they did not want to implement them until Allah raised the mountain over them, “as if it had been a canopy”, that is, when the angels raised the mountain over their heads.” An-Nasa’i collected it. (An-Nasai in Al-Kubra 6:396)

 

{172. And (remember) when your Lord brought forth from the Children of Adam, from their loins, their seed and made them testify as to themselves (saying): “Am I not your Lord” They said: “Yes! We testify,” lest you should say on the Day of Resurrection: “Verily, we were unaware of this.”

173. Or lest you should say: “It was only our fathers aforetime who took others as partners in worship along with Allah, and we were (merely their) descendants after them; will You then destroy us because of the deeds of men who practiced falsehood”

174. Thus do We explain the Ayat in detail, so that they may turn (unto the truth).}

 

The Covenant taken from the Descendants of Adam

Allah stated that He brought the descendants of Adam out of their fathers’ loins, and they testified against themselves that Allah is their Lord and King and that there is no deity worthy of worship except Him. Allah created them on this Fitrah, or way, just as He said, “So set you (O Muhammad) your face truly towards the religion, Hanifan. Allah’s Fitrah with which He has created mankind. No change let there be in Khalqillah.” (30:30) [The meaning of this Ayah is, ”Dedicate yourself to the natural religion of Allah which He made for humanity”] And it is recorded in the Two Sahihs from Abu Hurayrah who said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said,

“Every child is born upon the Fitrah, it is only his parents who turn him into a Jew, a Christian or a Zoroastrian. Just as animals are born having full bodies, do you see any of them having a cutoff nose (when they are born)”. (Fath Al-Bari 3:290 and Muslim 4:2047)

Muslim recorded that Iyad bin Himar said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said;

“Allah said, ‘I created My servants Hunafa’ (monotheists), but the devils came to them and deviated them from their religion, prohibiting what I allowed.” (Muslim 4:2197)

There are Hadiths that mention that Allah took Adam’s offspring from his loins and divided them into those on the right and those on the left. Imam Ahmad recorded that Anas bin Malik said that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said,

”It will be said to a man from the people of the Fire on the Day of Resurrection, ‘If you owned all that is on the earth, would you pay it as ransom?’ He will reply, ‘Yes.’ Allah will say, ‘I ordered you with what is less than that, when you were still in Adam’s loins, that is, associate none with Me (in worship). You insisted that you associate with Me (in worship).” (Ahmad 3:127)

This was recorded in the Two Sahihs. (Fath Al-Bari 6:419 and Muslim 4:2160)

Commenting on this Ayah (7:172), At-Tirmidhi recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“When Allah created Adam, He wiped Adam’s back and every person that He will create from him until the Day of Resurrection fell out from his back. Allah placed a glimmering light between the eyes of each one of them. Allah showed them to Adam and Adam asked, ‘O Lord! Who are they?’ Allah said, ‘These are your offspring.’ Adam saw a man from among them whose light he liked. He asked, ‘O Lord! Who is this man’? Allah said, ‘This is a man from the latter generations of your offspring. His name is Dawud.’ Adam said, ‘O Lord! How many years would he live?’ Allah said, ‘Sixty years.’ Adam said, ‘O Lord! I have forfeited forty years from my life for him.’ When Adam’s life came to an end, the angel of death came to him (to take his soul). Adam said, ‘I still have forty years from my life term, don’t I?’ He said, ‘Have you not given it to your son Dawud?’ So Adam denied that and his offspring followed suit (denying Allah’s covenant), Adam forgot and his offspring forgot, Adam made a mistake and his offspring made mistakes.”

At-Tirmidhi said, “This Hadith is Hasan Sahih, and it was reported from various chains of narration through Abu Hurayrah from the Prophet ”. (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 8:457) Al-Hakim also recorded it in his Mustadrak, and said; “Sahih according to the criteria of Muslim, and they did not record it.” (Al-Hakim 2:325)

These and similar Hadiths testify that Allah, the Exalted and Most Honored, brought forth Adam’s offspring from his loins and separated between the inhabitants of Paradise and those of the Fire. Allah then said, “and made them testify as to themselves (saying): “Am I not your Lord?” They said: “Yes!”

Therefore, Allah made them testify with themselves by circumstance and words. Testimony is sometimes given in words, such as, “They will say: “We bear witness against ourselves.” (6:130) At other times, testimony is given by the people themselves, such as Allah’s statement, “It is not for the Mushrikin, (polytheists) to maintain the mosques of Allah, while they testify against their own selves of disbelief.” (9:17) This Ayah means that their disbelief testifies against them, not that they actually testify against themselves here. Another Ayah of this type is Allah’s statement, “And to that he bears witness (by his deeds).” (100:7)

The same is the case with asking, sometimes takes the form of words and sometimes a situation or circumstance. For instance, Allah said, “And He gave you of all that you asked for.” (14:34) Allah said here, “lest you should say”, on the Day of Resurrection “we were of this” of Tawhid “unaware. Or lest you should say: “It was only our fathers aforetime who took others as partners in worship along with Allah,” (7:172-173)

 

{175. And recite to them the story of him to whom We gave Our Ayat, but he threw them away; so Shaytan followed him up, and he became of those who went astray.

176. And had We willed, We would surely have elevated him therewith, but he clung to the earth and followed his own vain desires. So his parable is the parable of a dog: if you drive him away, he pants, or if you leave him alone, he (still) pants. Such is the parable of the people who reject Our Ayat. So relate the stories, perhaps they may reflect.

177. Evil is the parable of the people who rejected Our Ayat, and used to wrong themselves.}

 

Story Balam bin Baura

Abdur-Razzaq recorded that Abdullah bin Masud said that Allah’s statement, “And recite to them the story of him to whom We gave Our Ayat, but he threw them away” “Is about Balam bin Baura’ a man from the Children of Israel.” (Abdur Razzaq 2:443) Shubah and several other narrators narrated this statement from Mansur who got it from Ibn Masud. (At-Tabari 13:253) Said bin Abi Arubah narrated that Qatadah said that Ibn Abbas said, “He is Sayfi, son of Ar-Rahib.” Qatadah commented that Kab said, “He was a man from Al-Balqla’ (a province of Jordan) who knew Allah’s Greatest Name. He used to live in Bayt Al-Maqdis with the tyrants.” Al-Awfi reported that Ibn Abbas said, “He is Balam bin Baura’, a man from Yemen whom Allah had given the knowledge of His Ayat, but he abandoned them.” (At-Tabari 13:261) Malik bin Dinar said, “He was one of the scholars of the Children of Israel whose supplication was acceptable. They used to seek his lead in suplication in times of difficulty. Allah’s Prophet Musa sent him to the King of Madyan to call him to Allah. That king appeased him and gave him land and gifts, and he reverted from the religion of Musa and followed the king’s religion.” Imran bin Uyaynah narrated that Husayn said that Imran bin Al-Harith said that Ibn Abbas said, “He is Balam son of Baura’.” (At-Tabari 13:253) Similar was said by Mujahid and Ikrimah. (At-Tabari 13:254) 

Therefore, it is well-known that this honorable Ayah was revealed about a man from the Children of Israel in ancient times, according to Ibn Masud and several others among the Salaf. (At-Tabari 13:253) Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas said, “He is a man from the city of the tyrants (Jerusalem) whose name was Balam and who knew Allah’s Greatest Name.”(At-Tabari 13:258) Ali bin Abi Talhah also reported that Ibn Abbas that he said, “When Musa and those with him went to the city of the tyrants (Jerusalem), the cousins of Balam and his people came to him and said, Musa is a strong man, and he has many soldiers. If he gains the upper hand over us, we will be destroyed. Therefore, supplicate to Allah that He prevents Musa and those with him from prevailing over us.’ Balam said, ‘If I supplicate to Allah that He turns back Musa and those with him, I will lose in this life and the Hereafter.’ They kept luring him until he supplicated against Musa and his people, and Allah took away what he bestowed on him (of knowledge). Hence Allah’s statement, “but he threw them away; so Shaytan followed him up.” (At-Tabari 13:260) 

Allah said next, “And had We willed, We would surely have elevated him therewith but he clung to the earth and followed his own vain desires.” Allah said, “And had We willed, We would surely have elevated him therewith” from the filth of this earthly life through the Ayat that We gave him knowledge of, “but he clung to the earth”, he became interested in the adornment of this life and its delights. He indulged in the lusts of life and its joys and was deceived by it, just as life deceived others like him, without sound comprehension or a good mind. Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar narrated from Salim, from Abu An-Nadr that when Musa entered the land of Bani Canaan in the area of Ash-Sham (Greater Syria), the people of Balam came to him, saying, “This is Musa, son of Imran with the Children of Israel. He wants to drive us out from our land, kill us and replace us with the Children of Israel. We are your people and have no other dwelling area. You are a person whose supplication is acceptable (to Allah), so go out and supplicate to Allah against them.” He said, “Woe to you! Here is Allah’s Prophet (Musa) with whom the angels and believers are! How can I supplicate against them when I know from Allah what I know” They said, “We have no other dwelling area.”

So they kept luring and begging him until he was tempted by the trial and went on his donkey towards Mount Husban, which was behind the Israelite military barracks. When he proceeded on the Mount for a while, the donkey sat down and refused to proceed. He got off the donkey and struck it until it stood up again and he rode it. The donkey did the same after a little while, and he struck it again until it stood up… So he proceeded and tried to supplicate against Musa and his people. However, Allah made his tongue mention his people with evil and the Children of Israel with good instead of his people, who protested, “O Balam! What are you doing You are supplicating for them and against us!” He said, “It is against my will. This is a matter that Allah has decided.” He then said to them, as his tongue was made to loll out of his mouth, “Now I have lost this life and the Hereafter.” This Ayah was revealed about t he st ory of Balam son of Baura “And recite to them the story of him to whom We gave Our Ayat, but he threw them away.”, until, “perhaps they may reflect.” Allah said next, “So his parable is the parable of a dog: if you drive him away, he pants, or if you leave him alone, he (still) pants.”

Scholars of Tafsir have conflicting opinions regarding the meaning of this Ayah. Some scholars said that it refers to the end of Balam’s tongue which flickered out of his mouth, as in the story narrated from Ibn Ishaq, from Salim, from Abu An-Nadr. (At-Tabari 13:265)  Therefore, his example is the example of the dog, its tongue pants regardless of whether it is driven away or not. It was also said that the meaning here is a parable of this man – and his like – concerning their misguidance, persisting the wrong path and not being able to benefit from faith or comprehend what they are being called to. So his example is that of a dog which pants whether it was driven away or left alone. The person described here does not benefit from the advice or the call to faith, just as if the advice and call never occurred. Allah said in another Ayah, “It is the same to them (disbelievers) whether you warn them or do not warn them, they will not believe.” (2:6) and, “Whether you ask forgiveness for them (hypocrites) or ask not forgiveness for them – (and even) if you ask seventy times for their forgiveness – Allah will not forgive them.” (9:80) and similar Ayat. It was also said that the meaning here, is that the heart of the disbeliever, the hypocrite and the wicked is weak and devoid of guidance. Therefore, it keeps faltering. Similar was narrated from Al-Hasan Al-Basri. “So relate the stories, perhaps they may reflect” Allah said next to His Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him“So relate the stories, perhaps they may” the Children of Israel, who have knowledge ot the story of Balam and what happened to him when Allah allowed him to stray and expelled him from His mercy. Allah favored him by teaching him His Greatest Name, by which, if He is asked, He will grant, and if He is called upon, He answers. But Balam used it in disobedience to Allah and invoked Him against His own party of the people of faith, followers of His servant and Messenger during that time, Musa, the son of Imran, peace be upon him, whom Allah spoke to directly, “perhaps they may reflect.” and avoid Balam’s behavior, for Allah has given the Jews knowledge and made them superior to the bedouins surrounding them. He gave them the description of Muhammad which would allow them to recognize him, as they recognize their own children. They, among people, have the most right to follow, aid and support Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, in obedience to their Prophets who informed them of him and commanded them to follow him. Therefore, whoever among them defies the knowledge in their Books or hides it from the servants, Allah will place disgrace on him in this life, followed by humiliation in the Hereafter. Allah said, “Evil is the parable of the people who rejected Our Ayat.”

Allah says, evil is the example of the people who deny Our Ayat in that they are equated with dogs that have no interest but to collect food and satisfy lusts.’ Therefore, whoever goes out of the area of knowledge and guidance, and seeks satisfaction for his lusts and vain desires, is just like a dog; what an evil example. The Sahih recorded that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said,

“The evil example is not suitable for us: he who goes back on his gift is just like the dog that eats its vomit.” (Fath Al-Bari 5:288)

Allah’s statement, “and they used to wrong themselves.” means, Allah did not wrong them, but they wronged themselves by rejecting guidance, not obeying the Lord, being content with this life that will soon end, all the while seeking to fulfill desires and obey lusts.

 

{178. Whomsoever Allah guides, he is the guided one, and whomsoever He sends astray, – then those! They are the losers.}

 

Allah says, whomever He leads aright, then none can lead him to misguidance, and whomever He leads astray, will have acquired failure, loss and sure misguidance. Verily, whatever Allah wills occurs; and whatever He does not will, does not occur. A Hadith narrated from Abdullah bin Masud reads,

“All praise is due to Allah, Whom we praise and seek help, guidance and forgiveness from. We seek refuge with Allah from the evils within ourselves and from the burden of our evil deeds. He whom Allah guides, will never be misled; and he whom He misguides, will never have one who will guide him. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah without partners and that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger.”

The complete Hadith was collected by Imam Ahmad and the collectors of Sunan and others. (Ahmad 1:392, Abu Dawud 2:591, Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 4:237, An-Nasai 3:105 and Ibn Majah 1:609)

 

{179. And surely, We have created many of the Jinn and mankind for Hell. They have hearts wherewith they understand not, and they have eyes wherewith they see not, and they have ears wherewith they hear not (the truth). They are like cattle, nay even more astray; those! They are the heedless ones.}

 

Disbelief and the Divine Decree

Allah said, And surely, We have created for Hell” We made a share in the Fire for, “many of the Jinn and mankind” We prepared them for it by their performance of the deeds of its people. When Allah intended to create the creation, He knew what their work will be before they existed. He wrote all this in a Book, kept with Him, fifty thousand years before He created the heavens and earth. Muslim recorded that Abdullah bin Amr narrated that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said,

“Verily, Allah decided the destination and due measurement of the creation fifty thousand years before He created the heavens and earth, and His Throne was over the water.” (Muslim 4:2044)

There are many Hadiths on this subject, and certainly, the matter of Al-Qadar is of utmost importance, yet this is not where we should discuss it. Allah said, “They have hearts wherewith they underst and not, and they have eyes wherewith they see not , and they have ears wherewith they hear not.” meaning, they do not benefit from these senses that Allah made for them as a means of gaining guidance. Similarly, Allah said, “And We had assigned them the (faculties of) hearing, seeing, and hearts; but their hearing, seeing, and their hearts availed them nothing since they used to deny the Ayat.” (46:26). Allah also said about the hypocrites, “(They are) deaf, dumb, and blind, so they return not (to the right path)” (2:18), and about the disbelievers, “(They are) deaf, dumb and blind. So they do not understand.” (2:171) However, they are not deaf, dumb or blind, except relation to the guidance.

Allah said; “Had Allah known of any good in them, He would indeed have made them listen; and even if He had made them listen, they would but have turned away with aversion (to the truth).” (8:23), “Verily, it is not the eyes that grow blind, but it is the hearts which are in the breasts that grow blind.” (22:46), and, “And whosoever turns away blindly from the remembrance of the Most Gracious (Allah), We appoint for him Shaytan to be an intimate companion to him. And verily, they hinder them from the path, but they think that they are guided aright!” (43:36-37) Allah’s statement, “They are like cattle”, means, those who neither hear the truth, nor understand it, nor see the guidance, are just like grazing cattle that do not benefit from these senses, except for what sustains their life in this world. Allah said in a similar Ayah, “And the example of those who disbelieve is as that of one who shouts to those who hear nothing but calls and cries.” (2:171) meaning, their example, when they are called to the faith, is the example of cattle that hear only the voice of their shepherd, but cannot understand what he is saying. Allah further described them “nay even more astray”, than cattle, because cattle still respond to the call of their shepherd, even though they do not understand what he is saying. As for the people described here, they are unlike cattle, which fulfill the purpose and service they were created for. The disbeliever was created to worship Allah alone in Tawhid, but he disbelieved in Allah and associated others in His worship. Therefore, those people who obey Allah are more honorable than some angels, while cattle are better than those who disbelieve in Him. So Allah said; “They are like cattle, nay even more astray; those! They are the heedless ones.”

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